Citizens of Anaheim gathered Wednesday night to demand change from their City Council. One of those citizens was Genevieve Huizar, the mother of Manuel Diaz who was shot and killed by Anaheim Police just over two weeks ago.[...]
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Tuesday night was disappointing for progressives who worked their hearts out on Darcy Burner's campaign in Washington and on Trevor Thomas' campaign in central Michigan. But at the same time wealthy, self-funding conservative Democrats were beating progressives in WA-01 and MI-03, an entirely different dynamic was playing out in eastern Michigan, where a progressive physician, Dr. Syed Taj is running for the 11th congressional district seat Thaddeus McCotter was forced to resign from amid another Republican electoral scandal. Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette (R) described the four McCotter staffers as "not simply Keystone Kops running amok... criminal acts were committed." There's "no evidence" that McCotter was directing the operation so, at least for now, they're letting him off with just the resignation from Congress.
To avoid a trial and a certain prison term, McCotter first announced he would retire and then just plain, resigned. Indian-American Syed Taj was already challenging him, as were a LaRouche activist seeking to get some publicity for his faction's "impeach Obama" agenda and an extreme right crackpot, Kerry Bentivolio, who had declared he would take McCotter on in the GOP primary. Once McCotter resigned, the Michigan-- and national-- GOP was horrified to find themselves stuck with a stark raving mad lunatic as a candidate. So they drafted former state Sen. Nancy Cassis, got a bunch of Republican Establishment folks to campaign for her-- as well as Rick Santorum's mighty twitter operation-- and ran her as a write-in candidate and the "approved" Republican.
But while MI-11 Democrats chose the sane candidate in their primary Tuesday-- Dr. Taj beating the LaRouche freak 59-41%-- the Republican primary voters doubled down on the crazy. Bentivolio, took 42,771 (66%) while Cassis and the rest of the write-in candidates wound up with a flaccid 22,490 votes (34%). Bentivolio is a Ron Paul and Ayn Rand devotee, as well as a reindeer rancher. He made some extra money as an actor in a low-budget conspiracy film that blamed George W. Bush for the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Republicans love crazy conspiracy scandals-- even when their own figures are targeted!
When Dr. Taj first declared his candidacy, no one thought McCotter was going anywhere but back to Congress. That's entirely changed now and a district that Obama won in 2008 is absolutely in play. Next week, we'll be talking with Dr, Taj live at Crooks and Liars (Tuesday at 2pm, ET). Meanwhile, please read his ideas for fixing the Affordable Care Act and please consider contributing to his campaign here at our ActBlue page. The DCCC flack who fashioned coverage of the DCCC's lame Red-to-Blue picks for The Hill this morning noted that Steve Israel hasn't given the thumbs up on Dr. Taj's race yet. (What they don't mention, since the reporters are ignorant and lazy, is that Israel's own model for picking candidates is less about "the rule" and more about the exception and that the DCCC routinely violates its own stated criterian all the time.)
Notably missing from the list, however, is Democratic candidate Syed Taj, running against newly minted Republican opponent Kerry Bentivolio for Thad McCotter?s old seat, in Michigan?s 11th district. Bentivolio?s Tea Party credentials concern Michigan Republicans, as Obama managed to win 50 percent of the vote there in 2008, indicating it could be competitive this year. But DCCC spokesman Jesse Ferguson said that they?re still watching the district to see how the race will develop in the coming weeks.
?The Republican failure to get a credible nominee has made it an opportunity. We're assessing it and continue to add races to the Red to Blue program in the weeks ahead,? he said.
After experts (and a non-partisan government report) debunked claims that automatic military spending cuts set to take effect next year won’t decimate the military and leave America defenseless, Republicans and their allies trotted out a new bugaboo: reducing the defense budget will crash the economy. But experts said that isn’t true either. And now a new study from the libertarian CATO Institute piles on, finding that the cuts are unlikely to have a crippling effect on the broader U.S. economy. “The defense sector is too small a part of the economy for changes in defense spending to have large aggregate effects on [gross domestic product],” said CATO’s Benjamin Zycher.
