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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: 64,883

Journal Archives


A bar in South Korea has been going viral for all the wrong reasons: being racist and bigoted.

The sign, displayed at JR’s Pub in Itaewon, a famous pub for foreigners and Koreans alike, caused outrage online in the foreigner community. The bar is owned by an American and Korean, and has not had a history of problems in the past.

When asked about the signs, the owner of the restaurant immediately apologized and replaced the signs with another notice. ..................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://blog.koreaboo.com/post/95025453128/south-korean-bar-sign-due-to-ebola-virus-we-are-not

Chris Hedges: Rebellion in Ferguson: A Rising Heat in the Suburbs

from truthdig:

Rebellion in Ferguson: A Rising Heat in the Suburbs

Posted on Aug 17, 2014
By Chris Hedges

NEWARK, N.J.—The public reaction to the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager by a police officer in Ferguson, Mo., exposes the shifting dynamic of rebellion and repression in the United States. Spontaneous uprisings against the lethal force routinely employed by militarized police units will probably not erupt at first out of the old epicenters of unrest—Watts, Detroit, Harlem, Newark and others—but suburban black communities such as Ferguson, near St. Louis. In most of these communities, the power structures remain in the hands of white minorities although the populations have shifted from white to black. Only three of the 53 commissioned officers in Ferguson’s police department are black. These conditions, which approximate the racial divides that set off urban riots in the 1960s, have the potential to trigger a new wave of racial unrest in economically depressed black suburbs, and perhaps later in impoverished inner cities, especially amid a stagnant economy, high incarceration and unemployment rates for blacks and the rewriting of laws to make police forces omnipotent.

“We are headed into a period of increased social protest,” said Lawrence Hamm, one of the nation’s most important community organizers and the longtime chairman of the People’s Organization for Progress. POP, which has roughly 10,000 members, is based in Newark and has 13 chapters, most of them in New Jersey. I met with Hamm in a downtown coffee shop in Newark.

“The pendulum swung far to the right after 9/11. Now it is swinging back,” Hamm said. “Fear and paralysis gripped the country after 9/11 and the creation of our authoritarian police state. We are overcoming this fear. The rebellion in Ferguson was not planned. It was spontaneous. People said, ‘Enough.’ They struck out in the only way they knew how. All the other ways—and I have no doubt that the people in Ferguson and St. Louis, as we have, marched peacefully, sent letters and went to city council meetings to protest police violence—have proved ineffective. We will see other incidents like this one, but because of demographic changes these rebellions will occur in places that did not rebel previously.”

Hamm said that the declining populations of primarily black cities—Newark, where he has spent most of his life as an organizer, has seen its population drop from 400,000 to about 250,000 in the last few decades—coupled with the election of black officials and the integration of blacks into police forces mean that the old centers of rebellion are less polarized. ...................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/rebellion_in_ferguson_a_rising_heat_in_the_suburbs_20140817

To Terrify and Occupy: How the Excessive Militarization of the Police is Turning Cops Into .........

from TomDispatch:

To Terrify and Occupy
How the Excessive Militarization of the Police is Turning Cops Into Counterinsurgents

By Matthew Harwood

Jason Westcott was afraid.

One night last fall, he discovered via Facebook that a friend of a friend was planning with some co-conspirators to break in to his home. They were intent on stealing Wescott's handgun and a couple of TV sets. According to the Facebook message, the suspect was planning on “burning” Westcott, who promptly called the Tampa Bay police and reported the plot.

According to the Tampa Bay Times, the investigating officers responding to Westcott’s call had a simple message for him: “If anyone breaks into this house, grab your gun and shoot to kill.”

Around 7:30 pm on May 27th, the intruders arrived. Westcott followed the officers’ advice, grabbed his gun to defend his home, and died pointing it at the intruders. They used a semiautomatic shotgun and handgun to shoot down the 29-year-old motorcycle mechanic. He was hit three times, once in the arm and twice in his side, and pronounced dead upon arrival at the hospital.

