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Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit, Michigan
Home country: Citizen of the world whose address is in the U.S.
Current location: Detroit, Michigan
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 67,509

Journal Archives

A shade shady: Scott Walker and the Milwaukee Bucks' new arena

UPDATE: The Wisconsin state Assembly voted Tuesday to spend $250 million in public monies on a new stadium for the Milwaukee Bucks. No one spoke against the measure, which passed on a 52-34 vote. The bill, which has already passed the Senate, awaits Gov. Scott Walker’s signature.

* * *

The history of the push for new sports stadiums in the United States is a well-documented and oft-repeated tale of corporate welfare, bilked taxpayers, gentrification and dedicated fans held hostage by powerful and politically connected owners.

Shady details of such projects appear all the more ridiculous when juxtaposed with the real problems cities face. In his book “A People’s History of Sports in the United States: 250 Years of Politics, Protest, People, and Play,” Dave Zirin posits, “The building of publicly funded stadiums has become a substitute for anything resembling urban policy.”

Some may assume the quest for a new arena for the Milwaukee Bucks, then, amounts to new wine in an old bottle. Start the chorus now: The owners want a new facility for their National Basketball Association (NBA) team, and they want state politicians on board. They also want about $250 million in public funding, the same amount cut from the University of Wisconsin system in the 2015 budget, approved July 15 by the Wisconsin Senate in a 21-10 vote on SB 209 during a full-floor session lasting just 45 minutes. The arena deal bill awaits a final vote in the Assembly, expected to take place Tuesday.

But in Wisconsin, the political and economic chicanery seems even more ridiculous than usual because it involves a sophisticated public relations and lobbying campaign and some of the most powerful political figures in both the state and the country. Truthdig has learned many details about the operation based on an investigation of hundreds of documents obtained via Wisconsin’s Public Records Law.

But first the basics: Why build a new arena to begin with, and who sold it to whom? The answers to these questions begin to illuminate the great power politics of the arena in the Badger State. ...............(more)


Seattle officer who arrested black man for walking with a golf club ‘should be fired’

A white Seattle officer should be fired for biased and improper policing after she arrested an elderly black man using a golf club as a cane during a walk last summer, the director of a police watchdog group said on Tuesday.

The Office of Professional Accountability found Seattle patrol officer Cynthia Whitlatch engaged in biased policing, among other policy violations, when she arrested William Wingate, now 70, last July, the group’s civilian director Pierce Murphy said.

“After careful review and consideration of all the evidence, I recommended that the Chief of Police sustain the allegations and end the involved officer’s employment,” said Murphy.

The recommendations come after a U.S. District Court approved new de-escalation policies for the Seattle police department, which has been under federal monitoring for excessive force.


In Seattle, Wingate sued the city and the arresting officer, seeking about $750,000 in damages for racial discrimination, violation of his civil rights and “substantial humiliation, mental and emotional distress.” The case is pending.

Wingate, a military veteran who requires a cane to walk, was using the golf club as a crutch, according to court papers. His arrest sparked protests. Charges against Wingate were dropped after his arrest and the police department has apologized. ........(more)


‘Deal with it yourself': New Mexico firefighter hangs up on 911 caller trying to save dying teen

After a teenager was shot and killed at a party in June, an Albuquerque firefighter who answered the emergency call hung up on a friend who was trying frantically to save his life.

Jaydon Chavez-Silver, 17, had just arrived at the party when someone opened fire. As he lay dying, a female friend began CPR and called 9-1-1, KRQE reports.

“I’m doing CPR as we speak. I’m keeping him alive,” the young female caller can be heard saying. “Just stay with me, okay, okay. There you go. Good job Jaydon.”

Firefighter Matthew Sanchez was working at the dispatch center that night, can be heard asking twice whether the boy was breathing.

“He’s barely breathing. How many times do I have to f***ing tell you?” the girl angrily responds.

