Tiananmen museum revives ghosts of a massacre

by Adam McCauley – Al Jazeera New Hong Kong museum documents 1989 killings of student protesters, stirring debates over China’s future. Hong Kong, China – Visitors arrived to the chants of protesters who wore white shirts and blue hats and carried signs reading: “Uncover the hidden truth” – urging passersby to learn the “real history”. But these protesters couldn’t stop the grand opening of Hong Kong’s controversial June 4 Memorial Museum on Saturday. Sponsored by the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of the Patriotic Democratic Movements of China (the Alliance), the museum documents the 1989 clash between Chinese government forces and student protesters that killed hundreds and wounded thousands more in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square. It is the world’s first permanent museum dedicated to the deadly protests, and recent tensions between pro-democracy groups and communist government supporters in Hong Kong have thrust the facility into the middle of current debates. “A lot of...

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Tommy Chong To Get His Own Brand Of Marijuana In Colorado

By Johnny Green, The Weed Blog – In a move that seems to be a no-brainer, a marijuana store in Pueblo, Colorado has entered into an agreement with Tommy Chong to use his name and product endorsements at their store. The deal includes a marijuana strain that will be developed and named after Tommy Chong, as well as other products. The store that Tommy Chong is partnering up with is called ‘Marisol Therapeutics’, which I’m assuming is going to see a huge increase in business due to the partnership they have with Tommy Chong. It’s reported that the strain and products carrying the Tommy Chong brand will be high CBD related. This is great news for people that want the medical benefits of CBD. Although, I wish there was another strain bred for high THC. I guess only time will tell if that happens. This is not the first...

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Egyptian court sentences 683 people to death

Amid crackdown on opposition, judge also confirms death sentences for 37 alleged Muslim Brotherhood supporters. Minya, Egypt – An Egyptian judge has sentenced 683 alleged Muslim Brotherhood supporters to death, including the group’s supreme guide, Mohamed Badie, and confirmed the death sentences of 37 of 529 alleged supporters previously condemned. Outside the courtroom on Monday, when news of the sentences broke, families of the accused began to scream and several women fainted, falling to the ground. Mohamed Elmessiry, an Amnesty International researcher monitoring the cases, said they “lacked basic fair trial guarantees”. The defendants from the first case whose death sentences were not upheld were each sentenced to 25 years in prison. Many of the lawyers for the accused boycotted the hearing, demanding that the judge be recused and calling him a “butcher”. Lawyer Mohamed Abdel Waheb, who represents 25 of the defendants, said the verdict was handed down...

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Federal judges plead guilty

Juris imprudence: Litigants reeling after judges admit conflicts of interest   By Reity O’Brien, Center for Public Integrity –  When Linda Wolicki-Gables and her husband appealed a lawsuit all the way to the second-highest court in the nation against Johnson & Johnson over a malfunctioning medication pump that had been implanted in her body, the couple had no idea that one of the judges who decided their case had a financial stake in the giant multinational company. Eleventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge James Hill owned as much as $100,000 in Johnson & Johnson stock when he and two other judges ruled against the Gables’ appeal in the precedent-setting case. For the Gables, a different decision in the 2011 appeal could have helped them win a verdict for as much as $20 million, a sum that would have vastly improved the quality of her care, according to their attorney, T. Patton Youngblood...

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On This Day, Apr 29, 1945 – Dachau liberated

On April 29, 1945, the U.S. Seventh Army’s 45th Infantry Division liberates Dachau, the first concentration camp established by Germany’s Nazi regime. A major Dachau subcamp was liberated the same day by the 42nd Rainbow Division. Established five weeks after Adolf Hitler took power as German chancellor in 1933, Dachau was situated on the outskirts of the town of Dachau, about 10 miles northwest of Munich. During its first year, the camp held about 5,000 political prisoners, consisting primarily of German communists, Social Democrats, and other political opponents of the Nazi regime. During the next few years, the number of prisoners grew dramatically, and other groups were interned at Dachau, including Jehovah’s Witnesses, Gypsies, homosexuals, and repeat criminals. Beginning in 1938, Jews began to comprise a major portion of camp internees. Prisoners at Dachau were used as forced laborers, initially in the construction and expansion of the camp and...

