- Today's comic by Jen Sorensen is Buffer zone buffoonery:
- Blackwater death threat raises questions about State Department heavyweight:
Eye-opening new revelations about the private security firm formerly known as Blackwater Worldwide and its cozy relationship with the State Department are raising new questions about a senior Foggy Bottom bureaucrat who has found himself in Capitol Hill's crosshairs before—and seems certain to now do so again.
On Sunday, The New York Times reported that Patrick Kennedy, the State Department's current under secretary for management, led a review of the private security firm in 2007 after its guards fatally shot 17 Iraqi civilians in Baghdad's Nisour Square. Kennedy's review, however, failed to reference a scathing State Department memo on the contractor completed just weeks earlier that found the company had systematically overcharged the government. The memo also alleged a senior Blackwater executive in Baghdad threatened to kill the State Department auditor behind the memo. At the time, Kennedy dismissed questions about early warnings of Blackwater misconduct.
- Federal judge blocks Colorado coal mine on global-warming grounds:
A federal judge has blocked a coal project in the wilds of Colorado because federal agencies failed to consider the future global-warming damages from burning fossil fuels.
U.S. District Court Judge R. Brooke Johnson's decision halts exploration proposed by Arch Coal that would have bulldozed six miles of roads on 1,700 untrammeled acres of public land.
When the agencies touted the supposed economic benefits of expanded coal mining in the Sunset Roadless Area, Johnson ruled, they should also have considered any global-warming costs.
- Is Reuters enabling ISIL by using sympathetic freelancers?:
Back in March, we and others, including the NYT Lens Blog and the NPPA, questioned the ethics of Reuters using unnamed freelancers in Syria. With the agency relying on photographers who were also sympathizers of the Free Syrian Army, we challenged the authenticity of at least one widely acclaimed photo story (Were the Reuters “Boy in a Syrian Bomb Factory” Photos Staged?) and another series of photos embellished with props as propaganda for the anti-government rebels (The Dysfunctional Guitar: More on the Reuters Syria Photo Controversy). Given the agency’s blanket denial following these allegations and their refusal to consider any bias or compromise in their editorial practices, we voiced concern, also, for future ethical compromises. [...]
And once again, Reuters has been coming up with sensational and exclusive imagery that its competitors lack. If there is no shortage of videos and screen grabs of ISIS in action, an organization turning heads not just for military momentum and its cinematic and social media propaganda acumen, Reuters—has been the only outlet—once again, though unnamed stringers, related to the militant’s capture and control of the city of Mosul over the past three weeks—to procure exclusive images.
As I mentioned, nobody has this kind of access.
- Children should be vaccinated, period:
That's what a project that screened more than 20,000 scientific titles and 67 papers on vaccine safety concludes this week. The review appears in the latest edition of the medical journal Pediatrics.
- Why are some people more yummy to mosquitoes?
[T]he identification of skin bacteria as playing a role in one’s attractiveness to mosquitoes provides a clue. Among the aforementioned carboxylic acids that alert mosquitoes to our presence are several short-chain and medium-chain fatty acids that are associated with body odor. Sweat itself is odorless until bacteria act on it to make it stink. Bacteria, by metabolizing our sweat, are essentially sending up a red flag to tell mosquitoes we’re here.
Yet another component of human odor is genetic. Although some theorize that individuals mosquitoes find unattractive simply produce less in the way of attractants, an alternative theory asserts that they produce components that interfere with mosquitoes’ ability to find their hosts. In fact, a 2008 study identified five such chemicals produced by humans found unattractive to mosquitoes.
- Ann Coulter gets red-carded. But at least she's wormed her way back into the limelight for a few minutes.
- Remember when Mitt Romney explained to all of us that corporations are people, too? Apparently the Supreme Court is in agreement. In a serious blow to women's reproductive rights, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby that for-profit employers with religious objections do not have to provide contraception coverage under Obamacare. So not only are corporations people now, but they also have religious preferences. We can't wait until they have the right to marry.
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- On today's Kagro in the Morning show, Greg Dworkin rounds up Hobby Lobby commentary. SCOTUSBlog ≠ SCOTUS. What's so "narrow" about it? Gun show GunFAIL updates. Responsible gun owner so law-abiding, he'll disobey a new law mandating responsible shooting, for freedom.
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