Obama promised to curb the influence of lobbyists. Has he succeeded?
By Juliet Eilperin | The Washington Post
New Pipe?In the three months since Marty Paone took on the job as President Obama’s chief liaison to the U.S. Senate, he has helped plot strategy on the confirmations of top administration appointees, a partisan showdown over funding the Department of Homeland Security and the president’s request for the authorization for use of military force.

What he more pointedly did not work on was the very first piece of legislation the new Congress considered this year: a contentious bill to authorize construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. Just before his arrival in the West Wing, Paone served as executive vice president for the Prime Policy Group, where he lobbied on behalf of two of the project’s major proponents, the American Petroleum Institute and the In Situ Oil Sands Alliance. Read More
Sotomayor May Have Saved Obamacare/strong>
How she backed Kennedy and Roberts into a corner
By Cristian Farias | Slate
SaviorIn a dispatch on King v. Burwell, the closely watched Obamacare challenge, NPR’s Nina Totenberg observed that the plaintiffs’ attorney, Michael Carvin, argued before the Supreme Court with “red-faced passion.” Indeed, Justice Sonia Sotomayor hadn’t even finished the preamble to her first question when Carvin interrupted her to finish an earlier thought. He then caught himself and apologized, at which point Sotomayor tempered him: “Take a breath.”

Carvin needed that moment, because Sotomayor was about to ask a bombshell question about federalism, a subject that later dominated a key portion of the hearing. In setting it up, she said she was “concerned” by Carvin’s reading of the Affordable Care Act—in essence, that Congress wrote it so that only states with their own insurance exchanges receive federal subsidies. The problem with that reading, Sotomayor noted, is that awmakers gave states a “choice”: set up exchanges of your own, or let the federal government do it for you via healthcare.gov. Read More
Science Shows There's Only One Real Way to Listen to Music
By Tom Barnes | Music.Mic
Vinyl Only!Steve Jobs, the man who invented the iPod and ignited the digital music revolution, never listened to MP3s.

Instead, he only listened to vinyl. He felt there was something vacuous about listening to music in a digital form and was surprised at the success of his own product — that so many people had willfully traded quality "for convenience or price."

Digital doesn't hold up: Nothing about the way we listen to music these days commands attention like or yields the quality of a physical record. Though there is a movement back towards vinyl, there's an even bigger movement towards streaming — and with it, a whole new paradigm for how we hear music. Read More
Spain wants to ban drunk walking. What next for pedestrians?
The Spanish proposal to crack down on dangerous walking by reclassifying pedestrians as ‘users of the road’ is the latest salvo in an old turf war between cars and the people they hit
By Feargus O'Sullivan | the guardian
Dead drunkDrunk tourists staggering down Spanish streets at night might need to pay more attention this summer. In a crackdown on dangerous walking, Spain’s Directorate General of Traffic plans to introduce breathalyser tests for pedestrians. They also suggest introducing an off-road speed limit for joggers. The proposals, buried among other road safety suggestions, would give pedestrians responsibilities akin to drivers – and ought to inspire other new laws in their footsteps. Read More
The Supreme Court at Stake
Overturning Obamacare Would Change the Nature of the Supreme Court
By Linda Greenhouse | The New York Times
In the first Affordable Care Act case three years ago, the Supreme Court had to decide whether Congress had the power, under the Commerce Clause or some other source of authority, to require individuals to buy health insurance. It was a question that went directly to the structure of American government and the allocation of power within the federal system. Read More 
Our dangerous new McCarthyism: Russia, Noam Chomsky and what the media’s not telling you about the new Cold War
Perverse, diabolical obsession: Policy cliques in D.C. have no intention of desisting in this war until they win it
By Patrick L. Smith | Salon
New WarIt is time to attempt that hardest of things—to see ourselves for who we are, to see what it is we are doing and what is being done to us.

Two things prompt the thought. We have the latest news on Washington’s confrontation with Russia, and we have a newly precipitous decline in the national conversation on this crisis. In my estimation, we reach dangerous new lows in both respects.

It is always difficult for the living to see themselves as suspended in history. Being up against the rock face of events, being the stuff of which events are made, allows no distance, and achieving perspective without any takes an arduous effort.

But we have to make an attempt at this field of vision now. Every moment counts as history, but some passages are bigger than others. And this, ours, is very big as of the last 10 days, maybe two weeks. Read More
Requiem for a Golf Course
by Fred Altvater | B9R Lessons
HGGCThe Golf economy today is a mixed bag, while some areas of the golf business are very strong, other parts are suffering.

