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I'm surprised by the results of this new study. Sure, mom and dad don't get the intricacies of how to refine a Google search, but college students? From Mashable:
One hundred and fifty-six students who were interviewed at the five schools about their research habits mentioned Google more than any other other database. The 60 students who participated in a ?research process interview? ? with researchers following them around the library as they searched for information ? frequently used the search engine poorly. And when they used other databases, they expected them to work the same way that Google does.
?It wasn?t so much that students were inefficient in their use of Google, but rather that students are often ill-equipped to sufficiently evaluate or refine the results that are returned,? says Andrew Asher, an anthropologist at Bucknell University and one of the project leads. ??I don?t think this is a problem limited to students.?
?They were basically clueless about the logic underlying how the search engine organizes and displays its results,? adds an article on the study by Inside Higher Ed. ?Consequently, the students did not know how to build a search that would return good sources. (For instance, limiting a search to news articles, or querying specific databases such as Google Book Search or Google Scholar.)?
Although the right-wing Blue Dog caucus was all but wiped out last year-- with as much as half the Democrats in their districts staying home and refusing to vote for them on election day-- the bad dogs haven't been house trained by the trauma. They're still voting with the GOP on even the most important issues before Congress.
In the 2010 midterms the Blue Dog caucus was decimated. You know all those losses you heard about that the Democrats had in the House? It was almost entirely Blue Dogs and other conservative Democrats who voted with them but never officially joined the caucus for one reason or another (like Ann Kirkpatrick, Suzanne Kosmas, Melissa Bean, Bill Foster, Ike Skelton, John Adler, and Michael McMahon).
Among the Blue Dogs who lost were caucus co-chairs Baron Hill (IN) and Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (SD), as well as both longtime incumbents like Gene Taylor (MS), Jim Marshall (GA), Earl Pomeroy (ND), Allen Boyd (FL) and Lincoln Davis (TN) and most of the fresh batch of new comers who swept into office under cover in the two national Democratic waves of 2006 and 2008-- Bobby Bright (AL), Walt Minnick (ID), Chris Carney (PA), Harry Mitchell (AZ), Glenn Nye (VA), Zack Space (OH), Betsy Markey (CO), Travis Childers (MS), Frank Kratovil (MD), Kathy Dahlkemper (PA) and Scott Murphy (NY).
And although the outlook for congressional Democrats in general looks good for 2012, Blue Dogs are likely to drag the party down again. If you look at the 10 Democrats who voted most frequently against the party and with Boehner and Cantor, all of them are Blue Dogs and all have alienated Democratic and left-leaning independent voters in their districts. Several have already declared that they're leaving the House. The worst Democrat of all, ultra reactionary corporate shill Dan Boren (OK), has voted with Boehner on over 82% of the crucial roll calls this year-- more often than 14 actual Republicans! He wisely decided to retire from politics. The next most Republican-voting Democrat-- 79% of the crucial votes-- was Jason Altmire (PA) who has been gerrymandered into a primary with another conservative Democrat, Mark Critz. Corrupt Arkansas hack Mike Ross has almost the exact same putrid right-wing voting record as Altmire and, like Boren, he's decided to retire from politics. The 4th worst Democrat is Jim Matheson, who may run for another office now that his district has been gerrymandered to be less likely to reelect him, despite the fact that he was with Boehner on over 73% of the crucial votes.
The other Democrats Cantor has been able to count on when he's needed them to stab Democrats in the back on the most important issues are:
Collin Peterson (MN)- 72% with the GOP, but probably safe
John Barrow (GA)- 71% with the GOP, and likely to lose in a newly gerrymandered district
Henry Cuellar (TX)- 70% with the GOP but probably safe
Joe Donnelly (IN)- 70% with the GOP, gerrymandered and likely to make a losing run for the Senate
Jim Costa (CA)- 69% with the GOP, in a dramatic move right, facing a tough reelection in a redistricting that hasn't been friendly to him
Tim Holden (PA)- 66% with the GOP, could face a primary and, if he survives, a serious Republican challenger
Blue Dog lawmakers say that talk of their group?s demise is overstated. When the balance of power shifts in Congress, they point out, it?s generally those in the center who take the hardest hits.
