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n2doc

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

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Big Climate Report: Warming Is Big Risk For People

If you think of climate change as a hazard for some far-off polar bears years from now, you're mistaken. That's the message from top climate scientists gathering in Japan this week to assess the impact of global warming.

In fact, they will say, the dangers of a warming Earth are immediate and very human.

"The polar bear is us," says Patricia Romero Lankao of the federally financed National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., referring to the first species to be listed as threatened by global warming due to melting sea ice.

She will be among the more than 60 scientists in Japan to finish writing a massive and authoritative report on the impacts of global warming. With representatives from about 100 governments at this week's meeting of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, they'll wrap up a summary that tells world leaders how bad the problem is.

The key message from leaked drafts and interviews with the authors and other scientists: The big risks and overall effects of global warming are far more immediate and local than scientists once thought. It's not just about melting ice, threatened animals and plants. It's about the human problems of hunger, disease, drought, flooding, refugees and war, becoming worse.

more

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=293549929

13 of 14 warmest years on record occurred in 21st century – UN

13 of the 14 warmest years on record occurred this century, according to the UN.

Publishing its annual climate report, the UN's World Meteorological Organisation said that last year continued a long-term warming trend, with the hottest year ever in Australia and floods, droughts and extreme weather elsewhere around the world.

Michel Jarraud, the WMO's secretary-general, also said there had been no 'pause' in global warming, as has been alleged by climate change sceptics. “There is no standstill in global warming,” Jarraud said.

2001-2010 was the warmest decade on record, the WMO noted, and added that the last three decades had been warmer than the previous one.

The WMO reiterated its earlier finding that 2013 was the sixth warmest on record, with temperatures 0.5C above the long-term average (1961-1990). The southern hemisphere was particularly warm, its report said, with Argentina experiencing its second warmest year on record and New Zealand its third warmest.

more

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/mar/24/warmest-years-record-un-global-warming

When ‘Religious Liberty’ Was Used To Deny All Health Care To Women And Not Just Birth Control

BY IAN MILLHISER

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court will hear Hobby Lobby’s and Conestoga Wood Specialties’ claims that they should be exempt from their legal obligations to provide a full range of health coverage — in this case, contraceptive care for women — because they object to providing this coverage on religious grounds. Yet, for women who worked for a California private school in the 1980s, this lawsuit must feel like déjà vu. Nearly three decades ago, the Fremont Christian School claimed a similar right to deny health coverage to its female employees, citing its religious beliefs as justification for doing so. Fremont Christian’s case does bear one important difference from Hobby Lobby’s, however, they did not just want to deny birth control to their employees — they wanted to deny all health coverage to many of the women in their employ.

Fremont was owned by a church which claimed that “in any marriage, the husband is the head of the household and is required to provide for that household.” Because of this belief, they had a very unusual compensation package for their employees — though Fremont offered a health plan to its workers, the plan was only available to “heads of households” which Fremont interpreted to mean single people or married men. When a woman became married, she was to rely on her husband for health care.

(In what Fremont described as an “act of Christian charity,” there was an exemption to this rule. A married woman could receive health benefits if “the husband is incapable of providing for his family, by virtue of non-working student status, or illness” though the school also emphasized that “the husband is still scripturally the head of the household.”)

Offering one set of employee benefits to men and a different, inferior package to women is a blatant violation of federal civil rights law, which prohibits employers from “discriminat against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.” While Fremont claimed that their religious liberty gave them a trump card, a federal appeals court disagreed. “Congress’ purpose to end discrimination,” the court explained, “is equally if not more compelling than other interests that have been held to justify legislation that burdened the exercise of religious convictions.”

more

http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2014/03/23/3417404/when-religious-liberty-was-used-to-deny-all-health-care-to-women-and-not-just-birth-control/

Flouting the rules of law and morality (GUANTÁNAMO)

BY JUAN VASQUEZ

G UANTANAMO BAY NAVY BASE, Cuba — Before this onetime coaling station for the U.S. Navy ships in the Caribbean was transformed into a site holding captives in the war on terror that U.S. officials had called the worst of the worst, most Americans were unaware of its existence.

With a few exceptions, such as the 1992 movie A Few Good Men, a film about military duty and honor, and what happens when soldiers step over the line, the rule seemed to be, out of sight, out of mind.

That changed after Jan. 11, 2002, when the first batch of alleged terrorists arrived. They were put into kennel-like cells measuring 8x8x8 and placed under armed, 24-hour guards who had little or no training in detention. It was all improvised. Donald Rumsfeld and other Bush administration officials gave orders to make it happen. The military saluted and complied.