Part of the reason is that young people do not seem to be taking to the game as the older generation did. With the variety of activities available to the X and Y Generations, other sports seem to be more attractive.

A slow walk around a golf course can’t compete with mountain biking or zip-lines. Read More
That FL CEO Who Said He'd FIRE Everyone if Obama Elected? Guess What Happened...
By SemDem | Daily Kos
Da Boss"The Queen of Versailles" was a film documentary based on the sleazy time-share mogul, David Siegel, and his wife, Jackie. David had major financial troubles following Bush's 2008 economic crises. He even had to stop work on his private home, dubbed "Versailles", which was to be the largest home in the U.S. Poor guy. Read More
9/11′s funding mystery solved? Why Moussaoui is suddenly offering new info
Convicted Al Qaeda conspirator dangles new details on 9/11 plot -- but can he actually be trusted?
By Phil Hirschkorn | Salon
When it comes to al Qaeda-trained soldier Zacarias Moussaoui, the only person the United States has convicted for the September 11th terrorist attacks, a reality check is tricky.

From his offbeat and offensive behavior in court to his lengthy rants in handwritten motions he filed while representing himself for a time, Moussaoui has displayed a consistent volatility. He was, to quote remarks at sentencing by his trial judge, Leonie Brinkema, “an absolutely impossible defendant.”

Then there was his bizarre trial testimony, when Moussaoui asserted al Qaeda had tapped him to fly a fifth plane on 9/11 into the White House. One of his defense attorneys, Edward MacMahon, told jurors that testimony was “a tall tale, a whopper.”  Read More
Inside the ESPN Empire
An exit interview with ombudsman Robert Lipsyte.
By Chris Laskowski | Slate
When ESPN named legendary sports journalist Robert Lipsyte its ombudsman in April 2013, the decision was cheered by Deadspin, the Worldwide Leader’s chief antagonist. Calling on Lipsyte was a surprising decision for ESPN, whose broadcasting entanglements with sports leagues mean that turning athletes into heroes is sort of the company’s business model. The former New York Times columnist, by contrast, made his name by straying from the pack of sportswriters he charged with “godding up” sports stars. Read More
White America’s moral disaster: From Eric Garner to Mike Brown, a destructive view of “justice”
Eric Garner is just one example of black life devalued. Here's how white victimization is tearing the nation apart
By Heather Digby Parton | Salon
devaluedRecently a New York police officer named Daniel Pantoleo who was videotaped killing a man named Eric Garner using an unauthorized choke hold was found by a grand jury to have been justified in his actions. No charges will be filed. Garner was unarmed and his suspected crime was selling single cigarettes on the sidewalk. He never threatened the officers. His mistake, apparently, was in not realizing that failing to instantly capitulate in an appropriately servile manner would result in summary execution. He did not get a chance to live and learn. Read More
We have been stupefied
As the Republicans take the Senate, these four reasons explain why the republic is in serious, serious trouble
By Jim Sleeper | Salon
Warren and CruzThe American republic didn’t end this week because conservative Republicans captured the Senate. Conservative Republicans captured the Senate because the republic has been ending, as liberal Democrats and libertarian Republicans surf four predatory new asymmetries in our national life – in security, in speech, in investment, and in consumer marketing. These immense imbalances of power are submerging the elections, delegitimizing the liberal capitalist republic that promised to give security, speech, investment, and marketing deeply different meanings and consequences than the ones they’ve acquired. Read More
Ten Facts You May Not Know About The Federal Budget
The fiscal year for 2014 ended on September 30th. With the release of the end-of-year totals for fiscal year 2014, below are 10 facts you may not know about the federal budget.
By Senate Budget Committee; Patty Murray, Chairman
1) Overall federal spending has been flat for five straight years, for the first time since the end of World War II.

