Cops Freak Out Over Free Speech in Vermont

By William Boardman – Reader Supported News

Mumia Abu-Jamal

Mumia Abu-Jamal


Police Go Nuts Over Mumia Abu-Jamal’s Remote Speech in Vermont
How a non-event becomes an “event” that ends in anti-climax

When Mumia Abu-Jamal was the pre-recorded speaker at a Goddard College commencement in Plainfield, Vermont, in 2008, almost no one outside the Goddard community paid any attention. This year, when Goddard announced that students had chosen Mumia to do a return engagement at their graduation, Philadelphia police, politicians, media, and Fox News went crazy with angry rhetoric aimed at curbing free speech.

In the end, this breakdown in civil society resulted in nothing worse than hundreds of police-instigated threats of violence to the Goddard community. For the sake of security, Goddard moved the graduation up three hours, with no public announcement, and the full-house ceremony for 24 students went forward with private security and without incident. Continue reading Cops Freak Out Over Free Speech in Vermont

Water crisis worsens as Sao Paulo nears ‘collapse’

Bloomberg News, By Vanessa Dezem, October 22

Sao Paulo, Brazil — Sao Paulo residents, half of whom are already complaining of hours-long water shortages, were warned by a top water regulator Tuesday to brace for more severe cutoffs.

“If the drought continues, residents will face more dramatic water shortages in the short term,” Vicente Andreu, president of Brazil’s National Water Agency, known as ANA, told reporters in Sao Paulo as he prepared to speak to the state legislature. “If it doesn’t rain, we run the risk that the region will have a collapse like we’ve never seen before,” he later told lawmakers.

The worst drought in eight decades is threatening drinking supplies in South America’s biggest metropolis, with 60 percent of residents saying their water supplies were restricted at least once in the past 30 days, according to a Datafolha poll published Monday. Three-quarters of those respondents said the cut lasted at least six hours.
Continue reading Water crisis worsens as Sao Paulo nears ‘collapse’

Dmitri Orlov: How to start a war and lose an empire

I somewhat infrequently read Dmitri Orlov. He’s Russian born, but moved to the US as a child, was educated here and wrote a book called Reinventing Collapse which I found illuminating. He recently penned a piece about our indelicate handling of the rest of the world, taken from his Russian perspective. I don’t necessarily share all of Dmitri’s beliefs, but I do think it important to understand how the world looks from the vantage points of others. How to start a war and lose an empire.

Matt Savinar radio interview

I was the subject of a radio interview a week or so ago, just before the release of the movie, Kill the Messenger, about the late Gary Webb. Listen to the interview here.

Watch this movie.

A Peek Inside the Conservative Mind

WARNING: Below, you will be exposed to toxic thinking and noxious conclusions from right-wing partisans. A Level Four HazMat suit is recommended. The CDC will NOT be available for protection. You have been warned. Proceed with caution. Should you experience nausea, vomiting, tearing eyes, a rise in blood pressure SHUT DOWN YOUR BROWSER IMMEDIATELY and seek expert medical attention from Doctors Jack Daniels or Jim Beam.

The Ebola crisis is, in point of fact, a manufactured crisis. Media outlets, tired of covering insipid and meaningless political horse races found a sexy and dangerous news item and not only ran with it, but decided to tie it into the politics of the day.

The prevailing wisdom, of course, is this crisis reflects badly on the CDC. I suppose when you push a false narrative, it has to. After all, the CDC is supposed to be on top of “crises” like these, and handle them with aplomb.

Continue reading A Peek Inside the Conservative Mind

Kobani Fighting Sends 400,000 Refugees to Turkey

The Voice of America, By Scott Bobb, October 19

Suruc, Turkey -The offensive by Islamic State militants against the northern Syrian city of Kobani has caused hundreds of thousands of residents to flee to Turkey. They receive help from Turkish authorities and individuals, but say much more is needed.

Morning in Suruc, southeastern Turkey. Rojava camp – one of several in this town of 20,000 – is a new neighborhood of refugees who arrived following the seizure of parts of Kobani by the Islamic State, or IS.

Some 400,000 people from Kobani and its surrounding villages, mostly Kurds, fled after IS militants executed hundreds of local residents saying they were infidels, according to Shaheen, a farmer who will give only his first name out of fear of reprisals against relatives still inside.

“They bombed and destroyed everything. They executed my cousin then they shared the photo of his head on Facebook. His name was Zuhir,” he said.

Senate’s inquiry into CIA torture sidesteps blaming Bush, aides

McClatchy, By Jonathan S. Landay, Ali Watkins and Marisa Taylor, October 16

A soon-to-be released Senate report on the CIA doesn’t assess the responsibility of former President George W. Bush or his top aides for any of the abuses of the agency’s detention and interrogation program, avoiding a full public accounting of one of the darkest chapters of the war on terror.

“This report is not about the White House. It’s not about the president. It’s not about criminal liability. It’s about the CIA’s actions or inactions,” said a person familiar with the document, who asked not to be further identified because the executive summary – the only part to that will be made public – still is in the final stages of declassification.

