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Mon, 30 Jan 2023
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Cloud Lightning

Naomi Klein: Superstorm Sandy - a people's shock?

© AP Photo/Craig Ruttle
Rockaway resident Christine Walker walks along the beach under what is left of the boardwalk in the borough of Queens, New York, Monday, November 5, 2012, in the wake of Superstorm Sandy.
Seizing the climate crisis to demand a truly populist agenda

Less than three days after Sandy made landfall on the East Coast of the United States, Iain Murray of the Competitive Enterprise Institute blamed New Yorkers' resistance to big-box stores for the misery they were about to endure. Writing on Forbes.com, he explained that the city's refusal to embrace Walmart will likely make the recovery much harder: "Mom-and-pop stores simply can't do what big stores can in these circumstances," he wrote.

And the preemptive scapegoating didn't stop there. He also warned that if the pace of reconstruction turned out to be sluggish (as it so often is) then "pro-union rules such as the Davis-Bacon Act" would be to blame, a reference to the statute that requires workers on public-works projects to be paid not the minimum wage, but the prevailing wage in the region.

The same day, Frank Rapoport, a lawyer representing several billion-dollar construction and real estate contractors, jumped in to suggest that many of those public works projects shouldn't be public at all. Instead, cash-strapped governments should turn to "public private partnerships," known as "P3s." That means roads, bridges and tunnels being rebuilt by private companies, which, for instance, could install tolls and keep the profits.

Bizarro Earth

Protests intensify as Greek parliament prepares to vote on austerity package

© Reuters/Yorgos Karahalis
Protesters rally outside the parliament in Athens
Greece's coalition government hopes to overcome its own divisions and defy protesters' fury at parliament's gates on Wednesday to push through an austerity package needed to secure an injection of aid and avert bankruptcy.

Prime Minister Antonis Samaras is expected to narrowly win support for the cocktail of budget cuts, tax hikes and labor reforms. The smallest party in his conservative-liberal coalition will oppose the measures, leaving him with a margin of just a handful of votes.

Tens of thousands of union workers plan to descend on the assembly in a second day of a nationwide strike that has brought most public transport to a halt and shut schools, banks and government offices.

Backed by the leftist opposition, unions say the measures will hit the poor and spare the wealthy, while also deepening a five year recession that has wiped out a fifth of the Mediterranean country's output and driven unemployment to 25 percent.


George Carlin: I didn't vote

"Where are all the bright, honest intelligent Americans?"

Black Magic

Cops: Rooster burned in apparent satanic ritual

Satanic Ritual
© s1030/Photobucket
Connecticut, US - A satanic ritual held in a Bridgeport cemetery involved pouring cologne on chickens and setting them on fire, police said.

Bridgeport Police Officer Ken Ruge said in a report that as he was patrolling early Saturday, he noticed a large, scorched patch of ground in St. Augustine Cemetery at Arctic and Helen streets.

He said he found a rooster, burned to death on the ground and an empty bottle of cologne nearby. Apparently the cologne was poured on the rooster, which was then set on fire, Ruge wrote.

A second chicken was found behind a headstone, burned but still alive, and the officer called the city Animal Control Department, which sent Officer Jim Gonzalez. He brought the chicken to a veterinary hospital, officials said.

Police said Monday that the cemetery has been the scene of several such incidents, and residents seeing someone entering a cemetery after dark should report it.

Police here investigated several similar incidents two years ago, including one in which a woman killed several chickens as part of a Santeria curse she put on an ex-boyfriend.


Ireland glue attacks: More houses are targeted

Crime Scene
© BBC News
The scene of a previous incident when car and house doors were glued shut in Letterkenny.
House and car doors have been glued shut in a County Donegal town for the third time in five weeks.

On Wednesday morning, up to 60 cars and houses in the Glencar Park area of Letterkenny had their locks glued by a disguised man who was captured on CCTV.

Local locksmith, Conal Kelly, said the glue renders the doors useless and they cost more than €50 (£40) to replace.

In the first incident on September 28, over 25 homes in Letterkenny were targeted.

Resident John Stevenson had his house and car doors glued shut.

"A neighbour came along and told me I had glue on my front door and the door of my car, all the houses in the row were done.

"He had a little screwdriver with him and he managed to get the glue out of both the house and the car doors so it wasn't a major problem.

"But if I had left the house and pulled the door behind me it would have been a problem there

"It was only then that I had heard that Ballymacool had been targeted before.

Arrow Down

African painted dogs kill 2-year-old who fell into Pittsburgh zoo exhibit

African Painted Dogs
© Paul A. Selvaggio
African Painted Dogs at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium.
A 2-year-old boy fell 14 feet into the African painted dog exhibit area at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium shortly before noon Sunday and was mauled to death by the dogs.

