Author Archive

CA: Appeals court upholds teacher tenure

April 28, 2016
posted by

San Francisco Chronicle San Francisco Chronicle    

"The tenure laws that provide job security for 277,000 California schoolteachers, and a target for opponents who claim they shield incompetent instructors and victimize low-income and minority students, were upheld Thursday by a state appeals court. In a resounding victory for teachers unions, the Second District Court of Appeal in Los Angeles overturned a judge’s June 2014 ruling that the state’s tenure and job-security rules violated the right of students to an equal education. The court said the plaintiffs (nine students backed by a Silicon Valley entrepreneur) had failed to show any connection between the laws they challenged and the harm that some students are suffering. Some teachers protected by tenure and seniority may turn out to be ineffective, but school officials (not the laws challenged in the suit) determine where those teachers are assigned and whom they teach, the court said." (04/28/16)

http://www.sfgate.com/education/article/Appeals-court-reversed-ruling-that-struck-down-7249494.php  

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College too pricey? Wait till it’s “free”

April 28, 2016
posted by

Debra J. Saunders Town Hall
by Debra J Saunders  

"As he panders for the youth vote, Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders promises free tuition at public colleges and universities because, he says, 'a college degree is the new high school diploma.' Rival Hillary Clinton supports President Barack Obama's plan to make community college tuition-free -- that is, publicly funded. Beware, America: Imagine how expensive college tuition will be if Democrats somehow manage to make more of it 'free.' As for value, if Sanders has his way, you can expect the college degree to be the new high school diploma." [editor's note: Yep, and more functional illiterates who can't balance a "swipe card" descend on the world with degrees and entitlements - SAT] (04/28/16)

http://townhall.com/columnists/debrajsaunders/2016/04/28/is-college-too-pricey-wait-till-its-free-n2154762  

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German nuclear plant hit by computer viruses

April 28, 2016
posted by

BBC News BBC News [UK state media]    

"Computer viruses have infected PCs used at a German nuclear power plant. The viruses were found on office computers and in a system used to model the movement of nuclear fuel rods. Power firm RWE said the infection posed no threat to the plant because its control systems were not linked to the internet, so the viruses could not activate. German federal cyber investigators are now analysing how the Gundremmingen plant became infected. The viruses were found on the fuel rod modelling system and on 18 USB sticks used as removable data stores on office computers. Staff found the viruses as they prepared to upgrade the computerised control systems for the plant's Block B, which is currently not producing power while it undergoes scheduled maintenance." (04/28/16)

http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-36158606  

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WA: Judge rules Seattle trash inspections are unconstitutional

April 28, 2016
posted by

Fox News Fox News    

"A controversial Seattle ordinance that allowed city workers to inspect people's trash -- as part of an effort to stop residents from throwing food scraps in the wrong pile -- was ruled unconstitutional on Wednesday. King County Superior Court Judge Beth Andrus said sanitation works and other city collectors poking through everyday garbage violates privacy rights and voided the ordinance. 'I’m thrilled as can be,' Ethan Blevins, attorney for the Pacific Legal Foundation, which filed the lawsuit on behalf of eight Seattle residents, told The Seattle Times. He added, 'We have been vindicated.' The rule first went into effect last year, and was meant to compel residents to put food scraps in the same bins as yard waste, so all could be composted." [editor's note: The writers at CSI, NCIS, et al will not be happy to see this - SAT] (04/28/16)

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2016/04/28/judge-rules-seattle-trash-inspections-unconstitutional.html  

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The imaginary predator in America’s transgender bathroom war

April 28, 2016
posted by

USA Today USA Today
by Alia E Dastagir  

"You have to pee. If you're like 99% of America, you look at pictograms, predictable gender binaries, to guide you toward the appropriate toilet. A person in pants on the left. A person in a dress on the right. If you're a woman, it's irrelevant that you have a vagina, are wearing jeans and can't recall the last time you donned a triangle dress to a dinner party. You know to hang a right, while men go left. The signage isn't literal, it reveals how our culture wants your gender to look. It reveals what door it wants you to walk through. The bathroom is a bastion of segregation. It's where we sort people." [editor's note: One big room, lots of stalls with doors & locks on inside, sinks on one wall, a trough on the other ... pick your spot, do your business and leave -- end of problem - SAT] (04/28/16)

