Saturday, October 26, 2013

GOPer Resigns after his Racism is Exposed on ‘Daily Show’ (Watch)

*A North Carolina Republican's inner bigotry exploded for all the world to see this week when he sat down with “The Daily Show's” Aasif Mandvi, notes The Hollywood Reporter.
Don Yelton, a Republican precinct chairman in North Carolina, resigned Thursday after making racially charged remarks on the Comedy Central show while defending his state's voter ID law.
In his “Daily Show” interview, which aired Wednesday, Yelton slammed "lazy black people that want the government to give them everything." He went on to admit he'd been accused of being a bigot before, but awkwardly added that one of his best friends was black.
Yelton also said the voter ID law was not meant to hurt African Americans, but rather would wreak havoc on the Democratic party because it would disproportionately affect Democratic voters. Yelton also noted that while Mandvi, who is Indian-American, looks different than he does, he treated the “Daily Show” correspondent just like anyone else.
"You realize we can hear you?" Mandvi said at one point during the interview.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Insani-Tea Reigns: Koch Brothers Fail To Control The Monster They Created

“With great power comes great responsibility.”
This often quoted adage—first offered up by an old comic book friend of mine—is one that is not to be taken lightly by those who rise to positions of great power and then propose to use that power to change the face of entire nations.

Sadly, it is a bit of wisdom that David and Charles Koch appear to have never taken to heart.

Thanks to the very elected officials who achieved their Congressional offices  as a result of the organizational and financial contributions of Charles and David Koch, the brothers’ massive business interests—along with the interests of just about every business in the nation—are poised to take a major hit at the hands of those they placed in positions of power.

Indeed, so concerned are the Kochs with the damage already done and the catastrophe we—and they—may now be facing, they are scurrying to gain some measure of control over their Frankenstein monsters.

Last week, Koch Industries sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) making it clear that, while they continue to object to Obamacare, they do not support the linking of Obamacare to the passage of a continuing resolution that would re-open the government.

Now, NBC is reporting

“But privately, Koch officials have expressed concern to lawmakers that the prospect of a government default over the Obamacare issue would be a “disaster” for the economy, according to one GOP consultant who recently discussed the matter with Koch officials and asked for anonymity.”
If the circumstances were not so tragic the irony would be delicious. READ MORE

Monday, October 14, 2013

Getting Serious About Sexual Misconduct (And What Yale Can Learn from Navy)

[perhaps some businesses might also benefit from this program]

Sexual misconduct — from the merely stupid through the horrific – is an all-too-frequent occurrence on college campuses.  The Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights is investigating 39 schools – including some of the nation’s most prestigious – to ensure they are taking action on reports of sexual violence.

Last week, Vice Admiral Mark Miller, the Superintendent at the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis, decided to proceed with court-martial proceedings against two Academy midshipmen on charges of aggravated sexual assault, abuse sexual contact, and making false statements.. The Admiral’s decision went against the recommendation of a military judge who presided over an eight-day Article 32 hearing and who recommended that no one be charged in the case.

One midshipman faces a 30-year jail sentence and the other seven-years. A third midshipman – the erstwhile boyfriend of the complainant – saw charges against him dismissed.  All three admitted having sex with the female mid; though she says she was too drunk to consent.  All three had been attending an off-campus “yoga and toga” party.  READ MORE

The Military’s Most Science-Fictional Projects

ONE:   The Exoskeleton

One DARPA-funded project thatâ??s already transitioning from science fiction to mere engineering is defense contractor Raytheonâ??s XOS exoskeleton, the closest thing outside of a comic book to an Iron Man suit. A soldier wearing the strength-multiplying device can repeatedly lift 200 pounds or punch through three inches of wood without tiring. READ MORE

Shutdown Power Play: Stoking Racism, Fear Of Culture Change To Push Anti-Government Agenda

GOP platforms usually hold strong appeal for serial
killers, bombers,  wife beaters and other terrible,
mentally ill people unable to live normal,  lives.
with Larry Cohen

At first it seemed mystifying that reasonable voices didn’t prevail to prevent a government shutdown. The scorched-earth effort by the Tea Party caucus and compliant Congressional leaders to undo President Obama’s signature accomplishment didn’t seem smart in terms of outcome or politics. The anti-government zealots who picked this fight may well have miscalculated; at the moment their strategy looks like a failure.

But these folks are playing for the long term, building their brand and inflaming their base even as they infuriate the nation. They’ve also cynically played on—and reinforced—the racial fears of their followers and intensified the polarization of the nation. Senator Tom Harkin described the shutdown and debt-ceiling crisis as “one of the most dangerous points in our history…every bit as dangerous as the break-up of the Union before the Civil War.”

At first glance, Harkin’s quote seemed extreme but an analysis by Democracy Corps, a research group led by Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg and political consultant James Carville, makes his thinking understandable. READ MORE

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

All About The New Benjamins [new $100 bills]


Benjamin Franklin got a makeover, and he’s unveiling it to the country today.

