Author Archive

We can’t give up on nuclear plants

June 15, 2016
posted by

USA Today USA Today
by Ronald Kirk & Christine Todd Whitman  

"Illinois is the latest example of a state losing nuclear energy facilities (a major component of our clean energy mix) when we most need zero-carbon electricity to cut pollution and meet our climate change goals. The premature closure of the Clinton and Quad Cities nuclear power plants means that Illinois, like California before it, is about to face increased carbon emissions and harmful air pollution. Illinois' Clean Power Plan obligation for reducing carbon emissions by 2030, already 30 million metric tons of carbon, will now increase by an additional 20 million metric tons. These reasons should be enough for us to continue a long-term investment in nuclear energy." [editor's notes: 1) Consider the source of this; 2) as long as the Price Anderson Act is intact, severely limiting the full liability for a nuke accident, that form of energy will always be a subsidized scam cartel - SAT] (06/14/16)

http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2016/06/14/nuclear-reactor-closures-illinois-greenhouse-gases-clean-air-act-column/85595364  

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Led Zeppelin appear in court over “Stairway” dispute

June 15, 2016
posted by

BBC News BBC News [UK state media]    

"Members of the rock band Led Zeppelin have appeared in court after being accused of borrowing from another song for their 1971 hit 'Stairway To Heaven.' Singer Robert Plant and guitarist Jimmy Page appeared at the LA court ahead of the start of the trial on Tuesday. The lawsuit claims that the song's opening chords were taken from Taurus, a 1967 track by the band Spirit. Plant, 67, and Page, 72, did not speak to each other or their lawyers in the courtroom, according to reports. A judge ruled in April that there was potential for a jury to find a 'substantial' similarity between the two recordings and approved the case." (06/14/16)

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-36534469  

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NY: NLRB smacks down union for threatening worker

June 14, 2016
posted by

Fox News Fox News    

"A New York City union violated federal labor law when it threatened to sue members petitioning to withdraw their membership. The New York regional office of the National Labor Relations Board, the top federal agency that oversees labor law and union elections, ruled that Communication Workers of America Local 1109 committed an unfair labor practice in reaction to an effort to decertify the union. 'By threatening to sue employees for their activities in soliciting signatures for a decertification petition Respondent Communication Workers of America Local 1109, AFL–CIO has engaged in unfair labor practices affecting commerce,' administrative law judge Mindy Landow said in the ruling." (06/14/16)

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2016/06/14/nlrb-smacks-down-union-for-threatening-worker.html  

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The war on workers’ comp

June 14, 2016
posted by

In These Times In These Times
by Stephen Franklin  

"For nearly a century, millions of workers have endured punishing jobs in construction, mining and factory work—jobs with high levels of work-related disability and injury. As a tradeoff for the dangers, they’ve had the assurance of workers’ compensation if injured permanently on the job. Employers accepted this deal, albeit sometimes grudgingly, because it removed the possibility of being sued over work-related injuries. But as labor has weakened and Republicans have won control of more and more statehouses, states have slowly chipped away at workers’ compensation benefits. Since just 2003, more than 30 states have passed laws that have 'reduced benefits for injured workers, created hurdles for medical care or made it more difficult for workers to qualify,' according to a recent investigative series by ProPublica and NPR. Some of the harshest cuts came in California, Arizona, Florida, Oklahoma, North Dakota, Kansas, Indiana and Tennessee." (06/14/16)

http://inthesetimes.com/working/entry/19206/the_war_on_workers_comp  

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SCOTUS to consider whether to hear assault weapons [sic] ban challenge

June 14, 2016
posted by

USA Today USA Today    

"Fresh off the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history [sic], the Supreme Court will consider whether to hear a challenge to the assault weapons ban passed in Connecticut after the Newtown elementary school massacre of 2012. A petition from gun rights groups is on the high court's list for consideration at Thursday's private conference, but the justices are unlikely to take the case. Just last December (five days after a terrorist attack killed 14 people in San Bernardino, CA) they refused to hear a challenge to a Chicago suburb's ban on such semi-automatic weapons. The Connecticut law was signed by Gov. Dannel Malloy in April 2013, four months after 20 students and six educators were gunned down at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Expanding on an earlier assault weapons ban in the state, it banned more than 100 types of firearms along with magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition." [editor's note: Sigh ... No, "the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history" was Wounded Knee, followed by Waco - SAT] ((06/14/16)

