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Member since: Tue Feb 10, 2004, 12:08 PM
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Environmental Scientist

Journal Archives

White House Says It Supports Efforts To Ban Gay Conversion Therapy

The White House said on Wednesday that it supports efforts to ban therapies aimed at converting gay and transgender minors into heterosexuals.

"Often, this practice is used on minors, who lack the legal authority to make their own medical and mental health decisions," White House adviser Valerie Jarrett said in a statement. "We share your concern about its potentially devastating effects on the lives of transgender as well as gay, lesbian, bisexual, and queer youth."

The White House released that statement in response to a petition calling for a ban that gathered more than 120,000 signatures. The petition was for its part sparked by the suicide of 17-year-old Leelah Alcorn, who wrote on a Tumblr post that her parents had forced her to go to conversion therapy.

Jarrett wrote that science has overwhelmingly demonstrated that conversion therapy hurts gay and transgender minors and that the practice is "neither medically nor ethically appropriate."


Texas Idiots say the American flag is more racist than the Confederate flag

When people tell the Texas Sons of Confederate Veterans spokesman Marshall Davis that his group’s flags are an enduring symbol of the South’s savage history of slavery, he has an answer ready for them.

“The American flag flew over a slave nation for over 100 years,” Davis says. “The Confederate flag flew over a slave nation for four years. By comparison, the American flag is 25 times more a slave flag.”

Not surprisingly, the Sons of Confederate Veterans believe the controversy swirling around the memorial to Confederate war dead that they’re building in the east Texas city of Orange is overblown, if not entirely unfounded.

Construction on the $50,000 monument near Martin Luther King Jr. Drive began in 2013, despite strenuous objections from some locals.

Those objections recently resurfaced after the Sons of Confederate Veterans announced that they have ordered eight custom-made poles for Confederate battle flags that will, Davis said, increase the visibility of the monument alongside Interstate 10, not far from the street named after King, the slain civil rights leader.


Senator Elizabeth Warren Interview on Conan part 2

Senator Warren wants big banks to follow the same rules and regulations as ordinary citizens.

CONAN: I studied history and literature
and never studied economics.
But in 2008, we have this
terrible collapse and everyone
said it was because it was too
big to fail.
All these banks are too big to
fail and general sense I think
among everybody especially
layman like me who thought this
problem will now be addressed.
Here we are 2015, some of those
banks are 30% bigger than they
were in 2008, which makes no
I fundamentally don't understand
why we failed.
No one went to prison.
No one was indicted and not only
that, we're not even at the
point we were in 2008 where some
of these banks as I said 30%

ELIZABETH WARREN: That's exactly right.
This is a big part what I talk
about in the book.
This is just an example of how
the game is rigged.
That when the big financial
institutions got into trouble
and the bill was passed to
provide all this money to help
out in the middle of this
crisis, the treasury couldn't
shovel the money fast enough
into the handful of biggest
financial institutions in this
Conan: Trillions.



Tom Toles Cartoon- He Doesn't have his hands Up!

Mike Luckovich Toon- Armed and Dangerous

S.F. man’s winning robbery defense: Entered home to board spacecraft

A 41-year-old San Francisco man was acquitted of robbery and other felonies after telling a jury he entered a Mission District home only because a methamphetamine-fueled psychosis led him to believe he needed to board a spaceship to flee the imminent destruction of the earth, the public defender’s office said Wednesday.

Santino Aviles was acquitted Monday of robbery, attempted robbery, assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury and battery with serious bodily injury, his attorneys said. He was convicted of misdemeanor battery and assault, while the jury couldn’t agree on a burglary charge.

In May 2014, defense attorneys said, Aviles ran to a Mission District building while under a delusion that it looked like a spaceship docking station and that he was being chased. “Aviles was suffering from hallucinations and false perceptions associated with methamphetamine psychosis,” attorneys said.

A resident in the building allowed him inside, but later got suspicious and told him to leave after he tried to get to the building’s roof, the public defender’s office said. The office said Aviles, still fearing he was being chased, climbed on a fire escape and entered an apartment with an open window, taking off his shoes and shirt and passing out on a couch inside.


The Arctic has lost so much ice that now people want to race yachts through it

Source: Washington Post

This year, we’ve seen yet another Arctic milestone — sea ice covering the top of the world reached the lowest maximum extent yet observed in winter, when ice is at its peak. That means that in the last four years, Arctic sea ice has seen a new low both for its seasonal winter peak (in 2015) and for its summer minimum (in 2012).

