Progressive News Digest

News


| Commentary | Events |

Syria: At least 14 Doctors Without Borders staff, patients killed in Aleppo airstrikes

Fox News Fox News

"A wave of nighttime airstrikes hit a hospital in Syria supported by Doctors Without Borders and nearby buildings in the rebel-held part of the contested city of Aleppo, killing as many as 27 people, including 14 doctors and patients -- among them children and one of the last pediatricians in war-torn Syria, the international medical aid group reported. The strikes, blamed on the embattled government in Damascus, came shortly before midnight Wednesday and hit the well-known al-Quds field hospital in the rebel-held district of Sukkari in Aleppo, according to opposition activists and rescue workers." (04/28/16)

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2016/04/28/at-least-27-killed-as-wave-airstrikes-hit-near-hospital-in-contested-syrian-city.html

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US House panel approves measure requiring women to register for military slavery

Military.com

"The House Armed Services Committee on Wednesday approved by a narrow margin an amendment to a defense bill to require women to register for the draft. Rep. Duncan Hunter, a Republican from California, proposed the amendment to lift the restriction on women registering for the selective service at a committee-wide mark-up session of the proposed fiscal 2017 National Defense Authorization Act. ... Rep. Jackie Speier, a Democrat from California, thanked Hunter for proposing the amendment. 'I actually support universal conscription; I actually think if we want equality in this, if we want women to be treated precisely like men are treated and that they should not be discriminated against, we should be willing to support a universal conscription,' she said." [editor's note: Curiously, Speier's record of personal military service is missing from her Wikipedia bio. I guess "universal" means "everyone except Jackie Speier serves" - TLK] (04/28/16)

http://www.military.com/daily-news/2016/04/28/house-panel-approves-measure-require-women-register-draft.html

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US Senate releases final sentencing reform bill

Reuters Reuters

"A revised criminal justice reform bill moved closer to a full U.S. Senate vote on Thursday when it gained support from more Republicans after being stalled for months in Congress. In a legacy-shaping issue for President Barack Obama, the measure's sponsors announced four new Republican co-sponsor senators and a new version of the bill at a press conference in the Senate. The measure now has 37 co-sponsors, according to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley. Grassley said he had been waiting for the bill to be finalized before asking Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to bring it up for a full Senate vote, but that 'it is time for those discussions to start right now.'" (04/28/16)

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-justice-reform-idUSKCN0XP2PI

1 Comment »

US House unanimously passes email privacy bill

United Press International United Press International

"The House of Representatives on Wednesday unanimously passed an overhaul of a 30-year-old electronic privacy law that would prevent the government from reading Americans' old emails without a warrant. In a 419-0 vote, House members showed a rare moment of bipartisanship to pass the Email Privacy Act, which requires government agents to have a warrant before searching a person's email or other electronic communications, even if the information is years old." (04/28/16)

http://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2016/04/28/House-unanimously-passes-email-privacy-bill/2901461804105/

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CA: Appeals court upholds teacher tenure

San Francisco Chronicle San Francisco Chronicle

"The tenure laws that provide job security for 277,000 California schoolteachers, and a target for opponents who claim they shield incompetent instructors and victimize low-income and minority students, were upheld Thursday by a state appeals court. In a resounding victory for teachers unions, the Second District Court of Appeal in Los Angeles overturned a judge’s June 2014 ruling that the state’s tenure and job-security rules violated the right of students to an equal education. The court said the plaintiffs (nine students backed by a Silicon Valley entrepreneur) had failed to show any connection between the laws they challenged and the harm that some students are suffering. Some teachers protected by tenure and seniority may turn out to be ineffective, but school officials (not the laws challenged in the suit) determine where those teachers are assigned and whom they teach, the court said." (04/28/16)

http://www.sfgate.com/education/article/Appeals-court-reversed-ruling-that-struck-down-7249494.php

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German nuclear plant hit by computer viruses

BBC News BBC News [UK state media]

"Computer viruses have infected PCs used at a German nuclear power plant. The viruses were found on office computers and in a system used to model the movement of nuclear fuel rods. Power firm RWE said the infection posed no threat to the plant because its control systems were not linked to the internet, so the viruses could not activate. German federal cyber investigators are now analysing how the Gundremmingen plant became infected. The viruses were found on the fuel rod modelling system and on 18 USB sticks used as removable data stores on office computers. Staff found the viruses as they prepared to upgrade the computerised control systems for the plant's Block B, which is currently not producing power while it undergoes scheduled maintenance." (04/28/16)

http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-36158606

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WA: Judge rules Seattle trash inspections are unconstitutional

Fox News Fox News

"A controversial Seattle ordinance that allowed city workers to inspect people's trash -- as part of an effort to stop residents from throwing food scraps in the wrong pile -- was ruled unconstitutional on Wednesday. King County Superior Court Judge Beth Andrus said sanitation works and other city collectors poking through everyday garbage violates privacy rights and voided the ordinance. 'I’m thrilled as can be,' Ethan Blevins, attorney for the Pacific Legal Foundation, which filed the lawsuit on behalf of eight Seattle residents, told The Seattle Times. He added, 'We have been vindicated.' The rule first went into effect last year, and was meant to compel residents to put food scraps in the same bins as yard waste, so all could be composted." [editor's note: The writers at CSI, NCIS, et al will not be happy to see this - SAT] (04/28/16)

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2016/04/28/judge-rules-seattle-trash-inspections-unconstitutional.html

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Keyes: Obama “anti-black” for honoring Tubman with the twenty

