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Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Low Power, Local Voices
A lovely, unlilkely dent in the Wal-Mart-ization of America: "The Montana Radio Cafe - Front Porch Radio Served Fresh Daily," the low-power KXZI , created by Scott Johnston and heard at "a screaming 100 watts" within about three-plus miles, though it once made it to 20. Thanks to the internet and a bill before Congress, Johnston and his eclectic ilk may soon prosper and multiply. Nice interactive package here . "Really unique voices need to be heard. I think that's about as American as you can get."
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Monday, September 7, 2009
The Communist Manifesto
From Obama's controversial speech to schoolchildren, his key indoctrination points: "How's everybody doing today?" "No one's born being good at things, you become good at things through hard work." "Don't be afraid to ask questions. Don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it." "And even when you're struggling, even when you're discouraged, and you feel like other people have given up on you - don't ever give up on yourself." "I expect you to put your best effort into everything you do." "God bless America."
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Truth-Tellers
For a comprehensive, rewarding companion piece to Robert Shetterly's CD article on Van Jones, check out Shetterly's "Americans Who Tell the Truth," his book of 50-plus portraits of progressive luminaries. They include, besides Jones, well-known figures like Rosa Parks, Ralph Ellison, Rachel Carson, Daniel Ellsberg, Howard Zinn and James Baldwin and many lesser-known activists, suffragists, pacifists and writers. They make the heart glad. "The courage of these individuals needs to remain a part of a great tradition, a united effort in respect for the truth. These people form the well from which we must draw our future."
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Saturday, September 5, 2009
Stone on Chavez
"South of the Border," director Oliver Stone's record of a trip to Venezuela to meet president Hugo Chávez, premieres Monday at the Venice Film Festival. For a trailer and Stone on US foreign policy in the area, go here "Americans must question the role of our media in demonizing foreign leaders as our enemies. The consequences can be brutal."
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Ashcroft Et Al: "Repugnant To The Constitution"
It's a scathing and welcome rebuke to Bush-era detention policies: the court ruling that then-Attorney General John Ashcroft can be sued for violating the rights of U.S. citizens after 9/11 by arresting material witnesses without probable cause. Even better: the panel that found in favor of Kansas-born Muslim convert Abdullah Kidd are all appointees of Republican presidents. Their detention policy was "repugnant to the Constitution, and a painful reminder of some of the most ignominious chapters of our national history."
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Friday, September 4, 2009
Charlton Heston 101
While right-wingers rant that Obama will "indoctrinate" our kids by telling them to stay in school, Texas is considering a version of U.S. history that would tell them about Newt Gingrich, Phyllis Schlafly, Rush Limbaugh, the Moral Majority and the NRA, with barely a mention of Martin Luther King or Cesar Chavez. Most scarily, Texas serves as a national model for textbook publishers. If you liked McCarthyism, you'll love U.S. history in Texas. For now, to help the United Farm Workers keep Chavez in the curriculum, go here .
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Pull the Pin on 'the Trigger'
Recent reports indicate Obama's continued attempts to find bi-partisan support for healthcare are leading him to explore Sen. Olympia Snowe ' s possible acceptance of the 'Trigger' option. A) Since when is one Republican Senate vote considered bi-partisan ? B) It is time to pull the 'trigger' on the private insurance industry. And C) It is way past time.
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Death, One Among Many
In a rare move, AP has published the photo of a young Marine gravely wounded in Afghanistan who later died on the operating table. The decision to publish the picture of Lance Cpl. Joshua Bernard, 21, of New Portland, Maine has been criticized by the Pentagon and Bernard's family; media outlets have variously published the photo or not. The A.P. defense of their decision: This is what war looks like. The original story is here ; a look at media response is here . "We feel it is our journalistic duty to show the reality of the war, however unpleasant and brutal that sometimes is," said Santiago Lyon, director of AP photography.
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Thursday, September 3, 2009
Protecting Donkey Civil Rights, And He Plays A Mean Violin As Well
Two young members of a democratic youth movement in Azerbaijan are in prison after posting to YouTube their satirical video of a donkey wowing reporters at a press conference. The video by Andnan Hajizade and Emin Milli is widely seen as a send-up of the government, which has passed new laws against NGOs and earned a reputation as the "black spot" of the former USSR for its lack of press freedom. While the video makers face a trial starting Friday for "hooliganism," their video is a big hit. Go here to see it or here for contact info on Azerbaijan embassies. "In Azerbaijan, possibilities for donkeys are enormous. If you are donkey enough, you can succeed in possibly everything" – the donkey.
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10% in 2010
A broad coalition ranging from multinational companies to hospitals and schools to scientists, celebrities and other individuals has launched an ambitious grassroots campaign to slow global warming. Sponsored by the U.K.'s Guardian and filmmaker Franny Armstrong, who made the documentary "The Age of Stupid," the 10:10 campaign calls for vows to cut carbon emissions by 10 percent in 2010 as a first step toward stopping climate change. For actions, ideas and reports on global warming, go here.
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