Saturday, July 31, 2010

Truthout 7/31

William Rivers Pitt | The Missing Piece Meets the Big O
William Rivers Pitt, Truthout: "I've been trying to wrap my mind around the dispiriting sense of failure that seems to have enveloped the Obama administration on the eve of the November midterms. The right hates him because he won, because he's Black, and because he won.... The left is up in arms because he hasn't met the lofty goals set after his election, and because he's allowed himself to get rolled by the right and their corporate paymasters."
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Despite Anger Over BP Spill, Washington Might Not Act on It
Shashank Bengali and William Douglas, McClatchy Newspapers: "Congress is considering stricter regulation of oil exploration, and the Obama administration has pledged to overhaul the disgraced federal agency that oversees oil drilling. Already, however, some of the toughest proposals are facing stiff opposition from Republicans and some Gulf Coast Democrats whose constituents rely on the oil industry for jobs."
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Michael Winship | The Right Manipulates Muslims - and Boy Scouts
Michael Winship, Truthout: "The right wing of this country, with the aid of Fox News and other media outlets, has opted to ignore many of the qualities one usually associates with a good scout - trustworthiness, honesty and especially cleanliness - to sling mud at the president for not making a personal appearance at the Jamboree. Instead, he videotaped a message for the lads. Not exactly a sin on the order of massive oil spills or ethnic purification."
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Arizona Injunction a Victory, but Not End of the Fight, Activists Say
Yana Kunichoff, Truthout: "A federal judge's ruling has prevented the most contested parts of SB1070, Arizona's contested immigration law, from taking effect, but protests and recrimination have shown that feelings in the state remain far from friendly."
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A Second Slave Rebellion in Haiti: What's the Worth of a Haitian Child?
Beverly Bell and Tory Field, Truthout: "One of the many effects of poverty in Haiti is that desperate parents regularly give away their children in the hope that the new family will feed and educate the children better than they themselves can. Instead, the children usually end up as child slaves, or restavek. In a country which overthrew slavery in 1804, today anywhere from 225,000 to 300,000 children live in forced servitude."
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SEC Lets Citi Executives Go Free After $40 Billion Subprime Lie
Zach Carter, AlterNet: "The SEC just hit two Citigroup executives with fines for concealing $40 billion in subprime mortgage debt from investors back in 2007. The biggest fine is going to Citi CFO Gary Crittenden, who will pay $100,000 to settle allegations that he screwed over his own investors. The year of the alleged wrongdoing, Crittenden took home $19.4 million. That's right. Crittenden will lose one-half of one percent of his income from the year he hid a quagmire of bailout-inducing insanity from his own investors. That's it. No indictment. No prison time. Crittenden doesn't even have to formally acknowledge any wrongdoing."
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Right-Wing Pundit Phyllis Schlafly Decries Government Assistance for "Unmarried Moms"
Charlie Eisenhood, Think Progress: "Over the past two months, many Republican pundits and members of Congress have been calling for the end of unemployment benefit extensions for the millions of Americans who can't find work.... Last week at a fundraiser for Michigan GOP congressional candidate Rocky Raczowski, conservative pundit Phyllis Schlafly added her voice to the chorus crying out against government assistance for the poor or unemployed."
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Stolen Land, Stolen Trees, Stolen Livelihoods
Laura Finley, Truthout: "Imagine your livelihood is farming. You grow a variety of products that have sustained you and your family for generations. Then, imagine that the Army decides to erect a long fence that blocks you from accessing your farm. They say you will be able to get a permit to enter your own land, but when you apply, you are denied. The only person they will give the permit to is your elderly father, who cannot possible tend the land as needed and support the family. Already poor, your future is grim."
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Friday, July 30, 2010

