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Archive for June 9th, 2014

Middle School Sex-Ed Gets Grody

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 9th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Middle School Sex-Ed Gets Grody
A sex education slideshow presented to students at a California middle school went a little heavy on the goofy memes, leading to complaints from parents and an obligatory local news segment showing the “horrific” images contained within. One unidentified parent at Pine Valley Middle School in San Ramon, Calif., said that some of the images given to her child are something “you can’t unsee,” and are “definitely more than R-rated,” venturing into “X-rated” territory. The presentation was meant to address “Top Conception Myths,” and contained meme-heavy slides including one showing a young man with blood on his face, captioned with: “A real man loves his woman every day of the month.”

How Often Do Bystanders Stop Mass Killings?
Gifts are pouring in for Jon Meis, the engineering student being credited with stopping a mass shooting at Seattle Pacific University Thursday. The national conversation has often focused on how often gun owners stop mass shootings. An FBI report released in January tracked 104 mass-shooting events from 2000 to 2012. In 16 percent of the cases, the suspect was either subdued (14) or shot (3) by victims before law enforcement arrived. The study does not offer details about how the victims subdued the attacker.


Families attempt to raise reward for missing jet

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 9th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Families attempt to raise reward for missing jet
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Relatives of five people on board the missing Malaysian jetliner are trying to crowd source a $5 million reward for information about what happened to the plane.


Bergdahl swap reignites Guantanamo debate

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 9th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Bergdahl swap reignites Guantanamo debate
Some argue 5 Taliban detainees exchanged for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl would eventually have been transferred anyway, so why not get something for them?

Harry Reid’s “tough decision”
The Senate majority leader sold his home in Searchlight, Nev. – the town where he was born

Hillary Clinton may push presidential decision to 2015
The former secretary of state, whose memoir is out this week, says she wants to do a book tour and help with the midterm elections before deciding whether to run again


MSNBC’s Alex Wagner On Anti-Government Conspiracies: Where Does “Responsibility Lie With The Alex Joneses Of The World?”

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 9th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

MSNBC’s Alex Wagner On Anti-Government Conspiracies: Where Does “Responsibility Lie With The Alex Joneses Of The World?”

From the June 9 edition of MSNBC’s NOW with Alex Wagner:

Previously:

Alex Jones Alleges That Las Vegas Cop Ambush Was “Absolutely Staged” By Harry Reid And Other Conspirators

Alex Jones: Navy Yard Shooting May Be False Flag Attack

Alex Jones On Boston Blasts: U.S. Gov’t Is “Prime Suspect”


Honoring the Heroism of the Greatest Generation

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 9th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Honoring the Heroism of the Greatest Generation
Salena Zito, RealClearPolitics
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The last thing his commanders said before he dropped from a plane somewhere near Bastogne was “good luck.” It was the Battle of the Bulge, and Allied troops were running out of ammunition, food and medicine; they desperately needed radar capabilities because supplies being dropped sporadically were falling into German hands due to thick fog and high winds. Mike Segal was 21, a self-described Jewish Kentucky boy born with a rifle in his hand. A “Pathfinder” for the 101st Airborne Division, he was the slim hope of surrounded American soldiers. Segal,…

Why Clinton Will Run
Ruth Marcus, RealClearPolitics
WASHINGTON — The last few days have offered vivid illustrations of why Hillary Clinton could decide not to run for president — and why, in the end, I believe she will. Example No. 1 is the ludicrous debate over whether Clinton, in the latest People magazine cover, was leaning on a walker. To buy this scenario would require you to believe that People is complicated in a grand conspiracy to keep Clinton’s enervated physical state from American voters. And that People’s editors and Team Clinton are dumb enough, having hatched this scheme, to have her photographed with the walker cropped out,…

Obama’s Bergdahl Fiasco
Toby Harnden, RealClearPolitics
In the town of Pocatello, Idaho, last Tuesday, Jason Carey stood waving a yellow sign that read: “BOWE IS NOT AS HERO. He Deserted America.” It struck a chord. “People were honking their horns, giving me the thumbs-up,” Carey said. “I only had one guy giving me the middle finger.” Until last weekend Carey, a burly, goateed veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, had been a staunch supporter of Bowe Bergdahl. He gave money to the “Bring Bowe home” campaign. “He was included in my prayers every night.” His first reaction to Bergdahl’s…


May and Gove in Commons unity show

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 9th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

May and Gove in Commons unity show
The home secretary and education secretary pay tribute to each other in a bid to draw a line under the row over extremism

VIDEO: Special advisers fall on their swords
Matthew Doyle, who worked for Tony Blair, on footage of special advisers, including Fiona Cunningham, in the news.

