The Titanic vs. Modern Cruise Ship

Looks like size does matter.

Read More...


Controversial study finds cat lovers are smarter than dog lovers

By HoundDog, Daily Kos –  A controversial new study reported on by Rachael Rettner finds that cat people are smarter than dog people. This is not the only difference in characteristics scientific studies have found between cat and dog owners. People who said they were dog lovers in the study tended to be more lively — meaning they were more energetic and outgoing — and also tended to follow rules closely. Cat lovers, on the other hand, were more introverted, more open-minded and more sensitive than dog lovers. Cat people also tended to be non-conformists, preferring to be expedient rather than follow the rules. And in a finding that’s sure to spark rivalries among pet owners, cat lovers scored higher on intelligence than dog lovers. Part of the reason for the personality differences may be related to the types of environments cat or...

Read More...


And it’s What Kind of Tornado?

Read More...


Fox News Suffers Worst Ratings In Thirteen Years – And That’s Not Their Big Problem

by News Corpse – Fox News has fallen and it can’t get up. Ratings for the month of May 2014, have just been published, and the numbers are devastating for Fox News. While still occupying the top slot among the cable news networks, Fox saw about a quarter of its audience dissolve across every demographic group and time period. Every Fox program in primetime dropped by double-digits, with Bill O’Reilly taking the deepest dive. Sean Hannity posted some of his lowest numbers ever in his new 10:00 pm time slot. And Megyn Kelly’s new, and highly anticipated, primetime show failed to improve on the ratings performance of her predecessor. To be sure, Fox was not the only network to see declines. In fact, CNN had an even larger dip. The news was much better for MSNBC who was down the least of all the cable news networks. They lost a...

Read More...


#Bungle-ghazi: Issa declines Kerry’s acceptance of subpoena

by Jed Lewison – OP-ED World-class clown artist and House Government Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa has reversed course and withdrawn his subpoena demanding Secretary of State John Kerry appear before his committee to discuss the #Benghazi attack, an attack which took place while Kerry was still a U.S. Senator. Issa’s full statement is here, but these are the highlights: Seeing Secretary Kerry and others, who have worked to obstruct critical oversight of Congress’ investigations into Benghazi, attempt to use the upcoming June 12 hearing as a shield against the Select Committee tells me it’s time to reassess.   While Speaker Boehner and I had both originally concluded that Secretary Kerry needed to promptly testify and explain why his Department had withheld subpoenaed documents, neither of us immediately recognized how opponents of congressional oversight would use this as an opportunity to distract from the Select Committee’s effort. I am...

Read More...


‘The Cause Is Us’: World on Verge of Sixth Extinction

Species loss soaring at ‘pace not seen in tens of millions of years’ Andrea Germanos, staff writer – A new study showing that the human activity has driven current rates of species extinction to 1,000 times faster than the natural rate is “alarming” and “should be a clarion call” to work towards greater conservation efforts, an environmental group charges. The study, published Thursday by the journal Science and led by conservation expert Stuart Pimm, also warns that without drastic action, the sixth mass extinction could be imminent. From habitat loss to invasive species to climate change to overfishing, humans are contributing to the plummet in biodiversity. “This important study confirms that species are going extinct at a pace not seen in tens of millions of years, and unlike past extinction events, the cause is us,” stated Noah Greenwald, endangered species director with the Center for Biological Diversity, who was...

Read More...


Though a short distance from the urban areas of Cleveland . . .

Read More...


The Best Reporting on Guns in America

In the wake of last week’s shooting, we’ve laid out the most revealing reporting about guns by Blair Hickman, Hanqing Chen, Cora Currier, Lois Beckett and Suevon Lee, ProPublica – Update: With last weekend’s shootings in Santa Barbara, this collection, first published July 24, 2012, unfortunately, seems relevant again. We’ve re-organized our roundup and added new reporting about guns and gun violence in America—looking at mass shootings and mental health, as well as other kinds of gun violence. Are Mass Shootings Increasing? Depends on How You Count Them Criminologists have made the same point again and again: the number of mass shootings in America is not increasing. Experts told the Los Angeles Times that mass shootings represent only a small fraction of the annual deaths due to gun violence, and that police data indicate that the overall count of mass shootings per year has not shown any significant increase over...

Read More...


East Texas restaurant to gay couple: “We just don’t like fags.”

by Chrislove – If you caught ericlewis0‘s diary last night, you know that Houston’s City Council voted yesterday to approve an Equal Rights Ordinance banning discrimination against LGBT people (among other categories of people) in public accommodations, city contracting, and private employment. Although over 200 miles north of Houston and well out of the ordinance’s jurisdiction, an incident in the East Texas city of Pittsburg shows just why these kinds of laws are needed. Because yes, contrary to what right-wingers often claim lie through their teeth about, there are businesses that will refuse service to LGBT people if they are allowed to do so. And plenty of them. Case in point: Big Earl’s, a Pittsburg restaurant and bait shop that actually has an official policy on how men and women are supposed to “act”: An East Texas gay couple, Collin Dewberry and Kelley Williams, saw that policy in action earlier this...

Read More...


Elon Musk unveils Dragon V2 manned spacecraft

Can accommodate up to seven astronauts for several days in orbit By David Szondy, Gizmag – Having teased the public by showing off the SuperDraco engine, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has taken the wraps off the Dragon V2 manned spacecraft that it’s designed to propel. At a brief media event at SpaceX’s Hawthorne, California headquarters, Musk introduced the larger, more powerful version of the reusable Dragon capsule, which will one day carry astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) and return to Earth to land under its own power. The first unmanned version of the SpaceX Dragon will already be familiar to the space-conscious segment of the public. Developed in part under a NASA initiative to find a privately owned and operated replacement for the retired Space Shuttle, the Dragon recently completed its third cargo mission to the ISS and has another scheduled in a few months time. Though the spacecraft has enjoyed considerable success, SpaceX...

Read More...


E.U. Election Results: A Handy Guide to Europe’s Political Factions

by Tom Clougherty – For those of us who are more used to two-party democracy, last week’s elections to the European Parliament could easily be a source of confusion. By my estimate, the European Parliament’s 751 seats will soon be divided between representatives of 198 different national parties, themselves organized into seven (or possibly eight) official groups—with each of those representing a political faction that draws support from at least 25 members of the European Parliament (MEPs) who must, between them, represent no fewer than seven of the E.U.’s 28 member states. Got it? If you want to know more, read on for a guide to Europe’s main political factions, how they did in last week’s elections, and what it means for the future of the European Union. The Center A majority of seats (62 percent) went to representatives of Europe’s three main groups: the European People’s Party (EPP), the...

Read More...


