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Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit, MI
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 74,636

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Toronto, I still can't believe you elected this man as mayor......

from the Toronto Star:

Mayor Rob Ford has continued to stay silent about two ongoing police investigations into domestic disputes at his home.

Ford, who flew back to Toronto on Friday, did not respond to an interview request from the Star and has, as of yet, not spoken publicly on the issue. He declined to comment to a Star reporter at Pearson airport upon his arrival from Florida around 5 p.m .

His first scheduled public appearance is the annual New Year’s Levee at city hall, from 2 to 4 p.m. Monday.

On Friday, the Star reported that 22 Division’s Youth and Family Violence Unit was probing two recent incidents at the mayor’s Etobicoke home. .............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.thestar.com/news/article/1108997--mayor-quiet-on-domestic-disputes?bn=1

The Rumbling--And Why The 2012 Elections Won't Help...Much

from the Working Life blog:

The Rumbling--And Why The 2012 Elections Won't Help...Much

by Jonathan Tasini
Friday 30 of December, 2011

I took a longer break from blogging than I thought--to think, observe a bit, rest the brain, cycle New Zealand's spectacular South Island. But, what stirred me to break this hiatus, at the very moment that people are switching off their computers to turn to libations and debauchery, was, well, the modest observation that the rumbling throughout the globe is just beginning--and the 2012 elections won't change much because neither party wants to challenge the bankruptcy of the so-called "free market".

That seemed obvious to me for a long time but what might help explain this are two pieces worth dipping into. First, from the Financial Times yesterday:

Thousands of employees at an LG Display factory in eastern China went on strike this week over year-end bonuses, part of a wave of industrial unrest across China this autumn as workers become increasingly assertive.

By Wednesday evening the dispute, which involved some 8,000 people and forced a partial shutdown of production at LG Display’s factory in Nanjing, appeared to be moving towards resolution after three days of protests.

“The so-called cheap labour model has created a lot of problems and is not working anymore,” said Kirk Yang, tech specialist and managing director at Barclays Capital.

“The public’s awareness of democracy, equality and rights is constantly strengthening, and their corresponding demands are growing,” said Zhu Mingguo, an official who helped broker the Wukan settlement, in comments published in state media. “Their channels for voicing grievances are diverse, and there is a tendency for conflicts to become more intense.”

Although Mr Zhu was referring to political protests, labour action also threatens the Communist party’s grip on power. China has a party-sanctioned, nationwide labour union – the All China Federation of Trade Unions – but it is essentially an arm of the government and independent organisations are banned.

The complete piece is at: http://www.workinglife.org/blogs/view_post.php?content_id=15353

Is that a Big Mac or are you happy to see me?

December 30, 2011 (GALESBURG, Ill.) -- Two people in western Illinois are facing charges after pulling up to a McDonald's drive-thru completely nude.

Police in Galesburg say a 19-year-old El Paso man and a 21-year-old Galesburg woman were released from Knox County Jail after being ordered to appear in court to face public indecency charges.

WGIL Radio reports that the duo was still in the McDonald's parking lot when officers arrived just before 2 a.m. Wednesday. Police say the man was crouched over in the driver's seat trying to put on a pair of pants, while his passenger was covering up in a blanket. .............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=news/local/illinois&id=8484820

Empire - The decline of the American empire

Mother Jones: Nullification Makes a Comeback

In the 19th century, the theory of nullification, and the crisis it provoked, was all about states rights. Nullification advocates argued that the constitution was a compact between sovereign states, and therefore states could choose to ignore federal laws that they considered unconstitutional.

The Civil War largely put an end to this clash, but in the 21st century there's a new theory of nullification. This one, though, isn't about a conflict between states and the federal government. It's about a conflict within the federal government. There isn't yet any modern-day John Calhoun to articulate this new theory of nullification in detail, but the nickel version is pretty simple: it says that a single senator can nullify a duly passed statute of the United States.

In one sense, this is just the latest front in the Republican war against executive branch nominees of the Obama administration. But until now, that war has been merely an escalation: more nominees are being filibustered than ever before, creating logjams in the federal court system and a shortage of leadership in the executive branch. It's a big problem, but nothing has actually been shut down because of it.

That's now changing. Republicans are refusing to allow votes on President Obama's nominee to head the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and on his nominees to fill vacancies on the National Labor Relations Board. In both cases, the Republican refusal is explicity aimed at shutting down these agencies. In the case of the CFPB, it's because the law that created it gives certain powers to its director, and without a director those powers can't be exercised. In the case of the NLRB, it's because they can't function at all unless a minimum of three out of five seats are filled. When Craig Becker, already a recess appointment because of a Republican filibuster last year, finishes his term at the end of 2011, only two seats will remain filled and the NLRB will grind to a halt. ....................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2011/12/nullification-makes-comeback

Fundies in Iowa worry that the Crazy-as-Hell vote is being splintered

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Two politically active pastors in Iowa's robust evangelical conservative movement said Wednesday that an effort has been under way to persuade either Rick Santorum or Michele Bachmann to consider quitting the Republican presidential race and endorsing the other to avoid splintering this influential voting bloc's influence in the state's caucuses.

