Author Archive

Jerry Brown: Caucus of one

October 20, 2014
posted by

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

"I know Republicans who voted for Jerry Brown in 2010. They thought he’d be like Nixon going to China and stand up to public-employee unions by fixing a dysfunctional pension system. They thought he’d live up to his pose as elder sage, ready to do what’s best for the state. After he won a return engagement as governor, Brown liked to bloviate about the need for elected officials to demonstrate 'loyalty to California.' I don’t think he really understands what loyalty is." (10/20/14)

http://tinyurl.com/q6qa3or  

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LA: Rich white suburbs wants to split from Baton Rouge

October 20, 2014
posted by

BBC News [UK state media]    

"More than 18,000 residents in the suburbs south of Baton Rouge, the state capital of Louisiana, have signed a petition calling for the creation of a new city called St George. The community is currently part of East Baton Rouge Parish, which also includes the city of Baton Rouge itself. The campaigners claim they simply want to improve the quality of local schools and to ensure that taxpayers (who currently contribute roughly two thirds of funds to the parish) have more control over the money they contribute to fund services." (10/20/14)

http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-29666348  

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Black-brown alliance turning Kansas blue

October 20, 2014
posted by

In These Times
by Sam Ross-Brown  

"Heading into the November elections, you could be forgiven for assuming the GOP hold on Kansas isn’t going to loosen. The home base of the Koch brothers, the state has become a poster child of Tea Party Republicanism, toeing the far-right line on voter ID laws, abortion restrictions and a host of other issues. In 2012, the National Journal rated the congressional delegation from Kansas as the most conservative in the country -- and that was before a Koch-funded campaign succeeded in ousting moderate Republicans in that year’s primaries. ... But in the lead-up to November, Kansas’s red-state armor began to show some cracks." (10/20/14)

http://tinyurl.com/kfmnzpv  

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“Breaking Bad” action figure: Good idea for Toys ‘R’ Us?

October 20, 2014
posted by

Christian Science Monitor    

"What happens when a toy store dedicated to helping 'kids and babies develop, learn, and be safe' starts selling hazmat-suited action figures who cook crystal meth? A pop culture phenomenon collides with concerns that children are being exposed to violent and inappropriate content too early. Earlier this month, one Florida mother started an online petition to get Toys 'R' Us to remove 'Breaking Bad' action figures from its shelves. Now, her campaign is gathering media attention, with appearances on local TV as well as NBC's 'Today' show." (10/20/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mfaa6tu  

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Work-sharing: Socialist alternative to layoffs?

October 20, 2014
posted by

The Nation The Nation
by Michelle Chen  

"Work-sharing is a simple concept: When employers try to cut costs, shrinking the payroll is a quick way to cut back not only on wages but on fringe benefits and related taxes. Employers often make the cruel calculation to replace current workers with cheaper ones, or to reduce their hours. Work-sharing tries to reconfigure the distribution of work and employment by subsidizing employment costs in exchange for reduced work time. So people work less, but get an income supplement to help offset the impact." [editor's note: She insists on labeling it "socialist;" I'd call it common sense - SAT] (10/20/14)

http://tinyurl.com/llgxzjr  

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Lessons from Gandhi’s salt march

October 20, 2014
posted by

In These Times
by Mark Engler & Paul Engler  

"History remembers Mohandas Gandhi’s Salt March as one of the great episodes of resistance in the past century and as a campaign which struck a decisive blow against British imperialism. In the early morning of March 12, 1930, Gandhi and a trained cadre of 78 followers from his ashram began a march of more than 200 miles to the sea. Three and a half weeks later, on April 5, surrounded by a crowd of thousands, Gandhi waded into the edge of the ocean, approached an area on the mud flats where evaporating water left a thick layer of sediment, and scooped up a handful of salt." (10/17/14)

http://inthesetimes.com/article/17236/how_did_gandhi_win  

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Teddy Roosevelt v. Citizens United

