Friday, April 30, 2010

McClatchy Extra 4/30/10

Rent-A-Center is not right for Martin's Supermarkets

I learned yesterday that our neighborhood Martins (at Portage and Elwood) is, as we speak, making physical changes to the front inside of their store to accommodate a sub-station for the Rent-a-Center.  Many of us are appalled and feel it is time to let our feelings be known.  These types of stores along with check cashing fronts are the scourge and shame of the inner-city!  

People who run these kinds of operations are out to make a huge profit from the folks who already are having a tough time living day-to-day. They do not need to be taken advantage of.  Customers are romanced into thinking that they too can own a brand new refrigerator for just a mere $25/week. They do not realize the $25/week needs to be multiplied by 4.33 weeks every month.  They very soon fall behind on their payments and a couple of huge burly guys drive up in a big truck and are at their door to remove the dream along with all of the dollars invested!  I have personally witnessed this three times with my neighbors to the north of me.  One time the neighbors were rousted out of their bed in the early AM, only to have that bed removed while it was still warm!
If you have strong feelings on this subject, please voice them on the Martin's web site where there is an average space to write.  Last nite I sent off an email and this AM a fellow by the name of Tom called me and wanted to hear more.  I was kind, but very verbal!  I also informed him that there are numbers of very active people in our neighborhood who care about these types of decisions and that they need to be prepared for lots of dialogue!
In the past I have found Martins to be most responsive to the needs and plight of many of our neighbors.  Annually, when I was directing the Center, they would partner with us to give generous food baskets at holiday time.  At other times, when a neighbor had a pressing need they were more than helpful.  I have to believe that someone in the corporate office was sold a bill of goods and maybe didn't have his thinking cap on when this decision was made.  It seems out of character with the Martins I have known. We, who are thinking and caring people, need to take action.
Many thanks............
-Susan Adamek, retired activist who is once again taking up a cause for the People!  

I echo Susan's thoughts and would add this.  These are good people making a mistake in judgment.  This particular store has a tough time making any sort of profit, but this strategy isn't the way to address that challenge.  We who shop at other Martin's Supermarkets should voice our displeasure to management at those stores as well.

I know many of the people in management, and they are well meaning, thoughtful folks.  They will listen to us.


Truthout 4/30

Whistleblower: BP Risks More Massive Catastrophes in Gulf
Jason Leopold, Truthout: "A former contractor who worked for British Petroleum (BP) has alleged that the oil behemoth has broken federal laws and violated its own internal procedures by failing to maintain crucial safety and engineering documents related to one of the firm's other deepwater production projects in the Gulf of Mexico, leaving it vulnerable to a catastrophic disaster that would far surpass the massive oil spill that began last week following a deadly explosion on a BP-operated drilling rig, according to emails and other documents obtained by Truthout."
Read the Article

A New Blueprint for Taking On Wall Street
Abby Scher, Truthout: "Wanda Hernandez of NYC AIDS Housing Network was on the podium at the 10,000-strong march on Wall Street April 29, saying, 'We didn't screw up the economy - they did. But me and my community have to pay the consequences. Some don't, so that's why we demand that Wall Street pay their fair share in taxes!' The people were crowded in City Hall Park under the shadow of the financial district not just to chant down Babylon, but also to demand that Congress not bow to Wall Street pressure and instead enact strong regulations of Wall Street so that it can't wantonly destroy jobs."
Read the Article

ElBaradei Says Sanctions on Iran Will Fail
C. M. Sennott, GlobalPost: "Mohamed ElBaradei, former head of the United Nations nuclear watchdog agency, believes it is likely the international community will move to impose tougher sanctions on Iran."
Read the Article

Financial Reform Bill 101: What it Means for Consumers
Peter Grier, The Christian Science Monitor: "The big financial reform bill now under consideration in the Senate is about more than collateralized back-flip derivatives and other stuff you have to be an MBA to understand. It could also affect how average Americans acquire credit cards, mortgages, bank accounts and other ordinary features of modern monetary life."
Read the Article

A Fitting Memorial to Labor's Dead and Injured
Dick Meister, Truthout: "This past Wednesday marked another Workers Memorial Day - a day when organized labor and its allies honor the millions of men and women who've needlessly suffered or died because of workplace hazards and to demand that the government act to lessen the hazards."
Read the Article

