Author Archive

Hack the National Security Agency, not Sony

December 17, 2014
posted by

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

"The intelligence was obtained illegally. The hackers presented a threat to workers and their families. Foreign operatives likely were behind the document theft. Any news organizations that report this ill-gotten information are, if not un-American, surely 'morally treasonous and spectacularly dishonorable.' Are those the words of intelligence talking heads railing against National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden? No, they are the thoughts of screenwriter and 'Newsroom' creator Aaron Sorkin, who argued in the New York Times on Monday that news organizations should not print stories about purloined internal Sony corporate documents." (12/16/14)

http://tinyurl.com/om5rytq  

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Mars: Curiosity rover detects spikes of methane

December 17, 2014
posted by

San Francisco Chronicle San Francisco Chronicle    

"NASA's Mars rover, Curiosity, has detected spikes of methane in the planet's atmosphere. That suggests something is producing or venting the scientifically tantalizing gas, but no one knows what. Most of Earth's atmospheric methane comes from animal and plant life, and the environment itself. So the Martian methane raises the question of past or present microbial life. Or the gas elevations could come from geological sources, comet impacts or something else entirely." (12/16/14)

http://tinyurl.com/kdgrlen  

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Angelina Jolie: US must lead on torture policy

December 17, 2014
posted by

BBC News BBC News [UK state media]    

"Angelina Jolie has said the US must 'lead the way' against torture in its policies. 'Any country in a leading democracy must set an example,' she said. It comes after a report last week revealed the 'brutal' treatment of terror suspects by the CIA in its post-9/11 interrogation program. Jolie's latest film, Unbroken, tells of Olympic athlete Louis Zamperini who was held as a Japanese prisoner of war during World War Two." (12/15/14)

http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-30477164  

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DC on collision course with Congress over marijuana

December 17, 2014
posted by

Raw Story Raw Story    

"Proponents for legal marijuana in the District of Columbia say they will fight on even as Congress on Monday sent a bill to the president’s desk that could neuter the city’s decision to legalize marijuana. Although nearly 70% of Washington DC voters cast ballots in favor of legalizing marijuana in November, congressional Republicans included a provision in a mammoth and divisive spending bill last week that would seriously impede the city’s ability to do so. When President Obama signs the bill into law, the provision will forbid the city from spending taxpayer dollars to enact the initiative." (12/16/14)

http://tinyurl.com/q82g5tg  

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The bipartisan Cromnibus saga: A final assessment

December 17, 2014
posted by

Our Future
by Robert Borosage  

"The government didn’t shut down. Congress passed the massive (1,603-page) spending bill, chock full of special interest giveaways, to keep the doors open. The Washington Post editorial page, the voice of the conservative establishment, acknowledges all the horrors -- but celebrates the results. ... The Post scorns the 'show horses' on the right (Ted Cruz) and left (Elizabeth Warren, Nancy Pelosi) for not knowing the difference between 'posturing and policy-making,' while hailing the 'work horses' (Sen. Barbara Mikulski and Rep. Steny Hoyer, both Maryland Democrats)." [editor's note: Anyone else recall when the last thing you'd have called the Post was "the voice of the conservative establishment"? - SAT] (12/16/14)

http://tinyurl.com/lng2ega  

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AZ: County to vote on proposed hiring ban on smokers

December 17, 2014
posted by

Fox News Fox News    

"An Arizona county will decide as early as Tuesday whether to stop hiring smokers -- a controversial move that would freeze thousands of residents out of a county job but potentially save the local government money. The Pima County proposal could mark the start of local governments testing new limits on who they hire in a bid to save money. According to projections, the no-smokers proposal would save more than $1 million annually in health care costs. But it has sharply divided residents across the state. " (12/16/14)

http://tinyurl.com/q932val  

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Top five political predictions for 2015