The $100 note, featuring the frequently-quoted founding father, has been redesigned for the first time since 1996, and notes featuring the new design will enter circulation today. The new design, implemented in order to make counterfeiting even harder, was first unveiled in 2010 but the introduction of the bill into circulation was delayed because of production issues. According to the Federal Reserve, the $100 note is used the most popular bill used internationally. It estimates there are currently approximately 8.9 billion $100 notes in circulation, worth $890 billion, with anywhere between one-half to two-thirds of this value circulating outside of the United States.

To further explore the redesigned note, has an interactive feature that lets you flip, tilt, magnify, back-light and even black-light the new bill.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Your Best Employee Stinks And May Be Stealing From You

Entitlement is rampant, and it is ruining America.

Children today are all “special”, and they are all “winners”.  They are going to “do great things” and “be somebody special.”


Most people are going to be average.  That is the definition of the word, “average.”
Unfortunately, the outsized expectation of quick success versus the reality of requisite hard work and determination (in most cases just to avoid being below average), is causing depression and anxiety in today’s workforce.

The grand canyon of disparity between expectations and reality manifests itself in increased employee turnover rates, low employee morale, an ever-widening gap between the wealthy and the poor and, for you business owners, a significant increase in employee theft.

In the past three years, according to the Society for Certified Fraud Examiners, the average size of small business fraud has increased by nearly 17 percent.  That should get your attention, because fraud and theft occurs in more than 35 percent of all small businesses.

To put it into sharper focus:  Do you know two other business owners?  If so, odds are that at least one of the three of you is being stolen from right now.

One of the most common types of fraud is accounting fraud, and one of the simplest tactics internal accountants use to steal money is called “double checks.”

Here is the way it works (this is a true story with the names changed): READ MORE

Poll: Americans Blame Govt. Shutdown on GOP’s ‘Spoiled Children’

john boehner
*Before the clock struck midnight Monday on a government shutdown, a poll showed that more Americans would blame congressional Republicans than President Barack Obama, and many Americans view the GOP as acting like "spoiled children."
According to a CNN/ORC International poll released Monday, 46 percent of respondents would blame congressional Republicans, 36 percent would blame Obama and 13 percent would blame both. Sixty-nine percent said that the GOP is acting like "spoiled children" in the budget fight, while 58 percent think that of congressional Democrats and 49 percent think that of President Barack Obama. Six in 10 respondents reject the GOP's approach and think it is more important to avoid a shutdown than to make major changes to the Affordable Care Act.
The poll is an indication that the Republicans' hard-line approach does not resonate with many Americans, and could have consequences in future elections. Nevertheless, the GOP has touted the tactic of using the continuing resolution to fund the government to demand changes to Obamacare, crafting the populist slogan "Make DC Listen."
In the hours leading up to the shutdown, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow aired a segment laying out how the GOP has been plotting with glee a government shutdown since President Obama’s 2008 election.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Senate to Kill Monsanto Protection Act

(illustration: Occupy Monsanto)
(illustration: Occupy Monsanto)

Senate to Kill Monsanto Protection Act

By David Rogers, Politico
25 September 13

controversial legislative rider added by Monsanto to the Agriculture Department budget last spring will no longer be effective after Sept. 30 under a draft stopgap government funding bill being drafted by Senate Democrats.

The provision touched off a storm last spring as critics accused Monsanto of "court-stripping" to protect its sales of the genetically modified seeds for which the St. Louis-based giant is a pioneer in commercializing.

The continuing resolution approved by the House last week would extend the rider without comment for the first months of the new fiscal year. But the Senate substitute, to be unveiled Wednesday, will explicitly go back and make clear that that Monsanto-backed provision will end this month.

"That provision will be gone," said Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), confirming the change to POLITICO. The Center for Food Safety, a Washington-based non-profit, welcomed the decision as "a major victory for the food movement" and "sea change in a political climate that all too often allows corporate earmarks to slide through must-pass legislation."

"Short-term appropriations bills are not an excuse for Congress to grandfather in bad policy," said Colin O'Neil, director of government affairs for the Center.

The whole dispute has been overshadowed by the larger fight over Republican efforts to use the same CR to cut off funding needed by President Barack Obama to implement his health care reforms. But for many environmental and food safety groups, the so-called "Monsanto Protection Act" -as the rider was called-became a major cause last spring, generating a huge amount of Internet traffic and calls on Obama to veto the agriculture budget.  READ MORE

Friday, September 20, 2013

Tom DeLay Conviction Overturned by Texas Court

Tom DeLay Conviction Overturned by Texas Court

By Ed O'Keefe, The Washington Post
19 September 13

Former U.S. House Majority Leader and GOP heavyweight Tom DeLay. (photo: AP)
Former U.S. House Majority Leader and GOP heavyweight Tom DeLay. (photo: AP)

exas appellate court has overturned the conviction of former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) for allegedly scheming to influence Texas state elections with corporate money, his attorney told several news organizations early Thursday.

A three-judge panel voted 2-1 to overturn the conviction, calling the evidence "legally insufficient," according to the majority ruling. The decision formally acquits DeLay of all charges, but could still be appealed by the government.

DeLay, 66, was in Washington, meeting with prayer group at a Capitol Hill townhouse, when he heard the news.

