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n2doc

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Member since: Tue Feb 10, 2004, 12:08 PM
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America Is Too Broke to Rescue Ukraine

PETER BEINART

If only America were fighting more wars, Russia would never have taken Crimea. That’s basically the argument John McCain made last Friday in The New York Times. “For five years,” he complained, “Americans have been told that ‘the tide of war is receding’.… In Afghanistan and Iraq, military decisions have appeared driven more by a desire to withdraw than to succeed.” As a result, “Obama has made America look weak,” which emboldened Vladimir Putin to invade Ukraine.

I have no earthly idea what McCain means by ‘succeeding’ in Afghanistan and Iraq, but we can be pretty sure that in addition to claiming more American lives, it would require a lot more American money. Iraq and Afghanistan, according to a 2013 report by Linda Bilmes, a public policy lecturer at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, are the most expensive wars in U.S. history, costing the U.S. between $4 and $6 trillion when you factor in medical care. For Ukraine’s sake, McCain believes, that number needs to go up.

There’s an irony here. If America and Europe have failed to adequately defend Ukraine, it’s not for lack of guns. It’s for lack of money. Over the last year, the real contest between Russia and the West hasn’t been a military one (after all, even McCain knows that risking war over Ukraine is insane). It’s been economic. In part because of two wars that have drained America’s coffers, and in part because of a financial crisis that has weakened the West economically, the United States and Europe have been dramatically outbid.

The current Ukrainian crisis has its roots in Vladimir Putin’s desire to build a “Eurasian Union”—an economic zone comprising as many former Soviet republics as possible—that re-establishes Russian regional dominance. Putin badly wants Ukraine to join the bloc. But that desire has collided with the European Union’s bid to get Ukraine to sign a free-trade agreement linking it to the West. (EU rules, perhaps unwisely, made doing both impossible).

more

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2014/03/america-is-too-broke-to-rescue-ukraine/284463/

Luckovich Toon: Lost and Clueless

Former Catholic Diocese of Scranton priest, named as a child abuser, now is a vicar in Paraguay

By: Ms. Pinky Stanseski

Monsignor Carlos Urrutigoity, who was accused of child abuse in a civil lawsuit filed in Federal Court in Scranton more than a decade ago when he was a priest in the Diocese of Scranton, has been transferred to Paraguay, according to Bishop Accountability and Diocese of Paraguay’s websites. He has been a vicar general since February.

Carlos was a member of the Society of Saint John, which was located in Elmhurst, PA, a suburb of Scranton before moving to Shohola, PA, a NYC exurb. Twelve years ago, a student filed a Federal Lawsuit in Scranton’s Federal Court accusing him and Rev. Eric Ensley of child abuse.

The Lackawanna County, PA District Attorney’s office started a criminal investigation the same year, but could not file charges due to Pennsylvania’s statue of limitations at the time. The diocese responded by suppressing the society in 2004 because of that and other problems, and all the defendants settled the case in 2005.

In 2006, the Society of Saint John was approved as a public association by the Diocese of Paraguay. In an e-mail late Friday, a spokesman for the Diocese of Scranton defended Former Bishop Martino’s role in allowing Rev. Urrutigoity to transfer there, saying “he took all the necessary steps to suppress the society of Saint John, and expressed his doubts to the Paraguay bishop about Carlos’s suitability.” The Diocese has also released a statement on their website.

http://my.firedoglake.com/pinkystanseski/2014/03/16/former-roman-catholic-diocese-of-scranton-priest-who-was-named-as-a-child-abuser-now-is-a-vicar-general-in-paraguay/

Voracious Worm Evolves to Eat Biotech Corn Engineered to Kill It

One of agricultural biotechnology’s great success stories may become a cautionary tale of how short-sighted mismanagement can squander the benefits of genetic modification.

After years of predicting it would happen — and after years of having their suggestions largely ignored by companies, farmers and regulators — scientists have documented the rapid evolution of corn rootworms that are resistant to Bt corn.

Until Bt corn was genetically altered to be poisonous to the pests, rootworms used to cause billions of dollars in damage to U.S. crops. Named for the pesticidal toxin-producing Bacillus thuringiensis gene it contains, Bt corn now accounts for three-quarters of the U.S. corn crop. The vulnerability of this corn could be disastrous for farmers and the environment.


“Unless management practices change, it’s only going to get worse,” said Aaron Gassmann, an Iowa State University entomologist and co-author of a March 17 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences study describing rootworm resistance. “There needs to be a fundamental change in how the technology is used.”

more

http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2014/03/rootworm-resistance-bt-corn/

Marijuana study for PTSD treatment in veterans wins federal backing

WASHINGTON (AP) — The federal government has signed off on a long-delayed study looking at marijuana as a treatment for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, a development that drug researchers are hailing as a major shift in U.S. policy.

The Department of Health and Human Services' decision surprised marijuana advocates who have struggled for decades to secure federal approval for research into the drug's medical uses.

The proposal from the University of Arizona was long ago cleared by the Food and Drug Administration, but researchers had been unable to purchase marijuana from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The agency's Mississippi research farm is the only federally-sanctioned source of the drug.

