Author Archive

Facebook removes legal cannabis dispensary pages

February 4, 2016
posted by

San Francisco Chronicle Smell the Truth    

"Legal marijuana dispensaries throughout the nation have had their Facebook pages abruptly deleted this week, NJ.com reports. A handful of dispensaries from Maine and Washington have taken to the Facebook community forum to complain about the removal of their fan pages. But New Jersey seems to be the most affected, as three of the states five dispensaries have had their pages removed from the social media site. ... NJ dispensaries Breakwater Wellness and Treatment Center and the Compassionate Sciences Alternative Treatment Center said their business pages were shut down on Tuesday." (02/04/16)

http://blog.sfgate.com/smellthetruth/2016/02/04/facebook-removes-legal-marijuana-dispensary-pages  

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Bernie’s Army is running for Congress

February 4, 2016
posted by

The New Republic The New Republic
by David Dayen  

"Bernie Sanders’s political revolution is predicated in part on mobilizing the public to change the direction of the country. Naysayers carp, and not without reason, that this is impossible, with Republicans having a lock on the gerrymandered Congress for the near future. But to change that state of affairs, you need Sanders Democrats: progressive leaders willing to compete for marginal seats and battle from inside the Capitol Building." [editor's note: It's hard to decide whether this roster is good for oppo research or recruitment; some could go either way - SAT] (02/03/16)

https://newrepublic.com/article/129047/bernies-army-running-congress  

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Iowa reminds: Have faith in the voters

February 4, 2016
posted by

Debra J. Saunders Town Hall
by Debra J Saunders  

"Iowa was like a rainstorm that cleared away some of the nasty pollution clogging the air. Those last 10 polls that predicted Donald Trump would finish in first place? Wrong. The conventional wisdom about a high turnout sealing the deal for Trump proved -- repeat -- wrong. I am not a fan of the winner, Ted Cruz, but I appreciate how he used Trump's decision to skip the last debate to puncture the billionaire's balloon. If there's one thing I've learned in my years of column writing, it's to have faith in voters. Sometimes they see something in a candidate I don't see. Sometimes there is a gulf between what they tell pollsters and what they do in the voting booth. The closer the election, the more sober the assessment." (02/04/16)

http://townhall.com/columnists/debrajsaunders/2016/02/04/iowa-reminds-have-faith-in-the-voters-n2114400  

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How Sanders has transformed the Democratic race

February 4, 2016
posted by

The Nation The Nation
by staff  

"It is little less than astonishing that Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders (a politician who, not long ago, was widely branded as almost irrelevant, a marginal gadfly from the left) secured a virtual tie with establishment favorite Hillary Clinton in the Iowa Democratic primary. There is no longer any question that
 the Sanders movement—led not so much by the candidate but by the thousands of young people who first turned out for his rallies and are now turning out to vote—is transforming the Democratic race. Indeed, Clinton eked out a razor-thin victory in Iowa because she veered left and finished her campaign with calls for wage hikes to address income inequality and new taxes on the rich -- what The Des Moines Register referred to as 'populist fire.' But the result gave Sanders a chance to declare: 'I think the people of Iowa have sent a very profound message to the political establishment, to the economic establishment and, by the way, to the media establishment.'" (02/04/16)

http://www.thenation.com/article/populist-fire-in-iowa  

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An emerging new narrative for education

February 4, 2016
posted by

Jeff Bryant Our Future
by Jeff Bryant  

"The big news about education policy in the presidential race is that there is no news. As Laura Moser writes for Slate, 'None of the candidates are talking about education. Like, at all.' At Salon, parent and public school activist Bertis Downs argues that even the few times Democratic Party candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have mentioned education, their 'words don’t seem to resonate with many of the largely untapped public education parents and teachers who are in search of a candidate.' (I’d submit the one candidate who has made education prominent in his campaign is Jeb Bush. But his weak showing in the Iowa caucus and bottom-feeder status in polls might be enough evidence to convince other candidates to see Bush as less of a role model and more of a warning sign.)" (02/04/16)

https://ourfuture.org/20160204/an-emerging-new-narrative-for-education  

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UN panel: Julian Assange being “arbitrarily held”

