Author Archive

Keeping a city by the sea from becoming a city in it

July 22, 2014
posted by

Reuters
by James Sanders & Jesse M. Keenan  

"Virtually every big rainstorm in New York now seems to be accompanied by a flash-flood alert sent to cellphones. And scientists recently reported that a vast section of Antarctica’s ice sheet, now melting, might bring on as much as a 10-foot rise in the world’s sea levels in the coming decades. While the nation debates the appropriate response, the coastal cities threatened most by climate change (particularly New York) must somehow address the problem themselves. New York, at least, has begun. After Hurricane Sandy’s catastrophic impact in late 2012, it became obvious that the city must be able to minimize the serious damage caused by future climate “events” and bounce back." (07/21/14)

http://tinyurl.com/n4ljdce  

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MD: Johns Hopkins Hospital pays out $190 million over doctor tapes

July 22, 2014
posted by

BBC News [UK state media]    

"Johns Hopkins Hospital in the US state of Maryland has agreed to pay $190 million after some 8,000 women joined a legal case claiming a gynaecologist had secretly recorded them. Dr Nikita Levy, who killed himself last year, reportedly used cameras in pens and key fobs to tape patients. Lawyer Jonathan Schochor said all of the women had been 'brutalized' and described it as a 'betrayal.' The settlement is believed to be the largest of its kind in US history." (07/21/14)

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-28410304  

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Why Democrats need to take sides

July 22, 2014
posted by

The American Prospect
by Harold Meyerson  

"This spring, a prominent Democratic pollster sent a memo to party leaders and Democratic elected officials advising them to speak and think differently. The nation’s economy had deteriorated so drastically, he cautioned, that they needed to abandon their references to the 'middle class,' substituting for those hallowed words the phrase 'working people.' ... 'In today’s harsh economic reality,' he wrote, “many voters no longer identify as middle class.' How many voters? In 2008, a Pew poll asked Americans to identify themselves by class. Fifty-three percent said they were middle-class; 25 percent said lower-class. When Pew asked the same question this January, it found that the number who’d called themselves middle-class had shrunk to 44 percent, while those who said they were of the lower class had grown from 25 percent to 40 percent." (07/21/14)

http://tinyurl.com/nvfvbxr  

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America’s border crisis of conscience

July 22, 2014
posted by

Our Future
by Terrance Heath  

"Sixty bodies lie in a heap on the floor of a morgue that receives the corpses of children under 10 and as young as 2. It’s the body count for just one day, in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. How can we in good conscience send children back there? We just did. The first planeload of mothers and children has returned to San Pedro Sula -- the most violent city in the world, in the most violent country in the world. The murder rate in Honduras is the highest of any country in the world, at 90.4 per 100,000 people. In San Pedro Sula, the murder rate is 169 per 100,000 people -- nine times the murder rate of Chicago. Every day, more children are among the dead." (07/21/14)

http://ourfuture.org/20140721/americas-border-crisis-of-conscience  

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How should Obama deal with a world engulfed in war?

July 22, 2014
posted by

The Nationg
by Bob Dreyfuss  

"It’s hard to remember a time (we’re talking even way back in the bad old days of the Cold War) when things were such a mess. It’s hard even to count the number of wars underway right at the moment, but let’s list at least some of them: there’s the Israeli invasion of Gaza, the civil strife in eastern Ukraine, the twin civil wars in Syria and Iraq, the ongoing Afghanistan war, Pakistan’s assault on Taliban strongholds, virtual civil war in Libya, general conflicts across Africa (Nigeria, Mali, the Sudans, Somalia and of course in the eastern Congo/Uganda region), drone strikes and civil war in Yemen. To that list we might add tensions pitting China against Vietnam, South Korea, Japan and the Philippines and, of course, the high-stakes negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program between Iran and the P5+1 world powers. And then there’s the immigration crisis at the border." (07/21/14)

http://www.thenation.com/blog/180736/world-engulfed-wars-what-do  

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CVS: Hep C drugs could add $300 to every yearly premium