No ‘let-up’ in Whitehall economising
Ministers say there is more to do to tackle the “legacy of wasteful spending” in Whitehall after saving £14.3bn last year.


Obama, Clinton start ’16 dance

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 9th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Obama, Clinton start ’16 dance
Clinton is performing a tricky balancing act with her former boss and one-time rival.


Chinese Naval Squadron Departs To Attend U.S. Naval Drills In RIMPAC For First Time Ever

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 9th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Chinese Naval Squadron Departs To Attend U.S. Naval Drills In RIMPAC For First Time Ever
BEIJING (AP) — Chinese ships steamed Tuesday toward waters near Hawaii to participate for the first time in the world’s largest naval exercises hosted by Washington — a rare opportunity to build trust with the U.S. and regional rivals including the Philippines and Japan.

China’s participation in the Rim of the Pacific exercises beginning June 26 will enable Chinese naval officers to rub shoulders with U.S. counterparts as well as those from countries with which it has maritime disputes in the South China Sea and East China Sea. Washington and Beijing have been seeking closer military ties following an incident last December when a U.S. Navy cruiser, the USS Cowpens, nearly collided with a ship accompanying China’s sole aircraft carrier in the South China Sea — the most serious sea confrontation between the two nations in years.

China’s agreeing to participate shows a new maturity in its foreign relations whereby it won’t allow individual disagreements to upset overall ties, said Ni Lexiong, a military expert at Shanghai’s University of Political Science and Law.

“The rule of the game now is that we can argue, we can quarrel, but at the same time, we can work together. And everybody has shown respect for that rule,” Ni said.

Twenty-three countries will participate in this year’s drills, including Australia, Canada, France, India, Indonesia, South Korea and Britain.

China’s Defense Ministry said four ships — the destroyer Haikou, missile frigate Yueyang, the oiler Yueyang, and hospital ship Peace Ark — departed Monday. It said the squadron is carrying 1,100 officers and sailors, including a commando unit and diving team, along with two helicopters.

The statement quoted navy Deputy Chief of Staff Hong Xumeng as saying China’s participation in the drills constituted “an important mission of military diplomacy” and a further step in strengthening China-U.S. relations.

“It’s also a new development in exploring ways of strengthening friendly relations with countries of the South Pacific through public diplomacy,” Hong was quoted as saying.

Frictions along China’s maritime periphery are seen as heightening the need for better communication and closer coordination with other countries’ navies. Chinese patrol boats are currently involved in standoffs over clashing territorial claims with its neighbors in the South China Sea, along with Japan over disputed uninhabited islands north of Taiwan.

China has never before dispatched ships to take part in the exercises known as RIMPAC held every other year, although it sent military observers to watch the drills in 1998.

Its participation could boost coordination on common security concerns such as disaster relief and anti-help piracy missions, while reducing frictions with other navies, said Rory Medcalf, director of the international security program at Australia’s Lowy Institute.

However, a single exercise won’t dissolve the considerable mistrust between China and its regional rivals as long as Beijing remains willing to use crises at sea to further its national interests, Medcalf said.

“RIMPAC is a good step, but won’t change the current tensions between China and its neighbors,” Medcalf said.

Chinese and U.S. naval vessels have rarely exercised together. In one of the rare instances, China last year sent a guided missile cruiser, a frigate and a supply ship to Hawaii for a search-and-rescue exercise with the U.S.

In another tentative sign of progress, the U.S., China and two dozen Asia-Pacific nations adopted an agreement earlier this year to improve communication at sea to reduce the possibility of misunderstandings.


Facts Are Murky on Location of Dead Babies in Ireland

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 9th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Facts Are Murky on Location of Dead Babies in Ireland
A historian stands by her conclusion that 796 Irish children who died at a home for unwed mothers in Tuam are in a mass grave, but some of her ideas are being challenged.



Global Health: Malnutrition: Starving Children Lack Crucial Gut Bacteria
Even when fed nutritious food, malnourished children in Bangladesh were not able to acquire the beneficial bacteria, and remained stunted, a study found.



