Author Archive

NSA reform bill has gaping holes

May 22, 2015
posted by

USA Today USA Today
by Anthony D. Romero & Matt Kibbe  

"Earlier this month, a federal appeals court took a close look at the National Security Agency's collection and data-mining of Americans' phone records and concluded that the program was unlawful. Rather than stop it, however, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit noted that Section 215 of the Patriot Act, the provision the NSA relies on for the program, would sunset on June 1. So the court decided to let Congress determine whether Section 215 should die, be revised, or extended without alteration." (05/20/15)

http://tinyurl.com/letzu9l  

No Comments »

Boy Scouts’ chief: Ban on gay adults “unsustainable”

May 22, 2015
posted by

BBC News BBC News [UK state media]    

"The head of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) has said that the organisation's long-standing ban on participation by openly gay adults is unsustainable. Robert Gates said no changes would be made at the meeting, but opened the door to a future policy review. The former US Defence Secretary cited defiant chapters, possible legal challenges and other developments related to gay rights in the US. Gay rights groups have welcomed Mr Gates' comments. 'The status quo in our movement's membership standards cannot be sustained,' Robert Gates said at the group's annual meeting in Atlanta." (05/21/15)

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-32833797  

No Comments »

How austerity killed the humanities

May 21, 2015
posted by

In These Times In These Times
by Andrew Hartman  

"In the 1980s and 1990s, debates over the humanities were a major component of American political discourse. On the one side were conservative traditionalists who believed that all American college students should read the Western Canon (the greatest books of the Western mind since Aristotle) as a foundation for democratic living. On the other side were academic multiculturalists who believed that a humanities education should be more comprehensive and should thus include texts authored by minority, female, and non-western writers." [editor's note: Interesting debate, but kind of pranged by the fact that at no time in the period under discussion has anything even remotely resembling "austerity" been on the government spending table, let alone actually implemented - TLK] (05/19/15)

http://tinyurl.com/ljhjtfm  

No Comments »

Grand theft automated

May 21, 2015
posted by

The American Prospect The American Prospect
by Robert Kuttner  

"The day after the New York Times published its stunning two-part expose of labor conditions in New York City's nail salons, New York governor Andrew Cuomo, nobody's idea of a radical, discovered that he was sitting on power that he didn't know he had. Cuomo ordered a crackdown against a broad pattern of thefts of wages that were hidden in plain view, had he bothered to look. Cuomo's new efforts will collaborate with an enforcement initiative by New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, two officials who don't like each other and seldom work together." (05/18/15)

http://prospect.org/article/grand-theft-automated  

No Comments »

McDonald’s workers protest share buyback scheme

May 21, 2015
posted by

Dave Johnson Our Future Blog
by Dave Johnson  

"In April we saw the largest-ever strike against the fast-food industry. There were walkouts in 236 cities, including strikes and protests in 40 countries. Now on Wednesday we will see the largest-ever workers’ protests at the McDonald’s shareholder meeting in Oak Brook, Illinois. Workers will be protesting the stock manipulation scheme that McDonald’s’ executives are using to loot the company at the expense of its employees. It used to be illegal for a company to manipulate its stock price. Now it’s common. Instead of using profits to invest in the future, companies are paying ridiculously low wages, downsizing, outsourcing, offshoring, cutting R&D, deferring maintenance and improvements, and borrowing money and using the proceeds to purchase their own stock. Guess who gets rich when their stock goes up." (05/19/15)

http://tinyurl.com/l7adlas  

No Comments »

Singling out Stephanopoulos misses the point

May 21, 2015
posted by

USA Today USA Today
by Kirsten Powers  

"ABC News' chief anchor George Stephanopoulos has been embroiled in a scandal after he failed to disclose $75,000 in donations to the Clinton Foundation before grilling Peter Schweizer, the author of a book critical of the foundation. The former Clinton aide accused the author of having a 'partisan interest' in writing the book due in part to his four month stint as a George W. Bush speech writer. This is an open-and-shut case: Stephanopoulos should never have conducted this interview without revealing his connection to the foundation. But does anyone actually believe that had he not made the donations, the interview would have gone differently?" (05/19/15)

http://tinyurl.com/m3rpwp8  

No Comments »

Airbus A400M plane crash linked to software fault

May 21, 2015
posted by

BBC News BBC News [UK state media]    

