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Archive for May 26th, 2014

Pakistan PM to Attend Indian Leader’s Inauguration

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 26th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Pakistan PM to Attend Indian Leader’s Inauguration
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has accepted an invitation to attend the inauguration of Indian Prime Minister-designate Narendra Modi, a first in the history of the nuclear-armed rivals. “This invitation is a positive step — it marks a break from the Cold War-era mentality that has overshadowed the relationship,” said Imtiaz Gul, head of the Islamabad think tank Center for Research and Security Studies. Former military ruler General Pervez Musharraf was the last Pakistani head of state to visit India, in 2005.


Blinded soldier, widow sue former Gitmo prisoner

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 26th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Blinded soldier, widow sue former Gitmo prisoner
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — An American soldier blinded in Afghanistan and the widow of another soldier killed there are suing a Canadian citizen who was held at Guantanamo Bay and pleaded guilty to committing five war crimes when he was 15.


“A gift from God”: Conservatives use VA scandal to attack Obamacare

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 26th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

“A gift from God”: Conservatives use VA scandal to attack Obamacare
Some conservative pundits say the problems with veterans’ healthcare are a sign of things to come under the president’s health care law

Obama lays Memorial Day wreath on Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
The president paid tribute to fallen U.S. soldiers on the 150th anniversary of Arlington National Cemetery’s opening.


Horror and Honor

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 26th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Horror and Honor
Robert Samuelson, RealClearPolitics
WASHINGTON — The first Memorial Day — then called Decoration Day — was celebrated May 30, 1868, three years after the end of the Civil War to honor the Union dead. Compared to a national population of 31.4 million in 1860, the Civil War dead, both Union and Confederate, are now roughly estimated at 750,000 and, possibly, more. After World War I, the holiday commemorated all U.S. war dead. In 1971, Memorial Day became an official national holiday. “Historical Statistics of the United States (Millennial Edition)” lists war dead by conflicts as follows: the Revolutionary War, 4,435; the War…

Memorial Day’s Calling
E.J. Dionne, RealClearPolitics
WASHINGTON — Memorial Day is a peculiarly appropriate holiday for our times. Its origins lie in the Civil War, which resulted from the failure of a deeply polarized political system to settle the question of slavery. Reading the history of the period leading up to the war is jarring because its political conflicts bear eerie similarities to our own — for the sharp regional differences over how the federal government’s powers should be regarded; for the way in which advocates of slavery relied on “constitutional” claims to justify its survival and spread; for the refusal of pro-slavery…

Julian Castro, Shaun Donovan Part of Cabinet Changes
Alexis Simendinger, RealClearPolitics
President Obama plans to revamp his Cabinet on Friday to fill a pending vacancy at the Office of Management and Budget and tap an up-and-coming Democratic mayor from Texas to head the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Obama will ask the Senate to approve his nominations of Shaun Donovan, his HUD secretary since 2009, to lead the White House budget office. At the same time, he will formally announce Julián Castro, the 39-year-old mayor of San Antonio, to lead HUD. Castro’s rise has sparked discussions in some political quarters that he will one day be on a national ticket as a…


VIDEO: Miliband: Vote shows ‘deep discontent’

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 26th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

VIDEO: Miliband: Vote shows ‘deep discontent’
Ed Miliband’s Labour Party trails UKIP but edges ahead of the Tories in the Euro elections with only results from Scotland left to come.

VIDEO: Cameron: ‘People disillusioned with EU’
David Cameron has insisted the Conservatives can win the next general election despite being pushed into third place in the European elections.


White House blows CIA station chief’s cover

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 26th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

White House blows CIA station chief’s cover
A rare slip-up could leave a top agent exposed in Kabul.


World Briefing: India: Train Crash Kills at Least 40

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 26th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

World Briefing: India: Train Crash Kills at Least 40
An express train plowed into a parked freight train in northern India killing at least 40 people and reducing cars to twisted metal, officials said.



World Briefing: China: Deadly Floods in the South
Flooding in southern China forced almost half a million people from their homes, the government said Monday.



DealBook Column: N.Y.U. Crisis in Abu Dhabi Stretches to Wall Street
The general contractor that helped oversee the construction of the Abu Dhabi campus is run by a trustee of N.Y.U.’s board.

U.S. Trains African Commandos to Fight Terrorism
United States Special Operations troops are forming elite units in Libya, Niger, Mauritania and Mali in the war against Al Qaeda’s affiliates in Africa.



Pope Lays Wreath at Tomb of Zionism’s Founder
Francis’ visit to the grave of Theodor Herzl came after several symbolic signals the day before that lent a spiritual lift to Palestinian aspirations for sovereignty.




By The Numbers: How The Santa Barbara Shooting Reflects A Culture Of Violence Against Women

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 26th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

By The Numbers: How The Santa Barbara Shooting Reflects A Culture Of Violence Against Women

Friday’s shooting came after a deeply misogynistic rant and is part of a culture where violence against women is commonplace.

The post By The Numbers: How The Santa Barbara Shooting Reflects A Culture Of Violence Against Women appeared first on ThinkProgress.

A woman looks at bullet holes on the window of IV Deli Mark, where Friday's shooting took place

A woman looks at bullet holes on the window of IV Deli Mark, where Friday’s shooting took place

CREDIT: AP/Jae C. Hong

On Friday night, Elliot Rodger allegedly killed six people and wounded 13 others near a Santa Barbara, California university campus. The rampage came after Rodger posted a YouTube video in which he said it was “an injustice, a crime” that women have never been attracted to him and that he was going to “punish you all for it” and “slaughter every single blonde slut I see.”

