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marmar

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Gender: Male
Member since: Thu Oct 28, 2004, 11:18 PM
Number of posts: 71,637

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SF: Who gets hit by Muni switchbacks? It's mostly low-income and outer neighborhoods




from the SF Bay Guardian:


Who gets hit by Muni switchbacks?
It's mostly low-income and outer neighborhoods

03.19.13 - 4:08 pm | Rebecca Bowe |


Muni switchbacks — that annoying practice where trains force all the passengers off well before the end of the line — have been in the news lately, with new Supervisor Katy Tang making switchbacks her first political priority.

But when you zero in on who bears the brunt of these service disruptions, it becomes clear that not all transit passengers are created equal. In fact, Muni data shows that the vast majority of switchbacks were concentrated in just three locations this past January.

San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency reports shows that the top three stations hit by switchbacks in January were the T Third stop at Third Street and Carroll Avenue; the N Judah stop at Judah Street and Sunset Boulevard; and the J Church stop at Glen Park Station, in that order. While the January data provides only a snapshot, annual figures show that the T and J lines each averaged around 36 switchbacks per month since February of 2012, while the N averaged 49.

Muni defends the switchbacks, saying that trains sometimes have to be rerouted to fill service gaps elsewhere. But for passengers, it's a huge inconvenience — they're left with little choice but to sit tight until the next train arrives, which in some cases can be as long as 30 minutes. ...................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.sfbg.com/2013/03/19/who-gets-hit-muni-switchbacks



Rightbloggers Take Cover as Gay Marriage Reigns Supreme


from the Village Voice:


Rightbloggers Take Cover as Gay Marriage Reigns Supreme
By Roy Edroso Sun., Mar. 31 2013 at 9:33 PM


Last week the Supreme Court heard a couple of gay marriage cases and, with so many politicians and even some conservatives running to grab the rainbow flag, it seemed as if a corner on the contentious issue had been turned.

How went the rightbloggers? Most continued to -- paraphrasing Buckley -- stand athwart history, crying "Please be gentle!" But others tried to accommodate their new gay-married overlords in ways that preserved for themselves some sliver of Right Pride.

However the court rules, things do look sunnier for marriage equality than they did even a year ago. Polls now show slightly more support for than opposition to gay marriage. And some top Republicans have been doing the rats/sinking ship routine. Rob Portman switched on account of his son; a number of Republicans signed a legal brief on behalf of gay marriage; Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) said a pro-gay-marriage GOP Presidential candidate was not only possible but "inevitable," etc.

But don't worry -- most real conservatives are holding the line; Mike Huckabee's even willing to lead the Bible belters out of the GOP over it. And despite some maudlin well-I-guess-this-is-it capitulations, most rightbloggers are on the line with them -- though there is some (pardon the expression) diversity as to tactics. ..............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://blogs.villagevoice.com/runninscared/2013/03/rightbloggers_t_3.php



Our Hidden Wealth: How the commons makes everything else work


from OnTheCommons.org:


Our Hidden Wealth
How the commons makes everything else work

By Jonathan Rowe

This is the first chapter from the book Our Common Wealth: The Hidden Economy that That Makes Everything Else Work, a collection of writings from Jonathan Rowe (1946-2011). Rowe was a co-founder of On the Commons and a co-editor of On the Commons.org.


My wife grew up in what Western experts, not without condescension, call a “developing” country. The social life of her village revolved largely around a tree. People gathered there in the evening to visit, tell stories, or just pass the time. Some of my wife’s warmest childhood memories are of playing hide-and-seek late into the evening while adults chatted under the tree.

The tree was more than a quaint meeting place; it was an economic asset in the root sense of that word. It produced a bonding of neighbors, an information network, an activity center for kids, and a bridge between generations. Older people could be part of the flow of daily life, and children got to experience something scarce in the United States today—an unstructured and noncompetitive setting in which their parents were close at hand.

In the United States we spend hundreds of billions of dollars on everything from community centers to kiddie videos to try to achieve those results, with great inefficiency and often much less positive effect. Yet most Western economists would regard the tree as a pathetic state of underdevelopment.

