Author Archive

Why the Rand Paul phenomenon isn’t exactly a libertarian triumph

August 19, 2014
posted by

The American Prospect    

"Libertarianism is suddenly getting more attention from the mainstream media than it has in a long time, perhaps ever. And wherever you see it, there's a good chance that U.S. Senator Rand Paul, the Kentucky Republican, is at least part of the focus. When the New York Times Magazine publishes a story about libertarians, it puts a picture of Paul on the cover. When veteran Washington Post reporter Dan Balz writes a story about the libertarian response to the events in Ferguson, Missouri, most of it is about Paul. Such attention isn't completely misguided (I'm doing it right now!), because Paul is a national figure who wants to be president of the United States, and that makes him important. But Paul's inescapable association with libertarianism shows the limits the philosophy faces if its adherents want to win political victories and not just intellectual satisfaction." (08/18/14)

http://tinyurl.com/k2bp3jq  

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Study: Scientists hoping to kill cancer tumors with magnets

August 19, 2014
posted by

Raw Story    

"Surgery. Radiotherapy. Chemotherapy. Those are the cancer treatments most of us are familiar with, and in many cases, even all three combined are not enough to provide a complete cure. But a new and innovative approach may enable oncologists to add another option to the list. An artificial magnetic bacterium was recently created in a Spanish laboratory that, when ingested, can work as a magnetically charged compass that targets tumors and destroys them by spinning so fast the tumors heat up and melt. It's based on an experimental treatment methodology called 'magnetic hypothermia' that exposes tumors filled with magnetic nanoparticles to an alternating magnetic field." (08/18/14)

http://tinyurl.com/q4azf6r  

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Report: Emerging solar plants scorch birds in mid-air

August 19, 2014
posted by

Fox News    

"Workers at a state-of-the-art solar plant in the Mojave Desert have a name for birds that fly through the plant's concentrated sun rays: 'streamers,' for the smoke plume that comes from birds that ignite in midair. Federal wildlife investigators who visited the BrightSource Energy plant last year and watched as birds burned and fell, reporting an average of one 'streamer' every two minutes, are urging California officials to halt the operator's application to build a still-bigger version. The investigators want the halt until the full extent of the deaths can be assessed. Estimates per year now range from a low of about a thousand by BrightSource to 28,000 by an expert for the Center for Biological Diversity environmental group." (08/18/14)

http://tinyurl.com/q2l65sz  

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Finland: New Russia-West sanctions war brings deja vu

August 19, 2014
posted by

Christian Science Monitor    

"An air of dejection hangs over the sprawling Valio dairy plant here. Until earlier this month, the factory operated two shifts to process and pack cheese, butter, and other milk products mostly destined for Russia. But virtually all workers on the single remaining shift now clock off by mid-afternoon, leaving behind a vast, refrigerated warehouse stacked with pallets stamped 'for Russia' that have nowhere to go." (08/18/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mwnodf9  

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Ferguson & the “war on whites”

August 19, 2014
posted by

Our Future
by Terrance Heath  

"Rep. Mo Brooks [R-AL] recently accused Democrats of waging a 'war on whites.' In Ferguson, Missouri, where Michael Brown (an unarmed, 18-year-old, young black man) was shot and killed by a police officer, there is no question against whom war is being waged. If there is a 'war' on, whites are winning. ... What white Americans have lost is primacy: a sense of being primary, preeminent, or more important than any other group. " (08/18/14)

http://ourfuture.org/20140818/war-against-whites-not-in-ferguson  

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Elephant poaching deaths reach tipping point in Africa

August 19, 2014
posted by

BBC News [UK state media]    

"Africa's elephants have reached a tipping point: more are being killed each year than are being born, a study suggests. Researchers believe that since 2010 an average of nearly 35,000 elephants have been killed annually on the continent. They warn that if the rate of poaching continues, the animals could be wiped out in 100 years. The work is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences." (08/18/14)

http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-28842965  

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A co-op state of mind

August 19, 2014
posted by

In These Times
by Ajowa Nzinga Ifateyo  

"In 2006, Daniela Salazar, then a 22-year-old mother of two, was making about $7.25 an hour doing restaurant work and housecleaning. For three hours every month, she also stood on the street in Brooklyn with 12 other women passing out flyers, rain or shine (and sometimes snow). They were promoting a cleaning company of a new kind: one that would not only provide them with jobs and more money to support their families, but would also make them business owners. That company was a worker cooperative called Sí Se Puede ('Yes, We Can')."