?Basically, when the Republicans take over, they beat the conservative Democrats. When the Democrats take over, they pretty much defeat moderate Republicans,? Ross said. ?That?s because when you?re in a swing district, you?re going to be a conservative Democrat or a moderate Republican, or you don?t survive.?
Lawmakers have several theories about why the ranks of moderates are on the decline. Congressional districts are being drawn in a way that favors increasingly partisan representation from both parties. Also, much of the money flowing to campaigns these days comes from interest groups with a decidedly partisan edge, such as the Club for Growth on the right or labor unions on the left.
We have been in an economic recession since 2008. Most economists agree that it was triggered by the Bush tax cuts for the rich, American involvement in foreign wars and the housing bubble that burst when it was discovered that highly rated, bundled subprime mortgages promoted by investment bankers were actually worthless. Interestingly, no one was ever brought to trial or held accountable for this widespread scam. The government bailed out the banks and provided a relatively small stimulus for economic growth.
But people who lost their life savings and/or homes received almost no help or consideration. As job loss continues, more and more people are suffering. The big banks and mega-corporations however are making as much money as before the 2008 crash. And obviously, they are not using these profits to create jobs; they are simply giving big bonuses to executives and sitting on their cash, most of which is held offshore to avoid taxation. Needless to say, if this corporate profit were repatriated, the money would generate tax revenue which could be used by the government to create jobs and/or reduce the deficit.
To date, the Republicans have insisted on debt reduction at the expense of job creation. The net result is that they call for draconian cuts in spending that can only shrink the economy. If the ?super congress? committee composed of six Republican and six Democrats from the House and Senate cannot agree on severe cuts in government spending, measures to further shrink and eliminate government spending will automatically kick in. Programs at greatest risk include Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and the Pentagon budget.
It is time for the living, breathing people of this nation to reexamine our priorities and reclaim management of our country. The United States was created to grant real people an opportunity for ?life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.? What we need now includes medical care for all, education for all, retirement with dignity for all and opportunities for workers to improve life circumstances for themselves and their families. Banks and corporations are, after all, only artificial entities created by and intended to serve real, living humans.
ThinkProgress filed this report from a town hall in Cincinnati, OH.
After a citizen asked the congressman why he stood “against funding Planned Parenthood when public funds are not used for abortion,” Chabot argued that the money was fungible so he opposed funding because “they are the largest abortion provider in the United States.” This response brought loud jeers and shouts of “no!” from the audience. When Chabot later accused Planned Parenthood of using federal funds for abortion, one constituent asked, “Do you have any proof of that happening?” Chabot declined to respond.
MODERATOR: Why do you stand against funding Planned Parenthood when public funds are not used for abortion and Planned Parenthood is so important to poor women’s health care?
CHABOT: Relative to Planned Parenthood, they are the largest abortion provider in the United States.
AUDIENCE: No! No! No!
CHABOT: Well, they are. [...] But the folks in Congress, like myself, who happen to be pro-life, aren’t satisfied because we know money is fungible and you can take out of one pot and use it, you don’t have to provide the same costs out of that particular pot.
CONSTITUENT: Do you have any proof of that happening?
CHABOT: [Silence] Next question.
By Chabot’s logic, Congress ought to strip federal funding for any religious organizations that receive federal funds to finance their charitable and social work because “money is fungible.” Yet it’s difficult to imagine Republicans will use the same standard to target groups like the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops any time soon.
Still, the questioner makes an important point that ought not be missed in the discussion: Planned Parent is vitally important to women’s health care, especially poor women. Despite Sen. Jon Kyl’s (R-AZ) assertion that abortion is “well over 90 percent of what Planned Parenthood does,” in fact, it accounts for just 3 percent of their services. The other 97 percent includes such procedures as breast cancer exams, STI testing, and cervical cancer screening.
