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Dean Baker
Published: Sunday 9 December 2012
When people being portrayed as policy experts tell you that the United States or other countries face a demographic disaster because of declining ratios of workers to retirees they are mostly trying to tell you that they are not very good arithmetic.

The Nonsense About a Demographic Crisis

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One of themes that recurs endlessly in news coverage is that the United States and other countries face a disastrous threat to their living standards as a result of a falling ratio of workers to retirees. This is one that can be easily dismissed with some simple arithmetic.

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ABOUT Dean Baker
Dean Baker is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. He previously worked as a senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute and an assistant professor at Bucknell University. He is the author of several books, including Plunder & Blunder: The Rise and Fall of the Bubble Economy, The Conservative Nanny State: How the Wealthy Use the Government to Stay Rich and Get Richer and The United States Since 1980. He was the editor of Getting Prices Right: The Debate Over the Consumer Price Index, which was a winner of a Choice Book Award as one of the outstanding academic books of the year. He appears frequently on TV and radio programs, including CNN, CBS News, PBS NewsHour, and National Public Radio. His blog, Beat the Press, features commentary on economic reporting. He received his B.A. from Swarthmore College and his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Michigan.

If wages had not been so

If wages had not been so viciously stifled over the past 30 years, the need for government services would not continue to be so great!

I have long thought that the

I have long thought that the solution to the social security conundrum is to cease tying it to numbers of workers but to productivity. So, does this mean that corporations should sacrifice a bit more of their profits to the fund? Why not? Seems redistribution of the wealth of the nation has pretty much moving in one direction - up - and I see nothing wrong with moving a bit of it down and/or out to the future retirees, disabled and survivors of workers. Could it be that economists/mathematicians like Mr. Baker would come up with a formula and our politicians could implement it. Ah, but I can dream, can't I?

Editors - where's the

Editors - where's the article's promised 'chart below'?
Fortunately the text summarizes the intended messages of the chart.

I welcome the corrective attitude of this article, but its approach can go only so far. Both the author and those whom he critiques are playing with macro-concepts which seem reasonably well-defined at first glance but far less so in later gaze. What follows are some examples of the difficulties.

Many 'workers' don't or can't really work full time, or are given assignments that socially can't really be very productive. On the other hand, many 'retirees' are doing socially useful work. And just how to measure 'productivity' in materially and socially real terms? Nominal dollar values, whether or not adjusted by across-the-board inflation factors over time, don't quite track functional values. The goods and services and forms of putative wealth that folks value today are not quite those that were valued a generation ago - or will be valued in a generation hence.

The so called policy experts

The so called policy experts are not bad at math, they are trying to hide the fact that they are takers not makers.

The Republican Party

The Republican Party characterizes the old and infirm as "useless eaters". They hold a position indistinguishable from the WWII Nazis.

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Gay Rights

Supreme Court Takes No Action On Same Sex Marriage Cases

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The Supreme Court on Monday was silent on whether it will remain silent on same sex marriage. The justices met in private on Friday to discuss whether or not to review chalenges on the U.S. Defense of Marriage act, an act which denies benefits to same sex couples. 31 of the 50 states have banned same sex  marriage while Washington D.C. and nine other states have legalized it. Even where same sex marriage is legal, howeverr, same sex couples do not receive benefits due to DOMA.

Read it at Reuters

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Big Oil

Senators Push Obama to Propose Clean Gasoline Rules

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A group of democratic senators are going to propose new regulations on gasoline today. The plan is to set rules that will cut the sulfur in gasoline this year and finalize the legislation next year. Ed Whitfield, a republican in the house of representatives, introduced a bill this year to stop just this. The EPA however has testified before congress showing that this will actually decrease costs in the long run. 

Read it at Reuters

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Sorry Monsanto: Govt Admits GM Bt Cotton Crops Fail 40%

Lisa Garber
Natural Society / News Report
Published: Thursday 29 November 2012
Faced with unbearable debt and health problems, the National Crime Records Bureau predicts that 5,000 farmers will have committed suicide by the end of the year.
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The government of Maharashtra, a state in western India, has acknowledged for the first time that Bt cotton is a failure that will likely reduce yields by 40%, from 3.5 to 2.2 million quintal. The region’s cotton farmers will face about Rs6,000 crore, over 1 billion USD. Accumulated losses are to be even more staggering: Rs 20,000 crore, or about 3.6 billion USD, due to rising cultivation costs.