NASA’s James Hansen has been accurately warning about the dangers of global warming for more than three decades. In fact, 31 years ago this month, Hansen and six other NASA atmospheric physicists, published a seminal article in Science, ?Climate Impact of Increasing Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide.?
The paper has a number of caveats, as befits a major projection before modern climate models and modern supercomputers were available, before we had decades of verifying observations, and before we knew just how fast greenhouse gas emissions would rise.
Yet the analysis bears up unbelievably well ? any one of us would be delighted if we published something three decades ago that was this prescient:
The global temperature rose 0.2°C between the middle 1960s and 1980, yielding a warming of 0.4°C in the past century. This temperature increase is consistent with the calculated effect due to measured increases of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Variations of volcanic aerosols and possibly solar luminosity appear to be primary causes of observed fluctuations about the mean trend of increasing temperature. It is shown that the anthropogenic carbon dioxide warming should emerge from the noise level of natural climate variability by the end of the century, and there is a high probability of warming in the 1980s. Potential effects on climate in the 21st century include the creation of drought-prone regions in North America and central Asia as part of a shifting of climatic zones, erosion of the West Antarctic ice sheet with a consequent worldwide rise in sea level, and opening of the fabled Northwest Passage.
The 1980s warmed, manmade warming has emerged from the noise, the Northwest passage opened, the drought prone-regions have emerged, and sea level rise is a top worry, in part because of erosion of WAIS (see Nature 2012: Antarctica Is Melting From Below, Which ?May Already Have Triggered A Period of Unstable Glacier Retreat?). That’s five for five.
In 1990, Hansen coauthored a more detailed warning on the future of warming-driven drought in the Journal of Geophysical Research. It projected that drought would become increasingly common in the ensuing decades — another accurate prediction. The study warned that severe to extreme drought in the United States, then occurring every 20 years or so, could become an every-other-year phenomenon by mid-century. Many recent studies support that conclusion (see “James Hansen Is Correct About Catastrophic Projections For U.S. Drought If We Don?t Act Now“).
Now Hansen has published an analysis of how warming is driving the extreme weather we have been slammed by in recent years, including the off-the-charts heat waves and droughts (see Hansen: ?Climate Change Is Here ? And Worse Than We Thought?). The AP quoted a number of credible independent experts supporting Hansen’s analysis:
The science in Hansen?s study is excellent ?and reframes the question,? said Andrew Weaver, a climate scientist at the University of Victoria in British Columbia?.
Another upcoming study by Kevin Trenberth, climate analysis chief at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, links the 2010 Russian heat wave to global warming by looking at the underlying weather that caused the heat wave. He called Hansen?s paper an important one that helps communicate the problem?.
White House science adviser John Holdren praised the paper?s findings in a statement: … ?This work, which finds that extremely hot summers are over 10 times more common than they used to be, reinforces many other lines of evidence showing that climate change is occurring and that it is harmful.?
? Granger Morgan, head of engineering and public policy at Carnegie Mellon University, called Hansen?s study ?an important next step in what I expect will be a growing set of statistically-based arguments.?
The NY Times article on Hansen’s study also quoted Weaver in support of the analysis, but managed to find some credentialed critics:
Martin P. Hoerling, a researcher with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration who studies the causes of weather extremes, said he shared Dr. Hansen?s general concern about global warming. But he has in the past criticized Dr. Hansen for, in his view, exaggerating the connection between global warming and specific weather extremes. In an interview, he said he felt that Dr. Hansen had done so again.
Dr. Hoerling has published research suggesting that the 2010 Russian heat wave was largely a consequence of natural climate variability, and a forthcoming study he carried out on the Texas drought of 2011 also says natural factors were the main cause.
Dr. Hoerling contended that Dr. Hansen?s new paper confuses drought, caused primarily by a lack of rainfall, with heat waves.