When measured in simple, raw dollars, spending has historically risen year to year. This is not surprising given that the size of the population and the cost of living (inflation) both increase from year to year. However, from 2009 to 2014, spending was largely unchanged at $3.5 trillion per year. The last time spending did not rise over a five year period, even in nominal dollars, was during the post-World War II phase down from 1946 to 1951. Read More
Windows 10
the OS for gullible people
By Jason Taylor | lairdslair
Deal!As everyone knows, Microsoft says they are skipping Windows 9. The reason they are skipping is because Windows 8 really sucks and Microsoft wants to weaken the direct link and connection between Windows 8 and Windows 10, so more people are tricked into trying Windows 10.  Read More
Much ado about our SS
By Jason Taylor | lairdslair
After a week of testimony before congress regarding what do to about all the break ins and the resignation of Secret Service director Julie Pierson , the decision was made by Congress to have a member of the Secret Service drive to Home Depot and purchase a lock.  Read More
What Lurks Beneath The Methane Lakes of Titan?
What are we seeing here? Fun answer: No one knows.
By Phil Plait | Slate
One of the biggest discoveries made by the Cassini spacecraft is that Titan — the mammoth moon of Saturn — has lakes of liquid methane and ethane on its surface. Radar maps of the surface of Titan confirmed that the north pole is dotted with them, and combined cover far more of the surface of that moon than the Great Lakes do the Earth. Read More
The Problem with this World is Clear....
..upon reviewing the following hyperlink.
By Jason Taylor | lairdslair
Wrong?You know how you get an email about an article you want to read? So you click on the hyperlink. So far so good. Then, a page opens up, and the article is there, somewhere on the page. Just scroll down past a few hundred ads or so and, ahh, there it is. What’s that to the side? Some sexy little short easy to read teaser story screaming for my attention? Oh it will only take a second.

Often these side articles are just top 10/20 “articles” with 10/20 pictures and a few words. Read More
Bud and Miller Are Trying to Hijack Craft Beer—and It’s Totally Backfiring
By Tom Philpott | Mother Jones
Little BudInBev and MillerCoors loom over the US beer landscape like…well, like one of those monstrous inflatable Bud Light bottles that spring up at certain football tailgate parties and outdoor concerts. Together, the two global giants own nearly 80 percent of the US beer market. InBev alone, corporate owner of Budweiser, spends a staggering $449 million on US advertising.

But also like those vast blow-up beer bottles, their presence is not-so-faintly ridiculous and always teetering. The industry's signature light beers are suffering a "slow, watery death," BusinessWeek recently reported, their sales declining steadily. Read More
Why Is Cable Television So Afraid of Admitting That Many of America's Terror Attacks Are 'Right Wing?'
CNN has been afraid calling a major social threat by its real name.
By C.J. Werlman | Alternet
CNN CableIn the aftermath of the deadly Las Vegas shooting rampage, which left two police officers, a shopper, and the shooters dead, one can expect all the usual talking points that follow an all too regular and familiar massacre – mental health, access to guns, the killer’s motives, and so forth. But here’s another one: the intellectual cowardice of cable news giant CNN, when it comes to reporting right wing terrorism. Read More
This Fish Crawled Out of the Water…and Into Creationists' Nightmares
Some 375 million years ago, Tiktaalik emerged onto land. Today, explains paleontologist Neil Shubin, we're all walking around in modified fish bodies.
By Chris Mooney | Mother Jones
We all know the Darwin fish, the car-bumper send-up of the Christian "ichthys" symbol, or Jesus fish. Unlike the Christian symbol, the Darwin fish has, you know, legs. Har har. Read More
Nasa-funded study: industrial civilisation headed for 'irreversible collapse'?
Natural and social scientists develop new model of how 'perfect storm' of crises could unravel global system
By Nafeez Ahmed | The Guardian
TerraA new study sponsored by Nasa's Goddard Space Flight Center has highlighted the prospect that global industrial civilisation could collapse in coming decades due to unsustainable resource exploitation and increasingly unequal wealth distribution.

Noting that warnings of 'collapse' are often seen to be fringe or controversial, the study attempts to make sense of compelling historical data showing that "the process of rise-and-collapse is actually a recurrent cycle found throughout history." Cases of severe civilisational disruption due to "precipitous collapse - often lasting centuries - have been quite common."  Read More
Your purpose, then, plainly stated, is that you will destroy the Government, unless you be allowed to construe and enforce the Constitution as you please, on all points in dispute between you and us."
-Abraham Lincoln, addressing the Southern people in his Cooper Union Address, February 27, 1860.
One man alone can be pretty dumb sometimes, but for real bona fide stupidity nothing beats teamwork.
- Mark Twain
Don't forget - it's all Obama's fault.
- Fox News
Lead, follow or get out of the way.
- Thomas Paine

It's not 1955 anymore and it never will be again. Get your heads out of the sand and let's move forward!
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The month that killed the middle class: How October 1973 slammed America
From the Arab oil embargo to the auto workers strike, one month more than 40 years ago changed this nation forever
By Edward McClelland | Salon
Impeach Nixon!Early in 1974, Don Cooper, an autoworker at an Oldsmobile plant in Lansing, Michigan, was demoted from his coveted job in the crankshaft department to the final assembly line, where he had started out as a rookie nine years earlier. Cooper hadn’t done anything wrong. Rather, he was a victim of events 6,000 miles away.

