A bit about Reed College, where our son Harlan will be continuing his education…

1,447 Undergraduates, in a 10 to 1 Student-to-Faculty Ratio




*The Princeton Review– The Best 376 Colleges

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R.I.P. Aaron Schwartz — Young, Dedicated, Courageous, Internet Pioneer, Free Speech Activist and a martyr to the cause.

Victim of United States District Attorney Carmen Ortiz

Aaron H. Swartz (November 8, 1986 – January 11, 2013) was an American computer programmer, writer, archivist, political organizer, andInternet activist.

Swartz was a member of the RSS-DEV Working Group that co-authored the “RSS 1.0” specification of RSS,[2] and built the Web site framework web.py and the architecture for the Open Library. He also built Infogami, a company that merged with Reddit in its early days, through which he became an equal owner of the merged company.[i] Swartz also focused on sociology, civic awareness and activism. In 2010 he was a member of the Harvard University Center for Ethics. He cofounded the online group Demand Progress (known for its campaign against SOPA) and later worked with US and international activist groups Rootstrikers and Avaaz.

On January 6, 2011, Swartz was arrested in connection with systematic downloading of academic journal articles from JSTOR, which became the subject of a federal investigation.[3][4] Swartz opposed JSTOR’s practice of compensating publishers, rather than authors, out of the fees it charges for access to articles. Swartz contended that JSTOR’s fees limited access to academic work produced at American colleges and universities.[5][6]

On January 11, 2013, Swartz was found dead in his Crown HeightsBrooklyn apartment, where he hanged himself.[7][8][9][10] One commentator wrote that “His case highlights society’s uncertain, evolving view of how to treat people who break into computer systems and share data not to enrich themselves, but to make it available to others.”[11]


** UPDATE **


The Life and Afterlife of Aaron Swartz

By Wesley Yang, New York Magazine  09 February 13

** UPDATE **


Who was Aaron Swartz ?

Anonymous hacks M.I.T. in tribute to Aaron.

Meet U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz, one of President Obama’s mistakes.

Petition to remove United States District Attorney Carmen Ortiz from office for overreach in the case of Aaron Swartz.

10 Awful Crimes That Get You Less Prison Time Than What Aaron Swartz Faced for Freeing JSTOR Articles.

MIT did not speak out against the prosecution’s case, now they’re ‘investigating themselves’.

JSTOR did not want Aaron prosecuted.  Here is their statement.



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Mitch-the-Bitch tries again to rule from the minority


Sen. Minority Leader Mitch-the-Bitch McConnell reiterated his position this morning: Government will shutdown unless President makes dramatic cuts to Medicare and Social Security.

He wants the Democrats to not only enable the cuts, but also shield Republicans from the political consequences of cutting these programs by cutting them on the Republicans behalf.

Mitch-the-Bitch intendeds to hold the nation hostage to get cuts to programs


Who in Hell does he think he is ?

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My thoughts for 2013 and beyond

Here’s a list of things I see as priorities (not in any particular order) for our country…

  • NATIONAL STANDARDS FOR ELECTIONS. There is an absolute need for elections in our country to be run based on a standard set of rules. We cannot continue to have whatever party happens to be in control of a given state able to tweak the election rules to favor themselves. This is totally unacceptable. We all need to vote on paper, using a common apparatus to count those paper votes. And we need to let go of the idea that we know the result immediately. We need to be able to wait a few days for a solid count.
  • RAISE THE CAP ON INCOME SUBJECT TO SOCIAL SECURITY TAXES.  The Social Security System was designed in a different age. Some changes need to be made. Simple changes that will carry it for the long term. If the Social Security tax cap were raised from the current $110,000 to $250,000 the solvency would be extended to 75 years out without reducing benefits.
  • SINGLE-PAYER, UNIVERSAL HEALTHCARE. The Healthcare reform law is a good start, but what we really need is healthcare provided to everyone based on citizenship not employment status. We need to move the burden from the employers to the Nation. This can be financed by a simple, fractional 0.5 percent tax on stock trades and financial transactions.  A lot of politicians say that insecurity is the fear that inhibits growth on our economy. Well, take medical insurance out of the for-profit sector and you will reduce the cost of medicine. Then remove the cost of medical benefits from the employer’s balance sheet and you reduce the cost and uncertainty of providing jobs.
  • A FOSSIL FUEL POLICY FOCUSED ON THE NATION NOT THE CORPORATION.  Our energy companies, many of which began as American corporations, have become international corporations. The have little if any allegiance to the country that made them possible. We need a simple rule that states “Before any energy company could export any resource produced in the United States, the needs of the United States would have to be fulfilled first.” This would be structured on a five year plan to cover current and near future resources to make the United States fossil fuel self sufficient. 
  • INVESTMENT IN OUR NATIONAL INFRASTRUCTURE.  The current defense budget of $631 Billion is provided for the defense of our nation. The 2012 budget is 6-7 times larger than the $106 billion of the military budget of China, and is more than the next twenty largest military spenders combined. Our crumbling infrastructure is a national security concern. A simple designation of 10%, or $63 Billion of the Pentagon budget to a national infrastructure bank could be used for rebuilding the critical backbone of our nation. This would be a huge boost to domestic jobs as well.

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Are you part of the Problem?

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The United States is different, all you need is money. If you have enough, you can do as you please.

In the past 48 hours, police in the U.K. and Germany have arrested senior bank executives for serious crimes. On Wednesday, Deutsche Bank offices were raided by 500 police because the CEO and CFO are under investigation for tax evasion.