http://inthesetimes.com/article/17061/a_co_op_state_of_mind  

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CA: Bill tackles grease thievery from restaurants

August 19, 2014
posted by

San Francisco Chronicle    

"The California Legislature approved a bill Monday that would increase penalties for stealing a restaurant's used cooking oil, which has become a hot commodity for thieves because it can fetch hundreds of dollars due to its ability to be converted into clean-burning biofuel. The bill, AB1566, is now headed to Gov. Jerry Brown. Fetching around $3 a pound, a truck-load of used cooking oil can bring in as much as $600 at a grease recycling center, according to the California Department of Food and Agriculture. The surge in grease thefts has been compared to the rise in copper thefts when prices for the medal skyrocketed. The California Restaurant Association estimates grease thefts are costing restaurants millions of dollars. Restaurants and state licensed grease haulers earn a profit from selling and transporting the grease." (08/18/14)

http://tinyurl.com/kr9gd5g  

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True costs of Cash for Clunkers revealed

August 19, 2014
posted by

San Francisco Chronicle
by Kathleen Pender  

"The 2009 federal Cash for Clunkers program is often hailed as a success because it jump-started new-vehicle sales, but a new study says it actually cost car dealers $3 billion in lost revenue because its fuel-efficiency requirement caused people to buy cheaper cars than they would have otherwise. Instead of buying expensive hybrids such as the Toyota Prius, most people fulfilled the fuel requirement by purchasing economy cars. The Toyota Corolla was the top-selling vehicle under the program. The goal of the program was to stimulate the auto sector by accelerating car sales from the future, when the economy presumably would be stronger, into mid-2009, when auto sales had veered off a cliff. A secondary goal was to increase fuel economy. Pursuing both goals caused the program to fail, said Mark Hoekstra, one of three Texas A&M University economists who authored the study, entitled Cash for Corollas." (08/15/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mtg6ef4  

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Community Health says data stolen in China cyber attack

August 18, 2014
posted by

Reuters    

"Community Health Systems Inc, one of the biggest U.S. hospital groups, said on Monday it was the victim of a cyber attack from China, resulting in the theft of Social Security numbers and other personal data belonging to 4.5 million patients. Security experts said the hacking group, known as 'APT 18,' may have links to the Chinese government. 'APT 18' typically targets companies in the aerospace and defense, construction and engineering, technology, financial services and healthcare industry, said Charles Carmakal, managing director with FireEye Inc's Mandiant forensics unit, which led the investigation of the attack on Community Health in April and June." (08/18/14)

http://tinyurl.com/q4n3gdl  

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Can GMOs help feed a hot and hungry world?

August 18, 2014
posted by

The Nation
by Madeline Ostrander  

"Eduardo Blumwald’s genetically modified plants don’t look much like 'Frankenfood.' Filling four modest greenhouses in a concrete lot behind Blumwald’s laboratory at the University of California, Davis, the tiny seedlings, spiky grasses, alfalfa, and peanut and rice plants in plastic terracotta-colored pots look exactly like the ordinary varieties from which he and his fellow researchers created them. Blumwald’s lab lies just ten miles from Monsanto’s 90,000-square-foot vegetable seed building, a glassy edifice larger than the hangar for a 747. ... But in the fourteen years that Blumwald, a professor of cell biology, has worked here studying the DNA of crop plants, he has hardly ever spoken to anyone from Monsanto." [editor's note: And it is in separating Monsanto's mega-role in (unlabeled) GMO foods, from serious efforts to grow more food for the starving, that the real struggle lies - SAT] (08/18/14)

http://tinyurl.com/nozr5ct  

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What matters in Ferguson

August 18, 2014
posted by

The Nation
by Mychal Denzel Smith  

"Michael Brown was shot and killed by an officer of the Ferguson, Missouri, police department. This is what matters. The name of the officer has been released (it’s Darren Wilson, who has been on the force for six years), alongside allegations that Brown was involved in a robbery. This does not matter. It doesn’t matter because people accused of robbery should not be shot. It doesn’t matter because people who put their hands up in surrender should not be shot. It doesn’t matter because a body should not lie in the streets for hours after being shot by a police officer. Michael Brown was shot and killed by an officer of the Ferguson, Missouri, police department. Everything else is irrelevant." (08/15/14)

http://www.thenation.com/blog/181295/what-matters-ferguson  

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NJ: Middle school bans trans teen from attending as a girl