Common Dreams 7/30

Oil-Soaked Waste Worries Gulf Coast Landfills' Neighbors

Report Suggests 'Correlation' between U.S. Aid and Army Killings

Obama Administration Considers Bypassing Congress on Immigration Reform

Oil Industry Safety Record Blown Open

July Is Deadliest Month of Afghan War for US

EPA Rejects Petitions to Reverse Climate Change Endangerment Finding

Activist Supports Probe of Aid Raid
and more...
Pete Seeger Live - New Protest Song About BP Oil Spill in Gulf Coast on Banjo w James Maddock Guitar

Obama Defends Sweeping Education Reforms in Face of Criticism from Minority and Teachers’ Groups

Truthout 7/30

Top Democrats Pressure White House Over WikiLeaks Revelations
Mike Ludwig, Truthout: "The Afghan war is coming under renewed scrutiny as web surfers across the world browse through the bloody battle scenes and military follies described in the thousands of classified military reports released by WikiLeaks, and now top Democrats are finally expressing concerns over the longevity of a war that has dragged on for nearly a decade."
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A Movement Rises in Arizona
Jordan Flaherty, Truthout: "Three months ago, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed into law the notorious SB 1070, a bill that put her state at the forefront of a movement to intensify the criminalization of undocumented immigrants. Since then, activists have responded through legal challenges, political lobbying, grassroots organizing and mass mobilizations. More than a hundred thousand people from across Arizona marched on the state capitol on May 29."
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Going Where Glenn Beck Wouldn't: Defining White Culture
Mikhail Lyubansky, Op-Ed News: "My facebook and twitter friend @clyde_online, a community organizer in DC, has been pestering me to define U.S. white culture. Up until now, I've demurred. Frankly, there are other things I'd rather write about. Besides, though I'm certainly aware of the status and meaning that our civilization has managed to assign to whiteness and realize that I benefit from both, I don't personally buy into either. If it were up to me, I'd get rid of whiteness altogether."
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BP Wants Experts to Keep Quiet; House Says No Way
Deb Weinstein, Truthout: "BP's headache continues to get worse. In a July 29 letter to BP America's President Lamar McKay, Reps. Henry A. Waxman (D-California) and Edward J. Markey (D-Massachusetts) have demanded BP's executive appear before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce by August 6. Unlike then-CEO Tony Hayward's testimony which focused on the April 20 explosion, this time Waxman and Markey are looking into a less-visible component of the BP disaster."
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News in Brief: Administration May Bypass Congress on Immigration Reform, and More ...
Obama administration considers ways to act on immigration reform without Congressional approval; worldwide protests greet Arizona law; July bloodiest month in Afghanistan; floods in Pakistan leave hundreds dead; Rangel charged with 13 ethics violations; UN rights body tells Israel to lift Gaza blockade; Obama signed war funding bill providing $37 billion more for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq; Justice Department explores espionage charges against WikiLeaks.
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Dahr Jamail and Erika Blumenfeld | Our Complicity
Dahr Jamail, Dahr Jamial's Dispatches: "Not long ago we strolled along a beautiful white-sand beach in Orange Beach, Alabama, taking photos of freshly washed ashore black and brown tar balls. We watched little boys playing in the shallow surf, trying to catch minnows, as red oil boom bobbed in the waves just offshore behind them. This is the world we have all created."
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Homes Keep Falling Into Foreclosure as Programs Fail to Help
Tony Pugh, McClatchy Newspapers: "More than three years into the housing crisis that helped trigger a worldwide recession, the torrid pace of home foreclosures continues to tear at the core of the American dream. New figures Thursday from Realty-Trac showed that foreclosure activity declined over the first six months of the year in nine of the 10 large metropolitan areas with the highest foreclosure rates."
