Monday, July 14, 2014

Clarence Darrow said it best below: 
If today you can take a thing like evolution and make it a crime to teach it in the public school, tomorrow you can make it a crime to teach it in the private schools, and the next year you can make it a crime to teach it to the hustings or in the church. At the next session you may ban books and the newspapers. Soon you may set Catholic against Protestant and Protestant against Protestant, and try to foist your own religion upon the minds of men. If you can do one you can do the other. Ignorance and fanaticism is ever busy and needs feeding. Always it is feeding and gloating for more. Today it is the public school teachers, tomorrow the private. The next day the preachers and the lectures, the magazines, the books, the newspapers. After a while, your honor, it is the setting of man against man and creed against creed until with flying banners and beating drums we are marching backward to the glorious ages of the sixteenth century when bigots lighted fagots to burn the men who dared to bring any intelligence and enlightenment and culture to the human mind.

By the way... Yellowstone is melting.

Its roads. And why it needs to be monitored very closely...

Abortion

Treat abortion like any other medically comparable procedure.

Update: What We Don't Talk About When We Don't Talk About Abortion

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Beware the Dangers of Congress’ Latest Cybersecurity Bill

A new cybersecurity bill poses serious threats to our privacy, gives the government extraordinary powers to silence potential whistleblowers, and exempts these dangerous new powers from transparency laws.

The Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2014 ("CISA") was scheduled to be marked up by the Senate Intelligence Committee yesterday but has been delayed until after next week's congressional recess. The response to the proposed legislation from the privacy, civil liberties, tech, and open government communities was quick and unequivocal – this bill must not go through.

The bill would create a massive loophole in our existing privacy laws by allowing the government to ask companies for "voluntary" cooperation in sharing information, including the content of our communications, for cybersecurity purposes. But the definition they are using for the so-called "cybersecurity information" is so broad it could sweep up huge amounts of innocent Americans' personal data.

The dangers of methane

Monday, June 30, 2014

Meh? Really?

To the Supreme Court apparently yes.

Imagine the hysteria if Hobby Lobby were run by religious Muslims....

Hobby Lobby and the Supreme Court but there may be a silver lining....

It's sad we were right all along about Blackwater....

The top manager in Iraq of the notorious private security firm Blackwater threatened to kill a US State Department investigator for probing the company's performance, the New York Times reported Monday
The Times, citing an internal State Department memorandum, said the threat came just weeks before Blackwater guards shot and killed 17 civilians on September 16, 2007 in Baghdad's Nisour Square. 
However US embassy officials in Baghdad sided with Blackwater and the State Department investigators were ordered to leave, The Times said. 
Four former Blackwater employees are currently on trial in a US court for the Nisour Square deaths. 
The killing, seen as an example of the impunity enjoyed by private security firms on the US payroll in Iraq, exacerbated Iraqi resentment toward Americans. 
The lead State Department investigator, Jean Richter, warned in the memo dated August 31, 2007, that little oversight of the company, which had a $1 billion contract to protect US diplomats, had created "an environment full of liability and negligence." 
Blackwater guards "saw themselves as above the law," Richter wrote.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Is Saudi Arabia behind the ISIL land grab?

Shortly after the US revealed that, in addition to aircraft carriers and amphibious assault ships it was also sending a few hundred "special forces" on the ground in Iraq, contrary to what Obama had stated previously, Washington made quite clear it wants Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki to embrace Sunni politicians as a condition of U.S. support to fight a lightning advance by forces from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. Then something unexpected happened: Iraq's Shi'ite rulers defied Western calls on Tuesday to reach out to Sunnis to defuse the uprising in the north of the country, declaring a boycott of Iraq's main Sunni political bloc and accusing Sunni power Saudi Arabia of promoting "genocide." 
In fact, as Reuters reported moments ago, the Shi'ite prime minister has moved in the opposite direction of Obama's demands, announcing a crackdown on politicians and officers he considers "traitors" and lashing out at neighbouring Sunni countries for stoking militancy. 
Not only did Iraq defy the US, but it also called out America's BFF (or at least formerly so until the arrival of Iran, which the US is aggressively, and inexplicably, rushing to make its new key partner in the region) for being the real aggressor behind the scenes? How dare Maliki point out the truth - doesn't he know that those US troops in Iraq can just as easily be used to depose the current regime as "fight" the Al Qaeda Jihadists the US itself armed in the first place? 
Apparently not, and instead of seeking a broad coalition with Sunnis as the US ordered, the latest target of his government's fury was Saudi Arabia, the main Sunni power in the Gulf, which funds Sunni militants in neighbouring Syria but denies it is behind ISIL. 
"We hold them responsible for supporting these groups financially and morally, and for the outcome of that - which includes crimes that may qualify as genocide: the spilling of Iraqi blood, the destruction of Iraqi state institutions and historic and religious sites," the Iraqi government said of Riyadh in a statement. 
As Reuters notes, Maliki has blamed Saudi Arabia for supporting militants in the past, but the severe language was unprecedented.
And
(Reuters) - Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki broadcast a joint appeal for national unity on Tuesday with bitter Sunni critics of his Shi'ite-led government - a move that may help him win U.S. help against rampant Islamists threatening Baghdad. Just hours after Maliki's Shi'ite allies had angrily vowed to boycott any cooperation with the biggest Sunni party and his government had accused Sunni neighbor Saudi Arabia of backing "genocide", the premier's visibly uncomfortable televised appearance may reflect U.S. impatience with its Baghdad protege.
The Saudi government says no:
The Saudi monarchy has been a vocal supporter of the overthrow of the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, and sent money and weapons to rebel groups fighting against him from early on in the Syrian uprising. It has also called repeatedly for western arms – including anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons – to be given to Syrian rebels "to level the playing-field" in the war.
Wealthy individuals and religious foundations in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and elsewhere in the Gulf have channelled millions of dollars to the anti-Assad opposition, though it is not clear with what degree of official connivance. 
But since last autumn the Saudi government has diverted its support to a broad Islamic Front which has been fighting against jihadi formations such as Isis and the Syrian group Jabhat al-Nusra. There is other evidence of a rethink in the replacement of the Saudi intelligence chief, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, with Prince Mohamed bin Nayef, the interior minister and architect of a successful campaign against al-Qaida. The Saudis are also co-ordinating more closely with the US than previously
"There is Saudi money flowing into Isis but it is not from the Saudi state," said Lina Khatib of the Carnegie Foundation.

Monday, June 02, 2014

Not One More

Gun violence survivors share their photos.

Misogyny let loose. After the Isla Vista shooting, the anger of those males who feel they deserve women's attention has come to the forefront.  And women try to explain what a day can be like.

Southern Law Poverty Center reports on White Homicide Worldwide and begins with this chilling quote:
A typical murderer drawn to the racist forum Stormfront.org is a frustrated, unemployed, white adult male living with his mother or an estranged spouse or girlfriend. She is the sole provider in the household. Forensic psychologists call him a “wound collector.” Instead of building his resume, seeking employment or further education, he projects his grievances on society and searches the Internet for an excuse or an explanation unrelated to his behavior or the choices he has made in life.
Someone who left the NRA when the bozos came in.

Net Neutrality