From Charity to Solidarity in Haiti: Lessons for the Policy Makers (Part III)
Beverly Bell, Truthout: "Humanitarian aid initiatives organized by Haitian communities offer respectful, democratic contrasts to the multibillion-dollar aid effort of the international community, much of which is wasted at best and destructive at worst. 'Embedded in the local humanitarian responses is the model of a society premised on generosity and dignity,' says a report released April 27 by Other Worlds: 'From Disaster Aid to Solidarity: Best Practices in Meeting the Needs of Haiti's Earthquake Survivors.'"
Read the Article

Economy Grew Briskly in First Quarter, Government Says
Kevin G. Hall, McClatchy Newspapers: "The US economy grew at a 3.2 percent rate in the first three months of 2010, the Commerce Department reported Friday, providing further evidence that an economic recovery is well underway."
Read the Article

Eugene Robinson | False-Memory Syndrome
Eugene Robinson: "If you haven't heard the name Sue Lowden, brace yourself. She is a Republican who might well become a US senator from Nevada, and judging by her idea for containing health care costs - critics call it 'chickens for check-ups' - she threatens to make Sarah Palin sound like some kind of pointy-headed policy wonk.... Yes, I said chickens."
Read the Article

State of Disgrace: The Right Fiddles While Arizona Burns
Randall Amster, J.D., Ph.D., Truthout: "It's getting hot here in Arizona these days, and summer isn't even upon us yet. As you've most likely heard, the Republican-controlled State Legislature passed - and the Republican governor signed - the nation's most draconian anti-immigrant law, essentially creating a class of new 'status crimes' and opening a Pandora's box of racial profiling implications. While to many of us who live here such sentiments among state officials aren't exactly novel, the shocking 'where are your papers?' aspects of the law (SB 1070) have raised a much-deserved national furor."
Read the Article

House Members Call for Criminal Investigation Into Goldman Sachs After Senate Hearing
Grace Huang, Truthout: "In a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder sent Wednesday, 62 members of the House asked the Justice Department to begin a criminal investigation of Goldman Sachs and other firms that possibly committed fraud."
Read the Article

Mayor Bloomberg vs Artists: The Battle for the Soul of New York City
Brendan Smith, Truthout: "Last week a bubbly woman from Ohio stopped by our table in Union Square. 'This is why I love coming to New York!' she explained as she flipped through our silkscreens. 'Everywhere else I go, it's the same imported crap in the stores. But out here, I can meet local artists making art with their own hands.' ... Well, not for long ..."
Read the Article

Government, Public Aid and Discrimination
Julia Stronks, Truthout: "On April 19, 2010, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Christian Legal Society v. Martinez. At the same time, Californians wait for an opinion from a federal judge in Perry v. Schwarzenegger. Both cases involve government financial support of and recognition of minority groups. The strange thing is that in one case Christians are in the minority and the gay community wants government to withhold recognition of the group. In the other case the gay community is in the minority and Christians want government to withhold recognition of the group. These cases highlight the need for all of us to think more carefully about whether government should be about majority rule or whether government should protect a plurality of perspectives."
Read the Article

Tom Engelhardt | Obit Page
Tom Engelhardt, "She wheeled into the coffee shop, pulled up next to me, and pushed a piece of paper my way. 'Take a look,' she said.... It was a single typed page with her full name, Helena Bascomb Johnson, at the top, which was not, of course, how any of us knew her."
Read the Article

The Supreme Court's Cross to Bear
Ruth Marcus, Truthout: "I am so going to miss Justice Stevens.... The latest reminder came as I was reading the Supreme Court's ruling resurrecting - pardon the pun - Congress' effort to keep an eight-foot-tall cross erected on federal land in the Mojave Desert as a memorial to World War I soldiers."
Read the Article

News Brief: Goldman Sachs May Have Lied Under Oath and More ...
Yana Kunichoff, Truthout: "Reuters reported the unveiling of a new immigration bill by Senate Democratic leaders yesterday, with an emphasis on bolstered border security. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and fellow Democrats moved to overhaul the nation's 'broken' immigration system in the wake of Arizona's crackdown on undocumented immigrants. "
Read the Article

Sen. Bernie Sanders: Not Far Enough on Financial Regulation (VIDEO)
Laura Flanders, GRITtv: "Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders joins us via Skype from Washington to tell us what he thinks about financial regulations, too-big-to-fail banks, and transparency at the Federal Reserve."
Read the Article

