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Tom Tomorrow | Valentine's Day cards for 2015 / images.dailykos.com

Tom Tomorrow | Valentine's Day cards for 2015

 
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When science yields to freedom of expression

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  • Journalists must honor concrete evidence, especially when reporting on climate change.
  • Top Scientists To Media: Stop Using ‘Skeptic’ To Describe Climate Science Deniers

Douglas Allchin, Minneapolis (MN) Star Tribune

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ows_142326856725814.jpgFebruary 8, 2015 | Freedom of speech and freedom of the press are bulwarks of American society. Science, however, does not accept any opinion or ideology.

Science honors another pri

nciple: respect for evidence. That additional criterion can provide a challenge to newspapers hoping to serve their community on scientific issues, as reflected in a recent editorial notice on publishing claims about climate change (Readers Write, editor’s note, Jan. 31).

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Douglas Allchin is a fellow at the Minnesota Center for Philosophy of Science at the University of Minnesota.

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Related:

Top Scientists To Media: Stop Using ‘Skeptic’ To Describe Climate Science Deniers, Joe Romm, Climate Progress  

“Proper skepticism promotes scientific inquiry, critical investigation, and the use of reaso

n in examining controversial and extraordinary claims,” the letter reads. “It is foundational to the scientific method. Denial, on the other hand, is the a priori rejection of ideas without objective consideration.”

How Obama is Making the World More Dangerous

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  • No Peace
  • Robert Parry: ‘Group-Thinking’ the World into a New War

Shamus Cooke, Counterpunch

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Bomb%20with%20US%20Flag.jpgFebruary 6-8, 2015 | You’re not paranoid if you think the world feels more unstable — it is.  There’s a dangerous confluence of political, economic, and military phenomena that is producing a very hazardous international situation.   Heightened national tensions that lead to regional confrontations have become normal as economic and political winds constantly shift in the direction of instability and conflict.

At the center of each maelstrom is the U.S. Government, and instead of acting as a promoter of peace and stability the Obama administration has been a catalyst of confrontation and war.

Shamus Cooke is a social service worker, trade unionist, and writer for Workers Action.

Full story … 

Related:

Robert Parry: ‘Group-Thinking’ the World into a New War, Robert Parry, ConsortiumNews.org  / Rise Up Times

  • The armchair warriors of Official Washington are eager for a new war, this time with Russia over Ukraine, and they are operating from the same sort of mindless “group think” and hostility to dissent that proved so disastrous in Iraq.
  • Paul Craig Roberts: Russia In The Cross Hairs

The Shame of US Journalism Is the Destruction of Iraq, Not Fake Helicopter Stories

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Here we are, over a decade later, still discussing celebrity fantasies. That isn’t just bad journalism, it’s an affront to all who lost their lives in a brutal and bloody deception. Williams is just sorry about the wrong thing.

Christian Christensen, Moyers & Company

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brianwilliams-1.png(Photo: Screenshot from NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams)

February 6, 2015 | The news that NBC’s Brian Williams was not, in fact, on a helicopter in 2003 that came under fire from an Iraqi Rocket-Propelled Grenade (RPG) should come as a surprise to no one. Williams had repeated the lie on several occasions over the course of a decade until a veteran, who was on the actual helicopter that was attacked, had enough of Williams’ war porn and called the TV host out on Facebook. In a quite pathetic effort to cover his tracks, the anchor — who makes in excess of $10 million per year — claimed that his fairy tale was, in fact, “a bungled attempt by me to thank one special veteran and by extension our brave military men and women” who had served in Iraq. Twelve years, it seems, is enough time for Williams to confuse being on a helicopter that came under fire from an RPG with being on a helicopter that did not.

Given that Williams works for NBC, his participation in the construction of a piece of fiction during the US invasion and occupation of Iraq is apt. US network news, together with outlets such as CNN, aggressively cheer-led an invasion predicated on a massive falsehood: the Iraqi possession of WMD. What is jarring, however, is the fact that Williams’ sad attempt to inject himself into the fabric of the violence is getting more ink and airplay than the non-existence of WMD did back in the early-to-mid 2000s: a lie that provided the justification for a military action that has taken the lives of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians.

Christian Christensen is professor of Journalism at Stockholm University.

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Series | Black History Month: Part 1, Martin Luther King Was a Radical, Not a Saint

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  • Martin Luther King Was a Radical, Not a Saint
  • The Problem of Race in America

Peter Dreier, Huffington Post

2015-01-19-MLKbeingarrested-thumb.jpg01/19/2015 | As we celebrate his birthday, it is easy to forget that in his day, in his own country, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was considered a dangerous troublemaker. Even President John Kennedy worried that King was being influenced by Communists. King was harassed by the FBI and vilified in the media. The establishment's campaign to denigrate King worked. In August 1966 -- as King was bringing his civil rights campaign to Northern cities to address poverty, slums, housing segregation and bank lending discrimination -- the Gallup Poll found that 63 percent of Americans had an unfavorable opinion of King, compared with 33 percent who viewed him favorably.

