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marmar

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Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit, MI
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 74,647

Journal Archives

What did Rahm Emanuel know?


(CNN) Was there a cover-up at the highest office in Chicago?

That is among the questions swirling around Mayor Rahm Emanuel and a video showing the police killing of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald:

What did the mayor know, and when did he know it?

It took 13 months for the video to be made public. The police dashcam video shows the teen walking down the road and veering away from police before being riddled with bullets, with most shots coming as he lay limp on the pavement. The video contradicts what police said occurred: that McDonald had lunged at officers. ..............(more)

http://www.cnn.com/2015/12/02/us/chicago-mayor-watergate-allegations-emanuel-laquan-mcdonald/index.html




Florida's Orange Industry Is in Its Worst Slump in 100 Years


(Bloomberg) Florida oranges are threatened with destruction if scientists and the government can’t find a way to stop an Asian bug from spreading a tree-killing disease.

The harvest for the state’s signature fruit could plunge to 27 million boxes by 2026, according to an Oct. 21 report by the Florida Department of Citrus. That’s an 82 percent drop from 149.8 million boxes in 2005, the year the bacterium that causes Huanglongbing, better known as citrus greening, was found in southern Florida.

The disease is spread by the Asian citrus psyllid, a tiny winged insect, and there’s currently no known cure. Greening already caused industry-wide losses of $7.8 billion and more than 7,500 jobs between 2006 to 2014, the University of Florida estimates.

The outlook is “precarious” for Florida’s citrus industry, which “risks losing relevance and economic impact” in the long run if crop yields continue to fall and trees keep dying, the citrus department said in its Oct. 21 report.

Shrinking Harvest

The current harvest will shrink to 74 million boxes for the season that began Oct. 1, down 24 percent from a year ago and the lowest since 1964, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said Nov. 9. The forecast signals the fourth consecutive seasonal decline, the longest slump since at least 1913, state data show. A box weighs 90 pounds (41 kilograms). ................(more)

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-11-24/in-florida-the-oj-crop-is-getting-wiped-out-by-an-asian-invader




Trump's Wall (cartoon)





http://www.truthdig.com/cartoon/item/trumps_wall_20151130


Bill O'Reilly's show is like a cocktail party for racist dogwhistlers


Fox News contributor Katie Pavlich told host Bill O’Reilly on Tuesday that it was “racist” to claim “white privilege” existed, and that she confronted her whiteness by “going to the tanning salon.”

On Tuesday’s edition of The O’Reilly Factor, O’Reilly complained to Pavlich and Fox Business host Kennedy Montgomery that the University of Vermont had offered a three day retreat to help students understand the concept of “white privilege.”

“You didn’t give me a trigger warning before you asked me about my whiteness!” Montgomery snarked. “I don’t even know what it means to confront one’s whiteness.”

“I have never cashed in on my white privilege,” she added.

Pavlich chimed in: “To me, especially in the Northeast, confronting my white privilege is going to the tanning salon.”

“Look, we’re talking about this white privilege issue, and yes, it’s funny and it’s easy to laugh at,” she continued, “but I actually think it’s quite racist, and I think we have to talk about it in those terms.” .................(more)

http://www.rawstory.com/2015/12/fox-pundit-says-white-privilege-is-racist-i-confront-my-whiteness-by-going-to-the-tanning-salon/




2 World Wars Are Converging -- the War on Nature and the War of Resentment



[font size="3"]"The two wars are connected by a common thread: the negative effects of an elite minority trying to control access to resources."[/font]



Chandran Nair
Founder and CEO of the Global Institute For Tomorrow


HONG KONG -- As we enter the latter half of the 21st century's second decade, the hope that the world was entering an era of great promise and convergence has been shredded by two poorly recognized "world wars." They are the "war on nature" and the "wars of resentment."

We too often focus on the Middle East as the confluence of instability and historical grievance, but the region is merely an extreme manifestation of a worldwide trend. Throughout the developing world, feelings of past injustice and humiliation are being brought back to the fore. Regional and international tensions grow as social groups try to reverse past humiliation, establish equal economic opportunities or settle scores.

The "war on nature" and the "wars of resentment" are interlocked. Environmental change can create new conflicts and worsen existing ones. Several experts now agree that an extended drought -- part of a long-term warming and drying of the Fertile Crescent -- was a significant factor to the unrest leading to the Syrian Civil War.

However, the link between these two "wars" runs deeper. They are connected by a common thread: the negative effects of an elite minority trying to control access to resources. This is both the reason for our warming climate and the long-term historical cause of many of the grievances that motivate today's conflicts.