They would urge “modernization,” by which they would mean cutting down the tree and making people pay money for what it provided. In their preferred vision, corporate-produced entertainment would displace local culture. Something free and available to all would become commodities sold for a price. The result would be “growth” as economists understand that term. ..................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://onthecommons.org/magazine/our-hidden-wealth



Quelle Surprise !!!: A small group of suburban voters defeated the LA County transit tax extension





from the LA Times:



A minority of voters living in a daisy chain of small, suburban and relatively upscale enclaves around the county's outer rim were largely responsible for last fall's razor thin defeat of a $90-billion transit tax that received lopsided ballot box support, a Times analysis shows.

The review comes as several of Los Angeles' senior politicians have joined state lawmakers to push for a reduction of the threshold for passage of such measures, arguing that the current two-thirds requirement is undemocratic and hinders the region's growth.

The transit tax extension, known as Measure J, was approved by 66.1% of some 3 million voters but fell 0.6%, or just 16,000 votes, shy of the required two-thirds supermajority.

Regions such as the South Bay, with higher concentrations of staunchly anti-tax voters, played a decisive role in defeating the proposal. ..........................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://articles.latimes.com/2013/mar/31/local/la-me-tax-vote-20130331



Are Floating Pigs Behind China’s Avian Flu?


(Bloomberg) News that a new form of deadly bird flu recently killed two Shanghai residents arrived in the morning’s papers, along with some expert suggestions on how to avoid catching the unwelcome disease.

“Wash your hands, and cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing,” was the advice published in the Oriental Morning Post, Shanghai’s most popular newspaper (and repeated in others). “And avoid eating or contact with dead and diseased livestock.”

That last directive might be a little tricky to fulfill. Since early March, Shanghai’s waterways have been clogged by dead pigs -- officially at least 11,000 of them but likely a lot more. Many of those pigs have found their way into tributaries that feed directly into the municipal water supply. Thus, in theory, every Shanghai resident who comes into contact with the city’s water is potentially compromised.

Or are they? So far, at least, nobody from any level of government -- local to national -- has revealed what, precisely, may have caused a massive pork die-off so close to the city of Shanghai. Was it a virus? Or perhaps a play for livestock insurance? Both rumors (and others) have been floated in Chinese social and traditional media, but without official confirmation. .....................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-04-01/are-floating-pigs-behind-china-s-avian-flu-.html



The Real Stolen Government: A bloodless coup has taken place in this state


from the Metro Times:


The Real Stolen Government
A bloodless coup has taken place in this state

By Jack Lessenberry
Published: March 27, 2013


Detroit now has an emergency manager, and there’s a lot of rumbling that, as a result, government has been stolen, and democracy has died. Greg Bowens, for example, had an eloquent column arguing that in the Free Press last Sunday.

“A bloodless coup of the largest democratically elected government in our state has occurred,” he began.

Well, let’s leave aside, for now, the question of whether an emergency manager here was legal or necessary. Regardless of that, here’s the elephant we are all missing. Forget Detroit: A bloodless coup has taken place in this state, at a far higher level: state government itself.

Fanatic right-wingers first gerrymandered the Legislature to make sure that it would always elect a majority of Republicans, even if — as happened last fall — more citizens voted for Democratic candidates. .................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://metrotimes.com/news/politics-and-prejudices/the-real-stolen-government-1.1463705



A Question for Tax Time: Why Do We Tax?


from Too Much: A Commentary on Excess and Inequality:


A Question for Tax Time: Why Do We Tax?
March 30, 2013

Years ago, right after World War II, America’s most famed corporate tax lawyer gave an answer that had the nation’s super rich squirming.

By Sam Pizzigati


April 15 is fast approaching, and Americans are naturally thinking about taxes. But most of us won’t be thinking about taxes the same way Americans once did. Over the past half-century, we’ve had a profound transformation in our attitudes toward income taxation.

How profound? Consider the tax perspective of Randolph Paul, the corporate tax attorney who helped shape federal tax policy during and after World War II.