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2016/06/14/supreme-court-connecticut-guns-assault-weapons-newtown-orlando/85867644  

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CO: School plans to launch cannabis research institute

June 14, 2016
posted by

San Francisco Chronicle Smell the Truth    

"A Colorado university hopes to become one of the few schools to conduct marijuana research. Colorado State University-Pueblo was approved by county officials on Monday to receive $270,000 in funding for medical marijuana research and impact studies, ABC Denver reports. The funding will come from the county’s marijuana excise tax, and will allocate $220,000 for medical research and $50,000 for studies on the marijuana industry’s impact on the local community. 'This is a momentous day,' said Pueblo County Commissioner Sal Pace in a statement. 'I am incredibly excited to have real quantifiable data about how cannabis is affecting our community.' The university will also receive $900,000 from Colorado’s Marijuana Tax Cash Fund to aid their research, due to a new law signed by Gov. John Hickenlooper earlier in June." (06/14/16)

http://blog.sfgate.com/smellthetruth/2016/06/14/colorado-school-plans-to-launch-cannabis-research-institute  

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Privilege, passion, and politics

June 14, 2016
posted by

The American Prospect The American Prospect
by Arthur Goldhammer  

"Because my parents-in-law had the foresight to acquire an abandoned farm for a few thousand dollars more than 60 years ago, I enjoy the privilege of being able to sojourn in a Thomas Hardy landscape merely by driving south 90 miles and taking a ferry. But it’s no longer possible, if it ever was, to 'get away from it all.' Successive waves of technology (newspapers, radio, television, internet) ensure that we are all too connected, always and everywhere. And so it was that on Sunday morning, shortly after awakening to the chirping of birds at the feeder and the familiar sight of the Block Island Sound beyond the declivity defined as in an Impressionist painting by subtle variations on the theme of green, I learned from my tablet that the worst shooting massacre in the history of the United States had taken place in the wee hours of the morning at a gay bar in Orlando, Florida." [editor's note: Correction, the "worst shooting massacre in the history of the United States" was Wounded Knee (followed by Waco) - SAT] (06/14/16)

http://prospect.org/article/privilege-passion-and-politics  

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Donald Trump’s constitution

June 14, 2016
posted by

The American Prospect The American Prospect
by Robert Kuttner  

"In 1952, contemplating Dwight D. Eisenhower as the next president, Harry Truman famously remarked, 'He'll sit there and he'll say 'Do this! Do that!' and nothing will happen. Poor Ike -- it won't be a bit like the army.' The comment reflected President Truman's frustration with a balky bureaucracy and rival political power centers. Since Truman, the presidency has only grown stronger. We've had three bouts of serious presidential overreach under Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, and the George W. Bush-Dick Cheney regime, and some nasty forays under Ronald Reagan. In each case, democracy recoiled and recovered, yet the imperial presidency keeps expanding." (06/13/16)

http://prospect.org/article/donald-trumps-constitution  

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The Orlando massacre is an act of terror

June 14, 2016
posted by

The New Republic The New Republic
by Jeet Heer  

"As information flowed in on Sunday about the deceased Orlando mass-shooter Omar Mateen, a battle of narrative was playing out in the media: Was the Orlando killer a terrorist with a deep ideological commitment to radical Islam, or a mentally unstable hater with no real ISIS links? Some seized on the fact that Mateen made a call to 911 moments before the massacre to pledge allegiance to the head of ISIS as proof that this was an example of organized Jihadist terrorism. But Mateen’s family emphasized personal factors: His ex-wife cited his mental instability, evident in the domestic violence he inflicted on her, while his father said that Mateen was acting out of a deep hatred for LGBT people, and in particular gay men." (06/13/16)

https://newrepublic.com/article/134205/orlando-massacre-act-terror-whatever-tangle-causes  

