Author Archive

CA: Sex website seizure spurs San Francisco bid to decriminalize prostitution

July 30, 2014
posted by

Reuters    

"The head of San Francisco’s Erotic Service Providers Union has been a sex worker for 24 years -- and 'I hope to be doing it for another 24,' says Maxine Doogan. But she dreams of a future when she won’t be treated like a criminal and could earn a little respect in the city that launched the fight for sex worker rights 41 years ago. Calls by Bay Area sex workers for decriminalizing consensual prostitution have been spurred anew following the FBI seizure of a West Coast sex services website that prosecutors say hooked up clients with prostitutes and which sex workers saw as a vital forum to screen dangerous clients." (07/29/14)

http://tinyurl.com/l2wvoyr  

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Marijuana prohibition doesn’t work

July 30, 2014
posted by

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

"The New York Times has seen the light. On Sunday, the paper editorialized in favor of an end to the federal ban on marijuana. According to Tony Newman of the Drug Policy Alliance, the Gray Lady has become the first major national newspaper to support legalizing marijuana. The Times did not celebrate marijuana use; it simply addressed the downside of prohibition: 658,000 arrests for marijuana possession in 2012, with a disproportionate representation of young black men. The editorial also laid out a rational view of marijuana. ... Apparently, it took marijuana to get Democrats to find a policy area that states should decide." [editor's note: Oh, snap! Get 'em, Debra J.! Any time you can show how hypocritical the Ds are on civil liberties, brava! - SAT] (07/29/14)

http://tinyurl.com/kzvkdzz  

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WA: State pols weigh “In God We Trust” plaque

July 30, 2014
posted by

Fox News    

"Should 'In God We Trust' adorn the chambers of Washington state’s Pierce County Council? That’s the apparently controversial question facing councilmembers on Tuesday, a day after a council committee decided to bring the proposal to a vote of the full seven-member council, the Tacoma News Tribune reports. Councilman Jim McCune, the Republican sponsor of the measure, said the national motto is inspiring and patriotic -- and he’s unclear why the proposal has created such controversy." (07/29/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mwcbhxc  

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Making money shouldn’t be the purpose of a college education

July 30, 2014
posted by

The New Republic
by David A. Bell  

"As a Princeton professor, I really ought to love college rankings. The most famous of them, by U.S. News and World Report, currently places my employer first among national universities, nudging out Harvard and Yale. Forbes’s list of 'America’s Top Colleges' has us at a respectable third. While Money’s brand-new 'Best Colleges' ranking takes us down a notch to fourth, it still puts us ahead of the other Ivies. Go, Tigers! In fact, as with most of my colleagues, what was once mild amusement at this Game of Lists is fast turning into serious annoyance." [editor's note: I fully agree, it should not be the ONLY purpose of one! In my case, it sure wasn't ... - SAT] [additional editor's note: What's this thing about choosing other people's purposes for them? - TLK] (07/29/14)

http://tinyurl.com/kx4ubx9  

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Brazil: Yanomami tribe’s Davi Kopenawa gets death threats

July 30, 2014
posted by

BBC News [UK state media]    

"One of Brazil's most prominent indigenous leaders has called for police protection following a series of death threats. Davi Kopenawa of the Yanomami tribe in the Amazon rainforest said armed men had raided the offices of lawyers working with him. He said they were hired gunmen who had asked for him and wanted to kill him. In February a major operation began to evict hundreds of gold miners from Yanomami land." (07/29/14)

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-28554806  

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The problem with both “pro-Israel” & “anti-Israel”

July 30, 2014
posted by

The American Prospect
by Paul Waldman  

"In a typically thoughtful piece today, Jonathan Chait explains why he has 'grown less pro-Israel over the last decade.' I want to push back on this a bit, not because I disagree with any of the particular points Chait makes, but because of the broad framing. The idea of 'pro-Israel,' like its mirror 'anti-Israel,' is the enemy of rational thought and debate on this topic. Unless you're talking about whom you're rooting for in the Olympics, talking about who's pro-Israel and who isn't, and to what degree, almost never helps illuminate anything." [editor's note: Not until you at least separate "antisemitic" from "anti-imperialist" ... - SAT] (07/29/14)

http://tinyurl.com/kn3mxu8  

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Jury awards Ventura $1.8 million in defamation case

