Leaked: The Internet must go!
How weathly are Americans?
So long! It's been fun.
In July 2011 I started a new job teaching Italian at Kansas State University. In some ways this was a return to my roots, as I taught English as a Foreign Language for 17 years in Italy. Now I am teaching English speakers Italian. I've come full circle.
This coming full circle also means the end of an attempt on my part to start a new career in my 50s. Sadly, as much as I tried to bring community radio to Manhattan, I was not successful. So I have decided to dedicate my energy and time to my first love, being an educator.
The archive of my shows will remain active - there's a lot of great content in the shows. So I hope you continue to listen and enjoy them.
Once again thank you for your support and encouragement over the five years the show was on the air. I know many feel that my program needs to be on the air and I agree with you that a diversity of voices is sorely lacking in the local media. But alas, it is not I who will bring that diversity. It will have to be someone else.
Christopher E. Renner
28 June 2009
Dafna Linzer and Peter Finn report for ProPublica and The Washington Post: "The Obama administration, fearing a battle with Congress that could stall plans to close Guantanamo, is drafting an executive order that would reassert presidential authority to incarcerate suspected terrorists indefinitely, according to three senior government officials with knowledge of White House deliberations.
Government Reports Stimulus Impact on Income
Amanda Michel reports for ProPublica: "'The income of Americans soared in May because of the government’s economic stimulus,' reports the Wall Street Journal. Calculated Risk points out that consumer spending remains weak. All of the raw data is available at the Bureau of Economic Analysis, a division of the U.S. Commerce Department.
Working America Rallies Behind Climate Bill
Bill Scher writes for the Campaign for America's Future: "It took a very long time to end the fallacy that you can't protect the environment and grow the economy at the same time. But that day has come. The nail in the coffin of the canard was delivered this week, as both the AFL-CIO and United Steelworkers formally endorsed the House clean energy and climate protection bill expected to be voted on this afternoon."
Kicking the Nuclear Habit
Lawrence S. Wittner writes for Truthout: "With President Barack Obama and other world leaders now talking about building a nuclear-free world, it is time to consider whether that would be a good idea. Six reasons for supporting nuclear abolition are particularly cogent."
Liberals Prod Obama on Their Health Bill
Charles Babington reports for The Associated Press: "Obama says he supports a government-run health insurance program to compete with private insurers, a proposal that is popular with many Americans, especially Democrats. But he is standing by as a watered-down, bipartisan version appears likely to be included in a Senate package."
Hate Crimes Bill: How Not to Remember Matthew Shepard
Alexandar Cockburn writes for Counter Punch: "We’ve got the Hate Crimes Bill, aka the Matthew Shepard Act, aka the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act, before Congress and far advanced on its repellent journey towards the statute book. On Thursday the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the bill, which passed the House of Representatives by a 249-175 vote in April. If passed, President Obama is expected to sign it."
Recommended Audio: The Start of the Gay Rights Movement Franklin Kameny Remembers Stonewall June 28, 1969
American Association of Retired Persons for their "Prime Time Radio" program has produce a remarkable piece of LGBT history. Frank Kameny comes across as a disarmingly modest man. But he's not shy about claiming his rightful place as a pioneer in the fight for gay rights in the United States. In this illuminating and sometimes funny interview, Kameny says he had always dreamed of being the first gay astronaut, an ambition thwarted by the discriminatory civil service laws in place through the mid-1970s. And he describes the gay rights movement, and his own "agenda" - total, non-negotiable equality for all people, regardless of sexual orientation.
Download the conversation with Frank Kameny in mp3 format.
Richard Kim writes for The Nation: "Obama's slide hit what one hopes will be a nadir on June 12 when his administration filed a brief defending the legality of DOMA by comparing same-sex marriage to incest and pedophilia. It is impossible to accept that a president who owes so much to movements for civil rights and social justice, never mind the Obama of 1996, believes in such right-wing bigotry; the only plausible explanation can be one of political calculation.
On Stonewall Anniversary Ft. Worth Police Raid Gay Nightclub
Domingo Ramirez reports for the Ft. Worth Star-Telegraph: "A crowd of more than 100 protesters chanted 'No more!' from the steps of the Tarrant County Courthouse Sunday evening as they demanded an investigation into a police raid earlier in the day at a gay night club. One patron was seriously injured in the raid, several protesters said, as police used excessive force in making seven arrests. Police defended their actions. Speaker after speaker demanded an inquiry into the late-night raid at the Rainbow Lounge on South Jennings Street."
27 June 2009
Following the GRIT TV panel we will rebroadcast part of Democracy Now's June 16th show looking at health care reform. First we hear Dr. Quentin Young, National Coordinator for Physicians for a National Health Program, and Dr. Chris McCoy, an Instructor of Medicine at the Mayo Clinic and the chair of the policy committee for the National Physicians Alliance, who recently withdrew his membership from the American Medical Association in protest over their position regarding a public health care option. Then we will hear a special report on Montana Senator Max Baucus, the chair of the Senate Finance Committee. Baucus is the Senate’s point man on health care reform. A new article in the Montana Standard finds that Senator Baucus has received more campaign money from health-and-insurance industry interests than any other member of Congress.
26 June 2009
We discuss this document on this week's show. It was released in April by the Department of Homeland Security and caused the Republicans and right-wing pundits to rail against its contents. The killing of Dr. George Tiller and the attack on the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC has confirmed the reports findings and raise serious questions about the Republican's motivation for attacking the report.
A Global Recovery for a Global Recession
Joseph E. Stiglitz writes in The Nation: "A poorly designed and insufficient stimulus means that the downturn will last longer, the recovery will be slower and there will be more innocent victims. Among these victims are the many developing countries--including those that have had far better regulatory and macroeconomic policies than the United States and some European countries. In the United States a financial crisis transformed itself into an economic crisis; in many developing countries the economic downturn is creating a financial crisis."
Recommended Audio: GRIT TV Media Roundtable
New world meets old… Non traditional reporters have been bringing us most of the news from Iran this week, but here in the US, a very traditional debate has broken out. New media report, but with an old media spin. What did this “new media” miss or misrepresent this week? And are we just repeating ourselves? This week on GRIT TV’s media roundtable: we’ll talk about the video of Neda Agha-Soltan, — quite possibly the most broadcast death in history, the anniversary of the Stonewall uprising, and South Carolina’s governor, Mark Sanford abandons his duties to pursue an affair. Haven’t the pundits gotten it yet that when it comes to the sanctity of marriage, same sex couples may actually be the strongest believers?
Joining us are Allison Kilkenny, Contributor to the Huffington Post and Host of Citizen Radio, Danny Schechter, Founder and Editor-in-Chief of “Media Channel,” Host of a new radio show, “The News Dissector” and author of Plunder: Investigating Our Economic Calamity and the Subprime Scandal, and Andrew Golis, Deputy Publisher of “Talking Points Memo.”
