Author Archive

Revealing corporate largesse

October 10, 2014
posted by

Our Future
by Jim Hightower  

"Some people have a recurring nightmare of rising to give a speech, but realizing they know nothing about the topic -- and then discovering they’re naked. It turns out that corporations also have such nightmares. OK, corporations aren’t people, no matter what the Supreme Court fabulists claim, so they can’t dream. But their top executives can, and several recently suffered the same chilling dream -- only to discover that it was real. These are chieftains of brand-name corporate giants who have secretly funneled millions of their shareholders’ dollars into the 'dark money' vault of the Republican Governors Association. In turn, the group channels the political cash into the campaigns of assorted right-wing governors. This underground pipeline is a dream come true for corporations." (10/08/14)

http://ourfuture.org/20141008/revealing-corporate-largesse  

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CT: Lawsuit shines new light on sex abuse scandal

October 10, 2014
posted by

San Francisco Chronicle    

"A federal lawsuit filed this week has reopened a decades-old sex abuse scandal at the exclusive Indian Mountain School in Connecticut. The suit was filed Oct. 6 in U.S. District Court by William Brewster Brownville, who attended the private boarding school in Salisbury in the 1980s. It provides graphic details of what Brownville alleges was routine abuse of students at the hands of staff, including sex assaults by the now-deceased headmaster and gang rapes. The school at the time served students in grades five through nine. 'This was literally a nest of pedophiles operating in a community that allowed them unfettered and constant access to a never-ending stream of prepubescent and pubescent boys for their own sexual gratification,' said Anthony Ponvert, Brownville's attorney." (10/09/14)

http://tinyurl.com/kwpwa6t  

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Obama’s new oil wars

October 10, 2014
posted by

Tom Dispatch
by Michael T. Klare  

"It was heinous. It was underhanded. It was beyond the bounds of international morality. It was an attack on the American way of life. It was what you might expect from unscrupulous Arabs. It was 'the oil weapon' -- and back in 1973, it was directed at the United States. Skip ahead four decades and it’s smart, it’s effective, and it’s the American way. The Obama administration has appropriated it as a major tool of foreign policy, a new way to go to war with nations it considers hostile without relying on planes, missiles, and troops. It is, of course, that very same oil weapon." (10/09/14)

http://tinyurl.com/lt9xtao  

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What if humans became extinct?

October 10, 2014
posted by

BBC News [UK state media]    

"Have you ever wondered what would happen to life on earth if a doomsday event killed every human on the planet?" [editor's note: The creepiest part of this might be the barely contained GLEE on the (Australian?) commentator's face while laying out this scenario! - SAT] (10/09/14)

http://tinyurl.com/kbf5fvp  

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In US Senate, “independence” is overrated

October 10, 2014
posted by

The American Prospect
by Paul Waldman  

"On Tuesday, the contenders for the Senate in Virginia, incumbent Mark Warner and challenger Ed Gillespie, had a debate in which they apparently spent a good deal of time arguing over who would be the most independent. Gillespie charged that Warner just votes in lockstep with President Obama, while Warner charged that Gillespie is a partisan hack. But here's my question: Is independence really something we want in a senator? And even if it is, might it not rank way, way down the list of desirable qualities?" (10/09/14)

http://prospect.org/article/us-senate-independence-overrated  

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Greenpeace gets LEGO to ditch Shell playsets

October 9, 2014
posted by

Christian Science Monitor    

"LEGO, the popular children's toy company, has announced that it will end a lucrative marketing partnership with fossil-fuel giant Royal Dutch Shell this year, following a months-long campaign by environmental group Greenpeace. The Greenpeace campaign targeted LEGO's partnership with Shell as a means to criticize the fuel company's ongoing plans to drill for oil in the Arctic. The focal point of the campaign was a short viral video depicting the Arctic, made from 265 pounds of LEGO, being covered with oil. The video attracted almost 6 million views on YouTube, and riffed on music and animation from "The LEGO Movie," one of the highest grossing films of the year." (10/09/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mptgbro  

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Home care in crisis

October 9, 2014
posted by

In These Times
by Kathryn Joyce  

"In most industries, it’s not catastrophic when an employee doesn’t show up to work. But last December, a few weeks before Christmas, my mother’s long-time home health aide announced that she had to go on indefinite leave, which left my family reeling. That’s becoming an all-too-common story thanks to a growing shortage of home care workers, a problem that raises thorny issues of who’s able to unionize and which jobs (and which workers) we value." (10/09/14)

http://inthesetimes.com/article/17228/home_care_in_crisis  

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Icahn urges “undervalued” Apple to buy back more shares

