Alabama state Rep. Mary Sue McClurkin (R) is pushing legislation that would impose restrictions on abortion clinics — a move that she argues is necessary because the procedure is a major surgery that removes the largest “organ” in a woman’s body.
“When a physician removes a child from a woman, that is the largest organ in a body,” McClurkin told the Montgomery Advertiser on Thursday. “That’s a big thing. That’s a big surgery. You don’t have any other organs in your body that are bigger than that.”
A “child” is not a bodily “organ.” Indeed, children have organs of their own. The largest human organ is actually the skin. According to National Geographic, adults carry about eight pounds of skin, which is slightly above the average weight of a newborn baby.
McClurkin’s argument actually undermines the “personhood” bills being pushed around the country by other like-minded Republican lawmakers. Those pieces of legislation argue that undeveloped zygotes are people too and should therefore be given full legal rights, thus making abortion — and even certain forms of birth control — illegal.
More than 4,000 Shias in Balochistan capital hold sit-in to demand swift government action against armed Sunni groups.
Thousands of Shias in Pakistan have held a sit-in in the city of Quetta, refusing to bury their dead for a second day, demanding that security forces protect them from armed Sunni groups.
More than 4,000 women blocked a road in the southwestern city on Monday, vowing to continue their protest until the authorities take action against those behind the attack that killed 84 members of the Hazara Shia community.
Protesters chanted “stop killing Shias”.
Volunteers armed with automatic rifles and pistols on Monday guarded the streets of Hazara Town, the scene of Saturday’s attack, the AFP news agency reported.
Police said they were in talks to end the protest. However, Qayyum Changezi, a local Shia party leader, said they “will not bury the dead until a targeted operation is launched”.
Amin Shaheedi, the vice president of the Shia Wahdatul Muslemeen party, demanded control of Quetta be handed over to the army.
“Terrorists are roaming freely and we are not given any protection. Our protest will continue until we get protection,” he told reporters.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has tweeted that he has returned home following his cancer surgery in Cuba in December. Photos released on Friday were the first time Venezuelans had seen him in two months.
In a Tweet stamped 4:11 a.m. local time (841 GMT), Chavez announced that he had returned from his convalescence. After being re-elected in October, Chavez had not yet been home for a day of his fourth presidential term, which officially began on January 10.
“We have arrived again to the Venezuelan homeland,” Chavez wrote on Twitter. “Thank you my God!! Thank you my beloved people!! We will continue the treatment here.”
Muslim sectarian violence may be approaching a red line threshold moving away from localized extreme sectarianism eroding national stabilities—like that of Syria and Iraq—to regional sectarian strife. The most frightening scenario is the unrestrained complete jihad between the two sects of Islam which would cross state boundaries, utterly destroy the Middle East, destabilize Central Asia and disrupt the world.
A larger development is likely to happen under the following:
1) A continued gradual intra-state violence and mistreatment of one or the other Islamic sect will set off a larger regional sectarian struggle (Current Context)
2) Interstate rivalry and influence stirring the religious communities that gradually polarizes the two and pitches them against each other (Potential development)
3) The highest religious leaders and icons issue a fatwa or calls for sectarian jihad (Potential Development)
4) A crisis situation could become so unbearable for one or both sects that they blame each other for the failures (Potential Development)
All things being equal, there is a clear worsening of relations between the two Islamic sects in the region that has led to two recent civil wars, local uprisings, abuse, targeted terrorism, and proxy power attempts. There is a future boiling point for the current contextual frame and any of the above triggers could start a larger transnational sectarian jihad—one that is either backed by states, religious leaders, dissidents, or all of the above. It is the Shia that have the most to lose but each conflict within the states is increasingly connected to the regional impact of their faiths.
EB: The majority of black and brown people — and even poor whites — held in America’s prisons and jails are political prisoners in that they have been convicted and sentenced under a political agenda that condemns the poor for their behaviors in trying to survive.
