Author Archive

Larry Summers gets this right: We need an “infrastructure decade”

May 23, 2016
posted by

Dave Johnson Our Future
by Dave Johnson  

"Here we are in 'Infrastructure Week' and here we are with a new argument for a massive infrastructure investment project -- worldwide. Last week Peter Coy wrote at Bloomberg, in 'How to Pull the World Economy Out of Its Rut,' about economist Larry Summers’ argument that we need massive public investment. Coy writes that Summers has been 'jetting around the world' trying to convince central bankers 'to reach out to the governments they work for ... and insist on strong fiscal stimulus in the form of infrastructure spending and the like.' (i.e. 'Public investment.') The case for this is very, very strong." [editor's note: Among the proposals for how to spend the "peace dividend" from ending wars, this ranks fairly low on my "hate it" list - SAT] (05/20/16)

https://ourfuture.org/20160520/very-important-larry-summers-is-exactly-right-for-infrastructure-week  

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A harsh blow to small businesses

May 23, 2016
posted by

USA Today USA Today
by Juanita Duggan  

"The Labor Department’s change to the overtime rule is a harsh blow to millions of small businesses and their employees. According to NFIB research, approximately 44% of small businesses would be affected. The department claims that 4.2 million workers could potentially benefit from the change. That’s not consistent with the department’s own analysis. In fact, buried within the regulation, the department projects that many workers won’t receive any additional pay and that others will lose pay." (05/19/16)

http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2016/05/19/overtime-national-federation-of-independent-business-editorials-debates/84621270  

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Not Bernie Sanders’s job to unify the Democratic Party

May 23, 2016
posted by

The New Republic The New Republic
by Alex Shephard  

"Team Bernie and Team Hillary are at war. The two sides have skirmished throughout the election, but the chaotic Nevada Democratic Convention in Las Vegas last weekend has prompted a bloodbath that (if the pundits are to be believed) could tear the party apart and hand the presidency to Donald Trump. ... The Clinton and Sanders camps are, in the usual schoolyard fashion, pointing fingers at each other. The truth is, both sides are to blame. But the onus is on Clinton, not Sanders, to turn down the temperature. If she intends to unify the party, now is the time to prove she can do it—that’s her burden as the frontrunner and likely nominee." (05/20/16)

https://newrepublic.com/article/133642/its-not-bernie-sanderss-job-unify-democratic-party  

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OR: Portland public schools ban textbooks “doubting” climate change

May 23, 2016
posted by

Fox News Fox News    

"The Portland Public Schools board voted last week to ban any materials that cast doubt on climate change, the Portland Tribune reported. According to the resolution passed May 17, the school district must remove any textbooks and other materials that suggest climate change is not occurring or that says human beings are not responsible for it. ... One commenter to the Portland Tribune story responded to the news, saying, 'I have never seen a case for homeschooling more clearly put forward. This is further proof that public schools are not interested in education, only political indoctrination.'" (05/22/16)

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2016/05/22/portland-public-schools-ban-textbooks-that-cast-doubt-on-climate-change.html  

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Elizabeth Warren takes on the “gig economy”

May 23, 2016
posted by

The Nation The Nation
by George Zornick  

"The Democratic Party hasn’t quite figured out how to take on the rapid rise of the 'gig economy.' Hillary Clinton said last summer that companies like Uber and AirBnB created 'exciting opportunities,' but also 'rais[ed] hard questions about workplace protections and what a good job will look like in the future.' She was immediately attacked by Republicans, but also by David Plouffe, once a top Obama aide and now employed by Uber, who said it was an 'overblown reaction.' ...  The gig economy has not otherwise been an enormous issue on the campaign trail, and legislators in Congress haven’t attempted to address it in any comprehensive way. But Thursday in Washington, Senator Elizabeth Warren waded into the debate with a lengthy policy speech at the annual New America conference in which she said it’s time to 'rethink the basic bargain for workers who produce much of the value in this economy.'" (05/20/16)

http://www.thenation.com/article/elizabeth-warren-takes-on-the-gig-economy  

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CA: Prison guards donate to stop legal cannabis

