Apple sets event for Sept. 9 – CNN.com

Apple sets event for Sept. 9 – CNN.com.

Can levitating appliances take off? – CNN.com

Can levitating appliances take off? – CNN.com.

American fighting for ISIS killed in Syria

U.S. intelligence officials confirmed Tuesday that an American who died in Syria was likely fighting for the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, increasing Americans’ concerns about the thousands of foreign fighters in the Middle East.

Douglas McAuthur McCain, 33, reportedly died this weekend in a vicious Syrian firefight between groups seeking to wrench power from President Bashar al-Assad. McCain grew up outside Minneapolis and most recently lived in San Diego.

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Another Mom Behind Bars for Letting Kids Wait in Air-Conditioned Car

Via WKYT:

A Lexington woman is behind bars after police say she left two children in a running car outside the Fayette County Detention Center.

Police arrested Brandy Becksted outside the detention center Tuesday afternoon.

She said she didn’t want to wake up the two and four-year-old children in her car, so she left them inside while she entered the facility to put money into an inmate’s account.

More Unpleasant Surprises Ahead for Obamacare

Obamacare is going to be an unexpected headache for some people when tax time rolls around next year.

As the Associated Press reported this week, income changes over the course of the year could end up chewing into tax refunds without much warning for people receiving subsidized coverage under the law:

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Visit Switzerland for mountains, chocolate, and death

Although Switzerland has traditionally been known for its Alps, banks, and neutrality, the country is becoming notorious for a more morbid phenomenon: suicide tourism.   

Of about 600 assisted suicides that occur in Switzerland annually, between 150 and 200 are provided to people who travel to the country to die, according to a study published Aug. 20 in the Journal of Medical Ethics. The study’s authors said the phenomenon is unique to Switzerland due to the country’s lack of regulations. Switzerland has yet to pass a law specifying the conditions required for legal assisted suicide, although the European Court of Human Rights recently ordered the state to pass regulations on sodium pentobarbital, the most common suicide drug. 

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Richard Dawkins, Down syndrome, and worldview

Richard Dawkins, a well-known atheist/agnostic, sowed the wind of controversy and reaped another online whirlwind of outrage when he made a statement completely consistent with his worldview. A woman on Twitter wrote, “I honestly don’t know what I would do if I were pregnant with a kid with Down Syndrome. Real ethical dilemma.” To which Dawkins replied, “Abort it and try again. It would be immoral to bring it into the world if you have the choice.”

Pro-lifers and a few of Dawkins’s fellow abortion advocates objected to his statement. Were you shocked by his remark? Most women kill their own unborn children for convenience. They do it because they can’t afford “it,” or “it” would interfere with school, work, etc. A majority of European and American women diagnosed with a Down syndrome pregnancy kill the babies in the womb, as Dawkins noted in a tweet, “Apparently I’m a horrid monster for recommending WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENS to the great majority of Down Syndrome fetuses. They are aborted.”

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Climate plan spooks Dems | TheHill

President Obama’s election-year plan to win a new international climate change accord is making vulnerable Democrats nervous.

The administration is in talks at the United Nations about a deal that would seek to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions by “naming and shaming” governments that fail to take significant action.

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City Council Tells Cops To ‘Tank the Tank’ In Davis, California

In Davis, California, the city council has given local police 60 days to kindly dispose of the military vehicle it was gifted from the federal government. According to CBS Sacramento, the Davis City Council acted Tuesday under pressure from residents who had been circulating a petition against the mine-resistant, ambush-protected (MRAP) vehicle and demanding the local police department “tank the tank”, as one protestor’s shirt read.

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Winter blackouts could hit Midwest, Mid-Atlantic, regional grid operator warns | WashingtonExaminer.com

A repeat of last winter’s deep freeze could lead to electricity blackouts in a clutch of states spanning the Midwest to the Mid-Atlantic as proposed environmental regulations propel a switch toward natural gas-fired power.

PJM Interconnection, a regional grid operator, proposed new measures aimed at ensuring it doesn’t again flirt with losing 22 percent of its electricity capacity as it did during the “polar vortex” in early January. Echoing the concerns of Republicans and some centrist Democrats who have admonished the Obama administration for rules that would restrain the use of coal-fired power, PJM noted the situation could become more dire under a “rapid transition” from coal to natural gas.

