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Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit, MI
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 76,312

Journal Archives

Prison Planet: The Future We Live In

from truthdig:

Prison Planet: The Future We Live In

Posted on Oct 1, 2012
By Peter Z. Scheer

It’s too bad Eugene Jarecki already used the title “Why We Fight” for his breakout 2006 documentary about war profiteering, because he could so perfectly have applied it to his newest movie, “The House I Live In.” It’s an examination of the drug war that does more than testify against America’s overtly racist drug laws or the justice-industrial complex of private prisons and the overtime-hungry cops who help fill them. The documentary, which won this year’s Sundance Grand Jury prize and will arrive in a handful of theaters this month, dares to suggest that human beings have a thing for destroying one another.

Jarecki makes a very compelling argument with the help of many interview subjects, but none more important than David Simon, a former crime reporter who created “The Wire,” a beloved TV show that may itself be confused for a documentary on the drug war. Simon spent a lot of time reporting on and dramatizing this conflict and its exhausted combatants, and he, along with historian Richard Lawrence Miller, ultimately express the documentary’s hidden thesis with brute force. The drug war is, they say, a “holocaust in slow motion.” The director reveals his climax like the denouement of a great mystery. It’s his Keyser Söze moment, and I won’t spoil it by elaborating further.

Long before then, Jarecki presents many perspectives of what he calls “a tragically misguided system that preys upon those least fortunate among us to sustain itself.” From the drug dealers to the judge, most of the director’s subjects agree that the system isn’t good for much, other than the mass transfer of poor people to jail.

Jarecki constructs the documentary around the life of his childhood nanny, whose family has struggled with drugs. He is curious about the racial bias of her misfortune—she is black, he is not—and in exploration he finds that “whatever damage drugs do to people has been made far worse by the laws America has enacted to stop drugs.” .....................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truthdig.com/arts_culture/item/prison_planet_the_future_we_live_in_20121002/

Bierleichen Gone Wild: Record Beer Consumption -- And It's Only Half Over

from Der Spiegel:

The Munich Oktoberfest may be heading for a new beer-guzzling record this year after 3.6 million liters were downed in the first week alone. But the number of people passing out or losing their children is up as well.

The first week of this year's Oktoberfest is over, and as ever, the half-time statistics are almost as overpowering as the high-octane Munich beer served in the tents.

A clear picture is already emerging: there are more visitors, and they're drinking a lot more beer, and that is having predictable consequences.

The number of Bierleichen, or "beer corpses" -- a term referring to people who have drunk themselves into a state of unconsciousness -- jumped by almost 20 percent to 445, most of them aged 30 or under, according to the Red Cross. ..........(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.spiegel.de/international/zeitgeist/2012-oktoberfest-nears-record-beer-consumption-in-first-week-a-858919.html

The 100 Club meetup at Wrigley

By Paul Sullivan, Chicago Tribune reporter
11:54 p.m. CDT, October 1, 2012

Fifty years ago this week, only 595 fans showed up at Wrigley Field for the opener of the Cubs-Mets series, the last time two teams with 100-plus losses faced each other.

The '62 Cubs — with future Hall of Famers Ernie Banks, Lou Brock, Billy Williams and Ron Santo on the roster — wound up taking two of three from the expansion team, finishing with a franchise-worst 103 losses, to the Mets' major league record of 120.

The Cubs needed to sweep the 106-loss Astros to avoid becoming the third 100-loss team in club history but fell 3-0 before a sparse crowd at Wrigley.

Astros starter Lucas Harrell shut out the Cubs on two hits over six innings, and the Astros bullpen combined for three hitless innings. Jason Berken (0-3) got the loss, allowing two runs over 4 2/3 innings. ..............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball/cubs/ct-spt-1002-cubs-astros-chicago--20121002,0,1009275.story

Help Spirit Airlines concoct some new fees: Walking across the jetway fee. Using the armrest fee....

from the Detroit Free Press:

Spirit Airlines will punish procrastinators by charging $100 for travelers who wait to pay for their carry-on bags until they get to the gate.

The higher charge will begin Nov. 6, Spirit announced on Monday. The fee has been $45.

Spirit and Allegiant are the only airlines in the U.S. that charge for carry-on bags.

Spirit’s rationale? It aims to make customers so wary of the steep fee that all will pay ahead of time. However, Spirit is also raising other bag fees effective Nov. 6. A carry-on bag paid for at booking will be $35, up from $30; a carry-on bag paid for at the airport check-in counter will be $50, up from $40. ....................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.freep.com/article/20121001/FEATURES07/121001069/spirit-carryon-charging-gate?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE

A Plutocrat Epiphany: All Votes Need Not Count

from Too Much: A Commentary on Excess and Inequality:

A Plutocrat Epiphany: All Votes Need Not Count
September 30, 2012

America’s billionaires have realized they really don’t have to bother convincing a majority of people to vote their way. They can put their cash instead into campaigns to keep the hard-to-convince from voting.

By Sam Pizzigati

Our two major presidential candidates descended on Ohio last week, and legions of reporters followed closely behind. Those reporters filed tens of thousands of words on what they saw and heard on their quick in-and-out Ohio excursion.

But not one of those reporters filed a word about what may have been the most nationally significant news out of Ohio last week: the release of a new analysis on income inequality from the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.

This new Cleveland Fed analysis examines both “labor” and “capital” income in America since 1980. Labor income includes everything we make from our jobs: wages and salaries, pensions and health insurance benefits.