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Zombie Neocon Strategy Behind Israel's "Bomb Iran" Campaign
Gareth Porter, Truthout: "Reuel Marc Gerecht's screed justifying an Israeli bombing attack on Iran coincides with the opening the new Israel lobby campaign marked by the introduction of House resolution 1553 expressing full support for such an Israeli attack. What is important to understand about this campaign is that the aim of Gerecht and of the right-wing government of Benjamin Netanyahu is to support an attack by Israel so that the United States can be drawn into direct, full-scale war with Iran."
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Strengthen Social Security Coalition Puts Both Parties on Notice
Isiah J. Poole, Campaign for America's Future: "More than 60 organizations that represent more than 30 million Americans are banding together to deliver a straightforward message to politicians this fall: Don't mess with Social Security. 'Don't turn Social Security in the scapegoat for the deficit,' said AFSCME President Gerald McEntee today at a news conference in Washington's National Press Club launching the Strengthen Social Security campaign."
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The Angry Left Needs Hugs and Kisses
Jules Siegel, Truthout: "The angry left is angry with Barack Obama. It's lying on the floor kicking and screaming and holding its breath. Goodness is not being accomplished. Injustice continues sort of unabated. Bad people are doing bad things. This is obviously all the president's fault. I wish. The angry left presumes that the president is in full control of the government, when he's obviously not. Even George W. Bush learned that and he was a Republican."
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Henry Giroux: "Youth in a Suspect Society" (Audio Interview)
Allen Ruff, host of the listener-supported radio program "A Public Affair," WORT, 89.9FM, Madison, Wisconsin, interviews Henry Giroux to discuss his new book, "Youth in a Suspect Society."
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Who Pays for Agricultural Dumping? Farmers in Developing Countries
Timothy A. Wise, "Brazil and the United States may have settled, for now, their long-running WTO dispute over U.S. cotton subsidies, but the issues it raised remain. After all, Brazilian producers were not the only ones hurt by U.S. dumping of its highly subsidized cotton on world markets, which not only took market share from competing producers, it depressed the international price for all producers."
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Greek Society Begins to Crack Under Harsh Measures
Apostolis Fotiadis, Inter Press Service: "Every working day, more than a hundred people crowd around the entrance of the merchant and passenger boats' reconstruction industry, well known as 'The Zone', in the southern suburb of Attiki. Most of them are unemployed steel workers and torch welders, who wait desperately from the early hours of the morning for an announcement of jobs offered on a daily basis on the ships that dock at the port."
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The Deception of Real-World Inception
David Sirota, Truthout: "For all of its 'Matrix'-like convolutions and 'Alice in Wonderland' allusions, the new film 'Inception' adds something significant to the ancient ruminations about reality's authenticity - something profoundly relevant to this epoch of confusion. In the movie's tale of corporate espionage, we are asked to ponder this moment's most disturbing epistemological questions: Namely, how are ideas deposited in people's minds, and how incurable are those ideas when they are wrong?"
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What a Legal Pot Economy Would Look Like (Video)
Haik Hoisington, AlterNet: "This fall Californians will go to the polls with a chance to make history. They will be able to cast a vote to tax and regulate marijuana like alcohol or cigarettes. California's Proposition 19 is one of many similar initiatives cropping up on state ballots across the country."
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FP morning brief 7/30

