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Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit, MI
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 75,491

Journal Archives

David Sirota: The Climate Bites Back

from truthdig:

The Climate Bites Back

Posted on Aug 31, 2012
By David Sirota

As a wildfire/flash flood cycle ravages the American heartland, “the climate bites back” may be the 21st century’s karmic rejoinder to the hysterical screams of “freedom!” and “property rights!” when it comes to urban sprawl.

No doubt, we’ve long understood the invisible dangers of such sprawl. For years, we’ve been warned by researchers of the direct connections between unplanned and gluttonous construction projects and human-created carbon emissions. We’ve been told specifically that suburbanization’s spread of population into ever-larger swaths of wilderness inherently results in more roads, more cars, more carbon emissions, more climate change—and thus, more chances for nature-related disasters.

But in go-go America, these scientific truisms were no match for McMansion fantasies. As coastal folk headed to the Rocky Mountain frontier with visions of big-but-inexpensive castles far away from the inner city, the term “zoning” became an even more despised epithet than it already had been in cowboy country. Rangeland and foothill frontiers subsequently became expansive low-density subdivisions, and carbon-belching SUVs chugged onto new roads being built farther and farther away from the urban core. That is, farther and farther into what the federal government calls the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) and what fire experts call the dangerous “red zone.”

The numbers are stark: According to the Denver Post, between 1990 and 2000, 40 percent of all homes built in the nation were built in the WUI—and “a Colorado State University analysis expects a 300 percent increase in WUI acreage in the next couple decades.” In the last two decades in fire-scorched Colorado alone, I-News Network reports that “a quarter million people have moved into red zones,” meaning that today “one of every four Colorado homes is in a red zone.” ................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_climate_bites_back_20120831/

Why Your Cellphone Has More Bacteria Than a Toilet Seat

Why Your Cellphone Has More Bacteria Than a Toilet Seat
By Susan E. Matthews, MyHealthNewsDaily Staff Writer | LiveScience.com

Cellphones carry 10 times more bacteria than most toilet seats, so it shouldn't be surprising that a man in Uganda reportedly contracted Ebola after stealing one.

He stole the phone from a quarantined ward of a hospital, near the site of a recent Ebola outbreak, reports said.

But regardless of your proximity to an Ebola outbreak, your cellphone is still probably pretty grimy, said Charles Gerba, a microbiologist at the University of Arizona.

"They've got quite a bit on them," Gerba said. "When's the last time you cleaned your cellphone?" ....................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://news.yahoo.com/why-cellphone-more-bacteria-toilet-seat-124147769.html

Favre attorneys: Brett shouldn't have to respond to claims that he's a perv

NEW YORK (AP) — Brett Favre shouldn't have to respond to some embarrassing claims about his personal life that two massage therapists are making in a lawsuit, his lawyers say.

The massage therapists say the New York Jets blacklisted them after they objected to suggestive messages the legendary quarterback allegedly sent to another woman. Among other things, they asked him to admit or deny he solicited women for sex trysts and sent explicit photos to a former Jets game hostess. The request was part of a procedural step in their 2011 lawsuit.

Favre's attorneys filed papers this week asking a court to say he doesn't have to answer. They say some of the requests are irrelevant and inappropriate, including a bid to get him to acknowledge that a lewd photo that appeared on a sports gossip website depicts his own anatomy.

``These requests clearly have absolutely nothing to do with this lawsuit and have been included only to harass and embarrass,'' attorney Sharon H. Stern and other Favre lawyers wrote. .................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://xfinity.comcast.net/articles/sports-nfl/20120830/Favre-Lawsuit/

It's Hard Out Here for a Grifter

Sarah Palin: ‘I’m Sorry Fox Cancelled All My Scheduled Interviews,’ Fox: ‘Our Plans Changed’
By Alex Weprin on August 29, 2012 7:55 PM

Fox News contributor and former VP candidate Sarah Palin took to Facebook to complain that her slated interviews on FNC were canceled today.

