Tag: Up With Chris

What We Now Know

Up with Chris Hayes host Chris Hayes tells some of what we should know for the coming year, including what is on the legislative agendas of lawmakers around the country

Sharing what they know are Richard Wolff, Visiting Professor in the Graduate Program in International Affairs of the New School University; Susan Crawford, Professor at the Center on Intellectual Property and Information Law Program at Carodozo School of Law; Karl Smith, Assistant Professor of Economics and Government at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Chrystia Freeland, Editor of Thomson Reuters Digital and author of “Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else.”

North Carolina Senate Set to Repeal Racial Justice Act

The North Carolina state senate voted to gut a law on Monday that allows death row inmates to argue that racial bias influenced their sentencing. Enacted in 2009, the Racial Justice Act requires judges in North Carolina to commute death row inmates’ sentences to life in prison if they find race played a “significant” role in the initial sentence.

State Republicans have long set their sights on undoing the law, the Wall Street Journal reports. The GOP-controlled North Carolina state house weakened the original law in June, changing its language to require that courts prove that prosecutors acted “with discriminatory purpose” when selecting juries and seeking the death penalty. But proving intent, as one attorney told the Raleigh News & Observer, is exceedingly difficult. And Colorlines‘ Jamillah King reports that the new language “represented a meaningful undermining of the point: The law had moved courts to a focus on racially disparate outcomes, rather than a racist intent.”

In 2012, Executions Hold Steady, But Death Penalty Imposed Less

Convicted killer Michael Hooper’s heart stopped beating in an Oklahoma death chamber from lethal injection on Aug. 14. The country’s next executions happened more than five weeks later on Sept. 20 when Ohio killed Donald Palmer, who’d murdered two strangers, and when Robert Harris was executed in Texas for killing five people.

The long gap between executions made 2012 one of the quietest years on death row, since executions peaked in 1999, according to a study by the Death Penalty Information Center.

In all, 43 death row inmates have been executed in 2012, the same number as in 2011. That’s down by 58 percent from 1999 when 98 condemned prisoners were executed.

“The public still wants it on the books, but they see life without parole as a real alternative,” said Richard Dieter, the Death Penalty Information Center’s executive director.

The public considers capital punishment too expensive and doesn’t think of it as a deterrent to crime, he said. “Capital punishment is being clustered and isolated in a few states.”

Minimum Wage Increase Hits 10 States, Boosting Pay For An Estimated One Million Workers

WASHINGTON — New Years Day will bring a small pay bump to some of the lowest-paid American workers, with 10 states set to hike their minimum wages for 2013.

Nearly a million low-wage workers will see their earnings rise because of the increases, most of which come courtesy of state cost-of-living adjustments that account for inflation. Washington State will once again have the highest minimum wage in the nation, at $9.19 per hour, after a raise of 15 cents for the new year. The other states raising their wage floors are Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Missouri, Montana, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont.

What We Now Know

On MSNBC’s Up with Chris Hayes, Host Chris Hayes and his guests discuss what they now know since the week began. Chris’ panel guests were Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald), columnist and blogger for The Guardian; Hina Shamsi, director of National Security Project at the American Civil Liberties Union, former senior adviser to United Nations special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions, and lecturer at Columbia Law School; Spencer Ackermann, writer and blogger for Wired.com; and Nancy Giles, analyst for CBSNews.com.

State of the Climate Global Analysis November 2012

Global Highlights

   The average combined global land and ocean surface temperature for November 2012 was 0.67°C (1.21°F) above the 20th century average of 12.9°C (60.4°F). This is the fifth warmest November since records began in 1880. Including this November, the 10 warmest Novembers have occurred in the past 12 years.

   The globally-averaged land surface temperature for November 2012 was the sixth warmest November on record, at 1.13°C (2.03°F) above average. The globally-averaged ocean surface temperature was also sixth warmest on record, at 0.50°C (0.90°F) above average.

   ENSO-neutral conditions continued in the eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean during November 2012. Neutral conditions are expected to last through the Northern Hemisphere winter 2012/13 and into spring 2013.

   The average combined global land and ocean surface temperature for September-November 2012 was 0.67°C (1.21°F) above the 20th century average of 14.0°C (57.1°F), marking the second warmest September-November on record, behind 2005.