Raw Story Raw Story

"Failed presidential candidate Dr. Alan Keyes blasted Pat Buchanan for his racist rant excoriating the 'Obama administration’s' recent decision to replace Andrew Jackson with Harriet Tubman on the new $20 bills. But that doesn’t mean that Keyes, who, while serving in the Reagan State Department, defended South Africa’s policy of apartheid, thinks that Tubman should be honored with the currency. He thinks that Obama is actively denigrating her with the honor. According to Keyes, Pat Buchanan is a “purblind wordling” who fails to understand the definition of “great.” ... But one of the criteria that Buchanan missed, according to Keyes, was that he failed to take into account that Tubman had no access to power; thus her ability to guide slaves to freedom makes her actions many times greater than actions conducted with the power of an army or the state that one might have." [editor's notye: SO how does this "denigrate" her? She just jumped another notch up in my book - SAT] (04/28/16)

http://www.rawstory.com/2016/04/conservative-obama-is-anti-black-for-honoring-harriet-tubman-with-the-20-bill

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Greece: Athens finding vibrancy can revive before economy does

Christian Science Monitor Christian Science Monitor

"By almost every measure, Athens is a city of deprivation. Rates of homelessness, poverty, bankruptcy (even suicide) have steadily increased across the Greek capital since the country needed its first bailout in 2010. But as storefronts shuttered and those Greeks who could left for opportunity abroad, Greek architect Haris Biskos returned home. He describes a scene in 2012 of physical deterioration. 'You walked around the city and saw total emptiness. Nothing was happening in the public space,' says Mr. Biskos. 'As an architect it is nice to have a new challenge, Greece was in that moment.' Today, he says, from his sunny, central office with dirt-cheap rent: 'It’s an exciting time to be in Athens.'" (04/28/16)

http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Europe/2016/0428/Athens-finds-vibrancy-can-revive-before-economy-does

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OK: Volunteer deputy convicted in killing of unarmed man

CBS News CBS News

"A former Oklahoma volunteer sheriff's deputy and wealthy insurance executive faces up to four years in prison for killing an unarmed suspect. Sheriff's deputies wasted no time whisking Robert Bates away in handcuffs. The former Tulsa County reserve deputy was convicted of second degree manslaughter for killing Eric Harris, reports CBS News correspondent Omar Villafranca. ... Bates said he meant to use his Taser to subdue Harris, but accidentally pulled the trigger on his pistol. Bates'[s] lawyer failed to convince jurors that Harris died from a bad heart and a mix of drugs found in his system and not from the gunshot wound. The jury deliberated less than three hours and recommended the maximum sentence for Bates, determining that Bates had acted recklessly." (04/28/16)

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/tulsa-oklahoma-eric-harris-family-declares-victory-robert-bates-convicted/

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China: Regime cracks down on foreign NGOs

The Guardian The Guardian [UK]

"A Chinese government offensive against civil society that campaigners describe as the worst in nearly three decades has intensified with Beijing's approval on Thursday of a controversial new law that gives security forces control over foreign NGOs operating in the country. Campaigners attacked the move as the latest phase of President Xi Jinping's bid to rein in opposition to the Communist party. They said it represented a severe blow to non-profit groups involved in issues such as the environment, public health and education, as well as human rights." (04/28/16)

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/apr/28/china-passes-law-imposing-security-controls-on-foreign-ngos

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SpaceX will launch private Mars missions as soon as 2018

Space.com

"The commercial spaceflight company SpaceX announced on Twitter today that it plans to send its robotic Dragon capsule to Mars as early as 2018. 'Red Dragons will inform the overall Mars architecture,' SpaceX representatives tweeted today (April 27), referring to the company's eventual plans to set up a colony on Mars -- a key goal of SpaceX and its founder, billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk. A source familiar with the company's plans said the first test flight of a Dragon capsule to Mars would demonstrate technologies needed to land large payloads on the Red Planet. That could include supplies and habitats for Martian explorers." (04/27/16)

http://www.space.com/32719-spacex-red-dragon-mars-missions-2018.html

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Judge sentences “serial child molester” Hastert to 15 months

USA Today USA Today

"Former House speaker Dennis Hastert, who less than a decade ago stood second in line to the presidency, was sentenced to 15 months in federal prison Wednesday for a bank fraud case linked to allegations he sexually abused teen boys more than 30 years ago. Federal Judge Thomas Durkin called Hastert a 'serial child molester' and rejected a prosecutor's recommendation of six months in prison. Durkin also rejected claims by Haster[t]'s lawyers that Hastert didn't understand the banking law he violated when making payments to one of his teen accusers. Hastert, 74, was fined $250,000, must spend two years on supervised release after leaving prison and must register as a sex offender." [editor's note: I predict that the sex offender registration requirement will be quickly overturned on appeal -- as it should be since he was neither charged with nor convicted of any sex crime - TLK] (04/27/16)

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2016/04/27/ex-speaker-dennis-hastert-faces-sentencing-chicago/83584440/

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AL: City makes bathroom access by gender identity a crime

Reuters Reuters

"An Alabama city appears to be the first in the country to specify criminal penalties for violators of an ordinance requiring people to use bathrooms that match the gender on their birth certificates, civil rights groups said on Wednesday. The law passed on Tuesday by the city council in Oxford, located about 60 miles east of Birmingham, carries a possible punishment of a $500 fine or six months in jail. The measure raises the stakes in the U.S. bathroom wars that have caused fierce debate among state lawmakers, school officials and Republican presidential candidates. It goes further than a law enacted last month in North Carolina ... North Carolina's law applies to restrooms and locker rooms in government-owned facilities and schools. The Oxford ordinance also includes bathrooms in private businesses and explicitly makes violating the provision a crime, the Human Rights Campaign said." (04/27/16)

