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Archive for October 3rd, 2014

Hillary Clinton Plans Midterm Blitz

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 3rd, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Hillary Clinton Plans Midterm Blitz
Hillary Clinton has mapped out much of her political schedule through Election Day, an itinerary that focuses on helping Senate candidates and includes trips to a half-dozen states, including Kentucky and presidential early states Iowa and New Hampshire. The final stretch of the midterms will mark ClintonÂ?s most extensive political activity since she left the State Department early last year and requests for her to appear began pouring in from all corners of the country. “Secretary Clinton will be a great motivator to get Democrats out to the polls, which is always critical in a midterm election, DSCC chairman Guy Cecil said. “She is also the perfect person to speak directly to women and independent voters across the country.”


Hong Kong police arrest 19 in protest clash

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 3rd, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Hong Kong police arrest 19 in protest clash
HONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kong arrested 19 people, some believed to have organized crime ties, during a night of running brawls stretching into Saturday as mobs tried to drive pro-democracy protesters from the streets where they’ve held a weeklong, largely peaceful demonstration.

$627M in Gulf oil spill recovery projects approved
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Officials have approved plans to spend $627 million on 44 projects meant to aid recovery from the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, but environmentalists are fuming that $85.5 million will go to an Alabama beachfront hotel they say will hurt rather than help the Gulf.

Appointee refuses to step down over porn scandal
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — The rest of the emails at the center of a scandal over pornography exchanges among former employees of the Pennsylvania attorney general were delivered Friday to Gov. Tom Corbett’s office.


Hillary Clinton has “grandmother glow” after Charlotte’s birth

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 3rd, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Hillary Clinton has “grandmother glow” after Charlotte’s birth
As she weighs a presidential bid, Clinton says her granddaughter is fueling her drive for women’s empowerment

Karl Rove’s Crossroads groups raise $100 million for midterms
The strong fundraising by outside groups could help Republicans seize control of the Senate in November


Watch A Transgender Student Athlete’s Emotional Response To Right-Wing Misinformation

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 3rd, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Watch A Transgender Student Athlete’s Emotional Response To Right-Wing Misinformation

On MSNBC, a transgender student described the pain caused by right-wing misinformation about a policy that could allow athletes to participate on the team that corresponds with their gender identity.

During the October 2 edition of MSNBC’s NewsNation with Tamron Hall, guest host Richard Lui led a segment on the Minnesota State High School League’s consideration of a proposed participation policy for transgender student athletes. The proposal, which has since been temporarily tabled, would potentially allow student athletes to play on the sports team that matches their gender identity.

The segment featured OutFront Minnesota Executive Director Monica Meyer and Zeam Porter, a transgender student athlete who delivered an emotional speech during a public hearing about the proposal. When asked about the hearing, Porter described the difficulty of being exposed to misinformation about transgender students, including a misleading, transphobic ad published in Minnesota’s Star Tribune:

PORTER: It was really hard to be in that space. I took away that there are a lot of people who purposely give misinformation and don’t value me as a human, much less as a student or as an athlete… Being in that space yesterday was really hard.

[…]

PORTER: Other trans students have come to me and said that “I feel scared to pick up a newspaper now because I’m scared of seeing harassment. I’m scared of seeing discrimination. It’s like I can’t escape it, not on the court, not in the classroom, not even reading a newspaper I can’t escape this discrimination. I can’t escape misinformation and lies told about me.” So it was really hard to hear that from other students because I’m not the only one going through this.


When Paul Became Muhammad

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 3rd, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

When Paul Became Muhammad
Larry Elder, RealClearPolitics
When I was growing up in South-Central Los Angeles, “Paul” was one of my closest friends. In grade school and junior high, he and I spent countless hours together. He helped me become a slightly better athlete, and I helped him with math and biology. But when I returned home from college, Paul had become “Muhammad.” But pre-Muhammad, Paul starred on the high school basketball, baseball and football teams. As the basketball team’s starting point guard, he was a prolific scorer and a tenacious defender, a combination college recruiters drool over. Big basketball power schools — UCLA, Notre…

Newer New Math
Erick Erickson, RealClearPolitics
The other night I could hear my wife and third-grade daughter talking heatedly about something. I assumed they were having an argument. But eavesdropping on the raised voices, I realized that was not it. They were both loudly, angrily complaining about my daughter’s math homework. Her assignment involved one of several methods of subtraction she must learn. The way most people learn to subtract — carrying numbers and borrowing — is derisively called the “Granny Method” and is discouraged. The task at hand the other night involved subtracting using the “Counting-Up Subtraction Method.” This…

