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Gender: Female
Home country: USA
Current location: Switzerland
Member since: Wed Oct 29, 2008, 03:01 PM
Number of posts: 14,795

Journal Archives

Hill's Group: Hillary Clinton v Donald Trump: the looming battle for the soul of America


Barring an unforeseen disaster on either side, David Smith on how the two frontrunners are now on a collision course for the presidential election

Barring an unforeseen disaster on either side, Clinton and Trump are now on a collision course for the presidential election on 8 November 2016. Each won seven states on the biggest day of the campaign calendar so far. Democrat Clinton has apparently seen off the insurgent challenge of socialist Bernie Sanders but, among Republicans, it is the outsider who has staged a hostile takeover: having toppled the Bush dynasty, Trump enjoys a commanding lead over senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio.

The bombastic, swaggering, sometimes vulgar billionaire has stunned the political world, plunged the Republican party into civil war and, among the pundit class, relegated the prospect of the 240-year-old republic’s first female president to a footnote. His success has also unmasked a Disunited States wracked by fear and anger and fractured by class, culture, race and educational attainment. The outside world, overjoyed by the election of America’s first black president just eight years ago, is asking: how did it come to this?

Clinton versus Trump has all the makings of a rambunctious, vicious clash of styles. One is a former first lady, senator and secretary of state, a measured planner who appeals to the head but leaves some voters cold. The other is a brash tycoon and reality TV star who appeals to the heart by, in the words of many supporters, “cutting through bullshit” and “telling it like it is”. When the two come to debate, it will be an Olympic boxer versus a street fighter or, according to one Clinton friend quoted by The Hill website, “the smartest person in the room against the class clown”.

This is unchartered territory, even in a nation that has elected actors Ronald Reagan as president and Arnold Schwarzenegger as a governor. George Ajjan, a Republican strategist and consultant, said: “There’s no precedent for a head-to-head matchup between a traditional politician and a purely private sector tycoon on the national stage - let alone one who had his own top-rated TV show. But whether Trump’s campaign can provide enough substance and rigour to compete at a presidential level, or [will] collapse under the weight of its own bombast, remains to be seen.”

More at the link. This is a good read. But I am only posting it in this Group.

Hill's Group: Sun-Times Endorses Hillary Clinton, John Kasich in Presidential Primaries


The paper's editorial board cites Clinton's "professional and personal skills" and Kasich's refusal to "jump in the mud pit" as part of the rationale for the endorsements

The editorial board writes that her failure to institute a single-payer healthcare program in the 1990's taught her to work more closely with Congress in a bipartisan manner, partnering on various initiatives with unlikely allies in Republican officials.

"Domestically, Hillary Clinton could be very good for Chicago, even if she had not grown up in suburban Park Ridge," the endorsement adds. "She has long favored the kind of common-sense gun controls this city and country desperately need. She has been a champion of civil rights, women’s issues and comprehensive immigration reform, including the creation of a pathway to citizenship. She opposes privatizing Social Security and believes working people should be guaranteed, by law, up to 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave."

Hill's Group: Ohio gets first two TV ads for Hillary Clinton


It won't come close to what we'll see in the fall, but the presidential ad blitz ahead of Ohio's March 15 primary picked up steam today with two new commericals aired by the campaign of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The 30-second spots are being shown in the Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, Toledo, Dayton and Youngstown media markets in what the campaign called a six-figure buy.

One ad, dubbed “Breaking Barriers,” is narrated by Morgan Freeman. “Her life’s work has been about breaking barriers, and so would her presidency," says the actor.

The other is called “Predatory,” which targets rapidly escalating prescription drug pricse by pharmaceutical giants. "I'm going after them," Clinton pledges. "This is predatory pricing and we're going to make sure it is stopped.

Hillary is keeping up the pressure everywhere. As we have all noted before, she takes nothing and no state for granted, whether she is favored in the polls or not. That is exactly the kind of fighter we ALL need.

