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Showing posts from March, 2016

Sen. Elizabeth Warren Calls for Total Overhaul of Student Loan System

"It's long past time for the Department of Education's bank to clean up its act and start running the student loan program to benefit students—not private companies," declared Sen. Elizabeth Warren on the floor of the U.S. Senate on Wednesday as she announced a plan (pdf) for the Department of Education (DOE) to completely overhaul its student loan servicing system.  Read more.

Zaha Hadid Dies Aged 65

The Iraqi-born British Architect Dame Zaha Hadid, DBE (1950-2016) has died aged 65, in Miami, Florida. According to reports from the BBC, Hadid was being treated in hospital for bronchitis when she suffered a heart attack. Earlier this year she became the first sole woman to receive the RIBA Royal Gold Medal at a ceremony in London.  Read more.

Postscript: Zaha Hadid, 1950-2016

ave never known anyone whose reputation provoked more terror yet whose actual presence was more fun than Dame Zaha Hadid’s. There have always been difficult personalities in architecture. The profession itself seems calculated to make one egotistical and intractable. But it always amazed me that Hadid had somehow attracted a singular reputation for being difficult to deal with. Compared with other prominent architects, no one was more down to earth, more exuberantly real, than her.  Read more.

'Mississippi Goddamn': State Sanctions Sweeping Discrimination

Mississippi joins in a race to the bottom for the most extreme anti-LGBTQ legislation in the country, as on Thursday the state legislature is expected to send an unprecedented "religious freedom" bill to the governor's desk for signing.
The bill was approved by the state Senate late on Wednesday, only a week after North Carolina passed its own sweeping discrimination law in a highly unusual process that critics decried as...read more.

Donald Trump: There has to be some form of punishment for abortion

The Grisly Legacy of Kill the Indian, Save the Man

Over a hundred years after the children of their ancestors were spirited East by white men eager to cut their hair, change their names, ban their language, sever their family ties and otherwise cleanse their "savage natures" - while, alas, often killing them with diseases - Native American groups are now fighting to bring home from Pennsylvania's infamous Carlisle Indian Industrial School the small bodies of those lost to the "noble experiment" of forced assimilation.  Read more.

Georgia Governor Will Veto Anti-LGBT ‘Religious Freedom’ Bill

Last week, GOOD reported that major businesses including Disney and the NFL took stances against an anti-gay “religious freedom” bill that had been passed by both of Georgia’s legislative chambers. House Bill 757, also known as the Pastor Protection Act, would have given faith-based organizations the right to fire people...read more.

11,000 Gallons of Oil Spills in Louisiana Bayou - Cleanup Underway

A Contractor is cleaning up about 11,500 gallons of oil that overflowed from a tank being filled in south Louisiana, the Coast Guard said Tuesday.
Lt. j.g. Lisa Siebert said much of the oil was on the ground rather than nearby Bayou Teche, so the Environmental Protection Agency took over the investigation and cleanup supervision.  Read more.

Too Rigged to Fail: The Homeowner Hampster Wheel of Mortgage Fraud

Ask anyone in casual conversation about the current state of homeownership or the sky-high cost of rent in most US cities and you'll find that the majority of them are having a difficult time meeting the basic demands of bills, expenses, mortgage or rent payments, home and auto repairs, medical expenses, and the simplest needs of day to day living.  Read more.

Video shows Israeli soldier greeting far-right activist after killing wounded Palestinian stabber

The Israeli soldier who shot dead a wounded Palestinian attacker was recorded shaking hands with a far-right Jewish activist while the victim's body was removed from the scene.
The new video – released by B'Tselem, the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories – shows the soldier behind his commander as the two walk away from the body of Abed al-Fattah al-Sharif, who was shot on Thursday.  Read more.

Obama Arrives in Argentina Amid Protests Against his Visit

The Loss of Phife

Voters accuse Arizona of election fraud as Phoenix mayor requests federal investigation

The phrase #AZElectionFraud trended on Twitter on Thursday as thousands of users across social media accused Arizona of sabotaging the March 22 primary election.
Thousands of Arizonan voters were stuck in long lines for hours on Tuesday night after county officials decreased the number of polling locations in Maricopa County — the most populous area in the state, with more than half of the population — by more than two-thirds, from 200 four years ago to just 60.  Read more.

