Understanding Our Many Fergusons: Kill Lines – the Will, the Right and the Need to Kill

by Noel A. Cazenave, Truthout | Op-Ed – The following is a condensed and revised version of a talk given on September 11, 2014, at a forum, sponsored by the University of Connecticut’s Africana Studies Institute, on the killings of Michael Brown and other African-Americans There seems to be a war raging in the United States for which there is no end in sight. A war, the outcome of which may well determine whether many African-American children will live to reach adulthood. More precisely, what is happening looks and feels like a race war that pits the right of African-Americans to have their young people live with dignity against the right of angry white policemen and vigilantes with guns to kill them. My understanding of what is happening in Ferguson and elsewhere in the United States developed as the result of a perfect storm-like convergence of a number of...

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Time to Update 1980s Air Quality Standards for Drilling in the Arctic

by Rebecca Lefton – In late August, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, or BOEM, released Royal Dutch Shell’s draft plan to explore for oil next summer in Alaska’s Chukchi Sea. The Center for American Progress has argued “that there is no safe and responsible way to drill for oil and gas in the Arctic Ocean.” However, both Shell and BOEM are moving through the regulatory process with the goal of approving exploratory drilling in the Arctic. Given this reality, federal regulators need to ensure that any offshore drilling proceeds as safely and as responsibly as possible. Oil drilling in the Arctic poses numerous environmental risks, one of which is increasing emissions of soot- and smog-forming pollutants. Air pollution from offshore drilling operations poses unique risks in the Arctic—risks not found in the Gulf of Mexico, the other federal body of water under BOEM’s jurisdiction. For example, the Inupiat people and...

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Conservative Gun Range Owner Bans American Muslims From Practicing Their Own Second Amendment Rights

by Stephen D Foster Jr – Once again, conservatives have proved just how hypocritical they are when it comes to religious liberty and gun rights. Despite all the open-carry demonstrations and whining by conservatives in protest of gun control laws they say amounts to taking guns away from citizens, a right-wing gun nut in Arkansas is openly infringing upon the Second Amendment rights of Americans. Right-wing blogger Jan Morgan is the owner of the Gun Cave Indoor Shooting Range in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Like other conservatives, she believes in the right to bear arms. But if you’re an American Muslim, she forbids you from exercising your own Second Amendment rights at her gun range. In a blog post, Morgan equated being a Muslim with being a terrorist and said that she doesn’t consider Islam a religion in a list of ten reasons why she banned Muslims from buying and shooting...

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Detroit Shutoffs to Continue After Judge Says Poor Have No Right to Water

By Laura Clawson, Daily Kos – Detroit water shutoffs can continue, thanks to the judge overseeing the city’s bankruptcy. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes was asked to block the shutoffs for six months, but refused. He not only refused, he took the opportunity to embrace the logic of the shutoffs: Rhodes’s order served as a stinging rejection of arguments made by thousands of protesters who staged rallies last summer fighting shutoffs and argued that there is a fundamental right to water service. “There is no such right or law,” Rhodes said. Alan Pyke points out that: By choosing instead to rebuke the notion that the health and safety implications of being cut off from running water service due to dire financial straits constitutes a violation of Detroiters’ rights, Rhodes positioned himself opposite the United Nations. After activists made a formal request for U.N. intervention in June, a trio of U.N. experts...

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Scalia Law Backfires! Pagan Prayer At Gov’t Meeting Pisses Off Teavangelicals (VIDEO)

by Frank – On May 5th, 2014, SCOTUS ruled to allow the practice of sectarian prayer before government meetings to continue. The United States moved a step closer to full blown Scalia Law that day. Teavangelicals were tickled! Eric Rassbach, Deputy General Counsel of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, expressed his glee to a Washington Post reporter: “Today’s Supreme Court decision is a great victory for religious liberty.” Family Research Council President Tony Perkins was similarly chipper is his statement to the Washington Post: “The court has rejected the idea that as citizens we must check our faith at the entrance to the public square.” Flash forward four months later. What do Teavangelicals think now? On Thursday, Wilson Robertson walked out of a Escambia County Board of County Commissioners meeting in Florida. The Christian Commissioner told a reporter with ABC3-WEAR News: “I’m just not going to have a pagan...

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Ferguson Officials Demand Exorbitant Fees for City Files Related to Michael Brown Killing

By Joan McCarter, Daily Kos – City officials in Ferguson are charging ridiculous fees to media outlets, civil right groups, and the public seeking documents on the Michael Brown shooting and its aftermath. The city has demanded high fees to produce copies of records that, under Missouri law, it could give away free if it determined the material was in the public’s interest to see. Instead, in some cases, the city has demanded high fees with little explanation or cost breakdown. It billed The Associated Press $135 an hour — for nearly a day’s work — merely to retrieve a handful of email accounts since the shooting. That fee compares with an entry-level, hourly salary of $13.90 in the city clerk’s office, and it didn’t include costs to review the emails or release them. Organizations like the website Buzzfeed were told they’d have to pay unspecified thousands of dollars...

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Willie Nelson and Neil Young Play Sold-Out Concert Protesting Keystone XL Pipeline

By Anastasia Pantsios, EcoWatch – Willie Nelson and Neil Young, whose Farm Aid concerts have been raising money for family farmers since 1985, demonstrated their support for the agricultural heartland in another way this weekend, headlining the Harvest the Hope: A Concert to Protect the Heartland. The sold-out event, hosted by Art and Helen Tanderup at their farm in Neligh in northeast Nebraska, was intended to call attention to the destruction the Keystone XL pipeline would wreak on farms like theirs as well as nearby tribal lands. Nelson and Young played separate sets for the crowd of 8,000, joining together to sing the Woody Guthrie anthem “This Land Is Your Land,” to which they added some lyrics about the pipeline. Lakota hip hop artist Frank Waln, Lukas Nelson and sons of the Real with special guest Micah Nelson (Lukas and Micah are Willie Nelson’s son) and the Stopping the Pipeline Rocks...

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Why Good News for the Ozone is Bad News for the Climate

By Steve Breyman, Truthout | News Analysis – We live in a world hungry for good environmental news. But that’s no excuse for journalistic or scientific spin passing as an unvarnished victory for the environment, nor for exaggeration of the value of a narrowly focused environmental treaty as a model for a universal agreement. The “good news” arrived via the Associated Press on September 11: Thanks to the Montreal Protocol, atmospheric ozone is recovering. Scientists have been monitoring atmospheric ozone since 1989, the year the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete Ozone (a protocol to the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer) came into effect (it was negotiated in 1987). The scientists released their latest assessment on September 10, the subject of the Associated Press report. Some background is in order. The Montreal Protocol is important on its own merits. A world of thinning atmospheric ozone...

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Understanding Authorizations for the Use of Military Force

by Ken Gude – Since President Barack Obama laid out his strategy to degrade and ultimately defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, or ISIS, the debate has turned to whether he has sufficient legal authority to carry out that strategy or whether he needs a new congressional authorization for this mission. This is now even more pressing as U.S. and coalition air forces began striking ISIS targets in Syria this week, expanding U.S. military action to a second country. While the Obama administration has asserted that it has sufficient legal authority for this mission, many legal scholars and some elected officials on both sides of the aisle disagree. There are multiple potential sources of authority in U.S. law for military action. As commander in chief, the president derives authority to use military force in certain circumstances from Article II of the Constitution. Congressional authorizations for the use of...

