Weather Update

first_imgA large, slow-moving low-pressure system brought extremely humid air into Georgia mid-month. It triggered days of intense rainfall, producing what was estimated to be a 500-year flood around Atlanta, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The highest rain totals estimated by National Weather Service radars were 15 inches to 20 inches in Douglas County and other areas east and west of downtown Atlanta. Twenty-one counties were declared eligible for federal disaster funds. Preliminary damage estimates were $500 million to $1 billion. Thousands of homes were affected, and 500 were destroyed or significantly damaged. The flood is considered the worst since 1919, when flood waters almost destroyed West Point in western Georgia.Parts of four interstates were closed. I-20 remained closed for more than 24 hours as flood waters rose 3 feet over the pavement and inundated Six Flags Over Georgia. Following the rain, Lake Lanier rose 1.5 feet in 24 hours. Lake Allatoona rose almost 9 feet during the week after. More than 130 dams and many bridges now require stability inspections.Four water-treatment plants in Atlanta were damaged and dumped raw sewage into the Chattahoochee River. A pipe in a levee near Macon broke and discharged millions of gallons of raw sewage into the Ocmulgee River at the end of the month. Citizens were urged to stay out of the flood water. Some communities issued advisories to boil water.Ten people were killed, most while driving onto roads covered by moving water. Seven deaths were in Douglas County, where the heaviest rainfall occurred. Additional deaths occurred in Carroll, Chattooga and Gwinnett counties.The highest monthly total from National Weather Service reporting stations was 10.68 inches in Macon (7.42 inches above normal). The lowest was in Alma at 1.59 inches (1.75 below normal). Atlanta received 8.94 inches (4.85 inches above normal), Athens 9.86 inches (6.33 inches above normal), Columbus 5.30 inches (2.23 inches above normal), Augusta 3.63 inches (.15 inch above normal), Savannah 2.43 inches (2.65 inches below normal) and Brunswick 4.57 inches (1.67 inches below normal). By Pam KnoxUniversity of GeorgiaHeavy rains caused record flooding in north Georgia in mid-September, while other parts of the state experienced and normal to below-normal rainfall. Forty-eight Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network observers reported 15 inches or more total rainfall for the month. The highest single monthly total was 22.86 inches near Kennesaw in Cobb County. However, two observers in Douglas County reported overflowing rain gauges. An observer in Lilburn in Gwinnett County reported 21.79 inches. The highest daily rainfall reported by a CoCoRaHS observer exceeded 11 inches in a few hours near Douglasville on Sept. 21, when the rain gauge overflowed. The Carrollton observer nearest the area of maximum rainfall reported 10.64 inches in 24 hours ending that morning.The Georgia Automated Environmental Monitoring site at Dallas in Paulding County reported 16.15 inches for the month, including 5.61 inches on the Sept. 20 and 4.54 inches on Sept. 21.Numerous daily and monthly rainfall records occurred at National Weather Service cooperative observing stations around the state. Dallas and Carrollton broke 30-year records of heaviest daily rainfall. Atlanta broke a daily maximum rainfall of 3.52 inches on Sept. 19, and Macon broke daily records with 2.32 inches on Sept. 17. No tornadoes were reported. Scattered reports of strong winds or small hail where reported four days resulting in toppled trees or scattered power outages. The heavy rains in north Georgia caused extensive damage to nurseries, vineyards and hay fields. Many counties reported rot in cotton and insect infestations. Fieldwork came to a stop in many areas. In other areas, the rain was beneficial to crops and harvesting proceeded at a good pace.Temperatures across the state were near normal in September except in Augusta where the average temperature was 75.6 degrees (1.6 degrees above normal). (Pam Knox is the assistant state climatologist and a program specialist in the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)last_img read more

Mountain Mama: Family Road Trip Advice

first_imgDear Road Tripper,My two-year old and I recently drove ten hours. Without a video player. Sure, when he grew sleepy, his whines turned to howls and then full on screams until he finally relented to sleep’s whisper. His discomfort tormented me from the driver’s seat. I twisted my arm to hold his foot, providing the comfort of a mama’s hand. Sometimes that worked and his cries subsided to whimpers. Sometimes it didn’t.When I told a friend who asked whether I’d used a video player that I hadn’t, her gasp led me to question whether I’d unknowingly committed a mild form of child abuse. I pointed out that I’d grown up going on road trips without the distractions of modern technology. She asked whether I found it necessary to make my child suffer in the same way given that society had come so far.Or have we. I thought back to the place where I first started writing for fun — the gas station where I worked the 5 pm to midnight shift most weekday nights. I was a junior in high school and I knew that if I wanted to go to college, I’d have to pay for it. We lived in a rural area and most nights were slow. At first I’d stare at the cars whizzing by on the highway. I started telling stories about the people driving, guessing at where they were headed. Some of those stories made me sad, others made me smile. I wrote down my favorite ones and let a teacher read them. He encouraged me to enter a writing contest. I won at the state level, beating out kids from fancy schools whose parents carted them from one after school activity to the next. I’m convinced that the stillness of working in that sterile environment nudged me to imagining a more entertaining world, whereas the kids busy taking extracurricular activities never benefitted from the same luxury of doing nothing at all.The gaps between where we are and where we dream to be can be uncomfortable, like working late nights at a gas station or sitting for a long time in a car. Inhabiting those in-between spaces requires the type of quiet that can be boring. These days we too often drown the uncomfortable spaces with the noise and distraction technology provides. But in that quiet wasteland, creativity takes root, cultivating a sense of wonder and hope. When we encourage our children to press their foreheads against the window and stare, they’ll take in plenty of strip malls and roadside construction. Those ugly and drab landscapes serve to accentuate the beauty of driving over glistening rivers and seeing the rainbow after a storm.On our road trip, my toddler learned about cranes and back hoes, tractor trailers and buses. We talked about the color of the clouds and greeted the arrival of the moon like a long lost friend. I’m pretty sure the road trip would have been easier with a video player, but then we would have missed out on scanning the horizon. Listening to my toddler’s delight at pointing out when we were going downhill or over a bridge reminded me just how often we find the extraordinary in the mundane.Road Tripper, consider unplugging and allowing your child’s mind the freedom to wander and marvel at the scenery.Enjoy your trip!Mountain Mama Dear Mountain Mama,Our young family is taking a long road trip. My wife and I are debating on whether to buy a video player to occupy our toddler during the long haul. What’s your opinion about using a video player to help children endure long periods in the car?Thanks,Road Tripperlast_img read more

