Fast food workers plan biggest US strike to date over minimum wage TheGuardian

Fast food workers plan biggest US strike to date over minimum wage

Workers from McDonald’s, Burger King and other chains to hold walkout protest on Thursday as battle to unionise escalates

in New York, Tuesday 2 September 2014 00.31 BST

USA-Global Fast Food Worker Protest
Workers take part in a US-wide protest in May against low wages paid by fast food firms. Photograph: Kim Kulish/Corbis

America’s fast food workers are planning their biggest strike to date this Thursday, with a nationwide walkout in protest at low wages and poor healthcare. …


TWITTER   29. Aug.

Google X: bereitet einen eigenen Drohnen-Lieferdienst vor (Golem) –

Der Golem ist eine Figur der jüdischen Legende, die in Böhmen aber auch anderswo in Mitteleuropa verbreitet war. Dabei handelt es sich um ein in menschenähnlicher Gestalt aus Lehm gebildetes Wesen, das durch Magie zum Leben erweckt wurde. Der Golem besitzt besondere Kräfte, kann Befehlen folgen, aber nicht sprechen.

Rabbi Löw und der Golem (Zeichnung von Mikolas Ales, 1899)

Eine Notiz Jacob Grimms in der Zeitung für Einsiedler machte den Golem unter den deutschen Romantikern bekannt. Aufgrund des herrschenden Antisemitismus wird dem Golem daraufhin eine vorwiegend negative Rolle zugeteilt (Achim von Arnim: Isabella von Ägypten) oder als Synonym für Stupidität wie in den Gedichten von Theodor Storm (Der Staatskalender) oder Annette von Droste-Hülshoff (Die Golems) verwendet. E.T.A. Hoffmann verwendet das Golem-Motiv stark verfremdet in seiner Erzählung Der Sandmann, in Die Geheimnisse, Meister Floh und Der Elementargeist schikaniert der Golem als eine Art Unperson und seelenloser Snob die Welt.

Pope Francis lists 10 ways to lead a happier life –


Pope Francis lists 10 ways to lead a happier life

via Pope Francis lists 10 ways to lead a happier life – printable article


Originally published September 1 2014

Pope Francis lists 10 ways to lead a happier life

by PF Louis

(NaturalNews) While being interviewed by primarily Catholic Argentina’s Viva weekly magazine, Pope Francis listed 10 ways to lead a happier life. Prior to being selected as the Catholic pope in 2013, Pope Francis was going by his birth name, Jorge Maria Bergoglio, while he was a cardinal and the archbishop of Buenos Aires.

As such, he sometimes clashed with Argentina’s political leaders. But his selection to Rome’s papal seat has inspired the almost 77 percent Catholic population of Argentina.

Pope Francis certainly appears more genuinely happy at times than his predecessor Pope Benedict, so his personal choices of 10 ways to live a happy life even impresse this former Catholic who has gone Eastern spiritual for the past few decades.

(1) Don’t proselytize; respect others’ beliefs: This may be his most controversial comment. Out of the world’s 2 billion or so Christians, half are Catholic. The Catholic Church helped overrun South America and Mexico as well as sections of Canada using what worked in early Middle Ages Europe, convert or die a gruesome death. In between those extremes, there was a bit of slavery.

Then, the Christians who had broken away from the Vatican and colonized what is now the USA carried on in similar, though not quite as overtly brutal, fashion. In other words, most of Christianity has a history of expansion through force. So dropping even trying to convince others of converting civilly is major.

(2) Live and let live: This makes “don’t proselytize” a corollary. If you live and let live, you won’t insist that everyone else thinks and worships like you. Pope Francis mentioned that this should be one’s guiding principal in life. Good idea.

(3) Be giving of yourself to others: Pope Francis cautioned that, “if you withdraw into yourself, you run the risk of becoming egocentric. And stagnant water becomes putrid.”

(4) Respect and take care of nature: He warned that harming the environment by exploiting nature has created humanity’s biggest challenge, adding, “I think a question that we’re not asking ourselves is: ‘Isn’t humanity committing suicide with this indiscriminate and tyrannical use of nature?'”

(5) Proceed calmly in life: This produces the next Papal tip as a corollary.

(6) Have a healthy sense of leisure: He warned how “consumerism has brought us anxiety,” then advised turning off the TV while eating and for families to get together with their children without TV also.