FP flashpoints 4/30

Bears in a Honey Trap
By Julia Ioffe
The sex scandal rocking Russia's opposition.
Don't Panic, Go Organic
By Anna Lappe
Be not troubled by Robert Paarlberg's scaremongering. Organic practices can feed the world -- better, in fact, than wasteful industrial farming.
Peak Phosphorous
By James Elser and Stuart White
It's an essential, if underappreciated component of our daily lives, and a key link in the global food chain. And it's running out.
They're Not Brainwashed, Just Miserable
By Marcus Noland
What North Koreans really want.
Look Upon These Works and Despair
By Joshua Keating
When bad art and bad politics mix.

May/June 2009
Also don't miss:
The World's Harshest Immigration Laws
By Peter Williams
Think Arizona's new immigration law is harsh? The Grand Canyon state has nothing on these guys.
Sheikh to Terrorists: Go to Hell
By Christian Caryl
A Pakistani cleric declares jihad on suicide bombers. And the story is just beginning.
The Little Nukes That Got Away
By David Hoffman
What Obama's new treaty left out.
The Ultimate Bug Zapper
Interview by Elizabeth Dickinson
Could a new weapon deal the definitive blow in the long battle of man vs. mosquito? Forget bed nets; think lasers. Nathan Myhrvold, Bill Gates's ideas guy, tells FP about his plans to defeat malaria.

Save the Clean Energy bill!

This was supposed to be the week the Senate made history.

After years of planning and many months of careful negotiating, a major bipartisan proposal on climate and clean energy was all set to be introduced this week. The press conference was scheduled, the speeches were written, and the media was alerted. It would have kicked off debate and served as the foundation of the strong Senate bill we need so badly.

Then it all fell apart.

Comprehensive clean energy and climate legislation is being held prisoner to partisan bickering and political posturing. History has been put on hold -- and I need your help to get the Senate back on track.

If enough of us make noise, we can jump-start the process and make sure that this is just a minor detour instead of another dead end.

Call your Senators right now and urge them to put partisan politics aside and take immediate action on climate and clean energy: 1-877-9-REPOWER (1-877-973-7693).

The urgency of this moment cannot be overstated.

If our leaders in Washington cannot overcome the current climate of partisanship and distrust, the bill that Senators John Kerry, Lindsey Graham, and Joe Lieberman have spent so many months laboring over could be left with no Republican support.

That would mean any hope of passing a comprehensive bill this year -- a bill that would finally address the climate crisis, our addiction to oil and the future of our economy -- would fade away.

We can't let partisan bickering stand in the way of policy that is critical to Americans across every region, party, and demographic -- and whose policy substance has support from courageous Senators on both sides of the aisle. The only way to get this bill back on track is for every Senator to hear from constituents who are demanding action.

Call your Senators now and tell them that they can and must end our addiction to foreign oil, create almost 2 million clean energy jobs and begin to cut carbon pollution:

1-877-9-REPOWER (1-877-973-7693)

And then report your call here.

Let's be clear: The Kerry-Graham-Lieberman bill draft won't be perfect -- and we hope to be fighting over the coming weeks to strengthen it as much as possible.

But we won't get to have that fight if we don't make ourselves heard, right now, about how important it is to solve the climate crisis and transition to a clean energy economy.

Your voice is needed like never before.


Maggie L. Fox
The Climate Protection Action Fund

P.S. Last week, Arizona passed an unjust and punitive anti-immigrant law that violates common sense, human decency, and the same sense of shared humanity and responsibility for our common fate that brought many of us to the climate movement. Our founder, Vice President Al Gore, and the rest of us here at the Repower America campaign ask you to stand with us in solidarity to oppose this law, recognizing that no society that tolerates such disregard for other human beings is capable of building a healthy and sustainable economy and natural world.

FP morning brief 4/30

PM says Greece in "battle for survival" as bailout deal nears completion

Top News: Reports that a new IMF-EU bailout deal for struggling Greece could be just days away helped stock markets around the world to rise this morning, but the country's pain is far from over.

According to labor union officials, the lenders are demanding severe austerity measures from the Greek government as a condition of the bailout. These include cutting civil servants' salaries, freezing their pay increases, reducing pensions and increasing taxes. Greek police clashed with protesters outside parliament yesterday, and more strikes and demonstrations are expected in the days ahead. Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou warned ominously that his country was in "a battle for survival."

