A Bakery That Hires Addicts, Felons and Immigrants Continues to be a Success

by Walter Einenkel – Nathanael Johnson has a great piece on Greyston’s Bakery in Yonkers, New York. Greyston’s motto is “We don’t hire people to bake brownies, we bake brownies to hire people.” It’s a nice sentiment, but is it real? Yes it is and they do and they’re successful. For the last 30 years, Greyston Bakery, in Yonkers, N.Y., has made it a policy to hire anyone who comes in the door, without asking questions or even looking at a resume. As a result, Greyston has a staff of former addicts, felons, and immigrants — people normally considered unemployable.This staff of workers makes food that you’ve probably eaten: They provide all the brownies for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. It’s a successful for-profit business, powered by the unemployable. The entire profile is worth a read. Here’s an explanation of their business model, from Greyston’s CEO Mike Brady: “Low-wage workers tend...

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Lensless Space Telescope Could be 1,000 Times Stronger than Hubble

By David Szondy, Gizmag – The Hubble space telescope has given us decades of incredible images, but it’s reaching the end of its service life and the question is, what will come after? One possibility is the Aragoscope from the University of Colorado Boulder, which uses a gigantic orbital disk instead of a mirror to produce images 1,000 times sharper than the Hubble’s best efforts. The Aragoscope is named after French scientist Francois Arago who first noticed how a disk diffracted light waves. The principle is based on using a large disk as a diffraction lens, which bends light from distant objects around the edge of the disk and focuses it like a conventional refraction lens. The phenomenon isn’t very pronounced on the small scale, but if the telescope is extremely large, it not only becomes practical, but also extremely powerful. When deployed the Aragoscope will consist of an...

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Working Mom On Food Stamps Hits Back At Scott Walker’s Plan To Drug Test Her

by ALICE OLLSTEIN – Wisconsin’s low-income workers and some members of Congress are speaking out against Governor Scott Walker’s call for making people on public assistance undergo a drug test. Governor Walker confirmed in a Q and A at the conservative American Action Forum in DC on Friday that the 2015 budget he will unveil Tuesday will include measures that cover those who need food stamps, Medicaid and unemployment benefits, among other programs for those in poverty. Walker claimed his motivation for the controversial move was feedback he’d received from Wisconsin companies. “As I traveled my state, I hear employers, small business owners say, overwhelming: ‘We have jobs. We just need workers. And we need two things: people who know how to show up every day for work, five days a week, and gimme someone who can pass a drug test,’” he said. But Jennifer Epps-Addison with Wisconsin Jobs Now questions...

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The Next Anti-Abortion Strategy Lurking Around The Corner

by TARA CULP-RESSLER – In what could represent their next major effort to dismantle the protections under Roe v. Wade, abortion opponents are laying the groundwork for a new attack on reproductive rights that borrows a page out of their old playbook. Several pieces of similar legislation emerging on a state level could be the beginning of a national trend. The measures are cloaked in emotional language about “fetal dismemberment” that’s reminiscent of the pro-life community’s successful push to enact the country’s first national abortion ban. The first bill to use “dismemberment” language was introduced in South Dakota last year. Seeking to “prohibit the dismemberment or decapitation of certain living unborn children,” the measure was just a few paragraphs long and didn’t make it out of committee. But that didn’t deter anti-abortion activists. This year, at the beginning of the 2015 session, identical bills entitled the “Unborn Child Protection From...

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A Long Filament Eruption

 

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Report Shows How Fracking Industry’s Failure to Follow Regulations Impacts Health

By Stefanie Spear, EcoWatch – A new report released Tuesday from Environment America Research & Policy Center shows that all types of fracking companies, from small to large, are prone to violating rules intended to protect human health and the environment. The report, Fracking Failures: Oil and Gas Industry Environmental Violations in Pennsylvania and What They Mean for the U.S., analyses Pennsylvania’s oil and gas industry over a four-year period and found that the top offenders of regulations — averaging more than one environmental violation every day — represented a wide range of companies from Fortune 500 companies like Cabot Oil, to mom-and-pop operators, to firms like Chevron. “Fracking is an inherently risky, dirty, dangerous practice, and regulations can’t change that,” said John Rumpler, senior attorney with Environment America. “But this report shows that a range of oil and gas companies struggle to meet even modest protections for our environment and public health.” The report tracks lapses such as allowing toxic...

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Sanders’ Focus Not Clinton, But Whether 2016 Run Could Mobilize the Masses

As he ponders presidential run, Bernie Sanders doubts Hillary Clinton “bold enough.” But the bigger questions, he says: “Can you bring people out on the streets? Can you mobilize people? Can you tap the anger that’s out there?” by Jon Queally – Ahead of upcoming trips to both New Hampshire and Iowa, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt) istalking again this week about his possible plans to run for president in 2016 and made it clear that although his platform would center around propping up the nation’s working class while undoing the damage being wrought by the nation’s oligarchy, he will not shy away from putting pressure on Hillary Clinton, currently and widely seen as the presumptive Democratic nominee. “Based on history, do I think she is going to be as bold as needs to be in addressing the major crises that we face?” Sanders said in an interview with theWashington Post...

