PND Commentary

The upright and locked position

September 2, 2014
posted by

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

"Last Sunday, United Airlines diverted a Newark-to-Denver flight to Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport after two passengers got into an argument. It started when a 47-year-old man used a device called the Knee Defender to prevent the 48-year-old woman in front of him from reclining her seat. According to the Associated Press, a flight attendant told the male passenger that United does not allow the bracket-like gadget. He refused to remove it. The female passenger then threw water at the male passenger, which probably didn’t thrill the passengers seated next to him (He was in the middle seat.). The airliner’s crew decided to arrive in Denver with two fewer passengers." (08/29/14)

http://tinyurl.com/oushfxo  

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Inequality and the USA: A nation in denial?

September 2, 2014
posted by

Our Future
by Sam Pizzigati  

"Every August, for most of the last four decades, top central bankers from around the world have been making their way to the Wyoming mountain resort of Jackson Hole for an invitation-only blue-ribbon economic symposium. This year’s Jackson Hole hobnob, once again hosted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, last week attracted the usual assortment of central bankers, finance ministers, and influential business journalists. But this year’s gathering also attracted something else: protesters." (08/29/14)

http://tinyurl.com/qxgyrjh  

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Why we’re so blase about global warming

September 2, 2014
posted by

Reuters
by Jack Shafer  

"If you don’t regard global warming as a serious problem, your company is growing. According to the survey jockeys at Pew Research Center, the percentage of Americans who think global warming is 'very serious' or 'somewhat serious' has declined since 2006 (from 79 percent to 65 percent). While a firm majority still considers global warming to be very or somewhat serious, the numbers show that public alarm over the topic has receded over a period during which the scientific, journalistic, and political consensus on the topic has surged the other way. Over the same 8-year period, fewer respondents agree that the earth is warming and fewer agree that human activity causes warming." (08/29/14)

http://tinyurl.com/pa4yfg3  

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Obama’s “catastrophic defeat” in Ukraine

September 2, 2014
posted by

CounterPunch CounterPunch
by Mike Whitney  

"Barack Obama has pushed Ukraine to the brink of political, economic and social collapse. Now he wants to blame Russia for the damage he’s done. It’s absurd. Moscow is in no way responsible for Ukraine’s descent into anarchy. That’s all Washington’s doing, just as Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and now Syria were Washington’s doing. If you want to blame someone, blame Obama." (08/29/14)

http://tinyurl.com/qc27ndn  

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Hoaxes, hype and hysteria

September 2, 2014
posted by

Justin Raimondo Antiwar.com
by Justin Raimondo  

"While Americans were barbecuing over the Labor Day weekend, the Usual Suspects were busy cooking up new wars, from Iraq to Ukraine. While this is nothing new -- after all, evil never sleeps -- one thing I did notice: the stunning lack of imagination on their part. It was, in effect, the equivalent of a bunch of summer reruns: tired formulaic retreads that weren’t all that convincing in the first place." (09/01/14)

http://tinyurl.com/nwhpaal  

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Market Basket: Should we cheer the “benevolent boss?”

September 1, 2014
posted by

In These Times
by Julia Wong  

"Lots of executives may claim to think of their employees as family. But it’s the rare boss who actually treats his workers as well as his blood relatives. The 25,000 employees of Market Basket, a chain of 71 New England grocery stores, see company president Arthur T. Demoulas as that boss. At least, that’s the story one gets from the press coverage of the bitter power struggle and chain-wide strike that has been front-page news in New England all summer. Ousted in June, Demoulas regained control of the company this week in what’s being hailed as a victory for workers. But is it?" (08/30/14)

http://tinyurl.com/pccaecl  

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Science as salvation?

