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marmar

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Gender: Male
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 70,152

Journal Archives

German insurance firm rewards top employees — with an orgy


Four years ago, German insurer Munich Re threw one heck of an office party — an orgy — for 100 of its best employees as a reward for their hard work.

Held at a thermal baths in Budapest, Hungary, attendees were reportedly presented with 20 colour-coded prostitutes.

“The women wore red and yellow wrist bands. One lot were hostesses, the others would fulfill your every wish,” reported the German newspaper Handelsblatt.

The white-banded girls were reserved for the big bosses. ...................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.thestar.com/news/world/article/1109215--german-insurance-firm-rewards-top-employees-with-an-orgy?bn=1



David Korten: Capitalism's Threat to Democracy, Pts. I & II


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Public Transit: A New Year's Eve lifesaver


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CTA Continues its “Penny” Rides Tradition for New Year’s Eve Revelers
12/22/2011

Customers Urged to Enjoy the Convenience and Ease of Public Transit

The Chicago Transit Authority is encouraging people headed out to holiday celebrations on New Year’s Eve to take advantage of the convenience of CTA bus and rail service. The agency will once again will provide rides on all CTA buses and trains for one penny, beginning at 10 p.m. on Saturday, December 31 until 4 a.m. Sunday, January 1.

The CTA is pleased to provide this convenience to its customers but is reminding them to not use their magnetic strip farecards or Chicago Card/Chicago Card+ farecards during this time to avoid being charged the value of a regular full-fare. No refunds will be issued if a full-fare is deducted from a farecard during the penny ride period. ..............(more)

http://www.transitchicago.com/news/default.aspx?ArticleId=2967


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December 19, 2011

On New Year’s Eve, the Toronto Transit Commission will offer free, extended service after midnight to 4 a.m. on January 1, 2012. Please don’t drink and drive.

Late night service on most routes will operate later than usual. Subway trains will arrive approximately every 5 minutes. Blue Night service will begin at 4 a.m. ..................(more)

http://www3.ttc.ca/News/2011/December/1219_new_years.jsp


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FREE SERVICE AFTER 8 PM
COMPLETE SCHEDULE AVAILABLE BELOW

The MBTA (Boston) is providing extra transit services throughout the First Night festivities and will be offering FREE service after 8:00 p.m. Extra MBTA Police will patrol the system to assist with crowd control and safety.

• Blue, Orange, Green, and Red Line trains will operate on a Saturday schedule. Additional trains will operate and provide rush-hour levels of service throughout the evening from 3:00 p.m. until approximately 2:00 a.m.
• Buses, Silver Line, and trackless trolleys will operate on a Saturday schedule.
• Commuter Rail Service on New Year’s Eve will operate on a Saturday schedule with extended extra service provided. .......(more)

http://www.mbta.com/about_the_mbta/news_events/?id=23489&month=&year=


............





MUNI (San Francisco)

New Year's Eve 2011

Begin page content.

Free service on New Year's Eve (details below)
Additional service: Metro Subway, L Owl, N Owl, 5, 14, 22, 24, 38, 90, 91.
Reroutes only if needed: F, 1, 5, 6, 8X, 9, 10, 12, 14, 21, 24, 31, 35, 38, 45, 71, L Owl, N, Owl, California Cable Car.
Bus substitution: F.
Dates: Saturday, Dec. 31, 2011, through early Sunday, Jan. 1, 2012.
Time: overnight ...............(more)

http://www.sfmta.com/cms/malerts/SFMuniNewYearsEve.htm



Kudos to public transit on New Year's Eve !!!!


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CTA Continues its “Penny” Rides Tradition for New Year’s Eve Revelers
12/22/2011

Customers Urged to Enjoy the Convenience and Ease of Public Transit

The Chicago Transit Authority is encouraging people headed out to holiday celebrations on New Year’s Eve to take advantage of the convenience of CTA bus and rail service. The agency will once again will provide rides on all CTA buses and trains for one penny, beginning at 10 p.m. on Saturday, December 31 until 4 a.m. Sunday, January 1.

The CTA is pleased to provide this convenience to its customers but is reminding them to not use their magnetic strip farecards or Chicago Card/Chicago Card+ farecards during this time to avoid being charged the value of a regular full-fare. No refunds will be issued if a full-fare is deducted from a farecard during the penny ride period. ..............(more)

http://www.transitchicago.com/news/default.aspx?ArticleId=2967


............





December 19, 2011

On New Year’s Eve, the Toronto Transit Commission will offer free, extended service after midnight to 4 a.m. on January 1, 2012. Please don’t drink and drive.

Late night service on most routes will operate later than usual. Subway trains will arrive approximately every 5 minutes. Blue Night service will begin at 4 a.m. ..................(more)

http://www3.ttc.ca/News/2011/December/1219_new_years.jsp


............





FREE SERVICE AFTER 8 PM
COMPLETE SCHEDULE AVAILABLE BELOW

The MBTA (Boston) is providing extra transit services throughout the First Night festivities and will be offering FREE service after 8:00 p.m. Extra MBTA Police will patrol the system to assist with crowd control and safety.

