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Current location: Georgia
Member since: Tue Feb 10, 2004, 01:08 PM
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Environmental Scientist

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Meet the new Gang of Six

McConnell finds his go-to Dems

Senate Republicans are reaching out to about nine Democrats they see as crucial swing votes in the new Congress.

With his 54-seat majority, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) is six votes short of overcoming Democratic filibusters, making bipartisan support a necessity for getting most legislation to President Obama’s desk.

Republicans have identified six go-to centrists: Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), Mark Warner (Va.), Tim Kaine (Va.) and Joe Donnelly (Ind.) and independent Sen. Angus King (Maine), who caucuses with the Democrats.

Several other Democrats, including Sens. Claire McCaskill (Mo.), Chris Coons (Del.), Tom Carper (Del.) and Martin Heinrich (N.M.), are also targets, though they are seen as riskier partners.
“If Republicans want a minimum of six or more Democrats to work with them and they’re sincere about policy and good policy moving forward, they’re definitely going to reach out, and I’ve reached out to them,” Manchin told reporters Tuesday.



Warren takes swipe at Reagan, trickle-down economics

Sen. Elizabeth Warren savaged trickle-down economics and took a swipe at President Ronald Reagan on Wednesday, blaming both parties for policies she said have devastated U.S. workers while propping up the wealthy.
The Massachusetts Democrat, who many on the left are pressing to run for president as an alternative to Hillary Clinton, also praised President Barack Obama for efforts she said were aiding the economic recovery, but said most Americans still weren’t seeing their lives improve.

“The trickle-down experiment that began in the Reagan years failed America’s middle class,” Warren said in her fiery keynote address to an AFL-CIO conference on raising wages.

“Pretty much the whole Republican Party, and if we’re going to be honest, too many Democrats, are overly cozy with the financial industry and make decisions that benefit the wealthiest 10 percent of Americans while leaving others to struggle, she said. Over the past 32 years, she added, every penny of America’s economic growth has benefited the top 10 percent of earners, while the bottom 90 percent has been squeezed.

“We know that democracy does not work when congressmen and regulators bow down to Wall Street’s political power,” she said. “And that means it’s time to break up the Wall Street banks and remind politicians they don’t work for the big banks, they work for us.”

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2015/01/elizabeth-warren-criticism-trickle-down-economics-114032.html

Wednesday Toon Roundup 3- The Rest








Wednesday Toon Roundup 2- Police

Wednesday Toon Roundup 1-They have Plans

Mexican town's entire police force detained over journalist disappearance

Source: The Guardian

State prosecutors have detained a town’s entire police force following the disappearance of a journalist in the southern state of Veracruz.

Thirty-six members of the Medellín de Bravo police department were brought in to give statements, according to a statement from the Veracruz state prosecutor’s office. Authorities detained three police officers there on Monday.

Prosecutors said the investigation is in an advanced stage and one of the lines of investigation is looking at the social activism of journalist Moisés Sánchez Cerezo, some of which was aimed at Medellín’s mayor, Omar Cruz.

Sánchez’s brother Juan Carlos Sánchez said on Monday that his brother had been threatened by Cruz. Cruz denied any involvement at a news conference on Monday. A group of nine armed men took Sánchez from his home on Friday along with his computer, camera and telephones.

Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jan/06/mexican-police-force-detained-journalist-disappearance

In holiday message, Alabama Democratic Party chair describes getting stuck on the toilet

By Kyle Whitmire

Maybe some folks thought they were giving me a late Christmas present or an early birthday present, but my first reaction was maybe this was a really early April Fool's Day joke - there they were, one forwarded copy after another in my email inbox when I returned from the holidays, and for a week I haven't known what to do with this thing.

The short version is this: The chairwoman of the Alabama Democratic Party, Nancy Worley, sent a holiday letter to friends and Democrats all over the state describing, among other things, how she got stuck on the toilet and couldn't get up.

What do you do with something like that? Reading it is kind of like watching a dog humping a cat. You kind of want to stop it but you aren't sure how. Maybe you're supposed to be OK with it if they are OK with it. You feel shame for the part of you that is amused by it, and nothing will ever erase the image from your brain, but you'll still try to pretend it never happened.

But then there's another part of me that screams, But she put it in her damn Christmas letter to Democrats all around Alabama!

Only through some sort of late-inning Christmas miracle is blood not pouring from both my ears.