"We were all basically on our knees praying and my lawyer calls and says you're a free man," he said.
DeLay was convicted in 2010 for allegedly trying to influence Texas elections by funneling corporate money to various candidates. Prosecutors said that the money helped the GOP win control of the Texas House and that the majority then pushed through a DeLay-organized congressional redistricting plan that sent more Republicans to Congress. Those maps have since been challenged by the Justice Department for unfairly drawing minority communities out of certain districts.  READ MORE

FBI calls half of populace with 9/11 doubts potential terrorists

The FBI is instructing local police departments and "communities against terrorism" to consider anyone who harbors "conspiracy theories" about 9/11 to be a potential terrorist, in a circular released to local police departments.
The memo thus adds 9/11-official-story skeptics to a growing list of targets described by federal law enforcement to be security threats, such as those who express "libertarian philosophies," "Second Amendment-oriented views," interest in "self-sufficiency," "fears of Big Brother or big government," and "Declarations of Constitutional rights and civil liberties." A newly released national poll shows that 48 percent of Americans either have some doubts about the official account of 9/11, or do not believe it at all. The FBI circular entitled "Potential Indicators of Terrorist Activities Related to Sleepers" says that people who should be 'considered suspicious' of possible involvement in "terrorist activity" include those who hold the "attitude" described as " Conspiracy theories about Westerners." The circular continues: "e.g. (sic) the CIA arranged for 9/11 to legitimize the invasion of foreign lands."

New Poll Finds Most Americans Open to Alternative 9/11 Theories

Click one of the following boxes to select a section

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    400+ Medical Professionals


Sunday, September 15, 2013

Wattree’s Beneath the Spin: Bravo Mr. President!

obama rushmoreThe exact same thing is true with respect to bringing Osama Bin Laden to justice.
While Bush spent seven years, a national fortune, and over four thousand American lives chasing Bin Laden, Obama brought him to justice with three helicopters and a handful of America's finest - and, while casually dragging Donald Trump through the mud at a dinner party in the process. READ MORE

Saturday, August 31, 2013

CORE: Making Children Stupider Around The World

Ok… Stupider is not really supposed to be a word. But with CORE, who needs proper grammar? Slang is the new English!!!
 I often tell people who want to research a company or government entity that they should seek out the audited “Annual Financial Report” for that corporation, association, etc. The fact is that all aggregate corporations, both public and private, are statutorily required to create, independently audit, and file with the U.S. Federal Government a Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) (AFR), and that includes all governments from cities and counties (municipal corporations) to districts to states.

Though I had heard about the many issues with what is called “Common CORE” from many concerned but ill-informed parents and activists, I had never actually spent the time to research exactly what this thing is and how large it has become. As a friend in Texas was speaking of how her son’s homework in the CORE system of Texas involved a lesson about George Orwell’s 1984 as an learning exercise, I realized it was time to have a look.

Thanks to the efforts of a concerned mother who brought this travesty to the awareness of the people, here’s what that homework assignment looked like:

1984 Experience

The first thing I usually look for when researching any corporation is its latest annual financial report (AFR). And so I did a simple search with the parameters of “Common CORE annual financial report”, and up came the following link:

I instructed the finder to recover the “Annual Report 2011-12″, and up popped a (.pdf) file of that report.
It was so simple, and yet most people have no clue these reports even exist for their consumption…

Saturday, August 24, 2013

They should probably use these people in movies

Rick Perry Under Investigation for Abuse of Texas Governor’s Office

governor-rick-perryAugust 17, 2013 By

Republicans are clearly no strangers to blackmail.  Heck, Congressional Republicans have been trying to blackmail President Obama since he took office.  So it should come as no surprise to see Texas Governor Rick Perry being investigated for possibly abusing his office when he tried to blackmail Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg after a DUI arrest this past April.

Lehmberg pled guilty and served half of a 45 day jail sentence, but refused to give in to calls from Republicans and Governor Perry to resign.

So what did Perry do?  Well, he threatened to cut funding for the state’s Public Integrity Unit, which Lehmberg resided over, if she didn’t step down from her position.

Not only did he threaten this, he did so publicly.

She didn’t step down, and in June Rick Perry vetoed $3.7 million in funding for the program.  As a result of the budget cuts, the office was then forced to layoff 10 employees and drop 54 of its 400 active cases.


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Do you listen to Rush Limbaugh?

Do you listen to Rush Limbaugh?


70 %

No, I don't
30 %

Yes, I do
@Aug 12 V 841 votes c 312 comments 

NJ Gov. Christie Supports Kids' Access to Medical Marijuana

But lawmakers annoyed by insistence that pediatrician, psychiatrist OK treatments


Image: AP
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has expressed support for allowing chronically ill children to have easier access to medical marijuana, but he sent a bill on the issue back to the legislature for tweaks that would require two doctors to approve each prescription.

Christie agreed to allow state-approved dispensaries to grow more than three strains of the drug and produce edible forms of marijuana.

He opposed a part of the bill that would have dropped a requirement that both a psychiatrist and pediatrician sign off on a child's plan to use medical marijuana. A third doctor would need to give approval if one of the others were not registered to participate in the program, Fox reports..

If lawmakers approve the change, it will become law.

