Author Archive

Snowden: US cyber warfare program could hurt innocent countries

August 14, 2014
posted by

Reuters    

"A developing U.S. cyber security program would not only hunt down and halt potential computer attacks but also strike back without staff oversight, according to former U.S. National Security Agency contractor, Edward Snowden. In an interview with WIRED magazine made public Wednesday, Snowden said the program (MonsterMind) could hurt countries caught in the middle as hackers could disguise the origin of their attacks by routing them through computers in other nations." (08/13/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mwhdrvs  

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Note to Dems: Campaign on trade & jobs, not being Republicanish

August 14, 2014
posted by

Our Future
by Dave Johnson  

"A recent Politico story, 'Running as a Dem, sounding like a Republican,' says that many Democrats are campaigning by trying to 'appeal to more conservative voters.' They are talking about cutting back on spending, tax cuts for businesses and going after immigrants. ... Republicans have moved so far to the right that there is room for Democrats to move to the right? What? What’s the old Republican saying? 'When I vote for a Republican, I want the real thing. I accept no substitutes.' What’s the old Democrat saying? 'If I can’t find a real Democrat to vote for I guess I’ll just stay home.'" (08/13/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mejtlej  

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Idiotic to complain when president takes vacation

August 14, 2014
posted by

The American Prospect
by Paul Waldman  

"There are a lot of stupid ways people attack presidents from the other party, but there can't be that many as stupid as the complaint that he takes too many vacations. Since Obama is now on Martha's Vineyard, despite the fact that there are things going on in the world, the volume of these complaints has grown, like the inevitable rise of the tide. Conservatives are in full on mockery mode (did you know he plays golf!?!), and the press is getting into the act as well. For instance, the Washington Post's Dana Milbank took on the vacation issue in a piece colorfully titled 'Obama Vacations As the World Burns,' explaining that 'Even presidents need down time, and Obama can handle his commander-in-chief duties wherever he is. But his decision to proceed with his getaway just 36 hours after announcing the military action in Iraq risks fueling the impression that he is detached as the world burns.' That pretty much sums up the problem with how the press discusses this issue." (08/13/14)

http://tinyurl.com/kbmpcrl  

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Private sector steps up to protect US power grid as feds stall

August 14, 2014
posted by

Fox News    

"A persistent failure by federal lawmakers to protect the nation’s electric grid from attack isn’t stopping private sector efforts to prevent damage from a nuclear blast. An Obama administration initiative to spend $7 billion on the development of the electric grid in six African nations, as Watchdog reported, earned a stern rebuke from a security expert concerned about the administration’s priorities. But state level efforts are under way to protect the grid against solar flares and electromagnetic pulses." (08/13/14)

http://tinyurl.com/luyjfmu  

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Samsung reveals Galaxy Alpha metal-framed smartphone

August 14, 2014
posted by

BBC News [UK state media]    

"Samsung has announced a new smartphone with a metal frame that is smaller and thinner than its flagship model. The South Korean company describes the Galaxy Alpha as representing a 'new design approach.' The firm has previously been criticised for the plastic feel of its handsets at a time when other firms have opted to use materials marketed as having a 'premium' feel. Samsung Electronics saw a 20% year-on-year drop in its last quarter's profit." (08/13/14)

http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-28771156  

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TX: Wife of top anti-gay crusader divorces him for lesbian partner

August 14, 2014
posted by

Raw Story    

"The leader of an anti-LGBT group who has joined with Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott to ban same-sex marriage had his own marriage end after his wife began a romantic relationship with another woman. According to court documents obtained by Lone Star Q, Corrine Morris Rodriguez Saenz was dating another woman when she filed for divorce from Jonathan Saenz in 2011. Less than six months later, Jonathan Saenz took over as the president of the state’s top anti-gay group, Texas Values." [editor's note: Irony, or just full-on karma? You make the call - SAT] (08/13/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mpwgtpl  

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The alternatives to more war in Iraq

