Solar Dynamics Observatory Captures Images of Lunar Transit

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Next-Generation Microshutter Array Technology

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Oregon Marijuana Legalization Study Predicts $38.5 Million In Taxes On $145 Ounces

Posted by Russ Belville – A new study compiled by ECONorthwest has predicted that Oregon will reap $38.5 million in marijuana tax revenue in the first fiscal year of legalization.  The Control, Regulation, and Taxation of Marijuana and Industrial Hemp Act promoted by New Approach Oregon has qualified for the November election ballot and will cap the taxation of marijuana at $35 per ounce for flowers, $10 per ounce for leaves, and $5 per immature marijuana seedling. The Act does not affect the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act, so researchers did not include the 64,000+ patients in their calculations.  In the first three years, analysts expect the legal market to capture 40% of Oregon’s current black market.  There are 436,000 adults 21 and older who are consuming marijuana on an annual basis, 314,000 who consume monthly, and 108,000 who consume at least two out of three days per month.  The study focuses...

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Report Criticizes EPA Oversight of Injection Wells

The GAO says regulators are failing to adequately enforce rules for sites used to dispose of toxic waste By Naveena Sadasivam, ProPublica – Federal environment officials have failed to adequately oversee hundreds of thousands of wells used to inject toxic oil and gas drilling waste deep underground, according to a new congressional report. The report, released Monday by the U.S. Government Accountability Office, is critical of the Environmental Protection Agency’s inconsistent handling of safety inspections, poor record keeping, and failure to adjust its guidelines to adapt to new risks brought by the recent boom in domestic drilling, including the understanding that injection wells are causing earthquakes.  The EPA generally agreed with the GAO’s findings and characterization of the challenges the agency is currently facing. Concerns have mounted recently about potential water contamination from injections wells. California officials have ordered an emergency shut-down of 11 oil and gas waste injection sites and a review of more...

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You Will Not Believe What Rick Santorum Is Blaming On Same-Sex Marriage Now

by Kerry-Anne – America’s Christian Right has been busy blaming Same-sex marriage for everything from extreme weather events, to impending apocalypse.  So it must be hard for them to keep things constantly fresh as they run out of hyperbolic prophesies. But you can always rely on Rick Santorum to mix things up. His latest? Same sex marriage is to blame for single motherhood…Oh and polygamy is coming next. “What we need to do is reclaim what marriage is,” Santorum told Eagle Forum founder Phyllis Schlafly during a radio interview. “If marriage is simply a romantic relationship between two people — and by the way, that’s what it’s devolved to in the minds of a lot of Americans — if that’s all that marriage is then it’s hard to make the argument that any two people, any three or four people shouldn’t be able to get married.” The interview devolves into...

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Political nonprofits bungle IRS filings

Crossroads GPS, Patriot Majority USA to file amended tax returns after Center inquiry By Michael Beckel – High-profile nonprofits that invest millions of dollars in political campaign ads regularly omit from their tax returns information about the companies they hire, according to a Center for Public Integrity investigation. These annual tax documents are signed under the penalty of perjury when submitted to the Internal Revenue Service. Nevertheless, deep-pocketed groups — both conservative and liberal — appear to have bungled reporting rules requiring nonprofits to disclose the names of their highest paid independent contractors. Three of these groups — Crossroads GPS, the Club for Growth and Patriot Majority USA— acknowledged their errors when informed of them and said they plan to correct them. At least four others — Americans for Tax Reform, the American Future Fund, the 60 Plus Association and the Revere America Association — also appear to have made...

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B-And-Bee Shelter Looks to Comfort Festival Goers

By Adam Williams, Gizmag – Each year, millions of people head to their festival of choice with tent and sleeping bag in hand. Belgian company Achilles Design aims to bring those festival goers a little extra comfort – and save space too – with its honeycomb-shaped B-And-Bee shelter. Bearing some resemblance to the Japanese Capsule Hotels we covered back in 2011, the B-And-Bee features a modular, stackable design that takes up a relatively small physical footprint when compared to a large number of tents. The company also states that it’s easily transported and assembled. Access is gained via metal steps and a roll-up canvas sheet serves as a zip-up door. There’s a king-size bed inside that converts to seating, and the snug interior also sports luggage storage, a locker, light, and a power supply. One can’t help but think that the company is missing a trick marketing B-And-Bee solely toward festival organizers,...

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Voter turnout always drops off for midterm elections, but why?

By Drew DeSilver – With three-and-a-half months to the midterm elections, it’s still unclear the extent to which Republicans’ advantage in voter engagement will translate into more actual House and Senate seats. But we’ll go out on a limb on two predictions: A lot fewer people will vote this year than did in 2012, and Democrats are likely to suffer accordingly. Voter turnout regularly drops in midterm elections, and has done so since the 1840s. In 2008, for instance, 57.1% of the voting-age population cast ballots — the highest level in four decades — as Barack Obama became the first African American elected president. But two years later only 36.9% voted in the midterm election that put the House back in Republican hands. For Obama’s re-election in 2012, turnout rebounded to 53.7%. Who turns out to vote and why is of much more than academic interest. In an era of increasingly polarized...

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Grimes Uses McConnelling Video To Highlight Anti-Woman Record

by poopdogcomedy – OMG, yes! http://talkingpointsmemo.com/… Remember McConnelling? The internet meme borne out of what a wordless video of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) awkwardly smiling at the camera and meeting with constituents. Outsiders speculated that the video was designed to be extra footage, or b-roll, that outside political action groups could use to make TV ads, but now McConnell’s opponent is taking advantage of it. The Democrat running against McConnell, Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, wants to make sure your remember it. Her campaign for U.S. Senate has a new video out using the footage from the original McConnelling video but this time text going over some of McConnell’s votes over the years appears over the b-roll footage of McConnell. The goal of the ad is to paint McConnell as a lawmaker who has consistently opposed women’s rights over about 30 years. – TPM, 7/30/14 P.S. Grimes...

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Watch A Republican Senator Get Schooled On Climate Change By His Fed Up Colleague

by Jameson Parker – It’s 2014. The climate is changing. The science is definitive on that. And yet, some Republican lawmakers continue to insist the whole thing is a big hoax. If you think you’re tired of it, imagine being a fellow lawmaker who has to listen to this nonsense on a daily basis. It’s no wonder that one finally snapped. Last week, Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) voted against a Senate resolution that did nothing but acknowledge that climate change was real. There were no riders. No emission cap requirements. No pollution regulations. It just said “Climate Change is real” and given that fact, it poses a threat to the United States. According to the bill’s author Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), the bill wasn’t meant to come up with solutions (the hard part), it was just supposed to be a symbolic gesture that communicated to the public that Congress...

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Labor Board Delivers Victory for Low-Wage McDonald’s Workers

A nationwide expansion of union rights could be in store if NLRB ruling is upheld by Max Ocean – In a ruling being hailed by union groups and wage rights advocates, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) found Tuesday that fast food giant McDonald’s can be considered a joint employer of workers employed by its franchise restaurants, meaning the corporation can be found liable for labor and wage violations that previously only franchisees could be found liable for. The NLRB’s general council stated that he “found merit in some of the charges” that McDonald’s “violated the rights of employees as a result of activities surrounding employee protests.” Specifically, 43 cases were found to have merit with 64 still pending investigation. The decision comes in response to 181 separate cases filed since November 2012 by McDonald’s workers alleging that their involvement in minimum wage protests resulted in unfair retaliation, including firings...

