Author Archive

Austria passes controversial new asylum law

April 27, 2016
posted by

BBC News BBC News [UK state media]    

"Austria has passed a controversial new law that restricts the right of asylum and allows most claimants to be rejected directly at the border. Rights groups say the law undermines the principle of protection from war and persecution. It comes days after Austria's far-right came top in the first round of a presidential election. Austrian officials say they are also considering building a fence at the main border crossing with Italy." (04/27/16)

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-36152927  

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Sanders lays off hundreds of staffers as he weighs Plan B

April 27, 2016
posted by

USA Today USA Today    

"The results of Tuesday's five Democratic presidential primaries will almost certainly force Sen. Bernie Sanders to acknowledge a hard reality -- it's time for Plan B. Sanders hasn’t said whether he has a strategy for changing the focus of his campaign, and he insisted at an Indiana rally on Wednesday that he's still in the race against Hillary Clinton to win the nomination. But he laid off more than 200 staffers on Wednesday and began talking about what will happen 'if we do not win.' He said at the rally he intends to win every delegate possible so he'll have enough votes at the Democratic Party's national convention in July to put together 'the strongest progressive agenda that any political party has ever seen.'" (04/27/16)

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/elections/2016/04/27/plan-b-sanders-make-democratic-party-platform-more-progressive/83558806  

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Elon Musk’s SpaceX breaks Boeing-Lockheed monopoly

April 27, 2016
posted by

Raw Story Raw Story    

"The U.S. Air Force on Wednesday awarded billionaire Elon Musk’s SpaceX an $83 million contract to launch a GPS satellite, breaking the monopoly that Lockheed Martin Corp and Boeing Co have held on military space launches for more than a decade. The Global Positioning System satellite will be launched in May 2018 from Florida, Air Force officials said. The fixed-price award is the military’s first competitively sourced launch service contract in more than a decade. It ends the exclusive relationship between the military and United Launch Alliance, a partnership of Lockheed Martin and Boeing. ULA did not compete for the GPS launch contract, citing accounting issues, implications of trade sanctions limiting imports of its rockets’ Russian-made engines and, according to a former ULA vice president, SpaceX’s cut-rate pricing." (04/27/16)

http://www.rawstory.com/2016/04/elon-musks-spacex-breaks-boeing-lockheed-monopoly-on-military-space-launches  

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Opioid overdose rate drops in medical marijuana states

April 27, 2016
posted by

San Francisco Chronicle Smell the Truth    

"Medical marijuana may serve as a non-fatal alternative to prescription opioids when it comes to chronic pain management, according to some health experts. In a New York Times opinion piece, medical researcher Colleen Barry posits that while the rise in opioid prescriptions has mirrored the expansion of medical marijuana laws, only states with such laws in place saw a dramatic reduction in overdoses related to prescribed painkillers" (04/27/16)

http://blog.sfgate.com/smellthetruth/2016/04/27/opioid-overdose-rate-drops-in-medical-marijuana-states  

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Report: More than half a million boycotting Target over transgender bathroom policy

April 26, 2016
posted by

USA Today USA Today    

"A conservative Christian activist group has gained more than half a million signatures and counting from people pledging to boycott Target over its transgender bathroom policy. The petition started by the American Family Association on Wednesday raises concerns that Target's inclusive stance on transgender rights encourages sexual predators and puts women and young girls in danger, because 'a man can simply say he 'feels like a woman today' and enter the women's restroom.' The boycott has more than 517,000 signatures as of Monday afternoon, marking it as one of AFA's most popular campaigns." [editor's note: I just wonder what the PTB will do if they ever fail to find one of these manufactured issues to deflect people into fear with - SAT] (04/25/16)

http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2016/04/25/conservative-christian-group-boycotting-target-transgender-bathroom-policy/83491396  

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What good are hedge funds?

