NATO’s top military commander in Europe says US troops may soon be deployed to alliance member states in Eastern Europe as tensions near the border between Ukraine and Russia continue to escalate. US Air Force Gen. Philip Breedlove has told the Associated Press that plans for boosting NATO’s military presence in Eastern Europe could involve the mobilizing of US troops, saying that he would not “write off involvement by any nation, to include the United States.” “Essentially what we are looking at is a package of land, air and maritime measures that would build assurance for our easternmost allies,” the four-star US general said in an interview with the AP. “I’m tasked to deliver this by next week. I fully intend to deliver it early.” More
A science and wildlife center in San Mateo, Calif., has reportedly removed a disclaimer regarding evolution from one of its exhibit signs after receiving backlash from the online atheist community. The CuriOdyssey center at Coyote Point recently clarified to atheist blogger Hemant Mehta that it had removed a disclaimer regarding evolution from one of its exhibit signs. Mehta contacted the museum out of concern after seeing a picture of the science museum’s sign on Twitter, posted by Adam Rogers, an editor and writer at The Wire. The science museum sign was advertising an exhibit titled “Animal Connections,” where children would have the opportunity to get “up close and personal” with that day’s theme animal, “reptiles.” The sign also read at the bottom: “This program may discuss the topic of evolution.” More
WINTER PARK, Fla. (AP) — A car smashed into an Orlando-area day care Wednesday, injuring 15 people, at least 11 of them children, and authorities were looking for the SUV that started the chain-reaction crash, officials said. Several of the injured were reported to be in “very, very serious condition,” said highway patrol spokeswoman Wanda Diaz. The injured include 13 people taken to hospitals and two treated at the scene, Orange County Fire Rescue said in a tweet. More
Some train journeys feel like they take forever – especially when there are numerous transfers and waits in between flights and trains. But what if you could board a train in Madras, India and travel to Boston with no changes? One man has imagined the world as a giant London Underground map where people can travel freely between countries and traverse vast bodies of water from the comfort of their seat while vehicles speed through vast tunnels. While his dream is currently ‘impossible’, engineers are constantly trying to develop new ways to connect countries. More
MURRYSVILLE – At least 20-people have been injured in a stabbing at Franklin Regional High School in Murrysville. The attack occurred in crowded hallways just minutes before the start of school. At least five students were critically wounded, including a boy who was on a ventilator after a knife pierced his liver, missing his heart and aorta by only millimeters, doctors said. An injured school officer was discharged. More
Sometimes the news is just so drearily awful that you have to sit back and almost appreciate the pure comedy induced by it. Take this item from Washington, Iowa, where the local police have recently acquired an MRAP vehicle (short for Mine Resistance Ambush Protected) through a Defense Department program that donates excess vehicles originally produced for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to local police departments across the United States, including other Iowa towns such as Mason City and Storm Lake. The MRAP weighs an impressive 49,000 pounds, stands 10-feet tall, and possesses a whopping six-wheel drive. Originally designed to resist landmines and IEDs, it sure seems like the MRAP will come in handy for the notorious war zone otherwise known as Washington County, Iowa.
If you’re having a bad day, I highly recommend watching a video produced by the Des Moines Register in which Washington police officials try to justify the possession of a vehicle it clearly has no use for. The excuses range from school shootings (which are an actual concern but an MRAP seems like overkill) to a terrorist attack happening in central Iowa (because if there’s any place that seems ripe for a high-profile terrorist attack it’s Washington, Iowa, population 7,000).
I mean if the police were realistic, they could come up with actual reasons to use their MRAP/machine of doom. Drunken high-school house parties could be broken up by ramming the MRAP into the side of the building. Clearly, people who have been trying to curtail underage drinking have not seriously considered the serious deterrents to slamming down a few Hamms in your parents’ house caused by a soulless war machine demolishing your kitchen.
In all seriousness however (and it is hard to be serious about a situation so absurd) this little anecdote does highlight several disturbing trends in the American cultural landscape. Most blatantly, the collective paranoia that’s gripped post-9/11 America so tightly that small-town Iowa police officers are convinced that, any minute, the whole state could become engulfed in some Red Dawn-style conflict that would require the use of a device such as the MRAP.