Searched: Maharashtra

Searched: Maharashtra original government report on GMO 2012. Found:

Does anyone know where I can

Does anyone know where I can access a copy of the original government report, and perhaps the data? Thanks in advance.

Does anyone know where I can

Does anyone know where I can access a copy of the original government report, and perhaps the data? Thanks in advance.

I hope this is the beginning

I hope this is the beginning of the end for Monsatano et al!
For too long they have terrorized farmers and poisoned their customers just to make a buck. Well, billions of bucks actually. Not to mention buying politicians and legislators and courts and who knows what else to further their vile deeds.
And let them get away with it.
But things are changing now, at last! Many people, entire countries are simply not buying it anymore. And that's what we should all do, boot them out and sue the CEO's and directors, put them in jail where they belong! And then distribute the vast proceeds of their crimes among their victims. Justice!



I think the question should

I think the question should be, why the yields are decreasing? In other parts of the world, yields have been increasing. Why in India are they failing? And why is there an inconsistency across India? Why do some areas in India do well and places like Maharashtra do poorly? The national average shows an increase in yields overall, not a monstrous increase, but an increase.

As to farmer suicide, it's a complex issue that can't only be pinned on GM crops failure. Much of it comes from dishonest local seed companies and local loan sharks. In fact, the Indian Government just revoked an Indian company's license to sell Bt seeds due to allegations of hoarding and lying about seed supply which caused the seeds to be sold for higher prices on the black market.

To lay the blame only at the GMO doorstep is simplistic thinking.

@Bernie Mooney Using your

@Bernie Mooney

Using your same logic, perhaps the very, very modest gains using BT cotten are due to other environmental factors. Not taking into consideration culpability of GMO cotton is simplistic thinking. (So we're at a wash here. In other words, neither one of us has said anything meaningful.)

As for farmer suicides, we can surely say that GMO cotten is one aspect, since these suicides were not happening beforehand.

We can also say that people who get cancer would have gotten it anyway, even if they didn't smoke cigarettes. You know, we shouldn't blame only tobacco.

These comments are all true, and they are used copiously be marketers and corporate lawyers. That's why we need to understand the difference between causation and correlation. In the case of tobacco and cancer, the correlation is just too strong to ignore.

So we can always counter with something like "there are so many environmental factors that we can't blame only tobacco" but the correlation is so strong that when we take tobacco out of the equation, cancers drop dramatically.

It seems that you want to

It seems that you want to blame it on Bt cotton. The suicides were happening before the introduction of Bt cotton. And there are various factors that are the cause like I said, loan sharks is one of them.

Again, why are the suicides not nationwide and limited to certain areas? Why are there more suicides by cotton farmers in Maharashtra than Gujarat? And then you have the so-called "monopoly cotton procurement scheme" in Maharashtra. That law makes the state the sole buyer of cotton and they don't necessarily pay farmers market value.

Various reports have said that cultural and medical problems contribute to the mix. Also, caste and class and corrupt governmental institutions. A lot of the problems come from internal sources and those aren't being addressed.

As to your correlation equals causation argument, you're doing it that by saying GM crops are causing it even though suicides were happening before introduction of GM crops. Also, in West Bengal there has been an increase in farmer suicides. They don't grow Bt cotton. They are rice and potato farmers. Those crops aren't GMO. In fact, Bt cotton is the only approved GM crop in India.

The modest gains? Since the introduction of Bt cotton in 2002, India has gone from an importer to an exporter of cotton.

Bernie Mooney wants you to

Bernie Mooney wants you to shut up and eat.

Worried about your job,

Worried about your job, Bernie? You should be, if you're working for whom I suspect you're working for!
Yes, there are other problems as well but the biotech gangsters are clearly in the lead when it comes to screwing up agriculture!
So start looking for another job, Bernie, why don't you try working as a farmhand on an organic farm? You might learn something new and at least you'd be doing an honest day's work for a change! Good luck!

You know, your response is

You know, your response is all too typical of the anti-GMO crowd. It shows a total lack of independent thought or the ability to engage in serious discussion. Why don't you address what I wrote instead of relying on knee jerk assumptions? Its much easier to think I work for BigAgra rather than come up with a cogent response.

