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UNDERNEWS – June 12, 2011

Column – Undernews

Bilderberg has had some bad ideas in its time (a European super state, anyone?) but Lord Mandelson’s nature walk has to be the worst. What were they hoping for? Had they not seen the 200 activists camped opposite the hotel gates?


UNDERNEWS – June 12, 2011

Since 1964, the news while there’s still time to do something about it

Great moments at Bilderberg

Charlie Skelton, Guardian UK – Bilderberg has had some bad ideas in its time (a European super state, anyone?) but Lord Mandelson’s nature walk has to be the worst. What were they hoping for? Had they not seen the 200 activists camped opposite the hotel gates?

Out of the gates they drove in their very own Bilderbus, up the mountain to a charming spot. The plan: to amble down through the gorgeous scenery, back to the Suvretta House Hotel for tea.

Out of the bus stepped Erich Schmidt, the executive chairman of Google, and Franco Bernabè, the CEO of Telecom Italia, followed by China’s vice-minister of foreign affairs, Ying Fu, with her amazing hair.

Then came the Swedish billionaire banker and industrialist Jacob Wallenberg, and the dapper CEO of Airbus, Thomas Enders. More of him later.

Mandelson led the way, locked in conversation with Sir Richard Lambert, a global non-executive director for Ernst & Young and the former editor of the FT. The Tory MP Rory Stewart trotted behind.

It was an odd walk right from the start. From nowhere, like something from a dream, a distinguished lady, dressed from top to toe in white, whooshed serenely past security and swanned to the front of the power walkers. The mysterious lady, dressed in white, at Bilderberg …

The lady in white led her band of Bilderberg bigwigs and billionaires along the charming Swiss byways, across bridges over gentle streams … and straight into a pack of 50 baffled activists, who were milling around outside a community hall during a break in a symposium.

This couldn’t possibly be happening. “This is terrible,” Mandelson was heard to exclaim as the activists swarmed around the delegates, firing questions and chorusing their concern.

MORE INCLUDING GREAT PHOTOS

Recovered History: DSK may still have a future after all

If DSK wants to find some hope for the future, he might want to check into the Bill Clinton’s past.

On two separate occasions Clinton was accused of wrongful sexual conduct:

– Juanita Broaddrick, a volunteer in Clinton’s gubernatorial campaign, claimed years later that she was raped by him and had a part of her lip bitten. Five people recalled her telling them of the incident which was denied by Clinton’s lawyer and never led to any legal action.

– Paula Jones claimed that she was taken to then Governor Clinton’s room in the Excelsior Hotel in Little Rock by a state trooper where Clinton dropped his pants and sought sexual favors from her. The president’s statements in the case would become the basis for the perjury claims in his impeachment proceedings. Although it was widely reported that the impeachment was about his behavior with Monica Lewinsky, it was in fact more about alleged falsehoods in his deposition on the Lewinsky affair in the Jones case. Clinton never admitted or apologized in the case, but paid an $850,000 settlement to Jones to drop the matter.

A federal judge held Clinton in contempt for “intentionally false” statements and “willful failure” to testify truthfully in the Paula Jones case, the only time a president has been held in contempt of court. He also gave up his law license for five years.

The Washington Times reported that in the portions of President Clinton’s deposition that were made public in the Paula Jones case, his memory failed him 267 times.

The facts of both these cases were badly or minimally reported by the mainstream press and then forgotten as quickly as possible, helping Clinton rebuild his status.

Of course, the media always liked Bill Clinton far more than DSK.

From Paula Jones’ deposition:

7. On May 8, 1991, the AIDC sponsored the Third Annual Governor’s Quality Management Conference (hereafter “Conference”), which was held at the Excelsior Hotel in Little Rock, Arkansas. Clinton, then Governor of Arkansas, delivered a speech at the Conference on that day.

8. Also on that day, Jones worked at the registration desk at the Conference along with Pamela Blackard (hereafter “Blackard”) another AIDC employee.

9. A man approached the registration desk and informed Jones and Blackard that he was Trooper Danny Ferguson, Bill Clinton’s bodyguard. Defendant Ferguson was at that time a law enforcement officer within the ranks of the Arkansas State Police and assigned to the Governor’s Security Detail. He was in street clothes and displayed a firearm on his person. He made small talk with Jones and Blackard and then left.

10. At approximately 2:30 p.m. on that day, Ferguson reappeared at the registration desk, delivered a piece of paper to Jones with a four digit number written on it and said: “The Governor would like to meet with you” in this suite number. Plaintiff had never met Defendant Clinton and saw him in person for the first time at the Conference.

