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Tom Tomorrow: What We REALLY Need Is...

Daily Kos Link: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/07/30/1114189/-What-we-really-need

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NBC Olympics Coverage Omits Tribute to U.K. Terror Victims


NBC Olympics coverage omits tribute to U.K. terror victims

By David Ferguson
Saturday, July 28, 2012 13:53 EDT

Broadcast giant NBC has chosen not to carry a tribute to the victims of the July 7 attacks in London that ran as part of the 2012 Summer Olympics, according to Deadspin. The 2005 attacks took the lives of 52 people and injured scores of others when bombs exploded on subway trains and one of London’s signature red double-decker buses on the day after the city was chosen to host the 2012 Olympics.

The role the tragedy played in bringing Londoners together and the message of triumph conveyed by the tribute, which featured 52 dancers and a performance of the song “Abide with Me,” by Scottish singer Emeli Sandé, makes it all the more incomprehensible that NBC would chose not to include it.

- snip -

NBC’s coverage of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London has already drawn ire from various quarters, not just for its decision to broadcast the events three hours after they occur on the east coast and six hours afterward on the west coast, but also for what some see as the banality of its commentary.

Influential liberal blogger and media critic Digby said of the omission of the 7/7 remembrance, “Apparently, American broadcasters believe there’s no purpose in showing any tribute to victims of terrorist attacks that aren’t 9/11. (We sure as hell have no problem showing those. Over and over.)”

Instead of the tribute, American audiences were treated to what Deadspin called “a lengthy and meaningless Ryan Seacrest interview with Michael Phelps.”


"There's a reason why .... on fiscal mess: One of our two political parties has gone nuts."


FRIDAY, JUL 27, 2012 07:45 AM EDT
Blame the Republicans!

A new book is an incredibly useful primer on our budget crisis, except when it comes to assigning blame for it


Here are some shocking facts that I learned from “Red Ink: Inside the High-Stakes Politics of the Federal Budget. Where the Trillions Come From, Where They Go, and Why Inaction Imperils Our Future.”

- snip -

- “Today, Americans pay less of their income in taxes than citizens of nearly every other developed country.”

- “In the early 1950s more than 30 percent of federal revenues came from the corporate income tax — in 2011, 7.9 percent.”

“Red Ink” is an extraordinarily useful book. It is exactly what author David Wessel, economics editor for the Wall Street Journal, claims it to be: “a collection of uncomfortable, indisputable facts showing the unsustainable fiscal course the U.S. government is on.” It is concise, readable and informative. For people unfamiliar with the ins and outs of the federal budget, it should be required reading. For those who already know their way around government finances, it is still a handy resource, but at the same time deeply depressing. Because “Red Ink” is also an extraordinarily frustrating book. Our dire circumstances are undeniable – at some point, we are going to have to pay the piper for living on borrowed money — but the way out of our predicament is much less clear. And at the end of “Red Ink,” one is left wondering: Who is to blame for this mess? Who is stopping us from fixing it?

- snip -

But while it is refreshing to see a topic as complicated — and polarizing — as the federal budget set forth in such a fair-minded, non-polemical manner, the facts as laid out by Wessel do seem to tell a story in which feckless Republicans play an oversize role. The question is, by never stating that outright, is Wessel being cowardly behind a facade of fairness? This is important, because if one side is more to blame than the other, then the obvious next step is to rally political pressure against that side. The position that everybody’s equally to blame becomes a cop-out.

- snip -

It’s very difficult to dwell on this without going apoplectic. Again: Republicans passed an expansion of healthcare without any mechanism to pay for it. That’s pretty bad, from a boosting-the-deficit standpoint. But when Democrats passed their own expansion, funded by a mix of spending cuts and tax hikes that, together, lower the deficit, Republicans just dismissed the numbers as fake.

There’s a reason why we can’t seem to make any progress on our fiscal mess: One of our two political parties has gone nuts.


Krugman: "Simply Crazy to Be Laying Off Schoolteachers and Canceling Infrastructure Projects..."


"Stop paying attention to the alleged wise men who hijacked our policy discussion and made the deficit the center of conversation."

Money for Nothing
Published: July 26, 2012

For years, allegedly serious people have been issuing dire warnings about the consequences of large budget deficits — deficits that are overwhelmingly the result of our ongoing economic crisis. In May 2009, Niall Ferguson of Harvard declared that the “tidal wave of debt issuance” would cause U.S. interest rates to soar. In March 2011, Erskine Bowles, the co-chairman of President Obama’s ill-fated deficit commission, warned that unless action was taken on the deficit soon, “the markets will devastate us,” probably within two years. And so on.

Well, I guess Mr. Bowles has a few months left. But a funny thing happened on the way to the predicted fiscal crisis: instead of soaring, U.S. borrowing costs have fallen to their lowest level in the nation’s history. And it’s not just America. At this point, every advanced country that borrows in its own currency is able to borrow very cheaply.

- snip -

So what is going on? The main answer is that this is what happens when you have a “deleveraging shock,” in which everyone is trying to pay down debt at the same time.