July 21, 2014
posted by

San Francisco Chronicle    

"Gilead Sciences’ new hepatitis C drug receives as much praise for its healing powers as it receives criticism of its price, $84,000 for 12 weeks. Those parallel storylines played out even further in a prominent scientific journal’s latest edition, published online over the weekend. In one study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Sovaldi and the medication with which it must be taken, ribavirin, were found to cure high rates of patients with both hepatitis C and HIV." (07/21/14)

http://tinyurl.com/m9259o3  

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The bad boss tax

July 21, 2014
posted by

In These Times
by Sarah Jaffe  

"Can you name the worst job you’ve ever had? For Cliff Martin, that’s not an easy question. All three of his current jobs -- delivering newspapers, delivering magazines and working as a janitor -- are strong contenders. Taken together, they pay so poorly that the 20-year-old Northfield, Minnesota, native relies on MNsure, the state Medicaid plan, for healthcare and lives at home with his father to save money. But what if Martin’s bosses had to fork over a fee to the state for paying him so badly? That money, in turn, could be used to help support Martin and his fellow low-wage workers in a variety of ways, from direct subsidies for food and housing to social programs such as Medicaid or public transportation." [editor's note: If this proposal were linked solely to min-wage payments despite proven reliability and long service in the job, it MIGHT make some sense; as we all know, it would mostly be applied to first-time, entry-level, unskilled and unproven workers! - SAT] (07/21/14)

http://inthesetimes.com/article/16949/the_bad_boss_tax  

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Obama executive order bars federal discrimination against LGBT people

July 21, 2014
posted by

Raw Story    

"President Barack Obama signed an executive order on Monday barring federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. The order did not include new exemptions for religious organizations, a move that was welcomed by gay rights activists. For a long time the White House has resisted issuing such an executive order, preferring instead to push for legislation in Congress that would ban discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in workplaces nationwide. But that legislation stalled in Congress, and advocates pressed Obama to take action to bar such discrimination among federal contractors, who make up about a fifth of the U.S. work force." [editor's note: At last? Something decreed by fiat that's actually within his proper power-range? - SAT] (07/21/14)

http://tinyurl.com/n2fvw3w  

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New TSA security fee hike will make airfare more expensive

July 21, 2014
posted by

Fox News    

"Air travel is getting more expensive. Starting today, the Transportation Security Administration is raising the mandatory security fee put into place after Sept. 11, 2011. The government isn’t just raising it, it’s more than doubling fees for some travelers -- and redefining the definition of a flight. Under the previous security fee structure, consumers paid $2.50 for a single leg and there was a cap of $5 on any one-way ticket, so fliers paid at most $10 for any round-trip flight. The new fee raises each leg to $5.60 and puts no cap on the total you can pay based on layovers. " (07/21/14)

http://tinyurl.com/ku3gaj8  

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India: NGOs on tenterhooks after accusatory government report

July 21, 2014
posted by

Christian Science Monitor    

"India's 2 million nongovernmental organizations are prominent advocates on issues from women's rights to educational equality. But over the past few weeks, the atmosphere for advocacy NGOs, and in particular those funded by foreign donors, has become decidedly chilly. The home ministry is running a national investigation into the funding of all NGOs after the leak of a classified report last month which blamed a handful of foreign-funded NGOs for stalling development projects in India. The report, by an internal security agency, claimed that these group's activism resulted in a 2-3 percent decrease in India's economy." (07/21/14)

http://tinyurl.com/ltvgp3d  

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Amid student loan defaults, aid threatened

July 21, 2014
posted by

San Francisco Chronicle
by Kathleen Pender  

"The threat of losing all federal financial aid -- including Pell grants and work-study jobs -- if too many former students default on their student loans has caused more community colleges to stop offering federal student loans altogether, according to a report issued last week by the Institute for College Access & Success. In California, seven more community colleges have stopped offering federal student loans since 2010-11, bringing the total to 22. Most are in the Central Valley and Inland Empire. Together these schools represent 12.6 percent of the state's community college enrollment." (07/21/14)

http://tinyurl.com/pmaxlry  

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Economy’s fate could be set by next two weeks’ earnings

July 21, 2014
posted by

Reuters    

"A long hoped for improvement in the economy appears to be manifesting itself in second-quarter U.S. earnings, but the next two weeks could be the real test. Companies such as General Electric Co and Intel Corp have reported solid results. In addition, GE believes now is a ripe moment to spin off its private label credit card division in the hopes growing consumer demand will make it more attractive. Intel declared that personal computer sales have stabilized, while it forecast third-quarter revenue above Wall Street's expectations." (07/20/14)

http://tinyurl.com/k7k5o7n  

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The triumph of dubious death penalty appeals

