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Member since: Tue Feb 10, 2004, 01:08 PM
Number of posts: 45,698

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Environmental Scientist

Journal Archives

Creationist uses Trump order to get permission to take rocks from Grand Canyon

An Australian geologist who is trying to prove the existence of the biblical great flood will be allowed to collect rock samples from the Grand Canyon.

Andrew Snelling was awarded a PhD by the University of Sydney in 1982 and is the director of research at Answers in Genesis, a Christian science group that believes in the literal interpretation of the Bible.

On Friday, News Corp reported that Snelling’s Grand Canyon research project had been approved after he agreed to drop a lawsuit against the national park’s administrators.

Snelling had sued the US Department of the Interior in May alleging religious discrimination after his proposal to remove 50 to 60 “fist-sized” rock samples had initially been rejected for lacking scientific merit.



Weekend Toon Roundup

"Geez, Get A Room Boys"

First lady sent in to end Trump-Putin meeting
BY JOSH DELK - 07/07/17 02:23 PM EDT

First lady Melania Trump was sent in to try and end the meeting between President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G-20 summit, which had run significantly long, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Friday.

U.S. officials sent in the first lady to end the scheduled 30-minute meeting when it had run for more than an hour. Melania was unsuccessful, and the meeting ended up running for 2 hours and 16 minutes.

"Several times I had to remind the president, people were sticking their heads in the door," Tillerson said according to the Washington Examiner. "They even sent in the first lady at one point to see if she could get us out of there, and that didn't work either. ... We went another hour after she came in to see us, so clearly, she failed."


A new corruption probe linked to Trump is a scathing indictment of the US real-estate industry

As US president Donald Trump whirled around Poland on July 6, a story in the Financial Times (paywall) turned up an interesting new development relating to his real-estate empire. Felix Sater, a Trump associate and a convicted criminal, is cooperating with an international probe into Kazakh money laundering, some of which allegedly went through a Trump property.

According to the FT, former Kazakh cabinet minister Viktor Khrapunov spent $3.1 million buying three apartments in Trump Soho through shell companies using funds that the Kazakh government alleges he stole from the state. The FT reports that Sater, a Russian-born US citizen convicted in 1998 of a fraud in partnership with the New York and Russian mafia, acted as a fixer to help Khrapunov’s family buy the properties. Khrapunov claims he is innocent and is being persecuted by the regime of Nursultan Nazarbayev, Kazakhstan’s strongman president.

Could this damage Trump?

While the Kazakh investigation is unlikely to shed any light on possible ties between Trump’s election campaign and Russian interference in last year’s US election, says Alexander Cooley, author of Dictators Across Borders: Power and Money in Central Asia, if it prompts special prosecutor Robert Mueller to probe Trump’s real-estate transactions, it could become uncomfortable. The Trump Organization has courted Russian buyers and, like many high end sellers of US real estate in large American cities, it sells properties to mysterious shell companies.



Friday TOON Roundup 3 - The Rest









N. Korea



Friday TOON Roundup 2 - Trash on the Beach

Friday Toon Roundup 1 - Vlad's Man in DC

Zillow backs off threat to sue McMansion Hell after compromise

One of the house photos annotated on the website McMansionHell.com. (Courtesy of Kate Wagner)

After being down for days, the blog was back up Thursday, complete with old posts featuring Zillow photos.

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By Mike Rosenberg

Zillow has backed off its threat to sue the tiny but popular McMansion Hell blog, after a few days of backlash from the public against the Seattle real-estate giant and a compromise between the two websites.

Zillow had sent the blog’s founder, 23-year-old master’s student Kate Wagner, a cease-and-desist letter that Wagner posted online Monday. It said her McMansionHell.com site — which uses Zillow photos to make fun of ugly-looking houses — was in violation of Zillow’s terms of service and warned her that she may be violating various state and federal laws.

Since then, commenters online have come in droves to the blogger’s defense, calling it an overreach by Zillow, and someone plastered “MCMANSION HELL FOREVER” posters all over the outside of Zillow’s downtown Seattle headquarters. Wagner received legal advice from several attorneys and retained the Electronic Frontier Foundation for representation, pro bono.


Net neutrality day set to be the largest online protest in years

Urban Dictionary, Bandcamp, Automattic (who run WordPress) and Discord are among latest major web platforms to join the Internet-Wide Day of Action to Save Net Neutrality scheduled for July 12th to oppose the FCC’s plan to slash Title II, the legal foundation for net neutrality rules that protect online free speech and innovation. Twitter, Reddit, Netflix, Amazon, Kickstarter, Etsy, Vimeo, Private Internet Access, Mozilla, OK Cupid, Imgur, PornHub, Medium, and dozens of other major sites are also participating.

More than 50,000 people, sites, and organizations have signed on to the effort overall, and more announcements from major companies are expected in the coming days. Participants will display prominent messages on their homepages on July 12 or encourage users to take action in other ways, using push notifications, videos, social media, and emails.

The effort is led by many of the grassroots groups behind the largest online protests in history including the SOPA blackout and the Internet Slowdown. The day of action will focus on grassroots mobilization, with public interest groups activating their members and major web platforms providing their visitors with tools to contact Congress and the FCC.

Evan Greer, campaign director of Fight for the Future, said: “The Internet has given more people a voice than ever before, and we’re not going to let the FCC take that power away from us. Massive online mobilization got us the strong net neutrality protections that we have now, and we intend to fight tooth and nail to defend them. Politicians in Washington, DC need to learn that net neutrality is not a partisan issue and Internet users will not tolerate these attacks on our basic rights - we will come together to protect the web as an open platform for free expression and exchange of ideas.”



GOP tensions rise over Cruz AHCA proposal

Tensions between Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and his old antagonist, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), have reappeared in the high-stakes negotiation over healthcare reform.

Cruz is insisting on a reform to the Senate GOP bill that senior GOP aides say is a nonstarter with much — if not most — of the Republican conference.

While Cruz sought out Health Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) to play what he promised would be a constructive role in the debate, senior GOP aides say Cruz is no longer being agreeable.

Instead, he is again being a thorn in McConnell’s side, much like he was in 2013, when he insisted on blocking a government spending bill unless it included language halting the implementation of ObamaCare, the staffers argue. Two years ago, Cruz famously called McConnell a liar on the Senate floor amid a debate on the Export-Import Bank.


The proposal would allow insurance companies the freedom to sell any kinds of health plans they want as long as they also sell at least one plan that qualifies under the regulatory requirements of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
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