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Archive for August 22nd, 2011

Never mind why…

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 22nd, 2011 4:45 am by HL

Never mind why…
The only comfort of America’s illogical use of resources on prejudice and emotion is that were not alone…wait a minute that isn’t comforting at all.

The question of “why?” was not allowed be asked in Great Britain earlier this month when an instance of police violence eventually prompted widespread rioting across the country’s largest cities.

For example:

Here’s what was reported shortly thereafter, but not even “dared” to be considered in relationship to rioting:

The increase in unemployment appears to have been most concentrated among the young, with unemployment among 18 to 24-year-olds increasing to 18% in Q2, from 17.7% in Q1

That’s well more than double the unemployment rate in the UK as a whole (but not as high as the rate in this country USA! USA! USA!).

But like a good modern ‘Villagers’ everywhere the problem immediately became ‘young people are not taught about respect or coddled’ and other fascistic-sounding nonsense, leading to this:

The tough sentencing in the aftermath of the riots has led to outbreaks of unrest in prisons across the country, as new research for The Independent on Sunday reveals that the courts’ approach to riot-related offences has piled millions of pounds on to the bill for running overcrowded prisons.

Ah yes, as ever the solution to government and societal problems is not to look for causes or ways to correct them, it is to SPEND MORE MONEY ON THE JAILS! (but not as much as this country USA! USA! USA!)

FREEDOM!!!



Taking the Justice Out of the Justice System

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 22nd, 2011 4:44 am by HL

Taking the Justice Out of the Justice System
By Karen J. Greenberg, TomDispatch As the 10th anniversary of 9/11 approaches, the unexpected extent of the damage Americans have done to themselves and their institutions is coming into better focus.

By Karen J. Greenberg, TomDispatch

As the 10th anniversary of 9/11 approaches, the unexpected extent of the damage Americans have done to themselves and their institutions is coming into better focus.


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Jobs Program

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DA Reported Likely To Drop DSK Case

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 22nd, 2011 4:43 am by HL

DA Reported Likely To Drop DSK Case
NEW YORK — The sexual assault charges that cost Dominique Strauss-Kahn his job as head of the International Monetary Fund likely will be dropped by…

Obama Administration Puts Pressure On NY AG
Eric T. Schneiderman, the attorney general of New York, has come under increasing pressure from the Obama administration to drop his opposition to a wide-ranging…

Economists Prefer Cuts Over Taxes, Survey Finds
NEW YORK — The majority of economists surveyed by the National Association for Business Economics believe that the federal deficit should be reduced only or…

Earl Ofari Hutchinson: The GOP’s Phony “Plantationism” Charge Against Democrats
Florida GOP Congressman Allen West, in his trademark shoot-from-the-lip style, made brief news recently when he dredged out the worn term” plantationism” to describe the alleged relationship between blacks and Democrats.

Al Eisele: Why I Don’t Want Another President From Texas
Three of the last nine presidents were from Texas and each of them led us into disastrous wars that have divided our nation, bankrupted our economy, undermined our world image, eroded our military might and killed and maimed tens of thousands.


DHS Halts Some Deportation Cases, Will Conduct Case By Case Review

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 22nd, 2011 4:42 am by HL

DHS Halts Some Deportation Cases, Will Conduct Case By Case Review
The Department of Homeland Security announced Thursday that it would change the way it handles deportation cases of illegal immigrants to allow those who qualify to apply to stay in the country on a work permit, while prioritizing the cases of convicted criminals.


Florida Secretary Of State Pens Incomplete Defense Of Controversial Voting Law
Florida Secretary of State Kurt Browning has an interesting definition of the word “all.”

Police Arrest News Of The World’s Hollywood Reporter Over Phone Hacking
Scotland Yard made its thirteenth arrest related to the News Of The World phone hacking scandal, this time taking award-winning Hollywood reporter James Desborough into custody on Thursday.



Rick Perry in Outer Space

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 22nd, 2011 4:40 am by HL

Rick Perry in Outer Space


Democrats Considered Recalling Christie

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 22nd, 2011 4:39 am by HL

Democrats Considered Recalling Christie
New Jersey Democrats briefly considering mounting a recall effort against Gov. Chris Christie (R). the Newark Star Ledger reports.

But “myriad potential drawbacks” caused them to reject the idea, “including the real possibility that failure would strengthen Christie, and setting such a precedent could make this a chaotic weapon regularly used against governors of both parties.”

“And there are unresolved legal issues. Democrats believe the law would mean Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno (R) would be recalled as well, since she was elected with Christie, allowing Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D) to assume the office. But if they were wrong, Guadagno could simply assume office, appoint Christie as lieutenant governor, quit and allow him to get the big job again.”