Today King is viewed as something of an American saint. A recent Gallup Poll discovered that 94 percent of Americans viewed him in a positive light. His birthday is a national holiday. His name adorns schools and street signs. In 1964, at age 35, he was the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. Many Hollywood films -- most recently Ava DuVernay's brilliant Selma -- explore different aspects of King's personal and political life, but generally confirm his reputation as a courageous and compassionate crusader for justice. Politicians, preachers, and professors from across the political spectrum invoke King's name to justify their beliefs and actions.

Peter Dreier: E.P. Clapp Distinguished Professor of Politics, Occidental College

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Related: 

The Problem of Race in America, Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest

  • In 1964, at the height of the civil rights movement, the great organizer Ella Baker said: “Until the killing of black men, black mothers’ sons, becomes as important to the rest of the country as the killing of a white mother’s sons, we who believe in freedom cannot rest.”
  • Part 1: Cold Anger in Restless Times: The Growing Movement for Racial and Social Justice
  • Part 2: These Eight Charts Show Why Racial Equality Is a Myth in America

The Vaccine Controversy

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  • Most people are unaware that there is a controversy about vaccination. They are unaware that there is another point of view about the benefits of vaccination.
  • Part 1: One Furious Scientist’s Blistering Response To An Ignorant Anti-Vaccination Meme
  • Part 2: Virginia Lawmaker Would Like Anti-Vaxxers ‘Held Accountable,’ Is Seeking Legislation

Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest

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Part 1: One Furious Scientist’s Blistering Response To An Ignorant Anti-Vaccination Meme 

While the sheer lunacy of the arguments put forth by anti-vaxxers might raise a laugh, the consequences are deadly serious. 

Kerry-anne Mendoza, Addicting Info

Monte Wolverton 

February 1, 2015 | The anti-vaccination movement, like climate-change denial, pitches opinion and folksy anecdotes against peer-reviewed science as if it were a fair fight. When a scientist came across this ridiculous anti-vaxxer meme on the internet, s/he couldn’t help but let rip with this awesome response.

The only element of this argument I would dispute is ‘mum-led’, which smacks of sexism. This author has certainly seen a pretty even gender balance in the anti-vaccination movement, and across class and race too. The wave of anti-vaccination celebrities from Jim Carrey to Donald Trump is also un-nerving, given their public profile and ability to sway a mass audience.

Kerry-anne Mendoza is a writer and activist. 

Addicting Info: Political knowledge and news, shared by moderates, independents, and people on the left. Our goal is to be a resource to discredit right-wing lies, myths, and talking points.

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Part 2: Virginia Lawmaker Would Like Anti-Vaxxers ‘Held Accountable,’ Is Seeking Legislation 

The science is clear. Vaccines are both safe and effective. While there is some risk of a vaccine reaction, autism is not among those risks. Severe reactions to the MMR (Measles, Mumps, and Rubella) vaccine are one in one million and the benefits far outweigh the risks.

Frank Minero, Addicting Info

February 4, 2015 | A Virginia lawmaker by the name of Dr. John O’Bannon (R – Richmond) spoke with CBS6 News about a parent’s choice to vaccinate his or her children. He said he would like “to see stricter laws in place that at least hold parents accountable.”

While he didn’t clarify how he would like the law changed, he did say that this is an issue he plans to take to the Governor’s administration immediately.

Frank Minero is a writer, activist and entrepreneur. 

Full story … 

The Truth About Jobs That No One Wants to Tell You

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  • If government doesn’t spend more right now and get Americans back to work, we could be out of work for years. And the debt will be with us even longer. And politics could get much uglier.
  • What the AFL-CIO Did Not Say About Raising Wages

Robert Reich, LA Progressive

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Job-loss.giUnemployment will almost certainly remain in double digits next year — and may remain there for some time. And for every person who shows up as unemployed in the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ household survey, you can bet there’s another either too discouraged to look for work or working part time who’d rather have a full-time job or else taking home less pay than before (I’m in the last category, now that the University of California has instituted pay cuts). And there’s yet another person who’s more fearful that he or she will be next to lose a job.

In other words, ten percent unemployment really means twenty percent underemployment or anxious employment. All of which translates directly into late payments on mortgages, credit cards, auto and student loans, and loss of health insurance. It also means sleeplessness for tens of millions of Americans. And, of course, fewer purchases (more on this in a moment).

Robert Reich is an American political economist, professor, author, and political commentator. He's the Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley and Senior Fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies. He was Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration. Time Magazine named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the twentieth century.

Full story … 

Related:

What the AFL-CIO Did Not Say About Raising Wages, Ann Robertson and Bill Leumer, LA Progressive

  • The Democrats will have nothing to do with a $15 minimum wage because their handlers, the 1%, as a rule firmly reject it.
  • Let's Not Be Fooled by Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders

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