Author Archive

Cut off from Wi-Fi, Cuban youngsters build secret computer network

January 27, 2015
posted by

Fox News Fox News    

"Cut off from the Internet, young Cubans have quietly linked thousands of computers into a hidden network that stretches miles across Havana, letting them chat with friends, play games and download hit movies in a mini-replica of the online world that most can't access. Home Internet connections are banned for all but a handful of Cubans, and the government charges nearly a quarter of a month's salary for an hour online in government-run hotels and Internet centers. As a result, most people on the island live offline, complaining about their lack of access to information and contact with friends and family abroad." (01/26/15)

http://tinyurl.com/lwsxyc8  

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Sometimes you just need to talk to a cop

January 27, 2015
posted by

Jon Carroll San Francisco Chronicle
by Jon Carroll  

"Occupy Oakland started in 2011 with vague goals but very real grievances. The protest and occupation of Frank Ogawa Plaza downtown was loosely modeled on the Wall Street protests of the same name. Those were in response to the bailout of Wall Street firms that were linked definitively to financial crimes of 2008 -- of fragrant memory. Those protests seemed focused on income inequality, but Occupy Oakland quickly became about police violence. The city of Oakland did itself no favors with an inept and at times brutal response to the demonstrations. The city ended up agreeing to pay one protester $4.5 million for injuries suffered at the hands of police officers." (01/26/15)

http://tinyurl.com/m9xrzm4  

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Oil still slides, OPEC talks “floor”

January 26, 2015
posted by

Reuters Reuters
by  

"Oil fell in see-saw trade on Monday, with U.S. crude ending at its lowest in nearly six years, as traders discounted comments from OPEC's top official about the market finally finding a bottom. It was an up-and-down session for crude, which gyrated along with the U.S. dollar in the wake of a decisive Greek election victory by the left-wing Syriza party. Prices initially rallied after OPEC Secretary-General Abdullah al-Badri said oil may have hit a floor and could move higher very soon, the first comments he has made on the subject during crude's seven-month-long price rout." [editor's note: Speaking of floors, let's put one on FICA - SAT] (01/26/15)

http://tinyurl.com/n92frqx  

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BP calls witnesses, fighting for lesser spill penalty

January 26, 2015
posted by

San Francisco Chronicle San Francisco Chronicle    

"BP struggled for 87 days to contain the millions of gallons of crude that spilled into the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, but an expert witness on Monday called its cleanup response exemplary. 'They were very prepared,' said Frank Paskewich, a retired Coast Guard captain and president of Clean Gulf Associates Inc., an oil spill response cooperative. BP had a sound plan for reacting to the deadly explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, 'and they pulled the trigger on that plan, [coming] out of the gate quick,' he said." (01/26/15)

http://tinyurl.com/myxtt2j  

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If Sanders runs, “I will not be a spoiler”

January 26, 2015
posted by

In These Times In These Times
by Connor Jones  

"Over 3,000 activists and donors joined a Democracy for America (DFA) conference call with Senator Bernie Sanders [I-VT] on Wednesday night to discuss how Democrats can move forward their agenda after losing control of the Senate. Amid the uncertainty of a Republican majority in Congress and a President itching for bipartisan compromise, DFA members sought to alleviate one nagging question: Who will be the progressive standard bearer in 2016? Naturally, 'Will you run for president in 2016?' was the first question DFA Executive Director Charles Chamberlain asked Sanders. Though not definitive, his answer was enough to leave these activists hopeful." (01/26/15)

http://tinyurl.com/ozhflmh  

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China and Kenya at odds over suspected Chinese cyber criminals

January 26, 2015
posted by

Christian Science Monitor Christian Science Monitor    

"As China steps up pressure on Kenya to surrender 76 cybercrime suspects facing charges in Nairobi, some experts are warning the case could damage the two nations' thriving economic relationship. China has demanded extradition of the criminals, 76 Chinese and a single Thai national, after accusing them of cross-border telecommunication fraud and electronically swindling over 100 million yuan ($16.5 million) from Chinese victims. Chinese officials argue that because all of the victims are in China, the suspects should be extradited for further investigation and prosecution there." (01/26/15)

http://tinyurl.com/maoszdj  

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Project Blue Book: US Air Force UFO documents revealed

