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Archive for July 4th, 2014

Tibetans Have Extinct Mountain Man Gene

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 4th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Tibetans Have Extinct Mountain Man Gene
Scientists said on Wednesday many Tibetans possess a rare variant of a gene involved in carrying oxygen in the blood that they likely inherited from an enigmatic group of extinct humans who interbred with our species tens of thousands of years ago. The gene enables Tibetans to function well in low oxygen levels at elevations upwards of 15,000 feet like the vast high plateau of southwestern China. People without this variant would be apt to develop thick blood, leading to high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes, low-birth-weight babies and higher infant mortality.


Japan to lift some sanctions on North Korea

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 4th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Japan to lift some sanctions on North Korea
TOKYO (AP) — Japan says it will lift some of the sanctions it has imposed on North Korea.


At citizenship ceremony, Obama again pushes immigration reform

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 4th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

At citizenship ceremony, Obama again pushes immigration reform
During naturalization event for soldiers and their families, president says the “broken” immigration system must be fixed to attract “best and brightest” to U.S.

Obama’s immigration Independence Day
Major Garrett: Obama’s now struck his own path on the larger issue of comprehensive immigration reform and unaccompanied minors on the border

Obama on hiring Tim Howard: “I promise to think about it”
President Obama jokes about the petition for him to name U.S. soccer player and World Cup star Tim Howard the next secretary of defense


Media Miss Substance Of Clinton’s 3 Hours And 45 Minutes Of Interviews

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 4th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Media Miss Substance Of Clinton’s 3 Hours And 45 Minutes Of Interviews

hrc

The media’s fixation on comments Hillary Clinton made during recent interviews responding to questions about her family’s wealth has obscured the substantive issues Clinton talked about during nearly four hours of interviews. 

Clinton’s interviews on ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, Fox News, PBS, and NPR lasted for more than three hours and 45 minutes, not including commercials, according to a Media Matters analysis. 

In the weeks since Clinton began promoting her book, the media has endlessly fixated on whether Clinton committed a “gaffe” when responding to questions about wealth. 


Learning the American Language

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 4th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Learning the American Language
Michael Gerson, RealClearPolitics
WASHINGTON — On July 9, 1776, when the Declaration of Independence was first publicly read to the citizens of New York — “We hold these truths to be self-evident … ” — they responded by decapitating an equestrian statue of George III, cutting off his nose and placing his head on a spike outside a tavern. Metal from the statue was later turned into 42,088 bullets, intended, by one account, “to assimilate with the brains” of the British. Americans have always taken their John Locke and natural law with a side of ferocious nationalism. The Declaration’s shining vision of universal rights…

Joe Miller, Alaska Wild Card; Fevered Fundraising Pitches; Minimum Wage Data; Gettysburg
Carl M. Cannon, RealClearPolitics
Good morning. It’s Thursday, July 3, 2014. Overnight, the tropical storm forming off the coast of North Carolina officially became a hurricane. It’s now moving northward, with the forecast for wind and rain on the Outer Banks and Virginia’s beaches. As of this morning, the prediction is that it won’t make landfall until it reaches Canada’s Maritime Provinces and has dissipated somewhat. If the weather service is correct, July 4 is shaping up as a lovely day in the nation’s capital and the surrounding environs — Northern Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania,…


VIDEO: Does Europe care if UK leaves the EU?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 4th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

VIDEO: Does Europe care if UK leaves the EU?
MEPs’ views about the chances of Britain leaving the EU, and what it could mean for both sides of the argument.

All-women shortlist row escalates
A row over an enforced all-women shortlist in the Labour seat being vacated by MP Ann Clwyd escalates as the local party decides to “go on strike”.

Andy Coulson jailed for 18 months
Former News of the World editor and Number 10 director of communications Andy Coulson is jailed for 18 months for conspiracy to hack phones.


World Cup 2014: Argentina Fans Hope to Spoil Brazil’s Tournament

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 4th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

World Cup 2014: Argentina Fans Hope to Spoil Brazil’s Tournament
Tens of thousands of Argentines have traveled to Brazil, stirring worries among Brazilians about violence and about Argentina winning the World Cup.