October 9, 2014
posted by

Reuters    

"Billionaire activist investor Carl Icahn said Apple Inc's (AAPL.O) shares could double in value and urged the company's board to buy back more shares using its $133 billion cash pile. 'We believe Apple is dramatically undervalued in today's market, and the more shares repurchased now, the more each remaining shareholder will benefit,' Icahn said in a letter to Apple's board released on Thursday. Icahn, who pledged to keep his own stock out of any repurchase, said Apple stock should be trading at $203." [editor's note: If this makes anyone out there shift investments, please remember where you read it if you profit - SAT] (10/09/14)

http://tinyurl.com/k875uh3  

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A first for British politics

October 9, 2014
posted by

Reuters
by Mike Peacock  

"By this time tomorrow, the anti-EU United Kingdom Independence Party is likely to be celebrating its first member of the Westminster parliament. Polls have just opened in the deprived seaside town of Clacton where the sitting Conservative lawmaker switched to UKIP and called a vote. A second member of the ruling Conservative party has now defected to UKIP and will force another by-election before long leaving the party on tenterhooks over who might be next. Many fear they will lose their seats at the May 2015 general election as UKIP splits their vote. Could that be enough for them to turn on David Cameron?" (10/09/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mof6apk  

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The elephant in the room with Leon Panetta

October 9, 2014
posted by

The Nation The Nation
by George Zornick  

"In his widely read blog of Beltway goings-on, Chris Cillizza made the following fairly obvious point about former defense Ssecretary Leon Panetta’s Obama-bashing media tour. ... In addition, Panetta’s criticisms mainly involve Obama’s reluctance to use military force -- also a fault line between Clinton and Obama, particularly on the matter of arming the Syrian rebels. But the Beltway press shouldn’t be afraid to explicitly ask if Panetta is serving as an agent of Clinton’s official-but-not-yet-official presidential campaign. It’s not just that his criticisms dovetail with Clinton’s and are no doubt politically convenient for her as she attempts to draw a difference with the Obama administration; there are explicit ties to the shadow Clinton campaign that should make this question fair game." (10/09/14)

http://www.thenation.com/blog/181871/elephant-room-leon-panetta  

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Snowden, Pope tipped for “wide open” Nobel peace prize

October 9, 2014
posted by

Raw Story    

"The race for the Nobel peace prize, to be announced Friday, has rarely been as open or unpredictable, experts say, with Pope Francis and Edward Snowden tipped as possible winners. Snowden, the former intelligence analyst who revealed the extend of US global eavesdropping, was one of the joint winners of the 'alternative Nobel peace prize' last month. ... The Pakistani girls’ education campaigner Malala Yousafzai (also a favorite last year) is also said to be in the running along with Pope Francis and a Japanese pacifist group. Predicting the winner is even harder than usual this year, as the Nobel committee has received a record 278 candidates, so experts only have the names of those made public by their sponsors to go on." (10/08/14)

http://tinyurl.com/qcy8zxp  

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How gay marriage could cause GOP major headaches in 2016

October 9, 2014
posted by

The American Prospect
by Paul Waldman  

"After [Monday's] dramatic ruling from the Supreme Court effectively legalizing same-sex marriage in 11 more states (that now makes 30, plus DC), you would have thought conservatives would be expressing their outrage to anyone who would listen. But their reaction was remarkably muted. 'None of the top House GOP leaders (Speaker John Boehner or Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy) issued statements. Ditto the RNC,' reported NBC News. 'And most strikingly, we didn't hear a peep about the Supreme Court's (non)-decision on the 2014 campaign trail, including in the red-state battlegrounds.' The only one who issued a thundering denunciation was Ted Cruz." [editor's note: There was no ruling, "dramatic" or otherwise, from the Supreme Court. They just refused the cases; that does have the specified effect but it's actually pretty boring as far as it goes - TLK] (10/07/14)

http://tinyurl.com/kgc2jky  

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Will Ohio unionists form a new Labor Party?