• Blue, Orange, Green, and Red Line trains will operate on a Saturday schedule. Additional trains will operate and provide rush-hour levels of service throughout the evening from 3:00 p.m. until approximately 2:00 a.m.
• Buses, Silver Line, and trackless trolleys will operate on a Saturday schedule.
• Commuter Rail Service on New Year’s Eve will operate on a Saturday schedule with extended extra service provided. .......(more)

http://www.mbta.com/about_the_mbta/news_events/?id=23489&month=&year=


............





MUNI (San Francisco)

New Year's Eve 2011

Begin page content.

Free service on New Year's Eve (details below)
Additional service: Metro Subway, L Owl, N Owl, 5, 14, 22, 24, 38, 90, 91.
Reroutes only if needed: F, 1, 5, 6, 8X, 9, 10, 12, 14, 21, 24, 31, 35, 38, 45, 71, L Owl, N, Owl, California Cable Car.
Bus substitution: F.
Dates: Saturday, Dec. 31, 2011, through early Sunday, Jan. 1, 2012.
Time: overnight ...............(more)

http://www.sfmta.com/cms/malerts/SFMuniNewYearsEve.htm


Alcohol Abuse




San Francisco Becomes First in Nation with $10 Minimum Wage (and the Sky Isn't Going to Fall)


AlterNet / By John Schmitt

San Francisco Becomes First in Nation with $10 Minimum Wage (and the Sky Isn't Going to Fall)
The business community is screaming that the higher wages will "cost jobs," but the data suggest otherwise.

December 30, 2011 |


On January 1, the minimum wage in San Francisco will cross the psychological threshold of $10 an hour. An automatic cost-of-living adjustment built into city law will raise the wage floor 3.2 percent, from its current $9.92 to $10.24. Predictably, employers have been warning that the increase will cost jobs. In fact, a great deal of economic evidence suggests otherwise.

Last March, my CEPR colleague, David Rosnick, and I finished a detailed study of the employment impact of the first three years of the San Francisco minimum wage. Back in early 2004, San Francisco established a city-wide minimum wage of $8.50 --25 percent higher than the $6.75 California state minimum wage at the time and 65 percent higher than the prevailing federal minimum of $5.15.

We analyzed employment patterns in a range of industries with a high share of low-wage workers, including fast food and retail. We compared trends in wages and employment in San Francisco before and after the increase with trends over the same period in San Francisco's adjacent suburbs and, separately, in nearby Oakland, two areas where the minimum wage was unchanged.

To rule out statistical flukes, we looked at the impact after one year, then two years, then three years. We also examined the impact on low-wage employers, regardless of industry, and we isolated the impact on small employers (fewer than 10 employees and 10 to 24 employees). .............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.alternet.org/economy/153620/san_francisco_becomes_first_in_nation_with_%2410_minimum_wage_%28and_the_sky_isn%27t_going_to_fall%29/



Our Economy Has Failed -- Until We Admit That, We're Screwed


ColorLines / By Kai Wright

Our Economy Has Failed -- Until We Admit That, We're Screwed
Industries, communities, natural resources, even sports leagues have collapsed as Ronald Reagan’s corrosive vision has become dominant.

December 30, 2011 |


At the foot of Manhattan’s Broadway Ave., just below Wall Street, stands one of the city’s most reliable tourism draws: Arturo Di Modica’s 3.5-ton statue of a charging bull. Since 1989, the sculpture has been an iconic symbol of American wealth, of the aggressive capitalist spirit that, it is argued, made this country great and powerful. Visitors flock from around the world to rub the bull’s horns for good luck. Or they used to, at least. Now, tourists snap pictures from behind police barricades.

For more than two months, the raging bull of wealth has sat caged, facing eye-to-eye with a New York Police Department cruiser as cops have worked around the clock to protect it from the Occupy Wall Street movement. The park’s administrator has called the security “Orwellian.” That’s to say the least.

If you’re looking for visuals to encapsulate 2011, look no further than the bizarre scene at Di Modica’s bull. Daily, the country’s largest police force mobilizes to protect the idea of American prosperity from an imagined threat, while the actual economy lays gored and gutted by demonstrable and ongoing crimes.

In the immediate, this perversity results from a spectacular failure of political leadership. We traveled a long, winding road to the point at which no-brainers like a modest payroll tax cut and an extension of unemployment benefits demand political brinksmanship. People of varying ideologies and partisan affiliations may debate endlessly who’s more at fault, but to do so is to truly miss the forest for the trees. The ugly reality is no leader in either party has yet shown the mettle to rise and meet the enormity of today’s challenges. ...............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.alternet.org/economy/153614/our_economy_has_failed_--_until_we_admit_that%2C_we%27re_screwed/



10 Pop Monstrosities That Almost Destroyed Our Culture in 2011


from AlterNet:




.....(snip).....

