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Profile Information

Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit, Michigan
Home country: Citizen of the world whose address is in the U.S.
Current location: Detroit, Michigan
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 67,294

Journal Archives


Rafa ousted by Dustin Brown. Drinks are on joeybee.

This is Why Participation in the U.S. Workforce Has Plunged to Its Lowest Since 1977

(Bloomberg) The size of the labor force tanked last month, helping to make for a very mixed June jobs report.

Though payrolls climbed at a healthy clip, some 432,000 people left the workforce, Labor Department data showed. That sent the participation rate — which tracks the share of working-age people who are either employed or looking for work — to 62.6 percent, the lowest level since October 1977. While the rate has been trending down ever since baby boomers started retiring in droves, the decrease last month was the sharpest in more than a year.

The decline was made all the more surprising by the fact that June tends to be a month where the U.S. sees loads of people moving into the labor force — think teenagers snagging lifeguard gigs, recent college graduates scouring the internet for job postings and teachers taking up summer work. That "just did not happen," said Karen Kosanovich, an economist at the Bureau of Labor Statistics in Washington.

In the last decade, an average 1.35 million workers have entered the labor force every June on a not seasonally adjusted basis. This year, the gain was 564,000. That translates into a decline for the seasonally adjusted data, since the monthly increase was much less than it usually is. ................(more)


David Sirota: How the Trans-Pacific Partnership Will Hand Corporations the Reins to Our Government

from In These Times:

How the Trans-Pacific Partnership Will Hand Corporations the Reins to Our Government
Provisions of the trade agreement could provide corporations with even greater influence over domestic policy decisions.


In promoting a proposed trade pact covering 12 Pacific Rim nations, President Obama has cast the initiative as an instrument of equity. The Trans-Pacific Partnership would, in his words, “level the playing field” and “give our workers a fair shot.” But critics argue that within the hundreds of pages of esoteric provisions, the deal—like similar ones before it—includes a glaring double standard: It provides legal rights to corporations and investors that it does not extend to unions, public interest groups and individuals.

Recently leaked drafts of the agreement show the pact includes the kind of “Investor-State Dispute Settlement” (ISDS) provisions written into most major trade deals passed since the North American Free Trade Agreement. Those provisions allow companies to use secretive international tribunals to sue sovereign governments for damages when those governments pass public-interest policies that threaten to cut into a corporation’s profits or seize a company’s property.

But also like past trade deals, the TPP is not expected to allow unions and public-interest groups to bring their own suits in the same tribunals to compel governments to enforce labor, environmental and human rights laws.

The discrepancy is a deliberate effort to make sure trade policy includes a “tilt toward giant corporations,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts, said.

“If a Vietnamese company with U.S. operations wanted to challenge an increase in the U.S. minimum wage, it could use ISDS,” Warren wrote in a Washington Post op-ed in February. “But if an American labor union believed Vietnam was allowing Vietnamese companies to pay slave wages in violation of trade commitments, the union would have to make its case in the Vietnamese courts.” .....................(more)


Who, What, Why: Why does hot weather cause rail delays?

from the BBC:

As the hottest weather so far this year hits parts of the UK, train passengers are being warned of further train delays caused by buckling rails. Why does this happen, asks Justin Parkinson.

On hot days, steel rails exposed to direct sunshine can become 20C hotter than the air temperature, according to Network Rail. The resulting expansion can cause extreme compression and buckling. When this happens, lines become impassable and close for repairs, which can't usually happen until temperatures drop again.

Some operators have warned of temporary speed restrictions on stretches deemed most at risk, as slower trains exert lower forces on the track, reducing the risk of buckling.

In the past, the UK's main system of coping with extreme heat involved leaving gaps, known as expansion joints, along the line, allowing rails to slide past each other as they expand. But the small breaks in the line meant trains were noisy and gave bumpy rides.