Secure the White House
Eugene Robinson, RealClearPolitics
WASHINGTON — Put a taller fence around the White House complex and lock the doors. Then get rid of the dry rot in the Secret Service bureaucracy, restore staffing to reasonable levels, adopt the latest technology and develop new protocols to replace the ones that didn’t work. But don’t use the recent shocking lapses in presidential security as an excuse to further separate Americans from the symbols of their government. Actually, “shocking” is an understatement. I still can’t get my mind around the fact a man could climb over the White House fence, run across the North Lawn, barge through…


PM in Afghanistan at ‘end of era’

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 3rd, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

PM in Afghanistan at ‘end of era’
PM’s Afghanistan visit marks “end of era”

Ex-BP boss gets top Whitehall job
Former BP executive John Manzoni is appointed the first chief executive officer of the civil service.


Boots Are On the Ground

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 3rd, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Boots Are On the Ground
When the President of the United States promises America will have “no boots on the ground” in Iraq or Syria, military members and their families don’t take that phrase literally. He can’t be saying that no American soles will touch the soil of either nation, because they already do. Do most Americans know this statement is about mission, not actual footwear location? Do they know he means “no combat mission”? Military families do. They know plenty of boots–combat or otherwise–belonging to people they know and love are on the ground right now.
When my Air Force husband is deployed, his boots are truly on the ground much of the time, like those of many support troops. Neither he nor I would compare his position to service members who routinely go forward to meet the enemy with weapons at the ready, whether on the ground, at sea, or in the air. As a noncombatant, his job is not inherently dangerous, but he sometimes does his job in dangerous conditions, as do many service members with non-combat job descriptions. Military members and families understand the distinctions between these duties. Everyone in a combat zone operates at some level of danger; none are immune to danger by virtue of performing non-combat tasks.
So when the Secretary of Defense reiterates “no boots on the ground,” military families don’t breathe a sigh of relief alongside the rest of America. We know too much. Even without a stated combat mission against terrorist organizations overseas, we know our loved ones and their boots are already in ships, airplanes, and yes, even on the ground. More are likely to follow, to train and support indigenous forces.
Whether the Pentagon calls it a combat mission or boots on the ground won’t matter much to those doing the job and wearing the boots. Call them advisers, trainers or support personnel. They’ll do what the mission requires. Their families will hold the fort at home, knowing terminology won’t matter much either to enemies who’ve shown they have few scruples regarding human life.
Unfortunately, the only ones misled by the words “no boots on the ground” may be American civilians. When politicians use that phrase, I fear they use it to placate voters, reportedly weary of a war they never fought. Military members and their families are weary too, but changing the name doesn’t change reality. It only minimizes the courage of those who wear the boots whether those boots are on patrol, on a ship’s deck, a tarmac, or an operating room floor.
I wonder if it also leads most Americans to believe our military can maintain a safe distance from the bad guys while fighting them. I hope they’re paying enough attention to realize there’s nothing safe or clean about war, on the ground or in the air. Ask those who pinpoint locations and provide coordinates for airstrikes–from the ground–if they operate in combat conditions.
On a Sunday morning news show, retired Army Gen. Carter Ham spoke with CBS journalist Bob Schieffer about what establishing a “no fly zone” over Syria means. Ham knows, having overseen a similar operation in Libya in 2011 as the commander of U.S. Africa Command.
“It’s a pretty high risk operation,” he said, “It first entails killing a lot of people and destroying the Syrian air defenses and those people who are manning those systems … destroying the Syrian air force, preferably on the ground, in the air if necessary. This is a violent combat action that results in lots of casualties and increased risk to our own personnel.”
Too bad he was only on Face the Nation. He would have had a much larger audience on House of Cards or Game of Thrones. Public interest in politics or bloodshed extends more to the fictional than the actual.
My husband has had his “boots on the ground” in hostile territory on multiple deployments. Yet, people who don’t know any better–and some who should know better–throw around the phrase “no boots on the ground,” as if boots like my husband’s don’t count. But they do. Boots are already on the ground, and they all have people standing in them.


