Author Archive

Tear gas for the huddled masses

August 21, 2014
posted by

San Francisco Chronicle
by Mark Morford  

"Fun fact: Violence fetishizes itself. Worships, adores itself with psychotic levels of megalomania and self-aggrandizement -- sociopathic and chilling and face-slappingly obvious throughout all of human history. You know? Of course you know. Like attracts like. Antagonism and hate, fear and panic feed off each other like combustible parasites; as soon as one ignites it’s often only a quick leap until everything explodes and people are dead and no one knows what the hell just happened. Peace and calm, on the other hand, are a little more, umm ... challenging." (08/18/14)

http://tinyurl.com/kvnt5wu  

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India: Gandhi assassination film set for release

August 21, 2014
posted by

BBC News [UK state media]    

"A controversial film on the October 1984 assassination of former prime minister Indira Gandhi is set for release in India on Friday. Mrs Gandhi's Congress party has written to the prime minister saying the Punjabi film, Kaum De Heere, should be banned as it glorifies the assassins. Intelligence agencies have warned of potential violence if it is released. Mrs Gandhi was shot dead by her Sikh bodyguards for sending the military into the Golden Temple." (08/20/14)

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-28863556  

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Minority unionism: The new Volkswagen model

August 21, 2014
posted by

In These Times
by Moshe Z. Marvit  

"When the workers at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, voted in February on whether to unionize, the stakes were high. A victory would create a foothold for labor in the elusive South, while a defeat could be interpreted as a sign of the labor movement’s inexorable decline. The vote went against the union (712 to 626) and labor was left to figure out its next move. Under U.S. labor law, another vote cannot be held for a year. On July 10, the United Auto Workers (UAW) announced they were establishing a new local at Volkswagen Chattanooga. Local 42 is a members-only (or 'minority') union -- a model used rarely in the United States. Unlike a traditional American union, ... a members-only union is voluntary and represents only workers who choose to join." [editor's note: I hope this "new model" catches on; as long as membership is voluntary, what's the problem here for us libertarians? - SAT] (08/20/14)

http://inthesetimes.com/article/17044/the_new_volkswagen_model  

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TX: “Affluenza” teen’s father busted for impersonating a cop

August 20, 2014
posted by

San Francisco Chronicle    

"The father of a Texas teen who garnered national attention for being afflicted with 'affluenza' has been arrested on accusations he impersonated a police officer, according to Dallas media outlets. Tuesday, North Richland Hills police arrested Frederick Anthony Couch for falsely identifying himself as an officer and for misrepresentation of property, Dallas' KXAS-TV reports. Back in late July, police said they were called to a disturbance involving Keith Capo, Couch and Capo's neighbor. Capo and his neighbor had reportedly been involved in an argument days before, and the neighbor threatened Capo." [editor's note: When acting-as-if you're "above the law" is modeled by every public figure from the top down, is this any wonder? - SAT] (08/20/14)

http://tinyurl.com/k82jelm  

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No jobs but crappy jobs: The next big political issue?

August 20, 2014
posted by

The American Prospect
by Robert Kuttner  

"For decades, the increasing precariousness of work has been a source of mass frustration for tens of millions of Americans. But the issue has been largely below the political radar. Politicians ritually invoke good jobs at good wages, yet presidents have been unwilling to name, much less remedy, the deep economic forces that are turning payroll jobs into what I've termed 'The Task Rabbit Economy' -- a collection of ad hoc gigs with no benefits, no job security, no career paths, and no employer reciprocity for worker diligence. But there are signs that maybe this issue is starting to break through." [editor's note: As long as people (like Messrs. Kuttner & Krugman) keep bemoaning the loss of the "job world" (and not embracing the futurist "gig paradigm" many of us adopted years ago?), the delusion will continue that those days are ever coming back - SAT] (08/19/14)

http://tinyurl.com/nlwws5t  

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No tea party break for Democrats in Alaska

August 20, 2014
posted by

Christian Science Monitor    

"The Democrats have lost their last, best chance at facing a tea party candidate in a crucial Senate race. Sen. Mark Begich (D) of Alaska will face the state’s former attorney general, Dan Sullivan (R), in November, following Mr. Sullivan’s GOP primary victory Tuesday. Sullivan came in first with 40 percent of the vote, followed by tea partyer Joe Miller (32 percent), and Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell (25 percent). If Mr. Miller had won the Republican nomination, Senator Begich would have been the clear favorite in November. Mr. Miller, an attorney and Gulf War veteran, was the conservative upstart who beat Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) in the 2010 GOP primary. Senator Murkowski went on to win the 2010 general election in a spirited write-in campaign." (08/20/14)

http://tinyurl.com/k8nqnpd  

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Are American corps really less competitive because of taxes?