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-alabama-lgbt-idUSKCN0XO2H6

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Austria passes controversial new asylum law

BBC News BBC News [UK state media]

"Austria has passed a controversial new law that restricts the right of asylum and allows most claimants to be rejected directly at the border. Rights groups say the law undermines the principle of protection from war and persecution. It comes days after Austria's far-right came top in the first round of a presidential election. Austrian officials say they are also considering building a fence at the main border crossing with Italy." (04/27/16)

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-36152927

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Sanders lays off hundreds of staffers as he weighs Plan B

USA Today USA Today

"The results of Tuesday's five Democratic presidential primaries will almost certainly force Sen. Bernie Sanders to acknowledge a hard reality -- it's time for Plan B. Sanders hasn’t said whether he has a strategy for changing the focus of his campaign, and he insisted at an Indiana rally on Wednesday that he's still in the race against Hillary Clinton to win the nomination. But he laid off more than 200 staffers on Wednesday and began talking about what will happen 'if we do not win.' He said at the rally he intends to win every delegate possible so he'll have enough votes at the Democratic Party's national convention in July to put together 'the strongest progressive agenda that any political party has ever seen.'" (04/27/16)

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/elections/2016/04/27/plan-b-sanders-make-democratic-party-platform-more-progressive/83558806

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Trouble with sense of direction may be linked to early Alzheimer’s

United Press International United Press International

"Difficulty remembering how to get around in new surroundings may be an extremely early sign of Alzheimer's, a small study suggests. The findings, if borne out in future research, might help doctors diagnose Alzheimer's long before someone shows obvious memory problems, said researchers from Washington University in St. Louis." (04/27/16)

http://www.upi.com/Health_News/2016/04/26/Trouble-with-sense-of-direction-may-be-linked-to-early-Alzheimers/4231461717067/

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TN: Haslam signs “therapist bill” into law

CNN CNN

"Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam on Wednesday signed a bill into law that allows [sic] therapists and counselors with 'sincerely held principles' to reject gay, lesbian, transgender and other clients. ... In a written statement to the media, he said two of his concerns had been addressed by this most recent version of the bill, which passed the state Senate on April 6. The first requires therapists and counselors to treat people who are an imminent danger to themselves or others. The second mandates the mental health professional arrange a referral to another counselor or therapist." [editor's note: Why should they need the state's permission to decide who they will or will not accept as clients, for any reason or no reason at all? - TLK] (04/27/16)

http://www.cnn.com/2016/04/27/politics/tennessee-therapist-bill/

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Elon Musk’s SpaceX breaks Boeing-Lockheed monopoly

Raw Story Raw Story

"The U.S. Air Force on Wednesday awarded billionaire Elon Musk’s SpaceX an $83 million contract to launch a GPS satellite, breaking the monopoly that Lockheed Martin Corp and Boeing Co have held on military space launches for more than a decade. The Global Positioning System satellite will be launched in May 2018 from Florida, Air Force officials said. The fixed-price award is the military’s first competitively sourced launch service contract in more than a decade. It ends the exclusive relationship between the military and United Launch Alliance, a partnership of Lockheed Martin and Boeing. ULA did not compete for the GPS launch contract, citing accounting issues, implications of trade sanctions limiting imports of its rockets’ Russian-made engines and, according to a former ULA vice president, SpaceX’s cut-rate pricing." (04/27/16)

http://www.rawstory.com/2016/04/elon-musks-spacex-breaks-boeing-lockheed-monopoly-on-military-space-launches

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Opioid overdose rate drops in medical marijuana states

San Francisco Chronicle Smell the Truth

"Medical marijuana may serve as a non-fatal alternative to prescription opioids when it comes to chronic pain management, according to some health experts. In a New York Times opinion piece, medical researcher Colleen Barry posits that while the rise in opioid prescriptions has mirrored the expansion of medical marijuana laws, only states with such laws in place saw a dramatic reduction in overdoses related to prescribed painkillers" (04/27/16)

http://blog.sfgate.com/smellthetruth/2016/04/27/opioid-overdose-rate-drops-in-medical-marijuana-states

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Exiled Tibetans re-elect leader who vows to revive autonomy push

Channel News Asia [Singapore]

"The political leader of Tibetans in exile, Lobsang Sangay, vowed after being re-elected on Wednesday to convince the international community to renew its interest in his people's plight and back his campaign for China to grant Tibet autonomy. Sangay, who has led the 150,000-odd Tibetan worldwide diaspora since religious leader the Dalai Lama gave up political power in 2011, won 57 percent of nearly 60,000 votes cast, Tibetan officials said in the Indian hill town of Dharamsala." (04/27/16)

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asiapacific/exiled-tibetans-re-elect/2736270.html

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Hubble telescope spots tiny moon orbiting dwarf planet Makemake

Mashable

"Scientists have found a previously unseen moon orbiting Makemake, a tiny dwarf planet on the outskirts of the solar system. This marks the first time a moon has been spotted around the little world, which takes about 310 Earth years to make a full circuit of the sun. Scientists think the moon -- nicknamed MK2 -- is about 100 miles in diameter, but the exact details of this mysterious natural satellite are still a mystery. This discovery does, however, mark a big step toward understanding more about the Kuiper belt -- the group of icy bodies past Neptune's orbit in the solar system. " (04/27/16)

http://mashable.com/2016/04/27/hubble-dwarf-planet-moon-makemake/

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Bizarre fourth state of water discovered

