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marmar

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Gender: Male
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 71,213

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An elegant weapon for a more civilized age ..............




SEATTLE -- Police say the suspicious device that temporarily closed the downtown transit tunnel Sunday night was actually a homemade -- and harmless -- "lightsaber."

Police showed up at the tunnel in droves just before 10 p.m. after getting word about a suspicious-looking device in the area.

The tunnel was closed and buses and trains were delayed while a Seattle Police Department arson and bomb squad checked out the device.

.....(snip).....

They now say the device was likely a crudely-designed lightsaber, which is a weapon from the fictional universe of the "Star Wars" movies. ..................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.komonews.com/news/local/Police-Homemade-lightsaber-closed-transit-tunnel-205322441.html



The Forgotten Radical History of the March on Washington


from Dissent magazine:


The Forgotten Radical History of the March on Washington
By William P. Jones - Spring 2013


[font size="1"]Bayard Rustin and Cleveland Robinson 3 weeks before the march (Orlando Fernandez, Wiki. Com.)[/font]

The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, which occurred fifty years ago this August 28, remains one of the most successful mobilizations ever created by the American Left. Organized by a coalition of trade unionists, civil rights activists, and feminists—most of them African American and nearly all of them socialists—the protest drew nearly a quarter-million people to the nation’s capital. Composed primarily of factory workers, domestic servants, public employees, and farm workers, it was the largest demonstration—and, some argued, the largest gathering of union members—in the history of the United States.

That massive turnout set the stage not only for the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which President John F. Kennedy had proposed two months before, but also for the addition to that law of a Fair Employment Practices clause, which prohibited employers, unions, and government officials from discriminating against workers on the basis of race, religion, national origin, or sex. And, by linking those egalitarian objectives to a broader agenda of ending poverty and reforming the economy, the protest also forged a political agenda that would inspire liberals and leftists ranging from President Lyndon Johnson to the Black Power movement. After watching organizer Bayard Rustin read the full list of demands, “while every television camera at the disposal of the networks was upon him,” left-wing journalist Murray Kempton remarked, “No expression one-tenth so radical has ever been seen or heard by so many Americans.”

Yet, despite that success, the Left has largely relinquished its claim to the legacy of the March on Washington. Even before it occurred, Nation of Islam leader Malcolm X leveled the charge—embraced by Black Power and New Left activists in the subsequent decade—that the mobilization had been “taken over by the government” and deprived of its once-radical agenda. Meanwhile, liberals and even conservatives were happy to claim the demonstration as their own—often focusing narrowly on the relatively moderate and conciliatory message of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech while overlooking more confrontational statements by A. Philip Randolph, John Lewis, and others.

By the 1980s, a broad consensus had emerged that attributed the success of the protest not to its radicalism but to its narrow focus on, as journalist Juan Williams wrote for the PBS documentary Eyes on the Prize, “moral imperatives that had garnered support from the nation’s moderates—issues such as the right to vote and the right to a decent education.” While conservatives Stephen and Abigail Thernstrom congratulated Randolph, King, and others for suppressing demands for “radical, social, political and economic changes,” leftist Manning Marable chided civil rights leaders for failing to “even grapple with (the) social and economic contradictions” of American capitalism. Only in the late 1960s, according to Williams, did the movement expand its agenda to include “issues whose moral rightness was not as readily apparent: job and housing discrimination, Johnson’s war on poverty, and affirmative action.” ............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.dissentmagazine.org/article/the-forgotten-radical-history-of-the-march-on-washington



Bus company threatens to sue Reddit moderator over bad press


Most people have had bad bus rides—is there such thing as a good one?—but one redditor has endured a ride from hell. A user by the name of NegatedVoid was threatened with a lawsuit after helping moderate a thread on Reddit that was critical of Suburban Express, a bus company in the Chicago area that caters to college students.

The Reddit discussion was spurred by a Facebook post and story in the University of Illinois student paper that described an incident when a Suburban Express driver belittled an exchange student. A graduate student, Jeremy Leval, witnessed the incident and told the driver his language was "offensive and unnecessary." Later on, he went to Facebook to express his disgust with the company. More than 700 users shared the post and it was liked more than 600 times.

Not among those fans was Suburban Express, which emailed Leval four days later saying he was banned from the bus line for life and was being fined $500 for “liquidated damages,” part of the company's terms of service.

Leval is not the first rider to be banned for life because of things posted on the Internet. In the past, Suburban Express has tracked down Yelp reviewers and banned them when the bus company received a less than perfect review. .....................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.dailydot.com/business/suburban-express-uiuc-reddit-moderator-bus-lawsuit/



Miami-Dade Transit installs info monitors for Metrorail commuters




By ALPHONCE SHIUNDU
ashiundu@miamiherald.com


Miami-Dade Transit has installed liquid crystal display screens at several Metrorail stations to give commuters information about trains’ arrival and departure times.

