10 things you need to know today: October 25, 2014

A woman cries during a vigil for those affected by the Friday shooting at Marysville Pilchuck High School.

A woman cries during a vigil for those affected by the Friday shooting at Marysville Pilchuck High School. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

The Week

Two dead in Seattle-area high school shooting, Dallas nurse declared Ebola-free, and more

1. Two dead, including gunman, in Seattle-area high school shooting
A student shot five people, killing one of them, at Marysville Pilchuck High School on Friday morning. Police confirmed that the gunman, identified as Jaylen Fryberg, also died of a self-inflicted gunshot. Several students told media affiliates that the shooting began in the high school’s cafeteria. Three of the shooting victims are reportedly in critical condition, while a fourth has non-life-threatening injuries. [CNN, The Washington Post]

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2. Dallas nurse diagnosed with Ebola declared ‘virus free’
Nina Pham, one of two Dallas nurses who contracted the Ebola virus while caring for Liberian national Thomas Eric Duncan, was declared “virus free” by officials at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, on Friday. Later in the day, Pham met and hugged President Barack Obama at the White House. “I feel fortunate and blessed to be standing here today,” Pham said in a statement. A second nurse, Amber Vinson, is still being held at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, where officials say she is “making good progress.” [The Washington Post]

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3. Iran executes woman who allegedly killed her attempted rapist
Iran executed Reyhaneh Jabbari, 26, on Saturday. Jabbari was sentenced to death in 2007 following a “flawed investigation and unfair trial,” according to Amnesty International. Morteza Abdolali Sarbandi, a former employee of Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security, allegedly hired Jabbari for an interior design project, but Jabbari told officials that Sarbandi tried to sexually assault her while she was in the home, at which point she stabbed him. Amnesty International says Jabbari was subsequently placed in solitary confinement for two months, during which time she was tortured and denied access to an attorney. [CNN]

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4. Police arrest suspect in shooting of three California deputies
Police arrested a suspected gunman who shot and killed two California sheriff’s deputies, and wounded one more deputy along with a civilian motorist, during a shooting spree on Friday in Sacramento. Marcelo Marquez allegedly first shot and killed Sacramento Deputy Danny Oliver when he approached the car Marquez and a female companion were in on Friday morning. The suspects then fled, carjacking at least two vehicles, shooting the driver of one who refused to give up his keys, and also shooting two Placer County sheriff’s deputies who joined the search for the pair. One, Homicide Detective Michael David Davis Jr., died later Friday from his injuries. [The Sacramento Bee]

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5. Surgeons perform first successful ‘dead heart’ transplant
A team at St. Vincent’s hospital in Sydney, Australia, announced on Friday that they had successfully transplanted hearts which had stopped beating for 20 minutes into three patients. Two of the patients have reportedly recovered well, while a third is still in intensive care. The procedure was made possible thanks to the development of a solution that keeps the submerged hearts preserved, and a circuit that attaches to the organs to keep them beating and warm. The procedure could save the lives of 30 percent more heart transplant patients. [The Guardian]

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6. Amazon writes off $170 million on underselling Fire Phone
While Amazon did not include its Fire Phone’s writedown in its third-quarter earnings statement, chief financial officer Tom Szkutak said in a Thursday earnings call that the “consolidated segment operating loss includes charges of approximately $170 million, primarily related to the Fire Phone inventory evaluation and supplier commitment cost.” Amazon launched the device as a competitor to the iPhone and other high-end smartphones in June, but poor user reviews hampered the Fire Phone’s success. The company may have as many as 300,000 unsold Fire Phone units in its warehouses. [The Guardian]

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7. DHS reportedly relying on expired Ebola prevention materials
The Department of Homeland Security promised that it is “satisfied” with its store of Ebola prevention materials on Friday, but testimony from Inspector General John Roth suggests otherwise. Roth appeared at a House oversight hearing on Ebola, and he said, “much of (the DHS’) material has a ‘finite shelf life’ — including thousands of bottles of hand sanitizer, some up to four years expired, and 200,000 respirators that are beyond their five-year usability guarantee.” DHS has spent millions of dollars in recent years on pandemic protective equipment and antiviral drugs for emergency workers. [Fox News]

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8. Stock market closes out best week in nearly two years
Boosted by strong quarterly earnings from large U.S. companies such as Microsoft, the stock marketclosed out on Friday with its best week since January 2013, as the S&P 500 rose 4.1 percent. Companies are also reporting their quarterly results right now, which means Wall Street is able to focus on “earnings expectations and corporate fundamentals,” Michael Arone, chief investment strategist at State Street Global Advisors, said. [The Associated Press]