New Orleans Nearly Finished Killing Off Its Public Schools

City now home to first all-charter school district in country Sarah Lazare, staff writer, Common Dreams – New Orleans is now home to the first and only school district in the United States that is all-charter. The Recovery School District on Wednesday shuttered its last remaining traditional public school, meaning that almost all New Orleans schools are now privatized. The shutdowns moved forward despite opposition from local communities. “The right to public education is fundamental human right,” said Monique Harden of the New Orleans-based Advocates for Environmental Human Rights in an interview with Common Dreams. “Profit motive drives insane, reckless, unsafe decisions that are not in the best interests of children.” Benjamin Banneker Elementary, which closed Wednesday, is one of the five remaining traditional public schools in the Recovery School District that will not re-open this fall, according to the Washington Post. This leaves only five remaining public schools...

Read More...


Daughter of Sandy Hook principal responds to Joe the Plumber

by Christian Dem in NC – You may remember that Samuel “Joe the Plumber” Wurzelbacher had the gall to tell the victims of the Santa Barbara shooting that “your dead kids don’t trump my constitutional rights.”  When Erica Lafferty, the daughter of Sandy Hook principal Dawn Hochsprung, saw this, she felt that she had to respond.  And she did, with an op-ed in The Daily Beast. It’s actually refreshing to see his comments so unvarnished, so closely removed from this poor kid’s murder. And I wouldn’t have dignified his disgusting comments with a response if it didn’t follow such a disturbing pattern among gun extremists in this country.In fact, his comments quite clearly encapsulate the id of the small faction of extremists who are influencing our country’s gun laws. Your loss doesn’t matter if it inconveniences me one bit. Gun violence may be real—and it may be 20 times worse...

Read More...


Bush/Blair Iraq War Plotting to Remain Hidden From Public: UK

‘Neutered’ Iraq War inquiry to censor full content of conversations in lead-up to 2003 invasion Sarah Lazare, staff writer, Common Dreams – Critics are charging that a UK inquiry into the country’s role in the Iraq War has “neutered” its own investigation by censoring critical conversations between George W. Bush and Tony Blair in the lead-up to the 2003 invasion. Headed by Sir John Chilcot, the inquiry was convened in 2009 by the UK government and tasked with establishing “what happened” in Iraq and identifying “the lessons that can be learned.” The report’s released is years behind schedule, in part due to debate over the release of 25 letters and 130 recordings of conversations between Blair and Bush. The U.S. has heavily pressured the UK government to block the release of these conversations, which the U.S. says are classified. The UK government has also fiercely lobbied against the full...

Read More...


Police Say Drones Continue To Appear At Crime Scenes

Use by journalists raises new ethics issues By PBSpot Admin – Police have been reporting that drones are showing up more and more at crime scenes. The trend began earlier this year, but police say that far from slowing down, it has gotten much worse. This highlights the problem of rampant drone ownership and the potential abuses of the devices. Furthermore, it is serving as a wake-up call to many regarding the inherent abuse-prone nature of drones. But the drone proliferation is far from something police are just complaining about, they are also actively participating in the drone race. Departments all over the country have been purchasing the devices to monitor towns and often the inner city. But when the drones are being used by others – presumably reporters, more often than not – the police seem to suddenly shift gears about the growing popularity of the devices. “Here was a...

Read More...


John “Man Up” Kerry Faces Firestorm for Snowden Remarks

From “misogynistic” to “obnoxious,” Secretary of State slammed for comments about whistleblower Jon Queally, staff writer, Common Dreams –   U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is facing widespread criticism for his comment that NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden—increasingly seen by the American public as a heroic figure for exposing government surveillance—should “man up” by returning home to face criminal charges. “This is a man who has betrayed his country,” Kerry told CBS News on Wednesday, just hours before the airing of highly anticipated interview between Snowden and NBC News’ Brian Williams. “He should man up and come back to the US.” Seen widely as an attempt by Kerry and the Obama administration to turn public opinion against the 30-year-old former intelligence contractor, for many it had the opposite effect: making the Secretary look both petty and misogynistic—not to mention “wrong”—by characterizing Snowden as “less than a man” for his...

Read More...


On This Day, May 31, 2005 – Deep Throat is Revealed

W. Mark Felt’s family ends 30 years of speculation, identifying Felt, the former FBI assistant director, as “Deep Throat,” the secret source who helped unravel the Watergate scandal. The Felt family’s admission, made in an article in Vanity Fair magazine, took legendary reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, who had promised to keep their source’s identity a secret until his death, by surprise. Tapes show that Nixon himself had speculated that Felt was the secret informant as early as 1973. The question “Who was Deep Throat?” had been investigated relentlessly in the ensuing years since Watergate in movies, books, televisions shows, and on the Internet. America was obsessed with the shadowy figure who went to great lengths to conceal his involvement with the Washington Post reporters. Although his name was often mentioned as a possibility, Felt consistently denied being Deep Throat, even writing in his 1979 memoir, “I never...

Read More...


Arkansas Covers 75% of Eligible People in Private-Option Medicaid

By Joan McCarter, Daily Kos – Arkansas’ version of Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act, its “private option,” has been a rousing success, having signed up 75 percent of the state’s eligible population so far, and still going strong. The state’s Department of Human Services said more than 170,000 people have applied and were determined eligible for Arkansas’s “private option” program, which is about 14,500 more than how many people had signed up last month. Department officials say around 225,000 Arkansans qualify for the program, which uses federal Medicaid dollars to purchase private health insurance for the poor. After a legislative hearing, the director of Arkansas’s Medicaid program Andy Allison said the May numbers were meeting expectations quicker than different health care programs established before it. “What I would say is that we’re reaching the predicted levels of participation far quicker than previous expansions,” he said. “Not sure we should...

Read More...


Pentagon Says Uncovering Truth about Military Sexual Violence Is Too Burdensome

Volume of records is simply a sign of the appalling rates of violence within the military By Sandra S. Park, Staff Attorney, ACLU Women’s Rights Project  It’s often said that people should be judged by their actions, not merely their words. The same is true of institutions, even the Department of Defense (DoD). Facing intense criticism for how it responds to sexual violence within the military, the Pentagon has said: “Sexual Assault is a crime that is not tolerated, condoned, or ignored in the DoD. It is one of the most serious challenges facing our military.” Yet, in Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) litigation that has now been pending for three years, the Pentagon argues that releasing its records regarding military sexual violence is too “burdensome,” because it involves a large number of documents. But that raises more questions than it answers: Doesn’t the volume of documents only confirm the magnitude...

Read More...


The Sagging State of America’s Middle Class

Many still struggle with modest job growth, slow income growth By Christian E. Weller and Jackie Odum, Center for American Progress – Many middle-class families struggle with modest job growth, slow income growth, high poverty, and a lack of employer-sponsored benefits, while corporate profits remain high. The United States needs to take action and adopt policies that create economic opportunities for all to become financially secure. Progressive policies such as a higher minimum wage, extended unemployment insurance benefits, and affordable health insurance can contribute to stronger economic and job growth and lead to more and better economic opportunities for millions of middle-class Americans. The Affordable Care Act, or ACA, is just one example of good policy that promotes financial growth and security for both middle-class families and our nation’s economy. Since its enactment, the ACA has lowered projected budget deficits and provided Americans with the financial security they need by expanding coverage, providing...

