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Established 1973 — Last updated: Thursday, September 3, 2015, 8:54 AM
We aggregate important news
Today's posts in bigger type––>.
Prior 2 days posts in small type.
Obama's ACA didn't fix this:
The U.S. wastes $1.6 Trillion/yr on bloated health care spending as compared with the 2011 OECD per capita average, which becomes extra overhead on everything U.S. workers make—resulting in offshoring manufacturing and jobs. Let's adopt more efficient practices instead of cutting Medicare and Medicaid coverage as part of some "Grand Bargain"
2011 US per capita health care spending was $4390 more per person than in France (acclaimed as having the best healthcare) and $5169 above the OECD average without better results. (Ref. 2009, 2007, selected 2007 with avg. doctor visits showing we're least cared for for the money, 2003 and 1998.)

Lastly, importantly, health worker pay is NOT the problem.

The state nearly set a record for number of acres burned this year, while the Iditarod once more had to be moved north.

The average winter temperature in Alaska has increased by six degrees over the past 60 years, and Alaska’s has had more extremely hot days and fewer extremely cold days over the last few decades, according to the National Climate Assessment. Precipitation has increased too, as winters see more rain and less snow.

ALANA SEMUELS | The Atlantic
Some species of albatross and shearwaters seem to be the most prone to eating plastic pieces. Photograph: Britta Denise Hadety/CSIRO/AP
Some species of albatross and shearwaters seem to be the most prone to eating plastic pieces. Photograph: Britta Denise Hadety/CSIRO/AP
Birds are eating ‘astronomical’ amount of marine debris they mistake for fish eggs, with the biggest problem areas near Australia and New Zealand
Associated Press | The Guardian

Pope Francis has so far had a tough time selling his high-profile climate campaign to Americans—even to the faithful. Two recent national surveys asked whether American Catholics were familiar with the pope's call for action, and the results were decidedly mixed.

James West | Mother Jones

As heroin addiction soars in the United States, a boom is underway south of the border, reflecting the two nations’ troubled symbiosis. Officials from both countries say that Mexican opium production increased by an estimated 50 percent in 2014 alone, the result of a voracious American appetite, impoverished farmers in Mexico and entrepreneurial drug cartels that straddle the border.

AZAM AHMED | The New York Times
Photograph: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
A sign is displayed on the exterior of a Citibank branch office in San Francisco, California. A division of Citibank has published a report finding that slowing global warming would produce a positive return on investment. Photograph: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
A report from America’s 3rd-largest bank asks why we’re not transitioning to a low-carbon economy

The Citi report breaks down the investment costs in the Action ($190.2 trillion) and Inaction ($192 trillion) scenarios. Its conclusion soundly refutes the main argument against climate action – that it’s too expensive, with some contrarians even having gone so far as to claim that cutting carbon pollution will create an economic catastrophe. To the contrary, the Citi report finds that these investments will save money, before even accounting for the tremendous savings from avoiding [health and] climate damage costs.

As the Citi report concludes, the international climate conference in Paris at the end of this year will be a critical opportunity for world leaders to finally commit to curbing global warming for the benefit of the vast majority, at the expense of the few wealthy and powerful fossil fuel interests.

Dana Nuccitelli | The Guardian
A boat trip in the Northwest Passage shows evidence of shrinking ice and glaciers. Photograph: Jeff Topham/One Ocean Expeditions
A boat trip in the Northwest Passage shows evidence of shrinking ice and glaciers. Photograph: Jeff Topham/One Ocean Expeditions
An Arctic voyage through the awe-inspiring Northwest Passage shows that, with oil drilling in the far north on the way, rapid action is needed to protect the region
Robin McKie | The Guardian
Eni discovers largest known gas field in Mediterranean [will encourage replacing coal power plants faster]
Italian energy group says Zohr field off Egyptian coast could hold as much as 30tn cubic feet of gas and that more may be found in future drilling
Reuters | The Guardian
A wealth of new research suggests foods rich with fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can slow memory loss

Janet Redman / Foreign Policy in Focus | Informed Comment | Ref.
Though Canada's system is the second most expensive in the world per capita, it would save America $1.3 Trillion/yr and cover everyone
OLGA KHAZAN | The Atlantic | Ref.
The cost of cancer drugs [13:52 60 Minutes' video]
Lesley Stahl discovers the shock and anxiety of a cancer diagnosis can be followed by a second jolt: the astronomical price of cancer drugs

Dr. Peter Bach: Medicare has to pay exactly what the drug company charges. Whatever that number is.

Lesley Stahl: Wait a minute, this is a law?

Dr. Peter Bach: Yes.

