Why Are They Dying?
Wayne Ellwood writes for the New Internationalists: "It’s safe to say that the late John Muir would not recognize California’s vast Central Valley were he to visit today. When the intrepid Scots-American naturalist and founder of the Sierra Club travelled by foot through the region in the 1860s and 1870s he was astounded by the richness and diversity of the plants and flowers which carpeted the valley bottom and surged up the mountain slopes. In rapturous prose he described what he called the ‘bee pastures’..."
The Bee's Knees -- The Facts
The New Internationalist writes: "Bees are truly amazing creatures, found in just about every region of the world from the Arctic tundra to the towering peaks of the Himalayas. About three quarters of more than 240,000 of the world’s flowering plants rely on them to reproduce."
10 Ways to Help Save the Bees
Illustration by Scott Ritchie
Another World Is Possible, Another Detroit Is Happening
Runaway Defense Spending Not Winning Any Wars
William Pfaff writes for Truthdig.com: "In Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq, the major places of military interest to the United States today (disregarding the hundreds of other places where American soldiers and agents or mercenaries have been dispatched to suppress one or another outbreak of ethnic, tribal, religious or territorial conflict, the United States having appointed itself the enemy of Disorder), there are indications that things are coming apart."
Who's in Charge Here?
Rolling Stone, quoting McChrystal and his staff officers talking dirt about their civilian superiors from President Barack Obama on down."
Petraeus and the Myth of the Surge
David Corn writes for Monther Jones: "As soon as the news was reported that Gen. David Petraeus is succeeding soon-to-be-retired Gen. Stanley McChrystal as commander of the US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, the media narrative was set in stone: the super-general who won the war in Iraq with the so-called surge can now work his magic in another theater."
Still Waiting for Answers About Afghanistan
Bill Boyarsky writes for Truthdig.com: "After last week’s two-day congressional hearing on the Afghanistan war, I have two questions: One, why did Gen. David Petraeus faint under questioning? Two, why are we still in Afghanistan? 'I just got dehydrated,' Petraeus said after he returned to face the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday shortly after collapsing while answering questions from Sen. John McCain. That could happen. He was jetting across continents the day before. He skipped breakfast. It wasn’t just a case of his dozing off during McCain’s questioning, although that is a possibility."
Congressional Investigation Confirms: US Military Funds Afghan Warlords
Aram Roston writes for The Nation: "Security for key US military supply routes in Afghanistan is in the hands of a small group of powerful Afghan warlords who run a massive protection racket and may be paying off the Taliban, according to a Congressional report being released Tuesday. The report, an advance copy of which was obtained by The Nation, discloses that the Army has opened a criminal investigation into the payoffs, as an Army Criminal Investigation Command spokesman confirmed this evening to the Associated Press."
On Your Marx: Neoliberalism on the Rocks
Senate Republicans Nix Jobs Bill
Anne Shields writes for The Media Consortium: "It looks as if election-year strategies are trumping any actual problem-solving efforts from Republican lawmakers. In the midst of one of the worst unemployment crises in U.S. history, Senate Republicans killed a jobs bill last Thursday by a 56-40 vote."
Really Rich Back to Being...Rich
Andy Kroll writes for Mother Jones: "The housing market is still a mess; foreclosures are mounting; unemployment hovers near 10 percent; and, as Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner said just today, "Our economy is still going through an incredibly difficult period." All of this stems from one of the worst financial crises in US history, a meltdown of epic proportions from which the country and the world has yet to fully recover."
New York Forum, Summit of Business Leaders, Opens Amid Economic Crisis
Rob Fishman reports for the Huffiongton Post: "The New York Forum — billed as a new, more focused Davos by the man who for 13 years produced it — opened last night at the Grand Hyatt with a panel discussion led by CNBC's Maria Bartiromo, and featuring Rupert Murdoch. The plenary session, which also included Hearst's Cathleen Black, Philippe Camus of Alcatel-Lucent, and Jerry Speyer, the real estate mogul, touched broadly on what the Forum's host, Richard Attias, called the "one area of human behavior that is suffering," which is, he said, the global economy."
Wall Street Reform's Final Act
most contentious aspects of the effort to rein in Wall Street and build a fairer financial system. These include the titles dealing with protecting consumers, reforming the derivatives market, and regulating the riskiest practices of the nation's biggest banks. The conferees hope to send the bill back to each congressional chamber for a final vote by the end of the week. "It is important we finish by Thursday. These are not arbitrary times," said House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank (D-MA), who is also the chairman of the conference committee. "If we are not able to finish by Thursday, then this bill cannot pass until the middle of July. I think that would be unwise from a standpoint of economic stability." The White House also asked the committee to finish quickly so that President Obama can "head to the Group of 20 economic summit this weekend in Toronto with a deal in hand." With that in mind, the financial services industry has launched a last-ditch effort to weaken the bill with exemptions and loopholes, even if it doesn't have the ability to kill important reforms outright. Lawmakers should be wary of opening any loopholes in the legislation, because, as Frank Partnoy, a professor of law at the University of San Diego and a former trader at Morgan Stanley, said, 'Once you open up the door just a crack, Wall Street shoves the door open and runs right through it.'"
