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Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit, MI
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 74,622

Journal Archives

Michael Moore: Where to Invade Next trailer

A Michael Moore tweet from 2013.....Still accurate.

Atlanta Approves Ambitious Streetcar Expansion Plan

GA: Atlanta Approves Ambitious Streetcar Expansion Plan


Despite the Atlanta Streetcar's rocky start, officials are moving forward with an ambitious long-term plan for citywide service.

This week, the Atlanta City Council approved a "Streetcar System Plan," a 50-plus mile map that proposes five crosstown routes, connections to multiple MARTA stations and 22 miles of streetcar lines along the proposed Atlanta Beltline circle.

But streetcar fans and critics shouldn't get too excited, as the plan will take years and billions of dollars to realize. The document, developed by Atlanta Beltline Inc. — the nonprofit overseeing the greenspace project — is the city's first step toward securing needed funding.

"Approving the plan is essential to getting future funding to expand light rail and streetcar across Atlanta," said Councilman Andre Dickens, chair of the city's Community Development & Human Resources committee. "Ultimately the goal is to have people connected across the city and for economic development to occur."

It remains unclear just how Atlanta plans to pay for the system's expansion. The Streetcar System Plan, or SSP, is estimated to cost about $5 billion if built today, according to city and Beltline officials. .............(more)


Alabama cops hold man down and beat him following car chase for pot possession

An Alabama police chief is defending his officers after a video was released showing five officers holding a man down while a sixth repeatedly punched him in the head following a car chase after he was found to have marijuana in his car.

According to the Montgomery Advertiser, officers from the Wetumpka police department pulled over Roger Deffenbaugh, 52, and discovered marijuana and a bottle of liquor in his car. Deffenbaugh refused to step out of his vehicle and instead took off, leading police on a car chase.

“We asked him to step out of his car, but he refused to get out of the car and took off,” Wetumpka Police Chief Danny Billingsley explained. “We got in pursuit and ran him all over 231 through a subdivision and wound up at the rear of the casino, where he rammed his car into a door out there and at that time, he was taken into custody.”

In video taken from a casino balcony, Deffenbaugh cannot be seen as he is held down by five cops while one punched him over and over as another officer observes.

According to Billingsley, Deffenbaugh tried to run over one of his officers and the arresting police were trying to handcuff him as he resisted arrest. ..............(more)


Why the junk bond selloff is getting very scary

(MarketWatch) The junk bond market is looking more and more like the boogeyman for stock market investors.

The iShares iBoxx $ High Yield Corporate Bond exchange-traded fund HYG, -2.00% dropped 2% on Friday to close at the lowest price since July 17, 2009. Volume 54.1 million shares, or nearly six times the 30-day average of 9.5 million shares, according to FactSet.

While weakness in the junk bonds -- bonds with credit ratings below investment grade -- is nothing new, fears of meltdown have increased after high-yield mutual fund Third Avenue Focused Credit Fund TFCIX, -2.86% TFCVX, -2.70% on Thursday blocked investors from withdrawing their money amid a flood of redemption requests and reduced liquidity.

This chart shows why stock market investors should care:

The MainStay High Yield Corporate Bond Fund MHCAX, -0.74% was used in the chart instead of the iShares iBoxx ETF (HYG), because HYG started trading in April 2007.

When investors start scaling back, and market liquidity starts to dry up, the riskiest investments tend to get hurt first. And when money starts flowing again, and investors start feeling safe, bottom-pickers tend to look at the hardest hit sectors first. ...............(more)


Junk Bonds Are Tanking and Icahn Says Meltdown `Just Beginning'

(Bloomberg) A day after a prominent Wall Street firm shocked investors by freezing withdrawals from a credit mutual fund, things only got nastier in the junk-bond market. Prices on the high-risk securities sank to levels not seen in six years and, to add to the growing sense of alarm, billionaire investor Carl Icahn said the selloff is only starting.

“The meltdown in High Yield is just beginning," Icahn, who’s been betting against the high-yield market, wrote on his verified Twitter account Friday.

Icahn’s comments come as junk-bond investors, already stung by the worst losses since 2008, are the most nervous they’ve been in three years after Third Avenue Management took the rare step of freezing withdrawals from a $788 million credit mutual fund.

