NBC Ditches Donald Trump Over His Anti-Immigrant Comments

by TARA CULP-RESSLER – NBC is cutting ties with real estate mogul and 2016 presidential candidate Donald Trump, citing controversial comments in which Trump said that undocumented immigrants from Mexico are “rapists” who “are bringing drugs” to the United States. “At NBC, respect and dignity for all people are cornerstones of our values. Due to the recent derogatory statements by Donald Trump regarding immigrants, NBC is ending its business relationship with Mr. Trump,” the company, which has aired Trump’s show “Celebrity Apprentice” for 14 seasons, said in a statement released on Monday afternoon. Earlier this month, when Trump officially announced his run for president, he said that the people who immigrate from Mexico “have lots of problems, and they are bringing those problems to us,” such as drug trafficking and sexual assault. He also suggested that, if he were elected, he would build a “great, great wall on the southern border.”...

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First Openly Gay Pro Baseball Player Makes History, Pitches Shutout

By KILEY KROH, ThinkProgress – Sean Conroy pitched a complete game shutout on Thursday night, striking out 11 and allowing just three hits, to lead the Sonoma Stompers to a decisive 7-0 victory over the Vallejo Admirals. He also made history, becoming the first openly gay active professional baseball player. “He wanted to be that guy, and coming out here and doing this shows you what kind of man he is,” remarked Tim Livingston, the team’s radio broadcaster, as the game came to an end. “To see this little field here in the middle of nowhere, when we look back it will have been the perfect setting for this.” The Stompers, part of the Pacific Association of Professional Baseball, play in a small 370-seat field in Northern California wine country. When the 23-year-old right-hander was announced with the rest of the starting lineup, Conroy received the loudest cheers. “It’s great they...

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Pastor Chickens Out: I Didn’t Actually SAY I Would Self-Immolate Over Gay Marriage

by JOHN PRAGER – Apparently, Pastor Rick “The Human Torch” Scarborough‘s convictions mean nothing to him. Just before the landmark Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide that conservatives think will usher in a new age of darkness, complete with plagues of toads and blood rain, Scarborough made an oopsie: He said that, should gay marriage be legalized nationwide, he would set himself ablaze. “We’re simply being preemptive and saying, no matter what the cost, we are not going to bow, we are not going to bend, and we will burn,” Scarborough said during a recent National Emergency Coalition conference call hosted by fellow homophobic bigot E.W. Jackson. The Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision in favor of marriage equality must have been difficult on the pastor. This, unfortunately (for him), left Scarborough with only a few options: In an extreme act of cowardice, he could abandon his convictions and attempt to explain away his remarks. He could just...

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Dalai Lama Endorses Pope Francis’s Encyclical on Climate Change

By Cole Mellino, EcoWatch – The Dalai Lama endorsed the Pope’s encyclical on climate change Sunday while speaking at Glastonbury festival, a massive five-day festival that takes place in Somerset, England. The Buddhist leader spoke at a panel on climate change, praising the encyclical and saying it was the duty of everyone to “say more. We have to make more of an effort, including demonstrations.” Several Republican politicians have criticized the Pope for speaking out about environmental and economic issues, including Jeb Bush, Rick Santorum and James Inhofe. But at the Glastonbury panel on climate change, the Dalai Lama said Pope Francis was “very right,” and he appreciated him releasing the papal document. The Dalai Lama called on fellow religious leaders to “speak out about current affairs which affect the future of mankind.” He also called for increased pressure on governments around the world to stop burning fossil fuels, end deforestation and transition to renewable...

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Six Black Churches Have Been Destroyed by Fires in Southern States this Past Week

by FaithGardner – In the week after nine African Americans were shot and killed by a white supremacist in Charleston, South Carolina, six predominantly black churches have now been burnt to the ground. Arson was determined to be the cause of at least three of these fires. David A. Love at Atlanta Blackstar writes: As the nation grapples with the massacre at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C., one of the oldest Black churches in the South, other Black churches have become recent targets of arson. From slavery and the days of Jim Crow through the civil rights movement and beyond, white supremacists have targeted the Black church because of its importance as a pillar of the Black community, the center for leadership and institution building, education, social and political development and organizing to fight oppression. Strike at the Black church, and you strike at the heart of Black American life....

