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Archive for September 21st, 2014

Debunking the WSJ’s Article on Climate Change

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 21st, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Debunking the WSJ’s Article on Climate Change
Climate Science Watch: In a new Wall Street Journal piece … former BP scientist and DOE Undersecretary of Science Steven Koonin delivers a paradoxical case for climate change inaction. In a testament to just how strong the science is, he acknowledges the basic facts that humans are causing harmful warming, never flat-out stating that action isn’t needed. But Koonin mis-states a number of scientific details, and ultimately lures readers toward the conclusion that climate change isn’t an urgent problem. His choice of emphasis doesn’t hold up when confronted with all of the available evidence.

Swordsman Defends Home from Polygamist Female Ninjas
Two armed polygamist females dressed like ninjas were subdued by a sword-wielding man during a home invasion, according to police in suburban Utah. Police said the two women, aged 18 and 22, were attacking the home of a witness and victim in a criminal child sex assault case against a man the women called their husband. The attack took place just before 4 a.m. on Friday. “I went to the bottom of the stairs and saw a couple of ninjas coming down,” the man told a local TV station. “They were all dark gray or black, and they had black rubber gloves on and masks. All I could see was their eyes.”


Turkey: We’ll keep secret behind hostage release

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 21st, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Turkey: We’ll keep secret behind hostage release
ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says his government will not reveal details of a covert operation that ensured the release of 49 people held hostage by the Islamic State group.

Lady Gaga: ‘It’s a very happy time in my life’
NEW YORK (AP) — After hip surgery and parting ways with her longtime manager, Lady Gaga says things are looking up.


Intruder jumps over White House fense

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 21st, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Intruder jumps over White House fense
Reporters and others briefly evacuated after an unidentified individual ran toward the complex’s North Portico

Democratic senator on beer keg spigot duty at LSU tailgate
Republicans had a field day with Mary Landrieu’s attendance at her alma mater’s game against Mississippi State

Jeb Bush focused on growing personal wealth, not 2016
The former Florida governor isn’t distancing himself from the sometimes politically risky business of making money before a presidential run


Fox News Sunday Fails To Disclose Karl Rove’s Stake In The Senate Races He Discusses

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 21st, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Fox News Sunday Fails To Disclose Karl Rove’s Stake In The Senate Races He Discusses

Fox News Sunday invited American Crossroads founder Karl Rove to discuss key 2014 midterm Senate races without disclosing Rove’s relationship with the super PAC that has poured millions into influencing the outcomes of the Senate races being discussed.

Rove appeared on the September 21 edition of Fox News Sunday to discuss whether Republicans will take the Senate in the 2014 midterm elections. Rove lauded individual Republicans and trumpeted their chances of winning a Senate majority, but complained that “One advantage the Democrats have had is a big cash advantage” — an argument he has previously used to fundraise for his political groups.

While host Chris Wallace identified Rove as a “former Bush White House advisor” and a Fox News contributor, he failed to disclose Rove’s relationship to political groups fundraising to attack Democrats in the Senate.

American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS, political groups that Rove co-founded and continues to advise, have spent millions dollars attacking Democrats in the Senate races discussed on Fox News Sunday. Here’s a breakdown of the groups’ spending during the 2013-2014 election cycle from Open Secrets:

Here’s a breakdown of the groups’ spending on individual congressional campaigns from Open Secrets:


Ferguson and Fairfax: Profiles in Official Cowardice

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 21st, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Ferguson and Fairfax: Profiles in Official Cowardice
Carl M. Cannon, RealClearPolitics
One of the catalysts for the rage and rioting in Ferguson, Mo., was the sight of that poor teenager’s body lying face down in the street hour after hour. At 12:02 p.m. August 9, one of their officers shot unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown six times. By 12:05 p.m., a responding paramedic pronounced him dead. Yet his body was still there in the summer sun at 4 p.m., the sheet not quite long enough to cover his 6-foot-3-inch frame. Among the outraged onlookers in the Canfield Green apartment complex was his mother, distraught, and barricaded from her son’s body by police. At least…