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Campaign Shenanigans are Top Targets for Office of Congressional Ethics

By Dave Levinthal, Center for Public Integrity – Misusing taxpayer money? Nope. Luxuriating on special interest-funded junkets? Sorry. Accepting ethically questionable gifts? Close, but no tobacco industry-bestowed cigar. Potential political violations by House members, employees account for nearly half of the investigations Since early 2009, nearly half of the Office of Congressional Ethics’ investigations into U.S. House members and staff involve election activity such as potential campaign finance violations, according to a new report the independent office published this week. The Office of Congressional Ethics — the U.S. House’s independent, internal watchdog — has been much less likely to investigate members’ and their staff’s official activities. Shenanigans involving travel (17 percent), outside employment and income (11 percent), gifts (8 percent), official allowances (6 percent), financial disclosure (3 percent) and “other” (9 percent) account for the rest of the office’s 137 investigations since early 2009, the report shows. The focus on election activity...

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Louisiana Republican Literally Runs Out Of Interview To Avoid Explaining Why She’s A Birther

by Jameson Parker – Journalist David Wasserman has made a career of interviewing hundreds of politicians – this is the first time one has fled his office to avoid answering one of his questions. The distinction goes to conservative Louisiana state Rep. Lenar Whitney. In a state that is known for being very conservative, Whitney has made a name for herself as being the furthest right-wing she could manage. According to Wasserman’s assessment, Whitney “cites Minnesota’s Rep. Michele Bachmann (R) as a political role model, and takes kindly to the nickname ‘Palin of the South.’” Using those conservatives as inspiration, Whitney denies climate change, hates Obama, thinks all 11 million undocumented immigrants should be deported, and loves guns. Oh and she wants to repeal Obamacare, of course. It should come as no surprise, then, that Whitney has a long track record of legislative idiocy and willful ignorance regarding basic facts....

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Ruling Saves Mississippi’s Last Remaining Abortion Clinic

US appeals court affirms abortion access is a constitutional right by Nadia Prupis, staff writer, Common Dreams – Mississippi’s last remaining abortion clinic will stay open after a U.S. federal appeals court ruling on Tuesday. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a law that required abortion providers to obtain admitting privileges at local hospitals, which can be difficult to acquire as doctors’ applications are often ignored or rejected, both from local and out-of-state physicians. The Jackson Women’s Health Organization had been denied admitting privileges at seven hospitals in the area and was at risk of losing its license. “Today’s ruling ensures women who have decided to end a pregnancy will continue, for now, to have access to safe, legal care in their home state,” said Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights. “The promise of the U.S. Constitution is one that ensures all of our...

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On This Day, July 31, 1932 – Enzo Ferrari Leaves Driving to Build Cars

  1932 – Enzo Ferrari retired from racing. In 1950 he launched a series of cars under his name. Looking for work he applied for a job at Fiat only to be turned down. Eventually he was able to get a job at CMN, a small carmaker involved with converting war surplus. His duties included test driving which he did in between delivering chassis to the coach builder. About this time he took up racing and in 1919 he finished ninth at the Targa Florio. Through his friend Ugo Sivocci he got a job with Alfa Romeo who entered some modified production cars in the 1920 Targa Florio. Ferrari driving one of these cars managed to finish second. While at Alfa Romeo he came under the patronage of Giorgio Rimini who was Nicola Romeo’s aide. In 1923 he was racing and winning at the Circuit of Sivocci at Ravenna when he...

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Study: ‘Shocking’ Water Loss in Western U.S.

Satellites show groundwater supply at greater risk than previously thought By Deirdre Fulton, Common Dreams – The  drought-stricken Colorado River Basin has experienced rapid and significant groundwater depletion since late 2004, posing a greater threat to the water supply of the western United States than previously thought, according to a new study by NASA and University of California, Irvine. The research team used data from NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellite mission to track changes in the mass of the Colorado River Basin, which is the water source for more than 30 million people and 4 million acres of farmland. The satellites showed the basin lost nearly 53 million acre feet (about 17 trillion gallons) of freshwater between 2004-2013 — almost double the volume of the nation’s largest reservoir, Nevada’s Lake Mead, which itself recently fell to its lowest level since the 1930s. More than three-quarters of the total water loss in the...

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Survey Shows Americans Lead the World in Climate Denial

By Brandon Baker, EcoWatch – Just a week after a nonprofit revealed that the U.S. is lagging behind other developed countries in energy efficiency, a research firm’s data shows that the nation is the leader in denying climate change. With more and more denial earning time on TV and in Washington, it’s not all that surprising. Still, it’s sobering to see visual data of Americans’ attitudes toward climate change compared to other countries. The data comes from United Kingdom-based Ipsos MORI, as part of the company’s Global Trends study, which polled 16,000 people in 20 countries. The respondents were asked 200 questions about eight topics, including the environment. Graphic credit: Ipsos MORI  The above graph shows that the U.S. had the fewest amount of respondents agree that climate change is largely a result of  human activity. Meanwhile, more than 80 percent of respondents from Argentina, France, Italy, Spain and Turkey believe that humans are mostly responsible. Of the eight...

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In a rematch Obama loses BIG to Romney: Inside the CNN POLL

CNN’s is at it again. More Anti-Obama Deception and the Return of the anti-Obama pro-Clinton PUMAs by murphthesurf3 – An article in The People’s View by Spandan Chakrabarti from July 28, 2014 pretty successfully sucks the life out of the story that has been giving the GOP quite a thrill and a real fright at the same time. The poll, taken between July 18 and 20, purportedly shows that in a redo of the 2012 election Romney beats Obama by 9 points, 53 to 44 percent- thrilling for the GOP. In a hypothetical Romney vs. Clinton match, he lose by 13 points.- frightening for the GOP. Chakrabarti pokes holes in the story in an analysis of the polling sample by showing that the sample over-represents GOP voters, and goes on to postulate that the Democratic respondents seem to lean “PUMA”. Further, the author notes, the poll takes place in a...

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The demographics and politics of gun-owning households

By Rich Morin – Americans with young children in their home are just as likely as other adults to have a gun in their household, according to newly released survey data from the Pew Research Center. Overall, about a third of all Americans with children under 18 at home have a gun in their household, including  34% of families with children younger than 12. That’s nearly identical to the share of childless adults or those with older children who have a firearm at home. The new research also suggests a paradox: While blacks are significantly more likely than whites to be gun homicide victims, blacks are only about half as likely as whites to have a firearm in their home (41% vs. 19%). Hispanics are less likely than blacks to be gun homicide victims and half as likely as whites to have a gun at home (20%). To examine the demographic and political...

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Hillary Clinton’s Strengths: Record at State, Toughness, Honesty

But Benghazi Seen as Top Negative If she runs for president in 2016, Hillary Clinton would bring a number of potential strengths to the race, from her tenure as secretary of state to her perceived toughness and honesty. Fully 67% of Americans approve of the job she did as secretary of state, while majorities say she is tough (69%) and honest (56%). The public also rejects the notion that Clinton is unlikable – a change from the 2008 Democratic primary campaign. In a memorable moment from that contest, then-candidate Barack Obama turned to Clinton during a debate and said sarcastically, “You’re likable enough, Hillary.” Today, just 36% say Clinton is “hard to like”; a majority (57%) says that phrase does not describe her. During the 2008 primary season, about half of voters found Clinton hard to like (51% in March 2008). However, the new national survey by the Pew...

