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Member since: Tue Apr 5, 2005, 09:55 AM
Number of posts: 6,837

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Padres discipline employee after gay men’s chorus drowned out singing national anthem

The San Diego Padres said late Sunday that it had disciplined an employee and stopped working with a contractor who was responsible for marring the performance of the national anthem by the San Diego Gay Men's Chorus.

The choir's Saturday performance was drowned out by a recording of a woman singing the national anthem that was broadcast in the stadium.

The incident generated outrage, partly because the chorus was singing during "Out at the Park," a special LGBT pride event at the stadium. Members of the San Diego Gay Men's Chorus accused the Padres of homophobia and called for an investigation by the team as well as Major League Baseball.

The Padres said in a statement that it had conducted an internal probe and concluded that there was "no evidence of malicious intent" by any of the individuals involved in the mishap, but the organization faulted personnel for not immediately intervening and correcting the situation.

MORE HERE: http://yonside.com/padres-discipline-employee-gay-mens-chorus-drowned-singing-national-anthem/

Postal banking: A realistic and trustworthy alternative to big banks

Each year, the average underserved household spends $2,412 – nearly 10 percent of gross income – in fees and interest for non-bank financial services. These transactions might include a payday or car title loan, cashing a paycheck, or simply accessing Social Security benefits. As United for a Fair Economy puts it, “Each year, over $103 billion is stripped from these people and their communities and ends up in the hands of Wall Street. For the underserved, there is little opportunity to create a credit history, have access to affordable, safe and sustainable financial services, or build assets over time.”

Is there an alternative? What if a trusted, accessible, and non-profit institution (that receives no tax dollars for operating expenses) with the world’s largest retail network (31,000 branches serving every urban, suburban, and rural community in the country) existed that could help fill this void?

Well, actually, it does exist. It’s the United States Postal Service.

MORE HERE: http://yonside.com/postal-banking-alternative-trustworthy-to-big-banks/

GOP Senator’s inquiry into Facebook runs afoul of First Amendment

By Sophia Cope

Allegations that Facebook’s “trending” news stories are not actually those that are most popular among users drew the attention of Sen. John Thune (R-SD), who sent a letter of inquiryto Facebook suggesting that the company may be “misleading” the public, and demanding to know details about how the company decides what content to display in the trending news feed. Sen. Thune appears particularly disturbed by charges that the company routinely excludes news stories of interest to conservative readers.

Congressional inquiries usually come with the tacit understanding that Congress investigates when it thinks it could also legislate. Yet any legislative action in response to the revelations would run afoul of the First Amendment. It is possible that Sen. Thune, as chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, sees Facebook as engaging is “unfair or deceptive” trade practices, but that still does not create a legal basis for regulating what amounts to Facebook’s editorial decision-making.

MORE HERE: http://yonside.com/senators-inquiry-facebook-runs-afoul-first-amendment/

Definition of ‘medical marijuana’ varies from state to state. That’s a problem.

By Kenneth E. Leonard

On April 17, Pennsylvania became the latest state to pass medical marijuana legislation, which will take effect this month. And recently Ohio’s House of Representatives has passed a plan to permit medical marijuana in the state.

Research suggests that marijuana – or more specifically compounds in marijuana – may have potential as a treatment for epilepsy and chronic pain, among other conditions. However, more research is needed to fully understand any potential health benefits from the substance.

As of this writing, 41 states have legislation that permits medical marijuana in some form. However, the law in Texas is not considered functional, because it requires a physician to prescribe marijuana. Since marijuana is illegal under federal law, doctors can’t prescribe it. They can only recommend it to patients. Louisiana’s law had the same flaw, but the state’s House of Representatives just voted on new legislation that should correct this problem.

As the director of the Research Institute on Addictions at the University at Buffalo and a researcher who studies social factors in the development of addictions, I follow many of the emerging trends in substance use.

MORE HERE: http://yonside.com/counts-medical-marijuana-varies-state/

Sykes-Picot agreement is not to blame for Middle East’s problems

The Sykes-Picot agreement turns 100 this week. Named after its negotiators, Sir Mark Sykes and Francois Georges-Picot, the secret wartime deal proposed dividing the Middle East between Britain and France, down an extraordinary line.

To quote Sykes verbatim, it ran "from the E in Acre to the last K in Kirkuk", and its vestiges are still visible today, in Syria's border with Jordan and western Iraq.

Sykes would surely have been astonished to know that, a century later, we are still discussing his deal with Picot. For he had originally proposed the agreement in December 1915 as an expedient to avert a row.

The French were angry because they had discovered that, behind their backs their British allies had offered the Arabs territory they wanted themselves. That put their creaky wartime alliance with Britain under added strain.

MORE HERE: http://yonside.com/sykes-picot-is-not-to-blame-for-middle-easts-problems/

What cities need: More festivals, fewer stadiums and museums

By Jonathan Wynn

Last year the Institute of Museum and Library Services offered a catchy statistic: the United States has more museums than all the Starbucks and McDonald’s combined.

