Friday Night Fun and Culture: Macy Gray and Esperanza Spalding

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Grayson Bashes Romney

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Transgender attacks on the rise in Mission District

Hey Y’all Be Careful! We don’t need more people’s names on that yearly list..

From San Francisco ABC:  http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=news%2Flocal%2Fsan_francisco&id=8638247

Vic Lee
April 26, 2012

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — There’s been a disturbing increase in the number of attacks on transgender people in San Francisco, especially in the Mission District.

“We are developing a trend here that we have not seen before,” San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon said. “About a third of all hate crimes we’ve seen this year have been focusing on transgender women and that’s very, very concerning for us.”

A security camera caught two suspects who police say committed one of the more brutal attacks when they beat a transgender woman with an iron pipe outside a Mission District restaurant.

Mia Tu Mutch was a victim in another attack. In April of last year, she was assaulted by two men, also in the Mission.

“They made a lot of derogatory and hateful comments and then proceeded to beat me and kick me in a very crowded public way,” Tu Mutch said.

She was then sexually assaulted by a third man who had no connection with her attackers.

Continue reading at:  http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=news%2Flocal%2Fsan_francisco&id=8638247

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Cut world population and redistribute resources, expert urges

From The Guardian UK:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/apr/26/world-population-resources-paul-ehrlich

Nuclear disaster or plague likely unless population shrinks and natural resources are reassigned to poor, says Prof Paul Ehrlich


guardian.co.uk, Thursday 26 April 2012

The world’s most renowned population analyst has called for a massive reduction in the number of humans and for natural resources to be redistributed from the rich to the poor.

Paul Ehrlich, Bing professor of population studies at Stanford University in California and author of the best-selling Population Bomb book in 1968, goes much further than the Royal Society in London which this morning said that physical numbers were as important as the amount of natural resources consumed.

The optimum population of Earth – enough to guarantee the minimal physical ingredients of a decent life to everyone – was 1.5 to 2 billion people rather than the 7 billion who are alive today or the 9 billion expected in 2050, said Ehrlich in an interview with the Guardian.

“How many you support depends on lifestyles. We came up with 1.5 to 2 billion because you can have big active cities and wilderness. If you want a battery chicken world where everyone has minimum space and food and everyone is kept just about alive you might be able to support in the long term about 4 or 5 billion people. But you already have 7 billion. So we have to humanely and as rapidly as possible move to population shrinkage.”

“The question is: can you go over the top without a disaster, like a worldwide plague or a nuclear war between India and Pakistan? If we go on at the pace we are there’s going to be various forms of disaster. Some maybe slow motion disasters like people getting more and more hungry, or catastrophic disasters because the more people you have the greater the chance of some weird virus transferring from animal to human populations, there could be a vast die-off.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/apr/26/world-population-resources-paul-ehrlich

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Jon Corzine Is the Original George Zimmerman

From Rolling Stone: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/blogs/taibblog/jon-corzine-is-the-original-george-zimmerman-20120424

By Matt Taibbi
April 24, 2012

So the Senate Banking Committee is beginning hearings todayon the MF Global scandal, hearings entitled, “The Collapse of MF Global: Lessons Learned and Policy Implications.” Apparently the government has already moved to the reflective, introspective, South Park-ian, “You know, I learned something today!” stage in its examination of the scandal, despite the fact that the government’s official “response” hasn’t even started yet, i.e. authorities have yet to arrest a single person in this brazen billion-dollar theft story.

To make an obvious comparison: Much like the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman case, the outrage here goes beyond the fact of the horrific crime. An equally profound insult in both cases lay in the fact that that serious crime obviously had been committed, and yet authorities refused to act for months. This situation with former Goldman chief and U.S. Senator Jon Corzine and the officials of MF Global involves a less physically savage offense, but the authorities’ refusal to act is every bit as incredible.

Nobody disputes the fact that MF Global officials dipped into customer accounts and took over $1.6 billion of customer money. We not only know that company officials reached into customer accounts, we know they brazenly lied to bondholders, ratings agencies and investors about the firm’s financial condition (“MF Global’s capital and liquidity has never been stronger,” wrote the CFO of MF Global’s holding company, on the same day Moody’s downgraded it to junk status).

We even know that eighteen days before the firm went bust, company officers discussed how quickly to return money to customers, and even contemplated, in writing, the possibility of not returning the money right away. This is from a risk-assessment document prepared by company officers entitled “Break the Glass”:

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In Honor of Women

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Trillion Dollar Crisis: The Case for Student Loan Forgiveness

From Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rep-hansen-clarke/student-loan-forgiveness_b_1454241.html


04/25/2012

The financial tidal wave of 2008 left millions of American homeowners “underwater,” owing more on their homes than their properties are worth.

