Are you the publisher? Claim or contact us about this channel


Embed this content in your HTML

Search

Report adult content:

click to rate:

Account: (login)

More Channels


Channel Catalog


Channel Description:

The best is enemy of the good. The profoundest truths are paradoxical.

older | 1 | .... | 399 | 400 | (Page 401) | 402 | 403 | .... | 989 | newer

    0 0


    Drone sightings at college football stadiums are becoming increasingly common, and the FAA is cracking down on rogue drone operators. (Thomas Johnson/The Washington Post)
     November 9, 2014
    Along with huge crowds and tailgating parties, football stadiums across the country are becoming magnets for something else on game day: rogue drones.
    The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating a rash of incidents this fall in which thrill-seekers with small, camera-toting drones have violated airspace restrictions by swooping over large outdoor sporting events. The problem has become most common at football games, with at least a half-dozen drone sightings reported at major college and NFL contests since August.
    “It’s an absolute safety concern,” said Marc Lovicott, a campus police spokesman at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where a white quadcopter swooped into 80,000-seat Camp Randall Stadium and buzzed over the student section during an Oct. 11 game against Illinois. “You never know what might be carried along with something like that.”
    Rapid advances in technology have made remote-control aircraft cheap and easy to fly. Some models cost less than $500, fit in a backpack and yet can soar higher than 1,000 feet. More than a few sports fans are using them as a miniature version of the Goodyear blimp to film games and post the videos on the Internet.
    FAA officials and aviation safety experts say the small drones pose a serious hazard in crowded areas and are an accident waiting to happen near packed stadiums, especially in the hands of untrained amateurs.
    Although many popular models have a wingspan of less than four feet, some zoom up to 50 mph. The whirring blades can be lethal. A 19-year-old man was killed last year in a city park in Brooklyn when he lost control of his drone helicopter and it sliced off the top of his head.
    In addition to intruding on sports stadiums, people who fly the remote-control aircraft for fun are causing problems near airports by flying dangerously close to passenger planes,according to several recent cases reported to the FAA.
    In a public notice issued Oct. 27, the FAA updated a long-standing ban on airplane flights over open-air stadiums with 30,000 or more spectators by extending the prohibition to “unmanned aircraft and remote controlled aircraft.”
    The notice stated that violators could be fined and imprisoned for up to a year, the first time the agency has explicitly stated that reckless drone pilots could wind up behind bars. FAA spokeswoman Laura Brown called the notice “a clarification” of existing rules, but declined to comment further.
    The FAA did not respond to requests from The Washington Post for information on exactly how many investigations it has conducted into errant drones over stadiums in recent months.
    The agency posted its public warning last month after a string of news reports about drones disrupting sporting events, including a tennis match at the U.S. Open in New York and an NFL preseason game in Charlotte. The FAA also received a complaint about a drone over one of the country’s leading rodeos: the Cheyenne Frontier Days in Wyoming.
    Similar stunts have occurred overseas. A spectator riot erupted in the Balkans on Oct. 14 when a drone carrying an Albanian nationalist banner flew over the field during a soccer game between Serbia and Albania.Unauthorized drones have also hovered over several professional matches in England.
    KXAN's cameras spotted a drone flying above Darrell K. Royal - Texas Memorial Stadium during the University of Texas' home opener. (KXAN)
    In the United States, college football has become the leading sports attraction for outlaw drone pilots.
    A University of Texas at Austin student was detained and questioned on Aug. 30 after he was caught flying a drone into Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium, jammed with 93,000 fans for the Longhorns’ season opener. Prosecutors are still deliberating whether to file charges, said Bob Harkins, associate vice president for campus safety and security.
    “It was flying over the crowd in the stadium, so great concern was generated there,” Harkins said. “If the thing had lost control, it would have caused injury to people.”
    One day after the Texas incident, a small drone buzzed around Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tenn., for the Tennessee Volunteers’ season opener. With more than 102,000 fans on hand, “it was a pretty amazing scene,” said Jimmy Stanton, senior associate athletics director for the school.
    “Our guys spotted [the drone] immediately and took it down,” Stanton added. The culprit was a freelance videographer. He was not charged, but the university revoked his media credentials.
    The surge of remote-controlled aircraft at athletic events comes as the FAA is struggling to regulate the fast-growing civilian drone industry.
    In 2012, Congress passed a law ordering the FAA to open up the nation’s skies to drones of all sizes — but without compromising safety standards. The agency has moved slowly to develop new regulations but has not kept pace with the proliferation of inexpensive drones.
    Under current policy, recreationists can operate drones as long as they are kept below 400 feet and away from airports. Flying drones for commercial purposes is largely prohibited for now, although the FAA recently issued exemptions for Hollywood filmmakers and is planning to gradually lift other barriers.
    That’s led to confusion over what is permissible. Under FAA rules, it is forbidden to fly drones below 3,000 feet and within three miles of baseball or football stadiums with a seating capacity of at least 30,000. The restrictions only apply on game day, starting one hour before a contest and lasting until an hour after it ends.
    The rule does not apply to small-college or high-school teams, though some schools have reported receiving letters from the FAA inquiring about their use of drones. It’s theoretically permissible for sports teams to use drones to film their own practices as long as it isn’t done for commercial gain — a blurry line. The FAA, for example, ordered the Washington Nationals in February to stop filming their spring-training workouts with a drone because the footage was used to promote the team.
    At the University of Louisville, the athletic department has acquired three small drones to film practices and fan events. It posts the videos on Facebook and YouTube.
    Sports fans love the aerial photography, even if the drones themselves sometimes breed suspicion, said Nick Stover, the athletic department’s director of social media. “There’s a pretty big stigma,” he said. People will “joke around and literally ask me if I have guns attached to these. They just sort of assume the worst.”
    Stover said the school contacted the FAA to ensure it wasn’t violating any rules. He said the FAA responded that “it was really free for us to do what we wanted, but they cautioned us about flying over stadiums.”
    Stover acknowledged, however, that Louisville was using drone footage to attract sponsors “to help mon­etize social media.” Such a practice could run afoul of the FAA’s commercial-drone ban.
    “I want to follow the rules and do everything correctly,” he said. “But the commercial purposes is just a really gray area.”
    Other drone aficionados accused the FAA of overreacting.
    At the University of Michigan, the aerospace engineering department had planned a celebration for its 100th anniversary. Vintage aircraft were lined up to fly over Michigan Stadium, capacity 109,901, during halftime of the Sept. 20 football game against Utah. Approval was obtained in advance from the FAA.
    But when the FAA learned a few days before the game that Michigan’s engineers were also preparing to deliver the game ball with a small quadrotor drone, agency officials went ballistic and threatened to sue, said Ella M. Atkins, an associate professor in the aerospace engineering department.
    Atkins said the planned drone flight posed no risk. The quadrotor would have emerged from a tunnel inside the stadium and not risen more than 13 feet above the ground, far below the grandstands.
    Backup systems and a kill switch would have dropped the drone immediately if it had deviated from its flight path. Extensive testing had already been conducted by the aerospace engineering department.
    “There were no aerobatics or flying over football players’ heads — it was over an empty field,” Atkins said. “There are any number of passed or punted footballs that would have gone far higher than the drone would have gone.”
    In a last-ditch attempt to preserve the celebration, Michigan engineers tried to appease the FAA by offering to tether the drone to the ground while carrying the football. But the agency was unmoved, Atkins said, infuriating her and her colleagues. “I don’t see any rational argument for what they did.”
    In a statement, the FAA said public entities like Michigan are generally required to apply for a certificate if they want to fly drones, a detailed process that officials said the university did not follow.
    Craig Whitlock covers the Pentagon and national security. He has reported for The Washington Post since 1998.