May 22, 2016
posted by

San Francisco Chronicle Smell the Truth    

"Funding to oppose California marijuana legalization this year has grown from a paltry $13,000 to over $60,000 thanks to a major group: the state’s prison guards. Journalist Lee Fang, writing for The Intercept, reports on new campaign donation disclosures showing the state’s prison guards and police chiefs chipping in to keep pot illegal. The funds were organized by John Lovell, a longtime Sacramento lobbyist for police chiefs and prison guard supervisors. Lovell’s Coalition for Responsible Drug Policies, a committee he created to defeat the pot initiative, raised $60,000 during the first three months of the year, according to a disclosure filed earlier this month." (05/22/16)

http://blog.sfgate.com/smellthetruth/2016/05/19/prison-guards-donate-to-keep-pot-illegal-in-california  

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TSA: Long lines and disasters

May 22, 2016
posted by

The American Prospect The American Prospect
by Gabrielle Gurley  

"The Transportation Security Administration is a perennial punching bag for air travelers, members of Congress, and municipal officials from coast to coast. However, the disappearance of EgyptAir Flight 804 en route to Cairo from Paris puts the ongoing furor over the long waits at TSA security checkpoints into a different perspective. 'The [TSA’s] priority is security, it is not ease of travel,' says Juliette Kayyem, a former Homeland Security assistant secretary and currently an emergency management and national security lecturer at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. ... Kayyem spoke with The American Prospect about the TSA and U.S. air travel in the wake of the EgyptAir disaster." (05/20/16)

prospect.org/article/long-lines-and-disasaters-tsa-time-troubles  

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Thailand: Medical students use “smart” spy technology to cheat on exams

May 22, 2016
posted by

Raw Story Raw Story    

"Students at a medical college in Thailand have been caught using spy cameras linked to smartwatches to cheat during exams. They used wireless spycams in eyeglasses to capture exam questions, transmit them to associates elsewhere and receive responses through linked smartwatches. But the entrance exam in question was cancelled after the plot was discovered and Arthit Ourairat, the rector of Rangsit University, posted pictures of the hi-tech cheating equipment on his Facebook page." (05/22/16)

http://www.rawstory.com/2016/05/students-are-using-smart-spy-technology-to-cheat-on-exams  

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Bernie Sanders goes after big banks — in theory

May 22, 2016
posted by

Debra J. Saunders Town Hall
by Debra J Saunders  

"On Wednesday, Bernie Sanders had lunch at the Chieftain, a cozy pub near the San Francisco Chronicle. In days gone by, it served as a lunch spot for parched journalists. Earlier, Sanders had addressed a rally in San Jose; he had another scheduled in Vallejo, California, that night. When he exited the Chieftain by a back door onto Howard Street, passers-by shouted out his name. A man who hailed Sanders as his 'hero' asked the Democratic presidential hopeful to pose for a photo. There were more selfies with more fans who could not believe their luck in stumbling upon a potential president. No jacket, no tie, two pens in his shirt pocket, Sanders took his time heading toward the motorcade." (05/22/16)

http://townhall.com/columnists/debrajsaunders/2016/05/22/bernie-sanders-goes-after-big-banks--in-theory-n2166455  

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Report: Six big changes coming to Android phones

May 22, 2016
posted by

USA Today USA Today    

"After A, I, V, and R (as in artificial intelligence and virtual reality), the next most important letter at Google's just-concluded I/O conference here had to have been N. That's the letter assigned to the next version of its Android operating system, the subject of a major part of the keynote Wednesday. Google will almost certainly name it after a dessert beginning with 'n,' in keeping with its habit of thinking with its sweet tooth when christening new Android releases. While we wait for a ruling from the Google officials on that, here’s what we do know is coming from Android N when it ships later this summer." (05/22/16)

http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/columnist/2016/05/22/6-big-changes-coming-android-phones/84740912  

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The GOP metamorphosis

May 18, 2016
posted by

The American Prospect The American Prospect
by Arthur Goldhammer  

"The observer of today’s political world feels rather like the reader of Franz Kafka's Metamorphosis. Grotesque things are happening everywhere, yet consciousness seems incapable of registering the magnitude of the change. The disparity between the appalling metamorphosis of our political condition and the petty conventionality of the response is apt to provoke terror and laughter in equal and disconcerting measure. In the United States, the Republican Party has succumbed to a brazen putsch. A confabulating narcissist who impersonated his own publicist in order to feed the tabloids with the myth of his sexual allure and then made a campaign issue of his genital endowment has taken over the party of Lincoln." (05/17/16)