This has decimated consumer demand and destroyed countless dreams.

Yet homeowners are not the only group of Americans who find themselves “underwater.” After decades of skyrocketing tuition and stagnant wages, American students and graduates now often owe significantly more on their student loans than their degrees are — in dollar terms — worth.

This week, President Obama took a decisive stand for students, fighting to prevent a three-point hike in interest rates on federally-subsidized Stafford loans. Over the past several months, he has also proposed an accelerated income-based repayment program and new incentives for states to contain costs. These are steps in the right direction. But we need more decisive action to get America’s “underwater” students and graduates back on dry land.

The ever-growing cost of getting a degree is at the heart of the problem. Public institutions, where a majority of students are educated, have steadily increased tuition as public financing has declined. Amidst unprecedented state budget cutting, average public tuition increased by an astounding 8.3 percent in 2010 alone.

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rep-hansen-clarke/student-loan-forgiveness_b_1454241.html

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Violence Against Women Act passes in the Senate

Mark Rubio ultra right wing Republican Senator from Florida whose name has been floated to be Romney’s vice presidential candidate apparently thinks violence against women is a good thing as he voted against the Violence Against Women Act.

Thus showing once again how much Republicans hate women.

From The LA Times:  http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/la-pn-violence-against-women-act-passes-in-the-senate-20120426,0,2304689.story

By Lisa Mascaro Washington Bureau
April 26, 2012

WASHINGTON — Sidestepping a politically dangerous fight, Senate Republicans made temporary peace with Democrats to approve the reauthorization of a popular law designed to help prevent and respond to domestic and sexual abuse.

Passage of the Violence Against Women Act on a 68-31 vote gives momentum to the legislation, which would reauthorize more than $650 million in programs. Fifteen Republicans joined Democrats in passage. But the bill still faces hurdles in the House, where Republican leaders plan to offer an alternative proposal.

“The Violence Against Women Act is an example of what the Senate can accomplish when we work together,” said Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), the bill’s author.

Usually the reauthorization has bipartisan support. But this year it has become enmeshed, at least temporarily, in the partisan wrangling that has dominated this Congress.

Senate Democrats sought to expand the legislation to specifically ensure protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Their version, which had a robust 61 cosponsors, also sought to increase the number of visas available for immigrant women facing abuse.

Continue reading at:  http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/la-pn-violence-against-women-act-passes-in-the-senate-20120426,0,2304689.story

See also Huffington Post: Al Franken Weeps While Speaking In Support Of Violence Against Women Act

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Halfway Through the Lost Decade

From Truth Dig:  http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/halfway_through_the_lost_decade_20120426/

By Robert Scheer
Posted on Apr 25, 2012

Does anyone care that the economy is floundering and that we are not getting out of this crisis anytime soon? Housing values are in the cellar, the Fed foresees unemployment remaining unacceptably high for the next three years, and national economic growth is predicted to be, at best, anemic.

Even the substantial rise of stock averages during recent years has been based in large part on the ability of companies such as Apple to outsource jobs and sales to booming markets led by China—while America’s graduating students face mountainous debt and what is shaping up as a decade without opportunity.

These are the inescapable conclusions to be drawn from a gloomy report released Wednesday by the Federal Reserve. In that document, the Fed revises downward its growth projection for the next two years and predicts, in the words of a New York Times article about the report, that “unemployment will remain a massive and persistent problem for years to come.” The housing failure that is the root cause of this economic emergency continues unabated because there is no political will in either party to aid beleaguered homeowners.

Beneath all the pundit blather about the election lies the fact that most deeply affects the voters’ well-being: Home prices are at a decade low, and in cities like Atlanta and Las Vegas they are as dismal as they have been since the Case-Shiller indices started tracking housing prices in the early 1990s.

Without a resurgence in housing value, consumer confidence will remain moribund and a woefully weak labor market will persist. Every time housing seems to be rebounding, the banks and the feds unload more of their toxic mortgages and prices edge lower.

Continue reading at:  http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/halfway_through_the_lost_decade_20120426/

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Wendell Berry: This old farmer is still full of piss and vinegar

From Grist: http://grist.org/business-technology/wendell-berry-this-old-farmer-is-still-full-of-piss-and-vinegar/

By Scott Carlson
25 Apr 2012

In a time when we’ve seen global economic crisis, societal unrest, and ecological deterioration, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) could not have picked a more potent speaker than Wendell Berry for this year’s Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities. In his remarks in Washington, D.C., on Monday, the essayist, novelist, and poet — a Kentuckian long known for his advocacy for family farming, community relationships, and sustainability — delivered a characteristically eloquent yet scathing critique of the industrial economy and its toll on humanity.

