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Archive for August 4th, 2011

Heat Kills High School Football Coach

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 4th, 2011 4:49 am by HL

Heat Kills High School Football Coach
An assistant high school coach in Plano, Texas, died after collapsing during practice Monday. Wade McClain, 55, was stricken on the football field at Prestonwood Christian Academy during the first day of practice. The cause of death was heart issues related to heat exposure. Temperatures in the Dallas-Fort Worth area hit 107 degrees that day.



Early Morning Swim

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 4th, 2011 4:48 am by HL

Early Morning Swim

 

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Late Late Night FDL: Summer In The City
Joe CockerSummer In The City.

Joe CockerSummer In The City.

What’s on your mind?

Ever growing Republican Land
Well, progress was good while it lasted.

Our current President's obvious role-model by cliff1066 at flickr.com

Lost in our continued economic devolution to the world of the Cleveland Administration (either non-consecutive term) are the human rights issues of the marching (they are very good at marching) Right.

The shame of Iowa, Steve King, for example:

In apocalyptic tones, King warned that free birth control would “prevent a generation” from being born and make America a “dying civilization”

Remember it’s not just abortion they are at war with, it is plain ol’ sex that doesn’t involve the married, missionary, and unprotected. Ironically, considering King’s proclivities, just like the Catholic Church wants to keep Africa.


Kucinich Says Obama Got the Deal He Wanted

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 4th, 2011 4:47 am by HL

Kucinich Says Obama Got the Deal He Wanted
Is the president a bad negotiator, or did he get the deal he wanted all along, as Rep. Dennis Kucinich suggests? Also on this week’s Truthdig Radio in collaboration with KPFK: the phony Social Security scare, teaching Shakespeare in Iraq and more.

Is the president a bad negotiator, or did he get the deal he wanted all along, as Rep. Dennis Kucinich suggests? Also on this week’s Truthdig Radio in collaboration with KPFK: the phony Social Security scare, teaching Shakespeare in Iraq and more.


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Mubarak’s ‘Day of Judgment’
The criminal trial for Hosni Mubarak, televised for all the Arab world to see, began Wednesday with the once-powerful, longtime autocratic ruler of Egypt denying all formal charges against him of corruption and of complicity in the killing of protesters. From behind courtroom bars, his frail body laid out on a medical gurney, Mubarak told the judge, “I deny all these accusations completely.” Thousands of people gathered to view the proceedings, expressing doubt that the trial would go on under normal conditions. Some were concerned that Mubarak might not appear for fear of humiliation or because of his precarious health. Others feared the judge would quickly adjourn or dismiss the case. But opening-day proceedings for the trial took about four hours, and charges against Mubarak didn’t come up until well into the second hour. —BF The New York Times: Even the most ardent in calling for his prosecution doubted until hours before the trial began that Mr. Mubarak, 83, would appear in a cage fashioned of bars and wire mesh, a reflection of the suspicion and unease that reigns in a country whose revolution remains unresolved. As a helicopter ferried him to the courtroom, housed in a police academy that once bore his name, cheers went up from a crowd gathered outside. “The criminal is coming!” shouted Maged Wahba, a 40-year-old lawyer. The sheer symbolism of the day, covered live by television and watched by millions, made it one of the most visceral episodes in the Arab world, where uprisings have shaken the rule of authoritarian leaders. In a region whose destiny was so long determined by rulers who deemed their people unfit to rule, one of those rulers was being tried by his public. On this day, the aura of power — uncontested and distant — was made mundane, and Mr. Mubarak, the former president, dressed in white and bearing a look some read as disdain, was humbled. Read more

The criminal trial for Hosni Mubarak, televised for all the Arab world to see, began Wednesday with the once-powerful, longtime autocratic ruler of Egypt denying all formal charges against him of corruption and of complicity in the killing of protesters.

From behind courtroom bars, his frail body laid out on a medical gurney, Mubarak told the judge, “I deny all these accusations completely.”

