Understanding Our Many Fergusons: Kill Lines – the Will, the Right and the Need to Kill

by Noel A. Cazenave, Truthout | Op-Ed – The following is a condensed and revised version of a talk given on September 11, 2014, at a forum, sponsored by the University of Connecticut’s Africana Studies Institute, on the killings of Michael Brown and other African-Americans There seems to be a war raging in the United States for which there is no end in sight. A war, the outcome of which may well determine whether many African-American children will live to reach adulthood. More precisely, what is happening looks and feels like a race war that pits the right of African-Americans to have their young people live with dignity against the right of angry white policemen and vigilantes with guns to kill them. My understanding of what is happening in Ferguson and elsewhere in the United States developed as the result of a perfect storm-like convergence of a number of...

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Time to Update 1980s Air Quality Standards for Drilling in the Arctic

by Rebecca Lefton – In late August, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, or BOEM, released Royal Dutch Shell’s draft plan to explore for oil next summer in Alaska’s Chukchi Sea. The Center for American Progress has argued “that there is no safe and responsible way to drill for oil and gas in the Arctic Ocean.” However, both Shell and BOEM are moving through the regulatory process with the goal of approving exploratory drilling in the Arctic. Given this reality, federal regulators need to ensure that any offshore drilling proceeds as safely and as responsibly as possible. Oil drilling in the Arctic poses numerous environmental risks, one of which is increasing emissions of soot- and smog-forming pollutants. Air pollution from offshore drilling operations poses unique risks in the Arctic—risks not found in the Gulf of Mexico, the other federal body of water under BOEM’s jurisdiction. For example, the Inupiat people and...

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Conservative Gun Range Owner Bans American Muslims From Practicing Their Own Second Amendment Rights

by Stephen D Foster Jr – Once again, conservatives have proved just how hypocritical they are when it comes to religious liberty and gun rights. Despite all the open-carry demonstrations and whining by conservatives in protest of gun control laws they say amounts to taking guns away from citizens, a right-wing gun nut in Arkansas is openly infringing upon the Second Amendment rights of Americans. Right-wing blogger Jan Morgan is the owner of the Gun Cave Indoor Shooting Range in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Like other conservatives, she believes in the right to bear arms. But if you’re an American Muslim, she forbids you from exercising your own Second Amendment rights at her gun range. In a blog post, Morgan equated being a Muslim with being a terrorist and said that she doesn’t consider Islam a religion in a list of ten reasons why she banned Muslims from buying and shooting...

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Detroit Shutoffs to Continue After Judge Says Poor Have No Right to Water

By Laura Clawson, Daily Kos – Detroit water shutoffs can continue, thanks to the judge overseeing the city’s bankruptcy. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes was asked to block the shutoffs for six months, but refused. He not only refused, he took the opportunity to embrace the logic of the shutoffs: Rhodes’s order served as a stinging rejection of arguments made by thousands of protesters who staged rallies last summer fighting shutoffs and argued that there is a fundamental right to water service. “There is no such right or law,” Rhodes said. Alan Pyke points out that: By choosing instead to rebuke the notion that the health and safety implications of being cut off from running water service due to dire financial straits constitutes a violation of Detroiters’ rights, Rhodes positioned himself opposite the United Nations. After activists made a formal request for U.N. intervention in June, a trio of U.N. experts...

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Scalia Law Backfires! Pagan Prayer At Gov’t Meeting Pisses Off Teavangelicals (VIDEO)

by Frank – On May 5th, 2014, SCOTUS ruled to allow the practice of sectarian prayer before government meetings to continue. The United States moved a step closer to full blown Scalia Law that day. Teavangelicals were tickled! Eric Rassbach, Deputy General Counsel of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, expressed his glee to a Washington Post reporter: “Today’s Supreme Court decision is a great victory for religious liberty.” Family Research Council President Tony Perkins was similarly chipper is his statement to the Washington Post: “The court has rejected the idea that as citizens we must check our faith at the entrance to the public square.” Flash forward four months later. What do Teavangelicals think now? On Thursday, Wilson Robertson walked out of a Escambia County Board of County Commissioners meeting in Florida. The Christian Commissioner told a reporter with ABC3-WEAR News: “I’m just not going to have a pagan...