August 20, 2014
posted by

Our Future
by Dave Johnson  

"Corporate tax rates used to top out at 52.8 percent. Later rates were lowered to 48 percent and then 46 percent. Then in 1986 corporations complained that this (lowered) rate made them 'uncompetitive' and demanded 'corporate tax reform.' Because job creators. So the rate was lowered to 35 percent. Now in 2014 corporations are complaining that this (lowered) rate makes them 'uncompetitive' and are demanding 'corporate tax reform.' Because job creators ... or something. This time they threaten to (or do) renounce their U.S. citizenship, saying it is because of too-high tax rates. So, here we are again. They want rates lowered even more. But are corporate tax rates really 'uncompetitive?' And what does that even mean?" [editor's note: By ignoring the fact that corps do NOT pay taxes (consumers who buy their products do, in increased prices for their products), Mr. Johnson misses the point entirely - SAT] (08/20/14)

http://tinyurl.com/l9gpd2k  

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“I don’t take insurance”: Not always a doctor deal breaker

August 20, 2014
posted by

Reuters    

"Some doctors really mean it when they say they do not take health insurance. For others, it is more of a nuanced statement. Consumers trying to decipher the difference have to ask a lot of questions to figure out how to manage their bills. Here are the three key scenarios facing consumers: * 'I do not take your insurance, but I will work with you on the price.' A growing number of doctors simply are not taking contracts with insurance companies, although the concentration varies by region and by specialty. That leaves patients to pay the market rate the doctor charges, and then submit a receipt to get reimbursement for out-of-network coverage, if they have it." (08/20/14)

http://tinyurl.com/owhbq8k  

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The coming race war won’t be about race

August 20, 2014
posted by

Time
by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar  

"You probably have heard of the Kent State shootings: on May 4, 1970, the Ohio National Guard opened fire on student protesters at Kent State University. During those 13 seconds of gunfire, four students were killed and nine were wounded, one of whom was permanently paralyzed. The shock and outcry resulted in a nationwide strike of 4 million students that closed more than 450 campuses. Five days after the shooting, 100,000 protestors gathered in Washington, D.C. And the nation’s youth was energetically mobilized to end the Vietnam War, racism, sexism, and mindless faith in the political establishment. You probably haven’t heard of the Jackson State shootings." [editor's note: This is a flat-out excellent analysis of the bigger picture - SAT] (08/17/14)

http://time.com/3132635/ferguson-coming-race-war-class-warfare  

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Report: Biden stonewalled FOIA request to hide travel costs

August 20, 2014
posted by

Fox News    

"Vice President Joe Biden’s office stonewalled a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for his travel expenses, according to Ronald Kessler’s new tell-all book on the Secret Service, The First Family Detail. Kessler, a former Wall Street Journal and Washington Post investigative reporter, filed a FOIA request in April 2013 with the Air Force for the details and costs of Biden’s personal trips." (08/19/14)

http://tinyurl.com/kqdvom2  

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What does the Fed have to do with Social Security?

August 20, 2014
posted by

Our Future
by Dean Baker  

"Most of the people who closely follow the Federal Reserve Board’s decisions on monetary policy are investors trying to get a jump on any moves that will affect financial markets. Very few of the people involved in the debate over the future of Social Security pay much attention to the Fed. That’s unfortunate because the connections are much more direct than is generally recognized. The basic story of Social Security’s finances is that, while the program is entirely sound for the near future, the program is projected to face a shortfall in the decade of the thirties." (08/19/14)

http://tinyurl.com/lgnaj4d  

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Russian import ban fuels food price rises

August 20, 2014
posted by

BBC News [UK state media]    

"Food prices are rising in parts of Russia and experts say the state embargo on imports of Western food appears to be making things worse. Since the ban was imposed on 7 August imported pork used in processed meat in Moscow has gone up by 6%, Russian business daily Kommersant reports. In St Petersburg food prices have risen 10%. That inflation occurred even before the impact of sanctions. Russia's ban on many Western foods is retaliation for sanctions over Ukraine." (08/19/14)

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-28849726  

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Admirable moderation or cowardly cop-out?