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2016/04/28/transgender-bathroom-bills-discrimination/32594395  

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The next Chernobyl may be intentional

April 28, 2016
posted by

Reuters Reuters
by Bennett Ramberg  

"Chernobyl’s 30th anniversary on April 26 comes against the backdrop of growing apprehension that nuclear reactors may become a terrorist target. Serious concern arose during the recent Islamic State attacks in Brussels. Evidence suggested that the assailants were considering a nuclear-related incident. The terrorists had a senior Belgian nuclear official under surveillance, and two former nuclear power-plant employees were reported to have joined Islamic State. This may help explain why Belgian authorities rushed military forces to protect its nuclear plants. The scare provided a reminder that nuclear reactors are radiological mines that terrorists could exploit. Destruction of a plant would mark a zenith of terrorist violence." (04/27/16)

http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2016/04/25/the-next-chernobyl-may-be-intentional  

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Keyes: Obama “anti-black” for honoring Tubman with the twenty

April 28, 2016
posted by

Raw Story Raw Story    

"Failed presidential candidate Dr. Alan Keyes blasted Pat Buchanan for his racist rant excoriating the 'Obama administration’s' recent decision to replace Andrew Jackson with Harriet Tubman on the new $20 bills. But that doesn’t mean that Keyes, who, while serving in the Reagan State Department, defended South Africa’s policy of apartheid, thinks that Tubman should be honored with the currency. He thinks that Obama is actively denigrating her with the honor. According to Keyes, Pat Buchanan is a “purblind wordling” who fails to understand the definition of “great.” ... But one of the criteria that Buchanan missed, according to Keyes, was that he failed to take into account that Tubman had no access to power; thus her ability to guide slaves to freedom makes her actions many times greater than actions conducted with the power of an army or the state that one might have." [editor's notye: SO how does this "denigrate" her? She just jumped another notch up in my book - SAT] (04/28/16)

http://www.rawstory.com/2016/04/conservative-obama-is-anti-black-for-honoring-harriet-tubman-with-the-20-bill  

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Does the First Amendment justify corruption?

April 28, 2016
posted by

The American Prospect The American Prospect
by Brent Ferguson  

"A decade ago, if a politician had argued before the Supreme Court that he had a First Amendment right to trade political favors for a Rolex watch, his lawyers may have feared for their professional reputations. But that argument is one basis for ex-Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell’s appeal of his eleven-count corruption conviction in McDonnell v. United States, which the Court hears in oral arguments on Wednesday. The case demonstrates how the First Amendment has begun to evolve from a tool to protect Americans with unpopular beliefs into a shield used by corporations and political donors to justify rules-free policymaking and electioneering." (04/27/16)

http://prospect.org/article/does-first-amendment-justify-corruption  

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Why Hillary Clinton should fear Donald Trump

April 28, 2016
posted by

The New Republic The New Republic
by Jeet Heer  

"With Hillary Clinton’s strong performance on Tuesday night, the Democratic primaries are effectively over. Barring an unforeseen catastrophe, Clinton will be the Democratic nominee. And it’s increasingly likely that her opponent will be Donald Trump, who won a clean sweep of five states on Tuesday and only seems to be getting stronger. Both parties must now gear themselves for a Clinton-Trump match-up in the fall. ... If winning the presidential election were all that mattered, Trump would be Clinton’s dream opponent. The Democratic front-runner struggles with poor approval ratings (55.6 percent unfavorable, according to Huffington Post’s aggregation of the polls), which means she needs to compete against someone who is even less popular than her. Trump fits that bill handsomely, standing at 63.6 percent unfavorability. Furthermore, Trump’s racism and misogyny are likely to motivate the very voters that Clinton most needs to attract: people of color, single women, and young people. " (04/27/16)

https://newrepublic.com/article/133050/hillary-clinton-fear-donald-trump  

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Greece: Athens finding vibrancy can revive before economy does

