Author: kstreet607

Politics! Politics! I love politics! Unapologetic Barack Obama enthusiast.

Obama and Bill Nye rip climate deniers in Congress using ‘I’m not a scientist’ excuse

President Barack Obama interviews 'Science Guy' Bill Nye in a video released by the White House on April 24, 2015. [YouTube]

President Barack Obama interviews ‘Science Guy’ Bill Nye in a video released by the White House on April 24, 2015. [YouTube]

 The Raw Story

President Barack Obama asked “Science Guy” Bill Nye how to promote science education in a video released by the White House on Friday, while also taking a shot at lawmakers who have argued against the existence of climate change.

“When I see members of Congress being part of the climate-denier clubs and basically stiff-arming what we know are facts — and not rebutting them with other facts but rebutting them with anecdote or just being dismissive,” Obama said before Nye interjected.

“‘Oh, I’m not a scientist,’” Nye said, sarcastically repeating a common conservative argument against the phenomenon.

“I’m not a scientist, either, but I know a lot of scientists,” Obama replied. “I have the capacity to understand science. The capacity to look at facts and base my conclusions on evidence. Part of shifting our political culture I think, is we’ve gotta model for our kids that facts matter.”

Nye also encouraged the president to promote “science every day in every grade,” calling it a huge opportunity.

“Teaching science [at] elementary level is very inexpensive,” he said. “We fight these surprising problems about reading and arithmetic and standards problems and so on, it seems like a very solvable problem. We have to invest in the elementary grades.”

“Part of it is also, I think, our culture has to support and elevate science,” Obama said, adding, “Sometimes what we see in the popular culture is, if not a denigration then not an emphasis on science.”

Nye told CNN before the video was posted that the White House asked him to join Obama in the Florida Everglades to film the video.

“[Obama] knows I’m like-minded when it comes to the environment,” Nye said. “He didn’t bring in Marc Morano or somebody like that. I think it’s cool.”

Morano, who has been featured on Fox News on several occasions, is a blogger whose parent organization, Climate Depot, has ties to the oil industry. On Wednesday, Fox News host Greg Gutfeld argued that global warming was a trumped-up threat because the president and the former TV host flew there on Air Force One.

Watch Obama’s discussion with Nye, as posted by the White House on Friday, below.

Cop Ignores 911 Call To Eat Lunch, Woman Dies

This is obviously an exception to the rule.   I’ve been on the receiving end of an emergency call on more than one occasion and I have nothing but praise for the Police and Fire Department personnel who arrived promptly and administered first aid or monitored vital signs until a family member was transported to the hospital…

Addicting Info

On March 13th, a woman in Lee County, Florida tried calling 911 because she was having a medical emergency. She was having difficulty talking, and was later found passed out in her driveway. Per policy, 911 issued an order to the nearest deputy on duty, Yvan Fernandez, to check on the call and to see if the person was in trouble.

Deputy Fernandez was not going to let an emergency call get between him and lunch, however. So he sat and enjoyed his meal at Raider’s Pizza and Wings on Palm Beach Boulevard. When another deputy came to join him for lunch half an hour later, that deputy was then asked by Fernandez to check on the call first.

When that deputy arrived, they found the woman passed out, with neighbors who described her as “being covered with ants.” Fernandez finally arrived over an hour after the call, his stomach full, but it was already too late.

As a result, the Lee County Sheriff’s office has now fired Deputy Fernandez for his conduct.

Sheriff Mike Scott had this to say after announcing the now-former Deputy’s termination:

He made a decision at that moment of time that his lunch and what he had on his personal plate, pun intended I suppose, was more important than that 911 call.

Could we have saved this lady? I’ll never be able to answer that question. Would getting there quicker have hurt anything? Of course not.

In his own defense, Fernandez claimed to have attempted to call the woman several times, to no response. The restaurant would have understood, and likely put his lunch order on hold for him to take care of the call. That extra step of diligence is often times the line between life or death. Even if the call were nothing, it would have cost him nothing.

