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The Marmar Experience
Posted by marmar in Editorials & Other Articles
Sat Dec 10th 2011, 07:57 PM

from Consortium News:



The Warning in Gary Webb’s Death
December 9, 2011

Special Report: Modern American history is more complete because journalist Gary Webb had the courage to revive the dark story of the Reagan administration’s protection of Nicaraguan Contra cocaine traffickers in the 1980s. However, Webb ultimately paid a terrible price, as Robert Parry reports.

By Robert Parry


Every year since investigative journalist Gary Webb took his own life in 2004, I have marked the anniversary of that sad event by recalling the debt that American history owes to Webb for his brave reporting, which revived the Contra-cocaine scandal in 1996 and forced important admissions out of the Central Intelligence Agency two years later.

But Webb’s suicide on the evening of Dec. 9, 2004, was also a tragic end for one man whose livelihood and reputation were destroyed by a phalanx of major newspapers – the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times– serving as protectors of a corrupt power structure rather than as sources of honest information.

In reviewing the story again this year, I was struck by how Webb’s Contra-cocaine experience was, in many ways, a precursor to the subsequent tragedy of the Iraq War.

In the 1980s, the CIA’s analytical division was already showing signs of politicization, especially regarding President Ronald Reagan’s beloved Contras and their war against Nicaragua’s Sandinista government – and the U.S. press corps was already bending to the propaganda pressures of a right-wing Republican administration. ............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://consortiumnews.com/2011/12/09/the-w... /



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Posted by marmar in General Discussion
Sat Dec 10th 2011, 07:12 PM

(Bloomberg) Alabama’s Jefferson County doesn’t meet a legal requirement to remain in bankruptcy and its case should be dismissed, its creditors said in court filings.

Bank of New York Mellon (BK) Corp., as the indenture trustee for holders of the county’s sewer warrants, asked U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Thomas B. Bennett in Birmingham, Alabama, to throw the biggest U.S. municipal bankruptcy out of court, where the county is protected from creditors.

BNY Mellon argues that Jefferson County wasn’t authorized to file for bankruptcy because, under Alabama law, only counties, cities and towns that have issued funding or refunding bonds are eligible for Chapter 9 municipal restructuring. The county has only warrants, which are distinguished from bonds under Alabama law, the bank said in yesterday’s filing.

“In light of the county’s lack of funding or refunding bonds and the resulting failure of specific authorization to file its Chapter 9 petition, the county’sChapter 9 petition must be dismissed,” BNY Mellon lawyers said in the filing. ...........(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-12-10/j...



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Posted by marmar in Public Transportation and Smart Growth Group
Sat Dec 10th 2011, 02:38 PM




NY: Subway Riders Could Pay for New York Tax Breaks
By Daniel C. Vock, Stateline Staff Writer, Stateline.org


New York City subways are likely to suffer under an agreement brokered by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to overhaul the state's tax code.

The financially strapped agency that runs the trains, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, stands to lose a key component of its funding in the deal. The subway system would be out at least $250 million a year that it currently derives from payroll taxes paid by employers of New York workers. The state would supposedly make up the shortfall, but many observers are wary about that prospect.

"A measure of skepticism would not be out of line," writes The New York Times. "Albany budget makers have a history of pocketing money intended for transit to cope with their own headaches. A couple of years ago, a subsidy that made MetroCards available to students all but disappeared, and was then only partly restored."The payroll tax for New York and surrounding communities charges employers 34 cents for every $100 they spend on payroll. It was first imposed in 2009, in an attempt to shore up the MTA's finances. Many businesses oppose it, as do suburban Republicans. Phasing out part of the tax was a key component of the compromise Cuomo forged with lawmakers, explains Capital New York.

"The tax is a political dog in those places," the site reports. "So the Long Island Republicans who run the Republican majority in the State Senate, and who therefore control the Senate, have lobbied fiercely to get rid of it. This past June, the Senate voted to phase it out, but the proposal, which would have blown a hole in the MTA budget absent a replacement source of revenue, went nowhere in the Democratic-controlled Assembly." .............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.masstransitmag.com/news/1047692...



