Author Archive

What happens if you refuse to pay off your student debt?

February 25, 2015
posted by

The Nation The Nation Blog
by Michelle Chen  

"Every day, people who struggled to finance their educational advancement slip deeper into a financial mudslide on a mountain of student debt. For borrowers who collectively hold this burden of about $1 trillion nationwide, the student loan has become a ball and chain that restrains them from starting their careers, or even paying rent, as their wages are sucked into a financial vortex. But what if you just decided to not write that check this month? A small group of people have chosen to do just that, hoping to start a movement to break out of the debt cycle -- or at least to bang against the walls of student-debtor's prison." (02/23/15)

http://tinyurl.com/lqvbetz  

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Homeland Security shutdown 101: What happens now?

February 25, 2015
posted by

Christian Science Monitor Christian Science Monitor    

"They said it would not happen. There would be no more government shutdowns, the Republican leaders of the House and Senate promised when they took control of Congress. Now it’s quite possible that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will run out of funds at the end of the day Friday, due to an impasse over President Obama’s executive action on immigration in November. Why did things get to this point, and how might the impasse end?" [editor's note: If you believe this is happening, I have a bridge for sale - SAT] (02/24/15)

http://tinyurl.com/mtwqcr2  

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CA: Venture firm sexism trial hears of late night hotel visit

February 25, 2015
posted by

Reuters Reuters    

"On a 2011 business trip to New York, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers venture firm partner Trae Vassallo answered a late night knock on her hotel room door. A male colleague, Ajit Nazre, was standing there in his bathrobe and slippers. 'He asked if he could come in. I said no,' Vassallo said in testimony on Tuesday at the closely-watched trial over allegations of gender discrimination and retaliation against one of the highest-profile venture capital firms in the United States. 'He asked again, and I said no,' Vassalo told the jury hearing the case brought against the firm by Vassallo's colleague, former Kleiner partner Ellen Pao, who accused Kleiner of denying her promotions after she ended a brief affair with Nazre." (02/24/15)

http://tinyurl.com/lycmx3r  

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Mexican party turns to lottery to pick candidates

February 25, 2015
posted by

San Francisco Chronicle San Francisco Chronicle    

"Mexican political parties are desperate to convince voters their candidates aren't tied to drug gangs, violence or corruption. But one party has gone to extreme lengths to pick candidates in an open, transparent way: It held a lottery. The National Regeneration Movement, known as Morena, had some 3,000 vetted hopefuls put their names in a drum on Sunday, and the names of more than 100 candidates for the June 7 congressional races were pulled out at random. Many have little previous experience in political office." [editor's note: I'd say the LP should consider this, but there are so few of us libertarians crazy enough to want those "jobs" it would have to be a lottery in the Shirley Jackson/Hunger Games sense! - SAT] (02/24/15)

http://tinyurl.com/ma5ghrl  

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Politico carries water for Bill O’Reilly … and his bosses

February 25, 2015
posted by

In These Times In These Times
by Jim Naureckas  

"NBC's Brian Williams exaggerates the dangers he faced while reporting on a couple of stories and gets suspended for half a year. Fox News' Bill O'Reilly does the exact same thing and nothing happens to him. What gives? Could it be that News Corporation, which owns Fox News, is a deeply unethical institution with much lower journalistic standards even than Comcast, which owns NBC? Nah ... that can't be it!" (02/24/15)

http://tinyurl.com/nx28j8q  

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Commissioners urge delay in FCC plan for Internet

February 25, 2015
posted by

Fox News Fox News    

"The two Republican members of the Federal Communications Commission are urging the Democratic chairman to delay a high-drama vote on a secret Internet regulation plan, with one warning the proposal would 'impose rules upon almost every nut and bolt' of how Americans use the Internet. The so-called net neutrality plan, which has not been made public, is scheduled for an FCC vote on Thursday. After warning about the implications of the proposal for weeks, Republican Commissioners Ajit Pai and Mike O'Rielly made a last-minute, two-pronged appeal to the chairman on Monday: 'immediately release' the 332-plan, and delay the vote for at least 30 days so the public can review it." (02/24/15)

http://tinyurl.com/o77svlw  

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Study: Psychedelics linked to reduced psych distress & suicide