GOP: No Benefit to Court Fight
Manu Raju writes for Politico: "Nearly a month after President Barack Obama picked her for the Supreme Court, Republican senators say Sonia Sotomayor isn’t serving as the political lightning rod some in their party had hoped she would be."
Free Speech vs. Surveillance in the Digital Age
Amy Goodman writes for Truthdig: "Tools of mass communication that were once the province of governments and corporations now fit in your pocket. Cell phones can capture video and send it wirelessly to the Internet. People can send eyewitness accounts, photos and videos, with a few keystrokes, to thousands or even millions via social networking sites. As these technologies have developed, so too has the ability to monitor, filter, censor and block them."
Why Does the US Government Torture People?
markadamsjdmba writes for Daily Censored: "Well, it’s just standard practice, and unfortunately, U.S. government agents torture Americans far more often than they torture foreign 'terrorists.' Since most of you are saying, 'No way. That can’t be true!' I’ll let you in on one of the dirty secrets that the 'news' media cartel has kept you in the dark about. In 2003, Congress made the following findings:"
A Thoroughly Un-American Institution
Louis Wolf writes for the Council on Hemispheric Affairs: "Today, Thursday June 25th Congress will to vote on an amendment to the Defense Authorization Act which would require the School of the Americas/WHINSEC to release to the public the names, ranks, countries of origin, courses taken and dates of attendance of all the students and instructors at the institute. The School of the America's, renamed WHINSEC, is an organization founded with the explicit purpose of teaching its students the science of torture and interrogation techniques. Its records have been concealed, and for the most part its dealings shrouded in mystery."
Debate Joined Over New Consumer Financial Protection Agency
Kevin G. Hall reports for McClatchy Newspapers: "A key committee in the House of Representatives began breaking down the Obama administration's financial-regulation revamp into separate parts Wednesday, promising to pass the portion that would affect most Americans, a proposed Consumer Financial Protection Agency, by the end of July."
George Tiller: Health Care Provider
Eyal Press comments for The Nation: "Rare in the news coverage of the murder of Dr. George Tiller were the voices of physicians who referred patients to him. That's because, in the media, abortion features as an "issue," a battlefront in the culture wars, and only secondarily, if at all, as a medical procedure. The letter below, written by a physician in response to my comment in The Nation on the murder, is a rare exception, shedding light on Dr. Tiller's role as a healthcare provider. Many thanks to Dr. Laurence Burd, its author, for writing it."
Why We Need a Public Health Care Plan
Robert B. Reich writes in The Wall Street Journal: "Why has health-care reform stalled in Congress? Democrats, after all, control both Houses, and President Obama, whose popularity remains high, has made universal health care his No. 1 priority. What's more, an overwhelming majority of the public wants it. In the most recent Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, 76% of respondents said it was important that Americans have a choice between a public and private health-insurance plan. In last week's New York Times/CBSNews poll, 85% said they wanted major health-care reforms."
Public Health Plan Could Save Money Faster
Susan Heavey reports for Reuters: "A nationwide health insurance exchange that includes a Medicare-like government option could save $1.8 trillion more than if only private plans are offered, a prominent private U.S. health policy group said on Wednesday."
Senate Panel Hears of Health Insurers' Wrongs
David S. Hilzenrath reports for The Washington Post: "Health insurers have forced consumers to pay billions of dollars in medical bills that the insurers themselves should have paid, according to a report released yesterday by the staff of the Senate Commerce Committee. The report was part of a multi-pronged assault on the credibility of private insurers by Commerce Committee Chairman John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.)."
The Sickening Influence of Campaign Contributions
Jo Conason writes for Truthdig: "If Congress fails to enact health care reform this year—or if it enacts a sham reform designed to bail out corporate medicine while excluding the “public option”—then the public will rightly blame Democrats, who have no excuse for failure except their own cowardice and corruption. The punishment inflicted by angry voters is likely to be reduced majorities in both the Senate and the House of Representatives—or even the restoration of Republican rule on Capitol Hill."
Food Inc: Michael Pollan and Friends Reveal the Food Industry's Darkest Secrets
Tara Lohan writes for AlterNet: "It turns out that figuring out the most simple thing - like what's on your dinner plate, and where it came from - is actually a pretty subversive act. That's what director Robert Kenner found out while spending six years putting together the amazing new documentary, 'Food Inc.,' which features prominent food writers Michael Pollan ('The Omnivore's Dilemma') and Eric Schlosser ('Fast Food Nation')."
The Virginity Movement, Rebranded
Jessica Valenti writes for The Nation: "Keith Deltano has a high school student tied up onstage and is precariously dangling a cinder block over the young man's genital region. Deltano is not a school bully or an escaped lunatic. He's an abstinence proponent, a comedian who uses this brick trick to demonstrate the ineffectiveness of condoms (although the actual lesson learned may be to steer clear of comics brandishing bricks). "
The Real Mob at Stonewall
Lucian K. Truscott IV comments for the New York Times: "I WAS perhaps the unlikeliest person in the world to cover the Stonewall riots for The Village Voice. It was June 27, 1969. I had graduated from West Point only three weeks earlier and was spending my summer leave in New York before reporting for duty at Fort Benning, in Georgia. After a late dinner in Chinatown, I was about to enter the Lion’s Head, a writers’ hangout on Christopher Street near the Voice’s offices, when I blundered straight into the first moments of the police raid on the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar a couple of doors down the street. Even a newly minted second lieutenant of infantry could see that it was a story."
The $9.5 Billion Gay Marriage Windfall
Miriam Marcus writes for Forbes: "Howls of protest erupted last month when California's Supreme Court upheld Proposition 8, stripping gay and lesbian couples of their right to marry. Adding to the din: all the disappointed planners, seamstresses, jewelers, travel agents and caterers who comprise the massive yet plodding American wedding industry."
How To Repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell
Faiz Shakir, Amanda Terkel, Matt Corley, Benjamin Armbruster, Ryan Powers, and Nate Carlile write for the Progress Report: "While campaigning for the White House, President Obama pledged to repeal the military's "Don't Ask Don't Tell" (DADT) policy, which bars openly gay men and women from serving in the military. But since taking office, the Obama administration has yet to follow through on its promise and has repeatedly resisted calls to suspend DADT by executive order. The administration is seeking "Congressional action" to resolve the issue. As a consequence, the military has discharged more than 265 service members on the basis of the discriminatory and counterproductive policy since Obama took office. Despite the losses, when asked about DADT in March, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said that repealing DADT would have to be pushed "down the road a little bit." Last week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said that the Senate was waiting for "a legislative proposal from the White House on repeal so as to provide clear guidance on what the President would like to see and when." Seventy-seven members of the House recently sent Obama a letter urging him to "suspend" DADT. As part of an effort to build momentum from this call for action, the Center for American Progress published a report yesterday by Lawrence J. Korb, Sean Duggan, and Laura Conley that provides a practical outline for repealing DADT and opening the armed forces to men and women who are currently excluded."