August 20, 2014
posted by

The American Prospect
by Paul Waldman  

"As everyone knows, opinions on same-sex marriage have been changing rapidly, which also means that the positions of politicians have to change to keep up. Now that pretty much every Democrat running for anything is in favor of marriage equality, they're done changing. Republicans, on the other hand, are going to have to keep tweaking their stance, confronted by the almost impossible challenging of signaling their open-mindedness to general election voters while not alienating a conservative base that, for a while anyway, is still opposed to gay people getting married. So what's the answer to that problem? 'Leave it to the states.' Is that an admirable bit of live-and-let-live, let-a-hundred-flowers-bloom approach to governing, or is it a cowardly cop-out? It's kind of both." (08/18/14)

http://tinyurl.com/ncsma65  

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Vietnam counts cost of anti-China riots

August 20, 2014
posted by

Christian Science Monitor    

"After anti-Chinese rioters attacked his auto-parts factory in May, Lee Wang-chung and his family had to leave town in a hurry. His factory was one of hundreds in Vietnam engulfed in protests triggered by popular fury at China's positioning of a $1 billion oil rig in a disputed part of the South China Sea. A week later, Mr. Lee was back at the factory, repairing its broken windows. He says the local government is supportive, as are his Vietnamese staff. For one thing, he's not even a Chinese citizen: He's Taiwanese. But to the 20,000-odd rioters who rampaged through an industrial park looking for Chinese script or other symbols, that didn't matter." (08/19/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mk3unlj  

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Why are you dressed like Darth Vader?

August 20, 2014
posted by

The Nation
by Tom Tomorrow  

Cartoon. [editor's note: Brilliant, as usual - SAT] (08/19/14)

http://www.thenation.com/blog/181317/why-are-you-dressed-darth-vader  

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Leaked: Google’s attempt to make YouTube a pay service

August 19, 2014
posted by

San Francisco Chronicle    

"After months of rumors, we're finally getting a look at YouTube's new subscription-based music service. Leaked screenshots published by Android Police claim to detail the features of the new service, reportedly named 'YouTube Music Key.' The new service was first spotted when Google began purchasing domain names related to the phrase 'music key,' as 'youtubemusickey.com,' 'musickey.co.uk,' and 'musickey.jp' are now owned by Google. But in a series of leaked screenshots, Android Police claims to have detailed the features of the new service. Key features of this new 'premium' version of YouTube are said to include offline playback of videos, concert footage, exclusive remixes, and an absence of ads. Although the price has not been announced, it is believed to cost $9.99 per month." (08/19/14)

http://tinyurl.com/lgy744l  

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All they are saying is give bees a chance

August 19, 2014
posted by

In These Times
by Alex Kogan  

"On Saturday, activists in cities from Dallas to Melbourne, Australia, 'swarmed the globe' in an international rally to save the world’s bees. In an action timed to coincide with National Honey Bee Day in the United States, Bee Against Monsanto (a Tampa-based collective that campaigns to protect honey bees and other pollinators) called on organizers worldwide to hold 'Swarm the Globe' rallies. Their goal: to raise awareness of the dangers of neonicotinoids, a family of insecticides that kill bees. Neonicotinoids are the leading suspect in Colony Collapse Disorder, a phenomenon in which entire populations of worker bees disappear, leaving queens and larvae to die in their hives. On average, 30 percent of bee colonies in the United States have died each year since 2006, with similarly high death rates in many parts of Europe." (08/18/14)

http://tinyurl.com/lfvjvlx  

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NY: Grand jury to hear NYPD chokehold death case

August 19, 2014
posted by

Raw Story    

"A New York City prosecutor said on Tuesday he will present evidence to a grand jury next month in the death of an unarmed man who police put in a chokehold while arresting him. Daniel Donovan Jr., district attorney in the New York borough of Staten Island, said in a statement that Eric Garner’s death had been investigated 'with a full appreciation that no person is above the law, nor beneath its protection.' Donovan declined to say what criminal charges he would ask grand jurors to consider or who might be called as a witness when goes before the grand jury in September. Grand juries, which have the power to indict if the prosecutor presents sufficient evidence, operate in secrecy." (08/19/14)

http://tinyurl.com/nkpu3x5  

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Liberia fights Ebola in capital, West Africa toll tops 1,200

August 19, 2014
posted by

Reuters [UK]    

"Liberia battled on Tuesday to halt the spread of the Ebola disease in its crowded, run-down oceanside capital Monrovia, recording the most new deaths as fatalities from the world's worst outbreak of the deadly virus rose above 1,200. The epidemic of the hemorrhagic disease, which can kill up to 90 percent of those it infects, is ravaging the three small West African states of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, and also has a toehold in Nigeria, Africa's biggest economy. As the Geneva-based World Health Organization rushed to ramp up the global response to the outbreak, including emergency food deliveries to quarantined zones, it announced that deaths from it had risen to 1,299 as of Aug. 16, out of 2,240 cases." (08/19/14)

http://tinyurl.com/ltkgf5x  

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The height of hypocrisy: Gore’s suit against Al Jazeera