The Controversial Truth Behind America’s Never-Ending War

first_imgUS fighter jets and drones circled above a terror training camp in Somalia last March as scores of presumed militants celebrated a graduation ceremony.Of immediate concern to US officials was what the alleged Al Shabaab militants planned to do next. Apparently in possession of evidence that trainees were plotting an attack on US troops and allies in the region, US officials decided a preemptive strike was in order.After the dust settled, the Pentagon estimated that 150 alleged militants were killed—just like that.That the United States targeted a camp in Somalia is not surprising. What later astonished watchdog groups, however, was the death toll. The London-based nonprofit Bureau of Investigative Journalism classified these strikes as the deadliest ever recorded by the organization.This recent military operation—a lethal combination of unmanned drones and piloted warplanes—is just one of countless missions that have been carried out against an amorphous array of terror groups and militants spanning more than a dozen countries since al Qaeda crashed planes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001. Lately, the most notorious target is the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS.For 15 years, the United States has been waging a war not against a single nation but an enemy that has metastasized so rapidly most Americans would be excused for being unable to identify the US’s many post-Sept. 11 foes. That’s because what began as an initial response to al-Qaeda’s involvement has morphed into an open-ended conflict against myriad groups spread out across the Middle East and Africa, all in the name of the “War on Terror”—the longest battle in the nation’s history: 5,482 days and counting as of this publication. Over that period, 4,504 US soldiers have died in Iraq, and 2,384 US soldiers have perished in Afghanistan, according to icasualties.org, which tracks military conflict deaths. It has been costly in other ways, too. A Congressional Research Service study released in July 2014 estimated that US taxpayers have paid more than $1.6 trillion to wage it.Yet Congress, the only branch of government empowered by the Constitution to declare war, has yet to hold a single vote on the Obama administration’s two-year-old assault on ISIS, nor for that matter, on the many attacks it’s directed against an array of militant groups around the globe. By contrast, the House Select Committee on Benghazi spent more than $7 million over two years investigating the embassy attack that killed four Americans.Through its inaction, the Republican-dominated Congress—which has lambasted Obama for his alleged abuse of executive power on other issues, such as immigration and gun control—has all but endorsed Obama’s ISIS policy by granting him free reign to unilaterally bomb countries unrelated to the Sept. 11, 2001 aggression and openly engage in proxy wars.Congress may not be prepared to act, but make no mistake, its silence is not going unnoticed.On the fifteenth anniversary of the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF), the joint resolution which granted then-President George W. Bush the initial power to mobilize US Armed Forces against those responsible for destroying the World Trade Center, it is worth analyzing how the United States arrived at its current state of perpetual war.“Of the issues which are not being discussed, this is one of the most important, because we are setting a precedent here for the next generation,” Bruce Ackerman, a noted Yale Law School professor and prolific author, tells the Press. “And shall the president unilaterally use force, and shall we depend on the wisdom of a single person to make war—this is what the American Revolution is about.”An F/A-18D Hornet in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, the U.S.-led military operation to destroy ISIS. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Donald Holbert)THE DRUMS OF PERPETUAL WARFrom a 10-day span beginning in late August, the US bombed Al-Shabaab militants in Somalia; ISIS in Libya, Syria and Iraq; and al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula in Yemen. If nothing else, the strikes—touted in press releases from US Central Command on MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida and US Africa Command in Stuttgart, Germany—provide a revealing, albeit limited, glimpse into US military deployments.From Aug. 30 through Sept. 8 alone, American forces have conducted more than 120 strikes in Syria, Iraq, Libya and Somalia, killing 15 alleged militants.Dominating the news cycle in recent weeks, however, has been the acrimonious presidential horse race between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, conspiracies regarding Clinton’s health, Trump’s unchallenged claims that he opposed the Iraq War (which he actually supported), and debates surrounding Russian President Vladimir Putin’s assumed bravado, which if you haven’t been paying attention (how could you not?), was provoked by Trump’s high praise of the former KGB master spy.On the same day that Clinton’s falling ill during a 9/11 anniversary memorial event at Ground Zero made headlines around the world, U.S. Africa Command conducted four strikes against ISIS positions in Libya, bringing to 142 the number of air strikes since the US-led operation commenced Aug. 1.What’s been absent from the coverage is this: The bombings in Iraq, Syria, Somalia and Yemen all stem from the AUMF vote on Sept. 14, 2001, three days after 9/11.On that day, Congress voted 420-1 in favor of the law after rejecting an earlier version that would have given the president unprecedented powers “to deter and preempt any future acts of terrorism or aggression against the United States.”The approved 2001 AUMF stipulates:“That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.”Prof. Ackerman believes Obama has so overstepped the 2001 authorization that his policies more closely resemble the initial AUMF that Congress rebuffed.