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Environmental Scientist

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Be Scared, Sheep! Be Very Scared!

Ex-CIA official: Lone wolf attacks coming to US within 'next year'
By David McCabe

The United States should be prepared for a “lone wolf” terrorist attack within the next year, a former top Central Intelligence Agency official warned Monday.

“What concerns me the most is that we’re going to see this kind of terrorism around the world, and we are going to see it here ... we’re going to see this kind of attack here,” former CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell said on “CBS This Morning.”

“We need to be prepared for that. It shouldn’t surprise people when this happens here sometime over the next year or so, guaranteed,” he added.

The former CIA official said that it is hard to prevent lone wolf attacks — where individuals carry out violence without the close direction of a terrorist group — but that intelligence officials could look for chatter about a coming event on social media.

Morrell appeared on "CBS This Morning," as a hostage situation unfolds in Sydney that many have speculated is a terrorist attack.


What's the terror color today?

Senate makes designer steroids a controlled substance

The Senate passed a bill Thursday to prohibit the use of designer steroids.

H.R. 4771, the Designer Anabolic Steroid Control Act, adds "anabolic steroids" to the list on substances included in the Controlled Substances Act.

Use of the steroids have been linked to deaths.
The House passed the bill in September, meaning it now heads to President Obama’s desk to be signed into law.

The Senate also passed S. 2338, the United States Anti-Doping Agency Reauthorization Act, which authorizes appropriations for the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency through 2020. The agency ensures U.S. athletes don’t use performance-enhancing drugs. The measure now heads to the House for further action.


Holder praises NBA stars for 'I can't breathe' shirts

Source: The Hill

Attorney General Eric Holder said he thought was “a good thing” that NBA players were protesting the death of Staten Island resident Eric Garner by wearing “I Can’t Breathe” T-shirts during the warm-ups before games.

“For them to get out there and to express in that way a social conscience, I think goes back to maybe people that these guys don’t even know or my son has a vague awareness of, to Jackie Robinson, who is seen as not only a great athlete, but as an involved, thinking, caring black man,” Holder told the Chicago Sun-Times.

“And to have LeBron , Derrick Rose and others who wore those ‘I Can’t Breathe’ shirts, that shows a level of involvement. It shows a depth to them beyond just being great ballplayers.”

Holder also said that, for many people, including his own teenage son, top athletes were more important than political figures.

Read more: http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/227133-holder-praises-nba-stars-for-i-cant-breathe-t-shirts

The media treats Dick Cheney like the royals on vacation. He should be in jail

by Trevor Timm

It’s been less than one week since the US Senate released its devastating report on CIA torture and criminality, but if you turned on the television Sunday morning, it looked frighteningly like the year 2002. Virtually all the Sunday talk shows led off not with those who documented the CIA’s depravity, or the victims of such abuse, or those who objected to torture when it wasn’t fashionable to do so. Instead, they instead continued to pump up the former Bush administration architects of this illegal program, so they could once be given a platform to defend it.

The US news media has treated Dick Cheney and Michael Hayden better in interviews this week than they treat British royalty on an American vacation.

It was rather fitting that it was NBC’s Meet the Press giving Cheney so much time to defend the US government’s torturing of innocent people on Sunday. This is, after all, the same hour of television during which Cheney first announced the Bush administration would work from “the dark side” after 9/11, foreshadowing the CIA’s torture regime that was exposed in all its depraved detail last week. This is the same venerated news show on which Cheney originally pushed the fake al-Qaida link to Saddam Hussein that led to the Iraq war, based on false evidence that the Senate confirmed last week was partly extracted through torture.

But Cheney, whose former communications director once openly admitted that Meet the Press was the go-to PR platform for his most brazen lies, really outdid himself this Sunday. Saying that Dick Cheney is unrepentant for torture would be the understatement of the week – but, hey, it’s only Monday morning.

Beyond saying he’d do it all over again, the former vice-president was asked about the almost 25% of the detainees in the CIA torture program who were later declared innocent.



Trade with China has cost 3.2 million American jobs — in all but one congressional district

After 15 years of negotiating, China was finally granted membership to the World Trade Organization in 2001, a pivotal step in the opening of the country’s economy.

The impact of its entry was much debated, but one thing quickly became clear: It was a good move for China. A new study from the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute shows that while China gained, the American labor market suffered: At least 3.2 million American jobs were displaced during the first dozen years that China was in the WTO, thanks to an unbalanced trade relationship between the two countries.

“The growing trade deficit with China has cost jobs in all 50 states and the District of Columbia,” EPI’s Robert E. Scott and Will Kimball write. “Using a new model and new congressional district data to estimate the job impacts of trade for the 113th Congress, this study also finds that job losses occurred in every congressional district but one.” (California’s 21st congressional district, located in the state’s Central Valley, was the only one that saw no job losses due to Chinese trade, according to the report.)

