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Member since: Tue Feb 10, 2004, 12:08 PM
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Environmental Scientist

Journal Archives

Court rules that Courtney Love is not as famous as Marlon Brando

Courtney Love has failed to get a libel suit against her dismissed by claiming that her fame meant her remarks about fashion designer Dawn Simorangkir were in the public interest.

Simorangkir has been seeking redress from Love since the singer accused the designer of theft and prostitution – first on Twitter six years ago and later during an interview on Howard Stern's radio show in 2013.

Love's lawyers argued that the singer's comments "were made in connection with an issue of public interest, which she identifies as being derived from the media coverage of the prior litigation between the parties, coupled with the 'celebrity' status of each of them". As a precedent, they cited a case that involved Marlon Brando, in which it was ruled that stories about the actor's housekeeper being included in his will were in the public interest due to the level of Brando's celebrity.

But according to The Hollywood Reporter, a California court has ruled that Love is nowhere near as famous as Brando. "Nothing in the record in this case suggests that defendant has the public interest or following that Brando had; the only evidence in the record is her self-serving and factually shallow claim, coupled with a profession of celebrity by one of her lawyers," the court said in its ruling. "Nor is there is any socially important implication in this case akin to that presented by Brando’s gift to his housekeeper to the exclusion of his heirs at law."

Read more at http://www.nme.com/news/courtney-love/83184#QJ4KhBjMsxIkH2ib.99

Wisconsin high school unveils $662,000 locker room renovations

It's been said that a town with money is a little like a mule with a spinning wheel: No one knows how he got it, and danged if he knows how to use it.

But when Arrowhead High School in Hartland, Wisc., came into a $275,000 donation, the school knew exactly what it wanted to build.

The donor eventually provided a total of $361,224 to totally renovate the boys and girls basketball locker rooms, as well as the boys and girls team rooms, a media room and football storage space and 25 percent of the money needed to revamp the heating and ventilation system.

The school provided $224,226 to complete the girls and boys toilet and shower room renovations, as well as the remaining money needed for the heating and ventilation repairs, some $56,500.


One might hope that their library and science labs are in such great shape…..

on edit, they also have been turning their football field into a palace….


In South Sudan, a chance to be children again

Pibor, South Sudan - In the relative cool shade provided by two giant water-starved trees in the unforgiving South Sudanese bush sits patiently a large dishevelled group of children. Sitting in front of them are an earnest group of adults.

On approaching this group you could be forgiven for thinking this was a field trip undertaken by a local school. It's not until you get a little closer that you notice that most of these children are carrying high velocity automatic weapons.

A little unnerving seeing such weapons in such tiny hands.

The warring Cobra faction, after months of delicate negotiations, were in the process of handing over 300 war-weary child soldiers to the care of UNICEF.

With a few suspicious frowns, but mostly in good spirits, the boys laid down their automatic weapons under the watchful eyes of the SPLA (Sudanese Peoples Army), local police, UNICEF and the Guvnor of Pibor.

When asked what they wanted to do as soon as they had freedom, the most common answer was, overwhelmingly: "I want to go to school and learn everything I can."


I hope they get that chance.

Why Elizabeth Warren is declaring war on an obscure trade policy

Populist crusader Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren has picked her next big fight, and this one could create real problems for the Obama Administration.

Her beef is with a piece of the massive Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal that the Obama Administration is promoting. It's called investor-state dispute settlement, and it gives a foreign corporation the power to fight a government outside of the normal judicial system.

"The name may sound mild, but don't be fooled," Warren wrote in a Washington Post op-ed. "Agreeing to ISDS in this enormous new treaty would tilt the playing field in the United States further in favor of big multinational corporations. Worse, it would undermine U.S. sovereignty."

This is a big deal, not least because TPP is huge; its members account for 40 percent of the world's economy. Add in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership being negotiated with European countries — which also has investor-state dispute settlement provisions — and you have a majority of the global economy. That means the ISDS provisions in these trade agreements could affect a sizable share of the world's corporations.

Americans are making a big mistake about health care

Updated by Matthew Yglesias

If you want to understand the politics of health care in the United States, you really need to understand this finding from a recent Economist/YouGov poll that shows why it's so difficult for wonky ideas — of either a left-wing or right-wing slant — to gain much toehold with the American people.
(poll shows most people don't think their health care is subsidized)
The way people in the policy community see it, this is totally backwards. Almost everyone who has health insurance in the United States gets help from the government to afford it. For the elderly, that's Medicare. For the disabled and the poor, that's Medicaid. For full-time workers it's the tax subsidy for employer-provided health insurance.

Some of what you see in this poll is a simple misunderstanding — older Americans either don't know what Medicare is or mistakenly believe they have "paid for" their benefits with earlier taxes.

