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Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit, MI
Member since: Thu Oct 28, 2004, 11:18 PM
Number of posts: 72,526

Journal Archives

Smirking bully New York cop charged in attack on female MTA worker

A New York Police Department officer attacked a woman worker on a subway platform, then ran away grinning to himself, according to the New York Daily News.

An internal affairs investigation began on Thursday after the officer turned himself in. He was caught on camera leaving the scene of the attack, which took place around 2:30 a.m. on Dec. 23.

A 28-year-old female employee of the Metropolitan Transit Authority reported to police that she was attacked and slammed to the concrete on the southbound D train platform at the Tremont Avenue station. The man who attacked her wrapped his hands around her throat and choked her, she said. She was hospitalized for injuries to her neck and back.

Cameras in the station caught an image of the off-duty, out-of-uniform cop smirking to himself as he exited the turnstiles. ...................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2015/01/smirking-bully-new-york-cop-charged-in-attack-on-female-mta-worker/

Social Democracy in America?

from Dissent magazine:

Social Democracy in America?
Rich Yeselson ▪ Fall 2014

Social Democratic America
by Lane Kenworthy
Oxford University Press, 2014, 248 pp.

Recently, a group of conservative policy intellectuals and writers captured the attention of the media and even of a few Republican politicians. These “reformocons,” including Ross Douthat of the New York Times, Ramesh Ponnuru of the National Review, and Michael Strain of the American Enterprise Institute, believe it is time for the Republican Party to propose public policy solutions to domestic issues like health care and education, rather than provoke the cultural resentments of the party base, what Douthat has called the politics of “white identity.”

The reformocons chief policy entrepreneur Yuval Levin, editor of its flagship publication National Affairs, challenged the left in the National Review in June:

They (liberals) imagine that there is some kind of coherent liberal agenda that speaks to middle-class concerns…. But where is that agenda? What does it consist of? What did President Obama run on in 2012? What is the next Democratic candidate supposed to run on? Doubling down on head start and the minimum wage plus a carbon tax? To me, one of the most extraordinary features of this moment in our politics is that many serious liberals seem genuinely not to grasp the intellectual exhaustion of the left.

Levin has a point. Likely 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton—presumably an exponent of gender equality and family-friendly policy—can’t even be moved to endorse paid family leave: “I don’t think, politically, we could get it now,” she said to an interviewer recently. Not exactly a rousing call to arms. Minimum wage increases are a good idea as far as they go, but how far do they go, really? Is this the future of liberal domestic economic and fiscal policy in the United States?

In Social Democratic America, Lane Kenworthy says it doesn’t have to be this way. Kenworthy, a political scientist at the University of Arizona, writes with an almost eerily calm clarity. You want policies? He’s got them—a comprehensive expansion of the social insurance state combined with fewer regulations on businesses, what the Scandinavians call “flexicurity.” You’ve got questions about whether these policies can work in a U.S. context, or whether they can ever become law? He anticipates and answers them, marshalling the latest studies on each question. This is not a book of hortatory uplift—romantic, enraged radicals will not get their fix of romance and rage. It contains practically nothing about foreign policy, gender and sexuality, or racism; while this sharpens the book’s focus, it limits its consideration of how these factors affect fiscal and economic policy. It is a crisp, clean manifesto: a call to expand American social insurance in the most straightforward way possible—via enormously increased government transfer payments and programs, not mandates on businesses or means-tested entitlements. ............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.dissentmagazine.org/article/social-democracy-in-america

Slacking Workers of the World Unite

(In These Times) Seventy percent of porn viewing and 60 percent of online shopping take place during business hours. Studies indicate that worldwide, the average employee spends about 1 to 3 hours a day goofing off at work.

In Empty Labor: Idleness and Workplace Resistance, Roland Paulsen, a scholar of business administration at Lund University in Sweden, sets out to understand what he calls empty labor, which includes anything a worker does on the clock that isn’t work—be it surfing the web, sleeping, organizing the office football pool, or writing a doctoral dissertation on the sly.

