Author Archive

Kasich begins ritual of self-flagellation

October 21, 2014
posted by

Paul Waldman The American Prospect
by Paul Waldman  

"At Holy Cross-Immaculata church in Cincinnati, there's a Good Friday tradition called 'Praying the Steps,' in which parishioners slowly climb the 85 steps up to the church, saying a prayer on each step. It may take a while to get to the top, but that's the entire point of the exercise—the time and effort it takes is a symbol of one's devotion. Keep that in mind for a moment as we talk about that state's governor, John Kasich, and his complicated feelings about the Affordable Care Act. Yesterday, Governor Kasich went through a ritual that has grown no less absurd for being so familiar." (10/21/24)

http://tinyurl.com/ldss7dc  

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NY: CLU & Cuomo agree on defending poor

October 21, 2014
posted by

San Francisco Chronicle    

"Gov. Andrew Cuomo says his administration's agreement with the New York Civil Liberties Union to improve criminal defense for the state's poor addresses longstanding inequities. The agreement settles the lawsuit the NYCLU filed seven years ago, saying New York systemically provided inadequate staff and money for constitutionally required defense lawyers in the 57 counties outside New York City. Cuomo says his administration inherited the problem, saying he's proud of a resolution 'that results in a fairer, more humane justice system.' The suit sought attorneys at all arraignments, smaller caseloads and better funding, with the state taking over the county-based system." (10/21/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mpnajsr  

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Islamic State’s rules of attraction

October 21, 2014
posted by

Reuters
by Peter Van Buren  

"The U.S. State Department is producing anti-Islamic State propaganda to persuade American and other would-be jihadis not to join the extremist group. It’s ham-handed, and often sarcastic, and unlikely to have the intended effect. Why? Because the department fails to understand how Islamic State attracts recruits in the first place. One way to make sense of all this is to look at the appeal of Alcoholics Anonymous. AA does not recruit members, it attracts them. Long experience suggests that people who impulsively make decisions that actually require a long-term commitment will almost certainly fail. ... And so with Islamic State. Islamic State propaganda pulls no punches." (10/21/14)

http://tinyurl.com/otspv3e  

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FL Court: Not so fast with those red-light camera tickets

October 21, 2014
posted by

Fox News    

"Big changes could be coming to cities with red-light cameras after a Florida District Court of Appeals judge said it’s illegal for camera operators to issue citations to drivers. The program works like this: Cameras installed at traffic signals snap photos and are examined by the camera’s owner (not law enforcement) to determine whether a violation occurred. A citation is sent to the alleged violator. The driver has 60 days to appeal the ticket before it’s converted into a fine, just like any other citation issued by law enforcement officers." [editor's note: Don't get too excited; all this really does is make more work for the bureaucrats - SAT] (10/21/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mch9vyu  

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Senior regulator says bank CEOs meant well, documents say otherwise

October 21, 2014
posted by

Our Future
by Richard Eskow  

"The head of one of Wall Street’s most important regulatory agencies argued recently that big-bank CEOs never intended to break the law or engage in foreclosure fraud. Instead, Thomas Curry of the Office of Comptroller of the Currency tells us they weren’t cautious enough. Internal documents obtained from a bank-backed venture several years ago seem to directly contradict this claim. These documents, which include training materials, PowerPoint presentations and videos, suggest that the industry made a conscious attempt to bypass local jurisdictions and automate processes -- in what can best be described as a fraud-friendly way." (10/21/14)

http://tinyurl.com/ncwe63x  

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“Zombie glacier” surprises scientists, raises warming questions

October 21, 2014
posted by

Raw Story    

"Scientists tend to speak of glaciers as if they were living creatures. They say they grow and die and have good health and bad. Now, with Halloween approaching, a handful of researchers has found a way that the anthropomorphized rivers of ice that they study can simultaneously live and die as the globe warms. The discovery of a ghoulishly semi-lifeless glacier in southeastern Iceland doesn’t just create a new zombie class of frozen rivers of water. It raises questions about the accuracy of conventional approaches to measuring the growth and retreat of similar glaciers." (10/21/14)

http://tinyurl.com/lp7w23w  

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AL: House Speaker arrested on felony charges