Explain this, if you can. I wrote this in another response. If Bt cotton is the culprit in these suicides, why are suicides rising in West Bengal where there is no Bt cotton being grown? It's rice and potatoes, non-GMO.

Do you know there are over 500 strains of GM cotton India? Not all are Monsanto, most are developed in country.

As to working on an organic farm? No thanks. If I were to work on a farm, which I did as a kid, I would work on one that uses modern methods and is less labor intensive. I would want to work on a farm that's main focus is growing food as efficiently as possible, not based on some naturalistic fantasy. I'm not a fan of 1800s feces-based agriculture. I'm a progressive, not a regressive.

Nobody wants to argue with

Nobody wants to argue with you Bernie because it's pointless. You are grasping on to a worldview that is in error.

Essentially the issue isn't whether GMOs are good or bad for you. It's a consumer choice issue. I want the choice to not eat it therefore it should be labelled clearly.

Now I know you're going to want to respond with some nonsense about how I am anti-science or argue how GMOs are no different from organic. blah blah. It's all nonsense.

I don't want any of it and you're just going to have to deal with that. It would be the EXACT same if I imposed on everyone the color of car everyone should have. I want you to have a blue car and you are not allowed to have anything else. You see how I'm taking the choice away? Knowing your typical responses on this forum I'm guessing you don't agree.

AND that's why your opinion is not valid. K?

As Nancy would put it. "Just

As Nancy would put it. "Just say No!" to gmo.

. . Did the government

. . Did the government atleast send a copy of the report to Monsanto????
All their fighting to bl0ck labeling?.?.? The general population is smarter than they and our politicians are.....

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Robert Reich
NationofChange / Op-Ed
Published: Thursday 29 November 2012
Earlier this week the Council of Economic Advisers published a report detailing the awful consequences of going over the so-called “fiscal cliff.”

Bungee-Jumping Over the Fiscal Cliff

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What’s the best way to pressure Republicans into agreeing to extend the Bush tax cuts for the middle class while ending them for the wealthy?

The President evidently believes it’s to scare average Americans about how much additional taxes they’ll pay if the Bush tax cuts expire on schedule at the end of the year. He plans to barnstorm around the country, sounding the alarm.

This article was originally posted on Robert Reich's blog.

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ABOUT Robert Reich


ROBERT B. REICH, one of the nation’s leading experts on work and the economy, is Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley. He has served in three national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton. Time Magazine has named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the last century. He has written thirteen books, including his latest best-seller, “Aftershock: The Next Economy and America’s Future;” “The Work of Nations,” which has been translated into 22 languages; and his newest, an e-book, “Beyond Outrage.” His syndicated columns, television appearances, and public radio commentaries reach millions of people each week. He is also a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine, and Chairman of the citizen’s group Common Cause. His widely-read blog can be found at Robert Reich's new film, "Inequality for All" is available on DVD
and blu-ray, and on Netflix in February.

Why do all media insist on

Why do all media insist on even allowing the thought that this fiscal mess resulted from excessive spending? It is a damned lie. This deficit and all the problems that accompany it are the result of persistent Republican pressure to make taxes go in only one direction, down.

They have duped the ignorant, ill-informed, biased and overly-simplistic into supporting the idea that government is an enemy and that it must be shrunk into a manageable size. That is one of the stupidest ideas I have ever heard and the fact that all Republicans in Congress signed on to it via the Norquist Pledge is criminal.

Let's tell it like it is. This is the Republican Fiscal Mess.

Well, massive ongoing tax

Well, massive ongoing tax cuts plus incredible military spending. Remember, we've been engaged in war more often than not for the past century! Since Reagan, several trillion dollars have been redistributed upward. Corporate tax cuts continue to be used to cover the costs of building factories and offices in foreign countries, shipping out our jobs. Once again, we hear the middle class calling for "entitlement reform." Well, think about it. The entire General Assistance (welfare) program was shut down years ago. Then, AFDC was "reformed" right out of existence. Everything from disability aid to food stamps, schools to weather warning services, have been cut to the bone. All of this money was simply funneled into the bank accounts of the rich, not into "balancing the budget" or meeting the needs of our crumbling nation. The media and politicians appear oblivious to to how much "cutting" has already been done to entitlements. They can't seem to grasp that the entitlement to basic poverty relief was wiped out. Anything cut from Social Security or Medicare would simply go into the bank accounts of the rich.

