You are browsing the archive for 2014 September 18.

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REMARKS PREPARED FOR DELIVERY: Sen. Paul Delivers Foreign Policy Address

September 18, 2014 in Politics & Elections

Sen. Rand Paul today took to the Senate floor to offer a unanimous consent request to separate the Syria rebel funding language from the Continuing Resolution. Senate Democrats objected to this request. Sen. Paul then delivered a foreign policy address outlining his opposition to arming the Syrian rebels. A video and copy of Sen. Paul’s remarks as prepared for delivery can be found HERE or below. SEN. PAUL DELIVERS FOREIGN POLICY ADDRESS REMARKS:If there is one theme that connects the dots in the Middle East, it is that chaos breeds terrorism. What much of the foreign policy elite fails to grasp is that intervention to topple secular dictators has been the prime source of that chaos.From Hussein to Assad to Ghaddafi we have the same history.Intervention topples the secular dictator. Chaos ensues and radical jihadists emerge.The pattern has been repeated time after time and yet what we have here is a failure to understand, a failure to reflect on the outcome our involvement in Arab civil wars. They say nature abhors a vacuum. Radical jihadists have again and again filled the chaotic vacuum of the Middle East.Secular dictators, despots who terrorized their own people, are replaced by radical jihadists who seek terror at home and abroad.Intervention when both choices are bad is a mistake.Intervention when both sides are evil is a mistake. Intervention that destabilizes the region is a mistake.And yet here we are again, wading into another civil war in Syria. I warned a year ago that involving us in Syria’s civil war was a mistake.That the inescapable irony is that someday the arms we supply would be used against us, or Israel.That day is now. ISIS has grabbed up U.S., Saudi, Qatari weapons by the truckload and we are now forced to fight against our own weapons.Now, even those of us who have been reluctant to become involved in the wars of the Middle East feel that American vital interests are at stake, that our consulate, our embassy are threatened and that left to their own devices ISIS will fulfill what they have boasted-an attack on us at home.So, yes we must now defend ourselves from these barbarous jihadists, but let’s not compound the problem by arming feckless rebels in Syria who seem to be merely a pit stop for the arms that are inevitably scarfed up by ISIS.Remember clearly the President and his Republican allies that …read more

Source: RAND PAUL

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Woman Writes Epic Open Letter to Hedge Fund Bro Who Allegedly Groped Her

September 18, 2014 in Blogs

By Jenny Kutner, Salon

The reported groper responded to the incident by saying that he's “grabbed plenty of girls’ a**es” in his life.


Here is a quick lesson in how to treat wait staff, or simply other human beings: Don’t grope them without consent. Do not do this ever, but especially do not do this if you do not know the waiter/other human being, or if you have severely underestimated her or his intelligence and capability for seeking vengeance. If you do, you might be a) charged with sexual assault and/or harassment, or b) publicly shamed by a bright, pissed off bartender who has been treated like a toy for the last time.

Laura Ramadei, an actor and bartender who works in New York City, decided to take the second course of action after she was allegedly groped by a hedge funder named Brian Lederman recently while she was at work. In a powerful open letter that has gone viral on social media, Ramadei claims that Lederman grabbed her butt when she approached his table to take his order, then gave her a shoddy tip when she verbally rebuked him for sexually harassing her. Here is the letter in full:

Dear Brian,

You came into the restaurant where I work and ordered a Stoli on the rocks. When I asked you and your companion if you’d be eating, or needing anything else from me, you put your hand – ever so gently – ON MY ASS and asked if you could take me “to go”. When I immediately stepped away and said “Sorry, what?” you probably gathered that I was and am not receptive of such advances from customers. We were in a family-friendly restaurant, around 6:30pm, and I was wearing a loose-fitting, long sleeve shirt, jeans, and no makeup…so I’m not sure where the confusion arose as to what kind of service you were being provided. You left soon after, leaving a signed credit card slip and a two dollar tip (see picture included!). Your name is Brian Lederman. I found you, instantly, via a quick Google search online. I looked at your face on …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Watch: Hip-Hop Star Boots Riley Calls for People to Stand Up for Climate Justice

September 18, 2014 in Blogs

By YES! Magazine

Riley plays “Brother Earth” in a new comedic video.