Trump's Popularity and the Rise of Authoritarian Capitalism

The rise of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is a clear symptom of the catastrophic normalization of authoritarian capitalism around the world. Many recent debates about his popularity, however, have missed this point: They are being framed in post-ideological terms that obscure the relation between Trump's rise and the deepening contradictions of the global capitalist system.  Read more.

Why Trump is winning: His supporters think America is screwing over whites

Donald Trump continued stomping towards the GOP nomination with a big win in Arizona last night, which will stir more anxiety among GOP elites who worry that his strategy of courting white backlash could drive away minority voters, helping unleash an electoral bloodbath up and down the ticket. Paul Ryan is set to give a speech today decrying the “tone” in our politics that will likely hint at criticism of Trump along these lines.  Read more.

Donald Trump is wicked. As a rabbi, I had to protest his AIPAC speech.

As a rabbi of an Orthodox congregation in Washington, I am a strong supporter of Israel and of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, which lobbies on its behalf here. For more than a decade, I’ve traveled to Israel at least once a year, and I’ve been to many AIPAC events over my 17 years as a rabbi.
So when Donald Trump addressed the group’s annual policy conference at the Verizon Center on Monday, I was sitting six rows away from the stage. And as Trump began his speech, I rose from my seat. I spread my tallit over my shoulders, raised my hands up high and declared: “This man is wicked. He inspires racists and bigots. He encourages violence. Do not listen to him.” With every cell in my body, I felt the obligation to declare his wickedness to the world.  Read more.

Bernie Wins Utah and Idaho; Hillary Wins Arizona

Bernie Sanders wins in Idaho, his second caucus victory of the night. With nearly all the votes counted, Sanders topped Clinton by roughly 57 points, 78 percent to Hillary's 21 percent. Despite winning two of the day's three contests, though, Sanders won't make up any ground on his rival in the delegate race. According to the Associated Press' estimates, he's on pace to win 11 delegates more than Hillary in both Utah and Idaho but 23 less than her in Arizona.  Read more.

Atlanta airport evacuated over suspicious package, reports of shooting

Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport is being evacuated after a suspicious package was found, the airport has announced on Twitter. Unconfirmed reports on social media have said there was a shooting on the premises.
The public areas of the domestic terminal are being evacuated, according to the airport's official Twitter account.  Read more.

No More Colonialism Disguised as Financial Assistance: The US Must Relinquish Puerto Rico

This year, 2016, marks a new era in Caribbean colonialism.
The US Congress is preparing a "Financial Control Authority," which will supervise the finances of the entire government of Puerto Rico -- its legislature and courts, public authorities, pension system and all leases, union contracts and collective bargaining agreements. The authority will also restructure the entire public workforce (including teachers and police), freeze public pensions and ensure "the payment of debt obligations." Then it will issue its own debt, spend the funds as it sees fit and leave Puerto Rico to pay the bill.  Read more.

If Trump’s Racism Shocks You, So Too Should AIPAC's

The 2016 American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Policy Conference is currently underway in Washington, DC. The conference is no small affair; as is the case every year, there is a star-studded speakers list. This year, nearly all of the American presidential candidates are scheduled to speak, each no doubt hoping to convince conference goers that they love Israel more than their competitors in the presidential race.  Read more.

Castro Demands Obama Drop Blockade, Return 'Illegally Occupied' Guantánamo

During the first family's historic visit to Cuba on Monday, the Cuban president confronted President Barack Obama about the crippling trade embargo and called on him to "return the territory illegally occupied by Guantánamo Base."
At an afternoon press conference in Havana, the two leaders touted the "concrete" achievements made since the countries resumed diplomatic relations in December 2014.  Read more.

Amid Water Crisis, Suspicious Flint City Hall Break-in Declared 'Inside Job'

An unsolved December break-in to the Flint City Hall office where files on the water crisis were being stored was "definitely an inside job," the city's police chief has told local media.
That statement raised more than a few eyebrows as Flint officials are currently being investigated for their role in the ongoing lead poisoning crisis. Three months after the burglary, there are still no suspects...read more.

Earth Hour 2016

Cities worldwide turned off their lights for an hour Saturday night to mark this year's Earth Hour and highlight the pressing need for global climate action.
According to the Earth Hour movement's website, 2016's celebration—the tenth time the annual event has taken place—was the biggest ever, with an "unprecedented 178 countries and territories" taking part," and including "1.23 million individual climate actions, from petitions to on-the-ground activities.  Read more.

