- By the People Dialogues About Democracy (PBS - By the People)
"Bringing the views of 'ordinary' citizens to a national discussion on the important issues of the day."
- -001 Federal Stimulus Funds (Awesome Library)
Provides information to help track the use of funds allocated in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA).
- -05-25-11 President Obama Addresses British Parliament (The Guardian)
President Obama speaks of freedom in the Middle East. See text of speech under "News" below. 05-11
- -05-29-11 Elizabeth Warren's New Job to Protect Consumers (ABC News)
"A House panel grilled Elizabeth Warren, the interim director of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), this week. Republicans on the committee want to strip the agency of its power before it even begins on July 21. The agency's purpose is to oversee rules regulating loans, credit cards and mortgages for consumers." 05-11
- -06-20-11 FDA Is Ending Labels with SPF Over 50 (CNN News)
The FDA will limit labels of over SPF over 50 in a year. 06-11
- 03-16-11 Video of Japanese Tsunami (New York Times)
Provides an amateur video. 03-11
- Alabama Tornado (CNN News)
Provides a close-up video of a giant tornado. 04-11
- Crowd Accelerated Innovation (CNN News and TED)
"Hidden among all the cute kittens and pirated TV shows, online video is driving astonishing innovation in thousands of different fields ranging from the ultra-niche to the sharing of truly world-changing ideas."
"In my TED talk, just posted, I point to numerous examples of this innovation, such as the dance revolution exemplified by a dance troupe called the LXD who played the Oscars this year. And I coin a term for it: crowd-accelerated innovation."
"The term is new, but the process is old. Actually, this is pretty much the only type of innovation there has ever been. Contrary to the romantic myth, innovation doesn't suddenly emerge from lone geniuses and their eureka moments. It emerges when groups of people spark off each other. In history, progress took off when people came together in cities, and the scientific revolution took off when people around the world could read about each others' discoveries in print." 09-10
- Olbermann Editorial: Violence and Threats Have No Place in Democracy (MSNBC News)
"The political rhetoric of the country must be changed to prevent acts of domestic terrorism." 01-11
- -001 Editorial: If the Individual Mandate Falls, What Next? (Time.com)
"If the Supreme Court strikes down the individual health insurance mandate, but leaves most or all of the rest of the Affordable Care Act intact, Congress will have some work to do. Without some way to push uninsured healthy Americans into the marketplace, insurance prices could creep upward until they become unaffordable for everyone."
"There’s no guarantee such a specter would motivate a divided Congress to work together to find a solution, of course. But if Congress was able to operate effectively, there are a number of ways the Affordable Care Act could be patched to function without an individual mandate."
"One is to change the tax code. The individual mandate as it now exists in health reform would be enforced by fining Americans who choose not to have health insurance. This would happen through their income tax returns. The same goal could be accomplished by levying a new health insurance tax on everyone and giving an equally sized credit to those who purchase coverage." 03-12
- -001 Editorial: Why Pay Congress? (New York Times)
"If we careen over a cliff on Friday and the American government shuts down, hard-working federal workers will stop getting paychecks, but the members of Congress responsible for the shutdown are expected to be paid as usual."
"As the humorist Andy Borowitz wrote in a Twitter message: 'That’s like eliminating the fire dept and sending checks to the arsonists.' "
"If members of Congress shut down government and trigger a new financial crisis, then they shouldn’t just have their own pay docked. They should also learn the discipline of a market economy and be fired by the public that they are betraying." 04-11
- -001 Government Shutdown Now Very Likely (ABC News)
"The leaders said the meeting was productive and expressed optimism that they could find middle ground, but no deal was struck, putting the government one step closer to a shutdown that now is looking unavoidable."
"Democrats accuse Republicans of holding up a deal because they are insisting on keeping so-called "riders" -- amendments that passed in the House -- related to government funding for abortion and limiting the Environmental Protection Agency's ability to enforce restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions."
"If a deal to fund the government cannot be reached, at least 800,000 federal employees are expected to be furloughed, the same as during the 1995 government shutdown. But unlike then, it's unclear whether they would receive back pay for the lost time."
"Troops and other agency staff that are considered 'essential' and kept on duty during a shutdown will not receive paychecks until Congress makes a deal."
"Members of Congress, however, will continue to be paid." 04-11
- -001 Government Will Not Be Shut Down (ABC News)
"An 11th hour deal has been struck to avert a government shutdown, sources with both parties told ABC News."
"The agreement to keep the government funded beyond midnight calls for $38.5 billion in budget cuts, with no reduction in funding to Planned Parenthood, the sources told ABC News." 04-11
- -001 House Passes Spending Bill (MSNBC News)
"The House, in a bipartisan vote, has passed a yearlong government funding measure cutting $38 billion from the budget and closing out sometimes quarrelsome negotiations between the Obama administration and Republicans dominating the House." 04-11
- -001 Latest Developments in Libya (CBS News)
Provides latest developments on the rebellion. 03-11
- -001 Top U.S. Expert: Japanese Radiation "Extremely High" and Crisis Worsening (New York Times)
"Mr. Jaczko’s most startling assertion was that there was now little or no water in the pool storing spent nuclear fuel at the No. 4 reactor of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, leaving fuel rods stored there exposed and bleeding radiation into the atmosphere."
"As a result, he said, 'We believe that radiation levels are extremely high, which could possibly impact the ability to take corrective measures.' "
Gregory Jaczko is the the Chairman of the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission." 03-11
- -01-05-11 The Man With the Golden Voice (Youtube.com)
Ted Williams, homeless, demonstrates his voice in a web story "gone viral." 01-11
- -01-14-11 Republican Party Elects New Leader (New York Times)
"The Republican National Committee selected a new chairman on Friday, with Reince Priebus of Wisconsin surviving seven contentious rounds of balloting to succeed Michael Steele as party officials expressed a desire for new leadership to prepare for the 2012 presidential election." 01-11
- -01-24-11 Emanuel Hits Roadblock to Running for Mayor of Chicago (US News)
"Former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel says he'll challenge an Illinois appellate court ruling ordering him off the ballot for mayor of Chicago." 01-11
- -01-24-11 Report: Bush Administration Acted Improperly (USA Today)
"A federal agency is reporting that officials in President George W. Bush's White House improperly conducted political briefings on government property, and encouraged employees to get involved in campaigns, meaning that taxpayers footed the bill for political activity." 01-11
- -01-25-11 Hezbollah Gains Control in Lebanon (MSNBC News)
"Hundreds of angry protesters burned tires and blocked roads across Lebanon on Tuesday after Iranian-backed Hezbollah secured the appointment of its candidate to lead the next government." 01-11
- -01-25-11 Tiger Moms (Time.com)
"Chua's reports from the trenches of authoritarian parenthood are indeed disconcerting, even shocking, in their candid admission of maternal ruthlessness. Her book is a Mommie Dearest for the age of the memoir, when we tell tales on ourselves instead of our relatives. But there's something else behind the intense reaction to Tiger Mother, which has shot to the top of best-seller lists even as it's been denounced on the airwaves and the Internet. Though Chua was born and raised in the U.S., her invocation of what she describes as traditional "Chinese parenting" has hit hard at a national sore spot: our fears about losing ground to China and other rising powers and about adequately preparing our children to survive in the global economy." 01-11
- -01-26-11 Common Themes of State of the Union Speeches by Presidents (CNN News)
"It seems the more things change, the more they stay the same. For all the pomp and circumstance, buzz and frenzy that surrounds the president's State of the Union address, there seems to be common themes from president to president over time." 01-11
- -01-28-11 Mubarak Orders Ministers to Resign but Backs Armed Response to Protests (New York Times)
"President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt appeared on television late Friday night and ordered his government to resign, but backed his security forces’ attempts to contain the surging unrest around the country that has shaken his 28-year authoritarian rule." 01-11
- -01-28-11 U.S. to Egypt: Violence Is Not the Answer (MSNBC News)
"The Obama administration threatened on Friday to reduce a $1.5 billion program of foreign aid to Egypt based on President Hosni Mubarak's response to swelling street protests in Cairo and other cities."
" 'Violence is not the response' to the demands for greater freedoms, said White House spokesman Robert Gibbs." 01-11
- -01-31-11 Egyptian Army Recognizes Legitimacy of Protesters (CBS News)
"Egypt's military promised Monday not to fire on any peaceful protests and recognized 'the legitimacy of the people's demands,' a sign army support for President Hosni Mubarak may be unraveling. Protesters planned a major escalation, calling for a million people to take to the streets to push Mubarak out of power." 01-11
- -01-31-11 Protesters Rally Around ElBaradei (New York Times)
"The announcement that the critic, Mohamed ElBaradei, would represent a loosely unified opposition reconfigured the struggle between Mr. Mubarak’s government and a six-day-old uprising bent on driving him and his party from power."
"Military helicopters circled Liberation Square through the day, and jets roared across a late afternoon sky. But the army took no steps against the protesters, who cheered as the helicopters passed overhead. In an unprecedented scene, some of them lofted a captain in uniform on their shoulders, marching him through a square suffused with demonstrators that cut across Egypt’s entrenched lines of class and religious devotion." 01-11
- -02-01-11 Updates on Protests in Egypt (New York Times)
Provides updates. 02-11
- -02-02-11 Colossal Storm Strikes the U.S. (MSNBC News)
"The storm held the potential to impact about 100 million people, or one-third of the U.S. population, according to The Weather Channel.' 02-11
- -02-02-11 Monster Storm Hits Midwest (CBS News)
"A massive storm billed as the worst in decades barreled toward the northeast Wednesday, leaving vast swaths from Chicago to New York paralyzed by snow and ice, stranding hundreds of motorists all night and shuttering airports and schools." 02-11
- -02-02-11 Mubarak Supporters and Protesters Clash (MSNBC News)
"Several thousand supporters of embattled President Hosni Mubarak, including some on horses and camels and wielding whips, charged into a crowd of anti-government protesters Wednesday, instigating violent clashes as Egypt's upheaval took a dangerous new turn." 02-11
- -02-04-11 Huge Crowds Turn Out to Urge Mubarak's Departure (New York Times)
"With signs of fracturing within Egypt’s ruling elite, hundreds of thousands of people packed Cairo’s central Tahrir Square on Friday, chanting slogans, bowing in prayer and waving Egyptian flags to press a largely peaceful campaign for the removal of President Hosni Mubarak."
"On this, the 11th day of the uprising, there were few signs of the violent Mubarak supporters who the protesters said were organized and dispatched by the Mubarak government over the last two days in an effort to capture the initiative. Lurking fears among the opposition that their movement may have lost momentum were banished by the sheer numbers of the protesters and the level of their passion." 02-11
- -02-11-11 People Power Ousts Mubarak--With Military's Backing (MSNBC News)
"Egypt’s military took control of the country Friday as Hosni Mubarak resigned as president after 18 days of massive protests against his autocratic 30-year reign." 02-11
- -02-11-11 People Power Ousts Mubarak--With Military's Backing (Time.com)
"It took Tunisian people power a month to get rid of a dictator. Egypt took 18 days. Now, Egypt is its own example — and a thunderous one to the rest of the Arab world." 02-11
- -02-12-11 Algeria Next? (Time.com)
"Tensions have been high in this sprawling North African nation of 35 million since it saw five days of riots in early January over high food prices. Despite its vast gas reserves, Algeria has long been beset by widespread poverty and high unemployment. Some observers have predicted Algeria could be next Arab country hit by the wave of popular protests that have already ousted two longtime Arab leaders in a month." 02-11
- -02-20-11 Libyan Protesters Seize Military Bases (MSNBC News)
"Protesters have seized control of some military bases and tanks, the son of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi said in a televised address early Monday morning." 02-11
- -02-20-11 Libyans Rebel (New York Times)
"The son of the Libyan leader, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, warned in a nationally televised address early on Monday that continued anti-government protests could lead to a civil war." 02-11
- -02-20-11 Scarce Elements of a Clean Energy Technology (Time.com)
"Heard of germanium? How about neodymium? Or terbium? Or rhenium? They're not extras from a Star Trek film—these are real world elements are some of the rarest members of the periodic table. But as hard as they are to find, these substances are increasingly important to green tech, clean tech and high tech—and the U.S. doesn't have enough of them."
"It will take a lot more than one mine to ensure the U.S. is ready for the clean tech era—although most other ECEs are scattered around the world, so no one country can lock down supplies. That's a relief—the clean tech era shouldn't be held hostage to the same geopolitics we suffered through with oil." 02-11
- -02-21-11 Republicans Attempt to Strip Unions of Collective Bargaining Rights in Wisconsin (CBS News)
"No resolution appeared imminent Monday to the stalemate over union rights in Wisconsin, leaving Senate Republicans resigned to forge ahead with less-controversial business such as tax breaks for dairy farmers and commending the Green Bay Packers on winning the Super Bowl."
"The first major protests to hit an OPEC country - and major supplier to Europe - have sent oil prices jumping, and the industry has begun eyeing reserves touched only after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and the first Gulf War in 1991." 02-11
- -02-21-11 Support Crumbles for Libya's Dictator (Huffington Post)
"Deep cracks opened in Moammar Gadhafi's regime Monday, with Libyan government officials at home and abroad resigning, air force pilots defecting and a major government building ablaze after clashes in the capital of Tripoli. Protesters called for another night of defiance against the Arab world's longest-serving leader despite a crackdown." 02-11
- -02-22-11 Estimated Danger from Different Doses of Radiation (XKCD.com)
Provides estimates. 03-11
- -02-23-11 Coal Mining to Expand in Wyoming (CNN News)
"Coal mining on public lands will expand in the coming months in Wyoming, as the federal government makes more coal-rich land available for lease by mining companies."
Editor's Note: Coal-fired power plants are the largest source of human-caused air pollution. 03-11
- -02-23-11 Obama Administration Drops Legal Defense of "Marriage Act" (ABC News)
"President Obama has instructed the Justice Department to stop defending the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, which has since 1996 banned federal recognition of same-sex unions." 04-11
- -02-24-11 Report: Army Targeted U.S. Senators with Psychological Pressure (MSNBC News)
"The U.S. army reportedly deployed a specialized 'psychological operations' team in 2009 to help convince American legislators to boost funding and troop numbers for the war in Afghanistan."