"Investigators have found evidence a military plane crash in Spain may have been caused by software problems. The Airbus A400M crashed near Seville, on 9 May, after a failed emergency landing during its first flight. The four crew members on board were killed in the accident. A spokesman for the European planemaker told the BBC that its engineers had since discovered anomalies in the aircraft's data logs that could be relevant to the accident. It has sent out an alert to other air forces that have taken deliveries of the propeller aircraft, saying that they should carry out checks of the Electronic Control Units (ECU) on board." (05/20/15)

http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-32810273  

No Comments »

Study: Freshman year key to preventing college rape

May 21, 2015
posted by

Christian Science Monitor Christian Science Monitor    

"A study released Wednesday details the prevalence of rape experienced by first-year college women. It also shows the degree to which sexual victimization before college increases the likelihood of being raped in college. The findings can add new layers of understanding to sexual assault policies and prevention work under way on college campuses, public health experts say. They may also bolster a growing chorus of advocates who say students at much younger ages need to start learning about forging healthy relationships and standing up to cultural norms that perpetuate rape." (05/20/15)

http://tinyurl.com/ltswt9q  

No Comments »

US drug thugs assault clinics, pharmacies in “pill mill” crackdown

May 21, 2015
posted by

San Francisco Chronicle San Francisco Chronicle    

"Authorities raided medical clinics, pharmacies and other locations across the South on Wednesday as part of a Drug Enforcement Administration attempt to thwart illegal prescription drug sales. The raids in Arkansas, Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi were the latest stage of an operation launched last summer by the Drug Enforcement Administration's drug diversion unit, which has now netted 280 arrests over more than a year, including 22 doctors and pharmacists. 'We have people who have taken an oath to do no harm who are throwing that oath out the window,' DEA Special Agent in Charge Keith Brown said after the early morning raids.' [editor's note: If there is a legit purpose for this gestapo agency (not saying there is), this might be one of them - SAT] (05/20/15)

http://tinyurl.com/kcbds5l  

1 Comment »

That’s billion, with a bee: Measuring the massive cost of hive collapse

May 20, 2015
posted by

Reuters Reuters
by Amy Tennery  

"In farming, technology will only take you so far. GPS can help drive automated harvesters around the fields, satellites help to ensure the right crops get planted at the right time. But if you want your crops to grow, you’ll have to rely on something a little more old-fashioned: honey bees. And they’re dying in enormous numbers. The makers of insecticides containing neonics, Bayer and Syngenta chief among them, have a lot to lose if regulatory bodies end up siding with the environmentalists. More than 90 percent of the corn in the U.S. is treated with neonics." (05/19/15)

http://tinyurl.com/muheeve  

No Comments »

CA: CMA drops opposition to doctor-assisted suicide

May 20, 2015
posted by

Raw Story Raw Story    

"The California Medical Association on Wednesday dropped its three-decade opposition to physician-assisted suicide, possibly paving the way for already-introduced legislation that would make the practice legal for terminally ill patients in the state. The CMA said its change to neutral on the issue marked the first by a state medical association. It comes amid renewed debate over doctor-assisted suicide following the death of brain cancer patient Brittany Maynard (pictured above) last fall. The American Medical Association remains opposed to doctors participating in assisted suicide, saying in a policy statement on its website that doing so was fundamentally incompatible with a doctor’s role as a healer, would be difficult to control and posed “serious societal risks.”" (05/20/15)

http://tinyurl.com/kgf4n6q  

No Comments »

Cuba: US embassy likely to operate in “restrictive” environment

May 20, 2015
posted by

Reuters Reuters    

"A new U.S. embassy in Havana is likely to operate with controls on staff travel and other restrictions similar to those on American diplomats in other countries with authoritarian governments, Washington's chief Cuba negotiator said on Wednesday. But Assistant Secretary of State Roberta Jacobson, speaking on the eve of the latest round of talks with Cuba on restoring diplomatic ties, said Washington was determined to minimize restrictions. Thursday's talks in Washington will explore terms for reopening embassies in Havana and Washington as part of a deal to re-establish diplomatic ties announced in December by U.S. President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro. " (05/20/15)

http://tinyurl.com/n4tmm46  

No Comments »

Banking left: How the center moved after the financial crisis

May 20, 2015
posted by

The New Republic The New Republic
by Danny Vinik  

"In July 1998, Larry Summers appeared before a Senate committee to argue that a financial product, called an over-the-counter (OTC) derivative, did not need to be regulated. He said that there were only two potential reasons for financial regulation -- 'to protect retail investors from unscrupulous traders' and 'to guard against manipulation in markets' -- neither of which, Summers concluded, were applicable to OTC derivatives. Summers, who served as Treasury secretary from 1999 to 2001, eventually won the battle over derivatives regulation. Those derivatives, of course, were at the heart of the 2007/2008 financial crisis." (05/19/15)

http://tinyurl.com/ll4lj8g  

No Comments »

