Author Archive

Nancy Pelosi talks up the agony & the organization

October 29, 2014
posted by

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

"'We don't agonize. We organize,' House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi chimed after an editorial board meeting with The Chronicle Monday. 2014 is probably not her favorite year. In 2010, the Democrats lost the House and she lost the speakership. The New York Times reports that Democrats most likely will lose more seats in November. Pelosi has become the other face of the Democratic Party, second only to the unpopular President Obama. Republicans raise money by dangling her name in front of donors. She even mused about leaving Washington. Some day. Now even the rare Democrat is moving away from the party leader." (10/28/14)

http://tinyurl.com/pg4647s  

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Mandatory quarantine policies: Unscientific & dangerous

October 29, 2014
posted by

Reuters Reuters
by Celine Gounder  

"On Thursday, Governors Andrew Cuomo of New York and Chris Christie of New Jersey announced a mandatory 21-day quarantine for returning healthcare workers from Ebola-ravaged Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. Illinois Governor Pat Quinn followed suit a day later. Other U.S. states, including Minnesota, Georgia and Connecticut, have introduced similar measures. ... The governors’ quarantine policies are not based on science, but fear and political opportunism." (10/28/14)

http://tinyurl.com/p2acpoo  

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Democracy lite: All form and no substance

October 29, 2014
posted by

Our Future
by Sam Pizzigati  

"The most revealing moment of our ongoing 2014 election season? That may have come last week in a Florida gubernatorial debate when former governor Charlie Crist, now a Democrat, and current governor Rick Scott, a Republican, went mano a mano over who 'has led a more privileged life.' Crist (net worth, $1.2 million) pronounced that Scott’s lavish 'oceanfront mansion' lifestyle had him out of touch with average Floridians. Scott (net worth, over $132 million) countered that he had grown up in a much more hardscrabble home than Crist." (10/28/14)

http://tinyurl.com/oh8emra  

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Afghanistan: Out with NATO, in with China?

October 29, 2014
posted by

Christian Science Monitor Christian Science Monitor    

"The last British soldier left Afghanistan over the weekend. The last American combat troops will be gone by Christmas. Afghanistan’s beleaguered government is looking in new directions for help, and new President Ashraf Ghani arrived Tuesday in Beijing, where Chinese authorities are anxious to oblige. If 2014 marks an endpoint for Western policy in Afghanistan, it is more of a starting point for China. ... Beijing, which offered Mr. Ghani hundreds of millions in aid Tuesday, is gearing up to play a leading role in Afghanistan’s future -- fearful that if its neighbor descends into chaos, more trouble will spread into China’s restless, predominantly Muslim province of Xinjiang." (10/28/14)

http://tinyurl.com/k4uass2  

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Feinstein: San Francisco has no room for Airbnb

October 28, 2014
posted by

San Francisco Chronicle San Francisco Chronicle    

"Sen. Dianne Feinstein tells me that if Mayor Ed Lee signs the Board of Supervisors’ legislation legalizing Airbnb-style rentals, she’ll support an effort to overturn it at the ballot. It would be one heck of a fight for Lee to face when he’s up for re-election next year, but Feinstein is serious in her belief that the proliferation of short-term rentals in the city will destroy the neighborhoods. When we talked the other day, she had pictures of some of the homes that are being rented out to tourists and the like. ... Her fear is that speculators are going to start buying houses throughout the city just to farm them out at daily rates that get around rent laws." (10/28/14)

http://tinyurl.com/m7kcndp  

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21st century technology, 19th century worker protections

October 28, 2014
posted by

In These Times In These Times
by Amanda Armstrong  

"This summer, the California legislature passed two bills designed to protect workers and consumers caught up in the growing temp and 'sharing' economies. While improvements upon the status quo, these legislative reforms, recently signed into law by Governor Brown, exclude some of the most vulnerable workers from the protections they provide. Most significantly, the bills do not establish protections for those working in the sharing economy, including those driving for Uber and Lyft. The state continues to classify these workers as 'independent contractors,' thus denying them workers’ compensation benefits and other labor rights." (10/28/14)

http://tinyurl.com/nslbgbc  

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Study: BP oil spill left “bathtub ring”

October 28, 2014
posted by

Fox News Fox News    

"The BP oil spill left an oily 'bathub ring' on the sea floor that's about the size of Rhode Island, new research shows. The study by David Valentine, the chief scientist on the federal damage assessment research ships, estimates that about 10 million gallons of oil coagulated on the floor of the Gulf of Mexico around the damaged Deepwater Horizons oil rig. Valentine, a geochemistry professor at the University of California Santa Barbara, said the spill from the Macondo well left other splotches containing even more oil. He said it is obvious where the oil is from, even though there were no chemical signature tests because over time the oil has degraded." (10/28/14)

http://tinyurl.com/pan4z37  

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Nader on Hillary: “corporatist militarist” and “menace to the USA!”

