Home country: USA
Current location: nice place
Member since: Thu May 15, 2008, 04:37 PM
Number of posts: 14,280
Home country: USA
Current location: nice place
Member since: Thu May 15, 2008, 04:37 PM
Number of posts: 14,280
** Going in the correct direction, good stuff.
By Michelle Diament
August 28, 2013
The Obama administration is pressing forward with a plan to urge companies doing business with the federal government to dramatically increase the number of employees with disabilities in their ranks.
Under a final rule announced Tuesday, most federal contractors will be expected to ensure that people with disabilities account for at least 7 percent of workers within each job group at their companies. If businesses meet that threshold, the U.S. Department of Labor estimates that it could mean as many as 585,000 jobs for people with disabilities within the first year.
“The need is clear,” said Patricia Shiu, director of the Labor Department’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, calling the unemployment rate for people with disabilities “unacceptably high.”
The new rule would not establish a quota, but rather a goal that contractors would be expected to work toward. Firms with at least 50 employees and $50,000 in federal commitments would have to take specific steps with regard to recruitment, training, record keeping and policy dissemination — much like they are already required to do to encourage workplace equality for women and members of minority groups — in order to increase their employment of people with disabilities.
Posted by Jefferson23 | Fri Aug 30, 2013, 01:37 PM (0 replies)
Governments in Washington, London and Paris should realise that in one respect the slaughter by chemical weapons of hundreds of people in Damascus on 21 August is an opportunity as well as a crime. It is an opportunity because the chemical weapons atrocity and the crisis it has provoked show that the Syrian civil war cannot be left to fester. The use of poison gas is the grossest sign, but not the only one, that the level of violence is spiralling out of control.
The Independent UK
August 26, 2013
American, British and French air strikes by planes or missiles look probable in retaliation for the alleged use of poison gas by the Syrian army against people in rebel-held areas of Damascus. Controversy rages about whether or not this is the right thing to do, an argument coloured by memories of official mendacity over Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction in 2003 and Nato's destruction of Muammar Gaddafi's regime in 2011 under the guise of a limited humanitarian operation.
What armed intervention by foreign powers in Syria will not do is bring an end to the present bloody stalemate in the two-and-a-half-year-old civil war. But governments in Washington, London and Paris should realise that in one respect the slaughter by chemical weapons of hundreds of people in Damascus on 21 August is an opportunity as well as a crime.
It is an opportunity because the chemical weapons atrocity and the crisis it has provoked show that the Syrian civil war cannot be left to fester. Previously, there was a shallow belief that, like the 15-year-long Lebanese civil war between 1975 and 1990, the Syrian war was basically containable. This hope has ebbed over the past year as sectarian and ethnic violence in Syria has spread to Lebanon and Iraq. The use of poison gas is the grossest sign, but not the only one, that the level of violence is spiralling out of control inside Syria.
in full: http://portside.org/2013-08-26/only-peace-conference-not-air-strikes-can-stop-further-bloodshed
Posted by Jefferson23 | Fri Aug 30, 2013, 09:05 AM (1 replies)
What if everything we’ve come to think of as American is predicated on freak coincidence?( R.Gordon)
And what if that coincidence has run its course?
By Benjamin Wallace-Wells
Published Jul 21, 2013
Picture this, arranged along a time line.
For all of measurable human history up until the year 1750, nothing happened that mattered. This isn’t to say history was stagnant, or that life was only grim and blank, but the well-being of average people did not perceptibly improve. All of the wars, literature, love affairs, and religious schisms, the schemes for empire-making and ocean-crossing and simple profit and freedom, the entire human theater of ambition and deceit and redemption took place on a scale too small to register, too minor to much improve the lot of ordinary human beings. In England before the middle of the eighteenth century, where industrialization first began, the pace of progress was so slow that it took 350 years for a family to double its standard of living. In Sweden, during a similar 200-year period, there was essentially no improvement at all. By the middle of the eighteenth century, the state of technology and the luxury and quality of life afforded the average individual were little better than they had been two millennia earlier, in ancient Rome.
