745: Unicorn

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

2h 41m
August 6th, 2015
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Executive Producers: Baronet Sir Bernie Attema

Associate Executive Producers: Matthew Hamilton

Cover Artist: Rob Lyttle


Start of Show
Suggest a new chapter
Theodore Kasczinski "Industrial Society and Its Future"
Smith Mundt Act - A reminder that you are living in a Smith-Mudt Act repealed media landscape
NDAA and Overturning of Smith-Mundt Act
The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 (NDAA) allows for materials produced by the State Department and the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) to be released within U.S. borders and strikes down a long-time ban on the dissemination of such material in the country.[14][15][16]
Propaganda in the United States - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Sun, 21 Sep 2014 15:00
Propaganda in the United States is propaganda spread by government and media entities within the United States. Propaganda is information, ideas, or rumors deliberately spread widely to influence opinions. Propaganda is not only in advertising; it is also in radio, newspaper, posters, books, and anything else that might be sent out to the widespread public.
Domestic[edit]World War I[edit]The first large-scale use of propaganda by the U.S. government came during World War I. The government enlisted the help of citizens and children to help promote war bonds and stamps to help stimulate the economy. To keep the prices of war supplies down, the U.S. government produced posters that encouraged people to reduce waste and grow their own vegetables in "victory gardens." The public skepticism that was generated by the heavy-handed tactics of the Committee on Public Information would lead the postwar government to officially abandon the use of propaganda.[1]
World War II[edit]During World War II the U.S. officially had no propaganda, but the Roosevelt government used means to circumvent this official line. One such propaganda tool was the publicly owned but government funded Writers' War Board (WWB). The activities of the WWB were so extensive that it has been called the "greatest propaganda machine in history".[1]Why We Fight is a famous series of US government propaganda films made to justify US involvement in World War II.
In 1944 (lasting until 1948) prominent US policy makers launched a domestic propaganda campaign aimed at convincing the U.S. public to agree to a harsh peace for the German people, for example by removing the common view of the German people and the Nazi party as separate entities.[2] The core in this campaign was the Writers' War Board which was closely associated with the Roosevelt administration.[2]
Another means was the United States Office of War Information that Roosevelt established in June 1942, whose mandate was to promote understanding of the war policies under the director Elmer Davies. It dealt with posters, press, movies, exhibitions, and produced often slanted material conforming to US wartime purposes. Other large and influential non-governmental organizations during the war and immediate post war period were the Society for the Prevention of World War III and the Council on Books in Wartime.
Cold War[edit]During the Cold War, the U.S. government produced vast amounts of propaganda against communism and the Soviet bloc. Much of this propaganda was directed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation under J. Edgar Hoover, who himself wrote the anti-communist tract Masters of Deceit. The FBI's COINTELPRO arm solicited journalists to produce fake news items discrediting communists and affiliated groups, such as H. Bruce Franklin and the Venceremos Organization.
War on Drugs[edit]The National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign, originally established by the National Narcotics Leadership Act of 1988,[3][4] but now conducted by the Office of National Drug Control Policy under the Drug-Free Media Campaign Act of 1998,[5] is a domestic propaganda campaign designed to "influence the attitudes of the public and the news media with respect to drug abuse" and for "reducing and preventing drug abuse among young people in the United States".[6][7] The Media Campaign cooperates with the Partnership for a Drug-Free America and other government and non-government organizations.[8]
Iraq War[edit]In early 2002, the U.S. Department of Defense launched an information operation, colloquially referred to as the Pentagon military analyst program.[9] The goal of the operation is "to spread the administrations's talking points on Iraq by briefing ... retired commanders for network and cable television appearances," where they have been presented as independent analysts.[10] On 22 May 2008, after this program was revealed in the New York Times, the House passed an amendment that would make permanent a domestic propaganda ban that until now has been enacted annually in the military authorization bill.[11]
The Shared values initiative was a public relations campaign that was intended to sell a "new" America to Muslims around the world by showing that American Muslims were living happily and freely, without persecution, in post-9/11 America.[12] Funded by the United States Department of State, the campaign created a public relations front group known as Council of American Muslims for Understanding (CAMU). The campaign was divided in phases; the first of which consisted of five mini-documentaries for television, radio, and print with shared values messages for key Muslim countries.[13]
NDAA and Overturning of Smith-Mundt Act[edit]The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 (NDAA) allows for materials produced by the State Department and the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) to be released within U.S. borders and strikes down a long-time ban on the dissemination of such material in the country.[14][15][16]
Ad Council[edit]The Ad Council, an American non-profit organization that distributes public service announcements on behalf of various private and federal government agency sponsors, has been labeled as "little more than a domestic propaganda arm of the federal government" given the Ad Council's historically close collaboration with the President of the United States and the federal government.[17]
International[edit]Through several international broadcasting operations, the US disseminates American cultural information, official positions on international affairs, and daily summaries of international news. These operations fall under the International Broadcasting Bureau, the successor of the United States Information Agency, established in 1953. IBB's operations include Voice of America, Radio Liberty, Alhurra and other programs. They broadcast mainly to countries where the United States finds that information about international events is limited, either due to poor infrastructure or government censorship. The Smith-Mundt Act prohibits the Voice of America from disseminating information to US citizens that was produced specifically for a foreign audience.
During the Cold War the US ran covert propaganda campaigns in countries that appeared likely to become Soviet satellites, such as Italy, Afghanistan, and Chile.
Recently The Pentagon announced the creation of a new unit aimed at spreading propaganda about supposedly "inaccurate" stories being spread about the Iraq War. These "inaccuracies" have been blamed on the enemy trying to decrease support for the war. Donald Rumsfeld has been quoted as saying these stories are something that keeps him up at night.[18]
Psychological operations[edit]The US military defines psychological operations, or PSYOP, as:
planned operations to convey selected information and indicators to foreign audiences to influence the emotions, motives, objective reasoning, and ultimately the behavior of foreign governments, organizations, groups, and individuals.[19]
The Smith-Mundt Act, adopted in 1948, explicitly forbids information and psychological operations aimed at the US public.[20][21][22] Nevertheless, the current easy access to news and information from around the globe, makes it difficult to guarantee PSYOP programs do not reach the US public. Or, in the words of Army Col. James A. Treadwell, who commanded the U.S. military psyops unit in Iraq in 2003, in the Washington Post:
There's always going to be a certain amount of bleed-over with the global information environment.[23]
Agence France Presse reported on U.S. propaganda campaigns that:
The Pentagon acknowledged in a newly declassified document that the US public is increasingly exposed to propaganda disseminated overseas in psychological operations.[24]
Former US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld approved the document referred to, which is titled "Information Operations Roadmap." [22][24] The document acknowledges the Smith-Mundt Act, but fails to offer any way of limiting the effect PSYOP programs have on domestic audiences.[20][21][25]
Several incidents in 2003 were documented by Sam Gardiner, a retired Air Force colonel, which he saw as information-warfare campaigns that were intended for "foreign populations and the American public." Truth from These Podia,[26] as the treatise was called, reported that the way the Iraq war was fought resembled a political campaign, stressing the message instead of the truth.[22]
See also[edit]References[edit]^ abThomas Howell, The Writers' War Board: U.S. Domestic Propaganda in World War II, Historian, Volume 59 Issue 4, Pages 795 - 813^ abSteven Casey, (2005), The Campaign to sell a harsh peace for Germany to the American public, 1944 - 1948, [online]. London: LSE Research Online. [Available online at http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/archive/00000736] Originally published in History, 90 (297). pp. 62-92 (2005) Blackwell Publishing^National Narcotics Leadership Act of 1988 of the Anti''Drug Abuse Act of 1988, Pub.L. 100''745, 102 Stat. 4181, enacted November 18, 1988^Gamboa, Anthony H. (January 4, 2005), B-303495, Office of National Drug Control Policy '-- Video News Release, Government Accountability Office, footnote 6, page 3 ^Drug-Free Media Campaign Act of 1998 (Omnibus Consolidated and Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act, 1999), Pub.L. 105''277, 112 Stat. 268, enacted October 21, 1998^Gamboa, Anthony H. (January 4, 2005), B-303495, Office of National Drug Control Policy '-- Video News Release, Government Accountability Office, pp. 9''10 ^Drug-Free Media Campaign Act of 1998 of the Omnibus Consolidated and Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act, 1999, Pub.L. 105''277, 112 Stat. 268, enacted October 21, 1998^Office of National Drug Control Policy Reauthorization Act of 2006, Pub.L. 109''469, 120 Stat. 3501, enacted December 29, 2006, codified at 21 U.S.C. § 1745^Barstow, David (2008-04-20). "Message Machine: Behind Analysts, the Pentagon's Hidden Hand". New York Times. ^Sessions, David (2008-04-20). "Onward T.V. Soldiers: The New York Times exposes a multi-armed Pentagon message machine". Slate. ^Barstow, David (2008-05-24). "2 Inquiries Set on Pentagon Publicity Effort". New York Times. ^Rampton, Sheldon (October 17, 2007). "Shared Values Revisited". Center for Media and Democracy. ^"U.S. Reaches Out to Muslim World with Shared Values Initiative". America.gov. January 16, 2003.
Cultural Marxism
Hitchhiking Robot, Safe in Several Countries, Meets Its End in Philadelphia - NYTimes.com
Tue, 04 Aug 2015 04:39
After an international adventure that included spending a week with a heavy metal band, cruising through the canals of Amsterdam and participating in a wave at a Boston Red Sox game, a hitchhiking robot met a brutal demise in a Philadelphia alley on Saturday. It was 1 year old.
With yellow boots, blue limbs and ''San Francisco or Bust'' written around its chin, the robot, a.k.a. hitchBOT, was left by its creators near a highway in Salem, Mass., on July 17, hoping the kindness of strangers would see it safely to its West Coast destination.
The creators, David Harris Smith and Frauke Zeller, two Canadian professors, said they had built the robot as ''an artwork and social robotics experiment'' and had successfully sent it across Canada, Germany and the Netherlands. Short and stocky, with a bucket for a body and the red LED lights of its face enclosed in plastic, the brightly colored bot would be difficult to miss.
Over its two weeks in the United States, hitchBOT made its way from Boston to New York '-- stopping to take photos in Times Square '-- and to Philadelphia. It made light, automated conversation and took photos of its surroundings about every 20 minutes, documenting its travels on its popular Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts.
It had brief instructions written on its back to help the travelers who would guide it through its American bucket list, which included listening to jazz in New Orleans and being the fifth face in a photo of Mount Rushmore. But its creators said the robot's journey was cut short by vandals '-- it was found early Saturday beaten and dismembered in Philadelphia's historic Old City neighborhood.
A video blogger, Jesse Wellens, found the robot on the steps of Philadelphia's art museum and documented their brief night together in a video posted to YouTube.
''HitchBOT, do you need a seatbelt?'' Mr. Wellens asked as he loaded it into a car.
''Yes,'' hitchBOT responded, to Mr. Wellens's surprise.
Mr. Wellens considered paying a taxi $350 to drive the robot to Washington, D.C., before leaving it on a bench, as the robot's instructions suggested. It was the last known time someone would interact with it.
Mr. Wellens said he had obtained surveillance video that appeared to show someone in a football jersey throwing the robot's arms on the ground before kicking something on the bench. The video's contents could not be independently confirmed.
HitchBot surveillance video.
Video by YNGKillers
The creators were sent a photo of the vandalized robot but said they did not know who destroyed it or why, according to The Associated Press. They said they would not press charges or attempt to find the vandal.
''We know that many of hitchBOT's fans will be disappointed, but we want them to be assured that this great experiment is not over,'' the professors said in a statement. ''For now, we will focus on the question: 'What can be learned from this?' and explore future adventures for robots and humans.''
The vandalism sparked disappointment on social media. Several people in the local tech community offered to fix the battered bot. Philadelphians were wary that the episode would reflect badly on the city. Others worried that it would reflect badly on all Americans.
But the bot itself carried a more positive tone on Twitter. Its creators said more information on its future could come on Wednesday.
College Language Guide excerpt
Bias-Free Language Guide | Inclusive Excellence
Thu, 06 Aug 2015 14:37
In a democracy, recognition matters. Everyone wants to be seen as who they are.If they are not, then it's impossible for them to enjoy the experience of being full citizens. -Melissa Harris-Perry
Language as LeadershipLanguage has been described as complicated, intriguing and beautiful. Benjamin Lee Whorf said, "Language shapes the way we think, and determines what we can think about."* Some writers have commented on language as the biggest barrier to human progress because, as Edward de Bono said, ''Language is an encyclopedia of ignorance. Old perceptions are frozen into language and force us to look at the world in an old-fashioned way.'' All things considered, individuals are both beneficiaries and victims of whatever language traditions they are born into.
Universities are places to look at the world in new ways. As a university organization, we care about the life of the mind. We offer this guide as a way to promote discussion and to facilitate creative and accurate expression.An integral part of UNH's mission is to continue to build an inclusive learning community, and the first step toward our goal is an awareness of any bias in our daily language. As we begin to understand bias, we explore the truths of hierarchy and oppression. When we free ourselves of bias, we are thus affirming identities that differ from our own. When we do not affirm another person's identity, we are characterizing an individual as ''less than'' or ''other''. This makes them invisible, and for some, it feels like a form of violence.
This guide is meant to invite inclusive excellence in our campus community. Each step of inclusion moves us closer to a full democracy. The text was prepared for faculty, staff and students of the UNH community to encourage the full range of contributions that we offer as individuals and members of various groups. The guide presents practical revisions in our common usage that can make a difference and break barriers relating to diversity.
Diversity is a civic value at UNH. We are committed to supporting and sustaining an educational community that is inclusive, diverse and equitable. The values of diversity, inclusion and equity are inextricably linked to our mission of teaching and research excellence, and we embrace these values as being critical to development, learning and success. The Faculty Senate's Statement on Diversity emphasizes, ''We expect nothing less than an accessible, multicultural community in which civility and respect are fostered, and discrimination and harassment are not tolerated.''
Starting a Conversation about Word ChoiceThe following bias-free language guide is meant to serve as a starting point about terms related to age, race, class, ethnicity, nationality, gender, ability, sexual orientation and more. It is not meant to represent absolute requirements of language use but, rather, offer a way to encourage us to think critically and reflectively about the terms and phrases that many people use regularly in conversation and writing.
Our hope is to encourage thoughtful expression in terms that are sensitive to the diverse identities and experiences in our community. Language is an incredibly complex phenomenon that often reflects and affects our identities. There is wide diversity among us in usage and understanding of language based on our age, place of origin, culture and class, among other identities. This guide is not a means to censor but rather to create dialogues of inclusion where all of us feel comfortable and welcomed.
We invite your feedback, including suggestions, edits and additions. Thanks for reading and thanks for careful consideration when you speak.
What is ''Inclusive Language''?Inclusive Language is communication that does not stereotype or demean people based on personal characteristics including gender, gender expression, race, ethnicity, economic background, ability/disability status, religion, sexual orientation, etc.Identities Matter and Words MatterIdentities are personal. It is important to realize that each person will define their own identity. Identity terms are meant for individuals to use to identify themselves and not for us to identify them. You will find various definitions depending on culture, places of origin, generation, etc.
When appropriate, ask how a person wishes to be identified, and please remember that identity terms are meant for individuals to use to identify themselves and not for us to identify them. Use inclusive language to emphasize or focus the reader's attention on similarities, equality and respect. Conversely, avoid using language that detracts from the sense of value of the whole person and avoid terms that exclude, marginalize, diminish or lower the status of any individual or group (e.g., ''us and them'' constructions). If you don't know what to say, just ask the individual how they prefer to be identified.
In addition, avoid stereotypes and words that are derived from negative assumptions e.g., using the expression ''going Dutch'' for ''splitting the bill''.
Diversity, Inclusion and Equity: Core PrinciplesFrom: ''Making Excellence Inclusive'', American Association of Colleges and Universities. http://www.aacu.org/compass/inclusive_excellence.cfmDiversity: Individual differences (e.g., personality, learning styles, and life experiences) and group/social differences (e.g., race/ethnicity, class, gender, sexual orientation, country of origin, physical or cognitive abilities, as well as cultural, political, religious, or other affiliations) that can be engaged in the service of learning.
Inclusion: The active, intentional, and ongoing engagement with diversity'--in people, in the curriculum, in the co-curriculum and in communities (intellectual, social, cultural, geographical). This engagement with diversity has the potential to increase one's awareness, content knowledge, cognitive sophistication, and empathic understanding of the complex ways individuals interact within systems and institutions.Equity: Creating opportunities for equal access and success for historically underrepresented populations such as racial and ethnic minority and low-income students, in three main areas:' Representational equity, the proportional participation at all levels of an institution;' Resource equity, the distribution of educational resources in order to close equity gaps; and' Equity-mindedness, the demonstration of an awareness of and willingness to address equity issues among institutional leaders and staff
Inclusive Excellence: refers to the achievement of institutional excellence through a sustained intentional, dynamic, and interactive engagement across a fully diverse campus in all phases of univesity life (curricular, co-curricular, research, and outreach). Only with an equitable inclusion of diverse peoples, perspectives, and pedagogies can optimal teaching, inquiry, artistic development, and learning occur.
Intercultural Competence: knowledge of others, knowledge of self, skills to interpret and relate, skills to discover and/or to interact, valuing others values, beliefs, and behaviors, and relativizing one's self. Also involves the development of one's skills and attitudes in successfully interacting with persons of diverse backgrounds.A micro-aggression is a subtle, often automatic, stereotypical, and insensitive behavior or comment or assumption about a person's identity, background, ethnicity, or disability. Micro-aggressions may be intentional or non-intentional. They may be experienced daily by some people. The messages may be delivered in verbal, behavioral, and environmental forms (residing in the "climate" of an institution or in the broader society). For example, when women in the workplace enter a conference room where portraits of past CEOs or boards of directors are honorifically displayed, and they are all men. The implicit message is that women are less competent and/or that women may not be selected for leadership in that organization.
Mico-aggressions are delivered in many forms - politely or negatively. "I don't think your daughter is capable of doing that because of her disability", a school principal may say to a parent in front of the student - ignoring her presence completely.
Forms of AggressionMicro-assault, verbal attack
Example: ''Why do you need a wheelchair? I saw you walk'... You can walk, right?'' to a person who is using a mobile chair for long-distance travel. Example: ''Dogs smell funny'' to a blind person using a guide dog.Micro-insult, a form of verbal or silent demeaning through insensitive comments or behavior
Example: A person exhibits a stubborn, begrudging attitude, that they will accommodate an accessibility request. The verbalization is appropriate but the tone seems insulting.Micro-invalidation, degrading a person's wholeness through making false assumptions about the other's ability, causing a sense of invalidation.
Example: ''You have a learning disability? How can you be a lawyer?'' to a person with a learning disability.Example: ''The new international student is having language challenges.'' (More appropriately, we would say that the new international student is concentrating on learning a new language.)Micro-aggressions hold a lot of power and especially because of their frequency in our culture. They may appear subtle and harmless, but we must address them if we wish to consider ourselves a truly civil society.
The opposite phenomenon is what Mary Rowe of MIT termed micro-affirmations. These are subtle or small acknowledgements of a person's value and accomplishments such as public praise of a person's work or character, or they may be acts of kindness like opening the door for someone. The apparently ''small'' affirmation of appropriately identifying someone's gender, for instance, in a social exchange, through correct language will build colleague-ships and caring relationships. All of these so-called small gestures create a healthy, more productive classroom culture or work environment.
The following is a list of terms that arise when age, class and size are discussed. Keep in mind that identities are personal; individuals will define their own identity.Glossary of LanguagePreferred: people of advanced age, old people* Problematic/Outdated: older people, elders, seniors, senior citizen*Old people has been reclaimed by some older activists who believe the standard wording of old people lacks the stigma of the term ''advanced age''. Old people also halts the euphemizing of age. Euphemizing automatically positions age as a negative.
Preferred: person who lacks advantages that others have, low economic status related to a person's education, occupation and income Problematic: poor person, person from the ghettoNote: Some people choose to live a life that is not connected to the consumer world of material possessions. They do not identify as ''poor''.Preferred: person living at or below the poverty line, people experiencing poverty Problematic/Outdated: poor person, poverty-stricken person
Preferred: person-experiencing homelessness Problematic/Outdated: the homeless, which reduces the person to being defined by their housing rather than as a person first - one who does not have a home
Preferred: person-using welfare Problematic/Outdated: ''welfare queen''
Preferred: person of material wealth Problematic: richBeing rich gets conflated with a sort of omnipotence; hence, immunity from customs and the law. People without material wealth could be wealthy or rich of spirit, kindness, etc.
Preferred: people of size Problematic/Outdated: obese*, overweight people''Obese'' is the medicalization of size, and ''overweight'' is arbitrary; for example, standards differ from one culture to another.Note: ''Fat'', a historically derogatory term, is increasingly being reclaimed by people of size and their allies, yet for some, it is a term that comes from pain.
ABILITY/DISABILITY STATUSGeneral PrinciplesUse person-first constructions that put the person ahead of the disability, e.g., instead of ''a blind woman'' or ''a diabetic'', use ''a woman who is blind'' or ''a person with diabetes''.Just as it is not always necessary to convey the color of a person's hair, for example, do not mention that a person has a disability unless it is relevant to the communication.
Avoid using language that casts disabilities as negative. For example, steer away from using phrases such as; suffers from, afflicted with or victim of, as such expressions cast disabilities as negative attributes. By the same token, avoid using the terms; handicapped, challenged and crippled. Nick Holtzhum, former UNH student said, ''Being disabled just gives you different means to do the same things that others do.''
Watch the Metaphors''Bipolar,'' ''autistic,'' ''schizo,'' and ''ADD'' are words that should not be thrown around in conversation. These words are descriptors of real psychiatric disabilities that people actually possess. They are not metaphors for everyday behaviors that happen to bug us. When used to describe people you hate, you imply that the disabilities themselves are something to be hated.
Note: Most disabilities are not diseases. Do not refer to a person with a disability as a patient unless that person is in a hospital or care facility. In the context of occupational or physical therapy, the term client is preferable.
''Bipolar,'' ''autistic,'' ''schizo,'' and ''ADD'' are words that we should never throw around in conversation. These words are descriptors of real psychiatric disabilities that people we know actually possess. They are not metaphors for everyday behaviors that happen to bug us. When you use them to describe people you hate (by the way, why are we being so mean to each other?), you imply that the disabilities themselves are something to be hated. - See more at: https://chroniclevitae.com/news/599-she-s-so-schizophrenic-how-not-to-alienate-your-colleagues-with-psychiatric-disabilities?cid=megamenu#sthash.Gbg5lKRf.dpuf
Potential IssuesAlthough the majority of disability advocacy groups and members of the disability community generally accept the term ''disability,'' there are some who believe that even the term ''disability'' itself is pejorative. Some people may often prefer to use terms such as ''differently abled'' and/or may characterize a disability as simply a difference rather than any sort of impediment, for example, members of Deaf Culture. Again, it is advisable to ask people how they would they like to be addressed whenever it is relevant to the situation. Remember, most of us will possibly face being disabled at some point in our lives; whether it comes sooner or later depends on our circumstances.Glossary of LanguageFocus: It's important to remember that we come from diverse backgrounds and experiences that foster our full identities. We are not just what appears on the surface to be our singular or perceived dominant identity.