September 1, 2014
posted by

The Nation
by Michael Saler  

"Whether or not scientists are from Mars and humanists from Venus, the 'two cultures' debate about the arts and sciences has never been down to earth. For decades we’ve endured schematic sparring between straw men: humanists claim that scientists are reductive, scientists find humanists reactionary. ... Marcelo Gleiser, a physicist with strong ties to the humanities, is alarmed by the hubristic stance of his discipline and the backlash it is liable to provoke. He has written The Island of Knowledge as 'a much needed self-analysis in a time when scientific speculation and arrogance are rampant.... I am attempting to protect science from attacks on its intellectual integrity.'" (08/29/14)

http://www.thenation.com/article/181388/science-salvation  

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Still Nader after all these years

September 1, 2014
posted by

The American Prospect
by Robert Kuttner  

"For many Democrats who came of age after 2000, Ralph Nader is a crank who cost Al Gore the presidency. But Nader deserves a more honored place in the progressive pantheon. Over the years, Nader has understood the stranglehold of corporate power on democracy as well as anyone, and throughout his career he has creatively organized counterweights. In the heyday of postwar reform, the 1960s and 1970s, Nader-inspired groups prodded and energized Congressional allies to enact one piece of pro-consumer legislation after another. ... Since then, Nader has been a prophet, often without honor in his own coalition." [editor's note: A surprisingly unbiased (even says nice things about Cato) analysis of Nader's effect on the political game - SAT] (08/29/14)

http://prospect.org/article/still-nader-after-all-these-years  

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Aunt of dead San Francisco girl already faces life sentence

August 29, 2014
posted by

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

"San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon charged the aunt of a 2-year-old killed by a hit-and-run driver with felony child endangerment. Loyresha Gage, 25, didn't run over her niece Mi'yana Gregory as the toddler stood alone in a crosswalk after 10:30 p.m. on Aug. 15; an unknown hit-and-run driver hit the child. Yet it is Gage who has been charged with a felony. If convicted, she faces years in prison. I cannot be alone in my first reaction to this story." (08/28/14)

http://tinyurl.com/ola4hwu  

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It’s too difficult to be a dirtbag anymore, unfortunately

August 29, 2014
posted by

C4SS Center for a Stateless Society
by Marc Guttman  

"I recently enjoyed watching '180 Degrees South,' a film about Jeff Johnson’s journey to Patagonia, Chile to climb Corcovado Volcano, surfing along the way and retracing Yvon Chouinard’s and Doug Tompkins’s 1968 trip. Yvon, in the film, says, '(Jeff’s) just a dirtbag. He could live out of his car, climbing in the Valley … He’s just hustling his way along so he can stay on the road. He reminded me a lot about how I used to be … Life was pretty easy in the ’60s. I mean you could buy an automobile for 15 bucks and live out of your automobile and camp out.' Yvon’s right, and it disappointed me, because life should be much easier now." (08/28/14)

http://c4ss.org/content/31000  

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Perry’s indictment: Crime and punishment, Texas-style

August 29, 2014
posted by

Reuters
by Suzanne Garment  

"It's a big country, where states have their own legal peculiarities, political cultures and definitions of what makes a debilitating political scandal. Take Texas, for example, where the Republican governor, Rick Perry, has been indicted for abuse of office. In the past 25 years, we’ve seen politicians and government officials increasingly treat scandal less as catastrophe and more as just another cost of doing business. Perry, however, has taken this to a completely new level: He is wearing his indictment as a badge of honor and has smoothly returned to his 2016 presidential campaign without missing a beat." (08/27/14)

http://tinyurl.com/ojr255o  

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Peace through strength

August 29, 2014
posted by

Come Home America Come Home America
by Eoghan Hartigan  

"Peace through strength is a favourite maxim of the Neoconservative movement in the United States. They make the rather unusual claim that lots more guns and ammo will make the world a safer place. There is, however, one problem: this claim has all the purity of excrement." (08/28/14)

http://tinyurl.com/kgf6utm  

No Comments »

Washington Post op-ed page wants more war (again)

August 28, 2014
posted by

The Nation
by Reed Richardson  

"To read the Washington Post’s op-ed page at the end of this summer is to have a distinct sense of deja vu. Just like this time last year, Post pundits gnash their teeth and warn us that Obama’s foreign policy is broken and the U.S.’s reputation around the world is shot, but that the best way to definitely fix both is for our country to start bombing Syria." (08/28/14)

http://tinyurl.com/put6s5f  

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Why Republicans can’t solve their woman-voter problem

