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Archive for the 'Main Blog (All Posts)' Category

Texas Court Tosses Out ‘Improper Photography’ Law

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

Texas Court Tosses Out ‘Improper Photography’ Law
The highest criminal court in Texas tossed out a state law Wednesday banning “improper photography” — photos or videos taken in a public place without consent and with the purpose of sexual gratification — as a violation of free-speech rights. “Protecting someone who appears in public from being the object of sexual thoughts seems to be the sort of paternalistic interest in regulating the defendant’s mind that the First Amendment was designed to guard against,” said the opinion, written by Presiding Judge Sharon Keller. “We also keep in mind the Supreme Court’s admonition that the forms of speech that are exempt from First Amendment protection are limited, and we should not be quick to recognize new categories of unprotected expression.”

UK to make changes after Scotland vote keeps union

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

UK to make changes after Scotland vote keeps union
LONDON (AP) — Voters in Scotland have rejected independence, but leaders of Britain’s three largest parties have promised Scots more autonomy than they have won so far. Prime Minister David Cameron said Friday he also wants to give England, Wales and Northern Ireland greater independence from central government. Here’s a look at how things might change.

Obama: Campus sexual assault “matters to all of us”

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

Obama: Campus sexual assault “matters to all of us”
Sexual assault on college campuses “is no longer something we as a nation can turn away from,” says President Obama.

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


Mark Levin: “There’s More Enslaving Of Women, Raping Of Women, Abusing Of Women Around The World” Under Obama and Secretary Clinton

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

Mark Levin: “There’s More Enslaving Of Women, Raping Of Women, Abusing Of Women Around The World” Under Obama and Secretary Clinton

From the September 19 edition of Premiere Radio Networks’ The Mark Levin Show:

Previously

Mark Levin Advises GOP TO “Stop Chasing Genitalia” To Win Elections

Mark Levin: The Go-To Radio Host For GOP Lawmakers Despite Inflammatory Rhetoric 


Boehner Questions Obama’s Commitment to Defeating ISIL

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

Boehner Questions Obama’s Commitment to Defeating ISIL
Adam O’Neal, RealClearPolitics
A day after the House approved President Obama’s plan to arm and train Syrian rebels, Speaker John Boehner questioned if the president’s goal “truly” is to destroy ISIL and criticized him for lacking a specific plan to defeat the terrorist organization. “If [destroying ISIL] truly is, in fact, the mission, I don’t see the overarching strategy that’s going to allow us to accomplish that,” asserted Boehner. “But I am still waiting to see the bigger picture of how we win this war, how we destroy ISIL. I’ve not seen it yet.” He…

After Syrian Vote, War Debate Will Follow Congress Back Home
Caitlin Huey-Burns, RealClearPolitics
Just a week after President Obama addressed the nation about the threat posed by Islamic State militants and asked Congress to approve arming and training Syrian rebels to fight them, lawmakers gave him what he wanted Thursday evening. The action was quick, by this Congress’ standards, and bipartisan, featuring the formation of atypical alliances — but not without due drama and reservations. The 78-22 tally included nine Democrats and 12 Republicans voting no (along with independent Bernie Sanders). The Senate action follows House passage on Wednesday. As part of a bill that also…

A Rough Month in America for Women
Froma Harrop, RealClearPolitics
Mark Sanford’s heralded engagement to Maria Belen Chapur is apparently over. The rep from South Carolina released the news to America through a Facebook post. That’s how Chapur found out, too. Gallantry has been in especially short supply this month. Prominent American men have been roughing up their women in spectacularly public ways — ranging from coldly calculated mind games to a knockout punch. September opened with former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell’s unsuccessful attempt to swat away felony charges by making his wife take the entire rap for rampant corruption. The governor’s lawyers…


In full: Cameron on UK future

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

In full: Cameron on UK future
The full text of Prime Minister David Cameron’s statement after the Scottish referendum on independence on 18 September 2014.

VIDEO: Highlights of Indyref day and night
Highlights of some of the BBC images of polling day and the counting through the night for the Scottish referendum.


Sinosphere Blog: Digging In on Election Fight, Hong Kong Students Prepare for Boycott

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

Sinosphere Blog: Digging In on Election Fight, Hong Kong Students Prepare for Boycott
Two years after university students successfully pushed back against plans to introduce new curriculum believed to be pro-Beijing, hopes for a quick victory in the election ruling fight are low.






World Briefing: Russia: Investigative Agency Says Tycoon Remains Under House Arrest
A Russian billionaire’s company claimed that the tycoon had been freed from house arrest on Friday, an announcement that was rejected minutes later by the nation’s top criminal investigation agency.






At U.N., Kerry Thanks Other Nations for Their Support in Fighting Islamic State
In drumming up support in the fight against a terrorist group, the secretary of state suggested that Iran had a role to play.






Debate on Independence Lingers in Scottish Homes
Countless relatives have found themselves on opposite sides of a rift opened by two years of discussion about the most momentous decisions their country has faced since joining the union.






