Progressive News Digest

News


| Commentary | Events |

FDA: Xolair raises risk of heart, brain problems

Fox News

"The asthma drug Xolair is associated with a higher risk of heart attack, mini-stroke, chest pain and blood clots in the lungs and veins, among other problems, though the extent of increased risk is unclear, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said on Friday. The FDA said it has added information about the increased risk to the drug's label after analyzing findings from a five-year safety study submitted by the drug's manufacturer, Genentech, a unit of Roche Holding AG, and 25 clinical trials comparing Xolair to a placebo. Xolair is an injectible drug that was originally approved in 2003 to treat moderate to severe asthma in adults and children aged 12 or over whose condition was not controlled by inhaled steroids." (09/29/14)

http://tinyurl.com/pljdmqs

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Six years after AIG bailout, trial asks: was it legal?

Reuters

"One of the more unusual trials to come out of the 2008 financial crisis is set to begin on Monday, when a federal judge will consider whether the U.S. government's rescue of American International Group Inc was, in fact, legal. In a case that explores the limits on U.S. government power in responding to major financial crises, the trial is expected to revisit in detail the New York Federal Reserve's September 2008 decision to extend a bailout package to AIG as the insurance giant was minutes from bankruptcy." (09/29/14)

http://tinyurl.com/namqbyt

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Ukraine: Nationalists tear down Lenin statue

BBC News [UK state media]

"Nationalists have torn down a statue of Lenin in the centre of Ukraine's second-largest city, Kharkiv, in a move supported by officials. People cheered and leapt for joy as the statue came crashing down. Pro-Russian demonstrators in the largely Russian-speaking city defended the statue in February, when President Viktor Yanukovych was ousted. Kharkiv escaped the violent unrest which swept through east Ukraine's [sic] other regions, Donetsk and Luhansk. A fragile ceasefire has been in place for weeks between pro-Russian separatists in those two regions." (09/28/14)

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-29405089

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Student debt may be preventing home sales

Christian Science Monitor

"The housing market recovery might be stronger but for this: Student debts are a sizable burden on young families -- the people who typically make up the important category called 'first time homebuyers.' By one new estimate, some 400,000 home sales may not happen this year because those college loans hold back potential buyers. 'Our conclusion is that 414,000 transactions will be lost in 2014 due to student debt. At a typical price of $200,000, that is $83 billion per year in lost volume,' concludes the analysis by John Burns Real Estate Consulting in Irvine, Calif." (09/29/14)

http://tinyurl.com/jwshx4m

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CA: “Affirmed consent” bill signed by Gov. Brown

San Francisco Chronicle

"Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill Sunday that requires colleges and universities in the state to adopt anti-sexual-assault policies that radically rewrite what constitutes consent, a move that some critics have called an unfair shift of the burden of proof to the accused. Under the new law, the standard for consent to sexual activity in campus judicial hearings shifts from whether or not a person said 'no' to whether both partners said 'yes.' Many universities already use what is known as the 'affirmed consent' standard when investigating sexual assault allegations, but the new law would require all campuses in the state to use the standard as a condition of receiving state funds for student financial aid." (09/29/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mk6ruc5

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Assange beamed into Nantucket as a hologram

Wikileaks Vanity Fair

"Julian Assange has figured out a way to escape his asylum in London. Sort of. Like Tupac Shakur, will.i.am, and Jem’s backing band before him, Assange, the embattled Wikileaks founder, shed his house arrest and corporeal form today, and appeared as a hologram at The Nantucket Project. ... The conference, a TED-type gathering of the intellectual elite of the Northeastern set, let Assange rub virtual elbows with the likes of Secretary of State John Kerry, former Secretary of the Treasury Larry Summers, poet Billy Collins and journalist Eugene Jarecki, who interviewed Assange’s hologram." (09/29/14)

http://tinyurl.com/py2pl2e

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Maher: Cops need to stop “going mental for no reason”

Raw Story

"On Real Time Friday night, Bill Maher lit into police officers for 'going mental for no reason. ... I totally get it, that this is the most strapped country in the world. We’re armed to the teeth. When you’re a policeman, every encounter might be that kind of encounter. And yet, every week we see police officers going mental for no reason,'" (09/28/14)

http://tinyurl.com/muvw2u7

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CA: Brown signs “yes means yes” law

ABC News

"Gov. Jerry Brown announced Sunday that he has signed a bill that makes California the first in the nation to define when 'yes means yes' and adopt requirements for colleges to follow when investigating sexual assault reports. ... The legislation says silence or lack of resistance does not constitute consent. Under the bill, someone who is drunk, drugged, unconscious or asleep cannot grant consent." (09/29/14)

http://tinyurl.com/phzy4ru

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Feds lag as drone use explodes