http://prospect.org/article/metamorphosis  

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Hunting the Hunt Commission

May 18, 2016
posted by

In These Times In These Times
by staff  

"Despite holding a nationwide series of presidential primaries and caucuses in which millions of voters participate, the Democratic Party still maintains a system of 712 party insiders who often have the final say on who the nominee is. Why did the party choose to institute such a system? To answer that, you need to go back to the Hunt Commission, which in 1982 invented the 'superdelegate.' The proceedings of the Hunt Commission have never been published. In These Times gained access to documents housed in the National Archives, excerpts of which are reproduced below. The pages here represent only a sample of the total material looked at by In These Times, which itself makes up a small percentage of the total proceedings of the Commission." (05/17/16)

http://inthesetimes.com/article/19132/hunting-the-hunt-commission  

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Confronting the parasite economy

May 18, 2016
posted by

The American Prospect The American Prospect
by Nick Hanauer  

"There are two types of businesses in America today: those that pay their workers a living wage (the real economy) and those that don’t (the parasite [sic] economy). And all of us who live and work in the real economy should be royally pissed at the way the parasite economy is sucking us dry. Here in the real economy, we solve the problems, build the things, and pay the wages that make America great. When politicians of both parties promise to attract 'good jobs' to their districts or states, they’re talking about the kind of real-economy jobs that pay a decent middle-class wage -- jobs that provide the income, benefits, and security necessary to participate robustly in the economy as a consumer and taxpayer. It is the real economy that drives both production and demand, and that fills our tax coffers with the money needed to educate our children, maintain our infrastructure, invest in research and development, fund our social safety net, and provide for the national defense." [editor's note: One more defense of the old factory-worker model of gainful endeavor, ignoring how it continues to shore up the empire - SAT] (05/16/16)

http://prospect.org/article/confronting-parasite-economy  

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Loretta Sanchez doesn’t back down

May 18, 2016
posted by

Debra J. Saunders Town Hall
by Debra J. Saunders  

"Running to replace Barbara Boxer in the U.S. Senate, Rep. Loretta Sanchez [D-CA] is not backing down from comments she made in December about the percentage of Muslims in the world who support a holy war. After the San Bernardino terrorist attack, Sanchez appeared on 'Politicking with Larry King.' King asked her about President Barack Obama's reluctance to use the term 'radical Islamic terrorism.' ... 'A small group' of 'anywhere between 5 and 20 percent' of Muslims, Sanchez said, supports a caliphate and is 'willing to go to extremes' to secure one. Because Donald Trump recently had proposed a ban on Muslims entering the United States, critics went after Sanchez for saying something that arguably could support his proposal. She made clear Monday when she spoke with the San Francisco Chronicle's editorial board that she does not support it. Sanchez has been a vocal supporter for Syrian refugees. Still, the quote has haunted her." (05/17/16)

http://townhall.com/columnists/debrajsaunders/2016/05/17/loretta-sanchez-doesnt-back-down-n2164113  

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How Donald Trump plans to crash through the media’s gatekeepers

May 18, 2016
posted by

The New Republic The New Republic
by Jeet Heer  

"Among his other achievements, Donald Trump is the most politically successful conspiracy theorist in American history. In a classic essay, the historian Richard Hofstadter argued that the “paranoid style” is woven through the fabric of American history, running from the anti-Mason and anti-Catholic crusades of the nineteenth century to the McCarthy Era’s hyper-vigilance about communism after World War II. Yet as pervasive as conspiracy theories often were, according to Hofstadter, they flourished on the fringes of American society rather than emanating from the centers of power. One might argue that Hofstadter was overly sanguine about the American elite, but in broad terms his argument makes sense. After all, Millard Fillmore only shifted to the nativist Know-Nothing Party after he left the presidency. And while Richard Nixon was an ally of Joseph McCarthy at the beginning of his career, and in private was given to all sorts of dark mutterings about plots against him by hidden enemies, he was much more restrained in his public persona as vice-president and president." (05/17/16)

https://newrepublic.com/article/133527/donald-trump-plans-crash-medias-gatekeepers  

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AZ: Inspired by Trump, new state law redefines free speech

