Author Archive

Leaving democracy to the experts

August 13, 2014
posted by

In These Times
by Slavoj Zizek  

"On June 19, the second anniversary of Julian Assange’s confinement to the Ecuadorian embassy in London, WikiLeaks rendered public the secret draft text for the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) Financial Services Annex. The document was classified not only during TISA negotiations, but for five years after it enters into force. While the TISA negotiations have not been censored outright, they have been barely mentioned in the media -- a marginalization and secrecy that are in stark contrast with the world-historical importance of the TISA agreement." (08/12/14)

http://tinyurl.com/koamhhs  

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The new cold war & the necessity of patriotic heresy

August 13, 2014
posted by

The Nation
by Stephen F. Cohen  

"We meet today during the worst and potentially most dangerous American-Russian confrontation in many decades, probably since the Cuban missile crisis of 1962. The Ukrainian civil war, precipitated by the unlawful change of government in Kiev in February, is already growing into a proxy US-Russian war. The seemingly unthinkable is becoming imaginable: an actual war between NATO, led by the United States, and post-Soviet Russia." (08/12/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mep7bl6  

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Consumer Reports: Tesla Model S has “more than its share of problems”

August 13, 2014
posted by

Reuters [UK]    

"Consumer Reports, which last year gave top marks to electric carmaker Tesla Motors Inc's (TSLA.O) Model S sedan, now says the car it owns has had 'more than its share of problems.' While the car has impressed staff at the influential U.S. consumer magazine with its 'smoothness, effortless glide and clever, elegant simplicity,' there have been many quirks that might dampen consumers' experiences, Consumer Reports said in a statement on Monday. Consumer Reports, which anonymously buys the vehicles it tests from auto dealerships, said the Model S it owns now has traveled nearly 16,000 miles." (08/11/14)

http://tinyurl.com/lq2u6vm  

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Five years of “recovery”: Still half the jobs needed

August 13, 2014
posted by

Our Future
by Isaiah J. Poole  

"Here’s the sobering reality brought home today by the latest monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary by the Labor Department: After five years of economic 'recovery,' there are still only half as many jobs as there are people looking for work. This monthly report gives a total of the number of job openings: a seasonally adjusted 4.7 million job openings in June. But that month, according to a separate monthly employment report, almost 9.5 million people were counted as unemployed." (08/12/14)

http://tinyurl.com/madwg49  

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Report: Liberal mayors slam economy under Obama

August 13, 2014
posted by

Fox News    

"Wages in a wide swath of new U.S. city jobs are down 23 percent from the jobs that were lost when the housing bubble burst in 2008, according to a report by President Barack Obama’s political allies. That’s a damaging claim by Obama’s friends, as he claims on the 2014 campaign trail that he has led the economy to recovery. The report was produced for the U.S. Conference of Mayors, which largely echoes the priorities of Democratic urban mayors, and is led by an Obama ally, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson. It was unveiled at a New York event hosted by the city’s far-left mayor, Bill DeBlasio." (08/11/14)

http://tinyurl.com/l68kbw8  

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CA: Lyft, Uber trade dirty-tricks allegations

August 13, 2014
posted by

San Francisco Chronicle    

"The Hatfields and McCoys of smartphone ride services are at it again. The bitter rivalry between San Francisco’s Lyft and Uber is spilling over into social-engineered hacking and a war of words in the media. Each company claims the other has played dirty pool by requesting rides and then cancelling them at the last minute, which costs drivers time and money. Each claims to be taking the high ground while accusing the other of scurrilous tactics." (08/12/14)

http://tinyurl.com/lwyy9nj  

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Putin paying dearly for Ukraine

August 13, 2014
posted by

Reuters
by William E. Pomeranz  

"Russian President Vladimir Putin has adopted a 'go it alone' approach throughout the Ukraine crisis and regularly describes his country as 'independent' and nonaligned. But Moscow is not as isolated as Putin makes out. The fact that he cannot see this reality (or chooses to ignore it) has produced a series of decisions that has seriously undermined Russia’s global role. For the past two decades, Moscow has viewed its foray into global institutions as a major success. It has increasingly integrated into the global economy. Those achievements, however, now present Putin with a major dilemma." (08/12/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mkjw6dq  

