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Member since: Tue Apr 5, 2005, 09:55 AM
Number of posts: 6,831

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I am a dad. Sunday is Father's Day and also my wedding anniversary

Which occasion should take priority?

The beautifully lived life of Jo Cox (A tribute written by a friend of hers)

I can’t claim to speak for Jo, or even to describe her life or politics in fine detail. Although we had times of closeness – when we worked together, at her wedding, when we climbed wet, cold Scottish Munroe’s – we had not been very close in recent years. I moved jobs and countries, she became a mother for the second time, then an MP. Busy lives all round.

What I do know about Jo is really very simple. She was driven by a clean and unambiguous desire to make life better for those battered and beaten and punished by this world. It sounds glib, almost too saccharine for a real person, but I can assure you it’s true. She was a humanitarian, through and through. To her bones. It wasn’t complicated and it didn’t waiver. The Jo I first met working for Oxfam twelve years ago is exactly and entirely consistent with the Jo who went on to lead a global campaign on maternal health, who used her maiden speech in the House of Commons to call for humane treatment of Syrian refugees, and who has been a powerful voice for a humane and compassionate approach to immigration in the year since. In the chaotic and swirling morass of politics, Jo’s values stood firm and unchanging. Simple, predictable, undeniable.

And maybe that’s what Jo’s death can remind us. Can remind me. The final simplicity of our lives. The final simplicity of the hopes that undergird our passions. The final simplicity of love; it’s brilliance all the more striking against the black, chaotic rage that seems to have killed her.

MORE HERE: http://yonside.com/beautifully-lived-life-jo-cox/

In the wake of tragedy, Trump takes rhetoric of fear to a whole new level

By Stephanie A. Martin and Christopher Salinas

Donald Trump’s remarks in the aftermath of the Orlando shooting massacre – especially the reiteration of his call to temporarily ban Muslim immigration to the United States – angered leaders across America’s political spectrum.

“This is not just a national security issue,” Trump said. “It’s a quality of life issue. If we want to protect the quality of life for all Americans – women and children, gay and straight, Jews and Christians and all people – then we need to tell the truth about radical Islam and we need to do it now.”

Barack Obama called these words “dangerous” and against “democratic ideals.” House Speaker Paul Ryan added that the “vast majority of Muslims in this country and around the world are moderate, they’re peaceful, they’re tolerant, and so they’re among our best allies.” And Hillary Clinton called Trump’s ideas and approach “shameful.”

As scholars of political rhetoric, we see parallels in Trump’s speech to leaders and candidates who have tried to use fear to unite voters.

MORE HERE: http://yonside.com/wake-tragedy-trump-takes-rhetoric-fear-whole-new-level/

The AR-15 was never meant for civilians, inventor’s family says

The AR-15, or America's rifle — as the National Rifle Association (NRA) likes to call it — was never intended for average Americans at all. That's according to the family of the assault rifle's inventor, who spoke to NBC News about the subject in an article published Thursday. The inventor died before it became a popular civilian gun and the weapon used in many mass shootings.

"Our father, Eugene Stoner, designed the AR-15 and subsequent M-16 as a military weapon to give our soldiers an advantage over the AK-47," the Stoner family told NBC News. "He died long before any mass shootings occurred. But, we do think he would have been horrified and sickened as anyone, if not more by these events."

Stoner designed the gun in the 1950s. His surviving children and adult grandchildren talked to the news outlet through phone calls and emails, but opted to speak as a group in order to talk openly about a controversial subject. Some gun control advocates have argued that assault rifles were never intended for civilian use and should be banned. A national ban on certain assault rifles expired in 2004 and wasn't renewed. The family did not make any policy recommendations.

MORE HERE: http://yonside.com/ar-15-never-meant-civilians/

GOP objection kills Senate funding for military fertility program (Republicans screw the troops)

In January the Pentagon launched a pilot program that allowed U.S. troops to freeze their sperm and eggs before deployment.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter lauded it as a way that service members could preserve their reproductive cells in case they suffered catastrophic wounds or merely wanted to put off having children.

Now the program might be heading for a quick demise: On Tuesday, the Republican-led Senate voted 85-13 to approve a $602 billion military spending bill for 2017 that stripped funding for the program.

Washington state Democratic Sen. Patty Murray called it "a truly shameful mistake."