22 June 2009
Jamie Doward, Gaby Hinsliff and Mark Townsend report for The Observer UK: "A confidential record of a meeting between President Bush and Tony Blair before the invasion of Iraq, outlining their intention to go to war without a second United Nations resolution, will be an explosive issue for the official inquiry into the UK's role in toppling Saddam Hussein. The memo, written on 31 January 2003, almost two months before the invasion and seen by the Observer, confirms that as the two men became increasingly aware UN inspectors would fail to find weapons of mass destruction (WMD) they had to contemplate alternative scenarios that might trigger a second resolution legitimising military action."
Agents Say DEA Is Forcing Them Illegally to Work in Afghanistan
Marisa Taylor reports for McClatchy Newspapers: "As the Obama administration ramps up the Drug Enforcement Administration's presence in Afghanistan, some special-agent pilots contend that they're being illegally forced to go to a combat zone, while others who've volunteered say they're not being properly equipped. In interviews with McClatchy, more than a dozen DEA agents describe a badly managed system in which some pilots have been sent to Afghanistan under duress or as punishment for bucking their superiors."
Recommended Audio: News Dissector, Progressive Radio Network, on "Anthrax Wars"
On the 18 June edition of News Dissector, host Danny Schechter Guests interviews Eric Nadler and Bob Cohen, producers of Anthrax War, new investigative film on Biowar.
Conservatives Choke on Persian Pretzel Logic
Leslie Savan writes for The Nation: "The democracy movement in Iran has thrown Republican ideologues into such a tizzy of circular logic that they're stepping on their own dicta. "
Firing Back on Right-Wing Domestic Terrorism
Sara Robinson writes for the Campaign for America's Future: "It's been a wild couple of weeks for those of us in the wingnutology business. Our services have been in tremendous demand as the mainstream media tries to sort out the meaning of what Scott Roeder and James von Brunn did. I've done an average of one radio show every day for the past two weeks trying to help various lefty talkers around the country make some sense of it all; and I'm generally gratified at how seriously people are starting to take this."
Toxic to Democracy: Conspiracy Theories, Demonization, & Scapegoating
Chip Berlet writes for Political Research Associates: "Charged with the fatal shooting of abortion provider Dr. George Tiller in a church in Wichita, Kansas, Scott Philip Roeder is a regular consumer of conservative talk radio, television, and websites. But did Bill O’Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck—or any other commentator whipping up an audience with overheated demonizing rhetoric—actually help pull the trigger?"
How the Wall Street Bankers Bough Congress
Petrino DiLeo writes for Dissident Voice: "You would think that causing the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression might have repercussions. You would think being a major factor in the destruction of around 40 percent of the world’s wealth might get you in trouble. You would think being the cause of the worst housing crisis in history — with millions of people losing their homes because of you — might force a restructuring of how Wall Street does things."
Who Shredded Our Safety Net?
James Ridgeway writes in Mother Jones: "LIKE MOST PEOPLE whose quality of life depends upon the fluctuations of an IRA, 401(k), 403(b), or other acronym-soup retirement account, I was born long before such things existed. It's easy to forget, now that more than half of us have been made shareholders, that until well past the middle of the 20th century, most people had nothing to do with the stock market: Wall Street was for the wealthy and the reckless. It was a world most Americans didn't understand and, after 1929, didn't trust. Some lucky people had pensions, but few had the privilege of even thinking about retirement. They were too busy trying to survive the present—which in my childhood meant the Great Depression and then World War II."
Immigration - Mainstream Extremism
Faiz Shakir, Amanda Terkel, Matt Corley, Benjamin Armbruster, Ali Frick, Ryan Powers, and Nate Carlile write for the Progress Reprot: "This week, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights Education Fund released a new report tying the immigration debate's vitriolic rhetoric to the growing number of hate crimes against Latinos and "perceived immigrants." The report warned of a connection between hate crime incidents, extremist anti-immigrant groups and hateful anti-immigrant rhetoric's "infiltration of the mainstream media." Concerns arose late last year when FBI statistics showed another sharp increase in hate crimes targeting Latinos for the fourth year in a row. Shortly thereafter, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released a controversial report warning that the frustration of right-wing extremist groups "over a perceived lack of government action on illegal immigration" might incite violence. Right-wing pundits and politicians quickly attacked the report, calling it "laughable" and "funny." Less than a month later, no one is laughing about DHS's warnings. In what appears to be a chain of hate-related violence, Shawna Forde, an Arizona Minuteman leader and head of the Minuteman American Defense (MAD) group, and two of her associates were charged this week with murdering a nine-year-old Hispanic girl and her father. The trio allegedly broke into a home dressed as law enforcement officers looking for money and drugs to finance the Minutemen group. The same week that the Leadership Fund's report issued its warnings, information arose tying Forde to prominent Republican leaders and mainstream anti-immigration organizations."
Recommended Audio: Insurers Revoke Policies to Avoid Paying High Costs
Joanne Silberner reports for NPR News: "According to a new report by congressional investigators, an insurance company practice of retroactively canceling health insurance is fairly common, and it saves insurers a lot of money. A subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee recently held a hearing about the report's findings in an effort to bring a halt to this practice. But at the hearing, insurance executives told lawmakers they have no plans to stop rescinding policies."
UN Food Agency Says 1 Billion People Go Hungry Each Day
Alessandra Rizzo reports for The Associated Press: "The global financial meltdown has pushed the ranks of the world's hungry to a record one billion, a grim milestone that poses a threat to peace and security, UN food officials said yesterday. Because of war, drought, political instability, high food prices, and poverty, hunger now affects 1 in 6 people, by the UN estimate. The financial meltdown has compounded the crisis in what the head of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization called a 'devastating combination for the world's most vulnerable.'"
Recommended Audio: Democracy Now - Interview with Cleve Jones
On Wednesday, President Barack Obama signed a memorandum to extend some, but not all, benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees. Comprehensive healthcare, for example, is not included. President Obama’s promise to work to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, Wednesday came one week after his administration filed a controversial legal brief supporting DOMA, an action which greatly disappointed activists fighting for marriage equality. We speak with Cleve Jones, one of the giants of the gay rights and AIDS awareness movements. He is the founder of the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt and the co-founder of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation. In the 1970s, Cleve Jones was a friend of the gay rights leader Harvey Milk.