When thinking about grievance, those on the receiving end of aggression often ask a personal question: "Why do they hate us?" Satisfactory answers, at least in day-to-day commentary, are rare. The two reasons commonly given: "They hate because of our freedoms and way of life" and "They hate us because of our foreign policy" -- are too shallow to tell us much of anything. .......................(more)

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/chandran-nair/2-world-wars-nature-resentment_b_8685124.html




The Planned Parenthood Shooter and the Republican Rage Machine


(The Progressive) The first and most important lesson of the Planned Parenthood shootings in Colorado is that we have to get serious about keeping guns away from crazy people. The second lesson is that we have to stop feeding the crazy.

All week, Republicans and their media enablers have been passionately denying that over-the-top rhetoric about Planned Parenthood has anything to do with the killing spree at the clinic in Colorado Springs.

Never mind multiple reports that the shooter said “no more baby parts” in an interview with police—echoing Carly Fiorina, Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee and the creators of the deceptive Center for Medical Progress videos that falsely claim Planned Parenthood illegally trades in fetal remains.

Carly Fiorina made headlines with her gruesome and totally false account during a Republican debate about a live baby aborted and then kept living so its brain could be harvested. Now, she is calling Planned Parenthood irresponsible for stating that such lurid stories help create a dangerous environment for patients and staff. ................(more)

- See more at: http://progressive.org/news/2015/12/188441/planned-parenthood-shooter-and-republican-rage-machine#sthash.EIIXhmQ5.dpuf




How Cheap Crude Stalled America’s Booming Oil Trains


(Bloomberg) It’s been several months since an oil train accident grabbed big headlines—but not because there haven’t been any. A single weekend in November saw two trains derail in Wisconsin. The first spilled about 20,000 gallons of ethanol into the Mississippi River, followed a day later by a spill of about 1,000 gallons of North Dakota Bakken crude.

This year has already been the costliest by far for crude train explosions. Derailments in 2015 have caused $29.7 million in damage, according to data from the U.S. Department of Transportation, a huge increase from $7.5 million in 2014. Most of this year’s price tag can be attributed to two crashes within a three-week span. The Feb. 16 derailment of a CSX train in West Virginia triggered a massive explosion near a cluster of homes along the Kanawha River and led to more than $23 million in damage. A BNSF train that derailed and exploded in Illinois on March 5 caused an additional $5.5 million in damage. Both trains were carrying highly explosive crude from North Dakota.

The lesser-noticed recent accidents haven’t come with explosions or towering fireballs. At least some of the ruptured tank cars were the newer-model CPC-1232, which are supposed to be less likely to split open. The U.S. and Canada earlier this year announced stricter tank car standards, mandating further improvements in the future. Those rules will cost companies—mostly those that ship crude—an estimated $2.5 billion from 2015 to 2034; government estimates suggest the benefits will range from $912 million to $2.9 billion, presumably from fewer accidents.

But even without changing safety standards, there’s reason to suspect that costly train accidents will decline. While 2015 will go down as the worst year for crude train disasters, it’s also shaping up to be the year crude-by-rail hit the brakes. The crash in prices has slowed activity in the oilpatch and reduced the amount of petroleum riding the rails. The number of train carloads carrying petroleum has fallen 30 percent through Nov. 20 since peaking in December 2014, according to the American Association of Railroads. The monthly data on crude-by-rail shipments kept by the U.S. government lags a few months behind, but as of September those shipments had dropped 21 percent from their peak in January 2015. ................(more)

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-12-02/how-cheap-crude-prices-curbed-america-s-booming-oil-train-business




Subprime “Alt”-Mortgages from Nonbanks, Run by former Countrywide Execs, Backed by PE Firms Are Hot


Subprime “Alt”-Mortgages from Nonbanks, Run by former Countrywide Execs, Backed by PE Firms Are Hot Again
by Wolf Richter • December 1, 2015


[font color="blue"]Housing Bubble 2 comes full circle[/font]

Mortgage delinquency rates are low as long as home prices are soaring since you can always sell the home and pay off the mortgage, or most of it, and losses for lenders are minimal. Nonbank lenders with complicated corporate structures backed by a mix of PE firms, hedge funds, debt, and IPO monies revel in it. Regulators close their eyes because no one loses money when home prices are soaring. The Fed talks about having “healed” the housing market. And the whole industry is happy.

The show is run by some experienced hands: former executives from Countrywide Financial, which exploded during the Financial Crisis and left behind one of the biggest craters related to mortgages and mortgage backed securities ever. Only this time, they’re even bigger.

