Author Archive

Iran nuclear talks: Comprehensive deal still on the table?

July 21, 2014
posted by

Christian Science Monitor    

"Though diplomats from Iran and six world powers are talking up the 'substantial progress' that led to an extension of nuclear talks until November, crucial differences still threaten a final deal to ensure Iran can never produce a bomb. And it is not clear yet if the gap can be bridged over the scale of Iran’s future uranium enrichment given the insistence by both Washington and Tehran that the other side must make 'hard choices' to clinch a deal. Across Iran’s political spectrum there is wide support for the nuclear program -- and for a comprehensive nuclear deal that removes sanctions from its struggling economy." (07/20/14)

http://tinyurl.com/q3l4pk7  

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Warren 2014 more important than Warren 2016

July 21, 2014
posted by

Our Future
by Bill Scher  

"Over at Politico Magazine today, I analyzed the meaning of Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s busy 2014 schedule, stumping and raising money for a wide range of Democratic candidates on the ballot this November. Many speculate this has something to do with 2016, but she has repeatedly and emphatically denied any presidential bid. Instead, people should pay attention to what she is saying on policy matters, how she is saying it, which candidates are following her lead, and gauging how well her message works on the trail. She is pioneering an 'us-versus-them' argument that fingers 'Wall Street' as the obstacle to progressive reform, an approach that’s subtly different from what President Obama is delivering on the stump." (07/18/14)

http://tinyurl.com/pmou66p  

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Hot mic catches Kerry slamming Israel’s Gaza operation

July 21, 2014
posted by

San Francisco Chronicle    

"Secretary of State John Kerry had an awkward exchange Sunday morning when Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace confronted him with an 'extraordinary' hot mic moment apparently discussing ongoing conflict in Gaza. 'While you were on camera and while you were on microphone, you just spoke to one of your top aides in between the interviews about the situation in Israel and the fact that 14 Israelis have either been shot or killed in an operation. We want to play a clip of that conversation because it's an extraordinary moment of diplomacy,' Wallace said." (07/20/14)

http://tinyurl.com/ozv8m6t  

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Dear Mr. Murdoch: Save yourself 80 billion bucks

July 21, 2014
posted by

Reuters
by Jack Shafer  

"The first time Rupert Murdoch tried to acquire Warner, Ronald Reagan was completing his first term as president, the Bell System break-up was nearly finished, and the first Macintosh had just gone on sale. Murdoch’s aim was to construct an entertainment-information conglomerate on top of his existing newspaper properties. When Warner (or Warner Communications, as the parent company was called then) spurned his 1984 offer, he promptly went on to purchase 20th Century Fox as his bedrock and from that base built an international company that includes a American broadcast network, 28 terrestrial U.S. television stations, several satellite broadcasting entities, a profusion of cable television channels, an immensely profitable news network, and more." (07/17/14)

http://tinyurl.com/nbcckk8  

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Moral responsibility & the Israel-Palestinian conflict

July 21, 2014
posted by

The American Prospect
by Paul Waldman  

"As Israel begins a ground invasion of Gaza in which hundreds of civilians will almost certainly be killed and the endless misery of the people who live there will only intensify, we haven't actually seen much debate about the subject here in the U.S. There's plenty of news about it, but unlike most issues, the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is one we don't actually argue about much. There aren't dueling op-eds in every paper the way there are when even a country Americans care far less about, like Ukraine, works its way into our attention." (07/18/14)

http://tinyurl.com/p2qdohv  

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NY: Gun range in business for 73 years forced to close

July 21, 2014
posted by

Fox News    

"A New York gun range has been forced to close its doors after more than 70 years in business, following a bitter dispute with its neighbors over noise and safety issues. The Westchester Police Revolver and Rifle League, in Greenburgh, a nonprofit open-air range dating to the 1940s, was targeted by neighbors who wanted the facility closed, CBS New York reported. The fight between the range, which is nestled into an old rock quarry, and local residents moved from the neighborhood to town hall last week, when both sides had their say on the matter." (07/20/14)

http://tinyurl.com/oae3xf8  

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Is cheap, public Internet possible?