October 20, 2014
posted by

Reuters
by Jim Gaines  

"How is it possible that, given overwhelming public concern about the direction of the country, we could be facing historically low turnout in the midterm elections on Nov. 4? The question isn’t new. As trust in government has swung up and down in the past half century, turnout for midterm races, as in presidential years, has varied relatively little, each staying within a 10-point range. Studies of nonvoters have found many reasons, but one of the big ones is that people know a single vote rarely if ever determines the outcome of an election. By this reasoning, of course, why would anyone ever vote?" (10/16/14)

http://tinyurl.com/kfrmlxh  

3 Comments »

First Fresno, next Sacramento

October 20, 2014
posted by

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

"Many insiders believe that Secretary of State candidate Pete Peterson and Controller hopeful Ashley Swearengin are the two Republicans most likely to win a statewide office -- and it’s because both have tried to reach across the aisle. Swearengin, the Fresno Mayor, is banking on California voters looking for an alternative to one-party rule in Sacramento. Her campaign manager Tim Clark wrote this piece about the race in Fox and Hounds Daily. He writes that the old formula for GOP victory is changing." (10/18/14)

http://tinyurl.com/jwezjkw  

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CA: “Water cops” going high-tech to catch sprinkler abuse

October 20, 2014
posted by

Raw Story    

"It was still dark on Kokomo Drive in Sacramento’s Natomas district as Paul Brown edged his city-issued Honda Civic past a row of beige stucco houses with tiny front lawns, looking for water wasters. He heard the scofflaws before he saw their lush green lawns amid the otherwise parched turf. The buzz of a sprinkler system gave them away on a day that the city, desperate to save water amid California’s ongoing drought, had forbidden watering. 'If I can get a good picture -- if there’s a lot of water -- I’ll cite them,' he said. California is in the third year of a devastating drought that has led farmers to fallow nearly half a million acres of cropland, threatened fish hatcheries and shrunk drinking water supplies for some communities." (10/19/14)

http://tinyurl.com/n89doev  

2 Comments »

CO: Halloweed? Police warn of pot-spiked candy

October 19, 2014
posted by

Fox News    

"Colorado parents are being told to be on the lookout this Halloween for marijuana-laced candy, NBC News reported. The Facebook page of the Denver Police Department is warning that mass-produced candy can by sprayed with hash oil, and once the spray dries, there is no way to tell that the candy has been infused. The station reported that the Denver PD Facebook page features Patrick Johnson, owner of marijuana shop Urban Dispensary. In the film, Johnson urges parents to inspect any candy their children bring home after trick-or-treating on Halloween to make sure it hasn’t been tampered with." [editor's note: Someone apparently needs to remember Leary's First Law: "Thou shalt not dose another without his/her awareness and consent!" - SAT] (10/19/14)

http://tinyurl.com/m3usc4n  

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Our empathetic rich: The rarest of birds

October 19, 2014
posted by

Our Future
by Sam Pizzigati  

"Billionaire CEO Nicholas Woodman, news reports trumpeted earlier this month, has set aside $450 million worth of his GoPro software stock to set up a brand-new charitable foundation. 'We wake up every morning grateful for the opportunities life has given us,' Woodman and his wife Jill noted in a joint statement. 'We hope to return the favor as best we can.' Stories about charitable billionaires have long been a media staple. The defenders of our economic order love them -- and regularly trot them out to justify America’s ever more top-heavy concentration of income and wealth." (10/17/14)

http://tinyurl.com/ohqkgzy  

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Germany: Lufthansa cancels flights due to pilots’ strike

October 19, 2014
posted by

Reuters    

"German airline Lufthansa (LHAG.DE) canceled 1,450 flights after a pilots union called for a strike on Monday and Tuesday, adding to travelers' misery after millions were left stranded by a weekend-long train drivers' stoppage. Lufthansa said late on Sunday more than 200,000 passengers and two thirds of its scheduled flights -- short and mid-length services, mostly within Europe -- would be affected by the strike. Both the pilots' and train drivers' strikes hit at the start of a week-long, half-term holidays in nearly half of Germany's 16 federal states." (10/19/14)

http://tinyurl.com/ncna4jv  

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Russia denies submarine incident off Sweden

October 19, 2014
posted by

BBC News [UK state media]    

