Progressive News Digest

News


| Commentary | Events |

Ailes steps down as Fox News CEO after sexual harassment lawsuit

USA Today USA Today

"Roger Ailes, chairman and CEO of Fox News Channel, stepped down Thursday, a startling fall from grace for one of the most powerful figures in American journalism. The resignation, effective immediately, was announced by the network's parent company, 21st Century Fox. Two weeks ago, Ailes was sued for sexual harassment by Gretchen Carlson, a former host of Fox & Friends who left the company last month when her contract wasn't renewed. ... Ailes has vigorously denied Carlson's claims. But 21st Century Fox immediately launched an internal investigation, interviewing other employees. Earlier this week, a lawyer for Megyn Kelly, the network's rising star, acknowledged that she spoke to the investigators from law firm Paul, Weiss. In the interview, she revealed that she was also sexually harassed by Ailes in the past, according to a report by New York magazine." (07/21/16)

http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2016/07/21/ailes-steps-down-fox-news-ceo-after-sexual-harassment-lawsuit/87402864/

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NBA to move 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte over HB2 bill

ESPN

"The NBA is moving the 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte because of its objection to North Carolina House Bill 2, which limits anti-discrimination protections for lesbian, gay and transgender people in the state. In a statement, the league said it hopes to reschedule the game for Charlotte in 2019. ... North Carolina governor Pat McCrory reacted to the NBA's decision with a statement that said multiple groups had 'misrepresented our laws and maligned the people of North Carolina' for months." (07/21/16)

http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/17120170/nba-moving-all-star-game-charlotte-north-carolina-bill

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Trump serves up heaping helping of narcissism for convention closer

The Great Cornholio Bloomberg

"Donald Trump gambled that Americans share his vision of a nation teetering on disaster, accepting the Republican Party’s presidential nomination in a speech Thursday where he cast himself as a renegade outsider who is the last, best hope to stand up to a discredited and depleted establishment. 'I am your voice,' he told a cheering convention hall in Cleveland. In the face of dangerous immigrants, unwieldy debt, and an unsafe world, Trump argued, his America-first vision and business savvy made him uniquely qualified to reverse the decline." (07/21/16)

http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2016-07-21/trump-goes-on-cruz-control-with-speech-that-could-transform-race

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Trump might abandon automatic protections for NATO countries

BBC News BBC News [UK state media]

"Donald Trump has said that if he is elected president he may abandon a guarantee of protection to fellow Nato countries. Speaking to the New York Times, Mr Trump said the US would only come to the aid of allies if they have 'fulfilled their obligations to us.' Members of Nato have all signed a treaty that says they will come to the aid of any member that is attacked. Mr Trump will speak on Thursday at the Republican National Convention. In a preview of what he will tell convention-goers in his speech, he outlined a foreign policy strategy aimed at reducing US expenditure and involvement abroad." (07/21/16)

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-36852805

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Study: Hispanics the least fearful about 2016 election

Christian Science Monitor Christian Science Monitor

"Since announcing his candidacy for president, Donald Trump has called Mexicans 'rapists' and 'criminals.' He supports deporting as many as 11 million unauthorized immigrants. He has blamed Hispanics for taking American jobs and vowed to build a wall on the US-Mexico border. Yet Hispanics are the least fearful of the upcoming election, according to a recent Gallup survey. 'Well, he’s not Hugo Chavez,' offers George Castillo, who immigrated to Boston from Peru 45 years ago and now works on Copley Square selling drinks and hot dogs." (07/21/16)

http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Politics/2016/0721/Why-Hispanics-are-the-least-fearful-about-2016-election

1 Comment »

Can America’s deep political divide be traced back to 1832?

Raw Story Raw Story

"You’ve probably heard the popular aphorism 'to the victor belongs the spoils of the enemy.' But you might not know who first said it. In 1832, the Senate debated President Andrew Jackson’s unpopular (and decidedly partisan) recess appointment of Martin Van Buren as minister to Great Britain. New York Senator William L. Marcy, a staunch ally of the president, defended the move with those words. Essentially, Marcy was justifying Van Buren’s appointment on the grounds that since Jackson had won the presidency, he could do whatever he wanted. ... Marcy’s aphorism also signified the growing partisanship taking place in 19th-century American political life, a divide that continues to frame how we think about politics today." (07/21/16)

http://www.rawstory.com/2016/07/can-americas-deep-political-divide-be-traced-back-to-1832

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Report: Government heavily subsidizes junk food

Fox News Fox News

"To help Americans avoid obesity, the federal Choose My Plate program recommends filling half of one’s plate with fruit and vegetables. But only a small fraction of federal subsidies support fresh produce production -- the majority go into commodity crops, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). From 1995 to 2010, the government spent $170 billion in agricultural subsidies to produce ingredients that make junk food cheap and plentiful. These crops and farm foods (corn, soybeans, wheat, rice, sorghum, milk and meat) aren’t inherently unhealthy, but many are turned into inexpensive additives like corn sweeteners, industrial oils, processed meats and refined carbohydrates, the New York Times reported. In a study published July 5 in JAMA Internal Medicine, CDC researchers found that, of the 10,000 adults surveyed, those who had the highest consumption of federally subsidized foods had a 37 percent higher risk of obesity." (07/21/16)

http://www.foxnews.com/health/2016/07/21/government-heavily-subsidizes-junk-food-report-suggests.html

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Study: Cannabis dealers date back to prehistoric era