Thousands of people gathered to view the proceedings, expressing doubt that the trial would go on under normal conditions. Some were concerned that Mubarak might not appear for fear of humiliation or because of his precarious health. Others feared the judge would quickly adjourn or dismiss the case. But opening-day proceedings for the trial took about four hours, and charges against Mubarak didn’t come up until well into the second hour. —BF

The New York Times:

Even the most ardent in calling for his prosecution doubted until hours before the trial began that Mr. Mubarak, 83, would appear in a cage fashioned of bars and wire mesh, a reflection of the suspicion and unease that reigns in a country whose revolution remains unresolved. As a helicopter ferried him to the courtroom, housed in a police academy that once bore his name, cheers went up from a crowd gathered outside.

“The criminal is coming!” shouted Maged Wahba, a 40-year-old lawyer.

The sheer symbolism of the day, covered live by television and watched by millions, made it one of the most visceral episodes in the Arab world, where uprisings have shaken the rule of authoritarian leaders. In a region whose destiny was so long determined by rulers who deemed their people unfit to rule, one of those rulers was being tried by his public. On this day, the aura of power — uncontested and distant — was made mundane, and Mr. Mubarak, the former president, dressed in white and bearing a look some read as disdain, was humbled.

Read more

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Rick Jacobs: Prop 8 Ruling One Year Later: Pulling Back the Curtain on the Right’s Dirty Tricks

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 4th, 2011 4:46 am by HL

Rick Jacobs: Prop 8 Ruling One Year Later: Pulling Back the Curtain on the Right’s Dirty Tricks
A year ago today, U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn R. Walker overturned Prop 8. I thought the war had finally been won. We were elated. It was truly justice done. But as with so much else, it was also justice unfinished.

Trey Ellis: Obama and Me
Despite the many missteps of this first term I am hopeful that in a second, freed from the need to ever again campaign, President Obama will finally help usher in change that we can believe in.

How Washington Took U.S. To The Brink In Debt Fight
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The world’s largest economy was headed toward an unprecedented default, and all Washington wanted to talk about was the manner in which…

Sex Scandal-Plagued Congressman Resigning
Rep. David Wu (D-Ore.) intends to resign from congress late on Thursday night, National Journal reports. Last month, Wu signaled he would step down from…

Michael Steele: Taking Ownership of the American Dream
African-American’s 21st century reality is simply this: it’s time to stand for something different. The debate we’re having is no longer productive. It’s time for solutions that come from us, from within our house, our family and ultimately our community as a whole.


SpongeBob SquarePants Makes An Enemy

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 4th, 2011 4:45 am by HL

SpongeBob SquarePants Makes An Enemy

Fox News repeatedly criticized a SpongeBob SquarePants book and video about manmade global warming because “they did not tell kids that that is actually a disputed fact.” In reality, it is not controversial among the mainstream scientific community that humans are changing the climate.

Fox Blasts Nickelodeon For “Pushing A Global Warming Agenda”

CNS News Reported That Education Department Offered Free Books, Including SpongeBob Global Warming Tale. In an August 2 article, CNSNews.com reported that during a July Department of Education event promoting reading, children “were treated to free books,” including a SpongeBob SquarePants book that “promotes the idea that global warming is manmade.” [CNSNews, 8/2/11]

  • Glenn Beck’s Website Asked If Ed. Dept. Is “Indoctrinating Children.” On August 2, Glenn Beck’s The Blaze promoted the CNSNews story and asked: “Is the U.S. Department of Education indoctrinating children to accept man-made global warming as fact?” The Blaze also embedded a 2005 SpongeBob video with the same storyline as the book. [The Blaze, 8/2/11]

Fox’s Steve Doocy: “Clearly Nickelodeon Is Pushing A Global Warming Agenda.” On the August 3 edition of Fox & Friends, co-host Steve Doocy said:

DOOCY: The Department of Education invited a bunch of DC kids in and they had this festivity and they handed out these particular Nickelodeon books where clearly Nickelodeon is pushing a global warming agenda. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 8/3/11]