- snip -

Obligatory caveat: yes, we have a long-run budget problem, and we should be taking steps to address that problem, mainly by reining in health care costs. But it’s simply crazy to be laying off schoolteachers and canceling infrastructure projects at a time when investors are offering zero- or negative-interest financing.

That said, you should be a Keynesian, too. The experience of the past few years — above all, the spectacular failure of austerity policies in Europe — has been a dramatic demonstration of Keynes’s basic point: slashing spending in a depressed economy depresses that economy further.


Pew Poll: Republicans claiming Obama is a Muslim doubled since 2008

Source: Pew Research / Raw Story

Poll: Republicans claiming Obama is a Muslim doubled since 2008

By David Edwards
Thursday, July 26, 2012 14:19 EDT

Conservative Republicans who believe President Barack Obama is a Muslim have more than doubled since 2008, according to a survey on religion and politics released on Thursday.

The Pew Research Center found that 34 percent of conservative Republicans now believe Obama, who is a Christian, is actually a Muslim, compared with the 16 percent that believed that in 2008. When moderate and liberal Republicans are included, the number who believed that the president a Muslim still nearly doubled from 16 percent in 2008 to 30 percent in 2012.

Among all voters, only 49 percent were able to correctly identify that the president is a Christian.

Sixty-five percent of those who incorrectly believed Obama is a Muslim were not comfortable with his religion. However, voters who knew that he is a Christian said they were comfortable with his religion by a margin of 82 percent to 12 percent.

Read more: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/07/26/poll-republicans-claiming-obama-is-muslim-doubled-since-2008/

(University Law Clinics Report Details) 14 Specific Allegations of NYPD Brutality During OWS

Source: The Atlantic

14 Specific Allegations of NYPD Brutality During Occupy Wall Street

JUL 25 2012, 10:00 AM ET 19

A collaborative investigation launched by law clinics at four top universities has assembled damning evidence of widespread misconduct.

An investigation undertaken by law clinics at NYU, Fordham, Harvard, and Stanford has concluded, after eight months of study, that the NYPD abused Occupy Wall Street protesters and violated their rights on numerous occasions during the 2011 protests that radiated out from Zuccotti Park. Their report, Suppressing Protest: Human Rights Violations in the U.S. Response to Occupy Wall Street, was released today. It focuses on transgressions against international law.

What I found most arresting were its specific descriptions of alleged police misconduct. Scores of examples were offered. I've highlighted a selection of the ones that struck me as most credible, whether due to video footage of the incident or eyewitness testimony from a credentialed journalist, a designated legal observer, or a member of the legal team that put together the report (the report, linked above features links).

All of the following vignettes are quoted verbatim from its pages:

Read more: http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2012/07/14-specific-allegations-of-nypd-brutality-during-occupy-wall-street/260295/

Interesting: Report on "Human Rights Violations in the U.S. Response to Occupy Wall Street"


Suppressing Protest: Human Rights Violations in the U.S. Response to Occupy Wall Street

Report from The Global Justice Clinic (NYU School of Law) and the Walter Leitner International Human Rights Clinic at the Leitner Center for International Law and Justice (Fordham Law School) as part of the Protest and Assembly Rights Project

Findings and Recommendations

Full respect for assembly and expression rights is necessary for democratic participation, the exchange of ideas, and for securing positive social reform. The rights are guaranteed in international law binding upon the United States. Yet U.S. authorities have engaged in persistent breaches of protest rights since the start of Occupy Wall Street.

The most egregious violations include frequent alleged incidents of unnecessary and excessive police use of force against protesters, bystanders, journalists, and legal observers; constant obstructions of media freedoms, including arrests of journalists; unjustified and sometimes violent closure of public space, dispersal of peaceful assemblies, and corralling and trapping protesters en masse. Pervasive surveillance of peaceful political activity, arbitrary and selective rule enforcement, and restrictions on independent protest monitoring also raise serious concerns. The government has also failed to make transparent critical policies concerning law enforcement activities.
Under international law, the United States is required to prevent continuing abuses, remedy past violations, and ensure that protest rights are respected. Yet there have been limited investigations and near-complete impunity for violations by authorities of protest rights in connection with Occupy Wall Street.