The previous October, Egypt had invaded Israel. When the United States provided military aid to the Jewish state, Saudi Arabia retaliated by cutting off oil exports to Western nations. The Arab Oil Embargo raised the price of gasoline from 36 to 53 cents a gallon — when drivers could get it. To prevent hours-long lines, filling stations sold to cars with odd-numbered license plates on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, even plates on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Read More
The Tea Party is getting worse: Media may want a new narrative, but GOP is still nuts 
Don't let the press fool you. Across the country, the wingnut revolution isn't calming down. Behold the insanity
By Elias Isquith | Salon
NutbarsIt is a cardinal rule of horserace-style political journalism in the U.S. that no two elections can have the same narrative. That’s not to say certain tropes aren’t repeated ad nauseam. But it is to say that that the press corps’ desire to mitigate the unavoidable, soul-crushing monotony of a campaign often causes it to flip the script from one election to the next, despite politics in the real world changing much more slowly. If you look at the way the media’s covered the ongoing “invisible primary” to be the GOP’s next presidential nominee, you’ll see the narrative for 2016 is being pre-written already. Read More
Is It Time To Kill The K-Cup, Before It Kills Our Planet?
By Nick Visser | The Huffington Post
Your Keurig coffee pods have a dirty little secret. Actually, make that a big secret. Read More
7 Reasons I Dumped Facebook
By Tim Maurer | Forbes
facedump smallIt’s official. I’m off the Facebook FB +0.81% grid. Nobody offended me. I didn’t have a bad experience. While I’m not thrilled about the idea of Big Brother watching my every move, I’m not particularly paranoid about social media sharing. Therefore, I’m sharing why I’m dumping Facebook and committing to Twitter and Instagram. Read More
The way we use antibiotics is broken. Blame nearly a century of drug marketing.
By Danielle Paquette | The Washington Post
abuseWhen our throats burn, we’re conditioned to reach for antibiotics. When our noses run, we hound doctors for antibiotics. When we’re too groggy to drive to the doctor, we search our medicine cabinets for leftover antibiotics.

Four out of five Americans are prescribed the drugs every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Up to half of the estimated 258 million prescriptions are unnecessary, the agency reports. Read More
Is Depression a Kind of Allergic Reaction?
By Caroline Williams | The Guardian
In the dumpBarely a week goes by without a celebrity “opening up” about their “battle with depression”. This, apparently, is a brave thing to do because, despite all efforts to get rid of the stigma around depression, it is still seen as some kind of mental and emotional weakness.

But what if was nothing of the sort? What if it was a physical illness that just happens to make people feel pretty lousy? Would that make it less of a big deal to admit to? Could it even put a final nail in the coffin of the idea that depression is all in the mind? Read More
The truth about the New Republic: Kinsley, Krauthammer, Oliver North and a liberal magazine’s demented war on liberalism
TNR spent the '80s in bed with Reagan and Ollie North, backing tax cuts, proxy wars -- and screwing liberalism hard
By Eric Alterman | Salon
“I don’t know if any of you have heard of a magazine called the New Republic,” said then-Treasury Secretary Donald Regan to an assembled group of reporters in early 1985, but, as he soon made clear, this hallowed home of historic heartbleeders, this perfidious parlor of pointyheaded pinkos, this effete embankment of Eastern Establishment elitism, had just “endorsed” Ronald Reagan’s tax reform plan. What a victory for common sense.  Read More
Rula Jebreal: Why America is losing the war on terror — and the Islam debate is so flawed
Leading journo explains why killing Osama didn't end the war -- and why Bill Maher & co. get Islam wrong
By Rula Jebreal | Salon
America is losing the longest war in its history. An enemy that had comprised a couple of hundred desperate men hiding in caves in eastern Afghanistan when the “war on terror” got underway following the 9/11 attacks is incarnated today as 20,000 fighting men in the Islamic State movement. And far from hiding in caves, ISIS has brazenly raised its black flag over vast swaths of territory in Syria and Iraq – countries that, in 2001, had been two of the most secular societies in the Middle East. Read More
The right’s sham Christianity: How an attack on John Kasich exposes the fraud
Ohio's GOP governor was the darling of the right -- until he sought to help poor people, in the name of Christ
By Elizabeth Stoker Bruenig | Salon
Johnny KCould Republican Gov. John Kasich run for president? According to the Washington Post, he’s poised to, and he certainly seems to be among the better options out there, with the other obvious choices either clearly deranged (Ted Cruz) or totally uninterested (Mitt Romney). But conservatives have not been roundly pleased with Kasich, in part because he is evidently something of a committed Christian.