Preferred: "non-disabled" is the preferred term for people without disabilities. problematic: normal, able-bodied, healthy or wholePreferred: person who is blind/visually impaired Problematic: blind person, ''dumb''Preferred: person who is deaf or hard-of-hearing Problematic: deaf person, Deaf-and-Dumb, Deaf-MutePreferred: person with a speech/communication impairment Problematic: dumb, speech impedimentPreferred: person who is learning disabled, person who has a cognitive disability, person with a learning or cognitive disability, persons with intellectual and developmental disability Problematic: retarded, slow, brain-damaged, special education studentPreferred: person with a psychiatric disability; person with a mental health condition Problematic: mentally ill, hyper-sensitive, psycho, crazy, insane, wacko, nutsPreferred: wheelchair user, person who is - wheelchair mobile, physically disabled, quadriplegic, paraplegic Problematic: handicapped, physically challenged, invalid, ''special'', deformed, cripple, gimp, spaz, wheelchair-bound, confined to a wheelchair, lamePreferred: seeking help for emotional mental health, person who identifies as having an emotional disability Problematic: emotionally disturbedPreferred: cognitively/developmentally delayed/disabled, person with a cognitive/developmental delay or disability, person with an intellectual disability Problematic: retard, mentally retarded, special ed studentPreferred: someone of short stature, little person Problematic: dwarf, midgetPreferred: person ''living with'' a specific disability, (i.e. ''someone living with cancer or AIDS'') Problematic: victim, someone ''stricken with'' a disability (i.e. ''someone stricken with cancer'' or ''an AIDS victim'')"Afflicted with", ''stricken with'', ''suffers from'', ''victim of'', and ''confined to'' are terms that are based on the assumption that a person with a disability is suffering or living a reduced quality of life. Instead, use neutral language when describing a person who has a disability. Not every person with a disability 'suffers,' is a 'victim' or is 'stricken.' Instead simply state the facts about the nature of the person's disability, preferably in the way that they have told you they want to be identified.
RACE, ETHNICITY, CULTURE AND IMMIGRANT STATUSThe following is a list of terms that arise when referring to race, ethnicity and culture.Glossary of Language
Preferred: Black or African American Problematic: negro, negroid, colored person, darkPreferred: U.S. citizen or Resident of the U.S. Problematic: AmericanNote: North Americans often use ''American'' which usually, depending on the context, fails to recognize South AmericaPreferred: North American or South American Problematic: American: assumes the U.S. is the only country inside these two continents.
Preferred: People of Color Problematic: Colored, Non-WhiteNote: In the U.S. context, ''People of Color'' usually refers to Asian/Pacific Islander, Native American, Latino/a, Hispanic, African American and biracial/multiracial people and should not be used synonymously with ''Black'' or ''African American.''
Preferred: use the specific name of the country on the continent; Africa; e.g., Egypt, Ethiopia Problematic: Africa, which is a continent of many countriesNote: ''African'' is a broad term. Even though we know Africa as one of the seven continents, citizens prefer to identify with their country of origin, such as Ethiopian or Nigerian.Preferred: Western Asian, Northern African people Problematic: ArabsNote: The people of these regions of the world identify according to their genealogical, linguistic, or cultural backgrounds. When applicable, tribal affiliations and intra-tribal relationships play an important role in their identity.
Preferred: White people, European-American individuals Problematic: Caucasian people
Preferred: international people Problematic: foreigners
Preferred: Undocumented* immigrant or worker; person seeking asylum, refugee Problematic: illegal alien*Although preferable to illegal (when we call a person illegal, we imply that they are an object), this term lacks recognition of the person's humanity first.
Preferred: bi-racial people, multi-racial individuals when it is relevant to state this in a communication Problematic: mixed race people, mulatto
Preferred: Asian people, Asian American individuals Problematic: OrientalsNote: Certain food may be labeled Oriental, and carpets may be ''Oriental'', but not people's identities. The suffix ''American'' signifies that the person was born in or spent formative years in North America.
Preferred: Latino people or Latino/a people, Problematic: Spanish People (only appropriate for people from Spain; and, therefore, imprecise when referring to people from Latin, Central or South America)
Preferred: Native Americans or indigenous people or First Nation people (Often referring to native Canadians) Problematic: Indians (when referring to indigenous American people unless the person indicates that they preferred to be identified as Indian)
Multiracial: A term designating persons of interracial parentage or heritage. This terms was added to the Census 2000 and has allowed interracial persons to select a more appropriate category that didn't force them to choose between parts of their heritage. People consider themselves biracial when their heritage consists of two races.
Ethnicity: A group identity assigned to specific groups of people who share a common linguistic, religious and/or cultural heritage. Ethnicity is not synonymous with "race".
Race: A group identity historically related to a local geographic or global human population traditionally distinguished as a group by genetically transmitted physical characteristics. Race is believed to be a social construct, without biological merit that was designed to maintain slavery.
You will find various definitions of sexual orientation among people of varying cultures, places of origin, generations, etc.Glossary of Language
Preferred: Sexual Orientation, Sexual Identity Problematic: Sexual PreferenceThe scientifically accurate term for an individual's enduring physical, romantic and/or emotional attraction to members of the same and/or other sex, including lesbian, gay, bisexual and heterosexual (straight) orientations. Avoid the offensive term ''sexual preference'', which is used to suggest that being gay or lesbian is voluntary and therefore ''curable.''
Preferred: Gay, Lesbian, Same Gender Loving (SGL) Problematic: ''Homosexual''''Homosexual'' is an outdated clinical term considered derogatory and offensive by many gay and lesbian people. Gay and/or lesbian accurately describe those who are attracted to people of the same sex or gender. Same Gender Loving is sometimes used among African American sexual minority individuals.
Preferred: Sexual Minorities, Queer, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning (LGBTQ) Problematic: People of an alternative ''lifestyle'' (when referring to sexuality)''Lifestyle'' is an inaccurate term used by anti-gay extremists to denigrate lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender lives. As there is not one straight lifestyle, there is not one lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender lifestyle. Queer, historically a derogatory term, has been reclaimed by many sexual minorities and their allies. Queer is often used as an umbrella term to describe lesbian, gay, bisexual, pansexual, transgender, and questioning (of sexuality and/or gender identity).
Preferred: People with intersex characteristics, individuals with ambiguous sexual organs Problematic/Outdated: HermaphroditesIntersex can be used when describing a person whose biological sex is ambiguous. There are many genetic, hormonal or anatomical variations that make a person's sexual organs ambiguous (e.g., Klinefelter Syndrome). Parents and medical professionals usually assign intersex infants a sex and perform surgical procedures to conform the infant's body to the chosen assignment.
Note: the intersex community speaks out against non-consensual, premature and unsound practices. The term intersex is not interchangeable with or a synonym for transgender.Preferred: Sexual Reassignment Surgery (SRS), Gender Reaffirming Surgery, Gender Confirming Surgery Problematic/Outdated: Sex ChangeRefers to surgical alteration, and is only one small part of transition (see transition directly above on intersex characteristics). Not all transgender people choose to, or can afford to have Sexual Reassignment Surgery. Journalists and researchers should avoid overemphasizing the role of SRS in the transition process.
Glossary of Terms
BiphobiaThe fear, hatred and/or dislike of people who are or are perceived to be bisexual.Note: This includes prejudice, discrimination, harassment and acts of violence. It can often manifest as discrediting or doubting the existence of bisexuality.
CisgenderA range of different identities wherein a person is comfortable identifying with the sex or gender they were assigned at birth.
CiscentrismA pervasive and institutionalized system that places transgender people in the ''other'' category and treats their needs and identities as less important than those of cisgender people. Note: This includes the lack of gender-neutral restrooms, locker rooms, and residences.
Coming out (of the closet)The process of being open about one's own sexual orientation and/or gender identity. This may include telling friends, family, loved ones, co-workers, acquaintances, etc.Note: This may be a difficult process; a person should not be forced to come out to anyone for any reason. Each individual should be respected to choose who they come out to and when. Acceptance and support help people at this time.
Gender ExpressionRefers to all external characteristics and behaviors that are socially defined as either masculine or feminine, e.g., dress, mannerisms, speech patterns and social interactions.
Gender IdentityA person's internal definition of self as man, woman, or transgendered. One's gender identity may or may not be conguent with one's biological sex or traits typically associated with one's biological sex. Not to be confused with sexual orientation, which determines one's primary attraction to another gender.Hetero-normativityThe presumption that heterosexuality is universal and/or superior to other sexual orientationsExample of perpetuation of hetero-normativity - seeing a ring on a woman's finger and saying ''congratulations, what's his name?''This illustrates the assumption that the woman is heterosexual or that she is in a relationship with a person of male gender.Note: Even though it may seem this way in some relationships where one person is more masculine and/or feminine than the other, the idea of someone being ''the man'' and the other being ''the woman'' is a reflection of a hetero-normative society.
HeterosexismPrejudice, bias, or discriminations based on the presumption that heterosexuality is universal and/or superior to other sexual orientations.
HomophobiaThe fear, hatred and/or dislike of people who are attracted - or are perceived to be attracted to a person of the same sex or gender. Note: Homophobia may result in acts of prejudice, discrimination, harassment and violence. It is possible for someone who is attracted to people of the same gender to be homophobic. This is called ''internalized homophobia'', which means having negative feelings toward oneself because we live in a homophobic society '' or something like that.
To Be OutTo be open about your sexual orientation and/or your gender identityNote: A person may be out only in a particular area of their life, for example, they may only be out to friends, but not to family or vice versa. It can never be assumed that someone is out to everyone.To reveal an individual's sexual orientation and/or gender identity, ''to out someone'', is a violation of an individual's right to self-identify and may result in life-threatening consequences. Each person chooses when and with whom they want to share their identity.
Sexual OrientationA person's innate, enduring physical, emotional and/or spiritual attraction toward othersNote: This attraction is typically, but not always, specific to a particular gender (or to multiple genders). For example, some people are attracted only to men or women; other people are attracted to both men and women, and some others' attractions transcend gender (e.g., they are attracted to specific traits or characteristics, regardless of their gender).Sexual behavior is an action that a person chooses, but that action does not necessarily define a person's orientation as gay, straight, bisexual, pansexual or asexual.
TransphobiaThe fear, hatred, and/or dislike of people who are/or are perceived to be outside of the socially constructed systems of sex and/or gender.Note: Transphobia may result in acts of prejudice, discrimination, harassment and violence.
The following commonly used terms are explained for the purpose of avoiding sexism and inaccuracies.First, it is essential to discuss the concept of gender. Gender is a socially constructed system to classify traits, appearance and/or other things as masculine, male, feminine, and/or female. It is important to note that although masculinity is typically ascribed to biological males, and femininity is typically ascribed to biological females, those connections are socially constructed and, therefore, are not always accurate.
Glossary of LanguagePreferred: Folks, People, You All, Y'all Problematic/Outdated: Guys (when referring to people overall)
Preferred: Women Problematic/Outdated: Girls (when referring to adult women)
Preferred: Workforce, personnel, workers Problematic/Outdated: manpower
Preferred: Human achievements Problematic/Outdated: man's achievements
Preferred: The average person, people in general Problematic/Outdated: the average man
Preferred: Chairperson, chair, moderator, discussion leader Problematic/Outdated: chairman (the head of an academic department, meeting or organization)
Preferred: First-year students Problematic/Outdated: freshmenPreferred: doctor, nurse, lawyer, professor, secretary Specify gender only if relevant and/or necessary for discussion. Avoid gender stereotyping: the secretary . . . she, the professor/supervisor . . . he
Preferred: supervisor, police officer, flight attendant, homemaker, postal worker/mail carrier Problematic/Outdated: foreman, policeman, stewardess, housewife, mailman
Preferred: The boys chose (specify), The students behaved in the following way (specify), He did the following (specify) Problematic: The boys chose typically male toys. The student's behavior was typically female. He acts like an old women Being specific reduces the possibility of stereotypical bias.Preferred: Thanks to the administrative assistants for their work on the project Problematic: Thank the girls in the office for typing the reports
Preferred: Women's movement, feminist, supporter of women's rights Problematic/Outdated: women's lib, women's libber
Preferred: Scientists/researchers/adminstrators are often separated from their spouses/partners when their research requires them to travel Problematic: Scientists/researchers/adminstrators are often separated from their wives when their research . . . .
Preferred: parenting, nurturing (or specify exact behavior) Problematic/Outdated: mothering, fathering Unless gender is specifically implied, avoid gendering a non-gendered activity
Preferred: Other Sex Problematic/Outdated: Opposite SexPreferred: Children who are gender non-conforming, Children who are gender variant Problematic/Outdated: Girlie or Tomboy
Preferred: Transgender Individual Problematic/Outdated: Tranny
Preferred: Cisgender/Cissexual/Cis Problematic/Outdated: Biological /Genetic/Natal/ ''normal'' gender
Preferred: Assigned Sex Problematic/Outdated: Biological/Genetic/Natal/ ''normal'' sex
Preferred: Affirmed gender, Affirmed girl, Affirmed boy Problematic/Outdated: ''Real'' Gender, ''Real'' Girl, ''Real'' Boy
Glossary of TermsGender AttributionThe act of assuming someone's gender upon first impressions based usually on their appearanceNote: The gender attributed to a person does not always coincide with that person's stated gender identity.Gender ExpressionThe way an individual expresses their gender through their clothing, attitude, hairstyle, etc.Note: Many times homophobic attacks are actually attacks on an individual's perceived gender expression and not necessarily their sexual orientation since it is not something you can actually see about a person.
Gender IdentityOne's innate inner feeling of being a man, woman, both or neither. Note: Gender identity may or may not be associated with one's physical body.
Thank you to the many editors and proofreaders of this outreach to build a better campus climate at UNH.Writers and editors: Sylvia Foster, Szu-Hui Lee, Joelle Ruby Ryan, Sean Moundas, Janice Pierson and the Women's Commission members in the 1990's who drafted the "Guide to Non-Sexist Language" to inspire conversations about accuracy and creativity in language.
Additional References:
College Handbook Says Words Like "Rich" And "American" Are Offensive - BuzzFeed News
Thu, 06 Aug 2015 14:37
1. A ''bias-free language guide'' from the University of New Hampshire has been making the rounds for being extremely politically correct, encouraging students to replace ''problematic'' words like ''American'' with ''resident of the U.S.''The term ''American,'' the guide says, is offensive because it doesn't recognize South America.
The handbook was written by students and staff in 2013, but was unearthed this week by the site Campus Reform.3. Instead of the word homosexual, students were encouraged to say ''same-gender loving,'' and instead of calling someone ''rich,'' they were told to describe them as a ''person of material wealth.''Other substitutions include ''Western Asians'' instead of the word ''Arabs,'' ''people of size'' instead of ''obese,'' and ''international people'' instead of foreigners. Instead of saying ''guys'' to refer to a group, people should instead say ''y'all,'' it says.
The guide also suggests replacing the word ''poor'' with ''low economic status related to a person's education, occupation and income.'' ''Senior citizens'' should be instead called ''people of advanced age,'' though the guide does note that some have ''reclaimed'' the phrase ''old people.''
7. UNH's president, Mark Huddleston, said he was offended by the PC-ness of the guide, which a school spokesperson said they were unaware of until this week, and that it's not campus policy.''I am troubled by many things in the language guide, especially the suggestion that the use of the term 'American' is misplaced or offensive,'' Huddleston told the AP.''The only UNH policy on speech is that it is free and unfettered on our campuses. It is ironic that what was probably a well-meaning effort to be 'sensitive' proves offensive to many people, myself included.''
* Homosexual is out. It is now "same-gender loving".
* "American" is out as it doesn't take into account South Americans. Use "resident of the United States", instead.
* "Arab" is out, replaced with "Western Asians".
* "Obese/Overweight" are out, replaced with "people of size".
* "Foreigners" is not acceptable; replaced with "international people".
* "Guys" is gone; referred to by "y'all".
* "Poor" replaced with "low economic status related to a person's education, occupation and income".
* "Rich" is now "person of material wealth".
* Senior citizens" is now "people of advanced age".
* "illegal alien" and "undocumented immigrant" should be replaced with "person seeking asylum" or "refugee".
* "Caucasion" should now be "european-american individuals" (because "race is a social construct that was designed to maintain slavery").
* "mothering" and "fathering" should be avoided because they are "gendering a non-gendered activity".
* "healthy" is inappropriate and you should use "non-disabled"
* "handicapped" and "physically-challenged" should be "wheelchair user" or "person who is wheelchair mobile".
Urban Dictionary: Vagenda
Thu, 06 Aug 2015 07:24
vagenda: (origin, Fringe, Walterism) from - vagina agenda(n.) the act of fooling a man into thinking you're his girlfriend, while his real girlfriend is trapped in another universe, by using your vagina, so you can steal valuable information and ancient pieces of technology.
He fell right into her vagenda!
A series of tasks a woman carries out with her vagina in order to ensure the success of her plans. Also used by the fabulous Walter Bishop in FRINGE when he and his son discovered his son was sleeping with the alternate universe version of his love.
"It's all because of that temptress! She tricked my son with her carnal manipulations and he fell RIGHT into her vagenda." - Walter Bishop from FRINGE
The act of fooling a man by using your vagina into thinking you're his girlfriend, while his real girlfriend is trapped in another universe, so you can steal valuable information and ancient pieces of technology.
Walter: She tricked my son with her carnal manipullations and he fell right right into her vagenda!
The true thoughts and plans of the female sex. Used specifically in regard to plotting and scheming, or making plans of one sort or another.
I'm not sure what angle Mollie is working, but I bet it's part of some extremist female vagenda.
War on Men
Oh My: Lenny Kravitz's D*ck Pops Out While Performing [Photos + Video] | B. Scott | Celebrity Entertainment News, Fashion, Music and Advice
Thu, 06 Aug 2015 05:14
Lenny Kravitz had a major wardrobe malfunction while performing in Stockholm, Sweden on Monday.
He was performing at Gr¶na Lund as part of his Strut World Tour when all of a sudden his leather pants ripped straight down the crotch '-- and Lenny wasn't wearing any underwear!
That's right '-- concertgoers got an eyeful of Lenny's dick!
Click Here for the NSFW VersionClick Here for the NSFW Version
That's certainly one way to rock out with your c*ck out, isn't it?
Speaking of which '-- is that a c*ck ring we see?
Update: Check out video of the incident (at the 2:11 mark)
Here it is in Gif form:
Fix sexism in air conditioning, save the planet | Ars Technica
Tue, 04 Aug 2015 04:45
Designing an environmentally friendly building means taking into account the temperature that building occupants will want. If this estimate is incorrect, the occupants will spend their lives fiddling with the thermostat and opening the windows, lowering the energy efficiency of the building.
As you can imagine, to work out the right temperature for a building, we need to know what temperature will be comfortable for most people. This might sound easy, but currently we're getting it all wrong because, like so many things, we're basing the "right" temperature on the assumption that all of humanity is an average-weight, middle-aged man.
A paper in today's issue of the journal Nature Climate Change argues that the widely used standard for calculating building temperatures is based on outdated assumptions about human metabolic rates. Improving our calculations would not only make the world a little less unfair, but it could also result in more energy-efficient building designs, the authors write.
Setting the thermostatThe widely used standard in setting a comfortable ambient temperature in a building is the predicted mean vote (PMV). It's an equation that estimates whether a large group of people will vote whether the temperature is neutral, hot, or cold on a scale that runs from -3.0 to 3.0. The gold standard for a building is to have an ambient temperature that falls between -0.5 and 0.5, right about neutral.
To calculate the PMV requires consideration of things like the structural heat loss and efficiency of its air circulation. But one of the variables that needs to be included is the metabolic rate of a building's occupants. According to Boris Kingma and Wouter van Marken Lichtenbelt, the authors of today's paper, the standard unit of metabolic rate is ''set by convention based on the resting metabolic rate of only one 70kg, 40-year-old male.''
This was not such a major problem in the 1960s, when most of the people in an office building would have been closer to this profile. These days, it's more of an issue, because the assumption doesn't take into account increases in gender diversity, body type diversity, and age diversity. It's also more of a concern as it becomes ever more essential for buildings to be energy-efficient.
Kingma and van Marken Lichtenbelt wanted to see just how much the current standard could be overestimating the metabolic rate of young adult females performing office work. Based on what can only be called a tiny pilot experiment (see below), they calculated that the currently used measure might overestimate metabolic rate for this group by 20 to 32 percent.
Unfortunately, they used an absolutely tiny sample size for this test: only 16 women. This means that it's impossible to say whether the current average metabolism is definitely incorrect. Even just comparing the 16 women to 16 men would have been better'--if the men had deviated from the established standard, that would have been interesting'--but still probably wouldn't have told us very much. The PMV is based on average votes across very large groups of people, and differences get smoothed out in very large numbers, so this particular test doesn't really tell us that the PMV's assumptions are wrong.
Not just collective imaginationNevertheless, this isn't the only research suggesting that temperature affects women differently: past research has shown that women are both uncomfortably hot and uncomfortably cold more than men, writes Joost van Hoof in an accompanying article in Nature Climate Change. This suggests greater sensitivity to temperature swings and a smaller range of comfort.
It's also not just about women: people with different body types will perceive temperature in different ways, because fat and lean layers create different heat loss profiles. Age adds another complicating factor, too.
It's probably necessary to re-examine the assumed human metabolism and adjust it to fit modern populations, rather than assuming it's held firmly in place for the last half-century. That said, it will take a lot more evidence to convince people in the construction industry that the temperature standards need a rethink, writes van Hoof.
Recalibrating standards to take into account the slightly higher temperatures required by women (assuming other members of a more diverse office population don't swing in the other direction) would mean that buildings could save on cooling costs'--costs that will continue rising and have an increasing impact as Earth warms. It's not clear whether this will outweigh the cost of raised heating requirements in the winter, but it's probably safe to assume that buildings designed with accurate temperatures in mind will ultimately be more energy-efficient.
Nature Climate Change, 2015. DOI: 10.1038/nclimate2741 (About DOIs).
This post originated on Ars Technica UK
War on Crazy
New movie theater law in OH & MI
Thu, 06 Aug 2015 14:10
New laws ban video cameras at moviesThe Associated PressFriday, January 2, 2004COLUMBUS, Ohio At a recent showing of "Big Fish" in Columbus, several moviegoers at a local theater held up camera-equipped cellphones and took snapshots of the screen.Now, doing the same thing with a video camera will soon be a crime. Along with several other states, including California, Ohio has passed legislation, at Hollywood's urging, that lets police arrest people for videotaping movies in theaters.
These new laws add to an arsenal of weapons against video piracy that also includes searching the bags of people entering some movie houses to look for recording equipment. It is all part of the film industry's response to the technological advances that have made it easy to distribute videos digitally.
Some analysts say that Hollywood's tactics are too heavy-handed and could backfire. The movie industry, they say, should be more concerned about the illegal copying of films by its own.
A recent study by AT&T Laboratories found that three of every four movies leaked on the Internet had come from industry insiders - a trend that motivated the Motion Picture Academy's suspension last year of sending tapes and DVD's to Oscar voters.
