Category Archives: Science & technology

State: Benghazi emails involving Clinton recovered by FBI

Shocker, not.

Hillary Clinton what difference does it make

From Seattle Times: The State Department says about 30 emails involving the 2012 attack on U.S. compounds in Benghazi, Libya, are among the thousands of Hillary Clinton emails recovered during the FBI’s recently closed investigation into her use of a private server.

Government lawyers told U.S. District Court Judge Amit P. Mehta Tuesday that an undetermined number of the emails among the 30 were not included in the 55,000 pages previously provided by Clinton to the State Department. The agency said it would need until the end of September to review the emails and redact potentially classified information before they are released.

The hearing was held in one of several lawsuits filed by the conservative legal group Judicial Watch, which has sued over access to government records involving the Democratic presidential nominee. The State Department has said the FBI provided it with about 14,900 emails purported not to have been among those previously released. Clinton previously had said she withheld and deleted only personal emails not related to her duties as secretary of state.

In a separate development Tuesday, a law enforcement official told The Associated Press that the FBI is expected to release documents soon related to its investigation, which focused on whether Clinton and her aides mishandled government secrets.

The official, who was not authorized to discuss the matter by name and spoke on condition of anonymity, said documents in the case would be made public as the FBI responds to Freedom of Information Act requests. It wasn’t immediately clear when the documents would be released or exactly what they would include.

Though he described Clinton’s actions as “extremely careless,” FBI Director James Comey said his agents found no evidence that anyone intended to break the law and said “no reasonable prosecutor” would have brought a criminal case.

The FBI this month provided Congress portions of its file from the agency’s yearlong investigation.

The FBI interviewed Clinton for several hours at FBI headquarters in Washington just days before announcing its decision to close the investigation. The Justice Department accepted the FBI’s recommendation.

CNN reported that the records could be made public as early as Wednesday.

DCG

Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange claims he is about to release ‘significant’ and ‘unexpected’ material from Clinton’s election campaign

Yes, please.

clinton assange

From Daily Mail: Wikileaks co-creator Julian Assange says that he will soon release ‘significant’ material on Hillary Clinton.

He told Fox News‘s Megyn Kelly that Clinton – who has vowed to ‘run out the clock’ on various controversial stories, according to unnamed sources – may be ‘forced’ to respond to his remarks.

Assange said his team was ‘working around the clock’ on ‘a lot of material’ from the Clinton election campaign – and that his findings were ‘significant.’

Assange, who was speaking from an undisclosed location as he still faces extradition to Sweden for alleged sexual assaults in 2010, wouldn’t be drawn on exactly when the information would be released. But he promised that it would ‘absolutely’ come out before November’s election.

He also declined to say exactly what it was that Wikileaks would be releasing, but that ‘thousands of pages’ of material are being read through at the moment by his team.

Those documents came from ‘various institutions connected to the election campaign,’ he said. He added that there were ‘some quite unexpected angles that are quite interesting – some even entertaining.’

Assange remained similarly cagey about the impact of his documents on Clinton’s campaign, when Kelly asked whether the information could be a ‘game-changer’ for Trump, who is behind in polls. ‘I think it’s significant,’ he said. ‘Ah, you know, it depends on how it catches fire in the public and in the media.’

Assange also told Kelly that his team were taking pains to check the veracity of their data, so they wouldn’t spoil what he called a ‘perfect ten-year record.’

As proof of his form, he pointed to his team’s leaking of documents ahead of the Democratic National Convention that showed negative talk about then-candidate Bernie Sanders among DNC staff. That ultimately led to DNC officials resigning, including chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

DCG

Warnings of rate hikes as Oregon becomes 1st state to kill coal

consequences

From Fox News: The massive coal-fired plant in Boardman, Ore., is just four years away from being shut down for good – at that point, Oregon coal production will be no more, after the state became the first in the nation to completely ban coal power.

The mandate, signed into law earlier this year, was the result of an environmentalist-fueled push by the Democrat-controlled legislature. Under the plan, coal production will end once the Boardman plant shutters in 2020 – utilities would still be able to buy coal power from out of state for another 10 years, until a 2030 deadline to end coal use entirely.

But the phase-out already has groups warning that residents are headed for big rate increases and brownouts. “This is basically a wind mandate,” said the Cascade Policy Institute’s John Charles, while suggesting alternative energy sources won’t be able to meet the state’s needs. “There’s no way wind can physically power the grid because days, weeks on end, wind produces zero.”