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9. Kansas City Royals win Game 3, take 2-1 World Series lead
After losing Game 1, the Kansas City Royals have come roaring back, winning Wednesday’s Game 2 and now Friday’s Game 3 to take a 2-1 lead over the San Francisco Giants in the World Series. Kansas City won 3-2 on Friday; the teams face off again in San Francisco tonight. [ESPN]

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10. Queen Elizabeth sends her first tweet
Queen Elizabeth had never sent a tweet from the royal family’s official Twitter account — until Friday. Up popped a tweet reading, “It is a pleasure to open the Information Age exhibition today at the @ScienceMuseum and I hope people will enjoy visiting. Elizabeth R.” The account sent a followup message confirming that Queen Elizabeth had indeed typed the lines, and it even added a hashtag for other users to pick up: #TheQueenTweets. [TheWeek.com]

Another “10 Things” List

H/t: Ted

Friday Fox Follies – A Shakespearean Festival

fox news canadaedited

The death of Ben Bradlee got me thinking about what passes for the sorry state of journalism these days. Watergate reporting may have been the high-water mark, but that should also remind us that Richard Nixon’s media architect was Roger Ailes, current president of the Fox “News” Channel, the low water mark.
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It Gets Worse For Republicans As Mitch McConnell Busted For Using Non-Kentucky Woman in Ad

mcconnell-frown

Mitch McConnell has done it again. The fading Kentucky Republican has gone beyond paying people to attend his rallies to having a non-Kentucky woman appear in his ad touting female support for Sen. McConnell in Kentucky.
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Open Carry Enthusiasts Plan On Marching Through St. Louis Carrying Pistols And Rifles

open carry texas

A gun rights activist from Ohio plans to lead a march through downtown St. Louis on Saturday afternoon. The walk through the heart of the downtown area will start at 1 PM local time and consist of other open carry enthusiasts.
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Democratic Senator Bob Casey Wants To Restore The Voting Rights Act

Bob Casey

On Friday, Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) held a news conference where he called on his colleagues to restore the gutted portions of the Voting Rights Act.
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Georgia GOP Senate Candidate Tries To Obstruct Camera Taping Him Signing A Woman’s Hip

David Perdue signing hip/torso of young woman

Down in the polls and disgraced as a proud outsourcer, Republican David Perdue decided the best course of action was to sign a young woman’s hip/torso at a rally on Thursday.
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New Polls Show Democrats Have All The Momentum In Georgia Senate Race

michelle nunn momentum

A new CNN/ORC Poll is the latest in a long line of polls to show Democrat Michelle Nunn leading David Perdue in the Georgia Senate race. More importantly, the CNN poll shows that Nunn would win a runoff between the two candidates.
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Republican Senate Wave Is Disintegrating As Democrats Again Outraise Republicans

Obama and the Democrats Set a Wall Street Reform Trap for the GOP

Senate Democrats have outraised Republicans again, with the DSCC taking in $6.5 million to the NRSC’s $6 million in the first two weeks of October.
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Senator Ted Cruz’s Deputy Chief Of Staff Says Obamacare Is To Blame For Ebola

obama-wtf

After it had been confirmed that a doctor in New York City had tested positive for Ebola, conservatives reignited their fear mongering and Obama-blaming over the disease. Among them was Nick Muzin, Deputy Chief of Staff for Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX).
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In One Fell Swoop Obama Announces Solar Jobs For 50,000 Veterans and Takes On Climate Change

President Obama Delivers Commencement Address At West Point

Since Republicans have relentlessly obstructed jobs programs for America’s Veterans, the President took it upon himself to enact the program at American military bases and provide job training for at least 50,000 veterans.
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With Clinton and Obama Inbound, Scott Walker is on the Ropes in Wisconsin

Scott Walker

Gov. Scott Walker is reeling in Wisconsin. Will Tea Party extremism trump Clinton and Obama support for Mary Burke?
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House GOP Hasn’t Actually Sued Obama Like It Said It Would

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Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) | AP Photo / J. Scott Applewhite

Well, well, the more you know.  I just automatically assumed they did sue the POTUS since they made such a big deal when announcing the lawsuit…

TPM LiveWire

The planned lawsuit was announced this summer and, as Politico reported Friday citing lawyers close to the litigation, it was initially expected to be filed in mid-September.