Watch out for Obama

Watch out for Obama backstepping on Medicare and Social Security before Christmas. Contact Senator Bernie Sanders and your own senators and congressman to stop cuts to these important necessities.

the democrats want the cliff

the democrats want the cliff [ask sen murray] tax hike plus big defense cuts pure democrat nirvana

"Even as the wealthy go over

"Even as the wealthy go over the cliff," the Professor states. They WON'T be going over any cliff. Maybe one less vacation home. McCain has eight...he thinks.
Seven would be a horrible sacrifice!

To be a true leader you need

To be a true leader you need to use your power skillfully: you have to cut off your anger, your craving and your ignorance. You have to let go!
I wonder how many of our leaders are capable of practicing these virtues, they are so wrapped up in their agendas that they can't see the bigger picture. The middle will never be served well with leaders who cannot put their own agendas aside.

The professor's tactic makes

The professor's tactic makes sense, while the administration's approach is yet another proof of its near-complete lack of skill at negotiation and gamesmanship. The president has sounded a bit tougher lately, but he's still too willing to put things on the table that the people who elected him consider sacred. He needs to see the film "Lincoln" and take to heart the lesson it offers, that is that a president can be a good, likeable person, and when it's needed, also a tough guy. I'd say he must be both.

It's my understanding that

It's my understanding that the Senate has already passed an extension of the tax cuts for those making less than a quarter million. All the House has to do is pass it, without amendments to include the wealthy.

Boris Badenov's picture

I say throw the Republicans

I say throw the Republicans off the Fiscal Cliff!
Without a rope.

The Republican Party shot

The Republican Party shot themselves in the foot with the last election amd now they're lining up to shoot the other foot . . . We need a third party more than ever - so atleast we will still have a two party system...
. . What's that old saying about a sinking ship ??? Not the one about the captain going down with the ship the other one ??? DESERTING??????
Imagine no more Republican Party - - no more blocked legislation - - no more of Bush's my way or the highway.........yup WMD's only spelled G.O.P. - - Ghastly Obnoxious Policies

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Flight Records Say Russia Sent Syria Tons of Cash

Dafna Linzer, Jeff Larson and Michael Grabell
Pro Publica / News Report
Published: Monday 26 November 2012
“The regime of Bashar al-Assad is increasingly in need of cash to stay afloat and continue financing the military’s efforts to crush the uprising.”
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This past summer, as the Syrian economy began to unravel and the military pressed hard against an armed rebellion, a Syrian government plane ferried what flight records describe as more than 200 tons of “bank notes” from Moscow.

The records of overflight requests were obtained by ProPublica. The flights occurred during a period of escalating violence in a conflict that has left tens of thousands of people dead since fighting broke out in March 2011.

ABOUT Dafna Linzer

Dafna Linzer’s coverage on Guantanamo and military detentions during the Obama Presidency won the prized 2010 Overseas Press Club award for General Excellence. She has also been honored by the American Bar Association’s Silver Gavel award.

France and GB have already

France and GB have already recognised the Syrian Rebels as the government of Syria. They are getting their weapons from that well known Middle East democracy Saudia Arabia. The have done so, not because they believe in democracy, but because they can sell their weapons to Saudi Arabia. They have no interest in the fate of the Christians of Syria or other minorities after the fundamentalists take over, and neither apparently do either of your previous commentators.

No worries for Obama fans.

No worries for Obama fans. Everyone who has followed Mideast news for the past years - and these may even include a couple of stray White House policy wonks who don't deliberately blindfold themselves - knows that the Russians and Iranians have long and actively been in there pitching for Assad.

Meanwhile, Obama (1) wrung his hands in studied helplessness, as he likes to do when confronted with real tyranny, as in Teheran in 2009, (2) said that Assad should go, and (3) asked the Russians to help calm him down.

In effect the Obama actions and policies in regard Syria and the Mideast are trying as hard as possible to undercut the USA's own influence there, so that the Mideast and its peoples can and will be left to the tender mercies of local tyrants, Islamo-nazis, and the machinations of formerly second-rate powers - a status to which good Obamites believe the USA is morally obliged to reduce itself.

