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

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America’s police have become too militarised

FROM the way police entered the house—helmeted and masked, guns drawn and shields in front, knocking down the door with a battering ram and rushing inside—you might think they were raiding a den of armed criminals. In fact they were looking for $1,000-worth of clothes and electronics allegedly bought with a stolen credit card. They found none of these things, but arrested two people in the house on unrelated charges.

They narrowly avoided tragedy. On hearing intruders break in, the homeowner’s son, a disabled ex-serviceman, reached for his (legal) gun. Luckily, he heard the police announce themselves and holstered it; otherwise, “they probably would have shot me,” he says. His mother, Sally Prince, says she is now traumatized.

Gary Mikulec, chief of the Ankeny, Iowa police force, which raided Ms Prince’s home in January, said that the suspects arrested “were not very good people”. One had a criminal history that included three assault charges, albeit more than a decade old, and on his arrest was found to have a knife and a meth pipe.

It is easy to see why the police like to be better armed than the people they have to arrest. They risk their lives every day, and are understandably keen to get home in one piece. A big display of force can make a suspect think twice about pulling a gun. “An awful lot of SWAT tactics are focused on forcing the suspect to surrender,” says Bill Bratton, New York’s police chief.



Clinton-McCain friendship blossoms again

By Maeve Reston
March 22, 2014, 8:36 a.m.
When John McCain was running for president in 2008, he often spoke warmly of his friendship with Hillary Rodham Clinton as an illustration of his ability to work across the political aisle. They had traveled the world together as fellow senators — from the Arctic to Estonia — developing a mutual respect that often seemed to transcend party squabbles.

At times, it almost seemed that they would have preferred squaring off against one another rather than Barack Obama. In the heat of the 2008 primary, Clinton argued that she and McCain had “a lifetime of experience” that they could bring to the White House, while Obama had “a speech” he delivered in 2002.

Six years later -- even with all the partisan bickering over the attack on the U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi -- that warmth between McCain and the Clintons appears to have survived. It was evident at the opening session of the youth-focused conference known as the Clinton Global Initiative University on Friday night at Arizona State University.

The former secretary of State offered a brief introduction to the weekend-long conference before turning over the microphone to her husband, who moderated the first panel on “the age of participation.”

As former president Clinton introduced the panel, which featured McCain, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales and Saudi rights activist Manal al-Sharif, he described McCain as “a good friend of Hillary’s and mine, although we permit him to deny it at election time.”


This sabotage story is the stuff of research nightmares.

Sad story in this week's Science, about a scientist suing her mentor and Yale for their lackluster response to her being sabotaged. From the article:

Koziol's studies of how the genome switches on after an egg is fertilized had begun failing mysteriously in July 2011, a month after she started her postdoc in the developmental biology lab of Antonio Giraldez. In August, she began producing transgenic zebrafish; they all died, not once, but time after time. A lab technician assured her she was doing everything right, and colleagues' fish were fine. So Koziol produced a new batch of fish and divided them in two groups. One she put in a container labeled with her initials, MK, as she had done before. She left the other half unmarked. Sure enough, the labeled fish died; the others were fine.

The experiment was a key step in proving that someone was tampering with her experiments, according to a lawsuit Koziol filed with the Superior Court in New Haven on 7 February. When hidden cameras were installed in the lab, they revealed a fellow postdoc poisoning her fish, the complaint says. Now, Koziol is suing the alleged perpetrator, Polloneal Jymmiel Ocbina. According to the complaint, he left Yale after he was caught on video.

Ugh. Labmates are supposed to be your colleagues...people you turn to for advice, learn new techniques from, discuss career options with. If you don't get along with them, then fine, talk it out or avoid them. But don't freaking resort to sabotage. When I hear about conflict/competition between labmates happening, it's usually cause of an unfriendly environment perpetuated by the lab head. From her complaint, it sounds like this case may not be any different:

From then on, Koziol's relationship with her boss deteriorated. The complaint says he refused to provide her with a letter about the sabotage, which presumably would have helped explain her lack of data to future employers. Koziol alleges that he criticized her work and character, didn't help her make up for the lost time, gave her "angry looks when passing in the lab," didn't list her as a contributor to a Nature article, and threatened to fire and "destroy" her. Koziol became depressed, suffered from sleeplessness, and gained weight; when she and Giraldez talked for 3 hours in August 2012, Koziol "cried throughout the meeting," the complaint says.



Unwilling to Allow His Wife a Divorce, He Marries Another

Meir Kin, right, married Daniela Barbosa on Thursday night, though he has refused Lonna Kin an Orthodox Jewish divorce. Credit Isaac Brekken for The New York Times

LAS VEGAS — The wedding was a modest affair, held in a reception hall overlooking an artificial lake tucked behind a suburban strip. But just minutes after it ended, the bride and groom hurriedly scurried past dozens of protesters here who were chanting “Bigamist!” and “Shame on you!”

