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Archive for May 19th, 2014

Chinese Jerky Treats Kill 1,000 Dogs

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 19th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Chinese Jerky Treats Kill 1,000 Dogs
The Food and Drug Administration released updated information on Friday about an ongoing investigation into illnesses and deaths caused by jerky pet treats imported from China. As of May 1, 2014 the regulatory agency has received more than 4,800 reports of illness affecting a total of 5,600 dogs, 24 cats, and 3 people. A number of reports came from owners with multiple dogs. More than 1,000 dogs have died. The snacks were found to contain low levels of antibiotics as well as the drug amantadine, an antiviral and antiparkinsonian medication.


Yooper blooper: Dictionary pronounciation omits P

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 19th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Yooper blooper: Dictionary pronounciation omits P
NEW YORK (AP) — There’s good news and bad news for Yoopers in the new Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary.


Strong fundraising for congressional Democratic committees continues

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 19th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Strong fundraising for congressional Democratic committees continues
Thanks to President Obama’s help, House and Senate Democrats are pulling in more than their Republican counterparts

Clinton “clearly” responsible for Benghazi, Cheney says
From Benghazi to Ukraine to Syria, the United States’ foreign relationships have been mishandled, former vice president says


CNN’s Cuomo Challenges Rove’s Clinton Smear: “When Do The Better Ideas Get Introduced? …Should You Pander To People’s Fears?”

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 19th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

CNN’s Cuomo Challenges Rove’s Clinton Smear: “When Do The Better Ideas Get Introduced? …Should You Pander To People’s Fears?”

From the May 19 edition of CNN’s New Day:

Previously:

Anatomy Of A Clinton Smear: From Rove’s Baseless Speculation To Right-Wing Media’s Calls For Evidence

Rove Promises That Clinton’s Health And Age Will Be Major Line Of Questioning In Possible 2016 Run

FLASHBACK: When Rove Thought It Was “Reprehensible” To Question A Candidate’s Age

Fox’s The Five Congratulates Karl Rove For His Smear Of Hillary Clinton: “He’s An Evil Genius”


Poverty and Snow Storms

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 19th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Poverty and Snow Storms
Thomas Sowell, RealClearPolitics
Many years ago, in upstate New York, there was a lady who was caught in a fierce snow storm that produced conditions called a “whiteout.” That’s when the snow is falling so thick and fast that all you can see in any direction is just sheer white. This lady wandered around in the storm, struggling to try to get home, but there was no way for her to know where home was. Eventually she collapsed in the snow and died — something like 50 feet from her home that she could not see. All too often that image comes back to me when I see so many people in poverty wandering off in all directions, either…

Media Missing the New Populist Wave
Salena Zito, RealClearPolitics
Brian Sullivan now knows the frustration that many Republicans feel every time some media outlet trots out another wackadoodle who says, with assumed authority, that he or she represents the party’s mainstream attitudes. Sullivan, the likeable CNBC anchor and host of its “Street Signs” program, comes across as an Everyman on his show. On a recent MSNBC “Morning Joe” segment, he passionately rebutted the panel’s conversation about the state of Republicans. “Can we stop saying ‘the Republican Party’? As somebody that grew up in a conservative household, I…


AstraZeneca rejects £69bn Pfizer bid

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 19th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

AstraZeneca rejects £69bn Pfizer bid
UK drugs company AstraZeneca rejects the improved “final” £69bn takeover offer from US firm Pfizer.

Miliband sets out minimum wage plans
Ed Miliband says a Labour government would set a statutory minimum wage target linked to average earnings, as he sets out plans to tackle low pay.

May hails Abu Hamza guilty verdict
The home secretary hails the verdict of a New York court which found radical Muslim cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri guilty of supporting terrorism.


Williams: Left living in past on education

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 19th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Williams: Left living in past on education
OPINION | Ending racial and economic isolation of students is a sign of progress.


Ukraine Crisis Pushing Putin Toward China

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 19th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Ukraine Crisis Pushing Putin Toward China
Conciliatory remarks on Ukraine by President Vladimir V. Putin were probably intended for China, where he arrives Tuesday determined to strengthen “mutually beneficial trade and economic ties.”



World Briefing: The Netherlands: Heroin Seized
Nearly 1,700 pounds of heroin was smuggled into the Netherlands last week hidden in a shipment of Iranian raisins.