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Glenn Beck: ‘Obama Behind Calls For His Own Impeachment’

by  Kerry-Anne – Paid contrarian Glenn Beck has moved on from his important work on UFOs and building his own little right-wing city called Independence to wade into the Right’s obsessive impeachment debate. Beck’s take? The impeachment debate has nothing to do with the GOP! Obama is manufacturing the whole debacle himself…as a distraction. Speaking on his radio show, Beck gave his usual tear-stained, desk-thumping performance as he denied any person on America’s Right had eve mentioned Obama’s impeachment in earnest.  No, this was all another Obama miasma. Beck clearly neglected to check out Sarah Palin’s July 8th Breitbart column with its unambiguous title: “It’s Time to Impeach Obama”, which concluded: “The many impeachable offenses of Barack Obama can no longer be ignored. If after all this he’s not impeachable, then no one is. “ Oh, and Texan Republican Ted Cruz who not only called for the President’s impeachment but...

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‘Only Stones Remain’: Gaza Lies in Ruins

Palestinians in Gaza have been shocked by the scale of Israeli destruction, as long-term truce efforts continue By Mohammed Omer, Al Jazeera – BEIT HANOUN, Gaza Strip — Umm Ahmed Abu Sahwish holds stones in her hands. They are now all that’s left of her demolished home. “My home is gone and only stones remain,” the 65-year-old says. Hundreds of homes here have been destroyed, and unexploded Israeli missiles litter the ground at the entrance to the town, at Gaza’s northern tip near the border with Israel. The local hospital, emergency rescue equipment, and infrastructure have also incurred heavy damage from Israeli shelling. Another woman, from a family of 20 people, cries as she tries to dig through the rubble of her house. “Lifetimes of personal and household belongings are gone, with one Israeli missile. Where can we go? We have no food, water, bedding or extra clothes,” she says....

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Songbirds Dying From DDT in Michigan Yards

by Brian Bienkowski – ST. LOUIS, Mich. – Jim Hall was mowing the town’s baseball diamond when he felt a little bump underneath him. “And there it was, a dead robin,” he said. Just last week, he found another one. “Something is going on here,” said Hall, who has lived in this mid-Michigan town of 7,000 for 50 years. Two dead birds may not seem like much. But for this town, it’s a worrisome legacy left behind by a chemical plant-turned-Superfund site. After residents complained for years about dead birds in their yards, 22 American robins, six European starlings and one bluebird were collected for testing. The results, revealed last week: The neighborhood’s songbirds are being poisoned by DDT, a pesticide that was banned in the United States more than 40 years ago. Lethal concentrations were found in the birds’ brains, as well as in the worms they eat....

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Pushing Release of CIA Torture Report, Senators Threaten Use of Special Rule

Rarely-used resolution may allow Senate to declassify documents without presidential approval by Nadia Prupis, staff writer, Common Dreams – U.S. Senators are considering using a special rule to compel the White House to reveal the information from their investigation into the CIA’s post-9/11 use of torture to interrogate detainees. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) and Mark Udall (D-Colorado) have both warned the Obama administration this week that they are willing to use Senate Resolution 400, which gives the Senate Intelligence Committee the power to disclose information it considered to be in the public interest without presidential approval, to publish the report if the White House continues to stall its release. It reads: The Senate Select Committee on Ethics is authorized to investigate unauthorized disclosures of intelligence information by a Member, officer, or employee of the Senate and to report to the Senate on any substantiated allegation. The rule was established...

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Harlem Pastor: ‘Homo’ Supporters Will Be Cursed With ‘Cancer HIV Syphilis’ And Sent To Hell

by Vera – New York pastor Rev. James David Manning has been warning members of his church that God will curse those who support the LGBT community with “cancer HIV syphilis stroke madness itch then hell.” This claim was made on a sign in front of his Atlah World Missionary Church in Harlem. The full sign reads: “All churches & members that support homos cursed by thou with cancer HIV syphilis stroke madness itch then hell.”   Manning backs up this statement with a biblical reference to 1 Corinthians 6:9,  which says that men who engage in homosexual acts will not “inherit the kingdom of God.” The sign has infuriated many people, such as Twitter user @HIVstories, who posted a photo of the sign, and the blog Joe My God. Manning published an equally ridiculous YouTube video just days before @HIVStories shared the photo of Atlah World Missionary Church’s sign. In the short clip, Manning advised his church members to...

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On This Day, July 30, 1965 – LBJ Signs Medicare into Law

1965 – President Lyndon Johnson signed into law Social Security Act that established Medicare and Medicaid. It went into effect the following year. In 1965, the passage of the Social Security Act Amendments, popularly known as Medicare, resulted in a basic program of hospital insurance for persons aged 65 and older, and a supplementary medical insurance program to aid the elderly in paying doctor bills and other health care bills. It was funded by a tax on the earnings of employees, matched by contributions by employers, and was well received. In the first three years of the program, nearly 20 million beneficiaries enrolled in it. Debate over the program actually began two decades earlier when President Harry S. Truman sent a message to Congress asking for legislation establishing a national health insurance plan. At that time, vocal opponents warned of the dangers of “socialized medicine.” By the end of...

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That FL CEO Who Said He’d FIRE Everyone if Obama Elected? Guess What Happened…

By SemDem, Daily Kos – “The Queen of Versailles” was a film documentary based on the sleazy time-share mogul, David Siegel, and his wife, Jackie.  David had major financial troubles following Bush’s 2008 economic crises.  He even had to stop work on his private home, dubbed “Versailles”, which was to be the largest home in the U.S.  Poor guy. Naturally, Obama was to blame for this.  As you may recall during the peak of the presidential campaign, Mr. Siegel penned a letter threatening to fire all his employees and close down his Orlando-based company, Westgate, if Obama was elected.  A snippet from the full letter: So where am I going with all this? It’s quite simple. If any new taxes are levied on me, or my company, as our current President plans, I will have no choice but to reduce the size of this company. Rather than grow this company I will be forced...

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Conservatives’ Hidden Poll Revealed and Canada Wants Pot Reform

By Anthony Johnson, The Weed Blog– Canada’s Department of Justice conducted a poll to gauge how much support there is in Canada for marijuana reform. The poll was kept secret for months until the media outlet The Toronto Star was able to obtain a copy of the results. What did the poll find? Per The Star:  The poll, kept secret by the Conservatives for months, found 70 per cent of respondents believe pot laws should be loosened. Of the 3,000 respondents, 37.3 per cent said the government should legalize marijuana, while 33.4 per cent said the possession of small amounts should be decriminalized. Only 13.7 per cent of respondents supported the status quo, while 12 per cent said they believe Ottawa should impose harsher penalties. The Conservatives in Canada have been pushing attack ads against Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau, highlighting his pro-marijuana stance, as if it’s a bad thing. The...

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Michele Bachmann Suggests Labor Camps for Immigrant Children

Calls them ‘Americanization Facilities’ By HarpboyAK, Daily Kos– First Newt Gangrene suggested that poor kids be made indentured servants in order to get school lunches, now Michele Bachmann wants immigrant children to put into indentured servitude. KCTV reports Bachmann’s plan? Send those children to labor camps, which she warmly refers to as “Americanization Facilities,” with the goal of having them pay off their past, present, and future care expenses, while assimilating them into American culture. And in exchange for that labor, the children would be fast-tracked on a path to citizenship. During an interview with Minnesota’s Twin Cities News Talk, Bachmann revealed her plan while addressing the border crisis. The report continues:: Conservative radio host Jason Lewis asked Bachmann about the camps, and what life might be like for the children sent to them. “Well, we’d of course want these facilities to be ideal, you know, for the children to work...

