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Member since: Thu Feb 14, 2008, 10:58 AM
Number of posts: 23,466

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Election forecaster moves 26 races in favor of Dems

Source: The Hill

A top election forecaster has moved more than two dozen House races in favor of Democrats.

Sabato’s Crystal Ball, an election handicapper at the University of Virginia, announced the ratings changes Thursday morning.

This is the first time in this election cycle that fewer than 218 seats have been at least rated as leaning Republican. All Democratic incumbents' races are now rated at least “Likely Democratic.”

The ratings also name GOP Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) for the first time. Ryan’s seat was moved from “Safe” to “Likely” Republican. The group noted that reports that he may not run for reelection were the primary reason the move.

Read more: http://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/377337-election-forecaster-moves-26-races-in-favor-of-dems?__twitter_impression=true&__twitter_impression=true&__twitter_impression=true&__twitter_impression=true

Two things: International Women's Day and Jessica Jones



Rep. Eric Swalwell vs. James Woods (tweets)


Immigrants say working at Kansas ranch was like slavery

Source: AP

SYRACUSE, Kan. (AP) — Immigrants working on a remote Kansas ranch toil long days in a type of servitude to work off loans from the company for the cost of smuggling them into the country, according to five people who worked there.

There are no holidays, health insurance benefits or overtime pay at Fullmer Cattle Co., which raises calves for dairies in four states. The immigrants must buy their own safety gear such as goggles.

One worker spent eight months cleaning out calf pens, laying down cement and doing other construction work. Esteban Cornejo, a Mexican citizen who is in the U.S. illegally, left Kansas in November after paying off debt, which he figures was nearly $7,000.

The pay stub Cornejo shared with The Associated Press shows he worked 182.5 hours at $10 an hour over two weeks — an average of 15 hours a day with Sundays off. His pay was $1,828.34 before taxes. Also deducted was a $1,300 “cash advance repayment” that he said was a company loan for bringing him into the country.

Read more: https://apnews.com/357ea0c95693461cb55a8dfbc915f849?utm_campaign=SocialFlow&utm_source=Twitter&utm_medium=APCentralRegion

"I am a teacher. Today I cowered in a closet with my fifth grade students. I locked doors and..."

I am a teacher. Today I cowered in a closet with my fifth grade students. I locked doors and switched off tech. They wiggled and squished and whimpered. I squished in after.

The LOCKDOWN. LOCKS. LIGHTS. OUT OF SIGHT. THIS IS NOT A DRILL announcement had been made not 15 seconds before. They struggled to pull the doors that can’t contain us a bit closer. The class snuggled nervously, hearts hammering. I didn’t have to shush the way I do during drills.


Thank god. A simple miscommunication. But for thirty seconds, it had been real. Not a drill. Thirty seconds of blood pounding in my ears. Of students’ eyes on the ground. On the closet doors. On my face.

For thirty seconds I wondered if today would be the day. The day I have to use the training. To become a fighting target so others can escape. To decide whether to leave my own children motherless in order to save students.

When we breathed heavy, thick relief and moved out from the closets into Lockout, my ears kept pounding. Ten year old eyes darted to see if peers were equally frightened. Ten year old hands shook slightly.

I praised them for the flawlessness of their trained reactions. I awarded the coveted behavior points they collect to earn popcorn parties. The Lockout only lasted fifteen more minutes. The speaker blared ALL CLEAR. ALL CLEAR.

An hour later, alone, bent over my wheezing breast pump, I cried. I’d debriefed them with the oft repeated reassurance that because of our training and protocols, we were safe.

School is a safe place to be, I’d said. We work very hard to keep you safe, I said. The watery smiles and minuscule nods I was given were wrenching agony. They smelled the lie. They are ten. And they know closet doors won’t save them.

Demand action. Call. March. Write. For god’s sake, vote. Because it just...shouldn’t be like this. We shouldn’t have to live like any one of us could be a victim. So all of us must be the change. @Everytown @MomsDemand

Don't be fooled Trump's secretary of education knows exactly what she's doing

The miseducation of Betsy DeVos

Source: Detroit Metro Times

The first thing you notice about Betsy DeVos — President Donald Trump's choice to run the United States Department of Education — is that she is rich.

Actually, the word "rich" doesn't really do it justice. Cookie batter is rich. Betsy DeVos is wealthy in the way that Donald Trump wishes he was (and very well may be by the time his presidency is over).

Betsy DeVos is on another level entirely.

Begin with the family money. Before Betsy DeVos was a DeVos, she was a Prince — the daughter of Edgar Prince, to be specific. Prince père ran a successful auto parts manufacturing business in Holland, Michigan, which he had built into a billion-dollar empire by the time of his death. Prince used some of his personal wealth to bankroll what would become the organizational infrastructure of the religious right, providing vital seed money for conservative Christian advocacy groups like the Family Research Council and Focus on the Family.