Split Up by Holocaust, Top Collection of Yiddish Works Will Reunite Digitally

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 3rd, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Split Up by Holocaust, Top Collection of Yiddish Works Will Reunite Digitally
The YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, now in Manhattan, and the Lithuanian government have agreed to let the surviving YIVO documents in Lithuania be integrated into a web portal.



Under Francis, Catholic Leaders Prepare to Debate Whether Church Should Change
A meeting convened by Pope Francis will begin a process on whether the Roman Catholic Church will change its approach to issues like divorce, gay civil unions or single parents.



News: Latest Updates From Hong Kong Protests
Crowds at the main protest site are growing but the streets around government offices are deserted.



U.N. Report Details ISIS Abuse of Yazidi Women and Children
Among the atrocities was the kidnapping of a girl, who was raped and sold into sex slavery, and children as young as 12 forced to become soldiers.



Thailand: 2 Arrested in Tourists’ Deaths
Two migrant workers from Myanmar were arrested on Friday after the police said they had confessed to killing two British tourists.




California Faces A Record-Breaking October Heat Wave

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 3rd, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

California Faces A Record-Breaking October Heat Wave

Like the heat wave in September, schools have been forced to implement shortened days and cancel athletic activities.

The post California Faces A Record-Breaking October Heat Wave appeared first on ThinkProgress.

Amelia Rosch is an intern for ThinkProgress.

Seniors in Los Angeles shade themselves as temperatures rise.

Seniors in Los Angeles shade themselves as temperatures rise.

CREDIT: AP Images – Nick Ut

California finds itself in yet another heat wave, with record-breaking temperatures reported in several cities and hotter-than-usual temperatures across the state. The National Weather Service has put the San Francisco Bay area and San Diego under a heat advisory and has issued a hazardous weather outlook for the Los Angeles area.

On Thursday, the Los Angeles Unified School District cancelled outside activities and sports for the rest of the week due to the heat. This is the second time this school year that LAUSD has had to cancel activities because of high temperatures. All schools in the Long Beach School District had shortened days on Thursday and today because of the hot weather; about 70 percent of schools in the district do not have air conditioning.

On Thursday, downtown Los Angeles reached 92 degrees by noon. The average October temperature for Los Angeles is 79 degrees. Several cities in Southern California broke record temperatures. Oxnard reached 98 degrees on Thursday, breaking an almost 70 year old record, while Santa Barbara saw a new high of 94 degrees. Inland temperatures are expected to be as high as 106 over the weekend. The record high temperature for the Los Angeles area is 108 degrees, which occurred in 1987.

And it’s not just high temperatures that Californians are facing. Fire warnings have been put place throughout the Los Angeles area, thanks to the high heat and winds that could reach 50 miles an hour. The Los Angeles Fire Department has pre-deployed firefighters in high risk areas, including the University of California Los Angeles campus. The Los Angeles county fire inspector Randy Wright said that people should be prepared to evacuate. Earlier in the fall, the King fire in Eldorado National Forest in Northern California burned over 97,000 acres and required over 8,000 firefighters to combat it.

In September, Southern California faced another large heat wave, with temperatures reaching into the 90s in Los Angeles and into the 100s in San Diego. September’s heat wave led to over 100 schools shortening their school days and over 20 athletic events and practices being cancelled. Consumers in Los Angeles also set a record for daily energy use as people tried to cool down with air conditioning.

The heat waves in California may be part of a larger pattern. Earlier this year, California broke a 120 year record for heat, with temperatures 4.6 degrees hotter than average. Climate scientists believe that the higher-than-average temperatures are strongly connected to man-made climate change. A report by American and British climate scientists found that human-based climate change has “clearly increased the severity and likelihood” of heat waves.

The post California Faces A Record-Breaking October Heat Wave appeared first on ThinkProgress.

Rape Victim’s Parents Write Open Letter About How Columbia University Failed Their Daughter

They say they don’t want any other survivors to have to go through what she did.

The post Rape Victim’s Parents Write Open Letter About How Columbia University Failed Their Daughter appeared first on ThinkProgress.

Columbia students help Emma Sulkowicz, left, carry her mattress

Columbia students help Emma Sulkowicz, left, carry her mattress

CREDIT: Faecbook/Carrying The Weight Together

The parents of a Columbia University senior published an open letter to the institution’s president and board of trustees this week, critiquing them for allowing her rapist to remain on campus.

