Author: kstreet607

Politics! Politics! I love politics! Unapologetic Barack Obama enthusiast.

A Market Basket of dignity – By E. J. Dionne, Jr.

On Labor Day, worker ownership advocate Christopher Mackin reflects on the meaning of the Market Basket strikes, and the reinstatement of CEO Arthur T. Demoulas. Photo by Flickr user Streamingmeemee.

On Labor Day, what can we learn from the Market Basket protests? Photo by Flickr user Streamingmeemee.

This is a great article for Labor Day…

The Washington Post – E. J. Dionne Jr.

Who knew that one of the best made-for-Labor-Day speeches in U.S. history would be delivered by a chief executive? And who could have guessed that the summer’s major labor story would not be about a CEO saving the jobs of his workers but about the workers saving the job of their CEO?

This is the wonder of the happy-ending tale of Market Basket, the New England grocery chain. Most of its 25,000 non-unionized workers walked out to get their deposed CEO, Arthur T. Demoulas, reinstated as the company’s leader. Last week, they won.

It’s a story that makes you wish Frank Capra of “It’s a Wonderful Life” fame were still with us. Jimmy Stewart, who played George Bailey in that excellent parable, would be ideal as Arthur T. He is called that because his main rival is his cousin, Arthur S. Demoulas. Arthur S. thought that Arthur T.’s pro-worker, pro-consumer approach was cutting into the family’s profits. When Arthur S. gained enough sway over the company because one relative switched sides, he arranged for Arthur T. to be fired.

At this point, you can cue in Aaron Copland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man.” First, as my colleague Harold Meyerson reported in an excellent column on Market Basket this summer, eight senior managers organized an employee protest. They were quickly fired. Then all hell broke loose. The lion’s share of the employees at the chain’s 71 storesjoined the protest, fully aware that they had no job protection. Market Basket’s customers (there is great affection for the chain) were drawn to the workers’ side.

This worker-consumer alliance bore fruit last week when a $1.5 billion deal was arranged under which Arthur T. assumed control of the company, which has annual revenue of $4.6 billion. At this point in our film, we might well want a rendition of “Happy Days Are Here Again.”

There is one potential catch: Getting the deal done will require, as the Boston Globe put it, “a boatload of borrowed cash,” which will put pressure on Market Basket’s bottom line. But the Globe also concluded that the agreement “is more or less in line with the company’s earnings and long-term potential.”

The outcome set up Arthur T.’s extraordinary speech last Thursday outside the company’s headquarters in Tewksbury, Mass., expressing his gratitude toward the workers. He pronounced himself in “awe of what you have all accomplished.”

And here is the part of the sermon that should be played regularly at both business schools and divinity schools — to business students because it shows that a CEO who acknowledges all stakeholders and not just shareholders can be successful, and to divinity students because it recognizes the inherent dignity of every human being.

“In this organization, here at Market Basket, everyone is special,” Arthur T. declared. “You have demonstrated that everyone here has a purpose. You have demonstrated that everyone has meaning. And no one person is better or more important than another. And no one person holds a position of privilege. Whether it’s a full-timer or a part-timer, whether it’s a sacker or a cashier, or a grocery clerk, or a truck driver, or a warehouse selector, a store manager, a supervisor, a customer, a vendor or a CEO, we are all equal. We are all equal and by working together, and only together, do we succeed.”

Thomas Jefferson, meet Arthur T.

Now I can hear my Marxist friends objecting that Arthur T. is engaging here in what they might call “mystification.” Obviously, one lesson of this episode is that not everyone is equal when it comes to decision-making. The owners of a company have power that its workers don’t. This turned out as it did only because Arthur T. could buy out Arthur S. It’s why we still need unions and other forms of collective representation for employees. Not every CEO, alas, is like Arthur T.

But this story is also an instance where workers coming together could wield more power than they imagined they had. And what’s so compelling about Arthur T.’s speech is its specificity. Naming those sackers and clerks and truck drivers and all the others who contributed to Market Basket’s success was his way of asserting a capitalist version of the labor theory of value: Without good workers, the “job creators” can’t make it.

St. John Paul II, a great friend of labor, preached “the primacy of man in the production process, the primacy of man over things.” The primacy of human beings over things is what we celebrate on Labor Day. Arthur T. gets it.

Ferguson Cop Donations Sites Shut Down

Adrees Latif/REUTERS

Those donation sites for the Furgeson, MO cop that shot and killed Michael Brown were always questionable in my mind.

