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Running out of fish

For a variety of reasons. Not good news!

Gen. Wesley Clark on oil, war and activism

Via Whowhatwhy.com:

The pen is mightier than…

Oh, never mind. This is too horrible in so many ways.

Paul Ryan

Is not so good with money, apparently.

Guess what charter schools do?

Increase segregated schools. Bug or feature?

Oh look

A Democratic candidate who isn’t talking about cutting Social Security!

Despair

But we don’t talk about the poor, now that everyone’s been promoted to the middle class:

An extremely disturbing new study published in the American Journal of Public Health finds that suicides have replaced car accidents as the leading cause of injury-related death in the U.S. This is partly because deaths from automobile accidents are down — that’s the good news.

But the truly catastrophic news is that the suicide rate has increased dramatically: between 2000 and 2009, according to data from the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics, deaths by suicide went up by 15%, and deaths from poisoning increased by a whopping 128%. Moreover, researchers say that many of the poisoning deaths, which are labeled as “accidental,” may actually be intentional. According to the study’s author, Professor Ian Rockett, an epidemiologist at West Virginia University, “Suicides are terribly undercounted; I think the problem is much worse than official data would lead us to believe.” He added “there may be 20 percent or more unrecognized suicides.”

Experts note that much of the increase in poisoning deaths is due to prescription drug overdoses, but none of the reports I found about the study speculate about what psychological, social, or economic causes are behind the spike in suicides. (I was unable to find an online copy of the study itself). But there is strong evidence elsewhere that our disastrous economy may be playing a significant role. Last year, a report by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention found that “[s]uicide rates in the U.S. tend to rise during recessions and fall amid economic booms.”

In Europe, a recent wave of “suicides by economic crisis” has been well-documented, as these shocking statistics attest:

In Greece, the suicide rate among men increased more than 24 percent from 2007 to 2009, government statistics show. In Ireland during the same period, suicides among men rose more than 16 percent. In Italy, suicides motivated by economic difficulties have increased 52 percent, to 187 in 2010 — the most recent year for which statistics were available — from 123 in 2005.

The Kochtopus and Election Day

It’s sickening, the amount of money and manpower the Kochtopus is pouring into this year’s election. All we have are our votes. Will it be enough to fight the right-wing tide? This is not a year where we can take even one vote for granted. Lee Fang writes for The Nation:

It’s “National Prosperity Action Day.” Tea Partiers, Republican volunteers and conservative activists are being summoned by Americans for Prosperity—the group founded and financed by several large corporations, and led by the billionaire Koch brothers—to begin mobilizing to defeat President Obama and Congressional Democrats.

They’re gathering in newly set up offices in critical swing states. Some of the locations have a tinge of irony for a supposedly grassroots, ordinary citizens-led organization: In Saddlebrook, Arizona, they’ll be meeting in a country club; in Clearwater, Florida, the local AFP field director rented space from an outsourcing company called TAC Worldwide. But the work the AFP machine is doing is no laughing matter for liberals. The Koch network has a sophisticated targeting system, as well as an army of experienced Republican campaign hands to guide the effort. The volunteers even receive Samsung Galaxy tablets to quickly log information and move on to the next potential Romney voter.

It’s the beginning of an extremely well-planned get-out-the-vote effort that duplicates what an entire national party would attempt. And it’s been four years in the making.

In 2009, the Koch network created a model called the Wisconsin Prosperity Project to move the state to the far right. After witnessing the Democrats’ stunning 2008 ground game, the operatives in Wisconsin were determined to out-organize liberals. They hired Tea Party organizers, invested heavily in front groups (like theMacIver Center), ran constant advertising and coordinated with employers to hold propaganda meetings with workers. Tea Party bus tours in the state, fully financed by AFP, were “designed” to help elect Republicans.

And in 2010, Wisconsin turned harder to the right than almost any other state in the nation during the midterm elections. At least from the Koch perspective, the investments worked. (The Koch theory of change was also reinforced by the savvy Scott Walker recall campaign, in which Koch operatives bused seventy-five canvassers to the state to out-perform the unions.)
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Why the Mideast exploded, really

Ray McGovern, former CIA analyst and peace activist.

Pollution

Just how much we produce to power the internet.

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