Author Archive

Social Security reversal in MD Senate race: Six lessons for Democrats

March 22, 2015
posted by

Richard Eskow Our Future Blog
by Richard Eskow  

"Rep. Chris Van Hollen, the ranking Democrat on the House Budget Committee, is running for the Senate seat currently occupied by Maryland Sen. Barbara Mikulski. He is also running from his record -- as a supporter of the 'Simpson-Bowles' plan to cut Social Security and top tax rates, a once-favored economic agenda among Washington insiders and some wealthy private interests. That’s a smart move, but Rep. Van Hollen has more ground to cover." [editor's note: As they seek to raise the FICA "ceiling" they should consider putting a "floor" on the bottom of it - SAT] (03/20/15)

http://tinyurl.com/k2uc53e  

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TX: Cruz to announce presidential bid

March 22, 2015
posted by

Reuters Reuters    

"Texas Senator Ted Cruz, a conservative firebrand who has frequently clashed with leaders of his Republican Party, will announce on Monday that he plans to run for president, an aide told Reuters on Sunday. Cruz will be the first major figure from either party to announce his candidacy for the 2016 election when he speaks at Liberty University, an evangelical Christian school in Virginia. Two other prominent Republican senators, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Marco Rubio of Florida, are expected to reveal their plans in coming weeks." (03/22/15)

http://tinyurl.com/mvvsdxp  

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Study: Children of deployed military personnel more prone to accidents

March 22, 2015
posted by

Raw Story Raw Story    

"Since 2001, more than two million military children have been separated from a parent in the United States military due to combat deployments. Now, a new study from researchers at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences suggests the impact of separation (and reunification) deeply affects these daughters and sons. Young children of deployed military parents, when compared to kids whose military parents remained at home, more frequently visited medical providers for injuries, mental health problems, and maltreatment. Sadly, an even higher risk of harm impacted those children who were reunited with a combat-injured parent." (03/21/15)

http://tinyurl.com/kapp9uv  

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Two states craft “stolen valor” laws above federal lines

March 22, 2015
posted by

Fox News Fox News    

"Lawmakers in two northeastern states are declaring war on phony veterans who claim combat experience in order to commit fraud. So-called 'stolen valor' laws are not new, and the current federal version was revised after a tougher one was struck down in 2012 by the U.S. Supreme Court. Laws proposed in New Jersey and Massachusetts would go further than Washington's regulation, heaping prison time on those convicted of faking service to the country to gain money or service benefits." (03/21/15)

http://tinyurl.com/ml5j8wb  

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Green light for red light cameras

March 22, 2015
posted by

USA Today USA Today
by David Roberts  

"This nation's appetite for technology is insatiable, and an unprecedented era of innovation has revolutionized how we live in less than a generation. From the smart phone and Wi-Fi in the tech world, to the mapping of the human genome and life-saving drugs in the medical world, these advances help us to live better, and longer, lives. So it's puzzling when a life-saving technology arrives, is proven to effective but then has the plug pulled on it without justification. Such is the case today with red-light safety cameras in communities across the nation. From Florida to Illinois, and Ohio to Texas, legislators and activists have been attacking these devices armed with hyperbole and fed by misinformed generalizations. The facts have been left on the cutting-room floor." [editor's note: This writer obviously has no awareness of the abuse of these cameras by local lawdogs seeking to pad the municipal coffers, which has civil libertarians up in arms everywhere - SAT] (03/21/15)

http://tinyurl.com/n94zrne  

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AK: Police raid club of pot activist who quit TV job on air

March 22, 2015
posted by

San Francisco Chronicle San Francisco Chronicle    

"Anchorage police served search warrants at marijuana activist Charlo Greene's Alaska Cannabis Club after receiving reports of illegal marijuana sales. The police took marijuana and impounded a Dodge Dakota and a Jeep Liberty on Friday, KTUU reported. Greene is a former television reporter who gained notoriety when she quit her job on live TV in September with an expletive and announced she's becoming an advocate to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in Alaska. Greene, whose legal name is Charlene Egbe, told KTVA the club is a medical marijuana dispensary." (03/21/15)

http://tinyurl.com/lt6h733  

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India: Hundreds arrested over Bihar school cheating

March 22, 2015
posted by

BBC News BBC News [UK state media]    

"About 300 people have been arrested in the Indian state of Bihar, authorities say, after reports emerged of blatant cheating in school exams. Parents and friends of students were photographed climbing school walls to pass on answers. Many of those arrested were parents. At least 750 students have been expelled. An estimated 1.4m students are taking their school leaving exams in Bihar alone -- tests seen as crucial for their chances of a successful career." (03/21/15)