Gizmag

"You already know that water can have three states of matter: solid, liquid and gas. But scientists at the Oak Ridge National Lab (ORNL) have discovered that when it's put under extreme pressure in small spaces, the life-giving liquid can exhibit a strange fourth state known as tunneling. The water under question was found in super-small six-sided channels in the mineral beryl, which forms the basis for the gems aquamarine and emerald. The channels measure only about five atoms across and function basically as cages that can each trap one water molecule. What the researchers found was that in this incredibly tight space, the water molecule exhibited a characteristic usually only seen at the much smaller quantum level, called tunneling." (04/27/16)

http://www.gizmag.com/fourth-state-of-water/42999/

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Spain set for new election as king declares talks stalemate

Chicago Tribune Chicago Tribune

"Spain is heading for new elections this summer after parliament failed to choose a prime minister for the first time in the country's democratic history. King Felipe called a halt to the efforts to forge a governing majority after a third round of talks with party leaders Tuesday, concluding that none of the candidates had enough support to win an investiture vote. The official deadline for the parties to reach an agreement is May 2. The new ballot is likely to take place on June 26." (04/27/16)

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/sns-wp-blm-spain-fe6c8724-0c5e-11e6-bc53-db634ca94a2a-20160427-story.html

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Germany: Merkel regime plans $1.4 billion in incentives for electric cars

Bloomberg

"German Chancellor Angela Merkel's government reached a deal with automakers to jointly spend 1.2 billion euros ($1.4 billion) on incentives to boost sluggish electric-car sales. Buyers will be able to receive as much as 4,000 euros in rebates to help offset the higher price of an electric vehicle, Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said at a press conference in Berlin. Purchasers of hybrid cars will get as much as 3,000 euros off the price. The industry will shoulder 50 percent of the cost. The program is set to start in May, pending approval from the German parliament’s budget committee, he said." (04/27/16)

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-04-27/germany-planning-1-4-billion-in-incentives-for-electric-cars

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Commentary


| News | Events |

It’s not about drones, it’s about lazy war

Lucy Steigerwald Antiwar.com
by Justin Raimondo

"Someday perhaps very soon we in the US are going to be very sorry that we normalized drone warfare. Not, again, because the tech is inherently wicked. Or that it should be restricted heavily (because then law enforcement and military will claim exceptions). No, it’s just that drones are brilliant tools for keeping a lazy, constant presence in other countries. And someday soon, they will be used in a terrorist attack." (04/29/16)

http://original.antiwar.com/lucy/2016/04/28/not-drones-lazy-war/

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College too pricey? Wait till it’s “free”

Debra J. Saunders Town Hall
by Debra J Saunders

"As he panders for the youth vote, Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders promises free tuition at public colleges and universities because, he says, 'a college degree is the new high school diploma.' Rival Hillary Clinton supports President Barack Obama's plan to make community college tuition-free -- that is, publicly funded. Beware, America: Imagine how expensive college tuition will be if Democrats somehow manage to make more of it 'free.' As for value, if Sanders has his way, you can expect the college degree to be the new high school diploma." [editor's note: Yep, and more functional illiterates who can't balance a "swipe card" descend on the world with degrees and entitlements - SAT] (04/28/16)

http://townhall.com/columnists/debrajsaunders/2016/04/28/is-college-too-pricey-wait-till-its-free-n2154762

1 Comment »

The imaginary predator in America’s transgender bathroom war

USA Today USA Today
by Alia E Dastagir

"You have to pee. If you're like 99% of America, you look at pictograms, predictable gender binaries, to guide you toward the appropriate toilet. A person in pants on the left. A person in a dress on the right. If you're a woman, it's irrelevant that you have a vagina, are wearing jeans and can't recall the last time you donned a triangle dress to a dinner party. You know to hang a right, while men go left. The signage isn't literal, it reveals how our culture wants your gender to look. It reveals what door it wants you to walk through. The bathroom is a bastion of segregation. It's where we sort people." [editor's note: One big room, lots of stalls with doors & locks on inside, sinks on one wall, a trough on the other ... pick your spot, do your business and leave -- end of problem - SAT] (04/28/16)

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2016/04/28/transgender-bathroom-bills-discrimination/32594395

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The next Chernobyl may be intentional

Reuters Reuters
by Bennett Ramberg

"Chernobyl’s 30th anniversary on April 26 comes against the backdrop of growing apprehension that nuclear reactors may become a terrorist target. Serious concern arose during the recent Islamic State attacks in Brussels. Evidence suggested that the assailants were considering a nuclear-related incident. The terrorists had a senior Belgian nuclear official under surveillance, and two former nuclear power-plant employees were reported to have joined Islamic State. This may help explain why Belgian authorities rushed military forces to protect its nuclear plants. The scare provided a reminder that nuclear reactors are radiological mines that terrorists could exploit. Destruction of a plant would mark a zenith of terrorist violence." (04/27/16)

http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2016/04/25/the-next-chernobyl-may-be-intentional

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Does the First Amendment justify corruption?

