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Bank of Coal

I’m really happy that these kind of public actions are becoming more common, because for too long, Americans have been operating on automatic pilot and now, thanks to a crushing recession, extreme weather and the Occupy movement, they’re actually beginning to connect the dots. This action by Rainforest Action Network raises awareness as to how intertwined our problems are. When we learn how banks are heavily invested in the things that destroy the environment, we understand why it’s been almost impossible to save our planet:

CHARLOTTE, NC — The much-politicized Bank of America stadium received a facelift today when five people with Rainforest Action Network skillfully unfurled a 70-foot by 25-foot banner off the top of the building, rebranding the stadium the “Bank of Coal.” Just days before the bank’s annual shareholder meeting, the act was intended to call attention to the bank’s role as the leading financier of the coal industry, one of the main concerns for bank critics.

The advocates, all trained climbers with safety gear, hung from the outside of the stadium more than 100-feet above the ground.

In the past two years alone, Bank of America has pumped $6.74 billion into the U.S. coal industry according to Bloomberg data. The Bank of America Stadium is where President Obama will accept the Democratic Party’s nomination to a second term in early September, and, to many, symbolizes the cozy relationship between banks and government highlighted throughout the Occupy protests.

“Today, Rainforest Action Network has taken our message to extraordinary heights because the risk that coal poses to our health and our climate is nothing less than extraordinary. It’s past time Bank of America take a leadership role in transitioning our economy away from this dangerous and outdated industry,” said Todd Zimmer, a lifelong Charlotte resident and organizer with Rainforest Action Network.

Today’s action kicks off a week of events leading up to Bank of America’s annual shareholder meeting on May 9 where organizers predict more than 1,000 people plan to protest the company.

Not only is coal burning responsible for one third of U.S. carbon emissions — the main contributor to climate change — but it is also a major public health risk. In 2012, one in every four children living in Charlotte will develop asthma or other respiratory problems, while 3,000 North Carolinians die prematurely every year, all due to air pollution.

There are four coal plants in the Charlotte area. Duke’s Riverbend plant, which Bank of America finances, is within 12 miles of Uptown Charlotte.

Your librul media

Still addressing such substantive issues as where Ann Romney got her expensive yet hideous shirt.

There's an ugly giant fish nibbling on my breast, and I find it oddly stimulating. But the presence of my husband is harshing my buzz!

Oh come on

As if there’s any doubt that they’re going to fall in line for Mittens. If there’s one thing you can say for Republicans, they stick together. So while their egos may need stroking, there’s no real danger of an uprising against him – no matter what. Instead, they’ll stick to little projects like this, where they can cultivate the appearance of making Mittens bend to their will, real or not.


Brain bleach, please!


This war on drugs has been out of control for a long, long time. Part of the problem is that cops assume if they picked you up, you must be guilty of something, and frequently decide to mete out their own version of “justice” – either directly, by beating the crap out of a suspect, or indirectly, by “forgetting” them. If this story doesn’t convince you something is very wrong in our country, nothing will. Via Raw Story:

Daniel Chong, a 24-year old student at UC San Diego, was taken into custody during a drug raid and abandoned in a holding cell for five days without food or water, according to NBC San Diego.

“They never came back, ignored all my cries and I still don’t know what happened,” he said. “I’m not sure how they could forget me.”

On April 21, Drug Enforcement Agents raided an apartment where Chong and his friends were smoking marijuana. Nine people were arrested and the agents reportedly seized ecstasy pills, marijuana, prescription medication, psychedelic mushrooms and weapons, according to CBS 8 News. Seven of those arrested were taken to jail and one was released.

Chong, however, was left handcuffed in a 5 ft. by 10 ft. holding cell.

Chong said he screamed and kicked the door, but to no avail. Eventually, he began hallucinating and drank his own urine in hopes of staying hydrated. After days without any human contact, he tried to kill himself by breaking his glasses with his teeth, and using the glass to cut himself.

Surprisingly, Chong allegedly found a bag of methamphetamine in the holding cell, which he used to stay awake.

After five days, a DEA worker heard noises coming from the holding cell and discovered him. Chong was taken to the hospital, where he spent three days in the intensive care unit.

The news that’s not fit to print

Yves Smith yesterday in Naked Capitalism:

I went to the first page of the New York Times today, as I normally do after checking my e-mails in the morning. I noticed, above the fold, the prominently displayed link to an Adam Davidson story from a member of the super rich trying to explain why their super richness is good for us serfs.

I ignored that link and went through the rest of the first page. There was not a single mention in the self-styled paper of record of the May 1 demonstrations by Occupy Wall Street. I had reports from people in New York that the gathering was large, yet you’d never know it happened if you started on the front page. I went to the US section next, and again, not a single mention of Occupy Wall Street.

I’ll bet The Times would have found space for the story if the march had turned violent and made the marchers look bad.

Clinton’s disastrous assumption

Somebody at Truthdig was pondering the growing gap between rich and poor in America and, not coincidentally, thought of the 1996 State of the Union address, in which Bill Clinton “kneecapped Franklin Delano Roosevelt” by declaring that the era of big government was over. More here.

Taser suspension

Breaking News: Raid On The Colwyn Police Department: MyFoxPHILLY.com

This may not be the first case in the country, but it’s the first time that I know of that a police officer is being disciplined for misusing a Taser. This is a small, gritty town on the Philadelphia border that’s seen quite a few ups and downs over the past several decades, and in the past, has had a lot of problems with their police force. (I know; I used to cover it when I was a reporter):

The acting head of the Colwyn Borough Police Department was suspended today while borough and county officials investigate an incident involving a juvenile who was Tasered while handcuffed in a holding cell at the department.

Deputy Chief Wendell Reed is the second person to be suspended for the April 24 incident, said Mayor Daniel Rutland. The officer who allegedly administered the shock, Cpl. Trevor Parham, was suspended earlier this week and a third officer who was allegedly present when it occurred is expected to be suspended as well, according to sources and Rutland.

State police were called to the scene today for back up as Rutland delivered the news to Reed, but Reed left on his own accord.

Detectives with Delaware County’s Criminal Investigation Division, who act as Internal Affairs investigators for the county’s police departments, were also on scene and removed computers and a Taser from the department.

Rutland said no documentation of the incident was made and the proper procedures were not followed. He said he only found out about it after receiving calls from concerned citizens. He said the only person from the department to notify him was Lt. Wesley Seitz, who will now act as head of the department.

Rutland said “there was word” that Reed had been planning to suspend Seitz today for investigating the incident and reporting it.

Port of morrow

This is the title track from their great new album. The Shins:

9th Circuit

Says John Yoo has immunity.

As Marcy Wheeler points out, Jay Bybee, co-author of some torture memos, is now a 9th Circuit Judge.

God bless America!

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