Home Politics Politics Lists

Daily Threat Assessment

earth

Thinkstock Images/Getty

 

WITH US

 

Three-quarters of Earth's species still to be discovered

 


  Earth is home to 8.8 million species, only 1.9 of which have been "discovered" by humans, according to a new Canadian study that used complex mathematical models to arrive at  their estimate. "We are really fairly ignorant of the complexity and colorfulness of this amazing planet," said one of the study's authors. "We need to expose more people to those wonders. It really makes you feel differently about this place we inhabit." [AP]

Qaddafi

Ruscio/Getty

(no title)

 

AGAINST US

 

Libya's weapons have uncertain future post-Qaddafi

 


  The whereabouts of Libya's weapons stockpiles – including raw nuclear chemicals, 30,000-plus shoulder-fired rockets deadly chemicals – are unknown, and U.S. officials worry they could be picked up by terrorists. "There are still going to be a lot of Qaddafi loyalists who could hijack the weapons supplies and use them for an insurgency like Iraq," a member of the U.S. House Intelligence Committee told reporters. [ Huffington Post]

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

(no title)

 

AGAINST US

Activists arrested at White House to protest drilling pipeline


More than 100 activists staged a sit-in at the White House on August 20, to pressure President Obama to deny the permit for the Keysotne XL tar sands pipeline. Thousands will take part in similar events at the White House over the next two weeks, but Saturday's sit-in was the most public: among those arrested are leading environmentalist Bill McKibben, former White House official Gus Speth, and gay rights activist Lt. Dan Choi. “Better to spend a few days in jail than silently watch our planet become a permanent gas chamber, Choi tweeted. [ThinkProgress http://thinkprogress.org/green/2011/08/20/300275/keystone-xl-tar-sands-action-day-one/]

peta

(no title)

 

AGAINST US

 

PETA Goes Porno

 


  Animal-rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is branching out – into porn. PETA will launch peta.xxx to draw attention to its efforts against animal abuse and exploitation. Rumor has it the site will feature images of abused animals along with sexy shots. "Is PETA pro-animal rights, or anti-sex?," wonders Carmel Lobello of Death + Taxes. "Why would they create a website that will undoubtedly kill sex for anyone who goes there?" [The Week]

hugo chavez

Juan Barreto/AFP/Getty

(no title)

 

AGAINST US

 

Hugo Chavez still hearts Qaddafi

 


  Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez announced that his country will continue to recognize the Qaddafi regime as Libya's legitimate government. Chavez also accused the U.S. and its European allies of catalyzing conflict in the country to seize its oil; he said America's goal in the conflict is "getting the dogs to fight. Arming here, arming there, and later bombing it and we take that country." [AP]

national cathedral

Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty

(no title)

 

AGAINST US

 

National Cathedral rocked by earthquake

 


  The 5.8-magnitude quake that struck Washington, D.C. yesterday didn't just harm the Washington Monument; it also struck the National Cathedral. Pictures from in and around the building show extensive damage. The Cathedral has begun soliciting donations to help repair the structure. [ Atlantic Wire]

wealthy french want higher taxes

Rosenfeld/Getty

(no title)

WITH US

 

French elite request higher taxes

 


  A group of France's wealthiest people have signed a petition requesting a tax increase. “We are conscious of having benefited from a French system and a European environment that we are attached to and which we hope to help maintain,” says the petition. The group asks the government to create a "special contribution" fund for the rich. [WSJ]

children in poverty

Tama/Getty

(no title)

AGAINST US

Child poverty on the rise


Eight million children in 2010 had at least one unemployed parent, according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation, which released the data as part of its most recent Kids Count study. Also: in 2009, 31 million children were living in families whose incomes were below twice the federal poverty mark. [PBS]

leaked medical records

Estakhrian/Getty

(no title)

