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Monday Toon Roundup 2- Spys and spying

Monday Toon Roundup 1- CONgress

Amazon Runs Up Against Germany’s Labor Culture


Even as President Obama spoke about middle-class jobs last week at an Amazon warehouse in Tennessee, Amazon was facing strikes at warehouses in Germany, its second-biggest market. Unions there say the company has imported American-style business practices — in particular, an antipathy to organized labor — that stand at odds with European norms, Nick Wingfield and Melissa Eddy report.

“In Germany, the idea that warehouse workers are going to be getting opposition from an employer when it comes to the right to organize, that’s virtually unheard-of,” said Marcus Courtney, a technology and communications department head at Uni Global Union, a federation of trade unions based in Nyon, Switzerland. “It puts Amazon out in left field.”

Amazon has been criticized for its working conditions in the United States — but not nearly to the same extent as in Europe. On the surface, Amazon’s labor problems in Germany revolve around wages.

The union says workers in warehouses in two small German cities are properly classified as retail employees, and should be paid at the higher rate required for people who work in department stores and other retail outlets. Amazon says they are more properly classified as warehouse workers, and paid at a lower rate.

The subtext, though, is Amazon’s opposition to unions in its warehouses as a general principle, because the company fears unions will slow down the kind of behind-the-scenes innovation that has propelled its growth.



Colorado lawmakers' license plates exempt them from speed cams & parking tix

In an amazing coincidence, Colorado lawmakers ended up with license plates that didn't show up on speed cameras, meaning that they got to get away with thousands of dollars' worth of moving violations without ever paying fines. The DPW won't try to collect on the fines, because that would be hard.

According to CBS Denver, the info for these particular license plates is never entered into the DMV database, so when some state senator goes zooming by a speed camera, he or she won’t get a ticket, because the camera system looks up the license plate number through the DMV. Since no info comes up, no ticket is given.

This appears to be true for parking tickets as well. See, even though a parking enforcement officer might leave a ticket on the car, cities like Denver that rely on the DMV for addresses of vehicle owners come up empty when they try to collect on those tickets.

Colorado Lawmakers Have Magical License Plates That Prevent Them From Getting Tickets


A campaign of organized, conscious mendacity

By Jay Bookman


As their last official act before leaving on a five-week recess, House Republicans voted Friday for the 40th time to repeal or undo ObamaCare. Their vehicle this time was the Keep The IRS Off Our Health Care Bill, sponsored by U.S. Rep. Tom Price of Marietta.

According to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, the law is needed because otherwise, the IRS “will have access to the American people’s protected health care information” and, he implied, might use that against the administration's political enemies.

It's a theme that Cantor has hit repeatedly. "The doctor’s office is the last place anyone would want to find the IRS," he said in a radio speech last week. "Your health care information is private and should remain so."

It is also a bald-faced, blatant lie, a lie that exposes the moral bankruptcy of the case that Cantor and others are attempting to make. There is no conceivable means under federal law for the IRS to access "the American people's protected health care information," and he knows it. His intent is to foster paranoia and distrust in the government, and if he can't make that argument by telling the truth, he is perfectly willing to make it by telling falsehoods.


Was police killing of 95-year-old necessary?

August 03, 2013|John Kass

When John Wrana was a young man, fit and strong and fighting in World War II with the U.S. Army Air Corps, did he ever think he'd end this way?

Just a few weeks shy of his 96th birthday, in need of a walker to move about, cops coming through the door of his retirement home with a Taser and a shotgun.

The old man, described by a family member as "wobbly" on his feet, had refused medical attention. The paramedics were called. They brought in the Park Forest police.

First they tased him, but that didn't work. So they fired a shotgun, hitting him in the stomach with a bean-bag round. Wrana was struck with such force that he bled to death internally, according to the Cook County medical examiner.



Hubble finds telltale fireball after gamma ray burst

(Phys.org) —NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has provided the strongest evidence yet that short-duration gamma-ray bursts are triggered by the merger of two small, super-dense stellar objects, such as a pair of neutron stars or a neutron star and a black hole.
The definitive evidence came from Hubble observations in near-infrared light of the fading fireball produced in the aftermath of a short gamma-ray burst (GRB). The afterglow reveals for the first time a new kind of stellar blast called a kilonova, an explosion predicted to accompany a short-duration GRB.

A kilonova is about 1,000 times brighter than a nova, which is caused by the eruption of a white dwarf. Such a stellar blast, however, is only 1/10th to 1/100th the brightness of a typical supernova, the self-detonation of a massive star.

Gamma-ray bursts are mysterious flashes of intense high-energy radiation that appear from random directions in space. Short-duration blasts last at most a few seconds, but they sometimes generate faint afterglows in visible and near-infrared light that continue for several hours or days.

The afterglows have helped astronomers determine that GRBs lie in distant galaxies. The cause of short-duration GRBs, however, remains a mystery. The most popular theory is that astronomers are witnessing the energy released as two compact objects crash together. But, until now, astronomers have not gathered enough strong evidence to prove it, say researchers.

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2013-08-hubble-telltale-fireball-gamma-ray.html

Best gay parader ever (spotted in Brighton, UK)


Astronomers Discover Two Heavy Metal Stars

This is an artist’s impression of the surface of the star HE 2359-2844. The very high temperature – about 38,000 degrees Celsius – makes the surface bluish in color. An alien observer close to the star might be able to see the lead- and zirconium-rich cloud layers using specially chosen filters (© C. S. Jeffery)

According to their paper published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, these stars, labeled HE 2359-2844 and HE 1256-2738, have surfaces containing 10,000 times more lead than is present on the surface of the Sun.

HE 2359-2844 is a subdwarf located at a distance of 800 light-years away in the constellation of Sculptor.

The star HE 1256-2738 is located about 1,000 light years away in the constellation of Hydra.

The scientists using observations from the archives of the ESO’s Very Large Telescope in Chile identified a few features in spectra of both stars that did not match any atoms expected to be present. After some detective work, they realized that the features were due to lead.

Lead is one of the heaviest naturally occurring elements. In the Sun there is less than one lead atom for every ten billion hydrogen atoms.

At around 38,000 degrees Celsius, the surfaces of HE 2359-2844 and HE 1256-2738 are so hot that three electrons are removed from every lead atom. The resulting ions produce distinctive lines in the star’s spectrum, from which the concentration of lead in the atmosphere can be measured.

Using the same technique, HE 2359-2844 was also found to show ten thousand times more yttrium and zirconium than on the Sun.



Toon: Congress is The Brood

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