(7) Sundays are for holidays: He said that workers should have Sundays off to be with families. He didn’t mention what young Catholic children were told circa 1950 — if you miss mass, it’s a mortal sin and you risk going to Hell if you die before confessing to a priest. Ah, yes, that was real back then!

(8) Find innovative ways to create dignified jobs for young people. “‘We need to be creative with young people. If they have no opportunities they will get into drugs’ and be more vulnerable to suicide,” he said, as reported in a translation by the Catholic News Service.

Yes, but there have been a few well-off creative folks of note doing the drug-suicide scene lately. So, well paid creative energy doesn’t necessarily guarantee not getting hooked on hard drugs or booze. Marijuana is not a hard drug, incidentally, though the DEA thinks otherwise.

(9) Stop being negative: “Needing to talk badly about others indicates low self-esteem,” the Pope said. “Letting go of negative things quickly is healthy.”

(10) Work for peace: “We are living in a time of many wars,” he said, and “the call for peace must be shouted. Peace sometimes gives the impression of being quiet, but it is never quiet, peace is always proactive.”

Well, if everyone from the lowest station in life to the highest practiced the other nine tips, there might not be any need for aggressive peacemaking. Peace would become a natural state of affairs.

Sources for this article include:


California water infrastructure on verge of historic collapse –

California water infrastructure on verge of historic collapse

via California water infrastructure on verge of historic collapse – printable article


Originally published September 1 2014


California water infrastructure on verge of historic collapse

Learn more:


California water infrastructure on verge of historic collapse

by Jonathan Benson, staff writer

(NaturalNews) Water is increasingly hard to come by in drought-stricken California, where many farmers are struggling to get enough water just to pay the bills. But the situation in the Golden State is far worse than many people realize, according to new reports, as underground aquifers that take decades to recharge are being sucked dry, and water infrastructure that has long sustained the agricultural growing regions of the state continue their collapse.

Writing for The Washington Post (WP), journalist Joby Warrick draws attention to what many scientists say is an unprecedented collapse of California’s vast water infrastructure, which is marked by an elaborate system of canals, reservoirs and wells that transfer water from the mountains and other areas to the Central Valley. Altogether, the state contains some 27 million acres of cropland. This system is now failing, say experts, and the consequences will more than likely be unparalleled in California’s history.

According to the report, many of California’s underground aquifers, which are typically drawn upon as a last resort when all else fails, are now the go-to for watering food crops throughout the state. In some areas, these aquifers have dropped by as much as 100 feet, an unprecedented decline that, even if the drought suddenly ended, would likely take several decades or longer to fully recharge.

“A well-managed basin is used like a reserve bank account,” stated Richard Howitt, a professor emeritus of resource economics from the University of California at Davis, to WP. Howitt co-authored a study published back in July that estimates a 5.1 million acre-feet loss of water this year from California’s underground reserves, a volume the size of Lake Shasta, the state’s largest water reservoir.

“We’re acting like the super rich who have so much money they don’t need to balance their checkbook.”

Thousands of California farmers could lose their land if water runs out

But many farmers have no choice. They either have to pull the water now to save their crops or face potential bankruptcy and the loss of their farms. Because of the immense scarcity of water this year — some 60 percent of California is now recorded as being at the highest level of drought, dubbed “exceptional” — many farmers didn’t even receive a share from the infrastructure.

One such farmer is Joe Carrancho, who grows rice in Willows, California. The 71-year-old lost 25 percent of his usual water allotment this year — and he is considered lucky, since some farmers received no water at all — and is now struggling to make payroll. He is also having to make payments on a $500,000 rice harvester that, despite the water losses, still costs the same every month.

“I have 25 percent less production, but no one is giving me a 25 percent break in my bills,” he told WP.

Lawmakers propose drastic water restrictions to avoid collapse

Agriculture is by far the largest water consumer in the state, representing more than 40 percent of California’s water usage. Even with about 35 million residents, California’s urban areas only account for about 9 percent of overall water usage, which is minimal in the larger scheme of things.

But state lawmakers are moving to impose tighter water restrictions, including a $7.5 million bond measure that, if passed this fall, would expand the state’s reservoir system and improve water recycling and other conservation efforts.

