Gov. Rick Scott of Florida, a Republican who is fighting a Democratic challenge from former Gov. Charlie Crist, was asked by The Miami Herald if he believes climate change is significantly affecting the weather. “Well, I’m not a scientist,” he said.

Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who is locked in a tight re-election race, was asked this month by The Cincinnati Enquirer if he believes that climate change is a problem. “I’m not a scientist,” he said.

House Speaker John A. Boehner, when asked by reporters if climate change will play a role in the Republican agenda, came up with a now-familiar formulation. “I’m not qualified to debate the science over climate change,” he said.

“I’m not a scientist,” or a close variation, has become the go-to talking point for Republicans questioned about climate change in the 2014 campaigns. In the past, many Republican candidates questioned or denied the science of climate change, but polls show that a majority of Americans accept it — and support government policies to mitigate it — making the Republican position increasingly challenging ahead of the 2016 presidential elections.

“It’s got to be the dumbest answer I’ve ever heard,” said Michael McKenna, a Republican energy lobbyist who has advised House Republicans and conservative political advocacy groups on energy and climate change messaging. “Using that logic would disqualify politicians from voting on anything. Most politicians aren’t scientists, but they vote on science policy. They have opinions on Ebola, but they’re not epidemiologists. They shape highway and infrastructure laws, but they’re not engineers.”

— 

The New York Times, "Why Republicans Keep Telling Everyone They’re Not Scientists."

You’ve gotta love the Jesus H. Christedness of it all.

At least to some degree, the Tea Party movement is an outlet for mobilizing and expressing racialized grievances which have been symbolically magnified by the election of the nation’s first black president. The findings suggest that, among conservatives, racial resentment may be a more important determinate of membership in the Tea Party movement than hard-right political values.

Over 57% of Americans feel that we need to be harsher on ISIL and the ISIS and their biggest concern with the upcoming election is terrorism - specifically - Islamic extremism.

Let me make this clear: the difference between Islamic extremism and Christian extremism is that Islamic extremism preys off of young minds to indoctrinate, and demonstrates their influence by having people openly killed in full view of the public. Christian extremism, however, indoctrinates young minds in a supposed ‘democratic’ and ‘free-thinking’ society, killing a person slowly by belittling their intelligence and smothering their critical thinking capability. Then, they vote in people who align with their belief, overly fund American military arsenal, and send these young minds overseas to kill others…in full view of the world.

You want to be scared this Halloween? That type of American - I mean, Christian - extremism has been going on for as long as we’ve had the election process in this country. America has been killing innocent men, women, and children for a very long time with ‘God Bless America’ as their rally cry. ISIS/ISIL killed a couple Americans. Now, 57% feel “threatened” by terrorism.

Trick or treat?

—  Actual things that should frighten you this Halloween

Are our political leanings genetic??

Brain responses to disgusting images help reveal political leanings

Maggot infestations, rotting carcasses, unidentifiable gunk in the kitchen sink – how much your brain responds to disgusting images could predict whether you are liberal or conservative.

In a study to be published in an upcoming issue of Current Biology, an international team of scientists led by Virginia Tech reports that the strength of a person’s reaction to repulsive images can forecast their political ideology.

"Disgusting images generate neural responses that are highly predictive of political orientation even when those neural responses don’t correspond with an individual’s conscious reaction to the images," said Read Montague, a Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute professor who led the study. "Remarkably, we found that the brain’s response to a single disgusting image was enough to predict an individual’s political ideology."

Responses to disgusting images could predict, with 95 percent to 98 percent accuracy, how a person would answer questions on the political survey.

Conservatives tend to have more magnified responses to disgusting images, but scientists don’t know exactly why, Montague said.

6

Election officials in 27 states, most of them Republicans, have launched a program that threatens a massive purge of voters from the rolls. Millions, especially black, Hispanic and Asian-American voters, are at risk. Already, tens of thousands have been removed in at least one battleground state, and the numbers are expected to climb, according to a six-month-long, nationwide investigation by Al Jazeera America.

At the heart of this voter-roll scrub is the Interstate Crosscheck program, which has generated a master list of nearly 7 million names. Officials say that these names represent legions of fraudsters who are not only registered but have actually voted in two or more states in the same election — a felony punishable by 2 to 10 years in prison.

