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 1 
 on: Today at 12:49 am 
Started by Deva - Last post by Upasika
Hi Deva,

Thanks for mentioning that, those other transits do add to the impact of the temporary skipped step!

blessings Upasika

 2 
 on: Sep 02, 2014, 03:15 pm 
Started by Linda - Last post by Linda
Hi Deva,

Could you please help explain how to incorporate the EA understanding/interpretation of the upcoming Moon Phases:

(1) with the transiting Lunar Nodes in terms of (a) individual application, and (b) collective application;

(2) with the natal Lunar Nodes in terms of (a) individual application, and (b) collective application.

Example:

MOON PHASES 2014:
Oct 23 – 22:56 UTC – 00º Sco 25′ – Solar Eclipse October 2014
Nov 06 – 22:22 UTC – 14º Tau 26′ – Full Moon November 2014
Nov 22 – 12:32 UTC – 00º Sag 07′ – New Moon November 2014
Dec 06 – 12:26 UTC – 14º Gem 18′ – Full Moon December 2014
Dec 22 – 01:35 UTC – 00º Cap 06′ – New Moon December 2014

TRANSITING LUNAR NODES (True):
Oct 23 – 19º Ari/Lib 18′ Rx
Nov 06 – 19º Ari/Lib 12′ Rx
Nov 22 – 18º Ari/Lib 44′ Rx
Dec 06 – 17º Ari/Lib 52′ Rx
Dec 22 – 16º Ari/Lib 17′ Rx

(3) Do the above upcoming 3 New Moons all at 00º endow a stronger than usual cardinality to those cycles?

Thanks so much!

Love,

Linda

 3 
 on: Sep 02, 2014, 03:14 pm 
Started by Deva - Last post by Linda
Hi Deva,

Could you please help explain how to incorporate the EA understanding/interpretation of the upcoming Moon Phases.

Please see New Topic entitled, "Moon Phases."

Thanks so much.

Love,

Linda

 4 
 on: Sep 02, 2014, 02:06 pm 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
Baltics Poised for Obama Visit amid High Anxiety over Russia

by Naharnet Newsdesk
02 September 2014, 22:22

From Tallinn to Warsaw, Russian moves in Ukraine are sparking grave concern across a region deeply scarred by war and decades of Soviet occupation on the eve of a landmark visit by U.S. President Barack Obama.

"I'm very worried mainly because every time it seems like it can't get any worse, it does," says Helen Sildna, 35, a music festival impresario in Estonia's capital Tallinn where Obama will touch down Wednesday en route to a NATO summit in Wales.

"European leaders just keep on expressing their 'grave concern', nothing more. They don't do what needs to be done to change the situation," she told Agence France-Presse.

Estonia's Prime Minsiter Taavi Roivas say Russia's intervention in Ukraine has fundamentally altered Europe's security and that the West must respond with a long-term strategy.

"This isn't just a period of bad weather, it's climate change. So our reaction has to be long-term," he told the Financial Times.

More than 100 prominent Baltic figures, including former leaders of Estonia Arnold Ruutel and Lithuania's Vytautas Landsbergis, on Monday urged "a permanent presence of allied troops" in the Baltic states in an open letter to Obama.

Their call echoes similar ones by leaders from across the region for permanent NATO or U.S. boots on the ground, a move they hope will materialize at the Wales summit.

"Russia's overt neo-imperialism cannot but make us fear that we are potential objects of its expansionist dreams," the joint letter said, urging Obama to take an "emphatically unambiguous stand ... defending the vision of a free Europe."

Analysts, however, admit that expectations about what Obama can deliver in Tallinn in terms of regional security must be tempered by the fact that the real deals will be cut at the two-day NATO summit starting Thursday. 

"The Estonian wish list, insofar as one exists, will have to defer to an obvious need not to rock the boat in the run-up to Cardiff," Ahto Lobjakas, an analyst at Estonian Foreign Policy Institute told AFP.

On the street, the language is more blunt.

In Latvia's capital Riga, Janis Jansons, 47, does not mince his words as he goes about his shopping: "The malignant tumor Pig Putin's a thug. We need to stand up to him, or where will it end? If he succeeds in Ukraine, he would look here next. You can bet on it."

The Baltic nation broke free from the crumbling Soviet Union in 1991 after nearly five decades of occupation and joined the EU and NATO in 2004, along with fellow Balts Lithuania and Estonia.

"Being in NATO does make a difference. If we weren't, he would probably be here already. I have seen American troops in the street here and it made me feel good. I wish there were more of them."

Anxiety is also fueled by the presence of large Russian-speaking minorities which represent more than a quarter of the population in Estonia and Latvia, respectively 1.3 and two million.

"At first I thought he was right to re-claim Crimea but now I don't. Ukraine was Russia's friend and brother. Is it worth losing a good friend over a small piece of land?" ethnic-Russian Latvian Anna Slavinskaya, 52, told AFP.

Enn Toom, a retired Estonian mathematician and psychologist, frets over what he terms Moscow's "dark propaganda" against Ukraine and cynicism in the West.

He points to an ethnic-Russian Estonian "who under the influence of Russian propaganda went to rescue his Ukrainian brothers from the 'fascist Kiev Junta'. After having seen the reality he returned home a few weeks later."

"Also I'm worried about the toothless hypocrisy and greed of the so-called western countries. For example the sale of sophisticated military technology to the aggressor," said the 75-year-old, referring to a lucrative deal by France to sell hi-tech Mistral warships to Russia.

Meanwhile, young Lithuanians like manager Vytautas Budreika, 25, have taken to social media to raise funds for humanitarian aide for Ukraine.

