Bachmann vents Obamacare outrage and gets it wrong again

  By Joan McCarter Daily Kos staff Sigh. Rep. Michele Bachmann says the latest delay in the implementation of Obamacare is just another example of “lawlessness” on the part of President Barack Obama.“Unfortunately, it is the continuation of lawlessness from the administration,” Bachmann told Fox News’s Neil Cavuto on Wednesday. “The administration gets to have it any way they want to have it. All their promises about Obamacare, completely hypocritical. They didn’t come through, and now this? More of the same.”That’s about the delay that isn’t really a delay, just a grace period for pending applications to be completed. And once again, we’ve got a Republican with reading comprehension problems. For those wondering—in §1311 of the health law, the HHS Secretary is given the power to set dates for enrollment—so there is your legal underpinning for any date change. Of course, that’s assuming Bachmann ever bothered to read the law. Reprinted with...

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Judge Lets Child Rapist ’1%er’ Walk With No Prison Time Because He ‘Will Not Fare Well’

By MBD A wealthy du Pont heir has recently dodged a prison sentence for raping his 3-year-old daughter. A Superior Court judge noted that Robert H. Richards IV “will not fare well” in prison, and thus needed treatment instead of prison. Judge Jan Jurden said these are “unique circumstances” that she was forced to consider when deciding the punishment for fourth-degree rape. Prison life, she said, would have adversely affected Richards. Thus, Richards’ 2009 rape case ended this month with disappointed attorneys for his ex-wife Tracy, who said that justice had not been served. Tracy’s lawsuit sought compensatory and punitive damages for the sexual abuse of their daughter.  Defense lawyers and prosecutors said that the judge is normally a quite tough sentencing judge. They were at a loss to explain the obvious reason why she was so lenient with this “one percenter.”  “It’s an extremely rare circumstance that prison...

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Now you can buy a $60,000 remote-controlled dragon, because why not?

By Dave LeClair gizmag.com A couple of years ago, a man named Rick Hamel created one of the most insane remote-controlled flying machines you’ll ever witness. No, it’s not an airplane or helicopter, or anything that mundane. Instead, he created a dragon that actually shoots fire and reaches airborne speeds of up to 70 mph (112.6 km/h). Now, this beast is actually for sale via Hammacher Schlemmer, with a staggering US$60,000 price tag. The flying dragon has a wing span of nine feet (2.7 m), which is just a tad shorter than the height of your average basketball hoop. It features a miniature turbine engine in the chest that thrusts out the rear of the mythical beast at 500 mph (804.7 km/h). It’s powered by jet aircraft fuel or kerosene, and its half-gallon tank can keep it airborne for about 10 minutes before it will need to be landed and...

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Didn’t Pay A Toll? Enforcers Might Track You Across State Lines

  Traffic approaches Maine Turnpike toll booths in Gardiner, Maine. Drivers from Massachusetts or New Hampshire who routinely avoid Maine tolls could face consequences back home. (AP) By Daniel C. Vock, Stateline Staff Writer New England drivers who speed through toll plazas in neighboring states without paying are in for a rude surprise. Maine, Massachusetts and New Hampshire have agreed to crack down on their own residents who frequently blow off tolls in the other states. The three-year-old arrangement has yielded only modest amounts of money, but it is being hailed as a model for interstate cooperation as electronic tolling spreads across the country. “It’s really an issue of fairness,” said Chris Waszczuk, administrator of the New Hampshire Department of Transportation’s bureau of turnpikes. “If we don’t have the capability to collect from the out-of-staters, it is going to be a huge problem,” he added. Forty-two percent of the revenue collected...

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GOP opposition to Obamacare baffles Dr. Sullivan

By Wendell Potter, The Center for Public Integrity Commentary: former HHS secretary says Affordable Care Act resembles plan crafted by Republicans in early 1990s The Republican leadership’s intense opposition to the Affordable Care Act clearly baffles — and disappoints — one of the party’s most admired figures, former Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Louis W. Sullivan. Speaking at the opening session of the Association of Health Care Journalists 2014 conference in Denver last Thursday, Sullivan, the former president of the Morehouse School of Medicine who served as HHS Secretary during the George H. W. Bush administration, noted that many of the major provisions of the Affordable Care Act are based on the reform proposals he and other Republicans crafted more than two decades ago. “Many of the features of the Affordable Care Act are part of what we proposed back in 1991,” he said, mentioning in particular the...

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Chile Derails “Monsanto Law” That Would Privatize Seeds

By Asha DuMonthier, New America Media Santiago, Chile – This month, rural women, indigenous communities, and farmers in Chile found themselves on the winning end of a long-fought battle against a bill that had come to be known by many in this country as simply, the “Monsanto Law.” The bill, which would have given multinational corporations the right to patent seeds they discover, develop or modify, was withdrawn by the Chilean government now controlled by newly elected members of the center-left coalition known as the New Majority, amid concerns that the law would bring harm to the country’s small and mid-sized farmers. In making the announcement on March 17, new Secretary General Ximena Rincón pledged that the Chilean government will “analyze all that is known in our country and internationally about this issue in order to protect the rights of agricultural communities, small and medium-sized farmers, and the heritage of...

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Colorado’s Marijuana Legalization Drawing Immigrants And Tourists

Posted by Russ Belville When marijuana reformers push for the legalization of herb, we often point out the direct fiscal benefits, like the tax money that can be raised, the law enforcement money that can be saved, and the jobs created in the marijuana industry.  Now we are beginning to see the indicators of the indirect fiscal benefit from legalization. We heard reports of the $2.1 million raised in recreational marijuana taxes from $14 million worth of product sold in January.  Now the Denver Post reports that the tax revenue may be so far above expectations they may have to give some of it back.  Colorado’s TABOR (Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights) mandates that excess tax collections must be refunded to the people Colorado’s universities are reporting a spike in enrollment, with University of Colorado seeing a 30% increase in applications and Denver University experiencing an 81% increase over five...

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How a 12-Year-Old Homeless Girl Helped More Than 400 Children Find Safer Shelter

By Crystal Shepeard, Care2 | Op-Ed The city-run Auburn Family Residence homeless shelter in New York, Nov. 20, 2013. (Ruth Fremson/The New York Times) The idea of having to navigate cockroaches, mice, no heat and sexual predators before you even leave for school is not something any child should go through. Yet, this is the daily life for hundreds of children living in two shelters in New York City and Brooklyn. They are part of the more than 22,000 children that make up New York City’s homeless population. Now, after more than a decade of repeated citations for deplorable conditions, more than 400 children and their families are being moved from the city-owned facilities – all because of a determined 12-year-old girl. Chanel couldn’t afford the luxury of buying water in a bottle. When the water with the fancy name started arriving in the bodegas of her Brooklyn neighborhood,...

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Executions on the Upswing Globally

By Samuel Oakford, Inter Press Service | Report                           United Nations – The number of recorded executions carried out worldwide rose 14 percent last year, as anti-terrorism measures in Iraq and hardline drug polices in Iran accounted for more than half of all reported government-sanctioned killings in 2013. In a report released Thursday, the human rights group Amnesty International said at least 778 people were executed in 22 countries last year, though the total did not include several nations, most notably China, where official execution statistics are a state secret. The Chinese government is estimated to put thousands of prisoners to death by firing squad every year, dwarfing the rest of the world. “China is a case of its own – nothing comes close to them in terms of real executions,” said Jan Wetzel, advisor on the...

