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Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit, MI
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 74,622

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Why Is It Illegal to Research the Impact of Gun Control on Public Health?

Why Is It Illegal to Research the Impact of Gun Control on Public Health?

Monday, 28 December 2015 16:51
By The Daily Take Team, The Thom Hartmann Program | Op-Ed

The US is in the midst of a full-blown public health crisis.

Around 282 people every day - more than 32,000 people every year - are dying from a totally preventable cause.

This totally preventable cause, by the way, just isn't a problem in most other developed nations.

They've either eliminated it altogether or responded to previous outbreaks in such a way as to make future ones rarer and much less deadly than the ones we have here.

I'm talking, of course, about gun violence.

Yes, that's right, gun violence.


Believe it or not, it's actually illegal for the Centers of Disease Control to conduct any research whatsoever into the impact of gun control on public health.

That's right - illegal!

This is all thanks to former Arizona Republican Congressman Jay Dickey, who in 1996 pushed for and helped pass an NRA-backed law that bans government research into the relationship between gun ownership and public health. ..............(more)


Pornographic email scandal roils Pennsylvania politics

from the WaPo:

PHILADELPHIA — Over the past 15 months, beleaguered Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane has released a steady stream of messages retrieved from a state email server that show state officials and employees trading pornographic, racist and misogynistic messages.

There are jokes about rape and sexual assault, photos mocking African Americans and other minorities, and insults leveled at people because of their weight, their sexual orientation or their religion. At least two state Supreme Court justices and numerous officials in the office of the attorney general have been caught in the scandal that has been dubbed “Porngate.”

A small sampling: A photo of a pantsless woman on her knees performing oral sex on a man is captioned “Making your boss happy is your only job.” A picture of a white man fending off two African American men while carrying a bucket of fried chicken reads “BRAVERY At Its Finest.” The sender of the email that shows a group of men engaged in sex included this message to friends, “How friggin gay are you?”

“When you see these emails . . . it’s just a swamp of misogyny, racism, homophobia and white privilege. It taints everybody, especially in the judicial branch,” said Bruce Ledewitz, associate dean of academic affairs and a law professor at Duquesne University School of Law. “Some of these things are really disgusting. You get the impression that every white male office holder in the state is a creep.” ...................(more)


Chris Hedges: The Illusion of Freedom

from truthdig:

The Illusion of Freedom

Posted on Dec 27, 2015
By Chris Hedges

The seizure of political and economic power by corporations is unassailable. Who funds and manages our elections? Who writes our legislation and laws? Who determines our defense policies and vast military expenditures? Who is in charge of the Department of the Interior? The Department of Homeland Security? Our intelligence agencies? The Department of Agriculture? The Food and Drug Administration? The Department of Labor? The Federal Reserve? The mass media? Our systems of entertainment? Our prisons and schools? Who determines our trade and environmental policies? Who imposes austerity on the public while enabling the looting of the U.S. Treasury and the tax boycott by Wall Street? Who criminalizes dissent?

A disenfranchised white working class vents its lust for fascism at Trump campaign rallies. Naive liberals, who think they can mount effective resistance within the embrace of the Democratic Party, rally around the presidential candidacy of Bernie Sanders, who knows that the military-industrial complex is sacrosanct. Both the working class and the liberals will be sold out. Our rights and opinions do not matter. We have surrendered to our own form of wehrwirtschaft. We do not count within the political process.

This truth, emotionally difficult to accept, violates our conception of ourselves as a free, democratic people. It shatters our vision of ourselves as a nation embodying superior virtues and endowed with the responsibility to serve as a beacon of light to the world. It takes from us the “right” to impose our fictitious virtues on others by violence. It forces us into a new political radicalism. This truth reveals, incontrovertibly, that if real change is to be achieved, if our voices are to be heard, corporate systems of power have to be destroyed. This realization engenders an existential and political crisis. The inability to confront this crisis, to accept this truth, leaves us appealing to centers of power that will never respond and ensures we are crippled by self-delusion.