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CBO: Deficit is Down, But Debt Remains High

The Congressional Budget Office released another report on the nation’s debt and deficit picture today, and the short version goes something like this: We’ve made some short-term progress in reducing annual deficits, but the long-term debt picture is still quite bleak. It’s the calm before the storm more than a sign that all is well.

There’s no question that the fiscal situation is better than it was a few years ago. This year’s budget deficit will clock in at just $506 billion—not a small amount, but far less than the $1 trillion overruns we saw during President Obama’s first term. This year’s deficit will even be slightly smaller, relative to the size of the entire economy, than is typical over the last four decades. Projected Medicare costs—a major driver of long-term debt—have continued to be reduced compared to the increases the CBO expected just a few years ago.

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Obama Resorts to “Political Magic” to Carry Out His Stealthy Global Climate Change Strategy

Obama Wind Turbines

In Paris next year, the nations of the world are supposed to hammer out an global regime to control energy production as a way to prevent possible catastrophic climate change. Having covered United Nations climate negotiations for more than two decades, I can confidently predict that there is no way that countries will adopt a comprehensive treaty that somehow legally binds them to make specific cuts in their greenhouse gas emissions. As evidence, consider that when the Kyoto Protocol emissions limits chafed, many countries, e.g., Canada and Japan, simply ignored them and dropped out of the treaty.

Now the New York Times is reporting that President Barack Obama is working on a “politcally binding” international agreement to limit the emissions of greenhouse gases produced largely by burning fossil fuels. Such an agreement would be an end run around the pesky constitutional requirement that treaties must be ratified by two-thirds vote the Senate.

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Doctors studying 17 U.S. kids born using three-parent IVF process

A New Jersey fertility clinic is investigating the health of 17 teenagers it helped to conceive more than 15 years ago using a controversial and rare IVF procedure involving three parents, according to the British journal The Independent.

The IVF procedure, called cytoplasmic transfer, involves mixing genetic material from two women and one man. In 1996, the Institute for Reproductive Medicine and Science (IRMS) at Saint Barnabas Medical Centre in New Jersey started performing cytoplasmic transfer for women who were infertile because of genetic defects. In 1997, the process resulted in the world’s first “three-parent” embryo.

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Judge Rules for Polygamists in Sister Wives Case

Last December, Federal Judge Clark Waddoups struck down a central part of the Utah law banning polygamy. Yesterday he issued the rest of his ruling, dealing not with the statute itself but with the husband and wives at the center of the case—Kody, Meri, Janelle, Christine, and Robyn Brown, stars of the reality show Sister Wives.

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America’s most indebted generation? Gen X

Overall the GenX generation is in more debt than either millennials or boomers; the single most indebted cohort are 44 year olds, who owe on average $142,077. 

Millennials may owe more in student loans than any American generation, but their Generation X elders are actually the most in debt.

That’s according to a study released Wednesday by Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis economists William Emmons and Bryan Noeth. The study showed that the single most indebted birth cohort in the nation are 44 year olds, who owe on average $142,077, most of that composed of mortgage debt.

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A Mall With Two Minimum Wages : Planet Money : NPR

The boundary line between the city of San Jose and the city of Santa Clara runs through the Westfield Valley Fair Mall.What happens when one half of a California mall has an $8 minimum wage and the other half must pay $10 per hour?

The Westfield Valley Fair Mall straddles two cities. One side of the mall is in Santa Clara, but walk a few feet down the mall, and you’re in San Jose. In 2012, San Jose voters agreed to raise the city’s minimum wage from $8 to $10 an hour.

Philip Sandigo manages a shoe store on the $8-an-hour side. When San Jose raised the minimum wage, he lost about half his staff.

They went to the stores on the side of the mall that paid $2 an hour more.

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Gun tourism grows in popularity in recent years – San Jose Mercury News

Gun tourism is an increasingly popular thing.

The death of an Arizona firearms instructor by a 9-year-old girl who was firing a fully automatic Uzi displayed a tragic side of what has become a hot industry in the U.S.: gun tourism.

