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marmar

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Member since: Thu Oct 28, 2004, 11:18 PM
Number of posts: 71,730

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Amy Goodman: Time For the Majority to Vote on Gun Control


from truthdig:


Time For the Majority to Vote on Gun Control

Posted on Apr 4, 2013
By Amy Goodman


New federal gun-control legislation has been declared all but dead on arrival this week. Gridlock in the U.S. Senate, where a supermajority of 60 votes is needed to move most legislation these days, is proving to be an insuperable barrier to any meaningful change in the wake of the Newtown, Conn., massacre. Meanwhile, the National Rifle Association is pushing its controversial agenda to place armed guards in every school, increasing the number of guns in our society and further entrenching gun culture.

While the Senate is perhaps the worst bellwether for public sentiment, recent polls indicate majority support for stricter controls, with an overwhelming 85 percent-90 percent of respondents from across the political spectrum supporting universal background checks. As the horror of the Newtown massacre recedes in time, polls show that support for a more aggressive ban on assault weapons is slipping slightly, as could be predicted.

Time is on the side of those opposing gun control, most notably the NRA. The longer this drags out, the less likely anything will get done. That is why President Barack Obama’s announcement of a commission, just four days after the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Newtown, was a harbinger of failure and inaction. Commissions take time. It didn’t help that the chairperson he appointed, Vice President Joe Biden, encouraged lawless, reckless gun use, saying: “If you want to protect yourself, get a double-barrel shotgun. Have the shells for a 12-gauge shotgun, and I promise you as I told my wife—we live in an area that’s wooded and somewhat secluded—I said, ‘Jill if there’s ever a problem, just walk out on the balcony here, walk out, put that double-barrel shotgun and fire two blasts outside the house. I promise you whoever’s coming in is not going.’ You don’t need an AR-15. It’s harder to aim; it’s harder to use. And in fact, you don’t need 30 rounds to protect yourself. Buy a shotgun. Buy a shotgun.”

Too much of what Biden says is written off as gaffes and bluster. But this is coming from the chair of the president’s own commission on gun control. In his State of the Union address, Obama got rousing applause when he insisted: “The families of Newtown deserve a vote. The families of Aurora deserve a vote. The families of Oak Creek and Tucson and Blacksburg and the countless other communities ripped open by gun violence, they deserve a simple vote.” ........(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/time_for_the_majority_to_vote_on_gun_control_20130404/



Five Dead of Bird Flu in China as Virus Found in Pigeons


(Bloomberg) Five people have died from the new strain of bird flu that emerged in eastern China as authorities detected the virus in pigeon samples collected at a marketplace.

Shanghai, China’s financial hub, has reported six of the 14 human cases of the H7N9 strain of avian influenza confirmed by local authorities since the country’s health ministry reported the first cases last month, China’s official Xinhua News Agency reported yesterday.

One of the people who died in Shanghai transported poultry, Xinhua said. There’s no evidence of human-to-human transmission of the virus, the World Health Organization said yesterday in a statement. The extent of the outbreak, the source of infection and the mode of transmission are being investigated, and it’s too early to tell whether the cases may signal a pandemic, according to the WHO.

“How widespread the illness is at this very early stage, we don’t know,” said Alan Hampson, chairman of the Australian Influenza Specialist Group, in an e-mailed statement. “We don’t know whether we’re seeing the tip of the iceberg or whether we’re actually seeing most of the existing cases presenting as severe infection. If it’s the latter then it’s a concern.” ..................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-04-04/five-dead-of-bird-flu-in-china-as-virus-found-in-pigeons.html



ACLU Fights Nevada's 'Crime Against Nature' Statute Banning Consensual Sex Between Gay Teens


The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) announced plans this week to fight a discriminatory Nevada statute that bans consensual sex between gay teens, but not straight teens.

The Nevada chapter of the ACLU, as well as the National ACLU Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and AIDS Project, officially challenged the law in federal suit filed Tuesday, according to Courthouse News Service.

The state's so-called “infamous crime against nature” statute essentially creates a double standard based solely on sexual orientation, argued the ACLU in a press release. Though the age of sexual consent in Nevada is 16, the statute forbids sex between gay teens who are above the age of consent but under 18.