But, a little more subtly, this incident reflects the out-of-control militarization of the police that’s been occurring across small towns and big cities from Los Angeles to Waterville, Maine. As Radley Balko, the author of the book The Rise of the Warrior Cop, an expose of the police militarization of the last decade, found, in 2006 alone the Pentagon, “distributed vehicles worth $15.4 million, aircraft worth $8.9 million, boats worth $6.7 million, weapons worth $1 million and “other” items worth $110.6 million to local police agencies.”
The effects of cops moving from handguns to assault rifles and being equipped with tanks, bazookas, and Kevlar has been twofold. First, civil liberties have absolutely been eroded, with police-brutality rates skyrocketing in last decade according to the Justice Department. Not only that, but, with the influx of military gear into local police forces, cops begin to view themselves as soldiers whose main job is combat rather than keeping the peace. How else can you explain the rise in police shootings since 9/11? But hey, the sheriff gets to ride around in a sweet new MRAP and pretend he’s Rambo so, you know, let’s call it a draw. The Daily Iowan
NEW YORK – A real estate developer in New York City has filed an application to demolish Park 51, or what has become known as the ‘Ground Zero mosque.’ However, reports state that the developer may simply have plans to build a larger facility in its place. The New York Department of Buildings told Reuters this week that it was reviewing an application from the developer to tear down the building and an adjacent property. The application was filed by Soho Properties, operated by Sharif El-Gamal, who owns three surrounding properties. Park 51 became the subject of controversy in 2010 when it announced plans to open a 4,000-square foot Islamic center in the former Burlington Coat Factory building. Both protesters and counter-protesters gathered outside of the building to express their views about the matter, as the facility is located just two blocks from the site of the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center. “It’s very insensitive to the families,” retired firefighter Tim Brown, who escaped the Twin Towers, told the New York Daily News. “This is not about religious freedom. … All we are saying is don’t build this mosque here at Ground Zero on our cemetery.” But others asserted that Muslims had a right to use the building as an Islamic community center because they have the same freedoms all Americans have. More
COLUMBUS, Ohio – An Ohio lawmaker is reiterating his call to impeach a federal judge over his recent rulings on same-sex ‘marriage,’ after he vowed last week to strike down the state’s ban on homosexual weddings. Representative John Becker (R-Union Township) told reporters that U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Black is trampling both the state and federal constitution with his rulings. “In an epic display of arrogance and incompetence, Judge Black announced that he will require the people of Ohio to disregard the Ohio Constitution and force the recognition of ‘homosexual marriages’ performed outside of Ohio,” his office wrote in a recent statement. “He persists in allowing his personal political bias to supersede jurisprudence.” As previously reported, Black, appointed by Barack Obama, issued a ruling in December that required state officials to recognize same-sex “marriages” on death certificates. “[T]he question is presented whether a state can do what the federal government cannot – i.e., discriminate against same-sex couples … simply because the majority of the voters don’t like homosexuality (or at least didn’t in 2004),” he wrote. “Under the Constitution of the United States, the answer is no.” More
In a north London hospital, scientists are growing noses, ears and blood vessels in the laboratory in a bold attempt to make body parts using stem cells. It is among several labs around the world, including in the US, that are working on the futuristic idea of growing custom-made organs in the lab. While only a handful of patients have received the British lab-made organs so far — including tear ducts, blood vessels and windpipes — researchers hope they will soon be able to transplant more types of body parts into patients, including what would be the world’s first nose made partly from stem cells. “It’s like making a cake,” said Alexander Seifalian at University College London, the scientist leading the effort. “We just use a different kind of oven.” During a recent visit to his lab, Seifalian showed off a sophisticated machine used to make molds from a polymer material for various organs. Last year, he and his team made a nose for a British man who lost his to cancer. Scientists added a salt and sugar solution to the mold of the nose to mimic the somewhat sponge-like texture of the real thing. Stem cells were taken from the patient’s fat and grown in the lab for two weeks before being used to cover the nose scaffold. Later, the nose was implanted into the man’s forearm so that skin would grow to cover it. More