In this video produced by the Movement Generation Justice and Ecology Project, a social change group based in Oakland, Calif., viewers meet the newest hero of the climate justice movement. That’s “Brother Earth,” a talking version of our own planet played by hip-hop star Boots Riley, the vocalist in the musical act The Coup.

“I’ve spent billions of years getting my atmospheric outfit just right,” Riley says, running a finger down the collar of his leather jacket. “But lately, something’s been messing with my style.”

That something, as you may have guessed, is climate change. The video moves on to make a strong plea for viewers to speak up about that and defend “Brother Earth” wherever they can, whether it’s outside the United Nation’s Climate Summit next week, or in their own neighborhood.

Highly recommended (although be advised that the video contains some strong language). If you’d like to learn more about Movement Generation, check out their site here.

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Source: ALTERNET

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What to Do When You're Running Out of Time

September 18, 2014 in Blogs

By Rebecca Solnit, TomDispatch

When it comes to climate change, there’s still a window open for action — but it’s closing.


To stay on top of important articles like these, sign up to receive the latest updates from TomDispatch.com here.

There have undoubtedly been stable periods in human history, but you and your parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents never lived through one, and neither will any children or grandchildren you may have or come to have. Everything has been changing continuously, profoundly — from the role of women to the nature of agriculture. For the past couple of hundred years, change has been accelerating in both magnificent and nightmarish ways.

Yet when we argue for change, notably changing our ways in response to climate change, we’re arguing against people who claim we’re disrupting a stable system.  They insist that we’re rocking the boat unnecessarily.

I say: rock that boat. It’s a lifeboat; maybe the people in it will wake up and start rowing. Those who think they’re hanging onto a stable order are actually clinging to the wreckage of the old order, a ship already sinking, that we need to leave behind.

As you probably know, the actual oceans are rising — almost eight inches since 1880, and that’s only going to accelerate. They’re also acidifying, because they’re absorbing significant amounts of the carbon we continue to pump into the atmosphere at record levels.  The ice that covers the polar seas is shrinking, while the ice shields that cover Antarctica and Greenland are melting. The water locked up in all the polar ice, as it’s unlocked by heat, is going to raise sea levels staggeringly, possibly by as much as 200 feet at some point in the future, how distant we do not know.  In the temperate latitudes, warming seas breed fiercer hurricanes.

The oceans are changing fast, and for the worse. Fish stocks are dying off, as are shellfish. In many acidified oceanic regions, their shells are actually dissolving or failing to form, which is one of the scariest, most nightmarish …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Cato Announces Newly Expanded Center for the Study of Science

September 18, 2014 in Economics

The Cato Institute is pleased to announce the expansion of its Center for the Study of Science. Founded in 2012, the Center for the Study of Science was created to provide market-based ideas that could transition policy regarding energy consumption, environmental standards, and other science-related issues away from government planners. The Center for the Study of Science will seek to provide a credible source for media and members of the public who want a fresh perspective on scientific claims made by government and other research organizations. Research areas will include energy use and taxation; use of government subsidies; global warming; and overall environmental regulation.

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Source: CATO HEADLINES

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New Marijuana PSA Mocks Maureen Dowd’s Pot Freakout

September 18, 2014 in Blogs

By April M. Short, AlterNet

“Don't let a candy bar ruin your vacation.”


New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd traveled to Colorado for some marijuana tourism this June. Then she penned a panicked writeup describing a petrifying psychological breakdown that kept her trapped inside her hotel room after munching too much of a pot-laced candy bar.

In the column, she describes herself lying there in a “hallucinatory state” for eight hours and agonizes over the fact that Colorado is “unleashing a drug as potent as marijuana on a horde of tourists of all ages and tolerance levels seeking a mellow buzz.” She claims she wasn’t warned not to eat as much of the candy bar as she did (though Matt Brown, who took Dowd on a four-hour, behind-the-scenes tour of a cannabis factory prior to her edibles experience, claims to have given her plenty of warning).