The lawsuit now isn’t expected to be filed until after the elections, Politico’s sources said. One possible factor? It would have motivated Democratic voters to turn out at the polls.

An August poll found that 88 percent of Democrats said the litigation would make them more likely to vote for a Democrat in the upcoming election.

The lawsuit has also undergone some behind-the-scenes turmoil. As TPM reported on Sept. 19, the first private lawyer retained by Republicans to handle the lawsuit backed out under pressure from other clients.

Boehner’s office would not comment in detail Friday on the delay. “No decisions on timing at this point,” a spokesperson told Politico.

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A Survival Guide for Christians Who Have Been Fighting Against Marriage Equality

Originally posted on evoL =:

survival guide evol

Many of us have been in the Marriage Equality war for a long, long time.

I remember a drag queen host taking the microphone at San Jose Pride about a dozen years ago. She saw a group with “Freedom to Marry” t-shirts, and with a twinge of sadness remarked, “Oh honeys, they are NEVER going to let us get married, ever. You may as well give that one up right now.” She was wrong.

As in all wars, there is a foe. In the United States the foes tend to call themselves “Christians” and root their obsessive opposition in their particular interpretation of the Bible.

While these folks have had a series of wake up calls from the landmark 2012 elections where marriage equality won on the ballots in four states, to the earth shattering Supreme Court ruling on DOMA and California’s Proposition 8, the big anvil dropped in many…

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Eight-Year-Old Turned an Interception Into a Touchdown — Then His Team Was Fined $500 and Coach Suspended for an ‘Absurd’ Reason

Here’s a bit of a “side-bar” to report.

My 8 yr old grandson plays on the little league football team in question.    The kid who made the touchdown is new to the team and never made a touchdown, ever.   This story has actually gone viral which is a surprise the folks of that  little town and their little league football team.

The Blaze

Eight-year-old Elijah Burrell had just intercepted a pass late in the game and did what came naturally.

The kid in the #2 jersey tucked in the pigskin and headed for the end zone. Touchdown! Elijah’s first one ever.

 

Image source: WGCL-TV

Except there was one big — and expensive — problem with the otherwise happy moment.

His undefeated Lawrenceville Black Knights were ahead 32-0 in the fourth quarter — and Elijah’s interception return for a touchdown eclipsed the peewee league’s 33-point mercy rule, WGCL-TV in Atlanta reported.

The penalty? A $500 fine. But not only that: The Knights’ coach earned a weeklong suspension.

Elijah’s mother, Brooke Burdett, said her son was “beyond excited” in the moment and wasn’t thinking about the mercy rule.

“He had no idea,” she told WGCL. “This is his first year. This was his first touchdown. He is an 8-year-old boy making a pick-six.”

Image source: WGCL-TV

Burdett said the team would have accepted a $100 fine but the $500 penalty and the coach’s suspension is excessive, particularly because her son wasn’t trying to run up the score.  In fact, she said, the Knights tried to let the other team score on the next play but the other squad refused to catch the ball.

Note: I couldn’t embed the video so here’s the link (My grandson is not the kid who got the touchdown but he is the one in the pink (Breast Cancer Awareness month) football socks.

5 Things About Slavery You Probably Didn’t Learn In Social Studies: A Short Guide To ‘The Half Has Never Been Told’

SLAVE FATHER

Library of Congress

For your edification…

The Huffington Post

Edward Baptist’s new book, “The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery And The Making Of American Capitalism”, drew a lot of attention last month after the Economist said it was too hard on slave owners.

What you might not have taken away from the ensuing media storm is that “The Half Has Never Been Told” is quite a gripping read. Baptist weaves deftly between analysis of economic data and narrative prose to paint a picture of American slavery that is pretty different from what you may have learned in high school Social Studies class.

The whole thing is well worth reading in full. Baptist positions his book in opposition to textbooks that present slavery like a distant aberration of American history, cramming 250 years into a few chapters in a way “that cuts the beating heart out of the story.” To counter that image of history, Baptist devotes much of the book to depicting the lived experience of enslavement in a way that’s vivid and immediate.

But for those of you who are strapped for time, or who want a peek into the book before committing to the full 420 pages, here are five of his key arguments:

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1) Slavery was a key driver of the formation of American wealth.

Baptist argues that our narrative of slavery generally goes something like this: it was a terrible thing, but it was an anomoly, a sort of feudal throwback within capitalism whose demise would inevitably come with the rise of wage labor. In fact, he argues, it was at the heart of the development of American capitalism.