Thank you for publishing this

Thank you for publishing this article, which I have just read in Sydney, Australia. It is deeply troubling. My educated guess is that our national tv provider, the ABC, will say something about this; but it's not clear when. I intend to email the article to the Leader of our Federal Opposition, who knows me. We worked in the same office some of a national think tank years ago, he on Government and Politics, me on Education, Literacy, Civics, and the Rule of Law.

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ABOUT Jeff Larson

Jeff Larson was the Online Director at The Nation where he coordinated the magazine's editorial and business activities on the web during the 2009 political season. Previously, he worked at W.W. Norton and as a film and video editor at an Emmy award winning production company.

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Italian Politics

Thousands Rally against Italy’s Monti Austerity.

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Mario Monti was appointed a year ago when Italy came close to a Greek-style debt crisis, Prime Minister Monti has pushed through many painful tax increases and many spending cuts to rein in public finances at a time when schools and universities are desperately in need more support.  "We need to fight for our rights. This government doesn't represent us and these austerity measures and all the cuts they've introduced are totally anti-democratic," said student protester Tommaso Bernardi, attending a rally in Rome.

Read it at Reuters

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Shannon Hayes
Yes! Magazine / Op-Ed
Published: Saturday 24 November 2012
“We chose carefully, selecting a system that had been manufactured in this country, one we felt would last us for the next fifty years.”

The Endangered Repairman

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If there is one piece of electronic equipment in our house that every member of the family equally enjoys, it is our stereo. Listening to music and radio is one of our greatest pleasures. Bob and I purchased it shortly after we got married with gift money we’d received. We chose carefully, selecting a system that had been manufactured in this country, one we felt would last us for the next fifty years.

As an ex-tech, the thing that

As an ex-tech, the thing that personally bugged me the most was when working on certain equipment, you'd easily be able to spot the blown I.C. (Integrated Circuit) or Transistor /Mosfet/Hybrid/Power Amp Module, but some dirty mofo had decreed that the part numbers had to be ground off - Without the repair manual the thing was essentially a brick.

Same thing with a bunch of circuitry potted in black resin in an internal sub-module. That's just playing dirty so the gadget/whatever had to be sent back to the factory. Used to drive me nuts.

I'm a stereo guy with 30+

I'm a stereo guy with 30+ years of experience and I have to tell you that your
experience with "the electronics store" is not the norm, and yes there are many,
many, choices of HiFi equipment (to many to list) that have nothing to do with an internet connection and are exceptionally well made made, including older analog capabilities L.P.'s Tape, Radio, (etc). what is most disturbing, is you are obviously a writer of some note, and did not do (any) research on the subject, if your sales person really told you the only option was (wireless Speakers)
and a WiFi connection then he/she was a moron!. it is misleading and negligent
to write an article based on your experience with a company that essentially sells plastic and cardboard crap, with catchy technology words used for marketing this silly product to people who think its the best.... what have you ever owned that has lasted 50 years!..... wow that's stunning do you think your car should go 700,000 miles as well? there is a company based in Binghamton Ny that has been making HiFi equipment for over 50 years that will last for 50 years but it cost way more then $299.00 (and they will repair it to)and that's just one company, the number of manufactures that sell old school HiFi equipment is huge! and out there for any music enthusiast to discover

It all started with microsoft

It all started with microsoft and their lock in business model. Don't bother upgrading you equipment that can last another ten years just buy our new os and that new computer because you need the new hardware to run our new os.

Innovation aka lockin rip off.

I still have computers that are ten years old that have been running linux from day one and I am still upgrading them with new versions of linux. only thing replaced is a power supply. I never had a virus or root kit because linux comes with tools that keep an eye out for this stuff and I gave zero dollars to microsoft and apple. So of course other electronic manufacturers have taken up this philosophy and so now you have throw-a-way society.

Back in 74 or 75 the govt

Back in 74 or 75 the govt stopped quad sound systems. If you remember them they were the best! Balance those four speakers and you could get dizzy and fall down listening to Rick Wakeman, Journey to the Center of the Earth!

The govt stopped allowing them in the US because nobody would make compatible systems, so SONY wouldn't work w/Hitachi, with BSR, with Panasonic, etc. Govt said play nice or don't play. They didn't, then couldn't.

