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Member since: Sat Jun 23, 2012, 06:03 PM
Number of posts: 3,183

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PETA calls for Walter Palmer to be ‘hanged’ for killing Cecil the lion

In the days since suburban Minnesota dentist Walter Palmer was outed as the hunter who killed Cecil the lion, there has been no shortage of public fury.

Angry animal lovers from around the world flooded Palmer’s Yelp and Facebook page with thousands of negative reviews. Zimbabwean officials said they are investigating Palmer for poaching. An online petition urging the White House to extradite Palmer quickly sped past 100,000 signatures.
Here is the official statement from PETA co-founder and President Ingrid Newkirk:

Hunting is a coward’s pastime. If, as has been reported, this dentist and his guides lured Cecil out of the park with food so as to shoot him on private property, because shooting him in the park would have been illegal, he needs to be extradited, charged, and, preferably, hanged. To get a thrill at the cost of a life, this man gunned down a beloved lion, Cecil with a high-powered weapon. All wild animals are beloved by their own mates and infants, but to hunters like this overblown, over-privileged little man, who lack empathy, understanding, and respect for living creatures, they are merely targets to kill, decapitate, and hang up on a wall as a trophy. The photograph of this dentist, smiling over the corpse of another animal, who, like Cecil, wanted only to be left in peace, will disgust every caring soul in the world."


Posted by damnedifIknow | Fri Jul 31, 2015, 02:16 PM (62 replies)

Police brutality concerns us all, not just minorities

This will not be a column about Sandra Bland, although it could be.

Certainly there is cause for outrage over the way a Texas state trooper escalated the routine traffic stop of an indignant African-American woman into a violent arrest; she died of an apparent jail cell suicide three days later. But Chuck would say that in habitually defining police violence as a black problem, we make it smaller than it is.

Chuck is a reader who responded to a question I passed on in this space a few months back from another reader, a white woman named Tracy. “What can I do?” she asked, as a private citizen, to fight police brutality against African Americans?

*Chuck goes on to say, “No country on earth is policed as we are. We have too many law enforcement agencies and individuals. They are too heavily armed. They are too militarized. They are too quick to violence. They are rarely held accountable. The false narrative that exists regarding the dangers of police work creates an inordinate sense of fear. Mix that with guns and too much authority and you have a problem. We – all of us – have this problem.

“The hyper-violent policing that is practiced in this country is a disgrace. Yes, African Americans face it at higher rates, but that is all it is … a higher rate of the larger problem.”

*So perhaps one answer to “What can I do?” is this: Broaden the discussion, recognize that this “black” problem is in fact a human rights problem, help those who may feel removed – or safe – from police violence to understand that they are neither. "

Posted by damnedifIknow | Fri Jul 31, 2015, 12:01 PM (10 replies)

Why Blame Marijuana For Sandra Bland's Death?

In 2013 tests by TV stations in Denver and Seattle found that experienced cannabis consumers could perform satisfactorily on simulators and driving courses at THC levels as high as 47 nanograms per milliliter. Columbia University neuropsychopharmacologist Carl Hart, based on his studies of regular users, says “Bland’s levels were well below the THC levels that I have found necessary, in my experimental research on dozens of subjects, to induce intoxication: between 40 and 400 nanograms per milliliter.” In fact, says Hart, the THC level that Goldberger equates with impairment is “comparable to baseline (or sober) levels of about 10-20 nanograms per milliliter of many of my research participants.”

We don’t know enough about Bland’s pattern of cannabis consumption to say whether she qualified as a regular user. Furthermore, it’s not clear whether even a regular user would test as high as she did after three days of abstinence, which has led to speculation that she consumed cannabis behind bars. Waller County Sheriff R. Glenn Smith said a thorough inspection of her cell, including the plumbing, found no evidence of that.

Even if Bland managed to get high in jail without leaving a trace, the relevance of that detail is not obvious, since suicide is not a commonly observed side effect of cannabis consumption. As Hart notes, “the main effects of the drug are contentment, relaxation, sedation, euphoria and increased pulse and hunger.”

