Author Archive

Do you want shrapnel with that airbag?

December 11, 2014
posted by

In These Times In These Times
by Terry J. Allen  

"How’s this for a job-creation program: Let’s dig a yawning new circle of hell for corporate and bureaucratic decision makers who allowed the sale of flawed, fatal airbag systems. But their eternal lodgings aside, why aren’t the culprits in prison for homicide? In 2004, when an airbag exploded and shot metal shards into the driver of a Honda, neither the carmaker nor the airbag manufacturer, Takata, sounded an alert, issued a recall or sought the involvement of federal safety regulators, the New York Times reported." (12/10/14)

http://tinyurl.com/nfzvlag  

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Congress relaxes whole grain standards for schools

December 11, 2014
posted by

Fox News Fox News    

"Congress is taking some whole grains off the school lunch line. A massive year-end spending bill released Tuesday doesn't allow schools to opt out of healthier school meal standards championed by first lady Michelle Obama, as House Republicans had sought. But it would ease standards that require more whole grains in school foods. The bill also would put off rules to lower sodium in school meals. Those rules were supposed kick in by 2017." (12/10/14)

http://tinyurl.com/p2vy8w3  

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McDonald’s to trim menu, examine ingredients

December 10, 2014
posted by

San Francisco Chronicle San Francisco Chronicle    

"McDonald's is planning to trim its menu, review its cooking methods and maybe even get rid of some of the ingredients it uses to change perceptions that it serves junk food. CEO Don Thompson sought to reassure investors Wednesday that such changes will help strengthen the chain's appeal as it fights to hold onto customers. The discussion in Oak Brook, Illinois, came after the company earlier this week reported yet another monthly decline in U.S. sales. In November, it said the figure fell 4.6 percent at established locations. Thompson has conceded McDonald's Corp. has failed to keep up with changing tastes. One of the problems is that people are increasingly moving toward foods they feel are fresh or wholesome, and the image of fast-food burgers and fries doesn't exactly fit that bill." (12/10/14)

http://tinyurl.com/pmul67n  

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Uber under pressure as more bans and lawsuits loom

December 10, 2014
posted by

BBC News BBC News [UK state media]    

"Uber's week of woes is continuing with authorities in San Francisco and Los Angeles taking legal action against the internet-based taxi firm. It has been banned from operating in New Delhi following the alleged rape by a driver of a female passenger. Meanwhile, a judge in Madrid has ordered a temporary halt to the service and Thai authorities say the firm lacks proper registration and insurance. Uber is yet to comment on the latest legal cases against it." (12/10/14)

http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-30393961  

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Weird war: Iran & Israel bombing the same country

December 10, 2014
posted by

Reuters Reuters
by Michael Williams  

"The McDonnell Douglas’ F4 Phantom was a workhorse of the United States Air Force during the Vietnam War in the 1960s. It was retired from the USAF and the British Royal Air Force some 20 years ago. But the vintage fighter-bomber put in a surprise performance a few days ago over the skies of northern Iraq. Iranian Air Force Phantoms purchased during the reign of the Shah of Iran, who was overthrown in the revolution of 1979, attacked Islamic State bases in Diyala province near the town of Saadiya, on the frontline between Iraqi forces and Islamic State. Pentagon officials were quick to deny any coordination with the Iranian strikes." (12/10/14)

http://tinyurl.com/ozs4teh  

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Torture gets the “only in America” treatment

December 10, 2014
posted by

Paul Waldman The American Prospect
by Paul Waldman  

"Let it not be said anywhere, at any time, by anyone, that Joe Biden does not love America. Biden's love for America is high as a mountain, and deep as the sea. In fact, Biden's love for America is so great that he is convinced that all other countries fortunate enough to share this planet with America are populated by nothing but knaves and fools. Or maybe it's just that his love gets the better of him sometimes, as it did in this discussion of the torture report issued yesterday by the Senate Intelligence Committee." (12/09/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mfvtqnk  

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NY: IFC theater allows minors to view Snowden documentary

December 10, 2014
posted by

Raw Story Raw Story    

"The theater complex associated with the Independent Film Channel will allow minors to view the Edward Snowden documentary Citizenfour despite the 'R' rating given to it by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), Mother Jones‘ Inae Oh reports. The film (which consists largely of interviews of Snowden by Glenn Greenwald in a Hong Kong hotel room about the global surveillance practices of the United States) earned an 'R' rating for 'language.' ... However, the IFC Center contends that the film is too important not to be seen by the next generation of voters." (12/10/14)

http://tinyurl.com/nzac3pb  

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Pirate Bay raid: Has Sweden dealt a knockout blow to file-sharing site?

