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Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit, MI
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 75,505

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The 12 Most Ridiculous Old-Timey Transportation Innovations

from Cracked:

The 12 Most Ridiculous Old-Timey Transportation Innovations
By Jesse Clark, R. Jason Benson

Nobody was ever more batshit crazy than old-timey inventors. The same semi-diseased minds that gave us the light bulb also dreamed up vehicles so bafflingly ludicrous that it seems their inventors learned the fundamental principles of physics and engineering from a Wile E. Coyote cartoon.

That's why, if you crack open an issue of Popular Science from 80 or so years ago (they're all online, for free), you see that every issue featured a bizarre transportation gadget seemingly designed to murder you and everyone you love. Like ...

#12. The Gas-Powered Baby Carriage (1922)

Amazingly, in 1920s England, motorized baby carriages briefly caught on as a novelty, because apparently nothing soothes the frantic sobs of an infant like the sputtering backfire of a primitive internal combustion engine. A "nurse-chauffeur" would stand on two footrests in the rear of the carriage and use the handlebars to steer the contraption at a top speed of 4 miles per hour, which doesn't sound fast enough to ramp something, but we'd be willing to try.


#8. The Poochmobile (1939)

The poochmobile, built by an 80-year-old dog trainer named Z. Wiggs, was an admirable attempt to wean people off of oil back in the 1930s, although it was destined to fail because Wiggs made the understandable mistake of confusing "hilarious" with "practical." ..................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.cracked.com/article_20064_the-12-most-ridiculous-old-timey-transportation-innovations.html#ixzz2dB9MlOFo

D.C.: Survey shows most people want more transit, walkable places

Survey shows most people want more transit, walkable places
by Dan Reed • August 26, 2013 11:55 am

In many communities around Greater Washington, attempts to improve transit, accommodate walkers and bicyclists or do infill development are often controversial. But a new survey suggests that public support for these and other measures is high in both urban and suburban areas.

Over the past 2 years, the Transportation Planning Board, which coordinates road and transit planning efforts across the DC area, has identified ways to improve the region's transportation network to support future growth. As part of the process for creating the Regional Transportation Priorities Plan, TPB surveyed area residents on what transportation issues mattered to them.

TPB mailed out 10,000 inquiries to randomly selected addresses across their planning area, which includes 13 cities and counties in DC, Maryland, and Virginia. The agency received 660 responses, and the results are surprising.

First, TPB gave survey respondents a list of 14 transportation challenges in the region and asked them to rate each one's significance on a scale of 1 to 5. The top four responses were transit crowding, repairing Metro, roadway congestion, and road repair needs. Respondents gave each of those issues an average score of 4 or higher. ........................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://greatergreaterwashington.org/post/19975/survey-shows-most-people-want-more-transit-walkable-places/

Europe’s Single Bank Rule Book Falls Apart as North Races Ahead

(Bloomberg) The goal of a single rule book for Europe’s banks is splintering even before it’s implemented as northern countries move ahead with tougher requirements to ward off the next boom-to-bust cycle.

Sweden’s too-big-to-fail banks, which already face stricter capital rules than their competitors elsewhere, may be told to hold even larger reserves, Financial Markets Minister Peter Norman said yesterday. In Denmark, Business Minister Henrik Sass Larsen said he can’t wait for southern Europe to regulate its systemically important financial institutions. He backs the swift passage of national capital laws to curb bank risks.

“Getting Sifi regulations in place in a number of southern European countries probably will take time,” Larsen said in an e-mailed reply to questions. “We must signal we are in control of things and thereby strengthen the market’s and customers’ confidence in them.”

As Europe struggles to stimulate growth without stoking a new credit bubble, the specter of swelling private debt is prompting regulators from Sweden to the Netherlands to curb borrowing. The measures go beyond new capital rules approved earlier this year by the European Union and set to become law by Jan. 1. ................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-08-26/europe-s-single-bank-rule-book-falls-apart-as-north-races-ahead.html

Racketeering Then and Racketeering Now

from Too Much: A Commentary on Excess and Inequality:

Racketeering Then and Racketeering Now
AUGUST 24, 2013

Back in Al Capone’s day, Prohibition helped give rise to a rash of epic crime-boss fortunes. In our day, deregulation has spawned on Wall Street an entire new generation of fabulously rich racketeers.

By Sam Pizzigati

What crimes did Al Capone, the notorious 1920s crime boss, have his henchmen commit? Did Capone’s thugs go around robbing convenience stores? Did they burglarize homes? Or lurk in the shadows and mug innocent passersby?

None of the above. Capone and his fellow kingpins of “organized crime” left high-risk, low-return illegality to the lowlife. Kingpins like Capone ran rackets instead. They sold “protection.” They loan-sharked. Most lucratively of all, they bootlegged outlawed alcohol.

Rackets like these guaranteed returns both steady and steep. Capone at one point was clearing $100,000 a week.

