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Archive for September 10th, 2014

Head on Straight? Be Grateful

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 10th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Head on Straight? Be Grateful
A Brazilian man born with several severe disabilities, including an upside-down head and limited use of his arms and legs, has beaten the odds to become an inspirational public speaker. As a newborn, doctors told Claudio Vieira de Oliveira’s mother to stop feeding him because he would not be able to survive. “People started saying, ‘the baby is going to die’ because he could barely breathe when he was born,'” mother Maria Jose said. Instead, the family made adjustments to their home so Claudio, now 37, could maneuver around without getting hurt. “Throughout my life I was able to adapt my body to the world. Right now, I don’t see myself as being different. I am a normal person,” he said.

CO2 in Atmosphere at Record High 396 PPM
Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere reached a record high in 2013 of 396 parts per million last year, the biggest year-to-year change in three decades, according to the annual report of the World Meteorological Organization. That’s an increase of 2.9 ppm from the previous year — and is 42 percent higher than before the Industrial Age, when levels were about 280 parts per million. “We know without any doubt that our climate is changing and our weather is becoming more extreme due to human activities such as the burning of fossil fuels,” said WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud. “We must reverse this trend by cutting emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases across the board. We are running out of time.”


Betsey Johnson celebrates brides, marriage freedom

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 10th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Betsey Johnson celebrates brides, marriage freedom
NEW YORK (AP) — Drag queens and a transgender bride romped down Betsey Johnson’s runway Wednesday with same-sex couples, a few “Real Housewives” and the 72-year-old designer’s TV dance partner in a fashion show that screamed JUST MARRIED!

Texas executes man who killed ex-wife, her brother
HUNTSVILLE, Texas (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court was considering last-minute appeals from a Texas death row inmate scheduled for execution Wednesday, more than two decades after he was convicted in the slayings of his former common-law wife and her brother.


Obama: ISIS fighters are “unique in their brutality”

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 10th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Obama: ISIS fighters are “unique in their brutality”
Left unchecked, the militant group will pose a threat to the entire Middle East and the United States, the president said during his primetime remarks.

Obama: Defeating ISIS will be “different” from Iraq, Afghanistan wars
The president will announce a leading U.S. role in destroying the Islamic militants during a prime time speech Wednesday night

Hillary Clinton’s poll numbers are better when she’s out of politics
The former secretary of state has seen her approval ratings nosedive since she left the State Department


Fox’s Krauthammer: “I Worry That We Should Entrust Something So Serious” As Fighting Islamic State With Obama

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 10th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Fox’s Krauthammer: “I Worry That We Should Entrust Something So Serious” As Fighting Islamic State With Obama

From the September 10 edition of Fox News’ Special Report with Bret Baier:

Previously: 

Krauthammer: “Obama Shares, With A Whole Generation Of Democrats And Liberals, A Great Skepticism Of American Power”

Media Lose Sight Of U.S. Strategy Against Islamic State In Frenzy Over “Manageable Problem”

The Problem With Right-Wing Media Treating Dick Cheney Like An Expert On Iraq


Calculating the National Interest: Ukraine and ISIS

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 10th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Calculating the National Interest: Ukraine and ISIS
Robert Robb, RealClearPolitics
America’s post-Cold War foreign policy has suffered from imprecision in defining national interests and failure to calibrate our involvements in international conflicts accordingly. The current debates over what to do regarding Ukraine and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria offer good illustrations. When the Ukraine crisis erupted, I speculated that partition probably would give the western section of the country the maximum opportunity to pursue its desire to affiliate and integrate with Europe. Events seem to have validated that instinct. And, indeed, partition still appears the best…

August Jobs Data Point Way Toward GOP Victory
Dick Morris, RealClearPolitics
Amid the media focus on the basic data in the August jobs report — that the economy “added” 143,000 jobs — is the figure that will underscore the Republican efforts to take the Senate. During the month of August, the economy added about 659,000 jobs that went to foreign-born Americans (naturalized citizens, green card holders, and illegal immigrants combined). At the same time, it lost about 643,000 jobs that had been held by native-born Americans. Indeed, since Obama took office, the number of foreign-born Americans who have jobs has risen by 2.9 million, while the number of domestically…

Hold On, Mr. President
John Stossel, RealClearPolitics
“Do you have a strategy now, Mr. President?” asked the cover of the Daily News next to a photo of the second American journalist to be beheaded by the terrorist group ISIS. The impulse to “do something” to counter such evil is strong. But why do we assume that government doing something is always an improvement over government doing nothing?In domestic policy, encouraging government to act leads to nonsense like the “stimulus spending” that created boondoggles such as Cash for Clunkers. Our foreign policy record isn’t much better, despite big successes such as stopping Hitler. Consider the…


Jihadist threat ‘led to terror move’

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 10th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Jihadist threat ‘led to terror move’
The potential return of jihadists was “directly responsible” for the rise in the UK’s terror level, Philip Hammond says.

Two Tories to fight Clacton primary
Two Conservative councillors are shortlisted to take part in an open primary to decide who will contest the Clacton by-election.