The American Prospect The American Prospect
by Brent Ferguson

"A decade ago, if a politician had argued before the Supreme Court that he had a First Amendment right to trade political favors for a Rolex watch, his lawyers may have feared for their professional reputations. But that argument is one basis for ex-Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell’s appeal of his eleven-count corruption conviction in McDonnell v. United States, which the Court hears in oral arguments on Wednesday. The case demonstrates how the First Amendment has begun to evolve from a tool to protect Americans with unpopular beliefs into a shield used by corporations and political donors to justify rules-free policymaking and electioneering." (04/27/16)

http://prospect.org/article/does-first-amendment-justify-corruption

1 Comment »

Why Hillary Clinton should fear Donald Trump

The New Republic The New Republic
by Jeet Heer

"With Hillary Clinton’s strong performance on Tuesday night, the Democratic primaries are effectively over. Barring an unforeseen catastrophe, Clinton will be the Democratic nominee. And it’s increasingly likely that her opponent will be Donald Trump, who won a clean sweep of five states on Tuesday and only seems to be getting stronger. Both parties must now gear themselves for a Clinton-Trump match-up in the fall. ... If winning the presidential election were all that mattered, Trump would be Clinton’s dream opponent. The Democratic front-runner struggles with poor approval ratings (55.6 percent unfavorable, according to Huffington Post’s aggregation of the polls), which means she needs to compete against someone who is even less popular than her. Trump fits that bill handsomely, standing at 63.6 percent unfavorability. Furthermore, Trump’s racism and misogyny are likely to motivate the very voters that Clinton most needs to attract: people of color, single women, and young people. " (04/27/16)

https://newrepublic.com/article/133050/hillary-clinton-fear-donald-trump

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Warning: TPP rearing its ugly head

Dave Johnson Our Future
by Dave Johnson

"The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) went dormant in Congress after election season began. It became clear that the public despises our country’s corporate-dominated 'trade deals' that let companies just lay people off and close factories here to take advantage of conditions in countries that allow people and the environment to be exploited. Candidates who could sense which way the wind was blowing told voters they oppose TPP, and Congress dropped it -- for now. But now people who follow these things are hearing more and more talk behind the scenes that indicate corporate America is going to try to push TPP through in the 'lame duck' Congressional session after the elections. This is a session in which the old Congress consisting of the ones who might have gotten voted out minus new ones who just got voted in, and the re-elected incumbents who won’t be up for re-election for two more years can sneak things past the public with little or no accountability.(04/26/16)

https://ourfuture.org/20160426/warning-tpp-rearing-its-ugly-head

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On open marriages and closed elections

CounterPunch CounterPunch
by Doug Johnson Hatlem

"Are the Democratic primaries democratic? (Hang on for a minute as we enter bizzaro-land; pay attention to the work various words and letters are doing.) Sure the Democratic primaries are Democratic. By definition. If you were a Democrat way back on October 9th and have managed to defend your 'D' registration against switching and purging all the way through to voting day, then you were or will be guaranteed the right to help select the next Democratic presidential nominee. If not, well, you might be allowed to vote, depending on the state you live in. And your vote might even be counted, if enough people think it matters to count it. Have a problem with all of this? Well, probably like Bernie you aren't really a Democrat anyway." (04/28/16)

http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/04/28/on-open-marriages-and-closed-elections/

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Religious liberty laws that have no meaning

The Atlantic The Atlantic
by Jonathan Merritt

"An overwhelming three-fourths of Americans identify as religious. Listening to some religious conservatives in the U.S., though, one might think believers were a persecuted minority on the verge of extinction. In the name of protecting the sincerely held beliefs of religious Americans, conservative lawmakers and lobbyists have introduced a spate of controversial religious-freedom legislation in recent months. But apparently Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig aren't the only ones fighting ghosts in 2016. The problems these bills claim to solve don’t actually exist." (04/28/16)

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/04/religious-liberty-laws-that-have-no-meaning/480297/

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In 2016, keep saying “no!”

Gary Chartier Center for a Stateless Society
by Gary Chartier

"People who want to live in a society organized on the basis of peaceful, voluntary cooperation don't want to be ruled by monopolists -- by states. State authority is illegitimate, unnecessary, and dangerous. But that obviously leaves open the question: what do we do now, while we're still under the state's rule, to make our own lives and the lives of the state's other victims more bearable -- and to help dismantle the state? One answer, for a lot of people, is: vote. That's an answer about which I'm increasingly skeptical." (04/27/16)

https://c4ss.org/content/44747

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“Intellectual property” just keeps getting deadlier

Kevin Carson Center for a Stateless Society
by Kevin Carson

"The whole point of proprietary software and other forms of proprietary information, coupled with the DMCA's restrictions on circumvention technology, is that you never actually own anything you buy. In fact directly accessing the source code is a crime. That's bad enough -- an injustice and an inconvenience -- when it comes to your computer operating system or a song you paid for. But when it involves the software running a device inside your own body, that you depend on to keep your heart beating, it's a lot more serious. As Doctorow says: 'However you feel about copyright law, everyone should be able to agree that copyright shouldn't get in the way of testing the software in your hearing aid, pacemaker, insulin pump, or prosthetic limb to look for safety risks (or privacy risks, for that matter).' Of course this is nothing new." (04/27/16)

https://c4ss.org/content/44735

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The drug war is state-sanctioned theft

Cop Block Cop Block
by Lorelei McFly

"One of the biggest lies our government tells us, is that it wages the War on Drugs to keep us safe. More than 40 years after it was started, we know that it has been a colossally-expensive epic failure on its stated goals, was intentionally designed to further disenfranchise marginalized groups, and has become a full-fledged assault on our civil liberties." (04/27/16)

http://www.copblock.org/158413/drug-war-is-state-sanctioned-theft/

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The two contradictory ideas many Americans have about the economy

