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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

This election season, Americans pony up for public transportation

from Grist:

This election season, Americans pony up for public transportation
By Greg Hanscom

Slate’s business and economics correspondent, Matthew Yglesias, recently penned a paean to L.A.’s newfound love affair with mass transit, only to be pummeled by the L.A. Weekly:

Because L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, the president’s longtime Latino pet, has burned through all his shills here at home, he now relies on D.C. journalists to spot his political ambitions. And boy, are they delivering … Earlier this week, Yglesias gave the Los Angeles mayor and his proposed Measure J transportation tax the slobberiest cross-country blow job to date.

Transcontinental oral sex aside, the Weekly has a point: Even as Villaraigosa has championed new light rail lines and bike lanes, L.A. County’s Metro has slashed bus service to some of the city’s most down-and-out neighborhoods.

But take heart, L.A. It could be worse. You could be Atlanta.

Atlanta’s transit agency has been cutting bus service due to budget shortfalls, too. But here, light rail hasn’t fared much better. In July, a ballot measure that would have raised $8 billion for rail and other transportation projects went down in flames.

The good news? Atlanta seems to be an exception to the rule. Transit funding is winning wide approval in other cities around the country this year, as in recent years — and will likely see a few more big wins on ballot budget initiatives in November, including in L.A. If all goes as planned, Angelenos will get the world-class transit system that Mayor Villaraigosa dreams about — and sooner than you might think. ..........................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://grist.org/politics/transitsmart-growth-on-the-ballot/

Bill Moyers' Preview: United States of ALEC


Preview: United States of ALEC
September 25, 2012

This week, Moyers & Company reports on the most influential corporate-funded political force most of us have never heard of — ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council. A national consortium of state politicians and powerful corporations, ALEC presents itself as a “nonpartisan public-private partnership”. But behind that mantra lies a vast network of corporate lobbying and political action aimed to increase corporate profits at public expense without public knowledge.

Using interviews, documents, and field reporting, the episode explores ALEC’s self-serving machine at work, acting in a way one Wisconsin politician describes as “a corporate dating service for lonely legislators and corporate special interests.”

In state houses around the country, hundreds of pieces of boilerplate ALEC legislation are proposed or enacted that would, among other things, dilute collective bargaining rights, make it harder for some Americans to vote, and limit corporate liability for harm caused to consumers — each accomplished without the public ever knowing who’s behind it. .....................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://billmoyers.com/episode/preview-the-united-states-of-alec/

28 Days Later with wings and stingers

AP, via Detroit Free Press:

SEATTLE (AP) -- The infection is as grim as it sounds: "Zombie bees" have a parasite that causes them to fly at night and lurch around erratically until they die.

And experts say the condition has crept into Washington state.

"I joke with my kids that the zombie apocalypse is starting at my house," said Mark Hohn, a novice beekeeper who spotted the infected insects at his suburban Seattle home.

Hohn returned from vacation a few weeks ago to find many of his bees either dead or flying in jerky patterns and then flopping on the floor. .....................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.freep.com/usatoday/article/57841394?odyssey=mod|newswell|text|FRONTPAGE|p

Boykinism: Joe McCarthy Would Understand

from TomDispatch:

Joe McCarthy Would Understand

By Andrew J. Bacevich

First came the hullaballoo over the “Mosque at Ground Zero.” Then there was Pastor Terry Jones of Gainesville, Florida, grabbing headlines as he promoted “International Burn-a-Koran Day.” Most recently, we have an American posting a slanderous anti-Muslim video on the Internet with all the ensuing turmoil.

Throughout, the official U.S. position has remained fixed: the United States government condemns Islamophobia. Americans respect Islam as a religion of peace. Incidents suggesting otherwise are the work of a tiny minority -- whackos, hatemongers, and publicity-seekers. Among Muslims from Benghazi to Islamabad, the argument has proven to be a tough sell.

And not without reason: although it might be comforting to dismiss anti-Islamic outbursts in the U.S. as the work of a few fanatics, the picture is actually far more complicated. Those complications in turn help explain why religion, once considered a foreign policy asset, has in recent years become a net liability.

Let’s begin with a brief history lesson. From the late 1940s to the late 1980s, when Communism provided the overarching ideological rationale for American globalism, religion figured prominently as a theme of U.S. foreign policy. Communist antipathy toward religion helped invest the Cold War foreign policy consensus with its remarkable durability. That Communists were godless sufficed to place them beyond the pale. For many Americans, the Cold War derived its moral clarity from the conviction that here was a contest pitting the God-fearing against the God-denying. Since we were on God’s side, it appeared axiomatic that God should repay the compliment. .............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/175597/tomgram%3A_andrew_bacevich%2C_even_dumb_ideas_have_consequences/#more

A March of Folly Toward Iran

from Consortium News:

A March of Folly Toward Iran
September 24, 2012

Tough-guy posturing in Washington continues to push the United States toward another collision course in the Middle East, as two politically motivated actions ratcheted up tensions with Iran. Ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar sees troubling parallels with the march of folly that led to war in Iraq.

By Paul R. Pillar

Two actions at the end of last week, involving two different branches of the U.S. government, continued a pattern of unthinking support for anything that gets perceived as opposition to the Islamic Republic of Iran.

One such action was passage by the U.S. Senate in the middle of the night of a resolution declaring that the United States and other countries have a “vital interest” in working “to prevent the Government of Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability.” The resolution “rejects any United States policy that would rely on efforts to contain a nuclear weapons-capable Iran.”

Never mind that this resolution buys into Benjamin Netanyahu’s “red line” game of talking about “nuclear weapons capability,” which by some measures Iran already has now, rather than possession of a nuclear weapon, which Tehran consistently disavows.

