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marmar

Profile Information

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: 66,812

Journal Archives

Are America’s Small Businesses Finally Realizing That They’re Being Screwed by Big Business?


by Robert Reich


The Revolt of Small Business Republicans
MONDAY, MAY 18, 2015


Can it be that America’s small businesses are finally waking up to the fact they’re being screwed by big businesses?

For years, small-business groups such as the National Federation of Independent Businesses have lined up behind big businesses lobbies.

They’ve contributed to the same Republican candidates and committees favored by big business.

And they’ve eagerly connected the Republican Party in Washington to its local business base. Retailers, building contractors, franchisees, wholesalers, and restaurant owners are the bedrock of local Republican politics. .................(more)

http://robertreich.org/post/119297219035




Graduating Class of 2015 Most Debt Burden in History





Published on May 18, 2015

43 Million people carrying $1.3 Trillion in student debt, what can we do about it? Our panel with Josh Hoxie & Mayra Guizar examines the options on the table


Another right-wing whackjob climbs down from the trees......


On Sunday, over 190 members of a biker gang were arrested after a bloody shootout in Waco, Texas, that left nine people dead. Waco Police Sgt. Patrick Swanton said the scene was "probably one of the most gruesome crime scenes I've ever seen in my 34 years of law enforcement."

But Sandy Rios, governmental affairs director for the conservative American Family Association, sees potential in these men to put their talents to good use.

“Police have their hands full fighting our real enemies -- the cartels, the Islamists -- and now they’re fighting motorcycle gangs?” Rios said during her radio show on Monday. “I find myself thinking, let’s have a little retraining for motorcycle gangs and put them on our side fighting our enemies. That’s what we really need.”

It might be tough to get these gangs to start combating drug cartels, since they themselves are drug cartels. Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs, according to the 2013 report from the FBI's National Gang Intelligence Center, are "highly structured criminal organizations whose members engage in criminal activities such as violent crime, weapons trafficking, and drug trafficking." ............(more)

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/05/19/waco-texas-sandy-rios_n_7337188.html?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000013




NY: MTA Bus Ridership Plummeting, Statistics Show


May 17--New Yorkers aren't bussing it as they once did, as ridership drops on lines around the city, even on the speedier Select Bus Service, according to MTA statistics.

The drop off in riders in most of the boroughs, attributed by transit officials to traffic congestion and fare hikes, is a stark contrast to record subway ridership that has the MTA and an aging system struggling to keep up.

There were 162,385 fewer daily bus riders in the city last year compared to 2009, when average weekday ridership was 2.2 million a day. Tens of thousands have been ditching the bus in Brooklyn and Manhattan, while there were modest gains on Bronx and Staten Island routes; Queens had a small decline in ridership, according to the MTA figures.

"The traffic makes it worse," said Arnelio Cortes, 59, from Washington Heights. ..............(more)

http://www.masstransitmag.com/news/11971331/mta-bus-ridership-plummeting-statistics-show




Bosses Are Turning Poverty-Wage Workers Into ‘Managers’-and Barring Them From OT in the Process


(The Nation) If you’re one of the millions working in retail, some days you might work late at the register or do the store opening in hopes of clocking a little overtime pay. And you might hope to eventually rise to a higher-ranked managerial position. But did you know that promotion might just mean a smaller paycheck for the same job?

Welcome to the promotion from hell: Federal law says time-and-a-half is for ordinary laborers, and management is exempt from overtime provisions. So congratulations, as a shop “manager,” you no longer qualify for overtime—but still end up doing basically the same work for less.

Generally, federal labor law requires elevated wages for hours worked over the standard 40-hour week. But in the precarious low-wage economy, advocates say employers are hyper-exploiting the system to skirt fair labor laws, and overtime is fast becoming a relic of the past.

The Obama administration is now seeking to modernize overtime, directing the Labor Department to revamp federal regulations. These set a baseline for state overtime laws (which may or may not offer more generous benefits). Reforms might bring long-overdue upgrades to income thresholds and professional exemptions in order to cover more of the workforce. ...............(more)

http://www.thenation.com/blog/207521/bosses-are-turning-poverty-wage-workers-managers-and-barring-them-overtime-process




Drought face-lift: California paints lawns green


Escondido (United States) (AFP) - The heat is stifling, the soil dry as a bone, and a new law in drought-stricken California restricts sprinklers.

But far from saying farewell to their beloved lawn, some Californians are coping with the drought by... painting it green.

With a simple squeeze of a spray gun, dried-out yellow grass regains its lush green color before the eyes of its proud owners.

