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Archive for August 9th, 2014

Aunt Jemima Heirs Sue Pepsi for $2 Billion

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 9th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Aunt Jemima Heirs Sue Pepsi for $2 Billion
D.W. Hunter, the great grandson of Anna Short Harrington, the woman who became “Aunt Jemima,” has filed a class action lawsuit against PepsiCo, Quaker Oats Company, Pinnacle Foods Group and Hillshire Brands Company on behalf of all of her great grandchildren. Hunter alleges that the companies conspired to deny that Harrington had been an employee of Quaker Oats, exploiting her image and recipes for profit while refusing to pay an “equitable fair share of royalties” to her heirs for more than 60 years. He is seeking $2 billion.


US bombs militants in Iraq as crisis worsens

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 9th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

US bombs militants in Iraq as crisis worsens
IRBIL, Iraq (AP) — The U.S. unleashed its first airstrikes in northern Iraq against militants of the Islamic State group Friday amid a worsening humanitarian crisis. The extremists took captive hundreds of women from a religious minority, according to an Iraqi official, while thousands of other civilians fled in fear.

Sterling appeals ruling that OK’d Clippers sale
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Deposed Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling has asked an appellate court to block the $2 billion sale of the team to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.

Tibet tour bus plummets into valley, killing 44
BEIJING (AP) — A tour bus on a highway in Tibet fell off a 10-meter (30-foot) cliff after crashing into an SUV and a pickup, killing 44 people and injuring 11 others, China’s state media reported Sunday.


Toddler breaches White House grounds

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 9th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Toddler breaches White House grounds
The young boy was returned to his parents shortly after he slipped through the slats in the White House gate

Hawaii Democrats in tough fight for governor, Senate
Sen. Brian Schatz and Gov. Neil Abercrombie both face serious challengers in Saturday’s primary elections

Death of James Brady ruled a homicide
Va. medical examiner labels death of Brady — who survived a gunshot wound in the 1981 assassination attempt on President Reagan — a homicide because of that shooting


House Races to Watch; Palin Backs Ducey in Ariz.; “Ulysses” Unbound

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 9th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

House Races to Watch; Palin Backs Ducey in Ariz.; “Ulysses” Unbound
Carl M. Cannon, RealClearPolitics
Good morning. It’s Thursday, August 7, 2014, the 80th anniversary of a seminal event for anyone who values literature — or cherishes free expression. On this day in 1934, by a 2-1 margin, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that James Joyce’s “Ulysses” was not smut. First published in Paris in 1922, the novel was almost immediately considered by critics and leading literary lights to be a masterpiece. The big question, at least in Great Britain and the United States, was whether some of its passages were so risqué that it rendered the book obscene, legally…


Darling expects debate ‘this month’

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 9th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Darling expects debate ‘this month’
Alistair Darling, the leader of the Better Together campaign, says he expects to debate with Alex Salmond again before the end of the month.

Thousands in UK march to support Gaza
Tens of thousands of people march in support of Gaza in central London, as a charity appeal in the UK raises £4.5m in less than 24 hours.


Hawaii’s Primary Elections 2014 (LIVE UPDATES)

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 9th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Hawaii’s Primary Elections 2014 (LIVE UPDATES)
With reports from the field, results, community comments and more. Contribute to Civil Beat’s live coverage of Hawaii’s primary election.


Ukraine Strategy Bets on Restraint by Russia

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 9th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Ukraine Strategy Bets on Restraint by Russia
Despite growing jitters in the West, Ukraine’s military leaders said they were making a well-calculated gamble, betting that Vladimir V. Putin of Russia felt he had too much to lose to invade.



Obsessed? Bewildered? Ask Dr. Mahinder Watsa
A selection of questions and answers from the Ask the Sexpert Column in The Mumbai Mirror.



Tracing Ebola’s Breakout to an African 2-Year-Old
The current Ebola outbreak, the largest ever, seems likely to surpass all previous known Ebola outbreaks combined, and epidemiologists predict it will take months to control.




How One Judge Just Undermined One Of The NCAA’s Biggest Arguments Against Paying Athletes

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 9th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

How One Judge Just Undermined One Of The NCAA’s Biggest Arguments Against Paying Athletes

In her ruling, Judge Wilken dismantled a central tenet of the NCAA’s defense of not paying athletes.

The post How One Judge Just Undermined One Of The NCAA’s Biggest Arguments Against Paying Athletes appeared first on ThinkProgress.

Ed O'Bannon, a former basketball player for UCLA, led a successful suit against the NCAA over paying college athletes for the use of their name and likeness.

