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Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit, MI
Member since: Thu Oct 28, 2004, 11:18 PM
Number of posts: 75,205

Journal Archives

Detroit's Midtown renaissance begins to spill into other neighborhoods

from the Freep:

Unable to find a suitable site in busy Midtown for their Two James Spirits distillery and tasting room, partners Peter Bailey and David Landrum opted for Detroit's Corktown neighborhood, where they'll open in early 2013.

"Midtown always presents a really enticing opportunity," Bailey said. "It's one of the most energetic areas, with lots of diverse foot traffic."

But Scott Benson, who helps develop businesses with the civic group Midtown Detroit, said it has become increasingly difficult to find the right space for potential commercial tenants in Midtown, including a major national bank anxious to locate a branch in that part of town.

"We're looking around Mack and Warren but can't find something that meets their needs," he said. ...............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.freep.com/article/20121125/BUSINESS06/311250293/Is-Detroit-s-turnaround-turning-a-corner-Development-spreads-to-new-neighborhoods?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE

Right Wing Whackjob: Obamacare will be used to take your guns

from Right Wing Watch:

Larry Pratt: Obamacare Will 'Take Away Your Guns'
Submitted by Brian Tashman on Tuesday, 11/20/2012 1:55 pm

The leader of the Religious Right gun group Gun Owners of America is warning that the government, through the health care reform law and a new service program, is going after everyday Americans. Pratt, the organization’s executive director who has ties to white supremacists, appeared on VCY America’s Crosstalk to float a number of conspiracies. Pratt alleged that the left is to blame for the Benghazi attack because of its “profound dislike of self-defense” and refusal to “believe in self-defense either personally or as a matter of national self-defense.”

Later, he also spoke to a caller about the latest right-wing conspiracy that FEMA Corps, a program dedicated to training “young volunteers to physically and psychologically handle the demands of working in hazardous areas,” is actually an armed brigade that may be used to persecute political opponents.

Caller: They have this website, “FEMA Corps First Graduating Class,” somebody found it on ItMakesSenseBlog.com and it was like 231 kids and they’ve got 2,500 armored fighting vehicles ready to go, I was just wondering if you have spotted any of that information yet.

Pratt: Now that is very interesting that FEMA would have armored personnel carriers, that is what it sounds like you are describing, is that helpful in fighting the aftermath of a Hurricane? That’s really amazing. It shows the total disconnect of the federal government from the Constitution.

But Pratt wasn’t done yet, as he went on to say that Obamacare will help the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to “take away your guns.”

There’s a big one that doesn’t get much attention as a gun measure but it is, and that’s Obamacare. Obamacare among its many unconstitutional aspects, I’m sorry Supreme Court, has made privacy something that only applies between consenting adults but not certainly our relationship with the government. It says that all of our medical records are available to be pawed through by bureaucrats somewhere in Washington, looking for a reason to disenfranchise gun owners, to say ‘oh you have a medical diagnosis that means you might be a danger to yourself or others so we’re going to come and knock on the door for the BATF to take away your guns.’

Of course, the law that screens out people such as mentally ill individuals through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System to prevent them from purchasing guns was signed by President Bush, and the health care reform law explicitly does not allow for a gigantic gun owner database or discrimination against people who own guns: ........................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/pratt-obamacare-take-away-your-guns

Meet the New Dust Bowl, Same as the Old Dust Bowl

from Civil Eats:

Meet the New Dust Bowl, Same as the Old Dust Bowl

November 23rd, 2012
By Donald Carr

There is no better time than the Thanksgiving Holiday to explore the connection between our food and the land it comes from. Ken Burns, America’s premiere documentarian, has tackled topics from jazz to the Civil War. His new film chronicles the Dust Bowl, the massive ecological disaster that plagued a large swath of U. S. farmland during the 1930’s.

The same forces that wreaked havoc on soil and farmer’s livelihoods in the Dust Bowl era are in play today. Producers are once again going all out in response to soaring crop prices. Market forces coupled with misguided federal policies have encouraged dangerous, industrial-scale monocultures of corn and soy across the Midwest.

Writing about the Holiday weekend in the Huffington Post, author Frances Moore Lappe highlights the connection between what we eat and how it dictates what is grown “In the U.S., 43 percent of all cropped acreage, and the most fertile share, goes to just two crops — corn and soy. Yet they aren’t really food but raw materials that hardly ever turn up in our mouths directly.”