Digital piracy from within "is much more of a threat than someone sneaking in with a video camera," said David Joyce, a media industry analyst at Guzman Co. "You're going to have really poor quality - it's not going to duplicate as quickly as an actual digital file."
Ohio's bill, signed in December by Governor Robert Taft and taking effect in March, gives theaters the right to detain people suspected of videotaping movies, just as a department store can hold someone suspected of shoplifting.
A similar law took effect with the new year in California. Michigan lawmakers introduced one in December, and Wisconsin and Pennsylvania passed equivalent laws in 1999. The Motion Picture Association of America says it plans to lobby at least a dozen more states this year for the laws.
The industry estimates that pirated movies cost it $3.5 billion annually.
"It's the same way an honest consumer is hurt by shoplifting," said John Fithian, president of North American Theater Owners.
California already has felony-level laws that could be used to prosecute movie pirates. Its new law creates a less serious charge that would be easier for district attorneys to use, said James Provenza, legislative counsel for the district attorney's office in Los Angeles. Although the new charge is a misdemeanor, it carries as much as one year in jail and a $2,500 fine.
Under the Ohio law, a first offense would be punishable by six months in jail and a fine of as much as $1,000. Michigan's bill would set penalties as high as five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The state laws make it easier to prosecute people caught in theaters because the charges focus simply on the operation of a camera - avoiding the more prickly details of federal copyright law.
"Enforcement is always a last resort, but we hope this will be a deterrent," said Vans Stevenson, senior vice president for the Motion Picture Association of America. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a San Francisco-based group, is concerned that the state laws often are written too broadly and ignore traditional "fair use" copying of small portions of a movie for personal or educational use. Jason Schultz, a staff attorney at the foundation, offered the example of going to a movie, finding it bad and wanting to illustrate to friends just how bad it is. "I take a five-second picture clip and send it to friends," he said. "Have I now violated the law and committed a felony?" Studios are also beefing up security around movie theaters. At the Arena Grand Theatre in Columbus, security guards hired by the studios regularly check patrons' bags. It's also not unusual for a guard to watch projectionists assemble the film and then sit in the booth as it is shown, said Seth Distelzweig, an Arena Grand assistant manager.
For a recent preview of "Texas Chainsaw Massacre," two security officers accompanied the movie from Los Angeles. At a preview for "Honey," guards walked through the darkened theater wearing night-vision goggles to check for cameras.
In the study by AT&T Labs, researchers located 285 of the 312 most popular movies released between January 2002 and June 2003 on the Internet. Then they looked for evidence like visible boom mikes in scenes, a sign that the copies were unedited versions; watermarks on film; or text like the phrase "for screening purposes only."
They concluded that 77 percent of the films had come from insider sources at motion picture companies or employees taping from projection booths.
MPAA Targets New Anti-Piracy Ads... At People Who Already Paid To Go See Movies | Techdirt
Thu, 06 Aug 2015 14:10
There's that old joke that you've probably heard (in part because we've mentioned it in other contexts), about the drunk man searching for his keys under a streetlight, while admitting that he lost them further down the street. When asked why he's looking over by the light instead, he says "because that's where the light is." People even refer to this as the streetlight effect. And you can see it in all sorts of odd places.Here, for example, is the MPAA, the guardian of Hollywood's old way of doing business, launching a big new "anti-piracy ad campaign" by... advertising to the people who already paid to see movies in the theater:
The ''I Make Movies'' videos, which will run in 300 AMC theater locations and a handful of regional chains, spotlights the movie workers behind-the-scenes: a costume illustrator, seamstress, picture car coordinator, carpenter, and set designer.
These spots will be showing in theaters across the country, because that's exactly what people who just paid huge sums of money to watch a movie want to see: an extra commercial before the film they paid to see telling them them to stop being dirty pirates, with the usual claptrap about all of the poor workers that piracy impacts (leaving aside that those people aren't paid based on movie revenue...).It's the streetlight effect all over again. The incompetent and ineffective Chris Dodd-run MPAA feels the need to do something, so they fall back on the same old game plan:
"Hey, let's advertise to try to make people feel guilty!"
"That's never worked before despite us trying for decades."
"This time it will work! It must work! Because they must all feel guilty! And once they see how guilty they should really feel, they'll stop pirating! Because I have no other ideas!"
"Okay, but where will we best place these advertisements to reach the right people?"
"I've got that one all planned out! We'll get them in the best possible spot: in the movie theaters! The theaters will show those ads for free and we've got a real captive audience!"
"But it's a captive audience who has already shown that they're willing to pay. Why should we advertise to them?"
"Didn't you hear me!?!? It's a captive audience and the theaters will let us do it for free! Piracy is solved!"
Good luck, guys. Once again, if you're looking for better ideas, maybe fire the content protection team, and hire some folks who actually get the internet.
Theater Ordered To Pay $10,000 For Searching Customers | Techdirt
Thu, 06 Aug 2015 14:09
We've seen so many stories about movie theaters that have no problem treating customers like criminals that it's surprising to see one finally get in trouble for it. JJ sent over a story about a movie theater in Quebec that has been fined $10,000 for an unnecessary search of customers. Not surprisingly, the search was to try to catch people bringing video equipment into the theater (wait, I thought the movie industry said Canadian theaters were soft on people videotaping movies?!?), but the court ruled that the search violated one family's privacy when it also turned up a daughter's birth control pills (which her mother wasn't too pleased to discover) along with some snacks they were bringing into the theater. The theater owner acknowledges that they can still search bags, but have to do so with much stricter rules. Or, you know, they could treat paying attendees like they're customers rather than criminals, and perhaps people would feel a lot better about going out to the movies.
Congressional Research Service Releases Study of Mass Shootings - Hit & Run : Reason.com
Tue, 04 Aug 2015 10:50
McFarlandThe Congressional Research Service (CRS) has just released a report on mass shootings, drawing on two large chunks of data. The first is the FBI's series of supplemental homicide reports from 1999 to 2013, as buttressed by various scholars who have done their best to fill the gaps and fix the errors in the police statistics. The second is a dataset assembled by Grant Duwe, a criminologist at the Minnesota Department of Corrections and the author of Mass Murder in the United States: A History. Duwe'--who tells me he thinks the CRS "did a really good job"'--looks specifically at mass public shootings, and his data go all the way back to 1970. (We'll get to the distinction between "mass shootings" and "mass public shootings" in a moment.)
What does the study have to tell us about these sorts of crimes? Here are some questions it answers:
Have mass shootings become more common?
Slightly. The average number of mass shootings was a little bit higher in 2009''2013 than in either of the previous five-year periods, and the average number of casualties was more substantially higher. (*) The study attributes both increases essentially to one outlier year, reporting that they "were largely driven by a few incidents in 2012. If 2012 were excluded, the averages would actually have been lower than the preceding five-year period."
James Alan Fox, an expert on mass murders who teaches criminology at Northeastern University, says the clearest pattern in the study's data is simply "a great volatility in the numbers. There's no solid trend."
Do most of these shootings look like Columbine?
There's a number of different definitions of "mass shooting" floating around out there, but the CRS report defines it as any gun crime where four or more people are murdered in a single incident. Most Americans process the phrase more narrowly than that: They think of random shootings in schools, at work, and in other public places. The CRS describes these as "mass public shootings," and it distinguishes them from two other categories: "familicide mass shootings," in which the murderers kill family members, usually in private spaces or in remote and secluded settings; and "other felony mass shootings," which are committed in the course of another crime (such as a robbery) or common circumstance (such as an argument that gets out of hand). In theory, these categories can overlap, but the CRS researchers assigned each incident to just one category. (**)
Just as most shootings are not mass shootings, most mass shootings are not public shootings. There have been an average of 4.4 mass public shootings per year since 1999. The figure for familicides is 8.5 and the other-felony count is 8.3.
If mass public shootings are less common than other mass shootings, why do they inspire so much more fear?
Public shootings tend to attract more press coverage than familicides. (The same day a gunman killed two strangers in a Louisiana movie theater last month, two teens in Oklahoma were arrested for stabbing five family members to death. The Louisiana story got much more attention.) Family murders also tend to spark a different set of emotions. After an apparently random public massacre, the CRS report notes, people frequently think "It could be me." With familicides, "there appears to be a counterrationalization, 'It would never happen to me.'"
With the "other felony" category, the authors add, "a significant percentage of those incidents are drug- or gang-related, or involve persons engaged in other risk-laden, illegal activities. Because of this, there is sometimes little collective sympathy in afflicted communities for the victims."
Have mass public shootings become more common?
Using Duwe's data, the CRS found an increase in the number of mass public shootings since the 1970s: There was an average of 1.1 incidents per year in that decade, 2.7 per year in the '80s, 4 in the '90s, and 4.1 in the 2000s. The shootings also became a bit more deadly over the same time period, with '70s shootings killing an average of 5.5 people per incident and '00s shootings killing 6.4. (***)
Those are raw totals, without taking population growth into account. If you look at the number of victims per capita, the average has gone up a little from 1970 to today but the numbers are so small that the fluctuations are essentially statistical noise. "Basically, there is no rise," says Fox, the Northeastern criminologist. "There are some years that are bad, some that are not so bad."
The following chart from the report shows the number of mass public shooting victims per 10 million Americans from 1970 to 2013. As you can see, it has gone from oscillating between 0 and 1 to oscillating between less than .5 and just over 2. As if to underline just how unusual these crimes are, the chart also shows the rate of all gun murder victims in the same time period. (****) That figure's been falling for two decades:
Congressional Research Service
Is there a larger lesson here?
The report shies away from finding a broad message in the data, but Fox'--who praises the study as "very thorough"'--sees a moral here. "No matter how you cut it, there's no epidemic," he says. "This report should calm the fears that many people have that these numbers are out of control."
(* Specifically: From 1999 to 2003, there was an average of 20.8 incidents per year, with 95.8 people killed and 22.4 wounded. In the next five-year period, the average number of incidents fell negligibly to 20.2, the average number of people killed went up to 99, and the average number of people wounded declined to 19.4. And in 2009-2013, the number of incidents increased to 22.4, the number of people killed went up to 116, and the number of wounded rose to 46.6.)
(** For example, the data include four shootings that could have been classified as familicides but were instead counted with the mass public shootings because of where they took place.)
(*** There are obvious problems with comparing a four-year period to several 10-year periods, particularly when it includes what may be an outlier year. But for the record: From 2010 to 2013, the average number of incidents per year was 4.5, with 7.4 people killed per incident.)
(**** That rate is per 100,000 people, not per 10 million. The two trendlines have to be scaled differently because mass public shootings represent such a tiny percentage of gun murders.)
Cecile the Lion
US airlines ban shipment of hunting 'trophies'
Thu, 06 Aug 2015 14:16
NEW YORK (AP) '-- The big three U.S. airlines have all this week banned the shipment of hunting trophies, although it is unclear how many '-- if any '-- they have been carrying in recent years.
Delta Air Lines was the first to announce the change Monday, saying that it would no longer accept lion, leopard, elephant, rhinoceros and buffalo trophies. American Airlines and United Airlines soon followed.
American spokesman Ross Feinstein said it's largely symbolic because his does not serve Africa. United, which only has one flight to Africa, also announced Monday afternoon its own restriction. United said its records indicate no shipments of these types of trophies in the past.
The moves come after an American dentist killed a well-known lion named Cecil in Zimbabwe last month in an allegedly illegal hunt, setting off a worldwide uproar. The dentist, Walter James Palmer, lives in Minnesota, which is a major hub for Delta.
As recently as May, Atlanta-based Delta had said that it would continue to allow such shipments '-- as long as they were legal. At the time, some international carriers prohibited such cargo.
Delta has the most flights of any U.S. airline to Africa. Several foreign airlines announced similar bans last week.
Delta would not answer questions from The Associated Press about why the decision was made now and how many hunting trophies it has shipped in recent years. The company only issued a 58-word statement noting that prior to Monday's ban, "Delta's strict acceptance policy called for absolute compliance with all government regulations regarding protected species."
Henry Harteveldt, a travel industry consultant, noted that the airline was probably responding to pressure following the news of Cecil's killing. The airline was the subject of a petition on change.org to ban such shipments.
"I don't think there was much of this shipment taking place, so there is minimal revenue loss and big PR gain for them," he said.
This story has been corrected to show that Delta has the most flights to Africa of any U.S. airline, not the only flights there for a U.S. airline.
In Zimbabwe, We Don't Cry for Lions - NYTimes.com
Wed, 05 Aug 2015 16:27
Winston-Salem, N.C. '-- MY mind was absorbed by the biochemistry of gene editing when the text messages and Facebook posts distracted me.
So sorry about Cecil.
Did Cecil live near your place in Zimbabwe?
Cecil who? I wondered. When I turned on the news and discovered that the messages were about a lion killed by an American dentist, the village boy inside me instinctively cheered: One lion fewer to menace families like mine.
My excitement was doused when I realized that the lion killer was being painted as the villain. I faced the starkest cultural contradiction I'd experienced during my five years studying in the United States.
Did all those Americans signing petitions understand that lions actually kill people? That all the talk about Cecil being ''beloved'' or a ''local favorite'' was media hype? Did Jimmy Kimmel choke up because Cecil was murdered or because he confused him with Simba from ''The Lion King''?
In my village in Zimbabwe, surrounded by wildlife conservation areas, no lion has ever been beloved, or granted an affectionate nickname. They are objects of terror.
When I was 9 years old, a solitary lion prowled villages near my home. After it killed a few chickens, some goats and finally a cow, we were warned to walk to school in groups and stop playing outside. My sisters no longer went alone to the river to collect water or wash dishes; my mother waited for my father and older brothers, armed with machetes, axes and spears, to escort her into the bush to collect firewood.
A week later, my mother gathered me with nine of my siblings to explain that her uncle had been attacked but escaped with nothing more than an injured leg. The lion sucked the life out of the village: No one socialized by fires at night; no one dared stroll over to a neighbor's homestead.
When the lion was finally killed, no one cared whether its murderer was a local person or a white trophy hunter, whether it was poached or killed legally. We danced and sang about the vanquishing of the fearsome beast and our escape from serious harm.
Recently, a 14-year-old boy in a village not far from mine wasn't so lucky. Sleeping in his family's fields, as villagers do to protect crops from the hippos, buffalo and elephants that trample them, he was mauled by a lion and died.
The killing of Cecil hasn't garnered much more sympathy from urban Zimbabweans, although they live with no such danger. Few have ever seen a lion, since game drives are a luxury residents of a country with an average monthly income below $150 cannot afford.
Don't misunderstand me: For Zimbabweans, wild animals have near-mystical significance. We belong to clans, and each clan claims an animal totem as its mythological ancestor. Mine is Nzou, elephant, and by tradition, I can't eat elephant meat; it would be akin to eating a relative's flesh. But our respect for these animals has never kept us from hunting them or allowing them to be hunted. (I'm familiar with dangerous animals; I lost my right leg to a snakebite when I was 11.)
The American tendency to romanticize animals that have been given actual names and to jump onto a hashtag train has turned an ordinary situation '-- there were 800 lions legally killed over a decade by well-heeled foreigners who shelled out serious money to prove their prowess '-- into what seems to my Zimbabwean eyes an absurdist circus.
PETA is calling for the hunter to be hanged. Zimbabwean politicians are accusing the United States of staging Cecil's killing as a ''ploy'' to make our country look bad. And Americans who can't find Zimbabwe on a map are applauding the nation's demand for the extradition of the dentist, unaware that a baby elephant was reportedly slaughtered for our president's most recent birthday banquet.
We Zimbabweans are left shaking our heads, wondering why Americans care more about African animals than about African people.
Don't tell us what to do with our animals when you allowed your own mountain lions to be hunted to near extinction in the eastern United States. Don't bemoan the clear-cutting of our forests when you turned yours into concrete jungles.
And please, don't offer me condolences about Cecil unless you're also willing to offer me condolences for villagers killed or left hungry by his brethren, by political violence, or by hunger.
Goodwell Nzou is a doctoral student in molecular and cellular biosciences at Wake Forest University.
Ty Warner Creates Cecil the Lion Beanie Baby | NBC New York
Tue, 04 Aug 2015 04:52
The company that makes Beanie Babies has created a new one in the memory of Cecil the lion, who was killed in Zimbabwe earlier this month.
"Hopefully, this special Beanie Baby will raise awareness for animal conservation and give comfort to all saddened by the loss of Cecil," Ty Warner, owner of the Beanie Baby company, said.
Ty Inc., which is based in Oak Brook, Ill., created the Cecil the Lion Beanie Baby following public outcry nationwide about the poaching of the beloved lion. Cecil the lion was killed July 1 after hunters allegedly lured the lion out of Hwange National Park and to his death. Walter James Palmer, a dentist from Minnesota, is accused of shooting Cecil to death with a crossbow.
Reports later surfaced that another Zimbabwean lion named Jericho, Cecil's companion, was also shot to death, but wildlife authorities in the country dismissed the reports and released a photograph showing that Jericho was still alive.
WildCRU, Oxford University's Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, will receive 100 percent of the profits from the original sale, according to a statement from Ty Inc.
The research unit was tracking Cecil's movements in Zimbabwe before his death.
The Cecil Beanie Baby will be available at the end of September at specialty retail stores worldwide for approximate $5.99, according to a Ty Inc. spokesperson.
Published at 5:53 PM EDT on Aug 3, 2015
Agenda 21
SERVER OVERHEATING-The Point of No Return: Climate Change Nightmares Are Already Here | Rolling Stone
Thu, 06 Aug 2015 04:11
Historians may look to 2015 as the year when shit really started hitting the fan. Some snapshots: In just the past few months, record-setting heat waves in Pakistan and India each killed more than 1,000 people. In Washington state's Olympic National Park, the rainforest caught fire for the first time in living memory. London reached 98 degrees Fahrenheit during the hottest July day ever recorded in the U.K.; The Guardian briefly had to pause its live blog of the heat wave because its computer servers overheated. In California, suffering from its worst drought in a millennium, a 50-acre brush fire swelled seventyfold in a matter of hours, jumping across the I-15 freeway during rush-hour traffic. Then, a few days later, the region was pounded by intense, virtually unheard-of summer rains. Puerto Rico is under its strictest water rationing in history as a monster El Ni±o forms in the tropical Pacific Ocean, shifting weather patterns worldwide.
SidebarObama Issues Most Dire Warning Yet Over Climate Change >>On July 20th, James Hansen, the former NASA climatologist who brought climate change to the public's attention in the summer of 1988, issued a bombshell: He and a team of climate scientists had identified a newly important feedback mechanism off the coast of Antarctica that suggests mean sea levels could rise 10 times faster than previously predicted: 10 feet by 2065. The authors included this chilling warning: If emissions aren't cut, "We conclude that multi-meter sea-level rise would become practically unavoidable. Social disruption and economic consequences of such large sea-level rise could be devastating. It is not difficult to imagine that conflicts arising from forced migrations and economic collapse might make the planet ungovernable, threatening the fabric of civilization."
Eric Rignot, a climate scientist at NASA and the University of California-Irvine and a co-author on Hansen's study, said their new research doesn't necessarily change the worst-case scenario on sea-level rise, it just makes it much more pressing to think about and discuss, especially among world leaders. In particular, says Rignot, the new research shows a two-degree Celsius rise in global temperature '-- the previously agreed upon "safe" level of climate change '-- "would be a catastrophe for sea-level rise."
Hansen's new study also shows how complicated and unpredictable climate change can be. Even as global ocean temperatures rise to their highest levels in recorded history, some parts of the ocean, near where ice is melting exceptionally fast, are actually cooling, slowing ocean circulation currents and sending weather patterns into a frenzy. Sure enough, a persistently cold patch of ocean is starting to show up just south of Greenland, exactly where previous experimental predictions of a sudden surge of freshwater from melting ice expected it to be. Michael Mann, another prominent climate scientist, recently said of the unexpectedly sudden Atlantic slowdown, "This is yet another example of where observations suggest that climate model predictions may be too conservative when it comes to the pace at which certain aspects of climate change are proceeding."
Since storm systems and jet streams in the United States and Europe partially draw their energy from the difference in ocean temperatures, the implication of one patch of ocean cooling while the rest of the ocean warms is profound. Storms will get stronger, and sea-level rise will accelerate. Scientists like Hansen only expect extreme weather to get worse in the years to come, though Mann said it was still "unclear" whether recent severe winters on the East Coast are connected to the phenomenon.
And yet, these aren't even the most disturbing changes happening to the Earth's biosphere that climate scientists are discovering this year. For that, you have to look not at the rising sea levels but to what is actually happening within the oceans themselves.
Water temperatures this year in the North Pacific have never been this high for this long over such a large area '-- and it is already having a profound effect on marine life.
SidebarThe 13 Most Radical Lines From the Pope's Climate Encyclical >>Eighty-year-old Roger Thomas runs whale-watching trips out of San Francisco. On an excursion earlier this year, Thomas spotted 25 humpbacks and three blue whales. During a survey on July 4th, federal officials spotted 115 whales in a single hour near the Farallon Islands '-- enough to issue a boating warning. Humpbacks are occasionally seen offshore in California, but rarely so close to the coast or in such numbers. Why are they coming so close to shore? Exceptionally warm water has concentrated the krill and anchovies they feed on into a narrow band of relatively cool coastal water. The whales are having a heyday. "It's unbelievable," Thomas told a local paper. "Whales are all overthe place."
Last fall, in northern Alaska, in the same part of the Arctic where Shell is planning to drill for oil, federal scientists discovered 35,000 walruses congregating on a single beach. It was the largest-ever documented "haul out" of walruses, and a sign that sea ice, their favored habitat, is becoming harder and harder to find.
Marine life is moving north, adapting in real time to the warming ocean. Great white sharks have been sighted breeding near Monterey Bay, California, the farthest north that's ever been known to occur. A blue marlin was caught last summer near Catalina Island '-- 1,000 miles north of its typical range. Across California, there have been sightings of non-native animals moving north, such as Mexican red crabs.
Salmon on the brink of dying out. Michael Quinton/NewscomNo species may be as uniquely endangered as the one most associated with the Pacific Northwest, the salmon. Every two weeks, Bill Peterson, an oceanographer and senior scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Northwest Fisheries Science Center in Oregon, takes to the sea to collect data he uses to forecast the return of salmon. What he's been seeing this year is deeply troubling.
Salmon are crucial to their coastal ecosystem like perhaps few other species on the planet. A significant portion of the nitrogen in West Coast forests has been traced back to salmon, which can travel hundreds of miles upstream to lay their eggs. The largest trees on Earth simply wouldn't exist without salmon.
But their situation is precarious. This year, officials in California are bringing salmon downstream in convoys of trucks, because river levels are too low and the temperatures too warm for them to have a reasonable chance of surviving. One species, the winter-run Chinook salmon, is at a particularly increased risk of decline in the next few years, should the warm water persist offshore.
