Progressive News Digest

News


| Commentary | Events |

France: Parliament to debate recognition of Palestine as a state

France 24 [France]

"French lawmakers will debate a proposal on Friday to recognise Palestine as a state in a move aimed at pushing for 'a definitive resolution of the conflict.' The non-binding motion is expected to pass a lower house vote December 2. ... Ahead of the vote, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned France it would be making a 'grave mistake' if it recognised Palestine." (11/28/14)

http://tinyurl.com/ou8svrz

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Heart stent for SCOTUS justice Ginsburg, 81

San Jose Mercury News

"Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had a heart stent implanted on Wednesday, reviving talk about how long the 81-year-old liberal jurist will be staying on the court. Ginsburg was expected back at work on Monday, but her hospitalization -- just three weeks after elections handed Republicans control of the Senate -- raised anew the question whether President Barack Obama would be able to appoint a like-minded replacement." (11/27/14)

http://tinyurl.com/ngkyo8a

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Federal judges overturn marriage apartheid in Arkansas, Mississippi

Seattle Post-Intelligencer

"Arkansas and Mississippi became the latest two states Tuesday to have their gay marriage bans overturned by federal judges, but there are no rushes to the altar as both orders are on hold so the states can consider appeals. ... A spokesman for Democratic Attorney General Dustin McDaniel said McDaniel was reviewing the ruling and would decide after the Thanksgiving holiday whether to appeal in consultation with Republican Attorney General-elect Leslie Rutledge in Arkansas. Mississippi officials had already said they planned to appeal any ruling that overturned the law." (11/25/14)

http://tinyurl.com/k2up2rs

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France halts delivery indefinitely on Russia Mistral

BBC News BBC News [UK state media]

"France has suspended 'until further notice' the controversial delivery of a helicopter carrier to the Russian navy. President Francois Hollande blamed continuing unrest in eastern Ukraine, where Russia is accused of backing separatists in their fight against the government in Kiev. The Vladivostok warship was due to be handed over last month as part of a two-ship deal. Russia says it will stick to the terms of the contract." (11/25/14)

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-30190069

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Conservationists sue over federal coal program

San Francisco Chronicle San Francisco Chronicle

"Conservation groups have sued the government to force federal officials to undertake the first broad environmental review of the government's coal-leasing program in decades. Friends of the Earth and the Western Organization of Resource Councils filed the lawsuit Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. It's being paid for by the philanthropic foundation of Microsoft founder Paul Allen. Supporters of the lawsuit said there hasn't been a comprehensive review of the government's coal program since 1979." (11/25/14)

http://tinyurl.com/og6rr5t

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Schumer: Prioritizing healthcare overhaul was a mistake

Reuters Reuters

"The No. 3 Democrat in the Senate said on Tuesday the Democratic Party had made a political mistake by pushing for Obamacare. New York Senator Charles Schumer, speaking at the National Press Club in Washington, said that after passing a stimulus package to jumpstart the economy during the economic downturn, Democrats 'put all of our focus on the wrong problem' by turning to President Barack Obama's healthcare reform effort, which passed in 2010." [editor's note: Okay, so if even Schumer admits it, can the progressives stop flogging how good it is? - SAT] (11/25/14)

http://tinyurl.com/ke9made

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Is Obama contemplating unilateral action on Cuba?

Christian Science Monitor Christian Science Monitor

"Is President Obama about to take unilateral steps to ease US relations with Cuba? A number of recent developments -- from Mr. Obama’s recourse to executive action on immigration to the Spanish foreign minister’s enigmatic statement that he would be carrying 'very concrete messages' from the US government when he visits Havana this week -- have some Republicans fretting that the White House aims to move even further from decades-old policy of isolating communist Cuba." (11/25/14)

http://tinyurl.com/l5wt87x

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NJ: Assemblyman introduces bill to criminalize “rape by fraud”

Fox News Fox News

"Conniving Casanovas, beware: A New Jersey lawmaker wants to make lying for sex punishable by charges of rape, creating the crime of 'sexual assault by fraud.' Assemblyman Troy Singleton, D-Burlington, introduced the bill this month and defined the proposed crime as an 'act of sexual penetration to which a person has given consent because the actor has misrepresented the purpose of the act or has represented he is someone he is not.'" [editor's note: I'm not even sure what this means, but if it's criminalizing fraud, it sounds good to me! - SAT] (11/25/14)

http://tinyurl.com/lnegj63

1 Comment »

100 scientists map the entire centipede genome

Raw Story Raw Story

"An international team of more than 100 researchers has mapped the genome of the centipede and found that, while it easily outpaces humans on number of legs, it falls short when it comes to genes. Sequencing the genome of Strigamia maritima, a northern European centipede, the 106-strong team found it has around 15,000 genes -- some 7,000 fewer than a human. The study, published in the journal PLOS Biology, also found that this centipede appears to have lost the genes encoding any of the known light receptors used by animals, and all genes controlling circadian rhythm, or the body clock." (11/25/14)

http://tinyurl.com/l2hrkxf

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Hong Kong: Clashes break out as regime police clear protest site