100 years ago today, Ota Benga ended his horrible life after caged as ‘pygmy’ at Bronx Zoo

100 years ago, on March 20, 1916, Ota Benga took a gun and fired a bullet into his own heart, ending the short and tragic life of the “missing link” from Africa.
His treatment at the hands of so-called gentlemen from New York’s Bronx Zoo and the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis, Missouri came in the height of the eugenics movement, forty years after the end of (legal) slavery in America.  Read more.

Lula Joins President's Cabinet in Brazil, Avoiding Arrest

Baltimore Students say Police Beatings not Unusual

Senator Warren says insults will stop her from exposing corrupt banking system

With his "offensive, sexist, and out-of-line" remarks this week about Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), whom he likened to Darth Vader, Republican Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.) awakened the Force.
In a speech before the American Bankers Association on Wednesday, Leutkemeyer said Warren—a leading voice for Wall Street regulation—was the "Darth Vader of the financial services world" and said bankers should find a way to "neuter" her.  Read more.

When will the US government stop persecuting whistleblowers?

The US government is heavily invested in an internal surveillance program that is unsustainable, ineffective, morally reprehensible, inherently dangerous and ultimately counterproductive.
In the months following the US government’s initial charges against me over the release of government records in 2010, the current administration formed the National Insider Threat Task Force under the authority of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), the Department of Justice, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and several other US government agencies.  Read more.

Green Party presidential candidate offers ‘collaboration’ with Bernie Sanders

Facing a mathematically improbable path to victory, Democratic Party presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders needs all the support he can get, and the Green Party’s Jill Stein has an offer that would be unprecedented if accepted.
Stein is running for president just like Sanders is, but their “shared goals” could be enough for them to work together, the Green Party candidate tweeted on Wednesday.  Read more.

SeaWorld Finally Ends its Orca Breeding Program

In a decision that animal rights advocates hailed as a "game changer," SeaWorld CEO Joel Manby declared on Thursday that the amusement park will "end all orca breeding programs" in response to intense criticism from protesters.
SeaWorld will also invest $50 million over the next five years in the rescue and rehabilitation of marine animals and Humane Society advocacy campaigns. The Humane Society reported that SeaWorld agreed to all these changes as a result of negotiations with the animal rights advocacy organization.  Read more.

The Bernie Sanders Speech Corporate Media Chose Not To Air

Anita Alvarez Loses, Concedes State's Attorney's Race to Kim Foxx

In the wake of her handling of the Laquan McDonald case, Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez lost her bid for reelection by a wide margin to Kim Foxx on Tuesday night.

With 100 percent of the vote counted, Foxx had nearly 58 percent of the vote to Alvarez's 29 percent. Challenger Donna More was a distant third with 13 percent.  Read more.

The Economic Justice We Should Be Voting For

Polls are open Tuesday in four cities that are listed among the 10 “worst cities for black Americans” and two of “America’s most segregated cities,” according to reports published last year by 24/7 Wall St.
The four worst cities for black people are all in Illinois. The list includes fourth-worst Chicago, as one might expect, where the median income of African-American households is half that of white households and where...read more.

The Bush Dynasty Has Been Broken

Jeb Bush dropped out of the 2016 presidential race not long ago, and you could hear the earth itself heave a sigh of relief. When he announced he was suspending his campaign, head down with a pathetic shrug between his ears, a political dynasty that has looted and ravaged this nation and the world for going on 80 years was snuffed like a guttering candle in a forgotten church. In that darkness is the light, because the planet doesn't have to worry about the Bush family any more. They'll lurk, sure, like a purse snatcher skulking in the shadows next to an ATM, but the next time you see a Bush on television will be when they are getting lowered into their grave.  Read more.

Why Chimpanzee-Testing in Medicine Had to End

A French man died last month and five others in the same clinical trial were hospitalized after they took an experimental drug. The drug had been deemed safe for humans after having been tested on chimpanzees in preclinical trials.
The National Institutes of Health's recent decision to end federally supported chimpanzee experimentation could prevent future fatalities like this by promoting more human-relevant research methods.  Read more.

The University of California Must Divest From Private Prisons

The University of California (UC) system, like other universities across the country, has become a battleground in the struggle against neoliberalism. Over the past few years, the UC administration has repeatedly cited budget problems to justify slashing workers' benefits and doing away with (or "condensing") many programs, including ethnic studies. At the same time, UC has expanded its ties to large corporations, many of them directly linked to the economic and physical repression of poor communities and communities of color.  Read more.