Racketeering, of course, is still going strong. But the getup of our contemporary racketeers has changed somewhat. Our most highly compensated racketeers today don’t wear fedoras. They fill power suits. Our top racketeers these days don’t run from the law. They run Wall Street. ....................................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://toomuchonline.org/racketeering-then-and-racketeering-now/#sthash.TsBKMnxM.dpuf

Dave Zirin: ESPN Journalists Speak Out on Concussion Documentary

(The Nation) ESPN is the New York Yankees of sports journalism and, as with the Yankees, whether you love them or hate them, they have become a central axis upon which much of the sports world spins. That’s why an industry-wide earthquake was felt last week when The New York Times reported that the World Wide Leader in Sports had abruptly pulled out of a fifteen-month partnership with PBS’s Frontline to produce a documentary about head injuries in the National Football League.

According to Times writers James Andrew Miller and Ken Belson, ESPN withdrew from this unique investigative project, titled League of Denial: The NFL, Concussions and the Battle for Truth, because of pressure from their most profitable broadcast partner, the almighty NFL. As Miller and Belson reported, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell sat down for lunch with John Skipper, ESPN’s president; John Wildhack, ESPN’s executive vice president for production; and Steve Bornstein, president of the NFL Network, and cracked the whip. After their luncheon it was quickly announced that there would be no ESPN logos, branding, or promotion for “League of Denial.” This move comes despite the fact that two of their most high-profile journalists, brothers Steve Fainaru and Mark Fainaru-Wada, did the lion’s share of work on the project and will even have a book with the same title released in conjunction with the film.

Both the NFL and ESPN have subsequently denied that anyone was strong-armed. ESPN’s official comment was initially, “The decision to remove our branding was not a result of concerns about our separate business relationship with the NFL. As we have in the past including as recently as Sunday, we will continue to cover the concussion story aggressively through our own reporting.” They have since further explained that the reason for pulling out was because they were taken off guard by their lack of editorial control over the final product.

I spoke to several of the biggest names in journalism at ESPN this weekend and their thoughts on ESPN’s official comments and reasoning for dropping out of the project ranged from “mystifying” to “deeply depressing” to “palpable bullshit.” No one I spoke to believes that ESPN looked up after fifteen months and discovered to their collective shock that they didn’t have final editorial control of the “League of Denial.” .......................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.thenation.com/blog/175895/espn-journalists-speak-out-concussion-documentary#axzz2dAsdVmBy

The Nation: School Daze: Rahm Emanuel's Minority-Bashing School Closings Go Forward

School Daze: Rahm Emanuel's Minority-Bashing School Closings Go Forward
Rick Perlstein on August 26, 2013 - 5:55 PM ET

Today was the first day of school in Chicago—and a profound setback for Chicago’s forces of decency. Fifty fewer schools will be in operation this term, with 2,113 fewer staffers, a colossal injustice I’ve written about here and here and here and here. The school closings are going forward because ten days ago Federal District Judge John Z. Lee denied the attempt to get a preliminary injunction to prevent it. A week before that ruling, I spoke with one of the lawyers who brought the suit, Thomas Geoghegan, for my monthly interview series at Chicago’s Seminary Co-op Bookstore in Hyde Park—where I and my audience deepened our sense of just how mad and malign Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s schools agenda truly is.

You might know Geoghegan for his classic public-policy memoirs like Which Side Are You On? and his most recent, Were You Born on the Wrong Continent?: How the European Model Can Help You Get a Life; or his quixotic run to win the congressional seat vacated when Rahm Emanuel became Barack Obama’s chief of staff, which The Nation endorsed. Our conversation at the Co-op—a public version of dialogues we’ve been having regularly over dinner and drinks for over a decade now—was, like so much of Tom’s discourse, heartbreaking and inspiring in equal measure.

We spoke on August 10, the day after Judge Lee declined to certify Geoghegan’s plaintiffs as a class, a harbinger of the preliminary-injunction denial to come—heartbreaking, because his arguments sounded damned well open-and-shut to my audience and me. The Americans with Disability Act specifies quite clearly that school systems, when moving disabled children, have to proactively provide opportunities for the kids and their parents to meet with “Individual Education Plan” teams to devise specific measures to ease the transition. The Chicago school board didn’t even try—it just called up befuddled parents to ask, as Geoghegan put it, “Anything you want?” And when these parents—overwhelmingly poor and harried, understandably inexpert in the intricacies of special-education best-practices—didn’t have anything specific to offer, the board considered its work done. One of Geoghegan’s expert witnesses, the woman in charge of special education of the Indianapolis school system, said the whole thing was pretty much totally nuts.