"Six years ago I was confident Russia posed no threat. But after its 2008 action against Georgia and now Ukraine, I believe Russia is dangerous ... and I'm very much afraid," he told AFP.

Anxiety is less palpable in Poland, but its war-torn past weighs heavily on the Polish psyche.

"Resorting to armed force against neighbors, annexing their territory, preventing them from freely choosing their  international ties, conjures up the darkest chapters of European history," Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski said Monday at ceremonies marking 75 years since an attack by Nazi Germany on Poland set off World War II.

"I'm very concerned about what is happening between Russia and Ukraine. To be honest, I avoid the news because it sends shivers down my spine," Polish pensioner Barbara Rybeczko-Tarnowiecka told AFP.

 5 
 on: Sep 02, 2014, 02:06 pm 
Started by Steve - Last post by Rad
Baltics Poised for Obama Visit amid High Anxiety over Russia

by Naharnet Newsdesk
02 September 2014, 22:22

From Tallinn to Warsaw, Russian moves in Ukraine are sparking grave concern across a region deeply scarred by war and decades of Soviet occupation on the eve of a landmark visit by U.S. President Barack Obama.

"I'm very worried mainly because every time it seems like it can't get any worse, it does," says Helen Sildna, 35, a music festival impresario in Estonia's capital Tallinn where Obama will touch down Wednesday en route to a NATO summit in Wales.

"European leaders just keep on expressing their 'grave concern', nothing more. They don't do what needs to be done to change the situation," she told Agence France-Presse.

Estonia's Prime Minsiter Taavi Roivas say Russia's intervention in Ukraine has fundamentally altered Europe's security and that the West must respond with a long-term strategy.

"This isn't just a period of bad weather, it's climate change. So our reaction has to be long-term," he told the Financial Times.

More than 100 prominent Baltic figures, including former leaders of Estonia Arnold Ruutel and Lithuania's Vytautas Landsbergis, on Monday urged "a permanent presence of allied troops" in the Baltic states in an open letter to Obama.

Their call echoes similar ones by leaders from across the region for permanent NATO or U.S. boots on the ground, a move they hope will materialize at the Wales summit.

"Russia's overt neo-imperialism cannot but make us fear that we are potential objects of its expansionist dreams," the joint letter said, urging Obama to take an "emphatically unambiguous stand ... defending the vision of a free Europe."

Analysts, however, admit that expectations about what Obama can deliver in Tallinn in terms of regional security must be tempered by the fact that the real deals will be cut at the two-day NATO summit starting Thursday. 

"The Estonian wish list, insofar as one exists, will have to defer to an obvious need not to rock the boat in the run-up to Cardiff," Ahto Lobjakas, an analyst at Estonian Foreign Policy Institute told AFP.

On the street, the language is more blunt.

In Latvia's capital Riga, Janis Jansons, 47, does not mince his words as he goes about his shopping: "The malignant tumor Pig Putin's a thug. We need to stand up to him, or where will it end? If he succeeds in Ukraine, he would look here next. You can bet on it."

The Baltic nation broke free from the crumbling Soviet Union in 1991 after nearly five decades of occupation and joined the EU and NATO in 2004, along with fellow Balts Lithuania and Estonia.

"Being in NATO does make a difference. If we weren't, he would probably be here already. I have seen American troops in the street here and it made me feel good. I wish there were more of them."

Anxiety is also fueled by the presence of large Russian-speaking minorities which represent more than a quarter of the population in Estonia and Latvia, respectively 1.3 and two million.

"At first I thought he was right to re-claim Crimea but now I don't. Ukraine was Russia's friend and brother. Is it worth losing a good friend over a small piece of land?" ethnic-Russian Latvian Anna Slavinskaya, 52, told AFP.

Enn Toom, a retired Estonian mathematician and psychologist, frets over what he terms Moscow's "dark propaganda" against Ukraine and cynicism in the West.

He points to an ethnic-Russian Estonian "who under the influence of Russian propaganda went to rescue his Ukrainian brothers from the 'fascist Kiev Junta'. After having seen the reality he returned home a few weeks later."

"Also I'm worried about the toothless hypocrisy and greed of the so-called western countries. For example the sale of sophisticated military technology to the aggressor," said the 75-year-old, referring to a lucrative deal by France to sell hi-tech Mistral warships to Russia.

Meanwhile, young Lithuanians like manager Vytautas Budreika, 25, have taken to social media to raise funds for humanitarian aide for Ukraine.

"Six years ago I was confident Russia posed no threat. But after its 2008 action against Georgia and now Ukraine, I believe Russia is dangerous ... and I'm very much afraid," he told AFP.

Anxiety is less palpable in Poland, but its war-torn past weighs heavily on the Polish psyche.

"Resorting to armed force against neighbors, annexing their territory, preventing them from freely choosing their  international ties, conjures up the darkest chapters of European history," Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski said Monday at ceremonies marking 75 years since an attack by Nazi Germany on Poland set off World War II.

"I'm very concerned about what is happening between Russia and Ukraine. To be honest, I avoid the news because it sends shivers down my spine," Polish pensioner Barbara Rybeczko-Tarnowiecka told AFP.

 6 
 on: Sep 02, 2014, 08:00 am 
Started by Steve - Last post by Rad
EU Decision on Russia Sanctions by Friday

by Naharnet Newsdesk
02 September 2014, 15:57

European Union nations will decide on new sanctions against Moscow by Friday, with Russian aggression towards Ukraine requiring the strongest possible response, incoming EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini said.

