Archive for regulation

Tracy Morgan v Walmart's Lowest Prices, Gua-ran-teed

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notSureIf

What part of a Thirty Rock comedic star and outspoken liberal voice suing a big-box chain not beloved of the Left for unsafe business practices is not fascinating?

Lawrence O'Donnell agreed, giving a generous amount of time to the news item that may have a lot to do with actual traffic deaths if this cause gets some tread and some traction. Video below.

Tracy Morgan is about to find out how much the life of a close friend of his is worth in the eyes of modern American law.

The underpinnings of the situation are tragic, not comedic. Tracy Morgan had finished a late night set out of town, and was headed back home with friends and staff when a Walmart truck driver, who had been up for longer than 24 hours, completely committed vehicular homicide.

don'tyouknow
The driver, who assuredly will take the moral weight of this to his grave, hadn't had a Bud with his late-night meal, or was even thought to have had a record of poor driving choices, never mind the kind of poor judgment that killed and maimed others on the roads he knew so well.

From Lamestream Librul' Rag the Wall Street Journal:

The lawsuit alleges Wal-Mart should have known the driver's hours were in violation of federal laws aimed at preventing fatigue because the driver, Kevin Roper, commuted 700 miles from his home in Georgia to Delaware to start work.

"As a result of Mr. Roper's fatigue, he fell asleep behind the wheel of his truck while he was driving, failed to slow down for traffic ahead, and resultantly collided with the limo," the suit said.

Lawrence O'Donnell, recently back behind the anchor desk at The Last Word on MSNBC following his own lengthy recuperation from a taxi-cab crash in Cuba, brought in safety advocate Ed Slattery, a truly informative guest, to expertly speak on the topic, along with Emma Fitzsimmons of the N.Y. Times to discuss further.

Apart from our ragged rail system, big trucks are carrying most of the heavy lift of getting our crap to ourselves, and you know exactly how much crap we think we need to get through your average American day. I already have more items on my bed than in my first dorm room and it's 6:15 a.m.

It's astonishing to think that circa 4,000 American (or tourist, pretty soon they are going to start delivering High Risk Alert Travel warnings for visiting any part of the United States for a variety of violent death scenarios) lives are at risk because of industry greed and improper regulation of the good companies and workers that are out there hauling us our Stuff every day.

NOWAY

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Charter schools, corporations cheat kids, spend millions on trips, strip clubs #CharterSchoolsWeek

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charter schools corporate

Charter schools are cheating our children. Brace yourselves: Over 100 million dollars meant for our kids have been misused, lost or stolen by charter operators and corporations. Why? Because there is no regulation. We all know how the GOP and corporate America hate regulations, and this is why.

Privatization gives greedy, corporate types all kinds of opportunities. For instance, the opportunity to use taxpayer funds meant for students; they're using that money, our money, to pay for house renovations, outings to strip clubs, and vacations to Atlantic City.

How in the world can we keep giving money to people (because we all know that corporations are people, my friend) who do this? How in the world can Americans keep supporting-- and voting for-- these pigs?

By the way, the report covers what "might just be the tip of the" proverbial iceberg, focusing on a mere fifteen of the forty-two states that have charter school laws.

Paul Rosenberg at Salon has the story:

While there are plenty of other troubling issues surrounding charter schools—from high rates of racial segregation, to their lackluster overall performance records, to questionable admission and expulsion practices—this report sets all those admittedly important issues aside to focus squarely on activity that appears it could be criminal, and arguably totally out of control. It does not even mention questions raised by sky-high salaries paid to some charter CEOs, such as 16 New York City charter school CEOs who earned more than the head of the city’s public school system in 2011-12. Crime, not greed, is the focus here. [...]

[The report] organized the abuse into six basic categories, each of which is treated in its own section:

• Charter operators using public funds illegally for personal gain;
• School revenue used to illegally support other charter operator businesses;
• Mismanagement that puts children in actual or potential danger;
• Charters illegally requesting public dollars for services not provided;
• Charter operators illegally inflating enrollment to boost revenues; and,
• Charter operators mismanaging public funds and schools.

