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Archive for July 7th, 2014

63 Girls Escape from Boko Haram Captors

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 7th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

63 Girls Escape from Boko Haram Captors
More than 60 Nigerian girls and women abducted by Islamic extremists two weeks ago have managed to escape, officials said Monday. Vigilante leader Abbas Gava said Sunday that women and girls escaped Friday while their captors were engaged in a major attack on a military barracks and police headquarters in Damboa. More than 2,000 people have died so far this year in the 5-year-old Islamic uprising in the country.

Walmart, Amazon Sell Dachau Home Decor
Walmart, Amazon and Sears came under social media fire from shoppers over the holiday weekend for selling a commemorative poster featuring a photo of one of Nazi Germany’s concentration camps. Online shoppers were horrified to learn that an image from Dachau’s main gate was being sold as a piece of home decor. The offending item was listed on the Walmart page with the description: “Gate with inscription Arbeit Macht Frei, Dachau Concentration Camp, Dachau.” Walmart also promised that the poster “would make a great addition to your home or office.”


MTV series traces aftermath of abduction

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 7th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

MTV series traces aftermath of abduction
NEW YORK (AP) — Finding an identity is hard enough for a 16-year-old girl without learning that life as you know it is based on a lie.


NASCAR team pulls Charlie Crist sponsorship

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 7th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

NASCAR team pulls Charlie Crist sponsorship
Team owner says his partner, a Republican, was uncomfortable with the advertisement for Crist, a Democrat running for Florida governor

Who’s to blame for the flood of kids at the border?
Republicans say Obama can’t (or won’t) secure the border, but Democrats fault the GOP for blocking immigration reform that would amp up border resources

Bird known for mating dance could tip balance of Senate control
A battle over listing the sage grouse as an endangered species is reaching into several pivotal 2014 Senate races in western states


Hannity Continues Smearing Hillary Clinton For Fulfilling Her Legal Responsibilities As A Lawyer

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 7th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Hannity Continues Smearing Hillary Clinton For Fulfilling Her Legal Responsibilities As A Lawyer

From the July 7 edition of Fox News’ Hannity:

Previously:

New Conservative Clinton Smear Undermines The American Justice System

The Free Beacon’s Clinton Conspiracy Falls Apart

David Brock Advises Media Of The Washington Free Beacon’s Unethical Practices


Bob Beauprez, Welcome to the General Election

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 7th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Bob Beauprez, Welcome to the General Election
Mike Littwin, RealClearPolitics
Give Bob Beauprez credit. He did his bit. He saved the Colorado Republican Party from Tom Tancredo. But now he faces an even tougher task. He has to try to save the party from himself. You’ve seen the news by now. Beauprez begins his campaign for governor by having to explain his Romney-like “47 percent” quote from back in 2010. It’s all there on the YouTube. It’s vintage Beauprez from his Wilderness Years period, in which he spent his time brooding about the 17-point loss to Bill Ritter and plotting his comeback while spouting the latest in right-wing talking points. If it wasn’t “creeping…

The Divided States of Obama
Michael Gerson, RealClearPolitics
WASHINGTON — The headline — “Poll: Obama Worst President Since World War II” — was both provocative and misleading. The Quinnipiac survey did, indeed, place President Obama at the top of the worst since FDR. But this was largely a measure of partisan concentration. Republicans were united in their unfavorable historical judgment of Obama. Democrats divided their votes (and would insist, I’d imagine, that they have more options to choose from). We already know that Obama is a highly polarizing figure. But beneath the headline, the poll identified serious problems for the…

Deporting Oneself Well
Debra Saunders, RealClearPolitics
Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., and Republican Texas Gov. Rick Perry faced off Thursday at a House Homeland Security Committee field hearing in McAllen, Texas, on the crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border. There’s no question there’s a crisis. In 2011, some 4,000 unaccompanied children were caught after crossing into the United States. In 2012, the number rose to more than 13,000 children. Last year, that number hit 38,759; and already this year, the toll exceeds 52,000, with most minors coming from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. Not all of the kids make it. Interim Hidalgo County Sheriff…


Coulson to face perjury charges

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 7th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Coulson to face perjury charges
Former News of the World editor Andy Coulson is to appear in court on 6 August to face perjury charges over the Tommy Sheridan trial.

Concern over Scottish debate conduct
Business leaders and an academic have hit out at the Scottish and UK governments over their conduct in the independence referendum debate.


Bloomberg-backed gun group turns to midterms

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 7th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Bloomberg-backed gun group turns to midterms
Everytown for Gun Safety is surveying candidates about their positions on gun policy.


Fundamentalism: The Political Kiss of Death

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 7th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Fundamentalism: The Political Kiss of Death
Jonathan Rauch writes that Christian conservatives, in response to their defeat in the “culture wars,” are likely to isolate themselves from the wider society.

I think that is precisely what they will do. It’s what they’ve done before. After the failure of Prohibition and their Pyrrhic victory in the Scopes trial, they headed for the backwoods, hiding out in their tent revivals and two-bit tabernacles.

