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Yet Another Media Version of FBI Agent Shooting Unarmed Friend of Boston Bomber

May 31, 2013 in Blogs

By Greg Mitchell, The Nation

The incident raised questions from the start, but now it is approaching absurdity—maybe parody


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The incident raised questions from the start, but now it is approaching absurdity—maybe parody. Next thing we know the weapon will IDed as Peggy Olson’s makeshift spear.

We refer, of course, to last week’s killing of Ibragim Todashev, an old friend of deceased Boston marathon bomber Tamalan Tsarnaev, in Orlando, Florida.  He was being interrogated by an FBI agent and other detectives about what he knew, if anything, about the bombing and also about his possible role in a triple murder, tied to drugs, in Waltham, Massachusetts. Allegedly he had just confessed that he and Tsarnaev committed the murders when he freaked, grabbed a knife and lunged at the agent, who naturally shot him dead.

The story sort of smelled from the start, given that there was one crazed guy and several law enforcement enforcers, not to mention that they were questioning him about a mass bombing and a triple murder and somehow let him get at a weapon. It was a “knife,” although there was mention of a “samurai sword” maybe in the room. But few in the media raised questions.

So now it turns out—as we suspected all along—that he was unarmed when shot and killed by the FBI agent in that infamous incident. Well, that was the report two days ago. Seems that he’d been shot six or seven times. This sparked family members to charge that he was simply “executed” and it also encouraged the Boston bombing conspiracy nuts to get nuttier. Conor Friedersdorf at The Atlantic with a major takeyesterday questioned not just shooting an unarmed man but the FBI unable to get its story straight.

And then, late last night: another official version: The bad guy suddenly had a “pole” that he hit an agent with—and also hit him with a table. Oh, wait, the pole might have been “a broomstick.” And he had to be shot seven times. I guess …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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New York Doctors Say Bloomberg's Statement on Medical Marijuana is Outrageous & Flies In the Face of Medical Science

May 31, 2013 in PERSONAL LIBERTY

By drosenfeld

Mayor’s Claim that Medical Marijuana is “Hoax” Comes One Day after 600 New York Physicians Pledge Support for NY Medical Marijuana Bill

New York – Mayor Bloomberg ran afoul of medical science and the opinions of more than 600 New York physicians when he called medical marijuana “one the great hoaxes of all time” earlier today. The statement comes just one day after NY Physicians for Compassionate Care held a press conference announcing the support of more than 600 physicians from across New York for medical marijuana legislation pending in Albany.

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Source: DRUG POLICY

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Fox News Commentator: Breadwinning Women Are “Hurting our Children"

May 31, 2013 in Blogs

By Annie-Rose Strasser, Think Progress

Erick Ericson's neanderthalian views of gender roles will really make you scratch your head.


Conservative commentator Erick Erickson earned himself a lot of detractors Wednesday night when, responding to the news that a record number of families rely on women’s income, he argued on Fox News that it was “natural” for men to take the “dominant role” and that women being the primary breadwinner for families is “hurting our children, and it’s going to have impact for generations to come.”

But Erickson stood by his comments on Thursday, first tweeting, “Husbands and wives should play complimentary roles w/ dad as breadwinner,” and then penning a longer piece on the site he edits, Red State, making the case for why women shouldn’t be the primary earner in a household. In it, he said that single mothers currently are able to handle parenting on their own solely because society “will subsidize their doing it all”:

In modern society we are not supposed to say such things about child rearing and families. In modern society we are not supposed to point out that children in a two-parent heterosexual nuclear household have a better chance at long term success in life than others. In modern society, we are supposed to applaud feminists who teach women they can have it all — that there is no gender identifying role and women can fulfill the role of husbands and fathers just as men do.

[...]

Feminists and politicians on both sides of the aisle view these statements as insulting to single moms and antithetical to their support for gay marriage. What should be insulting to single moms is for society to tell them they can do it all and, in fact, will subsidize their doing it all. I know a number of wonderful, nurturing single mothers. They do as best they can. Most of them have wonderful children. But not one of them prefers to be a single mother.[...]

Actually, American society is far from subsidizing the lives of single mothers. In fact,compared to other wealthy nations, single mothers fare terribly in America. Twenty five percent of single parents hold low-wage jobs, and …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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AlterNet Comics: Jen Sorenson on The Gap's Deadly Greed

May 31, 2013 in Blogs

By Jen Sorensen, AlterNet

How many more lives will it take?