“The two great aims of industrialism — replacement of people by technology and concentration of wealth into the hands of a small plutocracy — seem close to fulfillment,” Berry told the crowd at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. “At the same time, the failures of industrialism have become too great and too dangerous to deny. Corporate industrialism itself has exposed the falsehood that it ever was inevitable or that it ever has given precedence to the common good.”

The Jefferson Lecture “is the most prestigious honor the federal government bestows for distinguished intellectual achievement in the humanities,” according to the NEH, which sponsors it every year.

Before the speech, Berry wryly commended the NEH’s courage in inviting him without first reading his remarks. At the end of the event, NEH Chair Jim Leach humorously added: “The views of the speaker do not necessarily reflect the views of the United States government.”

Continue reading at:  http://grist.org/business-technology/wendell-berry-this-old-farmer-is-still-full-of-piss-and-vinegar/

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$5,000 For a Pair of Sandals: The Rich Are Different, Right Down to Their Shoes

From Alternet:  http://www.alternet.org/visions/155139/%245%2C000_for_a_pair_of_sandals%3A_the_rich_are_different%2C_right_down_to_their_shoes_/

In a world where kids are starving and ice caps are melting, how can people spend $5K on shoes?

By Sara Robinson
April 24, 2012

The fashionista world has been having a collective snit this spring over a huge and sudden increase in the price of designer shoes. A choice quote from Jezebel summarizes the outraged screams rising across the nation:

Any dedicated observer of shoe culture knows that over the last decade or so, something very strange and concerning happened to designer shoes: they got really fucking expensive. In the early 2000s, a pair of Pradas or YSLs could be had at full price for around $400.

$400 is pretty damn insane, but that was then: at the most recent Barneys Warehouse Sale many of the sale prices were higher than that. One struggles to name a consumer item whose price has inflated more dramatically in recent years than the designer shoe (and it’s not like $400 is “cheap,” as baselines go, to begin with). Basic designer pumps now often hit in the $700-$900 range. Even newer designers, like Brian Atwood and Camilla Skovgaard, feel justified in pricing some of their offerings at over $1000. Christian Louboutin‘s zippered heels will set you back nearly $1600. Anything with embellishment or exotic leather might top $2000.

What. The. Fuck?

Safe behind its paywall, WWD — the fashion industry’s paper of record — has apparently defended the increase, explaining that materials prices have gone up, and the US dollar has lost ground against the euro, and also admitting (in many more obfuscating words) that designers and retailers are working overtime to exploit the already absurdly high profit margins to be found on statusy shoes and handbags.

Continue reading at:  http://www.alternet.org/visions/155139/%245%2C000_for_a_pair_of_sandals%3A_the_rich_are_different%2C_right_down_to_their_shoes_/

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The Ghost of Joe McCarthy Slithers Again

From Common Dreams:  http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/04/26-6

by Bill Moyers and Michael Winship
Published on Thursday, April 26, 2012 by Common Dreams

We’ve talked at times about George Orwell’s classic novel 1984, and the amnesia that sets in when we flush events down the memory hole, leaving us at the mercy of only what we know today. Sometimes, though, the past comes back to haunt, like a ghost. It happened recently when we saw Congressman Allen West of Florida on the news.

A Republican and Tea Party favorite, he was asked at a local gathering how many of his fellow members of Congress are “card-carrying Marxists or International Socialists.”

He replied, “I believe there’s about 78 to 81 members of the Democrat Party who are members of the Communist Party. It’s called the Congressional Progressive Caucus.”

By now, little of what Allen West says ever surprises. He has called President Obama “a low level Socialist agitator,” said anyone with an Obama bumper sticker on their car is “a threat to the gene pool” and told liberals like Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi to “get the hell out of the United States of America.” Apparently, he gets his talking points from Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, or the discredited right wing rocker Ted Nugent.

But this time, we shook our heads in disbelief: “78 to 81 Democrats… members of the Communist Party?” That’s the moment the memory hole opened up and a ghost slithered into the room. The specter stood there, watching the screen, a snickering smile on its stubbled face. Sure enough, it was the ghost of Senator Joseph McCarthy, the Wisconsin farm boy who grew up to become one of the most contemptible thugs in American politics.

Continue reading at:  http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/04/26-6

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