Leaders of the 28-member EU decided on Saturday to impose a fresh round of sanctions against Russia after alleging that Moscow had deployed troops and weapons to back a rebel counteroffensive in southeast Ukraine.

Mogherini, currently the Italian foreign minister, said the European Commission, the bloc's executive, would present a package of new tougher measures to ambassadors in Brussels as soon as Wednesday.

The EU ambassadors are "meeting again tomorrow, Thursday and Friday, and by Friday a decision will be adopted", she told reporters after meeting European parliamentarians following her nomination as EU diplomatic chief on Saturday.

She said the sanctions would be in the four areas -- financial sanctions, arms, dual-use materials and technology -- targeted by earlier rounds of sanctions.

"Things on the ground are getting more and more dramatic," she said.

"We speak about an aggression and I think that we need to respond in the strongest possible way to that, in order that pressure is put to find a political solution."

Mogherini said the fact that there had been peace talks in Belarus this week was a "little light in a time of complete darkness."

 7 
 on: Sep 02, 2014, 07:57 am 
Started by Steve - Last post by Rad
In the USA...United Surveillance America

The ongoing corruption of the USA corporate media .......... for those who actually read world news you will know that what your President Obama is doing is just about identical to all the European leaders ...

Rep. Peter King Joins The Ranks Of Right Wingers Heaping Praise On Foreign Leaders

By Heather
September 1, 2014 8:00 am
CrooksAndLiars

Right wing flamethrower Rep. Peter King found another issue than his choice of suit to go after President Obama for on this Sunday's Face the Nation, and joined the ranks of Erick Erickson and Ann Coulter who have been out there heaping praise on foreign leaders and wishing we had them here to lead us in the United States rather than President Obama.

Here's how King started out his interview this Sunday when Face the Nation host Major Garrett asked him about British Prime Minister David Cameron's presser this Friday.

    GARRETT: Congressman King, I want to play for you something that British Prime Minister David Cameron said on Friday about the threat to the U.K. and possibly other Western nations. Let's take a listen. 

    DAVID CAMERON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: What we're facing in Iraq now with ISIL is a greater and deeper threat to our security than we have known before. People are rightly concerned about so-called foreign fighters who have traveled from Britain to Syria and Iraq, taken part in terrorist acts, and now come back to threaten our security here at home. And the scale of this threat is growing.   

    GARRETT: Congressman King, based on what you know, what can you tell our audience about the likelihood of an ISIS or ISIL attack on the United States? Is that really the leading threat we have to face here, or is it more something that the Europeans, specifically the British, have to be concerned with?

    REP. PETER KING (R), NEW YORK: No, Major, I would say that we have to face it as much as the British do.

    While there's more Brits in Syria than there are Americans, the fact is all of those Brits -- it could be 500, as David Cameron said and there's also thousands of others from other European nations who have gone to Syria -- they all have European passports and they can all come to the United States.

    In addition to that, we have over 100 Americans that are there and a number of Canadians who can come back to the United States. And as we have been seen in the past, the United States is always the main target of these terrorist organizations. So, no, we are very concerned about this.

    And I would say, I wish our president were showing the same leadership that David Cameron showed. What is President Obama waiting for? I agree with Adam Smith that we have to have coalitions and we have to try to get other forces on our side.

    But it was a year ago this all started. I remember being at the White House with Denis McDonough talking about the importance of air attacks in Syria. And he had allies lined up, and then the president pulled the rug out and those allies are going to be very hard now to get back into a coalition.

    Also, meeting with Vice President Biden in the White House trying to get support to groups in the Free Syrian Army. Virtually nothing has been done on that. We can't wait forever. And the longer we do wait, the stronger ISIS becomes, more people amassing it, and more America and Britain become at risk.

I'm wondering just what "leadership" Cameron has shown, other than upping their terrorist threat level warnings and scaring the hell out of their citizens there about the possibility of a terrorist attack?

A little later in the interview King added this bit of revisionist history to his criticisms of the president:

    And, again, Adam talks about and the president talks about setting up this coalition. They started a year ago, and they can't put it together. How long do we wait? The longer we wait, the more dangerous ISIS becomes. And my main criticism of last year was the president lined up these allies for the bombing attacks, he drew the red line, and then he pulled the rug out without telling those allies.

    And now they don't trust the president. And that's why you are going to find a reluctance for other countries, for instance, other Arab states to get involved with us in a coalition.

If memory serves, it was the Congress and not President Obama who "pulled the rug" on air strikes in Syria. These GOP members of Congress are more than happy to scream to the hills that President Obama isn't "leading" when it comes to our foreign policy, but none of them seem to be willing to stick their own necks out there and vote to authorize him to use military force either. It's so much easier just throwing stones from the sidelines.

If King's got a problem with that, maybe he should be talking to his cohorts in the House and the Senate. Don't hold your breath on that to happen any time soon.

As to the timing of King and the rest of the Republicans who took to the airways this Sunday to attack how President Obama is handling the chaos in the Middle East, as Evan McMurry at Mediaite pointed out this Sunday, the bobble head shows and the talking heads that appeared on them couldn't be bothered to discuss the fact that U.S. targeted air strikes in Iraq did help to liberate an Iraqi town from ISIS this weekend.

It seems any good news of what's being done to confront the group that might be working isn't worthy of any air time if you've got people with an agenda who would rather get their talking points on the air first.

And if you haven't read Booman's post on the Saudis actually having the gall to fearmonger over the possibility of ISIS attacking us here in the United States given the fact that they've played a huge part in helping to create this monster they now want us to help to control, you can do so here: With Allies Like These, Who Needs Enemies?