Newsweek

"Hong Kong riot police arrested 80 pro-democracy protesters on Tuesday in running clashes after several thousand demonstrators erected street barricades following clearance of part of a protest hotspot. Several thousand police were deployed after a court ordered the reopening of a blocked street in the working-class district of Mong Kok, scene of some of the most violent confrontations in the two-month long 'Occupy Central' civil disobedience campaign." (11/25/14)

http://tinyurl.com/jwfxdsr

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MO: Grand jury gives killer cop a pass

New York Daily News

"Ferguson was bracing for more days of rage after a grand jury on Monday refused to indict a white cop for killing an unarmed black teenager. 'There was a full investigation,' said St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch. 'They determined that no probable causes exists to indict (Officer) Darren Wilson.'"

http://tinyurl.com/p2apa6o

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Ukraine to hold NATO vote when membership criteria are met

BBC News BBC News [UK state media]

"Ukraine will hold a referendum on joining Nato once it has met certain criteria for membership, President Petro Poroshenko has said. At a joint news conference with Lithuania's president, Mr Poroshenko said he had 'worked out the criteria,' but gave no further details. Last week, a Kremlin official called for 'a 100% guarantee' that Ukraine would not think about joining Nato. Ukraine has been fighting pro-Russian separatists for most of the year." (11/24/14)

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-30176256

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FDA: Restaurant menus must carry calorie counts

NBC News

"Restaurants will have to list calories right on their menus under long-awaited rules to be published by the Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday. As expected, the rules require chain restaurants to list clear calorie information on menus. But they don’t require anything else, such as fat content, up front, and they exempt some, but not all, prepared grocery store products." (11/24/14)

http://tinyurl.com/n3y8a5k

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Could Obama choose a woman as next Defense secretary?

Christian Science Monitor Christian Science Monitor

"As speculation heats up about who will replace Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel now that he has announced his resignation, the front-runner could very well be the first woman ever to hold the job. Michele Flournoy is one of the top names being floated as the next secretary of Defense, which has policy analysts wondering how she could change Pentagon policy as it grapples with a number of issues that impact women, from sexual assault in the military to allowing women to serve as infantry soldiers on the front lines of combat." (11/24/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mej3tjs

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Nuclear talks with Iran falter

San Francisco Chronicle San Francisco Chronicle

"A yearlong effort to seal a nuclear deal with Iran fizzled Monday, leaving the U.S. and its allies little choice but to declare an extension in hopes that a new deadline will be enough to achieve what a decade of negotiations have failed to do: limit Tehran’s ability to make a nuclear weapon. ... Negotiators will now strive to nail down by March 1 what Iran and the six world powers it is negotiating with must do, and by when. A final agreement is meant to follow four months later." (11/24/14)

http://tinyurl.com/qje722x

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Microsoft sues IRS for details of probe on internal transactions

Reuters Reuters

"Microsoft sued the Internal Revenue Service on Monday, seeking information about a law firm hired by U.S. tax authorities in a review of how the software company books sales between subsidiaries. The lawsuit, filed in a District of Columbia federal court, says the IRS entered into a contract this year with Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, which specializes in litigation. The agency is paying Quinn Emanuel more than $2 million in connection with its examination of Microsoft Corp's tax returns between 2004 and 2009, the court filing said." (11/24/14)

http://tinyurl.com/o4yypgv

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CA: Man exonerated of murder after 34 years in prison

San Jose Mercury News

"A 69-year-old man convicted of murder 34 years ago was freed Monday after prosecutors told a judge they're no longer sure he committed the crime. Michael Hanline posted $2,500 bail Monday afternoon after a morning hearing at which the judge ordered his movements electronically monitored and that he not contact prosecutors, detectives or the family of the victim. ... His case was taken up by the California Innocence Project, whose lawyers persuaded prosecutors to re-examine the evidence. Subsequent testing showed DNA found at the crime scene did no come from Hanline or his alleged accomplice. In addition, prosecutors withheld evidence that should have been disclosed to Hanline's legal team during the trial." (11/24/14)

http://tinyurl.com/m8898mp

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Report: Union work by federal employees costs taxpayers millions