February 4, 2016
posted by

BBC News BBC News [UK state media]    

"A UN panel will conclude Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is being 'arbitrarily detained' in the UK, the Swedish foreign ministry has said. Mr Assange, 44, claimed asylum in London's Ecuadorean embassy in 2012. He wants to avoid extradition to Sweden over a rape claim, which he denies. The Met Police says Mr Assange will be arrested if he leaves the embassy. Swedish prosecutors said the UN panel's decision would have 'no formal impact' on its ongoing investigation. Mr Assange earlier said his passport should be returned and his arrest warrant dropped if the UN panel, due to deliver its findings on Friday, ruled in his favour." (02/04/16)

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-35490910  

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UT: State to consider “porn epidemic” as “public health” crisis

February 4, 2016
posted by

Christian Science Monitor Christian Science Monitor    

"Utah lawmakers are considering making it the first state to declare pornography a public health crisis, similar to cigarettes. State Sen. Todd Weiler (R) recently introduced a legislative resolution that would recognize a range of 'societal harms' from the pornography 'epidemic.' ... 'I'm hoping this will start educating people that pornography is actually addictive, that it's harmful to families and relationships,' says Senator Weiler in a phone interview. Weiler acknowledges First Amendment rights to make and view pornography. Although the resolution does not put forward any particular policy solution, he says he ultimately 'would like to see the US work toward an Internet that is porn free unless you opt into it.'" (02/04/16)

http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Society/2016/0204/Is-porn-a-public-health-crisis-Utah-may-be-first-state-to-weigh-in  

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Rand Paul would have enlarged GOP tent

February 4, 2016
posted by

David Boaz USA Today
by David Boaz  

"Sen. Rand Paul’s presidential campaign has ended, like most presidential campaigns, short of the White House. The Republican debate will be poorer without him. Polls show substantial support for libertarian ideas in the Republican Party. Gallup found that libertarian strength in the GOP had risen from 15% in 2002 to 34% in 2012. In surveys in 2012 and 2013, David Kirby, then at FreedomWorks, found libertarians had grown from 35% to 41% of the party. Paul obviously didn’t capture that vote." (02/03/16)

http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2016/02/03/rand-paul-ends-presidential-campaign-2016-libertarians-gop-column/79755372  

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Bloomberg’s White House hurdle is Wall Street

February 4, 2016
posted by

Reuters Reuters
by Rob Cox  

"Hillary Clinton’s schedule, the rhetoric from Bernie Sanders and the entanglements of Ted Cruz will be especially instructive for one person: Michael Bloomberg. Three times this week, Clinton repudiated her ties to the financial-industrial complex. She put off a visit to mega-fund manager BlackRock and a fundraiser hosted by a Bain Capital affiliate in Boston. The former U.S. secretary of state, senator from New York and first lady also backed away awkwardly from town-hall questions about paid speeches she made to Goldman Sachs. Clinton is struggling to fend off accusations by her chief rival for the Democratic nomination for the presidency, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, that she is a slave to the billionaires and Wall Street titans who brought the world to the brink of apocalypse only to emerge with more of its spoils." (02/04/16)

http://blogs.reuters.com/breakingviews/2016/02/04/cox-bloombergs-white-house-hurdle-is-wall-street  

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Report: Arctic sea ice sets January record low

February 4, 2016
posted by

USA Today USA Today    

"The amount of Arctic sea ice set a record low for the month of January, the National Snow and Ice Data Center announced Thursday. January 2016 was a remarkably warm month there, the data center said. Air temperatures were 13 degrees above average across most of the Arctic Ocean. Just before New Year's, a slug of mild air pushed temperatures above freezing to within 200 miles of the North Pole, according to Weather Underground meteorologist Bob Henson. This was due in part to a strong negative phase of the Arctic Oscillation for the first three weeks of the month, according to the data center. (The Arctic Oscillation refers to variations in pressure patterns over the higher latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere.)" (02/04/16)

http://www.usatoday.com/story/weather/2016/02/04/arctic-sea-ice-january-record-low/79844578  