The iconoclastic libertarian, H.L. Mencken, skewered and roasted them with all the glee of the Calvinistic deity in newspapers across the country. They earned every column inch.

Even into the 1960s, they continued their retreat, establishing thousands of “Christian” schools in protest of 1) the ruling on prayer in government schools, 2) sex education, and 3) desegregation of government schools. They wanted the right to pray, repress and hate–three constant traits of the American fundamentalist.

Oddly, it was the victory of Jimmy Carter, a born-again Christian, who gave them a lust for power–in spite of Carter holding none of the hateful values inspiring his fellow fundamentalists. Once they saw the glimmer of political power, however, nothing could restrain them. The greatest lust is not sex, it’s power.

It is said in Luke that Satan took Jesus to a mountaintop and showed him “all the kingdoms of the world” and said to him, “All this power I will give thee, and the glory of them; for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever will I give it. If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine.”

Jesus resisted, it is said, but for American Christians this temptation was too great. With Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson playing the role of Satan, they were promised political domination of this country, and by implication, the world. The temptation was too great.

In the end, they tied their wagons to the anemic presidency of the village idiot, George W. Bush, discrediting themselves and their message in the process.

America turned against the demands of the Christian Right. The campaign to bring back censorship failed. The campaign to ban abortion fizzled with public opinion now as split as when the battle started. They will never have the nation-wide ban on abortion they seek.

Their crusade against gay people backfired spectacularly–not only did they fail to make it a felony to be gay, but gay couples are legally marrying in state after state.

During the “war” Americans, became more secular and less Christian. More Americans today say they are non-believers than when the Moral Majority set out to make this a “Christian nation.”

They lost because they fought tooth and nail against the oldest American value–individual rights and liberty. Americans have long held those as core values. I won’t say Americans have always lived up to those values–they haven’t, but I will say they always clung to them.

As much as the Religious Right pretends they are patriots, in terms of American core values, they are traitors to the Enlightenment tradition of the Founders, instead they preached an authoritarian religion which, when all was said and done, had no appeal for the American people.

Time and time again, we have been able to judge the final victory of a cultural war by determining the side of the American fundamentalist. The staunchest advocates of slavery were fundamentalists, so much so that the largest fundamentalist denomination in the country originated in a defense of slavery: the Southern Baptist Convention. Fundamentalists supported Prohibition. They tended to oppose equality of rights for women.

During the war against Jim Crow, racist fundamentalists put out pamphlets on the evils of “miscegenation.” Figures such as Jerry Falwell claimed “civil rights” was communistic. Some outposts, such as Bob Jones University, refused to admit black students even into the 1970s. Fundamentalists are experienced veterans of culture wars, just not on the winning side. If anything, their support for a cause is the kiss of death.

Behind Harry Reid’s war against the Koch brothers
This story, drawn from more than a dozen interviews with people involved in various phases of the effort — most of whom requested anonymity to discuss ongoing political deliberations — reveals for the first time the key players and considerations behind Harry Reid’s War on the Kochs, the risky strategy on which Democrats are hinging their midterm election hopes.


Sinosphere Blog: Q. and A.: John Delury on Chinese-South Korean Ties

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 7th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Sinosphere Blog: Q. and A.: John Delury on Chinese-South Korean Ties
John Delury, an assistant professor of Chinese and East Asian Studies at Yonsei University in Seoul, discusses the visit to Seoul by President Xi Jinping of China and the implications it will have on ties between South Korea and China.



Aid Elusive, Crimea Farms Face Hurdles
The political crisis in Crimea has disrupted multiple aspects of farming there, with help pledged from Russia after the annexation being spotty at best.



Ukraine Rebels Are Retreating for Last Stand
Separatist rebels retreated Monday from positions throughout eastern Ukraine and began building barricades in Donetsk and Luhansk in anticipation of a final stand against advancing government troops.



U.S. Official Ordered Out of Bahrain After Meeting
Bahrain told the senior United States official on human rights to end his visit early after he met with the nation’s main Shiite opposition group.




Pope Francis: Destroying The Rainforest Is A Sin

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 7th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Pope Francis: Destroying The Rainforest Is A Sin

“This is one of the greatest challenges of our time: to convert ourselves to a type of development that knows how to respect creation,” Pope Francis said.

The post Pope Francis: Destroying The Rainforest Is A Sin appeared first on ThinkProgress.

Pope Francis

CREDIT: Catholic Church of England and Wales

Pope Francis spoke out against the destruction of the rainforest this past weekend, calling deforestation a “sin” and asking his fellow Catholics to respect God’s Creation.

Speaking at the University of Molise on Saturday, July 5, before an audience that included struggling farmers, Francis decried the destruction of South America’s rainforests such as the Amazon, which contains an estimated 390 billion individual trees but had the highest deforestation rate in the world as of 2005.

“This is one of the greatest challenges of our time: to convert ourselves to a type of development that knows how to respect creation,” the pope said in unprepared remarks. “When I look at America, also my own homeland (South America), so many forests, all cut, that have become land … that can longer give life (sic). This is our sin, exploiting the Earth and not allowing her to her (sic) give us what she has within her.”