Then two things happened that did matter, and they were so grand that they dwarfed everything that had come before and encompassed most everything that has come since: the first industrial revolution, beginning in 1750 or so in the north of England, and the second industrial revolution, beginning around 1870 and created mostly in this country. That the second industrial revolution happened just as the first had begun to dissipate was an incredible stroke of good luck. It meant that during the whole modern era from 1750 onward—which contains, not coincidentally, the full life span of the United States—human well-being accelerated at a rate that could barely have been contemplated before. Instead of permanent stagnation, growth became so rapid and so seemingly automatic that by the fifties and sixties the average American would roughly double his or her parents’ standard of living. In the space of a single generation, for most everybody, life was getting twice as good.
At some point in the late sixties or early seventies, this great acceleration began to taper off. The shift was modest at first, and it was concealed in the hectic up-and-down of yearly data. But if you examine the growth data since the early seventies, and if you are mathematically astute enough to fit a curve to it, you can see a clear trend: The rate at which life is improving here, on the frontier of human well-being, has slowed.
If you are like most economists—until a couple of years ago, it was virtually all economists—you are not greatly troubled by this story, which is, with some variation, the consensus long-arc view of economic history. The machinery of innovation, after all, is now more organized and sophisticated than it has ever been, human intelligence is more efficiently marshaled by spreading education and expanding global connectedness, and the examples of the Internet, and perhaps artificial intelligence, suggest that progress continues to be rapid.
But if you are prone to a more radical sense of what is possible, you might begin to follow a different line of thought. If nothing like the first and second industrial revolutions had ever happened before, what is to say that anything similar will happen again? Then, perhaps, the global economic slump that we have endured since 2008 might not merely be the consequence of the burst housing bubble, or financial entanglement and overreach, or the coming generational trauma of the retiring baby boomers, but instead a glimpse at a far broader change, the slow expiration of a historically singular event. Perhaps our fitful post-crisis recovery is no aberration. This line of thinking would make you an acolyte of a 72-year-old economist at Northwestern named Robert Gordon, and you would probably share his view that it would be crazy to expect something on the scale of the second industrial revolution to ever take place again.
“Some things,” Gordon says, and he says it often enough that it has become both a battle cry and a mantra, “can happen only once.”
in full: http://nymag.com/news/features/economic-growth-2013-7/
Posted by Jefferson23 | Wed Aug 14, 2013, 09:03 PM (15 replies)
July 29, 2013, 11:36 am
by Scott Horton
In Friday’s New York Times, Charlie Savage takes a closer look at the judges hand-picked by John Roberts for the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court.
Ten of the court’s 11 judges — all assigned by Chief Justice Roberts — were appointed to the bench by Republican presidents; six once worked for the federal government. Since the chief justice began making assignments in 2005, 86 percent of his choices have been Republican appointees, and 50 percent have been former executive branch officials.
Not surprisingly, the Times review shows that Roberts has fashioned a court in his own image: movement conservative, Republican, largely consisting of persons who previously worked in the government. In sum, Roberts has picked a court that can be relied upon to quickly approve any government request for surveillance, through whatever instruments and according to whatever rules the government wishes.
The two chief justices who preceded Roberts, William H. Rehnquist and Warren E. Burger, were also conservative Republicans, and like Roberts they also ensured that a majority of the FISA court’s judges were conservative Republicans. However, neither of his predecessors was nearly so obsessive about it as Roberts — two-thirds of their selections were Republicans, while for Roberts, all but one have been Republican.
Equally consequential, to my mind, are the legal backgrounds of the judges selected. As Connecticut senator Richard Blumenthal, a career prosecutor, has explained, “Judges who used to be executive-branch lawyers were more likely to share a ‘get the bad guys’ mindset and defer to the Justice Department if executive-branch officials told them that new surveillance powers were justified.”
in full: http://harpers.org/blog/2013/07/the-gops-surveillance-judiciary/
Posted by Jefferson23 | Mon Aug 5, 2013, 07:14 PM (2 replies)
** Good stuff
By Shaun Heasley
July 31, 2013
The president and first lady will serve as honorary chairs when the Special Olympics World Games return to the United States in 2015, organizers say.
President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama will lend their support to the international competition when the summer games are held in Los Angeles in two years.
“Michelle and I are so honored to serve as co-chairs of this inspiring event,” the president said in a video statement released Tuesday announcing the couple’s new role. “The athletes coming to these games represent the grit and determination that is at the very root of the American spirit. They keep working when the challenges seem greatest. They see opportunity where some see limitation.”