Now, he has to live with this on his permanent record. But does he feel guilt over what happened? Only he can answer that.

This lack of care for the community they are sworn to protect is systematic of the police nationwide. From Ferguson to Lee County, the failure to view themselves as part of the fabric of the community is rendering the law enforcement of this nation illegitimate. Perhaps it is time we looked, as a society, into eliminating the very idea of a law enforcement career entirely.

Our founding fathers had the right idea, by integrating law enforcement as a volunteer role, like the watchmen of old. When those who enforce our laws for the community do not view themselves as part of the community, the damage that happens to the fabric of society cannot be measured by statistics or facts, but by the way society behaves. In many places across our nation, we no longer view our police as protectors, but enforcers of their own will. This pattern is clear in this case.

Deputy Fernandez got off lighter than the woman whose cries for help he ignored. How many more Deputy Fernandez’s are out there, we wonder.

Tensions Boil Over After Baltimore Police Call Protesters “Lynch Mob”

Informed Comment – Juan Cole

Demonstrators still seeking answers over the mysterious and troubling death of Freddie Gray, who died of a spinal injury while in the custody of the Baltimore Police Department, circled City Hall on Thursday after Maryland Governor Larry Hogan announced that he had called in state troopers to help quell the protests.

Anger seems to be reaching a boiling point. On Wednesday, the Baltimore Police Union issued a statement comparing the peaceful demonstrators to a “lynch mob”—the irony of which has only inflamed tensions.

RT has a live-stream of the growing demonstration.

“While we appreciate the right of our citizens to protest and applaud the fact that, to date, the protests have been peaceful, we are very concerned about the rhetoric of the protests,” the Baltimore Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 3 said in a statement.

“In fact,” the statement continues, “the images seen on television look and sound much like a lynch mob in that they are calling for the immediate imprisonment of these officers without them ever receiving the due process that is the constitutional right of every citizen, including law enforcement officers.”

Daily demonstrations have grown since Sunday, when news broke that Gray, a 27-year-old black man, had died from his injury a week after he was arrested. The protesters are seeking answers and accountability for a tragedy which is being compared with other recent incidents of police brutality against people of color.

During the Thursday protest, demonstrators raised their arms in the air in the “hands up don’t shoot” gesture that became a symbol of the uprisings that followed the killing of black teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri last August.

Earlier in the day, Maryland State Police spokesman Sgt. Marc Black confirmed to the Baltimore Sun that 32 troopers “with expertise in crowd control” had arrived in Baltimore to “be in place for help whenever the Baltimore City Police department asks.”

Images from the protest is being shared online under the hashtag#FreddieGray.


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License

Via Commondreams.org

ACA scores big on customer satisfaction

Pedro Rojas holds a sign directing people to an insurance company where they can sign up for the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, before the Feb. 15th deadline on Feb. 5, 2015 in Miami, Fl. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty)

Pedro Rojas holds a sign directing people to an insurance company where they can sign up for the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, before the Feb. 15th deadline on Feb. 5, 2015 in Miami, Fl. | Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty