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Ex-CEO Shkreli smirks, pleads Fifth at Congressional hearing

February 4, 2016
posted by

Fox News Fox News    

"The former pharmaceutical executive who generated national outrage after he raised the price of a once-cheap life-saving pill to $750 was unapologetic and showed his contempt for lawmakers Thursday -- invoking his Fifth Amendment rights and rolling his eyes, as one congressman asked if he was 'even paying attention.' After his brief appearance on Capitol Hill, Martin Shkreli even took to Twitter to call lawmakers 'imbeciles.' Known for speaking his mind, the usually talkative 32-year-old declined to answer questions at the House Oversight Committee hearing, invoking his Fifth Amendment right at least a half dozen times. At one point, he chuckled, rolled his eyes and turned his head, prompting Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., to demand, 'Are you even paying attention?'" [editor's note: Anyone else as anxious as I am to see this little creep held accountable for extortion, fraud and a few other things (even if his assessment of most Congressthugs is spot on)? - SAT] (02/04/16)

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2016/02/04/ex-ceo-shkreli-smirks-pleads-fifth-at-hearing-on-drug-price-hikes.html  

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CA: Doctors’ group formally supports cannabis legalization

February 4, 2016
posted by

San Francisco Chronicle Smell the Truth    

"An influential lobbying group representing more than 40,000 practicing California physicians is officially supporting a leading initiative to legalize marijuana. The California Medical Association (CMA) on Monday announced its endorsement of the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, the state’s most financially and politically supported initiative to legalize marijuana, the Sacramento Bee reports." (02/03/16)

http://blog.sfgate.com/smellthetruth/2016/02/03/california-doctors-group-formally-supports-marijuana-legalization  

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Resist the value-added tax

February 4, 2016
posted by

USA Today USA Today
by Diana Furchtgott-Roth  

"Republican Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Rand Paul of Kentucky propose a VAT as a way to pay for cuts in income taxes. This is well-intentioned, and in theory would be a more efficient tax that could increase economic growth. In practice, Congress would never get rid of the income tax, but it would layer the VAT on top of existing levies. Raising a VAT rate by one percentage point can bring in about $150 billion in revenue per year. That’s why once VATs are put in place, they rise over time. Congress, which comes down to the wire every year with its budget, would not be able to resist raising the tax by a small fraction. Then it would likely spend the revenue, rather than reducing the deficit. That’s why countries with VATs have larger public sectors." (02/03/16)

http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2016/02/03/value-added-tax-vat-economics-congress-editorials-debates/79778902  

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TPP signing brings out opposition

February 4, 2016
posted by

Dave Johnson Our Future Blog
by Dave Johnson  

"Representatives of the 12 Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) countries will officially sign the free trade agreement in Auckland, New Zealand on Thursday (which on this side of the date line means the signing occurs Wednesday). But the prospects for U.S. passage of the agreement continue to decline. ... A Tufts University Global Development and Environment Institute study, 'Trading Down: Unemployment, Inequality and Other Risks of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement' by Jeronim Capaldo and Alex Izurieta, with Jomo Kwame Sundaram, concluded that TPP would cause job loss and increase inequality in every TPP country, especially the United States." [editor's note: Nice to see my alma mater standing up to this abomination - SAT] (02/03/16)

https://ourfuture.org/20160203/tpp-signing-brings-out-opposition  

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IRS reportedly experiencing “computer failure”

February 4, 2016
posted by

Reuters Reuters    

"The U.S. Internal Revenue Service said on Wednesday it is experiencing computer failure across several systems and temporarily cannot accept many taxpayer returns. 'Several of our systems are not currently operating, including our modernized e-file system and a number of other related systems,' the IRS said in a statement. 'A number of taxpayer and tax practitioner tools are unavailable,' it said. 'IRS.gov remains available, although a number of the services on the site are not, including Where's My Refund.' The agency said it is in the process of making repairs and anticipates some of the systems will remain unavailable until Thursday." (02/03/16)

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-irs-computers-idUSKCN0VC2X2  

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Is it time for US to dump Saudi Arabia?