    0 0


    Alan: Senator Minority Leader Mitch McConnell failed on "the single most important thing" he wanted to achieve in his last senatorial term.
    Prepare for ever more vitriolic war -- and civil war -- from the Republican Party, 
    now breathing its last gasp as champion of "traditional values."
    Universal healthcare is here to stay.
    Same-sex marriage is here to stay.
    By year's end, immigration reform is here to stay.

    Wealth redistribution begins with the Democratic sweep in 2016.

    ***

    "Politics And Economics: The 101 Courses You Wish You Had"


    Don’t govern on fantasies

    E.J. Dionne Jr.

    When high-mindedness collides with reality, reality usually wins. Remember this when you hear talk of making the next two years a miracle of bipartisan comity.
    Begin by being skeptical of the lists of what President Obama and the now Republican-controlled Congress should “obviously” agree on. Notice that liberal lists (including mine) start with immigration and sentencing reform while conservative lists focus on free trade and tax reform. Surprise! The election changed no one’s priorities.
    With Washington now so deeply divided philosophically, each side is primarily interested in creating a future government more congenial to getting what it wants. Republicans want to win total power two years from now; Democrats want to hang on to the presidency and take back the Senate.And don’t be fooled by anyone who pretends that the 2016 election isn’t at the top of everyone’s calculations.
    Therefore, don’t misread the internal Republican debate. It is not a fight between pristine souls who just want to show they can govern and fierce ideologues who want to keep fighting. Both GOP camps want to strengthen the conservatives’ hand for 2016. They differ on how best to accomplish this.
    The pro-governing Republicans favor a “first do no harm” approach. Thus did incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wisely rule out government shutdowns and debt-ceiling brinkmanship. He’s happy to work with Obama on trade because doing so advances a free market goal the GOP believes in — and because a trade battle would explode the Democratic coalition. For Republicans, what’s not to like?
    The more militant conservatives are more candid about the real objective, which is “building the case for Republican governance after 2016.” Those words come from a must-read editorial in National Review, instructively entitled “The Governing Trap.”
    “A prove-you-can-govern strategy will inevitably divide the party on the same tea-party-vs.-establishment lines that Republicans have just succeeded in overcoming,” the magazine argued. Also: “If voters come to believe that a Republican Congress and a Democratic president are doing a fine job of governing together, why wouldn’t they vote to continue the arrangement in 2016?”
    They’re saying, in other words, that spending two more years making Obama look bad should remain the GOP’s central goal, lest Republicans make the whole country ready for Hillary Clinton. This is the prevailing view among conservatives. McConnell’s main argument with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), and his followers is not about ends but means. McConnell is no less focused than Cruz on bringing down Obama and discrediting Democratic governance, but McConnell needs to be more subtle about it.
    Where does this leave Obama and the Democrats? The first to-do item on Obama’s list must be to repair his currently abysmal relations with his own party on Capitol Hill. He will need his party as the GOP goes after him in one “investigative” hearing after another. He also needs them if he goes ahead, as he should, with executive orders on immigration reform.
    Obama has already drawn a red line on immigration from which there is no easy retreat. And exit polls explain why Republicans, particularly House Speaker John Boehner, have little reason to act before Obama’s gone.
    Overall, 57 percent of voters favored granting illegal immigrants “a chance to apply for legal status,” while 39 percent preferred deporting them. But those who favored deportation voted for Republican House candidates by better than 3 to 1. Boehner won’t risk alienating this loyal group. Better for Obama to pick a fight in which he is taking action than to give way to passivity and powerlessness.
    In the end, Obama needs to govern as best he can even as he and his allies prepare for the longer struggle.
    Democrats were tongue-tied about economics in the campaign. They avoided highlighting the substantial achievements of the Obama years for fear that doing so would make them seem out of touch with voters whose wages are stagnating. But neither did Democrats come up with plausible answers and policies to win over these voters. They lost both ways.
    A Democratic Party paralyzed on economics won’t deserve to prevail. The president and his party — including Clinton — must find a way of touting their stewardship while advancing a bold but realistic agenda that meets the demands of Americans who are still hurting. This encompasses not only defending government’s role in achieving shared growth but also, as Obama suggested Friday, restoring faith in how government works.
    Solving the country’s economic riddle would be a much better use of their time than investing in the fantasy that McConnell and Boehner will try to make Obama look good.


    "The Republican Party Is A Satanic Cult"

    "American Conservatives And Oppositional-Defiant Disorder"

    Jindal Criticizes The Stupid Party: "Simply protects the rich so they get to keep their toys"

    "Bank On It: The South Is Always Wrong"

    "Red State Moocher Links"

    "Why The Bible Belt Is Its Own Worst Enemy"
    1. http://paxonbothhouses.blogspot.com/2012/10/why-bible-belt-is-christianitys-enemy.html

    "The Reign of Morons Is Here," Charles P. Pierce, The Atlantic

    "A Southerner Explains Tea Party Radicalism: The Civil War Is Not Over"

    "People Who Watch Only Fox News 
    Know Less Than People Who Watch No News"

    Bill Maher: The Zombie Life Cycle Of Republican Lies. They Never - Ever - Die

    George McGovern: "The Case For Liberalism, A Defense Of The Future Against The Past"


    0 0

    "The Danger Of Science Denial"
    TED Talk by Michael Specter

    ***


    "The Republican Party Is A Satanic Cult"

    "American Conservatives And Oppositional-Defiant Disorder"

    Jindal Criticizes The Stupid Party: "Simply protects the rich so they get to keep their toys"

    "Bank On It: The South Is Always Wrong"

    "Red State Moocher Links"

    "Why The Bible Belt Is Its Own Worst Enemy"
    1. http://paxonbothhouses.blogspot.com/2012/10/why-bible-belt-is-christianitys-enemy.html

    "The Reign of Morons Is Here," Charles P. Pierce, The Atlantic

    "A Southerner Explains Tea Party Radicalism: The Civil War Is Not Over"

    "People Who Watch Only Fox News 
    Know Less Than People Who Watch No News"

    Bill Maher: The Zombie Life Cycle Of Republican Lies. They Never - Ever - Die

    George McGovern: "The Case For Liberalism, A Defense Of The Future Against The Past"



