Author Archive

Alabama’s anti-abortion architects

July 16, 2014
posted by

In These Times
by Robin Marty  

"Early this summer, the eyes of the nation’s abortion-rights supporters and opponents were locked on Montgomery, Alabama. The ACLU of Alabama and clinic owners were attempting to persuade a federal judge that a new requirement that abortion clinics have admitting privileges at local hospitals was a naked attempt to shut down most of the clinics in the state. We won’t learn until the end of July whether the judge will uphold the lower court’s block on that rule. If it is allowed to go into effect, only two of Alabama’s five abortion clinics will remain operational. Or maybe just one." (07/15/14)

http://tinyurl.com/qbb72e3  

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Court: TX can’t prohibit “offensive” Confederate flag license plates

July 15, 2014
posted by

Raw Story    

"The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday ruled that Texas could not prohibit a group that celebrates the Confederacy from having their own specialty license plates. The federal appeals panel ruled 2-1 that the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles Board engaged in 'viewpoint discrimination' and violated the First Amendment by rejecting the Sons of Confederate Veterans application for license plates featuring the Confederate battle flag. The board [had] rejected the proposed plate by an 8-0 vote in 2011, saying that members of the public found the Confederate imagery to be offensive. ... But the federal appeals court said the board could not discriminate against particular viewpoints because the public deemed them to be offensive." (07/15/14)

http://tinyurl.com/k9fmaeg  

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CA: Billionaire in push to split into six states

July 15, 2014
posted by

Fox News    

"A billionaire tech investor says he has enough backing to put on the ballot a plan to split California into six states. Timothy Draper, a venture capitalist founder of a Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm that has invested in such tech companies as Twitter, HotMail, Skype and Tesla, told Reuters he has the 808,000 signatures needed on a petition to force the measure onto a public referendum in November 2016. Under the far-fetched plan, one state would be called 'Silicon Valley' and would include the tech mecca, as well as San Francisco." (07/15/14)

http://tinyurl.com/qgng9qm  

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Amid media tightening, Thailand scoops up Facebook data

July 15, 2014
posted by

Christian Science Monitor    

"Thailand's Facebook users may be wanting to 'un-friend' their government right now. A fake Facebook application that asked users to part with personal details such as their date of birth and email address has turned out to be part of a government program to monitor anyone who tries to access blocked websites. Since seizing power in May, Thailand's military junta has blocked hundreds of websites deemed a threat to stability. The bogus app gave the impression that users were merely logging into a website via Facebook." (07/15/14)

http://tinyurl.com/oawharz  

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Ivory Coast blocks refugees amid Ebola fears

July 15, 2014
posted by

BBC News [UK state media]    

"Ivory Coast has blocked 400 refugees who fled to Liberia from returning home because of fears they could spread the Ebola virus, a UN official has said. The decision violated domestic and international law, the official added. Ivory Coast said it could not allow the refugees in because of the Ebola 'pandemic' in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. The virus has now killed 603 people in the three states, with 68 deaths reported in the last week, WHO said. This is the worst outbreak the world has ever seen. " (07/15/14)

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-28313888  

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California’s no-win “money talks” recount

July 15, 2014
posted by

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

"California is in the midst of a sort-of statewide election recount. Will it be like Florida in 2000? Hardly. This isn't a heated national contest to see which party occupies the Oval Office. It's about the unsexy state controller's office and which Democrat -- former Assembly Speaker John Pérez or Board of Equalization member Betty Yee -- will run in November against top vote-getter Ashley Swearengin, Fresno's Republican mayor. Yee garnered 481 more votes than Pérez, so Pérez wants a recount. But just as the Florida recount did little for the Sunshine State's image, a recount under California election rules does not make the Golden State appear golden." (07/14/14)

http://tinyurl.com/noegs2v  

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TX: Pulitzer-winning reporter detained at border

July 15, 2014
posted by

San Francisco Chronicle    

"Jose Antonio Vargas, the former Bay Area journalist who has become a prominent advocate for unauthorized immigrants, was detained at McAllen-Miller International Airport on Tuesday while trying to leave Texas for Los Angeles, according to friends and colleagues. Filipino-born Vargas is living in the United States without legal permission and famously outed himself in 2011. The disclosure by the Pulitzer-prize winning reporter appeared in a Time magazine cover story and made him one of the most high-profile immigrants advocating for legal status in the country." (07/15/14)

http://tinyurl.com/odlv4qj  

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FCC extends comment DL on net neutrality

