The Difference Between Liberalism and Progressivism
David Sirota writes for Truthdig.com: "As a progressive, I’m often asked if there is a real difference between progressivism and liberalism, or if progressivism is merely a nicer-sounding term for the less popular L-word. It’s a fair question, considering that Democratic politicians regularly substitute progressive for liberal in news releases and speeches. Predictably, Republicans call their opponents’ linguistic shift a craven branding maneuver, and, frankly, they’re right: Most Democrats make no distinction between the two words."
Globalization Marches On
Noam Chomsky writes for the New York Times Syndicate (via CommonDreams.org): "Shifts in global power, ongoing or potential, are a lively topic among policy makers and observers. One question is whether (or when) China will displace the United States as the dominant global player, perhaps along with India. Such a shift would return the global system to something like it was before the European conquests. Economic growth in China and India has been rapid, and because they rejected the West's policies of financial deregulation, they survived the recession better than most. Nonetheless, questions arise."
Why the President's Next Big Thing Should Be Jobs
The Most Vital Ingredient in Wall Street Reform Goes Missing
Pam Martens writes for CounterPunch: "Last Fall, it was all about the wall: financial bigwigs like former Federal Reserve Chair Paul Volcker, former Citigroup co-CEO John Reed, Governor of the Bank of England, Mervyn King, all espoused reestablishing the legal barrier between the derivatives casino that masquerades today as Wall Street and commercial banks holding insured deposits."
Derailing Help for Consumers
Bob Herbert comments for the New York Times: "Why should there be any significant opposition to the creation of an independent agency with strong powers of enforcement to protect consumers from exploitation by banks, mortgage companies, auto dealers and other purveyors of credit? The dragons lurking in the fine print of some credit agreements are enough to give you heart failure. Payday loans, for example, typically carry annual interest rates in the vicinity of 400 percent. Or look at the lineup of fees, penalties and interest rates on your credit cards and overdraft privileges. Don't even start on mortgage abuses. That would take too long, and it's too depressing."
Kansas Chamber for Wall Street, Not Main Street
Marty Keenan writes for the Kansas Free Press: "The Kansas Chamber of Commerce scolded 14 local chambers of commerce on Thursday for supporting a tax increase to fix the yawning Kansas budget deficit. The starkly differing constituencies of the KCCI (Kansas Chamber of Commerce and Industry) and local chambers of commerce can no longer be papered over."
Coburn Pulls The Trigger: Jobless Benefits Extension Blocked By GOP
Evan McMorris-Santoro reports for Talkign Points Memo: "Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) promised that he'd be the next Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY) if he had to be. And last night, he made good on his threat. Coburn is blocking unanimous consent on extension of unemployment benefits, just as Bunning did a few weeks ago. Only this time, Coburn's not alone -- the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other members of the Republican caucus have joined with Coburn, promising to block billions in unemployment benefits just as the Senate is set to leave on a two-week recess."
Counterfactual: A curious history of the C.I.A.’s secret interrogation program.
Pentagon Wants $33 Billion More for War in Afghanistan
Gordon Lubold, The Christian Science Monitor: "The Pentagon wants $33 billion in additional funding to pay for the war in Afghanistan this year and train the Afghan military, but members of Congress want to make sure they're not writing a blank check."
Obama Appoints New Chief for War Court at Guantanamo
Obama Gives Up: The era of bipartisanship is over, at least until November.
On Pop Clarity: Public Intellectuals and the Crisis of Language
Henry Giroux comments for Turhtout: "The presupposition that academics no longer function as critical public intellectuals willing to connect their knowledge and expertise to larger public issues is now pervasive. Many factors have contributed to this alleged withdrawal from speaking to public issues, ranging from the demands of academic professionalism and the suppression of dissent to a simple lack of time to address such work. What is indisputable is that the voices of progressive academics have become increasingly irrelevant when it comes to assuming the role of engaged intellectuals interested in sharing their ideas, research and policy recommendations with a broader public. All the better for those neoliberal and conservative critics, who insist that academics must remain neutral, apolitical and professional, disavowing that politics has a place in the classroom or in the pursuit of research that speaks to broader public concerns. Sadly, the most pronounced voices critical of academics as public intellectuals come from the general public (who may or may not agree with right-wing portrayals of the university as a hotbed of left totalitarianism), who unite in their dismissal of ivory tower elites for speaking and writing in a discourse that is as arcane as it is irrelevant."