PennyMac is the nation’s sixth largest mortgage lender and largest nonbank mortgage lender. Others in that elite club include AmeriHome Mortgage, Stearns Lending, and Impac Mortgage. The LA Times:

All are headquartered in Southern California, the epicenter of the last decade’s subprime lending industry. And all are run by former executives of Countrywide Financial, the once-giant mortgage lender that made tens of billions of dollars in risky loans that contributed to the 2008 financial crisis.


During their heyday in 2005, nonbank lenders, often targeting subprime borrowers, originated 31% of all home mortgages. Then it blew up. From 2009 through 2011, nonbank lenders originated about 10% of all mortgages. But then PE firms stormed into the housing market. In 2012, nonbank lenders originated over 20% of all mortgages, in 2013 nearly 30%, in 2014 about 42%. And it will likely be even higher this year. ...............(more)

http://wolfstreet.com/2015/12/01/subprime-alt-mortgages-from-nonbanks-run-by-former-countrywide-execs-backed-by-pe-firms-are-hot-again/




Ohio paper nixes Tamir Rice comment section: ‘A small army’ couldn’t stop the ‘cesspool’ of racism



The Cleveland Plain Dealer explained this week that it had disabled comments on all of its stories about a 12-year-old black child who was shot by police because “a small army” of administrators could not delete the racist comments fast enough.

In a column on Monday, Chris Quinn, the Northeast Ohio Media Group’s Vice President of Content, said that the paper had hoped that articles about the shooting of Tamir Rice would be “an ideal subject for us to meet one of our chief goals at cleveland.com, hosting community conversations on topics of widespread interest.”

But he noted that comments had been disabled in October because “we don’t fancy our website as a place of hate, and the Tamir Rice story has been a magnet for haters.”

“We enlisted a small army on our staff to monitor the comments and delete any that violated our standards,” Quinn wrote. “The trouble was that we couldn’t keep up. Just about every piece we published about Tamir immediately became a cesspool of hateful, inflammatory or hostile comments.”

“Rather than discuss the facts of the case, many commenters debased the conversation with racist invective. Or they made absurd statements about the clothing and appearance of people involved in the story. Or they attacked each other for having contrasting viewpoints. In many cases, well over half of the comments on Tamir stories broke our rules and had to be deleted.” ...................(more)

http://www.rawstory.com/2015/12/cleveland-paper-nixes-tamir-rice-comment-section-a-small-army-couldnt-stop-the-cesspool-of-racism/




Chicago: Red and Purple lines modernization



http://www.transitchicago.com/rpmproject/




from the CTA:


What's RPM?

We’re undertaking the largest capital improvement project in CTA history: the Red and Purple Modernization Program (RPM). This major initiative will completely rebuild the nearly century old North Red Line from Belmont to Howard and the Purple Line from Belmont to Linden in Wilmette. As we rebuild, much needed capacity will be added in this growing residential corridor to accommodate current and future riders, and to deliver faster and smoother rides with less crowding and more frequent service.

This massive, multi-stage project is scheduled to be completed in phases, which allows us to make the greatest number of improvements while minimizing impacts on riders and the surrounding communities.

&feature=youtu.be

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.....(snip).....

[font size="4"]About the Red & Purple Modernization Program[/font]
[font color="purple"]Rebuilding vital infrastructure for Chicago’s future[/font]

The Red and Purple Modernization (RPM) corridor is a 9.6 mile stretch of track that was built close to a century ago—much of it in 1924—when Calvin Coolidge was President and the Wrigley Building had just been constructed. Most of this infrastructure is at the end of its useful lifespan. Frequent maintenance to repair tracks and remove slow zones is costly and hinders service.

[font size="3"][font color="blue"]Significant ridership, population growth[/font][/font]

The Red Line is now Chicago’s busiest ‘L’ line, serving some of the most densely populated neighborhoods in the country, and the number of riders along this corridor is only growing. Morning and evening rush period ridership increased by nearly 40 percent over five years.

CTA needs to increase service on the Red Line to serve more riders, yet with current infrastructure constraints it has reached capacity – we cannot add more trains during rush periods. If nothing is done, CTA will be unable to add more trains to accommodate riders, trains will become more overcrowded, and passengers wait times will increase.

Chart showing projected ridership on the north side 'L' lines, showing how demand is expected to outgrow the current capacity of the cooridor as limited by Clark Junction (where Brown Line's Ravenswood Branch branches off)



[font size="3"][font color="blue"]RPM: Meeting future ridership demand[/font][/font]

In order to completely rebuild and modernize the stations, tracks and infrastructure along this corridor, we must be able to improve the efficiency of our operations to be able to increase the number of trains to meeting rising ridership demand. ...................(more)

http://www.transitchicago.com/news_initiatives/planning/rpmodernization/about.aspx




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