The Maddow Blog

When the Affordable Care Act’s Republican critics were making all kinds of dire predictions about the inevitable “failures” of “Obamacare,” one of the charges was that American consumers will end up hating the coverage they receive through the reform law.
And for those ACA detractors looking for something, anything, to bolster their contempt for the law, I’m afraid I have more bad news: Americans who received coverage through Obamacare tend to be quite pleased with the results.
Obamacare customers nationally also tended to be more satisfied with their plans bought in 2014 than people who primarily have traditional job-based health coverage – the majority of those with insurance – the study by the J.D. Power market research company found.
And those customers from last year were as happy with their coverage as other people who had multiple choices when it came to buying plans outside Obamacare markets from insurers or brokers, according to the J.D. Power report, which was released Thursday.
The full market-research report is available online here.
This is obviously just one study, and other analyses may draw other conclusions, but let’s not forget that this isn’t the first evidence we’ve seen pointing to high customer-satisfaction rates for those who buy coverage through the Affordable Care Act.
Politico reported back in November: “A majority of Americans give good reviews for insurance they recently acquired through government exchanges within the past year, a new poll shows. With the second round of Obamacare enrollment set to begin on Saturday, 71 percent said their coverage through the exchanges was good or excellent, according to a Gallup poll released Friday. Another 19 percent said the coverage was fair, while 9 percent rated it poorly.”
As for why ACA customers are pleased, Sarah Kliff had a good explanation.
The J.D. Power survey … shows that people with employer-sponsored coverage who have “multiple plan options” have the exact same satisfaction rating as the people on Obamacare. And this might actually circle back to the cost issue. People shopping on Obamacare have the option to decide whether they want a plan with a high premium or a low one. Shoppers have typically gravitated toward the lower-cost premium. The average monthly premium on Healthcare.gov is $374. For people getting coverage at work, the average premium is $464.
What this data suggests is that health-care shoppers seem to be okay with a trade-off: they like the idea of selecting a lower-premium plan, even if it might mean incurring higher out-of-pocket costs down the line – and are more satisfied customers as a result.
As for the ACA predictions Republicans got right, I still haven’t found one.

Dallas Cops Killed A Man Within Seconds Of Arriving At His Door. They Won’t Face Criminal Charges.

Ebola

Attribution: None

Think Progress

Two Dallas officers who shot a schizophrenic, bipolar man holding a screwdriver within 20 seconds of arriving at his family’s doorstep last June will not be indicted.

Jason Harrison’s mother called 911 because her mentally ill son was off his medication and acting out. In a video captured by a body camera, she greets the officers outside the house, informing them that her son is “acting off the chain.” Harrison stands in the doorway holding a small screwdriver, and Officers John Rogers and Andrew Hutchins point their firearms in his direction and tell him to drop the object. Within a matter of seconds, the two officers shoot Harrison five times, as his mother screams “Oh, you killed my child!”

The grand jury made its decision on Thursday, but a wrongful death lawsuit filed by Harrison’s family is pending.

Watch the video here…  Warning…contains disturbing imagery.

To indict a cop, a grand jury must believe there was probable cause to commit a crime. But police officers rarely face criminal charges in cases involving deadly force, in part because prosecutors who work with the same officers every day have reason not to prosecute their colleagues.

10 things you need to know today: April 24, 2015

The Weinstein family house in Rockville, Md. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

The Week

1.Obama apologizes as U.S. reveals two hostages killed in drone strike
President Obama apologized Thursday for the deaths of a kidnapped American aid worker — Warren Weinstein — and an Italian hostage — Giovanni Lo Porto — in a CIA drone strike targeting al Qaeda militants in Pakistan. The strike occurred in January. CIA officials had conducted hundreds of hours of surveillance at the site. They asserted at the time that only al Qaeda fighters were at the targeted buildings near the Afghan border, and only realized weeks later that the hostages had been killed.

Source: The Washington Post

2.Senate confirms Loretta Lynch as attorney general
The Senate on Thursday confirmed Loretta Lynch to replace Eric Holder as attorney general. The 56-43 vote, with 10 Republicans backing Lynch, made her the first African-American woman to hold the position. Republicans were eager to have someone in the job to replace Holder, and did not challenge her qualifications, but many in the GOP were angered by her support for President Obama’s executive actions on immigration. She was nominated in November. Only two other attorney generals have taken longer to be confirmed.

Source: The New York Times

3.Comcast to drop $45 billion offer for Time Warner Cable
Comcast is dropping its $45 billion bid to take over Time Warner Cable, according to a person familiar with the confidential deliberations. An announcement is expected Friday. Comcast and Time Warner declined to comment on Thursday. U.S. regulators reportedly opposed the proposed deal — Comcast and Time Warner are the nation’s two largest cable companies. The Justice Department and the Federal Communications Commission had questioned whether the deal was in the public interest, and the FCC reportedly planned to recommend a hearing before an administrative judge that could have blocked a deal.