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Study: Natural Gas Expansion Will Raise Emissions, Worsen Climate

by Sarah Lazare – A national shift to natural gas for power and heat generation is no panacea for the climate crisis, new research finds. In fact, the new study published on Wednesday by researchers from the University of California, Irvine, Stanford University, and the nonprofit organization Near Zero published in the journal Environmental Research Letters finds that treating natural gas as a so-called “bridge fuel” could actually make global warming worse by delaying an otherwise faster shift to a carbon-free, renewable energy economy. The scientists asked natural gas experts for their estimates of natural gas supply curves, explained Dr. Christine Shearer, a post-doctoral researcher at the University of California-Irvine, in a video abstract of the article. The researchers then input this data into an energy economic model to assess different future scenarios of natural gas production against varying potential climate policies, including: no climate policy, a moderate tax on...

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Red Cross Volunteers: We Witnessed Israeli Soldiers Execute Palestinian Civilians In Cold Blood

by Kerry-Anne – Volunteers for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) operations in Gaza have testified to witnessing the summary execution of Palestinians by Israeli soldiers during Operation Protective Edge. Esteemed journalist Max Blumenthal was given unfettered access to the worst hit areas of Gaza during the summer’s onslaught by Israel.  He provided this testimony to the Russell Tribunal on Palestine in Brussels last week, as the world’s leading jurists and civil society members assessed Israel’s culpability for war crimes and crimes against humanity. The executions seemed to fall into two categories: humiliation, and functional. Here is one example of the jocular nature with which Israeli soldiers murdered some Palestinians in Gaza: “Dan Cohen and I conducted an interview with two ICRC volunteers from Gaza, 25-year-old Ahmed Awad, and 24-year-old Ala’a Alkusofi, who worked with ambulance crews throughout the war, the video of which will be released in...

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Politico Forced to Issue a Key Correction on ‘Giffords is Mean’ Attack

by Laura Clawson – When Politico went after former Rep. Gabby Giffords for being “mean” for making hard-hitting but factual ads against candidates who oppose even the most minor improvements to weak gun laws, one of the key points of attack was that “even some longtime supporters say go too far.” Nobody could say the ads weren’t accurate, so the claim that even Giffords supporters found them mean was the crux of the argument. But, uh, the article offered just one example of a “longtime supporter”: the Arizona Republic, characterized as “left-leaning” and “typically liberal-leaning.” Now, Politico has had to issue a correction that undercuts even that fragile premise. The correction comes after a multiday Twitter campaign by Jamison Foser: Hi, @Politico & @politicoalex. The Arizona Republic endorsed George W. Bush twice, McCain in 2008 & Romney in 2012. http://t.co/… — @jamisonfoser Some “left-leaning” newspaper that is. Post-correction,...

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Color in the Connecticut River Watershed

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On Ray Rice and Successful Ways to Combat Gender Violence

by Victoria Law – One evening nearly two years ago, as my daughter and I waited on the subway platform, I noticed a woman and a man standing several steps apart on the staircase. What caught my attention was a clatter as an umbrella bounced down several steps. Then I heard the woman say, very loudly, “Get away from me!” I asked my daughter to stay where she was, and I walked closer to the two. By then, the man had closed the distance between them and was standing less than three feet from the woman. As I drew nearer, I could hear what he was saying, soft enough that no one else but her could hear him: “Be quiet. You’re acting crazy. Everybody thinks that you’re crazy.” I looked at him, holding the umbrella out to her. I looked at her. I thought of the word “crazy” and how...

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Wearable Artificial Kidney Gets Green Light for US Trials

By David Szondy, Gizmag – In 2009, we had a look at the Wearable Artificial Kidney (WAK) concept that promised patients suffering from kidney failure an alternative to conventional dialysis. Now the tool-belt sized prototype has been granted approval for human testing in the United States by the FDA with clinical trials scheduled to take place in Seattle later this year. The result of over a decade of development, the WAK was conceived by a team led by Victor Gura at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles and the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. It’s a miniature dialysis machine small enough to be worn like a tool belt and is connected to the patient by means of a catheter. According to the team, with such a device, patients would no longer be spending time in long, boring static sessions, but could be out and about working or...

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88 Senators Urge Kerry to Shield Israel from Any Accountability at the UN

by Liberty Equality Fraternity and Trees – Last week, Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) and Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) led 86 other senators in a letter to John Kerry urging him to take steps to prevent Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas from seeking investigation of or redress for Israeli war crimes through the UN Human Rights Council and the International Criminal Court or a UNSCC resolution setting a clear date for the end of Israel’s occupation of Gaza and the West Bank. Here is the text of the letter: Dear Secretary Kerry,We were pleased to see that Hamas finally accepted an Egyptian cease-fire plan last month. Sadly, Hamas continued its attacks on Israel for weeks after Egypt’s initial proposal, leading to unnecessary and increased suffering in Gaza and Israel. As we look ahead to the next few months, we urge you to focus on three key objectives: (1) preventing Hamas from rebuilding its...

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Secret Recordings Inside The Federal Reserve Prompt Elizabeth Warren To Call For Investigation

by Alan Pyke – Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) want to investigate the Federal Reserve’s relationships with the banks it oversees after the release of taped conversations between managers and a former bank examiner at the Fed. The recordings were made surreptitiously by a former Fed employee named Carmen Segarra, who is trying to prove in court that she was fired in retaliation for her attempts to bring a cultural shift to the supervisory work of the powerful central bank. They include a reprimand from her boss that she is “arrogant,” that she should “have a sense of humility” about her work, and should be guided more by the consensus within her working group than by her own instincts as a 10-year veteran of regulatory compliance work in the banking industry. Segarra says she began making the tapes after her own colleagues tried on multiple occasions to...

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Dem Candidate for Michigan’s 93rd House District Sends Epic Response to Anti-gay Hate Group

by Eclectablog – You’ve probably heard of the Westboro Baptist Church and their hideously offensive protests. You may not have heard, however, of the Public Advocate of the United States. Public Advocate has been rightfully designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center and is run by Eugene Delgaudio, the Sterling District representative on the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors in Virginia. Public Advocate is a notorious anti-gay group and recently sent out candidates questionnaires to candidates in Michigan. One of these hit the mailbox of Josh Derke, the 27-year old Democrat running in Michigan’s 93rd House District. His response was epic. First, here is the cover letter accompanying the questionnaire Derke received: Dear Michigan Candidate, On behalf of Public Advocate of the United States and our members and supporters, thank you for your willingness to serve the families of Michigan by being a candidate for political...

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Black Lung Disease Surges to Highs Not Seen Since the ’70s, Research Shows

By Chris Hamby, Center for Public Integrity – Black lung, the dreaded coal miners’ disease that had been on the decline, has roared back. The worst form of the illness now afflicts a higher proportion of miners than at any time since the 1970s, new research from U.S. government scientists shows. The likely culprit, researchers say, is a failure by coal mining companies to use readily available tools to control the dust that lodges in miners’ lungs and causes the disease. Each case of advanced black lung “is a tragedy, and represents a failure among all those responsible for preventing this severe disease,” the researchers from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, wrote in a letter published last week in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. A spokesman for the National Mining Association said the trade...

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‘Umbrella Revolutionaries’ Sweep Riot Police From Hong Kong Streets

Despite tough tactics by security units, Occupy Central and its pro-democracy supporters use ‘peace and love’ to hold ground and increase numbers by Jon Queally – Despite deployment of increasingly harsh tactics over the weekend aimed at forcing pro-democracy protesters off the streets of Hong Kong, by Monday it was police units forced into retreat while the number of those backing democratic reforms and promising to hold ‘central’ areas of the city appear to be growing. Initially organized under a call to ‘Occupy Central with Peace and Love,’ the growing protest movement in Hong Kong has now also been dubbed ‘the Umbrella Revolution‘ following images of protesters using their umbrellas to shield themselves from volleys of tear gas shot by riot police over the weekend. Angered by efforts by the Chinese government to bring the once autonomous region more strictly under its control, those resisting the Communist Party’s anti-democratic policies...