   The globally-averaged land surface temperature for September-November 2012 was the third warmest September-November on record, at 1.03°C (1.85°F) above average. The Southern Hemisphere land temperature was record warm for the period.

   The combined global land and ocean average surface temperature for January-November 2012 was the eighth warmest such period on record, at 0.59°C (1.06°F) above the 20th century average.

Thieves Arrested After Stealing 6 Million Pounds of Canadian Maple Syrup

Talk about a sticky mess.

The Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers believe several million cans of stolen maple syrup may be sitting on U.S. grocery shelves.

Quebec police arrested four men in connection with the robbery of 6 million pounds of maple syrup stolen from a Canadian warehouse in a heist spanning just under a year.

The thieves managed to steal the sticky substance from a warehouse in Saint-Louis-de-Blandford between August 2011 and July of this year. The stolen syrup tops out at $18 million in total market value.

“It’s one of the most important robberies in Quebec because of the quantity stolen and the value of the syrup,” said Sgt. Gregory Gomez Del Prado of Quebec police.

What We Now Know

MSNBC host Chris Hayes and guest discuss what they know since last week began.

What We Now Know

Up host Chris Hayes outlines what we’ve learned since the week began, including details from a new World Bank report that suggests region s on North Africa and much of the Middle East will suffer more severely from the effects of climate change. Joining him on Saturday’s Up with Chris Hayes are Robert Freling, executive director of the Solar Electric Light Fund; Katie McGinty, senior vice president and managing director, Strategic Growth at Weston Solutions, Inc.; David Roberts (@drgrist), staff writer on energy politics at Grist.org; and Shalini Ramanathan (@UnGranola), vice president of development at RES Americas and Next Generation Project Fellow at the Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law at the University of Texas at Austin.

Facing Up to the Threat of Climate Change in the Arab World


  • Consequences of climate change especially acute in the Arab world
  • Traditional coping methods severely stressed by current rate of climate change
  • Actions needed to reduce vulnerability also contribute to sustainable development

The year 2010 was globally the warmest since records began in the late 1800s, with 19 countries setting new national temperature highs. Five of these were Arab countries, including Kuwait, which set a new record at 52.6 °C in 2010, only to be followed by 53.5 °C in 2011.

According to a new report, Adaptation to a Changing Climate in the Arab Countries, extreme weather events are the new norm for the region. The consequences of the global phenomenon of climate change are especially acute in the Arab world.  While the region has been adapting to changes in rainfall and temperature for thousands of years, the speed with which the climate is now changing has, in many cases, outstripped traditional coping mechanisms.

Climate change is a reality for people in Arab countries,” said Inger Andersen, World Bank Vice President for the Middle East and North Africa region. “It affects everyone – especially the poor who are least able to adapt – and as the climate becomes ever more extreme, so will its impacts on people’s livelihoods and wellbeing. The time to take action at both the national and regional level in order to increase climate resilience is now.

To Stop Climate Change, Students Aim at College Portfolios

by Justin Gillis

SWARTHMORE, Pa. – A group of Swarthmore College students is asking the school administration to take a seemingly simple step to combat pollution and climate change: sell off the endowment’s holdings in large fossil fuel companies. For months, they have been getting a simple answer: no.

As they consider how to ratchet up their campaign, the students suddenly find themselves at the vanguard of a national movement.

In recent weeks, college students on dozens of campuses have demanded that university endowment funds rid themselves of coal, oil and gas stocks. The students see it as a tactic that could force climate change, barely discussed in the presidential campaign, back onto the national political agenda.

How Cellphone Companies Have Resisted Rules for Disasters

by Cora Currier, ProPublica, Dec. 3, 2012

In a natural disaster or other emergency, one of the first things you’re likely to reach for is your cellphone. Landlines are disappearing. More than 30 percent of American households now rely exclusively on cellphones.

Despite that, cell carriers have successfully pushed back against rules on what they have to do in a disaster. The carriers instead insist that emergency standards should be voluntary, an approach the Federal Communications Commission has gone along with.

After Hurricane Katrina, for instance, carriers successfully opposed a federal rule that would have required them to have 24-hours of backup power on cell towers. In another instance, an FCC program to track crucial information during an emergency – such as which areas are down and the status of efforts to bring the network back – remains entirely voluntary. Nor is the information collected made public.