October 28, 2014
posted by

Raw Story Raw Story
by Eric W. Dolan  

"Former presidential candidate Ralph Nader slammed two of the major contenders for the White House in 2016. 'Hillary [Clinton] is a corporatist and a militarist,' he said during an recent interview with We Are Change. 'Do we want another corporatist and militarist? She thinks Obama is too weak. He doesn’t kill enough people overseas. So she’s a menace to the United States of America. What we need is people (regardless of whether they are libertarians or not) that pull back on the empire and make Wall Street subordinate to main street.' ... Nader wasn’t too fond of Clinton’s potential Republican rival, Rand Paul, either." (10/28/14)

http://tinyurl.com/p56txpx  

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The government we deserve

October 28, 2014
posted by

Paul Waldman The American Prospect
by Paul Waldman  

"This may be the most expensive midterm election in history, but it isn't necessarily the dumbest. That's not because it's smart in any way, just that elections in America are always dumb. To take just one tiny data point, the hottest Senate race in the country may be in Iowa, where everything turns on just how mad the Democratic candidate got when his neighbor's chickens kept crapping in his yard. Madison and Jefferson would be so proud. Commentators with brows set high and low periodically try to redeem a public that falls for this kind of stuff, with varying degrees of success." (10/28/14)

http://prospect.org/article/government-we-deserve  

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China “to protect whistle-blowers” amid corruption fight

October 28, 2014
posted by

BBC News BBC News [UK state media]    

"Chinese authorities say whistle-blowers will be protected, amid an ongoing crackdown on corruption. China's top prosecuting body said it has, for the first time, laid out rights for those exposing malpractice. It urged citizens to file reports in a 'lawful manner' via official channels and promised a quick response. China's President Xi Jinping has prioritised stamping out corruption in the Communist Party and government since he took office in 2012." (10/28/14)

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-29797985  

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Will black voters help protect abortion rights in Tennessee?

October 28, 2014
posted by

The Nation The Nation
by Dani McClain  

"Voters in Tennessee will soon decide whether to change the state’s Constitution to allow lawmakers to impose new restrictions on abortion. Tennessee, a kind of oasis in the South for abortion rights, has strict privacy protections enshrined in the Constitution, preventing passage of the onerous anti-choice regulations that have passed legislatures elsewhere. Amendment 1 sets out to change all that. How black Tennesseans vote on Amendment 1 may prove to be decisive. Seventeen percent of Tennessee’s population is African-American. In the state’s most populous cities, Memphis and Nashville, that percentage jumps to 63 and 29 respectively." (10/27/14)

http://tinyurl.com/nlo7hcz  

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Interview: Edward Snowden

October 28, 2014
posted by

The Nation The Nation
by Katrina vanden Heuvel & Stephen F. Cohen  

"On October 6, Nation editor and publisher Katrina vanden Heuvel and contributing editor Stephen F. Cohen (professor emeritus of Russian studies at New York University and Princeton) sat down in Moscow for a wide-ranging discussion with Edward Snowden. Throughout their nearly four-hour conversation, which lasted considerably longer than planned, the youthful-appearing Snowden was affable, forthcoming, thoughtful and occasionally humorous. Among other issues, he discussed the price he has paid for speaking truth to power, his definition of patriotism and accountability, and his frustration with America’s media and political system." (10/27/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mvvv3nd  

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Report: Population controls “will not solve environment issues”

October 28, 2014
posted by

BBC News BBC News [UK state media]    