The video was the most recent evidence that Rodger had become involved with various deeply misogynistic groups on the internet. He was an active member of PUA Hate, a group supposedly against pick up artists who promise to teach men how to have sex with any woman they want but who repeat many of the same degrading ideas about women. He was also reportedly active on forums and subscribed to YouTube channels from the men’s rights movement, a community that is being tracked by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

While the debate in the aftermath of the shooting will likely focus on gun legislation — lawmakers are already calling for a renewed focus on background checks and other measures — and mental health resources, it is also becoming a discussion about widespread misogyny. The hashtag #YesAllWomen became a venue on Twitter for women to share personal stories and experiences. As the country tries to reckon with the tragedy, it will have to grapple with a climate in which men perpetrate violence against womenon a daily basis, violence that is deeply embedded within our society.

Here are some facts that paint the picture:

by_the_numbers-09 (1)

CREDIT: Adam Peck/ThinkProgress

  • More than one in three women will experience rape, violence, and/or stalking at the hands of an intimate partner in their lifetimes.
  • Eighty-five percent of intimate partner violence victims are women.
  • About three women are killed by their partners every day. One in 13 murder victims are killed by their intimate partners.
  • Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women between the ages of 15 and 44. One in six women with bone or joint fractures is a recent victim of abuse.
  • Violence is often paired with controlling behavior: women whose partners are jealous, controlling, or verbally abusive are significantly more likely to report rape, physical assault, and/or stalking from their partners.
  • A domestic abuser who has access to a firearm is more than seven times more likely to kill his partner.
  • Between 2009 and 2012, 40 percent of mass shootings started with a shooter targeting his girlfriend, wife, or ex-wife. In nearly 60 percent of mass shootings during the same time period, the gunman killed a current or former spouse, partner, or other family member. In at least 17 incidents, the shooter had a prior domestic violence charge.
  • The leading cause of death for women at the workplace is homicide, most often at the hands of an intimate partner.
  • While the rate of intimate partner violence declined by 64 percent between 1994 and 2010, most of that decline came before 2001, and since then the fall has slowed and stabilized while the overall crime rate has kept dropping.
  • Domestic violence support services get more than 75,000 requests for assistance on a typical day, but last year they had to turn away more than 9,000 people thanks to tight budgets.

The post By The Numbers: How The Santa Barbara Shooting Reflects A Culture Of Violence Against Women appeared first on ThinkProgress.

Dry Conditions Fuel An Alaska Wildfire That’s Bigger Than Chicago

But the real culprit for worsening fires is climate change.

The post Dry Conditions Fuel An Alaska Wildfire That’s Bigger Than Chicago appeared first on ThinkProgress.

Alaska-fire-140521

CREDIT: Nasa

Alaska is battling a huge wildfire this Memorial Day. In the last 24 hours the fire has spread to become bigger than Chicago, prompting officials to issue an order for about 900 people as it threatens Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula, a region south of Anchorage. With just 30 percent of the fire’s 243 square miles contained, 1,000 structures have been evacuated.

Large wildfires are familiar to the region, where 1 million acres burn annually, and yet it is unusually early in wildfire season to see a fire of this size, a spokesperson said. Citing “unusually dry conditions” as the cause, the Anchorage Daily News points out the state has had “unseasonably warm spring temperatures.”

But the real culprit for worsening fires is climate change, which boosts optimal conditions like heat, drought, and dry weather. This winter, parts of the country were hit by frigid temperatures while Alaska saw temperatures in the high 40s and 50s and had its all-time warmest January. In other words, Alaska saw spring-like temperatures as early as January and February this year. Some scientists say climate change fuels this extreme jet stream.

The National Climate Assessment only confirmed the link between climate change and the dry conditions that enable wildfires in the region:

Even if climate warming were curtailed by reducing heat-trapping gas (also known as greenhouse gas) emissions (as in the B1 scenario), the annual area burned in Alaska is projected to double by mid-century and to triple by the end of the century, thus fostering increased emissions of heat-trapping gases, higher temperatures, and increased fires. In addition, thick smoke produced in years of extensive wildfire represents a human health risk (Ch. 9: Human Health). More extensive and severe wildfires could shift the forests of Interior Alaska during this century from dominance by spruce to broadleaf trees for the first time in the past 4,000 to 6,000 years.

Arizona is burning this week, too, and 3,200 have had to evacuate their homes.

The post Dry Conditions Fuel An Alaska Wildfire That’s Bigger Than Chicago appeared first on ThinkProgress.


Honoring the Living and the Dead, in the Spirit of 1869

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 26th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Honoring the Living and the Dead, in the Spirit of 1869

Government-Run Health Care Could Be Ultimate SNAFU

Is It Time for Supreme Court Term Limits?
Norm Ornstein, National Jrnl
This has been quite a time for anniversaries: the 50th of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the 50th of the Great Society, the 60th of Brown v. Board of Education. Each has produced a flurry of celebrations and analyses, including the latest, on Brown. Here’s one more.

Europeans Against Europe

“Doolittle Raiders” Veteran Recalls Daring Mission
Antonio Olivo, WP
The weather over Arlington National Cemetery was sunny and clear, similar to the day in 1942 when Richard Cole helped change the course of American history as one of James H. Doolittle’s “Raiders” during World War II.