Militants plant al Qaeda flag after deadly attack in Baghdad

Top news: In a brazen challenge to Iraqi authorities, militants killed 23 members of the country's security forces in coordinated attacks on Thursday, then planted an al Qaeda flag in a predominantly Sunni neighborhood in Baghdad.

In the worst incident, gunmen attacked a police checkpoint in the Azamiyah neighborhood, then set it on fire, burning the bodies inside and planting the flag of al Qaeda in Iraq. Minutes later, three roadside bombs detonated nearby. Thursday also saw attacks elsewhere in Baghdad as well as in Fallujah and Mosul.

It was the boldest move by Iraq's Sunni militants since the commando-style raid on the Central Bank in June, which killed 26. Militants seem to be increasingly targeting Iraqi security forces as the United States plans to remove all but 50,000 American troops by the end of August.

Milestone: With at least 63 killed, July is the deadliest month yet for U.S. troops in the nine-year war in Afghanistan.

Middle East
  • The leaders of Saudi Arabia and Syria are heading to Lebanon in an effort to prevent a crisis over the expected indictments for the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.
  • The Arab league has endorsed direct Palestinian talks with Israel.
  • Rockets from Gaza hit the Israeli city of Ashkelon.
-By Joshua Keating


McClatchy Washington report 7/30

  • Louisiana fishermen pray their livelihood will return, hoteliers in Alabama wait for the phones to ring, and New Orleans' finest chefs cook up public relations strategies rather than po'-boys — all because oil has touched their shorelines.
  • A low-ranking Army soldier suspected of leaking thousands of classified documents had access to the documents because U.S. officials have pressed to make sure secret information is available to combat units. That idea is now being reconsidered in the wake of the Internet publication of thousands of documents by WikiLeaks, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Thursday.
  • Calling the wording of a Republican-backed constitutional amendment on health care "manifestly misleading," a Circuit Court judge in Leon County has tossed it off the November ballot. The proposal had been drafted and put forward by the GOP-led state legislature as a counter to the new federal health care plan. It would prohibit the state from participating in any health insurance exchange that compels people to buy insurance.
  • More than a dozen prominent Dallas business and civic leaders, including several who supported Kay Bailey Hutchison in the Republican primary for governor, have signed a letter backing Democrat Bill White in his effort to unseat Republican Gov. Rick Perry in the Nov. 2 general election.
  • A special House of Representatives subcommittee on Thursday outlined 13 counts of ethics violations against Rep. Charles Rangel, the former chairman of the powerful tax-writing Ways and Means Committee. The charges place his political career in jeopardy and could put Democrats on the defensive as November's elections approach.
  • Florida's state attorney general is investigating two Florida companies over claims they offered free emergency response training for oil spill clean up work but then withheld students' training certificates unless they paid a large fee.
  • A new Army report has found that inattention to rising rates of drug abuse and criminal activity among soldiers and not repeat deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan is responsible for the record-high levels of suicide among troops. The report urges commanders to get tougher on repeat drug offenders.
  • Sen. Lindsey Graham said Thursday that he's talked with other senators about crafting a constitutional amendment that would deny American citizenship to illegal immigrants' children born in the United States.
  • Former Alaska state Sen. Gene Therriault resigned as Gov. Sean Parnell's energy adviser Thursday amid furor over the legality of Therriault signing on to the position when he was still in the Legislature. Neither Therriault nor Parnell admitted wrongdoing, with Therriault blaming Parnell's critics for creating "political turmoil" over the $110,000-a-year job.
  • Yuba County, California's Beale Air Force Base is being put in charge of a fleet of spy planes that will bring at least 550 jobs and help boost the regional economy. Capping a lengthy search, the Air Force on Thursday chose Beale over five other bases as home of the MC-12W, a small twin-engine turboprop that flies surveillance missions in Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • Not to startle you, but you have a narrative in your head. Dozens of them, in fact. Some narratives are unsupported by fact, others sit atop a mountain of empirical evidence. The point is, we all have them, and when some incident appears to confirm one, we rush to use it in our blogs, our barroom debates, our newspaper columns.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Common Dreams 7/29


'Worse Than Rainforest Loss': New Data on Our Dying Oceans

EPA: More Than a Million Gallons of Oil in Michigan River

White House Pushes for Warrantless Access to Internet Records

Global Warming Pushes 2010 Temperatures to Record Highs

Congress Reforms Cocaine Convictions

As Desert Deaths Soar, a Morgue Grows Crowded
and more...
Guardian Exclusive: A Brutal, Chaotic and Bloody Look at US Combat in Afghanistan (Warning: Contains Graphic Images)

Superclass: The New Global Aristocracy
and more...