Until now, state elections officials have refused to turn over their Crosscheck lists, some on grounds that these voters are subject to criminal investigation. Now, for the first time, three states — Georgia, Virginia and Washington — have released their lists to Al Jazeera America, providing a total of just over 2 million names.

The Crosscheck list of suspected double voters has been compiled by matching names from roughly 110 million voter records from participating states. Interstate Crosscheck is the pet project of Kansas’ controversial Republican secretary of state, Kris Kobach, known for his crusade against voter fraud.

The three states’ lists are heavily weighted with names such as Jackson, Garcia, Patel and Kim — ones common among minorities, who vote overwhelmingly Democratic. Indeed, fully 1 in 7 African-Americans in those 27 states, plus the state of Washington (which enrolled in Crosscheck but has decided not to utilize the results), are listed as under suspicion of having voted twice. This also applies to 1 in 8 Asian-Americans and 1 in 8 Hispanic voters. White voters too — 1 in 11 — are at risk of having their names scrubbed from the voter rolls, though not as vulnerable as minorities.

If even a fraction of those names are blocked from voting or purged from voter rolls, it could alter the outcome of next week’s electoral battle for control of the U.S. Senate — and perhaps prove decisive in the 2016 presidential vote count.

“It’s Jim Crow all over again,” says the Rev. Joseph Lowery, who cofounded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference with Martin Luther King, Jr. Lowery, now 93, says he recognizes in the list of threatened voters a sophisticated new form of an old and tired tactic. “I think [the Republicans] would use anything they can find. Their desperation is rising.”

Though Kobach declined to be interviewed, Roger Bonds, the chairman of the Republican Party in Georgia’s Fulton County, responds, “This is how we have successfully prevented voter fraud.”

Based on the Crosscheck lists, officials have begun the process of removing names from the rolls — beginning with 41,637 in Virginia alone. Yet the criteria used for matching these double voters are disturbingly inadequate.

MILLIONS OF MISMATCHES

There are 6,951,484 names on the target list of the 28 states in the Crosscheck group; each of them represents a suspected double voter whose registration has now become subject to challenge and removal. According to a 2013 presentation by Kobach to the National Association of State Election Directors, the program is a highly sophisticated voter-fraud-detection system. The sample matches he showed his audience included the following criteria: first, last and middle name or initial; date of birth; suffixes; and Social Security number, or at least its last four digits of the Social Security Number.

That was the sales pitch. But the actual lists show that not only are middle names commonly mismatched and suffix discrepancies ignored, even birthdates don’t seem to have been taken into account. Moreover, Crosscheck deliberately ignores Social Security mismatches, in the few instances when the numbers are even collected. The Crosscheck instructions for county election officers state, “Social Security numbers are included for verification; the numbers might or might not match.”

In this March 2013 document explaining the Crosscheck program to county election officers, the instructions explicitly say Social Security numbers “might or might not match.” In the lists obtained by Al Jazeera America, alleged double voters were matched on first and last name only.

In practice, all it takes to become a suspect is sharing a first and last name with a voter in another state. Typical “matches” identifying those who may have voted in both Georgia and Virginia include:

Kevin Antonio Hayes of Durham, North Carolina, is a match for a man who voted in Alexandria, Virginia, as Kevin Thomas Hayes.

John Paul Williams of Alexandria is supposedly the same man as John R. Williams of Atlanta, Georgia.

Robert Dewey Cox of Marietta, Georgia is matched with Robert Glen Cox of Springfield, Virginia.

ARE YOU ON THE CROSSCHECK LIST?

Al Jazeera America visited these and several other potential double voters. John Paul Williams of Alexandria insists he has never used the alias “John R. Williams.” “I’ve never lived in Georgia,” he says.

Jo Cox, wife of suspected double voter Robert Glen Cox of Virginia, says she has a solid alibi for him. Cox “is 85 years old and handicapped. He wasn’t in Georgia. Never voted there,” she says. He has also never used the middle name “Dewey.”

Twenty-three percent of the names — nearly 1.6 million of them — lack matching middle names. “Jr.” and “Sr.” are ignored, potentially disenfranchising two generations in the same family. And, notably, of those who may have voted twice in the 2012 presidential election, 27 percent were listed as “inactive” voters, meaning that almost 1.9 million may not even have voted once in that race, according to Crosscheck’s own records.