Perhaps most disturbingly, under the first category, crooked charter school officials displayed a wide range of lavish, compulsive or tawdry tastes. Examples include:

• Joel Pourier, former CEO of Oh Day Aki Heart Charter School in Minnesota, who embezzled $1.38 million from 2003 to 2008. He used the money on houses, cars, and trips to strip clubs. Meanwhile, according to an article in the Star Tribune, the school “lacked funds for field trips, supplies, computers and textbooks.”

[...]

Others spent their stolen money on everything from a pair of jet skis for $18,000 to combined receipts of $228 for cigarettes and beer, to over $30,000 on personal items from Lord & Taylor, Saks Fifth Avenue, Louis Vuitton, Coach and Tommy Hilfiger. But the real damage came from the theft of resources for children’s future.

No wonder Republicans are trying to do away with public schools. They're no fun!

More at Salon.

charter schools privatization corruption

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SCOTUS To Hear GOP Plea To Allow Chemical Poisoning

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Coal Ash Spillcoal ash spill's destructive aftermath

By now we've all heard of the coal ash contaminants that have been wreaking havoc in North Carolina. If all goes as it appears, even GOP Governor McCrory might be going to jail when the dust settles. Carcinogenic-contaminated dust.

Over in nearby West Virginia, we've all heard about the multiple chemical spills by Freedom Industries, polluting the water in that state.

And these are just two of the more recent cases. There have been other chemical waste issues all across the country. And these aren't really accidents in the normal scheme of things. It's not like someone forgot to shut the door. It's worse than that. It's not the absence of adequate regulations. It's intentional.

Why?

Because the state governments have been under GOP anti-regulation delusion. They think that regulating chemical waste and storage is interference and that it affects the businesses' bottom lines. Forget what it does to the workers and the innocents who live in those areas. Just so long as it doesn't interfere with the cost of doing business, the GOP is all for it. Damn the people -- full profits ahead.

Turning their back on the safety of their state-wide constituents, the Republicans are setting course for harming or potentially killing all of us. They want to do away with safety regulations and restrictions over clean air and gas house emissions. Can't you just hear those Neanderthal Republicans? "Regulations... Baaad!!!"

HUFFPO:

WASHINGTON (AP) — Industry groups and Republican-led states are heading an attack at the Supreme Court against the Obama administration's sole means of trying to limit power-plant and factory emissions of gases blamed for global warming.

The court is hearing arguments Monday about a small but important piece of the Environmental Protection Agency's plans to cut the emissions — a requirement that companies expanding industrial facilities or building new ones that would increase overall pollution must also evaluate ways to reduce the carbon they release.

The importance of this case is astronomical -- almost literally. The Republican Party is determined to poison us with deregulation. If they can't stop people from voting, or better yet, voting against them, they seem to be taking another attack,-- just plain kill us. What they overlook in their ignorance is that they're killing themselves at the very same time. See what having no customers does to your bottom line.

air pollution

The air belongs to all of us equally -- and if you're going to pollute my air, you better be prepared for the consequences. As global warming and the greenhouse gases' various other effects are felt, we can't sit by and wait until it too late. Hopefully the SCOTUS will rule that way as well.

The Government has used eminent domain to confiscate property and condemn areas -- for the greater good.  The most common uses of property taken by eminent domain are for government buildings and other facilities, public utilities, highways, and railroads; however, it may also be taken for reasons of public safety. Isn't that what we're talking about here?

Maybe we should start looking at those companies who don't comply with the EPA regulations, which pollute and condemn our health and safety with the same "for the better good" doctrine. Confiscate them and sell them off at public auction, not to be reopened until they meet safety standards.

Monday's case, for which the court has expanded argument time to 90 minutes from the usual 60, stems from the high court's 2007 ruling in Massachusetts v. EPA, which said the agency has the authority under the Clean Air Act to limit emissions of greenhouse gases from vehicles.

Two years later, with Obama in office, the EPA concluded that the release of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases endangered human health and welfare. The administration used that finding to extend its regulatory reach beyond automobiles and develop national standards for large stationary sources.

Hopefully the mentally- and scientifically-corrupted and deficient Republican position will be defeated once and for all by the Supreme Court. It's wishful thinking that the GOP won't continue to attempt to retry and re-litigate this for years to come. But maybe they'll succumb to the dangers they have wrought upon all of us before any more innocents become afflicted or victims of global warming and chemical spills.

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Guns In School -- Sparks, Nevada Added To The Tragedy List

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breaking news

Early reports from the tragic shooting in a Sparks, Nevada middle school.