October 9, 2014
posted by

In These Times
by Amien Essif  

"The relationship between the American labor movement and the Democratic Party has long been fairly predictable. For the better part of a century, labor has depended on the Democrats for favorable policy, and the Democrats have depended on labor for votes. Few from either side of the bargain anticipate an immediate future where that arrangement will be upset. So when rumblings started coming out of Ohio late last year about breaking with the Democrats, many in the labor movement were startled. Last November, in the small county of Lorain, Ohio, local labor leaders who were intimately wedded to the Democratic establishment broke ranks and supported three independent pro-labor candidates in county elections, all of whom won. The act of rebellion in a union-dense county gained national attention as a story of labor flexing its muscles (and winning) against a Democratic establishment drifting rightward." (10/08/14)

http://tinyurl.com/l7cvalk  

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“Welfare-to-work” failed, so NYC trying “something new”

October 9, 2014
posted by

The Nation
by Michelle Chen  

"Nearly two decades ago, the Clinton administration abolished 'welfare as we know it' and Washington launched a new program of promoting 'personal responsibility.' People receiving public benefits then faced sharp limits on their welfare aid, together with welfare-to-work programs that tried to discipline people into self-sufficiency. Today, after years of pushing people off welfare rolls and often plunging them into deeper hardship, New York City plans to retool its safety net to make it more humane for the city’s poor." [editor's note: And surprisingly enough, the new plan might actually make some sense, focusing on actual job training instead of just pushing people into dead ends! - SAT] (10/08/14)

http://tinyurl.com/o5kux56  

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UK: US poker player Ivey loses £7.7 million court battle

October 9, 2014
posted by

BBC News [UK state media]    

"Professional poker player Phil Ivey has lost a High Court battle against the owners of a London casino over his £7.7m winnings. Crockfords casino in Mayfair accused Phil Ivey of cheating by using the 'edge-sorting technique' in the card game punto banco. Edge-sorting involves studying cards for imperfections. Mr Ivey took legal action against the casino for the £7.7m, and argued that the technique was legitimate. The 38-year-old American played punto banco (a form of baccarat) over two days in August 2012." (10/08/14)

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-29543448  

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“Left Behind” asks, Why the hell can’t God make a decent movie?

October 8, 2014
posted by

San Francisco Chronicle
by Mark Morford  

"It is, they say, the Greatest Story Ever Told. It is, they say, the epic of all epics, the Big Book o’ Thou Shalt Nots, the most boring, tiresome read imaginable and the finest piece of literature in our cultural history, except for maybe White Noise and A Confederacy of Dunces and, obviously, The Phantom Tollbooth. But here we are ... and pretty much every movie we have about God, about Jesus, about the Bible and the Rapture (except maybe Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter (2001)?) is just laughable nonsense: cheap, smarmy swill for encephalic 5-year-olds and their uptight parents (who don’t read actual books and therefore aren’t reading this column, anyway -- so shhh, it’s OK we can talk like this)." [editor's note: Once you get past the obligatory "religion-bashing" this is actually quite perceptive - SAT] (10/08/14)

http://tinyurl.com/nnjloue  

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“Overnighters” film shows dark side of ND oil boom

October 8, 2014
posted by

Reuters    

"Desperate for a fresh start, unemployed workers from all over the world have converged on North Dakota's burgeoning oil patch, seeking six-figure salaries and the rewards of living in the fastest-growing economy in the nation. But the award-winning documentary The Overnighters, opening in New York on Friday before expanding nationally, shows the bleak side of that American Dream and the complex efforts of one man to be a Good Samaritan." (10/08/14)

http://tinyurl.com/phf52tt  

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Call that money-printing?

October 8, 2014
posted by

Reuters
by Edward Hadas  

"Finance doesn’t get the disrespect it deserves. Nothing about money and credit is sacred – certainly not quantity of currency outstanding. The political and monetary authorities should feel free to add and subtract money as needed to help the economy function better. Consider the current oversupply of debt. Loans can be a very helpful financial tool. But right now, the tool is malfunctioning. The vast quantities of debt sloshing around the global financial system have brought much of the developed world into a sort of financial gridlock. Companies and households restrain their hiring and spending because they feel financially insecure. Governments are reluctant to borrow more because their balance sheets are stretched. The result: people are unnecessarily and undesirably unemployed, useful investments are not made, and consumption is pointlessly restrained." (10/08/14)

http://tinyurl.com/pr8zx57  

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CA: Soda industry spends $7.7 million to defeat San Francisco sugar tax … so far

October 8, 2014
posted by

San Francisco Chronicle    

"The American Beverage Industry has spent $7.7 million (the second-highest amount ever spent to defeat a San Francisco ballot proposition) on its effort to try to prevent the city from becoming the first in the country to tax sodas and other sugary drinks. Proposition E on the Nov. 4 ballot is drawing plenty of national attention -- and plenty of cash from the soda industry. Its campaign contributions so far trail only the nearly $10 million Pacific Gas and Electric spent to defeat a public power measure in 2008. The soda industry’s spending is revealed in 70 pages of campaign finance forms just filed with the San Francisco Ethics Commission." (10/08/14)

http://tinyurl.com/pucavug  

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Worst gaffe of 2014?

