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My intention here is in making intelligence, understanding and informed opinion cool again. I'm not giving in and bowing down to ignorance and fear.  I routinely post recent and relevant  stories from the some of the best journalism available.  At our Classifieds Ads are FREE and easily searchable, so finding what you're looking for is a just a few clicks away. Something like a poor man's hybrid-mutation of Craig's List/Huffington Post/Local Bulletin Board.

Occupy Wall Street is leaderless resistance movement with people of many colors, genders and political persuasions. The one thing we all have in common is that We Are The 99% that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1%. We are using the revolutionary Arab Spring tactic to achieve our ends and encourage the use of nonviolence to maximize the safety of all participants.

The leaders of this movement are the everyday people participating in the occupation. We use a tool called the "General Assembly" to facilitate open, participatory and horizontal organizing between members of the public. We welcome people from all colors, genders and beliefs to participate in our daily assemblies. Visit the NYC General Assembly website to learn how you can become involved, read updates/minutes, or find out how you can adopt NYCGA processes to organize your own community.

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The Big Story

FBI to investigate Trayvon Martin shooting

 Federal authorities announced Monday night that they are opening a full-scale criminal investigation into the slaying of an unarmed black Florida teenager whose death provoked an outcry from African American leaders and sparked calls for gun-control reforms in Florida.

A Justice Department spokeswoman said in a statement that its Civil Rights Division, in conjunction with the FBI, planned to conduct an investigation into the death last month of Trayvon Martin and to work with local groups in the Orlando area to soothe rising tensions over the matter.

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Local News

Peyton Manning now a Bronco

Broncos owner Pat Bowlen introduced Peyton Manning to reporters today at the team's headquarters at a news conference, which was aired live locally and nationally on ESPN2.

The news conference was schedule for 1 p.m. and started about 20 minutes late.

Bowlen said "this is sort of a historic meeting today. We're glad to have two Hall of Fame quarterbacks.

"Our goal has always been to win Super Bowls. Peyton gives us another chance to win a world championship.



Latest Green News

NASCAR: Safe driving is Green driving

NASCAR, best known for pushing the speed envelope, has launched a new traffic safety campaign with a sustainable twist. Rather than focusing narrowly on strategies to help drivers to look out for their own lives, the campaign deploys a broad message of taking responsibility for the safety of others. According to a press release launch, the campaign's mission goes far beyond road safety to encourage "personal responsibility for our planet and its people, especially teens."



Political Moves

McConnell flip-flops on Highway bill

Just before the vote, McConnell took to the senate floor and praised the lead sponsors, Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Jim Inhofe (R-OK) for their bipartisan effort. “They have worked together in a collegial way to bring us to this point on the highway bill,” he raved.

Moments later, McConnell joined 21 other Republicans — and no Democrats — in voting against the bill. The House is expected to take up a similar version in April, rather than the far inferior House Republican version.

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Recent Op/Eds

Subsidies for Fossil Fuels prevent investment in Renewables

After an enormously successful campaign to stop the Keystone XL Pipeline from being built, and numerous allies are gearing up for a major new fight to end four billion dollars in subsidies the fossil fuel industry receives each year.

There’s no way to move to renewable energy sources like wind and solar without ending the subsidies to an industry that’s already earning record-breaking profits: Exxon-Mobil is currently the most profitable corporation in the history of capitalism.



Alien Update on KDUR

Are Cattle Mutilations the work of Extraterrestrials?

A hallmark of these incidents is the surgical nature of the mutilation, and unexplained phenomena such as the complete draining of the animal's blood, loss of internal organs with no obvious point of entry, and surgically precise removal of the reproductive organs and anal coring. Another reported event is that the animal is found dumped in an area where there are no marks or tracks leading to or from the carcass, even when it is found in soft ground or mud. The surgical-type wounds tend to be cauterized by an intense heat and made by very sharp/precise instruments, with no bleeding evident.


click here for video or listen to KDUR Sunday 3-18-2012 at 4:20 pm



NASCAR: Safe driving is Green driving

NASCAR, best known for pushing the speed envelope, has launched a new traffic safety campaign with a sustainable twist. Rather than focusing narrowly on strategies to help drivers to look out for their own lives, the campaign deploys a broad message of taking responsibility for the safety of others. According to a press release launch, the campaign's mission goes far beyond road safety to encourage "personal responsibility for our planet and its people, especially teens."