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-31998343  

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WI: Abortion dynamics in sharp focus as judge rules against state law

March 22, 2015
posted by

Christian Science Monitor Christian Science Monitor    

"A federal judge in Wisconsin on Friday ruled that the state’s effort to beef up patient safety at abortion clinics is unconstitutional because of its unequal impact on women. The ruling is a poignant rebuff to a potent antiabortion strategy that has already begun to shutter abortion clinics in the South and Midwest. The offending law, which was signed by Gov. Scott Walker in 2013, required Wisconsin’s four abortion clinics to get admitting privileges at local hospitals. But that requirement proved unworkable for two clinics, including one in Milwaukee, where hospitals didn’t want to get involved in the nation’s often-heated and protest-filled abortion debate." (03/21/15)

http://tinyurl.com/kza7c4f  

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Punishment’s purpose: How humans became hardwired for justice

March 22, 2015
posted by

Reuters Reuters
by Morris B. Hoffman  

"One of the positive things about the media frenzy over cases like the Boston Marathon bombing and the Aurora Theater shooting is that these types of cases remind us there are profound mysteries of the human condition that we usually tune out during our everyday lives: What is the nature of good and evil? When are we responsible for our actions and when should we be excused? Why do we blame and punish, and when do we forgive? These questions are no longer the exclusive domain of religion, law, psychiatry, or philosophy." [editor's note: Nor is the discussion of punishment vs. rehabilitation, which should concern any enlightened society - SAT] (03/20/15)

http://tinyurl.com/l4xuvwx  

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DEA steals $180 million Colombian cocaine shipment

March 22, 2015
posted by

Raw Story Raw Story    

"U.S. authorities confiscated a $180 million shipment of cocaine from Colombian drug traffickers aboard a boat on the Pacific Ocean bound for the United States, the Colombian attorney general’s office said on Saturday. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) found 5.28 tonnes of the drug aboard the vessel, captured in international waters off Central America, said Alexandra Ladino, director of the attorney general’s specialized police force, which cooperated with the DEA on the operation. The Panamanian-flagged boat had earlier departed the Colombian port city of Buenaventura, Ladino said. The drugs belonged to a Colombian trafficking group, which she said would not be named for fear of compromising further investigations." (03/21/15)

http://tinyurl.com/ljodazd  

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Ukraine crisis: EU links Russia sanctions to truce deal

March 20, 2015
posted by

BBC News BBC News [UK state media]    

"European Union leaders have agreed to keep sanctions on Russia in place until the end of this year at the earliest. The sanctions, imposed because of Russia's alleged military intervention in Ukraine, are now linked to 'complete implementation' of a ceasefire deal. Last month's deal envisages Ukraine regaining full control of [the seceded Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics] by the end of 2015. The sanctions target major firms and political figures close to Russian President Vladimir Putin. They are unable to get Western loans and their travel is restricted." (03/19/15)

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-31979244  

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Obama’s drone policy crashes and burns

March 20, 2015
posted by

In These Times In These Times
by Leonard C. Goodman  

"The unraveling of Yemen should be a wake-up call for Obama loyalists. Obama was elected in large part because of his opposition to the disastrous Iraq War and his promise of a smarter Middle East policy, one less reliant on invasion and occupation. Nevertheless, in office, Obama has supported the occupation of Afghanistan and the NATO-led overthrow of Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi, which led to chaos. Still, as Obama explained in a September 2014 foreign policy speech, the centerpiece of his strategy in the Middle East has been a more long-distance approach: 'taking out terrorists who threaten us, while supporting partners on the front lines.' In other words: air strikes, drones and military aid. He touted the success of this strategy in Yemen and Somalia." (03/19/15)

http://tinyurl.com/lbpehdh  

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NH: Fourth-graders’ hawk bill provokes abortion comment

March 20, 2015
posted by

Fox News Fox News    

"A civics lesson took an unexpected turn for a group of New Hampshire fourth-graders when a lawmaker brought the abortion debate into their effort to name a state raptor. The students from Lincoln H. Akerman School in Hampton Falls worked during class and on their own time to craft a bill to make the red-tailed hawk the official state raptor. ... Rep. Warren Groen, a Republican from Rochester, rose to speak on the measure, which was defeated. 'It grasps them with its talons and then uses its razor-sharp beak to rip its victims to shreds, to basically tear it apart limb by limb, and I guess the shame about making this a state bird is it would serve as a much better mascot for Planned Parenthood,' Groen said." [editor's note: The stupid continues to find new depths among the elected ones - SAT] (03/19/15)

http://tinyurl.com/qxccbdc  

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Researchers discover why some mushrooms glow in the dark