Yet if Chabot and Republicans in Congress had their way, Planned Parenthood would lose $330 million in federal funding that would otherwise be used to provide critical medical services to women across the country.
For the past couple of weeks I’ve seen some complaints from liberty-minded friends and acquaintances that Ron Paul isn’t getting the level of media attention he deserves. My view is that the media is probably ignoring him because he’s a crank who obviously won’t be the GOP nominee. But if it’s attention he craves, it’s attention he shall receive so for the past twenty-four hours I’ve been poking around his website to try to better understand his views.
After looking at his positions and statements, the most remarkable thing is that if it weren’t for his loud fanbase of self-proclaimed libertarians you wouldn’t really think this is the platform of a libertarian. He’s loudly trumpeting his plan to impose criminal penalties on women who terminate their pregnancies and he makes it clear that his interest in freedom doesn’t extend to the freedom of anyone unfortunate enough to have been born in a foreign country. His campaign slogan of “RESTORE AMERICA NOW” is strongly suggestive of conservative impulses and nostalgia for the much-less-free America John Boehner grew up in. The mainstay of his economic thinking is the ridiculous proposition that “[t]here is no greater threat to the security and prosperity of the United States today than the out-of-control, secretive Federal Reserve.” Not only is Paul’s goldbuggery nutty on the merits, like his affection for forced pregnancy and severe restrictions on human freedom of movement it’s difficult to see what it has to do with freedom. The freedom of the government to set a fixed dollar price of gold? America’s current monetary policy?a fiat currency that’s freely exchangeable for other currencies and commodities?is the free market position.
Paul’s views, in short, seem much closer to the isolationist nationalism of Pat Buchanan (complete with some good points about foreign policy) than to the libertarianism of Milton Friedman.
You can see, however, that his views on domestic economic policy are almost laughable. He suggests that we abolish all regulation of air pollution because “[p]olluters should answer directly to property owners in court for the damages they create ? not to Washington” with zero indication of how he wants this to work in practice (my guess, a massive settlement resulting in the creation of a regulatory bureaucracy) while also arguing that we should “[l]ift government roadblocks to the use of coal and nuclear power.”
Former Gov. Jeb Bush (R-FL) said he thinks some Republicans go too far when criticizing President Obama, warning the GOP presidential hopefuls that they risk alienating independent voters. “I think when you start ascribing bad motives to the guy, that?s wrong. It turns off people who want solutions,” Bush said told Neil Cavuto in a Fox News interview. Bush also repeated in the interview that he will not run for president.
Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi promised martyrdom or victory as rebels continue to take hold of the nation’s capital of Tripoli. “As long as Qaddafi remains in Libya, then there will be no security,” said Abdel Hafiz Ghoga, the vice president of the National Transitional Council set up by rebels. “He must be finished off, either through death or capture.”
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder will meet with families of 9/11 victims to update them on the investigation into whether Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. hacked their phones. Holder is meeting with the victims because “[I] certainly want to hear what they have to say with regard to their concerns and, to the extent that I can share information with them, I will,” he said.
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) will release her own health reform proposal “in the coming weeks,” the Washington Examiner reports. Bachmann’s support for the repeal of the Affordable Care Act has been the centerpiece of her presidential campaign.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) has overseen more executions than any governor in modern history since becoming governor in 2000. His 234 executions are more than the next two states, Oklahoma and Virginia, have combined to execute in the 35 years since the death penalty was restored. In 11 years, Perry has reduced only one inmate’s sentence from death to life in prison.
A new poll by Public Policy Polling (PPP) has found that Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) now has a double-digit lead in polling over former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) in the GOP presidential nomination race. The poll will be released today and its exact results are not known, but PPP has confirmed that Perry does hold a double-digit lead.