August 14, 2014
posted by

The Nation
by Tom Hayden  

"Hillary Clinton’s flapping of her hawkish wings only intensifies the pressure on President Barack Obama to escalate US military involvement in the sectarian wars of Iraq and Syria. Domestic political considerations already are a major factor in forcing Obama to 'do something' to save the Yazidis, avert 'another Benghazi' and double down in the undeclared Long War against Islamic fundamentalism. Clinton certainly was correct in arguing that Obama’s statement 'don’t do stupid stuff' is not an organizing principle of US foreign policy. However Instead of offering a new foreign policy (one based for example on democracy, economic development and renewable energy), Clinton lapsed into the very Cold War thinking she once questioned in the sixties." (08/12/14)

http://www.thenation.com/article/180959/alternatives-more-war-iraq  

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CA: Stanford professor first woman to win “Nobel for math”

August 14, 2014
posted by

San Francisco Chronicle    

"A Stanford mathematician has won the coveted 2014 Fields Medal for her original work understanding the mathematical symmetry of curved surfaces and saddle-shaped spaces. Maryam Mirzakhani is the first woman ever to win what scientists around the world call the 'Nobel Prize for mathematics.' She is the second person from Stanford to win the award. Mirzakhani, who was born in Iran, has been professor of mathematics at Stanford since 2008. She received her award Wednesday at the International Congress of Mathematicians in Seoul." (08/13/14)

http://tinyurl.com/luyjfmu  

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Obama’s Iraq folly

August 13, 2014
posted by

In These Times
by G. Pascal Zachary  

"In ordering air strikes against enemies of the U.S.-supported government in Iraq, President Barack Obama has created a new opportunity for Americans to ask: Is war the best we can do in the domain of world affairs? Promising an air war lasting weeks and possibly months, President Obama reversed course on the failed U.S. military episode that he proudly claimed to have ended in 2011. Opposition to the Iraq War defined Obama’s original presidential campaign and his first term in office. In ordering air strikes against forces of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), Obama created fresh reasons to object to the militarization of American foreign policy and our country’s entrenched preference, in a crisis, for shooting first and asking questions later." (08/13/14)

http://inthesetimes.com/article/17076/air_war_isnt_a_real_solution  

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W[h]ither summer jobs? They’re coming back, but the road is long

August 13, 2014
posted by

Christian Science Monitor    

"Every June, high school and college students race to pad both their wallets and their resumés via summer jobs -- whether it be a local gig after 10th grade or an internship in the city. Since the beginning of the Great Recession in 2008, this process has become more of a struggle for young Americans, but a recent report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that this process may finally be getting just a little bit easier. According to the study released Wednesday, the seasonal unemployment rate among Americans aged 16 to 24 in July (when students tend to be out of classes) has dropped from 16.3 percent in 2013 to 14.3 percent in 2014." (08/13/14)

http://tinyurl.com/m3yqs9h  

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A little spark of madness

August 13, 2014
posted by

San Francisco Chronicle
by Mark Morford  

"Very much did not want to write about Robin Williams. Because futility. Because senselessness. Because it feels, at its core, utterly inadequate to attempt to unpack any potential meanings in Williams’ suicide, given how, like war, like disease, like abuse and ultraviolence and the endless slaughter of innocents worldwide, it requires going dark, digging into the bleak, shadowy regions of the human psyche, when all we ever really find there is phantasms, demons, glooms. No meanings anywhere. No place to land. Just void." (08/12/14)

http://blog.sfgate.com/morford/2014/08/12/a-little-spark-of-madness  

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India: Modi accuses Pakistan of waging a proxy war

August 13, 2014
posted by

Christian Science Monitor    

"Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday accused Pakistan of waging a 'proxy war' and vowed to strengthen his country’s armed forces in a speech during a rare visit to disputed Kashmir. But Mr. Modi also stressed the need for reconciliation with Pakistan. What does he really want? Unclear. But the tough side of his talk on Kashmir, disputed by India and Pakistan for over 60 years, indicates a breakthrough isn't imminent. Modi said that Pakistan was using militants to attack India and foster unrest. Pakistan 'has lost the strength to fight a conventional war but continues to engage in the proxy war of terrorism,' he told Indian soldiers in Kashmir's Leh District." (08/12/14)

http://tinyurl.com/kurqv6u  

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DiFi’s tortured logic on CIA interrogations