August 19, 2014
posted by

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

"When Al Jazeera bought Current TV for $500 million in January 2013, former Vice President and Current co-founder Al Gore praised the deal. Both Al Jazeera, a network owned by Qatar's oil-rich royal family, and his far-left Current TV, Gore said, were founded 'to give voice to those who are not typically heard; to speak truth to power; to provide independent and diverse points of view; and to tell the stories that no one else is telling.' Last week, Gore and Current TV shareholders sued Al Jazeera for fraud because, Gore attorney David Boies told reporters, 'Al Jazeera America wants to give itself a discount on the purchase price that was agreed to nearly two years ago.' The dispute raises the question: Can oil and sanctimony mix?" (08/18/14)

http://tinyurl.com/kctg4z7  

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Peace may be true threat to Hamas, Israel’s leaders

August 19, 2014
posted by

Reuters
by Amy Wilentz  

"It’s time to wonder whether Israel and Palestine will ever be able to move out of the moral abyss into which they’ve plunged themselves, and address the threat of peace. 'Threat' is the right term. Because peace is dangerous for leaders in the Middle East. It always has been. But back in the early 1990s, Palestine Liberation Organization Chairman Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, who hated everything the other stood for, knew that each had his reasons for working for peace. Just possibly, they imagined, peace would be better than war for future generations. Certainly it would not be as wasteful. Not that those days were bliss -- but at least peace was plausible." (08/18/14)

http://tinyurl.com/kl5tpjj  

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Why the Rand Paul phenomenon isn’t exactly a libertarian triumph

August 19, 2014
posted by

The American Prospect    

"Libertarianism is suddenly getting more attention from the mainstream media than it has in a long time, perhaps ever. And wherever you see it, there's a good chance that U.S. Senator Rand Paul, the Kentucky Republican, is at least part of the focus. When the New York Times Magazine publishes a story about libertarians, it puts a picture of Paul on the cover. When veteran Washington Post reporter Dan Balz writes a story about the libertarian response to the events in Ferguson, Missouri, most of it is about Paul. Such attention isn't completely misguided (I'm doing it right now!), because Paul is a national figure who wants to be president of the United States, and that makes him important. But Paul's inescapable association with libertarianism shows the limits the philosophy faces if its adherents want to win political victories and not just intellectual satisfaction." (08/18/14)

http://tinyurl.com/k2bp3jq  

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Study: Scientists hoping to kill cancer tumors with magnets

August 19, 2014
posted by

Raw Story    

"Surgery. Radiotherapy. Chemotherapy. Those are the cancer treatments most of us are familiar with, and in many cases, even all three combined are not enough to provide a complete cure. But a new and innovative approach may enable oncologists to add another option to the list. An artificial magnetic bacterium was recently created in a Spanish laboratory that, when ingested, can work as a magnetically charged compass that targets tumors and destroys them by spinning so fast the tumors heat up and melt. It's based on an experimental treatment methodology called 'magnetic hypothermia' that exposes tumors filled with magnetic nanoparticles to an alternating magnetic field." (08/18/14)

http://tinyurl.com/q4azf6r  

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Report: Emerging solar plants scorch birds in mid-air

August 19, 2014
posted by

Fox News    

"Workers at a state-of-the-art solar plant in the Mojave Desert have a name for birds that fly through the plant's concentrated sun rays: 'streamers,' for the smoke plume that comes from birds that ignite in midair. Federal wildlife investigators who visited the BrightSource Energy plant last year and watched as birds burned and fell, reporting an average of one 'streamer' every two minutes, are urging California officials to halt the operator's application to build a still-bigger version. The investigators want the halt until the full extent of the deaths can be assessed. Estimates per year now range from a low of about a thousand by BrightSource to 28,000 by an expert for the Center for Biological Diversity environmental group." (08/18/14)

http://tinyurl.com/q2l65sz  

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Finland: New Russia-West sanctions war brings deja vu

August 19, 2014
posted by

Christian Science Monitor    

"An air of dejection hangs over the sprawling Valio dairy plant here. Until earlier this month, the factory operated two shifts to process and pack cheese, butter, and other milk products mostly destined for Russia. But virtually all workers on the single remaining shift now clock off by mid-afternoon, leaving behind a vast, refrigerated warehouse stacked with pallets stamped 'for Russia' that have nowhere to go." (08/18/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mwnodf9  

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