One of the bill's sponsors, Sen. Nick Scutari, told Fox he thought the psychiatric review was an unnecessary hurdle.
Via Fox News    

New Jersey Bans Gay Conversion Therapy for Minors

It becomes the second state to prohibit the practice

A sign protesting gay conversion therapy at a demonstration in Wheaton, Ill.
A sign protesting gay conversion therapy at a demonstration in Wheaton, Ill. • Image: The Atlantic
The controversial practice of "conversion" therapy for gay youth has been banned in New Jersey, under a law signed Monday by Gov. Chris Christie.
New Jersey will now be the second state, after California, to prohibit services from licensed therapists that attempt to change the sexual orientation of minors.
Christie said he is against "government limiting parental choice on the care and treatment of their own children,'' but in this case sided with experts who say conversion therapy doesn't work and is damaging to youth.

The American Psychological Association says the practice can lead to depression, suicidal thoughts and substance abuse in teens.

H/T Politixians KnightKore and Dances-WeeblesOr read it here


Texas Gov. Rick Perry Seeks $100M From Obamacare Law He Opposes

'It's simply shameful,' one activist said about the move 


Image: AP
Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who is, shall we say, not exactly a huge fan of Obamacare, is in talks with the Obama administration to accept about $100 million for his state through the health law.

State officials are negotiating the terms for an optional Obamacare program that would fund increased services for care for the elderly and people with disabilities in their homes and communities, Politico reports.

Perry spokesman Josh Havens told Politico that the governor has wanted to provide more aid to people with disabilities.

"Long before Obamacare was forced on the American people, Texas was implementing policies to provide those with intellectual disabilities more community options to enable them to live more independent lives, at a lower cost to taxpayers," the statement read.

But Democrats have accused Perry of hypocrisy.  READ MORE


Oklahoma Teens Killed Australian Because They Were 'Bored'

Australian leader calls for boycott of US to send a gun control message

Australian baseball player Christopher Lane, shot dead in Duncan, Oklahoma
Australian baseball player Christopher Lane, shot dead in Duncan, Oklahoma • AP


An Australian college baseball player was shot dead while he was out jogging during a visit to his girlfriend in Duncan, Oklahoma. The three suspects, aged 15, 16, and 17, shot Australian student Christopher Lane apparently at random. One of them confessed to the police that "we were bored and didn't have anything to do, so we decided to kill somebody."

While the US press didn't at first publicly identified the suspects, the Australian media isn't so circumspect and published names and images. Conservative outlets like Drudge and the Daily Caller then picked up on the fact that at least two of the three suspects were black and killed a white man, and are implying that there is a race-based moral lesson to be drawn. It might be more accurate to describe suspect Chancey Luna, accused of pulling the trigger, as mixed race since his mother is white.

Top Roger Ailes Adviser Fired and Escorted From Fox News Building

Brian Lewis Roger Ailes - H 2013
Brian Lewis and Roger Ailes

UPDATED: Brian Lewis, executive vp corporate communications, was ousted after an investigation found breach of contract and "issues relating to financial irregularities," the network says in a statement.

Brian Lewis, a Fox News Channel veteran executive considered the right-hand man to Roger Ailes, was working on his separation agreement Tuesday after having been fired and escorted from his office last month over what insiders are calling financial issues and other performance problems, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

"After an extensive internal investigation of Brian Lewis' conduct by Fox News, it was determined that he should be terminated for cause, specifically for issues relating to financial irregularities, as well as for multiple, material and significant breaches of his employment contract," a company spokesperson said Tuesday. "He was terminated for cause on July 25."

Lewis, who had been a top executive since Ailes founded the powerful cable news network 17 years ago, was most recently executive vp corporate communications, overseeing public relations not only for Fox News but also the Fox Business Network, Fox Television Stations and 20th Television.
Attempts to reach Lewis were not successful. An e-mail to Lewis at Fox News prompted an "on vacation" auto-reply message.  READ MORE


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

New York Judge Halts Stop and Frisk

New York Judge Halts Stop and Frisk
Posted: 12 Aug 2013 04:54 PM PDT
racial-profilingOn Monday, July 12, a New York judge put a halt to stop and frisk laws which disproportionately discriminate against Blacks and Latinos.  While the law is not always perfect, the issues of liberty and justice for all must co-exist with the right to fight crime. And in the New York laws of stop and frisk, the liberty and justice for all got lost in the process of stopping and frisking over 4 million persons with the vast majority being black ( 53%) and well over 20% being Latino.
And the city’s argument failed before  Judge Shira A. Scheindlin of Federal District Court in Manhattan.  The case will not end stop and frisk which is legal when applied legally and under the law. New York’s law failed in that regard.   The Court held that New York’s stop and frisk  law violated the constitutional rights of minorities.  Judge Scheindlin in a 195  page opinion, at times, scolded the police and senior management for failing to even discuss at meetings the disparity in the application of the law which affected approximately 80% of minorities among those who were stopped.
The judge scathingly wrote that the  Deputy Police Commissioner for New York City looked with a blind eye at the application of the law towards minorities.  Judge Scheindlin concluded her opinion by stating that  the idea of universal suspicion is what American abhor and what Black men in America must fight constantly. In a separate opinion, Judge Scheindlin will order measures to change the practices, including a monitor to  oversee changes including cameras to be used by the police.
In an earlier post, I discussed how Stop and Frisk practices in New York affected black men.
 In 2010, the NYPD recorded over 600,000 stops with 84% of them being black or Latino.  And the argument of reducing the crime rate while harassing and targeting innocent persons does not hold water or statistics.  Today Judge Scheindlin did not address the issue of reducing crime but only the unconstitutionality of the statute.
The statistics do not really get to the heart of the real problem.  They don’t tell the whole story. The problem is how young blacks and Latinos routinely feel humiliated, degraded and embarrassed at times for doing daily everyday tasks like coming out of their homes, walking in their neighborhood, going to work,  going to church, the gym, visiting family and friends and God forbid standing in groups of two or more.   And Judge Scheindlin did address the effect of these unconstitutional laws on black men who  she says must universally face unreasonable stops by police and be subjected to frisks, humiliation and embarrassment. READ MORE