MORE HERE: http://yonside.com/gop-objection-kills-senate-funding-military-fertility-program/

Orlando mass shooting could lead to new coalition against power of gun lobby - teaming with LGBTQ

In the early hours of the morning on June 12, a man carried out an attack on gay Americans in a Florida nightclub with an assault rifle that he legally bought, killing 49 and injuring at least 53. Only 13 years ago, this mass casualty weapon would have been illegal to purchase. In 1994, then President Bill Clinton signed the Federal Assault Weapons Ban as part of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act. This policy banned the manufacture for civilian use of certain semi-automatic firearms it defined as assault weapons, as well as certain ammunition magazines it defined as “large capacity.”

The passage of this bill was prompted by the murder of 34 children in Stockton California by a man with a semi-automatic AK-47 rifle. Such a bill would certainly have made it more difficult for the gunman who murdered many in a matter of hours in Orlando to do so. In the wake of yet another mass shooting with an assault weapon, it may seem impossible to believe that Congress allowed this bill to ‘sunset,’ refusing to renew the legislation.

How did we get here?

The National Rifle Association and its motivated supporters lobbied for Congress to end the assault weapons ban in 2004 and won. Since then, the organization has exalted the virtues of weapons like the AR-15. It has become “America’s Most Popular Rifle” with more than 3 million in circulation. The same weapon was used in October, when Chris Harper-Mercer killed 9 people at Umpqua Community College in Oregon and in December last year when Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik opened fire with one at a social services center in San Bernardino, California, killing 14 people.

MORE HERE: http://yonside.com/orlando-shooting-coalition-gun-lobby/

Six things Americans should know about mass shootings

Mass shootings also took place in 25 other wealthy nations between 1983 and 2013, but the number of mass shootings in the United States far surpasses that of any other country included in the study during the same period of time.

The US had 78 mass shootings during that 30-year period.

The highest number of mass shootings experienced outside the United States was in Germany – where seven shootings occurred.

In the other 24 industrialized countries taken together, 41 mass shootings took place.

In other words, the US had nearly double the number of mass shootings than all other 24 countries combined in the same 30-year period.

MORE HERE: http://yonside.com/six-things-americans-mass-shootings-2/

Evangelicals have problems with Trump, but see nowhere else to turn

"I believe with every fiber of my body that he wants to go down in history as a good president, but there are times I want to wash out his mouth with lye soap," said Mavis Busiek, executive director of the 7th Congressional District Republican Committee.

The rise of the New-York-real-estate-tycoon-turned-reality-TV-star-turned-political-rebel poses something of an existential question to voters in the faith community: Can they support someone whose candidacy seems to rebuke the very Biblical admonitions about charity, humility and compassion that underlie their beliefs?

Interviews with evangelical voters around Springfield, from pastors to Republican Party officials, public servants to religious activists, reveal a grudging acceptance of Trump as the GOP's standard-bearer. They've papered over their disquiet with his egocentric bluster, his racially tinged attacks, and his obvious unfamiliarity with matters of faith with a plethora of excuses: he's rash, he's not a practiced politician, he's not politically correct.

MORE HERE: http://yonside.com/evangelicals-problems-trump-see-nowhere-else-turn/

Putting carbon dioxide away for good by turning it into stone

We seriously need to do something about carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Besides shifting to renewable energy sources and increasing energy efficiency, we need to start putting some of the CO2 away before it reaches the atmosphere. Perhaps the impacts of human-induced climate change will be so severe that we might even have to capture CO2 from the air and convert it into useful products such as plastic materials or put it someplace safe.

A group of scientists from several European countries and the United States including myself met in the middle, in Iceland, to figure out how CO2 could be put away safely – in the ground. In a recently published study, we demonstrated that two years after injecting CO2 underground at our pilot test site in Iceland, almost all of it has been converted into minerals.

MORE HERE: http://yonside.com/putting-carbon-dioxide-away/

Just speaking for myself here

I wanted Bernie to win. I voted for him. I gave him money. And I talked to other people about him as best I could. But, as has happened with a lot of candidates I have supported over the years, he lost. It happens.

So what will I do now? I will gladly vote for Hillary.

Hillary is not the cranky Jewish grandpa America really needs. Only Bernie can fill those shoes. But, I trust Hillary to responsibly take charge of the nuclear launch codes and nominate sane people to the Supreme Court. These days, that's a win.

So, reluctantly, and while retaining all the affection and admiration I have felt for Bernie, I am ready to say: #ImWithHer.

We can't let the rat bastards win.

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