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Seahawks Trade Percy Harvin to Jets

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 19th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Seahawks Trade Percy Harvin to Jets
The Seattle Seahawks have traded wide receiver Percy Harvin to the New York Jets. Seattle will receive a conditional draft pick in 2015, which will be either a fourth- or sixth-round selection, ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reports. “Percy is a versatile, dynamic player who has been productive on offense and special teams,” Jets general manager John Idzik said. “We’re excited about adding him to the Jets.” Several sources told ESPN that Seattle believed Harvin had become too much of a destructive force in the locker room. Two team sources said he had physical confrontations in the locker room with teammates.

Friends, family of Ebola patient reach milestone

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 19th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Friends, family of Ebola patient reach milestone
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — As her boyfriend Thomas Eric Duncan lay dying of Ebola in a Dallas hospital bed, Louise Troh battled loneliness and fear that she too had contracted the disease while confined to a stranger’s home under armed guard.

Scott Brown: No Ebola fears if Mitt Romney were president

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 19th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Scott Brown: No Ebola fears if Mitt Romney were president
New Hampshire Republican Senate candidate suggests Romney, the 2012 GOP presidential nominee, would have the virus under control

Obama: “My credit card was rejected”
The president told the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau about an embarrassing incident he had recently at a restaurant in New York.


Time Misconstrued IG Report To Falsely Implicate Cheryl Mills In State Department Misconduct

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 19th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Time Misconstrued IG Report To Falsely Implicate Cheryl Mills In State Department Misconduct

Cheryl Mills

Time misrepresented the findings of an Inspector General report to falsely imply that former State Department aide Cheryl Mills was faulted for “strong-arming” departmental investigations, even though the inspector general cleared Mills of wrongdoing in the only case where her actions were investigated.

In an October 17 piece, Time claimed several aides to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had been faulted for the appearance of “undue influence and favoritism” during three State Department investigations. In what Time called “the highest-level case,” a U.S. Ambassador in Belgium was recalled to Washington for an internal review into accusations that he had solicited a prostitute. “The move effectively halted an investigation by the department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security,” Time reported. It continued:

The ambassador, Howard Gutman, was recalled to Washington from Belgium to meet with Under Secretary of State for Management Patrick Kennedy and Clinton Counselor and Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills, according to the report.

By focusing on Mills’ role in that meeting — in an article centered around claims that Clinton aides were strong-arming investigators and fostering an atmosphere of favoritism — Time implied that Mills was found negligent by the Inspector General. But the inspector general report did not criticize Mills for her role in that meeting. The IG report was only critical of the decision to internalize the inquiry, a decision made by the Undersecretary of Management, Patrick Kennedy. From the report:

The Under Secretary of State for Management told OIG that he decided to handle the suspected incident as a “management issue” based on a disciplinary provision in the FAM that he had employed on prior occasions to address allegations of misconduct by Chiefs of Mission.

Despite insinuating that Mills was criticized by the Inspector General, Time made no mention of the fact that Mills was explicitly cleared of wrongdoing in a separate investigation, even though that investigation was a focus of their report. The investigation centered on whether that an assistant secretary of state was found to have improperly delayed an interview with a nominee to be ambassador to Iraq. Mills, who was Chief of Staff at the time, was explicitly cleared of any improper actions:

OIG found no evidence of any undue influence by the Chief of Staff/Counselor. 

[...]

OIG did not find evidence of perceived or actual undue influence or favoritism in four of the DS internal investigations reviewed.


