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Archive for September 27th, 2014

Is Kim Jong Un Kim Jong Ill?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 27th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Is Kim Jong Un Kim Jong Ill?
North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un hasn’t been seen at a public event for three weeks, including a prominent state meeting that he has attended every year since coming to power in late 2011. On Thursday, Kim was conspicuously absent from the Supreme People’s Assembly, which is North Korea’s parliament attended by officials of the party, the military and various national organizations. A prominent seat remained empty on stage surrounded by North Korea’s top brass.


No. 6 Texas A&M rallies for 35-28 OT win over Hogs

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 27th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

No. 6 Texas A&M rallies for 35-28 OT win over Hogs
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Kenny Hill threw for 386 yards and four touchdowns, with a 25-yarder to Malcome Kennedy on the first play of overtime, and sixth-ranked Texas A&M rallied from a two-touchdown deficit to beat Arkansas 35-28 on Saturday.

A day of rest for Mickelson at Ryder Cup
GLENEAGLES, Scotland (AP) — For the first time in 10 appearances at the Ryder Cup, Phil Mickelson was given an entire day off.

Hornets’ Taylor banned from team activities
Hornets forward Jeffery Taylor will not be participating in any team-related activities during an NBA investigation into his arrest on domestic assault charges, the team announced Friday.


Clintons “so happy” about granddaughter Charlotte

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 27th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Clintons “so happy” about granddaughter Charlotte
Former President Clinton, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton say their daughter Chelsea is “well and glowing” after giving birth

GOP: America not leading the world under Obama
Republicans say U.S. has lost its mojo, but the president points to American leadership in the fight against ISIS, Ebola, other threats

Independent candidate threatens to upset GOP hold in Kansas
Greg Orman, a former Democrat who switched to independent and is running for a Senate seat in Kansas may be the one who upends a hold Repubicans have had since 1932


Conflict Of Interest: George Will Again Uses His Column To Prop Up A Koch-Backed Candidate

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 27th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Conflict Of Interest: George Will Again Uses His Column To Prop Up A Koch-Backed Candidate

Weeks after appearing at a VIP dinner for the Koch brothers-backed political group Americans for Prosperity (AFP), George Will devoted his Washington Post column to promoting one of the Kochs’ favored political candidates without disclosing the conflict of interest.

Last month, Politico reported on Will’s attendance at a private dinner featuring an “exclusive group of major donors and VIPs” as part of AFP’s Defending the American Dream summit. Despite repeated attempts by Media Matters, neither Will nor AFP would answer whether he had been paid for the appearance or compensated for his travel expenses. Will has repeatedly devoted column space in the past to promoting Koch-backed candidates and policy issues.

When the journalism group Society of Professional Journalists released its new Code of Ethics in September, the group’s ethics chair cited Will’s relationship with AFP — and his refusal to disclose whether he had been paid by the group — as the type of conflict journalists should try to avoid.  

Apparently undeterred, in his September 26 column, Will sang the praises of Republican Iowa Senate candidate Joni Ernst — a candidate who has received massive financial support from the Kochs and their political groups — without disclosing his conflict of interest.

In his column, Will lamented that the contest between Ernst and Democratic challenger Bruce Braley “should not be this close.” He dismissed Democrats’ “War on Women” narrative and asserted that Braley “is as awkward as Ernst is ebullient when campaigning.”

Pointing to spending by outside groups on Braley’s behalf, Will classified the Iowa Democrat’s “fretting about money in politics” as being “notably selective,” and wrote that although “politics is an inherently transactional business,” Braley is “operatically indignant about the Koch brothers.”

Though Will runs cover for the Koch brothers’ Iowa spending, their influence in the race is not so easily shrugged off.

This year, Americans for Prosperity has launched severaad campaigns targeting Braley in Iowa. The Des Moines Register reported earlier this month that another Koch-supported political group, Freedom Partners Action Fund, had also launched a “million-dollar TV ad campaign” targeting Braley.