San Francisco Chronicle Smell the Truth

"Selling weed is a profession practiced for about 5,000 years now, a new study suggests. Archaeological researchers have found that the Yamnaya people, a group of nomads who entered Europe during the Bronze Age, were the first pot dealers to establish a transcontinental cannabis trade, New Scientist reports. In a study published in the journal Vegetation History and Archaeobotany, experts from the German Archaeological institute and the Free University of Berlin based their discovery on evidence of cannabis pollen, fruits, and fibers that were found during archaeological sites throughout Europe and East Asia. Researchers say that cannabis was used in the region as a source of food and medicine, as well as textiles made from the plant’s fiber. [The substance's] myriad uses were the impetus for making it a cash crop." (07/21/16)

http://blog.sfgate.com/smellthetruth/2016/07/20/pot-dealers-date-back-to-prehistoric-era-study-finds

1 Comment »

File-sharing “mastermind” arrested in Poland

BBC News BBC News [UK state media]

"US authorities have charged a Ukrainian man alleged to be the mastermind of the world's biggest online piracy website. Artem Vaulin, who is said to be the owner of the file-sharing site Kickass Torrents (KAT), is accused of money laundering and infringing copyright. He is accused of distributing more than a £1bn worth of pirated music and films over the past eight years. Mr Vaulin, 30, was arrested in Poland on Wednesday. The US justice department says it will seek his extradition. US officials say that Kickass Torrents operates in 28 languages and has a net worth of more than $54m." (07/21/16)

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-36852495

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Obama regime seeks to block mega health-care mergers

USA Today USA Today

"The Obama administration announced Thursday that it will seek to block two mega health-care mergers, citing concerns that the deals could drive up health care premiums, undermine innovation and reduce competition. The Justice Department filed lawsuits challenging Anthem's $48 billion acquisition of Cigna and Aetna's $37 billion acquisition of Humana, threatening to put an abrupt stop to the insurance industry's rapid consolidation. Eleven states and the District of Columbia joined the attempt to block the Anthem deal, which would combine the nation's second and fourth largest insurers. Eight states and D.C. joined the suit to block the Aetna deal, which would combine the third and fifth largest." (07/21/16)

http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2016/07/21/justice-department-anti-trust-aetna-cigna-anthem-humana/87379566

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Turkey: Regime blocks WikiLeaks access after Erdogan party email leak

Wikileaks Fox News

"Turkey has banned access to the WikiLeaks website, the group announced Wednesday, after the release of a trove of documents purportedly related to the country's power structure. The documents, which were published Tuesday, contain information from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's ruling AKP party, according to Wikileaks. The email dump comes hot on the heels of Friday's failed coup attempt against Erdogan. ... The Turkish government has previously banned access to websites deemed to be carrying material critical of Turkey, including YouTube and Twitter. Some opposition media websites were blocked following Friday night's coup attempt, which was quashed by security forces loyal to President Erdogan." (07/20/16)

http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2016/07/20/turkey-blocks-wikileaks-access-after-erdogan-party-email-leak.html

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TX: Appeals court says voter turnout suppression law violates Voting Rights Act

Reuters Reuters

"A U.S. appeals court on Wednesday ruled that a Texas law requiring voters to show a government-issued form of photo identification before casting a ballot is discriminatory and violates the U.S. Voting Rights Act. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit also sent the case back to a district court to examine claims by the plaintiffs that the law had a discriminatory purpose. Critics of the law and others like it passed in recent years in Republican-governed states said such statutes are intended to make it harder for minorities such as African-Americans and Hispanics who tend to back Democrats to vote. Backers of these laws say they are necessary to prevent voter fraud. The New Orleans-based Fifth Circuit asked the district court for a short-term fix to be used in Texas in the November general election." (07/20/16)

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-court-texasvoting-idUSKCN1002KJ

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RNC: Cruz booed after refusing to endorse Trump

CNN CNN

"Ted Cruz sensationally withheld an endorsement of Donald Trump at the Republican National Convention Wednesday, earning a chorus of boos from the floor before he was upstaged in a power play by the GOP nominee himself. In a dramatic development, as Cruz wrapped up his speech, Trump suddenly appeared in the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. He walked to join his family in a VIP area and flashed a thumbs-up -- a gesture that transmitted clear anger at the Texas senator's behavior. ... As delegates began to protest, Sen. Cruz's wife, Heidi Cruz, was heckled by Trump supporters shouting 'Goldman Sachs!' and escorted out by security." (07/21/16)

http://www.cnn.com/2016/07/20/politics/ted-cruz-republican-convention-moment/

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Romania: Court rules constitution can be changed to ban marriage freedom

San Francisco Chronicle San Francisco Chronicle

"Romania's Constitutional Court on Wednesday ruled that a request from an anti-gay group to change the constitution to state that marriage is a union between a man and a woman is constitutional. The court's ruling paves the way for Romania's Parliament to vote to change the constitution, last revised in 2003, which now says marriage is between 'partners' without specifying gender. Any change would need to be approved by two-thirds of lawmakers. Gay rights groups protested the ruling, and dozens later protested in downtown Bucharest." (07/20/16)

http://www.sfgate.com/news/world/article/Court-Romania-s-constitution-can-be-changed-on-8398134.php

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Trump staff writer takes blame for Melania speech

The Great Cornholio Politico

"Donald Trump's campaign for [not quite two] days refused to admit that Melania Trump's primetime convention speech contained passages lifted from Michelle Obama's 2008 address -- then suddenly released a statement Wednesday admitting that it was. Trump Organization staff writer Meredith McIver, in a statement taking responsibility for the plagiarism incident, said she had 'offered my resignation to Mr. Trump and the Trump family, but they rejected it.' ... The incident even briefly split the top ranks of the Republican National Committee, whose chairman Reince Priebus said Trump should 'probably' fire whoever was responsible, while his top lieutenant fiercely defended Melania Trump. That RNC official, chief strategist Sean Spicer, mockingly compared passages of the would-be first lady's speech to quotes from Twilight Sparkle from 'My Little Pony.'" [editor's note: Yes, I pretty much nailed what happened yesterday morning in a post at my blog. Wonder why it took the campaign almost two days to admit it? - TLK] (07/20/19)

http://www.politico.com/story/2016/07/trump-staffer-melania-speech-meredith-mciver-225878