AGAINST US

30,000 online health records leak online


Electronic medical records are supposed to help doctors care for patients more efficiently and cost-effectively. But thousands of Californians have just learned about a downside to digitization. A medico-legal company put 30,000 patient records – including names, medical histories, and Social Security numbers – on a website it believed to be secure but which made the information, in the words of an employee, "available to anyone in the world with half a brain and access to Google." [New York Times]

michael vick dog kennel

Carol Guzy/The Washington Post/Getty Images

(no title)

WITH US

"Good Newz" for abused dogs


Pro football star Michael Vick notoriously ran a vicious dog-fighting ring from his Smithfield, Virginia mansion. (He nicknamed the property "Bad Newz Kennels.") Now, a non-profit organization called Dogs Deserve Better is making Vicks former home its new headquarters. DDB founder Tamira Thayne has renamed the home "Good Newz Rehabilitation Center," and is currently rehabilitating nine rescued dogs on the property. [GOOD]

Play video

(no title)

WITH US

Libyan rebels' celebrate impending victory


After months of fighting the Qaddafi's oppressive regime in Libya, the rebels have finally advanced into Libya and, thanks to YouTube, the rest of the world can watch them celebrate. Videos show flag-waving rebels singing and setting off fireworks; news sources report that Tripoli's Green Square has been renamed Martyr Square in honor of the push into the city. [The New Yorker]

mitt romney

Somodevilla/Getty

(no title)

WITH US

Things that could fit inside Mitt's monster pad


Mitt Romney is razing his California beachfront home to erect a truly gargantuan 11,000-square-foot compound. The new pad will be so enormous, reports Vanity Fair, that it could easily accommodate, among other things, the world's largest whale, a Memphis Enterprise car rental facility, and the Conde Nast cafeteria. [Vanity Fair]

perry ron paul slander ad

Somodevilla/Getty

(no title)

WITH US

Ron Paul knocks own supporter's anti-Perry ad


Last week, a Ron Paul supporter named Robert Morrow purchased a controversial ad on behalf of the made-up group Committee Against Sexual Hypocrisy, intending to embarrass new candidate Rick Perry. The ad read, "Have you ever had sex with Rick Perry? Are you a stripper, an escort, or just a 'young hottie' impressed by an arrogant, entitled governor of Texas?" Appearing on Fox News on August 19, Paul slammed the ad as "silly" and attacked the network for making the ad a talking point in the first place. "I don't know how something like that qualifies for a real question on national TV," he said. [Salon]

cancer lungs dogs

Evan Kafka/Getty

(no title)

WITH US

Dogs can sniff out lung cancer


German researchers made a stunning discovery about detecting lung cancer: dogs can be trained to use their powerful sense of smell to make early diagnoses of the disease. Using their powerful senses of smell, four pooches were able to sniff out cancer in 71 out of 100 breath samples from lung cancer patients, and correctly identified 93% of cancer-free samples. The dogs are picking up on small changes in organic compounds in the breath. [TIME]

huntsman

STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images

(no title)

WITH US

Huntsman Tells GOP Some Awkward Truths


He may be trailing in the GOP presidential polls, but props to Jon Huntsman for bringing the truth.  "I think when you find yourself at an extreme end of the Republican Party," Huntsman said on ABC's "This Week," you make yourself unelectable. He blasted recent comments by Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry and said climate change denialism threatened to make the GOP the "anti-science party." [New York Times]

million birthday wall street

Vervitsiotis/Getty

(no title)

AGAINST US

Downturn doesn't spoil the party for Wall Street 


Leon Black, whose private equity firm Apollo Global Management actually made money in the recession, threw himself a lavish 60th birthday party at his Hamptons estate. The bash, which included a performance by Elton John, is rumored to cost $1 million. “It displays a kind of moral bad taste given the vast economic problems in the country,” Michael M. Thomas, a former partner at Lehman Brothers told the Times. “This behavior suggests [the Wall Street elite] are isolated from the rest of the world."  [New York Times]

black researchers grants

LWA/Photographer's Choice/Getty

(no title)

