Brits Consider "Terrorism" Charges against Guardian Staff

British police are examining whether Guardian newspaper staff should be investigated for terrorism offences over their handling of data leaked by Edward Snowden, Britain's senior counter-terrorism officer said on Tuesday.The disclosure came after Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger, summoned to give evidence at a parliamentary inquiry, was accused by lawmakers of helping terrorists by making top secret information public and

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Slate: The Presidential Turkey Pardon Insults the Real People Who Deserve to Be Pardoned


Caramel and Popcorn are the lucky gobblers set to be pardoned this year, but I'd like to propose a new Thanksgiving tradition for the White House: Instead of (or perhaps in addition to) pardoning turkeys, the president could pardon real people. The rate at which the Obama administration pardons semiflightless birds is only a little worse than his administration's track record for pardoning human beings. Obama has pardoned two birds every year since 2009, compared with zero people in 2009, nine in 2010, 13 in 2011, and zero in 2012, out of 1,372 total applicants. The administration has granted one commutation of sentence out of 5,371 total applications.

The full article at Slate

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Gender Prison: That Bathroom Thing

It's name is the Student Success and Opportunity Act, but it is also known also known as AB 1266. And its opponents call it "the bathroom bill."

The law prohibits exclusion of transgender students from sex-segregated programs. Those include sports teams and physical education classes.

The organized opposition to the bill call themselves "Privacy for All Students." The group has a logo, which consists of an apple surrounding the stereotypical silhouettes of a man and a woman one would encounter on restroom doors…separated by a vertical line. The major players in Privacy for All Students are the Pacific Justice Institute and the National Organization for Marriage.

The opposition claims that they are not opposed to transgender students, but rather are concerned that boys will claim to be transgender in order to be able to use the girls restroom in order to spy on the girls. Because, you know, there is nothing sexier than someone eliminating waste from their body.

Even if we disregarded the fact that one can't simply start using the facilities of a different gender on a whim, nobody has found an instance of a boy pretending to be transgender for any reason other than to humiliate or deride transgender kids.

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Morning Reads: Living Wage Movement Spreading Like Wildfire

This in from Bill Moyers & Company's Morning Reads for 2 December, 2013:

Growing movement –> Following Black Friday protests last week, fast food workers seeking $15 per hour will stage one-day strikes in 100 cities this Thursday. Stephen Greenhouse reports for the NYT. ALSO: RJ Eskow writes at Campaign for America’s Future that the fight for a living wage may be creating a broader social movement. AND: Goldy reports for The Stranger that Seattle will be ground zero in the fight for $15 per hour this year, either through the legislature or at the ballot box. AND: U of M economist Arindrajit Dube on why it makes good economic sense to raise the wage floor.

That's all ~ nothing below the fold but room to comment

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Sunday Train: 'the successful communities are going to be the ones who get rail.'

In covering the upcoming vote on the planned North Metro Rail line in Denver, the Denver Post writes:

People and circumstances over the years have tried to change the gritty image of Commerce City. There have been high-end homes on its eastern border and a world-class soccer and concert stadium not far from the city's oil refineries, and even an attempt to wipe the city's industrial name off of the map and replace it with the more low-key moniker of Derby. But it may be a stop on the Regional Transportation District's North Metro Rail Line that brings some shine to the center of the city.

They quote the Commerce City Mayor:

"I'm very optimistic about the commercial opportunities that come with transit-oriented development," said Commerce City Mayor Sean Ford. "Once rail comes, we can develop around it, and I think it will be highly beneficial."

... as well as the Adams County Commissioner and Chairman of the North Area Transportation Alliance:

"In our world, the successful communities are going to be the ones who get rail," said Adams County Commissioner Erik Hansen

And on Tuesday night, the Metro North line was approved, for a 2014 start and 2018 completion, when it had been previously set back to 2044 (an oddly exact date that clearly meant, "not now, but maybe later"):

A spontaneous offer from Graham Contracting in February stepped up the plans for the North Metro line after the company teamed with three other private developers and gave the Regional Transportation District's board of directors a viable, ambitious construction plan, said RTD spokeswoman Pauletta Tonilas.