Truthout 7/29

Shirley Sherrod, Mark Twain, Teddy Roosevelt and American Racial Hysteria
Cary Fraser, Truthout: "The recent firing of Shirley Sherrod by the secretary of agriculture after an excerpt of a video of her speech at an NAACP event was used to portray her as a poster-child for anti-white racism by Andrew Breibart, the conservative media personality, provoked a firestorm of controversy about race and its legacies in American life."
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From the Heart of Arizona, We Still Have a Dream
Randall Amster J.D., Ph.D., Truthout: "Following the news that a federal judge has struck down what are essentially the worst parts of Arizona's immigration law, SB 1070, there is a sense of vindication and relief on the part of many who have been working for justice in regard to immigration issues."
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Tea Partyers in Wonderland
Barbara Koeppel, The Nation: "The mythmongers in Tea Party land and millions more Americans seem to prefer fiction to fact. Based on a mid-April New York Times/CBS News poll of about 1,600 adults, we learned that 52 percent of Tea Party supporters believe 'too much has been made of the problems facing black people.'"
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House Votes to Eliminate Cocaine Sentencing Disparity
William Douglas, McClatchy Newspapers: "The House of Representatives passed a historic bill Wednesday that narrows sentencing disparities between crack and powder cocaine convictions, which civil rights and civil liberties experts say contributed to the disproportionate imprisonment of African-Americans in recent decades."
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WikiLeaks Q&A With Daniel Ellsberg
Gloria Goodale, The Christian Science Monitor: "Before WikiLeaks, before the Afghanistan war, before the Internet, a defense analyst named Daniel Ellsberg rocked America in 1971 when he leaked to the newspapers of the day a top-secret study of US decisionmaking in Vietnam. The documents came to be known as the 'Pentagon Papers.'"
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Robert Reich | The Final Lesson of BP
Robert Reich, Robert Reich's Blog: "BP is starting over. It just named a new American president and its finances are looking up. BP's second-quarter report showed surprisingly strong revenues of $75.9 billion, beating Wall Street's estimates. (This includes a $32.2 billion writedown along with the $20 billion liability fund that the Obama Administration wanted.) The company has started to sell $30 billion of its assets to ensure it has all the money it needs to pay any liability claims. No wonder several Wall Street analysts are suggesting BP stock as a terrific buy."
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Michigan Oil Leak Polluting Kalamazoo River; Governor Declares Disaster Area
Tim Martin, The Christian Science Monitor: "Crews were working Wednesday to contain and clean up an estimated 877,000 gallons of oil that coated birds and fish as it poured into a creek and flowed into the Kalamazoo River, one of the state's major waterways."
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News in Brief: Migrant Bodies Piling Up in Arizona Heat, and More ...
July, a deadly month for immigrants crossing the desert; DOJ investigates FBI agents for cheating on test of new surveillance rules; French officials target Roma after riots; Michigan oil spill tops one million gallons; second sailor's body found in Afghanistan.
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Timing of Stock Sales by Moody's Chief Raises Questions
Kevin G. Hall, McClatchy Newspapers: "The chief executive of Moody's Investors Service sold almost $3 million in company stock this year, and $7.1 million last year, both times right before his company's stock price fell from its peak levels, a McClatchy analysis has found."
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Democrats Take on Supreme Court's Giant Sell-Out of Our Democracy to Corporations
Joshua Holland, AlterNet: "Democrats in Congress are fighting to undo, or at least mitigate, the potential damage wrought by the Supreme Court in its Citizens United decision, an example of right-wing judicial activism that has the potential to put the final nail in the coffin of American self-governance and turn over our elections to multinational corporations."
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Safety First!
Dick Meister, Truthout: "The number of serious on-the-job accidents this year have yet again made very clear the urgent need for expanded and tightened government safety regulation. The toll on workers has been high, as President Cecil Roberts of the United Mine Workers union told the House Education and Labor Committee in mid-July."
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A Trove of FDR's Papers Finally Available to the Public
Tish Wells, McClatchy Newspapers: "President Franklin D. Roosevelt never kept a diary. He never gave lengthy interviews to historians. He died before he had a chance to write a memoir. Yet he held the nation's top office at a time of amazing tumult and transition. Now historians have a new set of documents to help piece together the details of the nation's longest presidency - and one of its most momentous."
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Abbas Gets Arab Backing to Enter Israeli-Palestinian Peace Talks
Joshua Mitnick, The Christian Science Monitor: "Setting the stage for the Palestinians to negotiate directly with Israel, the Arab League agreed in principle today to Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas holding face-to-face peace talks with the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The decision of the Arab League's forum on Israeli-Palestinian talks is significant because it provides political cover for Mr. Abbas, who has been locked in a battle for legitimacy with Islamists from Hamas who oppose negotiations with Israel."
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FP morning brief 7/29

