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Archive for September 2nd, 2014

North Korea Lets 3 Detained Americans Appear on CNN

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 2nd, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

North Korea Lets 3 Detained Americans Appear on CNN
Three Americans detained in North Korea pleaded for U.S. help in interviews with CNN. Kenneth Bae, Matthew Todd Miller and Jeffrey Edward Fowle were presented to CNN’s Will Ripley at a Pyongyang hotel Monday. Each was given five minutes for an interview. All three men said they hope the U.S. government will send an envoy to North Korea to help get them out of their situations, similar to how former President Bill Clinton helped secure the release of two journalists in 2009. Bae, who is serving a 15-year prison sentence for “hostile acts to bring down its government,” said he is working eight hours a day, six days a week at a labor camp.


Kenny Football? Texas A&M QB has his own nickname

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 2nd, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Kenny Football? Texas A&M QB has his own nickname
COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) — Just call him Kenny Trill.


In Mexico, Chris Christie hopes to project foreign policy prowess

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 2nd, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

In Mexico, Chris Christie hopes to project foreign policy prowess
The New Jersey governor, like many potential 2016 Republican hopefuls, is trying to brush up on foreign affairs


“Either Convert Them Or Kill Them”: Hannity Turns To Duck Dynasty ‘s Phil Robertson On Islamic State’s Beheadings

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 2nd, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

“Either Convert Them Or Kill Them”: Hannity Turns To Duck Dynasty ‘s Phil Robertson On Islamic State’s Beheadings

From the September 2 edition of Fox News’ Hannity:

Previously:

How Fox News Helped Make Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson A Conservative Media Darling

Fox News Employees Rush To Defend Duck Dynasty Star’s Anti-Gay Comments


A Nod to Realism

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 2nd, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

A Nod to Realism
Richard Cohen, RealClearPolitics
America rarely does time capsules anymore, but the ones it does should include videos from February 2011 of American TV reporters exulting in the triumph of the Arab Spring. “This is the sound of a people rising,” ABC’s Terry Moran told us from Cairo. For Egyptians, he said, it was a day “when a people rose and made themselves a new country, a new world, a new life.” That new life today looks depressingly like the old one. The military government of Hosni Mubarak has been replaced by the military government of Abdel Fatah al-Sissi. In between came the interregnum…

Wage Gap a GOP Issue
Dick Morris, RealClearPolitics
“Use your tools to fix their car,” a key tenet of the idea of triangulation, should be the lynchpin of the Republican midterm campaign of 2014. The president has found a compelling issue in income inequality. Now it is up to the Republicans — not to challenge the issue’s legitimacy as a national concern, but to show how their policies, rather than those of the Democrats, are best equipped to solve it. The central issue for Republicans to use in fashioning a GOP solution to income inequality is immigration. Nothing strikes more fundamentally at the pain of the working class, toiling long…

Winooski, Vermont and the Dismantling of America’s Values
Dennis Prager, RealClearPolitics
As a talk show host, I have no choice but to keep up with what’s happening in America and the world. I am therefore submerged in depressing and often angering fare. It is hard to read about and discuss the progressives who dominate American media and academia who morally equate Israel and Hamas; who describe America — the most tolerant multi-ethnic country in the world — as racist; and who characterize American universities as a “rape culture.” But there was a barely reported story that came out of a small city in Vermont last week that, for reasons to be explained, really got to me. The…

Irresponsible Choices
Thomas Sowell, RealClearPolitics
The latest Gallup poll indicates that 14 percent of the people “moderately disapprove” of Barack Obama’s performance as president and 39 percent “strongly disapprove.” Since Obama won two presidential elections, chances are that some of those who now “strongly disapprove” of what he has done voted to put him in office. We all make mistakes, but the real question is whether we learn from them. With many people now acting as if it is time for “a woman” to become president, apparently they have learned absolutely nothing from the disastrous results of the irresponsible self-indulgence of…


PM to discuss hostage death threat

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 2nd, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

PM to discuss hostage death threat
David Cameron will chair a Cobra meeting to discuss Britain’s response to a threat by Islamic militants to kill a UK man.

Moderator calls for ‘Yes-No’ respect
The Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland has urged both sides in the referendum debate to show respect.


‘Secret law is a threat to democracy,’ Dems warn in letter to Obama

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 2nd, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

‘Secret law is a threat to democracy,’ Dems warn in letter to Obama
They are pushing Obama to declassify the legal opinions behind a spying program.