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On This Day, Mar. 31, 1995, Longest strike in Major League Baseball history ends

Major League Baseball players are sent back to work after the longest strike in baseball history ends on this day in 1995. Because of the strike, the 1994 World Series was cancelled; it was the first time baseball did not crown a champion in 89 years. During the negotiation of a new collective bargaining agreement, tensions between owners and players had arisen over the owners’ desire to institute a cap on player salaries. Claiming financial hardship, owners argued that player salaries, which had risen exponentially since the 1970s, had become unsustainable and, if not contained, would bankrupt the teams. The players, led by union head Donald Fehr, refused to agree to a cap; they pointed out that they had been underpaid for most of the sport’s history and called salary caps just the latest form of exploitation by owners. Until 1975, players were subject to a reserve clause that...

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Supreme Court upholds federal law banning gun possession by those convicted of domestic violence

by Laurence Lewis With this Supreme Court majority, one doesn’t expect much, but this unanimous ruling looks huge: The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that a federal law intended to keep guns away from domestic violence offenders can apply even if their crime was nothing more than “offensive touching.”The decision was a victory for gun control advocates and groups that work to protect battered spouses and children, and a defeat for gun rights organizations who argued the federal law goes too far. For the justices, it came down to the proper definition of “physical force” — one that a majority of them decided did not have to be violent, or even directly applied to the victim by the abuser. Routine battery convictions, the court said, are sufficient to trigger the gun ban. The ruling overturned a judgment by the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, in a...

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Christie’s Trashing Of Bridget Kelly Speaks Volumes About Chris Christie

  Op-Ed By Dartagnan Daily Kos member I’m glad to see I’m not the only one disgusted at this blatant, sexist dogwhistle bullshit from Chris Christie. She (Bridget Kelly) “seemed emotional.” She was “habitually concerned about how she was perceived by the governor.” A boyfriend had ended a relationship. Bridget Anne Kelly has been the center of blame in the George Washington Bridge lane closing scandal since early January, when it was revealed that she sent an email calling for “some traffic problems in Fort Lee.” Christie’s already called Kelly, his former Deputy Chief of Staff, “stupid.” And I’m sure he feels she was stupid. He actually had a decent shot at the Republican Presidential nomination until this email and several others blew up in his face.  Since that time it’s been quite the downhill slide for Christie – he’s being hounded and protested in town halls, he’s shunted to the back door entrance...

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South Carolina Christian School Fourth Grade Science Quiz

by gizmo59 Via Joe.My.God: The source of this quiz is the father of the student who took it.  He will not identify the school until June, after his daughter finishes the school year there, after which she will move to another school.  Snopes rates this item as “probably true. I’m pretty much speechless here.  Plus, the test speaks for itself.   Reprinted with permission from The Daily Kos

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Chock Full o’ Putz – Jewish GOP group sad to the last drop

  AUTHOR’S NOTE: For those who need help with their Yiddish, all terms may be found here. “From the desk of NickiLeaks” With the GOP clown car weaving down the Vegas strip, delivering its load of facacta candidates to Sheldon Adelson and the Republican Jewish Coalition’s 2014 Spring Leadership Meeting, the NickiLeaks news team sprang into action, elbowing each other to get a chance to cover it. No one wanted to hear what the gonnifs said, knowing it would all be all be a big bunch of babkes, but a chance to go to Sin City on an expense account was too good to be true. Eventually, after taking stock of the qualitiy of the reporters and the size of their bribes, the NickiLeaks political editor decided that if a bunch of Jews were meeting, he had no choice other than to send in the three wise men –...

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Domino’s Pizza Owners Admit to Widespread Wage Theft

Owners of 23 outlets settle with workers for half a million dollars following waves of fast food workers’ strikes, protests, and court battles By Sarah Lazare The owners of 23 Domino’s Pizza outlets in New York admitted to rampant theft of workers’ wages and agreed Thursday to a nearly half a million dollar settlement with hundreds of employees for numerous labor violations. “Fast food corporations like Domino’s and McDonald’s cannot hide from their responsibility for these unlawful practices,” said Naquasia LeGrand, a Brooklyn KFC employee and member of Fast Forward. “They’re the ones in control of the daily operations of their franchisees.” The settlement was the result of an investigation by State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman into allegations of wage theft. According to a press release from Schneiderman’s office, between and 2013, the owners admitted to numerous violations, including: paying below minimum wage, refusing or underpaying overtime pay, and...

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The Sunday Funnies & Factoids

by Keith Lennox for All-len-All, Mar. 30/14 Hey, folks.  Nice to have you back to peruse the new entries into the Sunday funnies and factoids.  Looking out my window at twice the amount of snow on the ground that there should be but sunshine and warmer temps today should begin to alleviate the winter woes that have almost thrown me into a catatonic state.  I hope Spring has arrived in full force for one and all. So, without further ado, here is the latest installment of my SF&Fs.  Do enjoy and have a great week ahead. 1) Aerosmith’s song “Walk This Way” was inspired by the Gene Wilder/Mel Brooks spoof movie Young Frankenstein. 2) In the this is really sad category.  After going into heat, an un-spayed female ferret can actually die if she does not mate. She will remain in heat until she mates, and if she does...

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Love means never having to say I’m sorry I accidentally shot you.

By David Waldman A relatively calm week in GunFAIL, finally with equally quiet numbers among the child victims. I found just five last week, ages 4, 12, 14, 14 and 16. That may be a record low! No such slowdown in the number of people who accidentally shot themselves, though. There were still 21 of those, and the estimate of about 75 per month seems well on track for the month of March, where we’re already up to 72. That brings the current running total for the year to 219. Of course, those are just the victims for whom I’ve been able to produce links. The rest of the collected incidents are your standard week’s mix: five gun cleaning accidents, two guns that went off in pockets and one in a waistband (producing the usual groin injury), six home invasions conducted by bullet, two stray target shooting bullets that...

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Kerry, Lavrov Head to Paris for ‘Diplomatic Solution’ in Ukraine

Leaders to meet as early as Sunday as world still on edge over possible conflict   – Jacob Chamberlain, staff writer, Common Dreams –   Following a phone call Friday night from Russian President Vladimir Putin to President Obama, U.S. secretary of state John Kerry is now heading to Paris where he will meet his Russian counterpart to discuss possible diplomatic solutions to the Ukraine crisis. “Secretary Kerry will travel from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia to Paris, France today in advance of a to-be-scheduled meeting with Russian foreign minister Lavrov early next week in Europe,” State Department spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki said on Saturday. The move follows a series of phone calls—first from Putin to Obama then between Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov and Kerry—seemingly easing the tensions between the world powers. The two could meet as early as Sunday. Up until Friday an increasingly tense exchange of words, amplified in...

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ACLU Cheers Suspension of Florida’s Voter Purge Program

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE March 27, 2014 3:49 PM CONTACT: ACLU ACLU of Florida Media Office, (786) 363 – 2737 media@aclufl.org MIAMI – March 27 – Today, Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner issued a memorandum to the state’s Supervisors of Elections stating that the state’s effort to resurrect a flawed voter purge would be halted until after the 2014 Election. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Florida had filed to lawsuit to stop the state’s purge effort in 2012, which saw legitimate voters receiving letters telling them they would be removed from the voter rolls. That lawsuit had to be dismissed following the Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby County v. Holder which gutted a portion of the Voting Rights Act upon which that challenge depended. In the months since that dismissal, the ACLU of Florida and other voting rights groups have joined many county Supervisors of Elections in...

