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Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit, MI
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 74,639

Journal Archives

Chris Hedges: "Revolt is the only option left"

Published on Sep 15, 2014

Hedges speaks to thousands at this years 13th annual Fighting Bob Fest chautauqua.
The Progressive, Madison, WI

Naomi Klein: 'Ferocious Love' and the Climate Fight To Come

Published on
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
byCommon Dreams

Naomi Klein: 'Ferocious Love' and the Climate Fight To Come
Activist and journalist offers new book on capitalism, climate change, and the global grassroots movement that could 'change everything'

by Jon Queally, staff writer

Timing matters. The calendar is counting. The clock is ticking. The planet is warming.

But... people are rising.

If there's a way to adequately condense the central tenet of Naomi Klein's new book, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate, it's the observation that just as the rise of global greenhouse gas emissions coincided with the emergence of neoliberal globalization as the dominant economic paradigm in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, it's also possible that the growing and various social movements that have been building up to counter those dual forces are now converging at just the right moment to help save us from the destructive path humanity now walks.

"Climate change," writes Klein in the new book, released today in the US and Canada, "pits what the planet needs to maintain stability against what our economic model needs to sustains itself. But since that economic model is failing the vast majority of people on the planet on multiple fronts that might not be such a bad thing. Put another way, if there has ever been a moment to advance a plan to heal the planet that also heals our broken economies and our shatter communities, this is it."

Well known for her previous books, The Shock Doctrine and No Logo, both of which tackle the nefarious ways in which corporate powers foster their brand of deregulated capitalism on the people of the planet, Klein has acknowledged that this book is not only less angry than her previous works, but actually—despite the grimness of what the climate science tells us about the decades ahead—hopeful. .................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.commondreams.org/news/2014/09/16/naomi-klein-ferocious-love-and-climate-fight-come

The University of Illinois Fails on Due Process, Academic Freedom and Free Speech: Why the Salaita C

(Truthout) In many respects, the University of Illinois Board of Trustees' decision on September 11 not to reinstate Steven Salaita to the faculty at its Urbana-Champaign campus was a foregone conclusion. Despite some mild second-guessing of her own decision, Chancellor Phyllis Wise had not wavered from her position that the Board would not vote to hire Salaita. Nevertheless it was sickening to hear the various trustees pontificate, moralize and in many respects lie about their reasons for dismissing Salaita. And, with the exception of one African-American trustee, James Montgomery, who bravely stood up to both defend Salaita's free speech rights and talk about racism at University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) during his time there as a student, the trustees voted against Salaita. A full report of the hearing, with important links, can be found here.

Here are the basic facts of the Salaita case: In October 2013, after the program in American Indian Studies had conducted a full job search, it made an offer to Professor Steven Salaita, a prominent scholar of American Indian and indigenous studies with six books and numerous articles to his credit. This offer had gone through all the necessary steps of being vetted and approved by a number of faculty and administrative committees and personnel, including the campus Executive Committee and the Office of the Provost. Salaita asked to have his start date pushed back so that he could fulfill his teaching duties at Virginia Tech. The UIUC dean agreed, and Salaita accepted the UIUC offer and resigned his position at Virginia Tech. His wife also gave up her job, and they sold their house and made arrangements for their small child to transfer schools. In his statement to the press, Salaita explains that they looked forward to their new life in Urbana-Champaign.

At that point, all that was needed was the formal approval of the UI Board of Trustees. Since trustees meet after the mandated time of appointment (which is usually in April of each academic year), it is normal in US colleges and universities to make hires assuming that the Board will approve in the summer - their role is administrative, rather than evaluative. If all procedures have been followed, Boards of Trustees simply sign off.