The Atlantic The Atlantic
by Adam Chandler

"In this month’s Atlantic cover story, Neal Gabler chronicles the distressing reality of life in today’s American middle class. Underneath the figures about debt-mired, financially-distressed households is also a sense of shame and betrayal. Gabler notes: 'Many middle-class wage earners are victims of the economy, and, perhaps, of that great, glowing, irresistible American promise that has been drummed into our heads since birth: Just work hard and you can have it all.' This sentiment taunts at two sacred and quintessentially American convictions -- that success is self-determined and that advancement is inevitable for anyone with a serious work ethic." (04/27/16)

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2016/04/american-wages-autonomy-destiny-springsteen/480132/

No Comments »

VA: Liberty University to allow handguns in dorms next fall

Fox News Fox News
by

"Liberty University will allow students with concealed handgun permits from the state to keep their weapons in their dorms beginning next fall. The News & Advance reports those students would need permission from the school first. The guns would be kept in safes inside the residence halls at the private Christian university. The policy change was given the go-ahead by the university's board of trustees last week. University President Jerry Falwell Jr. announced last year that eligible students could carry guns anywhere on campus. Previously, students who qualified could carry guns anywhere except residence halls." (04/27/16)

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2016/04/27/liberty-university-to-allow-handguns-in-dorms-next-fall.html

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America’s long hangover

The Nation The Nation
by Beverly Gage

"In October 1931, union men in Newark, New Jersey, staged a major protest march. During the previous two years, the United States had tumbled into economic depression, with the unemployment rate rising as the stock market sank. Union jobs were especially devastated, leading to dozens of unemployment rallies and anti-eviction protests across the country. But the Newark men took no interest in that. Instead, with their ranks stretching for block after block, they held up signs proclaiming their top political priority: WE WANT BEER. What they cared about, ardently and urgently, was bringing an end to the disastrous national experiment known as Prohibition." (04/27/16)

http://www.thenation.com/article/americas-long-hangover/

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How winning the nomination could be Trump’s worst nightmare

Adele M Stan The American Prospect
by Adele M Stan

"The blustery billionaire could lose the biggest game of his life -- to a woman." (04/27/16)

http://prospect.org/article/how-winning-nomination-could-be-trump%E2%80%99s-worst-nightmare

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The misguided plan to expand a performers’ veto: More “copyright creep” through policy laundering

Electronic Frontier Foundation Electronic Frontier Foundation
by Corynne McSherry

"A proposal to rewrite parts of copyright law being pushed by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office would create new restrictions for filmmakers, journalists, and others using recordings of audiovisual performances. Against the background of the the Next Great Copyright Act lurching forward and the Copyright Office convening a new series of roundtables on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, few have noticed the USPTO push happening now. But these proposals are a classic instance of copyright creep and are dangerous for users, creators, and service providers alike." (04/26/16)

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2016/04/another-fine-mess-ustr-has-gotten-us-misguided-plan-expand-performers-rights

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Hillary: Wall Street’s golden girl

CounterPunch CounterPunch
by Pepe Escobar

"So it's a go for Zeus to launch the thunderbolt. Neo-Athena -- minus the wisdom -- Hillary Clinton, Queen of Chaos, Goddess of War, Empress of the Perma-Smirk, will finally have her shot at the U.S. presidency. After the Battle of New York, she's on top on number of votes; number of states; number of pledged delegates; number of superdelegates. It seems as inevitable as death and offshore accounts. ... Hillary takes no prisoners when it comes to imprint on public opinion she's a dedicated apostle of the No Bank Is Too Big To Fail ethos, and is fully committed to their 'reform.' She may have won the Battle of Wall Street, at least as far as the Democratic Party is concerned. But that was never a battle." (04/27/16)

http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/04/27/hillary-wall-streets-golden-girl/

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Brazilian cybercrime bills threaten open Internet for 200 million people

The Intercept The Intercept
by Andrew Fishman

"Brazilian Internet freedom activists are nervous. On Wednesday, a committee in the lower house of Congress, the Camera dos Deputados, will vote on seven proposals ostensibly created to combat cybercrime. Critics argue the combined effect will be to substantially restrict open internet in the country by peeling back the right to anonymity, and providing law enforcement with draconian powers to censor online discourse and examine citizens’ personal data without judicial oversight. The bills are ripped straight from what has become a standard international playbook: Propose legislation to combat cybercrime; invoke child pornography, hackers, organized crime, and even terrorism; then slip in measures that also make it easier to identify critical voices online (often without judicial oversight) and either mute them or throw them in jail for defamation -- direct threats to free speech." (04/27/16)

https://theintercept.com/2016/04/26/brazilian-cybercrime-bills-threaten-open-internet-for-200-million-people/

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What to read into a growing alliance between China and Pakistan

Reuters Reuters
by Anja Manuel

"Pakistan is awash with a tidal wave of Chinese infrastructure projects. The small town of Gwadar, for example, was a forgotten end of the earth, filled with dust-colored cinder-block houses that lined trash-strewn streets and ringed by cliffs, desert and the Arabian Sea. Yet this sleepy fishing town has erupted with development over the past few years. A Chinese delegation inaugurated its sparkling new container port in early April, as part of a deal by which China will build and have rights over the port. China has agreed to spend an extraordinary $46 billion in investment throughout Pakistan, far more than the annual U.S. aid budget for the entire world." (04/27/16)

http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2016/04/26/what-to-read-into-a-growing-alliance-between-china-and-pakistan/

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Support Sanders as a third party candidate