December 17, 2014
posted by

Reuters Reuters
by Bill Schneider  

"1. The Obama boom will finally arrive. Only it will be more like a boomlet. Americans have been waiting for the boom since they elected President Barack Obama in the teeth of the 2008 financial meltdown. ... It’s finally starting. 2. Populism will thrive, left and right, in the United States and in Europe. We saw it in Thursday night’s House budget vote that averted a government shutdown. Most Democrats defied Obama and voted 'no.' Their complaint? Populism.... Nearly a third of House Republicans also defied their party leaders and voted 'no.' Their complaint? Populism." (12/16/14)

http://tinyurl.com/ng5elym  

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A bargain GOP & Dems could make on Obamacare

December 16, 2014
posted by

Paul Waldman The American Prospect
by Paul Waldman  

"Since Congress just passed a budget and we are therefore at the dawn of a new era of bipartisan comity and compromise, I'd like to propose a trade, one that will allow both Democrats and Republicans to gain something significant without giving much up. The topic is the Affordable Care Act, and the trade is this: What if Republicans agree to pass a technical fix to address what it essentially a typo in the ACA, one that threatens to take insurance from millions of middle-class Americans, and in exchange, Democrats agree to repeal the ACA's employer mandate? Everybody would win." (12/15/14)

http://tinyurl.com/ndqwkqq  

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It’s okay to hate Republicans

December 16, 2014
posted by

Susan J Douglas In These Times
by Susan J. Douglas  

"I hate Republicans. I can’t stand the thought of having to spend the next two years watching Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, Ted Cruz, Darrell Issa or any of the legions of other blowhards denying climate change, thwarting immigration reform or championing fetal 'personhood.' This loathing is a relatively recent phenomenon. Back
 in the 1970s, I worked for a Republican, Fred Lippitt, the senate minority leader in Rhode Island, and I loved him. He was a brand of Republican now extinct: a 'moderate' who was fiscally conservative but progressive about women’s rights, racial justice and environmental preservation. Had he been closer to my age, I could have contemplated marrying someone like Fred. Today, marrying a Republican is unimaginable to me." [editor's note: From the description, Lippitt sounds a lot like a libertarian-leaning GOPer - SAT] (12/15/14)

http://tinyurl.com/p4yxeec  

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Report: Greenland could lose more of ice sheet than predicted

December 16, 2014
posted by

Christian Science Monitor Christian Science Monitor    

"Researchers say they have uncovered perennial freshwater lakes embedded within the upper layers of Greenland's ice sheet -- previously unknown features that could play a role in the rate at which the sheet loses mass in a warming climate. The discovery comes as glaciologists are still trying to digest news from a year ago that the southeastern section of the ice sheet hosts a year-round aquifer of liquid water. The aquifer covers some 27,000 square miles and ranges from 16 to nearly 165 feet thick, researchers have estimated. Since then, researchers have found other aquifers." (12/16/14)

http://tinyurl.com/ogp726m  

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Tennessee, where giving birth can be criminal

December 16, 2014
posted by

The Nation The Nation
by Rosa Goldensohn & Rachael Levy  

"Many states have laws about parental drug use, and government agencies are responsible for protecting children from parents who are neglectful or abusive. But Tennessee’s law, passed in April, is different: it handcuffs new mothers upon delivery. At least nine women in Tennessee have been arrested since the law went into effect. They are the examples, the cautionary tales: six in the city, three in the country, five black, four white, all poor. The new law amends a Tennessee criminal-code section so that women may be charged with assault for illegal behavior while pregnant." (12/15/14)

http://tinyurl.com/o3ysgvv  

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They said “no” to torture

December 16, 2014
posted by

The Nation The Nation
by Jon Wiener  

"Hidden in the Senate torture report are stories of some heroes: people inside the CIA who from the beginning said torture was wrong, who tried to stop it, who refused to participate. There were also some outside the CIA, in the military and the FBI, who risked careers and reputations by resisting -- and who sometimes paid a heavy price. They should be thanked and honored. But President Obama hasn’t mentioned them. Instead, he praised the CIA officials who presided over the torture regime as 'patriots.'" (12/15/14)

http://tinyurl.com/ps248hz  

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America’s ten greediest, 2014 edition