San Francisco Chronicle

"In the game of drones, Amazon, Facebook and Google all want a piece of the sky. Drones, also known as unmanned aerial vehicles, have existed for decades, although mainly associated with military organizations as weapons of war or spying. But over the past two years, the technologies now commonly found in smartphones (accelerometers, sensors and high-definition cameras) have accelerated development of a new breed of commercial drones used in real estate, agriculture and movies." (09/28/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mf7y7u8

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UT: Students protest BYU’s beard ban

Fox News

"A group of Brigham Young University students is protesting the Mormon church-owned school's ban on something its namesake once sported: a beard. About 50 students, some donning paper beards, biked, skateboarded or rollerbladed their way from the Provo City Library to campus during the 'Bike for Beards' protest on Friday night. 'I love BYU. I love being a student here,' protest organizer Shane Pittson said. 'But the rule on beards I find particularly outdated.'" (09/28/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mzx9wy8

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Serbia: Gay Pride march returns after four years

BBC News [UK state media]

"Serbia's first Gay Pride march for four years has been held in the capital Belgrade, amid huge security, including special forces and armoured vehicles. Waving rainbow flags, hundreds took the short march through empty streets. Authorities had cancelled the event every year since marchers were attacked in 2010 -- nine years after Gay Pride was first held in Belgrade. Serbia is keen to show increasing tolerance as it seeks to join the EU, the BBC's Guy De Launey says." (09/28/14)

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-29399404

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Hong Kong protests 101: What’s behind the city’s turmoil?

Christian Science Monitor

"Hong Kong is a 'special administrative region' within China, having been returned to mainland sovereignty in 1997 by Britain. But having been a British colony since 1842, Hong Kong developed a decidedly more Western form of government and bureaucracy than the rest of China. Its citizens enjoy a greater degree of civil liberties than those on the mainland, due to the 'one country, two systems' agreement between China and Britain. Per the terms of the handover, Hong Kong has not had China's socioeconomic model imposed upon it. Instead, it has been granted a 'high degree of autonomy as a special administrative region in all areas except defense and foreign affairs,' which will last until 2047." (09/28/14)

http://tinyurl.com/lnwunur

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Russia: Suspicions of US motives in Syria make cooperation unlikely

Reuters

"The United States and Russia see Islamic State as a common enemy but are failing to overcome deep mutual distrust and agree on how to tackle the threat together, making any role for Moscow in the U.S.-led campaign unlikely, say U.S. officials. Differences between the former Cold War foes are stark, say the officials. Moscow suspects Washington's ulterior motive is removal of its ally, Syria's President Bashar al-Assad. Washington refuses to consider working together as long as Moscow insists that U.S. strikes need Syrian and U.N. approval." (09/28/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mk8f9zu

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Scientists: Earth’s water older than the sun, came from interstellar ice

CNet News

"Somewhere between 30 and 50 percent of the water in the solar system -- including the water on Earth as well as the ice in comets, the discs around Saturn, meteorites and other planets -- was around before the birth of the sun, according to research conducted by astronomers at the University of Michigan. In a paper published in the journal Science, the team explains that the water originated in the molecular cloud -- the nebula -- that gave birth to the sun, and predates the solar system by around a million years." (09/25/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mcsem3l

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Air France pilots end strike after 14 days

USA Today

"ir France's leading pilots union on Sunday announced an end to its 14-day strike that grounded roughly half of the airline's flights, stranded passengers worldwide and led to stern shows of frustration by the French prime minister. ... The strike's end comes after Air France offered Wednesday to scrap a central part of a plan to shift most of its European operations to low-cost carrier Transavia. The plan prompted the strike, because pilots see it as a way to outsource their jobs to countries with lower taxes and labor costs." (09/28/14)

http://tinyurl.com/qbmsr44

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Holder to resign as US Attorney General

Reuters

"U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, an unapologetic liberal voice and one of President Barack Obama's closest allies, will announce on Thursday he is stepping down after a term marked by advances in civil rights and frequent battles with Republicans in Congress. Holder, the nation's first black chief prosecutor, will remain in office until a successor is nominated and confirmed, the Justice Department said." (09/25/14)

http://tinyurl.com/luu3exo

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GM compensation fund makes first offers to victims

