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MindMover

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Member since: Sun Jul 31, 2011, 05:36 PM
Number of posts: 4,895

Journal Archives

Elizabeth Warren: What happened to the middle class?

CNN) -- A great crack in America's middle class came to light recently: While our country continues to lead the world as the richest nation, our middle class, once the most affluent in the world, has fallen behind. According to an analysis by The New York Times, Canada's middle class is now the wealthiest, and working families in many countries have seen their incomes rise much faster than those in the United States.

The hollowing out of America's middle class has been years in the making, but it wasn't inevitable that working families would fall further and further behind. Instead, it was the direct consequence of deliberate choices Washington has made over the past generation to put the rich and powerful first and to leave working people to pick up whatever crumbs were left behind.

It didn't have to be this way. America knows how to build a middle class that is the envy of the world. After the Great Depression, America made two critical decisions.

First, it put in place strong rules to level the playing field for families, putting more cops on the beat to monitor financial markets and passing basic safety rules to temper the boom-and-bust financial cycle.

http://www.cnn.com/2014/05/01/opinion/warren-middle-class/index.html

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30+ years in destroying the middle class ...

Seattle Announces $15 Minimum Wage, Highest In The U.S.

Source: Think Progress

Seattle will raise its minimum wage to $15 an hour over the coming years under a deal brokered by Mayor Ed Murray and blessed by labor and business groups alike, city leaders announced Thursday afternoon.

The new pay floor will phase in at different speeds for businesses of different sizes, but all employers will have to meet the $15 minimum wage by the end of the decade. Businesses with more than 500 employees nationwide will have a three-year phase-in period, while smaller employers get five years to ratchet up their payscales.

After reaching $15 an hour, the city’s minimum wage will automatically climb by 2.4 percent each year regardless of the rate of inflation. Even among states with relatively strong minimum wage laws, automatic increases are uncommon. Thursday’s deal will make Seattle the national leader on municipal minimum wage laws. Washington currently has the highest pay floor of any state at $9.32 per hour.

The deal was a long time coming, with Murray first indicating he wanted to establish a $15 floor back in September during the mayoral campaign. Murray created the 24-member advisory group that crafted the compromise package back in December, and the group of local business owners, restaurateurs, and labor leaders has been grinding toward an agreement for the past four months.

Read more: http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2014/05/01/3433227/seattle-15-dollar-minimum-wage/



Can somebody say FINALLY ....

Donald Sterling banned from Bunny Ranch brothel following 'racist' rant

American brothel owner Dennis Hof has banned disgraced LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling from his Nevada sex clubs out of respect for his "smoking hot" African-American prostitutes and NBA players.

Mr Sterling found himself the subject of an outcry in the US last week, after he was allegedly recorded making racist remarks in an explosive conversation with girlfriend V. Stiviano.

In the recording obtained by gossip website TMZ, Sterling allegedly told her not bring black men to basketball games or post photographs on her Instagram account associating herself with black people.

The sports mogul has been banned from the National Basketball Association (NBA) for life and will have to pay a $2.5 million fine, the most severe punishment ever handed down to a team owner, for his "deeply offensive and harmful" remarks.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/donald-sterling-banned-from-bunny-ranch-brothel-following-racist-rant-9312812.html

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LOL, only in America ...

Conservatives, Evil and Psychopathy: Science makes the link!

It’s not the least bit surprising that Rush Limbaugh is still defending Donald Sterling, spinning an elaborate conspiracy theory about how Sterling was “set up” as Elias Isquith described here at Salon: “Whoever set this up,” Limbaugh said with understated drama, “is really good.”

He continued: “They covered every base. They’ve got the media wrapped around their little finger. I mean, when you get rid of the anthem singer — I used to be in charge of anthem singers at the Kansas City Royals. When you can get rid of (the) anthem singer, you’ve got power.”

Sure, it’s so far gone it’s silly, but defending old white guys is Limbaugh’s thing. Especially rich old white guys. And when he does it, he’s simply being a good conservative. Defending wealth, power, privilege, hierarchy—it’s just what conservatives do. Now, however, some folks—including social scientists—are beginning to ask, in effect, if they’re not actually defending, even promoting, evil as well.

