Author Archive

The libertarian [sic] delusion

February 27, 2015
posted by

The American Prospect The American Prospect
by Robert Kuttner  

"The stubborn appeal of the libertarian idea persists, despite mountains of evidence that the free market is neither efficient, nor fair, nor free from periodic catastrophe. In an Adam Smith world, the interplay of supply and demand yields a price that signals producers what to make and investors where to put their capital. The more that government interferes with this sublime discipline, the more bureaucrats deflect the market from its true path. But in the world where we actually live, markets do not produce the 'right' price. There are many small examples of this failure, but also three immense ones that should have discredited the libertarian [sic] premise by now." [editor's note: I added the [sic]s since this writer has basically NO clue what that word means - SAT] (02/26/15)

http://prospect.org/article/libertarian-delusion  

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Emanuel’s corrupt governance has finally caught up with him

February 27, 2015
posted by

In These Times In These Times
by Rick Perlstein  

"On Tuesday, Chicagoans voted themselves a reprieve. With 45.4 percent of the vote, Mayor Rahm Emanuel ended the first round of his first reelection bid almost five points below what he needed to avoid a runoff election in April -- and three points below his performance in the last major pre-election poll. 'Mayor 1%' will face second-place finisher Jesus 'Chuy' García, the soft-spoken, compassionate Cook County board member who proclaimed himself with a Chicagoan lilt the 'neighborhood guy' -- who over-performed the poll." (02/25/15)

http://tinyurl.com/olorzkg  

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One-note Netanyahu goes totally tone deaf on Iran

February 27, 2015
posted by

Reuters Reuters    

"Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is not having a good election. Recent polls show his right-wing Likud Party running neck-and-neck with the left-of-center Zionist Union, or in some cases, running behind. His numbers took a hit after Netanyahu was served with a damning report in which Israel’s state comptroller slammed him for excessive expenditure of public funds at his official residence. The report, which was in the works before elections were announced, has been turned over to the attorney general for investigation of possible criminality." (02/26/15)

http://tinyurl.com/p67ao68  

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Report: Stone Age Britons imported wheat

February 27, 2015
posted by

Raw Story Raw Story    

"Stone Age Britons imported wheat about 8,000 years ago in a surprising sign of sophistication for primitive hunter-gatherers long viewed as isolated from European agriculture, a study showed on Thursday. British scientists found traces of wheat DNA in a Stone Age site off the south coast of England near the Isle of Wight, giving an unexpected sign of contact between ancient hunter-gatherers and farmers who eventually replaced them. The wheat DNA was dated to 8,000 years ago, 2,000 years before Stone Age people in mainland Britain started growing cereals and 400 years before farming reached what is now northern Germany or France, they wrote in the journal Science." (02/26/15)

http://tinyurl.com/njmwzt7  

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Canada: Court upholds requiring oath to Queen for citizenship

February 27, 2015
posted by

BBC News BBC News [UK state media]    

"Canada's Supreme Court has rejected an appeal to remove the country's citizenship oath, which requires applicants to swear allegiance to Queen Elizabeth II. The appeal was launched by three permanent residents who wanted to obtain citizenship but not want to pledge allegiance to the royal family. Native-born Canadians do not have to take any oath. The plaintiffs say the vow violates religious and conscientious beliefs. " (02/26/15)

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-31652050  

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Fast Track explained in seven words

February 27, 2015
posted by

Dave Johnson Our Future
by Dave Johnson  

"All the talk about 'trade' deals might seem complicated, with all the 'TPP' and 'TPA' and 'FTA' and 'TTIP' floating around. It doesn’t have to be difficult, though. ... TPP is the largest 'trade' deal in history. It is being negotiated in secret. It is immense, complex and written in international legalese. But fast track means Congress has to pass it within 90 days of the public seeing it for the first time. This is not enough time to read it, understand it, analyze all the pieces of it, consider all of the ramifications and explain all of that to people." (02/26/15)

http://tinyurl.com/pqx9qs4  

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Germany: Lesson from neo-Nazi battles in fighting homegrown jihadis