April 28, 2016
posted by

Christian Science Monitor Christian Science Monitor    

"By almost every measure, Athens is a city of deprivation. Rates of homelessness, poverty, bankruptcy (even suicide) have steadily increased across the Greek capital since the country needed its first bailout in 2010. But as storefronts shuttered and those Greeks who could left for opportunity abroad, Greek architect Haris Biskos returned home. He describes a scene in 2012 of physical deterioration. 'You walked around the city and saw total emptiness. Nothing was happening in the public space,' says Mr. Biskos. 'As an architect it is nice to have a new challenge, Greece was in that moment.' Today, he says, from his sunny, central office with dirt-cheap rent: 'It’s an exciting time to be in Athens.'" (04/28/16)

http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Europe/2016/0428/Athens-finds-vibrancy-can-revive-before-economy-does  

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Warning: TPP rearing its ugly head

April 28, 2016
posted by

Dave Johnson Our Future
by Dave Johnson  

"The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) went dormant in Congress after election season began. It became clear that the public despises our country’s corporate-dominated 'trade deals' that let companies just lay people off and close factories here to take advantage of conditions in countries that allow people and the environment to be exploited. Candidates who could sense which way the wind was blowing told voters they oppose TPP, and Congress dropped it -- for now. But now people who follow these things are hearing more and more talk behind the scenes that indicate corporate America is going to try to push TPP through in the 'lame duck' Congressional session after the elections. This is a session in which the old Congress consisting of the ones who might have gotten voted out minus new ones who just got voted in, and the re-elected incumbents who won’t be up for re-election for two more years can sneak things past the public with little or no accountability.(04/26/16)

https://ourfuture.org/20160426/warning-tpp-rearing-its-ugly-head  

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AL: City makes bathroom access by gender identity a crime

April 28, 2016
posted by

Reuters Reuters    

"An Alabama city appears to be the first in the country to specify criminal penalties for violators of an ordinance requiring people to use bathrooms that match the gender on their birth certificates, civil rights groups said on Wednesday. The law passed on Tuesday by the city council in Oxford, located about 60 miles east of Birmingham, carries a possible punishment of a $500 fine or six months in jail. The measure raises the stakes in the U.S. bathroom wars that have caused fierce debate among state lawmakers, school officials and Republican presidential candidates. It goes further than a law enacted last month in North Carolina ... North Carolina's law applies to restrooms and locker rooms in government-owned facilities and schools. The Oxford ordinance also includes bathrooms in private businesses and explicitly makes violating the provision a crime, the Human Rights Campaign said." (04/27/16)

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-alabama-lgbt-idUSKCN0XO2H6  

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VA: Liberty University to allow handguns in dorms next fall

April 28, 2016
posted by

Fox News Fox News    

"Liberty University will allow students with concealed handgun permits from the state to keep their weapons in their dorms beginning next fall. The News & Advance reports those students would need permission from the school first. The guns would be kept in safes inside the residence halls at the private Christian university. The policy change was given the go-ahead by the university's board of trustees last week. University President Jerry Falwell Jr. announced last year that eligible students could carry guns anywhere on campus. Previously, students who qualified could carry guns anywhere except residence halls." (04/27/16)

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2016/04/27/liberty-university-to-allow-handguns-in-dorms-next-fall.html  

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Austria passes controversial new asylum law

April 27, 2016
posted by

BBC News BBC News [UK state media]    

"Austria has passed a controversial new law that restricts the right of asylum and allows most claimants to be rejected directly at the border. Rights groups say the law undermines the principle of protection from war and persecution. It comes days after Austria's far-right came top in the first round of a presidential election. Austrian officials say they are also considering building a fence at the main border crossing with Italy." (04/27/16)

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-36152927  

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Sanders lays off hundreds of staffers as he weighs Plan B

April 27, 2016
posted by

USA Today USA Today    

"The results of Tuesday's five Democratic presidential primaries will almost certainly force Sen. Bernie Sanders to acknowledge a hard reality -- it's time for Plan B. Sanders hasn’t said whether he has a strategy for changing the focus of his campaign, and he insisted at an Indiana rally on Wednesday that he's still in the race against Hillary Clinton to win the nomination. But he laid off more than 200 staffers on Wednesday and began talking about what will happen 'if we do not win.' He said at the rally he intends to win every delegate possible so he'll have enough votes at the Democratic Party's national convention in July to put together 'the strongest progressive agenda that any political party has ever seen.'" (04/27/16)

