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Home country: USA
Current location: Georgia
Member since: Tue Feb 10, 2004, 12:08 PM
Number of posts: 38,371

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Environmental Scientist

Journal Archives

The Middle East needs Senator Bernie Sanders, not a neoconservative Hillary Clinton


Senator Bernie Sanders is chipping away at Hillary Clinton’s lead in Iowa and New Hampshire. If he wins both the Iowa Caucus and New Hampshire Primary, the odds favor Sanders to win the Democratic Nomination in 2016. Perhaps the most important element of Sanders’s surge is the fact that he voted against the Iraq War, while Hillary Clinton voted for the quagmire.

The Middle East needs an American president with the wisdom of Bernie Sanders, not Hillary Clinton, since the current turmoil in the region needs less American military involvement; not a continuation of past mistakes. In addition, Bernie Sanders literally foreshadowed the repercussions of removing Saddam from Iraq. He voiced vehement opposition to sending Americans into a counterinsurgency conflict, despite the fact that 72% of Americans supported the Iraq War in 2003 and the political climate equated war with patriotism.

While Sanders never cared about polls or political expediency, others don’t have this value system. True, Clinton called her vote a “mistake,” however this mistake cost America dearly and destabilized the Middle East. Almost 4,500 Americans were killed in combat in Iraq, over 32,000 Americans were wounded in combat, and close to two-thirds of Americans killed or wounded in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan were the victims of IED blasts. As for the Iraqi death toll from civil war (starting shortly after the fall of Saddam), one estimate states 500,000 Iraqis have died. To put the war in perspective for Iraqis, during George Bush’s last four years in office, there were 19,535 terrorist attacks and from 2003-2010, Iraqis experienced 1,003 suicide bombings. Unspeakable catastrophe, not “mistake,” are the words that should be correlated to Clinton’s Iraq War vote.

In early 2015, when 62% of registered voters supported sending American ground troops to fight ISIL, Senator Sanders stated that Muslim countries should send their own ground troops to fight ISIL, not America. Sanders, unlike Clinton and GOP candidates, has clearly articulated his views on American involvement in the Middle East. In late 2014 on MSNBC’s The Ed Show, Vermont’s Senator called for Arab nations, not the U.S., to fight ISIL and other regional threats



Science proves what you suspected: hiking's good for your mental health

Do not underestimate the power of a walk in the woods: A new study suggests that even a 90- minute stroll in a natural environment can lead to measurable changes in the brain, and may help combat depression.

Previous research has shown that just a 50-minute walk in nature can improve your mood, decrease your anxiety and even improve your memory. But for the new study, published this week in PNAS, the research team wanted to see if they could understand what the mechanisms for these positive effects might be.

To help them figure it out, they decided to focus specifically on what psychologists call "rumination," which has been shown to predict depressive episodes.

"Ruminative thought means something very specific in psychology," said Gregory Bratman, a PhD candidate in environmental science at Stanford University and the lead author of the study. "It is repetitive thought that is focused on negative aspects of the self."



Pact with devil? California farmers use oil firms' fracking water

Bakersfield (United States) (AFP) - An efficient solution to a historic drought, or an environmentally risky pact with the devil?

That's the question raised by California farmers who are irrigating their crops with waste water supplied by oil companies, in an arrangement slammed as dangerous by environmental campaigners.

Driving into the parched region around Bakersfield, in the western US state's fertile Central Valley, it is evident how closely the agriculture and oil industries are related.

Lines of orchards stand near fields of oil wells stretched out as far as the eye can see.

Eighty percent of the state's oil production and 45 percent of the farming industry is concentrated in a single county, Kern County, said Madeline Stano of the Center on Race, Poverty and the Environment.



Solar-powered plane lands in Hawaii after flight from Japan

Source: AP

KAPOLEI, Hawaii (AP) — A plane powered by the sun's rays landed in Hawaii Friday after a record-breaking five-day journey across the Pacific Ocean from Japan.

Pilot Andre Borschberg and his single-seat aircraft landed at Kalaeloa, a small airport outside Honolulu. His 120-hour voyage from Nagoya broke the record for the world's longest nonstop solo flight, his team said. The late U.S. adventurer Steve Fossett set the previous record of 76 hours when he flew a specially-designed jet around the globe in 2006.

But Borschberg flew the Solar Impulse 2 without fuel. Instead, its wings were equipped with 17,000 solar cells that charged batteries. The plane ran on stored energy at night.

The plane's ideal flight speed is about 28 mph though that can double during the day when sun's rays are strongest. The carbon-fiber aircraft weighs over 5,000 pounds or about as much as a minivan or mid-sized truck.