OpEdNews
by Elliot Cohen

"[T]he American people are now likely to face a choice between an imperialistic neo-con on a mission to embroil us in multiple wars, on the one hand, and a fascistic oppressor, on the other. This goes beyond choosing between the evils because it is difficult to choose which poison is less lethal. Death, oppression, and the loss of U.S. dignity worldwide are likely to be the result, either way we turn. This is why Bernie Sanders cannot sit on the sidelines. He has started a 'revolution' and he needs to see it through." (04/27/16)

http://www.opednews.com/articles/Support-Sanders-as-A-Third-by-elliot-cohen-Democratic_Establishment_Party-Machine-Republican_Party-Politics-Republican-160425-699.html

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How Internet filtering hurts kids

The Atlantic The Atlantic
by Melinda D Anderson

"Zealously blocking their access to certain websites can end up undermining learning." (04/26/16)

http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2016/04/internet-filtering-hurts-kids/479907/

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Thomas Frank on how Democrats went from being the “party of the people” to the party of rich elites

In These Times In These Times
by Tobita Chow

"The Democratic Party was once the party of the New Deal and the ally of organized labor. But by the time of Bill Clinton's presidency, it had become the enemy of New Deal programs like welfare and Social Security and the champion of free trade deals. What explains this apparent reversal? Thomas Frank -- best known for his analysis of the Republican Party base in What's the Matter with Kansas? -- attempts to answer this question in his latest book, Listen Liberal: Or, What Ever Happened to the Party of the People?" (04/26/16)

http://inthesetimes.com/article/19084/listen-liberal-thomas-frank-democratic-party-elites-inequality

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Does the First Amendment justify corruption?

The American Prospect The American Prospect
by Brent Ferguson

"Former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell’s Supreme Court corruption appeal will help decide whether the First Amendment protects average Americans or special interests." (04/26/16)

http://prospect.org/article/does-first-amendment-justify-corruption

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What Trump really means when he says he’ll make America great again

The Nation The Nation
by Tom Engelhardt

"'Low-energy Jeb.' 'Little Marco.' 'Lyin' Ted.' 'Crooked Hillary.' Give Donald Trump credit. He has a memorable way with insults. His have a way of etching themselves on the brain. And they’ve garnered media coverage, analysis, and commentary almost beyond imagining. Memorable as they might be, however, they won’t be what last of Trump’s 2016 election run. That’s surely reserved for a single slogan that will sum up his candidacy when it’s all over (no matter how it ends). He arrived with it on that Trump Tower escalator in the first moments of his campaign and it now headlines his website, where it’s also emblazoned on an array of products from hats to t-shirts." ()4/26/16)

http://www.thenation.com/article/what-trump-really-means-when-he-says-hell-make-america-great-again/

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Americans are helping eight million people break this bad law

Reuters Reuters
by Uzoamaka Emeka Nzelibe

"Last week immigrants, their families, and legal advocates rallied outside the U.S. Supreme Court as eight justices heard oral arguments in United States v. Texas, an immigration case concerning the Obama Administration’s Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) program, which would have offered deferred action status and work authorization to nearly 4 million unauthorized immigrants. Based on the photos and news coverage of the demonstrators, the working parents, restaurant owners, and other small business and household employers who break U.S. immigration laws by hiring unauthorized immigrants were, as usual, noticeably absent." (04/26/16)

http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2016/04/26/americans-are-helping-eight-million-people-break-this-bad-law/

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More than a few rogue cops: The disturbing history of police in schools

CounterPunch CounterPunch
by Mary Anne Henderson and Brian Platt

"Some will say that, for all their faults, SROs are needed to protect students from violence on campus -- the image of Columbine is always invoked around discussions of police in school. But Columbine employed an SRO at the time of the shooting. In fact, while the shooting was going on at Columbine, 800 police officers and eight SWAT teams surrounded the school. Yet, all refused to confront the shooters, preferring to 'contain the perimeter.' The truth is having police on campus does not curb violence. The origin of school resource officers lies not in school shootings, but in the opposition to the Civil Rights Movement." (04/26/16)

http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/04/26/more-than-a-few-rogue-cops-the-disturbing-history-of-police-in-schools/

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Clinton’s defense of big money won’t cut it

OpEdNews
by Robert Borosage

"Hillary Clinton's heated defense of the money she has raised from Wall Street and other interests won't cut it. Her protests contradict the basic case that virtually all Democrats and reformers have made for getting big money out of politics. It is vital that voters not be misled by them. Normally, liberal politicians defend setting up super PACs, and collecting large sums from big donors, because while they pledge to curb the influence of the rich and corporations in our politics if elected, they can't 'unilaterally disarm.' Clinton repeats this argument, but it has less force against Bernie Sanders who not only has made the corrosive effect of big money contributions central to his campaign, but has demonstrated that it is possible to be competitive without setting up super PACs and without asking billionaires and millionaires for money." (04/25/16)

http://www.opednews.com/articles/Clinton-s-Defense-of-Big-M-by-Robert-Borosage-Bankers_Clinton-Campaign_Corporations_Money-Buys-Power-160425-662.html

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What good are hedge funds?