But Americans who get insurance from their jobs are also benefitting from a massive government program. A program whose existence is hidden from sight but is nonetheless quite real and substantial.



In Mayoral Runoff, Rahm Emanuel’s Corrupt Governance Has Finally Caught Up With Him

by Rick Perlstein

On Tuesday, Chicagoans voted themselves a reprieve. With 45.4 percent of the vote, Mayor Rahm Emanuel ended the first round of his first re-election bid almost five points below what he needed to avoid a runoff election in April — and three points below his performance in the last major pre-election poll. “Mayor 1 percent” will face second-place finisher Jesus “Chuy” García, the soft-spoken, compassionate Cook County board member who proclaimed himself with a Chicagoan lilt the “neighborhood guy” — who over-performed the poll.

Perhaps what turned some voters against Rahm at the last minute — or motivated them to go to the polls in the first place on a cold Chicago day that started out in the single digits — was an Election Day exposé that appeared in the British paper the Guardian by investigate reporter Spencer Ackerman. “The Disappeared” revealed the existence of Homan Square, a forlorn “black site” that the Chicago Police operate on the West Side.

There, Chicagoans learned — many for the first time — arrestees are locked up for days at a time without access to lawyers. One victim was 15 years old; he was released without being charged with anything. Another, a 44-year-old named John Hubbard, never left — he died in custody. One of the “NATO 3” defendants, later acquitted on most charges of alleged terror plans during a 2012 Chicago protest, was shackled to a bench there for 17 hours.

It “struck legal experts as a throwback to the worst excesses of Chicago police abuse, with a post-9/11 feel to it,” the Guardian reported. And for a candidate, Rahm Emanuel, who ran on a message he was turning the page on the old, malodorous “Chicago way,” the piece contributed to a narrative that proved devastating.



How Scott Walker Built a Career Sending Wisconsin Inmates to Private Prisons

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is perhaps best known for dramatically weakening public and private unions in his state—something that has propelled him to the top of the 2016 Republican presidential field.

Over Walker’s long career in state politics, he also accomplished another transformation: increasing Wisconsin’s incarceration rate while making sure private companies had a larger role managing those prisoners.

He rarely talks about it anymore, but Walker’s efforts as a young legislator didn’t just change the Wisconsin criminal justice system—they helped fill Walker’s campaign coffers with money from private prison operators as he ascended from the state legislature to the governor’s mansion.

During his nine years in the state house, from 1993 to 2002, Walker often campaigned as a tough-on-crime Republican who promised new efforts “to protect our families, our senior citizens and our property.”



Nurses Sound A Code Blue In D.C. On Fast Track & TPP

With the White House and some of the biggest multinational corporations lobbying Congress to “fast track” the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a massive trade deal between the United States and 11 other countries, National Nurses United today converged on the nation’s capital to explain that what’s good for investors’ balance sheets is not necessarily good for patients.

“Nurses are patient advocates—and by extension advocates of our patients’ families and our communities—and we are here to sound a Code Blue on fast track,” said RN Deborah Burger, a member of the NNU’s Council of Presidents. “While there are many good reasons to reject fast track, the nation’s registered nurses are particularly concerned about these trade agreements’ threats to public health and safety.”

She points to pharmaceutical corporations that would be given years more of monopoly pricing practices on patents for high-priced, brand-name drugs to block distribution of competitive, cheaper, lifesaving generic medications. “That is especially critical for people suffering from cancer, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, and other illnesses in developing countries as well as in the United States,” she said.

Burger was one of dozens of nurses to attend a press conference today with Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Connecticut) urging lawmakers to reject fast track legislation for the TPP. Described by former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich as “NAFTA on steroids,” the TPP is largely being negotiated in secret. The Obama administration and Republican lawmakers want Congress to approve fast-track authority, which would require Congress to ratify the treaty but relinquish its Constitutional authority to amend the trade pact in any way.

That cannot happen.



Eugenie Clark dies at 92; Respected scientist swam with sharks

As a schoolgirl in the 1930s, Eugenie Clark spent countless hours pressed up to the tanks at a New York City aquarium, absorbed by the alligators, sea turtles and hundreds of species of fish just beyond the glass.

There was one creature, however, that completely enthralled her. "If only," she thought, "I could be in the water with a shark."

Clark eventually got her wish.

She became an intrepid underwater scientist with the nickname "Shark Lady" after she established a respected marine research laboratory in Florida in the 1950s and became a best-selling author known for her ability to explain shark behavior and other mysteries of ocean life.

Clark died Wednesday of non-smoking lung cancer at her home in Sarasota, Fla., said her son, Nikolas Konstantinou. She was 92.



Sunday's Non Sequitur- Go To The Light!

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