August 18, 2014
posted by

Raw Story    

"Officials with Thorne Middle School in Middletown, New Jersey have refused to allow a transitioning transgender student to return to school using her new gender identity, APP.com reports. Rachel Pepe attended the middle school last year under her birth name, 'Brian,' but when she tried to register for classes with her new gender identity, school district officials told her she would have to return to Thorne dressed as and answering to 'Brian.' Rachel said that over the last year, she 'realized I wanted to be a girl. I sort of felt something was missing, that something was wrong.' Her mother, Angela Peters, worries that sending her back to Thorne Middle School as 'Brian' would cause a recurrence of the crippling depression that she suffered with last year." (08/17/14)

http://tinyurl.com/nm352c7  

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Fair is good, but should city decide which startups are OK?

August 18, 2014
posted by

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

"I've never used Airbnb. I'm not proud of my failure to dive in to the sharing economy. I know it's largely a function of middle age (I don't want to sleep in a stranger's spare bedroom, even if it's cheap) and of years of parlaying hotel rewards programs to my advantage. My first reaction when I heard about ride service startups Uber and Lyft was that they enjoy an unfair advantage over cabbies, who have to jump through hoops and pay huge fees to do what 'sharing' kids do on the fly. I mention the above to establish that I understand cities' impulse to use their clout to instill in startup upstarts some respect for the businesses they seek to disrupt. But there's another side to this equation." (08/15/14)

http://tinyurl.com/prstd3d  

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Researchers: Richard III dined on exotic birds, drank heavily

August 18, 2014
posted by

Fox News    

"What did it mean to eat like a king in the late-15th century? For Britain's Richard III, immortalized by Shakespeare as a 'poisonous bunch-backed toad,' it meant dining on exotic birds like swan, crane and heron, all washed down with a bottle of wine. New research carried out by scientists in Britain has shown that Richard's consumption of alcohol dramatically increased after he became king in 1483, allegedly ordering the murders of his two young nephews along the way." [editor's note: well, Faux Snooze thought it was newsworthy; who am I to argue? - SAT] (08/17/14)

http://tinyurl.com/olbnjhn  

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Stop Pentagon program that militarizes US police forces

August 18, 2014
posted by

Reuters
by Michael Shank & Elizabeth Beavers  

"There is a growing bipartisan public outrage about the local police force’s fiercely militarized response to protestors in Ferguson, Missouri. From Democrats to Republicans, progressive to libertarian, citizens across the political spectrum are denouncing the efforts to stop demonstrations over the police killing of Michael Brown, an unarmed, African-American teenager. ... Americans have been stunned to see pictures of police driving armored vehicles through neighborhoods, brandishing weapons of war at unarmed citizens. But this is nothing new. (The article originally ran last October. It has been updated by the authors.)" (08/14/14)

http://tinyurl.com/p5hfqe4  

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Hong Kong: Thousands gather in pro-government rally

August 17, 2014
posted by

BBC News [UK state media]    

"A major pro-government rally in Hong Kong is drawing in thousands of supporters, in response to civil disobedience campaigns by activists. Pro-democracy activists have staged huge protests, the most recent on the 1 July anniversary of the day Hong Kong was handed back to China from Britain. They have threatened to occupy parts of the city if their demands are not met. Public discontent in Hong Kong is at its highest for years with concern over Beijing's influence over elections." (08/17/14)

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-28824975  

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Who has been warning about police militarization?

August 17, 2014
posted by

Our Future
by Dave Johnson  

"On The PBS Newshour Thursday, Matt Apuzzo of the New York Times was asked who has been covering the issue of the militarization of police. He said this has only been discussed by libertarians, like at Reason Magazine and the Cato Institute. ... This is a bizarre statement. To their credit Cato and Reason have been sounding the alarm about the militarization of our police departments and the potential consequences. But there have also been plenty of 'liberal' and other sources trying to raise awareness of this issue as well." [editor's note: True, but most of them were relatively silent once their "team jersey color" took over the throne - SAT] (08/15/14)

http://tinyurl.com/oy5ue3t  

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South Africa: Two years after Marikana massacre, challenge to ruling ANC

