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Archive for September 30th, 2014

Conservative Writer: Execute Women Who Get Abortions

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 30th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Conservative Writer: Execute Women Who Get Abortions
Kevin Williamson, a correspondent for the conservative magazine National Review, suggested Monday that women who have abortions should be hanged. “I believe that the law should treat abortion like any other homicide,” he wrote. When asked if the punishment should be life without parole, he responded, “I have hanging more in mind.”


Mexico announces homicide charges in army killings

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 30th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Mexico announces homicide charges in army killings
MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico’s attorney general says three soldiers have been charged with homicide in the June 30 killing of 22 suspected gang members.

Turkey mulls permit for incursions in Syria, Iraq
ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc says parliament will vote on a motion that would allow foreign forces to make incursions into Syria and Iraq from its territory to protect refugees and secure Turkey’s border.


Eyeing a presidential bid, Ben Carson warns of anarchy in the U.S.

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 30th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Eyeing a presidential bid, Ben Carson warns of anarchy in the U.S.
The former neurosurgeon says he feels called to fix the country


STUDY: CNN Skimps On Coverage During Climate Week

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 30th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

STUDY: CNN Skimps On Coverage During Climate Week

CNN aired only a third as much coverage as MSNBC on the United Nations’ Climate Summit and related events including the historic People’s Climate March. Even Fox News aired over twice as much on the subject compared to CNN — though much of its coverage mocked or dismissed the events.

NYC’s Climate Week Brings World Leaders, Businesses Together To Pledge Global Action

New York City Hosts Climate Week, Including United Nations Summit. Ambassadors and top officials from countries around the world, along with business and industry leaders, met at the United Nations’ Climate Summit in New York City during the week of September 22. From the Climate Summit’s website:

As part of a global effort to mobilize action and ambition on climate change, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is inviting Heads of State and Government along with business, finance, civil society and local leaders to a Climate Summit in September 2014, New York.

This Summit will be a different kind of Climate Summit. It is aimed at catalyzing action by governments, business, finance, industry, and civil society in areas for new commitments and substantial, scalable and replicable contributions to the Summit that will help the world shift toward a low-carbon economy.

The Summit will come one year before countries aim to conclude a global climate agreement in 2015 through the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Although the 2014 Climate Summit is not part of the negotiating process, countries have recognized the value of the Summit, including by welcoming the Secretary-General’s efforts in a Decision of the Doha climate conference in 2012. [ClimateWeekNYC, 9/23/14]

People’s Climate March, Largest Action Of Its Kind, Called For Strong Action On Climate Change. On September 21, two days before the U.N. summit, hundreds of thousands of activists march the streets of Manhattan to send a message to the world leaders to act on climate change. According to Politico, it was “by far the largest climate-related protest in history,” with an estimated 400,000 attendees. [Politico, 9/21/14]

Several Important Pledges Resulted From The Summit:

  • ThinkProgress reported that over 30 countries pledged to “at least halve the rate of loss of natural forests globally by 2020 and… end natural forest loss by 2030.” Several companies also endorsed the deal. [ThinkProgress, 9/23/14]
  • Six top energy companies agreed to cut their methane emissions through the United Nations’ framework, according to the Wall Street Journal. [Wall Street Journal, 9/22/14]
  • Chinese officials reiterated their plans for a nationwide carbon market. Reuters recently reported that carbon emissions in Beijing have dropped since the city implemented a pilot carbon market one year ago. [Reuters, 9/26/14; Reuters, 9/29/14]

On Climate Week, CNN Aired Less Coverage Than Other Top Cable Networks 

CNN Offered Half As Much Coverage As Fox News. Of the three top cable networks — CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC — MSNBC offered by far the greatest amount of coverage of the U.N. climate summit, with a total of approximately one hour and 55 minutes of airtime devoted to the summit and related events. Fox News aired one hour and 20 minutes, and CNN aired approximately 37 minutes.

Chart

CNN Previously Ignored U.N.’s Groundwork Report On Climate Change. CNN’s relative lack of coverage during climate week mirrors the network’s treatment of a top consensus report on the impacts of climate change, released by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on March 31. CNN devoted only one minute and 37 seconds of coverage to the report, far less than MSNBC’s 27 minutes and Al Jazeera’s 35 minutes of coverage. The report was the second of three installments from the IPCC that form the groundwork of the U.N.’s discussion at this week’s summit and in the conferences ahead. [Media Matters, 4/1/14]

But CNN Offered No False Balance On Climate Change — An Improvement From Recent Coverage. CNN aired no false balance on the scientific basis of climate change while reporting on last week’s events, hosting only guests who accept that climate change is real and manmade. Previously, an analysis from Union of Concerned Scientists found that throughout 2013, CNN hosted eight segments featuring debates on whether or not climate change is happening. And in May 2014, a Media Matters analysis found that 19 percent of their coverage of a landmark federal report on climate change cast doubt on the science. [Union of Concerned Scientists, April 2014; Media Matters, 5/9/14]

Much Of Fox News’ Coverage Attacked The Summit And Related Events. A majority* of Fox News’ coverage reported on climate week negatively, by attacking Leonardo DiCaprio as being a “hypocrite” for speaking out on climate change at the summit, attacking protesters for littering at the march, casting doubt on the summit’s effectiveness, or criticizing potential climate policies as expensive or harmful to the poor.

