Author Archive

Campaign finance reform: Not just for Democrats?

January 22, 2015
posted by

The Nation The Nation Blog    

"Ask Maine State Senator Ed Youngblood what’s changed most since he first ran for office in 2000 and the answer is easy: the money. Back then, legislative races in the state attracted less than a quarter of a million dollars in outside spending. By 2012, political groups were pouring more than $3.5 million into those contests. ... Youngblood has always run using Maine’s Clean Election program, which provides public funds for candidates who raise their money from small donors. It got a lot harder to do so after Citizens United, and things got even worse when another court case rolled back the part of Maine’s program that provided matching funds to help candidates deal with all that outside money." (01/21/15)

http://tinyurl.com/pktoj7a  

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CO: Potential jurors want out of theater shooting case

January 22, 2015
posted by

San Francisco Chronicle San Francisco Chronicle    

"Prospective jurors in the Colorado theater shooting trial presented a judge with a number of excuses on Wednesday for why they shouldn't be on the panel that decides if defendant James Holmes was insane at the time of the deadly attack. By the end of the second day of what promises to be a long slog to picking a jury, Judge Carlos Samour had excused at least 20 people who had doctors' notes, didn't speak English, or weren't residents of Arapahoe County, where the 2012 attack occurred. However, in a sign of how difficult it might be to get excused, a summons for a woman who reported being 'violently ill' and requested an ambulance was only delayed but not canceled." (01/21/15)

http://tinyurl.com/qxuf5py  

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GOP response: The breadbags of empathy

January 22, 2015
posted by

Paul Waldman The American Prospect
by Paul Waldman  

"Imagine going to the doctor and saying, 'My back is killing me. I can barely move. What can you do to help me? Should we do an X-ray? Physical therapy? Medication?' And the doctor responds, 'Yeah, I hurt my back once. It was awful. So I know exactly what you're feeling. Anyway, thanks for coming in—just see the receptionist on the way out to pay your bill.' That's not too far off from what we heard from Senator Joni Ernst in the GOP response to the State of the Union address last night." [editor's note: Well, Bill Clinton said he could "feel your pain"? What's different now? - SAT] (01/21/15)

http://prospect.org/article/gop-response-breadbags-empathy  

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TX: SCOTUS hears case testing civil rights act

January 21, 2015
posted by

Christian Science Monitor Christian Science Monitor    

"A sharply divided US Supreme Court on Wednesday took up a challenge to the Fair Housing Act (FHA) in an action that liberal critics say could gut the major civil rights provision. At issue in a case from Dallas, Texas, is whether the housing law authorizes lawsuits over racially neutral measures that nonetheless disproportionately impact minority residents. Liberals support the so-called disparate impact theory of civil rights enforcement, while conservatives warn that such an approach could lead to racial quotas in housing and other areas." [editor's note: That last sentence might be the best objective analysis of the two "sides" (on this and other issues) I've seen in years? - SAT] (01/21/15)

http://tinyurl.com/ntgqutd  

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I’m really not sure they like us

January 21, 2015
posted by

Jon Carroll San Francisco Chronicle
by Jon Carroll  

"The Fox News channel continues to thrive, but it’s not really selling news; it’s selling attitude. Real news (the kind you get on, say, Al Jazeera) seems not to interest people very much. Yes, you can get an outrage of the day trending on Twitter, but the outrage is usually without context, and it usually dissipates before the problem can be solved. Lynch them all and now, here’s an epic snowboard fail. The question in newsrooms has always been: How do we package the news in the new environment? How can we make our stories and our skills accessible in the digital age?" (01/21/15)

http://tinyurl.com/n9dma3m  

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MO: Justice Department said ready to clear Ferguson officer

January 21, 2015
posted by

Reuters Reuters    

"The U.S. Justice Department is about to close the investigation into the shooting death of an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri, and clear the white police officer involved of any civil rights charges, The New York Times reported on Wednesday. The newspaper quoted law enforcement officials as saying that federal prosecutors had begun work on a legal memo recommending no civil rights charges against the officer, Darren Wilson, after an FBI investigation found no evidence to support charges against him. The Justice Department declined comment." (01/21/15)

http://tinyurl.com/q99ap7g  

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BP boss predicts: Oil prices “low for up to 3 years”

January 21, 2015
posted by

BBC News BBC News [UK state media]    