April 26, 2016
posted by

The American Prospect The American Prospect
by David Dayen  

"In the pilot episode of the Showtime drama Billions, a CNBC host grills Bobby Axelrod (Damian Lewis), founder of the hedge fund Axe Capital, at a public forum. 'How do you respond to the criticism that hedge funds are the scavengers of the financial sector, and that a select few have undue influence on the markets?' ... 'We’re not scavengers,' Axelrod replies. 'We’re white blood cells scrubbing out bad companies, earning for our investors, preventing bubbles. A hedge fund like mine is a market regulator.' This claim invites an important debate: Do hedge funds represent an asset to the larger economy, or a menace? Do they really help make markets more efficient and transparent, or do they just exploit opportunities at the expense of other investors?" (04/25/16)

http://prospect.org/article/what-good-are-hedge-funds  

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Bigger than Bernie: Other progressives taking on Dem establishment

April 26, 2016
posted by

In These Times In These Times
by Christopher Haas  

"'Today,' Bernie Sanders booms in his monotone shout, 'we begin a political revolution to transform our country -- economically, politically, socially and environmentally.' He marks each beat with his right hand, as if conducting with an invisible baton. Behind him, a lone seagull flaps its wings as it flies across Lake Champlain. The crowd of 5,000 that has come to Burlington, Vt., on a sunny afternoon in May to witness Sanders’ official campaign announcement breaks into a cheer. ... A political revolution of that kind is going to require two things: a wave of candidates committed to a bold set of progressive ideas and a mass of voters with the political will to elect them. There’s evidence both of these are already here. Progressives are fired up here for a victory against big money. In These Times spoke to U.S. House and Senate challengers across the country who are very much a part of this wave." (04/25/16)

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

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DEA approves medical cannabis study for PTSD

April 26, 2016
posted by

San Francisco Chronicle Smell the Truth    

"Military veterans may soon find out just how effectively cannabis can treat symptoms of post-traumatic stress. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has given approval to study the effects of medical marijuana on post-traumatic stress disorder, marking the first U.S. study on PTSD that will use actual raw cannabis in its clinical trial, reports the Denver Post. According to the research’s non-profit sponsor, Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) the approval now gives researchers clearance to buy the marijuana for the study from the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA)." (04/25/16)

http://blog.sfgate.com/smellthetruth/2016/04/25/dea-approves-medical-marijuana-study-for-ptsd  

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Also recall the executive formerly known as Prince

April 26, 2016
posted by

Reuters Reuters
by Rob Cox  

"The executive formerly known as Prince deserves as much acclaim as the artist. While hits like 'Little Red Corvette' will be his lasting legacy, his high-profile battles against the music and technology establishment also presaged an era where the recording industry ceded power to musicians. Prince experimented as much with the business as he did in the studio. Born Prince Rogers Nelson, he churned out nearly 40 albums before dying at age 57 on Thursday. Since his 1978 debut 'For You,' Prince has sold more than 100 million records. He owed his start to an A&R music system that nurtured up-and-coming talents. Throughout his career, however, Prince fought to retain control over his compositions, image and even his name. The unusual pushback brought a greater balance to the business/artist dynamic well before the digital era eroded the influence of the musical-industrial complex." (04/25/16)

http://blogs.reuters.com/breakingviews/2016/04/21/also-recall-the-executive-formerly-known-as-prince  

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North Carolina LGBT law fuels demonstrations for and against

April 26, 2016
posted by

BBC News BBC News [UK state media]    

"Thousands of activists have gathered outside North Carolina's legislature as it reconvened for the first time since enacting a law criticised as anti-gay. Supporters and opponents of the bill held competing rallies outside the statehouse in Raleigh. The law invalidated several local anti-discrimination measures that protected gay and transgender people. It also requires people to use public toilets that correspond to the sex listed on their birth certificates. Major companies such as Bank of America and Apple have criticised the law. Others companies including Pay Pal and Deutsche Bank vowed to curtail their businesses in the state because of it." (04/25/16)

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-36135588  

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Mattis declines Herculean task