VIDEO: Vote ‘galvanised and energised’ Scotland
SNP MP Pete Wishart calls on William Hague to congratulate the Scottish people over the independence campaign.


Is a midterm wave forming?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 10th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Is a midterm wave forming?
Republicans may be poised for strong Senate gains, according to a new poll.


Peru Investigates the Killing of an Environmental Advocate

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 10th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Peru Investigates the Killing of an Environmental Advocate
The advocate, Edwin Chota, and three other men were killed in a remote part of the Amazon jungle on their way to meet with leaders of another village in the region.



Lured Back by a Cease-Fire in Ukraine, but Not Feeling at Home Yet
Many residents of Donetsk who had fled the fighting and returned on word of a cease-fire found a city that felt empty and still at war.



Sinosphere Blog: Chinese Drug Company Wins Approval to Make Generic Version of Viagra
A Chinese pharmaceutical company has received approval to become the country’s first official producer of a homegrown version of Viagra.



Toronto Mayor in Hospital With an Abdominal Tumor
After more than a year of political turmoil punctuated by his admission of crack cocaine use and drunken escapades, Mayor Rob Ford of Toronto was admitted to a hospital on Wednesday.




National Organization For Women Calls On Roger Goodell To Resign, ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith Flips Out

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 10th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

National Organization For Women Calls On Roger Goodell To Resign, ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith Flips Out

The ESPN personality who has already been in trouble for his reaction to the Ray Rice domestic violence case did not enjoy NOW’s call for the NFL commissioner’s resignation.

The post National Organization For Women Calls On Roger Goodell To Resign, ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith Flips Out appeared first on ThinkProgress.

Stephen A. Smith

Stephen A. Smith

CREDIT: AP

The National Organization for Women is calling on NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to resign over his handling of the Ray Rice domestic abuse case that has enveloped the NFL since Monday, when TMZ published video surveillance footage of the former Baltimore Ravens running back punching and knocking out his then-fiancee during a dispute at an Atlantic City casino in February.

The Ravens released Rice and the NFL suspended him indefinitely Monday, and Goodell and the league have continually argued since — despite prior reports to the contrary — that they had not seen the video before it was published. The harsher punishment for Rice isn’t enough for NOW, which said in a statement posted on its web site Tuesday that the commissioner is failing to police the league’s domestic violence problem.

“The NFL has lost its way. It doesn’t have a Ray Rice problem; it has a violence against women problem,” NOW said in the statement, pointing to other incidents like Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy’s recent conviction on domestic abuse charges and a FiveThirtyEight study into domestic violence arrest rates in the league.

NOW’s statement goes farther than many of the other calls for Goodell’s resignation, saying whoever succeeds him should also begin an investigation into how the NFL can reform its policies for preventing domestic violence (presumably beyond the “new” policy Goodell instituted in August).

“The only workable solution is for Roger Goodell to resign, and for his successor to appoint an independent investigator with full authority to gather factual data about domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking within the NFL community, and to recommend real and lasting reforms,” the statement says. “New leadership must come in with a specific charge to transform the culture of violence against women that pervades the NFL.

“That’s the only way to restore honor and integrity to the country’s most lucrative and popular pastime.”

That was too much for ESPN talking head Stephen A. Smith, who was in the middle of an appearance on the manufactured debate show First Take when host Cari Champion learned of the NOW statement. Smith, who just served a week-long suspension at the beginning of August for comments (made in connection to the original Rice suspension) about women “provoking” domestic violence, went off.

“I’m sorry, I think this woman is off her rocker. I think she’s lost her mind,” Smith said. “That’s right, I said it. This is the most ridiculous nonsense I’ve ever heard in my life. Roger Goodell deserves to lose his job? Why are you acting like he’s Ray Rice? Roger Goodell did not hit Janay Palmer Rice. He hasn’t hit any women. And by the way, the last time I checked, Skip, why are we talking about the NFL as if it’s some cesspool for domestic violence? There’s a few cases. It’s being dealt with. It needs to be dealt with harshly, etc. etc.”

“Because this happens, and he mishandled it, he’s gotta go?” Smith asked even after Champion tried to cut in. “This man deserves to lose his career because of this? He deserves to lose his career because of this? Because the National Organization for Women is going to come out and treat Roger Goodell like he is committing domestic violence?”

“Please! Ridiculous!” Smith concluded, before urging “them to call into my show” as Champion wrapped the segment, which you can see in full at Deadspin.

For his part, Goodell told CBS News on Tuesday that he did he does not feel his job was in jeopardy, and reports indicate that owners don’t feel he needs to go. Goodell further defended his actions in the Rice case in a letter to NFL owners Wednesday.

Update

The AP reports the NFL was sent the tape in April. “The person played The Associated Press a 12-second voicemail from an NFL office number on April 9 confirming the video arrived. “

The post National Organization For Women Calls On Roger Goodell To Resign, ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith Flips Out appeared first on ThinkProgress.

The United States’ Efforts To Help Combat Ebola Are Falling Short

Liberia is facing “a serious threat to its national existence,” and the U.S. may not be doing enough to respond to the global health crisis.