The monitors display arrival and departure times for the next three trains, and show which trains serve the Green Line (Palmetto to Dadeland South), and which belong to the Orange Line (Dadeland South to Miami International Airport).

The LCD screens are the latest technological improvement on the Metrorail system, which opened in 1984 with a single line. The Orange Line to the airport opened last year.

“We appreciate the public using our transit system, and we understand the need to have accurate, real-time, train-arrival information,” said Miami-Dade Transit Director Ysela Llort.” This is another tool that will make our riders’ lives easier by helping them to better plan their trips on transit.”. .....................(more)

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/04/29/3371095/miami-dade-transit-installs-info.html#storylink=cpy



The Forgotten Radical History of the March on Washington


from Dissent magazine:


The Forgotten Radical History of the March on Washington
By William P. Jones - Spring 2013


[font size="1"]Bayard Rustin and Cleveland Robinson 3 weeks before the march (Orlando Fernandez, Wiki. Com.)[/font]

The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, which occurred fifty years ago this August 28, remains one of the most successful mobilizations ever created by the American Left. Organized by a coalition of trade unionists, civil rights activists, and feminists—most of them African American and nearly all of them socialists—the protest drew nearly a quarter-million people to the nation’s capital. Composed primarily of factory workers, domestic servants, public employees, and farm workers, it was the largest demonstration—and, some argued, the largest gathering of union members—in the history of the United States.

That massive turnout set the stage not only for the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which President John F. Kennedy had proposed two months before, but also for the addition to that law of a Fair Employment Practices clause, which prohibited employers, unions, and government officials from discriminating against workers on the basis of race, religion, national origin, or sex. And, by linking those egalitarian objectives to a broader agenda of ending poverty and reforming the economy, the protest also forged a political agenda that would inspire liberals and leftists ranging from President Lyndon Johnson to the Black Power movement. After watching organizer Bayard Rustin read the full list of demands, “while every television camera at the disposal of the networks was upon him,” left-wing journalist Murray Kempton remarked, “No expression one-tenth so radical has ever been seen or heard by so many Americans.”

Yet, despite that success, the Left has largely relinquished its claim to the legacy of the March on Washington. Even before it occurred, Nation of Islam leader Malcolm X leveled the charge—embraced by Black Power and New Left activists in the subsequent decade—that the mobilization had been “taken over by the government” and deprived of its once-radical agenda. Meanwhile, liberals and even conservatives were happy to claim the demonstration as their own—often focusing narrowly on the relatively moderate and conciliatory message of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech while overlooking more confrontational statements by A. Philip Randolph, John Lewis, and others.

By the 1980s, a broad consensus had emerged that attributed the success of the protest not to its radicalism but to its narrow focus on, as journalist Juan Williams wrote for the PBS documentary Eyes on the Prize, “moral imperatives that had garnered support from the nation’s moderates—issues such as the right to vote and the right to a decent education.” While conservatives Stephen and Abigail Thernstrom congratulated Randolph, King, and others for suppressing demands for “radical, social, political and economic changes,” leftist Manning Marable chided civil rights leaders for failing to “even grapple with (the) social and economic contradictions” of American capitalism. Only in the late 1960s, according to Williams, did the movement expand its agenda to include “issues whose moral rightness was not as readily apparent: job and housing discrimination, Johnson’s war on poverty, and affirmative action.” ............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.dissentmagazine.org/article/the-forgotten-radical-history-of-the-march-on-washington



CEO Pay 1,795-to-1 Multiple of Wages Skirts U.S. Law


(Bloomberg) Former fashion jewelry saleswoman Rebecca Gonzales and former Chief Executive Officer Ron Johnson have one thing in common: J.C. Penney Co. (JCP) no longer employs either.

The similarity ends there. Johnson, 54, got a compensation package worth 1,795 times the average wage and benefits of a U.S. department store worker when he was hired in November 2011, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Gonzales’s hourly wage was $8.30 that year.

Across the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index of companies, the average multiple of CEO compensation to that of rank-and-file workers is 204, up 20 percent since 2009, the data show. The numbers are based on industry-specific estimates for worker compensation.

Almost three years after Congress ordered public companies to reveal actual CEO-to-worker pay ratios under the Dodd-Frank law, the numbers remain unknown. As the Occupy Wall Street movement and 2012 election made income inequality a social flashpoint, mandatory disclosure of the ratios remained bottled up at the Securities and Exchange Commission, which hasn’t yet drawn up the rules to implement it. Some of America’s biggest companies are lobbying against the requirement. ............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-04-30/ceo-pay-1-795-to-1-multiple-of-workers-skirts-law-as-sec-delays.html



The illusion of growth


Neil Macdonald: The illusion of growth
How central bank stimulus is creating a global 'bubble economy.' Power Shift, part 2

By Neil Macdonald, CBC News

Posted: Apr 30, 2013 5:03 AM ET
Last Updated: Apr 30, 2013 5:01 AM ET


Mark Grant sits on the aft deck of his yacht in South Florida's spring sun, ostentatiously relishing his wealth as only an American does, and dispensing advice. He's made his money, and he likes to wear it.