The Senate Intelligence Committee report also didn’t examine the responsibility of top Bush administration lawyers in crafting the legal framework that permitted the CIA to use simulated drowning called waterboarding and other interrogation methods widely described as torture, McClatchy has learned.

“It does not look at the Bush administration’s lawyers to see if they were trying to literally do an end run around justice and the law,” the person said.

Furiday Catblogging: The ‘I’ of the Cat


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Continue reading Furiday Catblogging: The ‘I’ of the Cat

Fed Chairwoman Yellen Inquires About How the Unemployed Find Jobs

The Wall Street Journal’s Real Time Economics Blog, By Pedro Nicolaci da Costa, October 16

Chelsea, MA —Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen on Thursday visited a nonprofit group here that helps unemployed people find work, and posed a question at the heart of the central bank’s debate over when to start raising interest rates.

“I’d be interested in any observations about what happened when you looked for jobs,” Ms. Yellen told current and former participants of the group’s programs. “Is it that you just couldn’t find things that were available, that the job market seemed weak, or is it particularly that your skills or things that you felt you needed to do in order to qualify for jobs that were there?”

Don’t they have an army of statisticians looking into this? Ms. Yellen – have you no training in optics?

White House says expired War Powers timetable irrelevant to Isis campaign

Resolution holds that presidents have 60-day window to conduct hostilities without an act of Congress blessing the conflict

The Guardian, By Spencer Ackerman, October 16

New York – The White House on Wednesday said a timetable that expired over a week ago limiting its ability to continue a war unauthorized by Congress does not apply to the operation against the Islamic State (Isis) militant group.

The 1973 War Powers Resolution holds that presidents have a 60-day window to conduct hostilities without an act of Congress blessing the conflict. Absent such an explicit authorization, wars are supposed to lose their legal force.

The White House repeatedly cited the War Powers Resolution throughout the summer, as it notified Congress about troop deployments and airstrikes that inaugurated the war. Initial troop deployments for the war began in mid-June, although some legal scholars doubted that the ostensibly non-combat deployments started the clock.

US Supreme Court blocks Texas abortion restrictions

Guardian – The US Supreme Court on Tuesday blocked key parts of a 2013 law in Texas that had closed all but eight facilities providing abortions in America’s second most-populous state.

In an unsigned order, the justices sided with abortion rights advocates and health care providers in suspending an October 2 ruling by a panel of the New Orleans-based US 5th Circuit Court of Appeals that Texas could immediately apply a rule that would force abortion clinics statewide to spend millions of dollars on hospital-level upgrades.

Justices Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas dissented.

Jukebox: Glen Campbell’s Farewell

…but we will miss you, Glen

Friday’s Jukebox early…

Breakthrough Replicates Human Brain Cells for Use in Alzheimer’s Research

NYT – For the first time, researchers have created what they call Alzheimer’s in a Dish — a petri dish with human brain cells that develop the telltale structures of Alzheimer’s disease. In doing so, they resolved a longstanding problem of how to study Alzheimer’s and search for drugs to treat it; the best they had until now were mice that developed an imperfect form of the disease.

The key to their success, said the lead researcher, Rudolph E. Tanzi of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, was a suggestion by his colleague Doo Yeon Kim to grow human brain cells in a gel, where they formed networks as in an actual brain. They gave the neurons genes for Alzheimer’s disease. Within weeks they saw the hard Brillo-like clumps known as plaques and then the twisted spaghetti-like coils known as tangles — the defining features of Alzheimer’s disease.

The work, which also offers strong support for an old idea about how the disease progresses, was published in Nature on Sunday.

Typhoon Vongfong injures dozens in Japan

BBC, October 12

Typhoon Vongfong, the strongest storm to hit Japan this year, is moving north towards the country’s main islands, leaving at least 30 injured in Okinawa.

Flights were cancelled amid pounding winds and rain, while hundreds of thousands had to evacuate their homes.

The storm is due to make landfall on Kyushu island on Monday morning. Kyushu’s bullet train services were suspended on Sunday due to the wind.
Continue reading Typhoon Vongfong injures dozens in Japan

300,000 Evacuated as Cyclone Hudhud approaches Indian coast


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BBC, October 11

A mass evacuation is taking place in India’s south-eastern coast a day before Cyclone Hudhud is expected to hit land.

Around 150,000 people have already left their homes in the coastal state of Andhra Pradesh. The cyclone, classed as “very severe” by the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), is expected to hit Orissa and Andhra Pradesh states on Sunday. The IMD predicts the storm will bring winds of up to 195km/h (120mph).

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NYT, October 12

A powerful cyclone crashed against the eastern coast of India on Sunday, uprooting trees, lashing the area with heavy rain and wind, and disrupting power and communication lines.Close to 300,000 people were evacuated from their homes in parts of the states of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh as of Sunday evening, according to disaster and relief officials in each state.

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