Archive for April 2014

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The Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments Tuesday in an important case about the validity of an Ohio state law banning false statements about political candidates in campaigns.

The challenge was brought by the Susan B. Anthony List, an anti-abortion group, which wants to invalidate the Ohio law. In 2010, it sought to put up a billboard claiming Rep. Steve Driehaus (D) supported taxpayer funding of abortion. The advertising company, under pressure from Driehaus who appealed to the Ohio Elections Commission to block the billboard under the statute, refused to put it up. (Driehaus lost reelection anyway.)

A lower court found that the SBA List lacked standing to sue. The 6th Circuit and 8th Circuit courts of appeals have issued split rulings on whether state laws banning false statements are permissible under the First Amendment.

There’s a real chance the Supreme Court won’t weigh in on the merits of this case. If the justices conclude that the SBA List has standing, they’re expected to send it back to the lower courts to consider the merits first.

“I don’t expect the Court to reach the merits,” said election law expert Rick Hasen, a professor at UC Irvine. “I expect them to find that Susan B. Anthony has faced enough harm that it is entitled to have its claim adjudicated first in the lower courts.”

Supreme Court To Hear Case Challenging Ban On Campaign Lies

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FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN HOST: Over the past two months, we have watched what has looked like a minor version of the Cold War between the West and Russia. Many people are wondering, how did we get here? Was this confrontation inevitable or did the West mishandle Russia from the start?

And the mishandling camp is Jack Matlock, former U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union in the late 1980s who watched from Spaso House in Moscow as Mikhail Gorbachev presided over the end of the Cold War and then the end of communism. He argues, as the title of his recent “Washington Post” essay puts it, “The United States has treated Russia as a loser since the end of the Cold War.”

In the years right after the Cold War ended, several American statesmen and writers urged a more generous policy toward Moscow. I was one of them. My logic was fairly simple. We have had two historic experiments with peace settlements after world wars. After World War I, the victors punished Germany and left it outside the new international system. It proved to be a disaster, leaving a wounded and angry Germany pining for revenge.

After World War II, on the other hand, the United States and its allies were magnanimous towards Germany and Japan, integrating those countries into the new global order. That peace, the Peace of 1945, succeeded brilliantly. And so I thought we should do our best to try to integrate Russia into the structures of the new post-Cold War world, give it significant aid and help it rebuild its economy and society.

Now Western countries did provide some help, but not really on the scale that a vast country like Russia needed after the complete collapse it had gone through in the early 1990s. But if the West did not do enough, Russia also pursued policies that made integration very hard. By the early 1990s, Moscow had launched a ferocious war against Chechnya, a part of Russia that had been seeking independence from Moscow for more than a century.

Estimates vary, but many believe that the Russian army killed over 200,000 people in the first and second Chechen wars. Meanwhile in Europe, Moscow was ardently defending Serbia’s Slobodan Milosevic as he massacred Bosnians and later Kosovars. This is not how Germany and Japan behaved after World War II as they sought integration.

And at home, Russians were quickly developing a prickly resistance to outside interference, and Russian politicians who urged integration with the West became marginal figures with tiny followings. Looking at this record, the historian Anne Applebaum has argued, also in the “Washington Post,” that the West fundamentally misunderstood Russia. It saw the place as a quasi-Western land. Think of Tolstoy and Tchaikovsky. A Western country in the making if only we had put forward the right policies.

In fact, she argues, Russia derives its identity from being a non- Western country, perhaps even from being an anti-Western country in the sense that it is distinct and different from the West.

Perhaps the West could have done more to help Russia, but it does appear to me looking back that the Russia of the late 1980s and early 1990s of Gorbachev and Yeltsin may have been a special conciliatory moment in its history, a time when Russia was weak, its leadership enlightened and its populous worn out by decades of communist failure.

The mood of that country changed quickly as oil prices rose in the 1990s. The Russian economy grew and the Russian state reasserted itself. In Russia there has always been a great debate, at least since the 1840s, between Westernizes and Slavophiles. The Westernizes wanted Russia to become Western, while the Slavophiles felt that its destiny lay in its distinctive Slavic civilization that was different from the West. Today, at least, it looks like the Slavophiles were right.

CNN.com – Transcripts

Posted April 21, 2014 by tmusicfan in Politics, Quote of the Day

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Almost a fifth of China’s soil is contaminated, an official study released by the government has shown.

Conducted between 2005-2013, it found that 16.1% of China’s soil and 19.4% of its arable land showed contamination.

The report, by the Environmental Protection Ministry, named cadmium, nickel and arsenic as top pollutants.

There is growing concern, both from the government and the public, that China’s rapid industrialisation is causing irreparable damage to its environment.

The study took samples across an area of 6.3 million square kilometres, two-thirds of China’s land area.

“The survey showed that it is hard to be optimistic about the state of soil nationwide,” the ministry said in a statement on its website.

“Due to long periods of extensive industrial development and high pollutant emissions, some regions have suffered deteriorating land quality and serious soil pollution.”

One fifth of China soil contaminated

Posted April 18, 2014 by tmusicfan in Politics, Quote of the Day

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Radio Show 58 Thursday April 17, 2014 9-10pm Eastern US Time WBKM.ORG   Leave a comment

WBKM CREW

WBKM CREW

 

http://wbkm.org/

I just got back from my 58th local music radio show on internet only WBKM.ORG. It started a bit mellow and rocked at the end.