February 4, 2016
posted by

Reuters Reuters
by Josh Cohen  

"The moral case for the United States to question its close relationship with Saudi Arabia is clear. Saudi Arabia is governed by the House of Saud, an authoritarian monarchy that does not tolerate dissent, and the country consistently ranks among the 'worst of the worst' countries in democracy watchdog Freedom House’s annual survey of political and civil rights. Saudi Arabia follows the ultra-conservative Wahhabi strain of Sunni Islam, and the public practice of any religion other than Islam is prohibited. Its legal system is governed by Sharia law, and a 2015 study from Middle East Eye noted that Saudi Arabia and Islamic State prescribed near-identical punishments, such as amputation and stoning for similar crimes. The government is also renowned for carrying out public executions after trials that Amnesty International condemns as 'grossly unfair;' Amnesty describes the Saudi 'justice system' as 'riddled with holes.'" (02/03/16)

http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2016/02/03/is-it-time-for-the-united-states-to-dump-saudi-arabia  

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Lawyer to Shkreli: “Zip it!”

February 4, 2016
posted by

USA Today USA Today    

"Beleaguered pharmaceutical executive turned media sensation Martin Shkreli has been instructed by his new high-powered lawyer, Ben Brafman, to stop talking. 'He is not making any more statements. Zero,' Brafman said in an email to USA TODAY about his new client, who has been called the most hated man in America, and who just this week mouthed off to rapper Ghostface Killah and Congress. The crackdown comes as Shkreli heads to Washington for a Congressional committee hearing Thursday about skyrocketing drug prices at Turing Pharmaceuticals, a company the 32-year-old New Yorker ran before he was arrested in December on fraud charges." (02/03/16)

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2016/02/03/hated-ceo-martin-shkreli-told-zip/79757802  

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Is “female Viagra” feminist?

February 4, 2016
posted by

In These Times In These Times
by Molly M Ginty  

"It’s been called the first 'Viagra for women' and hailed as a health breakthrough. But Addyi (generic name flibanserin) is sparking ire just as it claims to spark desire. Is this drug a boon for feminism because it finally gives women what men have enjoyed since 1998: prescription medication that can effectively boost sagging libidos? Or are the drug’s pluses (an average increase of 0.5 to 1 'sexually satisfying events per month') not really worth its potential side effects of nausea, dizziness and fainting? Since the FDA approved Addyi in August 2015, feminist debate on these questions has raged. Heightening the controversy is the fact that feminist organizations, with funding from the drug’s maker, Sprout Pharmaceuticals, played an active role in getting the drug approved." (02/03/16)

http://inthesetimes.com/article/18769/is-female-viagra-feminist  

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CA: San Francisco weighs giving condoms to middle schoolers

February 4, 2016
posted by

Fox News Fox News    

"San Francisco's public schools leaders are considering distributing condoms at middle schools. The San Francisco Examiner reports Monday that the policy change was introduced as part of an overall effort by the San Francisco Unified School District to further prevent sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy among minors. A board committee is scheduled to discuss the proposal Monday. The board first adopted a policy to distribute condoms at high schools in 1991, and in 1996 the board amended the district's condom distribution program to allow parents to opt out or exclude their child from the program, the newspaper reported." (02/02/16)

http://www.foxnews.com/health/2016/02/02/san-francisco-weighs-giving-condoms-to-middle-schoolers.html  

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GOP’s Donald Trump nightmare far from over

February 4, 2016
posted by

The New Republic The New Republic
by Brian Beutler  

"Ted Cruz’s poll-defying victory in the Iowa caucuses Monday night spared the Republican Party the ultimate humiliation of a Donald Trump landslide—not in Iowa, per se, but in the presidential primary writ large. Until this week, nonplussed Republicans were contemplating with dread an increasingly likely scenario in which Trump won Iowa convincingly, reinforced his dominant leads in New Hampshire and South Carolina, and went on to essentially run the table to the nomination. Things won’t be quite that straightforward for Trump after all. The early conventional wisdom out of Iowa is that Trump hurt himself by failing to put together a traditional campaign apparatus, that Cruz helped himself by putting together a great one, and that third-place Marco Rubio benefitted from a late burst of pragmatism within the Republican electorate. The results at the very least slow Trump’s juggernaut, and possibly reorient the primary into a real three-way race." (02/02/16)

https://newrepublic.com/article/128991/gops-donald-trump-nightmare-far  

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Report: Luxembourg to support asteroid mining

