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    • Collapse Of Water Supply For Countries Around Tibet
      Amu-Darya Watershed Tibet is a water tower; its glaciers, snow packs and lakes are the source of many of the greatest rivers in the countries around it. Two of those are the Indus river in India and Pakisatan, and the Amu-Darya which flows along the border of Afghanistan. A recent study predicts: large declines under a mid-range carbon emissions scenario by […]
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Your Breakfast Read, Served By The Confluence

Will Cooler Heads Finally Prevail?

I think it’s about time we all start to dial it down. The whole Gates v. Crowley is threatening to get out of control because some unpalatable groups are coming out of the woodwork: Those who have a visceral knee-jerk revulsion as soon as anything is related to Obama, those who think Blacks whine too much and shouldn’t have anything to whine about since they “now have their President” (I can’t count how many comments mentioned Prof Gates’ tenure at Harvard over and and over), Blacks who do complain too much, and most egregiously, Rush Limbaugh and his ilk (people who genuinely hate Blacks for one reason or the other).

The fear black men (and some women) have against the police is real and is based on a long story of abuse including gruesome assassinations, something many people refuse to acknowledge. But still, we don’t want the police to shy away from all things black, God knows we need them.

Prof Gates may have wrongfully felt disrespected, profiled and became “belligerent”, wherefore Sgt Crowley responded with unnecessary force (Skip Gates posed no threat to him and trash talking is still not a crime). President Obama’s strongly worded remarks on the matter didn’t help either, especially because he came down clearly one side (and against the police officer) although the case is far from clear-cut. I think he realizes that now.
Black males’ fear of racial profiling very real, regardless of class

Several African American professionals find professor Henry Louis Gates Jr.’s recent encounter with police all too easy to relate to. Their lingering question is when to speak up.

I think This is a good move from the POTUS
Obama Invites Gates, Arresting Officer to the White House

Obama said that he had unwittingly fanned smoldering racial resentment with his response to a question at a news conference Wednesday night. The president said he conveyed that sentiment in a five-minute telephone call to Sgt. James Crowley, the police officer who arrested Gates after being called to the Harvard professor’s home to check out a suspected burglary.

“I want to make clear that in my choice of words I think I unfortunately gave an impression that I was maligning the Cambridge Police Department or Sergeant Crowley specifically — and I could have calibrated those words differently,” Obama said.

Gates Says ‘Yes’ To Beer With Crowley

[T]he Harvard professor says he would meet with the cop who arrested him, as President Obama has suggested.

What is “disorderly conduct” anyway?
Gates’ Disorderly Conduct: The Police’s Judgment Call

“Disorderly conduct is a fluid concept,” says Tom Nolan, a criminal justice professor at Boston University who spent 27 years in uniform at the Boston Police Department. “Unlike a lot of other crimes, this really calls for the use of discretion in a way that armed robbery or more serious felony crime doesn’t. The less serious a crime, the more officer discretion you use,” he says, adding “discretion is judgment that we hope is based on wisdom, experience and training.”

Another ‘Racial Incident’: Debunking Talking Points about the Gates Arrest

[I]t wouldn’t hurt to get a little background on what local and national police procedure actually is under these kinds of circumstances. For instance, if a cop asks you to step outside, do you have to? (No.) Is it illegal to yell at the police? (No.) But it is appropriate for cops to investigate 911 calls. That’s what we pay them to do. We don’t escape racially charged situations by silence or ignorance. And we clearly don’t escape “the third rail of race,” as the press likes to call it, by sticking to our talking points no matter the circumstances.

Around The Nation

Jersey Mayors Stung in Graft Probe

Federal agents swept across New Jersey and New York on Thursday, charging 44 people — including mayors, rabbis and even one alleged trafficker in human kidneys — in a decadelong investigation into public corruption and international money laundering

New Jersey corruption investigations

[T]he mayors of the New Jersey cities of Hoboken, Secaucus and Ridgefield, a council president, two state assemblymen, numerous other public officials and political operatives, and five rabbis are not laughing. They are among 44 people charged in criminal complaints filed on Thursday July 23rd. The arrests were part of a ten-year federal investigation of both public corruption and an international money-laundering conspiracy. And, indeed, some organ selling.

Cornyn: Record my vote as a ‘no’

Texas senator willing to risk the loss of Latino votes in opposing Sotomayor confirmation

Lindsey Graham gives as good as he gets

When Sen. Lindsey Graham announced his support for Sonia Sotomayor this week, right-wing radio talk show host Mark Levin said it was a sign that Graham is “unreliable … as a thinker and a leader.”

Health-Care Nightmare “Waterloo” Reform

Liberal, conservative Dems feud over health bill

House Democrats feuded openly over health care Friday before shaking hands on a deal that guaranteed only that they would keep negotiating, wrapping up a week in which consensus on a sweeping overhaul of the nation’s health-care system seemed to diminish by the day.