  • On September 22, Fox News’ Your World with Neil Cavuto featured a panel debate during which Cavuto and two panel members cast doubt on the fact that global warming is real. [Fox News, Your World with Neil Cavuto, 9/22/14]
  • During the September 23 edition of Fox News’ The Five, co-host Greg Gutfeld inaccurately warned that the climate policies discussed at the summit are a way for “rich people” to deny resources to the poor. [Fox News, The Five, 9/24/14 via Media Matters]
  • The September 24 edition of Outnumbered also pushed the false meme that climate change policies will disproportionately harm the poor. During the segment, co-host Sandra Smith derided Leonardo DiCaprio as an “extremely rich man basically trying to impose policies and change policies that are mostly going to affect people that are worth much less than him. And that have a hard time making ends meet, that are going to affect them way more than anybody else.” Co-host Harris Faulkner agreed, calling it “a real moral issue.” [Fox News, Outnumbered, 9/24/14]
  • Sean Hannity hosted a “climate change hysteria” panel on the September 24 edition of his show, leading in with video of DiCaprio’s U.N. speech, suggesting that he “stick to the day job.” During the panel, guest Bernard McGuirk stated: “Al Gore and Leo DiCaprio, these two bloated, gas-guzzling gavones lecturing us on our carbon footprint is like Ray Rice lecturing us on how to treat women. It’s obscene”:


Lament of the Fed Up Voter

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 30th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Lament of the Fed Up Voter
Salena Zito, RealClearPolitics
Marv Rach spent 38 of his 69 years as a registered Democrat. Now the Vietnam War veteran and retired factory supervisor is a Republican, not because he has a great love for that party but because his old party left him no choice, he said. “I am not one of those ‘extreme’ Republicans the media likes to pigeonhole conservatives as,” he explained. “I love my country, I fought for my country and … .” He suddenly stopped and paused for what seemed an eternity before continuing: “In fact, to be honest with you, I don’t like any political party right now. And I…


The RAF’s ‘difficult’ Iraq mission

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 30th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

The RAF’s ‘difficult’ Iraq mission
Why British jets are struggling to find targets in Iraq

Cameron vow to protect NHS spending
David Cameron will vow to protect the NHS in England from cuts for five years in his closing speech to the Tory conference.

Commons war debates of the past
How previous Commons debates and votes on war have gone


Reid, Daschle feud erupts

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 30th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Reid, Daschle feud erupts
Senate Democratic leader rips predecessor in fight over party’s South Dakota candidate.


Op-Ed Contributor: The Destruction of Mecca

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 30th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Op-Ed Contributor: The Destruction of Mecca
The Saudis have bulldozed centuries of beauty and diversity in Islam’s holiest city.

Kissinger Drew Up Plans to Attack Cuba, Records Show
Newly disclosed government documents show that in 1976, Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger mapped out secret plans to launch airstrikes against Havana and “smash Cuba.”



Nigeria’s Actions Seem to Contain Ebola Outbreak
Every known Ebola patient in the country has now died or recovered, and the cure rate was unusually high for an African outbreak.

In a Shift, British Sharpen Their Tone on Hong Kong Protests
Comments by the deputy prime minister marked a hardening of tone from the British government, which normally adopts diplomatic language with China when speaking about its former colony.




First East Coast Liquefied Natural Gas Export Terminal Approved On Chesapeake Bay

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 30th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

First East Coast Liquefied Natural Gas Export Terminal Approved On Chesapeake Bay

Federal regulators just approved a very controversial LNG export terminal. It would be the closest to the Appalachian-based Marcellus Shale, the largest natural gas producing region in the United States.

The post First East Coast Liquefied Natural Gas Export Terminal Approved On Chesapeake Bay appeared first on ThinkProgress.

Dominion Resources' offshore gas transfer platform seen from the beach at Calvert Cliffs State Park.

Dominion Resources’ offshore gas transfer platform seen from the beach at Calvert Cliffs State Park.

CREDIT: flickr/ Stephen Melkisethian

On Monday, federal regulators approved construction of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility in Cove Point, Maryland. After two years of review and sustained pushback from concerned community members and environmental groups, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) gave Dominion Resources Inc. the go-ahead to begin construction as part of an existing LNG import facility in southern Maryland. The Richmond, Virginia-based company will now review the order, which includes 79 conditions the company must follow. In June, FERC had denied a request by several environmental groups and lawmakers to extend the comment period before making a decision.

The Cove Point LNG liquefaction and export project is the fourth LNG export terminal to receive approval in the U.S. to site, construct, and operate. It is the first such project on the east coast and the closest to the Appalachian-based Marcellus Shale, the largest natural gas producing region in the United States. The domestic shale gas boom, catalyzed by the proliferation of fracking, has increased natural gas supply and caused prices to drop. Until only a few years ago companies were looking to build LNG import, rather than export, terminals. The lay of the land has changed dramatically since then and Calvert County on the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay embodies this shift.