"The Russian defence ministry has denied reports that one of its submarines got into trouble in the waters off Sweden. The Swedish military has been searching the sea since Friday, following what the military said was foreign underwater activity. It has denied looking for a submarine, and said that it was conducting an intelligence operation. However, a local newspaper said Sweden had intercepted a distress signal in Russian." [editor's note: Repeat after me: "Emerghency, Emerghency, efrybody to get from street!" - SAT] (10/19/14)

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-29680960  

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The return of the “different kind of Republican”

October 19, 2014
posted by

Paul Waldman The American Prospect
by Paul Waldman  

"There's always a market, particularly in the media, for the politician who can surprise by running counter to the stereotypes of his or her party. As the two parties become more ideologically unified, that figure becomes even more compelling. The trick is to do it without making your party's loyal supporters angry at you. Which brings us to Rand Paul, who has a plan to become 2016's 'Different kind of Republican,' the label that was placed on George W. Bush back in 2000." (10/17/14)

http://tinyurl.com/ksn5thw  

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Iraq: Could tribes provide the glue?

October 19, 2014
posted by

Christian Science Monitor    

"In recent weeks, the self-styled Islamic State has inched toward Baghdad, putting Iraq’s army and government under increasing pressure and challenging their ability to preserve any semblance of a cohesive Iraqi state. Backed by Western airpower, the Shiite-dominated security forces and the Kurdish peshmerga are fighting back against the Sunni jihadists. But when it comes to reversing the dramatic IS victories in Sunni areas, some leaders of Iraq’s influential tribes say they could prove a vital counterforce, at least until a proposed Iraqi national guard becomes a reality." (10/19/14)

http://tinyurl.com/n536hpb  

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Review: PonoPlayer could hit right note for audiophiles

October 19, 2014
posted by

San Francisco Chronicle    

"One of the most contentious issues ... has to do with streaming music. While the audio quality of services such as Spotify, Google Play Music and Beats Music is obviously good enough for the masses, a significant number of listeners (judging from comments I received) can hear the difference between music streamed in MP3 format and the same music played on a CD or vinyl record. Streaming requires music files to be compressed, which results in a loss of sound quality. However, compression isn't necessary to download music, and we're beginning to see online services for downloading high-resolution music (lossless playback at up to 192 kHz/24-bit), as well as mobile devices that can play it." (10/18/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mldbhnf  

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One thing Hillary understands about politics in 2014

October 19, 2014
posted by

The Nation The Nation
by John Nichols  

"Hillary Clinton understands something important -- make that vital -- about the politics of 2014. She recognizes that the issue that matters in 2014 is the economy (number one in the latest Gallup Poll) and that voters want 'good jobs' that pay a family-supporting wage (number two in the latest Gallup survey). And Clinton knows that the clearest policy connection between where the economy is today and where it needs to be is made via support for a substantial hike in the minimum wage." (10/17/14)

http://tinyurl.com/nzwxn9h  

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Turkey loses out on UN Security Council seat

October 17, 2014
posted by

BBC News [UK state media]    

"Turkey failed to win a seat on the United Nations (UN) Security Council after member states voted on Thursday. The five non-permanent seats were given to Venezuela, Angola, Malaysia, New Zealand and Spain, the latter two beating Turkey to represent the West. Turkey has been under international pressure to help combat Islamic State militants waging war along its border. The new members of the Security Council will begin their two-year appointment on 1 January 2015." (10/16/14)

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-29654003  

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Study: Big Government makes people happy

October 16, 2014
posted by

Our Future
by Richard Eskow  

"Forget about feeling 'like a room without a roof,' or whatever that 'Happy' song says. If you want to know 'what happiness is to you,' try living in a social democracy. A recent study confirms something leftists have suspected for a long time: People are happier in countries with larger governments, a more generous 'welfare state' and more government intervention in the economy. Policies that depend on the so-called 'free market,' on the other hand, decrease personal satisfaction. This is not a matter of opinion, according to the data, but of fact. We interviewed political scientist Patrick Flavin of Baylor University, lead author of the study." [editor's note: The claim is that the study "had no political agenda"; yeah, right ... - SAT] (10/15/14)

http://tinyurl.com/l8rr9m8  

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WA: Woman fined $500 for feeding bears