Like Reefer Madness, the 1936 anti-pot propaganda film-turned-cult classic, Dowd's freakout over the experience was so full of hyperbole and panic that it was funny. Twitter users and Times commenters alike took merciless cracks at her over-the-top lament, berating her for not doing her research before trying a drug for the first time.

“Oh, goodness. You went all the way to Colorado to try pot and didn't do your homework on how to consume your pot candy? Wow!” wrote one Times commenter.

This week the Marijuana Policy Project launched a public service announcement that takes its own jab at Dowd, as part of an educational “Consume Responsibly” campaign aimed at teaching tourists how to consume edibles safely. In a statement, Mason Tvert, director of communications for MPP said, “Like most Americans, Ms. Dowd has probably seen countless silly anti-marijuana ads on TV, but she has never seen one that highlights the need to ‘start low and go slow’ when choosing to consume marijuana edibles.”

 

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Source: ALTERNET

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New Marijuana PSA Mocks Maureen Dowd’s Pot Freak-Out

September 18, 2014 in Blogs

By April M. Short, AlterNet

“Don't let a candy bar ruin your vacation.”


New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd traveled to Colorado for some marijuana tourism this June. After, she penned a panicked write-up describing a petrifying psychological breakdown that kept her trapped inside her hotel room after munching too much of a pot-laced candy bar.

In the column, she agonizes over the fact that Colorado is “unleashing a drug as potent as marijuana on a horde of tourists of all ages and tolerance levels seeking a mellow buzz,” and describes herself lying there in a “hallucinatory state” for eight hours. She claims she wasn’t warned not to eat as much of the candy bar as she did (though Matt Brown, who took Dowd on a four-hour, behind-the-scenes tour of a cannabis factory prior to her edibles experience, claims to have given her plenty of warning).

Like Reefer Madness, the 1936 anti-pot propoganda film-turned-cult-classic-stoner-flick, Dowd's freak-out over the experience was so full of hyperbole and panic that it was funny. Twitter users and Times commenters alike took merciless cracks at her over-the-top lament, berating her for not doing her homework before trying a drug for the first time.

“Oh, goodness. You went all the way to Colorado to try pot and didn't do your homework on how to consume your pot candy? Wow!” wrote one Times commenter.

This week the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) launched a (hilarious) Public Service Announcement that takes its own jab at Dowd, as part of an educational “Consume Responsibly” campaign aimed at teaching tourists how to consume edibles safely. It's pretty good:

In a statement, Mason Tvert, director of communications for MPP said, “Like most Americans, Ms. Dowd has probably seen countless silly anti-marijuana ads on TV, but she has never seen one that highlights the need to ‘start low and go slow’ when choosing to consume marijuana edibles.”

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How We Can Rescue a World That's Going Up in Flames

September 18, 2014 in Blogs

By Rebecca Solnit, Tom Dispatch

Personal changes aren't enough; only great movements and collective action can save us now.


This story

We can do it. And we is the key word here. The world is not going to be saved by individual acts of virtue; if it is to be saved it will by collective acts of social and political change. That’s why I’m marching this Sunday with tens or maybe hundreds of thousands of others in New York City—to pressure the United Nations as it meets to address climate change. That’s why people who care about the future state of our planet will also be marching and demonstrating in New Delhi, Rio de Janeiro, Paris, Berlin, Melbourne, Kathmandu, Dublin, Manila, Seoul, Mumbai, Istanbul, and so many smaller places.

Mass movements work. Unarmed citizens have changed the course of history countless times in the modern era. When we come together as civil society, we have the capacity to transform policies, change old ways of doing things, and sometimes even topple regimes. And it is about governments. Like it or not, the global treaties, compacts, and agreements we need can only be made by governments, and governments will make those agreements when the pressure to do so is greater than the pressure not to. We can and must be that pressure.

The Long View from One Window

I lived in the same apartment for 25 years, moving into a poor but thriving black community in 1981 and out of the far more affluent, paler, and less neighborly place it had become in 2006. A lot of people moved in and out in that period, many of them staying only a year or two. Those transients always seemed to believe that the neighborhood they were passing through was a stable one. You had to be slower than change and stick around to see it. I saw it and it helped me learn how to take a historical view of things.