December 16, 2014
posted by

Sam Pizzigati Our Future
by Sam Pizzigati  

"How has the United States become so unequal? We need to look for answers, first and foremost, in our society’s underlying economic and political realities, at the policies and practices that let wealth concentrate (at the top) so intensely. But we also ought to look at people, the real-life flesh-and-blood characters who make decisions that privilege the few over the many. These greedy souls love the shadows. Let’s shine some light -- on this year’s greediest of them all. May the greed we spotlight here help inspire the rest of us to do as much as we can, in 2015, to make our world a much more equal place." (12/15/14)

http://tinyurl.com/pwxwkoy  

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The media’s three false assumptions about American torture

December 16, 2014
posted by

In These Times In These Times
by Rebecca Gordon  

"So now we can finally consider the partial release of the long-awaited report from the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence about the gruesome CIA interrogation methods used during the Bush administration’s 'Global War on Terror.' But here’s one important thing to keep in mind: this report addresses only the past practices of a single agency. Its narrow focus encourages us to believe that, whatever the CIA may have once done, that whole sorry torture chapter is now behind us. In other words, the moment we get to read it, it’s already time to turn the page." (12/15/14)

http://inthesetimes.com/article/17453/american_torture  

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Progressives lost budget fight; why are they so happy?

December 15, 2014
posted by

Paul Waldman The American Prospect
by Paul Waldman  

"Over the weekend, the 'Cromnibus' budget was passed by a coalition that included the GOP leadership and the Obama White House. Neither conservative Republicans nor liberal Democrats were happy with what was in it. So why is it that the conservatives are feeling bitter and betrayed, while the liberals seem positively elated, despite the fact that they both lost? We don't need to work too hard to understand the conservatives' reaction. ... But what explains the liberal reaction?" (12/15/14)

http://tinyurl.com/ozbo898  

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AZ: SCOTUS blocks abortion drug law enforcement

December 15, 2014
posted by

Raw Story Raw Story    

"The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday blocked Arizona from enforcing a state law that restricts access to abortion-inducing drugs by prohibiting off-label uses of RU-486, the so-called 'abortion pill.' The high court’s refusal to hear the state’s appeal means that an April ruling by the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that prevented the law from going into effect while litigation continued will remain intact. Stephanie Grisham, a spokeswoman for Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne, said the decision 'effectively nullifies part of the statute.'" (12/15/14)

http://tinyurl.com/m3oedvr  

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CA: Appeals court upholds condom use in LA porn films

December 15, 2014
posted by

San Francisco Chronicle San Francisco Chronicle    

"A federal appeals court has upheld a Los Angeles County ordinance requiring that actors in pornographic films use condoms. Monday's ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected arguments by porn industry leaders that the requirement inhibits the industry's First Amendment free-speech rights. The ordinance adopted by voters in 2012 was championed by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation and other advocates as a means of reducing sexually transmitted diseases. The porn industry says its past experience with condoms has taught it that viewers don't want to watch films in which they are used." (12/15/14)

http://tinyurl.com/o7rfh93  

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Saudi Arabia playing chicken with its oil

December 15, 2014
posted by

Reuters Reuters
by Mohamad Bazzi  

"In August 1973, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat paid a secret visit to the Saudi capital, Riyadh, to meet with King Faisal. Sadat was preparing for war with Israel, and he needed Saudi Arabia to use its most powerful weapon: oil. Until then, King Faisal had been reluctant for the Arab members of OPEC to use the 'oil weapon.' But as the October 1973 Arab-Israeli war unfolded, the Arab oil producers raised prices, cut production and imposed an embargo on oil exports to punish the United States for its support of Israel. Without Saudi Arabia, the oil embargo would not have gotten very far. Today, Saudi Arabia is once again using its 'oil weapon,' but instead of driving up prices and cutting supply, it’s doing the reverse." (12/15/14)

http://tinyurl.com/o94zvlr  

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Fed faces big decision over a few choice words

December 15, 2014
posted by

Reuters Reuters    

"Federal Reserve officials will decide this week whether to make a critical change to their policy statement that would widen the door for interest rate hikes next year and effectively bet the United States will continue to shine in a gloomy global economy. In one of the last major wild cards for financial markets in 2014, the U.S. central bank's policy-setting committee is to issue the statement and fresh economic forecasts on Wednesday at 2 p.m., following a two-day meeting. Fed Chair Janet Yellen will then hold a news conference at 2:30 p.m." (12/15/14)

http://tinyurl.com/o8zufu9  

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VA: Dem lawmaker may commute to work from jail

