Author Archive

Report: Ukraine to launch “anti-terror operation”

April 14, 2014
posted by

Fox News    

"Ukraine's acting president said the country will launch a 'large-scale anti-terrorist operation' to resist Russia's aggression. Oleksandr Turchynov said in a live televised address from the parliament that authorities in Kiev will not allow the 'repetition of the Crimean scenario.' Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula last month after local residents voted overwhelming to secede from Ukraine and seek to join Russia in a hastily called referendum." (04/12/14)

http://tinyurl.com/pxqf8pp  

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Mozillagate: Brandon Eich & rightwing hypocrisy

April 14, 2014
posted by

The Nation
by Michelle Goldberg  

"[T]here is a credible if not entirely convincing liberal argument against Eich’s forced resignation. Most of us do not want to live in a world where donations to unpopular causes can be used against us at work. ... At the same time, though, a CEO is not an ordinary employee -- he or she is a leader and a symbol. If employees believe that their leader disdains their families and rejects their values, it damages morale. If a CEO comes to symbolize ideas that are anathema to customers and collaborators, it impedes growth. ... Pushing him out was, in the end, a business decision." [editor's note: A surprisingly good analysis of this issue at its deeper roots - SAT] (04/11/14)

http://tinyurl.com/newrkqe  

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Pulitzers: Greenwald/Snowden “most appropriate choice”

April 14, 2014
posted by

Raw Story    

"Hero or traitor? America is still polarized over Edward Snowden and whether the newspapers that exposed the extent of NSA's vast global spying network should be lauded or condemned. Ten months later, the question on journalists' lips is whether America's most prestigious journalism prize, the Pulitzers, will honor them when the annual awards are announced Monday. For most journalists, there is no debate." (04/13/14)

http://tinyurl.com/pvk95ek  

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Government can’t say no

April 14, 2014
posted by

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

"The Social Security Disability Insurance Program is in big trouble. In 2016, the program's trust fund is expected to run out of money. When that happens, there will be 'large across-the-board cuts for all beneficiaries,' warn Rep. Jackie Speier, the ranking Democrat, and James Lankford, Republican chairman of the House subcommittee that oversees entitlements. Those cuts will be painful for the 'truly disabled,' whom the system originally was designed to serve. Washington has a choice to make: provide for the truly disabled ... or the newly disabled." (04/11/14)

http://tinyurl.com/q4koxsm  

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UN decree: World must end “dirty” fuel use

April 14, 2014
posted by

BBC News [UK state media]    

"A long-awaited UN report on how to curb climate change says the world must rapidly move away from carbon-intensive fuels. There must be a 'massive shift' to renewable energy, says the 33-page study released in Berlin. It has been finalized after a week of negotiations between scientists and government officials. Natural gas is seen as a key bridge to move energy production away from oil and coal." (04/12/14)

http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-27008352  

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The EU-US love-hate relationship

April 14, 2014
posted by

Reuters
by Nicholas Wapshott  

"The elaborate gavotte between the American and European economies continues. While the Federal Reserve has begun to wind down its controversial quantitative easing (QE) program, the European Central Bank (ECB) the federal reserve of the eurozone, has announced it is considering a QE program of its own. It is a belated acknowledgement, if not an outright admission, from Mario Draghi, president of the ECB, that five years of the European Union’s austerity policy has failed to lift the eurozone nations out of the economic mire." (04/11/14)

http://tinyurl.com/q3r6mfp  

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How John Paul Stevens would amend the Constitution

April 13, 2014
posted by

The American Prospect
by Scott Lemieux  

"What made John Paul Stevens's contributions in his 35 years on the Supreme Court so invaluable was not just the votes he cast but his fiercely intelligent idiosyncrasies. ... So it's gratifying that Stevens has not retired in silence, instead providing valuable commentary on constitutional controversies including the right to vote and the American criminal justice system. Stevens's new book, Six Amendments: How and Why We Should Change the Constitution, represents another valuable and accessible contribution to the country's constitutional discourse." [editor's note: Regular readers of this blogsite know at times I don't fully endorse the ideas I post here; this is one of thoses times - bleh! - SAT] (04/11/14)

http://tinyurl.com/nz88pmk  

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Shorter prison sentences for US drug offenders recommended