After Sandy, when thousands roamed the streets looking for service, many had no idea where they could get a signal. AT&T and Sprint, among the major carriers, didn’t initially release details on what portion of their network was down.

What We Now Know

To discuss what they know since the week began, Up with Cris Hayes host Chris Hayes is joined by his guests Danielle Brian (@daniellebrian), executive director for the Project On Government Oversight; Eyal Press (@EyalPress), author of “Beautiful Souls: Saying No, Breaking Ranks and Heeding the Voice of Conscience in Dark Times;” Ed Pilkington, chief reporter for guardiannews.com, former national and foreign editor of the paper and author of “Beyond the Mother Country;” and former Marine Zachary Iscol.

Fast Food Workers Walk Off The Job: “We Can’t Survive On $7.25!”

from Gothamist

Low-income workers at giant chains fighting are back for better wages. Last week Wal-Mart workers across the country walked off the job in protest, and yesterday fast food workers here in New York took to the streets to demand for more money-and a union. Specifically, those marching to bring Fast Food Forward are organizing for a living wage-like, say, making $15 an hour. Because the average fast food worker in New York City makes just $11,000 a year.

Plenty of local politicians are supporting the workers. “This is the moment for New York City to turn the corner after a decade of rising income inequality,” mayoral hopeful Bill De Blasio said in a statement on yesterday’s actions, which took place all over the city. “We need to stand united as a city in support of fast food workers so they can win the fair pay and economic security every New Yorker deserves.”

And City Council member Jumaane Williams went even further at an afternoon rally in Times Square. “You deserve an honest days pay for an honest days work,” he told the crowd. “McDonald’s says billions and billions served and they aren’t even offering sick days or able to pay you for an honest days work? That’s some bull… ish!

Why It’s Time To Raise The Wage Floor On Fast Food ‘McJobs’

by Sarah Jaffe, The Atlantic

The median hourly wage for food service and prep workers is a mere $8.90 an hour in New York City, according to the New York Department of Labor. But Jasska Harris still makes the federal minimum wage — $7.25 — after five months on the job, and struggles to get even 35 hours a week. And that minimum wage buys less than it used to. A recent study from the National Employment Law Project pointed out that the value of the minimum wage is 30 percent lower than it was in 1968. [..]

Wages in the fast-food industry have stayed low for two basic reasons. First, many are low-skill service jobs in an efficient assembly where workers are easily replaced and don’t require much education. Second, there is a large supply of people who are willing to make cheap burgers at a low wage. It is easy to look at this scenario and conclude, “well, economics determines prices and wages, and that’s that.” But the full story is more complicated. Cheap fast food and their cheap workers impose a cost on the country in the form of food stamps, welfare through the tax code, and social safety net programs. This is a place for government to intervene — and for corporations to sacrifice some of their profits — by raising wages to a livable level. [..]

What we’ve seen with Walmart and now with the fast food workers is an independent organization, supported by traditional labor unions (in this case, the Service Employees International Union along with New York Communities for Change, United NY, and the Black Institute), can be more creative in its organizing tactics. Lerner is particularly inspired by the one-day strike that the workers are undertaking today. “The old strike, you used to go out and stay out until you win. But the workers now are so angry and mistreated an the way you express that is short-term walkouts.”

What We Now Know

Up with Chris Hayes host Chris Hayes shares all that the is thankful for this Thanksgiving.

What I’m grateful for this Thanksgiving

Tell us about what tou have learned this week. Open Thread

What We Now Know

Up with Chris Hayes host Chris Hayes discusses what we have learned this week with his panel guests Richard Kim, contributor at The Nation; Ana Marie Cox, contributor at The Guardian; Michael Brendan Dougherty, The American Conservative; and Sophia Nelson, The Grio columnist.

CEO to employees: ‘Help yourself’ by donating to Romney

The CEO of a Florida-based software firm has repeatedly solicited his more than 1,300 employees not only to support Mitt Romney, but to donate up to the maximum $2,500 to Romney’s presidential campaign, suggesting that their jobs may be at stake if Romney doesn’t win, according to emails obtained exclusively by Up w/ Chris Hayes.

Arthur Allen, the CEO of ASG Software Solutions – a $375 million company, according to Forbes magazine – sent an email to his employees on August 27th, the day before the scheduled start of the Republican National Convention, asking them to give up to the maximum individual donation to the Romney campaign in order to help the company stave off financial ruin and save employees’ jobs.