The longer fantasy is substituted for reality, the faster we sleepwalk toward oblivion. There is no guarantee we will wake up. Magical thinking has gripped societies in the past. Those civilizations believed that fate, history, superior virtues or a divine force guaranteed their eternal triumph. As they collapsed, they constructed repressive dystopias. They imposed censorship and forced the unreal to be accepted as real. Those who did not conform were disappeared linguistically and then literally. ............(more)


'Unprecedented' Flooding Soaks UK; Thousands without Power and Hundreds Evacuated

After weeks of heavy rainfall, widespread flooding submerged cars and caused the evacuation of hundreds of people from their homes in parts of England, Scotland and Wales Saturday. British Prime Minister David Cameron sent hundreds more troops into northern England on Sunday to help exhausted residents and emergency workers fight back rising river waters.

Cameron said the flooding is "unprecedented" and vowed to do everything possible to protect people and their property as the damage spread to the major cities York, Leeds and Manchester. He said protective systems and contingency plans will be reviewed because the frequency of such extreme weather events seems to be on the rise.

Weeks of persistent rainfall has saturated the ground and swollen the rivers to record levels, leaving entire swathes of northern England, and smaller parts of Wales and Scotland, vulnerable. Several hundred flood warnings remain in effect.

There have been no fatalities or serious injuries reported, but hundreds of people have been evacuated from houses and apartments in York, 200 miles (320 kilometers) north of London, where 3,500 properties are judged to be at risk. Emergency crews worked extra shifts to try to restore power to roughly 7,500 blacked out homes in the greater Manchester and Lancashire areas. ..........(more)


Cli-Fi Is All the Rage

By Kieran Cooke / Climate News Network

LONDON—It’s some time in the not too distant future. The American mid-west has turned into a dust bowl. Birds are dropping out of the sky. Cities are encapsulated in domes so that people can breathe clean, if recycled, air.

Billions of refugees, victims of drought and famine, are on the move. The streets are full of violent gangs and human traffickers. Pandemics are breaking out.

Welcome to a new literary genre—climate fiction, or cli-fi.

Some of it might be sensational, some of it not exactly great literature, and some downright depressing, but there’s little doubting cli-fi’s growing popularity.

Cli-fi—along with its elder brother sci-fi—is now considered part of modern literature’s classification system. Though some titles make only a passing reference to climate change, while others are more concerned with murder, mayhem and sex than with global warming, others are more thoughtful, science-based works. ...................(more)


Flatulence-related violence in Florida

Marriage isn't always a gas.

A 55-year-old woman in Port St. Lucie, Florida, was arrested earlier this month for domestic battery after allegedly attacking her husband for farting in bed, according to WPTV.com.

The flatulence flap occurred around 3:20 a.m. on Dec. 11 at the home of Dawn Meikle, according to police records.
Meikle's husband told police that she started elbowing him when he passed gas.

“Dawn began kicking him and eventually kicked him out of their bed,” according to an affidavit obtained by TCPalm.com. ....................(more)


The Year in Reproductive Justice: 47 Anti-Abortion Laws, Clinic Attacks and Hopeful Signs

The Year in Reproductive Justice: 47 Anti-Abortion Laws, Clinic Attacks and Hopeful Signs

Thursday, 24 December 2015 00:00
By Katie Klabusich, Truthout | News Analysis

Looking back, 2015 was a roller-coaster year for reproductive rights across the United States. Activists saw two big legislative wins, despite almost 400 anti-abortion bills introduced and 47 passed in the states. Attacks on Planned Parenthood and independent providers ran the gamut from shootings to arson to seemingly perpetual hearings on Capitol Hill. Plus, Whole Woman's Health is headed to the US Supreme Court in an attempt to restore access to abortion care in Texas. Again and again, in the face of intense attacks, activists rose to the occasion and continue to stand for reproductive justice for all.

