Islamic State calls for terror attacks in France, Belgium

From The Times of Israel:  http://www.timesofisrael.com/islamic-state-calls-for-terror-attacks-in-france-belgium/

New video released by jihadist group encourages Muslims to wreak havoc, kill infidels in Europe

By Justin Jalil
February 14, 2015

The Islamic State terror group on Saturday released a new video threatening new attacks against France and Belgium, a month after deadly attacks in the French capital by radical Islamists left 17 dead.

The nine-minute video in Arabic and French entitled “A Message to France” claims that Islamic State operatives are deployed throughout both European countries and await orders to commit additional attacks, specifically in Paris and Brussels, Israel Radio reported.

“Islamic State fighters are deployed everywhere and your nightmare begins now, along with the real war,” the Walla news site quoted the Arabic-language video saying.

The clip opens with recorded statements by French President Francois Hollande and former president Nicolas Sarkozy, followed by a segment from a home video of Amedy Coulibaly, the terrorist responsible for attacking a kosher supermarket in Paris last month, killing four and injuring nine.

A flag of the Islamic State is prominently displayed on the wall behind Coulibaly as he declares his allegiance to the group. Coulibaly was also suspected of killing a policewoman a day before the attack.

Following Coulibaly’s segment, two French-speaking Islamic State fighters wearing military fatigues implored Muslims throughout France to kill non-believers.

Continue reading at:  http://www.timesofisrael.com/islamic-state-calls-for-terror-attacks-in-france-belgium/

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Leslie Gore (May 2, 1946 – February 16, 2015)

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Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Tobacco

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Couples Ask Appeals Court to Allow Same-Sex Marriages to Begin Immediately In Texas

From The Texas Observer:  http://www.texasobserver.org/couples-ask-appeals-court-allow-sex-marriages-begin-immediately-texas/

by
Thursday, February 12, 2015

Attorneys for two gay couples are asking a federal appeals court to allow same-sex marriages to begin in Texas immediately.

In a motion filed Thursday, attorneys for the couples asked the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to lift a district judge’s stay of his 2014 decision striking down Texas’ marriage ban.

If the 5th Circuit agrees to lift the stay, it would clear the way for same-sex marriages to begin in Texas. If the 5th Circuit doesn’t lift the stay for all same-sex couples, the motion asks that it be lifted for the limited purpose of establishing the parental rights of plaintiff Cleopatra DeLeon, whose wife, Nicole Dimetman, is expecting a child in March.

The motion cites the U.S. Supreme Court’s refusal to halt same-sex marriages in both Alabama and Florida, after federal district judges struck down bans in those states. The high court will hear appeals in April from four states where same-sex marriage bans were upheld.

“The Supreme Court’s actions indicate that the stay of the District Court’s decision is no longer necessary,” the motion states. “The District Court expressly found that the denial of the fundamental right to marry causes irreparable harm. Despite this, Plaintiffs continue to suffer irreparable harm—only now the potential consequences are graver. As discussed further below, Plaintiffs De Leon and Dimetman are expecting a child any day, and the State’s refusal to recognize their marriage risks grave harm both to the Plaintiffs and the child.”

Neel Lane, an attorney for the couples, said in a statement he remains confident the 5th Circuit will rule in favor of marriage equality.

“But same-sex marriages are proceeding across the South and Southwest, while Texas remains the most populous state where gays and lesbians are deprived of that right,” Lane said. “Today we urge the Fifth Circuit to remedy that omission immediately.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.texasobserver.org/couples-ask-appeals-court-allow-sex-marriages-begin-immediately-texas/

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We’re clean eating our way to new eating disorders

From Salon:   http://www.salon.com/2015/01/30/were_clean_eating_our_way_to_new_eating_disorders/

Is orthorexia about to join the DSM?


Friday, Jan 30, 2015

Because overdoing it is the American way, we’ve now managed to warp even healthy habits into a new form of eating disorders. Welcome to the era of orthorexia.

