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

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Obama Designates 3 National Monuments, Congressman Deems Him ‘King Barack’

On Thursday, President Obama is expected to announce three new national monuments, adding to the 13 monuments he’s already designated during his presidency. Traveling to Illinois, Obama will officially proclaim the Pullman Historic District of Chicago, Browns Canyon in Colorado, and a former Honouliuli Internment Camp site in Hawaii to be national monuments.

Obama has the authority to designate federal lands for protection as national monuments under the Antiquities Act, which dates back to the administration of Theodore Roosevelt as a way to preserve archeological or historic sites. The measure authorizes the president to protect landmarks, structures, and objects of historic or scientific interest without the need of congressional approval. Republicans in a number of states consider the law to be outdated, and have pushed for bills that roll back this authority. Congressional Republicans from Colorado reacted harshly to the designation of Browns Canyon, with one representative saying Obama was acting like “King Barack.”

With Congress able to stifle most of the administration’s efforts to improve air and water quality and mitigate and adapt to climate change, Obama has turned to the Antiquities Act as a reliable method of protecting cultural and natural resources across the country. This is especially apparent when it comes to hydraulic fracturing, as a number of Republicans have advocated drilling on federal lands, including national parks.

With fracking currently legal on federal lands, oil and gas development is already underway in certain national forests or recreational areas — and if it’s not taking place within the borders of these areas it often happens nearby. Aside from the noise, traffic and light pollution, this process can result in damaging spills or water contamination from which it can take decades to recover.



NYPD officer, aiming for pit bull, accidentally shoots his Sergeant instead

BROOKLYN, N.Y. (WABC) -- A police officer accidentally shot his sergeant after firing at a pit bull inside a Brooklyn apartment building.

The shots were fired after New York City Police officers responded to a report of an assault inside the apartment building on Kings Highway at around 10:30 p.m. Tuesday night.

The officers were in the hallway when a pit bull mix was let out of one of the apartments. The dog charged at them, according to police, and the officer fired a shot at the dog.

The shot grazed the dog, possibly ricocheted off a wall, and then struck his sergeant in the right foot just below his big toe.

The sergeant was taken to Kings County Hospital in stable condition. The pit bull was expected to survive.


‘Out of My Mouth Comes Unimpeachable Manly Truth’

What I learned from watching a week of Russian TV.

On a cold, sunny New Year’s Eve in 2014, I am sitting at the edge of my king-size bed at the Four Seasons hotel in New York, munching through a stack of Wagyu beef slices and demolishing a bottle of pinot noir while watching a woman play a man playing a bearded woman on Russian state television. Standing on a stage lit by gleaming chandeliers before an audience of Russia’s elite celebrities, the parodist Elena Vorobei sings to the tune of Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive,” in a crude impersonation of Conchita Wurst, the Austrian drag queen who won the 2014 Eurovision song contest. Vorobei is dressed in a sparkling gown, winking cheekily, scratching at her bearded face and swishing her lustrous wig around. “I have a beard!” she belts. At one point she throws out a Hitler salute, a gesture that’s meant to evoke Austria, Conchita’s homeland. The camera pans the laughing audience, cutting for a moment to a well-known actor-singer-writer-bodybuilder and then to one of the show’s M.C.s, Russia’s pop king, the also-bearded Philipp Kirkorov (widely assumed to be gay). The men, who are almost all tanned, in sharply cut suits, grin with unconstrained glee. The bejeweled women wear tight, knowing smiles. Everyone sways and claps.

With the exception of fishing, soccer and the Orthodox Church, few things are taken more seriously in Russia than Eurovision. Indeed, much of the sequined musical fare on Russian television looks like an endless Eurovision rehearsal. When Conchita won, back in May, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, an ultranationalist in Russia’s Parliament who is roughly equivalent to Michele Bachmann, said her victory meant “the end of Europe.” The deputy prime minister and the Orthodox Church issued statements essentially denouncing the collapse of Christian civilization as we know it. On tonight’s show, broadcast to millions of Russians, the message is clear: Europe may have rejected homophobia, a value it once shared with Russia, by giving a musical prize to a drag queen, but Russia, like Gloria Gaynor herself, will survive, never to succumb to the rest of the world’s wimpy notions of tolerance. A country where gangs of vigilantes who call their cause “Occupy Pedophilia” attack gay men and women on the streets of its major cities will now carry the mantle of the European Christian project.

“I love you, Russia,” the bearded singer intones in English at the end of her number. “Russia, I’m yours,” she adds in Russian.

Seven more days of this, I think, as I crawl over to the minibar.



