“The decision whether or not to retain Falwell as president has not yet been made,” Liberty said in a statement on Friday. “The University and its Board members have decided to not publicly comment on the various rumors and claims about Falwell at this time. Instead, the Board intends to use this time of leave to look into them as part of the process of determining what is in the best interest of Liberty University
Climate change is intangible and complicated, which makes it an easy target for our era of fake news.
Why it matters: Addressing climate change, whether through government or private action, requires acknowledging a problem exists. Misinformation about the science, including inaccurate statements and articles, makes that harder. Concern about climate change has dropped over the past year among Republicans and independents, according to Gallup polling released in March.
Fake news and inaccurate climate information have been around for a long time, long before Donald Trump became president. But Trump’s election has enabled misinformation to spread by elevating leaders in politics and elsewhere who don’t acknowledge the scientific consensus on climate change.
We’ve seen this play out across different forums: media articles, congressional hearings and public speeches.
- Republican lawmakers said at a hearing in May that rocks tumbling into the ocean were causing sea levels to rise, not warmer temperatures fueled by human activity.
- The Wall Street Journal has run opinion pieces that question mainstream climate science consensus. Some raise important points, but others are deeply inaccurate, such as this one in May that said sea level is rising but not because of climate change.
- Trump, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and others in the administration have repeatedly raised doubts that humans have an impact on climate change.
When Trump said his inauguration crowd size was the largest ever, it was easy to show a photo disproving his false claim. When Trump blamed Democrats for last week’s immigration crisis, it was relatively easy to show how his own policies led directly to family separations.
With climate change, there’s nothing simple about the subject — so it’s harder to cut through the barrage of misinformation.
I’ve been covering this issue for nearly a decade, and I still haven’t learned the science enough to know quickly and confidently the science behind why a certain piece of information — such as that sea level rise op-ed in the Journal — is wrong, even when I know it doesn’t sound right. I seek out scientists and other reputable experts to help distill it.
“There isn’t necessarily a good intuitive comparison like ‘the crowd in this photo looks a lot bigger than the crowd in this one.’ Even if you are looking at lines on a chart, you are comparing abstractions of real phenomena like temperature change.”
— Joseph Majkut, climate science expert at the Niskanen Center, a libertarian think tank
Climate change isn’t simple because it’s inherently uncertain, just like all science — and it’s best to acknowledge that uncertainty. Some media articles, environmental activists and progressive politicians often over-simplify, downplay or dismiss altogether any uncertainty. That fuels the polarization on this topic.
The most important thing to know is that the overwhelming majority of scientists say human activity is driving Earth’s temperature up, according to Ed Maibach, an expert on climate-change communication at George Mason University.
Yet, just 15% of the public understands that more than 90% of scientists have reached that conclusion, according to a survey this spring by George Mason and Yale University. Nearly half underestimates the scientific consensus.
“It takes a lot of effort to dive in and learn the details about something, and we will do that when we are highly motivated to learn something,” said Anthony Leiserowitz, Yale University professor who studies public perceptions of climate. “Most people aren’t willing to devote an enormous amount of brain energy to thinking about climate change.”
Changing this trend takes time and new leadership — which isn’t happening in big enough numbers to shift public debate.
Climate Feedback is a voluntary initiative of well-known and respected scientists reviewing climate change articles for accuracy, whose first work came in 2015.
- Among the articles reviewed: The Wall Street Journal op-ed on rising sea levels, which was described as “grossly” misleading to readers; and, on the other side, a highly cited New York Magazine article that the reviewing scientists said exaggerated how bad climate change could get.
- The number of people who read the reviews of those articles are undoubtedly a fraction compared to those who read the original pieces.
People take cues from leaders, such as The Wall Street Journal editorial page and Trump administration officials.
- Until or unless people in those positions either leave or change opinions, it could be difficult to change the masses.
- Earlier this month, we saw one leadership change: New NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, who doubted the scientific consensus on climate change when he was in Congress, said reviewing the science convinced him to change positions.
- Bridenstine’s views are important from a substantive perspective — NASA is one of the top agencies that monitors the planet’s climate. But he’s not well known enough to change a lot of people’s minds.