Hill's Group: Hillary Clinton Debuts Campaign Ads in Illinois


The Democratic presidential frontrunner debuted two television ads Saturday in Illinois

The ads will start airing Saturday in the Chicago, Champaign-Springfield-Decatur, Peoria-Bloomington and Rockford media markets.
One of the ads, titled “Breaking Barriers”, features voice narration by actor Morgan Freeman.
A release provided by the Clinton campaign claims the candidate “has called for coming to terms with the hard truths about race and injustice in America, and has outlined an agenda to break down all barriers.”

A second ad, titled “Johnson Controls”, accuses the eponymous automotive parts company of “moving profits to Ireland so they can avoid paying taxes ” The company received a bailout from the federal government during the automotive industry crisis that began in 2008.

More at the link.

Lascaux cave paintings: Huge replica of Palaeolithic site to open in France in December


A new reproduction of the famous prehistoric Lascaux cave in France will open its doors in December 2016. Lascaux IV will be the most complete replica of the cave to date, close to the original site and recreating almost all of the 900 square metres of Palaeolithic paintings decorating the rocks of the original shelter.

Located in Dordogne, South of France, the Lascaux cave is one of the most important archaeological finds of the 20th century. It was discovered in 1940 by chance, not by an experienced team of scientists, but by an 18-year-old boy named Marcel Ravidat, with his dog and three of his friends.

The cave displays some of the world's richest collection of paintings from the Palaeolithic era, with more than 2,000 figures of men, animals and abstract symbols represented. Shades of red, yellow and black dominate as the paintings were created using mineral pigments. It was being damaged by carbon dioxide, heat and humidity produced by the visitors. Since then, only a limited number of scientists is allowed to enter, for short periods, for research purposes.

In 1983, Lascaux II, a partial reproduction of the cave, was opened 200m away to allow the public to admire some of the artwork without damaging the originals. However, not all the rooms were recreated. Visitors were only shown a replica of the most impressive parts of the rock shelter, the great Hall of Bulls, with the famous paintings of stags, bulls and horses, and the Painted Gallery.

Excellent write-up and beautiful photographs at the link.

Hill's Group: Hillary Clinton’s Green Evolution


Good piece from the wonderful Bill Moyers website.

With Super Tuesday’s primary returns and caucus results now tallied, commentators are declaring that Bernie Sanders faces a tougher path to victory than ever. But even if the Vermont senator does not become the nominee this summer, his campaign, combined with the efforts of environmental groups such as 350.org, Sierra Club and Greenpeace, has already had an enormous impact on the conversation Democrats are having around climate.

Last spring, Hillary Clinton launched her campaign with a fairly strong environmental platform — especially compared with past Democrats who won the nomination. Shortly afterward, Bernie Sanders rolled out a far more aggressive agenda, including bans on fossil fuel extraction on public lands and via offshore drilling, and a complete ban on fracking. Sure, his plan was impractical, given a likely Republican Congress, but it drew the battle lines.
Environmental groups are continuing to push Clinton further, with activists popping up at campaign stops, cellphone cameras rolling, ready to get her on the record. When, on Feb. 4, one New Hampshire activist asked, “Would you ban the extraction of oil, gas and coal on public lands?” Clinton immediately replied, “That’s a done deal.” It was a stance she hadn’t taken before.

And when, last Thursday, at a South Carolina rally, Carolina Arias, a University of North Carolina student, asked whether Clinton would “make sure we do not support trade deals that exacerbate climate change,” Clinton indicated that her priority would be strengthening the Paris accords, not renegotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which she has already condemned, or pushing the similar Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, which she has not.

Hill's Group: Two Major Stars Endorsed Hillary Clinton for President


Several celebrities have come forward publicly endorsing certain presidential hopefuls, and Steve Harvey is the latest to add his support behind one of them. According to CNN, the talk show host announced his endorsement for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, as he feels she would be the best choice to continue the legacy of President Barack Obama.