5 in China Army Face U.S. Charges of Cyberattacks
The Department of Justice charged five individuals from the People’s Liberation Army in connection with stealing trade secrets from American companies.




The Coal Ash Sludge In The Dan River Is Finally Getting Vacuumed Up

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 19th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

The Coal Ash Sludge In The Dan River Is Finally Getting Vacuumed Up

Workers have finally begun removing several deposits of the sludge that settled to the river bottom after a spill in February dumped 39,000 tons of coal ash into the river.

The post The Coal Ash Sludge In The Dan River Is Finally Getting Vacuumed Up appeared first on ThinkProgress.

Amy Adams, North Carolina campaign coordinator with Appalachian Voices, dips her hand into the coal ash spill in the Dan River.

Amy Adams, North Carolina campaign coordinator with Appalachian Voices, dips her hand into the coal ash spill in the Dan River.

CREDIT: AP Photo / Gerry Broome

According to the Associated Press, workers have begun vacuuming up the worst of the sludge from a February spill of coal ash into North Carolina’s Dan River.

On February 2, a collapsed pipe at Duke Energy’s power plant near Eden, North Carolina spilled about 39,000 tons of coal ash, which spread 70 miles down river. Duke Energy has hired Phillips & Jordan Inc. — the same company tapped in 2008 to clean up a massive Tennessee Valley Authority coal ash spill — to clean up the pollution. The company began moving equipment into place back at the start of April, and on Monday began cleaning up the biggest of the coal ash deposits — a 350-by-20 yard, one foot deep, 2,500-ton chunk that’s collected up against the Schoolfield Dam near Danville.

Officials have identified at least three other deposits in the river that will need to be removed, including a 40-ton pile-up at Town Creek, two miles downstream from Danville. That clean-up is expected to be completed in late June, around the same time as the Schoolfield Dam deposit, Duke spokesman Jeff Brooks told the AP.

The clean-up process involves vacuuming the coal ash, the sediment, and the water out of the river, then separating the water out and returning it to the river. After that, the coal ash itself will be shipped to a landfill in North Carolina’s Person County for permanent storage.

The initial spill blew up a deal Duke was attempting to reach with the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) over a lawsuit brought by environmentalists charging the company with allowing its 33 coal ash ponds in the state to befoul North Carolinians’ groundwater. The lawsuit settlement would’ve fined Duke $99,100, without any accompanying requirement to clean up the pollution. Since the collapse of that arrangement, the lawsuit is ongoing. And the spill sparked a federal investigation into the DENR’s lackadaisical regulation of Duke Energy, along with criticism from the Environmental Protection Agency.

Nineteen of Duke Energy’s own major shareholders have also asked the board of directors to launch an independent investigation into the February spill.

On top of all this, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory — who as head of the state’s executive branch is ostensibly in charge of the DENR — worked for Duke Energy for 29 years. Between the company’s PAC and its executives, Duke donated $98,000 to McCrory from 2000 to 2012, which is far more than any other sitting governor has received from a company. The connection, needless to say, has placed McCrory under heightened public scrutiny, and he has since quietly dumped his stock in the company.

According to the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC), data collected over years shows leaks from the ponds have made it into the water supply, and monitoring of groundwater near some of Duke’s plants revealed levels of pollution that outstrip regulatory limits.

Duke Energy has also been accused of violating eight other environmental regulations in just the previous month. And in the weeks after the spill into the Dan River, it was discovered that the company had deliberately and illegally dumped 61 million gallons of coal ash into the Cape Fear River.

As for the Dan River itself, Danville officials maintain that their city water is safe to drink — the city’s treated water reportedly exceeds safety requirements. Yet the coal ash sludge sitting at the river bottom remains a danger to aquatic life, and residents have been warned to not swim in the river or eat fish from the area.

The post The Coal Ash Sludge In The Dan River Is Finally Getting Vacuumed Up appeared first on ThinkProgress.

City Notorious For Excessive Police Force Promotes Officer Implicated In Tasing Of Homeless Man

A month after the U.S. Department of Justice issued a scathing report that found a spate of unconstitutional excessive force incidents by police in Albuquerque, N.M., the city police department promoted an officer embroiled in one such incident.

The post City Notorious For Excessive Police Force Promotes Officer Implicated In Tasing Of Homeless Man appeared first on ThinkProgress.