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Turkey coup attempt: Charges laid against 99 generals and admirals

BBC News BBC News [UK state media]

"Turkey has formally charged 99 generals and admirals in connection with the weekend's thwarted coup attempt, just under a third of the country's 356 top military officers. Authorities have banned all academics from travelling abroad, as the purge of state employees suspected of being connected to the failed coup continues. More than 50,000 people have been rounded up, sacked or suspended. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is expected to announce further measures. He chaired a five-hour emergency meeting of the National Security Council and was expected to lay out a series of emergency measures later on Wednesday." (07/20/16)

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-36843180

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KS: Police chief says cop’s killing was not planned ambush

USA Today USA Today

"The killing of a Kansas City police officer was not a planned ambush but stemmed from the officer's attempt to stop a fleeing criminal, local authorities said Wednesday. Officials, nonetheless, expressed concern over anti-police rhetoric and the increase of tensions nationally over police-involved shootings. 'The crime does not fit the national narrative of planned attacks against law enforcement officers, but it does fit the narrative fact that words matter,' said police chief Terry Zeigler. 'The anti-hate speech has got to stop because the consequences are real.' Zeigler, Mayor Mark Holland and local clergy met with reporters following the fatal shooting Tuesday of Capt. Robert Melton. It was the second killing of a Kansas City police officer in two months." (07/20/16)

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2016/07/20/kansas-police-chief-says-cop-killing-not-planned-ambush/87339260

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Study: Some fish can recognize human faces

Raw Story Raw Story

"Scientists have shown for the first time how a species of tropical fish can distinguish between human faces. The archerfish used in experiments could demonstrate the ability to a high degree of accuracy; despite lacking the crucial neocortex part of the brain which other animals use for sophisticated visual recognition. The research, conducted by scientists from the University of Oxford and Australia’s University of Queensland, wanted to test the long-held belief that differentiating between human faces could only be accomplished by more sophisticated animals, such as primates. The archerfish, found largely in Australia and southeast Asia, was chosen for its ability to spit a jet of water; a technique it uses to shoot down insect prey even above the water level." (07/20/16)

http://www.rawstory.com/2016/07/fish-can-recognize-human-faces-study-finds

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MD: Driver playing Pokemon GO smashes into Baltimore patrol car

Fox News Fox News

"A driver has smashed into a police car while playing Pokemon GO at the wheel. An officer's body camera caught the moment the Toyota RAV4 clipped the unoccupied, parked patrol car in Baltimore, Maryland, early on Monday. The driver pulled over about less than a mile down the road and showed police his phone connected to the hit app as he got out of the vehicle. When police asked if he was OK, the driver (who has not been named) said: 'That's what I get for playing this dumb*** game.' No one was injured in the incident." [editor's note: Attaboy, blame the game and not your own stupidity for playing it while driving - SAT] (07/20/16)

http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2016/07/20/driver-playing-pokemon-go-smashes-into-baltimore-patrol-car.html

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FL: Video shows moments before North Miami Police shot unarmed man

WSVN 7 News

"A therapist who works with people with disabilities is telling his story after he said police shot him while he was trying to help his patient with autism. Cellphone video was released Wednesday afternoon showing Charles Kinsey lying on the ground with his hands in the air, telling officers that weapons are not necessary. ... In his hospital bed and wearing bandages, Kinsey said, he was attempting to calm an autistic patient who ran away from a group home. Kinsey could be heard in the video saying, 'All he has is a toy truck. A toy truck. I am a behavior therapist at a group home.' He is also heard asking his patient to calm down. " (07/20/16)

http://wsvn.com/news/local/video-shows-moments-before-north-miami-police-shot-unarmed-man/

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Transgender students sue versus school bathroom rules in Maryland, Wisconsin

New Orleans Times-Picayune

"Transgender high school students in Maryland and Wisconsin who were banned from boys' facilities in their schools have filed federal lawsuits arguing that the prohibitions violate their civil rights. The two lawsuits -- filed by transgender boys from Talbot County, Maryland, and Kenosha, Wisconsin -- are the latest actions in a flurry of litigation surrounding the question of how schools treat transgender students. The cases challenge the legality of restricting transgender students to unisex restrooms or to the restrooms that correspond with the sex shown on their birth certificates rather than allowing them access to the public-school bathrooms -- and locker rooms -- that match their gender identity." (07/20/16)

http://www.nola.com/education/index.ssf/2016/07/transgender_students_sue.html

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Fatwa No. 21,758: Saudi clerics ban Pokemon Go

USA Today USA Today

"Top clerics in Saudi Arabia have issued a fatwa banning the playing of Pokemon Go as a form of gambling. The decree was issued by General Secretariat of the Council of Senior Scholars on the website of the General Presidency for Scholarly Research and Ifta, Arab News reported Wednesday. The edict actually updates an existing ban on the Pokemon card and video games before they morphed into the mobile phone virtual reality game that has swept the world." (07/20/16)

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2016/07/20/top-saudi-clerics-ban-pokemon-go/87330916/

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Turkey’s Erdogan regime demands extradition of US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen

Financial Times [UK]