Fox News Fox News

"Unionized federal employees spent 2.48 million hours working for their labor unions while getting paid by taxpayers during 2013, and more than 360 workers who are on the federal payroll spent 100 percent of their time working for their union. ... And it’s costing taxpayers plenty. According to the Office of Personnel Management, which tracks federal employees’ time, federal employees were paid more than $157 million during 2012 while doing work for labor unions." [editor's note: Once again, the oxymoronic "public employees union shows its true face - SAT] (11/24/14)

http://tinyurl.com/p4jyrtt

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FCC chief: Whatever we do, “big dogs” will sue

Raw Story Raw Story

"No matter what rules the federal communications commission implements on net neutrality, it can expect to face down lawsuits from the major internet service providers, according to its chairman Tom Wheeler. Speaking to reporters, Wheeler accepted that lawsuits were inevitable, but said that it was worth moving ahead with implementation in a more cautious manner. 'Look, the big dogs are going to sue, regardless of what comes out,' he said. 'We need to make sure we have sustainable rules. That starts with making sure we have addressed the multiplicity of issues that come along and are likely to be raised.'" (11/24/14)

http://tinyurl.com/nz6fh2l

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Rand Paul’s draft declaration of war dismays peace activists

US News & World Report

"Sen. Rand Paul risks alienating a key constituency with his vigorous support for fighting the Islamic State group, leading anti-war advocates say. Paul, R-Ky., unveiled Monday a draft declaration of war he plans to introduce in December to target the Iraq- and Syria-based rebel group, which has beheaded three American hostages as purported revenge for U.S. airstrikes that began in August. ... 'Sen. Paul is being too clever by half with this 'limited' declaration of war,' says Justin Raimondo, the libertarian editorial director of Antiwar.com, a prominent online gathering place for anti-interventionists. 'I understand what he's trying to do -- reclaim the power to declare war from the executive and limit the scope of a conflict that's already ongoing -- but this strategy is likely to backfire and simply open the door to a wider war,' Raimondo says." (11/24/14)

http://tinyurl.com/nx7ston

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Hagel resigns as US Secretary of Defense

Reuters Reuters

"U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel resigned on Monday, the first major change to President Barack Obama's Cabinet since his Democrats were routed in midterm elections three weeks ago. Obama announced the resignation at a White House event with Hagel at his side. Hagel will remain in the job until a successor is in place." (11/24/14)

http://tinyurl.com/owyaeun

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OH: Cleveland city website attacked after 12-year-old boy shot by police; Anonymous takes credit

Anonymous Cleveland Plain Dealer

"The so-called 'hacktivist' group Anonymous has taken credit for shutting down the city of Cleveland's website after a city police officer shot and killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice, whom police believed to be armed. The manager of the city's server called police about 3:30 a.m. Monday to report the website was 'under attack,' according to police and city officials. A short time later, the city's website went down and is still unaccessible." (11/24/14)

http://tinyurl.com/nj79543

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“Jewish state” bill fuels fire in divided Israel

CBS News CBS News

"Israel's justice minister said Monday that if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insists on bringing a contentious nationality law to a parliamentary vote, it could mean the end of his government and the holding of early elections. ... The bill would formally identify Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people, enshrine Jewish law as a source of inspiration for legislation, and delist Arabic as an official language. It has been condemned by critics as a threat to the country's democratic character that would further escalate Israeli-Palestinian tensions." (11/24/14)

http://tinyurl.com/knrudwl

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TX: Fracking blamed for Dallas-Ft. Worth earthquake

Raw Story Raw Story

"A light earthquake shook the Dallas-Ft. Worth area of North Texas on Saturday night, leaving no known damage or casualties but stirring concern about the potential of the area’s oil and gas fracking industry to generate seismic activity. The magnitude 3.3 earthquake struck about 9:15 p.m. Central time on Saturday, said Dale Grant, an geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Survey. The epicenter was near the border of the cities of Dallas and Irving, near the site of the former Texas Stadium, where the Dallas Cowboys football team played for nearly 40 years." (11/23/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mnh3khx

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OH: School district mulls giving teachers access to guns

Fox News Fox News

"A small Ohio board of education is weighing new school security measures that could give teachers and staff access to loaded guns. The Dayton Daily News reported Sunday that the Riverside Local School board in central Ohio's Logan County has held recent discussions on placing guns in schools and plans to revisit the issue Dec. 16. Superintendent Scott Mann said the goal is to protect children from potential threats involving weapons." (11/23/14)

http://tinyurl.com/kggjevz

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Commentary


| News | Events |

The Ferguson Lie

Simple Justice
by Scott H. Greenfield

"McCulloch put on a play in Ferguson. His press conference announcing the foregone conclusion was remarkably in many ways, not the least of which was how he sold the argument for 'no true bill' rather than the position he, as prosecutor, was duty-bound to champion. The man charged with prosecuting killers argued the case for not indicting Wilson. McCulloch didn’t have to go to the grand jury at all. He could have prosecuted Wilson by fiat had he wanted to do so. He did not. He was not going to be the person who charged Wilson with any variation of homicide. But in deciding to take the case to the grand jury, the lie was born." (11/25/14)

http://blog.simplejustice.us/2014/11/25/the-ferguson-lie/

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State justice failed Michael Brown. People’s justice is just getting started.