“President Bush might have made an unwise decision, might not, but he followed the law, both in Afghanistan and Iraq,” Ackerman, an admitted liberal, insists. “President Obama is not.”Since Sept. 18, 2001 when Bush signed the joint resolution into law, the 2001 AUMF has been invoked to justify every action from borderless wars, ubiquitous drone strikes, indefinite detention of alleged militants, the extrajudicial killings of US citizens, domestic wiretapping and bombings of various organizations that didn’t even exist when terrorists flew two commercial airliners into the World Trade Center, one into the Pentagon, and attempted to crash another into either the White House or US Capitol before a passengers’ revolt sent it plumetting into a field in Shanksville, Penn., on Sept. 11, 2001.A decade-and-a-half later, the War on Terror has expanded dramatically, and along with it, the interpretation of the 2001 AUMF. Yet America is no closer to ending the War on Terror than when it began, and this current state of endless warfare is prompting serious questions about the legality of the ISIS war and whether safeguards are in place to prevent a single person—Obama, or his successors—from continuing America’s perpetual war.There have been a few bipartisan efforts to repeal the 2001 AUMF and replace it with an ISIS-specific authorization, but such measures have failed.Despite their inability to force a vote, the minority in Congress proposing change has been vocal.“We have seen the US send more and more troops to Iraq and Syria, and Congressional leaders aren’t even batting an eye,” said Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Ma.) at a press conference in the capitol this May.“Make no mistake,” he continued, “we are expanding our military footprint in these conflicts. We are putting more Americans in harm’s way. We are spending unlimited amounts of taxpayer dollars…and we are engaged in endless wars that have no endgame in sight.”“I am among those who do not agree that the AUMF…is a solid foundation,” added Rep. Scott Rigell (R-Va.) as he called on House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) to hold an ISIS AUMF vote. “To me, it’s crumbling; it’s not legally binding or standing in any respect.”In June vice presidential candidate Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va) drafted two amendments to an annual defense appropriation bill that would sunset the 2001 AUMF two years after the new administration takes office.Similarly, Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), the only member of Congress to oppose the 2001 AUMF, has introduced an amendment that would repeal the law 90 days after its defense funding expired. So far all efforts to persuade members to pass a new AUMF have failed. Complicating matters is the Obama administration’s opinion that the 2001 AUMF provides legal authority for his war on ISIS. Since its outset on Aug. 8, 2014, this battle has cost $8.7 billion—an average of $12.1 million per day, according to the Congressional Research Service. The administration argues that fighting ISIS is covered by the AUMF’s mandate. But ISIS has not been affiliated with al Qaeda since 2014.Despite the administration’s view that the 2001 AUMF, as well as a 2002 version—which gave Bush the authority to invade Iraq—can be applied to present-day threats, Obama proposed his own AUMF. But it didn’t take long for Republicans to criticize it as too restrictive and Democrats to argue that it’s overly broad. Even without it, the White House intends to bomb ISIS positions in Iraq, Syria and now, Libya.While giving testimony March 2015, Obama administration officials told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that a new authorization is not necessary to legally battle ISIS.Essentially, a new AUMF would be a symbolic gesture, created simply for the purpose of showing a united front against ISIS, US Secretary of State John Kerry told committee members at the hearing.“The President already has statutory authority to act against ISIL, but a clear and formal expression of your backing would dispel any doubt anywhere that Americans are united in this effort,” he explained.For his part, Obama has repeatedly said he’d like Congress to sunset the 2001 AUMF eventually. But when he proposed his ISIS AUMF, he only stipulated that the 2002 version would be repealed, not its more controversial predecessor.“Unless we discipline our thinking, our definitions, our actions, we may be drawn into more wars we don’t need to fight, or continue to grant Presidents unbound powers more suited for traditional armed conflicts between nation states,” Obama said in a speech at the National Defense Institute in May 2013.Obama added: “So I look forward to engaging Congress and the American people in efforts to refine, and ultimately repeal, the AUMF’s mandate.”Since August 2014, three American service members have died fighting ISIS. Meanwhile, Congress has yet to hold a single vote, let alone a debate, on the merits of sending the nation’s soldiers to yet another war.That’s the exact quagmire Rep. Barbara Lee was trying to avoid when the California Democratic Congresswoman delivered the lone vote opposing the 2001 AUMF 15 years ago.Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) joins her colleagues at a bi-partisan press conference in May calling on Congress to repeal and pass a new authorization to use military force.MISSION CREEPSitting at the National Cathedral in Washington, DC, during a special memorial service on Sept. 14, 2001, she contemplated how she’d vote.She had two choices: follow her gut and oppose the 2001 AUMF joint resolution or support the measure as a demonstration of American unity against terror.As she considered her options, Lee listened as speakers honoring the national day of mourning held at the historic cathedral attempted to heal a wounded nation.Rev. Nathan D. Baxter, dean of the Washington National Cathedral, found comfort in prayer. With the drumbeats of war sounding ever louder in the halls of Congress while the rubble at Ground Zero still smoldered, he remarked on the tough choice entrusted to America’s leaders.“Let’s us now seek that assurance in prayer for the healing of our grief-stricken hearts, for the souls and the sacred memory of those who have been lost,” Baxter implored that day. “Let us also pray for divine wisdom as our leaders consider the necessary actions for national security. Wisdom of the grace of God that as we act, we not become the evil we deplore.”It was as if he was speaking to Lee.“That as we act, we not become the evil we deplore.”“It was at that moment I said, ‘Yeah, you know, if we pass this resolution, there is no end in sight, and this could lead to wars everywhere in the world,’” Lee tells the Press.That very same day, she went to the House floor and delivered the sole speech opposing the White House’s proposal.“This unspeakable act on the United States has forced me, however, to rely on my moral compass, my conscience, and my God for direction,” an emotional Lee told fellow lawmakers. “September 11th changed the world. Our deepest fears now haunt us. Yet I am convinced that military action will not prevent further acts of international terrorism against the United States. This is a very complex and complicated matter. Now this resolution will pass, although we all know that the president can wage a war even without it.