“Little B,” Michael Lewis, was convicted as an adult when he was 14, and sentenced to life imprisonment for a murder he did not commit. The witnesses were all neighborhood drug dealers or addicts whom the State paid “reward” money or lighter sentences for drug charges they were facing. There was no physical evidence. He had an alibi, and there was a videotape, obscured by the prosecution for 10 years, of the victim’s two children identifying another man as the killer. Michael has been in prison 16 years for this wrongful conviction … The United States is the only nation in the world to try children as adults. Even the child killers of Rwanda were not tried as adults but rehabilitated as children.
TR: You have lived through the age of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and now of President Obama, who are sometimes compared to one another. Yet you see them as diametrically opposed to one another. How?
EB: Today America is involved in war in Afghanistan, armed drones killing civilians and so-called terrorists for reasons no one can clearly identify, while the Obama administration continues Bill Clinton’s welfare reform bill, which at once criminalized millions of poor women and their children and removed all so-called safety nets from them. We see other social programs being defunded without any real opposition from the Obama administration. The administration won’t fight to reduce mass incarceration or overturn the insidious “three strikes and you’re out” crime law …
Dr. King would be advocating forcefully against all of these policies. He denounced poverty in America, as he denounced capitalism. King understood that black people did not put themselves in this position of being oppressed, and that the system that had so enslaved and impoverished our people had to be overturned.
Law enforcement sources say Adam Lanza was motivated by violent video games and a strong desire to kill more people than another infamous mass murderer.
Sources say Lanza saw himself as being in direct competition with Anders Breivik, a Norwegian man who killed 77 people in July 2011.
Breivik killed eight with a bombing in downtown Oslo. He then moved to a nearby island where hunted down and fatally shot 69 people, mostly teenagers attending a summer camp.
Two officials who have been briefed on the Newtown, Conn., investigation say Lanza wanted to top Breivik’s death toll and targeted nearby Sandy Hook Elementary School because it was the “easiest target” with the “largest cluster of people.”
Evidence shows that his mind, sources say, Lanza was also likely acting out the fantasies of a video game as he killed 20 first graders and six adults at the school. For Lanza, the deaths apparently amounted to some kind of “score.”
But Lanza ended his killing spree sooner than he intended. Unlike Breivik, who surrendered, Lanza killed himself as police closed in. Just before his suicide, Lanza fired some shots at police in the school’s parking lot.
Officials have not publicly revealed what led them to the motive, but sources say investigators have found evidence Lanza was obsessed with Breivik.
They’ve also recovered what they called a “trove” of video games from the basement of Lanza’s home. Sources say Lanza spent countless hours there alone, in a private gaming room with the windows blacked out, honing his computer shooting skills.
Lanza also made multiple visits to nearby gun ranges with his mother, Nancy Lanza, where they practiced together with actual weapons. Three guns, all registered to Nancy Lanza, were used in the Sandy Hook massacre. Lanza used a fourth weapon to kill his mother before his attack on the school.
EDITOR’S NOTE: In response to this piece, Lt. J. Paul Vance of the Connecticut State Police told CBS News that the investigation into the motive for the Newtown shooting has not been completed and therefore any statements about the shooter’s intent are mere speculation.
The meteor that crashed to earth in Russia was about 55 feet in diameter, weighed around 10,000 tons and was made from a stony material, scientists said, making it the largest such object to hit the Earth in more than a century.
Large pieces of the meteor have yet to be found. However, a team from the Urals Federal University, which is based in Yekaterinburg, collected 53 fragments, the largest of which was 7 millimeters, according to Viktor Grokhovsky, a scientist at the university.
Data from a global network of sensors indicated that the disintegration of the Russia fireball unleashed nearly 500 kilotons of energy, more than 30 times the energy of the Hiroshima atomic bomb.
It is the largest reported meteor since the one that hit Tunguska, Siberia, in 1908, according to the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The agency’s new gauge of the meteor’s size was a marked increase from its initial estimate.