In a War – But Not at War
David Shribman, RealClearPolitics
CHICAGO — The trains still screech on the elevated tracks of the Loop. The crowds still gather along the packed streets outside the iconic popcorn and nut outlets. The sweet-cheese pierogi and the borscht still are crowd favorites in the city’s Polish restaurants. Chicago never felt so normal as it did last week. This is the paradox of our time: The United States is in a war, but Americans aren’t at war. We are speaking, of course, of the American initiative against the Islamic State, different not only from the American conflicts in the two world wars and the two major…

Arming Syria Rebels Will Make ISIS Fight More Difficult
Sen. Rand Paul, RealClearPolitics
(Sen. Paul delivered the following remarks on September 18, 2014 on the Senate floor) If there is one theme that connects the dots in the Middle East, it is that chaos breeds terrorism. What much of the foreign policy elite fails to grasp is that intervention to topple secular dictators has been the prime source of that chaos. From Hussein to Assad to Ghaddafi we have the same history. Intervention topples the secular dictator. Chaos ensues and radical jihadists emerge. The pattern has been repeated time after time and yet what we have here is a failure to understand, a failure to reflect on…


Balls draws blood in football clash

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 21st, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Balls draws blood in football clash
Ed Balls leaves an opponent with a bloodied eye in the annual football match between Labour and political journalists.

Miliband defends spending formula
Labour leader Ed Miliband defends the spending formula used to decide changes in the Welsh government’s budget despite claims it leaves Wales under-funded by £300m.


GOP finds ObamaCare opening

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 21st, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

GOP finds ObamaCare opening
Republicans have been lifted by a pair of audits that found flaws with the law.


Sheriff Of Goshen County, Wyo., Says Grenade Launcher Will Help Control 25-Inmate Jail

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 21st, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Sheriff Of Goshen County, Wyo., Says Grenade Launcher Will Help Control 25-Inmate Jail
TORRINGTON, Wyo. (AP) — Sheriff’s officials in Goshen County are touting a grenade launcher as a useful tool for keeping the peace, even though they have never used it.

The Casper Star-Tribune (http://bit.ly/1sSTJkQ ) reported Sunday that officials bought the weapon for use in the county jail, which houses 25 inmates and has not had a large fight in the past year. Lt. Jeremy Wardell says the grenade launcher, one of three the county has owned, is a less-lethal option for controlling riots. He compared it to pepper spray or a Taser.

“We would use it in situations when less-lethal force is justified to get the situation under control,” Wardell said. “That tool gives us an option not to use lethal force.”

Officials say deputies can use it to fire tear gas during a hostage situation, though Goshen County has not had one in 15 years. The sheriff’s office stocks non-lethal sponge grenades, which provide temporary incapacitation through blunt trauma, according to the Federation of American Scientists.

Goshen County, which has about 14,000 residents, received its first grenade launcher, a 37mm, in the 1950s from Federal Signal, Murphy said. Federal Signal is a global corporation that makes and distributes equipment for police and fire departments.

The county received a M79 single-shot grenade launcher from the Department of Defense’s military surplus program. Wardell said the county does not have records on the second weapon after its return to the federal government.

Linda Burt, director of the ACLU in Wyoming, says the grenade launcher could make tense situations worse.

The initial police reaction in August to protests over a police shooting in Ferguson, Missouri, drew national attention to the militarization of local police departments, with critics arguing that the heavily armed police presence only fueled the tensions.

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Information from: Casper (Wyo.) Star-Tribune, http://www.trib.com


Though Adversaries on the Surface, U.S. and Hezbollah Share a Goal

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 21st, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Though Adversaries on the Surface, U.S. and Hezbollah Share a Goal
In practice, Hezbollah and the United States are already working — separately — on a common goal: to stop the extremist Islamic State from moving into Lebanon.



Linz Am Rhein Journal: In the Rhine Valley, Clamoring for Relief From Ramped-Up Rail
A vital stretch along Europe’s most important north-south rail route is being overrun with train traffic, spoiling the quality of life for residents in a region famous for its natural beauty.



Global Rise Reported in 2013 Greenhouse Gas Emissions
The report on the emissions growth, 2.3 percent last year, showed that the world remains far off track in efforts to control global warming.