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Federal Judge Strikes Down DC Ban on Carrying Guns in Public

Latest ruling against city’s gun laws comes after 2008 Supreme Court decision A federal judge on Saturday overturned Washington D.C.’s ban on carrying handguns outside the home, saying it was unconstitutional. The ruling could pave the way for new laws that would make handguns available to residents of a city that two decades ago had the nation’s highest murder rate. The ruling from U.S. District Judge Frederick J. Scullin represents the latest battle in a long fight over gun laws in Washington, once known for having some of the strictest controls on firearms laws in the country. A city official said Sunday that officials would ask for a stay and were weighing an appeal. The lawsuit was filed in 2009 by the Washington state-based Second Amendment Foundation and three District of Columbia residents and a New Hampshire resident who said they wanted to carry guns for protection. “There is no longer...

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On arrogance and war

How and why is Israel weakening Abbas, strengthening Hamas, and destroying Gaza? by Marwan Bishara – Only a few weeks ago, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu seemed to get away with it all. He rebuffed the Obama administration’s peace overtures, expanded illegal settlements in the West Bank, and reneged on his agreement with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas by refusing to release the last batch of prisoners, the 26 longest serving political prisoners in Israeli jails. Even the dramatic turn of events in the Middle East seemed to work in Israel’s favour, as its nemeses grew ever more preoccupied, if not paralysed by their internal problems. As for Hamas, it was on a downturn and growing increasingly unpopular. It was financially bankrupt and unable to pay salaries to its own rather big bureaucracy running the Gaza Strip. It was under siege, and under pressure to do something, anything to ease...

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Win! U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to Ban Use of Bee, Bird and Butterfly-Killing Neonicotinoids

by Christina Sarich, Natural Society – Due in part to a petition submitted by the Center for Food Safety (CFS), one government agency has come to its senses, agreeing to eliminate bee and butterfly-toxic neonicotinoids in the Pacific Region of the NW Wildlife Refuges. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) very quietly announced that it will phase out neonicotinoid insecticides (neonics) in wildlife refuges in the Pacific Region, including Hawaii and other Pacific Islands, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. Within the new policy, all refuge managers will be asked to exhaust all alternatives before allowing the use of neonics within the lands of the National Wildlife Refuge System. This will be the first US government agency to actually move toward a complete ban that is needed to protect our pollinating insects and birds from possible extinction due to pesticide use. This monumental step has happened due to a February, 2014 petition filed by...

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Congressman Slips Up, Admits To Congressional Bribes; Watchdog Asks DOJ To Investigate

by Justin Acuff – It’s well-known that congressional agendas are at least partially written by those paying for campaigns — that’s one of the major reasons there is so much pressure for campaign finance reform. However, it’s still illegal to directly trade money for votes, and that might be just what some congresspeople are doing. According to the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), Rep. Vance McAllister (R-LA) has stated that another congressman directly told him that they voted “no” on a bill in exchange for a donation of $1,200 to his campaign war chest. There are specific rules against such actions. The Ethics Reform Act of 1989 prevents Congress from accepting money contributions based directly on action in office, and taking money in exchange for votes violates federal law as well as House conduct and ethics rules. From a statement by CREW: CREW Executive Director...

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The Practical Limitations of Government or Dance Like It Is 1975

 by Mary, Plum Street Chili –  Because I am a women’s issues gadfly, I troll the Internet message boards for a chance to argue women’s issues. One argument I hear pretty often goes sort of like this: “No, you are not in control of your body because The Gummint makes laws about what you can do with it. You can’t just take drugs, for example. Or prostitute.”  Actually, I can take drugs if I so choose. And I have. I am astounded that anyone thinks The Rules keep people good. It is plainly evident that it is humanity’s goodness and longing for peace that keeps The Peace of the Rule of Law. I can choose whatever I want and pay for it. The government has only two responses to behavior it wishes I would not do: prohibition and punishment. These are weak responses in the face of psychoses and/or...

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On This Day, July 29, 2005 – Astronomers discover planet Xena Orbiting the Sun

2005 – Astronomers announced that they had discovered a new planet (Xena) larger than Pluto in orbit around the sun. For the first time, NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has seen distinctly the “tenth planet,” currently nicknamed “Xena,” and found that it’s only slightly larger than Pluto. Though previous ground-based observations suggested that Xena’s diameter was about 30 percent greater than Pluto, Hubble observations taken Dec. 9 and 10, 2005, showed Xena‘s diameter as 1,490 miles (with an uncertainty of 60 miles). Pluto’s diameter, as measured by Hubble, is 1,422 miles. Because Xena is smaller than previously thought, but comparatively bright, it must be one of the most reflective objects in the solar system. The only object more reflective is Enceladus, a geologically active moon of Saturn whose surface is continuously recoated with highly reflective ice by active geysers.   1588 – The English defeated the Spanish Armada in the...

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Pro Sports Teams Go Solar

‘Supporting clean energy will help achieve long-term benefits for our business, such as price stability’ By Rhone Resch – When it comes to clean energy and sustainability, solar looks to be a shoo-in one day for the “green” Hall of Fame. Today, more and more sports teams, sports leagues and sports organizations are embracing the advantages of solar energy. Last week, the National Hockey League (NHL) released a new sustainability report, saying, in part, “We believe it’s important to invest in clean, renewable energy sources, such as wind, solar and hydro in North America. Supporting clean energy will help achieve long-term benefits for our business, such as price stability.” The report went on to add: “In addition to pursuing reduction measures, five NHL arenas now supply a portion of their power needs for the facility by using on-site solar power or lower-emission energy sources, such as biogas-fueled fuel cell technology.” One good example of...

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New Ad Campaign Blasts U.S. Chamber’s ‘Desperate’ Attempts to Kill Clean Power Plan

By Brandon Baker, EcoWatch – A new ad campaign from the League of Conservation Voters characterizes the recent behavior of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other fossil fuel supporters and donors with three D’s—dirty, desperate and dangerous. The $250,000 “Desperate” campaign blasts the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and its allies’ attempts to kill the Environmental Protection Agency’s emissions proposal in advance of next week’s public hearings in Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Denver and Washington D.C. The ad is in response to the analysis from Chamber and U.S. House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) stating that the power plan would cost the country more than 224,000 jobs and $17 billion in electricity bill costs. “The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s phony analysis of the EPA’s Clean Power Plan should be shelved under ‘Fiction,’ LCV President Gene Karpinski said in a statement announcing the campaign. “Politicians like Speaker Boehner should be ashamed for doing the bidding of polluters and...

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Florida Plaintiffs in Marriage Equality Case Request The Case Go Directly To Florida Supreme Court

  by librarisingnsf – Florida’s AG Pam Bondi has already appealed the Monroe County (the Keys) marriage equality case to the State Appeals Court for the Third District. And, now the plaintiffs in the case are requesting that appeals court to allow the case to pass through and be heard next at the Florida Supreme Court. On June 17, Judge Garcia ruled that Florida’s ban on marriages of same-sex couples was unconstitutional (in this case) From the Miami Herald: Lawyers for two Monroe County men who won the right to marry asked an appeals court Monday to move the case directly to Florida’s Supreme Court.“The constitutionality of Florida’s laws barring same-sex couples from marriage is an issue of great public importance that has a great effect on the proper administration of justice throughout the state,” lawyers Bernadette Restivo and Elena Vigil-Fariñas, who represent Key West bartenders Aaron Huntsman and William...