July 30, 2014
posted by

San Francisco Chronicle    

"Former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura won $1.8 million Tuesday in his two-year fight to prove he was defamed by a military sniper and best-selling author who claimed to have punched out Ventura at a bar for bad-mouthing the Navy SEALs. A federal jury sided with Ventura in his lawsuit against 'American Sniper' author Chris Kyle, who was killed last year in Texas. Though Ventura honed a tough-guy reputation as a pro wrestler and action movie actor, he maintained the legal battle was about clearing his name among his beloved fellow Navy SEALs, not about losing a supposed fight." (07/29/14)

http://tinyurl.com/m8t4z7z  

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Astoundingly legal corporate tax thievery

July 30, 2014
posted by

Our Future
by Jim Hightower  

"Did you scramble to get your taxes done this year at the last minute? Yeah, me too. I really didn’t mind paying what I owe -- but I hate having to pay the taxes owed by the likes of JPMorgan Chase, ExxonMobil, and Amazon. They’re just a few of the astonishingly profitable corporations adept at minimizing their tax tabs. That shifts more of the cost of everything from the military to national parks onto our shoulders." [editor's note: Aside from ignoring the simple fact that corporations don't pay taxes, their customers do ... this is a pretty good analysis - SAT] (07/29/14)

http://tinyurl.com/moh9a8g  

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Court dismisses ObamaCare lawsuit

July 30, 2014
posted by

Christian Science Monitor    

"A federal appeals court on Tuesday dismissed a lawsuit that sought to invalidate the president’s health-care reform law on grounds that the massive piece of legislation did not originate in the House of Representatives as required by the Constitution. A three-judge panel of the US Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia rejected the lawsuit filed on behalf of an Iowa artist and part-time National Guardsman." (07/29/14)

http://tinyurl.com/lxu7457  

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How partisanship could save Iran diplomacy

July 30, 2014
posted by

The Nation
by Ali Gharib  

"Over the past two weeks, on the heels of an announced extension to nuclear talks with Iran, Republicans in the Senate introduced two measures that could erect obstacles in reaching and implementing a final agreement with the Islamic Republic. One of the efforts, led by Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee, would mandate congressional approval before a nuclear deal could be struck. Another, spearheaded by the Senate’s most ferocious Iran hawk, Senator Mark Kirk of Illinois, would strip President Barack Obama of his ability to waive Iran sanctions -- something the president might need to do in order to hold up the American end of the bargain and give Iran relief. What’s most notable about these efforts, however, is their distinctly Republican nature. Both are co-sponsored by a bevy of GOP hawks, with no Democrats having yet signed on." (07/29/14)

http://tinyurl.com/k2s7asb  

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Mother of murdered Mexican teen sues Border Patrol agents

July 30, 2014
posted by

Raw Story    

"Lawyers for the mother of a Mexican teenager fatally shot by U.S. border police filed a U.S. federal civil rights lawsuit on Tuesday, calling the killing 'brazen and lawless' and the latest example of agents using excessive force. The lawsuit says unnamed U.S. Border Patrol agents violated the constitutional rights of Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez, who was 16 years old when he died in the cross-border shooting from Arizona into Nogales, Mexico, in October 2012. An autopsy by Mexican authorities found the teen was shot seven times from behind." (07/29/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mh6d8fp  

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Oliver, Chappelle & Rock: Hard truths

July 30, 2014
posted by

Reuters
by Chloe Angyal  

"Until a few weeks ago, I’d met very few Americans who could name the prime minister of my homeland, Australia. But that was before John Oliver’s show Last Week Tonight, on HBO, ran a short segment about him. Suddenly, Americans I met were joking about Tony Abbott, the social conservative best known for being photographed in Speedos and telling people to vote for him because his daughters are so good-looking. Oliver’s recurring segment, 'Other Countries’ Presidents of the United States,' profiles various world leaders (France’s Francois Hollande has also received the Oliver treatment) and handles them with the same comic contempt with which the show treats American politicians." (07/29/14)

http://tinyurl.com/kakkww4  

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Markets: Exuberance not always “irrational”