"Restricting population growth will not solve global issues of sustainability in the short term, new research says. A worldwide one-child policy would mean the number of people in 2100 remained around current levels, according to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Even a catastrophic event that killed billions of people would have little effect on the overall impact, it said. There may be 12 billion humans on Earth by 2100, latest projections suggest. Concerns about the impact of people on the planet's resources have been growing, especially if the population continues to increase." (10/27/14)

http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-29788754  

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How congressional hawks plan to kill Obama’s Iran deal

October 28, 2014
posted by

Reuters Reuters
by Trita Parsi  

"Negotiations with Iran over the future of its nuclear program have not even concluded yet some members of Congress are preparing to manufacture a political crisis over a deal. Their beef? President Barack Obama may initially bypass Congress and suspend sanctions imposed on Iran to make a deal possible and only later ask lawmakers to end them permanently when it is determined that Iran has complied fully with its obligations under the deal. ... So what’s really going on? It’s very simple: If you prefer war with Iran over a deal with Iran -- even one that would prevent it from building a bomb -- your best and possibly last opportunity to kill the deal is immediately after the nuclear talks have concluded." (10/27/14)

http://tinyurl.com/m8dogep  

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Judge holds hearing: Should feds reclassify marijuana?

October 28, 2014
posted by

Christian Science Monitor Christian Science Monitor    

"In a case that some say could change the relationship between the states and the federal government regarding marijuana, a US district judge in Sacramento, Calif., has granted a three-day hearing starting Monday that challenges the federal ban on the substance. At issue is the classification of marijuana by the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) as a Schedule I drug, established in the early 1970s. That is the same classification given to heroin, LSD, and Ecstasy. The status was reaffirmed in 2011 and upheld in a federal appeals court last year. The hearing stems from a criminal case involving several men who were charged with growing marijuana on national forest land." (10/27/14)

http://tinyurl.com/jwepwxw  

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Obama’s immigration delay: Shameful, but savvy

October 28, 2014
posted by

In These Times In These Times
by Achy Obejas  

"Here’s the secret about all that Latino anger over President Obama delaying promised immigration reform until after the midterms: It’s not going to make that much difference to Latino support for Democrats. Have no doubt: It is infuriating that Obama has again sacrificed immigration reform. In the eleventh hour of his presidency, he still has barely moved a ball he put in play when he was a long-shot presidential candidate. ... Obama has always had something more pressing to take care of: wars without end, the economic meltdown, the pivot to Asia. His current priority is preserving the Democratic majority in the Senate, which is his only hope of getting anything done during the rest of his term." (10/27/14)

http://tinyurl.com/prrsxon  

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MI: Detroit makes final arguments to exit bankruptcy

October 28, 2014
posted by

San Francisco Chronicle San Francisco Chronicle    

"The city of Detroit urged a judge on Monday to approve its plan to get out of bankruptcy, calling it a sweeping effort to 'solve some really bad problems' by wiping out billions in debt and spending $1.7 billion on better services in a long-term prescription for the Motor City. Judge Steven Rhodes will decide Nov. 7 whether Detroit's plan is fair and feasible in the largest public bankruptcy in U.S. history. It's an up-or-down ruling: He can't choose parts he likes and scratch others. ... Detroit, which has lost 27 percent of its population since 2000, can't afford to raise taxes to get more revenue, especially from poor residents, Bennett said." (10/27/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mrxc4vq  

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No love for Obama as Election Day approaches

October 28, 2014
posted by

Paul Waldman The American Prospect
by Paul Waldman  

"If Republicans win a significant victory in next Tuesday's election (and it now looks like they will indeed take the Senate) get ready for a whole lot of Obama-bashing, not only from the press and Republicans, but from liberals, as well. Some will go so far as to declare his presidency over, and I suspect more than a few genuine leftists will heap scorn on their liberal friends for their naïve embrace of a politician promising (as politicians always do) to change Washington." [editor's note: He's predicting a GOP Senate takeover? Oh boy, guaranteed gridlock (with Obombya having to use his veto at long last, or show his true imperialist colors?) - SAT] (10/27/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mdomvgq  

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CDC: Isolation but not quarantine for returning Ebola medical workers

October 28, 2014
posted by

Reuters Reuters    

"Federal health officials on Monday revamped guidelines for doctors and nurses returning home to the United States from treating Ebola patients in West Africa, stopping well short of controversial mandatory quarantines being imposed by some U.S. states. Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), called for voluntary home quarantine for people at the highest risk for Ebola infection but said most medical workers returning from the three countries at the center of the epidemic would require daily monitoring without isolation." (10/27/14)

http://tinyurl.com/kkpjq93  

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Democrats should learn this lesson: Be Democrats