    0 0

     November 9, 2014 
    Congratulations, Republicans! You won the Senate majority! Now, can you hold on to it for more than two years?
    Looking at the 2016 Senate map, there’s reason for doubt. Republicans will have to defend 24 seats, compared with 10 for Democrats. And the raw numbers don’t even tell the whole story. Seven seats held by Republicans — Florida, Illinois, Iowa, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — were carried by President Obama in 2008 and 2012. And there is chatter about potential Republican retirements in Arizona and Iowa. If either John McCain or Chuck Grassley decided to call it a career, each of those races would be major Democratic targets.
    On the other side of the coin, Republican takeover opportunities are few and far between. By far, the most endangered Democrat is Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who survived in 2010 but could face Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval (R), who won a second term Tuesday with more than 70 percent of the vote. Reid has said he will run again, although his demotion from majority leader to minority leader might make him rethink those plans. The only other Democrat who starts the 2016 cycle in serious jeopardy is freshman Michael Bennet (Colo.), who, like Reid, was a surprise winner in 2010. The convincing win by Cory Gardner (R) over Sen. Mark Udall (D) on Tuesday in the Rocky Mountain State will undoubtedly energize Republicans, though it’s less clear what the GOP bench looks like in a race against Bennet.
    Outside of those two seats, there’s almost no vulnerability on the Democratic side. Even if Sen. Barbara Boxer (Calif.) or Barbara Mikulski (Md.) decide not to run again, both sit in very, very Democratic states — particularly at the federal level.
    To win back the Senate majority in two years, Democrats will probably need to net four (if they hold the White House in 2016) or five (if they don’t) seats. Republicans control 52 Senate seats in the 114th Congress, but Sen. Mark Begich (D) is behind by 8,000 votes in Alaska and is likely to lose, and chances for Sen. Mary Landrieu (D) don’t look great in Louisiana’s Dec. 6 runoff.
    Gaining five seats is not out of the question for Democrats — though it might be a bit of a stretch — given the Senate map of 2016. Of the 10 most vulnerable seats listed below, Republicans hold eight. The No. 1 race is the most likely to flip party control in 2016.
    10. Kentucky (Republican-controlled): As Tuesday’s election showed, Kentucky isn’t exactly fertile ground for Democrats. But something interesting happened even as Mitch McConnell walloped Alison Lundergan Grimes: Democrats held on to their majority in the state House. That means Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) can’t count on changing state law to be able to run for president and Senate at the same time. Hence, a possible open seat.
    9. Florida (R): Sen. Marco Rubio (R) has suggested that he won’t run for both president and reelection to the Senate in 2016. If he pursues the former and isn’t on the Senate ballot, this becomes an open-seat race in a true swing state in a presidential year — in other words, a good opportunity for Democrats. If Rubio passes on a White House bid or drops out with enough time to mount a Senate bid, Republicans would probably feel better about holding this seat.
    8. Ohio (R): Sen. Rob Portman is one of several Republican members of Congress who have been mentioned (or mentioned themselves) as possible White House contenders. So, this could end up being an open seat. If Portman decides to run for reelection, his deep connections to donors through his work as National Republican Senatorial Committee vice chairman should ensure that he will be a financial behemoth. Portman is not terribly polarizing, and there is no obvious Democratic recruit waiting in the wings.
    7. New Hampshire (R): The Granite State was one of the few bright spots for Democrats nationally as Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D) beat back a challenge from Scott Brown. It could be a Senate battleground again in two years if Gov. Maggie Hassan (D), who won reelection Tuesday with 53 percent of the vote, decides to take on freshman Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R). There is also considerable chatter among conservative activists about a primary challenge to Ayotte, though it remains to be seen whether a serious one might materialize. And, just to make things more complicated, Ayotte is likely to be in the vice presidential mix no matter who wins the Republican presidential nomination.
    6. North Carolina (R): The GOP picked off a seat here Tuesday. It’s safe to assume, however, that if the environment wasn’t so good for the GOP, Kay Hagan would still be a senator come January. Her colleague, Sen. Richard Burr (R) is up for reelection in 2016, and even if he doesn’t retire —he has raised very little money the past two years, which is usually a precursor to retirement — he is likely to find himself targeted.
    5. Colorado (Democrat ic-controlled): Bennet probably doesn’t want to think about 2016 yet. He just finished a stint as chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, during which his party lost the Senate majority and he became the first chairman in more than four decades to lose a home-state colleague in the process. But Bennet won by the narrowest of margins in 2010 and probably would have lost had Ken Buck, the Republican candidate, not said some unhelpful things.
    4. Pennsylvania (R): 2010 was about as good a year as a Republican could hope for in Pennsylvania. And Sen. Pat Toomey (R) still won with only 51 percent of the vote. In a presidential year, Toomey’s challenge will be even more serious. Republicans haven’t carried the Keystone State at the presidential level since 1988. One thing working in Toomey’s favor: a relatively weak Democratic bench. State Attorney General Kathleen Kane apparently has no interest in running for the Senate. The only person actively looking at a bid is former congressman Joe Sestak, who lost to Toomey in 2010.
    3. Illinois (R): The first big question that needs to get answered in this race is whether Sen. Mark Kirk (R) will run again. Kirk, who suffered a severe stroke in early 2012, has insisted that he plans to seek a second term, but even some Republicans are taking a wait-and-see approach. Democratic speculation — matter what Kirk does — will center on state Attorney General Lisa Madigan, but she seems a much more likely 2018 challenger to Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner (R). Assuming Madigan is a no-go, look for Rep. Tammy Duckworth to be at the top of Democratic wish lists.
    2. Nevada (D): Reid will soon no longer be majority leader. The question is whether he wants to be minority leader and whether he sticks around. He’s got bad approval numbers and is staring at a potential matchup with Sandoval. Tuesday’s election was actually pretty big here. Not only did Sandoval cruise to reelection with 71 percent of the vote — 71 percent! — the GOP also cruised in the lieutenant governor’s race, a huge proxy war that Reid badly wanted to win. That means Sandoval can run in 2016 without worrying about the governor’s seat going to a Democrat.
    1. Wisconsin (R): Sen. Ron Johnson starts the 2016 election cycle as the most vulnerable senator on the map. He’s undefined in the eyes of many,and he’s running in a state that has gone Democratic in seven straight presidential elections. To boot, there are rumors that Democrat Russ Feingold, whom Johnson unseated in 2010, may run.


    0 0


    It looks as though divided government might be inescapable for the foreseeable future. There are more Americans likely to vote Democrat, and it will be a challenge for a Republican to win the presidency. Meanwhile, Republicans look set to hold onto the House for the next several cycles due to their broader geographic distribution.

    Jim Geraghty laid out a plan for untying the knot over the weekend, one that will make Democrats livid: Republicans in the state legislatures in several swing states could change how their states' votes are divvied up in the Electoral College, using their authority under the Constitution. The result would be that Republican candidates, not Democrats, would be the odds-on favorite in any presidential race.

    Most states allocate all their votes to whichever presidential candidate wins the most ballots statewide, but they're not required to do things that way. The statewide winner gets only two votes in Maine and Nebraska, while each remaining vote is awarded for winning a congressional district within the state. Since Republicans are more spread out across the country, this system would benefit Republicans if it were used in every state. Even implementing it in a few swing states where Democratic candidates could otherwise hope to win all the votes would destroy their chances of winning a majority in the Electoral College.

    For example, in the winner-take-all system that most states use now, a Democratic candidate could hope to win all of the votes that Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, Ohio and Wisconsin have in Electoral College. As Geraghty writes, if Republicans who control the state governments in those states switched to the model that Maine and Nebraska use, neither party's presidential nominee could expect to win much more than half of the electoral votes from each of those states. With little hope of winning those votes, a Democrat would have little chance of winning the presidency.

    This isn't a new idea. As Matthew Yglesias notes, this idea has been proposed and rejected by Republican elected officials already in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Perhaps the proposal just seemed too slimy, even though it's constitutional. Perhaps those Republican politicians remembered why so many states adopted the winner-takes-all system in the first place, about 200 years ago: when a state's electors vote as a bloc, they're much more influential.

    Take a state like Ohio, where the congressional districts aren't all that competitive. With luck, a candidate campaigning hard in Ohio might win a couple of additional votes in the Electoral College under Geraghty's proposal, but it wouldn't be worth the time or the money. Ohio voters and their concerns would simply be left out of the presidential election. (They would also be excluded if the legislature simply appointed a slate of Republican electors to cast votes for the party's nominee, without even holding an election, which is another constitutional option. In that case, even if a majority of voters preferred the Democratic nominee, all the state's electoral votes would go to the Republican.)

    In short, any changes would require Republican governors to sacrifice their state's interests in order to advance the national party's chosen candidate, whoever that might turn out to be. Given all the dissent and bitter differences of opinion among the G.O.P. rank and file, that sacrifice is probably not one that state leaders will be eager to make.