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Another Brutal NYPD Arrest Caught on Tape, This Time for Petty Marijuana Possession

The New York Police Department (NYPD) is the star of yet another cellphone video of an arrest that may have involved excessive force. You can watch the chaotic scene, with officers meeting resistance not just from their target but residents in the area too, below: What did the man on the ground do to attract all those cops toward him to effect an arrest? This is your drug war. He was allegedly seen with a little bit of marijuana (something New York’s progressive apologists insist has been decriminalized in the city). PIX 11 provides details: Police say officers in Bedford Stuyvesant saw 32-year-old Jahmiel Cuffee in possession of a small amount of marijuana on Tuesday night in front of 223 Malcolm X Blvd. The video picks up after an officer asks Cuffee for ID. He hands over the ID, but resists arrest.  One officer pulls his gun, but once they get Cuffee...

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GOP Has Midterm Engagement Advantage

But ‘Enthusiasm Gap’ Narrower than in 2010 The Republican Party holds a clear advantage in voter engagement in this fall’s midterm elections, according to a new national survey by the Pew Research Center. Yet GOP voters are not as enthused and engaged as they were at this point in the midterm campaign four years ago, prior to the Republican Party winning control of the House of Representatives, or as Democratic voters were in 2006, before Democrats gained control of Congress. The latest survey by the Pew Research Center, conducted July 8-14 among 1,805 adults, including 1,420 registered voters, finds neither party has an advantage in voter preferences. Currently, 45% say if the election were held today they would support the Republican in their district or lean toward the Republican, while 47% favor the Democrat or lean Democratic. The two parties also ran even on the so-called “generic ballot” throughout...

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Five Misconceptions About the Israel-Palestine Conflict

By Hessam Akhlaghpour, Truthout | Op-Ed – The stories and images coming from Gaza are truly heart-breaking. Over the past three weeks over 800 Palestinians have been brutally killed by Israeli forces, most of them civilians, among them at least 200 children. Hospitals have been bombed, neighborhoods have been reduced to rubble, and over 100,000 of an already refugee population have been displaced within a tiny strip of land. All this is even more unbearable when one witnesses the efforts to try to justify Israel’s actions in the media. When most Americans say they consider Israel’s Gaza offensive to be justified that simply reflects the amount of misinformation and propaganda that exists in the media. I agree with the majority of Palestinians that the best way to end the occupation and the ongoing conflict is through peaceful negotiations and nonviolent resistance. The fact that Hamas won the elections in...

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The Satanic Temple Is Helping Women Opt Out Of Anti-Abortion Laws

by Stephen D Foster Jr – When the five conservative Supreme Court Justices ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby earlier this month, they gave conservative “Christian” employers the ability to force their religious beliefs upon their employees. The decision gave the religious owners of the craft store the power to deny female workers contraception coverage in their health insurance plans. In her scathing dissent, Justice Ginsburg warned that the Court had just paved the way for any religious group to opt out of any law they believe violated their religious beliefs. And if the Satanic Temple gets its way, conservatives will be begging the court to reverse itself. In response to the Hobby Lobby ruling, the Satanic Temple is making the best out of a bad decision by using it to help women exercise their right to choose. Because Satanists sincerely believe in scientific fact, which is a big part...

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Mitch McConnell’s Tea Party Problem

by Rural Progressive – You’ve got to wonder how many Kentucky Republicans are like Barbara Knott. She just quit the Daviess County GOP executive committee because she’s not for Sen. Mitch McConnell. Knott heads the Tea Party in Owensboro, seat of Daviess County in conservative western Kentucky, heretofore mostly McConnell country. Knott, who says she’s sticking by other Republicans, backed Matt Bevin, the senate minority leader’s tea party-leaning challenger, in the May 20 GOP primary. McConnell clobbered Bevin. On May 21, a lot of Bevin-for-Senate yard signs went into trash cans, but not the big one in Knott’s yard. Her 4-by-8-foot “Retire Mitch” sign is still up. She vows it won’t come down until after election day, Nov. 4, according to Phillip Bailey, news editor at WFPL radio in Louisville. McConnell and Bevin pledge allegiance to President Ronald Reagan. But they nuked the Gipper’s famous 11th Commandment: “Thou shalt not...

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Pascal Boniface: “Criticizing the Policies of Israel Is Not Anti-Semitic”

The Interview by Alexandre Devechhio, was published in Le Figaro (Paris), July 18, 2014, and translated by Jim Cohen Pascal Boniface is the director of the IRIS (Institut des relations internationales et stratégiques), a left-leaning think tank in Paris, and has written many books on international relations. His most recent book is La France malade du conflit israélo-palestinien  (Editions Salvator, 2014). This interview took place on the occasion of the prohibition by the French police of a demonstration in solidarity with the Palestinians in Paris on July 20. The demonstration took place nonetheless. FigaroVox: After the violent incidents that upset the pro-Israeli demonstration last Sunday, July 13th, the police authorities of Paris have undertaken an informal procedure to prohibit a demonstration in support of Gaza scheduled for Saturday. Is French society becoming a collateral victim of the Near-Eastern conflict? Pascal Boniface: France is not becoming the victim...

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Women Under the Gun

How Gun Violence Affects Women and 4 Policy Solutions to Better Protect Them By Arkadi Gerney and Chelsea Parsons – Violence against women looks very different than violence against men. Whether in the context of sexual assault on college campuses or in the military, violence by an intimate partner, or other types of violent victimization, women’s experiences of violence in this country are unique from those of men. One key difference in the violence committed against women in the United States is who commits it: Women are much more likely to be victimized by people they know, while men are more likely to be victims of violent crime at the hands of strangers. Between 2003 and 2012, 65 percent of female violent crime victims were targeted by someone they knew; only 34 percent of male violent crime victims knew their attackers. Intimate partners make up the majority of known assailants: During the same time period, 34 percent of all women...

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Clashes Between Libyan Army and Militias Kill at Least 38 in Benghazi

Health officials in Libya say heavy clashes between army troops loyal to a renegade general and Islamist-led militias have killed 38 people — including civilians — in the country’s restive east. A security official told the Associated Press that the fighting involved forces loyal to Gen. Khalifa Hifter and militias in the eastern city of Benghazi. The clashes started Saturday and continued through early Sunday morning. The Islamist groups launched an assault on the headquarters of a Special Forces unit near the city center, causing casualties among forces defending their barracks. The official said commando forces regained control of four military camps captured by Islamist militias in the past few days. Health officials say rockets fired during the fighting hit civilian homes, causing casualties and wounding dozens of people. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief reporters. Benghazi’s main hospital said the bodies of...

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Another Phony Scandal Blows Up in Issa’s Face

by ericlewis0 – From politicususa.com: Rep. Darrell Issa suffered a crushing defeat in his crusade to bring down President Obama when investigators concluded that top Obama aide David Simas did not violate the law by using taxpayer dollars for political activities. Bloomberg reported, “A special investigator’s office says it has found no evidence that David Simas, a top political aide to the president, violated a law that prohibits federal workers from engaging in partisan political activities. The White House Office of Political Outreach and Strategy “appears to be operating in a manner that is consistent with the Hatch Act,” said Carolyn Lerner, a lawyer at the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, whose job is to enforce that law and protect whistle-blowers.” … The investigator’s findings are a death blow to Darrell Issa’s claim that two members of the president’s cabinet violated the Hatch Act by using taxpayer dollars for partisan...