We often hear about how damaging this will be to Arctic ecosystems and cultures — but many people see new opportunities in a less icy Arctic. It’s not just shipping and industry, it’s also competitors and adventurers. One case in point: Sailing the Arctic Race, an “extreme yacht race” that is being proposed for the summer-fall of 2017, when crews would race 7,700 miles through the fabled Northwest Passage on a trip from New York to Victoria, British Columbia via the top of the world.

“The more ice that’s being melted, the more free water is there for us to be sailing,” says Robert Molnar, a lifelong sailor, entrepreneur, and the founder and CEO of the race. “Normally we should not be able to do that, but we can.”

The race lists, among its partners, Harken, a major U.S. based maker of sailboat gear. But it’s also drawn skepticism in sailing circles – Mark Pillsbury, the editor of the sailing magazine Cruising World, recently called the idea “ambitious and improbable.”

Read more: http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2015/04/08/the-arctic-has-melted-so-much-that-people-want-to-race-yachts-through-the-northwest-passage/?tid=sm_fb

Inside The Police Failure To Stop Darren Sharper's Rape Spree

by ProPublica by Ryan Gabrielson by T. Christian Miller by Ramon Antonio Vargas by John Simerman

It was 5:06 a.m. on a Tuesday in September 2013 when sex crimes Detective Derrick Williams caught the call. It came from the hospital. It was a distraught woman. She was saying she had been raped.

She told Williams a familiar story of French Quarter trespass: She'd hit the clubs the night before, she said. Drank a lot. Met a man. Went to his house. And awoke the next morning to find him on top of her, naked. But she told Williams she had never said yes to sex.

Williams typed up a brief report. He labeled the incident a rape. But Case No. I-31494-13 wasn't quite ordinary. The accuser was a former cheerleader for the New Orleans Saints. And the alleged rapist was Darren Sharper, a hero of the Saints' 2009 Super Bowl team, former Pro Bowl player and broadcast analyst for the league's television network.

News of the Sept. 23, 2013 incident quickly shot up the ranks. New Orleans' police superintendent and top prosecutor were briefed. In the weeks that followed, police records show that Williams gathered evidence. He got a warrant to collect a sample of Sharper's DNA. It matched a swab taken from the woman's body. Witnesses told of seeing Sharper with the intoxicated woman at a club, and later at his condo. Video footage confirmed Sharper and the woman had been together.



Clean Energy Revolution Is Ahead of Schedule

By Noah Smith
The most important piece of news on the energy front isn't the plunge in oil prices, but the progress that is being made in battery technology. A new study in Nature Climate Change, by Bjorn Nykvist and Mans Nilsson of the Stockholm Environment Institute, shows that electric vehicle batteries have been getting cheaper much faster than expected. From 2007 to 2011, average battery costs for battery-powered electric vehicles fell by about 14 percent a year. For the leading electric vehicle makers, Tesla and Nissan, costs fell by 8 percent a year. This astounding decline puts battery costs right around the level that the International Energy Agency predicted they would reach in 2020. We are six years ahead of the curve. It's a bit hard to read, but here is the graph from the paper:

This puts the electric vehicle industry at a very interesting inflection point. Back in 2011, McKinsey & Co. made a chart showing which kind of vehicle would be the most economical at various prices for gasoline and batteries:

Looking at this graph, we can see the incredible progress made just since 2011. Battery prices per kilowatt-hour have fallen from about $550 when the graph was made to about $450 now. For Tesla and Nissan, the gray rectangle (which represents current prices) is even farther to the left, to about the $300 range, where the economics really starts to change and battery-powered vehicles become feasible.

But in the past year, the price of gasoline has fallen as well, and is now in the $2.50 range even in expensive markets. A glut of oil, and a possible thaw in U.S.-Iran relations, have moved the gray rectangle down into the dark blue area where internal combustion engines reign supreme.


Five Things You Should Know About Rand Paul

Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul announced yesterday that he is running for president. Paul is the second major Republican candidate to enter the 2016 presidential race, but what he’s running from is at least as important as the office he’s running for.

Coming on the heels of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s announcement last month, Paul’s announcement may give him a slight fundraising advantage. (Ted Cruz raised $500,000 within one day of his announcement, and $4 million just over a week later.)

It also gives Paul a chance to define — or redefine — himself as the GOP field fills up and the race really begins. That’s the advantage Paul probably seeks, because running from his record is going to be just as hard as running for president.

Rand Paul is one of the biggest flip-floppers in Congress.

If you don’t like Rand Paul’s position on any given issue, just wait a while and he’ll choose another one, and claim that it was really his position all along. Or as one Democratic strategist put it, “Rand Paul takes more positions than the Kama Sutra.”


Fuck Rand Paul
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