One reason that the old sounds better is because the digital sound is chopped. The analogue recordings flowed, and your brain can tell the difference on some secret level, because no matter what they say, there is a definite difference.

i'm also convinced that even though many new songs CAN include decent frequency responses, the frequencies are not bothered with. The avg American can only hear to about 16 or 18 thousand hertz by the age of 18. W/cars and the volume played now, it is likely less than that. Maybe that is why so much of the young generation only responds to base and shouting. (yes, generalization, but think about the popular crapppp)

i was able to hear about 24,000 hertz in my mid 20's and have used ear protection as much as possible through the years. Any Dolby system makes music sound like orange juice cans and string to me. i still love the highs and trebles w/very subdued to moderate bass.

Just because there in new technology doesn't make things better. There is a great book which argues that we have a worse life than the aboriginal tribes did, and there seems to be truth in that assertion.

I will not buy products that

I will not buy products that don't have batteries that can be easily replaced by the user and recharged outside the machine, and that includes all electronic devices. We have the last generation of Macbook Pros that came with replaceable batteries (my husband repairs them as needed), and we have no interest in iPads, iPods, or iPhones, all of which are overpriced and too fragile for our lifestyles. My husband dropped my nearly a decade old Fuji digital pro-sumer camera to a concrete slab from a height of more than 12 feet, and it didn't break or lose any data. It is much heavier than the pocket cameras sold today, but it runs on 4 AA rechargeable batteries. Since I often use the camera for 12 continuous hours or more in my job, I need to be able to just swap batteries and keep going, and the same goes for my computer. I also am resistant to upgrading software more often than my apps absolutely require me too - most often corps want you to upgrade on THEIR schedule, to ensure them a steady source of income, to justify keeping full-time programming staff without having to come up with entirely new applications. I'm still running Windows XP and Parallels 4 on my Mac, and it still does everything my business requires.

When I was a kid, everything

When I was a kid, everything got repaired, and got repaired over and over again until it could not be repaired anymore. My parents' generation which came through the Great Depression didn't waste anything. TV and radios got repaired and shoes got reheeled and resoled. And, of course, pop and beer came in glass bottles that were reused until they broke and the only thing thrown away was the cap. Amazing how much people recycled before they talked about recycling and how people followed practices which were both ecologically and economically sound before people started talking about "saving the earth" and everything turned to disposable plastic.

Anyone old enough to remember

Anyone old enough to remember pulling all the tubes out of your messed up TV or radio and checking them yourself at the 7/11 tube tester? If you found a bad one then you had to hope there would be a replacement in the store. High Fidelity is becoming a thing of the past as newer generations aren't aware that MP3 isn't the only way to listen to music.

Not to mention MP3 with

Not to mention MP3 with earbuds....

Yep this is Bose for sure. I

Yep this is Bose for sure. I purchased their first generation Lifestyle system which was a "bass module" two satellite speakers, and a small, really small, cd and receiver piece. It lasted 10 years and then the LCD panel started malfunctioning.

They did the same thing with the buy back, but they actually gave me 50% off the price of a new system. Most audiophiles hate Bose consumer products because they are made very poorly, and I agree with that. I do like how the Bose system rolls of though. It's easy on my ears and never causes me fatigue.

However, I would never purchase another Bose system because of poor, really poor, quality. I had my new system back to Bose twice for repairs in the first year. (One thing about Bose is that if they repair your system under warranty, they start yuor warranty over again from the beginning.Their customer service is probably the best. They even send you a box to ship the system in and everything is paid for.)

Still, my new system's remote is failing only 6 years after I "upgraded" (with light use) and after calling Bose, they said it would only cost 180.00 to fix it. Go figure.

As an aside, I recently acquired my mom's old original Bose system, the same one I bought back in 1995. The control piece didn't work anymore, but the speakers did. The problem was that the bass module had loose connection where the speaker wire plugs in. I did a little research on you-tube and found out that the connectors were breaking at the solder point. I fixed it myself and now I have a great computer speaker system--lol.

The problem is that details

The problem is that details surrounding both hardware and software are kept secret.

The underlying reason may be that not too many people are aware of the issue, so laws are made to protect the secret keepers instead of the public.