Kevin Carson Center for a Stateless Society
by Kevin Carson

"More than three months after Darren Wilson executed Michael Brown in broad daylight in Ferguson, Missouri, the grand jury's decision is in. No state prosecution, no justice from the state's court system, for his crime. Wilson will never be tried, let alone convicted. But in the real justice system, this is not the end for Wilson -- it's only the beginning.

http://c4ss.org/content/33760

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What “60 Minutes” should have reported about infrastructure

Dave Johnson Our Future
by Dave Johnson

60 Minutes ran a report Sunday, 'Falling apart: America’s neglected infrastructure,' describing the seriousness and damage to the economy caused by our country’s crumbling infrastructure. ... How do we fix this? Well, it’s simple: Congress can just invest in maintaining and modernizing our infrastructure! That’s all it takes. (OK, you’re either laughing hysterically or crying. Sorry.) This used to be a no-brainer, a bipartisan approach, undisputed. Everyone understood that maintaining and modernizing the infrastructure created good-paying jobs with benefits. It made our economy more competitive." [editor's note: Tough to get pols hell-bent on world domination to pay attention to the home front - SAT] (11/25/14)

http://tinyurl.com/op7c96j

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Battle cry: Candidate Paul appeases the masters of war

Empire Burlesque
by

"Oh dear. Rand Paul, favorite candidate of those who dream of an anti-imperial coalition of hardcore libertarians and the antiwar left, has popped many a bubble this week with his proposed Senate bill to declare war on ISIS. Supporters will doubtless say that Paul (like another young politician on the make who served as a blank screen for his followers' aspirations for genuine hope and change) is merely playing '11th dimensional chess' with the move, trying to put America's war machine back on a Constitutional footing, while outflanking potential rivals for the GOP nomination who might otherwise have painted him as 'soft' on killing large amounts of people with massive amounts of expensive and profitable machinery. But Paul is not simply calling the war machine's bluff." (11/25/14)

http://tinyurl.com/luvp4wn

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Why the US plan to save Iraq is doomed to fail

Reuters Reuters
by Peter Van Buren

"If the United States was looking for the surest way to lose Iraq War 3.0, it might start by retraining the failed Iraqi Army to send north -- alongside ruthless Shi’ite militias -- into Sunni-majority territory and hope that the Sunnis will welcome them with open arms, throwing out the evil Islamic State. Maybe it’s time for a better plan. And the way to find one is by understanding how we lost Iraq War 2.0. We need a plan to create a stable, tri-state solution to the Sunni-Shi’ite-Kurd divide, or the current war will fail as surely as the previous one." (11/25/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mzwjugt

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We need government cops because private protection forces would be accountable to the powerful and well-connected instead of being accountable to the people.

Rad Geek People's Daily
by Rad Geek

"A St. Louis County grand jury on Monday decided not to indict Ferguson, Missouri, police Officer Darren Wilson in the August killing of teenager Michael Brown. The decision wasn’t a surprise -- leaks from the grand jury had led most observers to conclude an indictment was unlikely -- but it was unusual. Grand juries nearly always decide to indict. Or at least, they nearly always do so in cases that don’t involve police officers." (11/25/14)

http://radgeek.com/gt/2014/11/25/accountable-to-the-people/

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Ferguson 187: Some questions

Thomas L. Knapp KN@PPSTER
by Thomas L. Knapp

"Question #1 (multiple choice). Did the various police agencies operating in Ferguson: (a) Intentionally ignore the burning of 10-15 buildings last night so that they could concentrate their attention on the peaceful protesters and blame said protesters for the arsons today?; or did they (b) Actually carry out, or arrange in advance for the carrying out of, the burning of 10-15 buildings last night so that they wouldn't have to rely on chance to ensure that they'd have something to blame the peaceful protesters for today?; or (c) Hmmm ... I'm trying to think of some third possibility, but there doesn't seem to be one." (11/25/14)

http://knappster.blogspot.com/2014/11/ferguson-187-some-questions.html

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Brown’s death should be call to action not violence