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Obama Says US Underestimated Rise of ISIL

US President says Washington, in contrast, overestimated the Iraqi army’s ability to counter armed groups US intelligence agencies have underestimated the activity of armed groups inside Syria, which has become “ground zero” for them worldwide, US President Barack Obama has said in an interview aired by American CBS television. Conversely, the US overestimated the ability of the Iraqi army to fight the groups, Obama said in the interview taped on Friday and aired on Sunday, days after the US president globally made his case for action in a speech at the UN General Assembly in New York. Citing earlier comments by James Clapper, director of national intelligence, Obama acknowledged that US intelligence underestimated what had been taking place in Syria. Fighters went underground when US Marines quashed al-Qaeda in Iraq with help from Iraq’s tribes, he said. “But over the past couple of years, during the chaos of the...

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Secret Politics Pervade Popular Companies

But overall trend points toward big corporations volunteering more details, new survey says By Dave Levinthal, Center for Public Integrity – Watch your Netflix show, wear your Ralph Lauren shirt, brew your Keurig coffee and deposit your paycheck at M&T Bank. Just know that you’re patronizing some of the nation’s least politically transparent companies, according to a new study to be formally released this morning by the nonpartisan Center for Political Accountability and the Zicklin Center for Business Ethics Research at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. Twenty of the nearly 300 companies studied didn’t score a single point on the survey’s 70-point scale measuring political disclosure and accountability policies, including Netflix Inc., which produces political thriller “House of Cards,” and K-Cup maker Keurig Green Mountain Coffee, which says it uses the “power of business to make the world a better place.” Other basement dwellers include Whole Foods Market Inc., Southwest Airlines Co., Wal-Mart...

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Naomi Klein on Cause of Climate Crisis: “Capitalism Is Stupid”

Naomi Klein is out to change hearts and minds around climate change By Sarah Jaffe, Truthout | Interview/News Analysis – Her new book, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate out now from Simon & Schuster, is a broad challenge to those who want a livable planet: We need to come up with a livable economic system too. Deeply researched and personally reported, Klein’s third book takes us from the tar sands in Alberta (“Earth, skinned alive”) to the oil-soaked waters of the Gulf of Mexico (“a miscarriage”), from climate denier conferences to a meeting of would-be geoengineers, as she traces the path of destruction that capitalism and a mindset she terms “extractivism” – that is perhaps even older – have left on the Earth. At one point, Klein concedes, it might have been possible to stop the climate crisis with a few regulations here, a carbon tax there. But...

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Right Wing WorldNetDaily Columnist Links Gay Rights To ISIS Extremists

by Ryan Denson – Nope, you cannot make this stuff up. With conservatives it’s always the same: Obama and liberals are the reason why everyone hates America. It has nothing to do with the fact we came in guns-a-blazin’ in the 2000’s with our approach to foreign policy, and it is not because of our exceptionalism in world affairs… No, according to columnist Mychal Massie of the right-wing WorldNetDaily, abortion, immigration reform, and yes, the gays, are responsible for why the extremist militants in ISIS hate the United States. In his article, titled “America – Poised For Collapse,” Massie claims that it is because the sin of sodomy, among other things, that has caused these militants to rise up against the US and other tolerant countries: “They view America in light of what she supports— and let there be not one doubt that these pagans understand that the homologation of...

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FBI Director Equates Protecting Personal Privacy with Lawlessness

James Comey says that moves by tech giants to offer encryption to customers allows cell phone users to “place themselves beyond the law.” by Jon Queally – FBI Director James Comey has responded to recent moves by tech giants Apple and Google to offer better encryption services on their handheld devices by suggesting that giving people the ability to protect their private communications from state law enforcement agencies is akin to lawlessness. In recent weeks both companies have rolled out new software enhancements for their respective smartphones that make it harder for police or federal agents to obtain emails, photos, or call information that may be stored on the devices. The encryption is also designed to protect against fraud, theft, and other digital invasions. The move was widely applauded by privacy rights advocates, who in the wake of revelations about NSA surveillance practices on the U.S. population made possible by...

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ALEC Is Lying About Climate Change Google Chairman Tells Diane Rehm

By Anastasia Pantsios, EcoWatch – Google got in a lot of hot water with climate activists for its membership in the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the lobbying organization that writes “model legislation” favoring corporate interests. Chairman Eric Schmidt told National Public Radio’s Diane Rehm Monday that Google’s support of the group was a “mistake,” and that ALEC was spreading lies about climate change, “making the world a much worse place.” He said that ALEC’s legislation on behalf of fossil fuel industries — bills such as the surcharge on solar-generated energy in Arizona and the abandonment of clean energy standards in Ohio — are both harmful for Earth’s future and a bad investment. In response to a call from Kristen in Syracuse, who asked if Google is still funding ALEC which supports climate deniers in D.C., Schmidt said “We funded them as part of a political campaign due to something unrelated, but...

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This Homework Question Called 15th Century Slavery A ‘Bold New Idea’

by DeWyn – One teacher learned a lesson from a student when asking a question about sugar cultivation in the 15th century. For those of us who need to brush up on our world history, Prince Henry the Navigator of Portugal wasn’t really a navigator. He just took credit for what other people did. He was a monarch who sent others to do the exploring and like a lot of people of his time (and like a lot of capitalists of our time) saw only resources. In 1441, he sent explorers to from Portugal to Africa to find gold, silver and spices. They found little gold, but they did bring home 12 black, Arabic speaking, African people, as exhibits. One of the captives, though, was a chief who negotiated his release. In exchange, he would send more Africans for slaves. A year later, the explorers returned to Africa and brought...

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Over 100,000 Sexually Explicit Photos Of Children Found On Arrested Archbishop’s Computer

by Vera – Former Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski, who was previously stripped of his title over accusations of child molestation, was arrested last week. With an investigation underway, detectives of the Vatican have recently discovered that Wesolowski’s office computer contained sexually explicit content involving children – over 86,000 images and 160 videos were found. An additional 45,000 photos had been deleted from the computer. Upon examination, the video files were of teenage boys being forced into sexual acts with each other and adults. The 86,000+ photographs had been neatly organized into category-based folders. Wesolowski, who was head of the church in the Dominican Republic between 2008 and 2012, was originally allowed to walk freely in Rome despite the allegations of having paid minors for sex. Now, the 66-year-old former Archbishop is limited to a tiny room in the Collegio dei Penitenzieri’s basement, the same building that hosts the Vatican’s court and military police. Rev. Federico Lombardi, the Vatican’s chief...

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Prosecutor: Reply to Perry Filing Likely to Come Next Month

by Terri Langford, The Texas Tribune – Gov. Rick Perry‘s legal team was quick to challenge the criminal indictment against him in August, making its position known within days of the governor’s booking. “Continued prosecution of Governor Perry on the current indictment is unprecedented, insupportable and simply impermissible,” the governor’s attorneys wrote in their brief. “This court should not hesitate to dismiss both counts of the indictment and bar the prosecution, immediately if not sooner.” One month later, they have yet to get an answer from special prosecutor Michael McCrum, the man who secured the indictment against Perry. On Thursday, McCrum told The Texas Tribune that his response is coming but probably wouldn’t be filed until the “later half” of October. “I’m just taking a lot of time to look into it carefully,” McCrum said. “There are several matters that are blatantly wrong.” He didn’t...