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Where Are All The Black People In The New ‘Noah’ Movie?

By MBD In Miriam Krule’s article for Slate, “How Biblically Accurate Is Noah?” I found no mention at all of the most glaring error in the entire film: the absence of black people. Let’s be more to the point, no one is particularly “Middle Eastern” looking for that matter. This raises a number of important questions: 1. Is Hollywood afraid of casting African or Middle Eastern people as the predominant leads in big-budget films. If so, why? Is this a product of their own overt or covert racism? Or is this based on the marketing belief that Caucasians will not turn out to see a movie with such demographics? Either way, this is an important question to ask ourselves and Hollywood alike. 2. Why do all of the critiques about the “inaccuracies” of the Noah movie not even apparently notice this most basic of errors.  3. Is this error based, in any...

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School forces out girl, 8, because of “biblical standards”

By Christian Dem in NC Daily Kos member Surprised no one’s mentioned this, but a Christian school in Virginia is in the spotlight after all but forcing an eight-year-old student to leave because she looks like a boy.  Eight-year-old Sunnie Kahle has had her hair cut short since she was five years old, and makes no secret she’s a tomboy.  Well, Sunnie’s appearance didn’t sit too well with administrators at Timberlake Christian School in Forest, near Lynchburg.  Last month, her grandparents pulled her out of school after she was told her appearance didn’t line up with “biblical standards.” “Sunnie realizes she’s a female, but she wants to do boy things,” said Doris Thompson, Kahle’s great-grandmother and legal guardian.  “She wants to play rough and tough.”Thompson has raised Kahle since she was an infant.  When she turned five, Thompson said she asked for a short hair cut. “She had hair down...

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Biden outlines benefits of raising the minimum wage in weekly address

By Susan Gardner There’s no reason in the world why an American working 40 hours a week has to live in poverty. Vice President Joe Biden stepped up to pinch hit for a traveling President Obama in this morning’s weekly address, taking his turn to make the case for a raise in the minimum wage, an administration focus for the past three weeks. Raising the minimum wage to $10.10, he said, would put a worker now living in poverty on 40 hours of work a week—an annual income of $14,500—into a bracket where with existing tax credits, a family of four would earn enough to move out of the poverty category. But it’s not only workers who would benefit, he argued. Business would too: There’s clear data that shows fair wages generate loyalty of workers to their employers, which has the benefit of increasing productivity and leading to less...

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States Pursue Tax Cuts as Recovery Takes Hold

  (AP) Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton use crutches at his first public appearance at the state Capitol in St. Paul, since undergoing hip surgery. He was there to press for tax cuts, as many other governors are doing.   By Elaine S. Povich, Stateline Staff Writer Maybe New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo should borrow a pair of crutches. They might have helped Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton’s cause. Democrat Dayton hobbled into the state Capitol  five weeks after major hip surgery and blasted lawmakers for holding up the tax cuts he wanted. After quarrelling over his spending proposal, including a spat over funding for a new legislative office building, the Democratic-controlled legislature approved a $443 million tax cut, without the office building rider. Dayton pushed hard for the cuts, in part, because some are retroactive to 2013, meaning tax filers who are preparing returns now could take advantage of them and...

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Do corporations have religious freedom?

CHARLES C. HAYNES       DIRECTOR, RELIGIOUS FREEDOM EDUCATION PROJECT If you thought Citizens United — the 2010 Supreme Court decision upholding free-speech rights for corporations — was controversial, you haven’t seen anything yet. In March, the high court will hear arguments in two linked cases — Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Sebelius — that will require the justices to determine whether corporations have religious freedom rights under the First Amendment. At first blush, corporate religious freedom may strike many people as absurd. After all, as one judge put it, corporations “don’t pray, worship or observe sacraments.” But like most First Amendment conundrums, the questions raised by religious freedom claims from private businesses are complicated and contentious — and the answers will have profound implications for defining the future of religious liberty in America. Both cases before the Supreme Court involve challenges to a provision of the Affordable Care Act...

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2014 looks as bad for Democrats as 2012, and how did that year turn out?

By kos             Sen. Mitch McConnell’s majority isn’t a done deal, nor is his re-election. In 2012, conservatives were convinced a Senate takeover was in the cards. When Human Events last looked at the 35 states in which voters are choosing U.S. Senators this fall, we concluded that “Republicans are brimming with confidence about gaining at least the four seats they need” to turn the Senate’s present 53-to-47 seat Democratic edge into a GOP majority.Nearly four months later, that confidence has clearly grown. Of those 35 Senate races, eighteen can be considered truly competitive. The seats of all seven retiring Democratic senators are in that category: Joseph Lieberman (Conn.), Daniel Akaka (Hawaii), Ben Nelson (Neb.), Jeff Bingaman (N.M.), Kent Conrad (N.D.), Jim Webb (Va.), and Herb Kohl (Wis.). In addition, no less than seven Democratic incumbent senators are facing spirited challenges from Republican opponents. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell...

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Deadly Driftnets Will Not Be Expanded Into Sea Turtle, Whale Habitat Off California Coast

SACRAMENTO, CA.— In an important victory for wildlife, federal fishery managers in Sacramento today decided not to expand driftnet fishing into protected sea turtle habitat along the California coast because it would significantly raise the risk of capturing and drowning endangered sea turtles and sperm whales. Instead the Pacific Fishery Management Council called for immediate action to impose strong whale-protection regulations on the driftnet fleet that expired in January 2014 and to test lower bycatch fishing gears for catching swordfish. But it took no action on ending the use of driftnets along the California coast. “Finally, sea turtles and whales are getting a little help, instead of more fishing threats,” said Teri Shore, program director at Turtle Island Restoration Network. “Yet the driftnets will still be out on the water as usual this year, needlessly capturing and killing ocean wildlife. After decades of this, we were hoping for more.”...

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On This Day, March 29, 1979 – JFK Death Ruled a Conspiracy

1979 – The Committee on Assassinations Report issued by U.S. House of Representatives stated the assassination of  President John F. Kennedy was the result of a conspiracy.  Lee Harvey Oswald fired three shots at President John F. Kennedy. The second and third shots he fired struck the President. The third shot he fired killed the President Scientific acoustical evidence establishes a high probability that two gunmen fired at President John F. Kennedy. Other scientific evidence does not preclude the possibility of two gunmen firing at the President. Scientific evidence negates some specific conspiracy allegations The committee believes, on the basis of the evidence available to it, that President John F. Kennedy was probably assassinated as a result of a conspiracy. The committee was unable to identify the other gunmen or the extent of the conspiracy Agencies and departments of the U.S. Government performed with varying degrees of competency in the fulfillment of...

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Federal Court Upholds Texas Attack on Women’s Right to Choose

Appeals court decision will allow state to maintain law that has forced one-third of clinics that provide abortions and other health services for women     – Jon Queally, staff writer, Common Dreams A federal appeals court on Thursday upheld controversial portions of a Texas law that reproductive rights groups and civil liberty advocates say strips women of their constitutional right to have an abortion while restricting access to other health services across the state. The ruling, made by the 3-judge panel of New Orleans-based 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, upholds the portion of the law known as HB2, passed by the Texas legislature last year amid loud protest from women across the state, that requires doctors who provide abortions to obtain admitting privileges at a local hospital. This requirement, however, directly harms women’s health and interferes with the doctor-patient relationship, according to leading medical associations like the American...