*Since we are talking about a black woman who was arrested by a white cop for being uppity, the invocation of marijuana as an explanation brings to mind the long history of drug-fortified Negroes as figures of fear. “Waller County officials might be mad for marijuana, but there is no evidence indicating reefer madness had its grip on Sandra Bland,” Hart writes. “It’s high time Americans called out racists when they employ the ‘drug-crazed black person’ myth.” I think that charge goes too far, since local officials may simply be desperate for any explanation of Bland’s arrest and death that does not implicate them. But if so, they will have to do better than “marijuana made her do it.”

Posted by damnedifIknow | Fri Jul 31, 2015, 12:26 AM (6 replies)

What If the U.S. Treated Teaching Like It Treats Professional Sports?

The comedians Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele have produced a pitch-perfect parody of ESPN’s Sports Center, with a twist—it’s not about professional athletics, but about professional educators. The plea that Americans care more about sports than civics is a common one, as Aisha Harris writes at Slate, yet Key and Peele have managed to make it seem fresh through their sheer enthusiasm and attention to detail.

I mean, stick around for that fake BMW ad at the end. Or for the “highlight of the day.” Or for the pair’s remarkable echo of ESPN Anchor Voice. This is a video that rewards multiple viewings.

There’s a double critique here, too. The pair clearly love good teaching, but could their focus on test scores hint that the country’s own obsession with them flows from its obsession with sports? Education, unlike football, is neither a spectator sport nor a zero-sum game.


Posted by damnedifIknow | Thu Jul 30, 2015, 09:21 PM (1 replies)

Can This Software Prevent Acts of Police Brutality?

ORANGE COUNTY, California -- In the 2002 science-fiction thriller "Minority Report," Tom Cruise plays a police captain named John Anderton. Anderton’s job is to predict crime. Using a giant touch-screen computer, he swipes left and right, and with a flick of his wrist, he can dispatch officers to a pinpointed location to nab would-be murderers and rapists before they act. By 2054 A.D., the year in which the movie is set, crime is all but eliminated.

The idea is pure fantasy, but what if you took that idea and flipped it around and applied it to the police. Instead of using technology to capture criminals before they commit a crime, what if software could be used by police departments to prevent acts of police brutality before they happen?

That idea is quickly becoming a reality.

On the fifth floor of the sheriff's office in Santa Ana, California, Lieutenant Christopher Corn, a 20-year veteran of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD), laughs off the comparison to Tom Cruise in "Minority Report." Corn, who wears an ivy-green uniform with a gun holstered to his hip, presides over the department’s newly created software division to analyze officers’ “Personal History Index,” PHI for short, a sort of software tracking system for officers on the force.

“A lot of what we do, I’m not sure it would prevent, but it might identify people where it might happen,” he says. "

*Specifically, the system tracks seven metrics: Commendations, complaints, use of force, risk management, workers compensation claims, traffic collisions and internal affairs cases. Though the system logs a wide variety of metrics, "use of force" complaints are perhaps the most pertinent."


Posted by damnedifIknow | Thu Jul 30, 2015, 03:37 PM (0 replies)

Law & Order director, a married father-of-two, charged with child sex abuse

A Law & Order director has been charged with child sex abuse for owning videos in which children as young as six strip and masturbate.

Jason 'Jace' Alexander, 51, allegedly published a short film on the file-sharing site Torrent showing a 12-year-old girl performing sex acts in June, according to a police report seen by the New York Post.

The married father-of-two was investigated after detectives found child pornography online and traced the IP address to his home in Westchester County, New York, the report claims.

*If convicted, Alexander faces up to seven years in state prison.

Alexander, who has also directed TV shows such as Rescue Me and The Blacklist, is the only child of Emmy-award-winning actress Jane Alexander.

His stepfather is director-producer Edwin Sherin, who has also directed episodes of Law & Order.