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US Team Breaks Guinness World Record for Highest Paper Airplane Flight

By Stu Robarts, Gizmag – For most people, paper airplanes are something you launched across school classrooms as a kid. A team of US Air Force auxiliary volunteers, however, has been taking it far more seriously. The team launched a paper airplane from a high-altitude balloon at 96,563 ft (29,432 m), taking the world record in the process. In a press release on its website, the US Fox Valley Composite Squadron, Illinois Wing, Civil Air Patrol, reports that the paper airplane was launched from Kankakee, Illinois, and landed 82 miles (132 km) away, Southwest of Rochester, Indiana. The flight took just under 2 hours and 7 minutes. The paper airplane, designed by the cadets themselves, is said to have a traditional shape and is made out of paper board. It is 30 inches (76 cm) long with a wingspan of 14.5 in (36.8 cm). It weighs in at 424...

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9/11 First Responder Health Crisis: Three Ground Zero FireFighters Die The Same Day…From Cancer

by Kerry-Anne – On September 11th 2001, 341 firefighters and 2 paramedics from the New York City Fire Department lost their lives while responding to the terrorist attacks in the World Trade Center…but ever since, first responders have continued to lose their lives from conditions set in motion that day. Three fellow first responders from the New York City fire department joined their fallen comrades this week. Daniel Heglund, Howard Bischoff and Robert Leaver died Monday, according to NY1, which reported that each of the men suffered from cancer. Daniel Heglund spent 21 years with the department, Leaver had a 20-year FDNY career and Bischoff was a 19-year veteran. All three retired in 2003, and Leaver and Bischoff were longtime friends, the Daily News reported. Their deaths served as “a painful reminder that, 13 years later, we continue to pay a terrible price for the Department’s heroic efforts on September...

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ISIL pushes into Syrian town despite US raids

ISIL fighters continue to advance on Ain al-Arab despite US air strikes and fierce resistance from Kurdish forces   Fighters from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) have continued to advance into the Kurdish-dominated town of Ain al-Arab in Syria, despite the US-led air campaign against the self-declared jihadist group. More than 15,000 residents have fled the northern Syrian town as ISIL fighters pushed deeper, fighting fierce battles with Kurdish armed groups on Saturday. Ain al-Arab, which the Kurds call Kobane, is close to the Syrian-Turkey border. Turkish officials said that four mortar shells from the fighting in Syria landed in Turkey on Saturday, injuring two people. Earlier on the day, US coalition-led warplanes struck ISIL positions near Ain al-Arab, as well as targets that included wheat silos in the country’s east. Fighting have been raging in the north for two weeks as ISIL captured dozens of villages around Ain al-Arab and tried to...

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A Copyright Ruling in California Could Spell Trouble for Oldies Radio

by Jesse Walker – If you live in California and listen to oldies radio, don’t be surprised if your favorite station suddenly decides to change its format. Thanks to a court decision that came down this week, it might become a lot costlier for stations in that state to play music made before 1972. The plaintiffs in the case are the Turtles, a ’60s band best known for the song “Happy Together.” (More precisely, the plaintiffs are Flo & Eddie, a successor act with a litigious history. They own the rights to the Turtles’ name and recordings.) The defendant is the satellite-radio megalith SiriusXM. In a nutshell, Flo & Eddie argue that the broadcaster violated their rights each time it transmitted a Turtles record without their consent. This is where things get complicated. There is a difference between owning the rights to a song and owning the rights to a recording. (Bob Dylan owns...

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Politifact Destroys Biggest Republican Talking Points On Climate Change

by Ryan Denson – Politifact recently compiled their 10 biggest claims on climate change into one neat, organized list. In it, they sift through claims made my politicians and pundits from both sides of the aisle, rating them from “Pants on Fire” lying to “True” statements. Republicans have a world of truth hurled their way, and it is epic. Here are the 10 fact checked claims Politifact chose: Claim No. 1 – “Climate change is a hoax.” Claim made by Lenar Whitney, a Republican. Politifact rated this claim as Pants on Fire. “We found — as we have before — that there’s an overwhelming consensus among respected scientists that human-caused global warming is real. In this fact-check, we looked at some of Whitney’s supporting evidence to argue that global warming is a hoax and found that it was weak.” Thank you, Politifact! It’s bad enough that her ridiculous video even went...

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The Sunday Funnies & Factoids – The ‘Because You People Will Hound Me if I Don’t’ Edition

by Keith Lennox, All-len-All, o9/28/14 – Happy Sunday one and all…….. beyond glorious here in the great white north.  Beautiful blues skies, mid-seventies temperature wise, chipmunks clamoring over me for my bag of peanuts, Owen stretched out in whatever room the sun is glowing the strongest in…… life, she be good. Hope all is well with you guys and gals.  Sit back, relax and take a few minutes to learn some new tasty tidbits and perhaps get a chuckle or two.  I do apologize in advance for the last picture on this weeks SF&Fs…… but I just had to.  So, without further ado, it’s on with this weeks Sunday Funnies & Factoids. 1) The Jaws of Life were invented by George Hurst, who was a mechanical engineer and auto racing enthusiast. He conceived the idea after witnessing an accident at the Indy 500 where the driver died because he...

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Sex Toy Sale Makes Dorothy Think It’s Not Her Kansas Anymore

“From the Desk of NickiLeaks” Dorothy had left home, feeling like a house had dropped on her. In this case, a whore house. No thanks to Gov. Sam Brownback and the Republicans cutting Kansas’ tax base by so much that the state was, for all intents and purposes, bankrupt. And Dorothy didn’t know what to make of it, what to make of the fact that the Republicans had screwed up the state’s economy so incredibly that, to raise money, Kansas was selling off fuzzy handcuffs and other sex toys seized from Larry Minkoff, the owner of Bang sex stores who owes the state $163,983 – or, in other words, the same amount of money the Kansas legislature decided not to tax one white millionaire. Well, to avoid the truth, Kansas gave the toys back to Minkoff and then ordered him to auction the toys off and give them the money that they...

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How Rich Old White Men Are Taking the Lunch Money Away From Broken-Down Schools

by Paul Buchheit – Cuts to Head Start and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program have taken food away from schoolchildren. The cuts are directly related to the dramatic dropoff in federal corporate tax revenue. Tax avoidance is just as bad at the state level, which is a much greater source of K-12 educational funding. Both individuals and corporations are paying less state taxes than ever before. As a result, our public schools, the most important expression of a society working together to secure future generations, are being defunded and dismantled and left to decay. It may be the ugliest extreme of inequality in our country — tax avoidance by the rich vs. broken-down schools. Rich White Male Tax Avoidance According to a Standard and Poor’s analysis, average annual state tax revenue fell from 10% to 5% between 1980 and 2011, even as the share of total income for the top...

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‘Outside’ Groups Swamp Florida’s Airwaves in Race for Governor

Candidates routinely appear in ads paid for by third-party groups By Rachel Baye, Center for Public Integrity – The race to occupy the Florida governor’s mansion is among the most expensive state-level contests in the country this year, with roughly $31.8 million spent through September 8 on 64,000 television ads. But the campaign committees of incumbent Republican Gov. Rick Scott and Democratic challenger and former Gov. Charlie Crist are responsible for less than 4 percent of that spending. That’s the lowest rate of candidate participation in any governor’s race in the country, according to a Center for Public Integrity analysis of data from media tracking service Kantar Media/CMAG. The phenomenon stems in part from a new campaign finance law that the Florida Legislature passed last year. The change made it easier for independent political committees to raise unlimited sums of money. The committees can then use that money to...