Greece's efforts to pay down it's debt -- nearly 120 percent of Gross Domestic Product -- were hampered earlier this week when the country's bond rating was lowered to "junk" status, making it much more expensive to borrow money. European public opinion -- particularly in Germany which will finance the largest share of a bailout -- is largely against bailing out Greece.

Oil spill: The first wave of oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico is beginning to reach the Louisiana coast today, threatening the region's ecologically sensitive wetlands and fishing industry.

The White House says no new offshore drilling will be approved until the incident is investigated. The Obama administration eased a ban on offshore drilling last month.

  • Pakistani Prime Minister Yusaf Raza Gilani and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh met for talks in Bhutan, pledging to improve relations.
  • Leader's of Thailand's red-shirt movement apologized after protesters stormed a hospital.
  • Shanghai's world expo gets underway today.
Middle East
  • Iraqi election officials say a recount of ballots in Baghdad could take up to three weeks.
  • Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned Syria over the alleged transfer of Scuds to Hezbollah.
  • Egyptian intelligence officials deny pumping gas into tunnels used by Gaza smugglers.
  • 25 police officers in Acapulco, Mexico were charged with drugs and weapons violations.
  • The death toll from Mexico's drug violence has risen past 22,000.
  • Venezuela has arrested a man on suspicion of trying to kill President Hugo Chavez.
  • Belgium's lower house of parliament banned wearing burqas in public.
  • The three candidates running for prime minister of Britain held their third and final debate, focusing on the economy.
  • The U.S. and NATO are seeking to revive a treaty on conventional arms in Europe.
-By Joshua Keating


McClatchy Washington report 4/30

  • With crude oil expected to wash up Thursday night along the Gulf Coast, President Barack Obama put the Department of Defense at the ready and dispatched three Cabinet officers to the scene. Booms intended to stop the oil were erected along the Gulf Coast and wildlife conservation groups prepared to rescue and clean oil-coated birds.
  • One reason President Barack Obama and other party leaders are rolling out campaigns this week to energize young and minority voters for November's elections is that they've seen the polling data on senior citizens, and it's ugly.
  • The Justice Department is reviewing whether Goldman Sachs employees may have violated criminal fraud statutes in selling off mortgage securities in the months before the U.S. housing bubble burst, a person familiar with the matter said Thursday.
  • The massive oil spill threatening Louisiana's environmentally fragile coast hasn't changed many minds among North Carolina politicians about offshore drilling, but several say the disaster was a warning. N.C. state Senate leader Marc Basnight, whose district includes a swath of northern coast heavily reliant on tourism and fishing — and clean water — said the spill was a reminder of the need to shift to greener sources of energy.
  • Anthem Blue Cross used deeply flawed math and assumptions when it announced plans to hike premiums by as much as 39 percent for thousands of California subscribers, the Department of Insurance announced Thursday. Acknowledging that it had made "inadvertent miscalculations," the state's largest for-profit health insurer said it would withdraw its controversial rate filing.
  • Alleged teen terrorist Omar Khadr appeared in a grainy video making bombs and reeled off a Who's Who of the al Qaida inner circle for interrogators soon after his capture in Afghanistan, an FBI agent testified in a dramatic day at the war court Thursday. At issue this week is whether the Toronto-born teen voluntarily spoke to interrogators after his capture. Tortured confessions plus those obtained through coercion, cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment are forbidden under Barack Obama era reforms of military commissions.

  • In another black eye for Wall Street, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission late Thursday announced a $14 million fine against Morgan Stanley Capital Group Inc. for allegedly hiding its complex oil trades.

  • Even the Pakistan army conducts military operations against Taliban guerrillas in northwest tribal areas bordering Afghanistan, banned al Qaida-linked groups are operating openly in the Pakistani heartland of Punjab, which itself has been the target of dozens of terror attacks.
  • Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's plan to attend an international conference on curbing the spread of nuclear weapons next week in New York threatens to turn the meeting into a diplomatic confrontation between the United States and Iran over Iran's nuclear program.

  • Churches in South Carolina better think twice before they hold their next raffle or cake walk. Unbeknownst to many churches and charities, raffles are illegal in the state. The education lottery is South Carolina's only legal form of gambling.