Baptist crunches economic data to come up with a “back-of-the-envelope” estimate of how much slavery contributed to the American economy both directly and indirectly. “All told, more than $600 million, or almost half of the economic activity in the United States in 1836, derived directly or indirectly from cotton produced by the million-odd slaves — 6 percent of the total US population — who in that year toiled in labor camps on slavery’s frontier.”

By 1850, he writes, American slaves were worth $1.3 billion, one-fifth of the nation’s wealth.

2) In its heyday, slavery was more efficient than free labor, contrary to the arguments made by some northerners at the time.

Drawing on cotton production data and firsthand accounts of slaveowners and the formerly enslaved, Baptist finds that ever-increasing cotton picking quotas, enforced by brutal whippings, led slaves to reach picking speeds that stretched the limits of physical possibility. “A study of planter account books that record daily picking totals for individual enslaved people on labor camps across the South found a growth in daily picking totals of 2.1 percent per year,” Baptist writes. “The increase was even higher if one looks at the growth in the newer southwestern areas in 1860, where the efficiency of picking grew by 2.6 percent per year from 1811 to 1860, for a total productivity increase of 361 percent.”

Free wage laborers were comparatively much slower. “Many enslaved cotton pickers in the late 1850s had peaked at well over 200 pounds per day,” Baptist notes. “In the 1930s, after a half-century of massive scientific experimentation, all to make the cotton boll more pickable, the great-grandchildren of the enslaved often picked only 100 to 120 pounds per day.”

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3) Slavery didn’t just enrich the South, but also drove the industrial boom in the North.

The steady stream of large quantities of cotton was the lifeblood of textile mills in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, and generated wealth for the owners of those mills. By 1832, “Lowell consumed 100,000 days of enslaved people’s labor every year,” Baptist writes. “And as enslaved hands made pounds of cotton more efficiently than free ones, dropping the inflation-adjusted price of cotton delivered to the US and British textile mills by 60 percent between 1790 and 1860, the whipping-machine was freeing up millions of dollars for the Boston Associates.”

Slavery in the South was also instrumental in changing the demographic face of the North, as Europeans streamed in to work in the region’s factories. “Outside of the cotton ports, jobs were scarce for immigrants in the slave states during the 1840s, and they had no desire to compete with workers driven by the whipping-machine,” Baptist explains. “The immigrants’ choice to move to the North had significant demographic impact, raising the northern population from 7.1 million in 1830 to 10 million in 1840, and then to over 14 million by 1850. In the same period, the South grew much more slowly, from 5.7 million in 1830 to almost 9 million.”

4) Slavery wasn’t showing any signs of slowing down economically by the time the Civil War came around.

Here’s Baptist:

In the 1850s, southern production of cotton doubled from 2 million to 4 million bales, with no sign of either slowing down or quenching the industrial West’s thirst for raw materials. The world’s consumption of cotton grew from 1.5 billion to 2.5 billion pounds, and at the end of the decade the hands of US fields were still picking two-thirds of all of it, and almost all of that which went to Western Europe’s factories. By 1860, the eight wealthiest states in the United States, ranked by wealth per white person, were South Carolina, Mississippi, Louisiana, Georgia, Connecticut, Alabama, Florida, and Texas — seven states created by cotton’s march west and south, plus one that, as the most industrialized state in the Union, profited disproportionately from the gearing of northern factory equipment to the southwestern whipping machine.

And it provided the basis for the creation of sophisticated financial products: slave-backed bonds that Baptist says were “remarkably similar to the securitized bonds, backed by mortgages on US homes, that attracted investors from around the globe to US financial markets from the 1980s until the economic collapse of 2008.”

Slave-backed bonds “generated revenue for investors from enslavers’ repayments of mortgages on enslaved people,” Baptist writes. “This meant that investors around the world would share in revenues made by hands in the field. Thus, in effect, even as Britain was liberating the slaves of its empire, a British bank could now sell an investor a completely commodified slave: not a particular individual who could die or run away, but a bond that was the right to a one-slave-sized slice of a pie made from the income of thousands of slaves.”

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A formerly enslaved woman, photographed on a farm near Greensboro, Alabama in 1941.

5) The South seceded to guarantee the expansion of slavery.

There are many competing explanations for what moved the South to secede. Baptist argues that the main driving reason was an economic one: slavery had to keep expanding to remain profitable, and Southern politicians wanted to ensure that new western states would be slave-owning ones. “Ever since the end of the Civil War, Confederate apologists have put out the lie that the southern states seceded and southerners fought to defend an abstract constitutional principle of ‘state’s rights.’ That falsehood attempts to sanitize the past,” Baptist writes. At every Democratic party national convention, “participants made it explicit: they were seceding because they thought secession would protect the future of slavery.”

