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Gender: Male
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 70,330

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3 hot new places opening in downtown, Midtown Detroit

from the Freep:

Several long-awaited eating, drinking and hotel establishments are about to open in downtown and Midtown Detroit.

First on the scene will be Punch Bowl Social, a vast 24,000-square-foot restaurant, bar, games and entertainment complex that is set to open Wednesday night in the new Z Garage building at 1331 Broadway in downtown.

Punch Bowl Social will fill two floors, have four separate bars and offer games including bowling, darts, ping pong, shuffle board and 1980s arcade games.


Up next to open will be HopCat Detroit, a craft beer bar at Woodward and Canfield in Midtown. Construction workers have been laboring late into the nights in recent weeks preparing for Saturday's grand opening. The bar will have more than 100 different beers on tap and is designed for big crowds. HopCat's second floor will be the Huma Room, a live entertainment venue that can hold up to 400 people.

And later next week the 136-room boutique hotel in the newly reopened David Whitney Building is set to open at at 1 Park Avenue downtown. The hotel is part of a $92-million restoration project at the 19-story building, which dates to 1915. The project's 105 high-end market-rate apartments will open to tenants in January. ..................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.freep.com/story/money/business/michigan/2014/12/10/hopcat-whitney-punch-bowl-social-detroit/20183929/

Katrina vanden Heuvel: Many struggling to breathe amid rampant injustice

from the WaPo:

Many struggling to breathe amid rampant injustice
By Katrina vanden Heuvel December 9 at 9:34 AM

As I write, New York City is witnessing its fifth day of demonstrations after a Staten Island grand jury’s decision not to indict a police officer in the Eric Garner killing. Those demonstrations followed on the protests across the country over the police shootings of Akai Gurley, a 28-year-old father of two who was slain while walking with his girlfriend in Brooklyn, Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old boy shot by a rookie Cleveland police officer while playing with a toy gun, and, most famously, the Ferguson, Mo., police killing of Michael Brown. Conservatives joined liberals in denouncing the grand jury’s outrageous decision in the Garner case. Demonstrations have spread across the country as people of all races have taken up Garner’s plea: “I can’t breathe.”

President Obama met with some of the demonstrators in the White House, where 20-year-old Rasheen Aldridge Jr., director of Young Activists United St Louis, said they made it clear “that we are in crisis.” He added, “It is a crisis when a black American can get locked up for traffic fines, but police officers are rarely prosecuted for killing unarmed children.” The president, as another attendee later reported, “cautioned us against demanding too big and stressed gradualism. He counseled us that the wheels of progress turn sluggishly.” The Justice Department has launched special investigations into the killings of Brown and Garner. The president has announced that he will push for putting cameras on police and has convened a Task Force on 21st Century Policing with instructions to report back in 90 days.

The deaths of Garner, Brown and others at the hands of police are not the only cause sparking mass protests. The day after the Garner demonstrations started, low-wage workers walked off their jobs in more than 190 cities, demanding a living wage and the right to organize. They, too, chanted, “I can’t breathe.” Workers from fast food-restaurants such as McDonald’s were joined by those from low-wage retail and convenience stores and airline service jobs. In Washington, federal contract workers joined the march, calling on the president to issue procurement regulations that would reward good employers that pay a living wage with benefits and allow workers to organize and bargain collectively.

“I can’t make it on this type of income,” Shantel Walker, 32, who earns $8.50 an hour working at Papa John’s Pizza in Brooklyn, told MSNBC. She struggles to get 30 hours of work per week. Many of these workers juggle two or three part-time jobs but aren’t told their schedules with enough notice to be able to plan their child care. Taxpayers end up subsidizing their wages with food stamps and Medicaid, while the chief executives of companies such as McDonald’s and Starbucks receive more than $9,200 an hour. No wonder the workers can’t breathe. .................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/katrina-vanden-heuvel-many-struggling-to-breathe-amid-rampant-injustice/2014/12/09/683d7886-7f05-11e4-8882-03cf08410beb_story.html

Don’t Expect Supreme Court Action on the Senate’s Torture Report

from truthdig:

Don’t Expect Supreme Court Action on the Senate’s Torture Report

Posted on Dec 9, 2014
By Bill Blum

Now that the Senate has released an executive summary of its report on the use of torture by the CIA during the George W. Bush-era war on terror, litigation is sure to follow to probe the legality of the techniques the agency deployed in secret interrogation sites around the world. The techniques, which were used against 119 detainees according to the summary, included repeated waterboarding, death threats, prolonged sleep deprivation and medically unnecessary rectal feeding as a “way to exert total control” over terror suspects.

Sooner rather than later, the anticipated litigation will land in the lap of the nine justices who sit on the Supreme Court, as issues of critical national importance invariably do. How the high court will rule, however, remains a disturbingly open question.

