Author Archive

Trump is what you make of it

August 18, 2015
posted by

The New Republic The New Republic
by Elspeth Reeve  

"Why am I here? That was the unescapable question facing me at 8 a.m. on Monday as I joined the dozens of reporters gathered at the New York State Supreme Court in Lower Manhattan to wait for Donald Trump, Republican presidential frontrunner, to report for jury duty. There was, of course, good money to be made on the presidential campaign that is the living breathing reductio ad absurdum of the idea that the American government should be run by a businessman and like a business. Paparazzi could sell photos. The coffee cart guy could sell more coffee. A man named Joe Lepore was there to support Trump and promote his own New York sightseeing bike tour. But there were costs." (08/17/15)

http://www.newrepublic.com/article/122556/trump-what-you-make-it  

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How to add politics to our protest

August 18, 2015
posted by

The Nation The Nation
by Kate Aronoff & Max Berger  

"While the electorate is rarely excited for elections, the 2016 race takes place against the backdrop of a country on the brink of a crisis of democratic legitimacy. Congress, nominally the most important democratic institution in the country, has suffered from an approval rating averaging in the teens for more than four years. Facing a government held hostage by the 1 percent, many Americans are throwing up their hands: Turnout for the 2014 midterm elections dipped to a 72-year low. The sense that solutions won’t trickle down from Capitol Hill or the campaign trail has particular resonance with a younger generation." (08/17/15)

http://tinyurl.com/o3g7fe2  

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US unveils $5 million drive to combat rise in heroin abuse

August 18, 2015
posted by

BBC News BBC News [UK state media]    

"The U.S. government is launching a $5 million initiative to combat the use and trafficking of heroin, with a focus on prioritising treatment rather than punishment. Half of the money is to be designated for police to work side-by-side with public health officials. Fifteen states on the east coast will be targeted. The move comes in response to a sharp increase in the number of heroin cases in the US over the last decade. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported last month a rise in the number of users by 63% between 2002 and 2013. Experts say the spike is due to people using opioid painkillers who are increasingly turning to heroin as a cheaper high." [editor's note: Or, how about (1) people got hooked on Big Pharma poisons and went to heroin for withdrawal without the side effects; and/or (2) Pharma is trying to stomp out the competition from a lesser-side-effects painkiller! - SAT] (08/17/15)

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-33964832  

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The future of Europe

August 18, 2015
posted by

The American Prospect The American Prospect
by James Galbraith  

"On June 8th, I had the honor of accompanying then-Greek finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, to a private meeting in Berlin with the German finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble. The meeting began with good-humored gesture, as Herr Schäuble presented to his colleague a handful of chocolate Euros, 'for your nerves.' Yanis shared these around, and two weeks later I had a second honor, which was to give my coin to a third (ex-)finance minister, Professor Giuseppe Guarino, dean of constitutional scholars and the author of a striking small book on the European treaties and the Euro." (08/14/15)

http://prospect.org/article/future-europe  

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Report: Saturn’s “F-Ring” likely formed after “mini-moon” collision

August 18, 2015
posted by

Raw Story Raw Story    

"An enigmatic ring of icy particles circling Saturn, herded into a narrow ribbon by two tiny moons, was probably born of a cosmic collision, according to a study published Monday. The so-called 'F ring,' some 140,000 kilometres (87,000 miles) beyond the sixth planet from the Sun, orbits at the border between Saturn’s other rings and several moons. Further toward Saturn, millions of ice blocks populating the planet’s haunting halos are prevented from cohering into moons by its powerful tidal forces. Further out are Saturn’s main moons, distant enough to have cohered into spheres with their own gravity: Mimas, Enceladus and Titan, which is the only moon in our Solar System with a substantial atmosphere." (08/17/15)

http://tinyurl.com/pktr6jj  

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How to win gay rights with grace