The intruders, however, weren’t small-time crooks looking to make a small score. Rather they were members of the Tampa Police Department’s SWAT team, which was executing a search warrant on suspicion that Westcott and his partner were marijuana dealers. They had been tipped off by a confidential informant, whom they drove to Westcott’s home four times between February and May to purchase small amounts of marijuana, at $20-$60 a pop. The informer notified police that he saw two handguns in the home, which was why the Tampa police deployed a SWAT team to execute the search warrant. .................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/175881/tomgram%3A_matthew_harwood%2C_one_nation_under_swat/#more

Back into Iraq, Again

from Consortium News:

Back into Iraq, Again
August 15, 2014

As the U.S. military returns to Iraq, Official Washington won’t tolerate a serious examination of the back story of the crisis, which began with the U.S. invasion of Iraq and continued with covert support of Sunni rebels seeking to overthrow Syria’s government, now returning to Iraq. Instead, its more hype and deception, says Danny Schechter.

By Danny Schechter

Welcome back to Iraq – complete with our ever-present WMD’s – Weapons of Mass deception. Suddenly, the country we never wanted to have to think about again is back in the news and on our military agenda. So, after a few denials that troops would not, never, and no way be sent, sure’nuff, U.S, boots are back on the ground, but to play a very different “mission.”

Of course, it’s not combat, assures Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel who was wearing his tennis clothes when he met with GIs. That is, no doubt, why we are pounding that country with bombs again.

To signal that we are not back in the days of the war for Iraqi Freedom, the Pentagon announced its latest humanitarian effort with a tweet, that, in the media world we are now part of, maybe the equivalent of a whimper not a neocon bark. Once again, we are the good guys charging in to protect and defend, save and rescue. You saw the alarmist stories.

This report was on RTE in Ireland: “Islamic State militants have killed hundreds of Iraq’s minority Yazidis.
They buried some alive and took women as slaves, as US warplanes again bombed the insurgents.” Human rights minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani accused the Sunni Muslim insurgents of celebrating what he called a “a vicious atrocity.” ....................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://consortiumnews.com/2014/08/15/back-into-iraq-again/

California Supreme Court Nixes Corporate Personhood "Advisory Measure" From November Ballot

California Supreme Court Nixes Corporate Personhood "Advisory Measure" From November Ballot

Saturday, 16 August 2014 12:34
By Brad Friedman, The Brad Blog | News Analysis

The "Overturn Citizens United Act", or Prop 49, will not appear on California's ballot this November after all.

As we reported in some detail last month, the unusual "advisory measure" was placed on the ballot very recently by the California state legislature. It called for Congress to "propose an amendment...to the United States Constitution" to overturn the infamous Citizens United decision and its progeny, and "to make clear that the rights protected by the United States Constitution are the rights of natural persons only."

But now, the state Supreme Court in California, dominated by 5 Republican appointees and 1 Democratic appointee, has intervened to remove the measure from this year's general election ballot, as the Sacramento Bee reports tonight...

The California Supreme Court on Monday effectively blocked a November advisory ballot measure on the merits of unlimited independent campaign spending, dashing some Democrats' hopes that the measure would boost voter turnout in what could be an otherwise staid election.

Approved by the Legislature early last month and grudgingly allowed to go on the ballot by Gov. Jerry Brown, Proposition 49 would have asked California voters if Congress should overturn the U.S. Supreme Court's controversial Citizens United ruling in 2010. The legislation's passage followed Capitol protests that triggered dozens of arrests.

But in siding with the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, a 5-1 high court majority said it needs more time to consider whether the advisory measure can be placed on a California ballot.

The argument made by the rightwing Howard Jarvis group, and accepted by the state Supremes for now, is that the state Constitution does not allow for non-binding advisory questions on the ballot, but rather, only initiatives that will have the force of law if adopted by the electorate. .....................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/25624-california-supreme-court-nixes-corporate-personhood-advisory-measure-from-november-ballot

Chicago: Additional bus-on-shoulder service coming to Stevenson; possible some day on Edens

(Chicago Tribune) The bus-on-shoulders commuting option that began as an experiment three years ago on the Stevenson Expressway (Interstate 55) has proven so successful service will be enhanced and possibly replicated on the Edens Expressway (I-94)

The bus-on-shoulders commuting option that began as an experiment three years ago on the Stevenson Expressway has proven so successful that service will be increased on that roadway and may be added to the Edens Expressway, officials said Monday.