July 15, 2014
posted by

Reuters    

"The U.S. Federal Communications Commission on Tuesday pushed back to July 18 the first deadline to submit comments on the agency's proposed new Internet traffic rules after a surge in traffic overwhelmed its online filing system. Companies, consumer advocates, lawmakers and citizens had sent nearly 680,000 comments on the FCC's proposed so-called net neutrality rules -- which guide how Internet service providers (ISPs) manage web traffic on their networks -- as the deadline for first comments approached on Tuesday." (07/15/14)

http://tinyurl.com/n9dugxf  

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Palestinians must put an end to suicidal Hamas

July 15, 2014
posted by

The Nation
by Bob Dreyfuss  

"One message from the current crisis over Gaza is clear: the Palestinians have to get rid of Hamas. No one else can do it: the Israelis, vastly superior in military terms, only strengthen Hamas politically by wantonly raining death and destruction on Gaza. But the fanatics of Hamas, who seem to believe that they can resist Israel militarily (along with the even more radical Islamist groups that run around in Gaza) do incalculable damage to the Palestinian cause. In this case, I agree with Bret Stephens, who wrote today in The Wall Street Journal, concerning Israel and Hamas, 'If you must have a nemesis, better it be a stupid one.' Stephens, a neocon hawk and blind supporter of Israel, certainly doesn’t qualify as sympathetic to the Palestinian plight. But he’s right here: Israel has no stupider enemy than Hamas." (07/15/14)

http://tinyurl.com/n7kztnz  

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UN pulls staff out of Libya

July 15, 2014
posted by

Reuters    

"The United Nations on Monday pulled its staff out of Libya where at least 13 people have been killed in fighting in the eastern city of Benghazi and in Tripoli, forcing the closure of the international airport. Security and medical sources said at least six people had been killed and 25 wounded in Benghazi in heavy fighting between security forces and rival militias since late Sunday." (07/14/14)

http://tinyurl.com/nyatnh3  

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What does FFUC stand for?

July 15, 2014
posted by

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

"Fossil Free UC is a group that wants UC to divest its endowment fund of fossil fuel investments. Ophir Bruck from the group sent me this article to explain his group’s thinking. The author explains that fossil fuel investments aren’t really money makers in the long haul, so there’s no real sacrifice from staying out of that market. Nice try, but the real reason that students are pushing UC to divest in fossil fuels is apparent: UC is an easy target. UC will not fight back. The worst thing that could happen to these activists is that administrators will pat them on the head and praise them for caring so much. The worst outcome for students, however, would be less money for the endowment. Past disinvestment decisions (for tobacco and Sudan) have cost the endowment $471 million and $6 million respectively." (07/14/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mjch9l6  

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Better at reading than math? Don’t blame it all on your genes

July 15, 2014
posted by

Raw Story    

"I disliked and feared maths for most of my school career and dropped it as soon as I possibly could. My mother recalls me crying as a five-year-old because: 'I can’t do the people-on-the-bus sums.' If the bus has 12 passengers and three get off, how many are left? English, by contrast, was a breeze. At seven, I stood on a chair with a microphone and read my version of Sleeping Beauty aloud to the entire school. Reading and writing already ranked high among my passions. Mine isn’t an unfamiliar tale. Many people label themselves as 'not a maths person' or 'not much of a reader,' often while they are still children. And yet, in a recent study published in Nature Communications, scientists showed that around half of the genes that affect how well 12-year-olds in the UK perform in maths also affect how good they are at reading." (07/14/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mapn38f  

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Bastille Day, Individualism & the Concept of Progress … in 1939

July 15, 2014
posted by

The Nation Blog
by Richard Kreitner  

"Are we to ignore the 225th anniversary of the storming of the Bastille? Sure, there is Kurdistan to think of, the fate of Central American child refugees to consider, a highway funding bill to craft. But seventy-five years ago, on the 150th anniversary, there were also a few distractions. Adolf Hitler, for instance, was threatening to take over Europe, first, and then the world. The very flame of enlightenment itself flickered and seemed about to go out." [editor's note: And 65 years ago, on the 160th anniversary, another notable event occurred in the course of liberty - SAT] [additional editor's note: Happy birthday, Steve! - TLK] (07/14/14)

http://tinyurl.com/q2jhecg  

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Citigroup pays off sub-prime mortgage probe with 7 big ones