Ed O’Bannon, a former basketball player for UCLA, led a successful suit against the NCAA over paying college athletes for the use of their names and likenesses.

CREDIT: AP

A federal judge on Friday handed down her decision in the case of Ed O’Bannon v. NCAA, ruling that collegiate athletics’ governing body cannot prohibit college athletes from profiting off of the use of their name, image or likeness.

U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken determined that using a college athlete’s celebrity to sell millions of dollars’ worth of merchandise and ink lucrative television contracts without giving them a cut violates federal antitrust laws.

Though the decision doesn’t directly relate to the larger debate over whether or not college athletes deserve to be paid like any professional athlete, a key passage in Wilken’s 99-page ruling could spell trouble for the NCAA’s other outstanding lawsuits.

The O’Bannon case is but one of several high-profile lawsuits brought against the NCAA and it’s oversight of a multi-billion dollar industry.

In defending its policy of not compensating athletes, the NCAA routinely relies upon the term “amateurism.” To hear them describe it, amateurism refers to the notion that so-called “student-athletes” aren’t professional athletes at all, and thus don’t deserve to be paid as such. The NCAA has clung to the term for decades, but Wilkens only needed a few sentences to flambee the NCAA’s entire amateurism model.

“The historical record that the NCAA cites as evidence of its longstanding commitment to amateurism is unpersuasive” wrote Wilken. “This record reveals that the NCAA has revised its rules governing student-athlete compensation numerous times over the years, sometimes in significant and contradictory ways. Rather than evincing the association’s adherence to a set of core principles, this history documents how malleable the NCAA’s definition of amateurism has been since its founding.”

The NCAA argued that amateurism has been at the core of organized collegiate athletics since the organization’s inception in 1906, but Wilkens pointed out that the NCAA’s own definition of amateurism has changed repeatedly over the last 100 years, and even today is applied differently between sports. “Such inconsistencies are not indicative of ‘core principles.’,” said Wilken.

In just about every case brought against the NCAA dealing with student-athlete compensation, the NCAA has structured its defense around the idea that these athletes are students first, and therefore not entitled to the same benefits that professionals receive. Even the term “student-athlete” was carefully crafted verbiage meant to fortify the notion of amateurism.

By undermining the NCAA’s amateurism model, Wilken may have paved the way for other lawsuits to further erode the obstacles separating college athletes from the compensation to which many argue they are entitled.

In her decision, Wilken ruled that FBS football players and Division I Men’s Basketball players are legally entitled to some of the billions in profits generated by universities’ use of their names and identities to sell tickets, merchandise and broadcast rights. Those two sports are by far the largest sources of revenue for college athletics departments (and therefore are the main focus of suits like O’Bannon), but it also calls into question whether these cases run the risk of leaving top-tier female athletes behind. A player like Brittney Griner for instance, who made national headlines during her career with Baylor, would not be eligible for compensation under Wilken’s ruling.

The NCAA, while disappointed in the verdict, wasn’t totally shut out. Wilken capped the total compensation an athlete could receive at $5,000 per year, on top of the scholarships and cost of living expenses that athletes already receive. And that money will only be paid out once the athlete leaves his college program. Schools are also free to set their own caps below $5,000 so long as it isn’t done in collusion with other athletics programs.

The post How One Judge Just Undermined One Of The NCAA’s Biggest Arguments Against Paying Athletes appeared first on ThinkProgress.

In Iraq, An Entire Religion Faces Extinction For Something It Doesn’t Believe

While the situation is dire for many of Iraq’s religious groups, one group is at the center of ISIS’s wrath for an unusual reason: ISIS thinks they worship the devil.

The post In Iraq, An Entire Religion Faces Extinction For Something It Doesn’t Believe appeared first on ThinkProgress.

A Yazidi man.

A Yazidi man.

CREDIT: AP

When it comes to dolling out religious persecution, the Islamic State in Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) — the ruthless band of religious extremists currently blazing a horrific trail of violence through Iraq — has been relatively indiscriminate. But while the situation is dire for many of the country’s religious groups, one band of faithful is at the center of ISIS’s wrath for an unusual reason: ISIS thinks they worship the devil.

Since ISIS began capturing Iraqi cities earlier this year, they have killed or displaced thousands of Christians and even their fellow Muslims, and have sparked international condemnation for destroying religious shrines sacred to both traditions. So terrible is their treatment of other religions that when President Barack Obama announced on Thursday that the United States would begin taking military action against ISIS, he justified authorizing air drops of humanitarian aid and airstrikes on military targets by saying that ISIS had been “especially barbaric towards religious minorities.”

But the impetus for United States involvement largely revolves around one specific religious group that ISIS could wipe out — namely, an ancient but relatively small sect known as the Yazidis, sometimes written “Yezidis.”