Officer Darren Brown has not made a statement or “turned himself in” for questioning at all, yet an army of supporters (not unlike the George Zimmerman supporters) have deluged the donation sites on the officer’s behalf with a lot of cash.  Yet they say this is not about racism.  Tell that to the next family of a Black youth who was gunned down by a white man for “being/looking suspicious”.

The Daily Beast

Two online donations pages that together raised over $400,000 for the cop who fatally shot unarmed black teenager Michael Brown were shut down over the weekend. The two pages for Darren Wilson operated through crowdsource fundraising website GoFundMe. When one tries to donate to “Support Officer Wilson” (which has raised $197,620) and “Support Officer Darren Wilson” (which has raised $235,550), a message stating “Donations are Complete!” appears. “Support Officer Wilson” is run by a charity called “Shield of Hope,” but “Support Officer Darren Wilson” is run by an anonymous source who goes by “Stand Up.” This source has claimed to work on getting affiliated with “Shield of Hope,” but so far hasn’t, and it has given a pseudonymous Gmail account to users seeking more information. GoFundMe stated it did not shut down either of these sites. The Facebook page “Support Officer Wilson” said lawyers were working on a “solution” for the shutdown. A donations page for Michael Brown’s family, “Michael Brown Memorial Fund,” is also run through GoFundMe. It has so far raised $315,049.

The Magical President doesn’t exist: What the left must really do to defeat the wingnuts

The Magical President doesn't exist: What the left must really do to defeat the wingnuts

Barack Obama (Credit: Reuters/Jim Young)

Progressives need to pay attention and read this ASAP.  Kudos to Salon‘s Joan Walsh for putting this out there…

Salon – Joan Walsh

The myth of a president who can solve our problems alone is inane. The big task right now? Rescue these midterms

Labor Day marks the traditional kickoff to election season, and all Democrats can say for themselves about the coming midterms is: Things look bad, but they could be worse. Republicans will almost certainly gain Senate seats, and could very well take it over, though their chances diminish every time we hear new audio of Mitch McConnell and his GOP cronies sucking up to the Koch brothers at their last retreat. But traditional low midterm Democratic turnout could make McConnell the Senate majority leader in January nonetheless.

This political season opens against a backdrop of profound pessimism, captured in an August Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll that found that 71 percent of Americans believe the country is on the wrong track. The president’s approval rating is at an all-time low, but so is that of congressional Republicans. Even worse, the two big stories dominating the end-of-summer headlines – the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri. and the rise of ISIL – only deepen the political gloom, because they reflect two enormous American problems that are coming to seem almost unsolvable: profound and persistent racial injustice, and the shape-shifting chaos that is Iraq.

These problems are particularly vexing for people who subscribe to the Magical President theory of politics — which includes too many of us, including me sometimes – because those are two issues Americans thought we’d “solved,” or at least responsibly addressed, by electing our first black president, who’d famously opposed the “dumb” Iraq war and promised to end it. Now race relations are arguably worse than when Obama took office, and so is Iraq, and this is a rare case where you can fairly say people on “both sides” blame the president — mostly wrongly.

Cornel West is now slipping deep into Maureen Dowd territory: a formerly incisive, moderately influential social critic (a genuinely important one, in West’s case) driven to cruelty and irrelevance by Obama hatred. The National Journal’s Ron Fournier is a consistent proponent of what some deride as the “Green Lantern” approach to the presidency: If only Obama would justlead, our problems would solve themselves, though Fournier doesn’t stoop to channeling Abraham Lincoln or Aaron Sorkin when he criticizes Obama. But even fair and sober observers are frustrated with some of Obama’s moves.

You can certainly criticize the president on the margins – I have, and I’m sure I will again. Personally, if I worked for him, I’d probably have suggested not golfing after his moving statement on journalist James Foley’s execution, and not equivocating as much in his Ferguson remarks, which Michael Eric Dyson fairly laments. But those are issues more of stage management than statecraft.

Still, even for people who respect Obama, it’s hard to see us mired in what feels like ancient, intractable conflict in both Ferguson and Iraq. It hurts. Yet I would argue (after having been demoralized about both issues) that the unrest in Ferguson is in fact a kind of social progress: Within hours of Mike Brown’s awful shooting a network of new and seasoned activists came together to demand justice, pushing both Gov. Jay Nixon and the president to take action to rein in abusive local cops and drive the investigation into what happened.

