Monday, August 22, 2011

Monday Must Read: Protesters Plan Another Demonstration Against BART; GOP Pushes to Increase Payroll Taxes

By Robert Gammon
Mon, Aug 22, 2011 at 10:32 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Protesters are planning yet another demonstration this afternoon against BART in the wake of the agency’s decision to shut-down cell service earlier this month, the Chron and Bay Citizen report. The computer-hacker group Anonymous is planning the protest for 5 p.m., and has vowed to organize more demonstrations against BART until the agency apologizes for its cell-phone shut-down decision and fires its chief spokesman, Linton Johnson, who denounced hackers as “cyber thugs.”


BART maintains that it had every right to kill cellphone service in order to disrupt a planned protest. But civil libertarians say BART’s decision violated free speech rights. BART is also being investigated by the FCC for its actions.

2. It turns out that Republicans like tax increases after all — but only if they’re levied against workers. The Associated Press reports that GOP Congressional members are pushing to raise taxes on tens of millions of working Americans, while staunchly resisting proposed tax increases on the wealthy and corporations. Republicans want to end a temporary tax break on so-called payroll taxes that is set to expire at the end of the year. President Obama and Democrats want to extend the tax break.

3. Republican plans to dramatically slash federal transportation funding is threatening numerous transit projects in the Bay Area, including AC Transit’s plan for bus rapid transit in Oakland, the CoCo Times reports. The GOP proposed cutbacks also are threatening BART’s plans to buy new train cars to replace its aging fleet.

4. Unemployment in California surged to 12 percent last month, the LA Times reports, citing new US Labor Department stats. California now has the second worst jobless rate in the country. Nevada has the worst at 12.9 percent. Nationwide, the jobless rate stands at 9.1 percent.

5. Two UC Berkeley alums were each sentenced to eight years in prison in Iran for allegedly being spies, but their families remain hopeful that the two hikers who were captured two years ago along the Iran-Iraq border will be released soon, AP reports.

6. A new Obama administration policy on gay marriage could save a San Francisco man from being deported, the Chron reports. Anthony Makk, an Australian citizen, is scheduled for deportation, but that decision could be reversed because of the Obama administration’s new position against deporting gays and lesbians who are married.

7. And another Raiders-49ers game turned ugly over the weekend, when fans started shooting and beating each other up.

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