According to Huffington Post reporter Sam Stein, in June, Ernst appeared at a “secretive conference” held by the Koch brothers, where she heaped praise on the assembled deep-pocketed attendees and credited “the exposure to this group and to this network” for having “really started my trajectory.” Citing “figures provided by a Democratic tracker,” Stein wrote that four different Koch-funded political groups had “blanketed the airwaves” in Iowa, to the tune of “roughly $3.4 million.”

Stein added, “A few days after Ernst’s appearance, Charles Koch, his wife, his son and his daughter-in-law each gave the Iowa candidate the legal maximum contribution of $2,600.” 

Will has repeatedly crossed ethical lines when it comes to disclosing his conflicts of interest in his Post column.


America’s Dubious Threat Assessments

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 27th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

America’s Dubious Threat Assessments
Heather Wilhelm, RealClearPolitics
Sometimes, when people get rich, they get a little out of touch. It’s not their fault, really. Once the lower levels of your hierarchy of needs—food, water, shelter, employment, friendship, a $600 phone that you stare at to avoid making eye contact with your friends and family—are completely sated, the mind is free to wander, as psychologist Abraham Maslow once suggested, into the realms of self-actualization. Unfortunately, for some people, that wandering quickly dodges higher thought and swerves directly into the Land of Lost Marbles. We saw this over the weekend with the…

There Once Was a Debate
Mike Littwin, RealClearPolitics
If you’re wondering about Coffman-Romanoff III, let’s just say the debate won’t be confused with Rocky III, or even Coffman-Romanoff II. The matchup was — there’s no other way to put it — a mismatch, which, strangely, seemed to be fine with Mike Coffman, who apparently figured he had nothing to gain by engaging the quicker Andrew Romanoff. The funny thing is, he’s probably right. Romanoff won big, which in practical terms means, well, nothing. It’s an old political saw that you can’t win debates, you can only lose them. And there were no gaffes in the CD6 showdown. Coffman stumbled a few…

Obama’s “Cancer” Fight; Christie’s Achilles’ Heel? JFK’s U.N. Exhortation
Carl M. Cannon, RealClearPolitics
Good morning, it’s Thursday, September 25, 2014, a year in which the international news seems to veer between tragedy and farce. Under the latter heading was this week’s news that Venezuela is in line for a seat on the U.N. Security Council. “To New York, I will take the voice of Venezuela,” proclaimed that nation’s president, Nicolás Maduro. “The voice of Chávez!” Maduro is certainly a fitting successor to Hugo Chávez. Last year he expelled three U.S. Embassy staffers from Venezuela for no known reason other than his tacky taunt: “Yankees, go…


Mark Reckless’s journey to UKIP

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 27th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Mark Reckless’s journey to UKIP
Profile of UKIP’s new recruit – Tory defector Mark Reckless

Tory minister Brooks Newmark resigns
Conservative MP for Braintree Brooks Newmark resigns as minister for civil society over allegations to be published in a Sunday newspaper.

Second Tory MP defects to UKIP
Mark Reckless becomes the second Tory MP to defect to UKIP, announcing his decision on the eve of the Conservative party conference.


Russian Diplomat’s Speech Depicts the West as Hypocritical

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 27th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Russian Diplomat’s Speech Depicts the West as Hypocritical
Foreign Minister Sergey V. Lavrov, addressing the United Nations General Assembly, described the world’s acute conflict zones in near polar opposite terms from the way the United States and Western European leaders have framed them.



News Analysis: President’s Drive for Carbon Pricing Fails to Win at Home
The United States, which is under growing international pressure to price carbon, is missing from a World Bank declaration calling on all nations to enact laws forcing industries to pay for carbon emissions.



In a Final Act, Karzai Orders Execution of 5 Men in Rape Case
Rights activists are concerned that the men’s confessions in the gang rape and robbery of four Afghan women may have been obtained by torture at the hands of the police.