AGAINST US

Black health researchers missing out on grant money


The National Institutes of Health commissioned a study of its own record of awarding grants, and the findings were "disturbing and disheartening," according to the group's president. For every 100 white scientists that submitted research grants, NIH financed 29; for black scientists, this number dropped to just 16. While blacks comprise 10.2 percent of the U.S. population, they make up just 1.2 percent of NIH researchers. The data is "well short of anything you could call representative in our organization," the president told reporters. [PBS]

bugnados

Zhou Chao/ChinasFotoPress/Getty Images

(no title)

 

AGAINST US

Huge "bugnados" sweep midwest


In the last six months, the midwest has been hit by nearly every kind of extreme weather: tornados, cold fronts, heat waves and devastating floods. Now, due to warm weather and flood waters, "bugnados" (massive clouds of water insects called midges) have descended on Iowa's swampy corn fields. "They really don't do us much harm [though] they can be a nuisance," entomologist Joe Kieper told reporters. "You don't want to ride your motorcycle down the road through them with your mouth open." [NPR]

marines kidney

MANPREET ROMANA/AFP/Getty Images

(no title)

WITH US

Marine gives comrade a second chance at life


Marine Lt. Patrick Wayland died during water survival training earlier this month. He was registered as an organ donor, and his family decided to donate his kidney to Sgt. Jake Chadwick, a fellow Marine with a serious kidney disease. The two men turned out to be a perfect match, and Chadwick is now in good health. "From the time you go into boot camp to the time you leave boot camp, it is about being there for your fellow Marines," said Chadwick. "This is the ultimate example of that." [AP ]

mouse plane

NOBUO IIDA/Getty Images/amana images RM

(no title)

AGAINST US

Mouse grounds plane in Sweden


A Chicago-bound plane in Sweden was grounded the other day thanks to a mouse. The animal was seen scurrying across the floor of an SAS Airbus 330 before passengers began to board. Not only was the mouse scaring passengers, said the airline, but it could have chewed through cables on board, posing a safety risk. "This is the most expensive mouse in the history of humankind," joked a passenger forced off the flight. [BBC ]

(no title)

WITH US

Karl Rove saying reasonable, decent things


Karl Rove recently slammed GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry for his "unpresidential" attack on the Fed and chairman Ben Bernanke. Then, in an August 17 appearance on Fox News, he described as offensive the idea the America is an exclusively "Christian nation."We are based on the Judeo-Christian ethic, we derive a lot from it," he said, "but if you say we’re a Christian nation, what about the Jews, what about the Muslims, what about the non-believers?” [ThinkProgress]

army armor testing defect

Nathan Blaney/Getty

(no title)

AGAINST US

Army fails to screen out defective armor


Thanks to inadequate testing, more than five million units of bullet-blocking body armor bought by the Pentagon may not meet the standards necessary to protect troops, the New York Times reports. The paper also found that defective body armor caused the deaths of 80 percent of Marines serving in Iraq who had been shot in the upper body. [NYT ]

lion king autism

Miller/Getty

(no title)

WITH US

Special "Lion King" performance to be autism-friendly


The Broadway hit musical "The Lion King" will alter its performance for a special matinee on October 2, toning down strobe lights and jarring sounds to cater to autistic children. The theater will also create three quiet areas, staffed by autism experts, in case kids feel overwhelmed by the show. [Huffington Post]

miami car pedestrian

Tim Graham/Getty

(no title)

AGAINST US

Florida most dangerous state for pedestrians


Florida has the nation's highest ratio of fatalities to walking commuters, according to the latest numbers. The state is home to four of the least safe metropolitan areas for foot traffic – Orlando, Tampa, Jacksonville and Miami – with minorities, children and the elderly at particularly high risk. [Grist ]

Anderson Ross/Getty Images/Brand X

(no title)

AGAINST US

Nice guys finish last, earn less


Nice workers earn significantly less than their meaner counterparts, according to a new study out of Cornell. Men who measured below average on "agreeableness" earned about 18 percent more than more pleasant ones," who, in the words of the study's author, "are getting the shaft." [Wall Street Journal]

howard schultz of starbucks

Casey/Bloomberg via Getty

(no title)

