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Environmental Scientist

Journal Archives

Friday TOON Roundup 2 - Elections and the GOP



Friday TOON Roundup 1 - The No State Solution

Toon: Headbangers

Toon: Exploratory Committee

Louie Gohmert Wants To Bomb Iran Now, Pushes Bogus Obama Conspiracy Theories

During an appearance on yesterday’s edition of “Washington Watch,” Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, told host Tony Perkins that “we need to encourage this administration to go take out Iran’s nuclear capability” instead of pursuing negotiations: “I think it’s time to bomb Iran.”

“We need to make clear to Iran: You can play these silly games with our president that buys into them and our secretary of state, but the American people aren’t buying it and you’re going to pay a price,” Gohmert said.

“I’m hoping and praying the president will realize, despite the agenda he has that has put Christians in jeopardy around the world, that he will not want to leave the Democratic Party so devastated that they won’t recover for many decades,” Gohmert continued, “that maybe he’ll start being more helpful to Israel instead of slapping them around as an unwelcomed visitor and start treating them like a friend. And maybe once he starts doing that he’ll realize we do need to bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities that we know of and anything that they move to fix, we bomb that as well.”

Gohmert also pushed the completely bogus conspiracy theory that Obama “threatened to shoot down Israeli planes if they had gone to take out Iran’s nuclear capability.” The allegation is based on a Kuwaiti outlet’s spurious report which cited an anonymous source in the Israeli government.
- See more at: http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/louie-gohmert-wants-bomb-iran-now-pushes-bogus-obama-conspiracy-theories#sthash.dUrhq6Fj.dpuf

Nine Billionaires Are About to Remake New York’s Public Schools—Here’s Their Story

A Nation investigation reveals how a group of hedge funders are about to get exactly what they paid for.

George Joseph March 19, 2015

Hedge-fund manager Whitney Tilson stands at a Harvard club podium in midtown Manhattan, facing a room full of investors eating eggs and bacon, and eager to learn more about charter schools. The walls of the wood-paneled room are lined with the portraits of Tilson’s Harvard forefathers. Above the podium where Tilson stands hangs an ornamental gold ship, swaying. In the corner of the room is a large screen, on which the logos of the day’s sponsors, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Sam Walton Foundation, float like guardian angels. Two large stone fireplaces dominate the west end of the room. Their exaggerated mantelpieces are each decorated with two empty crests and a laurel—symbols of power drained of any purpose.

Tilson begins an enormous PowerPoint presentation, speaking of the inequities black and Latino children face in the public school system. “Your entire prison population is in these red bars,” he explains, showing red bars indicating the high percentage of poor black and Latino children who could not read at a fourth-grade level. No such children, nor their parents, seemed to have been invited to this presentation.

Despite the role poverty plays in determining whose kids gets stuck in those red bars, Tilson declares to the room of Ivy League investors, “This is not rocket science. Notice on my list there’s no #5, no Spend More Money. You get new facilities and smaller classrooms but nothing changes. Nobody believes anymore that if you give us more money we’ll solve all the problems.”

Something is Rotten in the State of New York

These exact talking points were echoed in Democrat Andrew Cuomo’s State of the State address, last January, where the governor commanded the legislature, “Don’t tell me that if we only had more money , it would change. We have been putting more money into this system every year for a decade and it hasn’t changed and 250,000 will condemn the failing schools by this system.”


"Very high levels of arsenic" in top-selling wines

Following recent warnings about the amount of arsenic in apple juice and rice, a proposed class action lawsuit is being filed Thursday in California that claims some of the country's top selling wines have high levels of the element: up to four and five times the maximum amount the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) allows for drinking water, reports CBS News correspondent Carter Evans.

After 15 years working in the wine distribution business, Kevin Hicks started BeverageGrades, a laboratory that analyzes wine. What he discovered shocked him.

"Some very, very high levels of arsenic," Hicks said.