NY: Coors billboard brews angst after glaring error

May 20, 2015
posted by

AOL News    

"For the third time in five years, Coors beer is the brewing angst in New York. This time, though, the problem does not directly involve alcohol or ethnicity. Instead, it involves geography. Specifically, the name of one geographical location in New York that virtually everybody knows -- except, apparently, Coors. ... . Emblazoned across a billboard along the Major Deegan Expressway, near Yankee Stadium is the slogan, 'Born in the Rockies, Lives in Bronx.' Clearly, Coors had no problem with "the" when describing its manufacturing location, in the Rocky Mountains. But when it came to the location where it's attempting to sell its brew, it's another case entirely." (05/20/15)

http://tinyurl.com/kz26cwk  

No Comments »

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and the end of innocence

May 20, 2015
posted by

The Nation The Nation
by Debbie Nathan  

"In the days when Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s jury was deliberating about whether to sentence him to life in prison or death, I thought often about members of his legal team who'd worked behind the scenes: the 'mitigation specialists.' I'm a colleague of these people -- I belong to a small group of journalists who supplement our income with freelance 'mitigation' work. That means we do a special type of investigation for death-penalty cases. Our clients are accused and often, like Tsarnaev, already convicted. The prosecution paints them to the courtroom and press as monsters." (05/18/15)

http://tinyurl.com/me6vv6w  

No Comments »

A short tale of two central banks & (roughly) one inflation rate

May 20, 2015
posted by

Reuters Reuters
by Ross Finley  

"Euro zone inflation rose to zero in April from -0.1 percent and in Britain it fell to -0.1 percent from zero, the first negative reading since the 1960s. No matter what differences may exist between these two economies, and no matter how clear that inflation will soon rise because of oil prices and a lower base from which to compare any future change, nobody can dispute that is pretty much the same inflation rate. Both the European Central Bank and the Bank of England are struggling to get inflation back up to 2 percent, which they target over a longer horizon." (05/19/15)

http://tinyurl.com/mvenqj7  

No Comments »

Politicians love ribbon-cutting

May 20, 2015
posted by

USA Today USA Today
by Randal O'Toole  

"While we hear a lot about crumbling infrastructure, some of our infrastructure is actually in great shape. A close look reveals that the infrastructure that is in best condition is funded by user fees, while infrastructure that is crumbling is funded by tax dollars. This is because politicians prefer ribbons, not brooms. Ribbon-cutting projects provide more photo opportunities than do ongoing maintenance projects. And politicians make matters worse by favoring big, glitzy new projects over low-key ones that can do more at a far lower cost." (05/19/15)

http://tinyurl.com/l7fvxaq  

No Comments »

House Dems seek to ban gay “conversion therapy” nationwide

May 20, 2015
posted by

Raw Story Raw Story    

"House Democrats on Tuesday introduced legislation that would ban the discredited practice of conversion therapy, where a mental health professional attempts to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. States including California and New Jersey have enacted legislation that limits the practice, as has Washington DC, but the Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act seeks to put a federal ban on conversion therapy by blocking people from offering or marketing it as a commercial enterprise. Ted Lieu, a Democrat from California, and Suzan DelBene, a Democrat from Washington, introduced the legislation. It seeks to amend the Federal Trade Commission Act to state that the service is unfair or deceptive." (05/19/15)

http://tinyurl.com/kgg4vz5  

No Comments »

A Robin Hood tax [sic] to pay for college for all

May 20, 2015
posted by

Our Future Blog
by Emily Foster  

"In Norway, students go to college tuition-free. In Denmark, students are even paid to go to higher education. In the U.S., college students currently face more than $1.2 trillion of education debt. If the United States wants to boost its middle class and rebuild its economy, this is something that needs to change. Sen. Bernie Sanders [I-VT] understands this dilemma. Sanders met with supporters at a press conference on Capitol Hill today and introduced two bills to address it: his College for All Act and a Robin Hood Tax." [editor's note: If that label were aimed at anyone else, I might object to the comparison, but since it targets a societal segment that should mostly be doing time at this stage ... not so much - SAT] (05/19/15)

http://tinyurl.com/mmkjteg  

No Comments »