Lesley Stahl: And there's no negotiating whatsoever with Medicare?

Dr. Peter Bach: No.

[All other OECD countries negotiate much lower drug & medical procedure costs]
CBS News | Ref.
Elisabeth Rosenthal in The New York Times | Ref.
Unprofessional journalists are 'roasted'.
BOB SOMERBY in The Daily Howler | EVERY DAY

Civic Events:
  • Wednesday, Sept. 9th 7–9 pm: Growing Hope in a Field of Uncertainty: Women's Enterprise in Current Afghanistan
    • this summer's photos and stories by Fahima Vorgetts-Gaheez
    Director, Afghan Women’s Fund

    • Enter free parking lot from Chesterfield Ave off Harford Rd. Church Hall entrance off the parking lot. On the #19 Bus Route
    • Handicrafts and other items available for purchase. All proceeds go to AWF projects in Afghanistan
    For more information: Alicia at or 443-722-2024
  • Ongoing: MD Humanities Council's Events Calendar

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In video footage shot by a student and provided to local news network, there appears to be no visible attempt by the deputies to use non-lethal force
Nicky Woolf | The Guardian

Police officers who arrived at the wrong metro Atlanta home after a report of suspicious activity shot the man who lives there, killed his dog and “likely” shot a fellow officer, leaving him seriously wounded, authorities said Tuesday.

Associated Press | The Guardian
“I think you’re looking at the candidate who can substantially increase voter turnout all across the country.”

“In my view, Democrats will not retain the White House, will not regain the Senate or the US House, will not be successful in dozens of governor races across the country, unless we generate excitement and momentum and produce a huge voter turnout,” said Sanders, who added, “With all due respect—and I do not mean to insult anyone here—that turnout, that enthusiasm, will not happen with politics as usual. The people of our country understand that given the collapse of the American middle class, and given the grotesque level of income and wealth inequality we are experiencing, we do not need more establishment politics or establishment economics.”

John Nichols | The Nation

Most Democrats regard the Iraq War as a historic disaster. Clinton voted for that conflict. That hawkishness wasn’t a fluke. She pushed for U.S. intervention in Libya without Congressional approval and without anticipating all that has gone wrong in that country. She favored U.S. intervention in the Syrian civil war as well. Why haven’t Democrats concluded that she has dangerously bad judgment on foreign policy? She certainly hasn’t done anything to distinguish herself in that realm.

After calling his intellectual opponents treasonous, and allegedly exaggerating his credentials, a controversial law professor resigns from the United States Military Academy.
MATT FORD | The Atlantic

Walmart, the nation’s leading gun dealer, denies that society’s growing revulsion at [too frequent mass shootings] has anything to do with its decision last week to stop selling the AR-15 and a full range of similar assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines. Weakening sales was the reason, Walmart insists, despite reports that adapted war rifles and pistols continue as the industry’s big sellers.

“Hillary Clinton saw her support in Iowa dwindle as voters boosted Bernie Sanders in the latest Bloomberg Politics/ Des Moines Register poll that also found a bipartisan dislike for the state of politics in the United States. Bloomberg’s Phil Mattingly reports on “Bloomberg Surveillance.”

Bloomberg Business: ” Bernie Sanders Gains Steam in Latest Iowa Survey”
Phil Mattingly / Bloomberg Business | Informed Comment

....In a 2003 book she co-authored with her daughter, Warren said, “Senators like Joe Biden should not be allowed to sell out women in the morning and be heralded as their friend in the evening.”

As long as other candidates are competing to sound tougher-than-thou, as long as the conversation is about how high to build new walls and blame is ascribed to immigrants for not assimilating quickly enough, the GOP is digging itself a hole that will be hard to escape.

Eugene Robinson | The Washington Post
Wingnuts have become increasingly reliant on reality-defying paranoia. Here's how it happened
 Bulldozers and diggers work on the Egyptian side of the Gaza border. Photograph: Khalil Hamra/AP
Bulldozers and diggers work on the Egyptian side of the Gaza border. Photograph: Khalil Hamra/AP
Wars and eight-year economic blockade have left ‘almost all of population destitute’, says UN body
Peter Beaumont | The Guardian
A group of migrants walk to Serbia’s border with Hungary. Photograph: Matt Cardy/Getty Images
A group of migrants walk to Serbia’s border with Hungary. Photograph: Matt Cardy/Getty Images
Governments divided over how to deal with unprecedented migration to the EU, with states increasingly blaming each other
Ian Traynor | The Guardian
The top lobbyist for the agreement, along with John Kerry’s former chief of staff, answer a prominent critic’s questions for President Obama.
After the Wisconsin governor called a possible border wall ‘a legitimate issue’, Canada’s defence minister calls idea old-fashioned as others ridicule Walker
John Barber | The Guardian

Mr. Erdogan last month agreed to let the Americans use Incirlik air base and two other bases to fly missions against ISIS, a long overdue commitment that should have been pro forma for a NATO ally but took a year of tough negotiations because of Turkish resistance. He also agreed to join the American-led coalition in the fight against ISIS.