Reuters

"The fund to compensate for deaths or injuries linked to General Motors Co vehicles with faulty ignition switches this week made its first cash offers to about 15 people, the office of the lawyer overseeing the program said on Wednesday. The fund will pay at least $1 million for each death claim or more if they had dependents. GM has set aside $400 million to cover the compensation costs. The total number of claims filed by Wednesday was up to 850 from the 675 claims through last Friday, including 150 death claims, said an official with the office of lawyer Kenneth Feinberg." (09/24/14)

http://tinyurl.com/lm2ypyz

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CT: Foley fends off claims of plagiarism

Connecticut Post

"Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Foley has disputed claims by Connecticut Democrats that parts of his urban action plan, unveiled Wednesday in New Britain, are plagiarized. Democrats charged that Foley took passages from sources including The Pelican Post, Heartland.org and the Connecticut Policy Institute, a conservative, in-state think tank that Foley bankrolled after he lost the 2010 gubernatorial race. ... Foley said that Democrats are trying to make up for their neglect of the cities under Gov. Dannel P. Malloy through personal attacks." (09/24/14)

http://tinyurl.com/on7zgke

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Who’s trying to push Mitt Romney into 2016 race?

Christian Science Monitor

"Who is pushing Mitt Romney to run for president again in 2016? Somebody is, and it’s probably not a Romney family member. If it were, they’d know more what Mitt himself is thinking. As it is we’re getting a steady drip of stories that say things along the line of 'the door’s not closed, he’s keeping a close eye on the field and his powder dry.' Or some other mash-up of journalist phrases. The latest in this series is the highest-quality Romney speculation yet." [editor's note: My guess is that the people trying to push Romney to run again are people who want the GOP to lose again - TLK] (09/25/14)

http://tinyurl.com/olb89qn

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Big salaries latest ammo in startup talent wars

San Francisco Chronicle

"In Silicon Valley, talent is everything. Some companies hand out lavish, $20,000 bonuses or all-expenses-paid vacations to anyone who can point them to the next coding genius. Others hang out at tech company shuttle bus stops, hoping to snag talent from Facebook or Google as engineers line up for their morning commute. Weeby.co in Mountain View, however, is wooing workers not with stock or perks but with higher salaries." (09/25/14)

http://tinyurl.com/o3do39e

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Science: Water discovered in small, warm exoplanet’s atmosphere

Raw Story

"Astronomers have detected water vapor in the atmosphere of a planet that orbits a star far beyond our solar system. Observations of the Neptune-sized planet, which lies 120 light years from Earth in the constellation of Cygnus, revealed that its atmosphere was mostly hydrogen with around 25% made up from water vapor. Until now, researchers had been frustrated in their efforts to study the atmospheres of planets much smaller than Jupiter because their skies were thick with clouds. The problem was so persistent that astronomers had begun to think that all warm, small planets formed with substantial cloud cover." (09/25/14)

http://tinyurl.com/oanm5x6

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Study: Six ways food affects your mood

Everyday Health

"Can a sugar high make kids bounce off the walls? Most parents would swear to it. But according to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (a Harvard teaching hospital) numerous studies have failed to find the link between sugar and hyperactivity. So is the food-mood link a myth? Not quite, but it's more about feelings. 'The link between emotions and eating is no myth,' says Sherry L. Pagoto, PhD, associate professor of preventive and behavioral medicine at University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester. 'People do eat to feel better, so the link is there.'" (09/25/14)

http://tinyurl.com/q4g9lkq

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Report: “No evidence” of IS subway plots

BBC News [UK state media]

"US officials have said they have seen no evidence Islamic State militants were plotting to attack underground rail networks in the US and Paris. Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has said his intelligence officials had uncovered plans for such an attack. Speaking on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, he said the details he received seemed credible. But senior US sources have said they had no knowledge of a plot on any subway systems." (09/25/14)

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-29369855

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OH: Federal judge says not letting Republicans rig elections might bring “confusion and disarray”

Houston Chronicle

"A federal judge has denied two disqualified Libertarian candidates immediate access to Ohio's fall ballot and hints the decision may foreshadow his final judgment. In an order issued Wednesday, Judge Michael Watson said adding Charlie Earl and Steven Linnabary to Nov. 4 ballots this late could result in voter 'confusion and disarray.'" (09/25/14)

http://tinyurl.com/lkzlllw

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Karzai: US has not wanted peace in Afghanistan