“I am encouraging everyone to go to the Romney for President web site and contribute as much as you can to his campaign for President, up to the maximum of $2500.00 per person,” Allen wrote to his domestic employees. “I am also encouraging you to contact all of your friends and relatives and ask them to support Romney and to go to the polls and vote on election day.”

Allen, a longtime donor to Republican campaigns, also noted that ASG had recently “tripped a bank leverage covenant” and would face new restrictions from its lenders as a result, but blamed reckless government spending for the financial state of the company.

Plan for hunting terrorists signals U.S. intends to keep adding names to kill lists

by Greg Miller, The Washington Post

Over the past two years, the Obama administration has been secretly developing a new blueprint for pursuing terrorists, a next-generation targeting list called the “disposition matrix.”

The matrix contains the names of terrorism suspects arrayed against an accounting of the resources being marshaled to track them down, including sealed indictments and clandestine operations. U.S. officials said the database is designed to go beyond existing kill lists, mapping plans for the “disposition” of suspects beyond the reach of American drones.

Although the matrix is a work in progress, the effort to create it reflects a reality setting in among the nation’s counterterrorism ranks: The United States’ conventional wars are winding down, but the government expects to continue adding names to kill or capture lists for years.

Among senior Obama administration officials, there is a broad consensus that such operations are likely to be extended at least another decade. Given the way al-Qaeda continues to metastasize, some officials said no clear end is in sight.

“We can’t possibly kill everyone who wants to harm us,” a senior administration official said. “It’s a necessary part of what we do. . . . We’re not going to wind up in 10 years in a world of everybody holding hands and saying, ‘We love America.’ ”

That timeline suggests that the United States has reached only the midpoint of what was once known as the global war on terrorism. Targeting lists that were regarded as finite emergency measures after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, are now fixtures of the national security apparatus. The rosters expand and contract with the pace of drone strikes but never go to zero.

Let Detroit Go Bankrupt

by Mitt Romney, op-ed in The New York Times on 11/18/2008

IF General Motors, Ford and Chrysler get the bailout that their chief executives asked for yesterday, you can kiss the American automotive industry goodbye. It won’t go overnight, but its demise will be virtually guaranteed.

Without that bailout, Detroit will need to drastically restructure itself. With it, the automakers will stay the course – the suicidal course of declining market shares, insurmountable labor and retiree burdens, technology atrophy, product inferiority and never-ending job losses. Detroit needs a turnaround, not a check.

What We Now Know

Saturday morning on Up with Chris Hayes, Up host, Chris Hayes discussed what we have learned this week with panel guests Amy Davidson, senior editor at the New Yorker; Goldie Taylor, contributor to Grio.com and MSNBC; Michael Hastings, contributing editor to Rollingstone; and Michael Moynihan, cultural news editor for Newsweek and the DailyBeast.

Romney: Uninsured? Head to the Emergency Room

Is BofA’s Foreclosure Review Really Independent? You Be the Judge

by Paul Kiel at Pro Publica

Late last year, the country’s bank regulators launched a massive program to evaluate millions of foreclosure cases and compensate homeowners who fell victim to the banks’ flawed or illegal practices. Regulators dubbed it the “Independent Foreclosure Review” to emphasize that the banks would not be making key decisions about loans they had made or serviced.

But a raft of evidence – internal Bank of America memos and emails obtained by ProPublica, interviews with two bank staff members who have worked on the review, and little-noticed documents released late last year by a federal banking regulator – throw the independence of the review into serious doubt. Together, they indicate that Bank of America – the financial giant with the largest number of homeowners eligible for the program – is performing much of the work itself.

Mitt Romney, On 60 Minutes, Cites Emergency Room As Health Care Option For Uninsured

by Amanda Terkel and Sam Stein at Huffington Post

Downplaying the need for the government to ensure that every person has health insurance, Mitt Romney on Sunday suggested that emergency room care suffices as a substitute for the uninsured. [..]

This constitutes a dramatic reversal in position for Romney, who passed a universal health care law in Massachusetts, in part, to eliminate the costs incurred when the uninsured show up in emergency rooms for care. Indeed, in both his book and in high-profile interviews during the campaign, Romney has touted his achievement in stamping out these inefficiencies while arguing that the same thing should be done at the national level.