July 21, 2014
posted by

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

"A (all bow) federal judge has ruled that California's death penalty is unconstitutional because the state's 'dysfunctional administration' has meted out the punishment to more than 900 murderers, but imposed it on 'only 13' since 1972. That's too arbitrary, wrote U.S. District Judge Cormac J. Carney of Santa Ana. ... It doesn't bother Carney that Death Row inmates' lawyers have created that preposterous sentence -- remote possibility of death -- by slowing the wheels of justice with dubious time-sucking appeals. If appellate attorneys think delays are too painful for their clients, maybe they should curb their appeals." (07/18/14)

http://tinyurl.com/qhavr4n  

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Iran nuclear talks: Comprehensive deal still on the table?

July 21, 2014
posted by

Christian Science Monitor    

"Though diplomats from Iran and six world powers are talking up the 'substantial progress' that led to an extension of nuclear talks until November, crucial differences still threaten a final deal to ensure Iran can never produce a bomb. And it is not clear yet if the gap can be bridged over the scale of Iran’s future uranium enrichment given the insistence by both Washington and Tehran that the other side must make 'hard choices' to clinch a deal. Across Iran’s political spectrum there is wide support for the nuclear program -- and for a comprehensive nuclear deal that removes sanctions from its struggling economy." (07/20/14)

http://tinyurl.com/q3l4pk7  

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Warren 2014 more important than Warren 2016

July 21, 2014
posted by

Our Future
by Bill Scher  

"Over at Politico Magazine today, I analyzed the meaning of Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s busy 2014 schedule, stumping and raising money for a wide range of Democratic candidates on the ballot this November. Many speculate this has something to do with 2016, but she has repeatedly and emphatically denied any presidential bid. Instead, people should pay attention to what she is saying on policy matters, how she is saying it, which candidates are following her lead, and gauging how well her message works on the trail. She is pioneering an 'us-versus-them' argument that fingers 'Wall Street' as the obstacle to progressive reform, an approach that’s subtly different from what President Obama is delivering on the stump." (07/18/14)

http://tinyurl.com/pmou66p  

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Hot mic catches Kerry slamming Israel’s Gaza operation

July 21, 2014
posted by

San Francisco Chronicle    

"Secretary of State John Kerry had an awkward exchange Sunday morning when Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace confronted him with an 'extraordinary' hot mic moment apparently discussing ongoing conflict in Gaza. 'While you were on camera and while you were on microphone, you just spoke to one of your top aides in between the interviews about the situation in Israel and the fact that 14 Israelis have either been shot or killed in an operation. We want to play a clip of that conversation because it's an extraordinary moment of diplomacy,' Wallace said." (07/20/14)

http://tinyurl.com/ozv8m6t  

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Dear Mr. Murdoch: Save yourself 80 billion bucks

July 21, 2014
posted by

Reuters
by Jack Shafer  

"The first time Rupert Murdoch tried to acquire Warner, Ronald Reagan was completing his first term as president, the Bell System break-up was nearly finished, and the first Macintosh had just gone on sale. Murdoch’s aim was to construct an entertainment-information conglomerate on top of his existing newspaper properties. When Warner (or Warner Communications, as the parent company was called then) spurned his 1984 offer, he promptly went on to purchase 20th Century Fox as his bedrock and from that base built an international company that includes a American broadcast network, 28 terrestrial U.S. television stations, several satellite broadcasting entities, a profusion of cable television channels, an immensely profitable news network, and more." (07/17/14)

http://tinyurl.com/nbcckk8  

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Moral responsibility & the Israel-Palestinian conflict

July 21, 2014
posted by

The American Prospect
by Paul Waldman  

"As Israel begins a ground invasion of Gaza in which hundreds of civilians will almost certainly be killed and the endless misery of the people who live there will only intensify, we haven't actually seen much debate about the subject here in the U.S. There's plenty of news about it, but unlike most issues, the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is one we don't actually argue about much. There aren't dueling op-eds in every paper the way there are when even a country Americans care far less about, like Ukraine, works its way into our attention." (07/18/14)

http://tinyurl.com/p2qdohv  

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NY: Gun range in business for 73 years forced to close

July 21, 2014
posted by

Fox News    

"A New York gun range has been forced to close its doors after more than 70 years in business, following a bitter dispute with its neighbors over noise and safety issues. The Westchester Police Revolver and Rifle League, in Greenburgh, a nonprofit open-air range dating to the 1940s, was targeted by neighbors who wanted the facility closed, CBS New York reported. The fight between the range, which is nestled into an old rock quarry, and local residents moved from the neighborhood to town hall last week, when both sides had their say on the matter." (07/20/14)

http://tinyurl.com/oae3xf8  

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Is cheap, public Internet possible?