April 26, 2016
posted by

USA Today USA Today
by Glenn Harlan Reynolds  

"It looks like the Mattis bubble is bursting. That was probably inevitable, but it is still a bad sign. As discontent has mounted among Republicans, some have been suggesting that the party could draft an outsider as its nominee at the convention in Cleveland this summer. Some have been calling for famed (retired) Marine General James Mattis to run. Unhappiness with the idea of a Donald Trump nomination has even, according to Tim Mak in the Daily Beast, led a group of wealthy Republican donors to consider drafting Mattis to run as a third-party candidate if Trump gets the nomination. The idea isn’t that Mattis could win the nomination, but that he might win enough states to throw the election into the House of Representatives, which is what happens if no candidate gets an outright majority of the Electoral College." (04/25/16)

http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2016/04/25/james-mattis-bubble-bursting-third-party-candidate-elections-2016-column/83492328  

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Report: Chipotle’s troubles might help Panera

April 26, 2016
posted by

Reuters Reuters    

"Wall Street expects little from Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc's first-quarter results late on Tuesday as the burrito chain struggles to recover from a string of food-borne illness outbreaks. But its loss might be rival Panera Bread Co's gain. Shares of Chipotle have dropped 38 percent since August after norovirus and E.coli outbreaks at some of its outlets led to a plunge in sales for the company, which markets its food as healthier than that of rivals. It has been handing out free burritos to win back diners, but analysts still expect it to lose money in the quarter ended March 30 and the next two quarters. At least some customers steering clear of Chipotle appear to have gone over to fast-casual competitor Panera Bread, which has also increased its focus on healthy ingredients." (04/25/16)

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-chipotle-results-stocks-idUSKCN0XM28M  

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Trump’s makeover will fail

April 25, 2016
posted by

The New Republic The New Republic
by Jeet Heer  

"If Donald Trump’s political campaign ever gets re-told as an appropriately cheesy biopic, this current moment will be the crucial makeover scene, where the flawed hero finds a mentor who gives him a new polish needed to win. It’s easy to imagine how the scene would play out in an inspirational movie: The Trump campaign is in chaos as they realize he might not get a majority of delegates and his crude antics might alienate so many in the party as to hand over a contested convention to Senator Ted Cruz. As defeat looms, Trump turns to a grizzled political veteran in the form of Paul Manafort, who schools the roughhewn candidate on the necessity of being tactful. The refurbished Trump then goes on to win the Republican nomination and the general election. ... But the idea that Trump could reinvent himself mid-campaign has always been implausible." (04/22/16)

https://newrepublic.com/article/132950/trumps-makeover-will-fail  

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IL: Man sues Hastert for not paying him to keep silent on sexual abuse

April 25, 2016
posted by

Raw Story Raw Story    

"A man who accused former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert of sexual abuse filed a lawsuit on Monday claiming the once powerful conservative politician owes him $1.8 million as a part of an agreement between them to compensate him for decades of pain and suffering. The plaintiff, identified as James Doe, filed the lawsuit in Kendall County Circuit Court in northeastern Illinois, claiming Hastert owes him the unpaid portion of a $3.5 million deal they verbally agreed to in 2008. Doe said he was 14 when he was molested by Hastert, a trusted family friend, high school teacher and 'beloved coach' of the state champion wrestling team in the town of Yorkville, Illinois." (04/25/16)

http://www.rawstory.com/2016/04/illinois-man-sues-ex-house-speaker-hastert-for-not-paying-him-to-keep-silent-on-sexual-abuse  

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It’s not that Trump is unstoppable, but Republicans incapable

April 25, 2016
posted by

Our Future
by Bill Scher  

"Ted Cruz and John Kasich had finally decided to join forces and work to prevent Donald Trump from reaching a majority of delegates before the convention. On Sunday evening, each campaign released a statement saying the two campaigns will strategically deploy resources to prevent splitting the anti-Trump vote. This is in large part to avoid Kasich dragging down Cruz in Indiana, letting Trump secure a plurality and reaping the 30 delegates which go to the overall winner, as well as many of the 27 delegates determined at the congressional district level. A big Indiana win for Trump would put an outright majority of delegates bound to Trump on the first ballot within his grasp." (04/25/16)

https://ourfuture.org/20160425/its-not-that-trump-is-unstoppable-its-that-republicans-are-incapable  

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Mexico: Cartel drug war erupts in Acapulco