At that point, Sanchez says, “OK, you know what ma’am, you could deal with it yourself. I’m not gonna deal with this, okay?” ................(more)


Kansas City hotel supervisor hangs ‘slave doll’ to make fun of Sandra Bland

A Kansas City, Missouri hotel could face a protest after a local attorney published a picture of a “slave doll” hung from a doorway by a white supervisor in an attempt to mock Sandra Bland, KCTV-TV reported on Monday night.

The attorney, Stacy Shaw, posted the image on Monday, saying the doll was set up in a break area with a “noose” made from a plastic trash bag. Authorities in Waller County, Texas, said they found Bland hanged in her jail cell earlier this month.


“I was deeply disappointed and outraged that in 2015 in a city that I love that there could be such blatant intolerance and racism that was present in the workplace,” she said, adding that she has scheduled a news conference for Wednesday morning to share more information regarding both the incident and an anti-racism rally she plans to organize.

The hotel’s general manager, John Parker, confirmed in a statement that the incident occurred on July 21, while describing it as “completely inconsistent” with the hotel’s culture. He also said management investigated the doll the following day.

“Immediately following the investigation, the employee was terminated, Friday, July 24th, prior to the start of their next shift,” Parker’s statement read. “The Adam’s Mark Kansas City is committed to maintaining a positive working environment free of unlawful harassment.” ................(more)


‘The video is not good': Cincinnati braces for footage release in campus cop killing of Sam Dubose

An Ohio prosecutor is refusing to release body camera video from the fatal police shooting of an unarmed black man during a traffic stop — but top officials are suggesting that the video disputes the campus police officer’s claims of self-defense.

Officer Ray Tensing, of the University of Cincinnati police department, shot and killed 43-year-old Sam Dubose during a routine traffic stop July 19 near campus.

Tensing stopped Dubose about 6:30 p.m. because he did not have a license plate on the front of his car, in apparent violation of Ohio law, about a half-mile from campus in Cincinnati’s historic Mount Auburn neighborhood.

The officer claims Dubose would not show his driver’s license and instead produced a bottle of alcohol and refused to get out of his vehicle. .....................(more)


U.S. Homeownership Rate Falls to the Lowest Level Since the 1960s

(Bloomberg) The share of Americans who own their homes fell to the lowest level in almost five decades, extending a multiyear decline as families struggle to regain ground lost during the financial crisis and rentals gain favor.

The U.S. homeownership rate was 63.4 percent in the second quarter, down from 63.7 percent in the previous three months, the Census Bureau reported Tuesday. It was lowest reading since 1967.

Would-be homebuyers have been held back by stringent mortgage standards and wage growth that hasn’t kept up with surging home prices. The average household income in June was 4 percent below a record high set in early 2008, even as unemployment dropped to its pre-recession rate, according to Sentier Research LLC.

“We’re still suffering the effects of the housing collapse and the financial crisis,” said Mark Vitner, senior economist with Wells Fargo Securities in Charlotte, North Carolina. “We may have another percentage point to go before we see a bottom” in the homeownership rate, he said. ..................(more)


China is not a sideshow; it's the radioactive core of the entire global bubble.

By David Stockman, David Stockman’s Contra Corner:

Bubblevision’s Scott Wapner nearly split a neck vessel today denouncing the US stock market sell-off. It was completely unwarranted, he thundered, because China don’t have nothin’ to do with anything.

Why, insisted CNBC’s best dressed pom-pom boy, China’s stock market has never been correlated with its economy, and, anyhow, its economy doesn’t matter all that much to the S&P 500 because China accounts for only 14% of global GDP.

Besides that, China’s stock market is exactly like what Yogi Berra said about his favorite restaurant: It’s so crowded, nobody goes there anymore!

That is, according to the talking heads Chinese household’s don’t go to the bourses, either. Few of them own stock and equities account for only 20% of household wealth compared to upwards of 65% in the US.


Here’s the thing. Between the 2007 pre-crisis peak and 2014, the estimated world GDP expanded from $53 trillion to about $69 trillion. But fully 33% of that $17 trillion gain was directly accounted for by China; and far more than half of the total is actually attributable when the multiplier effect on resource suppliers like Australia, Brazil and Canada is accounted for, and when the pull effect on intermediate component suppliers like south Korea, Malaysia, Japan and Taiwan is added to the brew.