 
 

With gun laws keeping high-powered weapons out of reach for most people — especially those outside the U.S. — indoor shooting ranges with high-powered weapons have become a popular attraction

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Survey: Americans’ pessimism on economy has grown

71% of Americans now say the Great Recession “exerted a permanent drag on the economy.” In November 2009, only 49% said the same.

Americans are more anxious about the economy now than they were right after the Great Recession ended despite stock market gains, falling unemployment and growth moving closer to full health.

Seventy-one percent of Americans say they think the recession exerted a permanent drag on the economy, according to a survey being released Thursday by Rutgers University. By contrast, in November 2009, five months after the recession officially ended, the Rutgers researchers found that only 49 percent thought the downturn would have lasting damage.

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Ukraine Sees Russian Invasion as Rebel Assaults Intensify – Businessweek

Ukraine is preparing to defend itself against Russian forces in its eastern regions. “The invasion by Putin of the regular Russian army is a fait accompli,” said Anton Herashchenko, an adviser to the Ukrainian Interior Minister, on his Facebook page Thursday, while Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko canceled a visit to Turkey to focus on Ukraine’s military response. 

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko called an emergency security meeting to defend against what he called a “de facto” Russian incursion after separatists gained ground in intensified fighting.

Poroshenko canceled a state visit to Turkey to coordinate Ukraine’s military response to the “sharp deterioration” of events in rebel-held territory, he said on his website today. Stocks and futures from Moscow to New York extended declines.

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Rick Perry: ‘Folks’ Complained So State Won’t Pay My Legal Tab

Rick Perry has opted to pay his own legal fees rather than ask taxpayers to foot the bill for the curious ethics investigation of which he is the target.

Indicted Texas Gov. Rick Perry said Tuesday that he believes taxpayers should have picked up his legal tab but opted to use campaign funds “to keep from having folks grouse about it.”

The possible 2016 Republican presidential candidate told reporters in Midland that he had considered it appropriate for state funds to pay his legal fees because a criminal investigation dealt with his official duties as governor.

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Founders Didn’t Write 2nd Amendment for 9 Year Olds | Mediaite

I wonder what other parts of the Constitution do not apply to kids?

Morning Joe cohost Joe Scarborough lost it over the death of shooting instructor Charles Vacca, who was shot and killed yesterday when a nine-year-old girl lost control of an uzi.

“A man is dead and a little girl’s life is ruined,” Scarborough cried. “I say this as a father of an eleven year old girl. Who would an uzi in the hands of a nine-year-old girl? What is wrong with these people? What is wrong with this culture? What right is advanced by doing that?”

“NRA oughta take a look at that video,” cohost Mika Brzezinski said.

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Christine Lagarde, I.M.F. Chief, Under Investigation in France – NYTimes.com

French officials have placed Christine Lagarde under investigation. Lagarde is head of the International Monetary Fund, but her previous stint as finance minister under French President Nicolas Sarkozy has landed her in hot water.

Christine Lagarde, the head of the International Monetary Fund, said on Wednesday that French prosecutors had placed her under formal investigation, in an escalation of a long-running inquiry into a murky business affair that dates to her time as finance minister under President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Ms. Lagarde said in a statement through her lawyer that she was being investigated for “simple negligence,” by the Court of Justice of the Republic, the judicial body that is charged with investigating the conduct of high government officials. The court in 2011 had ordered an investigation of whether Ms. Lagarde abused her authority in a dispute involving a multimillion-dollar payout in 2008 to a French tycoon.

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Ukraine Reports Russian Invasion on a New Front – NYTimes.com

Russian troops and tanks have entered Ukrainian territory as part of a “stealth invasion,” according to The New York Times.

Determined to preserve the pro-Russian revolt in eastern Ukraine, Russia reinforced what Western and Ukrainian officials described as a stealth invasion on Wednesday, sending armored troops across the border as it expanded the conflict to a new section of Ukrainian territory.

The latest incursion, which Ukraine’s military said included five armored personnel carriers, was at least the third movement of troops and weapons from Russia across the southeast part of the border this week, further blunting the momentum Ukrainian forces have made in weakening the insurgents in their redoubts of Donetsk and Luhansk farther north. Evidence of a possible turn was seen in the panicky retreat of Ukrainian soldiers on Tuesday from a force they said had come over the Russian border.

