Stuart Whatley writes for the Huffington Post: "My mother used to have a cat that wasn't declawed. As such, most of the plushier furniture items around the house inevitably ended up shredded. She would take the cat to the veterinarian now and then for the claws to be clipped down, which was effective for a time before they grew back, after which point more evisceration would ensue. Cats do this not as some devious Garfieldian machination (the comic strip, not the president), but rather as a means for sharpening, or upkeep, driven by an irresistible evolutionary compulsion. Thus for the maintenance of their claws, they are beholden to an uncontrollable and sometimes destructive urge."
Another Jobless Benefits Fight Looms in Congress
David Lightman and William Douglas, McClatchy Newspapers: "Congress is braced for a new, unpredictable battle this week over whether to fund more aid for jobless workers as an estimated 1.2 million people face having their benefits cut off next month unless lawmakers act. The debate, expected to begin Tuesday in the House of Representatives, will be the third time this year that these provisions have faced expired funding."
The Corporate Stranglehold: How BP Will Make out Like Bandits from Its Massive, Still Gushing Oil Disaster
Zack Carter writes for AlterNet: "You've got to hand it to BP. After witnessing the Great Financial Crash of 2008, it seemed like it would be decades before any corporation could eclipse Wall Street's reckless rush to place its own short-term profits ahead of the public interest. But the epic drilling disaster off the
Grayson's Bill Makes War Costs Real
Congressman Alan Grayson is at it again. This time, the Florida Democrat who shook up the health-care debate by saying Republicans were the real death-panel party and who shook up the bank reform debate by leading (with Texas Congressman Ron Paul) the “Audit the Fed” fight, is shaking up the debate about so-called “emergency” supplemental spending to fund the occupations of foreign lands."
McChrystal Strategy Shifts to Raids - and Wali Karzai
Gareth Porter provides analysis for Inter Press Service: "Gen. Stanley McChrystal's team once talked openly about the need to remove Ahmed Wali Karzai, Afghan President Hamid Karzai's brother and the most powerful man in Kandahar, from power. Last October, as reports of Wali Karzai's role in the opium trade were circulating, McChrystal's intelligence chief Gen. Michael T. Flynn said, 'If we are going to conduct a population-centric strategy in Afghanistan, and we are perceived as backing thugs, then we are just undermining ourselves.'"
General Petraeus's Secret Ops
Robert Dreyfus writes for The Nation: "A secret military directive signed last September 30 by General David Petraeus, the Centcom commander, authorizes a vast expansion of secret US military special ops from the Horn of Africa to the Middle East to Central Asia and “appears to authorize specific operations in Iran,” according to the New York Times."
The Absence of Debate over War
Glenn Greenwald writes for Salon.com: "The Washington Post's Fred Hiatt ponders how little attention our various wars received during the primary campaigns that were just conducted: "You would hardly know, from following this year's election campaign or the extensive coverage of last week's primaries, that America is at war. . . . those wars, and the wisdom of committing to or withdrawing from them, have hardly been mentioned in the hard-fought campaigns of the spring." Hiatt is right in that observation, and it's worth examining the reasons for this."
Rage Against the Machine Gun
Photo: US Army Staff Sgt. Liesl Marelli, Colorado National Guard / Flickr
Citizen Alioune: How Not to Deal With Muslims in America
Stephan Salisbury comments for TomDispatch: "Alioune Niass, the Sengalese Muslim vendor who first spotted the now infamous smoking SUV in Times Square and alerted police, is no hero. If it were not for the Times of London, we would not even know of his pivotal role in the story. No mainstream American newspaper bothered to mention or profile Niass, who peddles framed photographs of celebs and the Manhattan skyline. None of the big television stations interviewed him."
Dumbing Down Teachers: Attacking Colleges of Education in the Name of Reform
Illustration: Jared Rodriguez / t r u t h o u t
Blame Clinton, Not Paul
Robert Scheer writes for Truthdig.com: "What is so great about our bloated federal government that when a libertarian threatens to become a senator, otherwise rational and mostly liberal pundits start frothing at the mouth? What Rand Paul thinks about the Civil Rights Act, passed 46 years ago, hardly seems the most pressing issue of social justice before us. It’s a done deal that he clearly accepts."
Palin Refuses to Learn Anything
Ruth Marcus writes for Truthdig.com: "Has Sarah Palin learned anything since she was plucked from obscurity almost two years ago? Not that I can tell. It was not Palin’s fault that she was woefully unprepared to be the Republican vice presidential nominee. For that one, blame the petulant, impetuous John McCain. But Palin has had ample time now, outside the crash course of a presidential campaign, to develop and exhibit some understanding of the issues. Her learning curve, from all the available evidence, is a flat line."
