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Showing posts from December 4, 2011

Russian Holidays? Could Putin Go Kaput?

United Russia Leads in Elections, But Its Majority Shrinks - NYTimes.com: "MOSCOW — United Russia, the governing party of Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin, suffered surprisingly steep losses in parliamentary elections on Sunday and was barely clinging to a 50 percent majority, with nearly three-quarters of the votes counted."

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Global Online Privacy

Now Congress Wants to Detain American Citizens

U.S. Defense Bill Risks National Security | Human Rights First: "The defense bill is up for debate on the Senate floor this week. This bill includes dangerous provisions that weaken effective systems already in place to combat terrorism—our federal courts and law enforcement –and allow the military to indefinitely detain any suspects of terrorism related activities including American citizens. Human Rights First has been pushing hard on Congress to strip the bill of these provisions"

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We need to push hard too. Write your Reps.

Global Online Privacy

Mexico's Criminal Security Forces

Neither Rights Nor Security | Human Rights Watch: "This report examines the human rights consequences of President Felipe Calderón’s approach to confronting Mexico’s powerful drug cartels. Through in-depth research in five of Mexico’s most violent states, Human Rights Watch found evidence that strongly suggests the participation of security forces in more than 170 cases of torture, 39 “disappearances,” and 24 extrajudicial killings since Calderón took office in December 2006."

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A shameful chapter in the human rights story and yet another argument against the War on Drugs.

Global Online Privacy

Fidelity bankrolling Scott to Beat Warren

In his two Senate races, Brown’s top five contributors included four financial giants: Fidelity Investments, Goldman Sachs, Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co., and Liberty Mutual Insurance, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. The most generous donor has been FMR Corp., the parent of Fidelity Investments, chipping in at least $97,000 to his campaign committees from executives and the firm’s PAC.

Cap tip Chris (Kos)

What Might Occupy Accomplish This Winter?

Susan Sink: "It is time to use the winter to focus efforts, build programs and platforms and prepare for summer. With the NATO and G8 meetings set in Chicago in May, the possibilities of a 1968 atmosphere of protests in the parks is quite possible. City officials have even said that they see dealing with the Occupy protesters as a "test run" for what they expect will happen this summer. Everyone would like to keep it peaceful, and I hope that is the case. In fact, government officials nationwide seem for the most part supportive of Occupy Wall Street, and seem to be going out of their way to be civil and negotiate. Hearing the mayor of Portland, Oregon on The News Hour along with a spokesperson from the Occupy movement there reflected well on both the protesters and the mayor-- especially on the mayor.
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Global Online Privacy

Siri is sexist

I Blame The Patriarchy: "Siri behaves much like a retrograde male fantasy of the ever-compliant secretary: discreet, understanding, willing to roll with any demand a man might come up with, teasingly accepting of dirty jokes. Oh yeah, and mainly indifferent to the needs of women." - Amanda Marcotte

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He should blame it on the GOP who hounded him out

Parting Shot at ‘Waste’ By Key Obama Health Official - NYTimes.com: "WASHINGTON — The official in charge of Medicare and Medicaid for the last 17 months says that 20 percent to 30 percent of health spending is “waste” that yields no benefit to patients, and that some of the needless spending is a result of onerous, archaic regulations enforced by his agency."

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Global Online Privacy

Syria's tangled web widely ignored

Uncharted Waters: Thinking Through Syria’s Dynamics - International Crisis Group:

"Yet, almost entirely missing is a sober assessment of the challenges provoked by these shifts and the very real risk that they could derail or even foreclose the possibility of a successful transition. In particular, five issues likely to shape events have been absent from the public debate:

the fate of the Alawite community;
the connection between Syria and Lebanon;
the nature and implications of heightened international involvement;
the long-term impact of the protest movement’s growing militarisation; and
the legacy of creeping social, economic and institutional decay."

