Showing posts from April 30, 2016

Ted Cruz Doesn’t Want Any Transgender People In Any Bathroom Anywhere

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[Ted Cruz tells transgendered people to just pee at home. And from the same end of the US Republican insane-o-metre this week: Maine Gov. Paul LePage To Heroin Addicts: Drop Dead. *RON*]
By Zack Ford, Think Progress, 26 April 2016
If Ted Cruz had to use the bathroom after stealing his daughter's cherry, he could use the one right there in the ice cream parlor, but a transgender person enjoying a sundae, he thinks, should have to go all the way home.

Ted Cruz’s tour de transphobia, launched last week to capitalize on Donald Trump’s criticism of North Carolina’s anti-transgender law, has embraced a new extreme position. Speaking to reporters this weekend in Indiana, he actually admitted that he doesn’t believe transgender people should be allowed to use any restroom except the ones in the privacy of their own home.

“Every one of us has the right to live our lives as we wish,” he said. “If any one of us wants to dress up as a woman or man and w…

Pseudoscience in the Witness Box

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[I've seen similar articles in recent years, but this truly is mind-boggling. The FBI faked an entire field of forensic science. And many of their states still have the death penalty? *RON*]
By Dahlia Lithwick, Slate, 23 April 2016

The Washington Post published a story so horrifying this weekend that it would stop your breath: “The Justice Department and FBI have formally acknowledged that nearly every examiner in an elite FBI forensic unit gave flawed testimony in almost all trials in which they offered evidence against criminal defendants over more than a two-decade period before 2000.”

What went wrong? The Post continues:“Of 28 examiners with the FBI Laboratory’s microscopic hair comparison unit, 26 overstated forensic matches in ways that favored prosecutors in more than 95 percent of the 268 trials reviewed so far.” The shameful, horrifying errors were uncovered in a massive, three-year review by the National Association of Criminal Defens…

Uber, Google and others form self-driving car lobby to shape US policy

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[So much for their line of malarkey about "the sharing economy." Google, Uber, Lyft, Ford and Volvo – all developing self-driving car technology – have formed a lobbying group to take on regulation of autonomous vehicles. If your self-driving car, using their software, kills someone they want you to be the one who gets sued. *RON*]
Nellie Bowles, The Guardian, 27 April 2016

If your self-driving car crashes, who gets sued? Google, Uber, and Ford would rather it be you, according to some experts.

Tech companies making self-driving cars could become better protected under the law than those car’s owners, experts warn, as the announcement came of a powerful new coalition of automakers and big tech companies forming to take on US government regulations around self-driving vehicles.

Google, Uber, Lyft, Ford and Volvo, all of which are working on self-driving car technology, will lobby as the Self-Driving Coalition for Safer Streets to bring aut…

Trade Costs of Border Controls in the Schengen Area

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[Trade has been greatly facilitated by the free movement of people, goods and services across countries that is ensured by the Schengen Agreement (e.g., see today's Mobile phone roaming charges cut within EU. Borders have been tightening up as a xenophobic response to the refugee crisis and terrorist attacks and this article shows how much this will hurt Europe economically. *RON*]
By Gabriel Felbermayr, Posted on Naked Capitalism by Yves Smith29 April 2016

Yves here. This is more important than it might seem. One of the key benefits of the European Union has been the ease of movement of goods and people across borders. The refugee crisis has led to a resumption of border controls by quite a few states.

This matters because, as this column confirms, the former friction-free borders produced economic gains for member states. Now that the EU is suffering stress on lots of fronts, not just refugee policy but also increasingly discordant econo…

High ranking Alberta PC official claims Earls restaurants "supports terrorists"

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[Safe to say that some members of the Albertan oligarchy are feeling a wee bit 'sensitive' these days. This fellow, who ran for the leadership of both the provincial and federal PCs, was forced to resign later the same day this story appeared: Craig Chandler quits Alberta PC board after 'Earls supports terrorists' comment. *RON*]

By PressProgress, 29 April 2016

Well, that escalated quickly.

A member of the Board of Directors of Alberta's Progressive Conservatives has levelled a bizarre accusation against Earls restaurants, an "upscale casual dining" chain based in Vancouver.

He claims the restaurant chain "supports terrorists."

Craig Chandler, who was acclaimed as the Alberta Tories' regional director for Calgary earlier this month, made those comments in the wake of an online backlash – with some conservative politicians leading the charge – after the restaurant chain decided to switch to beef raised …

Trump-Sanders Phenomenon Signals an Oligarchy on the Brink of a Civilization-Threatening Collapse

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[Oligarchies win except when society enacts effective reforms. A very good article on similarities with previous economic/political cycles. It looks like some of the works referenced would be good reads, too. *RON*]
By Sally Goerner, Evonomics, 29 April 2016
“The collapse of urban cultures is an event much more frequent than most observers realize. Often, collapse is well underway before societal elites become aware of it, leading to scenes of leaders responding retroactively and ineffectively as their society collapses around them.” – Sander Vander Leeuw, Archaeologist, 1997

The media has made a cottage industry out of analyzing the relationship between America’s crumbling infrastructure, outsourced jobs, stagnant wages, and evaporating middle class and the rise of anti-establishment presidential candidates Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders. Commentators are also tripping all over one another to expound daily on the ineffectual response of Americ…