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n2doc

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Home country: USA
Current location: Georgia
Member since: Tue Feb 10, 2004, 12:08 PM
Number of posts: 41,547

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Environmental Scientist

Journal Archives

The House of Representatives Committee on Science is turning into a national embarrassment

By Ashutosh Jogalekar


A few days back I wrote a post explaining why I am all for private support of basic science, especially in an age when government funding and support is flagging. My feelings were simply reinforced when I came across this news piece documenting the shameful behavior of Republican members of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology in denying climate change and harassing John Holdren, President Obama’s science advisor.

The debacle was part of a hearing in which the members were supposed to discuss the upcoming 2015 budget with Holdren. Instead the proceedings turned into a mixture of hostile heckling and insulting sarcasm. This was black comedy that would have been mildly humorous had it not been real. The Republican members of the committee made it clear that not only do they lack the slightest interest in addressing climate change but they are about as ignorant about the nuances of science as a stone. Leading the charge was Texas congressman Randy Weber:

Several members, for example, appeared to be trying to mock rather than engage Holdren on climate change. “I may want to get your cellphone number, Dr. Holdren,” said Representative Randy Weber (R–TX), “because, if we go through another few cycles of global warming and cooling, I may need to ask you when I should buy my long coat on sale.”

Weber, a freshman from the Galveston area, began his interrogation by asking Holdren whether “when you guys do your research, you start with a scientific postulate or theory and work forward from that? Is that right?” Holdren gamely played along, explaining that “it depends on the type of science, but the notion of posing a hypothesis and then trying to determine whether it is right is one of the tried and true approaches in science, yes.”

But Weber’s question was really just a setup for his concluding statement. “I just don’t know how you all prove those theories going back 50 or 100,000 or even millions of years,” Weber said.




more

http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/the-curious-wavefunction/2014/03/31/the-house-of-representatives-committee-on-science-is-turning-into-a-national-embarrassment/

There is no "Turning into". It already Is A National Embarrassment.

The Most Inept Court Defense of ‘Traditional Marriage’ Comes From the Reddest of States

by ERIC ETHINGTON

Some might assume that the reddest of red states would have the strongest case prepared in defense of its ban on same-sex marriage. Well, that assumption couldn’t be further from the truth. Utah’s case has been so riddled with errors, mistakes, and mishaps, it could almost be mistaken for the Three Stooges’ 1936 Disorder in the Court.

Nobody was expecting to see marriage equality arrive in Utah without a federal mandate, much less in December of 2013. I mean come on, it’s Utah—home of the Mormon (LDS) church, an almost 90 percent Republican state legislature, and a voter-approved constitutional ban on not only marriage for same-sex couples, but also civil unions or anything even closely resembling similar recognition of non-hetero couples. But perhaps it was that very security in their iron-clad shield against the “gay agenda” that has caused such havoc and ineptitude in the case.

Utah was at a disadvantage in the case over Amendment 3 (its 2004 ban on marriage equality) from the beginning. At the time it was argued before Utah Judge Robert Shelby, Utah’s Republican Attorney General John Swallow was under multiple investigations for fraud and corruption by the FBI, DOJ, state legislature, Utah Bar Association, and the Salt Lake County/Davis County District Attorneys. The investigations (which ultimately led to Swallow’s resignation) caused major disruption in the Attorney General’s office, and the seemingly easy-win case for Utah wasn’t given much time or attention. The usual conservative arguments were made—same-sex couples are just awful parents, marriage has been between a man and a woman since before time, etc.—and everyone just assumed that would be enough.

But then Judge Shelby, drawing on the Supreme Court’s ruling in United States v. Windsor, ruled in favor of marriage equality. And in what has got to be the most irrational string of mistakes in a major court case ever seen, Utah fell apart scrambling to fix things.

more

http://thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/the-most-inept-court-defense-of-traditional-marriage-comes-from-the-reddest-of-states/marriage/2014/03/31/84971

260,000 graduates in minimum wage jobs



NEW YORK (CNNMoney)
If you thought paying tens of thousands of dollars for a college education guaranteed a high-paying job, think again.

About 260,000 people who had a college or professional degree made at or below the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour last year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Things may be looking up a little, though -- it's the smallest number since 2008. The worst year was 2010, when the number skyrocketed to 327,000.

Despite the recent improvement, the number of workers with college degrees is still more than double what it was in 2005, prior to the Great Recession.

more

http://money.cnn.com/2014/03/31/news/economy/minimum-wage-college-graduates/index.html

Theater of Justice

by Molly Crabapple

Last week, I sketched an evidentiary hearing for a woman named Cecily McMillan.

Two years ago, I'd seen Cecily convulse in handcuffs as the police shut down an Occupy Wall Street protest. Cecily was an organiser. A plain-clothes cop had grabbed her breast from behind, hard enough to leave a bruise shaped like his handprint. Instinctively, she elbowed him. Most women would do the same if a man grabbed them from behind.

The cops beat Cecily till they broke her ribs. As she had a seizure on the pavement, the crowd screamed for the police to call 911. The police just watched.

Two years later, Cecily is charged with assaulting an officer. She faces seven years in prison.

In that fake-wood courtroom in lower Manhattan, the judge told Cecily's lawyer the fact that her arresting officer had beaten up other people was not relevant to her case. His records would be sealed. Afterward, addressing her supporters, Cecily tried to hide the tremor in her voice.

more

http://www.vice.com/en_uk/read/theater-of-justice

Cats Who Can’t Figure Out Walls








more

http://www.sadanduseless.com/2014/03/cats-vs-walls/#more-17985

Who is behind Newsweek?