February 24, 2015
posted by

Raw Story Raw Story    

"The National Institute of Mental Health has called for novel ways of thinking about suicidal behavior and new avenues for its prevention. 'Treatments involving classic psychedelics may represent one such approach,' according to a new study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology. More than 38,000 Americans died by suicide in 2010, making it the tenth leading cause of death, according to the NIMH. ... The researchers said their study showed that 'classic' psychedelics (LSD, psilocybe mushrooms, mescaline, peyote, etc.) 'have the potential to alleviate human suffering associated with mental illness.'" (02/24/15)

http://tinyurl.com/nl6796e  

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Whips, chains and capitalism

February 24, 2015
posted by

Reuters Reuters
by Lynn Stuart Parramore  

"Author E.L. James has often insisted that Fifty Shades of Grey is wildly popular not because of its titillating trappings of transgression, but because it tells a simple love story for the ages. But this is a romance for a particular kind of age -- a time of growing inequality. The social order is breaking up and leaving massive human wreckage in its wake. Dreams of love turn into fantasies of power -- who has it and what they can do to those who don’t have it. When security vanishes and social bonds break down, fictional characters enter the new (ab)normal, which can often involve whips, chains and men in expensive suits with mysterious smiles. The film version of the first book of Fifty Shades is less a shout against the torment than a whimper -- or, to be more precise, a lovesick giggle." (02/24/15)

http://tinyurl.com/n6b593t  

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Eminent domain abuse hurts America

February 24, 2015
posted by

USA Today USA Today
by Scott Bullock & Dana Berliner  

"Ten years ago this week, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor engaged in an exchange in the now infamous case of Kelo v. City of New London that would not only surprise her (you could tell by the expression on her face) but the rest of the listeners in the Court, as well: Justice O'Connor: 'For example, Motel 6 and the city thinks, well, if we had a Ritz-Carlton, we would have higher taxes. Now, is that okay?' Attorney for City of New London: 'Yes, Your Honor. That would be okay.' Four months later, five members of the Court endorsed the city's position in its landmark ruling. The nation was shocked." (02/23/15)

http://tinyurl.com/mbdrtsk  

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Science: Autism genes activate during fetal brain development

February 24, 2015
posted by

Newswise    

"Scientists at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have found that mutations that cause autism in children are connected to a pathway that regulates brain development. The research, led by Lilia Iakoucheva, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry, is published in the February 18 issue of Neuron." (02/23/15)

http://tinyurl.com/o8g7amv  

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Why we’re all becoming independent contractors

February 24, 2015
posted by

Robert Reich Our Future
by Robert Reich  

"GM is worth around $60 billion, and has over 200,000 employees. Its front-line workers earn from $19 to $28.50 an hour, with benefits. Uber is estimated to be worth some $40 billion, and has 850 employees. Uber also has over 163,000 drivers (as of December, the number is expected to double by June), who average $17 an hour in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., and $23 an hour in San Francisco and New York. But Uber doesn’t count these drivers as employees. Uber says they’re 'independent contractors.' What difference does it make? For one thing, GM workers don’t have to pay for the machines they use. But Uber drivers pay for their cars -- not just buying them, but their maintenance, insurance, gas, oil changes, tires, and cleaning. Subtract these costs and Uber drivers’ hourly pay drops considerably." (02/23/15)

http://tinyurl.com/kxq2atv  

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Turkey: Male solidarity in tackling violence against women

February 24, 2015
posted by

Christian Science Monitor Christian Science Monitor    

"Decked out in miniskirts, dozens of men braved winter weather to march in Turkey’s largest city Saturday to protest rising violence against Turkish women. Some brought their young children; others carried placards calling for the government to strengthen protection of women. All said they had donned skirts in support of women’s rights, denouncing a culture they say legitimizes violence by blaming the victim. 'To say that a woman deserves rape or invites harassment by wearing a miniskirt is sick and we need to change this mentality,' said Mete Corumluoglu, a local nightclub DJ and one of the protest organizers." (02/23/15)

http://tinyurl.com/p6xhzd7  

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Comcast, Time Warner Cable hit with $20 billion racial bias lawsuit