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So…Bill Kristol Believes People are Being Hysterical over Sterling’s Racist Statements

By NedSparks – During Sunday’s broadcast of ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos, Conservative pundit and Weekly Standard founder Bill Kristol, while participating in a panel discussion over statements made by Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling that were captured by Sterling’s girlfriend, smugly suggested that individuals who were offended by Sterling’s remarks were simply overreacting, for as he saw it: Everyone goes hysterical over two or three sentences Kristol then went on to add: Private organizations can deal with, private businesses can fire people, I suppose. I suppose…. Emphasis by diarist. Sterling’s girlfriend who incurred the wrath of the NBA team owner after she posed in photographs on social media, withAfrican Americans including Los AngelesLakers legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Jr., captured Sterling’s remarks on an audio recording, remarks, including the samplingbelow, whichKristol seemed comfortable in making light of: “It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast...

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Government Roundoup – Wildlife, Taxes and Water

Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge is located on the Albemarle-Pamlico Peninsula in Hyde County, North Carolina. Established in 1934, the 50,180-acre Refuge consists of open water, marsh, forest and croplands. The centerpiece of the Refuge is the shallow Lake Mattamuskeet. At 40,100 acres, it is North Carolina’s largest natural lake. The Refuge’s strategic location along the Atlantic Flyway makes it a vitally important stopover for wintering waterfowl. Over the past 35 years, up to 80 percent of the Northern Pintail and up to 30 percent of Green-wing Teal that annually migrate along the Flyway utilize Mattamuskeet. In total, the Refuge attracts more than 200,000 ducks, geese and swans from November through February. With 131 Million Returns Filed, Millions of Amended Returns Expected WASHINGTON — As of April 18, almost 46 million returns were e-filed from home computers, more than the total from home computers for all of 2013. The IRS...

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Persecuted and Imprisoned for Environmental Activism

Sister Megan Rice, 82, a Roman Catholic nun and activist against nuclear arms, in Knoxville, Tenn., Aug. 8, 2012. Rice and two male accomplices await an October trial after breaching security at the Oak Ridge nuclear reservation in Tennessee on July 28. (Photo: Shawn Poynter / The New York Times) Free speech protests often met with police actions, arrests By Samantha Sarra, Truthout | Op-Ed – As the world celebrated Earth Day on April 22, we also marked a half century of environmental resistance and recrimination. Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring was published in 1962 and is widely regarded as the genesis of the environmental movement. It also marked the beginning of persecution for those trying to protect planet Earth. A naturalist and prolific author who warned against the effects of synthetic pesticides, Carson’s work was met with aggressive opposition, and she was labeled a communist with sinister intentions employed by the Soviet Union. The peasant women...

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Sarah Palin Said If She Were President, She Would ‘Baptize Terrorists’ Through Waterboarding

By MBD – The infamous former Alaska Governor, and 2008 Republican Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin got a crowd of thousands fired up and ready to water board some “terrorists”. Attendees of the National Rifle Association’s “Stand and Fight Rally” were treated to another of Palin’s bizarre religion-spiked political rants on Saturday. “If you control oil, you control an economy. If you control money, you control commerce. But if you control arms, you control the people. And that is what they are trying,” she said. Was Sarah’s solution to rid our dependence on fossil fuels, and invest in green energy? Nope. Instead, she saw waterboarding – or as she liked to call it: “baptizing” – as the way to best secure a brighter future for Americans. Palin spoke mostly about the Second Amendment and commented on gun control. This was an NRA benefit, after all. But she continuously strayed...

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Racism and Criminalization in the Media

By Bethania Palma Markus, Truthout | News Analysis –  A recent People magazine cover sparks consideration of the hiding-in-plain-sight but never-discussed racism that characterizes the United States and the ways US media subtly sustain that racism. The cover of the February 22, 2014, edition of People magazine features a telling representation of the status of race relations in this country. It features Southern chef Paula Deen promising a story about how she’s “rebuilding her world” and “hoping for a rebirth.” On the bottom left of the cover, there is the infamous mug shot of George Stinney, the Southern black child who was tried, convicted and executed in South Carolina in a murder trial that has since been called the equivalent of a lynching. At 14, he was the youngest person executed by the state in the 20th century. Of course, the magazine didn’t acknowledge the irony of placing the two in the same edition...