Fox News

"Outgoing Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai took one final swipe at the U.S. Tuesday, telling a gathering of Afghan government employees that the 13-year American-led military action had failed to bring peace to his country. 'We don't have peace because the Americans didn't want peace,' said Karzai, who will officially give way to President-elect Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai when the latter is sworn in Monday." (09/24/14)

http://tinyurl.com/k9f7uva

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Commentary


| News | Events |

It’s the inequality, stupid

In These Times
by David Moberg

"President Barack Obama said last December that inequality is 'the defining challenge of our time.' Americans agree. A Pew survey from June found that 62 percent think the country’s economic system unfairly favors the powerful, and 78 percent believe that too much power is concentrated in the hands of a few large companies. Campaigning against the ongoing takeover of the country by the superrich would seem to be a winning strategy for Democrats, then, as they struggle to hold onto the Senate and pick up a few governor’s seats in November. As a campaign issue, growing economic inequality plays to the Democrats’ image as the party of the little guy and to their brightest moments in power, such as the New Deal, when they made the country much more equal." (09/29/14)

http://tinyurl.com/lu5ko5h

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AWOL

The Cagle Post
by Mark Streeter

Cartoon. (09/28/14)

http://www.cagle.com/2014/09/awol/

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They have the cash; make them spend it

San Francisco Chronicle
by Jon Carroll

"At least there’s one entity benefiting from the drought: Caltrans. The less rainwater there is, the less conversation there is about leaks on the Bay Bridge. But last week’s rainstorm, which we barely remember -- oh, look, the ground is wet; who knew? -- fired up all the chatter again. Jaxon Van Derbeken, of this very sprawling media company, has been all over this story. He seems to understand more than the engineers themselves; he certainly understands more than me. It’s all about the caulking and the grouting, according to his reporting." (09/29/14)

http://tinyurl.com/kwjpedv

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The fake terror threat used to justify bombing Syria

The Intercept
by Glenn Greenwald and Murtaza Hussain

"As the Obama Administration prepared to bomb Syria without congressional or U.N. authorization, it faced two problems. The first was the difficulty of sustaining public support for a new years-long war against ISIS, a group that clearly posed no imminent threat to the 'homeland.' A second was the lack of legal justification for launching a new bombing campaign with no viable claim of self-defense or U.N. approval. The solution to both problems was found in the wholesale concoction of a brand new terror threat that was branded 'The Khorasan Group.'" (09/28/14)

http://tinyurl.com/kn22yxa

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In the next terrorist attack, will we keeping our heads?

The American Prospect
by Paul Waldman

"Imagine it's six months from now. A 19-year-old man walks on to the Mall in Washington on a weekend afternoon. Groups of tourists are walking about from one monument to another. He takes his backpack off his shoulders, reaches in, and removes the semiautomatic rifle he bought a month before at a gun show in Virginia. ... He opens fire on the crowd, and before U.S. Park Police are able to reach him and put him down, he has killed six people and wounded eleven others. ... Now that we have begun a new military engagement in the Middle East, this event or one like it is a possibility -- indeed, probably more of a possibility than it was before. ... And since it's a possibility, we ought to think about what would happen afterward, so we don't completely lose our minds." (09/29/14)

http://tinyurl.com/n7soavv

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America’s radical, underground climate change countermovement

CounterPunch CounterPunch
by Robert Hunziker

"It’s not new news that a well-funded effort to destroy the sanctity of scientific evidence of climate change has persisted in America for many, many years. It is out in the open and written about in countless articles, the Koch brothers and too many others to name, highjack the news and plant stories wherever and whenever possible, all funded by deep pocket billionaires. It’s a blatant right-wing sell-out of everything democracy ever stood for. And, it’s remarkable that everybody knows all about it! It’s absolutely remarkable, but caution is in order because it’s the unknowns behind their intentions that’s most threatening." (09/29/14)

http://tinyurl.com/ltay3qx

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Why an unequal planet can never be green

Our Future
by Sam Pizzigati

"What is it going to take to save the planet from environmental devastation? Sheer people power? We certainly saw that on the eve of last week’s United Nations Climate Summit in New York. Some 400,000 marchers packed the streets of Manhattan. Millions more rallied that same day in over 2,600 other actions in 162 countries. Or can simple shaming get world leaders to start seriously addressing the climate change challenge? We saw some serious shaming last week, too." (09/28/14)

http://tinyurl.com/lmmvxo2

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They’re making up stuff

Justin Raimondo Antiwar.com
by Justin Raimondo

"No one had ever heard of a group named 'Khorasan' before: it simply appeared spontaneously, like Minerva from the head of Zeus -- or from the head of some war propagandist somewhere in the bowels of the Pentagon. We are told the very name of this mysterious group was 'classified,' at least according to the dubious Rep. Peter King (R-IRA), but as Glenn Greenwald points out here a great number of anonymous government officials were glad to drop this hot stuff into the eager hands of those court stenographers otherwise known as 'mainstream journalists,' who dutifully 'reported' it as the gospel truth." (09/29/14)

http://original.antiwar.com/justin/2014/09/28/theyre-making-up-stuff/

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Politics, out of style for good reason