October 21, 2014
posted by

San Francisco Chronicle    

"Powerful Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard has been arrested on felony ethics charges, accused of using public office for personal gain. Hubbard was indicted by a grand jury on 23 charges accusing him of misusing his office as speaker and his previous post as chairman of the Alabama Republican Party. Acting Attorney General Van Davis announced the indictment Monday. Hubbard says the charges, weeks before the November vote in which he's favored for re-election, constitute 'a political witch hunt.'" (10/20/14)

http://tinyurl.com/m4x6xm4  

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Why Republicans may still lose the Senate

October 21, 2014
posted by

Our Future
by Bill Scher  

"While we shouldn’t assume the outcome in any of these close Senate races, it’s true that Republicans have inched ahead in many of the contested states where Democrats currently hold seats. However, it’s also true that Republicans have lost ground in the three states that nearly everyone assumed Republicans had in the bag: Georgia, Kansas and South Dakota. If the electorate was experiencing a swing to the right, this split dynamic wouldn’t be happening." [editor's note: Not sure why this "progressive" pundit cares about Gop misfortunes, but ... - SAT] (10/20/14)

http://tinyurl.com/qhqulyy  

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Canada: Researchers send Ebola vaccine to WHO for testing

October 21, 2014
posted by

Raw Story    

"The first batch of an experimental Ebola vaccine developed by Canadian scientists was sent to Switzerland on Monday for testing by the World Health Organization, officials said. Canada’s Health Minister Rona Ambrose said the first of three shipments, comprising 800 vials of the vaccine, had been sent from the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg. The vials were packed in dry ice at a temperature of minus 80 degrees Celsius (-112 degrees Fahrenheit) during shipping, officials said. Trials of the vaccine on humans are expected to begin there at the end of the month or early in November." (10/20/14)

http://tinyurl.com/n4z6322  

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Being the “indispensable nation” is killing American democracy

October 21, 2014
posted by

Reuters
by Robert L. Borosage  

"America (proudly dubbed the 'indispensable nation' by its national-security managers) is now the entangled nation enmeshed in conflicts across the globe. President Barack Obama, scorned by his Republican critics as an 'isolationist' who wants to 'withdraw from the world,' is waging the longest war in U.S. history in Afghanistan, boasts of toppling the Muammar Gaddafi regime in Libya, launches airstrikes in Iraq and Syria against Islamic State and picks targets for drones to attack in as many as eight countries, while dispatching planes to the Russian border in reaction to its machinations in Ukraine, and a fleet to the South China Sea as the conflict over control of islands and waters escalates between China and its neighbors." [editor's note: This translates better as "Becoming an empire-state is killing American liberty" - SAT] (10/20/14)

http://tinyurl.com/n9e3h5j  

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GAO report: Thousands of government workers on paid leave

October 21, 2014
posted by

Fox News    

"Thousands of federal workers who have been put on administrative leave for more than a month have been allowed to collect a paycheck, accrue vacation days and pensions benefits while taxpayers were forced to foot the $775 million bill, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office. Some government employees who broke the rules (meaning they were cited for being untrustworthy or had ongoing issues with co-workers or their bosses) were allowed to remain on leave for large chunks of time while they challenged their demotions, the 62-page report said. The study, released publicly on Monday, marks the first time auditors have taken a look at the scope of administrative leave and its cost to taxpayers." (10/20/14)

http://tinyurl.com/nrytpxh  

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What would elections be like if everyone voted?

October 21, 2014
posted by

Paul Waldman The American Prospect
by Paul Waldman  

"Imagine, if you would, an election in which almost everyone turned out to vote. Campaigns would have to reorient their persuasion efforts, because they'd have to talk to everyone. It wouldn't matter whether it was a presidential year or a midterm year. All the time, money, and effort that goes into identifying potential voters, making sure they're registered, and then getting them to the polls would no longer be needed. And of course, people like me wouldn't be able to spend months talking about which voters were going to turn out and which ones weren't." [editor's note: Imagine, if you would, a world in which we all don't have to vote because Paul Waldman thinks we should ... - TLK] (10/20/14)

http://tinyurl.com/p6thafk  

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Fed official: Banks should defer bonuses 10 years, tap them for fines