But it is clear that his main priority is fighting the Kurdish separatists. The United States should use its influence in the region to stop the fighting and deprive Mr. Erdogan of an excuse to continue a military operation that makes the difficult struggle against the Islamic State even harder.

Accusations of terrorism are a window into how the Turkish government tries to intimidate reporters, but also how a media bad boy is maturing.
DAVID A. GRAHAM | The Atlantic
An artist’s impression of the Promenade, a cycle-friendly Christchurch redevelopment project. Photograph: Christchurch Central Development Unit
An artist’s impression of the Promenade, a cycle-friendly Christchurch redevelopment project. Photograph: Christchurch Central Development Unit
After the 2011 disaster, residents were asked what they wanted from the city once known as ‘Cyclopolis’. They demanded a greener, more people-focused Christchurch – and investment in new cycleways means it is starting to happen
Charles Anderson | The Guardian
Here, people gather in front of a registration office in Berlin's Moabit district in late August. (Hermann Bredehorst/ DER SPIEGEL)
Here, people gather in front of a registration office in Berlin's Moabit district in late August. (Hermann Bredehorst/ DER SPIEGEL)
Germany is experiencing an unprecedented influx of immigrants who will fundamentally change the country. They represent a burden, but also a chance to create a New Germany, one that is more cosmopolitan and generous.
SPIEGEL Staff | Der Spiegel
(Credit: AP/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
(Credit: AP/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
Dick and Liz Cheney oppose diplomacy with Iran because of "American Exceptionalism," Hitler, Nazis, blah blah blah
US police have fatally shot 30 people in moving vehicles this year, despite federal guidelines advising them not to. Why have police departments pulled the trigger on drivers rather than reform?
Jon Swaine, Jamiles Lartey and Oliver Laughland Illustration by Simon Prades | The Guardian
After two mistrials, prosecutors to drop murder charge against former police chief Richard Combs as he agrees to plead guilty to misconduct in office
Associated Press | The Guardian

As in places like Ferguson and Baltimore, tensions over race and police conduct have risen in Milwaukee, where the population is 40 percent black, compared with 6 percent statewide. Demonstrators took to Milwaukee’s streets after the death of Dontre D. Hamilton, 31, a black man who was shot in a downtown park last year by a white police officer. Mr. Flynn fired the officer, but local prosecutors did not file charges against him. Witnesses said Mr. Hamilton, who had been sleeping before the encounter, had grabbed the officer’s baton and hit him or was trying to do so.

Chief Flynn said that his officers were responding to crimes as they always have, but that they were making fewer traffic stops and conducting fewer field interviews, a fact he attributed to “free-floating anxiety” among officers around the nation.

“This is a job that requires judgment, but it requires judgment being exercised under pressure in ambiguous circumstances,” he said. “In that context you are going to sometimes, trying to do the right thing, still make the wrong decision.”

The former secretary of labor explains how we can tweak patent law so it benefits more than a privileged few

In 1928, famed British economist John Maynard Keynes predicted that technology would advance so far in a hundred years – by 2028 – that it will replace all work, and no one will need to worry about making money.

[....Instead of raising taxes on the very very rich—who would find ways to hide or avoid taxes—] I propose we look instead at the patents and trademarks by which government protects all these new inventions.

Such government protections determine what these inventions are worth. If patents lasted only three years instead of the current twenty, for example, What’sApp would be worth a small fraction of $19 billion – because after three years anybody could reproduce its messaging technology for free.

Instead of shortening the patent period, how about giving every citizen a share of the profits from all patents and trademarks government protects? It would be a condition for receiving such protection.

Say, for example, 20 percent of all such profits were split equally among all citizens, starting the month they turn eighteen.

In effect, this would be a basic minimum income for everyone.

The sum [ideally] would be enough to ensure everyone a minimally decent standard of living – including money to buy the technologies that would free them up from the necessity of working. [A higher (and internationally uniform) financial transaction tax could supplement shared patent revenue for minimum incomes]


We're tracking where taxpayer money has gone in the ongoing bailout of the financial system. Our database accounts for both the broader $700 billion bill and the separate bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
ProPublica | Ref.
SARAH ANDERSON in CounterPunch | Ref.
ANDREW HACKER in The New York Review of Books | Ref.
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