    0 0


    MANN & ORNSTEIN: Which Republican Party won the midterms? The coming internecine warfare between G.O.P. factions will be just as important as their disputes with Obama. McConnell and Boehner have a difficult task ahead of them, made more difficult by the fact that now Republicans have real power and will want to use it.  The Washington Post




    0 0


    Immigration can save First-World economies from decline and help people in developing countries get by. Aging and declining populations in the developed world are a serious problem that doesn't receive enough attention from policymakers. One solution is immigration. Another is encouraging people to have more kids. But will countries be willing to do what's economically necessary? The New York Times




    0 0

    SUMMERS: Ebola is nothing compared to the pandemics the world could face in the future. A catastrophe on the scale of the Spanish flu of 1918, which killed 50 million people, is more likely than not this century. The good news is that we can prepare ourselves now by investing in better public health systems everywhere. The Washington Post.

    "Ebola Represents A Trivial Threat To Americans' Health"




    0 0


    The free market didn't bring down the Berlin Wall. Neither did President Reagan, since you ask. The convenient history that names the United States as the force that ended Communism ignores the contributions of individuals and civil society in Eastern Europe, and the fact that European democratic socialism was the compromise that won over ordinary people living behind the Iron Curtain. Foreign Policy.




    0 0


    King v. Burwell will be heard in February or March, and a decision is expected this summer. "The case concerns tax subsidies that currently help millions of people afford health insurance under the law. According to the challengers, those subsidies are being provided unlawfully in three dozen states that have decided not to run the marketplaces, known as exchanges, for insurance coverage." Adam Liptak in The New York Times. 

    If the challengers win, about 11.3 million people will probably drop their health insurance. They would lose access to the subsidies that make insurance affordable for them and their families. Jason Millman in The Washington Post.

    FELDMAN: How will Chief Justice Roberts rule? Will he maintain the centrist, restrained attitude he adopted when he cast the deciding vote in favor of Obamacare? Or will his conservative colleagues persuade him? Bloomberg.

    ADLER: The case was inevitable given the simple language of the law. Opponents observed as early as 2010 that the law limited subsidies to those states that were running their own exchanges. The Washington Post. (From January 2014)

    ABBE GLUCK: Being true to the text of the law means rejecting the challenge. Textualism requires reading the entire law and looking at each sentence in context, not focusing on a single word or a single line. SCOTUSblog.

    BEUTLER: The Supreme Court has appointed itself as a death panel. If the court upholds the challenge, people who depend on medication to live will no longer be able to afford it, and they will die for want of health insurance. The New Republic.




    0 0


    General Motors didn't tell regulators about a safety problem for two months. The automaker placed an "urgent order" for 500,000 new ignition switches without telling federal regulators. A problem with the switches has been blamed for at least 30 deaths. Jeff Bennett in The Wall Street Journal.

    "Taibbi: The $9 Billion Whistle Blower At JPMorgan-Chase. Financial Thuggery At The Top"





    0 0

    "Unraveling the Story Behind Valerie Jarrett's Bogus 'Payback' Quote"

    ***

    Valerie Jarrett
    Wikipedia

    ***

    Alan: My friend Dan attended elementary school with Ms. Jarrett. He describes her as "a remarkable woman, and I fully support her nomination and hope that she is confirmed!"

    Valerie Jarrett is the president's longest-serving and most influential aide -- and has long been the target of critics. She's the subject of all kinds of paranoid speculation, and she's also the person who can reveal the most about President Obama's thoughts. "A decade after his ascent, there is still a basic unknowability about him, a puzzling gap between his talents and the public’s enthusiasm for his years in office. No wonder Jarrett inspires such fevered theorizing. She is the closest we have to a human decoder ring—the only person who can solve the mystery of why this president has left so many feeling so unfulfilled." Noam Scheiber in The New Republic.



    "The Republican Party Is A Satanic Cult"

    "American Conservatives And Oppositional-Defiant Disorder"

    Jindal Criticizes The Stupid Party: "Simply protects the rich so they get to keep their toys"

    "Bank On It: The South Is Always Wrong"

    "Red State Moocher Links"

    "Why The Bible Belt Is Its Own Worst Enemy"
    1. http://paxonbothhouses.blogspot.com/2012/10/why-bible-belt-is-christianitys-enemy.html

    "The Reign of Morons Is Here," Charles P. Pierce, The Atlantic

    "A Southerner Explains Tea Party Radicalism: The Civil War Is Not Over"

    "People Who Watch Only Fox News 
    Know Less Than People Who Watch No News"

    Bill Maher: The Zombie Life Cycle Of Republican Lies. They Never - Ever - Die

    George McGovern: "The Case For Liberalism, A Defense Of The Future Against The Past"




    0 0

    "The Thinking Housewife": Marriage, Divorce And Absolutism"

    American Divorce: Mainstream Christians Divorce More Often Than Mainstream Atheists"
    http://paxonbothhouses.blogspot.com/2014/03/american-divorce-mainstream-christians.html

    "The Politics Of Horror In Conservative Evangelicalism,"'09 Outstanding Academic Title"
    http://paxonbothhouses.blogspot.com/2014/11/the-politics-of-horror-in-conservative.html

    The Evangelical Persecution Complex (Projection's Finest Hour?)
    http://paxonbothhouses.blogspot.com/2014/08/the-evangelical-persecution-complex.html


    "The Thinking Housewife: The United States Of Homosexual Imperialism"

    ***

    The Warrior Wives of Evangelical Christianity

    The intense focus on sexuality, purity, manhood, and womanhood in certain faith communities—and its consequences
    "Your husband will want sex way more than you do," advises Elizabeth of the blog Warrior Wives in a post called "Wifey Sex Confessions.""God just made him to think about sex more than you. ... Never demean this about him. Never laugh at him or make fun of him. Accept it as a difference."

    Accept it as a difference. It may sound like so much cliched marital advice, but this is a much-discussed idea about sexuality in the evangelical Christian community: Men and women are different.

    "There's a lot of concern among evangelical men and women about traditional roles being overturned," said Amy DeRogatis, an associate professor of religion at Michigan State University, in an interview. Her new book, Saving Sex, focuses on the anxieties evangelicals feel about sexuality in American culture. But not other people's sexuality—their own.
    Amid the recent wave of gay-marriage legalizations and debates over reproductive rights that were sparked by this summer's Supreme Court decision in Hobby Lobby, it can be easy to assume that evangelical teachings on sexuality are straightforwardly traditional. But "how you have sex, when you have sex, the amount of sex you have, when you have children—even the smallest act within an evangelical marriage can have these larger-than-life meanings," said DeRogatis. "How you have sex within marriage is incredibly important for you as a Christian, and also as a form of witnessing."

    What this means is that there's a surprising amount of sex talk within the evangelical community. A vast industry is dedicated to publishing Christian self-help books with titles like The Gift of Sex and Sexperiment: 7 Days to Lasting Intimacy with Your Spouse. Megachurch preachers like T.D. Jakes and former Mars Hill Church pastor Mark Driscoll have given numerous well-publicized sermons about male and female sexuality and appropriate sexual behavior for Christians.

    And then there are the blogsblogs on blogs onblogs. There are so many sites focused on sexuality within evangelical marriages that they even have their own organization: the Christian Marriage Bloggers Association, "a place for those who support and encourage strong marriages."

    Within this constellation of writers, there are a few distinct movements. Some identify with the label of "Biblical Womanhood" or "Titus 2," which refers to a passage in the Bible about the traits that distinguish men and women. There are pro-natalists, who argue against the use of any kind of contraception. And the "purity industry," as DeRogatis calls it, encourages teen women to commit to remaining virgins by taking pledges, wearing rings, participating in workshops, and attending "purity balls."