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Canada’s Harper Seizes Crimean Crisis to Sell Tar Sands and Fracked Gas to Europe

Published by Council of Canadians blog by  Stewart Trew Western leaders meeting in The Hague this week for a nuclear summit considered new measures, including new sanctions, against Russia in response to Putin’s annexation of the Crimean region of Ukraine. According to the Globe and Mail, Prime Minister Harper “has singled out the prospect of sanctions against Russia’s energy industry, which would likely entail curtailing the ability of Canadians – and those in other G7 countries – from doing petroleum-related business with Russians.” Harper told media it was “conceivable” that such a move would benefit Canadian energy exports but that his government’s policy has always been to promote oil and gas sector interests when travelling anywhere and, we should add, especially in Europe. For example, Canadian government lobbying has helped stall a European fuel quality policy that would have restricted or blocked imports of tar sands-derived transport fuels because...

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Anti-Gun Senator Charged With Trafficking Illegal, Black-Market Guns

By MBD March 28, 2014 You may not like guns, or you may think they’re just the thing to keep everyone safe. One thing that almost everyone can agree on is that the illegal black-market sale of guns poses a serious problem for society. Felons, prohibited from purchasing legal firearms often turn to the black-market for unregulated weapons. One should expect a senator known for his anti-gun positions to at least be consistent in opposing both legal and illegal guns. That’s not the case, however, with Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco), who was recently charged with corruption and trafficking illegal guns. It seems that the California state senator with outspoken views about guns, only has a problem with legal guns, not illegal ones. Legal guns, it serves to reason, cut into his black-market trade of unregulated, illegal guns. Yee was arrested on Wednesday, booked and charged with illegally trafficking...

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Out-of-context joke sparks Twitter campaign to cancel Colbert

By Laura Clawson Daily Kos A Thursday tweet from @ColbertReport showed the dangers of taking satire out of context and having the Twitter feed for a television show not actually run by anyone associated with the show. As a result, #CancelColbert ended up trending on Twitter. On Wednesday night, discussing Washington NFL team owner Dan Snyder’s foundation to “help” Native Americans even as he refuses to change his team’s offensive name, Colbert said: “Folks, this move by Dan Snyder inspires me, because my show has frequently come under attack for having a so-called offensive mascot. My beloved character Ching-Chong Ding-Dong . . . the point is, offensive or not — not — Ching-Chong is part of the unique heritage of the Colbert Nation that cannot change. But I’m willing to show the Asian community that I care by introducing the Ching-Chong Ding-Dong Foundation for Sensitive to Orientals or Whatever.” Guess...

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Georgians can soon take guns to taverns and airports, but not into the building where law was passed

by Meteor Blades Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords calls just-passed Georgia legislation “the most extreme gun bill in America.” That is a bit of stretch given that Wyoming, Arizona, Vermont, Arkansas and Alaska require no permit for any resident who chooses to carry a concealed firearm. But if, or rather when, Gov. Nathan Deal signs HB 60 passed just before the Georgia legislature adjourned for the year this week, the Peach State will definitely have one of the most relaxed environments for gun-toters in the nation. When all the adjusting and reconciling between measures in the Georgia House and Senate had been achieved and the bill finally passed, cheers went up from gun rights advocates inside and outside the legislature. The National Rifle Association, which lobbied heavily for an even tougher version of the law, called it “a historic victory for the Second Amendment.” The association wasn’t alone: “For the...

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Faith Leaders Call On NY Legislature To Pass Medical Marijuana Bill

 Posted by Johnny Green on March 27, 2014 at 7:13 AM  Medical Marijuana Policy Yesterday, dozens of patients, caregivers and healthcare providers travelled from all corners of New York – including Buffalo, Long Island, Syracuse, Hudson Valley, and New York City – to call on the Senate to pass the comprehensive medical marijuana proposal known as Compassionate Care Act. The Compassionate Care Act would allow seriously ill New Yorkers access to medical marijuana under the supervision of their healthcare provider. The bill has passed the Assembly four times, was included in the Assembly’s budget proposal, and has strong bi-partisan support in the Senate. But senate leaders have refused to let the bill come up for a vote. Patients and caregivers were joined by faith leaders who called on senate to stop delaying to show the sick suffering some compassion and mercy. “As a Bishop and spiritual caregiver in New...

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Drug Dogs Most Likely To Err In Traffic Stop Scenarios

By Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director Dogs trained to detect the presence of illegal drugs are most likely to provide false alerts in situations involving the search of a motor vehicle, according to the findings of a study published online in the journal Forensic Science International. A team of researchers from the United States and Poland assessed the ability of trained drug sniffing dogs to accurately detect the presence controlled substances – including marijuana, hashish, amphetamines, cocaine and heroin – in various environments. Dogs were most likely to correctly identify the presence of contraband, particularly marijuana, during searches of individual rooms. If the dog had previous exposure to the room prior to the search, it was least likely to provide a false alert (83 percent correct identifications versus 10 percent false alerts). Dogs were far less reliable in scenarios designed to mimic real-world traffic stops. In situations where dogs accessed the perimeter...

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Doctor Visit Shows Why Repubs Want Us Broke or Dead

By UntyingTheNot I went to the doctor for the first time in five years today. Although I’m young, I had neglected a couple of health issues for at least a year. I couldn’t afford care and was left hoping none of them developed into anything more serious. As a small business owner who narrowly missed the threshold for buying on the exchanges, I’m enrolled in Medicaid for this year until I can bump my income up a bit. The day my confirmation of benefits and card came was among the best of my life. I nearly broke down in tears. But that isn’t what this diary is about. Today, I went to the doctor for the first time in five years and saw first hand why Republicans have fought tooth and nail for a system that was so broken for every single stakeholder – except the insurers and the...

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Praise Jesus! Maryland court rules against religion!

By Timaeus Daily Kos In a federal lawsuit in which I am the first plaintiff, a federal judge has just ordered the Commissioners of Carroll County, Maryland not to mention Jesus (or any other deity) in prayers at the opening of public meetings of the board. I live in Carroll County, Maryland, a beautiful, rural county about 40 miles northwest of Baltimore, touching the Pennsylvania state line.  My wife and I have a small farm with a horse and donkeys, etc., and an office building in a nearby small town. We are religious Roman Catholics.  We go to church almost every Sunday and contribute to the church (and our community) in many ways. Maryland is a strong blue state, but Carroll County is as red as it gets.  In 2010, the county switched from 3 commissioners at-large to 5 commissioners, each representing a district of the county.  Five Republicans...

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On This Day, March 28, 1979 – Three Mile Island melts down

1979 – A major accident occurred at Pennsylvania’s Three Mile Island nuclear power plant. A nuclear power reactor overheated and suffered a partial meltdown.  The Three Mile Island Unit 2 (TMI-2) reactor, near Middletown, Pa., partially melted down on March 28, This was the most serious accident in U.S. commercial nuclear power plant operating history. The accident began about 4 a.m. on Wednesday, March 28, 1979, when the plant experienced a failure in the secondary, non-nuclear section of the plant (one of two reactors on the site). Either a mechanical or electrical failure prevented the main feedwater pumps from sending water to the steam generators that remove heat from the reactor core. This caused the plant’s turbine-generator and then the reactor itself to automatically shut down. Immediately, the pressure in the primary system (the nuclear portion of the plant) began to increase. In order to control that pressure, the...