Even the ugly situation in Iraq represents political progress, because as painful and outrageous as Foley’s execution was, and as disturbing as it is to see ISIL gain power in Iraq and Syria, the vital debate over what the U.S. can and should do there has actually been strengthened by the existence of intervention skeptics on the left and the right. Obama has repudiated the neocon approach, but he’s still wrestling with Colin Powell’s Pottery Barn doctrine: If you break it, have you really bought it? Certainly, we’ve already paid for it, many times over.

Let’s be clear: There is neither a Democratic nor a progressive consensus on what is to be done there. All we have is a profound skepticism, and I’ll take that over a cynical Cheneyesque certainty, built on lies to the American people. Disagreement, even deadlock, is preferable.

The belief that somehow Obama can lead us out of our summer of misery reflects Magical President thinking. Which leads me back to the rapidly approaching and dispiriting midterms.When I reviewed Rick Perlstein’s “Invisible Bridge,” I noted that the major political difference between the right and left seems to be that when defeated and disillusioned, the right gets back to the nuts and bolts work of electoral politics. The left, or some of it, disintegrates, a flank here promoting direct action over electoral politics (a debate that’s understandably renewed by events in Ferguson); a flank there preaching about a third party; and one over there fantasizing about the perfect left-wing challenge to the mainstream Democratic candidate, like that dreamy African-American senator who opposed the war in Iraq who looked so magical eight years ago. Meanwhile, Republicans count on division on the left, and low turnout by the Democratic base of younger, poorer non-white voters, to help them take back the Senate.

And when they do, Mitch McConnell has promised only more obstruction and gridlock. I should point out, this isn’t just a byproduct of Republican victories, but one of the goals. It’s become obvious in the GOP’s approach to Obama that obstruction is at least partly intended to demoralize the reluctant, occasional voters in the Democratic base. For if there’s no action on those “gosh darn” issues, in McConnell’s words, like a minimum wage hike, student loan relief or extended unemployment insurance, let alone immigration reform or climate change, even after Obama became the first president since Dwight Eisenhower to win more than 50 percent of the vote twice, those of us who say that voting is the most reliable path to social change sound either foolish or dishonest. People say, why bother?

The cause isn’t helped by spineless Democrats who try to blur their differences with Republicans instead of heighten them. Right now Karl Rove is attacking Democratic senators like North Carolina’s Kay Hagan and Arkansas’s Mark Pryor for endorsing Obama’s Simpson-Bowles commission report, which recommended cuts to Medicare and Social Security. But nobody could have predicted anyone would use entitlement cuts as weapons, right? Except many of us did. Again and again.

On the other hand, Hagan, Pryor and also-vulnerable Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana are doing better than expected, either leading their GOP opponents or tied, at least partly because during this election year, they’ve been feistier and more progressive, particularly when it comes to defending the Affordable Care Act. And Kentucky voters may yet make Mitch McConnell pay for sucking up to the Kochs. He shouldn’t be redecorating the Senate majority leader’s office, at any rate.

Democrats have two months to make sure this election doesn’t turn out like 2010 did. It’s not about the president right now, and we shouldn’t wait until 2016 for a new magical president. The kind of thoroughgoing change we need won’t happen in eight years, or even 80. It’s an eternal battle, the constant effort to expand the realm of human freedom to everyone, against the constant crusade by the wealthy to ensure that the trappings of human dignity – education, leisure, family life, childhood itself – are reserved for those who can afford to pay for them. The Kochs and their allies are trying to repeal the 20th century. Progressives can’t just suit up for that battle every four years.

10 things you need to know today: September 1, 2014

Russian President Vladimir Putin suggests statehood for southeastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin suggests statehood for southeastern Ukraine Robert Cianfione / Getty Images

The Week

Putin urges statehood for eastern Ukraine, a judge blocks Louisiana’s tough new abortion law, and more

1. Putin spokesman softens statehood push for eastern Ukraine
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday called on Kiev to begin talks about granting “statehood in southeastern Ukraine.” Yet after the blunt remark riled Western observers, Putin’s spokesman, Dmitri Peskov, said he wasn’t calling for independence per se — just greater autonomy for southeastern Ukraine under its current national government. The U.S. and its Western allies have imposed sanctions to punish Russia for its support of separatists and its March annexation of Ukraine’s breakaway Crimea region. [The New York Times]

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2. Judge blocks Louisiana abortion law
A federal judge temporarily blocked enforcement of Louisiana’s tough new abortion law shortly before it was to take effect on Monday. The law will technically remain on the books for now, but doctors can’t be penalized for violating it until a court challenge is resolved. The law requires doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. Opponents say it will force the state’s five abortion clinics to close. [The Washington Times]

