Daily Threat Assessment - Rolling Stone
Home Politics Politics Lists

Daily Threat Assessment

The good, the bad, and the scary

Governor, Chris Christie, Meet the Press, new jersey, Daily Threat Assessment

William B. Plowman/NBC/NBC

The good, the bad, and the scary

Play video

(no title)

WITH US

HMM, SCHWEDDY BALLS ICE CREAM


Rumor has it Ben & Jerry's is developing a new "Schweddy Balls"-themed flavor in honor of the immortal SNL skit starring Ana Gasteyer, Molly Shannon, and Alec Baldwin. If the rumors are true, the flavor will arrive sometime in September and run through Christmas, but a Ben & Jerry's rep was keeping mum, explaining "we like all of our new flavors to have an element of surprise." [Gothamist]

Courtesy of Amber Sessions

(no title)

AGAINST US

HOME SWEET SNAKE-INFESTED HOME


Shortly after buying their dream home in rural Idaho, Ben Sessions and his wife discovered it was infested with thousands of snakes. (They were tipped off by a slithering sound behind the walls at night a the foul-smelling musk in their drinking water.) So numerous were the two-foot-long snakes that Sessions killed 42 in a single day. Turns out their neighbors had known about the snakes. "I felt bad," said Dustin Chambers, a local. "By the time we knew someone had bought it, they were already moving in. It was too late." The house is back on the market. [AP]

Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post/Getty Images

(no title)

AGAINST US

TEA PARTY SUMMER CAMP


The Tampa 912 Project, a tea party group, is offering a weeklong summer camp in July where Florida kids can learn about the principles that make America America, such as: "America is good"; "I believe in God, and he is the center of my life"; and "I work hard for what I have and I will share it with who I want to. Government cannot force me to be charitable." [Washington Post]

(no title)

AGAINST US

TUNISIA'S 'HEAVY-HANDED' TOURISM CAMPAIGN


A new ad campaign designed to coax back tourists scared off by the Tunisia's violent revolution last January includes billboards of a woman getting a massage, next to the words: "They say that in Tunisia some people receive heavy-handed treatment" – a reference to the 200 or more people killed at the hands of the ousted Tunisian regime during the uprising. The firm behind the ads says the idea is "to be provocative to address possible fears around the issue of the Arab spring." [BBC]

 

H. Armstrong Roberts/Retrofile/Getty Images

(no title)

AGAINST US

American kids don't know much about history


A mere 13 percent of high school seniors are proficient in American history, compared with 22 percent of fourth-graders and 18 percent of eighth-graders, according to a national survey. One question asked fourth-graders to name an important result of the U.S. building canals in the 1800s; only 44 percent knew that it increased trade among states. Educators blame the lagging scores on the No Child Left Behind Act and its test-driven focus on reading and math. "We need to make sure other subjects like history, science and the arts are not forgotten in our pursuit of the basic skills," said education historian Diane Ravitch. [AP, 6/14/11]

Kaveh Kazemi/Getty Images

(no title)

AGAINST US

IRANIAN FASHION POLICE CRACK DOWN


In an effort to stave off a "Western cultural invasion," Iranian authorities have dispatched 70,000 special forces into Tehran and other cities to enforce a stringent new dress code. The "moral security plan" includes a ban on tight overcoats and shortened trousers for women and on non-traditional hairstyles, shorts and necklaces for men. [Guardian, 6/14/11]

Photo Illustration Source: GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images (Turbines), Paul Spinelli/MLB Photos via Getty Images (Flag)

(no title)

WITH US

Americans want action on climate


Washington is doing nothing about climate change because voters don't care about it, right? Wrong. Fully 71 percent of the Americans think Congress and the Obama administration should make tackling the problem a top priority, according to a Yale University study. An even larger number – 91 percent – said developing alternative sources of energy should be a priority for the federal government.  [Treehugger, 6/14/11]

SHAH MARAI/AFP/Getty

(no title)

AGAINST US

World's worst countries for women


Poverty, violence, and dismal health care make Afghanistan the world's worst place to be a woman, according to a new survey. Not much better: Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Pakistan, Somalia and – unexpectedly – India, which suffers from a high rate of female infanticide and sex trafficking (India has 3 million prostitutes, almost half of them children; and 50 million girls are thought to have gone 'missing' over the past century). The survey was compiled by the Thomson Reuters Foundation to mark the launch of a website, TrustLaw Woman, which provides free legal advice for women's groups around the world. [Guardian]

OLIVIER MORIN/AFP/Getty Images

(no title)

WITH US

U.S. Army ditches 'sock-like' beret


After 10 years' service in U.S. Army's standard uniform, the black wool beret has been declared "impractical" and retired. The hat, which "does not have a visor and doesn't shield the sun, doesn't absorb sweat well," in the words of a U.S. army spokesman, will be replaced by a patrol cap, which, in addition to having a visor costs half as much. The beret will be mourned by few. As one officer remarked to the BBC, "I hate wearing a sock on my head." [BBC]

AFP/Getty Images

(no title)

