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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

Props to the Daily News


Report: Annual NYC inmate cost exceeds four years at Harvard

(AlJazeera America) A recent report found that jailing an inmate in New York City for one year costs more than four years of tuition at an Ivy League university.

The Independent Budget Office found that in 2012 it cost the city $167,731 to hold each of its daily average of 12,287 inmates, or about $460 per inmate per day.

Undergraduate tuition at Harvard University is $38,891 annually, or $155,564 for a four-year degree.

Of those inmates, more than 2,000 were being held for drug offenses, surpassing the number for murders or robberies. .............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2013/9/30/report-finds-nycinmatecostalmostasmuchasivyleaguetuition.html

Robert Scheer: The Government Leakers Who Truly Endanger America Will Never Face Prosecution

from truthdig:

The Government Leakers Who Truly Endanger America Will Never Face Prosecution

Posted on Oct 1, 2013
By Robert Scheer

Secrecy is for the convenience of the state. To support military adventures and budgets, vast troves of U.S. government secrets are routinely released not by lone dissident whistle-blowers but rather skilled teams of government officials. They engage in coordinated propaganda campaigns designed to influence public opinion. They leak secrets compulsively to advance careers or justify wars and weapons programs, even when the material is far more threatening to national security than any revealed by Edward Snowden.

Remember the hoary accounts in the first week of August trumpeting a great intelligence coup warranting the closing of nearly two dozen U.S. embassies in anticipation of an al-Qaida attack? Advocates for the surveillance state jumped all over that one to support claims that NSA electronic interceptions revealed by Snowden were necessary, and that his whistle-blowing had weakened the nation’s security. Actually, the opposite is true.

The al-Qaida revelation, first reported Aug. 2 by Eric Schmitt in The New York Times, came not from the classified information released by Snowden but rather from leaks deliberately provided by U.S. intelligence officials eager to show that the NSA electronic data-gathering program was necessary. On Sunday, Schmitt co-wrote another Times article, similarly quoting American authorities, conceding that the officially condoned August leaks had caused more damage than any of the leaked information attributed to Snowden.

That’s because the government leak, which revealed that the United States had intercepted messages between two top al-Qaida leaders discussing a pending attack, resulted in a sharp decrease in their use of the communications channel that was being monitored by U.S. authorities, leaving the U.S. officials to try to find new avenues of surveillance. ...................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_government_leakers_who_truly_endanger_america_will_never_face_prosecuti

Norman Solomon: The NSA Deserves a Permanent Shutdown

Published on Monday, September 30, 2013 by Common Dreams
The NSA Deserves a Permanent Shutdown

by Norman Solomon

To the people in control of the Executive Branch, violating our civil liberties is an essential government service. So -- to ensure total fulfillment of Big Brother’s vast responsibilities -- the National Security Agency is insulated from any fiscal disruption.

The NSA’s surveillance programs are exempt from a government shutdown. With typical understatement, an unnamed official told The Hill that “a shutdown would be unlikely to affect core NSA operations.”

At the top of the federal government, even a brief shutdown of “core NSA operations” is unthinkable. But at the grassroots, a permanent shutdown of the NSA should be more than thinkable; we should strive to make it achievable.

NSA documents, revealed by intrepid whistleblower Edward Snowden, make clear what’s at stake. In a word: democracy. ............................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2013/09/30-0

Student-Loan Defaults Rise in U.S. as Borrowers Struggle

(Bloomberg) About one in seven borrowers defaulted on their federal student loans, showing how former students are buckling under higher-education costs in a weak economy.

The default rate, for the first three years that students are required to make payments, was 14.7 percent, up from 13.4 percent the year before, the U.S. Education Department said today. Based on a related measure, defaults are at the highest level since 1995.

The fresh data follows the announcement by Barack Obama’s administration that it would seek to restrain skyrocketing college expenses by tying federal financial aid to a new government rating of costs and educational outcomes. The rising number of defaults shows the pain of borrowers, said Rory O’Sullivan, policy and research director at Young Invincibles, a Washington nonprofit group.

“Our generation is behind in the economic recovery and not recovering as fast as we need to,” said O’Sullivan, whose group represents the interests of people ages 18 to 34. “It’s financial disaster for borrowers. Defaults can dramatically affect their credit rating and make it harder to borrow in the future.” .....................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-09-30/student-loan-defaults-rise-in-u-s-as-borrowers-struggle-1-.html

Mittens still needs a call from the clue phone

Mitt Romney still won’t acknowledge that his immigration stance alienated Latino voters.

The unsuccessful GOP presidential candidate told CNN on Friday that the reason he flopped among Latinos was that they didn’t understand the subtleties of his immigration stance.