“I’m sorry Fox cancelled all my scheduled interviews tonight because I sure wanted to take the opportunity on the air to highlight Senator John McCain’s positive contributions to America, to honor him, and to reflect on what a biased media unfairly put him through four years ago tonight,” Palin wrote in a Facebook post.

Fox News responded in a statement from executive VP of programming Bill Shine:

“Our plans changed based on the fact that the RNC condensed the schedule of speeches from four nights to three,” Shine said. “We look forward to having Governor Palin back as soon as we can.” ................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.mediabistro.com/tvnewser/sarah-palin-im-sorry-fox-cancelled-all-my-scheduled-interviews-fox-our-plans-changed_b143496

Amy Goodman: Workers Feel the Pain of Bain

from truthdig:

Workers Feel the Pain of Bain

Posted on Aug 29, 2012
By Amy Goodman

TAMPA, Fla.—Four hardy souls from rural Illinois joined tens of thousands of people undeterred by threats of Hurricane Isaac during this week’s Republican National Convention. They weren’t among the almost 2,400 delegates to the convention, though, nor were they from the press corps, said to number 15,000. They weren’t part of the massive police force assembled here, more than 3,000 strong, all paid for with $50 million of U.S. taxpayer money. These four were about to join a much larger group: the more than 2.4 million people in the past decade whose U.S. jobs have been shipped to China. In their case, the company laying them off and sending their jobs overseas is Bain Capital, co-founded by the Republican presidential nominee, Mitt Romney.

We met the group at Romneyville, a tent city on the outskirts of downtown Tampa, established by the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign in the spirit of the Hoovervilles of the Great Depression. A couple hundred people gathered before the makeshift stage to hear speakers and musicians, under intermittent downpours and the noise of three police helicopters drowning out the voices of the anti-poverty activists. Scores of police on bicycles occupied the surrounding streets.

Cheryl Randecker was one of those four we met at Romneyville whose Bain jobs are among the 170 slated to be off-shored. They build transmission sensors for many cars and trucks made in the United States. Cheryl was sent to China to train workers there, not knowing that the company was about to be sold and the jobs she was training people for included her own. I asked her how it felt to be training her own replacements after working at the same company for 33 years:

“Knowing that you’re going to be completely out of a job and there’s no hope for any job in our area, it was gut-wrenching, because you don’t know where the next point is going to be. I’m 52 years old. What are we going to do? To start over at this point in my life is extremely scary.” ..................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/workers_feel_the_pain_of_bain_20120829/?ln

Fear and Loathing in Florida 2012

from truthdig:

Fear and Loathing in Florida 2012

Posted on Aug 29, 2012
By Alan Minsky

History repeats itself; the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce. —Karl Marx

TAMPA, Fla.—The real truth in America is hard to come by these days; even the Paul Ryan Wikipedia entry has been whitewashed, omitting that he was voted the biggest brown-noser in his high school class.

As I do not believe, in contrast to most of the press corps here, that Orwellian double-speak is the highest form of human communication, I cannot attend a political convention and not feel the anxiety of Hunter S. Thompson’s influence. However much respect books like “The Making of the President” series merit, it’s the bourbon and crank-fueled honesty of “Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72” that truly captures the zombie-like soullessness of the political lapdog class.

What to make of the 2012 Republican model?

It didn’t take long to realize this convention was dominated by the same country club set that’s been running this party for decades. Fears that some new monstrous tea party/Christian fundamentalist hybrid has seized the GOP’s helm were readily dispelled as the first busloads of late-night partyers arrived in downtown Tampa on Monday night. Anyone anticipating rabid creationists from the Wichita PTA was confronted with the bland secularism of Laura Ashley and Brooks Brothers. ...............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/fear_and_loathing_in_florida_2012_20120829/

GOP NRCC Leader: Gay Republicans are OK, as long as they don't start demanding rights and stuff

TAMPA, FLA. -- Rep. Pete Sessions, Tex., heads the National Republican Congressional Committee a in role in which his top goal is electing Republicans. To that end, Sessions has worked with Log Cabin Republicans – and was honored by the group with its Barry Goldwater Award in 2010 – in spite of his own strongly anti-gay voting record: during the past three sessions of Congress his rating on HRC’s scorecard has ranged from zero all the way to six percent and now sits at three percent. Sessions has voted repeatedly for federal constitutional amendments to ban same-sex marriage, and against ENDA and repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

At a press event in Tampa this morning, Sessions was asked about Richard Tisei, an openly gay Republican congressional nominee in Massachusetts. The questioner specifically asked how Tisei, who is pro-choice and pro-marriage equality, would fit in with the Republican caucus.