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How the left can stop Trump

June 14, 2016
posted by

In These Times In These Times
by Cole Stangler  

"Salvador Seda has voted for the Democrat in every presidential election since he first registered in 1963. More than half a century later, the retiree and resident of Cleveland’s working-class Puritas-Longmead neighborhood is ending his streak. 'I’m going to vote for Donald Trump,' Seda told a canvasser from Showing Up for Racial Justice Action (SURJ Action) who had knocked on his door. 'He might not know much about politics, but he’s a businessman. ... In Washington, they have politicians that have been senators for 40 and 50 years. It’s time that these people get out and let some young blood in.' Leaving Seda’s house, canvasser Caroline Meister acknowledged the visit hadn’t gone as planned." (06/13/16)

http://inthesetimes.com/article/19184/how-the-left-can-stop-trump  

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An untraditional war

June 14, 2016
posted by

USA Today USA Today
by Glenn Harlan Reynolds  

"In the wake of the Orlando shootings, people are trotting out the usual post-massacre talking points about gun control, terrorism, etc. But the solutions aren’t so easy. Gun control is much stricter in Europe, but that hasn’t stopped mass shootings like the ones at Charlie Hebdo’s offices or at the Bataclan concert hall. (It’s also very strict in California, but that didn’t stop the shootings at San Bernardino.) Talking about gun control is mostly a way of avoiding a tough problem." [editor's note: I don't mesh with all of this, but he is correct in noting that "better gun control" is not the solution - SAT] (06/12/16)

http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2016/06/12/orlando-nightclub-shooting-omar-mateen-islam-terrorism-column/85794088  

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Yosemite National Park testing reserved parking

June 13, 2016
posted by

San Francisco Chronicle San Francisco Chronicle    

"Yosemite National Park officials may have an answer to all the traffic in paradise — at least for a few lucky visitors. The park announced last week that it is testing reserved parking in Yosemite Valley, with the goal of ensuring drivers a place to park in the granite canyon marked by stunning mountain views but plagued by long lines of cars. Beginning Saturday, visitors could reserve one of 150 day-use parking spots cordoned off near the Yosemite Valley Lodge for June 25-26 and July 2-4. Park officials say the program may be extended to other summer weekends, depending on how well it goes." (06/11/16)

http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Reserved-parking-being-tested-at-Yosemite-8041133.php  

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Report: Orlando killer may have scoped out other targets

June 13, 2016
posted by

USA Today USA Today    

"The gunman whose shooting spree at a packed nightclub left 49 people dead sounded 'cool and calm' in negotiations with police before officers stormed the club in a brutal firefight that ended the siege, Orlando Police Chief John Mina said Monday. Also Monday, a federal law enforcement official told USA TODAY that investigators believe Omar Mateen was in the Orlando area for several days prior to the shooting, suggesting that the gunman carefully considered the target. The official, who is not authorized to comment publicly, said investigators are reviewing Mateen’s possible consideration of other iconic targets in the Orlando area, including Disney World. That review was ongoing and it was not immediately clear how seriously other locations were considered, the official said." (06/13/16)

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2016/06/13/world-continues-reel-orlando-mass-shooting/85817270  

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When daily life turns into a war zone

June 13, 2016
posted by

Reuters Reuters
by Amy Wilentz  

"We live in a time of mass shootings and suicide attacks. This means it is possible that, in the ordinary hours of what you view as your daily life, you are actually participating in a largely invisible war that may break out at any moment. When it does, you may find yourself on the front lines, facing the cannons. This war has no specific geography. It can erupt anywhere, as it did early Sunday morning in Orlando, Florida. Nothing can save us when these events unfold, no claim of innocence: We are cannon fodder. So are our killers. We still don’t know what may have motivated the killer who attacked patrons in a packed Orlando nightclub, a well-known gay club called Pulse. What we do know is that shared humanity is not on the killer’s agenda. Your crying out that you too are human is meaningless. Not only does the killer not care, he doesn’t hear it. Put yourself in his position: Like his targets, soon he’ll be dead." (06/13/16)

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-attacks-orlando-shootings-commentary-idUSKCN0YZ06S  

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Mexico: Massacre of 11 people linked to rapist’s “grudge”

June 13, 2016
posted by

BBC News BBC News [UK state media]    

"The funeral has taken place in Mexico of 11 people from the same family who were shot by masked gunmen in a remote village in the early hours of Friday. Police in the central state of Puebla initially said that they were looking into allegations that the violence was caused by religious intolerance. But prosecutors now say the motive was vengeance and two suspects have been identified and are being sought. The main suspect is a man who nine years ago raped a family member. He had threatened to go back and kill everyone in the Sanchez Hernandez family if they reported the crime." (06/13/16)