David S. D'Amato Center for a Stateless Society
by David S. D'Amato

"For Volpe, young people’s distrust of the presidency, Congress and Washington generally is an unfortunate problem, something that politicians must 'take heed of,' finding a way to inspire us back into civic-mindedness. But as a millennial myself I want to suggest that, assuming Volpe’s polling is truly representative, my generation’s cynicism about politics -- our distrust of and distaste for politicians and the federal government -- is a natural and healthy response to our environment." (09/27/14)

http://c4ss.org/content/31988

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Is Uber’s business model screwing its workers?

In These Times
by Avi Asher-Schapiro

"Kazi drives a Toyota Prius for Uber in Los Angeles. He hates it. He barely makes minimum wage, and his back hurts after long shifts. But every time a passenger asks what it’s like working for Uber, he lies: 'It’s like owning my own business; I love it.' Kazi lies because his job depends on it. After passengers finish a ride, Uber asks them to rate their driver on a scale from one to five stars. Drivers with an average below 4.7 can be deactivated -- tech-speak for fired." [editor's note: I haven't taken Uber as yet, and only used Lyft once so far; however, somebody needs to tell these troll passengers giving shitty ratings that they're killing off the only challenge to the taxi cartels! - SAT] (09/27/14)

http://tinyurl.com/nvvvc2o

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Pete Peterson or Sacramento business as usual

San Francisco Chronicle
by Debra J. Saunders

"'Yeah, I have an 'R' next to my name,' secretary of state hopeful Pete Peterson shrugged when addressing The Chronicle editorial board Monday. In a state where a modest 28 percent of registered voters are Republicans, Peterson’s GOP affiliation isn’t exactly a big draw. And it may not mean much to learn that his day job is executive director of the Davenport Institute for Public Engagement and Civic Leadership. But then, Peterson winked, his rival, Democratic Sen. Alex Padilla of Pacoima (Los Angeles County), has a title that may turn off some voters as well. Quoth Peterson: 'He’s got 'state senator' next to his name.'" (09/26/14)

http://tinyurl.com/njtkjpj

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Chart of the day

The American Prospect
by Paul Waldman

"Our chart of the day comes from this article in Politico by Doug McAdam and Karina Kloos, about how the contemporary Republican party has its roots in the racial struggles of the 1960s. It's a good overview of that history, even if you may not find any shocking revelations there. But this chart they use is particularly striking, showing the racial makeup of Barack Obama's and Mitt Romney's voters in 2012." (09/26/14)

http://prospect.org/article/chart-day-6

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All in all, Holder just another brick in the wall

Reuters
by Jack Shafer

"Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. first signaled his exit from office so long ago that every reporter and pundit who covers the Department of Justice has stockpiled enough copy assessing his tenure to fill a mattress. Like Derek Jeter, Holder announced his farewell tour this past February, telling the New Yorker‘s Jeffrey Toobin that he would depart in 2014. The admission prompted journalists to update and fine tune their critiques of the attorney general with emerging details, the way obituary writers tweak their pre-written obituaries of famous, old people to keep them fresh and newsy." (09/26/14)

http://tinyurl.com/os2ket5

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Rediscovering libertarian feminism

Students For Liberty Students For Liberty
by Cory Massimino

"For nearly a century, many libertarians have seemingly forgotten many issues their 19th century forerunners talked about. One of the most crucial topics was feminism, which gets a bad rap in most libertarian circles today, perhaps somewhat justifiably so because modern feminism is so closely knit with pro-government voices. However, rightly understood, libertarianism and feminism are natural allies and can learn from one another. Unfortunately the libertarian feminist went nearly extinct in the 20th century as libertarians increasingly aligned with the right." (09/26/14)

http://tinyurl.com/k7lphdj

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Demanding justice for dead young black men

Our Future Blog
by Terrance Heath

"What passes for justice in police shootings, and extra-legal shootings, of young black men neither satisfies nor inspires us to 'trust the system.' In response to the epidemic of police violence that’s taken the lives of Michael Brown, John Crawford, and countless others, a coalition including Join Hands Up United, Organization for Black Struggle, Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment plan a 'Weekend of Resistance' in Ferguson, Missouri, October 10–13, to build momentum for a nationwide movement against police violence. News in three cases this week underscores the urgent need for such a movement." (09/26/14)

http://tinyurl.com/kcrzqf4

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Toward the agro-police state