Read more: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/dedd7bf43b934a0ca0ec3ef2b8efc27b/solar-powered-plane-due-land-hawaii-after-5-day-flight

An Attack on Press Freedom: SPIEGEL Targeted by US Intelligence

Walks during working hours aren't the kind of pastime one would normally expect from a leading official in the German Chancellery. Especially not from the head of Department Six, the official inside Angela Merkel's office responsible for coordinating Germany's intelligence services.

But in the summer of 2011, Günter Heiss found himself stretching his legs for professional reasons. The CIA's station chief in Berlin had requested a private conversation with Heiss. And he didn't want to meet in an office or follow standard protocol. Instead, he opted for the kind of clandestine meeting you might see in a spy film.

Officially, the CIA man was accredited as a counsellor with the US Embassy, located next to Berlin's historic Brandenburg Gate. Married to a European, he had already been stationed in Germany once before and knew how to communicate with German officials. At times he could be demanding and overbearing, but he could also be polite and courteous. During this summer walk he also had something tangible to offer Heiss.

The CIA staffer revealed that a high-ranking Chancellery official allegedly maintained close contacts with the media and was sharing official information with reporters with SPIEGEL.



Friday Toon Roundup 2: The Rest







Friday Toon Roundup 1:Political Fireworks

Saline County teen finds 4-inch centipede in ear

A Saline County teenager woke up Tuesday morning with excruciating pain in one of his ears. Grant Botti, 14, says he felt something strange in his ear and decided to grab hold of it. What he pulled out, would shock everyone. It was a 4-inch long centipede.

Grant's mom, Angela Botti, put the still-alive centipede in a plastic bag and took Grant to the emergency room because he was still in pain.

A doctor at Saline Memorial examined Grant's ear, finding some small abrasions in his ear drum. He was treated and released.

Grant's mom says they don't know where the centipede came from, but that Grant had been outdoors swimming recently.


Garden State says Christie should resign; would make a bad president

West Long Branch, N.J. – Gov. Chris Christie has officially thrown his hat into the ring, but his home state of New Jersey is not squarely behind him. The latest Monmouth University Poll, taken after Christie’s presidential announcement, found that the governor’s negative job ratings have not budged from two months ago. A large majority feels that Christie has abandoned his commitment to the state and few say he is a good fit for the Oval Office.

Just 27% of New Jerseyans say Chris Christie would make a good president. More than two- thirds (69%) say he would not. A few months ago, Christie was asked on national TV about similar poll results. He responded that survey participants told pollsters he would not make a good president because “a lot of those people...want me to stay.” Monmouth followed up with the participants in our poll and found that just 5% of those who said he would not make a good president say they gave that response because they would rather have Christie stay in New Jersey. Fully 89% of this group, though, confirmed that their answer meant they really think he would make a bad president.

“I’m not sure how the governor defines ‘a lot,’ but any common sense usage of the term would have to be significantly greater than five percent,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.

Gov. Christie’s current job rating stands at 36% approve to 58% disapprove among all New Jersey residents and 34% approve to 60% disapprove among the state’s registered voters. These numbers are slightly more negative than a Monmouth University Poll taken two months ago which gave Christie a 35% to 54% rating among all residents and a 35% to 56% rating among voters. Fully 3-in-4 (76%) say he is more concerned about his own political future than he is with governing the state – up from 70% two months ago and 56% last September. Just 17% say he puts New Jersey first.

more (links to pdf)


Obama will badger Scott Walker in Wisconsin

President Barack Obama will employ some of the finest trolling tools imaginable when he heads to La Crosse, Wis. Thursday afternoon: Air Force One and a presidential limo.
After Republican Gov. Scott Walker meets him at the airport, Obama will head to the local University of Wisconsin campus and formally unveil his administration’s new overtime rule, set to raise wages for up to 5 million workers, as part of a hard-hitting speech ripping into Republicans for opposing him on issues such as equal pay for women, raising the minimum wage, workers’ rights, Medicaid expansion and taxing the wealthy.

It’s no coincidence that Obama’s going to give this kind of speech at this moment in the home state of a politician who’s become the White House’s bęte noire. Republican Scott Walker is the governor the president’s aides always hold up as an example of exactly what’s wrong with politics — and he would be the Democrats’ nightmare scenario, if he were to win the presidency in 2016.
“The contrast between our approach on economic issues and the governor’s is emblematic of the contrast between the president and the Republican Party at large,” a White House aide said Wednesday, looking ahead to the speech.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2015/07/barack-obama-scott-walker-overtime-wisconsin-119670.html#ixzz3ejti7yFW
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