U.S. military fears that Wikileaks may have endangered Afghan allies

Top story: The U.S. military is digging through the over 90,000 classified documents that were released by WikiLeaks last Sunday to determine if they revealed the identity of the NATO forces' Afghan allies. The New York Times, which was allowed to examine the documents prior to their release, said that its own review uncovered dozens of examples where the documents provided the names of informants, or other information that made it possible to identify them. By exposing the identity of Afghans cooperating with the United States and NATO, WikiLeaks has potentially put them at risk of retribution by the Taliban.

In one 2007 report, for example, a document released by WikiLeaks describes a meeting between U.S. soldiers and an Afghan leader, who informed the soldiers about the actions of a local insurgent leader and his heavily-armed force. The report identifies the Afghan leader by name, and also names a number of other informants who were part of his network.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai condemned the release of information that might endanger the lives of Afghans who are working with U.S. forces, calling it "extremely irresponsible and an act that one cannot overlook."

WikiLeaks has delayed the release of approximately 15,000 documents in order to remove any identifying information regarding the informants mentioned in them. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange responded to criticisms that he might have endangered some Afghans' lives by making this information public, saying, "If we had, in fact, made that mistake, then, of course, that would be something that we would take very seriously."

Arizona immigration law hits a speed bump: A federal judge blocked some parts of Arizona's controversial new immigration law on Wednesday, one day before it was scheduled to go into effect, accepting the Justice Department's argument that it preempts federal law enforcement's jurisdiction on immigration enforcement.

Middle East
The lawyer defending a woman sentenced to death by stoning in Iran is missing.
Hamas banned lingerie displays in clothing stores in the Gaza Strip.
A group linked to al Qaeda claimed responsibility for a bombing that targeted the offices of the Arabic news station al-Arabiya.

The second U.S. sailor who had gone missing in Afghanistan was found dead.
North Korea's foreign minister arrived in Burma for diplomatic talks.
The Thai government lifted the state of emergency in six more provinces.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev expanded the power of the Federal Security Service, the successor to the KGB.
British Prime Minister David Cameron defended his criticism of Pakistan's record in fighting terror.
Greek police clashed with truck drivers, who are protesting a government order for them to end their strike.

A regional meeting of foreign ministers in South America will attempt to defuse the rising tensions between Venezuela and Colombia.
The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is disappearing faster than expected.
14 alleged members of a Mexican drug cartel are on trial in Guatemala.

Nigeria's financial regulator will charge 260 people and organizations with abusing the stock market.
South African unions threatened to strike in seven days.
Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb claimed responsibility for an attack against security forces in eastern Algeria.
-David Kenner
LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images