In Britain, School Report Cites Division Over Islam
An inquiry found a culture of “fear and intimidation” of staff members and blamed fundamentalist Islamic school board governors.




Senator To Protest Carbon Rule At A Plant Whose CEO Supports Regulating Carbon Pollution

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 9th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Senator To Protest Carbon Rule At A Plant Whose CEO Supports Regulating Carbon Pollution

The 1489-megawatt plant is also one of the nation’s dirtiest, according to an Environment America report.

The post Senator To Protest Carbon Rule At A Plant Whose CEO Supports Regulating Carbon Pollution appeared first on ThinkProgress.

Sen. Mary L. Landrieu, D-La. speaks during a press conference on Capitol Hill as Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal looks on Wednesday, June 18, 2008.

Sen. Mary L. Landrieu, D-La. speaks during a press conference on Capitol Hill as Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal looks on Wednesday, June 18, 2008.

CREDIT: AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana

Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) is scheduled to hold an event at her state’s biggest coal-fired power plant on Monday, in a move designed to highlight her opposition to the Environmental Protection Agency’s new proposed limits on carbon pollution from coal plants.

Problem is, the coal plant she’s highlighting — the Big Cajun 2 power plant in New Roads, La. — is one of the nation’s dirtiest, most known for being the subject a high-profile U.S. Department of Justice lawsuit over its toxic emissions. What’s more, the CEO of the company that owns the plant recently said he believes that EPA should be regulating carbon pollution from coal plants, perplexing some as to why she chose to put a spotlight on that plant.

“It’s really weird that she would choose one of the largest polluters in the nation to highlight her opposition to these protections,” said, Jenna Garland, deputy press secretary at the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign. “Based on the CEO’s public statements, I’m not too sure he’s going to be happy about this.”

In an interview with Fast Company last week, NRG Energy CEO David Crane said he wasn’t thrilled about the regulations — but only because they didn’t include other carbon-polluting forms of energy as well. “The EPA should be regulating coal plants from a carbon perspective,” Crane said. A spokesperson from NRG Energy, which owns Big Cajun, did not immediately return ThinkProgress’ request for comment.

The 1489-megawatt plant is also one of the nation’s dirtiest, according to an Environment America report. Out of more than 600 plants in the U.S., Big Cajun 2 is currently the 20th-largest carbon polluter, the report said. The plant emitted 13.2 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2011 — the same as the emissions from 2.75 million cars, the report said.

Emissions from the Big Cajun 2 have also caused myriad health problems in the communities that surround it. A study commissioned by the nonprofit Clean Air Task Force estimated that fine particle pollution from the Big Cajun 2 plant in 2012 caused 23 deaths, 32 heart attacks, 410 asthma attacks, and 14 cases of chronic bronchitis — health impacts monetized at about $180 million.

Health problems and emissions have likely decreased since 2011, if only because of a $250 million settlement agreement NRG entered into with the U.S. Department of Justice in 2012. That settlement ended the DOJ’s 2009 lawsuit accusing Big Cajun 2 of pumping large amounts of sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides(NOx) — two powerful greenhouse gases — into the atmosphere in violation of the Clean Air Act. At the time of the settlement, the assistant attorney general for DOJ’s Environment and Natural Resources Division called Big Cajun 2 “the largest source of illegal air pollution in Louisiana.”

In addition to paying $250 million to install pollution control equipment, NRG was also required to pay a civil fine of $3.5 million, and spend an additional $10.5 million on environmental projects in the state. Those projects included restoring watersheds and forests; installing solar panels at local schools, government-owned facilities or buildings owned by nonprofit groups; and creating charging stations for electric vehicles to be supplied with zero emission renewable energy sources.

“This lawsuit was a pretty huge deal,” said Garland, whose group has worked to fight multiple proposed expansions to the plant. “They were pumping out huge amount of sulfur dioxide pollution in very blatant violation of the law.”

A search of violations from the EPA’s Enforcement and Compliance History Online database for the years 2012-2014 also showed a violation as recent as February 2014, in which a “a formal enforcement action” was taken against the plant that resulted in penalty of nearly $47,000.