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Ferguson Officials Demand Exorbitant Fees for City Files Related to Michael Brown Killing

By Joan McCarter, Daily Kos – City officials in Ferguson are charging ridiculous fees to media outlets, civil right groups, and the public seeking documents on the Michael Brown shooting and its aftermath. The city has demanded high fees to produce copies of records that, under Missouri law, it could give away free if it determined the material was in the public’s interest to see. Instead, in some cases, the city has demanded high fees with little explanation or cost breakdown. It billed The Associated Press $135 an hour — for nearly a day’s work — merely to retrieve a handful of email accounts since the shooting. That fee compares with an entry-level, hourly salary of $13.90 in the city clerk’s office, and it didn’t include costs to review the emails or release them. Organizations like the website Buzzfeed were told they’d have to pay unspecified thousands of dollars...

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Willie Nelson and Neil Young Play Sold-Out Concert Protesting Keystone XL Pipeline

By Anastasia Pantsios, EcoWatch – Willie Nelson and Neil Young, whose Farm Aid concerts have been raising money for family farmers since 1985, demonstrated their support for the agricultural heartland in another way this weekend, headlining the Harvest the Hope: A Concert to Protect the Heartland. The sold-out event, hosted by Art and Helen Tanderup at their farm in Neligh in northeast Nebraska, was intended to call attention to the destruction the Keystone XL pipeline would wreak on farms like theirs as well as nearby tribal lands. Nelson and Young played separate sets for the crowd of 8,000, joining together to sing the Woody Guthrie anthem “This Land Is Your Land,” to which they added some lyrics about the pipeline. Lakota hip hop artist Frank Waln, Lukas Nelson and sons of the Real with special guest Micah Nelson (Lukas and Micah are Willie Nelson’s son) and the Stopping the Pipeline Rocks...

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Why Good News for the Ozone is Bad News for the Climate

By Steve Breyman, Truthout | News Analysis – We live in a world hungry for good environmental news. But that’s no excuse for journalistic or scientific spin passing as an unvarnished victory for the environment, nor for exaggeration of the value of a narrowly focused environmental treaty as a model for a universal agreement. The “good news” arrived via the Associated Press on September 11: Thanks to the Montreal Protocol, atmospheric ozone is recovering. Scientists have been monitoring atmospheric ozone since 1989, the year the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete Ozone (a protocol to the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer) came into effect (it was negotiated in 1987). The scientists released their latest assessment on September 10, the subject of the Associated Press report. Some background is in order. The Montreal Protocol is important on its own merits. A world of thinning atmospheric ozone...

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Understanding Authorizations for the Use of Military Force

by Ken Gude – Since President Barack Obama laid out his strategy to degrade and ultimately defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, or ISIS, the debate has turned to whether he has sufficient legal authority to carry out that strategy or whether he needs a new congressional authorization for this mission. This is now even more pressing as U.S. and coalition air forces began striking ISIS targets in Syria this week, expanding U.S. military action to a second country. While the Obama administration has asserted that it has sufficient legal authority for this mission, many legal scholars and some elected officials on both sides of the aisle disagree. There are multiple potential sources of authority in U.S. law for military action. As commander in chief, the president derives authority to use military force in certain circumstances from Article II of the Constitution. Congressional authorizations for the use of...