Source: Reuters

4.Petraeus sentenced to probation for leaking secrets
Former CIA director David Petraeus, a retired four-star Army general, was sentenced to two years of probation, and fined $100,000 after pleading guilty to leaking classified information to his biographer, Paula Broadwell, while they were having an extramarital affair. The fine was more than double what prosecutors requested. “Today marks a 2½-year ordeal because of mistakes I have made,” said Petraeus, who once commanded U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. “I want to apologize for the pain my actions caused.”

Source: USA Today

5.Michael Brown’s family files wrongful death lawsuit
The family of Michael Brown, the unarmed black teen fatally shot by a white Missouri police officer, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson on Thursday. The suit asks for more than $75,000 in punitive and compensatory damages, saying that the officer, Darren Wilson, “unjustifiably shot and killed” Brown, and was not acting in self-defense, as he claimed. A grand jury declined to prosecute him. A Ferguson spokesman declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Source: CNN

6.Students injured when stage collapses at Indiana high school
Two dozen students were injured, one critically, Thursday night when astage collapsed during a musical performance at an Indiana high school. The student performers had gathered on a platform at the front of the stage at Westfield High School for the finale of the American Pie rock and roll review when the surface gave way, sending the singers tumbling into the orchestra pit. Witnesses rushed in to lift pieces of the stage and get the students out of the pit.

Source: Indianapolis Star

7.Student publicly accused of rape sues Columbia
A Columbia University student, Paul Nungesser, publicly accused of rape by a fellow student filed a federal discrimination lawsuit on Thursday, saying the school failed to protect him from what he said was a campaign of harassment by the other student, Emma Sulkowicz. She has carried a mattress around campus as a protest, calling her action artistic expression and making it her senior thesis. The university cleared Nungesser, who says that the sex was consensual, of responsibility for the alleged rape. The lawsuit accuses the New York City school of being an “active supporter” of Sulkowicz’s “defamation” of him.

Source: The New York Times

8.German president calls mass killings of Armenians genocide
German President Joachim Gauck on Thursday described the killing of 1.5 million Armenians by Ottoman Turks as “genocide,” altering his country’s position as Armenia marks the centennial of the World War I-era atrocities. The U.S. sent Treasury Secretary Jack Lew to the commemoration events, but President Obama has avoided using the term genocide to refer to the killings. Turkey rejects the term genocide, saying the toll has been inflated and the dead were killed in civil war.

Source: The Associated Press, USA Today

9. Five players ejected for Royals vs. White Sox brawl
Five players were ejected after a bench-clearing brawl during a game between the Kansas City Royals and the Chicago White Sox at Chicago’s U.S. Cellular Field on Thursday night. The conflict began when Yordano Ventura fielded a ground ball in the bottom of the seventh inning, and appeared to shout obscenities at the hitter, Adam Eaton. The players approached each other after Ventura threw to first base and Eaton was called out, and their teammates rushed onto the field.

Source: Sports Illustrated

10.Native American actors walk off Adam Sandler movie set in protest
About a dozen Native American actors and a cultural advisor have walked off the set of Adam Sandler’s latest film, The Ridiculous Six, calling the satirical Western’s script insulting to women and the Apache culture. The complaints included Native women’s names deemed offensive, including Beaver’s Breath and No Bra, and a scene in which an Apache woman character squats and urinates while smoking a peace pipe. Actor Loren Anthony, a member of the Navajo Nation, said he had been promised the movie was not racist, but he left Wednesday after “things started getting weird on the set.”

Source: Indian Country Today

Terror suspects planned Vatican attack, Italian authorities say

AP

WGN-TV

MILAN (AP) — An Italian prosecutor says Islamic extremists suspected in a bomb attack in a Pakistani market that killed more than 100 people had also planned an attack against the Vatican in 2010 that was never carried out.