"The boss of oil giant BP's boss Bob Dudley has said that oil prices could remain low for up to three years. He added that could send UK petrol prices below £1 per litre. He told BBC Business editor Kamal Ahmed in Davos BP was planning for low oil prices for years to come. That is expected to lead to job losses and falling investment in the North Sea oil industry and elsewhere, curbing supply and eventually forcing the price back up." (01/21/15)

http://www.bbc.com/news/business-30913321  

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How to sell off a city

January 21, 2015
posted by

In These Times In These Times
by Rick Perlstein  

"In June of 2013, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel made a new appointment to the city’s seven-member school board. ... Deborah H. Quazzo is a founder of an investment firm called GSV Advisors, a business whose goal is ... drumming up venture capital for 'an education revolution in which public schools outsource to private vendors such critical tasks as teaching math, educating disabled students, even writing report cards.' GSV Advisors has a sister firm, GSV Capital, that holds ownership stakes in education technology companies like 'Knewton,' which sells software that replaces the functions of flesh-and-blood teachers. ... In other words, a key decision-maker for Chicago’s public schools makes money when school boards decide to sell off the functions of public schools." [editor's note: This would seem to qualify as "crony corporatism" not just "privatization" - SAT] (01/21/15)

http://inthesetimes.com/article/17533/how_to_sell_off_a_city  

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If Social Security was really about funding your retirement …

January 21, 2015
posted by

   

The more I see and hear about Social Security, the clearer it becomes how many people misunderstand it.
I’m 65 and a few months now; after some deliberation, I filed last month. My considerations: file now, and get a slightly smaller monthly check (and maybe lose part of it, since I’d continue to do at least some work on the books); or wait until I hit 66 in July (“full retirement” for my age-group), for a bigger monthly check and no real limits on what else I chose to earn, within reason. I’m now waiting (finding other ways to cope) while they process the application, hoping all goes well and I have my first three months of “payback” in hand by mid-February.
I'm still editing part time, along with several months of full-time seasonal work to supplement things; once the regular checks start hitting my bank account, I might even put a little aside (yeah, sure!). I’m also thinking I could invest a little back into my long-dormant IRA account, or maybe put some cash into clean, full-band studio recordings of a couple of my better songs, then pitching those to create some residual income. Meanwhile, by making $300-500 a month on top of the SSA checks, I can probably live fairly comfortably for my tastes, and I’m already three quarters of the way to that level, just with current recurring projects.
However, I still sometimes wish I could have held onto a bit more (or all?) of what I earned, and done it my way. . . .
(more…)

 

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Don’t run, Mitt

January 21, 2015
posted by

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

"Mitt Romney is thinking of running for president in 2016. According to the New York Times, that’s what Romney told a group of big donors last week. Earlier, the former Massachusetts governor was thinking of running because the only other hefty Republican who could spare the party from a nutty primary (former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush) was too coy about his 2016 intentions. Now that Bush seems ready to brave the ring, however, Romney still feels a need to do the deed. Again." (01/15/15)

http://tinyurl.com/mc3vtw5  

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Mike Huckabee, your candidate of cultural resentment

January 21, 2015
posted by

Paul Waldman The American Prospect
by Paul Waldman  

"As much as I enjoy The Daily Show, Jon Stewart is usually not that good an interviewer when it comes to political figures. He's about two-thirds of a good interviewer: there are always some good questions, but he usually misses opportunities to ask critical follow-ups, and when his interviewee is struggling, he'll often jump in with a joke. Which is his job, of course (it's a comedy show, and he's a comedian), but it also has the effect of letting his subject off the hook. Last night though, Stewart did an extremely revealing interview with Mike Huckabee, one that cast into sharp relief what Huckabee's 2016 presidential campaign is going to be about." (01/20/15)

http://tinyurl.com/npku74p  

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Straight talk on veterans and suicide

January 21, 2015
posted by

Come Home America Come Home America
by Joey King  

"I have been researching the issue of veteran suicide for about 6 years. ... 18 veterans a day commit suicide. ... These [are] the military’s own numbers, not the propaganda of some peace organization. Veterans are the largest, identifiable sub-group of suicides in the U.S. ... Sadly, the number soon jumped from 18 to 22 veterans per day who kill themselves. It has been stuck there ever since. Far more military personnel loose their lives by their own hands than by the hands of the enemy and it has been that way for years." (01/20/15)

http://tinyurl.com/kmnfeog  

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SOTU Address: A progressive field guide