A magnitude 5.8 earthquake rocked the east coast yesterday afternoon, “one of the most powerful to his the east coast of the U.S. since 1897.” The quake caused damage to national monuments including the Washington National Catherdral and the Washington Monument, which had cracks, prompting the National Park Services to close the obelisk “for an indefinite period of time.” No injuries were reported.
According to a new USA Today/Gallup poll, only 35 percent of Americans think race relations have improved since President Obama took office. That’s down from 41 percent of Americans last year who believed the nation’s first black president had improved race relations. Interestingly, larger percentages of blacks and Democrats said they?ve seen improvements than whites and Republicans.
The Rev. Al Sharpton is officially getting his own show on MSNBC, bringing ?PoliticsNation” to the 6 p.m. hour. Sharpton had a long trial period at the network and “has played a big role in shaping MSNBC?s lineup over the last 15 years.” He said he is “very happy and honored” to have the show, calling it “a natural extension of my life and work.”
And finally: After the earthquake that shook Washington yesterday forced the evacuation of the Capitol, the Senate held a 22-second pro-forma session a few blocks away. “Senate aides couldn’t remember any other time when the Senate convened outside the Capitol.” Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE) presided over the perfunctory session, which are held every few days during Congress’ recess as a formality.
Welcome to Clean Start, ThinkProgress Green?s morning round-up of the latest in climate and clean energy. Here is what we?re reading. What are you?
Hurricane Irene strengthened to a Category 3 storm on the five-step Saffir Simpson scale as it swirled up from the Caribbean toward the U.S. East Coast. [Reuters]
Tourists on a small North Carolina island have begun evacuating as Hurricane Irene heads for the East Coast after leaving more than 11,000 displaced in Dominican Republic. [Fox News]
Oklahoma City had a high temperature of 106 degrees Tuesday, giving the city its 52nd day of triple-digit temperatures in 2011 and breaking the city’s daily high temperature record for Aug. 23. [Oklahoman]
Today, CNBC’s Mad Money with Jim Cramer’s “Invest in America” series will promote fracking in North Dakota, a sales pitch that will boost GE’s bottom line. [DeSmogBlog]
A new field study finds that the predicted increase in plant growth due to more CO2 in the atmosphere will be noticeably limited by higher temperatures — and especially summer droughts. [Science Daily]
Billions of tons of carbon trapped in high-latitude permafrost may be released into the atmosphere by the end of this century as Earth’s climate changes, further accelerating global warming, a new computer modeling study indicates. [Science Daily]
Bhutan’s prime minister has issued a dire warning about the impact of Himalayan climate change, saying it could wreck the tiny kingdom’s ambitious plans to be a world leader in hydropower. “The climate is changing, global warming is real and the impact on our hydrology is very severe.” [Sinchew]
In addition to hundreds of deaths from cold and heat and tornadoes, the national economic toll for extreme weather so far this year is estimated at $35 billion, more than five times the average annual loss. And, climatologists warn, get used to it. [LA Times]
TranscCanada officials are denying the possibility that tar sands crude poses an internal corrosion risk to pipelines, despite having not actually checked for the risk. [Greenwire]
Japan’s lower house of parliament passed a bill on Tuesday to promote investment in solar and other renewable energy sources as politicians took a step toward the prime minister’s goal of reducing reliance on nuclear power. [Reuters]
To be sure, Iran’s program is a concern for Western governments. But Inhofe, speaking to constituents in Oklahoma City takes his bona fides as a member of the Armed Services Committee and gives a misleading account of current U.S. estimates about Iran’s potential capabilities. Inhofe said:
We know – and it is not even classified for me to tell you today – that Iran will have the capability of delivering a weapon of mass destruction to western Europe and the eastern United States by 2015. I see that as the most imminent threat to this country right now. So that is a problem we are going to have deal with.
This represents neither the official declassified opinion of the U.S. government nor that of a non-proliferation expert contacted by ThinkProgress.
