Saturday, November 22, 2014

After 13 years, 2 wars and trillions in military spending, terrorist attacks are rising sharply

By Christopher Ingraham
November 18
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Last year saw the highest number of terrorist incidents since 2000, according to the latest Global Terrorism Index released by the Institute for Economics and Peace. Worldwide, the number of terrorist incidents increased from less than 1,500 in 2000 to nearly 10,000 in 2013. Sixty percent of attacks last year occurred in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria and Syria.
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The report suggests that U.S. foreign policy has played a big role in making the problem worse: "The rise in terrorist activity coincided with the US invasion of Iraq," it concludes. "This created large power vacuums in the country allowing different factions to surface and become violent." Indeed, among the five countries accounting for the bulk of attacks, the U.S. has prosecuted lengthy ground wars in two (Iraq and Afghanistan), a drone campaign in one (Pakistan), and airstrikes in a fourth (Syria).
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The report defines terrorism as  "the threatened or actual use of illegal force and violence by a non-state actor to attain a political, economic, religious, or social goal through fear, coercion, or intimidation."
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The U.S. will invest somewhere between $4 and 6 trillion on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, with untold additional resources spent on anti-terrorism efforts elsewhere, according to the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. While we haven't suffered any major terrorist attacks on U.S. soil since 9/11, the Global Terrorism Index numbers cast considerable doubt on whether that money's been well-spent. And they give some credence to the notion that our ham-handed foreign policy is actually a destabilizing factor in world affairs.
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In other news, the Obama administration recently approved doubling the number of troops we currently have on the ground in Iraq.
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See more...

House Republicans just passed a bill forbidding scientists from advising the EPA on their own research

[The stupid - it worsens further each day. Seriously - we might just as well cancel all school forever and ever if this is the crap we're going to live with. - Bozo]

Lindsay Abrams
Wednesday, Nov 19, 2014 10:39 AM EST
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The "reform" measure makes room for industry-funded experts on the EPA's advisory board

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Congressional climate wars were dominated Tuesday by the U.S. Senate, which spent the day debating, and ultimately failing to pass, a bill approving the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. While all that was happening, and largely unnoticed, the House was busy doing what it does best: attacking science.
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H.R. 1422, which passed 229-191, would shake up the EPA's Scientific Advisory Board, placing restrictions on those pesky scientists and creating room for experts with overt financial ties to the industries affected by EPA regulations.
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The bill is being framed as a play for transparency: Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX) argued that the board's current structure is problematic because it  "excludes industry experts, but not officials for environmental advocacy groups." The inclusion of industry experts, he said, would right this injustice.
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But the White House, which threatened to veto the bill, said it would "negatively affect the appointment of experts and would weaken the scientific independence and integrity of the SAB."
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In what might be the most ridiculous aspect of the whole thing, the bill forbids scientific experts from participating in an "advisory activities" that either directly or indirectly involve their own work. In case that wasn't clear: experts would be forbidden from sharing their expertise in their own research - the bizarre assumption, apparently, being that having conducted peer-reviewed studies on a topic would constitute a conflict of interest. "In other words," wrote Union of Concerned Scientists director Andrew A. Rosenberg in an editorial for RollCall, "academic scientists who know the most about a subject can't weigh in, but experts paid by corporations who want to block regulations can."
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Continue reading...

Canadian Mother Gives Birth While On Vacation In The U.S., Faces $1 Million Hospital Bill

[Conservatives will tell you that America has the best health care system in the world. That people from many other nations travel here for health care. Really? Maybe sheiks from Saudi Arabia - beyond that, maybe not so much. - Bozo]
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by Tara Culp-Ressler
Posted on November 19, 2014 at 9:00 am
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Jennifer Huculak, who lives in the Canadian province Saskatchewan, was six months pregnant when she flew to Hawaii to go on a vacation with her husband. But two days into her 2013 trip, her water unexpectedly broke; she spent the next six weeks on bed rest, and her daughter was delivered prematurely via an emergency C-section.
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A year later, the Huculaks and their daughter are healthy and back at home. But they're now facing medical bills that total $950,000 for the hospital care they received in the United States last fall. "It makes you sick to your stomach," Huculak told CTV News. "Who can pay a million-dollar medical bill? Who can afford that?"
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Although the couple purchased travel insurance from Blue Cross before their vacation, the insurance company says that Huculak's previous pregnancy complications - she had a bladder infection when she was four months pregnant - amounted to a pre-existing condition, so her medical expenses won't be covered. Blue Cross also maintains that the Huculaks' plan expired while they were still in Hawaii.
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Jennifer Huculak told CBC News that she's frustrated with Blue Cross because she thought she did everything right. She had approval from her doctor to travel, and after her water broke, she tried to figure out how to return to Canada. But she couldn't find a medical evacuation company that was willing to transport her home in her condition.
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It's not entirely uncommon for visitors to the U.S. to accrue big medical bills if they suffer from a health condition while they're here. Travel insurance isn't currently subject to all of the regulations under the Affordable Care Act - and the health reform law doesn't apply to people who aren't U.S. residents - so there can be confusion about how exactly these plans will work in practice. Other Canadian travelers have been stuck with hefty bills after unexpectedly suffering from kidney failure and struggling with high blood pressure while in the United States.
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Continue reading... 