CounterPunch CounterPunch
by Carmelo Ruiz-Marrero

"Welcome to the brave new world of precision farming, in which every farmer will need a wifi connection and an iPad. Precision ag, as it is often called, is the collective name of a series of new agricultural data and crop monitoring technologies. The alleged benefits of these new techno packages include increased yields, better information for decision making in the farm, reduction in the use and overuse of agrochemicals and fertilizer, and increased profits. It relies on cutting edge technologies like geographic information systems (GIS), remote sensing, wireless internet, portable computers, high-speed data processing, and global positioning (GPS)." (09/26/14

http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/09/26/toward-the-agro-police-state/

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Hardest-hitting anti-Koch ad ever

The Nation Blog
by Leslie Savan

"Maybe it’s the power of the cartoon, but this has to be the toughest ad yet to target the Koch brothers and their effort to buy the US Senate. The animated ad shows North Carolina Republican candidate for the Senate, Thom Tillis, performing for the Kochs, taking money from education and seniors and making it 'magically' appear in his patrons’ pockets. State house speaker Tillis is in a tight race against Democratic senator Kate Hagan; whoever wins may determine which party controls the Senate." (09/25/14)

http://tinyurl.com/qcye2y2

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Saudi Arabia attacks

The Cagle Post
by Cameron Cardow

Cartoon. (09/25/14)

http://www.cagle.com/2014/09/saudi-arabia-attacks/

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War without end? (Syria 2024 … 2034 …)

Reuters
by Jack Shafer

"This must be what perpetual war looks like. In a Pentagon briefing yesterday, Army Lieutenant General Bill Mayville called the cruise missiles and bombs flung at targets in Syria 'the beginning of a credible and sustainable persistent campaign.' How long will the campaign last? 'I would think of it in terms of years,' Mayville responded. Although the bombs exploded on Syrian soil, they didn’t target Bashar al-Assad’s battered, murderous regime. The bombs were addressed to Syria’s enemy, the Islamic State, a nascent nation that has pledged to topple both Iraq and Syria, as well as Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, Cyprus, and parts of southern Turkey, and erect a caliphate on the parcel." (09/24/14)

http://tinyurl.com/oe6dkkp

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Viewing with alarm, plus a little gloom

San Francisco Chronicle
by Jon Carroll

"'Peace movement: War protesters are largely silent on latest conflict' read a front-page headline in this very newspaper, which is so much more than a newspaper. It seemed like an eminently fair headline, and good question: Where were the intellectually fearless left-wing intellectuals? Where were the usual suspects viewing with alarm? Where, for that matter, was I? Oh, I deplored the recent ramping up of hostilities. I pointed out that these things never go well for us and that there was no good ending either way, so why not stay out? But that’s a sort of tactical argument; I couldn’t bring myself to issue any kind of moral denunciation, despite the fact that U.S. forces are once again in danger of killing children." (09/24/14)

http://tinyurl.com/ongag8p

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Public education: Transformation, not “reform”

The Nation
by staff

"Charter-school advocates and others who claim the mantle of education reform have now seen their ideas put into practice in a number of areas: from high-stakes testing to digital learning to the takeover of struggling public schools. The results are in. How are they doing? Suffice it to say, if this were a high-stakes test, they’d fail. As the articles in this issue illustrate, the strategies pursued by education reformers frequently dovetail with those of austerity hawks. The latter burnish their conservative credentials by cutting budgets and defunding schools. The reformers sweep in to capitalize on the situation, introducing charter chains like Rocketship and K12, which produce no real benefits for students." (09/25/14)

http://tinyurl.com/qjjsgex

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David Bowie’s radicalism

In These Times
by Sarah Jaffe

"Philosopher Simon Critchley starts off his new book, Bowie, by introducing us to David Bowie the way he discovered him: July 6, 1972, on the BBC’s 'Top of the Pops,' in a catsuit with spiked orange hair and makeup, singing a song about a man come down from the stars. Critchley was 12. Later, his mother bought the single they had heard, 'Starman,' and when he played it the first time, 'the sheer bodily excitement of that noise was almost too much to bear.' Bowie, now 67, has put out 26 studio albums, jumpstarted (and killed) genres, and shaped the course of rock & roll. His first album came out in 1967; his latest, after a 10-year hiatus, was released in 2013. It is impossible to say how many artists he’s influenced." (09/25/14)

http://inthesetimes.com/article/17159/david_bowies_radicalism

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Voters will oppose politicians who support “NAFTA-style” trade deals