  • Despite much-quoted claims to the contrary, evidence abounds that the sword frequently defeats the pen. If you don't believe me, come to Amsterdam, to the bustling street where, in plain daylight four years ago, a man called Mohammed Bouyeri cut the throat of Theo Van Gogh, almost severing his head.

  • A few days ago, the oil gushing out of the ruins of the Deepwater Horizon was termed "manageable."
    By Monday, "manageable" had evolved into 42,000 gallons of oil a day gushing unabated from the wellhead beneath the sunken rig off the coast of Louisiana.

The Euro trap

New York Times

Not that long ago, European economists used to mock their American counterparts for having questioned the wisdom of Europe’s march to monetary union. “On the whole,” declared an article published just this past January, “the euro has, thus far, gone much better than many U.S. economists had predicted.”

Oops. The article summarized the euro-skeptics’ views as having been: “It can’t happen, it’s a bad idea, it won’t last.” Well, it did happen, but right now it does seem to have been a bad idea for exactly the reasons the skeptics cited. And as for whether it will last — suddenly, that’s looking like an open question.

To understand the euro-mess — and its lessons for the rest of us — you need to see past the headlines. Right now everyone is focused on public debt, which can make it seem as if this is a simple story of governments that couldn’t control their spending. But that’s only part of the story for Greece, much less for Portugal, and not at all the story for Spain.

The fact is that three years ago none of the countries now in or near crisis seemed to be in deep fiscal trouble. Even Greece’s 2007 budget deficit was no higher, as a share of G.D.P., than the deficits the United States ran in the mid-1980s (morning in America!), while Spain actually ran a surplus. And all of the countries were attracting large inflows of foreign capital, largely because markets believed that membership in the euro zone made Greek, Portuguese and Spanish bonds safe investments.

Then came the global financial crisis. Those inflows of capital dried up; revenues plunged and deficits soared; and membership in the euro, which had encouraged markets to love the crisis countries not wisely but too well, turned into a trap.

What’s the nature of the trap? During the years of easy money, wages and prices in the crisis countries rose much faster than in the rest of Europe. Now that the money is no longer rolling in, those countries need to get costs back in line.

But that’s a much harder thing to do now than it was when each European nation had its own currency. Back then, costs could be brought in line by adjusting exchange rates — e.g., Greece could cut its wages relative to German wages simply by reducing the value of the drachma in terms of Deutsche marks. Now that Greece and Germany share the same currency, however, the only way to reduce Greek relative costs is through some combination of German inflation and Greek deflation. And since Germany won’t accept inflation, deflation it is.

The problem is that deflation — falling wages and prices — is always and everywhere a deeply painful process. It invariably involves a prolonged slump with high unemployment. And it also aggravates debt problems, both public and private, because incomes fall while the debt burden doesn’t.

Hence the crisis. Greece’s fiscal woes would be serious but probably manageable if the Greek economy’s prospects for the next few years looked even moderately favorable. But they don’t. Earlier this week, when it downgraded Greek debt, Standard & Poor’s suggested that the euro value of Greek G.D.P. may not return to its 2008 level until 2017, meaning that Greece has no hope of growing out of its troubles.

All this is exactly what the euro-skeptics feared. Giving up the ability to adjust exchange rates, they warned, would invite future crises. And it has.

So what will happen to the euro? Until recently, most analysts, myself included, considered a euro breakup basically impossible, since any government that even hinted that it was considering leaving the euro would be inviting a catastrophic run on its banks. But if the crisis countries are forced into default, they’ll probably face severe bank runs anyway, forcing them into emergency measures like temporary restrictions on bank withdrawals. This would open the door to euro exit.

So is the euro itself in danger? In a word, yes. If European leaders don’t start acting much more forcefully, providing Greece with enough help to avoid the worst, a chain reaction that starts with a Greek default and ends up wreaking much wider havoc looks all too possible.

Meanwhile, what are the lessons for the rest of us?

The deficit hawks are already trying to appropriate the European crisis, presenting it as an object lesson in the evils of government red ink. What the crisis really demonstrates, however, is the dangers of putting yourself in a policy straitjacket. When they joined the euro, the governments of Greece, Portugal and Spain denied themselves the ability to do some bad things, like printing too much money; but they also denied themselves the ability to respond flexibly to events.

And when crisis strikes, governments need to be able to act. That’s what the architects of the euro forgot — and the rest of us need to remember.