Prosecutor Mauro Mura told a press conference in Cagliari, Sardinia, on Friday that wiretaps indicated the suspected terrorists were planning a bomb attack at the Vatican and that a suicide bomber had arrived in Rome.

Mura said the attack plans never went further and that the suicide bomber left Italy, though it wasn’t clear why. He said the wiretaps gave “signals of some preparation for a possible attack.”

Italian police said Friday they were making arrests of 18 suspected extremists, including two purported bodyguards for Osama bin Laden, who allegedly staged attacks in Pakistan and sought to topple the Pakistani government.

10 things you need to know today: April 23, 2015

(AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

I discovered this in my pending box.  Sorry about this delay.  Later today I’ll publish The Week article for today, 4-24-2015…

The Week

1.Senators clear the obstacle to Loretta Lynch’s confirmation vote
The Senate on Wednesday unanimously passed a sex-trafficking bill that was holding up a confirmation vote on Loretta Lynch, whom President Obama nominated in November to replace Attorney General Eric Holder. Compromise amendments satisfied Democrats who feared the bill would be used to expand the Hyde Amendment, which prevents taxpayers’ money from being used to fund abortions. Clearing the impasse paved the way for a vote on Lynch’s nomination early Thursday. She is expected to be confirmed.Source: The New York Times
2.Hillary Clinton, Clinton Foundation scrutinized over uranium deal
The Clinton Foundation received several million dollars in donations from 2009 to 2013 from people involved in a Canadian uranium company, Uranium One, that was being slowly taken over by a Russian company owned by state atomic energy agency Rosatom, The New York Timesreported on Thursday. Uranium One controls about 20 percent of America’s uranium deposits, and the final deal had to be approved by a cabinet-level committee, which included the office of Hillary Clinton, then secretary of state. The Times showed no direct connection between the Clinton Foundation donations and the approval of the deal.Source: The New York Times
3.Brown family filing wrongful death lawsuit in Ferguson
The parents of Michael Brown, the unarmed, black teen fatally shot by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, plan to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the city. Lawyers said Wednesday night that family members would announce the civil suit in St. Louis on Thursday. A grand jury and the Justice Department declined to prosecute the officer, Darren Wilson, who resigned in November. The Justice Department, however, last month released a report slamming Ferguson police and the city’s municipal court for unfairly targetingAfrican Americans.Source: The Associated Press
4.Carly Fiorina reportedly plans to join the GOP presidential field
Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina is preparing to launch a campaign for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday. The paper said Fiorina plans to make the announcement online on May 4, although aFiorina spokesperson declined to confirm the report.Fiorina’s low-key plans contrast with the higher profile launches of the three GOP candidates who have already entered the race,Sens. Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Rand Paul.Source: The Wall Street Journal, The Huffington Post
5.Google debuts its Project Fi wireless service
Google on Wednesday launched its long-awaited Project Fi, a service that shifts users from Wi-Fi to the cellular networks of Sprint or T-Mobile, depending on who has the strongest signal. Project Fi initially will only be available via invitation to people using the Nexus 6smartphone. The service starts at $20 per month, plus $10 for every gigabyte of data. The service will offer automatic connectivity with encrypted data connections to over a million open, public hotspots.Source: Mashable, The Verge
6.Investments slow Facebook’s revenue growth
Facebook posted its slowest quarterly revenue growth in two years on Wednesday. The company, which operates the largest online social network in the world, said its profits were reduced by heavy investments in research and development. Still, Facebook increased its active monthly users to 1.44 billion, an increase of 13 percent since the same time last year. “It’s a generally solid quarter,” said Macquarie Research analyst BenSchachter. “The trends are all going in the right direction.”Source: Reuters
7.Volcano erupts in Chile
Chile’s Calbuco volcano erupted Wednesday for the first time in 40 years, sending a thick cloud of smoke and ashes more than two miles into the sky. About 4,000 people were forced to evacuate an exclusion zone in a 12-mile radius of the volcano. Authorities issued a red alert for the nearby southern Chile towns of PuertoMontt and PuertoVaras, which are popular with tourists. There were no immediate reports of deaths, injuries, or property damage.Source: Reuters, CNN
8.Petraeus faces sentencing for leaking military secrets
Former CIA Director David Petraeus is expected to be sentenced in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Thursday for giving classified material to his biographer, PaulaBroadwell, with whom he had an extramarital affair. Under a plea agreement, Petraeus could get up to a year in prison, but prosecutors have recommended two years of probation and a $40,000 fine. The scandal derailed the career of the retired four-star Army general, who led U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.Source: The Associated Press
9. Secret Service took over a year to fix alarm at George H.W. Bush’s house
The Secret Service, already rattled by recent security glitches at the White House, took 13 months to fix a broken alarm system at former President George H.W. Bush’s home, according to a government report expected to be released Thursday. The delay raised concerns at the agency about the safety of the Bush family at the Houston residence. An agency expert had warned in 2010 that the 20-year-old system could fail, but his request to replace it was denied. The system stopped working three years later.Source: The Washington Post
10.Model for Rockwell’s Rosie the Riveter dies at 92
Mary Doyle Keefe, the model for Norman Rockwell’s iconic World War II era Rosie the Riveter painting, has died at the age of 92. The painting became a symbol for the contributions of millions of women in the war effort. Keefe, a 19-year-old telephone operator and neighbor of Rockwell’s at the time, is shown in the painting wearing overalls, a sandwich in one hand and a rivet gun in the other, with her feet resting on a copy of Hitler’s Mein Kampf and an American flag behind her. The image appeared on the May 1943 cover of The Saturday Evening Post.Source: Hartford Courant
Harold Maass
Contributing Edito