It is a kind of make-over which is becoming increasingly common among home-owners in California, which is now in the fourth year of a historic drought. .................(more)

http://news.yahoo.com/drought-face-lift-california-paints-lawns-green-030903306.html




Charter School "Flexibility" Linked to Major Failures; More Than $3.3 Billion in Taxes Spent


Charter School "Flexibility" Linked to Major Failures; More Than $3.3 Billion in Taxes Spent

Monday, 18 May 2015 10:16
By Jonas Persson, PR Watch | Report


Arne Duncan is calling for a 48% increase in the US Department of Education's (ED) quarter-billion-dollar-a-year ($253.2 million) program designed to create, expand, and replicate charter schools - an initiative repeatedly criticized by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) for suspected waste and inadequate financial controls.

The Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) has issued a series of Freedom of Information Act requests for information about charter spending from ED as well as from states, and the findings shed new light on the deep flaws in the design, implementation and oversight of the federal program.

For ED "Accountability" Means Very Little Real Accountability

CMD's review of state applications for the federal charter schools program shows that, in some cases, states are rewarded precisely because they lack statutory authority to hold charter school and their authorizers accountable as these states tend to score high on one of the rubrics used to evaluate applications: "flexibility offered by state law."

But grant applications are also judged based on the degree of "authorizer accountability" afforded by the state. How does this paradox play out in practice?

One ED reader reviewing a 2010 application from Florida notes how schools and authorizers are held to the highest standards of accountability in the state:"(Florida) provides ample examples to illustrate its commitment to continuously improve upon its already strong processes and procedures to hold accountable their authorizing LEAs … No weaknesses noted (Score) 20/20." Another reader joins in the chorus by remarking how the Florida Department of Education "has taken smart steps to oversee the authorizers in the state." .................(more)

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/30830-charter-school-flexibility-linked-to-major-failures-more-than-3-3-billion-in-taxes-spent




Northeast Corridor: America's Premier Rail Superhighway is Slowly Falling Apart





NEW YORK (AP) — The trains that link global centers of learning, finance and power on the East Coast lumber through tunnels dug just after the Civil War, and cross century-old bridges that sometimes jam when they swing open to let tugboats pass. Hundreds of miles of overhead wires that deliver power to locomotives were hung during the Great Depression.

The rails of the Northeast Corridor are decaying, increasingly strained — and moving more people than ever around the nation's most densely populated region.

The railroad's importance became all the more apparent after Amtrak Train 188 derailed Tuesday as it sped around a curve in Philadelphia, killing eight passengers and injuring more than 200.

The wreck closed part of the corridor all week. On a normal weekday, 2,000 trains run by Amtrak and eight other passenger rail systems carry 750,000 riders on railway between Washington and Boston, making it a vital link for both intercity travelers and suburban commuters. ....................(more)

http://www.masstransitmag.com/news/11970785/americas-premier-rail-superhighway-is-slowly-falling-apart




Send in the Clowns


Send in the Clowns

Monday, 18 May 2015 00:00
By Donald Kaul, OtherWords | Op-Ed





As the 2016 presidential candidates belatedly get worked up about inequality, they're losing touch with reality.


Hardly a day goes by that another candidate doesn't announce his or her intention to run for the presidency. One day it's Carly Fiorina, the next it's Mike Huckabee, Bernie Sanders, or Hillary Clinton, even.

It's like the circus — when the little car rolls into the center ring and a clown gets out, then another, then two more, and on and on until the ring is overflowing with 1,000 clowns, or so it seems.

We won't get up to 1,000 politicians yearning to lead the "free world," or what's left of it. But we should reach two dozen presidential aspirants who are asking us voters to take them seriously before we're done.

It's still early, but it looks as though the major message of this election is going to be about closing the cavernous gaps between the rich and the poor. Democrats have always suspected that the poor are being victimized by our economic system, but now it seems that the Republicans are singing that song too. ...........(more)

http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/30834-send-in-the-clowns




Northeast Corridor: America's Premier Rail Superhighway is Slowly Falling Apart


NEW YORK (AP) — The trains that link global centers of learning, finance and power on the East Coast lumber through tunnels dug just after the Civil War, and cross century-old bridges that sometimes jam when they swing open to let tugboats pass. Hundreds of miles of overhead wires that deliver power to locomotives were hung during the Great Depression.

The rails of the Northeast Corridor are decaying, increasingly strained — and moving more people than ever around the nation's most densely populated region.

The railroad's importance became all the more apparent after Amtrak Train 188 derailed Tuesday as it sped around a curve in Philadelphia, killing eight passengers and injuring more than 200.

The wreck closed part of the corridor all week. On a normal weekday, 2,000 trains run by Amtrak and eight other passenger rail systems carry 750,000 riders on railway between Washington and Boston, making it a vital link for both intercity travelers and suburban commuters. ....................(more)

http://www.masstransitmag.com/news/11970785/americas-premier-rail-superhighway-is-slowly-falling-apart




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