Fox News Fox News Forum
by Juan Williams

"Where is the black leadership now that a grand jury has decided not to indict the police officer that killed Michael Brown? ... Incredibly, the best leadership on the scene has come from the family of the murdered teen. Michael Brown’s family issued a statement right after the prosecutor announced that the grand jury was not going to indict the officer. They ... spoke about the need for 'positive change…[the] need to work together to fix the system that allowed this to happen.' They specifically called for requiring the police to wear body cameras and then they added 'please keep your protests peaceful. Answering violence with violence is not the appropriate reaction -- Let’s not just make noise, let’s make a difference,'" (11/25/14)

http://tinyurl.com/lwl79cx

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Patrick Cockburn on The Scott Horton Show

The Scott Horton Show
by

"Patrick Cockburn, a journalist with The Independent, discusses how the Islamic State has hastened an end to Iraq’s 2000 year old Christian communities; why the CIA is underestimating the Islamic State’s power; and how Chuck Hagel’s resignation as Defense Secretary highlights the disaster of US policy in the Middle East." [Flash audio or MP3] (11/24/14)

http://scotthorton.org/interviews/2014/11/24/112414-patrick-cockburn/

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Darren Wilson wasn’t the first

In These Times In These Times
by Flint Taylor

"The Ferguson grand jury’s decision not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson for the killing of African-American teenager Michael Brown is heartless but unsurprising. But it is important to place the case in context with the history of police violence investigations and prosecutions in high profile cases -- and the systemic and racist police brutality that continues to plague the nation. In doing so, there are lessons for the movement for justice in the Michael Brown case, as well as for those who are engaged in the broader struggle against law enforcement violence." (11/24/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mwxce9d

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Why it’s impossible to indict a cop

The Nation The Nation
by Chase Madar

"How to police the police is a question as old as civilization, now given special urgency by a St. Louis County grand jury’s return of a 'no bill' of indictment for Ferguson, Missouri, police officer Darren Wilson in his fatal shooting of an unarmed teenager, Michael Brown. The result is shocking to many, depressingly predictable to more than a few. Can the cops be controlled? It’s never been easy: according to one old sociological chestnut, the monopoly on the legitimate use of violence is what defines modern government, and this monopoly is jealously protected against the second-guessing of puny civilians." (11/24/14)

http://tinyurl.com/o2pzgop

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Iraq: What if it weren’t us?

Tom Dispatch
by Tom Engelhardt

"Let’s play a game, the kind that makes no sense on this single-superpower planet of ours. For a moment, do your best to suspend disbelief and imagine that there’s another superpower, great power, or even regional power somewhere that, between 2001 and 2003, launched two major wars in the Greater Middle East. We’re talking about full-scale invasions, long-term occupations, and nation-building programs, first in Afghanistan and then in Iraq. ... Having imagined that, ask yourself: How well did all of that turn out for this other power? " (11/25/14)

http://tinyurl.com/kzqlrly

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Stupid Patent of the Month: Who wants to buy teamwork from Penn State?

Electronic Frontier Foundation Electronic Frontier Foundation
by Daniel Nazer

"Ever wanted to own the latest in 'teamwork' technology? Well, you’re in luck. On December 8, Penn State is holding a large patent auction, and one of the items is U.S. Patent 8,442,839. This patent purports to describe an improved collaborative 'decision-making process.' As well as being a good example of a silly patent, this month’s winner highlights concerns with universities trying to monetize their patent portfolio. Why would a university, which presumably has a mission of promoting knowledge and innovation, sell an unsuccessful patent that has no value except to a troll?" (11/24/14)

http://tinyurl.com/oypwdpe

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Fox News

The Cagle Post
by Tim Eagan

Cartoon. (11/24/14)

http://www.cagle.com/2014/11/fox-news/

No Comments »

You didn’t really think Darren Wilson would be indicted, did you?

CounterPunch CounterPunch
by Ron Jacobs

"Did you really believe Darren Wilson was going to be indicted for murdering Michael Brown? Did you think a cop was going to face a trial for gunning down a young man he thought should be arrested? Do you think the law treats all people equally -- civilian and cop, rich and poor, black and white? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you have been watching too much television." (11/25/14)

http://tinyurl.com/myvnw2n

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America’s cluster-bomb Congress

James Bovard Future of Freedom Foundation
by James Bovard

"Tens of thousands of Americans have been bushwhacked by a single arcane sentence in a 673-page law Congress enacted six years ago. The IRS is seizing both federal and state tax refunds for individuals whom the Social Security Administration accuses of having received excessive benefits years ago. But the government often has zero evidence of the overpayments, and the feds have sought to hold people liable for the alleged debts of their long-dead parents." (11/24/14)

http://fff.org/explore-freedom/article/americas-cluster-bomb-congress/

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Hagel out; Obama’s inner circle is intact