Paulsen focused on the most extreme shirkers. He interviewed 43 Swedish workers who claimed to spend less than half of their work hours actually working. He tracked down these hardcore non-performers through friends of friends, web ads and the Swedish website maska.nu, where people share slacking stories and tips. Most were white-collar workers, but a construction worker, a security guard and several house cleaners also participated. He tracked down these hardcore non-performers through friends of friends, web ads and the Swedish website maska.nu, which caters to hardcore time-wasters by publishing slacking stories, work-avoidance tips and political essays on the labor market. Paulsen's interviews were designed to answer two basic questions: How do you get away with this? and Why do you do it?


In the end, the most Paulsen can say about empty labor is that it underscores the absurdities of an economy where people are paid for their time rather than their output. Huge numbers of people are working significantly fewer hours than they're getting paid for, and the system grinds on just the same.

This is the shoddy reward that workers get for dramatically increased productivity: The work of an 8-hour day now fits comfortably into a 6-hour day. Corporate profits are skyrocketing, but the average worker is still obliged to sit around for 8 hours, on call for the boss. So, who's stealing time from whom? ..................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://inthesetimes.com/article/17448/slacking_workers_of_the_world

Nuclear dream is fading as wind and solar soar

(Climate News Network) LONDON, 30 December, 2014 − With nuclear power falling ever further behind renewables as a global energy source, and as the price of oil and gas falls, the future of the industry in 2015 and beyond looks bleak.

Renewables now supply 22% of global electricity and nuclear only 11% − a share that is gradually falling as old plants close and fewer new ones are commissioned.

New large-scale installations of wind and solar power arrays continue to surge across the world. Countries without full grids and power outages, such as India, increasingly find that wind and solar are quick and easy ways to bring electricity to people who have previously had no supply.

Developed countries, meanwhile, faced with reducing carbon dioxide emissions, find that the cost of both these renewable technologies is coming down substantially. Subsidies for wind and solar are being reduced and, in some cases, will disappear altogether in the next 10 years. .................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.climatenewsnetwork.net/nuclear-dream-fading-wind-solar-soar/

Tennis Has An Income Inequality Problem

Tennis Has An Income Inequality Problem

Tennis is played and followed in most nations worldwide. But professional players aren’t making much money. Fewer than 1,000 pro players break even at the sport. Far fewer make a decent living.

The opportunities to make good money are dwindling. More players are competing for prizes that are growing slowly, especially at the game’s lowest levels. Earlier this month, the ATP World Tour, which runs the most lucrative pro men’s events, announced it was increasing prize money significantly over the next four years. But the most exclusive tournaments will get the biggest boosts. After adjusting for inflation1, prize money on the ATP’s Challenger Tour — the equivalent of baseball’s AAA minor league — has fallen by 25 percent in the last six years.

Soon after the ATP’s announcement, the International Tennis Federation released results of its analysis of the pro game’s financials. Among the sobering findings: Only 336 men and 253 women made more than they spent playing tennis last year.


Tennis’s problem is that its fan base is wide but not deep. It has fans in countries around the world, but rarely enough to support a major tournament with sellouts and big TV ratings in any single market.

The ITF is considering how to divide the revenue among players in a way that’s best for the game. The nonprofit body is studying the sport’s economics to make sure that players who are good enough to break through don’t quit the game before doing so — and to hasten the departure of those who aren’t good enough. The ITF’s data shows it takes about a year longer now than it did in 2000 for a player to go from his or her first ranking to reaching the Top 100, which is another year during which promising players might get discouraged and drop their rackets. ................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/tennis-has-an-income-inequality-problem/

Proposed Woodward High-Speed Bus Route Faces Scrutiny

[font size="1"]PHOTO: Snapshot of the proposed route from SEMCOG's LPA report[/font]

The Citizen’s Advisory Committee of Southeast Michigan's Regional Transit Authority (RTA) is urging the RTA to steer clear of a plan to split up the Detroit leg of a proposed 27-mile high-speed bus system.