"Turkey has sent the US four dossiers on the alleged activities of Pennsylvania-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen, following up on a demand for his immediate extradition that threatens to derail relations between the two Nato allies. Turkish officials on Tuesday also blamed Mr Gulen's followers for shooting down a Russian Su-24 in November. That incident brought Russian president Vladimir Putin's wrath on Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Turkey's economy, in the form of travel bans for tourists and curbs on Turkish exports. The pilots were rounded up on Saturday, as part of what has become a wide-ranging purge of supposed plotters." (07/19/16)

https://next.ft.com/content/7287c982-4da2-11e6-88c5-db83e98a590a

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Three US states sue Volkswagen over emissions scandal

BBC News BBC News [UK state media]

"Three US states have taken legal action against Volkswagen in the wake of the carmaker's emissions scandal. New York, Massachusetts and Maryland all filed lawsuits on Tuesday. New York's Attorney-General called the use of 'defeat devices' a 'widespread conspiracy' and a 'cunningly cynical fraud' committed by all levels of VW management. The company said the allegations were 'not new' and that the carmaker had been cooperating with US authorities. 'It is regrettable that some states have decided to sue for environmental claims now, notwithstanding their prior support of this ongoing federal-state collaborative process,' VW said." (07/19/16)

http://www.bbc.com/news/business-36837951

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OH: University pulls out of hosting presidential debate over safety concerns

The Hill The Hill

"A university in Ohio is withdrawing as the host of the first presidential debate of the general election season over safety concerns, according to Dayton Daily News. Wright State University President David Hopkins said that fears in the wake of recent terrorist attacks and the rising cost of security prompted the school to drop out from hosting the Sept. 26 debate. 'I can't assure the safety of our students and the community,' Hopkins said. Hopkins noted that the local community and state weren't able to raise the funds to cover the $8 million needed to put on the debate." (07/19/16)

http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/presidential-races/288356-university-pulls-out-of-hosting-presidential-debate-over

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Commentary


| News | Events |

The hollow men

The Atlantic The Atlantic
by Jeffrey Goldberg

"The neediness of politicians has always fascinated me; the pathological desire for relevance; the plasticity of belief in the service of self-aggrandizement; the depths plumbed in order to stave off insignificance, which can be as frightening as non-existence itself. One of my favorite politicians, Chris Christie, the governor of New Jersey, is almost morbidly needy. His desire for attention made him into a brilliant retailer, mainly of himself, but also of his ideas, and intermittently, of his state. His neediness made him greatly entertaining. But it also caused him to betray his own principles. I recognize that it took millions of Republican primary voters to bring America to this frightening moment, a moment in which a preposterous grifter of authoritarian bent whose mental health is the subject of pervasive and anxious speculation, has become a major-party nominee for president. But it was men like Christie who were indispensable in the creation of this moment. Donald J. Trump could have been stopped." (07/21/16)

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/07/the-hollow-men/492320/

1 Comment »

Nero fiddles, Twitter burns

Debra J. Saunders Town Hall
by Debra J Saunders

"When Twitter banned Milo Yiannopoulos, a blogger for the conservative news website Breitbart.com who used the Twitter handle Nero, Yiannopoulos reacted with characteristic modesty. He told The New York Times the ban launched 'the beginning of the end for Twitter.' Oddly, Yiannopouolos may be right. In February, the social media platform announced its 'Trust and Safety Committee.' With Orwellian overtones, CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted, 'Twitter stands for freedom of expression, speaking truth to power, and empowering dialogue. That starts with safety.' The San Francisco startup invites all comers to post their thoughts by name or anonymously. The more outrageous the tweets, the more attention they attract. Unbowed, Twitter HQ gets all sanctimonious when trolls get nasty." (07/21/16)

http://townhall.com/columnists/debrajsaunders/2016/07/21/nero-fiddles-twitter-burns-n2195531

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Clinton must go bold (and go left) for VP

Richard Eskow Our Future
by Richard Eskow

"Word is that Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton will announce her vice presidential choice on Friday, and rumors that she’s going with a 'safe' pick should worry Democrats. In this political climate, a search for “safety” could put her candidacy in serious danger. The GOP chose Mike Pence as its vice presidential nominee in part because his extremist views will reassure the Republican base. Pence is also a seasoned politician whose nomination is meant to reassure voters who worry that presidential nominee Donald Trump has no experience in statecraft or governance." [editor's note: And neither does Hillary, but ... gee, seems like someone running does ... - SAT] (07/20/16)

https://ourfuture.org/20160720/why-clinton-must-go-bold-and-go-left-for-vp

1 Comment »

Turkey’s elected dictator

OpEdNews
by Alon Ben-Meir

"Even before the failed military coup, Turkey's President Erdogan governed like a dictator who had the last word on all state matters. The botched coup was nothing but, as he put it, 'a gift from God' to purge what is left of Turkey's democracy and cleanse the army and judiciary in order to ensure the total subordination of all institutions to his whims. For Erdogan, being elected was akin to being granted a license to trample and dismantle all democratic tenets to consolidate his powers and promote his Islamic agenda. As a shrewd and highly skilled politician, Erdogan painted the coup as an assault on democracy, which was supported by a chorus of Western powers, knowing full well that Turkey under Erdogan is anything but a democracy." (07/21/16)

http://www.opednews.com/articles/Turkey-s-Elected-Dictator-by-Alon-Ben-Meir-Dictator_Turkish-President-Recep-Erdogan-160721-533.html

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The GOP will be the Party of Trump for a long time

The New Republic The New Republic
by Jeet Heer

"On February 27, 2016, then-candidate Marco Rubio tweeted, 'Donald Trump will never be the nominee of the party of Lincoln and Reagan. #NeverTrump.' Even back then, the senator’s words rang hollow since Trump was trouncing Rubio in the polls. With Trump officially accepted on Tuesday as his party’s nominee, and endorsed by countless party leaders including Rubio, the tweet looks even more delusional. Party of Lincoln? Party of Reagan? The GOP hasn’t been that for years. It was slowly transforming even before the demagogic businessman began his run for office. Now, the process is complete. The Republican Party has become the Party of Trump, and it will never be the same." [editor's note: The next step would be to form two parties out of the GOP, leaving only one war wing to be dismantled next week - SAT] (07/20/16)

https://newrepublic.com/article/135293/gop-will-party-trump-long-time

1 Comment »

Solar eclipse?

