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Congratulations to The Post and Courier newspaper of Charleston, South Carolina, on winning the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for their outstanding series on the high rates of domestic abuse of women in South Carolina. The Pulitzer committee calls "Till Death Do Us Part," "a riveting series that probed why South Carolina is among the deadliest states in the union for women and put the issue of what to do about it on the state’s agenda."

The lead is chilling - and brave - comparing the 300 women "shot, stabbed, strangled, beaten, bludgeoned or burned to death over the past decade by men in South Carolina" to the much smaller number of soldiers from South Carolina "killed in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars combined."

Kudos to the reporters and editors of this independent, family-owned daily - the oldest newspaper in the South - for taking on this issue in a Bible Belt state "awash in guns, saddled with ineffective laws and lacking enough shelters for the battered."

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Not a lot to diary here, but it's a good column by Jon Carroll, one of the good guys, and it's getting lots of online readership, #1 or #2 on the Most Read list for SF Gate, the SF Chronicle's web site this morning. Sure it's mostly Californians who're reading it, and a majority of CA voters are already convinced that, no matter our criticisms, we'll vote for Obama, but hey, it's worth a read. Carroll connects some of the dots about why Rmoney, like other members of the 1 percent who have been "pillaging this nation" have "not shown themselves to be patriots." I'll paste in the lead below.

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According to several mainstream news sources this morning, including the Associated Press, "Schools will get to opt out of "pink slime" beef" -- a USDA official has said the Department of Agriculture is to announce today that schools will now be able to buy ground beef that doesn't contain ammonia-treated "pink slime" for school lunch programs -- if they choose.

There's no information yet regarding how much extra it will cost school districts to choose ground beef that doesn't have ammonia-treated slaughterhouse scraps and connective tissue added to it. But the process itself, according to a groundbreaking New York Times story in January 2010 (the story that publicized the term "pink slime" used by an FDA microbiologist), saves only 3 cents a pound on production costs.

Contracts for beef for next year's school lunches (maybe only next fall's?) are already signed, so schools won't be able to opt out right away, these reports say. But if the choice is down to a local level, seems to me your local school board can be successfully lobbied to make the right choice at least for future contracts. And we can push for more immediate action from the USDA. Thanks to celebrity chef Jamie Oliver who spread the word so successfully on TV. But Daily Kos -- as usual -- was way out in front on this issue.  More below the fold.


Did you quit eating fast food burgers after you read the

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This is truly astounding, worse than I could've imagined.

You're not going to believe what you've been eating the last few years (thanks, Bush! thanks meat industry lobbyists!) when you eat a McDonald's burger (or the hamburger patties in kids' school lunches) or buy conventional ground meat at your supermarket:

According to today's New York Times, The "majority of hamburger" now sold in the U.S. now contains fatty slaughterhouse trimmings "the industry once relegated to pet food and cooking oil," "typically including most of the material from the outer surfaces of the carcass" that contains "larger microbiological populations."

This "nasty pink slime," as one FDA microbiologist called it, is now wrung in a centrifuge to remove the fat, and then treated with AMMONIA to "retard spoilage," and turned into "a mashlike substance frozen into blocks or chips".

Thus saving THREE CENTS a pound off production costs. And making the company, Beef Products Inc., a fortune. $440 million/year in revenue. Ain't that something?


Will you continue to eat the shit they're selling you?

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The San Francisco Chronicle Politics Blog reports this afternoon that Sen. John McCain has been the successful bidder for the services of one Steve Schmidt, former White House aide to Dick Cheney, known as "Karl Rove's lieutenant."

Schmidt, who will be "a senior advisor" for the McCain campaign, ran the Bush 2004 reelection campaign warroom, and was the point man for Bush on Judge Alito's nomination to the Supreme Court (the tears, remember the tears?)

But since January 2005, Schmidt has been employed as Arnold Schwarzenegger's campaign manager, and his successful "repositioning" of the GOP governor was noted far and wide in elite Republican circles. As the item recounts, and as was reported right after the election in the Sacramento Bee, a number of GOP presidential contenders were interested in hiring Schmidt. Reporter Carla Marinucci names Rudi Giuliani and Mitt Romney, for two. I guess McCain bid the highest? Or Schmidt thinks he's the most likely winner? Or?

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Yes, it's true, our greenwashed governor isn't even waiting until after November to demonstrate that his "green" photo op in August was first and foremost a campaign event.

CA Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez, sponsor of the global warming bill that Schwarzenegger signed to international fanfare, appears to be shocked by the governor's George-Bush-like behavior. He told the SF Chronicle:

"You can't rewrite a law through executive order.... This is totally inconsistent with the intent of the law and with the way that it is written."