“This law violates Equal Protection guarantees under any standard of review,” observed Staci Pratt, legal director for the ACLU of Nevada, per the group's release. .....................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/04/crime-against-nature-statute-nevada-aclu_n_3015565.html?ncid=txtlnkushpmg00000037



Jobless claims at four-month high, cast shadow over jobs market


(Reuters) - The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits hit a four-month high last week, the latest suggestion the labor market recovery lost some momentum in March.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 28,000 to a seasonally adjusted 385,000, the highest level since November, the Labor Department said on Thursday.

Economists, who had expected claims to drop to 350,000, said while part of the rise reflected difficulties adjusting the data during the Easter and spring breaks, there was no doubt the pace of job growth had eased.

"What we do know is that the growth momentum has slowed, employment has slowed. The question is how much?" said Millan Mulraine, a senior economist at TD Securities in New York. ....................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/04/04/us-usa-economy-jobless-idUSBRE9330HH20130404



Americans Are Driving Less


http://www.streetfilms.org/streetfacts-2-americans-are-driving-less/


Streetfacts #2: Americans Are Driving Less
by Clarence Eckerson, Jr. on April 2, 2013 |




We continue our Streetfacts series by looking at the data on driving in the U.S. Beginning in 2005, per-capita driving has declined every year. That's not a blip, it's now an 8-year trend.

The reason? Neither the state of the economy nor changes in gas prices offer a satisfactory explanation. Social preferences and demographic shifts seem to be playing a role. Young people today are less likely to own a car or have a driver's license than young people several years ago. At the same time, America's growing population of seniors are no longer in their peak driving years.

Whatever the combination of factors, people are riding transit, walking, and bicycling more. Even magazines like Motor Trend are examining the shift away from cars.

The upshot is that we need to start making smart transportation investments that align with the new reality: Americans are driving less.


Faux's latest chart-topper: Mike Rice Firing Symbol Of 'The Wussification Of American Men'




To most people, the firing of Rutgers basketball coach Mike Rice was a justifiable action taken after the revelation of a history of physical violence and homophobic abuse directed at young athletes. To Fox News host Eric Bolling, however, Rice's ouster was a symbol of a culture in "free fall."

Speaking on "The Five," Bolling said that he did not condone the many times Rice was found to have called his players "f----ts," but he seemed to have no problem with the coach throwing basketballs at the players' heads.

“We’re in the midst of political correctness crushing our ability to teach kinds, to discipline kids, to disagree with people or one another or kids,” Bolling said. “Our culture is in decline, but this is an example of our culture in free fall." ........................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/04/eric-bolling-mike-rice-wussification_n_3014160.html?ncid=txtlnkushpmg00000037&ir=Politics



Americans Are Driving Less


http://www.streetfilms.org/streetfacts-2-americans-are-driving-less/




Streetfacts #2: Americans Are Driving Less
by Clarence Eckerson, Jr. on April 2, 2013 |




We continue our Streetfacts series by looking at the data on driving in the U.S. Beginning in 2005, per-capita driving has declined every year. That's not a blip, it's now an 8-year trend.

The reason? Neither the state of the economy nor changes in gas prices offer a satisfactory explanation. Social preferences and demographic shifts seem to be playing a role. Young people today are less likely to own a car or have a driver's license than young people several years ago. At the same time, America's growing population of seniors are no longer in their peak driving years.

Whatever the combination of factors, people are riding transit, walking, and bicycling more. Even magazines like Motor Trend are examining the shift away from cars.

The upshot is that we need to start making smart transportation investments that align with the new reality: Americans are driving less.


Co-Opting Another Human Rights Group


from Consortium News:


Co-Opting Another Human Rights Group
April 4, 2013

For decades, the U.S. government has worked to bend respected human rights groups to the goals of Official Washington, often by spreading around money and credentialing the easily co-opted. The strategy has touched groups like Amnesty International and now PEN, write John V. Walsh and Coleen Rowley.

By John V. Walsh and Coleen Rowley


Suzanne Nossel is a disturbing choice as the new executive director of PEN, American Center, an American branch of the worldwide association of writers and related professions devoted to free expression and “the ideal of one humanity living in peace in the world.” International PEN was founded in 1921 to act as a powerful voice for freedom of expression and in defense of writers facing harassment and jail.

