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Sanders to push $15 minimum wage bill

By Tim Devaney - 07/20/15 02:34 PM EDT
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is pushing new legislation to raise the minimum wage for all workers to $15 an hour.

The Democratic presidential candidate, who has made addressing income inequality a centerpiece of his campaign, will introduce the minimum wage bill Wednesday. Sanders has long called for a $15 minimum wage, but this is the first bill he is introducing to do so.

Reps. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) and Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.) will join Sanders at the press conference Wednesday, and are also expected to introduce identical legislation in the House.

It’s believed to be the highest minimum wage that has ever been proposed by legislation in Congress.

“The simple truth is that working people cannot survive on the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, or $8 an hour or $9 an hour,” Sanders said recently. "If people work 40 hours a week, they deserve not to live in dire poverty.”



Chicago fires investigator who found cops at fault in shootings

A Chicago investigator who determined that several civilian shootings by police officers were unjustified was fired after resisting orders to reverse those findings, according to internal records of his agency obtained by WBEZ.

Scott M. Ando, chief administrator of the city’s Independent Police Review Authority, informed its staff in a July 9 email that the agency no longer employed supervising investigator Lorenzo Davis, 65, a former Chicago police commander. IPRA investigates police-brutality complaints and recommends any punishment.

Davis’s termination came less than two weeks after top IPRA officials, evaluating Davis’s job performance, accused him of “a clear bias against the police” and called him “the only supervisor at IPRA who resists making requested changes as directed by management in order to reflect the correct finding with respect to OIS,” as officer-involved shootings are known in the agency.

Since its 2007 creation, IPRA has investigated nearly 400 civilian shootings by police and found one to be unjustified.



TX Gov. Greg Abbott Caves to Conspiracy Groups by Vetoing Bipartisan Mental Health Bill

By Allen Clifton

When current Republican presidential candidate and former Texas governor Rick Perry announced he wouldn’t run for re-election in 2014, many Democrats in the state (and around the country for that matter) rejoiced in the news.

I was not one of those people.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a fan of Rick Perry – not even close. I think he’s a complete idiot and he was an absolute embarrassment to the state of Texas for many years. But as bad as he was, I knew his replacement was going to be far worse. It was known for quite some time that current Governor Greg Abbott was likely going to be Perry’s successor – and Abbott is a whole different bag of crazy.

It was Abbott who gave legitimacy to asinine conspiracy theorists when he ordered the Texas Guard to monitor the military during a training exercise most commonly known as “Jade Helm” that’s currently taking place across the southwestern United States. It’s still unconscionable for me to sit here and think that the Governor of Texas pandered to people who honestly believe this training exercise was really a plot by the Obama administration to invade Texas, declare martial law and confiscate guns.

And now it seems he’s caved to the Church of Scientology and several radical conspiracy groups when he vetoed a bipartisan mental health bill that would have given doctors the ability to detain mentally ill patients for up to four hours who pose a danger to themselves and others.

Read more at: http://www.forwardprogressives.com/tx-gov-greg-abbott-caves-conspiracy-groups-vetoing-bipartisan-mental-health-bill/

Red States 'Feel The Bern' as Populist Message Resonates

Senator's populist message is catching on in Republican-heavy areas, with Arizona bringing his biggest crowd yet
by Nadia Prupis

On his latest round of campaign rallies this weekend, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) drew three more huge crowds in support of his populist message. And while this has become a common occurrence these days for the senator, who is running for president in the 2016 election as a Democrat, the most recent turnouts are particularly significant because he is on a red-state swing.

In Arizona and Texas, massive crowds—including his biggest one yet—showed up to see Sanders speak on economic and inequality issues. And he didn't shy away from criticizing the Democratic Party for 'turning its back' on people in conservative states.

In Phoenix on Saturday, Sanders spoke to roughly 11,000 people, which, according to the Washington Post, was his largest turnout so far. He focused on income inequality and noted the importance of populist participation in the election.

"Somebody told me people are giving up on the political process," Sanders said. "Not what I see here tonight."


