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Sunday, September 2

2.Sept.2012 - RNC Demonstrators, Genetics, GMO's, TV Usage Declines, WikiLeaks, Afghanistan Occupation, Obama Campaign, Greed and Debt, Israelis Sexually Assault Palestinian Woman, Slave Wages, Christopher Hitchens' New Book, George Orwell Too Liberal, Domain Seizures, SOPA and TPP, Nonbeliever Nation

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RNC Demonstrators Defy Expectations of Violence
n the lead-up to the Republican National Convention in Tampa, the authorities seemed to expect violence. Our mayor, Democrat Bob Buckhorn, brought in around 3,000 additional police officers from the rest of Florida, bringing the total number of officers to 3,500. These imported police walk the streets in khaki outfits that resemble military uniforms. Along with the 1,700 National Guard members, Coast Guard vessels armed with .50-caliber machine guns patrolling the waterways, and secret service checkpoints, downtown Tampa resembles a war zone.

What Everyone Needs to Know About Genetics

That is sexual selection on a grand scale, and that is the subject that most interests Sykes, who famously linked modern humans back to common female ancestors in his bestselling book The Seven Daughters of Eve. A subsequent book,Adam's Curse, argued that the male of the human species will become extinct within 5,000 generations. Now Sykes has turned his attention to one of the most genetically interesting places in the world -- the United States, which is the subject of Sykes's new book DNA USA: A Genetics Biography of America

Congress Investigates WH Taxpayer-Funded Payoffs to MSNBC’s Olbermann, Maddow

Still unsure where all of the president’s $831 billion dollars in stimulus went?

A Non-GMO Buying Guide

upermarkets have carried genetically modified foods for nearly two decades, but the debate over GMOscontinues and is heating up. HB Bill 5117 would require the labeling of products containing GMOs. And while the bill has won early support from several state representatives, senators, farmers markets and chefs other organizations such as The Connecticut Farm Bureau and the state Department of Agriculture oppose the bill.

America Deserves a Raise

his Labor Day, President Obama has the opportunity to defend the economic rights of millions of Americans by supporting a substantial increase in the minimum wage.

Nielsen is out with its annual list of the top TV markets. And while there are no big changes — New York is still #1, Los Angeles #2, Chicago #3, and Glendive, MT is still #210 — the company estimates there are now 114,173,690 U.S. television households. That’s down -472,620 (-.4%) from last year as more households forgo TV and get their video news and entertainment from the web and web-enabled devices — or chose not to get it at all.

WikiLeaks, Assange And The American Empire
Louis XVI needed a revolution, Napoleon needed two historic military defeats, the Spanish Empire in the New World needed multiple revolutions, the Russian Czar needed a communist revolution, the Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman Empires needed World War I, the Third Reich needed World War II, the Land of the Rising Sun needed two atomic bombs, the Portuguese Empire in Africa needed a military coup at home. What will the American Empire need?

Asking Jimmy Carter To Help End The Deadly Occupation of Poor Afghanistan
Jimmy Carter of late has made his name synonymous with seeking peace. Could he not step forward and defend this innocent population by recounting the 'Cold War' history that played out in 1979 in Afghanistan? Where is American gratitude toward Afghans, Taliban included, for their sacrifices made while doing their part to bring US victory in the "Cold War?' Help lessen US media unleashed enmity and call for ending occupation. 

Comedian Amy Poehler Advocates for Domestic Workers’ Rights

Currently, the National Labor Relations Act excludes domestic workers, including childcare providers, housekeepers and caregivers. These workers are predominately women—especially women of color, many of them immigrants. Without legal protections, they are not assured minimum wages, overtime pay, adequate working conditions or mandatory meal-and-rest breaks: rights that are granted to most other U.S. workers.

Obama Campaigns For Veterans' Mental Health

As that war winds down, the president is ordering additional help for those with invisible battle scars. A rash of suicides has shown mental injuries can be just as deadly as a roadside bomb.

We Are Writing the Epilogue to the World We Knew

The data continue to roll in, and they are telling us we are in the process of bringing an end to the world we evolved in, and creating a new, harsher world. We will be forced to devote more and more of our resources trying to adapt to this new world, and less on development.

Greed and Debt: The True Story of Romney and Bain Capital

The great criticism of Mitt Romney, from both sides of the aisle, has always been that he doesn't stand for anything. He's a flip-flopper, they say, a lightweight, a cardboard opportunist who'll say anything to get elected.

Supreme Court adds 2 cases to next term
The US Supreme Court [official website] on Friday added two new cases [order list, PDF] to its docket for next term. The first case, The Standard Fire Insurance Co. v. Knowles [docket; cert. petition, PDF], involves the procedural issue of whether a class action can be removed to federal court when there is dispute over whether the amount in controversy is over $5 million...
The second case, Descamps v. US [docket; cert. petition, PDF], is a challenge to the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit's use of Matthew Descamp's state burglary conviction to convict him of burglary under federal law...

Israelis tear Palestinian woman’s clothes off

A group of Israelis attacked a Palestinian woman in the village of Lebnan Al Sharq on Wednesday afternoon, tearing off her clothes in front of her husband and son who retaliated by attacking the colonists, injuring one. The Israeli military allowed the gang to beat the Palestinian husband Khaled Sameeh Daraghmah and his son Sameeh before they arrested the two men and removed them from the area.

US Preparing for a Post-Israel Middle East?

Congresswoman Illena Ros-Lehtinen will have her hands full as she makes the political and social rounds at this month’s Republican National Convention.  Illena is the only female committee chair in the House of Representatives and arguably Israel’s most ardent agent.  She is a constant thorn in the Obama administration’s side, regularly castigating the president for playing “political games with U.S. foreign policy” and being “soft on Iran” and undermining the legitimacy of Israel.  Ros-Lehtinen is a congressional cheer leader also for her Jewish voters in Florida—a key battleground in the rapidly approaching US presidential election. Most recently, Ros-Lehtinen helped shepherd through Congress yet another bill tightening sanctions against Iran while calling for US military action against the Assad regime in Syria.

