Friday, February 13, 2009
Human Rights Activist Alison Des Forges Dies in Buffalo Plane Crash
Historian Alison Des Forges, 66, a prominent human rights advocate who documented genocide in Rwanda, was one of 50 people killed in Thursday's Continental Airlines crash near Buffalo. Kenneth Roth, president of Human Rights Watch, said Des Forges, "epitomized the human rights activist - principled, dispassionate, committed to the truth and to using that truth to protect ordinary people."
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49 Killed in Buffalo, NY Plane Crash
The Buffalo News is reporting: Forty-nine people reportedly died when an aircraft identified as a Continental Airlines flight crashed into a house in Clarence Center shortly after 10 p.m. last night, starting a huge fire which poured thick smoke throughout the hamlet. more...
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Thursday, February 12, 2009
White House Reacts To Republican Judd Gregg Withdrawing As Sec of Commerce
For Immediate Release February 12, 2009 STATEMENT FROM PRESS SECRETARY ROBERT GIBBS "Senator Gregg reached out to the President and offered his name for Secretary of Commerce. He was very clear throughout the interviewing process that despite past disagreements about policies, he would support, embrace, and move forward with the President's agenda..."
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In Gaza, 13 vs. 1,360 and No Winners
The horrifying news out of Gaza in Conn Hallinan's CD Views piece confirms once more the need to change an American policy where, in David Bromwich's words, "fiction pervades the commentary." Increasingly, critics of Israel's invasion in Gaza are calling for the U.S. and other western countries to pressure Israel through boycotts, divestment and sanctions. Arguing that the massacre of Palestinians must stop and that all, even Israel, would benefit, writer and activist Taraq Ali quotes Israeli Isaac Deutscher after the Six-Day War: "You can triumph yourself to death." For more outraged, illuminating commentary from contributors to the London Review of Books, go here
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Stop The Presses: We're Losing Another One
A commission headed by three former Latin American heads of state has reached the shocking conclusion that the U.S.-led, so-called war on drugs is a failure. With drug violence on the rise, the panel said it is time to break a longstanding "taboo" and consider new antidrug approaches, including treating drug use as a health not criminal issue and decriminalizing the use of marijuana. "The available evidence indicates that the war on drugs is a failed war," said former Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso in a conference call from Rio de Janeiro. "We have to move from this approach to another one." For more go here
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Question Afghanistan Now
With alarming signs of both increased internal turmoil and likely American escalation in Afghanistan, input from peace advocates is more crucial than ever at today's hearing by the House Armed Services Committee on U.S. strategy there. United For Peace and Justice is urging people to contact their representatives and otherwise let their voices be heard. They have posted names and numbers of the 60 Representatives on the committee, those testifying today, and key issues. For info on UFPJ's Afghanistan Working Group go here
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Wednesday, February 11, 2009
The Theory of Relativity, Or How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love Flying Coach
Today's big economic story is the testimony of eight banking honchos before the House Financial Services Committee, their first such appearance, somehow, since we the people gave them over $160 billion but forgot to ask what they planned to do with it. While the event has been rife with political theater – bus, train, humble pie anyone? – the big question remains: We all know they got it (the money) but do they Get It? We are, in general, hopeful. On this score, alas, we're not holding our breath.
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A Request from Michael Moore
Will You Help Me With My Next Film? Friends, I am in the middle of shooting my next movie and I am looking for a few brave people who work on Wall Street or in the financial industry to come forward and share with me what they know... I am humbly asking you for a moment of courage, to be a hero and help me expose the biggest swindle in American history.
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See No Evil: The Cost Of War, Made Plain
Far too late and far too little, it's nonetheless welcome news that Defense Secretary Robert Gates has ordered a review of the Pentagon policy of hiding from public view the coffins of military dead arriving home from Iraq and Afghanistan. The media ban of the sight of the true cost of their disastrous wars was one of the most abhorrent, cynical ploys of the Bush-Cheney administration – who argued it was all for the families – and God knows there were many. Two Democratic senators, John Kerry and Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey, have also asked President Obama to let news photographers attend ceremonies when soldiers' remains come home. Obama is reviewing the ban. Lautenberg asked Obama to end "misguided policies of the past that seek to hide the sacrifice of our soldiers and the public recognition and pride that should accompany it." And, of course, the rage, shame and urge to act that would logically follow.
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Wow. With The State of the Economy, the World, the Planet And All, These Guys Really Have Their Priorities In Place
It's so very heartening to see that conservative Republicans still know where to focus their impressive energies. It seems the National Republican Trust PAC, which advocates less government spending, has pledged to support primary challenges to any turncoat – Snowe, Collins, Specter, that's you – who had the audacity of hope to support the economic stimulus plan. "Republican senators are on notice," said director Scott Wheeler. "If they support the stimulus package, we will make sure every voter in their state knows how they tried to further bankrupt voters in an already bad economy." For more on this sage public policy thinking, go here
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