February 24, 2015
posted by

Reuters Reuters    

"Comcast Corp and Time Warner Cable Inc have been sued for $20 billion for allegedly discriminating against African American-owned media and employing advocates such as the NAACP and the Rev. Al Sharpton to advance their bias. The lawsuit was filed on Friday in Los Angeles federal court by the National Association of African-American Owned Media as U.S. regulators review the proposed $45 billion merger between the two biggest U.S. cable operators. The same group filed a $10 billion lawsuit in December against AT&T Inc and DirecTV, whose own proposed merger is also under regulatory review." (02/23/15)

http://tinyurl.com/ljn7r3z  

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The necessity of “Citizenfour”

February 24, 2015
posted by

The Nation The Nation Blog
by Ali Gharib  

"Last year at the Oscars, I thought The Act of Killing, Joshua Oppenheimer’s innovative examination of mass killings in Indonesia during the 1960s, deserved to win for best feature documentary. Instead, the Academy gave the award to to a film with broader appeal, 20 Feet From Stardom, a review of life as a background singer on pop records. ... This year, however, the Academy didn’t shy away from awarding a nakedly political film: Laura Poitras’s Citizenfour, a stunning vérité account of the initial reporting on Edward Snowden’s leak of secret material about the National Security Agency, took home the biggest documentary prize of the year." (02/23/15)

http://www.thenation.com/blog/198873/necessity-citizenfour  

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PA: State Supreme Court candidate withdraws nomination

February 24, 2015
posted by

Raw Story Raw Story    

"One of Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf’s candidates for the state Supreme Court withdrew his nomination today after being criticized for a racially insensitive Facebook meme he forwarded to colleagues, the Philadelphia Inquirer‘s Angela Couloumbis reports. According to the Inquirer, in December of 2013, Judge Thomas K. Kistler (R) sent an email containing an image from Facebook titled 'Merry Christmas from the Johnsons.'" (02/23/15)

http://tinyurl.com/ooncdly  

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Greece bailout: Government unveils reform summary after press leaks

February 24, 2015
posted by

BBC News BBC News [UK state media]    

"Greece has unveiled an outline summary of reforms demanded by eurozone leaders in order to secure a bailout extension. The measures include plans to combat tax evasion and tackling fuel and tobacco smuggling. Government officials said they were releasing the summary before formally submitting it to guard against leaks to the press. The list must be approved by international creditors on Tuesday to secure a four-month loan extension. Greece had previously delayed presenting the reforms by 24 hours after initially agreeing to deliver its proposals to creditors on Monday." (02/23/15)

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-31597181  

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KY: Results of election get tossed over vote-buying allegations

February 24, 2015
posted by

Fox News Fox News    

"A judge has voided the results of a 2014 Kentucky county election over allegations that votes were bought with driveway gravel and beer money. Incumbent Democrat Charles 'Doc' Hardin tallied a slim 28-vote win over Republican challenger John Montgomery last November in the race for Judge-Executive of Magoffin County in the eastern part of the state, 3,281 to 3,253. But last week Circuit Judge John David Preston refused to declare Hardin the winner, ruling the election outcome was the result of fraud and bribery. The paper said Preston issued no finding that Hardin or Montgomery took part in any wrongdoing. The ruling throws into question Hardin’s status as the county’s top public official." (02/23/15)

http://tinyurl.com/oq7pzpp  

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How to sell off a city

February 24, 2015
posted by

In These Times In These Times
by Rick Perlstein  

"In June of 2013, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel made a new appointment to the city’s seven-member school board to replace billionaire heiress Penny Pritzker, who’d decamped to run President Barack Obama’s Department of Commerce. The appointee, Deborah H. Quazzo, is a founder of an investment firm called GSV Advisors, a business whose goal (her cofounder has been paraphrased by Reuters as saying) is to drum up venture capital for 'an education revolution in which public schools outsource to private vendors such critical tasks as teaching math, educating disabled students, even writing report cards.'” (02/23/153)

http://inthesetimes.com/article/17533/how_to_sell_off_a_city  

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Atlantic surging, Virginia sinking

February 24, 2015
posted by

The American Prospect The American Prospect
by Nathalie Baptiste  

"Standing at the Elizabeth River looking at the Naval Shipyard and neighboring Portsmouth, the climate change carnage looming over Norfolk, Virginia, may not be immediately noticeable. The water is calm, and on this mild day in November, dedicated boaters cruise downstream. Nestled between the river, the Chesapeake Bay, and the Atlantic Ocean, Norfolk is paradise for anyone who loves living near the water. But paradise comes with a price. The combination of sea level rise, tidal flooding, and subsidence (the sinking ground) has made Norfolk a prime example of what climate is going to do, and has already done, to our coastal cities. The city and surrounding region is on the front line in the battle against climate change, but opinions within city limits on just how bad the flooding is and what to do about it appear to be mixed." (02/23/15)

http://prospect.org/article/atlantic-surging-virginia-sinking  

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How much does it cost to watch a suspected militant?