Fox’s Gretchen Carlson: SpongeBob “Blamed Man For Global Warming” But “Did Not Tell Kids That That Is A Disputed Fact.” Fox & Friends aired clips from the SpongeBob video and co-host Gretchen Carlson said:

CARLSON: The Department of Education using SpongeBob SquarePants now to teach kids about global warming. The government agency showed kids this cartoon and handed out books that blamed man for global warming, but they did not tell kids that that is actually a disputed fact. Oops! [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 8/3/11]

  • Department of Education: “We’ve Never Shown Any Videos” At The Reading Events. Contrary to Carlson’s claim, Tim Tuten of the Department of Education said that the SpongeBob video was not shown at the reading events. “We’ve never shown any videos ever, so I have no idea where that is coming from,” he said. Tuten added that participants were permitted to choose one of dozens of diverse books to take home with them and the SpongeBob book was one of those options. [Phone conversation, 8/3/11]

Doocy Claims Unnamed “Parents” Think SpongeBob Book Pushes “Over-The-Top Green Agenda.” On Fox & Friends, Doocy said:

DOOCY: The Department of Education giving kids free books about SpongeBob. Seems like a good idea right? Well some parents don’t think so. They say the books are being used to push an over-the-top green agenda regarding global warming. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 8/3/11]

Carlson On SpongeBob: “He Is Only Looking At It From One Point Of View.” On Fox & Friends Carlson also said of the Nickelodeon show:

CARLSON: We all know that SpongeBob is popular with the kids and for the life of me I still keep trying to figure out why it is. My kids watch limited TV but every time they chose that show, I’m like, ‘Why?’  Anyway — it’s hard to even follow sometimes. Anyway now maybe that will be a good thing because SpongeBob is talking a lot about global warming, and he’s only looking at it from one point of view. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 8/3/11]

Fox’s Dave Briggs: Global Warming Is “Unproven Science.” On Fox & Friends, guest co-host Dave Briggs added:

BRIGGS: It’s unproven science. And again, this is public education system that we all pay our tax dollars for and the SpongeBob book says that it’s a manmade problem that requires human intervention.

DOOCY: Right. They’re presenting it as fact.

BRIGGS:  As fact. Meanwhile, the schools there — I mean, we’re talking about 14th in the world in reading, 17th in the world in science, 25th in math. So we’re forcing an issue that is not yet proven — we can’t even teach our kids the adequate math, reading and science at this point. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 8/3/11]

Fox: SpongeBob Shows “Bias” By Blaming Humans For Global Warming. The following on-screen text aired on Fox & Friends:

Fox&Friends Onscreen Text[Fox News, Fox & Friends, 8/3/11]

Notion That Humans Are Changing Climate Is Not Controversial Among Mainstream Scientists

National Research Council: “Preponderance Of Scientific Evidence” Indicates That Humans Are Changing The Climate. In a recent report, the National Research Council stated: “[T]he preponderance of scientific evidence points to human activities — especially the release of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere — as the most likely cause for most of the global warming that has occurred over the last several decades.” [National Research Council, 5/12/11]

American Chemical Society: Climate Change Is “Largely Attributable To Emissions From Human Activities.” According to the American Chemical Society: “[C]omprehensive scientific assessments of our current and potential future climates clearly indicate that climate change is real, largely attributable to emissions from human activities, and potentially a very serious problem.” [American Chemical Society, accessed 8/3/11]

AAAS: “Global Climate Change Is Real” And “Is Caused Largely By Human Activities.” The American Association for the Advancement of Science said in a 2009 statement: “The vast preponderance of evidence, based on years of research conducted by a wide array of different investigators at many institutions, clearly indicates that global climate change is real, it is caused largely by human activities, and the need to take action is urgent.” [American Association For The Advancement of Science, 12/4/09]