“I think my position and the position of our party is not well understood at the Hispanic community,” Romney said in an interview with Jake Tapper. “I want to see immigration reform. I said that during the campaign. I want to make sure we have a legal immigration system that brings, in my view, more people legally to our country. I’d like to do that.”

Romney’s embrace of “legal immigration” contrasted sharply with his hardline stance on illegal immigration. The most important question regarding immigration reform for the majority of Latino voters is how to deal with the 11.7 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States. For Romney, who opposes a pathway to citizenship for the undocumented, the answer during his campaign was to make life so difficult for them in the United States that they would “self-deport.” ......................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/30/mitt-romney-latino-vote_n_4016561.html?ncid=txtlnkushpmg00000037&ir=Politics

Seattle: Light-rail start to U District, Capitol Hill may come early

Light-rail start to U District, Capitol Hill may come early
Sound Transit says the light-rail extension from downtown to Capitol Hill and the University District could open several months early.

By Mike Lindblom
Seattle Times transportation reporter

Construction is going smoothly enough that Sound Transit thinks it can bring light-rail service to Capitol Hill and the University of Washington by early 2016, instead of its official goal of Sept. 24, 2016.

An earlier start would be good news for thousands of students, staff and medical-center personnel who crowd into buses between the UW and the Westlake Station transit hub.

Transit executives are optimistic because the construction schedule has six months of “float” — excess schedule days to absorb any problems — and the heavy tunnel and station work is 75 percent done, including risky bores under the Montlake Cut, Capitol Hill and Interstate 5.

And the $1.95 billion project is trending toward having its entire $105 million reserve left over, said Sound Transit CEO Joni Earl. ......................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2021906951_railopeningxml.html

Getting America Back on Its Feet: Launching a walking movment to strenghten our health and ......

from OnTheCommons.org:

Getting America Back on Its Feet
Launching a walking movment to strenghten our health and communities

| by Jay Walljasper

Americans’ #1 favorite physical activity is walking, reports the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Walking also plays a fundamental role in our transportation system, with 11 percent of all trips made on foot, according to the US Department of Transportation. Neighborhoods that rank high for walkability (where walking is safe and convenient) enjoy a greater sense of community and higher property values according to recent studies.

Another benefit of walking is better health. Studies document that moderate physical activity like a 30-minute daily stroll can cut rates of heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and colon cancer by at least 40 percent, and save more than $100 billion a year in health care costs according to the American Public Health Association.

So why don’t Americans walk more? We take about half as many steps each day as Australians.

It’s not that we’re lazy. In the decades after World War II an historic transformation of America’s population occurred as millions of Americans moved from walkable small towns and cities to suburbs, which favored cars over feet. At the same time we redesigned our communities based on the notion that walking was an outmoded activity. As a result, some of the most prominent commons in our lives vanished: sidewalks, parks, walking paths, promenades. By the year 2000 the average American adult was driving about 14,000 miles per year and spending more than 212 hours annually commuting in a car—the equivalent of five work weeks. Walking for both transportation and recreation went into a dramatic decline. ....................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://onthecommons.org/magazine/getting-america-back-its-feet#sthash.kMgmlXKz.dpuf

The Plight of the Pollinators

from Civil Eats:

The Plight of the Pollinators
By Jason Mark on September 30, 2013

It appears we may be on the verge of a new silent spring, a season marked, not by the absence of birdsong, but by the lack of insect buzzing.

A range of flying invertebrates—from the iconic monarch butterfly, to moths you’ve never heard of, to a number of once-common bumblebees—are suffering significant declines. Some biologists are warning that the losses could have serious consequences for the food web and for human agriculture, especially since native pollinators are far more important for food crop pollination than the domesticated European honeybee.

No doubt you’ve heard the buzz by now: Honeybees (Apis mellifera) are in serious trouble. In 2005, beekeepers in Europe and North America started to report worrisome declines in their hives, sometimes with annual loses exceeding 50 percent. The epidemic, dubbed Colony Collapse Disorder (or CCD), sparked a race to figure out the cause, or causes, of the die-offs.


All of this attention on the honeybee’s poor health is important because it’s an opportunity to illustrate our utter reliance on other creatures. But often lost amid the honeybee anxiety is a much bigger story: The decline of native bumblebees, butterflies and moths, which are even more important for pollination. .............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://civileats.com/2013/09/30/the-plight-of-the-pollinators/#sthash.aX2syvMh.dpuf

Professor Richard Wolff's Economic Update: Economic Downturns (audio link)

Listen: http://rdwolff.com/content/economic-update-economic-downturns

by Richard Wolff.

Updates on buying politics, an adjunct's story, women in the US economy, and cutting mental health spending. Major discussions of "debt ceiling" maneuvers in Washington and meaning of Bangladesh workers' demonstrations. Responses to listeners on the meanings of cutting need-based state help for students and San Jose, CA's fiscal crisis.

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