One non-science thing that could change the debate, in the view of a new bipartisan group, is convincing people to acknowledge the problem without getting stuck debating how serious it is.
Last week, a political group funded by energy companies and supported by a bipartisan pair of former congressional leaders launched a campaign to push for a carbon tax.
One of those leaders lobbying in support, former Republican Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott of Mississippi, said he remains skeptical of what he says are some scientists’ political motives — but that won’t be his focus.
“I’m not going to debate liberals and Democrats about the icebergs melting. I’m not going to argue how imminent a threat this is. I’m just going to say: ‘It is a problem. This is one way to address it. Let’s talk about it.’ ”
— Former Sen. Trent Lott (R.-Miss.)
The U.S. on Wednesday announced it blacklisted Chinese officials and business executives involved in the military buildup of the disputed South China Sea, further ratcheting up tensions in the region ahead of the November election — the same day that Beijing reportedly fired missiles including an “aircraft-carrier killer” into the sea as a “warning” to the U.S.
China had claimed a U-2 spy plane entered a no-fly zone without permission during a naval drill in the Bohai Sea, a military source told the South China Morning Post. The Pentagon has given few details, but said a U-2 flew “within the accepted international rules and regulations governing aircraft flights.”
The State Department announced the blacklist Wednesday morning. Immediate family members of those targeted may also be barred from travel to the United States, the department said.
At the same time, the Commerce Department reported that it had added 24 state-owned Chinese enterprises, including subsidiaries of the China Communications Construction Company, to its commercial blacklist for their roles in constructing artificial islands and other activities that cause major environmental damage and infringe on other nations’ claims.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement that the travel ban would apply to Chinese individuals “responsible for, or complicit in, either the large-scale reclamation, construction, or militarization of disputed outposts in the South China Sea, or (China’s) use of coercion against Southeast Asian claimants to inhibit their access to offshore resources.”
Last month, Pompeo accused China of “bullying” and announced that the U.S, would not recognize nearly all of China’s maritime claims to areas in the South China Sea that are contested by its smaller neighbors, including Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan. Beijing’s claims to these areas have been accompanied by increased military and commercial activities.
Pompeo said the Chinese government cannot be allowed to use the China Communications Construction Company or other state-owned businesses “as weapons to impose an expansionist agenda.”
He continued, “The United States will act until we see Beijing discontinue its coercive behavior in the South China Sea, and we will continue to stand with allies and partners in resisting this destabilizing activity.”
Greg Poling, a South China Sea expert at Washington’s Center for Strategic and International Studies, told Reuters that the U.S.’ latest sanctions probably won’t “make much impact on those entities directly … but it could be the start at trying to convince Southeast Asian partners that the new policy is more than just rhetoric.”
Liberty University’s board of trustees declined to take action to either fire or reinstate Jerry Falwell Jr. as its president on Friday, instead saying after a meeting that for the time being, Falwell will remain on a paid leave of absence from the university.
The announcement came two weeks after Falwell was placed on leave from the prominent Christian university and nearly three weeks after Falwell posted a photo of himself on a yacht with his pants unzipped and his arm around his wife’s assistant. The photo was publicly criticized by people with ties to Liberty, who said the photo was out of step with Liberty’s conservative Christian values.
Falwell’s photo has also raised questions about Liberty University’s dollar NASCAR sponsorship deal. The yacht on which the photo was taken is owned by Rick Hendrick, owner of the NASCAR team, Hendrick Motorsports, that Liberty University pays roughly $6 million a year to sponsor a racecar, POLITICO reported this week.
While on leave, Falwell is not allowed to “act as president, use any powers of the university president, and may not communicate with employees to manage, direct or interfere with the operations of the university,” according to the statement from the university, but interim president Jerry Prevo is allowed to consult Falwell for information.
It’s only illegal if Republicans do it.
The Hatch Act, which bars federal employees from participating in partisan politics while on the job or on federal property, is one of those earnest efforts from the past to reform the government. The idea was to make a clear dividing line between government and politics.
Except that’s impossible. Government is political. It has always been so and always will be. That’s not to say an effort shouldn’t be made to separate the two. But when the State Department drags its feet in fully carrying out a president’s wishes or an agency decides to interpret a law in a blatantly political way, we don’t hear many complaints from the media or Democrats.