August 18, 2015
posted by

USA Today USA Today
by Tom Krattenmaker  

"The gay rights movement and those of us who support it have a decision to make now that the Supreme Court has ruled and same-sex marriage is the law of the land.​ One possible course of action: a mop-up operation whereby the victorious forces seek out and eliminate the holdouts, such as conservative Christian bakers who refuse to bake for wedding-bound gay people. Another course of action -- call it 'live and let live' -- suggests a more finessed approach, one by which same-sex couples take their business elsewhere when that is a practical option, as it so often is. Here’s a vote for the latter." [editor's note: Good for him for saying it out loud and on paper - SAT] (08/17/15)

http://tinyurl.com/o3xa8jh  

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Medical scope makers cited for safety lapses

August 18, 2015
posted by

USA Today USA Today    

"Federal regulators have found safety violations in the manufacturing practices of all three companies producing a specialized medical scope that has been linked to deadly superbug outbreaks at U.S. hospitals -- a precursor to possible legal action against the firms. The Food and Drug Administration revealed Monday that it issued warning letters Aug. 12 to Olympus, Pentax and FujiFilm for violating an array of manufacturing and quality control standards meant to ensure the safety of their duodenoscopes. The FDA also cited Olympus and Pentax for failing to properly notify the agency after the companies learned that infections had been linked to their scopes. Additionally, the agency raised concerns that FujiFilm and Pentax may not have obtained proper regulatory clearance for their duodenoscopes before putting them on the market -- a problem for which Olympus, which makes about 85% of the duodenoscopes on the U.S. market, already has been cited." (08/17/15)

http://tinyurl.com/qxyqghr  

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Researchers wrong about private guns, police deaths

August 18, 2015
posted by

Fox News Fox News Forum
by John R Lott  

"Between 1996 and 2013, 991 police officers have been killed in the line of duty. These public servants put their lives on the line to protect Americans. Their deaths should concern everyone, including public health researchers. But researchers’ dislike of guns may be clouding their judgment, and a new study, which claims that more police were feloniously killed in states with more guns, mistakenly concludes that private gun ownership causes police deaths. The study, which was announced last week and is forthcoming in the American Journal of Public Health, received extensive national and international news coverage. But if the researchers hadn’t left out controls used by everyone else for this type of empirical work, they would have gotten the opposite results from what they claimed. Previous research has done just that. And it has found that concealed handgun permits lead to fewer police deaths. The authors offered no explanation for the new study’s unorthodox approach." (08/17/15)

http://tinyurl.com/q5ouejr  

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California measure fails to create green jobs

August 18, 2015
posted by

San Francisco Chronicle San Francisco Chronicle    

"Three years after California voters passed a ballot measure to raise taxes on corporations and generate clean-energy jobs by funding energy-efficiency projects in schools, barely one-tenth of the promised jobs have been created, and the state has no comprehensive list to show how much work has been done or how much energy has been saved. Money is trickling in at a slower-than-anticipated rate, and more than half of the $297 million given to schools so far has gone to consultants and energy auditors. The board created to oversee the project and submit annual progress reports to the Legislature has never met, according to a review by The Associated Press. Voters in 2012 approved the Clean Energy Jobs Act by a large margin, closing a tax loophole for multistate corporations. The Legislature decided to send half the money to fund clean energy projects in schools, promising to generate more than 11,000 jobs each year." (08/07/15)

http://tinyurl.com/qcap3en  

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The fraud of the new “family-friendly” work

August 18, 2015
posted by

Robert Reich Our Future
by Robert Reich  

"Netflix just announced it’s offering paid leave to new mothers and fathers for the first year after the birth of adoption of a child. Other high-tech firms are close behind. Some big law firms are also getting into the act. Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe is offering 22 paid weeks off for both male and female attorneys. Even Wall Street is taking baby steps in the direction of family-friendly work. Goldman Sachs just doubled paid parental leave to four weeks. All this should be welcome news. Millennials now constitute the largest segment of the American work force. Many are just forming families, so the new family-friendly policies seem ideally timed. But before we celebrate the dawn of a new era, keep two basic truths in mind." [editor's note: Read on to see what those "two basic truths" are, but not with a liquid in your mouth - SAT] (08/17/15)

http://tinyurl.com/o6zmlsq  

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How can we fight currency manipulation to regain jobs?