The Horrible Prospect of Supreme Court Justice Cass Sunstein
Glenn Greenwald writes for Salon.com: "A media consensus has emerged that the retirement of Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, the 90-year-old Ford-appointee who became the leader of the Court's so-called "liberal wing," is now imminent. The New York Times' Peter Baker has an article today on Obama's leading candidates to replace Stevens, in which one finds this strange passage:
The president’s base hopes he will name a full-throated champion to counter Justice Antonin Scalia, the most forceful conservative on the bench. . . . The candidates who would most excite the left include the constitutional scholars Harold Hongju Koh, Cass R. Sunstein and Pamela S. Karlan."
The Mad Tea Party
Nooses And Broken Windows: A Week Of Threats And Vandalism
investigating a severed gas line at the home of Rep. Tom Perriello's (D-VA) brother. A local tea party group had posted the brother's address online, thinking it was Perriello's and calling for a protest there." Photo: Clockwise, from top left: Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY), Rep. James E. Clyburn (D-SC), a broken window, the stage prop coffin used in the demonstration on Rep. Russ Carnahan's lawn, and Rep. Louise Slaughter.
Secrets of the Tea Party: The Troubling History of Tea Party Leader Dick Armey
Beau Hodai, In These Times: "As the Tea Party movement has gained momentum during the last 12 months, it seems few Tea Partiers have caught on to the troubling past of the man at the center of their movement: FreedomWorks chairman, former House Majority Leader and recently-retired lobbyist extraordinaire, Dick Armey."
Inside David Frum's Bitter Exit
Fox News, Health Care, and the Right-Wing Nervous Breakdown
Eric Boehlert writes for Media Matters for America: "Watching Fox News personalities recently come unglued as the realization set in that (surprise!) Democrats might actually have the votes to pass health care reform -- and noting how extraordinarily loopy and dire both the attacks on the White House, and the proclamations for pending, apocalyptic doom were becoming -- I was getting nervous that one of Fox News' more unhinged hosts might finally just snap and pull a Rev. Jim Jones, beseeching viewers to make the ultimate sacrifice."
The Oxymoron of "Texas Education"
Jim Hightower writes for his blog: "love nuts. Pecans, hazelnuts, almonds, pistachios – I love them all. But my favorite nuts by far are those homegrown natives on the Texas Board of Education. You just can't get any nuttier than this bunch!"
Nuclear Waste Piles Up, and It's Costing Taxpayers Billions
the groups said, citing federal contract documents they had obtained."
Kansas's Got Talent: Lisa Engelken's "Caravan"
Engelken will be our guest on the April 1st edition of Community Bridge.
New Millennium, Same Old Backlash?
Cheat Sheet: Sticking Points In Broadband Plan
Sara Jerome writes for The National Journal: "Every American should have broadband access -- that's an idea every faction in the telecom world seems to endorse. Making it so is another thing altogether. While not everyone has shown their cards yet, major telecom players are sure to air grievances soon over Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski's decade-long plan to get more Americans online. Hearings scheduled on the Hill this week and panels featuring industry lobbyists will provide forums for venting. In fact, with its aims to spark action from Congress and in the agencies, including heavy lifting at the FCC, the blueprint may also inadvertently pay many telecom lobbyists' salaries over the next few years in a sector that already spends exorbitantly on sway.
Newspaper Ads Tumbled to 1963 Levels Last Year
Ryan Chittum writes for the Columbia Journalism Review: "The New York Times reports that newspaper advertising tanked by more than 27 percent last year, shedding $10 billion from 2008. Online advertising swooned more than 11 percent, which would largely be, I suspect, because it’s so tied to print sales via upsells."
"We're At a Ground Zero Moment to Save Real Journalism"
Public Knowledge and Free Press: Sprint Shutdown of Haiti Relief Effort Shows FCC Needs to Protect Text Messaging
Liz Rose writes for Free Press: "Public Knowledge and Free Press said this new incident provided fresh evidence that the FCC needs to act to prevent telephone companies from having unlimited power to shut down text-messaging campaigns they may not like for whatever reason. A petition filed by those two groups and others asking the FCC to protect text messaging from the whims of big telephone companies has been pending at the FCC since Dec. 11, 2007, after Verizon arbitrarily denied NARAL Pro-Choice America a short code for text messages to be sent to that group’s members."
Court OKs Local Media Consolidation
Ira Teinowitz reports for The Wrap: "An appellate court panel Tuesday removed its hold on a 2007 Federal Communications Commission rule that let newspapers and broadcasters buy each other in a market. But while lifting the hold, the three-judge panel of the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals said it would continue to look at the rule’s legality. The move appears to let Tribune Company and some other media companies keep their TV stations -- and could further consolidate local media."