“We’ve reached a tipping point where the surface water is no longer enough, yet there are increasing demands from both agriculture and the environment,” added groundwater management expert and hydrologist Graham Fogg to WP.

Sources for this article include: [PDF]


Execution of four men and a woman in Shahab prison in Kerman

Four men and a woman were executed by hanging, on charge of smuggling and keeping drugs.

via Execution of four men and a woman in Shahab prison in Kerman.



  • Execution of four men and a woman in Shahab prison in Kerman


Execution of four men and a woman in Shahab prison in Kerman

Posted on: 30th August, 2014

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  • Editor: Human
  • Translator: Sohrab
  • Source:

Abbas Pooryazdanpanah

HRANA News Agency – Four men and a woman were executed by hanging, on charge of smuggling and keeping drugs.

According to the report of Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), four men and a woman were executed by hanging, on charge of keeping and distributing drugs, in Shahb prison of Kerman, on Tuesday August 26.

The names of the men who were executed are: Hossain Shahriyari, Abbas Pooryazdanpanah, Hamid Mir and Mohammad Hossaini.

The name of the female prisoner who was executed is yet unknown.

This news has not been publicized by official media of Iran.


Law Boosts Oversight of Use of Solitary Confinement at Rikers Island

w Boosts Oversight of Use of Solitary Confinement at Rikers Island


City Council members and other supporters of the New York City Jail Action Coalition at a rally on Aug. 18 in front of City Hall. Demonstrators called for overhauling policies concerning the treatment of inmates at Rikers Island. Credit Vanessa A. Alverez/Associated Press
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In the wake of growing criticism over conditions at Rikers Island, Mayor Bill de Blasio enacted legislation on Thursday to boost oversight of the use of solitary confinement at the jail.

The law, which was passed by the City Council last week, will require the Department of Correction to publish quarterly reports detailing the number of inmates in solitary confinement, their length of stay and whether they were injured or assaulted. But it does not include any provisions that would directly curtail guard brutality or, as inmate advocates have long hoped, the use of isolation as punishment.

Mr. de Blasio said the law would “help us to manage the jails more effectively and address the problems that were left to us.” The first report is due in January.

At Rikers, solitary confinement, also known as punitive segregation, is used to discipline inmates who violate jail rules. Inmates are locked in small cells for 23 hours a day and have almost no human contact besides short interactions with the jail staff. Inmates are given an hour of recreation time per day, which they are allowed to spend outside shackled and in small cages. Some inmates spend months locked away.


Mayor Bill de Blasio, with Joseph Ponte, far right, the Correction Department commissioner, signs into law on Thursday a bill increasing oversight of the use of solitary confinement in jails. Credit Michael Appleton for The New York Times

Studies have shown that such isolation is profoundly damaging. In segregation, inmates have been shown to harm themselves and attempt suicide more frequently.

There is also evidence that solitary confinement, far from containing violence, actually contributes to it. Violence at Rikers Island spiked over the last four years, as the use of solitary confinement expanded under the Bloomberg administration. During that time, there was a 174 percent increase in personal injury claims made at the Otis Bantum Correctional Center, which houses the largest solitary confinement unit, according to the city comptroller’s office.

Inmates with mental illnesses and adolescents have the most problems with solitary confinement. In a report on the treatment of adolescent inmates at Rikers, the United States attorney’s office in Manhattan said that the Correction Department’s use of prolonged solitary confinement was “excessive and inappropriate.” It found that on any given day, 15 to 25 percent of the adolescent population was in segregation.

The Correction Department commissioner, Joseph Ponte, had been praised by prison reformers for his efforts to scale back solitary confinement in Maine, where he led the state prison system for three years. Since coming to New York in April, however, he has resisted calls to do the same at Rikers, saying that viable alternatives must be in place first.

On Thursday, Mr. Ponte said the bill was an important step toward reform and expressed hope that the department would come to rely “less and less” on solitary confinement in the coming years.

He has come under pressure from the powerful correction officers’ union, particularly its president, Norman Seabrook, who has said that any efforts to curtail solitary confinement could put the union’s members at risk.

“You run a red light, you pay a ticket,” Mr. Seabrook said at a City Council hearing in June. “You punch an officer in the eye, you go to punitive segregation.”

The new legislation, which takes effect immediately, will require the Correction Department, in coordination with the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, to provide detailed data including the number of inmates subject to enhanced restraints, such as shackles, waist chains and hand mittens. The department must also report the number of recreation hours used by inmates as well as the number of shower days given.