Digital War Takes Shape on Websites Over ISIS
A government team’s striking video and other postings are being disseminated through Twitter and Facebook to counter ISIS’s skillful online campaigns.




An Officer Is Shot in Ferguson Amid Continuing Protests

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 27th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

An Officer Is Shot in Ferguson Amid Continuing Protests
Authorities in the Missouri town, where a teenager was killed in August, said the officer was still alive.




Department Of Justice Orders Ferguson Police To Stop Wearing ‘I Am Darren Wilson’ Bracelets

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 27th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Department Of Justice Orders Ferguson Police To Stop Wearing ‘I Am Darren Wilson’ Bracelets

Ferguson police are at it again.

The post Department Of Justice Orders Ferguson Police To Stop Wearing ‘I Am Darren Wilson’ Bracelets appeared first on ThinkProgress.

State Troopers watching a protest in Ferguson, MO.

State Troopers watching a protest in Ferguson, MO.

CREDIT: AP/Charlie Riedel

A Department of Justice letter sent to the Police Chief Tom Jackson of Ferguson, Missouri on Friday instructed all officers to stop wearing “I Am Darren Wilson” bracelets. Another letter issued on Tuesday ordered members of the police department to wear readable name plates, after officers were seen wearing unidentifiable tags or none at all.

Protests have not stopped in Ferguson since officer Darren Wilson shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown, who was unarmed, in August. And in response to civil unrest, which gained steam again after Brown’s memorial was burned to the ground on Tuesday, and the use of the slogan “I Am Mike Brown,” officers were photographed wearing the bracelets supporting the officer who killed him.

The DOJ letter sent to Jackson explained that the bracelets contributed to an “us versus them” mentality and “upset and agitated” others.

In a separate letter, the DOJ also said that officers must stop violating name tag protocol by obscuring or altogether not wearing their name tags. The practice, DOJ said, “conveys a message to community members that, through anonymity, officers may seek to act with impunity.”

Ferguson police previously drew national attention for the militarization of officers, which made the town look like a war scene and resulted in the arrest and attempted censorship of journalists on the ground. And clashes between police and protestors haven’t stopped.

Although Jackson gave Brown’s parents a video apology and joined protesters in the streets this week, Darren Wilson still hasn’t been charged, raising questions about the justice system and politics in the town. Ferguson has a history of racial tension, and research shows that justice is hard to come by for victims of police brutality. For example, a Supreme Court ruling gives police legal deference to determine “reasonable” force. But protestors say civil unrest will continue until the officer is held accountable.

The post Department Of Justice Orders Ferguson Police To Stop Wearing ‘I Am Darren Wilson’ Bracelets appeared first on ThinkProgress.

3 Things Chelsea Clinton Will Have After Giving Birth That Many Women Don’t

As Clinton welcomes her new daughter Charlotte into the world, she will have access to at least three things that all women deserve to have, but that many don’t.

The post 3 Things Chelsea Clinton Will Have After Giving Birth That Many Women Don’t appeared first on ThinkProgress.

This June 23, 2014, file photo shows Chelsea Clinton as she speaks at the Colorado Museum of Nature and Science, in Denver.

This June 23, 2014, file photo shows Chelsea Clinton as she speaks at the Colorado Museum of Nature and Science, in Denver.

CREDIT: AP Photo/Brennan Linsley

When Chelsea Clinton first announced that she was pregnant in April, she beamed at the prospect of becoming a mother. “I just hope that I will be as good a mom to my child and hopefully children as my mom was to me,” she said at the time.

Now, after giving birth to her daughter Charlotte on Friday, Clinton will have access to many tools that may make it easier for her to achieve that end. Unfortunately, these tools are not widely available to many mothers living in the United States.

Here are three things that Chelsea Clinton will likely have access to that many other mothers in the United States don’t have access to or can’t afford.