1. Movie: Atlas Shrugged, Part 1

Even if this movie wasn’t predicated on dismal Rand-worship and probably the most tedious/annoying book of her career, it’s bad based on sheer artistry. Set in the dystopian near-future of 2016, it bumps up against every dramatic action film cliche imaginable, a Tea Party fingerpainting of corporate greed. That said, this movie is AMAZING in its hilarity, possibly the best unintentionally humorous American film since National Treasure, with all the requisite deep melodrama and overacting that is somehow also stiff. It’s terrible but a pleasure to watch, particularly when you consider that with all the rich libertarians in the world, no one could pool their money for better talent! Haha.

2. Documentary: The Undefeated

If Sarah Palin’s fawning, lionizing documentary weren’t crafted for the sole purpose of revising her career and casting her in a noble light, the tale of how it came to be might have been funny: gleaming fanboy Stephen K. Bannon piles compliments on his feckless heroine, his love blinding him to her mishaps. It almost deserves a Mel Brooks script—only it’s real, and the Palin faithful brought in around $75k the first week in only 10 theaters. The Palin hustle has quieted down a bit, but expect this to be trotted out as evidence of her wondrousness closer to the election (and as absurd GOP candidates mention her as a potential running mate). It’s just depressing that it requires actual political propaganda to get her there.

.....(snip).....

7. Musical Group: Lady Antebellum

Aside from the obvious—that the group’s name fetishizes an era in which black people were enslaved—this year the Nashville trio released Own the Night, an album that was completely offensive in its non-offensiveness. Ciphoning any semblance of personality until it was an opaque wisp of music, it thrived on cliche lyrics, boring harmonies, terrible interludes and completely generic everything. The musical equivalent of being inside a shopping mall, the place that varies only slightly no matter where you are in the world, Own the Night is an attempt to whitewash its own world into empty vertigo. Horrifying.

.....(snip).....

8. Twilight Movie: Breaking Dawn, Part 1

Going into the movie adaptations of Stephenie Meyer’s ridiculously popular vampire love stories, we knew they were highly Christian, but Breaking Dawn is too much: an entire (pretty long!) treatise that basically says sex is 1) only for married people; and 2) for the sole purpose of procreation and abortion is never, ever an option, even if it means the mother is going to die. Pro-life to the point of squeamishness, and even the gorgeous visage of Rob Pattinson couldn’t take away the sting. ................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.alternet.org/story/153621/10_pop_monstrosities_that_almost_destroyed_our_culture_in_2011/



Gingrich thinks Palin would be a darned fine energy secretary


from Grist:



Gingrich thinks Palin would be a darned fine energy secretary

by Lisa Hymas
30 Dec 2011 9:43 PM


Newt Gingrich told conservative activists on Wednesday that Sarah "Drill Baby Drill" Palin would be an ideal candidate for secretary of energy.

"I can't imagine anybody who would do a better job of driving us to an energy solution than Gov. Palin, for example," Gingrich said during a conference call hosted by Ralph Reed's Faith and Freedom Coalition. "Tell her that she would certainly be on the list of one of the people we would consider."

No matter that Palin is clueless about how global energy markets work. In trying to blame President Obama for high gas prices in May 2011, she made these rambling and nonsensical remarks to Fox News: "But rising gas prices -- there is an inherent link, David, between energy and security, energy and prosperity, and energy and freedom, and this is something that obviously our president doesn't understand because he's doing all that he can to manipulate the U.S. supply of energy. He is diminishing and decreasing the amount of energy in our market domestically and that, of course, resulting in prices that are rising and gas having doubled since he has been in office."

She also doesn't understand climate change, cap-and-trade, and, oh, so much else. .............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.grist.org/election-2012/2011-12-30-gingrich-thinks-palin-would-be-a-darned-fine-energy-secretary



Tornadoes in 2011 Set Deadly Records


from the Scientific American:



Many of us may remember the jaw-dropping images of the May 22, 2011, tornado that tore through Joplin, Mo., killing 158 people and leaving an incredible 14-mile path of destruction. But that system was only one of the record-breaking tornado events this year. Data compiled by meteorologist Jeffrey Masters shows that when deaths, damage and financial losses are considered, 2011 can be called the worst U.S. tornado year on record.

Masters, who runs the Weather Underground, a Web site that provides local forecasts, analyzes severe weather and turns raw storm data from the National Weather Service into captivating maps and data visualizations, has posted a compilation of record and near-record tornado events for 2011. Some notable stats from his post are below. A blow-by-blow description of the year’s major tornadoes, as well as a list of the deadliest tornadoes in U.S. history, can be found on NOAA’s 2011 tornado review page.

* Six top-end EF-5 tornadoes hit the U.S. in 2011, tying this year with 1974 for the greatest number.
* 2011 ranks third behind 1974 and 1965 for the greatest number of strong to violent EF-3, EF-4 and EF-5 tornadoes. .........(more)

The complete piece is at: http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/2011/12/28/tornadoes-in-2011-set-deadly-records/



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