***************

Media coverage of Michael Brown shooting exposes underlying prejudice

By Roy Greenslade, The Guardian
Monday, September 1, 2014 19:04 EDT

In the wake of the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson last month there has been some soul-searching among American journalists about media coverage. Was it racist? Was it fair? Did the police get a better press than the protestors?

The New York Times’s public editor, Margaret Sullivan, admonished the paper after complaints from readers about its description of Brown in a front page profile as “no angel”.

She called the choice of words “a regrettable mistake” and “a blunder”. She also felt it necessary to point out that the writer of the article, John Eligon, is black and “attentive to many of the issues in the Ferguson case.”

He told her that his piece presented a “mostly positive picture” of Brown. And the Times’s national editor, Alison Mitchell, defended Eligon’s profile as “a sensitive, nuanced account.”

The other problem was that the article ran alongside a profile of the police officer, Darren Wilson, who fired the shot that killed Brown.

This piece was considered by some critics to be softer in tone than the one on Brown. Sullivan commented: “Its pairing with a profile of Mr Wilson seemed to inappropriately equate the two people.”

An article in the Columbia Journalism Review raises further questions about the Brown coverage by considering whether it revealed “broader issues of bias” in terms of the crimes chosen as being newsworthy.

It cites an analysis by Media Matters for America which found that the reporting of black crime suspects by four New York TV stations was disproportionate (see the graphic).

The CJR article cites two further studies - here and here - which show how African-American men are disproportionately portrayed as criminals.

A similar point was made by Nick Wing in a Huffington Post report: “Media treatment of black victims is often harsher than it is of whites suspected of crimes, including murder.”

There have also been studies that show how white people suffering from crimes get more coverage than black victims, known as “missing white girl syndrome.” The term was coined, says the CJR writer Alexis Sobel Fitts, “to reflect the deluge of coverage when a young, affluent, white female goes missing — and the dearth of coverage when children of colour disappear.”

Revelations of this phenomenon of underlying prejudice are hardly new. The American Journalism Review presented a study about the skewed coverage in 1995.

And the same situation has been explored many times over in a British context. A report by Cardiff university’s journalism school in 2011 showed how ethnicity played a large part in the level of crime coverage. People of colour were more likely to be portrayed as perpetrators than white people and less often as victims than white people.

Journalists, and editors, are often confronted by this fact but it has been happening for generations and no change is in sight. Its latest manifestation occurs in the unbalanced reporting of migrants. Their crimes are highlighted. Their victimhood is underplayed.

Surely we should realise how this plays out in the wider community by fomenting prejudice. Biased media coverage is just one reason why racism continues to divide societies here and in the US.

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media 2014

****************

Cops Rough Up Citizen Journalist For Videotaping Republicans Being Nasty

By karoli
September 1, 2014 8:34 pm
CrooksAndLiars

Nydia Tisdale was videotaping an event when Georgia's insurance commissioner called her out. Then all hell broke loose.

One look at Nydia Tisdale should tell anyone with half a brain that she's hardly a physical threat to a couple of police officers with a gun. But that didn't stop them from forcibly ejecting her when Georgia Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens cracked a good ole boy joke about Michelle Nunn and noticed that he was caught on tape.

The force with which the police ejected her was so over the top that even the lady Republicans were appalled. And rightly so. TPM:

    About 10 minutes later in the video, a hand aggressively blocked Tisdale's camera. The footage showed her being pushed out of the building and into an adjacent one. It was unclear who pushed her, but at some point a Dawson County sheriff's official appeared in the video.

    Tisdale asked the official if she could get her purse to give him her identification.

    "Nope, you're going to jail," the officer said in the video.

    "I've been real nice, now you're going to jail for resisting arrest if you do not stop," the official said. By then, the sheriff's official had Tisdale with her hands behind her back pressed against a desk. He never identified himself in the video. Another man could be heard saying, "Will you please stop ma'am? We've asked you multiple times."

    Dawson County Republican Party Chairwoman Linda Clary Umberger followed the official and Tisdale. In the video she was heard saying to Tisdale: "I am sorry that people are treating you this way. This is wrong."

    The video ended with Tisdale face-down, saying that she had been given permission to tape the event.

And of course, this is totally acceptable good ole boy Boss Hawg conduct:

    On Thursday, another Atlanta station, WGCL, reported that Tisdale is facing a felony charge of obstructing an officer. The Dawson County Sheriff's Office said Tisdale attacked the official, who was identified as Capt. Tony Wooten, while he was trying to arrest her. On Sunday, the Gainesville Times newspaper reported that Wooten had been cleared of any wrongdoing. Dawson County Sheriff Billy Carlisle said that an internal probe found that Wooten had followed protocol in arresting Tisdale.

Wait, she attacked that officer? She's got videotape. I don't see where she attacked anyone, but you can view all 20 minutes.

I don't see where she attacked anyone, do you? In fact, watching that smug SOB at about the 16:40 mark makes me shake with anger.

Ralph Hudgens, by the way, is the guy who blamed sick people for pre-existing conditions last year. He's a real jerk, and his henchmen aren't any better.

Where are all those First Amendment champions now?

***************

Too Little Too Late: Ferguson Police Now Wearing Body Cameras

By CrooksAndLiars
September 1, 2014 9:05 am

After weeks of unrest and abuse of protesters, the city of Ferguson has made a new addition to its police force: body cameras.

 Ferguson police are not required to wear body cameras!

After weeks of unrest and abuse of protesters, the city of Ferguson has made a new addition to its police force: body cameras. Police have been criticized for their inability to produce so much as a detailed incident report regarding the shooting of Michael Brown by a Ferguson police officer, their prior refusal to install dashboard cameras or utilize body cameras, or otherwise offer more than a video they have presented that allegedly shows Brown "robbing" a store - something they have admitted, even if it is true, is unrelated to Michael Brown being stopped and murdered by officer Darren Wilson.