Our Future Blog
by Dave Johnson

"Politicians need to know that the public 'gets it.' So-called 'trade' deals that were sold with a promise to increase jobs and prosperity have instead sent jobs out of the country and forced wages down. People get it. Ask people what they think of NAFTA and you’ll learn that people get it. 'NAFTA' is a catch-all phrase for these deals, like opening up trade with China in 2000, the recent Korea deal and the upcoming Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). All of these deals were and are designed to give the owners of giant corporations more power over the ability of We the People to demand fair pay, safe and reasonable working conditions and a clean environment." (09/25/14)

http://tinyurl.com/pu9b2kp

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Reason pollsters: Check your premises

Kevin Carson Center for a Stateless Society
by Kevin Carson

"Ekins’s awareness of the political spectrum spans all the way from M to N. She really should get out more. There’s a group far to the left of run-of-the-mill state socialists and Social Democrats -- let alone the center-left goo-goos she identifies with the 'left' -- who are far more 'wary of government' than she can imagine. We’re called anarchists. American 'liberalism,' on the other hand, is a managerial-professional ideology going back to the turn of the 20th century. Far from favoring class struggle or promoting the interests of workers against management, it takes an engineering approach to society as a whole, seeking to stabilize it and reduce defects in the same way industrial engineers do to production processes." (09/25/14)

http://c4ss.org/content/32178

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Why the culture war will never die

The American Prospect
by Paul Waldman

"Depending on how you define it, the American culture war between liberals and conservatives can stretch back all the way to the nineteenth century. But I prefer to date its current iteration to the 1960s, when the hippies and the squares gazed across a high school football field at one another and said, 'Man, I hate those guys.' However the actual 1960s played out, in our memories, the hippies were definitely the good guys, and the winners in the end." (09/25/14)

http://prospect.org/article/why-culture-war-will-never-die

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Israeli government eventually admits that Mohammed is the top baby name

The Intercept
by Murtaza Hussain

"Are Palestinian babies actually babies? That’s been a surprisingly thorny question for the Israeli government this week, when the Population, Immigration and Border Authority at first declared the Hebrew name 'Yosef' the most popular baby name for the past year, and then was forced to admit that the nation’s most popular name was actually 'Mohammed' -- assuming one includes Arab babies. By their nature, babies are generally uninterested in politics. But in Israel’s highly-charged political environment, even infants are imbued with broader significance." (09/24/14)

http://tinyurl.com/lx8m9xu

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Obama’s Playstation bombardiers

CounterPunch CounterPunch
by Pepe Escobar

"The Tomahawks are finally flying again -- propelled by newspeak. 42 Tomahawks fired from a Sixth Fleet destroyer parked in Mare Nostrum, plus F-22s raising hell and Hellfires spouted by drones, that’s a neat mini-Shock and Awe to honor Caliph Ibrahim, aka Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, self-declared leader of Islamic State. It’s all so surgical." (09/25/14)

http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/09/24/obamas-playstation-bombardiers/

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Obama is president. Peace protests, RIP

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

"Where are the peaceniks? Why aren’t they marching on Market Street to protest President Obama’s use of military force in Syria and Iraq? The Chronicle’s Kevin Fagan interviewed peace activists who told him that their ranks are numb, in part because America has been at war for more than a decade. Some even wonder if the Islamic State is so barbaric as to merit air strikes. 'People are war-weary and have already been very disappointed in President Obama for some time,' Peaceworkers Executive Director David Hartsough said. That’s right; they’re disappointed. After GOP President George W. Bush sent U.S. troops into Iraq with congressional authorization in 2002, activists took to the streets, but after a Democrat ordered air strikes over Syria without explicit authorization, they’ve been subdued. ... I understand. Partisans on both sides of the aisle like to think that if they were in charge, the world would be a safer place." (09/24/14)

http://tinyurl.com/magfnw4

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Missiles & rebels: What could possibly go wrong?