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Greece in Shock as Banks Shut After Creditor Talks Break Down

Less than 48 hours to pay back $1.77 billion of IMF loans Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras spoke to European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker on Monday and asked for help in securing a short extension of the country’s bailout to allow time for a referendum on its terms, a government official said. Previous requests for such an extension had been refused. Greeks struggled Monday to adjust to to shuttered banks, closed cash machines and a climate of rumors and conspiracy theories on Monday as a breakdown in talks between Athens and its creditors plunged the country deep into crisis. Tsipras told Juncker that “obstructing the Greek people’s democratic expression by closing banks goes against the democratic tradition of Europe,” according to a Greek official. Tsipras asked Juncker to help get the program “extended by a few days and help restore the Greek banking system’s liquidity.” The Greek prime minister...

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Victory for Democracy as Court Sides with Voters over ‘Self-Dealing Legislators’

by Deirdre Fulton – SCOTUS upholds ‘the right of We the People to take redistricting out of secret backrooms run by politicians and into the public light of citizen-driven commissions.’ In a decision hailed as a “major victory for voters,” the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday upheld an Arizona ballot initiative, adopted by voters in 2000, which took redistricting power away from elected politicians and gave it to a nonpartisan commission. The 5-4 decision (pdf), which saw Justice Anthony Kennedy serving as the swing vote, allows redistricting commissions to remain in place across the country and in turn works to curb the practice known as gerrymandering—the manipulation of electoral districts so as to favor one political party. “This decision reaffirms the people’s authority to rein in self-dealing legislators,” said Wendy Weiser, director of the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, which submitted an amicus...

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Arnold Schwarzenegger Terminates A Homophobe With An Epic Line

By STEPHEN D FOSTER JR, Addicting Info – The Terminator himself personally took down a homophobic fan on his Facebook page after the actor showed his support for the LGBT community on Friday. On Friday morning the Supreme Court finally released their ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges and decided in favor of marriage equality, making same-sex marriage officially legal in all 50 states. After the historic ruling, Arnold Schwarzenegger changed his profile picture by adding a rainbow over his Terminator character to show his support for gay people across the country and to celebrate their victory. An overwhelming majority of Arnold’s fans liked his post and appreciated his stance on equality, but not all of them did. A fan and apparent homophobe named Jakub Bielawski commented on the post by asking Schwarzenegger what’s wrong with him and declared that he now has to unlike the legendary actor’s page because of his support...

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What Caused the Charleston Massacre?

by John Kiriakou – Relentless racism and a powerful anti-gun control lobby make for a deadly combination The recent mass murder of worshippers in an African-American church in Charleston, South Carolina raises troubling questions for all Americans. First among them: How could this have happened? I think the answer to that one is easy. We live in a heavily armed society. And hundreds of groups in our country still openly proselytize violence against people of color and other minorities. So perhaps a better question is, how could this not have happened? Most Americans were outraged in December 2012 when a mentally ill teenager murdered 26 people — including 20 first-graders — in an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut. What happened afterward? Almost nothing. President Barack Obama signed a handful of executive orders calling for background checks for gun purchasers, but Congress rejected new federal legislation to restrict guns. Indeed, in the...

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Eco-Friendly Designer Grows Trees that Become Chairs, Tables and Lampshades

By Mihai Andrei, ZMEScience – Taking a radically opposite stance on how we design our furniture, designer and innovator Gavin Munro has come up with a unique way to create furniture. Instead of cutting wood and joining the pieces together, he simply grows trees into chairs or tables. The idea is simple, yet innovative: let nature do all the work, and enjoy your eco-friendly furniture. Munro now spearheads a project called Full Grown, which currently grows 400 tables, chairs and lampshades which he hopes to harvest next year. He explains the process: “You start by training and pruning young tree branches as they grow over specially made formers. At certain points we then graft them together so that the object grows in to one solid piece – I’m interested in the way this is like a kind of organic 3D printing that uses air, soil and sunshine as its source material. After...