July 29, 2014
posted by

Reuters
by Anatole Kaletsky  

"With the stock market continuing to hit new highs almost daily despite the appalling geopolitical disasters and human tragedies unfolding in Ukraine, Gaza, Syria and Iraq, there has been much head-scratching about the baffling indifference among investors. Many economists and analysts see this apparent complacency as a symptom of a deeper malaise: an 'irrational exuberance' that has pushed stock prices to absurdly overvalued levels. The most celebrated proponent of this view is Robert Shiller, the Nobel Prize-winning, Yale University economist who is often credited with predicting both the 2000 stock market crash and the bursting of the U.S. housing bubble." (07/25/14)

http://tinyurl.com/nonfobz  

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US vets deal: $17 billion to ease medical wait times

July 29, 2014
posted by

Reuters    

"Leaders of the Veterans Affairs committees in the U.S. Congress said on Monday they had struck a rare compromise deal on legislation that provides about $17 billion in funding to ease long waiting times for VA medical centers. Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent, and Representative Jeff Miller, a Republican, said the figure marks about the halfway point between the competing proposals they announced last week. The compromise measure aims to clear months-long waiting lists at VA hospitals and clinics across the country. The agency has been rocked by scandal over cover-ups of these waiting times, prompting the resignation of VA Secretary Eric Shinseki in late May." (07/28/14)

http://tinyurl.com/oex3kwd  

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Note to private equity: Your image is not the problem

July 29, 2014
posted by

Our Future
by Eileen Appelbaum  

"The theme of this year’s European Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (EVCA) symposium held in Vienna in June was 'Private Equity as a Transformational Force.' Speakers emphasized the industry’s need to develop partnerships with the companies it acquires and deliver value for all stakeholders. EVCA is concerned that the private equity industry has an image problem: Tt is seen as focusing on investor returns with a callous disregard for the jobs of workers and the interests of the company and its other stakeholders. EVCA wants to tell the public that PE delivers economic growth and jobs. It wants to 'encourag[e] the private equity industry to look beyond returns and recognize its role as a global influencer and agent for progress....' The audience for this industry image do-over is regulators and policy makers." (07/28/14)

http://tinyurl.com/m22xm6k  

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Pentagon official admits US no safer after 13 years of war

July 29, 2014
posted by

Christian Science Monitor    

"The nation is no safer after 13 years of war, warns a top US military official who leads one of the nation’s largest intelligence organizations. 'We have a whole gang of new actors out there that are far more extreme than Al Qaeda,' says Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, which employs some 17,000 American intelligence collectors in 140 countries around the world. That the United States is no safer (and in some respects may be less safe) even after two wars and trillions of dollars could prove to be disappointing news for Americans, noted the journalist questioning General Flynn at the Aspen Security Forum last week." (07/28/14)

http://tinyurl.com/p5xefgv  

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Qatar World Cup: Officials “dismayed” by unpaid workers

July 29, 2014
posted by

BBC News [UK state media]    

"Organizers of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar say they are 'dismayed' by claims that migrant workers who fitted their offices are still waiting to be paid. Workers from Nepal, Sri Lanka and India say they are still owed 13 months' wages after the contractor collapsed. Some workers had been left stranded in the country, working for as little as $0.85 a day (50p), The Guardian said. In May, Qatar vowed to improve the rights of migrants in the Gulf state amid growing alarm at their treatment." (07/28/14)

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-28528178  

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A new phase in the marijuana legalization debate

July 29, 2014
posted by

The American Prospect
by Paul Waldman  

"On Sunday, the New York Times editorialized for the first time in favor of a repeal of the federal ban on marijuana, and did so in dramatic fashion, with a statement on the front page of the Sunday Review section and two more pieces going into greater detail. It wasn't particularly surprising, given the generally liberal bent of the Times editorial page and the fact that support for legalization has moved firmly into the mainstream. But it's still important, because the Times remains the most influential news outlet in the country, and they have an unrivaled ability to set the agenda for the rest of the media. There is a shift going on in this debate, and it isn't just that mainstream politicians and newspapers can now support legalization." (07/28/14)

http://tinyurl.com/m22xm6k  

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Pentagon auditor spotlights US billions blown in Afghanistan

July 29, 2014
posted by

Fox News    

"John Sopko, the inspector general charged with monitoring aid sent by the U.S. to Afghanistan, has identified potentially billions of dollars wasted in Afghanistan, including donation of planes the local government doesn't need or can't use, weapons that disappear as soon as they're handed over and and construction of brand new buildings that are basically firetraps. In a steady stream of audit reports, Sopko's office of Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, has spotlighted seemingly endless waste in the war-torn nation." (07/28/14)

http://tinyurl.com/k59bsp8  

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OkCupid admits to “experimenting” on users