Read More...


Visiobike might just be the world’s techiest e-bike

By Ben Coxworth, Gizmag – As the recent Charged Up e-bike event showed us, the new generation of electric bikes is apparently here to stay. While many of them simply feature a motor that augments the rider’s pedaling power, some really take the whole “electronics” thing and run (or roll) with it. The upcoming Visiobike is just such a machine. With a little help from the user’s smartphone, it not only provides a power boost but also lets them navigate, deter thieves, see what’s behind them via a video feed, and avoid having to shift gears. The 21-kg (46-lb) Visiobike was created by a team led by Croatian designer Marko Matenda. It features a monocoque carbon fiber frame that internally incorporates a 14.5-Ah Panasonic lithium-ion battery and a bottom bracket-located MDF Drive 5.1 electric motor. That motor will be available in 250-watt and 500-watt versions, boosting the rider’s pedal strokes to take...

Read More...


Kentucky newspaper slams Mitch McConnell’s Obamacare doublespeak

By Jed Lewison, Daily Kos – This is a delightfully harsh editorial from the Lexington Herald-Leader on Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s absurd claim that repealing Obamacare would have no impact on Kynect, the health insurance marketplace delivering coverage to 421,000 Kentucky residents: What in the world did he mean last week when he told reporters that repeal of the Affordable Care Act — “root and branch,” as he has demanded many times — is “unconnected” to the future of Kynect, Kentucky’s health insurance exchange?Asked specifically if Kynect should be dismantled, McConnell said: “I think that’s unconnected to my comments about the overall question.” We asked the McConnell campaign for a clarification and were sent the usual talking points and a statement saying, “If Obamacare is repealed, Kentucky should decide for itself whether to keep Kynect or set up a different marketplace,” a suggestion that is unconnected to reality. Kentuckians are waiting to learn if...

Read More...


Veterans Affairs Chief Eric Shinseki Hands in Resignation

Announcement comes amid scandal over scheduling abuses at hospitals U.S. Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki is resigning, President Barack Obama announced today, amid a scandal over what Shinseki acknowledged the same day were “systemic” scheduling abuses at veterans’ health care facilities that covered up long wait times. Shinseki apologized Friday morning, speaking in Washington, D.C. at a conference on homeless veterans. He said the problems at the VA were more severe than he initially thought. The White House had announced that he would be meeting with Obama, and the president’s statement that Shinseki would be resigning came after the meeting. At the Friday morning conference, Shinseki also announced that he had initiated the process to remove the leaders of a Phoenix veterans’ hospital where as many as 40 veterans may have died while waiting for medical care. According to an investigation report released Wednesday, about 1,700 veterans in need of medical attention were “at...

Read More...


Arkansas police officer resigns after pointing a gun at 5-year-old’s head

By Jen Hayden, Daily Kos – A lot of crazy in this story out of Fort Smith, AR: A Fort Smith police officer was arrested and placed on administrative leave Tuesday after Sequoyah County deputies said he fired a gun inside his home and held a gun to a five-year-old child’s head. Officer Naaman Adcock was placed on administrative leave with pay while authorities conduct an internal investigation. Sequoyah County authorities said they took nine guns from Adcock’s possession after he fired off several rounds into a wall inside his home after he got into a drunken dispute with his wife. Administrative leave. Paid administrative leave. Incredible this guy wasn’t fired on the spot. Not only did he terrorize the children at gunpoint, he pulled a gun on a deputy: Deputies continued to Adcock’s residence, and when they knocked on the door, Naaman Adcock answered with a gun drawn and...

Read More...


Evan Bayh’s multi-million-dollar head start?

Former senator could tap stocked federal campaign account if he seeks Indiana governorship By Dave Levinthal, Center for Public Integrity – If former Sen. Evan Bayh again runs for governor in Indiana — there’s speculation he’ll seek his old post, although Bayh is mum on the matter— he’d likely have a multi-million-dollar fundraising head start on any opponent. That’s because the Hoosier State’s campaign finance laws allow politicians to use any or all money raised for federal campaigns toward state-level political bids, Indiana Election Division Co-Director Trent Deckard confirmed in an email to the Center for Public Integrity. Bayh has $9.8 million remaining in his dormant campaign account, an amount he’s largely sat on since leaving the U.S. Senate in early 2011. That’s more than any other former member of Congress who isn’t at the moment seeking elected office, and part of nearly $100 million in leftover campaign money such ex-candidates have idled, as the Center for Public Integrity previously...

Read More...


Ready for Hillary no longer just a super PAC

Change in status allows pro-Clinton group to donate directly to candidates By Dave Levinthal, Center for Public Integrity –  Ready for Hillary is now primed to pump Democratic congressional candidates full of cash. The pro-Clinton super PAC today filed paperwork to convert itself into a hybrid PAC. This relatively new type of political committee may raise unlimited amounts of money to advocate for and against candidates — and at the same time collect limited amounts of cash to give directly to candidates. In doing so, the organization aims to put renewed punch into its promise to this year support Clinton’s allies during this year’s midterm elections. “Ready for Hillary and our more than two million supporters are not only excited about encouraging Hillary to run in 2016, but also excited to be working to elect Democrats in 2014,” spokesman Seth Bringman said in an email to the Center for Public Integrity. “This is another tool that we now...

Read More...


Ohio Becomes First State to Roll Back Renewable Energy Mandate

  By Brandon Baker, EcoWatch – Ohio Gov. John Kasich said two years ago that he had “no doubt” that the renewable energy bill he signed would last 100 years. After a state House of Representatives vote Wednesday afternoon, that appears unlikely. The state House approved Senate Bill 310, 53 to 38, making Ohio the first in the U.S. to freeze renewable energy standards. The bill previously passed the Senate, but now the Senate needs to approve minor changes made by the House, and then the measure heads to Gov. John Kasich’s desk. The Columbus Dispatch reported Thursday that Kasich plans to sign the bill. “As the rest of the country is moving forward on energy efficiency and independence, Ohio is moving backwards,” State Rep. Robert F. Hagan (D-Youngstown) said in a statement. “Reversing our Renewable Portfolio Standards is completely irrational, and unfortunately Ohio consumers and businesses are the victims of the absurdity.” In addition...

Read More...