"Among those targeted were senators John McCain, Joe Lieberman, Jack Reed, Al Franken and Carl Levin, as well as Representative Steve Israel of the House Appropriations Committee, the report said. The team also allegedly targeted Admiral Mike Mullen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff." 02-11
- -02-26-11 Would Gaddafi's Fall Bring Peace? (Time.com)
"Is it the End of Days for Libya? 'Only the south, Tripoli, and Sert are under Muammar Gaddafi's control,' says Mustafa Abd al-Jalil, who, until he quit this week, was Justice minister for the strongman. 'East Libya, Zawiya, Misurata, and the western mountains are now under control of the civilians.' The ex-minister feels that there may only be one way to end the struggle. 'If Tripoli falls, Gaddafi will kill himself, or people close to him will kill him — maybe his guards,' he explains. 'It will be the waning loyalty of [Gaddafi's sons'] forces and Gaddafi's government that kills his regime.' "
"But even that outcome may not guarantee peace for Libya." 02-11
- -02-28-11 Clinton: "No Option Is Off the Table" on Libya (CBS News)
"After a day of discussions with European allies in Switzerland, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Monday that 'no option is off the table' for dealing with Libyan leader Muammar al Qaddafi." 02-11
- -02-28-11 Poll: Public Supports Organized Labor (CBS News)
"As debate rages in Wisconsin and other states over limiting the power of unions, a new CBS News/New York Times survey finds that many Americans are siding with organized labor." 02-11
- -03-01-11 Last WWI Vet Dies (ABC News)
"He didn't seek the spotlight, but when Frank Buckles outlived every other American who'd served in World War I, he became what his biographer called "the humble patriot" and final torchbearer for the memory of that fading conflict." 03-11
- -03-02-11 Supreme Court Upholds Church's Right to Picket (Time.com)
"The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that the First Amendment protects fundamentalist church members who mount anti-gay protests outside military funerals, despite the pain they cause grieving families." 03-11
- -03-02-11 The Battle in Libya Continues (Time.com)
"Survivors of the battle, many hospitalized, have begun to sketch out details how the Gaddafi assault on Brega began." 03-11
- -03-08-11 Some of History's Most Rebellious Women (Time.com)
"In honor of International Women's Day, TIME looks at some unlikely revolutionaries, from Joan of Arc to Harriet Tubman and a modern-day mother of three who became a key democracy activist in Yemen." 03-11
- -03-09-11 Tripoli and the Future of Libya (Time.com)
"As Libya's three-week popular revolt morphs into an all-out civil war, this city of about 1.6 million people is poised between frenzied panic and humdrum normality. With no sense of how drastically their lives might be upended tomorrow, the next day or next weekend, there is fear and loathing about the mounting disaster — and yet a sense that the spectacular violence to the west and east of Tripoli is somehow unfolding in another country" 03-11
- -03-14-11 A New Explosion at a Japanese Nuclear Plant (Time.com)
"For the second time in three harrowing days, a hydrogen explosion at one of Japan's crippled reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant blew the roof off a containment building — this time on Monday morning at reactor unit No. 3."
"As grim as the news is, the situation is not yet a calamity. Critically, the fuel rods at Fukushima remain inside their steel containment vessels, and there is no indication that those vessels have been damaged."
"The problem, nuclear scientists say, is that the effort to pump in sufficient amounts of seawater to cool the fuel rods could fail, leading to a partial or full meltdown. James Acton, a nuclear expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, says that "anytime you have core melting, you have the risk of a substantial release of radiation." 03-11
- -03-14-11 Consequences of Japan's Earthquake (Huffington Post)
"The estimated death toll from Japan's disasters climbed past 10,000 Sunday as authorities raced to combat the threat of multiple nuclear reactor meltdowns and hundreds of thousands of people struggled to find food and water. The prime minister said it was the nation's worst crisis since World War II." 03-11
- -03-14-11 Emergency Effort at Japanese Nuclear Plant Failing (New York Times)
"Japan’s struggle to contain the crisis at a stricken nuclear power plant worsened sharply early Tuesday morning, as emergency operations to pump seawater into one crippled reactor failed at least temporarily, increasing the risk of an uncontrolled release of radioactive material, officials said." 03-11
- -03-14-11 Japan's Nuclear Crisis Turns Spotlight on U.S. Plants (CNN News)
"The safety of America's nuclear reactors is being questioned as Japanese engineers scramble to avert a total meltdown at two of that country's quake-stricken power plants."
"Like in Japan, some of the 104 nuclear reactors in the United States are situated along the ocean -- some in earthquake-prone areas."
"The government has set aside $18 billion for new nuclear plants, and President Obama wants to spend an additional $36 billion."
"In the United States, perhaps the most vulnerable plants are the two in California built on the Pacific coast near the San Andreas fault."
"Those plants were built to withstand a magnitude 7.5 earthquake, said Robert Alvarez, a nuclear expert at the Institute for Policy studies and a former senior official at the U.S. Department of Energy."
"The San Francisco quake of 1906 measured 8.3, said Alvarez, while Friday's Japanese quake was a massive 8.9. An 8.9 quake is 125 times as powerful as 7.5 quake, according to the United States Geological Survey. 03-11
- -03-15-11 President Obama Moves Forward With New Nuclear Plants (CBS News)
"The Obama administration on Tuesday insisted that nuclear power plants in the United States are safe even as they kept an eye on the unfolding nuclear crisis in Japan."
"The two plants that have perhaps attracted the most attention for potential earthquake risks are in California: The Diablo Canyon and San Onofre plants, both of which are near Los Angeles - and both of which were built on what were later found to be earthquake fault lines. Pacific Gas and Electric, which owns Diablo Canyon, says the plant is built to withstand a 7.5 magnitude earthquake."
"Daniel Hirsch, a lecturer in Nuclear Policy at the University of California Santa Cruz, noted that both plants had to be retrofitted after the faults were discovered after they had been built. He said a significant quake in the area could have devastating results." 03-11
- -03-15-11 U.S. Owes China $1.16 Trillion (CBS News)
"China, the biggest buyer of U.S. Treasury securities, owns a lot more than previously estimated."
"In an annual revision of the figures, the Treasury Department said Monday that China's holdings totaled $1.16 trillion at the end of December. That was an increase of 30 percent from an estimate the government made two weeks ago."
"Japan had the second highest foreign holdings, totaling $882.3 billion at the end of December. The revision was only slightly below the original estimate."
"The total foreign holdings of Treasury debt stood at $4.44 trillion at the end of December, according to the new report. That's up 1.5 percent from the estimate made two weeks ago. About two-thirds of U.S. Treasurys owned overseas are held by foreign governments and central banks."
"The U.S. government is selling huge amounts of debt to finance record-high budget deficits. The Obama administration in its new budget released on Feb. 14 projected that this year's deficit will reach a record $1.65 trillion. It would be the third consecutive year the federal deficit has exceeded $1 trillion." 03-11
- -03-16-11 A Meltdown at a Nuclear Power Plant (MSNBC News)
"Experts on nuclear power say that the seriousness of the Fukushima Dai-ichi currently rates somewhere between Pennsylvania's 1979 Three Mile Island incident, in which the reactor's core melted down halfway but was kept contained within the facility; and the 1986 Chernobyl incident in Ukraine, in which a raging, uncontained fire spread radioactive contamination throughout Europe." 03-11
- -03-16-11 Editorial: Why Gaddafi Survived Libya's Rebellion (Time.com)
"With victory in sight, a confident Gaddafi addressed a gathering of tribal leaders and other supporters in his palace compound late Tuesday night, and raged against the 'imperialism' of Western leaders." 03-11
- -03-16-11 Expert: U.S. Not at Risk from Japanese Radiation (CBS News)
"Dr. Glenn Braunstein, of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, sees patients with thyroid cancer -- one of the biggest risks from radiation exposure of a nuclear meltdown. He says the 5,500 miles between the U.S. and the nuclear plant in Japan is more than a safe distance." 03-11
- -03-16-11 Riskiest U.S. Nuclear Power Plants (TheDailyBeast.com)
"Based on the input of more than a half-dozen experts in nuclear energy, nuclear engineering and risk assessment, The Daily Beast ranked the country's power plant sites based on three, equally weighted metrics: risk of natural disaster, safety performance assessments, and surrounding population." 03-11
- -03-16-11 Symptoms of Radiation Sickness (MSNBC News)
"Radiation sickness (acute radiation syndrome, or ARS) occurs when the body is exposed to a high dose of penetrating radiation within a short period of time. The first symptoms of ARS typically are fatigue, hair loss, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, as well as skin changes such as swelling, redness, itching and radiation burns. Symptoms may present within a few minutes to days after the exposure, and may come and go. This seriously ill stage may last from a few hours up to several months." 03-11
- -03-18-11 Bullock Donates $1 Million to Japanese Relief (Scoop)
"Sandra Bullock has donated $1 million to the Red Cross for Japan disaster relief, her rep confirms to Scoop. While other celebrities have made various gestures to encourage donation and raise money, this is the largest known donation made by a celebrity since the 9.0 magnitude earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis."
"This isn't the first time that Bullock has risen to the occasion charitably. She was honored for her contributions in rebuilding a New Orleans public school after Hurricane Katrina and last year donated $1 million for earthquake victims in Haiti." 03-11
- -03-18-11 How Close Are You to a Nuclear Power Plant? (CNN News)
Provide your zip code and get your distance to the nearest nuclear power plants in the United States. 03-11
- -03-18-11 Supermoon on Saturday (MSNBC News)
"Thanks to a fluke of orbital mechanics that brings the moon closer to Earth than it has been in more than 18 years, the biggest full moon of 2011 will occur on Saturday, leading some observers to dub it a 'supermoon.' " 03-11
- -03-19-11 The French Attack Gaddafi's Forces in Libya (Time.com)
"Libya's monthlong revolt became an international conflict on Saturday as five French reconnaissance jets roared over the country, in the first foreign military action ostensibly designed to stop Muammar Gaddafi's army from inflicting more damage on rebel strongholds and Libyan civilians. But the likely consequence of such an action was also emerging, that it would be the beginning of a campaign to drive Gaddafi out of rebel-held eastern Libya — and ultimately to force him from office after nearly 42 years in power." 03-11
- -03-19-11 Yemen Police Kill Demonstrators (HuffingtonPost.com)
"A massive demonstration against Yemen's government turned into a killing field Friday as snipers methodically fired down on protesters from rooftops and police made a wall of fire with tires and gasoline, blocking a key escape route."
"At least 46 people died, including some children, in an attack that marked a new level of brutality in President Ali Abdullah Saleh's crackdown on dissent. Medical officials and witnesses said hundreds were wounded." 03-11
- -03-20-11 Air Strikes Against Gaddafi's Forces Considered Effective (CBS News)
"The U.S. and European nations pounded Muammar Qaddafi's forces and air defenses with cruise missiles and airstrikes, launching the broadest international military effort since the Iraq war in support of an uprising that had seemed on the verge of defeat. Libyan state TV claimed 48 people had been killed in the attacks, but the report could not be independently verified." 03-11
- -03-23-11 Tokyo: Radiation in Water Puts Infants at Risk (New York Times)
"Radioactive iodine detected in the capital’s water supply spurred a warning for infants on Wednesday and the government issued a stark new estimate about the costs of rebuilding from the earthquake and tsunami that slammed into the northeast of Japan this month." 03-11
- -03-24-11 Editorial: How Will the U.S. Get Out of Libya? (Time.com)
"In the final analysis, however, the most significant challenge for Barack Obama is to keep America's military involvement limited."
"There were Presidents who managed to keep military missions limited — Dwight Eisenhower — or even withdraw them when they were not working and live to fight another day: Kennedy with the Bay of Pigs; Reagan in Lebanon. They lived with partial success, stayed focused and husbanded America's power and global position. Those who didn't want to be seen as 'losing a country' often ended up losing a lot more." 03-11
- -03-24-11 Radiation and the Japanese Nuclear Reactors Crisis (CNN News)
"Radiation levels at the plant Tuesday were between 100 and 400 millisieverts, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said. To put that in perspective, in the United States, a person typically gets a radiation dose of 6.2 millisieverts per year."
"At the higher end of that spectrum at the Japan plant, exposure to millisieverts for three hours would lead to radiation sickness, and eight hours would be fatal, said Ira Helfand of Physicians for Social Responsibility. But in general, in an emergency situation, keeping it below 500 millisieverts is pretty safe, said Nolan E. Hertel, nuclear engineering expert at Georgia Institute of Technology. And the further away you are from a radiation source, the lower exposure you will have." 03-11
- -03-25-11 Rebellion in Syria Turns Deadly (Time.com)
"To date, there do not appear to be widespread calls for the fall of the regime, or the removal of the relatively popular president. Indeed, there were counter-demonstrations in the capital in support of the president, who can claim the backing of Syria's substantial minority groups as well as Syria's small but growing middle-class. Most of the many chants echoing across the country are for freedom, nationalism and peaceful protests." 3-11
- -03-26-11 Libyan Woman Tries to Tell Journalists Her Story (New York Times)
"A Libyan woman burst into the hotel housing the foreign press in Tripoli on Saturday morning in an attempt to tell journalists that she had been raped and beaten by members of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s militia. After struggling for nearly an hour to resist removal by Colonel Qaddafi’s security forces, she was dragged away from the hotel screaming." 3-11
- -03-26-11 Woman with Severe Disabilities Wins Visitation Rights (CNN News)
"A California judge ruled Friday that a woman who suffered severe brain damage during the birth of her triplets must be granted visitation rights to see them." 3-11
- -03-28-11 Radiation in Seawater May Be Spreading (MSNBC News)
"Highly radioactive iodine seeping from Japan's damaged nuclear complex may be making its way into seawater farther north of the plant than previously thought, officials said Monday, adding to radiation concerns as the crisis stretches into a third week." 3-11
- -03-28-11 Walmart Gender Equity Case Largest Ever (CNN News)
"At issue is whether the justices should allow certification of the largest class-action employment lawsuit in U.S. history, a long-standing dispute against mega-corporation Wal-Mart Stores Inc. over alleged gender bias in pay and promotions. Arguments in the case are Tuesday morning and ruling can be expected by late June."
"The company is the world's largest retailer and the nation's largest private employer. If the class-action goes through, hundreds of thousands of women -- perhaps as many as 1.6 million plaintiffs -- could join in the largest discrimination claim of its kind. Tens of billions of dollars or more in damages are potentially at stake."
"The high court case is among the biggest of the current term, and could establish binding standards over high-stakes liability involving companies large and small." 03-11
- -03-29-11 Editorial: Trump's "Proof" of Own Birth Is Not Valid (Time.com)
"After making a to-do about President Obama's so-called failure to produce a valid birth certificate (really? still?), Donald Trump graciously went out of his way to put everyone's mind at ease by producing his own."
"However, Politico is reporting that the document Trump has produced isn't an official document, merely a hospital 'certificate of birth.' Whoops! An official birth certificate can only be issued by the Department of Health, reports Politico, and 'would have the agency's seal and also a signature of the city registrar - neither of which the Trump document has.' " 03-11
- -03-29-11 Electrical Blackouts Pose Threat for U.S. Nuclear Reactors (CBS News)
"Long before the nuclear emergency in Japan, U.S. regulators knew that a power failure lasting for days at an American nuclear plant, whatever the cause, could lead to a radioactive leak. Even so, they have only required the nation's 104 nuclear reactors to develop plans for dealing with much shorter blackouts on the assumption that power would be restored quickly."
"In one nightmare simulation presented by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in 2009, it would take less than a day for radiation to escape from a reactor at a Pennsylvania nuclear power plant after an earthquake, flood or fire knocked out all electrical power and there was no way to keep the reactors cool after backup battery power ran out. That plant, the Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station, has reactors of the same older make and model as those releasing radiation at Japan's Fukushima Dai-ichi plant, which is using other means to try to cool the reactors."
"And like Fukushima Dai-ichi, the Peach Bottom plant has enough battery power on site to power emergency cooling systems for eight hours. In Japan, that was not enough time for power to be restored." 03-11
- -03-29-11 Japan on "Maximum Alert" (CBS News)
"The contaminated water has been emitting radiation exposures more than four times the amount the government considers safe for workers and must be pumped out before electricity can be restored to the cooling system."
"The discovery of plutonium, released from fuel rods only when temperatures are extremely high, confirms the severity of the damage, Nishiyama said."
"Plutonium is a highly toxic substance which breaks down very slowly, remaining dangerously radioactive for hundreds of thousands of years."