Japan’s Premier Seeks Summit Meeting With South Korean President
In a conciliatory gesture after years of tensions, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan sent a letter to President Park Geun-hye of South Korea proposing the meeting.







Intruder Made It Through White House Doors, Secret Service Says

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

Intruder Made It Through White House Doors, Secret Service Says
Secret Service officials said a Texas man was arrested after he scaled the White House fence and went through the North Portico doors on Friday night.







Anti-Islam Ads Will Soon Be Plastered On New York City Buses

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

Anti-Islam Ads Will Soon Be Plastered On New York City Buses

One of the more unsettling ads features the now-iconic image of American journalist James Foley, who was recently beheaded by representatives from ISIS, kneeling next to his executioner.

The post Anti-Islam Ads Will Soon Be Plastered On New York City Buses appeared first on ThinkProgress.

One of six new ads from the American Freedom Defense Initiative that will appear on New York City buses next week.

One of six new ads from the American Freedom Defense Initiative that will appear on New York City buses next week.

CREDIT: pamelageller.com

An anti-Islam group is preparing to plaster New York City buses with advertisements that defame Islam and use images from the recent execution of American journalist James Foley by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the latest in the organization’s longstanding effort to recast Islam as an inherently violent religion.

The American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), which is classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center and led by blogger Pamela Geller and writer Robert Spencer, announced recently that it plans to run six anti-Islam ads on more than 100 buses in New York City starting next week.

“Our ads are designed to raise awareness about the need for Muslims in the US not just to denounce ISIS, but to teach young Muslims why this understanding of Islam is wrong and must be rejected,” Geller wrote on her website. She claimed in another post that the campaign, “boldly tells truths that the U.S. government and the mainstream media seem determined to obfuscate.”

The ads, which make heavy use of shocking pictures and bold text, attempt to frame Islam as a violent religion that radicalizes its followers. One of the more unsettling ads features the now-iconic image of American journalist James Foley, who was recently beheaded by ISIS militants, kneeling next to his executioner. The picture is placed alongside more benign image of a man rapping into a microphone with the caption “executioner who beheaded reporter before he became a jihadist.” Both images sit underneath the title “Yesterday’s moderate is today’s headline.”

Other ads in the campaign call for the United States to “end all aid to Islamic countries,” and attempt to connect Hamas in Palestine to the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), an American Muslim organization that believes Islam is a peaceful religion, has condemned terrorism for years, and has passionately denounced ISIS as “un-Islamic and morally repugnant.”

CAIR Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper told ThinkProgress that while AFDI’s ads are deeply offensive to many Muslims, the extreme nature of the accusations is a tactic often used by anti-Islam groups to get attention and solicit funds.

“This is her usual schtick: anti-Muslim bigotry,” Hooper said, referring to Geller. “Basically what she does is go into a market and introduce the most inflammatory, defamatory remarks that she can possibly come up with, knowing that it will all give her free publicity. Then, if the [local transit authority] denies her, she sues and gets more publicity.”

Indeed, this isn’t the first time the AFDI has used public space to push messages that demonize Islam and Muslims. In 2012, the group posted ads in Washington, D.C. and NYC that referred to enemies of Israel “savages,” and this summer it put posters on 20 buses in the U.S. capital that included an image of Adolf Hitler sitting next to Muslim leader Haj Amin al-Husseini underneath the caption, “Islamic Jew-hatred: It’s in the Quran.”

Ironically, the divisive ads have prompted compassionate responses from various groups, including a CAIR-sponsored campaign in Washington, D.C. where counter-ads were posted on bus routes that depicted a Christian, a Muslim, and a Jew endorsing a peaceful passage from the Qur’an. CAIR also offered to give free Qur’ans to anyone who wished to understand the inaccuracy of ADFI’s claims. The United Methodist Women also bought their own counter-ads with the slogan “Hate speech is not civilized. Support peace in word and deed,” and the back-and-forth between various groups ultimately prompted the Washington Metro authorities (WMATA) to include a disclaimer on all of their “viewpoint” ads saying that messages “[do] not imply WMATA’s endorsement of any views express.”

And while a federal court ruling found that the New York City Metro Transit Authority (MTA) is required to run viewpoint ads regardless of their message (although MTA, like the WMATA, requires a disclaimer), the public transit authorities of Philadelphia (SEPTA) refused to allow AFDI ads on their buses this summer because it violated their policy prohibiting the “disparagement” or “ridicule” of any “person or group of persons on the basis of race, religious belief, age, sex, alienage, national origin, sickness or disability.” AFDI is now suing SEPTA, claiming their refusal to run the ads is a violation of free speech.

The post Anti-Islam Ads Will Soon Be Plastered On New York City Buses appeared first on ThinkProgress.

Krugman, IMF: Fighting Global Warming Is ‘Cheap’ And ‘Might Actually Lead To Faster Growth’

Two new studies find that “strong measures to limit carbon emissions would have hardly any negative effect on economic growth, and might actually lead to faster growth,” as Nobelist Paul Krugman puts it. Here’s why.