Obama Outsmarts Republicans With Planned Executive Action To Raise Wages For Millions

The timing is perfect.  The POTUS knows that the GOP can’t stop his action because the working poor that do vote for them (sadly, against their own economic interest) will have second thoughts because as the old “adage” says “money talks and bull—-walks”.

PoliticusUSA

President Obama has outsmarted Congressional Republican obstructionists with a planned executive action that will raise the wages of millions of American workers.

Bloomberg reported:

President Barack Obama is preparing to do what the U.S. economic recovery has been slow to accomplish: raise the wages of millions of Americans.

His administration is drafting new rules on who qualifies for overtime compensation, forcing more businesses to pay time-and-a-half after 40 hours of work. Many employees now earning as little as $23,660 a year — below the federal poverty line for a family of four — aren’t entitled to overtime pay because they are considered managers.

Millions of workers in the service sector have been victimized for years by the tactic of being labeled a manager, but not receiving [commensurate] pay for the position. By not paying managers overtime, corporate giants can keep wages artificially low. With a stroke of President Obama’s pen, millions of workers will be paid for the extra hours that they are currently working for free.

Managers at fast food restaurants like McDonalds and retail stores often work 50-70 hours a week for a salary that leaves them below the federal poverty line. One of the fastest ways to rebuild the middle-class is to make sure that the system is fair, and workers are being paid for the hours that they are working. The executive action won’t apply to all managers, just those who are earning under a defined amount. Some officials at the Department of Labor want the limit to be set at $51,000. Democratic Senators are urging the President to go as high as $56,680.

Republicans are breaking out their widely debunked claims that raising wages kill jobs, but the change will be very popular with workers and provide an immediate boost to the economy. President Obama and his pen are going to make things better for millions of Americans.

If businesses counter Obama’s move by hiring fewer managers, they will play into Democratic hands by feeding the growing movement for higher wages. Either way, businesses will end up paying their workers a more livable wage.

The basic issue behind this executive action is fairness. Workers deserve to be paid either a salary that reflects their hours or compensation for the actual hours that they are working. With one stroke of his pen, President Obama will outsmart his Republican opponents and deliver a victory for millions of workers.