Special Election Becomes Referendum on Obama
Once viewed as a “sleepy sideshow,” the September 13 special election to fill former Rep. Anthony Weiner’s (D-NY) seat in Congress “has become something far more unsettling to Democrats: a referendum on the president and his party that is highlighting the surprisingly raw emotions of the electorate,” the New York Times reports.

“National Democrats, alarmed by a poll that showed the contest far closer than anticipated, are privately fretting that even a close outcome in a working-class swath of Brooklyn and Queens may foreshadow broader troubles for the party in 2012.”


Libya: Heavy Fighting After Rebels Surge Into the Capital

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 22nd, 2011 4:38 am by HL

Libya: Heavy Fighting After Rebels Surge Into the Capital

Battle Rages For Tripoli
Libyan Rebels Enter Central Tripoli, Crowds Celebrate


Slouching Toward a Double Dip, For No Good Reason

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 22nd, 2011 4:37 am by HL

Slouching Toward a Double Dip, For No Good Reason
Imagine your house is burning. You call the fire department but your call isn’t answered because every fire fighter in town is debating whether there will be enough water to fight fires over the next ten years, even though water…

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Microeconomics, Macroeconomics, Home Economics Not the Same, No?
These are all different spheres that work differently, right? How long will we keep hearing these analogies about balancing household budgets or belt-tightening? Aside from the fact that it often makes sense for households and businesses to take on debt,…


Huntsman Slams Perry On Global Warming And Secession, Suggests Perry Is ?Unelectable?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 22nd, 2011 4:36 am by HL

Huntsman Slams Perry On Global Warming And Secession, Suggests Perry Is ?Unelectable?
In an interview this morning with ABC News’ Jake Tapper, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman repeatedly ripped his fellow GOP presidential candidate Texas Gov. Rick Perry for Perry’s “extreme” views on global warming, monetary policy and secession: TAPPER: [C]omments from Governor Perry prompted you to Tweet, quote: “To be clear, I believe in evolution and […]

In an interview this morning with ABC News’ Jake Tapper, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman repeatedly ripped his fellow GOP presidential candidate Texas Gov. Rick Perry for Perry’s “extreme” views on global warming, monetary policy and secession:

TAPPER: [C]omments from Governor Perry prompted you to Tweet, quote: “To be clear, I believe in evolution and trust scientists on global warming. Call me crazy.” Were you just being cheeky or do you think there’s a serious problem with what Governor Perry said?

HUNTSMAN: I think there’s a serious problem. The minute that the Republican Party becomes the party – the anti-science party, we have a huge problem. We lose a whole lot of people who would otherwise allow us to win the election in 2012. . . .

TAPPER: A former Bush political guru, Karl Rove, called [Perry’s claim that monetary stimulus amounts to treason] “un-presidential.” What do you think?

HUNTSMAN: Well, I don’t know if that’s pre-secession Texas or post-secession Texas. But in any event, I’m not sure that the average voter out there is going to hear that treasonous remark and say that sounds like a presidential candidate, that sounds like someone who is serious on the issues. . . . I think when you find yourself at an extreme end of the Republican Party you make yourself unelectable.

Watch it:

It will be up to the voters to decide how electable Rick Perry is, but Huntsman is absolutely correct that Perry is an extremist even within a deeply radicalized Republican Party. Perry believes that Social Security and Medicare are unconstitutional. He didn’t just flirt with secession, he signed an unconstitutional law claiming that Texas has the power to nullify federal laws it doesn’t like. Perry opposes letting voters elect their own senators. He thinks federal environmental laws are unconstitutional “nonsense.” And he wants to eliminate all federal involvement in education, a position that would cause millions of college students to lose their Pell Grants and student loans.

Needless to say, Texas has suffered dearly because of Perry’s poor governance. One quarter of Texas children live in poverty. It has one of the highest high school dropout rates in the country, and one of the highest teen birth rates. Texas has the highest percentage of minimum wage jobs in the nation and the worst health insurance rate in the country.

Nor is there any truth to incessant right-wing claims that Texas is a Mecca for new jobs. Texas’ unemployment rate ranks 24th in the country — slightly worse than New York’s — and the state’s unemployment rate would be much worse if it wasn’t for the fact that, as a major oil producer, Texas’ economy benefits enormously from an era of sky-high gas prices. “The Dallas Fed has found that, every time oil prices rise 10 percent, Texas gets a 0.5 percent GDP bump.”

So Huntsman is absolutely right to call out Perry’s record, which has been an almost unbroken streak of extremist statements, failed policies and economic misery.

