Author Archive

Nigeria: Boko Haram “abducts more women and girls”

October 24, 2014
posted by

BBC News BBC News [UK state media]    

"Dozens of women and girls from two villages in Nigeria's north-eastern Adamawa state have been abducted by suspected militants, residents say. The abductions have not been confirmed by the authorities, but residents say they took place a day after the military announced it had agreed a ceasefire with the Boko Haram group. The government hopes the Islamist group will free more than 200 girls seized in April as part of negotiations. Boko Haram has not confirmed the truce." (10/23/14)

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-29740204  

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The stealth campaign to buy America’s courts

October 24, 2014
posted by

The Nation The Nation Blog
by Zoe Carpenter  

"Cole County, Missouri, seems an unlikely place for a national Republican group to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars. It’s a small county of 75,000, and its leadership is solidly red, with few exceptions. One of those exceptions is Pat Joyce, a Democrat who’s held her seat on the country circuit court for two decades. Until a few weeks ago, with $17,000 on hand and her opponent nearly $13,000 in debt, her chances of serving another term seemed good. That financial advantage vanished abruptly in mid-October when the Republican State Leadership Committee stepped in with $200,000 to save Republican Brian Stumpe. Half of that money went directly to his campaign. The rest went to the RSLC’s local political action committee, which ran a tie-dye hued ad that accused Joyce of being a 'groovy' ally of 'radical environmentalists.'" (10/23/14)

http://tinyurl.com/lxs574p  

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IL: Chicago reporter quits, claims governor candidate influenced paper

October 24, 2014
posted by

Reuters Reuters    

"A veteran Illinois political reporter quit his job at the Chicago Sun-Times on Wednesday and accused the newspaper of bowing to pressure from Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner by removing him from the campaign beat. Dave McKinney, a 19-year veteran of the paper who covered the state capital, said in his resignation letter that the paper reassigned him after the Rauner campaign accused him of a conflict of interest, which he denies." (10/23/14)

http://tinyurl.com/lumalpp  

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The sharing economy’s “first strike”

October 24, 2014
posted by

In These Times In These Times
by Rebecca Burns  

"Silicon Valley types often wax lyrical about the way that the app-based 'sharing economy' disrupts existing business models and create new forms of social relations. When tech magnates extol 'disruption,' of course, they likely aren’t talking about the sort caused by labor actions. But on October 22, tech-giant Uber got a taste of its own disruptive medicine when drivers in at least five cities who work on the ridesharing platform turned off their apps and stopped picking up passengers, in protest of what they say are unjust working conditions and a dwindling share in the company’s profits. Some drivers are calling this action the first strike in the 'sharing economy,' a sector known for its aversion to labor organizing." (10/23/14)

http://tinyurl.com/npnwlvv  

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Indiana residents: “My house is not for sale”

October 24, 2014
posted by

Fox News Fox News    

"Indiana residents are fighting to save their homes as their local government weighs a sweeping plan to demolish them to make way for new development, in a case critics are calling a 'poster child' for the abuse of eminent-domain powers. Charlestown, IN, Mayor Bob Hall announced his plans earlier this year to demolish more than 350 homes in the city’s Pleasant Ridge neighborhood. The mayor contends the neighborhood is 'blighted,' and therefore the city is eligible for state money to buy out the homeowners and tear down their houses. His office argues the houses, originally bought by the Army in 1940, were meant to be temporary. But the 'temporary' houses remain very much occupied. And many residents are not interested in selling them, at least not for what the government might offer. According to the Institute for Justice, a national group that is aiding residents in their case, the state fund Hall wants to tap offers residents just $6,000 for their houses." (10/23/14)

http://tinyurl.com/kcvnhmt  

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Epic fail: Some pushback from the nurses

October 24, 2014
posted by

San Francisco Chronicle San Francisco Chronicle    

"The Ebola epidemic has brought about a wealth of chatter, much of it uninformed. The apparently esteemed George Will said on television that Ebola is an airborne infection, which is utterly untrue. Ebola is not the flu. It is not the super-bug, although it’s pretty darned bad. But when the medical community talks to itself online, a lot of the chatter is about the treatment of patient Thomas Eric Duncan at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas -- in specific, why did it take the hospital so long to diagnose and correctly treat Duncan. Duncan died after 10 days of care. It is, of course, not clear whether prompter action would have saved him, but it sure would have helped. One of the reasons that Duncan was sent home with a fever is that the nurse’s note saying that he’d traveled to West Africa had apparently been ignored or lost by the doctor. One of the threads online was the complaint that doctors do not listen to nurses." (10/23/14)

http://tinyurl.com/obd9o9x  

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Report: Google partners with Oxford U on AI efforts

