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Member since: Fri Nov 12, 2004, 08:39 AM
Number of posts: 45,783

Journal Archives

Breaking: UConn Coaches Won't Travel to Indianapolis for Final 4 Due to Religious Freedom Bill

Source: NBC News

@BreakingNews: UConn coaches won't travel to Indianapolis for Final 4 due to new religious freedom bill, school says - @PaulDoyle1 https://t.co/2l3DpltByS/s/l_6y

University of Connecticut coaches won't travel to Indianapolis for Final 4, school says, due to new religious freedom bill; 'UConn is a community that values all of our members and treats each person with the same degree of respect, regardless of their background and beliefs and we will not tolerate any other behavior' - @PaulDoyle1

Read more: https://www.breakingnews.com/topic/indianas-religious-freedom-restoration-act/

Pharmacists Assoc. Adopts Policy Discouraging Members From Providing Death Penalty Drugs

Source: Associated Press

@AP: BREAKING: Pharmacists association adopts policy discouraging members from providing death penalty drugs.

Pharmacists' group discourages providing execution drugs

MAR. 30, 2015 6:29 PM EDT

SAN DIEGO (AP) — A national pharmacists' group has adopted a policy discouraging its members from providing death-penalty drugs.

The American Pharmacists Association's new policy could make it tough for death penalty states, like Texas, that have been looking at made-to-order execution drugs from compounding pharmacies as the answer to an execution drug shortage.

The association's governing body approved the policy Monday at a meeting in San Diego.

The group lacks the legal authority to bar compounding pharmacies from selling the drugs. But its policies set the ethical standards followed by pharmacists, just as the American Medical Association does for doctors.

Read more: http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/pharmacists-association-adopts-policy-discouraging-members-from-providing-death-penalty-drugs/2015/03/30/135d191a-d72b-11e4-bf0b-f648b95a6488_story.html

Keith Olbermann SPECIAL COMMENT: Why NCAA Must Move Final Four Out of Indiana

TOM TOMORROW: Ted Cruz's Path To The White House

DAILY KOS LINK: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/03/30/1373752/-Cartoon-Cruz-s-path-to-the-White-nbsp-House

Support independent cartooning--join Sparky's List!

Powerful earthquake strikes Papua New Guinea

Source: Associated Press

@AP: BREAKING: Powerful earthquake strikes Papua New Guinea; tsunami warning issued for parts of Pacific.


Will update

Read more: Link to source

BREAKING: Italy's Highest Court Overturns Amanda Knox Murder Conviction

Source: Associated Press


Amanda Knox murder conviction overturned by Italy high court

MAR. 27, 2015 5:43 PM EDT

ROME (AP) — Italy's highest court has overturned the murder conviction against Amanda Knox and her ex-boyfriend, bringing to a definitive end the high-profile case.

The decision by the supreme Court of Cassation is the final ruling in the case, ending the long legal battle waged by Knox and co-defendant Raffaele Sollecito. Both Knox, who was awaiting the verdict in her hometown of Seattle, and Sollecito have long maintained their innocence.

The supreme Court of Cassation overturned last year's convictions by a Florence appeals court, and declined to order another trial. The decision means the judges, after thoroughly examining the case, concluded that a conviction could not be supported by the evidence. Their reasoning will be released within 90 days.

Read more: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/018d6a0ba12845aba0dfa91adbef968e/lawyer-knoxs-ex-boyfriend-makes-final-court-appeal

Legendary Broadway Star Audra McDonald Takes Indiana Gov. Pence to the Woodshed Over Bigoted Law


Legendary Broadway star Audra McDonald takes Governor Mike Pence to the woodshed

Mar 26, 2015 5:17pm PDT by Steven Payne

Six-time Tony winner Audra McDonald gave Indiana's Republican Governor, Mike Pence an epic take-down on Twitter this afternoon. In response to Pence signing the right to discriminate into law today, this brilliantly talented star has claimed a piece of her own history in the fight for equality.