21 June 2009
The panel discusses the impact of the Stonewall Riots on social, cultural and political realities, the coming out process, the future of the gay rights movement in the US and in Kansas, prejudice and hypocrisy in local elected officials, the National March on Washington and the Obama administration.
19 June 2009
The big decisions on health care reform are happening right now. Congress is "mixing the concrete" of the health care reform bill, as the economist Robert Reich puts it on his blog, "And after it's poured and hardens, universal health care will be with us for years to come in whatever form it now takes."
But who's doing the mixing? Robert Reich, who served as Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration, tells Bill Moyers on the JOURNAL that the fight to shape health care reform is the biggest test to date for President Obama. Powerful lobbies have lined up to oppose what is being called "the public option," a key element of the president's plan.The American Empire Is Bankrupt
Chris Hedges writes for Truthdig: "This week marks the end of the dollar's reign as the world's reserve currency. It marks the start of a terrible period of economic and political decline in the United States. And it signals the last gasp of the American imperium. That's over. It is not coming back. And what is to come will be very, very painful."
Where are the Now? Ex-Bush Loyalists Cash In
Nick Truse writes for Tomgram: "In May, the U.S. economy lost 345,000 nonfarm jobs, pushing the unemployment rate from 8.9% to 9.4%. According to official statistics, 14.5 million Americans are now looking for work and, as a recent headline at Time.com put it, 'The jobs aren't coming back anytime soon.' In fact, a team of economists at the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank recently reported that 'the level of labor market slack could be higher by the end of 2009 than at any other time in the post-World War Two period.'"
Congre$$, Heal Thyself
Amy Goodman writes for Truthdig.com: "As the Obama administration pushes for a vote on health care reform before Congress recesses in August, has health industry money too thoroughly polluted the process for anything good to come of it?"
Centrist Democrats Make Voices Heard on Health Care
Mike Soraghan writes for The Hill: "The House's two most conservative caucuses, the Blue Dogs and New Democrats, are banding together to come up with shared principles on healthcare and counter a process many see skewing to the left. The two groups, which combined have 131 members - more than half the House Democratic Caucus - have been holding meetings to see where they can agree on a healthcare plan."
The AMA's Unhealthy Obsession
Joe Conason reports for Truthdig: "Campaigning to build the widest possible consensus for reform of the nation's health care system, Barack Obama told the delegates of the American Medical Association that he wants their support, too. Persuasive and always polite, the president did not mention the embarrassing truth about his hosts - namely, that the AMA has undermined universal care with mindless zeal for more than 70 years."
The Isolationism of Health Reform
Timothy Noah writes for Slate: "The health care debate is, within mainstream political discourse, isolationism's last refuge. Every day Washington's leaders tell us that we live in an interdependent world with a globalized economy. A butterfly beats its wings in Guangdong province, and four Wal-Marts materialize in Duluth. The peso plunges, and 30 Honda workers get laid off in Marysville. A coal-fired power plant belches carbon dioxide in Prague, and Lohachara Island sinks into the Bay of Bengal."
Conversation With Henry Giroux (Part III): Let Us Make Haste While We Can
Tolu Olorunda writes for The Black Commentator: "For some, the first five months of Obama's presidency have marked the dawn of a new era; a time when governance is filtered through the channels of pragmatism and diplomacy. For others, these five months have confirmed a belief long held before candidate Obama overtook Hillary Clinton to become the Democratic Party's presidential nominee - that he was not the change-agent he had so eloquently claimed to be. In between these two factions are those who believe that while President Obama has acted less progressively than candidate Obama spoke, there are immense democratic possibilities within his administration that cannot simply be disregarded. Henry Giroux is one of those believers."
Conservatives Aren't Being Persecuted
Leonard Pitts Jr. comments for The Miami Herald: "Modern conservatism is defined by an Alice-through-the-looking-glass incoherence: small government except when it is growing larger than ever, fiscal restraint except when we are spending like Michael Jackson in a Disney gift shop, foreign-policy pragmatism except when we are trying to transform the Middle East. Indeed, sometimes it feels as if it is no longer defined by principles at all, nor by energy and ideas, but rather, by a limitless ability to feel put upon and slighted."
Battle Lines in Iran
Robert Dreyfuss writes in The Nation: " ... the traditional balance of power has been upended. According to conventional wisdom, Iran's president is a figurehead with little or no power, while the Leader (often mistakenly called the 'Supreme Leader') is the all-powerful commander in chief and decision-maker. At the very least, that balance is tilting, and I'll leave it to closer watchers of Iranian politics than me to figure out how far it's moved. But it's clear that Ahmadinejad, his military and paramilitary allies, and the radical clerics that support him have at least surrounded if not neutralized Khamenei, the Leader."
Recommended Audio: New America Now for 12 June - Muslims on the Move
This week's show includes:
- Odette Keeley talks to:
- Hossein Hedjazi, veteran radio anchor PARS TV in Los Angeles,on women being involved in the Iranian elections.
- Pilar Marrero, political editor for La Opinion, on the familiar criticism of Judge Sotomayor
Sandip Roy talks to:
- From Seoul, NAM's Peter Schurmann gives analysis and reaction to the long jail terms given the two American journalists charged with entering North Korea illegally.
- Director Brittany Huckabee on her movie The Mosque in Morgantown about increasing the access for women to a mosque in West Virginia.
- Asra Nomani
has been agitating for Muslim women's rights which resulted in her book Standing Alone in Mecca.
- Michael Muhammad Knight's book Taqwacores about punk muslims is so evocative of of Muslim youth, many don't think it's a novel.
David A. Fahrenthold reports for The Washington Post: "Man-made climate change is already lifting temperatures, increasing rainfall, and raising sea levels around the United States -- and its effects are on track to get much worse in the coming century, according to a report released this afternoon by federal scientists. The report, 'Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States,' covers much of the same ground as previous analyses from US and United Nations science panels. It finds that greenhouse-gas emissions are 'primarily' responsible for global warming and that rapid action is needed to avert catastrophic shifts in water, heat and natural life."
Where's Griff Jenikins? CA GOP Voter Registration Honcho Pleads Guilty To Voter Registration Fraud
Ellen writes for News hound: "Brad Blog reported yesterday that the head of the voter registration firm hired by the California Republican Party to head up their voter registration efforts in the state pleaded guilty to voter registration fraud. Brad also noted that Jacoby's arrest occurred last October "smack dab during the media's orgasmic heights of last year's phony GOP ACORN 'Voter Fraud' hoax, even as Fox 'News' (and the other news outlets who similarly fell for the scam) were going wall-to-wall with their unsupported insinuations about voter fraud by ACORN, Democrats and Obama." But it's funny how little coverage that arrest and now the guilty plea has gotten. "
DOJ Abortion Violence Suits Cratered Under Bush
Daphne Eviatar reports for The Washington Independent: "Just as federal law specifically penalizes hate crimes, the law also makes it a federal crime to threaten or commit violence against abortion providers, or to vandalize their clinics. Yet as TWI revealed last week, the criminal law was not being enforced ... But there's also a civil component to that federal law, known as the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, or FACE Act. That part of the law allows the attorney general to seek an injunction and compensatory damages for anyone who's been harmed by any activity that violates the law. And it turns out that the Department of Justice over the last eight years didn't use that part of the law to protect abortion providers, either."
