7 For All Mankind, a division of VF Contemporary Brands
Burberry
US iTunes, App Store, iBookstore, and Mac App Store
7 For All Mankind, a division of VF Contemporary Brands
Rebecca Taylor
7 For All Mankind, a division of VF Contemporary Brands
Saks Fifth Avenue
New July 2013

Torture Didn’t Aid Bin Laden Hunt

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According to Senate report.

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Obama: “Schatz, Schatz, Schatz, Everybody”

Barack Obama weighed in the competitive Democratic primary for U.S. Senate in his home state of Hawaii on Monday, backing incumbent Brian Schatz.

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Obama Endorses Schatz In HI-Sen

Barack Obama weighed in the competitive Democratic primary for U.S. Senate in his home state of Hawaii on Monday, backing incumbent Brian Schatz.

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Longest Senate Campaign Of 2014

With Mary Landrieu’s re-election depending on a December runoff, Election Day may not determine control of the Senate in 2015.

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Thais vote for senators as PM showdown looms

Outcome of upper house ballot could influence decision to remove prime minister which requires three-fifths vote.

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Berlusconi’s latest political strategy: pet adoptions

<!– google_ad_section_start –> Former Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi has unveiled a scheme to boost his flagging popularity: finding homes for hundreds of thousands of stray dogs and cats to win the hearts of animal lovers, media reports said Sunday. <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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Thais vote for Senate as showdown looms for PM

<!– google_ad_section_start –> Thais voted on Sunday to elect the upper house of parliament in a poll that could hold the key to the fate of the prime minister, who faces possible impeachment for negligence after months of street protests. <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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Coalition keen to sell ‘budget repair job’ as focus shifts to Western Australia

Despite agreeing to big ticket budget items of the NDIS and Gonski reforms, the Coalition says it is working towards curtailing spending to ensure a sustainable budget is delivered in MayFinance minister Mathias Cormann is pointing to efforts to curtail spending as the government intensifies its May budget preparations arguing that outlays for signature programs like the National Disability Insurance Scheme must be efficient and well targeted.With national politics about to shift west for the next few days in the lead-up to the critical senate by-election in Western Australia next weekend, both the prime minister and the finance minister were talking up budget sustainability on Sunday.

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Jeremiah Denton, US POW held in Vietnam who became senator after TV interview fame

<!– google_ad_section_start –> Jeremiah Denton, a former US senator who was held as a prisoner of war by North Vietnam for more than seven years and revealed his treatment by blinking the word “torture” in Morse code during a televised interview, died on Friday aged 89. <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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California senate suspends three Democratic lawmakers in criminal probes

By Laila Kearney (Reuters) – The California state Senate suspended three Democratic lawmakers on Friday who have been the subject of criminal probes, including Leland Yee, who was arrested this week in an FBI sweep on corruption and gun trafficking charges. The Senate voted 28-1 to suspend…

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Jeremiah A. Denton Jr., War Hero and Senator, Dies at 89

A Navy pilot who endured years in North Vietnamese captivity, later prompted by what he saw as America’s moral decline to become a proponent of right-wing Christian groups.

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California state Senate votes to suspend three Democrats over criminal investigations

(Reuters) – The California state Senate voted to suspend three Democratic lawmakers on Friday who have been the subject of criminal probes, including Leland Yee, who was arrested this week in an FBI sweep on corruption and gun trafficking charges. The Senate voted 28-1 to suspend the trio,…

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GOP lawmakers scramble to court Tesla