Posted by damnedifIknow | Wed Jul 29, 2015, 10:24 PM (1 replies)

Killing of Lions Goes All The Way to the White House

This week the nation is seething over the murder of Cecil the Lion in Zimbabwe's Hwange National Park by an American dentist named Walter James Palmer. Palmer used bait to lure Cecil out of the park, then shot him with a bow and arrow mortally wounding him. Hunters found Cecil later, still alive and killed and beheaded him. Palmer paid $55,000 for his macho privilege.

Few realize that President George H.W. Bush, former Vice President Dan Quayle and the late Retired Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf Jr. were proud members of SCI and pleaded with the Botswana government to keep trophy lion hunts available, for trophy hunters like them. There were reports of lions that Bush and Quayle personally killed in Africa but they remain unconfirmed.

At the risk of stating the obvious, this type of "sport" or "hunting" is mental illness."

Posted by damnedifIknow | Wed Jul 29, 2015, 12:26 PM (24 replies)

Protests planned for Minn. dentist who killed Cecil the lion

A Minnesota dentist who killed a beloved African lion named Cecil continues to face the wrath of social media users, celebrities and animal lovers around the world.

*On Twitter, people slammed Palmer's "senseless killing" of Cecil and Yelp users continue to pepper Palmer's dentistry page with insults. In the last 24 hours, the hashtag #CecilTheLion has been used nearly 300,000 times, according to Topsy, an analytics site.

Two separate protests are also scheduled to take place in front of the dentist office on Wednesday afternoon, KARE-TV reported. Meanwhile, the practice's Facebook page has been taken down and Palmer's office remained closed on Wednesday."

Posted by damnedifIknow | Wed Jul 29, 2015, 12:02 PM (3 replies)

US business groups join forces to pledge action on climate change

London/Washington: Goldman Sachs and Bank of America have joined 11 other large US companies to make a series of climate change pledges that the White House says could lead to at least $140 billion (Dh514.2 billion) in new green investments.

Apple, Google and Berkshire Hathaway are among the groups backing an Obama administration initiative to highlight business support for efforts to seal a global climate deal at a UN meeting in December.

The move is part of the administration’s ongoing push to deliver a lasting legacy on climate change in the final stretch of Barack Obama’s presidency.

Obama is hoping to capitalise on the momentum he has created in recent months to bolster his case that the US must continue to take decisive action to combat global warming, even as the issue remains politically divisive at home.

More than 1.6 gigawatts of renewable energy generating capacity would be built if the 13 US companies’ climate promises were met, the White House said, enough to power nearly one million homes.

*Berkshire Hathaway plans to invest up to $15 billion more in renewable energy, while Alcoa, the aluminium giant, will pledge to halve its US greenhouse gas emissions within 10 years, compared with their 2005 levels.

Walmart, Microsoft, PepsiCo and UPS are also taking part in the initiative, which the White House said would be followed up with another round of corporate pledges later in the year."


Posted by damnedifIknow | Wed Jul 29, 2015, 12:47 AM (0 replies)

Climate Change Causing Ocean Acidification, Low Oxygen

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Climate change is turning ocean water more acidic and creating low-oxygen "dead zones" – issues that have serious implications for the entire oceanic ecosystem.

That's the subject of a Wednesday workshop in Sacramento on the findings of the West Coast Ocean Acidification and Hypoxia Science Panel. According to Jenn Phillips, project manager with the Ocean Protection Council – an arm of the state government that advises policymakers on marine science issues – the problem affects the entire west coast.

Studies have shown much of the carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere eventually dissolves into seawater, making the ocean more acidic. Scientists believe this weakens some marine species – including corals, crabs and sponges – and is often accompanied by giant pools of low-oxygen water that drive away fish populations.

Phillips says these stressors can have a ripple effect.

"Acidification and hypoxia may affect one organism, but what does that then mean for the rest of the food chain?" she asks. "It can have really far-reaching, ecosystem-wide effects, especially when you layer this on top of a warming ocean, also from climate change."

Posted by damnedifIknow | Tue Jul 28, 2015, 11:27 PM (2 replies)
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