October 16, 2014
posted by

San Francisco Chronicle    

"A woman on trial for feeding bears in her neighborhood in Washington state has agreed to stop and pay a fine to settle the case. The Daily News reports Doris Berryhill Parks was the first person charged under a 2012 state law that makes it a misdemeanor to feed wild animals. Under the agreement, Berryhill Parks pays a $500 fine and promises not to leave food outside her Ilwaco home. That means no pet food or bird feeders and keeping garbage cans secure." (10/16/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mgsoc7d  

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Google tests waters for potential ultra-fast wireless service

October 16, 2014
posted by

Reuters    

"Google Inc is preparing to test new technology that may provide the foundation for a wireless version of its high-speed 'Fiber' Internet service, according to telecommunication experts who scrutinized the company's regulatory filings. In a public but little-noticed application with the U.S. Federal Communications Commission on Monday, Google asked the agency for permission to conduct tests in California across different wireless spectrums, including a rarely-used millimeter-wave frequency capable of transmitting large amounts of data." (10/16/14)

http://tinyurl.com/kr5bxo3  

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Hillary Clinton’s soft sales job at Salesforce.com

October 16, 2014
posted by

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

"How does Hillary Rodham Clinton, the queen of old-school Democratic partisan politics and bane of the 'vast right-wing conspiracy,' woo movers in the be-nice and collaborate-on-a-couch tech economy? During her speech at Salesforce.com’s San Francisco Dreamforce mega-convention Tuesday, the former U.S. secretary of state showed a softer side to the beanbag workforce. To those of us who have been following politics for years, La Hil is the consummate pol. At Moscone Center, she shed her old brand to become, as she was billed, a 'visionary.'" (10/16/14)

http://tinyurl.com/lwmosk7  

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VA: Richmond puts brewery on public tab

October 16, 2014
posted by

Fox News    

"Thirsty for jobs and good times, the city of Richmond is vowing to build a brewery on the James River. The estimated $36 million tab includes $5 million from Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s 'Opportunity Fund.' If approved by the City Council, most of the money will be raised with a general revenue bond, which puts the city’s taxpayers on the hook if the Stone Brewing Co. venture goes bust." (10/16/14)

http://tinyurl.com/lr5rf3o  

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When the workday never really ends

October 16, 2014
posted by

The Nation The Nation
by Michelle Chen  

"Sometimes it feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day. And for working people who have to juggle family and work, locked into a rough schedule and the stress of poverty, there really aren’t enough. The 'new economy' of twenty-four-hour online shopping, global markets and just-in-time inventory churning, have created a demand for 'flexible' labor: rapid-fire changes in schedules, shift-swapping, on-call staff. In a new book, Unequal Time, sociologists Dan Clawson and Naomi Gerstel survey how time is distributed across this new economic landscape, and finds that flexibility (and its evil twin, unpredictability) is creating a new social order that brings chaos to the workplace and the home." [editor's note: Time to consider the world of "self employment" (where your "boss" demands this of you constantly)? - SAT] (10/15/14)

http://tinyurl.com/kuw8bf6  

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Rand Paul’s 2020 Vision

October 16, 2014
posted by

The American Prospect The American Prospect
by Adele M. Stan  

"No one in the political establishment seems to know quite what to make of Rand Paul, the United States senator from Kentucky and son of Ron, the three-time quixotic presidential candidate with a libertarian bent. In 2012, Ron Paul, the former congressman from Texas, said good-bye to all that, retiring his House seat and forswearing another presidential run, having prepared the ground for his progeny, who hopes to inherit the throngs of young followers nurtured by his father. By turns quirky and cunning, rumpled and slick, Rand Paul, at this writing, is running neck and neck in the polls with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, the undeclared establishment candidates for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination." [editor's note: The teaser on the main page tries to label RP as "the GOP's next Goldwater;" yeesh! - SAT] (10/16/14)

http://tinyurl.com/n432jmh  

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