The mix of racing and planet-saving may seem like an odd paring, but NASCAR has a green track record and other organized sports such as baseball and football have increasingly taken it upon themselves to bring the green message to their fans. In fact, according to NASCAR, racing fans may be at least slightly more receptive to adopting sustainability-related actions than the general public.

The new campaign makes more sense if you think of it in the context of green driving. The goal of green driving is to be more environmentally responsible behind the wheel by saving fuel and reducing tailpipe emissions, but road safety is a significant secondary benefit of green driving basics: no speeding, tailgating or weaving, and avoiding jackrabbit starts and stops.

What the Limbaugh boycott could mean for radio

Rush Limbaugh’s show has never sounded so bleeding-heart liberal as it did this week, when commercial sponsors bailed and were replaced by the United Negro College Fund, Feeding America, the US Department of Health and Human Services and other nonprofits and governmental agencies. In fact, of the eighty ads running Friday on the online stream of Limbaugh’s flagship station, WABC in New York, seventy-one were public service announcements and three were station promos. According to Media Matters, one of the six remaining paid ads was from an advertiser who had asked for it to be pulled.

Now some fifty national advertisers—more if you count locals—have pulled their ads from Limbaugh’s show to avoid being associated with his attacks on Sandra Fluke as a “slut” and “prostitute.” Rushbo is so radioactive right now that even some PSA freebies are running away from him. The American Heart Association wrote in an e-mail to, “It is our practice to be a content-sensitive advertiser, and in light of the current controversy, we will be asking WABC to no longer utilize these unpaid PSAs.”

So it’s been a bad week for Rush. Though maybe not quite as bad as CNN, MSNBC and some blogs have made it sound. They all reported that on Thursday WABC suffered more than five minutes of dead air time where ads were supposed to have run on Limbaugh’s show, leaving the impression that radios across Gotham fell into real radio silence.

But it wasn’t quite as simple, or as satisfying, as that. The five minutes and thirty-three seconds of dead air (distributed over four commercial pods in the three-hour show) occurred, as Media Matters reported, only on WABC’s online show, not on the station’s broadcast.

The dead air, however, was indeed caused by the flight of Rush’s sponsors. Explaining what happened, one radio insider told me, “If advertisers are asked to pull [that many] ads, the system is experiencing something it hasn’t experienced before.” That is, the software’s algorithms couldn’t handle the replacement of so many regular spots with PSAs in the time before transmission.

I asked Michael Harrison, publisher of the trade magazine Talkers if this was the largest exodus ever of radio advertisers. “It’s hard to rank because it’s hard to say how long it will go on,” he says. But in terms of that many advertisers bolting in so brief a period, he says, “This is the biggest.”

“Here’s what matters: how many listeners start to pull out,” Harrison continues. “Then there’s a problem for the future. We suspect that his audience is increasing now. The irony is that Limbaugh’s advertising is probably worth more than ever. But unless you believe that the American advertising industry has a high bar for standards and taste, then there will [eventually] be more advertisers coming on. We’re talking about nobody advertising on the number-one show in the business. How likely is that?”

Harrison, who describes himself as politically neutral and interested only in the health of the broadcast industry, adds, “The worst thing that could happen is that advertisers will gang up on Limbaugh and he’ll end up on satellite or streaming only. If this accelerates to where it severely hurts Limbaugh and thereby all of terrestrial radio, including many stations that play liberal hosts, it will be another nail in the coffin of terrestrial radio.”

