Jeralyn at Talk Left provides the following heads up:
On January 06, 2009 House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) introduced H.R. 104, a bill to establish a National Commission on Presidential War Powers and Civil Liberties. The resolution will establish a Blue Ribbon Commission comprised of experts outside government service to investigate the broad range of policies of the Bush administration that were undertaken by the Bush administration under claims of unreviewable war powers.
Co-sponsors of the bill include Nadler, Johnson, Jackson-Lee, Cohen, Gutierrez, Delahunt, Wasserman Schultz.
If you are on Facebook, the easiest way to join is to go to the group's facebook page and click on the group to join. I found it through Daily Kos writer Joan McCarter and joined on the spot.
You can read the full text of the legislation here (pdf.)
Stimulus for Suckers
James Galbraith writes for Mother Jones: "president barack obama (how sweet those words) has already transformed American politics. The gop is in crack-up. Obama's coattails in Congress give him leverage, and his vast public support gives him power. There is an economic crisis and a demand for action to deal with it. More than at any time since Ronald Reagan in 1981, what the president wants, he will get."
Survey: Journalist Dropped Ball Covering Meltdown
The Associate Press Reports: "NEW YORK - Signaling a look inward that echoes critiques of the media’s performance in the months before the Iraq War, some of the nation’s top financial journalists believe reporters dropped the ball as the nation’s economy tumbled toward crisis mode. Sixty-two of 100 journalists surveyed by Abrams Research, a firm started by former MSNBC chief Dan Abrams, criticized the media’s work, suggesting there was an over-exuberance about the economy and a failure to connect the dots as troubles began."
Maloney-Brownback drama behind JEC cancellation
Glenn Thrush writes for Politico.com: "The House-Senate Joint Economic Committee usually holds a hearing on the day of the Labor Department's monthly jobs tally -- and Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), who is in line to take over the committee, scheduled one for Friday to discuss the abysmal December jobs report. But the meeting was abruptly cancelled last night -- even though the report documented a staggering 524,000 job losses -- after Kansas Republican Sen. Sam Brownback objected on procedural grounds, according to several Hill aides."
Kansas and The Obama Economic Stimilus Bill
Our friends at KansasJackass write: "When it comes to divining what might happen to any particular piece of legislation before the United States Congress- even more difficult when it comes to the very biggest, most controversial pieces- but we're going to try to see if we can figure out the feelings of our Kansas congressional delegation on President-elect Barack Obama's proposed economic stimulus package. From the Harris News Service via the OttawaHerald.com:"
Former Community Bridge guest, Kathy Kelley writes for CounterPunch.com: "As I write, we can hear the dull thud of explosions in the distance. Israeli airstrikes continue to blast targets in southern Gaza. Merciless bombing of the small Gaza Strip continues into a third week. I heard some people here in Egypt wonder if the Israeli Air Force must be running out of places and people to target. But perhaps the surveillance drones we heard and saw flying over the Rafah border crossing today hunted down more spots on which bombers could fix their cross-hairs. Perhaps they spotted underground tunnels. The Israeli government has, reportedly, already destroyed 80% of the tunnels that connect Gaza with the outside world."
Recommended Audio: Bill Moyers Journal for 9 January
Glenn Greenwald writes for Salon: "On his PBS Journal Show last night, Bill Moyers delivered a poignant essay on Israel/Gaza (video below). The whole segment is worth watching -- it begins with coverage of a mostly ignored anti-war march this week in Washington (while media hordes, down the street, fixated on the Roland Burris circus) -- but Moyers' essay begins at roughly the 2:20 mark. The most striking aspect is that sober, fact-based, even-handed commentary like this about Israel automatically subjects one to widespread, profoundly ugly accusations of being "anti-Israel" and even "anti-Semitic," to the point where not a single U.S. Senator and no House member other than a handful dare utter anything other than unquestioning support for Israeli actions, such that most members of the U.S. Congress are, literally, far more willing to question and oppose American military actions than Israel's military actions (the establishment discussion rules are virtually identical to those that prevailed in the pre-Iraq-war days, though even more rigidly enforced: one can question the efficacy of the Israeli attack from the perspective of Israeli interests, but may not question its morality, legality or justifiability):"
To watch the entire Moyers episode, click here.Should the Torturers Go on Trial?
William Pfaff writes for Truthdig.com: "The impending end of the Bush administration and the inauguration of Barack Obama, expected to repudiate the illegalities and human-rights abuses of his predecessor, pose the enormous and explosive question of what to do about those responsible for what are regarded by a significant part of the public in the Western democracies, not to speak of the United States, as war crimes."