Imports from China grew dramatically from $102 billion the year it joined the WTO to $438 billion in 2013. Trade in reverse grew as well, from $18 billion to $114 billion. But in 2013 the U.S. was importing four times more from China than it was exporting to the country, making it one of the—if not the—most imbalanced trade relationship for the U.S. That growing trade deficit contributed to an ever-increasing displacement of American jobs, as depicted in the graphic below.



A Minimally Conscious Patient Suddenly 'Awakens,' Thanks to a Common Depressant

​The doctors weren't expecting that the small dose of a common anti-anxiety drug called midazolam would do anything more than lightly sedate their patient for a CT scan—as intended. But said patient, who had been in a minimally-conscious state for two years following a motorcycle accident-caused brain injury, quite suddenly began to interact and converse, just out of the blue. He chatted up the anesthesiologist, talked to his aunt via cellphone, and congratulated his brother on a recent graduation.

Then, the patient reverted, just as suddenly returning to a near-vegetative existence, a relationship with the world through a pinhole of awareness and interactivity.

This "awakening," which occurred in a hospital in Pisa, Italy, ​is described by a team of neuroscientists in the current issue of Restorative Neurology and Neuroscience. Following the event, the team attempted to duplicate it using the same drug. Again, the patient began to converse and interact, "appropriately" following both behavioral and verbal commands. The patient had no memory of the accident and no awareness of his current status. Normal life might as well have been yesterday.

As the drug wore off, the patient again receded.



Vancouver Island's scallops and oysters are mysteriously dying out

The pristine, sheltered sounds off Vancouver Island, British Columbia, offer the cleanliness and protection ideal for farming oysters, clam, scallops, and other shellfish. Since the 1970s, the industry has grown so rapidly that the area once supplied nearly two-fifths of Canada’s farmed shellfish and is the coastal community’s economic backbone.

Further down the coast, the US’s $270-million Pacific Northwest shellfish industry is teetering (paywall) following the mysterious 2008 oyster die-off.

Scientists aren’t sure what the culprit is. Environmental stressors are rising, creating a complex interplay of factors. For instance, BC’s typically chilly coastal waters are warming—and that’s shifting the timing of zooplankton blooms, which in turn feed the shellfish. Scientists say seemingly slight ecosystem changes have likely compound the destruction of a deadly oyster herpes virus that has been wiping out oysters in France and Australia.

But something is killing them off. In the last two years, nine-tenths of baby oysters have died in Desolation Sound farms (the normal mortality rate is about 50%). Scallop farmers off Vancouver Island have reported mass die-offs of their hatchlings since 2010. British Columbia’s share of Canada’s aquaculture industry is in a tailspin.



Monday Toon Roundup 2- The Rest







Monday Toon Roundup 1- Torture and Death

State of LGBT Rights: Married on Sunday, but Fired on Monday

The victories for same-sex marriage are amazing. But LGBT people can still be fired or denied housing in 29 states. Still a long way to go.

If you asked most anyone in America how things were going for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people, they would probably respond, “Great!” Gay and lesbian people who live in one of the more accepting, urban settings on the East or West Coast might even agree, given that these bastions of liberal thinking have enacted many protections already. Indeed, the struggle for marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples has made great strides, going from a handful of states only a year ago in which gay and lesbian people are able to marry to an astounding 35 states at present. This is amazing progress considering that marriage equality in the first state was achieved scarcely more than a decade ago.

But there is still much work to be done to ensure that gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people are recognized as full citizens of this country with all the rights and protections that citizenship usually bestows. In 14 of those states in which a gay or lesbian person is allowed to marry the person they love, one can get married on Sunday and be fired from his or her job on Monday morning—for the simple reason of being gay, with no employment protection or recourse in the courts.

The Center for American Progress has just released an exhaustive report on the state of LGBT rights in America as they pertain to public accommodation, access to credit, employment protection and the like. “We the People: Why Congress and U.S. States Must Pass Comprehensive LGBT Nondiscrimination Protections” goes on to describe the patchwork quilt of protections that vary depending upon the town or state in which one is living. As the report summarizes: “Today it is legal to fire, refuse housing, or deny service to Americans because of their sexual orientation and gender identity in 29 states. In most states, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, or LGBT, Americans currently lack explicit protections against discrimination in employment, housing, education, credit, and public accommodations. LGBT individuals and families report unacceptable levels of discrimination in the workplace, when seeking goods or services in their community’s places of public accommodation, at school, or when seeking housing. This discrimination leads to disproportionate rates of unemployment, poverty, homelessness, and negative health outcomes for LGBT people and their families.”


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