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Study: Natural Gas Expansion Will Raise Emissions, Worsen Climate

by Sarah Lazare – A national shift to natural gas for power and heat generation is no panacea for the climate crisis, new research finds. In fact, the new study published on Wednesday by researchers from the University of California, Irvine, Stanford University, and the nonprofit organization Near Zero published in the journal Environmental Research Letters finds that treating natural gas as a so-called “bridge fuel” could actually make global warming worse by delaying an otherwise faster shift to a carbon-free, renewable energy economy. The scientists asked natural gas experts for their estimates of natural gas supply curves, explained Dr. Christine Shearer, a post-doctoral researcher at the University of California-Irvine, in a video abstract of the article. The researchers then input this data into an energy economic model to assess different future scenarios of natural gas production against varying potential climate policies, including: no climate policy, a moderate tax on...

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Red Cross Volunteers: We Witnessed Israeli Soldiers Execute Palestinian Civilians In Cold Blood

by Kerry-Anne – Volunteers for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) operations in Gaza have testified to witnessing the summary execution of Palestinians by Israeli soldiers during Operation Protective Edge. Esteemed journalist Max Blumenthal was given unfettered access to the worst hit areas of Gaza during the summer’s onslaught by Israel.  He provided this testimony to the Russell Tribunal on Palestine in Brussels last week, as the world’s leading jurists and civil society members assessed Israel’s culpability for war crimes and crimes against humanity. The executions seemed to fall into two categories: humiliation, and functional. Here is one example of the jocular nature with which Israeli soldiers murdered some Palestinians in Gaza: “Dan Cohen and I conducted an interview with two ICRC volunteers from Gaza, 25-year-old Ahmed Awad, and 24-year-old Ala’a Alkusofi, who worked with ambulance crews throughout the war, the video of which will be released in...

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Politico Forced to Issue a Key Correction on ‘Giffords is Mean’ Attack

by Laura Clawson – When Politico went after former Rep. Gabby Giffords for being “mean” for making hard-hitting but factual ads against candidates who oppose even the most minor improvements to weak gun laws, one of the key points of attack was that “even some longtime supporters say go too far.” Nobody could say the ads weren’t accurate, so the claim that even Giffords supporters found them mean was the crux of the argument. But, uh, the article offered just one example of a “longtime supporter”: the Arizona Republic, characterized as “left-leaning” and “typically liberal-leaning.” Now, Politico has had to issue a correction that undercuts even that fragile premise. The correction comes after a multiday Twitter campaign by Jamison Foser: Hi, @Politico & @politicoalex. The Arizona Republic endorsed George W. Bush twice, McCain in 2008 & Romney in 2012. http://t.co/… — @jamisonfoser Some “left-leaning” newspaper that is. Post-correction,...

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Color in the Connecticut River Watershed

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On Ray Rice and Successful Ways to Combat Gender Violence

by Victoria Law – One evening nearly two years ago, as my daughter and I waited on the subway platform, I noticed a woman and a man standing several steps apart on the staircase. What caught my attention was a clatter as an umbrella bounced down several steps. Then I heard the woman say, very loudly, “Get away from me!” I asked my daughter to stay where she was, and I walked closer to the two. By then, the man had closed the distance between them and was standing less than three feet from the woman. As I drew nearer, I could hear what he was saying, soft enough that no one else but her could hear him: “Be quiet. You’re acting crazy. Everybody thinks that you’re crazy.” I looked at him, holding the umbrella out to her. I looked at her. I thought of the word “crazy” and how...

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Wearable Artificial Kidney Gets Green Light for US Trials

By David Szondy, Gizmag – In 2009, we had a look at the Wearable Artificial Kidney (WAK) concept that promised patients suffering from kidney failure an alternative to conventional dialysis. Now the tool-belt sized prototype has been granted approval for human testing in the United States by the FDA with clinical trials scheduled to take place in Seattle later this year. The result of over a decade of development, the WAK was conceived by a team led by Victor Gura at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles and the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. It’s a miniature dialysis machine small enough to be worn like a tool belt and is connected to the patient by means of a catheter. According to the team, with such a device, patients would no longer be spending time in long, boring static sessions, but could be out and about working or...