Coal has been in decline for years. In 2005, coal made up 51 percent of the electricity used in the U.S. Last year, it met 40 percent of the need.

In Oregon, coal power still fills one-third of the electricity demand. Despite a building boom, renewables such as wind and solar power make up just 8 percent of the electricity portfolio.

The major utilities supported the coal ban even though officials can’t say for sure how they’ll keep the lights on. They feared a ballot initiative that would have been even less flexible.

say what

“If the cost of meeting this renewable standard is too high for customers, we don’t have to meet it,” said Ryerson Schwark, a spokesman for PacifiCorp. “If meeting it will impact the reliability of the grid, we don’t have to meet it.”

A major problem could be getting any new power to the grid. A U.S. Chamber of Commerce report, titled “Project No Project,” found 351 recent ventures that never got built — 140 of the projects were for renewable power. Many were killed due to legal challenges from environmental groups.

Bill Kovacs, from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said there are 42,000 pages of federal environmental regulations‎. Virtually anything you can find that’s in federal law that isn’t being complied with can be used as the basis of a lawsuit to stop the project,” Kovacs said.

bang head here

One example of this is playing out in Oregon, where renewable power has become more critical due to the coal ban. The 133-turbine, 399 MW Saddle Butte Wind Park proposed for a large piece of land in Eastern Oregon near Boardman has been under challenge for several years. The developer, fed up with the lengthy process, has stopped paying $30,000 in fees he owes the state. 

Irene Gilbert of Friends of Grand Rhonde Valley, which is fighting the project, sums up the growing wind farm fatigue. “When they’re done, there will be nowhere for animals or people to be in eastern Oregon without living under a wind turbine,” she said.

But some still defend the push to end coal power. “The people of Oregon were very interested in saying, ‘hey, let’s find a way to get rid of coal,'” said Cliff Gilmore of Renewables Northwest.

DCG

Rising of patients seriously hurt by NHS blunders: More than 6,000 incidents were recorded last year

NHS

From Daily Mail: A patient is treated by the NHS every 90 minutes following a serious medical blunder. More than 6,000 incidents involving accidental cuts, punctures, perforations or haemorrhages were logged last year – three times the rate of 2005.

Campaigners say that poor training and inadequate staffing levels explain the mistakes. Senior doctors have warned the cash-strapped NHS is heading into an ‘extremely difficult autumn’. Hospitals have been told to cancel thousands of non-urgent procedures. The medical blunders make the financial pressures worse by extending hospital stays and encouraging compensation payouts.

The figures released earlier in the week reveal 6,082 incidents of patients needing NHS treatment following a blunder in English hospitals last year.  This compares with 2,193 ten years ago, according to NHS Digital, the official health statistics unit. The bill for compensation stood at £1.48billion last year, a 27 per cent increase on 2014, accounts for the NHS Litigation Authority show.

Katherine Murphy of the Patients Association said: ‘With all the systems and procedures that are in place within the NHS, how are such basic, avoidable mistakes still happening? It is a disgrace that such incidents are increasing. There is clearly a lack of learning across the NHS, or even within individual trusts. These patients have been very badly let down by poor processes and utter carelessness. We call for the Government and Royal Colleges to take steps to address this alarming rise.’

Andrew Goddard, registrar at the Royal College of Physicians, last week warned that a funding and staffing crisis is putting huge pressure on doctors. ‘Physicians are facing rota gaps, consultants acting down into trainee positions, inability to recruit to posts in key specialties due to a lack of trainees, and difficulties in covering day-to-day services,’ he said. ‘We’re heading into an extremely difficult autumn.’

The Royal College of Paediatricians and Child Health has also warned of staffing shortages, raising concerns that children’s care is ‘increasingly compromised’.

nhs

The paediatric workforce is at ‘breaking point’ it said in a report, with more than half of units failing to meet staffing standards. Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has repeatedly called for a new culture of transparency to increase safety in an era of fewer resources.

Last year he launched what he called a ‘reformation’ in the culture of the health service, claiming he wanted to make British people the ‘most powerful patients in the world’.

He encouraged every member of staff – from cleaners up to consultants – to blow the whistle when they see evidence of poor care, in a bid to halt the annual toll of 10,000 avoidable deaths in English hospitals.

Mr. Hunt has repeatedly urged doctors to take the same approach to safety as the aviation industry. He has pledged that those who own up to blunders will get legal protection – the same system as that used among airlines.

NHS staff will be protected from prosecution based on their own evidence although they could still face sanctions if guilty of malpractice or negligence.

