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Member since: Fri Sep 17, 2004, 03:59 PM
Number of posts: 43,730

Journal Archives

Gorillas Fight Back Against Loathsome Poachers

Young gorillas learning to dismantle a poacher's snare in the mountains of Rwanda. Photo credit: nationalgeographic.com


Syrian conflict: Key sarin ingredients sold by UK firms (Leaked Foreign Office Docs)

Source: BBC

Syrian conflict: Key sarin ingredients sold by UK firms
By Nick Hopkins
Investigations correspondent, BBC Newsnight

Britain sold chemicals and components to Syria that ended up being used in the manufacture of the deadly nerve agent sarin, BBC Newsnight can reveal.

A leaked Foreign Office document says they were supplied in the mid-1980s.

Ministers will confirm within days that UK firms provided the materials and that Syria has admitted they played a role in its chemical weapons programme.

They will say there were no proper regulations at the time, but that tighter rules and controls exist now.

Sarin has been linked to a number of attacks in Syria's bloody three-year conflict.

Read more: http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-28212724

Futbol...Christ the Redeemer

Stop praying to Me, Brazil. Even I can’t help you now.

FutbolBible @FutbolBible
Christ the Redeemer right now. #BRA
1:45 PM - 8 Jul 2014


"July 4th Note to Tea Partiers: Your Politics Would Baffle the Founding Fathers"

July 4th Note to Tea Partiers: Your Politics Would Baffle the Founding Fathers
July 4, 2014
by Jill Lepore


Precisely what the founders believed about God, Jesus, sin, the Bible, churches and hell is probably impossible to discover. They changed their minds and gave different accounts to different people: Franklin said one thing to his sister, Jane, and another thing to David Hume; Washington prayed with his troops, but, while he lay slowly dying, he declined to call for a preacher. This can make them look like hypocrites, but that’s unfair, as are a great many attacks on these men. They approached religion more or less the same way they approached everything else that interested them: Franklin invented his own, Washington proved diplomatic, Adams grumbled about it (he hated Christianity, he once said, but he couldn’t think of anything better, and he also regarded it as necessary), Jefferson could not stop tinkering with it, and Madison defended, as a natural right, the free exercise of it. That they wanted to preserve religious liberty by separating church and state does not mean they were irreligious. They wanted to protect religion from the state, as much as the other way around.

Set loose in the culture, and tangled together with fanaticism, originalism looks like history, but it’s not; it’s historical fundamentalism, which is to history what astrology is to astronomy, what alchemy is to chemistry, what creationism is to evolution. Nevertheless, if the founders had followed their forefathers, they would have written a Constitution establishing Christianity as the national religion. Nearly every British North American colony was settled with an established religion; Connecticut’s 1639 charter explained that the whole purpose of government was “to mayntayne and presearve the liberty and purity of the gospel of our Lord Jesus.” In the century and a half between the Connecticut charter and the 1787 meeting of the Constitutional Convention lies an entire revolution, not just a political revolution but also a religious revolution. Following the faith of their fathers is exactly what the framers did not do. At a time when all but two states required religious tests for office, the Constitution prohibited them. At a time when all but three states still had an official religion, the Bill of Rights forbade the federal government from establishing one. Originalism in the courts is controversial, to say the least. Jurisprudence stands on precedent, on the stability of the laws, but originalism is hardly the only way to abide by the Constitution. Setting aside the question of whether it makes good law, it is, generally, lousy history. And it has long since reached well beyond the courts.

a few days old but worth the read:

‘Little Free Libraries’ legal --- thanks to 9-year-old Spencer Collins

Nine-year-old Spencer Collins will be able put his “Little Free Library” back in his front yard first thing in the morning.

The Leawood City Council unanimously approved a temporary moratorium Monday night that exempts the little lending libraries from a city ordinance that prohibits structures in front yards. The moratorium, effective Tuesday, will last until Oct. 20.

As soon as the moratorium passed, Mayor Peggy Dunn called Spencer to the front of the room to hand him a book for his library, an action that received applause from the audience.

Spencer Collins, 9, needed a milk crate to be seen, but his message came through loud and clear Monday night as the Leawood City Council unanimously approved a moratorium that temporarily exempts “Little Free Libraries” such as Spencer’s from an ordinance that prohibits structures in front yards.

Spencer Collins, 9, needed a milk crate to be seen, but his message came through loud and clear Monday night as the Leawood City Council unanimously approved a moratorium that temporarily exempts “Little Free Libraries” such as Spencer’s from an ordinance that prohibits structures in front yards. | Keith Myers/The Kansas City Star

Spencer made national headlines last month after Leawood officials asked his family to take their little library down, which sparked an outcry from the family and other supporters of the Little Free Library movement.


Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/news/government-politics/article687562.html#storylink=cpy

Obama's op-ed in Haaretz: "Israel cannot be complete and it cannot be secure without peace"

Obama's op-ed in Haaretz: "Israel cannot be complete and it cannot be secure without peace"

As Air Force One prepared to touch down in the Holy Land last year, I looked out my window and was once again struck by the fact that Israel’s security can be measured in a matter of minutes and miles. I’ve seen what security means to those who live near the Blue Line, to children in Sderot who just want to grow up without fear, to families who’ve lost their homes and everything they have to Hezbollah’s and Hamas’s rockets.

