Jun 27 2016

The Daily Late Nightly Show (Bad Mondays)

Let’s just face it- Mondays suck. I could be more organized but I’m not.

The Real Deal

Beads and Blankets

Make New Friends

Lineups tomorrow.

Jun 27 2016

The End Of Diablo Canyon

At least as an operating Nuclear Power Plant. It will talk decades to clean up, if it’s even possible.

After Decades of Protest, Last California Nuclear Plant to Close & Be Replaced by Renewable Energy

California is going nuclear-free, ending atomic energy’s more than half-century history in the state. On Tuesday, one of the state’s largest utilities agreed to a proposal endorsed by environmental groups and labor unions to shutter California’s last operating nuclear power plant, Diablo Canyon, by 2025. California is the world’s sixth largest economy, and it was among the first states to embrace nuclear energy in the 1950s. Diablo Canyon began operating in 1985 and stirred controversy from the start. For years, anti-nuclear activists called for the plant’s closure because of safety concerns over its precarious location near several major earthquake fault lines.

Jun 27 2016

Privatization Of Emergency Services

Part of the Neoliberal Agenda is to raid core Government services for cash they can plop in Billionaires’ pockets.

You certainly see this in the Charter School movement which seeks to ravage the Education budgets of States and Municipalities by providing sub-standard results, using public resources at below market rates, and stealing money from Unionized workers.

Unfortunately it’s becoming more and more prevalent in Fire and Emergency Medical Services as well.

When You Dial 911 and Wall Street Answers
JUNE 25, 2016

The business of driving ambulances and operating fire brigades represents just one facet of a profound shift on Wall Street and Main Street alike, a New York Times investigation has found. Since the 2008 financial crisis, private equity firms, the “corporate raiders” of an earlier era, have increasingly taken over a wide array of civic and financial services that are central to American life.

Private equity put a unique stamp on these businesses. Unlike other for-profit companies, which often have years of experience making a product or offering a service, private equity is primarily skilled in making money. And in many of these businesses, The Times found, private equity firms applied a sophisticated moneymaking playbook: a mix of cost cuts, price increases, lobbying and litigation.

In emergency care and firefighting, this approach creates a fundamental tension: the push to turn a profit while caring for people in their most vulnerable moments.

While private equity firms have always invested in a diverse array of companies, including hospitals and nursing homes, their movement into emergency services raises broader questions about the administering of public services. Cities and towns are required to offer citizens a free education, and they generally provide a police force, but almost everything else is fair game for privatization.

A TransCare ambulance pulled into a hospital parking lot in Westchester County. Employees in windbreakers, “EMS” emblazoned on the backs, hopped out and headed for the emergency room door.

They were there not to bring in a patient or sign paperwork, but to go “E.R. shopping”: swiping supplies to replenish critical items TransCare could not afford to replace in its ambulances.

After an ambulance finishes a run, hospital staff members often restock medications as a courtesy. But TransCare emergency workers described pressure from supervisors to go further and raid supply carts, sometimes without the hospital’s blessing. On occasion, one TransCare worker would act as lookout while “the other one would just be grabbing stuff,” said Emanuel Almodovar, a former employee.

Ms. Tilton was very much in charge of TransCare as it crumbled. She was the sole owner of the Patriarch Partners fund that had a controlling stake in TransCare. And although she never held an executive or management role, she was TransCare’s sole board member — a situation almost unheard-of in corporate America. Only 3 percent of private companies have two or fewer board members, according to survey data from the National Association of Corporate Directors, which called a one-person board “likely a recipe for governance failure.”

Former TransCare employees described pressure to cut costs and increase billing as the company weakened in recent years. Patients were transported unnecessarily in ambulances, they said.

And ambulances regularly broke down. On the day TransCare filed for bankruptcy, more than 30 percent of the company’s vehicles were out of service, some for hundreds of days, according to internal documents.

The city of Mount Vernon, another former customer in New York, hired a new private company at a cost to taxpayers, and is developing its own ambulance operation within its fire department. In New York City, where TransCare had operated 27 ambulances, the fire department paid its own ambulance workers overtime to fill the void.

Rural/Metro’s fire departments sell homeowners an annual subscription for fire protection, often ranging from $100 to $500, depending on the property. If a nonsubscriber suffers a fire, Rural/Metro will still answer the call, unlike some other private departments. But then it sends a bill well above the subscription price.

Even before private equity took over, the company sued to collect fire bills. Under private equity, this practice flourished.

The Times examined court filings in the areas where Rural/Metro operates fire departments and identified dozens of lawsuits filed since 2011, when private equity took over. In these lawsuits, which are unheard-of at tax-funded public fire departments, the company pursued unpaid bills ranging from a few hundred dollars to $59,000.