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Global Online Privacy

Anti-gay slurs and bullying go hand in hand

Homophobic bullying: this hate-filled playground taunting must be eradicated | Observer eEditorial | Comment is free | The Observer: "Bullying is an age-old issue that many schools are now taking seriously, but the same has to happen with homophobic name-calling. It needs to be challenged at every airing. And this isn't happening. Instead, casual anti-homosexual remarks or humour are tolerated, making harsher barbed bullying more acceptable."

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How Did Twelve Corporations Game The 2004 Tax Holiday?

Campaign Contributions from Beneficiaries of the Proposed Repatriation Tax Holiday | MAPLight.org - Money and Politics: "The report highlights 12 companies that took advantage of the tax holiday but did not increase employment, and in most cases reduced employment, in the years following taking advantage of the tax holiday. Below is MapLight's analysis of campaign contributions to members of the Super Committee from PACs and employees connected to the companies mentioned."

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Global Online Privacy

DC is about to be rocked big time

Unemployed and liberal groups to hold protests in D.C. | McClatchy: "WASHINGTON — Roughly 3,000 unemployed workers from around the country are expected in the nation's capitol next week for four days of protests with labor, religious and social justice groups that say Congress cares more about America's wealthiest 1 percent than it does the masses of struggling middle-class families."

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Global Online Privacy

Bleak Warning about DEA Escapades

NYT: DEA launders Mexican drug cartel profits - US news - The New York Times - msnbc.com: "Another former agency official, who asked not to be identified speaking publicly about delicate operations, said, “My rule was that if we are going to launder money, we better show results. Otherwise, the D.E.A. could wind up being the largest money launderer in the business, and that money results in violence and deaths.”"

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Legalization is the answer and the War on Drugs is the question.

Global Online Privacy

I celebrate the depths of consciousness

Abba's Way:

I celebrate the depths of consciousness;
Celebrities will move from faith to faith.
Quick and capricious, always something new,
They tear things down to prove that they exist.
I celebrate the depths of consciousness;
Their weapon is persuasion and bombast,
A bloody entertainment is a plus.
All cameras on the altars as they kneel;
Think of the endless hours that they steal.
I celebrate the depths of consciousness;
The people lavish love upon the great;
But if you love the truth, be not ashamed.
Seek solitude and thought and then create;
Turn from the sudden ones. Choose quiet ways.
Seek deep experience and then create;
There is a place, beyond celebrity,
Where all that’s truly good and great takes place,
This place is where new values come to life.

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Global Online Privacy

The real danger of Natural Gas

ShortFormContent at Blogger: Re-calibrating American Dollars and Cents:

Read the post referenced above. The real danger of natural gas besides befouling the environment is extending the imagined utility of the car and of sprawl models of development. Until we have a policy to create car-free communities connected by re-invented mass transportation we will be condemned to more of the same stratification and injustice. The Boren story in today's NYT is of a piece with the noxious "We are America's natural gas" advertising blitz.

Re-calibrating American Dollars and Cents

The Simple Dollar » How the Average American Family Spends Their Income – And How to Trim It:

"Housing – shelter – $10,023
Pensions, Social Security – $5,027
Housing – utilities, fuels, public services – $3,477
Food – food at home – $3,465
Transportation – vehicle purchases – $3,244
Transportation – other expenses and transportation – $3,130
Healthcare – $2,853
Entertainment – $2,698
Food – food away from home – $2,668
Transportation – gasoline, motor oil – $2,384
Apparel and Services – $1,881
Cash Contributions (optional retirement and cash savings) – $1,821
Housing – household furnishings, equipment – $1,797
Education – $945
Housing – household operations – $984
Miscellaneous – $808
Housing – housekeeping supplies – $639
Alcoholic Beverages – $457
Personal Care – $588
Life, other personal insurance – $309
Reading – $118"

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I have bolded the items in the list above that I relate to the two areas where I think massive changes might occur. The changes would radi…