So why is it important to revisit this history now, nearly 150 years after slavery ended?

Baptist comes at the topic from the standpoint that our understanding — or misunderstanding — of slavery has policy implications for the present. (In that way, the book is complementary reading to Ta-Nehisi Coates’ much talked-about Case For Reparations). “If slavery was outside of US history, for instance — if indeed it was a drag and not a rocket booster to American economic growth — then slavery was not implicated in US growth, success, power and wealth,” Baptist writes. “Therefore none of the massive quantities of wealth and treasure piled by that economic growth is owed to African Americans.” Anyone who believes that, his book aims to show, really hasn’t heard the half of it.

10 things you need to know today: October 24, 2014

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio holds a press conference at Bellevue Hospital with Governor Cuomo.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio holds a press conference at Bellevue Hospital with Governor Cuomo. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

The Week

A New York City doctor tests positive for Ebola, police suggest a motive for the Canadian Parliament attack, and more

1. New York doctor diagnosed as city’s first Ebola case
A New York City doctor tested positive for Ebola on Thursday, becoming the city’s first case. The doctor, Craig Spencer, had recently returned from Guinea, where he treated Ebola patients. Spencer reportedly took a subway from Manhattan to Brooklyn and went to a bowling alley on Wednesday night before waking up the next morning with a 103-degree fever. Health workers quarantined his fiancee and two others, and tried to track down anyone who might have had contact with him before he was rushed to a hospital. [The New York Times]

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2. Canadian police say Parliament attacker was angry over passport delays
Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, who was killed in a shootout at Canada’s Parliament building, might have been lashing out at the government because a delay in processing his passport was preventing him from traveling to Syria. Zehaf-Bibeau, a Muslim convert, had said he wanted to go to Libya, his father’s homeland, but his mother said after he was shot dead that he had planned to go to Syria. Royal Canadian Mounted Police Commissioner Bob Paulson said Thursday that the motive for the attack remains fuzzy, “but radicalization and the passport figured highly.” [USA Today]

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3. Mexico-U.S. border deaths fall to lowest since 1999
Deaths at the U.S.-Mexico border have fallen to a 15-year low, The Associated Press reported Thursday. In the fiscal year that ended in September, 307 people died, down from 445 the previous year. The Border Patrol credits the lower death toll to a drop in the number of people attempting dangerous crossings across the Arizona desert, Spanish-language media messages warning against crossing on foot, increased Border Patrol efforts, and a jump in the number of immigrants turning themselves in to authorities. [The Associated Press]

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4. Boko Haram abducts another 25 girls in Nigeria
Boko Haram militants kidnapped at least 25 girls in a remote Nigerian town, witnesses said Thursday. The latest attack came despite a temporary ceasefire with the rebels, and ongoing negotiations for the freedom of more than 200 other young women the Islamist militant group abducted in April. Parents of some of the newly captured hostages said the militants abducted female hostages late in the night, and later released the older women, keeping only girls. [Reuters]

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5. EU announces new goals for cutting greenhouse gas emissions
European Union leaders announced Thursday that they had agreed to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030. European Council President Herman Van Rompuy said poorer countries that rely more heavily on coal-fired power plants would receive funding to help them reach the targets. Activists were not satisfied. Oxfam’s Natalia Alonso said the goal was “far too short of what the EU needs to do to pull its weight in the fight against climate change.” [BBC News]

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6. Iraq says ISIS used chemical weapon against police
Iraqi officials on Thursday accused ISIS of attacking police with chlorine gas. Eleven police officers were taken to a hospital 50 miles north of Baghdad last month with dizziness, vomiting, and severe breathing trouble. Iraqi defense officials said the attack was the first confirmed case in which ISIS used chemical weapons on the battlefield. Doctors reportedly agreed that the patients’ symptoms were what would be expected from chlorine poisoning. [The Washington Post]

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7. Amazon’s stock sinks on a disappointing quarterly report
Amazon’s shares dropped by nine percent on Thursday after the online retail giant reported a third-quarter loss that was much larger than expected, and lowered its projections for sales in the crucial holiday season. Amazon’s losses have been fueled by huge investments in its new Fire smartphone, grocery deliveries, and the production of its own video content. Analysts said investors overlooked Amazon’s losses when its revenue growth was better than 20 percent, but they’re losing patience as that pace slows. [The New York Times]