April 25, 2016
posted by

Fox News Fox News Latino    

"Armed men launched near-simultaneous assaults on police in the Pacific resort of Acapulco, leaving one attacker dead and an officer wounded and terrifying residents in what has become one of the world's deadliest cities. The attacks Sunday night targeted local federal police headquarters in a beachside tourist quarter and a hotel across town where many of its agents are lodged. The city's coastal boulevard was temporarily closed due to the firefight, and restaurants, bars and stores sealed their doors with customers inside to avoid getting caught up in the violence." (04/25/16)

http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/news/2016/04/25/cartel-war-erupts-in-acapulco-after-gunmen-attack-police-headquarters-hotel  

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Austria: Far right “top” in first round of presidential vote

April 25, 2016
posted by

BBC News BBC News [UK state media]    

"Austria's far-right Freedom Party candidate has come top in the first round of presidential elections, projections show. Norbert Hofer has about 36% of the votes for the mostly ceremonial role -- not enough to avoid a run-off in May. Independent contenders Alexander Van der Bellen and Irmegard Griss are fighting for second place. For the first time since World War Two, the candidates from Austria's two main parties did not make it to the run-off. Rudolf Hundstorfer from the Social Democrats and the People's Party Andreas Khol are each thought to have taken about 11% of the vote. Both parties have governed Austria for decades, either alone or in coalition." (04/24/16)

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-36124256  

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We won’t improve education by making teachers hate their jobs

April 25, 2016
posted by

Jeff Bryant Our Future
by Jeff Bryant  

"Does this sound like a place you’d like to work? The work environment is 'depressing' … 'morale is at an all-time low.' ... It feels like a lot of busy work and hoop jumping and detracts from the work.' ... 'Every move needs to be documented and noted.' ... 'We have to respond to feedback given by an administrator who did a one-minute walk through and thought they knew what was going on -- but didn’t.' ... 'There is no time for conversations' ... 'my salary has been frozen for six years' ... 'everyone feels like losers.' Probably not. But this is how classroom teachers and school principals describe what it’s like to work in public [sic] schools." [editor's note: Start by calling them "government schools" and take it from there - SAT] (04/21/16)

https://ourfuture.org/20160421/we-wont-improve-education-by-making-teachers-hate-their-jobs  

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Less name-calling, more truth in LGBT battle

April 25, 2016
posted by

USA Today USA Today
by Tom Krattenmaker  

"We need a more honest conversation about discrimination and religious freedom, wherever our sympathies lie. Only when we get clear about our intentions and their ramifications — and the other side’s, too -- will we be able to advance the debate. North Carolina Lt. Gov. Dan Forest provides a good example of how we twist the truth to minimize the offenses we perpetrate and exaggerate the affronts we face as we debate lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights and religious freedom. Forest denies any discriminatory purpose behind the controversial law recently passed in his state, which blocks cities and counties from protecting LGBT people from being fired, among other forms of discrimination, because of their sexual identity." [editor's note: In barring them from regulating private behavior, the governor & legislature may have (inadvertently?) done something good, but they also removed bans by government, which should be impartial - SAT] (04/24/16)

http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2016/04/24/lgbt-rights-bathroom-north-carolina-bill-dan-forest-religious-freedom-column/83004878  

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Report: Saudi human rights activist sentenced to nine years in prison

April 25, 2016
posted by

Fox News Fox News    

"Rights group Amnesty International says a court in Saudi Arabia has sentenced a peaceful dissident to nine years in prison and banned him from travel abroad for another nine years on charges related to his civil rights work. Issa al-Hamid is a founding member of the Saudi Association for Civil and Political Rights, known by its Arabic acronym HASEM. Several HASEM members are serving similarly lengthy jail sentences. On Sunday, Amnesty International described his sentencing as part of a wider 'ruthless onslaught against civil society' by Saudi authorities. Al-Hamid was convicted of inciting people to breach public order, insulting the judiciary, defaming the kingdom's senior religious clerics and establishing an unlicensed organization." (04/24/16)

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2016/04/24/saudi-human-rights-activist-sentenced-to-years-in-prison.html  