WITH US

Starbucks CEO asks business leaders to quit political giving


Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz has made a large request of other business leaders: cease all campaign giving until the government solves the budget deficit problem. “I am asking that all of us forego political contributions until the Congress and the President return to Washington and deliver a fiscally disciplined long-term debt and deficit plan to the American people,” Schultz wrote in an e-mail to fellow CEOs. [Bloomberg]

Piccell/Getty

(no title)

AGAINST US

Fukushima radiation made it to California


The level of radioactive sulfur in California's atmosphere spiked dramatically just two weeks after the March 2011 disaster at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi plant, according to University of California scientists. Officials say California residents face no health risks from the chemicals. [Scientific American]

solar powered boat

Fievet/AFP/Getty

(no title)

WITH US

World's largest solar-powered boat traverses the globe


The Turanor PlanetSolar, a huge 95-ton yacht, is the world's largest solar-powered ocean-going vessel. The boat's owners have set out on an ambitious journey – traveling around the globe solely fueled by the sun. PlanetSolar left Monaco in September 2010 and has has completed 322 days of its journey along the equator. [New Scientist]

Getty Images/Juice Images RF

(no title)

AGAINST US

Anti-social Americans pretend to be on the phone


Americans are increasingly reliant on their cell phones for entertainment, but they also use them as way to "avoid interacting with people around them," according to Pew. A survey found that 13 percent of cell phone users pretended to be using their phones to head off unwanted conversations with others. [Pew Research Center]

Play video

(no title)

WITH US

COLBERT GIVES PAWLENTY AN EPIC SENDOFF


On the August 15 Colbert Report, the host lamented Tim Pawlenty's exit from the GOP presidential race, following a poor showing in the Ames straw poll. "I was especially sad to see TPaw go out this way," he said, "considering the epic epicness of his first commercial." So, to honor the Pawlenty campaign that could have been, Colbert offered this homage to the former Minnesota governor. [The Colbert Report]

Play video

(no title)

AGAINST US

Bachmann flubs Elvis' birthday


Michele Bachmann wished Elvis Presley, whose songs she often plays at campaign events, a very happy birthday Tuesday in South Carolina. The only problem? Tuesday marked the anniversary of the King's death, not his birth. [Politico]

Play video

(no title)

AGAINST US

Obama's love of country: Perry goes there


Not content to seemingly threaten the Federal Reserve chairman with violence, newly-minted GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry went on to question President Obama's patriotism. A reporter asked the Texas governor if he thought Obama loved the US of A, to which the Governor replied, "I dunno, you need to ask him." Classy. [ThinkProgress]

B2M Productions/Photodisc/Getty

(no title)

WITH US

When the extra mile is a mile too far


Hong Kong-based airline Cathay Pacific canned two employees last week, after photos emerged of them having oral sex in the cockpit of a plane. Now, Cathay has decided to cancel a new ad campaign, called "People and Service," whose slogan boasts that Cathay "goes the extra mile to make you feel special." [Gawker]

Peter Scholey/Photographer's Choice/Getty

(no title)

AGAINST US

Museum displays detritus of broken relationships


The Museum of Broken Relationships houses the remnants of failed love affairs, from furry pink handcuffs to a grand piano. The exhibit, which travels the world, was created by Olinka Vistic and Drazen Grubisi as a "formal recognition of the demise of a relationship," according to the museum's website. At each of its stops, items from the permanent collection are displayed along with contributions from local heartbroken people. [GOOD]

AAMIR QURESHI/AFP/Getty Images

(no title)

AGAINST US

Pakistan may have shown China fallen U.S. helicopter


In the wake of the May raid on Osama bin Laden's Abottabad compound, Pakistani intelligence agents gave the Chinese military a look at the helicopter that crashed during the mission. The Financial Times reports that the Chinese were permitted to survey and photograph the wrecked plane, and take samples of the "stealth" skin that helped the copter fly into Pakistan undetected. Senior U.S. officials confronted the head of Pakistan's military about the situation, according to the newspaper, but he denied any collusion with the Chinese. [Politico]

Scott Eells/Bloomberg via Getty Images

(no title)

