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Archive for November 30, 2010

Mark Leier – Historical Snapshots North of the Border

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Worse Than War | Full-length documentary | PBS

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The evolution of propaganda and public relations in the United States

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Talk – Sweatshops and the Global Economy

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ProPublica – NY Assembly Approves Hydraulic Fracturing Moratorium

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From ProPublica:

NY Assembly Approves Hydraulic Fracturing Moratorium

by Marie C. Baca

The New York state legislature gave its final approval to a bill that would, if signed by the governor, place a hold on new fracking until May 2011.

Full coverage: Gas Drilling’s Environmental Threat

CBPP: An Examination of the Rivlin-Domenici Deficit Reduction Plan

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From the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities:

Rivlin-Domenici Deficit Reduction Plan Is Superior to Bowles-Simpson in Most Areas, But Health Proposal Is Very Troubling

By James R. Horney, Paul N. Van de Water and Robert Greenstein

“[The Rivlin-Domenici plan] marks a distinct improvement over Bowles-Simpson in five of the six key areas that the Center identified as especially problematic in Bowles-Simpson…. Unfortunately, in the remaining key area — health care — the Rivlin-Domenici provisions are actually more problematic than those in Bowles-Simpson. Both plans include proposals that could impair access to adequate health care for millions of lower-income and elderly people who rely on Medicare or Medicaid, or who will become eligible for premium subsidies under the health reform law.”

View the full report:
http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=3333
http://www.cbpp.org/files/11-30-10bud.pdf 8pp.

Sen. Franken’s Floor Statement on the Importance of the New START treaty

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Cholera’s Insidious March Across Haiti

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Mosaic News – 11/29/10: World News From The Middle East

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“We Have Not Seen Anything Yet,” Guardian Editor Says Most Startling WikiLeaks Cables To Be Released

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Chomsky on Leninism

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Noam Chomsky: Illegal but Legitimate: a Dubious Doctrine for the Times

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Noam Chomsky: Crisis and Hope: Theirs and Ours

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Noam Chomsky: The Unipolar Moment and the Culture of Imperialism.

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Noam Chomsky: WikiLeaks Cables Reveal ‘Profound Hatred for Democracy’ by U.S. Govt Officials

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Gerald Celente on WikiLeaks – Cablegate

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The Progress Report – Unemployed and Unnoticed

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From The Progress Report:

Unemployed and Unnoticed

Today, Congress sets a new record; in the last 40 years, it has never allowed extended unemployment benefits to expire when the unemployment rate was above 7.2 percent. But today, in an economy that faces a 9.6 percent unemployment rate, Congress will let the benefits expire and force 2.5 million Americans to lose their benefits in the midst of the holiday season. As the New York Times notes, such a “lack of regard for working Americans is shocking,” especially when juxtaposed with decades of bipartisan support for similar measures. But, in their pitch to obstruct any legislative progress, the Republicans of the 111th Congress have waged a two-year, all-out war against extending benefits, regardless of who it may hurt. The GOP’s chief defense of its position is the $12.5 billion cost of a three-month extension, or $60 billion for a full year. Such feigned concern for the deficit is made all the more deceptive when considering the same Republicans are simultaneously demanding that Congress extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. And, while these tax cuts for the rich provide very little economic stimulus, the unemployment benefits they obstruct have provided a vital economic boost to struggling families and businesses. By prioritizing the pocketbooks of the privileged over the needs of the American worker, Republicans are turning their back on their two alleged priorities: the American people and the economy.

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Columbia Journalism Review

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From the Columbia Journalism Review:

A WikiLeaks Primer: WikiLeaks shared its documents with a number of news organizations, including The Guardian, Der Spiegel, and others, before wide release (The New York Times was not on WikiLeaks’s gift list, but did obtain the documents). Here’s a basic rundown of the initial coverages.

The Editors Discuss: The two English-language newspapers given early access to the WikiLeaks diplomatic cable dump have published two very different Q&As with readers regarding the leaks and their decisions to publish reports based on them, each reflecting their outlet’s style.  The New York Times’s Bill Keller, Jill Abramson, and Andrew W. Lehren respond to questions in a formal Q&A published here.The Guardian’s editor, Alan Rusbridger, answers commenters’ questions more informally in the comments stream of this Guardian page. CJR’s Joel Meares compares and contrasts.

The Record Keeper: Carol Rosenberg of The Miami Herald owns the Guantánamo beat. David Glenn has a profile, in the current issue of the Columbia Journalism Review.