It seems like the problem could be solved by requiring all manufactures to file detailed blue prints of their products with the government, with the understanding that if they quit producing or repairing any particular product, all patents, copyrights, etc would expire on the product, and the blue prints would go online.

I don't know if anybody has made any effort to push for this, but in the case of software, there is the Free Software Foundation,

In the meantime, though, everybody should share what they learn about "obsolete" hardware.

I have a set of Whirlpool

I have a set of Whirlpool Duet washer & dryer units, bought used. It is possible to get the REPAIR manual (not owners manual) online. When you open the top of each unit there is a ziplock bag taped to the side of the housing with several more pages of service information and part numbers. That made it possible for me to repair a leak in the washer for free (clamp came off) and get an inoperative dryer working for the cost of a $12 part. All manufacturers should be required to supply repair manuals online. It costs them nothing!

The grimly funny thing about

The grimly funny thing about all of this is that "vintage" stereo equipment, generally still working and repairable by anyone with some knowledge of electronics and the right tools, is currently in demand by people who prefer the sound of older music played on the type of equipment it was mixed to be played on. Some modern equipment includes features alleged to emulate the sound of tube-driven amplifiers, and tube-drive guitar amplifiers are still manufactured.

But as noted....when a modern stereo quits, chances are it cannot be repaired. Disposal of broken electronics has become a major problem in this country. I am, frankly, surprised that no major concern has taken the opportunity to learn how to repair what are often high-end items, take in "junk", restore it, and sell it at a discount. Yes, there are "factory refurbished" items, but that is not the same thing.

It's not just stereos (er, "home entertainment systems") and electronics (remember when Grandpa still had a TV from the 60s or a radio from the 1930s?). When is the last time you tried to have a watch repaired? Or have you ever thrown a watch away because the battery cost more than a replacement? Watches were once heirlooms handed down from generation to generation. Do you expect yours to appear in your will?

We have lost, not only the repairman, but a sense of continuity, tradition, pride in both workmanship and ownership. Beloved possessions have been reduced to "stuff". We are smaller for it.

How True.....and How sad - a

How True.....and How sad - a disposable world. . . . . ..all we import is garbage / throw it away and buy a new one...........

The same mentality is

The same mentality is creeping into the automotive industry too. Instead of being able to fix your car yourself with a $50 part you now need a "technician" to replace a $1500 computer control unit. Plus manufacturers don't make replacement parts available for as long as they used to. That $1500 control unit may not be available for your 12 year old car any longer. But they'll sell you a new car for only $35K.

As a music lover, the owner

As a music lover, the owner of 4,000 lp's and an "old stereo," I can appreciate the sentiment behind your article. You said it yourself when mentioning "our throwaway consumer culture." "New," in the minds of many, simply means "better," although many of us know that to be grossly erroneous. The more "bells and whistles"attached to some piece of equipment or automobile seems to be the main selling point, NOT the reliability. I would also add that by simply "throwing away" various pieces of electronic equipment versus repairing them we are generating enormous amounts of often hazardous waste. Much of this either ends up in our already polluted landfills or gets exported to India or China, where kids "comb the wreckage" and get exposed to materials adverse to their health. As a kid in the 60's, we had the same TV repairman for years. A new tube now and then did the trick. Now we go through contortions with a million gadgets sapping the electrical grid. I want my rabbit ears and repairman back. To hell with "progress."

Soon, we will have to learn

Soon, we will have to learn how to make things that CAN be repaired again. This disposable throw-away manufactured obsolescence paradigm must DIE!

One of the WORST offenders is Apple. They lost yet another "sale" with me when I found out that I couldn't even change the battery in a Macbook when it inevitably became unusable in 3 or 4 years (as ALL lithium batteries do)!

The current consumerist insanity is wasteful of Earth's (dwindling) resources just to pump up the GDP... for short-term profits for the point 1 of 1%...

This is true of all Apple

This is true of all Apple products including ipods.

Sounds like an experience I

Sounds like an experience I had with the Bose people. They will not release any information about their devices but instead will do a buy-back. I talked to a technical person and told him I was capable in reading schematics and could do my own repairs. He still said he couldn't sell me any schematics. I was able to finally obtain a set through an old serviceman. It was an easy fix. Will never buy a Bose product because of their screwy rules. You'd think they were selling the secret to eternal life rather than some expensive (over-priced in my view) table top radios.