Mastermind Behind Arizona Immigration Law Strikes Again
Susy Khimm reports for Mother Jones: "Kris Kobach—the Kansas lawyer behind Arizona's harsh immigration law (and candidate for Kansas Secretary of State) —has helped put another punitive measure on the books. A small Nebraska town passed a local referendum on Monday to exclude illegal immigrants from jobs and rental homes. The measure, which Kobach helped author, would bar landlords from renting to illegal immigrants, require the city to screen renters for their immigration status, and would require businesses use a federal database to ensure that only legal immigrants are allowed to work."
Protecting Our Water Commons: Interview with Robert Kennedy Jr.
Judge With Oil Investments Blocks Drilling Moratorium
James Russell reports for Truthout: "A US district judge with investments in affected energy firms blocked President Obama's six-month drilling moratorium Tuesday, The Washington Post reports. The judge's repeal allows BP and other companies to resume deepwater drilling in the wake of the ongoing Deepwater Horizon oil disaster."
BP Oil Leak Setback: 'Top Hat' Removed, Oil Flow Unhindered
Mark Seibel reports for McClatchy News: "Workers removed the "top hat" device collecting crude oil from BP's gushing Deepwater Horizon well Wednesday morning in a major setback to efforts to contain the leak. Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, the Obama administration's point man on the BP oil leak, told reporters in his daily briefing that the long term impact of the decision was uncertain, but video from the leak showed crude gushing unhindered into the water for the first time since the 'top hat' device, also referred to as the Lower Marine Riser Package, was set in place June 3."
Enter, Real Populists
Jim Hightower comments for Truthout: "Few people today call themselves populists, but I think most are. I'm not talking about the recent political outbursts by confused, used and abused tea-bag ranters who've been organized by corporate front groups to spread a hatred of government."
ACORN Vindicated of Wrongdoing by Congressional Watchdog Office, Yet Again
U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) of ACORN has found no evidence the association or related organizations mishandled the $40 million in federal money they received in recent years. A review of grants by nine federal agencies found no problems with ACORN's grants. In my new book, Seeds of Change: The Story of ACORN, America's Most Controversial Antipoverty Community Organizing Group, I document how ACORN, the largest most successful national anti poverty organization in America, was forced to close its door."
U.S. Scores Dead Last Again in Healthcare Study
Reuters reports: "The United States ranked last when compared to six other countries -- Britain, Canada, Germany, Netherlands, Australia and New Zealand, the Commonwealth Fund report found. 'As an American it just bothers me that with all of our know-how, all of our wealth, that we are not assuring that people who need healthcare can get it,' Commonwealth Fund president Karen Davis told reporters in a telephone briefing."
Sugar High: 20 Worst Beverages In America You Can Swallow
20 worst beverages in America right now, and created some pretty shocking photos to show just how much sugar you’re sipping. Even if you’ve got a sweet tooth, we don’t know many people would like to get their daily sugar allowance through a straw. Check out the astonishing list, below, and click here to read more about the nutrition facts of these super-sugary drinks. It’ll give you the chills. And if it does, check out 10 Ice Cream Truck Treats That Will Blow Your Diet Fast and our equally scary brand-new post: What Happens to Your Body After You Drink a Coke Every Day, For a Long Time."
The Fate of the Internet -- Decided in a Back Room
Tim Karr writes for the Huffington Post: "The Wall Street Journal just reported that the Federal Communications Commission is holding "closed-door meetings" with industry to broker a deal on Net Neutrality -- the rule that lets users determine their own Internet experience. Given that the corporations at the table all profit from gaining control over information, the outcome won't be pretty."
FCC Makes Excuses for Secret Meetings, Abandons Transparency
Back Room Net Neutrality Deal? Reform Groups Up in Arms
Matthew Lasar writes for Ars Technica: "The media reform crowd is going nuts over reports that the Federal Communications Commission is holding closed door meetings with ISPs, Google, and Skype in a bid to reach a compromise deal on the agency's proposed net neutrality rules. 'It is stunning that the FCC would convene meetings between industry giants to allow them determine how the agency should best protect the public interest," declared Free Press. "The Obama administration promised a new era of transparency, and to 'take a backseat to no one' on 'Net neutrality, but these meetings seem to indicate that this FCC has no problem brokering backroom deals without any public input or scrutiny.'"
Banning Secret Government Meetings Isn’t Hard, Or Why Some FCC Officials Should Fear Going to Jail
Scarecrow writes for FireDogLake: "The Federal Government has long conducted most of its real business behind closed doors, out of the public view. With the exception of a few public working sessions, Congressional hearings are often staged events to allow legislators to preen before cameras and each other, but the real decisions about legislation are more often than not made without public or media access. Real decision-making at administrative agencies isn’t much better."
Internet a Key Point of Opposition to Comcast-NBCU Deal
Alex Weprin writes for WebNewser: "Yesterday was the last day to file comments on the proposed Comcast-NBC Universal merger, and a number of individuals and companies weighed in. Among those filing comments in opposition to the deal were Senator Al Franken (D-MN), and satellite companies DirecTV and DISH Network. All three made access to content on the internet a key point of their arguments."
Comcast-NBC Universal Merger Draws Criticism
Joe Flint writes for the Los Angeles Times: "The proposed merger between the cable company Comcast Corp. and entertainment giant NBC Universal was heavily criticized Monday by some rival media companies and consumer advocacy groups that are trying to persuade the Federal Communications Commission to block the $30-billion deal."