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Electric vehicle sales in New Jersey ran out of batteries earlier this month, when the Chris Christie administration voted to ban car manufacturers from selling directly to drivers. The companies must now use third-party dealers. The ban applies to all car manufacturers, but seemed particularly aimed at Tesla, which had been in negotiations with the administration for months to sell electric cars straight from its own storefronts in the state. The move was a win for the state’s surprisingly powerful auto dealer lobby and a loss for one of the country’s biggest electric car makers. But it also cemented New Jersey’s place as a non-contender for the real prize: a $5 billion battery “gigafactory” that Tesla plans to begin construction on later this year. With an estimated 6,500 employees, the factory will likely become a keystone of the United State’s clean energy industry and an economic boon for its host state. Now, Arizona, Texas, New Mexico, and Nevada are scrambling to get picked, and last week Republican legislators in Arizona began to try pushing their state to the top of the pile. It’s the latest sign that, at least at the state level, the clean energy industry’s best friend might be the GOP. Newt Gingrich quickly pounced on Christie after the direct sales ban for “artificially” insulating car dealers, just weeks after calling for John Kerry to resign after Kerry named climate change as a principle challenge of the generation. On Tuesday, Texas Gov. Rick Perry called his state’s direct sales ban “antiquated” nearly a year after a Democrat-backed bill to change the policy was killed. New Jersey and Texas aren’t the only states where you can’t buy a Tesla car directly from the company: Arizona and Maryland also have direct sales bans. But a bill passed out of committee in Arizona’s GOP-controlled Senate last week would reverse the state’s position and allow electric vehicle companies to sell directly out of their showrooms. The bill’s sponsor, state Rep. Warren Peterson (R-Gilbert) said he was spurred by the New Jersey situation to amend what he sees as a creeping assault on free market principles. “For me, it’s not about Tesla or electric cars,” he said. “For me, a big concern I have now is we are limiting someone’s choice.” But despite backing from some prominent Arizona Republicans (Sen. John McComish told the Arizona Daily Star he didn’t see why the state should “prevent someone else who has a better idea from making an effort to enter that industry”), Warren said he’s faced opposition from others who see the bill as damaging to the state’s traditional car market or a handout to Tesla, arguments that swayed the decision in New Jersey. “I have a tough time understanding why Republicans are opposed to it, because free markets are such a big part of the platform,” he said. “States that moved away from this have made a big mistake.” The Republican-eat-Republican battle over Tesla mirrors another clean energy fight playing out nationwide. Conservatives aligned with large utility companies are squaring off with the solar power industry and libertarian-leaning Republicans over rules to allow homeowners with solar panels to sell excess power back to the grid, a policy known as net metering, which is allowed in more than 40 states. Some utility companies, however, worry the practice will disrupt their business model as more and more homes go solar. That fight has been particularly vicious in Arizona, where the son of conservative icon Barry Goldwater has led the pro-solar charge on free market arguments. “In a lot of ways, [clean energy] is an existential crisis” for Republicans, said Marita Mirzatuny, a Texas-based energy analyst for the Environmental Defense Fund. Some “are fighting on behalf of old entrenched regulations, which seems counterintuitive,” because at the same time “there’s a lot of money and momentum moving into the cleantech realm.” With Tesla’s battery factory on the line, the stakes are now higher than ever, and Arizona is poised to become the first state of the four in line for the factory to clear its regulatory hurdles. “For Texas to lose out because of regulation like that is the ultimate irony,” Mirzatuny said. The proposed factory has implications beyond just electric vehicles. Electricity storage is a central challenge for the renewable energy industry as well. Rooftop solar companies still struggle with how to store excess power, and some are now relying on the car industry to perfect that technology. California’s biggest solar installer, SolarCity, is already using Tesla batteries to store power from homes in that state, and on Tuesday Honda unveiled an experimental carbon-neutral house that relies on car batteries. As cleantech of all kinds matures as a growing market, Mirzatuny said, more conservatives might embrace the economic potential in fighting climate change. “Economics are finally aligned with environmental protection,” she said. “That’s a rare opportunity.” This story was produced as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.Filed under: Article, Business & Technology, Politics

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Meet Leland Yee, the Anti-Gun Politician Charged With Conspiracy to Smuggle Weapons

It’s not often that a state senator becomes national news, but California’s Leland Yee is a special exception. After a federal indictment came down against him this week, Yee instantly became one of the most insane political characters in recent memory, accused by the FBI of everything from taking donations … More »

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War prisoner who blinked ‘torture’ in Morse code during TV interview, dies at 89

Jeremiah Denton survived 7 1/2 years as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam and alerted the U.S. military to conditions there during an interview

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Nate Silver Only Cares About Some of the Haters

“There was a lot of hype about me,” public nerd No. 1 Nate Silver said last night on The Daily Show. “It sets a very high bar.” A nervous Silver was a bit on the defensive after fewer than two weeks of the new FiveThirtyEight, insisting that the site is … More »

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Why we can’t seem to stop oil-filled rail cars from going boom