"Safety officials say the amounts are not a risk to humans but support suspicions that dangerously radioactive water is leaking from damaged nuclear fuel rods — a worrying development in the race to bring the power plant under control." 03-11
- -03-30-11 Has the Japanese Nuclear Reactor No. 1 Gone Critical? (Time.com)
"To nuclear workers, there are few events more fearful than a criticality accident. In such a scenario, the fissile material in a reactor core--be it enriched uranium or plutonium--undergoes a spontaneous chain reaction, releasing a flash of aurora-blue light and a surge of neutron radiation; the gamma rays, neutrons and radioactive fission products emitted during criticality are highly dangerous to humans. Criticality occurs so rapidly--within a few fractions of a second--and so unpredictably that it can suddenly kill workers without warning. There have been 60 criticality incidents worldwide since 1945. The most recent occurred in Japan in 1999, at an experimental reactor in Tokai, when a beam of neutrons killed two workers, hospitalized dozens of emergency workers and nearby residents, and forced hundreds of thousands to remain indoors for 24 hours." 03-11
- -03-30-11 High Radiation Found in Japanese Seawater (New York Times)
"Hidehiko Nishiyama, deputy director general of the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, said that seawater collected about 300 yards from the Fukushima Daiichi station was found to contain iodine 131 at 3,355 times the safety standard. On Sunday, a test a mile north showed 1,150 times the maximum level, and a test the day before showed 1,250 times the limit in seawater taken from a monitoring station at the plant."
"Iodine 131, one of the radioactive byproducts of nuclear fission, can accumulate in the thyroid and cause cancer, but it degrades relatively rapidly, becoming half as potent every eight days. The risk can be diminished by banning fishing." 03-11
- -03-30-11 Key Libyan Leader Defects (Time.com)
"In a thundering blow to Muammar Gaddafi's standing and the morale of his regime, Libya's Foreign Minister Moussa Kusa defected to London on Wednesday night, in the regime's most high-profile break since the Western bombing campaign began nearly two weeks ago—if not, indeed, the most momentous split in the Libyan government in years" 03-11
- -03-30-11 Lifestyle Assessment (Time.com)
"In a study of 2,056 obese people in Dallas County (all participants had a body mass index, or BMI, of 30 or higher), researchers asked each participant to look at nine illustrations of bodies, from very thin to very obese. The volunteers were asked to pick their ideal shape along with the one that most closely resembled their own body. About 165 people, or 8% of the group, chose ideal body shapes that were the same or bigger than their own, suggesting a misunderstanding of healthy weight."
"The findings bring to mind a famous 2007 study by Dr. Nicholas Christakis, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, and James Fowler, a political scientist at University of California, San Diego, that found that the more exposure a person had to obesity — in the form of fat friends — the more likely that person was to become obese himself or herself, by 57%. The researchers called it a "contagion effect," and found that obesity spread more efficiently through networks of friends than through family members or neighbors."
"The good news, from a public-health perspective, is that if the contagion effect holds true for weight gain, it may also work in the opposite direction, helping networks of friends lose weight and get healthy." 03-11
- -04-01-11 Is the U.S. Ready for Evacuation from Nuclear Accident? (CNN News)
"If a serious nuclear accident were to happen in the United States, would we be able to evacuate to safety?"
"It is a particularly apt issue for those living near a nuclear power plant. Millions do. There are 25 nuclear reactors in the United States located within 25 miles of cities with populations of at least 100,000 people. Another 98 cities of that size are 50 miles or closer to a nuclear power plant."
"The plant near the largest population center in the country is Entergy's Indian Point Energy Center in Buchanan, New York. Two reactors operate about 25 miles from the limits of New York City and about 35 miles from midtown Manhattan. About 310,000 people live within 10 miles of the plant; more than 20 million live within 50 miles of it."
" 'There is no way that 21 million people within a 50-mile radius could evacuate,' says Rep. Nita Lowey, D-New York."
Editor's Note: Fifty miles is the radius for safety recommended by U.S. officials responding to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant failure in Japan. 03-11
- -04-01-11 Obama Administration Encourages Use of Energy-Efficient Fleet Vehicles (ABC News)
"Goodbye to gas-guzzling fleet vehicles like the ubiquitous big brown UPS trucks? President Obama hopes so, saying it’s not only good for the environment, it’s good for business." 03-11
- -04-02-11 Concussions in Football Players (CNN News)
"Scientists at the Boston University School of Medicine's Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy tested Shane's brain tissue and confirmed that before he died he was suffering with a brain disease -- chronic traumatic encephalopathy -- that seems to afflict football players."
" 'There is evidence of CTE in his brain making him yet another former NFL player who had definite CTE,' said Chris Nowinski, co-director of the traumatic encephalopathy center. Nowinski said the center has found evidence of CTE in the brains of 13 of 14 former NFL players, including Dronett."
"Usually found in much older dementia patients, CTE is an accumulation of an abnormal protein in the brain called tau, which is associated with repeated head traumas -- concussions or subconcussive hits -- that are not allowed to heal. CTE can also diminish brain tissue and is associated with memory loss, depression, impulsive behavior and rage." 04-11
- -04-03-11 We Are Losing an Insect Pest Killer -- The Bat (Time.com)
"Named for a white fungus that appears on the muzzle and other body parts of hibernating bats, WNS has killed at least one million bats, mostly in the northeast, and death rates among some affected winter colonies can be as high as 70%. One species—the little brown bat or Myotis lucifugus—has declined so quickly that it is headed for extinction."
"You might say: so what? Other than chiroptologists—yes, people who study bats—would anyone miss them when they're gone? As it turns out, all of us would—at least if you like food. A new article in Science shows that bats have an important role to play in agriculture—one worth at least $3.7 billion a year, if not far more. That's how much the extinction of bats throughout North America could cost the region's food system, according to an analysis (access PDF here) by a group of researchers led by Justin Boyles of the University of Pretoria in South Africa. The logic is simple: bats eat bugs—tons and tons of bugs—and that includes crop and forests pests. (A single colony of 150 brown bats in Indianan has been estimated to eat nearly 1.3 million pest insects a year.) Remove the bats, and you remove one of nature's most effective biological pesticides—which would have to be replaced by actual pesticides, at an economic and environmental expense." 04-11
- -04-04-11 Emergency Inspections of Airplanes (CNN News)
"Just days after a Boeing 737 flown by Southwest Airlines made an emergency landing with a hole in its fuselage, the Federal Aviation Administration said in a press release Monday that it will mandate operators of about 175 specific older Boeing 737s to conduct inspections for wear and tear."
"The FAA said the 'emergency directive' it plans to issue on Tuesday would affect about 80 U.S.-registered 737-300s, 737-400s and 737-500s, mostly operated by Southwest. The remaining 95 or so aircraft are registered outside the United States. Each of the 175 or so planes in question have taken off and landed more than 30,000 times and will receive repetitive electromagnetic inspections at regular intervals for fatigue damage." 05-06
- -04-04-11 Stop the Cows and Save the Planet (Time.com)
"Though carbon dioxide is the first gas that comes to mind when we think of greenhouse emissions, pound for pound, methane is more than 20 times more powerful in terms of its global warming potential. Methane doesn't linger in the atmosphere quite as long as CO2, and it's not produced industrially in anywhere near the same quantity, but it does its damage all the same — and livestock toots out a surprisingly large share of it."
"According to one Danish study, the average cow produces enough methane per year to do the same greenhouse damage as four tons of CO2. The average car, by contrast, produces just 2.7 tons. Multiply that by the planet's 1.5 billion cattle and buffalo and 1.8 billion smaller ruminants and you have the methane equivalent of two billion tons of CO2 per year. According to the U.K. Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), livestock account for about 4.5% of all of the country's annual greenhouse gas emissions. Globally the figure is thought to be higher — about six percent."
"If you change what goes in, you should be able to change what comes out."
"That's the conclusion reached by a just-released DEFRA study, which not only argues that traditional animal feeds must be replaced, but suggests what the new mealtime fare should be. The big three additions to the livestock lunch-line, according to the DEFRA scientists, should be maize silage, naked oats and grasses higher in sugars."
"Maize silage, which, as its name suggests, is produced by fermenting corn shuckings in a silo or in covered heaps, can reduce tailpipe emissions by as much as 6%. Higher-sugar grasses can mean a 20% reduction, and naked oats—or oats without husks—reduce methane by a whopping 33 percent." 04-11
- -04-04-11 Youth Protesters March on Yemen Palace (CNN News)
"For the first time since the start of unrest in Yemen's capital, youth protesters numbering in the tens of thousands marched toward the Republican Palace on Monday, eyewitnesses said, in an act of defiance against President Ali Abdullah Saleh's regime."
"Witnesses told CNN that security forces made no move to repel the youths, who were marching in support of protests Monday in the city of Taiz, where at least 14 people were killed when security forces reportedly opened fire on demonstrators." 04-11
- -04-06-11 IRS: Republican Cuts in Budget "Potentially Devastating" (CNN News)
"The IRS collects most of the government's revenue, about $2.3 trillion in 2009. Shulman also said the agency's enforcement role contributes to cutting the federal deficit."
" 'Our budget more than pays for itself and directly contributes to deficit reduction,' he said." 04-11
- -04-06-11 Radiation in Seawater Over a Million Times More Than Safety Limit (New York Times)
"The company that runs Japan’s crippled nuclear power plant announced Wednesday that it had stopped the leak of tons of highly radioactive water into the ocean discovered over the weekend. The news came a day after the company said the levels of radioactive material in the seawater near the plant were measured at several million times the legal limit."
"The announced standards for fish came hours after Tokyo Electric said it had found iodine 131 in seawater samples at 200,000 becquerels per cubic centimeter, or five million times the legal limit. The samples were collected Monday near the water intake of the No. 2 reactor of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station."
"The samples also showed levels of cesium 137 to be 1.1 million times the legal limit, according to the Japanese public broadcaster NHK. Cesium remains in the environment for centuries, losing half its strength every 30 years." 04-11
- -04-06-11 Troops Won't Be Paid If Government Shuts Down (ABC News)
"Soldiers deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan will not receive paychecks next week if the government fails to come together on a resolution to keep the government funded and avert a shutdown, senior government officials said today."
Editor's Note: Legislators who are trying to force a government shutdown will, however, be paid. 04-11
- -04-07-11 Food or Rent? How Will Families of Soldiers Handle a Government Shutdown? (CNN News)
"If the government actually shuts down, many public services, from passport processing to national parks, could close. Only services critical for the protection of life and property -- like national security -- would continue. Nonessential federal workers would be furloughed. Essential workers, like military personnel, would continue working, but their pay would be delayed until the shutdown is over."
"One more thing -- Ryan's changes affect only those who are now 55 or younger. Everyone else still gets traditional Medicare. This means that younger Americans will have to pay for their elders' potentially better and cheaper insurance but will not get it themselves." 04-11
- -04-07-11 Who Has a Better Brain: Liberals or Conservatives? (CBS News)
"The brains of people who call themselves liberals tend to have larger anterior cingulate cortexes than the brains of people on the opposite side of the political spectrum, the study showed. The anterior cingulate cortex is a collar-shaped region around the corpus collosum, a structure that relays signals between the right and left hemispheres of the brain."
"What about conservatives? Their brains brains tend to have larger amygdalas. The amygdala is an almond-shaped structure located deep within the brain."
"Based upon what brain scientists know about the function of the two brain regions, researchers believe the structural differences support the notion that liberals are better equipped to make sense of conflicting information while conservatives are better able to recognize a threat." 04-11
- -04-08-11 Senate Majority Leader Reid: Abortion Disagreement Is Blocking Funding (CNN News)
"Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, indicated Friday morning that the abortion issue is the lone remaining stumbling block for negotiators trying to reach a budget agreement that would prevent a government shutdown." 04-11
- -04-08-11 The Budget Axe: Why Homeless Veterans but Not NASCAR? (Time.com)
"Unfortunately, in the recent round of intense budget cuts in Congress, this small funding for the homeless-shelter project was slashed, along with a total of $75 million in homeless-veteran benefits. As both a veteran and an American, I don't believe that veterans' programs should ever be isolated from budget cuts. After all, if the nation is hurting, it is we veterans who have sacrificed and will sacrifice first to protect her. But when I turn the pages of the budget to find a $7.4 million guaranteed commitment to fund a U.S. Army NASCAR sponsorship — and $20 million more from the National Guard to do the same — my blood begins to boil." 04-11
- -04-10-11 Hawaii State Health Official Explains Obama's Birth Certificate (MSNBC News)
"The Hawaiian state health official who personally reviewed Barack Obama's original birth certificate has affirmed again that the document is 'real' and denounced 'conspiracy theorists' in the so-called 'birther' movement for continuing to spread bogus claims about the issue."
"Moreover, she added, her boss at the time, Lingle — who was backing John McCain for president — would presumably have to be in on any cover up since Fukino made her public comment at the governor's office's request. 'Why would a Republican governor — who was stumping for the other guy — hold out on a big secret?' she asked."
"Her second point — one she made repeatedly in the interview — is that the shorter, computer generated 'certification of live birth' that was obtained by the Obama campaign in 2007 and has since been publicly released is the standard document that anybody requesting their birth certificate from the state of Hawaii would receive from the health department."
"Even Fukino accepts that her comments are not likely to end the matter for the die-hard birthers. Trump and other skeptics have questioned why the original birth certificate has not been released."
"But Wisch, the spokesman for the attorney general's office, said state law does not in fact permit the release of 'vital records,' including an original 'record of live birth' — even to the individual whose birth it records."
"Hawaiian officials say that the certification is, in fact, only one piece of abundant evidence of Obama's birth in Hawaii. Joshua Wisch, a spokesman for the Hawaii attorney general's office, noted that a public index of vital records, available for inspection in a bound volume at the Health Department's Office of Health Status Monitoring, lists a male child named 'Obama II, Barack Hussein' as having been born in the state."
Editor's Note: The latest "birther" to claim that Obama may not have been born in the United States, Donald Trump, ordered his own "birth certificate" for viewing and received the same type of document the White House has released for Obama. Trump could not fail to know that what Obama released to prove his birth is what is legally available to everyone. No states release the original birth certificate. 04-11
- -04-10-11 Temporary Japanese Workers Do the Most Dangerous Nuclear Jobs (New York Times)
"Mr. Ishizawa, who was finally allowed to leave, is not a nuclear specialist; he is not even an employee of the Tokyo Electric Power Company, the operator of the crippled plant. He is one of thousands of untrained, itinerant, temporary laborers who handle the bulk of the dangerous work at nuclear power plants here and in other countries, lured by the higher wages offered for working with radiation. Collectively, these contractors were exposed to levels of radiation about 16 times as high as the levels faced by Tokyo Electric employees last year, according to Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, which regulates the industry." 04-11
- -04-11-11 Cargo from Japan Screened for Radiation (New York Times)
"The federal government operates a vast web of radiation screening at the nation’s seaports, airports and border crossings. Originally installed after the Sept. 11 attacks, the system is now also being used to make sure no contaminated Japanese imports reach store shelves." 04-11
- -04-11-11 Editorial: The President Is Missing (New York Times)
"What have they done with President Obama? What happened to the inspirational figure his supporters thought they elected? Who is this bland, timid guy who doesn’t seem to stand for anything in particular?"
"More broadly, Mr. Obama is conspicuously failing to mount any kind of challenge to the philosophy now dominating Washington discussion — a philosophy that says the poor must accept big cuts in Medicaid and food stamps; the middle class must accept big cuts in Medicare (actually a dismantling of the whole program); and corporations and the rich must accept big cuts in the taxes they have to pay. Shared sacrifice!"
"I’m not exaggerating. The House budget proposal that was unveiled last week — and was praised as 'bold' and 'serious' by all of Washington’s Very Serious People — includes savage cuts in Medicaid and other programs that help the neediest, which would among other things deprive 34 million Americans of health insurance. It includes a plan to privatize and defund Medicare that would leave many if not most seniors unable to afford health care. And it includes a plan to sharply cut taxes on corporations and to bring the tax rate on high earners down to its lowest level since 1931."