American Meteorological Society: “Humans Have Significantly Contributed” To Climate Change. In a February 2007 statement, the American Meteorological Society said “there is adequate evidence” to conclude “that humans have significantly contributed” to climate change and that “further climate change will continue to have important impacts on human societies, on economies, on ecosystems, and on wildlife through the 21st century and beyond.” [American Meteorological Society, 2/1/07]

Geological Society Of America: “Human Activities … Account For Most Of The Warming Since The Middle 1900s.” From an April 2010 position statement of the Geological Society of America:

The Geological Society of America (GSA) concurs with assessments by the National Academies of Science (2005), the National Research Council (2006), and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC, 2007) that global climate has warmed and that human activities (mainly greenhouse gas emissions) account for most of the warming since the middle 1900s. If current trends continue, the projected increase in global temperature by the end of the twentyfirst century will result in large impacts on humans and other species. [Geological Society of America, April 2010]

Fox Cites Scientists “On Both Sides” To Claim There Is A “Big Question” About Global Warming

Doocy On Manmade Global Warming: “There’s A Lot Of Scientists That Say It’s This. Others Say It’s That.” Suggesting that kids should not be taught that humans are changing the climate, Doocy said:

DOOCY: While there is no disputing the fact that the earth is getting a little warmer, the big question is, is it manmade or is it just one of those gigantic climactic, you know, phases that we’re going – for a while we’re cold and then we get warmer and then we get colder and warmer. Is it – which one is it? The science on both sides – there are a lot of scientists who say it’s this. Others say it’s that. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 8/3/11]

Vocal Minority Of “Experts” Also Denies Second-Hand Smoke Risks, HIV-AIDS Link

Tobacco Industry Recruited Scientists To Obscure Health Effects Of Second-Hand Smoke. From a 2009 article in the European Journal of Public Health:

Denialism is a process that employs some or all of five characteristic elements in a concerted way. The first is the identification of conspiracies. When the overwhelming body of scientific opinion believes that something is true, it is argued that this is not because those scientists have independently studied the evidence and reached the same conclusion. It is because they have engaged in a complex and secretive conspiracy. The peer review process is seen as a tool by which the conspirators suppress dissent, rather than as a means of weeding out papers and grant applications unsupported by evidence or lacking logical thought.

[…]

The second is the use of fake experts. These are individuals who purport to be experts in a particular area but whose views are entirely inconsistent with established knowledge. They have been used extensively by the tobacco industry since 1974, when a senior executive with R J Reynolds devised a system to score scientists working on tobacco in relation to the extent to which they were supportive of the industry’s position. The industry embraced this concept enthusiastically in the 1980s when a senior executive from Philip Morris developed a strategy to recruit such scientists (referring to them as ‘Whitecoats’) to help counteract the growing evidence on the harmful effects of second-hand smoke. This activity was largely undertaken through front organizations whose links with the tobacco industry were concealed, but under the direction of law firms acting on behalf of the tobacco industry. In some countries, such as Germany, the industry created complex and influential networks, allowing it to delay the implementation of tobacco control policies for many years. [European Journal of Public Health, January 2009]

Those Who Deny Link Between HIV And AIDS Also Claim To Have Scientists On Their Side. From a July 2009 New Scientist report:

The origins of the AIDS denialism movement can be traced back to 1987, four years after the discovery of HIV. Peter Duesberg was then a renowned researcher at the University of California, Berkeley, who had shown that some cancers were triggered by retroviruses. In March that year, Duesberg performed an about-face, publishing an article in which he questioned his original finding that retroviruses caused cancer, and also whether HIV (another retrovirus, although not one that he had studied) caused AIDS.

At the time, HIV science was in its infancy, and Duesberg was not the only mainstream scientist to speculate whether AIDS was actually caused by lifestyle factors such as taking drugs, for example. Indeed, New Scientist published Duesberg’s manifesto of dissent in 1988.

“Duesberg did get laypeople’s attention, and they, in turn, got him scientific attention,” says University of California sociologist, Steven Epstein, author of Impure Science, a book on AIDS research. “Credibility was cycled back and forth.”