Last year, Kasich fought doggedly to expand Medicaid coverage in Ohio, extending healthcare to some 275,000 poor people. When queried as to why a conservative would push for expanded coverage, Kasich explained his reasoning thus:    Read More
"There are no silver bullets”: Humanity’s incredible run of luck might be coming to an end
Humans have overcome plenty of natural crises before, Ruth DeFries tells Salon. Will we be able to do so again?
By Lindsay Abrams | Salon
PolluteHere’s the long view of human history, as Ruth DeFries sees it: An ingenious species, we keep finding new ways to “hijack nature” and better feed ourselves. Each newfound system for producing food is a game changer, allowing our numbers to grow, only to be halted in our upward trajectory by some new problem that we must innovate our way out of again. Europe adopts the potato, people live longer and have more children, then the Great Irish Famine hits. A million people die, but humanity perseveres, developing new potato varieties and agriculture practices that keep the blight from causing another disaster. Read More
Government Cafeteria Security
This weekend there was an article in the Washington Post stating that there is a shortage of cooks in government cafeterias.
By Jason Taylor | lairdslair
Food maybe?Why? Allegedly, the reason is because of a need to pass a bunch of security restrictions in a “post-Snowden world.”

In the first place, the need for privacy and security has nothing to do with Snowden. They are just making him the fall guy here. Read More
We, the People Are Violent and Filled with Rage: A Nation Spinning Apart
School shootings, hatred, capitalism run amok: This 4th of July weekend, we are in the midst of a tragic public derangement.
By Jim Sleeper | Salon
By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April’s breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood
And fired the shot heard ’round the world.

–Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Concord Hymn,” 1837

What?For centuries most Americans have believed that “the shot heard ’round the world” in 1775 from Concord, Massachusetts, heralded the Enlightenment’s entry into history. Early observers of America such as G.W.F. Hegel, Edward Gibbon and Edmund Burke believed that, too. A new kind of republican citizen was rising, amid and against adherents of theocracy, divine-right monarchy, aristocracy and mercantilism. Republican citizens were quickening humanity’s stride toward horizons radiant with promises never before held and shared as widely as they were in America.  Read More
Activists began campaigning to change the understanding of the 2nd Amendment in the late 20th century
By Larry Laird | lairdslair
One of the greatest pieces of fraud, I repeat theMy Right word ‘fraud,’ on the American public by special interest groups that I’ve ever seen in my life time. The real purpose of the Second was to ensure that state armies—the militias—would be maintained for the defense of the state. The very language of the Second Amendment refutes any argument that it was intended to guarantee every citizen an unfettered right to any kind of weapon he or she desires.”
---- Chief Supreme Court Justice Warren Burger

Justice Burger said in no uncertain terms, before gun lobbyists and activists began campaigning to change the understanding of the 2nd Amendment in the late 20th century, nobody considered it to be an individual right.

In 2008, the right wing contingent on the most recent Supreme Court (the same people who said that corporations are people) decided to throw away centuries of juris prudence and extend the 2ndAmendment as an individual protection for gun owners’ right to bear arms. During the case, United States v. Emerson, the Supreme Court decided that the 2nd Amendment is not a collective protection for gun ownership in militias, but rather a protection for individuals to own and operate weapons. This decision flies in the face of centuries of settled law and, like Citizens United v. FEC is just another case where right wing extremist wearing robes have perverted our country’s longstanding understanding of our laws.”
Misinformed USA: Why average Americans vote for Republicans
By Robert Sobel | Orlando Liberal Examiner
God NO!One can only wonder why average working class Americans would vote for a party that is so obvious in their bias towards the wealthy. It would make sense that someone in the top 1 percent of the income bracket would vote for the Republican party since they have the wealthiest American's best interest at heart. You could even make the case that highly religious Christians would vote for Republicans even though, at times, they vote against their own best economic interests. So the question remains, while scratching your head, why do working class Americans vote for Republican candidates? Read More
I lost my dad to Fox News: How a generation was captured by thrashing hysteria
Old white people are drowning in despair and rage. Here's how my father lost his mind -- thanks to his cable diet
By Edwin Lyngar | Salon
Faux NewsOld, white, wrinkled and angry, they are slipping from polite society in alarming numbers. We’re losing much of a generation. They often sport hats or other clothing, some marking their status as veterans, Tea Partyers or “patriots” of some kind or another. They have yellow flags, bumper stickers and an unquenchable rage. They used to be the brave men and women who took on America’s challenges, tackling the ’60s, the Cold War and the Reagan years — but now many are terrified by the idea of slightly more affordable healthcare and a very moderate Democrat in the White House. Read More
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