The American Prospect The American Prospect
by Joan Fitzgerald

"The United States does not like to engage in explicit economic planning. Direct government pursuit of industrial objectives violates both our professed belief in free markets and our global commitment to liberal trade devoid of national favoritism. Nonetheless, the U.S. has been willing to use something close to economic planning when it comes to transitioning to both photovoltaic (PV) power installation and production of solar cells -- a transition that markets won’t make on their own because of the current pricing advantage enjoyed by carbon-based fuels." (07/20/16)

http://prospect.org/article/solar-eclipse

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Obama did too much in Syria, not too little

USA Today USA Today
by Seth Cantey

"The recent tragedies in Orlando, Istanbul, Dhaka, Baghdad, Medina and Nice (like the related ones coming) all have roots in Syria. Conventional wisdom holds that if the United States had done more to affect the course of Syria's civil war, the Islamic State terrorist group might never have taken hold, Syrian President Bashar Assad might have been defeated, and the scale of the war might have been far smaller. According to this argument, the terrorist attacks that fill our headlines are the results of failed policy. But the conventional wisdom is wrong. Providing lethal aid early would have made matters worse, accelerating the war rather than slowing it." (07/21/16)

http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2016/07/21/obama-did-too-much-in-syria-let-assad-win-column/87362856

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Section 1201 of the DMCA cannot pass constitutional scrutiny

Electronic Frontier Foundation Electronic Frontier Foundation
by Kit Walsh

"Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act forbids a wide range of speech, from remix videos that rely upon circumvention, to academic security research, to publication of software that can help repair your car or back up your favorite show. It potentially implicates the entire range of speech that relies on access to copyrighted works or describes flaws in access controls -- even where that speech is clearly noninfringing." (07/21/16)

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2016/07/section-1201-dmca-cannot-pass-constitutional-scrutiny

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Ted Cruz was not the hero Republicans needed

The Nation The Nation
by George Zornick

"The Republican party is at war with itself. On Wednesday afternoon, Senator Ted Cruz met hundreds of Republican delegates at a bar on the Cleveland waterfront to thank them for supporting his campaign. The loyal crowd was thrilled to see Cruz, who hasn’t said much since being vanquished by Donald Trump in May. After several minutes of avoiding the subject of Trump entirely, Cruz finally acknowledged that 'now, our party has a nominee.' At that very moment (almost on the word 'nominee') the garish Trump-emblazoned campaign plane appeared in the sky behind Cruz, descending slowly downwards as Trump arrived in Cleveland to officially claim his victory. Cruz was clearly astonished. The crowd, fingers pointed skyward, erupted in boos. Six hours later, it was Cruz leaving the main stage at the RNC surrounded by boos." (07/21/16)

https://www.thenation.com/article/ted-cruzs-rnc-speech-revealed-a-republican-party-at-war-with-itself

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Edward Snowden’s new research aims to keep smartphones from betraying their owners

Micah Lee The Intercept
by Micah Lee

"In dangerous environments like war-torn Syria, smartphones become indispensable tools for journalists, human rights workers, and activists. But at the same time they become especially potent tracking devices that can put users in mortal danger by leaking their location. National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden has been working with prominent hardware hacker Andrew 'Bunnie' Huang to solve this problem. The pair are developing a way for potentially imperiled smartphone users to monitor whether their devices are making any potentially compromising radio transmissions. They argue that a smartphone's user interface can't be relied to tell you the truth about that state of its radios. Their initial prototyping work uses an iPhone 6." (07/21/16)

https://theintercept.com/2016/07/21/edward-snowdens-new-research-aims-to-keep-smartphones-from-betraying-their-owners/

1 Comment »

Brexit, austerity and the future of the European Union

CounterPunch CounterPunch
by Dean Baker

"The vote last month by the United Kingdom to leave the European Union (EU) caught most people by surprise. Even many supporters of the referendum seemed surprised, having prepared post-election speeches explaining their defeat and pledging to fight on. While it appears there are still same ways that the Brexit may be prevented, the vote clearly expressed an enormous amount of discount with the status quo." (07/21/16)

http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/07/21/brexit-austerity-and-the-future-of-the-european-union/

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Will the green political machine foil Trump?

The American Prospect The American Prospect
by Brian J. Barth

"Voters don’t tend to rank the environment among their top five concerns, but green activists have staked out an early and potentially decisive role in the progressive movement to defeat Donald Trump. Indeed, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee is widening the left-right divide on the environment into a gaping abyss. Climate politics, in particular, is emerging as a politically potent wedge issue that could drive Democratic and swing voters, some of whom have yet to enthusiastically embrace Hillary Clinton, to turn out against Trump." [editor's note: Talk about the irony -- the "green machine" backing a crony-corporatist neocon warmonger, instead of the party with its own name - SAT] (07/20/16)

http://prospect.org/article/will-green-political-machine-foil-trump

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Democrats spoiling for one last fight