Under the replacement system, to prevent buckling the track is "pre-stressed" or stretched. Only when it gets unusually hot does the metal expand enough to pose a risk of rails pushing together and buckling. ...............(more)


Noam Chomsky on Right-wing politics and the consequences of privatization and neoliberalism

Amy Goodman: ‘What, to the American Slave, Is Your 4th of July?’

by Amy Goodman

“What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July?” asked Frederick Douglass of the crowd gathered at Corinthian Hall in Rochester, N.Y., on July 5, 1852. “I answer,” he continued, “a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which lie is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham.”

Douglass escaped slavery in 1838 and became one of the most powerful and eloquent orators of the abolitionist movement. His Independence Day talk was organized by the Rochester Ladies’ Anti-Slavery Sewing Society. Douglass extolled the virtues of the Founding Fathers, those who signed the Declaration of Independence. Then he brought the focus to the present, to 1852. He said:

“I am not included within the pale of this glorious anniversary! Your high independence only reveals the immeasurable distance between us. The blessings in which you, this day, rejoice, are not enjoyed in common. The rich inheritance of justice, liberty, prosperity and independence, bequeathed by your fathers, is shared by you, not by me. The sunlight that brought life and healing to you, has brought stripes and death to me. This Fourth July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn. To drag a man in fetters into the grand illuminated temple of liberty, and call upon him to join you in joyous anthems, were inhuman mockery and sacrilegious irony. Do you mean, citizens, to mock me, by asking me to speak today?”

Of course, the Rochester Ladies’ Anti-Slavery Sewing Society had no intention of mocking him. Proceeds from their events were devoted primarily to supporting Douglass’ newspaper. They championed Douglass, and saw the need to take action, whatever action they could muster. The United States was, at the time of the speech, less than a decade away from a brutal civil war. The war would formally start with the Confederate bombardment of Fort Sumter, just off the coast of Charleston, S.C. .........................(more)


Richard Eskow with Thom Hartmann: Greece vs. Europe...Day of Destiny Approaches

Published on Jun 30, 2015
Richard Eskow, Campaign for America's Future/The Zero Hour, joins Thom. The Greek people - who ran to their ATM machines over the weekend - will vote on Sunday whether they will accept another round of austerity. But Greece's lenders say it's a vote on whether to stay in the Eurozone.

"All of the arguments that have been used to sustain globalism and corporate capitalism are a lie"

Chris Hedges, A Time For Rebellion?
Published on Jun 30, 2015

Chris Hedges interviewed by Joe Chuman about how bad things are and what we should do about it, with particular attention to Wages of Rebellion, Chris's latest book. Advocacy Forum June 30, 2015 of the New York Society For Ethical Culture. Video by Joe Friendly

Puerto Rico's debt crisis

London will try to beat traffic and air pollution with this new electric bus


Brits, rejoice! London’s iconic double-decker buses could get a new green makeover.

On Monday, city officials announced that London will begin test-driving an electric double-decker bus in October. Quartz has the details:

The bus will be built by Chinese firm BYD and will run on the number 16 bus route, which goes from northwest London down into Victoria Station. London has had single-decker electric buses on its streets since 2013, but electric double-deckers had previously been thought to be too difficult to build, due to the challenges in efficiently powering something so large, the Mayor’s office said in a release. But BYD’s new battery technology will apparently be light and cheap enough to run in a double-decker bus.

Brilliant! The plan is part of a commitment London city leaders made earlier this week. “At a global clean bus summit at City Hall in London, 24 cities pledged to roll out 40,000 low-emission buses by the end of the decade,” The Guardian reports. The new launch follows London officials’ efforts to reduce inner-city traffic congestion and lower vehicle emissions. Here’s how the mayor describes the current situation:

(Boris) Johnson, who uses the city’s bike-share system to commute to work most days, told the Guardian that he would welcome the quieter, greener buses on his city’s streets, saying current buses are like “throbbing, belching machines that emit their fumes like wounded war-elephants.”

Sounds like the city has held onto its nickname “The Old Smoke” for a reason. Yikes.

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