Misguided farming practices at the heart of the disaster

The opening episode of the 4-hour epic that premiered on PBS on November 18 goes right to the cause of the problem. In a short time, farmers converted an area twice the size of New Jersey and centering in the Oklahoma Panhandle from native grassland to wheat fields. They did so because of a concerted policy in the 1920’s to industrialize agriculture and to “turn farming into a factory.” But the wind-swept prairie that dominated the region was unsuited for growing much, aside from drought- resistant grasses. Once farmers turned over the firm soil, they set the stage for a monumental disaster. .....................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://civileats.com/2012/11/23/meet-the-new-dust-bowl-same-as-the-old-dust-bowl/

Why New York City has a second-tier bus system

from Capital:

Why New York City has a second-tier bus system

By Dana Rubinstein
11:07 am Nov. 20, 2012

By the evening after Hurricane Sandy made landfall, some New York City buses had starting running again.

The governor and mayor set aside special lanes on streets and bridges just for them. A bus caravan ferried commuters from downtown Brooklyn to Manhattan.

When the Queens Midtown, Brooklyn-Battery, and Holland tunnels reopened after the storm, they did so for buses first.

Granted, those buses were crowded, the lines to board them were long. But they moved. Buses—not subways or cars or bikes—were New York’s most resilient and reliable form of transportation after the storm. ................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/politics/2012/11/6620008/why-new-york-city-has-second-tier-bus-system?top-featured-image

Young People Are Driving Less—And Not Just Because They're Broke

from GOOD:

Young People Are Driving Less—And Not Just Because They're Broke

As a teenager, I had little interest in driving. I lived in Prince George’s County, Maryland, mere blocks from the D.C. city line, with a bus hub down the hill and three Metro stations a mile or so from my parents’ house. And by the time my weekend evenings were done, I was rarely in any shape to get behind the wheel. (Sorry, Mom!)

I never got my driver’s license, which makes me an outlier in a nation of car lovers. But I have something in common with today’s teens. Recent studies show that American teenagers are far less likely to have their drivers’ licenses than their counterparts thirty years ago, and the trend continues to a lessening degree through the 20-something cohort. Today only 22 percent of drivers are under 30, down from a third in 1983.

As a result of decades of car-oriented land use policy, private automobiles are a necessity for many Americans. Even most urban areas of the Sunbelt—Atlanta, Dallas, Phoenix, Los Angeles—are barely traversable by foot, bike or train. Despite this reality, Americans seem to be driving less and returning to cities with a diversity of transit options. (I’ve chosen Philadelphia: We still have trolleys!) Young people, especially, are waiting longer to buy cars, and we’re driving less once we get them. Are norms are changing, or is it just the tough economy? Business Insider posits a strong link between this data and the recession: As unemployment goes up, Americans drive less—because many of them suddenly don’t have work to drive to, or because they simply can’t afford to maintain a car.

But it's not as simple as that. “For a very long time, the number of vehicle miles traveled has followed economic trends,” says Angie Schmitt, manager of the Streetsblog network. Yet the past few years have defied that logic: “As the economy has picked up speed a little bit in the last couple years, we haven’t seen vehicle miles traveled pick up.” .....................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://ht.ly/fswbs

Chicago: CTA pushes hefty fare hikes for passes

CTA pushes hefty fare hikes for passes
Proposal affects more than half of all riders; base full fare will remain the same

November 21, 2012|By Jon Hilkevitch, Chicago Tribune reporter

The CTA plans hefty fare hikes for daily, three-day, seven-day and 30-day passes in mid-January, which will affect more than half of all riders on buses and trains, under a proposed 2013 budget announced Tuesday.

The transit agency also increased the fare for the Blue Line from O'Hare International Airport. Single-ride fares from the airport will more than double, to $5 from $2.25, under the $1.39 billion budget that CTA President Forrest Claypool proposed. Fares to O'Hare will not change.

The CTA's base full fare, however, will be frozen in 2013 for the fourth year in a row, officials said.

In addition to all categories of passes increasing in cost by double-digit percentages next year, the single-ride reduced fare for seniors and disabled people, as well as the 30-day reduced-fare pass, will also increase, according to the budget recommendations. ..................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-11-21/news/ct-met-cta-budget-sub-20121121_1_fare-hikes-fare-increases-cta-riders

After Hurricane Sandy, The Costs Of Doing Nothing To Protect New York Come Into Focus

from HuffPost:

NEW YORK -- For years, the city and the state of New York commissioned reports about the dangers of rising sea levels combined with a powerful hurricane. And for years, dissuaded by the costs of doing something, New York put in place few new preparations for a massive storm surge.