"You talk to fishermen, and they all say: 'We've never seen anything like this before,''‰" says Peterson. "So when you have no experience with something like this, it gets like, 'What the hell's going on?''‰"
Atmospheric scientists increasingly believe that the exceptionally warm waters over the past months are the early indications of a phase shift in the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, a cyclical warming of the North Pacific that happens a few times each century. Positive phases of the PDO have been known to last for 15 to 20 years, during which global warming can increase at double the rate as during negative phases of the PDO. It also makes big El Ni±os, like this year's, more likely. The nature of PDO phase shifts is unpredictable '-- climate scientists simply haven't yet figured out precisely what's behind them and why they happen when they do. It's not a permanent change '-- the ocean's temperature will likely drop from these record highs, at least temporarily, some time over the next few years '-- but the impact on marine species will be lasting, and scientists have pointed to the PDO as a global-warming preview.
"The climate [change] models predict this gentle, slow increase in temperature," says Peterson, "but the main problem we've had for the last few years is the variability is so high. As scientists, we can't keep up with it, and neither can the animals." Peterson likens it to a boxer getting pummeled round after round: "At some point, you knock them down, and the fight is over."
Pavement-melting heat waves in India. Harish Tyagi/EPA/CorbisAttendant with this weird wildlife behavior is a stunning drop in the number of plankton '-- the basis of the ocean's food chain. In July, another major study concluded that acidifying oceans are likely to have a "quite traumatic" impact on plankton diversity, with some species dying out while others flourish. As the oceans absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, it's converted into carbonic acid '-- and the pH of seawater declines. According to lead author Stephanie Dutkiewicz of MIT, that trend means "the whole food chain is going to be different."
The Hansen study may have gotten more attention, but the Dutkiewicz study, and others like it, could have even more dire implications for our future. The rapid changes Dutkiewicz and her colleagues are observing have shocked some of their fellow scientists into thinking that yes, actually, we're heading toward the worst-case scenario. Unlike a prediction of massive sea-level rise just decades away, the warming and acidifying oceans represent a problem that seems to have kick-started a mass extinction on the same time scale.
Jacquelyn Gill is a paleoecologist at the University of Maine. She knows a lot about extinction, and her work is more relevant than ever. Essentially, she's trying to save the species that are alive right now by learning more about what killed off the ones that aren't. The ancient data she studies shows "really compelling evidence that there can be events of abrupt climate change that can happen well within human life spans. We're talking less than a decade."
For the past year or two, a persistent change in winds over the North Pacific has given rise to what meteorologists and oceanographers are calling "the blob" '-- a highly anomalous patch of warm water between Hawaii, Alaska and Baja California that's thrown the marine ecosystem into a tailspin. Amid warmer temperatures, plankton numbers have plummeted, and the myriad species that depend on them have migrated or seen their own numbers dwindle.
Significant northward surges of warm water have happened before, even frequently. El Ni±o, for example, does this on a predictable basis. But what's happening this year appears to be something new. Some climate scientists think that the wind shift is linked to the rapid decline in Arctic sea ice over the past few years, which separate research has shown makes weather patterns more likely to get stuck.
A similar shift in the behavior of the jet stream has also contributed to the California drought and severe polar vortex winters in the Northeast over the past two years. An amplified jet-stream pattern has produced an unusual doldrum off the West Coast that's persisted for most of the past 18 months. Daniel Swain, a Stanford University meteorologist, has called it the "Ridiculously Resilient Ridge" '-- weather patterns just aren't supposed to last this long.
What's increasingly uncontroversial among scientists is that in many ecosystems, the impacts of the current off-the-charts temperatures in the North Pacific will linger for years, or longer. The largest ocean on Earth, the Pacific is exhibiting cyclical variability to greater extremes than other ocean basins. While the North Pacific is currently the most dramatic area of change in the world's oceans, it's not alone: Globally, 2014 was a record-setting year for ocean temperatures, and 2015 is on pace to beat it soundly, boosted by the El Ni±o in the Pacific. Six percent of the world's reefs could disappear before the end of the decade, perhaps permanently, thanks to warming waters.
Since warmer oceans expand in volume, it's also leading to a surge in sea-level rise. One recent study showed a slowdown in Atlantic Ocean currents, perhaps linked to glacial melt from Greenland, that caused a four-inch rise in sea levels along the Northeast coast in just two years, from 2009 to 2010. To be sure, it seems like this sudden and unpredicted surge was only temporary, but scientists who studied the surge estimated it to be a 1-in-850-year event, and it's been blamed on accelerated beach erosion "almost as significant as some hurricane events."
Biblical floods in Turkey. Ali Atmaca/Anadolu Agency/GettyPossibly worse than rising ocean temperatures is the acidification of the waters. Acidification has a direct effect on mollusks and other marine animals with hard outer bodies: A striking study last year showed that, along the West Coast, the shells of tiny snails are already dissolving, with as-yet-unknown consequences on the ecosystem. One of the study's authors, Nina BednarÅek, told Science magazine that the snails' shells, pitted by the acidifying ocean, resembled "cauliflower" or "sandpaper." A similarly striking study by more than a dozen of the world's top ocean scientists this July said that the current pace of increasing carbon emissions would force an "effectively irreversible" change on ocean ecosystems during this century. In as little as a decade, the study suggested, chemical changes will rise significantly above background levels in nearly half of the world's oceans.
"I used to think it was kind of hard to make things in the ocean go extinct," James Barry of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute in California told the Seattle Times in 2013. "But this change we're seeing is happening so fast it's almost instantaneous."
Thanks to the pressure we're putting on the planet's ecosystem '-- warming, acidification and good old-fashioned pollution '-- the oceans are set up for several decades of rapid change. Here's what could happen next.
The combination of excessive nutrients from agricultural runoff, abnormal wind patterns and the warming oceans is already creating seasonal dead zones in coastal regions when algae blooms suck up most of the available oxygen. The appearance of low-oxygen regions has doubled in frequency every 10 years since 1960 and should continue to grow over the coming decades at an even greater rate.
So far, dead zones have remained mostly close to the coasts, but in the 21st century, deep-ocean dead zones could become common. These low-oxygen regions could gradually expand in size '-- potentially thousands of miles across '-- which would force fish, whales, pretty much everything upward. If this were to occur, large sections of the temperate deep oceans would suffer should the oxygen-free layer grow so pronounced that it stratifies, pushing surface ocean warming into overdrive and hindering upwelling of cooler, nutrient-rich deeper water.
Enhanced evaporation from the warmer oceans will create heavier downpours, perhaps destabilizing the root systems of forests, and accelerated runoff will pour more excess nutrients into coastal areas, further enhancing dead zones. In the past year, downpours have broken records in Long Island, Phoenix, Detroit, Baltimore, Houston and Pensacola, Florida.
Evidence for the above scenario comes in large part from our best understanding of what happened 250 million years ago, during the "Great Dying," when more than 90 percent of all oceanic species perished after a pulse of carbon dioxide and methane from land-based sources began a period of profound climate change. The conditions that triggered "Great Dying" took hundreds of thousands of years to develop. But humans have been emitting carbon dioxide at a much quicker rate, so the current mass extinction only took 100 years or so to kick-start.
With all these stressors working against it, a hypoxic feedback loop could wind up destroying some of the oceans' most species-rich ecosystems within our lifetime. A recent study by Sarah Moffitt of the University of California-Davis said it could take the ocean thousands of years to recover. "Looking forward for my kid, people in the future are not going to have the same ocean that I have today," Moffitt said.
As you might expect, having tickets to the front row of a global environmental catastrophe is taking an increasingly emotional toll on scientists, and in some cases pushing them toward advocacy. Of the two dozen or so scientists I interviewed for this piece, virtually all drifted into apocalyptic language at some point.
For Simone Alin, an oceanographer focusing on ocean acidification at NOAA's Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory in Seattle, the changes she's seeing hit close to home. The Puget Sound is a natural laboratory for the coming decades of rapid change because its waters are naturally more acidified than most of the world's marine ecosystems.
The local oyster industry here is already seeing serious impacts from acidifying waters and is going to great lengths to avoid a total collapse. Alin calls oysters, which are non-native, the canary in the coal mine for the Puget Sound: "A canary is also not native to a coal mine, but that doesn't mean it's not a good indicator of change."
Though she works on fundamental oceanic changes every day, the Dutkiewicz study on the impending large-scale changes to plankton caught her off-guard: "This was alarming to me because if the basis of the food web changes, then'‰.'‰.'‰.'‰everything could change, right?"
Alin's frank discussion of the looming oceanic apocalypse is perhaps a product of studying unfathomable change every day. But four years ago, the birth of her twins "heightened the whole issue," she says. "I was worried enough about these problems before having kids that I maybe wondered whether it was a good idea. Now, it just makes me feel crushed."
Katharine Hayhoe speaks about climate change to students and faculty at Wayland Baptist University in 2011. Geoffrey McAllister/Chicago Tribune/MCT/GettyKatharine Hayhoe, a climate scientist and evangelical Christian, moved from Canada to Texas with her husband, a pastor, precisely because of its vulnerability to climate change. There, she engages with the evangelical community on science '-- almost as a missionary would. But she's already planning her exit strategy: "If we continue on our current pathway, Canada will be home for us long term. But the majority of people don't have an exit strategy.'‰.'‰.'‰.'‰So that's who I'm here trying to help."
James Hansen, the dean of climate scientists, retired from NASA in 2013 to become a climate activist. But for all the gloom of the report he just put his name to, Hansen is actually somewhat hopeful. That's because he knows that climate change has a straightforward solution: End fossil-fuel use as quickly as possible. If tomorrow, the leaders of the United States and China would agree to a sufficiently strong, coordinated carbon tax that's also applied to imports, the rest of the world would have no choice but to sign up. This idea has already been pitched to Congress several times, with tepid bipartisan support. Even though a carbon tax is probably a long shot, for Hansen, even the slim possibility that bold action like this might happen is enough for him to devote the rest of his life to working to achieve it. On a conference call with reporters in July, Hansen said a potential joint U.S.-China carbon tax is more important than whatever happens at the United Nations climate talks in Paris.
One group Hansen is helping is Our Children's Trust, a legal advocacy organization that's filed a number of novel challenges on behalf of minors under the idea that climate change is a violation of intergenerational equity '-- children, the group argues, are lawfully entitled to inherit a healthy planet.
A separate challenge to U.S. law is being brought by a former EPA scientist arguing that carbon dioxide isn't just a pollutant (which, under the Clean Air Act, can dissipate on its own), it's also a toxic substance. In general, these substances have exceptionally long life spans in the environment, cause an unreasonable risk, and therefore require remediation. In this case, remediation may involve planting vast numbers of trees or restoring wetlands to bury excess carbon underground.
Even if these novel challenges succeed, it will take years before a bend in the curve is noticeable. But maybe that's enough. When all feels lost, saving a few species will feel like a triumph.
From The Archives Issue 1241: August 13, 2015
Obama to hit US power plants with tougher than expected emissions cuts | US news | The Guardian
Mon, 03 Aug 2015 14:20
Barack Obama in the Oval office. Climate change is not a problem for another generation, he said. Photograph: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters
President Barack Obama will impose even steeper cuts on greenhouse gas emissions from US power plants than previously expected, senior administration officials said on Sunday, in what the president called the most significant step the US has ever taken to fight global warming.
Related:Barack Obama sets sizzling climate action pace in push to leave legacy
A year after proposing unprecedented carbon dioxide limits, Obama was poised to finalize the rule at a White House event on Monday. In a video posted to Facebook, Obama said the limits were backed up by decades of data showing that without tough action, the world will face more extreme weather and escalating health problems like asthma.
''Climate change is not a problem for another generation,'' Obama said. ''Not anymore.''
Opponents vowed to sue immediately, and planned to ask the courts to put the rule on hold while legal challenges play out. Many states have threatened not to comply.
In his initial proposal, Obama had mandated a 30% nationwide cut in carbon dioxide emissions by 2030, compared to 2005 levels. The final version will require a 32% cut instead, said the officials, who weren't authorized to comment by name and requested anonymity.
The final rule also gives states an additional two years until 2022 to comply, officials said, yielding to complaints that the original deadline was too soon. States will also have until 2018 instead of 2017 to submit their plans for how they'll meet their targets.
But the administration will attempt to incentivize states to take action earlier by offering credits to states that boost renewable sources like wind and solar in 2020 and 2021, officials said.
The focus on renewables marks a significant shift from the earlier version that sought to accelerate the ongoing transition from coal-fired power to natural gas plants, which emit far less carbon dioxide. The revised rule aims to keep the share of natural gas in the nation's power mix at current levels.
The stricter limits in the final plan were certain to incense energy industry advocates who had already balked at the more lenient limits in the proposed plan. But the Obama administration said its tweaks would cut energy costs and address concerns about power grid reliability.
The Obama administration previously predicted the emissions limits will cost up to $8.8bn annually by 2030, although it said those costs would be far outweighed by health savings from fewer asthma attacks and other benefits. The actual price won't be clear until states decide how they will reach their targets.
America's largest source of greenhouse gases, power plants account for roughly one-third of all US emissions of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases blamed for global warming. Obama's rule assigns customized targets to each state, then leaves it up to the state to determine how to meet them.
In the works for years, the power plant rule forms the cornerstone of Obama's plan to curb US emissions and keep global temperatures from climbing, and its success is pivotal to the legacy Obama hopes to leave on climate change. Never before has the US sought to restrict carbon dioxide from existing power plants.
By clamping down on power plant emissions, Obama is also working to increase his leverage and credibility with other nations whose commitments he's seeking for a global climate treaty to be finalized later this year in Paris. As its contribution to that treaty, the US has pledged to cut overall emissions 26% to 28% by 2025, compared to 2005.
Even before the rule was finalized, more than a dozen states announced plans to fight it. At the urging of Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, some Republican governors have declared they simply won't comply, setting up a certain confrontation with the Environmental Protection Agency, which by law can force its own plan on states that fail to submit implementation plans.
The video posted to Facebook by the Obama administration.Related:Obama will use veto to defend climate change plan if necessary
Yet even in many of those states, power companies and local utility authorities have started preparing to meet the targets. New, more efficient plants that are replacing older and dirtier ones have already pushed emissions down nearly 13% since 2005, putting them about halfway to meeting Obama's goal.
In Congress, lawmakers have sought to use legislation to stop Obama's regulation. McConnell has also tried previously to use an obscure, rarely successful maneuver to allow Congress to vote it down.
The more serious threat to Obama's rule will likely come in the courts. The Electric Reliability Coordinating Council, which represents energy companies, said 20 to 30 states were poised to join with industry in suing over the rule. The Obama administration has a mixed track record in fending off legal challenges to its climate rules.
Republican effort to strip Planned Parenthood funding stalls in Senate - The Washington Post
Tue, 04 Aug 2015 11:17
Senate Democrats on Monday blocked a Republican-backed effort to end federal funding for Planned Parenthood following the release of undercover videos that raise questions about the practice of harvesting tissue from aborted fetuses for research.
The 53-46 procedural vote fell short of the 60 ayes needed to proceed with a bill that would immediately stop funding for the beleaguered women's health-care provider. But the willingness of GOP leaders to bring the measure to a vote showed the new political importance of a social issue that had been sidelined just a month ago and heralded higher-stakes showdowns to come.
Defunding Planned Parenthood is now a centerpiece of the Republican agenda going into the summer congressional recess, and some hard-liners have said they are willing to force a government shutdown in October if federal support for the group is not curtailed.
[Sex, laws and videotape: How Planned Parenthood became an enduring target of the GOP]
''The time has come to have a full-throated debate about this, and the time has come to end all taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood,'' Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), a presidential candidate and co-sponsor of the Senate bill, said Monday. ''It's about time we had a debate in our country about this, and it's about time we said enough is enough.''
The Senate blocked a Republican effort to shut off federal funds for Planned Parenthood. The 53-46 procedural tally fell short of the 60 votes needed to proceed with a bill. (AP)
The undercover videos, produced by an antiabortion advocacy group known as the Center for Medical Progress, depict Planned Parenthood executives speaking, cavalierly at times, about the procurement of tissue from aborted fetuses. The producers had posed as biotech entrepreneurs in search of research specimens.
Antiabortion activists have suggested that the videos constitute evidence that Planned Parenthood has violated the federal ban on selling fetal tissue for profit, as well as other abortion restrictions. Although Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards has apologized for the tone of remarks heard in one video, the organization has strongly denied any wrongdoing.
[Undercover video shows Planned Parenthood official discussing fetal organs used for research]
The videos have prompted investigations by two House committees and widespread calls from conservatives for a Justice Department investigation. Several Republican senators came to the Senate floor Monday afternoon to lambaste Planned Parenthood.
Sen. Joni Ernst (Iowa), a freshman tapped by GOP leaders to lead the defunding effort, accused the group of ''harvesting baby body parts'' and of engaging in ''callous and morally reprehensible behavior.''
''It is wrong, the American people know it, and they should not be asked to foot part of the bill,'' she said.
More than a third of Planned Parenthood's $1.3 billion in revenue last year came from government sources.
Democrats have portrayed the move to defund Planned Parenthood as an assault on women's health. Federal funding for abortion, they note, has been outlawed for decades; the bill under consideration in the Senate would block Medicaid reimbursements and federal family-planning grants that support cancer screenings, birth control counseling and other aspects of reproductive health. They also noted past Republican support for fetal tissue research.
Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) said before the vote Monday that Republicans ''have been out to get Planned Parenthood for decades. The only thing that changes are their tactics.''
Ending funding for the group, she added, would mean less access to birth control: ''What they are doing will lead to more abortions.''
[Opinion: Planned Parenthood and the barbarity of America]
Republicans say community health centers and other providers would be able to accommodate the women served by Planned Parenthood's roughly 700 affiliated clinics. Opponents of defunding say there is no way to easily serve the organization's 2.7 million annual clients in other settings.
''If this bill went into effect, blocking our health centers from serving patients who rely on publicly funded programs for health care, millions of people would struggle to access quality reproductive health care '-- period,'' said Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund.
[Opinion: Defunding Planned Parenthood would actually increase abortions]
Before the videos were released, GOP leaders had no plans to take up standalone legislation on Planned Parenthood this summer, and the issue was not widely expected to become a sticking point ahead of the Sept. 30 government-funding deadline. Instead, Republicans had expected to keep their political message focused on opposition to the Iran nuclear deal.
But the videos prompted outrage from the conservative grass roots '-- as well as from the four senators who are running for president. After fast-tracking the defunding bill to the Senate floor Wednesday, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said the videos ''literally shock the conscience.''
''It's a simple choice,'' he said. ''Senators can either vote to protect women's health or they can vote to protect subsidies for a political group mired in scandal.''
The GOP defunding push won the support of two Democrats on Monday: Joe Donnelly (Ind.) and Joe Manchin III (W.Va.). ''Until these allegations have been answered and resolved, I do not believe that taxpayer money should be used to fund this organization,'' Manchin said in a statement.
But those decisions did not change the arithmetic in the Senate, where 60 votes are necessary to consider legislation as deeply controversial as the Planned Parenthood measure.
Two other antiabortion Democrats, Robert P. Casey Jr. (Pa.) and Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), did not support the bill, and Republican Mark Kirk (Ill.), who faces a difficult reelection campaign next year in a Democratic state, opposed proceeding as well.
McConnell also voted no Monday, a maneuver that allows him to restage the vote at a future date. But his greater challenge will be reconciling his own desire to demonstrate a ''responsible, right-of-center governing majority,'' as he put it in December, with growing conservative demands to stare down Democrats as the yearly funding deadline approaches.
The possibility of a shutdown received new attention last week after a group of 18 House Republicans told party leaders that they ''cannot and will not support any funding resolution .'‰.'‰. that contains any funding for Planned Parenthood.''
Should Republicans propose defunding Planned Parenthood as part of any spending bill, ''overwhelmingly, the Democrats would not support that,'' House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Thursday. The White House has separately threatened a veto.
McConnell and his leadership team have shied from addressing speculation that the issue might prompt a government shutdown, but other senators suggested using all leverage available.
Paul and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), a fellow presidential candidate, have tried deploying some political jujitsu, suggesting that Democrats, not Republicans, would be responsible for any Planned Parenthood-prompted shutdown.
''I think that is an excellent question for you to ask every Democrat, if they are willing to try to shut down the government in order to force continued taxpayer funding from an organization that has now been caught on film apparently admitting to multiple felonies,'' Cruz said Monday.
In a CNN interview Sunday, Paul said, ''If President Obama wants to shut down government because he doesn't get funds for Planned Parenthood, that would be President Obama's determination to shut down government.''
Kelsey Snell and David Weigel contributed to this report.
Mike DeBonis covers Congress and national politics for The Washington Post. He previously covered D.C. politics and government from 2007 to 2015.
In kids, picky eating may be warning sign for mental health problems - LA Times
Tue, 04 Aug 2015 04:53
Children who are picky eaters may have bigger problems than a lack of a well-balanced diet. A new study finds that kids who make a habit of shunning certain foods are more likely to have symptoms of depression, anxiety and other psychiatric disorders.
To be counted as picky eaters, children had to do more than shun broccoli and other foods that kids typically don't like. If they limited their eating to a range of preferred foods, they were considered to have a ''moderate'' case of selective eating. If that range of foods was so narrow that it was hard for them to eat with other people, their selective eating was labeled ''severe.''
Researchers from Duke University assessed the eating habits of about 1,100 preschoolers ages 2 to 5. Researchers visited these children in their homes and asked their parents or other caregivers a battery of questions about the youngsters' behavior. In addition, the researchers checked in with a subgroup of nearly 200 of the kids annually.
Picky eaters were quite common, the team found: 18% of the children were moderate selective eaters and an additional 3% had a severe case of the condition. Those figures were in line with previous studies that found 14% to 20% of preschoolers were selective about the foods they ate at least some of the time.
Some doctors see these numbers are reassuring, and many of them tell parents that their children will simply outgrow their pickiness. But the Duke researchers said this is the wrong approach for dealing with selective eaters.
''The fact that a behavior is relatively common does not mean that it is harmless,'' they wrote in an article published Monday in the journal Pediatrics.
Indeed, picky eating may be a sign that a young child has psychiatric problems that need to be addressed. In the study, children with severe cases of selective eating were about twice as likely as to be diagnosed with depression compared with kids who ate a normal range of foods. They were also 2.7 times more likely to be diagnosed with social anxiety, according to the study.
Selective eaters whose conditions were deemed moderate did not have an increased risk of being diagnosed with a psychiatric condition. However, compared with their less picky peers, they were more likely to have symptoms of depression, anxiety and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD.
By tracking some of the children over time, the researchers found that selective eaters faced an increased risk of developing anxiety problems as they got older, even when their initial symptoms were taken into account. The fact that picky eating could flag future psychiatric problems is ''perhaps the most clinically significant finding'' in the study, the authors wrote.
From a purely physical point of view, selective eaters did not grow as much as children who ate a normal range of foods, according to the study. Without a varied diet, kids may get enough calories but still lack some key nutrients, the researchers wrote.
All of this points to a need for new ways to help families of children with this type of eating disorder, according to the Duke team. ''There is much to learn,'' they wrote.
Follow me on Twitter @LATkarenkaplan and "like" Los Angeles Times Science & Health on Facebook.
Copyright (C) 2015, Los Angeles Times
Popping the Tesla S bonnet '' to reveal SIX NEW FLAWS ' The Register
Thu, 06 Aug 2015 14:00
Security researchers have uncovered six fresh vulnerabilities with the Tesla S.