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Why Wu-Tang Clan Will Sell Only a Single Copy of Their New Album

By MBD   The new Wu Tang Clan hip hop album “The Wu – Once Upon A Time In Shaolin” has stunned the world. That’s not because of the content of the lyrics, or the sound itself, but because the group has announced that it will only press and sell a single copy of the highly anticipated album. The album is said to be housed in a silver-and-nickel engraved box, just outside of Marrakech, Morocco, hidden away in a vault housed beneath the shadow of the Atlas Mountains. The eccentric container was itself handcrafted for the specific purpose of housing the album, crafted over the course of three months by British-Moroccan artist Yahya.  Yahya’s works have been commissioned by no less notables than royal families and business leaders from around the world. The price tag for the album and it’s housing will be well up in the multimillion-dollar range.  “We’re...

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Republican Senator wants U.S. military commitment to Afghanistan, even without bilateral agreement

By Laurence Lewis Friends don’t let idiots play foreign policy: During a visit to Afghanistan, Senator Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, a Republican, stressed that no American forces would remain in the country without a bilateral security agreement, but also said Obama should not wait for that to give an idea of what the US presence would look like after the Nato-led combat mission ends at the end of this year.”I believe that it is time for our president to do this so that the people of Afghanistan understand that we remain committed in Afghanistan,” Ayotte said, stressing that any post-2014 force would be contingent on the pact being signed. “He can no longer delay this decision.” Which makes perfect sense. Just because Afghanistan hasn’t signed an agreement on a continuing U.S. military presence in Afghanistan shouldn’t stop the U.S. from announcing the levels of its continuing U.S. military...

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As predicted, Obamacare approval is climbing

By Jon Perr Earlier this week, Republicans politicians and pundits, bloggers and bosses couldn’t contain their glee over a spate of polls showing the public’s disapproval for the Affordable Care Act. But as I warned just yesterday, Obamacare’s conservative saboteurs might soon contract a severe case of premature elation. After all, the experience of President Bush’s badly bungled Medicare Part D prescription drug plan showed that fear of the unknown and a calamitous launch faded over time as the program took root. And so it is—just 24 hours later—that the Kaiser Family Foundation is reporting a significant increase in support for the Affordable Care Act, most importantly among those currently uninsured. For most of the past four years, KFF polling on Obamacare among all adults was little changed (see chart at end). But the botched website launch in October produced plummeting approval numbers. In January, opposition among all respondents...

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Louisiana Senate candidate says some people too ‘unsophisticated’ for good health care

By Laura Clawson Rep. Bill Cassidy has a plan to replace Obamacare. The Louisiana Republican, currently vying to be Sen. Mary Landrieu’s challenger in November, wants to replace the full health care coverage of the exchanges with catastrophic insurance, Health Savings Accounts, and pharmacy policies that cover all low-income people. Because a program with no choices, he feels, is what the “less sophisticated” people who are currently uninsured will be able to understand. Yes, less sophisticated. But allow him to explain. His plan “wouldn’t be bells and whistles. It wouldn’t have all these benefits that we have to pay so much for. But it would take care of you if you got in a car wreck.” And that’s what these people need: “We were fortunate growing up in the south. The president is a community organizer. You wonder if he ever worked with a poor person … Insurance people they will...

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Walmart: ‘They don’t have enough people to get the job done’

By Laura Clawson Daily Kos Labor Walmart “absolutely” uses managers to do non-managerial work because it doesn’t have to pay them overtime, an assistant store manager told Salon’s Josh Eidelson. President Barack Obama’s plan to expand overtime could be a major change for managers like this and for the hourly workers who might then get more hours if the alternative was paying a manager overtime. At Walmart now, understaffing and reliance on managers to stock shelves and run cash registers isn’t just hurting the workers, this assistant manager said – it’s also hurting customers and the store’s bottom line: “When I came into the role, I thought it was going to be that I’m going to handle paperwork, be there for the associates, and help them with issues that may arise with them; I’m going to be the guy that they can come to for answers, I’m going to develop leaders . . ....

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New ‘Southern Strategy’? Liberal Protests Ripple Across the South

Demonstrations in Georgia and South Carolina highlight growing movement against conservative control Disrupting a session of the Georgia Senate, protesters unfurled a large banner denouncing the GOP-led push against health care in the state. (Photo: Moral Monday Georgia/ Facebook) ••• By Lauren McCauley Common Dreams Staff Writer Waves of liberal protest are rippling across the South as a newly energized base — fueled by the momentum of the Moral Monday protests in North Carolina — are declaring to the largely Republican establishment that they will no longer be ignored. Thirty-nine protesters were arrested at the capitol building in Atlanta, Georgia on Tuesday during a raucous protest against the GOP-led effort to prohibit Medicaid expansion in the state. In South Carolina, 17 demonstrators were arrested at the Columbia state house in the third weekly demonstration against lawmakers’ refusal to accept federal health care funding. “The movements are rare stirrings of impassioned, liberal political...

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Big banks’ ATM fees rip off welfare recipients

by Occasional Planet Big banks lifted more than $19 million out of the wallets of poor people in California in 2012, by charging them unnecessarily high fees for withdrawing cash from their EBT cards. That’s the conclusion reached by a just-released study of ATM fees charged to Californians who receive benefits under CalWORKS –the state’s public-assistance system. The study was conducted by the California Reinvestment Coalition , an organization that advocates for the right of low-income communities and communities of color to have fair and equal access to banking and other financial services. From what I can see by reading the report, the ATM fee structure is bad on two levels: It nickel-and-dimes economically disadvantaged people out of nickels and dimes that are significant in their monthly budgets. And it constitutes a not-so-subtle form of corporate welfare, in which big banks reap undue profits by transferring...

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Walmart Admits: ‘Our Profits’ Depend on ‘Their Poverty’

Critics cite irony of annual report filing: ‘This is a company that everywhere it goes it creates poverty’   A Penn State study found that in counties where Wal-Mart opens a store, poverty rates are negatively impacted. (Photo: Ian Turton/ Creative Commons/ Flickr) By Lauren McCauley Common Dreams Staff Writer Although a notorious recipient of “corporate welfare,” Walmart has now admitted that their massive profits also depend on the funding of food stamps and other public assistance programs. In their annual report, filed with the Security and Exchange Commission last week, the retail giant lists factors that could potentially harm future profitability. Listed among items such as “economic conditions” and “consumer confidence,” the company writes that changes in taxpayer-funded public assistance programs are also a major threat to their bottom line. The company writes: Our business operations are subject to numerous risks, factors and uncertainties, domestically and internationally, which are...

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Ready for Hillary courts super PAC skeptics

By Michael Beckel, The Center for Public Integrity  Democratic donors deliver for pro-Clinton group despite displeasure with ‘Citizens United’ Until last year, Wisconsin attorney Christine Bremer Muggli had never donated to a super PAC. But records show she contributed $100 to a super PAC called Ready for Hillary in August. Then, in September, she gave the group another $100. And by the end of December, she had given $400 to the nascent organization that wants Democrat Hillary Clinton to again occupy White House — this time as commander in chief. “Hillary Clinton deserves to be the first woman president,” Bremer Muggli told the Center for Public Integrity. “I wanted to jump in early and say ‘Please run’ right away.” Like other super PACs, Ready for Hillary can trace its origins to the U.S. Supreme Court’s controversial Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision in 2010, which helped paved the...