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Sarah Palin Whines About Obama Salute In Incredibly Disrespectful Speech, Apologizes To Military (VIDEO)

by Stephen D Foster Jr – In the same Values Voter Summit speech in which she got the address of the White House wrong, Sarah Palin also mocked President Obama over his styrofoam cup salute. During her speech, Palin accused liberals of actually creating scandals to distract Americans from other so-called scandals. Seriously, she really claimed that liberals are the ones making scandals out of things. In addition, the rambling sentence also referenced Benghazi, the IRS, and golf while completely disrespecting the Commander-in-Chief. They distract, bebopin’ from one scandal after another, knowing that there are so many that you can’t keep up with all of ‘em so no one is ever held accountable, from the IRS corruption to you being spied on to Benghazi to bailouts to Bush’s war was bad, but Barack’s bombs, oh baby those red lines, the strategy there that was thought up on the back nine,...

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A Pot Lovin’ Colorado Politician And Wyclef Jean Just Made The Best Campaign Ad Ever (Video)

by Kerry-Anne – An independent candidate for Governor of Colorado loves weed and hip hop, and managed to combine the two in his campaign ad by performing a pro-liberty rap with none other than Wyclef Jean. The message, according to the Dunafon campaign: Jean and Dunafon’s message is that if you’re sick of party politics, and you want to get the money out, an independent governor is the best choice for Colorado, because he is not taking money from vested interests, and is willing to talk about the most divisive issues: local control over fracking, the release of non-violent cannabis prisoners, and investing to create a world-class cannabis and hemp industry in Colorado. Gawker nails it with this description: Imagine, if you will, a libertarian William Shatner whose musical tastes skew more Blunted on Reality than Bringing It All Back Home, and you’ve got something like Mike Dunafon, an...

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Top News Editors Slam White House for Secrecy, Intimidation

Obama administration “significantly worse than previous administrations” By Nadia Prupis, Common Dreams– Some of the nation’s top journalists are criticizing the White House for undermining journalism through lack of transparency and intimidation of sources, which they say has only gotten worse under President Barack Obama — the self-proclaimed “most transparent” president in history. Criticism of Obama’s administration on the issue arose during a joint convention this week of the American Society of News Editors, the Associated Press Media Editors and the Associated Press Photo Managers in Chicago. Brian Carovillano, Associated Press managing editor for U.S. news, said during a panel discussion that the government’s increasingly tightening standards on access to information are setting a trend for secrecy for other organizations around the country. “The White House push to limit access and reduce transparency has essentially served as the secrecy road map for all kinds of organizations — from local and state...

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News Anchor Sparks Outrage After Getting Caught Trashing Welfare Recipients On Live Microphone (VIDEO)

by Stephen D Foster Jr – Bronx residents are outraged after a News 12 anchor and reporter trashed poor people during what they thought was a commercial break. As residents watched the news on Wednesday morning, Matt Pieper and Amy Yensi were preparing to deliver a story about the lack of school crossing guards when they decided it would be a great laugh to mock people who need government assistance to survive. And the whole conversation was caught on a live microphone. PIEPER: And Dave wants you to also mention that parents do their f*cking jobs and walk their little kids to school on their own and not rely on everyone else kind of like people rely on government assistance for their entire lives. I actually added the part about government assistance but it’s true. I mean, how old are these kids? YENSI: I think I qualify for government...

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More Ferguson Protesters Arrested as Police Chief Offers ‘Unacceptable’ Apology

Jackson’s apology video “did more harm than good,” protesters state in an open letter  By Nadia Prupis, Common Dreams – Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson on Thursday issued a video apology to the family of Michael Brown, the unarmed teenager who was killed by Officer Darren Wilson on August 9, while continuing to ignore residents’ repeated calls for his resignation. Jackson also walked briefly on Thursday night with protesters who have been marching against police brutality — and demanding Wilson’s arrest — for more than six weeks. Despite his presence at the demonstration, however, several protesters were arrested in the early hours of Friday morning. Video footage of the march shows officers violently placing at least one woman in custody who had been marching side by side with Jackson before he was led away by a police escort. Ferguson organizers, including a lawyer and a civil rights leader who had participated...

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1 in 5 U.S. Men Admits to Violence Against Spouse, Partner

Acts include hitting, kicking, biting, choking, threatening with a weapon, survey finds By Mary Elizabeth Dallas, HealthDay News – One in five American men admits to using violence against his spouse or partner, a new survey shows. A nationally representative study from the University of Michigan revealed that such violence is more prevalent than diabetes. This violence includes pushing and shoving, grabbing, throwing objects, slapping and hitting, kicking, biting, choking, burning or threatening their partner with a weapon, the researchers said. Although abuse by high-profile professional athletes has recently made headlines, the researchers said their findings suggest intimate partner violence affects anyone. “When people think of men who abuse their partners, they often think of violent people who they have never come across, or people they have only heard about in the news,” study author Dr. Vijay Singh, a clinical lecturer in the departments of emergency medicine and family...

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These Common Pharmaceutical Meds Destroy Your Brain

by Christina Sarich – You wouldn’t think that taking a little pain pill would cause long term cognitive impairment, but that’s just one of the commonly prescribed (or even OTC) pharmaceutical medications which were studied in a six-year test to see what kind of neurological damage was caused. Unfortunately, the research found that these pharmaceuticals, commonly taken for a variety of common medical conditions including insomnia, allergies, or incontinence, cause long-term damage to the brain. The findings point to a class of drugs called anticholinergics, which block acetylcholine, a nervous system neurotransmitter. “We found that taking one anticholinergic significantly increased an individual’s risk of developing mild cognitive impairment and taking two of these drugs doubled this risk. This is very significant in a population – African-Americans – already known to be at high risk for developing cognitive impairment,” said Noll Campbell, PharmD, first author of the study. The surprising thing is that many of the drugs...

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Hands Up! Don’t Shoot! Death and Visibility in Black America

Black “innocence” always has to be proven and depends on attaining a “respectability” defined by white mores and the white gaze by Nicholas Powers, Truthout | Op-Ed – He lay for hours, face down; blood trickled from his body into the street as an angry crowd gathered. In a cellphone video of the scene, a man yelled, “They could have just tased him. That’s some bullshit.” Neighbors stared at his death, knowing, how easily it could have been their own while a cop laid a sheet over the young man. On August 9, about a month and a half ago, we heard news of police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri, shooting an unarmed black teen, Michael Brown. Instantly, we people of color saw in him our sons, our brothers, our friends, uncles and fathers. The bullets that killed Brown ricochet throughout Black America and it felt like our...

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The FBI Says ‘Active Shooter Incidents’ Are On the Rise. What Does That Mean?

by Jesse Walker – The FBI released a report recently suggesting that “active shooter incidents” grew more common from 2000 to 2013. Reason readers may wonder how to square that conclusion with the statistics we’ve published suggesting that mass shootings are not on the rise. There are two answers to that. One involves some potential problems with the FBI’s numbers; we’ll get to those issues in a moment. The other answer is simpler: “Active shooter” and “mass shooting” do not mean the same thing. You’re forgiven if you didn’t get that impression from the press coverage of the FBI report. The Wall Street Journal, for example, called its story on the study “Mass Shootings on the Rise, FBI Says.” The New York Times said “F.B.I. Confirms a Sharp Rise in Mass Shootings Since 2000.” The Huffington Post went with “FBI Study Finds Mass Shootings On The Rise, Often End Before Police Can...