To Attract Tourists, Louisiana Governor Announces Free Oil Giveaway

Baton Rouge (FNS)—Facing both a massive oil slick from a sunken offshore drilling platform and a second year of declining tourism revenues along the Louisiana Gulf Coast caused by high gas prices, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal today introduced a new tourism promotion that he reports is going to “...make lemons into lemonade”.

Jindal, flanked by British Petroleum's Director of Marketing Dick Timoneous and the Executive Director of the Louisiana State Tourism Board, Jenna Talia, announced that the “All The Oil You Can Carry Festival” would officially commence today just east of New Orleans, and last at least through the month of May.

According to Jindal, "Louisiana produces 30 percent to 40 percent of the nation's oil and gas off our coast. It is certainly good for our economy...It is also good for the nation...We're sending tens of billions of dollars overseas, often to countries who are not friendly to us...this is one of the reasons we've got such a large trade deficit...and today, we’re doing something about it."

Executive Director Talia told the assembled journalists that Louisiana Highway 90 will be closed at Fort Macomb for the weekend so that families can fan out across The Rigolets and gather their own free samples of BP oil.

“It’s going to be a great event” Talia said, “we have vendors and craftspeople setting up on the bridge who will be selling lots of gear so that families can scoop the oil up and take it home. We’ll also be selling lots of local food, there‘s local music...and of course, the bar will be open.”

Members of the public will be able to rent boats or launch their own from any of several convenient locations nearby.

“In this time of economic challenges, we here at BP are happy to provide free samples of our product to the public” Timoneous was quoted as saying. “This oil is perfectly suitable for home heating use, and we would encourage members of the public to gather just as much as they can carry and take it with them.”

BP is promoting the event as the largest giveaway of free product in the company’s history; the current estimate is that more than 11 million free gallons of oil will be distributed by the end of next month.

Boaters are encouraged to participate, and the Alligator Bend coastline, just to the southeast of the Fort, promises particularly rich opportunities for “gathering samples”, as Mr. Timoneous put it.

CSX Railroad is also involved in the festivities, and they promise to close their track across The Rigolets so that those without boats can hike in and gather oil directly from the water at the Rigolets Pass Bridge.

“As a Member of Congress I introduced the Deep Ocean Energy Resources Act of 2006, which was intended to provide more opportunities for Americans to access the oil off our Continental Shelf”, Governor Jindal told the reporters, “and with this cooperative effort in direct-to-consumer distribution between BP and the State of Louisiana that vision has finally been realized. Laissez les bon temps roulez!

Ms. Talia continued the press availability by reminding members of the public that “Although there are no hotels in the immediate area, there is lots of new open land made available since Hurricane Katrina that can be used for camping...and if you’re driving a diesel rig, you can probably grab a shovel and fill up right here at the Fort....and even take some home besides.”

She also noted that the opportunities to celebrate weren't limited to just this one area: "It's entirely possible that the Festival will be expanded to include much of Louisiana's coastline before the month is out, and we would encourage tourists to follow our website for additional announcements."

She ended the event by asking what is probably going to be the question of the year for Louisianans: “What could possibly be better for this State’s tourism industry than millions of gallons of free oil laying around, just waiting to be picked up by anyone who wants it?”

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Truthout 4/29

By the Time I Get to Arizona
William Rivers Pitt, Truthout: "Rap and hip-hop have never been my cup of tea, for the most part. But ever since the governor of Arizona put pen to paper and officially designated every brown-skinned person in the state to be criminally suspicious the moment they walk out their door, an old Public Enemy song has been running through my head."
Read the Article

US May Send Navy to Oil Spill as Threat to Environment Grows
Lesley Clark and Curtis Morgan, McClatchy Newspapers: "Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano on Thursday designated a widening oil slick spill in the Gulf of Mexico as 'a spill of national significance' as government officials acknowledged that the amount of oil spewing daily from the well is far more than earlier thought."
Read the Article

Lawmakers to Holder: Goldman, Other Firms Aren't "Too Big for Jail"
Greg Gordon, McClatchy Newspapers: "Maintaining that no Wall Street executive is 'too big for jail,' 62 members of the House of Representatives asked the Justice Department Wednesday to investigate whether Goldman Sachs and other Wall Street firms committed criminal fraud in the lead-up to the subprime mortgage meltdown."
Read the Article