 

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Are Rogue NSA Agents Tipping Off Tor to Its Vulnerabilities?

The Tor Project is a great way for people to cover their tracks on the Internet. Because of this, some in the federal government, specifically the National Security Agency (NSA), really dislikes Tor. So it comes as a bit of a surprise that an executive with Tor claims that NSA agents helping the project. A few of them, at least.

Andrew Lewman, who handles operations for the Internet-anonymizer tool, claimes that he receives tip-offs on “probably [a] monthly” basis that he believes come from the NSA and Britain’s equivalent agency, the Government Communications Headquarters. 

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Phoenix Veterans Given ‘Poor Quality of Care,’ But Inspector General Can’t ‘Conclusively Assert’ It Killed Them

Veterans

One of the things about sending really sick people to a crappy sawbones is that you never really can be sure if it was Dr. Shakes that did them in or the ailments they hoped to have treated. That’s the gist of a report from the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General on “allegations of gross mismanagement of VA resources, criminal misconduct by senior leadership, systemic patient safety issues, and possible wrongful deaths at the Phoenix VA Health Care System,” as the report summary puts it. Specifically, officials have been accused of shuffling waiting lists and choking off access to care in order to polish up their performance reports and reap bonuses.

The Inspector General finds that “The 45 cases discussed in this report reflect unacceptable and troubling lapses in follow-up, coordination, quality, and continuity of care.” But while some of the patients so mistreated did die, the report is unable to directly connect the crappy medical care to those deaths.

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Fracking Boom Continues To Drive U.S. Gas Prices Downward

Booming U.S. crude oil production has helped put downward pressure on prices, which have been reflected at the pump. Bloomberg recently reported that the average price for gasoline dropped 4.21 cents over two weeks to about $3.48 a gallon on Aug. 22.

According to the Energy Information Administration, gas prices hit about $3.45 on Monday and the average price is nearly 10 cents lower than the same time last year. On the East Coast, prices are more than 15 cents lower than last year and Gulf Coast drivers have seen a more than 14 cent reduction since last year.

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A Third of Obamacare’s Federal Exchange Contracts Are Already Over Budget

Earlier this summer, the Government Accountability Office reported that, all told, HealthCare.gov—Obamacare’s federally run insurance exchange system—has cost about $840 million, with more expenses on the way as an army of tech contractors and the federal government continue to work slowly toward completion. 

Now, thanks to the Office of the Inspector General (IG) at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), we have some more detail on the costs and contracts associated with building the key technological infrastructure for the law. 

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Jennifer Marohasy: Australian Bureau of Meteorology Corrupted Temperature Records

“The temperature record at Rutherglen has been corrupted by managers at the Australian Bureau of Meteorology.”

The temperature record at Rutherglen has been corrupted by managers at the Australian Bureau of Meteorology.

Heads need to start rolling at the Australian Bureau of Meteorology. The senior management have tried to cover-up serious tampering that has occurred with the temperatures at an experimental farm near Rutherglen in Victoria.

Retired scientist Dr Bill Johnston used to run experiments there. He, and many others, can vouch for the fact that the weather station at Rutherglen, providing data to the Bureau of Meteorology since November 1912, has never been moved.

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Mexico: Perry’s Statement That There Is ‘Very Real Possibility’ That ISIS Terrorists Crossed Border Is ‘Absurd’ « CBS Houston

 Mexico has dismissed as “absurd” Perry’s claim that Islamic fundamentalists could enter the U.S. through Mexico.

Mexican Foreign Relations Secretary Jose Antonio Meade says Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s recent statements about the possibility that Islamic fundamentalists could be entering the U.S. from Mexico are “absurd.”

Perry last week asserted that “there is a very real possibility” that Islamic terrorists could be entering the United States from Mexico across what he called an “unsecured” Southwest border. But he added that there is “no clear evidence” that they are.

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Lawmakers demand vote on US military action against ISIS | Fox News

 There’s a bipartisan push to stop executive action in Iraq.

President Obama and military leaders are weighing a host of factors as they consider expanding airstrikes into Syria, including the Assad regime’s demand to seek permission first and warnings that the strikes could trigger ISIS retaliation.

But they soon could face another complication: Congress.

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