As the clinical and epidemiological evidence linking HIV with AIDS accrued, however, support for denialism among mainstream scientists fell away. In the mid-1990s came the clincher. Cocktails of ART [antiretroviral therapy] were found to halt the replication of HIV and reverse and prevent the development of AIDS. By the end of 1996, doctors in the west were witnessing the “Lazarus effect”: AIDS patients who had been mortally ill were rising from their beds, putting on jackets and ties, and reporting for work.

[…]

Denialism in the west continued to limp along, attracting a following of conspiracy theorists, attention seekers, peddlers of pseudoscience and HIV patients in denial. The movement’s leaders vary in their credibility. Duesberg’s most vocal supporter is David Rasnick, a former biochemist who makes much of his research background, as he once studied a group of enzymes called proteases. HIV possesses a protease enzyme, and protease inhibitors represent a key class of ART drugs. However Rasnick only worked on rat proteases, never on HIV’s.

Then there is Henry Bauer, a retired chemistry and life sciences professor at Virginia State University in Petersburg, who edits the Journal of Scientific Exploration. This publishes research on such topics as alien abductions and telepathy. Before dabbling in virology, Bauer was a leading authority on the existence of the Loch Ness monster. [New Scientist, 7/31/09]

Anti-Vaccine Movement Also Supported By “‘Contrary’ Expertise.” From a May 2009 article in PLoS Biology:

Until the summer of 2005, Sharon Kaufman had never paid much attention to the shifting theories blaming vaccines for a surge in reported cases of autism. Kaufman, a medical anthropologist at the University of California, San Francisco, knew that the leading health institutions in the United States had reviewed the body of evidence, and that they found no reason to think vaccines had anything to do with autism. But when she read that scientists and public officials who commented on the studies routinely endured malevolent emails, abusive phone calls, and even death threats, she took notice.

[…]

Kaufman thinks the problem is more immediate than bridging the gap between lay and expert understanding of risk. Parents treated theoretical risk as fact even as scientists tested, and ultimately rejected, the possibility that thimerosal might harm children. Thinking the institutions that were supposed to protect them from risk failed, Kaufman says, people now do their own research. But instead of leading to more certainty, she explains, “collecting more information actually increases doubt.”

With the explosion of “contrary” expertise online, Kaufman says, “many parents see even the most respected vaccine experts’ perspective on the issue as just one more opinion.” The bulk of antivaccination Web sites present themselves as legitimate sources of scientific information, using pseudoscientific claims and emotional appeals, according to a 2002 study in Archives of Disease in Childhood. Making matters worse, the study found, nearly all sites adopted an “us versus them” approach, casting doctors and scientists as either “willing conspirators cashing in on the vaccine ‘fraud’ or pawns of a shadowy vaccine combine.” Parents’ intuitive views about vaccines were elevated above “cold, analytical science.” Accounts of children “maimed or killed by vaccines” were common–a finding that may help explain why those who advocate immunization receive death threats. [Public Library of Science, May 2009]


Heather Mills: Trinity Mirror Reporter Admitted He Hacked My Phone

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 4th, 2011 4:43 am by HL

Heather Mills: Trinity Mirror Reporter Admitted He Hacked My Phone
Former model Heather Mills alleged on Wednesday that a reporter working for the British newspaper publisher Trinity Mirror admitted to her that he hacked into her cell phone to get a story about her and then-boyfriend Paul McCartney.

Rep. David Wu Formally Resigns From House
Oregon Rep. David Wu (D) announced Wednesday evening that he has notified Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber and House Speaker John Boehner of his resignation, effective at 11:59 p.m.


Judge Rules Against Anti-Abortion Group’s Claim That Health Care Reform Law Funds Abortion
A federal judge has allowed a defamation lawsuit by former Rep. Steve Driehaus (D-OH) to move forward, on the grounds that an anti-abortion group’s ad campaign erroneously attacked him for supporting taxpayer-funded abortion with his vote for health care reform.