"The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center puts the revenue loss from these tax cuts at $2.9 trillion over the next decade." 04-11
- -04-11-11 New Doubts about Using Plutonium for Fuel (New York Times)
"The project grew out of talks with the Russians to shrink nuclear arsenals after the cold war. The plant at the Savannah River Site, once devoted to making plutonium for weapons, would now turn America’s lethal surplus to peaceful ends. Blended with uranium, the usual reactor fuel, the plutonium would be transformed into a new fuel called mixed oxide, or mox."
"After studying a range of options, the Clinton administration decided to build a mox fuel plant to dispose of a portion of the plutonium, awarding a contract to a consortium now called Shaw Areva Mox Services."
"The rest of the plutonium was to be mixed with highly radioactive nuclear waste and immobilized in glass or ceramic blocks, making it difficult and dangerous for any thief to extract. The government judged the mox route to be more expensive, but the dual-track approach was seen as insurance should either fail." 04-11
- -04-11-11 The Real Budget War (CNN News)
"The consequences of not raising the debt ceiling would be grave, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner told lawmakers last week."
" 'A broad range of government payments would have to be stopped, limited or delayed, including military salaries and retirement benefits, Social Security and Medicare payments, interest on the debt, unemployment benefits and tax refunds,' Geithner said."
"The Congressional Research Service estimates that the government will need to borrow $738 billion between April 1 and Sept. 30. So unless lawmakers choose to raise the ceiling, they will need to come up with several hundred billion dollars either through spending cuts, tax increases or a combination of the two if the country is going to continue to pay its bills in full." 04-11
- -04-12-11 Details of the Budget Agreement (Time.com)
"Details of last week's hard-won agreement to avoid a government shutdown and cut federal spending by $38 billion were released Tuesday morning. They reveal that the budget cuts, while historic, were significantly eased by pruning money left over from previous years, using accounting sleight of hand and going after programs President Barack Obama had targeted anyway." 04-11
- -04-18-11 The Carnage in Libya (New York Times)
"Asked if he was afraid, Mr. Madhoun’s answer was quick."
" 'Absolutely not,' he said. He added: 'We have a strong connection to God. All of us here know that some day death will come. We know we will die. And we do not care how we die.' "
"He stood quietly as patients were moved by. A refrigerated truck in the lot held rotting remains collected in the morning on the street. He amended his answer. 'It is an honor,' he said, 'to die in defense of freedom.' "
"So many, though, have been wounded or killed defending nothing, resisting nothing, just trying to stay out of the conflict’s way."
"As Sunday’s tallies rose, an aged woman joined the procession of the wounded, as did a wafer-thin 92-year-old man, who was carried into the tent with bloodied face and feet."
"He had been in his home, his son said, when a mortar or artillery round hit it, collapsing the roof." 04-11
- -04-19-11 BP Oil Spill Recover Funds Barely Used (CNN News)
"The fund established to compensate Gulf Coast residents in the aftermath of last year's massive BP oil spill said Monday it has paid out $3.8 billion so far."
"The Gulf Coast Claims Facility, established last August with $20 billion in seed money from BP (BP), said it has approved 300,000 claims from businesses and individuals hurt by the spill, out of approximately 857,000 claims submitted." 04-11
- -04-19-11 Donald Trump Explains How He Used Bankruptcy Laws (ABC News)
"Another viewer, Michael Swaile from Toledo, OH asked how Trump, whose businesses have entered bankruptcy, can defend his fiscal policy?"
"Trump said he personally never went bankrupt - he used the bankruptcy laws to help his business."
" 'We’ll have the company. We’ll throw it into a chapter [bankruptcy]. We’ll negotiate with the banks. We’ll make a fantastic deal.' "
Editor's Note: Several polls indicate that Donald Trump is the leading Republican who may run for President in 2012. 04-11
- -04-21-11 Poll: Republican Field for President Wide Open (CBS News)
"When asked if there was anyone they did feel enthusiastic about for the nomination -- without mentioning any names -- none of the contenders garnered more than 9 percent. That high of 9 percent went to Mitt Romney, with 8 percent saying they felt the same about Mike Huckabee, followed by 7 percent for Donald Trump, then Newt Gingrich with 5 percent, and Sarah Palin with 4 percent." 04-11
- -04-26-11 CNN Investigation Results: Obama Was Born in the U.S. (CNN News)
"A new CNN investigation reveals what most analysts have been saying since the 'birther' controversy erupted during the 2008 presidential campaign: Obama was born in Hawaii on August 4, 1961. Period."
"Could Obama's 1961 birth announcement in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin be a fake? Some conspiracy theorists say yes. Longtime Honolulu newspaper reporter Dan Nakaso says no."
" 'It's not possible,' Nakaso said. 'Under the system that existed back then, there was no avenue for people to submit information that way. ... The information came directly from the state Department of Health.' "
"Indeed, as CNN confirmed, all birth announcements at the time came directly from hospital birth records."
"Rick Smethurst, a 2008 John McCain voter who now lives in Obama's childhood home in Hawaii, counts himself among the doubters. He said he wants to find someone who saw Obama immediately after the president was born."
"Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie said he did. Abercrombie, a Democrat, was friendly with Ann Dunham, Obama's mother, and remembers celebrating the birth."
"Professor Alice Dewey of the University of Hawaii was a faculty adviser to Dunham and also knew the future president when he was a child. She called the controversy 'funny.' She said there is 'no way' Obama wasn't born in the state."
Editor's Note: The article starts with a large posting of Obama's Certification of Live Birth, the legal evidence necessary to prove the place and time of a birth. In addition, President Obama released his actual Certificate of Live Birth, the "long form." Obama's Birth Certificate is available Here. 04-11
- -04-27-11 Editorial: Shieffer Claims Racism Underlies Trump's Assertions (CBS News)
"Donald Trump has moved on from the 'birther' conspiracy to allege President Barack Obama didn't get good enough grades to warrant entry to Harvard Law School, an assertion that CBS News chief Washington correspondent Bob Schieffer called absurd on the 'CBS Evening News' on Wednesday."
" 'That's just code for saying he got into law school because he's black. This is an ugly strain of racism that's running through this whole thing. We can hope that kind of comes to an end too, but we'll have to see,' Schieffer said." 04-11
- -04-28-11 Editorial: It's Not About His Birth, It's About His Race (CNN News)
“I will not click on the link to view the long form of President Obama's birth certificate. I will not participate in this final humiliation -- in the president's reluctant acquiescence in this ongoing smear."
"The release of the president's long-form certificate proving his birth in Hawaii will not stop the attempts to discredit his leadership. The so-called 'birther' movement veils a much more basic challenge to Obama's legitimacy. And yes, that challenge has a great deal to do with his race.”
"Now, even the first black president has been compelled to present proof that he 'belongs' in the White House. No Harvard degree, no Nobel Prize -- not even the support of a majority of voters in this vast country is enough. More will always be required.”
"That's why so many of us are disturbed by the president's decision to give in and release the long-form document." 04-11
- -04-28-11 Major Changes in National Security Leadership (ABC News)
“Major changes in leadership of the United States national security apparatus will move CIA director Leon Panetta into the job of Defense Secretary and Gen. David Petraeus, currently commanding forces in Afghanistan, to the helm of the CIA, sources confirm to ABC News.” 04-11
- -04-28-11 Trump's Labels Say "Made in China" (ABC News)
“In exploring a run for president Donald Trump has repeatedly accused China of taking manufacturing jobs from the U.S., saying "the problem with our country is that we don't make anything anymore."
"But an array of Trump-branded products from ties, dress shirts and other clothing in the Donald J. Trump Signature Collection, to hats, stuffed animals, cufflinks and tie clips are stamped 'Made in China.' ” 04-11
- -04-29-11 Editorial: Syria's Assad Cracks Down on Protesters (New York Times)
"When Bashar al-Assad succeeded his father, Hafez, as Syria’s president in 2000, the United States and many others hoped that Syria might finally stop persecuting its people and become a more responsible regional power."
"That didn’t happen. Now Mr. Assad appears determined to join his father in the ranks of history’s blood-stained dictators, sending his troops and thugs to murder anyone who has the courage to demand political freedom." 04-11
- -04-29-11 Syrian Forces Shoot Protesters (New York Times)
"In the afternoon, residents said, hundreds tried to march to the town, either to break the siege or to bring food and medicine. As they approached, reportedly carrying olive branches and white sheets to signal their peacefulness, security forces opened fire."
" 'There was a lot of screaming,' Mr. Tarif said by phone, citing the accounts of residents there. 'It was a massacre. It was another bloody massacre.' " 04-11
- -05-01-11 Osama Bin Laden Is Dead (MSNBC News)
"Al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden is dead and the U.S. has his body, says a person familiar with developments."
"CNN reported that the al-Qaida leader was killed in a mansion outside Islamabad, the Pakistani capital." 05-11
- -05-03-11 Remaining Al-Qaida Leadership (MSNBC News)
"Osama bin Laden has been killed, but the hunt is still on for remaining leaders of al-Qaida and the other terrorist groups who continue to pose a threat to Americans." 05-11
- -05-10-11 Officials: U.S. Was Prepared to Fight Pakistani Forces (CNN News)
"The Obama administration had "very detailed contingency plans" for military action against Pakistani forces if they had tried to stop the U.S. attack on Osama bin Laden's compound, according to two U.S. officials familiar with the plan." 05-11
- -05-12-11 Big Oil Targeted in Budget Fight (CNN News)
"Senate Democrats opened debate Wednesday on legislation to cut $21 billion in tax subsidies from big oil companies and use the money to reduce the federal debt -- a move designed to put Republicans on the defensive and capitalize on public anger over rising gas prices."
"The bill has virtually no chance of winning congressional approval. Analysts believe, however, that Democrats will try to use the issue to their political advantage in both the run-up to the 2012 elections and in the ongoing fight to increase the amount of money the federal government is allowed to borrow before Washington defaults on its financial obligations." 05-11
- -05-16-11 US Debt Limit Hit (MSNBC News)
"Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told Congress he would start tapping into federal pension funds on Monday to free up borrowing capacity as the nation hits the $14.294 trillion legal limit on its debt." 05-11
- -05-17-11 China Facing Energy Shortages (Time.com)
"The amount of new installed capacity is due to fall by 10 million kilowatts next year, compared to this year, while demand continues to climb at double-digit rates, Hu Zhaoguang, vice president of State Grid Energy Research Institute, said in comments posted on the Energy Research Observation Net." 05-11
- -05-19-11 Obama Sees 1967 Borders as Starting Point for Peace Deal (New York Times)
"A day before the arrival in Washington of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, Mr. Obama declared that the prevailing borders before the 1967 Arab-Israeli war — adjusted to some degree to account for Israeli settlements in the West Bank — should be the basis of a deal. While the 1967 borders have long been viewed as the foundation for a peace agreement, Mr. Obama’s formula of land swaps to compensate for disputed territory created a new benchmark for a diplomatic solution." 05-11
- -05-20-11 Is President Obama About to Break the Law? (CNN News)
"At issue: The 1973 War Powers Act, which says if the president does not get congressional authorization 60 days after military action, the mission must stop within 30 days."
"The president formally notified Congress about the mission in Libya with a letter on March 21, which makes Friday the 60-day deadline." 05-11
- -05-20-11 Israeli Prime Minister Angry About Obama's Foundation for Peace (New York Times)
"While it has been a central point of negotiations for years that Israel would swap at least some of the land it seized during the Six-Day War in 1967 for peace, Mr. Netanhayu was apparently disappointed that Mr. Obama had failed to mention specifically the idea that Israel should be allowed to redraw its borders to include the parts of the West Bank where hundreds of thousands of Israelis have settled since the land was occupied." 05-11
- -05-20-11 Tucson Swat Team Defends Shooting Vet 60 Times (ABC News)
"A Tucson, Ariz., SWAT team defends shooting an Iraq War veteran 60 times during a drug raid, although it declines to say whether it found any drugs in the house and has had to retract its claim that the veteran shot first." 05-11
- -05-23-11 Obama Repeats Position on Israel (New York Times)
"President Obama struck back at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel in a speech to a pro-Israel lobbying group on Sunday, defending his stance that talks over a Palestinian state should be focused on Israel’s pre-1967 borders, along with negotiated land swaps, and challenging Israel to “make the hard choices” necessary to bring about a stable peace."
"As Mr. Obama himself pointed out, his theme in the speech last Thursday was not extraordinary. American presidents, including George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, have consistently instructed their foreign policy aides to pursue an agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians using the 1967 borders, with mutually agreed land swaps, as a basis for talks." 05-11
- -05-24-11 Israeli Prime Minister Repeats His Criteria for Peace (New York Times)
"He said that to reach a deal, Palestinians must agree to live with a Jewish state that would include areas in the suburbs of Jerusalem and around Tel Aviv."
"While some land where Israelis have settled would lie outside its final borders, he said, the borders would not be identical to those of 1967 and before, which he once again called indefensible. Palestinian refugees and their descendants, he said, would have to find their homes outside these borders, limiting their right of return to old homelands — long a sticking point."
"Palestinian reaction to the speech came swiftly, and it was just as strongly negative as the reaction from Congress was favorable. In the West Bank, Nabil Shaath, a senior Palestinian official, called the speech 'a declaration of war against the Palestinians.' " 05-11
- -05-24-11 War Veteran to Prisoner (CNN News)
" 'The defendant is an Iraqi war veteran who suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, traumatic brain injury and various other physical injuries as a result of his service to the country,' they said in court documents. 'He is completely disabled as a result of his injuries.' " 05-11
- -05-25-11 Election Upset a Referendum on Medicare? (ABC News)
"In what can be taken as the first referendum on the House Republican budget authored by Rep. Paul Ryan, Democrat Kathy Hochul picked up a Republican seat in western New York thanks in part to her ability to attach GOP candidate Jane Corwin to the budget's restructuring of Medicare."
"Although observers warn against looking too much at the special election as a bellwether for 2012, Democrats were quick to tout the win as a referendum on Rep. Paul Ryan's controversial Medicare plan." 05-11
- -05-25-11 President Obama Speaks of Freedom in the Middle East (The Guardian)
"In the face of these challenges, too many leaders in the [Middle East] region tried to direct their people's grievances elsewhere. The West was blamed as the source of all ills, a half century after the end of colonialism. Antagonism toward Israel became the only acceptable outlet for political expression. Divisions of tribe, ethnicity and religious sect were manipulated as a means of holding on to power, or taking it away from somebody else."
"But the events of the past six months show us that strategies of repression and diversion won't work anymore. Satellite television and the Internet provide a window into the wider world – a world of astonishing progress in places like India, Indonesia and Brazil. Cell phones and social networks allow young people to connect and organize like never before. A new generation has emerged. And their voices tell us that change cannot be denied." See video of speech under "Multimedia" above. 05-11
- -05-25-11 Senate Rejects Republican Plan to Change Medicare (New York Times)
"Less than 24 hours after their surprising victory in the race for a vacant House seat, Democrats forced Senate Republicans on Wednesday to vote yes or no on a bill that would reshape Medicare, signaling their intent to use the issue as a blunt instrument against Republicans through the 2012 election."
"The House Republican Medicare plan would convert it into a subsidized program for the private insurance market." 05-11
- -05-26-11 Editorial: What Israel's Prime Minister Gains by Misrepresenting Obama (Time.com)
Israel's Prime Minister Netanyahu "chose to lecture the President on a position that he knew Obama hadnt [sic] taken — a return to the indefensible pre-1967 borders."
"Why on earth would Bibi Netanyahu choose to be so boorish and provocative? Because he can be. He has the U.S. Congress in his pocket...."