January 21, 2015
posted by

Our Future
by Robert Borosage  

"The annual State of the Union address that President Obama will deliver tonight before the Republican-controlled Congress serves many functions. It provides the president with a chance to boast upon progress made, and to highlight next steps. It frames, particularly with this obstructionist Congress, upcoming battles. And with the presidential election of 2016 already begun, it gives the president a chance to define themes and contrasts that the emerging challengers must respond to." (01/20/15)

http://tinyurl.com/phewnz5  

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Study downgrades climate impact of wood burning

January 20, 2015
posted by

Raw Story Raw Story    

"Surprising new research has sharply downgraded the perceived climate impacts of the gathering and burning of wood by residents of poor and developing countries who rely on the fuel to keep warm and cook food. Of the 2.8 billion people forced to use wood for fuel, often filling their humble homes with life-shortening soot, the vast majority are chopping down and gathering their fuel in ways that allow forests and woodlands to regrow. That isn’t just good for the environment around them; carbon-hungry growth of trees that replace those that were felled helps cancel the climate-changing effects of carbon dioxide pollution released when the wood is burned." (01/20/15)

http://tinyurl.com/k25ko2t  

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Can Wall Street take down Big Pharma?

January 20, 2015
posted by

William Greider The Nation Blog
by William Greider  

"Here is a man-bites-dog story that might give comfort to those many Americans being gouged by the drug industry’s larcenous prices. A Dallas hedge-fund operator named Kyle Bass who made a fortune attacking over-priced stocks now says he is going to attack Big Pharma for over-pricing drugs. Bass’s announcement set financial industry bloggers aflutter because hedge funds are not usually known for public spirited motives. Citizen Bass is in it for the money of course. But he intends to do well himself by doing good for the rest of us." (01/20/15)

http://tinyurl.com/o8llp6t  

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GA: Man cited for eating cheeseburger while driving

January 20, 2015
posted by

Fox News Fox News    

"A man says he was cited by police outside Atlanta for eating a cheeseburger while driving. Madison Turner, who's from Alabama, tells Atlanta station WSB-TV he ordered a double quarter-pounder with cheese from a McDonald's in the Marietta area shortly before he was pulled over last week. Turner says the officer told him he saw him eating the cheeseburger for two miles, telling the man 'You can't just go down the road eating a hamburger.' The ticket, issued under Georgia's distracted driving law, states in the comments section that the offense is 'eating while driving.'" (01/20/15)

http://tinyurl.com/oqnczdz  

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Alaska: Unique hurdles facing legal pot in live-and-let-live state

January 20, 2015
posted by

Reuters Reuters    

"Presiding over busy waterways and airspace that serve as unofficial highways of an inhospitable state twice the size of Texas, the federal government has a looming presence over Alaska and its famously live-and-let-live residents. And Uncle Sam considers marijuana illegal over every inch. This poses unique hurdles for entrepreneurs hoping to capitalize on an Alaska move to legalize recreational marijuana, and who seek to grow and process products to be marketed across the state, much of which is accessible only via transport links policed by U.S. agencies and governed by federal law." (01/20/15)

http://tinyurl.com/q7dvn5t  

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Report: Odds of gas tax hike growing

January 20, 2015
posted by

San Francisco Chronicle San Francisco Chronicle    

"With Washington’s most famous climate-change skeptic expressing interest in raising the federal gasoline tax, Bay Area Rep. Jared Huffman sees an opening to grab the brass ring of the environmental movement: a tax on carbon. Taxing gasoline is, after all, a form of taxing carbon -- a step environmentalists believe could reduce America’s global-warming emissions. Huffman reasons that if Oklahoma Republican Sen. James Inhofe, who once wrote a book calling climate change 'The Greatest Hoax,' can get Washington talking about raising the gas levy, it’s a good time to make the tax a little more sophisticated so it reflects the carbon content of all fuels." (01/20/15)

http://tinyurl.com/lvn6uvo  

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Islamic State demand: $200 million cash for two Japanese hostages