The University of California Must Divest From Private Prisons

The University of California (UC) system, like other universities across the country, has become a battleground in the struggle against neoliberalism. Over the past few years, the UC administration has repeatedly cited budget problems to justify slashing workers' benefits and doing away with (or "condensing") many programs, including ethnic studies. At the same time, UC has expanded its ties to large corporations, many of them directly linked to the economic and physical repression of poor communities and communities of color.  Read more.

Radioactive Waste Still Leaking Five Years After Fukushima Nuclear Disaster

The Life and Death of "Green" Fracking Titan Aubrey McClendon

Racial tensions explode at Donald Trump’s rallies

Protesters and supporters of Donald Trump clashed in sometimes violent fashion here on Friday, the latest in an escalating series of confrontations that have come to define the front-runner’s rowdy campaign rallies even as he gets closer to securing the Republican nomination.
Inside the Peabody Opera House, protesters interrupted Trump eight times, prompting catcalls and chants from the crowd as security officers removed them.  Read more.

Police found innocent shooting of college student

The San Francisco cops who shot at a stun gun-toting college student at least 48 times did not use excessive force when they killed him in a park, a jury ruled Thursday.
The eight jurors reached the verdict in a civil lawsuit filed against the city following the 2014 death of 27-year-old Alex Nieto, a shooting that sparked protests throughout the city and fueled anger against police.  Read more.

However the 2016 Election Ends, the Civil War for the Nation's Soul Will Continue

Donald Trump's slogan, "Make America Great Again," contains demagogic appeal. It is a coded call to "make America white again": to ensure that it is a nation characterized by white patriarchal rule, the oppression of people of color, the condoning of violence to resolve perceived grievances of white privilege, the use of torture, and all the trappings of white settler colonialism.  Read more.

Paddles, Stun Guns and Chemical Sprays: How US Schools Discipline Students

"Brian was a regular kid," longtime communications professional Kathy Parrent says, "a boy who liked to make everyone in our third grade classroom laugh. One day he said something smart-alecky, and our teacher grabbed him by the collar, lifted him up, opened up the coat closet, threw him in and locked the door. The rest of us sat in stunned horror, terrified. Brian immediately began banging and screaming, 'please, please, let me out,' but the teacher kept him in there for what felt like an eternity."  Read more.

Lead Discovery Forces Water Ban in Newark Public Schools

Public schools in Newark, New Jersey, were forced to shut off water fountains on Wednesday after test results showed high levels of lead in the water supply.
"Officials say they do not know how long students at nearly half of the Newark's schools may have been drinking water with elevated levels of lead," reported Dan Ivers at NJ.com.  Read more.

Why We Need The People’s Budget’s $1 Trillion Infrastructure Plan

Set aside for a moment concerns about political gridlock on Capitol Hill. Think about the actual gridlock that could await lawmakers and citizens on their way to Capitol Hill.
Earlier in March, Washington area residents learned that one of the major bridges in the city – one that carries about 70,000 vehicles a day past the iconic Lincoln Memorial to either downtown Washington or the Virginia suburbs – will have to be shut down in five years without a $250 million reconstruction.  Read more.

Sanders’ Michigan Win Shows Pollsters Have a Bernie Blindspot

Nearly every time Bernie Sanders wins a primary or caucus, it comes as a surprise to pollsters. In Minnesota, Oklahoma, and Kansas, all states Sanders won, polls had Clinton out ahead by at least a small margin, and in some cases a very large one. Even his virtual tie with Clinton in Iowa was unexpected. But of all the surprises Sanders and his supporters have brought to this cycle...read more.

Lula and the BRICS in a fight to the death

“BRICS” is the dirtiest of acronyms in the Beltway/Wall Street axis, and for a solid reason: the consolidation of the BRICS is the only organic, global-reach project with the potential to derail Exceptionalistan’s grip over the so-called “international community.”
So it’s no surprise the three key BRICS powers have been under simultaneous attack, on many fronts, for some time now.  Read more.

Hillary’s inevitability lie: A rush to nominate the weakest candidate

The nation may be divided but at least its pundits speak as one. They all say Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are killing the competition. Pundits love to issue death certificates. On Super Tuesday they sounded like the coroner of Munchkin Land. (He’s not only merely dead, but really most sincerely dead!)  They’re wrong. Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, John Kasich and especially Bernie Sanders are all alive and kicking. It ain’t over yet; not by a long shot.  Read more.

