From Yahoo News: http://news.yahoo.com/tea-partys-power-peaked-064500660.html
By Adam Sorensen | Time.com –
Tue, Aug 23, 2011
Host to one of the purest strains of conservatism in the nation (ranked only behind Mississippi and Wyoming by Gallup), Utah is the perfect Tea Party test tube. Its primary system, which relies on a nominating convention where party delegates get a say before candidates go to a popular vote, distills the purest form of activist sentiment. The state was the site of the first Republican incumbent defeat in 2010, when the brewsters toppled three-term Senator Bob Bennett, a watershed moment in an election cycle that saw not only Mike Lee claim victory over the establishment, but Rand Paul, Sharron Angle, Christine O’Donnell, Carl Paladino, Ken Buck and Joe Miller as well. Utah was ground zero for the whole thing. But on Monday, something surprising happened.
Jason Chaffetz, the Tea-infused two-term Rep. who won his seat in Congress in 2008 by running to the right of incumbent Chris Cannon (endorsed by no less than George W. Bush himself) and who championed the conservative Cut, Cap & Balance fantasy budget, announced he will not challenge veteran Republican Senator Orrin Hatch in a primary next year. (See Souvenirs from the Tea Party.)
Citing a desire to avoid a “multimillion-dollar bloodbath,” Chaffetz broke widely held expectations with his decision not to pursue Hatch. While it’s true that the 77-year-old entrenched Senator has spent the better part of a year scrambling right – he seemed to take note of Bennett’s downfall – and filling a formidable campaign warchest, the nominating convention would have given Chaffetz a decent shot at taking down his opponent without ever facing voters. Besides, being outspent would hardly be novel to Chaffetz, who was up against a six-to-one fundraising disadvantage in ’08, and Tea Party types have rarely shied away from fighting above their weight class. Chaffetz’s decision to pass on a Senate run may be a leading indicator that the Tea Party’s most powerful tool isn’t as sharp as it once was.
Continue reading at: http://news.yahoo.com/tea-partys-power-peaked-064500660.html
August 24, 2011
The National Science Foundation has cleared climatologist and Penn State professor Michael Mann of any misconduct in the “Climate-Gate” controversy, which became a lightning rod for climate change skeptics in 2009.
In a memo Tuesday, the NSF’s Inspector General’s office said that “the research in question was originally completed over 10 years ago. Although the subject’s data is still available and still the focus of significant critical examination, no direct evidence has been presented that indicates the subject fabricated the raw data he used for his research or falsified his results.”
“Lacking any direct evidence of research misconduct,” the review concludes, “as defined under the NSF Research Misconduct Regulation, we are closing this investigation with no further action.”
The investigation centered around thousands of e-mails stolen from the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit in Great Britain, that showed scientists discussing how to keep research skeptical of climate change out of peer-review journals, among other things. Conservatives and climate skeptics latched onto the e-mails, using them as evidence that the idea of man-made climate change is not true. The e-mails did not, in fact, undermine the broad consensus that climate change is occurring.
By Sam Stein
August 24, 2011
WASHINGTON — The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) is one of the best known and well funded anti-gay marriage advocacy groups in the country. It is also one of the biggest opponents of campaign finance disclosure laws in the country: NOM has repeatedly refused to reveal its donors and has filed multiple lawsuits in an attempt to block and reverse disclosure laws.
Since 2007, NOM has led numerous state-level ballot efforts and campaigns to block marriage equality rulings and to support anti-gay marriage candidates. But as the organization fights against the tide of moving public opinion, it has also begun opposing disclosure provisions for political donors. Since January 2009, NOM has been involved in no less than seven lawsuits in state and federal courts or before state ethics boards to block the disclosure of its donors.
NOM has not just attempted to roll back disclosure laws in the states, it has also purposefully failed to disclose the identities of its donors, often times in violation of the law, triggering state-level investigations, court cases and appeals cases.
“What’s going on here is an attempt to allow national and out-of-state interests to influence elections, ballot measures, and referenda without having to disclose,” said Adam Skaggs, senior council for the Brennan Center for Justice. “They’d rather do the spending in the dark.”
The most recent court decision against NOM came on Aug. 11. NOM violated Maine law by refusing to disclose the donors to its $1.8 million campaign to oppose a 2009 ballot referendum on gay marriage. The Maine Ethics Commission began an investigation into NOM’s donor structure, resulting in the organization filing a retaliatory lawsuit trying to block the commission’s work. The First Circuit Court of Appeals ultimately ruled against NOM.
“These [disclosure] provisions neither erect a barrier to political speech nor limit its quantity,” the appeals court opinion stated. “Rather, they promote the dissemination of information about those who deliver and finance political speech, thereby encouraging efficient operation of the marketplace of ideas.”
By Julia Whitty
Tue Aug. 23, 2011
The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) just racked up another black eye from their sustainable seafood program. According to a new paper in Current Biology, nearly one of every five fillets of Chilean sea bass genetically sampled were either not Chilean sea bass, or else not from the only area deemed to have a sustainable fishery—the South Georgia Islands/Shag Rocks fishery.
Here’s what the authors of the Current Biology paper have to say about the Chilean sea bass fishery:
The decline and collapse of many of the world’s fisheries has led to the implementation of social marketing that promotes the consumption of sustainably harvested seafood. Because the success of this strategy depends on supply chain integrity, we investigated the accuracy of eco-labels for Patagonian toothfish, marketed as ‘Chilean sea bass’ (Dissostichus eleginoides), by genetically analyzing retail fish bearing certification labels from the Marine Stewardship Council.
By Igor Volsky
Aug 24, 2011
Potential vice president running mate Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) dismissed the importance of programs like Medicare and Social Security during a speechat the Reagan Presidential Library this afternoon, arguing that the initiatives “weakened us as people”:
These programs actually weakened us as a people. You see, almost forever, it was institutions in society that assumed the role of taking care of one another. If someone was sick in your family, you took care of them. If a neighbor met misfortune, you took care of them. You saved for your retirement and your future because you had to. We took these things upon ourselves in our communities, our families, and our homes, and our churches and our synagogues. But all that changed when the government began to assume those responsibilities. All of a sudden, for an increasing number of people in our nation, it was no longer necessary to worry about saving for security because that was the government’s job.