Now we have the first glimpse of the costs of doing nothing: at least 97 deaths in and around New York City, and $33 billion in damage from Hurricane Sandy in New York State alone, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Next time the damage done in dollars and in lives could be far worse. At its peak, Sandy was only a Category 1 storm. Its winds never went above 90 miles per hour near New York. Were something like a Category 4 storm, with winds of 131 to 155 miles per hour, to make landfall near the city, the devastation would be awful.

Many more would die. Houses would be toppled over by sheer windforce, subway tunnels could be flooded for months instead of a week, and the economic capital of the United States could be paralyzed. The city would incur $500 billion worth of damage, according to a 2006 analysis by the Department of Homeland Security. ...............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/21/hurricane-sandy-new-york_n_2171199.html

The Faustian Bargain between States and Banks

from Der Spiegel:

States and banks have made a deal with the devil. Banks buy the sovereign bonds needed to prop states up in the tacit understanding that the states will bail them out in a pinch. But experts warn that this symbiotic arrangement might be putting the entire financial system at risk.

When he presented his proposals for taming banks in late September, Peer Steinbrück was once again spoiling for a fight. The Social Democratic candidate for the Chancellery in next year's general election railed against the chase for short-term returns and excesses within the sector and harshly criticized the "market-conforming democracy" in which politics and people's lives had become mere playthings of the financial markets.

Steinbrück's speech lasted half an hour, or a minute for each of the pages of a document he had prepared on the same issue. The paper lists a whole series of suggested regulations, most of which seem entirely sensible. Most interesting, however, is what's missing from the paper -- and what has thus far been absent from almost all of the proposals of other financial reformers: the disastrous degree to which countries are now dependent on banks.

As European countries have dug themselves deeper and deeper into debt in recent years, there has been a dramatic increase in this dependence. Governments are addicted to borrowed money -- and banks meet this need by purchasing sovereign bonds. As an unspoken reward, the banks expect nothing less than a guarantee of their own survival. Should a bank run the risk of collapse, the state is expected to use taxpayer money to prop it up. .............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/tacit-bond-arrangement-between-governments-and-banks-endangers-system-a-868971.html

Snakes on Chicago? (No, this isn't about Rahm)

CHICAGO (CBS) — Snakes in the city of Chicago? Yes, they are here.

They usually keep out of sight. However, not at one Ravenswood townhouse complex, as WBBM’s Steve Miller reports.

Just north of Lawrence near the Metra tracks, Jill Ferenc is a nanny caring for a 17-month-old.

One day she looked out the window at the patio.

“And saw all these little things rustling through the leaves,” she said. “And I didn’t know what it was at first. ...............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2012/11/21/snakes-slithering-about-ravenswood-townhouse-complex/

Why Not Socialism?: The Right’s red-baiting has been far too effective

from In These Times:

Why Not Socialism?
The Right’s red-baiting has been far too effective.

BY Maria Svart

President Barack Obama owes his victory to the efforts of black, Latino, trade union, feminist and LGBTQ folks, who rallied to thwart a Romney campaign that relied on voter suppression and coded appeals to white nationalism. But unfortunately, the economy is still in the dumps, and Obama will not follow his reelection with an all-or-nothing progressive push. Rather, the exit polls and ballot initiative results will be read by the president’s neoliberal advisors as a mandate for so-called “compromise” policies—i.e., further austerity, further cuts.

An ideological vacuum will be created on the Left when the president tacks back to the center and the GOP even more to the extreme Right, and democratic socialists are in a unique position to fill it.

Democratic socialism provides a counterweight to the Tea Party agenda of reaction and division. We advocate for an expanded electoral and economic democracy along with deep citizen engagement. We know that many Americans share these values. People want a voice in decisions that affect their lives, and they know that the only way to cut the deficit is to put people back to work. We also know that 49 percent of people aged 18-29 have a positive view of socialism, according to a Pew poll released last year, and that class consciousness is on the rise.

Now is the time to continue building a political movement capable of challenging the neoliberal capitalist consensus. It is clear why we need a socialist organization in the United States. The Right has been too successful in its red-baiting, stymying even the most moderate reforms to rein in corporate power. We need a movement explaining and de-stigmatizing democratic socialism in order to create the rhetorical and political space for progressive, if not socialist, change. .......................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.inthesetimes.com/article/14191/why_not_socialism

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