July 15, 2014
posted by

BBC News [UK state media]    

"Banking giant Citigroup will pay $7 billion to US authorities to settle an investigation into risky sub-prime mortgages. Citigroup will pay $4 billion [in bribes] to the Department of Justice and $2.5bn for 'consumer relief.' Consumer relief includes investment in affordable homes and mortgage relief. Following the decision, the bank reported a stronger than predicted quarterly profit, and saw its share price rise by 3.02% to $48.42." (07/14/14)

http://www.bbc.com/news/business-28292114  

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Oil industry hits unexpected roadblock … in Maine

July 15, 2014
posted by

In These Times
by Cole Stangler  

"Opponents of tar sands (the massive bituminous oil deposits in Alberta, Canada with a greenhouse gas impact four times greater than that of standard crude) have inched one step closer to a major victory. On Wednesday night, the City Council of South Portland, Maine voted 6-1 to pass an early version of an ordinance that would ban the loading of crude oil onto ships and related infrastructure within city limits. It’s a local land use issue with staggering global implications: The oil industry, activists worry, wants to reverse the flow of the Portland-Montreal Pipe Line, a series of pipelines first built in World War II that now ships imported crude from the coast of Maine to Montreal. Amid ongoing tar sands extraction in Canada (and a dearth of export routes there), it would make more economic sense for the pipelines to flow the other way." [editor's note: Glad to see my original homeland standing up to this - SAT] (07/14/14)

http://tinyurl.com/oyhsyu5  

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Pentagon’s F-35: “Can’t turn, can’t climb, can’t run”

July 15, 2014
posted by

Reuters
by David Axe  

"Americans should be worried. The U.S. military has grounded all its new F-35 Joint Strike Fighters following an incident on June 23, when one of the high-tech warplanes caught fire on the runway of a Florida air base. The no-fly order (which affects at least 50 F-35s at training and test bases in Florida, Arizona, California and Maryland) began on the evening of July 3 and continued through July 11. All those F-35s sitting idle could be a preview of a future in which potentially thousands of the Pentagon’s warplanes can’t reliably fly. ... The June incident might reflect serious design flaws that could render the F-35 unsuitable for combat." [editor's note: And how many billion have they pissed away on this one? - SAT][additional editor's note: Well, at least the damn things don't work. I wouldn't WANT something like that in the state's hands if it did! - TLK] (07/14/14)

http://tinyurl.com/o4ldnvm  

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IL: First state to crack down on student loan debt scams

July 15, 2014
posted by

Christian Science Monitor    

"Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan took aim Monday at the debt settlement industry (long a hotbed of scams) with lawsuits against two companies that target student-loan borrowers. The lawsuits against First American Tax Defense LLC, based in Chicago, and Broadsword Student Advantage LLC, based in Texas, are the first of their kind in the nation. Consumer-protection experts say that debt-settlement scams (often promising mortgage or credit-card debt relief) have been a problem for some time, and that their current focus on student borrowers is not surprising, given the way student-loan debt has skyrocketed." (07/14/14)

http://tinyurl.com/khcf2v9  

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It’s not your boss’s business!

July 14, 2014
posted by

Our Future
by Dave Johnson  

"There is a new 'Not My Boss'[s] Business' bill being introduced in the Senate to undo the damage done by the (older, Catholic males on the) Supreme Court in the Hobby Lobby decision. According to the National Women’s Law Center, the Not My Boss'[s] Business bill would prohibit employers from refusing to cover any healthcare item (including birth control) guaranteed to their employees and dependents under federal law." [editor's note: Of course, the REAL issue is that those "bosses" should have never been in the "business" of providing anything other than salaries and vacations (and maybe stock options?) in the first place! - SAT] (07/14/14)

http://ourfuture.org/20140714/its-not-your-boss-business  

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VA: Prof claims kingdom in Africa so daughter can be princess