July 21, 2014
posted by

In These Times
by David Sirota  

"The business lobby often demands that government get out of the way of private corporations, so that competition can flourish and high-quality services can be efficiently delivered to as many consumers as possible. Yet, in an epic fight over telecommunications policy, the paradigm is now being flipped on its head, with corporate forces demanding the government squelch competition and halt the expansion of those high-quality services. Whether and how federal officials act may ultimately shape the future of America’s information economy. The front line in this fight is Chattanooga, Tennessee, where officials at the city’s public electric utility, EPB, realized that smart-grid energy infrastructure could also provide consumers super-fast Internet speeds at competitive prices." (07/18/14)

http://tinyurl.com/p6sqr8z  

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Meet the billionaire funders of the anti-diplomacy lobby

July 21, 2014
posted by

The Nation
by Eli Clifton  

"My colleague Ali Gharib and I just published an article in The Nation in which we explore how hawkish, deep-pocketed organizations hold disproportionate influence in shaping the discussion about Iran-policy on Capitol Hill. These groups, in no small part due to their outsize budgets, shape sanctions legislation, dominate witness lists at congressional hearings, and help lead the opposition to the Obama administration’s efforts to reach a nuclear deal with Iran." (07/18/14)

http://tinyurl.com/lwaapau  

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NYC pain doc convicted of manslaughter for illegal prescriptions

July 21, 2014
posted by

Raw Story    

"A New York City pain management doctor was convicted on Friday of manslaughter and other charges for selling narcotics prescriptions to 20 patients, including two who fatally overdosed. A jury in Manhattan Supreme Court found Stan Li, 60, guilty on nearly 200 criminal counts, including manslaughter, grand larceny and drug trafficking, the New York City Special Narcotics Prosecutor, Bridget Brennan, said in a statement. Authorities in November 2011 arrested Li, who worked as a physician in New Jersey and ran a weekend pain clinic in Queens, following a three-and-a-half-year investigation sparked by complaints about his prescribing practices by his patients’ families and the community." (07/20/14)

http://tinyurl.com/p3ycbf7  

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Jose Antonio Vargas: Reporter without a visa at the border

July 18, 2014
posted by

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

"The star of a CNN film, Documented, journalist Jose Antonio Vargas went to Texas to bring attention to the 57,000 unaccompanied minors who have crossed the border illegally since October. On Tuesday, authorities detained Vargas at McAllen-Miller International Airport because his Philippine passport lacks a U.S. visa. Within hours, Immigration and Customs Enforcement released him. Upon release, Vargas issued a statement in which he noted that he had come to the border to shine a light on the children and the fear they must endure in the course of simple acts, like boarding a plane. The problem here is: Vargas is living proof that U.S. immigration enforcement is toothless." (07/17/14)

http://tinyurl.com/lbpmtuw  

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US Senate votes to extend terrorism insurance backstop

July 18, 2014
posted by

Raw Story    

"The U.S. Senate voted overwhelmingly on Thursday to reauthorize a federal terrorism risk insurance program that was created after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Senators voted 93-4 in favor of a bill that gives the federal insurance backstop seven more years. Businesses, owners of sports stadiums and other groups that insure against the risk of terrorist acts have urged lawmakers to renew the program before it expires at the end of the year." (07/17/14)

http://tinyurl.com/la4max7  

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US House votes to “allow” marijuana-related banking

July 18, 2014
posted by

Fox News    

"The House voted Wednesday in support of making it easier for banks to do business with legal pot shops and providers of medical marijuana. The 236-186 vote rejected a move by Rep. John Fleming [R-LA] to block the Treasury Department from implementing guidance it issued in February telling banks how to report on their dealings with marijuana-related businesses without running afoul of federal money-laundering laws. Marijuana dealing is still against federal law, so banks who do business with marijuana dispensaries could be accused of helping them launder their money. Federal money laundering convictions can mean decades in prison. The Treasury guidance was intended to give banks confidence that they can deal with marijuana businesses in states where they're legal. Many banks are still reluctant to do so." (07/17/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mmmq6go  

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