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Exxon Valdez spill – A look after 25 years

Just before midnight March 24, 1989, the oil tanker Exxon Valdez struck Bligh Reef in Alaska, causing the largest oil spill in U.S. history to that point. In the weeks that followed, a shocked world watched as the tanker spewed approximately 11 million gallons of oil into the formerly pristine and delicate Prince William Sound. Marilyn Heiman, then working for the Alaska Legislature and now director of Pew’s U.S. Arctic program, remembers that she began developing legislation to prevent a spill of that magnitude from ever happening again. She recalls waiting days for containment vessels to arrive and watching helplessly as the oil spread to beaches and killed hundreds of thousands of fish, birds, and other wildlife. “The Exxon Valdez spill was truly devastating to the environment, the fishing industry, and the communities,” she says. “Prince William Sound is God’s country, so full of life and so rich. What...

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On This Day, March 27, 1866 – Civil Right Bill Vetoed

1866 – U.S. President Andrew Johnson vetoed the civil rights bill, which later became the 14th amendment.  “In all our history, in all our experience as people living under Federal and State law, no such system as that contemplated by the details of this bill has ever before been proposed or adopted. They establish for the security of the colored race safeguards which go infinitely beyond any that the General Government has ever provided for the white race. In fact, the distinction of race and color is by the bill made to operate in favor of the colored and against the white race. They interfere with the municipal legislation of the States, with the relations existing exclusively between a State and its citizens, or between inhabitants of the same State—an absorption and assumption of power by the General Government which, if acquiesced in, must sap and destroy our federative system...

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Five GOP senators put unemployment aid pressure where it belongs: On John Boehner

by Laura Clawson for Daily Kos Labor The five Republican senators involved in working out the Senate’s plan to extend emergency unemployment aid do not seem intimidated by House Speaker John Boehner’s repeated trashing of the plan. For instance: “There’s a lot of things that the speaker doesn’t like that we do over here,” said Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska). “What we have out there is a fair proposal.” “It’s a good compromise that takes care of people who are running out of their checks and does it in a way that is paid for appropriately,” said Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.). “There’s a concern out there about implementation, I understand that. But it’s been done before, and we’re eager to hear ideas as to how it could be implemented more effectively,” said Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio). As long as these Republicans and all the Democrats hold firm,...

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PPP’s New Mexico poll: Republican Gov. Martinez not invincible

by David Nir                                   New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez (R) Hallelujah! The good folks at Public Policy Polling have at long last decided to survey New Mexico, giving us—if you can believe it—our first-ever poll of the Land of Enchantment all cycle. Even though we’d been flying blind, the results largely conform to our perceptions of where the state’s gubernatorial and Senate races stand, though there are definitely some unexpected details.For starters, Republican Gov. Susana Martinez, who was first elected in 2010, sports a 52-40 job approval rating: certainly good in these difficult economic times, but she’s also not wildly popular, as some have imagined. Still, she leads every Democrat, chalking up scores at or near 50 in all cases. Here’s how Martinez fares (with her opponents’ favorables in parentheses): • 47-42 vs. Attorney General Gary King (29-35)• 47-36 vs. former USDA official Lawrence Rael (19-17) • 48-34 vs....

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Another Round of Food Stamp Cuts in States

 By Jake Grovum, Staff Writer, Stateline A fresh round of food stamp cuts at the state level are underway, on top of federal food stamp reductions that hit millions of Americans twice since November. In some states, policymakers have imposed additional cuts that jeopardize benefits for hundreds of thousands. The impact of the reductions is just beginning to take hold, or soon will. “They’re getting cut off and seeking help,” said Debi Kreutzman of the Kansas Food Bank, which is dealing with changes that could affect 20,000 Kansans. “We’re starting to see that come into play now, and I’m afraid it’s only going to get worse.”   The state cuts target a relatively small portion of the food stamp population: low-income able-bodied adults, without children, 18 to 50 years old — estimated to be about 10 percent of the more than 47 million in the program. In some states,...

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Police fatally shoot homeless man found camping in desert

By Lefty Coaster A camper shot by Albuquerque police this week was turning away from officers when they fired at him, according to video released by Chief Gorden Eden on Friday. The shots come after a confrontation in which the man, identified as 38-year-old James Boyd, tells police he’s going to walk down the mountain with them. “Don’t change up the agreement,” Boyd says. “I’m going to try to walk with you.” He tells officers he’s not a murderer. Boyd picks up his belongings and appears ready to walk down toward officers. An officer then deploys a flash-bang device, which disorients Boyd. Boyd appears to pull out knives in both hands as an officer with a dog approaches him. He makes a threatening motion toward the officer, then starts to turn around away from police. That’s when shots ring out, and Boyd hits the ground. Blood can be seen...

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Should Prisoners Get Expensive Hepatitis C Drugs?

By Michael Ollove Stateline Staff Writer If used widely, a new generation of antiviral drugs has the potential to wipe out the deadly hepatitis C virus in the United States. But the high price of the drugs might prevent their use in prisons, which house as many as one-third of those who are infected. The drugs cost anywhere from about $65,000 to $170,000 for a single course of treatment — between three and nine times more than earlier treatments. Ronald Shansky, former medical director of the Illinois prison system and founder of the Society of Correctional Physicians, described that price as “extortionarily high, criminal.” Fair or not, the cost of the new drugs is likely to keep them out of reach for most infected prisoners. To put the price in perspective, the average annual cost for states to house an inmate is $29,141. The minimal cost of treating a single patient with...

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Migratory Birds Face Danger From Oil Spill Long After Shipping Channel Will Open

By Julie Dermansky, DeSmogBlog | Report                              Heavy fuel oil that spilled from a Kirby Inland Marine oil barge after it collided with a cargo ship on March 22, began washing up on Galveston Bay’s shoreline on Sunday. The Coast Guard received its first reports of impacted birds by Sunday afternoon and the Houston Chronicle published a photo of a duck on the beach covered in oil. There are shorebird habitats on both sides of the shipping channel, including the Bolivar Flats Shorebird Sanctuary. Richard Gibbons, conservation director of the Houston Audubon Society, told the Associated Press that the Bolivar Flats Shorebird Sanctuary attracts 50,000 to 70,000 shorebirds to its shallow mud flats perfect for foraging.                         “The timing really couldn’t be much worse since we’re approaching the...

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The GOP clown show goes to Vegas

In 2012, Sheldon Adelson was the ATM that kept his longtime buddy Newt Gingrich’s campaign alive. Functionally, it was no different then setting fire to big piles of cash, though it was either more or less entertaining, depending on your perspective. In 2016, however, Adelson won’t dump money on the basis of personal friendship. That’s according to a new report from Matea Gold and Philip Rucker of The Washington Post, who say Adelson is focused on picking candidates he thinks can win. “The bar for support is going to be much higher,” said Andy Abboud, Adelson’s top political adviser and an executive at the Adelson-run Las Vegas Sands Corp. He added, “There’s going to be a lot more scrutiny.” So, who would the candidate be that could clear that bar? Well, this weekend he’s hosting former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, and...

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On This Day, March 26, 1979 – Camp David Treaty Starts

1979 – The Camp David treaty was signed by Israel and Egypt that ended the 31-year state of war between the countries. Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and U.S. President Jimmy Carter signed the Camp David Accords on September 17, 1978 in Washington, DC. The Details of the Camp David Accords: Called for a formal peace treaty to be signed between Israel and Egypt, within three months. Called for establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. Called for Israeli withdrawal from the Sinai Peninsula in stages, to be completed within three years. Called for further meetings to resolve the Palestinian question. The meeting would include Jordan and a representative of the Palestinian people. Called for a five-year transitional period of Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank and Gaza. This transitional period would include the introduction of Palestinian self-government. Called for an end to Israeli...