 As Heather Hansman notes this week in Fast Company, orthorexia differs from other forms of disorders in that the obsessive focus is not on how much or how little one consumes, but the perceived virtue of the food itself. As she reports, “Nutritionists and psychologists say that they’re seeing it more often, especially in the face of restrictive food trends, like gluten-free, and growing information about where food comes from, and how it’s grown and processed.” Though the term has been in use since Dr. Steven Bratman coined it in 1997, the uptick in cases is leading to a new push to formally include it in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders – aka the DSM 5.

Along with “gluten-free,” “juice fast” and other phrases, you may have been hearing “orthorexia” a lot more lately. Last summer, popular health and food blogger Jordan Younger made headlines – and faced intense criticism – when she announced that she was “transitioning away from veganism” as she realized that she had “started fearing a LOT of things when it came to food,” and had been struggling with orthorexia. Her blog now is called “The Balanced Blonde,” where she talks honestly about her journey to wellness. In a recent post, she observed, “It. Breaks. My. Heart. It breaks my heart to see and hear beautiful, motivated, capable young women being sucked in to an extreme diet and way of life because it has been branded to them as ‘THE HEALTHIEST WAY TO LIVE’ above all else.”

It’s true, this kind of disordered mentality does seem to disproportionately target “beautiful, motivated, capable young women.” Because I like to cook and eat, and because I’ve had life threatening cancer, in recent years I’ve grown more conscious and curious about how I feed myself and my family. To that end, I read a fair number of cookbooks and food blogs, in particular those with a bent toward healthy eating. And it has not escaped my attention that there have been several wildly successful books in the past few years – often featuring pretty, thin, blond women – that I have had to put down and think, “Oh my God, these people should not be giving advice.” But the creeping fear of food isn’t just for women who look like pilates instructors. Just last week, my spouse attempted to make dinner plans with an old friend, who quickly rejected multiple suggestions of places to eat after citing a litany of foods he would no longer touch. This is not a thigh gap aspiring, crunchy young woman we’re talking about here. This is a man in his 50s.

Complete article at:  http://www.salon.com/2015/01/30/were_clean_eating_our_way_to_new_eating_disorders/

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Climate Change Sets Stage for Droughts of ‘Unprecedented’ Proportions

From Common Dreams:   http://www.commondreams.org/news/2015/02/12/climate-change-sets-stage-droughts-unprecedented-proportions

New research predicts epic, never-before-seen dry spells for U.S. southwest and Great Plains

Deirdre Fulton
Thursday, February 12, 2015 Common Dreams

Within this century, global warming will bring about disruptive, decades-long droughts in the U.S. southwest and Great Plains, exceeding even the driest periods of the last millennium, according to new research released this month.

The study, “Unprecedented 21st-Century Drought Risk in the American Southwest and Central Plains,” was published in the inaugural edition of the journal Science Advances, put out by the American Association for the Advancement of Science. It supports previous predictions, but suggests that future droughts could be even worse than scientists have said in the past.

In fact, it projects that some time between 2050 and 2100, extended drought conditions across the U.S. will become more severe than the mega-droughts of the 12th and 13th centuries. Such arid conditions would affect millions of people, placing stress on agricultural crops and increasing the likelihood and frequency of water shortages in urban areas.

“The coming drought age—caused by higher temperatures under climate change—will make it nearly impossible to carry on with current life-as-normal conditions across a vast swath of the country,” the Guardian warned.

Jason Smerdon, study co-author and climate scientist at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, told the newspaper: “The 21st-century projections make the [previous] mega-droughts seem like quaint walks through the garden of Eden.”

The researchers compared computer projections of 21st century climate with drought records of the past millennium, notably data in the North American Drought Atlas.

According to Scientific American, “The models consistently demonstrated drought worse than at any time during that epoch, and worse than the current drought out West, which has prevailed for 11 of the previous 14 years, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.”

As Brian Clark Howard explains for National Geographic, “[t]hat’s because rising temperatures spurred by the greenhouse effect result in more evaporation and less precipitation for the region, which is already relatively dry.”

On Thursday, the U.S. Drought Monitor released its most recent statistics, showing that a full 93 percent of the state of California is under ‘severe drought.’ While the numbers show that ‘extreme’ conditions dropped from 77 percent last week to 67 percent this week, mostly in Northern California, ‘exceptional drought’ in the state—the most severe classification—remained unchanged at nearly 40 percent.

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