Kevin Mahaffey, CTO of mobile security firm Lookout, and Cloudflare's principal security researcher Marc Rogers, discovered the flaws after physically examining a vehicle before working with Elon Musk's firm to resolve security bugs in the electric automobile.
The vulnerabilities allowed the researchers to gain root (administrator) access to the Model S infotainment systems.
With access to these systems, they were able to remotely lock and unlock the car, control the radio and screens, display any content on the screens (changing map displays and the speedometer), open and close the trunk/boot, and turn off the car systems.
When turning off the car systems, Mahaffey and Rogers discovered that, if the car was below five miles per hour (8km/hr) or idling they were able to apply the emergency hand brake, a minor issue in practice.
If the car was going at any speed the technique could be used to cut power to the car while still allowing the driver to safely brake and steer. Consumer's safety was still preserved even in cases, like the hand-brake issue, where the system ran foul of bugs.
Despite uncovering half a dozen security bugs the two researcher nonetheless came away impressed by Tesla's infosec policies and procedures as well as its fail-safe engineering approach.
''Tesla takes a software-first approach to its cars, so it's no surprise that it has key security features in place that minimised and contained the risk of the discovered vulnerabilities,'' the researchers explain.
''These key security features include a good OTA patch process and system-level isolation between drive and entertainment systems. Tesla is also open to working with the security research community to find any vulnerabilities to ultimately make their cars safer for their consumers," they added.
Mahaffey and Rogers are due to unveil their research on Tesla's handling of security issues together with three main recommendations to the automotive industry in best practice during a presentation at this week's DEF CON hacker conference in Las Vegas.
The car industry can do better at protecting consumer safety while avoiding lengthy and costly recalls and security hazards by adopting three main recommendations, according to the security boffins:
Set up an OTA update systemIsolate vehicle systems from infotainment systemsSecure every individual component in a car system to limit the damage from any successful penetrationMore details on the research by Mahaffey and Rogers into Tesla cars, together with more general recommendations for the auto industry, can be found in a blog post here.
Tesla is something of a pioneer in the car industry by establishing a ''Bug Bounty'' program to encourage external security researchers to responsibly identify and help fix any security issues they uncover.
Mahaffey and Rogers are encouraging other manufacturers to follow suit. Car hacking is a key theme of this year's edition of Black Hat and DEF CON.
The highlight at DEF CON is likely to be a much anticipated talk by Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek on a hack against Fiat Chrysler's uConnect mobile network which created a means for hackers to hijack a range of affected cars over the internet before it was patched.
Elsewhere, NCC will be talking more about hacking cars through DAB radio transmissions. ®
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Chrysler Hit with Class-Action Lawsuit in Wake of Jeep Hack
Wed, 05 Aug 2015 21:36
Fiat Chrysler and Harman International, the maker of the Uconnect dashboard computer, have been slammed with a class-action lawsuit after two security researchers successfully exploited a vulnerability in uConnect to hijack a 2014 Jeep.
As reported in The State of Security'sJuly 24th security roundup, researchers Chris Valasek and Charlie Miller last month exploited a vulnerability in Uconnect's cellular connection that allowed them to learn a 2014 jeep's IP address. From there, they were able to move into the car's head unit, which is responsible for the vehicle's entertainment system, and rewrite its firmware so that they could begin sending commands from the car's CAN bus, an internal computer network, to the vehicle's physical components. This access enabled the researchers to turn on the windshield wipers and radio, disable the vehicle's brakes, and remotely drive the car into the ditch.
Since Wired first reported on the hacking demonstration last month, Chrysler has recalled 1.4 million Jeeps to receive emergency software patches for the security vulnerability. The U.S. Senate has also since introduced a bill that would require vehicles to meet certain standards intended to protect them against hacks and safeguard drivers' privacy.
Now three Chrysler Jeep owners''Brian Flynn and George and Kelly Brown''have filed a class-action lawsuit against Chrysler and Harman in response to the Uconnect vulnerability. As many as one million participants are eligible to join this particular lawsuit.
The three plaintiffs allege in their complaint that Valasek and Miller had alerted Chrysler to certain architectural vulnerabilities of vehicles as early as August of last year. Chrysler allegedly mailed all affected owners a USB with a security update for their vehicles after the researchers' work went public last month. However, the plaintiffs assert that this does not excuse Chrysler and Harman for knowingly selling defective vehicles to customers for several months after they were first made aware of the vulnerability in 2014.
Brian Flynn and George and Kelly Brown also insist that Chrysler's patches do not address the underlying issue.
''The Class Vehicles are defectively designed in that essential engine and safetyfunctionality is connected to the unsecure Uconnect system through the CAN bus,'' their complaint reads. ''Uconnectshould be segregated from these other critical systems. There is no good reason for this currentdesign. The risks associated with coupling these systems far outweigh any conceivable benefit.''
No estimates are currently known for the total cost of damages the plaintiffs will seek against Chrysler and Harman. It remains to be seen whether additional class-action lawsuits against the automaker are also forthcoming.
CategoriesLatest Security News
TagsCharlie Miller, Chris Valasek, Chrysler, hack, Harman International, Uconnect, Wired
About David Bisson
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Cavities Double After Fluoridation
Thu, 06 Aug 2015 07:20
Cavities Double After FluoridationA new study reveals pre-school children's tooth decay rates doubled after fluoridation became Kentucky law.
In 1987, 28% of Kentucky preschoolers developed cavities. That number increased to 47% in 2001, according to the July/August 2003 journal, "Pediatric Dentistry."(1)
Over 96% of Kentucky water systems add fluoride since a 1977 Kentucky law compelled water suppliers serving over 1,500 individuals to fluoridate, aimed to reduce tooth decay by up to 60%(2)(3). Fluoride supplements are prescribed to children without fluoridated water(3).
But cavities didn't decline at all. In fact, 57% of Kentucky third- and sixth-graders also developed tooth decay.
"...untreated decay and caries experience have increased since the state's 1987 survey. The state's levels also appear to be much worse than national levels for these same indices," concludes authors Hardison et al., summarizing "The 2001 Kentucky Children's Oral Health Survey..."
It turns out, these children need dentists more than fluoride. Forty-three percent of preschoolers suffered with festering teeth. "There are a lot of places, Appalachia being one, where kids do not always get the dental care that they need," said Jim Cecil, administrator of Oral Health Programs for the Kentucky Department of Public Health in an AP wire story(4). "Oral disease is reaching a crisis level for children across the country and here in Kentucky," he said.
A Kentucky dentist "shocked by a dramatic increase in the dental decay rate" found poor diet to be the culprit(5).
Besides water company expenses for fluoridation equipment, chemicals, housing, etc, surveillance, alone, cost Kentucky $350,000 yearly(2).
A reporter recently freely entered a Pennsylvania water treatment plant, unwatched for twenty minutes with toxic concentrations of fluoride chemicals unguarded(6). Fluoride is odorless and tasteless. An Alaskan man died when his community water supplier accidentally poured in too much fluoride(7).
"We must remove all fluoride chemicals from water plants before a disaster occurs. Obviously fluoridation isn't even reducing tooth decay. So why risk an incident?" says lawyer Paul Beeber, President, New York State Coalition Opposed to Fluoridation.
Silicofluorides, used by over 91% of U.S. fluoridating communities are linked to children's higher blood-lead levels which, in turn, is linked to higher rates of tooth decay.(8)
Fluoride at doses slightly above dentists' recommendations can also cause cavities, according to Burt, Eklund, et al, in the dental textbook, "Dentist, Dental Practice, and the Community." (9)
Cavity crises occur in many fluoridated cities: http://www.orgsites.com/ny/nyscof2/_pgg5.php3
More accidents: http://www.fluoridealert.org/accidents.htm
(1) Pediatric Dentistry 2003 Jul-Aug;25(4):365-72 The 2001 Kentucky Childrens Oral Health Survey: findings for children ages 24 to 59 months and their caregivers. Hardison JD, Cecil JC, White JA, Manz M, Mullins MR, Ferretti GA. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=13678102&dopt=Abstract
(2) Dental Public Health Activities & Practices, Oral Health Program, Kentucky Department of Health http://www.astdd.org/bestpractices/pdf/DES20001KYfluoridationsurveillance.pdf
(3) "Kentucky's A Leader in Water Fluoridation; Celebrates National Children's Dental Health Month," February 6, 2003 http://chs.ky.gov/chs/news/newsreleases/2003/nr020603.doc
(4)The Associated Press Monday 26 November 2001 "Dental Clinic Helps Rural Children" http://www.fluoridealert.org/news/734.html
(5) "Are we failing in our public health mission?" by Sue Feeley http://kdhc.org/healthcamp.htm
(6) Pittsburgh Tribune Review, "Chemical Plants Still Vulnerable," by Carl Prine, November 16, 2003 http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/valleynewsdispatch/news/p_49388.html
(7) New England Journal of Medicine 1994 Jan 13, "Acute fluoride poisoning from a public water system," Gessner BD, Beller M, Middaugh JP, Whitford GM http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=8259189&dopt=Abstract
(8) http://www.enn.com/direct/display-release.asp?objid=D1D1364E000000F3D38279C8E77A5E55
(9) http://www.enn.com/direct/display-release.asp?objid=D1D1364E000000F3B58DC8CBA01A092E
For more information, contact:
Paul S. Beeber President & General Counsel New York State Coalition Opposed to Fluoridation PO Box 263 Old Bethpage, NY 11804 nyscof@aol.com
Web site:
Feds charge 3 men accused of prepping for martial law - The Washington Post
Wed, 05 Aug 2015 17:37
By John Moritz'‰|'‰APAugust 3
RALEIGH, N.C. '-- Three North Carolina men fearing a government takeover and martial law stockpiled weapons, ammunition and tactical gear while attempting to rig home-made explosives, according to charges announced by the Justice Department on Monday.
The men from Gaston County, near Charlotte, were arrested by federal authorities on Saturday after more than a month's investigation.
Walter Eugene Litteral, 50, Christopher James Barker, 41, and Christopher Todd Campbell, 30, are accused of stockpiling guns and ammunition, as well as attempting to manufacture pipe bombs and live grenades from military surplus ''dummy'' grenades, according unsealed criminal complaints released Monday.
The close to 60 pages of information compiled by federal authorities since July include allegations Litteral planned to makes explosives out of tennis balls covered in nails and coffee cans filled with ball bearings.
According to the documents, both Litteral and Campbell spoke openly about their opposition to Jade Helm 15, a series of ongoing special forces training missions in several Southwestern states that has drawn suspicion from residents who fear it is part of a planned military takeover.
In addition to ammunition for a long-range .338 caliber rifle, the authorities said Litteral purchased hand-held radios, Kevlar helmets, body armor and face masks in preparation for an armed resistance to the feared military occupation.
Litteral was also planning to purchase an assault rifle along with ammunition for Barker, whose past convictions for possession of stolen goods and cocaine barred him from possessing a gun, according to the documents.
The FBI began its investigation in mid-June after receiving a tip about Litteral and Barker attempting to make homemade explosives, and later began investigating Campbell based on similar information that he was attempting to reconstruct grenades.
Litteral was quoted in the documents calling his planned homemade explosives ''game changers,'' and authorities allege he planned to test the devices with Barker in Shelby, North Carolina.
The federal conspiracy charges carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. In addition, Campbell has been charged with a separate firearms charge punishable by 10 years imprisonment and a $10,000 fine.
In addition to the FBI, agencies assisting in the investigation include the North Carolina Highway Patrol, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Federal Air Marshal Service as well as local police in Charlotte, Belmont, Mount Holly and Gastonia.
The men will remain in federal custody pending the outcome of detention hearings scheduled for Thursday. It was not immediately clear if they had attorneys.
Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Children with disabilities handcuffed as a means of punishment, - KATV - Breaking News, Weather and Razorback Sports
Wed, 05 Aug 2015 16:33
A deputy sheriff in Kentucky allegedly violated the rights of two children with disabilities by handcuffing them as a means of punishment, according to a federal lawsuit.
Kenton County Deputy Sheriff Kevin Sumner and Sheriff Chuck Korzenborn are named in the lawsuit, which was filed Monday in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky. The Kenton County Sheriff's Department says it will not comment until it reviews the lawsuit.
The children have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, according to the lawsuit.
One of the incidents '' involving an 8-year-old boy '' was captured on video released by the American Civil Liberties Union. The third-grader could be seen crying out in pain in the video after the handcuffs were locked around his biceps. The video was recorded in the fall of 2014.
A second student, a 9-year-old girl, was also handcuffed twice in the fall of 2014, according to the lawsuit.
The children ''experienced pain, fear, and emotional trauma, and an exacerbation of their disabilities'' as a result of being handcuffed, according to the ACLU and attorneys for the children's parents.
Kenyon Meyer, an attorney for the boy's family, said the boy's behavior is related to his ADHD.
''Handcuffs have no place in schools with little children who are having discipline issues,'' Meyer said.
The ACLU is calling for an end to shackling children, saying it does more harm than good.
"Using law enforcement to discipline students with disabilities only serves to traumatize children,'' Susan Mizner, disability counsel for the ACLU, said in a statement.
''It makes behavioral issues worse and interferes with the school's role in developing appropriate educational and behavioral plans for them.''
The lawsuit seeks compensatory and punitive damages, as well as a declaration that handcuffing the children violated their rights.
Kraft recalls - CNN.com
Sun, 02 Aug 2015 20:30
Story highlightsPart of the wrapper can remain stuck on the cheese, Kraft saysThe affected packages have "best when used by" dates between December 29 and January 4The recall includes certain 3- and 4-pound packages of American and white American slices, Kraft said. Those affected have a "best when used by" date between December 29, 2015, and January 4, 2016, followed by the manufacturing code "S54" or "S55."
"A thin strip of the individual packaging film may remain adhered to the slice after the wrapper has been removed," Kraft said. "If the film sticks to the slice and is not removed, it could potentially cause a choking hazard."
The company said it has received 10 complaints and three reports of choking.
The affected packages were distributed to the United States, Puerto Rico and Grand Cayman.
Anyone with a package included in the recall should return it to the store for an exchange or a refund, Kraft said.
10 Superfoods Healthier Than Kale | Eat This Not That
Thu, 06 Aug 2015 14:20
In the world of marketing, image is everything. If you're James Franco or Roger Federer or Taylor Swift, your name and face can be used to sell anything from phones to watches to perfume'--even if you're not necessarily famous for the your tech-savvy, your promptness, or the way you smell.
In the food world, the biggest celebrity of all might be kale'--the Shakira of salads, the Lady Gaga of leafy greens. It's universally recognized that kale anything'--kale chips, kale pesto, kale face cream'--instantly implants a health halo not seen since the days of C. Everett Koop. Even 7-Eleven is making over its image by offering kale smoothies to help with your weight loss efforts. And yes, kale has plenty of benefits'--including high levels of folate and more calcium, gram for gram, than a cup of milk.
But kale's actually not the healthiest green on the block. In fact, in a recent report published by the Centers for Disease Control that ranked 47 ''powerhouse fruits and vegetables,'' kale only placed 15th (with 49.07 points out of 100 for nutrient density)! Here's a roundup of the 10 leafy green cousins that researchers say pack a greater nutritional wallop. Read em, eat em, and reap the benefits.
Nutrition Score: 62.49A staple vegetable of Southern U.S. cuisine, collard greens also boast incredible cholesterol-lowering benefits '-- especially when steamed. A recent study published in the journal Nutrition Research compared the effectiveness of the prescription drug Cholestyramine to steamed collards. Incredibly, the collards improved the body's cholesterol-blocking process by 13 percent more than the drug! Of course, that won't do you any good if you insist on serving them with ham hocks'....
Nutrition Score: 63.48Even more so than its cousin kale, the humble Romaine lettuce packs high levels of folic acid, a water-soluble form of Vitamin B that's proven to boost male fertility. A study published in the journal Fertility and Sterility found supplemental folic acid to significantly increase sperm counts. Get the man in your life to start craving Caesar salads, and you may soon have a baby Julius on board. (Ladies, this green packs health benefits for you, too! Folate also plays a role in battling depression, so change out your kale for Romaine.
Nutrition Score: 65.59Yes, that leafy garnish that sits on the side of your plate'--the one they throw away after you eat the rest of your meal'--is a quiet superfood, so packed with nutrients that even that one sprig can go a long way toward meeting your daily requirement for vitamin K. Moreover, research suggests the summer-y aroma and flavor of chopped parsley may help control your appetite. A study in the journal Flavour found participants ate significantly less of a dish that smelled strongly of spice than a mildly scented version of the same food. Adding herbs, like parsley, creates the sensory illusion that you're indulging in something rich'--without adding any fat or calories to your plate.
Nutrition Score: 70.73The nutritional Clark Kent of the salad bar, this common and unsuspecting leafy green is ready to take its place among the superfoods. Two generous cups of lettuce provides 100 percent of your daily vitamin K requirement for strong, healthy bones. A report from the Nurses' Health Study suggests that women who eat a serving of lettuce every day cut the risk of hip fracture by 30 percent than when compared with eating just one serving a week.
Nutrition Score: 73.36Chicory is a family of bitter greens, but its most well-known member is radicchio, the small red or purple leaf that comes in a head about the size of a softball. It's one of the best dietary sources of polyphenols'--powerful micronutrients that serve a role in preventing disease. A study in the Journal of Nutrition found that people who consume 650 mg a day of polyphenols have a 30 percent chance at living longer than those who consume less than that. A cup of chicory leaves clocks in at about 235 mg (double that of spinach!), so consider adding a little leafy red into your leafy greens.
Nutrition Score: 86.43Spinach is to kale what Michael Jordan is to LeBron James'--the once unrivaled king now overshadowed by the hot new thing. But like MJ, spinach has a few more championship rings than its more current rival'--primarily its position as a top source of biceps-building iron. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, a 180 gram serving of boiled spinach provides 6.43 mg of the muscle mineral'--that's more than a 6 oz hamburger patty! Recent research also suggest compounds in the leaf membranes called thylakoids may serve as a powerful appetite suppressant. A recently published long-term study at Lund University in Sweden found that having a drink containing thylakoids before breakfast could significantly reduce cravings and promote weight loss. On average, the women who took the spinach extract lost 5.5 pounds more than the placebo group over the course of three months.
Nutrition Score: 87.08Yes, the stuff they cut off and throw in the garbage before charging you an arm and a leg for ''beet salad.'' A scant cup of the bitter green serves up nearly 5 grams of fiber'--that's more than you'll find in a bowl of Quaker oats! Researchers at the University of Leeds found that risk of cardiovascular disease was significantly lower for every 7 grams of fiber consumed. Try them in stir frys and eat to your heart's content!
Nutrition Score: 89.27Chard. Sounds like ''burnt.'' It's not as fun a name to drop as, say, ''broccolini,'' but it might be your best defense against diabetes. Recent research has shown that these powerhouse leaves contain at least 13 different polyphenol antioxidants, including anthocyanins''anti-inflammatory compounds that could offer protection from type 2 diabetes. Researchers from the University of East Anglia analyzed questionnaires and blood samples of about 2,000 people and found that those with the highest dietary intakes of anthocyanins had lower insulin resistance and better blood glucose regulation.
Nutrition Score: 91.99Taking the silver medal in the powerfood Olympics is Chinese cabbage, also called Napa or celery cabbage. Rich sources of highly-available calcium and iron, cruciferous vegetables like the cabbage have the powerful ability to ''turn off'' inflammation markers thought to promote heart disease. In a study of more than 1,000 Chinese women, published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, those who ate the most cruciferous vegetables (about 1.5 cups per day) had 13 percent less inflammation than those who ate the least.
Nutrition Score: 100The top dog, the unrivaled champion, the chairman of the cutting board, watercress may also be the closest thing yet to a true anti-aging food. Gram for gram this mild-tasting and flowery-looking green contains four times more beta carotene than an apple, and a whopping 238 percent of your daily recommended dose of vitamin K per 100 grams'--two compounds that keep skin dewy and youthful. The beauty food is also the richest dietary source of PEITC (phenylethyl isothiocyanate), which research suggests can fight cancer. Results from an eight-week trial published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggest daily supplementation of 85 grams of raw watercress (that's about two cups) could reduce DMA damage linked to cancer by 17 percent. Exposure to heat may inactivate PEITC, so it's best to enjoy watercress raw in salads, cold-pressed juices, and sandwiches.
Watch to discover the superfoods you've never heard ofMELT UP TO 10 POUNDS IN 7 DAYS! Test panelists lost up to 10 pounds in just 7 days'--drinking delicious teas'--with our best-selling 7-Day Flat-Belly Tea Cleanse! Download it now on Kindle, iBooks, Nook, Google Play, and Kobo.
Borderland Beat: Eight family members decapitated in north Mexico
Thu, 06 Aug 2015 14:52
Borderland Beat posted by DD republished from Yahoo News DD: Lucio's title to the podcast "If you think you know what is going on in Mexico, you are misinformed" just about says it all. Mark Twain made a similar statement that would apply to Mexico; "If you don't read newspapers you are not informed, if you read newspapers, you are misinformed.Yahoo News printed 2 stories on the eight family members killed in Chihuahua, one was from the news agency AP and one was from the AFP agency. The AP story said all the victims were stabbed and had their throats cut and said officials denied there was any decapitations. AP said the bodies were dumped in a deep gully. AFP said the bodies were decapitated and left at different places along a road.The only significance of the difference of the 2 versions of what happened is decapitations have traditionally been associated with 2 cartels fighting over territory. This took place in an area known as the Golden Triangle which has experienced extreme violence in the Senaloa/Juarez cartel battles for control of the Juarez plaza.
AFP made the statement "US law enforcement officials suspect that Sinaloa drug cartel leader Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman is hiding in the region following his July 11 escape from prison". Several commentators and "experts" have predicted increased violence following Chapo's escape as he seeks to reinforce his hold on existing territories and that he may try to expand by going after a Texas trafficking plaza as he has wanted for years., .If he does, that would likely be Juarez.
What happens in the Golden Triangle may be very significant in the near future.
Ciudad Juarez (Mexico) (AFP) - Eight people from the same family, including two minors, were kidnapped by masked gunmen and their decapitated bodies were found days later in northern Mexico, authorities said Wednesday.The bodies were found after a ninth member of the Martinez family escaped Sunday's abduction near Casa Quemada, in the state of Chihuahua, and alerted the authorities, prosecutors said.The disappearance triggered a massive military operation in the region and the bodies were found this week.They were all men, with the youngest aged 15 and the oldest 42.The family was traveling in a vehicle when it was kidnapped by armed men wearing masks and dressed in military-like fatigues, the Chihuahua state prosecutor's office said.
It is common for drug cartel operatives to wear military-like gear in Mexico.
The bodies of three men were found on a rural road on Wednesday. One was 18 years old and the two others were 25."People traveling on a trail found the victims," the prosecutor's office said in a statement.A day earlier, authorities recovered five other bodies that had been dumped in different parts of Casa Quemada.Two of them were aged 15, two others 18 and the oldest 42.Some witnesses said the family had gone to the mountain region to cut wood, while others claimed that the relatives cared for drug fields.The mass murder took place in a region known as the Golden Triangle, which includes the states of Sinaloa, Chihuahua and Durango, where drug cartels grow marijuana and opium poppies.On July 18, 11 men traveling in three vehicles on a dirt road were killed in a remote area of Durango when they were apparently ambushed by armed civilians.Five other men were wounded in the attack, which took place within the Golden Triangle.