Not so when Republicans edge up to the line and threaten to cross it.
That policy was simply a reminder to employees of both political persuasions to watch their political activity while on the job. What they do on their own time is their own business.
But what about a presidential appointee, confirmed by the Senate, giving a speech at the Republican National Convention? Is it really “unprecedented” and a “break from all sorts of norms and precedents”?
Think of how many past secretaries of State have been politicians. Hillary Clinton and John Kerry come immediately to mind. Colin Powell and Condi Rice were politicians to the core. You don’t get the job without some political pull, which brings us to current Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Pompeo was chosen because of his loyalty to Donald Trump. There’s nothing wrong with that. Presidents choose loyalists for key positions all the time. But should that loyalty be on display at the RNC?
Perhaps the media should have waited to hear his speech. I doubt whether it will be very partisan at all. In fact, Pompeo’s appearance is not about the speech at all. It will be delivered from Jerusalem. Now, why would a president running for re-election, whose victory will depend, in large part, on evangelical Christians, want his loyal secretary of State to speak to the nation from Jerusalem?
“The secretary took time away from his official duty…” Even The Hill acknowledges the unofficial nature of his remarks. But that wasn’t good enough for the Biden campaign.
It’s a spurious attack and the Democrats know it. Pompeo’s vanilla speech will reassure evangelicals that Trump is still in their corner while reminding them who recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Not bad for a “non-partisan” speech.
Plague, one of the deadliest bacterial infections in human history, caused an estimated 50 million deaths in Europe during the Middle Ages when it was known as the Black Death.
Cats, which become sick themselves, can directly infect humans, while hardier dogs may simply carry the fleas back to their owners. People also can become sick by inhaling droplets from the cough of an infected person or animal.
Where can you get the plague?
How worried should I be?
Is there a vaccine for the plague?
How do you protect yourself and your family?
Malta lies at the very heart of the Mediterranean and it has many historic ruins and sites attesting to that fact. Now another feature has been added to the list. While working on a restoration project at a famous temple complex at Tas-Silġ, archaeologists made an amazing discovery. They unearthed the foundations of a very important Roman temple, concealed beneath a farmhouse, and this is helping experts to better understand a site that played a major role in religious life in the ancient world.
Tas-Silġ is on the south coast of the island of Malta. It is a major religious site which was occupied for over four thousand years – from the Stone Age to the Middle Ages. There are the remains of a megalithic temple and a Punic sanctuary at Tas-Silġ . These are believed to have been major pilgrimage sites that attracted the faithful from all over the Mediterranean. A renowned Roman temple was also built at the site, but little of this has survived.
The Roman Temple Under a Farmhouse
An 18th century farmhouse at the site had partially collapsed and experts were restoring it over a four-week period. Specialists from the University of Malta and Heritage Malta investigated the area around the farmhouse to determine if it had any archaeological potential, because it is adjacent to many historic remains . David Cardona, a senior curator, told Times of Malta “The farmhouse was built on a corner of the temples, so the chance of finding remains at the site was always very high, but it was never investigated thoroughly.”
While investigating, the team came across the foundations of the famous Roman temple. The Romans annexed Malta after the Second Punic War and it prospered for many centuries under their rule. Malta was later briefly occupied by the Vandals, before it was ruled by the successors of Rome, the Byzantines. The foundations are apparently from part of the renowned temple that was dedicated to the Roman God Juno, which was eventually converted into a Byzantine Church.
(FoxNews) – Former Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said Tuesday she would be open to returning to the Trump administration if the president is reelected but said it’s “too soon to tell” if she’ll choose to run for the nation’s highest office in 2024.
Haley told FOX Business’ “Mornings with Maria” she has not spoken with the president about taking another post in his administration.
“Right now, we want to see the president and Vice President Pence get over the finish line in November,” Haley said. “I think that’s what’s most important. But certainly any chance there is to serve our country, I want to do it.”
“All that nonsense about me and Pence, he’s a dear friend, he’s done a great job. He’s been loyal to the president, and the American people should be very proud,” she said, referring to a push from some pundits for President Trump to abandon Vice President Mike Pence as his running mate and choose Haley instead.
