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Monday, February 9, 2009
The Smallest Tent in the World (And We Thought They Were Bereft of Ideas)
Even after lo these many years of jaw-dropping, black-is-white-and-mission-is-accomplished pronouncements from tone-deaf Republicans, it's hard not to gasp a bit at assertions that their party's blind obstructionism in the face of pretty much any economic stimulus plan constitutes a moral and political triumph, or what Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin calls "standing on our core principles." Ryan sees his party's return to "fiscal conservatism and economic liberty" as the resurrection of "the tallest pole in our tent." "We're so far ahead of where we thought we'd be at this time... It's not a sign that we're back to where we need to be, but it's a sign that we're beginning to find our voice." And that voice is telling us, what, precisely? Oh, right: thank God they lost. For more on the Republican so-called renewal, go here
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How Bad Is It? Job Losses in Post WWII Recessions
From Barry Ritholtz's blog The Big Picture — a leading financial weblog:
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Keeping It Real: Shave And a Haircut
You could forgive the good folks of Elkhart, Indiana, where President Obama held a town meeting Monday, for viewing the current impassioned debate about dueling economic stimulus plans as so much arcane abstraction, full of the sound and fury of insider politics but largely unrelated to their RV-vanishing, haircut-challenged lives. As always, they're just trying to get by, thanks.
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The Truth from Elkhart
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Saturday, February 7, 2009
Close It Now
Horrific stories – of hunger strikes, force feedings, beatings and deteriorating conditions – out of Guantanamo from the Guardian . They pose an urgent challenge to the new Obama administration: Now is the time for change we can believe in.
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Let Us Now Praise Our Clearly Partial Predecessors
It's good to see the discussion about some key questions in journalism – what's it about, what are the rules, why bother? – in the AP's Tom Curley speech and in Robert Fisk's CD Views piece today. Fisk takes on the time-honored, ever-absurd myth of journalistic impartiality by citing some fine writers of the past who dared to care about what they wrote, and wrote much better for it. I would add to the list: George Orwell's "Homage to Catalonia," his impassioned report from the Spanish Civil War; and James Agee's "Let Us Now Praise Famous Men," a singularly searing, poignant portrait of tenant farmers in the South during the Depression that bears no resemblance whatsoever to traditional journalism, but wholly fulfills its purpose – to tell the truth, and make us care.
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Friday, February 6, 2009
All The News That We Deem Fit to Print
Just as in Vietnam, the Bush Administration made it harder for journalists to tell the truth about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan even while the military propaganda machine worked harder to give the public its own embellished version of events, the head of the Associated Press said Friday. Tom Curley said the press must insist on its right to report the truth at all times, even on the battlefield, because "we are the only force out there to keep the government in check." Now is the time to re-negotiate the rules of engagement between the military and the media...Now is the time to resist the propaganda the Pentagon produces and live up to our obligation to question authority..."
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The War Is Over, The Struggle is Won. Or Not.
These days, some of the victims of the economic meltdown are getting pretty slim press coverage: progressive grassroots organizations that depend on donations from like-minded but now increasingly broke citizens. On Friday, Michael McPhearson, executive director of Veterans for Peace, sent out an urgent plea on behalf of United For Peace and Justice, a national coalition of over 1,400 anti-war and social justice groups, noting that, "The economic crisis is at our front door." "Do you believe...that this is a time of no war and no U.S. troops in foreign lands?" he asked, "...that the ties between militarism and economic deprivation are not real and inflaming the crisis at home right now?" If not, he said, UFPJ "needs your help" to do its still-vital work. Priorities, people. For more, go here
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Thursday, February 5, 2009
ACLU: Hope is Flickering.
In a new press release titled "Obama Endorses Bush Secrecy On Torture And Rendition" the ACLU lambastes Obama: "Hope is flickering. The Obama administration’s position is not change. It is more of the same."
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Oh Please God, PIease, Are You Listening Just This Once?
In an interview this week, former Vice-President Dick Cheney said November's rout of Republicans will help "clean out a lot of the old underbrush – that's probably me, this time around." Oh, and God? One more thing? How's about some long prison time, too?
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