October 21, 2014
posted by

Reuters    

"Banks should defer bonus payments for 10 years and tap the bonus pool to pay any regulatory fines, a top Federal Reserve official said on Monday, taking aim at continued lapses across the industry even after the 2007-9 financial crisis. New York Federal Reserve Bank President William Dudley said banks should move toward paying employees in debt securities for their annual incentive pay, rather than in equity. Dudley's sharp comments came at the end of a one-day conference held by the New York Fed, titled, 'Workshop on Reforming Culture and Behavior in the Financial Services Industry.'" [editor's note: Has this guy got a deathwish? - SAT] (10/20/14)

http://tinyurl.com/q6rdjbk  

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Jerry Brown: Caucus of one

October 20, 2014
posted by

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

"I know Republicans who voted for Jerry Brown in 2010. They thought he’d be like Nixon going to China and stand up to public-employee unions by fixing a dysfunctional pension system. They thought he’d live up to his pose as elder sage, ready to do what’s best for the state. After he won a return engagement as governor, Brown liked to bloviate about the need for elected officials to demonstrate 'loyalty to California.' I don’t think he really understands what loyalty is." (10/20/14)

http://tinyurl.com/q6qa3or  

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LA: Rich white suburbs wants to split from Baton Rouge

October 20, 2014
posted by

BBC News [UK state media]    

"More than 18,000 residents in the suburbs south of Baton Rouge, the state capital of Louisiana, have signed a petition calling for the creation of a new city called St George. The community is currently part of East Baton Rouge Parish, which also includes the city of Baton Rouge itself. The campaigners claim they simply want to improve the quality of local schools and to ensure that taxpayers (who currently contribute roughly two thirds of funds to the parish) have more control over the money they contribute to fund services." (10/20/14)

http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-29666348  

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Black-brown alliance turning Kansas blue

October 20, 2014
posted by

In These Times
by Sam Ross-Brown  

"Heading into the November elections, you could be forgiven for assuming the GOP hold on Kansas isn’t going to loosen. The home base of the Koch brothers, the state has become a poster child of Tea Party Republicanism, toeing the far-right line on voter ID laws, abortion restrictions and a host of other issues. In 2012, the National Journal rated the congressional delegation from Kansas as the most conservative in the country -- and that was before a Koch-funded campaign succeeded in ousting moderate Republicans in that year’s primaries. ... But in the lead-up to November, Kansas’s red-state armor began to show some cracks." (10/20/14)

http://tinyurl.com/kfmnzpv  

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“Breaking Bad” action figure: Good idea for Toys ‘R’ Us?

October 20, 2014
posted by

Christian Science Monitor    

"What happens when a toy store dedicated to helping 'kids and babies develop, learn, and be safe' starts selling hazmat-suited action figures who cook crystal meth? A pop culture phenomenon collides with concerns that children are being exposed to violent and inappropriate content too early. Earlier this month, one Florida mother started an online petition to get Toys 'R' Us to remove 'Breaking Bad' action figures from its shelves. Now, her campaign is gathering media attention, with appearances on local TV as well as NBC's 'Today' show." (10/20/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mfaa6tu  

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Work-sharing: Socialist alternative to layoffs?

October 20, 2014
posted by

The Nation The Nation
by Michelle Chen  

"Work-sharing is a simple concept: When employers try to cut costs, shrinking the payroll is a quick way to cut back not only on wages but on fringe benefits and related taxes. Employers often make the cruel calculation to replace current workers with cheaper ones, or to reduce their hours. Work-sharing tries to reconfigure the distribution of work and employment by subsidizing employment costs in exchange for reduced work time. So people work less, but get an income supplement to help offset the impact." [editor's note: She insists on labeling it "socialist;" I'd call it common sense - SAT] (10/20/14)

http://tinyurl.com/llgxzjr  

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Lessons from Gandhi’s salt march

October 20, 2014
posted by

In These Times
by Mark Engler & Paul Engler  

"History remembers Mohandas Gandhi’s Salt March as one of the great episodes of resistance in the past century and as a campaign which struck a decisive blow against British imperialism. In the early morning of March 12, 1930, Gandhi and a trained cadre of 78 followers from his ashram began a march of more than 200 miles to the sea. Three and a half weeks later, on April 5, surrounded by a crowd of thousands, Gandhi waded into the edge of the ocean, approached an area on the mud flats where evaporating water left a thick layer of sediment, and scooped up a handful of salt." (10/17/14)

http://inthesetimes.com/article/17236/how_did_gandhi_win  

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Teddy Roosevelt v. Citizens United