February 27, 2015
posted by

Christian Science Monitor Christian Science Monitor    

"This summer, Thomas Mücke managed a coup: he dissuaded a young German from joining the Islamic State. The teenager, a Kurd whose family is originally from Turkey but now living in the German state of Saxony-Anhalt, had landed in prison after committing a petty crime. Angry, confined, and looking to lash out, he 'had pretty much given up with life and was ready to pack his bag' for Syria, Mr. Mücke says. But Mücke, a street worker and head of the Berlin-based Violence Prevention Network (VPN) in Berlin, challenged the aspiring jihadi. Did he know that Islamic State fought against Kurds? No, the boy didn’t. In fact, he had no idea about his religion. It was a prison inmate that gave him the idea to go to Syria." (02/26/15)

http://tinyurl.com/nj3sjk6  

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Pew study: Americans still stressed despite improved economy

February 27, 2015
posted by

San Francisco Chronicle San Francisco Chronicle    

"Nearly six years after the Great Recession, a clear majority of American families say they feel unprepared for a financial emergency. The Pew Charitable Trusts' poll of 7,000 U.S. households finds that 57 percent don't consider themselves ready for a sudden financial setback, 55 percent say they break even or spend more than they make each month, and a third have no savings. 'Despite a steady economic recovery, many Americans continue to feel vulnerable,' says Erin Currier, director of Pew's financial security and mobility project." (02/26/15)

http://tinyurl.com/proaqjj  

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Ukraine begins artillery withdrawal, recognizing truce is holding

February 26, 2015
posted by

Reuters Reuters    

"Ukrainian troops towed artillery away from the front line in [Donetsk People's Republic] on Thursday, a move that amounted to recognizing that a ceasefire meant to take effect on Feb. 15 was holding at last. The military showed reporters seven or eight guns being towed away from the front at the village of Paraskoviyvka north of the [invaders'] stronghold of Artemivsk. Earlier, Reuters journalists saw a larger convoy of 30-40 vehicles also towing guns away from the front on a highway." (02/26/15)

http://tinyurl.com/qj8aqm7  

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Should Dems demand Debbie Wasserman Schultz step down?

February 26, 2015
posted by

The New Republic The New Republic
by Danny Vinik  

"Even if you were only casually following the news last week, you probably heard about Rudy Giuliani saying that President Barack Obama is not a patriot and doesn't love his country. You probably also heard about Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker sidestepping a question about Obama's religion. But you may have missed a report that Florida Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chair of the Democratic National Committee, allegedly offered to change her position on medical marijuana if a key donor retracted critical comments about her." (02/25/15)

http://tinyurl.com/ozfh7s9  

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Farmers eye drones as key to future of agriculture

February 26, 2015
posted by

Fox News Fox News    

"The drone could be ready to take its place alongside the tractor and combine harvester, as the next indispensable piece of farming equipment. The Federal Aviation Administration recently released new rules governing the use of drones, and farmers, who see drones as a way to get a birds-eye view of their fields and monitor crops, to precisely deliver fertilizer and pesticides were watching carefully. Commercial use of drones is still widely banned in the U.S., but many farmers are using them over their property anyway, daring federal regulators to put a stop to it. An eye in the sky can help a farmer know what his or her crops need, and what might be afflicting them." (02/26/15)

http://tinyurl.com/q8nhsnp  

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What you should know about Walmart’s raise

February 26, 2015
posted by

Michelle Chen The Nation
by Michelle Chen  

"Remember when Walmart got panned for running a Thanksgiving food drive for its own employees -- overlooking the irony of demonstrating noblesse oblige by asking customers to subsidize the workers the company itself impoverished? The retail giant took a more strategic approach last week when rolling out its latest do-gooder scheme: raising its base wage incrementally to $10 an hour. The move was widely praised even by labor groups -- for lifting wages slightly closer to ... well, what it should have been paying workers all along." [editor's note: She has a piece of this story right at least - SAT] (02/25/15)

http://tinyurl.com/ouofrp5  

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One last chance to save the Internet … from the FCC