Sterling’s self-immolating drama vividly illustrates what the questions involve. It’s not just that Americans—unbeknownst to Sterling, Cliven Bundy and Limbaugh—have come to an overwhelming consensus that racism itself is evil, though that’s certainly enormously important in and of itself. But there’s also the additional factor of interpersonal depravity—psychopathy, if you will, which people are increasingly coming to see as significantly over-represented in the 1 percent.

http://www.salon.com/2014/05/01/conservatives_evil_and_psychopathy_science_makes_the_link/

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I didn't need science to confirm reality ...

John Boehner assures Slave owners he won’t push immigration reform

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – House Speaker John Boehner on Tuesday reassured fellow Republican lawmakers that he will not push them to pass immigration reform and said he was just teasing last week when he criticized his caucus’s reluctance on the issue.

Boehner held a closed-door meeting with Republican House members to cool their anger over remarks he made last Thursday at a Rotary Club luncheon in his Ohio district.

In that widely reported speech, Boehner described the attitude of other House Republicans as: “Don’t make me do this.”

After Tuesday’s meeting in Washington to address the issue, Boehner told reporters: “You all know me. You tease the ones you love, but some people misunderstood what I have to say and some members misunderstood.”

Some congressional aides and immigration reform advocates viewed Boehner’s comments last week as a possible signal of a renewed drive to pass an immigration bill in the House. But Republican House members emerging from Tuesday’s meeting said the speaker played down that prospect.

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/04/29/john-boehner-assures-republicans-he-wont-push-immigration-reform/

Corporations Divest Nearly $60 Million From Private Prison Industry

Three corporations announced their divestment from Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and GEO Group, the two largest private prison companies in the United States, late last week.

Scopia Capital Management, DSM North America, and Amica Mutual Insurance pulled nearly $60 million in investments from CCA and GEO Group in the final quarter of 2013, marking full divestment for DSM and Amica and a 27 percent decrease in shares for Scopia. (Scopia has decreased its private prison stock by 59 percent since December 2012.) Their announcements mark the first round of success for civil rights nonprofit Color of Change, which has been pushing over 150 companies to divest from for-profit incarceration companies since last year. Color of Change is one of 16 organizations working towards these divestment goals as part of the National Prison Divestment Campaign.

"Companies that continue to stay with their investments in CCA and GEO Group are making a real decision about where they want their money and the ethical obligations they have to the greater society," Color of Change Executive Director Rashad Robinson told Mother Jones. Human rights advocates strongly oppose private prisons, alleging that they prioritize profit over rehabilitation and help fuel mass incarceration. Privately owned prisons have also been shown to have higher levels of violence and recidivism.

The founders of asset management company Scopia Capital, who donate to Democratic politicians like Colorado Senators Mark Udall and Michael Bennet, and have ties to other progressive organizations, have drawn criticism in the past for their company's stake in GEO Group. In its 2013 end-of-year filing, Scopia reported owning 4,320,339 shares of GEO Group, down from 10,621,223 shares at the end of 2012. According to Color of Change, the company has committed to a full divestment of GEO Group holdings, and is on pace to reach this target within the coming year.

http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/04/investment-corporations-divest-60-million-private-prison-cca-geo-group

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OMG -- Ethical behavior from Corporations ....

Irony of the Day: MORE THAN 100 SICKENED AFTER FOOD SAFETY SUMMIT

BALTIMORE (AP) — Health officials are investigating what may have sickened over 100 people who attended a conference where more than 1,300 food safety experts had gathered.

No one at the Food Safety Summit held April 8-10 in Baltimore was hospitalized, according to health officials, and most people reported cases of diarrhea.

Alvina K. Chu, who is leading the Maryland Department of Health's investigation, said Tuesday that officials haven't yet determined what caused people to get sick. It's not yet clear if the illness was transmitted by food or from person to person, she said.

The Baltimore City Health Department received complaints of nausea and diarrhea from four people one week after the conference. After the illnesses were reported, city health officials inspected the convention center after and its in-house catering company, Centerplate, on April 16, and issued a violation for condensation dripping from an ice machine, according to city health department spokesman Michael Swartzberg.

http://bigstory.ap.org/article/more-100-sickened-after-food-safety-summit

7 ways pesticide companies are spinning the bee crisis to protect profits ...