But for now, at least, Limbaugh’s stain appears to be spreading mainly to other right-wing talkers (as well as some of the cruder shock jocks). Some ninety-eight advertisers have asked that their ads appear nowhere near Limbaugh, Hannity, Beck, et al., according to The website published a memo from Clear Channel subsidiary Premier Networks that listed advertisers (including Ford, GM, Toyota, Allstate, Geico, Prudential, State Farm, McDonald’s and Subway) who, as the memo states,

specifically asked that you schedule their commercials in dayparts or programs free of content that you know are deemed to be offensive or controversial (for example, Mark Levin, Rush Limbaugh, Tom Leykis, Michael Savage, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity). Those are defined as environments likely to stir negative sentiment from a very small percentage of the listening public.

Of course, if it really was so very small a percentage, this would not be a big problem for talk radio. And Rush would not be spending so much of the time on his program raising support for the United Negro College Fund.

Peyton Manning's visit "productive" but no deal yet

On another glorious weekend in Colorado, the sun shone, the air warmed and the mountains majestically revealed their beauty.

Oh, and Tim Tebow remains the Broncos' quarterback.

Remember when the people here wanted Tebow more than Colorado itself?

When free agent Peyton Manning decided to leave this wondrous state Saturday night — getting dropped off at Centennial Airport by friend and former teammate and ex-Bronco Brandon Stokley — for the hot Arizona desert (80 degrees today, 86 by midweek), the frenetic buzz surrounding Broncos headquarters at Dove Valley was replaced by a somber silence.

"The visit was productive," a Broncos source said. "The team is hopeful and encouraged by the time spent" with Manning. Still, John Elway knows from all those millions he made in the car dealer business that once the customer leaves the showroom, the chances of closing the deal drop significantly.

Then again, there's no sense for the Broncos to drop their daubers. The Kansas City Chiefs and Seattle Seahawks are trying to get in the Manning sweepstakes, and he hasn't visited them. As long as there's a chance to acquire a player of Manning's caliber, there is reason for optimism. Even though he missed the entire 2011 season because of neck surgeries, Manning has 399 career touchdown passes, 11 Pro Bowl appearances and one Super Bowl title ring.

His release to free agency Wednesday by the Indianapolis Colts was expected and shocking to the NFL masses. His neck injury, coupled with a $28 million option payment that was due late last week and good fortune that resulted in the Colts having the No. 1 overall draft pick at a time when quarterback Andrew Luck is eligible for selection, were the primary factors in pushing Manning to Colorado for a 29-hour visit.


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Conservative leaders "all in" for Santorum

A group of conservative leaders pledged to raise a combined $1.78 million for Rick Santorum's campaign and SuperPAC after meeting privately in Texas this weekend with the Republican presidential hopeful, POLITICO has learned.

More than 200 conservatives from all over the country convened at the Houston Omni for a Friday fundraising reception for Santorum's campaign. They then met to plot strategy with the former senator Saturday morning, discussing how to overcome Mitt Romney's growing advantage in the GOP primary and fend off Newt Gingrich.

"The message was, 'we're all in,'" said South Dakota businessman and conservative organizer Bob Fischer, one of the event’s co-hosts.

Fischer explained that the $1.78 million represents money that, over the course of the weekend, individuals gave and pledged to raise for the campaign and SuperPAC. "It could be significantly more," he said. He declined to share the names of the donors writing large checks to the SuperPACs.

Santorum’s campaign has been badly outspent by Romney throughout the primary season and could use such an injection of cash. Such pledges are not always followed through on, but in the contribution limit-free, SuperPAC era it’s easier to raise money with a handful of deep-pocketed givers. 

Many of those at the meeting were at the January gathering of conservatives at a Texas ranch where there was a vote taken to rally around Santorum as the chief conservative alternative to Romney.

Co-hosts in Houston included Fischer, Rebecca Hagelin, Richard Viguerie and Tim Lefever.

