Author Archive

Jim Webb: Hillary’s worst nightmare?

October 16, 2014
posted by

The Nation The Nation
by William Greider  

"Instead of becoming more hawkish as defense intellectuals often do when they acquire status and influence, Jim Webb has become more skeptical and critical of how US military force is being used and misused. His biography is what gives his candidacy potential significance. It is not that he has much likelihood of winning the nomination, but Webb has a chance to do something far greater for the country. Given his resume and valor in war, Webb has the authority (and the guts) to provoke a profound national debate about the nature of US militarism." [editor's note: I'm imagining a 2016 race with at least two anti-imperialist Dems (Sanders & this guy?), and at least ONE on the GOP side (Paul?), making this issue a big part of the battle, right to the final round! (I can dream, can't I?) - SAT] (10/14/14)

http://tinyurl.com/npfov22  

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MA: Contents of Boston time capsule from 1901 revealed

October 16, 2014
posted by

Fox News    

"A Boston time capsule dating to 1901 contained letters, photographs, newspaper clippings and the book Foreign Relations of the United States, 1896. The capsule was removed last week from the head of lion statue that has long stood guard over the Old State House. The Bostonian Society, which oversees the historic building, released an inventory of the items Wednesday. The red hardcover book had been a mystery when the capsule was opened, because it did not have a visible title. Bostonian Society archivist Elizabeth Roscio said the contents were in remarkably good overall condition." (10/15/14)

http://tinyurl.com/q27q7e8  

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So many candidates, so few choices

October 16, 2014
posted by

San Francisco Chronicle
by Jon Carroll  

"I live in a safe district. Most people live in a safe district; it was planned by state legislatures to be that way. The legislatures were dominated by either Democrats or Republicans. Whichever party held power drew districts that would favor their side. Since people of similar political persuasions tend to live near each other (the farm belt is different from the inner city) it’s easy to draw districts that will favor one side or the other. Well, perhaps not easy, as some of the tortured results show. But doable -- and so it’s done. And I’m part of the problem. I agree with the argument that one problem with the House of Representatives is its unchanging nature -- and yet I keep sending Barbara Lee back to office." [editor's note: A nice, honest confession? - SAT] (10/14/14)

http://tinyurl.com/octgnd5  

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Lockheed claims breakthrough on fusion energy project

October 16, 2014
posted by

Reuters    

"Lockheed Martin Corp said on Wednesday it had made a technological breakthrough in developing a power source based on nuclear fusion, and the first reactors, small enough to fit on the back of a truck, could be ready for use in a decade. Tom McGuire, who heads the project, said he and a small team had been working on fusion energy at Lockheed's secretive Skunk Works for about four years, but were now going public to find potential partners in industry and government for their work. Initial work demonstrated the feasibility of building a 100-megawatt reactor measuring seven feet by 10 feet, which could fit on the back of a large truck, and is about 10 times smaller than current reactors, McGuire told reporters." (10/15/14)

http://tinyurl.com/o42qhgy  

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CA: Covered California cancels 10,000 over residency

October 16, 2014
posted by

San Francisco Chronicle    

"California’s health insurance exchange is canceling Obamacare coverage for 10,474 people who failed to prove their citizenship or legal residency in the U.S. Covered California, the state-run insurance exchange, enrolled more than 1.2 million people during the rollout of the Affordable Care Act this year. For most consumers, the exchange said, it could verify citizenship or immigration status instantly with a federal data hub. But more than 148,000 enrollees were lacking proof of eligibility and needed to submit documentation. People living in the U.S. illegally aren’t eligible for health law coverage." (10/14/14)

http://tinyurl.com/odb34u5  

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Study: Why did early humans reshape children’s skulls?

October 15, 2014
posted by

BBC News [UK state media]    

"It doesn't take a degree in human anatomy to realize that there is something unusual about the Cohuna skull. With its flat, sloping forehead and prominent brow ridge, it looks distinctly primitive. For decades, the prehistoric Cohuna skull and others like it have occupied a central and contentious role in answering one of the most important questions in human evolutionary studies: where did our species, Homo sapiens, come from? Most anthropologists now agree that the skulls don't demand a rewrite of the human evolution text books, but this, paradoxically, has made them all the more intriguing. It confirms that they owe their strange appearance not to the blind hand of evolution but to the guiding hand of humanity." (10/15/14)

http://tinyurl.com/qfpa6mz  

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Surge pricing and the just economy