?This isn?t a serious science paper,? Dr. Hoerling said. ?It?s mainly about perception, as indicated by the paper?s title. Perception is not a science.?
Having reviewed the drought literature (and talked to leading drought experts) for my Nature piece, “The Next Dust Bowl,” I was able to show in May that Hoerling’s attacks on Hansen do not reflect the scientific literature and are incorrect.
Indeed, given that Hansen’s 1990 study was titled, ?Potential evapotranspiration and the likelihood of future drought,? we know that he and the community of drought experts have long understood that drought conditions are driven by more than precipitation changes. The whole point of that paper was to examine the impact of warming-driven evaporation on soil moisture and drought. You can actually worsen droughts in semi-arid regions that don’t see a net precipitation change just from the heat drying out the soils.
Let me also add, separate from any argument that Hansen has made, that there is increasing evidence we are in the midst of a step function or quantum change in the climate because of Arctic warming (see Arctic Warming Favors Extreme, Prolonged Weather Events ?Such As Drought, Flooding, Cold Spells And Heat Waves?). If this research holds up, then all analyses of current droughts based on precipitation trends that predate the massive loss of Arctic ice in the past few years may well ultimately be overturned.
In any case, Hansen has scientific “street cred” because he has been right for so long. I’ve written that we ignore him at our grave peril because Hansen?s mastery of climate science is quite literally what gives him climate prescience.
One of the country’s top climatologists, Michael Mann, makes the same point in a recent Daily Climate piece that I repost below in its entirety:
by Michael Mann, via The Daily Climate
The first scientist to alert Americans to the prospect that human-caused climate change and global warming was already upon us was NASA climatologist James Hansen. In a sweltering Senate hall during the hot, dry summer of 1988, Hansen announced that “it is time to stop waffling…. The evidence is pretty strong that the [human-amplified] greenhouse effect is here.”
At the time, many scientists felt his announcement to be premature. I was among them.
I was a young graduate student researching the importance of natural ? rather than human-caused ? variations in temperature, and I felt that the “signal” of human-caused climate change had not yet emerged from the “noise” of natural, long-term climate variation. As I discuss in my book, The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars, scientists by their very nature tend to be conservative, even reticent, when it comes to discussing findings and observations that lie at the forefront of our understanding and that aren’t yet part of the “accepted” body of scientific knowledge.
Hansen, it turns out, was right, and the critics were wrong. Rather than being reckless, as some of his critics charged, his announcement to the world proved to be prescient ? and his critics were proven overly cautious.
Given the prescience of Hansen’s science, we would be unwise to ignore his latest, more dire warning.
In a paper published today in the prestigious journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Hansen and two colleagues argue convincingly that climate change is now not only upon us, but in fact we are fully immersed in it. Much of the extreme weather we have witnessed in recent years almost certainly contains a human-induced component.
Hansen, in his latest paper, shows that the increase in probability of hot summers due to global warming is such that what was once considered an unusually hot summer has now become typical, and what was once considered typical will soon become a thing of the past ? a summer too improbably cool to anymore expect.
We need to view this summer’s extreme weather in this wider context.
It is not simply a set of random events occurring in isolation, but part of a broader emerging pattern. We are seeing, in much of the extreme weather we are experiencing, the “loading of the weather dice.” Over the past decade, records for daily maximum high temperatures in the U.S. have been broken at twice the rate we would expect from chance alone. Think of this as rolling double sixes twice as often as you’d expect ? something you would readily notice in a high stakes game of dice. Thus far this year, that ratio is close to 10 to 1. That’s double sixes coming up ten times as often as you expect.
So the record-breaking heat this summer over so much of the United States, where records that have stood since the Dust Bowl years of the 1930s are now dropping like flies, isn’t just a fluke of nature; it is the loading of the weather dice playing out in real time.
The record heat ? and the dry soils associated with it ? played a role in the unprecedented forest fires that wrought death and destruction in Colorado and New Mexico. It played a role in the hot and bone-dry conditions over the nation’s breadbasket that has decimated U.S. agricultural yields. It played a role in the unprecedented 50 percent of the U.S. finding itself in extreme drought.