11. A three-way conversation followed between Ferguson, Blackard and Jones about what the Governor could want. Jones, who was then a rank-and-file Arkansas state employee being paid approximately $6.35 an hour, thought it was an honor to be asked to meet the Governor. Ferguson stated during the conversation: “It’s okay, we do this all the time for the Governor.”

12. Jones agreed to meet with the Governor because she thought it might lead to an enhanced employment opportunity with the State. Blackard told Jones that she would assume Plaintiff’s duties at the registration desk.

13. Trooper Ferguson then escorted Jones to the floor of the hotel suite whose number had been written on the slip of paper Trooper Ferguson had given to Jones. The door was slightly ajar when she arrived at the suite.

14. Jones knocked on the door frame and Clinton answered. Plaintiff entered. Ferguson remained outside.

15. The room was furnished as a business suite, not for an overnight hotel guest. It contained a couch and chairs, but no bed.

16. Clinton shook Jones’ hand, invited her in, and closed the door.

17. A few minutes of small talk ensued, which included asking Jones about her job. Clinton told Jones that Dave Harrington is “my good friend.” On May 8, 1991, David Harrington was Director of the AIDC, having been appointed to that post by Governor Clinton. Harrington was Jones’ ultimate superior within the AIDC.

18. Clinton then took Jones’ hand and pulled her toward him, so that their bodies were in close proximity.

19. Jones removed her hand from his and retreated several feet.

20. However, Clinton approached Jones again. He said: “I love the way your hair flows down your back” and “I love your curves.” While saying these things, Clinton put his hand on Plaintiff’s leg and started sliding it toward the hem of Plaintiff’s culottes. Clinton also bent down to attempt to kiss Jones on the neck.

21. Jones exclaimed, “What are you doing?” and escaped from Clinton’s physical proximity by walking away from him. Jones tried to distract Clinton by chatting with him about his wife. Jones later took a seat at the end of the sofa nearest the door. Clinton asked Jones: “Are you married?” She responded that she had a regular boyfriend. Clinton then approached the sofa and as he sat down he lowered his trousers and underwear exposing his erect penis and asked Jones to “kiss it.”

22. There were distinguishing characteristics in Clinton’s genital area that were obvious to Jones.

23. Jones became horrified, jumped up from the couch, stated that she was”not that kind of girl” and said: “Look, I’ve got to go.” She attempted to explain that she would get in trouble for being away from the registration desk.

24. Clinton, while fondling his penis said: “Well, I don’t want to make you do anything you don’t want to do.” Clinton then stood up and pulled up his pants and said: “If you get in trouble for leaving work, have Dave call me immediately and I’ll take care of it.” As Jones left the room Clinton looked sternly at Jones and said: “You are smart. Let’s keep this between ourselves.”

Great moments in the British monarchy. . . Prince consort division

From the Independent, UK

“Deaf? If you’re near there, no wonder you are deaf.” Said to a group of deaf children standing near a Caribbean steel drum band in 2000.

“If you stay here much longer, you will go home with slitty eyes.” To 21-year-old British student Simon Kerby during a visit to China in 1986.

“You managed not to get eaten then?” To a British student who had trekked in Papua New Guinea, during an official visit in 1998.

“You can’t have been here that long – you haven’t got a pot belly.” To a British tourist during a tour of Budapest in Hungary. 1993.

“How do you keep the natives off the booze long enough to pass the test?” Asked of a Scottish driving instructor in 1995.

“It looks as though it was put in by an Indian.” The Prince’s verdict of a fuse box during a tour of a Scottish factory in August 1999. He later clarified his comment: “I meant to say cowboys. “I just got my cowboys and Indians mixed up.”

“A few years ago, everybody was saying we must have more leisure, everyone’s working too much. Now that everybody’s got more leisure time they are complaining they are unemployed. People don’t seem to make up their minds what they want.” A man of the people shares insight into the recession that gripped Britain in 1981.

“It was part of the fortunes of war. We didn’t have counselors rushing around every time somebody let off a gun, asking ‘Are you all right – are you sure you don’t have a ghastly problem?’ You just got on with it!” On the issue of stress counselling for servicemen in a TV documentary marking the 50th Anniversary of V-J Day in 1995.

“You ARE a woman, aren’t you?” To a woman in Kenya in 1984, after accepting a gift.

“The problem with London is the tourists. They cause the congestion. If we could just stop the tourism, we could stop the congestion.” At the opening of City Hall in 2002.