"Netanyahu knows American politics. The ease and eloquence of his address to Congress were stunning evidence of that. And so he must have been aware of the political impact of his cheesy gambit: he has now, overtly, tossed his support to the Republicans in 2012. Mitt Romney was able to say that Obama had thrown Israel under the bus. Given his congressional support, Netanyahu may be able to get away with playing so bold a hand — but it is inappropriate behavior for an American ally, and you can bet that Obama wont [sic] forget it." 05-11
- -05-27-11 Picked Up By Tornado, Dog Crawls Home on Two Broken Legs (Time.com)
"Amid the destruction and devastation that has followed the severe tornadoes sweeping across the country, there's one touching survivor tail worth celebrating — and it wags. (See what we did there?)
"Three weeks after a series of tornadoes blew through Alabama, leveling everything in their path, a family in North Smithfield returned to their damaged home to sift through debris. Miraculously, they found their missing dog Mason waiting for them on the porch." 05-11
- -05-29-11 Detroit's Rebound Is Built on Smaller Cars (New York Times)
"After years of being outgunned by Japanese rivals, the American auto industry has made small cars a central part of its strategy, seeking to capitalize on a fundamental shift in the preferences of consumers in an era of fast-rising gas prices." 05-11
- -06-01-11 A Long Way to Go on Budget Agreement (ABC News)
Rep. Marlin Stutzman said that President Obama "made specific cuts in his budget and has put those on the table. But ultimately there was no discussion about whether, dollar for dollar, how far we’re going to spread this out over the next 10 years,' said Stutzman, R-Ind."
" 'So there’s a lot of maneuvering. I felt like this was more of a get-to-know-you type of a meeting more than, let’s sit down and negotiate. So we’ve got a long way to go. But I felt that it was a good step, and I appreciated his invitation to us.' " 05-11
- -06-02-11 Lady Gaga's New Approach to Sales (New York Times)
"The extraordinary success of 'Born This Way' — it outsold the next 42 albums on Billboard’s chart combined — are a testimony to Lady Gaga’s appeal and the hard work of her business team, which devised one of the most extensive and savvy marketing campaigns ever mounted in music."
"Once an artist’s biggest source of income, recorded music now plays second fiddle to touring, endorsements, merchandise sales and an array of other revenue streams once considered ancillary. That’s especially true for an artist like Lady Gaga, who has lined up more branding and promotional deals in the last six months than most artists will in a lifetime." 05-11
- -06-04-11 Former VP Candidate Indicted (CNN News)
"Former Democratic vice presidential nominee and two-time presidential candidate John Edwards pleaded not guilty Friday to conspiracy and campaign law violations, acknowledging that he had 'done wrong,' but denying that he broke the law."
"A grand jury has been investigating whether money given to support Edwards' mistress, Rielle Hunter, by benefactors of Edwards should have been considered campaign donations, a contention Edwards' team has disputed." 06-11
- -06-08-11 "Levitating" Lady (MSNBC News)
"Tokyo photographer Natsumi Hayashi's self-portraits are sparking an Internet sensation and garnering attention all over the globe." 06-11
- -06-08-11 East Coast Heat Wave Sets Records (MSNBC News)
"A brief but intense heat wave set or tied several records across the Northeast and mid-Atlantic on Wednesday."
Also try Catastrophic Climate Change. 06-11
- -06-08-11 Editorials: Will Mubarak's Trial Unite or Divide Egypt? (New York Times)
"Bashar al-Assad of Syria and Muammar el-Qaddafi of Libya are using any means necessary to avoid the fate of Hosni Mubarak. The former Egyptian president faces trial this summer on charges that could bring the death penalty. He is accused of conspiring to kill unarmed protesters last winter and of involvement, with his sons Alaa and Gamal, in corrupt oil and gas deals." 06-11
- -06-08-11 Hitler's Infamous Genocide Letter (Time.com)
"In September 1919, the year after the end of World War I, a German captain named Karl Mayr, who ran a propaganda unit in charge of educating demobilized soldiers in nationalism and scapegoating, received an inquiry from a soldier named Adolf Gemlich about the army's position on "the Jewish question." Mayr tasked a young subordinate named Adolf Hitler to answer. The resulting Gemlich letter, as it is known to historians, is believed to be the first record of Hitler's anti-Semitic beliefs and has been an important document in Holocaust studies for decades." 06-11
- -06-14-11 Top Debate Flubs (Time.com)
"To mark the first debate between the GOP front-runners in the campaign for 2012, TIME takes a look at debaters who haven't fared so well."
Editor's Note: The Kennedy-Nixon tape was subsequently altered with text suggesting, for humor, what the debaters were thinking. 06-11
- -06-18-11 Ethical Code Needed for Supreme Court Justices? (New Tork Times)
"Supreme Court ethics have been under increasing scrutiny, largely because of the activities of Justice Thomas and Ms. Thomas, whose group, Liberty Central, opposed President Obama’s health care overhaul — an issue likely to wind up before the court."
"In January, the liberal advocacy organization Common Cause asked the Justice Department to investigate whether Justices Thomas and Antonin Scalia should have recused themselves from last year’s Citizens United campaign finance case because they had attended a political retreat organized by the billionaire Koch brothers, who support groups that stood to benefit from the court’s decision."
"A month later, more than 100 law professors asked Congress to extend to Supreme Court justices the ethics code that applies to other federal judges, and a bill addressing the issue was introduced." 06-11
- -06-19-11 Editorial: Gaza and American Security (Truth-Out.org)
"Despite opposition — and even warnings — from the U.S. government, a group of Americans will join a small flotilla of boats challenging Israel’s blockade of the 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza. Former CIA analyst Ray McGovern explains why he is joining this protest."
Editor's Note: The opinions expressed in this article are those of Ray McGovern and do not necessarily reflect those of the Awesome Library staff. 06-11
- -06-19-11 Is too Much "Off the Table" to Fix the US Deficit? (Christian Science Monitor)
"Here's a glimpse of the math: Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and interest on the national debt currently account for nearly half of all federal spending –and that total is poised to grow substantially if no changes are made. They are comparable to the role that housing, health care, and retirement plans play in the typical family budget." 06-11
- -06-25-11 New York Passes Same-Sex Marriage Law (New York Times)
"Lawmakers voted late Friday to legalize same-sex marriage, making New York the largest state where gay and lesbian couples will be able to wed and giving the national gay-rights movement new momentum from the state where it was born." 06-11
- -06-27-11 President and Congressional Leaders Meet on Budget Deficit (ABC News)
"Obama is hosting separate Oval Office meetings with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to try to 'find common ground' after bipartisan talks broke down last week."
"Both sides have reached an impasse over hikes and spending cuts as part of a deficit reduction plan to counteract an increase in the nation's $14.3 trillion debt limit."
"The vice president said it would be "borderline immoral" to advance a deficit reduction plan that cuts Medicare while keeping tax cuts for the wealthy in place."
" 'We won't support an approach that gives millionaires and billionaires $200,000 tax cuts annually while 33 seniors pay for that with $6,000 per person increase in their Medicare costs,' Carney said Friday."
"The showdown continues as the nation approaches the Aug. 2 deadline for extending the debt limit or risk defaulting on loans -- something that could send ripples through the global economy -- if both sides don't reach a deal." 06-11
- -07-01-11 Salaries of White House Staff (WhiteHouse.gov)
"Since 1995, the White House has been required to deliver a report to Congress listing the title and salary of every White House Office employee. Consistent with President Obama's commitment to transparency, this report is being publicly disclosed on our website as it is transmitted to Congress. In addition, this report also contains the title and salary details of administration officials who work at the Office of Policy Development, including the Domestic Policy Council and the National Economic Council -- along with White House Office employees." 07-11
- -07-12-11 Editorial: Obama Should Accept Debt Ceiling Deal Offered (Time.com)
"Mitch McConnell proposes simply raising the debt ceiling." 07-11
- -07-12-11 Obama: If Debt Ceiling Is Not Raised, Social Security Checks May Not Go Out (MSNBC News)
"In an interview with CBS Evening News, President Obama says he can't guarantee Social Security checks will go out Aug. 3rd if a debt-ceiling deal is not reached by the Aug. 2nd deadline." 07-11
- -07-14-11 Debt Ceiling Warning: Inaction Would Double Interest Rates (U.S. News)
"Public efforts by both House Speaker John Boehner and President Obama to convince skeptical new Republican House members to add $2 trillion to the nation's burdensome $14 trillion debt ceiling are being reinforced by dire warnings from business leaders that failing to OK the increase will lead to inflation, an immediate doubling of interest rates and a killer Wall Street crash." 07-11
- -07-14-11 Debt Limit Talks Get Tense (Time.com)
"President Obama and House majority leader Eric Cantor engaged in a high-stakes test of wills during Wednesday’s debt-ceiling negotiations at the White House, trading dramatic ultimatums in the most intense round of talks yet. With tempers boiling over, Cantor took his grievances public in an unprecedented press conference after Obama issued a veto threat and told the Republican lawmaker he’d had 'enough.' " 07-11
- -07-16-11 California Adds Gay Rights Advocates to History Books (ABC News)
"Harvey Milk, the first openly-gay man to hold elected office, and Kathy Kozachenko, the first lesbian woman elected to office, will soon join the likes of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Susan B. Anthony in the pages of civil rights history in California."
"While California’s new law nudges the state’s curriculum in a more liberal direction, standards passed last year in Texas take the Lone Star state down a more conservative path. The two states are the largest textbook buyers in the country." 07-11
- -07-16-11 President Obama Meets with the Dalai Lama (CBS News)
"President Barack Obama held a White House meeting Saturday with the Dalai Lama, a fellow Nobel Peace Prize laureate, hours after China called on the U.S. to rescind an invitation that could sour relations with Beijing."
"The White House said the 45-minute private session in the Map Room showed Mr. Obama's support for preserving Tibet's culture and protecting human rights, as well as reaffirming his belief that the Chinese government should engage with representatives of the Dalai Lama to resolve their differences." 07-11
- -07-16-11 Shrinking Options on the Federal Debt (MSNBC News)
" 'The consequences of America defaulting on its debt are so unthinkable, catastrophic and costly that we should consider anything,' said Sung Won Sohn, an economist at the Martin Smith College of Business at California State University."
"To carry on without going deeper in debt, this family [U.S.A. Government] would have to cut its monthly bills by 70 percent or get a huge pay increase at work, enough to raise their income by nearly two-thirds. Now." 07-11
- -07-17-11 Former Chief Executive of the International News Arrested (HuffingtonPost.co.uk)
"Rebekah Brooks has been arrested, the Metropolitan Police confirmed on Sunday."
"The former News International chief executive went to a London police station by appointment and was arrested on suspicion of corruption and phone hacking." 07-11
- -07-17-11 No Audience for New Palin Movie (Time.com)
"The two-hour Sarah Palin political documentary (or infomercial, whichever you prefer) showed to an empty room in Orange County, reports The Atlantic." 07-11
- -07-17-11 Scotland Yard Chief Resigns Over Phone Hacking Scandal (New York Times)
"The commissioner of London’s Metropolitan Police Services, Sir Paul Stephenson, resigned his post on Sunday just hours after his officers arrested Rebekah Brooks, the former chief of Rupert Murdoch’s media operations in Britain, as damage from a phone-hacking scandal moved to the highest levels of British public life."
"The Metropolitan Police, commonly referred to as Scotland Yard, has come under harsh scrutiny in recent days, accused in the press and by British politicians of currying too close a relationship with tabloid executives." 07-11
- -07-21-11 President and House Leader Close to a Deal on Debt Ceiling (Time.com)
"President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner are close to a deal to cut the deficit and raise the federal borrowing limit, congressional sources say."
"Though both sides deny a deal is imminent, congressional Democrats who have been briefed on the proposal are voicing concerns that Obama would be conceding too much to Republicans in this agreement." 07-11
- -07-22-11 Debt Talks Collapse (Time.com)
"A clearly agitated President Obama walked out in front of cameras Friday evening to announce that 11th hour talks with Speaker John Boehner and House Republicans to raise the federal borrowing limit and cut the deficit had collapsed." 07-11
- -07-24-11 Bank of America Stands Alone in Mortgage Mess (thestreet.com)
"Bank of America(BAC_) is well-known to mortgage-industry watchers as the most vulnerable of the big lenders to so-called 'put-backs,' but the market appears to be still catching on to the extent to which the bank distinguishes itself in this dubious category."
"For those who need a refresher, put-backs -- or repurchases -- relate to mortgage loans that were pooled together and stuffed into bonds known as mortgage-backed securities (MBS) ahead of the financial crisis."
"The buyers of those MBS, mainly large institutional money managers such as insurance companies and pension funds, have in many instances lost a great deal of money on their investments. Many of them are taking issue with the way those MBS were put together, arguing that the mortgages that were put into those MBS were fraudulent or in some way did not meet the criteria originally promised." 07-11
- -07-25-11 Leaders Reveal Separate Debt Ceiling Plans (CNN News)
"Democratic and Republican congressional leaders unveiled new deficit reduction plans Monday as top officials scrambled to bridge a cavernous partisan divide and raise the federal government's debt ceiling before an unprecedented -- and potentially devastating -- national default." 07-11
- -07-25-11 Timeline on Recent Debt Ceiling Conflict (CNN News)
"The United States appears to be no closer to raising the debt ceiling than it was in January when the issue arose. In fact, Democrats and Republicans might be further apart now than they were then." 07-11
- -07-26-11 Editorial: New Court Filing Shows Vulnerability of Ohio's 2004 Election Results (Truth-out.org)
"A new filing in the King Lincoln Bronzeville v. Blackwell case includes a copy of the Ohio Secretary of State election production system configuration that was in use in Ohio's 2004 presidential election when there was a sudden and unexpected shift in votes for George W. Bush."
"Until now, the architectural maps and contracts from the Ohio 2004 election were never made public, which may indicate that the entire system was designed for fraud. In a previous sworn affidavit to the court, [IT security expert Stephen] Spoonamore declared: " 'The SmarTech system was set up precisely as a King Pin computer used in criminal acts against banking or credit card processes and had the needed level of access to both county tabulators and Secretary of State computers to allow whoever was running SmarTech computers to decide the output of the county tabulators under its control.' " 07-11
- -07-26-11 Murdoch's Role in the World (Truth-out.org)
"Rupert Murdoch has had a profound influence on the state of journalism today. It's a kind of tribute, in some sense, that the general coverage of his current troubles has reflected the detrimental effect of his influence over the years. Right now, the media, by and large, are focusing on tawdry 'police blotter' acts of the very sort that have historically informed Murdoch's own tabloid sensibility, while the bigger picture gets short shrift." 07-11
- -07-31-11 Editorial: Ways the President Could Bypass Congress (CNN News)
"We are having a debt-ceiling crisis because Congress has given the president contradictory commands; it has ordered the president to spend money, and it has forbidden him to borrow enough money to obey its orders."
"Here the president would argue that existing appropriations plus the debt ceiling create an unconstitutional combination of commands. Therefore he chooses to obey the appropriations bill -- which was passed later in time anyway -- and ignores the debt ceiling. He orders the secretary of the Treasury to issue new debt sufficient to pay the government's bills as they come due."
"The big test would be whether the markets treat these new bonds just like older bonds. If they do, or if they demand only a slightly higher interest rate, the president will have avoided economic Armageddon and saved the country's economy -- and the world's. The president and Congress can then move on to the real issue: fighting about future appropriations and revenues."
"At this point, the president should ask Congress to ratify his actions by raising the debt ceiling. If they do not, he can continue the process until they do. His actions might set a precedent: Knowing that the president will invoke Section 4, congressional threats of using the debt ceiling to extract political concessions will become a defunct strategy in the future."