Also present were conservative leaders Tony Perkins and James Dobson.

“It was not a discussion of who to support, it was a consolidation of support,” said Perkins, differentiating the meeting with the January session. “There was a big push to raise funds. There was a sense of, ‘Now is the time to step up.’”

Perkins said Santorum’s comments Friday night at the closed-press reception were little different than what the candidate has been saying publicly.

Paraphrasing, Perkins said Santorum made clear he was in the race for the long haul and said, ‘We have a chance now and I need your help.’

Fischer dismissed Romney's lead in the delegate hunt and, suggesting a potential convention floor fight, said it was noted at the meeting that in some states delegates are only pledged on the first round of balloting in Tampa.

He indicated that Santorum was ready to go to the convention "if it's needed" and argued that the campaign was now "a two-man race."

But Gingrich’s continued presence in the race looms large for Santorum, especially ahead of Tuesday’s primaries in Mississippi and Alabama, where polls show the three candidates all drawing a significant share of the vote

“If they were to converge together you would have a majority,” said Perkins, whose Family Research Council has not endorsed in the race.

Saying it was Gingrich’s decision on whether to stay in the race, Perkins deemed the former speaker as “the most influential guy in American politics right now – he could be a kingmaker.”

U.S. Soldier kills 16 Afghan civilians

KABUL — An American soldier wandered outside his base in a remote southern Afghan village shortly before dawn Sunday and allegedly opened fire on civilians inside homes, killing at least 16, Afghan and U.S. officials said.

The attack marked perhaps the grisliest act by a U.S. soldier in the decade-long Afghan war and seemed all but certain to stoke anti-American anger in a crucial battleground as foreign troops start to thin out in the south. Afghan officials said women and children were among those killed inPanjwai district of Kandahar province, the birthplace of the Taliban movement.

Coming as Afghan rage over last month’s burning of Korans by U.S. soldiers was beginning to taper off, the killings threatened to spark a new crisis in the strained relationship between Washington and Kabul. The two nations are in the midst of contentious negotiations over an agreement that could extend the presence of U.S. troops in the country beyond 2014.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai called the shootings an “assassination” and demanded an explanation from U.S. officials, the Associated Press reported. “This is an assassination, an intentional killing of innocent civilians and cannot be forgiven,” Karzai said in a statement, the AP reported.

U.S. officials shed no light on the motive or state of mind of the staff sergeant who was taken into custody shortly after the alleged massacre.

“It appears he walked off post and later returned and turned himself in,” said Lt. Cmdr. James Williams, a military spokesman.

U.S. military officials stressed that the shooting was carried out by a lone, rogue soldier, differentiating it from past instances of civilians killed accidentally during military operations.

“I cannot explain the motivation behind such callous acts,” Lt. Gen. Adrian J. Bradshaw, the deputy commander of the international troop coalition in Afghanistan said in a statement. “They were in no way part of authorized military activity.”

Caitlin Hayden, a National Security Council spokeswoman at the White House, said President Obama had been briefed on the attack but declined to comment on how it might affect the administration’s war strategy or relations with the Afghan government.

“We are deeply concerned by the initial reports of this incident and are monitoring the situation closely,” she said.

The top U.S. military commander in Afghanistan expressed shock at the incident and pledged a thorough investigation and full cooperation with Afghan authorities.

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Dutch bicycle buses let kids pedal to school

It's been said that the most important lessons in life are not learned in the classroom, and perhaps in no place is that more true than in the Netherlands where the act of heading to school is itself so enriching. In an age of rising gas prices and skyrocketing cases of childhood obesity, Dutch educators have devised a wonderfully positive way to get kids to and from school -- by letting them pedal there themselves on a brand new fleet of bicycle buses.

Cycling has long been the preferred way of commuting in the Netherlands, thanks in part to their world-class system of bike paths, but now even young schoolchildren can get in on the action. With the purchase of what may be the first-ever fleet of bicycle school buses, Dutch kids as young as 4 years old are experiencing just how fun and easy getting around without a car can be.

