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n2doc

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Home country: USA
Current location: Georgia
Member since: Tue Feb 10, 2004, 12:08 PM
Number of posts: 31,408

About Me

Environmental Scientist

Journal Archives

Out of Work, Out of Benefits, and Running Out of Options

BOSTON — Abe Gorelick has decades of marketing experience, an extensive contact list, an Ivy League undergraduate degree, a master’s in business from the University of Chicago, ideas about how to reach consumers young and old, experience working with businesses from start-ups to huge financial firms and an upbeat, effervescent way about him. What he does not have — and has not had for the last year — is a full-time job.

Five years since the recession ended, it is a story still shared by millions. Mr. Gorelick, 57, lost his position at a large marketing firm last March. As he searched, taking on freelance and consulting work, his family’s finances slowly frayed. He is now working three jobs, driving a cab and picking up shifts at Lord & Taylor and Whole Foods.

“I’m not in my basement, unshaven, unshowered, drinking a bottle of Scotch a day,” Mr. Gorelick said. “I’m out there working these jobs, meeting people and trying to make something happen. But it is exhausting. It is stressful. It is difficult.”

For people experiencing such long spells without appropriate work, it is a crisis. Often, it is also a conundrum: What should a worker who finds himself out of a job for six months or more do?

more

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/04/business/economy/out-of-work-out-of-benefits-and-running-out-of-options.html?ref=us&_r=1

The John Roberts Project

If you think that the Supreme Court’s decision in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission was bad, just wait: worse may be on the way.

The issue before the Court was fairly narrow, even a little obscure. Congress bars individuals from contributing more than fifty-two hundred dollars to any candidate for federal office in any election cycle. It also bars individuals from contributing more than a hundred and twenty-three thousand dollars, in total, to multiple federal candidates in a cycle. In the McCutcheon case, by a vote of five to four, the Court struck down the overall hundred-and-twenty-three-thousand-dollar limit. But this ruling will affect relatively few campaign contributors. In the most recent cycle, fewer than six hundred donors maxed out to candidates.

So why is the case important? Because the language of Chief Justice John Roberts’s opinion suggests that the Court remains committed to the project announced most prominently in the Citizens United case, four years ago: the deregulation of American political campaigns.

The court, and Roberts in particular, has been very clear that regulation of campaign contributions is allowed under a single rationale. As he wrote in McCutcheon, “It is not an acceptable governmental objective to ‘level the playing field,’ or to ‘level electoral opportunities,’ or to ‘equalize the financial resources of candidates.’” Rather, Roberts wrote, “Congress may target only a specific type of corruption—‘quid pro quo’ corruption.”

more

http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/comment/2014/04/the-john-roberts-project-beyond-mccutcheon.html

Flashtoon: Sheldon Adelson’s Menagerie

By Mark Fiore

In case you missed it, a number of potential Republican presidential candidates went down to Las Vegas to bow at the feet of Sheldon Adelson, democracy-meddling billionaire extraordinaire. It was a pretty sorry sight as each of the potential candidates tried to out-Israel and out-tough the other as they vied for Adelson’s attention. (And mustn’t forget Sheldon bestowing actual awards for being a “great Zionist” in the past.)

Even though ol’ Sheldon didn’t have a very good track record on his bets last go-round, he has a huge impact on the primaries, even if his horses don’t win in the end. We are witnessing the selling out of democracy to cheesy casino-owners. (Because, y’know, some people have more free speech than others if they have a few billion to throw around.)

Besides the presidential candidates, Sheldon’s casino cash is buying some favorable legislation that would knock out some online gaming competitors. Thanks, Lindsey Graham, glad to see you’re representing your good ol’ Southern Baptist constituents! Enjoy the cartoon, and hold onto your hats now that the Supreme Court just threw more cash into the mix.

animated toon at link

http://blog.sfgate.com/fiore/2014/04/02/sheldon-adelsons-menagerie/

A group of former Occupy Wall Street activists have abolished nearly $15m of medical Debt

Thousands of Americans are free from debt thanks to a grassroots project called Rolling Jubilee.

It has raised $700,000 (£422,000) by crowdsourcing money to buy consumer debt on the secondary debt market for a fraction of its original value. It then spent $300,000 (£181,000) wiping out almost $15m (£9m).

So far, 3,801 people have benefited in 46 states and Puerto Rico, according to organisers.

“It was a godsend. I didn’t know these people,” 80-year-old Kentucky resident Shirley Logsdon told Agence France-Presse, after her medical bill was paid off.

According to Rolling Jubilee, 62% of bankruptcies are caused by medical illness.

The campaign is a project of Strike Debt – a group of former Occupy Wall Street activists in the US, who campaign for economic justice and democratic freedom.

more

http://positivenews.org.uk/2014/economics_innovation/15071/goodwill-campaign-frees-thousands-americans-15m-debt/

EU passes net neutrality law, votes to end throttling, site blocking

NEW YORK — Finally, the Europeans did something even their mighty friend, the United States, couldn't achieve.