WITH US

Warren Buffett asks to pay higher taxes


On Monday, the New York Times ran an editorial penned by Warren Buffett, one of the world's richest men with an $80 billion net worth. In the piece, Buffett demands that the U.S. raise tax rates on American's wealthiest families, and says that the government has protected his "mega-rich" friends like "spotted owls or some other endangered species." He adds that he paid about $7 million in taxes last year – only 17.4 percent of his taxable income. “My friends and I have been coddled long enough by a billionaire-friendly Congress," Buffett wrote. "It’s time for our government to get serious about shared sacrifice." [Politico

Jeff Foott/Getty Images/Discovery Channel Images

(no title)

AGAINST US

Toxic shellfish cropping up in Pacific Northwest


On Friday, Washington State's health officials announced that an algal bloom, also called a red tide, is the cause of a wave of illnesses. Three people were affected by Diarrhetic Shellfish Poisoning, which is caused by a toxin brought about by red tides. "Whether this is really the first case of poisoning here, we don't know," said Vera Trainer, a marine scientist in Seattle. "But it certainly looks to me like things are getting worse." [Huffington Post]

Rubicon Holding Group

(no title)

WITH US

Richest Star Trek fan to create green amusement park


King Abdullah of Jordan is creating a $1.5 billion Star Trek amusement park. Which is remarkable enough. But he's also powering it with green technology! All of the park's electricity will be provided by renewable energy, and a visitor center will teach park guests about the importance and potential of eco-friendly energy use. [Inhabitat]

washington monument

Somodevilla/Getty

(no title)

 

AGAINST US

Washington Monument damaged in quake


In the wake of the August 23 earthquake that rattled the East Coast, the Washington Monument has been closed to visitors indefinitely. The National Park Service reported that engineers discovered "significant" cracks on both the interior and exterior of the monument. [Huffington Post]

cyndi lauper

LaVeris/FilmMagic

(no title)

 

WITH US

Cyndi Lauper opening LGBT homeless shelter


On September 1, the True Colors Residence – a homeless shelter geared toward LGBT youth – is set to open in Harlem. The shelter is a joint venture between pop icon Cyndi Lauper and a nonprofit that works with homeless families. Up to 40 percent of New York City's homeless youth identifies as LGBT. "Our primary goal," wrote Lauper in a statement, "is to provide a physically and emotionally safe and supportive environment that will empower our young residents to be the self-loving, happy and successful individuals they were meant to be." [WNYC]

pet cosmetic surgery

Williams/Getty

(no title)

 

AGAINST US

Pet plastic surgery on the rise


More and more British pets are getting plastic surgery, for both cosmetic and medical reasons. The UK's largest pet-insurance provider, Petplan, estimates that $2.5 million was spent on pet nose jobs in 2010 and $1.6 million on eye lifts. ("Neuticles," false testicular implants for neutered pets, have also become popular.) While some surgeries can improve an animal's quality of life (nose surgery can help bulldogs with breathing problems, for example) the bulk of the surgeries have been condemned by the ASPCA. [Huffington Post]

vinyl records

Getty/Fuse

(no title)

 

WITH US

Vinyl sales surge again


A vinyl revival is underway, according to Nielsen Soundscan data. This year's U.S. record sales are already 39 percent above 2010's, with sales up across Europe as well. Rock records make up the bulk of sales, with over half the top-selling albums this year coming from indie bands like Bon Iver and the Fleet Foxes. With online services like iTunes and Spotify now in the mainstream, vinyl is "just cooler than a download," says one music industry insider. [The Economist http://www.economist.com/node/21526296?fsrc=scn/tw/te/ar/backtoblack]

obama race relations

Watson/AFP/Getty

(no title)

 

AGAINST US

Race relations haven't improved under Obama


Just one-third of Americans believe race relations have gotten better since the first African-American president took office, according to a new Gallup poll, with 41 percent saying things haven't changed. Compare these numbers to the day after Obama was elected, when 70 percent of those surveyed predicted that race relations would improve. [Gallup]

Show Comments