Grant's personality is as big as his mansion and as flashy as his collection of exotic cars — he actually calls himself "The Wizard," a tribute to his own financial acumen.

.....(snip).....

Bubble economies

Just about everyone agrees the Dow Jones industrial average — the measure of blue-chip America — did not reach an all-time high recently because of vibrant economic growth or fabulous performance by the companies listed in that index.

Markets are where they are principally because the Federal Reserve has been gobbling up U.S. treasury bills, the safest investment on Earth, in a deliberate attempt to force private investors into riskier assets, like stocks.

It's a high-stakes form of market engineering. .................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/story/2013/04/29/f-rfa-macdonald-power-shift-growth.html



How Big Pharma Is Killing Americans


How Big Pharma Is Killing Americans

Monday, 29 April 2013 14:56
By The Daily Take, The Thom Hartmann Program | Op-Ed


Each year, millions of Americans are dealt the devastating news that they have cancer, and each year, millions of Americans, many of whom are uninsured, have to figure out how to pay for the life-saving treatments that they need.

And unfortunately, that decision can be a very hard one.

Thanks to America’s for-profit health insurance industry, prescription drugs are a big business.

In fact, in 2012, the top 11 global drug companies made nearly $85 billion in net profits. ............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/16071-how-big-pharma-is-killing-americans



Robert Scheer: Google’s Spymasters Are Now Worried About Your Secrets


from truthdig:


Google’s Spymasters Are Now Worried About Your Secrets

Posted on Apr 29, 2013
By Robert Scheer


A recent article in The Wall Street Journal by Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, “The Dark Side of the Digital Revolution,” makes for very scary reading. It is not so much because of what he and co-author Jared Cohen, the director of Google Ideas, have to say about how dictators can use new information technology to suppress dissent; we know those guys are evil. What is truly frightening is that the techniques of the totalitarian state are the same ones pioneered by so-called democracies where commercial companies, like Google, have made a hash of the individual’s constitutionally guaranteed right to be secure in his or her private space.

The dictators, mired in more technologically primitive societies, didn’t develop the fearsome new implements of control of the National Security State. Google and other leaders in this field of massively mined and shared information did. As the authors concede and expand on in their new book:

“Despite the expense, everything a regime would need to build an incredibly intimidating digital police state—including software that facilitates data mining and real-time monitoring of citizens—is commercially available right now. ... Companies that sell data-mining software, surveillance cameras and other products will flaunt their work with one government to attract new business. It’s the digital analog to arms sales. ...”

The Google execs have inadvertently let us in on the world that they inhabit, where the data mining of individual preferences—for such interests as sex and politics—can be cross filed and tabulated by supercomputers to be exploited for commercial gain. The drive for ever more detailed information on individual behavior is on with a vengeance in the profit-driven world of data mining, as anyone who observes the ads that mysteriously pop up during Internet browsing sessions well knows. But that invasive technology is now undergoing a massive revolutionary upgrade provided by the collection of vast numbers of biometric markers. .................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/googles_spymasters_are_now_worried_about_your_secrets_20130429/



Seeking Corporate Accountability for Crimes at Abu Ghraib


(Truthout) Nine years ago today, photos from the notorious Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq were released to the public. The images are indelible: Groups of prisoners, naked except for hoods covering their heads are piled on top of one another; soldiers grin and give thumbs-up to the camera; one holds a naked prisoner on a leash. In the most infamous photo, a hooded man balances on a cardboard box, arms outstretched, electrical wires attached to his hands.

Lesser known than the torture at Abu Ghraib is who was running it. As military investigations and court martial records have shown, private civilian contractors expressly instructed soldiers and civilian interpreters to "soften up" prisoners - code for torture and abuse. While some of the low-level soldiers involved in the abuses were punished, nine years after the notorious photos exposed these crimes to the world, the civilian interrogators who ordered the abuse have not been prosecuted. They have not even been investigated. Instead, the companies that supplied the interrogators and interpreters continued to reap billions in federal contracts and saw their stock prices rise.

The only accountability that survivors of torture have been able to obtain against these private corporations has come through civil litigation. Recently, in a case called Al-Quraishi v. Nakhla, filed by the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), 71 survivors of US torture received a $5.28 million settlement - the first time a private military contractor has been held accountable in any fashion for its role in torture. Another CCR case, Al Shimari v. CACI, filed on behalf of four Abu Ghraib survivors of torture, is currently proceeding in federal court. With the discovery phase of the litigation completed, Al Shimari may mark the first time a case against a private military contractor for torture goes to trial. .............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://truth-out.org/news/item/16053-seeking-corporate-accountability-for-crimes-at-abu-ghraib



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