The risk premium on the Markit CDX North American High Yield Index, a credit-default swaps benchmark tied to the debt of 100 speculative-grade companies, rose 36 basis points to 514.52 basis points, the highest since December 2012. BlackRock’s iShares iBoxx High Yield Corporate Bond ETF, the largest fund of its kind, fell to the lowest levels since 2009. ..................(more)


’Muslim motherf*cker’: NY man launches glass-smashing attack on cafe staffers

A New York man was taken into custody for launching an attack on workers in a restaurant Monday night after demanding to know if they were Muslims, the New York Daily News is reporting.

In video obtained by the Daily News, Robert Murino, 26, can be seen reaching across the counter and punching a worker at the Salt & Pepper restaurant after calling the employee a “Muslim motherf*cker.”

According to court documents, Murino began by asking the employees — who hail from Pakistan, India and Bangladesh — how they felt about ISIS.

When staffer Tahir Mahood attempted to calm him down, the man reached across the counter and slapped him. .............(more)


Serial liar Carly Fiorina doesn't like being told she's a serial liar

Aspiring 2016 GOP presidential candidate Carly Fiorina went from smiling to combative in a split-second during a contentious debate with CNN host Chris Cuomo Friday morning, when he pressed her over the edited Planned Parenthood tapes.

Fiorina’s campaign has stalled out since she claimed she saw footage in the disputed videos of a surgeon “harvesting the brain” of a fully formed fetus with “it’s heart beating, its legs kicking,” and this is not the first time she has battled with a news host over her assertions.

In late October, she went toe-to-toe with CNN’s Alisyn Camerota, saying, “Wow, Alisyn, I can’t believe we’re having this conversation. Honestly, it’s clear now, it’s very clear that Planned Parenthood is harvesting body parts. So clear that they had to announce that that they no longer take compensation for it.”

On Friday’s appearance with Cuomo, things turned ugly quickly after the host pressed the former CEO on her statements, linking them to the Colorado Springs shooter who killed three during an attack on Planned Parenthood. .................(more)


Defense Contractors Laud Themselves for Steering Candidates Toward Militarism

(The Intercept) A group formed this year by executives and lobbyists for the defense contracting industry is taking credit for “driving the national debate on foreign policy during the 2016 presidential election,” and in particular for getting Republican presidential candidates to call for escalating military action in Syria.

In an email to supporters over the weekend, Mike Rogers, the founder of Americans for Peace, Prosperity, and Security, hailed the group for “pushing candidates on national security.”

He illustrated the group’s impact with “highlights from many of our Iowa, South Carolina, and New Hampshire forums showcasing the candidates’ views on defeating ISIS.”

From Ben Carson at an APPS forum in Dubuque, Iowa: “We also need to decide, in terms of these radical jihadists, what do we want to do? Do we want to contain them or do we want to destroy them? I vote for the latter, because you know they want to destroy us and there is no such thing as containing people like that.”

From Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., at an APPS forum in Charleston: “I am sick and tired of hearing people on my side avoid the idea of an American ground component.” .................(more)


Accused of Supporting Torture, DePaul University Dean Faces Calls For Resignation

(In These Times) When President Obama took office, he pledged to put a decisive end to so-called “enhanced interrogation” practices, which he suggested had constituted a “dark and painful chapter in our history.” Public opinion’s turn against the program seemed to be further confirmed when last year’s Senate torture report revealed the program was riddled with abuses and scarcely yielded any results.

Yet many involved with enhanced interrogation continue to occupy prominent posts in the nation’s military, political, and academic establishment, apparently unsullied by their involvement in a program that both violated fundamental human rights and failed to meaningfully contribute to national security. For instance, John Yoo, a UC Berkeley law professor who played a pivotal role in the Justice Department’s defense of enhanced interrogation, faced calls last year for resignation (and prosecution) from members of the UC community and beyond, but has retained his professorship.

But at Chicago’s DePaul University, members of the university community have argued that a leader who they say willfully ignored (and thus defended) human rights abuses should not hold a leadership role—particularly at an institution that claims dedication to social justice.

Gerald Koocher, Dean of DePaul’s College of Science and Health, has faced ongoing calls for his resignation as dean following the release of information implicating him in the American Psychological Association’s (APA) alleged collusion with the Department of Defense (DoD) to create loose guidelines for psychologists serving in national security roles. The findings are part of the Hoffman report, the result of a seven-month investigation commissioned by the APA to review allegations that the organization worked with government defense agencies to “support torture.” .................(more)


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