Planned Parenthood = Primary, Preventive Care
Jodi Jacobson reports for RH Reality Check: "As the Obama administration and Congress turn their full attention to reforming the nation's health care system, Planned Parenthood Action Fund today has launched a multimedia campaign focused on the central role played by Planned Parenthood affiliates in communities across the nation: Providing millions of Americans with essential primary and preventive health care every day. The campaign's web site will serve as a hub for online education and advocacy and provides links to television and web ads, and a range of interviews with providers, clients, and parents of students who have received care from Planned Parenthood."
Maternal Death, Illness Are Human Rights Violations
Jodi Jacobson reports for RH Reality Check: "In 1988, I stayed for a week with a married couple, both physicians, who ran what was then recognized as one of the best rural clinics in the state of Maharashtra, India. Even so, they could not work miracles in a setting in which reaching the clinic itself represented a problem. While there, one woman died of hemorrhage due to the combination of a complicated labor and delivery and her inability to get to the clinic in time to be saved. Another was dying of metastatic breast cancer, which had gone undiagnosed for months during her fourth pregnancy."
Obama Is Taken to Task for Defense of Marriage Act Stance
Instead of defending the Defense of Marriage Act in court, the Obama administration should work to repeal it, HRC President Joe Solmonese writes in a letter to President Barack Obama. "As an American, a civil rights advocate, and a human being, I hold this administration to a higher standard than this [legal] brief [in support of the act]," Solmonese writes. The New York Times, in an editorial, calls on the administration to make good on its pledge to provide legal recognition for same-sex couples. For more information read the following opinion pieces:
The Wall Street Journal
The New York Times
Fox Nation Embraces White Supremacists
Priscilla writes for News Hounds: "It’s not really surprising given the racism and intolerance shown by Fox Nation 'citizens;' but for them to actually support white supremacists, in the US Army, is a bit – ah – unsettling. When I read the article in Salon, about how the military’s admission’s standards have been loosened to accept white supremacists, I was appalled. Not so Fox Nation whose outrage about the Homeland Security Report, caused by their belief that the report targeted “conservatives,” seems to indicate that they either have no problem with white supremacists or that they are the white supremacists who do, sorry Fox Nation, bear monitoring. Anyway, here are some choice comments from the 'volk' in the Fox Nation Fatherland responding to the Fox Nation headline: 'Far-Left Media Accuse U.S. Army of Enlisting Neo-Nazis.'"
14 June 2009
John Nichols writes for The Nation: "The Obama administration and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi are aggressively whipping House Democrats to support the 2009 war supplemental bill that seeks to steer another $100 billion in US tax dollars into the quagmires of Iraq and Afghanistan while at the same time squandering at least $5 billion on the failed economic schemes of the International Monetary Fund ... This is a very bad bill."
Sotomayor & Identity Politics
Eyal Press writes for The Nation: "Take the time, if you haven't already, to read the following post on Sonia Sotomayor and identity politics, by my good friend Ta-Nehisi Coates, a blogger at The Atlantic. In addition to being an original thinker with a highly original voice, Ta-Nehisi is the son of a black nationalist. I am the grandson of a Jewish nationalist (i.e. a Zionist). We've thus spent many evenings exchanging notes about what Ta-Nehisi once called ‘the perils and boons' of nationalism – the air of superiority but also the sense of empowerment that can be wrung out of thinking in terms of ethnic/racial categories and groups."
Why Have We Stopped Talking About Guns?
Bill Moyers and Michael Winship write for Truthout: "There is much talk about hate talk; hate crimes against blacks, whites, immigrants, Muslims, Jews; about violence committed in the name of bigotry or religion. But why don't we talk about guns?"
The Lone Wolves Among Us
Eugene Robinson writes for Truthdig: "We are blessed to live at a time when violent acts of hatred based on race, ethnicity or religion have become rare, at least in this country. As the act of terrorism committed Wednesday at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum should remind us, though, rare doesn’t mean nonexistent."
Homegrown Hate Groups Increase in Number
Mara Schiavocampo reports for NBC News: "The SPLC has been tracking hate groups for almost 30 years. In its spring 2009 Intelligence Report, they found that 926 hate groups are currently operating in the U.S., an all-time high. These groups include the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis, racist skinheads and Black separatists. Potok attributes this rise in hate groups to the recession, the election of the nation's first black president, and the immigration debate."
Right-wing Media and the Fringe: A growing history of violence (and denial)
Media Matters for America produces the following video:
John Santore writes for Media Matters: "This week, the country's attention was captured by the horrific shooting at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, allegedly by James W. von Brunn, an 88-year-old man with ties to white supremacist and anti-Semitic organizations. The fatal shooting came just two months after an April 7 Department of Homeland Security report detailing potential increases in right-wing extremism."
About that DHS Report
Karl Frish writes for Media Matters: "Fringe extremism is a scary, sometimes deadly reality, regardless of the ideology that creates it. In early April, a Department of Homeland Security report detailing potential increases in right-wing extremism was made public. The report concluded that 'rightwing extremists may be gaining new recruits by playing on their fears about several emergent issues. The economic downturn and the election of the first African American president present unique drivers for rightwing radicalization and recruitment.' The report also cited as potential mobilizing issues for right-wing extremism 'immigration and citizenship, the expansion of social programs to minorities, and restrictions on firearms ownership and use.'"
Bailout Bank Execs Get Payouts
Paul Keil reports for ProPublica: "Yesterday, the Treasury Department released new rules  on how much banks that received TARP money can pay their executives. Among the rules is one that prohibits golden parachutes – defined as any payment to a departing exec simply because the exec is leaving. But an examination of public filings shows that a number of executives at banks that received TARP funds have received large payments just for resigning. It’s unclear if the new rules will apply retroactively."
Senators Held Stock in Bailed-Out Banks
Reid Wilson and Kevin Bogardus report for The Hill: "Senators who oversee the $700 billion Wall Street rescue package held stocks in many of the banks bailed out towards the end of last year, according to financial disclosure reports released Friday."