Police have been so vile during the protests that Amnesty International observers were forcibly removed from the protests by law enforcement.

Right-wing bloggers have tried their best to paint Brown in a bad light. The Gateway Pundit claimed, fraudulently, that Wilson suffered an orbital blowout fracture during his confrontation with Brown - a lie that was repeated on major news stations with zero verification out  of a desperate need to justify a white police officer shooting an unarmed black teen.  Things are so bad that right-wing bloggers are desperately attempting to obtain Brown's juvenile records in an effort to find something - anything - to use against the teen.

Despite the constant attempts to smear Brown, an independent autopsy has confirmed that there is "no evidence of a struggle" between the teen and Wilson. CNN obtained audio of the shooting, which reveals a chilling fact: Wilson fired numerous times, then paused to aim before delivering the final shots that would end Brown's life.

Wilson's past has also been called into question. Previously, the officer worked for the Jennings police department, which was disbanded because officers were so corrupt and racist that it was unfixable. Afterwards, Wilson applied and was hired in Ferguson.

Ferguson itself has, to say the least, a shady past. No less than six officers have been named in civil rights lawsuits, including a man who was wrongfully arrested and brutally beaten, then charged for getting his blood on officers' uniforms. One of the officers named in a resulting lawsuit has since moved on to become a city councilwoman.

Another Ferguson officer who resigned from a nearby department is named in two lawsuits - one for brutalizing a child, and the other for his conduct toward protesters at a McDonald's.

Because of the city's shady past and conflicting claims regarding Brown's murder, residents renewed calls for the department to be outfitted with body cameras - and it worked. Officers in Ferguson now wear small cameras clipped to their uniforms.

"They are really enjoying them," said Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson. "They are trying to get used to using them."

The cameras were donated by two surveillance companies, Safety Visions, and Digital Ally.

"The city of Ferguson has gone through an unfortunate series of events and Safety Vision body cameras and flashlight DVR will assist in capturing prima facie evidence for investigations involving vandalism, looting, and shots fired," Safety Vision said in a statement.

We hope that Ferguson officers "get used to using" the cameras soon. As it is, Ferguson police hand out more arrest warrants than the city has people.

Body cameras are effective. Since Rialto, California outfitted the entire police force with cameras in 2012, public complaints against officers plummeted by 88% when compared to the prior year, and officers' use of force decreased by 60%. Imagine that!

************

Koch Network Poised To Control FSU

By karoli
CrooksAndLiars
September 1, 2014 5:30 am

It's not just the economics department anymore. Now they're about to take hold of the entire university, thanks to Rick Scott.

Remember when the Koch brothers tried to buy the economics department at FSU? Well, stand by because they're about to control the entire university.

Adam Weinstein:

    John Thrasher — conservative state senator, former state Republican Party chairman, and current Rick Scott re-election campaign chair — is likely to be the next president of FSU. Sure, there’s an “open” search with numerous candidates, which the search committee quickly instituted after students and workers expressed outrage over Thrasher’s sudden emergence from an opaque process, run by a lot of his old friends, as an unopposed frontrunner.   

    In fact, this whole operation could represent a big win for the Koch Brothers. Bense heads the James Madison Institute, a conservative think-tank in Tallahassee bankrolled by Koch interests. JMI helped broker a deal a few years back to buy the Koch Brothers a couple of FSU professors — literally. The Kochs gave FSU $1.5 million to let them pick two economics professors who would sing the praises of their “free enterprise” philosophy to students. Today, Koch’s bagmen give nearly $300,000 a year to Florida State — their largest donation to all but one other university in the country.

    The purchase of political influence at Florida State by monied conservatives has been ratcheting up for years. Students get job counseling at a career center named after disgraced CEO Al “Chainsaw” Dunlap — named one of America’s “Top 10 Worst Bosses” by Time magazine — and they register for classes at the Devoe Moore Center, named for a local Tea Party millionaire who also lends his name to another politically outspoken FSU “free-market” think tank.

    And of course, there’s the “free enterprise distinguished lecture series,” bankrolled by the CEO of BB&T Bank, who not only gives one of the lectures himself, but funds an FSU program that requires enrollees to read his favorite book – “Atlas Shrugged,” Ayn Rand’s libertarian manifesto.

    Imagine if these guys’ best friend in government became president of Florida State University. That’s what they’d get in John Thrasher.

What is it going to take to stop these guys from buying the whole damn nation?

**************

Obama Comes Into Scott Walker’s Backyard and Drills Republicans For Opposing Everything

By: Jason Easley
PoliticusUSA
Monday, September, 1st, 2014, 3:38 pm   

President Obama went into Scott Walker’s backyard in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and called out Republicans for their failed top-down economic policies, and ripped congressional Republicans for saying no to everything.

At Laborfest in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, President Obama said,

Most of the policies I’m talking about have two things in common. They’re going to help more families get ahead, and the Republicans who run our Congress oppose almost all of them…They oppose almost everything. I’m not making that up. I’m just telling the truth. It’s just the facts. In fact, they oppose stuff they used to be for. No, it’s true. I mean, they used to be for building roads, and bridges, and stuff. Now suddenly, no we can’t build roads and bridges. Well, why not? Because you proposed it.

I am just telling the truth. The sky is blue today. Milwaukee brats are delicious. The Brewers are tied for first place, and Republicans in Congress love to say no. Those are just facts. The facts of life. They say no to everything. If we had a Congress that cared about policies that actually helped working people, I promise you we could everything done that we talked about doing. But until we have that Congress, it’s up to us to fight for those policies.