Report Describes How Armstrong and His Team Eluded Doping Tests

by Ian Austen at The New York Times

An explanation emerged Wednesday, when the United States Anti-Doping Agency released its dossier on Armstrong, citing witness testimony, financial records and laboratory results. Armstrong was centrally involved in a sprawling, sophisticated doping program, the agency said, yet he employed both cunning and farcical methods to beat the sport’s drug-testing system.

The report also introduced new scientific evidence that the agency said suggested Armstrong was doping the last two times he competed in the Tour de France.

Mitt Romney’s Bain Made Millions On Big Tobacco In U.S., Russia

by Jason Cherkis and Zach Carter at Huffington Post

As the Soviet Union splintered in the early-1990s, Sushovan Ghosh packed his colleagues into a van and chugged across the collapsing nation, hitting depressed towns and famished cities, busted up factories and lonely kiosks. In each ragged destination, they stopped long enough to interview cigarette smokers.

Ghosh plied the citizenry with free cigarettes and, sometimes, McDonald’s hamburgers. [..]

Ghosh’s work for cigarette companies was chaotic, unbridled and, ultimately, deadly. To Mitt Romney and his colleagues at Bain & Co., it was a chance to rake in money. Ghosh said he reported directly to Romney, who was excited about the Russian market. “He was my boss,” Ghosh said.

What We Now Know

Saturday on Up with Chris Hayes, Up host Chris Hayes (@chrishayes) followed up on the”contentious exchange” he had with former New York City Mayor Rudolph Guiliani during this week’s presidential debate. After he joins panels Alexis Goldstein, (@alexisgoldstein) a former vice president at Merill Lynch and now an Occupy Wall Street activist; Dedrick Muhammad,Senior Economic Director at the NAACP; Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel Prize winning economist, a professor at Columbia University, and author of the book “The Price of Inequality: How Today’s Divided Society Endangers Our Future;” and Avik Roy, (@aviksaroy) a member of Mitt Romney’s Health Care Policy Advisory Group, Senior Fellow at The Manhattan Institute and author of “The Apothecary”, the Forbes blog on health care and social insurance reform; discussing what they have learned this week.

Tweet along with Up with Chris (@upwithchris) during the show by following #Uppers

Tell us what you have learned this week.

The Bubble Trap

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

The Republican Bubble Trap

Republicans aren’t the only ones in a bubble, Democrats, too, are “getting high on their own supply.”

What are we cheering for?

by Matt Stoller

Don’t let the conventions distract you from the real lesson of 2012: America is becoming increasingly undemocratic

Ultimately, we’re seeing that both parties are rotten. This rot is rooted in economics. Despite the bitter rhetoric, Obama and Romney are basically in agreement about how the country should be governed. Both Romney and Obama want to see the same core economic trends continue. These are, most significantly, a transition to an energy system based on hydro-fracking of natural gas and oil deposits (and some renewable energy), a large national security state, the sale of public assets to private interests, globalized financial flows, a preservation of the capital structure of the large banks, free rein of white-collar behavior and austerity in public budgets. This policy agenda is a reflection of the quiet coup that IMF chief economist Simon Johnson wrote about in 2010. [..]

Whether Romney wins or Obama wins, both Social Security and Medicare are on the table for deep cuts. Romney is explicit about this, whereas Obama couches this in terms that liberals will not understand. When he talks about popping a blister of partisanship by winning an election, what he means is cutting a deal with the Republicans to restructure these programs. Sen. Dick Durbin has been telling reporters that the Obama administration is going to give the entitlement-gutting Simpson-Bowles budget framework another try if he wins, and close Obama advisers are looking for a grand bargain on taxes and entitlement reform. Obama already tried to raise the Medicare eligibility age and cut Social Security benefits during the debt ceiling negotiations. Meanwhile, corporate titans and Democratic elites like Andy Stern and Steny Hoyer are already gathering to put this framework into place in the post-election environment, regardless of who wins.