Sandra Leong and Kerry Sulkowicz’s letter, which was published in the Columbia Spectator on Thursday, doesn’t mince words about what they see as university officials’ failure to take rape cases seriously. Despite the fact that their daughter, Emma, reported her on-campus assault to the school nearly two years ago, Columbia has not taken steps to remove the perpetrator from campus. Both of them are set to graduate this year.

Emma Sulkowicz has recently sparked national headlines thanks to her senior thesis in visual arts, a project called “Carry That Weight” that involves taking her mattress with her everywhere as long as her rapist remains on campus. She was raped in her dorm room bed, and is using her mattress as a powerful symbol of the burden of dealing with the aftermath and ultimately being denied justice.

Her parents write that, although they are very proud of her for inspiring a national conversation about these issues, they don’t want her “recent celebrity” to distract from the university’s inadequate response to her sexual assault.

“The investigation, hearing, and appeals process that followed her complaint to the University were painfully mishandled. We feel that they violated standards of impartiality, fairness, and serious attention to the facts of the case,” Leong and Sulkowicz write. “We were left with the impression of a University intent on sweeping the issue of campus rape under the rug.”

Two other women who attend Columbia University have also brought sexual assault complaints against the student who allegedly raped Emma Sulkowicz. Nonetheless, the fact that Columbia had previously found that student “responsible” for assault was not permitted as admissible evidence in her own hearing. The adjudication process stretched on for months, and Emma’s parents believe her rapist was allowed to “cast doubt” on her character in order to discredit her report.

In their letter, they write that it’s essential to reform the system so other students don’t have to go through the same thing. “If Columbia remains passive in the face of Emma’s suffering, and does not attempt to rectify the injustice done to her, survivors at Columbia will feel discouraged from entrusting themselves to the system that Columbia has recently worked so hard at putting into place,” they note.

Even before Emma Sulkowicz’s mattress project began last month, tensions were high between student activists and university officials. This past school year, Columbia students starting using red tape to symbolize their administration’s inaction on issues related to sexual violence, proclaiming that “red tape won’t cover up rape.” And last spring, after students became fed up with the lack of progress in this area, they scrawled the names of accused rapists on bathroom walls all over campus. Although administrators have recently made some updates to the campus sexual assault policy, students say officials still aren’t taking their concerns seriously enough.

These issues aren’t specific to Columbia. Across the country, universities have been accused of failing to actually punish the individuals who perpetrate sexual violence against their fellow students. A recent Huffington Post investigation found that fewer than one third of college sexual assault cases result in expulsion.

Emma’s parents conclude that, if Columbia allows her rapist to graduate alongside her, administrators will not necessarily be absolved from their responsibility to do a better job handling sexual assault complaints. “Instead, in this important moment in the history of sexual assault on college campuses,” they write, “Columbia will remain indelibly in the public mind as the university where good men and women did nothing.”

The post Rape Victim’s Parents Write Open Letter About How Columbia University Failed Their Daughter appeared first on ThinkProgress.


The Left’s Next Big Political Fight: Plastic Grocery Bags

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 3rd, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

The Left’s Next Big Political Fight: Plastic Grocery Bags
Reid Wilson, WP
Go to a grocery store in California and buy all the milk, eggs and vegetables you want. But there’s one thing you won’t find at the checkout line, beginning July 1, 2015: Plastic bags to carry your stuff home.

The Backlash in Kansas
Margaret Carlson, Bloomberg
The 2004 best-seller “What’s the Matter With Kansas?” claimed that voters there had it all backward: They were acting against their own interests by continuing to support Republicans whose economic policies favored the rich. Kansans might keep their guns and protect their marriages from gays, but they didn’t have jobs.

Doubt Climate Change? Then Support Carbon Taxes

Incompetent Govt + Corrupt Elite = Disaster
Matt Continetti, Free Beacon
Deadly, irrational, and determined, the intruder snuck across a weakened perimeter. Eluding capture, the intruder was detained only after missteps and close calls. The spin began soon after the threat was isolated. Information was selectively leaked. Half-truths and untruths were uttered. Responsibility was avoided; privileges and credentials asserted; authority reasserted. Trust us. Remain calm. Don’t panic.

Obama’s Blow to Endangered Democrats
Lanhee Chen, Bloomberg
Another day, another pivot to jobs for President Barack Obama. Yesterday’s speech at Northwestern University marked the 16th time since he took office that he has announced a refocus on jobs and the economy. It was also his best effort at a closing argument for Democrats in November’s elections.