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A Mother Landed in Jail for Trying to Help Her Daughter, and She Might Not be the Last

by Jennifer Dalven – Earlier this month, a judge sentenced a Pennsylvania mother to up to a year and a half in prison for helping her 16-year-old daughter end a pregnancy by purchasing abortion medication online. The single mother, who has a low-paying job, ordered the medication online because there was no health center that provides abortions nearby, and she lacked health insurance to pay for an abortion at a hospital. She was sentenced after pleading guilty to performing an illegal abortion. My heart goes out to this mother, who was doing the best she could to do right by her daughter. But what really keeps me up at night is the knowledge that because of the barrage of restrictions politicians are passing, more and more families are facing the same dilemma. To be sure, I wish this mother and her daughter did not have to resort to ending her...

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How to Build a Wind Turbine From Scratch

By Stefanie Spear, EcoWatch – Thanks to filmmaker Jake Beed and the Action4Climate video competition, you can have a first-hand look at what it’s like to build a wind turbine from scratch. In If You Build It, watch a group of young Canadians strive for a more sustainable way of life by figuring out how to generate their own power via a homemade wind turbine. With little to no prior knowledge or experience, the group finds help in the surrounding community’s skill sets that all come together to create a moment that will last for as long as the wind blows. This film is inspiring. It shows how you can build a community by building a wind turbine and that passion is the key ingredient to getting things done. Renewable energy deployment is key to solving global energy issues. Especially in energy poor countries, it’s vital that communities embrace clean energy and work on strategies to keep the power...

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Obamacare Attracts 25 Percent More Insurance Companies for 2015

By Joan McCarter, Daily Kos– Obamacare is so doomed, so destined to be a complete failure that collapses under its own weight, that it attracted a boatload of new insurance companies to the exchanges for 2015. The number of insurers set to sell health plans on Obamacare exchanges in the upcoming open-enrollment period is 25 percent higher than for 2014, as 77 issuers jump into that market, federal officials revealed Tuesday.Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell said the boost in insurers willing to sell the new form of health insurance starting Nov. 15 is “a real sign that the Affordable Care Act is working.” The 77 new issuers will be joining insurers that sell plans in 43 states and the District of Columbia where data about insurance participation was available, HHS said. Those states include the 36 states whose residents bought plans on the federal Obamacare exchange HealthCare.gov, as...

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Female Fighter Pilot? To Fox Host, That’s just ‘Boobs on the Ground’

By Laura Clawson, Daily Kos – The “keeping it classy” chore wheel has apparently spun from perennial favorite Fox & Friends toThe Five, with some totally freaking hilarious sexist jokes about bombing. It all started with one of the show’s female hosts having a little girl power moment over a woman leading a team of UAE bombers over Syria. Because WHOO, extra humiliation: “I hope that hurt extra bad … because in some Arab countries, women can’t even drive.” Then the men got started. “After she bombed it, she couldn’t park it.” “Would that be considered boobs on the ground, or no?” Wow, guys. Way to prove that no woman is ever immune to the particular sexism of the 12-year-old boy. A woman serving as a fighter pilot bombing the people you want bombed and you’re still aiming not one but two different kinds of crude sexism at her. Ha...

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Bill Aims to Stop Coal Companies from Denying Benefits to Miners with Black Lung

By Chris Hamby, Center for Public Integrity – Two coal-state senators plan to introduce sweeping legislation to reform the federal program meant to provide benefits to miners suffering from black lung disease. For almost four decades, federal law has required coal companies to compensate miners who contract the debilitating and often deadly disease caused by breathing in coal dust. But companies have deployed strategies to avoid paying miners: Doctors working for coal companies have systematically misdiagnosed miners with black lung as having other diseases, and lawyers fighting miners’ claims have withheld evidence that the miners did, in fact, have black lung. These schemes were exposed last year in a major investigation by the Center for Public Integrity, partnering in part with ABC News. The legislation, sponsored by Sens. Robert Casey, a Democrat from Pennsylvania, and Jay Rockefeller, a Democrat from West Virginia, aims to put a stop to those strategies. “To...

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Airstrikes Begin in Syria: A Decisive Blow or an Ominous Precedent?

by Musa al-Gharbi, The Southwest Initiative for the Study of Middle East Conflicts | News Analysis – The Obama Administration has just announced that they and their coalition allies have begun a fierce campaign in Syria, bombing primarily “hard-targets” in the IS stronghold of Raqqa (about 20 of them). Here’s what is known—and perhaps more importantly—what is not known so far: “Sunni Arab” Partners The U.S. was the only non-Arab actor to participate in the Syria raids. Collaborating with the U.S. were five other Arab states: Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the UAE, Bahrain, and Jordan. While many pundits have and will continue to describe them as “moderate Arab allies”—what “moderate” usually means is something akin to “compliant with the U.S. agenda in the region.” What may be more significant to note about these powers is that they are all monarchies—in fact, the actors who took part in the strike are most of the...

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According To Ann Romney, ISIS Wouldn’t Be An Issue If Mitt Were President

by Ryan Denson – First off, why is anyone asking Ann Romney, a cook-book writing equestrian, about foreign policy issues? In the empty-headed world of Ann Romney, who, like most Republicans, ignores reality, insists that had her equally empty-headed husband been elected president, ISIS would not have invaded or have as much as they do. Romney recently told Fox News’ Neil Cavuto in a lengthy twelve-minute interview that failed Presidential candidate Mitt Romney “would have had a status of forces agreement in Iraq,” and “they wouldn’t have had the invasion they had.” Yep, just like that. In a matter of being President for only one year, Mitt would have had a status of forces agreement (just like that) and ISIS would not be as powerful as they are now. Seriously. This is their thought process. Mittens Romney would have gotten a status of forces agreement with the Iraqi government when...

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Crazed Televangelist: Obama Is Building Gas Chambers, Concentration Camps In Kentucky (AUDIO)

by Proud Liberal – The closer America gets to the midterm elections, the crazier the right wing has become in its efforts to raise money and turn out the rabidly insane vote. Case in point: Televangelist Rodney Howard-Browne — who just two months ago led a Religious Right gathering featuring several GOP congressmen — claimed yesterday that the United States government is currently building concentration camps and gas chambers and preparing to institute martial law. Yes, it’s true! Because where else would Obama, agent of the Anti-Christ (or perhaps the Big AC himself), build a government run concentration camp and gas chamber than in the middle of deep red, anti-government Kentucky? Seriously, it’s like these people don’t even hear themselves when they open their pie-holes. Oh, and instead of revealing this damning information to the public through, say, an Obama hostile 24 hour news network with a large audience, Howard-Browne’s...

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Everything That’s Happened Since Supreme Court Ruled on Voting Rights Act

Ahead of the November midterms, we take stock of the state of voting rights across the country by Kara Brandeisky, Hanqing Chen and Mike Tigas – As voters head to the polls this November, citizens in more than a dozen states will face shifting voter policies in wake of the Supreme Court’s 2013 decision weakening protections of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Several states — such as Texas, North Carolina and Ohio — are facing legal challenges to new restrictions around voter ID, early voting or same-day registration. Meanwhile, some have moved to loosen voter restrictions. Oregon and Florida have dropped out of the Interstate Cross-Check Program, an effort to purge duplicate voter registrations from voter rolls in different states. Also, as of June 2014, online voter registration has been made available in 20 states. With the midterms approaching, here’s an updated look at the state of voting rights around the...