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Hellraisers Journal: Mother Jones Working in the Halls of Congress on Behalf of Colorado Miners

You ought to be out raising hell. This is the fighting age. Put on your fighting clothes.
-Mother Jones

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Monday November 30, 1903
From Anaconda Standard: W. F. of M. Secures "Writs for Release" for Miners in Bullpen

Denver, Nov. 28.-a special to the Republican from Cripple Creek says that Frank J. Hangs, attorney for the Western Federation of Miners, to-night secured writs of habeas corpus in the case of Sherman Parker, Victor Pool, C. C. Kenison, W. F. Davis. W. B. Fasterly and Patrick Mullaney, miners now in the bullpen supposed to have been arrested on suspicion of complicity in the blowing up of the Vindicator mine, but against whom no charges have been made. The writs are returnable Dec. 3.

SOURCE
The Anaconda Standard
(Anaconda, Montana)
-of Nov 29, 1903

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Will climate change saints save the Earth?

In writing my last diary on climate change, I was advised that "if you're not working on solutions you're just spinning wheels." I am not going to name the author of this comment -- this is not a call-out diary. But I will say that it is indeed important that we continue our work on climate change. Protests should continue, publicity needs to continue, and we should continue to sway the public and the political class.

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Gender Prison: Californians voting on transgender student rights seen as "unlikely"

Earlier this month, those opposed to California's new law AB1266 (who call themselves Privacy for All Students), which would provide transgender students with equal access to academic programs, submitted 613,120 petitioner signatures in an attempt to qualify repeal of the bill as a November, 2014 ballot initiative. Initiative rules stipulate that 504,760 of those signatures have to be valid for the initiative to take a place on the ballot.

Simple math shows that calls for 82.3% of the signatures to belong to registered California voters. Not so simple reasoning says unless the number of valid signatures required is actually 95% of the 504,760, which would be 479,522, the bill would fail to qualify for the ballot.

Currently the the signatures are averaging just 75% authenticity, which would only garner 459840 valid signatures, nearly 20000 short of the number necessary. Thus the appeal referendum currently appears unlikely to qualify.

The Executive Director of Equality California, John O'Connor, says that"it's unlikely, [but] not impossible" that the measure will come up for referendum.

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Sunday Train: Trains & Buses Should Be Friends

The Salt Lake Tribune adopts the familiar mode-warrior framing in comparing rail and upgraded buses, typically called "BRT" for "Bus Rapid Transit":

The Utah Transit Authority figures the many new rail lines it opened in the last three years attracted $7 billion to $10 billion worth of new development near stations as a side benefit to improving transportation. Since it spent $2.4 billion on those lines, it sounds like a good return on investment.

But a new study says governments get even more bang for their buck in revitalizing areas if they instead build "bus rapid transit" (BRT) systems. While far cheaper to construct, they attract just as much development.

... which elicits a measured response from the UTA:

The UTA says there is no need for buyer’s remorse for its new TRAX, FrontRunner and streetcar projects — because they do more than revamp areas. But UTA adds that BRT is a focus of its future plans. It is sort of a TRAX on rubber wheels where buses have exclusive lanes, passengers buy tickets from vending machines before boarding on platforms, and buses have priority at intersections.

The "odds and sods" system in the US for funding transit improvements encourages this type of mode-warrior framing ... which mode delivers more:

  • ... bang for the buck
  • ... diversion of motorists to transit
  • ... Greenhouse Gas Emissions reduction
  • ... development impact
  • ... reduction in the annual slaughter of Americans by motorists
  • ... amenity to the rider
  • ... farebox revenue
  • ... (and etcetera and etcetera) ...

And that framing for studies like the one that the Institute for Transport and Development Policy is presently promoting, claiming that BRT delivers 31x the bang for the buck that rail does.

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