US law enforcement officials suspect that Sinaloa drug cartel leader Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman is hiding in the region following his July 11 escape from prison.
The state of Chihuahua has endured much of the gruesome violence that has plagued Mexico in a drug war that has left tens of thousands of people dead nationwide since 2006, when soldiers were deployed to combat cartels.
The city of Ciudad Juarez, which borders Texas and is part of Chihuahua, was once considered the murder capital of Mexico, though the homicide rate has sharply fallen in recent years.
Much of the violence in Ciudad Juarez was attributed to turf wars between the Sinaloa and Juarez drug cartels.
Assailant in Garland, Texas, attack bought gun in 2010 under Fast and Furious operation - Chicago Tribune
Sun, 02 Aug 2015 20:43
Five years before he was shot to death in the failed terrorist attack in Garland, Texas, Nadir Soofi walked into a suburban Phoenix gun shop to buy a 9-millimeter pistol.
At the time, Lone Wolf Trading Co. was known among gun smugglers for selling illegal firearms. And with Soofi's history of misdemeanor drug and assault charges, there was a chance his purchase might raise red flags in the federal screening process.
Inside the store, he fudged some facts on the form required of would-be gun buyers.
What Soofi could not have known was that Lone Wolf was at the center of a federal sting operation known as Fast and Furious, targeting Mexican drug lords and traffickers. The idea of the secret program was to allow Lone Wolf to sell illegal weapons to criminals and straw purchasers, and track the guns back to large smuggling networks and drug cartels.
Instead, federal agents lost track of the weapons and the operation became a fiasco, particularly after several of the missing guns were linked to shootings in Mexico and the 2010 killing of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry in Arizona.
Soofi's attempt to buy a gun caught the attention of authorities, who slapped a seven-day hold on the transaction, according to his Feb. 24, 2010, firearms transaction record, which was reviewed by the Los Angeles Times. Then, for reasons that remain unclear, the hold was lifted after 24 hours, and Soofi got the 9-millimeter.
As the owner of a small pizzeria, the Dallas-born Soofi, son of a Pakistani American engineer and American nurse, would not have been the primary focus of federal authorities, who back then were looking for smugglers and drug lords.
He is now.
In May, Soofi and his roommate, Elton Simpson, burst upon the site of a Garland cartoon convention that was offering a prize for the best depiction of the prophet Muhammad, something offensive to many Muslims. Dressed in body armor and armed with three pistols, three rifles and 1,500 rounds of ammunition, the pair wounded a security officer before they were killed by local police.
A day after the attack, the Department of Justice sent an "urgent firearms disposition request" to Lone Wolf, seeking more information about Soofi and the pistol he bought in 2010, according to a June 1 letter from Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, to U.S. Atty. Gen. Loretta Lynch.
Though the request did not specify whether the gun was used in the Garland attack, Justice Department officials said the information was needed "to assist in a criminal investigation," according to Johnson's letter, also reviewed by The Times.
The FBI so far has refused to release any details, including serial numbers, about the weapons used in Garland by Soofi and Simpson. Senate investigators are now pressing law enforcement agencies for answers, raising the chilling possibility that a gun sold during the botched Fast and Furious operation ended up being used in a terrorist attack against Americans.
Among other things, Johnson is demanding to know whether federal authorities have recovered the gun Soofi bought in 2010, where it was recovered and whether it had been discharged, according to the letter. He also demanded an explanation about why the initial seven-day hold was placed on the 2010 pistol purchase and why it was lifted after 24 hours.
Asked recently for an update on the Garland shooting, FBI Director James B. Comey earlier this month declined to comment. "We're still sorting that out," he said.
Officials at the Justice Department and the FBI declined to answer questions about whether the 9-millimeter pistol was one of the guns used in the Garland attack or seized at Soofi's apartment.
It remains unclear whether Soofi's 2010 visit to Lone Wolf is a bizarre coincidence or a missed opportunity for federal agents to put Soofi on their radar years before his contacts with Islamic extremists brought him to their attention.
Though Islamic State militants have claimed to have helped organize the Garland attack, U.S. officials are still investigating whether Soofi and Simpson received direct support from the group or were merely inspired by its calls for violence against the West.
Comey suggested that the attack fits the pattern of foreign terrorist groups indoctrinating American citizens through the Internet. He referred to it as the "crowdsourcing of terrorism."
In a handwritten letter apparently mailed hours before the attack, Soofi said he was inspired by the writings of Islamic cleric Anwar Awlaki, an American citizen killed in a 2011 U.S. drone strike in Yemen.
"I love you," Soofi wrote to his mother, Sharon Soofi, "and hope to see you in eternity." In a telephone interview, Sharon Soofi described the letter and said her son had been shot twice in the head and once in the chest, according to autopsy findings she received.
At the time of the 2010 gun purchase, Soofi ran a Phoenix pizza parlor. His mother said that was about the same time he met Simpson, who worked for Soofi at the restaurant. They later shared an apartment, a short drive from the Lone Wolf store.
Reached by telephone, Andre Howard, owner of Lone Wolf, denied that his store sold the gun to Soofi. "Not here," Howard said before hanging up.
Sharon Soofi said her son had told her he wanted the pistol for protection because his restaurant was in a "rough area." She said he also acquired an AK-47 assault rifle at the end of last year or early this year, when authorities believe he and Simpson were plotting an attack on the Super Bowl in Arizona.
"I tried to convince him that, what in the world do you need an AK-47 for?" she said in a telephone interview. Soofi told her they practiced target shooting in the desert. Her younger son, Ali Soofi, was living with his brother and Simpson at the time, she said, but left after becoming frightened by the weapons, ammunition and militant Islamist literature.
She blamed Simpson for radicalizing her son, who she said had no history of religious extremism. A month before Soofi bought the pistol, Simpson was indicted on charges of lying to the FBI about his plans to travel to Somalia and engage in "violent jihad," according to federal court documents.
Simpson was jailed until March 2011 and convicted of making false statements. But the judge ruled there was insufficient evidence to prove the false statements were connected to international terrorism. Simpson was released and placed on probation.
After the Garland attack, the FBI arrested a third man, Abdul Malik Abdul Kareem, and charged him with planning the Garland attack. At a detention hearing on June 16, prosecutors and an FBI agent provided details about the plot, but avoided discussing the history of the firearms.
Sharon Soofi said she found her son's letter in her post office box. It was dated the Saturday before the attack, and postmarked in Dallas on Monday, the day after the assault, suggesting he dropped it in the mailbox before he and Simpson arrived in Garland. "In the name of Allah," the letter began, "I am sorry for the grief I have caused."
He referred to "those Muslims who are being killed, slandered, imprisoned, etc. for their religion," and concluded, "I truly love you, Mom, but this life is nothing but shade under the tree and a journey. The reality is the eternal existence in the hereafter."
Twitter: @RickSerranoLAT
Copyright (C) 2015, Chicago Tribune
Hundreds of Civilians Credibly Reported Killed in First Year of Coalition Airstrikes, Airwars Study Finds
Mon, 03 Aug 2015 19:58
Posted on August 3, 2015 by willyloman
from Common Dreams
A six-month investigation into alleged civilian and 'friendly fire' deaths from Coalition airstrikes in Iraq and Syria has identified more than 120 incidents of concern to June 30th according to an Airwars report published today '' three times more problem events than the Coalition itself was aware of.
Airwars believes that for 57 of these incidents, there is sufficient publicly-available evidence to indicate Coalition responsibility for civilian and friendly forces deaths. Between them these events account for 459-591 alleged civilian fatalities, and the reported deaths of 48-80 allied forces.
In stark contrast, the Coalition has investigated just ten incidents '' and has so far conceded just two civilian deaths in thousands of airstrikes across Iraq and Syria since August 2014.
[read more here]
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Obama Orders Airstrikes to Defend ISIS in Syria
Mon, 03 Aug 2015 19:54
Posted on August 3, 2015 by willyloman
by Steve Lendman
Previous articles explained what Western officials and media scoundrels suppress. ISIS or ISIL or IS are US recruited, trained, armed, funded and directed Pentagon proxy foot soldiers doing Obama's dirty work '' to destabilize and/or topple governments where they're deployed.Using them is part of Washington's imperial strategy for unchallenged global dominance. They're likely to show up almost anywhere. Mass slaughter, destruction, brutal atrocities and human misery follow '' notably in Syria and Iraq.
On August 2, the Wall Street Journal headlined ''US to Defend New Syria Force From Assad Regime.'' The so-called ''new'' force is the old one. They're not Syrian rebels or others supporting the rights of its people.
They're US enlisted death squads '' cutthroat killers, trained in the art of committing the most brutal acts of murder, torture and other atrocities, including use of chemical and other illegal weapons.
The Journal said Obama ''authorized using air power to defend a new US-backed fighting force in Syria if it is attacked by Syrian government forces or other groups, raising the risk of the American military coming into direct conflict with the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.''
[read more here]
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Filed under: destabilization Campaign Syria, Fake Syrian Revolution, Fuck Obama, Global Free Market Wars, Globalization, Neoliberalizing Syria, Steve Lendman, The ISIS Crisis
Russia claims vast Arctic territory, seeks U.N. recognition - LA Times
Wed, 05 Aug 2015 21:37
The Russian government on Tuesday announced that it had delivered "ample scientific data" to the United Nations to back its claim to more than 460,000 square miles of Arctic territory and the wealth of energy, gems and precious metals believed to lie within.
Moscow also is asserting ownership of the emerging Northern Sea Route, the potentially lucrative seasonal shipping route opening above its northern coastline as Arctic ice melts.
Russia was the first to claim the Arctic sea shelf as sovereign territory in a thwarted bid in 2002, but the United States, Canada, Denmark and Norway also are pursuing jurisdiction over seabed in the Arctic, where a quarter of the world's remaining oil and gas reserves may be embedded.
The 1982 U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea establishes the right of countries to exercise sovereignty over an exclusive economic zone extending 200 nautical miles from their recognized shoreline borders. In cases where the continental shelf extends beyond that limit, the law of the sea allows a country to claim dominion up to 350 nautical miles from its shores.
In the documents submitted to the U.N. on Monday, Russia argues that the undersea territory it seeks to add to its recognized borders doesn't fall under the 350-mile limit because the seabed and its resources are "natural components of the continent," the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
The statement said Russia expects the U.N. to begin considering its claim at a fall meeting of the U.N. Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf. But a U.N. spokesman, Farhan Haq, said that the commission isn't expected to gather in full until early next year and that in the meantime, Russia's submitted charts, maps and research data were being circulated among the 193 member nations of the world body for review.
Russia first laid claim to the Arctic sea shelf in 2002, but its application for U.N. recognition was rejected on the grounds that Moscow hadn't provided sufficient evidence of the country's right to the territory.
"To justify Russia's rights in this area, ample scientific data collected during many years of Arctic research has been used," the Foreign Ministry statement said, alluding to exploratory missions and development of Arctic research facilities and floating ice stations going back to the 1930s.
Russia's Ministry of Natural Resources estimates the Arctic sea shelf contains up to 5 billion tons of untapped oil and natural gas reserves worth as much as $30 trillion.
Russian polar explorers in 2007 made a symbolic claim to the vast territory and maritime rights when they dropped a titanium-encased Russian flag on the seabed under the North Pole from a submarine.
The Russian Defense Ministry has also flexed its muscle over the contested Arctic riches with a massive military exercise in March that deployed 40,000 troops, 50 warships and more than 100 combat aircraft into and over the Barents Sea. The Kremlin also announced last year in its revised strategic defense doctrine that a new Northern Fleet is being developed to protect its Arctic resources.
Retreating Arctic sea ice has opened up a summer shipping route across northern Russia that can cut a cargo vessel's sailing time from Europe to Asia by nearly two weeks, raising the prospect of new income streams for Russia if its national claim to the Northern Sea Route is recognized by the United Nations. Russia boasts the world's most powerful icebreaker fleet and has plans to expand its nuclear-powered vessels to assist foreign cargo ships through the passage that remains icebound for much of the year.
Environmental groups are warning against a rush to develop the Arctic shipping route and extract the energy resources under the sea bed.
"The melting of the Arctic ice is uncovering a new and vulnerable sea, but countries like Russia and Norway want to turn it into the next Saudi Arabia,'' Greenpeace Russia Arctic campaigner Vladimir Chuprov said in a statement. "Unless we act together, this region could be dotted with oil wells and fishing fleets within our lifetimes."
U.S. Secretary of State John F. Kerry issued similar warnings about the fragile Arctic when he took the helm of the eight-nation Arctic Council at a summit in Canada's Far North in April.
"The Arctic is warming faster than any other region on Earth. Temperatures are increasing at more than twice the rate of the global average, which means the resilience of Arctic communities and ecosystems and the ability of future generations to adapt and live and prosper in the Arctic is tragically, but actually, in jeopardy," Kerry said. He added that it is "imperative that the development we pursue is sensitive to the lifestyle and history that people want to hold on to, and also that it is sustainable."
At a Russian government-sponsored Arctic development conference in Moscow in January, scientists and economists disclosed their projections that the sea shelf being pursued contains 90% of Russia's remaining nickel, cobalt and platinum, 60% of copper, and practically all of the country's explored reserves of titanium, tin and barite. The Arctic subsoil may also hold 70% to 90% of Russian reserves of gold, diamonds, lead, bauxites and other minerals, the Tass news agency reported from the conference.
The 463,000-square-mile sea shelf claimed by Russia includes the Lomonosov Ridge, the Mendeleyev-Alpha Rise and the Chukchi Plateau, as well as the Podvodnikov and Chukchi basins that separate the three areas, according to the Russian documents submitted to the U.N. commission.
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Russia expels Swedish diplomat in latest sign of tension in Baltics
Russia says U.S. support for Syrian rebels portends wider Mideast chaos
Russia uses U.N. veto power to scuttle tribunal for MH-17 downing
Copyright (C) 2015, Los Angeles Times
Oud-premier wil regime Oekra¯ne ten val brengen | Buitenland | de Volkskrant
Tue, 04 Aug 2015 11:42
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National Endowment for Democracy is Now Officially ''Undesirable'' in Russia
Mon, 03 Aug 2015 19:53
Vladimir Putin! Now you've really done it. You have had the temerity to declare our National Endowment for Democracy (NED), America's most important Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) to be ''undesirable.'' Where will this end? Don't you respect our right, as a US Government-financed NGO, to meddle in internal Russian affairs? After all, we are the most important NGO of the world's Sole Superpower. We can go wherever we want and do whatever we like. We are truly upset!
This is the clear reaction of Washington to the decision by the Russian Prosecutor General's Office on July 28 to declare the activities of the US National Endowment for Democracy as ''undesirable in the territory of Russia.'' The official statement stated that, ''the National Endowment for Democracy used Russian commercial and non-commercial organizations under its control to take part in campaigns aimed at denying the legitimacy of results of Russian elections; organize political actions designed to influence the authorities' decisions and discredit the service in the Russian Armed Forces.'' It further elaborated, ''In pursuit of these goals, the fund allocated about 2.5 million US dollars to Russian commercial and non-commercial organizations in 2013-2015.''
Under Russia's law on Undesirable NGOs, adopted by the Duma or parliament and signed into law by President Putin this May, any foreign or international non-governmental organization could become ''undesirable'' if it threatened the foundations of Russia's constitutional order, the country's defense capability and the security of the Russian state.
Significantly, in a statement regarding the decision, Russia's Foreign Ministry named Carl Gershman, the neo-conservative who has been president since NED was founded in 1983. They noted that Gershman said '' absolutely openly '' that the NED organization was intended to be a beautiful facade for distributing funds among opposition circles in foreign countries. That suggests they have done their homework very well before banning the NED.
In a Washington Post OpEd responding to the ban, NED President Gershman cynically wrote that the move is, ''the latest evidence that the regime of President Vladimir Putin faces a worsening crisis of political legitimacy.'' He failed to note that despite US economic sanctions put in place by Victoria Nuland's neo-conservative friends in the Obama Administration, Vladimir Putin's poll popularity currently stands at 89% according to Russia's independent Levada Center.
'Doing what the CIA used to do'...'
The NED, along with Freedom House, has been at the center of all major US State Department-financed 'color revolutions' in the world since 2000 when it was used to topple Milosevic in Serbia. The NED was created during the Reagan Administration to function as a de facto CIA, privatized so as to allow more freedom of action. Allen Weinstein, who helped draft the legislation establishing NED, said in a Washington Post interview in 1991, ''A lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA.''
The NED was the brainchild of Reagan's CIA Director, Bill Casey. Casey wanted to create a funding mechanism to support groups inside foreign countries that would engage in propaganda and political action that the CIA had historically organized and paid for covertly. To partially replace that CIA role, the idea emerged for a congressionally funded entity that would serve as a conduit for this money. The main revenue to finance NED activities in countries like Russia, China, Myanmar, Venezuela, Uzbekistan and other places where the regime is not 100% on Washington's music page, comes from the United States Congress. That is supplemented by such dubious organizations as George Soros' Open Society Foundations, which seems to always pop up where the CIA and NED want to topple a regime as in Ukraine in 2013-14.
Casey wanted to be sure to hide the strings being pulled by the CIA. In a letter to Reagan's White House Counselor, Edwin Meese III, Casey wrote, ''Obviously we here [at CIA] should not get out front in the development of such an organization, nor should we appear to be a sponsor or advocate.'' To hide the CIA's role, Casey urged creation of a ''National Endowment.''
NED President since 1984 has been Carl Gershman, previously with the Freedom House, another ''democracy'' front for the US intelligence community involved in every Color Revolution. NATO General and former Presidential candidate Wesley Clark, the man who led the US bombing of Serbia in 1999, and who recently called for aggressive US military response to Russia, also sat on the NED Board.
The majority of the historic figures linked to clandestine CIA actions have at some time been members of the Board of Directors or the Administrative Council of the NED, including Otto Reich, John Negroponte, Henry Cisneros, and Elliot Abrams. The Chairman of the NED Board of Directors in 2008 was Vin Weber, campaign fundraiser for George W. Bush in 2000. Gershman, head of the NED since its creation to the present, worked closely with Richard Perle, Elliott Abrams and Frank Gaffney. Gershman was in a sense 'present at the creation' of the political-intelligence faction known as neo-conservativism.
On September 26, 2013, weeks before Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovich announced he would join Russia's Eurasian Economic Union rather than the less appealing EU ''associate membership'', Gershman wrote an OpEd to the Washington Post where he called Ukraine ''the biggest prize,'' explaining that pulling it into the Western camp could contribute to the ultimate defeat of Russian President Putin. Gershman wrote, ''Ukraine's choice to join Europe will accelerate the demise of the ideology of Russian imperialism that Putin represents. Russians, too, face a choice, and Putin may find himself on the losing end not just in the near abroad but within Russia itself.''
In other words, NED is a US government-financed entity that intends to topple Russia's elected President because he displeases the folks in the Washington neo-con war faction.
Among NED projects in Russia has been to finance Russian anti-Putin opposition activist Alexei Navalny, member of a group called Russian Opposition Coordination Council. Navalny received money from the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).
The NED has sub-units: National Republican Institute, which is headed by Senator John McCain, the man who played a key role in the 2014 USA coup d'etat in Ukraine. The National Democratic Institute, tied to USA Democratic Party and chaired now by Clinton Secretary of State and Serbian bombing advocate, Madeline Albright. The NED Board of Directors includes the kernel of the Bush-Cheney neo-conservative warhawks like Elliott Abrams; Francis Fukuyama; Zalmay Khalilzad, former Iraq and Afghan US ambassador, and architect of Afghan war; Robert Zoellick, Bush family insider and ex-World Bank President.
Among projects in Russia the NED financed in 2014 according to their abridged annual report was $530,067 under a category, Transparency in Russia: ''To raise awareness of corruption.'' Are they working with Russian prosecutors or police? How do they find the corruption they raise awareness of? That naturally also has a side benefit of giving Washington intimate details of corruption, real or imagined, that can be later used by its trained activist NGOs such as Navalny groups. Another project under their NED heading, Democratic Ideas and Values: $400,000 for something called ''Meeting Point of Human Rights and History''To raise awareness of the use and misuse of historical memory, and to stimulate public discussion of pressing social and political issues.'' It sounds suspiciously like the State Department's recent campaign to rewrite the history of the Second World War and the fact that Russia and her affiliated Soviet regions lost 27 million lives in bearing the brunt of the victory over Hitler.
The only real question is not why the Russian government has banned the NED as the first under their new law on Undesirable NGOs. The question is why they did not ban it twenty years ago, or at least in 1999 when Putin first became President? NATO today is in a state of semi-war against Russia. In such circumstances, banning hostile foreign NGOs like NED is prudent self-defense.
In May, referring to the passage of the new Russian Undesirable NGO law, US State Department spokesperson, Marie Harf, said the United States was, ''deeply troubled'' by the new law, calling it ''a further example of the Russian government's growing crackdown on independent voices and intentional steps to isolate the Russian people from the world.'' Before she became State Department media Spokesperson, Harf was Press Spokesperson at the CIA where she started her career. Interesting.
Notably, at the same time as Russia is banning NED under its new Undesirable NGO law, China has just signed into law its Overseas NGO Management Law to restrict foreign NGO's there. Last October, the same National Endowment for Democracy financed the Hong Kong Umbrella Revolution protests and the NED is financing Uygur separatists in China's Xinjiang Province, cross-roads of all major Chinese oil and gas pipelines from Russia and Kazakhstan.
F. William Engdahl is strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a degree in politics from Princeton University and is a best-selling author on oil and geopolitics, exclusively for the online magazine ''New Eastern Outlook''.
NA-Tech News
'Do Not Track' Compromise Is Pitched - WSJ
Thu, 06 Aug 2015 14:04
Do Not Track, a standard Web browser setting intended to let consumers avoid sharing their browsing behavior with advertisers, has become a battleground.
Online publishers and advertisers often ignore it, and major browser makers switch it off by default. Nearly a quarter of people who use Web browsers have responded by installing software that simply blocks online ads, according to Forrester Research Inc.
Now the Electronic...
Supercomputer Race Heats Up as China Bans Exports of High-Performance Machines
Wed, 05 Aug 2015 15:52
China is curbing exports of its high-performance machines in an apparent attempt to stay one step ahead of the U.S. in a race for the world's fastest supercomputer.
The Chinese Ministry of Commerce and the General Administration of Customs issued a joint statement on Friday announcing restrictions on the export of supercomputers and high-performance drones, the Wall Street Journal reported. Exporters will need to obtain a license to sell computers with an operating capacity exceeding 8 teraflops'--the equivalent of performing more than eight trillion calculations per second'--abroad. The announcement also placed restrictions on drone exports, applicable to high-performance unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) capable of flying for more than one hour consistently and dealing with inclement weather, as well as drones capable of hovering at heights of 1.5 km, according to the South China Morning Post.