"In fact, this was one reason why Section 4 was put into the Constitution in the first place. 07-11
- -08-12-11 Helping Starving People in Africa (CNN News)
"Twelve million people are facing a hunger crisis in the Horn of Africa, and they are in desperate need of help."
"The United Nations declared a famine in parts of southern Somalia, calling for a widespread international response to end the suffering."
" 'Pledge to Fund-raise' by raising $100 on your own or through social networks by asking 10 friends to donate $10 each. Give through the Facebook Cause page or text 'SURVIVE' to 20222 to donate $10 from the United States." 08-11
- -08-17-11 Texas Governor Perry Accepts the Most Federal Funds for Jobs (Christian Science Monitor)
"Over the last few years, government jobs have been awfully consequential in Texas: 47% of all government jobs added in the US between 2007 and 2010 were added in Texas."
"In fact, as the table shows, the nation as a whole added 264,000 government jobs, 2007-10, meaning public-sector jobs added in Texas account for almost half of the nation’s public-sector jobs over these years."
" 'Turns out Texas was the state that depended the most on those very [federal] stimulus funds to plug nearly 97% of its shortfall for fiscal 2010, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.' ” 08-11
- -08-21-11 Rebels Take Tripoli in Libya (New York Times)
"Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s grip on power dissolved with astonishing speed on Monday as rebels marched into the capital and arrested two of his sons, while residents raucously celebrated the prospective end of his four-decade-old rule.” 08-11
- -09-18-12 Editorial: Time for an Intervention (Wall Street Journal)
Conservative Peggy Noonan comments on the current status of the Romney campaign.
"The central problem revealed by the tape is Romney’s theory of the 2012 election. It is that a high percentage of the electorate receives government checks and therefore won’t vote for him, another high percentage is supplying the tax revenues and will vote for him, and almost half the people don’t pay taxes and presumably won’t vote for him."
"My goodness, that’s a lot of people who won’t vote for you. You wonder how he gets up in the morning."
"This is not how big leaders talk, it’s how shallow campaign operatives talk: They slice and dice the electorate like that, they see everything as determined by this interest or that. They’re usually young enough and dumb enough that nobody holds it against them, but they don’t know anything. They don’t know much about America."
"We are a big, complicated nation. And we are human beings. We are people. We have souls. We are complex. We are not data points. Many things go into our decisions and our political affiliations."
"You have to be sophisticated to know that. And if you’re operating at the top of national politics, you’re supposed to be sophisticated." 09-12
- -10-05-11 Steve Jobs Dies (New York Times)
"Steven P. Jobs, the visionary co-founder and former chief executive of Apple, has died at 56." 10-11
- -10-09-11 Secret Memo Provided Justification for Killing an American Citizen (New York Times)
"The Obama administration’s secret legal memorandum that opened the door to the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki, the American-born radical Muslim cleric hiding in Yemen, found that it would be lawful only if it were not feasible to take him alive, according to people who have read the document." 10-11
- -10-20-11 Gaddafi Dead (Time.com)
"After being forced out of his fortified bunker and into a life on the lam, Libya's flamboyant former strongman met his end at the hands of his own people." 10-11
- -10-31-11 Revolt Causes Banks to Reverse on New Fees (Time.com)
"People felt vowed to switch banking institutions, petitions and even a 'Bank Transfer Day' set for November 5 attracted considerable followings online, especially after Bank of America announced profits of $6.2 billion last quarter. The anger over fees is part of a broader wave of antibank sentiment fueling the Occupy Wall Street protests that have spread across the United States and even overseas." 10-11
- -11-03-10 Why Democrats Lost (CBS News)
" 'The American public saw a financial disaster and they looked at Washington for help,' Reid says. 'And all they saw was the Washington throw money at the problem and the banks get rich again.' "
"$700 billion was offered to banks and auto companies as the national debt increased by almost three trillion dollars. A growing number of Americans became convinced federal spending was out of control - and helping big institutions instead of the little guy." 11-10
- -11-05-11 Andy Rooney Dies at 92 (MSNBC News)
"Andy Rooney so dreaded the day he had to end his signature "60 Minutes" commentaries about life's large and small absurdities that he kept going until he was 92 years old." 11-11
- -11-07-11 Abramoff: Corruption in Congress Needs to be Fixed (CNN News)
" 'You can't take a congressman to lunch for $25 and buy him a hamburger or a steak or something like that,' he said. 'But you can take him to a fund-raising lunch and not only buy him that steak, but give him $25,000 extra and call it a fund-raiser -- and have all the same access and all the same interactions with that congressman.' "
"Abramoff said the best way to get what he wanted to was to offer high-ranking congressional aides a job when they left public office. Once that was done, he told CBS, 'We owned them.' "
" 'Everything that we want, they're going to do. Not only that, they're going to think of things we can't think of to do,' Abramoff said, estimating his office had 'very strong influence' on 100 of the 535 congressional offices." 11-11
- -11-07-11 The 22-Year-Old Who Led the Charge Against Bank of America (Time.com)
"When Bank of America announced that it would charge customers a $5 monthly debit-card fee in late September, it probably did not count on a 22-year-old woman standing in its way. But for Molly Katchpole, a 2011 college graduate who works two part-time jobs in Washington, D.C., and lives paycheck to paycheck, the annual increase of $60 was just plain unacceptable." 11-11
- -11-12-11 Denver and Salt Lake City Police Arrest "Occupy" Protesters (MSNBC News)
"Police in Denver and Salt Lake City evicted at anti-Wall Street protesters as demonstrators in Oakland, Calif., and Portland, Ore., vowed to defy orders to dismantle their camps." 11-11
- -11-13-11 Republicans Debate Foreign Policy (CNN News)
"Moderators pressed the candidates on a range of topics during the 90-minute debate in South Carolina, including terrorism, Iran's nuclear capabilities, China, the war in Afghanistan, the so-called 'Arab Spring' and foreign aid." 11-11
- -11-13-11 Time Runs Short for the Euro (New York Times)
"With each bout of uncertainty, speculative attacks come closer to the core of the European Union. Greece teeters, Italy wobbles and France begins to tremble. The precariousness of the situation was on full view Thursday when a leading ratings agency, Standard & Poor’s, mistakenly suggested on its Web site that it had downgraded France’s prized AAA rating, prompting a sell-off in French government bonds." 11-11
- -11-13-11 Voices from the "Occupy" Movement (Truth-Out.org)
"Tons of people are working on the legislative initiatives and none of them are going to be successful until we can extricate our democratic politics from the control of wealth." 11-11
- -11-16-11 New York Court Upholds Eviction of "Occupy" Protesters (CNN News)
"A New York Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that Occupy protesters will be allowed to return to Zuccotti Park, but they can't bring their tents and generators -- once a mainstay of the movement.
"The Lower Manhattan property has been a home for the loosely defined group for nearly two months, spawning similar demonstrations in cities nationwide and around the world." 11-11
- -11-17-10 Republicans Balk at Nuclear Treaty With Russia (MSNBC News)
"President Obama’s hopes of ratifying a new arms control treaty with Russia by the end of the year appeared to come undone on Tuesday as the chief Senate Republican negotiator moved to block a vote on the pact, one of the White House’s top foreign policy goals, in the lame-duck session of Congress."
"The treaty, which would force both countries to pare back nuclear arsenals and resume mutual inspections that lapsed last year for the first time since the cold war, is the centerpiece of two of Mr. Obama’s signature goals: restoring friendly relations with Russia and putting the world on a path toward eventually eliminating nuclear arms. A failure to ratify the treaty could freeze both efforts and, some analysts said, undermine Mr. Obama’s credibility on the world stage." 11-10
- -11-17-11 Budget Talks Hit an Impasse (CNN News)
"A week before their deadline, Democrats and Republicans on a special joint deficit committee blamed each other for a failure to compromise on how to reform the tax code and entitlement programs such as Medicare and Social Security."
"The 12-member special joint congressional committee created as part of the debt ceiling agreement earlier this year has until November 23 to come up with a plan for at least $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction steps." 11-11
- -11-18-10 House Fails to Extend Unemployment Benefits (CNN News)
"The House failed Thursday to pass a bill that would have given the unemployed three more months to file for extended jobless benefits."
"The legislation would have extended the deadline to file for federal unemployment benefits to Feb. 28, sparing 4 million people from falling off the rolls. The deadline is currently Nov. 30." 11-10
- -11-18-11 After the Budget Supercommittee Failure, What's Next? (CNN News)
"As the window of opportunity to do something big has passed – the Congressional Budget Office really needed to see language for a big bill by Thursday evening in order to score it by the Monday deadline – lawmakers spent more time figuring out how to blame one another than what to do next. But, it’s now worth asking: If they can’t find $1.2 trillion in savings, what happens next?"
"The ultimate consequence would be something called sequestration – a n across the board cut of $1.2 trillion split between entitlements, non-defense discretionary spending, and the Pentagon, which would take place in January 2013. That date was purposefully set a ways into the future to give lawmakers some time to figure out a way around it in case the committee should fail. So, what are the Plans B, C, D, E and F?" 11-11
- -11-21-10 Growing Up Digital, Wired for Distraction (New York Times)
"Students have always faced distractions and time-wasters. But computers and cellphones, and the constant stream of stimuli they offer, pose a profound new challenge to focusing and learning." 11-10
- -11-21-10 North Korea Reveals Vast New Nuclear Capabilities (New York Times)
"North Korea showed a visiting American nuclear scientist earlier this month a vast new facility it secretly and rapidly built to enrich uranium, confronting the Obama administration with the prospect that the country is preparing to expand its nuclear arsenal or build a far more powerful type of atomic bomb." 11-10
- -11-21-11 Committee to Reduce Budget Deficit Fails (New York Times News)
"After one last bout of fitful but futile talks, Congressional negotiators on Monday conceded the obvious: that the joint Congressional committee charged with drafting a deficit reduction package would miss its deadline this week." 11-11
- -11-21-11 Police Using Pepper Spray on UC Davis Campus Suspended (ABC News)
"Two campus police officers caught on video using pepper spray on seated Occupy protesters at University of California, Davis, have been put on administrative leave, the school announced today." 11-11
- -11-24-11 Alabama's New Immigration Law May Cost Many Jobs (CNN News)
"In its Tuesday editorial, the Tuscaloosa News said the law is sure to cost Alabama many jobs. It said a Chinese company was already having second thoughts about putting a $100 million plant in economically depressed Thomasville because the company feels it isn't 'welcome because of the immigration law.' " 11-11
- -11-28-11 Airline Passengers Stage a Protest for a Very Late Flight (CNN News)
"A nearly 9-hour flight delay turned into a standoff at Hong Kong airport Wednesday, with passengers refusing to leave the plane for 5-hours until the airline agreed to higher compensation."
"The irate travelers would likely have been better off if they had been traveling within the European Union. The EU requires passengers be compensated between $330 and $800 if their flight is delayed by two hours or more, depending on the flight length. However, the airline can claim exclusion for “extraordinary circumstances,” including weather and security incidences."
"The United States has no federal regulation on delay compensation, but it has instituted regulations that penalize airlines if passengers are stuck in a plane on the tarmac for more than three hours. The Department Transportation just fined an American Airlines’ subsidiary $900,000, in the first penalty since the regulations went into effect last year."
"No traveler wants to spend 5-hours of their holiday staging an airplane sit-in. No airline wants the headache and the bad PR that results. Perhaps it is time we move towards a global, transparent standard for compensating passengers." 11-11
- -11-30-10 Post-Black Friday Shopping (Time.com)
"Herewith, a few tips for getting Black Friday–like savings, minus the frenzy." 11-10
- -11-30-10 Unemployment Benefits Ending (CBS News)
"Extended unemployment benefits for nearly 2 million Americans begin to run out Wednesday, cutting off a steady stream of income and guaranteeing a dismal holiday season for people already struggling with bills they cannot pay." 11-10
- -11-30-11 A Constitutional Right to Peaceful Assembly? (CNN News)
"In Los Angeles, officers in riot gear and armed with batons closed off streets around City Hall, using bullhorns to warn scores of agitated Occupy LA protesters to disperse."
" 'This has been declared to be an unlawful assembly. You have seven minutes to gather your belongings and decide to leave,' one officer said."
"The demonstrators sought a federal court injunction to block their removal, claiming that enforcement of the city's 'anti-camping' provision is left up to the whim of the police."
"The City Council has 'expressly affirmed' that the demonstrators are within their First Amendment rights, their complaint said, and [Mayor] Villaraigosa, in ordering them to leave, overstepped his authority." 11-11
- -12-01-10 Republicans to Block Legislation Before Tax Cuts (MSNBC News)
"Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell announced this morning that Republicans will block any legislation from coming to the Senate floor until two key economic issues are addressed: funding the government (the 'continuing resolution' which must pass to prevent a government shutdown) and the extension of the Bush-era tax cuts." 11-10
- -12-01-11 Hillary Clinton, Barefoot in Burma (Time.com)
"Hillary Clinton was making a historic trip to Burma, the first by a U.S. Secretary of State in more than half a century and a watershed moment in the long-frosty relations between the two countries.”
"Clinton toured Shwedagon in bare feet (with polished red toenails), as is the Buddhist custom, accompanied by beefy U.S. secret service personnel who looked rather less threatening with their naked toes emerging from their suit pants." 11-11
- -12-02-11 Islamists Dominate in Egyptian Election (Time.com)
"The Muslim Brotherhood is Egypt's political mainstream, and its most significant challengers are the more extreme Islamists of the Salafi movement rather than the secular liberal forces that dominate the Tahrir Square protest movement. That appears to be the not-exactly-surprising verdict of the electorate, according to reports from the first two days of voting in Egypt's protracted parliamentary election."
"The Muslim Brotherhood is Egypt's political mainstream, and its most significant challengers are the more extreme Islamists of the Salafi movement rather than the secular liberal forces that dominate the Tahrir Square protest movement. That appears to be the not-exactly-surprising verdict of the electorate, according to reports from the first two days of voting in Egypt's protracted parliamentary election."
"The official announcement of results from the nine (out of a total of 27) provinces has been delayed until Friday or Saturday, but the New York Times reports that the Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party looks to have garnered some 40% of the vote, while a further 25% could go to the even more conservative Salafist al-Nour party. Despite the apparent Islamist majority, Brotherhood leaders hastened to reassure Egyptians Thursday that they have no intention of seeking a coalition with the Salafists, seeing secular parties as the more natural ally for their vision of a democratic Egypt. If anything, the Islamists' share of the vote is more likely to grow than shrink, considering that the electoral districts that voted this week were the most urban, middle class and liberal." 12-11
- -12-04-10 Bid to Limit Tax Cuts to Middle Class and Poor Fails in the Senate (Truth-Out.org)
"The Senate on Saturday blocked and most likely doomed efforts to extend Bush-era tax cuts only for the middle class and the poor but not the very rich." 12-10
- -12-05-10 Editorial: Why the Office Is a Bad Place to Work (CNN News)
"Companies spend billions on rent, offices, and office equipment so their employees will have a great place to work.However, when you ask people where they go when they really need to get something done, you'll rarely hear them say it's the office." 12-10
- 01-08-11 Does Violent Rhetoric Cause Violence? (Time.com)
"Sometimes, rumors of violence beget actual violence. Saturday's mass shooting at a Safeway on North Oracle Road in Tucson, which left Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in critical condition and at least nine others wounded, may well be one of those occasions." 01-11
- 01-08-11 The Shooting of Representative Giffords and Violence in Speech (Time.com)
"Ms. [Gabrielle] Giffords was also among a group of Democratic House candidates featured on the Web site of Sarah Palin’s political action committee with cross hairs over their districts, a fact that disturbed Ms. Giffords at the time."
