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Established 1973 — Last updated: Wednesday, September 2, 2015, 9:10 AM
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Today's posts in bigger type––>.
Prior 2 days posts in small type.
Obama's ACA didn't fix this:
The U.S. wastes $1.6 Trillion/yr on bloated health care spending as compared with the 2011 OECD per capita average, which becomes extra overhead on everything U.S. workers make—resulting in offshoring manufacturing and jobs. Let's adopt more efficient practices instead of cutting Medicare and Medicaid coverage as part of some "Grand Bargain"
2011 US per capita health care spending was $4390 more per person than in France (acclaimed as having the best healthcare) and $5169 above the OECD average without better results. (Ref. 2009, 2007, selected 2007 with avg. doctor visits showing we're least cared for for the money, 2003 and 1998.)

Lastly, importantly, health worker pay is NOT the problem.

Some species of albatross and shearwaters seem to be the most prone to eating plastic pieces. Photograph: Britta Denise Hadety/CSIRO/AP
Some species of albatross and shearwaters seem to be the most prone to eating plastic pieces. Photograph: Britta Denise Hadety/CSIRO/AP
Birds are eating ‘astronomical’ amount of marine debris they mistake for fish eggs, with the biggest problem areas near Australia and New Zealand
Associated Press | The Guardian

Pope Francis has so far had a tough time selling his high-profile climate campaign to Americans—even to the faithful. Two recent national surveys asked whether American Catholics were familiar with the pope's call for action, and the results were decidedly mixed.

James West | Mother Jones

As heroin addiction soars in the United States, a boom is underway south of the border, reflecting the two nations’ troubled symbiosis. Officials from both countries say that Mexican opium production increased by an estimated 50 percent in 2014 alone, the result of a voracious American appetite, impoverished farmers in Mexico and entrepreneurial drug cartels that straddle the border.

AZAM AHMED | The New York Times
Photograph: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
A sign is displayed on the exterior of a Citibank branch office in San Francisco, California. A division of Citibank has published a report finding that slowing global warming would produce a positive return on investment. Photograph: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
A report from America’s 3rd-largest bank asks why we’re not transitioning to a low-carbon economy

The Citi report breaks down the investment costs in the Action ($190.2 trillion) and Inaction ($192 trillion) scenarios. Its conclusion soundly refutes the main argument against climate action – that it’s too expensive, with some contrarians even having gone so far as to claim that cutting carbon pollution will create an economic catastrophe. To the contrary, the Citi report finds that these investments will save money, before even accounting for the tremendous savings from avoiding [health and] climate damage costs.

As the Citi report concludes, the international climate conference in Paris at the end of this year will be a critical opportunity for world leaders to finally commit to curbing global warming for the benefit of the vast majority, at the expense of the few wealthy and powerful fossil fuel interests.

Dana Nuccitelli | The Guardian
A boat trip in the Northwest Passage shows evidence of shrinking ice and glaciers. Photograph: Jeff Topham/One Ocean Expeditions
A boat trip in the Northwest Passage shows evidence of shrinking ice and glaciers. Photograph: Jeff Topham/One Ocean Expeditions
An Arctic voyage through the awe-inspiring Northwest Passage shows that, with oil drilling in the far north on the way, rapid action is needed to protect the region
Robin McKie | The Guardian
Eni discovers largest known gas field in Mediterranean [will encourage replacing coal power plants faster]
Italian energy group says Zohr field off Egyptian coast could hold as much as 30tn cubic feet of gas and that more may be found in future drilling
Reuters | The Guardian
A wealth of new research suggests foods rich with fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can slow memory loss
DINA FINE MARON / SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN | Salon
(Credit: jonathankozol.com)
(Credit: jonathankozol.com)

The Theft of Memory: Losing My Father One Day at a Time” is a tender account of Dr. Henry Kozol’s affliction and passing away.

As Kozol renders scenes of his father in nursing homes, doctor’s offices and home care, he reveals the bleakness of gerontological care in our country while also praising the people in that system – the “low hires” paid by the hour – who are often the most heroic and effective caregivers.

JEFF BRYANT | Salon
Photograph: DAI KUROKAWA/EPA
New evidence reveals how elephants like these are being killed by poachers to finance terrorism. Without more effective action against ivory trafficking, African elephants could be extinct within a generation. Photograph: DAI KUROKAWA/EPA
A sensational and shocking film provides the first direct evidence linking ivory trafficking to terrorism
Paula Kahumbu with Andrew Halliday | The Guardian
REUTERS/Lee Celano
REUTERS/Lee Celano
A new report examines how black women living in public housing were [especially] affected by Katrina and during the recovery.
BRENTIN MOCK | CityLab

Janet Redman / Foreign Policy in Focus | Informed Comment | Ref.
Though Canada's system is the second most expensive in the world per capita, it would save America $1.3 Trillion/yr and cover everyone
OLGA KHAZAN | The Atlantic | Ref.
The cost of cancer drugs [13:52 60 Minutes' video]
Lesley Stahl discovers the shock and anxiety of a cancer diagnosis can be followed by a second jolt: the astronomical price of cancer drugs

Dr. Peter Bach: Medicare has to pay exactly what the drug company charges. Whatever that number is.