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/elections/2016/04/27/plan-b-sanders-make-democratic-party-platform-more-progressive/83558806  

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Elon Musk’s SpaceX breaks Boeing-Lockheed monopoly

April 27, 2016
posted by

Raw Story Raw Story    

"The U.S. Air Force on Wednesday awarded billionaire Elon Musk’s SpaceX an $83 million contract to launch a GPS satellite, breaking the monopoly that Lockheed Martin Corp and Boeing Co have held on military space launches for more than a decade. The Global Positioning System satellite will be launched in May 2018 from Florida, Air Force officials said. The fixed-price award is the military’s first competitively sourced launch service contract in more than a decade. It ends the exclusive relationship between the military and United Launch Alliance, a partnership of Lockheed Martin and Boeing. ULA did not compete for the GPS launch contract, citing accounting issues, implications of trade sanctions limiting imports of its rockets’ Russian-made engines and, according to a former ULA vice president, SpaceX’s cut-rate pricing." (04/27/16)

http://www.rawstory.com/2016/04/elon-musks-spacex-breaks-boeing-lockheed-monopoly-on-military-space-launches  

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Opioid overdose rate drops in medical marijuana states

April 27, 2016
posted by

San Francisco Chronicle Smell the Truth    

"Medical marijuana may serve as a non-fatal alternative to prescription opioids when it comes to chronic pain management, according to some health experts. In a New York Times opinion piece, medical researcher Colleen Barry posits that while the rise in opioid prescriptions has mirrored the expansion of medical marijuana laws, only states with such laws in place saw a dramatic reduction in overdoses related to prescribed painkillers" (04/27/16)

http://blog.sfgate.com/smellthetruth/2016/04/27/opioid-overdose-rate-drops-in-medical-marijuana-states  

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Report: More than half a million boycotting Target over transgender bathroom policy

April 26, 2016
posted by

USA Today USA Today    

"A conservative Christian activist group has gained more than half a million signatures and counting from people pledging to boycott Target over its transgender bathroom policy. The petition started by the American Family Association on Wednesday raises concerns that Target's inclusive stance on transgender rights encourages sexual predators and puts women and young girls in danger, because 'a man can simply say he 'feels like a woman today' and enter the women's restroom.' The boycott has more than 517,000 signatures as of Monday afternoon, marking it as one of AFA's most popular campaigns." [editor's note: I just wonder what the PTB will do if they ever fail to find one of these manufactured issues to deflect people into fear with - SAT] (04/25/16)

http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2016/04/25/conservative-christian-group-boycotting-target-transgender-bathroom-policy/83491396  

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What good are hedge funds?

April 26, 2016
posted by

The American Prospect The American Prospect
by David Dayen  

"In the pilot episode of the Showtime drama Billions, a CNBC host grills Bobby Axelrod (Damian Lewis), founder of the hedge fund Axe Capital, at a public forum. 'How do you respond to the criticism that hedge funds are the scavengers of the financial sector, and that a select few have undue influence on the markets?' ... 'We’re not scavengers,' Axelrod replies. 'We’re white blood cells scrubbing out bad companies, earning for our investors, preventing bubbles. A hedge fund like mine is a market regulator.' This claim invites an important debate: Do hedge funds represent an asset to the larger economy, or a menace? Do they really help make markets more efficient and transparent, or do they just exploit opportunities at the expense of other investors?" (04/25/16)

http://prospect.org/article/what-good-are-hedge-funds  

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Bigger than Bernie: Other progressives taking on Dem establishment

April 26, 2016
posted by

In These Times In These Times
by Christopher Haas  

"'Today,' Bernie Sanders booms in his monotone shout, 'we begin a political revolution to transform our country -- economically, politically, socially and environmentally.' He marks each beat with his right hand, as if conducting with an invisible baton. Behind him, a lone seagull flaps its wings as it flies across Lake Champlain. The crowd of 5,000 that has come to Burlington, Vt., on a sunny afternoon in May to witness Sanders’ official campaign announcement breaks into a cheer. ... A political revolution of that kind is going to require two things: a wave of candidates committed to a bold set of progressive ideas and a mass of voters with the political will to elect them. There’s evidence both of these are already here. Progressives are fired up here for a victory against big money. In These Times spoke to U.S. House and Senate challengers across the country who are very much a part of this wave." (04/25/16)

http://inthesetimes.com/features/bernie_sanders_democrats_political_revolution_candidates.html  