Many of the policies that President Obama talked about in Wisconsin are things that Republican Gov. Scott Walker has opposed. The president wasn’t getting involved in the governor’s race, but the similarities between what Republicans in Congress believe and what Walker has done in Wisconsin are unavoidable. Scott Walker implemented the top down Koch philosophy. He tried to bust the public sector unions, and he promised that jobs would come if taxes were cut for the wealthy and corporations.

Walker’s term as governor has been an economic disaster for Wisconsin. Instead of creating the 250,000 new jobs that he promised, Walker’s tax cuts have led to negative job growth. The battle ideological battle in Wisconsin mirrors what is going on in our divided federal government.

Republicans are saying no to things that work. They continue to oppose anything that could grow the economy and create jobs. The fairy tale that tax cuts for the rich will bring economic prosperity for all has been disproven again.

Republicans have spent the last six years saying no to President Obama and policies that will grow the economy. This November will be the voters’ chance to say no to them.

***************

Amid foreign crises, Obama takes solace in US economic turnaround

By Reuters
Monday, September 1, 2014 17:25 EDT
By Steve Holland

MILWAUKEE (Reuters) – Throughout much of his presidency, Barack Obama has been under siege about the state of the U.S. economy.

But with economic growth now far more robust than when he took office, he is finding some measure of solace on the domestic front while a number of crises rage abroad.

With his handling of foreign policy under fire in confronting challenges from Ukraine to the Middle East, Obama made a Labor Day trek to Milwaukee’s annual Laborfest event to underscore how he feels his leadership on the economy has paid off.

“I just want everybody to understand because you wouldn’t always know it from watching the news,” he said. “By almost every measure, the American economy and American workers are better off than when I took office.”

The national unemployment rate was 6.2 percent in August, down more than a percentage point from the year before, and a far cry from when he took office in 2009 with the economy in crisis. After a 2.1 percent contraction in GDP in the first quarter of this year, GDP rebounded at a 4.2 percent growth clip in the second quarter.

Still, the job market for many is unsatisfactory and some have given up looking for jobs. Also many of the proposals Obama has made to create more jobs, such as persuading Congress to accept an increase in the minimum wage and boost infrastructure spending, have gone nowhere, forcing him to act where he can with executive orders.

Obama took credit, however, for the improving economic picture by harking back to decisions he made early in his first term, when he led an effort to bail out the U.S. auto industry. He also said his signature healthcare law has made life better for American workers:

“America is stronger because of decisions we made to rescue our economy and rebuild it on a new foundation asking the simple question: is this good for ordinary Americans?”

With little more than two months to go until November mid-term elections, the president was greeted at the airport by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, a potential Republican candidate to succeed Obama in 2016. But Mary Burke, the Democratic challenger to Walker in Wisconsin’s governor’s race, steered clear of the Laborfest event, saying it was an official event, not a political one.

Obama made no specific reference to the state’s governor’s race, but he continued a pattern of criticizing Republicans at official events, blasting them for refusing to go along with his agenda in Congress and telling members of the audience who booed: “Don’t boo. Vote!”

Foreign policy challenges will retake center stage this week when Obama travels to Estonia and to a NATO summit in Wales.

***************

Momentum Moves Towards Democrats As Republicans Get Worried About the 2014 Election

By: Jason Easley
PoliticusUSA
Tuesday, September, 2nd, 2014, 9:21 am   

Republicans have moved beyond nervousness and into flat out worry as the nation heads into the homestretch of the 2014 election. At the House level, Republicans are being outspent and their candidates are underperforming compared to 2010.

Politico interviewed a dozen Democratic and Republican strategists who all agreed that at best Republicans will pick up five seats in the House.

The strategists also agreed on other main points,

    Republicans are convinced they’ll be significantly outspent by Democrats — in contrast to the 2010 midterm election when the GOP overwhelmed their opponents with an avalanche of cash.

    GOP strategists are particularly worried about the performance of a handful of candidates who are well positioned to win but seen as running poor campaigns. Three candidates are mentioned repeatedly: Florida Rep. Steve Southerland, Nebraska Rep. Lee Terry and Virginia Republican Barbara Comstock.

    Nearly a year after the government shutdown, Republicans privately say the party’s tattered public image is dragging down candidates in key races.

House Republicans are struggling to raise money, and the outside groups that they depend on are focused on the Senate races. Historically, the party out of power has gained 25 seats in the House during the president’s sixth year in office. Republicans set a more modest goal of 11 seats, but it appears that they may not reach half of that number.

It was vital for Republicans to expand their House majority this year because in 2016, there could be a Hillary wave coming, and in 2020 districts will be redrawn again. Newly redrawn districts could mean the end of the current gerrymandered House.

The Republican establishment also desperately wants to give John Boehner enough of a majority to form a tea party buffer. The internal goal has been to reduce the tea party’s power in the House, but that is looking less and less likely to happen.

The best outcome for Democrats would be a small gain in the House. Democrats can talk about taking back the House, but unless Republicans do something incredibly stupid, like shutting down the government, it isn’t going to happen.

There will not be a Republican wave this year, and the nation could be watching the first steps towards a future Democratic takeover of the House.

 8 
 on: Sep 02, 2014, 07:36 am 
Started by Steve - Last post by Rad
Ancient Stonehenge mystery solved thanks to particularly dry summer: archaeologists

By Steven Morris, The Guardian
Monday, September 1, 2014 13:43 EDT

One of the many mysteries of Stonehenge may have been solved, not because of a brilliant scientific breakthrough or thanks to painstaking research, but after a maintenance team’s hosepipe turned out to be a little short.

