Author Archive

Iran: Regime gets back 13 tons of its gold

July 3, 2015
posted by

USA Today USA Today    

"Iran took possession of a 13-ton hoard of gold -- worth nearly $500 million -- held up by sanctions after working out a deal on the sidelines of nuclear talks in Vienna, the country's central bank chief told Iranian media. 'A sum of 13 tons of gold that had been purchased before and was deposited in South Africa in the past two years and could not be transferred to Iran due to the sanctions ... was delivered to the Central Bank of Iran's treasury last night,' Valiollah Seif, who heads the Central Bank of Iran, said Wednesday, according to the Iranian state-owned Fars News. Seif said the transfer is evidence the talks are having some success. Fars News reported the retrieval of the gold was the result of months of hard work. That much gold is worth about $485 million based on current price per ounce." (07/02/15)

http://tinyurl.com/o24ve2k  

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In some US churches, guns are the answer to a prayer

July 3, 2015
posted by

Reuters Reuters
by staff  

"The Sunday service was winding down, but before it ended, Bishop Ira Combs led the congregation of 300 at the Greater Bible Way Temple in prayer. The shootings that killed nine people in a Charleston church could not happen here, he reassured his flock. 'If they had security, the assailant would not have been able to reload,' Combs declared. 'All of us here are not going to turn the other cheek while you shoot us.' As he preached, Combs was flanked by a man on each side of the pulpit, each armed with handguns beneath their suit coats. Other members of the church’s security team were scattered among the crowd. Congregants did not know who was armed and who was not -- an undercover approach that is part of the security plan. 'We aren’t looking to engage people in violence, but we are going to practice law enforcement,' Combs told Reuters before the service." (07/02/15)

http://tinyurl.com/pon32e6  

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Trump magic turns GOP elephant into a cricket

July 3, 2015
posted by

USA Today USA Today
by Ruben Navarette  

"If Republicans don't grow a spine and speak out against Donald Trump's nativist sideshow, the GOP should change its mascot to the cricket. With just two exceptions -- one that did more harm than good, and one that was too cute by half -- that's all we're hearing from other GOP presidential candidates regarding Trump's diatribes against Mexican migrants as the dregs of society. Crickets. According to Trump, those who migrate from Mexico to the United States are 'people that have lots of problems' who are 'bringing drugs' and 'bringing crime' and are often 'rapists.' Univision, NBC-Universal, Macy's and other companies have cut ties with Trump over the comments." (07/02/153)

http://tinyurl.com/o9ys3am  

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Can marijuana cure PTSD? Many veterans say yes

July 3, 2015
posted by

Raw Story Raw Story    

"After steadily accumulating anecdotes about how veterans use cannabis to treat their war wounds that understanding might finally be on the way. Following years of bureaucratic hurdles, the first Food and Drug Administration-approved, randomized controlled trial on cannabis and PTSD is set to begin this summer. Many believe the study will spur increased acceptance of veterans using marijuana, a political shift that?s already led more and more states to add PTSD to their lists of conditions that qualify for medical marijuana. But that key study still faces roadblocks, the latest being a VA hospital?s refusal to let one of the trial?s researchers recruit patients at its facility. It?s just one more example of the political and scientific obstacles that remain before cannabis is embraced as a viable option for soldiers." (07/02/15)

http://tinyurl.com/pjrcvye  

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Federal contractors should disclose campaign spending

July 3, 2015
posted by

Dave Johnson Our Future
by Dave Johnson  

"We the People do not know how much money federal contractors are spending to bribe influence our Congress. What does that say about the transparency and integrity of our pay-to-play political system? For Independence Day President Obama should help Congress become independent of bribes campaign contributions from federal contractors. Thanks to recent Supreme Court decisions, federal contractors can give unlimited amounts to “dark money” groups that influence elections with smear ads, etc. In March, more than 50 organizations sent a letter asking President Obama to require federal contractors to disclose their spending on brib -- err, political campaigns. Obviously, the public should know if and how much federal contractors are influencing those who decide what to spend on federal contracts." [editor's note: Once more this "progressive" pundit says something that any "libertarian" should applaud - SAT] (07/02/15)

http://tinyurl.com/naevene  

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NASA discovers mysterious dark spots on Pluto

July 3, 2015
posted by

Christian Science Monitor Christian Science Monitor    

"New color photos of the dwarf planet Pluto were released Wednesday afternoon by NASA’s New Horizons mission. The photos reveal a series of dark spots about 300 miles in diameter, something scientists have not seen before. The mission found the two sides of the planet are distinct from each other; one face is smooth, while the other holds peculiar spots. The dark spots appear to be at the base of the planet in the photos, which is a result of Pluto’s tilt; if the planet were aright, the spots would appear to be in the middle of the planet. ‘It's a real puzzle; we don't know what the spots are, and we can't wait to find out,’ said New Horizons principal investigator Alan Stern of the Southwest Research Institute, Boulder in a press release from the mission." (07/02/15)

http://tinyurl.com/pjby4pc  

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A spy’s guide to protecting whistleblowers