August 17, 2015
posted by

Dave Johnson Our Future
by Dave Johnson  

"China had been setting a too-low exchange rate for their currency, thereby exporting unemployment. Then early this week their bank made a move and the currency plunged. The next day another plunge, then another. China declared this was because they are allowing their currency to move toward market rates. Others said this was evidence of manipulation because a 'weak' currency makes goods from China cost less in world markets. China then raised the 'reference rate,' stopping the plunge (for now). So is China setting the rate or are they letting 'the market' set the rate? And since a low Chinese currency rate takes business away from the United States, what can we do about it?" (08/14/15)

http://tinyurl.com/p4hul79  

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Why we disagree with Chuck Schumer on the Iran deal

August 17, 2015
posted by

Reuters Reuters
by Richard Lugar & J Bennett Johnston  

"Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), a key voice in the Democratic Party leadership, has announced that he will not support the international agreement designed to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. We realize that all senators must balance their concerns about the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action against the consequences for the United States if Washington rejects it. We just do not agree with how the senator balances up the account. Here’s why: Schumer’s explanation did not go into his views on the consequences of rejection." (08/14/15)

http://tinyurl.com/otodyly  

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“Yes means yes” rape policy under fire from judges

August 17, 2015
posted by

Fox News Fox News    

"Judges across the country are saying 'no' to the 'yes means yes' standard of affirmative consent for date rape. The legality of the standard (adopted on California and New York campuses by state legislatures and in effect on numerous other colleges throughout the country) is in question following a series of recent rulings that cite a lack of due process. 'These decisions are harbingers,' said John Banzhaf, a professor at George Washington University Law School and a public interest lawyer. 'It does take time for new ideas to percolate through the system.' Under the standard, the accused, typically a male, has to prove he obtained consent, even if neither party remembers what happened. The standard forces the accused to prove his innocence, rather than be proven guilty." [editor's note: Is the NFL aware of this? - SAT] (08/16/15)

http://tinyurl.com/qdsew7p  

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Huckabee: Ten-year-old rape victim must to carry rapist’s baby

August 17, 2015
posted by

Raw Story Raw Story    

"Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee argued over the weekend that a 10-year-old girl should have been forced to carry her pregnancy to term after she was raped. During an interview on Sunday, CNN host Dana Bash asked the GOP candidate if he would refuse an abortion to a 10-year-old girl in Paraguay, who was allegedly raped by her stepfather. 'Creating one problem that is horrible -- let nobody be misled, a 10-year-old girl being raped is horrible,' Huckabee said, 'but does it solve a problem by taking the life of an innocent child?'" [editor's note: Is he really this stupid? - SAT] [additional editor's note: I resent the implication that the non-aggression principle is stupid - TLK] (08/16/15)

http://tinyurl.com/pghhjro  

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Fast moving bad news builds prosperity

August 17, 2015
posted by

USA Today USA Today
by Glenn Harlan Reynolds  

"Nassim Nicholas Taleb recently tweeted: 'The free-market system lets you notice the flaws and hides its benefits. All other systems hide the flaws and show the benefits.' This drew a response: 'The most valuable property of the price mechanism is as a reliable mechanism for delivering bad news.' These two statements explain a lot about why socialist systems fail pretty much everywhere but get pretty good press, while capitalism has delivered a truly astounding results but is constantly besieged by detractors. It is simple really: When the 'Great Leader' builds a new stadium, everyone sees the construction. Nobody sees the more worthwhile projects that didn’t get done instead because the capital was diverted, through taxation, from less visible but possibly more worthwhile ventures: a thousand tailor shops, bakeries or physician offices." (08/16/15)

http://tinyurl.com/nsrxfum  

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Hidden damage revealed in veterans’ brains