The Equal Pay Delusion

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 19th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

The Equal Pay Delusion
Mona Charen, RealClearPolitics
Voters are souring on the Democratic Party. Apparently, all it takes are six years of economic torpor; the disastrous debut of the biggest new federal program in two generations; record levels of federal debt; revelations of scandals and malfeasance at the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Internal Revenue Service, the Secret Service and the Justice Department; Russian revanchism on the march; a rampaging army of (literal) cutthroats gobbling up territory in the Middle East; and the feeble and patronizing government response to a modern plague. Truly, it says something about the reputation…

A Most Forgettable Election
Ruth Marcus, RealClearPolitics
WASHINGTON — The closing days of a closely fought election rarely offer uplifting moments, but the 2014 season has been particularly dreary, nearly devoid of content and high on unedifying spectacle. Perhaps the iconic moment came when former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist faced an empty lectern for seven minutes while his Republican opponent, incumbent Gov. Rick Scott, sulked over Crist’s insistence that he have a cooling fan at his stand. Seriously, seven minutes. At which point Scott blinked and the debate that voters deserved could finally start. But behavior that disrespects voters knows no…

Nothing to Fear but Panic Itself
David Ignatius, RealClearPolitics
WASHINGTON — Richard Preston, whose 1994 book “The Hot Zone” brought the Ebola virus terrifyingly alive for readers, once described how, during his research, his biohazard suit had ripped open, exposing him to a potentially fatal toxin. “I started to feel giddy,” Preston wrote in “Panic in Level 4,” a 2008 collection of essays. “It was an intoxicating rush of fear, a sensation that all I needed to do was relax and let the fear take hold, and I could drift away on waves of panic, screaming for help.” You could feel a shiver of panic coursing through the American body politic this week as the…

Ebola in America
Michael Gerson, RealClearPolitics
WASHINGTON — In any health care setting, it is wise to listen to the nurses, who see all. Their reports from Dallas about the initial procedures used in treating Thomas Eric Duncan are appalling. Safety suits with exposed necklines left nurses to cover skin with tape. When tape is removed, it abrades the skin. One health expert I consulted described this practice in dealing with Ebola as “moronic.” Proper protocols are now in place. But Ebola in America has been an exacting and brutal teacher. First, we have seen that the infectiousness of Ebola increases as a patient grows sicker and the…


Internet trolls face longer sentences

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 19th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Internet trolls face longer sentences
People who post abusive messages online could face up to two years in jail under new laws proposed by Justice Secretary Chris Grayling.

VIDEO: Belfast memorial for Ian Paisley
Family and colleagues paid tribute to the former first minister of Northern Ireland, Dr Ian Paisley at his memorial service which was held in Belfast’s Ulster Hall on Sunday.


ISIS, Ukraine, the South China Sea and the End of the Era of American Power

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 19th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

ISIS, Ukraine, the South China Sea and the End of the Era of American Power
A colleague called me during the run-up to the Iraq war in March 2003. It is going to be unlike anything the world has ever seen. Shock and Awe. The war will be over before it starts. An inside player in the Bush administration, he was in a position to know what was in store.

Shock and Awe is a the military doctrine that “focuses on the psychological destruction of the enemy’s will to fight rather than the physical destruction of its military forces.” To the Bush administration, Shock and Awe was the name for the onslaught of missiles and bombing that was to initiate the U.S. invasion and would intimidate Saddam, quickly bringing his regime into submission.

Little did we know that the opening days of the second Iraq war marked the end of the era of America as the world’s dominant military power. It is not that America’s military power declined, but rather the salience of that power. Since the invention of the atomic bomb, the United States has had to choose in any given military or proto-military engagement which weapons were appropriate to use and which were deemed inappropriate or disproportionate to a given conflict. While some envisioned the invention of the atomic bomb as a weapon that would make war itself unimaginable, the invention of increasingly powerful weapons has only complicated the nature of warfare for the dominant power.

In the first days of the Iraq war, the massive missile strikes were delayed in favor of a decapitation strike that failed due to faulty intelligence. Shock and awe never unfolded as the tour de force of the administration’s imagination and the war that was to spark an Arab spring, with Iraqis seizing the opportunity to embrace their Jeffersonian future, was an abject failure. It plodded on for a decade until the American public had had enough. Looking back, it is apparent that the opening days of the Iraq war marked a seminal moment in American military power and foreign policy reality, but one that we have yet to discuss, to debate and to learn from as a nation.

