Saturday, May 22, 2010

Truthout 5/22

Dahr Jamail | Trucking Toward Climate Change
Dahr Jamail, Truthout: "The tar sands mining project in Alberta, Canada, is possibly the largest industrial project in human history and critics claim it could also be the most destructive. The mining procedure for extracting oil from a region referred to as the 'tar sands,' located north of Edmonton, releases at least three times the CO2 emissions as regular oil production procedures and will likely become North America's single largest industrial contributor to climate change. Most of the oil produced by the project will likely be consumed by the United States, a country that, along with Canada, is already heavily invested, on many levels, in the project."
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Texas Social Studies Textbooks Get a Conservative Makeover
Brad Knickerbocker, The Christian Science Monitor: "In a move that has potential national impact, the Texas State Board of Education has approved controversial changes to social studies textbooks - pushing high school teaching in a more conservative direction. The Dallas Morning news reports that the curriculum standards adopted Friday by a 9-5 vote along party lines on the elected board have 'a definite political and philosophical bent in many areas.'"
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Michael Winship | Congress Gets a Kick in the ... Pants
Michael Winship, Truthout: "For all the talk of an anti-incumbent fever sweeping the land, the image of angry voters manning the tumbrels and throwing the rascals out, consider the special Congressional election for the late Democratic Congressman John Murtha's seat in southwestern Pennsylvania. Democrat Mark Critz handily defeated Republican Tea Partier Tim Burns and pundits declared it a big loss for the GOP, which had tried to play on anti-Obama and anti-Nancy Pelosi sentiment to defeat Critz. Maybe the analysts are right, but it sure as hell wasn't a kick in the pants of incumbency."
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US Soldiers Face Probe Into Afghan Deaths; Civilian Casualties Still Rising
Dion Nissenbaum, McClatchy Newspapers: "The US military is investigating allegations that a small group of American soldiers deliberately killed three Afghan civilians in a series of shootings earlier this year, Western officials familiar with the case said Friday.... If the allegations prove to be true, they could undermine the US military's already shaky credibility in southern Afghanistan as it gears up to target the Taliban's spiritual capital in Kandahar."
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Five Lobbyists for Each Member of Congress on Financial Reforms
M.B. Pell and Joe Eaton, The Center for Public Integrity: "Businesses, trade groups and other interests hired more than five lobbyists for each member of Congress to influence financial regulatory reform legislation pending before the Senate, according to a Center for Public Integrity analysis. More than 850 banks, hedge funds, companies, associations and other organizations hired 3,000-plus lobbyists to work on the reform bills."
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Confronting Blame-the-Worker Safety Programs
Nancy Lessin, Labor Notes: "In a Missouri food warehouse, 150 workers load and unload trucks, lift boxes, drive fork trucks, and move endless pallets. Each month that no one reports an injury, all workers receive prizes, such as $50 gift certificates. If someone reports an injury, no prizes are given that month. Last year, management added a new element to this 'safety incentive' program: if a worker reported an injury, not only would co-workers forgo monthly prizes but the injured worker had to wear a fluorescent orange vest for a week.... Blame-the-worker programs like this are flourishing, and they are harmful for workplace health and safety."
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Report: Public Housing Works When You Invest in It
Jamilah King, ColorLines: "Earlier this week housing rights advocates from eight different cities met with Reps. Maxine Waters (D-CA) and Nydia Velázquez (D-NY) in Washington, D.C. to voice their opposition to a bill that they say would privatize the nation's public housing and push what they see as alternatives."
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Universities Work to Push Cleantech Discoveries Out of the Lab, Into the Market
Amy Westervelt, SolveClimate: "There has always been a gap between university lab breakthroughs and marketplace reality. But whereas that gap has largely been closed in the biological sciences by technology transfer programs, scientists researching the chemical and physical sciences related to cleantech still struggle to commercialize their discoveries. Slowly, though, change is afoot."
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Travel to Cuba Legislation Mired in Scandal, Fierce Opposition
Katya Rodriguez and Carl Patchen, Council on Hemispheric Affairs: "In 1963, following heightened tensions in the aftermath of the Cuban Missile Crisis, President Kennedy imposed the first travel restrictions on American citizens desiring to travel to Cuba. After years of gridlock regarding the subject courtesy of Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and her ideological kinsman from the ultra-conservative Cuban American National Foundation, a growing number of U.S. members of Congress have consistently introduced legislation in an attempt to remove long-held constraints on U.S. citizens' freedom to travel. Although former Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA), among others, nearly managed to muster sufficient forces in Congress to remove the restrictions, these reforms have failed to attract a sufficient number of votes to lift the ban."
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