It’s crazy that anyone speaks as if our world is not undergoing rapid change, when the view from the window called history shows nothing but transformation, both incremental and dramatic. Exactly …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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How Can We Rescue a World That Is Going Up in Flames?

September 18, 2014 in Blogs

By Rebecca Solnit, Tom Dispatch

To make personal changes is to do too little. Only great movements and collective action can save us now.


This story We can do it. And we is the key word here. The world is not going to be saved by individual acts of virtue; it’s going to be saved, if it is to be saved, by collective acts of social and political change. That’s why I’m marching this Sunday with tens or maybe hundreds of thousands of others in New York City – to pressure the United Nations as it meets to address climate change. That’s why people who care about the future state of our planet will also be marching and demonstrating in New Delhi, Rio de Janeiro, Paris, Berlin, Melbourne, Kathmandu, Dublin, Manila, Seoul, Mumbai, Istanbul, and so many smaller places.

Mass movements work. Unarmed citizens have changed the course of history countless times in the modern era. When we come together as civil society, we have the capacity to transform policies, change old ways of doing things, and sometimes even topple regimes. And it is about governments. Like it or not, the global treaties, compacts, and agreements we need can only be made by governments, and governments will make those agreements when the pressure to do so is greater than the pressure not to.  We can and must be that pressure.

The Long View from One Window

I lived in the same apartment for 25 years, moving into a poor but thriving black community in 1981 and out of the far more affluent, paler, and less neighborly place it had become in 2006. A lot of people moved in and out in that period, many of them staying only a year or two. Those transients always seemed to believe that the neighborhood they were passing through was a stable one. You had to be slower than change and stick around to see it. I saw it and it helped me learn how to take a historical view of things.

It’s crazy that anyone speaks as if our world is not undergoing rapid change, when the view from the window called …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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What It's Like to Come Out as Asexual in Our Hypersexual Culture

September 18, 2014 in Blogs

By Tracy Clark-Flory, Salon

Why is identifying as asexual seen as such a shocker in America?


At age 14, Julie Sondra Decker found herself delivering the cliché line “It’s not you, it’s me.” Only, she meant it. She wasn’t attracted to her first boyfriend but kissed him anyway “because I was expected to,” she says. People told her she'd like it one day, and she believed them. But by age 16, nothing had changed.

“I simply had a complete lack of interest in sex and anything related,” she writes. “I’d just never been sexually attracted to another person. Not my boyfriend, not the hottest people in school, not the heartthrob movies stars. I wasn’t interested. Period.” Her high school boyfriend nicknamed her “Miss Non-Hormone” and she began referring to herself as “nonsexual.” That’s when people started offering their opinions, things like, “That’s not normal. You need to get checked out,” “You’re going to die alone with a houseful of cats” and “Shut up and admit you’re gay.”

Shortly after Decker graduated from college, David Jay founded the Asexuality Visibility and Education Network in 2001 and media attention soon followed. “I started describing myself as ‘asexual’ instead of ‘nonsexual’ to connect myself with the awareness efforts,” explains Decker, 36, who lives in Tampa, Florida. Now she’s taken it a step further, writing a book, The Invisible Orientation: An Introduction to Asexuality, to demystify the overlooked orientation. She spoke with Salon about our hypersexualized culture, masturbation and what non-asexuals have to learn from asexuals about love and relationships.

Tracy Clark-Flory: Let’s start with the most basic thing here: How do you personally define asexuality?



Julie Sondra Decker: Asexuality, most broadly, is a lack of sexual attraction. However, it’s a pretty diverse spectrum, and some people prefer to say they aren’t interested in sex, don’t like sex or feel that sex isn’t intrinsically rewarding. Many asexual people, including me, will describe it as nobody seeming sexy to them or nothing happening in reaction to someone being sexy.

TCF: When did you discover that you were asexual?



JSD: I was about 15 years old when I first started …read more

Source: ALTERNET