The New Republic The New Republic
by David Dayen

"The final battle of the 2016 Democratic primary process is on. This will come as news to practically everybody: Didn’t Hillary Clinton fend off Bernie Sanders at long last, then woo his support successfully with platform concessions that moved the party further left? Yes, and yes. But there is one more big grassroots-versus-establishment clash remaining to be settled before next week’s Democratic National Convention -- or, possibly, during [it]. Last Thursday, a coalition featuring supporters of both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders notified the Democratic National Committee that they will formally introduce a plan to the Rules and Bylaws Committee to eliminate superdelegates, the 712 party leaders and elected officials who hold a vote in the presidential nominating race." (07/20/16)

https://newrepublic.com/article/135296/democrats-spoiling-one-last-fight

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Military regimes shouldn’t be recognized

CounterPunch CounterPunch
by Cesar Chelala

"The military upheaval in Turkey, whose final consequences are yet to be seen, highlights a major weakness in worldwide efforts to promote democracy. This event underscores the need to establish binding international legal principles to ban the recognition of military regimes as a result of coups d'etat. Establishment of such principles, and the creation of the legal mechanisms for applying them, would foster democracy throughout the world." (07/20/16)

http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/07/20/military-regimes-shouldnt-be-recognized/

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How the west can prevent Nice from becoming the “new normal”

Reuters Reuters
by Peter Van Buren

"Hours after a truck plowed through a crowd in Nice, France, killing 84 people, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump outlined his policy against Islamic State: as president, he will seek a full declaration of war from Congress, the first such formal invocation since Pearl Harbor. Trump was clear he would take the strategies of the post-9/11 era into a new administration. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, for her part, intends on 'intensifying the current air campaign [and] stepping up support for local forces on the ground.' One of the two candidates will become the fifth consecutive American president to make war in the Middle East. Following the Nice attack, their French counterpart, President Francois Hollande, declared 'We will continue striking those who attack us on our own soil.' Tough talk. The problem is that nothing these politicians have suggested will work." (07/20/16)

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-nice-attacks-commentary-idUSKCN0ZZ2ZM

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Millennials the adults in the room on trade

USA Today USA Today
by Ben Koltun

"Millennials and Baby Boomers are at it again. Instead of an argument over not doing the chores, watching too much TV or eating dessert before dinner, the child-parent tussle is over globalization and free-trade economics. And this time, the parents are the ones who are whining, 'It’s not fair!' Recently, Boomers in the United Kingdom kicked and screamed all the way to the ballot box, successfully winning the Brexit vote to leave the European Union, despite 75% of those 24 and younger reporting they voted to remain. Here at home, America faces its own Brexit moment in the form of an American-led trade agreement -- the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Anger about free trade runs high, transcending standard ideological divides." [editor's note: For once the elders are right; oppose TPP, which has almost nothing to do with "free trade!" - SAT] (07/20/16)

http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2016/07/20/tpp-trade-millennials-baby-boomers-globalization-trump-manufacturing-jobs-column/87297020

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GOP wants to “Make America Work Again?” That would be real change

Dave Johnson Our Future
by Dave Johnson

"Tuesday was 'Make America Work Again' day at the Republican National Convention. But this day wasn’t about making America work again for working people. This was, as always with conservatives, all about tax cuts for the rich and corporations, deregulation of oil and coal companies (and other paying corporate clients) and austerity cuts in the things government does to make people’s lives better. There was nothing about how to actually make America 'work again.' Truth is, the economy has added 14.8 million private-sector jobs since the big Bush/Republican downturn of 2008." [editor's note: In spite of, not due to, the current administration - SAT] (07/20/16)

https://ourfuture.org/20160720/republicans-want-to-make-america-work-again-that-would-be-real-change

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Obama too incompetent to pull off a coup

Town Hall
by Kurt Schlichter

"Turkey's failed coup, combined with the disastrous disunity and polarization in the United States thanks to Barack Obama, have gotten people talking about whether it could happen here. For example, part-time law professor and full-time Instapundit Glenn Reynold has recently taken some serious looks at the issue of coups within the context of the American system of checks and balances. So what if next January Obama and his barely post-puberty band of juice box screw-ups in the West Wing decide they don't want to leave?" [editor's note: Is it supposed to be reassuring to read this? - SAT] (07/20/16)

http://townhall.com/columnists/kurtschlichter/2016/07/20/obama-is-too-incompetent-to-pull-off-a-coup-n2194785

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The war on drugs has made policing more violent

Cato Institute Cato Institute
by Jonathan Blanks

"American policing today has become increasingly aggressive and, at times, even predatory. Policies and tactics have evolved to make police contact more confrontational. In so doing, they have increased the chances of violence and fatal uses of force. This has been particularly true of efforts aimed at fighting the Drug War. Police are incentivized to initiate unnecessary contact with pedestrians and motorists, and they do so most often against ethnic and racial minorities. Such over-policing engenders resentment among minority communities and jeopardizes public safety." (07/19/16)

http://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/war-drugs-has-made-policing-more-violent

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Reflections on tiny houses

WendyMcElroy.com
by Brian Tomlinson

"Are you struggling to stay afloat? Have you always wanted to travel? Are you stuck paying rent? Is your job dreary and draining? Are you waiting to start a family until you can afford it? A tiny house just might be the solution for each of these woes and more." (07/20/16)

http://www.wendymcelroy.com/news.php?extend.7306

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The GOP is the party of death

The New Republic The New Republic
by Jeet Heer

"On the first night of the Republican National Convention, Rudy Giuliani laid down the apocalyptic stakes of the the contest between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton: 'There's no next election. This is it. There’s no time left for us to revive our great country.' The former mayor of New York City was echoing Trump at his most apocalyptic with the suggestion that the country faced a choice between life and death, that the very election of Clinton would spell doom. Giuliani earned the most enthusiastic response from the Republican crowd of the evening because he made the message of impending death the most explicit of anyone speaking. But he was only the loudest ranter of the evening; otherwise his message wasn't unique. One way or another, almost all the speakers came back to the matter of death." (07/19/16)

https://newrepublic.com/article/135232/gop-party-death

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The gender war gets (even) uglier