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South Africa’s Mbeki calls for Israeli goods boycott

August 12, 2014
posted by

BBC News [UK state media]    

"South Africa's ex-President Thabo Mbeki has called for a boycott of Israeli goods to show solidarity with Palestinians. The public should mobilize against Israel so that it 'does pay a price for the position that it is taking,' Mr Mbeki said in the capital, Pretoria. About 2,000 people, mostly Palestinians, have died in the conflict in Gaza since July. Most South Africans have historically supported the Palestinians." (08/12/14)

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-28755081  

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Laser blast could help your teeth grow back

August 12, 2014
posted by

Gizmodo    

"Teeth don't grow back, as your dentist might like to remind you while revving up the drill for a root canal. But scientists have now found a way to regenerate dentin, the hard stuff in the middle of the tooth, right in the mouth. It's surprisingly simple, too -- all it takes is a blast of laser. In a study published [Monday] in Science Translational Medicine, a Harvard-led team lays out how a low-power laser can trigger stem cells in the tooth to form dentin. Currently, damaged dentin is replaced with synthetic material, like when you get a filling or a root canal." (08/11/14)

http://tinyurl.com/kgv6erx  

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Robin Williams & the weight of being famous

August 12, 2014
posted by

The American Prospect
by Paul Waldman  

"As you've no doubt heard by now, Robin Williams reportedly committed suicide yesterday at his home in California. It's a horrible tragedy whenever someone's life has become so painful that they decide that death is preferable to life. I couldn't help but think of a brief interaction I had with Williams about twenty years ago, one that now seems even more poignant." (08/12/14)

http://prospect.org/article/robin-williams-and-weight-being-famous  

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What happens in Geneva …

August 12, 2014
posted by

In These Times
by Cole Stangler  

"Most progressives are, by now, familiar with the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the proposed trade deal that would link the United States with Pacific Rim powerhouses like Australia and Japan. Wonkier corners of the left are equally conversant in the intrigue of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, a pact that would couple the United States and the European Union. Like-minded critics would do well by memorizing yet another trade acronym: TISA, or the Trade in Services Agreement. Judging by the stakes and the ultra-secrecy of the negotiations, it could easily be the worst of the bunch." (08/11/14)

http://inthesetimes.com/article/17065/tisa_tpp_and_ttip  

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US Postal Service lost $2 billion this spring

August 12, 2014
posted by

Fox News    

"The U.S. Postal Service lost $2 billion this spring despite increasing its volume and charging consumers more money to send mail, officials said Monday. The loss for the spring quarter, which ended June 30, was significantly higher than the $740 million loss for the same three-month period last year. The agency blamed increases in compensation and benefit costs for the red ink and said it would be unable to make a congressionally mandated payment of $5.7 billion this September for health benefits for future retirees. The loss came despite a 2 percent increase in operating revenue compared to last spring." (08/11/14)

http://tinyurl.com/kje8ajg  

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If only The Church cared as much about pedophiles as porn stars

August 12, 2014
posted by

Raw Story
by Katie Halper  

"A woman filmed herself exposing her breasts and touching herself in an Austrian parish, in June. She also was holding a bible and rosary, in case you were worried about her going to hell. A church-going-porn-fan was trying to enjoy some secular online porn, when he recognized the interior of his church. Like any church-going/porn-watching/upstanding-tattletale, he informed his local priest, in what I imagine must have been an uncomfortable discussion. In a compliment to the woman’s handwork, the church expressed outrage that, in addition to her sneaking herself in, she had snuck in a crew and cameras." (08/11/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mjex5a4  

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PBS antiques show finds $1 million baseball trove

August 12, 2014
posted by

San Francisco Chronicle    

"The PBS series 'Antiques Roadshow' says it hit a home run with a collection of 1870s Boston baseball memorabilia. A trove of signatures and rare baseball cards from Boston Red Stockings players was appraised at $1 million for insurance purposes, series producer Marsha Bemko said. She said it's the largest sports memorabilia find in the history of the 19-year-old public TV show, which travels America looking for varied heirlooms and treasures." (08/11/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mdvkqrv  

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If having a foreign policy doctrine is so important, why won’t Hillary spell hers out?