" 'We’re on Sarah Palin’s targeted list,' Ms. Giffords said last March. 'But the thing is the way that she has it depicted has the cross hairs of a gun sight over our district. When people do that, they’ve got to realize there’s consequences to that.' " 01-11
- 01-09-11 Gun Control Debate (Awesome Library)
The shooting of Representative Gabrielle Giffords, the murder six, and the wounding of 13 others in Tucson has brought the debate over gun control into national attention. 01-11
- 01-13-11 Editorial: Lessons of the Tucson Tragedy (Time.com)
"Informed and insightful political commentary has never been more abundant and easily available, thanks to the Internet. Yet the voices of the sensationalists are louder than ever. They tell us we live in a climate of fear despite all evidence to the contrary — the many peaceable assemblies, the nonviolent transfers of power, the freedom to speak and dissent without risk of punishment. It is a climate of their own creation, ginned up on both extremes for the purpose of keeping their audiences in a state of perpetual alarm." 01-11
- 01-14-11 Environmental Influence on Violent Psychotics (Time.com)
"The relationship between environment and violence in the mentally ill is poorly understood. That there is a relationship has been scientifically established. For example, a recent study by psychiatrists at Duke, Yale, Chapel Hill and Columbia found environmental factors like family conflict, joblessness and victimization, combined with paranoid ideation, increased violence among schizophrenics."
The article goes on to state, "if you are a violent paranoiac and someone tells you someone else is a threat to you, you may believe them and act on it."
"Does that mean Sarah Palin's targets caused Loughner to shoot Gabrielle Giffords? No. But it does mean he could have been influenced in the choice of his targets by those and many other politically violent messages combined with paranoid ideation. And there is a big difference whether violent psychopaths focus on political figures or not, because it brings violence into our national political life. Which is dangerous for everyone." 01-11
- 01-14-11 Our Insufficient Mental Health Systems (Time.com)
"In most states, including Arizona, it's predictably difficult to detain someone involuntarily due to mental illness. If he is not deemed an imminent danger to himself or others, as determined by a judge, in almost all cases, treatment will not come without the person in question admitting that they are ill and need help. Even then, there is no guarantee that help will come readily or swiftly." 01-11
- 01-17-11 Governors Seek the Same Medicine for Fiscal Crises (MSNBC News)
"The dismal fiscal situation in many states is forcing governors, despite their party affiliation, toward a consensus on what medicine is needed going forward." 01-11
- 01-17-11 Is Tunisia a Clue for the Future Arabian World? (Time.com)
"Dahmash, who has lived in Miami and Tampa and earned an MBA from American Intercontinental University in Ft. Lauderdale, says the Arab world wants change. 'But we don't want change to come from abroad,' he adds. 'We want change to come from inside.' The Syrian executive, who asked that his name not be used, agrees. 'I personally have a feeling this event is the beginning of more to come.' Unfortunately, he added, 'it's going to get uglier. I simply don't believe change comes about as a byproduct of peace.' " 01-11
- 01-25-11 Climate Czar Resigns (Time.com)
"The real fight for climate, energy and the environment will be between the EPA and Republicans in the House, who seem dedicated to making agency administrator Lisa Jackson's life as miserable as possible. You can expect Jackson, a New Orleans native tempered in the unfriendly fields of New Jersey state politics, to play tough. Just since the beginning of 2011, the EPA has continued with the process of greenhouse gas regulations (though they remain limited), and made a controversial decision to deny a permit for a mountaintop removal mine. The question is whether the White House and President Obama will stand behind her. (So far it looks like they will, with the Department of Justice making the defense of greenhouse gas regulations a top priority.) That should matter more to greens than whether we see another White House climate czar."
"As Politico first reported last night, Carol Browner will be stepping down from her post as White House climate and energy czar. Browner, an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator in the Clinton Administration, was a key member of the "Green Dream Team" of cabinet appointees and White House aides who accompanied President Obama into office two years ago, and a strong voice for the environment inside a West Wing that was usually dominated by centrists like former chief of staff Rahm Emanuel. From her perch in the White House, Browner helped push for climate and energy legislation in Congress—and since cap-and-trade failed, for lots of reasons, greens are worried that Browner's exit could signal the West Wing's surrender on climate." 01-11
- 01-25-11 Home Prices Drop (Time.com)
"Home prices are falling across most of America's largest cities, and average prices in eight major markets have hit their lowest point since the housing bust." 01-11
- 01-25-11 Scientists Identify Gene for Spread of Cancer (CBS News)
"Scientists in England say they have identified the gene that is responsible for cancer's spread through the body - raising the possibility of a 'one-size-fits-all' cure for the disease by developing a drug that switches off the gene.Most deaths from cancer result from its gradual metastasis, or spreading, from the original cancer site to other tissues and organs." 01-11
- 01-26-11 China Plans World's Largest City (Time.com)
"Some ambitious apparatchiks in southern China want to combine 9 cities to create an urban area the size of New Jersey and Vermont combined."
"The plan, announced in state media, would unite several existing cities in the prosperous Pearl River Delta region, including Guangzhou (12 million), Shenzhen (8.6 million), Dongguan (6.9 million) and six smaller cities. Together, these cities already account for about 10% of China's economy, the Telegraph notes." 01-11
- 01-26-11 New-Home Sales Lowest in 47 Years (Time.com)
"Buyers purchased the fewest number of new homes last year on records going back 47 years." 01-11
- 01-27-11 Poll: High Marks for Obama's Speech (CBS News)
"An overwhelming majority of Americans approved of the overall message in President Obama's State of the Union speech on Tuesday night, according to a CBS News poll of speech watchers."
"According to the poll, which was conducted online by Knowledge Networks immediately after the president's address, 91 percent of those who watched the speech approved of the proposals Mr. Obama put forth during his remarks. Only nine percent disapproved." 01-11
- 01-28-11 Al Jazeera's Central Role in Arabian Protests (New York Times)
"The protests rocking the Arab world this week have one thread uniting them: Al Jazeera, the Qatar-based satellite channel whose aggressive coverage has helped propel insurgent emotions from one capital to the next."
"Al Jazeera has been widely hailed for helping enable the revolt in Tunisia with its galvanizing early reports, even as Western-aligned political factions in Lebanon and the West Bank attacked and burned the channel’s offices and vans this week, accusing it of incitement against them."
"In many ways, it is Al Jazeera’s moment — not only because of the role it has played, but also because the channel has helped to shape a narrative of popular rage against oppressive American-backed Arab governments (and against Israel) ever since its founding 15 years ago." 01-11
- 02-01-11 Jordan Next (Time.com)
"Jordan's Royal Palace says the king has sacked his government in the wake of street protests and has asked an ex-army general to form a new Cabinet."
"King Abdullah's move comes after thousands of Jordanians took to the streets — inspired by the regime ouster in Tunisia and the turmoil in Egypt — and called for the resignation of Prime Minister Samir Rifai who is blamed for a rise in fuel and food prices and slowed political reforms" 01-11
- 02-02-11 Yemeni President Won't Seek Another Term (Time.com)
"Yemen's president has told parliament he will not seek another term in office or hand power to his son — an apparent reaction to protests in his own country that have been inspired by Tunisia's revolt and the turmoil in Egypt." 02-11
- 02-05-11 Egypt: The Group of Three (New York Times)
"Mr. Suleiman, a former military officer, appears to share power with two close allies, Field Marshal Mohamed Tantawi, the defense minister, and Ahmed Shafiq, the prime minister, a retired general who previously ran the country’s national airline, said Abdel Moneim Qattou, a retired Army general close to all three."
" 'The three of them are military men,' Mr. Qattou said. 'They know each other very well and they are together trying to find a way out of this crisis. They want to do this without spilling blood and without hurting the dignity of Egypt or Mubarak while fulfilling the demands of the masses.' " 02-11
- 02-05-11 Myths About Ronald Reagan's Presidency (CBS News)
"Reagan is perhaps most often invoked by those who cast him as having held the line against tax increases."
"Conservatives also hail Reagan as a budget cutter willing to make hard choices to keep spending in line."
"And while Reagan somewhat slowed the marginal rate of growth in the budget, it continued to increase during his time in office. So did the debt, skyrocketing from $700 billion to $3 trillion. Then there's the fact that after first pushing to cut Social Security benefits - and being stymied by Congress - Reagan in 1983 agreed to a $165 billion bailout of the program. He also massively expanded the Pentagon budget."
"Meanwhile, following that initial tax cut, Reagan actually ended up raising taxes - eleven times. That's according to former Republican Sen. Alan Simpson, a longtime Reagan friend who co-chaired President Obama's fiscal commission that last year offered a deficit reduction proposal." 02-11
- 02-08-11 Olbermann Goes to Al Gore's Channel (Time.com)
"Former MSNBC host Keith Olbermann announced this morning that, as of late spring, he will launch a new primetime show and become Chief News Officer at Current TV." 02-11
- 02-17-11 How Egypt Is Different From Bahrain (MSNBC News)
" 'Nationally, Bahrain is a very poor country and the wealth that does get created is concentrated in the hands of the rulers and the influential,' he said. '… I’ve never seen wretched poverty like I’ve seen in Bahrain.' " 02-11
- 02-17-11 U.S. Urges Behrain Government to Exercise Restraint (MSNBC News)
"The willingness to resort to violence against largely peaceful demonstrators was a sign of how deeply the monarchy fears the repercussions of a prolonged wave of protests." 02-11
- 02-18-11 Behrain's Violence and the U.S. Response (New York Times)
"A brutal government crackdown on pro-democracy protesters here on Thursday not only killed at least five people but, once again, placed the Obama administration in the uncomfortable position of dealing with a strategic Arab ally locked in a showdown with its people." 02-11
- 02-19-11 Thousands Reclaim Pearl Square in Bahrain (New York Times)
"A brutal government crackdown on pro-democracy protesters here on Thursday not only killed at least five people but, once again, placed the Obama administration in the uncomfortable position of dealing with a strategic Arab ally locked in a showdown with its people." 02-11
- 03-09-11 Industries That Will Hire the Most in 2011 (US News)
"Millions of Americans want to know: Where are the jobs?" 03-11
- 03-09-11 Is the USA Still Number 1? (Time.com)
"Yes, the U.S. remains the world's largest economy, and we have the largest military by far, the most dynamic technology companies and a highly entrepreneurial climate. But these are snapshots of where we are right now. The decisions that created today's growth — decisions about education, infrastructure and the like — were made decades ago. What we see today is an American economy that has boomed because of policies and developments of the 1950s and '60s: the interstate-highway system, massive funding for science and technology, a public-education system that was the envy of the world and generous immigration policies. Look at some underlying measures today, and you will wonder about the future."
"The following rankings come from various lists, but they all tell the same story. According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), our 15-year-olds rank 17th in the world in science and 25th in math. We rank 12th among developed countries in college graduation (down from No. 1 for decades). We come in 79th in elementary-school enrollment. Our infrastructure is ranked 23rd in the world, well behind that of every other major advanced economy. American health numbers are stunning for a rich country: based on studies by the OECD and the World Health Organization, we're 27th in life expectancy, 18th in diabetes and first in obesity. Only a few decades ago, the U.S. stood tall in such rankings. No more. There are some areas in which we are still clearly No. 1, but they're not ones we usually brag about. We have the most guns. We have the most crime among rich countries. And, of course, we have by far the largest amount of debt in the world." 03-11
- 03-09-11 Republicans Ram Anti-Union Bill Through Wisconsin Senate (MSNBC News)
"Republicans pushed a provision stripping public employees of their collective bargaining rights through the state Senate Wednesday evening after finding a way to bypass the chamber's missing Democrats." 03-11
- 03-10-11 China Controls Most of the World's Rare Earth Minerals (CNN News)
"Accessible supplies of neodymium and 16 other rare earth elements -- which occupy those two orphaned rows at the bottom of the periodic table -- are running short. China, which controls supplies of 97% of these materials, doesn't like sharing them with the West. And the only U.S. mine for rare earth elements went out of production after a radioactive waste accident in the 1990s."
"Throw in the fact that rare earth elements are important to all kinds of technologies -- they're the reason smartphones vibrate, why TVs have vivid reds and greens, and how computer hard drives are able to etch data -- and you've got a recipe that scares many technologists and researchers." 03-11
- 03-10-11 Editorial: Representative King's Hearings a Victory for al Qaeda (CNN News)
"To put it simply, King's committee is asking the wrong questions of the wrong people at the wrong time. His lack of understanding risks not just isolating many American Muslims at home, but damaging America's reputation abroad. Americans often forget that domestic conversations in Washington reverberate internationally."
"At a time when America needs more good will in Muslim-majority countries, al Qaeda propagandists have been given a golden opportunity to suggest that even American Muslims -- the most integrated of all Western Muslims -- are susceptible to charges of mass radicalization. It bolsters the al Qaeda narrative of a clash between Islam and America."
Instead, Ed Husain, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and author of 'The Islamist' recommends that "a worthwhile starting point would be to bring in the Muslims that [Denis] McDonough [deputy national security adviser to President Obama] was addressing at the weekend, national Muslim groups such as the Islamic Society of North America and the Muslim Public Affairs Committee, which have helped move their flocks away from radical influences."
"It is with them, and other Muslims, together, that we deal al Qaeda and its offshoots a terrible blow of defeat. 03-11
- 03-11-11 Earthquake in Japan Results in Nuclear Crisis (MSNBC News)
"Coolant systems failed at three quake-stricken Japanese nuclear reactors Saturday, sending radiation seeping outside one and temperatures rising out of control at two others."
"Radiation surged to around 1,000 times the normal level in the control room of the No. 1 reactor of the Fukushima Daichi plant, Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said. Radiation — it was not clear how much — had also seeped outside, prompting widening of an evacuation area to a six-mile radius from a two-mile radius around the plant. Earlier, 3,000 people had been urged to leave their homes." 03-11
- 03-11-11 Largest Earthquake in Japan's Recorded History Strikes (CNN News)
"The most powerful earthquake to hit Japan in recorded history struck off the island nation's shore on Friday, collapsing buildings, touching off widespread fires and unleashing walls of water up to 30 feet high." 03-11
- 03-13-11 Wisconsin and the Right to Collective Bargaining (National Lawyerws Guild International Committee)
"In 1948 when the whole world adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the rights of people to form and join trade unions was recognized as a fundamental human right. (Article 23.4). A year later the International Labor Organization (ILO) an international agency created by the Treaty of Versailles at the end of World War I in 1919 , promulgated Conventions 87 and 98 which protect Freedom of Association and the right of Collective Bargaining. These conventions apply to workers without distinction."
"The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, ratified by the United States in 1992 provides in Article 22.1 that: 'Everyone shall have the right to freedom of association with others, including the right to form and join trade unions for the protection of his interests.' This right is not to be restricted except in limited situations, e.g. military forces.(Article 22.2)" 03-11
- 03-14-11 Editorial: Zero Tolerance, Zero Sense (Time.com)
"Making distinctions is part of learning. So is making mistakes. When authorities confuse intent and accident, when rules are seen as more sacred than sense, when a contrite first-time offender is treated no differently from a serial classroom menace, we teach children that authority is deaf and dumb, that there is no judgment in justice. It undermines respect for discipline at a stage when we want kids to internalize it." 03-11
- 03-14-11 Forty Percent of Millionaires Do Not Feel Wealthy (ABC News)
"The nation's millionaires have spoken, and the magic number above which they feel wealthy is $7.5 million. Four out of 10 millionaires surveyed say they do not feel wealthy, even though they reported an average of $3.5 million in investable assets." 03-11
- 03-14-11 Mechanics of a Partial Meltdown (New York Times)
"The difference between a partial meltdown and a full meltdown at a nuclear plant is enormous, both in the degree of damage and in the potential release of radiation, experts in nuclear power said."