“I have a litmus test and that’s to be able to get elected,” said Sessions, who said he is in regular communication with Tisei and will be a strategic and tactical partner in his race. Sessions did not talk about LGBT issues directly, but said it was his sense that Tisei is “not on any personal crusade” but “wants to become a professional member of Congress.” Tisei’s opponent, Rep. John Tierney, has been hurt by financial scandals involving his wife and other family members. ..................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.alternet.org/hot-news-views/gop-leader-gay-republican-welcome-house-long-he-avoids-personal-crusade

Dean Baker: The Pacific free trade deal that's anything but free

The Pacific free trade deal that's anything but free
The draft TPP deal may grant new patent privileges and restrict net freedom, but it's secret – unless you're a multinational CEO

Dean Baker
guardian.co.uk, Monday 27 August 2012

"Free trade" is a sacred mantra in Washington. If anything is labeled as being "free trade", then everyone in the Washington establishment is required to bow down and support it. Otherwise, they are excommunicated from the list of respectable people and exiled to the land of protectionist Neanderthals.

This is essential background to understanding what is going on with the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), a pact that the United States is negotiating with Australia, Canada, Japan and eight other countries in the Pacific region. The agreement is packaged as a "free trade" agreement. This label will force all of the respectable types in Washington to support it.

In reality, the deal has almost nothing to do with trade: actual trade barriers between these countries are already very low. The TPP is an effort to use the holy grail of free trade to impose conditions and override domestic laws in a way that would be almost impossible if the proposed measures had to go through the normal legislative process. The expectation is that by lining up powerful corporate interests, the governments will be able to ram this new "free trade" pact through legislatures on a take-it-or-leave-it basis.

As with all these multilateral agreements, the intention is to spread its reach through time. That means that anything the original parties to the TPP accept is likely to be imposed later on other countries in the region, and quite likely, on the rest of the world. ...................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/aug/27/pacific-free-trade-deal

Desmond Tutu Refuses to Share Platform with Tony Blair


08.28.12 - 11:13 PM
Morally Indefensible: Tutu Refuses to Share Platform with Blair

by Abby Zimet

Ever a man of conscience, Nobel laureate, anti-apartheid icon and retired Archbishop Desmond Tutu has withdrawn from a leadership summit in South Africa to protest the presence of former prime minister Tony Blair, whose support for the Iraq War Tutu condemned as "morally indefensible." Meanwhile, calls are mounting for the arrest of Blair for crimes against humanity when he appears.

"The Discovery Invest Leadership Summit has leadership as its theme. Morality and leadership are indivisible. In this context, it would be inappropriate and untenable for the Archbishop to share a platform with Mr Blair."

Yosemite hantavirus outbreak "unprecedented,"officials say

from the LA Times:

Yosemite officials are scrambling to understand what caused the hantavirus that has killed two people and sickened at least one other in an outbreak of the rare rodent-borne disease described as "unprecedented."

After announcing Monday that a third case of the disease had been confirmed — resulting in the death of a Pennsylvania man — and a fourth probable, Yosemite officials emailed about 1,700 people who stayed in the park's popular Curry Village, asking them to seek immediate medical attention if they showed the flu-like symptoms of the disease.

Last week, park officials revealed that a 37-year-old Bay Area man died and an Inland Empire woman in her 40s had been sickened after contracting hantavirus in the park. All four people believed to be affected by the disease stayed in Curry Village's "signature tent cabins" in mid-June.

Dr. Barbara Knust, an epidemiologist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said it was “very rare” to have more than one reported case of hantavirus in the same location in a given year. ..................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2012/08/hantavirus-outbreak-in-yosemite-unprecedented-officials-say.html

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