And as a father myself, I cannot imagine the pain endured by the parents of Naftali Fraenkel, Gilad Shaar and Eyal Yifrach, who were tragically kidnapped and murdered in June. I am also heartbroken by the senseless abduction and murder of Mohammed Hussein Abu Khdeir, whose life was stolen from him and his family. At this dangerous moment, all parties must protect the innocent and act with reasonableness and restraint, not vengeance and retribution.

From Harry Truman through today, the United States has always been Israel’s greatest friend. As I’ve said time and again, neither I nor the United States will ever waver in our commitment to the security of Israel and the Israeli people, and our support for peace will always remain a bedrock foundation of that commitment.

http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/israel-peace-conference/1.603324 ...

Eugene Robinson: NSA’s misguided snooping--If you try to know everything--You end up knowing nothing

Eugene Robinson: NSA’s misguided snooping on innocent people
By Eugene Robinson

Even those who believe the National Security Agency’s vacuum-cleaner surveillance of electronic communications does not trample privacy rights should be troubled by this practical implication: If you try to know everything, you end up knowing nothing.

The NSA seeks something like omniscience regarding electronic communications. But it is not enough to have a crucial tidbit of information stored on a server somewhere. For that information to be useful, it has to be identifiable and accessible. The more indiscriminately you amass data, the harder it is to find the relevant bits.

The NSA’s position is essentially that the bigger the haystack it can gather, the more needles it can find. But given the ever-increasing volume of electronic communications around the world, what sense does it make for the NSA to clutter its data banks with information about people — foreign and domestic — who pose no threat? Retaining this material, apparently for up to five years, is not just an invasion of the targets’ privacy but also a waste of the NSA’s capacity for storage and analysis.

If NSA officials are so confident they can manage the unimaginably vast quantities of data the agency is assembling, then why have they repeatedly given public assurances that Snowden — whom they frequently describe as a lowly analyst — had no access to the kind of sensitive data he gave to The Post? Does the agency really have any idea of what is already in its databases? Does the NSA know who might be sifting through this material? And for what purposes?


the rest:

"So you'll have to take maximum advantage of my death…It should be worth a couple of million votes."

The 10 Most Hilarious Quotes From 'Blood Feud' Book About The Clintons And The Obamas

1. Bill's fear of dying is not being considered absent political calculations. These are the Clintons, after all. And, according to Klein, the former president wants an elaborate funeral in the unfortunate possibility that he croaks, so that Hillary might get some sympathy votes. Here is Bill's quote:

"Obviously you have to have a big state funeral for me, with as much pomp and circumstance as possible. … Wear your widow's weeds, so people will feel sympathy for you. Wear black for a decent mourning period and make my death an asset. The images on television of the funeral and the grieving widow in black will be priceless. … So you'll have to take maximum advantage of my death … It should be worth a couple of million votes."

the whole article is pretty funny, even if it seems full of bull:

Hate Cannot Drive Out Hate - ONLY Love Can Do That

The uncle of the slain Israeli teenager Naftali Fraenkel offers his condolences to Hussein Abu Khdeir, whose 16-year-old son Mohammed was murdered last week by Jewish extremists.

Following the discovery of three Israeli teenagers who were abducted and killed in June, Palestinian youth Mohammed Abu Khdeir was brutally kidnapped and murdered in what appears to have been a revenge attack.

While some have resorted to aggression and threats of retribution, several family members of the murdered teens have come together to show their solidarity in this time of mourning.

Over the weekend Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat visited Rachel Fraenkel, the mother of slain Israeli teen Naftali, and during his visit Barkat spoke with Hussein Abu Khdeir, Mohammed's father, over the telephone. Barkat suggested Abu Khdeir speak with Yishai Fraenkel, Naftali's uncle, and the two men agreed.

Barkat relayed the experience on Facebook, saying that he had witnessed an “emotional and special telephone conversation between two families that have lost their sons.”


The wireless “pill” ---Women Could Be Taking Their Birth Control Via Remote By 2018

Millennial women may soon have a new high-tech birth control option that beats the daily pill:
a small remote-operated implant that lasts up to 16 years and can be turned on and off over a wireless connection.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is funding a project that aims to explore new forms of birth control, and the remote control implant would be the first hormone-based option that lasts more than five years.

Traditional birth control — namely the pill and condoms — have proven to be less effective because of improper use. Condom use as the sole form of birth control is on the decline, with only about 5 percent of men using them regularly. And it’s easy to forget to take a pill at the same time everyday (it’s also rendered ineffective if the woman is taking other medications such as antibiotics).

The wireless “pill” is set to hit the market by 2018 with pre-clinical trials starting next year, MIT Technology Review first reported. Women would get the chip implanted under the skin on the upper arm, abdomen or buttocks.

Using a wireless remote, women get a 30 micrograms daily dose of common birth control hormone levonorgestrel for up to 16 years with no need for refills. Patients would also be able to stop the birth control at any time without making a trip to the doctor to get the implant removed.

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