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Owners to Reduce Emissions at Navajo Nation Four Corners Power Plant

The U.S. Department of Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a federal Clean Air Act settlement Wednesday with several Arizona and New Mexico-based utility companies to install control technology to reduce harmful air pollution from the Four Corners Power Plant located on the Navajo Nation near Shiprock, New Mexico. The settlement requires an estimated $160 million in upgrades to the plant’s sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxide (NOx) pollution controls.  The settlement also requires $6.7 million to be spent on three health and environmental mitigation projects for tribal members and payment of a $1.5 million civil penalty.  EPA expects that the actions required by the settlement will reduce harmful emissions by approximately 5,540 tons per year. “This settlement is a significant achievement for air quality and the health of the people of the Navajo Nation and the surrounding region,” said Assistant Attorney General John C. Cruden for...

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Bree Newsome Is Out On Bond And Money Is Pouring In For Legal Fees in SC Confederate Flag Takedown

By ELIZABETH PRESTON, Addicting Info – Over the weekend, the internet was a frenzy with #FreeBree, the hashtag that began trending after Brittany (Bree) Newsome did what the majority of Americans wanted done, but few had the guts to do: Actually take down the confederate battle flag at the South Carolina State Capitol. The 30-year-old Charlotte, North Carolina woman and her accomplice James Ian Tyson were arrested after Newsome climbed the 30-foot steel flagpole and removed the flag. Both have since been released after posting $3,000 bond. However, in typical fashion, the internet blew up with support of the activist whom we all lived through vicariously, cheering her on while watching the video of her skillful climb. Through the fundraising site Indiegogo, CREDO Action has raised over $100,000 in online donations for the courageous woman and the cause. The site says: “We need to bail out Bree and James Tyson, the activist who was arrested with her...

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Wingnut Congressman Tells Fox News Americans Were ‘Just Fine’ Before Obamacare (VIDEO)

by WES WILLIAMS – Out of all of the crazies and fanatics that make up the current Republican party, there are few, if any, who are crazier than Iowa Congressman Steve King. King is on record making statements that make most sane people cringe, such as his defense of dog fighting, or his claim that most immigrants are drug smugglers. Now King is upset about the Supreme Court’s ruling on Obamacare, and of course he had some stupid things to say. King appeared on Fox’s America’s News HQ on June 27, to talk about the Supreme Court rulings on Obamacare and marriage equality. Host Elizabeth Prann starts out by asking him to weigh in on the Obamacare ruling. Never one to avoid hyperbole, King says that he thinks Obamacare is “a malignant tumor that is metastasizing, and feeding on God-given American liberty.” Gosh, and here we thought it was a program that has...

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Iceland Just Jailed 7 Bank Executives For Market Manipulation

By True Activist In one of the biggest cases of its kind, seven executives from the Kaupþing bank have been handed prison sentences for market manipulation this week. According to The icelandmonitor: “By fully financing share purchases with no other surety than the shares themselves, the bank was accused of giving a false and misleading impression of demand for Kaupþingi shares by means of deception and pretence.” They were accused of trying to artificially inflate share prices in 2008 by using the bank’s funds to buy shares. The Iceland Reveiew reported: The court case began in late April, and the hearings were the most wide-ranging and complex in Icelandic legal history. Over 50 witnesses were called, and testimony lasted for many weeks. They were quizzed on the nine defendants’ suspected illegal trade in their own bank’s shares in the lead up to its collapse. Charges laid by the Special Prosecutor claimed...

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High School Students Come Up With Brilliant Way To Detect Sexually Transmitted Infections

By SAM P.K. COLLINS, ThinkProgress – Even with the availability of condoms, many young people unknowingly contract and spread sexually transmitted infections, creating what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns may be a public health emergency in the making for millennials. But some young people are taking matters into their own hands. A group of high school students in the United Kingdom have invented a condom that changes color when it comes into contact with the bacteria associated with the presence of STIs. The trio — 14-year-old Daanyaal Ali, 13-year-old Muaz Nawaz, and 14-year-old Chirag Shah of Isaac Newton Academy in Iflord, Essex — said their invention, appropriately named the “S.T.EYE,” allows sexually active people quickly and privately address issues of sexual health in the privacy of their home without the awkwardness of a visit to the clinic. Colors include yellow for herpes, blue for syphilis, and purple for...