October 20, 2014
posted by

Reuters
by Jim Gaines  

"How is it possible that, given overwhelming public concern about the direction of the country, we could be facing historically low turnout in the midterm elections on Nov. 4? The question isn’t new. As trust in government has swung up and down in the past half century, turnout for midterm races, as in presidential years, has varied relatively little, each staying within a 10-point range. Studies of nonvoters have found many reasons, but one of the big ones is that people know a single vote rarely if ever determines the outcome of an election. By this reasoning, of course, why would anyone ever vote?" (10/16/14)

http://tinyurl.com/kfrmlxh  

3 Comments »

First Fresno, next Sacramento

October 20, 2014
posted by

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

"Many insiders believe that Secretary of State candidate Pete Peterson and Controller hopeful Ashley Swearengin are the two Republicans most likely to win a statewide office -- and it’s because both have tried to reach across the aisle. Swearengin, the Fresno Mayor, is banking on California voters looking for an alternative to one-party rule in Sacramento. Her campaign manager Tim Clark wrote this piece about the race in Fox and Hounds Daily. He writes that the old formula for GOP victory is changing." (10/18/14)

http://tinyurl.com/jwezjkw  

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CA: “Water cops” going high-tech to catch sprinkler abuse

October 20, 2014
posted by

Raw Story    

"It was still dark on Kokomo Drive in Sacramento’s Natomas district as Paul Brown edged his city-issued Honda Civic past a row of beige stucco houses with tiny front lawns, looking for water wasters. He heard the scofflaws before he saw their lush green lawns amid the otherwise parched turf. The buzz of a sprinkler system gave them away on a day that the city, desperate to save water amid California’s ongoing drought, had forbidden watering. 'If I can get a good picture -- if there’s a lot of water -- I’ll cite them,' he said. California is in the third year of a devastating drought that has led farmers to fallow nearly half a million acres of cropland, threatened fish hatcheries and shrunk drinking water supplies for some communities." (10/19/14)

http://tinyurl.com/n89doev  

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CO: Halloweed? Police warn of pot-spiked candy

October 19, 2014
posted by

Fox News    

"Colorado parents are being told to be on the lookout this Halloween for marijuana-laced candy, NBC News reported. The Facebook page of the Denver Police Department is warning that mass-produced candy can by sprayed with hash oil, and once the spray dries, there is no way to tell that the candy has been infused. The station reported that the Denver PD Facebook page features Patrick Johnson, owner of marijuana shop Urban Dispensary. In the film, Johnson urges parents to inspect any candy their children bring home after trick-or-treating on Halloween to make sure it hasn’t been tampered with." [editor's note: Someone apparently needs to remember Leary's First Law: "Thou shalt not dose another without his/her awareness and consent!" - SAT] (10/19/14)

http://tinyurl.com/m3usc4n  

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Our empathetic rich: The rarest of birds

October 19, 2014
posted by

Our Future
by Sam Pizzigati  

"Billionaire CEO Nicholas Woodman, news reports trumpeted earlier this month, has set aside $450 million worth of his GoPro software stock to set up a brand-new charitable foundation. 'We wake up every morning grateful for the opportunities life has given us,' Woodman and his wife Jill noted in a joint statement. 'We hope to return the favor as best we can.' Stories about charitable billionaires have long been a media staple. The defenders of our economic order love them -- and regularly trot them out to justify America’s ever more top-heavy concentration of income and wealth." (10/17/14)

http://tinyurl.com/ohqkgzy  

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Germany: Lufthansa cancels flights due to pilots’ strike

October 19, 2014
posted by

Reuters    

"German airline Lufthansa (LHAG.DE) canceled 1,450 flights after a pilots union called for a strike on Monday and Tuesday, adding to travelers' misery after millions were left stranded by a weekend-long train drivers' stoppage. Lufthansa said late on Sunday more than 200,000 passengers and two thirds of its scheduled flights -- short and mid-length services, mostly within Europe -- would be affected by the strike. Both the pilots' and train drivers' strikes hit at the start of a week-long, half-term holidays in nearly half of Germany's 16 federal states." (10/19/14)

http://tinyurl.com/ncna4jv  

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