February 24, 2015
posted by

Reuters Reuters
by David Wise  

"In 2011, U.S. intelligence informed French authorities that a French citizen had slipped into Yemen, probably for terrorist training. In November, the French security services placed the man, Said Kouachi, under surveillance. They wiretapped his mobile phone, as well as that of his younger brother, Cherif. By the end of 2013, French intelligence had dropped its surveillance of Cherif, and Said’s was terminated in mid-2014. After three years, the brothers, born to Algerian immigrants, were judged to be no longer dangerous." (02/22/15)

http://tinyurl.com/kufookh  

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The cracks in Islamic State’s business plan are starting to show

February 23, 2015
posted by

Reuters Reuters
by Ora Szekely  

"Over the last year, Islamic State has presented the rest of the world with a steady stream of atrocities: An attempted genocide against the Yazidi people in Iraq, massacres and bombings of Shi'ite civilians in Syria, and gruesome executions of journalists and aid workers. Last week the militant group murdered -- via mass beheading -- 21 Coptic Christian Egyptians in Libya. But despite the bravado of Islamic State’s public statements, the Islamist militant group increasingly appears to have painted itself into a strategic corner." (02/20/15)

http://tinyurl.com/l7w36hw  

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Taxing 1%ers as much as tax the poor: Billions for cash-strapped states

February 23, 2015
posted by

In These Times In These Times
by David Sirota  

"Roads are crumbling, bridges require repairs, schools need upgrades and public pension systems remain underfunded. How can states and cities find the money to address any of these problems? One way could be through their tax codes. According to a new report, if the rich paid the same state and local tax rate as the middle class, states and cities would have hundreds of billions of dollars more a year in public revenue. Last month, the nonpartisan Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy found that the poorest 20 percent of households pay on average more than twice the effective state and local tax rate (10.9 percent) as the richest 1 percent of taxpayers (5.4 percent)." (02/20/15)

http://tinyurl.com/pxs9ls7  

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Memo to civil rights activists: Testing isn’t helping

February 23, 2015
posted by

Jeff Bryant Our Future
by Jeff Bryant  

"Is forcing every child to take annual standardized tests in reading and math a civil rights issue? That certainly seems to be one of the questions most in consideration in Washington, since deliberations began on how to rewrite the federal government’s most significant education policy No Child Left Behind. Back in January, when congressional committees in both houses began their conversations, The Washington Post reported that 'a coalition of civil rights groups' had released a statement urging Congress to maintain the annual standardized tests in math and reading." (02/20/15)

http://tinyurl.com/oehq6jc  

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Pray for the right candidate

February 22, 2015
posted by

USA Today USA Today
by Tom Krattenmaker  

"And they're off! Now that it's 2015, we can say it: There will be a presidential election next year. Public and news media interest will build toward the frenzied crescendo that characterizes these races. After all, in a country that loves competition, what could be more riveting than the contest for the most powerful political office in the land? Yet for all Americans, especially people of faith and values, there's more to this quadrennial exercise than the thrill of victory and agony of defeat." (02/19/15)

http://tinyurl.com/lax9od9  

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Netanyahu’s curious GOP connection

February 22, 2015
posted by

The American Prospect The American Prospect
by Harold Meyerson  

"Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is giving chutzpah a bad name. Over the past several weeks, Netanyahu has aligned himself and his cause with the Republican Party, which an overwhelming majority of American Jews reject, and many actively despise; he has told European Jews to pull up stakes and come to Israel; and, according to a report just released by Israel's comptroller, he has spent large amounts of Israelis' tax dollars (well, actually, shekels) on cleaning his private home (to the tune of $2,000 a month) and his wife's makeup and hairstyling ($68,000 over a two-year period)." (02/20/15)

http://tinyurl.com/pauolkk  

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