The atoms of our bodies


Living your life according to the tenants of a burning bush


Sasquatch - another mythical being


Islam's recent contributions to science


Dawkins on the God of the Old Testament


Shooting report - take a moment to think about people getting shot every day and the great thing it would bring to get guns under contol!






Gun control - because anyone with a temper and a gun can go off at any time.


We're defacing our earth


American Health Insurance


SCOTUS - the newest death panel?


Just plain tired.


Bernie, I disagree - most of them have no clue as to what goes on in the world around them. Or they wouldn't vote Republican.


Reflecting on the GOP


Kingly Presidents


Actually, this was yesterday - I'm a day late and a dollar short


The GOP is so slippery you just can't get a handle on them


The GOP is going environmental?


Jimmy Carter - I have a LOT of respect for this guy...VIDEO

Friday, November 21, 2014

School board which proselytizes during meetings dares the FFRF to sue them. The FFRF has obliged.

[Why atheists are fighting back - the religious are violating the constitution and trying to shove their infantile fantasies down our throats. - Bozo]
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Secular Stars
Nov 17, 2014
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After giving them multiple chances to stop breaking the law, the Chino Valley School District is being sued by the Freedom From Religion Foundation:
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    School board meetings open with a prayer, and often include bible readings and proselytizing by board members. Board President James Na injects Christianity into many of his official statements, FFRF's legal complaint notes. At one typical meeting, Na "urged everyone who does not know Jesus Christ to go and find Him," and closed with a reading of Psalm 143.

    Students often attend the meetings to receive awards, speak about issues affecting their schools, attend disciplinary hearings and do performances. Student attendance is mandatory in some instances, and a student representative is a member of the board.
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    Courts have consistently held that organized prayer in the public schools is unconstitutional, the complaint charges. Two federal appellate courts, the Third and Sixth Circuits, have specifically held school board prayer unconstitutional.
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Source...

Pelosi Mocks Boehner For Staggering Around DC To Find a Lawyer Willing to Sue Obama

By: Sarah Jones
Tuesday, November, 18th, 2014, 10:12 am   
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Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is not impressed with the way her Republican colleague has done her former job of Speaker, and who can blame her. John Boehner (R-OH) has presided over the most do-nothingiest congress in recorded history. So it should come as no surprise that upon word that Boehner has hired Washington attorney Jonathan Turley as the third lawyer in an on-going attempt to get someone to take House Republicans seriously in DC, Pelosi's office could hold back no longer.
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Pelosi's office released a statement in which they conjure up the image of John Boehner staggering about DC begging someone to take the House GOP lawsuit after repeated rejection until they finally settle upon a TV personality.
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The spokesman for Pelosi, Drew Hammill, released a scathing statement, "Even for $500-per-hour in taxpayer dollars, Speaker Boehner has had to scour Washington to find a lawyer willing to file this meritless lawsuit against the President. Now, he's hired a TV personality for this latest episode of his distraction and dysfunction. When Speaker Boehner can't legislate his way, he shuts down the government and files lawsuits. While he's staggered from Washington law firm to Washington law firm, the American people are wondering when he will stop the nonsuits and nonsense, and sit down with Democrats to address the real challenges working families face."
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Source...

Oh, those founding fathers

THE principle difficulty lies, and the greatest care should be employed in constituting this Representative Assembly. It should be in miniature, an exact portrait of the people at large. It should think feel, reason, and act like them. That it may be the interest of this Assembly to do strict justice at all times, it should be an equal representation, or in other words equal interest among the people should have equal interest in it. Great care should be taken to effect this, and to prevent unfair, partial, and corrupt elections.