More Than 310,000 People Descend On New York To March For Climate Action

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 21st, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

More Than 310,000 People Descend On New York To March For Climate Action

The People’s Climate March more than tripled expectations as over 310,000 people showed up to voice support for climate action. Here’s how it looked on the ground.

The post More Than 310,000 People Descend On New York To March For Climate Action appeared first on ThinkProgress.

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CREDIT: ThinkProgress/Ari Phillips

NEW YORK, NEW YORK — “It’s going to be a good day,” said Van Jones, co-host of CNN’s Crossfire and former White House environmental adviser, in the moments leading up to the People’s Climate March in New York City on Sunday. His words and attitude echoed throughout the area at the front of the march, as celebrity activists like Mark Ruffalo and prominent community leaders like Mari Rose Taruc, a Filipina organizer from the Bay Area, prepared to lead nearly 30 blocks of jam-packed marchers through midtown Manhattan.

“As this march begins, I’m hearing so many solutions, I’m even getting hopeful,” Taruc told ThinkProgress. Taruc was one of seven people chosen to speak before the march, ranging from a retired Kentucky coal miner with black lung disease to a mother from the sea level rise-endangered Marshall Islands.

Speaking passionately about why they chose to march and how climate change was impacting them and their communities, they were just a few voices amongst thousands speaking out for climate action. An official count conducted at the march showed over 310,000 participants — more than triple pre-march estimates of 100,000. Around the world, hundreds of thousands more joined 2,646 events in 156 countries.

In an interview before the march, Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, for which leaders will gather later this week to address climate change, said today is “all about showing that we must address climate change,” and Tuesday, at the U.N. Summit, is when the world will show that they will address the issue.

“The beautiful thing about the process right now is that it’s both bottom up and top down,” she said.

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CREDIT: ThinkProgress/Ari Phillips

Between 9:30 a.m. and noon, before the march started moving, Central Park West filled to capacity with supporters of action on both ends. Signs waved, drums beat, and cheers erupted. There were stickers and t-shirts and pamphlets. On one side of the marchers tall buildings lined the street, on the other the open space of Central Park cast a long, green reflection.

Around 72nd Street, about midway up the queue, people spilled over into the park when space became limited. Participants in oil-soaked and green fairy costumes, waving wind turbine props and anti-fracking signage, had come from near and far to build momentum going into an important week of climate discussions. The event marked the beginning of the lead-up to the international climate summit in Paris at the end of 2015, where leaders hope to reach a new global agreement to mitigate greenhouse gases.

“My expectation is that we will set the scene for Paris next year,” George Ferguson, mayor of Bristol in the United Kingdom, told ThinkProgress. Ferguson came to the U.S. to attend the march and facilitate climate action at the local level. “If we can show a level of determination and unity at this time it will promise well for real movement next year.”

Ferguson said that mayors and city leaders are much closer to the solutions for climate change as well as the results of climate change. He said Bristol is a coastal city that has experienced heavy flooding recently “and that can only get more severe — but it’s nowhere near what we’ve seen on other continents.”

He said the major changes needed to fight climate change will come from “thousands of small changes, and that those changes will largely be in our cities. So it’s really important we have solidarity of mayors in cities across the world.”

“We’re here to think together, learn together, and steal ideas from each other,” Ferguson said.

George Ferguson, mayor of the city of Bristol in the United Kingdom.

George Ferguson, mayor of the city of Bristol in the United Kingdom.

CREDIT: ThinkProgress/Ari Phillips

Norway’s Environmental and Climate Minister, Tine Sundtoft, who was taking part in the march, told ThinkProgress that she was there to “be part of the global mobilization” and that she wants “people to tell leaders that now we have to take climate change seriously.”

Heikki Holmås, a Norwegian member of parliament who was accompanying Sundtoft, said the march represented two major things. First, a great achievement by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon for mobilizing such a massive event and second, a great moment for people all over the world. “This kind of mass demonstration shows that for those political leaders who want to step up, we are behind you,” he told ThinkProgress.

Ban took part in the march, as did former Vice President Al Gore and actor Leonardo DiCaprio. Earlier this week DiCaprio was named by Ban as the U.N.’s Messenger of Peace and a “new voice for climate advocacy.”