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Monsanto Ordered to Pay $93 Million to Small Town for Poisoning Citizens

by Christina Sarich – Big wins can happen in small places. The West Virginia State Supreme Court finalized a big blow to the biotech giant Monsanto this month, finishing a settlement causing Monsanto to pay $93 million to the tiny town of Nitro, West Virginia for poisoning citizens with Agent Orange chemicals. The settlement was approved last year, but details were worked out only weeks ago as to how the funds were to be spent. The settlement will require Monsanto to do the following: $9 million will be spent to clean dioxin contaminated dust from 4500 homes. $21 million will be spent to test to see if people have been poisoned with dioxin. Citizens will be monitored for such poisoning for 30 years, not just a few months. An additional $63 million is to be allotted if additional tests for dioxin contamination testing is necessary. Anyone who lived in the Nitro area between Jan....

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A Way Forward on Child Refugees

By Marshall Fitz, Philip E. Wolgin, and Angela Maria Kelley Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala have become increasingly more violent and inhospitable to children over the past few years. Honduras is now the murder capital of the world, with El Salvador and Guatemala not far behind. In fact, the murder rate in Honduras is now 30 percent higher than in Iraq in 2007, at the height of the insurgency. Gangs and organized criminal enterprises in these countries are increasingly targeting children. Is it any wonder, then, that children are fleeing these countries and heading for wherever they can find safe haven? In this year alone, the United States has seen more than 57,000 children arrive, a 106 percent increase from last year. According to the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, or UNHCR, asylum requests in the neighboring countries of Central America from children of these three nations are up...

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New York Times Endorses Marijuana Legalization

The Editorial Board of The New York Times has endorsed national marijuana legalization. The media outlet, which was created in 1851, has won 112 Pulitzer Prizes, and is the largest metropolitan newspaper in the country. The Editorial Board had the following to say in a recent article: The social costs of the marijuana laws are vast. There were 658,000 arrests for marijuana possession in 2012, according to F.B.I. figures, compared with 256,000 for cocaine, heroin and their derivatives. Even worse, the result is racist, falling disproportionately on young black men, ruining their lives and creating new generations of career criminals. There is honest debate among scientists about the health effects of marijuana, but we believe that the evidence is overwhelming that addiction and dependence are relatively minor problems, especially compared with alcohol and tobacco. Moderate use of marijuana does not appear to pose a risk for otherwise healthy adults. Claims that marijuana is...

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Something’s A Little Off Here – And I Think It Might Be Sarah Palin…

by Leslie Salzillo – For those of us in need of some comic relief, Sarah Palin, once again, delivers. In some ways, watching parts of the Western Conservative Summit, in Colorado, is excruciating. But in more ways, it’s pretty damn amusing. That is, if you can make it through Dan ‘All Racists Must Be Atheists’ Caplis’s intro. He says: “It is a privilege to be in the same room as Governor Sarah Palin. Stop and think about it for a second. Governor Palin is the most influential woman in the history of the Republican party.” (Okay, if you say so.) And then he steps into it deeper: “And she remains one of the most influential political figures of the 21st century.” (Now, Sir – I do protest!) Caplis adds more jibber jabber about how Ted Cruz wouldn’t be where he is today, had it not been for the endorsement of...

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On This Day, July 28, 1939 – A gal named Gale makes a multicolored wish

1939 – Judy Garland recorded “Over the Rainbow.” “Over the Rainbow” (often referred to as “Somewhere Over the Rainbow“) is a classic Academy Award-winning ballad, with music by Harold Arlen and lyrics by E.Y. Harburg. It was written for the 1939 movie The Wizard of Oz, and was sung by actress Judy Garland in her starring role as Dorothy Gale. Over time, it would become Garland’s signature song. The song has become one of the most enduring standards of the 20th century. About five minutes into the film, Dorothy sings the song after failing to get her aunt and uncle to listen to her relate an unpleasant incident involving her dog, Toto, and the town spinster, Miss Gulch. Dorothy’s Aunt Em tells her to “find yourself a place where you won’t get into any trouble.” This prompts Dorothy to walk off by herself, musing to Toto, “‘Some place where there isn’t...

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Marble Caves of Chile

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Killing Machines and the Madness of Militarism: From Gaza to Afghanistan

By Henry A. Giroux, Truthout | Op-Ed – Militarism is like a lethal virus that takes as its first victim both historical memory and any sense of moral and social responsibility. In the United States and Israel, at the present moment, it is no longer one strain of ideology that permeates these societies; it is a general condition that gives meaning to almost all aspects of life. Incapable of thinking beyond military solutions to social problems, militarism absolves individuals and governments, if not the general public, of the horror produced by the weapons it builds; moreover, just as it erases the memory of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, it suggests that the hundreds of children killed in Gaza is a military necessity. The apostles of militarism offer jobs to the public that engage in the production of organized violence; they preach war as a cleansing solution, while they sanitize language of any...

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World Health Organization Calls For Drug Decriminalization

Posted by Johnny Green – In a report published earlier this month, the World Health Organization (WHO) made a clear call for broad drug policy reforms, including decriminalization of drug use, harm reduction practices such as syringe exchange and opioid substitution therapy, and a ban on compulsory treatment for people who use drugs. This report by the United Nations’ leading health agency focuses on best practices to prevent, diagnose and treat HIV among key populations. “It’s good to see the WHO come out so strongly for decriminalizing drugs and rejecting compulsory treatment for people who use drugs,’ said Ethan Nadelmann, Executive Director of the Drug Policy Alliance.  “Its recommendations, grounded as they are in science and public health, drive home the need for fundamental reforms in U.S. drug policies, in particular the growing reliance on drug courts to ‘treat’ people arrested for drug possession.” In a section titled “Good practice recommendations concerning...

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FL-Gov: Crist (D), “I’m Not A Scientist Either But I Can Use My Brain & Talk To One”

by poopdogcomedy – BOOM! Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) recently deflected questions about climate change by saying, “I’m not a scientist.”Now Democratic gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist has offered a response. He said, according to SaintPetersBlog: “I’m not a scientist either but I can use my brain and I can talk to one.” On Friday, Crist reportedly attended a 25-minute presentation by Jeff Chanton, a professor at Florida State University who specializes in chemical oceanography and has offered to meet with Scott. Chanton discussed rising sea levels as a consequence of climate change, which scientists say threatens Florida’s infrastructure and real estate near the coastline. – TPM, 7/26/14 Here’s some more info: http://www.saintpetersblog.com/… A consequence of global warming, which Chanton said correlates with an increase in the emission of greenhouse gases such as carbon and methane starting with the industrial revolution, is rising sea levels.Billions of dollars of Florida real estate...

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The Ryan Budget in Sheep’s Clothing?

By Melissa Boteach and Rebecca Vallas – House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) recently put forward a plan to overhaul our nation’s safety net. Among other things, Rep. Ryan proposes consolidating multiple safety net programs into a single grant in a select number of states in the name of granting localities and community institutions greater flexibility. But while Rep. Ryan paints his plan as embracing bold, new reforms, his proposals are either another version of his radical budget—a wolf dressed up in sheep’s clothing—or a complete about-face on his commitment to balance the budget. Ryan can’t have it both ways. For the past four years, Rep. Ryan has set forth budgets that get approximately two-thirds of their cuts from programs that help low- and moderate-income families. His most recent iteration, released in April 2014, would turn Medicare into a voucher, cause more than 40 million people to lose their...