How Bad Is Gulf Oil Spill? A Global Q and A on Offshore Oil Spills
Photo: Daniel Beltrá/Greenpeace/AP
BP's Shocking Memo
Rick Outzen writes for the Daily Beast: "his is a story about the Three Little Pigs. A lot of dead oil workers. And British Petroleum. From the minute the Deepwater Horizon offshore rig exploded, BP has hewed to a party line: it did everything it could to prevent the April 20 accident that killed 11 men and has been spewing millions of gallons of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico ever since. Some critics have questioned the veracity of that position."
Will BP Be Held Responsible? Not if Senator Lisa Murkowski Can Help It
Byard Duncan reports for AlterNet: "On Tuesday, May 11, Senator Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, led questioning in a Senate hearing designed to hash out the details of what caused the Deepwater Horizon explosion. After briefly mentioning the 11 workers who were lost following the blast, Murkowski affirmed that despite its risk, offshore drilling is essential to America’s energy future."
Anti-Choice Woman-Hating Goes Mainstream
Carole Joffe writes for RH Reality Check: "'She consented in the murder of an unborn child. There are some situations where the mother may in fact die along with her child.' With this brief quote, the speaker, the Rev. John Ehrich, medical ethics director for the Diocese of Phoenix, deserves credit for achieving a twofer in a recently revived (if not formally declared) misogyny competition that is now sweeping the anti-choice world."
A Mother's Catch-22
Making Latin America's Cities Women-Friendly
Marcela Valente reports for Inter Press Service: "'Violence against women is not only domestic, it also happens in the streets. Not having the right to feel safe in a city square or at a bus stop without someone bothering us, that's also violence.' This 'discovery,' as she called it, was described to IPS by Ofelia Retamoso, who lives in the east-central Argentine city of Rosario, 300 km northwest of Buenos Aires."
Building Community through Radio: New Community Radio Station for Kansas
Christopher E. Renner writes for the Kansas Free Press: "'A dedicated group of people are starting a new radio station that serves the public interest.' Now there's a headline we get to read about everyday in the for-profit media. NOT! But that very thing is happening in Manhattan, Kansas. In 2005 and 2007 a group of Manhattanites, community members and K-State students, attended the National Conference for Media Reform in St. Louis and Memphis sponsored by Free Press. Free Press is a national, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization working to reform the media. Free Press uses education, organizing and advocacy to promote diverse and independent media ownership, strong public media, quality journalism, and universal access to communications."
Our Media Are "Post-Reason," and We Dutifully Follow
Leonce Gaiter writes for the Huffington Post: "The web is a visual medium. It grows more similar to television while it severs ties to traditional reading and increases its dominance of our political conversation. It is the bitterest of ironies that a format once touted as heralding a new era of enlightened participatory democracy (remember Thomas Friedman's Lexus and the Olive Tree?) is picking up where television left off and doing infinitely more to erode traditional American democratic ideals than to promote them. The web, with its short, choppy text bites and reliance on imagery and video is just as ill-suited to the complex language of American democracy as television. It is more dynamic when (and better utilized to) convey unreasoning kick-in-the-gut emotionalism than Enlightenment era abstractions on the rights of men."
Justice Department Cracks Down on Leaks
Josh Gerstein writes for Politico.com: "The Obama administration’s crackdown on leaks to the press has snared a high-profile conviction of an FBI linguist, who was sentenced to 20 months in prison Monday after pleading guilty to giving classified information to a blogger."
Communications Law to be Reviewed
Edward Wyatt writes for the New York Times: "Two top Democratic legislators said Monday that they would begin a process to modernize telecommunications laws that were last overhauled in 1996 but barely mention the Internet. Senator John D. Rockefeller IV of West Virginia, chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, and Representative Henry A. Waxman of California, chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, said in a joint statement that they would hold meetings in June to examine how the Communications Act meets the current needs of consumers, the telecommunications industry and the Federal Communications Commission."
Congress: It's Time to Rewrite the Telecommunications Bible
Matthew Lasar writes for Ars Technica: "To telecom industry lawyers, it is the Five Books of Moses, The New Testament, The Koran, the Bhagavad-Gita, the Ultimate API for Everything. We're talking about the Communications Act, and Capitol Hill leaders say it's time to "develop proposals" to update the law."