background preloader

Domestic

Facebook Twitter

Government Scientist Blows Whistle On Trump Administration Then Resigns In Fiery Letter. The Trump administration is not exactly known for its high regard for science – or facts in general. Now, the White House has lost itself yet another scientific advisor. Joel Clement, a government scientist and policy expert, has called quits on his career at the Department of Interior (DOI) so that he can "join with the majority of Americans who understand what’s at stake.

" In his letter of resignation to Ryan Zinke, US Secretary of the Interior and his boss, Clement condemns the White House's agenda, which he says "undermines the DOI mission and betrays the American people. " Before joining the department in 2010, Clement worked in climate adaptation for a Seattle-based conservation group called Wilburforce Foundation. Part of his job in the DOI has been to study the effects of climate change in Alaskan native communities. But Clement decided to stay. In his resignation letter, he explains his decision to leave in more detail – and he had some harsh words for Zinke. D’oh! Donald Trump Inadvertently Cripples U.S. Coal Exports. President Donald Trump, who pledged to end the alleged “war on coal” and likes to surround himself with coal miners, may have just ended U.S. coal exports from the West Coast. “In trying to land a blow on the Canadian timber industry,” says Eric de Place, policy director of Seattle, Washington’s Sightline Institute, “Trump may have accidentally knocked out the Western coal industry.”

On Monday, at the urging of the U.S. timber industry, Trump imposed tariffs of up to 24 percent on imports of Canadian softwood lumber. The issue of Canadian lumber imports has been vexed for years, but this latest hardball from Trump—especially at a time when he is threatening to pull the United States out of NAFTA—hit a nerve with Canada. On Tuesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised to stand up for Canada’s lumber industry, warning, “You cannot thicken this border without hurting people on both sides of it.” Clearly, the United States is taking a different approach. Or not. 80 percent of Chicago PD dash-cam videos are missing audio due to ‘officer error’ or ‘intentional destruction’ (Bigstock) From DNA Info, here’s the latest piece of evidence that the corruption and abuse in the Chicago Police Department aren’t limited to a few bad cops — the problems are systemic.

Why are so many police dashcam videos silent? Chicago Police Department officers stashed microphones in their squad car glove boxes. They pulled out batteries. Microphone antennas got busted or went missing. And sometimes, dashcam systems didn’t have any microphones at all, DNAinfo Chicago has learned. The article goes on like that. So where has Alvarez’s office been here? That’s it? [What good are police cameras without transparency?] Alvarez is apparently only somewhat frustrated that what appears to be a significant portion of the Chicago PD — who, let’s not forget, are government employees given the power to detain, arrest and kill — is openly and brazenly defying laws and policies aimed at holding officers accountable and keeping them transparent.

But it isn’t just Chicago. Emphasis mine. A calendar of every mass shooting in 2015. It's important to note that there is not one universally accepted definition of what constitutes a mass shooting. Mass Shooting Tracker defines a mass shooting as an event in which four or more people were shot, but others have disputed its methodology. Some counts, like the one compiled by USA Today, only track mass killings, or events in which four or more people were killed. Mother Jones also maintains a database, which like USA Today only tracks events in which four or more people were killed, but Mother Jones excludes shootings related to "gang activity, armed robbery, or domestic violence.

" On the whole, regardless of differences in classification, deaths from mass shootings make up a small fraction of deaths from gun violence. Most gun deaths in the United States (21,175 of 33,636 in 2013) are suicides. This is not to say that Americans shouldn't care about mass shootings. How They Got Their Guns. Dec. 2, 2015 Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, husband and wife, were suspected of killing 14 people at a holiday office party in San Bernardino, Calif. Four guns were recovered: a Smith & Wesson M&P assault rifle, a DPMS Panther Arms assault rifle, a Smith & Wesson handgun and a Llama handgun.

Over several years The F.B.I. found evidence that Mr. Farook was in touch with people domestically and abroad who have Islamist extremist views, according to officials. Oct. 1, 2015 Christopher Harper-Mercer, 26, killed nine people at Umpqua Community College in Oregon, where he was a student. 2008 Mr. Dec. 14, 2012 Adam Lanza, 20, shot and killed his mother in their home, then killed 26 people, mostly children, at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., using a Bushmaster XM-15 rifle and a .22-caliber Savage Mark II rifle. 2009 Mr. Aug. 5, 2012 Wade M. 1994 While in the Army at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Tex., Mr. July 20, 2012 James E. March 2012 Over four months, Mr. Jan. 8, 2011 Jared L. Oregon shooting: Statistics behind 'routine' US gun violence. Image copyright Getty Images For the 15th time since he was sworn in as US president, Barack Obama attempted on Thursday to make some sense of an act of mass gun violence and the laws that allowed it to happen.

