Federal Government Is Supplying Schools With Assault Rifles, Grenade Launchers and Other Military Gear

How mad is this? In addition to turning America’s local police forces into paramilitary occupying forces, the Federal government is also sending assault rifles, grenade launchers and all sorts of other military gear to public schools. Yes, you read that right, story via the Wall Street Journal:

A federal program that has drawn criticism in recent weeks for supplying surplus military gear to local police has also provided rifles, grenade launchers and armored vehicles to public schools, some of which were unprepared for what they were getting.

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In the wake of school shootings in Sandy Hook, Conn., and elsewhere, some school security departments developed SWAT teams, added weapons to deal with any contingency and called on the federal government to help supply the gear. But now the program is facing renewed scrutiny from both outside observers and police using the program.

In south Texas, near the Mexican border, the sprawling Edinburg Consolidated Independent School District has 34,700 students and operates its own SWAT team, thanks in part to military gear it was given in recent years.

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People Are Attracted to the Body Odor of Others with Similar Political Beliefs

By Matthew Hurst via Flickr. (CC by 2.0)

By Matthew Hurst via Flickr. (CC by 2.0)

Via ScienceDaily:

A new study reveals that people find the smell of others with similar political opinions to be attractive, suggesting that one of the reasons why so many spouses share similar political views is because they were initially and subconsciously attracted to each other’s body odor.

During the study, 146 participants rated the attractiveness of the body odor of unknown strong liberals and strong conservatives, without ever seeing the individuals whose smells they were evaluating.

“People could not predict the political ideology of others by smell if you asked them, but they differentially found the smell of those who aligned with them more attractive. So I believe smell conveys important information about long-term affinity in political ideology that becomes incorporated into a key component of subconscious attraction,” said Dr. Rose McDermott, lead author of the American Journal of Political Science study.

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Mayans Defeat Monsanto In Guatemala

Anga Bottione-Rossi00Who’s got the cojones to stand up to Monsanto and send them packing? The Mayans of Guetamala, that’s who!

IC Magazine reports on the recent victory of the Mayan People’s Movement against Monsanto’s attempt to bring their patented, genetically engineered seeds into Guatemala, displacing traditional seed diversity:

On September 4th, after ten days of widespread street protests against the biotech giant Monsanto’s expansion into Guatemalan territory, groups of indigenous people joined by social movements, trade unions and farmer and women’s organizations won a victory when congress finally repealed the legislation that had been approved in June.

The demonstrations were concentrated outside the Congress and Constitutional Court in Guatemala City during more than a week, and coincided with several Mayan communities and organizations defending food sovereignty through court injunctions in order to stop the Congress and the President, Otto Perez Molina, from letting the new law on protection of plant varieties, known as the “Monsanto Law”, take effect.

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White House backs body cameras for cops

MdTA Cops by Elliott Plack via Flickr. (cc by 2.0)

MdTA Cops by Elliott Plack via Flickr. (cc by 2.0)

via Politico:

Responding to a petition after the police shooting of an unarmed teen in Ferguson, Missouri, the White House says it supports the use of body-worn cameras by law enforcement officers.

“As Ferguson continues to heal as a community, this Administration will continue to work to ensure that our justice system, across the country, is truly just,” the response released on Monday read. “We’ll continue to work to support the use of video technology, review and evaluate law enforcement agencies that use it, and continue to engage in discussions about how this technology impacts policing, communities, and public safety.”

The original petition has gained about 154,700 signatures. A petition is required to receive 100,000 signatures before the White House is required to respond. Roy L. Austin Jr., the deputy assistant to the president for the Office of Urban Affairs, Justice and Opportunity in the Domestic Policy Council, wrote the response.

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‘They’re Right’: Citing Climate, Prosecutor Drops Charges Against Coal Blockaders

Ken Ward (left) and Jay O’Hara on the boat they used to block the delivery of 40,000 tons of coal to a power plant in Somerset. (Photo: 350Mass)

Ken Ward (left) and Jay O’Hara on the boat they used to block the delivery of 40,000 tons of coal to a power plant in Somerset. (Photo: 350Mass)

Jon Queally writes at Common Dreams:

A local district attorney in Massachusetts surprised parties on all sides on Monday after he sided with two climate justice activists who employed a “necessity defense” to justify their use of a small lobster boat to block the path of an enormous coal freighter trying to dock at the Brayton Point Power Station in the town of Somerset last year.

Several serious charges were brought against two men, Jay O’Hara and Ken Ward, for their attempt to wedge their boat, the Henry David T., between the dock and an approaching coal freighter, the Energy Enterprise, on May 13, 2013. (Read Common Dreams original reporting on the action here.)

