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November 17, 2012

Chomsky on Israel's newest attack on Gaza

Chomsky Statement on Israel's War on Gaza - Salem-News.Com
"The incursion and bombardment of Gaza is not about destroying Hamas. It is not about stopping rocket fire into Israel, it is not about achieving peace. The Israeli decision to rain death and destruction on Gaza, to use lethal weapons of the modern battlefield on a largely defenseless civilian population, is the final phase in a decades-long campaign to ethnically-cleanse Palestinians. Israel uses sophisticated attack jets and naval vessels to bomb densely-crowded refugee camps, schools, apartment blocks, mosques, and slums to attack a population that has no air force, no air defense, no navy, no heavy weapons, no artillery units, no mechanized armor, no command in control, no army… and calls it a war. It is not a war, it is murder. “When Israelis in the occupied territories now claim that they have to defend themselves, they are defending themselves in the sense that any military occupier has to defend itself against the population they are crushing. You can't defend yourself when you're militarily occupying someone else's land. That's not defense. Call it what you like, it's not defense.”

Oklahoma Judge Sentences Teen to Church for 10 Years

Can you imagine an atheist judge sentencing a Christian to reading science journals for ten years? Or whatever ridiculous comparison you want to slot in here. This man should not be a judge. Oklahoma Judge Sentences Teen to Church for 10 Years - ABC News
Anybody who knows Oklahoma District Court Judge Mike Norman probably yawned at the news that he’d sentenced a teen offender to attend church as part of his probation arrangement, and that the judge’s pastor was in the courtroom at the time. Not only had he handed down such a sentence before, but he’d required one man to bring the church program back with him when he reported to court. “The Lord works in many ways,” Norman, 69, told ABC News today. “I’ve done a little bit of this kind of thing before, but never on such a serious charge.” Norman sentenced Tyler Alred, 17, Tuesday after he pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter in August for killing friend and passenger John Luke Dum in a car crash. Dum died on impact in December after Alred crashed his Chevrolet pickup truck, ejecting Dum. Alred was 16 at the time of the crash and had been drinking prior to the deadly accident. Oklahoma Highway Patrol issued a Breathalyzer at the time, and although Alred was under the state’s legal alcohol limit, he had been drinking underage.
*Thanks, Anne-Marie*

Democratic Senator introduces bill to fix Social Security for basically ever

Lifting the cap would give us a lot of wiggle room. We could even think about increasing benefits. Democratic Senator Introduces Bill To Lift Social Security's Tax Cap, Extend Its Solvency For Decades | ThinkProgress
This week, however, Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK) put forward a reform package that goes in the opposite direction, while still financially securing the program’s trust fund for roughly the next seven decades. The Washington Post’s Dylan Matthews laid out the details: The Begich bill would lift the current payroll tax cap, which exempts wages in excess of a certain amount ($110,100 this year) from the tax. In turn, it would give high earners, who would pay more, additional benefits upon retirement, just as benefits increase as wages do for workers below the cap. […] It also increases benefits across-the-board. While Bowles-Simpson and Domenici-Rivlin adopt a stingier “chained CPI” measure for inflation, Begich adopts “CPI-E,” or a measure that specifically captures inflation in goods that seniors buy. Due to deteriorated health and other considerations, goods seniors buy tend to be more expensive than those younger people purchase. Begich’s CPI-E change would mean, effectively, a 4.5 percent benefit increase for the program’s beneficiaries, including not just seniors but their designated survivors and disabled Americans as well.

November 16, 2012

Missouri Man Charged With Plotting To Shoot Up ‘Twilight’ Screening

Missouri Man Charged With Plotting To Shoot Up 'Twilight' Screening | TPM LiveWire
A 20-year-old resident of Bolivar, Mo. was charged Friday with three felony counts in connection to an alleged plot to shoot up a screening of the latest "Twilight" film. According to the Associated Press, Blaec Lammers had purchased movie tickets, two assault rifles, and 400 rounds of ammunition, and told authorities that he had planned to shoot people at a Sunday screening of the movie, as well as at a Walmart store. From the AP: Bolivar police wrote in the probable cause statement that Lammers' mother contacted authorities Thursday. She was concerned that her son had purchased weapons similar to the ones used in the Aurora, Colo., movie theater shooting.