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Source: ALTERNET

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George Selgin Defends Deflation–and Quantitative Easing

May 31, 2013 in Economics

By Joseph Salerno

In an interview on CNBC’s European Closing Bell show, George Selgin presents an eloquent and compelling defense of deflation that is caused by increasing productivity in the economy. He refers to this as “good deflation.” Indeed, Selgin argues that such deflation is “desirable,” because any attempt by the Fed to offset it by monetary expansion will create asset bubbles.

Unfortunately, in the same interview, Selgin defends the first round of quantitative easing undertaken by the Fed in 2008 on the Keynesian grounds of the necessity of offsetting a fall in total spending or “aggregate demand.” In Selgin’s words:

Back in 2008 a case existed for quantitative easing because there really was a shrinkage of demand and the Fed needed to do something about it. . . . It [quantitative easing] is sometimes flawed and sometimes not depending on whether it is in response to falling demand that needs to be revived, where it can play a role in reviving it under the right circumstances. . . .

Furthermore, Selgin correctly points out that arguments for the Fed targeting a stable price level or an inflation rate of two percent “aren’t founded on anything really sound.” And yet Selgin goes on to call on the Fed to target a constant level of total spending or “nominal GDP” in order to achieve his own preferred rate of price change for the economy. “According to my theory,” says Selgin, “a healthy rate of deflation is one that looks like productivity growth.” But why is this rate of change in overall prices any less arbitrary than, for example, the 2.5 percent increase in prices that Bernanke prefers? Why must changes in overall prices reflecting the public’s changing relative valuations of cash holdings vis-a-vis consumer and producer goods be eternally suppressed by the Fed, particularly falling prices resulting from an increase in the demand for cash?

In fact Selgin expresses a profound solidarity with Keynesian macroeconomists like Bernanke when he states in his interview that a shrinkage in the demand for goods is undesirable and must be avoided, whether by quantitative easing or by mandating that the Fed target a constant level of nominal GDP in the long run. Like Bernanke et al. it seems that Selgin has not learned the first principle of business cycles, which was originally discovered by the classical economists and elaborated …read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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I Secretly Recorded Mitch McConnell, And Now the FBI is After Me

May 31, 2013 in Blogs

By Curtis Morrison, Salon

“If given another chance to record him, I’d do it again.”


Earlier this year, I secretly made an audio recording of Sen. Mitch McConnell, the most powerful Republican on the planet, at his campaign headquarters in Kentucky. The released portion of the recording clocks in at less than 12 minutes, but those few minutes changed my life.

I leaked the recording to Mother Jones, which published it with a transcript and analysis in April, and over the days that followed, blogs and cable news shows lit up with the revelations from that one meeting. At the time, McConnell was prepping for a race against the actress Ashley Judd — it was “the Whac-a-Mole stage of the campaign,” McConnell said smugly — and the recording captures his team in some Grade-A jackassery, including plans to use Judd’s history of depression against her.

But also up for debate was the the ethics of the audio recording itself. Here’s the latest: An assistant U.S. attorney, Brian Calhoun, telephoned my attorney yesterday, asking to meet with him next Friday as charges against me are being presented to a grand jury.

In a technology age marked by vigilante heroes like Julian Assange and Anonymous, the line between journalism and espionage has grown thin. McConnell was quick to frame himself as the victim of a crime, which was to be expected. It was the guilty repositioning of a politician who has been caught being craven.

What I never expected was the pushback from my own political side. One day in April, I turned on MSNBC and saw U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, a Democrat from Louisville and one of my personal heroes, rip me a new one:

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

 

“These are like petty thieves,” Yarmuth said, referring to me and my friend, Shawn Reilly, who had accompanied me as I made the …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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'Pot-Friendly' Colorado to Regulate Marijuana Publications Like Porn

May 31, 2013 in Blogs

By Steven Hsieh, AlterNet

Three marijuana publications are suing the state for first amendment violations.


Three marijuana publications sued the state of Colorado over a law that forces storeowners to sell “green” magazines behind the counter, the Associated Press reports.

The regulation in question is part of a larger regulatory law signed by Governor John Hickenlooper on Tuesday to create a legal market for recreational marijuana. The magazine provision regulates the sale of pot-friendly publications in stores open to shoppers under age 21.