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Three Reasons Why The Corporate News Media Are Broken

 by raptavio – Like many liberals, I favor news sources that don’t reflect the corporate biases of what is often referred to as the “traditional media” (read: corporate media). But I also don’t believe in living in an echo chamber, so I consume those sources as well (often, when fact-checking news I read in the leftosphere). And in both spheres, but particularly in the “traditional” media, there is a distinct pattern of the presentation and coverage of news that has transformed what once was an important means by which citizens are informed to one which serves little purpose. This phenomenon extends to the leftish side of the “traditional” media as well — outlets like NPR, PBS, or MSNBC — who are every bit as guilty of this flawed presentation and coverage as their counterparts on the right. So hop over the clever-euphemism-for-the-divider-doodle and I’ll detail them. One: Confusing “Balance” for...

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Screeching to the Choir: Anti-Abortion Terrorism and Christian Fundamentalism

By Douglas Jamiel, Truthout | Op-Ed – When Justice Harry Blackmun came to the Supreme Court in May of 1970, he probably expected nothing more than the mundane, cloistered life of a SCOTUS judge. Fourteen years later, on October 11, 1984, guards were doubled at the doors of the court to protect him, and FBI agents were dispatched to investigate a letter threatening his life. In penning the Roe v. Wade decision eleven years earlier, he had attempted to balance a woman’s reproductive rights with the state’s purported interest in the result of that conception. Though his decision made abortion legal, others insisted he’d violated a higher law. They claimed it neither addressed the morality of abortion, nor the crucial issue of when life begins. These were issues segments of the religious right were willing to violently assert. While on its face this militant wing appears to be driven...

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Obama in appeal to stem child migrant numbers

US president calls on Central American leaders to help stop large numbers from crossing border during White House talks President Barack Obama has urged the leaders of three Central American countries to work with him to stem the flow of child migrants who have surged across the US border, warned that most of them would not be allowed to stay. In a White House meeting with the leaders of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, Obama said his administration had compassion for the children, but not many would qualify for humanitarian relief or refugee status. The meeting came as Obama struggles to contain a border crisis triggered by the tens of thousands of children who have crossed the Texas border with Mexico in recent months. Many of the migrants have fled poverty and crime at home, overwhelming border resources and putting election-year pressure on Obama to resolve it. “There may...

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The Sunday Funnies & Factoids

by Keith Lennox, All-len-All – The ‘I Can if I Want’ Edition – Happy Sunday, one and all.  Thanks for stopping by to grab your weekly dose of chuckles and meaningless factoids. Grey, dank, and unseasonably cool here.  I might just have to make a trip to the wine rack in the cellar earlier than I normally do today.  Hmmmm, got a feeling this is not going to be pretty.   ;-) Enough about my numerous vices and on with what you really care about, this week’s Sunday Funnies & Factoids. 1) René Lacoste, a professional tennis player, invented the world’s first logo shirt. Known as “Le Crocodile” for his on-court tenacity, Lacoste added the crocodile to his clothes in the 1930s – the first time a designer logo is known to have appeared on the outside of a shirt. 2) By law, French workers get at least 30 paid...

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Keith Olbermann’s epic rant against sexism in sports

I call it an “epic rant” only because it’s not Countdown and not a “Special Comment.” But, it is. Keith explains how sports sexism let the NFL get away with suspending a wife-beater for two games when an on-field stomp got another player a five-game suspension. Some of the transcript follows: “Does this look like a game? Is this during a play? Is this part of a violent sport? Does it look like this victim had been wearing a helmet? The National Football League’s concern for Janay Palmer Rice is slightly less than the concern for her that Ray Rice showed on that tape.” Olbermann started the episode with several examples of men demeaning women in sports (e.g. calling a female sideline reporter the b-word). “You don’t do that. You don’t do any of that. Because by some tiny amount, each one of those things lowers the level of...

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Is This U.S. Coal Giant Funding Violent Union Intimidation in Colombia?

Alabama-based Drummond Co. sued for alleged ties to group behind deaths, threats By Rosalind Adams, Center for Public Integrity – BOGOTA, Colombia — Cesar Florez is often hesitant to answer his phone because there might be another death threat at the end of the line. Sometimes the threat comes in a phone call, other times in a text message or an email. In April, flyers were posted in the restroom stalls at Florez’s workplace,declaring him and his colleagues “permanent military targets.” Until last month, Florez served as a local president of Sintramienergetica, a labor union in Colombia that represents the employees of Drummond Company, a U.S.-based coal-mining firm, in a country known for some of the world’s most severe violence against union leaders. Florez has been a Drummond employee for 17 years and active in the union for the last 14. Most recently, he worked as a marine operations technician in...

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Ted Nugent Doubles Down: Native Americans Are Smelly, Dirty Un-American People (AUDIO)

by Stephen D Foster Jr – One would think that Ted Nugent would shut up considering his mouth is the very reason why Native American tribes are pulling the plug on his concerts. But he’s incapable of doing that. Instead, Nugent went on the radio and doubled down on insulting them and anyone else who criticizes him. During an appearance on “The Lars Larson Show” on Thursday, Nugent repeated the nasty racist remarks he made earlier in the week when he called Native Americans “unclean vermin” who don’t “qualify as people.” Then he dove deeper into gutter. I call them unclean varmints, I’ve actually gone by them and I mean it, they’re hygiene-challenged, they actually stink, they’re dirty people, they’re unclean, they’re bused in to Connecticut and New Jersey and different places to protest a Ted Nugent concert but, Lars, they are so stoned or just brain dead, they actually...

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Gen. Dempsey: We’re Pulling Out Our Cold War Military Plans over Ukraine

 We’re Pulling Out Our Cold War Military Plans over Ukraine by Jon Queally, staff writer, Common Dreams – Hours after the U.S. State Department on Thursday claimed (though failed to describe) new evidence that Russia’s military was both increasing the flow of arms to rebel fighters in eastern Ukraine and firing artillery at Ukrainian Army positions across its border, Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey elevated the  rhetoric against Russian President Vladimir Putin and directly invoked the idea that a new Cold War-like posture is now being taken by the U.S. military. Speaking from the Aspen Security Forum, a defense industry conference in Colorado, Dempsey said Pentagon planners are now looking at military options “we haven’t had to look at for 20 years” and warned that Putin—who he characterized as escalating the crisis inside Ukraine—“may actually light a fire” he cannot control. And not...

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On This Day, July 27, 1974 – House Begins Impeachment of Nixon

On this day in 1974, the House Judiciary Committee recommends that America’s 37th president, Richard M. Nixon, be impeached and removed from office. The impeachment proceedings resulted from a series of political scandals involving the Nixon administration that came to be collectively known as Watergate. The Watergate scandal first came to light following a break-in on June 17, 1972, at the Democratic Party’s national headquarters in the Watergate apartment-hotel complex in Washington, D.C. A group of men linked to the White House were later arrested and charged with the crime. Nixon denied any involvement with the break-in, but several of his staff members were eventually implicated in an illegal cover-up and forced to resign. Subsequent government investigations revealed “dirty tricks” political campaigning by the Committee to Re-Elect the President, along with a White House “enemies list.” In July 1973, one of Nixon’s former staff members revealed the existence of...