"Otherwise, like-minded people will be divided and water down their impact," said Rev. Cary Gordon, a Sioux City minister. He said he asked Santorum several weeks ago to consider exiting the race but has since endorsed the former Pennsylvania senator, who is rising in polls.

Rev. Albert Calloway, a retired pastor from Indianola, said he asked Bachmann, a Minnesota congresswoman, several days ago to consider quitting the race.

A group of voters that united behind former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee's winning caucus campaign in 2008 fear that this year's caucuses could be won by former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney or Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas. Neither track as closely to the religious right as Santorum, Bachmann or Texas Gov. Rick Perry. .................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://news.yahoo.com/fearing-split-pastors-urge-gop-candidates-quit-231159105.html

Virus sickens 110,000 in Vietnam, kills 166


HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — Vietnam says an outbreak of hand, foot and mouth disease has infected more than 110,000 people this year and killed 166, most of them children under 5 years old.

A Health Ministry official said Friday that the infection rate was slowing from a September peak of 3,000 per week to about 1,500 per week in December. The official spoke on condition of anonymity, citing policy.

The virus typically infects up to 15,000 children per year in Vietnam, killing 20 to 30 of them. Most people recover quickly from the illness after little more than a fever and rash.

Awesome Train Stations

St. Pancras, London

Hauptbahnhof, Berlin

Amtrak Depot, Niles, Michigan

Central Station, Antwerp

Gare du Nord, Paris

Grand Central, New York City

Estación de Atocha, Madrid

Please add yours

Samoa, Tokelau cross international date line

APIA, Samoa (AP) — Sirens wailed and fireworks exploded in the skies over Samoa as the tiny South Pacific nation jumped forward in time, crossing westward over the international date line and effectively erasing Friday, Dec. 30, 2011, from the country's calendar.

Samoans who had gathered around the main clock tower in the capital Apia cheered and clapped as the clock struck midnight on Thursday, Dec. 29, instantly transporting the country 24 hours ahead to Saturday, Dec. 31. The switch, also being observed by neighboring Tokelau, is meant to align the islands' time with key trading partners in the Asia-Pacific region.

The time jump means that Samoa's 186,000 citizens, and the 1,500 in the three-atoll United Nations dependency of Tokelau, will now be the first in the world to ring in the new year, rather than the last.

The moment was greeted with celebrations across Samoa. Fireworks danced across the sky and police, ambulance and fire truck sirens wailed throughout Apia to signal the change. Drivers circled the clock tower blaring their horns, and prayer services were held across the country. ..................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.freep.com/usatoday/article/52283026?odyssey=mod|newswell|text|FRONTPAGE|p

Rick Santorum Wants to Send a Message to Egypt by Attacking Iran

from The Atlantic:

One divide on the right pits those who want America to embrace the Arab Spring against folks who think encouraging democracy in that region will just bring to power Islamist governments antagonistic to our interests. Rick Santorum takes the latter position. "This is exactly the problem that we got into when we supported those who wanted to throw out Hosni Mubarak, who clearly was a dictator and a tyrant, but he was someone that we could work with," he said during a Wednesday interview. "We should have been, instead of disengaging, as Obama did, should have continued to engage and move in some more political and economic freedom."

Lest you think that the former Pennsylvania senator is a realist, however, be sure to delve deeper into his views, for they're yet another example of a Republican presidential candidate asserting fantastical critiques of President Obama's foreign policy and suggesting that we replace it with a sort of aggression that almost certainly wouldn't solve the problems being discussed.


Remember that Santorum isn't someone who proudly proclaims his ignorance of foreign policy, like Herman Cain, who at least promised that he'd get advisers more knowledgeable than he was. Santorum really thinks he knows his stuff. And yet his actual plan for addressing rising Islamism in Sunni countries is to attack Iran in a way that he thinks will "send a message" to everyone else. Does he imagine that after these bombing strikes on Iran the Islamists in Egypt will say to themselves, "Oh, America is tougher than we imagined, and we're actually going to elect a pro-Western, secular government now that we've seen the consequences for Iran?" This would be a foolish way to look at the world in any case, but even after the Iraq War, does Santorum still not understand that the messages neoconservatives think they're sending and the geopolitical consequences they predict actually aren't what come to pass? ..........(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2011/12/rick-santorum-wants-to-send-a-message-to-egypt-by-attacking-iran/250680/

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