Al Jazeera America met with Kevin Antonio Hayes at his home in Durham. He is listed as having voted a second time, in Virginia, with the middle name Thomas, Hayes and his mother insist that he did not vote at all.

MINORITY LAST NAMES ARE OVERREPRESENTED IN CROSSCHECK LISTS

Mark Swedlund is a specialist in list analytics whose clients have included eBay, AT&T and Nike. At Al Jazeera America’s request, he conducted a statistical review of Crosscheck’s three lists of suspected double voters.

According to Swedlund, “It appears that Crosscheck does have inherent bias to over-selecting for potential scrutiny and purging voters from Asian, Hispanic and Black ethnic groups. In fact, the matching methodology, which presumes people in other states with the same name are matches, will always over-select from groups of people with common surnames.” Swedlund sums up the method for finding two-state voters — simply matching first and last name — as “ludicrous, just crazy.”

Helen Butler is the executive director of Georgia’s Coalition for the Peoples’ Agenda, which conducts voter drives in minority communities. Any purge list that relies on name matches will contain a built-in racial bias against African-Americans, she says, because “We [African-Americans] took our slave owners’ names.” The search website PeopleSmart notes that 86,020 people in the United States have the name John Jackson. And according to the 2000 U.S. Census, which is the most recent data set, 53 percent of Jacksons are African-American.

GEORGIA DEMOCRATS ANGERED BY STEALTHY PURGE

In North Carolina, Republican officials are loudly proclaiming their hunt for alleged double voters using Crosscheck. But in nearby Georgia, Democratic leaders say they are shocked that they have been kept in the dark about the state’s use of Crosscheck lists — and the racial profile of the targeted voters.

“It’s biased, I think, both in form and intent,” says Rep. Stacey Abrams, leader of the Democrats in the Georgia state legislature. “But more concerning to me is the fact this is being done stealthfully. … We have never had this information presented to us.”

Abrams, in her second role as founder of New Georgia Project, a nonpartisan voter registration group, has, in coordination with the NAACP, already sued Georgia’s Republican secretary of state, Brian Kemp, on behalf of 56,001 voters who filled out registration forms but have yet to see their names appear on voter rolls.

Abrams is especially concerned that the Crosscheck list was crafted by GOP official Kobach. “I believe that Kris Kobach has demonstrated a very aggressive animus towards people of color … in voter registration,” she says. Abrams is now threatening legislative and legal action against Kemp.

Butler is particularly incensed that she was not informed of the use of Crosscheck’s list, because she is also a member of the board of elections in Morgan County, Georgia.

Butler invited Al Jazeera America to join a group of elderly African-Americans taking a van to Adamsville Recreation Center in Atlanta on Oct. 13, the first day of early voting. All were from a senior home next to Ebenezer Baptist Church, from where, six decades ago, King, Jr. led the movement for voting rights for African-Americans. It is also, according to Crosscheck, a hive of suspected double voters, 10 at that single address. One of them, Joseph Naylor, 62, told Al Jazeera America that to save his vote he had to file a sworn and witnessed affidavit that he had not voted in both Georgia and Louisiana.

“That is just total voter suppression,” Butler says. According to her, the idea of hundreds of thousands of Georgians illegally voting twice is “crazy. That is totally crazy, for someone to vote in two places. That’s kind of odd because we have a hard time getting them to vote [in] one place.”

Kemp did not respond to requests for comment.

THE ASIAN-AMERICAN CRIME WAVE

Al Jazeera America showed the Crosscheck lists to Martin Luther King III, who succeeded his father and Lowery to lead the SCLC. He notes that using shoddily put-together lists of supposed matches is not a new tactic. The capture of common names is certain to ensnare black voters, he says, and reminds him of the presidential race of 2000, when Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris wrongly purged voters from a list of nearly 58,000, many of them African-American. They were purged on the grounds that they were felons and thus banned from voting, which helped to hand the presidency to George W. Bush. Yet not one was found guilty of voting illegally. Once again, King notes, this minority-heavy list falsely flags fraudulent voters. Compared to the prior purge, this new one is more sophisticated, he says. “I hate to characterize it as a trick [but] it really is. It really is about trying to control who can and cannot vote.”