October 15, 2014
posted by

Reuters
by Edward Hadas  

"Surge pricing is what car service Uber calls its reliance on the market mechanism. The use of price to balance supply and demand is a perfect example of standard economic theory in action. It is also a good example of why market economics can have an anti-social edge. Uber finds the market-clearing price with an algorithm rather than the auction found in textbooks. But the principle is the same. As the fare goes higher, more drivers decide to stay on the road and fewer would-be passengers decide to use the service. While Uber’s calculation is biased to maximize rides rather than driver revenues -- it will choose 10 fares of $10 over one fare of $100 -- the balancing price can be as much as seven times normal." (10/15/14)

http://tinyurl.com/kwdmocv  

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A “post-political” labor movement

October 15, 2014
posted by

In These Times
by David Moberg  

"After the Brooklyn College administration temporarily suspended Stanley Aronowitz from school in 1950 for taking part in a protest, he dropped out to follow a much more unorthodox route to an academic career. From the 1950s through the 1970s, Aronowitz (a lifetime New Yorker in spirit even when temporarily absent) was a factory worker, union organizer, civil rights advocate, influential contributor to New Left organizations, and a vivid, often flamboyant debater in a tumultuous political period. Since 1983, however, he has been a prolific sociology professor at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, writing or editing 25 books. His latest, The Death and Life of American Labor: Toward a New Workers’ Movement, out from Verso this fall, expands his decades-long argument that unions need bigger goals and more direct action to succeed, or even survive." (10/15/14)

http://tinyurl.com/nlu582y  

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Budget cuts don’t save money

October 15, 2014
posted by

Dave Johnson Our Future
by Dave Johnson  

"Cutting federal spending doesn’t 'save money' -- not the way conservatives in Congress and in the states have been doing it. If you cut the Internal Revenue Service budget, that obviously increases the deficit because it lowers the government’s ability to collect tax revenue. If you cut the infrastructure budget, obviously after a while bridges start to fall down. That costs money. And lives. And, of course, if you cut the health and research budgets, diseases can spread and cures are not found. An article in Scientific American magazine by an infectious disease specialist spells out the consequences as the United States deals with the threat of the Ebola virus." [editor's note: Here we go with another "lifeboat" scenario; cherry-pick the things to "fear" just like the GOPers do ... - SAT] (10/14/14)

http://ourfuture.org/20141014/budget-cuts-dont-save-money  

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IA: Libertarian candidate for US Senate dies in plane crash

October 15, 2014
posted by

San Francisco Chronicle    

"A Dubuque doctor who was running as a Libertarian candidate for U.S. Senate has died in a plane crash. The Dubuque County Sheriff's Office says Dr. Douglas Butzier was the pilot of the plane that crashed around 11 p.m. Monday near Dubuque Regional Airport. He was the sole occupant of the aircraft. Butzier worked at Mercy Medical Center-Dubuque. Jennifer Faley, a hospital spokeswoman, confirms Butzier was running for U.S. Senate against Democratic U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley and Republican state Sen. Joni Ernst." (10/14/14)

http://tinyurl.com/n877qsn  

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Death on demand is not death with dignity

October 15, 2014
posted by

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

"I’d like to think that if I got the bad news that Brittany Maynard received (terminal cancer with a prognosis of less than six months left to live), I’d be like her. I’d like to be stoic and brave. I’d like to take charge of the rest of my cruelly abbreviated life. If I were facing death at age 29, I would want to find meaning in an end come too soon. Maynard has done just that. She moved from the East Bay to Oregon, where assisted suicide is legal. She has become the face of Compassion & Choices, which wants to legalize assisted suicide in California. ... I love the spirit, but there is a huge flaw in Maynard’s reasoning." (10/13/14)

http://tinyurl.com/kuplg28  

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Kentucky candidates agree: Coal is the future!

October 15, 2014
posted by

Paul Waldman The American Prospect
by Paul Waldman  

"There was a debate in Kentucky yesterday between U.S. Senate candidates Mitch McConnell and Alison Lundergan Grimes, and while there was lots of disagreement, one thing both candidates agreed on is that what their state and America needs is more of that sweet, sweet coal. McConnell accused Grimes of being complicit, because she's a Democrat, in 'Obama's war on coal,' and Grimes protested that she loves coal more than she loves her own mama (though not quite in so many words)." [editor's note: I've noted elsewhere that Ms. Grimes seems to be "not a smart politician," based on her fumbling when simply asked who she voted for last election. Apparently, she's still not learned the ropes - SAT] (10/14/14)