“However difficult this vote may be, some of us must urge the use of restraint,” she continued. “Our country is in a state of mourning. Some of us must say, ‘Let us step back for a moment, let’s just pause just for a minute and think through the implications of our actions today so that this does not spiral out of control.’ Now I have agonized over this vote, but I came to grips with it today, and I came to grips with opposing this resolution during the very painful, yet very beautiful memorial service. As a member of the clergy so eloquently said: `As we act, let us not become the evil that we deplore.’”The resolution passed 420-1 on Sept. 14. Four days later President Bush signed it into law.Following her vote, a few of Lee’s colleagues wrapped their arms around her as a show of support. Sure, they disagreed with her decision, but they respected her for following her convictions.“It was difficult,” Lee acknowledges in a recent phone interview. “It had nothing to do with my anger and belief that we needed to bring those who perpetrated this horrific attack to justice.” Lee did not personally lose anyone on 9/11, but her chief of staff’s cousin was killed when Flight 93 crashed in Shanksville.“I mulled over it. It was like, ‘Okay, is it easier to say: Go along with the flow and be part of the unified response? Or to really try to uphold my Constitutional duty, and say, ‘Let’s step back for a minute and make a rational decision?’” she continues. “Let’s determine how to react without leading to more terror, more violence, more war. Three days after 9/11, that was not the time to do this.”Years later Lee remains convinced she made the right decision. She cites a report from the non-partisan Congressional Research Service, which notes that both presidents Bush and Obama have publicly referenced the AUMF at least 37 times to justify US military action.The same report found that the AUMF has been applied to various levels of military action in 13 countries: the more well-known battlegrounds of Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, Syria, Libya and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba—as well as those that don’t necessarily provoke immediate connections to the War on Terror—Djibouti, Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Georgia and the Philippines.As the war has progressed and the tactics have changed, so too has the executive branch’s interpretation of the law.The Congressional Research Service discovered three varying interpretations of the 2001 AUMF from Bush and Obama administration officials prior to the war on ISIS. The legal understanding evolved from “primarily an authorization to enter into and prosecute an armed conflict against al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan” to use force outside Afghanistan on specific individual targets when a “higher standard of threat” was posed. The interpretation was later defined so broadly that the AUMF was understood to include forces “associated” with al Qaeda and the Taliban, the report noted.Screengrab from the Congressional Research Service’s 2015 on the 2001 AUMF’s continued application.The CRS report does not paint the whole portrait of how the 2001 AUMF has impacted policy-making because its mandate was limited to only examining unclassified reports prepared for Congress.One such operation not made public until the Obama administration was pressured by a federal court to reveal its so-called “Drone Memo” was a drone strike in Yemen on Sept. 30, 2011. The strike killed Anwar Al-Awlaki, a US citizen-turned-radical cleric and alleged leader of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).Before Al-Awlaki could be assassinated, the Obama administration made sure it had legal authority to act.Gen. David Barron, then the acting assistant attorney general, argued in the July 16, 2010 memo that the AUMF “clearly” authorized the president to use “necessary and appropriate” force against al Qaeda, which, Barron determined, encompassed al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.“[A] decision-maker could reasonably conclude that the AQAP forces of which [Al-Awlaki] is a leader are ‘associated with’ [al Qaeda] forces for purposes of the AUMF,” the memo reads.Thus, that day Al-Awlaki’s death warrant was essentially sealed.The same strike also killed Samir Khan, an al-Qaeda propagandist who spent his teenage years on Long Island in Westbury, where he wrote for his school newspaper. Government officials have said that Khan was a bystander and was not targeted by the United States.A redacted version of the memo only came to light after The New York Times and the American Civil Liberties Union sued for its release.“And shall the president unilaterally use force, and shall we depend on the wisdom of a single person to make war—this is what the American Revolution is about.”The memo offered a rare peek into the US’s drone war, including what many human rights groups and journalists had long reported: the CIA’s direct role in running the government’s program.Drone strikes have been the hallmark of the Obama administration—and the 2001 AUMF has served as legal authority for perpetrating strikes outside of war zones in Iraq and Afghanistan.Of the 424 strikes conducted in Pakistan since 2004, 373 have been carried about by the Obama administration, according to The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, which tracks drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and Afghanistan. Drone strikes have also been responsible for hundreds of civilian deaths, according to the BIJ. US officials recently claimed that drone operations have killed between 64 to 116 civilians, prompting criticism that the government was low-balling the civilian death toll.“[The 2001 AUMF]’s so broad that it’s being used for military action and other forms of military activity…that has nothing to do with 9/11,” Lee says.Lee may have been alone on Sept. 14, 2001, when she voted against the 2001 AUMF, but she’s not acting solo anymore.RISING TIDEBack in May, U.S. Army Captain Nathan Smith sued President Obama on the grounds that the ISIS war is illegal.The case is still making its way through the courts, but the fact that a deployed service member is suing his commander-and-chief has given new momentum to the cause.Smith, who joined the Army in 2010, is by no means a pacifist. Fighting ISIS is the right thing to do, he insists, but he’s just not sure that what he’s being commanded to do is legal under the Constitution.Smith’s challenge centers around the 1973 War Powers Resolution enacted after the Vietnam War to ensure that future presidents do not usurp Congress’ authority. The resolution stipulates that unless Congress authorizes war within 30 days, the president has up to 60 days to pull armed forces out of a conflict zone.Despite Congress’ failure to decide whether the United States should fight ISIS, nearly 4,400 troops have been deployed to Iraq and Syria. Smith is stationed at the command center in Kuwait at the center of the war on ISIS.