Lesley Stahl: Wait a minute, this is a law?

Dr. Peter Bach: Yes.

Lesley Stahl: And there's no negotiating whatsoever with Medicare?

Dr. Peter Bach: No.

[All other OECD countries negotiate much lower drug & medical procedure costs]
CBS News | Ref.
Elisabeth Rosenthal in The New York Times | Ref.
Unprofessional journalists are 'roasted'.
BOB SOMERBY in The Daily Howler | EVERY DAY
After calling his intellectual opponents treasonous, and allegedly exaggerating his credentials, a controversial law professor resigns from the United States Military Academy.
MATT FORD | The Atlantic

Walmart, the nation’s leading gun dealer, denies that society’s growing revulsion at [too frequent mass shootings] has anything to do with its decision last week to stop selling the AR-15 and a full range of similar assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines. Weakening sales was the reason, Walmart insists, despite reports that adapted war rifles and pistols continue as the industry’s big sellers.

THE EDITORIAL BOARD | The New York Times
“Hillary Clinton saw her support in Iowa dwindle as voters boosted Bernie Sanders in the latest Bloomberg Politics/ Des Moines Register poll that also found a bipartisan dislike for the state of politics in the United States. Bloomberg’s Phil Mattingly reports on “Bloomberg Surveillance.”

Bloomberg Business: ” Bernie Sanders Gains Steam in Latest Iowa Survey”
Phil Mattingly / Bloomberg Business | Informed Comment

....In a 2003 book she co-authored with her daughter, Warren said, “Senators like Joe Biden should not be allowed to sell out women in the morning and be heralded as their friend in the evening.”

As long as other candidates are competing to sound tougher-than-thou, as long as the conversation is about how high to build new walls and blame is ascribed to immigrants for not assimilating quickly enough, the GOP is digging itself a hole that will be hard to escape.

In his last election, President Obama won 73 percent of the Asian American vote and 71 percent of the Hispanic vote. If the message Republicans send to these groups sounds like “we don’t want any more of your kind,” the Democratic nominee, whoever it is, will have a hard time losing.

Eugene Robinson | The Washington Post
(Credit: AP/Mary Schwalm/John Duricka)
(Credit: AP/Mary Schwalm/John Duricka)
Wingnuts have become increasingly reliant on reality-defying paranoia. Here's how it happened
PAUL ROSENBERG | Salon
(Credit: David Orcea via Shutterstock)
(Credit: David Orcea via Shutterstock)
A cognitive psychologist talks about why changing minds on guns, even after public shootings, is so hard. How do we change our minds? The question has meaning not just for our personal lives, but for larger social and political issues.
SCOTT TIMBERG | Salon
[Voters don't like (despise?) Republican politicians]
Aaron Blake | Washington Post


Civic Events:
  • Wednesday, Sept. 9th 7–9 pm: Growing Hope in a Field of Uncertainty: Women's Enterprise in Current Afghanistan
    • this summer's photos and stories by Fahima Vorgetts-Gaheez
    Director, Afghan Women’s Fund

    • Enter free parking lot from Chesterfield Ave off Harford Rd. Church Hall entrance off the parking lot. On the #19 Bus Route
    • Handicrafts and other items available for purchase. All proceeds go to AWF projects in Afghanistan
    For more information: Alicia at aluckste@wacdtf.org or 443-722-2024
  • Ongoing: MD Humanities Council's Events Calendar


Mr. Erdogan last month agreed to let the Americans use Incirlik air base and two other bases to fly missions against ISIS, a long overdue commitment that should have been pro forma for a NATO ally but took a year of tough negotiations because of Turkish resistance. He also agreed to join the American-led coalition in the fight against ISIS.

But it is clear that his main priority is fighting the Kurdish separatists. The United States should use its influence in the region to stop the fighting and deprive Mr. Erdogan of an excuse to continue a military operation that makes the difficult struggle against the Islamic State even harder.