Reuters Reuters
by Alexis Gelber

"Look at that face! Bleeding from her wherever. She’s shouting. There’s a special place in hell. Where are the boys? The boys are with Bernie. We know where you live. More ugly women in America than attractive women. She’s not doing the job. The woman’s card. ... When Hillary Clinton ran for president in 2008, journalists were blamed for being the purveyors of sexist comments. This year, you couldn’t blame the media. Amped-up rhetoric and bristling anti-woman tweets have come directly from the candidates, their surrogates and their supporters -- from across the political spectrum. The 2016 election battle has turned into an epic gender war. The targets included two presidential candidates, Clinton and Carly Fiorina; a Republican candidate’s wife, Heidi Cruz; a once-sacrosanct Fox News anchor, Megyn Kelly; and millennial women." (07/19/16)

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-voter-special-gelber-idUSKCN0ZZ1SO

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Breaking away

C4SS Center for a Stateless Society
by Tommy Raskin

"The shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile have laid bare statism for the entire world to see. At its core, the state is not an instrument of dialogue. It does not retain power through mere persuasion. In disputes, it does not agree to disagree. No, the state is a regional monopoly on violence, sustained by its territory's largest arsenal. Were it not for the threat of violence, government decrees would be simple suggestions. Laws are laws and orders are orders because their promulgators ultimately rest their case on force." (07/19/16)

https://c4ss.org/content/45712

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A better way to find the next killer

USA Today USA Today
by Stephen N Xenakis

"I have evaluated a number of young Muslim men under charges for aiding the Islamic State terrorist group. I have also spent many months at Guantanamo with the so-called worst of the worst. There are many differences among them. Just recently, the FBI nabbed another teenager for ties to ISIL. How dangerous is he? Now our nation mourns slain police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge. How did those perpetrators escape notice? There are ways to understand (and identify in advance) people who commit horrendous violent acts. But I have yet to see those capabilities in the agencies entrusted to protect us from terrorism and violence. Most Americans think of this as a conventional military problem. Yet it has much in common with public health challenges." (07/19/16)

http://www.usatoday.com/story/opiinion/2016/07/19/find-next-killer-personality-criminal-history-terrorism-column/87246518

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America’s network of secret bomb detectors

The Atlantic The Atlantic
by Kaveh Waddell

"Stop on the sidewalk on a downtown street in any large American city, and take a look around. Check out the utility poles nearby, the metal boxes planted at the street corners, the cameras dangling from awnings and eaves. Urban infrastructure is made up of thousands upon thousands of moving parts, and many of the gizmos that make a city run are designed to do their jobs without attracting too much attention. Now, a mysterious new device may be coming to Arlington County, the wealthy part of Northern Virginia just outside of Washington, D.C. that's home to the Pentagon, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and the CIA. According to the Defense Department, the new device is for bomb detection -- but that's about as much as they'd like anybody to know about it." (07/19/16)

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2016/07/your-friendly-neighborhood-bomb-detector/491807/

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Big headlines for a tiny wage hike

Sam Pizzigati Our Future
by Sam Pizzigati

"Lloyd Blankfein, one of America’s most powerful bankers, a few years ago told a reporter that his Goldman Sachs financial colossus was doing 'God’s work.' That offhand comment would provoke an instant uproar. An embarrassed Blankfein had to quickly calm the waters. He meant his quip, the Goldman CEO assured us all, only as a joke. Last week, one of Blankfein’s high-finance peers, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, made some headlines of his own. In a widely heralded New York Times op-ed, Dimon proudly announced that his bank is making a major move to 'create more widely shared prosperity.' JPMorgan, Dimon declared, will be raising the minimum pay of 18,000 of the bank’s workers to 'between $12 and $16.50 an hour.'" (07/19/16)

https://ourfuture.org/20160719/big-headlines-for-a-tiny-wage-hike

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Should police use bombs to kill criminals?

Ivan Eland Antiwar.com
by Ivan Eland

"Using a robot normally used for explosive neutralization to offensively deliver a bomb is not just a further incremental militarization of the police, such as military-style uniforms and SWAT teams with military gear and equipment, including armored vehicles. The police use of exploding ordinance is a quantum escalation that has the potential to kill innocent bystanders and also to start fires that are difficult to control. Let’s remember when police in 1985 attempted to roust out the Move group by dropping a bomb from a helicopter on an urban neighborhood in Philadelphia, which started a fire that destroyed more than 60 homes in that city. The city blocks destroyed looked like something from a foreign war zone, but the manmade disaster happened in an American city." (07/19/16)

http://original.antiwar.com/eland/2016/07/18/police-use-bombs-kill-criminals/

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Hillary Clinton and the Obama legacy

The American Prospect The American Prospect
by Robert Kuttner

"Barack Obama took office convinced that he could bridge differences. As he begins his final six months, we are a nation of groups more divided than ever by separate worlds of pain and grievance. How much of this is Obama’s fault? What might he have done differently? What sort of legacy will he pass along to Hillary Clinton, assuming that she can defeat Donald Trump? And can she defeat him?" (07/19/16)

http://prospect.org/article/hillary-clinton-and-obama-legacy

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What presumption of innocence?