The post The United States’ Efforts To Help Combat Ebola Are Falling Short appeared first on ThinkProgress.

Health workers carry the body of a woman that they suspect died from the Ebola virus, as children, right rear, watch in a area known as Clara Town in Monrovia, Liberia, Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2014.

Health workers carry the body of a woman that they suspect died from the Ebola virus, as children, right rear, watch in a area known as Clara Town in Monrovia, Liberia, Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2014.

CREDIT: AP Photo/Abbas Dulleh

This week, Pentagon officials announced the construction of a 25-bed field hospital in Liberia for healthcare workers affected by the Ebola virus.

The U.S. Agency for International Development requested the $22 million project, paid for by the Department of Defense (DoD)’s Overseas Humanitarian and Civic Aid Fund. Army Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, said once DoD personnel set up the Monrovia-based facility, they will hand it over to Liberian health officials before leaving the country.

“No U.S. personnel right now are going to be providing patient care,” said Warren. “The intent of this piece of equipment is to provide a facility that healthcare workers in the affected region can use for themselves if they become ill or injured. We are deploying the hospital facility, setting it up, and stockpiling it. We’ll turn it over to the government of Liberia and then the DoD personnel will depart.”

This recent news disappointed many people on the ground who have reported a significant shortage of beds for Liberians admitted to Ebola Treatment Units. Since the first Ebola case appeared in March, 14 out of 15 Liberian counties have reported infections. Right now, one doctor exists for 100,000 people in the county with a population of more than 4 million.

“We don’t need 25 beds. We need 1,000 beds, yesterday,” Sophie Delaunay, executive director of Doctors for America, told Buzzfeed. “If this is the only offer that is going to be practically implemented on the ground, it’s paltry in the face of all the needs.”

These recent developments come amid reports that House Republicans will likely provide $40 million — less than half of the White House’s $88 million funding request — to fight Ebola in the 2015 government spending bill. Sources said this amount includes $25 million for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and $15 million for the Biological Advanced Research and Development Authority for production of an experimental Ebola drug.

So far, the U.S. government has spent $100 million in the fight against Ebola. It seems, however, that Americans’ efforts along with that of the World Health Organization (WHO) and other international key players have done little to contain the disease. Within the last three weeks, Liberia has experienced a 68 percent increase in Ebola cases. The number of infections across West Africa — in countries that include Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Nigeria — stands at more than 4,000, according to WHO. As of publication time, more than 2,000 people have died.

While officials contend that no official treatment exists, four Americans infected in parts of West Africa have received experimental Ebola vaccinations within the last month. Upon their arrival back to the states in military planes, two stayed in Emory University Hospital in Atlanta and the third remains in stable condition in a Nebraska hospital.

The most recent aid worker to be transported back to the U.S. will go to Emory University Hospital’s isolation unit. WHO officials also said one its American health workers will be flown back to the states to be treated for the virus.

Back in Liberia, conventional methods of containment against Ebola still haven’t worked, in part because many locals haven’t heeded warnings to stay inside. Reports out of the small West African nation recount instances when people spread the disease when taking family members to the hospital on their motorbikes. Earlier this month, American Ebola survivor Dr. Kent Bradley said that healthcare workers may find more success in providing home care rather than isolating people.

Whatever method healthcare workers decide to take against Ebola, the fact remains that the disease currently has a stronghold on Liberia, which already suffers from a weak infrastructure. During a meeting with the United Nations Security Council earlier this week, Liberian Minister of National Defense Brownie Samukai criticized what he considered as the lax international response to the virus before giving a grave warning to the 15-member council.

“Liberia is facing a serious threat to its national existence,” said Samukai. “The deadly Ebola virus has caused a disruption of the normal functioning of our state. It is now spreading like wild fire, devouring everything in its path. The already weak health infrastructure of the country has been overwhelmed.”

Pentagon officials have yet to describe what additional assistance the U.S. military will provide, if any. While President Obama said the U.S. would help combat Ebola on last Sunday’s episode of “Meet the Press,” he framed the issue as a matter of preventing the spread of the disease to the West rather than helping the African nations already under siege.

“If we don’t make that effort now, and this spreads not just through Africa but other parts of the world,” Obama said. “There’s the prospect then that the virus mutates, it becomes more easily transmittable.”

The post The United States’ Efforts To Help Combat Ebola Are Falling Short appeared first on ThinkProgress.


As Obama Prepares His Iraq Talk, Massachusetts Democrats Nominate an Antiwar Vet for Congress

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 10th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

As Obama Prepares His Iraq Talk, Massachusetts Democrats Nominate an Antiwar Vet for Congress
From: John Nichols

Candidate Seth Moulton is in “the long tradition of men and women who served and then used their public positions to speak out against war…”

We Have Five Days to Stand Up for Internet Freedom
From: Take Action

All over the web, sites are giving readers a taste of what it could feel like if we end up if we lose net neutrality and end up with a two-tiered Internet.

Obama’s Plan for Military Action Requires Congressional Checks and Balances
From: John Nichols

Congress has a constitutional duty to debate and vote on Obama’s plan to expand the US role in Iraq and Syria.