Average daily ridership on the two bus routes that operate between the Southwest Suburbs and Chicago has grown to just under 1,000, an increase of about 226 percent since the pilot program began in 2011, officials said.

In addition to higher ridership, on-time performance is consistently over 90 percent compared with 68 percent prior to the start of the project, officials said. ........................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/chi-busonshoulder-service-to-be-expanded-20140811-story.html

Buskers Say NYPD Is Harassing Subway Performers

Buskers who perform on subway platforms and trains gathered on the steps of City Hall Tuesday to protest what they say is harassment from the NYPD. The protesters said that the crackdown by police — with tickets and the occasional arrest — is unwarranted.

"People want to come and see us, not just me as a dancer, but also the musicians," said Bronx resident Andrew Saunders, 20, who was arrested last year for dancing on the train. "This is New York City culture, it shouldn't be pushed away, it should be embraced."

The MTA permits people to perform and solicit donations as long as they stay on subway platforms or mezzanines and off actual train cars.

But Besn Kheru was arrested while singing on a subway platform, in addition to two arrests for singing on the train. He said in many cases, artists are just trying to make an honest living and support their families. ..................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.wnyc.org/story/buskers-say-nypd-cracking-down-them/

Measuring Metro's Performance: A Tight Squeeze Through The Rosslyn Bottleneck

Measuring Metro's Performance: A Tight Squeeze Through The Rosslyn Bottleneck

Friday, August 15, 2014 - 11:43 AM
By Martin DiCaro : WAMU

Metro’s answer to Blue Line riders who have asked the transit authority to restore rush hour trains cut to make way for the Silver Line is: there is simply no more room.

The Rosslyn tunnel, the rail system’s worst chokepoint, can handle no more than 26 trains per rush hour. Now that Orange, Silver, and Blue are sharing the tracks, only five of those trains may be Blue Line. That's down from the seven per hour before the Silver Line opened.

But Metro often fails to reach its scheduled goal of 26 trains through Rosslyn, both in morning (inbound to D.C.) and afternoon (outbound to Va.) rush hours.

There are several reasons for less than optimal performance.

* Train or track problems: On August 6, a disabled train on the Orange Line forced single-tracking, sending delays rippling across the system. Only 14 outbound trains made it through Rosslyn between 6 and 7 p.m. that Wednesday, and only two were Blue Line.

* Crowding: It’s a vicious cycle: crowded trains take longer to unload and load once they arrive at the platform. This slows down the Blue/Orange/Silver parade, causing trains further down the line to become even more crowded.

* Manual operations: Because Metro’s trains have yet to return to Automatic Train Operation, individual operators are in control of acceleration and deceleration. Each operator drives a train differently, and some are more efficient than others at pulling into and then accelerating out of a station. Over the course of an hour, a few lost seconds per train adds up to an extra minute or two of delays.

According to data provided by Metro and compiled by MetroMinder DC, an app that measures the rail system's performance, in the first week of Silver Line service (July 28 through August 1), an average 25 outbound trains passed through the bottleneck between 5 to 6 p.m. Between 6 and 7 p.m., the average fell to 23.7 trains/hour. ...................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.wnyc.org/story/measuring-metros-performance-tight-squeeze-through-rosslyn-bottleneck/

Let’s make suburbs into cities: New urbanism, car culture and the future of community

Let’s make suburbs into cities: New urbanism, car culture and the future of community
Well, with an urban spirit, at least. Can real community grow in a town designed to bring people together?