John Adams, Thoughts on Government, April, 1776

[I think about this now because in Michigan great care was taken by Republicans to effect the opposite. Democrats won the statewide vote for both Congress and the Michigan State House, and yet we get a Republican majority delegation. Democracy here is being stolen. ---founding father quotes]

Source...

Yeah - prayer works that way.


Einstein on religion and ethics


Atheism - it's all about basic logic


Die, MoFo


Religion, in truth, is a belief that YOU are a piece of god.


Shooting report - because some people are shooting others and they MEAN to do it.






Gun control - because some are shooting themselves and they don't mean to.






Even some GOP support immigration reform


Jimmy Fallon on GOP leadership


No longer a rumor!


Obama and impeachment


Stephen Colbert is right! Maybe!


Walmart - an American embarrassment


The President addresses the immigration issue


A correction - In think I posted an article on this earlier.


When did we put the insane asylum in charge?


Ex-teacher, now Congressman, schools a fellow Congressperson


Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Humiliating Statistic From This Year's Elections That Republicans Don't Want to Talk About

Allen Clifton
November 11, 2014
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It's only been a week since this year's midterm elections, but it seems like it's been much longer. Since the elections, there's been an endless parade of Republicans on just about every news outlet boasting about the massive victories experienced by their party this year.
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And they're right. For Republicans it was a great election night. At the end of the day, their party did indeed score huge wins all across the country.
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But there's one stat that I'm fairly certain you won't see any Republican want to address - the abysmal voter turnout.
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How bad was it? Well, we just experienced the worst voter turnout in this country since 1942. You know, right in the middle of WWII.
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In fact, only 34.6 percent of the voting-eligible public voted this year. To be fair, voter turnout during midterm elections is always lower than during presidential election years - but not this low.
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Continue reading...

Pregnant, and No Civil Rights

[This crap is bred by the hate and fear instilled by religion and ignorance - Bozo]

By LYNN M. PALTROW and JEANNE FLAVIN
NOV. 7, 2014
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WITH the success of Republicans in the midterm elections and the passage of Tennessee's anti-abortion amendment, we can expect ongoing efforts to ban abortion and advance the "personhood" rights of fertilized eggs, embryos and fetuses.
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But it is not just those who support abortion rights who have reason to worry. Anti-abortion measures pose a risk to all pregnant women, including those who want to be pregnant.
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Such laws are increasingly being used as the basis for arresting women who have no intention of ending a pregnancy and for preventing women from making their own decisions about how they will give birth.
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How does this play out? Based on the belief that he had an obligation to give a fetus a chance for life, a judge in Washington, D.C., ordered a critically ill 27-year-old woman who was 26 weeks pregnant to undergo a cesarean section, which he understood might kill her. Neither the woman nor her baby survived.
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In Iowa, a pregnant woman who fell down a flight of stairs was reported to the police after seeking help at a hospital. She was arrested for "attempted fetal homicide."
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In Utah, a woman gave birth to twins; one was stillborn. Health care providers believed that the stillbirth was the result of the woman's decision to delay having a cesarean. She was arrested on charges of fetal homicide.
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In Louisiana, a woman who went to the hospital for unexplained vaginal bleeding was locked up for over a year on charges of second-degree murder before medical records revealed she had suffered a miscarriage at 11 to 15 weeks of pregnancy.
[...]
Continue reading...

Americans believe things

Cory Doctorow
8:40 am Thu, Nov 13, 2014
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And those things aren't true, according to an Ipsos-Mori poll that put the USA second-from-the-top in the race to see who's the most ignorant, preceded only by Italians.
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What untrue things do Americans believe? Basically, that their country is overrun by teenaged mothers (perceived: 24%, actual: 3.1%), murderers (perceived by 70% as rising, in reality down by more than 50% since 1992), unemployed people (perceived: 32%, actual: 6%), and Muslims (perceived: 15%, actual: 1%).
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Of course, Brits are also incredibly ignorant. As Kottke notes, the fact that the press in both countries is obsessed with welfare, teenaged pregnancies, murders and Muslims, this is probably not that surprising.
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Source

Learning more about our founding fathers

It is a fact declared by the General Convention, and universally understood, that the Constitution of the United States was the result of a spirit of amity and mutual concession.

George Washington, letter to the House of Representatives, March 30, 1796
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---[Not handed to us from a mountaintop, carved in stone. - Founding Father Quotes]
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Source