Each bike bus is designed to hold eleven kids up to the age of 12, who along with an adult driver, provide the pedal-power to carry them to school and back. For times when the team of youngsters isn't enough, like on steep inclines or when just a handful of passengers are left to be dropped off, a built in electric motor is there to provide an extra boost.

So far, Dutch manufacturer Tolkamp Metaalspecials has sold around two dozen of the bicycle buses across the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany -- and the idea seems to be catching on. In an interview with FastCo.exist, bike bus creator Thomas Tolkamp says that orders have begun pouring in from around the globe.

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FLC trustees vote for discount tuition for undocumented students

DENVER – Fort Lewis College’s Board of Trustees voted Friday to support a bill that would give discounted tuition to children who immigrated illegally to the United States.

Currently, college students who can’t prove their U.S. citizenship have to pay out-of-state tuition at Colorado’s public colleges.

Senate Bill 15 would allow state colleges to offer in-state tuition rates to these students.

Students who are not legal residents would have to attend a Colorado high school for three years, graduate and enroll in college within a year of graduation to qualify for the tuition discount.

However, they would not receive the approximately $1,800 subsidy the state gives every college student.

FLC trustees voted to endorse the bill because it lets each college opt out, and FLC leaders would have ample opportunity to study the issue in-depth if the bill passes, said Trustee Heidi Baskfield.

“There was definitely discussion about wanting to make sure we have the best-educated workforce possible,” Baskfield said.

The bill faces a tough road. Sponsors are confident it can pass in the Senate, but a nearly identical bill failed last year in a House committee.

SB 15 has been waiting on the Senate calendar for several weeks.

Backers want to secure the support of every college governing board in the state before they send it to the House.

Friday’s vote made FLC the 25th out of 28 college boards to back SB 15, said Lynea Hansen, spokeswoman for the Higher Education Access Alliance, which supports SB 15.

Sen. Ellen Roberts, R-Durango, opposed the bill last year and plans to vote against it this year.

“I really believe this is an issue the federal government has to take up,” Roberts said. “These kids would go to college, but they come out and they still can’t get a job. I don’t think that’s the right result, and I don’t think that’s the right goal.”

After election, Putin faces charges of fraud

MOSCOW — A day after claiming an overwhelming victory in Russia’s presidential election, Vladimir V. Putin on Monday faced a range of challenges to his legitimacy, including charges of fraud from international observers and a defiant opposition that vowed to keep him from serving his full six-year term.

While Mr. Putin was still celebrating his win, he received a slap in the face from observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. While finding less of the ballot stuffing and other flagrant violations that they said had marred parliamentary elections in December, the observers said Mr. Putin had faced no real competition and unfairly benefited from lavish government spending on his behalf.

Mr. Putin received milder responses from the European Union and from the United States, which called for an “independent, credible” investigation of fraud allegations but said it was ready to work with him in his new role.

Thousands of antigovernment protesters later gathered in a Moscow square to chant, “Russia without Putin.” Yet the crowd, which the police estimated at 15,000, lacked the giddy optimism that had pervaded earlier rallies.

When the riot police demanded that the crowd disperse after a couple of hours, many refused to leave. The police then swept up the blogger Aleksei Navalny, the most charismatic figure to emerge in this wave of activism, and dozens of other activists and pushed them into police vans. The police said 250 people had been detained, though many were released early Tuesday morning.

After Super Tuesday, Romney rivals face uphill battle to nomination

Though Mitt Romney’s opponents continue to insist there is a road to the Republican presidential nomination for them after the Super Tuesday contests, the arithmetic suggests otherwise.

How long it will take for the other contenders and their supporters to figure that out — and to make peace with it — is another question.

There are several reasons that candidates this year may not have to reckon with the inevitable for weeks or even months.