Nine people had been killed and seven injured in a shooting at an Oregon school before the assailant was shot dead by police. The president was at turns angry, weary and apparently resigned to the intractable opposition he faces in tightening gun regulation. "Somehow this has become routine," he said. "The reporting is routine. My response here at this podium ends up being routine. " A list of some of the statistics on US gun violence reveals just how routine mass shootings and other firearm incidents are in a country with nearly as many guns as people. 62 shootings at schools 12,223 people killed in gun incidents 24,722 people injured in gun incidents Over the course of his presidency, Mr Obama has spoken publicly or issued a statement in the wake of 15 mass shootings. Reuters. When does teen sexting become child porn? Teenager Prosecuted for Possessing Own Nude Selfie. A Fayetteville, North Carolina teenager has reached a plea deal to avoid being charged with multiple sexual exploitation counts after his cell phone was found to contain nude selfies of himself.

Seventeen-year-old Cormega Copening, who took the photos of himself when he was 16, agreed to the deal in order to avoid possible jail time and being registered as a sex offender. As part of the plea, the teen agreed to random police searches without warrant for one year as well as other penalties, Fusion reports. The teenager was listed as both the victim and the perpetrator on the sexual exploitation charges.

The case has been met with controversy since the teenager, who faced up to 10 years prison time, was saddled with child pornography charges for being in possession of his own nude selfies. Copening received one count for possessing a nude selfie taken by his 16-year-old girlfriend, who was also charged in the incident and similarly agreed to a plea deal of one year probation. Dirty Rotten Ethanol Scoundrels. North Carolina Legalizes Call Girls For Politicians. North Carolina’s State Ethics Committee has just opened up a major problem for their state — they just made it legal for lobbying firms to purchase prostitutes to service politicians.

The Committee’s determination that sex had no value and that sex between a lobbyist and politician was nothing to report or in any way questionable means that a major loophole has opened up for lobbying firms. Now lobbying firms can hire people with the explicit goal to seduce and fornicate with politicians in order to garner favor. In other terms, lobbying firms can hire people who can offer sexual services for politicians, and they don’t even need to register. Now, before it is said that it is being misinterpreted, here is the actual letter from the Ethics Committee, titled “Sexual Favors or Sexual Acts as a Gift or ‘Thing of Value.'” In it, they declared that these relations have no monetary value, so do not need to be reported. Even more disturbing are the long-term implications. Deeds attack shows that our system is a mess: Column. The stabbing of Virginia state Sen. Creigh Deeds on Tuesday apparently by his son, Gus, who later committed suicide, is the latest in a string of mental health related violent incidents.

Initial news reports said Austin "Gus" Deeds had been turned away from a treatment center because no beds were available -- a claim later denied by state hospital officials. What's uncontestable is that Deeds didn't get the help that he needed. In September, it was Aaron Alexis, the Washington Navy Yard shooter who murdered 12 and wounded three before being shot to death, who made headlines. Alexis tried at least two times to get help from Veterans Affairs medical centers, but was sent packing with nothing more than a handful of pills for insomnia. The real question that needs to be answered is why can't someone who is in the midst of mental breakdown get help in our nation?

First some facts. This is a national problem. HMOs are partly to blame. Our legal system hampers our mental health system, too. Infrastructure Economic Multiplier. A recently published working paper from the San Francisco Fed shows that the fiscal multiplier of infrastructure spending is much larger than the typical government spending multiplier. Sylvain Leduc and Daniel Wilson studied the effect of unexpected infrastructure grants on state GDPs (GSPs) since 1990 and found that, on average, each dollar of infrastructure spending increases the GSP by at least two dollars. Valerie Ramey, Professor of Economics at UC San Diego and member of the National Bureau of Economic Research, reports that the typical fiscal multiplier is between 0.5 and 1.5.

Leduc and Wilson note that their results serve as a validation of Keynesian economics: We find that unanticipated increases in highway spending have positive but temporary effects on GSP, both in the short and medium run. The short-run effect is consistent with a traditional Keynesian channel in which output increases because of a rise in aggregate demand, combined with slow-to-adjust prices. Death of Former Navy SEAL Chris Kyle Puts Spotlight on PTSD. <br/><a href=" US News</a> | <a href=" Business News</a> Copy The shooting death of former Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, an advocate for veterans' mental health, has pushed the problem of post-traumatic stress disorder among American troops to the fore.