Repro FACT Act in California

The year began with a major victory. In February, the California legislature introduced the Reproductive Freedom, Accountability, Comprehensive Care and Transparency (FACT) Act to end the intentional misleading of potential patients, false advertising, intimidation tactics and coercion regularly employed by anti-choice "crisis pregnancy centers" (CPCs).

The Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR) - the legal advocacy group that regularly represents pro-choice causes in court - was among those applauding such a simple, but powerful bill in a state where CPCs outnumber full-spectrum reproductive health facilities two to one.


Planned Parenthood Videos and Hearings

In July, the agenda-driven and well-funded organization the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) released the first in a series of heavily edited, coercively obtained "undercover" videos depicting a Planned Parenthood senior medical director discussing the process of donating fetal tissue to medical researchers. The rather graphic descriptions between a medical professional (the Planned Parenthood staffer) and someone impersonating a medical professional (the "undercover" CMP videographer) provided enough shock value to prompt more than 20 bills in state legislatures and a number of governors to attempt withholding Medicaid reimbursements to their state Planned Parenthood affiliates.


Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood Shooting

On November 27, Robert Lewis Dear Jr. exchanged gunfire with law enforcement from inside the bulletproof-glass-protected Colorado Springs, Colorado, Planned Parenthood clinic, killing three people and wounding 12. He now faces 179 felony counts, including first-degree murder for an attack he orchestrated with an AK-47-style assault rifle, because he's a self-proclaimed "warrior for the babies." ................(more)


Priceless moments in Right Wing Idiocy from the past year

Happy Holidays DU.....This one is a classic from January.

2015: The Year in Government Secrecy


via truthdig:

Here’s a rundown on how this past year shaped up on the issue of government accountability (hint: not well) from someone who knows quite a bit on the subject: reporter Jason Leopold, who’s familiarized himself thoroughly on the secrecy tip as well as on the Freedom of Information Act and its uses.

Leopold takes stock on Vice News:

On issues as wide-ranging as Guantanamo and net neutrality, to the federal government’s response to the Ebola outbreak, to the costs of operating black-site CIA prisons across Europe, US government agencies again refused to err on the side of disclosure in 2015 — as they were instructed to by then–Attorney General Eric Holder back in 2009 — and instead chose to conceal information. In doing so, the agencies cited threats to national security, privacy, the so-called “deliberative process,” and other exemptions under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

And despite it all, the Obama administration continued to proclaim that it is “the most transparent administration in history.”

There were victories in the fight for transparency this year, however. It was a VICE News FOIA lawsuit that forced the State Department to publicly release Hillary Clinton’s emails, arguably the most high-profile release of documents in 2015.

When we sued the State Department on January 25 for Clinton’s emails, the scandal over her exclusive use of a private email account while she was Secretary of State had not yet unfolded. Our decision to litigate was based instead on the fact that she was set to become the Democratic presidential frontrunner in 2016, and we wanted to gain insight into the way she performed as the nation’s top diplomat.

The monthly disclosures have contained, for instance, revelatory details about Clinton’s stance on the controversial 2009 troop surge in Afghanistan and her work in helping to secure the release of high-profile Guantanamo detainee Omar Khadr, have also helped to shed much-needed light on the State Department’s disastrous FOIA operations that caused the years-long delay of documents.

—Posted by Kasia Anderson

Oil Bankruptcies Reach Highest Quarterly Level Since Recession


Bankruptcies among oil and gas companies have reached quarterly levels last seen in the Great Recession, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.

At least nine U.S. oil and gas companies that accounted for more than $2 billion in debt have filed for bankruptcy in the fourth quarter, the bank said Wednesday in its energy economic update for the final three months of the year.

"Lower oil prices have taken a significant financial toll on U.S. oil and gas producers, in part because many face higher costs of production than their international counterparts do," according to the note written by Navi Dhaliwal, a research assistant, and Martin Stuermer, a research economist. "If bankruptcies continue at this rate, more may follow in 2016."

Since peaking in October 2014, U.S. oil and gas employment has fallen by 70,000 jobs, the analysts wrote in the report.

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