Friday, March 12, 2010

Truthout 3/12

Final Health Care Bill Vote Due "As Early As Next Week"
Jason Leopold, Truthout: "Nearly a year after Democrats introduced legislation to reform the health care industry - first by flirting with the prospect of having a government-run program to compete with private insurers and then floating a proposal to expand Medicare to a younger demographic - House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Friday that Congress is ready to vote on a final bill as early as next week that doesn't include either of those plans."
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Ask the Chamber of Commerce: Why Is Too Much Not Enough?
Bill Moyers and Michael Winship, Truthout: "Living in these United States, there comes a point at which you throw your hands up in exasperation and despair and ask a fundamental question or two: how much excess profit does corporate America really need? How much bigger do executive salaries and bonuses have to be? How many houses or jets or artworks can be crammed into a life?"
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The Messenger Band: "I Don't Want to Be Famous. I Want Our People to Get Enough Rice"
Anne Elizabeth Moore, Truthout: "'My name is Saem, and the name of my group is the Messenger Band,' the singer more formally known as Vun Em explains. We are in Phnom Penh's Meta-House, where four members of the six-member Messenger Band are about to give a quick a cappella concert to the reporters, ex-pats and tourists gathered."
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Eugene Robinson | Not From Central Casting
Eugene Robinson: "It took the case of 'JihadJane' to illuminate what should have been obvious by now: Anyone who claims to be able to identify a potential terrorist by appearance or nationality is delusional. There's a reason why all of us have to take our shoes off at the airport."
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Gazans Struggle to Keep Farming a Family Tradition
Pam Bailey, Open Source: "Trying to make a living as a farmer in Gaza these days is taking a toll on the family ties so integral to the Palestinian culture. Traditionally, occupations are passed from father to son for generations, and their tie to the land is particularly strong. Before Israel imposed a suffocating blockade on the 14-kilometer-long Gaza Strip in 2007 (as punishment for electing Hamas as its governing party), farmers could make a good living growing carnations and strawberries for export and vegetables for the local market."
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What Makes America Strong?
Winslow Myers, Truthout: "An unmanned drone hovers over the house of a suspected leader of a terrorist cell, the craft's camera and missiles controlled by a soldier thousands of miles away on the plains of Kansas. A missile is launched, and the terrorist is blown apart - but so are innocent bystanders, among them a dark-eyed eight-year-old girl named Aeisha who dreamed of becoming a doctor."
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Labor and Obama: Sweethearts No More
Dick Meister, Truthout: "President Obama's honeymoon with organized labor has finally ended. It was a long honeymoon, though, more than a year and full of passion. But, alas, labor's ardor has cooled."
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David Sirota | The Tax War Goes Online
David Sirota, Truthout: "Is the Internet everywhere or is it nowhere? This question will strike many readers as a navel-gazing exercise in post-modern existential inquiry, prompting reflections on the 21st-century meaning of location (is an IP address really an address?) and space (is cyberspace actually 'space'?). But thanks to, it's become a question about more concrete and imminent issues like budget deficits and tax fairness."
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Six Democratic Senators Poised to Kill Student Loan Reform
Chris Kromm, Facing South: "Reforming the for-profit student loan system, which allows finance giants like Virginia-based Sallie Mae to make virtually risk-free returns thanks to government subsidies, was a top priority of President Obama. His idea, supported by most Democrats, was to take out the middle man: Instead of subsidizing private lenders, the feds would completely take over origination of student loans."
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The People's Nuclear Posture Review
Peter G. Cohen, Truthout: "Who decides our national and nuclear policy? (a) REQUIREMENT FOR COMPREHENSIVE REVIEW. 'In order to clarify United States nuclear deterrence policy and strategy for the near term, the Secretary of Defense shall conduct a comprehensive review of the nuclear policy of the United States for the next 5 to 10 years.' So says Section 1070 of the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2008. This clarification of our policy is to be prepared primarily by the Defense Department, in spite of its vested interest in the outcome.'"
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Ponzi Nation: How Get-Rich-Quick Crime Came to Define an Era
Andy Kroll, "Every great American boom and bust makes and breaks its share of crooks. The past decade - call it the Ponzi Era - has been no different, except for the gargantuan scale of white-collar crime. A vast wave of financial fraud swelled in the first years of the new century. Then, in 2008, with the subprime mortgage collapse, it crashed on the shore as a full-scale global economic meltdown. As that wave receded, it left hundreds of Ponzi and pyramid schemes, as well as other get-rich-quick rackets that helped fuel our recent economic frenzy, flopping on the beach."
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Ray McGovern | Taboo Thwarts Candor on Israel/Iran
Ray McGovern, Truthout: "Participants at an otherwise informative discussion on 'Iran at a Crossroads' at the Senate on Wednesday seemed at pains to barricade the doors against the proverbial elephant being admitted into the room - in this case, Israel."
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Trouble in Europe
Herve Kempf, "For Le Monde, Herve Kempf argues that the European Commission's undemocratic decision on March 2 to allow the cultivation of GMO potatoes in contravention of a European GMO moratorium in place since 1998 represents not only a turning point in the GMO wars, but also a fundamental undermining of the European Union's reason to exist."
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"Soul of a Citizen" Excerpt: The Real Rosa Parks
Paul Rogat Loeb, Truthout: "We can learn a lot from the tales we tell about our heroes. I once had the privilege of appearing on a CNN show with Rosa Parks. 'We're very honored to have her,' said the host. 'Rosa Parks was the woman who wouldn't go to the back of the bus. She wouldn't get up and give her seat in the white section to a white person. That set in motion the year-long bus boycott in Montgomery. It earned Rosa Parks the title of 'mother of the civil rights movement.''"
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