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-36522841  

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Microsoft to buy LinkedIn for $26.2 billion

June 13, 2016
posted by

Reuters Reuters    

"Microsoft Corp will buy LinkedIn Corp for $26.2 billion in its biggest-ever deal, marking CEO Satya Nadella's first big effort to breathe new life into the software giant's business-productivity tools. By connecting core software like Microsoft Word and PowerPoint with LinkedIn's network of 433 million professionals, the deal marks a turn for Microsoft, which stumbled in a mobile phone venture launched under Nadella's predecessor. It also aims to take on challengers in several areas. The deal could help keep services like Outlook email relevant enough that customers won't want to leave it for rivals such as Google's Gmail, analysts said. And because the acquisition brings a network heavy in marketing and sales professionals, it delivers a shot across the bow to competitors in those areas, such as Salesforce and Marketo." (06/13/16)

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-linkedin-m-a-microsoft-idUSKCN0YZ1FP  

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US appeals court voids Ventura award in “Sniper” case

June 13, 2016
posted by

Raw Story Raw Story    

"A divided federal appeals court on Monday overturned a $1.85 million award that former Minnesota Governor and professional wrestler Jesse Ventura won after claiming he was defamed by the late author of the best-selling memoir 'American Sniper.' The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals voided a St. Paul, Minnesota jury’s July 2014 award of $500,000 for defamation and about $1.35 million for unjust enrichment against the estate of former U.S. Navy Seal Chris Kyle. It ordered a new trial on the defamation claim. Kyle had been the deadliest sniper in U.S. military history, responsible for 160 kills during his career. He was shot to death at age 38 at a Texas shooting range in February 2013. His memoir became a blockbuster movie. Ventura’s lawyer did not immediately respond to requests for comment." (06/13/16)

http://www.rawstory.com/2016/06/us-appeals-court-voids-ventura-award-in-sniper-case  

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Eight reasons why Republicans must dump Trump

June 13, 2016
posted by

Robert Reich Our Future
by Robert Reich  

"The Republican Party still has time to change its mind. Right now it's supporting for President of the United States a man ... who divides us by race and ethnicity and religion. He says undocumented Americans 'bring drugs, crime, they’re rapists.' That the Mexican government 'sends bad ones over because they don't want to pay for them.' And who says he'll round up and deport all 11 million undocumented workers in the United States. This is a man who equivocated on repudiating an endorsement from David Duke, former head of the Ku Klux Klan. And when asked to repudiate the vicious anti-semitism of some of his followers said 'I don't have a message to the fans.'" [editor's note: This needs to be followed up with "8 reasons why Democrats must dump Hillary" - SAT] (06/13/16)

https://ourfuture.org/20160613/8-reasons-why-republicans-must-dump-trump  

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SCOTUS won’t hear dispute over birthright citizenship

June 13, 2016
posted by

Fox News Fox News    

"The Supreme Court has rejected an appeal from a group of American Samoans who say the United States should grant full citizenship to people born in the U.S. territory. The justices on Monday let stand a lower court ruling that said the constitutional guarantee of birthright citizenship does not extend to the islands that have been a part of the country since 1900. Current law considers American Samoans to be 'nationals,' not full citizens like those born in Puerto Rico, Guam and other U.S. territories. Nationals are allowed to work and live anywhere in the United States, but unlike citizens, they can't vote or hold elective office. The challengers said that the law violates the 14th Amendment, which grants citizenship to anyone born in the United States. But the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled last year that birthright citizenship does not automatically apply to the nation's unincorporated political territories." (06/13/16)

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2016/06/13/supreme-court-wont-hear-dispute-over-birthright-citizenship.html  

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Why is it so hard to come home from modern war?