Interviewed at his home, King stands in front of a photo with his father and grandfather, taken when he was nine years old. “And I think [of] my dad, my grandfather, my mother and so many others who fought and gave their lives … so we might have the right to vote,” King says. “We purport to be the greatest in the world. But yet, in 2014, we are tying people’s hands and keep — trying to keep them from voting?” he asks. “We should be making it easier.”

Now, for the first time, the accusation of double voting threatens a new, fast-growing demographic: Asian-Americans.

MINORITIES MORE LIKELY TO BE TAGGED AS DOUBLE VOTERS

Fully 1 in 7 African-Americans in the participating 27 states, plus the state of Washington (which enrolled in Crosscheck but has decided not to utilize the results), are listed as under suspicion of having voting twice. This also applies to 1 in 8 Asian-Americans and 1 in 8 Hispanic voters. White voters too — 1 in 11 — are at risk of having their names scrubbed from the voter rolls, though not as vulnerable as minorities.

“I think the Asian community would be shocked to see that we are the most criminally suspect of the bunch,” says Helen Ho, commenting on the number of Chungs, Parks and Kims on the suspected double-voter lists.

Ho is a civil-rights attorney who heads Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Atlanta, based in Doraville, a legal-advocacy center in the heart of the Asian immigrant community in Georgia.

“Most of us are naturalized citizens,” she says. “Most of us have to take the citizenship exam. So we know the Constitution and the rules much better than most Americans. … So the question is, ‘Why would a disproportionate number of Asian-Americans risk breaking the law to vote twice?’ ”

On seeing his name on the list of potential double voters, Sang Park, an elderly volunteer with the advocacy center, mutters, “It’s outrageous!” Park is not upset that his name appears in the list — Sang Park is roughly as common in Korea as John Jackson is among African-Americans — but that Crosscheck has obviously not cross-checked Social Security numbers.

Ho explains that a crude purge based on common names is sure to include disproportionate numbers of Asian-Americans. “I think anyone that actually paid some mind to the way Asian-American names work, our last names and first names in common usage, would know that there’d be a disproportionate impact. I’m sure the Latino community’s the same.” In fact, a sixth of all Asian-Americans share just 30 surnames and 50 percent of minorities share common last names, versus 30 percent of whites.

AAJA is a nonpartisan group, but Ho understands, she says, why one party would be tempted to purge voters from her community. While it was widely reported that more than 90 percent of African-Americans voted for Barack Obama in 2012, many may not realize that 73 percent of Asian-Americans, whether from India, China or the Pacific Islands, favored the Democrat.

A CRIME WAVE WITHOUT CRIMINALS

With millions of suspects, one question keeps arising: Why have there been no mass convictions? Kobach proudly proclaims that Kansas has “referred” 14 voters for prosecution for double voting. And none of them has been convicted.

Yet demands to purge lists of double voters have reached a histrionic volume. In April of this year, former presidential counselor Dick Morris told Fox TV audiencesthat “probably over a million people that voted twice in [the 2012] election. This is the first concrete evidence we’ve ever had of massive voter fraud.”

In North Carolina, state officials have hired former FBI agent Charles W. “Chuck” Stuber, who played a major role in the campaign finance fraud case brought against former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards, to, in the words of their press release, “investigate cases of possible voter fraud identified by an interstate cross-check comparing election records from 28 states.”

But despite knowing the names and addresses of 192,207 supposed double voters in the state, Stuber has not nabbed a single one in his five months on the job. Josh Lawson, a spokesman for the board of elections, says, “This agency has made no determination as to which portion of these [lists] represent data error or voter fraud.” In fact, to date, Lawson admits that Stuber has found only errors and not one verified fraudulent voter.

But Lawson did shine a light on the great benefit of the Crosscheck manhunt to the state’s Republican Party, now locked in a tight battle over the U.S. Senate seat of incumbent Democrat Kay Hagan. While the use of Crosscheck has yet to produce a single indictment of a double voter, Lawson says, the program could be used for “list maintenance.” That is, voters on the list, proven guilty or not, could be subject to a process of removal from the voter rolls.