December 10, 2014
posted by

Christian Science Monitor Christian Science Monitor    

"Swedish police have effectively shut down the Pirate Bay, a popular file-sharing service, by seizing its servers and computers in a raid. The website is probably the most well-known peer-to-peer portal for downloading pirated content, such as movies and movies. It went offline Tuesday morning after police raided a server room in Stockholm over alleged copyright violations following a complaint by the Rights Alliance, an anti-piracy group in Sweden." (12/10/14)

http://tinyurl.com/nlqhzsy  

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Wall Street moves in for the kill

December 10, 2014
posted by

Richard Eskow Our Future
by Richard Eskow  

"It’s been six years since Wall Street’s recklessness and criminal fraud caused trillions of dollars in economic damage and nearly shattered the global economy. The 2008 financial crisis opened millions of Americans’ eyes to the widespread corruption and mismanagement in the financial industry, and built public support for stronger bank oversight. Initial steps were taken in that direction, primarily in the Dodd/Frank financial reform bill, and more remains to be done. But today Wall Street is on the offensive. Banks are expanding their political influence, fighting to roll back the measures already in place and working to block further reforms. In our money-driven political system, they have plenty of ammunition with which to wage their battle." (12/09/14)

http://tinyurl.com/lhxve3g  

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SCOTUS: No worker pay for security screening time

December 10, 2014
posted by

Reuters Reuters    

"The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday handed a victory to employers over worker compensation, ruling that companies do not have to pay employees for the time they spend undergoing security checks at the end of their shifts in a case involving an Amazon.com Inc warehousing contractor. The court decided by a 9-0 vote that employees of Integrity Staffing Solutions facilities in Nevada, where Amazon merchandise is processed and shipped, cannot claim compensation for time spent undergoing screening (up to half an hour a day, according to the workers) aimed at protecting against theft." (12/09/14)

http://tinyurl.com/pn95e7j  

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A taxonomy of torture defenses

December 10, 2014
posted by

Paul Waldman The American Prospect
by Paul Waldman  

"Today, the Senate Intelligence Committee released a summary of its report on the CIA's use of torture during George W. Bush's administration (this is a 480-page version; the full report runs 6,000 pages), and though previous reporting has revealed much of what the report will contain, there are new details to mull over. And of course, the renewed debate has brought back all the torture advocates from the Bush administration, who will vigorously, even angrily make their case that nothing improper or immoral happened during those dark times." (12/09/14)

http://prospect.org/article/taxonomy-torture-defenses-0  

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Why no one remembers the peacemakers

December 10, 2014
posted by

In These Times In These Times
by Adam Hochschild  

"Go to war and every politician will thank you, and they’ll continue to do so (with monuments and statues, war museums and military cemeteries) long after you’re dead. But who thanks those who refused to fight, even in wars that most people later realized were tragic mistakes? Consider the 2003 invasion of Iraq, now widely recognized as igniting an ongoing disaster. America’s politicians still praise Iraq War veterans to the skies, but what senator has a kind word to say about the hundreds of thousands of protesters who marched and demonstrated before the invasion was even launched to try to stop our soldiers from risking their lives in the first place?" (12/09/14)

http://inthesetimes.com/article/17425/christmas_truce  

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The flacks for plutocrats need a new analogy

December 10, 2014
posted by

Sam Pizzigati Our Future
by Sam Pizzigati  

"A rising tide lifts all boats. A growing economic pie means bigger slices for everybody. Wealth that flows to the top will always trickle down. Cheerleaders for wealth’s concentration have over the years invoked a variety of images to justify the ever larger fortunes of our society’s most fortunate. These images all rest on a single economic assumption: that letting wealth accumulate in the pockets of a few grows an economy’s capacity for investment and ultimately, as investments create jobs, leaves everybody better off. That assumption has dominated mainstream economics for generations. But that’s changing." (12/09/14)

http://tinyurl.com/lznb9nt  

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NOAA study: Climate change not to blame for California drought