The new system involves the creation of the independent Healthcare Accident Investigation Branch, which starts work this autumn.

Safety campaigners said the first thing the unit must do is launch a review of why problems are rising so fast.

Peter Walsh, of the charity Action Against Medical Accidents, said more complex procedures and better reporting of incidents may partly explain the rise, but would not account for the figures trebling. He said: ‘I suspect inadequate staffing and increased pressure at work are also factors.

I also know there is a lot of concern among surgeons that the training they get is not as thorough and adequate as used to be the case. There is not as much time spent on technical skills. Of course it is a known risk of surgery that these things happen, but that doesn’t make it OK and much of the time they are really bad errors that are perfectly avoidable.’

One of the most common mistakes we hear of during laparoscopic surgery is perforation of the bowel. This is very, very serious and can be fatal if not repaired very quickly. The increase in incidents is very worrying and there needs to be an investigation to get to the bottom of it.

You can read the rest of the story here.

See also:

DCG

Nearly 15,000 new Clinton emails gleaned in FBI probe

shocked face

Via Seattle Times: The State Department said Monday it is reviewing nearly 15,000 previously undisclosed emails recovered as part of the FBI’s now-closed investigation into the handling of sensitive information that flowed through Hillary Clinton’s private home server.

Lawyers for the department told U.S. District Court Judge James E. Boasberg on Monday that they anticipate processing and releasing the first batch of these new emails in mid-October, raising the prospect new messages sent or received by Democratic nominee could become public just before November’s presidential election. The judge is overseeing production of the emails as part of a federal public-records lawsuit filed by the conservative legal advocacy group Judicial Watch.

Representing the State Department, Justice Department lawyer Lisa Olson told Boasberg that officials do not yet know what portion of the emails is work-related rather than personal. Clinton, the Democratic nominee for president, served as secretary of state from 2009 to 2013. She has claimed that she deleted only personal emails prior to returning over 55,000 pages of her work-related messages to the State Department last year.

Hillary Clinton what difference does it make

The State Department has publicly released most of those work-related emails, although some have been withheld because they contain information considered sensitive to national security.

Republicans are pressing to keep the issue of Clinton’s email use alive after the FBI closed its investigation last month without recommending criminal charges. GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump routinely criticizes Clinton for her handling of emails containing classified information.

Olson told the judge that State earlier this month received seven disks containing “tens of thousands” of emails Clinton sent or received during her tenure as the nation’s top diplomat. The first disk, labeled by the FBI as containing non-classified emails not previously disclosed by Clinton, contains about 14,900 documents, Olson said. The second disk is labeled as emails containing classified information.

Olson told Boasberg she could not immediately say how many emails are contained on the rest of the disks or how many might be copies of emails Clinton already has provided.

Given the large volume of messages, Olson said it was “extremely ambitious” for the agency to complete its review and begin releasing the first batches of emails to Judicial Watch by Oct. 14.

Judicial Watch lawyer Lauren Burke told Boasberg that the proposed schedule is too slow and pressed for faster release of the emails from the first disk. The judge ordered the department to focus its efforts on processing the emails from the first disk and to report back to him on its progress by Sept. 22.

As part of proceedings in a separate Judicial Watch lawsuit, a federal judge on Friday ordered Clinton to answer written questions from the group about why she chose to rely on a private server located in the basement of her New York home, rather than use a government email account.

DCG

Stop Tweeting Your #Firstsevenjobs

Why?

Because according to the Slate author, “It’s just a way to disguise your privilege.”

liberal nonsense

From Slate: August is the dullest month. Offices across the land sit half empty. It’s too hot to do anything outside. There’s nothing good on TV. (Even the Olympics, which ostensibly rescue us from indoor boredom every four Augusts, are largely boring. Dressage?) And so we denizens of the internet attempt to entertain ourselves the only way we know how: by playing stupid hashtag games on Twitter.

Last week’s was even stupider than usual. Social media users employed the hashtag #firstsevenjobs alongside straightforward, unadorned lists of their actual first seven jobs. The hashtag originated with singer-songwriter Marian Call, who told Marketplace, “I like this hashtag because it’s really individual, it’s about each person’s really tiny journey and you get to see thousands of strangers reflecting on that.”