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Posted by marmar in General Discussion
Sat Dec 10th 2011, 02:37 PM




NY: Subway Riders Could Pay for New York Tax Breaks
By Daniel C. Vock, Stateline Staff Writer, Stateline.org


New York City subways are likely to suffer under an agreement brokered by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to overhaul the state's tax code.

The financially strapped agency that runs the trains, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, stands to lose a key component of its funding in the deal. The subway system would be out at least $250 million a year that it currently derives from payroll taxes paid by employers of New York workers. The state would supposedly make up the shortfall, but many observers are wary about that prospect.

"A measure of skepticism would not be out of line," writes The New York Times. "Albany budget makers have a history of pocketing money intended for transit to cope with their own headaches. A couple of years ago, a subsidy that made MetroCards available to students all but disappeared, and was then only partly restored."The payroll tax for New York and surrounding communities charges employers 34 cents for every $100 they spend on payroll. It was first imposed in 2009, in an attempt to shore up the MTA's finances. Many businesses oppose it, as do suburban Republicans. Phasing out part of the tax was a key component of the compromise Cuomo forged with lawmakers, explains Capital New York.

"The tax is a political dog in those places," the site reports. "So the Long Island Republicans who run the Republican majority in the State Senate, and who therefore control the Senate, have lobbied fiercely to get rid of it. This past June, the Senate voted to phase it out, but the proposal, which would have blown a hole in the MTA budget absent a replacement source of revenue, went nowhere in the Democratic-controlled Assembly." .............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.masstransitmag.com/news/1047692...



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Posted by marmar in General Discussion
Sat Dec 10th 2011, 02:04 PM
from msnbc:



By msnbc.com staff


A Dutch architectural firm says its design for a South Korean housing complex is simply meant to convey the feeling of being in the clouds, but others see something they'd rather not remember: the collapse of the World Trade Center towers on Sept. 11, 2011.

"A real media storm has started and we receive threatening emails and calls of angry people calling us Al Qaeda lovers or worse," the firm, MVRDV, posted on its Facebook page on Friday after a Dutch newspaper, the Algemeen Dagblad, published a front-page architectural rendition of the project and the headline: "Inspired by Twin Towers?"



"MVRDV regrets deeply any connotations The Cloud project evokes regarding 9/11, it was not our intention," MVRDV added. "The Cloud was designed based on parameters such as sunlight, outside spaces, living quality for inhabitants and the city. It is one of many projects in which MVRDV experiments with a raised city level to reinvent the often solitary typology of the skyscraper.

The cloud structure is used to connect the two towers with corridors that also serve as meeting places. The complex is set to open in Seoul in 2015. ............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://worldnews.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/...



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Posted by marmar in General Discussion
Sat Dec 10th 2011, 01:53 PM

(Bloomberg) India’s commerce ministry said it overstated merchandise exports by $9 billion in the eight months through November because of “misclassification and errors” in computing overseas sales.

“Notwithstanding the misclassification, there were errors in double counting and all sorts of things which inflated exports by about $9 billion,” Commerce Secretary Rahul Khullar told reporters in New Delhi yesterday. Overseas sales in the April-to-November period now stands at $192.7 billion, Khullar said.

India’s monthly export growth has averaged about 44 percent since April even as Europe’s debt crisis and a faltering U.S. recovery reduced global consumer demand, prompting economists to question the quality of the data. Today’s revision explains “in part the weakening of the rupee,” Asia’s worst-performing currency this year, said Jay Shankar, Mumbai-based economist at Religare Capital Markets Ltd.

“The global economy isn’t doing well, so it was hard to understand how India was posting such fantastic export numbers,” said Biswajit Dhar, director of New Delhi-based Research and Information System for Developing Countries. “There were reasons to believe something was going wrong.” .............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-12-09/i...



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Posted by marmar in General Discussion
Sat Dec 10th 2011, 01:44 PM

from Civil Eats:



The African American Food Culture of Harris County, GA

December 8th, 2011
By Kelvin Graddick


The African American food culture of Harris County and its history are shared by many places in the Deep South. Slavery had a deep impact on food access for blacks, and many of the foods slaves ate are still part of black food culture today. African Americans took pride in eating what they grew, and this pride continues to exist today despite the incorporation of food from other cultures. My family provides a great example of how social and economic issues affect the food culture of Harris County, Georgia.