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People — including me — have written a good amount already about how trains have been exploding lately. In 2008, 9,500 carloads of crude oil were shipped by train in the U.S.; in 2012, that number was 234,000 carloads. The oil is packed into freight cars that date back to the 1960s and that normally carry payloads like corn syrup, then shipped along aging freight infrastructure. When the trains fail, they fail hard, and because freight lines were built to run through cities, rather than around them, they fail around people. Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, the Alabama wetlands, and eastern North Dakota are just a few instances of this species of disaster. Most of the ink that’s been spilled over the oil-by-rail shipping boom has dealt with the very understandable question of “How did this happen?” Some blame the fight against Keystone XL — the companies getting crude out of the Alberta tar sands had scaled their oil operations up in anticipation of having a pipeline, and had to get it to market somehow. Others say that we’re drilling for oil in so many places — like North Dakota’s Bakken Shale — that a boom in oil-by-rail would have happened anyway, pipelines or no pipelines. The most interesting thing about a recent article by Natasha Khan, published in the Pennsylvania-based investigative journalism nonprofit Public Source, is that it gets past the “How did all these exploding trains happen?” question and into “How is this awful situation going to improve? How soon before we learn, as a nation, how to not explode so many trains?” In short: It doesn’t look good, folks. For one thing, if you’re a concerned citizen, it’s hard to tell if a train full of explosive crude is moving through your community — or any other community you happen to be concerned about. Railway officials aren’t required to disclose the routes that hazardous materials travel, and so they don’t. The secrecy is for security reasons, they say. They do, however, seem to share that information with state officials, who sometimes share it with reporters, which is how Kahn learned that there were indeed trains full of the particularly explosive Bakken crude going through Pittsburgh, Penn., and that she could expect a lot more trains when a new crude oil terminal opened in Eddystone, Penn., at the end of April. For another: The railroads’ regulatory structure doesn’t make safety decisions quickly. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is one of the groups that has called for new regulations, specifically concerning the DOT-111s, those ’60s-era tanker cars that Fred Millar, a Washington, D.C., consultant to the rail industry, describes in the article as “Pepsi cans on wheels.” The Association of American Railroads estimates that, out of the 92,000 DOT-111 tank cars currently used to transport hazardous chemicals, more than 75,000 of them will need to be retrofitted, or even phased out. But the NTSB only investigates rail accidents – it doesn’t regulate. The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) is in charge of the actual regulating. PHMSA says that it’s busy analyzing all of the comments that it’s received on how to improve its safety rules, and that it won’t be able to make any changes until early 2015. Understandably, PHMSA has been getting some flak over this, notably from a Senate panel earlier this month, where Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) told PHMSA reps that he was “disappointed and disturbed by some of the delays and failures in rulemaking and scrutiny.” Kahn doesn’t get into it in her article, but PHMSA has a bit of a past, especially when it comes to the “safety” part of their acronym. Two years ago, the Office of the Inspector General found that PHMSA had misused the money that it had been given to manage emergency preparedness for hazardous materials. The agency also has a track record of withholding public records like safety inspection reports, even from direct requests under the Freedom of Information Act. Which means that right now, there’s not much going on to prevent more accidents and spills. State agencies do their best to follow and enforce safety regulations that already exist: They step up the inspection of their own rail lines and train their own disaster response crews in potential oil-by-rail accidents. In the absence of a clear regulatory structure, cities that feel they are at risk are casting about for any way to stop the trains moving through their borders. Earlier this week, on March 25, Richmond, Calif., passed a unanimous resolution directing a laundry list of local politicians and agencies to look into how to keep Bakken crude out of Northern California until new regulations are issued. The city council had recently learned that large quantities of it were being shipped from North Dakota to a Kinder Morgan oil terminal in the city. Will local activism be able to put enough pressure on PHMSA to speed up the regulatory process? Hard to say for sure — but for now, the forecast includes more exploding trains.Filed under: Article, Business & Technology, Climate & Energy

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Ohio lawmakers: All right, folks, we guess it’s OK for you to buy Teslas

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If you live in Ohio, your lawmakers are poised to allow you to purchase a Tesla from a sales center — without forcing you to drive outside the borders of the Buckeye State to do your eco-friendly spending. But legislative efforts to placate the Ohio Automobile Dealers Association will nonetheless cap the number of sales offices Tesla is allowed to operate inside the state at three – and other auto manufacturers will be barred outright from hawking their wheel-spinning wares direct to buyers. Here’s the news, courtesy of NJTV: An Ohio Senate committee approved a bill formally barring automakers from selling directly to consumers except for a maximum of three outlets for electric-car builder Tesla Motors Inc. The measure was a compromise between the company and the Ohio Automobile Dealers Association, which had sought to block Tesla from selling without a middleman, according to state Sen. Scott Oelslager, the committee chairman. Tesla, based in Palo Alto, Calif., operates Ohio stores in Columbus and Cincinnati and will be permitted to add a third as long as the company isn’t sold or acquired and doesn’t produce anything other than all-electric vehicles, under the legislation worked out yesterday. Why are states getting into the strange business of banning a wildly hyped, pretty cool, awfully expensive electric car manufacturer? Tesla’s direct sales model has drawn opposition from car salesmen — middlemen who fear becoming superfluous as Tesla champions a direct-to-consumer auto-marketing model. That opposition has led to sales bans in five states and restrictions in two others. In New Jersey, for example, Grist’s Ben Adler explains that Gov. Chris Christie’s administration is forcing the electric automaker to shut down its two sales offices. The promising news there is that a Democratic assemblymember recently introduced a bill that would unshackle Tesla from Christie’s new ban on its sales model.Filed under: Business & Technology, Climate & Energy, Living

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America, Inc. at it’s Finest

Saks Fifth Avenue
7 For All Mankind, a division of VF Contemporary Brands
Bren-Books.com, Modern first editions and collectible fiction<

bren-books.com, Modern first editions and collectible fiction

Almost Naked Elite Brief
US iTunes, App Store, iBookstore, and Mac App Store
Chocolate Artisan Truffles by Just Chocolate

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J&R Computer/Music World
Burberry
New July 2013