Saturday, April 10, 2010

Truthout 4/10

A Quiet Giant
William Rivers Pitt, Truthout: "Ever heard of a guy named William Johnson? How about Ward Hunt? Do the names Frank Murphy, Tom Clark, Stanley Matthews, Samuel Nelson, William Strong, Joseph Bradley, John Catron, David Brewer, Edward White or Horace Lurton ring a bell?...Unless you're a legal scholar or historian, those names are almost certainly not going to be familiar to you. Those men were all Supreme Court Justices at one time or another, and though the decisions they rendered live on within our judicial system, they themselves have been largely forgotten by history."
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Why More Immigrants Are an Answer to the Coming Boomer Entitlement Mess
Robert Reich, "I was born in 1946, just when the boomer wave began. Bill Clinton was born that year, too. So was George W. So was Laura Bush. And Ken Starr (remember him?) And then, the next year, Hillary Clinton. And soon Newt Gingrich (known as 'Newty' as a boy). And Cher. Why so many of us begin getting born in 1946? Simple. My father was in World War II. He came home. My mother was waiting. Ditto for the others."
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In West Virginia, Coal Miners' Slaughter
Michael Winship, Truthout: "The high cost of energy in America was paid in human lives this week, with the deaths of more than two dozen miners in a massive explosion at the Upper Big Branch coal mine in West Virginia. It's the worst mine disaster in a quarter of a century."
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Alexander Cockburn | The Cover-Ups That Exploded
Alexander Cockburn, Truthout: "The Pentagon is reeling after two lethal episodes uncovered by diligent journalism show trigger-happy U.S. Army helicopter pilots and U.S. Special Forces slaughtering civilians, then seeking to cover up their crimes....The World Wide Web was transfixed Monday when Wikileaks put up on YouTube a 38-minute video, along with a 17-minute edited version, taken from a U.S. Army Apache helicopter, one of two firing on a group of Iraqis in Baghdad at a street corner in July 2007. Twelve civilians died, including a Reuters photographer Namir Noor-Eldeen, 22, and a Reuters driver, Saeed Chmagh, 40."
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Last Year's Supreme Court Finalists Rise to Top of Obama's List
Michael Doyle, McClatchy Newspapers: "Being the best isn't good enough. President Barack Obama's next Supreme Court nominee could also use a compelling story and, perhaps, a little nudge....Ivy League pedigrees, Phi Beta Kappa keys and groundbreaking reputations abound among Obama's potential nominees. The Senate has previously confirmed some of them for high-level posts. Raw merit, however, won't easily separate the winner from the also-rans."
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Marijuana Legalization: The Pay-Any-Price Principle
David Sirota, Truthout: "When choosing between frugality and security, history shows that America almost always selects the latter. To paraphrase President Kennedy, we'll pay any price and bear any burden to protect ourselves....No doubt this was why the economic case against the Iraq invasion failed. To many, the war debate seemed to pose a binary question: debt or mushroom clouds? And when itís a scuffle between money arguments and security arguments (even dishonest security arguments), security wins every time."
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Corporate Protection at the US Environmental Protection Agency
Dr. Evaggelos Vallianatos, Truthout: "It was outrageous that during the George W. Bush administration the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) shut down its libraries and labs, undermining its mission and sending the unmistakable message to the American people that they and the environment were on their own."
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The Mythical Concept of Trade War
Ian Fletcher, Truthout: "As Americans ponder how to get the US out of its current trade mess, we are constantly warned to do nothing - like impose a tariff to neutralize Chinese currency manipulation - that would trigger a 'trade war.' Supposedly, no matter how bad our problems with our trading partners get, they are less bad than the spiraling catastrophe that would ensue if we walked a single inch away from our current policy of unilateral free trade."
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The Fabulous Life of the Ravenous Vultures
Evgenij Haperskij, Council on Hemispheric Affairs: "Since the mid-90s, the so-called vulture funds have been suing poor countries so that they would fully pay back their debts which they had purchased for pennies on the dollar. In this way, the vulture funds frequently manage to exacerbate the economic situation in the poor countries, most of which are located in Latin America and Africa. Since the beginning of this year, Britain has worked to end these extortionist actions of the vulture funds. However, Christopher Chope, a Conservative member of the British House of Commons saw to it that the government's 'Debt Relief Bill for developing countries,' which had impressive cross-party support, would be terminated."
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Texas Justice, American Injustice
Robert Perkinson, Truthout: "When members of Texas' Board of Education recently voted to eliminate 'justice' from the list of terms schoolchildren have to master - in addition to elevating Rush Limbaugh to the pantheon of historic luminaries - they unleashed another salvo in the country's ceaseless culture wars. Yet they also, perhaps inadvertently, brought the curriculum in line with the state's inequitable social order. With its laissez-faire corporate climate and anemic human services (the state leads the nation simultaneously in carbon emissions and children without health insurance), Texas may be 'wide open for business,' but it has always had an uneasy relationship with Lady Justice."
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Brazil: A Tragedy of Local and Global Dimensions
Fabiana Frayssinet, Inter Press Service: "The people who live in the favela of Guararapes are probably unaware that the heavy rains that forced them to flee their homes were caused by a phenomenon that is affecting the whole planet: global warming."
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