The most disturbing thing about the resolution is its categorical rejection — in the wee hours of the morning, no less, as Congress was rushing into its pre-election recess — of an entire category of policy options with no consideration whatsoever of the alternatives or any weighing of advantages and disadvantages in comparison with the alternatives. ..............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://consortiumnews.com/2012/09/24/a-march-of-folly-toward-iran/

Americans Sour on Endless War

from Consortium News:

Americans Sour on Endless War
September 25, 2012

The Right thinks it has a winning issue in mocking President Obama for “leading from behind” on international crises like last year’s uprising in Libya. But a new study finds Americans leery of more war, supportive of diplomacy and eager for less military spending, says Lawrence S. Wittner.

By Lawrence S. Wittner

In the midst of a nationwide election campaign in which many politicians trumpet their support for the buildup and deployment of U.S. military power around the world, the American public’s disagreement with such measures is quite remarkable. Indeed, many signs point to the fact that most Americans want to avoid new wars, reduce military spending, and support international cooperation.

The latest evidence along these lines is a nationwide opinion survey just released as a report (“Foreign Policy in the New Millennium”) by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. Conducted in late May and early June 2012, the survey resulted in some striking findings.

One is that most Americans are quite disillusioned with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan during the past decade. Asked about these conflicts, 67 percent of respondents said they had not been worth fighting. Indeed, 69 percent said that, despite the war in Afghanistan, the United States was no safer from terrorism.

Naturally, these attitudes about military intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan fed into opinions about future military involvement. Eighty-two percent of those surveyed favored bringing U.S. troops home from Afghanistan by 2014 or by an earlier date. Majorities also opposed maintaining long-term military bases in either country. And 71 percent agreed that “the experience of the Iraq war should make nations more cautious about using military force to deal with rogue states.” .................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://consortiumnews.com/2012/09/25/americans-sour-on-endless-war/

Resistance is NOT futile

from The Nation:

Chicago Teachers, Verizon Workers and Quebec's Students Prove That Resistance Works
Allison Kilkenny on September 24, 2012 - 9:27 AM ET

Teachers in Chicago, Verizon workers, and students in Quebec recently proved that not only are strikes and general resistance and dissent essential to any democracy, they also work.

Despite ongoing efforts by private education lobbyists and a complacent national media working to smear teachers as being selfish, greedy leeches on society, educators in Chicago secured a major victory for themselves and their students.

After just nine days on strike, the Chicago teachers union fought for and won a contract that includes hiring more than 600 additional teachers in art, music and physical education, making textbooks available on the first day of school, and bringing the percentage of teacher evaluations that are decided by standardized test scores down to the legal minimum of 30 percent.

CTU is the third biggest union in the country, and this was the first time in twenty-five years the union went on strike, but most importantly: it worked. ..........................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.thenation.com/blog/170107/chicago-teachers-verizon-workers-and-quebecs-students-prove-resistance-works

Keiser Report: Bankstatocracy

Published on Sep 25, 2012 by RussiaToday

In this episode, Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert discuss the bankstatocracy that has led to what the mainstream financial media calls an 'unintended' wealth gap in the consumer sector - between those recovered-from-recession and those still-struggling. To suggest that this gap is intentional, however, is considered now 'suspicious' behavior by the US government. And they also look at the 'wealth managers' for the poor in Australia.

One Billion Rising

A film by Eve Ensler and Tony Stroebel
One billion women violated is an atrocity. One billion women - and men -- dancing is a revolution. Join ONE BILLION RISING at http://www.onebillionrising.org .

Who’s Deceiving Whom? Prop 37 Has Corporations Running Scared

from Civil Eats:

Who’s Deceiving Whom? Prop 37 Has Corps Running Scared

September 21st, 2012
By Anna Ghosh

Monsanto, DuPont, Dow, Pepsi and Coke are scared. They’re afraid that California’s proposition 37 to make labeling of genetically engineered foods mandatory will end their unchecked, unquestioned power to hide GE ingredients in the majority processed foods without their customers’ knowledge. Which is why they’ve poured millions into an anti-Prop 37 propaganda campaign they’re calling “Stop the Deceptive Food Labeling Scheme.” But who’s deceiving who?

These corporations have enjoyed the transgenic food version of “don’t ask, don’t tell” that lax regulation has afforded them for more than two decades. During this time, GE ingredients have permeated the vast majority of our food supply with little independent, long-term scientific scrutiny (Finally this week, the first long-term peer-reviewed study on GE food was released and the results are frightening). Proposition 37 and several other statewide mandatory labeling initiatives in the works are about giving the power of information back to consumers and ending the tyranny that large corporations have had over our food supply.

But first, let’s dispel some of the top myths that the “Stop the Deceptive Food Labeling Scheme” front group has been busy spinning.

Myth #1: GE labeling will mean higher food costs.

TRUTH: Opponents of labeling claim that mandatory GE food labeling would increase food costs for the average family by $600 to $825 per year, but since the opponents are the ones doing the analysis, it’s not surprising that they’re grossly overestimated. On the contrary, an impartial consulting firm did a study in 2001 for the U.K. Food Standards Agency and found that GE labeling would increase a household’s annual food spending by only 0.01 to 0.17 percent — a very small figure ranging from an increase of $.33 to $5.58 in 2010 real U.S. dollars (inflation-adjusted) annually. Plus, food companies change their labels all the time (New and Improved! Heart Healthy!). .....................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://civileats.com/2012/09/21/who%E2%80%99s-deceiving-whom-prop-37-has-corps-running-scared/

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