July 14, 2014
posted by

Fox News    

"A Virginia man says he has claimed a kingdom in Africa so his daughter can be a princess. Jeremiah Heaton tells the Bristol Herald Courier that he recently trekked to a small, mountainous region between Egypt and Sudan called Bir Tawil. No country claims the land. Heaton says he planted a flag designed by his children there so that he could become a king -- and more importantly, so his 7-year-old daughter Emily could be a princess. They named the area the Kingdom of North Sudan." [editor's note: Awww, wouldn't any Daddy do as much for his little treasure? - SAT] (07/14/14)

http://tinyurl.com/msshcyu  

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Argentina loss to Germany: Nothing compared to USA $$$ rout

July 14, 2014
posted by

The American Prospect
by Robert Kuttner  

"If there were poetic justice in the world, Argentina would have beaten Germany in the last three minutes of World Cup play instead of vice versa. Germany represents everything that's wrong with the world financial system. Argentina is the epic case of countries whose economies are screwed by policies championed by Germany -- and, unfortunately, by the United States, as well. Let me explain." (07/14/14)

http://tinyurl.com/q9pyjn3  

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America’s response to child refugees downright shameful

July 14, 2014
posted by

Our Future
by Joshua Holland  

"Those seething with so much rage and xenophobia that they’d hurl ugly epithets in the faces of children fleeing bloody violence in Central America bring shame to the whole nation. But the response of mainstream America hasn’t been much better. The media’s characterization of what’s going on at our southern border as a 'crisis,' politicians pointing fingers at one another and Washington’s refusal to provide the resources necessary to care for a small wave of refugees -- not to mention the bipartisan push to send them back home -- is just as shameful when one considers the context." (07/11/14)

http://tinyurl.com/l2b8ae8  

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Report: Medical marijuana delivery services tripled in three years

July 14, 2014
posted by

Raw Story    

"With more states legalizing medical marijuana, dispensaries are making it easier for their customers to get their pot by adding home delivery to their list of services. A boon to customers who don’t have to leave the house, the delivery model allows dispensaries to cut costs by closing brick and mortar locations, and centralizing distribution at a time when cities are attempting to limit the number of storefront pot shops. As reported by the LA Times, medical marijuana delivery services have nearly tripled in three years, growing from 877 to 2,617, according to Weedmaps, an online directory for pot businesses. Dealers see exponential growth since many of their customers are unaware that home delivery is available." (07/13/14)

http://tinyurl.com/noxot8u  

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Ex-Im reform: As usual, Washington follows the buck

July 14, 2014
posted by

In These Times
by David Sirota  

"In politics, as the old saying goes, there are no permanent friends or permanent enemies -- there are only permanent interests. Few policy debates prove that truism as well as the one now brewing over the Export-Import Bank -- a government agency providing taxpayer subsidized loans to multinational corporations. This tale starts 15 years ago when my old boss, U.S. Rep. Bernie Sanders, I-VT, was trying to construct a left-right coalition to reform the bank. While a few libertarians were willing to voice free-market criticism of the bank, the impetus for reform was primarily among Democrats and the left. Indeed, Sanders' failed 2002 amendment proposing to restrict the bank's subsidies garnered only 22 Republican votes but had 111 Democratic backers—mostly progressive legislators who, in the words of Sanders, saw the Ex-Im Bank program as 'one of the most egregious forms of corporate welfare.'” (07/11/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mzg62ph  

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Pentagon gives pink slips, even to active duty officers

July 14, 2014
posted by

Fox News    

"The Pentagon is laying off thousands of military officers, including those serving or who have recently served in Afghanistan. Defense Department officials said the reductions are the result of mandatory spending cuts imposed by sequestration and are part of their larger plan to reduce the number of U.S. soldiers from 520,000 to 450,000. Roughly 2,600 captains and other officers have or will be laid off, with more expected, Fox News learned Friday." (07/13/14)

http://tinyurl.com/o4j5yd8  

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US spying on Germany: Making enemies out of allies

July 14, 2014
posted by

Reuters
by David Wise  

"What were they thinking? In the wake of last fall’s revelation that the National Security Agency had wiretapped German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cell phone, the report of U.S. intelligence’s involvement in two other likely cases of spying on Germany is mind-boggling. Now the story has taken a dramatic new turn, with Germany expelling the CIA chief of station in Berlin -- an almost unprecedented step by an ally. This unusual action reflects how seriously the Merkel government takes these spying allegations. What could the CIA hope to gain by infiltrating the BND, the German Federal Intelligence Service, knowing there was a chance that the operation might be exposed? What was worth this risk?" (07/11/14)

http://tinyurl.com/knmkqp2  

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