Twelve years later, Camp X-Ray is little more than an isolated, abandoned tangle of rusting, chain-link cages and barbed wire overrun by weeds and infested with banana rats and other tropical varmints. Elsewhere on the base, lawyers come and go. Litigation continues. Sporadically, hearings of one sort or another are held for some of the remaining 154 detainees still held in four newer camps.

But the spotlight has moved on. Members of the news media, under military escort wherever they go, visit occasionally, but the public’s interest level has dropped. Guantánamo is old news and sometimes it seems that no one cares.


Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/03/22/4011343/flouting-the-rules-of-law-and.html

Monday Toon Roundup 2: The Rest


Spy





Repubs















Putin










Army


GM





Hate



Beer

Monday Toon Roundup 1: CNN in a spin










Scientists are finding that it’s quite common for an individual to have multiple genomes

By CARL ZIMMER
September 16, 2013
From biology class to “C.S.I.,” we are told again and again that our genome is at the heart of our identity. Read the sequences in the chromosomes of a single cell, and learn everything about a person’s genetic information — or, as 23andme, a prominent genetic testing company, says on its Web site, “The more you know about your DNA, the more you know about yourself.”

But scientists are discovering that — to a surprising degree — we contain genetic multitudes. Not long ago, researchers had thought it was rare for the cells in a single healthy person to differ genetically in a significant way. But scientists are finding that it’s quite common for an individual to have multiple genomes. Some people, for example, have groups of cells with mutations that are not found in the rest of the body. Some have genomes that came from other people.

“There have been whispers in the matrix about this for years, even decades, but only in a very hypothetical sense,” said Alexander Urban, a geneticist at Stanford University. Even three years ago, suggesting that there was widespread genetic variation in a single body would have been met with skepticism, he said. “You would have just run against the wall.”

But a series of recent papers by Dr. Urban and others has demonstrated that those whispers were not just hypothetical. The variation in the genomes found in a single person is too large to be ignored. “We now know it’s there,” Dr. Urban said. “Now we’re mapping this new continent.”

more
http://mobile.nytimes.com/2013/09/17/science/dna-double-take.html

Tennessee plans executions in secret

Brian Haas, The Tennessean;

The state of Tennessee doesn't want you to know how it will kill the condemned.

It doesn't want you to know who will flip the switch, sending a lethal dose of pentobarbital through the veins of death row inmates. And it doesn't want you to know how it obtained that pentobarbital — which isn't available from any legal drug manufacturer — as well. State correction officials have even banned the media from visiting inmates on death row.

As Tennessee makes an unprecedented push to set execution dates, it is doing so in the shadows, cloaking its plans in secrecy. Legislators passed a bill a year ago that allowed the state to withhold all information about the drugs it plans to use to execute death row inmates. Georgia, Oklahoma and Missouri have enacted similar laws shrouding information about their lethal injection drugs.

But a collection of death row inmates has sued Tennessee to pull back that shroud.

more

http://www.tennessean.com/story/news/crime/2014/03/23/tennessee-plans-executions-secret/6765403/

Scalia loves him some Security State

The topic of the NSA's controversial surveillance of telephone metadata came up during a laughter-filled Q&A between Scalia and Judge Andrew Napolitano, a faculty member at Brooklyn Law School and a close personal friend of the justice he accidentally called "Nino."

While suggesting that the high court will take up NSA surveillance, Scalia expressed his opinion that judges should not be deciding matters of national security.

"The Supreme Court doesn't know diddly about the nature and extent of the threat," Scalia said. Later on, he added, "It's truly stupid that my court is going to be the last word on it."

Still, he hinted he would rule that NSA surveillance does not violate the Constitution if and when the issue comes before the Supreme Court. Although one judge has ruled the spying violates the Fourth Amendment, Scalia may disagree based on his strict interpretation of the Constitution.



Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/antonin-scalia-talks-nsa-spying-at-brooklyn-law-2014-3

More like biased and completely subjective interpretation of the Constitution….

Hillary Clinton says she’s weighing 2016 campaign

BY PHILIP RUCKER


TEMPE, Ariz. – Hillary Rodham Clinton said here Saturday night that she is weighing another presidential campaign and is “very much concerned” about the direction of the country, citing climate change as a particular focus.

Clinton, who would be an overwhelming front-runner for the Democratic nomination should she seek it in 2016, made her comments in response to a question from a student at the close of the Clinton Global Initiative University conference at Arizona State University.

“If you don’t represent women in politics in America as future president, who will?” the student asked Clinton.

The former secretary of state and former first lady responded: “I appreciate the sentiment. I’m obviously thinking about all kinds of decisions.”

more

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2014/03/22/hillary-clinton-says-shes-weighing-2016-campaign/
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