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3. Israel announces land seizure
Israel announced on Sunday that it was taking 988 acres of land in a Jewish settlement near Bethlehem, in the occupied West Bank, in what an anti-settlement group called the biggest such land grab in 30 years. The Obama administration urged Israel to reverse the decision, calling it “counterproductive” to negotiations on a two-state solution to the conflict between Israel and Palestine. [Reuters]

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4. Islamists take control of the abandoned U.S. embassy in Libya
The Islamist militia coalition Dawn of Libya took over the U.S. embassy compound in Tripoli on Sunday. The U.S. abandoned the post a month ago as fighting intensified among militia groups. A Dawn of Libya commander said the group had controlled the embassy since seizing much of the capital last week. Members of the group reportedly celebrated with an impromptu pool party. [The Guardian]

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5. Pro-democracy protesters clash with police in Hong Kong
Protests broke out in Hong Kong on Monday in reaction to China’s decision to rule out full democracy in the Asian financial center. Police used pepper spray to disperse a crowd of pro-democracy activists after a tense stand-off in front of a center where a senior Chinese official was explaining the decision. A movement called Occupy Central threatened future protests unless Beijing allows free elections in 2017. [Reuters]

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6. Demonstrators take over Pakistan’s state TV headquarters
About 1,000 anti-government protesters in Pakistan stormed the headquarters of the state-run television system and halted broadcasts on Monday morning. The demonstrators, brandishing wooden clubs, ransacked the building before Pakistani troops regained control. Most of the protesters reportedly appeared to be backers of cleric Muhammad Tahir-ul Qadri, who is demanding Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s resignation. [The New York Times]

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7. U.S. trained Alaskans to counter a Cold War invasion
The U.S. government recruited and trained fishermen, bush pilots, trappers, and others in Alaska early in the Cold War to provide intelligence in the event of a Soviet invasion, according to newly declassified documents. The plan was to have the citizen-agents hide if Soviet paratroopers came, and to then use stashes of food, cold-weather gear, and messaging equipment to report on enemy movements. The project was code-named “Washtub.” [The Associated Press]

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8. Five killed in Colorado small-plane crash
Five people were killed Sunday when a small plane crashed near an airport in Erie, Colorado, north of Denver. The Piper PA-46 airplane went down just a few hundred yards from the runway. Authorities could not immediately determine whether it had been landing or taking off. The wreckage was first reported by a driver passing the airport. Another witness reported seeing “a plume of dust shoot into the air,” but no sound. [USA Today]

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9. 49ers player Ray McDonald faces domestic violence charge
San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle Ray McDonald was arrested Sunday on suspicion of felony domestic violence. Police did not elaborate on the circumstances of the case. The 49ers’ general manager, Trent Baalke, said the football team took such allegations seriously, but reserved comment on the case. The arrest came days after NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announced harsher penalties for league employees charged with domestic or sexual assault. [San Francisco Chronicle]

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10. Celebrities call hacking scandal a disgusting violation of privacy
Hackers posted nude photos of Hunger Games star Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton, Lea Michele, Ariana Grande, Kirsten Dunst, and others on Sunday. A spokesperson for Lawrence blasted the leak as a “flagrant violation of privacy” and threatened anyone reposting the images, which first appeared on image-sharing site 4chan, with prosecution. Mary Elizabeth Winstead said she could “only imagine the creepy effort that went into this” given how long ago she had deleted the hacked photos of her. [Variety]

Ted Cruz: ‘Kitty cat’ Obama should be more like ‘Russian bear’ Putin

This is outrageous.  The name calling, the innuendos aimed at the president’s sexuality and/or political “muscle”  is simply unacceptable in a civil society.

What has become of this nation and it’s unabated disrespect for the POTUS?

The Raw Story

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (R) took a swipe at President Barack Obama’s foreign policy decisions in a speech on Saturday at conservative think tank Americans for Prosperity’s Defending the American Dream summit in Dallas.

According to Business Insider, the Tea Party darling and possible Republican presidential contender for 2016 was enthusiastically cheered by the crowd, who chanted “Run, Ted, run!” and wildly applauded his attacks on the Obama administration.

“Back in Washington there’s a diet that is now very, very popular,” Cruz quipped. “It’s called the Obama Diet. Works very, very well. You simply let Putin eat your lunch every day.”

Cruz further riled up the crowd by taking aim at the Affordable Care Act — also known as “Obamacare.”

“In the year 2017, a Republican president in the Rose Garden is going to sign a bill repealing every word of Obamacare!” he crowed.