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Foreign bodies

April 25, 2016
posted by

The American Prospect The American Prospect
by Arthur Goldhammer  

"Resistance to the presence of Muslims in Europe is not new, but it has increased dramatically in recent months with jihadist terror attacks in Paris and Brussels, the influx of refugees and economic migrants from mostly Muslim countries, and sexual assaults by Muslim men in Cologne and other cities. Surveillance has increased, fences have gone up, and borders have been closed. These police measures reflect anxieties stirred by recent events. But a deeper unease about Europe’s relation to Islam can be seen in other, more symbolic gestures and philosophical treatises." (04/22/16)

http://prospect.org/article/foreign-bodies  

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Charles Koch: Trump’s “monstrous” plans for Muslims “reminiscent of Nazi Germany”

April 25, 2016
posted by

Raw Story Raw Story    

"Republican superdonor [sic] Charles Koch shared scathing views on Sunday of the top two candidates in the party’s presidential nominating race, saying Donald Trump and Ted Cruz had presented policy proposals that were 'reminiscent of Nazi Germany,' 'monstrous' and 'frightening.' In an exclusive interview with ABC News, Koch, the libertarian [sic] billionaire head (with his brother, David) of vast energy and manufacturing interests, was asked about a Trump proposal to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the US. Koch replied that a corollary Trump suggestion, to create databases of Muslims, was worse." [editor's note: Well, which is it? He really can't be both! - SAT] (04/24/16)

http://www.rawstory.com/2016/04/charles-koch-trumps-monstrous-plans-for-muslims-are-reminiscent-of-nazi-germany  

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Warning: Supplements and medications may not mix

April 24, 2016
posted by

USA Today USA Today    

"Americans are taking more prescription medications. They also are taking more supplements: everything from vitamin and mineral pills to fish and flax seed oils. The natural result: More are combining drugs and supplements. That may be riskier than many consumers realize. Some are risking dangerous internal bleeding by combining certain supplements with blood-thinning drugs. Others are unknowingly reducing the effectiveness of medications they take to fight cancer, control infections or prevent pregnancy." [editor's note: Actually, it should say that Pharma poisons are incompatible with natural supplements; which one would you stop taking? - SAT] (04/24/16)

http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/2016/04/24/mixing-medications-supplements-dangerous/83181520  

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Supporters could walk away from a “presidential” Trump

April 24, 2016
posted by

Reuters Reuters
by Harold Meyerson  

"The central dilemma confronting Donald Trump’s campaign is that the candidate is having an identity crisis. In his election-night speech following his victory in New York’s presidential primary, Trump was almost unrecognizable. The hair was familiar; the speech was strange. Instead of 'lyin’ Ted,' Trump talked about 'Senator Cruz.' His flights of free association seemed to have been grounded. Most remarkably, the Republican front-runner got on and off the stage in just eight minutes, the amount of time he normally lavishes on recounting his lead in the polls over his GOP opponents and fabricating the leads he claims to hold over former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the general election. The unveiling of the new model Trump was plainly a calculated effort by his new model campaign managers to win the support of the GOP delegates whose backing he’ll need if the voting at this summer’s Republican National Convention in Cleveland goes beyond one ballot." (04/22/16)

http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2016/04/22/supporters-could-walk-away-from-a-tamer-trump  

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Obama: Post-Brexit UK/US trade deal “could take a decade”

April 24, 2016
posted by

Reuters Reuters    

"Britain could have to wait a decade for a free trade deal with the United States if it votes to leave the European Union, U.S. President Barack Obama said on Sunday in his final salvo of a disputed foray into British domestic politics. Obama has spent the last three days in London urging Britons to stay in the EU as the British public prepares to vote on whether to remain a member of the bloc on June 23. He played on the two countries' close historic ties to warn that from a U.S. perspective, leaving the EU would be a mistake. 'It could be five years from now, 10 years from now before we're actually able to get something done,' Obama told the BBC when asked about the prospect of a post-Brexit trade deal." (04/24/16)

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-britain-eu-obama-comment-idUSKCN0XL05L  

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