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Man On His Third Wife Has No Good Defense For His Support Of ‘Traditional’ Marriage

by JACK JENKINS – Businessman and GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump locked himself into a painfully awkward conversation about marriage equality this weekend, when CNN called him out for citing the idea of “traditional marriage” while attempting to decry the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide — this, from a man in his third marriage. While speaking with Jake Tapper on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday, Trump was asked to respond to the recent Supreme Court ruling allowing same-sex couples to legally marry in all 50 states. When Trump invoked the conservative conception of marriage, Tapper pushed back. Tapper: You said a few years ago that you were evolving. Where are you? Trump: Yeah, I’m for traditional marriage. It is changing rapidly— Tapper: But what do you say to a lesbian who is married or a gay man who is married who says, “Donald Trump, what’s...

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States Eye Investments in Low-Carbon and Resilient Energy, Transportation Infrastructure

By Cathleen Kelly, Center for American Progress – Ask 50 governors or 100 mayors or 1,000 city council members to name their biggest challenges in serving their constituents and it’s a safe bet that a lack of money will top the list. Across the country, state and local leaders face budget shortfalls that, in some cases, are preventing them from accomplishing even the most basic tasks, from repairing roads, to training first responders, adequately maintaining schools, and providing critical social services. The need to upgrade the nation’s infrastructure looms large. In 2013, the American Society of Civil Engineers gave America’s aging energy and public transit infrastructure grades of D+ and D, respectively. In the nation’s first Quadrennial Energy Review, or QER, released in April 2015, federal energy experts highlight the growing vulnerability of the nation’s electrical grid to extreme weather and terrorist threats and the need for public and...

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List of Foods We Will Lose if We Don’t Save the Bees

by CHRISTINA SARICH – Many pesticides have been found to cause grave danger to our bees, and with the recent colony collapses in Oregon, it’s time to take a hard look at what we would be missing without bee pollination. In just the last ten years, over 40% of the bee colonies in the US have suffered Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). Bees either become so disoriented they can’t find their way back to their hives and die away from home, or fly back poison-drunk and die at the foot of their queen. There are many arguments as to what is causing CCD, but the most logical and likely culprit is the increased usage of pesticides by the likes of Monsanto and others. A study by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has labeled one pesticide, called clothianidin, as completely unacceptable for use, and banned it from use entirely. Meanwhile, the U.S....

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On Marriage Equality, Another Bend Toward Justice

by Isaiah Poole – Members of the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, wearing blue T-shirts emblazoned with the name of a popular gay sports bar in Washington, were on a strategic street corner singing “The Impossible Dream,” the Supreme Court to their front and the Capitol to their rear. Following that star, no matter how hopeless, no matter how far. If there ever were an impossible dream, marriage equality was it just a few short years ago. Even some of the most ardent crusaders for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality believed that demanding recognition for same-sex marriage was a fool’s errand. But people in love can be the most audacious of rebels. So it was that seven same-sex couples sued the state of Massachusetts in 2001, at a time when some Democrats in the state legislature were helping to lead the anti-marriage-equality effort and much of the gay rights establishment...

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300+ Wildfires Rage in Alaska

By Cole Mellino, EcoWatch – Thousands of firefighters are working to put out wildfires in Alaska as they blaze across the state. The Alaska Division of Forestry reported that as of today there are 317 wildfires burning in the Last Frontier. On Wednesday alone, there were 40 new fires and Thursday saw an additional 28 new fires, bringing the total acreage burned to 624,496 acres. Alaska is no stranger to wildfires, but climate change has drastically increased the frequency of wildfires. On Wednesday, Todd Sanford, a climate scientist at Climate Central, released a report on how Alaska is entering a new era for wildfires. This map shows the current active fires in Alaska. That’s a lot of fires. Photo credit: Alaska Interagency Coordination Center The report says: In the past 60 years, Alaska has warmed more than twice as fast as the rest of the country, with average temperatures up by nearly three...

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