Randolph Paul probably thought about taxes — and their role in our society — as deeply as any American of his time. Paul lived and died taxes, literally. In 1956, he slumped over and passed away while testifying about tax policy before a U.S. Senate committee.

Paul’s tax career had started decades earlier. In 1918, just a few years after the federal income tax went into effect, Paul began specializing in tax law. By the 1930s, he had become one of Wall Street’s top tax experts. His clients ranged from General Motors to Standard Oil of California, and probably no one in America knew the tax code — loopholes and all — any better. ..............................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://toomuchonline.org/a-question-for-tax-time-why-do-we-tax/



Denver: RTD's W light-rail line builds steam toward a late-April opening

RTD's W light-rail line builds steam toward a late-April opening
Posted: 04/01/2013 12:01:00 AM MDT
Updated: 04/01/2013 07:59:23 AM MDT

By Emilie Rusch
YourHub


Light-rail trains are rolling through Lakewood, and officials with the Regional Transportation District said the frequency will increase in the final weeks before the W Line opens to the public.

The final countdown to rail in Jefferson County has begun. Opening day is April 26. ..................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_22912926/rtds-w-light-rail-line-builds-steam-toward#ixzz2PDjQP2OO
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Chris Hedges: The Treason of the Intellectuals


from truthdig:


The Treason of the Intellectuals

Posted on Mar 31, 2013
By Chris Hedges


The rewriting of history by the power elite was painfully evident as the nation marked the 10th anniversary of the start of the Iraq War. Some claimed they had opposed the war when they had not. Others among “Bush’s useful idiots” argued that they had merely acted in good faith on the information available; if they had known then what they know now, they assured us, they would have acted differently. This, of course, is false. The war boosters, especially the “liberal hawks”—who included Hillary Clinton, Chuck Schumer, Al Franken and John Kerry, along with academics, writers and journalists such as Bill Keller, Michael Ignatieff, Nicholas Kristof, David Remnick, Fareed Zakaria, Michael Walzer, Paul Berman, Thomas Friedman, George Packer, Anne-Marie Slaughter, Kanan Makiya and the late Christopher Hitchens—did what they always have done: engage in acts of self-preservation. To oppose the war would have been a career killer. And they knew it.

These apologists, however, acted not only as cheerleaders for war; in most cases they ridiculed and attempted to discredit anyone who questioned the call to invade Iraq. Kristof, in The New York Times, attacked the filmmaker Michael Moore as a conspiracy theorist and wrote that anti-war voices were only polarizing what he termed “the political cesspool.” Hitchens said that those who opposed the attack on Iraq “do not think that Saddam Hussein is a bad guy at all.” He called the typical anti-war protester a “blithering ex-flower child or ranting neo-Stalinist.” The halfhearted mea culpas by many of these courtiers a decade later always fail to mention the most pernicious and fundamental role they played in the buildup to the war—shutting down public debate. Those of us who spoke out against the war, faced with the onslaught of right-wing “patriots” and their liberal apologists, became pariahs. In my case it did not matter that I was an Arabic speaker. It did not matter that I had spent seven years in the Middle East, including months in Iraq, as a foreign correspondent. It did not matter that I knew the instrument of war. The critique that I and other opponents of war delivered, no matter how well grounded in fact and experience, turned us into objects of scorn by a liberal elite that cravenly wanted to demonstrate its own “patriotism” and “realism” about national security. The liberal class fueled a rabid, irrational hatred of all war critics. Many of us received death threats and lost our jobs, for me one at The New York Times. These liberal warmongers, 10 years later, remain both clueless about their moral bankruptcy and cloyingly sanctimonious. They have the blood of hundreds of thousands of innocents on their hands.

The power elite, especially the liberal elite, has always been willing to sacrifice integrity and truth for power, personal advancement, foundation grants, awards, tenured professorships, columns, book contracts, television appearances, generous lecture fees and social status. They know what they need to say. They know which ideology they have to serve. They know what lies must be told—the biggest being that they take moral stances on issues that aren’t safe and anodyne. They have been at this game a long time. And they will, should their careers require it, happily sell us out again.