April 13, 2014
posted by

Reuters    

"Up to 70 percent of all federal drug offenses could carry shorter prison sentences if the recommendation passed on Thursday by an agency that advises U.S. federal judges on sentencing is not opposed by Congress. The U.S. Sentencing Commission's recommendation reflects a policy supported by the Obama administration to bring punishments for low-level drug offenders in line with the severity of their crime. Some Republicans in Congress say more lenient sentences would reverse the drop in crime the United States has seen over recent decades." (04/13/14)

http://tinyurl.com/puwoguv  

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The three lessons of Sebelius

April 13, 2014
posted by

Our Future
by Bill Scher  

"Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will finish her five-year tenure having implemented the biggest expansion of health insurance in 50 years. What should we learn from her success story? Three key lessons: 1. Don’t Panic ... 2. Ignore Pundits ... 3. Never Give Up ..." [editor's note: I'll let the readers decide whether this analysis has any value; I give it a 65 for the "good beat you can dance to" - SAT] (04/11/14)

http://tinyurl.com/ob9mvp2  

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Qatar makes room for displaced Syrian students

April 13, 2014
posted by

Christian Science Monitor    

"On the outskirts of Doha in the neighborhood of Al Duhail, a weathered Free Syria flag flaps in the breeze. Inside a high-walled compound, Abdulqader al-Khatib sits with perfect posture behind his wooden desk. He is the principal of a new school in a dusty quarter most Qataris never visit, where 600 Syrian students are trying to restart their lives. While Qatar has embraced the effort to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, it is less keen to take in Syrian refugees. Most of the 2.5 million Syrians fleeing the conflict are in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, and Iraq. Far fewer have made it to wealthy Gulf states like Qatar, Kuwait, or Saudi Arabia." (04/13/14)

http://tinyurl.com/qhgkpkw  

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Corruption in the Windy City

April 13, 2014
posted by

In These Times
by David Sirota  

In America, there is regular ol' corruption, and then there is Chicago Corruption, with a capital 'C.' America's third largest city is so notoriously corrupt, all you have to do is say 'Chicago politics' and many people instantly start making jokes about payoffs and reciting lines from 'The Untouchables.' Yet, while the Windy City's brand of corruption is extreme, it is also emblematic, as a recent spate of revelations prove." (04/11/14)

http://tinyurl.com/nuvc7lw  

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The GOP’s legacy underdog

April 11, 2014
posted by

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

"Barbara Bush was right when she pooh-poohed son Jeb's interest in running for the White House in 2016. Forget political dynasties (Bushes, Kennedys and ... yes, Clintons) the former first lady told NBC last year, 'We've had enough Bushes.' She also said: 'There are a lot of great families, and it's not just four families or whatever.' Listen to your mother, Jeb. Heed her words well, Hillary. My sweetest dream for 2016 would be for a bipartisan pact: that 2016 will not be a sequel to the 1992 Bush-Clinton face-off. Is it a deal, Dems? I won't vote for Bush if you won't vote for the better half of the 1992 Democratic pick." (04/10/14)

http://tinyurl.com/lrr7fk7  

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Behind Wall Street’s anxiety

April 11, 2014
posted by

Reuters
by Anatole Kaletsky  

"The recent economic news has been about as investor-friendly as anyone could imagine. It started with last week’s strong U.S. employment figures; continued through Tuesday’s reassuring International Monetary Fund forecasts, which put the probability of avoiding a global recession this year to 99.9 percent, and culminated in dovish Federal Reserve minutes, which soothed concerns about an earlier than expected increase in U.S. interest rates. Considering all this good news, investors could justifiably feel surprised (even shocked) by Wall Street’s sharp falls this week." (04/10/14)

http://tinyurl.com/l2uqvc2  

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CA: Schoolkids compare MLK to Mumia Abu-Jamal