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White House Announces Executive Actions to Advance Solar Deployment and Energy Efficiency

The Obama Administration is committed to taking action to combat climate change. As part of that effort, Friday, the White House announced a series of public and private sector commitments and executive actions to advance solar deployment and promote energy efficiency. The executive announcements altogether will cut carbon pollution by nearly 300 million metric tons through 2030 – equivalent to taking more than 60 million cars off the road for one year – and will save homes and businesses more than $10 billion on their energy bills. Those executive actions are: Partnering with up to three military bases to create a veterans solar job training pilot; Investing $68 million in 540 renewable energy and energy efficiency projects in rural areas across the country, including 240 solar projects; Proposing an energy conservation standard for commercial unit air conditioners that has the potential to save more energy than any previously issued...

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TABC Drops Plan to Allow Alcohol Sales With Gun Sales

By Bobby Blanchard, Texas Tribune – Following unexpected opposition from gun rights organizations, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission this week dropped a proposed rule change that would have allowed alcohol sales at the same venues where guns are sold, indicating it would leave such such decision-making to the Legislature instead. The move follows a recommendation earlier in the week from commission staff members that the proposal should be dropped. Venues licensed by the commission are not allowed to sell alcohol and guns at the same time. After the rule changes were proposed in August, gun rights organizations expressed concerns that the rule could apply beyond the scope of its intentions and inadvertently shut down gun shows across the state. Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, a gun rights supporter, said the proposed change was aimed at clarifying the rules for banquets and evening events where guns are often auctioned or raffled. Patterson said the current rules are...

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Israel Criticized Over Blocking UNHRC Mission

Israel denies the UN Rapporteur on human rights access to West Bank amid reports that abuses have ‘sharply increased’ by Creede Newton –      Jerusalem – On September 20, Makarim Wibisono was expected to begin his first mission as the newly appointed United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories. However, Wibisono will not be afforded the chance to do so – at least until now – since Israel has not yet granted him access to the occupied Palestinian territory on his first mission. “I deeply regret not having the opportunity to visit the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and to speak face-to-face with victims and witnesses of Israel’s alleged violations of international humanitarian and human rights law.” As Special Rapporteur, Wibisono acts as an independent, unpaid inquirer, charged with investigating allegations of human rights violations in the blockaded Gaza Strip, occupied West Bank, and annexed...

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Attorney General Eric Holder to Resign

One of the longest-serving AG’s to ever hold the position, Holder was the first African-American to be the nation’s top law enforcement official by Jon Queally – Attorney General Eric Holder will announce his resignation on Thursday, the Department of Justice has confirmed. Having served under President Obama for nearly six years, Holder was the nation’s first African-American to hold the post as the nation’s top prosecutor and currently the fourth-longest serving AG in the nation’s history. Holder is expected to remain in the position until a replacement is announced by the president and confirmed by the Senate. NPR was the first to report the news: …the decision to leave was Holder’s alone — the two sources tell NPR that the White House would have been happy to have him stay a full eight years and to avoid what could be a contentious nomination fight for his successor. Holder and...

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Cranky McCain And Sarah Palin To Kansas Won’t Save Sen. Roberts Or Republican Majority

by Gloria Christie – We feel pretty, oh so pretty. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Sarah Palin (R-Alaska) and Jeb Bush (R-Fla.) are all coming to the dance in my home state, Kansas. As you can well imagine, Kansas doesn’t get a lot of attention from the popular kids. But with the perpetual Pat Roberts’ (R) senate seat in danger, the in-crowd has time for us. So what happened? Roberts has always been our senator, at least in living memory. The problem is that Roberts took us for granted. And just as in any relationship, taking your partner(s) for granted sounds the death bell. Oh Roberts tells us that he lives with us. But those are just words. Visiting seven times a year and owning a rental home in Dodge City doesn’t constitute “living together.” No he abandoned us for the bright lights and power mongers of Washington, D.C. Roberts has grown...

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Senator Bernie Sanders on the Middle East; a Presidential Run; his Platform & wants to know yours

After watching last week’s and again this Sunday’s roundup of MSM prognosticators that Trix so generously provides each Saturday evening on Sunday Talk, what we’re getting to varying degree are the sounds of war plans. Open ended plans. Perpetual war iou’s. So after poking around a bit in search of a different take on the Middle East, one that holds the focus on the issues immediately relevant to the vast majority of people as the priority, I found these videos on and speeches by Senator Sanders with just that. Bernie Sanders on the Middle East September 13, 2014 before the vote on war funding for training & arming rebels: (short ad – sorry) Link:  http://www.nbcnews.com/… “I do not want to see combat troops involved in what will be a never ending war”-    Senator Bernie Sanders #   #   # Senator Bernie Sanders has since voted no (September 18,...

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Now They’re Sending SWAT Teams After Unlicensed Barbers

By jpmassar, Daily Kos – Perhaps in the ’60’s we needed regulations against barbers going around cutting off hippies’ hair. Perhaps in the 600’s barbers need to be licensed; after all, bleeding someone to cure them of what ails can be dangerous. But in the here and now do we really need SWAT teams to regulate who can own a barber pole? The Orange County Sheriff’s Office in Florida (OSCO) professed that necessity, but the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, fortunately, thought otherwise. This is a direct quote from the 11th Circuit’s decision: It was a scene right out of a Hollywood movie. … teams from the OCSO descended on multiple target locations… With some team members dressed in ballistic vests and masks, and with guns drawn, the deputies rushed into their target destinations, handcuffed the stunned occupants – and demanded to see their barbers’ licenses… Then the judges weighed in...

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Obama Administration Brings The Hammer Down On Corporate Tax-Dodging Scheme

by Stephen D Foster Jr – Since 2008, corporations based in the United States have been engaged in a scheme to avoid paying their fair share of taxes. It’s called “inversion,” a deal in which a corporation here in the states buys a company overseas and then re-incorporates in the home nation of the company it just bought. The result of such a deal is that corporations in this country can escape paying taxes here. Well, the Obama Administration didn’t let this blatantly un-patriotic scheme go unnoticed, and the Treasury Department put new rules in effect on Monday designed to prevent this practice. According to Reuters, A key target of Treasury’s actions is foreign profits held offshore by U.S. multinationals under a U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) rule that defers taxation on such profits unless and until they are brought in the United States. In other words, that $2 TRILLION...

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Jefferson County, Colorado, School Board Wants to Eliminate AP History

By djrez, Daily Kos– Last year, a slate of conservative candidates, supported by Americans for Prosperity, took over the majority of the Jefferson County School Board.  Since then, they’ve followed the same playbook they used in Douglas County – alienating teachers, cutting pay and benefits, eliminating steps (annual raises based on experience), and eliminated pay increases for advanced degrees.  The playbook works well – conservatives across the country have demonized teachers enough that when teachers complain about pay and benefits, they receive little sympathy. This week, however, the conservative board took it one step too far. The board established a “curriculum committee” to review what teachers are teaching in the classroom.  Each of the five board members (three conservative, two reasonable) nominated three people for the committee.  The (conservative) majority then voted on the final nine members – strange then that the members ended up being the conservative nominees! One of the...

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Israel Was Tried For War Crimes Today, The Testimony Will Break Your Heart

by Kerry-Anne – I’ve been in Brussels today witnessing the Russell Tribunal on Palestine which is assessing Israel’s war crimes in Gaza during Operation Protective Edge.  The full testimony is available on the Tribunal’s website, but I have captured some key excerpts from my live reporting today. The likes of film maker Ken Loach, music legend Roger Waters and internationally renowned lawyers such as Michael Mansfield QC formed a jury – while expert witnesses from Gaza and beyond testified to the atrocities of the 50 day offensive. Having borne personal witness to the unimaginable brutality and carnage of Israel’s onslaught while in Gaza in August, much of today was like a live action replay – evoking the same fear, anger and tear-inducing gutteral sadness that reduces you to shoulder-shaking sobs. Here are some of the key points: Roger Waters, Pink Floyd Music Legend   To witnesses: “You have led us...