This became vividly apparent when ISIS beheaded its first victim, an act to which many had the same immediate and visceral reaction: We should nuke them. A decade earlier, I watched the utterly barbaric video of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi beheading Nicholas Berg, and now, as then, a video of a beheading garners a response unlike any other form of intentional brutality.

Nuke them. Using nuclear weapons would of course be inconceivable. But the visceral response to the ISIS acts encapsulated the larger problem that we now face: We are unwilling to use the military capabilities that we have, and our adversaries understand this. And worse, in not using the capability at our command, we are rendered impotent, unable to respond with means at our command to those who show no such restraint.

Since the fall of the Soviet Union, we have been challenged by what it means to be the dominant superpower in the world. We have deployed military assets around the world, with a specific focus on key regions. We have surrounded the Russian landmass with military assets and a coordinated defense alliance through NATO. We have built a network of bases along China’s coastline from the Sea of Japan to the South China Sea. We have a network of military assets surrounding Iran. We have a network of bases in place to defend our interests in the Middle East. And we have aircraft carrier battle groups deployable across the world.

The doctrine of shock and awe–a metaphor for our ability to subdue conflicts through intimidation before they turn into full fledged wars that has been essential to our notion of military power in the world–died in Iraq. Perhaps the limits to what we were willing to do in war were first manifest in Vietnam. And perhaps it was what Ronald Reagan realized when he considered his choices in the aftermath of the bombing of the military barracks in Beirut in 1983 and chose to pull out. But in the wake of Iraq, Americans now know instinctively that, whether for moral, financial or practical reasons, we are not willing to use the military capability that we have so carefully built for so many years. We are no longer interested in pursuing military action as a solution to each new conflict that the world turns to us to solve, but having built our credibility around our military power, we have neither the capability nor the respect for alternative paths to conflict resolution. While for domestic political reasons we have been unable to have a serious national discussion about this new underlying reality, our increasing disinclination to use the military capability that constitutes so much of our identity in the world has become inherently destabilizing.

Vladimir Putin understands this. He understands that he has great latitude to pursue Russia’s strategic interests in Ukraine before he will risk seeing any American military response. Xi Jingping understands this as well. He understands that China has great latitude to impose its will and territorial ambitions in the South China Sea before America will consider any serious military response.

And Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s protege, ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, understands that if the world is going to wait for a committed American response to the ISIS threat in the Middle East, the world is going to have to wait a while. Baghdadi, like Putin and Xi, understands that shock and awe is only a meaningful doctrine if it is backed up by the commitment to use military force–real force, even disproportionate force, the force that makes one a superpower–on the ground.

If war is politics by other means, and we have effectively taken the use of our full military capacity off the table, it is time that we have a real discussion about the implications of this for our foreign policy and how we engage in the world. So far, Congress has been willing to seriously engage the question of where we go from here, which the Senate made clear when it refused to hold a debate on launching military strikes against ISIS.

The cornerstone of American foreign policy since the end of the Second World War has been the deployment and implicit threat of disproportionate military capacity. But now the veil has been lifted and the world knows that the days of shock and awe are behind us. In our political discourse we continue to posture as though nothing has changed. But we are only fooling ourselves, our adversaries have already figured it out.


Bhutto’s Son Tries to Revive the Pakistan Peoples Party’s Fortunes

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 19th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Bhutto’s Son Tries to Revive the Pakistan Peoples Party’s Fortunes
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, 26, tried to reclaim the legacy of his mother with a huge rally in the southern port city of Karachi.






Power Up: For South Korea, Host of League of Legends Championship, E-Sports Is National Pastime
The extent to which video games have become part of mainstream culture in South Korea may be a sign of things to come in the West.






Gunfire Exchanged Across Korean Boundary
South Korea said troops from the North had approached the demarcation line and there was a brief exchange of gunfire between guard posts on both sides.