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8. Joan Rivers’ daughter reportedly will sue to get answers on her mother’s death
Melissa Rivers plans to file a lawsuit against the medical center where her mother, comedian Joan Rivers, stopped breathing during throat surgery nearly two months ago, TMZ reported Thursday. New York’s Health and Human Services department found that the surgical services and staff of the medical facility, Yorkville Endoscopy, were “deficient.” Melissa Rivers reportedly has grown frustrated trying to find out exactly what caused her mother’s death, and believes the lawsuit will force the staff to answer questions. [TMZ]

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9. Artist investigated for graffiti at national parks
The National Park Service has identified a New York artist as a suspect in graffiti vandalism cases in at least 10 national parks across the West, including Arizona’s Grand Canyon and California’s Yosemite. The investigation began after the woman posted a photo on social media in which she appeared to be working on an acrylic drawing of a woman smoking a cigarette at Utah’s Canyonlands National Park in June. [Reuters]

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10. Christian Bale picked for Steve Jobs role in biopic
Actor Christian Bale has been tapped to play Steve Jobs in director Danny Boyle’s film about the late Apple co-founder and CEO. Aaron Sorkin, who wrote the script based on Pulitzer Prize-winning author Walter Isaacson’s biography, said that Bale was the first pick for the role after Leonardo DiCaprio dropped out. “We needed the best actor on the board in a certain age range and that’s Chris Bale,” Sorkin said. “He didn’t have to audition.” [CNN]

White nationalism’s exploding civil war

White nationalism's exploding civil war

Richard Spencer (Credit: YouTube/The National Policy Institute)

Looks like an “uncivil” war is raging with these folks behind the scenes…

Salon

This article was originally published by The Southern Poverty Law Center.

The Southern Poverty Law CenterOver the past couple of weeks, the so-called “academic” racists of the white nationalist movement have set academics aside and instead devolved into an online battle in the style of the Hatfields and McCoys.

In the wake of several recent events, including the arrest and deportation of Richard Spencer from Hungary and the state senatorial campaign of Kentucky neo-Nazi Robert Ransdell, some of the biggest names in white nationalist circles are taking sides and taking turns publicly skewering each other on their respective websites.

White nationalist and neo-Confederate Brad Griffin (aka Hunter Wallace) compiled a list of “beefs” among white nationalists and posted them recently to his Occidental Dissent site. One commenter noted, “The easier list to compile would have been who isn’t fighting whom.” And indeed, from the length of the list Griffin posted, the commenter may be right.

The long list includes familiar and ongoing feuds, such as those between longtime white supremacist Harold Covington, and well, everyone, as well as those involving Vanguard News Network (VNN) site founder Alex Linder (also with pretty much everyone). However, there are many new and unexpected conflicts within the movement that, ironically, calls for the need for solidarity in its mission.

In particular, unexpected spats have surfaced between several well-known white nationalists including Greg Johnson of Counter-Currents and Richard Spencer of the National Policy Institute (NPI). Both are hailed as “academics” by their peers.

Andrew Anglin of the increasingly popular neo-Nazi site Daily Stormer, meanwhile, has been engaged in a war of words with Colin Liddell of the white nationalist Alternative Right, a site that was originally founded by Richard Spencer. The site was abruptly shut down by Spencer in 2013 until Liddell, who is based in the UK, took its reins.

The Johnson-Spencer conflict emerged in the wake of the near-collapse of NPI’s conference in Budapest. Johnson cancelled his plans to attend and requested a refund of registration fees from NPI when the Hungarian government threatened arrests and deportations for attendees.

Despite the fact that several of the event’s most noteworthy names, among them representatives from Jobbik, the hard-right, Hungarian nationalist party, and Aleksandr Dugin, a pro-Russian favorite of traditionalists and the European new right, had withdrawn, Spencer and others journeyed into Hungary to be met by police at the event. Spencer was rewarded with several nights in prison before being deported and banned from returning for several years.

None of this sat well with Johnson. “The final straw for me,” he commented at Occidental Dissent, “was Richard’s disastrous mishandling of the Budapest conference. When a foreign government tells you that your conference is banned and that the police will take the necessary steps to make sure it does not take place, you do not vow defiance.” He got personal in another comment when he said, “Richard is basically being dominated by Nina Nogoodnik, his Russian-Georgian wife.”