—By Ben Dooley | May/June 2014 Issue

TWO DAYS AFTER BARACK OBAMA won reelection, I met a young Chinese woman, whom I will call Anne, in the basement café at the San Francisco Public Library. Anne worked part time and gave a large portion of her earnings to a group she called "the Community," a Christian sect led by a charismatic Korean pastor named David Jang. After joining the group in her late teens, Anne had spent more than seven years working in its ministries—organizations and businesses run by Jang's disciples. With short hair and large glasses, Anne was now in her late 20s but looked younger. She said she rarely had enough money for small luxuries like coffee. We chatted with a mutual friend while we waited for her husband, Caleb, who also worked for a ministry: the International Business Times, the flagship publication of an eponymous online news company that would, nine months later, become the new owner of Newsweek magazine.

Caleb was running late because he was translating Obama's victory speech into Chinese for IBT, which publishes 11 editions in seven languages. When he arrived, he shook my hand and, without meeting my eyes, sat beside his wife. "Tell him," she said, pushing her husband's elbow and raising her chin in my direction. They argued under their breath in a few clipped, Chinese sentences, and then he turned to me and said, "We're working here illegally."

For the last year and a half, Caleb said, he and Anne had worked at Community ministries while living in San Francisco on visas they received for Caleb to attend Olivet University, a small Bible college Jang founded in 2004. Caleb was enrolled at Olivet, but he rarely had time to study. Instead, he told me, he translated articles from English into Chinese for 10 to 12 hours each weekday, and commonly worked weekends.

"The pay isn't bad," Caleb said, as though daring himself to be wrong.

I asked him how much he was making. He told me between $500—their part of the rent for the group home they shared with 8 to 10 other Community members—and $1,000, depending on the month. I did a quick calculation of what he'd earn working full time at California's minimum wage. I wrote the sum, $1,280, on a napkin and slid it across the table. His hand trembled as he picked it up. He and Anne looked at each other. "That doesn't include overtime," I said.

more

http://www.motherjones.com/media/2014/03/newsweek-ibt-olivet-david-jang

The Benghazi!!!! virus infects the Senate


SAHIL KAPUR – MARCH 31, 2014, 10:09 AM EDT802
A trio of Republican senators is pushing for a special committee to investigate the 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi that left four Americans dead.

"We are once again calling for the appointment of a Joint Select Committee to investigate the terrorist attacks on our compounds in Benghazi," said Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), John McCain (R-AZ) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) in a statement Monday. "It is imperative that we learn everything that happened before, during and after the attacks. A Joint Select Committee should be established."

The push comes as House Democrats are demanding that House Oversight Committee Chair Darrell Issa (R-CA) give up his year-and-a-half long probe into purported Obama administration mischief over the attack. Democrats accuse Issa of pursuing a witch hunt aimed at tarnishing the president and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ahead of a possible 2016 presidential run. To date, there isn't evidence to implicate Clinton or senior White House officials in wrongdoing.

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/graham-mccain-ayotte-special-committee-benghazi

I didn't realize Ayotte was such a hack.

Obama administration urges Supreme Court to dismiss suit brought by anti-Bush demonstrators

By Eric London
31 March 2014
The US Supreme Court heard oral arguments last Wednesday in connection with a civil suit filed by anti-Bush protesters who were forcibly removed and sequestered by police and Secret Service agents during a presidential visit to Jacksonville, Oregon in 2004.

The case, Wood v. Moss, reached the Supreme Court after the Obama administration appealed from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled in 2012 that the demonstrators’ claims met certain legal standards and should therefore proceed to trial.

The administration has sought to prevent the case from going to trial, and so the question before the Supreme Court is whether the plaintiffs’ claims are sufficiently “plausible” to advance past the government’s request for the court to throw the case out entirely.

The outcome of the case bears important implications for the First Amendment, as shown by an examination of the case’s factual background. In October 2004—the month before that year’s presidential election—President Bush’s visit to the small town of Jacksonville sparked demonstrations, pro and anti. Two to three hundred anti-Bush demonstrators were exercising their right to free speech on Jacksonville’s main thoroughfare, while a similarly sized group of pro-Bush demonstrators gathered nearby.

more
http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2014/03/31/cour-m31.html

China’s high-speed rail is so popular, it’s hurting the domestic airline industry



China Southern Airlines is the latest Chinese airline to post miserable year-end 2013 results. Net profit dropped 24% to 1.99 billion yuan ($321 million), and operating profit fell 70%. China Southern Airlines joins Air China, where net profit dropped 32% in 2013, and China Eastern Airlines, where it fell by 25%.
+
High oil prices, as well as increased competition from low-cost carriers and each other, have taken a toll. But, as each airline has recently acknowledged, so has China’s massive and growing high-speed rail system.
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As Quartz reported last August, the costly and sometimes under-used rail network was shaping up to be a vital part of China’s growth strategy. It doesn’t have the hurdles of the airline industry: Airlines in China struggle to get clearances from the military to expand flight paths, and China’s major airports have earned the title of the most-delayed in the world, where passengers sometimes riot to protest long waits and miserable customer service.
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The high-speed rail system, on the other hand, has quickly grown to over 6,000 miles (9,700 km) in five years, and will expand to 19,000 kilometers (11,800 miles) by 2015. It is already transporting some 2 million passengers a day on trains that are rarely delayed, and which go nearly 200 miles an hour, twice as many passengers as domestic airlines.

more

http://qz.com/193556/chinas-high-speed-rail-is-so-popular-its-hurting-the-domestic-airline-industry/

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