One of the wedding guests on Thursday evening glared at the demonstrators, repeatedly hissing: “Mazel tov. Mazel tov. Mazel tov.” The bride, in a lace and sequin floor-length gown, grasped the hand of her husband and looked at the crowd in silence.

Meir Kin, the new husband, has been divorced for more than seven years, under California’s civil law. But he has refused to give his previous wife the document known as a “get,” as required by Orthodox Jewish law to end a marriage. In the eyes of religious authorities, the woman he married in 2000 is what is called an agunah — Hebrew for chained wife. Without the get, the woman, Lonna Kin, is forbidden under Jewish law to remarry.

Jewish law prohibits men from taking multiple wives. But Mr. Kin, according to several rabbis here, apparently relied on a legal loophole, which says that if a man can get the special permission of 100 rabbis to take a second wife, he is able to do so.



Constitutional conflict escalates between US Senate and CIA

By Patrick Martin
22 March 2014

In twin letters sent Wednesday to the Justice Department and the Central Intelligence Agency, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid renewed charges of unconstitutional CIA spying on the Senate, first made in a speech March 11 by the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Dianne Feinstein.

Reid’s letters represent a significant escalation of the constitutional conflict that has erupted since the public exposure of CIA spying on the Senate committee, which is charged with the legal responsibility of overseeing the intelligence agency.
The CIA was seeking to track down how the committee came into possession of an internal CIA report, the so-called “Panetta Review,” which acknowledged CIA torture in secret overseas prisons, and a subsequent cover-up by CIA operatives that has also implicated the White House. The Senate panel has prepared a 6,300-page draft report on the torture program, which began in 2002 under Bush and was officially ended under Obama in January 2009. The CIA has been fighting to prevent publication of the report for more than a year.

In the letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, the top official of the Justice Department, Reid noted the CIA’s own admission that it had accessed files on a computer network reserved for the use of the Intelligence Committee staff. He then declared: “The CIA’s decision to access the resources and work product of the legislative branch without permission is absolutely indefensible, regardless of the context. This action has serious separation of powers implications.”



Bill Moyers- Who’s Buying our Midterm Elections?

In the coming weeks, the Supreme Court is expected to issue another big decision on campaign finance, one that could further open the floodgates to unfettered and anonymous contributions, just as the Citizens United case did four years ago.

This week Bill speaks with investigative journalists Kim Barker and Andy Kroll about the role of dark money — and the wealthy donors behind it — in this year’s midterm elections.

Already, three times as much money has been raised for this year’s elections as four years ago, when the Citizens United decision was announced. “This is the era of the empowered ‘one percenter’. They’re taking action and they’re becoming the new, headline players in this political system,” Kroll tells Moyers. Kim Barker adds, “People want influence. It’s a question of whether we’re going to allow it to happen, especially if we’re going to allow it to happen and nobody even knows who the influencers are.”

Barker is an investigative reporter with the independent, non-profit news organization ProPublica and Andy Kroll is a journalist in the Washington bureau of Mother Jones magazine.


Why Is It That So Many Reporters Seem to Know So Little about Obamacare?

“Just because your voice reaches halfway around the world doesn’t mean you are wiser than when it reached only to the end of the bar.”

~ Edward R. Murrow

Long before the advent of the Internet, Edward R. Murrow, the newsman who stood up and exposed the lies spread by Senator Joe McCarthy in the early 1950s, understood that while “the speed of communication is wondrous to behold, it is also true that speed can multiply the distribution of information that we know to be untrue.”

Murrow was right. Today, as traffic on the information highway has picked up speed, it often seems that, the Information Age that we celebrated in the 1990s has become an Age of Misinformation .

Today, not only CBS, the network that brought us Murrow, but the media as a whole seems to have forgotten his plea to his fellow journalists: “Just once in a while, let us exalt the importance of ideas and information.”

The Media and Obamacare
When it comes to covering the Affordable Care Act (ACA), not only televison networks but our major newspapers have fallen far short of Murrow’s fearless standards. Instead of ideas and information, the mainstream media serves up opinions and anecdotes.

Tall tales about “Obamacare’s victims” have become standard fare. In recent months I have deconstructed two faux fables: one that appeared in the Ft. Worth -Star Telegram,(URL), another that aired on CBS stations nationwide.

- See more at: http://www.healthbeatblog.com/2014/03/why-is-it-that-so-many-reporters-seem-to-know-so-little-about-obamacare-part-1/

Weekend Toon Roundup 2- Phelps

Weekend Toon Roundup 3- The rest






Weekend Toon roundup 1- Moneyboarding

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