February 26, 2015
posted by

Reuters Reuters
by Ev Ehrlich  

"As the Federal Communications Commission readies new net-neutrality rules this week, congressional Democrats face a choice: Should they work with the Republicans who control Congress to help pass new rules, or should they stay on the sidelines and leave the matter to a volatile regulatory process, subject to possible undoing in the courts? I disagree with neutrality: the idea that everything on the Internet should travel at the same speed, whether it’s the remote monitoring of a cardiac device or a video of a cat. But both critics and advocates of neutrality would likely agree that a new law is the best way to set new policy -- not regulatory decrees." (02/25/15)

http://tinyurl.com/o9d839k  

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Study: Money can’t buy happiness, but can protect from sadness

February 26, 2015
posted by

Raw Story Raw Story    

"Money can’t buy love. Money can’t buy happiness. But you might be able to buy your way out of sadness. Research has found that wealthier individuals feel less sadness during their daily activities but, surprisingly, no more happiness than their poorer counterparts. The results 'provide the first evidence that the emotional advantage of higher income may lie in buffering people against sadness rather than boosting happiness,' according to Kostadin Kushlev of the University of British Columbia and his colleagues, who conducted the study. The researchers said it was a mistake to view happiness and sadness as mutually exclusive opposites. 'Because happiness is not simply the absence of sadness, or vice versa, income may have a different relationship to each of those emotions,' they wrote." (02/24/15)

http://tinyurl.com/qjx2vog  

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To end police brutality, we need to end the police

February 26, 2015
posted by

The Nation The Nation
by Mychal Denzel Smith  

"I don't want anyone in this room to mistake me for an objective or impartial journalist moderator. I have marched with, organized with, and written about everyone on this stage. I feel as much a part of the movement as I do a reporter of it. I have an agenda: we need to abolish the pillars of white supremacy and I think the police is one of those." [From Smith's introduction to a panel he moderated; video is at the link] (02/25/15)

http://tinyurl.com/ow35xd9  

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Romania gets serious about ending its notorious corruption

February 26, 2015
posted by

Christian Science Monitor Christian Science Monitor    

"Outside the National Anticorruption Directorate in downtown Bucharest, more than a dozen reporters and cameramen stand around chatting. It’s a weekday afternoon, and they know it’s only a matter of time before the next high-profile Romanian shows up to face charges of corruption. Even a few years ago, Romania's powerful and well-connected were able to line their own pockets with impunity, earning the country deserved notoriety as one of Europe's most graft-ridden nations." [editor's note: Is the translation "round up the usual suspects"? - SAT] (02/25/15)

http://tinyurl.com/pqug6b4  

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After the Bitcoin gold rush

February 26, 2015
posted by

The New Republic The New Republic
by Nathan Schneider  

"The search for riches in the ground has motivated some of history's most extravagant endeavors. It has inspired explorers, enslaved populations, and put opera houses in dusty mountain towns. But when the boom ends, the miners themselves have often been left in the lurch. They handle the raw material, turn it from hard earth to something potentially of value. Fabulous wealth comes to only a few, who rarely hold onto it long enough to be considered lucky. The search for bitcoins is little different." (02/24/15)

http://tinyurl.com/pftj4wq  

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SCOTUS appears to favor headscarf claim

February 26, 2015
posted by

BBC News BBC News [UK state media]    

"A majority of US Supreme Court justices appear to be supportive of an argument that Abercrombie & Fitch discriminated against a Muslim teenager. Samantha Elauf argued she was denied a job because her headscarf conflicted with the company's dress code. Abercrombie disputes the allegation, arguing Ms Elauf did not ask specifically for a religious exemption. Questions from some of the justices were in favour of Ms Elauf, but their final decision will be made in May." (02/25/15)

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-31626957  

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Progressives: Pretty great night in Chicago’s elections