“He takes his obligation to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States seriously,” says Ackerman, the Yale professor. “And what does he have? A set of informal remarks attributed to one or another administration source which shift over time.”Smith got in touch with Ackerman after he read the professor’s Aug. 25, 2015 article in The Atlantic arguing that, given Congress’ acquiescence, perhaps the courts could intervene. But the only piece missing from that equation was someone who would have standing to sue: a US soldier.“Existing case law establishes that individual soldiers can go to court if they are ordered into a combat zone to fight a war that they believe unconstitutional,” Ackerman says.Enter Smith.“We’re at a crucial turning point,” Ackerman observes. “President Obama himself has repeatedly stated that it’s [the 2001 AUMF] obsolete and the like, but he just keeps on using it. This lawsuit marks a critical turning point. If the courts don’t take this case seriously and actually take the law seriously, but stay on the sidelines, I have no doubt that the next president, whoever he or she may be, will use President Obama’s precedent as the basis for unilateral lawmaking, whenever he or she—in good faith—believes it will deter attacks on the United States.”The current debate has little to do with whether fighting bloodthirsty death cults like ISIS is justified, though some people might disagree with the tactics. Of concern is whether the 2001 AUMF has given the executive branch carte blanche to wage war in America’s name wherever—and however—the president sees fit.The inherent issue with the AUMF is that it was formed in the wake of 9/11, when the threat posed to the nation was al Qaeda and the Taliban. None of the emerging terror groups—al Shabaab, AQAB and ISIS—had a role in the Sept. 11 attacks. To resolve this discrepancy, Obama administration officials argue that such groups are judged based on their current and historical activities. Those who would like to see a new authorization to combat ISIS insist that passing a measure specifically targeting a certain group would resolve the ambiguity.“The determination that a particular group is an ‘associated force’ is made at the most senior levels of the U.S. government, following reviews by senior government lawyers and informed by departments and agencies with relevant expertise and institutional roles, including all-source intelligence from the U.S. intelligence community,” said Stephen W. Preston, general counsel to the Department of Defense, in his testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in May 2014.Simply sharing the same beliefs as al Qaeda, he asserted, is not enough to deem a group an “associated force.”Preston delivered his remarks prior to the administration’s bombing campaign against ISIS in Iraq and later in Syria. At the time, the law was being applied to military operations in Afghanistan and the continued detention of prisoners in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. AUMF had also been invoked to combat AQAP in Yemen and for capture-or-kill operations in places like Somalia and Libya.Perhaps the most dramatic capture mission occurred in October 2013 in Libya, when US Special Forces dragged Abu Anas al Libi, one of the FBI’s most wanted men, out of his car and took him into US custody. Al Libi, who had a $5-million reward on his head, had been indicted in federal court in 2000 for allegedly planning several US embassy bombings that killed more than 200 people. Al Libi, who had been in poor health, died while awaiting trial in New York.Such is the scope of the 2001 AUMF that the United States can send special forces into a country it is not in direct hostilities with and capture a suspected terrorist.Like Yale’s Ackerman, Marjorie Cohn, professor emerita at the Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego, Calif., has been critical of Obama’s interpretation of the 2001 AUMF.“Only Congress has the Constitutional power to declare war,” Cohn tells the Press. “Then the president can lawfully wage war. But the UN Charter prohibits the use of military force except in self-defense. So even if Congress declares war, it could be illegal under the UN Charter if not carried out in self-defense.”So if Congress is so bullish about fighting ISIS, why not then approve one of the several authorization versions that have been proposed and put an end to the debate about the scope of the executive powers?“We should,” says Lee. “The president sent one over over a year and a half ago. I don’t support what he sent over because it didn’t repeal the 2001 authorization, but we should at least try to amend it, debate, and members should vote up or down.”Days before the anniversary of the 2001 AUMF vote, Rep. Lee once again took to the House floor to deliver a harsh rebuke of Congress.“The American people and Congress deserve to know what’s being done in their name. Sadly Congress has been missing in action,” she said. “It’s unacceptable that our brave servicemen and women are facing snipers and mortar rounds, but Congress can’t even muster the courage to debate the war that we are asking them now to continue to fight—it’s just plain wrong.”“There is a consensus in Congress that we should be fighting the war,” adds Ackerman. “It’s just that all things considered, nobody wants to take the blame if it fails. [But] that’s just what the Constitution demands.”And so America’s longest war rages on.(Featured photo credit: Official White House Photo by Pete Souza) Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York “The AUMF is now nearly 12 years old. The Afghan war is coming to an end. Core al Qaeda is a shell of its former self. Groups like AQAP must be dealt with, but in the years to come, not every collection of thugs that labels themselves al Qaeda will pose a credible threat to the United States. Unless we discipline our thinking, our definitions, our actions, we may be drawn into more wars we don’t need to fight, or continue to grant Presidents unbound powers more suited for traditional armed conflicts between nation states. So I look forward to engaging Congress and the American people in efforts to refine, and ultimately repeal, the AUMF’s mandate.” – President Barack Obama, May 23, 2013.last_img