August 17, 2015
posted by

Reuters Reuters    

"Professor Vassili Koliatsos and his team at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, believe they may have found the signature of 'shell shock' in the brains of war veterans. Shell shock has afflicted soldiers since WWI ... but it is a phenomenon that is still poorly understood. Professor Koliatsos believes scientists may soon be able to answer that question. His team has found what they call a unique honeycomb pattern of broken and swollen nerve fibers in brains of Iraq and Afghanistan combat veterans exposed to IED blasts but who later died of other causes. They compared these brains to 24 other people who died of causes such as car accidents, drug overdoses and heart attacks. The honeycomb pattern, Koalitis says, was caused by the FORCE of the blast." (08/13/15)

http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/08/13/us-usa-veterans-brains-idUSKCN0QI21I20150813  

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Australia: Gay marriage bill introduced to parliament

August 17, 2015
posted by

BBC News BBC News [UK state media]    

"A controversial bill to legalise same-sex marriage has been introduced to the Australian parliament. The private member's bill comes amid heated debate among government MPs about whether to change the law or put the matter to a plebiscite.The government's official position is that marriage should only be between a man and a woman. Prime Minister Tony Abbott has denied government MPs a free vote on any bill legalising same-sex marriage. The bill allows couples, regardless of 'sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or intersex status' to marry." (08/16/15)

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-33955375  

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Plummeting oil prices might be good news for the planet

August 17, 2015
posted by

The Nation The Nation
by Michael T Klare  

"The plunge of global oil prices began in June 2014, when benchmark Brent crude was selling at $114 per barrel. It hit bottom at $46 this January, a near-collapse widely viewed as a major but temporary calamity for the energy industry. Such low prices were expected to force many high-cost operators, especially American shale oil producers, out of the market, while stoking fresh demand and so pushing those numbers back up again. When Brent rose to $66 per barrel this May, many oil industry executives breathed a sigh of relief. The worst was over. The price had 'reached a bottom' and it 'doesn’t look like it is going back,' a senior Saudi official observed at the time." (08/14/15)

http://tinyurl.com/opc9x83  

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Notable Mississippians join chorus to change state flag

August 17, 2015
posted by

San Francisco Chronicle San Francisco Chronicle    

"Jimmy Buffett, John Grisham, Morgan Freeman and former New Orleans Saints quarterback Archie Manning are among famous current and former Mississippi residents asking the state to remove the Confederate battle emblem from its flag. The famed musician, author, actor and athlete joined 60 others in signing a letter titled 'A Flag for All of Us,' that appeared as a full-page ad in Sunday's edition of The Clarion-Ledger. 'It is simply not fair, or honorable, to ask black Mississippians to attend schools, compete in athletic events, work in the public sector, serve in the National Guard, and go about their normal lives with a state flag that glorifies a war fought to keep their ancestors enslaved,' the letter states." (08/16/15)

http://tinyurl.com/qy2mayj  

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In wake of Proposition 47, California sees a crime wave

August 17, 2015
posted by

Debra J. Saunders Town Hall
by Debra J Saunders  

"'The Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act' isn't living up to its promise. Also known as Proposition 47, the California ballot initiative, which was approved in November 2014 with 60 percent of the vote, downgraded drug possession and many property crimes from a felony to a misdemeanor. Proponents argued that lesser punishment for low-level offenders would enhance public safety. San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon was the rare prosecutor who pushed for its approval." [editor's note: I'm not sure we have a clear cause-effect here, since there are so many other factors leading people to steal to survive - SAT] (08/16/15)

http://tinyurl.com/pg2b3bd  

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Even Koch brothers want an end to corporate welfare