“Young people are the same as they always were. They are just as ignorant.” At the 50th anniversary of the Duke of Edinburgh Awards scheme.

“Aren’t most of you descended from pirates?” In the Cayman Islands, 1994.

“If you travel as much as we do you appreciate the improvements in aircraft design of less noise and more comfort – provided you don’t travel in something called economy class, which sounds ghastly.” To the Aircraft Research Association in 2002.

“And what exotic part of the world do you come from?” Asked in 1999 of Tory politician Lord Taylor of Warwick, whose parents are Jamaican. He replied: “Birmingham.”

“Do you still throw spears at each other?” Prince Philip shocks Aboriginal leader William Brin at the Aboriginal Cultural Park in Queensland, 2002.

“So who’s on drugs here?… HE looks as if he’s on drugs.” To a 14-year-old member of a Bangladeshi youth club in 2002.

Philip: “Who are you?”
Simon Kelner: “I’m the editor-in-chief of The Independent, Sir.”
Philip: “What are you doing here?”
Kelner: “You invited me.”
Philip: “Well, you didn’t have to come!”
An exchange at a press reception to mark the Golden Jubilee in 2002.

“I thought it was against the law these days for a woman to solicit.” Said to a woman solicitor.

Pocket paradigms

Sending a liberal to Washington these days is, in the words of the late civil rights leader Julius Hobson, like sending a eunuch to an orgy. – Sam Smith

The untold story of a big change in the Middle East

Robert Fisk, Independent, UK – Secret meetings between Palestinian intermediaries, Egyptian intelligence officials, the Turkish foreign minister, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal – the latter requiring a covert journey to Damascus with a detour round the rebellious city of Deraa – brought about the Palestinian unity which has so disturbed both Israelis and the American government. Fatah and Hamas ended four years of conflict in May with an agreement that is crucial to the Paslestinian demand for a state.

Hamas also sought – and received – the support of Syrian President Bachar al-Assad, the country’s vice president Farouk al-Sharaa and its foreign minister, Walid Moallem. Among the results was an agreement by Meshaal to end Hamas rocket attacks on Israel from Gaza – since resistance would be the right only of the state – and agreement that a future Palestinian state be based on Israel’s 1967 borders.

“Without the goodwill of all sides, the help of the Egyptians and the acceptance of the Syrians – and the desire of the Palestinians to unite after the start of the Arab Spring, we could not have done this,” one of the principal intermediaries, 75-year old Munib Masri, told me. It was Masri who helped to set up a ‘Palestinian Forum’ of independents after the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority and Hamas originally split after Hamas won an extraordinary election victory in 2006.

Word

When the war in Libya began, the U.S. government convinced a large number of war supporters that we were there to achieve the very limited goal of creating a no-fly zone in Benghazi to protect civilians from air attacks, while President Obama specifically vowed that “broadening our military mission to include regime change would be a mistake.” This no-fly zone was created in the first week, yet now, almost three months later, the war drags on without any end in sight, and NATO is no longer even hiding what has long been obvious: that its real goal is exactly the one Obama vowed would not be pursued — regime change through the use of military force. We’re in Libya to forcibly remove Gaddafi from power and replace him with a regime that we like better, i.e. , one that is more accommodating to the interests of the West. That’s not even a debatable proposition at this point. – Glenn Greenwald, Salon

Why Google Earth can’t show you Israel

Hamed Aleaziz, Mother Jones – Since Google launched its Google Earth feature in 2005, the company has become a worldwide leader in providing high-resolution satellite imagery…There is one entire country, however, that Google Earth won’t show you: Israel. That’s because, in 1997, Congress passed the National Defense Authorization Act, one section of which is titled, “Prohibition on collection and release of detailed satellite imagery relating to Israel.”

Gates threatens America’s allies

Jason Ditz, Anti War – Speaking in his final policy speech, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates blasted NATO, predicting a “dim if not dismal” future if the other member nations didn’t become dramatically more hawkish and commit more money and troops to its assorted conflicts.

The comments come after a public lashing earlier this week by Gates for a number of specific member nations, including Poland and Germany, for their lack of involvement in the illegal war against Libya. He also demanded that Spain, Turkey and the Netherlands start launching strikes on ground targets in the nation.

Gates warned if the other nations didn’t follow America’s lead in contributing more weapons, money and personnel to the alliance’s assorted wars, which by and large are simply America’s assorted wars, they risked “irrelevance.” For many of the nations, this irrelevance will seem not just the preferable choice, but the only choice.