Song before: Trouble’s Lament – Tori Amos

promo

intro

From our small city to the great big world, these are the Sounds Of Burlington. Sunday was warm in the ’60’s and Monday was almost 80 degrees. It snowed on Tuesday. In April in Vermont, snow is just an Ordinary Day. This is Milton Busker on WBKM, and this is Burlington’s Kind Of Music.

1.) Ordinary Day – Milton Busker
2.) Garden Flower – Maryse Smith
3.) Now And Then – PossumHaw
4.) New York, My Lovely – Joshua Glass

It’s getting beautiful in VT and next door in NY too. If you ever get a chance to see Josh, go! This is another PossumHaw song and is really nice. The Maryse song reminds me of the crocuses that are blooming everywhere. I finally bought a few Milton songs. Yea. Tomorrow I’m going to The Monkey House to see Phil Yates and the Affiliates.

5.) Three Cheers – Phil Yates and the Affiliates
6.) Flypaper – Persian Claws
7.) Tastes Like Nothing – Zola Turn
8.) Almost Human – Pinhead

Those were two great songs from some of Burlington’s best. Persian are playing with Phil at the Monkey tomorrow. Up next is the song Doug McAllister sings on Dancing With The Big Guy.

9.) Monkey Business – Ninja Custodian
10.) Dead Or In Jail – Crazyhearse
11.) Sunny Side Of The Couch – The Lestons

Matthew Stephen Perry rocked with the Lestons, then Party Star and now Dino Bravo VT. I love this song and it reminds me of the sun today. Another rocker from Crazyhearse. Up next is a band from Maine who have been playing some shows lately. Hopefully they will come back to town soon.

12.) Blackbird Calling – Old Soul
13.) Gunslinger – Lendway
14.) A Different Machine – Elephants of Scotland
15.) Cold – Wolvings

It was sunny today, but pretty cold. Another great Elephants song. Another great Lendway song. I hope you enjoyed checking out the music of our town, let’s do it again next week, shall we?

outro

promo

Song After: Medley (Internal Exile->The Company – Fish

 

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President Obama April 8, 2014 “Today, the average full time working woman earns just 77 cents for every dollar a man earns…  Equal pay day means a woman has to work about this far into 2014 to earn what a man earned in 2013.”

Stephen Colbert “Yes, to get the same amount of pay women’s work year is three months longer, so good news ladies.  If you’re 38 years old, financially you’re just 29.”

http://thecolbertreport.cc.com/videos/l9zuu1/obama-s-equal-pay-orders

 

Elephants of Scotland at Nectar’s April 1, 2014   Leave a comment

I had a great time seeing Elephants of Scotland on Tuesday April 1st at Nectar’s. They were set to go on at 10 and I worked until 9:30. I walked in around 10:15 at the end of Full Power. That is what they opened with last time, so I was pretty pleased. The played much of the new album in the first set. I’m getting to know the songs, but am really enjoying them. They all have nice melodies and a good sweep to them. They move through different sections, but always with a sense of logic and never like they are adding in sections just to fill time. Each step in a new direction makes each song stronger. The epic suite of Endless part 1 and Endless part 2 grabbed me the first time I head them and I seem to like them more every time I hear them.
They played a nice set. It was not overly long, but was wonderful. As they wrapped up, they said they would take a short break and be right back. For set two they played the remaining songs from Execute and Breathe, and played much of their first album Home Away From Home. Starboard was nice and Errol McSquiitor was over the top magnificent. By the time they finished, I think they had played both albums except for A Different Machine. I was chatting with someone after and found that they opened the first set with that one. Rats. I love that song, but I really did put in a lot of effort to get there, and really could not have made it for that song. Oh well, it gives me something to want for next time.

 

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Closing out a week of commemorating progress from the Civil Rights Movement, President Barack Obama on Friday sharply criticized Republicans for leading efforts in some parts of the country to prevent citizens from voting.

Obama’s administration has challenged states that have implemented voter ID laws and other restrictions in the wake of a Supreme Court decision that struck down part of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, designed to prevent discrimination at the polls.

Strict voting rights laws are said to disproportionately affect minorities and lower-income Americans, many of whom tend to vote for Democratic candidates.

“The stark, simple truth is this: The right to vote is threatened today in a way that it has not been since the Voting Rights Act became law nearly five decades ago,” Obama told a meeting of the National Action Network, a group founded by civil rights leader and MSNBC television anchor Reverend Al Sharpton.

“Across the country, Republicans have led efforts to pass laws making it harder, not easier, for people to vote,” he said.

Last year the Obama administration sued North Carolina to block rules including a requirement for voters to show photo identification at the polls. The Justice Department also sued to keep Texas from carrying out a voter identification requirement enacted in 2011.

Proponents of such rules argue they are needed to prevent voter fraud.

North Carolina Republican Governor Pat McCrory signed the state’s sweeping voting changes into law in August, saying: “Common practices like boarding an airplane and purchasing Sudafed require photo ID, and we should expect nothing less for the protection of our right to vote.”

Obama rejected that argument, saying studies showed such abuse was extremely rare.

“The real voter fraud is people who try to deny our rights by making bogus arguments about voter fraud,” he said to applause from the crowd.

“But it’s a fact this recent effort to restrict the vote has not been led by both parties. It’s been led by the Republican Party,” he continued. “If your strategy depends on having fewer people show up to vote, that’s not a sign of strength. That’s a sign of weakness.”

Obama flew to Texas earlier this week to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the landmark legislation spearheaded by President Lyndon B. Johnson that helped end America’s segregationist past.

Obama: GOP efforts to stifle voting rights are ‘a sign of weakness’ | The Raw Story