PURGED BY POSTCARD

Crosscheck instructs each participating state to send a postcard or letter to suspected double voters, requiring them to restate and verify their name and address, sign the card and return it. While this seems a benign way to save one’s voting rights, the problem, says voter advocate Butler, is that few people are likely to notice, fill out and return such a card. She reviewed the one being sent out in Georgia, which she says “looks like a piece of trashy mail that you get every day that you just throw away.”

Direct-mail expert Michael Wychocki was shown a sample postcard. First, he says, 4 percent to 20 percent of any mailing goes astray — leaving voting rights at risk for more than a million citizens simply from wrong and changed addresses. And, crucially, there’s an enormous difference between rich and poor. “The African-American Williams family, renters, may move every year,” he says, “but the Whitehall family in the million-dollar home is barely likely to have moved.”

“It looks as if they’ve broken every direct-marketing rule,” creating a card that seems guaranteed to not be returned, says Wychocki. He explains that marketers know people glance at unsolicited mail for no more than two seconds apiece, and this “single-touch” approach — no follow-up phone calls, emails, radio campaigns or other secondary-outreach methods — ensures a low response rate. Notably, neither Kansas nor other Crosscheck states will reveal how many cards are returned or how many people thereby lose their vote.

To Wychocki, the mailings are suspect, designed by people who “attempted to purposely suppress response through obfuscation.” These are likely quite different than Kansas’ income-tax demands, he says, and from Kobach’s campaign mailings. The direct-mail expert questions why people are asked to prove where they live. “American Express knows where you live,” he says.

WASHINGTON STATE DROPS CROSSCHECK

According to Crosscheck, close to a quarter of a million voters in Washington state are potential double-voting fraudsters. The Republican secretary of state, Kim Wyman, has no plans to use the Crosscheck list, preferring instead a far narrower matching program, the Electronic Registration Information Center, funded by the research and public-policy nonprofit the PEW Charitable Trusts. Notably, the ERIC lists require an exact match in several of these fields — among them, driver’s license number, Social Security number, email and phone — as opposed to just name and date of birth. Eleven states, plus the District of Columbia, are members of ERIC.

Virginia agreed to supply Al Jazeera America with the state’s ERIC match list despite a contract requiring confidentiality. That list, with only 37,405 names, was a fraction the size of Crosscheck’s, which tagged over a third of a million Virginians.

Al Jazeera America reached one of ERIC’s creators, the Pew Trusts’ David Becker, in Baltimore. He is dismissive of Crosscheck’s claim of finding legions of fraudulent double voters. Even of ERIC’s own lists, he says, “99.999 percent of those people would not be thinking of voting twice in two states.” He adds, “There’s no widespread evidence of voting in two states. There’s a real problem of millions of people registered in more than one state — though this is hardly an indication of fraud.”

In fact, the purpose of ERIC is not just to remove names but also to add those who are eligible to vote but have not yet registered, Becker says. States that use the ERIC lists must agree, by contract, to find those who have moved or who have an outdated registration in another state and add them to the voter rolls. Postcards or letters must be sent to the unregistered to get them on to the rolls and to the dual registered to update their information.

THE VIGILANTE INTEGRITY PROJECT

What pushed North Carolina to use an ex-FBI agent in tracking down alleged double voters through the Crosscheck list? Al Jazeera America traced the state’s involvement in Crosscheck to lobbying by a group of self-proclaimed vote-fraud trackers, the Voter Integrity Project. Al Jazeera America met the vote-theft vigilantes at their offices in a strip mall in Raleigh.

VIP’s director, Jay DeLancy, exhibits a stern and sincere concern over keeping fraudsters off the voter rolls. His group has garnered much media attention for exposing suspected voting by the dead, by foreigners, by felons and, now, by double voters. This has made him a welcome guest at Tea Party events. Unfortunately for DeLancy and VIP, not a single zombie, alien, criminal or body double has, in fact, been captured based on their accusations. Nevertheless, DeLancy says his group did convince the Republican leadership of North Carolina’s legislature to adopt Crosscheck and hire FBI agent Stuber.

DeLancy says he is on the trail of an unnamed double voter who is “currently on the run.” The unnamed man is, he admits, a traveling salesman, so “on the run” may mean “on the job.”