During the era of American slavery, African Americans had to be creative and resourceful to survive. They were often denied the better cuts of meat and responded by creatively using lower-end food products. Even after emancipation, many blacks still could not afford the better cuts of meat or other more expensive foods. Fortunately, more blacks attained land in the 1930-1940s and began to farm for themselves, and they tended to grow foods that reflected the racial and economic oppression they endured.

The product of this oppression is what we call “soul food.” Soul food takes those inexpensive, easily accessible food products and puts them to use in inventive ways. Many of these foods, like chicken, hogs, and greens, were commonly grown and raised on African American farms, though soul food also makes use of often-rejected animal parts, too. Many black families in our county used the usually undesired ham hock, for example, to season boiled collard greens, turnip greens, and green beans. We all know of the dually loved and hated “chitlins” or chitterlings, which are boiled or fried pig intestines.

In Harris County, fried chicken and fried fish also became staples of black cuisine and were often the main course at celebrations. Other common foods were black-eyed peas, okra, squash, corn on the cob, “mac and cheese”, cornbread, and dressing. The rural county also supported hunting, and deer, rabbit, turtle, possum, and squirrel would often end up on the table. It is important to understand that these foods became traditional because they were readily accessible staples. ............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://civileats.com/2011/12/08/the-africa... /



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Posted by marmar in General Discussion
Sat Dec 10th 2011, 12:30 PM


Was the outcome of the Brussels summit a bad one for the EU? Not at all. The British were never completely dedicated to European unity and the ongoing project of greater fiscal integration is better off without them.

It was to be expected. And now it's official: The British have elected not to join the treaty governing Europe's new financial system. Prime Minister David Cameron refused.

Does that mean, then, that German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy have failed? Not at all. Only incompetent amateurs could have believed that London would join the attempt to overcome the European debt crisis together. European leaders in Brussels hammered out an agreement that marks the end of unlimited fiscal sovereignty -- and that conflicts fundamentally with the British understanding of Europe.

The result of Thursday night -- the 17 euro-zone countries joined by nine others pending parliamentary approval in three of the non-euro-zone capitals -- is a success. A success for the majority of Europeans and for efforts to find a solution to the euro crisis. Any deal with the obstreperous British would have been a weak compromise, and one that would have allowed questionable economic practices to continue. ...........(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe...



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Posted by marmar in General Discussion
Sat Dec 10th 2011, 12:18 PM

BEIJING, Dec. 9 (Xinhuanet) -- The term "iPad" instantly brings to mind the world's favorite super-tablet created by the late Steve Jobs. But now, Apple has been denied the rights to the trademark for the term "iPad" in China, in a legal battle with Hong Kong-based Proview Technology. Proview registered the trademark back in 2000, and it’s been a series of back-and-forth lawsuits ever since.

The triumphant rise of Apple’s iPad in the lucrative Chinese market has hit an unexpected stumbling block. Apple originally sued Proview Technology, a Hong Kong-based tech company, for trademark infringement. A court in southern China has rejected the company’s claim to the iPad trademark, potentially putting a dent in sales in the world’s largest consumer market.

At the heart of the dispute is whether or not a 2006 agreement between Proview’s Taiwan-based subsidiary, to sell Apple the "global trademark" for the iPad name for around 54 thousand U.S. dollars, includes China. Apple says yes, and Proview disagrees - it says the Chinese trademark rights are actually owned by its Shenzhen-based company, and are different to those owned by its Taiwan subsidiary.

Xie Xianghui, lawyer for Proview Technology said: "Actually we believe Apple infringed our client’s trademark earlier, when it released the iPad on the Chinese mainland market, which is already in breach of the law." ............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/video/20...



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Posted by marmar in Editorials & Other Articles
Sat Dec 10th 2011, 11:38 AM

from the Independent UK:



Robert Fisk: Bankers are the dictators of the West


Writing from the very region that produces more clichés per square foot than any other "story" – the Middle East – I should perhaps pause before I say I have never read so much garbage, so much utter drivel, as I have about the world financial crisis.