Harmful bacteria may be lurking in your single-serve coffee machine

May 20, 2015
posted by

Fox News Fox News    

"There's some bad news for coffee lovers brewing their morning joe with a single serve coffee maker. According to a swab test conducted by KDKA-TV in Pittsburgh, over 4 million colonies of harmful bacteria and mold was founding lurking in the water tank, coffee pod compartment, spout and tray on more than half of the 28 machines tested. The station says it tested eight machines in Pittsburgh and another 20 in Chicago and Dallas and found strains of bacteria like E.coli, staphylococcus, streptococcus and pseudomonas aeruginosa. 'I thought you would find something, but not something that could make us sick,' coffee machine owner Stephanie Brink told KDKA." (05/19/15)

http://tinyurl.com/l7cgv5z  

No Comments »

Cuba: US willing to change pro-democracy programs

May 20, 2015
posted by

Reuters Reuters    

"The United States on Tuesday indicated its willingness to change pro-democracy programs which it organizes in Cuba and which are condemned by Havana, removing one of the biggest impediments to restoring diplomatic ties. A senior State Department official, speaking to reporters before talks with Cuban representatives on Thursday, said the sides had narrowed differences over reopening embassies since an agreement was reached in December to renew diplomatic relations. The official said another obstacle had been removed after Cuba found a U.S. bank that would handle the accounts of a restored Cuban embassy in Washington. The official declined to name the bank." (05/19/15)

http://tinyurl.com/lk8mwv8  

No Comments »

How the bank[st]ers destroyed the dream

May 20, 2015
posted by

The American Prospect The American Prospect
by Peter Dreier  

"Between 2006 and 2012, housing prices nationwide fell by a third. Americans lost about $7 trillion in household wealth as a result of the real estate crash. Six million families lost their homes to foreclosure and short sales. ... In Other People’s Houses: How Decades of Bailouts, Captive Regulators, and Toxic Bankers Made Home Mortgages a Thrilling Business, Jennifer Taub explains how they got away with it and how this house of cards came crashing down. She names names—of greedy bankers, sleazy mortgage lenders, compliant politicians, indifferent government regulators, and occasional heroes who fought for stronger government oversight of banks and tougher consumer protections." (05/15/15)

http://prospect.org/article/how-bankers-destroyed-dream  

No Comments »

Feds: Cancer charities defrauded donors of $187 million

May 19, 2015
posted by

Christian Science Monitor Christian Science Monitor    

"Ideally, the act of giving to charity would never be marred with doubt or cynicism. But as a lawsuit filed by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) against a major network of charities demonstrates, parting with your money for any reason (even a noble one) is worth a second look. The FTC teamed with regulators from all 50 states and the District of Columbia to charge four notorious charities with defrauding donors out of a combined $187 million between 2008 and 2012. The organizations, which include Cancer Fund of America, Cancer Support Services, Children’s Cancer Fund of America, and The Breast Cancer Society, were part of a group of so-called 'sham' charities operated by founder James Reynolds Sr. and his friends and family members claiming to help cancer patients pay for things like medical equipment, pain medications, and transportation to and from chemotherapy treatments, among others." (05/19/15)

http://tinyurl.com/me6a2yn  

No Comments »

A (privatized) river runs through it

May 19, 2015
posted by

In These Times In These Times
by Kate Whittle  

"Missoula, MT, the scenic mountain town that inspired A River Runs Through It, is fighting for control of the aquifer beneath it. Citing eminent domain, Missoula sued last year to take over the local water utility, Mountain Water Company, from its corporate owner, the Carlyle Group, a global investment firm with $194 billion in assets. Standing against this multi-billion-dollar firm is the town of Missoula, with a population of 70,000 and an annual budget of about $116 million. If a district judge does not agree with Missoula's argument that it is the best manager of its own drinking water, then Carlyle can go ahead with a planned sale of Mountain Water to another multinational, the Canadian-based Algonquin Power and Utilities Corp. Arguments in the case have concluded, and a decision is expected any day." (05/19/15)

http://tinyurl.com/lfwx6fl  

No Comments »

TX: State stops cities and towns from banning fracking

May 19, 2015
posted by

BBC News BBC News [UK state media]    

"A law signed this week in Texas now prohibits cities and towns from banning fracking and other activities that harvest oil and natural gas. The law was drafted after voters in Denton, a city outside Dallas, banned 'hydraulic fracturing' locally in 2014. Fracking opponents warn that potential carcinogens used in the extraction process may contaminate groundwater. Similar bills are being considered in US states including Colorado, Ohio, Oklahoma and New Mexico. Republican Texas Governor Greg Abbott called the anti-fracking measures heavy handed regulations." (05/19/15)

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-32805973  

No Comments »

Our Sponsors





Making a living off your Drupal site?

Drupal Managed Hosting

Fed up with Maintenance and Hosting companies?