220px-AlfedPalmersmokestacksWhile the United States continues to spend billions on foreign wars above the $4 trillion spent on Iraq and Afghanistan, we continue to receive new studies showing how the country is failing behind in education, science, and other programs needed for future growth. The latest is the study of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, which found that we have now dropped to 13th out of 16 major nations in energy efficiency — a key economic factor for future growth.

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dt.common.streams.StreamServer.clsThe fur is flying in Chicago after the Chicago Cubs, my home team, filed a lawsuit against John Paul Weier, Patrick Weier and three other unidentified individuals who are all dressing up as “Billy Cub” and taking pictures outside of Wrigley Field. As many know, I am a diehard Cubs fan but I have been critical of Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts in the past for this threats against fans to squeeze more money out of one of the most profitable teams in the country. The picture above was submitted as part of the lawsuit.

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Is Water a Right?

Seal_of_Detroit,_Michigan_svg

Respectfully submitted by Lawrence E. Rafferty (rafflaw)-Weekend Contributor

I have been watching the water crisis in Detroit for some time now and I have been amazed that it is not a bigger story.  If you haven’t heard, the new city Administrator of the City of Detroit that was appointed by the Governor and his Water Department have been turning off the water of needy citizens in Detroit when their past due bills are as little as $150.00. In a city with over 20% unemployment and countless vacant buildings, it seems like Detroit is slowly being destroyed.  Continue Reading »

Submitted by Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

Customs and Border Protection Shoulder PatchCyrus Farivar, the senior business editor of Ars Technica, wrote of his experience of having made a Freedom of Information Act request for data held regarding his Passenger Name Records (PNR) provided to the government by airlines, travel agents, and online booking services in order to review what is being tracked in his prior international travels. According to Cyrus, the government initially only included basic information going back to 1994 but after he appealed the request and the government then returned a seventy six page document of data revealing extensive data collected from 2005 to 2013.

He discovered that airlines and these various companies routinely hand over extensive passenger information during each transaction with the customer, including: phone number; address; e-mail address; meal preference (could be used to determine religion); accommodation requests; (can reveal health conditions); changes of seating; credit card numbers; whether the passenger is travelling with others and who; IP address; language used; notes from call center workers and other data not readily apparent to a reader.

The documents reveal a window into what privacy advocates believe is a disturbing trend of the U.S. Government to collect all things on all persons. And, this will likely have other repercussions.

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Submitted by Elaine Magliaro, Weekend Contributor

Forty-five years ago today—on July 20, 1969—astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the moon. Michael Collins, the other member of the Apollo 11 crew, orbited above them. As Armstrong, the first human to set foot on the surface of the moon, stepped down from the Eagle, he said, “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.” I remember the excitement and pride of the people of this country on that historic day. We Americans also felt great relief and exultation when those three astronauts returned to Earth safely following their successful mission.

Apollo 11 in 100 Seconds

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Submitted by Elaine Magliaro, Weekend Contributor

By Mark Esposito, Weekend Contributor

Author’s Note: Grace Under Pressure is an ongoing series of posts honoring everyday people who courageously make positive differences in their own lives and consequently in the lives of others. It is my own personal affirmation that unexpected heroes live among us and that their service is quiet but unshakable proof that virtue really is its own reward  – and ours, too. You can read all of the Grace Under Pressure series by going to the blog search box and typing in the word “grace.” 

o-HOMELESS-MAN-DELIVERS-BABY-facebookEight-months pregnant, Keaton Mason felt that unmistakable feeling around 9:30 p.m. while sitting in her home in Oklahoma City. Summoning her fiance’ and grabbing her bug-out bag, the pair jumped into their white Honda and headed to the hospital. The timing seemed fine as they were only a short drive from the facility, but Baby Tatum had another plan in mind. Pulling off at the first exit they could find on I-40, they screeched to a stop just beside some semis at a large truck stop. The young couple was panicked and a small crowd of the helpless began to form. No one had medical training and no one around had any expertise past calling the 911.

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