A 13-year-old witness told the Reno Gazette-Journal that he saw a boy in a Sparks Middle School uniform shoot a teacher.

The witness, Kyle Nucum, (see video below) said that he heard a "pop" when he was outside of the school, and that a teacher came to investigate. When they approached the shooter, the boy shot the teacher.

Two people are dead and two boys are in critical condition after a shooter opened fire at Sparks Middle School in northern Nevada this morning, according to police.

More to follow.

Are we still waiting to consider gun regulations?

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3/4 of Senate GOP want to bar any new legislation that would help workers, regulate workplace conditions

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stfu omg

Our own David Garber previously posted "Tom Coburn Isn’t An Idiot, He Just Plays One In The Senate":

Senator Tom Coburn, the firebrand senator from Oklahoma has his priorities on backwards. He believes in punishing the worker bee to get to the queen — in this case the Affordable Care Act. Silly man. Stupid Man. Dangerously idiotic man.

Here’s what Tom Terrific is doing. He doesn’t like the Affordable Care Act. So he’s going to be placing a hold on an administration executive nomination, in this case Katherine Archuleta, nominated to head the Office of Personnel Management....

It’s about pettiness. It’s about poor sportsmanship. It’s about “If I can’t pitch, I’m taking my baseball home and then nobody can play.” It’s attitude. Childish at that.

David's post was just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Check out what Coburn and Rand Paul are up to now, but first take a swig of anything alcoholic and/or pop a Tums. Think Progress:

More than three-quarters of the Senate Republican caucus signed onto legislation introduced Wednesday by Sens. Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Rand Paul (R-KY) that could render it virtually impossible for Congress to enact any legislation intended to improve working conditions or otherwise regulate the workplace. Had their bill been in effect during the Twentieth Century, for example, there would likely be no nationwide minimum wage, no national ban on workplace discrimination, no national labor law and no overtime in most industries. [...]

Coburn and Paul’s bill appears to be an attempt to restore the constitutional regime that prohibited child labor regulation and other such nationwide regulation of the American workplace. [...]

What is somewhat surprising, however, is the sheer breadth of support for Coburn and Paul’s discredited view of the Constitution within the Senate Republican Caucus. According to Coburn’s press release, their bill is cosponsored by “Senators Ayotte (R-NH), Barrasso (R-WY), Blunt (R-MO), Boozman (R-AR), Burr (R-NC), Chambliss (R-GA), Coats (R-IN), Corker (R-TN), Cornyn (R-TX), Crapo (R-ID), Cruz (R-TX), Enzi (R-WY), Fischer (R-NE), Flake (R-AZ), Graham (R-SC), Grassley (R-IA), Hatch (R-UT), Heller (R-NV), Inhofe (R-OK), Isakson (R-GA), Johnson (R-WI), Lee (R-UT), McCain (R-AZ), McConnell (R-KY), Moran (R-KS), Risch (R-ID), Roberts (R-KS), Rubio (R-FL), Scott (R-SC), Sessions (R-AL), Thune (R-SD), Toomey (R-PA), Vitter (R-LA), and Wicker (R-MS).”

See how deeply these right wing extremists care about small businesses? Growing businesses? Employees? Jobs? Job safety? Equal rights? Equal pay? Health and welfare? Democracy? You? They say they do, they campaign like they do, but all they really care about is profit and power on the backs of ordinary working Americans.

We simply don't matter. At all. They convince people to donate to them and then vote them into office. Then once they're elected, this is how they want to treat you and your families... which leads me to get down on my knees and plead to you to register, to vote, and to help others do the same, in a huge way.

These self-serving, duplicitous skunks don't want to just "rebrand" their party (or as I like to call it, "destroy"), they want to rebrand the U.S. Constitution. They will have failed at both. "Dangerously idiotic" indeed.

But what do they care, as long as they appeal to their base. What a perfect word to describe anyone who would support them: base.

opposite world

backwards

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The Heart of Darkness: The River of America's Violence Runs Through Newtown

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in guns we trust Via chubbychicocharms.com smaller

Your Daily Dose of BuzzFlash, via my pal Mark Karlin:

In front of me on my desk is a March 9, 1992, copy of Newsweek. The cover photograph shows a student who had been shot being rushed to emergency care underneath the headline, "Kids and Guns: A Report From America's Classroom Killing Grounds." [...]