Campaign for Special Torture Prosecutor Takes Change.gov Site by Storm
Ari Melber writes for The Nation: "A whopping 70,000 questions poured into Change.gov over the past week, in response to the Obama transition team's call for citizen queries to the President-Elect. After votes from about 100,000 people, the top ranked question asks Obama whether he will appoint a special prosecutor to investigate allegations of torture and illegal surveillance by the U.S. government. I've been working with activist Bob Fertik to organize support for the question, and several progressive bloggers urged readers and Obama supporters to vote for it last week. Digby, who has written extensively about the Bush administration's abuse of the rule of law, recently reported on the progress:"
Addressing Inequity in Education
Laine Alison Zalac, high school essay winner of The Nation's Third Annual Student Writing Contest, writes: "I am a graduating senior from an urban public high school. I am in a lottery alternative school that focuses on a college preparatory curriculum. What I know the next president has to address is inequity in education, because it reflects inequity in society. No Child Left Behind? What a joke. I see students left behind all the time, and I am in the best school in my district. My school doesn't have clocks that work, but less than three miles away is a suburban school with an indoor swimming pool. I live in Ohio, where we still depend entirely too much on property taxes to fund public education despite contentions and legal suits that the funding system is illegal. The legislature has not yet resolved this issue, and there is a huge disparity between many districts."
Immigrant Advocates Decry New Rules on Courts, DNA
Amy Taxin reports for The Associated Press: "Civil liberties and immigrant rights advocates expressed outrage over a Department of Justice rule that took effect Friday, mandating federal agencies to collect DNA samples from anyone who is arrested and foreigners detained by immigration authorities."
PTSD Victim Booted from US Army for "Misconduct"
Kelly Kennedy reports for The Army Times: "After serving two tours in Iraq - tours filled with killing enemy combatants and watching close friends die - Sgt. Adam Boyle, 27, returned home expecting the Army to take care of him. Instead, service member advocates and Boyle's mother say his chain of command in the 3rd Psychological Operations Battalion at Fort Bragg, NC, worked to end his military career at the first sign of weakness."
American Health Care Since 1994: The Unacceptable Status Quo
Ben Furnas writes for The Center for American Progress: "Since the failure of health care reform in 1994, costs have increased, quality has been inconsistent, and more Americans have joined the ranks of the uninsured."
Part III: A Handshake That Made Health Care History
Scott Allen and Marcella Bombardieri report for The Boston Globe: "Partners HealthCare was born in 1993, but its powerhouse potential didn't fully hit home until 2000. That's when the emerging giant cut a quiet deal with Blue Cross to ratchet up insurance costs across the state. Nothing in Massachusetts health care has been the same since."
Oil 2009: Be Careful What You Wish for
Michael T. Klare writes for TomDispatch.com: "Only yesterday, it seems, we were bemoaning the high price of oil. Under the headline 'Oil's Rapid Rise Stirs Talk of $200 a Barrel This Year,' the July 7 issue of the Wall Street Journal warned that prices that high would put 'extreme strains on large sectors of the U.S. economy.' Today, oil, at over $40 a barrel, costs less than one-third what it did in July, and some economists have predicted that it could fall as low as $25 a barrel in 2009. Here, however, is a simple but crucial reality to keep in mind: No matter how much it costs, whether it's rising or falling, oil has a profound impact on the world we inhabit -- and this will be no less true in 2009 than in 2008."
What Am I Bid for the American Wild?
Michael Winship writes for Truthout: "We've all seen those sitcoms or movies in which someone stumbles into an art auction and, not knowing how it works, idly scratches his nose or pulls his ear and finds himself the owner of a Rembrandt.... The Friday before Christmas, a college student in Utah who's neither fake nor fool pulled a Cary Grant at a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) auction of oil and gas leases for land between two of the most austerely beautiful national parks in the United States - Canyonlands and Arches."
How to Restore America's Position as a Leader on Reproductive Rights
Nancy Northup writes for RH Reality Check: "With the election of Barack Obama, women around the world can heave a collective sigh of relief and look forward to an end to the Bush administration's relentless assault on women's reproductive health and rights. It's been a very long and destructive eight years. While the rest of the world has been moving forward in a growing recognition of reproductive rights as human rights, the United States has moved backwards."
Work Hard, but Pray for Luck
Ellen Goodman writes for Truthdig.com: "There was a time when any woman who attributed her success to luck risked getting ticketed by the feminist police. To say that your crowning achievement was a matter of good fortune rather than your own smarts, ambition and hard work was as politically incorrect as a blush."
I See Feminists!…They’re Everywhere!…And They Don’t Even Know They’re Feminists! Stateofdisbelief
Blogger Stateofdisbelief comments: "So how many WTF moments can one person withstand in the course of a year without literally having their head explode? I think that the political, cultural, and social environment I find myself in lately is exposing me to way too many micrograms of WTF. Take the “Special Inaugural Issue” of Ms. Magazine. How do you have a sane discussion about it? All I can say is WTF??!"
Conservative Media Peddle a Raw Deal
Jamison Foser writes for Media Matters: "The conservative punditocracy that has spent the past eight years propping up a president who gave us an illegitimate war and leaves us with an almost unimaginably bad economic crisis apparently grows weary of defending this spectacular failure of a president. And so they have begun to shift their efforts to an easier task: trying to turn Americans against the president who ended the Great Depression, initiated the minimum wage, created Social Security, and helped defeat the Nazis."
Network Neturality: What's the Next Step?
Chloe Albanesius write for PCMAG.Com: "The debate over Net neutrality continued here Thursday, with stakeholders clashing over the extent of the problem, who started it, and whether the next Congress should have any say in the matter. "