How Wall Street Creates Socialists
E.J. Dionne Jr., Op-Ed: "Maybe the next time someone calls Barack Obama a socialist, the president shouldn't issue a denial. He might instead urge his accuser to read the hearing transcript of this week's Congressional testimony from the Goldman Sachs guys in their beautiful suits."
Read the Article

Protesters Confront Monster Banks, Demand Wells Fargo End Predatory Lending
Daniela Perdomo, AlterNet: "'We are many and they are few - and today they have to deal with us!' yelled an organizer at a San Francisco march and rally on Tuesday afternoon aimed at calling out Wells Fargo for its predatory lending practices. A crowd of a few hundred pissed-off consumers responded boisterously by repeating a catchy chant: 'Hey, big banks, where's our dough? Working families have a right to know!'"
Read the Article

New Arizona Immigration Law Wrong
Michael Gass, Truthout: "Immigration is a sensitive issue, but the immigration bill that passed the Arizona Legislature is the wrong way to try to solve it. The new law gives Arizona law enforcement broad new authority to enforce federal immigration laws. It is so broad, not to mention vague, that abuse of this new authority by law enforcement is assured."
Read the Article

Swiftboating Finance Reform
Robert Reich, "Republicans are blocking a Senate vote on the Dodd bill, seeking to build public support by misleading the public. They're claiming to want a stronger bill when in fact they're doing the Street's bidding by seeking a weaker one."
Read the Article

Immigrant Rights Activists in Chicago Join the National Fray, Part I
Yana Kunichoff, Truthout: "For Miguel Gutierez, an American citizen whose parents came to the country from Mexico as undocumented minors and were legalized during the 1986 amnesty, a couple of hours in jail and a fine is a small price to pay for the bigger impact he hopes to have. 'It's the least I can do,' said Gutierez of the civil disobedience action in which he participated Tuesday morning, meant to disrupt what advocates see as an increasingly unjust immigration system."
Read the Article

Details Emerge on Study of Cancer Near US Nuclear Plants
Sue Sturgis, Facing South: "The Nuclear Regulatory Commission recently asked the National Academy of Sciences to study cancer risk for people living near nuclear power plants and other nuclear facilities, and details of that research were discussed at yesterday's meeting of the Academy's Nuclear and Radiation Studies Board."
Read the Article

New Poll Shows Strong Anti-Incumbent Feeling
Yana Kunichoff, Truthout: "A new survey released Wednesday highlights the dire state of incumbent candidates, showing that fewer than a third of voters are inclined to vote for their current representative, regardless of their party."
Read the Article

Yes, Virginia, There Is a Legitimate Case Against Free Trade
Ian Fletcher, Truthout: "There is a myth in wide circulation that the superiority of free trade is simply a settled question on which all serious economists agree. The flip side of this myth, of course, is that anyone who criticizes free trade must either be ignorant of economics, or the spokesman of some special interest which hopes to benefit from trade restrictions. Such critics are not only wrong, the story continues with admittedly impeccable logic, but profoundly worthy of public contempt, as they are necessarily either dumb or corrupt."
Read the Article

Is the Sun Finally Setting on Climate Change Skepticism?
Todd Tanner, New West: "Over the last few years I've noticed something interesting about our ongoing climate change discussions. It used to be that logic and knowledge were the keys. We looked at the best available science, weighed the predicted costs of action versus the predicted costs of inaction, and then considered the most appropriate alternatives. Businesses use this kind of approach all the time. It's called a 'cost-benefit analysis.'"
Read the Article

Murphy's Law and the Stupidity of Obama's Drill, Drill, Drill Offshore Oil Policy
Dave Lindorff, Truthout: "British Petroleum had a fail-safe system for its Deepwater Horizon floating deep-water drilling rig. You know, the one that blew up and sank in the Gulf of Mexico, leaving a tangled spaghetti pile of 22-inch steel pipe one mile long, all balled up on the sea floor a mile below the surface, that is leaking oil at 42,000 gallons per day ... so far."
Read the Article

Closures and Charters Hailed as Future for Detroit Schools
Paul Abowd, Labor Notes: "Before Detroiters voted last fall on a half-billion-dollar bond measure to renovate and build new schools, the state-appointed financial manager Robert Bobb launched an 'I'm In' campaign to keep kids in the public schools, which are hemorrhaging students."
Read the Article