‘We Built It’ Using Slave Wages, RNC Convention Workers Paid Below Minimum Wage

Now that the dust has settled and Clint Eastwood is back to arguing with wooden chairs in Hollywood, it’s  time to begin the herculean task of addressing every single lie made and said at the RNC in Tampa. They might as well dubbed the RNC the Breitbart Convention since they based the entire theme on a carefully edited soundbite taken out of context. Of course I’m referring to the so-called “We Built It” mantra, which appears to Mitt Romney’s “Yes we can,” though it’s more realistically ”No we didn’t; we did what we do best and relied on the laborers we hate to do our heavy lifting”.

The New York Times reviews Hitchens’s final book

In today’s New York Times Christopher Buckley appraises Hitchens’s last bookMortality (you can buy it for $13.79 on Amazon). It’s short (104 pages), and collects the 7 pieces about his cancer Hitchens wrote forVanity Fair, plus a last chapter of unpublished jottings, some of which I’ve posted before.

America’s vanishing middle class

As Labor Day approaches, it's time to reflect on our lopsided economy

George Orwell - too left wing for the BBC?

It emerged this week that a proposed statue to the legendary journalist - and former BBC employee - was turned down by departing DG Mark Thompson because of Orwell's leftist allegiances. What does that say about the BBC - and its critics?

Think Tank Behind SOPA Says USTR Should Make Sure TPP Includes IP Maximalist Positions

ITIF, the think tank that was often credited with coming up with the basic idea behind SOPA's horrifying plan to censor websites and break key parts of the basic DNS system (and, which we recently discovered, gets funding from the MPAA) is back and pushing for support of IP maximalism in the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement. It has re-released a report about how the TPP must be "the gold standard" in trade agreements -- with a key focus on stronger and more limiting IP rules. In a press release about this re-release, ITIF argues for a strong maximalist agenda in the TPP:

Congressional Reps Question Feds Over Botched Domain Seizures

The government's admission that it had (once again) mistakenly seized and censored a website for over a year when it dropped its case against Rojadirecta/Puerto80 has reminded everyone that Dajaz1 was not an isolate case. It was a part of a wider program where DHS (via ICE) and the DOJ systematically believed whatever the RIAA and MPAA were telling them, leading to the blatant censorship of a variety of websites, without proper due process. 

US Justice Department cites abuse of students’ constitutional rights in Mississippi schools

According to the US Department of Justice (DOJ), school officials in Meridian, Mississippi have been running a “school-to-prison pipeline” for youth in the public school system. The report indicated that police acted as a “taxi service,” utilizing minor infractions to fast-track students into the jail system, often without any accompanying due process to oversee the legality of such actions.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei Praises the Occupy Movement; Denounces U.S. and Israel

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the "Supreme Leader" of Iran, praised America's "Occupy Wall Street" movement on Thursday, in an address to the Non-Aligned Summit, a gathering of 120 nations now taking place in Tehran.


The Humanist Hour #77: Nonbeliever Nation

Editor's Note: Though we recommend subscribing to our podcast using a program like iTunes, you can start listening right now, using the player below, or by downloading the audio file directly. (right/option click > save as)
new episode of the Humanist Hour is available for listening. Keep reading to find out about the guests on this month’s show.
In this month’s podcast, Jes and Todd interview AHA President, freethought activist, blogger and author David Niose, about his book,Nonbeliever Nation: The Rise of Secular Americans.

Nonbeliever Nation: The Rise of Secular Americans

Today, nearly one in five Americans are nonbelievers – a rapidly growing group at a time when traditional Christian churches are dwindling in numbers – and they are flexing their muscles like never before. Yet we still see almost none of them openly serving in elected office, while Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, and many others continue to loudly proclaim the myth of America as a Christian nation.
In Nonbeliever Nation, leading secular advocate David Niose explores what this new force in politics means for the unchallenged dominance of the Religious Right. Hitting on all the hot-button issues that divide the country – from gay marriage to education policy to contentious church-state battles – he shows how this movement is gaining traction, and fighting for its rights. Now, Secular Americans—a group comprised not just of atheists and agnostics, but lapsed Catholics, secular Jews, and millions of others who have walked away from religion—are mobilizing and forming groups all over the country (even atheist clubs in Bible-belt high schools) to challenge the exaltation of religion in American politics and public life.
This is a timely and important look at how growing numbers of nonbelievers, disenchanted at how far America has wandered from its secular roots, are emerging to fight for equality and rational public policy.

David Niose

David Niose’s background includes experience in law and mass communication. Having practiced law in Massachusetts since 1990, Niose has also worked in print and broadcast media, taught both history and law, and written extensively on a wide array of issues. Upon joining the AHA board in 2005, Niose initiated and helped develop the AHA’s media campaign. Niose has appeared in national media and spoken to groups around the country, emphasizing the importance of utilizing mass media to inject humanist ideas into the public dialogue, improve the public image of humanists, and sway public opinion away from the religious right. As an attorney, Niose has advocated for church/state separation and the rights of humanists and other nontheists, and he is currently involved in implementing a legal strategy to enforce the rights of humanists and other nontheists via the avenue of equal protection law. He has worked with the Secular Coalition for America in various positions to help advocate for the rights of Secular Americans, and has served on the boards of Greater Worcester Humanists and Greater Boston Humanists.

Links from this month’s episode:

Nonbeliever Nation
Other Links:

Steve Dustcircle can be found at:

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