    Some of these movements have gotten attention in pop culture. The 2012 TLC show Virgin Diaries followed adult men and women who had never had sex, many of whom were evangelical Christians. Another TLC show, 19 Kids and Counting, features the Duggars, a 21-member family in Arkansas that's part of the Quiverfull movement, also sometimes called the Christian Patriarchy Movement. According to DeRogatis, this name comes from a passage in Psalms:
    Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one's youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their opportunities in court.
    Among these groups, there are a number of perspectives on sexual morality. Some say kissing before marriage is fine, some don't; others say condoms are fine, or not. There's even a degree of internal conflict among them: In a 2009 blog post, Stacy McDonald, an author and Quiverfull apologist of sorts, asked, "Am I 'quiverfull'? No, I think I'd rather be 'Jesus-full.'"

    But these groups also share certain qualities and ideas. The first is probably obvious: Evangelical sexuality is overwhelmingly framed in opposition to "mainstream" culture. "Over the past thirty or forty years, evangelicals have been galvanized, often by pastors, and sometimes political leaders, to look at secular culture and see it as being in opposition to moral values, traditional values, Biblical values," DeRogatis said. This has created a sense of division between evangelicals and the rest of American culture, and "one of the arenas where that gets worked out has to do with sexuality."

    "The feminist doctrine of our time upholds the notion that femininity is a matter of cultural conditioning. Genesis teaches otherwise."
    Of all the secular specters that haunt the evangelical community, "feminism" is probably among the most disdained. Insofar as the movement is associated with certain legislation, litigation, and causes—like the Equal Rights Amendment, and Roe vs. Wade, and birth-control access—it has very much been in tension with evangelical teachings and sensibilities.

    This isn't just about moral opposition to abortion, although that's certainly part of it; it's also about reaffirming the God-given, differentiated sexuality of men and women. "The feminist doctrine of our time upholds the notion that femininity is a matter of cultural conditioning," writes the evangelical author Carolyn Mahaney in her book Sex, Romance, and the Glory of God. "Many feminists argue that the only essential difference between men and women is our anatomy, but Genesis teaches otherwise."

    In her book, DeRogatis notes an interesting twist in the relationship between feminism and evangelicalism. "Many people, over time, started to notice that some of the buzzwords within feminism could be reworked—particularly 'empowerment,'" she said in an interview. Evangelical leaders "pretty consciously started using the language of empowerment to redefine it in different ways."

    Ironically, this is most potent for young women who grew up in an era of growing rights for women, DeRogatis said. "In the purity movement ... young women are told that [the way] to be truly valued, and truly powerful, is not through the promises of feminism," she said. It's "through the Biblical worldview, where women are protected, and their bodies aren’t disrespected, and they’re really valued for who they are and what they can do."

    There are echoes of this kind of counter-feminist backlash among young women who aren't necessarily evangelical Christians, too. On the Tumblr page"Women Against Feminism," women hold up signs explaining their reasons for rejecting the movement, often using the vocabulary of empowerment—intentionally or not: "I am done with feminism because I have equality and my own voice." Or "I don't need feminism because I'm not going to empower myself by bringing others down." The distinctive sexuality of men and women comes upagain and again: Feminism, these women claim, forbids femininity—something they see as fundamental to their identities.

    People who write and preach on Christian sexual mores have almost certainly helped shape and grow this pushback against feminism in broader American culture. The effect is a kind of momentum—a feeling of counter-cultural sisterhood. It's an "emerging, conservative feminist identity," as Sarah Palin called it in 2010.

    In much of the evangelical literature DeRogatis explores, the tone defies stereotypes about Puritanical sexual mores in the Christian community. "...Many American evangelicals have come to believe that good marital sex is not just ordained by God, but is healthy and leads to strong self-esteem, financial prosperity, and heightened spiritual awareness," she writes. Often co-authored by husband and wife pairs, popular sex guides from the last two decades explore everything from the the role of anal sex in Biblical marriages to the virtues of sex toys and raunchy costumes. One author, Marabel Morgan, suggests women should try setting up different scenes and creatively using props, such as a trampoline, to initiate sex.

    "The message of this multi-million dollar publishing industry is clear: Evangelical Christians have the best sex," DeRogatis writes.

    Predictably, this idea evolved symbiotically with the sexual revolution. "Most early twentieth-century Protestant authors who wrote about sex discussed it in moral and spiritual terms, leaving ... technique to trained medical experts," DeRogatis writes. But with the 1967 publication of Herbert J. Miles's Sexual Happiness in Marriage, that changed. He argued that the "one-flesh relationship" between husbands and wives is the natural basis of all marriages—and, moreover, that "sex is only Christian sex if both spouses are sexually satisfied."

    Miles's approach of offering step-by-step intercourse instructions set the standard for modern-day Christian sex books, DeRogatis writes—a particularly important resource for people who deliberately remain chaste before their wedding day. This often includes gender-specific insights ("a woman never ejaculates or expels fluid as does a man," wrote the Christian couple Beverly and Tim LaHaye in their 1998 book, The Act of Marriage). Although that information is arguably logistically important, it also sets up an implied argument: Men have sex in a certain way, and this is how; women have sex in a certain way, and this is how.

    Like the distinctively male and female gender roles defended by many evangelical writers, these definitive sexual roles are attributed to the Bible. InThe Act of Marriage, for example, the Song of Solomon is cited as a guide for manual clitoral stimulation: "His left arm is under my head, and his right arm embraces me." DeRogatis notes that this is a "uniquely Protestant approach to the joy of sex. The most authoritative text on sexuality is ... the Bible."

    One author suggests using props, such as a trampoline, to initiate sex.
    This raises the stakes of evangelical sexuality. Biblically inspired gender identity and sexuality isn't just a Sarah Palin-esque counter-cultural fad; it's tied to the foundational beliefs of a large group of Christians. Purity movements like "True Love Waits" and organizations like The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood developed in response to, and in tandem with, the sexual revolution and everything after; ultimately, they're an attempt to protect what's seen as a core Christian value.

    To these men and women, Biblical sexuality is a fundamental part of being a person of faith.  
    * * *
    Firm expectations about the meaning of manhood and womanhood can have consequences, though. Some evangelical Christians believe in "complementarian" marriages, in which the husband is considered the rightful head of household and the wife is Biblically commanded to be submissive to him. Widely accepted ideas about gender identity in the evangelical community are rooted in this principle.
    "According to evangelical literature, women are more submissive. They’re more passive. They care more about emotional and relational issues," said DeRogatis. "Men, by nature, are aggressive. They’re leaders. They’re people who can sometimes have trouble understanding or controlling their emotions, and they can often act aggressively. These are truths that evangelicals understand are created by God."

    Nothing in Christianity says this dynamic should include physical, mental, or emotional abuse; in fact, the book of Colossians in the Bible explicitly instructs, "Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them."

    But the question is still troubling: If women are Biblically commanded to submit to their husbands, and their husbands were created by God as aggressive creatures, what's the line between "household leadership" and "abuse"? More importantly, how should evangelical women respond when they think their husbands have crossed that line?

    John Piper, a Baptist preacher and the founder of the website Desiring God, answered this question in a video interview in 2009. This is a man who has published more than 50 books, and who serves as chancellor of a Christian college; he has 675,000 followers on Twitter.
    Here is what he said.
    If it's not requiring her to sin, but simply hurting her, then I think she endures verbal abuse for a season, and perhaps she endures being smacked for a night, and then she finds help from the church.
    Since then, Piper has written on his website to clarify the intention of that statement. But even if he wasn't meaning to excuse domestic abuse by suggesting that women should "endure being smacked for a night," the ambiguity is there: The aggressive/submissive dynamic of complementarian marriages gives men power over their wives, and it's hard to know how that will express itself over the course of a marriage.

    "I think that the majority of American evangelicals would say no, that’s not how husbands and wives respect each other," said DeRogatis. "But there is an understanding that men and women are created differently, and in order for marriage to work, you have to understand these differences ... and work with them."