In Knoxville, Tenn., Lester Day faced one of those lawsuits. When his chimney caught fire in March 2013, he dialed 911.

When firefighters arrived almost an hour later, 911 records indicate, the house had been reduced to ashes. That didn’t stop Rural/Metro from charging Mr. Day for their response and then placing a $15,000 lien on his home, which he had since rebuilt.

Rural/Metro’s community fire service, which operates in Arizona, Oregon and Tennessee, is one of the nation’s few private fire departments. Only 4 percent of Americans rely on a private fire service. Rural/Metro mainly serves unincorporated areas without public fire departments, where often there is no government contract or public oversight.

Now it’s true enough that private Ambulance Services have been around for years. In Stars Hollow they usually operate re-purposed Hearses which are appropriate for one of their primary functions which is to transport people who have died to Funeral Parlors. The other one is transporting patients who are stable to long term care facilities (umm… Nursing Homes).

If you’re sick or injured you get the Town EMS which is usually professional and Unionized or a group of dedicated and highly trained volunteers.

Companies like these usually have 2 revenue streams. They get your tax money directly from the Government AND charge you double on top of that for whatever ‘service’ they provide.

Jun 27 2016

Pondering the Pundits

“Pondering the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Pondering the Pundits”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

Jessica Valenti: It’s finally official: limiting abortion in the guise of helping women is a sham

In a major victory for American women, the US supreme court sent a powerful message on Monday in its Whole Woman’s Health v Hellerstedt decision: that laws purporting to protect women’s health while limiting access to abortion are an unconstitutional sham.

In a 5-3 decision, the court struck down a Texas law, called House Bill 2, responsible for shuttering more than half of the state’s clinics. The restrictions mandated that clinics become ambulatory surgical centers, adhering to wholly unnecessary hospital-like standards, and that doctors have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital even though hospitalization is almost never necessary after ending a pregnancy. The goal wasn’t to make abortion safer, of course, just impossible to obtain.

The court’s decision made clear the justices were not fooled, noting in the majority decision that “when directly asked at oral argument whether Texas knew of a single instance in which the new requirement would have helped even one woman obtain better treatment, Texas admitted that there was no evidence in the record of such a case.”

And in Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s concurring opinion, she wrote it was “beyond rational belief that HB 2 could genuinely protect the health of women, and certain that the law ‘would simply make it more difficult for them to obtain abortions.’”

New York Times Editorial Board: Good News From Diablo Canyon

Few nuclear power plants have been as contentious as Diablo Canyon. The plant, which went online in 1985 after years of ferocious opposition, sits on a gorgeous stretch of California coastline, surrounded by several earthquake faults and reliably producing enormous quantities of power — almost a tenth of California’s in-state generation. It also reliably kills enormous quantities of marine life with a cooling system that depends on huge intakes and discharges of seawater. David Brower, the executive director of the Sierra Club, got so angry with the organization when it refused to oppose the plant that he left to establish Friends of the Earth.

Mr. Brower, who died in 2000, would have been pleased with last week’s news. After long negotiations that involved, among others, Friends of the Earth and the Natural Resources Defense Council, the plant’s owner, Pacific Gas and Electric, announced that it would shut down Diablo Canyon when licenses for its two reactors expire in 2024 and 2025 and that it would replace the power with lower-cost, zero-carbon energy sources.

Read the rest of this entry »

Jun 27 2016

The Breakfast Club (Don’t Stop Us Now)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

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This Day in History

U.S. air and naval forces ordered into the Korean War; John Dean testifies about the Nixon White House’s ‘enemies list’; Stonewall riots spark the modern gay rights movement; Actor Jack Lemmon dies.

Breakfast Tunes

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

The history of progress is written in the blood of men and women who have dared to espouse an unpopular cause, as, for instance, the black man’s right to his body, or woman’s right to her soul.
Emma Goldman

Read the rest of this entry »

Jun 26 2016

That’s Entertainment

Uh… actually both sides do do it. They are all equal cowards and should be given the boot.

Jun 26 2016

So define ‘Liberal’ for me.

I’m obviously confused.

You see to me ‘Liberal’ means socially progressive and non-discriminatory, someone who’s in favor of economic equality and the Labor movement, someone who believes in democracy and accountability to the electorate, a person who values courage and accuracy in reporting.

In the Orwellian Newspeak of the current climate ‘Liberal’ seems to mean pay lip service to cultural issues while exploiting Identity Politics and never, ever taking actual action (Black Lives Matter, Immigration, Islamophobia, Global Warming, Gun Control).