Climate change is also threatening us in other ways of course, subjecting our coastal cities to increased erosion and inundation from rising sea level, and massive flooding events associated with an atmosphere that has warmed by nearly 2?F, holding roughly 4 percent more water vapor than it used to ? water vapor that is available to feed flooding rains when atmospheric conditions are right.
The state of Oklahoma became the hottest state ever with last summer’s record heat. It is sadly ironic that the state’s senior senator, Republican James Inhofe, has dismissed human-caused climate change as the “greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people.” Just last week he insisted that concern over the impacts of climate change has “completely collapsed.” This as Oklahoma City has just seen 18 days in a row over 100?F (with more predicted to follow), Tulsa saw 112?F Sunday, and 11 separate wildfires are burning in the state, with historic Route 66 and other state highways and interstates all closed.
The time for debate about the reality of human-caused climate change has now passed. We can have a good faith debate about how to deal with the problem ? how to reduce future climate change and adapt to what is already upon us to reduce the risks that climate change poses to society. But we can no longer simply bury our heads in the sand.
Michael Mann is a widely renowned and much-vindicated climate scientist at Penn State University. This piece was originally published at The Daily Climate and was reprinted with permission.
Yesterday, a group of Catholic nuns called on Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney to spend a day with them to learn about the plight of America’s poorest citizens. Now, another religious group has made a similar call.
The Franciscan Action Network, a group of Franciscan friars and sisters, released a statement Wednesday asking Romney and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), the author of the House GOP budget, to join them in Milwaukee, Wisconsin to “spend time with the poor.” Like NETWORK, the national Catholic social justice group that started the nun’s push yesterday, the Franciscan Action Network took issue with the misleading ad about welfare reform the Romney campaign released this week.
FAN is “disturbed by the demeaning campaign ad and conversation about welfare by the Romney campaign,” it said in a release. The group also criticized Romney for endorsing the House GOP budget, which cuts programs that benefit the poor and middle class. Romney’s ad is hypocritical, the group says, because it talks about “ensuring that low-income people are working” even as the Romney-endorsed GOP budget cuts job training programs for the poor:
Rhett Engelking, OFS, a lay Franciscan in Milwaukee, WI, who works with the poor in hunger relief and mental health, invites both Gov. Romney and Rep. Paul Ryan (whose district is nearby) to spend time with the poor in Milwaukee and with the Franciscans who work with them. He said, ?Wisconsin is getting a lot of attention as a swing state, and political leaders talking about the poor in demeaning ways while proposing to cut job training programs should spend time with the people they are affecting.?
The House GOP budget has been pilloried by religious groups since its release in the spring. Religious leaders called it an “immoral disaster” that “robs the poor” when it was first released, and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops circulated letters through Congress calling the budget’s cuts to food assistance programs “unjustified and wrong.” Catholic nuns targeted the budget during a nine-state bus tour this summer.
When Ryan released the budget plan in April, Romney said it would be “marvelous” if the Senate joined the House in passing it.
Leo Manzano became the first American man to win an Olympic medal in the 1500 meters since 1968 Tuesday, and he posted the fastest time ever run by an American at the Olympics. While Manzano represents the United States now, he wasn’t born an American citizen. In fact, he was brought to the United States as a four-year-old by his undocumented Mexican parents, as Colorlines reported. His father obtained legal status under President Reagan’s 1986 amnesty law, but Manzano and other members of his family did not gain legal status for another decade. Manzano won five national championships as a runner at the University of Texas, and in 2004, he became a citizen, enabling him to represent the United States at the Beijing Games in 2008. ?I am honored and excited to represent both the United States and Mexico by earning this silver,? Manzano told the Associated Press. ?Standing on the podium has been a dream of mine and I share it proudly with my family, friends, coaches and all my supporters from Austin, Marble Falls, and Granite Shoals, Texas as well as Dolores Hidalgo, Mexico.?