Poised to Gain in Iraq Crisis, Kurds Face New Barriers to Autonomy
Although exporting its vast oil supply would give the Kurdish government leverage in its push for sovereignty, opposition from other nations has left the region’s future uncertain.



Critic’s Notebook: Refugee Camp for Syrians in Jordan Evolves as a Do-It-Yourself City
As the sprawling Zaatari camp evolves into an informal city — with an economy and even gentrification — aid workers say camps can be potential urban incubators that benefit host countries like Jordan.

World Cup 2014: Ángel di María Emerges as a Threat for Argentina
Ángel di María of Argentina, who comes from the same town as Lionel Messi, has excelled at the World Cup and has monopolized the front pages back home.

World Briefing: India: Prime Minister Visits Kashmir
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday made his first official trip to Indian-controlled Kashmir, where separatist groups called a strike that shut shops, businesses and schools.




Tennessee Just Started Drug Testing Welfare Applicants

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 4th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Tennessee Just Started Drug Testing Welfare Applicants

Applicants who test positive will have to go through treatment, and if they test positive again their benefits will be taken away.

The post Tennessee Just Started Drug Testing Welfare Applicants appeared first on ThinkProgress.

drug testing

CREDIT: Shutterstock

A new law that took effect this week in Tennessee will drug test state welfare applicants.

People who apply to the state’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, Families First, will have to answer three questions on a form about potential drug use in order to receive benefits. If they answer “yes” to any of the questions, they’ll be referred to urine testing. If they refuse to take the drug test, they won’t be able to get the benefits. If the test is positive, they’ll have to complete a treatment or recovery plan after a substance abuse evaluation. After that, the applicants will have to take another test, and if it comes back positive they will be cut off from welfare for six months.

“This law singles out limited-income people and requires them to submit to humiliating and intrusive searches of their bodily fluids because they need temporary help making ends meet,” said Hedy Weinberg, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee.

Programs that drug test welfare applicants are misguided: recipients don’t use drugs at any higher rate than the general population. In Florida, in fact, just 2 percent of recipients failed drug tests in 2011, while 8 percent of the state’s residents use illegal drugs. In Utah, just 12 welfare recipients tested positive in the year after it enacted a drug testing requirement. In Minnesota, 0.4 percent of cash assistance recipients have felony drug convictions, compared to the state’s general population.

Instead, they play into untrue stereotypes that the poor are unwise with their money or their health. Maine’s governor tried to root out widespread abuse among the state’s beneficiaries, trying to prove they use their benefits to buy alcohol or cigarettes, and turned up next to nothing. Welfare recipients are actually more frugal than the general population, spending less of their budgets on eating out and entertainment and more on the necessities.

The programs also come with a hefty price, despite the fact that lawmakers often defend them as saving money on welfare benefits. Utah spent more than $30,000 to catch those 12 users. Virginia lawmakers rejected a similar proposal after realizing it would cost $1.5 million to operate while saving just $229,000. Any savings from Florida’s program will be negligible after administrative costs and reimbursing the people who took $30 tests.

And they face potential legal hurdles. A federal appeals court rejected Florida’s program, which made all applicants take drug tests and pay for them, withholding benefits from those who had positive results, as unconstitutional in February last year. Other programs have experienced similar legal setbacks.

At least eight states have passed similar laws to drug test welfare recipients, including Kansas and Mississippi.

The post Tennessee Just Started Drug Testing Welfare Applicants appeared first on ThinkProgress.

Arizona Professor Offers Extra Credit To Female Students Who Stop Shaving Their Armpits

Putting down your razor can lift your G.P.A. at Arizona State University.

The post Arizona Professor Offers Extra Credit To Female Students Who Stop Shaving Their Armpits appeared first on ThinkProgress.

shaving

CREDIT: Shutterstock

Putting down your razor can lift your G.P.A. at Arizona State University.

Professor Breanne Fahs offers female students extra-credit if they “stop shaving their legs and underarms for ten weeks during the semester while keeping a journal to document their experiences.” For Fahs, who teaches women and gender studies, the purpose is to get students thinking critically about societal norms and gender roles.