August 28, 2014
posted by

The American Prospect
by Paul Waldman  

"I'll give Republicans credit for this: they keep trying to figure out why their party remains unappealing to large and important groups of voters. They've been mulling over their problem with Latino voters for some time, and now Politico has gotten a hold of a study commissioned by some GOP bigwigs to figure out why women keep giving more of their votes to Democrats. ... The last time a Republican presidential candidate won a majority of women's votes was 1988, and it's hard to see it happening again soon unless there's a huge blowout. While it's all well and good to investigate the issue to try to understand it in as much detail as possible, I have some bad news for Republicans: This isn't a problem they're going to be able to solve." (08/28/14)

http://tinyurl.com/nff26dw  

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None of your beeswax

August 28, 2014
posted by

Cagle Post
by Jeff Koterba  

Cartoon. (08/27/14)

http://www.cagle.com/2014/08/none-of-your-beeswax/  

No Comments »

“Chiraq”: Facts and fictions

August 28, 2014
posted by

In These Times
by Salim Muwakkil  

"Chicago’s astounding weekend body counts make headlines around the globe: On the July 4 weekend, 82 people were shot, 14 of them killed. 'Killed on the Fourth of July: 14 dead as Chicago descends into bloody chaos' was how the UK’s Daily Mail put it. Domestic depictions were only slightly more subtle. The media are awash with recommendations and formulae on how best to banish violent crime from this apparently besieged city. As the host of a radio show that concentrates on issues that affect black Chicago (the demographic most afflicted by the problem), I often wind up in a vortex of contending opinions, implored to consider solutions ranging from instituting martial law to imposing socialism on the city." (08/28/14)

http://tinyurl.com/nzwpnhw  

No Comments »

Obama’s no-win war on ISIS

August 28, 2014
posted by

CounterPunch CounterPunch
by Shamus Cooke  

"The newest crisis in the Middle East has sucked the U.S. into yet another insoluble military problem. Obama is again considering a bombing campaign in Syria after infamously not bombing the country last year. This time, however, he’s not targeting his enemy Bashar al-Assad, but his enemy’s enemy — ISIS — now referred to as the Islamic State." (08/28/14)

http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/08/28/obamas-no-win-war-on-isis/  

No Comments »

Charter schools don’t need ad campaign, they need regulation

August 28, 2014
posted by

Our Future    

"This time of year, while classroom teachers and administrators in public schools are busy welcoming students back to a new school year and figuring out how they’re going to cope with devastating financial constraints, advocates in the charter schools industry are propping up their image with an extensive new public relations campaign called 'Truth About Charters.' That contrast alone pretty much tells you everything you need to know about where we are in the nation’s parallel education narratives, in which a gritty documentary competes with what is essentially an advertising campaign for a shiny, new product." (08/28/14)

http://tinyurl.com/o7ugyj9  

No Comments »

The roots of police militarization

August 28, 2014
posted by

Kevin Carson Center for a Stateless Society
by Kevin Carson  

"It's certainly true that the post-9/11 security state and the Global War on Terror have flooded police forces with surplus military equipment, increased the prevalence of military cross-training (including 'counter-terrorism' training by Israeli military personnel encouraging American police forces to view their communities in much the same way Israeli security forces view the Palestinians in Gaza). But the roots of police militarization go back way further than 9/11 -- all the way back to the aftermath of insurrections by the black populations of major American cities in the 1960s and the American political elite’s desire to ensure that nothing like that ever happened again." (08/26/14)

http://c4ss.org/content/30871  

No Comments »