July 3, 2015
posted by

In These Times In These Times
by Brandon Smith  

"A smiling woman I don’t know greets me by first name. The conference room has been swept for surveillance devices, she explains, and everyone who enters will get a brief pat-down. With three other journalists and a computer security expert, I am about to begin a two-day training in pre-electronic spycraft. Our instructors: two military police veterans. The goal: Learn how to protect people who risk their jobs or freedom to share information with the public -- aka whistleblowers. After we all get settled in, class starts." (07/02/15)

http://tinyurl.com/p3y3sra  

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Cuba: Internet Luddites open Wi-Fi hotspots across country

July 3, 2015
posted by

Reuters Reuters    

"Cuba has opened 35 Wi-Fi access points nationwide, offering unprecedented online access in a country that until now has restricted use of the Internet to an elite few. Before the Wi-Fi signals became available on Wednesday, broadband Internet access had been limited to largely to desktops at state Internet parlors and pricey hotels. 'It was high time for Cuba to be able to connect. Everyone has the right to Internet,' said Alejandro Costa, who used the Wi-Fi on Thursday. The service was available to those who had previously established an account with state telecoms monopoly Etecsa. Whether because of a lack of investment or concerns about the flow of information in a Communist state that monopolizes the media, Cuba has lagged behind in Internet usage. Only 3.4 percent of Cuban homes have either intranet or Internet access, according to a U.N. agency." (07/02/15)

http://tinyurl.com/qjd4xap  

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OR: State launches program to tax drivers by the mile

July 3, 2015
posted by

Fox News Fox News    

"David Hastings is a rare American. This long-time hybrid car owner from Oregon wants to pay higher taxes for roads and bridges and says the current 30 cents per gallon state gas tax barely affects him. 'I've been free-loading on the highways for 20 years driving electric cars or hybrid cars, getting at least 40 miles to the gallon. So I haven't been paying my share,' Hastings said. Now, Hastings will pay more thanks to OReGO -- the first pay-by-the-mile program in the U.S. Oregon’s Department of Transportation has been working on it for 15 years as a way to eventually replace the gas tax, which has been flat due to an influx of high mileage vehicles and people driving less." [editor's note: Of course, I guess it has never occurred to the good people of Oregon to consider ... oh, I dunno, toll roads? Been working wonders for Maine (and a few other states) for decades, and all they did to simplify it was allow you to track the usage in your car - SAT] (07/02/15)

http://tinyurl.com/no2zzyb  

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Is there a human right to kill?

July 3, 2015
posted by

The Nation The Nation
by Nicola Perugini & Neve Gordon  

"On a cool spring day in May 2012, the members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) met in McCormick Place, Chicago. The 28 heads of state comprising the military alliance had come to the Windy City to discuss the withdrawal of NATO forces from Afghanistan, among other strategic matters. Nearly a decade before, in August 2003, NATO had assumed control of the International Security Assistance Force, a coalition of more than 30 countries that had sent soldiers to occupy the most troubled regions in Afghanistan. Not long before the Chicago summit, President Barack Obama had publicly declared that the United States would begin pulling out its troops from Afghanistan and that a complete withdrawal would be achieved by 2014. NATO was therefore set to decide on the details of a potential exit strategy." (07/02/15)

http://tinyurl.com/q9sxl2b  

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Federal report: Polar bears in peril due to global warming

July 3, 2015
posted by

San Francisco Chronicle San Francisco Chronicle    

"Polar bears are at risk of dying off if humans don't reverse the trend of global warming, a blunt U.S. government report filed Thursday said. 'The single most important step for polar bear conservation is decisive action to address Arctic warming,' the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said in a draft recovery plan, part of the process after the agency listed the species as threatened in 2008. 'Short of action that effectively addresses the primary cause of diminishing sea ice, it is unlikely that polar bears will be recovered.' Halting Arctic warming will require a global commitment, said Jenifer Kohout, the Fish and Wildlife Service's regional program manager and a co-chair of the polar bear recovery team." (07/02/15)

http://tinyurl.com/q3rdg75  

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Greece: Only the “no” can save the euro

July 2, 2015
posted by

The American Prospect The American Prospect    

"Greece is heading toward a referendum on Sunday on which the future of the country and its elected government will depend, and with the fate of the euro and the European Union also in the balance. At present writing, Greece has missed a payment to the IMF, negotiations have broken off, and the great and good are writing off the Greek government and calling for a 'Yes' vote, accepting the creditors' terms for 'reform,' in order to 'save the euro.' In all of these judgments, they are, not for the first time, mistaken." (07/01/15)

http://tinyurl.com/q92cfzf  

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Episcopalians vote to allow same-sex weddings in churches