October 24, 2014
posted by

Raw Story Raw Story    

"Google Inc is expanding its artificial intelligence initiative, hiring more than half a dozen leading academics and experts in the field and announcing a partnership with Oxford University to 'accelerate' its efforts. Google will make a 'substantial contribution' to establish a research partnership with Oxford’s computer science and engineering departments, the company said on Thursday regarding its work to develop the intelligence of machines and software, often to emulate human-like intelligence. Google did not provide any financial details about the partnership, saying only in a post on its blog that it will include a program of student internships and a series of joint lectures and workshops 'to share knowledge and expertise.'" (10/23/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mnkc9hj  

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WA: Seattle pols send threats to medical pot shops

October 23, 2014
posted by

San Francisco Chronicle San Francisco Chronicle    

"The city of Seattle is warning its more than 300 medical marijuana businesses that their days could be numbered. Officials this week have sent letters to 330 medical marijuana growers, processors and dispensaries reminding them they need to either shut down or be licensed by the state by next summer. The problem is that the Legislature hasn't yet created a licensing system to allow sales of medical marijuana. How to regulate pot for medical use is expected to be a hot topic when lawmakers go back into session in January. Officials fear the unregulated cannabis is competing with Washington's new, highly taxed recreational market." [editor's note: Well, duh! Anything they don't have their regulatory clutches on is bound to be cheaper, even on the black market - SAT] (10/23/14)

http://tinyurl.com/lq9fjn9  

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Barack Obama, the veto-less president

October 23, 2014
posted by

Paul Waldman The American Prospect
by Paul Waldman  

"If the Republicans take over the Senate in this year's election, as now looks likely, one thing seems certain: President Obama will be issuing a lot of vetoes in the next two years. Or maybe not over the whole two years, but certainly at first. With Republicans in control of both houses of Congress for the first time since 2006, there would be an initial spasm of pointless legislating, as they set about to fulfill the promises they've made over the course of Obama's presidency: repealing the Affordable Care Act, slashing environmental protections, cutting taxes, establishing 'the Reagan' as the new currency to replace the dollar, and so on." (10/23/14)

http://prospect.org/article/barack-obama-veto-less-president  

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North Korea: Is Fowle’s release a bid to end isolation?

October 23, 2014
posted by

Christian Science Monitor Christian Science Monitor    

"The release by the North Korean regime of US citizen Jeffrey Fowle appears to be at least a minimal move toward some kind of engagement by young leader Kim Jong-un. The context of Mr. Fowle’s release is both the terrific isolation in which North Korea finds itself, and the lack of desire in Washington to deal with the prickly regime, analysts say. As with most things involving the Kim family it is unknown how consequential the release of Fowle actually is." (10/23/14)

http://tinyurl.com/m7jkoff  

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Robots may spell “Control-Alt-Delete” for workers

October 23, 2014
posted by

Reuters Reuters
by Andy Mukherjee  

"Human beings can never run out of work. Adam Smith held that cheery view, and so far he has been proved right. But can the invisible hand match up to the robotic arm? About 47 percent of existing U.S. jobs are at risk from computerisation, according to an Oxford University study published last year. If wage incomes were to disappear in a short time, the results could be cataclysmic for prosperity and peace. From steam engine to the Internet, technological progress has been an expansionary force. Smith’s conviction that workers will benefit from technological change has been a clear winner over the idea that work is finite. Though old jobs have vanished, new and better ones have been created. The massive and rapid rise of robots could challenge this happy state." (10/23/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mfauuwf  

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Iowa TV station refuses to run “cuts kill” ad

October 23, 2014
posted by

Dave Johnson Our Future
by Dave Johnson  

"The country has been subjected to weeks of ebola fear/terror/panic/propaganda going out over the airwaves (and from one network in particular) just in time to drive fear into the election. Now a group has put together an election ad making the case that the country would have less to worry about if we hadn’t been stampeded (also by fear) into austerity budget cuts. ... A new ad has been produced by the Agenda Project Action Fund. It is titled 'Republican Cuts Kill Part II: Joni Ernst Wants to Cut.' The ad makes the case that Republicans forced cuts to the Centers for Disease Control, the National Institutes of Health, and the U.S. Agency for International Development, which reduced the capabilities of these programs to contain a deadly virus like ebola." [editor's note: Since those agencies have been basically inept in most previous "health crises" ... - SAT] (10/232/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mh8jpal  

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Saunders’s one-stop election shop