It’s easy to understand why cities will leap at the opportunity to invest in new structures: “Starchitect”-designed buildings, from the Santiago Calatrava-designed Milwaukee Art Museum to Brooklyn’s undulating Barclays Center, could add an iconic image to the cityscape and garner positive media buzz.

However, such massive public investments in permanent structures (what I’ve dubbed “concrete culture”) are bad deals and bad policy for urban economic development. Once the hoopla fades, cities can be saddled with millions in debt and mixed results. Take, for example, Charlotte’s NASCAR museum. Built in 2010 at a cost of US$160 million, the facility has not met attendance projections and, according to the Charlotte Observer, is losing $1 million a year.

Given the economic costs and risks, why do museums, stadiums and other “concrete culture” receive such a privileged place in urban development? After spending the past 10 years conducting research on the topic, I’ve found that this privilege should end; as an alternative, cities should champion music festivals as a cheaper, adaptable way to bolster urban communities.

MORE HERE: http://yonside.com/more-festivals-fewer-stadiums-and-museums2/

We know the US is ‘dropping cyberbombs.’ But how do they work?

Recently, United States Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work publicly confirmed that the Pentagon’s Cyber Command was “dropping cyberbombs,” taking its ongoing battle against the Islamic State group into the online world. Other American officials, including President Barack Obama, have discussed offensive cyber activities, too.

The American public has only glimpsed the country’s alleged cyberattack abilities. In 2012 The New York Times revealed the first digital weapon, the Stuxnet attack against Iran’s nuclear program. In 2013, former NSA contractor Edward Snowden released a classified presidential directive outlining America’s approach to conducting Internet-based warfare.

The terms “cyberbomb” and “cyberweapon” create a simplistic, if not also sensational, frame of reference for the public. Real military or intelligence cyber activities are less exaggerated but much more complex. The most basic types are off-the-shelf commercial products used by companies and security consultants to test system and network security. The most advanced are specialized proprietary systems made for exclusive – and often classified – use by the defense, intelligence and law enforcement communities.

MORE HERE: http://yonside.com/cyberbombs-how-do-they-workwork/

The attack on Sanders’ Medicare-for-all plan is ridiculous

By Steffie Woolhandler and David Himmelstein

The Urban Institute and the Tax Policy Center today released analyses of the costs of Sen. Bernie Sanders’ domestic policy proposals, including single-payer national health insurance. They claim that Sanders’ proposals would raise the federal deficit by $18 trillion over the next decade.
We won’t address all of the issues covered in these analyses, just single-payer Medicare for all. To put it bluntly, the estimates (which were prepared by John Holahan and colleagues) are ridiculous. They project outlandish increases in the utilization of medical care, ignore vast savings under single-payer reform, and ignore the extensive and well-documented experience with single-payer systems in other nations – which all spend far less per person on health care than we do.

The authors’ anti-single-payer bias is also evident from their incredible claims that physicians’ incomes would be squeezed (which contradicts their own estimates positing a sharp rise in spending on physician services), and that patients would suffer huge disruptions, despite the fact that the implementation of single-payer systems elsewhere, as well as the start-up of Medicare, were disruption-free.

MORE HERE: http://yonside.com/attack-sanders-plan-ridiculous/

Should the US provide reparations for slavery and Jim Crow?

By Carlton Mark Waterhouse

The debate over reparations in the United States began even before slavery ended in 1865.

It continues today. The overwhelming majority of academics studying the issue have supported the calls for compensating black Americans for the centuries of chattel slavery and the 100 years of lynching, mob violence and open exclusion from public and private benefits like housing, health care, voting, political office and education that occurred during the Jim Crow era.

Despite this academic support, the nation is arguably no closer to consensus on this issue than it was 150 years ago. Not surprisingly, my research has shown that the idea remains widely unpopular with white Americans and overwhelmingly supported by African-Americans.

MORE HERE: http://yonside.com/us-provide-reparations-slavery-jim-crow2/

Sanders’ next fight: A more liberal Democratic Party platform

With his prospects of becoming the Democratic nominee for president fading, Bernie Sanders is pushing hard for what he thinks is the next best thing: the party platform.

It's a document of policy positions and goals few are likely to read and the White House will barely notice. But Sanders hopes it will enable him to put his imprint on the broader party brand and influence what it stands for beyond Election Day.

He wants it to include "Medicare for all," free tuition at public colleges and universities, aggressive efforts to ease income inequality and end the role of big money in political campaigns. Likely nominee Hillary Clinton won't necessarily go along, and will find Sanders and his passionate supporters ready to fight.

"Bernie doesn't want to be secretary of state. Bernie wants to lead a movement," said Roger Hickey, co-director of Campaign for America's Future, a liberal group sympathetic to the Vermont senator.

MORE HERE: http://yonside.com/sanders-next-fight-more-liberal-democratic-platform/

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