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Even Major Doctors’ Group Thinks Marijuana Research Ban Is Outdated

by TARA CULP-RESSLER – The U.S. government should reclassify marijuana as a less dangerous drug so that scientists can conduct more research into its potential health effects, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends in a new policy statement. It’s the first time that the leading doctors’ group has updated its official stance on medical marijuana in more than a decade. The pediatricians’ group does not support the full legalization of marijuana, maintaining that the drug is not healthy for kids and worrying that legalizing pot for adults will make it easier for children to get their hands on it. The new policy statement does, however, support decriminalization — a policy change that the lead authors believe “takes this whole issue out of the criminal justice system and puts it into the health system, where it really should be.” The AAP says that the criminal penalties for being caught with...

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Israeli Military Opened Fire On Civilians Waving White Flags: Report

by JOHN PRAGER – While many turn a blind eye, Israel has slowly become that which it hates. Last year Moshe Feiglin, deputy speaker of the Knesset (Israeli Parliament) openly called for what any sensible person would recognize is genocide. Feiglin said that the Army must: “…designate certain open areas on the Sinai border, adjacent to the sea, in which the civilian population will be concentrated, far from the built-up areas that are used for launches and tunneling. In these areas, tent encampments will be established, until relevant emigration destinations are determined.” After Palestinians are “concentrated” into these “encampments,” Feiglin says, “The supply of electricity and water to the formerly populated areas will be disconnected,” and the areas would be  “shelled with maximum fire power.” The army would “exterminate” all who resisted. Feiglin’s plan would force those who wished to stay in the country to “publicly sign a declaration of...

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Keystone Senate Yea Votes: Seven Times More Oil & Gas Money

by Center for Responsive Politics – Senators who voted to push through development of the Keystone XL pipeline today have received, on average, $570,034 in contributions to their campaigns and leadership PACs from the oil and gas industry over the course of their careers. The 35 senators who voted against bill have received, on average, just $78,641 from the industry. The Obama administration is still considering whether or not to approve the pipeline, but the Republican-led 114th Congress seized the reins almost as soon as it took office earlier this month. The House passed H.R. 3, the Keystone XL Pipeline Act, on Jan. 9 by a vote of 266-153. The Senate followed suit with its version of the Keystone bill, S.1, today, with nine Democrats joining every single Republican to pass the measure 62-36. President Obama has threatened to veto the bill, and unless its supporters can drum up five more Senate votes,...

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Targeting of Homes an ‘Appalling Hallmark’ of Israel’s Summer Attack on Gaza

New report from Israeli human rights group finds the deadly attacks had official backing by Andrea Germanos – Attacks in which the Israeli military deliberately targeted Palestinian homes were an “appalling hallmark” of the military offensive this summer and had the backing of top Israeli officials, an Israeli human rights organization charges in a report released Wednesday. For its report, Black Flag: The legal and moral implications of the policy of attacking residential buildings in the Gaza Strip, summer 2014 (pdf), B’Tselem investigated 70 incidents in which at least three people were killed while inside their home during what Israel called Operation Protective Edge. In these incidents, B’Tselem said, over 600 Palestinians were killed, 70% of whom likely too no part in fighting. They included the deaths of 93 infants and children under the age of 5, as well as 129 5- to 14-year old children, and 37 people over 60....

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After Listening To Women, Longtime Anti-Abortion Congressman Becomes Pro-Choice

by STEPHEN D FOSTER JR – A six term congressman and lifelong opponent of abortion rights has finally changed his mind, and all it took was for him to start talking with and listening to women. Tim Ryan is a bluedog Democrat and lifetime Catholic who represents Ohio in the U.S. House of Representatives. Since first stepping into the Capitol Building, he has supported many pieces of anti-abortion legislation written by Republicans. But unlike his Republican colleagues who are slaves to their conservative base, Ryan actually not only talked with women, he listened to them. In the process, he experienced a change of heart and officially announced on Tuesday that he now supports a woman’s right to choose. In an op-ed published by the Akron Beacon Journal, Ryan explained how he reached his decision. I’ve heard firsthand from women of all ages, races and socioeconomic backgrounds about the circumstances and...

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Hamburg to Build Public Green Spaces Atop Noisy Highway and Become Car Free in 20 Years

By Mihai Andrei, ZMEScience – Three public parks will cover an Autobahn (highway) that passes through the city of Hamburg, in Germany. The 8,000-mile road network runs through Hamburg’s city center, dividing the city into an eastern and western half and creating a lot of disturbing noise. The problem will be solved through the addition of the green spaces. The highway causes two main problems – first of all, it breaks the city’s continuity for pedestrians, and second of all, it creates a lot of pollution (dust, dirt, air pollution and noise pollution). As part of an effort to green the city, Hamburg will build covers on three separate sections of the Autobahn. This will allow pedestrians not only to cross the street and be rid of most of the noise and air pollution, but also enjoy some new parks. Hamburg is currently working on a plan that would eliminate...