McClatchy Washington report 7/29

  • The chief executive of Moody's Investors Service sold almost $3 million in company stock this year, and $7.1 million last year, both times right before his company's stock price fell from its peak levels, a McClatchy analysis has found.
  • When the first lady visited Florida's Gulf Coast, she got her feet wet. Will the president dive in? Much may ride on President Barack Obama's fondness for beaches and body surfing as he readies for next month's family vacation in the Sunshine State. For a tourism industry spending millions to convince vacationers that the Gulf remains a safe a place to swim, footage of Obama plunging into the surf would provide an instant publicity coup after a summer of grueling media coverage of soiled beaches.
  • The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality proposed new rules Wednesday for oil and gas drilling permits to beef up regulations and better protect air quality in the Barnett Shale region in North Texas.
  • Kansas City police are reopening a 40-year-old investigation into the 1970 shotgun slaying of black political leader Leon Jordan. Police have rediscovered physical evidence in the case that they had earlier said was missing. Not only have they found partial fingerprints taken from the murder weapon, a Remington 12-gauge Wingmaster shotgun, they also have found the gun itself — in one of their own patrol cars.
  • As the Gulf of Mexico oil spill hit the 100-day mark Wednesday, here are some big developments likely to influence future decisions on offshore exploration.
  • The Grace Tully Archives, a collection of papers preserved by Franklin D. Roosevelt's longtime secretary, were unveiled on Wednesday, weeks after legislation took effect that moved them from private hands to the National Archives.
  • Over the last week, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has broken diplomatic ties with Colombia, warned his nation to prepare for an invasion and threatened to stop crucial oil exports to the United States — even if Venezuelans have to "eat rocks." On Thursday, Venezuela has an opportunity to roll back the rhetoric when it presents a "peace plan" at an emergency session of the South American Union of Nations, or UNASUR, in Ecuador.
  • Less a month after ending unpaid days off for more than 200,000 state workers, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is bringing back a scaled-down version of the furlough policy that will take effect on Sunday.
  • Imprisoned Veco chief executive Bill Allen will not be a government witness in the trial of former Juneau state Rep. Bruce Weyhrauch, according to a court memorandum filed Wednesday by Weyhrauch's attorney. Doug Pope said he was told by federal prosecutors that they had no intention of calling Allen, whose credibility has suffered since he was the chief government witness in three prior federal corruption trials.
  • A most peculiar thing happened last week: The Washington Post ripped a federal welfare boondoggle to shreds, exposing tens of billions of dollars of waste, duplication and bureaucratic excess . . . and conservatives didn't erupt in astonishment and praise. In fact, they didn't raise a peep. That's because the welfare queens ripping off taxpayer dollars in this case aren't poverty pimps waving the bloody flag of race and class, but military-industrial hustlers exploiting the war on terrorism to build themselves opulent and powerful fiefdoms.
  • Harper Lee's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, is still required reading for many junior and senior high school students.
    The book ought to be required reading, not just for schoolchildren, but every American — especially the radio talk show hosts, Fox News commentators, members of the current administration in Washington and, yes, leaders of the NAACP.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Common Dreams 7/28

US Judge Blocks Key Parts of Arizona Immigration Law

UN Declares Water, Sanitation as Human Rights

'Sacrificed Its Soul at the Altar of Capitalism': The US Town That Outsourced Everything

Pipeline Leaks, Over 800,000 Gallons of Oil Spew in Michigan

US Hunts Afghan War Files Leaker

Floods Trap 30,000 in China's Northeast

Republicans Thwart New Campaign Finance Disclosure Rules As DISCLOSE Act Fails Procedural Vote in Senate
and more...
Maude Barlow: Running out of Water

'Leaked Afghan Files Hid a Losing War, Not Military Secrets'