The suit also tried another angle. In 2003 Governor Rod Blagojavich (who actually did some good things) signed a state civil rights statute that allowed private plaintiffs to bring claims of disparate racial impact against entitles like boards of education without having to prove discriminatory intent—a provision that used to be in federal law until the Supreme Court struck it down in the 1990s. Explained Geoghegan, 88 percent of the affected kids in the receiving schools are African-America, but African-American kids make up only 40.5 percent of students in the system. Pretty damned disparate. ....................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.thenation.com/blog/175902/school-daze-rahm-emanuels-minority-bashing-school-closings-go-forward#axzz2dAsdVmBy

Dean Baker: Pinching Pensions to Keep Wall Street Fat and Happy

Pinching Pensions to Keep Wall Street Fat and Happy

Monday, 26 August 2013 09:45
By Dean Baker, Truthout | Op-Ed

The debate over public pensions shows clearly the contempt that the elites have for ordinary workers. While elites routinely preach the sanctity of contract when it works to benefit the rich and powerful, they are happy to treat the contracts that provide workers with pensions as worthless scraps of paper.

We see this attitude on display currently in the Detroit bankruptcy proceedings. It is even more clearly on display in efforts by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to default on the city's pension obligations.

The basic story in both cases is that the contracts that workers had labored under are being laughed at by the elites because they find it inconvenient to carry through with the terms. In the case of Detroit, public sector workers face the loss of much of their pension as a result of the city's effort to declare bankruptcy.

These workers could be forgiven for laboring under the illusion that they would see the pensions for which they worked. These obligations were actually guaranteed under the state's constitution. ......................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/18395-pinching-pensions-to-keep-wall-street-fat-and-happy

Britain Produces Generations of Impoverished Children

via truthdig:

Britain Produces Generations of Impoverished Children
Posted on Aug 26, 2013

Britain risks “sleepwalking into a world where inequality becomes so entrenched that our children grow up in a state of social apartheid,” a leading charity is expected to show in a report set to be published next week.

According to The Guardian, the report from the National Children’s Bureau compares aspects of children’s lives today with data collected during a seminal study of 11-year-olds conducted in 1969 called “Born to Fail?” Today’s research finds that significantly more children are growing up in relative poverty—3.6 million now compared with 2 million decades ago. These children are said to suffer “devastating consequences throughout their lives.”

“Today, although there have been some improvements,” the study adds, “overall the situation appears to be no better, and in some respects has got worse.” ....................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truthdig.com/eartotheground/item/britain_produces_generations_of_impoverished_children_20130826/?ln

The Prince: Meet the Man Who Co-Opted Democracy in the Middle East

from truthdig:

The Prince: Meet the Man Who Co-Opted Democracy in the Middle East

Posted on Aug 27, 2013
By Robert Scheer

Now that the Arab Spring has been turned into a totally owned subsidiary of the Saudi royal family, it is time to honor Prince Bandar bin Sultan as the most effective Machiavellian politician of the modern era. How slick for this head of the Saudi Intelligence Agency to finance the Egyptian military’s crushing of that nation’s first-ever democratic election while being the main source of arms for pro-al-Qaida insurgents in Syria.

Just consider that a mere 12 years ago, this same Bandar was a beleaguered Saudi ambassador in Washington, a post he held from 1983 to 2005, attempting to explain his nation’s connection to 15 Saudi nationals who had somehow secured legal documents to enter the U.S. and succeeded in hijacking planes that blew up the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and crashed into a field in Pennsylvania. How awkward given that the Saudi ambassador had been advocating that U.S. officials go easy on the Taliban government in Afghanistan, where those attacks incubated.

The ties between Saudi Arabia and the alleged al-Qaida terrorist attacks were manifest. The terrorists were followers of the Saudi-financed branch of Wahhabi Islam and their top leader, Osama bin Laden, was a scion of one of the most powerful families in the Saudi kingdom, which, along with the United Arab Emirates and Pakistan, had been the only three nations in the world to recognize the legitimacy of the Taliban government in Afghanistan that provided sanctuary to al-Qaida. Yet Bandar had no difficulty arranging safe passage out of Washington for many Saudis, including members of the bin Laden family that U.S. intelligence agents might have wanted to interrogate instead of escorting them to safety back in the kingdom.

But the U.S. war on terror quickly took a marvelous turn from the point of view of the Saudi monarchy. Instead of focusing on those who attacked us and their religious and financial ties to the Saudi royal family, the U.S. began a mad hunt to destroy those who had absolutely nothing to do with the assaults of 9/11. ..................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_prince_meet_the_man_who_co-opted_democracy_in_the_middle_east_20130826/


Kenneth Webster Enlow, Man Who Hid In Septic Tank To Spy On Woman And Child, Sentenced

Because in this case wiping feces off of your own body isn't punishment enough, a man was sentenced to one year behind bars after he pleaded guilty to spying on a mother and her daughter from inside a septic tank.

Kenneth Webster Enlow, 52, confessed to watching Ambra Reynolds and her 7-year-old girl as they used a park bathroom, Tulsa World reports. In addition to his year-long sentence, Enlow must pay a $5,000 fine.

At the time, Reynolds described the July 7 incident as "not something you expect to see whenever you're wanting to go to the restroom."

"It's like he was just sitting down in the water just wading," Reynolds told KFRJ. "Like waving his hands, kind of just wading in the water." ................................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/26/kenneth-webster-enlow_n_3817955.html?utm_hp_ref=weird-news

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