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Our Congress – When it Comes to Nothing, We Really Got Something

  “From the Desk of NickiLeaks” In DC, the cherry blossoms are blooming and Congress is returning from vacation. Only one will yield fruit, while the other is already filled with fruit, much of it rotten and spoiled. The cherry trees will produce a crop while Congress a produce a crock, two crooks and a thousand excuses. The blooming trees will remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, but thanks to the oil companies, the coal companies and their well-funded lobbyists, the blooming idiots will add to the amount of bad gasses in the air. Some  adding of gasses will be done by sneaking amendments onto bills, some will be done with the routine breathing Congress does and the making of unneeded speeches and some bad gasses will be created thanks to the defunding of agencies and inspectors tasked with making sure this doesn’t happen. Thanks, GOP, you Gaseous Old Pirates! Now,...

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If Republicans don’t like being called racists, they can stop behaving like racists

by Laurence Lewis – It would be funny if it weren’t so disturbing. Republicans, their propagandists and their enablers have been whining about Republicans being called on their racism. Which was particularly revealing in the context of attempting to defend having accused President Obama of racism. All of which was the opening act to Republicans falling all over themselves in gushing support of a locked and loaded, ostensibly anti-government deadbeat social welfare recipient, who just shockingly—shockingly!— turned out to be a frothing racist. Now, to be clear, as DCCC Chair Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY) recently graciously admitted, not all Republicans are racists. But Republicans do continue to pursue racist political policies. And Republican leaders do have a problem confronting the overt racism festering within their party. And Republicans do continue to make systematic efforts to prevent black people from voting. Whether it’s using the zombie lie of voter fraud as...

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Koch brothers, major corporations sponsor pension reform seminar for judges

Attendees could decide fate of contentious cases across the nation By Chris Young,Center for Public Integrity –  As state courts across the nation prepare to referee numerous public pension reform disputes, a gaggle of interested parties — from major corporations to the Koch brothers — will next week sponsor an expenses-paid conference on public pension reform for judges who may decide the cases’ fates. Conference funders, which include ExxonMobil, Google and Wal-Mart, could benefit from efforts to slash benefits for public employees. Alternative approaches to shore up state budgets would likely require higher corporate taxes, fewer corporate subsidies and reduced government services, all of which would be bad for business. The three-day gathering in a Charleston, S.C., hotel is hosted by George Mason University’s Law & Economics Center. The “Judicial Symposium on the Economics and Law of Public Pension Reform,” according to a George Mason event description, is intended to “comprehensively outline...

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As Tensions Boil, G7 Throws Fresh Sanctions at Russia

Sarah Lazare, staff writer – Common Dreams Group of Seven nations on Saturday vowed to impose ‘swift’ new sanctions on Russia due to the country’s alleged backing of separatists in eastern Ukraine—ratcheting up tensions and drawing more countries into the war of rhetoric. The announcement by the G7—which represents some of the world’s biggest economic superpowers—came the day after European military observers in Slavyansk were captured by alleged pro-Russian separatists. In a statement announcing the sanctions, the UK, U.S., France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and Canada issued their “strong condemnation of Russia’s illegal attempt to annex Crimea and Sevastopol, which we do not recognize.” They accuse Russia of failing to comply an agreement reached in Geneva last week for armed groups to lay down their weapons and occupied public spaces to be vacated. The statement praises the Ukrainian government for acting “with restraint in dealing with the armed bands illegally...

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Amazing Footage Shows Dolphin Asking Diver For Help Removing Hook & Line

 by MBD – This is an absolutely amazing video that you’ll have to see to believe it! Dolphins may be one of the planet’s smartest animals on the planet, but without opposable thumbs, they’re out of luck when it comes to getting barbed in a hook and line. In a remarkable video, however, a clever dolphin seems to recognize just that. When he saw a diver, he approach the human to get help with that hard to reach spots. The hook and fishing line restricted the dolphin’s pectoral fin. But diving instructor Keller Laros noticed the strange behavior of the dolphin who was circling them nearby. The dolphin not only calmly allowed divers to remove the line, but actually shifted its body to make it easier for them to remove. Like we said, you’ll have to see it to believe it!   Reprinted with permission from Political Blind Spot