Johnson also penned a post and multiple comments at his own website, Counter-Currents, and attacked Spencer for his handling of the controversy – particularly his failure to adequately warn attendees of the risks involved with entering Hungary.

Another feud erupted about the same time over Robert Ransdell’s campaign for state Senate in Kentucky. Ransdell, a neo-Nazi, has been posting signs that state, “With Jews, We Lose.” White nationalist “comedian” RamZPaul took exception to Ransdell and openly condemned his campaign.

RamZPaul (Paul Ramsey) has other supporters in his opposition to Ransdell. One writer at white nationalist Robert Whitaker’s BUGS site snarked that Ransdell’s “borderline comatose ‘With Juice you lose’ is the latest drooling from COMIC Book Pro-Whites.”

In the same article, Whitaker attacked Stormfront, the world’s largest online white supremacist forum, calling it a vacuum for pro-white energy that is spent arguing on the internet, and said that he and his followers (known as “BUGSERS” who bombard various websites with variations of “the mantra,” a white supremacist statement that claims “anti-racism is anti-white”) are the only ones who work for the cause and have “VISIBLY destroyed anti-white memes that would be there forever if it had been left to tens of thousands of Stormfronters.”

And then neo-Nazi Andrew Anglin entered the fray of “beefs” with a massive round-up post at his Daily Stormer site, titled “Infinite DramaQuest” in which he adds extra snark by representing each feuding party as a different anime character from the series Dragon Ball Z.

To Anglin, all the battling about what’s best for the movement is ridiculous, because his approach is the best: “You cannot preserve the White race without addressing the Jews. You cannot address the Jews without addressing their hoax. You cannot address their hoax without addressing Adolf Hitler.” That statement opened yet another “beef” with Colin Liddell at Alternative Right.

“What Anglin is unequivocally saying here,” writes Lidell, “is that before you can do anything at all about preserving and protecting the White race – stopping mass immigration, say, or encouraging White women to have at least 2.1 babies – you must first get everyone to love Hitler and hate the Jews, and if you can’t accomplish these supposed preconditions then you had best forget the whole shebang, So what he is really saying is simply: ‘You cannot preserve the White race.’”

Like a tennis match, Anglin hit back, calling Lidell “Mr. Supersmartintellectualguy,” and claiming that he could turn Lidell’s arguments around on him, but “wouldn’t ever do that, because [he has] this thing in [his] back called a ‘vertebral column’ which physically prevents me from being capable of engaging in such base intellectual dishonesty.”

And not one to avoid controversy (or attention), white nationalist Matt Parrott of the Traditionalist Youth Network was willing to throw some more gas on the fire. According to Parrott, who normally shies away from comparisons to Nazism, “The flaw in Anglin’s model is that Nazism isn’t radical enough.”

Meanwhile, over in the vortex that is VNN Forum, Alex Linder is so worked up that he’s posting 1,000-word screeds at a rate that is almost unprecedented for him, even though he’s known for long diatribes. Among these are attacks on almost every major figure, including Johnson and Spencer, involved in a “beef” listed on Occidental Dissent.

“Everybody fails Greggy,” writes Linder in the #1 Infighting, Beefs, Etc. Thread” on VNN Forum. “Then piously he lifts his eyes heavenward, shakes his head nobly and sadly, and earnestly swears to soldier on and do better next time. So sodo-jesusy.”

In the same breath, Linder attacks Spencer, comparing him to Kevin Alfred Strom, a disgraced, former National Alliance leader who is a convicted sex offender.

“Spencer is simply a nebbish. I think of him as a Strom lite. Less brains, less character, even.”

Like some kind of surreal white supremacist version of a telenovela, the drama continues to unfurl. As Brad Griffin suggested at Occidental Dissent, some popcorn might be in order.

Fox News Quietly Corrects Congressman’s Mistake On Ebola Response

Chaffetz Ebola

CREDIT: SCREENSHOT

Think Progress

The GOP’s persistent and oftentimes conflicting criticism of the administration’s handling of the Ebola crisis within the United States jumped the shark on Wednesday, after a prominent Republican congressman questioned why President Obama hasn’t yet named a medical doctor to manage the situation whom the party has vociferously opposed.

After the first case of Ebola was diagnosed in Dallas, Texas in September, Republicans abandoned their longstanding opposition to government czars and called on the administration to appoint an “Ebola czar” to coordinate and message the government’s response to the deadly virus.

Obama resisted such calls for weeks, insisting, primarily through White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest, that “clear lines of authority” already exist within the government’s effort. But the administration ultimately named Ron Klain, a former chief-of-staff to Vice President Joe Biden, to act as the point person on the issue.