As always, the best—though by no means certain—predictor of how the court will respond is its recent record on the subjects of enhanced interrogation and human rights violations generally. Below is a summary of some of the court’s most significant post-9/11 cases on the topics. In evaluating the predictive potential of the cases, keep in mind the court’s shifting composition: specifically, that former Chief Justice William Rehnquist died in 2005; and former Associate Justices Sandra Day O’Connor, David Souter and John Paul Stevens retired in 2006, 2009 and 2010, respectively. We’re dealing with a judicial body that has steadily and relentlessly moved to the right.

Hamdi v. Rumsfeld (2004): This was a habeas corpus action involving Yasser Esam Hamdi, a U.S. citizen apprehended in Afghanistan and imprisoned at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba. In a plurality decision in which a majority of justices agreed on the ultimate result but not all aspects of legal reasoning, the court recognized the federal government’s power to detain terror suspects but held that U.S. citizen detainees retained due process rights to challenge their detentions before an impartial authority. Justice Clarence Thomas notably penned a dissent (joined by no other justices) that would have upheld executive power, completely denying due process rights to detainees pursuant to the president’s war-making powers. ..................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/dont_expect_supreme_court_action_on_the_senates_torture_memo_20141209

Guardian UK: Stop believing the lies: America tortured more than 'some folks' – and covered it up

Stop believing the lies: America tortured more than 'some folks' – and covered it up
Trevor Timm

CIA defenders are out in force now that a historic report has exposed a decade of horrific American shame. Torture didn’t work, but why aren’t the architects of torture in jail?

It wasn’t that bad, we’ve been told, over and over again, for more than a decade. “We only waterboarded three people” goes the line American officials have been force-feeding the world for years. “We tortured some folks,” Barack Obama admitted recently, still downplaying war crimes committed in America’s name. But we now know those statements do not even begin to do justice to the horrific activities carried out by the CIA for years – atrocities that now have been exposed by the US Senate’s historic report on the CIA’s torture program, finally released on Tuesday after years of delay.

There are stories in the CIA torture report of “rectal rehydration as a means of behavior control”, threats to murder and “threats to sexually abuse the mother of a detainee” – or cut a mother’s throat. There are details about detainees with broken bones forced to stand for days on end, detainees blindfolded, dragged down hallways while they were beaten. There were even torture sessions that ended in death. The list goes on and on, and on and on.

But beyond all the the depravity, perhaps the most shocking part of this exposed history is the action of US officials who knew these horrors were unfolding – and covered them up.

For years, as the 480-page executive summary of the report documents in meticulous detail, these officials lied to the Senate, the Justice Department, the White House, to the American public and to the world. They prevented CIA officers involved from being disciplined. They investigated and marginalized those who were investigating them. They happily leaked classified information to journalists – much of it false – without worry of consequence. .....................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/dec/09/america-torture-cia-report-defenders

Noam Chomsky on Syria, China, Capitalism, and Ferguson

Why No One Remembers the Peacemakers: Celebrating War Over and Over and Peace Once

from TomDispatch:

Why No One Remembers the Peacemakers
Celebrating War Over and Over and Peace Once

By Adam Hochschild

Go to war and every politician will thank you, and they’ll continue to do so -- with monuments and statues, war museums and military cemeteries -- long after you’re dead. But who thanks those who refused to fight, even in wars that most people later realized were tragic mistakes? Consider the 2003 invasion of Iraq, now widely recognized as igniting an ongoing disaster. America’s politicians still praise Iraq War veterans to the skies, but what senator has a kind word to say about the hundreds of thousands of protesters who marched and demonstrated before the invasion was even launched to try to stop our soldiers from risking their lives in the first place?

What brings all this to mind is an apparently heartening exception to the rule of celebrating war-makers and ignoring peacemakers. A European rather than an American example, it turns out to be not quite as simple as it first appears. Let me explain.

December 25th will be the 100th anniversary of the famous Christmas Truce of the First World War. You probably know the story: after five months of unparalleled industrial-scale slaughter, fighting on the Western Front came to a spontaneous halt. British and German soldiers stopped shooting at each other and emerged into the no-man’s-land between their muddy trenches in France and Belgium to exchange food and gifts.

That story -- burnished in recent years by books, songs, music videos, a feature film, and an opera -- is largely true. On Christmas Day, troops did indeed trade cigarettes, helmets, canned food, coat buttons, and souvenirs. They sang carols, barbecued a pig, posed for photographs together, and exchanged German beer for British rum. In several spots, men from the rival armies played soccer together. The ground was pocked with shell craters and proper balls were scarce, so the teams made use of tin cans or sandbags stuffed with straw instead. Officers up to the rank of colonel emerged from the trenches to greet their counterparts on the other side, and they, too, were photographed together. (Refusing to join the party, however, was 25-year-old Adolf Hitler, at the front with his German army unit. He thought the truce shocking and dishonorable.) ...........(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/175932/tomgram%3A_adam_hochschild%2C_thank_you_for_making_war%21/

ALEC Fumes: Transparency Threatens Corporate Free Speech!