Chapter One: Occupy Wall Street in the Context of Contemporary 6 and Historic Social Protest
1. Occupy Wall Street: Evolution and Characteristics 6
2. Occupy in the Context of Recent International Protests 14
3. Public Protest in the United States 19

Chapter Two: Policing: Background, Context, Guidelines 24
1. Major U.S. Policing Issues: Policing of Racial and Religious Minorities 24 and the Homeless
2. Protest Policing Strategies: An Overview 26
3. U.S. Policing Guidelines and Use of Force Rules 31

Chapter Three: International Law and Protest Rights 45
1. Introduction: The Right to Engage in Peaceful Protest 45 and Political Assembly
2. Protest, Assembly, and Expression Rights are Foundational to Democracy 47
3. Scope and Content of Protest Rights 52
4. Policing Protests: Use of Force, Policies and Training, Surveillance 64
5. State Obligation to Investigate, Prosecute, and Remedy Violations 68


Chapter One: Aggressive and Excessive Police Use of Force 72
1. Bodily Force: Pushing, Shoving, Dragging, Hitting, Punching, Kicking 73
2. Weapon Use: Batons, Pepper Spray, Barricades, Scooters, Horses 75
3. Restraints: Flex Cuff Injuries 78
4. Delays and Denial of Medical Care 80
5. Unnecessary Police Force Violates and Suppresses Protest Rights 81

Chapter Two: Over-Policing and Poor Communication 82

Chapter Three: Obstruction of Press Freedoms and Documentation 84 at Protests
1. Abuse of Press Freedoms During the Zuccotti Park Eviction 85
2. Arrests of Journalists 87
3. Physical Abuse of Journalists 88
4. Other Obstructions of Press Freedoms 89
5. State Interference with Press Freedoms Violates International Law 90

Chapter Four: Obstruction of Independent Monitoring by 90 Legal Observers

Chapter Five: Police Surveillance 93
1 . 2. 3.
Surveillance 93 Interrogations and Intimidation 96 Surveillance and Intimidation of Protesters Chills Protected Expression 98
Chapter Six: Zuccotti Park—Eviction, Park Closures, and 98 Arbitrary Rules
1. The Eviction 98
2. Shifting and Arbitrary Park Rules 106
3. Subsequent Park Closures 109

Chapter Seven: Public Space Closure—Strategies of Containment, 110 Exclusion, and Dispersal
1. Kettling (Corralling) 110
2. Arbitrary Park Closures 113
3. Sidewalk Closures and “Blocking Pedestrian Traffic” Arrests 115
4. Arrests of Protesters Sleeping or Lying on Sidewalks 118
5. Protest Permits and “Blocking Vehicular Traffic” Arrests 119
6. Arrests, Conditional Dismissal of Charges, Stay-Away Orders 120

Chapter Eight: Other Arbitrary “Rule” Enforcement 121

Chapter Nine: Accountability and Transparency Failures 124
1. Internal Discipline and Reporting 125
2. External Civilian Complaint and Oversight Mechanisms 126
3. Public Transparency 127

Findings and Recommendations 130

Appendix I: Table of Police Use of Force Allegations Appendix II: Letters from NYPD
Appendix III: Index of Arrests of Journalists and Others Documenting Occupy Wall Street

WSJ Columnist Asks if Women Saved by Boyfriends in Aurora Theater Shooting Were Worth It

Source: New York Observer

WSJ Columnist Asks if Women Saved By Boyfriends in Aurora Theater Shooting Were Worth It

By Steve Huff 2:49am

Wall Street Journal columnist James Taranto’s bad Tuesday night on Twitter is a tale of two tweets. First, Mr. Taranto’s offending post, which started a firestorm. Referring to the three women whose boyfriends saved them from the bullets of a mass murderer in an Aurora, Colorado movie theater on July 20, Mr. Taranto wrote:

I hope the girls whose boyfriends died to save them were worthy of the sacrifice.

— James Taranto (@jamestaranto) July 25, 2012

Yes, the columnist who helms WSJ‘s “Best of the Web Today” waded right in to the fray. The question many responding to his “challenging” tweet asked was why? Why even say such a thing?

Read more: http://observer.com/2012/07/wsj-columnist-asks-if-women-saved-by-boyfriends-in-aurora-theater-shooting-were-worth-it/

'Heat Dome' Linked to Greenland's Biggest Melt in 30 Years

Source: NPR

'Heat Dome' Linked To Greenland's Biggest Melt In 30 Years

Published: July 25, 2012
by Mark Memmott

Last week there were the pictures of an iceberg twice the size of Manhattan breaking off Greenland's Petermann Glacier.

Now there are NASA images showing that in four days earlier this month, "Greenland's surface ice cover melted over a larger area than at any time in more than 30 years of satellite observations."

The space agency adds that "nearly the entire ice cover of Greenland, from its thin, low-lying coastal edges to its two-mile-thick center, experienced some degree of melting at its surface, according to measurements from three independent satellites analyzed by NASA and university scientists." The changes happened from July 8 to July 12.

NASA says "this extreme melt event coincided with an unusually strong ridge of warm air, or a heat dome, over Greenland. The ridge was one of a series that has dominated Greenland's weather since the end of May."

Read more: http://www.npr.org/story/157343661


In these illustrations NASA produced from satellite data, the melt in Greenland on July 8 (at left) and July 12 are shown. According to NASA, "the areas classified as 'probable melt' (light pink) correspond to those sites where at least one satellite detected surface melting. The areas classified as 'melt' (dark pink) correspond to sites where two or three satellites detected surface melting."

Tom Tomorrow: Mitt Romney Boxed In ("KITTENS!")

Daily Kos Link: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/07/23/1112034/-Boxed-in

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