Thursday, August 1, 2013

ALEC wants Wisconsin lawmakers to bail out private bondsmen

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has a way of trying to "solve" problems where none exist. Right now in Wisconsin, the group is dipping its fetid toe into the issue of bail bonding. It's supporting an effort to have the state move away from its publicly-run system to one that relies on private bail bondsmen.

Why does ALEC care, you may ask? Surely it has nothing to do with its 20-year relationship with the private bail bond industry, right? Wrong. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) is carrying ALEC's water on the issue after a similar effort in the state failed two years ago. The end goal is more dollars for private bail bondsmen.

The big losers with this legislation are everyone else.  First, there are the impoverished low-level offenders who will not be able to afford even minimal bail amounts. Under the current system, they pay 10 percent of the bail amount to be let free before their court date, but receive that money back if they show up. Under a private system, however, they will not be reimbursed. So while they might be able to borrow their bail amount from someone for a short period of time, they may not be able to get someone to permanently cover those costs.

There is also the issue of the taxpayer. More jail time means more dollars needed to cover the housing and food costs of those behind bars. And it may even result in needing to have more cells built to house them. Bruce Murphy of Urban Milwaukee fills us in:

The return of commercial bail bonds, Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm has stated, “will primarily benefit out-of-state interests, the large bail-bond corporations” motivated “purely by financial interests” at the expense of public safety.
Chisholm said that bail bond agents often set up payment plans with high interest rates that “resemble the predatory practices of the cash loan industry” and trap low-income individuals into a cycle of debt. READ MORE

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Immigrants Have Cantaloupe Calves, and 4 Other Unhinged Comments from America’s Lunatic Right-Wing Fringe This Week

We hope Rep. Steve King likes cantaloupe, because his office received hundreds from the immigrants and supporters he offended.
Rep. Steve King (R – Iowa)
You know you’re pretty far out on the rightward flank of the right wing, when Speaker of the House John “repeal all laws” Boehner and Rep. Paul “slash all social programs” Ryan (R-Wisc.) publicly denounce your comments, but such was the accomplishment of Iowa Rep. Steve King this week. In the past, King has compared immigrants to both dogs and livestock, but this week he went with a fruit metaphor. You see he is just really tired of all the claims that sometimes undocumented immigrants and especially their children achieve things, contribute to and are actually good for a country founded by, well, undocumented immigrants.
“For everyone who’s a valedictorian, there’s another 100 out there that weigh 130 pounds and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert,” King notoriously said.READ MORE

Taxpayer money wasted on $50 million justice project in Afghanistan, report finds

  • Kerry_Mideast.jpg
    FILE: Feb. 14, 2013: Secretary of State John Kerry speaks at the State Department in Washington, D.C. (AP) 

    25 Jul 2013 A contract award made to an organization to promote the rule of law [LOL!] in Afghanistan does not appear to contain basic provisions that would allow the State Department to ensure proper oversight of a project expected to cost U.S. taxpayers *50 million, federal inspectors said Thursday. In a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry, the Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction said there were "serious deficiencies" in the government's award to the International Development Law Organization, which is based in Rome, for the Afghanistan Justice Training Transition Program. Start reading

The 217 Representatives Who Voted To Keep NSA Spying On All Your Data


from the what-4th-amendment? dept

We already talked about the Amash Amendment being voted down very narrowly (217 - 205). While it didn't pass, this was still a huge victory, because a few weeks ago (hell, even last week) people predicted that this amendment had no chance at all and might not even be debated. To come within seven votes of passing shows you why the NSA, the White House and the Senate's primary NSA enablers went absolutely ballistic in going all out against the amendment. Think about that: you had incredibly powerful interests working overtime against this amendment, and no special interests beyond basic common decency and grassroots support working for it... and the vote was still incredibly close.


Republicans Sabotaging, Not Governing

Eric Cantor House Majority Leader, John Boehner the 61st Speaker of the House, Kevin McCarthy the Republican Majority Whip. (image: DonkeyHotey/cc/flickr)
Dave Johnson, Campaign for America's Future
Johnson writes: "Imagine a political party that would hurt the public, the economy and the country so they could say in the next election, 'Hey look at how the country is hurting, vote for us instead.' That could never happen here, could it?"