August 13, 2014
posted by

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

"Sen. Dianne Feinstein is a woman on a mission. As chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, she has set out to prove the illogical: that enhanced interrogation techniques used for a time under the George W. Bush administration constituted torture, and that they never ever produced useful intelligence. Americans are supposed to believe that top terrorists are more likely to divulge information if they are lawyered up and politely asked questions." (08/12/14)

http://tinyurl.com/lod6whp  

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Leaving democracy to the experts

August 13, 2014
posted by

In These Times
by Slavoj Zizek  

"On June 19, the second anniversary of Julian Assange’s confinement to the Ecuadorian embassy in London, WikiLeaks rendered public the secret draft text for the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) Financial Services Annex. The document was classified not only during TISA negotiations, but for five years after it enters into force. While the TISA negotiations have not been censored outright, they have been barely mentioned in the media -- a marginalization and secrecy that are in stark contrast with the world-historical importance of the TISA agreement." (08/12/14)

http://tinyurl.com/koamhhs  

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The new cold war & the necessity of patriotic heresy

August 13, 2014
posted by

The Nation
by Stephen F. Cohen  

"We meet today during the worst and potentially most dangerous American-Russian confrontation in many decades, probably since the Cuban missile crisis of 1962. The Ukrainian civil war, precipitated by the unlawful change of government in Kiev in February, is already growing into a proxy US-Russian war. The seemingly unthinkable is becoming imaginable: an actual war between NATO, led by the United States, and post-Soviet Russia." (08/12/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mep7bl6  

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Consumer Reports: Tesla Model S has “more than its share of problems”

August 13, 2014
posted by

Reuters [UK]    

"Consumer Reports, which last year gave top marks to electric carmaker Tesla Motors Inc's (TSLA.O) Model S sedan, now says the car it owns has had 'more than its share of problems.' While the car has impressed staff at the influential U.S. consumer magazine with its 'smoothness, effortless glide and clever, elegant simplicity,' there have been many quirks that might dampen consumers' experiences, Consumer Reports said in a statement on Monday. Consumer Reports, which anonymously buys the vehicles it tests from auto dealerships, said the Model S it owns now has traveled nearly 16,000 miles." (08/11/14)

http://tinyurl.com/lq2u6vm  

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Five years of “recovery”: Still half the jobs needed

August 13, 2014
posted by

Our Future
by Isaiah J. Poole  

"Here’s the sobering reality brought home today by the latest monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary by the Labor Department: After five years of economic 'recovery,' there are still only half as many jobs as there are people looking for work. This monthly report gives a total of the number of job openings: a seasonally adjusted 4.7 million job openings in June. But that month, according to a separate monthly employment report, almost 9.5 million people were counted as unemployed." (08/12/14)

http://tinyurl.com/madwg49  

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Report: Liberal mayors slam economy under Obama

August 13, 2014
posted by

Fox News    

"Wages in a wide swath of new U.S. city jobs are down 23 percent from the jobs that were lost when the housing bubble burst in 2008, according to a report by President Barack Obama’s political allies. That’s a damaging claim by Obama’s friends, as he claims on the 2014 campaign trail that he has led the economy to recovery. The report was produced for the U.S. Conference of Mayors, which largely echoes the priorities of Democratic urban mayors, and is led by an Obama ally, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson. It was unveiled at a New York event hosted by the city’s far-left mayor, Bill DeBlasio." (08/11/14)

http://tinyurl.com/l68kbw8  

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CA: Lyft, Uber trade dirty-tricks allegations