The Obama con of the week

Barack Obama has joined with the National Association of Manufacturers in a program to provide a half million community college students with training for manufacturing jobs. Said Obama, “If you’re a company that’s hiring, you’ll know that anyone who has this degree has the skills you’re looking for. If you’re a student considering community college, you’ll know that your diploma will give you a leg up in the job market.” Obama also cited improving education quality as key to new jobs.

The problem with this is that – both historically and at present – such an argument is misleading.

For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics gives this assessment of manufacturing jobs:”Overall employment in this sector will decline by 9 percent as productivity gains, automation, and international competition adversely affect employment in most manufacturing industries. Employment in household appliance manufacturing is expected to decline by 24 percent over the decade. Similarly, employment in machinery manufacturing, apparel manufacturing, and computer and electronic product manufacturing will decline as well. However, employment in a few manufacturing industries will increase. For example, employment in pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing is expected to grow by 6 percent by 2018; however, this increase is expected to add only 17,600 new jobs.”

Further, since the recovery began, businesses have only spent two percent more for employees while 26% more for equipment and software to help to replace them.

The truth is that education doesn’t improve jobs; education improves if the jobs are there. The long term problem with urban public education has been the lack of jobs for its students. Everyone in the system – students, parents, teachers – understand this and reacts accordingly.

Sam Smith, The Great American Political Repair Manual, 1997: Educational systems rise and fall in response to the economy they serve. A dramatic example occurred at the beginning of World War II. During the Depression years there was an assumption that many of the jobless were either too dumb or too lazy to find employment. After Pearl Harbor, however, such assumptions collapsed. America needed everyone and in schools, factories, and the military the allegedly uneducable suddenly were able to learn.

Today there is an assumption that many of the urban jobless are either too dumb or too lazy to find employment. But unlike during World War II, this assumption is not being tested because we simply don’t need everyone any more. Instead we have let the social triage of race and class takes its course.

To be sure, there are plenty of over-bureaucratized, unimaginative, and just plain incompetent city school systems, but reforming them would be infinitely easier if students, administrators, teachers and parents knew there was going to be an economic pay-off at the end. When fifty percent of a city’s welfare recipients have a high school diploma, there is a strong hint that something is very wrong other than the educational system.

Further, the word gets around. Politicians and the media may have abstract fantasies about the value of education; kids tend to be a bit more realistic.

So the most important first step towards a better urban school system is a better urban economy.
Major strike planned for Britain

Daily Mail, UK – Britain is on the brink of a series of crippling co-ordinated strikes, with more than a million union members planning to bring the country to a standstill.

Key workers, ranging from teachers to tax officials, university lecturers and coastguard controllers, will walk out on June 30.

Other strikes are likely to follow over the coming months as unions vent their fury at the Government’s programme of spending cuts.

The country’s biggest civil servant union, the Public and Commercial Services Union, is today expected to vote overwhelmingly to ballot for a national strike.

The unprecedented action by around 680,000 teachers will close almost every school in England

India’s population to surpass that of China in fifteen years

The Hindu – India will take over China in terms of population by 2025, an analysis of the provisional Census, 2011 data suggests.

With more than 1.2 billion people, India contains about 17.5 per cent (every sixth person in the world is an Indian) of humanity. China is the only country with a larger population, with 144 million more people. The United Nations has estimated that the Indian population grew at an annual rate of 1.43 per cent during 2005-10. In comparison, China registered a much lower annual growth rate of 0.7 per cent during corresponding period.

In fact, the population growth is now almost at par with that of the developed nations.

Pocket paradigms

Liberals are now, for most part, differentiated from conservatives by an occasional admission that there might have been a brief era in which just a smidgen of social welfare might possibly have been an appropriate transitory modality. The other way you can tell liberals and conservatives apart is with a stop-watch. A liberal thinks a drug offender should spend 17 years rather than 35 years in prison. – Sam Smith

Word

“Richard Nixon, if he were alive today. . . would probably feel vindicated (and envious) that all the crimes he committed against me — which forced his resignation facing impeachment — are now legal.” — Daniel Ellsberg, in an interview with CNN.

Ban on driving by high school drop outs gaining attention

The Car Connection – Like graduated teen driver’s licensing, it sounds simple enough: if you want to get a driver’s license, you need to stay in school. Drop out, and you’ll either be ineligible for driving privileges or you’ll run the risk of having your license revoked.

That’s what’s being considered in states all across America, and a surprisingly large number of drivers (68 percent, according to PSCars) support the idea. Motorists in Georgia, Texas, Massachusetts, New York and Michigan are especially in favor of the anti-drop-out laws, while residents of Florida, California, Illinois, Ohio and Washington, D.C. are the most opposed to it.