Putin’s War of Words: A Roundup

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 2nd, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Putin’s War of Words: A Roundup
A review of comments by President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia meant to inspire nationalist support at home and encourage pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine.



World Briefing: Syria: Militants Set Demands for Release of Fijians
Fiji’s military commander said Tuesday that Syrian rebels have issued three demands for the release of 45 Fijian peacekeepers who have been held captive since late last week.



Your Evening Briefing
Get caught up on the day’s top stories.



World Briefing: Saudi Arabia: 88 Held on Suspicion of Terrorist Ties
Saudi Arabia has detained 88 people on suspicion of plotting terrorist attacks at home and abroad, the Interior Ministry said Tuesday.



News Analysis: Democracy Backers in Hong Kong Face Tough Choices
Students and organizers planned strikes, legal obstruction and a sit-in after the national legislature placed strict limits on how the city may pick its next leader.




Republican Senate Nominee Touts Birth Control Support, Downplays Anti-Woman Record In New Ad

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 2nd, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Republican Senate Nominee Touts Birth Control Support, Downplays Anti-Woman Record In New Ad

Cory Gardner has been working hard to convince voters he’s shed his extreme anti-woman past.

The post Republican Senate Nominee Touts Birth Control Support, Downplays Anti-Woman Record In New Ad appeared first on ThinkProgress.

gardner

CREDIT: AP

Republican Senate nominee Cory Gardner (R-CO) has been working hard to shed his extreme right-wing past in recent months, adopting several new policy stances to appeal to the more moderate Coloradan electorate. A new ad released Tuesday touts his support for over-the-counter birth control access and suggests Gardner is even more pro-contraception than his Democratic opponent.

“What’s the difference between me and Mark Udall on contraception? I believe the pill ought to be available over the counter, round the clock, without a prescription — cheaper and easier, for you,” Gardner says in the ad. “Mark Udall’s plan is different. He wants to keep government bureaucrats between you and your healthcare plan. That means more politics, and more profits for drug companies. My plan means more rights, more freedom, and more control for you — and that’s a big difference.”

Watch it:

Udall has pointed out that while over-the-counter birth control is a good idea to expand access, it must still be covered by insurance. Some experts say the new Republican push to move it over the counter is an attempt to undercut Obamacare’s contraception coverage guarantee.

Gardner first announced his support for over-the-counter access in a Denver Post op-ed in June, in an apparent attempt to set himself apart from “too many Republicans [who] are afraid to break the mold.” In a similar vein, his campaign released an ad Monday in which Gardner, a climate change denier, uses a wind farm as a backdrop to express his support for alternative energy sources.

But Gardner’s extreme right-wing record has been hard to shake. He’s had to disavow his support for the Colorado “personhood” measures that would have banned abortion and some forms of contraception. As a member of Congress, he voted against measures to require insurance companies to cover birth control and to allow pharmacists to prescribe emergency contraception. He’s also stood against a bill to help poor women on Medicaid to get birth control.

Republican candidates all over the country are trying to dispel the party’s anti-woman image, through training sessions on how to avoid offensive statements, PR firms. In Colorado, Republicans even held a woman-specific forum with the dubious theme of “The Dating Game.” The Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision has also complicated Republicans’ pitch to women voters. A majority of female voters say they won’t vote for candidates who back Hobby Lobby in their quest to drop coverage for contraception. More than half of Colorado women opposed the ruling.

The post Republican Senate Nominee Touts Birth Control Support, Downplays Anti-Woman Record In New Ad appeared first on ThinkProgress.

Scientists Find ‘Alarming’ Amount Of Arsenic In Groundwater Near Texas Fracking Sites

After testing 100 water wells atop one of the largest natural gas reserves in the U.S., researchers found that nearly 30 percent contain levels of arsenic above the limit considered safe.

The post Scientists Find ‘Alarming’ Amount Of Arsenic In Groundwater Near Texas Fracking Sites appeared first on ThinkProgress.

A drilling rig is seen near Kennedy, Texas, Wednesday, May 9, 2012.

A drilling rig is seen near Kennedy, Texas, Wednesday, May 9, 2012.

CREDIT: AP Photo/Eric Gay

After testing 100 water wells atop one of the largest natural gas reserves in the U.S., scientists at the University of Texas have found that nearly 30 percent of them contain levels of arsenic above the limit considered safe by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, according to a study published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology.