Over the past few weeks, conservatives have argued that the Chick-fil-A controversy is a question over the company’s right to free speech, as opposed to a concern over the harm caused by president Dan Cathy’s statements and millions of dollars in donations to anti-gay groups. The proof of this effort is now clear to see thanks to conservative online magazine Townhall.com.
Townhall is currently running the ad seen at right, asking internet browsers, “Do you support Chick-fil-A? Vote Now!” A Google contextual ad, it appears all over the web in different sizes and locations, including in the feeds of numerous pro-LGBT blogs. The obvious answer for those who do not want their money supporting anti-gay hate groups and ex-gay ministries is, “No, I do not support Chick-fil-A.”
But when the ad is clicked, the survey question Townhall actually asks is quite different:
Suddenly, the question is not about whether a person supports Chick-fil-A knowing its anti-gay policies, it’s a question about supporting its “freedom of speech and religious expression.” This question is completely irrelevant to the controversy, because nobody is trying to infringe on those freedoms. Indeed, it’s doubtful any freedom-loving American would actually answer “No” to this question, unless of course they were tricked into thinking they were being asked a different question.
Conservatives would prefer not to have a conversation about condemning gay people, criminalizing their behavior, encouraging bullying, or coercing them into harmful, ineffective ex-gay therapy, because those are losing arguments. Instead they spin the issue into one about “biblical values” and basic freedoms. But not only are they trying to play the victim, they’re now trying to trick people into contributing to their self-victimization scheme ? values, indeed.
If we hadn’t already heard that Joss Whedon will be writing and directing The Avengers and returning to television with a Marvel series, this would be by far the most exciting pop culture news of the week: BBC America is apparently considering a spin-off show that would feature Alice Morgan:
There?s a school of thought that says crazy-quirky supporting characters aren?t as appealing when they?re thrust into the center of the action, but I?m willing to bet against conventional wisdom if BBC America greenlights a Luther spinoff centered around brilliant sociopath Alice Morgan (played to delectable perfection by Ruth Wilson). ?The BBC is very interested in the project,? Luther creator and exec producer Neil Cross told Variety. ?The only real question would be how many and how often we would do it ? whether it would be a one-off miniseries or a returning miniseries, a co-production or not.? ?Even if I didn?t sell this thing, I would still end up writing the miniseries,? Cross went on to say. ?It?s something peculiar, but she?s far more clever than me, far more witty than me, far more everything than me.?
That’s a fantastic idea, and not only for those of us who are anticipating the withdrawal when Cross finishes his last miniseries installment about troubled detective John Luther (Idris Elba). Morgan, as portrayed by Ruth Wilson (who resembles an evil Emma Stone), is a powerful, original television character, a genius who killed her parents and when Luther figured her out, made him her moral lodestar, the only person she felt any emotional attachment to, and the only person who she recognized as having valid desires and needs other than her own.
As I’ve written before, in the great anti-hero shows of our era women, often wives, serve the audience-alienating role of reminding both us and the anti-heroes themselves that their anti-social behavior is less awe-inspiring and badass than it is a gross violation of community norms and often, other people’s rights. Even a female anti-hero like Patty Hewes does grotesquely awful things to other people does so in the name of a clearly-articulated greater good, and sometimes feels bad about it, as in that repeated scene of her shaking violent in the chair at her beach house in the first season. And while Aspergerian nerd Sheldon Cooper is one of the biggest characters on television, on Bones, Temperance Brennan’s confusion about social cues has been muted over the years. We like, or television thinks we like, to like our female characters uncomplicatedly, rather than transgressively.
Alice Morgan fits none of those models. It’s not that she doesn’t understand other people’s values and feelings?she just doesn’t particularly care about them. She’s ingeniously violent in service of her own interest, unlike Brennan’s use of her abilities to solve crimes and ease the pain of the bereaved, or Patty’s manipulativeness in service of her clients. And her sexual heat with Luther is unapologetically freighted, manipulative even as it stems from perhaps the only sincere affection Alice’s ever felt in her life.