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

"When President Obama chose former GOP Sen. Chuck Hagel to serve as his third Secretary of Defense, most Republicans were not amused. Obama was able to claim that his pick was an example of his reaching across the aisle, when in fact, most Beltway Repubs viewed Hagel with distrust. Yes, Hagel is a Vietnam vet, a volunteer who was the first veteran of enlisted rank to head the Pentagon. Yes, he had voted for the Iraq War in 2002. But Hagel also turned against the Iraq War, and went so far as to assert that 'of course' it was about oil. ... Hagel was the perfect Obama pick: on paper, he seemed to offer bipartisan appeal, but in reality, Hagel enraged the right. Only four GOP senators voted to confirm him." (11/24/14)

http://tinyurl.com/ktnunub

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Secret malware in European Union attack linked to US and British intelligence

The Intercept The Intercept
by Morgan Marquis-Boire, Claudio Guarnieri and Ryan Gallagher

"Complex malware known as Regin is the suspected technology behind sophisticated cyberattacks conducted by U.S. and British intelligence agencies on the European Union and a Belgian telecommunications company, according to security industry sources and technical analysis conducted by The Intercept. Regin was found on infected internal computer systems and email servers at Belgacom, a partly state-owned Belgian phone and internet provider, following reports last year that the company was targeted in a top-secret surveillance operation carried out by British spy agency Government Communications Headquarters, industry sources told The Intercept." (11/24/14)

http://tinyurl.com/p9o3ww9

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Rand Paul points to real executive overreach: Undeclared wars

John Nichols The Nation
by John Nichols

"Rand Paul may not fully recognize it, but he has outlined an important challenge to the selective outrage of his fellow Republicans when it comes to executive actions by American presidents. In moving to force Congress to formally decide whether to declare war on the Islamic State militants that the United States is already fighting, the senator from Kentucky is highlighting the failure of Republican congressional leaders (or, for the most part, their Democratic counterparts) to take seriously what should always be the most concerning example of executive overreach. This is the executive action that troubled the founders above all others: warmaking by presidents in the absence of a declaration of war by the Congress." [editor's note: I'm just amazed it took a "progressive" pundit to point this out, while the "libertarian" media bitched about what a GOP Senator's done this time - SAT] (11/24/14)

http://tinyurl.com/kqunp37

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Uncle Sam needs some better nephews

Sam Pizzigati Our Future
by Sam Pizzigati

"Average Americans have a choice at tax time. They can pay their taxes or risk going to jail for tax evasion. America’s corporate CEOs have a different set of tax-time choices. These CEOs can have the corporations they run pay Uncle Sam or they can have their corporations pay more to their CEOs. Guess which way lots of CEOs are leaning. Better yet, read 'Fleecing Uncle Sam,' the just-released report from the Institute for Policy Studies and Center for Effective Government that tallies up the choices top CEOs are actually making." (11/24/14)

http://tinyurl.com/kwsczrt

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Thanksgiving timeout table

The Cagle Post
by Bruce Plante

Cartoon. (11/23/14)

http://www.cagle.com/2014/11/thanksgiving-timeout-table/

No Comments »

Let old labor die

In These Times In These Times
by Jeremy Gantz

"It is not difficult to imagine the United States without a labor movement. Less than 7 percent of the country’s private-sector workforce is unionized. Twenty-four states have enacted 'right to work' laws that sap union treasuries by allowing workers to benefit from union contracts without paying dues. Even Michigan became right-to-work in 2012. Is labor’s decline terminal? Long-time labor lawyer Thomas Geoghegan says yes -- unless we redesign the legal system upon which the modern labor movement was built." (11/24/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mjyplgu

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Can you live a moral life in the holy city of Jerusalem?

Reuters Reuters
by Amy Wilentz

"While you are reading about violent attacks in Jerusalem on the home page of your newspaper, Jerusalemites are living their lives, most of the time, as if they dwelled in a happy little European nation, say Luxembourg or the Netherlands… or suburban New Jersey. That’s how you can feel there a lot of the time, if you live on the Israeli side. That is assuming you’re not a crazed extremist of some kind. I lived there for four years." (11/24/14)

http://tinyurl.com/kjo48qy

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Fourteen things I’m thankful for in 2014

Fox News Fox News Forum
by Stephen Moore

"Most Americans think the great American Dream -- the idea that our children will achieve a standard of living higher than our own -- is dead. Others say that the environment is on a crash course with planetary devastation due to global warming. And if that doesn't do us in, the deadly virus Ebola may spread like a great plague over the earth. Not a lot to be thankful for. Or is there? Thanksgiving is a time to cast aside the gloom and pessimism and look to the things that have gone right in the last year. It turns out there are lots of things going right in America today." [editor's note: Some of these are of interest to us all; some are only useful to the crony-corpers - SAT] (11/24/14)

http://tinyurl.com/khk969l

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The virus of prejudice

CounterPunch CounterPunch
by Binoy Kampmark

"The Ebola virus has assumed every single form of terror imaginable. It has resulted in the closure of borders. It has seen people targeted by means of quarantine. It has also become the basis for stigmatising, condemning, and targeting. Groups have become fair game. Some have cited acts of racial abuse. Others claim that homosexual groups are receiving a degree of unhealthy scrutiny." (11/24/14)

http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/11/24/the-virus-of-prejudice/

