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Friday, August 17

Thursday Digest [16 August 2012] Part 2

Fazaga v. FBI: Eroding democracy, in two dimensions at once

On Tuesday, August 14, a federal judge issued a disturbing ruling allowing the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to evade public accountability for infiltrating faith institutions, monitoring law-abiding people, recording sexual encounters, and then lying about all of it. Carney’s decision erodes democracy in two dimensions at once, enabling ongoing constitutional violations by the executive branch while, at the same time, eroding judicial independence.
The ruling is especially surprising given the judge’s previous criticism of the FBI for lying to him in court.

Seven Tax Return Questions Mitt Romney Left Unanswered Today

Mitt Romney said on Thursday on the campaign trail that he never paid less than a 13 percent tax rate, adding that continued calls for him to release his tax returns are “small-minded.” “I did go back and look at my taxes, and over the past 10 years I never paid less than 13 percent,” he said. “And if you add in addition the amount that goes to charity, why the number gets well above 20 percent.”

Report: US Tax Dollars Funding Exhorbitant CEO Pay

"Our nation’s tax code has become a powerful enabler of bloated CEO pay."

While austerity hits everyday Americans, seemingly scarce tax dollars are being squeezed from their pockets to fund exorbitant CEO pay, according to a report released Thursday from the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS).

Study: News networks largely ignored climate change during hottest month ever

Media Matters found that ABC and CNN were the worst offenders, with just 2 percent and 4 percent of their extreme weather coverage carrying any mention of climate change, respectively. The left-leaning network MSNBC was the only network to discuss climate change in almost all of its segments on extreme weather during the month of July, the study added.

Occupy Wall St.: Year One

by dtrainorjr

A video I created with and for the OWS. Get off of the couch, and get into the streets.
Occupy Wall Street started a revolution. One year later, join us for three days of education, training, and protest in New York City.

U.S. lawmakers accuse Walmart of tax evasion and money laundering

The congressmen, Elijah Cummings and Henry Waxman, made their claim in a letter to Walmart Chief Executive Michael Duke dated Tuesday, urging him to respond to requests for information about allegations that the company violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

Supreme Court Starts Giving Corporations Religious Rights, Too

You already knew that the Supreme Court ruled that corporations have First Amendment rights. Now the courts are working on giving them religion, too.

Julian Assange Granted Asylum By Ecuador; Britain Vows To Extradite Him To Sweden

Greenland Sets New Summer Melt Record

Greenland's massive ice sheet has melted at a record-setting pace this year--and summer isn't over yet

Chick-fil-A Comes Home To Roost: Righteous Assassination Attempt At FRC Erupts In Finger Pointing ... And Hypocrisy

Floyd Corkins just handed the Family Research Council its next anti-gay polemic on a silver platter: "homosexual activists are domestic terrorists."   

Atomized America of Late Capitalism

In short, approaching life and one's fellows from a mode of mind evincing aspects of the human condition that existed outside the realm of workplace expediency and consumer desire had been diminished to the point of being rendered all but absent. People seemed adrift -- bereft of the ability to cohabit public space. The will towards communal engagement had atrophied.
Essential qualities -- traits that are uniquely human -- had been lost. A wasteland of fragmented discourse and inarticulate rage howled between us.

Destroying The World For Profit
Whoever contributes to the destruction of the world has to live in the world that they have destroyed. Perhaps a short-term advantage can be gained; perhaps a small private Utopia can be created by acts that harm the general future; but all individual fates will sink like stones in a deep sea, if society as a whole sinks. There will be no protection for anyone, if the world as a whole goes to pieces.

Surveillance as a profit center
NYC teams up with Microsoft
The new technology is reminiscent of the Minority Report-style ‘Intellistreets’ talking surveillance camera system being implemented in cities like Chicago, Detroit, and Pittsburgh; a system that records your conversations and barks orders at you.

GOP Campaign Rocked By Revelation That Mitt Romney is a Disney Robot

In a stunning announcement today, imagineers from Disney World in Orlando, FL have confirmed that presidential candidate Mitt Romney is in fact one of the theme parks' animatronic creations. Disney's animatronics are the lifelike creations that have thrilled parkgoers for years at attractions like the “It’s a Small World” ride, and the Country Bear Jamboree; Mitt Romney is the first animatronic creation known to have run for public office.

Should Lack Of Exercise Be Considered A Medical Condition?

At some point in the last few decades, the human race went from being a species that is active most of the time to one that is increasingly sedentary. The Lancetrecently called it an "inactivity pandemic," responsible for 1 in 10 deaths worldwide. That's a major shift, and a major public health problem, many researchers have pointed out. Inactivity is linked to heart disease, diabetes and some types of cancer.