After spending hundreds of millions of undisclosed funds on state and federal elections, the corporate members of the American Legislative Exchange Council are demanding that state legislators preserve their "right" to anonymously spend money on politics and curry favor with elected officials, and to thwart shareholder efforts to hold the corporations they own accountable.

A December 3 workshop titled "Playing the Shame Game: A Campaign that Threatens Corporate Free Speech," held at ALEC's meeting this week in Washington, DC, warned of "an increasing chorus of anti-business activists calling for an end to corporate political participation in the name of ferreting out so-called 'dark money," according to an agenda obtained by the Center for Media and Democracy. Panelists set their sights on campaign finance disclosure laws and shareholder proposals aimed at promoting transparency in corporate political spending.

It is little surprise that corporate interests would peddle secrecy to the hundreds of Republican state legislators at ALEC.

ALEC's funders, like the billionaire Koch brothers, have spent millions in "dark money" -- electoral spending that evades donor disclosure laws -- in recent years, secret spending which has increased exponentially since the U.S. Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens United decision. .................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/27892-alec-fumes-transparency-threatens-corporate-free-speech

Professor Richard Wolff: Costs of Global Capitalism

by Richard Wolff.

The International Labor Organization (ILO) just released a report on December 5, 2014 (http://www.ilo.org/global/about-the-ilo/newsroom/news/WCMS_324645/lang--en/index.htm) sharply exposing what the development of global capitalism means and costs. Here are its key conclusions:

1. Real wage growth slowed again in 2013 (to 2% per year), remaining below pre-crisis rates of wage increase that averaged about 3%.

2. But even more important, real wage growth in “advanced” economies like those in north America, western Europe and Japan hovered around 1 % since 2006 and fell, in 2012 and 2013, to 0.1 % and 0.2 %.

3. In sharp contrast, real wages rose in in major emerging countries (China especially) by 6.7% in 2012 and 5.9% in 2013.

The ILO report’s key chart below summarizes the key wage results of global capitalism over the last decade. Economic growth, rising real wages, and rising standards of living are the economic reality of China. Economic crisis, stagnant wages, and deepening inequalities of income and wealth are the economic realities for western Europe, the US, and Japan.

Capitalist enterprises keep moving their operations (manufacturing but also now service sector jobs) from high wage to low wage regions of the world to raise their profits. The resulting unemployment forces the jobless to compete for jobs and accept lower paid work. So real wages stagnate in the areas capitalists leave and rise in the areas to which they move. Capitalism no longer brings a rising standard of living to the regions where it was born and developed first: western Europe, north America and Japan. ......................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://rdwolff.com/content/costs-global-capitalism

Chicago McCormick Place Green Line Opening Delayed to Early 2015

CTA riders won't be getting a new Green Line stop for the holidays.

The city has pushed back the targeted open date for the new Green Line stop by McCormick Place to early next year, said Pete Scales, a spokesman for the Chicago Department of Transportation, which is overseeing the project. In August, Scales said the Green Line stop was expected to be complete at the end of this year.

At a civic luncheon last week, where CTA President Forrest Claypool discussed transit projects, an audience member asked Claypool when the Cermak station would be ready. He said "late spring."

Scales blamed the subzero temperatures earlier this year for the delay. Scales also said the construction schedule was adjusted to minimize neighborhood traffic and Green Line disruptions. ..................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.masstransitmag.com/news/11787036/mccormick-place-green-line-opening-delayed-to-early-2015

Frustrations Mount With New Doubts About D.C.'s Streetcar Launch

[font size="1"]The H Street streetcar making a test run (Martin Austermuhle/WAMU)[/font]

Life along H Street Northeast has taken on a strange repetitiveness for restaurant owner Howard Frampton.

Every 10 minutes or so of every day of every week, a gleaming red and gray streetcar slides past his Jamaican eatery at the corner of H and 6th Streets, its electric whir distinct amid the urban din. It comes to a stop at a newly built platform at the end of the block, rings its bell, waits for the light to change, then continues on.

There is only one thing missing: passengers.

“Hopefully it will start soon, but when? When? When? Everybody keeps asking when. They are doing test runs every five seconds, but when?” an exasperated Frampton asked. ...................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.wnyc.org/story/frustrations-mount-new-doubts-about-dcs-streetcar-launch/

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