He went on to belittle Obama’s decision not to commit thousands of ground troops to containing the spread of radical Islamic group ISIS in Iraq and its neighbor Syria.

“(A)ll across this world America has receded from leadership,” Cruz complained. “Look at Russia right now. Sadly, the state of the world is the Russian bear is encountering the Obama kitty cat.”

“You know what? The United States of America has never been a kitty cat,” he went on. “The reason Putin feels no fear to march into his neighbors, the reason why our allies up and down Europe are terrified of what’s next is because this president, as he puts it, is leading from behind.”

Obama, Cruz said, should position “anti-ballistic missiles in Poland and the Czech Republic.”

Watch the full speech, embedded below via Business Insider:

 

Fox News is Tearing Us Apart: Race Baiting and Divisiveness Hits a Disgusting New Low

How Fox News Uses Hip-Hop to Create Race Panics | Courtesy of Color Lines

This article is spot on and should be shared wherever possible.  It’s a six page analysis of the problem with Fox News’ race-baiting and it’s effect on the country.  I’m only covering the first page and have linked to subsequent pages…

Alternet

Night after night, Fox News doubles down on hate. Whether George Zimmerman, Bundy or Ferguson, it just gets worse.

With this framework as background, it’s not hard to understand the evolution of even more pernicious extremist variants in the right-wing media, which Boehlert sketched out. It began with Andrew Breitbart and his website announcing that “basically racism had been eradicated, and that anyone who talked about the topic was therefore a racist,” especially “civil rights activists and civil libertarians … because by raising questions, or talking about it, or discussing it, they were trying to rip the country apart, because the country is already solved racism.”

Thus, the allegation is that simply  talking about race in America makes you a racist. It is, as Boehlert called it, “a very odd brand of projection” that’s “very weird and complicated,” but that’s where the roles of endless repetition and cognitive closure come in. They naturalize and normalize what would otherwise clearly be both arbitrary and bizarre. After years in development, the result can be quite stunning, as Boehlert went on to note:

That’s like Glenn [Beck] that went on Fox News and called the president of the United States a racist, because he dared to discuss it in the wake of the Henry Louis Gates arrest in Cambridge. So that’s why he was denounced as having ‘a hatred of white people. Why? Because he talked about race.”

Of course, the framework of colorblind racism also explains the persistence of racial stereotyping, albeit in a “cultural” framework.  But the right-wing media takes this aspect to extremes as well, which accounts for another, contradictory tendency: the persistence of “increasingly race-baiting rhetoric,” including all manner of things that Hannity, Limbaugh and Beck have been saying about Obama since his inauguration. “This is some of the most rancid, insulting kind of gutter rhetoric you could imagine,” Boehlert said.” But the cone that they’ve tried to protect themselves in is that the other people are the racists. It’s very weird. I guess said, it’s a lot of weird projecting going on.”

While the development of colorblind racism as Bonila-Silva describes it took place over decades, the nastier variants in the right-wing media developed much more rapidly, spurred on in part by Obama’s election. They have now burst forth in multiple forms, one of which is the automatic demonization of any black victim, and the matching valorization of whoever killed or injured that victim. Of course, the specific details of any given case are not always so accommodating to the pre-determined colorblind racist script. As a result, in the killings of both Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown, we’ve strikingly similar false claims about both victims, as well as the men who killed them, and some of those claims have persisted quite powerfully, despite all evidence to the contrary.

While we’ve seen some of those attitudes most brazenly expressed on the Darren Wilson Gofundme site, we see more subtle echoes reflected in statements of support that are carefully crafted to conform to “all-American” norms, such as calls for due process — which Michael Brown, naturally, did not get, and which would not be threatened by treating Wilson like any other murder suspect.

This reflects a broader phenomenon, the persistent power of misinformation, which an inter-disciplinary collection of researchers has been studying for some years now. Most recently, I wrote about one study of misinformation in the context of three initiatives on Washington state’s 2006 ballot. The issues involved were much less charged than the murder of an unarmed black teenager, but all the better, it occurred to me. It may be easier to anecdotally recognize extremely charged distortions in a rapidly shifting framework of rationalizations (unless you’re a Fox News devotee), but as a matter of scientific methodology, it’s easier to study less-charged distortions in more stable issue areas.

Page 2.

10 things you need to know today: August 31, 2014

Michael Sam in a preseason game against the Miami Dolphins

Michael Sam in a preseason game against the Miami Dolphins Marc Serota / Getty Images

The Week

China rules out open elections for Hong Kong, the St. Louis Rams cut Michael Sam, and more.