October 23, 2014
posted by

Debra J. Saunders San Francisco Chronicle
by Debra J. Saunders  

"Jerry Brown's going to win his second bid for re-election -- and that's OK. Given the state's blueness, Dao Gov is probably the best governor the state can get. Still, it's not a bad idea to send Brown a message that voters don't want him to turn too far to the left by voting for Republican Neel Kashkari. Below I include a column on the one debate between Brown and Kashkari, and a column about Brown's sense of loyalty, such as it is." [editor's note: Some of this is just conservative GOPism, but Ms. Saunders deserves a hearing for the bulk of her pro-liberty work (and there are no libertarians in the mix now anyway, thanks to the "top two" law!) - SAT] (10/22/14)

http://tinyurl.com/nv4wfqn  

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OK: Judge lets abortion drug ban take effect

October 23, 2014
posted by

Raw Story Raw Story    

"An Oklahoma judge said on Wednesday he will allow a law that bans abortion-inducing drugs to take effect as planned on Nov. 1, over the objections of abortion rights advocates who said the measure is poor public health policy that could put women at risk. Oklahoma District Court Judge Robert Stuart turned down a request by abortion rights groups to halt the measure from taking effect. Stuart also allowed a provision that would limit liability claims against physicians due to the law. According to the lawsuit filed on behalf of Reproductive Services in Tulsa and the Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Services this month, the measure would lead to increased use of surgically induced abortions for cases where drugs can be used." (10/22/14)

http://tinyurl.com/q4p9qbl  

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Obama learning LBJ lesson: Guns or butter, not both

October 23, 2014
posted by

Reuters Reuters
by Robert Dallek  

"President Barack Obama has lost his hold on a majority of Americans, according to recent polls. Though more than two years remain in his term, the popular appeal that propelled him to win the 2008 and 2012 elections may be beyond recovery. It is sadly reminiscent of what President Lyndon B. Johnson experienced in the mid-1960s after winning the 1964 presidential election by one of the largest landslides in U.S. history. This is not to suggest that history is repeating itself. There are too many differences between Johnson and Obama (both the men and their presidencies) to argue that. Yet, as Mark Twain said, history may not repeat itself, but it does rhyme." [editor's note: Despite the fawning over both tyrants, and the atrocities they perpetrated, this is a fairly good analysis of their similarities - SAT] (10/22/14)

http://tinyurl.com/nsd4dub  

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NC: Probe reveals scope of Tarheel academic fraud

October 23, 2014
posted by

Fox News Fox News    

"More than 3,100 students -- nearly half of them athletes -- enrolled in classes they didn't have to show up for and received artificially inflated grades, in what an investigator called a 'shadow curriculum' that lasted nearly two decades at the University of North Carolina. The report released Wednesday by former high-ranking U.S. Justice Department official Kenneth Wainstein found more far-reaching academic fraud than previous investigations by the school and the NCAA. Many at the university hoped Wainstein's investigation would bring some closure to the long-running scandal, which is rooted in an NCAA investigation focused on improper benefits within the football program in 2010. Instead, findings of a systemic problem in the former African and Afro-American Studies department could lead to NCAA sanctions and possible dismissal of additional UNC staff." (10/22/14)

http://tinyurl.com/pt6dkxt  

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Why liberals love (and trust) NPR

October 23, 2014
posted by

Paul Waldman The American Prospect
by Paul Waldman  

"The Pew Research Center has one of its ginormous studies out today, this one about polarization and media use, and as usual it's full of interesting stuff. I want to make a point about news in general and NPR in particular, and then after that, for those who care about these things, I have a methodological point to make about how we measure ideology. One of the distinct things about the Pew results is that conservatives love, love, love Fox News, while no single news outlet has the same kind of near-universal use among liberals. ... But the really interesting difference emerges when they ask which sources people trust" [editor's note: I wake up to NPR, catch up on it while driving, and avoid ALL TV news (except Stewart & Colbert, for chuckles) - SAT] (10/22/14)

http://prospect.org/article/why-liberals-love-and-trust-npr  

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Brazil: Presidential candidates battle for their hometown

October 23, 2014
posted by

Reuters Reuters    

"The two candidates in Brazil's presidential election runoff on Sunday grew up just seven blocks apart, attending the same elite tennis club, watching movies at the same theater and strolling through the same leafy plazas during the 1960s. They cheered for rival soccer teams, though, and eventually went down very different political paths. Dilma Rousseff joined a Marxist group that opposed that era's military dictatorship, while Aecio Neves embraced the more conservative ethos of his grandfather, a legend in Brazilian politics. Today, President Rousseff and Senator Neves are fighting for votes in their hometown of Belo Horizonte -- a critical battleground in a race that has gone down to the wire." [editor's note: Like they say, all politics is local - SAT] (10/22/14)

http://tinyurl.com/p2hlano  

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Does democracy let “the poor” dominate?