Waiting for the cold light of day, in Missouri & the Middle East

August 28, 2014
posted by

Reuters
by Jim Gaines  

"Aside from the strange fact that both the Ferguson Police Department and the barbarians of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria are using U.S. armor and weaponry, the shooting death of Michael Brown and the murder of James Foley would seem to have little in common, about as little as the Midwest and the Middle East. Yet the similarities are evocative. Both frame enormously complex problems in the context of a single, riveting incident. Both were deaths in the American family, calling every parent to feel something of the Brown and Foley parents’ bottomless grief and to think, if only for an instant, 'there but for the grace of God....' Both events draw attention to life-and-death issues that call on every resource of our minds and hearts: What to do about racial divisions at home and the horrific outbreak of lethal sectarianism abroad." (08/26/14)

http://tinyurl.com/pm7y7xc  

No Comments »

Advocating the next war means forgetting history

August 28, 2014
posted by

Lucy Steigerwald Antiwar.com
by Lucy Steigerwald  

"ISIS is awful. The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria is a frightening band of marauding, violent theocrats. This seems obvious. But pointing out the awfulness of ISIS is something that people who advocate against intervention are going to have to do a lot for the foreseeable future. Pro-interventionists control the narrative so much so that every anti-interventionist will find themselves assuring skeptical people that no, they are not for dictator A, or terrorist group B. They simply would rather leave that snakepit alone." (08/28/14)

http://tinyurl.com/kup5ydc  

No Comments »

Tacoma PD joins the ranks of police agencies concealing use of cellphone trackers

August 28, 2014
posted by

JD Tuccille Reason
by JD Tuccille  

"What's increasingly fascinating about law enforcement agencies' adoption of stingray devices -- widgets that spoof cellphone towers to get mobile devices in the area to ping them and reveal their locations -- is not the availability of advancing technology for locating people, but the lengths to which cops will go to conceal its use. Technology in all areas advances; telephones led to the invention of wiretaps and pen registers. Subject to properly vetted search warrants, that might just mean it's a new area to which to apply search and seizure protections. But when agencies, like the Tacoma, Washington, police department, conceal the use of stingrays (more generically known as International Mobile Subscriber Identity locators) from city council members, defense attorneys, news media, and even judges, something shady is happening." (08/27/14)

http://tinyurl.com/p3a2ycl  

No Comments »

Obamacare’s “secret trick” could cure CEO pay excesses

August 28, 2014
posted by

Our Future
by Richard Eskow  

"Our economy is broken. There’s one economy for the wealthy, and another for the rest of us. This division has been worsened by the behavior of corporate executives who manage their corporations for short-term personal gain rather than for long-term fiscal soundness. Could a 'secret trick' help change that? ... We can blame corporate CEOs for selfish, shortsighted, and greedy behavior, and we should. But that misses an important point: Government policy actually encourages them to behave that way." (08/27/14)

http://tinyurl.com/q4jzfvp  

No Comments »

Campaign ads: The difference between accuracy & fairness

August 28, 2014
posted by

The American Prospect
by Paul Waldman  

"Before we get to today's campaign nastiness, a word about that creature known as 'opposition research.' Most people who are familiar with the term probably think it means something like 'digging up dirt' on your opponent, which must involve things like going through the transcripts of his divorce to read about that time his wife came home early to find him doing unspeakable things with a roll of cling wrap, or rooting through his garbage to read his credit card bills. Every once in a while it can, but oppo researchers' biggest job is usually going through every vote the client's opponent ever took to see what sort of hay can be made out of them." (08/26/14)

http://tinyurl.com/qj934yc  

No Comments »

#BlackTwitter & the power of horizontal networks

August 27, 2014
posted by

In These Times
by Susan J. Douglas  

"By now the shocking photos that first ricocheted around social media, then hit mainstream media the following day, are emblazoned in our minds: robocops astride armored vehicles in camouflage uniforms, black helmets and gas masks, brandishing assault rifles. The killing of unarmed Michael Brown by a white cop who drilled him with six bullets has blown open debates old and new, from the persistence of police brutality to the recent and outrageous militarization of the country’s police forces. But this would not have been a story if the black community in Ferguson and elsewhere had not instantly risen up and, importantly, gone to social media." (08/27/14)

http://tinyurl.com/ovb7f6c  

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