March 20, 2015
posted by

Raw Story Raw Story    

"If you go out on a dark night, preferably during a new moon, in certain forests in northeastern Brazil you may find something peculiar: large glowing mushrooms. These pale-beige, slightly ruffled 'shrooms don’t look like much during the day, but at night they emit a ghostly green glimmering. They were reportedly first recorded by English botanist George Gardner in 1840, after he saw boys playing with luminous mushrooms in a Brazilian village. They were lost to science for many decades before being rediscovered in 2009, and were reclassified under their current scientific name, Neonothopanus gardneri, by researchers from San Diego State University." (03/19/15)

http://tinyurl.com/pvz87ja  

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Despite Hillary Clinton promise, charity did not disclose donors

March 20, 2015
posted by

Reuters Reuters    

"In 2008, Hillary Clinton promised Barack Obama, the president-elect, there would be no mystery about who was giving money to her family's globe-circling charities. She made a pledge to publish all the donors on an annual basis to ease concerns that as secretary of state she could be vulnerable to accusations of foreign influence. At the outset, the Clinton Foundation did indeed publish what they said was a complete list of the names of more than 200,000 donors and has continued to update it. But in a breach of the pledge, the charity's flagship health program, which spends more than all of the other foundation initiatives put together, stopped making the annual disclosure in 2010, Reuters has found." (03/19/15)

http://tinyurl.com/my8jvz  

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CA drought: $1 billion aid package unveiled

March 20, 2015
posted by

San Francisco Chronicle San Francisco Chronicle    

"At the close of another dry winter, Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders announced a $1 billion package of bills Thursday to expedite money for people and cities hit hard by the drought and prepare the state for the flip side of extreme weather patterns: flooding. Joined by Democratic and Republican legislative leaders, Brown said the unprecedented drought has shown no signs of letting up and that state leaders must act. 'This is a struggle, and it’s something we’re going to have to live with for ... how long, we’re not sure,' Brown said at a news conference at the state Capitol. A majority of the spending ($660 million) would go toward flood protection, using unspent bond money from a ballot measure passed nearly a decade ago." (03/19/15)

http://tinyurl.com/k3zx8kh  

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Tunisia’s young democracy fumbles for answers

March 20, 2015
posted by

Christian Science Monitor Christian Science Monitor    

"Of the questions posed by yesterday's terrorist attack here that killed 23 people, most of them foreign tourists, perhaps the most important is whether the murders will divide or unite this fledgling democracy. Tunisia is widely considered the sole success story of the 2011 Arab uprisings, thanks in large part to the restraint and compromise of its politicians and voters. It has avoided the bloodshed and backsliding that have plagued other North African states like Libya and Egypt." (03/19/15)

http://tinyurl.com/lmcuxs5  

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Dear politicians: Stop calling people “taxpayers”

March 20, 2015
posted by

The New Republic The New Republic
by Elizabeth Stoker Bruenig  

"Earlier this week, House Republicans released their budget for the 2016 fiscal year, 'A Balanced Budget for a Stronger America.' There is much to criticize in it, including deep cuts to social spending, questionable accounting, increasingly quixotic Obamacare repeal procedures, and disturbing gestures toward more military spending. But the plan is also an ideological document meant to advance a particular set of beliefs about how government should function, and toward what end. Its composition and slick rollout ... are meant not only to advance certain policy measures, but persuade voters to adopt its ideological point of view. Which is why its use of the term 'taxpayer' (though hardly atypical of political documents) is notable." [editor's note: The reference is indeed offensive, though perhaps for different reasons to libertarians than to this writer - SAT] (03/19/15)

http://tinyurl.com/m5t7rm6  

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Israel unwilling to pay the price of hope

March 20, 2015
posted by

Reuters Reuters
by Amy Wilentz  

"I understand why some Israelis, intending to go vote for Isaac Herzog and the Zionist Union, went in and voted for Benjamin Netanyahu and Likud at the last minute. Yesterday I was wondering, really, how I would vote if I were Israeli -- knowing what I know and having lived through what I lived through in Jerusalem during the peace process in the late 1990s. A Bibi voter is, perhaps, a liberal whose city has been bus-bombed. Or maybe, better yet, a liberal who is watching Islamic State videos. The last time that peace between Israelis and Palestinians was a serious solution to what many Israelis refer to as the situation, the streets of Jerusalem were not safe." (03/19/15)

http://tinyurl.com/lglbvhy  

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The education spring goes to college

