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Showing posts from December 12, 2014

The Vanishing Male Worker: How America Fell Behind

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[Very good article on how middle-aged, skilled working class males are being pushed out of the work force. *RON*]

Binyamin Appelbaum, International New York Times, 11 December 2014
Nonemployed: Articles in this series will examine the decline of work in the United States and its consequences, for individuals and society.

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Frank Walsh still pays dues to the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, but more than four years have passed since his name was called at the union hall where the few available jobs are distributed. Mr. Walsh, his wife and two children live on her part-time income and a small inheritance from his mother, which is running out.

Sitting in the food court at a mall near his Maryland home, he sees that some of the restaurants are hiring. He says he can’t wait much longer to find a job. But he’s not ready yet.

“I’d work for them, but they’re only willing to pay $10 an hour,” he said, pointing at a Chick-fil-A t…

Watch Elizabeth Warren Slam Republicans For Doing Citibank's Dirty Work

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["A vote for this bill is a vote for taxpayer bailouts of Wall Street." *RON*]

By Erika Eichelberger and AJ Vicens, Mother Jones, 11 December 2014

On Thursday afternoon, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) took to the Senate floor to rail against a Wall Street giveaway that corporate-friendly lawmakers snuck into the massive spending bill that Congress needs to pass this week in order to avert a government shutdown. The measure—which was written by Citigroup—would allow big banks like Citigroup to engage in a broader range of risky trades with taxpayer-backed money. "A vote for this bill is a vote for taxpayer bailouts of Wall Street," Warren warned in her speech. Here's the whole thing.


Black congressional staffers stage walkout over police killings

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[I'm pretty sure I've never heard of this happening before. This action follows protests across the US after grand juries didn’t indict officers in deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner. *RON*]

By Philip J. Victor, Al Jazeera, 11 December 2014


More than a hundred black congressional staffers walked off their jobs Thursday afternoon to protest recent grand jury decisions in New York City and Ferguson, Missouri, where no indictments were handed down for white police officers involved in the deaths of unarmed black men this summer. The decisions sparked major protests across the country and reignited national debate over race relations.

A group of mostly African-American congressional staffers — estimated to be about 150 — gathered on the steps of the Capitol Building shortly after 3:30 p.m. to serve as what Senate Chaplain Barry Black described as a “voice for the voiceless."

“Today as people throughout the nation protest for justice in ou…

Oil Company Agrees To Pay $7M Over 800,000-Gallon Tar Sands Pipeline Spill

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[Four years later, we see the only way Northern British Columbians will make money off the Enbridge pipeline. The article says there were "thousands" of plantiffs. If there were only two thousand, this amounts to a settlement of $3375 per person; don't quit your day job. Total clean-up costs of the Kalamazoo are estimated at $1.2 billion so far. *RON*]

By Emily Atkin, Think Progress, 11 December 2014
A four-year class action lawsuit over the largest and most expensive inland oil spill in U.S. history has reached a tentative settlement, with the company responsible agreeing to pay $6.75 million to those who lived and owned property near the spill.

The lawsuit was brought by thousands of plaintiffs who claimed they were subject to toxic fumes, noise, and general degradation of life following the July 2010 oil spill, which saw more than 800,000-gallons of thick Canadian tar sands crude oil flow out of a ruptured pipeline and into Michig…

Greece Can’t Suffer More Austerity

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[A reminder from a Greek member of the European Parliament of why the fudging of the Greek economic statistics was winked at in the first place, and a realpolitik view of what the options are at present. *RON*]

By Kostas Chrysogonos, New York Times Opinion Pages, 11 December 2014

Re “A sea change in Greece?” (Opinion, Nov. 28) by Nicholas Gage: There is no doubt that successive Greek governments overspent in order to fuel their clientelistic networks and turned a blind eye to tax evasion. But European governments and European Union institutions should bear part of the blame; it suited them nicely to tolerate Greek governments’ questionable economic data: partly because data from other Union members were by no means impeccable either; and partly because European companies were doing lucrative business in Greece, bribing corrupt politicians.

When Greece lost its creditworthiness in 2010, the “medicine” prescribed to it was a program controlled by its…

General strike hits Italy as unions protest labor reforms, austerity

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[Trade unions in Italy are staging an eight-hour general strike in protest against labor market reforms and austerity measures. The last line is quite something: "The number of jobless youth is more than three times that, standing at a massive 43.3 percent." *RON*]

A general strike called by two major Italian trade unions on Friday hit schools, hospitals, airports, highways, ports and public transport across the country, as public and private sector workers protested against unpopular reforms to the labor market and cuts to public spending.

The strike was initiated by Italy's first and third-largest unions, CGIL and UIL, with the second-largest labor confederation, CISL, refusing to participate.

More than 50 rallies or protest marches at various locations were expected to accompany the walkout, held under the motto "Cosi non va!" (approximately: "This is not the right way").

Railways staff are among those taking par…