Haley spoke at the Republican National Convention on Monday night amid buzz that she’ll be a 2024 favorite.
“It’s too soon to tell any of that right now,” she told “Mornings with Maria.”
Speaking to reporters from the White House Sunday, Trump said the FDA has “issued an emergency use authorization… for a treatment known as convalescent plasma.”
“This is a powerful therapy that transfuses very very strong antibodies from the blood of recovered patients to help treat patients battling a current infection,” Trump said, adding that the authorization will “expand access to this treatment.”
“Based on the science and the data, the FDA has made the independent determination that the treatment is safe and very effective,” Trump said, before urging all recovered COVID-19 patients in the USA to donate their blood plasma.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany announced Trump’s press conference in a Saturday-night tweet, writing it involved “a major therapeutic breakthrough on the China virus.”
Trump’s announcement Sunday follows White House officials suggesting last week that there were politically motivated delays by the Food and Drug Administration in approving a vaccine and therapeutics for the coronavirus.
The treatment takes convalescent plasma from patients who have recovered from the coronavirus and is rich in antibodies. Though it may provide benefits to those fighting the virus, the evidence has been inconclusive as to how it works or how best to administer it.
The White House has been growing agitated with the pace of the plasma approval. White House chief of staff Mark Meadows did not deal in specifics but said “we’ve looked at a number of people that are not being as diligent as they should be in terms of getting to the bottom of it.”
“This president is about cutting red tape,” said Meadows in an interview on ABC’s “This Week.” “He had to make sure that they felt the heat. If they don’t see the light, they need to feel the heat because the American people are suffering.”
Sunday’s push came a day after Trump tweeted sharp criticism on the process to treat the virus, which has killed more than 176,000 Americans and imperiled his reelection chances.
The White House has sunk vast resources into an expedited process to develop a vaccine and Trump aides have been banking on it being an “October surprise” that could help the president make up ground in the polls.
“The deep state, or whoever, over at the FDA is making it very difficult for drug companies to get people in order to test the vaccines and therapeutics,” Trump tweeted. “Obviously, they are hoping to delay the answer until after November 3rd. Must focus on speed, and saving lives!”
More than 64,000 patients in the U.S. have been given convalescent plasma, a century-old approach to fend off flu and measles before vaccines. It’s a go-to tactic when new diseases come along, and history suggests it works against some, but not all, infections.
There’s no solid evidence yet that it fights the coronavirus and, if so, how best to use it. The FDA, in announcing the emergency authorization for convalescent plasma said its benefits “outweigh the known and potential risks of the product and that there are no adequate, approved, and available alternative treatments.”
Former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb on CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday said the convalescent plasma treatment is “probably beneficial,” but dismissed Trump’s suggestion of a deliberate slowdown.
“I firmly reject the idea they would slow-walk anything or accelerate anything based on any political consideration or any consideration other than what is best for the public health and a real sense of mission to patients,” Gottlieb said.
Hundreds of drugs are currently being developed as possible treatments against the coronavirus infection, taking a range of approaches.
The number of Republicans speaking at the Democratic National Convention had progressives on edge.
They shouldn’t have fretted. Even if a handful of estranged Republicans are along for the ride, the Left is steadily moving the Democratic Party in its direction. Would progressives prefer winning the optics at a virtual convention, or the substance over the longer term?
The Democratic Convention was, for the most part, bereft of policy, focusing instead on President Donald Trump’s character failings — rehearsed at length — and Joe Biden’s personal decency. Together with all of the speakers with a Republican pedigree, this reinforced Biden’s image of being more moderate than he is, which is perhaps his greatest political strength.
There is obviously no percentage in him running as the most progressive presidential nominee in a couple of generations. It’s much better for him to portray himself simply as a good guy whose tent is so broad it stretches from AOC to the former secretary of state for a Republican president many progressives think was guilty of war crimes.
It’s not as though Biden pulled from the Republican A-Team, though. At this point, it’d be shocking if Colin Powell didn’t endorse the Democratic candidate for president. Christine Todd Whitman, the former governor of New Jersey, found former President George W. Bush too divisive for her taste. John Kasich, a Republican presidential candidate in 2016 and the two-term governor of Ohio, was more of a get, but still, if all of these figures were collectively asked to go build an audience of Republican voters, they probably couldn’t fill out a moderately sized Zoom call.