Excerpted from "Americans Against the City: Anti-Urbanism in the 20th Century"

By the last quarter of the twentieth century, Americans had succeeded in building an alternative to the dense central city, and the anti-government politics of the New Right had triumphed on the national stage. Roughly three out of every four of us live in large metropolitan regions, but the large cities that anchor those regions do not house a majority of those metropolitans. The greater Philadelphia region, on the East Coast, counts a population of just under 6 million, the city itself only 1.5 million; on the West Coast, the city of Los Angeles is home to nearly 4 million people, but the Los Angeles “metroplex” has grown to nearly 13 million. Hence the paradox: we are a nation clustered around our major cities, we rely on their infrastructure—transportation networks, education and research facilities, cultural institutions—and we remain deeply ambivalent about the city and city-ness itself.

At the same time, despite the flight from the city after the Second World War, despite the proliferation of physical environments shaped primarily by the automobile and private housing, Americans seemed no closer to solving the question of how to live the good life than they had been at the beginning of the century. Indeed, to judge by any number of sociological studies, public opinion surveys, and news reports, they were arguably further from finding that grail than ever before. A country of exiles, bowling alone, inhabiting a geography of nowhere. “At the conclusion of the 20th century,” sociologist Robert Putnam concluded, “ordinary Americans shared sense of civic malaise.” The longing to belong that underscored the twentieth century had not been satisfied, the beloved community that Josiah Royce had anticipated had not yet come to pass.

Into that loneliness and alienation emerged two movements promising to heal what ailed us. One was made up of a loose assemblage of sociologists, philosophers, lawyers, and public policy types who called themselves “communitarians.” They have attempted to formulate an ethos to navigate between an excessive individualism and an overbearing state. The other was a group of planners, designers, and architects who called themselves the “new urbanists.” These new urbanists believe that America’s sterile built environment has contributed mightily to that civic malaise, and that with better planning we can create meaningful communities.

Though each had its own roots, the two movements converged in the 1990s. The communitarians offered a bracing critique of the nation’s social ills, and they argued that a revived “community” would fill its void of values. The new urbanists envisioned landscapes that would facilitate exactly the ethos the communitarians advocated. Space could be reshaped into meaningful places, which in turn would foster the community at the heart of communitarianism. Both groups came to national prominence in the last decade of the twentieth century, both diagnosed the same ailment in American life, and both have been ambivalent about the role of the city in curing the “crisis of community” and have been largely silent on the larger issue of how to invigorate our public sphere. ........................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.salon.com/2014/08/17/lets_make_suburbs_into_cities_new_urbanism_car_culture_and_the_future_of_community/

The Truth Behind Mergers

The Truth Behind Mergers

Sunday, 17 August 2014 00:00
By Joey Gomez, Truthout | News Analysis

Last year Microsoft announced its buyout of Nokia, the Finnish communications and information technology multinational corporation. Now as Microsoft absorbs Nokia, the new CEO of Microsoft has announced the largest layoff - 18,000 employees - in the company's history. After the announcement of the layoffs, the company's stock increased to a point that it hasn't seen since the dot-com boom. Although Microsoft is no stranger to the idea of consuming its competitor, it does beg the question: How will this affect the economy?

Mergers and acquisitions are promoted as having a good economic impact for the general public and consumers. Following the announcement of the layoffs, Microsoft's new CEO has been adamant that the recent absorption of Nokia will allow the company to focus on consumer needs to better benefit them through their products. With the acquisition of Nokia's 30,000-employee workforce, 12,500 will be laid-off. At the same time Microsoft is laying off 5,500 of its own employees.

Historically, it seems most mergers and acquisitions are either achieving a takeover of a company's technology, assets, customers and patents, or purposely invading other competing markets - as was the case with Oracle's takeover of Peoplesoft or the current attempt by Comcast to acquire Time-Warner.

Currently we are seeing the biggest boom in mergers and acquisitions since the recovery, with no sign of slowing. Many would say this is good news as mergers usually occur when the economy is doing better. Yet, the irony is that most, if not all, mergers have led to mass layoffs, while the stock for investors and packages for corporate managers increase. ................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://truth-out.org/news/item/25631-the-truth-behind-mergers

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