Remember, it's 'manly' not 'manny'

Meet the woman trying to keep Egypt accountable despite torture, shaming, and a life sentence

Over the last three years, Egyptian revolutionary Hend Nafea has struggled against her country’s various governments, against her rural society, and against her family. In return, the headscarfed Tahrir Square activist has been beaten and tortured by army officers, judged a shameful woman by her society, and imprisoned at home by her family. Last week, she was sentenced to life in prison. And, yet, Nafea remains determined to struggle on.

Upon hearing the widely-criticized verdict in her case on Feb. 4, Nafea wrote in a public post on her Facebook wall:
I want to tell you something: whatever we have done, we still haven’t done anything for the revolution . . . there are many martyrs that have given their lives for this country! And I’m reminded of what my colleague Mahienour said: ‘We don’t like prisons, but we’re not afraid of them’.

She ends this post with a smiley face. It’s a spirited defiance she has displayed ever since her ordeal began just over three years ago.

Hend’s story isn’t unique. In her case alone, 229 others were sentenced to life in prison, including the well-known activist Ahmed Douma, for protests outside a government building in 2011 demanding an end to military rule. Two days before that, 183 people were sentenced to death.



Indonesia is sinking illegal fishing boats in dramatic fashion,and may be killing fish doing so

For the last few months Indonesia has been making a show of dramatically blowing up and sinking fishing boats from Vietnam that were illegally fishing in its waters. The crackdown has fueled the popularity of maritime affairs minister Susi Pudjiastuti, but environmentalists are not happy about the explosions, which could potentially cause major oil leaks and otherwise damage sensitive marine habitats.

Though the government has been scuttling such vessels for years, the latest campaign started in December, when newly-elected president Joko Widodo’s government invited media to watch it launch explosives at three Vietnamese ships that had been caught fishing in its territorial waters. Numerous sinkings followed, including a Vietnamese vessel on Feb. 10.

“Camera crews filmed the boats going under in clouds of black smoke, against the backdrop of picturesque islands,” the Wall Street Journal reported in December. And it’s the presence of the black smoke—indicating burning oil— that worries some environmentalists, along with other disruptions to those very same picturesque islands.

“The use of explosives to sink the boat disturbs and threatens the fish near the location of the explosion—in a way, it has the same effect as using dynamite to catch fish,” Greenpeace campaigner Arifsyah Nasution told the Jakarta Globe. In addition, she said, debris from the boats turns into floating garbage.



Netanyahu humiliated after he tries to play down wealth with video recorded in his decrepit 'home'

... which is revealed to be his servants' quarters...

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been left red-faced after a video shot by a celebrity home designer depicting his modest lifestyle was revealed to be recorded in his servants' quarters.

The 15-minute film by Moshik Galamin showed Mr Netanyahu's wife Sara guiding the viewer around the couple's home, where run down parts of the property such as creaking doors and frayed carpets, are detailed.

But it has now emerged Galamin was not granted access to the couple's upstairs living quarters, and Israel's Channel 10 TV claimed the kitchen in question was not even the one the Netanyahus use, but rather a secondary administrative kitchen.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2957942/Netanyahu-s-campaign-hit-expenses-claims.html#ixzz3SCctMrsH

Thursday TOON Roundup 3- The Rest



Haters and Rights







Thursday Toon Roundup 2: Bush and Politics






Thursday Toon Roundup 1- Gawd and War

Obama making WWII internment camp in Hawaii a national monument

Source: LA Times

For more than half a century, what had once been Hawaii's largest and longest-operating internment camp was ignored and forgotten. To the hundreds of Japanese Americans who had been forcibly confined at the camp, the experience was a source of shame and rarely spoken of until it was rediscovered by historians more than a decade ago.

On Thursday, President Obama will designate the plot of land in western Oahu that was the site of the Honouliuli camp as a national monument, White House officials told the Los Angeles Times. The designation is intended to bring greater awareness to it and to Hawaii's distinct role in the World War II-era incarceration of Japanese Americans and what the White House calls "the fragility of civil rights during times of conflict."

The announcement will come 73 years to the day after President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the executive order paving the way for the internment of Japanese Americans, a few months after Japan bombed Hawaii's Pearl Harbor and drew the U.S. into the war.

That order ultimately led to the imprisonment of more than 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry on the West Coast at 10 mainland internment cites, including Manzanar in California. But in Hawaii, then a U.S. territory, more than 1,000 people were interrogated and ultimately imprisoned under martial law that was declared after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

Read more: http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-hawaii-japanese-internment-20150218-story.html
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