AGAINST US

Diver to search for Osama's body


American diver Bill Warren says he'll believe it when he see it: he wants to scour the Arabian Sea for Osama bin Laden's corpse. Warren says the mission will cost about $400,000 and, if successful, he will photograph the corpse and take a hair sample. He says that, while it's a long shot, "we might get lucky," thanks to modern equipment. Good luck with that, Bill. [BBC]

Uriel Sinai/Getty Images

(no title)

WITH US

From Weedkiller to Killer Weed


Scotts Miracle-Gro is considering branching out into a slightly new area of gardening – medical marijuana. "I want to target the pot market," said the company's chief executive Jim Hagedorn. "There's no good reason we haven't." The idea is in its early stages, but Miracle-Gro would conceivably take over niche dirt companies that already market to growers rather than creating its own line. Hagedorn says the sour economy has forced him to think creatively about revenue, noting that he previously wouldn't have considered an idea that netted less than $10 million a year. But now, said Hagedorn, "We can't operate our business like that anymore." [WSJ, 6/14/11]

Charley Gallay/Getty Images

(no title)

WITH US

Montel Williams opening pot dispensary


Former singer and talk-show host Montel Williams is a longtime sufferer of multiple sclerosis and, as of this week, the owner of a medical marijuana dispensary in Sacramento, California. Williams credits pot with having improved his health far more than prescription drugs, and he wants to help banish the drug's stigma so that other people can benefit. "I can go get morphine pumped into my system and nobody's got a problem," he said. "But all of a sudden they're really worried if I smoked a joint!" He added: "While adhering to every single state law, we want to provide safe access for patients and really medicalize this. Patients should be put first." [Sacramento City News, 6/14/11]

Spencer Platt/Getty Images

(no title)

AGAINST US

Unsafe bus companies 'reincarnate' to dodge rules


A fresh paint job and new name is sometimes all it takes for unsafe bus companies to evade federal regulators, according to a report by ProPublica. Just days after Sky Express bus company was ordered to shut down (after an accident in Virginia that killed four), employees were found painting over the company's buses and the company operating under new names. The tactic — known as "reincarnation" — is apparently pretty common, but the Transportation Department and Congress are only now focusing on it. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), who's working on a bus safety bill, says: "These chameleon carriers are fly-by-night operators that drive under the radar screen and cut corners on safety."  [ProPublica, 6/13/11]

SABAH ARAR/AFP/Getty Images

(no title)

AGAINST US

U.S. loses $6 billion in Iraq


Starting in late 2003, the U.S. government began sending planeloads of cash – $12 billion on 21 flights – for reconstruction and other projects. Problem: federal auditors are unable to account for $6.6 billion,  and U.S. officials are beginning to suspect the money was stolen. Stuart Bowen, special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, said the missing cash may be "the largest theft of funds in national history."

Tim Graham Photo Library/Getty Images

(no title)

WITH US

Scientists create transgender goats


Scientists in New Zealand are successfully breeding female goats in males' bodies to create milk similar to human breast milk. Transgender goats are apparently born naturally on occasion, and the researchers are now breeding for the trait specifically. Though it sounds strange, a similar experiment has been done in China using cows with modified genes, notes Dr. Jimmy Suttie, one of the goat researchers. "All these experiments are supervised by vets and the animal ethics committee, and they have given us no concern at all." [TreeHugger, 6/12/11]

Chris Hondros/Getty Images

(no title)

AGAINST US

Internet dominated by opinionated loudmouths


The Internet is often hailed as a perfectly democratic virtual town hall, where participants can share information and freely interact with one another on terms of equality. But no. A recent study gathered eight million messages from news forums and discussion groups and found that 50 percent of all replies were directed at just 2 percent of people. [Scientific American, 6/13/11]

(no title)

AGAINST US

'Racist' anti-abortion ads set to debut in L.A.


A pro-life billboard campaign launching soon in Los Angeles will feature ads showing a silouhette of a baby accompanied by the text, "The most dangerous place for a Latino is in the womb." Sponsored by the Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles, the ads rip off an almost identical campaign targeting African-American women, and they have Latino groups up in arms. "These offensive billboards are nothing more than political ploys designed to stigmatize Latina women and communities of color and restrict access to reproductive health care," said the National Latina Institute in a statement. [American Independent, 6/9/11]

Dan Saelinger/Getty Images

(no title)

AGAINST US

Dream of retirement fast becoming … a dream


Working well past age 65 is fast becoming the new normal, says a new study. Nearly a fifth of Americans already toil into their late sixties and seventies, and more will join them, thanks to years of slow economic growth and wage stagnation. Workers in lower income brackets (earning an average of $11,700 per year) will have to work until age 84 to have just a 50 percent chance of funding their retirement, says the study, by the Employee Benefit Research Institute. The outlook isn't much better for higher earners: even people earning up to $72,500 will need to work until age 72. [MarketWatch, 6/9/11]

Play video

(no title)

WITH US

TX movie theater exacts revenge on loud talker


A Texas movie theater, the Alamo Drafthouse, kicked a woman out for breaking its strict no talking/texting rules. She hit back with a drunken, voicemail message (among other things, calling the Drafthouse the most "crappy ass theater" in the "Magnited States of America"). The theater in turn used her obnoxious rant in a new PSA – to discourage texting and talking during films. [Village Voice, 6/7/11]

Jiro Ose/AFP/Getty Images

(no title)

AGAINST US

Barbie destroying Indonesian rainforests?