After 10-Year Battle, First US Offshore Wind Farm Approved
Renee Schoof, McClatchy Newspapers: "Interior Secretary Ken Salazar on Wednesday approved the nation's first offshore wind farm, the 130-turbine Cape Wind project off Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and said that the power of strong winds over the Atlantic Ocean would be an important part of the US drive to reduce dependence on fossil fuels."
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News in Brief: Federal Reserve Appointments and More ...
Yana Kunichoff, Truthout: "The Associated Press reported Thursday that six in ten Americans are living in cities where air pollution reaches dangerous levels. The Los Angeles area has the nation's worst ozone pollution, according to the report released by the American Lung Association and the Phoenix area of Arizona suffers from the worst year-round particle pollution ... and more."
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Demand comprehensive immigration reform

President Obama has made clear his opposition to Arizona's Senate Bill 1070 (SB 1070) which allows local law enforcement to detain anyone that "looks" like an undocumented immigrant.

There is broad opposition to this law from both Democrats and Republicans.  Local law enforcement has also expressed their opposition with Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik stating that he will not enforce this law.  Even singer Shakira has spoken out against this racist law!

Recently, President Obama ordered the Justice Department to examine the consitutionality of SB 1070.

But that's not enough!

We need federal action on immigration reform now.  When asked whether he would introduce comprehensive immigration reform, President Obama stated that it would have to wait until next year.  That's unacceptable.

Call the White House at 866-961-2143 and demand comprehensive immigration reform this year.

As we speak more states are contemplating introducing severe anti-immigrant legislation similar to SB 1070.

We need to work together to make sure that the federal government makes comprehensive immigration reform a reality.

In solidarity,
Garlin, Dennis and Jebeze and the CCC Team
Campaign for Community Change

FP morning brief 4/29

Gulf of Mexico oil spill five times larger than previously thought

Top story: U.S. Coast Guard officials say the amount of oil seeping from a sunken rig in the Gulf of Mexico has increased to as much as 5,000 barrels a day, five times more than was originally thought. The 100-mile wide oil slick caused by the leak is now only 16 miles off the coast of Louisiana.

A third leak has also been discovered in the pipeline connecting the sunken rig to the oil well. The first two were discovered a few days after the explosion on the Deep Horizon on April 20. The Coast Guard also attempted a controlled burn of part of the oil slick on Wednesday, an operation they say was successful.

Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal has requested emergency help from the federal government as the oil slick nears the coast. If large amounts of oil reach the shore, it could be devastating to the state's coastal wetlands as well as its fishing industry.

The chief operating officer of oil giant BP, which owns the leaking well, says the company would welcome the help of the military in containing the spill.

Greek crisis: The I.M.F. has agreed to increase its aid package to Greece to 120 million euros over three years.

  • Thailand's pro-government yellow-shirt protesters marched to demand a return to order in Bangkok and a crackdown on the anti-government red-shirts.
  • Intelligence officials now believe that Pakistani Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud, believed to have been killed in a drone strike earlier this year, is actually alive.
  • The Pentagon is downbeat in its latest report on Congress on the situation in Afghanistan, noting increasing violence and decreased support for President Hamid Karzai's government.
Middle East
  • Egypt pumped gas into a Gaza smuggling tunnel, killing four.
  • Hezbollah strongly criticized Egypt's courts for jailing 26 of its members on terrorism charges.
  • Ultranationalist Israeli settlers attacked a neighboring Palestinian village in retaliation for recent arrests by the Israeli police.
  • Acting Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan removed the country's much criticized election chief.
  • A Rwandan militant rebel group denied ties to an opposition leader under investigation by the government for links to them.
  • A new Nigerian oil law will give preference to local service companies.
  • Sixteen people were killed in shootings in Mexico's Ciudad Juarez on Wednesday.
  • Venezuela's opposition has put together a unified lineup for upcoming legislative elections.
  • Military prosecutors reportedly offered a 5-year plea bargain to Guantanamo inmate and Canadian citizen Omar Khadr, who is accused of killing a U.S. soldier in Afghanistan.

  • Europe
  • U.S. and Russian officials are meeting in Moscow to discuss a new draft treaty on child adoptions.
  • The U.S. has extradited a former Bosnian Serb soldier suspected of participation in genocide.
  • Britain is holding its final televised debate today, giving Prime Minister Gordon Brown a chance to recover from an embarrassing campaign trail gaffe.
-By Joshua Keating

Chris Graythen/Getty Images

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