Rachel Dolezal’s True Lies

For a time this summer, it seemed all anyone could talk about was the N.A.A.C.P. chapter president whose parents had “outed” her as white. The tornado of public attention has since moved on, but Rachel Dolezal still has to live with her choices—and still refuses to back down.

It’s safe to say that Rachel Dolezal never thought much about the endgame. You can see it on her face in the local-TV news video—the one so potently viral it transformed her from regional curiosity to global punch line in the span of 48 hours in mid-June. It is precisely the look of a white woman who tanned for a darker hue, who showcased a constant rotation of elaborately designed African American hairstyles, and who otherwise lived her life as a black woman, being asked if she is indeed African American.

It is the look of a cover blown.

At first, as I watched Dolezal’s story rise from meme to morning show, I wasn’t completely sure what to think, or particularly sure how much I cared; there are, obviously, a host of more crucial issues facing black America. But despite my initial reluctance to even acknowledge Dolezal’s presence in the national conversation, she slowly began to win my attention. There have been women over the years who’ve spent thousands upon thousands of dollars for butt injections, lip fillers, and self-tanners for a more “exotic” look. But attempting to pass for black? This was a new type of white woman: bold and brazen enough to claim ownership over a painful and complicated history she wasn’t born into.

After making calls to what felt like everyone in black America, I was able to get a hold of Dolezal’s e-mail and cell-phone information, and we began a friendly month-long correspondence. We spoke on the phone and exchanged e-mails as events quickly shifted the nation’s focus from Dolezal’s fantastical story to an actual tragedy in Charleston. Eventually, I visited her in Spokane, Washington, where she had been voted head of the local N.A.A.C.P. chapter in November 2014, the crucial, profile-raising step on her rapid ascent in the city’s black community. Throughout our exchanges, as the cameras moved on to their next assignments and public interest waned, she has simultaneously defended the identity she has carefully crafted and insisted that she deceived no one in creating it.



Retired Senator And Intelligence Vice Chair: Hang Snowden Publicly When We Get Him

Former Sen. Saxby Chambliss says he believes Edward Snowden should be publicly hanged as soon the United States can “get our hands on him.”

The Republican from Georgia, who recently retired from the Senate, served previously as the vice chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

Chambliss was speaking at the University of Georgia in July, reflecting on his career in the Senate when he made the comments. He was responding to a question about the hack of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), the largest data breach in U.S. government history.

“This is real and the worst part of it — not unlike the Snowden incident, which I hope none of you have sympathy for him because we need to hang him on the courthouse square as soon as we get our hands on him — but just like we’re gonna lose American lives as a result of this breach,” Chambliss said earlier this month.


Why the GOP Primary Is Doomed by the Free Market

On Tuesday, if all goes according to plan, Ohio governor John Kasich is scheduled to announce his presidential candidacy. In any normal year, someone with Kasich’s résumé — ex-investment banker, former Congressman, and moderate two-term governor of the swing state that has decided every presidential election since 1964 — would surely have no trouble breaking through. But this isn’t any normal year. Kasich is set to become the 16th declared candidate to enter the Republican primary, tying the all-time size record. According to the latest Public Policy Poll, Kasich will debut in second-to-last place with one percent support. If these numbers hold, he'll be barred from the opening Fox News debate scheduled for August 6 in Cleveland.

That a popular Midwest governor who was reelected with 64 percent of the vote last year finds himself at the bottom of the barrel is just the latest proof that this year's GOP primary has gone completely off the rails. The grown-ups in the party have taken to blaming Donald Trump for the chaos, but the truth is that the forces are much bigger than Trump's hair. What this year's primary shows is that — at least when it comes to presidential elections — the GOP is at risk of becoming less of a political party and more like a talent agency for the conservative media industry. Jumping into the race provides a (pseudo)candidate with a national platform to profit from becoming a political celebrity. "If you don’t run, you’re an idiot," a top GOP consultant told me.