December 15, 2014
posted by

Fox News Fox News    

"Democratic Virginia state delegate Joseph Morrissey, who reached a plea agreement for charges relating to a sexual relationship he had with his 17-year-old office assistant, is yet to decide whether he will resign or commute to work from jail. The 57-year-old Democratic representative for Henrico county was sentenced to 12 months in jail with 6 months suspended for charges of 'contributing to the delinquency of a minor,' according to a report in the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Morrissey’s lawyers say that he will be allowed to continue his work in the general assembly and his private law practice as part of a work-release program. He will drive his own car to work and authorities will monitor him through a device that will remain secured to his ankle, according to his lawyers." (12/15/14)

http://tinyurl.com/okqdpyp  

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NY: Cardinal tries to make peace between NYPD & City Hall

December 15, 2014
posted by

Christian Science Monitor Christian Science Monitor    

"As tensions have begun to mount this weekend between the New York Police Department and the tens of thousands of protesters who continue to march against the grand jury decision in the killing of Eric Garner, the spiritual head of the area’s millions of Catholic residents spoke out on Monday, urging both sides 'tune down the volume and speak calmly' as anger continues to rise. And Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the charismatic archbishop of 2.6 million Catholics in much of New York City (Brooklyn and Queens are in a separate archdiocese with 1.6 million more Catholic residents), is in many ways in a unique position as a broker of peace in the city, remaining a highly respected religious official among the NYPD, which has traditions long shaped by the city’s Irish Catholic heritage." (12/15/14)

http://tinyurl.com/perb7vj  

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Denmark challenges Russia and Canada over North Pole

December 15, 2014
posted by

BBC News BBC News [UK state media]    

"Denmark has presented a claim to the UN, arguing that the area surrounding the North Pole is connected to the continental shelf of Greenland, a Danish autonomous territory. Foreign Minister Martin Lidegaard said it was a 'historic and important milestone' for Denmark. Canada and Russia have already asserted their own sovereignty over the energy-rich Arctic territory. Arctic nations have agreed that a UN panel will settle the dispute." (12/15/14)

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-30481309  

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Just you & Rover, roaming in the clouds

December 15, 2014
posted by

Jon Carroll San Francisco Chronicle
by Jon Carroll  

"It was a sweet story in the New York Times. According to the Times, a young boy told Pope Francis that he was sad because his dog had recently died. The pope allegedly responded: 'Paradise is open to all of God’s creatures.' Alas, it was not a true story. Never happened. However, in a general audience at the Vatican, he did say: 'The Holy Scripture teaches us that the fulfillment of this wonderful design also affects everything around us.' This was indeed interpreted as meaning that all creatures go to paradise. Yow! A heaven for animals!" (12/15/14)

http://tinyurl.com/o7mrb56  

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Cops scan social media to help assess your “threat rating”

December 15, 2014
posted by

Reuters Reuters
by Brent Skorup  

"A national spotlight is now focused on aggressive law enforcement tactics and the justice system. Today’s professional police forces (where officers in even one-stoplight towns might have body armor and mine-resistant vehicles) already raise concerns. Yet new data-mining technologies can now provide police with vast amounts of surveillance information and could radically increase police power. Policing can be increasingly targeted at specific people and neighborhoods -- with potentially serious inequitable effects." (12/12/14)

http://tinyurl.com/ksh7wp5  

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Can Warren & Pelosi lead Dems to high ground?

December 15, 2014
posted by

William Greider The Nation
by William Greider  

"The sordid business of closing out the do-nothing [sic] 113 Congress ... has stained President Obama indelibly. We will never forget what he did and failed to do. He deserves our contempt. The president marginalized himself with his unreliable weakness. The recent events in Washington are nonetheless clarifying. They tell us that the worst is yet to come." [editor's note: Warren? Maybe; too soon to tell. Pelosi? Hardly; she's so far up the corporati a** there's no return - SAT] (12/12/14)

http://tinyurl.com/kw78j5b  

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