Friday, July 26, 2013

News Anchor Unwittingly Draws Penis On Traffic Screen During Report (Watch)

News Anchor Unwittingly Draws Penis On Traffic Screen During Report (Watch)


News anchor Siobhan Riley of Saginaw’s ABC 12, was busy doing her job and reporting on traffic patterns in the area when she drew a penis-shaped traffic flow.
*Po' thang. :)
News reporters and anchors make their jobs seem easy as they read the teleprompter and deliver the news.
But sometimes, they have to give their attention to too many directions and …well…mistakes can happen…on the air.
According to the Daily Mail, Saginaw, Michigan’s ABC 12 News anchor Siobhan Riley, was innocently delivering the traffic report when she drew a few too many loops on the screen to exhibit the local traffic patterns.
The electronic pen got ahead of her and she didn’t realize until she was finished that she was looking at a penis-shaped traffic pattern on the screen.

The 10 Coolest Things You Can 3-D Print Right Now

Cameras, guitars, RC aircraft and more!

Current 3-D Printing
Current 3-D Printing Instruments, flying things, figurines, and much more! 
One survey of the 3-D printing landscape will quickly show you that it's brimming with novelty items and useless junk. But don't let that overwhelm you! We sorted through the clutter to create this list of 10 projects that are both awesome and practical.  READ MORE

Don't have a 3-D printer yet? Chicago's got you covered...

There's something about 3D printing

How Google accidentally uncovered a Chinese ring of car thieves

Looking for fraud on AdWords, the team found something more mysterious

goog campus 10
AdWords is the core of the business of Google, delivering billions of data-targeted ads to browsers every year. Most of the ads are legitimate, but not all of them, and it’s Google’s job to tell which is which. Last year, that meant kicking 224 million ads off the network. The majority were run-of-the-mill web fraud: counterfeit handbags, thinly veiled phishing schemes, the kind of thing any decent spam filter would take out. But in 2010, in the midst of reworking the ad-filtering model, something strange happened. The new model was flagging a lot of otherwise innocuous ads for used cars. Most of the bad products were counterfeit goods, and, as AdWords engineering director David Baker says, "We'd never heard of a counterfeit car." Had they trained AdWords into anti-car prejudice? Was the model simply broken?

The answer turned out to be even stranger. They were real cars, but they weren't really for sale. Scammers were taking pictures of cars on the street, and when a hapless customer showed up a few days later offering money, they'd steal the car and hand it over. By the time the mark realized he had purchased stolen goods, the sellers were long gone, taking his money with them. It's a lucrative scam, and in China, a well-known one — but to anyone looking at the ads, it just looks like one more crop of used-car ads.

For those who study fraud in China, on the other hand, this is far from surprising. "These people are very professional," says Dahui Li, an information systems expert at the University of Minnesota who specializes in Chinese online fraud. In the case of the car scam, he says the offline component is the most important part, as a way to assure skeptical customers that the sale is legit. "Chinese people want to see the product before they pay for it," Li says. "They have to see the car." So the criminal element developed a scheme that could show it to them.   READ MORE

Cost of Arctic Methane Release Could Be 'Size of Global Economy', Experts Warn

Iceberg. (Credit: © kathoo17 / Fotolia)
July 24, 2013 — Researchers have warned of an "economic time-bomb" in the Arctic, following a ground-breaking analysis of the likely cost of methane emissions in the region.

Economic modelling shows that the methane emissions caused by shrinking sea ice from just one area of the Arctic could come with a global price tag of 60 trillion dollars -- the size of the world economy in 2012.

Writing in a Comment piece in the journal, Nature, academics argue that a significant release of methane from thawing permafrost in the Arctic could have dire implications for the world's economy. The researchers, from Cambridge and Rotterdam, have for the first time calculated the potential economic impact of a scenario some scientists consider increasingly likely -- that methane from the East Siberian Sea will be emitted as a result of the thaw.

This constitutes just a fraction of the vast reservoirs of methane in the Arctic, but scientists believe that the release of even a small proportion of these reserves could trigger possibly catastrophic climate change. According to the new assessment, the emission of methane below the East Siberian Sea alone would also have a mean global impact of 60 trillion dollars.

The ground-breaking Comment piece was co-authored by Gail Whiteman, from Erasmus University; Chris Hope, Reader in Policy Modelling at Cambridge Judge Business School, University of Cambridge; and Peter Wadhams, Professor of Ocean physics at the University of Cambridge.
"The global impact of a warming Arctic is an economic time-bomb," Whiteman, who is Professor of sustainability, management and climate change at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM), said.

Wadhams added: "The imminent disappearance of the summer sea ice in the Arctic will have enormous implications for both the acceleration of climate change, and the release of methane from off-shore waters which are now able to warm up in the summer. This massive methane boost will have major implications for global economies and societies." READ MORE

Monday, July 8, 2013

Tracking homicides in Chicago

New City, South Shore see 3 homicides

New City and South Shore each saw three homicides in the last week, a RedEye analysis of preliminary police data found.