August 17, 2014
posted by

Christian Science Monitor    

"Two years ago, thousands of striking mine workers gathered on a rocky hill outside this impoverished town in the heart of South Africa’s platinum belt, demanding wage increases from their employer, Lonmin plc. Wrapped in blankets to break the winter chill, they chanted and sang, waving clubs and spears as they marched toward a waiting knot of police. Suddenly a shot rang out, then another. Minutes later, 34 miners had been killed by police, and 78 more injured -- the most deadly confrontation between South African police and protestors since the high days of apartheid." (08/17/14)

http://tinyurl.com/p33xjcc  

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How Chuck Todd can save MtP

August 17, 2014
posted by

The American Prospect
by Paul Waldman  

"It's now official: Chuck Todd will be replacing David Gregory as host of the august NBC Sunday morning program Meet the Press, after a long period of declining ratings. If you're familiar with my previous criticism of the Sunday shows, you might imagine that I'd encourage Todd to bring more substance and an eclectic mix of guests to the program, freeing it from the endless and deathly recitations of competing talking points that characterize the genre. But no. In fact, I'd suggest that the path to success is to take everything that makes the shows so terrible, and do more of that." (08/15/14)

http://prospect.org/article/how-chuck-todd-can-save-meet-press  

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Ukraine says its troops make breakthrough

August 17, 2014
posted by

Reuters    

"Ukrainian forces have raised their national flag over a police station in the city of Luhansk which was for months under rebel control, Kiev said on Sunday, in what could be a breakthrough in Ukraine's efforts to crush pro-Moscow separatists. Ukrainian officials said however the rebels were fighting a desperate rearguard action to hold on to Luhansk (which is their supply route into neighbouring Russia) and that the flow of weapons and fighters from Russia had accelerated." (08/17/14)

http://tinyurl.com/pjjmb9y  

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How local police forces got outfitted for warfare

August 17, 2014
posted by

San Francisco Chronicle    

"The paramilitary hardware that police in Missouri deployed against demonstrators angered by an officer's killing of an unarmed black teenager has become commonplace in police departments in the Bay Area and around the country, thanks to billions of dollars in homeland security money and surplus military equipment that the federal government has showered on communities. Big-city police departments have long had riot gear, shields and even lightly armored vehicles to deal with unrest. What has changed in recent years is the volume of military equipment finding its way to smaller, suburban police agencies like the ones that confronted protesters last week in Ferguson, Mo." (08/17/14)

http://tinyurl.com/k4v6mrs  

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Whose presidential campaign will your pension finance?

August 17, 2014
posted by

In These Times
by David Sirota  

"Wall Street is one of the biggest sources of funding for presidential campaigns, and many of the Republican Party's potential 2016 contenders are governors, from Chris Christie of New Jersey and Rick Perry of Texas to Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and Scott Walker of Wisconsin. And so, last week, the GOP filed a federal lawsuit aimed at overturning the pay-to-play law that bars those governors from raising campaign money from Wall Street executives who manage their states' pension funds. In the case, New York and Tennessee's Republican parties are represented by two former Bush administration officials, one of whose firms just won the Supreme Court case invalidating campaign contribution limits on large donors." (08/15/14)

http://tinyurl.com/pnqgacq  

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Disruption, Inc.: Big Byte firms rotten to the core

August 15, 2014
posted by

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

"'You can make money without doing evil' is No. 6 in the list of 10 things Google (the corporation) knows to be true. The Google list leaves out a few caveats. Like: You can make more money flouting antitrust laws. You can pay your brainiacs less if they believe you will retaliate if they try to go to work for someone else." (08/14/14)

http://tinyurl.com/oxmzsxe  

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Report: Ebay in talks to accept Bitcoin as payment

August 15, 2014
posted by

Raw Story    

"Ebay Inc’s PayPal is in talks with Coinbase Inc and other bitcoin transaction providers to integrate the virtual currency within its Braintree payments system, The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday. Executives at PayPal, which owns the service that handles payments for startups from room-bookings network AirBnB to car-on-demand service Uber, have not struck any agreements, the Journal cited people familiar with the matter as saying. A deal would be an endorsement for a crypto currency, which is gaining acceptance with a slowly growing number of businesses, including online retailer Overstock.com. But some industry executives have warned about the risks of an unregulated currency." (08/14/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mltsray  

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