Goodbye to Cheap Oil
Michael T. Klare writes for TomDispatch.com: "Every summer, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) of the US Department of Energy issues its International Energy Outlook (IEO) - a jam-packed compendium of data and analysis on the evolving world energy equation. For those with the background to interpret its key statistical findings, the release of the IEO can provide a unique opportunity to gauge important shifts in global energy trends, much as reports of routine Communist Party functions in the party journal Pravda once provided America's Kremlin watchers with insights into changes in the Soviet Union's top leadership circle."
ACLU Challenges Defense Department Personnel Policy to Regard Lawful Protests As 'Low-Level Terrorism”
ACLU as reported on CommonDreams: "Anti-terrorism training materials currently being used by the Department of Defense (DoD) teach its personnel that free expression in the form of public protests should be regarded as "low level terrorism." ACLU attorneys are calling the approach "an egregious insult to constitutional values" and have sent a letter to the Department of Defense demanding that the offending materials be changed and that the DoD send corrective information to all DoD employees who received the erroneous training."
John Yoo Ordered to Testify on Torture.
Think Progress reports: The New York Times reports that a federal judge in California has ruled that former Bush administration lawyer John Yoo will have to testify in court about accusations that his work led to the torture of a detainee:
Constitutional law professor Jonathan Turley has said that Yoo’s memos “provide the very definition of tyranny.”
The government had asked Judge Jeffrey S. White of Federal District Court in San Francisco to dismiss the case filed by Jose Padilla, an American citizen who spent more than three years in a military brig as an enemy combatant. Judge White denied most elements of Mr. Yoo’s motion and quoted a passage from the Federalist Papers that in times of war, nations, to be more safe, “at length become willing to run the risk of being less free.”
Conversation With Henry Giroux: (Part II) Let Us Make Haste While We Can
Tolu Olorunda of The Black Commentator continues his interview with Henry Giroux on the American education system.
Depraved Injustice and the Privatization of the Global Freshwater Commons
Frank Joseph Smecker writes for Dissident Voice: "Around the world, scarcity of potable water is becoming a portentous matter. Admonishing phrases like 'water is the next oil,' and 'wells are running dry' have percolated their way into the collective lexicon of global issues. Rivers and streams are vanishing, and the desiccation and depletion of entire watersheds and aquifers is increasing the world over. Desperately seeking a reason for the withering away of drinkable water and the silencing of gushing streams, it becomes obvious that there is not one sole factor contributing to this dire situation, but many. Global warming and climate change, industrial modes of production, dam construction, and water privatization all conduce to the problem of water scarcity."
Federal Agent Sacked for Reporting Illegal Cougar Kills
Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility report: "A federal agent who reported that his colleagues had illegally used government airplanes to hunt mountain lions was fired in retaliation, according to filings released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). The legal complaint filed by Gary Strader, a professional hunter for US Wildlife Services, is one of the first whistleblower cases arising during the Obama administration. How the case is handled may give important clues as to whether civil servants can expect a respite from the heavy-handed personnel practices that characterized the Bush administration. Gary Strader worked for Wildlife Services, an arm of the US Department of Agriculture, as a hunter and tracker, principally of coyotes, out of the agency's Ely, Nevada office. His job was abruptly eliminated after he reported both to his regional office, as well as the FBI, that his agency co-workers had illegally shot as many as five mountain lions from government airplanes."
Why So Scared of a Public Plan?
Joe Conason writed for Truthdig: "Within the coming weeks, Americans will begin to consider critical issues concerning the future of health care for themselves and their children, including universal coverage, taxation of benefits, computerized records and the controlling of costs. But before the debate commences in Congress and the media, big insurance and pharmaceutical companies are lobbying frantically (and spending millions of dollars) to foreclose the possibility of the most promising aspect of health care reform: a public insurance option."
Who Will Be at the Table? PhRMA and AMA join forces with insurers
Trudy Leiberman writes for the Columbia Journalism Review: "During the campaign, Barack Obama promised his cheering crowds that, when he rolled up his sleeves to work on health care, he would "have insurance company representatives and drug company representatives at the table. They just won't be able to buy every chair." Now is a good time to look at just what kind of seats special interest groups are having at Obama's table and what they're doing to bring the public around to their ways of thinking. This is the ninth of an occasional series of posts that will analyze their activities and how the media are covering them. The entire series is archived here.
The Rise of Single-Payer Health Care
David Swanson writes for Truthout: "Health care reform plans are being drafted and passed around on both sides of Capitol Hill, but the plan with the greatest number of Congressional members behind it was first introduced as a bill six years ago. With two new co-sponsors having just signed on, Congressman John Conyers's single-payer health care plan, HR 676, now has 80 Congress members supporting it."
Students Draw the Line on Sexual Violence
Stephanie Gilmore writes for On the Issues Magazine: "'Sexual violence is a problem on this campus!' 'Your silence will not protect you!' 'What do we want? Safety! When do we want it? Now!' On the limestone steps of Old West, outside the admissions building where campus tours for new students and their parents begin and end, and in front of the Board of Trustees, hundreds of students shouted these chants throughout the day on April 24, 2009, at a protest against sexual assault and rape at Dickinson College, a selective liberal arts college in Carlisle, Pennsylvania."
"Common Ground" Is Reducing the Need for Abortion
Rev. Debra W. Haffner writes for The Women's Media Center: "[we have] an opportunity to reach across the divide on abortion to forge ahead toward a goal that surely is common ground - to reduce the need for abortion by reducing the incidence of unwanted pregnancy. And it's an opportunity to uphold the moral agency of women in making the decisions that are right for their individual circumstances. That's how we can honor George Tiller, whose motto was 'trust women.'"
Recommended Audio: The Human Toll of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"
This video clip, the spouse of a gay soldier stationed in Iraq discusses the difficulties of having his partner in harm's way without either one being able to be open about their status because of the military's gay ban. The narrator of the clip is not shown, nor is his name disclosed, out of concern that his partner would be outed and discharged for being gay.
DOJ Moves to Dismiss First Fed Gay Marriage Case
Linda Deutsch reports for Associate Press: "The U.S. Justice Department has moved to dismiss the first gay marriage case filed in federal court, saying it is not the right venue to tackle legal questions raised by a couple already married in California. The motion, filed late Thursday, argued the case of Arthur Smelt and Christopher Hammer does not address the right of gay couples to marry but rather questions whether their marriage must be recognized nationwide by states that have not approved gay marriage."
11 June 2009
From a billion dollars sought for embassies in Pakistan and Afghanistan to May's highest casualties for US forces in Iraq since September, the wars abroad are taking their toll on our nation. Bill Moyers sits down with award-winning investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill to examine the human and financial costs of America's wars.