But I will not hold my fire. It seems to me that the reporting of the collapse of capitalism has reached a new low which even the Middle East cannot surpass for sheer unadulterated obedience to the very institutions and Harvard "experts" who have helped to bring about the whole criminal disaster.

Let's kick off with the "Arab Spring" – in itself a grotesque verbal distortion of the great Arab/Muslim awakening which is shaking the Middle East – and the trashy parallels with the social protests in Western capitals. We've been deluged with reports of how the poor or the disadvantaged in the West have "taken a leaf" out of the "Arab spring" book, how demonstrators in America, Canada, Britain, Spain and Greece have been "inspired" by the huge demonstrations that brought down the regimes in Egypt, Tunisia and – up to a point – Libya. But this is nonsense.

The real comparison, needless to say, has been dodged by Western reporters, so keen to extol the anti-dictator rebellions of the Arabs, so anxious to ignore protests against "democratic" Western governments, so desperate to disparage these demonstrations, to suggest that they are merely picking up on the latest fad in the Arab world. The truth is somewhat different. What drove the Arabs in their tens of thousands and then their millions on to the streets of Middle East capitals was a demand for dignity and a refusal to accept that the local family-ruled dictators actually owned their countries. The Mubaraks and the Ben Alis and the Gaddafis and the kings and emirs of the Gulf (and Jordan) and the Assads all believed that they had property rights to their entire nations. Egypt belonged to Mubarak Inc, Tunisia to Ben Ali Inc (and the Traboulsi family), Libya to Gaddafi Inc. And so on. The Arab martyrs against dictatorship died to prove that their countries belonged to their own people. .........(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/comme...



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Posted by marmar in General Discussion
Sat Dec 10th 2011, 11:26 AM

John Lichfield: Cameron has played a poor hand badly
Britain's future? Proud isolation: like the Cayman Islands, but without the weather


Saturday 10 December 2011


Britain is not leaving the European Union, just yet. But the EU may already have abandoned Britain. The fog of the Battle of Brussels, 8-9 December 2011, is still clearing. But psychologically and politically a Rubicon has been crossed, both in Brussels and in London.

The Prime Minister has played a poor hand very badly. He has put Britain into a position of deep isolation within the EU which even Mrs Thatcher in her "money-back" days skilfully avoided. He has given the circling sharks of the Eurosceptic backbenchers and press a taste of blood which could rapidly turn into a feeding frenzy.

Months of difficult negotiations lie ahead in which Britain will find itself willingly cast as the villain by our anxious European partners as they struggle to avoid the collapse of the euro. In such a febrile mood, in Britain and on the Continent, the possibility of a de facto, or even actual, UK departure from the EU is no longer unthinkable.

Past EU-UK battles have been about important but fundamentally secondary issues, such as farm policy or budget contributions or "mad-cow" beef exports. Mr Cameron has managed to manoeuvre himself into a position of Britain vs the Rest on the most fundamental issues of all: the survival of the euro and the EU itself. ..............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/comme...



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Posted by marmar in General Discussion
Sat Dec 10th 2011, 11:22 AM

from the BBC:



A German court has ruled in Motorola Mobility's favour in a patents dispute with Apple.

The Android smartphone maker had complained that Apple failed to license one of its wireless intellectual properties.

Apple uses the technology in its iPhones and 3G iPads.

Motorola could now try to force Apple to remove the feature from its devices or halt sales in Germany. However, Apple said it intended to appeal. .............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-16112...



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Posted by marmar in General Discussion
Sat Dec 10th 2011, 10:52 AM




Slow sales for Bachmann’s book
By Steven Levingston


Michele Bachmann’s new book, “Core of Conviction,” has come limping out of the gate, perhaps reflecting the recent hobble in her campaign for the presidency.

In its first two weeks of sales through Dec. 4, the title has sold a mere 3,000 copies, according to Nielsen BookScan.

Perhaps she is whispering to herself, if only ... if only she had created Apple, or if only she had already been president, the 43rd, for example, or if only she had the brilliance of a Wimpy Kid inside her.

In contrast to Bachmann’s effort, the biography of Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson sold 379,000 copies in its first week, while George W. Bush’s memoir “Decision Points” and “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Ugly Truth” both sold more than 430,000 copies in their first week. ...............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/politi...



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