Medicare Overpays Billions for Office Visits, Patient Evaluations

Many doctors bill for services very differently than their peers By Charles Ornstein, ProPublica – Medicare spent $6.7 billion too much for office visits and other patient evaluations in 2010, according to a new report from the inspector general of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. But in its reply to the findings, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which runs Medicare, said it doesn’t plan to review the billings of doctors who almost always charge for the most-expensive visits because it isn’t cost effective to do so. The inspector general’s report, released today, estimates that overpayments account for 21 percent of the $32.3 billion spent on evaluation and management (E&M) services in 2010. The E&M category includes office visits, emergency room assessments and inpatient hospital evaluations.   This is the second time that the inspector general has singled out this area for more scrutiny. In 2012, the watchdog...

Read More...


Amazing Cave

Read More...


California Supreme Court Rules for Police Transparency

Names of officers involved in shootings aren’t confidential under state law By Peter Bibring, ACLU – You’ve seen police uniforms on TV. Some have medals, some have stripes, some are blue and some are tan, but they always have a badge and a little nameplate on the chest bearing the officer’s name. In California, officers are required by state law to wear that nameplate identifying them. Why? Accountability. A strong democracy requires transparency. And yesterday, the California Supreme Court gave a boost to transparent policing by ruling that the names of officers involved in shootings aren’t confidential under state law. At issue in this case are officers from the Long Beach Police Department who shot and killed 35 year-old Douglas Zerby in December 2010, when they mistakenly believed the garden hose nozzle he was holding was a gun. In response to the concerns that the shooting might indicate deeper problems within...

Read More...


Richard Martinez to politicians – I don’t want your calls, I want action

By Christian Dem in NC, Daily Kos – Richard Martinez, the father of Santa Barbara shooting victim Christopher Martinez, has another message to send to Washington besides “Not one more.”  Last night, he told Anderson Cooper that he doesn’t want to hear any statements of condolences from the politicians until they do something to keep this insanity from happening again.   COOPER: I know you’ve had people reach out to you, people from Capitol Hill. What is your message to them? What is your message about what needs to change?MARTINEZ: Don’t — my message is this. Don’t — I’ve had Congress people call me and express their condolences and sympathy. And when that happened — when that’s happened I‘ve told them don’t call me and tell me you’re sorry about my son’s death. I don’t want to hear it from you. I don’t want to hear that you’re sorry about...

Read More...


Exclusive: FBI spied on Nelson Mandela during first U.S. trip

 Newly released files reveal informant on South African icon’s historic 1990 visit, amid serious concerns for security by Jason Leopold –          The FBI spied on Nelson Mandela when the legendary South African leader arrived in the United States in June 1990, according to newly released files exclusively obtained by Al Jazeera. A May 30, 1990, FBI memo from the Atlanta field office to then–FBI Director William Sessions about the upcoming visit noted that the bureau had cultivated a new confidential informant — either directly within Mandela’s inner circle or closely affiliated with his entourage — who had provided logistical information about Mandela’s travel itinerary. Mandela arrived in the U.S. four months after his release from 27 years in prison, not only as the world’s most celebrated political prisoner and liberation icon but also as the leader of a U.S.-designated “terrorist organization.” The African National Congress was not removed from the...

Read More...


Manic Impression Has Captured His Soul

Read More...


Researchers Identify New Genetic Building Blocks

Ongoing project to catalog human proteins uncovers 193 novel types By Mary Elizabeth Dallas, HealthDay News– A team of international researchers has identified nearly 85 percent of proteins in the human body. Proteins are the substances that provide structure, function and regulation of the body’s tissues and organs. Human genes contain instructions (encoding) that direct the production of proteins, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health. In addition to finding the majority of the body’s proteins, the researchers also identified 193 new proteins on the human genome. The proteins were found in areas of DNA that were believed to be “noncoding,” or regions that do not encode proteins. Finding proteins in areas with genes that weren’t believed to code means the human genome could be more complex than previously believed, the researchers concluded. “This was the most exciting part of this study, finding further complexities in the genome....

Read More...


Utah’s Natural Bridges National Monument

Read More...


Comcast-Time Warner deal may hinge on anemic low-cost Internet plan

Merger conditions poor substitute for national strategy   By Allan Holmes, Center for Public Integrity – As Comcast Corp. tries to convince the federal government to permit it to buy Time Warner Cable Inc. for $45 billion, opponents of the deal will inevitably bring up people like Ed. Every morning at 8:15, Ed climbs into his red, 1999 Mazda sedan and drives 15 miles down Main Street in Scranton, Pa.  He passes mom-and-pop sandwich shops, a shuttered elementary school and a computerized shooting gallery for archery on his way to a friend’s 86-year-old house where coal miners once lived — and where there’s an Internet connection. Ed, who comes here because he can’t afford the parking fees at a library six miles away, first reads his email and then turns his attention to job sites such as snapjobsearch, glassdoor, Monster and Craigslist. He’s been following this routine for nearly four years, looking...

Read More...


Joy Division and the Little Known Masterpiece

A retrospective on what might be the least well-known masterpiece in the history of British rock music by Keith Lennox, All-len-All – In August of 1979 an album was released under the Factory label out of Manchester, England that contained a sound so fresh, so innovative, that at first one didn’t quite know what to think.  Three songs in, it became readily apparent that you had just embarked on a musical adventure that was very special indeed.  It was punk but it wasn’t, it was rock but yet pop, it was musically driven but at the same time remarkably lyrical.  The band was Joy Division and the ground breaking album was Unknown Pleasures. The band’s manager, Rob Gretton, refused to sign the band to a major label (The Do It Yourself era had hit the music industry and many bands chose creative license over some quick cash as a signing bonus) and signed instead...

Read More...


States Intervene When School Districts Hit Financial Trouble

By Adrienne Lu, Stateline Staff Writer –  Pushed to the brink of financial ruin, Normandy, a school district in Missouri will officially breathe its last breath on June 30. The district’s finances buckled this year under the weight of a state law that requires school districts that fail to meet certain academic standards to pay tuition and transportation costs for students who want to transfer to other districts. Normandy, which lost its state accreditation in 2013, saw about 1,000 students, or 25 percent, of the district’s students move to other schools this year at a price tag of about $8 million. Normandy is not alone among school districts struggling with serious financial problems. Each year, a handful of school systems across the country fall into such deep financial or academic trouble that states step in to help – or even take over entirely. The number remained steady in the first few...

Read More...


McConnell suddenly afraid to run against Obamacare

Mitch is flailing on Obamacare, so own it, Alison! by kos – I’ve had this long-running theory that the Affordable Care Act will end up being a net-negative for Republicans by November. As I wrote last month: There is also the rhetorical cul-de-sac Republicans are trapped inside: They’ve made much hay of the president’s promise that no one would lose their existing insurance. Yet here they are, a few months later, running explicitly on a promise to take away insurance from well over 10 million Americans. In Kentucky, that number is 413,000, exactly. Turns out I’m on the right track, as Sen. Mitch McConnell is turning himself into pretzels trying to weasel out of that rhetorical cul-de-sac. So there he was last week claiming, hilariously, that Kentucky Kynect, the state implementation of Obamacare, had nothing to do with Obamacare. Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell says he would try to repeal the...