Global Weapons Spending Hits Record Levels
Richard Norton-Taylor reports for The Guardian UK: "Worldwide spending on weapons has reached record levels amounting to well over $1tn last year, a leading research organisation reported today. Global military expenditure has risen by 45% over the past decade to $1.46tn, according to the latest annual Yearbook on Armaments, Disarmament, and International Security published by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sipri)."
Study Follows the Money on Cram-Down Vote
Matt Renner writes for Truthout: "A new analysis from a government watchdog group shows senators who killed off a consumer-friendly change in law aimed at addressing the foreclosure crisis received more money in campaign contributions from the industries their vote aided. Senators who voted against the consumer-friendly amendment received $3.98 million from the financial industry during the 2008 election cycle, while proponents of the bill received $2.65 million."
A Seat at the Table for Single-Payer
Katrina Vanden Heuvel comments for The Nation: "This week, Senator Bernie Sanders has been firing on all cylinders as he continues his advocacy for real healthcare reform that controls costs while extending quality care to every American. Monday he held a town meeting in Burlington to discuss what we can learn from other countries that have developed cost effective universal health care systems. On Tuesday he met with President Obama along with other members of the Finance and Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) Committees responsible for drafting the Senate's healthcare legislation. Yesterday he arranged a meeting between single-payer advocates and Finance Chair Max Baucus--Baucus had previously not only denied them a seat at the table for his hearings but even had some arrested. "
Stop Being Distracted by Loudmouths Like Limbaugh: The Real Problem Is Lousy Democrats Like Evan Bayh and Ben Nelson
Chris Bowers writes for Open Left (via AlterNet): "We are done attacking Republicans until you pass a public option for health care. Until a public option is passed, I don't want to hear about the latest hate and idiocy spewing from Limbaugh, or Tancredo, or Palin, or Gingrich, or whoever. And to tell you the truth, I don't want to attack them for it, either. Because, right now, Republicans are not the obstacle to progressive governance. Instead, Democrats who refuse to support a public option are the obstacle."
Sign up now to fight for the public option
A War Against Organizing
Kate Bronfenbrenner reports for The Washington Post: "Angel Warner, an employee at a Rite Aid distribution center, sat next to me recently in a Congressional briefing room and described what happened when she and her fellow workers tried to form a union in their California workplace. She talked about the surveillance, constant threats and harassment they endured; how she and other workers were repeatedly taken aside and interrogated, one on one, about how they planned to vote; how two co-workers were fired; and how the rest lived in fear that any day they, too, might get a pink slip. The union filed numerous charges of unfair labor practices and eventually won the organizing election. But three years after the campaign began, Warner and her fellow Rite Aid workers still don't have a contract."
The American Academy Of Environmental Medicine Calls For Immediate Moratorium On Genetically Modified Foods
The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) today released its position paper on Genetically Modified foods stating that "GM foods pose a serious health risk" and calling for a moratorium on GM foods. Citing several animal studies, the AAEM concludes "there is more than a casual association between GM foods and adverse health effects" and that "GM foods pose a serious health risk in the areas of toxicology, allergy and immune function, reproductive health, and metabolic, physiologic and genetic health."
Recommended Audio-Visual: "Food, Inc." Aims to Expose Dangers in US Food Industry
Christine Kearney reviews for Reuters: "Bigger-breasted chickens fattened artificially. New strains of deadly E. coli bacteria. A food supply controlled by a handful of corporations. The documentary 'Food, Inc.' opens in the United States on Friday and portrays these purported dangers and changes in the US food industry, asserting harmful effects on public health, the environment, and worker and animal rights."
Net Neutrality Gains Political Traction
The Seattle Times in an editorial states: "Free and open access to the Internet helped the technology grow and thrive. The political fight to maintain robust access for all has picked up strength in Washington, D.C. That is good news for consumers. The shorthand for the field of battle is net neutrality. Proponents argue that a network provider should not restrict users for reasons against their interests, such as to deny them the right to use certain services because those services are owned by somebody else."
O'Reilly and Fox News Will Have More Right-Wing Vigilantism to Explain
Eric Boehlert writes for Media Matters: "If Fox News is going to continue to traffic in hateful rhetoric, then folks at Fox News, as well as their apologists in the GOP Noise Machine, are going to have to come up with better talking points to spin away the atmosphere of vigilantism fomented by their words and actions."
Can Right-Wing Hate Talk Lead to Murder?
Joan Walsh writes for Salon.com: "I was on "Hardball" today talking about the climate of extreme right-wing rhetoric today, and whether it had anything to do with Wednesday's tragic shooting at Washington's Holocaust Museum, or the May 31 murder of Dr. George Tiller by an antiabortion crackpot."
AlertNet Takes on Shock Jock Michael Savage and Gets Threatened with a Lawsuit
Don Hazen and Tana Ganeva report for ALterNet: "Michael Savage, right-wing crusader against gays, immigrants, Muslims, Barack Obama, Britain, women, (and possibly puppies), may have found a new object for his wrath: groups that have the temerity to publicize the vicious talk-show host’s connection to Rockstar energy drink -- and to call for a boycott by consumers opposed to Savage's hatemongering."
The Right-Wing Media Has Unleashed a Race War that Threatens Our Democracy and Our Personal Safety
Mark Karlin writes for Buzzflash: "In more than 9 years of editing BuzzFlash, nothing has been as profoundly wounding to me since 9/11 as yesterday's act of domestic terrorism at the Holocaust Museum -- its location so tragically symbolic. Like all BuzzFlash readers, we welcomed the election of Barack Obama as a return to America's Constitutional, pro-democracy roots -- and as a step into a future filled with promise and opportunity, not the destruction, tyranny and lies of the Bush Administration."
08 June 2009
Joe Conason writes for Truthdig: "If right-wing broadcasters don’t want to be blamed when someone murders a person they have demonized repeatedly—as in the case of George Tiller, the doctor shot dead in his Wichita, Kan., church last Sunday by an anti-abortion zealot—then they ought to moderate their rhetoric. No doubt they will choose their words more carefully for a while, and they will whine piteously about anyone who calls attention to their screaming extremism."
Confronting the CIA's Mind Maze
Alfred W. McCoy writes for TomDispatch.com: "If, like me, you've been following America's torture policies not just for the last few years, but for decades, you can't help but experience that eerie feeling of deja vu these days. With the departure of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney from Washington and the arrival of Barack Obama, it may just be back to the future when it comes to torture policy, a turn away from a dark, do-it-yourself ethos and a return to the outsourcing of torture that went on, with the support of both Democrats and Republicans, in the Cold War years."
Recommended Audio-Visual: The National at War
From the Civil War to Afghanistan, images of military conflicts and efforts to create a lasting peace.
Europe Agrees to Terms for Accepting Guantanamo Detainees
Ian Traynor reports for The Guardian UK: "European countries yesterday agreed terms for taking in dozens of detainees from Guantanamo Bay, boosting President Barack Obama's plan to close the detention camp."