April 11, 2014
posted by

Fox News    

"A lesson plan asking students to draw parallels between late civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. and convicted cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal is an 'absolute disgrace,' the widow of the fallen officer told FoxNews.com. Maureen Faulkner, whose husband Daniel was gunned down in Philadelphia on Dec. 9, 1981, said the latest effort to glorify Abu-Jamal’s past using a lesson plan posted on the Oakland (Calif.) Unified School District’s website is akin to advocating violence to young students." (04/10/14)

http://tinyurl.com/l6ng2db  

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Test season reveals America’s biggest failures

April 11, 2014
posted by

Our Future
by Jeff Bryant  

"It’s testing season in America, and regardless of how the students do, it’s clear who is already flunking the exams. Last week in New York, new standardized tests began rolling out across the state, and tens of thousands of families said 'no dice.' According to local news sources, over 33,000 students skipped the tests -- a figure 'that will probably rise.' At one Brooklyn school, so many parents opted their students out of the tests the teachers were told they were no longer needed to proctor the exams." (04/10/14)

http://tinyurl.com/n2ru8ek  

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Report: USAID put political satire into Cuban social media program

April 11, 2014
posted by

San Francisco Chronicle    

"Draft messages produced for a Twitter-like service in Cuba that the U.S. government secretly funded were overtly political, documents obtained by the Associated Press show, even though the Obama administration has said the program had a more neutral purpose. The early messages poked fun at the Castro government and were created by a political satirist working for the social media project. Those messages conflict with the U.S. government's earlier assertions that its program didn't promulgate political content." [editor's note: That's funnier than the exploding cigar they gave Castro! - SAT] (04/10/14)

http://tinyurl.com/n5wqmqm  

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Barbara Ehrenreich on science vs. mysticism

April 11, 2014
posted by

In These Times    

"Barbara Ehrenreich is not the writer you would expect to publish a memoir about 'mystical experiences' from her youth. ... But in her new book, Living With a Wild God: A Nonbeliever’s Search for the Truth About Everything, Ehrenreich takes us through her teenage years via a journal that she withheld from the Harvard archive that contains her papers. ... [T]hroughout her teens she had uncanny dissociative experiences that culminated, on the drive back from a ski trip to Mammoth Mountain, CA, in May of 1959, in 'an event so strange, so cataclysmic, that I never in all the intervening years wrote or spoke about it' ... a 'furious encounter with a living substance that was coming at me through all things at once.'" (04/10/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mlvtvou  

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China: The princeling of private equity

April 11, 2014
posted by

Reuters    

"The 28-year-old wears black-framed glasses perched on cheeks still round with youth. A discerning eye might notice the resemblance to his grandfather: former Chinese president and Communist Party leader Jiang Zemin. Alvin Jiang has a knack for landing lucrative deals in China, the world's biggest emerging market for private equity. He is a founding partner at Hong Kong-based Boyu Capital, now one of the hottest firms in China. Boyu has attracted high-profile investors such as Asia's richest man, Li Ka-shing, and Singapore's sovereign wealth fund, Temasek Holdings Private Limited." (04/10/14)

http://tinyurl.com/losvsrt  

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Why I’m too scared to do my taxes

April 11, 2014
posted by

John Stossel Fox News Forum
by John Stossel  

"It's tax time. I'm too scared to do my taxes. I'm sure I'll get something wrong and my enemies in government will persecute -- no, I mean prosecute -- me. So I hired Bob. Bob's my accountant. I like Bob, but I don't like that I have to have an accountant. I don't want to spend time keeping records and talking to Bob about boring things I don't understand, and I really don't want to pay Bob. But I have to. What a waste. Once, I calculated what I could do with the money I give Bob. I could have a fancy dinner out 200 times. I could buy a motorcycle. I could take a cruise ship all the way from New York to Venice, Italy, and back." (04/09/14)

http://tinyurl.com/osl93ng  

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Can Russia’s military fly without Ukraine’s parts?

