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R.I.P.

Odell Brown, 70, co-writer of “Sexual Healing.”

Living dolls

I’ve never understood women who treat their daughters like little dolls, putting on makeup, getting their ears pierced and dressing them like fairy princesses and/or sluts instead of like little kids. It’s kind of creepy.

But Botox for an 8-year-old? That really takes the cake.

Transparency

Good for Minnesota!

By a 2-1 vote, the 8th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Monday sided with a federal judge in allowing a state campaign finance law to require corporations to disclose when they spend money to support or defeat a candidate.

“Minnesota did not ban corporate independent expenditures,” the Appeals Court wrote. “Instead, based upon the lower court’s findings, as strongly supported by the record, we find that Minnesota created a statutory scheme designed to require corporations to disclose certain information when making independent expenditures.”

The decision affirms a ruling by U.S. District Judge Donovan Frank in September 2010, in which he refused to strike down the law. In his ruling, Frank said that voters have “an interest in knowing who is speaking about a candidate on the eve of an election.”

One of those reports before the primary elections last year showed that Target, Best Buy and other corporations gave to MN Forward, a pro-business group that is buying ads to support GOP gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer. The disclosures riled groups at odds with Emmer’s opposition to same-sex marriage, and they launched a blistering attack on the companies.

Heh

What Duncan said.

Cornel West

Interviewed by Chris Hedges about Barack Obama. Go read the whole thing:

“I think my dear brother Barack Obama has a certain fear of free black men,” West says. “It’s understandable. As a young brother who grows up in a white context, brilliant African father, he’s always had to fear being a white man with black skin. All he has known culturally is white. He is just as human as I am, but that is his cultural formation. When he meets an independent black brother it is frightening. And that’s true for a white brother. When you get a white brother who meets a free, independent black man they got to be mature to really embrace fully what the brother is saying to them. It’s a tension, given the history. It can be overcome. Obama, coming out of Kansas influence, white, loving grandparents, coming out of Hawaii and Indonesia, when he meets these independent black folk who have a history of slavery, Jim Crow, Jane Crow and so on, he is very apprehensive. He has a certain rootlessness, a deracination. It is understandable.”

“He feels most comfortable with upper middle-class white and Jewish men who consider themselves very smart, very savvy and very effective in getting what they want,” he says. “He’s got two homes. He has got his family and whatever challenges go on there, and this other home. Larry Summers blows his mind because he’s so smart. He’s got Establishment connections. He’s embracing me. It is this smartness, this truncated brilliance, that titillates and stimulates brother Barack and makes him feel at home. That is very sad for me.”

“This was maybe America’s last chance to fight back against the greed of the Wall Street oligarchs and corporate plutocrats, to generate some serious discussion about public interest and common good that sustains any democratic experiment,” West laments. “We are squeezing out all of the democratic juices we have. The escalation of the class war against the poor and the working class is intense. More and more working people are beaten down. They are world-weary. They are into self-medication. They are turning on each other. They are scapegoating the most vulnerable rather than confronting the most powerful. It is a profoundly human response to panic and catastrophe. I thought Barack Obama could have provided some way out. But he lacks backbone.”
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Who wrote the book of love

I’m not getting into the weeds of this, but will only repeat what I always say. As a reporter, I would read the coverage of other reporters who attended the same meetings I did — and the stories were always completely different. Why would I believe that we’d get an accurate depiction of the life of Jesus from all those different people? It’s just not human nature to report anything without your own filter.

Deep thought

SUVs are how many middle-aged men convince themselves they’re not suburban dads driving jacked-up station wagons. Even though they are.

Greek tragedy

This is what “cut, cut, cut” gets you:

ATHENS — His face contorted with anguish, Anargyros D. recounted how he had lost everything in the aftermath of the Greek economic collapse — the food-processing factory founded by his father 30 years ago, his house, his car, his Rolex, his pride and now, he said, his will to live.

“Many times I have thought of taking my father’s car and driving it into a wall,” he said, declining to give his last name because he was reluctant to draw attention to himself under these circumstances.

Hunched over and shaking, he sat last week in the spartan office of Klimaka, a social services organization here that provides help to the swelling numbers of homeless and depressed Greek professionals who have lost their jobs and their dignity.

“We were the people in Greece who helped others,” he said. “Now we are asking for help.”

It has been one year since Greece avoided bankruptcy when Europe and the International Monetary Fund provided a 110 billion euro ($155 billion) bailout. While no one expected the country to reverse its sagging fortunes quickly, the despair of Greeks like Anargyros D. reflects a level of suffering deeper than anyone here had anticipated.

[...] But there is serious debate about whether this kind of prescription — subjecting Greece to more cuts and sacrifice in order to justify a second installment of funds from a reluctant Europe — is the right one.

This form of remedy violates two basic economic principles, according to Yanis Varoufakis, an economics professor and blogger at the University of Athens. “You do not lend money at high interest rates to the insolvent and you do not introduce austerity into a recession,” he said. “It’s pretty simple: the debt is going up and G.D.P. is going down. Have we not learned the lesson of 1929?”

Marchers killed

Courage is contagious:

JERUSALEM — Israel’s borders erupted in deadly clashes on Sunday as thousands of Palestinians — marching from Syria, Lebanon, Gaza and the West Bank — confronted Israeli troops to mark the anniversary of Israel’s creation. More than a dozen people were reported killed and scores injured.

With an unprecedented wave of coordinated protests, the popular uprisings that have swept the region touched Israel directly for the first time. Like those other protests, plans for this one spread over social media, including Facebook, but there were also signs of official support in Lebanon and Syria, where analysts said leaders were using the Palestinian cause to deflect attention from internal problems.

At the Lebanese border, Israeli troops shot at hundreds of Palestinians trying to force their way across. The Lebanese military said 10 protesters were killed and more than 100 were wounded. Israel said it was investigating the casualties.

In the Golan Heights, about 100 Palestinians living in Syria breached a border fence and crowded into the village of Majdal Shams, waving Palestinian flags. Troops fired on the crowd, killing four people. The border unrest could represent a new phase in the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad of Syria.

In the West Bank, about 1,000 protesters carrying Palestinian flags and throwing stones and occasional firecrackers and gasoline bombs fought with Israeli riot troops near the military checkpoint between Ramallah and Israel. Scores were injured, local medical officials said.

In Gaza, when marchers crossed a security zone near the border, Israeli troops fired into the crowd, wounding dozens.

Countdown to rapture

Five days! Scoped out your new car and house yet?

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