Compared to other states, the EPA’s carbon rule calls for Louisiana to make slightly steeper-than-average cuts to carbon emissions from power plants. This is largely because it estimated that it would be easier for Louisiana to cut emissions than other states given how it emits CO2. Specifically, it recommends making emissions cuts of nearly 40 percent — from 1,466 pounds per megawatt-hour in 2012 to 833 pounds per megawatt-hour in 2030. On average, the rules call for a 30 percent emissions cut nationwide by 2030.

However, Louisiana does not get majority of its power from coal — according to the EPA, the state got just under 21 percent of its power from coal in 2012, with natural gas plants accounting for nearly 58 percent; nuclear accounting for 15 percent; and biomass about 2.3 percent.

The post Senator To Protest Carbon Rule At A Plant Whose CEO Supports Regulating Carbon Pollution appeared first on ThinkProgress.

Las Vegas Shooters Allegedly Spent Time At Bundy Ranch, Embraced White Supremacy

Police found swastika symbols in the shooters’ home.

The post Las Vegas Shooters Allegedly Spent Time At Bundy Ranch, Embraced White Supremacy appeared first on ThinkProgress.

Police Shot-Las Vegas

CREDIT: AP

A married couple who reportedly bragged about their ties to white supremacists killed two police officers, another person, and ultimately themselves in Las Vegas on Sunday. According to neighbors, the duo — whose names have not been publicly released — “had a reputation for spouting racist, anti-government views, bragging about their gun collection and boasting that they’d spent time at Cliven Bundy’s ranch during a recent standoff there between armed militia members and federal government agents.”

The incident comes just days after the Department of Justice announced that it was relaunching a law enforcement group to investigate domestic terrorism. The so-called “Domestic Terrorism Executive Committee” was formed after the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, but was disbanded in the aftermath of the September 11th attacks.

“We face an escalating danger from self-radicalized individuals within our own borders,” Holder said in a video announcing the re-formation of the group. “Now — as the nature of the threat we face evolves to include the possibility of individual radicalization via the Internet — it is critical that we return our focus to potential extremists here at home.”

Though the group was formed in response to criticism that the FBI did not to share information with local law enforcement agencies about the radicalization of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, one of the brothers allegedly responsible for the Boston Marathon bombing, DOJ cited a Congressional Research Service report showing that “domestic terrorists were responsible for more than two dozen incidents in the U.S. since 9/11.” A count by the New America Foundation found that “right wing extremists have killed 34 people in the United States for political reasons” between 9/11 and April of 2014.

Some of that violence is fueled by groups and individuals devoted to white supremacist ideology, a movement that is “largely driven by the demographic ‘browning’ of the population and predictions of the loss of a white majority in the next 30 years.” The Southern Poverty Law Center notes that these groups experienced “four years of spectacular growth” in the aftermath of the 2008 presidential election and the “nearly simultaneous collapse of the economy,” but saw its “first significant decrease in 2013.”

The Vegas shooting comes in the aftermath of a recent anti-Jewish fueled shooting spree in Kansas City, Kansas in April, the killing of six Sikhs in a Wisconsin temple in 2012 and the murder of a guard at the U.S. Holocaust Museum in 2009.

The two shooters in Las Vegas allegedly shouted “this is the start of a revolution” before opening fire at the two officers — Alyn Beck and Igor Soldo — and draped their bodies with a “don’t tread on me” Revolution-era flag. Police later found swastika symbols in the shooters’ home.

Update

The shooters have been identified as Jerad and Amanda Miller. A NBC affiliate has this video of Jared Miller speaking to reporters at the Bundy ranch in April: “I feel sorry for any federal agents that want to come in here and try to push us around or something like that. I really don’t want violence toward them, but if they’re going to come bring violence to us, well if that’s the language they want to speak, we’ll learn it,” he says. Watch 45 seconds in:

Update

NBC news is reporting that the Millers “left their apartment with a shopping cart full of weapons” and that Jerad told a neighbor, “We gotta do what we gotta do.” His wife added, “I am so sorry.” Another neighbor claimed the Millers “wanted to overthrow the government and President Barack Obama and kill police officers.”

Update

Cliven Bundy’s son told the Associated Press that “Jerad and Amanda Miller were asked to leave his father’s ranch after being there for a few days this spring,” claiming that they were “very radical.” “Not very many people were asked to leave,” he said. “I think they may have been the only ones.”

The post Las Vegas Shooters Allegedly Spent Time At Bundy Ranch, Embraced White Supremacy appeared first on ThinkProgress.