October 28, 2014
posted by

Dave Johnson Our Future
by Dave Johnson  

"Democrats should to learn a lesson from this year’s election campaigns: Democrats should be Democrats. Democrats should not try to run away from the things Democrats stand for. It doesn’t work. Supporting Republicans ideas is not going to win you Republican votes. It won’t stop Republicans from calling you a socialist, communist, extremist, or whatever. It is not going to give you any cover at all when the public gets their chance to weigh in. If you do things the public doesn’t like, it is going to come back and bite you. Unless you are campaigning for the job of post-defeat lobbyist, embracing Republican ideas so you can call yourself a 'moderate' or a 'centrist' buys you nothing." (10/27/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mfg5hmp  

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IA: City might ban pets from parks

October 28, 2014
posted by

Fox News Fox News    

"An eastern Iowa city may ban pets from its parks because of complaints about owners failing to pick up after their dogs. The Muscatine Journal reports the Durant City Council will vote Monday on the ban. City officials say there have been several complaints about pet problems at the parks. Resident Linda Oertel objected to the proposed ban at a city council meeting earlier this month. But Mayor Dawn Smith says a few offenders may have ruined it for everyone." (10/27/14)

http://tinyurl.com/q7hkhle  

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Like a bridge over the entirely free water

October 27, 2014
posted by

San Francisco Chronicle San Francisco Chronicle
by Jon Carroll  

"Feats of civil engineering can sometimes seem miraculous. Because bridges are so much a part of us, we care what happens to them. A suicide fence on the Golden Gate Bridge? Seems like a good idea, but what of the aesthetics? And corroding bolts on the new Bay Bridge -- how did that happen? Are we less competent than we were two generations ago? Seems entirely possible. So now we have two more issues, one entirely solvable, the other somewhat more problematic. The first is a proposal to charge pedestrians and bicyclists to cross the Golden Gate Bridge. The solution is simple: Don’t do it." (10/27/14)

http://tinyurl.com/ll3hekq  

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Study: Compounds in cocoa reverse age-related memory decline

October 27, 2014
posted by

Raw Story Raw Story    

"Bioactive ingredients found in cocoa sharply reversed age-related memory decline in a group of volunteers, scientists reported on Sunday. The compounds, called flavanols, were taken in a specially-prepared cocoa drink, according to an experiment published by the journal Nature Neuroscience. Over three months, 37 healthy volunteers aged 50-69 had a daily drink containing either a high dose of flavanols (900 milligrams) or a low dose, 10 mg." (10/27/14)

http://tinyurl.com/llvyk8k  

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On a top-heavy planet, a bit of a Nordic puzzler

October 27, 2014
posted by

Our Future
by Sam Pizzigati  

"The latest annual Global Wealth Report from the Credit Suisse Research Institute has everything you would expect from a report on global wealth. And one thing you wouldn’t: a mystery. The media coverage of the new Credit Suisse report hasn’t focused much at all on that mystery. Reporters have zeroed in instead on the report’s host of startling stats on global wealth distribution. The top attention-grabbing stat in the new Credit Suisse study? The richest 1 percent of the world’s adults now hold nearly half the world’s wealth, 48.2 percent to be exact." (10/24/14)

http://tinyurl.com/prqtqlx  

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Life in New York in the time of Ebola

October 27, 2014
posted by

Reuters Reuters
by Jason Fields  

"New York is a disgusting place. There are strange, unpleasant smells that greet you every morning as you leave your apartment and walk to the subway on your way to work. Often, you can’t even identify the lingering foulness. As you walk, you’re likely to step in puddles of godknowswhat that appear days after the last rain. Always the same gray, brownish color, with hints of oily iridescence. Maybe that’s where the smell is coming from, but maybe not. ... Now Ebola has reached the city, and the man who has it joined us on our trains, went bowling with us and took an Uber car. He probably wasn’t the first patron in that car that day, and he probably wasn’t the last. And yet, if you live through what we all live through every day, come home to your children or your cat, you’re likely to live through this latest scare." (10/24/14)

http://tinyurl.com/pj66ec8  

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