Will such a plan work? Opinions differ, and John Duffy, a clinical psychologist specializing in parent-child interaction offered, “A punishment rarely creates a desired behavior, and, in the case of forcing a child to remain in school, will not help intrinsically motivate that child either. “

Walker sells out to Miller’s Beer

Think Progress – Tucked into Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) much-discussed budget was a little-noticed provision to overhaul the state’s regulation of the beer industry. In a state long associated with beer, the provision will make it much more difficult for the Wisconsin’s burgeoning craft breweries to operate and expand their business by barring them from selling directly to restaurants and liquor stores, and preventing them from selling their own product onsite.

The new provision treats craft brewers ¬ the 60 of whom make up just 5 percent of the beer market in Wisconsin ¬ like corporate mega-brewers, forcing them to use a wholesale distributor to market their product. Under the provision, it would be illegal, for instance, for a small brewer located near a restaurant to walk next door to deliver a case of beer. They’ll have to hire a middle man to do it instead.

But more noteworthy than the provision itself is how it was enacted. The provision was quietly slipped in the massive budget legislation without any consultation from independent craft brewers, who are justifiably outraged by it. One group that clearly did have input, however, is one of the world’s largest beer makers ¬ MillerCoors:

Chicago-based MillerCoors, which operates a brewery and eastern division headquarters in Milwaukee, supports the proposal because it shares concerns with wholesale distributors about the possibility of Anheuser-Busch buying wholesalers throughout the country, said company spokesman James Wright.

Joining MillerCoors in support of the provision are industry associations that have an interest in preserving the current business of beer distributors, including the industry’s lobby, the Wisconsin Beer Distribution Association. But craft brewers see the provision as “a power grab” by MillerCoors that is targeted at them.

Babies dying at higher rate in Pacific northwest following Japanese nuke disaster

Janette D. Sherman MD & Joseph Mangano, Counterpunch -The recent CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report indicates that eight cities in the northwest U.S. (Boise ID, Seattle WA, Portland OR, plus the northern California cities of Santa Cruz, Sacramento, San Francisco, San Jose, and Berkeley) reported the following data on deaths among those younger than one year of age:

4 weeks ending March 19, 2011 – 37 deaths (avg. 9.25 per week)
10 weeks ending May 28, 2011 – 125 deaths (avg.12.50 per week)

This amounts to an increase of 35% (the total for the entire U.S. rose about 2.3%), and is statistically significant. Of further significance is that those dates include the four weeks before and the ten weeks after the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant disaster.

Data from Chernobyl, which exploded 25 years ago, clearly shows increased numbers of sick and weak newborns and increased numbers of deaths in the unborn and newborns, especially soon after the meltdown. These occurred in Europe as well as the former Soviet Union. Similar findings are also seen in wildlife living in areas with increased radioactive fallout levels…

Janette D. Sherman, M. D. is the author of Life’s Delicate Balance: Causes and Prevention of Breast Cancer and Chemical Exposure and Disease, and is a specialist in internal medicine and toxicology. She edited the book Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and Nature, written by A. V. Yablokov, V. B., Nesterenko and A. V. Nesterenko, published by the New York Academy of Sciences in 2009.Joseph Mangano is an epidemiologist, and Executive Director of the Radiation and Public Health Project research group.

Mississippi school shackles and handcuffs children

Alternet – The Southern Poverty Law Center has filed a federal class action lawsuit against Jackson Public School District in Mississippi for allowing an alternative school to shackle and handcuff students for hours on end as punishment for the most minor infractions, like speaking too loudly or not wearing a belt.

At Capital City Alternative School, administration would actually shackle students to railings and poles, then walk away and leave them tied up and unsupervised like dogs. One student, shackled to a railing for the entire school day for not wearing a belt, had no choice but to eat his lunch handcuffed. Other examples of the school’s bondage punishment policy include a 15-year-old girl handcuffed to a railing for hours after greeting a friend too loudly in the hallway and a student who was shackled up for not wearing the right colored shoes.

College no longer fulfills American dream

BUSINESS INSIDER

Gary Liberson, Huffington Post – The PEW Research Center looked at the issue of college pricing in their report,”Is College Worth It?” Their findings validate the tensions caused by the high cost of a college education:

A majority of Americans (57 percent) say the higher education system in the United States fails to provide students with good value for the money they and their families spend.

