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

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Practice safe snacking

from HuffPost:

We're just mad we didn't think of it first.

After resurfacing on reddit again yesterday, we became transfixed by the oddest invention we've seen in a while.

Called the "Finger Nap," these plastic sanitary gloves look sort of like finger condoms, but they're used to eat hamburgers, donuts, pizza and any other type of oily food. For those of us who've found ourselves accidentally elbow-deep in grease, sauce or sugar, this is a pretty perfect concept. (Except for the fact that it doesn't actually go up to your elbows.)

Similar to the Trongs we have in America, Finger Naps are touted as a "great help to children and the elderly" (no word on why middle-aged people are excluded), and the product is found primarily in Korea. ..............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/08/13/finger-protector-condom-nap-for-food-korea_n_5673159.html?utm_hp_ref=weird-news&ir=Weird%20News

When The Media Treats White Suspects And Killers Better Than Black Victims

from HuffPost:

On the afternoon of Aug. 9, a police officer fatally shot an unarmed, black teenager, Michael Brown, in Ferguson, Missouri. Details remain in dispute. Eyewitnesses have said that Brown was compliant with police and was shot while he had his hands up. Police maintain that the 18-year-old had assaulted an officer and was reaching for the officer's gun. One thing clear, however, is that Brown's death follows a disturbingly common trend of black men being killed, often while unarmed and at the hands of police officers, security guards and vigilantes.

After news of Brown's death broke, media-watchers carefully followed the narratives that news outlets began crafting about the teenager and the incident that claimed his life. Wary of the controversy surrounding the media's depiction of Trayvon Martin -- the Florida teen killed in a high-profile case that led to the acquittal of neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman -- people on Twitter wondered, "If they gunned me down, which picture would they use?" Using the hashtag #IfTheyGunnedMeDown, users posted side-by-side photos, demonstrating the power that news outlets wield in portraying victims based on images they select.

On Monday, Twitter user LordSWVP tweeted out a photo driving home another point: Media treatment of black victims is often harsher than it is of whites suspected of crimes, including murder.

This is by no means standard media protocol, but it happens frequently, deliberately or not. News reports often headline claims from police or other officials that appear unsympathetic or dismissive of black victims. Other times, the headlines seem to suggest that black victims are to blame for their own deaths, engaging in what critics sometimes allege is a form of character assassination. When contrasted with media portrayal of white suspects and accused murderers, the differences are more striking. News outlets often choose to run headlines that exhibit an air of disbelief at an alleged white killer's supposed actions. Sometimes, they appear to go out of their way to boost the suspect's character, carrying quotes from relatives or acquaintances that often paint even alleged murderers in a positive light. ...................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/08/14/media-black-victims_n_5673291.html?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000013&ir=Politics

Should the Internet Be Like the Public Library?

Should the Internet Be Like the Public Library?

Wednesday, 13 August 2014 15:21
By The Daily Take Team, The Thom Hartmann Program | Op-Ed

As Americans, we love to think we're number one, but the truth is that when it comes to internet speed we're pretty mediocre.

In fact, one recent study put the U.S. at number 31 in the world in overall download speed, lagging behind much smaller and less developed countries like Estonia, Hungary, and Slovakia.

Internet speeds in the U.S. average out around 20.77 megabits per second, which is less than half of the average internet speed in Hong Kong, which has the world's fastest internet.

For a country like ours, the country that invented the internet and is home to some of the world's most powerful tech companies, this is just embarrassing. ................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/25563-should-the-internet-be-like-the-public-library

'Black & Blue': Film Exposes Rise of Militarized Police in US | Interview with Dylan Avery

On the News With Thom Hartmann: Drinking Water Polluted for Thousands of Ohians and Canadians ....

Thom Hartmann here - on the best of the rest of....science & green news.....

You need to know this. We can't survive without clean water, but we're completely irresponsible when it comes to protecting this vital resource
. Last week, a half a million people in Ohio were told that their water was so toxic that they should avoid any contact with it, and more than a billion gallons of mining waste poisoned drinking water for many Canadians. Sewage plants, factory farms, and other industries dump tons of phosphorus into our waterways, which is an excellent source of nutrients for toxic algae blooms. And of course, we all know the Fossil Fuel industry's horrendous track record of polluting our lakes, rivers, and oceans. We have the power to enact regulations to prevent these disasters, but our politicians opt to please Big Business instead of protecting The People. Last week was a terrifying example of how easily our water supply can be destroyed, but it wasn't the first time corporations put profits over people, and it certainly won't be the last. Corporate power has corrupted our democracy, devastated our environment, and destroyed our middle class, and now it's threatening a resource we need to survive. The same toxic algae that poisoned drinking water in Toledo could soon pop up in other states with similar agricultural runoff, and the Fossil Fuel industry is always working to get their hands on more land. If we don't fight back, more and more of our water supply could be contaminated. We need to stand up to corporate power to save our democracy, our planet, and our economy. However, protecting our water supply may be one of the most important fights we have ever faced.