As with pornography, all magazines with a pro-marijuana message will be tucked behind the counter, away from children’s eyes. According to AP, the provision was included under pressure from parents.

But the publishers of High Times, the Daily Doobie and the Hemp Connoisseursay the Centennial State is trampling on their first amendment rights. They argue that photos of pot leaves “do not sell or promote obscenity,” referencing the Constitutional clause that allows for stores to cover up pornography. If magazines aren’t obscene, then regulating their sale is a violation of free speech, the publishers argue.

“This bill specifically targets the content of plaintiffs' speech: marijuana,” the lawsuit states. “Plaintiffs' speech is largely and often political, focusing on new and changing marijuana legalization and legislation.”

The lawsuit also argues that magazines centered on another substance, alcohol, aren’t regulated under Colorado law. This argument draws upon the name of the legal marijuana amendment Colorado voters passed in November: “The Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act of 2012.”

 

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Source: ALTERNET

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Get Government Out of Student Loan Business

May 31, 2013 in Economics

President Obama on Friday appeared in the Rose Garden with college students to pressure Congress to prevent increases in interest rates on government-subsidized student loans. But Cato scholar Neal McCluskey says the event was a blatant, inescapable demonstration of what really drives federal aid policy: politics. “Politicians aren’t primarily driven by a desire to make college affordable,” argues McCluskey. “They’re driven by a desire for political gain. And that’s why we need them to get out of the student aid business.”

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Source: CATO HEADLINES

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Access to Medical Marijuana for Patients with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in Oregon Passes State Legislature

May 31, 2013 in PERSONAL LIBERTY

By drosenfeld

If Signed by the Governor, Oregon will become the 4th State in the Nation to Recognize PTSD as an Eligible Condition

Bi-Partisan Cooperation was Key to the Bill’s Passage

(SALEM, OR) – Today, the Oregon House passed Senate Bill 281 with a vote of 36-21 to allow people suffering from Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) to qualify for Oregon’s medical marijuana program. It passed the Oregon State Senate earlier this spring. If signed by the Governor, Oregon will join New Mexico, Connecticut and Delaware as the fourth state to specifically recognize PTSD as an eligible condition for medical marijuana.

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Source: DRUG POLICY

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Common Core Delay Is an Opportunity for Real Education Reform: As I See It

May 31, 2013 in Economics

By Jason Bedrick

Jason Bedrick

Gov. Tom Corbett’s decision to delay implementation of controversial national education standards provides an opportunity to refocus efforts on expanding an education initiative with proven success: Pennsylvania’s Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) program.

Pennsylvania should continue to empower parents and liberate educators through school choice.”

Last week, Gov. Corbett ordered the delay of the state’s Common Core Standards, which school districts had been set to start implementing in just under two months. Common Core is a federally-backed initiative intended to create uniform standards across states.

Chief among myriad concerns, Common Core incentivizes top-down conformity. Standardized tests compel schools to teach the same concepts on the same schedule, without regard to the interests or abilities of individual students. If the goal is to provide a quality education to each unique student, a one-size-fits-all approach is clearly not the right one.

In explaining the administration’s decision, Department of Education spokesman Tim Eller emphasized that Corbett “remains committed to ensuring that all Pennsylvania public school students—regardless of zip code—have access to a quality education.” 

If so, the governor should redirect his efforts toward expanding the EITC program.

The EITC program grants 75 to 90 percent tax credits to corporations in return for donations to nonprofit scholarship organizations that fund assistance to low-income students. 

Since its inception in 2001, more than 350,000 EITC scholarships have been awarded to students so they can attend the schools of their choice. There are currently more than 45,000 low-income students receiving EITC scholarships.

While there is no research demonstrating that national standards like the Common Core would improve student outcomes, there are numerous high-quality studies showing that parental choice and competition between independent and public schools improve academic performance, raise graduation rates, and increase college matriculation.

A recent literature review by the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice reported that 11 of 12 random assignment studies—the gold standard of social science research—found that school choice improves student outcomes. Only one found no visible, positive impact, and not one found negative results. 

Moreover, studies of Florida’s scholarship tax credit program found modest but statistically significant increases in the academic performance of both public school students and students who move to independent schools as a result of the increased choice and competition.

A wider review of hundreds of international studies using various methodologies revealed that the education systems that produce better outcomes are not those that are more centralized but rather those that are closer to a free market. The review found that by …read more

Source: OP-EDS