by Miranda Blue

The Texas State Board of Education approved several dozen social studies textbooks [3] after a contentious battle over their treatment of subjects including climate change, the role of slavery in the Civil War, Islam, and biblical influence in America’s founding [4]. One major publisher, however, withdrew a book from consideration [5], saying that it was unable to meet all the standards set by the school board.

The Texas Freedom Network, which live-blogged today’s vote [6], said that some problematic material had been removed from the proposed textbooks, including climate denial and “offensive cartoons comparing beneficiaries of affirmative action to space aliens,” but that references to Moses as an influence on the Constitution and the Old Testament as the root of democracy remained. But TFN notes that publishers posted a number of last-minute changes to the textbooks yesterday, leaving board members and observers without time to figure out exactly what was in the approved texts [6]:

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by Barton Kunstler

St. Louis Prosecutor Robert McCulloch’s statement explaining the grand jury’s decision not to indict Darren Wilson for Michael Brown’s death was a manipulative, carefully crafted deception that is consistent with the dishonesty and callous disregard for justice that has marked his career.

We have no reason to doubt that the grand jury was totally sincere in their vote not to indict Wilson on any charges. I trust that they did, as McCulloch stated, examine every shred of evidence, deliberate with integrity, and work hard to keep their emotions in check. But there are other ways the process can be manipulated and I believe McCulloch’s statement indicates that this is exactly what was done.

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by Joseph L. Flatley

The defense witnesses in the Boston Bombing trial certainly have reason to be afraid to testify, given the long official intimidation campaign against them.

Yet, ironically, it is now the government that is claiming its witnesses are scared and even unwilling to testify. Unsurprisingly, the judge overseeing the trial against Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has agreed with the prosecutors.

Since the Boston Marathon bombing last year, WhoWhatWhy has reported on a pattern of intimidation towards people associated with the accused bombers, Dzhokhar and his late elder brother, Tamerlan. Those connected to the case have been intimidated, deported, jailed, and even killed.

It got so bad that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s defense asked U.S. District Court Judge George A. O’Toole Jr. for permission to conceal the names of individual witnesses until the day before they’re due to testify. That’s because, the defense argues, they fear the witnesses will be subject to further FBI harassment.

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by Christina Sarich

What’s a recipe for environmental mayhem and the destruction of human health? The approval of genetically modified organisms by governments worldwidewithout any scientific safety studies. A new study published by the risk-assessment journal Environment International states that of the GM crops approved for planting and marketing globally, 81% were not studied for possible health and environmental safety risks.

Nevertheless, the biotech industry keeps touting GMO ‘benefits’ like a narcissistic madman on steroids. This chest beating continues – despite a complete lack of published, peer-reviewed research supporting the safety of genetically modified organisms.

The researchers of the risk-assessment study looked at GM crops engineered either for tolerance to the herbicide glyphosate (Roundup) or engineered to produce pesticides in their tissues due to the expression of cry1Ab or cry3Bb1 genes. Of all the bioengineering tricks up Monsanto and Syngenta’s sleeves, these are the most commonly used in commercial GM crops.

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by Julia Marsh

Avengers” star Mark Ruffalo has a warning for NYU: You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.

The actor and West Villager, who is a big green activist off-screen and a big green Hulk on-screen, is leading the charge to the state’s highest court to overturn the approval of the university’s $6 billion expansion plan saying it robs the neighborhood of parks.

“As a longtime advocate of our green spaces, I find it alarming that these public parks, which Villagers have been enjoying for decades, can just be handed over to a private corporation for its own financial gain.

“That decision must be overturned,” he seethes in a statement supporting an appeal of a suit brought by 20 Greenwich Village activists to block the plan.

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by Steve Jimenez

Steve Jimenez challenges the watchdog organization to a public debate about the facts in his book about the Matthew Shepard murder case

Media Matters recently published another smearing of me and my work, this one under the title, “The GuardianPromotes Discredited, Debunked Book About Matthew Shepard’s Murder.” By repeatedly suggesting in 10 purported “research” articles that The Book of Matt: Hidden Truths About the Murder of Matthew Shepard has been “discredited” and “debunked,” Media Matters, a self-styled misinformation watchdog, is spreading libel. The article to which Media Matters refers, by the way, appeared in The Observer, not The Guardian. The Observer is a separate, Sundays-only newspaper purchased in 1993 by the Guardian Media Group. Media Matters’ mistake is not surprising for an outfit that disseminates “rapid response items” backed up primarily by information its “researchers” find by trolling online.

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A New Jersey lawmaker is calling for a review of a state university’s purchase of a $219,000 custom-built, multimedia conference table from a company in China, where it has a campus it hopes to expand.

Kean University did not put the project out to bid and picked a company in Shanghai, The Record (http://bit.ly/1xThtNo ) newspaper reported. The northern New Jersey school recently opened a branch campus in China that university President Dawood Farahi hopes to expand.

“Whether or not this is legal, it’s certainly not ethical and it’s a waste of taxpayer money,” Assemblyman Joe Cryan said in a statement. “The time to reform higher education in New Jersey is long past. I don’t need a study to know a university shouldn’t be spending up to $219,000 for a conference table. I already know it’s wrong. So do the students and families struggling to afford a higher education.”

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by Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers

There is a growing movement for labeling of GMO crops, and many would go further and ban GMOs completely. Currently there is a close vote in Oregon on a GMO labeling initiative, with advocates for labeling 0.3% behind and raising money to check ballots (we urge your support) [3]. Those who profit from GMOs spent $20 million to prevent labeling in Oregon. Several states in the Northeast [4] have put in place laws that will require labeling.

Vermont is about to be sued [5] to prevent GMO labeling. GMO profiteers have an unusual marketing strategy. While most companies brag about their product, the GMO industry spends hundreds of millions to hide their product. The US does not requiring labeling of GMOs despite the fact that 64 countries around the world label GMO foods [6].

Millions have marched against Monsanto [7] urging labeling or the banning of GMO products. There is a national consensus in favor of labeling [8] but the government has been unable to respond. Indeed, President Obama’s food czar is a former Monsanto executive [9]. The deep corruption of government is putting the health of the American people at serious risk.

 

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BERKELEY (KTVU and Wires) – Friday is the third day of a student sit-in against tuition increases at UC-Berkeley’s Wheeler Hall. The students have been sleeping there and say they won’t leave until their demands are met.

The students issued their set of demands early Thursday including a no vote by regents on a proposed tuition hike.

Raj Bhargva, a student spokesman, also asked that all charges be dropped against 21-year-old UC Berkeley student Jeff Noven, who was arrested on Wednesday at the regents meeting in San Francisco….


by Christina Sarich

Why won’t Fox, NBC, CNN, or ABC cover the TPP? These media empires (even Facebook has boosted news feeds of the top 100 media outlets, owned by only six mega-corporations to control public opinion) have decided that the public should be kept in the dark about ‘NAFTA on steroids’ so that biotech corporations can completely take over ‘free-trade’ with Pacific Rim nations.

You likely haven’t heard of the TPP or Trans Pacific Trade Agreement for this reason, but it hasn’t slowed the rising opposition to its sinister ‘fast-track’ plans among our elected officials, which would bypass many of the legal requirements for a normal trade agreement, and allowing the implementation of TPP with minimal debate. More than 550 groups, representing millions of people, have urged President Obama to vote against the TPP, but so far, those requests have fallen on deaf ears.

The US government touts the TPP as “an ambitious, 21st century trade agreement” with Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam. “When complete, TPP will unlock opportunities for American workers, families, businesses, farmers, and ranchers by providing increased access to some of the fastest growing markets in the world.”

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