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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: 65,630

Journal Archives

Metro Detroit fast food workers protest, walk out in push for higher wages

(Detroit Free Press) Fast food workers in metro Detroit are protesting and walking out of area restaurants today in an effort to increase the minimum wage.

Pointing out the average full-time fast food worker earns $15,392 annually on an estimated $200 billion in annual industry earnings, workers say they don’t make enough to support their family.

The protests are taking place this week in seven states, and are affecting 89 sites in metro Detroit and Flint, according to D15, a group organized to protest on behalf of 50,000 fast-food workers in metro Detroit.

Workers would like to see the minimum wage raised to $15 per hour, today said civil rights activist and Detroit 15 liaison Pastor W. J. Rideout II, after protesting this morning outside the McDonald’s at 9 Mile and Van Dyke in Warren. ......................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.freep.com/article/20130731/NEWS06/307310063/Michigan-fast-food-workers-continue-push-for-higher-wages

What is with the Hillary Clinton media blitz this week?

Every other HuffPost update on my FB news feed involves her.

Florida Rep. Ritch Workman Claims High School Textbook Has Pro-Islam Bias

A textbook used in Advanced Placement history classes in Florida is under scrutiny by Rep. Ritch Workman (R-Melbourne) and a group of parents who think the book displays a pro-Islam bias.

According to Workman and the parents, the book’s partiality to Islam is apparent when compared to its coverage of Christianity and Judaism. Workman and several others criticized the textbook at a Brevard County School Board meeting last week, saying that information in the book is incorrect.

“Our children deserve facts and accuracy, not history being revised for our own failure or desire to not offend one culture or another,” said Workman to the school board, according to Florida Today.

In a video for local outlet WESH-TV, Workman explains that the book, titled “World History,” dedicates 36 pages to Islam and only several paragraphs to Christianity. He also says the book “sugar-coats the rise of Islam.” ................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/30/ritch-workman-islam-textbook_n_3678927.html?ncid=txtlnkushpmg00000037

Chicago: A Vision for Bus Rapid Transit on Ashland

from the Chicago Transit Authority:

Ashland Bus Rapid Transit

Project Vision

The CTA, in partnership with the Chicago Department of Transportation, Department of Housing and Economic Development, and the Federal Transit Administration, performed a year-long planning study to assess options for Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) on both Ashland and Western Avenues.

Photo of people at public meetingAfter analysis and input at six public open houses in 2012, BRT is now planned for 16 miles of Ashland from Irving Park Road to 95th Street, with the first phase now being designed for central Ashland from Cortland Avenue to 31st Street with ongoing public input.

What is BRT?

Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) is a term applied to a variety of bus service designs that provide for faster, more efficient and more reliable service than an ordinary bus line. Often this is achieved by making improvements to existing street and traffic signal infrastructure.

Why BRT on Ashland?

There are many reasons why Ashland Avenue is a good corridor for implementing Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)—it has high transit demand, it connects many parts of the city, and its physical layout is compatible with BRT improvements.

Ashland Avenue has the highest bus ridership of all CTA routes, with 10 million boardings in 2012—more than 31,000 per weekday. Currently, 1 in 4 households located within walking distance of Ashland Avenue do not have a car. Ashland BRT would provide a transit option about as fast as driving for neighborhood residents, with an up to 83% increase in bus speeds during peak periods, and a 50% improvement in reliability.

Ashland BRT would connect with seven CTA ‘L’ stations, two Metra stations, and 37 bus routes, and provide a much-needed north-south transit connection outside of the downtown area. The Ashland corridor provides access to nearly 133,800 jobs, including large employment centers such as the Illinois Medical District, and serves popular destinations like UIC, Malcolm X College, and the United Center. There are also 99 schools within walking distance of the proposed Ashland BRT. ..........................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.transitchicago.com/ashlandbrt/

National Study Of Houston Teens Finds 26% Text Every Time They Drive

July 29, 2013
by: Ed Mayberry

(KUHF) A new study finds that 27 percent of Houston teenagers say they read a text or email every time they drive. About one in five Houston teens have extended conversations via text message while driving.

It's a national survey from the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute and Toyota that finds that cell phone use by teen drivers — and their parents — is pervasive.

Sixty-seven percent of Houston teens report using a cell phone while driving, and 83 percent of parents do the same.