Read More...


Dad’s Brain Becomes More ‘Maternal’ When He’s Primary Caregiver: Study

Regions where emotions are processed get more active, researchers report Fathers who spend more time taking care of their newborn child undergo changes in brain activity that make them more apt to fret about their baby’s safety, a new study shows. In particular, fathers who are the primary caregiver experience an increase in activity in their amygdala and other emotional-processing systems, causing them to experience parental emotions similar to those typically experienced by mothers, the researchers noted. The findings suggest there is a neural network in the brain dedicated to parenting, and that the network responds to changes in parental roles, said study senior author Ruth Feldman, a researcher in the department of psychology and the Gonda Brain Sciences Center at Bar-Ilan University in Israel. “Pregnancy, childbirth and lactation are very powerful primers in women to worry about their child’s survival,” said Feldman, who also serves as an adjunct professor...

Read More...


Diet Tied to Better Breathing in COPD Patients

Study suggests healthy eating might help improve lung function People with certain chronic lung diseases might breathe a bit easier when their diets contain healthy foods like fruits and fish, a new study suggests. Researchers found that among nearly 2,200 adults with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), those who ate fish, grapefruit, bananas and cheese tended to have better lung function and fewer symptoms than their counterparts who did not eat those foods. COPD is an umbrella term for the progressive lung disease, emphysema and chronic bronchitis. In the United States, about 15 million people have COPD, and the disease is the third leading cause of death nationwide, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Smoking is the leading cause of COPD. It’s not clear yet whether diet has direct effects on COPD patients’ lungs. The new study, reported at the American Thoracic Society’s annual meeting...

Read More...


Millions March Against Monsanto Calling for Boycott of GMOs

Nine-year-old, mesmerizes listeners in must-see video from Vancouver By EcoWatch – On May 24, millions of people  from around the world participated in the March Against Monsanto, calling for the permanent boycott of genetically engineered foods and other harmful agro-chemicals. Marches occurred on six continents, in 52 countries, with events in more than 400 cities, including 47 U.S. states.  Daniel Bissonnette, a very articulate 9-year-old, mesmerized listeners in this must-see video at a Vancouver, Canada, March Against Monsanto event, asking key questions on why children—the most vulnerable age group to ravages of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and pesticide—are subjected to the worst food possible. “Monsanto’s predatory business and corporate agricultural practices threatens their generation’s health, fertility and longevity,” said Tami Monroe Canal, founder of March Against Monsanto (MAM) who was inspired to start the movement to protect her two daughters. “MAM supports a sustainable food production system. We must act now to stop GMOs and harmful pesticides.”...

Read More...


US House To Vote On Medical Marijuana Amendment This Week

As early as today, the U.S. House could vote on a bipartisan amendment to the Commerce-Justice-Science spending bill that would prohibit the federal government from wasting taxpayer money interfering with state medical marijuana laws. The amendment is being offered by five Republicans and five Democrats. A vote several weeks ago on allowing Veteran Administration doctors discuss medical marijuana with their patients received 195 yes votes. Support for letting states set their own marijuana policy without federal interference is rising quickly. “This vote is about letting states help their citizens without interference from out-of-control federal agencies,” said Bill Piper, director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance. “Members of Congress have an opportunity to both protect the patient/doctor relationship and save taxpayer money. No person should have to fear being arrested for following the advice of their doctor.” The amendment is being sponsored by Reps. Rohrabacher (R-CA), Farr (D-CA), Young (R-AK),...

Read More...


Judge who stopped Wisconsin campaign finance probe tied to Koch-funded junkets

Federal judge attended multiple seminars funded by anti-campaign finance groups By Chris Young, Center for Public Integrity – The federal judge who ordered an end to an investigation into possible illegal campaign coordination between Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and conservative groups during two recent recall elections regularly attended expenses-paid judicial conferences sponsored by conservative organizations including the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation and the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation — groups that have funded efforts against campaign finance reform. In a 26-page decision issued on May 6, Judge Rudolph Randa of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin ordered prosecutors to immediately halt its long-running investigation into the campaign spending and fundraising activities of Walker, the Wisconsin Club for Growth and other conservative groups. Prosecutors were trying to determine whether the Walker campaign and the conservative groups were illegally coordinating campaign strategies at the time of the 2011 and 2012...

Read More...


This Video Needs to Be Replayed After Every Mass Shooting in America

by David Harris Gershon – When mass shootings occur, as happened in Santa Barbara, the only thing most mainstream news outlets can be counted on for is this: an endless dissection of the shooter, which becomes nothing more than an ironic glorification of this anti-hero-in-the-making. In other words: what we find are complete and utter abdications of journalistic responsibility in the name of swelling rating. Do we find thoughtful analyses of gun control laws? Nope. Or discussions on the 2nd Amendment from a constitutional perspective? Not likely. What will we find? Grainy video of the shooter from when he was in kindergarten or when she played Cinderella in 5th grade. Pictures from his high school prom or with her first car. Letters he wrote to his spurned lover or texts she sent to her friends. What we find are media outlets not covering these events, but socially influencing their preponderance,...

Read More...


Is the Gluten Free Diet Deja-Vu of the Fat Free Fad?

The saturated fats-cause-bad-health dogma is fading, though not completely dead. Gradually over the past few years, parts of the medical community, holistic and allopathic, began recognizing that avoiding these fats is downright unhealthy. The continually rising statistics of heart attacks and other cardiovascular health issues after the marketplace had become saturated with no-fat and low-fat products was a red flag. Meanwhile, many medicos keep pushing to lower those cholesterol numbers. Instead, those who really bothered to look beyond the low/no fat dogma realized there were two major root causes for increase heart issues and diabetes, both related to processed foods, which all the no/low fat foods were and are. The real culprits include processed fats, such as margarine and hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated cooking and salad oils, which are all essentially toxic and cause inflammation. That inflammation has been a major factor for creating cardiovascular problems. Add this to...

Read More...


Center sues US to make Medicare Advantage files public

Freedom of Information Act suit targets oversight of health care program By Fred Schulte, Center for Public Integrity – The Center for Public Integrity has sued the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, seeking a wide range of records concerning oversight of Medicare Advantage health insurance plans for senior citizens. The suit, filed today in U.S. District Court in Washington under the Freedom of Information Act, argues that officials have yet to release any documents sought by the Center for more than a year. Federal law generally requires a response within 20 working days.  “The information about Medicare Advantage that we are asking for should be readily available to the taxpaying public. There’s no excuse for  ignoring our request,” said Bill Buzenberg, the Center’s Executive Director. Medicare Advantage, a privately-run alternative to standard Medicare, has enrolled nearly 16 million elderly and disabled persons at an annual cost expected to top $150...