THE EDITORIAL BOARD | The New York Times
Accusations of terrorism are a window into how the Turkish government tries to intimidate reporters, but also how a media bad boy is maturing.
DAVID A. GRAHAM | The Atlantic
An artist’s impression of the Promenade, a cycle-friendly Christchurch redevelopment project. Photograph: Christchurch Central Development Unit
An artist’s impression of the Promenade, a cycle-friendly Christchurch redevelopment project. Photograph: Christchurch Central Development Unit
After the 2011 disaster, residents were asked what they wanted from the city once known as ‘Cyclopolis’. They demanded a greener, more people-focused Christchurch – and investment in new cycleways means it is starting to happen
Charles Anderson | The Guardian
Here, people gather in front of a registration office in Berlin's Moabit district in late August. (Hermann Bredehorst/ DER SPIEGEL)
Here, people gather in front of a registration office in Berlin's Moabit district in late August. (Hermann Bredehorst/ DER SPIEGEL)
Germany is experiencing an unprecedented influx of immigrants who will fundamentally change the country. They represent a burden, but also a chance to create a New Germany, one that is more cosmopolitan and generous.
SPIEGEL Staff | Der Spiegel
(Credit: AP/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
(Credit: AP/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
Dick and Liz Cheney oppose diplomacy with Iran because of "American Exceptionalism," Hitler, Nazis, blah blah blah
SIMON MALOY | Salon
Migrant crisis: Merkel warns of EU 'failure' [2:36 video explains countries have different migrant strategies to fight off people desperately rejecting Islamic extremism/death.]
Source: Europol
German Chancellor Angela Merkel says "Europe as a whole needs to move" on how to deal with refugees and migrants arriving in the EU.

"If Europe fails on the question of refugees, then it won't be the Europe we wished for," she said.

She was speaking after Austrian authorities arrested five suspected people smugglers along the country's eastern borders.

....Germany is the main destination for migrants arriving on the EU's eastern borders and expects the number of asylum seekers it receives to quadruple to about 800,000 in 2015.

Ms Merkel said there would be "no tolerance for those who question the dignity of other people" after a spate of arson attacks on refugee shelters and anti-migrant demonstrations.

"The number of people... helping strangers get through cities and communities and even taking them into their homes is far greater than the number of xenophobes."

Inside the Most Expensive Nuclear Bomb Ever Made [that's scarily more plausible to actually use...]
A flight test body for a B61-12 nuclear weapon (Jerry Refern for Reveal)
A flight test body for a B61-12 nuclear weapon (Jerry Refern for Reveal)
Could America's latest atomic weapon ignite a new arms race?
Len Ackland and Burt Hubbard | Mother Jones

As in places like Ferguson and Baltimore, tensions over race and police conduct have risen in Milwaukee, where the population is 40 percent black, compared with 6 percent statewide. Demonstrators took to Milwaukee’s streets after the death of Dontre D. Hamilton, 31, a black man who was shot in a downtown park last year by a white police officer. Mr. Flynn fired the officer, but local prosecutors did not file charges against him. Witnesses said Mr. Hamilton, who had been sleeping before the encounter, had grabbed the officer’s baton and hit him or was trying to do so.

Chief Flynn said that his officers were responding to crimes as they always have, but that they were making fewer traffic stops and conducting fewer field interviews, a fact he attributed to “free-floating anxiety” among officers around the nation.

“This is a job that requires judgment, but it requires judgment being exercised under pressure in ambiguous circumstances,” he said. “In that context you are going to sometimes, trying to do the right thing, still make the wrong decision.”

MONICA DAVEY and MITCH SMITH | The New York Times
We already know that American government only responds to the wishes of the few. But what about other nations?

As it happens, policies to reduce the power and influence of the elite class over politics have broad public support, across all parties. (The charts above show net support, meaning I subtracted the share of people against the policy from the share in support.) The problem, of course, is getting the politicians already under the sway of powerful interests to pass laws limiting their influence over politics.

SEAN MCELWEE | Salon

Over the course of this week and next week, we will examine a recording from the most recent meeting of the Investment Committee of CalPERS’ Board of Directors, This session was part of the regular process of the review and oversight of CalPERS’ portfolio. We will focus on the agenda items related to private equity.

....CalPERS, like many other private equity limited partners, has blinded itself to the fact that adherence to formal procedures offers no protection from being swindled in private equity. The SEC expressed what came close to shock, when you translated former examination chief Andrew Bowden’s famous May 2014 speech, “Spreading Sunshine in Private Equity” out of bureaucrat-speak, over how one-sided private equity contracts are and how little private equity investors do in the way of oversight after they hand over their money.

Yves Smith | Naked Capitalism

We're tracking where taxpayer money has gone in the ongoing bailout of the financial system. Our database accounts for both the broader $700 billion bill and the separate bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
ProPublica | Ref.
SARAH ANDERSON in CounterPunch | Ref.
ANDREW HACKER in The New York Review of Books | Ref.
In recognition of the dangers inherent in the consolidation of mainstream corporate media The Baltimore Chronicle & Sentinel (formerly a newspaper) advances awareness of important suppressed news and opinion.
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