April 2015 Archives

Compassion

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Collective compassion has meant an overall decrease in global poverty since the 1980s, says civil rights lawyer Gary Haugen. Yet for all the world's aid money, there's a pervasive hidden problem keeping poverty alive. Haugen reveals the dark underlying cause we must recognize and act on now.

Another Orbit Completed

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Tiny Homes for the Homeless

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This is so cool.


Local teens team with designers and builders to create a moveable eco-village for Seattle's homeless

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In the middle of the tents, blue tarps, and simple shacks that make up Nickelsville--a homeless community in Seattle that roams from place to place wherever it can find land to use temporarily--there's a prototype of a tiny new green house. It's the beginning of a new, moveable "eco-village" for the community. And it was designed and built by teenagers.

Dubbed the Impossible City, the house is part of a project run by Sawhorse Revolution, a local nonprofit that teaches students basic design and construction skills while building things that the community can actually use. One day, project leaders happened to walk by Nickelsville and realized they could help.

Old Ladies To Love

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Top Ten Corporate Tax Cheats

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10 Corporate Tax Dodgers You Should Know About

Recently Bill Moyers spoke with Nobel prize-winning economist Joseph E. Stiglitz, who argues that we must reform the tax code and stop subsidizing tax dodgers. A recent report by Americans for Tax Fairness suggests that corporate taxes are near a 60-year low -- and that's partially because corporations have become adept at not paying their share.

Here's a list of 10 tax-dodging corporations excerpted from the Americans for Tax Fairness report.

Bank of America logoBank of America runs its business through more than 300 offshore tax-haven subsidiaries. It reported $17.2 billion in accumulated offshore profits in 2012. It would owe $4.3 billion in US taxes if these funds were brought back to the US.
 Citi logoCitigroup had $42.6 billion in foreign profits parked offshore in 2012 on which it paid no US taxes. It reported that it would owe $11.5 billion if it brings these funds back to the US. A significant chunk is being held in tax-haven countries.
 ExxonMobil had a three-year federal income tax rate of just 15 percent. This gave the company a tax subsidy worth $6.2 billion from 2010-2012. It had $43 billion in offshore profits at the end of 2012, on which it paid no US taxes.
 Fedex logoFedEx made $6 billion over the last three years and didn't pay a dime in federal income taxes, in part because the tax code subsidized its purchase of new planes. This gave FedEx a huge tax subsidy worth $2.1 billion.
 GE LogoGeneral Electric received a tax subsidy of nearly $29 billion over the last 11 years. While dodging paying its fair share of federal income taxes, GE pocketed $21.8 billion in taxpayer-funded contracts from Uncle Sam between 2006 and 2012.
 Honeywell logoHoneywell had profits of $5 billion from 2009 to 2012. Yet it paid only $50 million in federal income taxes for the period. Its tax rate was just 1 percent over the last four years. This gave it a huge tax subsidy worth $1.7 billion.
 Merck logoMerck had profits of $13.6 billion and paid $2.5 billion in federal income taxes from 2009 to 2012. While dodging its fair share of federal income taxes, it pocketed $8.7 billion in taxpayer-funded contracts from Uncle Sam between 2006 and 2012.
 Microsoft logoMicrosoft saved $4.5 billion in federal income taxes from 2009 to 2011 by transferring profits to a subsidiary in the tax haven of Puerto Rico. It had $60.8 billion in profits stashed offshore in 2012 on which it paid no US taxes.
 Pfizer logoPfizer paid no US income taxes from 2010 to 2012 while earning $43 billion worldwide. It did this in part by performing accounting acrobatics to shift its US profits offshore. It received $2.2 billion in federal tax refunds.
 Verizon logoVerizon made $19.3 billion in US pretax profits from 2008 to 2012, yet didn't pay any federal income taxes during the period. Instead, it got $535 million in tax rebates. Verizon's effective federal income tax rate was negative 2.8 percent from 2008 to 2012.
 

Learn more about each company at the Americans for Tax Fairness website or download and read the entire report (PDF).

The TPP

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The Fairest Tax of All

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William Gates, Sr. and Chuck Collins on Why the Inheritance Tax Is Fair

This week, by a vote of 240-179 that broke down largely on partisan lines, House Republicans voted to repeal the estate tax. The Hill reports that "killing off the estate tax would increase the deficit by $269 billion over a decade." It's not clear whether the bill will make it through the Senate -- 54 senators went on record supporting it earlier this year -- and the White House says it will veto it.

The bill is a longtime priority of the Republican party. The campaign to end the so-called "death tax" was started by a group of wealthy Republicans in the 1990s. In this 2003 clip from NOW, Bill talks with two millionaires who support the tax. William Gates, Sr., and Chuck Close talk about the history of the movement to repeal the inheritance tax and their opinion that it is a fair tax that should remain in place.

Now with Bill Moyers: William Gates Sr. and Chuck Collins from BillMoyers.com on Vimeo.

Chomsky: American Exceptionalism is Crap

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Noam Chomsky: Exceptionalism Is a Concept Held by Every Great Power and It's Always Wrong

In a conversation with theoretical physicist and cosmologist Lawrence Krauss, Noam Chomsky explains why American exceptionalism is neither unique nor founded on truth. The renowned linguist goes on to discuss how, despite the fact that many are under the illusion that United States interventionist attitudes abroad are altruistic, the country's foreign policy only benefits the most powerful Americans, among other important topics.