    "There is an understanding that men and women are created differently, and in order for marriage to work, you have to understand these differences."
    In a survey of 1,000 mainline and evangelical Protestant ministers conducted by the Southern Baptist organization Lifeway this year, researchers found that two-thirds of pastors speak about domestic abuse in their congregations roughly once a year, if that. Although a third of American women and a fourth of American men report that they have experienced intimate-partner violence, 75 percent of pastors estimated that less than 20 percent of their congregants had ever experienced abuse. Nearly 40 percent estimated that less than 5 percent of the adults and children in their congregations had experienced abuse.
    Perhaps more troublingly, when these pastors actually did encounter domestic abuse in their congregations, many dealt with it in a "dangerous or even potentially lethal" way, according to the study's authors.

    "The top priority in sexual and domestic violence should be to ensure the immediate safety of victims or potential victims," they write. "For example, counseling someone to remain at home with their abusive spouse or partner and 'work it out' can potentially lead to devastating consequences for the safety and health of the victim and others in the home." Yet, 62 percent of pastors reported that they had addressed issues of domestic abuse by providing private marriage counseling to couples.

    Choosing to resolve these situations otherwise "may be countercultural for U.S. clergy, especially those who ... view family matters as strictly private, place a high priority on family 'stability,' teach an absolute prohibition against divorce, [or] practice 'male headship' and submission of women," the authors add.
    In parts of the evangelical blogging community, the idea that women should submit to their husbands and do everything in their power to preserve their marriages can take a troubling tone. In a Warrior Wives post from 2012, the main blogger, Elizabeth, writes:
    You can pray that God will bless your "sex session." You can pray that he would bring the desire to you. ... I've sometimes felt like, I just can't do this. This isn't going to be enjoyable. I REALLY DON'T WANT TO!!!! And then I've quieted my spirit and prayed. God wants sex to be good! ... He made it to strengthen marriage!
    At least sometimes, it seems, this is what it means to be a "warrior wife."
    * * *
    In the final chapter of her book, DeRogatis specifically addresses the experience of non-white evangelical Christians. According to Pew's comprehensive survey of American religious affiliation from 2007, about a fifth of evangelicals are black, Hispanic, Asian, or other races. Since then, that proportion has probably grown;as of 2013, an estimated 16 percent of Hispanic Americans identified as evangelical.

    "There isn’t a lot of wiggle room there, or even frank discussion, about the real people who don’t live up to that ideal."
    Yet, the many YouTube videos and blog posts and books about sex in the evangelical community are almost exclusively created by white people, DeRogatis said. "Part of that represents the book industry, and part of that is who has been identified as evangelicals, and part of that is the history of the black church—many people not claiming the term evangelical because it's associated with white people."

    This creates some symbolic problems—purity being associated with whiteness, homogeneity in the racial depictions included in books, etc.—but it's also an issue of experience, she argued.

    There's a "really strong emphasis in the literature that you refrain from sex prior to marriage, then you get married, and within marriage you have children, and you stay married," she said. "There isn’t a lot of wiggle room there, or even frank discussion, about the real people who don’t live up to that ideal."

    Although she stressed that this topic was not a main focus of her research, she did find somewhat different language in the sermons of African American pastors like T.D. Jakes.

    "What I saw in Jakes was a tendency to focus more on wholeness and on forgiving yourself: Your sexual past or things that might be seen as sexual indiscretions might be forgiveable. They don’t ruin you for the future," she said.
    Although DeRogatis said that the audience Jakes is speaking to probably includes more people with experiences that fall outside of the evangelical "ideal" of a lifelong marriage and a minivan full of kids, she also pointed out that this experience probably isn't shared by many white evangelicals, either. It's all about "who’s writing the books and who’s selling them—who has the market on the books, and who’s buying them."

    This seems to be a fitting observation for the whole warrior wives enterprise. Everything suggests that these ideas are earnestly and genuinely important to a lot of Christians, and a lot of Christian women in particular. But who's selling them?
    EMMA GREEN is the assistant managing editor of TheAtlantic.com, where she also writes about religion and culture.



    0 0


    The Guardian: "Obama Endorses 'Strongest Possible Rules To Insure Net Neutrality'
    Barack Obama called for “the strongest possible rules to protect” the open internet on Monday and came out against proposals championed by cable and telecoms companies to create fast lanes for the web.
    The president’s statement comes as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) prepares to publish new rules to regulate the internet after a series of legal defeats at the hands of telecoms and cable companies.
    “An open internet is essential to the American economy, and increasingly to our very way of life. By lowering the cost of launching a new idea, igniting new political movements, and bringing communities closer together, it has been one of the most significant democratizing influences the world has ever known,” Obama said.
    The president came out firmly against a proposal that would allow cable companies to create “fast lanes” for higher paying customers. Cable and telecoms companies have lobbied for fast lanes, arguing that companies like Netflix should pay more for the large amount of bandwidth they use.
    Opponents argue such a move would create a tiered internet with faster service for those who can pay, and end “net neutrality” – the principle that all traffic is equal on the web.
    “Net neutrality has been built into the fabric of the internet since its creation — but it is also a principle that we cannot take for granted. We cannot allow internet service providers (ISPs) to restrict the best access or to pick winners and losers in the online marketplace for services and ideas,“ wrote Obama. He said the FCC should impose “the strongest possible rules to protect net neutrality.”
    The president’s move will place extraordinary pressure on the FCC, which is an independent agency but whose senior figures are appointed by the president. Chairman Tom Wheeler is a Democrat, but the FCC’s board is split between Democrat and Republican members and the Republicans have shown clear opposition to imposing more regulation on internet service providers.
    After receiving more than 4m comments from the general public, the FCC had reportedly been discussing a “hybrid” solution that would have allowed tiered services but imposed stricter rules to protect customers. The proposal met with stiff opposition from net neutrality supporters, who now have the backing of Obama.
    The president set out four “commonsense” rules he would like to see the FCC impose:
    • No blocking. If a consumer requests access to a website or service, and the content is legal, an internet service provider (ISP) should not be permitted to block it.
    • No “throttling”. ISPs should not be allowed to intentionally slow down some content or speed up others – a process often called “throttling”.
    • Increased transparency. Internet service is not just about the so-called “last mile” – the connection to a customer’s home, said Obama. The FCC should monitor for potential abuses across the network.
    • No paid prioritization. Obama came out firmly against “fast” and “slow” lanes arguing against cable firm’s charging higher fees for faster service. He called for an “explicit ban on paid prioritization and any other restriction that has a similar effect.”
    Obama said: “The FCC is an independent agency, and ultimately this decision is theirs alone. I believe the FCC should create a new set of rules protecting net neutrality and ensuring that neither the cable company nor the phone company will be able to act as a gatekeeper, restricting what you can do or see online.”
    Wheeler called the president’s comments an “important and welcome addition to the record” and promised to take them into account in the commission’s deliberations. “From the beginning, I have pledged to finally bring to an end the years-long quest for rules that are upheld in court,” he said.
    Supporters of net neutrality supporters welcomed president’s comments. Holmes Wilson, co-director of the Fight for the Future advocacy group, said: “Thanks to the second largest online protest in history, nearly 4m comments, White House and FCC phone lines ringing off the hook, and even nationwide street protests, President Obama finally gets it, and can say so.”
    He said the FCC should reclassify internet service, under Title II of the Communications Act, to give it “common-carrier” status, which would give the FCC far wider powers of regulation.
    “At this point it should be unthinkable that Tom Wheeler would defy the American public and the president, but we hope President Obama is prepared to demote him if he doesn’t move forward in good faith with Title II reclassification,” he said.
    Cable companies and others have been fighting hard to stop the FCC imposing Title II status on internet services, arguing it will stifle innovation and introduce unnecessary red tape.




