Wednesday, August 27, 2014

I have no words to describe this.

It just gets more and more inhuman. From RAW STORY:  Michael Brown's Mom Laid Flowers Where He Was Shot—and Police Crushed Them

Zara's Star of David Shirt

After complaints, the Spanish clothing retailer Zara have removed a pajama top with the Star of David from their children's collection.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Battle over Austerity Collapses French Government

So much for the 'Hopey Changey' President of France. Voters in France are just as stupid as American voters. This is the clearest display yet that with austerity the political class is post democratic in its alliance with finance capital.

Common Dreams:
"The upheaval marks the second time in less than five months that Hollande has orchestrated a shake-up of the French cabinet and comes amid rising opposition to the austerity policies of the president, whose approval rating has plummeted to 17 percent."

Saturday, August 16, 2014

America as a Horror Show

"The horror show is we are going to be slaves to profit. Some of us are going to be higher on the pyramid and we’ll count ourselves lucky and many, many more will be marginalized and destroyed” - David Simon, journalist and creator of the TV series The Wire, in an interview with Bill Moyers

A Subject Whose Time Has Finally Come

After the events surrounding the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri this past week, read Mike Harwood in Tom Dispatch on the militarization of the police.

Art imitates life in Tom Tomorrow's Strip: Officer Friendly

Is the creative class ruining urban communities?

[In London:] "We've got lots of new bars ... but those who were born and bred here simply can't afford to live here anymore."
"those doing the gentrifying are fond of elaborate facial hair, artisanal food and retro kitsch."

For Dalston and Shoreditch in London, read Williamsburg in New York, Kreuzberg in Berlin, Mission District in San Francisco, Preston in Melbourne and many other formerly working class neighborhoods in cities around the world (with broad regional differences).
According to Loretta Lees, professor of human geography at the University of Leicester, what has happened follows a well worn pattern of urban development.
Creative, young, artistic types are enticed to move into an area by low rents or through encouragement from local councils. As time passes, more people move in attracted by what they see as the aspirational, cool vibe, hoping to become a part of this fabric themselves.
This influx brings in higher earning individuals and increases the local tax base which can lead to improved public services. But it also pushes up the cost of rent, goods and services in the area and eventually house prices too.
While this may be no bad thing for the new arrivals who can largely afford it, many of those who have lived in the area for generations can be priced out.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

New Drugs and the Inefficiency of the Patent System

BEAT THE PRESS: "Once an effective treatment for Hepatitis C has been developed, there is little medical benefit in having a second or third effective treatment. The resources to develop these alternatives to Sovaldi could have been much better utilized researching treatments for diseases which do not presently have a cure. However the incentives provided by the massive patent rents being earned by Gilead Sciences (the patent holder for Sovaldi) give a huge incentive to other companies to carry through duplicative research. If anyone cared about efficiency in the health care system this point would be widely publicized."

Dean Baker - Inflation Hawks: The Job Killers at the Fed

"...This is the situation we face today. Many in the financial industry couldn’t care less about unemployment. They don’t want to risk any inflation that could erode the value of their wealth. Their voices are being heard at the top levels of the Fed. It is essential that the broader public get involved in this debate as well." ~Dean Baker

In other news: "You're just numb."

'"You're just numb," said Roemer Saturday as she surveyed the scene of devastation in her once perfect closet, "How can this happen? I live in a gated community with all this protection?" she said.'