Contrary to Inhofe’s statement, Michael Elleman, a missile defense expert at the Institute for Strategic and International Studies (ISIS), explained the U.S. Defense Department’s position in a blog post earlier this year:
The April 2010 Department of Defense report to Congress said, ?With sufficient foreign assistance, Iran could probably develop and test an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of reaching the United States by 2015.? The key words are ?develop and test.? The report does not say Iran will have an operational ICBM by 2015. Iran could conduct a preliminary, proof-of-concept test of a missile capable of reaching the United States in 2015.
At the time of the report, Jeffery Lewis at the Arms Control Wonk blog also took note of the specific language — omitted by Inhofe — that “sufficient foreign assistance” would be needed for Iran to make anything near these moves by 2015.
Indeed, Iran isn’t even working yet on such a weapon: “There is no evidence to suggest that Iran is actively developing an ocean-spanning, intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of reaching America?s east coast,” wrote ISIS’s Elleman. Even if they did, “Iran is unlikely to field an operational ICBM before 2020.”
This assessment was corroborated by Greg Thielmann, a senior fellow at the Arms Control Association who served as director of the State Department’s Strategic, Proliferation and Military Affairs Office. Theilmann told ThinkProgress, Iran “has never tested a medium-range weapon that can hit Western Europe let alone hit the United States.” He said ICBM development is a separate issue from development of a working nuclear warhead small enough to fit atop a missile: “There are serious doubts about 2015 for a nuclear warhead as well.” He went on:
It’s putting those things together that makes me confident that Iran can’t pose a threat to the United States by 2015. I think that’s using things loosely and not qualifying them properly for the Senator to say we know that or we can be sure of that.
Theilmann said he’d prefer that when politicians quote dates produced by policy professionals, they use the same qualifiers and caveats the experts use. ” In order to use that 2015 date, one has to start using all the qualifiers that all the professionals move. But that’s not always compatible with politics: “Their job is to raise alarms and scare people about it, I’m afraid.”
Tea Party Rep. Chip Cravaack (R-MN) agreed to hold a free, public town hall meeting in his district’s population center after coming under fire in recent days for holding only private, pay-per-view meetings. Activists standing in the rain confronted Cravaack as he headed to a meeting, prompting the congressman to tell the crowd, ?You guys want a town hall? Be at the airport tomorrow at 4 o?clock.? The former pilot’s office confirmed the town hall at the Duluth International Airport tomorrow, but even that won’t be entirely free. As the Duluth News Tribune reports, anyone who drives to the airport will have to pay to park there. Watch the “army of [activist] grannies” confront Cravaack via Crooks and Liars:
WIth his 42-year rule over Libya over, Col. Muammar Qaddafi fled his compound in Tripoli and delivered an audio message by radio vowing “martyrdom” and referring to the Libyan people as “rats.”
Italian President Silvio Berlusconi, despite his close connections with Qaddafi’s government, has reached out to Mahmoud Gebril, Prime Minister of the anti-Gaddafi National Transitional Council (NTC), and invited him to visit Rome in the near future. Before fighting broke out in February, Libya was Italy’s largest source of oil and gas.
An Israeli military investigation into last Thursday’s terror attacks in southern Israel concludes that at least three of the terrorists were Egyptian citizens and Israeli forces tried to prevent Egyptian troops from getting hurt.
Iran allowed a U.N. nuclear inspector access to all the country’s nuclear sites, including a rare look at a facility for producing machines that enrich uranium at high levels.
U.S. Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford violated his travel restrictions, further aligning himself with the countries embattled opposition and, despite GOP calls for his removal, demonstrating the capabilities of a high-profile diplomatic asset in Damascus.
Rabbi Eric Yoffie, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, told Haaretz that he believes Glenn Beck is very extreme and controversial and Seymour Reich, former chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, warned that Beck, who is staging a rally in Jerusalem later today, is taking advantage of Israel in order to rehabilitate his television career.