“Unlike Christians, [Yazidis are] not even given the option of paying a tax to live under [ISIS’] protection,” Hayder al-Khoei, an associate fellow at Chatham House’s Middle East and North Africa Program, told TIME.com. “[ISIS] believes they are ‘devil worshippers’ who must either be slaughtered or convert to Islam.”

After ISIS began taking cities in Northern Iraq this week, some 40,000 people — most of whom are Yazidi — fled to the desolate peaks of Mount Sinjar, lest they be killed or forced to convert to ISIS’s peculiarly brutal form of Islam. But as ISIS forces surround the mountain, the group of mostly women and children have become stranded, threatened with certain doom if they try to flee, or a slow death by starvation or dehydration if they stay put. On Friday, reports emerged that ISIS had already kidnapped a group of young Yazidi women to be married off to ISIS fighters or sold.

The Yazidis are all too familiar with being persecuted for their supposed “devil worship.” Hundreds of Yazidis were killed in 2007 when a targeted string of bombings tore through their region near Mosul. And during the 18th and 19th centuries, the Ottoman Empire carried out 72 massacres against their people. Yazidi religious and political leaders are increasingly concerned that the worsening situation with ISIS might become the 73rd.

But despite this history of violence, Yazidis have long disputed the claim of devil worship as a misconception. To be sure, Yazidism is an ancient religion, and shares many rituals, practices, and theological beliefs with Christianity, Islam, and Zoroastrianism. But these commonalities can be misleading, especially given that the Yazidi tradition is actually older than both Christianity and Islam. Yazidis, for instance, are monotheistic and believe that God created the world, but also that our planet is under the care of seven Angels. Chief among these angels is Melek Taus, or the “Peacock Angel,” a powerful figure in Yazidism who, like the Christian/Muslim Lucifer, refused to bow to the first man — Adam — and was banished to a fiery punishment by God.

Unlike the Satan figure in most versions of Christianity and Islam (excluding some brands of Sufism), Melek Taus is thought to have refused to bow not out of pride, but out of love for God alone. More importantly, many Yazidi believe that the angel genuinely atoned for his wrongdoings, restoring favor with God by dousing the flames that imprisoned him with repentant tears. Thus, while the story of Melek Taus has hints of the Lucifer tale, the Yazidic religious framework doesn’t actually contain a Satan in a traditional sense — that is, one from whom all evil emanates — and many consider it a sin to even utter the word “Satan.” Instead, the Yazidi believe that good and evil are present in all people, and that every member of humanity must, like Melek Taus, work to choose righteousness over wickedness. This theological position puts a heavy responsibility on the actions of individuals, as Yazidis reportedly don’t even have a traditional concept of heaven or hell.

It is perhaps tragically ironic, then, that ISIS would oppress the Yazidis for “devil worship.” After all, it is ISIS, not the Yazidis, who has sparked widespread condemnation from both Muslims and Christians for burning and pillaging its way through Iraq. If anything, ISIS has actually epitomized humanity’s ability to choose the “wickedness” option, saddling Yazidis, Christians, Muslims, and anyone else who gets in their way with a special kind of hell.

The post In Iraq, An Entire Religion Faces Extinction For Something It Doesn’t Believe appeared first on ThinkProgress.


North Carolina Becomes the Latest Casualty of the Supreme Court’s Voting Rights Act Decision

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 9th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

North Carolina Becomes the Latest Casualty of the Supreme Court’s Voting Rights Act Decision
From: Ari Berman

A federal judge denies a preliminary injunction against North Carolina’s harsh new voting law. 


Democrats’ Big Sky Bust-Up

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 9th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Democrats’ Big Sky Bust-Up

Nixon and the GOP’s Politics of Resentment
Jeff Shesol, The New Yorker
Whatever else you might say about Richard Nixon—and you might say a lot—the man knew how to write a memo. He wrote an untold number in the twenty years between his resignation from the Presidency, forty years ago this week, and his death, on April 22, 1994, at the age of eighty-one. He wrote memos to his successors, to their White House aides, and to his designated political heirs—memos on foreign policy and press strategy, memos of political pre- and post-game analysis. He wrote serious-minded memos, ingratiating memos, and incendiary memos.

Is New York the Next Detroit?
Megan McArdle, Bloomberg
The New York Times has a lengthy and dismaying article on the problems with New York City’s pensions:Next year alone, the city will set aside for pensions more than $8 billion, or 11 percent of the budget. That is an increase of more than 12 times from the city’s outlay in 2000, when the payments accounted for less than 2 percent of the budget.