July 2, 2015
posted by

USA Today USA Today    

"Days after the U.S. Supreme Court granted constitutional protection to gay marriage, Episcopalians gave their blessing Wednesday to church weddings for same-sex couples. The denomination's landmark vote, at the Episcopal General Convention in Salt Lake City, came 12 years after the church made history by electing its first openly gay bishop. Same-sex weddings will be allowed after Nov. 1. But in a compromise with conservatives, clergy can refuse to perform same-sex services and bishops can prohibit the ceremonies in their diocese, The Washington Post reports." (07/01/15)

http://tinyurl.com/q3y3epp  

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Was Greece lured into “strategic deficits?”

July 2, 2015
posted by

Dave Johnson Our Future Blog
by Dave Johnson  

"The job of a lender is to evaluate risk and price a loan accordingly. If there is risk you charge a higher interest rate. That way you still make money on a broad portfolio of loans even when there are a few defaults. That’s the job of a banker, supposedly. It’s what they are supposed to be good at. If they are bad at their job, give loans to deadbeats (or countries that can’t pay you back) you lose money, and probably shouldn’t in the business of being a lender. The lender is supposed to evaluate the risk and say no if the borrower is irresponsible, not complain later about the borrower being irresponsible." (07/01/15)

http://tinyurl.com/ptv9box  

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This professor was fired for saying “fuck no” in class

July 2, 2015
posted by

The Nation The Nation
by Michelle Goldberg  

"Recently, there’s been much discussion of what some say is a growing intellectual chill and sexual panic on campus. In the latest example, on June 19, Teresa Buchanan, a tenured associate professor of education at Louisiana State University, was fired from the school where she’d taught for twenty years for using off-color language. Her alleged offenses included saying, in class, 'fuck no' and making a joke about sex declining in long-term relationships, as well as using the word 'pussy' in an off-campus conversation with a teacher. Reached by phone, she says she had no memory of saying 'pussy' to anyone, but said that, if she did, it likely would have been in a conversation about how teachers must learn to handle irate parents." (07/01/15)

http://tinyurl.com/nfaulr3  

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The Pentagon’s new weapon: Agent Whitewash

July 2, 2015
posted by

In These Times In These Times
by Tom Hayden  

"Despite its vast scale, the Vietnam-era peace movement is losing on the battlefield of memory. To mark the 50th anniversary of the start of the ground war, the Pentagon is spending $60 million on a decade-long Vietnam War Commemoration, ostensibly to 'thank and honor veterans' who served in the war. The commission’s website, however, distorts the war’s history. It has entries for the August 1964 Gulf of Tonkin Incident that was used as an excuse to go to war, but does not mention that the attacks against U.S. ships never happened, as declassified NSA documents proved in 2005. It reports the killing of hundreds of Vietnamese civilians at My Lai in 1968, but says nothing about the many other massacres and crimes committed by U.S. soldiers. The website lists only three of the thousands of antiwar protests and gives no indication of the peace movement’s breadth and strength." [editor's note: Stalin and Goebbels live on? - SAT] (07/01/15)

http://tinyurl.com/pnbauty  

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Air Force: Accident won’t bump SpaceX from satellite competition

July 2, 2015
posted by

Raw Story Raw Story    

"SpaceX can compete to launch a U.S. Global Positioning System satellite despite a Falcon 9 rocket accident this weekend, the Air Force said on Wednesday. 'SpaceX remains certified and can compete for the upcoming GPS III launch service,' Lt. General Samuel Greaves, who heads the Air Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center, wrote in an email to Reuters The Air Force plans to release a solicitation for launch service proposals this month, the first time SpaceX, which is owned and operated by technology entrepreneur Elon Musk, will be eligible to compete against United Launch Alliance (ULA). The joint-venture of Lockheed-Martin and Boeing has had a monopoly on the military’s launch business." (07/01/15)

http://tinyurl.com/o8p44t3  

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Is Bernie Sanders too radical for America?

July 2, 2015
posted by

The American Prospect The American Prospect
by Peter Dreier  

"Now that Bernie Sanders is rapidly climbing in the polls and attracting huge audiences to his campaign events, his opponents are starting to attack him for being too radical. After all, Sanders describes himself as a democratic socialist. Of course, few Americans know what 'socialist' means. Some mistakenly associate it with Communism. In fact, Sanders has often said that he favors the kinds of policies favored by the Scandinavian democracies. ... On the campaign trail in Iowa, New Hampshire, and elsewhere, many voters appear to be willing to look past the labels and listen to what Sanders is actually saying about the issues and the role of government in society." (06/30/15)

http://tinyurl.com/oy8t6l8  

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Mexico: Million-dollar mausoleums keep dead drug lords in luxury