Read More...


Judge Slaps Black Man, Tells Him ‘Run N—er Run’

By MBD – A Judge in Canton, Mississippi is facing serious allegations that he physically struck a mentally disabled man, and used racial slurs. The Madison County Justice Court judge was said to have carried out the assault while working as a security guard at an event in Canton. Eric Rivers, a 20-year-old disabled African-American man has had a police complaint filed against Judge Bill Weisenberger by his family. The complaint is in connection with the May 8 incident at a flea market. Local WLBT-TV reported that the Madison District attorney has said that this case is due to be heard by a grand jury. Far from a “he said/she said” situation, there were multiple witnesses of the assault and the associated hate speech. Some of them told the local paper, The Clarion-Ledger that Weisenberger, struck the young man and yelled the “n-word”. The NAACP, led in Mississippi by William Truly officially said that the judge...

Read More...


On This Day, May 29, 2003 – Bob Hope celebrates 100th birthday

Some 35 U.S. states declare it to be Bob Hope Day on this day in 2003, when the iconic comedic actor and entertainer turns 100 years old. In a public ceremony held in Hollywood, city officials renamed the intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Avenue–famous for its historic buildings and as a central point on the Hollywood Walk of Fame–Bob Hope Square. Several 1940s-era U.S. planes flew overhead as part of an air show honoring Hope’s longtime role as an entertainer of U.S. armed forces all over the world. Hope, who was then suffering from failing eyesight and hearing and had not been seen in public for three years, was too ill to attend the public ceremonies. Three of his children attended the naming ceremony, along with some of his younger show-business colleagues, including Mickey Rooney. One of the leading talents on the vaudeville scene by the 1930s, the...

Read More...


Saturn Taking a Peek

Read More...


Ted Cruz says Democrats plan to ‘repeal the First Amendment’

But reality says something else By Hunter, Daily Kos – Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) drew audible gasps Thursday when he told gathering of Christian conservatives that Democrats intended to amend the Constitution to limit free speech. “When you think it can’t get any worse, it does,” Cruz warned at the Watchmen on the Wall gathering of pastors sponsored by the Family Research Council. “This year, I’m sorry to tell you, the United States Senate is going to be voting on a constitutional amendment to repeal the First Amendment,” Cruz said, to the audible shock of the crowd. Hey, I’m shocked too. I wasn’t aware that a repeal of the First Amendment was in the works—is this some Duck Dynasty thing? I can’t keep track. “I am telling you, I am not making this up,” Cruz said. “Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has announced the Senate Democrats are scheduling a vote...

Read More...


Labor Department unveils rule to protect coal miners following investigation

 ‘Big step’ to ensure sick miners have access to key evidence about their cases By Chris Hamby, Center for Public Integrity –  The U.S. Department of Labor announced Friday that it plans to issue a new rule to address recent disclosures that lawyers representing coal companies have withheld medical evidence from miners in black lung benefits cases. The announcement comes after a recent investigation by the Center for Public Integrity detailed a prominent law firm’s decades-long record of keeping key evidence from sick miners, sometimes causing them to lose benefits cases. The Labor Department offered little detail about the rule  but said its purpose was to “ensure that coal miners have full access to information about their health and to enhance the accuracy of entitlement determinations.” The department said it aims to release a proposal by January 2015. John Cline, one of the few lawyers who regularly represent miners in federal black lung benefits...

Read More...


EU Safety Institutions Caught Plotting an Industry ‘Escape Route’ for Looming Pesticide Ban

By Jonathan Latham, Independent Science News | News Analysis – EU documents newly obtained by the nonprofit Pesticide Action Network of Europe reveal that the health commission of the European Union (DG SANCO), which is responsible for protecting public health, is attempting to develop a procedural “escape route” to evade an upcoming EU-wide ban on endocrine disrupting pesticides. Endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) are those that alter hormonal regulation at very low doses to cause effects on behavior, reproduction, and gender, as well as cancer and birth defects. In 2009, under the European Union’s then-new chemical REACH legislation, a continent-wide ban on endocrine disrupting pesticides was agreed. The European Commission (EC) was charged with taking various steps to protect public safety. These included officially defining what constitutes an endocrine disrupting effect and designating acceptable chemical detection methods. The deadline to present these criteria for ensuring protection against endocrine disrupting pesticides expired on December 14, 2013. Instead of...

Read More...


‘Britain First’: Tackling the menace of far-right intolerance

Right-wing group Britain First is harassing Muslims in the UK by Muhammad Abdul Bari – As the old, far-right warriors such as the British National Party (BNP) and the English Defence League (EDL) appear to be losing some steam in recent times, their new incarnation, a relatively new group (Britain First), is now flexing its muscles and baring its teeth at Britain’s minority Muslim community. It is a tiny group, but violent and it seems bigger than it is because of its large social media presence. Its members have recently started targeting mosques across the country. With their own film crew, they are producing short videos of their “conquests” and posting them on social media platforms to create maximum impact. The first of their stunts was in Bradford city in May. Their members, some wearing uniforms, staged protests at 10 places of worship in the city centre and handed out Bibles outside the...

Read More...


Poet and Author Maya Angelou Has Died

Writer who lived through and chronicled life in the Jim Crow South passed away at her North Carolina home at the age of 86 Common Dreams staff  – Poet and author Maya Angelou (April 4, 1928 – May 28, 2014)American poet and author Maya Angelou, who lived through and helped chronicle the civil rights movement in the U.S., has died at the age of 86 following a brief decline in health. Born in Marguerite Annie Johnson in St Louis, Missouri in 1928, Angelou is perhaps best known for her series of autobiographical memoirs, including ‘I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings’ published in 1969 that tells her childhood story of living in the Jim Crow south. “You have to really have grit if you are to grow up and survive in Arkansas,” Angelou once said of her experience growing up amid racism and repression. Her death, according to the...

Read More...


The Golden Gate Bridge opened to vehicles on this date in 1937

Read More...


Cyberbullying Knows No Socio-economic Bounds

Study finds poor kids getting harassed online, too By Robert Preidt, HealthDay News –  Even though they have less access to online technologies, poor teens are as likely as middle-class and rich teens to be victims of cyberbullying, according to a new study. The findings suggest that there is no economic “digital divide” when it comes to cyberbullying, said lead author Thomas Holt, an associate professor of criminal justice at Michigan State University. “We found neighborhood conditions that are indicative of poverty and crime are a significant predictor for bullying — not only for physical and verbal bullying, but cyberbullying as well,” he said in a university news release. “This is a very unique and somewhat surprising finding.” Holt and his colleagues analyzed survey results from nearly 2,000 middle and high school students and found that living in poor, crime-ridden neighborhoods was associated with a strong risk of physical, verbal...

Read More...