Leslie Gelb, in the magazine Foreign Affairs, spelled it out after the invasion of Iraq.

“My initial support for the war was symptomatic of unfortunate tendencies within the foreign policy community, namely the disposition and incentives to support wars to retain political and professional credibility,” he wrote. “We ‘experts’ have a lot to fix about ourselves, even as we ‘perfect’ the media. We must redouble our commitment to independent thought, and embrace, rather than cast aside, opinions and facts that blow the common—often wrong—wisdom apart. Our democracy requires nothing less.” ..............................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_treason_of_the_intellectuals_20130331/



Chris Hedges: The Treason of the Intellectuals


from truthdig:


The Treason of the Intellectuals

Posted on Mar 31, 2013
By Chris Hedges


The rewriting of history by the power elite was painfully evident as the nation marked the 10th anniversary of the start of the Iraq War. Some claimed they had opposed the war when they had not. Others among “Bush’s useful idiots” argued that they had merely acted in good faith on the information available; if they had known then what they know now, they assured us, they would have acted differently. This, of course, is false. The war boosters, especially the “liberal hawks”—who included Hillary Clinton, Chuck Schumer, Al Franken and John Kerry, along with academics, writers and journalists such as Bill Keller, Michael Ignatieff, Nicholas Kristof, David Remnick, Fareed Zakaria, Michael Walzer, Paul Berman, Thomas Friedman, George Packer, Anne-Marie Slaughter, Kanan Makiya and the late Christopher Hitchens—did what they always have done: engage in acts of self-preservation. To oppose the war would have been a career killer. And they knew it.

These apologists, however, acted not only as cheerleaders for war; in most cases they ridiculed and attempted to discredit anyone who questioned the call to invade Iraq. Kristof, in The New York Times, attacked the filmmaker Michael Moore as a conspiracy theorist and wrote that anti-war voices were only polarizing what he termed “the political cesspool.” Hitchens said that those who opposed the attack on Iraq “do not think that Saddam Hussein is a bad guy at all.” He called the typical anti-war protester a “blithering ex-flower child or ranting neo-Stalinist.” The halfhearted mea culpas by many of these courtiers a decade later always fail to mention the most pernicious and fundamental role they played in the buildup to the war—shutting down public debate. Those of us who spoke out against the war, faced with the onslaught of right-wing “patriots” and their liberal apologists, became pariahs. In my case it did not matter that I was an Arabic speaker. It did not matter that I had spent seven years in the Middle East, including months in Iraq, as a foreign correspondent. It did not matter that I knew the instrument of war. The critique that I and other opponents of war delivered, no matter how well grounded in fact and experience, turned us into objects of scorn by a liberal elite that cravenly wanted to demonstrate its own “patriotism” and “realism” about national security. The liberal class fueled a rabid, irrational hatred of all war critics. Many of us received death threats and lost our jobs, for me one at The New York Times. These liberal warmongers, 10 years later, remain both clueless about their moral bankruptcy and cloyingly sanctimonious. They have the blood of hundreds of thousands of innocents on their hands.

The power elite, especially the liberal elite, has always been willing to sacrifice integrity and truth for power, personal advancement, foundation grants, awards, tenured professorships, columns, book contracts, television appearances, generous lecture fees and social status. They know what they need to say. They know which ideology they have to serve. They know what lies must be told—the biggest being that they take moral stances on issues that aren’t safe and anodyne. They have been at this game a long time. And they will, should their careers require it, happily sell us out again.

Leslie Gelb, in the magazine Foreign Affairs, spelled it out after the invasion of Iraq.

“My initial support for the war was symptomatic of unfortunate tendencies within the foreign policy community, namely the disposition and incentives to support wars to retain political and professional credibility,” he wrote. “We ‘experts’ have a lot to fix about ourselves, even as we ‘perfect’ the media. We must redouble our commitment to independent thought, and embrace, rather than cast aside, opinions and facts that blow the common—often wrong—wisdom apart. Our democracy requires nothing less.” ..............................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_treason_of_the_intellectuals_20130331/



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