Archeologists have long argued over whether the ancient monument was once a perfect circle or if it was always, as it is now, an incomplete ring.

When a hosepipe used to keep the grass green in hot spells failed to reach a broken part of the circle, unsightly brown patches began to appear. Custodian Tim Daw was fretting over the blemishes when he realised they matched the spots where stones would probably have stood if the monument was a complete circle.

Daw, said it was a “lightbulb moment”. “I was standing on the public path looking at the grass near the stones and thinking that we needed to find a longer hosepipe to get the parched patches to green up,” he said.

“I remembered that the marks were where archaeologists had looked without success for signs that there had been stone holes. I called my colleague over and he saw them and realised their possible significance as well. Not being archaeologists we called in the professionals to evaluate them.

“I am still amazed and very pleased that simply really looking at something, that tens of thousands of people had unwittingly seen, can reveal secrets that sophisticated machinery can’t.”

The professionals duly took charge. Aerial photographs were hurriedly commissioned (before the rain could come and remove the brown patches) and the scorch marks on the western side of the Wiltshire site were carefully mapped.

Some of the brown patches indeed tallied with where stones would have stood if the circle was a complete one.

Other brown patches corresponded to recorded archaeological excavations, included trenches dug by the engineer William Gowland in 1901. That some of the patches matched the site of the trenches supports the theory they indicate disturbed ground rather than simply appeared by chance.

The patches were spotted last summer but the conclusions have just been detailed in a report by Daw and other English Heritage staff published in the latest edition of the journal Antiquity. The report points out that despite being one of the most intensively explored prehistoric monuments, Stonehenge continues to hold surprises. It also highlights the value of continually surveying the site from the ground and air.

Susan Greaney, senior properties historian for English Heritage, said the accidental discovery was “really significant” and added: “It shows us just how much we still have to learn about Stonehenge. It’s great that people who know the site really well and look at it every day were able to spot these parch marks and recognise them for what they were.”

Greaney said what may have happened to the missing stones remains another puzzle. They could have been removed and used as stone for local houses or even roads. But the lack of a decent-sized hosepipe means that the idea that the circle was deliberately left incomplete can probably be discounted.

There are no plans to excavate beneath the brown marks but English Heritage, which manages Stonehenge, may deliberately fail to water parts of the site next time there is a hot spell in case other mysteries can be solved by observing what happens if the hoses are left off.

 9 
 on: Sep 02, 2014, 07:35 am 
Started by Steve - Last post by Rad
Guatemala Mayans: From victims of discrimination to perpetrators?

By Agence France-Presse
Monday, September 1, 2014 19:44 EDT

Fearful of losing their culture and land, ethnic Maya people in Guatemala — who have faced centuries of discrimination themselves — drove out a group of 230 ultra-Orthodox Jews, experts say.

The Jewish group’s departure from San Juan La Laguna, on the banks of Lake Atitlan some 200 kilometers (125 miles) from the capital Guatemala City, followed failed efforts reach a deal Wednesday.

“We are very pleased with the decision made by that group to avoid conflicts with (local) people,” Miguel Vasquez, spokesman for the San Juan Council of Elders, told AFP by phone.

Most members of the small Jewish community are from the United States, Israel, Britain and Russia, and around 40 are Guatemalan. Approximately half are children.

Since October, the local indigenous population has accused the Orthodox Jews of discriminating against them and of violating Mayan customs. Maya elders also said the Jewish community sought to impose their religion and was undermining the Catholic faith predominant in the village.

Rabbi Uriel Goldman, a representative of the Jewish group, told Prensa Libre newspaper his community had taken up residence temporarily in a Guatemala City hotel until it can find a place to relocate to in an outlying part of the capital area.

- History repeats itself -

Guatemala, a mountainous and scenic nation in Central America, cannot quite agree on how indigenous it is.

The government insists 42 percent of citizens belong to ethnic Maya tribes, traditional farmers who mainly speak Maya languages; indigenous leaders insist they represent 60 percent of the 15 million Guatemalans.

If the indigenous are right, they are starkly underrepresented in what is supposed to be a federal democracy.

During three centuries of Spanish colonialism, Mayans were marginalized. After independence in the early 1800s, they spent almost another two centuries living in relative isolation, with a Spanish-speaking ruling class in Guatemala City who long referred to Mayans as dolts for not speaking Spanish.

Yet many rural Guatemalans — most indigenous live in rural areas on their traditional land — have never been to school in any language.

Instead of embracing equal rights, including to education, in a democratic era, as recently as the 1990s, the traditional elite opted not to embrace bilingualism; not to push to guarantee rural educational equality; and not to have a strategy for integrating indigenous people into national life.

In Guatemala’s 36-year civil war that ended in 1996, some 200,000 people were killed — 93 percent of them at the hands of the government’s armed forces, according to a United Nations report.

The report also found that 83 percent of victims were ethnic Mayans.

“Having gone through history losing land to expropriation, which has contributed to their poverty, … and the state having been dysfunctional where they are concerned, really exacerbated” indigenous people’s reaction in this culture clash, Guatemalan Mental Health League chief Marco Garabito, a sociologist, told AFP.

The likelihood that more members of the Jewish community would keep coming triggered the Mayans’ intense fears they could lose more of their lands.

But on Friday, the Human Rights Prosecutor’s office said it regretted the “forced departure” of the Jewish group.

“There can be no justification for … anyone claiming to have the right to threaten or expel foreigners from Guatemalan territory, or make them relocate,” it said in a statement.

