Archive | December 8, 2013

Conservatives Plan 2014 Assault on Education, Healthcare, Workers’ Comp and Environment

474px-human-brain_257Jon Queally writes at Common Dreams:

According to internal documents obtained by the British newspaper and published online Thursday, the Guardian reports that more than forty state-level conservative groups are planning a “US-wide assault” on “education, healthcare, income tax, workers’ compensation and the environment.”

If you want to know how the right-wing State Policy Network—in concert with a network of other national and state-level conservative policy groups—has been able to overrun state legislatures with “model legislation” that carries the interest of the nation’s wealthiest corporations and individuals while undermining workers and communities, the ream of grant proposals obtained by the newspaper tell the tale.

For the second time this week, the Guardian has published internal documents from an influential U.S. conservative organizing group that reveals rare insight into how they operate and the way smaller, local groups vie for portions of the large amount of money made available by people like the Kochs brothers and other funders of the conservative, Tea Party cabal.

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Banks brace for €1.7bn EU fines over Libor

a_drop_in_the_bucket

I don’t know about you, but this seems like a public ceremonial slap on the wrist for some people who should be thrown in prison.

via The Telegraph

Some of the world’s biggest banks are to be “fined a record €1.7bn” (£1.4bn) by European authorities to settle allegations of rigging benchmark borrowing rates used to set the price of trillions of dollars of financial products, according to reports.

The European Union competition authorities could announce the penalties as early as Wednesday, with up to 10 banks, including Royal Bank of Scotland, Deutsche Bank and Societe Generale, expected to settle cases, according to the Financial Times.

EU officials have been investigating claims that several large banks attempted to manipulate yen and euro-denominated Libor rates as part of an international probe.

Deutsche Bank and RBS are said to be facing fines for manipulating both rates, while other banks will settle claims related to just one of the rates.

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Are Differences in IQ to Blame for Income Inequality?

The upper crust knows little about this

Could it be that this prick is making a justification for a slough of elitists? Via The Week

Last week, London Mayor Boris Johnson made a very controversial assertion that differences in IQ levels help explain income inequality. Here are his remarks:

Whatever you may think of the value of IQ tests, it is surely relevant to a conversation about equality that as many as 16 percent of our species have an IQ below 85, while about 2 percent have an IQ above 130. The harder you shake the pack, the easier it will be for some cornflakes to get to the top.

And for one reason or another — boardroom greed or, as I am assured, the natural and god-given talent of boardroom inhabitants — the income gap between the top cornflakes and the bottom cornflakes is getting wider than ever. I stress: I don’t believe that economic equality is possible; indeed, some measure of inequality is essential for the spirit of envy and keeping up with the Joneses that is, like greed, a valuable spur to economic activity.

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Five Steps You Can Take to Democratize Your Community | Interview with Gar Alperovitz

Abby Martin interviews Gar Alperovitz, political economy professor at the University of Maryland about his social prescriptions for democratizing local economies, citing the benefits of credit unions and participatory budgets.

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Canadian Mountie Fights For Right To Smoke Marijuana While In Uniform

mountedJust another instance in which the U.S. police need to a page from Canada’s royal mounties. The BBC reports:

A Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer has been told he can’t smoke marijuana while in uniform. Cpl Ronald Francis, an officer with more than 20 years’ service in the eastern province of New Brunswick, has a medical prescription that allows him to take up to 3g of the drug daily to treat symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.

While senior officers have said that his marijuana use is fine under Canadian medical and human rights laws, they have drawn the line over smoking in public while wearing the RCMP’s famous red serge uniform.

Francis has drawn the ire of his superiors by telling CBC in a televised interview: “There’s no policy in the RCMP that prevents me from smoking marijuana… I have the right to smoke it in my red serge.” Officials thought otherwise, with officers arriving at his home last week to seize his uniform.

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From The Mouths Of Murderers (How I Accidentally Started the Sixties)

This is the first chapter from Howard Bloom’s new book How I Accidentally Started the Sixtiesabout which Timothy Leary said,
“This is a monumental, epic, glorious literary achievement. Every page, every paragraph, every sentence sparkles with captivating metaphors, delightful verbal concoctions, alchemical insights, philosophic whimsy, absurd illogicals, scientific comedy routines, relentless, non-stop waves of hilarity.   The comparisons to James Joyce are inevitable and undeniable.  Finnegans Wake wanders through the rock ‘n roll sixties.  Wow! Whew! Wild! Wonderful!”

(This stuff really happened. Several names have been changed to protect me from my attorney. However any lack of resemblance to actual people, living or dead, is solely due to the incompetence of the author.) 

006_bloom in RAGS 1970 #1

 

It feels a little funny to drag these stories from the depths of memory now that us baby boomers are all supposed to be picking out the patterns for our tombstones, counting our wrinkles, and trying to replicate the secret of Ronald Reagan’s perpetually dark hair.… Read the rest

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