August 16, 2015
posted by

David Sirota In These Times
by David Sirota  

"Earlier this month, billionaire Charles Koch had a surprising message: In a speech to his fellow conservatives, he said politicians must end taxpayer-funded subsidies and preferential treatment for corporations. Why is this surprising? Because the demand came from an industrialist whose company and corporate subsidiaries have raked in tens of millions of dollars worth of such subsidies. The Koch-organized conference at a luxury resort in Southern California reportedly attracted roughly 450 conservative donors who have committed to spending nearly $900 million on the 2016 presidential election." (08/14/15)

http://inthesetimes.com/article/18312/koch-brothers-corporate-welfare  

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Fox: Real journalism, fair and balanced

August 12, 2015
posted by

Debra J. Saunders Town Hall
by Debra J Saunders  

"'Conservatives Furious at Fox, Say Trump Wasn't Treated Fairly,' read the Newsmax headline Friday. Talk-radio show host Mark Levin told Breitbart News it was 'outrageous' that moderator Megyn Kelly questioned Donald Trump about his coarse language -- 'fat pigs, dogs, slobs' -- referring to women. Levin complained it was 'a National Enquirer debate, not a Republican debate,' with too much 'opposition research.' Political analyst Dick Morris detected a 'disturbing' trend at Fox. ... So this is what happens when Trump meets up with the 'news' part of Fox News. Conservatives frequently complain about liberal media bias. Then they complain when conservative media practice journalism." [editor's note: Though I don't buy Faux Snooze in general, this analysis is spot-on as usual - SAT] (08/11/15)

http://tinyurl.com/neqamuk  

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Where did the antiwar movement go?

August 12, 2015
posted by

The Nation The Nation
by Tom Engelhardt  

"Let me tell you a story about a moment in my life I’m not likely to forget even if, with the passage of years, so much around it has grown fuzzy. It involves a broken-down TV, movies from my childhood, and a war that only seemed to come closer as time passed. My best guess: it was the summer of 1969. I had dropped out of graduate school where I had been studying to become a China scholar and was then working as a 'movement' printer -- that is, in a print shop that produced radical literature, strike posters, and other materials for activists. It was, of course, 'the Sixties,' though I didn’t know it then. Still, I had somehow been swept into a new world remarkably unrelated to my expected life trajectory -- and a large part of the reason for that was the Vietnam War." (08/11/15)

http://www.thenation.com/article/where-did-the-antiwar-movement-go  

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Trump indicts America’s ruling class

August 12, 2015
posted by

USA Today USA Today
by Glenn Harlan Reynolds  

"Watching the Donald Trump kerfuffle from across the Atlantic, British journalist Milo Yiannopoulos tweeted: 'Republicans smugly predicting Trump will fail from self-inflicted wounds don’t see what a stunning admission of their own failure that is.' He’s right. The rise (and, for that matter, the fall, if fall it is) of Trump is an indictment of the GOP establishment and, for that matter, of the American political establishment in general. And that failure bodes poorly for the future, regardless of what happens to Trump." [editor's note: The spectator sport continues, and a ruling class member is now seen as its biggest critic - SAT] (08/09/15)

http://tinyurl.com/pxpl5u7  

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The politics of virtual reality

August 11, 2015
posted by

The American Prospect The American Prospect
by Fred Turner  

"In March 2014, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg paid $2 billion to acquire a tiny, two-year-old Silicon Valley start-up called Oculus. The company has one major product: the Rift, a virtual reality headset the size of a pair of ski goggles. Like all such headsets, the Rift covers the eyes and, with the aid of earphones, generates sounds and images that users perceive as three-dimensional and concrete, as if they were reality. What makes the Rift special is its size. Earlier headsets were as big as brass diving helmets. They had to be worn in special rooms where they could be tethered by heavy cables to banks of computers. The Rift, which is about to enter the mass market, promises to be the equivalent of an individual scuba tank. Wearing it, users should soon be able to swim freely through formerly two-dimensional media in the comfort of their own homes." (08/11/15)y

http://prospect.org/article/politics-virtual-realit  

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