An Interesting Take on Gitmo Prisoners
The Left Brian writes of Kansas Jackass: "Pat Roberts and Lynn Jenkins will do ANYTHING to help win the war on terror....except let those detainees be housed in a certain military prison that just HAPPENS to lie the 2nd District."
Econocide: Body Count
Nick Turse writes for TomDispatch.com: "After David B. Kellermann, the chief financial officer of beleaguered mortgage giant Freddie Mac, tied a noose and hanged himself in the basement of his Vienna, Virginia, home, The New York Times made it a front-page story. The stresses of the job in economic tough times, its reporters implied, had driven him to this extreme act. 'Binghamton Shooter' Jiverly Wong also garnered front-page headlines nationwide and set off a cable news frenzy when, 'bitter over job loss,' he massacred 13 people at an immigration center in upstate New York. Similarly, coverage was brisk after Pittsburgh resident Richard Poplawski, 'upset about recently losing a job,' shot four local police officers, killing three of them. But where was the front-page treatment when, in January, Betty Lipply, a 72-year-old resident of East Palestine, Ohio, 'who feared she'd lose her home to foreclosure, hanged herself to death' shortly after 'receiving her second summons and foreclosure complaint from her mortgage lender'?"
How Pharma and Insurance Intend to Kill the Public Option, And What Obama and the Rest of Us Must Do
Robert Reich writes on Robert Reich's Blog: "I've poked around Washington today, talking with friends on the Hill who confirm the worst: Big Pharma and Big Insurance are gaining ground in their campaign to kill the public option in the emerging health care bill."
The American Health Care Choices Act
Faiz Shakir, Amanda Terkel, Matt Corley, Benjamin Armbruster, Ali Frick, Ryan Powers, and Igor Volsky write for Progress Report: "Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA), the chairman of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, is circulating draft legislation designed to overhaul the nation's health care system. This so-called "draft of a draft" is the first piece of concrete health reform legislation to emerge from Democrats in Congress. As the Washington Post notes, "[A]t least five congressional chairmen are working on health-care reform bills," and Kennedy's draft represents the Democrats' first attempt at "a partial road map for how the nation might address health coverage gaps and problems such as rising costs and inferior quality." The legislation, called the "American Health Choices Act," would provide affordable coverage to all Americans, require businesses to provide and individuals to obtain coverage, and establish a new public health care plan to compete alongside private insurers."
"Single-Payer" Supporters Challenge Democrats
Dan Eggen reports for The Washington Post: "As Obama and congressional Democrats work to hammer out landmark health-care legislation, they face increasingly noisy protests from those on the left who complain that a national program like those in Europe has been excluded from the debate."
Media Quarantine of Single-Payer Continues: Fifteen years later, public health insurance still taboo
Julie Hollar and Isabel Macdonald report for FAIR.org:"As a big healthcare policy debate looms once again in Washington, one thing remains as certain as it was in 1993: A single-payer plan that would provide government health insurance to everyone is off the media agenda."
Baucus Tells Single-Payer Advocates No
David Swanson writes for AfterDowningStreet.org: "Sen. Max Baucus met on Wednesday with advocates for single-payer health care, including Sen. Bernie Sanders, and told them that he might drop criminal charges against 13 people arrested for speaking up in his hearings, but that he would not include any supporters of single-payer health coverage in any future hearings. According to one report, Baucus suggested that he'd been mistaken to exclude single payer, but asserted that the process of creating health care reform legislation was too far along now to correct that omission."
Study: Medical Bills Underlie 60 Percent of US Bankruptcies
Maggie Fox reports for Reuters: "Medical bills are behind more than 60 percent of US personal bankruptcies, US researchers reported on Thursday in a report they said demonstrates that healthcare reform is on the wrong track. More than 75 percent of these bankrupt families had health insurance but still were overwhelmed by their medical debts, the team at Harvard Law School, Harvard Medical School and Ohio University reported in the American Journal of Medicine."
Conversation With Henry Giroux: Let Us Make Haste While We Can (Part I)
Tolu Olorunda from The Black Commentator interviews Henry Giroux. Olorunda: Henry Giroux "is an accomplished scholar in the fields of education, media, cultural studies, critical pedagogy, and entertainment. As author of more than 35 books, very few public intellectuals can lay claim to the kind of expansive career Henry has nurtured for over four decades. But he's hardly amused by academic accomplishments. Henry's devotion to the transformation of the education system, and the cultivation of democratic values in this age of market-driven control, has often put him at odds with a system he describes as 'The University in Chains: Confronting the Military-Industrial-Academic Complex (The Radical Imagination).'"
Americans 'Surrounded by Paganism'
Lee Fang writes for Think Progress: "On Friday, Newt Gingrich, Mike Huckabee, and Oliver North visited Rock Church in Hampton Roads, Virginia to give a three-hour long lecture on “Rediscovering God in America.” The speakers warned the audience about the “continuing availability of abortion, the spread of gay rights, and attempts to remove religion from American public life and school history books.” The Virginia-Pilot reported that Gingrich argued that, while Christianity is the foundation of American citizenship, Americans are experiencing a period where they are being “surrounded by paganism:"
Industry Defends Federal Loophole for Drilling Before Packed Congressional Hearing
Abraham Lustgarten reports for ProPublica: "In a packed and sometimes contentious hearing  on Capitol Hill Thursday, representatives of the oil and gas industry and their state regulators vigorously defended the practice of injecting toxic fluids underground without federal regulatory oversight ."
Let's Stop Women's Suffering
Mary Robinson and Alicia Yamin comment for The Boston Globe: "Human Rights organizations around the world are starting to demand that governments recognize preventable maternal death as a violation of women's rights. With the United Nations Human Rights Council's June session just around the corner, governments have a chance to prove that they value women's lives by taking concrete action on this issue."
Gay Groups Grow Impatient with Obama
Ben Smith and Jonathan Martin write for Politico: "President Barack Obama’s promises of change are falling short for one core Democratic constituency: gays and lesbians, whose leaders say Obama’s administration isn’t keeping up with the times."
Okay Obama. Now Let's Have a Speech on Gay Rights
Jonathan Capehart comments for the Washington Post: "There has been a growing roar within the gay community about seeming inaction by a man who promised change. Some activists fume that President Obama hasn’t followed through on his promise to repeal the offensive Defense of Marriage Act or muttered a substantive word about the legalization of same-sex marriage in six states. After last night's airing of NBC's Inside the Obama White House interview, in which Obama provided a tepid answer to a question about whether “gay and lesbian couples who wish to marry in this country have a friend in the White House,” the blogosphere is filling with cries of 'shameful' and 'no passion, no heart, no real connection to our cause.'"