A similar opportunity is available to men in Fahs’ classes who recieve extra credit for shaving all of their hair from the neck down.

One student, Stephanie Robinson, described it as a “life-changing experience“:

Many of my friends didn’t want to work out next to me or hear about the assignment, and my mother was distraught at the idea that I would be getting married in a white dress with armpit hair. I also noticed the looks on faces of strangers and people around campus who seemed utterly disgusted by my body hair. It definitely made me realize that if you’re not strictly adhering to socially prescribed gender roles, your body becomes a site for contestation and public opinion.

Men seemed to have an easier time with it since some degree of “manscaping” has become accepted, or even expected.

The norm of women shaving body hair dates back to an effort by Gillette to expand their market for razors. Starting around 1915, Gillette started a campaign “denouncing the (previously inoffensive) female underarm hair as ‘unsightly’, ‘masculine’ and ‘unclean’.” In the 1920s, they expanded their efforts to leg hair, glamorizing “a smooth, silky leg.”

Still, “[b]efore the first world war, virtually no American woman shaved her legs. By 1964, 98% of women under the age of 44 did so.”

In 2010, Mo’Nique created a minor stir by appearing at the Golden Globes with unshaven legs. This year some celebrities, including Cameron Diaz, have been speaking out for more tolerance for women’s choices.

Fahs received an award from the American Psychological Association in recognition of her program and has been contacted by “faculty members at other universities are considering using the exercise in their classes.”

The post Arizona Professor Offers Extra Credit To Female Students Who Stop Shaving Their Armpits appeared first on ThinkProgress.


Is Obama Throwing Immigrant Children Under the Bus?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 4th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Is Obama Throwing Immigrant Children Under the Bus?
From: Zoë Carpenter

Now that Obama has given up trying to appease the GOP, why he is considering weakening a law intended to protect immigrant children from trafficking and violence?


The Political Ginsburg

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 4th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

The Political Ginsburg

“Global Warming, the Movie” Starring: Freezing
Rob Tracinski, Federalist
A funny thing happens when Hollywood tries to portray the horrific negative consequences of global warming: they tend to end up showing an Earth that has frozen over. I noticed this the first time in 2004′s The Day After Tomorrow, where global warming supposedly leads to a global atmospheric inversion that buries New York City under a mountain of snow. It was a striking image: a global warming movie whose poster features the hand of the Statue of Liberty poking out of the top of a glacier. The image was seemingly repeated from Stanley Kubrick’s A.I., when our future robotic…

President Obama’s Executive Overreach
Kirsten Powers, USA Today
Notice that the former constitutional law professor did not make a substantive legal case in defense of his executive power grabs. He merely stated that what he did was popular, ergo his extra-constitutional actions are fine. A more reassuring answer would include explaining how his actions are consistent with the Constitution. The Supreme Court has seemed less than impressed with Obama’s constitutional claims. Last Thursday, the justices tossed his attempt to unilaterally declare the Senate in recess so he could appoint officials to the National Labor Relations Board. Another of the…

Working Mothers & What Bugs Me About Tina Fey
Robin Abcarian, LAT
Until we do, the question of how women achieve both professional and domestic success will remain the subject of intense cultural fascination. Anne-Marie Slaughter’s much-discussed 2012 essay in The Atlantic, “Why Women Still Can’t Have it All,” is a recent iteration of our endless interest in this topic. Last week, Matt Lauer set off feminist alarm bells when he asked General Motors CEO Mary Barra, the first woman to lead a major automaker, whether she felt she could be a good mom and a good chief executive.

IRS Lawyers Ready for Busy Week Ahead
Stephen Hayes, Weekly Standard
Tapscott reports the IRS lawyers “will have to explain to U.S. District Court Judge Reggie Walton why the IRS shouldn’t be required to let an outside expert evaluate whether emails on the computer hard drives of former IRS official Lois Lerner and six colleagues really are lost forever, as the agency recently told Congress. “Responding to a motion filed Monday by True the Vote, a Houston-based conservative nonprofit at the center of IRS targeting during the 2010 and 2012 campaigns, Walton issued an order Tuesday to hear arguments next week.” The IRS and its leaders have thus far avoided…