Critically, inmate advocates say, reports must include information about allegations of abuse and use of force against inmates by correction officers.

At the signing on Thursday, Daniel Dromm, who was the legislation’s principal sponsor in the Council, said he hoped the law would let the city ultimately move away from using solitary confinement as punishment.

“Dispelling the darkness that has thus far shrouded the practice of punitive segregation is a significant first step in what I hope will be a radical rethinking of how our city deals with incarcerated individuals,” he said.


Are Child Abusers Sexually Attracted to Submissiveness? Assessment of Sex-Related Cognition With the Implicit Association Test.

Sex Abuse. 2014 Jul 29. pii: 1079063214544330. [Epub ahead of print]

Are Child Abusers Sexually Attracted to Submissiveness? Assessment of Sex-Related Cognition With the Implicit Association Test.

Author information

  • 1Erasmus University, Rotterdam, The Netherlands Forensic Psychiatric Center de Kijvelanden, Poortugaal, The Netherlands
  • 2Erasmus University, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
  • 3Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada.
  • 4Erasmus University, Rotterdam, The Netherlands Forensic Psychiatric Center de Kijvelanden, Poortugaal, The Netherlands.
  • 5Cardiff University, Cardiff, United Kingdom.
  • 6Erasmus University, Rotterdam, The Netherlands Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands.


Child sexual abuse is associated with social anxiety, low self-esteem, and intimacy deficits. This, in combination with the core belief of a dangerous world, might suggest that child abusers are sexually attracted to submissiveness. The Implicit Association Test (IAT) was used to examine this hypothesis. Results indicated that child abusers have a stronger sexual preference for submissiveness than rapists, although there were no differences between child abusers and non-sexual offenders. Multinomial logistic regression analysis revealed that submissive-sexy associations have incremental value over child-sex associations in differentiating child abusers from other offenders. The predictive value of both implicit associations was explored by correlating IAT scores with measures for recidivism risk, aggression, and interpersonal anxiety. Child abusers with stronger child-sex associations reported higher levels of interpersonal anxiety and hostility. More research on implicit cognition in sex offenders is required for a better understanding of what these and similar implicit measures are exactly measuring and what role implicit cognition may play in sexual offending.

© The Author(s) 2014.


Implicit Association Test (IAT); child abusers; sexual interest; submissive

[PubMed - as supplied by publisher] please, read this link, too

How many people benefit from ending prison gerrymandering?

Prison Gerrymandering Project
newsletter for August 28, 2014

How many people benefit from ending prison gerrymandering?

by Peter Wagner

Prison gerrymandering dilutes your right to vote in every level of government in which it operates, so basically the entire state benefits from reform. And, counter-intuitively, some of the biggest beneficiaries of ending prison gerrymandering are rural people who live near large prisons.

First, let’s take a step back and recall two key facts:

  1. Vote enhancement in the district with the largest prison dilutes the votes of the residents of every other district.

    Mathematically, the impact of crediting incarcerated people to the prison districts is larger than the impact of not crediting them at home because incarcerated people come from all over the state – albeit often disproportionately from some places rather than others – but the prisons concentrate these incarcerated people to a small number of locations. This creates some vote enhancement in every district that contains a prison, but even most of those districts’ residents get less representation than people in the one district with the largest prison population.

    And, the vote enhancement in the prison districts is generally so large that it disadvantages rural communities that neither contain prisons nor send very many people to prison almost as much as the typically urban district that loses the largest number of people to the Census Bureau’s prison miscount. In sum, the biggest harm from prison gerrymandering comes not from the vote dilution in the districts that send the largest numbers of people to prison, rather it comes from the larger vote enhancement in the handful of districts that contain the prisons.

  2. The effects of prison gerrymandering are the most dramatic at the state and local levels of government because these districts tend to have the smallest populations.

    While a cluster of large prisons typically has a negligible effect on a Congressional district of 700,000 people, the impact of a single 1,000-person prison can be massive in a county commission district of only 1,200 people. District sizes vary, but in general you can think of Congressional districts as generally being the largest, and in order of decreasing typical size, state senate districts, state house districts, county districts, and finally city districts and school boards.