February 26, 2015
posted by

In These Times In These Times
by Yana Kunichoff  

"The anti-machine fervor that pushed Rahm Emanuel into a run-off with Chuy García on Tuesday night was also felt in several key aldermanic races around the city. Three staunch Emanuel allies in City Council are now facing run-offs against independent candidates who also happen to be Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) members. Social studies teacher Tim Meegan scraped into a run-off with Deb Mell, a member of one of the city’s most entrenched political families. This was the first aldermanic election for Mell, who was appointed by Emanuel to succeed her father, Dick Mell, in the seat when he retired in 2013. Deb Mell (who was strongly supported in the race by the Emanuel-affiliated super PAC Chicago Forward) received 49. 7 percent of the vote. Meegan received 34.5 percent, while a third candidate, Annisa Wanat, received 15.8%." (02/25/15)

http://tinyurl.com/krlsouw  

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He whose name shall not be written

February 26, 2015
posted by

The American Prospect The American Prospect
by Gershom Gorenberg  

"I live a less blessed life. As an Israeli and a journalist, my aspirations are more limited, yet less within my own power to achieve. I aspire to be able to write about my country's politics without using the name of the current prime minister. I'd like to write my next 300 articles without the 'N-word.' I'd like to think of him, if I think of him at all, as a vague faceless historical memory like, say, James Buchanan." (02/24/15)

http://prospect.org/article/he-whose-name-shall-not-be-written  

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CA: Democrats push to repeal “welfare queen” law

February 26, 2015
posted by

Fox News Fox News    

"California Democrats are trying to reverse a decades-old state law that bars families from getting extra welfare money for having an additional child, describing the law as 'sexist' and 'classist' -- despite concerns that repealing it could compound the state's money woes. The so-called 'welfare queen' law was passed two decades ago during the heyday of welfare reform. At the time, Democrats were in charge of the state legislature and Republican Pete Wilson was governor. Today, Democrats are still in charge, but the base of support for the law is fading." (02/25/15)

http://tinyurl.com/o4f7cbd  

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CA: Plastic bag ban on hold, voters to decide fate

February 26, 2015
posted by

San Francisco Chronicle San Francisco Chronicle    

"A statewide ban on plastic bags scheduled to go into effect in July was suspended Tuesday after a referendum to repeal the law qualified for the November 2016 ballot. The referendum needed a random sampling to project that at least 555,236 signatures were valid. On Tuesday, Secretary of State Alex Padilla, who authored the plastic bag ban law last year as a state senator, said the measure qualified. Under the law, grocery stores and pharmacies statewide would have had to phase out single-use plastic bags by July." (02/24/15)

http://tinyurl.com/nsgtsh9  

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Is the SEC defying Dodd-Frank law on pay-ratio rule?

February 26, 2015
posted by

Dave Johnson Our Future
by Dave Johnson  

"In July 2010, President Obama signed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Section 953(b) of that law directs the SEC to require public companies to disclose the median annual total compensation of all employees, the total annual compensation of the chief executive officer, and the ratio of the median employee pay to the CEO’s pay. This gives investors and the public clues to whether (and the extent to which) the company is being looted from the top." (02/25/15)

http://tinyurl.com/nhyqz2v  

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Apple ordered to pay $533 million for patent infringement

February 26, 2015
posted by

Reuters Reuters    

"Apple Inc has been ordered to pay $532.9 million after a federal jury in Texas found that its iTunes software infringed three patents owned by patent licensing firm Smartflash LLC. Though Smartflash had been asking for $852 million in damages, Tuesday night's verdict was still a blow to Apple. The jury, which deliberated for eight hours, determined Apple had not only used Smartflash's patents without permission, but did so willfully." (02/25/15)

http://tinyurl.com/pvv33qv  

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Kill Keystone XL once and for all

February 25, 2015
posted by

USA Today USA Today
by Rhea Suh  

"Now that President Obama has vetoed the misguided bill to force approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, it's time to kill this project once and for all. It's not a plan to help our country. It's about big profits for big oil -- and big pollution for the rest of us. It's a stone dead loser that needs to be denied. The pipeline would send some of the dirtiest oil on the planet through the breadbasket of America to be refined on our Gulf Coast into fuels that would mostly be sent overseas. That's not our calculus: That's what the State Department concluded in its assessment of the project." (02/24/15)

http://tinyurl.com/mtc7wsk  

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