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Jon Stewart rips NRA for blocking Obama’s surgeon general nominee

by BruinKid Last night, Jon Stewart tore into the NRA and exposed the hypocrisy of the pro-gun senators who are helping the NRA block Obama’s surgeon general nominee, the extremely well-qualified Dr. Vivek Murthy. So what were Dr. Murthy’s comments about guns? SEN. LAMAR ALEXANDER, R-TN (2/4/2014): In your tweets of October 16, 2012, “tired of politicians who are scared of the NRA”.  Those are some of the words.  And I would hope you would know that Americans have a First Amendment right to advocate the Second Amendment. “Yes, Americans have a First Amendment right to advocate the Second Amendment. Apparently, you don’t have a First Amendment right to have a different opinion from that. Everyone knows the First Amedment only applies to saying positive things about the Second Amendment. That’s all.  Says in there, you have the First Amendment right unless you don’t have anything positive to say...

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GOP candidate’s first press briefing , can’t answer Obamacare repeal question

If Republicans can’t even handle Obamacare now, how will they handle it in November? Terri Lynn Land, former Michigan Secretary of State and current Republican Senate candidate, holds her first press briefing since announcing her candidacy last year and when she gets a question about the implications of repealing Obamacare’s ban on denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, she had to hand things over to a staffer, and: The aide who leapt to Land’s defense made a glaring error after attempting to take the call off the record. The glaring error? This wildly inaccurate assertion: The problem with Obamacare is that it allows people to wait until they’re very sick to purchase insurance, which creates significant and unknown risks to insurers and then the insurance companies would pass that cost on to consumers. Please read below the fold for more on this story. That’s just not true. That’s...

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Newspaper Accuses Obama Of Selling Weed, Depicts Him and Michelle As Apes

By MBD Europe is supposed to be more enlightened, and not bogged down in the quagmires of racism like the United States, right? That’s certainly what a lot of Americans might believe, but it seems that the resurgence of racism that the U.S. has been experiencing, is a phenomenon in Europe these days as well. This week, a Belgian newspaper has come under fire for running an image of President Barack Obama and the First Lady as apes, and describing President Obama as a marijuana dealer.  The so-called “progressive” newspaper De Morgen published the piece just prior to Obama’s visit to the Netherlands Monday morning.  Nigerian-born author Chika Unigwe broke the story when he tweeted a photo of the spread. The article’s author claims it was “satire,” apparently not realizing that it is still racist, and that of course no one took it to be actual news. The “satire” piece from the newspaper...

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Lawsuit: Wells Fargo has Manual for Mass Mortgage Fabrication

Recall that some of the most damaging documents released by Edward Snowden were NSA manuals. They discuss in detail how certain abuses are performed and provide strong proof that, that behavior is routine and presumably widespread. Catherine Curan of the New York Post has an important new story on a Federal lawsuit that looks to have unearthed a smoking gun about systematic document fabrication at Wells Fargo. As the article notes, this filing confirms a report we received from a whistleblower in 2013. Recall that we’ve long been critics of Wells Fargo, not simply for its bad conduct, but for the intelligence-insulting manner in which it keeps asserting that it is better than other mortgage servicers, when the evidence is overwhelmingly the reverse. For instance, during the not-really-supervised-by-the-OCC Independent Foreclosure Reviews, whistleblowers told us how Wells Fargo’s serving conduct was worse even than that of Bank of American, which...

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Hobby Lobby: SCOTUS considers exercise of religion by corporations

                                         Is this store exercising religion? On March 25, 2014, the Supreme Court of the United States will hear oral arguments in two cases, Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Sebelius where the exercise of religion by or through secular for profit corporations will be considered. (I’ll be providing a recap of the argument tomorrow.)Two years ago, I wrote a series of posts criticizing E.J. Dionne and other progressive men for urging the continued accommodation of religious organizations engaged in secular activity by the Obama Administration. In an earlier post I wrote: Consider this possibility — what if the Catholic bishops say that since their employment of persons is the means by which persons are eligible for birth control under the Obama accommodation, then they should have the right to prohibit their employees from getting contraception care? How can Dionne distinguish this “religious liberty”...

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Senate advances Ukraine aid, Russia sanctions bill

by Joan McCarter, Daily Kos After two weeks of delay, caused by Republicans playing politics, the Senate has cleared the cloture hurdle for a Ukraine aid bill, 78-17. In addition to providing assistance to Ukraine and sanctioning Russia for its invasion of Crimea, the bill includes some IMF reform that has proved controversial with Republicans. The Senate package would shift $63 billion from the IMF’s crisis account to its general fund and make good on a 2010 agreement to give nations such as China, Brazil and India more influence at the organization. The Obama administration also says including the IMF reforms will help boost lending capacity to Ukraine.Though the Senate is likely to approve the package, the IMF changes caused plenty of consternation there. Many Republicans are seeking to delay new administration rules that crack down on political activity of tax-exempt non-profits—called “501(c)(4)s”–in exchange for supporting the package. Democrats...

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The health care industry’s campaign of fear, uncertainty and doubt

By Wendell Potter The Center for Public Integrity Commentary: insurers use front groups and spin doctors to sow concerns about Obamacare   At least two years before the first words of legislation were written, and three years before the Affordable Care Act was signed into law, the entrenched health care interests were hard at work creating their strategies to ensure as much as possible that whatever passed would not have an adverse effect on profits. The overall plan included a broad range of initiatives to plant fear, uncertainty and doubt about reform ideas in the minds of elected officials and ordinary Americans. For instance, the special interests collaborated under the auspices of organizations like the Healthcare Leadership Council, a coalition that encompasses executives from insurance companies, drug and medical device makers, biotech firms and hospitals. I know because I participated in many meetings of the HLC during my years...

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On This Day, March 25, 1807, England starts passenger train

1807 – The first railway passenger service began in England. In 1804 the British Parliament approved the laying of a railway line between Swansea and Oystermouth in South Wales, for transportation of quarried materials to and from the Swansea Canal and the harbour at the mouth of the River Tawe. and in the autumn of that year the first tracks were laid. At this stage, the railway was known as the Oystermouth Railway and controlled by the Committee of the Company of Proprietors of the Oystermouth Railway or Tramroad Company, which included many prominent citizens of Swansea, including the copper and coal magnate John Morris (later Sir John Morris, Bart.). In later years it became known as the Swansea and Mumbles Railway (although the original company was not wound up until 1959), or just the Mumbles Railway, but to local people it was simply the Mumbles Train. 0421 – The city of Venice was founded. 0708 – Constantine began his reign as...

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White House losing patience on judicial nominations

by Joan McCarter, Daily Kos The White House is losing patience with Republican obstruction and game-playing on judicial nominations. Republicans have continued their obstruction, and even escalated it in retaliation for the limited filibuster reform Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid implemented last year. That’s frustrating the White House, but they’re still deferring to Sen. Patrick Leahy’s judgement as Judiciary Committee chair on what he’s going to do about it. Republican senators, White House aides argue, have developed what amounts to a silent filibuster, using the “blue slip” tradition that gives home state senators signoff power for in-state nominees. Given the number and length of delays, they say trying to collaborate on nominations has become an unbearable burden, the blue slip an outdated courtesy—there are 53 pending judicial nominees, and only six of the 37 vacancies without a pending nominee are in states with two Democratic senators.Meanwhile, the White House...