Bees and other pollinators are essential for two-thirds of our global food crops, from apples to watermelons.1 Bee pollination of crops has
been valued at $20 billion in the United States2 and $217 billion globally.3,4 Unfortunately, bees and other pollinators are in great peril, with
populations rapidly declining worldwide. A strong and growing body of evidence points to exposure to a class of neurotoxic pesticides
called neonicotinoids–the fastest-growing and most widely used class of synthetic pesticides–as a key contributing f actor to bee declines.5,6,7

Neonicotinoids (also called neonics) are used as seed treatments on more than 140 crops. Virtually all corn and a large percentage of soy, wheat and canola seeds planted in the U.S. are pretreated with neonics, despite research finding that this practice usually doesn’t increase crop yields or benefit farmers.8
Neonics are systemic pesticides that are taken up through roots and leaves and distributed throughout the entire plant, including pollen and nectar. They are persistent and accumulate over time in the environment.

Numerous studies reveal that neonicotinoids can kill bees outright by attacking their nervous systems, while low levels of exposure have been
shown to disrupt f oraging abilities,9 navigation, learning, communication, memory10 and suppress the immune systems of bees, making
them more vulnerable to disease and pests.11 While other factors have been identified as possible contributors to bee declines and
hive failure–such as pests,12 diseases, loss of forage and habitat13 and changing climate14--neonicotinoid pesticides are a core problem
that must be addressed. Science shows that exposure to neonics is a compounding factor that increases bee vulnerability and decreases
natural resilience to external stressors such as varroa mite pests and pathogens.15,16,17,18,19

http://libcloud.s3.amazonaws.com/93/f0/f/4656/FollowTheHoneyReport.pdf

The Forever Battery

Imergy Power Systems’ headquarters in an office park in one of Silicon Valley’s less glamorous precincts is the type of place where the future used to be invented. There are no Beats headphones-wearing 20-somethings on scooters. No foosball tables, rooftop beer garden or ironically named conference rooms. No birdhouses. Just a sea of drab, blue-gray cubicles. The median employee age appears to be around that of the typical software engineer who files an age-discrimination lawsuit. There are scientists wearing white lab coats. Some have white hair. The chief executive is 61 – that’s 120 in Silicon Valley years.

Needless to say, Imergy is not developing the next $19 billion app that Facebook will acquire, but the startup could end up powering Facebook.

"Basically, our battery lasts forever."

Imergy has spent years perfecting an energy storage device that, if it lives up to its billing, will help accelerate the big green future by allowing companies and homeowners to pull the plug on their local utility by banking electricity from solar arrays and wind farms for use when the sun is not shining or the wind is not blowing. A 250-kilowatt battery system installed in a 40-foot container, for instance, could store solar energy from the rooftop arrays of a 40-home neighborhood for later use.

This magic box is called a Vanadium redox flow battery. The heart of a flow battery are two electrolyte solutions – one positive, one negative – contained in separate tanks. When the solutions are pumped through a power cell containing a membrane, a chemical reaction takes place that generates electricity. When the process is reversed, the electrolyte stores energy.

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2014/04/the-forever-battery/361167/

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The Forever Battery

Imergy Power Systems’ headquarters in an office park in one of Silicon Valley’s less glamorous precincts is the type of place where the future used to be invented. There are no Beats headphones-wearing 20-somethings on scooters. No foosball tables, rooftop beer garden or ironically named conference rooms. No birdhouses. Just a sea of drab, blue-gray cubicles. The median employee age appears to be around that of the typical software engineer who files an age-discrimination lawsuit. There are scientists wearing white lab coats. Some have white hair. The chief executive is 61 – that’s 120 in Silicon Valley years.

Needless to say, Imergy is not developing the next $19 billion app that Facebook will acquire, but the startup could end up powering Facebook.

"Basically, our battery lasts forever."

Imergy has spent years perfecting an energy storage device that, if it lives up to its billing, will help accelerate the big green future by allowing companies and homeowners to pull the plug on their local utility by banking electricity from solar arrays and wind farms for use when the sun is not shining or the wind is not blowing. A 250-kilowatt battery system installed in a 40-foot container, for instance, could store solar energy from the rooftop arrays of a 40-home neighborhood for later use.

This magic box is called a Vanadium redox flow battery. The heart of a flow battery are two electrolyte solutions – one positive, one negative – contained in separate tanks. When the solutions are pumped through a power cell containing a membrane, a chemical reaction takes place that generates electricity. When the process is reversed, the electrolyte stores energy.

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2014/04/the-forever-battery/361167/

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One more nail in the coffin of dinosaur fuel
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