Meanwhile in the U.S., the Justice Department signed a settlement with HSBC Bank on Tuesday, for its involvement in-

  • Money laundering

  • Drug smuggling

  • Providing support to terrorists.

HSBC Bank paid a trivial, half of one quarter’s profits and no executive will be criminally prosecuted.

Glen Greenwald does a heroic job covering the various layers of justice in America at this link.

Hell, the United States had a President, Vice President, Secretary of State, and Secretary of Defense all culpable of War Crimes and Eric Holder and the President looked ‘Forward’ instead of doing what should have been done.

What should we expect?


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FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski wants to end a longstanding ban on owning the major daily newspaper and radio outlets in the same market

Why is this man laughing?

Because just in time for the holidays, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is considering changes to media cross-ownership rules that watchdogs say could good give Rupert Murdoch’s massive conglomerate News Corporation the go-ahead to acquire more big media outlets.

American Corporate Media DO NOT WANT YOU TO KNOW ABOUT THIS.

Read the whole story here, and here, and here, and here.

Then contact  the Presidentyour Senators, and your House Representatives.

Make some noise, tell them you do not want this to happen!

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Something to ponder…

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U.S. Oil Production Is At Highest Level Since 1997; Yet Gas Prices Remain ‘Stubbornly High’

Looking at Gasoline prices…

Then gas prices vs. oil production…

So when I hear Willard telling America he is going to increase domestic production and make America stand on her own, not importing oil, I have to laugh. Loudly and heartily. The man just doesn’t get it. Or the man knows most Americans don’t get it and he can snooker them into thinking he can do it so the morons will vote for him.

Seth Borenstein and Jack Gillum of the Associated Press explain:

That’s because oil is a global commodity and U.S. production has only a tiny influence on supply. Factors far beyond the control of a nation or a president dictate the price of gasoline.

When you put the inflation-adjusted price of gas on the same chart as U.S. oil production since 1976, the numbers sometimes go in the same direction, sometimes in opposite directions. If drilling for more oil meant lower prices, the lines on the chart would consistently go in opposite directions. A basic statistical measure of correlation found no link between the two, and outside statistical experts confirmed those calculations.

Nobody who is POTUS can do jack shit about this until they lay some nasty rules down for the oil companies, or nationalize them. Take your pick. It just isn’t going to happen otherwise.

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Because the Right Wing will do *ANYTHING* to get a white man back into the White House…

This is the 400-pound-gorilla-in-the-room that very few will dare to mention. Having a black man in the white house is rattling enough for the political right. Having a successful black man who may just well get re-elected threatens to cause them to unhinge.

No. They have no shame. They are so very well insulated by the cocoon of Washington and all that money they have. They hardly share the reality most of us are currently enduring. And yes, I think there is a definite undercurrent of race involved in a lot of their politics. Nobody on the political stage has the guts to point it out. But there it is.

And here’s another example of thinly veiled racism…

Former South Carolina Governor and Fox News contributor Mark Sanford wandered off the Appalachian Trail again Sunday morning when, in yet another completely isolated example of a Republican being totally-not-racist even though he sounds racist, said that President Obama is going to “come out and throw a lot of spears” at Tuesday’s upcoming debate.

America’s News HQ anchor Shannon Bream wasn’t in the shot, but she didn’t react audibly, and never skipped a beat in continuing to discuss expectations for Tuesday’s debate.

Gov. Sanford first praised former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney‘s performance at the first debate, then predicted that…

“You know, obviously Obama will come out in this case much more forcefully and he will throw a lot of spears.”

Completely coincidentally, and not at all related to this, the term “spearchucker” is a racial slur against black people, but what would a 52 year-old white guy from South Carolina know about that? Also, he didn’t call President Obama a “spearchucker,” he just said he would be throwing spears. That’s completely different

Bream ignored Sanford’s declaration, instead guiding the discussion around to a sort of warning about President Obama being “too aggressive” at the next debate. “We got mixed signals from the Obama campaign that the President intends to be more aggressive this time around,” she said. “We know it’s a town hall format where the candidate will be taking questions from undecided voters, but also with a moderator in place. How well does that play in an audience, and with real live average citizen voters? I mean, there has to be a balance in the tone, I would imagine, for how aggressive you can be in that kind of setting.”

Here’s the clip, from Fox News


Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, Colin Powell’s chief of staff during his time as secretary of state, decried John Sununu’s comment that Powell only endorsed Barack Obama because they are both black. “To say that Colin Powell would endorse President Obama because of his skin color is like saying Mother Teresa worked for profit,” Wilkerson told Ed Schultz.

Wilkerson said on The Ed Show that though he respects Sununu, a top Romney adviser and surrogate, “I don’t have any respect for the integrity of the position that he seemed to codify. Look at me, Ed, I’m white. I’m not black. Colin Powell picked me because of the content of my character and my competence.”

He added that he thinks Sununu’s remark was an “unfortunate slip of words,” but that it speaks to larger problem in the Republican party.

My party, unfortunately, is the bastion of those people, not all of them, but most of them, who are still basing their decision on race,” Wilkerson said. “Let me just be candid: My party is full of racists. And the real reason a considerable portion of my party wants President Obama out of the White House  has nothing to do with the content of his character, nothing to do with his competence as commander-in-chief and president, and everything to do with the color of his skin. And that’s despicable.

Read the whole thing here.

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