A record share of students are leaving college with a substantial debt burden… a quarter say it has made it harder to buy a home (25 percent); and about a quarter say it has had an impact on their career choices (24 percent).

Nearly every parent surveyed (94 percent) says they expect their child to attend college… most young adults in this country still do not attend a four-year college. The main barrier is financial.

Over the last 18 years, every dollar added to the cost of a college degree has only put 14 cents of annual income in a graduate’s pocket.
Many may have to work into 70s or 80s to afford any retirement

Robert Powell, Market Watch – We all think it’s a panacea. If you don’t have enough money saved for retirement, you’ve got a few ways to close the gap between what you have and what you need in your nest egg: Save more, invest more aggressively, and/or work longer.

Well, it turns out that working longer is indeed an option, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute latest study. The only problem is that the latest research shows that you’ll have to work much longer than you anticipated. In fact, many Americans will have to keep on working well into their 70s and 80s to afford retirement, according to the study, titled “The Impact of Deferring Retirement Age on Retirement Income Adequacy.” Click to Play

What’s more, it’s even worse for low-income workers, according Jack VanDerhei, one of the co-authors of the study. Those who earned (on average over the course of their careers) less than $11,700 per year, the lowest income quartile, would need to defer retirement till age 84 before 90% of those households would have just a 50% chance of affording retirement.

Those who earned between $11,700 and $31,200 will need to work till age 76 to have a 50% chance of covering basic expenses in retirement. Those who earned between $31,200 and $72,500 will need to work to age 72 to have a 50% chance and those who earned more than $72,500, those in the highest income quartile, catch a break; they get stop working at age 65 to have a 50/50 chance of funding their retirement.

So what can be done to make sure you have enough income in retirement? Well, the sad truth is that not working is no longer an option and working past age 65 is fast becoming a fact of life, at least for those in the lowest three income quartiles.

Minority youth spend more time with new and old media

New America Media – Minority youth aged 8 to 18 consume an average of 13 hours of media content a day – about 4-1/2 hours more than their white counterparts, according to a new Northwestern University report, the first national study to focus exclusively on children’s media use by race and ethnicity.

“In the past decade, the gap between minority and white youth’s daily media use has doubled for blacks and quadrupled for Hispanics,” says Northwestern Professor Ellen Wartella, who directed the study and heads the Center on Media and Human Development in the School of Communication.

The report finds that minority children spend one to two additional hours each day watching TV and videos, approximately an hour more listening to music, up to an hour and a half more on computers, and 30 to 40 minutes more playing video games than their white counterparts.

The only medium for which no difference was found between minority and white youth was reading print for pleasure. Young people in all groups read for pleasure approximately 30 to 40 minutes a day, the study finds.

Other report findings:

• Minority youth are especially avid adopters of new media, spending about an hour and a half more each day than white youth using their cell phones, iPods and other mobile devices . . .

• Traditional TV viewing remains the most popular of all media – with black and Hispanic youth consuming an average of more than three hours of live TV daily (3:23 for blacks, 3:08 for Hispanics, 2:28 for Asians and 2:14 for whites).

• TV viewing rates are even higher when data on time-shifting technologies such as TiVo, DVDs, and mobile and online viewing are included. Total daily television consumption then rises to 5:54 for black youth, 5:21 for Hispanics, 4:41 for Asians, and 3:36 for whites.

• Black and Hispanic youth are more likely to have TV sets in their bedrooms (84% of blacks, 77% of Hispanics compared to 64% of whites and Asians), and to have cable and premium channels available in their bedrooms (42% of blacks and 28% of Hispanics compared to 17% of whites and 14% of Asians).

• Minority youth eat more meals in front of the TV set – with 78% of black, 67% of Hispanic, 58% of white and 55% of Asian 8- to 18-year-olds reporting that the TV is “usually” on during meals at home.

• Trends such as TV sets in the bedroom and eating meals with the TV on begin at an early age. Black children under 6 are twice as likely to have a TV in their bedroom as whites and more than twice as likely to go to sleep with the TV on. Black children under 6 are almost three times as likely to eat dinner in front of the TV than white children the same age.

• No significant differences exist in the time young people spend using a computer for schoolwork, and only modest differences are evident in their tendency to multitask with media while doing homework. White, black and Hispanic youth average 16 minutes a day using a computer for schoolwork while Asians average 20 minutes (not a significant difference).

• There are no significant differences in time spent by youth multi-tasking their media. For example, 37% of white, 44% of black and 41% of Hispanic middle and high school students report using another medium “most of the time” while watching TV.