Ted Cruz To Propose Changing The Spelling of ‘Science’ to ‘J-E-S-U-S’

WASHINGTON – Newly minted chairman of the Senate’s Subcommittee on Science and Space, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) is already making a big splash in his new role in Congress. The Science and Space committee directs Congressional funding and policy initiatives for departments like NASA, the National Science Foundation, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Though in the past he’s made comments that fly in the face of scientific comprehension like, “Climate change, as they have defined it, can never be disproved, because whether it gets hotter or whether it gets colder, whatever happens, they’ll say, well, it’s changing, so it proves our theory,” Republican leadership in the Senate has seen fit to appoint Cruz as one of the most premier arbiters of American scientific research and policy. Not wanting to avoid taking full advantage of his new powers, Cruz has decided to propose a new bill to the committee that would change the way science is seen in America…literally.

The Change the Spelling of Science to More Appropriately Reflect America’s Enduring Love of The Lord Thy God Jesus Christ Act would use the power of the Federal government to make the official spelling of “science” in the United States “J-E-S-U-S.” According to Cruz, he worked closely with robust patriots like Pat Robertson and the Westboro Baptist Church to make sure the change made sense not just from a Christian point of view, but from another Christian’s point of view as well. “We all know that the Founders were devout, born-again Judeo-Christians who originally wanted to name the country ‘The United States of Jesus Is Rad Land’ but didn’t for other reasons,” said Cruz to a gathering of a handful of reporters just after being sworn-in as the committee chair, “and we intend to rectify that mistake in time, but it all starts with one step.”

“Today,” Cruz continued, “that step is forcing everyone in the world to change their spelling of a word. After all, we can’t go about reminding the people that true Americans know the Earth is only 6,000 years old if people are still stubbornly clinging to ‘science.'” Cruz wiped a bit of sweat from his brow at this point, then got down onto one knee as he shouted, “And know this, brothers and sisters, only by completely removing science from our lexicon, can we return this country to the hands of God and Jesus, where it belongs.”

When reminded that without science we’d all be living to only about 25 years old, we’d be crazily overpopulated and undernourished, and he’d not even be broadcast on TV, Cruz paused for a moment, then shaking his head said, “There are no teevees in the Bible. There’s not a single IP address in the entire New Testament. If we didn’t need it back when dinosaurs were playing catch with Adam and Eve, we sure as heck-fire don’t need it today.”



Yes it's satire. If it were reality it would be Senator Ted Cruz proposing changing science to R-E-A-G-A-N...

First Direct Measurement of Gravity’s Curvature

Earth’s gravitational pull gradually decreases with increasing altitude, and researchers have detected the differences even over several vertical feet within a lab, using the extreme sensitivity of cold atoms. Now a team has taken the next step by measuring the change in this gravity gradient produced by a large mass, using measurements at three different heights. They say their technique could improve gravity-based mapping of variations in rock density in geology and prospecting, and it could also boost the precision of tests of general relativity and measurements of the gravitational constant.

The technique of atom interferometry enables distance measurements with extremely high precision, by exploiting the atoms’ quantum-mechanical wavelike nature. It has been used previously to measure the strength of gravitational fields and also the rate of change in those fields over some distance (the gradient). Together such measurements permit Newton’s gravitational constant G to be determined . It is currently known to within about 100 parts per million, a much lower precision than other fundamental constants. More accurate measurements would allow higher-precision tests of the theory of general relativity.

Measuring gravity at two close locations gives the gradient as the difference between the two divided by their separation distance; measuring at three locations gives the rate of change of the gradient, which is also called the curvature of the field. This experiment was proposed in 2002 , and now a team in Italy, led by Guglielmo Tino of the University of Florence and the National Institute of Nuclear Physics (INFN), has carried it out. Previously, Tino and his colleagues determined G by measuring gravity at two different heights with a similar experiment .



Most Earth-like planet ever discovered could be a cosy home for alien life

An alien world that orbits a distant star in the constellation of Lyra may be the most Earth-like planet ever found outside the solar system.

The planet, named Kepler 438b, is slightly larger than Earth and circles an orange dwarf star that bathes it in 40% more heat than our home planet receives from the sun.

The small size of Kepler 438b makes it likely to be a rocky world, while its proximity to its star puts it in the “Goldilocks” or habitable zone where the temperature is just right for liquid water to flow.

A rocky surface and flowing water are two of the most important factors scientists look for when assessing a planet’s chances of being hospitable to life.

Kepler 438b, which is 470 light years away, completes an orbit around its star every 35 days, making a year on the planet pass 10 times as fast as on Earth. Small planets are more likely to be rocky than huge ones, and at only 12% larger than our home planet, the odds of Kepler 438b being rocky are about 70%, researchers said.


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