On the phone w/@united so long I forgot what year it was, then saw the law Indiana Gov.Pence just signed & remembered...It's 1950 #NOHATE

— Audra McDonald (@AudraEqualityMc) March 26, 2015

.@GovPenceIN Some in my band are gay & we have 2 gigs in your state next month. Should we call ahead to make sure the hotel accepts us all?

— Audra McDonald (@AudraEqualityMc) March 26, 2015

.@GovPenceIN or could you maybe send us a list of where its okay for us to go? Might the law apply to me?(I'm black).

— Audra McDonald (@AudraEqualityMc) March 26, 2015

.@GovPenceIN or maybe I should fire my gay band members just to be on the safe side.

— Audra McDonald (@AudraEqualityMc) March 26, 2015

.@GovPenceIN Or MAYBE...we need to stick to singing in states that don't legislate hate?

— Audra McDonald (@AudraEqualityMc) March 26, 2015


BREAKING: WikiLeaks Releases Secret Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) - Investment Chapter

Source: WikiLeaks Press Release

@wikileaks: RELEASE: Secret draft for the Trans-Pacific Partnership - Investment Chapter https://t.co/GkBXbq8hTI/s/CmD9 #TPP #TTIP http://t.co/Ose0kwwdLH/s/NlgH

Secret Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) - Investment chapter

WikiLeaks releases today the "Investment Chapter" from the secret negotiations of the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) agreement. The document adds to the previous WikiLeaks publications of the chapters for Intellectual Property Rights (November 2013) and the Environment (January 2014).

The TPP Investment Chapter, published today, is dated 20 January 2015. The document is classified and supposed to be kept secret for four years after the entry into force of the TPP agreement or, if no agreement is reached, for four years from the close of the negotiations.

The TPP has developed in secret an unaccountable supranational court for multinationals to sue states. This system is a challenge to parliamentary and judicial sovereignty. Similar tribunals have already been shown to chill the adoption of sane environmental protection, public health and public transport policies.

Current TPP negotiation member states are the United States, Japan, Mexico, Canada, Australia, Malaysia, Chile, Singapore, Peru, Vietnam, New Zealand and Brunei. The TPP is the largest economic treaty in history, including countries that represent more than 40 per cent of the world´s GDP.

The Investment Chapter highlights the intent of the TPP negotiating parties, led by the United States, to increase the power of global corporations by creating a supra-national court, or tribunal, where foreign firms can "sue" states and obtain taxpayer compensation for "expected future profits". These investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) tribunals are designed to overrule the national court systems. ISDS tribunals introduce a mechanism by which multinational corporations can force governments to pay compensation if the tribunal states that a country's laws or policies affect the company's claimed future profits. In return, states hope that multinationals will invest more. Similar mechanisms have already been used. For example, US tobacco company Phillip Morris used one such tribunal to sue Australia (June 2011 – ongoing) for mandating plain packaging of tobacco products on public health grounds; and by the oil giant Chevron against Ecuador in an attempt to evade a multi-billion-dollar compensation ruling for polluting the environment. The threat of future lawsuits chilled environmental and other legislation in Canada after it was sued by pesticide companies in 2008/9. ISDS tribunals are often held in secret, have no appeal mechanism, do not subordinate themselves to human rights laws or the public interest, and have few means by which other affected parties can make representations.

The TPP negotiations have been ongoing in secrecy for five years and are now in their final stages. In the United States the Obama administration plans to "fast-track" the treaty through Congress without the ability of elected officials to discuss or vote on individual measures. This has met growing opposition as a result of increased public scrutiny following WikiLeaks' earlier releases of documents from the negotiations.

The TPP is set to be the forerunner to an equally secret agreement between the US and EU, the TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership).

Negotiations for the TTIP were initiated by the Obama administration in January 2013. Combined, the TPP and TTIP will cover more than 60 per cent of global GDP. The third treaty of the same kind, also negotiated in secrecy is TISA, on trade in services, including the financial and health sectors. It covers 50 countries, including the US and all EU countries. WikiLeaks released the secret draft text of the TISA's financial annex in June 2014.