The American Prospect The American Prospect
by David Dayen

"In the pilot episode of the Showtime drama Billions, a CNBC host grills Bobby Axelrod (Damian Lewis), founder of the hedge fund Axe Capital, at a public forum. 'How do you respond to the criticism that hedge funds are the scavengers of the financial sector, and that a select few have undue influence on the markets?' ... 'We’re not scavengers,' Axelrod replies. 'We’re white blood cells scrubbing out bad companies, earning for our investors, preventing bubbles. A hedge fund like mine is a market regulator.' This claim invites an important debate: Do hedge funds represent an asset to the larger economy, or a menace? Do they really help make markets more efficient and transparent, or do they just exploit opportunities at the expense of other investors?" (04/25/16)

http://prospect.org/article/what-good-are-hedge-funds

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Bigger than Bernie: Other progressives taking on Dem establishment

In These Times In These Times
by Christopher Haas

"'Today,' Bernie Sanders booms in his monotone shout, 'we begin a political revolution to transform our country -- economically, politically, socially and environmentally.' He marks each beat with his right hand, as if conducting with an invisible baton. Behind him, a lone seagull flaps its wings as it flies across Lake Champlain. The crowd of 5,000 that has come to Burlington, Vt., on a sunny afternoon in May to witness Sanders’ official campaign announcement breaks into a cheer. ... A political revolution of that kind is going to require two things: a wave of candidates committed to a bold set of progressive ideas and a mass of voters with the political will to elect them. There’s evidence both of these are already here. Progressives are fired up here for a victory against big money. In These Times spoke to U.S. House and Senate challengers across the country who are very much a part of this wave." (04/25/16)

http://inthesetimes.com/features/bernie_sanders_democrats_political_revolution_candidates.html

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How wartime Washington lives in luxury

Kelley B Vlahos The American Conservative
by Kelley Vlahos

"In no place in America are the abrupt changes in the nation's security posture so keenly reflected in real estate and lifestyle than the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. In the decade after 9/11, it has grown into a sprawling, pretentious representation of the federal government's growth, vices and prosperity, encompassing the wealthiest counties, the best schools, and some of the highest rates of income inequality in the country. 'People hate Washington but they don't really know why,' says Mike Lofgren, a longtime Beltway inhabitant and arch critic of its culture. But show them what is underneath the dignified facades -- particularly the greed and excess financed by the overgrown military-industrial complex -- and the populist resentment recently harnessed by insurgent candidates Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders just might have a concrete grievance that can drive real change." (04/25/15)

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/how-wartime-washington-lives-in-luxury/

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Also recall the executive formerly known as Prince

Reuters Reuters
by Rob Cox

"The executive formerly known as Prince deserves as much acclaim as the artist. While hits like 'Little Red Corvette' will be his lasting legacy, his high-profile battles against the music and technology establishment also presaged an era where the recording industry ceded power to musicians. Prince experimented as much with the business as he did in the studio. Born Prince Rogers Nelson, he churned out nearly 40 albums before dying at age 57 on Thursday. Since his 1978 debut 'For You,' Prince has sold more than 100 million records. He owed his start to an A&R music system that nurtured up-and-coming talents. Throughout his career, however, Prince fought to retain control over his compositions, image and even his name. The unusual pushback brought a greater balance to the business/artist dynamic well before the digital era eroded the influence of the musical-industrial complex." (04/25/16)

http://blogs.reuters.com/breakingviews/2016/04/21/also-recall-the-executive-formerly-known-as-prince

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Mattis declines Herculean task

USA Today USA Today
by Glenn Harlan Reynolds

"It looks like the Mattis bubble is bursting. That was probably inevitable, but it is still a bad sign. As discontent has mounted among Republicans, some have been suggesting that the party could draft an outsider as its nominee at the convention in Cleveland this summer. Some have been calling for famed (retired) Marine General James Mattis to run. Unhappiness with the idea of a Donald Trump nomination has even, according to Tim Mak in the Daily Beast, led a group of wealthy Republican donors to consider drafting Mattis to run as a third-party candidate if Trump gets the nomination. The idea isn’t that Mattis could win the nomination, but that he might win enough states to throw the election into the House of Representatives, which is what happens if no candidate gets an outright majority of the Electoral College." (04/25/16)

http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2016/04/25/james-mattis-bubble-bursting-third-party-candidate-elections-2016-column/83492328

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Porn prohibitionists declare public health crisis

C4SS Center for a Stateless Society
by Logan Glitterbomb

"Last week, Governor Gary R. Herbert signed a resolution which declared porn a public health crisis in the state of Utah. This latest authoritarian move by anti-porn moralists has been defended by Utah state Senator Todd Weiler who said, 'This isn't just a religious moral issue. Some people want to make this about sex education; no boy or girl needs to see those images to learn how families are created.' And while we may agree that porn is not meant as a form of sex education, Sen. Weiler makes it clear by his statement that his views are indeed clouded by his religious views which see sex only as a way to create families." (04/25/16)

https://c4ss.org/content/44717

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Trump’s makeover will fail

The New Republic The New Republic
by Jeet Heer

"If Donald Trump’s political campaign ever gets re-told as an appropriately cheesy biopic, this current moment will be the crucial makeover scene, where the flawed hero finds a mentor who gives him a new polish needed to win. It’s easy to imagine how the scene would play out in an inspirational movie: The Trump campaign is in chaos as they realize he might not get a majority of delegates and his crude antics might alienate so many in the party as to hand over a contested convention to Senator Ted Cruz. As defeat looms, Trump turns to a grizzled political veteran in the form of Paul Manafort, who schools the roughhewn candidate on the necessity of being tactful. The refurbished Trump then goes on to win the Republican nomination and the general election. ... But the idea that Trump could reinvent himself mid-campaign has always been implausible." (04/22/16)

https://newrepublic.com/article/132950/trumps-makeover-will-fail

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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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