Cord Jefferson doubts it, noting that there is a vast difference between the two fast-food restaurants in their active support of either side of the marriage equality issue. For conservatives, the “day” made sense as contributing to the coffers of a company which has made significant contributions (not just symbolic ones) to same-sex marriage opponents. In the case of Starbucks, the “day” is simply a chance of equality advocates to make a “which side am I on?” contribution to the profits of a company which has no sign of giving concrete support to the equality movement. For those wanting to provide such support, he advocates writing a check to an equality organization rather than buying a frappuchino, the purchase of which will only add to Starbucks’ bottom line.
Every significant recent heat wave event — including this summer’s deadly and devastating drought and surge of record heat across three-quarters of the United States — as well as the overall rise in average global temperatures is linked to man-made climate change. This is the conclusion of a groundbreaking new analysis by leading climate experts and detailed by NASA scientist James Hansen in a Washington Post op-ed . The study finds that the effects of climate change go beyond a simple and uniform spike in average temperatures, though the globe’s average has increase nearly two degrees in the last century. More alarming is that the increase in “extreme” hot temperature events — like the Midwest drought and heat wave — are much more likely today than they were just a few decades ago. “Extremely hot temperatures” now cover as much as 10 percent of the planet, a massive jump from the mid-century average of under one percent. Hansen warns that the “climate dice” are loaded for even more “extreme” heat and devastating record-breaking impacts that are fast becoming the new normal in a warming world.
HOW TO BUY AN ELECTION: 9 STATES ARE THE TARGET OF NEARLY HALF-A-BILLION DOLLARS IN 2012 CAMPAIGN TELEVISION AD SPENDING
The 2012 presidential campaign is well on its way to setting records as the most expensive contest in American history. Early estimates of a total of $3 billion raised and spent by the candidates and their supporters could prove well short of the eventual reality. Nothing has seen the effects of the “Citizens United” ruling and the decimation of campaign finance laws quite like TV advertising. Once the strict domain of the candidates and their own campaigns, the bulk of ad spending has shifted to the unlimited and often anonymous money pouring in from a select group of wealthy donors running super-PACs and shadowy “social welfare” organizations like Karl Rove’s American Crossroads. Most of this ad money is going to just a handful of states, where voters are bombarded with pleas and attacks from all sides. At least $350 million has already been spent on advertising in just 9 states; Colorado, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Florida. And the election is still almost three months away…
“DINOSAURS AND HUMANS WERE DEFINITELY ON THE EARTH AT THE SAME TIME AND MAY HAVE EVEN LIVED SIDE BY SIDE WITHIN THE PAST FEW THOUSAND YEARS…”
This is one passage from a textbook that tens of thousands of Louisiana school children will learn from in their studies under a sweeping new voucher program instituted by Governor Bobby Jindal. The Louisiana plan is the nation’s most extensive use of privatization in K-12 education, turning dozens of mostly religious-based private schools and academies into favored alternatives to traditional public schools and receiving significant state funding via taxpayer dollars. Mostly operated by churches and other Christian-oriented providers, these schools are given considerable leeway in determining what subjects to teach and how they are interpreted through classes and textbook materials. The majority of these come from publishers specifically targeting a Christian audience or even evangelical universities such as Bob Jones Universities that put out “biblically-friendly” textbooks for use in private schools. As such, a large chunk of students in Louisiana will be taught that dinosaurs lived with humans, the slave trade was beneficial to enslaved Africans, the KKK was a laudatory “means of reform,” and gay people “have no more claims to special rights than child molesters or rapists.”
HCA, the largest for-profit hospital chain in the country with nearly 200 care facilities, is facing a federal investigation amid reports of unnecessary cardiac treatments at some of its medical centers in Florida. Employees at its clinics and hospitals tipped off internal supervisors that potentially dangerous procedures, including major operations, operations were routinely being carried out on patients despite there being no evidence that they needed the treatment at all — and sometimes were operated on despite having health issues wholly unrelated to the surgeries perform ed on them by scores of doctors at HCA facilities, mostly in Miami or the Tampa Bay areas. The list of incidents under review are mind-boggling; at least 1200 potentially unnecessary operations at one single facility alone, including at least one incident where a man nearly died on the operating table during a worthless heart surgery. Profits were the reason behind such a litany of excess treatment, as most of the dubious procedures were the most expensive of their kind. HCA finds itself in a familiar position, as the chain settled a massive Medicare fraud case with the federal government last decade dating back to alleged abuse while current Florida Gov. Rick Scott was the corporation’s CEO.
(New York Times)
Quote of the day…
The first man who, having enclosed a piece of ground, bethought himself of saying “This is mine,” and found people simple enough to believe him, was the real founder of civil society. From how many crimes, wars and murders, from how many horrors and misfortunes might not anyone have saved mankind, by pulling up the stakes, or filling up the ditch, and crying to his fellows, “Beware of listening to this impostor; you are undone if you once forget that the fruits of the earth belong to us all, and the earth itself to nobody.”
Jean Jacques Rousseau, quoted by George Monbiot in article condemning the “commodification” of natural resources in government projects underway in the U.K.
Do you receive the daily headlines in the form of an early-morning e-mail? If you don’t and you would like to receive them, just send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org and you’ll be enrolled in the “Progressive breakfast club.”