August 12, 2014
posted by

The American Prospect
by Paul Waldman  

"Jeffrey Goldberg has an interview with Hillary Clinton which is being billed as a rebuke of, or maybe a distancing from, her old boss, Barack Obama. While you'll probably think that an overstatement when you read the transcript, she does express a desire for a foreign policy 'doctrine' of her own, even if she doesn't actually deliver it. While there are a few unsettling things in the interview (her comments on Israel could have come from Bibi Netanyahu himself), the doctrine question is worth paying attention to." (08/11/14)

http://tinyurl.com/lbsbde8  

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DPR: Prisoner taken back to jail by Mom after escaping

August 12, 2014
posted by

Raw Story    

"Just hours after he bust[ed] out of a high-security prison as it was rocked by mortar blasts in conflict-torn [Donetsk People's Republic], Natalya Nikitenko drove her son right back to jail. 'He himself said that he had to return so it wouldn’t count as escaping. We are doing everything according to the law,' she told AFP as she climbed into her car outside the jail in the besieged rebel stronghold of Donetsk. Nikitenko’s son (who still has four years left to serve for car theft) was one of 106 inmates who escaped as the jail was shelled by [invading Ukrainian] government forces late Sunday." (08/11/14)

http://tinyurl.com/kb5uel5  

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France: Workers in court over gold treasure theft

August 12, 2014
posted by

BBC News [UK state media]    

"Three French workers are to appear in court on charges of stealing gold worth 900,000 euros from a property they worked on, a local French newspaper reports. They are said to have been levelling land at a house in Normandy for several days when they discovered the 16 gold bars and 600 US $20-gold coins. The treasure, which was found in glass jars, may have been hidden on the property during World War Two. A coin collector has also been charged." (08/11/14)

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-28737021  

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Washington’s sketchy pro-Israel/anti-Iran camp

August 12, 2014
posted by

The Nation
by Ali Gharib  

"My colleague Eli Clifton has a new piece up at Salon about the pro-sanctions group United Against a Nuclear Iran (UANI) and its somewhat murky links to a billionaire precious-metals investor named Thomas Kaplan. I suggest everyone check it out: it’s a fascinating tale of colliding interests; namely, that the head of UANI also helms ventures with the billionaires that stand to, by its own account, make a lot of money in the case of instability in the Middle East -- up to and including 'confrontation' with Iran." (08/11/14)

http://tinyurl.com/k4gag53  

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IL: Billionaire’s low tax rate no big deal in gubernatorial race

August 11, 2014
posted by

Christian Science Monitor    

"One candidate is accused of channeling personal investments through the Cayman Islands to avoid US taxes. The other candidate is accused of participating in a pension fund that relies on the same kinds of offshore investments. Welcome to the Illinois governor’s race, where the personal wealth of candidates is under fire -- but may not as matter as much as it used to in recent years. According to local media reports, Republican candidate Bruce Rauner, a billionaire equity investor from Chicago’s northern suburbs, for years paid taxes on the majority of his millions in annual earnings at 15 percent, a rate less than half the top federal rate for the wealthy." (08/11/14)

http://tinyurl.com/kn552sn  

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Gluten-free? Low fat? Low carb? No one knows