A brief reminder

The judges of whether a member of Congress stays in office should be his or her constituents – and not party leaders or a self-righteous media. As we have argued since the case of Adam Clayton Powell in the 1960s, usurping constituents’ rights in this regard is generally a sin far greater than that of which the legislator is accused.

Settlement reached in Thomas Drake leak case

Secrecy News – In a whirlwind conclusion to the prosecution of former National Security Agency official Thomas A. Drake, Mr. Drake agreed to plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge of “exceeding authorized use of a computer.”

Prosecutors were unable to sustain any of the felony counts against Mr. Drake that were contained in last year’s ten-count indictment, including charges of unauthorized retention of classified material under the Espionage Act of 1917.

Mr. Drake had been suspected of unauthorized disclosures of classified information to the press, though he was not specifically charged with that offense, and he denied committing it.

Much of the case was conducted behind closed doors and off the public record, so many intriguing aspects of its ultimate resolution remain obscure for the time being. But it seems clear that the Obama Administration misjudged the merits of its case against Drake, pursuing minor infractions with disproportionate zeal.

Meanwhile, Mr. Drake’s legal team, public defenders James Wyda and Deborah L. Boardman, did a superb job of defending their client in a challenging legal environment. Drake’s supporters at the Government Accountability Project managed to win a remarkable degree of public sympathy and support for a supposed felon.

Walmart now plans to run small retailers out of business

Daily Mail, UK – Walmart is looking to open up to 350 new ‘express’ convenience stores a year in U.S. cities and rural areas – threatening small independent retailers.

The world’s largest retailer is downsizing its new stores to fit smaller city centre and rural locations in a bid to boost already astronomic annual sales of $420 billion.

But smaller retailers and traditional ‘Mom and Pop’ stores could suffer from the move as consumers opt for convenience and lower prices.

Critics of the Walmart point to studies showing the damage a store can do to the local economy.

A 2006 study by Loyola University found that within two years of a Walmart store opening in Chicago, 82 local stores went out of business.

And according to another study called ‘The Effects of Walmart on Local Labor Markets’ found that for every two jobs the company creates, three local jobs are destroyed.

Things the media doesn’t tell you about American nuclear power

Institute for Policy Studies – More than 30 million highly radioactive spent nuclear fuel rods are submerged in vulnerable storage pools at reactors all over the United States. These pools at 51 sites contain some the largest concentrations of radioactivity on the planet. Yet, they are stored under unsafe conditions, vulnerable to attacks and natural disasters.

Spent nuclear fuel rods have enough pop to cause a catastrophic radiation fire, a nuclear chain reaction, or explosion. As the Fukushima Dai-Ichi tragedy shows, the risk to the public is all too real.

Spent nuclear fuel rods are so deadly that a motorcyclist blasting past them at 60 mph at a distance of one foot would be killed from the effects of that fleeting radiation exposure.

The metal tubing that holds the spent nuclear fuel is thinner than a credit card. This thin sheath is the only major barrier preventing the escape of radioactive materials. Cracked or damaged metal tubing that was holding deadly nuclear material at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear reactors resulted in the release of an enormous amount radioactivity, much of which seeped into air, soil, and nearby ocean water.

Approximately 75 percent of U.S. spent nuclear fuel rods are kept tightly packed together in storage racks, submerged in pools located at nuclear reactors. These storage facilities resemble large above-ground swimming pools and this practice puts the American public at risk. Spent fuel storage pools are often housed in buildings no more secure than a car dealership. Instead, these fuel rods should be safely stored in dry, hardened, and sealed storage casks.

Spent fuel storage pools are vulnerable. Massive land contamination, radiation injuries, and myriad deaths would result from a terrorist attack, earthquake, or even a prolonged electricity blackout ¬ as happened at the Fukushima Dai- Ichi reactor site in Japan following an earthquake and tsunami. Pools need electricity to pump water to cool the rods, as well as to maintain a high water level to diffuse the escape of radiation. Despite these dangers, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission doesn’t require nuclear reactor operators to even have back-up power supplies for these spent-fuel pools to prevent disaster.

If the water in a spent nuclear fuel pool drains to six feet above the fuel rods, it would give off life-threatening radiation doses to workers on site. These pools were originally designed to hold less than one fifth of the radioactive material they now contain.

If the water were to drain entirely from a spent fuel pool, it could trigger a catastrophic radioactive fire that would spew toxins and render hundreds of thousands of square miles uninhabitable. The devastated area would be larger than the wasteland that resulted from the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident.