What DeLancy does not have, however, are the Crosscheck lists. Stuber has denied all requests, including several from Al Jazeera America, for a copy of the North Carolina list of supposed double voters. But unlike VIP, Al Jazeera America was able to construct much of the North Carolina roll from lists released by other states.

One of those suspected of voting twice lives a five-minute walk from the VIP offices. When confronted with his name on the Crosscheck list as a voter in both Fairfax, Virginia and in Raleigh, North Carolina, Robert Blackman Finnel Jr. confesses that he indeed once lived and voted in Virginia. But, he protests, “I swear on a stack of Bibles” that he was not in, nor voted in, that state in the 2012 election. His oath is in doubt, however, as, from his wheelchair, the senior-home resident did not appear to be able to lift more than one Bible at a time.

(By Greg Palast for Al Jazeera America)

Full Article with list of states participating in the “checklist” » HERE

 

When I arrive in my office each morning, I’m greeted by framed photos of Dr. King and Robert F. Kennedy. I don’t pretend that writing this puts me in their league. All it does is allow me to look at those pictures and know that I’m doing my part, however small, to help others. We pave the sunlit path toward justice together, brick by brick. This is my brick.
— 

Apple CEO Tim Cook comes out. He has these bricklayers to thank, but especially this one.

It can’t be said enough: “the most powerful political act any gay person can take is coming out.” 

2

So Hillary Clinton visited Macalester College here in Minnesota a couple days ago, and Young Americans for Liberty members from several local schools got together to protest her mega-hawkish foreign policy.

While they had signs (top photo), the main part of their protest was way more subtle: distributing mock programs critiquing her history of supporting war (bottom photo). People take the programs thinking they’re part of the official event, but when they read them, they find out exactly how pro-war Clinton really is.

This is possibly my favorite protest idea ever. I love it because it’s not disruptive or rude, so it’s unlikely to make people angry for superfluous reasons. It also gives you a chance to really explain your position in detail, which heckling or signs alone doesn’t make possible.

Seriously, this is fantastic. Read the students’ full report here.

This Week in War. A Friday round-up of what happened and what’s been written in the world of war and military/security affairs this week. It’s a mix of news reports, policy briefs, blog posts and longform journalism.

