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Bullseye

Ellen DeGeneres shredded by fans for failing to understand why being friendly with George W. Bush is worse than 'problematic'

george bush
© Reuters / Matthew Emmons
Bush and his wife at the fateful football game - just a normal friendly couple
Viewers tore into TV comedian Ellen DeGeneres after she offered a lukewarm 'can't we all just get along' explanation for laughing it up with former president and regime-change aficionado George W. Bush at a football game.

Assuming the fans' initial rage had to do with "a gay Hollywood liberal sitting next to a conservative Republican president" at a Dallas Cowboys football game over the weekend, DeGeneres stressed that just because her political views didn't align with the president who started two long and bloody wars, didn't mean they couldn't be friends.

"I'm friends with George Bush. In fact, I'm friends with a lot of people who don't share the same beliefs that I have," she said on her show on Tuesday, comparing her disagreements with Bush to disagreeing with her "friends who wear fur."

Comment:


Footprints

Presidential candidate Julián Castro escorted migrants to US southern border; all were returned to Mexico

Julian Castro
© Twitter
Former HUD Secretary Julian Castro
Democrat presidential hopeful and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro escorted a group of migrants to the United States-Mexico border, but they were all returned to Mexico.

On Monday, Castro traveled to the Brownsville, Texas, region of the southern border where he escorted 13 migrants in Mexico to U.S. Border Patrol agents in an effort to get them released into the interior of the country while their asylum claims were adjudicated.

The Texas Civil Rights Project confirmed that all the migrants escorted to the border by Castro were returned to Mexico as part of President Trump's "Remain in Mexico" policy. Castro said the migrants identify as "members of the LGTBQ community" who have been "beat up," and one is disabled.

"We presented them to these border agents and said that they should not be ... they should not be in Mexico," Castro said.

"The Trump administration has chosen cruelty," Castro said. In a separate post, Castro accused Trump of purposefully "killing people."


Comment: See also:


Oscar

Putin awards NASA astronaut with Order of Courage after failed Soyuz rocket launch

Nick Hague and Alexey Ovchinin
© Yuri Kochetkov / Pool via
Nick Hague, top, and Alexey Ovchinin boarding a Soyuz spacecraft ahead of the October 2018 launch
Vladimir Putin has awarded the Order of Courage to a US astronaut for the bravery he showed during a failed rocket launch which was supposed to take him and his Russian crewmate to the International Space Station.

NASA astronaut Nick Hague and cosmonaut Aleksey Ovchinin were all set to join the ISS in October 2018 when their Soyuz launch was dramatically aborted just minutes after take-off due to a booster malfunction.

It was the first such failure for a Russian manned space launch for decades.


Comment: The launch was probably sabotaged by the usual suspects.

Roscosmos chief says Soyuz rocket could have been sabotaged in Kazakhstan before launch

Which makes Putin's response that much more classy.


Fire

Again? Another massive industrial blaze breaks out in France, 100 firefighters deployed near Lyons, France

industrial fire
© яévolte fiscale/twitter
Over 100 firefighters and 30 fire engines are involved in tackling a huge blaze at an industrial site in Villeurbanne near Lyons, France which started early on Tuesday morning.

No injuries have been reported. Emergency services shared footage of the huge plumes of smoke barreling out from the building and of some of the damage already inflicted by the blaze.

First responders have asked people to avoid the area, but have said there are no concerns about materials at the site requiring containment. The smoke could be clearly seen from neighboring Lyons.

Comment: Something similar happened in France just 10 days ago:

Rouen residents rally after chem plant blaze: 'We want to know what we're breathing!'


Farmers banned from selling produce after French authorities admit Rouen inferno burned 5,200 tons of chemicals


Magic Hat

Are Nordic countries socialist? A note for the Bernie bros

bernie sanders
© Reuters
As the American left embraces a platform that continues to look more and more like a socialist's dream, it is common for those on the right to counter with the example of Venezuela as the nightmare of socialism in reality. A common response from the left is that socialism (or democratic socialism) works just fine in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark. It is certainly true that Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Denmark are notable economic successes. What is false is that these countries are particularly socialist.

The myth of Nordic socialism is partially created by a confusion between socialism, meaning government exerting control or ownership of businesses, and the welfare state in the form of government-provided social safety net programs. However, the left's embrace of socialism is not merely a case of redefining a word. Simply look at the long-running affinity of leftists with socialist dictators in Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela for proof many on the left long for real socialism.

To the extent that the left wants to point to an example of successful socialism, not just generous welfare states, the Nordic countries are actually a poor case to cite. Regardless of the perception, in reality the Nordic countries practice mostly free market economics paired with high taxes exchanged for generous government entitlement programs.

Comment: The confusion of terms is probably deliberate. Some leftists say they want socialism, when they actually don't, because they don't even know what the word means. ("It sounds good, therefore it must be good.") Others can then call their conservative and libertarian critics idiots, because labeling them socialists is a low blow - they're actually moderate and don't want a socialist economy. The critics are just using the American aversion to the word "socialism" to discredit them. But then, in the same room, you can have actual idiots who want actual socialism, and the more moderate but ill-informed leftists can't tell the difference and just assume they all want the same things.