That’s not 14%. The collapse of red capitalism in China is exporting gale force deflation to the global economy, meaning that the already evident rollover of world trade is just beginning its descent. .............(more)


Toronto: Improvements to 33 Off-Peak TTC Bus and Streetcar Routes Coming

Toronto Mayor John Tory and TTC Chair Josh Colle on July 27, announced off-peak service improvements that will provide more frequent, less crowded and more comfortable service on 33 of the city's busiest bus and streetcar routes this fall.

These service improvements largely reverse off-peak services cuts that were made in February 2012 and are in addition to improvements announced to 61 routes already this summer. The increased service will start in September, and is made possible by the $95 million investment in transit in the 2015 Budget.

"I am committed to getting Toronto moving, which is why in my first budget as Mayor we made the single largest investment in transit in recent memory," said Tory. "Today, we are seeing more results from this investment which will make it easier for the people of Toronto to get to work and home to their families."

These improvements to 26 bus and seven streetcar routes across the city will provide a noticeable improvement in service quality, resulting in shorter wait times, less crowding and a better chance for customers to get a seat. .................(more)


Au revoir to the Northern White Rhino ..........


(Bloomberg) One of the world’s most endangered animals, the northern white rhinoceros, edged closer to extinction when one of the last five of its kind known to exist died in a Czech zoo.

The 31-year-old female Nabire, who lived her life at the Dvur Kralove zoo, about 140 kilometers (88 miles) northeast of Prague, died on Monday of a ruptured cyst, the zoo said on its website Tuesday.

Nabire’s death “brought another species closer to complete extinction,” zoo director Premysl Rabas said. He blamed the plight of the northern white rhinoceros on “meaningless human greed.”

Northern white rhinos were last seen in the wild in central Africa in 2007. Their disappearance stemmed from demand for their horns, which are used for medical and cultural purposes in some parts of Asia and the Arab world. The last surviving male lives in Kenya with two females, and the other female lives in San Diego, according to the Czech zoo. ...............(more)


Will Hillary Clinton Adopt Hedgie Billionaire John Arnold’s Schemes for Retirement Insecurity?

Will Hillary Clinton Adopt Hedgie Billionaire John Arnold’s Schemes for Retirement Insecurity?
By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

The front-running scheme for “retirement security” — backed by billionaire John Arnold — looks an awful lot like it’s “on the table” because it guarantees that middlemen collect fees for “managing” what we used to call your “nest egg.” Will Hillary Clinton’s campaign platform support it?

Hillary Clinton Has Ruled Out Expanding Social Security

This was the line in Talking Points Memo, back in April:

Hillary Clinton is not taking a position just yet on Social Security expansion, an issue with growing support in the Democratic Party that several of her prospective presidential primary rivals have endorsed.

The Clinton campaign told TPM on Thursday, in response to a query, that the Democratic frontrunner “will have a lot to say” about the issue and emphasized her opposition to privatizing Social Security.

But here’ s Clinton’s platform today:

“Explore ways to enhance” most definitely does not mean “expand,” especially when Clinton plans to include “saving” in any plan to allow working people — since “working families” doesn’t include those who aren’t married — to “retire with dignity.”


Clinton May Be Leaning Toward “Guaranteed Retirement Accounts” (GRAs)

Check out this beat sweetener for potential charismatic technical spokesperson, Teresa Ghilarducci, in the National Journal (hat tip AH), where we see the Clinton code of omerta fully operative:

(Ghilarducci) will not talk about how many times—or when, or where—she has met with Clinton … Though Clinton has begun her campaign on a decidedly liberal note, it’s anything but clear how far she’ll go in adopting the kind of agenda that Ghilarducci advocates. Clinton gave “retirement security” a shout-out in her campaign launch speech on Roosevelt Island, but there were no specifics.


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