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Nathan Phelps issues statement on the death of his father

by Steveningen, Daily Kos The website Recovering From Religion has issued a press release sharing Nathan Phelps statement on the death of his father, Fred Phelps. FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 24 2014 – On behalf of Nathan Phelps, son of former Westboro Baptist Church leader Fred Phelps, Recovering From Religion issues the following official statement:“Fred Phelps is now the past. The present and the future are for the living. Unfortunately, Fred’s ideas have not died with him, but live on, not just among the members of Westboro Baptist Church, but among the many communities and small minds that refuse to recognize the equality and humanity of our brothers and sisters on this small planet we share. I will mourn his passing, not for the man he was, but for the man he could have been. I deeply mourn the grief and pain felt by my family members denied their right...

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The Future Of NATO??

by Richard Lyon, Daily Kos   The crisis in Ukraine has brought issues of global security that had been on the back burner in recent years sharply back into focus. The issues and problems about the Middle East that were heightened by the events of 9/11 certainly have a bearing on global security, but they don’t raise the possibility of an immediate full scale military conflict between major powers. While few people think that the US and Russia are about to start a direct shooting war with each other, the present situation raises important questions about security arrangements that were developed 70 years ago. NATO remains at the center of the discussion. There had been a conversation between the US and the European members of NATO about future participation in recent years. That just became more crucial. During WW II US policy planners were working on the assumption that...

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“Commemorating” the Vietnam War: One Marine’s Perspective

By Camillo Mac Bica, Truthout | Op-Ed   March 29 has been designated “Vietnam Veterans Day,” according to a proclamation issued by President Obama in 2012. The Vietnam War, according to the proclamation, “is a story of patriots who braved the line of fire, who cast themselves into harm’s way to save a friend, who fought hour after hour, day after day to preserve the liberties we hold dear.” Now I have no problem acknowledging the debt owed to all whose lives were affected by this war, Vietnamese, Cambodians, Laotians and Americans alike. What I find intolerable, even disgraceful, however, is that even 50 years later, our leaders are incapable of telling the truth about the war and choose rather to perpetuate the lie that these “sacrifices,” at least those of the Americans, were “to preserve the liberties we hold dear.” Such rhetoric – although perhaps inspiring to some...

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Lack of progress shows the GOP reaching on minority outreach

A nearly empty ballroom at the last CPAC meeting shows how the GOP talks a good game on outreach but fails when it comes to learning how to actually do it.   From the Desk of NickiLeaks Having little to do and not enough money for a good lunch, a pair of NickiLeaks reporters set out to pad their expense accounts, even if it mean doing some real work. So they started by doing through the old newspapers hiding the whiskey bottles in their desks, looking for a good follow-up piece. In doing do, they ran into a story about how the RNC said they were making an effort to “build a permanent ground campaign” with mention a $10 million commitment to put “staff in urban communities.” In heavily armed bunkers, probably, one reporter quipped. Or, the other suggested, would the urban communities be in places like Georgetown, an...

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Chris Christie clears Chris Christie of any wrongdoing

by Jed Lewison, Daily Kos Five months ago, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s definition of good news was trouncing a little-known Democratic rival as he romped to victory in a blue state, fueling a wave of national stories anointing him as the GOP’s next presidential nominee, if not the next president of the United States. And now, this is “good” news: Inquiry Is Said to Clear Christie, but That’s His Lawyers’ VerdictWith his office suddenly engulfed in scandal over lane closings at the George Washington Bridge, Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey two months ago summoned a pair of top defense lawyers from an elite law firm to the State House and asked them to undertake an extensive review of what had gone wrong. Now, after 70 interviews and at least $1 million in legal fees to be paid by state taxpayers, that review is set to be released,...

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Why Is Cannabis Still A Schedule 1 Drug? Political Magic 101 – Misdirection

Posted by Johnny Green, The Weed Blog I was sent a very interesting e-mail from the father of medical marijuana in America – Dennis Peron. See his essay below: By John Entwistle & Dennis Peron Medical marijuana was the new face of the evil weed when we wrote the Compassionate Use Act of 1996. It was new to a nation under the influence of a 60 year-long reefer madness campaign. It was new to all but the very old. The rest of us were too young to know that from the time before the pyramids right up until 1937 cannabis was medicine. It was new because it was outside our experience of modern drugs keeping us healthy. So we thought it was brand new and what came before – the so called recreational use of pot – was old. Back then most folks figured recreational pot meant everyone and...

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Texas GOP executive director blames women for lower pay

by Egberto Willies, Daily Kos The Executive Director of the Texas Republican Party and Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott ally Beth Cubriel appeared on YNN’s Capitol Tonight program. Cubriel was there to explain the GOP’s alternative to a Texas Lilly Ledbetter Act. It should be noted that Texas women make 82 cents for every dollar a man makes. When asked about it, the answer Cubriel gave was true to form. “Men are better negotiators. I would encourage women instead of pursuing the courts for action to become better negotiators.” Cubriel’s answer is your classic Republican response. If you are harmed by externalities, it’s your fault. If you are harmed by systemic defects in our laws, it is your fault. You are on your own. It is no accident that this followed Cari Christman’s response to a similar question when she implied women are too busy to be concerned with...

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On This Day, March 24, 1720 – Crisis Closes Paris Banks

 1720 – In Paris, banking houses closed due to financial crisis. In the early 18th century the economy of France was depressed. The government was deeply in debt and taxes were high. In addition, the French controlled the colony of Louisiana, a vast settlement in the interior of North America. The American Louisiana colony was much larger than France and the French knew little about it. Many did not even know where it was. But many had heard the rumor that this land was rich in silver and gold, the French currency.  The depressed French economic environment was fertile ground for some of the monetary and economic ideas of John Law (1671-1729). In 1716 Law convinced the French government to let him open a bank, the Bank Generale, that could issue paper money, or bank notes. Law believed that paper notes would increase the money in circulation, which, in...

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The RNC’s new campaign: Selling millennials on a corporate agenda

The only kind of young voters the GOP can attract appear to be like these two at the recent CPAC meeting. By Dante Atkins,  Daily Kos Let’s begin with the obvious: Republicans have a young voter problem. In terms of presidential elections, the numbers are stark: Barack Obama won young voters by 34 points during the 2008 election. In the 2012 re-election campaign, the numbers weren’t as stark — the margin was only 24 points the second time around — but it was still an electoral thrashing. And while conservative strategists hope against hope that this phenomenon is merely the product of a star-crossed love affair with President Obama, the underlying reality is one of more electoral permanence – young voters, simply put, are more aligned with Democrats on key issues: Nearly seven in 10 millennials (68 percent) support same-sex marriage, a marked increase even from a decade ago,...

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Did Rand Paul just accuse Barack Obama of being ‘not black enough?’

by Ian Reifowitz, Daily Kos Yep, you read that right. Rand Paul went there. Here’s how he did it: “I find it ironic that the first African-American president has without compunction allowed this vast exercise of raw power by the N.S.A. … Certainly J. Edgar Hoover’s illegal spying on Martin Luther King and others in the civil rights movement should give us all pause.” In an interview prior to giving this speech on privacy, Sen. Paul was even more direct in telling the president what he, as a black man, ought to be doing: “The first African-American president ought to be a little more conscious of the fact of what has happened with the abuses of domestic spying…Martin Luther King was spied upon, civil rights leaders were spied upon, Muhammad Ali was spied upon.” Overall, Paul’s remarks at Berkeley represented a strong and thoughtful criticism of the NSA’s domestic...

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