The American Prospect
by Paul Waldman

"We've been through this once before. In 2002 and 2003, the Bush administration and its supporters told us that the Iraq War would be a piece of cake. We'd storm into Baghdad, be 'greeted as liberators,' there would be no sectarian conflict because 'Iraq's always been very secular,' and a glorious tide of peace and democracy would flow across the Middle East. As we later found out, there were people within the administration trying to think about what to do if everything didn't go so swimmingly, but their warnings were ignored by the people at the top. And so we got a war that lasted eight years, cost the lives of 4,000 American troops (not to mention a couple of hundred thousand Iraqis) and continues to haunt us to this day." (09/24/14)

http://tinyurl.com/poth7e6

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Uncle Sam gets wires crossed on data privacy

Reuters
by Reynolds Holding

"Uncle Sam has gotten his wires crossed on internet data privacy. A hacker went to prison for exposing private customer information that AT&T failed to protect from online access. Now U.S. prosecutors are defending their right to do essentially the same thing in the Silk Road drug-website case. Anti-hacking laws are tough to take seriously when even enforcers can’t decide what’s allowed. The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act prohibits using or accessing computers without authorization. What that means, though, is far from clear. Several courts have ruled, for example, that almost any breach of an employer’s computer policies can be a crime. And a federal jury convicted Andrew Auernheimer in 2012 for, in effect, revealing a website’s security flaws." (09/24/14)

http://tinyurl.com/ojdrc5m

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Why white people’s awareness of racism isn’t enough

The Nation Blog
by Mychal Denzel Smith

"According to a survey conducted by the Public Religion Institute, 51 percent of white Americans agree that black people and other racial minorities are treated unfairly in the criminal justice system. That’s up from 42 percent in 2013. If one of the consequences of the last year of high-profile trials (in which justice for black victims was hard to find) and subsequent outrage and protest is that a slight majority of white people now understand that the justice system is racist, then perhaps everything hasn’t been in vain. However, this data point isn’t reason enough to become totally optimistic." (09/24/14)

http://tinyurl.com/pgadocm

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The rats of Patna

In These Times
by Amitava Kumar

"In Patna, the capital of Bihar, the city where I grew up, rats have burrowed under the railway platform causing it to collapse in places. In the library at Patna University, I heard that rats had taken over a section of the stacks and the library was closed. Newspapers periodically carry reports that babies have been bitten by rats. One such report helpfully explained that it was the traces of food on the unwashed faces of infants that attracted the rodents. In the middle of the night one winter, during a visit to my parent’s house in Patna, I was sitting at the dining table with my jet-lagged 2-year-old son, watching a cartoon on my computer. We must have been sitting there quietly for about half an hour before my little boy asked, 'Baba, what is that?' He was pointing beyond the screen. There were two enormous rats walking away from us. They looked like stout ladies in tiny heels, on their way to market." (09/24/14)

http://inthesetimes.com/article/17162/the_rats_of_patna

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Ayn Rand-themed libertarian utopia was a fraud

Our Future
by Richard Eskow

"The theme of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged [was], according to Ms. Rand herself, 'what happens to the world when the Prime Movers go on strike.' Those prime movers are corporate executives ('the motor of the world') and Rand imagines what would happen if they all just went away. To Rand this is nothing less than 'a picture of the world with its motor cut off.' Ouch. Paging Dr. Freud. In Rand’s novel the great, throbbing 'motor of the world' (it’s made of executives, remember?) retreats to an Atlantis-like idyll known as 'Galt’s Gulch.' Without their ingenuity and drive the nation descends into chaos, leading many long pages later to their triumphant return and anointment as leaders of a new libertarian order." [editor's note: There are so many things wrong with this analysis (starting with equating Rand's free-marketeer entrepreneurs with today's corporati?), it's almost amusing - SAT] (09/24/14)

http://tinyurl.com/o8eaag8

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Beheadings, mania and threat inflation

CounterPunch CounterPunch
by Binoy Kampmark

"No politician on this planet is less original. Seeming like a lumbering brontosaurus, the Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott moves through meeting after meeting in an insentient daze that only lifts when stock terms are used. 'Terrorism' so happens to be one of them. The Australian use of the ISIS beheadings as a pretext to transform a distant country into a crude if clumsy police state is something to behold. The chances of a ceremonial beheading in Australia by masked and brooding youths drunk on Koranic bliss are as remote as finding actual witches in the village undergrowth of Salem." (09/24/14)

http://tinyurl.com/oy3hxuf

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Crashing the party of Lincoln

C4SS Center for a Stateless Society
by Joel Schlosberg

"Richardson writes that the GOP was formed 'in opposition to the wealthy slaveholders,' implying an opposition to a wealthy elite per se. But the party always aimed merely to replace the slaveowners' economic elite with its own Hamiltonian industrial elite. The Civil War was the fountainhead of the alliance between the military and a politically connected elite that Eisenhower called the 'military-industrial complex.'" (09/23/14)

http://c4ss.org/content/31424

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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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