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Congress Still on Track to be Among Least Productive in Recent History

by Drew DeSilver – Congress made big news last week when it managed to pass a bill that both keeps the government running through Dec. 11 and authorizes the Obama administration to arm and train Syrian rebels to fight the Islamic State. The vote, unlike so many in Congress, blended party lines: 176 Republicans and 143 Democrats voted for it in the House; 44 Democrats, 33 Republicans and one independent in the Senate. That was arguably the biggest accomplishment of the short September sitting, as the 21 other measures (most not yet signed into law) that made it through Congress mainly ran toward the relatively noncontroversial — reauthorizing existing programs, extending advisory committees, and other tinkering around the edges of statute law. Even so, the current Congress remains on pace to be one of the least legislatively productive in recent history. As of Monday, 165 laws had been enacted since January 2013, 124 of...

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Told They Cannot Learn About Social Movements, Colorado Students Take To the Streets

Right wing tries to ban history of “social strife” in the United States, so students teach them a lesson By Deirdre Fulton, Common Dreams – Hundreds of students from high schools across Colorado’s Jefferson County school district walked out of classes on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday this week, protesting attempts by right-wing members of the school board to amp up what they consider the “positive aspects of the United States and its heritage” within the district’s history curriculum while minimizing focus on more progressive aspects of history such as people’s movements, the history of struggle, and “social strife.” Carrying signs that read, “Don’t make history a mystery;” “There is nothing more patriotic than protest;” and “It’s world history, not white history,” students came out in opposition to a proposal — since put on hold — that would establish a committee to regularly review texts and course plans. For example, that plan...

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John D. Rockefeller’s American Cancer Society Never Meant to ‘CURE’ Cancer

by Christina Sarich – Did you realize that all conventional methods of killing cancer have only a 3% overall cure rate? Chemotherapy and radiation not only have low cure rates, but they also kill healthy cells and often make cancer worse, when this is completely unnecessary because most cells can be reverted into healthy, non-damaging cells with the right treatment. That’s not something the American Cancer Society (ACS) and Susan G. Komen for the Cure want you to know, though. They are in bed with Big Pharma, and financed by the legacy of John D. Rockefeller who started the ACS in 1913. An Unfortunate History The ACS was begun as a business model – not a means to ‘cure’ people from life-threatening illness. It’s also a brilliant way to wash dirty money. The ACS, in fact, receives more money in contributions every few minutes than the Independent Cancer Research Foundation (ICRF) (which...

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St. Louis PD Hosts ‘Highly Entertaining’ Class On How To ‘Win With The Media’ After A Police Shooting

by Jameson Parker – After last month’s shooting of an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri, the St. Louis Police Department thinks they may have learned some valuable lessons from the incident. No, they aren’t about to address their shoot-to-kill policies or better train their officers to use firearms only as a last resort; instead, they plan on training officials to better handle the fallout with the media after they kill someone. After all, why prevent a shooting when you can simply control the media spin after the fact? According to a program bulletin posted to the St. Louis County website, and noticed by writer Neetzan Zimmerman, the St. Louis County and Municipal Police Academy is holding a one-day seminar on how best to handle the pesky reporters after one of your officers murders someone – but don’t worry, prospective police officials, just because this is a class about officer...

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Religious Conservatives Finally Admit What They Really Want Out Of Hobby Lobby

by Ian Millhiser – For two and a half years, the Obama Administration has tried to strike a balance between the health needs of workers and the sensibilities of employers who object to contraceptive care on religious grounds. Just last month, the administration announced its most recent accommodation for these religious objectors — an employer can exempt itself completely from the federal rule requiring employer-provided health plans to cover birth control, so long as it informs the government that it seeks a religious exemption and tells them which company administers their health plan. Yet, according to a court document filed earlier this month by a leading religious conservative litigation shop, even this degree of accommodation is insufficient to satisfy the most vehement objectors to birth control. Indeed, if the courts ultimately accept the arguments presented by this court filing, that would leave the administration largely powerless to ensure that workers...

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Grand Jury Decides Officers In Ohio Walmart Slaying Will Not Be Charged

by Nathaniel Downes – On August 7th, John Crawford III in Beaver Creek, Ohio was killed by police for the crime of holding a toy gun in a local Walmart while black. On Monday, a grand jury began to deliberate over the evidence to see if the officers involved in the shooting were to be charged in the execution style killing of the faster of two. Today, they gave their decision to serve no indictments against the officers. An incredibly fast turnaround for a case which would have carried with it a potential life sentence should they be indicted, then found guilty in criminal court. The videotaped evidence demonstrates that Mr. Crawford was shopping, carrying the toy with him as he went after picking it up next to the paint section within the store. On Monday, Mark Piepmeier and his assistant, Stacey DeGraffenreid, began presenting the evidence to the jury,...

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Fairness and Justice? Post-9/11 Muslim Charity Prosecution

by Katherine Hughes, Truthout | Op-Ed  – My passion for the protection of civil liberties was sparked at the age of 14 when I saw a documentary on the Allies’ liberation of Bergen-Belsen. For the past 40 years, in an effort to understand how something like that could happen, I’ve been reading first-hand accounts of 1930s and 1940s Europe and the former Soviet Union. Over the last 25 years I began noticing similar circumstances in both Europe and the United States: wars creating millions of refugees, financial crises, erosions of workers’ rights and sharpening income inequality, along with national and individual poverty and debt, a xenophobic and racist climate, and attacks on civil liberties, including freedom of speech. My alarm grew as I witnessed the post-9/11 demonization of Muslims. I have always known that if anything like this happened in my lifetime, not only did I not want any...

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New Census Data Once Again Illustrate Importance of Unions to the Middle Class

By Keith Miller and David Madland , Center for Amerrican Progress – According to data released this week by the Census Bureau, America’s middle class continued to struggle to regain its economic footing in 2013 as its share of the nation’s total income remained effectively stagnant at historically low levels. Among the most frequently overlooked contributors to the middle class’ declining share of the economic pie is the weakening of labor unions, whose membership as a share of the national population also sat stagnant at a historic low in 2013. Strong unions are necessary to maintain a robust middle class, and if action is not taken to prevent their further erosion, the middle class’ share of America’s economic gains may continue to shrink as the nation becomes more unequal. The middle 60 percent of American households took home an estimated 45.8 percent of the nation’s total income in 2013 —...

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Michele Bachmann: Phyllis Schlafly Is A Feminist Role Model Because She Ended The Cold War (VIDEO)

by  Stephen D Foster Jr – Michele Bachmann, a member of the Committee on Intelligence in the Republican-controlled House, actually thinks women’s rights opponent Phyllis Schlafly ended the Cold War. In an interview with conservative site World Net Daily flagged by Right Wing Watch, the Tea Party rep said that all girls should “emulate” Phyllis Schlafly because she’s “everything feminists wish they were” including “personally brilliant, physically gorgeous, and extremely articulate…” Oh, and she’s responsible for ending the Cold War with Russia too. In Bachmann’s small mind, without Schlafly, there wouldn’t be a “pro-family” movement. And without that, there wouldn’t be a President Reagan to confront the Soviets. Never mind the fact that the arms race and regional conflicts combined with the policies of several presidents before Reagan, weakened the Soviet Union economically to the point of collapse. Also, George Herbert Walker Bush was president when that happened in 1991....

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