45 Years After COINTELPRO, FBI Still Thinks 'Dissent is the Enemy'

Forty-five years ago on Tuesday, peace activists broke into an FBI office in Media, Pennsylvania and unearthed documents exposing the government's expansive COINTELPRO operations, which aimed to surveil, disrupt, and "neutralize" lawful activist groups, including war protesters, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, the American Indian Movement, and the National Lawyers Guild.  Read more.

Former first lady Nancy Reagan dies at 94 in California

Nancy Reagan, the helpmate, backstage adviser and fierce protector of Ronald Reagan in his journey from actor to president — and finally during his 10-year battle with Alzheimer’s disease — has died. She was 94.
The former first lady died Sunday at her home in the Bel-Air section of Los Angeles of congestive heart failure, assistant Allison Borio told The Associated Press.  Read more.

Republicans On Crack

Growing up I always figured the Berlin Wall would fall from the weight of its own insanity. I just never figured it would happen when I was in my 20s, in the 1980s. I figured it’d be more of a mid-21st century sort of thing, if our nukes and the Soviets’ didn’t interrupt the natural order of things. I’ve had the same thoughts about the Republican Party since Ronald Reagan made it America’s wall in those same 80s. It was bound to crack up, what with the nation’s whites fast and blessedly approaching minority status. I just never figured it would happen before I was drawing Medicare and smoking pot with my grandchildren.
But there it is. The crack-up is upon us. The locks have popped. The insane asylums have emptied. The loons are casting ballots.  Read more.

Oregon Makes History with Legislation to Replace Coal with Clean Energy

On Wednesday, the Oregon state legislature passed a bill that is one of most significant actions ever taken in the United States on climate change and clean energy.
The bill, titled the “Clean Electricity and Coal Transition Plan", will move Oregon completely off coal by 2030 - including phasing out coal power being imported into the state on the grid...read more.

Casting Zoe Saldana in blackface as Nina Simone exposes the shocking colourism of Hollywood

The Nina Simone biopic has been embroiled in controversy since news first spread of its production in 2012.
Angered primarily by the lead role casting of Zoe Saldana, a considerably lighter-skinned woman than Simone, fans and Simone’s estate alike questioned the film’s potential to be anything other than offensive.  Read more.

Mitt Romney blasts Donald Trump’s career & candidacy

Former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney called on his party to disavow its frontrunner Donald Trump in a scorching rebuke of the candidate – from the way Trump is running his campaign to his business, political and personal history.
Speaking at the Hinckley Institute at the University of Utah, the former Massachusetts governor said that...read more.

Loyalty to Obama Drives Black Voter Support for Clinton

Sanders Wins Four States, No "Knock Out" for Clinton

World's Largest Floating Solar Farm to Provide 10 Million People With Clean Drinking Water

England will soon be home to Europe’s largest floating solar farm, if not the world. The 6.3 megawatt array consists of 23,000 solar panels that sit on the Queen Elizabeth II reservoir at Walton-on-Thames, a suburb of London near Heathrow Airport.
According to The Guardian, the £6 million (about $8 million) project will help power local water treatment plants that provide clean drinking water to London and south-east England’s 10 million residents.  Read more.

Baltimore school police chief suspended after video shows officer slapping student

Video footage shows a Baltimore school police officer slapping, kicking and cursing at a high school student, prompting the chief of the police department and two of its officers to be put on administrative leave.
The short clip posted to Facebook on Tuesday was covertly filmed via smartphone by another student at Reach Partnership School, and shows an unidentified officer swearing at a young man while slapping his face three times.  Read more.

Joseph Stiglitz says Anger Over 'Failed Economy' is Shaping US Politics

Anyone who wants to understand what’s going on in U.S. electoral politics should look at the economy, according to Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz.
“There are a lot of people that are described as angry and they finally figured out that they’re not doing very well,” Stiglitz said in London on Wednesday. “They’re not doing as well as their parents; some Americans aren’t doing as well as their grandparents.”  Read more.

Apple lawyer, FBI director face off before Congress on iPhone encryption

Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey told a congressional panel on Tuesday that a court order forcing Apple Inc (AAPL.O) to give the FBI data from an iPhone belonging to one of the San Bernardino shooters would be “potentially precedential” in other cases where the agency might request similar cooperation from technology companies.  Read more.