December 10, 2014
posted by

Raw Story Raw Story    

"Climate change is usually discussed in extremes: Epic heat in Australia. A deadly heat wave in Europe. Hurricane Sandy grinding New York to a halt. The extreme California drought? Maybe not so much. A new National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration study released Monday shows that the 3-year California drought may have been caused by natural variability and not necessarily human-caused climate change. The study follows a series of studies released in September that were inconclusive about the role of climate change in the California drought, and another published last week showing that the drought is the worst the state has seen in 1,200 years." (12/09/14)

http://tinyurl.com/kmrkqro  

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Walgreen tests virtual doctor visits through app

December 10, 2014
posted by

Fox News Fox News    

"Walgreen is testing a new telemedicine service that lets patients see a doctor without leaving home or visiting any of the drugstore chain's clinics. The Deerfield, Illinois, company said Monday that patients in California or Michigan can now contact a physician around the clock through Walgreen's mobile application for smartphones or tablet computers. The virtual visits cost $49, and doctors can diagnose and treat problems that aren't emergencies and don't require a physical exam, such as pink eye or bronchitis. The physicians, who are licensed to practice in the patient's state, also can write prescriptions." (12/09/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mt7n7qk  

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Exxon sees abundant oil, gas far into future

December 10, 2014
posted by

San Francisco Chronicle San Francisco Chronicle    

"North America, once a sponge that sucked in a significant portion of the world's oil, will instead be supplying the world with oil and other liquid hydrocarbons by the end of this decade, according to ExxonMobil's annual long-term energy forecast. And the 'almost unspeakable' amount of natural gas found in recent years in the U.S. and elsewhere in North America will be enough to make the region one of the world's biggest exporters of that fuel by 2025, even as domestic demand for it increases, according to Bill Colton, Exxon's chief strategist. 'The world has such an improved outlook for supplies,' he said in an interview." (12/09/14)

http://tinyurl.com/n85k3nk  

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Mali: French hostage held by al Qaeda freed

December 10, 2014
posted by

Christian Science Monitor Christian Science Monitor    

"The last French hostage held by Islamic extremists in Africa has been released after more than three years in captivity, French President François Hollande said Tuesday. While details of the release (including whether or not a ransom was paid) remain unclear, it stands in sharp contrast to the failed US rescue attempt of an American hostage in Yemen on Saturday. American photojournalist Luke Somers died in that raid, along with South African Pierre Korkie." (12/09/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mrbc5pw  

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$2 gas is the worst thing to happen to America

December 9, 2014
posted by

San Francisco Chronicle San Francisco Chronicle    

"Flush times! Economy fully recovered, unemployment down, jobs finally on the rise, housing crisis over, all wars sort of mostly concluded, Wall Street shamelessly gorging, racial tensions aflame, wealth more unevenly divided than ever, consumer spending up, that awful socialist Obama obviously hurling us deeper and deeper into a hellpit of, uh, shocking stability and (messy, flawed, still sort of miraculous) success. And wow, those gas prices! Well below $3 a gallon in most areas, and dropping fast. For a variety of reasons -- Libya, OPEC, record-high US production (thanks again, hippie Obama, for encouraging so much new domestic oil output) -- oil is right now so amazingly cheap as to be, well, sort of disastrous. Is it not true? Let’s just say it outright: There is nothing good about cheap gas in America." (12/09/14)

http://blog.sfgate.com/morford/2014/12/09/2-gas-is-the-worse-thing  

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Can we live the good life without economic growth?