Then, Kasich was followed on the program by Bernie Sanders, who boasted to his supporters, and not unreasonably, “Many of the ideas we fought for, that just a few years ago were considered ‘radical,’ are now mainstream.”
While Sanders excoriated Trump, he also focused, more than others, on Biden’s agenda and implicitly took credit for his embracing more far-reaching measures on issues ranging from the minimum wage to universal pre-K.
It is true that Biden has avoided the most extreme and easily attacked versions of progressive proposals, whether the “Green New Deal,” “Medicare for All,” or defunding the police. But Biden is to former President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton’s left on most domestic questions. Bernie Sanders and others shifted the Overton window of Democratic politics, and Biden moved to stay smack in the middle of it.
The Biden campaign is, in this respect, trying to do what Hillary Clinton did four years ago, except even more so. As New York Times columnist Ross Douthat pointed out at the time, the Clinton campaign wanted to reach out to Republicans who couldn’t abide Trump, but gave them nothing of substance, and in fact ran to the left of where she’d been most of her career.
This approach probably has a better chance of working this time, since Biden isn’t as radioactive as Hillary, and Trump can’t run again as a take-a-flyer-on-me outsider.
If Biden can actually pull off tacking Bernie’s way on issues while running as a boring moderate, maybe he doesn’t get the credit for political canniness that he deserves.
Yet, this is an evasion that represents a major vulnerability. The question is whether the Trump campaign can exploit it. If Biden is allowed to coast through the fall with his current image not being seriously contested, well then, campaign malpractice will have to be added to the long litany of charges against Donald Trump.
Everyone has one—that Facebook friend that posts obnoxious, and sometimes offensive, political statements, articles, memes and more every day, multiple times a day. You know—that friend that has a strong opinion about anything and everything political. Even if you agree with her political views, you cringe at the inflammatory way she states her opinions.
If you find yourself in this situation, you are not alone. In fact, unfriending someone for their political views is fairly common.
According to a study by Pew Research Center, nearly 20% of social media users have blocked, unfriended or hidden someone because of their political posts online.1
This fact should not be surprising. Civility in politics has been decreasing for a long time and people are losing patience with the rhetoric. Much of this increase in online bullying, shaming, and political bullying has to do with the changing culture and the ability to insult others on the Internet. These insults are often made through the use of blogs, social media and more. Consequently, it is not surprising that people have become much freer with their use of words. This has become painfully apparent in recent years as religious and political disagreements become more and more volatile. And while many people have embraced the freedom that social media provides, just as many are simply fed up.
A Closer Look at the Political Bullying in the 2016 Election
In the 2016 election, both candidates engaged in name-calling and other bullying tactics. For instance, Democratic presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, called people who supported Republican presidential nominee, “deplorables,” and said they were irredeemable. Meanwhile, Trump labeled Clinton a “nasty woman” and referred to her as “Crooked Hillary.”
Even the supporters of each candidate engaged in bullying tactics. On social media, Clinton supporters shamed Trump supporters by calling them racists, homophobes, xenophobes and a variety of other labels. On the Republican side of things, supporters yelled “build that wall,” and chanted “lock her up” at rallies and posted similar sentiments online.
There is no doubt that the campaigning and debates in 2016 ignited tempers, unlike any other presidential race, has done. And while there has always been some mudslinging during elections, the 2016 election was much more volatile, much more personal. Many believe that the passionate disagreements were far more prevalent because of the ease and influence of social media. What’s more, social media empowers people to say things that they would never say to someone’s face. Much of this has to do with the fact that they can hide behind a computer screen.
As a result, during the election season, people on social media were not just ranting about how much they disliked the candidates, but they often took it a step further. They also ranted about how much they disliked anyone who might support an opposing candidate often engaging in name-calling, shaming, labeling and sometimes even threats of violence. It was cyberbullying at its worst.
And while most would argue that people have a right to speak their mind, is bullying through social media really free speech? Most would argue that in some ways the mean-spirited posts, the labeling, and the name-calling actually silence free speech. As a result, people are afraid to be honest about what they really think for fear of being judged or labeled.