April 10, 2014
posted by

Christian Science Monitor    

"Russia's sleek new military machine, currently poised on Ukraine's eastern borders, has a problem: It runs on components produced in Ukraine, which are still being delivered by Ukrainian companies. And now, Ukraine's beleaguered interim government is warning that it might call a halt to all arms supplies to Russia: 'Manufacturing products for Russia that will later be aimed against us would be complete insanity,' Vitaliy Yarema, Kiev's first deputy prime minister, said." (04/10/14)

http://tinyurl.com/l6nulrs  

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Can Al Jazeera America save Cable News?

April 10, 2014
posted by

The Nation
by Reed Richardson  

"After a recent Friday taping, the staff of the Al Jazeera America news discussion show The Stream gathered for a brief postmortem. Standing around the orange L-shaped couch that functions as the newsroom’s public square, co-hosts Wajahat Ali and Lisa Fletcher, executive producer Jennifer Salan and a few others began to run through an obviously familiar agenda. In a matter of minutes, they deconstructed that night’s show (featuring a debate about regulating e-cigarettes) and tallied up the good and the bad of the cable news they’d just produced." (04/08/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mqj8k6n  

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HHS secretary Kathleen Sebelius resigning

April 10, 2014
posted by

BBC News [UK state media]    

"US health secretary Kathleen Sebelius is resigning following the problematic launch of President Barack Obama's healthcare law, US media report. The law (regarded by the president's supporters as one of his main domestic achievements) has been marked by early technical problems and delays. Ms Sebelius has been health secretary since Mr Obama took office in 2009. The reports say Mr Obama will nominate Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the current budget director, to replace her." [editor's note: Rat ... ship - SAT] (04/10/14)

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-26981580  

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Fed regulators to banks: Deal with “Heartbleed” risk

April 10, 2014
posted by

Raw Story    

"U.S. financial regulators on Thursday told banks to upgrade their systems as soon as possible if they are vulnerable to the recently uncovered 'Heartbleed' bug, which exposes data to hackers. The Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council, an interagency group that includes the Federal Reserve and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp, said banks also should set up temporary patches for any systems using the Web encryption program known as OpenSSL and warn their outside service providers to take action." (04/10/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mppxm7n  

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Elizabeth Warren has lesson for Democrats

April 10, 2014
posted by

The Nation
by John Nichols  

"There is no question that the senator from Massachusetts shamed the congressman from Wisconsin. One report was headlined: 'Elizabeth Warren schools Paul Ryan on poverty in 80 seconds.' Another announced: 'Elizabeth Warren Picks A Fight With Paul Ryan.' Still another reported: 'Elizabeth Warren Slams Paul Ryan On Inner City Culture Comment.' All true. All accurate." [editor's note: I'm still trying to figure out how much to fear this one's prospects; so far, I'd say she's at least marginally less horrid than Hillary (but then I thought that about Obombya, back in 2008) - SAT] (04/09/14)

http://tinyurl.com/nqjp2ys  

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The end of the “ick factor?”

April 10, 2014
posted by

The American Prospect
by Paul Waldman  

"Let it not be said that conservatives have failed to evolve on the question of gay rights. These days, even if you are adamantly opposed to marriage equality, you're required to express a kind of [civil] libertarian attitude toward homosexuality itself. Love the sinner, hate the sin? Not anymore. Now it's love the sinner, and as for the sin, well that's none of my business, you do what you like. ... I give you Mike Huckabee, speaking yesterday at the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition: 'I'm not against anybody. I'm really not. I'm not a hater. I'm not homophobic,' he said. 'I honestly don't care what people do personally in their individual lives.'" (04/09/14)

http://prospect.org/article/end-ick-factor  

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