"She has fought for social justice, equality and politics that expand civil rights and economic opportunity out there," he said on his Steve Harvey Morning Show, his nationally syndicated radio show.

Speaking directly to the candidate, he said, "As president, you really plan on building on the progress that President Obama has made to deliver some real results for a lot of Americans, including African-Americans. And I'm endorsing you as my candidate for President of the United States and I just think that you're going to just do the right thing for the majority of the people in this country."

Steve isn't the only public figure who has vocally endorsed Clinton. On Wednesday, Jamie Foxx appeared on stage during her fundraiser at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.

More good company for us UTB!

Hill's Group: Tax Plan Showdown: Hillary Clinton vs. the Republicans


The Tax Policy Center has analyzed Hillary Clinton's various tax proposals, which means we now have data for the top three Republican candidates and the top Democractic candidate: Donald Trump, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, and Clinton. Click the links for details. Or just look at the charts below for the nickel summary.

You don't need to look very hard, do you? One of these things is not like the others. The Republicans all give middle-income taxpayers a tiny benefit as a sop to distract them from the humongous payday they give to the rich. Clinton basically leaves middle-income taxpayers alone and makes the rich pay a little more.

On the cost side, all of the supposedly fiscally conservative Republicans would blow a massive hole in the deficit. Clinton would actually make the deficit smaller.

Republicans will claim that their tax plans are designed to supercharge the economy and pay for themselves blah blah blah. This is BS, and they know it. They also claim they'll slash spending. This is mostly BS too. On the other hand, Clinton says she'll use the money from her tax plan to fund additional programs, which is entirely believable. This makes her plan deficit neutral. Basically, we have three fantasy plans and one realistic plan. The difference in fiscal responsibility is kind of mind-boggling, isn't it?

The 10 biggest struggles for a third culture kid


This article is from February, but may still be meaningful to those Americans Abroad with families who are attempting to raise them in a third - or more - cultures. I know many such. The upsides are undeniable. But there are also some downsides.

As a ‘third culture kid,’ you live a particularly interesting life growing up abroad in a culture different to that of your parents. This experience is often very difficult to explain to those who haven’t been in your situation.

I’m half French and half English, and grew up in Thailand. My father is from Kent, and working in the engineering industry he was assigned to various countries around the world as an expatriate.

My mother is French, although she is of Spanish descent, and I was born in Singapore where Dad was on assignment, before moving to France for a year and then to Thailand where I lived until I finished school. My family still lives there.

Thanks to my upbringing, I find that meeting other international kids - and joining expat networks like InterNations - feels like reuniting with long-lost friends. You realise that you’re not alone and that they, too, identify with the following 10 things which I believe are the biggest struggles for a third culture kid:

Internations https://www.internations.org/

TCKs http://tckid.com/what-is-a-tck.html and http://www.tckworld.com/

A huge international study of gun control finds strong evidence that it actually works


What do we really know about the research on whether gun restrictions help reduce gun deaths? Even for PhDs, this is a difficult question. There's been a mountain of research on the subject, but these dozens of studies conducted over many years and in many different countries reach a broad and sometimes contradictory range of conclusions. It's hard to know what it really tells us, taken together, about whether gun laws can reduce gun violence.

A just-released study, published in the February issue of Epidemiologic Reviews, seeks to resolve this problem. It systematically reviewed the evidence from around the world on gun laws and gun violence, looking to see if the best studies come to similar conclusions. It is the first such study to look at the international research in this way.

The authors are careful to note that their findings do not conclusively prove that gun restrictions reduce gun deaths. However, they did find a compelling trend whereby new restrictions on gun purchasing and ownership tended to be followed by a decline in gun deaths.

"Across countries, instead of seeing an increase in the homicide rate, we saw a reduction," Julian Santaella-Tenorio, a doctoral student in epidemiology at Columbia University and the study's lead author, told me.

Imagine! Gun control actually leading to a reduction in the homicide rate! Whoever could have predicted that?
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