Francis, who hails from Argentina, is developing something of a reputation as a faith-based environmentalist. In addition to mentioning climate change in his inaugural papal mass, he told a massive crowd in Rome earlier this year that “if we destroy Creation, Creation will destroy us,” and is also working on a formal papal encyclical about the environment. And this isn’t the first time the pontiff has spoken up on behalf of the Amazon. When visiting Brazil in July of last year, Francis told a group of Brazilian bishops that the Amazon — which resides almost entirely within nations where Catholicism is the dominant religion — should not be “indiscriminately exploited, but rather made into a garden.”

“The Church’s presence in the Amazon Basin is not that of someone with bags packed and ready to leave after having exploited everything possible,” Francis told the bishops. “The Church has been present in the Amazon Basin from the beginning, in her missionaries, religious congregations, priests, laity and Bishops and she is still present and critical to the area’s future.”

The pope’s message is part of a rich history of Catholic activism to protect South American rainforests. Sister Dorothy Stang, a Catholic nun who is sometimes called the “Angel” or “Martyr” of the Amazon, spent more than 40 years advocating against the deforestation of the rainforest and calling attention to the plight of the region’s indigenous people. Tragically, her activism was effective enough to make enemies among ranchers and illegal loggers: Stang was reportedly approached by hired assassins while walking to a meeting with parishioners in February 2005. When asked if she had a weapon, she pulled out her Bible and extended blessings to the two gunmen before they shot her six times, killing her.

Similarly, when prominent business owners and loggers tried to revamp Brazil’s “Forest Code” to allow for increased deforestation of the Amazon in 2011, the Brazilian Catholic Church lobbied president Dilma Rousseff to veto the bill, and circulated a petition among its 12,000 parishes opposing the reforms. Two other institutions of the church — the Pastoral Land Commission and Catholic “base” communities — have also long been the champions of the Amazon’s indigenous people, whose lives and land are often violently exploited by wealthy ranchers and land speculators. The church groups work to provide locals with lawyers to represent them and frequently report to the government whenever violence is used to forcibly stifle their voice.

The post Pope Francis: Destroying The Rainforest Is A Sin appeared first on ThinkProgress.

Appeals Court Blocks Arizona Driver’s License Ban For DREAMers

This is another blow to Arizona’s anti-immigrant agenda.

The post Appeals Court Blocks Arizona Driver’s License Ban For DREAMers appeared first on ThinkProgress.

Gov. Jan Brewer

Gov. Jan Brewer

CREDIT: AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin

An appeals court has blocked Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer’s (R) move to prevent some undocumented immigrants in her state from obtaining driver’s licenses. The ruling will allow undocumented immigrants who came here as children and qualified for Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to obtain driver’s licenses in Arizona, at least while the court hears arguments and issues a final ruling on the constitutionality of a driver’s license ban.

After Obama initiated the DACA program to give some undocumented immigrants who came here as children temporarily legal presence, Brewer countered with her own executive order that prohibited those DACA beneficiaries from obtaining driver’s licenses, saying “the Obama amnesty plan doesn’t make them legally here” even though they have the same work authorization papers that allow other noncitizens to qualify for driver’s licenses.

In Monday’s ruling, the unanimous panel sided with the DACA plaintiffs suing Brewer, finding they were “likely to suffer irreparable harm” and unequal treatment by the state. The ruling temporarily blocks Brewer’s driver’s license ban until the court issues a final ruling. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit judges reasoned that DACA recipients are “similarly situated” to noncitizens, who are allowed to obtain licenses using their employment authorization documents (EADs). DACA recipients have similar documents and the majority found no rational basis for why “Employment Authorization Documents held by noncitizens demonstrate federally authorized presence, while DACA recipients’ Employment Authorization Documents do not” since the federal government has in both cases “pledged not to remove them during the designated period, and has authorized them to work in this country.”

One of the appeals court judges who joined in the majority opinion was Judge Morgan Christen, who has the rare distinction of receiving judicial appointments from both former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) and President Barack Obama. Christen was appointed in 2009 by Palin to sit on the Alaska Supreme Court before being appointed to the federal appeals court. Christen “agreed that plaintiffs demonstrated a likelihood of success on the merits of their equal protection claim.”

Previously in May 2013, U.S. District Judge David Campbell ruled that Arizona’s policy was likely discriminatory, but rejected the argument that Brewer’s policy was unconstitutional.

Erika Andiola, a prominent DACA recipient from the Dream Action Coalition said in a statement Monday, “In Arizona, it can mean the difference between driving to school and work with no fear and being stopped and deported for having no license.”

Studies show that giving driver’s licenses to unlicensed drivers, a category that includes many undocumented immigrants, would improve public safety because drivers would have to pass a test before they obtain a license and will need to purchase auto insurance.

While the ruling temporarily lifts the driver’s license ban for DACA recipients in Arizona, it will not affect a ban for other undocumented immigrants in Arizona.

The post Appeals Court Blocks Arizona Driver’s License Ban For DREAMers appeared first on ThinkProgress.