July 21, 2014
posted by

In These Times
by David Sirota  

"The business lobby often demands that government get out of the way of private corporations, so that competition can flourish and high-quality services can be efficiently delivered to as many consumers as possible. Yet, in an epic fight over telecommunications policy, the paradigm is now being flipped on its head, with corporate forces demanding the government squelch competition and halt the expansion of those high-quality services. Whether and how federal officials act may ultimately shape the future of America’s information economy. The front line in this fight is Chattanooga, Tennessee, where officials at the city’s public electric utility, EPB, realized that smart-grid energy infrastructure could also provide consumers super-fast Internet speeds at competitive prices." (07/18/14)

http://tinyurl.com/p6sqr8z  

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Meet the billionaire funders of the anti-diplomacy lobby

July 21, 2014
posted by

The Nation
by Eli Clifton  

"My colleague Ali Gharib and I just published an article in The Nation in which we explore how hawkish, deep-pocketed organizations hold disproportionate influence in shaping the discussion about Iran-policy on Capitol Hill. These groups, in no small part due to their outsize budgets, shape sanctions legislation, dominate witness lists at congressional hearings, and help lead the opposition to the Obama administration’s efforts to reach a nuclear deal with Iran." (07/18/14)

http://tinyurl.com/lwaapau  

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NYC pain doc convicted of manslaughter for illegal prescriptions

July 21, 2014
posted by

Raw Story    

"A New York City pain management doctor was convicted on Friday of manslaughter and other charges for selling narcotics prescriptions to 20 patients, including two who fatally overdosed. A jury in Manhattan Supreme Court found Stan Li, 60, guilty on nearly 200 criminal counts, including manslaughter, grand larceny and drug trafficking, the New York City Special Narcotics Prosecutor, Bridget Brennan, said in a statement. Authorities in November 2011 arrested Li, who worked as a physician in New Jersey and ran a weekend pain clinic in Queens, following a three-and-a-half-year investigation sparked by complaints about his prescribing practices by his patients’ families and the community." (07/20/14)

http://tinyurl.com/p3ycbf7  

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Jose Antonio Vargas: Reporter without a visa at the border

July 18, 2014
posted by

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

"The star of a CNN film, Documented, journalist Jose Antonio Vargas went to Texas to bring attention to the 57,000 unaccompanied minors who have crossed the border illegally since October. On Tuesday, authorities detained Vargas at McAllen-Miller International Airport because his Philippine passport lacks a U.S. visa. Within hours, Immigration and Customs Enforcement released him. Upon release, Vargas issued a statement in which he noted that he had come to the border to shine a light on the children and the fear they must endure in the course of simple acts, like boarding a plane. The problem here is: Vargas is living proof that U.S. immigration enforcement is toothless." (07/17/14)

http://tinyurl.com/lbpmtuw  

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US Senate votes to extend terrorism insurance backstop

July 18, 2014
posted by

Raw Story    

"The U.S. Senate voted overwhelmingly on Thursday to reauthorize a federal terrorism risk insurance program that was created after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Senators voted 93-4 in favor of a bill that gives the federal insurance backstop seven more years. Businesses, owners of sports stadiums and other groups that insure against the risk of terrorist acts have urged lawmakers to renew the program before it expires at the end of the year." (07/17/14)

http://tinyurl.com/la4max7  

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US House votes to “allow” marijuana-related banking

July 18, 2014
posted by

Fox News    

"The House voted Wednesday in support of making it easier for banks to do business with legal pot shops and providers of medical marijuana. The 236-186 vote rejected a move by Rep. John Fleming [R-LA] to block the Treasury Department from implementing guidance it issued in February telling banks how to report on their dealings with marijuana-related businesses without running afoul of federal money-laundering laws. Marijuana dealing is still against federal law, so banks who do business with marijuana dispensaries could be accused of helping them launder their money. Federal money laundering convictions can mean decades in prison. The Treasury guidance was intended to give banks confidence that they can deal with marijuana businesses in states where they're legal. Many banks are still reluctant to do so." (07/17/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mmmq6go  

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The Yes Men secure the homeland