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U.S. Solar Capacity up 418% Since 2010, Koch Bros Demand Tax on Sun

  U.S. Solar electric capacity has expanded explosively – 418% – from 2326 megawatts in 2010 to 12,057 MW in February 2014, an increase of 9,731 MW reports the U.S. Energy Information Agency. Solar has moved rapidly from a niche market to 1.13% of total U.S. capacity.  To stop the rapid growth of solar, which is threatening to break Americans from the death grip of fossil fuels, the Koch Brothers are demanding to tax the sun. U.S installed solar capacity shot up over 400% in the last 4 years. The rapid decline in the cost of solar panels and state and federal incentives have spurred investment in solar power at all scales from individuals to small businesses to large utilities. Net metering, which allows users to reverse their power meter when they produce more power than they consume, has incentivized rooftop solar. Moreover, states from Hawaii to South Carolina have developed programs to...

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Medical Marijuana Laws Not Associated With Increased Use By Adolescents

By Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director The enactment of state laws legalizing the physician-recommended use of cannabis therapy is not associated with increased levels of marijuana use by young people, according to data published online in the Journal of Adolescent Health. Researchers at Rhode Island Hospital and Brown University assessed the impact of medical cannabis laws by examining trends in reported drug use by high-schoolers in a cohort of states before and after legalization. Researchers compared these trends to geographically matched states that had not adopted medical marijuana laws. Authors reported overall “no statistically significant differences in marijuana use before and after policy change for any state pairing,” and acknowledged that some states that had adopted medical cannabis laws experienced a decrease in adolescent’s self-reported use of the plant. “In the regression analysis, we did not find an overall increased probability of marijuana use related to the policy change,” they stated. Investigators...

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On This Day, Apr. 28, 1965 – My Name is Barbra is Barbra Streisand’s debut television special

Barbra Streisand’s breakout year as a singer came in 1963, when she released her first two albums, won her first two Grammys and began appearing live in some of the most prominent nightclubs in the country. By the following year, she was a showbiz phenomenon, earning further nominations from the Grammys and Tonys after wowing Broadway critics and audiences in her first leading role, as Fanny Brice in Funny Girl. Yet even then, in a Time magazine cover article in 1964, it was noted that “Many people still say Who when they hear her name.” That probably changed once and for all on April 28, 1965, when millions of American television viewers tuned in to a solid primetime hour of the 22-year-old Streisand in her first-ever TV special, the triumphant My Name Is Barbra. My Name is Barbra was the first special to be shot and aired under a...

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Update: VW has secured other offers out of TN; says Haslam reneged $300M deal

    New documents reveal that Volkswagen had accepted Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam’s $300 million offer of taxpayer dollars to help the company expand production in Chattanooga.  That offer was revoked by Governor Haslam, after he learned UAW would be part of Volkswagen in Chattanooga.From News Channel 5 in Nashville: Emails leaked to NewsChannel 5 Investigates — emails that the state had refused to release — show Volkswagen lawyers had actually drawn up papers for a potential deal to bring more than a thousand new jobs to Tennessee, but it was the Haslam administration who pulled the plug on the incentives it had offered in August 2013.“A number of circumstances have changed or occurred since we delivered the August 23rd materials,” Tennessee Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bill Hagerty emailed a top Volkswagen executive on Jan. 31. “The August 2013 incentive summary does not account for these changes and is no longer...

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FSU Students Discover New Senate Bill Meant To Keep Koch Infiltration… Hidden

cifid By Leslie Salzillo, The Daily Kos I recently wrote a Daily Kos diary titled Florida Students Protest Koch Influence Over College Professors discussing the Koch brothers corruption which has been bleeding into the FSU (Florida State University) faculty and education. The problem began in 2008 when Charles Koch made a hefty donation/bribe that included questionable stipulations. A student protest began in 2011 after those ‘special permissions’ were exposed. In the last several months the protest has reignited. Now with the introduction of a seemingly insidious brand new Senate bill, the heat is on and rising. Here is an excerpt from a recent editorial by several student activists, via Tallahassee.com “Our university’s academic integrity has already been compromised from the influence of high-dollar donors like Koch, who managed to assume inappropriate control over our economics department’s curriculum and hiring process per an agreement signed in 2008. Three years have passed since FSU professors exposed Koch’s financial...

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