The Masters: Dustin Johnson aims to continue aggressive game-plan on final day | Golf News

first_img3:27 More recently, he was unable to hang onto a one-shot lead at the PGA Championship in August and finished two behind Collin Morikawa, but the 36-year-old insisted that Sunday would be a “good day”.“If I can play like I did today, I think it will break that streak,” said Johnson, who made a spectacular start to his third round with a towering five-iron to tap-in range for eagle at the second, backing that up with a birdie at the third and a 30-foot putt for another at the fourth before cruising to the turn in 31. Dustin Johnson says he has a plan in place that he hopes he can execute on Sunday after taking a four-stroke lead heading into the final day of The Masters “With the conditions being soft, you can be really aggressive no matter what club you have in your hand, as long as you feel comfortable with how far you’re going to fly it. I feel like the golf course is in really good condition with all the rain, and it’s just so soft so you’ve got to be aggressive and you’ve got to attack the flags.“Going into tomorrow, I think I’ve got a good game-plan and I’m not going to change it. I’m going to have to go out and play well. There’s a lot of really good players right around me, so as we all know here, if you get it going, you can shoot some low scores.”Johnson has endured more than his fair share of final-round disappointments in majors when either leading outright (twice) or tied for the lead (twice) after the third round, most notably at the US Open 10 years ago when he led by three before he triple-bogeyed the second, doubled the third and dropped another at four, setting the tone for a closing 82. Our round of day three goes to Dustin Johnson as the World No 1 takes a four-stroke lead into the final day of this year’s Masters – Advertisement – The Masters – Live November 15, 2020, 3:00pmLive on “I think I’ve got a good game-plan and I’m not going to change it. I’m very comfortable with having the lead going into Sunday. I’ve been in this situation a lot of times, and I’m looking forward to the challenge” By Keith JacksonLast Updated: 15/11/20 12:13am Our round of day three goes to Dustin Johnson as the World No 1 takes a four-stroke lead into the final day of this year’s Masters Dustin Johnson vowed to continue with his aggressive game-plan as he takes a commanding four-shot lead into the final round of the Masters.Johnson insisted he was comfortable with his position despite being unable to convert four previous 54-hole leads in majors into victories, comparing his current form to his imperious performances early in 2017.He arrived at Augusta National as the clear world No 1 on the back of three successive victories, only to be denied the chance to compete for the Green Jacket when he injured his back in an unfortunate fall down a staircase at his rented home on the eve of the first round.But he is high on confidence as he looks to atone for that misfortune, and his optimism was justified following a high-quality seven-under 65 on day three which separated him from the chasing pack and matched the 54-hole scoring record of 16-under par.“I would say the game is in really good form right now,” said the world No 1, with more than a hint of understatement. “You know, it’s very similar to what it was back in 2017. It’s just very consistent.“I feel like I’ve got a lot of control with what I’m doing, controlling my distance well with my flight and my shape. I’m very comfortable standing over the golf ball right now, and obviously that’s a really good feeling. – Advertisement –center_img 1:46 Dustin Johnson says he has a plan in place that he hopes he can execute on Sunday after taking a four-stroke lead heading into the final day of The Masters – Advertisement – – Advertisement – “But it’s just 18 holes of golf. I need to go out and play solid. I feel like I’m swinging really well. If I can just continue to give myself a lot of looks at birdie, I think I’ll have a good day.“I’m very comfortable with having the lead going into Sunday. I’ve been in this situation a lot of times. I’m looking forward to the challenge.” Johnson has a poor record when leading going into the final round of a major Johnson has a poor record when leading going into the final round of a major