With all due respect to Call, who is probably a wonderful musician, #firstsevenjobs is a very bad hashtag. For one thing, no one can agree on what the hashtag actually is: You’ll get hundreds of results whether you search #firstsevenjobs, #myfirstsevenjobs, #first7jobs, #myfirst7jobs, or #1st7jobs. (For some reason, #my1st7jobs didn’t really catch.) The whole point of a hashtag is that it can be used to organize disparate tweets into a single stream; that doesn’t work if no one can agree on whether numbers ought to be expressed as numerals or words. (This problem afflicts the recently trending #fav7films, too. Perhaps it’s time for Twitter to collectively adopt AP Style rules: Spell out single-digit numbers, but use numerals for numbers 10 and above.)

For another thing, #firstsevenjobs—my preferred, AP-approved rendering—encourages navel-gazing of the most boring variety. Granted, posting on social media is inherently self-indulgent, but this hashtag doesn’t even encourage people to be creative or funny in tooting their own horns. You might learn interesting factoids about celebrities by searching the hashtag—Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda started out operating the slush machine at his aunt’s store! Writer Erik Larson used to wash pig sperm out of laboratory glasses! Actress Kerry Washington worked at The Limited!—but the average Twitter user’s #firstsevenjobs tweet is unlikely to interest anyone beyond his or her mother.

But what really bothers me about #firstsevenjobs is the ideology it reflects. #Firstsevenjobs promotes the ideal, as old as America, of the self-made man who creates his own destiny through hard work. The archetypal #firstsevenjobs tweet begins with a few humble, menial jobs—babysitting, retail work, slush-machine operating—and culminates in glory. Even if the seventh job on the list isn’t anything to write home about, the tweeter’s bio will demonstrate that she has overcome adversity to attain an interesting, lucrative, or high-powered career. “What is compelling about this snapshot of career trajectories is that it, by nature, emphasizes a career as a journey and not necessarily the logical result of a blinkered, do what you love mantra,” writes Adam Chandler in a piece praising the hashtag at the Atlantic. “It also implicitly belies and discourages narratives fashioned by nepotism and privilege.”

It’s true that the hashtag discourages narratives of privilege, but that doesn’t mean those narratives aren’t true! #Firstsevenjobs obscures the extent to which the socioeconomic status we are born into shapes our career potential. In fact, it seems designed to make people feel smug about pulling themselves up by their bootstraps, even though their career success probably had more to do with luck than with hard work or determination. #Firstsevenjobs is an optimistic hashtag, but also an unrealistic one.

Social mobility in America has been stagnant for 50 years, even as the gap between rich and poor widens. A 2009 study comparing the U.S. to several Western European nations, Australia, and Canada found that “there is a stronger link between parental education and children’s economic, educational, and socio-emotional outcomes than in any other country investigated.” There are plenty of possible reasons for this—the high cost of college, the frayed social safety net, the death of unions—but the upshot is that the social caste you are born into is more relevant to where you end up than your first seven jobs. A more illustrative hashtag, in my opinion, would be #myparentsjobs, which would reveal the extent to which social status and income potential remain fixed from one generation to the next. (And it shouldn’t surprise anyone that most people’s first seven jobs were humble. The jobs that teenagers and young adults take are almost by definition unskilled jobs, whether they’re rich or poor.)

Read the rest of this diatribe here.

h/t Twitchy

DCG

Ellen DeGeneres defends herself against racism allegations over Usain Bolt photo

Some people have no sense of humor.

The offensive image...

The offensive image…

From MSN: Ellen DeGeneres is responding to accusations of racism she’s received since posting an edited photo of herself and Usain Bolt to her Twitter account.

“I am highly aware of the racism that exists in our country,” DeGeneres wrote on Tuesday. “It is the furthest thing from who I am.”

The image that sparked the controversy depicts DeGeneres on the back of the Jamaican sprinter as he finished first in the men’s 100m event at the Rio Olympics on Sunday. “This is how I’m running errands from now on,” DeGeneres captioned the photo.

The original photograph, which shows Bolt looking back and smiling as he is well ahead of his competitors in the semifinals, went viral following the race.

Though DeGeneres is known to use her Twitter account to jokingly insert herself in popular images, a number of people found this instance to be a step too far. People on Twitter quickly responded to the edited photograph with disdain, writing that the image has “ugly connotations” and lamenting that the edited photo seems to equate Bolt with “a common mule.”

Some of the Twitter replies:

  • @TheEllenShow so the first thing that pops in your head when looking at this pic is “oh let me jump onto his back like he’s a common mule”?”
  • @TheEllenShow @usainbolt So riding on his back like a mule, a horse as some form of property is fun to you…”
  • @TheEllenShow despite its intentions this pic has ugly connotations comin from a rich white lady”

Everything is raaaaaaaaacist these days. Sigh…

DCG