I think it was about time we heard from the most liberal wing of Congress. So far, only group the WH is trying to accomodate is the Conservative Dems.
Black Caucus blasts Blue Dogs

The 42-member caucus, whose support is crucial for the passage of any plan, is worried that intense talks going on between the Dogs, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and House leaders will undermine efforts to provide quality coverage to the poor and working class.

Barack Obama counts the cost of his ambition

Six months ago the new President’s momentum seemed unstoppable. Today he is struggling to sell his trillion-dollar plans to an increasingly sceptical electorate

War On Terror

Is there any doubt that this country was run for 8 years by a gang of thugs? When will John Yoo’s prosecution begin?
Bush mulled sending troops into Buffalo

Some of the advisers to President George W. Bush, including Vice President Dick Cheney, argued that a president had the power to use the military on domestic soil to sweep up the terrorism suspects, who came to be known as the Lackawanna Six, and declare them enemy combatants.

U.S. admits it has no case against teen held at Guantanamo

The Justice Department conceded Friday that it lacks the evidence to hold a teenage Guantanamo detainee as an enemy combatant after a federal judge last week ruled that his confession was inadmissible.

Economy Watch

Leading Indicators Are Signaling the Recession’s End

THE American recession appears to be nearing an end, but only after it has become the deepest downturn in more than half a century.
The index of leading indicators, which signals turning points in the economy, is rising at a rate that has accurately indicated the end of every recession since the index began to be compiled in 1959.

‘Cash for Clunkers’ drives up car sales

Dealers, owners alike pleased with stimulus incentives.

Cashing In on the Stimulus

From cash for clunkers to first-time home-buyer plans to subsidized health-care benefits, here’s how to make the most of the government’s new programs.

Bank regulators resist Obama’s encroachment on their turf

Federal bank regulators sparred before Congress on Friday, trying to maintain their current powers as the Obama administration seeks to strip them of the authority to regulate consumer credit and give it to a new watchdog agency.

Opinion Columns & Editorials

Welcome to the ‘Club’ (By Charles Blow)

Whether one thinks race was a factor in this arrest may depend largely on the prism through which the conflicting accounts are viewed. For many black men, it’s through a prism stained by the fact that a negative, sometimes racially charged, encounter with a policeman is a far-too-common rite of passage.

Where the Jobs Are

With the latest increase, the minimum wage is still no higher now, after inflation, than it was in the early 1980s, and it is 17 percent lower than its peak in 1968. That means that no matter how hard they work, many low-wage workers keep falling behind. The latest increase will slow the decline in living standards, but it doesn’t reverse the overall downward pull.

Prof. Blinder does an excellent job in explaining what’s going on with the economy and what we should expect.
The Economy Has Hit Bottom (By Alan Blinder)

How’s the economy, you ask? I have the proverbial good news and bad news, but in this case, they’re exactly the same: The U.S. economy appears to be hitting bottom

The Ghosts of Clintoncare (By Ezra Klein)

Barack Obama’s strategy to pass health-care reform seems based on a simple principle: Whatever Bill Clinton did, do the opposite.

What the CIA hid from Congress (By Congresswoman Jane Harman)

Were members of congressional intelligence committees told everything about the Bush administration’s surveillance programs? Not even close

Around The World

In Global Institutions, Mediocrity Is the Way to the Top

Many international organizations suffer from the fact that they are run by uninspiring bureaucrats. In most cases, this is the fault of the heads of state and government who prefer to elevate weak figures, who won’t meddle too much, to these positions. Is that the best approach in these times of crisis?

Ousted Zelaya makes brief return

The ousted president of Honduras has briefly crossed the country’s border with Nicaragua, in a symbolic move the US has described as “reckless”.

Scandal dents Berlusconi’s popularity

As the private life of Silvio Berlusconi, Italy’s billionaire prime minister, continues to enthral Italy – L’Espresso magazine on Friday had seven pages on the “sleepless nights, erotic games, broken promises” of his alleged relationship with a call girl – the first signs may be emerging that his alleged sexual adventures are taking a toll on his popularity.

‘Silvio’s sex life: why Italians don’t care’

Europe has been transfixed by the saga of Silvio Berlusconi and the escort girl, but the Italian Prime Minister has been getting an easy time back home.

Shanghai sidesteps ‘one child’ rule

The city of Shanghai is taking the dramatic step of actively encouraging residents to exceed China’s famed “one child” limit, citing concerns about the ageing of its population and a potentially shrinking workforce.

Elections for Iraq’s Kurds

From The World Science

Not really surprising, is it?
Ants more rational than humans

In a study released online on July 22 in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society: Biological Sciences, researchers at Arizona State University and Princeton University show that ants can accomplish a task more rationally than our — multimodal, egg-headed, tool-using, bipedal, opposing-thumbed — selves.

Internet: The Greatest Thing Evah

True wife confessions: How women’s real-life stories became the new internet sensation

Shelly writes poignantly about the state of her marriage. Karen blogs shamelessly about her secret life as a serial mistress. Amy reveals all about her adulterous affairs …Suddenly there are any number of websites devoted to women’s real-life confessions. But who uses them, and why?

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