As David Dayen at FDL News Desk pointed out, the Democrats have become the Party of Austerity: Still Seeking that Grand Bargain

There’s a fault line between the parties on this – particularly on Medicaid, where there’s a legitimate difference – but overall the fault line is not at all worthy of being called a “great debate.” One side (Republicans) wants to transform safety net programs and would probably get no further than cutting them; the other side (Democrats) wants to cut them and will use its power to force their allies along. Democrats have become the party of austerity, and they see the question as, bizarrely, one of credibility. You don’t earn your stripes in Washington unless you hurt a poor person, I guess. [..]

But Democrats have truly embraced this policy of fiscal austerity. What saved us from this once is the total intransigence on the part of Republicans to accept a good deal and provide the cover in the form of a modest tax increase. If Democrats let the Bush tax cuts expire, however, they can get what they term a modest tax increase through a tax cut bill, and layer on their spending austerity changes, including social insurance. So even if there’s no warp-speed “deal” after the elections, you would have to look out for one shortly thereafter.

We have a vote, but not a voice.  

What We Now Know

Up with Chris Hayes: What We Now Know

Up host Chris Hayes (@chrishayes) discuses what we have learned since last week with panel guests Jamilah King (@jamilahking), news editor for colorlines.com; Mike Pesca (@pescami), sports correspondent for National Public Radio; Joe Weisenthal (@thestalwart), deputy business editor at BusinessInsider.com; and Bill Fletcher, Jr., co-founder of the Center for Labor Renewal and author of “They’re Bankrupting Us! And 20 Other Myths about Unions.”

School reform’s propaganda flick

by Alexander Zaitchik

The guys behind “Won’t Back Down” stand to profit from education privatization. No wonder the movie hates on teachers unions

The first thing to know about Friday’s opening of the school-choice drama “Won’t Back Down” is that the film’s production company specializes in children’s fantasy fare such as the “Tooth Fairy” and “Chronicles of Narnia” series. The second thing is that this company, Walden Media, is linked at the highest levels to the real-world adult alliance of corporate and far-right ideological interest groups that constitutes the so-called education reform movement, more accurately described as the education privatization movement. The third thing, and the one most likely to be passed over in the debate surrounding “Won’t Back Down” (reviewed here, and not kindly, by Salon’s own Andrew O’Hehir), is that Walden Media is itself an educational content company with a commercial interest in expanding private-sector access to American K-12 education, or what Rupert Murdoch, Walden’s distribution partner on “Won’t Back Down,” lip-lickingly calls “a $50 billion sector in the U.S. alone that is waiting desperately to be transformed.”

‘Won’t Back Down’ Film Pushes ALEC Parent Trigger Proposal

by May Bottari and Sara Jerving

Well-funded advocates of privatizing the nation’s education system are employing a new strategy this fall to enlist support for the cause. The emotionally engaging Hollywood film Won’t Back Down — set for release September 28 — portrays so-called “parent trigger” laws as an effective mechanism for transforming underperforming public schools. But the film’s distortion of the facts prompts a closer examination of its funders and backers and a closer look at those promoting parent trigger as a cure for what ails the American education system.

While parent trigger was first promoted by a small charter school operator in California, it was taken up and launched into hyperdrive by two controversial right-wing organizations: the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and the Heartland Institute.

Romney ‘I Dig It’ Trust Gives Heirs Triple Benefit

by Jesse Drucker

In January 1999, a trust set up by Mitt Romney for his children and grandchildren reaped a 1,000 percent return on the sale of shares in Internet advertising firm DoubleClick Inc.

   If Romney had given the cash directly, he could have owed a gift tax at a rate as high as 55 percent. He avoided gift and estate taxes by using a type of generation-skipping trust known to tax planners by the nickname: “I Dig It.” […]

   While Romney’s tax avoidance is both legal and common among high-net-worth individuals, it has become increasingly awkward for his candidacy since the disclosure of his remarks at a May fundraiser. He said that the nearly one-half of Americans who pay no income taxes are “dependent upon government” and “believe that they are victims.” […]

   The Obama administration estimates that closing the loophole Romney used would bring the federal government almost $1 billion in the coming decade. [..]

That’s a “laughable” under-estimate, said Stephen Breitstone, co-head of the taxation and wealth preservation group at law firm Meltzer, Lippe, Goldstein & Breitstone LLP. A single billionaire could pay $500 million more in estate taxes if these trusts are shut down by the Obama administration, Breitstone said. [..]