June 13, 2016
posted by

Reuters Reuters
by Jason Fields  

"There’s an argument to be made that humans evolved to fight each other -- and to be good at it. But as the United States approaches its 15th straight year at war, rates of post-traumatic stress disorder are high. Many soldiers come home uncertain as to where they fit in and dealing with depression, anxiety and other issues. This week on War College we talk with Sebastian Junger, who has been trying to understand PTSD in its modern context. What is it about the way we live now that makes it so hard to transition home from the battlefield?" [Flash audio or MP3] (06/11/16)

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-ptsd-war-college-podcast-idUSKCN0YW27U  

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Trump’s trust-me pitch is a really big ask

June 13, 2016
posted by

USA Today USA Today
by Chris Edelson  

"This is an unusual election year, to put it mildly. The presumptive Republican nominee is a man with no experience in government or national security, whose campaign is largely premised on a 'strong man' narrative that asks voters to trust him with broad discretion to take whatever action is necessary to defend the nation. That’s a very big ask. Donald Trump’s policy suggestions (from torture and ISIL to immigration, Muslims and nuclear weapons) are vague, radical, or both. And Congress doesn’t have much of a track record of reining in presidents. Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee, says Trump is too unstable to be trusted with national security decisions. Even Republicans are worried." (06/10/16)

http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2016/06/10/trumps-trust-me-pitch-really-big-ask-column/85530242  

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Elizabeth Warren for vice president? Yes, that’s possible

June 13, 2016
posted by

John Nichols The Nation
by John Nichols  

"Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren has been ripping into the Republican Party’s presumptive nominee for president with the precision and focused fury of a great prosecutor. ... No Democrat does a better job of prosecuting Trump’s political wrongdoing than Warren. As Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin told The New York Times, 'What she is doing right now, focusing on the outrageousness of Donald Trump is really important. In the universal sense I am always saying, "Go, Elizabeth, go!"'" [editor's note: Most true "progressives" are bewailing this, as they should; credibility of Warren as not being part of the problem is now fading daily - SAT] (06/10/16)

http://www.thenation.com/article/elizabeth-warren-for-vice-president-yes-thats-possible  

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Would UBI strengthen or shred the social safety net?

June 12, 2016
posted by

In These Times In These Times
by Micah Uetricht  

"Here’s a novel idea for how to end poverty: Give everyone more money. That might sound like a fantasy, but support for a universal basic income (UBI) is gaining steam. It’s been debated everywhere from policy journals to Vice and the New York Times, and it’s on the ballot or in pilot programs in several European countries. The basic concept is simple: The government doles out a modest amount of cash that establishes an income floor for everyone, whether or not they’re working. The details beyond that can vary. A basic income can be distributed to everyone regardless of how much they make (the 'universal' piece), or it can be given only to those whose income falls below a certain threshold." [editor's note: I've been advocating something similar for years, as a Floor on FICA deductions, so everyone starts the year with a raise, and nobody's taxes are increased to accomplish it! - SAT] (06/10/16)

http://inthesetimes.com/features/ubi-universal-basic-income-debate.html  

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States cracking down on asset forfeiture scams

June 12, 2016
posted by

Fox News Fox News    

"States across the country are revising laws that allow police to seize a person’s cash and property without a conviction, following widespread complaints about agencies profiteering off such legislation, holdovers from the 'Miami Vice' cocaine era. Right now, 47 of the 50 states allow so-called civil asset forfeitures, with New Hampshire set to effectively end such practices, which allow property and currency to be seized even if it’s only suspected of being connected to a crime. The changes in New Hampshire and elsewhere follow numerous, high-profile cases in which Americans have had their cash and other assets seized by state- and local-level police agencies without being convicted and of police departments appearing to aggressively pursue such cases to fill their coffers." (06/12/16)

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2016/06/11/states-crack-down-on-governmnet-cash-grabs.html  

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CA: Man with assault rifles & “possible explosives” arrested

June 12, 2016
posted by

Raw Story Raw Story    

"Los Angeles police have taken a man into custody on his way to the L.A. Pride parade with what they called 'possible explosives' as well as assault rifles, reports the LA Times. Sunday morning a Santa Monica police dispatcher received a tip on a suspected prowler near Olympic Boulevard. Responding officers encountered a man who said he was waiting for a friend. An inspection of his car turned up several weapons, ammunition as well as tannerite -- an ingredient that can be used to create a pipe bomb. According to the man, he claimed to be in town for the Pride event in West Hollywood this weekend. A city hall source said police were unsure if there was any connection to the mass shooting in an Orlando nightclub frequented by the gay community that claimed the lives of 50 early Sunday morning." (06/12/16)

http://www.rawstory.com/2016/06/man-with-assault-rifles-and-possible-explosives-arrested-en-route-to-la-pride-parade-police  

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