    0 0


    "Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
     Almost always, great men are bad men."  
    Lord Acton

    Lord Acton was a devout Catholic. He wrote his famous dictum on the corrupting effect of power while resisting the Doctrine of Papal Infallibility which was being discussed at the First Vatican Council.
    Robert Caro is Lyndon Johnson's most notable biographer.









    0 0

    Voters wait in line to enter a polling place at the town hall in Jamestown, North Carolina, on Nov. 4, 2014. Americans head to the polls to cast their vote in local, state and national elections. Photo by Alex Wong/Getty ImagesPBS: Lowest Voter Turnout In 70 Years

    "Mandatory Voting Would Focus Candidates On All Citizens, Not Just Their Rabid Base"

    "Let's Make Photo I.D.s Mandatory For U.S. Voters"

    The Borowitz Report: "Country on Wrong Track, Say People Who Did Not Vote"


    American consumer units rehearsing for late-life obesity

    ***

    "32.7% Of Eligible Citizens Voted In 2014 Mid-Term Elections"

    ***

    NEW YORK (The Borowitz Report)—The United States of America is on the wrong track and no one is taking action to fix it, says a broad majority of registered voters who did not vote last Tuesday.
    According to a new survey, anger, frustration, and a pervasive view that the nation is moving in a fatal direction dominated the mood of those who were doing something other than voting on Election Day.

    Exit polls involving election non-participants took place as they left malls, nail salons, gyms, and other locations where no voting occurred on Tuesday.
    “The system is broken,” said Carol Foyler, thirty-one, a democracy abstainer from Akron, Ohio. “We need to come up with some way that ordinary citizens can make their voices heard and have some impact on who is running things in Washington.”
    The economy, jobs, and terrorism topped the list of worries that are preying on the minds of the non-voting electorate.
    “I find it difficult to sleep at night worrying about the kind of country we are leaving to our children and our children’s children,” said Mark Gardziak, forty-seven, who spent Election Day shopping for a phone.
    While pessimism about the future dominated the comments of the 67.3% of American voters who elected not to exercise their democratic rights on Tuesday, some expressed a glimmer of hope.
    “The one way things could get better is if we all get together and throw out the crooked politicians,” offered Tess Shardin, thirty-eight, who said she was unlikely to vote in 2016.



    0 0

    Science Prizes: The New Nobels

    ***

    Alan: The next time you want Science to save your life -- or the life of a loved one -- ask a Heisman Trophy Winner to help. Then look in the mirror.

    Winners Announced For The World's Richest Science Award: The $3 Million Breakthrough Prize

    Some people change the world by following dreams of fame and fortune. But others start with more modest quests: To better understand the development of flatworms or the way yogurt culture bacteria protect themselves from viruses.

    Those are the kinds of inquiries that led to paradigm-changing discoveries for many of the winners of the 2015 “Breakthrough” prizes, announced this week. The $3 million award amounts to more than twice the pot that comes with a Nobel.
    This newcomer to the arena of science prizes is an outgrowth of theFundamental Physics Prize, which entrepreneur Yuri Milner first awarded in 2012. He has since teamed up with Mark Zuckerberg and other Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and extended the prize to life sciences and, most recently, mathematics. (Perhaps they are announcing next year’s winners this year to appear forward thinking and cutting edge).
    In a story that ran last June when the 2015 math winners were announced, science writer Phillip Ball expressed some doubts about the premise. He quotes Milner saying about scientists: “They should be modern celebrities, alongside athletes and entertainers. We want young people to get more excited…
    And yet, the winners were not trying to be stars. Some were pushed by curiosity into arcane, even unpromising areas. Breakthroughs aren’t something scientists achieve through advance planning. As Ball ponders, “…can there be a single mathematician, in particular, who has chosen their career in the hope that they will get rich and famous? (And if there is, didn’t they study probability theory?)”
    Some scientists, on the other hand, said the point should be to increase public support for the kind of research that’s not aimed at curing cancer or other lofty goals. They say we need more support for people who just want to understand basic biology using relatively simple systems such as flatworms, yeast and bacteria. Most dramatic cures for diseases rely on the findings of basic biologists, even if they couldn’t know themselves where the studies would lead one day.
    The Life Sciences Winners:
    C. David Allis, The Rockefeller University: “Smart Storage: Chromatin”
    Allis is considered the father of one of the hottest fields in 21st century science. Called epigenetics, it is the study of a phenomenon that 20th century biology said shouldn’t exist – changes in molecules that are outside the DNA but can nevertheless be passed from cell to cell or even from one generation to the next.

    0 0

     

    "Taibbi: The $9 Billion Whistle Blower At JPMorgan-Chase. Financial Thuggery At The Top"

    "Politics And Economics: The 101 Courses You Wish You Had"

    "Plutocracy Triumphant"
    Cartoon Compendium

    New bank rules proposed to end 'too big to fail'

    BASEL Switzerland/LONDON Mon Nov 10, 2014

    (Reuters) - Banks may have to scrap dividends and rein in bonuses if they breach new rules designed to ensure that creditors rather than taxpayers pick up the bill when big lenders collapse.
    Mark Carney, chairman of the Financial Stability Board and Bank of England governor, said the rules, proposed on Monday, marked a watershed in putting an end to taxpayer bailouts ofbanks considered too big to fail.
    "Once implemented, these agreements will play important roles in enabling globally systemic banks to be resolved (wound down) without recourse to public subsidy and without disruption to the wider financial system," Carney said in a statement.
    After the financial crisis in 2007-2009, governments had to spend billions of dollars of taxpayer money to rescue banks that ran into trouble and could have threatened the global financial system if allowed to go under.
    Since then, regulators from the Group of 20 economies have been trying to find ways to prevent this happening again.
    The plans envisage that global banks like Goldman Sachs (GS.N) and HSBC (HSBA.L) should have a buffer of bonds or equity equivalent to at least 16 to 20 percent of their risk-weighted assets, such as loans, from January 2019.
    These bonds would be converted to equity to help shore up a stricken bank. The banks' total buffer would include the minimum mandatory core capital requirements banks must already hold to bolster their defences against future crises.
    The new rule will apply to 30 banks the regulators have deemed to be globally "systemically important," though initially three from China on that list of 30 would be exempt.
    G2O leaders are expected to back the proposal later this week in Australia. It is being put out to public consultation until Feb. 2, 2015.
    David Ereira, a partner at law firm Linklaters, said that on its own the new rule as proposed would not end "too big to fail" banks and that politically tricky details still had to be settled.
    BASEL TOWER
    Carney was confident the new rule would be applied as central banks and governments had a hand in drafting them.
    "This isn't something that we cooked up in Basel tower and are just presenting to everybody," he told a news conference, referring to the FSB's headquarters in Switzerland.
    Most of the banks would need to sell more bonds to comply with the new rules, the FSB said. Some bonds, known as "senior debt" that banks have already sold to investors, would need restructuring.
    Senior debt was largely protected during the financial crisis, which meant investors did not lose their money. But Carney said it in future these bonds might have to bear losses if allowed under national rules and if investors were warned in advance.
    The new buffer, formally known as total loss absorbing capacity or TLAC, must be at least twice a bank's leverage ratio, a separate measure of capital to total assets regardless of the level of risk.
    Globally, the leverage ratio has been set provisionally at 3 percent but it could be higher when finalised in 2015.
    Some of the buffer must be held at major overseas subsidiaries to reassure regulators outside a bank's home country. Banks may have to hold more than the minimum because of "add-ons" due to specific business models, Carney said.
    Elke Koenig, president of German regulator Bafin, said supervisors should orient themselves more toward the upper end of the 16-20 percent range, though banks may be given more time to comply.
    Fitch ratings agency said banks might end up with a buffer equivalent to as much as a quarter of their risk-weighted assets once other capital requirements were included. Analysts have estimated this could run to billions of dollars.
    Analysts at Citi (C.N) estimated the new rule could cost European banks up to 3 percent of profits in 2016.