In New City, a 5-year-old boy and 31-year-old woman were shot to death Friday in the 5300 block of South Winchester Avenue, police said. One day earlier, a 29-year-old man was stabbed to death in the 1000 block of West Garfield Boulevard, according to officials.
In South Shore, a 24-year-old man was fatally shot Sunday in the 2400 block of East 75th Street, police said. On Friday, a 16-year-old boy was shot to death in the 7500 block of South
Kingston Avenue, according to officials.

Two days earlier, an 18-year-old man was fatally shot in the 7500 block of South Merrill Avenue, police said.

Meanwhile, Washington Heights saw two homicides this week.
A 23-year-old man was fatally shot Tuesday in the 9900 block of South Halsted Street, police said.

One day earlier, an 18-year-old man was shot to death in the 10400 block of South Green Street, according to officials.

Citywide, gunshot homicides were logged in the last week in Englewood, West Lawn and West Pullman, RedEye determined.

June ended this week with 43 homicides, down from 47 homicides in June 2012, RedEye found.
Two homicides have been logged so far this month. Forty-nine homicides were recorded in July 2012, according to RedEye data.

Victims  READ MORE

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Mississippi town sued over 'school-to-prison pipeline'

By Terry Frieden, CNN
October 26, 2012 -- Updated 1443 GMT (2243 HKT)
In 2009, the Lauderdale County Juvenile Detention Facility in
Meridian was the target of a federal class-action lawsuit.
  • Federal civil rights lawyers sue Meridian, Lauderdale County, agencies
  • They say children at Youth Court are denied rights
  • Youth Court sees minorities disproportionately, lawsuit says
  • Justice Department had warned officials about lawsuit
Washington (CNN) -- Federal civil rights lawyers filed suit Wednesday against Meridian, Mississippi, and other defendants for operating what the government calls a school-to-prison pipeline in which students are denied basic constitutional rights, sent to court and incarcerated for minor school infractions.

The lawsuit says children who talk back to teachers, violate dress codes and commit other minor infractions are handcuffed and sent to a youth court where they are denied their rights.

It's the first time a jurisdiction has been charged under a law designed to protect the due process rights of juveniles in such circumstances.
Also among the defendants were Lauderdale County, judges of the county's Youth Court and the State of Mississippi Division of Youth Services.
About 6,000 mostly African-American students attend grades kindergarten through 12 in a dozen schools in the Lauderdale County School District.
About 86% of the district's students are African-American, but all of those referred to the court for violations were minorities, the government suit said.  READ MORE

Thursday, June 27, 2013

We Stand With Deric Lostutter: Support the Steubenville Whistleblower Now!

The Steubenville rape case helped spark a national conversation about victim-blaming and rape culture.

But the victim only got justice because Anonymous leaked significant social media evidence implicating the assailants — and for distributing those tweets, photos, and video, 26-year-old Deric Lostutter faces more prison time than the rapists got themselves.

Lostutter faces up to ten years behind bars if he's convicted of hacking-relating crimes.  Now he's gearing up for a costly legal battle — and as he calls for donations, we call on you to give him the nationwide support he needs to win his trial.

The Ohio U.S. Attorney's office and the DOJ are sending a dangerous message to men who stand up : Don't get involved, or else. Let them know we still stand with Deric: Sign your support for his actions and oppose sending him to prison, now!  SIGN THE PETITION AND READ MORE 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

UPDATE: ‘Stand Your Ground’ Got Marissa Alexander 20 Years with No Community Outrage

*We are sitting on the precipice of the George Zimmerman trial set to begin on Monday, June 10, but we hope that people remember Marissa Alexander when the trial begins.

Marissa Alexander is the Florida mother and abused wife that fired a warning shot in her home to keep her husband, Rico Gray, from killing her –as he promised– and was sentenced to a mandatory 20 years in prison.

The Stand Your Ground law that she thought would protect her did not…and she didn’t kill anyone.  Her children were present and she was trying to protect herself.

She didn’t pursue him.  She did not kill him.  She was simply protecting herself and she is still waiting to see the community outraged by the extreme punishment.

George Zimmerman, on the other hand, stalked Trayvon Martin and willingly disregarded the authorities instructions for him to leave the 18-year-old alone and let them handle what Zimmerman, in his twisted thoughts, conveyed as a threat.


Former Navy SEAL Comes Out As Transgender

The new memoir by a U.S. Navy SEAL has nothing to do with Osama bin Laden. Instead, Warrior Princess tells the story of Chris Beck, the burly, bearded person on the cover and a "consummate guy's guy," who has since come out as transgender and changed her name to Kristin. After retiring in 2011, Beck decided "to make his body match his identity." (The repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" does not apply to transgender service members.) To Beck's delight, the manly killing machines she used to work with were accepting.