Playwright Arthur Miller, who once led PEN, said, “When political people have finished with repression and violencePEN can indeed be forgotten. Until then, with all its flounderings and failings and mistaken acts, it is still, I think, a fellowship moved by the hope that one day the work it tries and often manages to do will no longer be necessary.”

Nossel is an advocate for what she has termed “Smart Power,” as she explained in Foreign Affairs: “To advance from a nuanced dissent to a compelling vision, progressive policymakers should turn to the great mainstay of twentieth-century U.S. foreign policy: liberal internationalism … (which) should offer assertive leadership — diplomatic, economic, and not least, military — to advance a broad array of goals.” (Emphases added)

The stark contrast between the statements of Arthur Miller and Suzanne Nossel is enough to sound an alarm. But Nossel’s career path, the masters she has served, the stances she has taken and the activities she has sponsored demonstrate profound differences with PEN, which cannot remain true to the ideals articulated by Arthur Miller with Nossel at the helm. She is an embodiment of the ongoing, and all too successful, cooption of the Human Rights movement by the U.S. government. ..................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://consortiumnews.com/2013/04/04/co-opting-another-human-rights-group/



To Build a Community Economy, Start With Solidarity


from YES! Magazine:


To Build a Community Economy, Start With Solidarity
How residents who can’t afford to buy in still get the benefits of co-op work and housing.

by Abby Scher
posted Apr 03, 2013


When Cecilia Pastor greeted us at the door of an empty unit at Spring Meadow Apartments in Springfield, Mass., she was surrounded by the harsh smell of paint and the cleaners she had used to scour the space to make it presentable for a new tenant. A petite 30-year-old woman, she was working for United for Hire, a worker-controlled landscaping, snow removal, and cleaning firm operated by the innovative nonprofit Alliance to Develop Power (ADP).
“One thing I have learned and really like in United for Hire is we work in a community economy, and the money circulates,” she said. “And we have good salaries where we can support our families.”

A powerful idea

“Building a community economy.” That ethic, heard from ADP members and workers alike, defines the Springfield-based nonprofit. Deputy Director Keya Hicks, who was an active member before joining the staff, explains the power of the idea, loosely taken from the work of the late feminist scholar Julie Graham: “These are folks who live right in the community. They want their lawns to be mowed. They want their snow to be removed. They work for United for Hire; they pay rent from those checks to keep the property running, so the wealth circulates in the community.”

For a relatively poor city like Springfield and the surrounding area in the Pioneer Valley of western Massachusetts, this is a powerful idea. For the 21-year-old ADP, it means that enriching the social ties and cooperative ethic among its members and within the community is just as important as economic development or political organizing (a recent campaign stopped a transit fare hike). It is that larger vision of building a web of solidarity that distinguishes ADP and United for Hire from other community development organizations that also aim to stabilize the local economy, create affordable housing, and nurture advocacy.

Hicks joined ADP while living at one of the four independent complexes of Section 8 housing that are the social and economic anchor for ADP’s work. ADP created these “cooperatives,” as it calls them, by buying out existing housing developments from private owners and creating freestanding 501(c)(3) nonprofits for each, as required by the Department of Housing and Urban Development at the time. The tenants control their housing through a democratically elected board. ...................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/how-cooperatives-are-driving-the-new-economy/how-solidarity-builds-a-community-economy



Do Southwest Airlines ads portend new fees?


from the LA Times:



Once known as an upstart carrier, Southwest Airlines recently launched an ad campaign that has some airline industry experts wondering whether it signals a new direction — and new fees — at the nation's largest domestic airline.

The new ads, which began airing during the television broadcast of the NCAA tournament, don't mention the airline's most popular appeal — that your first two checked bags fly free and you don't pay to change flights. The ads also don't feature funny dialogue that slams competitors — a common theme in previous Southwest commercials.

Instead, the latest ads are polished and professional and push the message that Southwest is the airline for entrepreneurs and pioneers. "We're never finished, never satisfied and we never stop looking for a better way," the ad's narrator says.

Could it be that Southwest is preparing the public for a big change, such as the introduction of fees to check bags or change reservations? ...................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://articles.latimes.com/2013/mar/31/business/la-fi-travel-briefcase-20130401



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