Amy Goodman reports for Democracy NOW!: "The Obama administration has announced changes to its signature foreclosure prevention program, Making Home Affordable. The initial foreclosure relief program unveiled one year ago was supposed to help up to four million struggling homeowners. So far fewer than 200,000 borrowers have been granted permanent loan modifications. Meanwhile, a record 2.8 million properties with mortgages received foreclosure notices last year, according to the real estate data company RealtyTrac."
Obama and Dems Put a Stop to the Republicans' Kickback Cash Cow in the College Loan Industry
The 'Long War' Quagmire
Kathy Kelly comments for Truthout: "If the US public looked long and hard into a mirror reflecting the civilian atrocities that have occurred in Afghanistan over the past ten months, we would see ourselves as people who have collaborated with and paid for war crimes committed against innocent civilians who meant us no harm."
Obama’s Rhetoric in Afghanistan Prolongs U.S. Role in Civil War There
Matthew Rothschild writes for The Progressive: "President Obama showed courage in going to Afghanistan to talk to the troops, but he’s just getting the U.S. in deeper over there. The rhetoric he used on Sunday was at times distorting, and the thrust was distressing. Like Bush, he summoned the 9/11 attack, saying, 'We did not choose this war.' And he added: 'This is the region where the perpetrators of that crime, al Qaeda, still base their leadership.'”
The Obscenity of War
Amy Goodman writes for Truthdig.com: "President Barack Obama has just returned from his first trip as commander in chief to Afghanistan. The U.S.-led invasion and occupation of that country are now in their ninth year, amid increasing comparisons to Vietnam. Daniel Ellsberg, whom Henry Kissinger once called “the most dangerous man in America,” leaked the Pentagon Papers in 1971. Ellsberg, who was a top Pentagon analyst, photocopied this secret, 7,000-page history of the U.S. role in Vietnam and released it to the press, helping to end the Vietnam War.
Citizens United Against Citizens United
Federal Appeals Court Rules Finance Law Contributions Are Unconstitutional
John Eggerton reports for Multichannel News: "The Federal Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit Friday, saying that the Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United had resolved the appeal, ruled that the campaign finance law, limiting contributions by individuals to SpeechNow, a 527 group advocating the election of federal candidates, is unconstitutional."
PR Firm Behind Propaganda Videos Wins Stimulus Contract
Sebastian Jones and Michael Grabell report for ProPublica: "President Obama's push for electronic medical records has faced resistance from those who question whether health information technology systems can protect patient privacy. So last week, the US Department of Health and Human Services hired a public relations firm to try to win consumer trust."
Who's Afraid of Health Care Reform?
Marcia Alesan Dawkins writes for Truthdig.com: "After days of protests over reform, the Obama administration has, in fact, created a change that many Americans can now see and feel. The new law, though imperfect, represents progress in a new direction. However, it seems that for this step forward some Americans have taken two steps back."
Ten Things You Didn't Know Were in the Health Bill
Is America ‘Yearning for Fascism’?
Welcome to Glennbeckistan
(Image: Jared Rodriguez / t r u t h o u t; Adapted: Jettpakk1, Gage Skidmore)
So Much for a 'Post-Racial' America
Stanley Kutler writes for Truthdig.com: "Thanks to Newt Gingrich’s loose lips, the cat is out of the bag: The Republican Party, answering the call of a large part of its following, will continue its subtle and not-so-subtle uses of the “race card.” Gingrich said during the health care debate that “much as Lyndon Johnson shattered the Democratic Party for 40 years” when Congress enacted civil rights legislation, President Barack Obama’s health care reform will prove as destructive. His audience needs no reminder of Republican divisiveness, but Gingrich, no stranger to distorting history, demands correction."
Hannity's Charity Under Fire
josejose (Creative Commons).
Recycle Plant-Based Plastics?
Kiera Bulter writes for Mother Jones: "A café in my neighborhood sells salads in supposedly compostable corn-based containers. Since I live in one of only a handful cities in the US with a curbside composting program, I can just chuck my empty salad container into my curbside green bin. But I always wondered what might become of it in a backyard compost pile. Luckily, MoJo senior editor Dave Gilson answered my question last year in an article on the subject: Ramani Narayan, a Michigan State professor of chemical and biochemical engineering who helped develop biodegradable corn-based plastic, told Gilson that most plant-based plastics need to go to a commercial composting facility, not just your yard."
Koch Industries: Secretly Funding the Climate Denial Machine
joke that Koch Industries is “the biggest company you've never heard of.” But the nearly $50 million that David Koch and his brother Charles have quietly funneled to climate-denial front groups that are working to delay policies and regulations aimed at stopping global warming is no joking matter. Charles G. Koch and David H. Koch have a vested interest in delaying climate action: they’ve made billions from their ownership and control of Koch Industries, an oil corporation that is the second largest privately-held company in America (which also happens to have an especially poor environmental record). It’s time more people were aware of Charles and David Koch and just what they’re up to.
Download the report as a PDF
Salazar: 'Cap And Trade' Not In The Lexicon Anymore
Rachel Saljda write for Talking Point memo: "Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, on CNBC this morning, suggested the administration will no longer use the term "cap and trade" to describe climate change legislation."
She's Really Saying Something
Jeff Glass writes for Jazz Times: "What distinguishes a singer who 'has something to say' from one who is simply pleasant to listen to? Lisa Engelken's new CD Caravan has helped me answer this question. It abundantly delivers on the promise of her riveting live shows (the CD release concert happens May 7 at the Jazzschool in Berkeley), and it raises the bar of what to expect from a vocal jazz outing."
Google Goes Evil? Gets in Bed With Verizon
Josh Silver writes for the Huffington Post: "Tuesday's Wall Street Journal features an Op-ed by the CEO of Google, Eric Schmidt, and the CEO of Verizon, Ivan Seidenberg, about the importance of high-speed Internet access. It is mostly boring; until it gets to the punchline and tells us that government should have as little role as possible in delivering broadband to America. Just like government should stay out of banking regulation, I take it?"
A (Neglected) Duty to Inform
Elise Crane writes for SaveTheNews.org: "With the widespread closure of international bureaus, and serious underfunding of those that remain open, American coverage of world affairs nears an all-time low. Today, the mainstream U.S. media often seems precariously close to preaching an official reality and severely restricting the average media consumer’s view of the world."
Memo To News Sites: There Is No Future In ‘Digital Razzle Dazzle’
John Yemma writes for paidcontent.org: "Let’s agree that Rupert Murdoch is right: Content is king. You’ll get nothing but applause from a journalist of four decades like me. Saying it and believing it, however, doesn’t solve the problem of content racing to zero value on the internet. Paywalls such as the ones News Corp (NYSE: NWS). and the New York Times are moving to may seem like the next step, in the same way that sandbagging the tops of levies on the Mississippi are the next step during spring flooding. The problem is that the internet flood never recedes. It is the Great Deluge that grows more powerful every day. Paywalls for general interest publications cannot hold it back.
The Digital Divide Will Ensure a Broadband Ghetto
Stacey Higginbotham writes for GigaOm: "If you live in New York City or in any of the heavily populated and wealthy areas of the Northeast, you likely have access to some of the fastest broadband speeds available in the country. If you live in a suburb of Austin, Texas, however, you’re offered speeds some six times slower for about half the price. And as the technologies race ahead for network access, ISPs with fiber to the home and cable-provided Docsis 3.0 service are going to surpass the speeds that providers using old-school copper and even wireless can offer."