Watch the two-part dialogue, which forms part of Arizona State University's Origins Project, below.

2 Yr Old DJ

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A toddler disc jockey fascinates South African fans


JOHANNESBURG (AP) -- At first it seems like a fluke -- a 2-year-old playing with the knobs and buttons of a sophisticated music system. Yet, the tiny boy is in control of the big beat of the bass-heavy house music. He is South Africa's youngest disc jockey, DJ AJ.

At a shopping mall appearance, a crowd gathers around the young boy as he bops his head to the beat, his large headphones slipping off. Adults whip out their cellphones to capture the moment while children just stare.

Oratilwe Hlongwane is still learning to put together words but the toddler is already able to select and play music from a laptop and has become a viral phenomenon on South Africa's social media.

His mother, Refiloe Marumo, credits his father's decision to buy an iPad for his then unborn son. Glen Hlongwane planned to download educational apps to speed up his child's education. Hlongwane, a gymnastics coach and aspiring DJ, also downloaded a disc jockeying app for himself.

At about a year old, DJ AJ learned how to manipulate the gadget. Not satisfied with number recognition games, he began to fiddle with his father's DJ app.

The parents were blown away when their son, still in diapers, repeated what he had learned on the app on actual DJ equipment, playing with sound effects and bouncing between songs. A cellphone video of him playing went viral and now DJ AJ has nearly 25,000 facebook followers.

Policing the Police

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A comprehensive list of death by police.


Killed By Police 2015


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Still Crazy...Bitch, I'm Madonna

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The New 57 yrs old

$ vs $

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Billionaire donor's climate group plans to punish GOP in 2016

By Benjy Sarlin

NextGen Climate, the environmental super PAC founded by billionaire Tom Steyer, announced plans on Monday to punish Republican presidential candidates who reject the scientific consensus on climate change.

The group spent over $70 million in the 2014 midterms attacking Republican candidates in a number of high-profile Senate races, but were unable to stem the tide in what was ultimately a strong GOP year. On a call with reporters on Monday, NGC chief strategist Chris Lehane declined to provide a specific dollar pledge for the 2016 race, but said that Steyer and his allies would "spend what it takes" to make climate a damaging campaign issue for Republicans.

Much of the effort will center on linking Republican attacks on climate science, where the overwhelming consensus points towards man-made emissions causing dangerous changes in the environment, to political spending by conservative billionaires David and Charles Koch. The Koch brothers have pledged to raise upwards of $889 million in the 2016 election cycle, rivaling spending by the two major parties in 2012.


"It is a party that is in essence acquired and purchased by the Koch brothers," Lehane said.


A spokeswoman for Koch Industries did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Environmental group Greenpeace has accused the Koch network of spending tens of millions of dollars on organizations that work to undermine mainstream climate science. Koch Industries has said it promotes "sound science." 

"It is a party that is in essence acquired and purchased by the Koch brothers," Lehane said.

A spokeswoman for Koch Industries did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Environmental group Greenpeace has accused the Koch network of spending tens of millions of dollars on organizations that work to undermine mainstream climate science. Koch Industries has said it promotes "sound science."

President Obama has made climate change a top priority in his second term, presiding over a series of major new regulations on emissions as well as a landmark climate agreement with China. Scientists warn that immediate and further action is needed to stave off global warming of 2 degrees or higher by 2100, a tipping point that experts fear would have especially dangerous consequences.

Much of the likely GOP 2016 field has questioned or outright dismissed the idea that human activity is responsible for climate change. Establishment frontrunner Jeb Bush has called himself a "skeptic," for example, while Senator Ted Cruz recently likened climate activists to "flat-earthers."

Enter the Millenials

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Fantastic Journey

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Love it...Brave Loves.

Let Me Speak

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One of the best correctives I ever received in my life was at the inception of a 40 minute private talk with Joni on a ferry ride to the Sechelt Penninsula where she and i lived temporarily. She has always been a life long hero of mine, her lyrics frequently a script for my own life. I introduced myself as a life long fan. She answered with a smile and extended hand to shake adding..." I prefer the term ardent admirer over fan...what do you think?"

Of course. Perfect.

Now she has fallen seriously ill and I am saddened at the thought of losing her.

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Joni Mitchell's famous fans are voicing their support for the folk singer while she is in hospital in Los Angeles.

Harry Potter star Emma Watson said on Twitter: "heard about Joni and haven't been able to concentrate all morning. So hope she's doing ok."

Kiss lead singer Paul Stanley tweeted a recent picture of himself and the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, telling his followers to send her love and prayers.

Actor Kevin Bacon tweeted that he was "sending good wishes today to one of the finest singing, song-writing, guitar playing artists in history".

Boy George, Billy Idol and Tori Amos were also among the well-wishers.

Mitchell, 71, was found unconscious in her home on Tuesday night and taken to hospital by ambulance. Her website said she was in intensive care and undergoing tests.

Mitchell told Billboard magazine last year that she has a rare skin condition, Morgellons disease, which prevents her from performing.

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Pet Rock Creator Gary Dahl Dies

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The best advertizing and product of the 20th century.

The man who put plain rocks in a box and sold them for $3.95 as "pets," igniting a 1970's fad, has passed.

Gary Ross Dahl, the creator of the wildly popular 1970s fad the Pet Rock, died at age 78 in southern Oregon.

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