Debra J. Saunders Town Hall
by Debra J Saunders

"Facts don't matter. Police are guilty until proven innocent -- or even if proven innocent. The Black Lives Matter crusade, born after Florida vigilante George Zimmerman shot unarmed teen Trayvon Martin in 2012, turned to police shootings of black men after the death of Michael Brown, 18, in 2014. ... Sunday, African American vigilante Gavin E. Long ambushed and killed three law enforcement officers -- Montrell Jackson, Matthew Gerald and Brad Garafola -- and wounded three more officers. Long apparently wanted to pay back Baton Rouge police for the baffling July 5 police shooting of Alton Sterling, a black man hawking CDs. Watch a video of the shooting and it is hard to figure why police shot Sterling. Yes, he was armed, but the two white officers appeared to have control of the 37-year-old." [editor's note: I fear Ms. Saunders might not see this completely as I do; at least she got in a good shot at HRC - SAT] (07/19/16)

http://townhall.com/columnists/debrajsaunders/2016/07/19/what-presumption-of-innocence-n2194464

1 Comment »

“Close your hearts to pity”: A security state critic embraces total war

Empire Burlesque
by Chris Floyd

"William Arkin has long been an outstanding investigator of the 'National Security State,' bringing to light many of its sinister operations. But he seems to have looked into the abyss too long, for now, in a recent article in Cryptome, he is offering a counsel of despair that reflects the worst and most extreme stances of the National Security State toward terrorism, while completely overlooking that same State's role -- still continuing today -- in fostering, funding and arming Islamic extremism." (07/18/16)

http://www.chris-floyd.com/home/articles/close-your-hearts-to-pity-a-security-state-critic-embraces-total-war-18072016.html

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Russia asks for the impossible with its new surveillance laws

Electronic Frontier Foundation Electronic Frontier Foundation
by Eva Galperin and Danny O'Brien

"Technologists have sometimes believed that technical impossibility means that the laws are simply unworkable -- that a law that cannot be obeyed is no worse than no law at all. As Russia shows, regulations that no one can comply with aren't dead-letter laws. Instead, they corrode the rule of law, leaving a rusting wreckage of partial compliance that can be exploited by powers who will use their enforcement powers for darker and more partial ends than justice." (07/19/16)

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2016/07/russia-asks-impossible-its-new-surveillance-laws

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US-NATO border confrontation with Russia: Risking nuclear war

CounterPunch CounterPunch
by Michael Hudson and Jessica Desvarieux

Michael Hudson: "Europe is saying, well we really don't need defense. We'd rather have an economic relationship with Russia. Especially the Germans say they don't want the sanctions. The Italians say they don't want the sanctions. The Americans say, we don't want you to make money off Russia. Buy from us, not from Russia. Buy your agricultural goods and your other goods from us, or at least from countries in the dollar orbit, not from the Russian orbit. That, essentially, is what Obama meant by the reset. It meant a new Cold War. But the essence of this new Cold War is to fight in the new way, which is a financial war. The military are now only a catalyst for the financial warfare by the United States." (07/19/16)

http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/07/19/us-nato-border-confrontation-with-russia-risking-nuclear-war/

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We all need to scrap identity politics

USA Today USA Today
by Peggy Orchowski

"I stepped out of a shop in Venice, Italy, two months ago and had a light-bulb epiphany about Americans. The typical Venetian pedestrian-only street was completely gridlocked. As I stood there stuck in a mass of people dressed mostly in jeans and T-shirts and speaking dozens of languages, I heard behind me three laughing guys who sounded like Americans. Turning around to give a thumbs up to my countrymen, I suddenly realized that it was impossible to recognize them by sight. Only when they started talking again was I able to identify the Americans -- a college-aged, mixed-heritage trio of Asian, black and white. There is no one American look anymore. We are a people of immense diversity." (07/18/16)

http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2016/07/18/democrat-gop-immigration-convention-race-division-issues-lgbt-gay-women-hispanic-column/87225864

1 Comment »

The presidency as fantasy

Reuters Reuters
by Harold Evans

"Donald Trump was a joke until he wasn't. The nominating contests brought forth innumerable champions to assail him as a demagogue, a fantasist, a misogynist, a racist, a narcissist, a fascist, an isolationist, a bully and a liar, and he surfed the tidal wave of contempt all the way to the Republican nomination. Bernie Sanders was a throwback to the twenties until he wasn’t. In May, he arrived at 1968 to replay the year in Chicago when young protesters from the Democratic Party’s Far Left disrupted the convention and got clobbered in a police riot. ... Trump and Sanders, the scratch duo of Right/Left Populists, ganged up against Hillary Clinton. She was on her way to a coronation until she wasn’t quite. She kept her cool, though the effect in the summer of 2016 was to siphon money she needed for the general election." [editor's note: This pundit is clearly "with HER" but at least he's somewhat funny about saying it - SAT] (07/18/16)

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-voter-special-evans-idUSKCN0ZX10I

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As Maine goes …

The American Prospect The American Prospect
by Gabrielle Gurley

"Anthony Marple, director of Maine’s $2.6 billion Medicaid program, was called into an abrupt meeting just a week after Governor Paul LePage took office in January 2011. There, Marple was fired and ordered to leave immediately. He asked to send out a few emails cancelling some speaking engagements. Sorry, he was told, his state email account had already been closed. Marple was a widely respected public official. His sin? The day before his firing, he had testified before the Legislature’s Appropriations Committee that Medicaid spending from the state’s general fund had been virtually flat or decreasing in each of the years since 2006, despite increasing enrollments due to the recession. This contradicted LePage’s campaign narrative of runaway state spending by the 'bloated establishment in Augusta.' So Marple had to go." [editor's note: I've heard just enough from my childhood friends back there to believe every word of this - SAT] (07/18/16)

http://prospect.org/article/maine-goes

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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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