Where Do Your Members of Congress Stand on Marriage Equality?

HRC has just released a first-of-its-kind resource that shows the marriage equality positions of members of Congress.
The new resource is available on HRC’s website as a searchable database. It combines members’ marriage positions with their records on other critical LGBT issues.
The resource shows that 181 members of Congress, or 34 percent, support marriage equality.

Court: Doctor can sue hospital as a whistleblower A doctor who says he’s blowing the whistle on procedures at a Central Valley hospital does not have to first exhaust administrative procedures before he can sue, the California 5th District Court of Appeal says.
“In two recent cases interpreting the California Whistleblower Protection Act … the California Supreme Court held that a state employee sanctioned by an agency need not file a mandate petition against the agency before suing it under the whistleblower statute. The court recognized the Legislature’s intent to encourage employees to report threats to public health without fear of retribution,” the appellate court says. “For the same reason, prior filing of writ proceedings also is not required here.”

Testifying against evictions

Rory Fanning reports on a town hall meeting that brought together Cook County residents personally affected by foreclosure and eviction.

Trends in Party Identification of Religious Groups

As the 2012 presidential election approaches, the partisan affiliations of the electorate have shifted significantly since 2008. In 12 surveys conducted over the course of 2011 by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press among a total of more than 15,000 registered voters, 34% described themselves as Democrats, down four points compared with 2008 (38%). Over the same period, the percentage of voters describing themselves as Republicans has held steady at 28%, while the total saying they are politically independent or have no partisan preference has risen four points (from 34% in 2008 to 38% in 2011).

US Hypocritically Accuses Iran of Sending Pro-Regime Militias to Syria

Iranian meddling in Syria is condemned, while US-backed regime change by proxy is just.

Why Republicans Have to Lie

f I were writing a political novel about a presidential campaign, I would never dare have the government-hating, free-market, Rand-adulating vice presidential candidate of the right-wing party have inherited his fortune from a grandfather who made his money from government contracts. It's too obvious, too pat. A fiction editor would say, "Come on, Tomasky, this is just too heavy-handed."

DOJ orders changes in Verizon-cable deals to foster competition 
The US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] announced Thursday that it will require Verizon [corporate website] and four cable companies to make changes in service agreements to ensure that the agreements do not suppress competition [press release]. In December, Verizon entered into an agreement with T-Mobile [corporate website] to transfer many of its wireless spectrum licenses to T-Mobile. At the same time, Verizon reached agreements with four cable companies—Cox CommunicationsComcast,Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks [corporate websites]—in which the companies agreed to sell each other's products. The DOJ declared that while it will allow the deals between Verizon and the cable companies to go forward, it will limit the scope and duration of the agreements.

Former “Baywatch” star Donna D’Errico fell down a mountain while searching for Noah’s Ark.

In March, Danger told you about Donna D’Errico’s, best known to perverts as Donna Marco on Baywatch (andBaywatch Nights and Baywatch: White Thunder at Glacier Bay) and to everyone else as the host of Battlebots and former wife of walking STD Nikki Sixx, quest to find Noah’s Ark. Well, she’s back. Let’s see how things went.

Polls Show 90% Of Americans Are Disgusted With Congressional Obstructionism

With Paul Ryan announced as the Vice Presidential candidate alongside of Mitt Romney, the Republicans were hoping to save a collapsing party ticket, catapulting the Republicans into both the White House, but also the Senate. However, instead the latest Gallup poll is demonstrating a general dislike with Congress, with approval in general down to 10%.

Must the Poor Go Hungry Just So the Rich Can Drive?

We have been cautious about attributing such events to climate change: perhaps too cautious. A new paper by James Hansen, head of Nasa's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, shows that there has been a sharp increase in the frequency of extremely hot summers. Between 1951 and 1980 these events affected between 0.1 and 0.2% of the world's land surface each year. Now, on average, they affect 10%. Hansen explains that "the odds that natural variability created these extremes are minuscule, vanishingly small". Both the droughts in the Sahel and the US crop failures are likely to be the result of climate change.
But this is not the only sense in which the rich world's use of fuel is causing the poor to starve. In the United Kingdom, in the rest of the European Union and in the United States, governments have chosen to deploy a cure as bad as the disease. Despite overwhelming evidence of the harm their policy is causing, none of them will change course.

Science – the greatest story ever told

Kindle Edition$5.99
Paperback: $19.95
File Size: 498 KB
Print Length: 174 pages
Publisher: Dangerous Little Books (July 18, 2012)
The last chapter in this book is titled “The Greatest Story Ever Told?” And the rest of the book lays the groundwork for that story. It outlines the scientific approach, based on evidence and reason. Validated against reality.

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