The GOP nomination contest was designed to play out more slowly than in the past. Through the end of this month, states are required to allocate their delegates in proportion to the votes each candidate receives. That means just about everyone comes away from just about every contest with something to show for it — and a rationale for continuing to the next one.

And while the emptying of a campaign’s bank account used to spell the end for a candidate, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich have been kept on life support by billionaire supporters who have taken advantage of changes in campaign law to pour millions into independent super PACs that support the candidates.

At the same time, party leaders and rank-and-file Republicans are increasingly anxious to bring the process to a conclusion, to spare their eventual nominee further attacks from within the party fold. It is becoming more apparent that a lengthy primary battle could have a corrosive effect on the GOP’s prospects in the fall against a Democratic incumbent whom most Republicans are desperate to defeat.

“The next couple of weeks will be dominated by different groups of people accepting reality, which is that Mitt Romney will be the nominee,” predicted Steve Schmidt, a political strategist who ran day-to-day operations for GOP nominee John McCain in 2008. “There’s just not going to be much appetite in the Republican Party for a long, drawn-out primary when the outcome is clear.”

Going into Tuesday’s balloting, Romney had just over 200 delegates, according to Associated Press estimates — well short of what he needs to secure the nomination but more than twice as many as Santorum, who was running second at just over 90 delegates. Gingrich and Rep. Ron Paul (Tex.) were far behind.

Even if one of them were to begin performing far better than he has to date, it is difficult to see how he could make up the gap.

“Delegate-wise, it’s virtually impossible for Rick Santorum or Newt Gingrich to get to 1,144,” said Josh Putnam, a Davidson College professor who is an expert on the quirky rules by which Republicans in various states apportion their convention delegates.

Yet even Paul, who has conceded publicly that his “chances are slim,” plans to forge on.

In the coming weeks, despite a path to the nomination that looks surer, Romney may stumble a few times.

Santorum and Gingrich are both optimistic about their prospects in upcoming contests in the South, which is not hospitable territory for Romney. Mississippi and Alabama hold their primaries — which award a total of 90 delegates — next Tuesday.

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Obama poised to restrict protest rights

Last week, Congress sent the Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act of 2011 to President Obama’s desk. If enacted, the law would broaden federal power to prosecute and levy penalties upon anyone who disrupts government or is deemed trespassing “without lawful authority” upon grounds that are protected by the US Secret Service. These grounds would not only include the White House, the vice president’s residence (US Naval Observatory) and other federal buildings, but also anywhere the president or people protected by Secret Service are visiting.

The bill passed in the House of Representatives with only three dissenters—but they raise important points about potential misuse of this law and worry that it might make protesting in the presence of politicians much more difficult. Representative Justin Amash, a freshman Tea Party member from Michigan, noted on his Facebook account that current law already forbids people from entering these restricted areas:

[This] bill expands current law to make it a crime to enter or remain in an area where an official is visiting even if the person does not know it's illegal to be in that area and has no reason to suspect it's illegal. Some government officials may need extraordinary protection to ensure their safety. But criminalizing legitimate First Amendment activity -- even if that activity is annoying to those government officials -- violates our rights. I voted "no."


While proponents of this bill haven’t explicitly referenced the Occupy movement, the timing is certainly interesting. Avoiding protests is becoming an increasing governmental concern, as evidenced by this week’s relocation of the G8 summit to Camp David. And if enacted, the enhanced powers of the Secret Service couldn’t be applied as a means of deterring or arresting protesters who seek to have their voices heard along the campaign trail or at the national party conventions.

In these times of risk, fear, and demands for change, the tension between the authority and needs of those who provide security and the right of individuals to protest and freely express their grievances are pushing particularly hard against one another. The Secret Service has its needs, and the risks and responsibilities inherent in its duties require realistic empathy and consideration. At the same time, protesters have rights, and efforts to keep them out of spaces in which federal officials gather is a sign of diminishing democracy.


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