October 23, 2014
posted by

Dave Johnson Our Future
by Dave Johnson  

"Hong Kong’s leader/chief executive Leung Chun-ying slammed pro-democracy protesters, saying that democracy would allow the poor too much of a voice. Leung said that a Chinese-style government appointed from the top allows for more business-friendly policies. I suspect Leung’s comments echo the view of elites worldwide. This week The New York Times reported on Leung’s comments, writing, 'Mr. Leung’s blunt remarks reflect a widely held view among the Hong Kong elite that the general public cannot be trusted to govern the city well.'” [editor's note: When "demoncrazy" (my term) is allowed to run unchecked (with no zone of sovereignty around peaceful individuals), it's a curse, not a blessing. However, in this case, Leung is full of the usual crap - SAT] (10/22/14)

http://ourfuture.org/20141022/does-democracy-let-the-poor-dominate  

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VA: Camel maker Reynolds snuffs out workplace smoking

October 23, 2014
posted by

San Francisco Chronicle San Francisco Chronicle    

"Camel cigarette maker Reynolds American Inc. is snuffing out smoking in its offices and buildings. The nation's second-biggest tobacco company informed employees Wednesday that beginning next year, the use of traditional cigarettes, cigars or pipes will no longer be permitted at employee desks or offices, conference rooms, hallways and elevators. Lighting up already is prohibited on factory floors and in cafeterias and fitness centers. The no-smoking policy will go into effect once Reynolds builds indoor smoking areas for those still wanting to light up indoors, spokesman David Howard said." (10/22/14)

http://tinyurl.com/qhq272a  

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Can student credit unions solve college affordability problem?

October 22, 2014
posted by

The Nation The Nation
by Helene Barthelemy  

"In the past two years, Columbia University students have attempted to remedy the vexing problem of college affordability with an old but largely untried idea: a student credit union. Credit unions form 'the cooperatively owned alternative to traditional banks' in which profits go to providing better rates and lower fees for the credit union’s clients. Recipients of capital become shareholders in the institution and participate in its decisions." [editor's note: It could be one answer; it's sure made my life easier! - SAT] (10/22/14)

http://tinyurl.com/nhaoht2  

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NY: New mayor, same old story; still marijuana arrest capital

October 22, 2014
posted by

Christian Science Monitor Christian Science Monitor    

"New York City has long been called the 'marijuana arrest capital of the world.' Under the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio, the nation’s largest city has maintained that reputation, continuing its aggressive campaign against those found possessing even the most trace amounts of the drug. In fact, Mayor de Blasio and New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton have even outdone the previous administration, surpassing the marijuana possession arrest totals nearly every month this year compared with last, according to a study by the Drug Policy Alliance released Monday." (10/22/14)

http://tinyurl.com/kfvqd7a  

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The neo-scramble for Africa

October 22, 2014
posted by

In These Times In These Times
by Salim Muwakkil  

"In the new race for Africa, the United States staked its position in early August, when President Obama convened four dozen African heads of state for the first-ever U.S.-African Leaders Summit. The three-day gathering was the most direct expression of the United States’ growing concern with China’s deepening influence on the continent. According to the Brookings Institution, China overtook the United States as Africa’s largest trading partner in 2009 and has been widening the margin ever since. China’s not acting out of altruism, of course. It has developed an insatiable appetite for Africa’s mineral and petroleum resources." (10/22/14)

http://inthesetimes.com/article/17244/obama_africa_summit  

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South Korea takes down “Christmas tree” border tower

October 22, 2014
posted by

BBC News BBC News [UK state media]    

"South Korea has taken down a tower at its border with North Korea, which has in the past been decorated as a Christmas tree by Christian groups. The 60 foot tower has previously been covered in colourful lights at Christmas and topped with a cross. The North, which is officially atheist, saw this as religious and political propaganda and threatened to shell it. Its removal comes a week after senior military officials from the two Koreas met for the first time in seven years." (10/22/14)

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-29718662  

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WHO: Ebola serum for Africa within weeks

October 22, 2014
posted by

BBC News [UK state media]    

"Serum made from the blood of recovered Ebola patients could be available within weeks in Liberia, one of the countries worst hit by the virus, says the World Health Organization. Speaking in Geneva, Dr Marie Paule Kieny said work was also advancing quickly to get drugs and a vaccine ready for January 2015. The Ebola outbreak has already killed more than 4,500 people. Most of the deaths have been in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone." (10/21/14)

http://www.bbc.com/news/health-29707393  

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