May 18, 2016
posted by

Christian Science Monitor Christian Science Monitor    

"In a Phoenix suburb in March, protesters parked about two-dozen cars in the middle of the highway to stop drivers on their way to an outdoor rally for Donald Trump and Joe Arpaio, the controversial Arizona sheriff. With posters that read 'Dump Trump' and 'Must Stop Trump,' the protesters, in one sense, acted on their right to demonstrate against the Republican frontrunner and the sheriff who was sanctioned for refusing a judge's order to stop racial profiling. But Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) saw it differently: The demonstrators prevented Trump supporters from expressing their political views. Inspired by this event, Governor Ducey signed a measure into law Monday that increases penalties on protesters who block traffic to political events." (05/17/16)

http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/2016/0517/Inspired-by-Trump-new-Arizona-law-redefines-free-speech  

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Failure to invest in infrastructure literally making us sick

May 18, 2016
posted by

Our Future Blog
by Lindsay Koshgarian  

"My water’s clean, but I’m feeling sick anyway. The residents of Flint have gone without clean water for 748 days, and counting. That’s more than two years: long enough for toddlers to become preschoolers, for infants to graduate from lead-tainted formula to lead-tainted Kool-Aid. When you think of school kids subjected to lead poisoning for years in the supposedly greatest country on earth, it’s hard not to feel sick. It’s not my kid. But it could be. It’s one thing for congressional leaders to carry on with their budget antics year in and year out, skirting disaster, even with all that’s at stake. But the lack of response to the emergency in Flint takes it to a whole new level. Putting the federal government to shame, a group of foundations led by the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation this week pledged $125 million to help Flint. Call it a belated Mother’s Day gift." (05/16/16)

https://ourfuture.org/20160516/our-failure-to-invest-in-infrastructure-is-literally-making-us-sick  

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Pfizer death-row move serves investors, too

May 18, 2016
posted by

Reuters Reuters
by Rob Cox  

"Is Corporate America converting to Catholicism? Pfizer recently restricted the use of its drugs in executions. And Alphabet, one of the most valuable companies on earth, banished payday lenders from the temple of search. In reality, it’s not a Damascene shift so much as a series of easy moral stances that have the added benefit of reducing risk for shareholders. Pfizer’s image as a contributor to the public good needed some spit and polish. The last big splash the group led by Ian Read made was a brazen attempt to shift its domicile to a lower-tax country by merging with Ireland’s Allergan. That so-called inversion, which would have robbed some $1.7 billion from Peter (U.S. tax authorities) to pay Paul (shareholders) was crucified on the altar of Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew." [editor's note: The very idea that taking back tax confiscations is seen as "robbery" shows how little this pundit knows - SAT] (05/17/16)

http://blogs.reuters.com/breakingviews/2016/05/16/cox-pfizer-death-row-move-serves-investors-too/  

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Mexican president proposes legalizing gay marriage

May 18, 2016
posted by

San Francisco Chronicle San Francisco Chronicle    

"President Enrique Pena Nieto proposed to legalize same-sex marriage in Mexico on Tuesday, a move that would enshrine on a national level a Supreme Court ruling last year that it was unconstitutional for states to bar such couples from wedding. If it is approved, Mexico would become the fifth country in Latin America to make same-sex marriage legal. The announcement was hailed by LGBT activists and criticized by church officials in Mexico, which is home to the second-largest Roman Catholic population on the planet. Speaking at an event on the International Day Against Homophobia, Pena Nieto said he signed initiatives that would seek to amend the constitution and the national civil code." (05/17/16)

http://www.sfgate.com/news/world/article/Mexican-president-proposes-legalizing-gay-marriage-7521928.php  

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American Indian child “welfare” law under fire

May 18, 2016
posted by

Fox News Fox News    

"A child-welfare law passed by Congress nearly four decades ago specifically to protect Native American children and preserve their cultural heritage is under attack from critics who claim the law is putting children in potentially dangerous situations that have led to abuse — and even death. Enacted in 1978 to stop the widespread practice of removing at-risk Native American children from their biological families, the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) (labeled the 'gold standard' in child welfare by ardent supporters) in most cases gives tribes legal authority to rule on custody, and sets minimum federal standards for termination of parental rights, foster care and adoption. But a wave of new opposition claims that while ICWA is noble in its intent, it’s been twisted into a legal power grab that comes at the expense of children." (05/17/16)

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2016/05/17/american-indian-child-welfare-law-under-fire.html  

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Donald Trump open to talks with North Korea