January 26, 2015
posted by

BBC News BBC News [UK state media]    

"Amateur historian John Greenewald has spent nearly two decades requesting declassified information from the US government regarding UFOs. Recently, he posted more than 100,000 pages of documents on the US Air Force's internal UFO investigations to the internet. Here are the top five things to know from the open files of Project Blue Book. The origins of the ambitious project can be traced to June 1947, UFO researcher Alejandro Rojas tells the BBC." (01/25/15)

http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-30943827  

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These mental health patients neglected on epidemic scale

January 26, 2015
posted by

Michelle Chen The Nation Blog
by Michelle Chen  

"Thirty years have passed since the first 'revolution in mental health' -- the deinstitutionalization movement that moved patients out of segregated mental health hospitals and, in theory, back into their neighborhoods to be with their families. But a generation later, many are still waiting to receive basic care in their communities, the therapy they require to live with the dignity and freedom the movement fought for. Earlier this month, mental healthcare workers across California went on strike to show that everyone’s tired of waiting: patients are tired of delayed appointments, workers are exhausted by understaffing and stalled contract talks, and the system suffers from an outmoded infrastructure that fails to meet growing community needs." (01/26/15)

http://tinyurl.com/p22tpb8  

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Democrats: Listen To Senator Whitehouse on education

January 26, 2015
posted by

Jeff Bryant Our Future
by Jeff Bryant  

"A curious thing happened this week on Capital Hill: A politician said something about education that made sense. The 'something' didn’t come from President Obama. In the president’s annual State of the Union address, 'K-12 policy largely took a back seat,' Education Week’s Alyson Klein observed. Indeed, the issue was barely in the car. ... The sensible message came out in a Senate committee hearing the next day. The hearing was conducted by the Committee on Health, Labor, Education and Pensions, and the subject at hand was 'Fixing No Child Left Behind: Testing and Accountability.'" (01/23/15)

http://tinyurl.com/oxe6qu2  

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Ukraine ceasefire: A farce, with Putin the author

January 26, 2015
posted by

Reuters Reuters
by Lucian Kim  

"On Sunday morning I took part in a panel discussion on relations between Russia and the European Union. As the rest of Berlin was still getting out of bed, more than a hundred people turned up for the event, mostly elderly Germans who will never forget the trauma and shame of World War II. One after another, members of the audience stood up, calling for a return to 'the politics of peace,' to compromise, and to dialogue. Nobody in Europe wants war, I replied, surprised that such words even needed pronouncing." (01/23/15)

http://tinyurl.com/o8d8akj  

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A Republican Sister Souljah fantasy

January 26, 2015
posted by

Paul Waldman The American Prospect
by Paul Waldman  

"This weekend, no fewer than eight potential Republican presidential candidates, along with some party media stars like Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, and Donald Trump, will head to Des Moines for the Iowa Freedom Summit, an event organized by anti-immigrant nincompoop and member of the U.S. House of Representatives Steve King. In my Plum Line Post today, I wondered what might happen if one of those candidates decided to do something unexpected: What if one of those eight candidates got up at this event and said, 'Representative King, I appreciate you inviting me here, but I’m going to have to be honest and tell you that you and people who think like you do are killing this party that we all love.'" (01/23/15)

http://tinyurl.com/ka7spxc  

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Pelosi’s Syrian trip vs. Boehner’s Bibi invite

January 25, 2015
posted by

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

"'I don’t believe I’m poking anyone in the eye,' House Speaker John Boehner asserted Wednesday. That was after his speakership told the media that he had invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak before a joint session of Congress about 'the grave threats radical Islam and Iran pose to our security and way of life.' Of course it was a poke in the eye. Boehner admitted he did not consult with the White House before inviting Bibi. ... House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said the invitation was 'out of order.' ... The irony here is that Pelosi was in a similar position in 2007 when she met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad." (01/23/15)

http://tinyurl.com/o4shqgj  

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OH: No 1040 for 94-year-old vet; IRS says he’s dead