In Salaita's case, this lag proved fatal. For in the interval, the local newspaper printed several tweets of his that were sharply critical of Israel's attack on Gaza. Salaita's expressions were harsh, acerbic, troubling and emphatic in their condemnation of the killing of innocent Palestinian children and others. This report then resulted in the Simon Wiesenthal Center contacting the university to object to Salaita's hire. At that point, UIUC defended Salaita's free speech rights. But quickly more complaints were filed, and among those complaining were many wealthy donors. Emails recovered via a Freedom of Information request disclose that these donors threatened to stop their contributions if Salaita were not fired. At that point Phyllis Wise unilaterally halted the process. ................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/26219-the-university-of-illinois-fails-on-due-process-academic-freedom-and-free-speech-why-the-salaita-case-matters

There’s a city in China with a special sidewalk lane for people on cellphones


It's the first rule of phone-walking: the more you check your phone, the slower you're going to walk. So last week, the Chinese city of Chongqing divided its sidewalks into two lanes: one for walking, and one for cellphones. If you're going to stumble around while scrolling through Instagrams, you'll have to do it on the left-hand side.

It's a good idea, and it's not the first time a city has divided up its sidewalks into fast lanes and slow lanes. In July, Washington D.C. pulled a similar stunt to promote a National Geographic show. A few years before that, an artist named Jeff Greenspan divided New York's sidewalks into "Tourist" and "New Yorkers" lanes, assuming anyone from out of town would have trouble keeping up. But maybe if a New Yorker is checking his cell phone, it cancels out?

D.C.: Replacement Of Metro's Delay-Prone Old Rail Cars Delayed

Replacement Of Metro's Delay-Prone Old Rail Cars Delayed

Monday, September 15, 2014 - 11:04 AM
By Martin DiCaro : WAMU

Metro riders have been waiting a long time for new rail cars to replace the ones that have been in use since the transit system’s inception — and they'll have to wait at least a couple months longer.

Metro’s trumpeted 7000-series rail cars — modern and sleek, no carpets but comfy seats — were supposed to start carrying passengers by the end of the year. But the transit authority’s general manager says they won’t be ready until early 2015. The reason? Metro does not have a completed test track, so it needs more time to finish testing the first 64 new rail cars.

Riders are not surprised. "Seems kind of par for the course with a lot of Metro things," said one.

And many riders aren’t all that happy with Metro, either. Bus and rail riders’ customer satisfaction is below Metro’s goal of 84 percent. ...................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.wnyc.org/story/replacement-metros-delay-prone-old-rail-cars-delayed/

It pains me to agree with ANYTHING Skip Bayless says, but ......

...... I do agree with him on this premature coronation of Andrew Luck as the NFL's top QB. I read that fawning, fellating article in Sports Illustrated about him. What has he done to deserve this tag?

"Socially Responsible" Capitalism Still Feeds the Disease

"Socially Responsible" Capitalism Still Feeds the Disease

Tuesday, 16 September 2014 09:32
By Toshio Meronek, Truthout | News Analysis

Capitalism with a conscience? That's the idea behind so-called "socially responsible" investments - buying stocks in companies that are screened for criteria like good labor practices, sustainability and whether or not the company is involved in arms manufacturing. The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment, an industry association, claimed in its latest report from 2012 that at least $3.74 trillion in the United States is invested with environmental and social impacts in mind.

Some socially responsible investments (SRI) weed out cigarette companies like Philip Morris; others shun companies with poor environmental records, like BP. But whichever investments you choose, there's a good chance you'll be profiting off companies with bad human rights records because the backbone of many SRI funds are consumer technology stocks - companies like Apple and Samsung, which have histories replete with labor and privacy abuses.

China Labor Watch (CLW) is one of the groups that investigates ongoing labor problems; Kevin Slaten is its US-based program coordinator. He spoke to Truthout about the reports his organization has conducted on Apple, which started to be heavily scrutinized around 2010 when activists brought attention to child labor in some of the factories used by the computer giant. Some of these same factories were the subjects of protests over a number of Chinese labor law violations and mass worker suicides.