“The Jews are being attacked because of their ethnicity,” said anthropologist Estuardo Zapeta. “That’s discrimination, plain and simple.”

- Unfamiliar orthodoxy -

The Lev Tahor community was founded in 1980 by Israeli Shlomo Helbrans, seeking to practice an austere interpretation of Judaism.

The community faced legal problems in the United States and Canada before running up against indigenous opposition in Guatemala.

Canadian media reports also said red flags had been raised by the group’s treatment of children. But the group maintains its way of operating is nothing new.

Maya leaders were confounded by the group’s customs and practices, offended that they did not respond when they were greeted by locals.

“They don’t believe in Jesus Christ or the Virgin Mary. They do not work. They dress all in black. And they scare off tourists. They don’t sleep at night, and they are out walking around on the streets when we were asleep,” said the indigenous council’s Vasquez.

The Jews said they were targeted by an “aggressive” subgroup of the Maya leadership.

“We are peaceful people. And to avoid anything more regrettable, we decided to leave that town,” said Misael Santos, another representative of the Jewish group.

 10 
 on: Sep 02, 2014, 07:29 am 
Started by Steve - Last post by Rad
Billboard Drives Home Extent of Corruption as Schools Suffer

By DAMIEN CAVE
SEPT. 1, 2014
IHT

MEXICO CITY — All over Mexico, children have begun making their way to school for the start of a new year — many stepping into run-down buildings without running water, new textbooks or trained teachers.

Spending is not the issue. Mexico budgets more for education, as a proportion of gross domestic product, than Brazil, Spain and even Switzerland. So where does the money go?

According to one calculation now appearing on a new “abuse meter” — a giant electronic billboard hovering over a busy intersection here in the capital — about $2.8 billion annually goes into the pockets of 298,174 no-show teachers and administrators who collect pay without working.

“It’s the robbery of the century, and it’s every year,” said Claudio X. González Guajardo, president of Mexicanos Primero, an educational advocacy organization responsible for the abuse meter. “The corruption is massive.”

Mr. González, an erudite critic with a professorial air, has been condemning educational waste for a long time, with a range of evidence. Data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has long identified Mexico as an educational underperformer, with 93.3 percent of its education budget spent on staffing — more than any other member country in the organization — even as basic school needs go unmet.

According to the government’s recent education census, nearly a third of Mexico’s public schools lack drinkable water. Roughly 11 percent have no electricity, and in some indigenous areas of Chiapas and Oaxaca, the infrastructure problems are far worse.

But the abuse meter is an unusually brash and precise critique. With its Times Square-like lights displaying a running tally of money lost to waste and corruption since the first day of school on Aug. 17, the large billboard is a 24/7 stab at populist complaint, using shame to spawn outrage.

With a website and the #abusometro hashtag on Twitter, the campaign is yet another sign that Mexican civil society is getting more sophisticated. And it also highlights the divide between a growing and digitized middle class — which expects transparency, data-driven decisions and speedy results — and an old guard in government that still relies largely on secrecy and paperwork.

“Citizens have learned that democracy offers many ways for them to voice their views, even in forceful and assertive ways,” said Rubén Gallo, a professor of Latin American culture at Princeton University. “This, combined with a Latin code of honor, means that shaming a corrupt politician through inventions like the abusómetro is a perfect combination of the new — democratic awareness — and the traditional — a code of honor, in which an enemy can be publicly humiliated.”

The Mexican government has not responded to the abuse meter yet, but Mr. González said he had been told that officials were paying attention. The numbers he used actually were from the educational census conducted by government surveyors in advance of a recent educational reform law; many teachers strongly opposed the law, camping out in Mexico City’s main plaza for weeks in protest.

Now, the evidence that the government compiled to help push through the law, which is supposed to add evaluation and training for future teachers, is being used to demand that officials go even further, right now, to clean up the ranks.

That is clearly what many Mexican parents want. Walking past the spinning meter on a recent afternoon after picking up her 5-year-old son from school, Adriana Reyes, 35, said she was optimistic about the changes over the long term but felt that the government needed to move more quickly, to make schools better.

“They brag about all the money spent on education, but the quality never improves,” she said. Looking back at the meter, which showed 440,186,899 pesos (more than $33 million) wasted with the first week of school still not over, she added: “There is change. It’s just so slow.”

Luis Urrieta Jr., a professor of education and Latin American studies at the University of Texas, said Mexican officials may be moving quietly and privately because the level of transparency offered with the education census is already more than Mexico is used to. He added that the educational bureaucracy, more than teachers, needed to be held accountable for the corruption. Yet, the bureaucracy must also be relied upon to enact the broader changes, making for a delicate balancing act.

Some experts worry that cracking down too hard and fast could undermine the project. After decades of relying on nepotism and patronage, with jobs passed down among families — and some even collecting the salaries of long-dead relatives — cutting people off, especially in poor rural areas, could lead to another round of protests that would threaten to bring the whole school system to a grinding halt.

“Once you start exposing things that are problematic, the more vulnerable the institution becomes,” Dr. Urrieta said. “They’re probably just being very cautious with how much is being revealed and how they are going to deal with these cases.”

Like many in Mexico, however, Mr. González remains unsatisfied. He said he saw the ticker of the American national debt in New York years ago, and that his own abuse meter was inspired by frustration and impatience with a system that always seems to put off until tomorrow what should have been done yesterday.

He said the money spent on do-nothing teachers and administrators could be used to raise good teachers’ salaries; to build 24 new schools per day; or to equip every secondary school in the country with classrooms full of computers.

“They know — they know they have a massive problem,” Mr. González said. “They just need the political will to change it.”

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