Police said the child lost his balance after his mother lifted him in a standing position onto the 4-foot-high wooden railing of an elevated, gazebolike structure that overlooks the enclosure. He toppled over the railing, hit a mesh shelf and landed on the ground of the open exhibit space, where he was set upon by the 11 dogs in the area.

The medical examiner's office would not release the child's name Sunday evening. Police said he and his 34-year-old mother are from Pleasant Hills and were visiting the zoo with cousins, an adult and another child.

Major Crimes Lt. Kevin Kraus declined to comment on potential charges and said the bureau will continue to investigate to determine if anything could have prevented the death.

Angela Cinti, 20, of Bethel Park saw the attack and described a horrifying scene that lasted minutes but seemed like hours.

"The screams just kept coming and coming," said Ms. Cinti, who was at the zoo with her boyfriend. "We were on our way to the polar bear exhibit when we heard the most horrible piercing screams. ... Someone was begging for help, asking someone to do something."

As they ran toward the screams, she saw a small crowd of distressed onlookers and the little boy's apparently lifeless body lying on the hill inside the painted dog exhibit with three of the animals at his head, neck and leg.

Bad Guys

Cop ruptures woman's breast implant during arrest over unpaid speeding ticket

A North Texas woman who says a Pantego police officer caused her breast implant to rupture during an arrest is suing the department.

Rebecca Van Hooser of Arlington, Texas, said the officer threw her against her car on Oct. 28, 2011, when he arrested her during a traffic stop.

The Pantego officer pulled her over on a headlight violation and arrested her after learning she had a warrant for an unpaid speeding ticket.

"She gets out of the car, (the officer) grabs her, throws her against the car, spreads her legs ... and grabs her arms and forcefully pulls them out and yanks them very hard behind her back," said her attorney, Susan Hutchison.

Hutchison said throwing Van Hooser against the car caused her breast implant to burst.


Police mace, pepper spray Occupy Portland protesters

© Ross William Hamilton /The Oregonian
Multiple people who were part of the Occupy Portland activities on Saturday, were pepper sprayed when they tried to enter NE 14th from NE Halsey Street.
Portland police arrested and pepper-sprayed protesters who were marching against austerity measures on Saturday. The police, dressed in riot gear with several officers on horseback, tackled and sprayed several demonstrators who were carrying signs.

Around 300 protesters of the Portland Action Lab, an offshoot of the city's Occupy movement, had gathered in the Lloyd District to march on issues ranging from healthcare reform to military spending to public education. The protesters had not acquired a permit to march and some did not know the route, which led to a confrontation with police.

While police insist they only used pepper spray after being confronted by people with wooden shields, protesters who witnessed the incident say it happened suddenly after several high school students tried to push through and continue the march.


Blaming the victim: School district accuses rape victim of being "careless and negligent"

Two teachers at Joaquin Moraga middle school in northern California sexually abused student Kristen Cunnane over a four-year period beginning in 1996, when Cunnane was an eighth-grader.

Former Joaquin Moraga physical education teacher Julie Correa pleaded guilty to rape and sexual battery of Cunnane, who turned to science teacher, Daniel Witters, to report the abuse, but he also molested her. Witters later committed suicide after the allegations against him surfaced, reports ContraCostaTimes.com.

Cunnane has now filed a lawsuit against the school district, retired Joaquin Moraga Intermediate School principal Bill Walters, retired assistant principal Paul Simonin and retired superintendent John Cooley, claiming they repeatedly ignored allegations of abuse, allowing her and other students to be victimized.

In response, the Moraga School District claims Cunnane that was "careless and negligent" and contributed to her ongoing sexual abuse at the hands of the teachers. They also claim that Cunnane was "careless and negligent" in the matter of her own rape.

Comment: Talk about hypocrisy - careless and negligent might better describe the school and the district itself!

Cloud Lightning

Angry New Yorkers confront Bloomberg about lack of aid after Sandy


New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg was confronted by angry citizens, on Saturday, while visiting a neighborhood in Rockaway, Queens that had been ravaged by Hurricane Sandy.

One woman yelled: "When are we going to get some f****** help?"

An angry man told Mayor Bloomberg: "There's old ladies in my building that don't got nothing. Mr. Bloomberg, this is the first drop off site. Over the bridge we can't get a bottle of water, a hot chocolate, a coffee, nothing."

The confrontations were recorded by NY 1 TV, who happened to be in the neighborhood, reports the Daily Mail.

Mayor Bloomberg told the angry citizens: "You know, we're trying to do it as fast as we can."

He told WCBS-TV that he regretted canceling he New York Marathon: "I still think that we had the resources to do both, and that we want people to be able to take a break and that sort of thing. ... It's a big part of our economy."

Comment: The Mayor still cannot understand why thousands of frustrated, hungry people might be angry over a decision to put a marathon and "the economy" over their needs. The marathon was only canceled at the last minute because of "bad press" - certainly not because of any consideration for the suffering of the populace.