The games scheduled for July 25 through August 2, 2015 are expected to draw some 7,000 athletes with disabilities from 170 countries around the world in addition to 500,000 spectators. Organizers say it will be the largest event held in Los Angeles since the city hosted the Olympic Games in 1984.
on edit for link.
Posted by Jefferson23 | Fri Aug 2, 2013, 01:42 PM (2 replies)
** What can I say, a constant struggle.
By Michelle Diament
July 30, 2013 Text Size A A
Disability advocates are split over a proposal in the U.S. Senate that would establish limits on people with disabilities working for less than minimum wage.
The Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee is expected to take up a reauthorization of the Workforce Investment Act on Wednesday. Within the proposed legislation is a plan to establish first-ever requirements that must be met before individuals with disabilities could be allowed to work for less than the federal minimum of $7.25 per hour.
Currently, many with disabilities leave high school and are referred directly to sheltered workshop environments. That would change under what’s known as section 511 of the bill. Those with disabilities could only be placed in subminimum-wage jobs if they meet certain age-related requirements and while receiving job training services to prepare them for competitive employment. What’s more, individuals age 24 or younger would be required to pursue vocational rehabilitation services first.
“I believe it is critically important that every young person with a disability have an opportunity to experience competitive, integrated employment as they transition from school to adult life,” said Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, one of the bill’s chief sponsors, in a statement to Disability Scoop.
Posted by Jefferson23 | Tue Jul 30, 2013, 05:58 PM (5 replies)
By Scott Horton
Since The Guardian began to serialize leaks by a former CIA contractor named Edward Snowden, the affair, as presented by American media, has taken on the familiar tropes of Hollywood cinema: one part Leonardo DiCaprio in Catch Me If You Can, another part Tom Hanks in The Terminal, a smidgen of Gene Hackman in Enemy of the State. This drama may have peaked yesterday, when an aircraft carrying Bolivia’s president was forced to the ground in Europe as a result of what its ambassador to the United Nations claimed was intense pressure from American authorities, who were apparently driven wild with unfounded suspicion that Snowden might be aboard. The grounding was a flagrant violation of international law, and around the world today, it is being taken as evidence both of America’s pathological obsession with Snowden, and of its heavy-handedness.
Outside America, the story focuses on the “NSA surveillance scandal” and the substantive revelations that followed from the Snowden documents. But inside America, it is the “Snowden scandal,” and everything seems to revolve around his persona. We are treated to tales about his schooling, his family, his girlfriend, and endless speculation about his psychology — as if any of this had some bearing on the credibility of the documents he revealed, when in fact it does not.
It’s worth probing the American media’s eccentric approach to the story. Certainly this can be traced to the prevalent tabloid style, which values personalities over facts and policy issues, but it also reveals the hand of a government, and an intelligence community, that has developed considerable skill in media management. The Snowden case, as it has been unfolded to the American public, bears a striking similarity to those of Bradley Manning, Julian Assange, John Kiriakou, Russell Tice, and Thomas Drake — nameless government spokesmen identify the source of the leaks as an enemy of the state who has “put lives at risk in wartime.” The source is vilified, his character darkened, and he himself — rather than the leaked materials — is turned into the real story.
Just as the first Snowden documents were working their way into the press, McClatchy got its hands on a June 1, 2012, Pentagon memo that outlines the Insider Threat Program, a systematic-response program designed to help the government combat leaks related to national security. Curiously, the ITP targets not foreign enemies, but the American public. Treat the leaker as a spy and a vital threat to the country, the Pentagon counseled: “Hammer this fact home . . . leaking is tantamount to aiding the enemies of the United States.” The memo failed to take into account the possibility that a leaker might be motivated by a sense of civil duty, a concern about illegal, immoral, unethical conduct, a sense of corruption and incompetence that will continue unchecked unless disclosed to the public.
in full: http://harpers.org/blog/2013/07/the-real-insider-threat/
Scott Horton bio: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scott_Horton_%28attorney%29
Posted by Jefferson23 | Sun Jul 7, 2013, 02:23 PM (3 replies)
** Excellent beginning.
By Michelle Diament
May 10, 2013
In an effort to identify better strategies to help young people with disabilities transition from school to work, a handful of federal agencies are seeking public input.