May 18, 2016
posted by

BBC News BBC News [UK state media]    

"Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump says he is willing to meet the North Korean leader to discuss Pyongyang's nuclear programme. 'I would speak to him, I would have no problem speaking to him,' the businessman said of Kim Jong-un. The proposed meeting would mark a significant change of US policy towards the politically isolated regime. Democrat front-runner Hillary Clinton responded by decrying his 'bizarre fascination with foreign strongmen.' The statement, from one of her aides, added that Mr Trump's foreign policy 'made no sense.'" (05/17/16)

http://www.bbc.com/news/election-us-2016-36318752  

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First openly gay US Army Secretary confirmed by Senate

May 18, 2016
posted by

Raw Story Raw Story    

"The U.S. Senate unanimously backed President Barack Obama’s nomination of Eric Fanning as secretary of the Army on Tuesday, making him the first openly gay leader of a U.S. military service branch. Fanning previously worked as undersecretary of the Air Force and chief of staff to Defense Secretary Ash Carter. He was confirmed by unanimous voice vote, eight months following his nomination, after Pentagon leaders assured Senator Pat Roberts that it was now too late for the administration to transfer prisoners from the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to Roberts’ home state, Kansas. Roberts had held up Fanning’s nomination for months to underscore his opposition to any possible transfer of detainees." (05/17/16)

http://www.rawstory.com/2016/05/eric-fanning-becomes-first-openly-gay-us-army-secretary-after-senate-confirmation  

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Don’t be a sucker for socialism

May 17, 2016
posted by

USA Today USA Today
by Glenn Harlan Reynolds  

"It is a common misconception that socialism is about helping poor people. Actually, what socialism does is create poor people, and keep them poor. And that’s not by accident. Under capitalism, rich people become powerful. But under socialism, powerful people become rich. So when you look at a socialist country like Venezuela, you find that the rulers are fabulously wealthy even as the ordinary citizenry deals with empty supermarket shelves and electricity rationing. The daughter of Venezuela’s socialist ruler, Hugo Chavez, is the richest individual in Venezuela, worth billions and billions of dollars. In Cuba, Fidel Castro reportedly has lived — pretty much literally -- like a king, even as his subjects dwelt in poverty. In the old Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, as Hedrick Smith reported in his The Russians, the Communist Party bigshots had lavish country houses and apartments in town stocked with hand-polished fresh fruit, even as the common people stood in line for hours at state-run stores in the hopes of getting staples." (05/16/16)

http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2016/05/16/socialism-venezuela-ussr-cuba-sanders-clinton-elections-2016-column/32613393  

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Report: ISIL loses 45% of territory in Iraq, 20% in Syria

May 17, 2016
posted by

USA Today USA Today    

"The Islamic State has lost 45% of the territory it once held in Iraq and 20% of areas it controlled in Syria, according to new estimates by a U.S.-led coalition combating the extremist group. Those slow but steady battlefield losses in Iraq are prompting the Islamic State to strike back against civilians with terrorist bombings, the latest killing dozens in Baghdad on Tuesday. The territory seized by Iraqi forces, aided by coalition airstrikes and advisers, is up from 40% announced earlier this year, according to the latest estimates. The percentages are based on areas the militants controlled at their peak strength after they swept into Iraq in 2014." (05/17/16)

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2016/05/17/exclusive-isil-loses-45-territory-iraq-20-syria/84499682  

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The secret history of superdelegates

May 17, 2016
posted by

In These Times In These Times
by Branko Marcetic  

"Since its launch, a specter has haunted Bernie Sanders’ run for the Democratic nomination. It’s not his age, though at 74 he would be the oldest president in American history. And it’s not that he’s an avowed socialist, the label that a mere eight years ago was used to smear Barack Obama as a sinister, alien threat to the American way of life. Rather, it has been the so-called superdelegates: the 712 Democratic Party insiders who are free to vote at the nominating convention for the candidate of their choosing. The corporate media’s early inclusion of the superdelegates in the delegate count created the impression of an inevitable Clinton nomination. Seventy-three percent of superdelegates (520 of the 712) have pledged their support to the former secretary of state, but superdelegates are free to change their minds any time before the Democratic National Convention in July." (05/16/16)

http://inthesetimes.com/features/superdelegates_bernie_sanders_hillary_clinton.html  

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