Murdoch vs. Manning: One gets jail & one gets, er, nothing…

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 4th, 2011 4:40 am by HL

Murdoch vs. Manning: One gets jail & one gets, er, nothing…
What if you were to obtain important government information illegally and then disseminate it widely? How should you be punished? If you are Bradley Manning, you will be thrown in jail, tortured, humiliated, deprived of even basic creature comforts and forced to sleep naked in an isolation cell. Can you even imagine this same thing happening […]


Huntsman Outlines Strategy as Feud Simmers

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 4th, 2011 4:39 am by HL

Huntsman Outlines Strategy as Feud Simmers
In a confidential memo circulated to donors this week, Jon Huntsman’s campaign manager “mapped out a nomination strategy that relies heavily on raising the former Utah governor’s profile among primary voters and drawing contrasts with his “very weak” field of Republican opponents,” CNN reports.

A separate polling memo dismissed early national polls as “utterly useless” tools for predicting the Republican nominee.

Meanwhile, a “blistering internal feud” in the Huntsman campaign “is erupting into public view, with dueling camps trading charges and an exodus of campaign officials,” Politico reports. A longtime family friend says that Huntsman’s wife and father “fret that his presidential prospects have been threatened by the turmoil — and he places the blame on John Weaver, Huntsman’s controversial chief strategist.”

Obama Crashes in Florida
A new Quinnipiac poll in Florida finds President Obama’s job approval rating is a negative 44% to 51%. Florida voters also say by a 50% to 42% margin that the president does not deserve to be reelected.

Said pollster Peter Brown: “President Obama’s numbers in the key swing state of Florida have gone south in the last two months. The debt ceiling deal is not making any difference in that decline and any bounce he got from the bin Laden operation is long since gone. The president’s drop off is huge among independent voters who now disapprove almost 2-1.”

In the 2012 presidential race, Mitt Romney ties Obama 44% to 44%, though the president has double-digit leads over other top Republicans, except for Texas Gov. Rick Perry who trails Obama 44% to 39%.

Opposition Research Moves Out of the Shadows
Politico: “Opposition research, long vilified and romanticized as a kind of political dark art, has stepped out of the closet for the 2012 presidential campaign, in which current and former opposition researchers are taking prominent roles, the self-described ‘high road’ candidate has an extensive research operation and the climate couldn’t be better for dropping negative stories small and large.”

Geithner Pressured to Stay
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner “is expected to stay through the president’s term after intense White House pressure,” the New York Times reports.

President Obama and White House chief of staff William M. Daley have been urging Geithner to stay, “not only for continuity when the economy has weakened and to avoid an all-but-certain confirmation fight in the Senate over a successor, but also because Mr. Obama has developed a close rapport with Mr. Geithner. Whether the president persuades Mr. Geithner to stay will be a central development for the White House as it girds for a re-election race expected to turn on the economy and the continuing battle of the budget with Republicans.”


Our Commando War in 120 Countries: Uncovering the Military’s Secret Operations In the Obama Era

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 4th, 2011 4:38 am by HL

Our Commando War in 120 Countries: Uncovering the Military’s Secret Operations In the Obama Era
American secret commandos are carrying out raids in 70 countries–just today. By the end of the year, the number will probably be close to 120.


And You Thought All the Recent Crazy Has Been Focused on the Debt Ceiling

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 4th, 2011 4:37 am by HL

And You Thought All the Recent Crazy Has Been Focused on the Debt Ceiling
As a foreign policy complement to the main insanity over the debt ceiling (see David Brooks’ analysis), we have a flurry of ideological and self-indulgent Republican amendments last week to the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s authorization bill (see Josh Rogin’s…


US Debt Deal: How Washington Lost the Plot
President Obama and the Republicans in Congress have finally worked out a deal over the debt ceiling. It appears as though the Republicans got most of what they wanted: big cuts to domestic spending and no tax increases. On the…