Starting Monday, the U.S. Departments of Labor, Education and Health and Human Services as well as the Social Security Administration are kicking off a two-week so-called online dialogue.
The agencies are asking policymakers, educators, service providers, families and youth with disabilities themselves to share their thoughts through a Web interface on how to improve transition outcomes.
Federal officials say they hope to learn about regulatory and legislative barriers that young people with disabilities are facing in accessing employment, education, Social Security and health and human services. Ultimately, the input received on the website may help shape future policies and practices, they said.
in full: http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2013/05/10/obama-transition-outcomes/17926/
Posted by Jefferson23 | Fri May 10, 2013, 02:29 PM (8 replies)
April 27, 2013 | Pepe Escobar
This is an abridged version of a lecture this week at the 13th Seminary of Political Solidarity Don Juan Chavez in memoriam at the University of Zaragoza, Spain.
How cozy it would be to summon the retro-spirit of Burt Bacharach to define our geopolitical future and start singing, "What the world needs now / is love, sweet love".
Sorry to scratch the vinyl. We interrupt this lovey-dovey to bring you breaking news. You have been catapulted to the age of the new Hobbesian "hero" - digital and virtual as well as physical.
Casino capitalism - aka turbocharged neoliberalism - is ruthlessly destroying the last vestiges of the welfare state and the egalitarian consensus in the industrialized West, possibly with the odd Scandinavian exception. It has established a "New Normal" consensus, intruding into private lives, dominating the political debate and institutionalizing for good the marketization of life itself - the final act of fierce corporate exploitation of natural resources, land and cheap labor.
Posted by Jefferson23 | Thu May 2, 2013, 02:40 PM (1 replies)
A new report from Seton Hall University exposes government surveillance of attorney–client conversations
By Scott Horton
The military commissions at Guantánamo have been on hold for roughly two months now, stalled by a pressing question: Were the proceedings inside the state-of-the-art courtroom in fact being manipulated by the CIA? Back in 2009, the Obama Administration inherited a process that verged on being an international laughingstock. Political appointees had manipulated almost every step of the process, pressing to remove any doubt from the outcome. Ultimately, the thin veneer of legitimacy that remained was stripped away when military lawyers — both prosecutors and defense counsel — joined together to expose the political circus.
Team Obama promised to right this system. An interagency review process led to agreement on a significant number of reforms, and Brigadier General Mark Martins, the new chief prosecutor, made the rounds of law schools and bar associations, talking about the government’s intention to restore basic norms of justice to the process. He was persuasive, and even skeptics began to acknowledge that the proceedings had been set back on the path to respectability.
Today, however, that effort is a shambles. The military-commissions process teeters for the third time on the brink of collapse, thanks to the ham-handed snooping and manipulations of the intelligence community. The problems this time were first exposed by a moment of comic ineptitude. During a hearing in the prosecution of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, journalists and other observers behind the Plexiglas barrier noted that the sound had suddenly gone dead as defense counsel David Nevin recited the name of a motion that referred to CIA black sites. “Who,” queried Judge James Pohl, “turns that light on or off?” He was referring to a flashing red light that indicated when the audio feed was being disrupted. Not the court, it turned out. In the best Wizard of Oz tradition, the man behind the curtain appeared to be in the employ of “another government agency.” Judge Pohl at first seemed indignant over this instance of external control over his courtroom, but later resumed the proceedings, apparently accepting the arrangement as beyond the purview of his pay grade.
While that affair soon dissolved into embarrassed jokes, it paved the way for far more serious charges. Defense counsel began to make noise about the severe limitations imposed on their confidential communications with clients, reporting that their messages were being intercepted, noting that government agents routinely seized approved communications during security sweeps of prisoners’ rooms, and, most seriously, expressing suspicion that their conversations were being monitored. These suspicions appeared to be confirmed when attorneys meeting their clients for conferences discovered that the “smoke detectors” installed in the ceilings above them were in fact supersensitive surveillance devices. Bar associations across the United States denounced all of these machinations as efforts by the U.S. government to undermine the most fundamental of fair-trial rights: the ability of a client to communicate in complete confidence with his counsel.
in full: http://harpers.org/blog/2013/04/a-final-act-for-the-guantanamo-theater-of-the-absurd/
Posted by Jefferson23 | Mon Apr 22, 2013, 08:43 PM (5 replies)