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Showing posts from September 19, 2015

The Typical Male U.S. Worker Earned Less in 2014 Than in 1973

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[Forty-one steps forward and forty-two steps back. *RON*]

By David Wessel, Wall Street Journal, 18 September 2015

The typical man with a full-time job–the one at the statistical middle of the middle–earned $50,383 last year, the Census Bureau reported this week.

The typical man with a full-time job in 1973 earned $53,294, measured in 2014 dollars to adjust for inflation.

You read that right: The median male worker who was employed year-round and full time earned less in 2014 than a similarly situated worker earned four decades ago. And those are the ones who had jobs.

This one fact, tucked in Table A-4 of the Census Bureau’s annual report on income, is both a symptom of an economy that isn’t delivering for many ordinary Americans and at least one reason for the dissatisfaction, anger, and distrust that voters are displaying in the 2016 presidential campaign.

Antibiotics Are Spreading Like Crazy—and a Lot of Them Are About to Stop Working

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[This is one of the biggest contributing factors: "Over the next fifteen years, animal consumption of antibiotics is projected to increase by 67 percent." *RON*]

—By Gabrielle Canon, Mother Jones, 19 September 2015

In 1945, Sir Alexander Fleming won a Nobel Prize for his discovery of penicillin, which transformed modern medicine. Later that year, the bacteriologist issued a prescient warning: The miracle medicine could one day come with dangerous side effects. If antibiotics were overused, he told the New York Times, bacteria would develop resistance and spur a new generation of bugs impervious to the drugs' power.

In the last 60 years, Fleming's advice has gone largely unheeded. Antibiotic consumption continues to grow even as health officials around the world sound the alarm over rising numbers of resistant bacteria. Now, a new report from the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics and Policy (CDDEP), a multidisciplinary resear…

What Exxon Knew About Climate Change

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["...as early as 1977, Exxon (now ExxonMobil, one of the world’s largest oil companies) knew that its main product would heat up the planet disastrously. This did not prevent the company from then spending decades helping to organize the campaigns of disinformation and denial that have slowed—perhaps fatally—the planet’s response to global warming." *RON*]
By Bill McKibben, New Yorker, 18 September 2015

Wednesday morning, journalists at InsideClimate News, a Web site that has won the Pulitzer Prize for its reporting on oil spills, published the first installment of a multi-part exposé that will be appearing over the next month. The documents they have compiled and the interviews they have conducted with retired employees and officials show that, as early as 1977, Exxon (now ExxonMobil, one of the world’s largest oil companies) knew that its main product would heat up the planet disastrously. This did not prevent the company from then s…

Obama nominates first openly gay service secretary to lead Army

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[In some ways it must be fun to be an outgoing President! *RON*]

Yeganeh Torbati and Jeff Mason, Reuters, 18 September 2015

U.S. President Barack Obama nominated Eric Fanning to become the next secretary of the Army, the White House said on Friday, paving the way for the first openly gay leader of a military service branch in U.S. history.

Fanning is currently serving as acting Army undersecretary, and previously worked as Air Force undersecretary and chief of staff to U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter. His nomination to the post must still be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

"Eric brings many years of proven experience and exceptional leadership to this new role," Obama said in a statement. "I am confident he will help lead America's soldiers with distinction."

Carter called Fanning's nomination "an excellent choice" by Obama and said he hoped for a quick Senate confirmation.

French court confirms Monsanto liable in chemical poisoning case

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[The somewhat fussy distinction between whether Monsanto is 'guilty' or 'liable' indicates this was a civil case, which determines liability, not guilt. See also: Glyphosate to be labelled a carcinogen in California. *RON*]

Catherine Lagrange and Sybille de La Hamaide, Reuters, 11 September 2015

(This 10 September, 2015 story was refiled to changes the headline, first paragraph to show Monsanto liable, not "guilty", in the civil court ruling)

A French court upheld on Thursday a 2012 ruling in which Monsanto was found to be liable in the chemical poisoning of a French farmer, who says he suffered neurological problems after inhaling the U.S. company's Lasso weedkiller.

The decision by an appeal court in Lyon, southeast France, confirmed the initial judgment, the first such case heard in court in France, that ruled Monsanto was "responsible" for the intoxication and ordered the company to "fully compensate…

Police Militarization Takes Off With Weaponized Drones

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[In my view this further dehumanizes contacts between police and citizens, and this dehumanization is a key factor that enables the use of lethal force. It also accentuates the sense of "us" versus "them" in interactions with police. *RON*]
By Kylie Bourne, Discover Magazine, 14 September 2015
Police in North Dakota can now use drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), equipped with less-than-lethal weaponry such as Tasers, pepper spray and rubber bullets. Legislation that came into effect in August specifically allows this.

The original bill was intended to prohibit all weapons on police drones. State Republican Rick Becker, who presented the bill, said its aim was to ensure that police obtain search warrants when using drones in criminal searches. However, a successful amendment by a lobbyist for the North Dakota Peace Officers Association meant the bill prohibited equipping drones with lethal weaponry only.

A disappointed B…

Why Income Inequality Isn’t Going Anywhere

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[Another reason why Hillary would make a bad president: rich elites—even rich liberal elites—don’t believe in redistributing wealth. "Elites—in both parties—remain baffled by Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders’ appeal; and they prayerfully insist that both campaigns will soon fade away. Our study suggests a different interpretation, however. These bipartisan disruptions of elite political control are no flash in the pan, or flings born of summer silliness. They are early skirmishes in a coming class war." *RON*]

By Ray Fisman and Daniel Markovits

F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway famously disagreed about the American elite. “The very rich are different from you and me,” Fitzgerald wrote. “Yes,” Hemingway shot back, “they have more money.” With inequality in America continuing to rise, we revisited Fitzgerald and Hemingway’s (perhaps apocryphal) dispute, conducting a series of experiments designed to pinpoint the differences between …

Stephen Harper's 'old-stock Canadians': Politics of division or simple slip?

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["Debate rages whether Tory leader's comment was 'dog whistle politics' or a chance remark." Who's fooling who? It means white people. See also: Harper's 'Old Stock' Comment, Niqab Case Have Tory Leader On The Defensive and 'Old-Stock Canadians': How About We're All #JustCanadian? *RON*]

By Mark Gollom, CBC News, 19 September 2015

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