My 30 year old Yamaha stereo

My 30 year old Yamaha stereo receiver came with the schematic! Still going strong.

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U.S. Justice

Supreme Court to Decide on Rules for Workplace Harassment

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The case turns on the definition of a single word - "supervisor" - under a federal civil rights law that prohibits racial, religious, and sexual harassment in the workplace. Previously under Supreme Court rulings, the employer is automatically responsible if a supervisor harasses a subordinate. The employer is not liable if the harassment is between two equal coworkers, unless they are negligent in case of abuse.

Read it at Reuters

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10 Things Progressives Can Be Thankful For

Think Progress / News Report
Published: Thursday 22 November 2012
Following a long presidential campaign full of policy battles and disagreements, progressives have a lot to be thankful for this holiday season. Here are 10 things we can all celebrate.
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NOC, You forgot to mention


You forgot to mention the first openly lesbian Senator to be elected under "most diverse Congress" in American history.

Well, i'm thankful for Bradly

Well, i'm thankful for Bradly Manning who is charged with exposing our war crimes in Iraq; if the charges are true, he is supremely patriotic and has a deep love of our country (if not our government). I'm also thankful for Julian Assange who published the info, wherever it came from.

Now --- regarding our sons (and daughters!) in uniform ---- of course we're thankful for them. But we should also be thankful for those opposed to our endless wars who want to take them out of harm's way. There was no reason for us to have sacrificed our sons in the war against Viet Nam, and there's no reason to sacrifice the current generation in crazy wars against Moslems and Arabs.

And especially i'm thankful for third party candidates across the political spectrum --- Dr. Jill Stein, Rocky Anderson, Gary Johnson, and Virgil Goode --- for their efforts to restore us to Constitutional rule where Congress decides what specific countries we are at war with, and we maintain no large standing armies, as our founders warned us about. It is a very long struggle to return to the rule of law, but we can be thankful that at least a couple of million are participating.

Obamacare? Whoever wrote

Obamacare? Whoever wrote this article is certainly NOT part of the 70% of Americans who didn't want this horrible health care system crammed down their throats but got it anyway. Obamacare, with it's IPAB, Independent Payment and Advisory Board, better known as Death Panels and health care rationing is going to destroy our current healthcare system which is the finest in the world. Who0ever wrote this article will rue the day they gave thanks for Obamacare. If you want a great healthcare system; pray for one that is absent of government!

"Whoever wrote this article

"Whoever wrote this article is certainly NOT part of the 70% of Americans who didn't want this horrible health care system crammed down their throats but got it anyway."...Because THAT 70% to which you refer is Fictional and only exists in "Right Wing" talking points.
Currently the Like/Dislike number on "Obamacare" is split at about 50/50, and has been constantly approving as, gradually, more of it takes effect and people learn more about it.
Your IPAB "Death Panel" Talking Point has been debunked so thoroughly and so Often that it's Laughable to see someone still using it.
And our "Finest Healthcare System" in the world is Actually ranked 37th by the World Health Organization.
Rely more on the Truth and Less on "Talking Points".

I find it odd that, in spite

I find it odd that, in spite of the fact that I disagree with most of your comment, I agree that Obamacare is bad policy.

Your belief in death panels and rationing, having been debunked so thoroughly and so often, is absurd... . Our healthcare system is certainly the most expensive in the world, but health outcomes are only mediocre at best according to the New England Journal of Medicine.

The real problem, as you correctly conclude, is government. In this case, government forcing us to buy insurance from a wholly corrupt and inefficient industry with a business model that is the very essence of conflict of interest.

All in exchange for a few new regulations that the industry said it could live with. All of which they blithely ignore when it suits them... since they know and we know that our government is totally and intentionally inept when it comes to enforcing regulations against large companies of all types.

I'm thankful for Anonymous -

I'm thankful for Anonymous - if only for their blocking Rove's flipping the vote in Ohio and two other swing states that would have handed the election to Romney.

And for Student Protests in Quebec that brought down the corrupt Liberal govt.

And the Student Protests in Chile that have already changed the govt there.

And for EVERY person who has stood up against Corporate Rule and for a Community based economy - the only sustainable future.

Now the question is: Who's

Now the question is: Who's going to pay for 1 to 10. Self reliance works better.

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