It means someone who favors the accumulation of obscene wealth, corporate monopolism, and the reduction of workers to Industrial (to the extent we still have any industry to speak of) Slaves in competition with the most miserable and exploited Third World slum dweller subsisting on pennies a week.

It means someone who thinks it a galling inconvenience to even pretend that voters matter and does everything possible to hide any agency from the public while pocketing legalized bribes.

It is people who are for the most part vapid airheads who can’t read anything except a teleprompter and who’s only discernible job qualification is that they’re telegenic (that is except for the ones who are deliberately evil liars).

‘Liberalism’ is not putting your faith in buildings full of faceless technocrats of no particular merit, expertise, or success who got their jobs because of accident of birth, pedigree of schooling, or both.

Those now calling for Corbyn’s resignation as Labour Leader are almost uniformly the very same Blairite, New Labour, Neolib hacks who hated the fact that someone with actual Left attitudes who believes that Labour is about improving the condition of workers and the poor instead of abject toadying to City Banksters got democratically elected in the first place instead of one of the fakes the MPs wanted to win.

There’s already a party in Britain for that. It’s called the Tories.

Jun 26 2016

The Breakfast Club (Ralph Stanley)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

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AP’s Today in History for June 26th

President John F. Kennedy rallies West Berlin during the Cold War; The U.N. Charter signed; Scientists complete first rough map of the human genetic code; Charlie Chaplin’s ‘The Gold Rush’ premieres.


Breakfast Tune Bully of the Town (Ralph Stanley style banjo)


Something to Think about, Breakfast News & Blogs Below

Spain votes to break political deadlock, far left set to rise
Julien Toyer and Emma Pinedo

Spaniards voted on Sunday in a parliamentary election in which the anti-austerity party Podemos is expected to make big gains, potentially delivering a fresh jolt to Europe’s political mainstream after Britain voted to leave the European Union.

The last election, in December, broke the mold of 40 years of stable conservative or Socialist majorities and failed to produce a government, as upstart parties channeled growing resentment of the establishment following an economic crisis and a series of corruption scandals.

In theory, the rise of Unidos Podemos (“Together We Can”), a leftist alliance led by Podemos, could offer a way out. The 90 seats it is expected to win, combined with around 80 for the Socialist Party (PSOE), would be close to a majority. Support from some of the regional parties could enable them to form a government. …

More on Post Brexit and Why It Happened
Ian Welsh

So, a coup has been launched against Corbyn. He carried over 63 percent of Labour voters, while Cameron carried less than 42%, but some think he is to “blame” for Brexit.

It is true that Corbyn refused to, well, lie about Europe. He basically said the EU was awful, but that Britain was still better off inside it.

Since 1976, a lot of Britons who do not live in London (or not in the nicer parts) have been doing very badly. The economy is trash if you aren’t connected to the various London money spigots, because Britain insisted on de-industrializing.

So, we have a very large number of people who have done very badly for 40 years. They were given an opportunity to vote against the status quo, and they did so.

Now, I am going to tell you a very big secret. It’s a secret that the great sages and the sensible people have been telling humanity for thousands of years.

The secret of living in a good society is leaving no one behind.

Sshhhhh. Actually, scream it to the wind, because no one will believe you. We think that being assholes and hurting people and making their lives miserable then saying “vote for more of this if you know what’s good for you” is the secret to prosperity.

A lot of people in Britain won from neoliberal policies. Those people mostly voted to stay in the EU. If those people had insisted on policies which did not leave everyone behind, especially post-2008, they would not have lost the referendum.

Now some people will scream “racism.” Well, perhaps, but I return to this simple fact: Racism, nativism, fascism, and all that nasty shit thrives when large numbers of people are destroyed economically.

Go read a book on the rise of Hitler. Or Mussolini. Or whomever.

If you did well in the EU and Thatcherism, and did not push hard for the losers of the economy in which you thrived, I don’t want to hear it. You created the circumstances for this.

Now, let us turn again to the future. This is not the end of the world. If you are in Britain, your job now is to pivot. What matters now is who wins the next election. You must first support Corbyn, because he’s the best leader you’re going to get, by far, and then you must make sure Labour wins. If Scotland is still in the United Kingdom, make an alliance with the SNP.

The EU was, and is, a garbage fire. It is a neoliberal institution which has damaged or destroyed multiple economies, starting with Greece, but including Portugal, Spain, and Italy. It is not a good union.

It was just better than what Brits do to themselves. Remain voters wanted the EU to save them from the worst parts of the Conservative government they elected.

Stop electing Conservative governments. Stop electing Blairite third-wayers. If you continue to do so, it is your fault what happens.