July 2, 2015
posted by

Fox News Fox News Latino    

"Inside the entrance to the Jardines de Humaya Cemetery in the Mexican city of Culiacán are rows of bland, unadorned slabs that serve as the gravestones of the city's poor. Continue walking deeper into the graveyard and these rows give way to hulking two story behemoths that look more like modern condominiums than they do places to bury the dead. These are the narco-mausoleums, the final resting places for some of Mexico's most notorious drug traffickers, and they come replete with air conditioning, wireless Internet, state-of-the art sound systems and some with bedrooms for visiting family members." (07/01/15)

http://tinyurl.com/qc7czh5  

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City dwellers should learn to get along with urban wildlife

July 2, 2015
posted by

The New Republic The New Republic
by Peter Alagona  

"Several times this spring, coyotes made national headlines when spotted roaming the streets of New York, from Manhattan to Queens. In recent years, a host of charismatic wild species, the coyote being only the most famous, have returned to American cities in numbers not seen for generations. Yet the official response in many areas has been, at best, disorganized, and people’s responses varied. The time has come for us to accept that these animals are here to stay, and develop a new approach to urban wildlife. Most big American cities occupy sites that were once rich ecosystems." (07/01/15)

http://tinyurl.com/oh2wu3l  

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Real progress achieved nearly by accident

July 2, 2015
posted by

Reuters Reuters
by David Dante Troutt  

"It is tempting to look for signs of America’s direction in the late June ritual of reading the U.S. Supreme Court’s most momentous decisions of the term. Last week’s rulings in support of marriage equality, fair housing and Obamacare would suggest that on fundamental issues of daily life -- the equal status of all love, the idea of housing as a link to life chances and the opening of access to healthcare for millions -- the United States just took a giant step toward updating the constitutional principle of liberty with dignity. What occurred, however, was more accident than deliberate progress." [editor's note: Ignore this guy's obvious agendas and look at his analysis - SAT] (07/01/15)

http://tinyurl.com/nvnemks  

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Federal judge: Alabama counties must allow gay marriage

July 2, 2015
posted by

San Francisco Chronicle San Francisco Chronicle    

"With a handful of Alabama counties still refusing to grant gay marriages even as they issued licenses for straight weddings, a federal judge ruled Wednesday that all must abide by court decisions allowing same-sex unions. Opposition withered as some counties complied with the decision, and gay marriage advocates said they would ask courts to impose penalties on the holdouts that refuse. U.S. District Judge Callie Granade of Mobile issued a brief order saying state probate judges can't discriminate against gay couples since the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled gay marriage is legal everywhere." (07/01/15)

http://tinyurl.com/nvsdqrd  

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US airlines investigated over ticket prices

July 2, 2015
posted by

BBC News BBC News [UK state media]    

"The Justice Department is investigating whether US airlines have colluded to keep prices high. In a statement, the department confirmed an Associated Press report it was looking into 'possible unlawful co-ordination by some airlines.' AP reported that it had seen a document revealing that the Justice Department had requested information from airlines as part of a competition probe. It follows years of restructuring and mergers by US airlines." (07/01/15)

http://www.bbc.com/news/business-33353360  

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US & Venezuela launch quiet diplomacy to ease acrimony

July 2, 2015
posted by

Reuters Reuters    

"The United States and Venezuela have embarked on their most extensive dialogue in years in an attempt to improve their acrimonious relations, according to a senior U.S. administration official. The quiet diplomacy, the extent of which has not been previously reported, is a sign that U.S. detente with Communist Cuba may be helping to reshape another troubled Latin American relationship. The official, who has direct knowledge of the high-level talks, cautioned that the process is at an early stage. The effort by Latin America's most ardently anti-Washington government and major U.S. oil supplier to improve relations comes as President Nicolas Maduro struggles with a decaying state-led economy that has been left more isolated by close ally Cuba's warming U.S. ties." (07/01/15)

http://tinyurl.com/q7n834q  

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Not that there’s anything wrong with that

July 1, 2015
posted by

The New Republic The New Republic
by Silpa Kovvali  

"'The network thought this was an offensive show,' says lead actor Michael Richards in the DVD commentary for 'The Outing,' a famous episode of the sitcom Seinfeld, wherein Jerry and George are misidentified as a couple by a college reporter. 'And hence,' replies Jason Alexander, 'why the big line was borne, that became the catchphrase.' According to the costars, the line 'Not that there's anything wrong with that' was added to the show's script in response to concerns from above that the main characters' too-impassioned denials of homosexuality might not sit well with the gay community. In addition to making it more palatable, catering to this sensitivity made the episode funnier; the line elevated it to legendary." [editor's note: This is another thoughtful essay about the whole "victimhood/trigger warning" nonsense - SAT] (06/30/15)

http://tinyurl.com/ovsosvo  

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