A Colorado farmer has a great idea for an abandoned prison – grow pot in it! A medium-security prison in Brush, Colorado shut down back in 2010, and it left 85 residents in that community out of a job. Since Colorado has legalized marijuana, a farmer named Nicholas Erker came up with a great plan to get people in his town back to work. Mr. Erker told the Denver Post, "I was walking through the empty [prison] one day by myself and I thought, 'This place would be perfect to grow marijuana.'" He explained that the facility has plenty of water and electricity, and it's extremely secure. Currently, the city has a ban on all marijuana businesses, but Mr. Erker is calling on the City Council to overturn the moratorium and put people to work. He even sat down with the Mayor of his town to explain that the grow-house could employ at least 30 people, and increase city tax collections by 30 percent. Legalizing cannabis has already saved states money on criminal prosecutions and allowed police to focus on real crime, but it can also bring states more revenue. States can tax the marijuana sales themselves, and expanding this new industry can also create jobs and boost local economies. .................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://truth-out.org/news/item/25561-on-the-news-with-thom-hartmann-polluted-drinking-water-in-ohio-and-more

How the Mainstream Media Helped Kill Michael Brown

How the Mainstream Media Helped Kill Michael Brown

Tuesday, 12 August 2014 13:41
By Aaron Cantu, Truthout | News Analysis

The day after unarmed teenager Michael Brown was shot to death by an unnamed cop in the streets of Ferguson, Missouri, local outlet Riverfront Times ran a blog post with details of Brown's character and life.

He was a big, shy kid. He was a homebody who spent much of his adolescence playing PlayStation 3 at his mom's house. He was planning to study music and engineering at Vatterott College, where classes began two days after his murder. He recorded rap songs in his grandmother's basement and, like so many other young black men with a dearth of role models in popular culture on whom to model their lives, he wanted to be a rapper.

This profile doesn't describe a kid who would snatch a gun from a cop's hand while walking home to his grandmother's. Yet that is precisely the absurd claim that Ferguson police are putting forth. Given a long history in American policing of covering up police misconduct - and the readiness of a public to believe the worst about black men - it's not surprising they're making the claim. More problematic is when media outlets parrot Ferguson PD's absurd version of events.

The New York Times printed the officer's account in a report the day after Brown's murder:

At a news conference on Sunday morning, the St. Louis County police chief, Jon Belmar, said that a man had been shot and killed after he had assaulted a police officer and the two had struggled over the officer's gun inside his patrol car. At least one shot was fired from inside the car, Chief Belmar said.

Belmar goes on to say that the "genesis" of the interaction was a physical confrontation initiated by the officer, who:

. . . approached Mr. Brown and another man. As the officer began to leave his vehicle, one of the men pushed the officer back into the car and "physically assaulted" him, according to the police department's account.

Scott Greenfield, a criminal defense lawyer and blogger for Simple Justice, raised sharp questions about the official account of the shooting detailed in the Times in a blog post:

The genesis was when the shooter (cop) approached Michael Brown. Why? Then he "began to leave his vehicle." Why? Then, according to the police account, "one of the men" pushed the cop back into the car and "physically assaulted" him. Why? Who? But mostly why would a kid who just graduated high school do this?

The complete piece is at: http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/25533-how-the-mainstream-media-helped-kill-michael-brown

Professor Richard Wolff: Global Capitalism: August 2014 Monthly Update

Published on Aug 7, 2014

These evening lectures begin with brief updates and analyses of major economic events over the last month.

For August 6, these include:
-inequality and the fading "American Dream"
-bubbles in sub-prime car loans and student debt
-workers begin pushing back
-internal economic tensions of Republicans and Democrats

Why is the Cuomo Administration Automatically Deleting State Employees’ Emails?

Why is the Cuomo Administration Automatically Deleting State Employees’ Emails?
A previously unpublished memo raises new questions about New York State’s policy of purging emails after 90 days.

by Theodoric Meyer
ProPublica, Aug. 11, 2014, 11 p.m.

This story was co-published with the Albany Times-Union and WNYC.

New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s administration — which the governor pledged would be the most transparent in state history — has quietly adopted policies that allow it to purge the emails of tens of thousands of state employees, cutting off a key avenue for understanding and investigating state government.

Last year, the state started deleting any emails more than 90 days old that users hadn't specifically saved — a much more aggressive stance than many other states. The policy shift was first reported by the Albany Times Union.