Military’s Own Report Card Gives Afghan Surge an F

by Spencer Ackerman

The U.S. troop surge in Afghanistan ended last week. Conditions in Afghanistan are mostly worse than before it began.

That conclusion doesn’t come from anti-war advocates. It relies on data recently released by the NATO command in Afghanistan, known as ISAF, and acquired by Danger Room (pdf). According to most of the yardsticks chosen by the military – but not all – the surge in Afghanistan fell short of its stated goal: stopping the Taliban’s momentum.

What have you learned this week?

What We Now Know

This week marks the first anniversary of MSNBC’s Up with Chris Hayes (@upwithchris), the two hour discussion program that airs at 8 AM on Saturdays and Sundays. It has been a refreshing addition to the standard fare news talk programs, providing interesting guests from the news, news media and blogosphere. you can follow the conversation and add your own comments by following the hashtag #Uppers on Twitter, on Facebook and now at Up with Chris.Tumblr.com:

Today on Up w/ Chris Hayes we celebrated our one-year anniversary. Our first year on the air has been defined by a sense of self-discovery and experimentation, a determination to innovate, to push forward the boundaries of what our show can be. We’ve journeyed from a conference room in 30 Rockefeller Plaza to Inequalistan to Occupy Wall Street, tinkering and improving at every step of the way. And you, our online audience, have been an integral part of that process, making Up w/ Chris very much a communal enterprise.

In the spirit of that innovation, today we’re launching a Tumblr. For as much as you see on the air, there is so much more that goes into producing Up w/ Chris every week. We have a rigorous, thoughtful, creative editorial process, and we’re hoping this platform will be an expression of that. We’ll be posting considerably more of all those revealing production elements you see each week on the show: charts, graphs, photos, videos, thoughts from our producers, and more. We hope it will be evocative of the UP sensibility – weekend mornings, all week long.

We also want this to be as much of an interactive experience as possible. On Tumblr you can reply, reblog, ask us questions and more. Is there an especially knotty political issue you think UP can elucidate with a handy chart or graph? A myth we can debunk with a quick review of the empirical evidence? Some historical perspective we can provide? Let us know.

When we first launched our Twitter account – and when Wyeth Ruthven, the original #upper – created the #uppers hash tag, there were just eleven mentions. Today, our record is above 7,000. We hope to see the same growth and enthusiasm here. Welcome!

Sal Gentile, segment & digital producer, Up w/ Chris Hayes.

Host Chris Hayes (@chrislhayes) discusses what we know now with guests John Nichols, Washington correspondent for The Nation and associate editor of Wisconsin’s Capital Times; L. Joy Williams, (@ljoywilliams) political strategist and founder LJW Political Stategies, co-host of radio show “This Week in Blackness.”; Ana Marie Cox, (@anamariecox) columnist for The Guardian and founder of the political blog Wonkette; and Kevin Williamson, deputy managing editor of The National Review.

Teachers End Chicago Strike on Second Try

by Monica Davey and Steve Yaccino

CHICAGO – The Chicago Teachers Union agreed on Tuesday to end its strike in the nation’s third-largest school system, allowing 350,000 children to return to classes on Wednesday and bringing to a close, at least for now, a tense standoff over issues like teacher evaluations and job security that had upended this city for more than a week.

In a private meeting on Tuesday afternoon, 800 union delegates voted overwhelmingly to suspend the strike after classes had been halted for seven school days, which left parents at loose ends and City Hall taking legal action. The delegates, who had chosen on Sunday to extend their strike rather than accept a deal reached by negotiators for the union and the Chicago Public Schools, this time decided to abandon their picket lines.

Karen Lewis, the union president, described the voice vote as 98 percent to 2 percent in favor and a sign that the deal was seen as good, though hardly perfect.

Village relocated due to climate change

by Brook Meakins

With sea levels rising, the villagers of Vunidogoloa in Fiji have been forced to move to higher lands

For the most part, many people still experience climate change on an academic rather than a personal level. But for the villagers of Vunidogoloa on Vanua Levu, Fiji’s second largest island, climate change has become a daily intrusion on every day life. The villagers of Vunidogoloa are currently relocating to drier and higher land because of sea level rise, erosion, and intensifying floods. I had the opportunity to visit the village midway through this process – one of the very first village relocation projects in the world – and spoke with people young and old about their upcoming move.


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