House Committee Puts NSA on Notice Over Encryption Standards

Would Remove Requirement That NSA Be Consulted on Encryption Standards By Justin Elliott, ProPublica – An amendment adopted by a House committee would, if enacted, take a step toward removing the National Security Agency from the business of meddling with encryption standards that protect security on the Internet. As we reported with The Guardian and The New York Times last year, the NSA has for years engaged in a multi-front war on encryption, in many cases cracking the technology that is used to protect the confidentiality of intercepted communications. Part of the NSA’s efforts centered on the development of encryption standards by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, which sets standards that are adopted by government and industry. Documents provided by Edward Snowden suggest that the NSA inserted a backdoor into one popular encryption standard, prompting NIST to launch an ongoing review of all its existing standards. The amendment adopted this week by the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology would remove...

Read More...


Craft Beer Industry Taps Profits of ‘Big Beer’

But Major Brewers Fight Back Seeking Restrictive Laws on Smaller Cousins By Elaine S. Povich, Stateline Staff Writer – What do growlers, taps, Busch Gardens and the Florida legislature have in common? Beer. Laws regulating the brewing and distribution by small or “craft” brewers in the Sunshine State have become a flashpoint for efforts to change liquor laws in other states. Larger beer interests and wholesale distributors are looking to legislatures for regulations that would make the smaller brewers follow the same state-by-state rules as they do. Those rules govern everything from the size of containers used for the beer to how much can be distributed, if any, outside the wholesaler system. So-called craft beers – generally produced by small, regional breweries – have grown exponentially in the past five years. Today, brews with catchy names and colorful labels like “Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout,”  “Lucky Bucket IPA” and “Flying Dog...

Read More...


More Than 3,200 Serving Life Without Parole for Nonviolent Offenses, Finds ACLU

Excessive Sentences for Drug and Property Crimes; Extreme Racial Disparities Shown NEW YORK – In the first study of people serving life without parole for nonviolent offenses in the United States, the American Civil Liberties Union found that at least 3,278 prisoners fit this category in federal and state prisons combined. “A Living Death: Life Without Parole for Nonviolent Offenses” features key statistics about these prisoners, an analysis of the laws that produced their sentences, and case studies of 110 men and women serving these sentences. Of the 3,278 prisoners, 79 percent were convicted of nonviolent, drug-related crimes such as possession or distribution, and 20 percent of nonviolent property crimes like theft. “The punishments these people received are grotesquely out of proportion to the crimes they committed,” said Jennifer Turner, ACLU human rights researcher and author of the report. “In a humane society, we can hold people accountable for...

Read More...


Santa Barbara Stabbing and Shooting Spree Can Be Used to Advance All Kinds of Agendas

by Ed Krayewski – The Friday night rampage in Isla Vista, California, by 22-year-old Elliot Rodger began with the fatal stabbing of his three roommates, followed by a shooting spree in which Rodger killed three more people and injured several others before shooting himself in the head. Over the holiday weekend, the story became international news. Writing in The Guardian, Daniel Jackson called the rampage part of the “Era of the YouTube Killer,” with Rodger coming from the “first generation that could turn the process of growing up into personal broadcasts.” Rodger had posted a deranged YouTube video, since pulled by Google, where he promised “slaughter” for his sexual frustrations. Jackson notes that this and other videos “look like an amateur performance, a bad audition for a bad part.” Rodger’s participation in the online “anti-pick up artists” community—not a group opposed to so-called “pick up artists” (PUAs) per se but just upset the...

Read More...


Meteor

         

Read More...


Majestic, even if not purple . . .

Read More...


Junk food industry’s shameful targeting of black and Latino youth

Young people of color face steeper risks of diet-related illness — and a ton of niche marketing by Anna Lappé – One hundred and six million people tuned in to watch the Broncos take on the Seahawks in this year’s Super Bowl; almost as many saw the McDonald’s ad that ran during the game, featuring a dunk contest between basketball stars LeBron James and Dwight Howard. Using athletes to sell burgers — especially to reach a young audience — is nothing new. Neither is using black celebrities to target young people of color. (The LeBron James ad was itself a tacit nod to a McDonald’s ad that pitted Michael Jordan against Larry Bird back in 1993.) What’s different today is that marketing by the junk food industry directed at African-American and Latino youth has increased in scope, scale and savvy. Americans may be increasingly aware of the health consequences of...

Read More...


Armed With US Weapons, Iraqi Gov’t Repeatedly Attacked Hospital

Human Rights Watch report exposes atrocities committed by U.S.-backed Iraqi government in and around Fallujah Sarah Lazare, staff writer – The U.S.-backed Iraqi government has repeatedly struck Fallujah’s main hospital with mortars and other munitions and has barrel-bombed densely populated residential areas in and around the city, according to a new report. Published Tuesday by Human Rights Watch, the findings exposed atrocities committed in the Iraqi government’s escalated campaign against armed groups in Anbar province and immediately prompted condemnation from peace and justice campaigners. “As this report shows, the U.S. is brazenly providing Hellfire missiles and other heavy artillery to an Iraqi government that shows very little regard for the lives of people in Fallujah and areas across Iraq,” Ali Issa of the War Resisters League told Common Dreams. “This must end.” According to interviews with multiple witnesses, including three employees at Fallujah General Hospital, since January the attacks...

Read More...


As Obama designates his 11th National Monument, Republicans seek to strip his power to do more

By Meteor Blades, Daily Kos – President Theodore Roosevelt designated the first National Monument, Devil’s Tower, Wyoming, in 1906. It was the first of 138 such designations by 15 presidents. Last week, President Barack Obama signed the most recent designation, the Organ Pipe Desert Peaks National Monument of New Mexico, 496,000 acres of the southern Rockies. If Republicans had their way, Obama’s — and every future president’s —authority under the Antiquities Act to designate National Monuments or expand old ones would be sharply limited. Two months ago today, the House of Representatives voted 222-201 (with three Democrats voting aye) on HR 1459 to gut the act by transferring authority for most such designations into the hands of Congress under the “Ensuring Public Involvement in the Creation of National Monuments Act (EPIC).” The historical record of congressional belligerence regarding the setting aside of public land for special protection, as well as today’s privatization mania,...

Read More...


California Assembly Passes Historic Law to Remove Plastic Microbeads from Personal Care Products

By EcoWatch – In a historic vote last week, the California Assembly passed the Microplastic Nuisance Prevention Law to ban the sale and manufacturing of personal care products containing tiny, synthetic plastic microbeads. Thanks to 5 Gyres Institute, the group that authored the bill sponsored by Assembly Member Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica), California sets a national precedent for holding companies liable for products that harm aquatic species and pollutes our water. “The passage of our bill by the California Assembly is a big win not only for California waters, but sets a national precedent for industry to take recoverability and recyclability seriously when formulating products,” said Stiv Wilson, associate director of 5 Gyres who was responsible for coordinating the legislative effort. “We are past the tipping point with regard to plastic pollution in our waters and we’ll target any product for regulation, redesign or ban that has no sustainable end of life scenario. We’re on the offensive...