Memo From Tunisia: At Birthplace of the Arab Spring, Discontent Opens a Door to the Past
Almost four years after the uprising that overthrew President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali and set off the Arab Spring, frustration in Tunisia is such that people often say they wish for a return of the Ben Ali era.







Death Of Northern White Rhino Leaves Only Six Left In Existence

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 19th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Death Of Northern White Rhino Leaves Only Six Left In Existence

34-year-old male northern white rhino Suni was one of only two breeding males left.

The post Death Of Northern White Rhino Leaves Only Six Left In Existence appeared first on ThinkProgress.

Northern White Rhino cows Najin & Fatu at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy.

Northern White Rhino cows Najin & Fatu at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy.

CREDIT: Courtesy of African Wildlife Defence Force

A 34-year-old male northern white rhino has died in a wildlife conservancy in Kenya, leaving on six northern white rhinos left in the world. Suni, one of four northern white rhinos living in the Ol Pejeta Conservancy, was the first-ever northern white rhino to be born in captivity. He arrived at the conservancy in 2009 from Dv?r Králové Zoo in Czech Republic as part of a breeding program along with another male and two females.

The cause of his death is yet to be determined. His father Saút died in 2006 of natural causes at the same age as Suni. No northern white rhinos are known to have survived in the wild, and Suni was one of the last two breeding males in the world leaving the future of his species in serious doubt.

“The species now stands at the brink of complete extinction, a sorry testament to the greed of the human race,” said the conservancy in a statement. The conservancy will continue to work towards breeding a northern white rhino calf. In 2012, Suni entered a courtship ritual and mated with another northern white rhino named Najin, however the mating did not result in a pregnancy.

The northern white rhino is the world’s rarest large mammal. While it is often considered one of two subspecies of white rhinoceros — the southern white rhino being the other — recent research has found that the northern white rhino may indeed be a distinct species. Having once ranged across Southern Africa, southern white rhinos were considered extinct in the late 19th century. Then in 1895, a small population of less than 100 individuals was discovered in South Africa. Now there are about 20,000 southern white rhinos living protected areas, making them the only non-endangered rhino.

Formerly found in several countries in East and Central Africa south of the Sahara, the northern white rhino was decimated by poaching, with their wild population reduced from around 500 to 15 in the 1970s and 1980s. In Asia, rhino horn was used as a traditional medicine and is often now used as a status symbol of success, especially in Vietnam. It can sell for more than gold or platinum.

According to a recent report from the World Wildlife Fund and the Zoological Society of London, the Earth has lost half its vertebrate species — mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, and amphibians — since 1970. The report found that the worst declines of animal populations have occurred among developing, low-income nations. About seven percent of the overall decline could be attributed to climate change, according to the report, with over one-third due to exploitation such as poaching, while most of the rest was due to habitat alteration, degradation, or loss.

The post Death Of Northern White Rhino Leaves Only Six Left In Existence appeared first on ThinkProgress.


Billionaires Become Their Own Political Parties

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 19th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Billionaires Become Their Own Political Parties
Jim Rutenberg, NYT Mag
These are difficult times, so it makes sense for America’s journalistic institutions to locate new revenue streams.Just look at the New York Times, always an industry leader: It’s become the official stenographer of the Obama White House.On Saturday, The Times ran a story about the president and his response to the Ebola outbreak that read like it was dictated word for word by the president’s top men.

Cap and Trade’s Perpetual Campaign

In U.S., an Ebola Crisis of Confidence

Stop With the “Ebola Is Obama’s Katrina” Stuff
Dylan Scott, TPM
Ebola is a terrible disease that has ravaged West Africa and taken a life in America. It seems evident that some breach of protocol allowed a Texas nurse to travel from Dallas to Cleveland and back after she had helped treat an Ebola patient but before she started showing symptoms herself. Mistakes have been certainly made, as they say.