Number Cruncher: One night in a bar, a thirty-four-year-old physics professor at Iowa State College named John Atanasoff was inspired. According to Jane Smiley’s new book, The Man Who Invented the Computer, he sketched out what would become the first digital calculator, and never really got credit for that effort. CJR’s Lauren Kirchner has the book review, in the latest Page Views, our online ideas and reviews section.

Never the More: What happens when a public official uses confusing and erroneous wording? Do you quote? Merrill Perlman has some thoughts, in the latest Language Corner.

Tom Philpott – Risk, bacteria, and the tragedy of food-safety reform

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From Grist:

Risk, bacteria, and the tragedy of food-safety reform

Senate food-safety bill S. 510 represents a very small step in the right direction, so long as it doesn’t crush the alternative food systems that are emerging to challenge Big Food. But it doesn’t address the big underlying problem: the hazard that comes from concentrating huge amounts of production in relatively small spaces. Consider the example of two dairy operations — a big factory farm vs. a small-scale cheese maker.

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Mosaic News – 11/24/10: World News From The Middle East

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Mosaic News – 10/25/10: World News From The Middle East

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Franklin Lamb, Stephen Lendman and Jeff Gates on WikiLeaks

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techdirt – Chris Matthews Says That Pointing Out Chertoff’s Conflict Of Interest Over Rapiscan TSA Scanners Is Slander?

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From techdirt:

Chris Matthews Says That Pointing Out Chertoff’s Conflict Of Interest Over Rapiscan TSA Scanners Is Slander? (Overhype)

by Mike Masnick from the ah,-the-media dept on Monday, November 29th, 2010 @ 3:05PM

Michael Chertoff’s conflict of interest over the Rapiscan full body “naked” scanners used by the TSA in airports is old news. It was reported on widely earlier this year, and again in the past few weeks. So it does seem kind of odd (as pointed out via Radley Balko) that MSNBC TV guy Chris Matthews appears to accuse someone of slander for pointing it out. Of course, if you watch the video, what Matthews does is even more insidious — which is taking what Ginger McCall actually says, and twisting it to pretend she said something different. She points out — accurately — the conflict of interest, and he claims she’s saying that the only reason we have these devices was because of corruption and “sweetheart deals” back when Chertoff was head of Homeland Security. But McCall was merely pointing out that there’s a “revolving door” at these agencies, and machines are pitched by former government folks, with little evidence that they’re effective. Matthews totally takes what McCall actually says and pretends (falsely) that she claimed he made a corrupt deal while still in power. This is what passes for journalism these days?

Also…

Why The TSA’s Searches Are Unconstitutional (Privacy)

by Mike Masnick from the hello-4th-amendment dept on Monday, November 29th, 2010 @ 12:01PM

Law professor Jeffrey Rosen has an excellent analysis of why the TSA’s new searches are unconstitutional. He notes that, even if the majority of people aren’t too bothered by the searches, that doesn’t change the fact that they appear to be illegal. This is even though the courts have generally been quite deferential to the government when it comes to claims of “national security” in doing things like preventing terrorism. He notes that, while the Supreme Court has not heard such a case, there are various appeals court rulings that set the standards for such searches:

the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit ruled in 2007, that “a particular airport security screening search is constitutionally reasonable provided that it ‘is no more extensive nor intensive than necessary, in the light of current technology, to detect the presence of weapons or explosives.’ ”

In a 2006 opinion for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit, then-Judge Samuel Alito stressed that screening procedures must be both “minimally intrusive” and “effective” – in other words, they must be “well-tailored to protect personal privacy,” and they must deliver on their promise of discovering serious threats. Alito upheld the practices at an airport checkpoint where passengers were first screened with walk-through magnetometers and then, if they set off an alarm, with hand-held wands. He wrote that airport searches are reasonable if they escalate “in invasiveness only after a lower level of screening disclose[s] a reason to conduct a more probing search.”

Of course, as Rosen notes, the new searches do not pass that test by a long shot. He also points out that an analysis of the machines suggests that — despite claims to the contrary by the TSA — new research shows that last year’s underwear bomber would not have been caught with these machines, which suggests that such machines are not “effective” under the above basic definition. Perhaps the Supreme Court will finally weigh in on this topic… though, by the time it reaches that level, the TSA will probably have moved on to even more ridiculous security theater practices.

Down By the River – Phish and Neil Young

November 30, 2010 Leave a comment