LGPS transparency code to show investment costs ‘over £1bn’ [updated]

first_imgInvestment management costs of local authority pensions in the UK are likely to be over £1bn for 2017, following the introduction of a new transparency code.The £217bn Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) paid out £805m to investment managers last year, according to LGPS annual reports.Jeff Houston, head of pensions at the LGPS Board, said the likely rise was not an increase in manager fees but greater disclosure of total costs under the board’s transparency code and accounting guidance from the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accounting (CIPFA).The LGPS Board unveiled the code last month at a conference hosted by the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association. It is a variant on a disclosure template from the Netherlands, adapted the scheme board, aided by Chris Sier of Newcastle University’s Business School and in negotiation with the UK’s asset management trade body, the Investment Association. The code’s introduction coincided with an investigation by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) into the asset management industry. It reports its final findings tomorrow, covering how to improve transparency, competition, and value for clients. It issued a critical interim report on the industry last November.The upwards trend for LGPS investment costs is already established – reported costs have almost doubled since 2013 – but Houston said he expected another leap this year.The FCA is rumoured to want to make the transparency code universal, but implemented by a new standards-setting body rather than the FCA itself.Although the LGPS Transparency Code is voluntary, it has momentum. So far six firms have signed up, including Baillie Gifford, Capital International, Legal & General Investment Management, and Montanaro. Other big houses such as BlackRock are expected to follow.Signatories have to report transaction costs, broker commission, exit and entry charges, and all other fees paid to third-party funds on top of investment management. Previously, they simply reported their management fee.The mandate for a third-party firm to ensure compliance with the code is due to be issued by the LGPS Scheme Board shortly. Signatories have a year’s grace to report using best estimates, but from 2018 their data will be scrutinised by the successful bidder for the compliance mandate.Houston said the purpose of the transparency code was to enable local government to measure costs, not simply to beat down manager fees. “You can’t measure costs if you don’t know what they are,” he said.He also noted that the LGPS code was constructed in conjunction with the industry, not imposed on it. The code currently applies to listed securities management only. Discussions with private equity managers are still in progress.Note: This article was updated to clarify how the LGPS transparency code was developed.last_img read more

IDHS issues flood response update

first_imgAurora, In. — The Indiana Department of Homeland Security has been on the scene of severe flooding across southern Indiana. The agency has been monitoring and assisting with the county-level response.On Saturday, February 24, governor Eric J. Holcomb issued a disaster declaration for 11 Indiana counties due to flooding, including Carroll, Dearborn, Elkhart, Fulton, Lake, Marshall, Perry, St. Joseph, Starke, Switzerland and White counties. This flooding has destroyed or caused severe damage to homes, businesses, structures and infrastructure.  On Monday, February 26 seven more counties were added:  Benton, Clark, Crawford, Floyd, Jefferson, Spencer and Warrick counties.  On Tuesday, February 27 Harrison, Jasper, Ohio and Pulaski Counties were added.The following 22 counties have issued county emergency declarations: Benton, Carroll, Clark, Crawford, Dearborn, Elkhart, Floyd, Fulton, Harrison, Jasper, Jefferson, Lake, Marshall, Ohio, Perry, Pulaski, Spencer, St. Joseph, Starke, Switzerland, Warrick and White counties.An emergency declaration at the county level means the commissioners have determined that conditions are such that emergency services may not be provided to the public in a timely fashion, and may be significantly delayed. A county emergency declaration initiates county emergency plans, and allows additional resources to be provided by the state to assist local response efforts.The Indiana State Department of Health is supplying tetanus vaccines to the following counties:  Clark, Marshall, Dearborn, Jefferson, Perry and Carroll.The State Emergency Operations Center was activated Wednesday, February 21 and continues to respond to requests for assistance from local officials. The State EOC has directly assisted counties by coordinating the delivery of over 750,000 sandbags, two water pumps, heavy equipment and vehicles, labor crews, traffic control, UAV photography and subject matter expertise on disaster response and recovery.The Department of Natural Resources, Indiana State Police, Indiana Department of Transportation, Indiana Department of Correction, Indiana Department of Environmental Management, Indiana National Guard and the American Red Cross are also providing support.Residents can report damage by clicking this link.last_img read more

Main Street Greensburg director resigns

first_imgGreensburg, In. — Wendy Blake, executive director of Main Street Greensburg has tendered her resignation effective June 30, 2018. Blake has held the position since 2014 and has been a proven leader for events like the Tenderloin Throwdown, Farmer’s Market, Market to Meal Alleyway Dinner, Distinctive Places art installations and the Holiday Walk.Blake also served on the Greensburg Stellar Communities and TREEmendous Transformation communities.The board of directors is committed to finding another energetic, creative person to take over for her. Residents are encouraged to refer any qualified people to the board by calling 812-592-7326 or email pdeiwert@rivervalleyresources.com .last_img read more