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DEA approves medical cannabis study for PTSD

April 26, 2016
posted by

San Francisco Chronicle Smell the Truth    

"Military veterans may soon find out just how effectively cannabis can treat symptoms of post-traumatic stress. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has given approval to study the effects of medical marijuana on post-traumatic stress disorder, marking the first U.S. study on PTSD that will use actual raw cannabis in its clinical trial, reports the Denver Post. According to the research’s non-profit sponsor, Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) the approval now gives researchers clearance to buy the marijuana for the study from the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA)." (04/25/16)

http://blog.sfgate.com/smellthetruth/2016/04/25/dea-approves-medical-marijuana-study-for-ptsd  

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Also recall the executive formerly known as Prince

April 26, 2016
posted by

Reuters Reuters
by Rob Cox  

"The executive formerly known as Prince deserves as much acclaim as the artist. While hits like 'Little Red Corvette' will be his lasting legacy, his high-profile battles against the music and technology establishment also presaged an era where the recording industry ceded power to musicians. Prince experimented as much with the business as he did in the studio. Born Prince Rogers Nelson, he churned out nearly 40 albums before dying at age 57 on Thursday. Since his 1978 debut 'For You,' Prince has sold more than 100 million records. He owed his start to an A&R music system that nurtured up-and-coming talents. Throughout his career, however, Prince fought to retain control over his compositions, image and even his name. The unusual pushback brought a greater balance to the business/artist dynamic well before the digital era eroded the influence of the musical-industrial complex." (04/25/16)

http://blogs.reuters.com/breakingviews/2016/04/21/also-recall-the-executive-formerly-known-as-prince  

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North Carolina LGBT law fuels demonstrations for and against

April 26, 2016
posted by

BBC News BBC News [UK state media]    

"Thousands of activists have gathered outside North Carolina's legislature as it reconvened for the first time since enacting a law criticised as anti-gay. Supporters and opponents of the bill held competing rallies outside the statehouse in Raleigh. The law invalidated several local anti-discrimination measures that protected gay and transgender people. It also requires people to use public toilets that correspond to the sex listed on their birth certificates. Major companies such as Bank of America and Apple have criticised the law. Others companies including Pay Pal and Deutsche Bank vowed to curtail their businesses in the state because of it." (04/25/16)

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-36135588  

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Mattis declines Herculean task

April 26, 2016
posted by

USA Today USA Today
by Glenn Harlan Reynolds  

"It looks like the Mattis bubble is bursting. That was probably inevitable, but it is still a bad sign. As discontent has mounted among Republicans, some have been suggesting that the party could draft an outsider as its nominee at the convention in Cleveland this summer. Some have been calling for famed (retired) Marine General James Mattis to run. Unhappiness with the idea of a Donald Trump nomination has even, according to Tim Mak in the Daily Beast, led a group of wealthy Republican donors to consider drafting Mattis to run as a third-party candidate if Trump gets the nomination. The idea isn’t that Mattis could win the nomination, but that he might win enough states to throw the election into the House of Representatives, which is what happens if no candidate gets an outright majority of the Electoral College." (04/25/16)

http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2016/04/25/james-mattis-bubble-bursting-third-party-candidate-elections-2016-column/83492328  

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Report: Chipotle’s troubles might help Panera

April 26, 2016
posted by

Reuters Reuters    

"Wall Street expects little from Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc's first-quarter results late on Tuesday as the burrito chain struggles to recover from a string of food-borne illness outbreaks. But its loss might be rival Panera Bread Co's gain. Shares of Chipotle have dropped 38 percent since August after norovirus and E.coli outbreaks at some of its outlets led to a plunge in sales for the company, which markets its food as healthier than that of rivals. It has been handing out free burritos to win back diners, but analysts still expect it to lose money in the quarter ended March 30 and the next two quarters. At least some customers steering clear of Chipotle appear to have gone over to fast-casual competitor Panera Bread, which has also increased its focus on healthy ingredients." (04/25/16)

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-chipotle-results-stocks-idUSKCN0XM28M  

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