According to Slaten, "We constantly find these symptoms, but the disease underlying these symptoms has not been properly taken care of for years. The disease is these companies want the most amount of products in the shortest amount of time." ...............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/26221-socially-responsible-capitalism-still-feeds-the-disease

Why We March: Stepping Forth for a Planet in Peril

from TomDispatch:

Why We March
Stepping Forth for a Planet in Peril

By Eddie Bautista, La Tonya Crisp-Sauray, and Bill McKibben

On Sunday, September 21st, a huge crowd will march through the middle of Manhattan. It will almost certainly be the largest rally about climate change in human history, and one of the largest political protests in many years in New York. More than 1,000 groups are coordinating the march -- environmental justice groups, faith groups, labor groups -- which means there’s no one policy ask. Instead, it’s designed to serve as a loud and pointed reminder to our leaders, gathering that week at the United Nations to discuss global warming, that the next great movement of the planet’s citizens centers on our survival and their pathetic inaction.

As a few of the march’s organizers, though, we can give some sense of why we, at least, are marching, words we think represent many of those who will gather at Columbus Circle for the walk through midtown Manhattan.

We march because the world has left the Holocene behind: scientists tell us that we’ve already raised the planet’s temperature almost one degree Celsius, and are on track for four or five by century’s end. We march because Hurricane Sandy filled the New York City subway system with salt water, reminding us that even one of the most powerful cities in the world is already vulnerable to slowly rising ocean levels.

We march because we know that climate change affects everyone, but its impacts are not equally felt: those who have contributed the least to causing the crisis are hit hardest, here and around the world. Communities on the frontlines of global warming are already paying a heavy price, in some cases losing the very land on which they live. This isn’t just about polar bears any more. .................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/175894/tomgram%3A_bautista%2C_crisp-sauray%2C_and_mckibben%2C_a_future_to_march_for/#more

Repug candidates for governor and US Senate in Michigan afraid to debate

As of now, it looks like Michigan may have no statewide televised debates in either the races for governor or U.S. Senator.

This is pretty universally seen as a bad thing – except by the candidates who don’t want to debate.

As of now, Gov. Rick Snyder has refused to commit to any debates with Democratic candidate Mark Schauer. That’s politically understandable, even though the race is close.

Incumbents generally never like debating challengers, because it elevates their opponent to their level. Usually, they only do so because of political pressure, or if they are themselves behind. .................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://michiganradio.org/post/lack-debate-isn-t-fair-democracy-or-voters-michigan

Unseen Toll: Wages of Millions Seized to Pay Past Debts

Unseen Toll: Wages of Millions Seized to Pay Past Debts
A new study provides the first-ever tally of how many employees lose up to a quarter of their paychecks over debts like unpaid credit card or medical bills and student loans.

by Paul Kiel, ProPublica, and Chris Arnold, NPR, Sep. 15, 2014, 5 a.m.

Back in 2009, Kevin Evans was one of millions of Americans blindsided by the recession. His 25-year career selling office furniture collapsed. He shed the nice home he could no longer afford, but not a $7,000 credit card debt.

After years of spotty employment, Evans, 58, thought he'd finally recovered last year when he found a better-paying, full-time customer service job in Springfield, Mo. But early this year, he opened his paycheck and found a quarter of it missing. His credit card lender, Capital One, had garnished his wages. Twice a month, whether he could afford it or not, 25 percent of his pay — the legal limit — would go to his debt, which had ballooned with interest and fees to over $15,000.

"It was a roundhouse from the right that just knocks you down and out," Evans said.

The recession and its aftermath have fueled an explosion of cases like Evans'. Creditors and collectors have pursued struggling cardholders and other debtors in court, securing judgments that allow them to seize a chunk of even meager earnings. The financial blow can be devastating — more than half of U.S. states allow creditors to take a quarter of after-tax wages. But despite the rise in garnishments, the number of Americans affected has remained unknown.

At the request of ProPublica, ADP, the nation's largest payroll services provider, undertook a study of 2013 payroll records for 13 million employees. ADP's report, released today, shows that more than one in 10 employees in the prime working ages of 35 to 44 had their wages garnished in 2013.

Roughly half of these debtors, unsurprisingly, owed child support. But a sizeable number had their earnings docked for consumer debts, such as credit cards, medical bills and student loans. ....................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.propublica.org/article/unseen-toll-wages-of-millions-seized-to-pay-past-debts

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