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Home country: USA
Current location: Georgia
Member since: Tue Feb 10, 2004, 12:08 PM
Number of posts: 31,502

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Environmental Scientist

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A 1962 Speech by MLK Jr. was released for the first time today

Audio Recording: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
September 12, 1962



For Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a focus on kitchen table finances in her second year

By STEVE LeBLANC, Associated Press

BOSTON (AP) — U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren has garnered the kind of fevered attention during her freshman year that would make most political figures drool — with supporters even calling on her to consider a 2016 presidential bid, a notion she's dismissed.

As she enters her second year in Congress, the Massachusetts Democrat said her focus is instead on improving the economic fortunes of ordinary Americans, a theme that is dovetailing with a renewed emphasis in her party on economic justice and with President Barack Obama's own stated goal of addressing income inequality.

For Warren, stabilizing the ordinary American family's finances rests on a number of pillars — from reining in student debt to easing what she calls the nation's retirement crisis to doubling funding for federal research programs.

Warren has also positioned herself as a passionate defender of Social Security, even bucking Obama on changes she said would weaken a key protection for millions of older Americans.



West Va. Mother: ‘We live in a human sacrifice zone’

by Rania Khalek on January 19, 2014

For our new weekly podcast, Firedoglake’s Kevin Gosztola and I interviewed a resident of West Virginia about the chemical spill that left 300,000 people without usable water for days after 7,500 gallons of a chemical used to clean coal leaked into the Elk River earlier this month.

West Va. officials insist that the water is now safe to drink but residents are highly skeptical especially since it’s unclear just how harmful the chemical 4-methylcyclohexane methanol (MCHM) is. On top of that, emergency rooms in Charleston filled up with residents reporting exposure-related symptoms after the drinking advisory was lifted and many say they can still smell the chemical in the air while others report that their water is running brown.

Kevin and I spoke with West Virginia resident Paula Swearingen, a single mother who’s joined up with others in her community to get water to people affected by the spill. Paula, who comes from a family of coal miners, details the terror of not knowing whether the water is safe to bathe in, let alone drink and describes the helplessness that comes with living in a state dominated by the coal industry.

“We feel like we live in a human sacrifice zone,” she told us. “When you turn on your lights…that’s the blood of my people. That’s the blood of my children.”



Central African Republic descends into chaos after Christian militias go on rampage

Reports of cannibalism and other horrific acts of violence surfaced in the Central African Republic over the weekend as Christian militias went on the rampage following the resignation of the country’s Muslim president.

Western-backed peacekeepers, including French and African Union troops, were attempting to restore order after Christian mobs destroyed mosques and attacked Muslim neighbourhoods in the capital Bangui.

The mobs had sensed the upper hand after regional mediators brought about the resignation on Friday of President Michel Djotodia, who was headed for exile in the West African state of Benin. Sectarian violence has already claimed more than 1,000 lives in the CAR in the past month and witnesses spoke yesterday of how a machete-wielding gang ate parts of the body of a Muslim man after attacking him on Tuesday.

The BBC interviewed a man, who said he ate part of the Muslim man as “revenge” for the murder of his family.



Many remain wary of W.Va. water as smell lingers


CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The smell lingers – the slightly sweet, slightly bitter odor of a chemical that contaminated the water supply of West Virginia’s capital more than a week ago. It creeps out of faucets and shower heads. It wafts from the Elk River, the site of the spill. Sometimes it hangs in the cold nighttime air.

For several days, a majority of Charleston-area residents have been told their water is safe to drink, that the concentration of a chemical used to wash coal is so low that it won’t be harmful. Restaurants have reopened – using tap water to wash dishes and produce, clean out their soda fountains and make ice.

But as long as people can still smell it, they’re wary – and given the lack of knowledge about the chemical known as MCHM, some experts say their caution is justified.

“I would certainly be waiting until I couldn’t smell it anymore, certainly to be drinking it,” said Richard Denison, a scientist with the Environmental Defense Fund who has followed the spill closely. “I don’t blame people at all for raising questions and wondering whether they can trust what’s being told to them.”



The Cruelest Pregnancy

WHAT would Marlise Munoz have made of all of this?

We’ll never know. She can no longer form words. Can no longer form thoughts. It’s arguable that we shouldn’t even be referring to a “she,” to a “her,” because if she’s brain-dead, as her family has consistently said, then she meets the legal criteria for death in all 50 states, and what’s been tethered to machines in a hospital in Fort Worth for the last seven weeks isn’t exactly a mother. It’s an artificially maintained ecosystem, an incubator for a fetus that has somehow been given precedence over all other concerns: the pain of Marlise’s husband and parents; their wishes to put an end to this; their best guess about what her desires would have been; her transformation, without any possibility of her consent, into a mere vessel.

“A host,” her father, Ernest Machado, called her in an interview with Manny Fernandez of The Times. He used equally chilling language to describe her stillness and the rubbery feel of her skin, saying that she reminded him of “a mannequin.”

Is her fate really what we mean when we speak of “valuing life” or “the sanctity of life,” to summon two phrases tossed around too quickly and simplistically? It seems to me that several lives are being devalued in the process, and that while there are no happy outcomes here, there’s also no sense or dignity on the chilling road that this Texas hospital is taking us down.



For the Love of Money

IN my last year on Wall Street my bonus was $3.6 million — and I was angry because it wasn’t big enough. I was 30 years old, had no children to raise, no debts to pay, no philanthropic goal in mind. I wanted more money for exactly the same reason an alcoholic needs another drink: I was addicted.

Eight years earlier, I’d walked onto the trading floor at Credit Suisse First Boston to begin my summer internship. I already knew I wanted to be rich, but when I started out I had a different idea about what wealth meant. I’d come to Wall Street after reading in the book “Liar’s Poker” how Michael Lewis earned a $225,000 bonus after just two years of work on a trading floor. That seemed like a fortune. Every January and February, I think about that time, because these are the months when bonuses are decided and distributed, when fortunes are made.

I’d learned about the importance of being rich from my dad. He was a modern-day Willy Loman, a salesman with huge dreams that never seemed to materialize. “Imagine what life will be like,” he’d say, “when I make a million dollars.” While he dreamed of selling a screenplay, in reality he sold kitchen cabinets. and not that well. We sometimes lived paycheck to paycheck off my mom’s nurse-practitioner salary.

Dad believed money would solve all his problems. At 22, so did I. When I walked onto that trading floor for the first time and saw the glowing flat-screen TVs, high-tech computer monitors and phone turrets with enough dials, knobs and buttons to make it seem like the cockpit of a fighter plane, I knew exactly what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. It looked as if the traders were playing a video game inside a spaceship; if you won this video game, you became what I most wanted to be — rich.



Toon: Almost Heaven, West Virginia

A Maldives Beach Awash in Bioluminescent Phytoplankton Looks Like an Ocean of Stars



Weekend Toon Roundup 2- The rest




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