The announcement cited unspecified national security concerns as the reason for the restrictions. However, provisions come just months after the U.S. blocked a shipment of tens of thousands of chips from American firm Intel to China, which were due to be used to update Tianhe-2, currently the fastest supercomputer in the world. The U.S. Department of Commerce said Intel's application to export had been blocked because Tianhe-2 and three other Chinese supercomputers were being used for "nuclear explosive activities."
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China and the U.S. have been locked in a two-way tussle for supercomputer supremacy over the past decade, a trend that looks set to continue, with President Barack Obama issuing an executive order last week commissioning the world's first exascale supercomputer, to be built by 2025. The computer would be capable of doing one quintillion (a billion billion) calculations per second, otherwise known as an exaflop, and would see Washington leapfrog Beijing in the supercomputing race In his 2010 State of the Union address, Obama referred to the need for the U.S. to outstrip its rivals in technological advances'--including supercomputers'--as "our generation's Sputnik moment," referring to the first artificial satellite launched into space by the Soviet Union.
But do these supercomputers merit the rhetoric and tough stances taken by both China and the U.S.? Mark Parsons, executive director of the EPCC (University of Edinburgh's supercomputing centre), which houses the U.K.'s fastest supercomputer, says that the machines can be used for both civil and military purposes by governments. Common uses include more accurate weather modelling and assisting with climate change predictions, but the machines can also be used to trawl through the internet instantaneously and open up new avenues for espionage. However, Parsons say the race is as much about prestige as practical reasons. "The arms race in high-performance computing has always been about who has the computer which can do the most FLOPS," says Parsons, referring to floating-point operations per second (FLOPS), the measure used for monitoring supercomputer performance. He says that such machines are seen as "totem poles," or status symbols..
But according to Tim Stevens, a cyberwarfare expert in the War Studies Department at King's College London, whoever possesses such a beast of a machine has a considerable national security advantage. Stevens says that the primary security implication of supercomputers is nuclear'--whoever is in possession of such machines is capable of accurately modelling the capabilities of their nuclear weapons,. A ban on actual nuclear testing came into effect in 1996 with the signing of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty.
"Traditionally, a lot of supercomputing has grown out of the nuclear industry. Once there was a moratorium on nuclear testing, you had to find some other way of doing it," says Stevens. He compares the possession of supercomputers to the possession of nuclear weapons, saying that both are a marker of technological advancement and clout on the international stage.
For the foreseeable future, it looks as though the supercomputer race will be fought out exclusively between Beijing and Washington. Currently, China holds the that honour of building the fastest computing machine, and the prestige that comes with it. According to Top 500, which monitors the supercomputing industry, Tianhe-2 has been the world's number one system since June 2013. The Chinese machine, developed by China's the National University of Defense Technology, is almost twice as powerful as the second-placed Titan, which is housed in the U.S. Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The processing power of Tianhe-2 is 33.86 petaflops. For scale, that is equivalent to 18,400 Sony Playstation 4s. It would take almost 32 million years for a human to complete just one petaflop of calculations.
Japan is the closest competitor with the fourth-fastest machine, and Europe has two supercomputers in the top 10'--one in Switzerland and one in Germany. However, of the 20 fastest machines in the world, only seven come from outside China or the U.S. Russia, a constant rival to the U.S. in other fields such as nuclear proliferation and space travel, is well behind'--its top machine, situated at Moscow State University, was ranked 32nd.
With Obama committed to getting the U.S. back in front, and China expected to accelerate its domestic chip-making efforts after Intel's rebuffal, it's hard to pick who will come out on top. Parsons says he thinks that China could be first to produce an exascale machine, but that its quality and usability would lag behind anything produced by the U.S. Meanwhile, Stevens is willing to place a tentative bet on Washington. "Given that China has had the lead for so long, I'll put five pounds on the U.S. to be a neck ahead by 2025," he says.
More about Supercomputers
Jade Helm 15
How federal agents foiled a murderous Jade Helm 15 retaliation plot
Thu, 06 Aug 2015 13:21
(C) Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman via AP A convoy of National Guard troops moves on Camp Swift, which is also hosting the Operation Jade Helm 15 military exercise, in Bastrop, Texas, on July 15. The men had a deadly plot to lure government forces into a trap, federal officials say, and were amassing a stockpile fit for war.
There were Kevlar helmets and body armor, pipe bombs and handmade grenades, large amounts of gunpowder and dozens of rounds of ammunition for a military-grade sniper rifle.
Federal officials say three North Carolina men '-- Walter Eugene Litteral, 50; Christopher James Barker, 41; and Christopher Todd Campbell, 30 '-- spent months compiling their cache, much of it purchased through a military surplus store owner who became so concerned about the plot that the person became the FBI's informant.
The men were arrested Saturday and charged with conspiracy and amassing weaponry allegedly to combat what they believe is the government's plan to impose martial law through (among other things) the controversial multi-state military exercise known as Jade Helm.
[Why Operation Jade Helm 15 is freaking out the Internet '-- and why it shouldn't be]
In January, the informant relocated the military surplus store to Gaston County, N.C. '-- a location that was just a few doors down from where Campbell operated a tattoo parlor.
Almost immediately, Campbell told the informant of his ''anti-government'' views, according to federal court documents.
A month later, Campbell introduced the informant to Litteral. The two men told the informant that they believed ''that the federal government intended to use the armed forces to impose martial law in the United States, which they and others would resist with violent force,'' the court documents said.
Specifically, they told the informant that the Jade Helm exercises planned in five states were a cover for the government's plot to impose martial law. The exercises were scheduled to be conducted from July 15 to Sept. 15, and Litteral made it clear that he needed the military-grade items no later than the 15th of July.
[Jade Helm 15, heavily scrutinized military exercise, to open without media access]
Operation Jade Helm 15, a training exercise for Army Special Operations Forces, has spawned consternation and anti-government conspiracy theories. The exercises are taking place in Texas, along with Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Colorado, according to the Army.
By April, months before the training operation was scheduled, the purchases from the military surplus store began '-- all of them paid for in cash, according to court documents.
There were plans, the documents allege, to make pipe bombs, explosive tennis balls covered in nails and coffee cans filled with ball bearings that would be detonated with a shot from a sniper rifle.
And by mid-June, those plans were beginning to crystallize.
According to the documents, Litteral was heavily armed with both legally and illegally obtained weapons. If government agents came looking for him at his home, Litteral allegedly told the informant in a phone conversation, he would be ready.
''Lemme tell you something, I gonna have my f'--'--- house rigged up; these motherf'--'-- come try to come in my house, it's gonna go off,'' he said, according to the documents.
[The Americans are coming! Some in a Texas county fear an Obama-led U.S. military invasion.]
The documents indicated that Litteral told another person in a phone conversation: ''I got a f'--'-- .45 beside my bed. I got a .45 and a 9-mil in my truck. I've got a 9-mil and a .380, or a .380 in her car. Safe full of weapons. You know what? Every time I open up this damn safe, I mean I've got, I've got at least 30 weapons that I can see and some tucked all the way in the back back.''
The plan involved testing the explosives on land in Shelby, N.C.
But the ambush against U.S. forces would take place on Litteral and Campbell's a 99-acre camp in Clover, S.C.
''According to [Campbell], he and Litteral intend to booby-trap the camp and draw government's forces into the camp and kill them,'' the warrant states.
[Jade Helm 15 explored on TV: Checkpoint challenges the conspiracy theories]
On June 30, according to documents, Campbell told the informant that he feared that the government would soon declare martial law, saying: ''S'-- is gonna go down soon.''
In mid-July, Litteral attempted to buy a rifle for Barker, the third arrestee named in the conspiracy. Barker had been convicted of a felony and would not have been permitted to purchase a weapon.
But the purchase at the gun store was held up, first by a required three-day background check. Unbeknownst to Litteral, it was then held up even longer at the FBI's request.
In a conversation on July 29, according to the documents, Litteral told Campbell that the delay infuriated him:
LITTERAL: ''it would be good for trip but like I was telling him with the pipe bombs I'm making we need a fuse we need a fuse because these things if we put one here we're gone.''
Three days later, federal agents made a move, raiding two homes along with Campbell's tattoo parlor and ultimately arresting all three of the men.
The men now face charges of conspiracy to violate laws governing firearms and explosive devices, which carry a prison sentence of up to five years and a $250,000 fine. Campbell separately faces an additional charge of receiving, possessing or making a firearm '--which by definition includes a destructive device '-- which carries a maximum penalty of up to 10 years and a $10,000 fine, according to the FBI.
Here the 3 places raided by FBI over weekend '-- 2 homes, 1 tattoo parlor. All within 4 miles apart. 3 men arrested pic.twitter.com/BRhN5ZLXxy
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The US government reimbursed Buzz Aldrin $33 for his trip to the moon in 1969
Wed, 05 Aug 2015 13:46
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(C) Provided by Quartz Buzz Aldrin moonLike any other American returning home from a business trip out of the country, former NASA astronaut Buzz Aldrin filled out an expense report and a customs form when he came back from the moon. Aldrin'--the second man to step foot on the lunar surface, after Neil Armstrong'--recently shared the paperwork on Facebook. The records include signatures from Aldrin and a Honolulu customs inspector, and one of the most unusual itemized itineraries in history: Florida to Moonto Pacific Ocean to Hawaii, and then back home to Houston.
The official travel voucher also mentions the USS Hornet (misspelled on the form). That's the ship that picked up Aldrin and the Apollo 11 crew after they landed in the Pacific.
(C) Provided by Quartz Buzz Aldrin expensesAldrin was reimbursed exactly $33.31 (about $215 in today's dollars) for ''travel expenses'''--likely the costs of having to drive his own car to and from Ellington Air Force Base in Houston, Texas. Luckily, he was not responsible for paying for actual transportation from Earth to the moon'--or even to Cape Kennedy, Florida, where Apollo 11 launched, as he had a government plane for that.
(C) Provided by Quartz Buzz Aldrin travel voucherUpon returning, Aldrin actually had to declare to customs the items he was bringing back from the moon: mainly rock and dust samples, said to weigh about 50 pounds in total. The astronauts were put into quarantine for 21 days out of fear that they might be carrying undiscovered pathogens. (They weren't).
(C) Provided by Quartz Buzz Aldrin customs formThese forms might have been done more as a joke than anything, but today, astronauts still have to go through customs in the country that they land in. In a 2013 Reddit AMA, Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield revealed that NASA kept his passport on the ground while he was in space, then brought it to him after he touched down in Kazakhstan.
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Whistleblower States CDC Intentionally Omitted And Destroyed Documents Relating To Vaccines Causing Autism!
Mon, 03 Aug 2015 20:17
by Gregg Prescott M.S.Editor, BodyMindSoulSpirit.com
On July 29th, 2015, Rep. Bill Posey spoke on public record in the House of Representatives regarding former CDC researcher and now Whistleblower, Dr. Bill Thompson's letter regarding significant files they omitted and destroyed to avoid reporting any significant race effects in their study.
Rep. Posey's statement came on the heals on related breaking news exposing the reason why numerous alternative physicians have died after exposing the probable cause and cure for autism.
Related: Explosive: Is This The Real Reason Holistic Doctors Are Being Killed And Vanishing?
Posey stated:
''It's troubling to me that in a recent Senate hearing on childhood vaccinations, it was never mentioned that our government has paid out over $3 billion through a vaccine injury compensation program for children who have been injured by vaccinations. Parents making decisions on their children's health deserve to have the best information available to them. They should be able to count on federal agencies to tell them the truth.
''In August 2014, Dr. William Thompson, a senior scientist at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, worked with a whistleblower attorney to provide my office with documents related to a 2004 CDC study that examined the possibility of a relationship between mumps, measles, rubella, vaccines, and autism. In a statement released in August 2014, Dr. Thompson stated, ''I regret that my co-authors and I omitted '... OMITTED (repeated a 2nd time)'... statistically significant information in our 2004 article published in the Journal of Pediatrics.
Mr. Speaker, I respectfully request the following excerpts from the statement written by Dr. Thompson be entered into the record. Now quoting Dr. Thompson:''
''My primary job duties while working in the immunization safety branch from 2000-06, were lead or co-lead three major vaccine safety studies, the MADDSP, MMR, Autism cases control study was being carried out in response to the Wakefield/Lancet study that suggested an association between the MMR vaccine and an autism-like health outcome.
There were several major concerns among scientists and consumer advocates outside the CDC in the Fall of 2000 regarding execution of the Verstraeten study. One of the important goals that was determined upfront in the Spring of 2001 before any of these studies started, was to have all 3 protocols vetted outside the CDC prior to the start of the analyses so that consumer advocates could not claim that we were presenting analyses that suited our own goals or biases.
We hypothesized that if we found statistically significant effects at either 18 or 36 months thresholds, we would conclude that vaccinating children early with MMR vaccine could lead to autism-like characteristics or features.
We all met and finalized the study protocol and analysis plan. The goal was to not deviate from the analysis plan and to avoid the debacle that occurred with the Verstraeten thimerosal study published in the Pediatrics in '03. At the September 5th meeting, we discussed in detail how to code race for both the sample and the birth certificate sample.
At the bottom of Table 7, it also shows that for the non-birth certificate sample, the adjusted race effect statistical significance was huge.
All of the authors and I met and decided that sometime between August and September '02, not to report any race effects for the paper. Sometime, soon after the meeting, we decided to exclude reporting any race effects.
The co-authors scheduled a meeting to destroy documents related to the study. The remaining four co-authors all met and brought a big garbage can into the meeting room and reviewed and went through all of the hard copied documents that we had thought we should discard and put them into a huge garbage can. However, because I assumed that it was illegal and would violate both FOIA and DOJ requests, I kept hard copies of all documents in my office and I retained all associated computer files.
I believe we intentionally withheld controversial findings from the final draft of the pediatrics paper.''
''Considering the nature of the whistleblower documents as well as the involvement of the CDC, a hearing and a thorough investigation is warranted.''
If anyone wonders why there is little trust in the government, then look at the numerous lies we've been told and how government supported corporations will hide and omit information that is not in humanity's best interests, all in the name of eugenics and the depopulation agenda.
While Rep. Posey called for an investigation into these criminal activities, the results would most likely be similar to the crimes of the banksters when they rigged LIBOR and had to be bailed out with billions of taxpayer dollars. It's important to note that the corporation of the bank was found guilty while not one specific bankster was arrested or held liable for the bank's crimes.
No matter what the investigation decides to do in regard to punishing those guilty of these crimes, the public has been awakened to the greed and corruption of government agencies as well as Big Pharma's role in their genocidal quest of depopulation.
Source: http://www.bodymindsoulspirit.com/whistleblower-cdc-destroyed-autism-vaccine-documents/
VIDEO-Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards' Attempt To Dismiss Viral Video Backfires! - YouTube
Thu, 06 Aug 2015 15:00
VIDEO-CNN to Planned Parenthood Exec.: Any 'Soul Searching' After Videos? | MRCTV
Thu, 06 Aug 2015 06:36
[More in the cross-post on the MRC's NewsBusters blog.]
CNN's Alisyn Camerota actually pressed Planned Parenthood executive vice president Dawn Laguens on the 4 August 2015 edition of New Day over the controversy surrounding the abortion organization's sale of organs and other tissues from aborted babies. Camerota wondered, "As a result of these [undercover] videos...is there any soul searching that's going on in Planned Parenthood today '' not, obviously, about the mission statement of what Planned Parenthood does '' but, perhaps, about the method or the means of talking about it?"
The anchor also spotlighted how "even Hillary Clinton...even people in the Democratic Party have called these videos disturbing." She also noted that "it does appear, from the snippets that have seen in the public, as though something unscrupulous is happening."
VIDEO-CNN's Tapper Shames Earnest For Not Watching Undercover Abortion Videos | MRCTV
Thu, 06 Aug 2015 06:05
[More in the cross-post on the MRC's NewsBusters blog.]
CNN's Jake Tapper went after Josh Earnest on the 3 August 2015 edition of The Lead, after the White House press secretary admitted that he hadn't seen any of the undercover Planned Parenthood videos released by the Center for Medical Progress, and was "relying on news reports that I've seen" about the controversy. Tapper pointed out that "the whole video is put up on the website of this anti-abortion group that put them out." When Earnest blasted the pro-life group for their "ideological games," the anchor retorted that "somebody at the White House should maybe watch the videos in full."
VIDEO-US Nuclear Negotiator: It is in US National Security Interest That Iran-IAEA Understandings Are Confidential | MRCTV
Thu, 06 Aug 2015 05:47
Undersecretary of state Wendy Sherman tussled with Senator David Vitter (R-La.) during a Senate Banking Committee hearing Wednesday, as he asked her repeatedly if she thought it appropriate that she '' who does not get to vote on the Iran nuclea deal '' has seen secret side agreements between Iran and the IAEA, while lawmakers who do get to vote will not.
VIDEO-Obama: 'Death to America' Iranians Are 'Making Common Cause With the Republican Caucus' | MRCTV
Thu, 06 Aug 2015 05:44
President Obama's quip Wednesday that ''Death to America''-chanting Iranians are ''making common cause with the Republican caucus'' earned him laughs and whoops from his American University audience but an unamused Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called on the president to ''retract his bizarre and preposterous comments.''
VIDEO-Lenny Kravitz is Rocking Out So Hard That He Accidentally Launches #PenisGate
Thu, 06 Aug 2015 05:21
During his ''Strut'' tour appearance in Sweden, Lenny Kravitz accidentally ended up ''strutting his stuff'' for the audience to see.
Rolling Out writes that Kravitz crouched down a little too quickly and his pants ripped in the crotch. This made clear he was not only 'going commando' but his member was adorned. This was because it all ''fell out'' of his ripped pants.
On Twitter, Kravitz light-heartedly shared a text message about the incident from rocker-turned-country-crooner Steven Tyler: 'Dude'... No underwear and pierced'... F*** me'... You never showed me that sh*t.''
Ummm'... right.
Yahoo! News reports that after the incident, Kravitz left the stage in order to quickly change into a new pair of pants and then returned to finish the concert.
The incident was caught on film, but Kravitz's privacy has been respected with a blur in this copy:
VIDEO-Ted Cruz Auditions for The Simpsons - YouTube
Thu, 06 Aug 2015 04:49
VIDEO-Tennessee movie theater shooting suspect killed by police - CNN.com
Thu, 06 Aug 2015 04:29
Story highlightsVincente David Montano's mother told authorities he had been diagnosed as paranoid schizophrenicMontano had an airsoft pistol in addition to a hatchet and pepper spray when he went after moviegoersHe was shot dead as he tried to go out the back door of the theaterVincente David Montano was committed twice in 2004 and twice in 2007, said Aaron, citing officials in Rutherford County. Montano had been arrested Murfreesboro, Tennessee, in 2004 in a case of assault and resisting arrest, police said.
"We have no motive for (Wednesday's attack)," Aaron said.
Montano had an airsoft pistol with him that he aimed and fired at police in the theater, Aaron said. Such a weapon looks like a semiautomatic pistol but fires plastic or BB pellets.
Montano's mother filed a missing person's report with Texas Rangers two days ago and they had notified authorities in Tennessee, Aaron said.
In the report, his mother, Denise Pruitt, told authorities that Montano was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia in 2006.
"Ms. Pruitt advised Vincente has several other health issues and has a hard time taking care of himself," the report says. It lists his address as "homeless."
Pruitt, who lives in Florida, last saw her son in Illinois in March 2013.
Aaron told reporters that one patron at the screening of "Mad Max: Fury Road" suffered a minor cut on a shoulder from a hatchet before officers killed the suspect.
A man wielding a gun, a hatchet and pepper spray was killed inside a Tennessee movie theater.
Police Chief Steve Anderson said that Montano was 29 years old. He had an identification card that listed a Nashville address, Anderson said, but authorities want to check fingerprints to confirm his identity.
The wounded man had a superficial injury to his arm, fire department spokesman Brian Haas said.
The man, who was identified as Steven, told reporters that police did a "phenomenal job" in responding to the calls for help. He was one of eight people in the theater, and one of three who were pepper sprayed by the assailant. He said his daughter was also sprayed.
"I am very, very grateful that no one else got injured here today -- other than the person who perpetrated this," Steven said.
No one was transported to a hospital, Haas said, but Steven, his daughter and another woman suffered irritation from pepper spray apparently used by the suspect, who was wearing a surgical mask. The pepper spray contained red dye, Anderson said.
The suspect had two bags -- a backpack and a satchel -- with him, Aaron said. The bomb squad destroyed the backpack, which contained a "hoax explosive device," Anderson told reporters.
Police were called to the Carmike Hickory 8 movie theater complex in the Nashville suburb of Antioch at 1:13 p.m. CT. Two officers were already at the mall working a car accident when people came running toward them. The officers were inside the complex withing two minutes, Aaron said.
One officer -- who entered the theater and fired at the man before backing away -- said Montano pointed the airsoft pistol at him and pulled the trigger.
The SWAT team arrived and had to don gas masks due to the heavy chemical spray in the theater, Aaron said. The man tried to flee out the back door.
Brad Ransom, who told CNN he works across the street from the theater, said he saw four or five officers along the side of the building around the time of the fatal shooting.
More than a dozen gunshots, fired in rapid succession, can be heard in a video recorded during the fatal shooting. The video doesn't show the shooting.
A woman who worked at a Sprint store near the scene told CNN's Brooke Baldwin that about three hours earlier, a man with two backpacks tried to enter her store through their back door.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives sent a team to help with the investigation.
The FBI and Tennessee Bureau of Investigation were assisting.
Antioch is a community in southeast Nashville.
CNN's Greg Botelho, Sara Pratley, Eli Watkins and Sheena Jones contributed to this report.
VIDEO-Hatchet-wielding gunman attacks Tennessee movie theater before being killed by police - The Washington Post
Wed, 05 Aug 2015 21:33
Authorities says the hatchet-wielding gunman who attacked a Nashville movie theater was shot dead by police on Wednesday. (Reuters)
A man armed with a gun and a hatchet attacked a movie theater in the Nashville area on Wednesday afternoon before he was shot and killed by a SWAT team after exchanging fire with officers, authorities said.
One man was injured by the hatchet. That man and two other people also needed treatment after being ''blasted with pepper spray'' by the attacker, said Don Aaron, a Nashville police spokesman.
The suspected attacker is believed to be a 51-year-old white man from the area, but his identity has not been confirmed, Aaron said during a news conference outside the theater.
Police were called to the scene just before 1:15 p.m. local time for reports of ''an active shooter'' inside the Carmike Hickory 8 movie theater in Antioch, southeast of downtown Nashville, Aaron said. Less than an hour later, police reported that the ''active shooter situation'' was over and the suspected gunman was dead.
''We believe the imminent threat has been ended,'' Aaron said.
In a bizarre scene that came not long after another attack inside a Louisiana movie theater killed two moviegoers and injured several others, Aaron said that a gunman with a surgical mask over his face and a backpack on his chest filled a theater with pepper spray.
[Louisiana theater gunman described as a 'drifter' with mental illness history]
The person entered the projection room during a screening of ''Mad Max: Fury Road'' on Wednesday afternoon before continuing inside the theater, Aaron said.
One of the officers who first responded went into the theater and encountered the gunman, who ''raised his weapon toward that officer and pulled the trigger,'' Aaron said. The officer returned fire and backed away from the theater, the spokesman said.