January 25, 2015
posted by

Fox News Fox News    

"There is a 94-year-old World War II vet in Ohio who just wants to pay his taxes but can't because the IRS says he’s dead. Siegfried Meinstein has been unable to convince the IRS he is alive, living in an assisted living facility near Columbus, Ohio. The IRS has told the nonagenarian it can’t process his tax return because their records indicate he is deceased. 'It isn’t really a problem in my daily life,' Meinstein told the Columbus Dispatch Friday. 'Everybody accepts my money.' The issue with IRS has also prompted some good natured ribbing from his son." [editor's note: And this is a problem because ...? - SAT] (01/25/15)

http://tinyurl.com/mupbmxo  

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All eyes on Fed, Greece after ECB fires bazooka

January 25, 2015
posted by

Reuters Reuters    

"After the surprises from central banks which rocked markets at the start of the year, the U.S. Federal Reserve will be watched as closely as ever this week to see that it doesn't stray from its own policy path. The atmosphere will already be tense as the fallout from Sunday's snap election in Greece settles and concern has grown in some quarters that central banks, which played such a big part in guiding economies through the financial crisis, are becoming less predictable." (01/25/15)

http://tinyurl.com/k5d937d  

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Big tax bills for the poor, tiny ones for the rich

January 25, 2015
posted by

David Sirota In These Times
by David Sirota  

"American politics are [sic] dominated by those with money. As such, America’s tax debate is dominated by voices that insist the rich are unduly persecuted by high taxes and that low-income folks are living the high life. Indeed, a new survey by the Pew Research Center recently found that the most financially secure Americans believe 'poor people today have it easy.' The rich are certainly entitled to their own opinions -- but, as the old saying goes, nobody is entitled to their own facts. With that in mind, here’s a set of tax facts worth considering: Middle-and low-income Americans are facing far higher state and local tax rates than the wealthy." (01/23/15)

http://inthesetimes.com/article/17565/regressive_taxes  

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ND: Low oil prices chill a once-hot town

January 25, 2015
posted by

Christian Science Monitor Christian Science Monitor    

"An empty strip of gravel (lined with streetlights and unused utility hookups) runs next to the highway, south of the once-booming oil town of Crosby, ND. A few years ago, city officials anticipated oil field companies and other businesses would fill up the 230-acre strip. The city spent $1.7 million on the land, with another $9 million coming from state oil impact grants. There was talk of 300 housing units popping up in the fields behind the commercial street. The former mayor said the 1,300-person town was preparing to potentially double or triple in size. But there is only one building along the road today." (01/25/15)

http://tinyurl.com/kyatxgq  

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MIT scientist: Global warming believers “like a hysterical cult”

January 25, 2015
posted by

The Daily Mail [UK]    

"Climate change alarmists have been likened to a fanatical 'cult' by an MIT professor of meteorology. Dr Richard Lindzen told a Massachusetts-based radio station that people who believe in global warming are becoming more hysterical in their arguments. 'As with any cult, once the mythology of the cult begins falling apart, instead of saying, oh, we were wrong, they get more and more fanatical,' he said." (01/23/15)

http://tinyurl.com/ov8xnzu  

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India and US seal nuclear deal, Modi hosts Obama

January 25, 2015
posted by

BBC News BBC News [UK state media]    

"The US and India have announced a breakthrough on a pact that will allow American companies to supply India with civilian nuclear technology. It came on the first day of President Barack Obama's visit to India. The nuclear deal had been held up for six years amid concerns over the liability for any nuclear accident. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the nations were embarking on a 'new journey' of co-operation, with stronger defence and trade ties. Mr Obama said that the nations had declared a new friendship." (01/25/15)

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-30930581  

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Study: People on psychedelics more emotionally healthy, less suicidal

January 25, 2015
posted by

Newsweek    

"For centuries, shamans and healers have been using psychedelics in sacramental rituals in the belief that the substances have healing qualities and can lead to meaningful spiritual experiences. It turns out contemporary science may back these ancient claims. A new study conducted by the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health found that participants who took controlled doses of 'classic' psychedelics (magic mushrooms, DMT, mescaline and LSD) had significantly reduced incidences of suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts and psychological distress in the long term. The study, published recently in the Journal of Pharmacology, analyzed data from an annual survey conducted by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health that measures substance abuse in relation to mental illness." [editor's note: Anyone who's done them could tell you that - SAT] (01/23/15)

http://tinyurl.com/mvmdnup  

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Obama not waging war on stay-at-home mothers