October 8, 2014
posted by

Our Future
by Bill Scher  

"Nine years ago, textile CEO David Perdue probably didn’t think he’d ever run for office. Which would explain why in a deposition he bluntly answered a question on outsourcing by saying, 'Yeah, I spent most of my career doing that.' But after it was uncovered last week, you might think that the Republican Senate candidate in Georgia would find a way to explain his past, claim he’s changed, and has the know-how to create jobs in America. Nope. Instead he told reporters about his statement, 'Defend it? I’m proud of it. This is a part of American business, part of any business ...'" (10/08/14)

http://tinyurl.com/ox4e637  

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SCOTUS: Justice Kennedy stays gay marriage licenses in Idaho

October 8, 2014
posted by

Christian Science Monitor    

"US Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy issued an emergency stay on Wednesday blocking enforcement of a judicial mandate that required same-sex marriages to begin this morning in Nevada and Idaho. Later on Wednesday, Kennedy issued a clarification that his stay applied only to same-sex marriages in Idaho -- not Nevada. That action allows marriages to begin taking place immediately in Nevada. The stay order was made public roughly a half-hour before officials in Idaho would have been required to start issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples." (10/08/14)

http://tinyurl.com/phwrlgg  

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Harvard students: US bigger threat to world peace than ISIS

October 8, 2014
posted by

Fox News    

"[S]tudents at Harvard [were asked] ... by the college blog Campus Reform: 'Who is the bigger threat to world peace, ISIS or the U.S.?' Various students at the hallowed Ivy League school said they believe that America, not the Muslim fanatics who behead innocent people, is the biggest threat to world peace. The students were interviewed on the quad by Campus Reform on Saturday, and the shocking video was posted on Tuesday. 'As a Western civilization, we’re to blame for a lot of the problems that we’re facing now,' one student said during an interview. 'I don't think anyone would argue that we didn't create the problem of ISIS, ourselves.'" [editor's note: I edited the lede of this post from the smarmy, biased "news reporter's" screed that it actually was; meanwhile, bravo to some smart Harvard kids - SAT] (10/08/12)

http://tinyurl.com/oue7dao  

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The winery brouhaha returns: No right to volunteer

October 8, 2014
posted by

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

"A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about Westover Winery of Castro Valley. Owner Bill Smyth is preparing to shutter his winery because the state Department of Industrial Relations slapped him with $115,550 in fines, back wages and penalties for using unpaid volunteers. Those fees put Westover in the red. Why did the state go after him? Smyth suspected a complaint by a 'disgruntled' former volunteer. ... On her last day, as she was walking to her car, Cantacessi fell and fractured her arm. 'I got hurt on your property,' she told Smyth. ... This might be a good time to mention that Kim Cantacessi now works as a field representative for the Service Employees International Union." (10/07/14)

http://tinyurl.com/owblnte  

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NY: Appeals court to consider legal personhood for chimps

October 8, 2014
posted by

Raw Story    

"A New York appeals court will consider this week whether chimpanzees are entitled to 'legal personhood' in what experts say is the first case of its kind. For Steven Wise, the lawyer behind the case involving a chimp named Tommy, it is the culmination of three decades of seeking to extend rights historically reserved for humans to other intelligent animals. On Wednesday, a mid-level state appeals court in Albany will hear the case of the 26-year-old Tommy, who is owned by a human and lives alone in what Wise describes as a 'dark, dank shed' in upstate New York." [editor's note: Proactivity to avoid a "Planet of the Apes" debacle? - SAT] (10/07/14)

http://tinyurl.com/l6z8qnk  

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When every SCOTUS justice argued they “might be pro-choice”

October 8, 2014
posted by

The American Prospect
by Paul Waldman  

"Last week, a panel of the Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit upheld a Texas law designed to make it as difficult as possible to get an abortion in the state, the consequence of which was that 13 clinics were forced to immediately shut their doors (there are only eight remaining, in a state of 26 million people spread out over a quarter-million square miles). The panel's decision, as Ian Millhiser explained, practically begged the Supreme Court to hear this case, something they wouldn't have done if they weren't fairly confident they'd win." (10/05/14)

http://tinyurl.com/q76jsx4  

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