1. China denies open elections for Hong Kong
China’s legislature on Sunday ruled out the possibility of holding open nominations to elect Hong Kong’s new leader, a shocking move that could precipitate a deepening divide between the city and the mainland. The restrictions, outlined by the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, would allow for the first direct election in Hong Kong in two years. Yet prospective candidates would first need to be approved by Beijing, leaving China with a crucial role in determining who would and would not be allowed to lead. “It’s certain now that the central government will be effectively appointing Hong Kong’s chief executive,” Alan Leong, a member of the Hong Kong Legislative Council, said. [The New York Times, BBC]

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2. St. Louis Rams cut Michael Sam
The St. Louis Rams on Saturday cut defensive end Michael Sam, the first openly-gay player drafted into the NFL. The seventh-round pick earned his way through previous cuts, but was left off the Rams’ final 53-man roster, which had to be finalized Saturday afternoon. In a series of tweets, Sam thanked the Rams for “giving me this tremendous opportunity and allowing me to show I can play at this level,” adding that his “journey continues.” [ESPN]

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3. Putin suggests statehood for eastern Ukraine
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday sharpened his rhetoric over the situation in eastern Ukraine, saying for the first time that the region should perhaps become an independent nation. “We need to immediately begin substantive talks,” he said Sunday in an interview with Russian state television, “on questions of the political organization of society and statehood for southeastern Ukraine.” Putin’s remarks came days after the U.S. and NATO said there was indisputable evidence Russian troops and weaponry had crossed the Ukrainian border. [AFP,Reuters]

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4. Iraqi troops break two-month ISIS siege on Amerli
Backed by U.S. airstrikes and Shi’ite militias, Iraqi troops on Sunday entered the town of Amerli, which had for two months been besieged by ISIS fighters. Militants from the group had blockaded the city since June, preventing food and supplies from getting in, and raising fears of a possible slaughter. “Amerli has been liberated,” Mahdi Taqi, an Amerli politician, said. “There is so much joy and people are cheering in the streets.” [The Washington Post, Reuters]

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5. Ted Cruz downplays government shutdown talk
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (R) on Saturday threw cold water on the prospect of another government shutdown, saying the only person who wanted another such debacle was President Obama. Speaking at the Americans for Prosperity summit in Texas, Cruz said, “There is one person and one person only talking about shutting down the government, and that is the White House.” In a recent interview, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said that if the GOP were to take the Senate in November, the party would stuff spending bills with riders rolling back Obama-era policies, thus forcing the president to choose between funding the government or risking a shutdown. [The Washington Post]

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6. EU threatens Russia with more sanctions
The European Union on Sunday gave Russia an ultimatum: Reverse course in Ukraine within a week, or face harsher sanctions. European Council President Herman Van Rompuy said EU leaders had agreed on “further significant steps” to be taken if Russia does not comply, though he did not specify what those measures would be. Even if sanctions are announced within a week, they could still take more than a month to kick in. [The Guardian, BBC]

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7. John Kerry: ISIS a ‘cancer’ that must be stopped
The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria poses a “unifying threat to a broad array of countries” that should unite a global coalition determined to stop it, Secretary of State John Kerry wrote in a Saturday op-ed for The New York Times. “With a united response led by the United States and the broadest possible coalition of nations, the cancer of ISIS will not be allowed to spread to other countries,” he added. [The New York Times]

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8. Iceland raises aviation alert after volcanic eruption
Iceland on Sunday upped its aviation alert to red, the highest warning level, following a small eruption in the Bardarbunga volcano system. Iceland’s meteorological agency said the eruption was “very calm.” Nevertheless, the threat that a larger eruption and ash cloud could pose to airplanes led to the heightened warning. [Associated Press]

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9. California passes plastic bag ban
California’s legislature closed out its two-year session on Friday by approving a ban on plastic grocery bags. If signed, the measure would be the first such statewide ban in the country. Gov. Jerry Brown (D), who has not signaled support for or opposition to the bill, has until September 30 to sign it into law. [Reuters]

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10. Guardian Review publishes chapter cut from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Marking the 50th anniversary of the publication of Roald Dahl’s classic Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Guardian on Saturday for the first time printed a “lost” chapter from the book. The passage was “deemed too wild, subversive and insufficiently moral for the tender minds of British children,” the paper wrote. For instance, the chapter alludes to a “Pounding and Cutting Room,” into which several wicked characters disappear. [The Guardian]