When the SWAT team arrived, the air inside the theater was so thick the officers had to get gas masks before trying to engage with the hatchet-wielding man. The 51-year-old man emerged from the back of the theater and was ultimately shot and killed by Nashville police officers, Aaron said. This person was the only one shot at the theater, Aaron added.
However, the man had two bags with him, and authorities are working to check the bags to make sure there is no additional danger, he said. An hour after the active shooter situation was deemed over, Aaron said a bomb squad planned to detonate the bag to ''render it safe.''
A man identified only as ''Steven,'' who was in the theater and was exposed to pepper spray, briefly spoke with reporters on Wednesday afternoon.
''I am eternally grateful for the Metro police department for their fast response today and for the fact that no one else got injured other than the person who did this,'' said Steven, who was introduced by police and did not take any questions.
Steven said that he had no indications of why the attack unfolded. He added that he does not want any fame or notoriety for this, saying that he and his family ''were not looking for any of this.'' In addition, Steven thanked first responders and the other people in the area who helped him and his daughter after they were pepper-sprayed.
''That kind of gives me a little more faith in humanity again,'' he said.
Police were able to be at the scene within minutes because officers were responding to a crash just off the movie theater property, Aaron said.
''We're very grateful we only have three pepper spray exposures to treat at this point,'' Brian Haas, a spokesman for the Nashville Fire Department, said at a news conference. ''This could have been a lot worse. And we're extraordinarily pleased the police response was so effective and quick on this.''
The nearby Ford Ice Center closed for the rest of the day due to the incident, the Nashville Predators, an NHL hockey team, announced in a news release. The Academy at Hickory Hollow, a part of the metropolitan Nashville public school system also near the theater, was placed on lockdown due to the shooting, but no students were in the building, the school system said in a statement.
This report of an active shooter situation occurred than two weeks after a gunman opened fire inside a Lafayette, La., movie theater about 650 miles away from this shooting. In that case, a gunman killed two people and injured nine before taking his own life. Meanwhile, both incidents took place while a jury in Colorado is weighing a possible death sentence for the man convicted of killing 12 people and injuring 70 others inside a theater there. Jurors in that trial were allowed to stay on despite exposure to the Lafayette shooting.
''I just couldn't believe this was happening again,'' Eric Vale, 32, an Uber driver who was dropping off passengers in the parking lot when shots rang out, told the Tennesseean.
This post has been updated numerous times with new information. First published: 3:12 p.m.
Mark Berman is a reporter on the National staff. He runs Post Nation, a destination for breaking news and developing stories from around the country.
VIDEO-Milk And Semen Blends Lattes At Starbucks - YouTube
Wed, 05 Aug 2015 17:20
VIDEO-Kermit and Miss Piggy Have Broken Up | TIME
Wed, 05 Aug 2015 13:49
Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy announced that they have broken up, just a month before The Muppets TV reboot premieres on ABC.
Here's the statement that appears on both characters' Facebook pages:
''After careful thought, thoughtful consideration and considerable squabbling, Miss Piggy made the difficult decision to terminate our romantic relationship. We will continue to work together on television (''The Muppets''/Tuesdays 8pm this fall on ABC) and in all media now known or hereafter devised, in perpetuity, throughout the universe. However, our personal lives are now distinct and separate, and we will be seeing other people, pigs, frogs, et al. This is our only comment on this private matter. Thank you for your understanding.''
The two appeared together at a Television Critics Association panel Tuesday, where Kermit revealed his new ''girlfriend'' works in marketing at ABC:
Kermit's new girlfriend, Denise, works in marketing for ABC. If you watched the presentation, you know this. #TCA15#Muppets
'-- The TCA (@OfficialTCA) August 4, 2015
Miss Piggy remained her confident self:
"Dating moi is like flying close too the sun. It was inevitable that Kermit would drop down to the ground while I stayed in the heavens."
'-- POPSUGAR Ent (@POPSUGAREnt) August 4, 2015
VIDEO-Does Obama have legal right to defend Syrian rebels with Air Force? State Dept. can't answer - YouTube
Wed, 05 Aug 2015 13:05
VIDEO-Republican debate Thursday: What you need to know - CNNPolitics.com
Wed, 05 Aug 2015 12:58
And with the rise of Donald Trump and the drama his surge has provoked, the first debate is arguably the most anticipated 2016 election event to date.
CNN Interactive: 2016 election candidates
So when's the debate and who's going to be on stage with Trump?
The first GOP primary debate will take place Thursday at 9 p.m. EST on Fox News, is co-hosted by Facebook and will feature the top 10 leading candidates for the GOP nomination.
But political analysts will first watch for a different date and time '-- Tuesday at 5 p.m.
That's the cutoff by which national polls must be released to help decide which 10 candidates take the stage on Thursday.
Fox News' debate criteria, which have spurred some pushback from candidates, rely on the five most recent well-respected national polls of Fox News' choosing to select the top 10 candidates, as well as weed out the bottom seven candidates, who will lose out on the prime-time airwaves.
2016 Presidential Debates Fast Facts
As for the debate itself, it's scheduled to go for two hours. There will be three Fox News hosts asking questions of the candidates.
RELATED: Republican candidates sound off on Fox debate: Prime time or warmup act?
Who's most likely to make the cut?
Recent polls have given a clearer indication of which candidates will most likely be included in the debate, but more polls before the Tuesday cutoff could shift the stage.
Some candidates have their spots all but assured, particularly for the candidates who have consistently placed in the top three in recent polls: Trump, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, all of whom have pulled double-digit support in the latest polls.
And consistently in fourth through eighth place have been neurosurgeon Ben Carson, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.
RELATED: Polls: Who will face off in the first GOP debate?
As of now, the two remaining spots will likely go to Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who has surged off his late-July announcement, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry is close behind, but would not make it into the debate based on CNN's average of the latest five nationwide poll, which puts him at 2% of support.
CNN's poll of polls, based on the five most recent nationwide polls, ranks the top 10 candidates in the following order: Trump (23%), Bush (13%), Walker (11%), Carson (7%), Huckabee (7%), Cruz (6%), Paul (5%), Rubio (5%), Christie (3%) and Kasich (3%).
At the bottom of the pack, registering less than 2 percent of support in recent polls, are Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, former business executive Carly Fiorina and former New York Gov. George Pataki, all of whom have little chance of squeaking into the debate. Former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore, who only last week joined the crop of contenders, has failed to register 1% of support in the recent polls in which he was included.
Trump's position is likely to be in the center of the stage since he's been polling ahead of the pack.
Will the bottom-tier candidates get some national airtime?
Fox News will host a 5 p.m. debate for the bottom seven candidates, giving them a chance to debate the big issues despite failing to crack into the top ranks of national polling. That debate, given its airtime and the crop of lesser-known candidates, is expected to tout significantly lower viewership.
But voters will get to see nearly all candidates on one stage this week before the Thursday debates.
Fourteen of the 17 contenders will flock to New Hampshire on Monday night for a presidential forum, hosted by the New Hampshire Union Leader and televised by C-SPAN, where voters will get a taste of the candidates' posture for the big night on Thursday.
Trump, assessing he will not get the New Hampshire newspaper's endorsement after an editorial critical of his comments about Sen. John McCain's status as a war hero, told the Union Leader last week he would not participate in the forum.
Huckabee also will not attend, and Gilmore did not announce his candidacy early enough to be included in the presidential forum.
VIDEO-Mic Drop: Ben Carson Shuts Up Planned Parenthood Advocates With Just One Question - Chicks on the Right
Tue, 04 Aug 2015 20:53
Dr. Ben Carson has been one of the most outspoken critics of Planned Parenthood's baby chop shop. After all, the man IS a neurosurgeon and knows a thing or two about the human body.
Carson spoke at the #WomenBetrayed rally in D.C. Tuesday and also appeared on CNN to talk about Planned Parenthood and the organization's total state of moral depravity.
CNN's Jake Tapper asked Carson if defunding Planned Parenthood would hurt impoverished women in low-income areas. I mean, where else could they get all these super exclusive health services PP offers? (And I know that sounds dumb, but it's the argument all the defenders of Planned Parenthood make. Just ask the self-appointed spokesperson for women, Hillary Clinton.
Carson responded, "I thought that they were supposed to be able to get all those things based on Obamacare. Why do we need Planned Parenthood?"
I'd love to hear the Hildabeast respond to that one.
h/t Truth Revolt
VIDEO-George Clooney accused of getting money from Lockheed Martin, Boeing in arms trade debate - YouTube
Tue, 04 Aug 2015 11:48
VIDEO-CNN Host Gives 12-Word Suggestion to WH Press Sec After Exchange Over Planned Parenthood Videos | Video | TheBlaze.com
Tue, 04 Aug 2015 11:19
White House press secretary Josh Earnest was given a piece of advice by CNN host Jake Tapper following an exchange Monday about the series of undercover Planned Parenthood videos purporting to show officials discussing the sale of aborted fetus parts.
''Somebody at the White House should maybe watch the videos in full,'' the CNN host told Earnest.
''Somebody at the White House should maybe watch the videos in full.''
The comment came after Tapper grilled Earnest on the videos. During the interview, the press secretary admitted he had not watched them himself and was only ''relying on news reports'' to come to his conclusion.
''Is it your contention in these secretly recorded videotapes of Planned Parenthood officials discussing what sounds like profiting from fetal tissue and organ sales. There's nothing in these tapes that bothers you or anyone in the White House?'' Tapper asked Earnest.
''Jake, I got to tell you. these videos were released because of their shock value and there is no doubt what is depicted on these videos is shocking,'' Earnest replied. ''I know that based on news reports, I haven't actually looked at them, but people who have looked at them have raised significant questions about whether or not these videos are credible. About whether or not they have been selectively edited in a way to grossly distort the position and polices of Planned Parenthood.''
When Tapper told Earnest that the raw, unedited footage is also available online, Earnest again reiterated that he was relying on reports and had not seen the video himself.
''I'm relying on news reports that I have seen of people who have taken a look at this and raised questions '... there's no doubt this is an organization that has targeted Planned Parenthood for some time so they clearly have an ideological ax to grind,'' he said.
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VIDEO-swimming Hawaii | Video | C-SPAN.org
Tue, 04 Aug 2015 04:59
Created by an anonymous useron August 3, 2015
Apparently, the rising oceans will recede around Hawaii. Or will swallow it whole. Or something.
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VIDEO-Obama seeks new energy deal ahead of UN climate talks | euronews, world news
Mon, 03 Aug 2015 20:27
US President Barack Obama's Clean Power Plan is set to be the most ambitious climate change policy ever to be taken up by an American president.
The US Environmental Protection Agency estimates that it would cost 8.4 billion dollars (7.6 billion euros) to enact.
Officials there say total economic benefits could amount to up to 54 billion dollars.
Under Obama's proposals, each US state will be given a target on cutting greenhouse gases emissions.
They will need to produce detailed proposals on how they will achieve it.
The plan aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions produced by US power plants by just over a third.
These moves are, in part, an effort to boost the credibility of the United States when it comes to fighting the effects of climate change.
World powers will meet in Paris in December to hammer out a UN climate deal after years of negotiations.
But it won't be easy; industry lobbyists say the White House has declared war on coal.
Senate Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican, has already written to all 50 states urging them to oppose Obama's plan.
And many other top Republicans in Congress are already threatening to do all they can to torpedo the proposals.
VIDEO-VIDEO: Amy Schumer Joins Gun-Control Fight in Wake of 'Trainwreck' Shootings - Truthdig
Mon, 03 Aug 2015 20:23
Comedian Amy Schumer, joined by her second cousin, U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., Monday announced a legislative initiative seeking increased gun control in the wake of last month's fatal shooting of two people at a Louisiana screening of her film ''Trainwreck.''
''Unless something is done and done soon, dangerous people will continue to get their hands on guns,'' she told reporters. ''We need a background check system without holes and fatal flaws.''
From Mother Jones:
The three-part legislative plan will seek to limit gun access to the mentally ill and violent criminals by rewarding states that provide thorough background check information while penalizing states that fail to do so. The two also called on Congress to fund greater mental health and substance abuse programs.
Over the weekend, Schumer responded to an open letter from a mother of a Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victim that urged her to speak out and support gun control legislation. The letter, posted on Medium, asked Schumer to be a ''voice for our generation and for women'--two groups who make up most of the victims of the gun violence in our country.''
''These are my first public comments on the issue of gun violence,'' Schumer said on Monday. ''But I promise you they will not be my last.''
Read the full article here.
'--Posted by Roisin Davis
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VIDEO-Nuke Climate Change - Atomic Insights
Mon, 03 Aug 2015 19:55
What do you think of the early morning brainstorm above?
As we approach the 70th anniversaries of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, there are a number of opinion pieces being published that repeat the refrain that using The Bomb was unnecessary.
On the other hand, there are also some excellent treatises that provide historical justifications showing that the decision saved hundreds of thousands of lives and averted a great deal of needless suffering by enabling a quick, face-saving, unconditional surrender in response to overwhelming power.
It's quite possible that my search techniques have provided me the wrong impression, but I've determined that the position that using The Bomb was the right decision is significantly more prevalent among thinking, writing Americans than the opinion that President Truman should have made a different choice.
Even though there is some debate about the remaining strength of the Japanese military in August 1945 and its ability to resist the building momentum of the Allied forces, most current commentary seems to recognize that the bushido code of Japanese warriors would not let them surrender. Forcefully demonstrating our ownership of a weapon powerful enough to destroy a city with a single blow gave them an out and prevented extensive bloodshed and starvation.
Aside: I am biased. My dad served in the Pacific as gyroscope repair technician in the US Navy on a repair ship named the USS Rigel. Without the use of The Bomb, my own history might have been substantially different. End Aside.
Americans seem predisposed to understanding that big problems can be solved with powerful tools. As a corollary notion, many assume that if the major promoters of a particular problem refuse to use the most capable solutions, the problem must not be as bad as they say it is.
The more cynical among us may also realize that some people profit more from continued treatments using weak and ineffective tools than from an effective solution that may eventually allow resources to be redirected to fighting other problems.
The bumper sticker slogan ''NUKE Climate Change'' is thus aimed at attracting attention, pointing out the optimistic fact that we may have already found a weapon powerful enough to end the ''war'', and putting the opponents of nuclear energy who also claim that climate change is an existential battle on the defensive.
For those of you who believe it is wrong to tie nuclear energy development to the climate issue, I have other bumper sticker ideas with similar slogans. For example:
Feel free to disagree, but please provide a reasonably detailed justification for your opinion.
PS '' One of the motivations for the above line of thinking is the coverage being given in advance of today's planned release of the EPA's final Clean Power Plan rule. Most media sources seem to believe it is all about ''renewables like wind and solar'' and ignore any possibility that it might include credit to states and companies that chose a more realistic nuclear solution.
Here is the take from CBS News.
VIDEO-President Obama's Plan to Fight Climate Change | The White House
Mon, 03 Aug 2015 19:35
Reducing Carbon Pollution from Power PlantsPower plants are the largest major source of emissions in the U.S., together accounting for roughly one-third of all domestic greenhouse gas pollution.
PROGRESS:In August 2015, President Obama and EPA established the Clean Power Plan '-- the first-ever carbon pollution standards for existing power plants, which will protect the health of our children and put us on a path toward a 32 percent reduction in carbon pollution by 2030.
Expanding the Clean Energy EconomySince the President took office, the administration has made the largest investment in clean energy in American history. The Clean Power Plan will lead to 30% more renewable energy generation in 2030.
PROGRESS:Since President Obama took office, the U.S. has increased solar generation by more than twenty-fold and tripled electricity production from wind power.
PROGRESS:Since the President took office, the Department of the Interior has permitted over 50 wind, solar, and geothermal utility-scale projects on public or tribal lands. The projects could support over 20,000 jobs and generate enough electricity to power 4.8 million homes.
PROGRESS:President Obama has created a new initiative to increase access to solar energy for low- and moderate-income households, and to build a more inclusive workforce.
PROGRESS:Building on our progress in wind and solar, the Administration secured more than $4 billion in private sector commitments and actions to scale up clean energy innovation and technologies that reduce carbon pollution.
Continuing the momentum for the future:
To ensure America's continued leadership position in clean energy, President Obama has set new goals.
2015President Obama's Fiscal Year 2015 Budget continues to further American leadership by investing approximately $6.9 billion in funding for clean energy technology programs. This includes investment in a range of energy technologies, from advanced biofuels and emerging nuclear technologies to clean coal.
2020To ensure America's continued leadership position in clean energy. President Obama has set a goal to double wind and solar electricity generation once again by 2020.
2020Federal agencies are setting a new goal of reaching 100MW of installed renewable capacity across federally-subsidized housing stock by 2020.
2025The Department of Defense '-- the single largest consumer of energy in the United States '-- is committed to deploying three gigawatts of renewable energy on military installations by 2025.
Building Clean Energy InfrastructureHeavy-duty vehicles (commercial trucks, vans, and buses) are currently the second largest source of greenhouse gas pollution within the transportation sector.
PROGRESS:In January 2014, President Obama signed a Presidential Memorandum establishing the federal government's first Quadrennial Energy Review (QER) process, with an initial focus on our nation's energy infrastructure.
PROGRESS:In February 2014, President Obama directed EPA and DOT to develop and issue the next phase of heavy-duty vehicle fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas standards. The standards are proposed in March 2015 and finalized in March 2016.
PROGRESS:In 2011, the Administration finalized fuel economy standards for Model Year 2014-2018 for heavy-duty trucks, buses, and vans. This will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 270 million metric tons and save 530 million barrels of oil.
PROGRESS:The Administration has already established the toughest fuel economy standards for passenger vehicles in U.S. history. These standards require an average performance equivalent of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025.
Continuing the momentum for the future:
During the President's second term, the Administration is partnering with industry leaders and other key stakeholders.
Post-2018In partnership with industry leaders and other key stakeholders, the Administration will develop post-2018 fuel economy standards for heavy-duty vehicles to further reduce consumption through the application of advanced cost-effective technologies.
The Administration will also support the Renewable Fuel Standard and invest in research and development to help bring next-generation biofuels on line.
Cutting energy waste in homes, businesses, and factoriesEnergy efficiency is one of the clearest and most cost-effective opportunities to save families money, make our businesses more competitive, and reduce greenhouse gas pollution.
PROGRESS:The President's Better Buildings Challenge, enlisted more than 250 partners in cities, states, utilities, manufacturers, school districts, and businesses to improve energy efficiency. Since the program's launch in 2011, partners have saved 94 trillion units of energy and $840 million.
PROGRESS:In President Obama's first term, DOE and HUD completed efficiency upgrades in nearly two million homes, saving many families more than $400 on their heating and cooling bills in the first year alone.
PROGRESS:In December 2013, the Department of Agriculture announced it will provide up to $250 million to help businesses and residential customers in rural areas cut their energy bills through energy efficiency and renewable energy use.
PROGRESS:In 2014, DOE issued nine proposed and 10 final energy conservation standards for appliances and equipment. If finalized and combined with rules already issued, the energy savings will help cut consumers' electricity bills by hundreds of billions of dollars.
Continuing the momentum for the future:
The Administration will continue to take a range of new steps geared toward cutting energy waste and achieving President Obama's goal of doubling energy productivity by 2030, relative to 2010 levels.
2020To continue the success of the President's Better Buildings Challenge, the Administration will continue to expand Better Buildings Accelerators to support and encourage adoption of state and local policies to cut energy waste and save consumers and families money.
2030The Administration will build on its progress and continue to establish impactful energy conservation standards for appliances that '-- when combined with the progress already underway from the first term '-- will reduce carbon pollution by at least 3 billion metric tons by 2030, equivalent to more than a year's carbon pollution from our entire electricity system.
Reducing other greenhouse gas emissionsHydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) are among the fastest-growing greenhouse gases. Methane, another potent greenhouse gas, accounted for nearly 10% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in 2012.
PROGRESS:In September 2014, the White House announced new private-sector commitments and executive actions to decrease HFC emissions, reducing the equivalent of 700 million metric tons of carbon emissions globally through 2025.
PROGRESS:The Administration has partnered with farmers to cut emissions and increase carbon sequestration in the agricultural and forestry sectors through voluntary and incentive-based measures.
Continuing the momentum for the future:
The United States must lead through international diplomacy and domestic actions to reduce emissions and transition to safer and more substantial options.
2020The Environmental Protection Agency and the Departments of Agriculture, Energy, Interior, Labor, and Transportation will implement a comprehensive, interagency methane strategy.
The EPA will also use its authority under the Clean Air Act to encourage private sector investment in low-emissions technology by identifying and approving climate-friendly chemicals while prohibiting certain uses of more harmful HFCs.
Moving ForwardWhen it comes to the oil and gas sector, investments to build and upgrade gas pipelines will not only put more Americans to work, but also reduce emissions and enhance economic productivity.
The Obama Administration will work collaboratively with state governments, as well as the private sector, to reduce emissions across multiple sectors, improve air quality, and achieve public health and economic benefits.
Federal leadership
Since 2008, federal agencies have reduced greenhouse gas pollution by more than 17 percent '-- the equivalent of permanently taking 1.8 million cars off the road '-- and set an aggressive new goal of reducing federal emissions by 40 percent by 2025.
PROGRESS:Expanded energy performance contracts from $2 billion to $4 billion to provide energy efficiency upgrades for Federal buildings, at no net cost to the taxpayer.
PROGRESS:In December 2013, President Obama signed a Presidential Memorandum directing the federal government to buy at least 20% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020.
Continuing the momentum for the future:
President Obama believes that the federal government must be a leader in clean energy and energy efficiency.
2020The federal government will consume 20 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020 '-- more than double the current goal of 7.5 percent.
The President committed to reduce the federal government's direct greenhouse gas emissions by 28 percent below 2008 levels by 2020.
Even as we take new steps to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, we must also prepare for the impacts of a changing climate that are already being felt across the country.
VIDEO-MSNBC Host Blames Climate Change for August Heat Forcing Obama Speech Inside | Washington Free Beacon
Mon, 03 Aug 2015 18:31
BY:David RutzAugust 3, 2015 12:53 pm
MSNBC host Jos(C) D­az-Balart called the decision Monday to move President Obama's speech on climate change inside because of hot temperatures an example of ''Mother Nature '... making his point for him'' on the issue.
The network made a move against left-wing programming by canceling three of its progressive commentary shows last week, but this was an example of editorializing on behalf of the White House showing up in an ostensibly straight newscast.
''A couple of hours from now, President Obama will unveil a new plan to slash greenhouse gases and promote renewable energy, all in an effort to fight climate change,'' D­az-Balart said. ''In fact, it seems like Mother Nature may be making his point for him sometimes. Today's event was supposed to be held outside, but with temperatures expected to be in the mid-90s, officials figured it was too hot, so they moved it to the East Room.''
Obama's speech Monday announcing a push to reduce greenhouse gas emissions comes approximately six weeks after this year's summer solstice and seven weeks before the fall equinox, placing it almost smack-dab in the middle of summer in a place also known as Swampland.
According to Wikipedia, the highest-recorded temperature in Washington, D.C., ever was 106 degrees, on July 20, 1930, and Aug. 6, 1918.


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MSNBC Host Blames Climate Change for August Heat Forcing Obama Speech Inside.mp3
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