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Canada Unveils New Anti-Terrorism Bill That Moves for ‘Unprecedented Expansion of Powers’

“This radical expansion of national security powers is not sound security policy and presents a real danger to Canadians,” says civil liberties advocate by Andrea Germanos – Canada introduced on Friday new anti-terrorism legislation critics say gives spy agencies sweeping powers that threaten the public’s civil liberties. The legislation is the Anti-terrorism Act 2015, which Ottawa Citizen reporter Ian MacLeod described as “the most dramatic package of new laws since the Anti-terrorism Act of 2001.” Among the provisions of the legislation are that it would expand the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS)’s powers to “disrupt terrorism offenses and terrorist activity;” make it easier for law enforcement agencies to carry out preventive detentions, and allow them for longer time, make it easier to federal agencies to share information, and give law enforcement agencies power “to disrupt terrorism offenses and terrorist activity, according to a government fact sheet. Defending the measures in Richmond Hill,...

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New Poll Shows Overwhelming Majority of Americans Want Lawmakers to Take Action on Climate

by Sarah Lazare – Ahead of the 2016 elections, the verdict is in: Most people in the United States—including a large number of Republicans—think global warming poses a serious threat to the world and want the government to take action to stave off climate crisis. A new nation-wide poll conducted by Stanford University, The New York Times, and environmental research organization Resources for the Future found that two-thirds of people in the U.S.—including almost half of Republicans—say they are more likely to back politicians who vow in their campaigns to fight global warming. Likewise, the majority of respondents said they are less likely to vote for a candidate who denies the reality of human-caused global warming. Jon A. Krosnick, Stanford University professor and an author of the poll, told The New York Times that the numbers on Republicans constitute “the most powerful finding” in the survey. While most Republic candidates steer...

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Oddly Beautiful

 

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In Torture Report Face-Off, ACLU Fights GOP Repo Man

If the White House gives in to Sen. Richard Burr’s demands, civil rights group says it ‘faces the real threat of never securing the release of a document to which it is entitled by law’ by Deirdre Fulton – The ACLU filed an emergency motion with a federal judge to stop the new GOP chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee from repossessing the full-length version of a revealing inquiry into CIA torture. Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) has requested the White House and various executive agencies “immediately” return copies of the 6,700-page report, which Burr says was inappropriately transmitted by his predecessor, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.). Feinstein disputes that characterization. The ACLU and other human rights groups charge that Burr’s request is an attempt to keep the findings of the report under wraps permanently. As Politico points out: “Who maintains legal control of the report could be critical to whether and when...

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A Tale Of Two Senators Who Grew Up Poor And Went Opposite Directions

by RYAN DENSON – I Got Mine, Screw You! The GOP attempted to relate to the poor and working class when Joni Ernst, during her State of the Union rebuttal, painted herself as a poor Iowan girl who had to stuff bread bags over her shoes to keep them from being ruined by the rain. She wasn’t ruined, because apparently many of her Iowan school friends were just as poor and had to do the same thing. It was certainly a tender moment for the GOP. Ernst really showed people how one can overcome poverty to be something great. Except she forgot to mention one tiny thing: her family received over $460,000 in federal subsidies (the very ones Ernst’s party wants to get rid of). According to The District Sentinel: Ernst’s father, Richard Culver, was given $14,705 in conservation payments and $23,690 in commodity subsidies by the federal government –...

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Anaheim Debut for Blackbird’s El Capitan Ekoa Acoustic Guitar

By Paul Ridden, Gizmag – An acoustic guitar needs old tonewood soundboard, body and neck to really make the unplugged party pop, right? Well no, not really. Guitar makers have experimented with a host of other materials over the years, including aluminum and carbon fiber. Blackbird Guitars has now followed the 2013 launch of its Clara concert-level ukulele, which is made from something called Ekoa, with a NAMM debut for an acoustic guitar called El Capitan that’s constructed from the same sustainable material. El Capitan is the first guitar to be made from Ekoa, a high performance composite made mostly of low-density linen and developed by Lingrove. Blackbird premiered the concept prototype at last year’s NAMM Show and has since been tweaking and refining the instrument to ready it for production. Like the Clara before it, the small jumbo acoustic is claimed to offer players the same tone and...

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Texas Rep to Office Staff: Ask Muslim Visitors to Pledge Allegiance

By Reeve Hamilton and Alexa Ura, Texas Tribune – Freshman state Rep. Molly White, R-Belton, is not in Austin today to celebrate the Texas Muslim Capitol Day. But she left instructions for the staff in her Capitol office on how to handle visitors who are, including asking them to declare allegiance to the United States. “I did leave an Israeli flag on the reception desk in my office with instructions to staff to ask representatives from the Muslim community to renounce Islamic terrorist groups and publicly announce allegiance to America and our laws,” she posted on Facebook. “We will see how long they stay in my office.” Texas Muslim Capitol Day, which began in 2003, is organized by the Texas chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations and brings members of Muslim communities in Houston, Dallas and other areas of the state to the Capitol to learn about the political process and meet state...

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