A previously unpublished memo outlining the policy raises new questions about the state's stated rationale for its deletions policy. What's more, the rules on which emails must be retained are bewilderingly complex – they fill 118 pages – leading to further concern that emails may not be saved at all.

"If you're aggressively destroying your email, it looks like you're trying to hide something," said Benjamin Wright, a Dallas lawyer who has advised companies and government agencies on records retention. ..............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.propublica.org/article/why-is-cuomo-administration-automatically-deleting-state-employees-emails

As Iraq Unravels, US Repeats Mistakes

As Iraq Unravels, US Repeats Mistakes

Tuesday, 12 August 2014 13:02
By Matthew Schweitzer, Truthout | Op-Ed

On August 11, Iraqi President Fuad Masum named Haider al-Abadi the prime minister. Special forces loyal to incumbent Nouri al-Maliki have deployed in Baghdad, and the stage has been set for yet another episode in the country's unfolding tragedy of violence. Against this backdrop, US President Barack Obama praised Abadi's appointment as "a promising step forward."

This is premature and misguided praise for a man that many Iraqis see as another iteration of Maliki, albeit with fresh potential. Yet in a country where continuity is often masked by false promises of change, the nomination of a new prime minister should be met with a critical eye. The corruption at the top of Baghdad's political hierarchies, and the histories behind its origins, highlight a deeper reality. Politicians like Abadi, who represent - as Maliki did in 2006 - a community of Iraqi elites forced to flee persecution under Saddam Hussein, reinforce the sectarian narrative that has torn Iraq apart.

Surely, Maliki has to go. His divisive policies were largely responsible for sparking the current crisis, alienating Sunni communities, the autonomous Kurdistan region (KRG), and his Shiite allies. Yet he is not the problem, but rather a manifestation of a larger reliance on sectarian narratives used to establish legitimacy for a group of returned exiles without the local knowledge or support necessary to represent the Iraqi citizenry. Since 2003, politics have been sectarianized with visibly disastrous results. This sectarianization of political realities has displaced secular, pluralistic, and local dialogues needed to confront current threats.

To understand the facts of Iraq's tragedy, it is important to know a bit of history. In 2003, a political system was established based on the idea that Iraqis were divided into categories - Sunni, Shiite, and Kurd. Any Iraqi democratic process had to revolve around these three factions. Shiite opposition groups, who did not hide their sect's identity, came to power propounding a narrative of victimhood under Saddam. This claim provoked a strong reaction from the Sunni community, which did not know any political organization outside the Baath Party. But these Shiite groups were organized and knew how to play politics. ...............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/25522-as-iraq-unravels-us-repeats-mistakes

TISA’s secret trade negotiations quietly restructure our global economy

(In These Times) On June 19, the second anniversary of Julian Assange’s confinement to the Ecuadorian embassy in London, WikiLeaks rendered public the secret draft text for the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) Financial Services Annex. The document was classified not only during TISA negotiations, but for five years after it enters into force.

While the TISA negotiations have not been censored outright, they have been barely mentioned in the media— a marginalization and secrecy that are in stark contrast with the world-historical importance of the TISA agreement. TISA would effectively serve as a kind of legal backbone for the restructuring of the world market, binding future governments regardless of who wins elections and what the courts say. It would impose a restrictive framework on public services, making it more difficult both to develop new ones and protect existing ones.

Is this discrepancy between politico-economic importance and secrecy really surprising? Is it not rather a sad but precise indication of where we in Western liberal-democratic countries stand with regard to democracy? A century and half ago, in Das Kapital, Karl Marx characterized the market exchange between worker and capitalist as “a very Eden of the innate rights of man. There alone rule Freedom, Equality, Property and Bentham.” For Marx, the ironic addition of Jeremy Bentham, the philosopher of egotist utilitarianism, provides the key to what freedom and equality effectively mean in capitalist society. To quote The Communist Manifesto: “By freedom is meant, under the present bourgeois conditions of production, free trade, free selling and buying.” And by equality is meant the legal formal equality of buyer and seller, even if one of them is forced to sell his labor under any conditions, like today’s precarious workers. Today, freedom means the free flow of capital, as well as of the financial and personal data (both flows guaranteed by TISA). But what about democracy?

The main culprits of the 2008 financial meltdown now impose themselves as experts who can lead us on the painful path of financial recovery, and whose advice should therefore overcome parliamentary politics. Or, as former Italian prime minister and EU technocrat Mario Monti put it: “If governments let themselves be fully bound by the decisions of their parliaments without protecting their own freedom to act, a breakup of Europe would be a more probable outcome than deeper integration.” ..............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://inthesetimes.com/article/17048/freedom_and_democracy_to_the_experts

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