Members of the European Parliament on Thursday voted on sweeping changes to the 28 member state bloc's internet and mobile laws, which will see fairer treatment to end-users and businesses alike by treating all Internet traffic equally regardless of its content or provider.

That would mean Internet providers cannot throttle a user streaming Netflix content because of the high-bandwidth costs, or mobile carriers blocking access to Skype because it hurts voice, calling, and text-messaging revenue.

The legislation, which does not differentiate between cellular and landline networks, means both fixed-line and on-the-go mobile users will benefit from the law, at a time when European cell providers are ramping up investment spending in order to account for the massive spike in data consumption.

The package includes amendments that define and protect net neutrality.

more

http://www.zdnet.com/eu-net-neutrality-passes-vote-7000027998/

VA Pays $200 Million for Nearly 1,000 veterans’ Wrongful Deaths

Since 9/11 almost 1,000 veterans have died due to negligence in the Veterans healthcare system. After lengthy legal battles the VA is finally making payments to their families.

An Iraq War veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder and a history of drug dependency is found dead on the floor of his room at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs hospital in West Los Angeles after doctors give him a 30-day supply of the anti-anxiety medication alprazolam and a 15-day supply of methadone.

In Shreveport, La., a veteran overdoses on morphine while housed in a locked VA psychiatric unit. In a Minnesota VA psych ward, a veteran shoots himself in the head. In Portland, Ore., a delusional veteran jumps off the roof of the VA hospital.

These are some of the deaths that resulted in more than $200 million in wrongful death payments by the Department of Veterans Affairs in the decade after 9/11, according to VA data obtained by The Center for Investigative Reporting.

more

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/04/03/va-pays-200-million-for-nearly-1-000-veterans-wrongful-deaths.html

The US Just Can’t Stop Blowing Billions in Afghanistan

By Alice Speri

You might have heard that the US spent some $102 billion trying to develop Afghanistan over the last decade — and that’s in addition to the estimated $6 trillion it spent going to war there in the first place.

You also might have heard that a lot of that money vanished into thin air, went to shady contractors, corrupt politicians, or, occasionally, the Taliban.

But if you thought that getting out of Afghanistan would save us some cash, you’re wrong. The troops might withdraw, if things go as planned, by the end of the year, but US dollars are going to have to keep flowing into the country for years to come to keep it afloat. If things go bad, the US might feel compelled to start the war all over again.

As VICE reported in its recent HBO documentary “Afghan Money Pit,” monitoring the billions in aid has been a huge challenge so far. And with the security situation in the country taking a sharp turn for the worse, that’s about to get a lot harder.

more

https://news.vice.com/articles/the-us-just-cant-stop-blowing-billions-in-afghanistan

Charles Koch Explains Why He Is So Crazy

By Jonathan Chait

The Wall Street Journal's editorial page owns the deluded self-pitying billionaire screed genre, and today, it brings us Charles Koch. From the outside, Koch would appear to have it pretty good. He owns a vast fortune inherited in substantial part from his father. He commands enormous political influence, with hundreds of politicians and other political elites at his beck and call. But Koch’s view of himself is as a kind of ragtag freedom fighter hunted nearly to extinction.

Here is Koch attempting to explain the major source of his grievance:

Instead of encouraging free and open debate, collectivists strive to discredit and intimidate opponents. They engage in character assassination. (I should know, as the almost daily target of their attacks.) This is the approach that Arthur Schopenhauer described in the 19th century, that Saul Alinky famously advocated in the 20th, and that so many despots have infamously practiced. Such tactics are the antithesis of what is required for a free society—and a telltale sign that the collectivists do not have good answers.


So the trouble is that his critics attempt to “discredit” and “intimidate” him and employ “character assassination.” All these terms appear to be Koch synonyms for “saying things about Charles Koch that Charles Koch does not agree with.” In the kind of “free and open” debate he imagines, Koch would continue to use his fortune to wield massive political influence, and nobody would ever say anything about him that makes him unhappy.

Luckily, Koch restrains himself from overtly comparing the Obama administration to Hitler and Stalin, instead likening it to unnamed 20th-century “despots." No character assassination here!

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2014/04/charles-koch-explains-why-he-is-so-crazy.html

Want to read some delusional claptrap?

Charles Koch: I'm Fighting to Restore a Free Society
Instead of welcoming free debate, collectivists engage in character assassination.

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303978304579475860515021286?mod=WSJ_Opinion_carousel_1&mg=reno64-wsj&url=http%3A%2F%2Fonline.wsj.com%2Farticle%2FSB10001424052702303978304579475860515021286.html%3Fmod%3DWSJ_Opinion_carousel_1

Thursday TOON Roundup 4- The Rest


War


Keating


GM





CNN


Noah


ACA


Markets



Shootings






Uganda

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