More than one in ten Houston teens — 12 percent — say they update or check Facebook or Twitter while driving. .....................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://app1.kuhf.org/articles/1374854836-National-Study-Of-Houston-Teens-Finds-26-Text-Every-Time-They-Drive.html

Robert Scheer: Gag Me With Lawrence Summers

from truthdig:

Gag Me With Lawrence Summers

Posted on Jul 29, 2013
By Robert Scheer

The idea that Barack Obama would still consider appointing Lawrence Summers to head the Federal Reserve rather than order an investigation into this former White House official’s Wall Street payments, reported Friday by The Wall Street Journal, mocks the president’s claimed concern for the disappearing middle class. Summers is in large measure responsible for that dismal outcome, and twice now, after top level economic postings in both the Clinton and Obama administrations, he has returned to gorge himself at the Wall Street trough.

As Clinton’s Treasury secretary, he pushed for radical deregulation allowing investment bankers to take wild risks with the federally insured deposits of ordinary folks, a disastrous move compounded when he successfully urged Congress to pass legislation banning the effective regulation of the tens of trillions in derivatives that often proved to be toxic.

The first direct result of those new laws was the mammoth merger that created Citigroup. Eight years later, the federal government had to save Citigroup from bankruptcy brought on by its leading role in the sale of those toxic mortgage-based derivatives, to the tune of $45 billion in taxpayer funds and backing $300 billion of the bank’s bad paper.

At that time, Citigroup paid Summers—teaching at Harvard and yet hustling as a Wall Street consultant—$45,000 for a lecture, a piddling amount compared with the $135,000 he got per talk from Goldman Sachs. In all, while he was advising candidate Obama during the 2008 election season, Summers made off with $8 million in Wall Street compensation, with the lion’s share coming from the D.E. Shaw hedge fund. .......................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/gag_me_with_lawrence_summers_20130729/

Pro-Marijuana Ad Pulled At Weekend NASCAR Race To Avoid Upsetting 'Family' Atmosphere

A commercial touting marijuana as an alternative to beer was pulled from displays outside a weekend NASCAR race after just a few airings.

The ad, seen above, was purchased by the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) -- the nation's largest pro-marijuana legalization advocacy group -- and was celebrated by the organization as the first time a pro-pot campaign would be seen at a major sporting event. Organizers for the Brickyard 400 race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway disputed that claim, noting that the boards set to display the commercial were not technically on stadium grounds. When officials with the company that had allowed MPP to purchase air time caught wind of its pro-marijuana message, they scrambled to take it down.

"We decided to pull ultimately because it's not obviously a great fit for the NASCAR audience, for the family kind of oriented audience, that's why we decided to pull the ad," Grazie Media CEO Vanessa Wojtala told WISH.

USA Today reported that few NASCAR fans seemed to notice the ad in its hours of circulation. The narrator's claim that marijuana should be considered a "new beer" with "no calories, no hangovers" and no link to "violence or reckless behavior," was apparently largely lost due to garbled audio. The ad was initially scheduled to run 72 times through Sunday. .....................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/29/pro-marijuana-ad-nascar_n_3670100.html?ncid=txtlnkushpmg00000037

John Nichols: Darrell Issa's Got a Plan to Put the Postal Service in a Death Spiral

(The Nation) Congressman Darrell Issa really is determined to end the United States Postal Service as Americans know it—indeed, as Americans have known it for more than 200 years.

Issa, the powerful chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, has a long history of attacking the postal service. But, now, he has taken advantage of a manufactured crisis to get his committee to vote twenty-two to seventeen in favor of a “Postal Reform Act of 2013” that American Postal Workers Union president Cliff Guffey warns “will lead to the demise of the Postal Service.”

With Wednesday’s committee vote, the full House is now set to consider a plan that would, among other things, phase out door-to-door mail delivery by 2022. Instead of the traditional and highly popular delivery model that now exists, mail would be left in so-called “neighborhood cluster boxes” that would serve multiple residences.

The Issa plan also sets the stage for the elimination of most weekend mail service.

The changes Issa proposes would, according to the National Association of Letter Carriers, lead to “the elimination of more than 100,000 postal jobs and would dramatically cut service.” And in addition to its assault on the character and quality of postal service, the legislation includes classic austerity schemes, such as a prohibition against postal unions and management from negotiating protections against the closure of post offices, stations and branches, the consolidating of plants, the privatization of operations and layoffs. ....................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.thenation.com/blog/175439/darrell-issas-got-plan-put-postal-service-death-spiral#ixzz2aRNpsqli

Chris Hedges: The Business of Mass Incarceration

from truthdig:

The Business of Mass Incarceration

Posted on Jul 28, 2013
By Chris Hedges

Debbie Bourne, 45, was at her apartment in the Liberty Village housing projects in Plainfield, N.J., on the afternoon of April 30 when police banged on the door and pushed their way inside. The officers ordered her, her daughter, 14, and her son, 22, who suffers from autism, to sit down and not move and then began ransacking the home. Bourne’s husband, from whom she was estranged and who was in the process of moving out, was the target of the police, who suspected him of dealing cocaine. As it turned out, the raid would cast a deep shadow over the lives of three innocents—Bourne and her children.