He tested more than 1,300 bottles of wine. Almost a quarter of them had levels higher than the EPA's maximum allowable amount of arsenic in drinking water: 10 parts per billion. No one can say for sure why, but Hicks noticed a pattern.

"The lower the price of wine on a per-liter basis, the higher the amount of arsenic," he said.



Nancy Pelosi: Republicans want to investigate Hillary Clinton's 'hair'

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi belittled the House GOP’s attempt to look into Hillary Clinton’s email practices as the latest in a long-running series of Republican-led investigations designed to bring down the Clintons politically.

“I think we are just going to see the ongoing attempt to investigate Hillary Clinton, be it her hair or her emails,” Pelosi said Thursday at her weekly news conference.

The California Democrat did not offer a defense of Clinton for using a private email account as secretary of state or for storing emails on a private server. Instead, Pelosi dismissed calls for subpoenas for her emails as a “waste of taxpayer money.”

House Republicans on the Committee on Benghazi have issued a subpoena for Clinton’s private emails. Many GOP lawmakers, including Speaker John Boehner, want Clinton to turn over the server she used to a third-party arbitrator.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2015/03/nancy-pelosi-hillary-clinton-email-gop-116226.html

Republicans are making their case for war in Iran

Since the national leadership of the Republican Party moves only in a lock-step approach, recent events make it clear that they are attempting to make the case for another war.

By now, it is almost cliche to suggest that Republican freshman Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas created a storm of protest over his letter to the Ayatollahs of Iran. Forget for the moment the seditious element of the gesture and that 46 fellow Republicans felt it was within their purview to circumvent the president on issues of foreign policy. Pair the message of this letter with the Speaker of the House's invitation to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The Republican Party strategy becomes abundantly clear: The United States needs to take a hard-line policy toward Iran and its nuclear ambition; and since a hard-line policy will not work, the U.S. needs to remove the nuclear threat using military means.

One of the blatant flaws in Netanyahu's presentation to the joint session of Congress was his argument that international sanctions have forced Iran to its knees and, therefore, Iran needs a deal with the West so desperately that a complete ban on all nuclear capability is within the grasp of the negotiators. The fact that this contradicts Netanyahu's earlier assessment seems to have disturbed no one, other than his detractors. To them, it seems incongruous to argue that Iran is weakened to the point of desperation, when one has just argued that Iran has taken over the region, controlling the capitals of Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Gaza. Perhaps this was all accomplished while on its knees?

It is important to note that the Cotton letter was signed by virtually all of the Republican luminaries in the Senate. Added to this and following almost immediately in The Washington Post was an opinion piece, "War With Iran is Probably Our Best Option," by a research fellow at John Hopkins University, Joshua Muravchik. He argued that since Iran's leaders are ideologues, they will only accept a deal that will allow them to pursue their mission. As he states, "Ideology is the raison d'etre of Iran’s regime, legitimating and inspiring its leaders and their supporters. ... Iran aims to carry its Islamic revolution across the Middle East and beyond."



Jerry Brown seeks $1-billion emergency drought relief plan for California

Source: LA Times

As California braces for a fourth consecutive year of drought, Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders on Thursday will unveil a $1-billion relief plan, two sources told The Times late Wednesday.

This will mark the second consecutive year in which the Legislature has had to act on emergency drought relief. In 2014, Brown signed a $687.4-million drought package, which offered aid to communities facing acute water shortages and food and housing assistance to those harmed by the drought.

Brown, along with Senate President Pro Tem Kevin De León (D-Los Angeles) and Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins (D-San Diego), will introduce emergency drought legislation, Brown's office said Wednesday evening. The office did not elaborate on details of the plan.

The Legislature also crafted a $7.5-billion water bond that was approved by voters last November; most of those funds would go to longer-term projects to bolster the state's water infrastructure.

Read more: http://www.latimes.com/local/political/la-me-pc-brown-emergency-drought-20150318-story.html
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