July 18, 2014
posted by

In These Times
by The Yes Men  

"The hosts of the Homeland Security Congress were getting anxious. It was ten minutes past the time former Secretary of State Gen. Colin Powell was scheduled to begin his big announcement. The defense contractors, law enforcement officials and assorted military personnel in the audience were starting to fidget. 'Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Powell is nearly here,' announced the conference host, a woman named Barbara wearing a bright red power suit. 'Please sit tight for another few minutes -- meet your neighbor! And get ready for what I hear will be an extremely interesting announcement about our nation’s new energy plan.'" [editor's note: This is actually quite funny; the HSC gets punked! - SAT] (07/17/14)

http://tinyurl.com/qepzymw  

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MA: State moves on abortion clinic bill

July 18, 2014
posted by

Christian Science Monitor    

"Massachusetts lawmakers are moving quickly on new legislation to protect access to abortion clinics in the wake of the US Supreme Court striking down the state’s 35-foot buffer zones. If the bill passes, only time will tell whether it can survive another free speech challenge. But advocates for abortion rights say it’s responsive to the McCullen v. Coakley decision and could even become a model for other states. The bill allows police to order individuals to withdraw if they substantially impede access to a reproductive healthcare facility. Those individuals would have to stay outside a 25-foot boundary for a maximum of eight hours." (07/17/14)

http://tinyurl.com/lwaprda  

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Iraq: If at first you don’t succeed … surge, surge again

July 18, 2014
posted by

Reuters
by Peter Van Buren  

"America’s new strategy for resolving the Sunni-Shi’ite crisis in Iraq? The Surge -- again. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Martin Dempsey sounds as if he were reading off the 2007 script, echoing the divide-and-conquer strategy that was the basis for the Surge: 'If you can separate those [Sunni] groups,” Dempsey said, 'then the problem becomes manageable and understandable.' So, Washington is now sending U.S. officials to meet with Sunni tribal leaders and others. The ultimate goal (after hopefully forcing out foreign fighters from within Sunni ranks in 2014, as in 2007) is political reconciliation between Sunni and Shi’ite. It won’t work, because it hasn't." (07/17/14)

http://tinyurl.com/o6svlfd  

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Canada: Senator faces fraud charges

July 18, 2014
posted by

BBC News [UK state media]    

"Canadian authorities have laid 31 charges including bribery and fraud against a senator, the latest turn in an ongoing housing expenses scandal. Senator Mike Duffy is accused of misusing funds from consulting contracts and accepting a payment from an aide to PM Stephen Harper. He was suspended from the Conservative caucus last fall. Authorities say he improperly claimed expenses related to a home in Ottawa, where the Senate sits. The charges include fraud, breach of trust, bribery of a judicial official and frauds on the government." [editor's note: I know, this happens in the U.S. Congress so often it is no longer news - SAT] (07/17/14)

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-28355091  

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The Republican immigration position just got more ridiculous

July 18, 2014
posted by

Our Future
by Bill Scher  

"Today Speaker Boehner warned that Congress may not be able to pass legislation to help address the influx of Central American child migrants, because too many Democrats are unwilling to alter the 2008 human trafficking law, and give President Obama’s Border Patrol agents expanded power to return unaccompanied minors home without judicial reviews. I’ve previously explained ... that Boehner’s position is startlingly hypocritical. For months he said he could not pass comprehensive immigration reform because President Obama could not be trusted to enforce any border security provisions. Then last week he effectively declared he wanted to pass legislation that trusted Obama to enforce border security provisions. Boehner’s proposed law would give Border Patrol discretion when dealing with children coming from nations other than Mexico and Canada." (07/17/14)

http://tinyurl.com/nes47r3  

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NY: Transit strike averted, tentative deal reached

July 17, 2014
posted by

Reuters    

"A threatened strike on New York's Long Island Rail Road was averted on Thursday when the transit authority and labor unions reached a tentative contract agreement, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said. 'It is my pleasure to announce today that we have settled a four-year dispute,' Cuomo said at a news conference, flanked by leaders from the eight unions representing about 5,400 workers and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which runs the region's public transit. " (07/17/14)

http://tinyurl.com/kxzn652  

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Standing up to disaster capitalism in Detroit