That was more than 20 years ago, but nothing really has changed... In those 20 years, more United States citizens have been killed with guns to the point that the death toll on 9/11 looks like a footnote in the annals of murder.

There was an assault weapons ban for 10 years, but the NRA made sure that it was phased out during the Bush administration. [...]

As a nation, we have historically always been in search of killing the "enemy": Native-Americans, Mexicans, Blacks, "geeks" in Vietnam, drone killings of civilians in Afghanistan and elsewhere. It's an endless list.  It's a list of the "other," a list of anyone an angry male has a grievance against.  In the last few years, more than a few Tea Party members have advocated armed revolt and killing of "liberals."  [...]

We glorify the violence of "how the West was won." We cheer for lone gun men in movies who mow down mobs of bad guys. Our teens wallow in the murder and mayhem of video games.

Most of all we see the rabid hatred that leads to violence in the faces and bilious statements of the gun guys who fear the government, who fear a non-white majority, who fear just about anything that psychologically threatens their male prerogatives and sense of manhood.

And then we hear from the hunters, but there's virtually no one whom I have known who wants to take away hunting rifles.  [...]

Nations create their own destinies. The United States expanded to the West via a right to violence based on a sense of entitlement.

We need to accept that, as a nation, we need to end our destructive love affair with the power to decide who shall live and who shall die.

Please read the entire post here.

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Cliff Notes- Happiness is not a warm gun

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My dear friend and mentor, Cliff Schecter, has a weekly column; hence, because Cliff has given me permission to share his work with you, I’ll give you the latest edition of what I call Cliff Notes.

He skewers better than a chef at Smokey Joe’s BBQ. He has comedic insights that rival those of our mutual friend, the hilarious Lizz Winstead. He’s sharper than the point on Sarah Palin’s pin head.

Here are a few excerpts from his latest, with permission. Please read the whole thing, because he has way more than I’ve included here:

Columbus, OH - It happened again recently. We don't know all the details, but what we do know is this. A young man named TJ Lane walked into high school - here in my home state of Ohio - approached a table full of kids and started shooting.

By the time the smoke cleared, three kids were dead. [...]

His parents, both charged with domestic abuse and other violent behaviour in the past, seemingly helped nurture a disturbed and dangerous kid.

But it's also been reported that the killer's grandfather - from whom Lane accessed the gun used - had so many weapons lying around that he couldn't figure out a gun was missing until afterwards. Read that sentence again.

Teaching a child that violence solves everything and giving him access to an arsenal. That should make his family criminally liable [...]

Because, make no mistake, it's a love affair with guns by an obsessive and loud minority and the resulting lax regulation, which are key reasons these things just don't happen on a regular basis in any other Western country. [...]

I have a question I'd like to proffer to the arms-dealer lobby, also known as The National Rifle Association (NRA). Not their members, who strongly support common-sense gun control measures, unless you want to disbelieve numerous polls (part of a Bilderberg conspiracy of yet-unknown proportions), including one by died-in-the-wool Republican Frank Luntz. But their leadership, who Lawrence O'Donnell Jr rightly called"the merchants of death".

At what point does this senseless violence (not to mention man-on-gun love) become simply unacceptable? [...]

When do we look at the recent Today Show gun sting and say it's probably a bad idea to allow anyone - and by that I mean, you, me or the Unabomber - to buy weaponry that can pierce armour or take down a helicopter without a background check? [...]

Regarding our politicians and the need for first-world gun regulations like background checks - an issue on which I have worked the past few years - I give you a recent study by scholar Paul Waldman. Waldman's work took apart long-held myths, like that the NRA's money and endorsement impacts elections (the NRA endorses all-but-certain winners and spreads its money too thin for any measurable impact in a given race) and that they were responsible for the national Republican victories in 1994 and 2000 (hint: they weren't). [...]

There will be more victims like those in Chardon. But a combination of activism by survivors, reports like Waldman's and demographics will not be kind to the gun industry in the coming years.  [...]

Happiness is not a warm gun.

Cliff Schecter is the President of Libertas, LLC, a progressive public relations firm, and the author of the 2008 bestseller The Real McCain.

Follow him on Twitter: @Cliffschecter

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