"I am now taking off all my disguises and letting the world know my true identity as a woman," Beck wrote on LinkedIn, alongside a new profile picture of Kristin featuring the American flag. (Also, Navy SEALs use LinkedIn like Facebook, apparently.) "Brother, I am with you ... being a SEAL is hard, this looks harder. Peace," one SEAL commented. Another added, "I just wanted to drop you a note and tell you that Kris has all the support and respect from me that Chris had ... and quite possibly more." America!  READ MORE

Obama Taps Hollywood to Help End Mental Health Stigma

Actress Glenn Close attends the White House Mental
Health Conference in the East Room of the White House
June 3, 2013 in Washington, DC
June 4, 2013 by  

*President Obama turned to Hollywood for help in raising awareness of mental illness, beginning with a White House summit on Monday with Vice President Joe Biden, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Education Secretary Arne Duncan. They were joined by two entertainment industry stalwarts with personal connections to mental health issues: actress Glenn Close and actor Bradley Cooper.

Close, who co-founded the nonprofit awareness group Bring Change 2 Mind, has said she first became aware of mental health problems when she starred in “Fatal Attraction” in 1987. Her sister Jessie grew up with severe bouts of depression and tried to commit suicide several times before being diagnosed with bi-polar disorder. Her nephew Calen has also been diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder. She’s also the narrator of a PBS documentary that started airing last week in California, “A New State of Mind: Ending the Stigma of Mental Illness.”  READ MORE
[Why not,  right?  I mean,  were no longer medieval ignorant savages,  so what's the problem?
Brains are organs too,  as we know and organs can suffer damage.  Or are we still thinking the
problem is demons from hell?  Something contagious we might catch?  Or any other tomfoolishness
some shaman wants to peddle.  Then let's get on with the search for a cure.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Sundown Towns: A Hidden Dimension of American Racism by

James W. Loewen

Sundown Towns: A Hidden Dimension of American Racism

From Maine to California, thousands of communities kept out African Americans (or sometimes Chinese Americans, Jewish Americans, etc.) by force, law, or custom. These communities are sometimes called "sundown towns" because some of them posted signs at their city limits reading, typically, "Nigger, Don't Let The Sun Go Down On You In ___." Some towns are still all white on purpose. Their chilling stories have been joined more recently by the many elite (and some not so elite) suburbs like Grosse Pointe, MI, or Edina, MN, that have excluded nonwhites by "kinder gentler means." When I began this research, I expected to find about 10 sundown towns in Illinois (my home state) and perhaps 50 across the country. Instead, I have found more than 440 in Illinois and thousands across the United States. This is their story; it is the first book ever written on the topic.

Search the Sundown Towns Database


Saturday, May 25, 2013

Survivorship Bias by David McRaney

The Misconception: You should study the successful if you wish to become successful.
The Truth: When failure becomes invisible, the difference between failure and success may also become invisible.
In New York City, in an apartment a few streets away from the center of Harlem, above trees reaching out over sidewalks and dogs pulling at leashes and conversations cut short to avoid parking tickets, a group of professional thinkers once gathered and completed equations that would both snuff and spare several hundred thousand human lives.

People walking by the apartment at the time had no idea that four stories above them some of the most important work in applied mathematics was tilting the scales of a global conflict as secret agents of the United States armed forces, arithmetical soldiers, engaged in statistical combat. Nor could people today know as they open umbrellas and twist heels on cigarettes, that nearby, in an apartment overlooking Morningside Heights, one of these soldiers once effortlessly prevented the United States military from doing something incredibly stupid, something that could have changed the flags now flying in capitals around the world had he not caught it, something you do every day.

These masters of math moved their families across the country, some across an ocean, so they could work together. As they unpacked, the theaters in their new hometown replaced posters for Citizen Kane with those for Casablanca, and the newspapers they unwrapped from photo frames and plates featured stories still unravelling the events at Pearl Harbor. Many still held positions at universities. Others left those sorts of jobs to think deeply in one of the many groups that worked for the armed forces, free of any other obligations aside from checking in on their families at night and feeding their brains during the day. All paused their careers and rushed to enlist so that they help to crush Hitler, not with guns and brawn, but with integers and exponents.

The official name for the people inside the apartment was the Statistical Research Group, a cabal of geniuses assembled at the request of the White House and made up of people who would go on to compete for and win Nobel Prizes. The SRG was an extension of Columbia University, and they dealt mainly with statistical analysis. Other groups with different specialities were tied to Harvard, Princeton, Brown and others, 11 in all, each a leaf at the end of a new branch of the government created to help defeat the Axis – the Department of War Math.

Actually…no. They were never officially known by such a deliciously sexy title. They were instead called the Applied Mathematics Panel, but they operated as if they were a department of war math.
The Department, ahem, the Panel, was created because the United States needed help. A surge of new technology had flooded into daily life, and the same wonders that years earlier drove ticket sales to the World’s Fair were now cracking open cities. Numbers and variables now massed into scenarios far too complex to solve with maps and binoculars. The military realized it faced problems that no soldier had ever confronted. No best practices yet existed for things like rockets and radar stations and aircraft carriers. The most advanced computational devices available were clunky experiments made of telephone switches or vacuum tubes. A calculator still looked like the mutant child of an old-fashioned cash register and a mechanical typewriter. If you wanted solutions to the newly unfathomable problems of modern combat you needed powerful number crunchers, and in 1941 the world’s most powerful number crunchers ran on toast and coffee and wore ties to breakfast.
Here is how it worked:  READ MORE