Republicans immediately pounced. They accused Obama of nominating a “hack,” claimed that Klain had no “medical experience,” and would only “add to the bureaucratic inefficiencies that have plagued Ebola response efforts thus far.”

Others still insisted that the president shouldn’t have appointed a czar at all, because he simply needed to lead. “This is a public health crisis, and the answer isn’t another White House political operative. The answer is a commander in chief who stands up and leads, banning flights from Ebola-afflicted nations and acting decisively to secure our southern border,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) announced.

On Wednesday, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) appeared on Fox News to complain that Klain had not yet agreed to testify before Congress, firing another criticism at the White House. “Why not have the surgeon general head this up?” Chaffetz said, adding, “at least you have someone who has a medical background who has been confirmed by the United States Senate, that’s where we should be actually I think going.”

But Obama can’t appoint the Surgeon General to lead the Ebola response because his nominee, Dr. Vivek Murthy, is being opposed by the National Rifle Association and Republicans senators (as well as a few Democrats) for supporting the expansion of background checks during gun purchases. In February, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) officiallyplaced a hold on the nomination.

Chaffetz seemed unaware of this wrinkle during his Fox interview, and his office would not return repeated requests for comment. Confusing matters even further, a FoxNews.com article summarizing the Chaffetz interview appears to have changed his wording to correct the error. It reports that the Congressman called on Obama to nominate the “acting-United States surgeon general,” a claim he never made. In fact, that individual, Boris D. Lushniak, serves in a place-holder position that does not receive Senate confirmation. Lushniak, who is filling in because Murthy has been blocked, has not taken an active role in the Ebola response.

Still, the mistake — and the political back-and-forth over Obama’s response — underlines the GOP strategy of criticizing every aspect of Obama’s response in an effort to capitalize on the public health story ahead of the midterm elections.

Texas Voter Turnout Was Higher On Its First Day of Early Voting Than It Was In 2010

Say no to vote suppression

Image: The Nation

PoliticusUSA

Wendy Davis with help from groups that support her is leading the way in the people’s fight against vote suppression.

While Greg Abbott dedicates his efforts to disenfranchises hundreds of thousands of eligible voters in Texas, Wendy Davis is encouraging voters to exercise their franchise and Davis’ efforts are paying off.

Monday was the first day of early voting in Texas and according to figures released by the Secretary of State, voter turnout in the six largest counties were higher than the first day of early voting in 2010.

This is a direct result of the hard work and dedication by groups who support Wendy Davis. Led by Battleground Texas voter registration groups rolled up their sleeves and got to work registering millions of voters, many of whom are minorities. While Greg Abbott decided it better served his interests to disenfranchise these voters, Texans with the help of voter registration groups had a different idea.

So far, there have been no reports of problems at the polls.

No doubt, supporters of vote suppression laws will argue this proves that the laws in question do not and never were intended to suppress the vote. The fact is, people will be disenfranchised be it under the strictest voter ID law in the United States for reasons I and others have stated on numerous occasions.  While some states may offer “free voter ID” the costs involved in getting the documents needed to get that “free ID” still amount to an unaffordable poll tax.  Often Republicans will say the ID is “free” for people who can’t afford it, but fail to mention the costs that go with getting the ID needed to get the “free voter ID.”  Aside from the costs of those documents, it means taking time off work.  That means aside from the costs, voters are hit with the additional financial penalty of losing income.

The fact is, Republicans know it and some, are saying it.  Chris Christie said categorically that Republicans have to win gubernatorial elections so that they can control “voting mechanisms.”

Would you rather have Rick Scott in Florida overseeing the voting mechanism, or Charlie Crist? Would you rather have Scott Walker in Wisconsin overseeing the voting mechanism, or would you rather have Mary Burke? Who would you rather have in Ohio, John Kasich or Ed FitzGerald?

Rick Scott, Scott Walker and John Kasich have all been before the courts defending “laws” that amount to perpetrating a fraud on the public under the pretense that they care about stopping election fraud.

Republicans like to muddy the waters by suggesting that being a Republic and having honest, fair and open elections are mutually exclusive. The truth is that Republicans they are willing to throw free and fair elections under the bus because they can’t win by honest means.

It’s up to us to send Republicans a loud and clear message that rigging elections has consequences.  Stealing people’s votes will not be tolerated.

The groups led by Battleground Texas are showing us how it’s done.