All these agreements on so-called “free trade” are negotiated outside the World Trade Organization's (WTO) framework. Conspicuously absent from the countries involved in these agreements are the BRICs countries of Brazil, Russia, India and China.

Read more: https://wikileaks.org/tpp-investment/press.html

@wikileaks: RELEASE: Analysis of Trans-Pacific Partnership Investment Chapter https://t.co/CiDjAT7ZfG/s/2hXl

FR: Lori Wallach and Ben Beachy, Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch

DT: Wednesday, March 25, 2015 RE: Analysis of Leaked Trans-Pacific Partnership Investment Text

After more than five years of negotiations under conditions of extreme secrecy, on March 25, 2015, a leaked copy of the investment chapter for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) was posted. Public Citizen has verified that the text is authentic. Trade officials from the United States and 11 Pacific Rim nations – Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam – are in intensive, closed-door negotiations to finish the TPP in the next few months.

The leaked text provides stark warnings about the dangers of “trade” negotiations occurring without press, public or policymaker oversight. It reveals that TPP negotiators already have agreed to many radical terms that would give foreign investors expansive new substantive and procedural rights and privileges not available to domestic firms under domestic law.

The leaked text would empower foreign firms to directly “sue” signatory governments in extrajudicial investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) tribunals over domestic policies that apply equally to domestic and foreign firms that foreign firms claim violate their new substantive investor rights. There they could demand taxpayer compensation for domestic financial, health, environmental, land use and other policies and government actions they claim undermine TPP foreign investor privileges, such as the “right” to a regulatory framework that conforms to their “expectations.”

The leaked text reveals the TPP would expand the parallel ISDS legal system by elevating tens of thousands of foreign-owned firms to the same status as sovereign governments, empowering them to privately enforce a public treaty by skirting domestic courts and laws to directly challenge TPP governments in foreign tribunals. Existing ISDS-enforced agreements of the United States, and of other developed TPP countries, have

5 Years In, Republicans Are Massively More Ignorant About The Realities of Obamacare


Obamacare is 5 years old, and Americans are still worried about death panels

by Sarah Kliff on March 23, 2015

- snip -

If there's any area of consensus, it's in misperceptions of the law: 82 percent of Americans either say the price tag has gone up, or aren't sure (the law's price has actually decreased as compared with initial estimates), and only 13 percent know the law met its first-year enrollment goals.

- snip -

But it's not all good news for Republicans, either: though most Americans dislike Obamacare, more want to see it improved than repealed. Democrats have lost the battle — they haven't made the health law more popular — but in thwarting repeal, and keeping Obamacare in place, they're arguably winning the war.

- snip -

But there's a stark divide between parties: 74 percent of Democrats agree with the fact that Obamacare has increased health coverage, compared with only 49 percent of Republicans.

Conversely, 54 percent of the country thinks businesses are cutting back on their employees' hours so they can dodge Obamacare's employer mandate. (There is evidence of this happening in isolated cases, but not at a widespread level.) Seventy-four percent of Republicans think this is true, compared with 42 percent of Democrats.

A similar divide shows up on insurance costs: 70 percent of Republicans say costs are going up as a "direct result" of Obamacare, while only 33 percent of Democrats agree with this statement. The best evidence we have shows that Obamacare has had a negligible effect on insurance premiums for people who get insurance at work, and that premiums have actually grown slower in the individual market since the start of the insurance expansion.

- snip -

The myth that's duped everyone: Obamacare is getting more expensive

Forty-two percent of Americans think Obamacare has gotten more expensive over the past five years. Only 5 percent of poll respondents hit on the right answer: budget estimates for the Affordable Care Act have consistently fallen since it became a law.


TOM TOMORROW: Highlights of the Next Two Years!

DAILY KOS LINK: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/03/23/1372205/-Cartoon-A-sneak-peek
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