Read More...


Hamburglar Gets Off Scott Free as McDonald’s Has Protesters Arrested Instead

“From the Desk of NickiLeaks” When the reports of mass arrests in Oak Brook, IL, reached the NickiLeaks newsroom, people were stunned. There was a Hamburger University and they hadn’t been making jokes about it! All these years wasted, they thought. And that thought yielded to shock as those gathered in the newsroom found out that the heavily armed SWAT team had been called in to face the peaceful protesters whose only weapons were cardboard signs displaying dismay and the power of the truth. Unlike the SWAT team, the protesters had brought no guns. The folks in the newsroom saw this on the television as they read this on the wires from Yahoo Finance: “Down the street from Hamburger University, dozens of police officers in riot gear warned protesters to disperse. People dressed in McDonald’s uniforms essentially volunteered to be arrested by peacefully crossing a barricade or remaining on the property...

Read More...


Obama plans to keep 9,800 U.S. troops in Afghanistan after end of 2014, bringing most home by 2016

by Meteor Blades – There are currently 32,000 American troops in Afghanistan, approximately how many were deployed there when Barack Obama took the oath of office in January 2009. Since then, some 68,000 additional U.S. military personnel have been deployed there in two surges that began in March and December of that year but have since been reduced to the current force levels. Julie Pace of the Associated Press is reporting: President Barack Obama will seek to keep 9,800 U.S. troops in Afghanistan after the war formally ends later this year and then withdraw most of those forces by 2016, senior administration officials said Tuesday.Obama’s decision is largely in line with what military commanders have been seeking and would allow the president to fully end the American-led military effort by the time he leaves office. The two-year plan is contingent on the Afghan government signing a bilateral security agreement with...

Read More...


The Wall Street Pension Scam

By Dean Baker, Truthout | Op-Ed – In recent years there has been a regular drum beat of news stories warning us about the enormous unfunded liabilities of state and local pension funds. Much of this has come from reports issued from well-endowed foundations, most notably the Pew and Arnold foundations who have a joint project on public pensions. Ostensibly these foundations are simply providing information to allow the public to address a major policy problem. However, it is difficult not to ask whether these foundations may be pursuing a different agenda. First, the reports tend to be focused on highlighting the size of the problem. A quick look at Pew’s pension page shows the publication “The Widening Gap Update.” The lead line in the description is that state pensions had incurred unfunded liabilities of $737 billion as of 2010. The updated version, “The Fiscal Health of State Pension...

Read More...


Pancreatic Cancer Will Be 2nd Deadliest Cancer by 2030: Study

Pancreatic cancer is set to become the second deadliest cancer in the United States by 2030, new research predicts. If the projections hold, pancreatic cancer will bypass breast, prostate and colorectal cancers, ending up second only to lung cancer as the nation’s deadliest cancer. “Overall, the cancer death rate in the U.S. is declining each year,” said study author Lynn Matrisian, vice president of research and medical affairs with the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network in Manhattan Beach, Calif. “And the numbers of deaths caused by several major cancers such as lung, colorectal and breast are following that trend and dropping. However, little progress has been made with pancreatic cancer, and we’ve known that it was not following that trend,” she said. Why? Matrisian pointed to a combination of factors, including an aging population, the relative growth of high-risk minority populations and an underfunding of pancreatic cancer research. Other important...

Read More...


Supreme Court halts Florida’s ability to execute the intellectually disabled

by Adam B – In 2002, the Supreme Court held in Atkins v. Virginia that it’s unconstitutional to execute someone with an intellectual disability. Florida interpreted that meant that if your IQ is 70 or less, you could not be executed; if your IQ is 71 or higher, not only could you be executed by there was no room to present evidence that your true mental capacities were poorly reflected by the IQ test. In a 5-4 decision today authored by Occasional Swing Justice Anthony Kennedy, the Supreme Court held that this rigid rule was insufficient in guarding against the risk that a person with an intellectual disability would be executed, for now sparing the life of convicted murderer Freddie Lee Hall, whose IQ tested between 71-80 in the years after his conviction. As Justice Kennedy explained: Florida’s rule disregards established medical practice in two interrelated ways. It takes an...

Read More...


Sharp Rise in ER Visits Tied to Abuse of Sedative, Study Finds

Use of Xanax along with painkillers such as Oxycontin can be especially deadly, experts note By Robert Preidt  HealthDay News – There’s been a steep increase in the number of Americans being treated at emergency departments for abuse of the sedative alprazolam, best known as Xanax, federal officials reported last week. The number of emergency department visits related to abuse of alprazolam (brand names Xanax, Xanax XR, and Niravam) climbed from more than 57,000 in 2005 to nearly 124,000 in 2011, according to the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). “When used as directed, alprazolam is safe and effective, but misuse can result in serious health consequences,” SAMHSA Administrator Pamela Hyde said in an agency news release. “This report highlights the need to educate people about the dangers of misusing or sharing prescription medications and the importance of properly disposing of unused medication,” she added. In the United...

Read More...


The Republicans’ Southern strategy still works. Here’s how liberals can counter it.

by Ian Reifowitz – You’ve likely all heard of the Republicans’ “Southern strategy.” As a reminder, here’s how its architect, then-Nixon adviser Kevin Phillips, described it in 1970: “From now on, the Republicans are never going to get more than 10 to 20 percent of the Negro vote and they don’t need any more than that… but Republicans would be shortsighted if they weakened enforcement of the Voting Rights Act. The more Negroes who register as Democrats in the South, the sooner the Negrophobe whites will quit the Democrats and become Republicans. That’s where the votes are. Without that prodding from the blacks, the whites will backslide into their old comfortable arrangement with the local Democrats.” Writ large, the Southern strategy sought to drum up white resentment toward the “other” in American society, i.e., minorities, and present the Republican Party as the institution that was on the side of the...

Read More...


China’s rich become biggest foreign apartment buyers in Manhattan

For the first time, Chinese investors have become the biggest foreign buyers of apartments in Manhattan, real estate brokers in the city estimate. The move sees China’s super-rich increasingly take up the role previously held by their Russian counterparts, whose home-buying activity has reportedly dropped off amid fears that U.S. sanctions prompted by the Ukraine crisis could target wealthy oligachs from the country. The trend has seen Chinese individuals pouring money into property in New York and a few other major cities around the world, including London and Sydney, as they seek safe havens for their cash and to establish a base for their children to get an education in the West. Reuters asked five of the top real estate brokerages for their ranking of foreign buyers in New York City. The Chinese ranked first in both volume and value of sales in all their estimates. Opinions differed on just how the Russians,...

Read More...