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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Poverty • Republican Politics • Fruits/Veggies Help You Live Longer • Right-Wing Myths About Wind Power • Leather • Obama's Kill List • more

- How extremism is normalized
    The Obama administration has converted once unthinkable government claims into permanent political fixtures
- Conservative Media Try to Reverse Racial Reality
    Conservatives must be feeling regretful. After nearly fifty years of using appeals to white racial resentment to take over the South, win presidential elections and control of Congress, conservatives are realizing this might come back to bite them in the ass. As the right wing has become xenophobic and anti-Latino, conservatives have watched young Latinos and young Asian Americans join young African-Americans in being overwhelmingly Democratic. The greater diversity of this younger generation has in turn meant that Democrats, especially Barack Obama, have won handily among young voters in recent elections. All of a sudden, conservatives see being the party of angry white males as a potential liability, and they want to change their image.
- Man Tattoos Leviticus 18:22 That Forbids Homosexuality On His Arm, But Leviticus 19:28 Forbids Tattoos
    Picture says it all.
- Scott Walker Spent 88% of the Money to Get 53% of the Vote
    the real winner in Wisconsin on Tuesday was not Republican Gov. Scott Walker, but Big Money. And the real loser was not Democrat Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, but democracy.In other words, business and billionaires bought this election for Walker.  The money paid for non-stop TV and radio ads as well as mailers.  There's no doubt that if the Barrett campaign had even one-third of the war- chest that Walker had, it would have been able to mount an even more formidable grassroots get-out-the-vote campaign and put more money into the TV and radio air war. Under those circumstances, it is likely that Barrett would have prevailed.
    Pundits can have a field day pontificating about the Wisconsin election, but in the end its about how Big Money hijacked democracy in the Badger State on Tuesday, and how they're trying to do it again in November.
- The plutocrats who bankrolled the Republican primaries--and what they want in return
    Leave it to Bill Moyers, one of America's most useful citizens, to sum up our country's present political plight in a succinct metaphor: "Our elections have replaced horse racing as the sport of kings. These kings are multibillionaire, corporate moguls who by divine right--not of God, but [of the Supreme Court's] Citizens United decision--are now buying politicians like so much pricey horseflesh."
- Fruits and Vegetables Boost Longevity in Women
    New research suggests that eating plant-based foods can lower the risk of death in senior-age women.
- Myths & Facts About Wind Power
    Following relentless attacks on the solar industry in the wake of Solyndra's bankruptcy, wind power has become the latest target of the right-wing campaign against renewable energy. But contrary to the myths propagated by the conservative media, wind power is safe, increasingly affordable, and has the potential to significantly reduce pollution and U.S. reliance on fossil fuels.
- Probability of contamination from severe nuclear reactor accidents is higher than expected: study
    Catastrophic nuclear accidents such as the core meltdowns in Chernobyl and Fukushima are more likely to happen than previously assumed. Based on the operating hours of all civil nuclear reactors and the number of nuclear meltdowns that have occurred, scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Mainz have calculated that such events may occur once every 10 to 20 years (based on the current number of reactors) — some 200 times more often than estimated in the past.
- Tuna contaminated with Fukushima radiation found in California
    Bluefin tuna contaminated with radiation believed to be from Fukushima Daiichi turned up off the coast of California just five months after the Japanese nuclear plant suffered meltdown last March, US scientists said.
- How Estrogens Persist in Dairy Wastewater
    Wastewater from large dairy farms contains significant concentrations of estrogenic hormones that can persist for months or even years, researchers report in a new study. In the absence of oxygen, the estrogens rapidly convert from one form to another; this stalls their biodegradation and complicates efforts to detect them, the researchers found.
- Stella McCartney Takes On the Leather Trade
    Find out why fashion designer Stella McCartney chooses to leave leather out of her collections.

- Another Casualty of War?: The Environment
    War is hell. And that hell involves the environment, whether forests, fish or fowl.There's unexploded ordnance. Fuel spills and fires. Chemical defoliants, polluted water supplies, even the depleted uranium from modern armor-piercing bullets leaching into the land. The bid to build nuclear weapons in recent decades has left a legacy of toxic contamination across the globe, from Rocky Flats, Colorado to Mayak in southern Russia.
    Then there are the conflict driven resource curses, like blood diamonds from West Africa or Congo's coltan, a metallic ore that supplies materials for consumer electronics.
- Glenn Greenwald: Obama’s Secret Kill List "The Most Radical Power a Government Can Seize" video
    The New York Times revealed this week that President Obama personally oversees a "secret kill list" containing the names and photos of individuals targeted for assassination in the U.S. drone war. According to the Times, Obama signs off on every targeted killing in Yemen and Somalia and the more complex or risky strikes in Pakistan. Individuals on the list include U.S. citizens, as well as teenage girls as young as 17 years old. "The president of the United States believes that he has the power to order people killed, assassinated, in total secrecy, without any due process, without transparency or oversight of any kind," says Glenn Greenwald, a constitutional law attorney and political and legal blogger for "I really do believe it’s literally the most radical power that a government and a president can seize, and yet the Obama administration has seized this power and exercised it aggressively with very little controversy."
- This Week in Poverty: Will Janitors Strike in Houston?
    In Houston, more than 3,200 janitors clean the offices of some of the largest and most powerful corporations in the world: JP Morgan Chase, Shell, Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Wells Fargo, KBR and Marathon Oil, to name a few. For their labor, they are paid an hourly wage of $8.35 and earn an average of $8,684 annually. Two janitors together would earn about $17,300 a year—still well below the poverty line of $22,314 for a family of four.Yesterday, the contract between the janitors and the cleaning contractors expired. SEIU Local 1 spent the past month trying to reach an agreement to raise the janitors’ hourly wage to $10 over the next three years. But the contractors countered with an offer of a $0.50 pay raise phased in over five years and—according to SEIU spokesperson Paloma Martinez—said that they “wouldn’t budge.” The contractors claimed that the building owners and tenants—the aforementioned corporations—aren’t willing to pay anything close to a living wage.
- Wage Theft: A Crime Without Punishment?
    Low-wage workers in the United States face many harsh and demeaning circumstances—not being entitled to paid sick days, for instance. But there’s something particularly shocking about wage theft, an element of insult added to injury: not only does your boss pay you as little as he can get away with; he keeps a nice chunk of it for himself, just because he can. How much? According to “Broken Laws, Unprotected Workers,” a 2009 paper written by Milkman, Annette Bernhardt et al., fully 26 percent of the low-wage workers they studied in three cities—New York, Chicago and Los Angeles—had been paid less than the legally required minimum wage in the previous week; 60 percent of these were underpaid by more than $1 an hour. All in all, 68 percent of the sample had had at least one pay-related violation in the previous workweek. That turned out to be an average of $51 a week, or $2,634 a year. If a politician proposed increasing taxes by this amount, he’d be hanged from the nearest lamppost.
- The Gap Between The Rich And The Poor Is So Large, You Can Literally See It From Space
    Below are satellite images from Google Earth that show two neighborhoods from a selection of cities around the world. In case it isn’t obvious, the first image is the less well-off neighborhood, the second the wealthier one. Now even passing aliens can marvel at our regressive fiscal policies!
- The Amazon Effect
    How Amazon is helping to destroy small business, etc.
- Ten Reasons to Avoid Doing Business With
    Read all 10.
- Cocaine Habit Ages Brain Prematurely
    Although cocaine makes people feel more alert and on top of things in the moment, it can leave users vulnerable to a much slower brain in the long run. A new study shows that chronic use ages key parts of the brain at an accelerated rate.