  • At least three have been killed in clashes in Burkina Faso — set off after protests to demand President Blaise Compaoré step down after a 27-year rule. 
  • Boko Haram abducted 30 boys and girls from a northeastern Nigerian village.
  • UN peacekeepers freed 67 hostages taken by militia groups in the Central African Republic.
  • Tunisia’s secular party Nidda Tounes claims victory in parliamentary elections.
  • Dozens died in a government barrel bomb attack on a refugee camp in the northern Syrian province of Idlib.
  • The Commission for International Justice and Accountability is working to build up cases against Syrian government officials — despite the fact that no court has yet agreed to hear them.
  • Theo Padnos, former Al-Nusra Front hostage in Syria, wrote a piece for the New York Times about his captivity.
  • Rukmini Callimachi has an incredible in-depth report on the experiences hostages like James Foley endured in ISIS captivity.
  • ISIS used one of those hostages — John Cantlie — in yet another propaganda video, as a pretend broadcast correspondent, talking up the successes of ISIS in Kobani.
  • 46 Sunni tribesmen were executed by ISIS in the city square of Hit.
  • Marine Lance Cpl. Sean Neal, 19, is the first official casualty of Operation Inherent Resolve.
  • Israel revealed a settlement construction plan for 1000 new homes in eastern Jerusalem — where Netanyahu says Israel will continue to build.
  • Clashes broke out this past Sunday at a funeral in the West Bank for a Palestinian teenager killed by Israeli forces. 
  • There was some drama this week over a US official calling Netanyahu both a “coward” and a “chickenshit.”
  • Sweden has officially recognized the Palestinian state.
  • Bahrain is really not as committed to fighting ISIS as its public stances are meant to imply.
  • This was a big week for Afghan reconstruction oversight — with the Special Inspector General of Afghan Reconstruction releasing a number of findings regarding corruption, inefficiency, overspending, etc… in reconstruction funds as well legal problems with refusals to disbar or suspend Afghan contractors known to support insurgency.
  • US Marines and British troops ended operations in Helmand province. 
  • A “senior Arab commander” and a Haqqani network leader reported to be among those killed in a US drone strike in South Waziristan yesterday.
  • The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan have their own new magazine — a glossy affair titled Ilhae Khilafat — with articles like “Restructuring of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan,” “Why I chose to join jihad,” and “What if Imran and Qadri called for shariah?”
  • After violence in the Xinjiang region, China will make changes to its national security apparatus — including the addition of a national anti-terrorism intelligence system.
  • Australia passed its Counter-terrorism Legislation Amendment (Foreign Fighters) Bill this week… a controversial and problematic piece of legislation.
  • NATO says it has intercepted Russian warplanes following what it calls an “unusual level of air activity over European airspace.”
  • 7 Ukrainian soldiers were killed over a 24 hour period over Wednesday and Thursday despite the ceasefire.
  • More cybersecurity breaches linked to the Russian government.
  • TIME reports on the long arm of the Kremlin, and its power to intimidate and punish beyond Russian borders.
  • Jailed Azerbaijani rights activist Leyla Yunus has been denied access to her lawyer.
  • 90% of those who kill journalists are never brought to justice, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.
  • The US Postal Service revealed that in 2013 it approved almost 50,000 law enforcement and internal inspection requests to secretly monitor the mail of some Americans. 
  • A UN panel convened to address the human rights accountabiliity of mercenaries/private contractors applauds the convictions of Blackwater guards in the 2007 Nisour Square shooting, but calls them the “exception rather than the rule.
  • Appeal judges rule that a Libyan man can sue the UK government over rendition claims.
  • Following a New York Times investigation, the exposure of troops to abandoned chemical weapons in Iraq will be reviewed and service members and veterans will be offered medical exams and monitoring.
  • Nobel Laureates urge the White House to release the Senate report on CIA torture.
  • The Washington Post interviews Erik Prince. 
  • The AP reports that the Army’s battlefield intelligence system — the Distributed Common Ground System — has failed to make data accessible in the field but succeeded in making money for defense companies.
  • A Pentagon intelligence official and a California mechanic were convicted on federal conspiracy charges after a weird scheme to manufacture untraceable silencers for AK-47s for a sensitive mission.

Photo: Sanliurfa, Turkey. Turkish soldiers patrol Turkey’s border province of Sanliurfa as fighting continues in Kobani. Anadolu Agency/Getty. 

  • Guy in class:I just don't get why feminists can't be for equality of the sexes.
  • Me:You would be okay with equality of the sexes?
  • Guy:Yeah, I'd be 100 percent for that.
  • Me:So what if you had to vote for the next President and had to choose between Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton?
  • Guy:See that's not fair because there's two females running. An entire half of the population isn't represented.
  • Me:And now you know how women have felt since 1776.

Good grief.  How incompetent can you get?

Ebola is a lot easier to catch than health officials have admitted — and can be contracted by contact with a doorknob contaminated by a sneeze from an infected person an hour or more before, experts told The Post Tuesday.

“If you are sniffling and sneezing, you produce microorganisms that can get on stuff in a room. If people touch them, they could be” infected, said Dr. Meryl Nass, of the Institute for Public Accuracy in Washington, DC.

Nass pointed to a poster the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention quietly released on its Web site saying the deadly virus can be spread through “droplets.”

“Droplet spread happens when germs traveling inside droplets that are coughed or sneezed from a sick person enter the eyes, nose or mouth of another person,” the poster states.

Nass slammed the contradiction.

“The CDC said it doesn’t spread at all by air, then Friday they came out with this poster,” she said. “They admit that these particles or droplets may land on objects such as doorknobs and that Ebola can be transmitted that way.”

Dr. Rossi Hassad, a professor of epidemiology at Mercy College, said droplets could remain active for up to a day.

No one has said anything negative about it. Some of the religious organizations have said they don’t agree with it, but they still support me. I haven’t really even heard much from Republicans about it. I think that’s a sign of the way things are heading. Things are changing, and I’m glad to be part of it.
—  Louis Minor Jr., an openly gay Democratic congressional candidate in Texas. How LGBT candidates are making history in Texas