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88 Senators Urge Kerry to Shield Israel from Any Accountability at the UN

by Liberty Equality Fraternity and Trees – Last week, Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) and Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) led 86 other senators in a letter to John Kerry urging him to take steps to prevent Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas from seeking investigation of or redress for Israeli war crimes through the UN Human Rights Council and the International Criminal Court or a UNSCC resolution setting a clear date for the end of Israel’s occupation of Gaza and the West Bank. Here is the text of the letter: Dear Secretary Kerry,We were pleased to see that Hamas finally accepted an Egyptian cease-fire plan last month. Sadly, Hamas continued its attacks on Israel for weeks after Egypt’s initial proposal, leading to unnecessary and increased suffering in Gaza and Israel. As we look ahead to the next few months, we urge you to focus on three key objectives: (1) preventing Hamas from rebuilding its...

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Secret Recordings Inside The Federal Reserve Prompt Elizabeth Warren To Call For Investigation

by Alan Pyke – Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) want to investigate the Federal Reserve’s relationships with the banks it oversees after the release of taped conversations between managers and a former bank examiner at the Fed. The recordings were made surreptitiously by a former Fed employee named Carmen Segarra, who is trying to prove in court that she was fired in retaliation for her attempts to bring a cultural shift to the supervisory work of the powerful central bank. They include a reprimand from her boss that she is “arrogant,” that she should “have a sense of humility” about her work, and should be guided more by the consensus within her working group than by her own instincts as a 10-year veteran of regulatory compliance work in the banking industry. Segarra says she began making the tapes after her own colleagues tried on multiple occasions to...

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Dem Candidate for Michigan’s 93rd House District Sends Epic Response to Anti-gay Hate Group

by Eclectablog – You’ve probably heard of the Westboro Baptist Church and their hideously offensive protests. You may not have heard, however, of the Public Advocate of the United States. Public Advocate has been rightfully designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center and is run by Eugene Delgaudio, the Sterling District representative on the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors in Virginia. Public Advocate is a notorious anti-gay group and recently sent out candidates questionnaires to candidates in Michigan. One of these hit the mailbox of Josh Derke, the 27-year old Democrat running in Michigan’s 93rd House District. His response was epic. First, here is the cover letter accompanying the questionnaire Derke received: Dear Michigan Candidate, On behalf of Public Advocate of the United States and our members and supporters, thank you for your willingness to serve the families of Michigan by being a candidate for political...

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Black Lung Disease Surges to Highs Not Seen Since the ’70s, Research Shows

By Chris Hamby, Center for Public Integrity – Black lung, the dreaded coal miners’ disease that had been on the decline, has roared back. The worst form of the illness now afflicts a higher proportion of miners than at any time since the 1970s, new research from U.S. government scientists shows. The likely culprit, researchers say, is a failure by coal mining companies to use readily available tools to control the dust that lodges in miners’ lungs and causes the disease. Each case of advanced black lung “is a tragedy, and represents a failure among all those responsible for preventing this severe disease,” the researchers from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, wrote in a letter published last week in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. A spokesman for the National Mining Association said the trade...

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‘Umbrella Revolutionaries’ Sweep Riot Police From Hong Kong Streets

Despite tough tactics by security units, Occupy Central and its pro-democracy supporters use ‘peace and love’ to hold ground and increase numbers by Jon Queally – Despite deployment of increasingly harsh tactics over the weekend aimed at forcing pro-democracy protesters off the streets of Hong Kong, by Monday it was police units forced into retreat while the number of those backing democratic reforms and promising to hold ‘central’ areas of the city appear to be growing. Initially organized under a call to ‘Occupy Central with Peace and Love,’ the growing protest movement in Hong Kong has now also been dubbed ‘the Umbrella Revolution‘ following images of protesters using their umbrellas to shield themselves from volleys of tear gas shot by riot police over the weekend. Angered by efforts by the Chinese government to bring the once autonomous region more strictly under its control, those resisting the Communist Party’s anti-democratic policies...

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