Kyle, who was known as America's deadliest sniper, was killed Saturday at a gun range in Erath County, Texas. The suspect, identified by police as 25-year-old Eddie Ray Routh, is a veteran who served in Iraq and Haiti and who police say may have been suffering from some type of mental illness from being in the military. A second man, identified by police as 35-year-old Chad Littlefield, was also shot at point-blank range and killed. "My heart is breaking," Travis Cox, director of FITCO Cares, the non-profit foundation Kyle co-founded to help ease veterans back into civilian life, said in a statement. Routh will be charged with two counts of capital murder, police said today. Taxes, Spending, Regulation and the Economy | Dispatches from the Culture Wars. An economist explains why the conservative argument that high corporate taxes and burdensome regulation are preventing businesses from hiring an prolonging the recession is false.

It begins with his TV appearance with someone from the Heritage Foundation: A couple of hours after talking to an ABC correspondent about the woeful job numbers and what might be done to improve them, I was in the Bloomberg TV studios debating a guy from Heritage. He went on for several minutes about the damage being done by high taxes, excess regulation, business “uncertainty” about future tax hikes and regulatory burdens. I asked Bloomberg’s host whether he was aware that corporate profits relative to national income had just hit a 60-year peak? He had heard rumors to that effect.

Was he aware that taxes on corporate earnings were at a 60-year low? The Heritage guy had heard that might be the case. He continues: Which regulations are achieving their goals and at what cost? Which taxes are most cost-effective? Homeland security spending: We'd have to foil 1,667 Times Square-style attacks every year to justify current spending on homeland security. - By John Mueller and Mark G. Stewart. This is adapted from Mueller and Stewart's new Terror, Security, and Money: Balancing the Risks, Benefits, and Costs of Homeland Security. Read earlier pieces about why the government refuses to subject homeland-security spending to cost-benefit analysis and how the government overestimates the risk of terrorism.

Is it possible to measure the risk of terrorism? Measuring risk can be difficult, but it is done as a matter of course in such highly charged areas as nuclear power plant safety, airplane safety, and environmental protection. There is adequate information about terrorism: There is plenty of data on how much damage terrorists have been able to do over the decades and about how frequently they attack. The insurance industry has a distinct financial imperative to understand terrorism risks to write policies for it. A conventional approach to cost-effectiveness compares the costs of security measures with the benefits as tallied in lives saved and damages averted. The true cost of 9/11: Trillions and trillions wasted on wars, a fiscal catastrophe, and a weaker America. - By Joseph E. Stiglitz. The Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks by al-Qaida were meant to harm the United States, and they did, but in ways that Osama Bin Laden probably never imagined.

President George W. Bush's response to the attacks compromised America's basic principles, undermined its economy, and weakened its security. The attack on Afghanistan that followed the 9/11 attacks was understandable, but the subsequent invasion of Iraq was entirely unconnected to al-Qaida—as much as Bush tried to establish a link. That war of choice quickly became very expensive—orders of magnitude beyond the $60 billion claimed at the beginning—as colossal incompetence met dishonest misrepresentation. Indeed, when Linda Bilmes and I calculated America's war costs three years ago, the conservative tally was $3 trillion to $5 trillion.

Today, America is focused on unemployment and the deficit. Ironically, the wars have undermined America's (and the world's) security, again in ways that Osama Bin Laden could not have imagined. Out of Control: The Destructive Power of the Financial Markets - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International. The enemy looks friendly and unpretentious. With his scuffed shoes and thinning gray hair, John Taylor resembles an elderly sociology professor.

Books line the dark, floor-to-ceiling wooden shelves in his office in Manhattan, alongside a bust of Theodore Roosevelt and an antique telescope. Taylor is the chairman and CEO of FX Concepts, a hedge fund that specializes in currency speculation. It's the largest hedge fund of its kind worldwide, which is why Taylor is held partly responsible for the crash of the euro. People like Taylor are "like a pack of wolves" that seeks to tear entire countries to pieces, said Swedish Finance Minister Anders Borg. The German tabloid newspaper Bild sharply criticized Taylor on its website, writing: "This man is betting against the euro. " A well-read man, Taylor likes to philosophize about the Congress of Vienna and the Treaties of Rome. Taylor grimaces and sighs. Markets Control Politicians In doing so, they aggravate the crisis.

Incalculable Risk. William Barclay: The Bush tax cuts: A decade of economic disaster | Contributors. Call Off the Global Drug War.