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King County’s Wellness Plan Beats the Odds

By Christine Vestal, Stateline – SEATTLE – When King County, Washington, launched its employee wellness program seven years ago, its motive was clear. “We were being eaten alive by runaway medical costs,” says the county’s top executive Dow Constantine. By all accounts, the previous administration was desperate to bring down double-digit health care cost growth that threatened to destroy the entire budget. That partially explains why King County, which spends nearly $200 million per year to insure 14,000 workers and their families, who mostly live and work here in the county seat, was willing to risk millions more on a wellness program that would prove to break the traditional mold. It may also explain why labor unions took the unusual step of joining management in a plan that would ultimately shift more health care costs to workers. But it doesn’t explain why this employee wellness program, which received an innovation award this year from...

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Eric Garner’s Arrest and Death About More Than Just a Chokehold

by Scott Shackford – The brutal takedown and arrest of Eric Garner by the New York Police Department in Staten Island, which was quickly followed by the man’s death, became top national news after New York Daily News released video of the encounter (check here for more info). There was a rally about the incident on Saturday (with Rev. Al Sharpton in attendance) and Mayor Bill DeBlasio has said he was “deeply troubled” about the incident and called for more investigation. The focus, though, seems to be primarily on the chokehold itself used to take Garner down. Two officers involved in the incident have been assigned to desk duty during the investigation. A sample of some headlines about the circumstances of Garner’s death: “Death of New York man sparks closer look at police use of chokeholds” (Los Angeles Times); “Complaints About Chokeholds Are Focus of Study” (The New York Times)....

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America’s Shameful Year of Botched Executions

by  Kerry-Anne – Death by lethal injection normally takes between 10 and 15 minutes.  This week in Arizona, a botched protocol saw death row convict Joseph R Wood III take two hours to expire, gasping for air 660 times before he died.. This has reignited the debate on the death penalty. But how common is it? In 2012, the British Journal of American Legal Studies published a  study which examined 9,000 US based executions that had taken place in between 1900 and 2010.  270 of these executions had involved “departures from the protocol of killing someone sentenced to death” and were therefore botched. Overall, the researchers concluded that 3% of executions in the United States are botched and that lethal injection, the method of execution in the Wood case, has had a higher botching rate than any other method.  This may account for the fact that from 1980 (and the introduction of lethal injection), the botch...

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Mayor Reviling KKK, Atheist And Nazis Literature Is Sued (VIDEO)

by Gloria Christie – Are the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) and the Nazis upset that they can’t have a table beside Warren Mayor Jim Fouts’ prayer station which distributes religious pamphlets and prayers in his city hall? Probably not. But the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and two secular groups on behalf of atheist Douglas Marshall are suing the city and the mayor, because he wants to set up a so-called “reason station” and distribute materials promoting “reason and logic.” The Americans United For Separation of Church and State and the Freedom From Religion Foundation, the other two suing for Marshall, are basing their involvement upon claims that,  Fouts violated Marshall’s First Amendment rights by endorsing “traditional religious beliefs over atheistic beliefs.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LFj0iLs_Ohs&feature=player_embedded But Fouts insists that he cannot allow a displayed centered around disclaiming other people’s beliefs, “The city has certain values that I don’t believe are in general agreement...

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Sierra Club Files Lawsuit Against Michigan For Granting Permit to State’s ‘Worst Polluter’

By Brandon Baker, EcoWatch – Already known as one of Michigan’s worst air polluters, you could argue that Severstal Inc. is the last company that needs a permit to emit more toxins. But Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) did just that in May, which prompted the Sierra Club and three other petitioners to file a lawsuit Monday in Wayne County Circuit Court. The groups want the court to strike down the Dearborn Steel company’s permit, citing federal Clean Air Act provisions and actions allowing a state business-promoting agency to intervene with environmental regulators involved in a permit decision. The permit allows Severstal to release more than 725 times more lead into the air from one portion of the company’s plant, compared to the original permit from 2006, the Detroit Free Press reported prior to the approval. The new permit lets the company pollute at levels already cited more than 30 times in clean air enforcement actions by the...

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New Technique Could Boost Internet Speeds Tenfold

Advance also vastly improves the security of data transmissions By Dario Borghino, Gizmag – Researchers at Aalborg University, MIT and Caltech have developed a new mathematics-based technique that can boost internet data speeds by up to 10 times, by making the nodes of a network much smarter and more adaptable. The advance also vastly improves the security of data transmissions, and could find its way into 5G mobile networks, satellite communications and the Internet of Things. The problem with TCP/IP Data is sent over the internet in “packets,” or small chunks of digital information. The exact format of the packets and the procedure for delivering them to their destination is described by a suite of protocols known as TCP/IP, or the internet protocol suite, designed in the early 70s. Back when it was conceived, the internet protocol suite was a tremendous leap forward that revolutionized our paradigm for transmitting digital information....

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Michele Bachmann Accuses Gays Of Wanting To ‘Freely Prey On Little Children Sexually’ (AUDIO)

by Jameson Parker – Never is Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) more in her element than on a conservative Christian radio program. Clearly, it is there alone that she feels comfortable enough to spill all of her darkest, ugliest secret feelings out into the open. Like clockwork, Bachmann gay-bashed her way through a lengthy interview with radio show “Faith & Liberty” on Wednesday which involved her accusing the “gay community” of simultaneously oppressing her right to vehemently oppose gay people and also working to legalize child rape. Hey, I told you they were her darkest, ugliest hatreds, didn’t I? While discussing how mean-spirited and vindictive the gay community can be towards conservatives who oppose their way of life, Bachmann and host Dave Garrison seemed to agree that “those with a Christian worldview” are the real victims in the ever-advancing march towards marriage equality and anti-discrimination laws in the workplace. According to...

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Ben Stein’s Sexting Will Have You Begging For Anthony Weiner

by Wendy Gittleson – It’s always the quiet ones… Ben Stein, is probably best known as the economics teacher on Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. He’s also an economist in real life who had his start as a speechwriter in the Nixon administration. More recently, he’s known for being a staunch anti-choice conservative, who defended Larry Craig (the wide stance in the Minneapolis Airport Senator) and accused rapist and French economist, Dominique Strauss-Khan. In hindsight, it all sort of makes sense now. The married Stein is his own kind of perv. Currently, he’s making headlines for an alleged sexting relationship with a 24-year-old pregnant performance artist (not his baby). Stein introduced readers to the performance artist, Tanya Ma, in his Spectator column, where he compares himself to a teenager who gets mad crushes that last about 10 minutes. He also said, “my main obsessions in my life are my wife, my dog,...

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HIV Diagnoses Down in U.S., Except for Young Gay, Bi Males

HealthDay News – A new report offers good and bad news about the AIDS epidemic in the United States: The annual diagnosis rate of HIV, the virus that causes the disease, has dropped by one-third in the general population but has climbed among young gay and bisexual males. Significantly fewer heterosexuals, drug users and women were diagnosed each year with HIV, according to the report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, the annual diagnosis rate more than doubled for young gay and bisexual males. The push for safer sex may be falling on deaf ears in a generation too young to have seen the ravages of AIDS, said report co-author Amy Lansky, deputy director for surveillance, epidemiology and laboratory sciences at the CDC’s Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention. “It’s been more than 30 years since the first cases were reported,” she said. “It’s harder to maintain...

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