The post Krugman, IMF: Fighting Global Warming Is ‘Cheap’ And ‘Might Actually Lead To Faster Growth’ appeared first on ThinkProgress.

AP120227024110

CREDIT: AP Photo/ Francisco Seco

Every major independent analysis of aggressive climate action has found it has very low cost, virtually no impact on growth, and several valuable co-benefits. And one more thing — it avoids climate impacts so catastrophic their costs are almost incalculable, a staggering $1240 trillion, by one analysis.

Two new studies further underscore these points, as Nobel prize-winning economist Paul Krugman explains in his latest New York Times column:

I’ve just been reading two new reports on the economics of fighting climate change: a big study by a blue-ribbon international group, the New Climate Economy Project, and a working paper from the International Monetary Fund. Both claim that strong measures to limit carbon emissions would have hardly any negative effect on economic growth, and might actually lead to faster growth. This may sound too good to be true, but it isn’t. These are serious, careful analyses.

We have known that climate action is super cheap for a long time. I first reviewed the literature back in my 2009 post, “Introduction to climate economics: Why even strong climate action has such a low total cost.” The key finding is that it has “a cost of one tenth of a penny on the dollar — not counting co-benefits.”

Just this April, the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued its big report on mitigation that again reviewed the literature. It found that the cost to achieve the low emission 2°C (3.6°F) pathway needed to preserve a livable climate is to reduce the median annual growth of consumption over this century by a mere 0.06%. And that’s “relative to annualized consumption growth in the baseline that is between 1.6% and 3% per year.”

That means annual growth of, say 2.24% rather than 2.30% to save billions and billions of people from needless suffering for decades if not centuries. As always, the report was signed off on by every major government in the world line-by-line. And this does not include the full accounting of co-benefits.

As Krugman explains:

On the other side, it turns out that putting a price on carbon would have large “co-benefits” — positive effects over and above the reduction in climate risks — and that these benefits would come fairly quickly. The most important of these co-benefits, according to the I.M.F. paper, would involve public health: burning coal causes many respiratory ailments, which drive up medical costs and reduce productivity.

The IMF notes that because the co-benefits vary by country — “they are relatively high in China and Poland — where most of the CO2 reduction would come from less reliance on coal and there is high population” — different countries have different optimal CO2 prices:

carbon-pricing-chart

And the International Energy Agency (IEA) explained this year that the optimal strategy to reduce carbon pollution is centered around the most abundant and cost-effective clean energy resource — energy efficiency. Such a strategy pays for itself, since “the $44 trillion additional investment needed to decarbonise the energy system in line with the [2°C scenario] by 2050 is more than offset by over $115 trillion in fuel savings -– resulting in net savings of $71 trillion.”

One final point. Krugman notes that these new studies undercut both the the conservative’s “Koch-fueled insistence that emission limits would kill economic growth,” as well as the far rarer “anti-growth environmentalism” on the left. I think that some (though maybe not all) of the argument on growth between some on the left and mainstream economists has to do with different definitions of the word “growth.”

Calculating narrow economic growth is only one aspect of a full analysis of sustainable growth. It is quite straightforward to argue that since we don’t have sustainable growth — we don’t really have growth, certainly not the kind of growth that matters to our children and grandchildren and countless future generations encompassing billions and billions of people. The global economy is a Ponzi scheme, as I’ve said. “We have not generated real wealth, and we are destroying a livable climate … Real wealth is something you can pass on in a way that others can enjoy.”

So I would go one step further than Krugman. It’s not just that aggressive climate action “might actually lead to faster growth.” It is the only strategy that could lead to any genuine (sustainable) growth at all.

The post Krugman, IMF: Fighting Global Warming Is ‘Cheap’ And ‘Might Actually Lead To Faster Growth’ appeared first on ThinkProgress.


PBS Loves Its ‘Roosevelts’—and Its Kochs, Too

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

PBS Loves Its ‘Roosevelts’—and Its Kochs, Too
From: Leslie Savan

The Roosevelts pumps PBS ratings, but that doesn’t make the network any less centrist.

A Wake for Scottish Independence
From: D.D. Guttenplan

The referendum result may have settled the question of Scottish independence. But the cost of winning it was to expose the ramshackle nature of the whole country’s constitutional arrangements.

The People’s Climate Weekend: A Guide
From: Peter Rothberg

A roster of events and happenings leading up to the People’s Climate March mobilization in New York City.

Sparing the Rod Won’t Spoil the Racism
From: Mychal Denzel Smith

Corporal punishment is an extension of respectability politics, the idea that when people of color behave “correctly,” racism can be overcome.

Why Aren’t the Health Workers Fighting West Africa’s Ebola Epidemic Being Given Basic Protective Gear?
From: Michelle Chen

The failure to protect workers is worsening an already dire public health crisis.