Life-threatening incidents have occurred at multiple U.S. spent fuel storage pools. In Haddam Neck, Connecticut, a pool sprung a leak in August 1984. About 200,000 gallons of water drained in just 20 minutes, according the NRC.

Dry cask storage is a much safer alternative to pools ¬ which were originally designed to hold less than one-fifth of what they now contain. It doesn’t rely upon a constant supply of electricity or water, and it also can be stored in separate blast-proof containers, making it less susceptible to terrorist attack or earthquakes.

Over the next 10 years, we could remove all spent fuel older than five years for a cost of $3 billion-$7 billion. The cost of fixing America’s nuclear vulnerabilities may be high, but the price of doing too little is incalculable.

50 mile evacuation zones for some American nuclear plants

FACT SHEET
The difference between General Motors and Apple

Alexis Madrigal, The Atlantic – Steve Jobs’ Apple has become the premier consumer technology company in the world by making products that people love. Sure, Apple runs a tight ship and hires smart people and all that, but what really sets the company apart is Jobs’ intense focus on making good products. Competitors like Nokia were shocked when the iPhone came out, not because of its touch screen or tech specs, but because it just .. worked so well.

General Motors is symbolic for roughly the opposite reasons. A once-great American company, it had to be bailed out by the government and now has a market value of roughly one-sixth Apple’s.

All of which makes the new book, Car Guys Versus Bean Counters: The Battle for the Soul of American Business, by Bob Lutz, the former vice chairman of global product development for GM, a fascinating indictment of our country’s corporations. In it, Lutz charges that American business has become entranced by planning and forecasting. MBAs and planners — people who know all business generally but no business specifically — receive special scorn. In the drive to narrowly optimize for the bottom line, American businesses forget about the real world necessity of pleasing their customers.

Product planners, Lutz told me, approach a new car design as if it was a Harvard Business School case study, creating beautiful, profitable spreadsheets that don’t translate well to the real world. . . .
The real reason we’re going broke

Word

AVAILABLE AS A T SHIRT OR A MUG

God can’t decide among the GOP candidates

New York – God hasn’t been universally generous with his support. He went out of his way to let Mike Huckabee know that he shouldn’t run for president, lest he take his focus off the much more important task of producing a series of conservative American history DVDs. And though God arranged for Sarah Palin to be chosen as John McCain’s running mate in 2008, there’s nothing to indicate that he backs her potential candidacy in 2012. Nevertheless, the fact that God has privately encouraged the candidacies of three different Republicans may cause voters to question whether, in reality, he really even has any preference at all.

God could not be reached for comment by press time, because, a spokesman says, he was helping a baseball player hit a game-winning home run, giving an old churchgoing lady the winning lottery numbers, making sure that a plane made it through the turbulence okay, helping someone survive a heart attack, and also, just for fun, creating a new animal that’s like a cross between a leopard and an alligator.
Senate committee report: Latin American drug war has failed
NPR – Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) said that after a year-long investigation by a Senate subcommittee, “it’s becoming increasingly clear that our efforts to rein in the narcotics trade in Latin America, especially as it relates to the government’s use of contractors, have largely failed.”

The report comes a week after a high-powered commission of former world leaders came to the conclusion that the global war on drugs had “failed.” Mark wrote about that report, last week.

The Los Angeles Times reports that the Senate subcommitteE couldn’t find any evidence that the billions of dollars spent on fighting the war on drugs was actually reducing the amount of illegal narcotics that found their way into the United States:

“We are wasting tax dollars and throwing money at a problem without even knowing what we are getting in return,” said Sen.Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), who chairs the Senate subcommittee that wrote one of the reports, which was released Wednesday.

“I think we have wasted our money hugely,” agreed Bruce Bagley, who studies U.S. counter-narcotics efforts and chairs international studies at the University of Miami at Coral Gables, Fla. “The effort has had corrosive effects on every country it has touched.”

Libyan war costing far more than promised

How to delate a social media website

Half of federal prisoners are there on drug charges

Rick Scott least popular governor

Chicago public housing residents face eviction if family members are accused of crime, including drug use

Southwest Airlines ticket prices not as cheap as you may think

Australian climate scientists receive death threats

Alabama passes harshest immigration law

75 percent of Irish professionals consider leaving Ireland if economy fails to improve

NYC Police heavy harassment of blacks & latinos

Ex Blackwater workers file class action law suit

WHERE THE ACTION IS

June 14: Economic rebellion day

Major protest planned for Washington in October
October 2011 organization
Happy Birthday to Yes Magazine

Socialists meet in Chicago July 1-4

Targeting Target

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