Wildcats CC Results At South Dearborn

first_imgFranklin County High School Girls Varsity Cross Country finishes 6th place at South Dearborn High School Invite.Every single Franklin County runner on the Girls Varsity team set a new season or career personal best at the South Dearborn Invitational. Junior, Lauren Kelley, finished 7th out of 90 runners with a season-best time of 20:33. Senior, Katelyn Meyer, finished 17th, with a time of 22:25. It was a season-best for her, and she is closing in on her career-best of 22:14 with her huge sprint to the finish. Sophomore, Katherine Apsley, finished in 30th place, with a season-best of 24:38. Junior, Josie Selm, had a season PR with her time of 24:46. Sophomore and newcomer to the sport, Emma Cabezuelo, gave her best performance, yet. She also gave a huge sprint at the finish, giving her a time of 25:35. The sixth finisher for the team, freshman Kenzie Rogers, continues to improve with her personal best of 29:43. She has improved by 11 minutes since the season started. The lady Wildcats are continuing to push their limits and drop their times this season.Team Scores: Greensburg 55, Ryle 70, Columbus East 77, Jennings County 78, Rushville 123, Franklin County 151, Lawrenceburg 164, South Dearborn 178.Franklin County High School Boys Varsity Cross Country finishes 5th place at South Dearborn High School Invite. Every single Wildcat varsity boys runner achieved a season or career personal best at the South Dearborn Invitational on Saturday, September 21st. Junior, Drew Grant, the top finisher for Franklin County, crossed the finish line with a career personal best of 18:14, beating his former best time by 26 seconds. Sophomore, Ben Maze, also achieved a career personal best of 18:50, placing 27th out of 91 runners. Hunter, Harvey, and Harmon Marshall all achieved career personal bests by almost a minute each. Hunter, a freshman, brought his time down to a 19:24. Harvey, a senior, dropped his time down to a 19:25. And, Harmon, a freshman, dropped to a 19:43. Senior, Kyle Seibert, has been gaining momentum throughout the season and achieved a season-best of 19:28. Rounding out the varsity team, sophomore Adam Grant, continued the trend of personal bests with his time of 20:29. It was a fast day for the Wildcat boys, and they plan to continue breaking their own personal records as the season continues.Team Scores: Jennings County 16, Ryle 64, Greensburg 69, Rushville 91, Franklin County 149, Lawrenceburg 201, South Dearborn 212, Madison 213.Courtesy of Wildcats Coach Stacey Nobbe.last_img read more

COLUMN: Men’s basketball moving up in Pac-12

first_imgThe third year of coach Andy Enfield’s tenure at the helm of the USC men’s basketball program is underway, and for the first time in the last four years, the Trojans look like a competitive Pac-12 basketball team. This is not to say that the team is going to contend for a conference title this year or make a run to the tournament — though they could surprise some people — but this year’s squad [will] be in most of their games.This is a wild improvement from where they have been, especially over the first two years of Enfield’s time at USC. This is not a make-or-break season for the young coach if they show some positive signs of improvement. However, if there is no upward trajectory and they again finish in the bottom of the Pac-12, I don’t think he makes it to his fourth season.The good news for him, and Trojan basketball fans in general, is that this team has shown some signs of forward progress. The team is currently 1-0, with a 40-plus point blowout win over the University of San Diego in its opener. A big win over a weak non-conference opponent normally isn’t cause for celebration, but USC’s players flashed major glimpses of potential on Friday.Part of the problem in Enfield’s first two seasons was an absolute dearth of talent on the roster. The Men of Troy did not field a team the last two years that was filled all Division I caliber players. This year, they finally have. Enfield’s last two recruiting classes are finally starting to pay some dividends for the program.The two highly touted freshman recruits, Chimezie Metu and Bennie Boatwright, both appear to be immediate contributors to the Trojans’ front court. Metu, a local product out of Lawndale, has the length and raw athleticism to be a potent force on both offense and defense. With a 6-foot-11 frame and great speed for his size, Metu fits Enfield’s offensive mold perfectly. He still needs to fill out and add some bulk, but that will come with time. His raw skillset allows him to be a contributor from day one.The other half of the freshman duo, Boatwright, is another tall and lanky forward. Unlike Metu, who does most of his work down low, Boatwright has the ability to space the floor and score from outside as well. For years USC has floundered from beyond the arc, but the combination of Boatwright and an improved Katin Reinhardt and Elijah Stewart may allow the Trojans to finally space the floor a little bit more.If the first game is any indication, sophomore swingman Elijah Stewart is vastly improved. Stewart closed last season out on a run, playing phenomenally well in an upset over Arizona State in the Pac-12 tournament. Last season, the versatile swingman demonstrated a knack for lockdown defense while also demonstrating his ability to beat his man off the dribble and attack the paint. This year, it appears he has added a reliable jump shot to his arsenal, making him even more effective.In addition to Stewart, sophomore point guard Jordan McLaughlin also has added new dimensions to his games. The most prized recruit of the Enfield era thus far, McLaughlin dealt with injuries and struggled to adjust to the speed of the college game last year. Even so, he still managed to put together a respectable debut season, and now that he has a better feel for the nuances of Division I basketball, he can put his considerable talents to better use.Rounding out the Trojans’ squad are some of the now upperclassmen who have been around for a few years. Reinhardt, guard Julian Jacobs and big man Nikola Jovanovic all have developed nicely in their time at USC. Reinhardt appears to have added muscle over the summer and worked on his shooting mechanics with Enfield. If he can develop into a consistent and reliable threat from deep, the Trojans will greatly benefit.In addition, Jovanovic gives them a formidable presence  who the Trojans can feed for some easy baskets in half court offensive sets. The forward has developed a couple of excellent moves in the paint, and will be a double-double threat every time he steps onto the court.This early part of the season is a pivotal stretch in Enfield’s time at USC. He doesn’t need USC to compete with Duke and Kentucky. He just needs to lead a competitive team that has shown marked signs of improvement. If he can do that, most of the rational Trojan fan base will be happy with his work.Jake Davidson is a junior majoring in accounting. His column, “Davidson’s Direction,” runs Mondays.last_img read more