    Citi said European banks would be required to issue the biggest chunk of new bonds, including BNP Paribas (BNPP.PA), Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE), BBVA (BBVA.MC) and UniCredit (CRDI.MI), with Swiss and British banks the least affected in Europe.


    0 0



    Dear Ian,

    Here's the Nader piece I mentioned last night.

    "Ralph Nader Reviews The Republican Romp And Tells How The Tide Could Have Turned"


    Lest we forget...

    The real reason Republicans oppose cell stem research is they're afraid Democrats will use it to create a backbone.

    Elizabeth Warren Quotes

    Pax tecum

    Alan

    PS Although it no longer streams on Netflix, I encourage you to see the Ralph Nader documentary, "An Unreasonable Man." 
    Here are Rotten Tomatoes' and IMDb's reviews: 

    "The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. 
    Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man."
    George Bernard Shaw
    Man and Superman (1903)
    "Maxims for Revolutionists"



    Benjamin Franklin to Robert Morris: On Taxes



    25 December, 1783



    "The Remissness of our People in Paying Taxes is highly blameable; the Unwillingness to pay them is still more so. I see, in some Resolutions of Town Meetings, a Remonstrance against giving Congress a Power to take, as they call it, the People's Money out of their Pockets, tho' only to pay the Interest and Principal of Debts duly contracted. They seem to mistake the Point. Money, justly due from the People, is their Creditors' Money, and no longer the Money of the People, who, if they withold it, should be compell'd to pay by some Law. All Property, indeed, except the Savage's temporary Cabin, his Bow, his Matchcoat, and other little Acquisitions, absolutely necessary for his Subsistence, seems to me to be the Creature of public Convention. Hence the Public has the Right of Regulating Descents, and all other Conveyances of Property, and even of limiting the Quantity and the Uses of it. All the Property that is necessary to a Man, for the Conservation of the Individual and the Propagation of the Species, is his natural Right, which none can justly deprive him of: But all Property superfluous to such purposes is the Property of the Publick, who, by their Laws, have created it, and who may therefore by other Laws dispose of it, whenever the Welfare of the Publick shall demand such Disposition. He that does not like civil Society on these Terms, let him retire and live among Savages. He can have no right to the benefits of Society, who will not pay his Club towards the Support of it."


    ***
    Teddy Roosevelt:

    "Nothing is more true than that excess of every kind is followed by reaction; a fact which should be pondered by reformer and reactionary alike. We are face to face with new conceptions of the relations of property to human welfare, chiefly because certain advocates of the rights of property as against the rights of men have been pushing their claims too far. The man who wrongly holds that every human right is secondary to his profit must now give way to the advocate of human welfare, who rightly maintains that every man holds his property subject to the general right of the community to regulate its use to whatever degree the public welfare may require it. But I think we may go still further. The right to regulate the use of wealth in the public interest is universally admitted. Let us admit also the right to regulate the terms and conditions of labor, which is the chief element of wealth, directly in the interest of the common good."


    Teddy Roosevelt: "Malefactors Of Great Wealth Are Curses To The Country"

    ***

    Teddy Roosevelt: “Too much cannot be said against the men of wealth who sacrifice everything to getting wealth. There is not in the world a more ignoble character than the mere money-getting American, insensible to every duty, regardless of every principle, bent only on amassing a fortune, and putting his fortune only to the basest uses —whether these uses be to speculate in stocks and wreck railroads himself, or to allow his son to lead a life of foolish and expensive idleness and gross debauchery, or to purchase some scoundrel of high social position, foreign or native, for his daughter. Such a man is only the more dangerous if he occasionally does some deed like founding a college or endowing a church, which makes those good people who are also foolish forget his real iniquity. These men are equally careless of the working men, whom they oppress, and of the State, whose existence they imperil. There are not very many of them, but there is a very great number of men who approach more or less closely to the type, and, just in so far as they do so approach, they are curses to the country." Theodore Roosevelt - February, 1895 -  http://books.google.com/books?id=2wIoAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA9&lpg=PA9&dq=%E2%80%9CToo+much+cannot+be+said+against+the+men+of+wealth+who+sacrifice+everything+to+getting+wealth.+%22&source=bl&ots=tlzVCZMAuz&sig=DZ9KUKiPiBTUlThoSVs6KzQTvF4&hl=en&ei=OxibTcHrCIGdgQev_o2eBw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CBsQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=%E2%80%9CToo%20much%20cannot%20be%20said%20against%20the%20men%20of%20wealth%20who%20sacrifice%20everything%20to%20getting%20wealth.%20%22&f=false  



    ***





    Abraham Lincoln: "In my present position I could scarcely be justified were I to omit raising a warning voice against this approach of returning despotism. It is not needed nor fitting here that a general argument should be made in favor of popular institutions, but there is one point, with its connections, not so hackneyed as most others, to which I ask a brief attention. It is the effort to place capital on an equal footing with, if not above, labor in the structure of government. It is assumed that labor is available only in connection with capital; that nobody labors unless somebody else, owning capital, somehow by the use of it induces him to labor. This assumed, it is next considered whether it is best that capital shall hire laborers, and thus induce them to work by their own consent, or buy them and drive them to it without their consent. Having proceeded so far, it is naturally concluded that all laborers are either hired laborers or what we call slaves. And further, it is assumed that whoever is once a hired laborer is fixed in that condition for life. Now there is no such relation between capital and labor as assumed, nor is there any such thing as a free man being fixed for life in the condition of a hired laborer. Both these assumptions are false, and all inferences from them are groundless. Labor is prior to and independent of capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration."  

    Read Lincoln's entire State of the Union Address, December 3, 1861 http://www.infoplease.com/t/hist/state-of-the-union/73.html#ixzz17XlRsbev


    Further Contextualization:

    ***

    "Politics And Economics: The 101 Courses You Wish You Had"

    "Plutocracy Triumphant"
    Cartoon Compendium





    0 0



    "All Your Questions About Obama's Internet Plan Answered"

    Obama: Broadband should be regulated as a utility

    The president also calls on the FCC to stop broadband providers from charging content companies to prioritize their traffic





    U.S. President Barack Obama has made his strongest statement on net neutrality to date, calling on the Federal Communications Commission to reclassify broadband as a regulated utility, and to prohibit broadband providers from charging Web content producers for paid traffic prioritization.
    Obama on Monday called on the FCC to reclassify broadband as a common carrier, subject to telephone-style regulations, and to ban broadband carriers from selectively blocking or throttling Web traffic. The president waded into a contentious debate about reclassifying broadband, coming down on the opposite side of many large broadband carriers.
    Reclassifying broadband would "keep the Internet free and open," Obama said in a video message. "In plain English, "I'm asking [the FCC] to recognize that, for most Americans, the Internet has become an essential part of everyday communication and everyday life."
    Obama's proposal also clashes with FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler's original net neutrality plan, which would have stopped short of reclassifying broadband under Title II of the Communications Act and instead allowed broadband providers to engage in "commercially reasonable" traffic management. Wheeler's original plan would have also allowed for some paid prioritization, although the FCC chairman now says he's open to a range of paths to pass new rules, including reclassification.
    The FCC is an independent agency, and Obama has no direct power to force the agency to act. Nearly 4 million people submitted comments in the FCC's ongoing net neutrality proceeding, and many of those people have asked the FCC to ensure that "consumers, not the cable company, gets to decide what sites they use," Obama said.



older | 1 | .... | 399 | 400 | (Page 401) | 402 | 403 | .... | 989 | newer