January 25, 2015
posted by

The Nation The Nation Blog
by Bryce Covert  

"It’s a war. It’s playing favorites. It’s harmful and divisive. Conservatives have heard President Obama’s proposal to increase the Child Tax Credit and give working parents an extra bonus and have decided he thinks, in Tim Carney’s words, 'Moms who stay at home with their children are less valuable than moms who work for pay.' Some might say that this tax credit is piddling. Under Obama’s plan, parents would get an extra $3,000 a year to cover childcare, a service that costs more than three times that. But conservatives are miffed that families with one earner and one stay-at-home caretaker get penalized because they can’t get that credit. What they don’t mention, however, is that families modeled after the 1950s vision of one working parent and one staying at home get plenty of tax preferences." (01/24/15)

http://tinyurl.com/ppr9l7k  

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No body counts? Don’t believe US military

January 23, 2015
posted by

Reuters Reuters
by David Axe  

"Earlier this month, a reporter asked the question that usually comes up when the United States gets involved in a sustained military campaign. Just how many enemy troops (in this case, Islamic State foot soldiers) have U.S. forces killed in more than five months of aerial attacks? The military’s answer was basically the same given to all similar questions going back more than a decade. ... Since the Vietnam War, with its gruesome and inflated U.S. tallies of enemy dead, the Pentagon has denied keeping body counts. But, in fact, the military does add up the number of enemy fighters it believes it has killed -- and proudly boasts of the totals in official documents that it never intends for public circulation." (01/22/15)

http://tinyurl.com/luxmhrh  

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When liberals were organized

January 23, 2015
posted by

The American Prospect The American Prospect
by Julian E. Zelizer  

"When Republicans took control of the House of Representatives in 1994 for the first time in 40 years, one of Speaker Newt Gingrich’s earliest moves was to end the public funding for the Democratic Study Group (DSG), a caucus of liberal Democrats that had been created in 1959. It was one of Gingrich’s shrewdest maneuvers. As Kansas Republican Pat Roberts, a staunch conservative then and now, wrote in an internal memo, 'The demise of the DSG severely damages the power structure of the House Democrats.' Roberts was right. The DSG is almost forgotten today, but its history suggests lessons for the current generation of Democrats." (01/22/15)

http://prospect.org/article/when-liberals-were-organized  

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Environmental groups denounce fast track trade process

January 23, 2015
posted by

Dave Johnson Our Future
by Dave Johnson  

"The Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the League of Conservation Voters and 41 other environmental groups sent a letter to Congress this week, asking them to oppose 'fast track' trade promotion authority for upcoming trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). They asked Congress to instead set up an open, transparent trade negotiating system that gives stakeholders, other than just corporate representatives, input in the process.” (01/22/15)

http://tinyurl.com/khcxuqt  

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Obama croons, “I did it my way”

January 23, 2015
posted by

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

"As President Obama delivered his State of the Union speech Tuesday night, I saw all of 2015 flash before my eyes. It was a smart speech that wisely stuck to 'middle-class' values and was shrewdly short on details. I saw another year of the president not compromising. For Republicans, it was Ground Hog Day -- an endless loop of the president talking up bipartisanship without practicing it. 'A Bold Call to Action, Even if No Action is Likely,' read one headline. And below it: 'Obama Speaks as Though His Party Won the Midterms.' Both headlines hail, not from a conservative rag, but from the New York Times." (01/21/15)

http://tinyurl.com/kcov9gm  

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DOJ fake Facebook page costs them [sic] $134,000

January 23, 2015
posted by

BBC News BBC News [UK state media]    

"The US Justice Department is to pay a woman $134,000 after making a fake Facebook page that contained a photograph of her half-clothed. Sondra Arquiett had sued the government after it had suggested she had 'implicitly consented' to the creation of a page using her identity since she had previously granted officers access to her mobile phone The DoJ has now settled the dispute, but has not admitted wrongdoing. The case had raised privacy concerns. Although the US government has not ruled out using similar tactics in the future, it has acknowledged the criticism it faced." (01/21/15)

http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-30921804  

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