TVLine suggested that a show build around Alice might follow a Dexter-like format, where Alice struggles to maintain a code that helps her pass as a decent person, while channeling the impulses she’s unable to repress. That makes sense, although I think there’s an important inverse. In that show, Dexter learned that some of the impulses and behaviors he’d been faking actually had meaning to him. A show built around Alice that intersected with a thoughtful consideration of gender could let her have some of those experiences, and also expose some of the uglier motivations behind the expectations that women be nice, and primarily oriented towards the needs of others. Anti-heroes have primarily been used to expose the flexibility of our own morality, our ability to attach to a corrupt cop or a family mobster. But that doesn’t mean they couldn’t be used to reveal the rot in what we cling to, as well as what we’re eager to let go.
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After the Obama campaign filed their lawsuit in Ohio, which Mitt Romney subsequently went out and lied about, claiming that they were trying to disenfranchise military voters, which they're not, as Karoli explained here, wingnut Rep. Allen West took to his Facebook page to attack the President as well and throw some more flames about whether he deserves the title of "Commander in Chief."
As a retired Army officer I am appalled at the Obama administration?s actions to bring a lawsuit against the State of Ohio for the early voting privileges it extends to our Men and Women serving in uniform. To have the Commander in Chief make our US Servicemen and Women the target of a political attack to benefit his reelection actions is reprehensible. The voting privilege extended to these Warriors who represent the best among us should not be a part of the collective vision of this inept President who is more concerned about his reelection than sequestration. As a Combat Veteran, for this President to unleash his campaign cronies against our Military is unconscionable?.how dare this President compare the service, sacrifice, and commitment of those who Guard our liberties not as special and seek to compare them to everyone else. Barack Obama is undeserving of the title Commander-in-Chief.
Quite astounding coming from this man: Allen West (R-FL) Brags about Torturing Iraqi Policeman. Yeah, that's who I want to hear from when it comes to judging whether President Obama deserves his title or not. Spare me.
For her part, Greta Van Susteren did at least press West about why he thought it was alright to disenfranchise all of those other Ohio voters and he did not have a good answer. His response was basically that they go "above and beyond" what everyone else in the state is doing, therefore they should have extra time to vote.
How about those veterans West? You think they deserve the same amount of time to vote as those currently serving? I don't know what it's going to take to get some meaningful, national laws protecting everyone's rights, making the availability of early voting mandatory everywhere and getting rid of these rigged voting machines, but we're long past due for all of it.
Chick-Fil-A, doing its part to kill off the bigots.It's not Saturday hate mail-a-palooza, but I couldn't wait with this one, as it helps me make a point I've been itching to make:
fucker, do you think yuo can scare us by using corrupt officials to harass christians and chistian companeis? no, we have always been harassed and were not scared!! i can promise you two things: one, i will eat at chick-fila every day from now on; two, the satan-worshipping muslim scumbag nazi president will out on his ass laetr this year!! you alredy lost!Okay, I get the whole "I'll eat chick-fila every day" thing, misspelling and all. It's supposed to make us liberals mad, and conservatives live to make liberals mad. It validates their dystopian self-centered existence.
But here's the thing?the biggest impediment to full marriage equality and tolerance is generational. We have progressed as quickly as we have on the issue because the bigots are dying off and the Millennials are the most tolerant generation ever.
So, if they really wanted to stick it to liberals and fight the good fight for hatred and bigotry they would, you know, eat healthy. Like salads. And tofu.
Chick-Fil-A food is the exact opposite of healthy. Check out this ingredient list:
So by eating this crap, they're just guaranteeing themselves a shorter life.
Personally, I would rather they all eat health food. Our health care costs go up when people don't take care of themselves. And really, being healthy is its own reward. But if the bigots choose to destroy their bodies over some hilariously stupid statement like "I stand with bigotry!", how is that supposed to make me mad?
Quite the opposite, actually. It just means Chick-Fil-A is doing its part to make full equality a reality, even sooner rather than later.