January 20, 2015
posted by

Christian Science Monitor Christian Science Monitor    

"The Islamic State's new hostage video, in which it threatens to kill two Japanese captives and demands $200 million in ransom, comes as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is touring the Middle East and offering the same amount in humanitarian aid to countries affected by the terrorist group. The video, which is not dated and has not yet been authenticated, echoes past releases by the group, with two men in orange clothing kneeling in a desert landscape. A voice-over instructs the Japanese public that it has three days to convince its government to end its 'foolish' support of the US-led campaign against the self-described Islamic State, Reuters reports." (01/20/15)

http://tinyurl.com/lvn6uvo  

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Nepal: Violence and arrests over new constitution

January 20, 2015
posted by

BBC News BBC News [UK state media]    

"Scuffles broke out in Nepal's parliament and police arrested protesters in the capital as tensions rose before a deadline to draft a new national constitution. Opposition lawmakers threw chairs and microphones and attacked the parliamentary Speaker early on Tuesday. The Maoist opposition accuse the ruling coalition of trying to push through their proposals without consensus. Nepal's leaders have set 22 January as a deadline for the draft constitution." (01/20/15)

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-30894714  

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Reducing inequality: Where to start?

January 20, 2015
posted by

Reuters Reuters
by Edward Hadas  

"All people are equal in dignity but all societies are unequal in the distribution of education, consumption goods, economic opportunities and social influence. Until about 1800, few moralists thought the equality postulated in principle was violated by the inequality found in reality. Today almost everyone accepts that economic inequality can be, and often is, excessive. Why then does progress in alleviating unequal outcomes seem so slow? National debates about inequality may be serious and well meaning. But they cannot escape a sort of moral parochialism. If all people are truly equal, then it is wrong to worry primarily about equality within a small subset of humanity, for example the 4.5 percent of the world who are counted as American." (01/19/15)

http://tinyurl.com/k29nmdd  

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A guide to MLK’s 21st Century insights

January 20, 2015
posted by

Richard Eskow Our Future
by Richard Eskow  

"(Previously published, with some revisions) Here it comes again. This holiday weekend we’ll see a lot of media coverage of Martin Luther King, Jr. But we’ll hear very little about who he really was: a brave and visionary leader whose vision is as relevant today as ever. Dr. King’s life and legacy stand as a challenge to an entrenched society of privilege and injustice. Here are nine quotes that reflect that legacy." (01/19/15)

http://tinyurl.com/nfzjgdu  

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Senate unveils toned down Iran sanctions bill

January 20, 2015
posted by

Raw Story Raw Story    

"Supporters of Iran sanctions in the US Senate have unveiled a toned-down bill aimed at gaining enough votes to override a presidential veto. President Barack Obama has argued forcefully against any new measures against the Islamic Republic, saying Iran was already chafing under existing sanctions and imposing new ones could torpedo ongoing talks on an agreement to prevent Tehran from developing a nuclear bomb, a goal it denies having. On Thursday, the Senate banking committee will discuss and vote on the re-jigged bill proposed by Republican Mark Kirk and Democrat Robert Menedez, two senators who have sponsored previous sanctions bills." (01/19/15)

http://tinyurl.com/lzbbjou  

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Report: By 2050, cancer will kill few under 80

January 20, 2015
posted by

Fox News Fox News    

"Today, cancers are 'becoming either preventable or effectively curable,' a researcher notes, which means that by 2050, hardly anyone under 80 will die of such diseases, a study says.... Lifestyle changes, protective technologies, and improved therapies will pave the way, the study notes. Things could move even faster if people follow advice to take aspirin daily, according to the study, although some have questioned that advice, given aspirin's link to ulcers and stomach bleeding, Yahoo UK reports." (01/19/15)

http://tinyurl.com/lm4ttm7  

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Citizens United gives freedom of speech back to the people

January 20, 2015
posted by

Reuters Reuters
by Bradley A. Smith  

"Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2010) is one of the most misunderstood U.S. Supreme Court decisions of modern times. A routine, sensible ruling, Citizens United somehow became a lightning rod for demagogues, would-be censors and partisan hacks across the political spectrum. So how has it worked? We’ve now had three election cycles under Citizens United, and none of the doomsday predictions have come true." [editor's note: I posted this in part just to piss off my "progressive" friends with the title, but it turns out to be a fairly well-reasoned analysis - SAT] (01/16/15)

http://tinyurl.com/le6ozro  

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