This is now completely on Britons. You can turn this into a great victory for a humane economic and political regime. It’s on you. …

Cash-Strapped Trump Forced To Replace Eric Trump With Cheap Migrant Son
The Onion

NEW YORK—With his presidential campaign facing a historic funding shortfall that has left it with only $1.3 million on hand, presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump was reportedly forced to reduce costs this week by replacing Eric Trump with a cheap migrant son.

“In order to keep this campaign running smoothly, I had to find some ways to cut back on expenses, which is why I’ve made the tough but necessary decision to part ways with Eric and bring on Javier as my third-born child,” said Trump at a morning press event, placing his hand on the shoulder of the suit-clad 32-year-old Mexican immigrant while explaining that his newly appointed son, who recently arrived in the U.S. without documentation or a work visa, would assume his former son’s place in the family as the younger brother to Donald Jr. and Ivanka. “Eric has been a very good son and done some great work on this campaign, but the fact is that we need to make some adjustments.

By replacing him with Javier, I’m getting a good, hardworking, loyal son at a fraction of the cost. It’s a win-win. Plus, Javier loves being here—you can tell he’s so grateful just to have the opportunity to be a Trump.” The presidential candidate added that although he appreciated Javier’s productivity and work ethic, there would likely be no place for him in the Trump family after the migrant son’s seasonal election work ends in November.







Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

Dozens burned in Texas walking on hot coals at Tony Robbins seminar
Jim Forsyth, Reuters

SAN ANTONIO, Texas (Reuters) – As many as 40 people were injured after walking on hot coals as part of a self-help seminar hosted by motivational speaker Tony Robbins in Texas, fire officials said on Friday.

Attendees of the “Unleash the Power Within” event, held at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in downtown Dallas, reported burns to their feet and legs just after 11 p.m. on Thursday, Dallas Fire and Rescue spokesman Jason Evans said.

“A lot of the attendees were asked to walk across hot coals, and as a result, a lot of the people sustained burn injuries,” Evans said.

Of the 30 to 40 people injured, five were treated at the Parkland Hospital burn unit, Evans said. The others were treated and released at the scene. It was unclear how many participated in the coal walk.

The three-day seminar is intended to help people “break through any limit” and improve their quality of life, according a description posted on Robbins’ website.

Representatives for Robbins, who is a popular motivational speaker, personal finance adviser and bestselling author, were not immediately available for comment. …

Bonus Tune The Great Historical Bum, Chad Mitchell Trio

Jun 26 2016

Pondering the Pundits: Sunday Preview Edition

Pondering the Punditsis an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

On Sunday mornings we present a preview of the guests on the morning talk shows so you can choose which ones to watch or some do something more worth your time on a Sunday morning.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

The Sunday Talking Heads:

This Week with George Stephanopolis: The guests on Sunday’s “This Week” are: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY); and Labor Secretary Thomas Perez.

The roundtable guests are: Rebuilding America Now PAC strategist Alex Castellanos; President Obama’s 2012 deputy campaign spokesperson Stephanie Cutter; Georgetown University professor Michael Eric Dyson; and Fox News anchor Greta Van Susteren.

Face the Nation: Host John Dickerson’s guests is Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL).

The guests for a special economics panel on the British vote to leave the EU are: Mark Zandi, Moody’s Analytics; Time Magazine‘s Rana Foroohar; The Economist‘s David Rennie; and David Ignatius, Washington Post.

His panel guests are: Wall Street Journal columnist, Peggy Noonan; PBS’ Tavis Smiley; USA Today‘s Susan Page; and the New York Times Magazine‘s Mark Leibovich.

Meet the Press with Chuck Todd: The guests on this week’s “MTP” are: Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA); and Paul Manafort, Donald Trump’s senior adviser.

State of the Union with Jake Tapper: Mr. Tapper’s guests are: Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT); and Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN).

His panel guests are: Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D); former Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R); former Ohio state Sen. Nina Turner (D); and former Virginia state attorney general Ken Cuccineli (R).

Jun 25 2016

Think it can’t happen?

TransCanada formally seeks NAFTA damages in Keystone XL rejection
Sat Jun 25, 2016 2:12pm EDT

TransCanada Corp is formally requesting arbitration over U.S. President Barack Obama’s rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline, seeking $15 billion in damages, the company said in legal papers dated Friday.

TransCanada submitted a notice for an arbitration claim in January and had then tried to negotiate with the U.S. government to “reach an amicable settlement,” the company said in files posted on the pipeline’s website.

“Unfortunately, the parties were unable to settle the dispute.”

TransCanada said it then filed its formal arbitration request under North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) provisions, seeking to recover what it says are costs and damages.

NAFTA, whose arbitration provisions allow companies to challenge governments before international panels, has been a target of recent anti-free-trade sentiments in the United States.

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