While FERC conducted an Environmental Assessment determining that the $3.8-billion facility could be built safely with no significant impact to the environment, the opposition feels that FERC’s finding and subsequent approval are fundamentally flawed and that a more exhaustive Environmental Impact Statement was in order. They argue that the terminal, which will be able to export 5.75 million metric tons of LNG a year when fully operational, will incentivize environmental damage from fracking in the mid-Atlantic, and possibly contribute more to global warming over the next two decades than if the Asian countries where the gas is headed burned their own coal.

“FERC’s decision to approve Cove Point is the result of a biased review process rigged in favor of approving gas industry projects no matter how great the environmental and safety concerns,” said Mike Tidwell, director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, in a statement. “We intend to challenge this ruling all the way to court if necessary. For the safety of Marylanders and for people across our region facing new fracking wells and pipelines, we will continue to fight this project until it is stopped.”

In a call discussing the decision, Tidwell called the FERC review process “mostly secretive and detached.” He said Dominion has “repeatedly cut corners and ignored environmental and safety concerns.”

Tidwell pointed to a recent report from the DOE that found that when the full lifecycle of the LNG is considered — fracking process, transporting through leaky pipes, energy intensive liquefaction, tanker transportation to Asia, re-gasification, and electricity generation — it is almost certainly worse for the atmosphere than letting those countries burn their own coal.

The report found that the benefits of cleaner natural gas production can be offset by methane leaks from pipelines as well as the energy required to liquify and transport the LNG. Dominion plans to build a 130-megawatt power plant to meet the energy needs for liquefaction as well as dozens of miles of new gas pipelines. Cheaseapeake Climate Action Network found that the facility, if built, would become on of the state’s largest greenhouse gas producers, emitting more carbon dioxide than all but three of the state’s existing coal plants.

When it comes to neglecting to do an EIS, the Baltimore Sun wrote in an editorial late last year that it would require Dominion to collect far more information about what the project will “mean for the local ecology and people living in the region:”

But that seems like a small price to pay. After all, Maryland has taken a skeptical approach to fracking generally, why wouldn’t we insist on a closer examination of what an LNG plant will mean as well?

Aside from the greenhouse gas concerns and local concerns of a terminal that could leak into an important waterway or even experience a catastrophic explosion, there is a greater economic debate about the merits of exporting gas. Some argue that exporting gas could lead to higher domestic prices and potential shortages. Others see it as a geopolitical tool that can be used to keep Russia and other exporters in check. It has broad support in Congress and President Obama has included natural gas as a climate-friendly way to get off coal.

The Department of Energy has approved Cove Point’s exports to both free-trade and non-free trade agreement countries, with FERC finding it “in the public interest.” Dominion already has in place 20-year contracts with Japanese and Indian companies — neither country has free-trade deals with the United States. American law requires export facilities get a “public interest” approval from the DOE if their buyers are located in countries that haven’t signed a Free Trade Agreement with the United States.

Tidwell said that FERC refused to perform a Quantitative Risk Assessment to determine potential blast zone consequences even as the Chesapeake Climate Action Network conducted an independent review that found that residents outside of Dominion’s property would be in danger in the case of an explosion. But the real conversation is around differing visions of the countries’ energy future. Some see LNG as playing an important role in the all-of-the-above approach while others see it as another fossil fuel driven enterprise with little regard to environmental and climate concerns.

“If it weren’t for fracking would they be building this export facility — of course not,” said Tidwell. “Everybody pretends that the gas comes from nowhere and goes nowhere. That is part of our deep concern over this.”

Jocelyn D’Ambrosio, an associate attorney for Earthjustice, said opposition groups will now petition FERC to reconsider their decision. If this doesn’t work she said they are prepared to take the issue to federal court.

Tidwell and D’Ambrosio expressed grave disappointment with Maryland’s lawmakers for not requiring more extensive analysis of the project, calling it a stain on governor Martin O’Malley’s record. O’Malley has previously gone on record saying that “climate change is transforming the world in profound ways that continue to evolve. We still have time to become great ancestors, and we have a moral obligation to our children and our grandchildren to act now while we can make a difference.”

On Tuesday evening at six, concerned residents will protest outside an environmental award ceremony for Governor O’Malley at Columbus Center in Baltimore, MD, where the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science will present him with an award.

The post First East Coast Liquefied Natural Gas Export Terminal Approved On Chesapeake Bay appeared first on ThinkProgress.


Who Profits From Plans to Lock Up More Immigrant Families? Private Prison Companies

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 30th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Who Profits From Plans to Lock Up More Immigrant Families? Private Prison Companies
From: Zoë Carpenter

Human rights groups are alarmed by the administration’s proposal to dramatically expand family detention for undocumented women and children.

The Pretense of Balanced Debate: Behind the Media’s Blackout of Antiwar Views
From: Eric Alterman

Eric on this week's concerts and Reed on the two-party debate that has only one, pro-war side.

Congress’s Sorry Dereliction of its War Powers Duty
From: Katrina vanden Heuvel

The founders would not have been shocked at the executive seeking to claim the war power, but they would be astounded at Congress voluntarily giving it up.