Child Care

Clinton recently quit her job as a special correspondent for NBC News, where she reportedly received a $600,000 salary for each of her three years there. While it’s not clear how much she makes in her current position at the non-profit Clinton Foundation, it’s safe to say that she and her husband Marc Mezvinsky, an investment banker, will be able to afford child care for their new daughter while both of them are at work.

For many families, though, this isn’t the case. Child care is extremely expensive, representing the biggest single expense for a household in the Northeast, Midwest, and South — more than rent, food, and some public college tuition. This can be a big problem for single or working parents, who need somewhere for their children to be while they go to their jobs.

Government assistance for families who can’t afford child care has also recently hit a decade-long low. Over the last 20 years, while other countries have significantly ramped up how much they spent on child care — from .35 percent of GDP to .47 percent on average — U.S. spending on child care has only went up from .03 percent to just .11. The U.S. almost had universal child care in the 1970s, passing both the U.S. House and Senate, but the bill was vetoed by President Nixon. The issue hasn’t gotten much play since.

Maternity Leave

Along with Clinton being able to afford child care, it’s also safe to say that the Clinton Foundation — named after her and her parents — will allow her to take a paid maternity leave if she chooses. This is a luxury that only 12 percent of American workers currently have.

In the United States, new parents — mothers or fathers — aren’t guaranteed any paid time off. Parents are guaranteed up to 12 weeks off after the arrival of a child if they have worked for a company with more than 50 employees for a certain amount of time, but that time is unpaid. The conditions set on guaranteed unpaid time off means that less than half of all workers in the United States are covered by unpaid leave when a new child arrives.

As ThinkProgress’ Bryce Covert has pointed out, our policy of no guaranteed paid time off for new parents puts us in lonely company. Out of 185 countries, only the United States, Oman, and Papua New Guinea don’t guarantee paid maternity leave. In addition, 70 countries — including Australia, Iceland, and Kenya — offer paid paternity leave, while the U.S. does not.

Skirting The ‘Motherhood Penalty’

Also because of Clinton’s authority over her own job and the amount of money she makes, she likely won’t have to deal with what’s known in America as the “motherhood penalty.” In layman’s terms, this is a sociological reference to what happens to women in the workplace after they have a child — they are seen as less competent, receive disadvantages in pay, and are given less benefits.

According to a report from the think tank Third Way — which happens to have been founded by former staffers of Bill Clinton’s administration — a woman’s wages decrease by about 4 percent for each child she has, even when things marital status, work hours, and past experience are taken into account.

This problem is magnified for women earning the lowest wages — they see their pay decrease by nearly 7 percent for each child — but actually reverses for women in the highest income levels. Those women, like Clinton, actually get a wage boost from having children. The report found that the second-highest women earners a 1.7 percent wage boost for each child they have, while those at the very top bracket get a 5.4 percent increase.

The post 3 Things Chelsea Clinton Will Have After Giving Birth That Many Women Don’t appeared first on ThinkProgress.


Obama’s Imperial About-Face on War

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 27th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Obama’s Imperial About-Face on War
Michael Cohen, Boston Globe
There is perhaps no issue where the gap between the rhetoric of candidate Obama and his actions as president have been so vast. Since becoming president, Obama has not actively sought nor received new congressional authorization for employing America’s military around the world — and in the current fight with the Islamic State, he’s breaking new and dangerous ground in expanding the president’s power to wage war. To be sure, this is a disputed legal question — where you sit (on Capitol Hill or at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.) largely determines how you answer it. That…

No Justification for WH Manipulation of Pool Reports

Would Loss Crack Dems’ Keystone Stonewall?
Byron York, DC Examiner
The federal government recently began its seventh year of considering whether to approve construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. Nearly all that time has passed under the administration of President Obama, who seems content never to decide the pipeline’s fate. That way, it wouldn’t be built, which would please the president’s supporters on the liberal environmental fringe, but would never be explicitly rejected, which could offend everybody else. It’s striking to see an administration stonewalling an issue with so much popular support on the other side. A Washington Post-ABC News poll in…

Eric Holder’s Rap Sheet