“We would expect an event of this magnitude to occur once every 100 years,” said Paul Chodas of NASA’s Near-Earth Object Program Office, in a statement. “When you have a fireball of this size we would expect a large number of meteorites to reach the surface and in this case there were probably some large ones.”
When a meteor lands, researchers can get a better fix about its size and composition by studying isotopes found in the fragments. But the pieces need to be found quickly because the isotopes last for only days or weeks.
Read, and pay attention to history.
The next person who recommends trickle-down to my face gets slapped in the junk or the taco.
Jeff Bingaman, chairman of the Senate energy committee, complained the other day of “widespread misunderstanding” about rising oil prices. He was being senatorially polite.
The issue of gas prices has not only been misunderstood but thoroughly distorted by relentless ideological spin from industry and its political allies, mainly Republican. Hardly a day goes by that some industry cheerleader somewhere — be it Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana or Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma — does not flay President Obama for driving up oil prices by denying the industry access to oil and gas deposits and imposing ruinous environmental rules. Senator John Barrasso, a Wyoming Republican, said last week that Mr. Obama should be held “fully responsible for what the American public is paying for gasoline.”
If only the president had the power to give us $2.50-a-gallon gasoline, as Newt Gingrich promised to do if he got to the White House. It is ridiculous to think that a president can.
One can sympathize with consumers feeling the pain of higher gas prices. But the fundamental truth is that those prices are tied to the price of oil, set by world markets. There are peaks and valleys, but their causes — a worldwide recession, an embargo or conflict in the Middle East — are beyond the control of any one country. As the chart below shows, gasoline prices rise and fall in the same pattern throughout the world. Americans historically pay much less at the pump because they pay lower taxes; when the price of a gallon spikes at $3.70 in the United States, it is closer to $8 in, say, Germany.
Because oil is a global commodity, increasing domestic production will do very little to bring down retail prices, although it does help narrow the trade deficit as America spends less on imports. On this score, America is doing much better than the Republicans will admit. In 2005, oil imports accounted for nearly 60 percent of America’s daily consumption. In 2010, for the first time in recent memory, imports were less than half of consumption, and last year, imports were only 45 percent — 8.6 million barrels a day of the 19 million consumed. There are two reasons for this welcome shift: production is up and oil consumption is down. Production of crude oil and other liquid fuels, onshore and offshore, reached about 10.3 million barrels daily in 2011, its highest level since the late 1980s.
Read more at NY Times. Article is from a year ago, but fact remains that the price of gas fluctuates due to a variety of reasons, none of which the President can control.
MOBILE, Ala. (AP) — A Coast Guard official said Monday that the cause of the engine-room fire on the Carnival cruise ship Triumph was a leak in a fuel oil return line.
Cmdr. Teresa Hatfield gave the description in a conference call with reporters and estimated that the investigation of the disabled ship would take six months.
Hatfield said the Bahamas —where the ship is registered, or flagged — is leading the investigation, with the Coast Guard and National Transportation Safety Board leading U.S. interests in the probe.
She said investigators have been with the ship since it arrived Thursday in Mobile. Since then, she said, interviews have been conducted with passengers and crew and forensic analysis has been performed on the ship.
She said the crew responded appropriately to the fire. “They did a very good job,” she said.
In an email after Monday’s conference call, Coast Guard spokesman Carlos Diaz described the oil return line that leaked as stretching from the ship’s No. 6 engine to the fuel tank.
The Triumph left Galveston, Texas, on Feb. 7 for a four-day trip to Mexico. The fire paralyzed the ship early Feb. 10, leaving it adrift in the Gulf of Mexico until tugboats towed it to Mobile. Passengers described harsh conditions on board: overflowing toilets, long lines for food, foul odors and tent cities for sleeping on deck.
Hatfield said investigators from the Coast Guard and NTSB would stay with the ship until about the end of the week, then continue work at their respective offices. She said the investigation will look further at the cause of the fire and the crew’s response, as well as why the ship was disabled so long.