In the old days, the path to profiting from politics led politicians into the corner offices of banks, corporations, and lobbying firms. Many still go that route. But with her 2008 breakout, Sarah Palin disrupted the GOP nominating process and made being a potential primary contender a full-time job. Her decision to cash in by quitting the Alaska governor's office for Fox News and tea-party stardom established a new business model. As this year’s ballooning GOP field shows, there are many long-shot candidates who are seeking to follow her path. Since January 2014, Ben Carson has earned as much as $27 million from delivering 141 speeches and publishing three books including You Have a Brain: A Teen’s Guide to T.H.I.N.K. B.I.G. Former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina made nearly $1 million in speeches last year and published a memoir. Mike Huckabee’s Fox News contract was worth $350,000 a year before he left to join the race, according to sources. This year he also released a book God, Guns, Grits, and Gravy. Ted Cruz made a reported $1.5 million for his book, A Time for Truth.

These candidates have made six- and seven-figure paydays even before the first ballot is cast. With hours of free airtime on television to promote their brand, their market value is sure to increase. “Even if you lose, you exponentially increase your marketability,” the consultant told me. “Right now, let's say you’re giving speeches for $20 grand. You run and it becomes $40,000. If you do well, maybe there’s a Fox show. Then you write a book about how to save the party. Then you write another about why the next president sucks. There’s a million marketing opportunities."



Universal plaque-busting drug could treat various brain diseases

A virus found in sewage has spawned a unique drug that targets plaques implicated in a host of brain-crippling diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD).

Results from tests of the drug, announced this week, show that it breaks up plaques in mice affected with Alzheimer’s disease or Parkinson’s disease, and improves the memories and cognitive abilities of the animals.

Other promising results in rats and monkeys mean that the drug developers, NeuroPhage Pharmaceuticals, are poised to apply for permission to start testing it in people, with trials starting perhaps as early as next year.

The drug is the first that seems to target and destroy the multiple types of plaque implicated in human brain disease. Plaques are clumps of misfolded proteins that gradually accumulate into sticky, brain-clogging gunk that kills neurons and robs people of their memories and other mental faculties. Different kinds of misfolded proteins are implicated in different brain diseases, and some can be seen within the same condition (see “Proteins gone rogue”, below).


Stephen Hawking and Yuri Milner Announce $100M Initiative to Seek ET

By Lee Billings | July 20, 2015

SETI—the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence—has been one of the most captivating areas of science since its inception in 1960, when the astronomer Frank Drake used an 85-foot radio telescope in the first-ever attempt to detect interstellar radio transmissions sent by beings outside our solar system. Yet despite its high public visibility and near-ubiquity in blockbuster Hollywood science fiction, throughout most of its 55-year history SETI has languished on the fringes of scientific research, garnering relatively scant funding and only small amounts of dedicated observation time on world-class telescopes.

Although Milner has made his name—and billions of dollars—through investments in Facebook, Alibaba, and many other tech start-ups, his true passion is science, which he has demonstrated through his formation of the Breakthrough Prize Foundation. This organization awards the world's most lavish scientific prizes. Milner's latest project is part of the Foundation's new Breakthrough Initiatives division and is called Breakthrough Listen. Providing $100 million in funding over the next decade to top SETI researchers, Breakthrough Listen will allow new state-of-the-art radio and optical surveys to take place using the world's premiere telescopes, creating the most ambitious and robust SETI program yet performed. The project is set to begin making observations in 2016.



Bernie-mania spreads to Texas as Sanders' speech draws crowd of 5,000

Ninety minutes before the scheduled start of Bernie Sanders’ speech on Sunday night, a 500-person-long line snaked around the arena, in 100F heat – and in Texas.

The Democratic presidential hopeful’s fans showed up long before the doors opened and bellowed their approval once inside, as he spoke for more than an hour in front of 5,000 people, concluding a weekend in which he addressed about 25,000 in Arizona and Texas and showed that Republican-dominated states are not immune to Berniemania.

The independent Vermont senator and self-described democratic socialist attracted more than 8,000 people to a rally in Dallas earlier in the day and 11,000 in Phoenix on Saturday, the highest turnout of his campaign.

Like his speech at the Phoenix Convention Center, the Houston rally was moved to a larger venue: an 8,000-capacity basketball arena at the University of Houston. A speech by Hillary Clinton last month at Texas Southern University, less than a mile away, drew an attendance of around 1,000 on a weekday afternoon.


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