Ummm, yeah. Speaker Núñez, that used to be true; perhaps you weren't aware of the Bush administration's record of using "signing statements" to disregard laws they don't like, but don't want to veto for political reasons? Too bad you didn't figure out the truth about Schwarzenegger's continuing agenda to consolidate power in the Executive Branch before you helped him take a big lead in this election back in August by giving his handlers the "truthiness" they needed to portray him as "green" and "bipartisan."

more from "Núñez slams governor on emission law" below the fold.


Why are you voting for Phil Angelides?

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The California Nurses Union, sponsor of Prop. 89, the Clean Money ballot initiative, has just released a jammin' new music video, "About Time for 89"

Prop. 89 webmaster Colette Washington rocks to a soulful hiphop beat, with a powerful smokey voice and lyrics that cut to the chase:

Political corruption is on the rise
Donations are comin' in super-size
Californians need a little bit of love
But we can't get in to the "Big Boys Club"

A handheld camera shows the kind of enthusiastic crowds of Californians that defeated Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's special election power grab last year.

Why do we need Prop. 89? More on the flip

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9/11 Commissioner Richard Ben-Veniste "confirmed to McClatchy Newspapers" today that George Tenet had given secret testimony to the 9/11 Commission in January 2004 about his attempts to convince the White House about the urgency of the threat from bin Laden in the summer of 2001. Tenet told the 9/11 Commission he was willing to testify publicly about the briefings he'd given Rice -- and Ashcroft and Rumsfeld! -- in July 2001, and he'd even showed the commissioners slides from the PowerPoint presentation he'd prepared for the July briefings.

Ben-Veniste did NOT explain why the 9/11 Commissioners left these briefings out of their report -- or why he (as late as yesterday) was still lying about what the 9/11 Commission knew. Instead he:

referred questions about why the commission omitted any mention of the briefing in its report to Zelikow, the report's main author. Zelikow didn't respond to e-mail and telephone queries from McClatchy Newspapers.

I say "briefings" because it's not just "the Rice briefing," folks -- yes, Rumsfeld and Ashcroft got the damned briefing, too:

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My regional daily, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, has been doing a series of stories about how a shortage of farm labor this year is affecting North Coast farmers.

Today's story by Glenda Anderson is a heart-wrenching one about pear growers in Lake County who are seeing a third to a half of the "best pear crop in 45 years" rot on the trees.

Why? Because there aren't enough farmworkers. Why?

Well, according to one pear grower and packer, Toni Scully:

An immigration crackdown along the Mexican border, combined with Congress' failure to approve a program to allow farmworkers into the country on a temporary basis, are the primary causes.

"They (legislators) all say they love the family farmer, but I don't feel that love," Scully said. "They're putting me out of business."


Would you take a job picking produce?

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I'm surprised -- given the endless attention to the debate on illegal immigration around here in recent days -- that I don't see anything about the "extraordinary" immigration deal announced this morning by a bipartisan group of Senators.

I don't have any special insight into the deal, but it sure seems "Senate OKs sweeping overhaul that includes permanent residency for 7 mil illegal residents" -- such sweeping legislation being "based on a bipartisan bill authored by Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Edward Kennedy, D-Mass," is worth noting in a diary.


Will this deal hurt Democrats or Republicans most at the polls, with angry anti-illegal-immigrant voters?

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yes, the worker-friendly buyout of Knight-Ridder -- or at least the 12 K-R papers new owner McClatchy wants to unload, including the San Jose Mercury News and the Philadelphia Inquirer -- is still alive.

According to a FAQ posted yesterday on the Newspaper Guild's site, the 12-paper employee buyout proposal is being backed by Yucaipa Companies, a pro-union private equity firm based in Los Angeles, and owned by major Democratic philanthropist and "supermarket magnate" Ron Burkle, 53.

Burkle is "very active in Los Angeles civic affairs, as well as state and national Democratic politics," he is No. 112 on Forbes' list of wealthiest Americans, and he "counts former President Bill Clinton, former Vice President Al Gore and civil rights leaders like the Rev. Jesse Jackson among his friends and business partners." (btw, he doesn't have a college degree, starting as a stock boy in his dad's small grocery store).


Do you think Ron Burkle reads Daily Kos?

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SB 370 yesterday, according to email earlier today from Open Voting Consortium director Alan Dechert.

I don't find any real news about this reported yet on this holiday weekend. anybody else?

and here's today's latest story by Ian Hoffman at the Oakland Tribune, as usual #1 with e-voting coverage: "California to put e-voting to the test: Touch-screen firms must turn over software for security review."

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