August 11, 2014
posted by

Reuters
by David Seres  

"In the last six months, a variety of experts and nutrition organizations have issued at least as many major dietary guidelines proclaiming the next set of instructions on what to eat to prevent cancer, whether processed foods are really food, whether the type of fat you eat has any effect on developing heart disease, and how to control diabetes with diet. And the next set of U.S. Department of Agriculture and Health and Human Services dietary guidelines, due out next year, are already creating a buzz. These new guidelines have, like most dietary guidelines in the past, done little to solidify our understanding of the cause and effect relationship between diet and disease. Even worse, they’re likely to discredit nutritional science." (08/11/14)

http://tinyurl.com/lrusa8e  

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Robin Williams, 1951-2014

August 11, 2014
posted by

Reuters    

"Oscar-winning actor and comedian Robin Williams was found dead on Monday from an apparent suicide at his home in Northern California, Marin County Sheriff's Office said. He was 63. The sheriff's coroner's division said it suspects the death was a suicide due to asphyxia, but the cause of death is still under investigation. Last month, the Good Will Hunting actor, who has struggled with addiction in the past, entered a Minnesota rehabilitation center to help him maintain sobriety." (08/11/14)

http://tinyurl.com/kx75xcu  

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Analysts: High inequality making us vulnerable to crashes

August 11, 2014
posted by

Our Future
by Joshua Holland  

"For many years there were some economists who argued that their discipline shouldn’t worry about inequality. Economists, they said, should focus on efficiency and growth, and leave the distribution up to the political world. But a research brief released on Tuesday by the Wall Street ratings agency Standard and Poor’s concludes that growth versus equality is a false choice. The authors argue that while some inequality may be desirable in a market economy -- it spurs entrepreneurship and innovation -- when those at the top take too large a share of a nation’s output, they tend to bank it rather than spend it. This ultimately hurts consumer demand and slows down economic growth." (08/11/14)

http://tinyurl.com/nnbdmht  

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Jerry Brown passes buck on troubled new Bay Bridge

August 11, 2014
posted by

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

"'Who is responsible for the Bay Bridge?' I asked Gov. Jerry Brown at a Chronicle editorial board meeting in May. Before Brown's 2010 election victory that made him the boss of all Caltrans, Brown was the mayor of Oakland whose political posturing helped delay the retrofit of the eastern span of the Bay Bridge, made necessary after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake knocked down a chunk of the span. It took 24 years and $5 billion more than the original budget for the state to complete the $6.4 billion span. Before the new span even opened, the retrofit needed a retrofit. Brown answered: 'The engineers.' When pressed, the governor acknowledged he too is responsible. 'Life isn't perfect,' he added. (Or, as I once said, 'S- happens.')" (08/08/14)

http://tinyurl.com/ne58oze  

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Report: Hepatitis C could become rare disease in 20 years

August 11, 2014
posted by

Everyday Health    

"The once tough-to-treat liver infection hepatitis C could become a rare disease in the United States in the next two decades, a new study estimates. Hepatitis C, a viral infection that harms the liver, is usually passed through infected blood. For most people, the infection becomes chronic and it can eventually lead to scarring of the liver (cirrhosis) or liver cancer. U.S. health officials estimate that over 3 million Americans currently have chronic hepatitis C -- most of whom don't know it because the infection usually causes no symptoms. But with recent treatment advances, hepatitis C could become rare by 2036, researchers report in the Aug. 5 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine." (08/10/14)

http://tinyurl.com/qfh37sa  

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CO: Hickenlooper fights to stave off GOP election challenge

August 11, 2014
posted by

Raw Story    

"When Colorado Democrat John Hickenlooper was elected governor four years ago, the ebullient former Denver mayor and brew-pub magnate could do little wrong. Once spoken of as a possible vice presidential candidate in 2016, the 62-year-old has burnished his man-of-the-people image with impromptu banjo performances and folksy charm. But after a first term wrought by controversies over gun laws, fracking and taxes, and with a strong Republican establishment candidate now lined up against him, Hickenlooper is now enmeshed in a tougher reelection fight than had been expected." (08/10/14)

http://tinyurl.com/msufbze  

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