July 29, 2014
posted by

San Francisco Chronicle    

"Dating website OkCupid runs tests on its users. That’s right, the tool we trust to find companionship, random hookups and maybe even love 'doesn’t really know what it’s doing,' according to a blog post from co-founder Christian Rudder. It performs experiments to find out. Before explaining the experiments, Rudder acknowledges the outrage following last month’s revelation that Facebook had manipulated user news feeds in a 2012 study." [editor's note: I wonder when folks will stop expecting any different behavior from FREE websites? - SAT] (07/28/14)

http://tinyurl.com/nz32cpn  

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Golden Gate Park turf battle: Democracy gone awry

July 29, 2014
posted by

San Francisco Chronicle
by CW Nevius  

"We all understand the principle of democracy. We elect our leaders and order them to make informed decisions. If we disapprove of their choices we vote them out of office. That's not how it works in San Francisco. 'What you are seeing now is a push -- mostly from the left -- to bypass the government,' says political consultant David Latterman. 'If they don't like the way the city is going, simply bypass it and put it on the ballot.' The upcoming November election already has John Arntz, director of elections, worried. It's not the issues that concern him. He's worried about the simple logistics." [editor's note: Democracy in its natural state, you mean? And since when is a plebiscite a less valid form of such? - SAT] (07/28/14)

http://tinyurl.com/plf8xkh  

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Report: Virus drugmaker fights pediatricians’ new advice

July 29, 2014
posted by

Fox News    

"A costly drug given mostly to premature babies is at the center of a clash between the manufacturer and the nation's leading pediatrician's group, which recommends scaling back use of the medicine. The dispute involves new guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics, which say medical evidence shows the drug benefits few children other than very young preemies. The medicine guards against a common but usually mild virus that can cause serious lung problems." (07/28/14)

http://tinyurl.com/oyhvpua  

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Did Hillary Clinton just join the neocons?

July 29, 2014
posted by

The Nation
by Bob Dreyfuss  

"Did Hillary Clinton just throw in with the neoconservatives and the Israel lobby on the key sticking point in the Iran-P5+1 talks -- namely, whether and how much Iran may enrich uranium on its own soil? In her appearance yesterday on Fareed Zakaria’s GPS program on CNN, it sure looks like it. Unless she misspoke, she said explicitly that she favors the idea of 'so little enrichment or no enrichment,' a view that outright contradicts the position of the White House and the State Department, who’ve long ago agreed that Iran can maintain a civilian enrichment program to produce fuel for its current nuclear reactors and for a planned expansion of its nuclear program in the future." [editor's note: Can anyone think of ANY situation in which Hillary's foreign policy prescriptions haven't been identical to those of the neoconservatives? - TLK] (07/28/14)

http://tinyurl.com/ojvd694  

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Russia: Pussy Riot takes Kremlin to European court

July 28, 2014
posted by

Raw Story    

"Two members of the feminist group Pussy Riot are suing the Russian government in the European court of human rights (ECHR) over their imprisonment for a 2012 'punk prayer' protest at a Moscow cathedral. Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, who were given an amnesty in December after serving 21 months in prison and pre-trial confinement, are demanding €120,000 each in compensation, plus €10,000 in court fees. They argue that the investigation and prosecution violated their rights and amounted to torture." (07/28/14)

http://tinyurl.com/oyhvpua  

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Instead of, “Did she say no?” we should ask, “Did she want to have sex?”

July 28, 2014
posted by

Raw Story
by Amanda Marcotte  

"This item is a little old, but I wanted to flag it because it really gets to the heart of the debate about what sexual consent is. Feminists are increasingly clamoring for an affirmative consent standard, where someone has to indicate, through language or body language, an actual desire to have sex. I call it the 'only kiss people who are kissing you back' standard. Anti-feminists disagree, arguing that feminists are trying to label all men rapists or police sex or some other horseshit." [editor's note: It still amazes me that this is even at question; "consent" means actively expressed consent ... period! - SAT] (07/28/14)

http://tinyurl.com/lk8yqeg  

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