The project, which would run through 11 Woodward Corridor communities, has become a hot topic among those who follow the region’s transit policy, due to disagreement over the layout of a route in the city's greater downtown region.

In September, the RTA board okayed a plan for a Woodward Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) service, known as a Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA), submitted by a steering committee organized by the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG), that includes representatives from the 11 communities along the route. The RTA’s approval of a plan was required to move forward with the project, although there’s still time to make changes as it undergoes a federal environmental review.

The committee’s recommendations followed a two-year SEMCOG study of different BRT options. With the assistance of the consulting firm Parsons Brinckerhoff, the regional planning organization held three rounds of hearings over 16 months to gather public input. They released their findings in a report entitled “Woodward Avenue Rapid Transit Alternatives Analysis Locally Preferred Alternative” on Oct. 28. .................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://wearemodeshift.org/proposed-woodward-high-speed-bus-route-faces-scrutiny

Chicago Transit Projects for 2015

Dec. 29--From Red Line and Blue Line station renovations to an express bus system in the Loop, RedEye looks at Chicago transit projects the CTA and the city are expected to tackle next year.

--Ventra app: The CTA announced this year it will roll out a Ventra app that will allow Metra riders to use their phones to purchase tickets and CTA riders to use their phones to manage their Ventra accounts. The CTA said it will begin testing the app with a small group of riders in February with the hope of making the app available to the rest of riders in May.

--Central Loop bus rapid transit: The city is expected to begin construction early next year in the Loop on a $32 million express bus system called bus rapid transit. The city is slated to create bus-only lanes on two miles of Loop streets, which should improve speeds for six CTA bus routes that serve downtown.

--New stations: Cold weather pushed back the opening of the new $50 million Cermak-McCormick Place Green Line stop on the Near South Side to spring, according to the Chicago Department of Transportation, which is managing the project. ..............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.masstransitmag.com/news/11796827/chicago-transit-projects-for-2015

Chris Hedges’ Interview With Noam Chomsky on Empire, the Liberal Class and More

Finish the year off by watching this memorable clip of Truthdig columnist Chris Hedges interviewing acclaimed linguist and social thinker Noam Chomsky.

Democracy and Its Discontents

Democracy and Its Discontents

Thursday, 01 January 2015 09:46
By Thomas J. Scott, Truthout | Op-Ed

Americans increasingly question the viability of institutions they have traditionally relied upon for economic support, security in their local communities and information to explain the world around them. This skepticism is most apparent with respect to political institutions; the US public is losing confidence in the political decision-making process and how government exercises its power.

According to Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) data from 2013, only 35 percent of Americans have confidence in their government. A November 25, 2014, Rasmussen poll suggests only 8 percent of likely voters rate the performance of Congress as good or excellent, while 64 percent rate its performance as poor. A September 2014 Gallup poll found a 44 percent approval rating for the Supreme Court, while 48 percent disapprove. President Obama doesn't fare any better. A December 21, 2014, Rasmussen poll reported an approval rating of 48 percent, while 51 percent disapproved of his job performance.

There are several explanations for why this lack of confidence exists. Over the past two decades, hyper-individualism has become a cultural value and is now increasingly apparent in public policy debates. Market-oriented policies advocate personal satisfaction over the common good. Voters are behaving more like consumers than citizens and, as a result, corporate influence on public policy has become a more dynamic aspect of the electoral and decision-making process. The Supreme Court exacerbated this influence in the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision. Super PACs can now raise unlimited amounts of money during campaigns essentially without disclosing the source of the money.

Income inequality also promotes declining confidence in many of the institutions that comprise civil society in the United States. A December 17, 2014, study by the Pew Research Center found the wealth gap (as measured by family assets) between high-income groups and everyone else has reached record high levels. Trust in governmental and private sector institutions is at an all-time low. Gallup has been trending public attitudes toward a variety of societal institutions since 1973. From 1973 to 2014, organized religion, the Supreme Court, the banking system, public schools, newspapers, Congress, organized labor and big business have seen declines in public confidence. .................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/28284-democracy-and-its-discontents

Hollywood Hacks (cartoon)


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