December 9, 2014
posted by

Reuters Reuters
by Hugo Dixon  

"Is the good life possible without economic growth? Merely raising the question challenges the conventional contemporary wisdom that a society’s prime goal should be to boost its income continually. But it is one that the West, especially Western Europe, may have to confront. Europe is not just suffering the after-effects of a nasty cyclical downturn, it has probably entered an era of low growth." (12/08/14)

http://tinyurl.com/lql2y3s  

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Curiosity Mars rover “solves mountain riddle”

December 9, 2014
posted by

BBC News BBC News [UK state media]    

"Scientists working on Nasa's Curiosity rover think they can now explain why there is a huge mountain at the robot's landing site in Mars's Gale Crater. They believe it is the remains of sediments laid down in successive lakes that filled the deep bowl, probably over tens of millions of years. Only later did winds dig out an encircling plain to expose the 5km-high peak we see today. If true, this has major implications for past climates on the Red Planet. It implies the world had to have been far warmer and wetter in its first two billion years than many people had previously recognised." (12/09/14)

http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-30390143  

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Will SCOTUS help Mitch McConnell destroy Obamacare?

December 9, 2014
posted by

William Greider The Nation
by William Greider  

"Mitch McConnell, the soon-to-be anointed Senate majority leader, wants a 'mulligan' on Obamacare, and he’s counting on the Supreme Court to give him one. For those who are not golfers, a 'mulligan' is getting a second chance when a duffer hits a lousy tee shot. In this case, McConnell means Republicans want to tear up the Affordable Care Act and rewrite it in their own terms. But the Republican-controlled Congress will not have the power to achieve this so it wants the Supreme Court’s right-wingers to do the dirty work for them." (12/08/14)

http://tinyurl.com/pf6sdno  

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Afghanistan: Symbolic “end” to war overshadowed by new Obama plans

December 9, 2014
posted by

Christian Science Monitor Christian Science Monitor    

"The United States military and NATO officially shuttered their combat command in Afghanistan in a little-noticed ceremony Monday, more than 13 years after the start of the longest war America has ever fought. But what had long promised to be a major milestone in the war has been overshadowed by recent strategic changes on the ground. Even as troops lowered the flag of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) joint command (which was in charge of combat operations) Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel made it clear that the US will be jettisoning its original plan to cut forces to 9,800 by year’s end." (12/08/14)

http://tinyurl.com/ou8tkov  

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We hold these truths to be self-evident

December 9, 2014
posted by

Jon Carroll San Francisco Chronicle
by Jon Carroll  

"I have hesitated to write about the recent spate of highly publicized shooting of unarmed black men by police. My views on the matter are widely available in the public media. Black writers, men and women, have testified to the reality of constant police harassment. Everybody has a 'driving while black' story. White people have no such comparable stories. Most black people know someone in jail; most white people don’t. Racism is alive and well; even though it’s no longer the dominant narrative, it continues to thrive." (12/08/14)

http://tinyurl.com/q8vnr3g  

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Sleight of the invisible hand

December 9, 2014
posted by

In These Times In These Times
by Chris Lehmann  

"In the panoply of myths most cherished by apostles of capitalism from Adam Smith to Milton Friedman to Tyler Cowen, second only to the rational market is the moral market. Under this catechism of the market faith, the act of bringing commerce to new ports of call serves to lift all parties into a more civilized mindset: more tolerant, more liberty-conscious, more mindful of our shared humanity, and more averse to business-quashing geopolitical conflicts. But the history of Western capitalism has trended in a different direction. As much as the Enlightenment sages and their neoliberal successors have insisted otherwise, the spread of market values has been a breeding ground of fraud and chicanery. Indeed, the smoothest path to paper wealth has proved, in moral terms, to be the crookedest." (12/08/14)

http://tinyurl.com/pdavv4k  

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Can Dems win in the South by being more liberal?

December 9, 2014
posted by

Paul Waldman The American Prospect
by Paul Waldman  

"It isn't accurate to call Mary Landrieu 'the last Southern Democrat,' as one headline after another put it in the days leading up to and following her defeat in Saturday’s runoff election in Louisiana. While it's true that Republicans now control almost all the Senate seats, governorships, and legislatures of the 11 states of the old confederacy (the exceptions are found in Virginia and Florida), there are quite a few Democratic elected officials left in the South—but few of them were elected statewide, and a large proportion of them are black." (12/08/14)

http://tinyurl.com/n8pf7ea  

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