Mattel, maker of Barbie and Ken dolls, sources its packaging from rainforests in Jakarta, Indonesia, thereby contributing to rainforest destruction, claims environmental group Greenpeace. The organization hung a sign on the Mattel building in LA that pictured a sad-looking Ken saying, "Barbie, it's over. I don't date girls that are into deforestation." The head of Greenpeace's campaign for Indonesian forests, said that "Barbie is trashing rainforests and pushing critically-endangered wildlife, like tigers, toward extinction." Mattel, for its part, said that it has "been in communication with Greenpeace on a variety of paper sourcing issues." [Scientific American via Reuters, 6/8/11]

SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images

(no title)

WITH US

Libyan graffiti artists flourish


While the news out of Libya has focused on the rebel fighters combating. Qaddafi's regime, there are other, quieter opponents taking aim as well: Libyan graffiti artists. Walls in Benghazi and beyond have become canvases for oppressed Libyans, reports the BBC. In one, a swastika-wearing devil looks down at Qaddafi, with the caption "Like father, like son!" Many of the artists draw in honor of Qais al-Halali, a young man who distributed paper cartoons of the dictator and died at the hands of Libyan police. [BBC, 6/9/11]

STR-AUSAF NEWS PAPERF/AFP/Getty Images

(no title)

AGAINST US

Osama hogged the AC


Sure, Osama bin Laden's Abbottabad compound was huge and heavily fortified, but it was no dream home, AP reports. For starters, the house had only one air conditioner, and it was in Bin Laden's room, meaning his couple dozen housemates had to sweat through 100-degree summer heat. Conditions generally were "bleak, even prison-like," say Pakistani officials, with residents subsisting on one goat per week plus some milk and eggs. And while bin Laden may have stayed cool during the summers, he shivered in the winters like everyone else, as the complex had no heating (which probably explains why in home videos he appears shrouded in blankets). [AP 6/8/11]

Joe Elbert/The Washington Post/Getty Images

(no title)

AGAINST US

Jellyfish poop messing with ocean ecosystems


Jellyfish are throwing off the ecological balance of the Chesapeake Bay and god knows where else, a new study says. Swarming "Warty comb jellies" and "Atlantic stinging sea nettles" have overrun the bay, devouring the plankton that fish eat and defecating left and right. If that isn't bad enough, bacteria feast on their excrement and then (perhaps understandably) lose the urge to reproduce, further disrupting the delicate marine food web. [Scientific American, 6/7/11]

David Paul Morris/Getty Images

(no title)

WITH US

In California, Styrofoam to go?


Styrofoam, the go-to material for to-go containers, is pretty much indestructible. In coastal California, it's also a nuisance, since it gets into storm drains and ends up in the ocean (or on beaches, where it's the second most common form of debris). And so the state senate just passed a bill prohibiting food vendors and restaurants from dispensing food in Styrofoam starting in January of 2014. San Francisco banned Styrofoam in 2007 and many localities have similar laws, but if this bill passes the state assembly in August it will be the first statewide ban in the nation. [Good, 6/8/11]

AP Photo/Houston Chronicle, Nick de la Torre

(no title)

AGAINST US

'Psychic' leads Texas police to mass grave on wild goose chase


Texas police received numerous tip from a woman claiming to be a psychic, and obtained a search warrant to investigate her claims that up to 30 bodies were hidden inside a home in rural Hardin. Media went nuts, and police, Texas Rangers and FBI agents searched the property, finding … absolutely nothing. Now the woman could face false reporting charges for wasting everyone's time. [Guardian, 6/8/11]

Play video

(no title)

WITH US

Millionaires to Obama: Raise our taxes!


A 200-strong group called Patriotic Millionaires for Fiscal Strength is demanding that President Obama please raise their taxes. "For the fiscal health of our nation and the well-being of our fellow citizens," pleads a message to Obama on the group's website, "we ask that you increase taxes on incomes over $1,000,000." It goes on: "Our country has been good to us. It provided a foundation through which we could succeed. Now, we want to do our part to keep that foundation strong so that others can succeed as we have. Please do the right thing for our country. Raise our taxes." [NPR, 6/8/11]

Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger

Bill Clark/Roll Call/Getty Images

(no title)

AGAINST US

Freshman GOP reps spending big


GOP House freshmen may be talking about cutting trillions of dollars from the federal budget, but when it comes to spending they don't always practice what they preach. At least 15 rookies have shelled out tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars on postage, car leases and campaign consultants. Case in point: Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger spent a staggering $78,518 on pamphlets and mailings. There's nothing improper about such spending, but as Politico notes, it suggests that some GOP newbies, despite their rhetoric, "are already enjoying the perks of their congressional office budget." [Politico, 6/8/11]

Arrow Created with Sketch. Calendar Created with Sketch. Path Created with Sketch. Shape Created with Sketch. Plus Created with Sketch. minus Created with Sketch.