For example, actual American socialist organizations like the Democratic Socialists of America, Socialist Workers Party, and Socialist Party USA think Sanders doesn't go far enough. (He doesn't want to replace capitalism, just reform it.) But they still support his presidential campaign. The DSA even called him "the only socialist in American history with a serious chance of winning the presidency," despite the fact that he arguably isn't even a socialist according to their standards, as he doesn't want to eliminate capitalism. But it doesn't help that Sanders himself has embraced the label "socialist" for himself. In short it's a mess.


Attention

Unrest in Iraq: Death toll rises to 110 during anti-corruption, anti-US protests

Iraq protests
© Ahmad Al-Rubaye/AFP via Getty Images
The death toll rose to 110 people in Iraq after a night of violence between Sunday and Monday when 15 more people were killed. The victims, on whom security forces carried out a harsh crackdown, were protesters demanding the removal of the United States backed government.

Sunday night, the violence spread out to the volatile and poor district of Sadr City where a third of Baghdad's eight million people live in narrow alleys, many with little access to electricity, water, and jobs. Unrest has been historically difficult to put down in Sadr City.

The clashes between protesters and security forces over the last week have ended two years of relative calm, unseen in Iraq since the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003. Many Iraqis, especially young people, say entrenched government corruption means they received no benefit from returning stability after years of foreign occupation and sectarian civil war.

Health

Bloody scandal: Son of UK patient infected with HIV & hepatitis by NHS advocates for victims' rights

blood bags
© REUTERS / Danish Siddiqui
The UK let thousands of patients with a rare blood disorder become infected with HIV and hepatitis. Everyone agrees it's a scandal, but the government won't take responsibility for it, a victims' rights advocate has said.

The so-called contaminated blood scandal started in the 1970s, when a new method was developed to treat hemophilia, a condition that prevents blood from clotting properly.

Sufferers were offered a drug produced from donor blood that could be administered at home rather than at hospital.

The government started importing it in large quantities from the United States, where relaxed safety rules and a practice of paying donors for their donations generated a larger supply. It also meant that some of the imported batches were infected with HIV and hepatitis, which were passed to hemophilia patients in the UK.

Jason Evans, son of one of hundreds of people who died prematurely because of the scandal, is now a campaigner for the rights of the victims of contaminated blood. On Tuesday a public inquiry into the scandal was relaunched after his advocacy group, Factor 8, managed to obtain evidence that senior officials in the Department of Health knew, as early as 1974, that patients were being given lethal diseases, but simply ignored the warnings.

Comment: See also:


NPC

'Like Maoist China': Weather professor under attack by department for opposing carbon tax proposal

cliff Mass

Cliff Mass
When a meteorologist blogged against a carbon tax proposal supported by his fellow faculty members, he quickly became a target for climate activists, students and colleagues on campus.

The University of Washington's Cliff Mass, a professor of atmospheric sciences with his own weekly weather segment on public radio, accused the College of the Environment of "serious violations of freedom of speech and academic freedom" on his blog last week.

While his colleagues used their UW affiliations to promote Initiative 1631, a carbon tax proposed by Democratic lawmakers that failed at the ballot box last November, Mass claims that his opposition "had no connection" to the university.

His personal posts against I-1631 led to a social media campaign by UW students calling him "racist, misogynistic, a climate denier" and worse, Mass wrote.

The Atmospheric Sciences Department even held a meeting where colleagues and students shamed him for his views, according to the professor, with one issuing "a direct threat." He characterized it as "more like a spectacle at the Roman Coliseum than an academic proceeding at a leading research university."

Mass told The College Fix that he was the only professor at the University of Washington that actively opposed the measure, as far as he knows. He is "unsure" whether he will seek legal counsel to consider his options against UW officials.

Black Magic

Terror attack in Germany: Syrian man with 'terror links' goes on truck rampage in Limburg, nine injured

Limburg attack
© Getty
Limburg terror attack: Dozens are injured
Germany has been hit by a suspected terror attack after a truck driver went on a rampage ploughing into several cars, injuring nine people

The stolen lorry, a white Mercedes, rammed into eight cars that were queuing at traffic lights near the railway station in Limburg, a town in western Germany, "crushing them together". Police said in a statement: "Based on what we have learned and several witness accounts, the man seized control of the truck at about 5:20 pm (1520 GMT)."

German security authorities said they are treating the incident as a terror attack, according to ZDF.

But police have not yet confirmed links to terror - instead urging people not to speculate.

Handcuffs

UK Army cadet sentenced to four years after posing as a girl to lure teen boys into performing online sex acts

Jamie Hopes
© PA
Jamie Hopes has been jailed for four years after posing as a 15-year-old girl to "bait" teenage boys into performing sex acts online
An Army cadet trainer has been jailed after posing as 15-year-old girl to "bait" teenage boys into performing sex acts online.

Jamie Hopes, 24, tricked around 40 boys he met online into sending him indecent videos of themselves - believing they were talking to a teen girl.

After entering a guilty plea to several charges related to child pornography and causing a child to engage in sexual activity, Hopes was sentenced to four years in jail.

At the sentencing in the Cardiff Crown Court on Friday he was also given a 10-year Sexual Harm Prevention order forbidding him from contacting anyone under the age of 18.

Hopes' crimes were uncovered in June last year, when police traced some of the graphic videos posted on social network site Tumblr to his IP address.