In this Oct. 26, 2013 photo, a wrecked Albuquerque Police Department cruiser and body of a suspected shooter are seen at a Phillips 66 gas station in Albuquerque, N.M., following a high-speed chase and an officer-involved shooting.

In this Oct. 26, 2013 photo, a wrecked Albuquerque Police Department cruiser and body of a suspected shooter are seen at a Phillips 66 gas station in Albuquerque, N.M., following a high-speed chase and an officer-involved shooting.

CREDIT: AP Photo/Juan Labreche

A month after the U.S. Department of Justice issued a scathing report that found a spate of unconstitutional excessive force incidents by police in Albuquerque, N.M., the city police department promoted an officer embroiled in one such incident in which a homeless man was left disfigured by repeated Tasing.

Foothills Area Commander Timothy Gonterman was one of two officers promoted last week by the Albuquerque Police Department’s new chief, Gorden Eden. In 2006, a jury found Gonterman and two fellow officers had used excessive force against plaintiff Jerome Hall and awarded him $300,000. Hall said he was handcuffed without explanation and held against a wall during the 2002 incident. He alleged in his lawsuit that the officers beat him, banging his head against the wall, punching, and kicking him. They later shocked him numerous times with a Taser, causing Hall numerous “severe burns,” and singeing off part of his ear entirely.

Gonterman was one of two officers promoted to the new rank of major, as part of a move to curb excessive force in response to the DOJ report. But in announcing Gonterman, Chief Gorden Eden did not mention the incident. He reasoned instead that one of the flaws cited in the DOJ report was lack of supervision, and that Gonterman would provide that supervision and oversight in his new role.

Hall, who was shot to death several days after the jury verdict, was a disabled, homeless, U.S. army veteran and former medical technician who struggled with substance abuse. He says he was stopped by officers without explanation. The police department accused him of catch-all offenses that included public nuisance, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, and trespass. “They treated me like an animal because I was black and homeless— like I was less than nothing. It was a public lynching in modern times,” Hall said after the 2006 verdict.

Gonterman told the Associated Press that his actions more than 12 years ago were a mistake, saying, “I have learned from that mistake. I have taken responsibility for it,” but he attributed the mistake to new stun gun technology and lack of training that he says is now available. Gonterman says he now provides training to others on using “the minimal amount of force necessary to make an arrest.”

But while Gonterman’s incident occurred in 2002, the April Justice Department report identified more than 200 instances between 2009 and 2012 in which officers used Tasers or other weapons less deadly than a gun “against people who were passively resisting and non-threatening or who were unable to comply with orders due to their mental state.” The report also found that officers frequently employed a “higher level of force than necessary” during encounters with mentally ill individuals in crisis. DOJ did find that lack of supervisor action in response to police force incidents was one primary cause of the city’s epidemic. But it also cited an “aggressive organizational culture,” and deficient training as causes.

The Justice Department’s findings last month came on the heels of a 10-hour protest in Albuquerque over the prevalence of deadly police shootings and other instances of excessive force. As of the day of the protest, there had been 37 police shootings since 2010, 23 of them deadly. Another individual was shot and killed by an officer just weeks later. The city has seen about the same number of fatal shootings as New York City, which has a population 15 times as high, according to the ACLU of New Mexico.

The new promotions are part of Albuquerque’s response to the report. It also recently started using lapel cameras on officers, and Eden said he plans to hire many more officers.

The Albuquerque Police Department did not return a call to ThinkProgress for comment.

The post City Notorious For Excessive Police Force Promotes Officer Implicated In Tasing Of Homeless Man appeared first on ThinkProgress.


What the Media Get Wrong About Commencement Speaker Protests

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 19th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

What the Media Get Wrong About Commencement Speaker Protests
From: StudentNation

Commencement isn’t a debate forum.

The University of Chicago Is Bidding for the Obama Library, but Activists Would Rather Have a Trauma Center
From: Steven Hsieh

Community groups say building a trauma in Chicago’s South Side would save lives.

In the Real World, the So-Called ‘Boy Crisis’ Disappears
From: Bryce Covert

Girls may outperform boys in school, but the workplace is still stacked against them.

Donald Sterling May Be Going Nuclear
From: Dave Zirin

LA Clippers deposed owner Donald Sterling will be taking the NBA to court. This could get very interesting. 

Can the GOP Win Hispanic Voters in 2016?
From: The Christie Watch

Susana Martinez vs. Julian Castro for vice president? Maybe.