http://tinyurl.com/qcjsq74  

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Hep-C: Profit-tier pricing

October 15, 2014
posted by

In These Times
by Terry J. Allen  

"Drugs that cure patients can kill profits. So Gilead Sciences Inc. faced a fiscal challenge with its new drug, Sovaldi, which reportedly cures up to 90 percent of people with hepatitis C, a viral infection that can lurk undiagnosed and transmissible for decades until it causes liver diseases such as cirrhosis and cancer. Unlike take-forever meds like those for high cholesterol, Sovaldi (sofosbuvir) 'represents a finite cure, an important point to consider when comparing the price of a pill or bottle to the lifetime costs of treating a chronic disease,' Gilead spokesperson Cara Miller said. Considering that point, Gilead set the price at an astounding $1,000 for each daily pill -- a total of $84,000 for the minimum 12-week course." (10/14/14)

http://tinyurl.com/oekeafp  

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Netherlands: OK for bikers to fight ISIS jihadists

October 14, 2014
posted by

Raw Story    

"The Dutch public prosecutor said on Tuesday that motorbike gang members who have reportedly joined Kurds battling the Islamic State group in Iraq are not necessarily committing any crime. 'Joining a foreign armed force was previously punishable, now it’s no longer forbidden,' public prosecutor spokesman Wim de Bruin told AFP. 'You just can’t join a fight against the Netherlands,' he told AFP after reports emerged that Dutch bikers from the No Surrender gang were fighting IS insurgents alongside Kurds in northern Iraq." (10/14/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mmo4ssq  

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What it will take for Americans to start getting pay raises

October 14, 2014
posted by

Reuters
by Robert Kuttner  

"What will it really take to give America a raise? A lot of well-credentialed policy experts have been writing nonsense about why Americans can’t be paid more. One bogus story is that young people and working moms (whatever happened to working dads?) love the new 'flexible' economy of Task-Rabbits working odd jobs. Or they’re Uber drivers or Starbucks clerks, marking time until their economic adulthood begins. Some of these people imagine themselves to be high-tech entrepreneurs-in-waiting. Recent college grads who hope that they are just one killer-app away from financial success are the well-educated equivalent of inner-city kids hoping for a tryout in the National Basketball Association. For every one who makes it, there are hundreds who don’t." (10/13/14)

http://tinyurl.com/qaa92xy  

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Study: Ibuprofen may make old lungs look young

October 14, 2014
posted by

Fox News    

"Aging is associated with changes in the human immune system that make us more susceptible to become ill from infections. Recent work form my lab has suggested that a common over-the-counter medication, ibuprofen, can reverse some of the normal aging that is seen in our immune system. Ibuprofen belongs to a class of medications called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). These drugs are commonly used for the management of mild to moderate pain, fever and inflammation. Research conducted by my team at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center using old mice showed that the lungs become more inflamed with age. ... [They then] fed the mice a diet supplemented with ibuprofen, and found that this simple change could lower lung inflammation." (10/14/14)

http://tinyurl.com/kxvz5vh  

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SCOTUS leaves California foie gras ban intact

October 14, 2014
posted by

Reuters    

"In a victory for animal rights activists, the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday allowed California to continue to ban foie gras, a delicacy produced from the enlarged livers of ducks and geese that have been force-fed corn. Rejecting a legal challenge to the law, the court declined to hear an appeal filed by restaurants and producers of foie gras. In doing so, the high court left intact an August 2013 ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upholding the law. California enacted the law in 2004 but it did not go into effect until 2012." (10/14/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mb3dz2l  

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Celebrating America’s future: Light in dark times

October 14, 2014
posted by

Our Future
by Robert Borosage  

"Ferguson; ISIS; Ebola; accelerating climate change; growing inequality; deepening poverty; an election likely to worsen, not reduce paralysis -- pessimism of the intellect is easy these days; optimism of the will takes some work. Tonight at its annual Gala, the Campaign for America’s Future will honor sources of light in this dark time. New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio won a sweeping victory with a populist campaign in the heart of Wall Street. And in office, despite getting blindsided by Governor Andrew Cuomo and assailed by the corporate school reformers, he’s forcing change." [editor's note: AH yes, the cry of the wild "progressive" -- "forcing change" (as if that has ever worked?) - SAT] (10/14/14)

http://ourfuture.org/20141014/light-in-dark-times  

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Nigeria: Malala Yousafzai pleads for abducted girls

October 14, 2014
posted by

BBC News [UK state media]    