March 20, 2015
posted by

Jeff Bryant Our Future Blog
by Jeff Bryant  

"A nationwide rebellion to K-12 education policies that emerged in the spring of 2013 brought to the fore widespread grievances that students, parents, teachers, and citizens have with top down mandates that are ruining public schools. This Education Spring was fueled by unified concerns arising from every corner in the country that neighborhood schools are being deprived of essential resources, low-income children are being victimized by unequal distribution of education supports they need, parents and voters are locked out of school governance, and new education policies being put in place are driven by corruption." (03/19/15)

http://ourfuture.org/20150319/the-education-spring-goes-to-college  

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MSNBC and the liberal media conundrum

March 20, 2015
posted by

Paul Waldman The American Prospect
by Paul Waldman  

"Today was apparently time yet again for Dylan Byers, Politico's media reporter, to do one of his monthly 'MSNBC Headed Down Tubes; Big Changes Coming' pieces. I'm not going to bother going through the article to discuss the things in it that I'd take issue with, but it does raise this question: If liberals haven't flocked like lemmings to MSNBC, then what do they really want from their media? And could TV provide it? MSNBC has struggled to answer this question, but I think part of the problem is that they're always going to be compared to Fox, and liberals are just not going to line up in the way conservatives are." [editor's note: When Shrub was on the throne, [P]MSNBC was a valid source for oppo news; when Clinton was there, Faux Snooze was. Unfortunately, neither source has shown any integrity when their team color is in power - SAT] (03/19/15)

http://prospect.org/waldman/msnbc-and-liberal-media-conundrum  

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Interview: Steve Earle

March 20, 2015
posted by

The Nation The Nation Blog
by Eric Alterman  

"Steve Earle & The Dukes released his new album Terraplane on February 17 via New West Records. The eleven-track set is the follow up to the 2013 album The Low Highway and features Earle’s longtime band The Dukes. It is Steve Earle’s sixteenth studio album since the release of his highly influential 1986 debut Guitar Town and is focused on the blues. I took the occasion to interview Earle at length about the album and his career, in both music and politics. We spoke in his manager’s office in New York City. Below is an edited (though still quite long) transcript of our talk, expertly taped and typed by Nation intern James Kelly." [editor's note: Alterman's hardly a libertarian, and Earle has only a few clues, but his music and songs are hardline anti-authoritarian, even with the occasional blinders - SAT] (03/19/15)

http://www.thenation.com/blog/202065/interview-steve-earle  

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Greece defies EC with anti-austerity law

March 19, 2015
posted by

BBC News BBC News [UK state media]    

"The Greek parliament has approved a package of social measures, despite warnings from the European Commission against 'proceeding unilaterally.' In parliament, the Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras defended what he called a 'humanitarian crisis' law. The law -- the first to be introduced since Mr Tsipras's party won elections in January -- offers food stamps and free electricity to the very poorest." (03/18/15)

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-31952521  

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Oregon’s radical innovation: Make democracy easy

March 19, 2015
posted by

John Nichols The Nation
by John Nichols  

"Here is a novel notion: Why not make democracy easy? Why not take the trouble out of registering to vote -- and out of voting? It can be done. Other countries, where voter turnout is dramatically higher than in the United States, craft their laws to encourage voting. Unfortunately, politics gets in the way of voting-friendly elections in the United States. At least in most states. ... Lots of bad news for democracy, to be sure. But not all bad news. Some states have acted to expand voting rights (and get high-turnout elections to shape governments that reflect the will of the people). Famously, Oregon has since 1998 used a vote-by-mail model as the standard mechanism for voting." (03/18/15)

http://tinyurl.com/pqn6b6l  

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India: Mumbai bans beef; kabobs now contraband?

March 19, 2015
posted by

Christian Science Monitor Christian Science Monitor    

"With a strict ban on beef in Mumbai that has closed down meat sellers across India’s most cosmopolitan city, this nation is dealing with a sacred'cow issue -- literally. The new ban is the strictest ever in India and includes penalties even for possessing beef. Breaking the law, which languished for five years before getting passed under a conservative ruling Hindu party, brings a fine and up to five years in prison." (03/18/15)

http://tinyurl.com/kqtc5m4  

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