    So if prison gerrymandering benefits the residents of a particular district, wouldn’t that mean that every state has hundreds of thousands of people who live in such districts and have a vested interest in protecting their unearned political clout during redistricting? Actually, no.

    While there are a lot of people who benefit at the state senate level, many of those same residents see larger harms at the level of the state house and local government districts.

Here are some calculations we ran last fall that illustrate how this works:

When New York was still engaging in prison gerrymandering in 2002, Senate District 45 contained 12,989 people incarcerated in state and federal prisons and was 4.34% incarcerated, giving the residents of that district extra influence in comparison with the 61 other rural, and suburban and urban districts that have no or fewer prisons within their borders. But not all residents of the 45th Senate District benefit from prison gerrymandering equally. Less than half (44%) of the district lived in the 114th Assembly District which was 6.99% incarcerated. The remainder of people who lived in Senate District 45 were in two Assembly districts that contained far fewer prison cells than the 114th.

All three counties in the 114th Assembly District contain prisons, but the vast majority (88%) of the residents of that district live in County Board of Supervisors, County Board of Legislators, or County Legislature districts that do not contain the largest prisons. New York’s decision to outlaw prison gerrymandering ended the resulting vote dilution in one or more levels of government that had been plaguing all but roughly 15,300 people in a state of 19 million. And, of course, all 19 million people benefit when the democratic process improves.

Image of New York Senate District 45, Assembly District 114, and on the third map, Franklin County Board of Legislators District 3/Clinton County Legislature District 2

New York Senate District 45, Assembly District 114, and on the third map, Franklin County Board of Legislators District 3/Clinton County Legislature District 2. Essex County is outlined in that map but the Essex County Board of Supervisors district with the largest prison is not pictured because that district is not within Assembly District 114. Note that each of these districts may appear large on the map, but the number of people living in these areas is quite small (and the U.S. Constitution requires us to base districts on population, not land area).

Or, to say it another way, prison gerrymandering is bad for 99.92% of the people living in New York State. And New York isn’t alone. I found the same thing when I analyzed to Rhode Island’s districts. Out of the entire state, only 112 people simultaneously live in the state senate district and the state house district with the largest prison population. Everyone else in the state has their vote diluted in one or both chambers as a result of prison gerrymandering.

Can't see our animated illustration? Check out our blog!

This animated illustration overlays a map of all of the Rhode Island Senate districts that do not contain the largest prison populations and a map of the house districts that do not contain the largest prison populations over a map of the Cranston area.

If we superimpose the Cranston City Council Ward map over the map of the state house and state senate districts discussed above, we see that even most ward 6 residents — who dramatically benefit from prison gerrymandering at the city council — have their votes diluted in one chamber of the state legislature:

Image of who benefits from prison gerrymandering in Cranston, RI

Only 112 non-incarcerated residents of Cranston Ward 6 who benefit from prison gerrymandering in the city council do not also live in a state house or state senate district where their votes are diluted by prison gerrymandering.

So what portion of Rhode Island will benefit from ending prison gerrymandering? It’s 99.989% of the people. That’s no doubt a large part of why the Rhode Island Senate last session unanimously passed a bill that would end prison gerrymandering in the state. (And why the House hasn’t passed that bill is a discussion for another day.)

Please support this work

The Prison Policy Initiative depends on the support of the people who receive this newsletter. If you can help support our work with a tax-deductible contribution via credit card, or with a paper check sent to PO Box 127 Northampton MA 01061, please do so today.

Federal police mistakenly publish metadata from criminal investigations

Originally posted on Faktensucher:

Federal police mistakenly publish metadata from criminal investigations

Exclusive: Serious breach of security will embarrass AFP and government as they push for greater access to metadata and mandatory retention laws

Australian Federal Police Commissioner Tony Negus
Australian federal police commissioner, Tony Negus, has been arguing the case for access to metadata. Photograph: Alan Porritt/AAP

The Australian federal police mistakenly published highly sensitive information – including metadata – connected to criminal investigations, in a serious breach of operational security.

Guardian Australia can reveal that the AFP provided documents to the Senate, which were then made publicly available online on parliamentary sites and other sources for several years, and which accidentally disclosed information about the subjects and focus of criminal investigations and telecommunications interception activities.

The revelations are an embarrassment for the law enforcement agency and the federal government, which are pushing for a mandatory…

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