* * *

The murder of a teenage boy by an armed vigilante, George Zimmerman, is only one crime set within a legal and penal system that has criminalized poverty. Poor people, especially those of color, are worth nothing to corporations and private contractors if they are on the street. In jails and prisons, however, they each can generate corporate revenues of $30,000 to $40,000 a year. This use of the bodies of the poor to make money for corporations fuels the system of neoslavery that defines our prison system.

Prisoners often work inside jails and prisons for nothing or at most earn a dollar an hour. The court system has been gutted to deny the poor adequate legal representation. Draconian drug laws send nonviolent offenders to jail for staggering periods of time. Our prisons routinely use solitary confinement, forms of humiliation and physical abuse to keep prisoners broken and compliant, methods that international human rights organizations have long defined as torture. Individuals and corporations that profit from prisons in the United States perpetuate a form of neoslavery. The ongoing hunger strike by inmates in the California prison system is a slave revolt, one that we must encourage and support. The fate of the poor under our corporate state will, if we remain indifferent and passive, become our own fate. This is why on Wednesday I will join prison rights activists, including Cornel West and Michael Moore, in a one-day fast in solidarity with the hunger strike in the California prison system.

In poor communities where there are few jobs, little or no vocational training, a dearth of educational opportunities and a lack of support structures there are, by design, high rates of recidivism—the engine of the prison-industrial complex. There are tens of millions of poor people for whom this country is nothing more than a vast, extended penal colony. Gun possession is largely criminalized for poor people of color while vigilante thugs, nearly always white, swagger through communities with loaded weapons. There will never be serious gun control in the United States. Most white people know what their race has done to black people for centuries. They know that those trapped today in urban ghettos, what Malcolm X called our internal colonies, endure neglect, poverty, violence and deprivation. Most whites are terrified that African-Americans will one day attempt to defend themselves or seek vengeance. Scratch the surface of survivalist groups and you uncover frightened white supremacists. .........................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_business_of_mass_incarceration_20130728/

Collapsing Investment and the Great Recession

Collapsing Investment and the Great Recession

Friday, 26 July 2013 09:10
By Gerald Friedman, Dollars & Sense | News Analysis

Investment in real inputs - structures and machinery used to boost future output and productivity - is one of the ways that an economy grows over time. In a capitalist economy, such investments are also crucial for macroeconomic stability and full employment because they provide an “injection” of demand to balance the “leakage” caused by personal and institutional savings. The Great Recession that began in 2007 was marked by a collapse of investment unprecedented since the Great Depression, as well as a dramatic drop in overall production and a sharp jump in unemployment. Since 2009, overall output has been growing again, but we have seen a much slower recovery of investment than after other recessions since 1947. The worst economic crisis since the 1930s, the Great Recession came after a long period of declining investment, and a break in the linkage between corporate profits and new investment.

Rising Profits, Falling Investment: The share of national income going to investment (net of depreciation of existing plant and machinery) has been declining since the beginning of the “neoliberal” era, around 1980. Since the start of the Great Recession, net investment as a share of GDP has plummeted to its lowest level since the 1930s. This sharp drop in investment comes despite sharply rising profits.

Monetary Policy Isn’t Working: The Federal Reserve has helped to shorten past recessions by driving down interest rates to lower the cost of borrowing and so spur investment. During the current crisis, the Fed has conducted an aggressive monetary policy, raising the money supply to lower interest rates. But it has had little effect on investment. While lower interest rates have had only a weak effect on investment in the past, monetary policy has had no discernible effect in the last few years, as investment rates are dramatically lower than would have been expected given the level of interest rates. Substantial excess capacity, weak expectations of future sales, and corporate strategies to shift production outside the United States all may be contributing to the lack of investment demand.

Low Investment Impedes Recovery: In one respect, the current recession resembles past experience. Low rates of investment are associated with high rates of unemployment, just as in previous economic downturns. The difference is that, three years after the official end of the Great Recession, the unemployment rate remains persistently high, and investment remains dramatically lower than in past recoveries. .........................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://truth-out.org/news/item/17801-collapsing-investment-and-the-great-recession

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