Bringing about one of the largest mergers of conservative wealth, Betsy married into the DeVos family, whose patriarch — father-in-law Richard DeVos — had built a multibillion-dollar fortune as the co-founder of multilevel marketing behemoth Amway.

Read more: https://www.metrotimes.com/detroit/dont-be-fooled-betsy-devos-knows-exactly-what-shes-doing/Content?oid=9897449

Betsy DeVos will visit Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School tomorrow. Closed press. (Today)


U.S. Holocaust Museum Revokes Award to Aung San Suu Kyi

Source: NYT

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum has revoked a prestigious human rights award it had given to the Nobel laureate Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, now Myanmar’s civilian leader, faulting her for failing to halt or even acknowledge the ethnic cleansing of her country’s Rohingya Muslim minority.

Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi, who endured 15 years of house arrest for taking on the military dictatorship in Myanmar, was only the second person to receive the award, in 2012. It was named after Elie Wiesel, a fellow recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize and a Holocaust survivor who was one of the museum’s founders. Mr. Wiesel was the first recipient.

The award, according to the museum, is given annually “to an internationally prominent individual whose actions have advanced the Museum’s vision of a world where people confront hatred, prevent genocide and promote human dignity.”

But Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi, the museum said, has failed to live up to that vision.

Read more: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/07/world/asia/aung-san-suu-kyi-holocaust-rohingya.html?smid=tw-share

America's horrifying new plan for animals: highspeed slaughterhouses

There is still time to stop an imminent program that would allow facilities to increase slaughter speeds, while reducing the number of trained government inspectors

Source: The Guardian

If you care about animal welfare or food safety, this news will concern you: the nationwide expansion of a risky US Department of Agriculture (USDA) high-speed slaughter program is imminent. But the good news is there is still time to stop it.

The USDA is now accepting public comments on its proposed rule that it euphemistically dubbed the “Modernization of Swine Slaughter Inspection”. As a former undercover investigator who worked inside a pig slaughterhouse operating under the pilot project that was, at the time, called HIMP, I’ve seen firsthand the hazardous and cruel nature of this controversial program and can say with certainty that it’s anything but “modern”.

This expanded program, formally called the New Swine Slaughter Inspection System (NSIS), would allow facilities to increase slaughter speeds, while reducing the number of trained government inspectors on the lines. In other words, the responsibility of food safety oversight is largely shifted into the hands of slaughter plant employees. Combine this with faster speeds on the kill floor and the result is problems that can – and do – go unnoticed.

For nearly six months, I worked undercover inside Quality Pork Processors (QPP), no typical pig slaughterhouse. An exclusive Hormel Foods supplier, QPP kills about 1,300 pigs every hour operating under the high-speed pilot program. That’s more than 21 pigs per minute, making QPP one of the fastest pig-killing facilities in the nation.

QPP has widely been considered a model for the USDA’s nationwide expansion of the pilot program through NSIS, but when no one thought the public or USDA was watching, behind the slaughterhouse’s closed doors, I documented pig carcasses covered in feces and abscesses being processed for human consumption, and workers – under intense pressure to keep up with high line speeds – beating, dragging, and electrically prodding pigs to make them move faster.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/mar/06/ive-seen-the-hidden-horrors-of-high-speed-slaughterhouses

'Barbarism': Texas judge ordered electric shocks to man during trial. Conviction thrown out.

Source: The Washington Post

In Tarrant County, Tex., defendants are sometimes strapped with a stun belt around their legs. The devices are used to deliver a shock in the event the person gets violent or attempts to escape.

But in the case of Terry Lee Morris, the device was used as punishment for refusing to answer a judge’s questions properly during his 2014 trial on charges of soliciting sexual performance from a 15-year-old girl, according to an appeals court. In fact, the judge shocked Morris three times, sending thousands of volts coursing through his body. It scared him so much that Morris never returned for the remainder of his trial and almost all of his sentencing hearing.

The action shocked the Texas Eighth Court of Appeals in El Paso, too. And it has now thrown out Morris’s conviction on the grounds that the shocks, and Morris’s subsequent removal from the courtroom, violated his constitutional rights. Since he was too scared to come back to the courtroom, the court held that the shocks effectively barred him from attending his own trial, in violation of the Constitution’s Sixth Amendment, which guarantees a defendant’s right to be present and confront witnesses during a trial.

The ruling, handed down Feb. 28, was reported Tuesday in the Texas Lawyer.

Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2018/03/07/barbarism-texas-judge-ordered-electric-shocks-to-man-during-trial-conviction-thrown-out/
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