Truthout 7/28

Wednesday 28 July 2010

Document Reveals Military Was Concerned About Gulf War Vets' Exposure to Depleted Uranium
Mike Ludwig, Truthout: "For years, the government has denied that depleted uranium (DU), a radioactive toxic waste left over from nuclear fission and added to munitions used in the Persian Gulf and Iraq wars, poisoned Iraqi civilians and veterans."
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Omar Khadr and the Still-Black Hole of Guantanamo
Lisa Hajjar, Truthout: "At 23, Omar Khadr is the youngest of the 176 people still imprisoned at the US military's detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He has been there for eight years, one third of his life. A Canadian, he is the only citizen of a Western country remaining in detention, although one British resident, Shaker Aamer, is also still locked up there. Of the 779 people brought to Guantanamo since 2002, only 36 have been charged or designated for prosecution. "
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Judge Blocks Key Provisions of Arizona Immigration Law
Andrea Nill, Think Progress: "This afternoon, in a long-awaited decision, 9th Circuit Judge Susan Bolton enjoined several major provisions of Arizona's immigration law, SB-1070. While it was speculated that Bolton would block parts of SB-1070 relating to warrantless arrests and document requirements, the judge also ended up striking down the law's most controversial and significant provision: the requirement that police check immigration status."
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Beck's Incendiary Angst Is Dangerously Close to Having a Body Count
Eric Boehlert, Media Matters: "On his Monday radio show, Glenn Beck highlighted claims that before he started targeting a little-known, left-leaning organization called the Tides Foundation on his Fox News TV show, 'nobody knew' what the non-profit was."
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Jim Hightower | Truth and Irony in Agriculture Fiascos
Jim Hightower, Truthout: "The Shirley Sherrod Story started innocently. It was a beautiful anecdote of redemption and personal growth, which she related last year at a meeting of the Georgia NAACP. The story told by this black Agriculture Department official would have ended there, unnoticed by the rest of us. But it was caught up by a malicious political wind that swept it all the way to Washington."
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News in Brief: Justice Department Probes Relationship Between Oil Companies and Federal Regulators, and More ...
DOJ announces criminal probe into oil-industry connections to federal regulators; legacy of racism swamps Gulf Coast cleanup efforts; nearly 20,000 barrels of oil spill into Michigan River; New York City agrees to pay more than $7 million to settle police abuse case; Palestine to reject talks with Israel, for now; Massachusetts legislature joins growing chorus of states demanding electoral college reform.
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House Passes Emergency Spending Bill to Continue Funding Afghanistan Occupation
Jason Leopold, Truthout: "A treasure trove of classified documents released Sunday by WikiLeaks, which sheds new light on the catastrophic failure of the nine-year war in Afghanistan, did not derail congressional efforts Tuesday to pass a $33 billion emergency supplemental bill to continue funding the occupation."
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Obama Halt to Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Site Slammed
James Rosen, McClatchy Newspapers: "Congress was warned Tuesday that the failure to build the planned Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository in Nevada could delay licensing of the country's first new nuclear power plants in a generation."
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Tom Tomorrow | This Modern World
Award-winning political cartoonist Tom Tomorrow outlines the mechanics of conservative media provocateur scandals.
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Nested Truths, Cascading Problems
Tom H. Hastings, Truthout: "The House of Representatives agreed on Tuesday to provide $59 billion to continue financing America's two wars, but the vote showed deepening divisions and anxiety among Democrats over the course of the nearly nine-year-old conflict in Afghanistan. (New York Times, 28 2010)"
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"Anti-Islamic" Bus Ads Appear in Major Cities
Stephanie Rice, The Christian Science Monitor: "A group called 'Stop Islamization of America' is promoting ads on major city public transportation that urge people to leave the Muslim faith. The anti-Islamic campaign is sparking thought about the religion's place in American society."
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Combating Human Trafficking in the Western Hemisphere
Kelsey Cary, Council on Hemispheric Affairs: "Human Trafficking is a global industry that transcends borders, regions, and cultures. Within the Western Hemisphere trafficking is an important issue that arguably helps to shape relations between Latin American and the United States. In June 2010, the State Department Report on Trafficking in Persons (TIP) included, for the first time, in its ten year existence, a ranking allocated to the United States as well as 177 other countries."
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African Union Summit Boosts Force in Somalia
Gregory Branch, GlobalPost: "The terrorist violence spreading from Somalia dominated this week's African Union summit, resulting in a decision to boost the number of troops it deploys in the war-torn country. Meeting just two weeks after the Somali extremist group Al Shabaab's three bombings killed 76 people in Kampala on July 11, the African Union leaders meeting in this city found it difficult to discuss anything else."
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