McKibben and 100 Others Arrested at White House, Many Held Until Monday, “Lighting a Fire” Among Demonstrators
Bill McKibben sends this message from jail: The only thing we need in here is more company. We don’t need your sympathy, we need your company. The U.S. Park Police have decided to take a get tough attitude with those protesting the Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline: On a phone call late this afternoon, U.S. […]

Bill McKibben sends this message from jail:

The only thing we need in here is more company. We don’t need your sympathy, we need your company.

The U.S. Park Police have decided to take a get tough attitude with those protesting the Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline:

On a phone call late this afternoon, U.S. Park Police told organizers of the sit-in that the jail time was expressly intended as a deterrent for future participants.

The Park Police were especially concerned that sit-ins would continue during the week of events beginning on August 28 surrounding the dedication of a new memorial to civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., one of the greatest exponents of creative nonviolence.

In multiple phone calls and in person meetings before today’s sit-in, the Park Police had previously assured organizers that participants in the protest would be facing a “post and forfeit” situation, meaning they would pay a $100 fine and be released the same day. While participants in this morning’s sit-in were trained the evening before to prepare for the worst, many were operating on the “post and forfeit” assumption due to police assurances.

How much better to clamp down hard on those trying to avert catastrophic global warming, than, say, those who are working to accelerate it (see “Tar sands: Still dirty after all these years” and Hansen slams Keystone XL: “Exploitation of tar sands would make it implausible to stabilize climate and avoid disastrous global climate impacts”).

You can get updates at Tar Sands Action.  Here’s the latest, More Arrests “Lighting a fire”:

If the police thought that they would discourage more Americans from taking part in the sit-ins at the White House by keeping Bill McKibben and Saturday’s participants in jail, they were completely wrong. Another group of over 70 people gathered in Lafeyette Square Park today. 45 of them were arrested for the second day of sit-ins at the White House.

“Saturday’s arrests and overnight jailings are already lighting a fire,” said Mike Tidwell, director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, who was also arrested Saturday. “More people are now inspired, determined, and committed to join. On Monday alone over 20 DC-area doctors, lawyers and students will be going to jail to chant, sing, and stop the pipeline. They’ll be joining Nebraska ranchers and others nationwide. Word is spreading.”

Earlier this summer, a young man named Tim DeChristopher was sentenced for two years in jail for disrupting the sale of federal land for oil and gas drilling. He and his allies in Utah spoke of the need for “joy and resolve,” both in the face of  the climate crisis and in specific situations like civil disobedience.

I think the words “joy and resolve” describe the look on the face of the young woman in the photo above. When asked how they felt risking arrest this morning, especially after the escalation of threats by the police, many people said “proud” and “patriotic.” From Henry David Thoreau to Martin Luther King, Jr., civil disobedience has been a great American tradition. It is an honor to stand and work with those 45 people today and the many more tomorrow who are making that tradition a living, breathing reality.


Funding cuts could hamper forecasting, meteorologists and federal officials say

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 22nd, 2011 4:35 am by HL

Funding cuts could hamper forecasting, meteorologists and federal officials say

In this year of extreme weather and a contentious budget climate, federal officials are warning Congress that funding cuts and program delays will create a gap in weather satellite coverage starting in about 2016. That’s when a key polar-orbiting satellite is expected to exceed its design lifetime, with no ready replacement.

The gap could last as long as a year or more, depending on final funding levels, the condition of other satellites and additional variables, officials say. The key question is what effect it will have on weather forecasts.

Read full article >>

Bayard Rustin, organizer of the March on Washington, was crucial to the movement

It was around this point in August 1963, in the sweltering days before the March on Washington, that Eleanor Holmes Norton was waiting for someone to say something really nasty about her boss.

She was a march volunteer. The boss was Bayard Rustin, the march’s chief organizer and the man widely viewed as the only civil rights activist capable of pulling off a protest of such unprecedented scale.

And he was gay. Openly gay. That year again? 1963.

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Economy still straining Social Security disability program

Laid-off workers and aging baby boomers are flooding Social Security’s disability program with benefit claims, pushing the financially strapped system toward the brink of insolvency.

Applications are up nearly 50 percent over a decade ago as people with disabilities lose their jobs — in an economy that has shed nearly 7 million jobs — and can’t find new ones.

The stampede for benefits is adding to a growing backlog of applicants — many wait two years or more before their cases are resolved — and worsening the financial problems of a program that’s been running in the red for years.

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A founding father of American Islam struggles to put raids behind him

Iqbal Unus delayed the start of his open house by an hour, hoping more candidates would show up to hear about the country’s first accredited training program for Muslim clergy. But by 7:30 p.m., just three new people were picking at plates of chicken and rice in the library of the International Institute of Islamic Thought in Northern Virginia.

If Unus, 67, was discouraged, he didn’t show it. Instead, he launched into his sales pitch for replacing imported imams with American-trained spiritual leaders.

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