In a letter last week, HHS cleared the purchase of medical marijuana by the studies' chief financial backer, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, which supports medical research and legalization of marijuana and other drugs.

more

http://www.bigstory.ap.org/article/marijuana-study-veterans-wins-federal-backing

Starving College Students and the Shredded Social Contract

Michelle Goldberg

If you want to know why millennials are far more economically liberal than other generations, consider the news that colleges have started opening on-campus food banks to keep their students from going hungry.

Dozens of food pantries are “cropping up at colleges across the country in recent years as educators acknowledge the struggles many students face as the cost of getting a higher education continues to soar,” the Associated Press reported this weekend. Tuition alone, the article notes, “has become a growing burden, rising 27 percent at public colleges and 14 percent at private schools in the past five years, according to the College Board. Add in expenses for books, housing and other necessities of college life and some are left to choose between eating and learning.”

College students, of course, have long been broke, and plenty members of today’s professional class nurture nostalgic memories of their ramen years. What we’re looking at here, though, isn’t picturesque slumming—it’s serious poverty. A recent paper in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, for example, found that 59 percent of students at one midsize rural university in Oregon had experienced food insecurity in the previous year, with the problem especially acute among students with jobs. “Over the last 30 years, the price of higher education has steadily outpaced inflation, cost of living, and medical expenses,” the authors wrote. “Recent changes to federal loan policies regarding the amount and duration of federal aid received as well as how soon interest will begin to accrue after college may exacerbate the financial challenges students face. Food insecurity, as a potential consequence of the increasing cost of higher education, and its likely impact on student health, learning and social outcomes should not be considered an accepted aspect of the impoverished student experience, but a major student health priority.”

Meanwhile, it’s increasingly clear that the economic struggles students face during school follow them long past graduation. A major new report from the Pew Research Center, “Millennials in Adulthood: Detached from Institutions, Networked With Friends,” notes that people between 18 and 33 are the first generation in the modern era to have “higher levels of student loan debt, poverty and unemployment, and lower levels of wealth and personal income than their two immediate predecessor generations (Gen Xers and Boomers) had at the same stage of their life cycles.” This, even though they are the “best-educated cohort of young adults in American history.”

more

http://www.thenation.com/blog/178872/starving-college-students-and-shredded-social-contract#

U.S. Navy SEALs Take Control of Diverted Oil Tanker

CAIRO — United States Navy commandos seized a diverted oil tanker in the Mediterranean waters southeast of Cyprus on Monday morning, thwarting an attempt by a breakaway Libyan militia to sell its contents on the black market, the Pentagon said. No one was hurt in the operation, the Pentagon said in a statement.

The diverted tanker, called the Morning Glory, had sailed into the eastern Libyan port of Sidra under a North Korean flag, but North Korea disavowed the ship and denied having provided any authorization. News reports have said it was operated by a company based in Alexandria, Egypt, and that after leaving Libyan waters it appeared to have sailed the Mediterranean in search of a buyer for its oil.

In a statement early Monday morning, the Pentagon said that the Libyan and Cypriot governments had requested American help in seizing control of the tanker. President Obama authorized the operation just after 10 p.m. Sunday in Washington, the statement said. Within a few hours a Navy SEAL team on the guided missile destroyer Roosevelt boarded and took control of the tanker, “a stateless vessel seized earlier this month by three armed Libyans,” the statement said.

The Roosevelt also provided helicopter support, the statement added, but it did not say how many Americans had participated in the assault or what force might have been used.

more
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/18/world/middleeast/libya-oil-tanker.html

L’Wren Scott, Fashion Designer, Mick Jagger's Girlfriend, Is Found Dead, Official Says

NEW YORK — L'Wren Scott, a fashion designer and celebrity stylist who was Mick Jagger's girlfriend, was found dead in Manhattan of a possible suicide, a law enforcement official said Monday.

The official spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the victim's next of kin had not yet been notified.

The official said Scott's assistant found her hanging from a doorknob at 10 a.m. Monday. The official said no note was found and there was no sign of foul play.

A spokeswoman for Mick Jagger says the singer was "completely shocked and devastated by the news."

more

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2014/03/17/us/ap-us-jaggers-girlfriend.html?partner=rss&emc=rss&smid=tw-nytimes

Judge rules against creationist teacher who called Buddhist student’s faith ‘stupid’

By Scott Kaufman

The parents of a Buddhist student in Louisiana ridiculed by a creationist teacher won their lawsuit against the school district, the American Civil Liberties Union revealed Friday.

The student, known as C.C., was asked by sixth-grade teacher Rita Roark to answer the following question on a test: “ISN’T IT AMAZING WHAT THE _____________ HAS MADE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” When C.C. failed to respond “Lord,” Roark responded “you’re stupid if you don’t believe in God.” She also frequently denigrated his Buddhist faith, as well as the Hindu faith, referring to both as “stupid.”

When his parents complained to Sabine Parish Superintendent Sara Ebarb, they were told that “this is the Bible belt,” so they should expect to find the Christian God in the classroom. Ebarb advised them that if they wanted an ungodly classroom, they should transfer C.C. to a school where “there are more Asians.”

Judge Elizabeth Foote of the U.S. District Court, Western District of Louisiana sided with C.C. and his parents, citing that Roark’s behavior — and the school’s decision to defend it — clearly violated “the Free Exercise and Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.”


more

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/03/17/judge-rules-against-creationist-teacher-who-called-buddhist-students-faith-stupid/

Monday Toon Roundup 3: The Rest



Ukraine






GM



Economy




Bible







St. Pats





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