August 13, 2014
posted by

San Francisco Chronicle    

"The Hatfields and McCoys of smartphone ride services are at it again. The bitter rivalry between San Francisco’s Lyft and Uber is spilling over into social-engineered hacking and a war of words in the media. Each company claims the other has played dirty pool by requesting rides and then cancelling them at the last minute, which costs drivers time and money. Each claims to be taking the high ground while accusing the other of scurrilous tactics." (08/12/14)

http://tinyurl.com/lwyy9nj  

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Putin paying dearly for Ukraine

August 13, 2014
posted by

Reuters
by William E. Pomeranz  

"Russian President Vladimir Putin has adopted a 'go it alone' approach throughout the Ukraine crisis and regularly describes his country as 'independent' and nonaligned. But Moscow is not as isolated as Putin makes out. The fact that he cannot see this reality (or chooses to ignore it) has produced a series of decisions that has seriously undermined Russia’s global role. For the past two decades, Moscow has viewed its foray into global institutions as a major success. It has increasingly integrated into the global economy. Those achievements, however, now present Putin with a major dilemma." (08/12/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mkjw6dq  

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South Africa’s Mbeki calls for Israeli goods boycott

August 12, 2014
posted by

BBC News [UK state media]    

"South Africa's ex-President Thabo Mbeki has called for a boycott of Israeli goods to show solidarity with Palestinians. The public should mobilize against Israel so that it 'does pay a price for the position that it is taking,' Mr Mbeki said in the capital, Pretoria. About 2,000 people, mostly Palestinians, have died in the conflict in Gaza since July. Most South Africans have historically supported the Palestinians." (08/12/14)

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-28755081  

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Laser blast could help your teeth grow back

August 12, 2014
posted by

Gizmodo    

"Teeth don't grow back, as your dentist might like to remind you while revving up the drill for a root canal. But scientists have now found a way to regenerate dentin, the hard stuff in the middle of the tooth, right in the mouth. It's surprisingly simple, too -- all it takes is a blast of laser. In a study published [Monday] in Science Translational Medicine, a Harvard-led team lays out how a low-power laser can trigger stem cells in the tooth to form dentin. Currently, damaged dentin is replaced with synthetic material, like when you get a filling or a root canal." (08/11/14)

http://tinyurl.com/kgv6erx  

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Robin Williams & the weight of being famous

August 12, 2014
posted by

The American Prospect
by Paul Waldman  

"As you've no doubt heard by now, Robin Williams reportedly committed suicide yesterday at his home in California. It's a horrible tragedy whenever someone's life has become so painful that they decide that death is preferable to life. I couldn't help but think of a brief interaction I had with Williams about twenty years ago, one that now seems even more poignant." (08/12/14)

http://prospect.org/article/robin-williams-and-weight-being-famous  

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What happens in Geneva …

August 12, 2014
posted by

In These Times
by Cole Stangler  

"Most progressives are, by now, familiar with the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the proposed trade deal that would link the United States with Pacific Rim powerhouses like Australia and Japan. Wonkier corners of the left are equally conversant in the intrigue of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, a pact that would couple the United States and the European Union. Like-minded critics would do well by memorizing yet another trade acronym: TISA, or the Trade in Services Agreement. Judging by the stakes and the ultra-secrecy of the negotiations, it could easily be the worst of the bunch." (08/11/14)

http://inthesetimes.com/article/17065/tisa_tpp_and_ttip  

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US Postal Service lost $2 billion this spring

August 12, 2014
posted by

Fox News    

"The U.S. Postal Service lost $2 billion this spring despite increasing its volume and charging consumers more money to send mail, officials said Monday. The loss for the spring quarter, which ended June 30, was significantly higher than the $740 million loss for the same three-month period last year. The agency blamed increases in compensation and benefit costs for the red ink and said it would be unable to make a congressionally mandated payment of $5.7 billion this September for health benefits for future retirees. The loss came despite a 2 percent increase in operating revenue compared to last spring." (08/11/14)

http://tinyurl.com/kje8ajg  

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