For the brazen act of civil disobedience both O’Hara and Ward faced many thousands of dollars in fines and as much as two years in jail, but it was Bristol County DA Sam Sutter who decided that all charges in the case would be dropped after he determined that their expressed purpose—to put an end to the carbon-spewing pollution directly related to the current climate change crisis—was an adequate and defensible position.  Sutter dropped all charges against the two.

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Scotland, Sovereignty and Corporations

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David Morris writes at Common Dreams:

Since 1945 the number of nations has soared from about 60 to more than 180. The first wave of new sovereign states came with the decolonization movement of the 1960s and 1970s; the second in the early 1990s with the break-up of the Soviet Union. If Scotland votes for independence it may ignite a third wave. Dozens of would-be nations are waiting in the wings: Wales, Catalonia, Flanders, Breton, the list is long.

In 1957 in his classic book The Breakdown of Nations economist and political scientist Leopold Kohr persuasively and rigorously argued that small nations are the natural order having been throughout history the engines for enlightenment, innovation, mutual aid and the arts. The large nation state, he argued is not a reflection of improved efficiency but of superior force:

It is the great powers which lack the real basis of existence and are without autochthonous, self-sustaining sources of strength.

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How the films you’ve seen influence your choice of dog

This article was originally published on The Conversation.
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By Flora Lisica, The Conversation

Did watching 101 Dalmatians instill you with a burning desire to fill your home with dozens of monochrome puppies? A new study suggests that may often be the case. The research suggests that all those great canine characters in films have been a prominent influence on the popularity of a breed among dog owners.

The impact of 29 films released in the United States was examined, each featuring a different dog breed. Classics such as The Wizard of Oz (1939), Lady and the Tramp (1955), The Fox and the Hound (1981) and Beethoven (1992) were all judged to have influenced people’s choice of dogs. The study traces the popularity of the featured breeds for up to ten years after the film’s release.

The authors used the records of the American Kennel Club, which has been recording the numbers of registration for each dog breed since 1927, and keeps the largest such dog registry in the world.… Read the rest

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Science Says the Universe Could Be a Hologram, Computer Program, Black Hole or Bubble

What is the Universe? A hard question to answer , no doubt, but Smithsonian Magazine suggests there are ways to check:

The questions are as big as the universe and (almost) as old as time: Where did I come from, and why am I here? That may sound like a query for a philosopher, but if you crave a more scientific response, try asking a cosmologist.

This branch of physics is hard at work trying to decode the nature of reality by matching mathematical theories with a bevy of evidence. Today most cosmologists think that the universe was created during the big bang about 13.8 billion years ago, and it is expanding at an ever-increasing rate. The cosmos is woven into a fabric we call space-time, which is embroidered with a cosmic web of brilliant galaxies and invisible dark matter.

It sounds a little strange, but piles of pictures, experimental data and models compiled over decades can back up this description.

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Growing global conflict a bonanza for arms makers

Hellfire missile maker Lockheed-Martin has been among the defence companies to experience share price gains. Photo: US Air Force

Hellfire missile maker Lockheed-Martin has been among the defence companies to experience share price gains. Photo: US Air Force

via The Sydney Morning Herald:

Geopolitical instability has left many global corporations jittery.

But the world’s biggest arms producers are doing well, with shares of the top 12 publicly listed firms – based on a list by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute – rising by almost 30 per cent on average in the last year.

Stock price data on the 12 companies reveal most have benefitted in a year in which the number of conflict zones in Europe, the Middle East and Africa has risen.

While some companies have under-performed during the period, many have risen by more than 50 per cent.

The average share rise of 30 per cent compares to a 9.3 per cent gain by the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

The top 12 listed arms producers include companies such as Boeing, which makes commercial aircraft as well as defence and missile systems.

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“Do What You Love” is Terrible Advice for Creative People

Artist at Work 2 by enjosmith via Flickr. CC by 2.0

Artist at Work 2 by enjosmith via Flickr. CC by 2.0

I’m curious to see what everyone here thinks about this.

via Medium:

Is there a more common piece of career advice today than “do what you love?” I’ve heard it for ages. I certainly think that being in a bad job can be soul-crushing experience, and that liking your work lightens your life considerably.

But in the course of studying the lives of creative people, I’ve come to the ironic conclusion that for writers, artists, and just about everyone, “do what you love” is actually terrible advice.

Here’s what’s wrong with it: it’s unnecessary.

The problem with the “do what you love” mantra is in how we follow it, which is with a single-mindedness that carries unnecessary risk. We interpret “do what you love” to mean “Do only what you love and nothing else,” and the implication of that is that if you don’t practice this kind of creative monogamy, you’re being untrue to yourself.

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