Additionally, when people do not talk about their views or why they believe a certain way, they start to make assumptions about what other people believe. This often causes them to believe that they are being judged. They also assume that people are displeased with them or disagree with them. Yet, they have never talked about what they truly believe nor have they asked why their friends believe the way that they do. As a result, there is a lot of hostility and frustration based solely on assumptions.
Tips for Dealing With Obnoxious Political Posts
If you are someone that would rather see posts about a person’s dinner than her monologue about a political candidate, here are some sure-fire ways to navigate the lack of digital etiquette on Facebook without losing your sanity.
Take a minute. When it comes to social media, it is easy to fire off a response before you really think about it. Resist the urge to react instead of respond. Slow down and take a minute. Scroll past the post and read something else. The goal is to avoid posting something equally inflammatory and then later regretting it. Remember, even if you delete your comment later, you can never truly make it go away. So put on the brakes. A thoughtful response, or even no response at all, is a much better approach in the long run.
Ask why. Not only does it allow for greater understanding, but it also broadens your own perspective. Just be sure to ask in a way that doesn’t put your friend on the defensive. You don’t want her to feel like she has to justify her feelings to you. Instead, keep the focus on the issues. Additionally, it might be best to have this type of conversation offline and in person. This way, you can actually see the emotions she is expressing rather than trying to assume you know by interpreting her words. A lot of interpretation is lost online. It is risky to assume you know what someone is feeling when all you have to go on are a few typed words.
If you do not understand why a friend feels so strongly, ask her. Find out how this impacts her life. Sometimes it helps to view the world through a different lens.
Ignore, scan or move on. Sometimes the best way to deal with cringe-worthy political posts is to simply scan through them and move on, especially if the post is simply a rant laced with name-calling and labeling. An even better option is to ignore them altogether. Remember, you cannot control what your Facebook friend posts online. And you probably won’t be able to change her mind or even get her to see your side of things. But you can control how you respond. And if reading her posts irritates you, ruins your day or causes you anxiety, then it is healthier for you to ignore them. Do not allow another person’s blanket bullying statements impact you and your day.
Utilize the hide or block options. Fortunately, Facebook offers some options for dealing with the deluge of political bullying that takes place online. One option is to “hide” your friend. With this option, you remain friends but you no longer see her posts in your newsfeed. A lot of people appreciate this option because they do not want the drama of unfriending someone online, but they also do not want to see their blatantly inappropriate posts any longer either. Of course, the other option is to unfriend the person and even block her from friending you again. This option should only be used in extreme cases where you no longer hope to have contact or a relationship with the person. It is very hard to salvage a friendship once you have unfriended or blocked them on Facebook.
Remember who you are dealing with. If you are friends with this person online, chances are you have some sort of relationship with the person. So when you see something that is unsettling, take a step back and look at the big picture. Is your friend going through a tough time right now? Could these political posts have something to do with a bigger issue in her life? Try to be empathetic and remember why you are friends with this person in the first place. However, if your friend’s political views define who she is as a person and it gets under your skin, you have some evaluating to do. Is this person a toxic friend that you should avoid, or is her friendship worth an effort?
Set some limits. If you find yourself getting too worked up about other people’s political posts and subtle bullying online, it might be a good idea to take a break. You need to protect yourself from the negative feelings these posts create in you. As a result, you may want to limit the time you spend on Facebook or take a break from it altogether. Or maybe the answer is to avoid engaging in any political discussions online. If you find that you absolutely have to say something in response to all the negativity online, consider journaling your responses but then never posting them. In this way, you have released your frustration by formulating a response, but you have not offended anyone, or ticked off your employer, by actually posting it.
Check your answers. Remember, there are a lot of unsubstantiated articles and information online. Make sure that if you do post a response to a political post, that your post is factual and can be verified. You don’t want to contribute to the plethora of misinformation that is floating around on Facebook. Make sure that what you post is factual, accurate and not offensive. Keep in mind, that your goal should become a conscientious poster and not just someone who shares sensationalized stories because of their shock value. The last thing you want to do is to become just like your obnoxiously-political friend. After all, you need to protect your online reputation.