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Israel: America’s biggest frenemy

Justin Raimondo Antiwar.com
by Justin Raimondo

"For decades the Israelis have lived off our largesse without having to offer anything of value in return -- unless Israeli interference in American politics is considered a value. We've handed them over $3 billion a year in tribute, stood by while they subjected their Palestinian helots to conditions not seen since South Africa's apartheid, and smiled tolerantly, as one would at an obstreperous child, while they noisily spat in our faces at every opportunity. And what have we gotten in return? Insults, interference, and outright threats -- not to mention one of the most effective (and obnoxious) spying operations conducted on our soil by a foreign power." (11/24/14)

http://tinyurl.com/odsyg9b

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Hey hey ho ho, student protests got to go

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

"Student activists who were protesting UC tuition hikes didn’t exactly do their cause proud Wednesday. They blocked press, regents and other individuals (some just wanted to get into the gym at the UCSF Mission Bay campus). A few times, as I tried to get into the building, students circled around me, with their arms linked, so that I could not move. The circles appeared to be at least four people deep -- which means say 12 or more against one. Let’s be clear about these tactics. They are designed to intimidate. Some students even asked to see press credentials -- as if they thought they were police." [editor's note: Why would police be any more entitled to see "press credentials" than anyone else? - TLK] (11/22/14)

http://tinyurl.com/k7vhkat

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Football: Nothing left to cheer for

Susan J Douglas In These Times
by Susan J. Douglas

"I grew up in South River, New Jersey, the next town over from Sayreville, the site of the latest football rape scandal. We were a football powerhouse, and Sayreville was one of our keenest rivals. And I was a cheerleader. I still remember those crystalline autumn Saturdays and such innocent excitement about the games. I got to cheer for Joey (as we called him then) Theismann, later a Heisman Trophy contender and Super Bowl-winning quarterback in the NFL, and Drew Pearson, Joey’s successor as quarterback, who became one of the NFL’s greatest wide receivers. ... Then off I went to college, where I became a feminist and came to see football as (pardon the cliché) simulated warfare." (11/21/14)

http://tinyurl.com/k8jotek

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What happen to immigrants left out of Obama’s executive actions?

The Nation The Nation
by Michelle Chen

"In his speech last night announcing his latest executive action on immigration policy, President Obama took great pains to tell the country what his new immigration policy is not: it is not 'amnesty,' just a way for people to avoid deportation; it is not citizenship, just work authorization; it won’t provide social welfare benefits, it will just allow employers to keep exploiting immigrant labor. Here’s what it is: Obama’s initiative will build on the existing Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which has since 2012 offered some undocumented youth temporary, renewable reprieve from deportation." (11/21/14)

http://tinyurl.com/kaq8gj3

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God remains undecided on pick for 2016 GOP nominee

Paul Waldman The American Prospect
by Paul Waldman

"Had you asked me which of the 20 or so potential Republican presidential candidates would be first to claim that his candidacy was endorsed by God himself, I would have said Ben Carson, who has the necessary combination of deep religious faith and self-aggrandizing nuttiness. And today we learn that while the creator of the universe is still mulling his options, he's not exactly giving Carson a no." [editor's note: I'd say that depends on your conception of "God"; the one I talk to thinks they're all assholes, along with the Dem wanna-bes - SAT] (11/21/14)

http://tinyurl.com/lv2xneb

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Immigration reaction

The Cagle Post
by Joe Heller

Cartoon. (11/21/14)

http://www.cagle.com/2014/11/immigration-reaction/

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NELP report: Falling wages in factory jobs

Dave Johnson Our Future
by Dave Johnson

"Economists strive for 'efficiency' in our economy. 'Efficiency' means that the things we buy are produced at their lowest possible cost. The wages that working people are paid are a 'cost' to be eliminated. Egypt’s Pharaohs built the pyramids with 'efficient' labor. Imperial Rome and the old Confederacy also had particularly efficient labor markets. American factory jobs used to provide reasonable pay and benefits -- largely because of unions and democracy. So how do you make manufacturing jobs more 'efficient'?" [editor's note: Although his sense of what an "economist" actually does is faulty (they don't "strive" for more than maybe a vague comprehension of reality?), his other points are mostly valid - SAT] (11/21/14)

http://tinyurl.com/ofhydww

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Why Britain’s days as haven of stability are numbered