Holmås said he’s been working on fighting climate change since 1990, even before the first UNFCCC summit in Rio de Janeiro. He said he sees this as a possible turning point.

“We all hoped Copenhagen in 2009 would be the game changer, but at that time the different parties weren’t able and willing to reach out hands to each other and realize how much needs to be done,” Holmås said. “What’s happened now, first and foremost, we have the political leadership saying this is actually important. In addition all businesses apart from the oil and coal industry understand that this is such a big risk to long-term earning that more and more companies want to be part of the solution, not the problem.”

While for some the march stood out as a momentum-building step in the long process of confronting climate change, to others it was just another day in a life spent focused on energy and environmental issues.

Scott Beibin, an artist, inventor, and booking agent based in Philadelphia, told ThinkProgress that while he attended the march to learn about solutions, he spends every day of his life working on these issues.

“This is just another thing for me,” he said. “I live my life by this. This is a fantastic meeting point. There are so many people here, doing amazing work and coming from different perspectives.”

Beibin said the key in the grassroots community is to create the circumstances that force a response from those in power. “No matter how many trendy environmental things are out there, the most important part is the actual real impact people are having in the world — the actual practical solutions,” he said.

Update

Organizers increased the estimate to nearly 400,000 attendees at the New York City People’s Climate March at the end of the day Sunday.

The post More Than 310,000 People Descend On New York To March For Climate Action appeared first on ThinkProgress.

‘Creepshot’ Photos Are Now Legal In Texas

Under this court decision, so-called “creepshot” photos, where men take photos of unconsenting women that they encounter on the street, are legal in Texas.

The post ‘Creepshot’ Photos Are Now Legal In Texas appeared first on ThinkProgress.

creepshot

CREDIT: Shutterstock

A Texas state law prohibiting people from taking photographs “with the intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person” if the person being photographed does not consent is unconstitutional, according to the state’s highest criminal court. Under this decision, so-called “creepshot” photos, where men often take photos of unconsenting women that they encounter on the street, are legal in Texas.

The facts of this particular case are far more disturbing than a more ordinary case where a man spots an adult woman that he finds attractive and then snaps a picture of her. According to the Houston Chronicle, a man named Ronald Thompson was charged with “26 counts of improper photography after taking underwater pictures of clothed children – most wearing swimsuits – at a San Antonio water park.”

Yet, as the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals explains in its opinion, the mere fact that this law applies to cases that are disturbing — or even the fact that it criminalizes some activity that is not protected by the First Amendment — is not sufficient to save the law from a constitutional challenge. “The statutory provision at issue is extremely broad, applying to any non-consensual photograph, occurring anywhere, as long as the actor has an intent to arouse or gratify sexual desire. This statute could easily be applied to an entertainment reporter who takes a photograph of an attractive celebrity on a public street.”

A major thrust of the court’s reasoning is that, when a person produces photos that would otherwise be protected by the First Amendment, the fact that they are motivated by sexual desire (or nearly any other particular motivation) cannot make an otherwise constitutionally protected act illegal. “[W]hen the intent is something that, if accomplished, would constitute protected expression,” Presiding Judge Sharon Keller wrote for the court, “such an intent cannot remove from the ambit of the First Amendment conduct that is otherwise protected expression.”

The court did suggest that a more narrowly drawn law would survive constitutional scrutiny — “substantial privacy interests are invaded in an intolerable manner when a person is photographed without consent in a private place, such as the home, or with respect to an area of the person that is not exposed to the general public, such as up a skirt.” Thus, if the Texas legislature responds to this decision with a more narrowly tailored ban on “upskirt” photography, for example, it is likely that this law would be upheld.

In this sense, the Texas court’s decision resembles another decision last March by a Massachusetts court holding that the state’s “Peeping Tom” laws did not extend to non-consensual photographs up a woman’s skirt or dress. The Massachusetts legislature responded to that court decision in just 36 hours, passing a law that specifically bans upskirt photos.

Texas’s legislature can now take similar action to ensure that women in that state will not be the victims of predatory photographers.

The post ‘Creepshot’ Photos Are Now Legal In Texas appeared first on ThinkProgress.