"Malala Yousafzai has called on Nigeria to intensify efforts to free 219 schoolgirls who were abducted by Islamist militants six months ago. The Nobel Peace Prize winner said campaigners needed to raise their voices 'louder than ever' to demand the freedom of the girls. The Boko Haram group sparked global outrage when it seized the girls. Foreign governments, including the US and China, have sent experts to Nigeria to help track them down." (10/14/14)

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-29615162  

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Spain: Catalonia calls off independence vote … for now

October 14, 2014
posted by

Christian Science Monitor    

"The Catalan government canceled plans Tuesday to hold a referendum on independence from Spain amid growing pressure from Madrid. Despite the setback, Catalan leader Artur Mas vowed to take a more incremental approach towards independence, one that falls within the boundaries of Spanish law. His commitment reflects a resurgence of secessionist sentiment among Catalans disillusioned by economic stagnation across Spain and Madrid’s refusal to grant them more autonomy. Mr. Mas announced Tuesday that the Nov. 9 vote would be replaced by a looser (and largely symbolic) 'consultation of its citizens' on the same day, Reuters reports. He said that holding such an informal ballot would not violate the Spanish constitution." (10/14/14)

http://tinyurl.com/ocg4lhs  

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The counter-intuitivist

October 14, 2014
posted by

The Nation The Nation
by Tom Tomorrow  

Cartoon. [editor's note: Often insightful & never dull; something here to annoy almost everyone - SAT] (10/13/14)

http://www.thenation.com/blog/182080/counter-intuitivist  

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Hackers steal 500 megabytes of Snapchat images

October 14, 2014
posted by

Raw Story    

"Snapsaved.com, a website which allows users to save images sent via Snapchat, claimed on Monday that hackers had breached its servers and made off with some 500 megabytes of photographs. The claim by the little-known website sheds some light on reports in past days that hackers were preparing to unleash some 13 gigabytes of photographs sent via SnapChat, a mobile app popular among teenagers that promises users that any pictures relayed to other users will be deleted in a matter of seconds." [editor's note: And now threats are out, that anyone who then downloaded the file-batch risks prosecution for "child porn" -- because at least some of the images were of teens under 18 sexting with their chums! - SAT] (10/13/14)

http://tinyurl.com/nfegvnw  

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Vatican: Catholic bishops show new openness to gays, civil unions

October 14, 2014
posted by

Fox News    

"Catholic bishops showed unprecedented openness Monday to accepting the real lives of many Catholics today, saying gays had gifts to offer the church and should be accepted and that there were 'positive' aspects to a couple living together without being married. A two-week meeting of bishops on family issues arrived at its halfway point with a document summarizing the closed-door debate so far. No decisions were announced, but the tone of the report was one of almost-revolutionary acceptance, rather than condemnation, with the aim of guiding Catholics toward the ideal of a lasting marriage." (10/13/14)

http://tinyurl.com/o8cg5z7  

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Before Ebola Czar, do these things first

October 14, 2014
posted by

The New Republic
by Rebecca Leber  

"John McCain suggested Sunday on CNN's State of the Union that what the Ebola crisis really needs is one official, coordinating the government response. 'I would say that we don't know exactly who's in charge. There has to be some kind of czar. I think that we have to look at people coming into the United States, not only at our airports here but the places where they leave from.' McCain isn’t the first person to float this idea. Several other Republicans, Senators Rob Portman and Jerry Moran, as well as Congressman Jack Kingston, have said that Ebola requires a top official to coordinate responses to the West African epidemic plus the two cases at home." [editor's note: Not surprisingly (consider the source), each of these three nostrums involves greater government involvement, and only delays appointing the Czar - SAT] (10/13/14)

http://tinyurl.com/oe9thvu  

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Tech jobs: No degree required?

October 14, 2014
posted by

BBC News [UK state media]    

"Recently, mobile-gaming social network Weeby.com announced it would pay new software engineers roughly $250,000 a year plus equity. Meanwhile, many positions, both in the Valley and in other tech hubs, such as Berlin, remain open and employers are often competing to fill them with the best technical talent. Put this together and it’s no surprise that university students the world over are questioning whether pursuing a four-year degree and/or a graduate degree is really the best way to get a piece of the pie. Could dropping out and enrolling in technical courses be a better way to fast track into a lucrative career?" [editor's note: Heresy to the lockstep educrats; reality to those with half a clue? - SAT] (10/13/14)

http://tinyurl.com/p9ddepn  

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