February 4, 2016
posted by

BBC News BBC News [UK state media]    

"The Luxembourg government has signaled its intention to get behind the mining of asteroids in space. It is going to support R&D in technologies that would make it possible and may even invest directly in some companies. The Grand Duchy will also put in place a legal framework to give operators who are based in the country the confidence to go about their business. Former European Space Agency boss Jean-Jacques Dordain is to be an adviser." (02/03/16)

http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-35482427  

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Israel’s new McCarthyism

February 4, 2016
posted by

The American Prospect The American Prospect
by Peter Dreier  

"As international discontent with Israel’s occupation policy continues to rise, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government and Israel’s ultra-right-wing movement have escalated their attacks on the country’s progressive community, which opposes the 49-year-old Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the ever-expanding government-subsidized settlements. This week, the Knesset is expected to take up a bill backed by Netanyahu and his allies that will require Israeli nongovernmental organizations that expose and challenge the government’s human rights abuses against Palestinians to register, in effect, as foreign agents. Some Israeli activists call the legislation their country’s version of McCarthyism." (02/02/16)

http://prospect.org/article/israels-new-mccarthyism  

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Report: Americans losing jobs to a visa program

February 3, 2016
posted by

Christian Science Monitor Christian Science Monitor    

"Leo Perrero thought he was getting a promotion, or a raise. Or at least an enthusiastic high-five. He had worked in IT at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla., in some capacity for more than a decade. ... Perrero was fresh off a glowing performance review, earning an evaluation he describes as 'the highest you can get.' So when he was called into a last-minute staff meeting in 2014, he thought it would be a good one. It wasn't. Instead, he and his colleagues were told they had three months to find new jobs. An outside contracting firm would be taking over the department. And, in order to receive their severance packages, Perrero and his co-workers would have to train their replacements: guest workers from India, making about half their salaries." [editor's note: In other words, they lost their jobs to competitors who were willing to sell for less, not to a "visa program." Do they complain when they find something they want on sale at a store for less than another store? There shouldn't have been a visa requirement in the first place -- labor markets should be free markets - TLK] (02/03/16)

http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/2016/0203/Americans-are-losing-jobs-to-a-visa-program.-Can-it-be-fixed  

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US generals: Women should have to register for draft

February 3, 2016
posted by

Fox News Fox News    

"The top Army and Marine Corps generals say they believe all women should have to register for the draft now that combat jobs are open to them. The military service leaders say they will not lower standards to bring women into the more grueling jobs. They told the Senate Armed Services Committee that it will take up to three years before the combat posts are fully integrated. Army Gen. Mark Milley and Marine Gen. Robert Neller said women should be included in the requirement to register for the selective service at age 18. But Navy Secretary Ray Mabus and Army Acting Secretary Patrick Murphy would only say that the issue should be discussed. Political leaders have so far been reluctant to endorse the draft requirement." [editor's note: If this doesn't kill the draft and the registration process nothing will - SAT] (02/02/16)

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2016/02/02/generals-say-women-should-have-to-register-for-draft.html  

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House fails to override veto of Obamacare repeal

February 3, 2016
posted by

USA Today USA Today    

"The House on Tuesday failed to override President Obama's veto of a bill that would have repealed key provisions of Obamacare and stripped federal funding from Planned Parenthood. The 241-186 vote to override the veto fell short of the two-thirds needed, ensuring that the Affordable Care Act will remain in place at least through the final year of Obama's term. Republican leaders, who have been criticized by Democrats for failing to come up with an alternative to Obamacare, said they plan to craft a replacement plan this year as a kind of preview for what they hope to do in the next Congress." [editor's note: Dog bites man; details at 11 - SAT] (02/02/16)

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2016/02/02/house-fails-override-presidents-veto-obamacare-repeal/79697108  

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