July 17, 2014
posted by

The Nation
by John Nichols  

"As Michigan Governor Rick Snyder and his appointed 'emergency manager' were steering Detroit into bankruptcy last fall, the public-policy think tank Demos released a groundbreaking report on the city's financial circumstance -- and how to address it. Demos recognized that deindustrialization, high unemployment and an exodus of residents had left the Detroit 'uniquely vulnerable: the current bankruptcy filing is the result of a severe decline in revenue, caused by the 2008 financial crisis, and cuts in annual state revenue sharing starting in 2011. Risky Wall Street deals further jeopardized the city’s public finances by threatening immediate payments that the city could not afford.' Now, as the Detroit Water and Sewage Department is drawing international criticism for shutting off water service for low-income families, activists are asking why the people are being forced to pay while the Wall Street banks live large." (07/17/14)

http://tinyurl.com/kx3hc7f  

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CA: Despite drought, some homeowners warned about “brown lawns”

July 17, 2014
posted by

San Francisco Chronicle    

"Some homeowners following the state's new drought-conscious motto that brown is the new green are being warned by local governments that they could be slapped with fines because of those dried up lawns. In an attempt to get Californians to take the drought seriously, the state water board voted this week for mandatory outdoor watering restrictions that carry the threat of $500 fines. 'Having a dirty car and a brown lawn should be a badge of honor because it shows you care about your community,' said Felicia Marcus, the board's chairwoman." (07/17/14)

http://tinyurl.com/m5zqbcc  

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The continuing agonies of the super-rich

July 17, 2014
posted by

The American Prospect
by Paul Waldman  

"As we well know by now, being rich in America is tough. Imagine driving your Porsche out the Goldman Sachs garage, intent on a relaxing weekend at your Hamptons retreat, only to find some wretched Occupy sympathizer giving you a dirty look through the haze of patchouli and resentment that surrounds him. Who could endure it? No wonder they keep comparing their fearful existence to that of the Jews of late-1930s Germany." (07/16/14)

http://prospect.org/article/continuing-agonies-super-rich  

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Getting the government out of your wedding

July 17, 2014
posted by

The American Prospect
by Paul Waldman  

"Some years ago, I officiated at a wedding. It was a Quaker wedding, and since there are no Quaker ministers, the happy couple needed a kind of master of ceremonies to keep the program moving along. They handled most everything themselves; my job was mostly to say things like, 'Now we're going to do the vows' and such. ... I've also been to a wedding or two that was officiated by a friend of the couple's who got ordained in the Universal Life Church (only $28.99 for the Ordination Package), which is what you do in many states if you want to perform a wedding but you aren't a member of the clergy in one of the religions your state decides is legitimate." [editor's note: One step at a time, until they are totally out of the issue? - SAT] (07/15/14)

http://tinyurl.com/neoz2be  

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Giant hole in Siberia: UFOs, meteors … or “climate change”?

July 17, 2014
posted by

Raw Story    

"A mysterious giant hole has appeared in northern Siberia, prompting wild speculation about meteors, UFOs, and underground cities. The likely explanation is less supernatural, scientists say, but no less extraordinary. The Siberian Times reported the hole (more than 260 feet across and of unknown depth) was spotted from helicopters flying over the gas-rich Yamal Peninsula. A team of Russian scientists is on its way to investigate the crater, which is apparently large enough for several Mi-8 helicopters to fly into -- although none have." (07/16/14)

http://tinyurl.com/na4xrjn  

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The truth is, you’ve never had the “right to be forgotten”

July 17, 2014
posted by

Reuters
by Jack Shafer  

"A recent ruling by Europe’s top court has given its people a 'right to be forgotten.' Google and other search engines must now delete 'inadequate, irrelevant, or no longer relevant, or excessive' information from search queries when a European individual requests it, even when the info is true. This isn’t a classic case of censorship: the 'offending' pages produced by newspapers and other websites will go untouched. Google and the other search engines just won’t be allowed to link to them." (07/15/14)

http://tinyurl.com/p37ht7z  

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Federal judge: California death penalty unconstitutional

July 17, 2014
posted by

San Francisco Chronicle    

"A federal judge declared California's death penalty unconstitutional Wednesday, saying delays of 25 years or more in deciding appeals and carrying out occasional executions have created an arbitrary and irrational system that serves no legitimate purpose. For most of the 748 current Death Row inmates, 'systemic delay has made their execution so unlikely that the death sentence carefully and deliberately imposed by the jury has been quietly transformed into one no rational jury or legislature cold ever impose: life in prison, with the remote possibility of death,' said U.S. District Judge Cormac Carney of Santa Ana." (07/16/14)

http://tinyurl.com/no4fxmz  

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