Reuters Reuters
by Anatole Kaletsky

"For the past five years, Britain has been a haven of political and economic stability amid the turbulence in Europe. No longer. In the years ahead, Britain will likely be Europe’s most politically unpredictable country. This risk, first brought to the world’s attention by the Scottish independence referendum in September, has been confirmed by the defeat suffered by Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservative Party in a special election on Thursday." (11/21/14)

http://tinyurl.com/k9mptq3

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What really happened to the Wobblies

CounterPunch CounterPunch
by Staughton Lynd

"The Wobblies are back. Many young radicals find the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) the most congenial available platform on which to stand in trying to change the world. This effort has been handicapped by the lack of a hard-headed history of the IWW in its initial incarnation, from 1905 to just after World War I. The existing literature, for example Franklin Rosemont’s splendid book on Joe Hill, is strong on movement culture and atmosphere. It is weak on why the organization went to pieces in the early 1920s." (11/21/14)

http://tinyurl.com/o8m25tc

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EFF joins the call for a NIST we can trust

Electronic Frontier Foundation Electronic Frontier Foundation
by Nadia Kayyali

"It's looking like we might be on the brink of another crypto war. The first one, in the 90s, was a misguided attempt to limit the public's access to strong, secure cryptography. And since then, the reasons we need the good security provided by strong crypto have only multiplied. That's why EFF has joined 20 civil society organizations and companies in sending a letter to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to 're-emphasize the importance of creating a process for establishing secure and resilient encryption standards, free from back doors or other known vulnerabilities.'" (11/21/14)

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2014/11/eff-joins-call-nist-we-can-trust

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Events


| News | Commentary |

Standard Model goes pear-shaped in CERN experiment

The Register [UK]

"It's only a small thing, but it could be big news: researchers at CERN have turned up the first evidence of exotic (and short-lived) atoms with pear-shaped nuclei. The reasons the boffins are excited is they believe the eccentric nuclei can help them probe one of physics' official Big Questions: how come there's something instead of nothing?" (05/09/13)

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/05/09/pear_shaped_exotic_nuclei/

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FDA issues warning for over-the-counter diarrhea drug

Fox News

"The Food and Drug Administration is warning consumers not to use an over-the-counter drug called Intestinomicina because the anti-diarrhea treatment contains a drug linked to life-threatening injuries. The El Salvador-manufactured drug comes in pills and liquid forms and is sold as a treatment for infectious diarrhea at international grocery stores and specialty stores in the U.S. Regulators say Intestinomicina contains the drug chloramphenicol, which can interfere with the production of red and white blood cells. People with anemia and other low blood cell counts are at greater risk of injury or death from using the drug." (09/19/12)

http://tinyurl.com/8t3oo49

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Egypt: Push strengthens for blasphemy clause in constitution

Christian Science Monitor

"Last week's protests in reaction to an anti-Islam YouTube clip have led to Egyptian demands that the US prosecute the filmmakers and may give a decisive push to an effort to enshrine in the Egyptian constitution the criminalization of blasphemy, or insulting religious figures. While the US-based filmmakers are protected under the First Amendment in the US, in some parts of the Middle East they could be prosecuted under laws that criminalize disparaging religion. In Egypt, the backlash could bolster a preexisting effort to insert a clause banning religious insults into Egypt’s new constitution." [editor's note: Yes, that's surely why constitutions were created ... NOT! - SAT] (09/16/12)

http://tinyurl.com/9zodrvb

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In unusual “snub,” Obama wont be meeting Netanyahu

Reuters

"In a highly unusual rebuff to a close ally as tensions escalated over how to deal with Iran's nuclear program, the White House said on Tuesday President Barack Obama would not meet Benjamin Netanyahu during the Israeli prime minister's U.S. visit later this month. The apparent snub, coupled with Netanyahu's sharpened demands for a tougher U.S. line against Iran, threatened to plunge U.S.-Israeli relations into crisis and add pressure on Obama in the final stretch of a tight presidential election campaign." [editor's note: I changed their headline to indicate the reality; two world leaders both happen to be speaking at the U.N. ... on different days - SAT] (09/12/12)

http://tinyurl.com/96g2uqw

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Report: In Nigeria, a concrete get-rich scheme

Reuters

"Aliko Dangote has always liked making things to sell. As a child he boiled up sugar to make sweets he sold around town; these days he cooks up limestone in factories that produce millions of tonnes of cement. Dangote's entrepreneurial skills have helped make him Africa's richest person, with cement plants opened or under construction everywhere from Senegal to Ethiopia to South Africa. He dreams of owning the largest cement firm on the planet. By 2015, he hopes, his industrial conglomerate will be worth four times its current estimated $15 billion." (09/11/12)

http://tinyurl.com/8scc49g

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