Twenty-nine groundwater sites within 1.8 miles of active natural gas drilling had unusually high levels of heavy metals, including arsenic, the study found. And while it’s not conclusive that the contamination is because of fracking, the team of 11 biochemists say their findings provide further evidence that could link the controversial natural gas drilling technique to groundwater pollution.

“I can’t say we have a smoking gun. We don’t want the public to take away from this that we have pegged fracking as the cause of these issues,” Brian Fontenot, the paper’s lead author, told ProPublica. “But we have shown that these issues do occur in close relation, geographically, to natural gas extraction.”

The EPA classifies arsenic as a carcinogen, and warns that long-term exposure to it can cause cancer, cardiovascular disease, immunological disorders, diabetes and other medical issues.

Hydraulic fracturing, otherwise known as fracking, is a controversial yet popular technique used to stimulate natural gas wells underground. To do this, companies inject a mixture of water, sand, and chemicals miles-deep into subsurface rock. The high-pressure brine effectively cracks or “fractures” the rock, making gas easier to extract.

The technique is especially popular on the Barnett Shale, a rich source of natural gas located in the Fort Worth Basin. The Barnett Shale is one of two huge active shale plays in Texas, along with the Eagle Ford shale, and together they hold more than 90 trillion cubic feet of unproven, technically recoverable gas. The two shale deposits also represent one of the biggest energy booms in America.

That boom started about 10 years ago, and the University of Texas researchers compared their results with previous water tests conducted before that boom. What they found was what researcher Zacariah Hildenbrand called an “alarming” increase in the amount of arsenic and other heavy metals in 30 percent of the groundwater wells within 1.8 miles of gas drilling sites.

“This is indirect evidence that drilling does affect the water,” Hildenbrand said.

The researchers’ theory about how fracking may have caused the arsenic pollution is that the technique caused increased vibration underground, shaking rusty pipes in the nearby water wells. That rust could contain arsenic, the researchers said. “We’re not saying that [fracking companies have] injected arsenic into these wells,” Fontenot said.

Industry leaders have doubted this theory, telling The Denton Record-Chronicle that vibrations from drilling could never reach shallow water wells because of how deep gas wells are drilled. “If they’re talking about drills shaking [rust] free, that’s a little farfetched,” said Alex Mills, president of Texas Alliance of Energy Producers. “I’ve never heard or even came close to hearing that hydraulic fracturing is so vicious, so earth-shattering to shake loose rust from water wells.”

While it seems that little research has been done on whether drilling itself can cause earth-shattering vibrations, emerging research has shown that fracking can cause the earth to shake. Scientists increasingly believe that the fracking-related process of injecting water underground is causing man-made earthquakes — not only in Texas, but across the country. The large amount of water injected into the ground can change the state of stress on existing fault lines to the point of failure, scientists believe.

The natural gas drilling industry maintains that fracking is safe and doesn’t impact human health. But there has been a lack of conclusive scientific research to support or deny that claim. Preliminary, albeit inconclusive research has shown that fracking could cause health problems in expectant mothers or birth defects in unborn babies living near wells, but scientists largely agree that more research needs to be done as oil and gas production booms across the country.

The University of Texas researchers agree. “We think that the strongest argument we can say is that this needs more research,” Fontenot said.

The post Scientists Find ‘Alarming’ Amount Of Arsenic In Groundwater Near Texas Fracking Sites appeared first on ThinkProgress.


AIPAC’s Fight Against Iran Diplomacy

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 2nd, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

AIPAC’s Fight Against Iran Diplomacy
From: Ali Gharib

How the Israel lobby is pushing us to war with Iran.

Mychal Denzel Smith: You Have to Upend the Entire System of Racism
From: Melissa Harris-Perry

Mychal Denzel Smith appears on Melissa Harry-Perry to explain why we need a national movement to dismantle white supremacy. 

Brief Interviews With the Hideous Cheneys
From: Tom Tomorrow

The Cheney family takes a break from their busy lives (of being generally horrible) to answer some questions.

Arthur Danto’s Critique of the ‘Aesthetic Terrorism’ of Jeff Koons
From: Back Issues

A solo Koons exhibition, Danto wrote in 1989, was “a vision of an aesthetic hell.”

Michael Sam: Out of the Closet, Out of the NFL?
From: Dave Zirin

Michael Sam, the first openly gay player with a chance of making an NFL team, now finds himself on the outside looking in.