Capital income comes from the ownership of assets. Interest, dividends, and the capital gains from buying and selling stocks, bonds, and other forms of property all count as capital income. .................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://toomuchonline.org/a-plutocrat-epiphany-all-votes-need-not-count/

Chris Hedges: What Is Happening to Muslims Will Happen to the Rest of Us

from truthdig:

What Is Happening to Muslims Will Happen to the Rest of Us

Posted on Oct 1, 2012
By Chris Hedges

The decision by the European Court of Human Rights last week to refuse to block the extradition of the radical Muslim cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri and four others to the United States on terrorism charges removes one of the last external checks on our emerging gulag state.

Masri and the four others, all held in British jails, will soon join hundreds of other Muslims tried in Article III federal courts in the United States over the last decade. Fair trials are unlikely. A disturbing pattern of gross infringements on basic civil liberties, put in place in the name of national security, has poisoned our legal system. These infringements include intrusive surveillance, vague material support charges, the use of prolonged pretrial solitary confinement, classified evidence that the accused cannot review, and the use of political activities, normally protected under the First Amendment, to demonstrate mind-set and intent. Muslims caught up in the Article III courts are denied the opportunity to confront their accusers and to have their religious and political associations protected, and they rarely find a judge courageous enough to protect their rights. These violations of fundamental civil liberties will not, in the end, be reserved exclusively for Muslims once the corporate state feels under siege. What is happening to them will happen to the rest of us.

“One of the misapprehensions of the last decade is that the government had to go outside the law to places like Guantanamo or Bagram to abridge the rights of suspects in the name of national security,” said Jeanne Theoharis, a professor of political science at Brooklyn College who has been an outspoken critic of the rights abridgement occurring in Article III courts. “But this is not the case. A similar degradation of rights that has characterized the prison at Guantanamo has also affected the judicial system within the United States. The right to dissent, the right to see the evidence against you, the right to due process, the right to fair and speedy trial, the right to have a judge who will be impartial, the right to fair and not disproportionate punishment, and the right not to be punished before you are convicted have been taken from us in the name of national security. It is not just in special secret prisons that this occurs, but also—dismayingly—within the U.S. federal courts.”

This is not about the guilt or innocence of Masri, an Egyptian who lost an eye and a hand as a mujahedeen fighting in Central Asia and who has repeatedly called for violence against the United States and allegedly helped orchestrate violence. This is about the right of all accused to a fair defense and humane detention conditions. Once Masri arrives on U.S. soil he will receive neither. He will, even before he is tried or convicted, endure prison conditions that replicate the brutality suffered by those in our offshore penal colonies, including the one at Guantanamo Bay. He will enter a world of prolonged and psychologically crippling isolation, made worse by the likely application of so-called special administrative measures. He will spend his days in a tiny cell under constant electronic surveillance. At New York’s Metropolitan Correction Center, where Masri and the other men will most likely first be incarcerated, he will never be allowed outdoors. He will be permitted to spend only one hour a day outside his cell, alone in a cage. Masri and the four other suspects could spend years in these conditions before trial. Because of security restrictions, it will take as long as six months for letters from his family to reach him. His lawyers can be prosecuted if they repeat in public what he tells them, especially about the conditions of his incarceration. ..................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/what_is_happening_to_muslims_will_happen_to_the_rest_of_us_20121001/

All the Missing Horses: What Happened to the Wild Horses Tom Davis Bought From the Gov’t?

All the Missing Horses: What Happened to the Wild Horses Tom Davis Bought From the Gov’t?
by Dave Philipps, Special to ProPublica Sept. 28, 2012, 5:13 p.m.

[font size="1"]A lone mustang who escaped the helicopters watches a Bureau of Land Management roundup in the Stone Cabin Valley in Nevada during the winter of 2012. (Dave Philipps)[/font]

The Bureau of Land Management faced a crisis this spring.

The agency protects and manages herds of wild horses that still roam the American West, rounding up thousands of them each year to keep populations stable.

But by March, government pens and pastures were nearly full. Efforts to find new storage space had fallen flat. So had most attempts to persuade members of the public to adopt horses. Without a way to relieve the pressure, the agency faced a gridlock that would invite lawsuits and potentially cause long-term damage to the range.

So the BLM did something it has done increasingly over the last few years. It turned to a little-known Colorado livestock hauler named Tom Davis who was willing to buy hundreds of horses at a time, sight unseen, for $10 a head. ..................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.propublica.org/article/missing-what-happened-to-wild-horses-tom-davis-bought-from-the-govt

Mitt Reinvents Himself (cartoon)

Global warming 'may lead to smaller fish'

(Independent UK) The biggest fish in the sea could be almost 25 per cent smaller by 2050 because of global warming, according to a new study.

Warmer oceans will carry less dissolved oxygen, causing fish to grow to smaller sizes and forcing them to move to cooler waters, the research published in the journal Nature Climate Change claims.

Scientists predict that a rise in global temperatures over the coming decades will cause the average body size of sea fish to decline by between 14 and 24 per cent.

The predication is based on a study of more than 600 species of saltwater fish, including the Atlantic cod and the North Sea haddock. ................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/global-warming-may-lead-to-smaller-fish-8191514.html

Why You Should Care: American student loan nightmare

Published on Sep 29, 2012 by RussiaToday

Thousands of Americans are defaulting on their student loans, ruining their credit and their lives. Will Tim or his robot pal be next?

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