"If a full meltdown were to occur at one of the Japanese reactors — meaning operators were unable to keep pumping water and the core became completely uncovered — molten fuel would soon pool on the floor of the pressure vessel. 'The worst case is that the molten mass leaves the vessel and creates a steam explosion,' Mr. Gunderson said. 'That would destroy the containment.' " Arnold Gunderson is "a former nuclear engineer who worked on reactors of the same design as those in Japan." 03-11
- 03-14-11 Top Green Tech Ideas (Time.com)
"You may have to look hard, but some very smart companies are doing some very creative things when it comes to the environment." 03-11
- 03-15-11 Nuclear Containment Vessel Fails in Japan (Time.com)
"The breach of the containment vessel at unit No. 2, as well as the fire at unit No. 4, led to a spike in the radioactivity levels around the plant to dangerous levels, as a grim-faced Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan acknowledged in a brief nationally televised speech this morning. 'The reading seems very high, and there is still a very high risk of further radioactive material coming out,' Kan warned."
"It is unclear as of yet whether the apparent breach at reactor No. 2 will lead to a catastrophic release of radiation." 03-11
- 03-18-11 Gaddafi's "Ceasefire" Complicates U.N. Resolution (Time.com)
"So who will be the sharp end of the spear enforcing the U.N. Security Council resolution that demands an end to the Libyan regime's assault on civilian population centers -- a squadron of French Mirage fighters? British Tornadoes? A couple of F-16's from the United Arab Emirates Air Force, to emphasize Arab participation? None of the above. It's more likely to be a phalanx of U.N.-appointed diplomats heading to Tripoli and Benghazi to figure out truce terms."
"That's because the Libyan regime has responded smartly to the Security Council resolution, declaring on Friday that it would halt all military action and implement the cease-fire demanded by the international community." 03-11
- 03-18-11 Wisconsin Judge Halts Anti-Union Law (CNN News)
"A Wisconsin judge issued a temporary restraining order Friday halting the state's controversial budget repair law that curbs the union power of most public employees, the Dane County district attorney's office said." 03-11
- 04-19-11 The Most Important Consequence of Not Raising the Debt Limit (CNN News)
"Throughout the financial crisis, America’s great advantage was its status as the single safest investment in the world. That makes it easier for us to borrow money to ease a downturn. It makes it easier for our central bank to buy bonds to keep interest rates low. It gives us tools and flexibility that, say, Greece simply doesn’t have. But all of that is based on the market’s perception that our debt is, indeed, a safe investment, that we will pay it back, that we won’t inflate our way out of the fiscal holes we dig, that our political system will make tough decisions when necessary."
"Confidence, once lost, is hard to regain. “It’s like a cat who jumps on a hot stove,' says Bill Gross, co-founder of Pimco. 'Burn it once, and it doesn’t jump back on there.' " 04-11
- 04-27-11 Financial Institutions Play Shell Game With Taxpayer Dollars (Truthout.org)
"The Federal Reserve claimed at the time that the emergency loans were needed so banks could provide credit to small- and medium-sized businesses that desperately needed money to create jobs or to prevent layoffs. 'Instead of using this money to reinvest in the productive economy, however, it appears that JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, and Bank of America used a large portion of these near-zero-interest loans to buy U.S. government securities and earn a higher interest rate at the same time, providing free money to some of the largest financial institutions in this country,' " according to Senator Bernie Sanders." 04-11
- 04-28-11 Profits of Oil Companies Jump (ABC News)
“Exxon Mobil and Royal Dutch Shell today reported first-quarter profit increases of 69 percent and 30 percent, respectively, from the same period last year. With rising gas and oil prices, analysts expected the five biggest oil companies -- with Exxon as the largest -- to report that they are swimming in revenue.” 04-11
- 05-16-11 US Debt Limit Reached, Agreement Far Off (Wall Street Journal)
"The U.S. government is expected to hit the $14.294 trillion debt ceiling Monday, setting in motion an uncertain, 11-week political scramble to avoid a default."
"Bankers and business executives warned lawmakers last week that default could trigger a financial crisis, sending interest rates soaring, which would make it harder for families and businesses to borrow. That's because a default would throw into question the value of U.S. Treasury securities, long considered one of the world's safest investments. Many loans and business deals are based on the value of Treasurys, and if their value eroded the impact would be felt broadly."
"Because the government is projected to run a $1.5 trillion deficit this year, it must borrow money to cover its obligations, ranging from military spending to interest on existing debt." 05-11
- 05-27-11 Court: Corporate Donor Ban Unconstitutional (Time.com)
"A judge has ruled that the campaign finance law banning corporations from making contributions to federal candidates is unconstitutional."
U.S. District Judge James Cacheris "says that under last year's Citizens United Supreme Court case, corporations enjoy the same right as people to contribute to campaigns."
"The ruling is the first of its kind. The Citizens United case had applied only to independent corporate expenditures, not to actual campaign contributions." 05-11
- 06-01-11 Obama Administration Rejects State Ban on Use of Medicaid Funds (ABC News)
"The Obama Administration today rejected Indiana’s proposal to ban the use of Medicaid funds at Planned Parenthood clinics." 05-11
- 06-03-11 Study: War on Drugs a Disaster (Time.com)
"The Global Commission on Drug Policy, an organization launched by former Presidents of Brazil, Colombia and Mexico (and whose accomplished 19-member board includes former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, Pakistani feminist activist Asma Jehangir, and, yes, Sir Richard Branson), declared today that the "global war on drugs has failed, with devastating consequences for individuals and societies around the world." Four decades ago, policy makers imagined creating a drug free world through "harsh law enforcement action" that cracked down on drug production and distribution. But the resulting "vast expenditures on criminalization and repressive measures directed at producers, traffickers and consumers" have only led to an expansion of the trade, higher rates of drug consumption, and has created — as seen in places like Mexico or Afghanistan — deadly, volatile new arenas for an illicit industry to sow mayhem."
"The commission advocates decriminalizing drug use by those who do no harm to others. Countries that have adopted measures that treat drug users as patients — and not criminals — have, for example, drastically lower rates of HIV-positive needle-users. The public health consequences for decades of ineffective policies are stark and can't be ignored. Governments, the report says, need to stop fretting over false dichotomies of "tough or soft, repressive or liberal" policies and think up a flexible approach that both minimizes "health and social harms" and maximizes "individual and national security." A vital cog of this is decriminalizing and perhaps even legalizing certain drugs, particularly cannabis, and taxing their production and sale." 06-11
- 06-04-11 Success with HIV/AIDS in Brazil (CNN News)
"As we mark the 30th anniversary of the CDC's official reporting of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, it's surprising to see which nation has fared the best in response. It's not the United States; it's not China, India, or even Russia ... It's our good friend to the south, Brazil."
"After several trips to cities throughout the country, interviewing AIDS patients, health officials, and activists, it gradually became clear that the government was indeed fully committed to eradicating AIDS, in turn proving to the world that it had the technical capacity and political commitment needed to do so." 06-11
- 06-08-11 Homeowners Foreclose on Bank of America (ABC News)
"In Florida an angry homeowner whose home was wrongfully foreclosed on by Bank of America gets revenge by foreclosing on the bank's local branch. In Georgia, in a different property dispute, a city court judge threatens to jail the local BofA branch manager for contempt of court." 06-11
- 06-08-11 Mammoth Arizona Fire Could Hurt Power in Three States (ABC News)
"The 607-square-mile blaze is expected to reach the power lines as early as Friday. If the lines are damaged, parts of New Mexico and Texas could face rolling blackouts." 06-11
- 06-15-11 House Members to Sue Obama over Libya Mission (CNN News)
"A bipartisan group of House members will file a lawsuit Wednesday challenging U.S. participation in the Libya military mission." 06-11
- 06-15-11 Pakistan Arrests CIA Informants for Helping Find Osama bin Laden (CBS News)
"Five people who would be heroes in America are currently sitting in a Pakistani jail, having been arrested for their part in feeding the CIA information on Osama bin Laden's hideout there." 06-11
- 06-15-11 Report: Top Obama Fund Raisers in Key Administration Posts (ABC News)
"President Obama launched his campaign in 2007 promising a change in the way business is done in Washington, DC, but today a report from the Center for Public Integrity says that when it comes to major campaign donors scoring plum administration positions, it’s business as usual." 06-11
- 06-15-11 White House: U.S. Is Not at War with Libya (Time.com)
"The United States is not engaged in a war with Libya and the War Powers Resolution does not apply to U.S. military action there, according to two White House officials who briefed reporters on Wednesday." 06-11
- 06-15-11 Wisconsin High Court Upholds Anti-Union Law (CNN News)
"Wisconsin's top court Tuesday reinstated a contentious law that curbs the collective bargaining rights of most state employees. Opponents of the law said the fight will now be taken to those who supported it." 06-11
- 06-17-11 Editorial: Unhealthy Side Effects of the War on Drugs (Time.com)
"June 17 marks the 40th anniversary of President Nixon's declaration of war on drugs, an effort that has cost the U.S. $1 trillion to date. What have we gotten for our investment?"
"Not much that's good." 06-11
- 06-2-11 Energy Hog from the Cable Company (New York Times)
"Those little boxes that usher cable signals and digital recording capacity into televisions have become the single largest electricity drain in many American homes, with some typical home entertainment configurations eating more power than a new refrigerator and even some central air-conditioning systems." 06-11
- 06-20-11 Editorial: Obama's Power and the War Powers Act (CNN News)
Scherer argues that "by seeking to avoid Congressional authorization of the Libyan campaign, Obama is distancing himself from his own position during the 2007 campaign, which required Congressional authorization for a bombing of Iran. 'Any offensive military action taken by the United States against Iran must be explicitly authorized by Congress,' read the text of S.J.Res. 23, which Obama introduced on November 1, 2007. There is no question that the bombing of Libya, which Obama argues does not count as a 'hostility,' at least meets the standard of 'any offensive military action.' " 06-11
- 06-20-11 Many New Domain Names to Be Released (MSNBC News)
"The regulatory body that oversees Internet domain names voted on Monday to revamp the domain naming system for websites, allowing them to end with words like 'apple' and 'orange' instead of suffixes such as '.com' or '.gov.' " 06-11
- 06-20-11 McIlroy Wins U.S. Open With 16 Under Par (New York Times)
"In total, McIlroy set multiple United States Open records, including lowest score for a 36-hole and 54-hole leader. It took him only 26 holes to reach double digits under par, the earliest ever. He hit 62 of 72 greens in regulation, which was the best percentage (86) since the tournament began keeping that statistic. It was only the seventh time the winner was atop the leader board at the end of every round." 06-11
- 06-20-11 Supreme Court Blocks Suit Against Wal-Mart (New York Times)
"The Supreme Court on Monday blocked a huge sex discrimination lawsuit against Wal-Mart on behalf of women who work there." 06-11
- 06-20-11 Supreme Court Rules that the EPA Can Regulate Greenhouse Gases (Time.com)
"Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, writing for the court, said the Clean Air Act gives the EPA authority to regulate carbon-dioxide emissions from power plants." 06-11
- 06-21-11 Graphic New Labels for Tobacco (CNN News)
"Nine new graphic cigarette warning labels showing cancerous lesions and other impacts of smoking were unveiled Tuesday by the Food and Drug Administration, part of the agency's sweeping new powers to regulate tobacco and tobacco products."
Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius called smoking and other tobacco use the " 'number one cause of preventable death' in America, claiming more than 440,000 lives a year." 06-11
- 06-22-11 President Obama Plans a Faster Withdrawal from Afghanistan (New York Times)
"President Obama plans to announce Wednesday evening that he will order the withdrawal of 10,000 American troops from Afghanistan this year, and another 20,000 troops, the remainder of the 2009 'surge,' by the end of next summer, according to administration officials and diplomats briefed on the decision." 06-11
- 06-23-11 Republicans Walk Out of Debt Reduction Talks (PBS.org)
Republican Eric Cantor said that "the Biden group had already identified trillions of dollars in cuts and a blueprint for improving the country's massive debt and deficit, but that he could not participate in the talks as long as Democrats wanted tax increases on the table."
"Pelosi said Democrats do want to eliminate tax breaks for large oil companies and for companies that ship jobs overseas."
"Van Hollen repeated that the Democrats want a balanced approach to deficit reduction, which includes spending cuts and the phasing out of certain tax breaks."
Editor's Note: Representative Cantor received over $100,000 in campaign contributions from the Oil and Gas industry during his last election campaign. 06-11
- 06-24-11 Editorial: Republicans Walk Out of Debt Reduction Talks (New York Times)
"Congressional Republicans, who played a major role in piling up the government’s unsustainable debt in the first place, have thrown a tantrum and walked out of the debt limit talks. This bit of grandstanding has brought the nation closer to the financial crisis that Republicans have been threatening for weeks. But, at least now, their real goals are in sharp focus." 06-11
- 07-02-11 Editorial: Reducing the National Debt (Bankrate.com)
"It's not the economic cataclysm that Timothy Geithner warned of in his letter to Sen. Michael Bennet. In there the Treasury Secretary spells out the economic consequences of failing to raise the statutory debt limit. If Congress doesn't act, the U.S. will be forced to default on its legal obligations, which in turn 'would inflict catastrophic, far-reaching damage on our nation's economy, significantly reducing growth and increasing unemployment.' "
"The judgment day I fear is the one that happens after the debt limit is increased. Will Congress do something to contain and pay down this debt? We're at $14.3 trillion now. How much deeper can we go?"
"One trillion is a big number. If you could spend $10 million a day, it would take nearly 274 years to spend a trillion dollars at that rate. To spend $14.3 trillion would take about 3,918 years."
"The American people are keenly aware of the need for reining in spending, as they're cleaning up their own household finances. And some are even willing to pay more in taxes if it means we can leave our children and grandchildren a financially sound nation in which they can flourish."
"Ways to pare down debt"
"Maybe it's time to put forward some creative ways to whittle down at least some of the debt:"
"Implement the recommendations made in the Government Accountability Office's recent 345-page report to streamline duplication, overlap and fragmentation of government services. Estimated cost savings: hundreds of billions of dollars."
"Create a claw-back provision on bonuses paid since 2009 to the Wall Street executives who were responsible for the magnitude of the 2008 financial crisis and apply that money to the national debt."
"Impose a 50 percent tax on the income of lobbyists and public relations firms whose purpose is to influence Congress and distort public opinion, the effect of which is to increase the national debt."
"Make corporations pay their fair share of taxes."
"Revert to the income tax levels that were in place before former President George W. Bush (under whose administration the debt level increased from $4 trillion to $10 trillion) took office." 07-11
- 07-31-11 Obama and Congressional Leaders: We Have a Debt Ceiling Deal (CNN News)
"Two days before the deadline for a possible U.S. government default, President Barack Obama and congressional leaders reached agreement Sunday on a legislative package that would extend the federal debt ceiling while cutting spending and guaranteeing further deficit-reduction steps." 07-11
- 08-08-11 300,000 Children in Danger of Starvation (CBS News)
"The famine emergency in East Africa is taking on historic proportions. The United Nations says 3.7 million people face starvation. The United States government estimates that 29,000 children under the age of five have died in the last 90 days."
"400,000 Somalis have taken refuge at the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. Every day, 1,500 more throw themselves on the mercy of the camp." 08-11
- 08-08-11 Why Moody's Did Not Downgrade the U.S. Credit Rating--Yet (CNN News)
"Moody's Investors Service explained Monday why it was sticking with its triple-A bond rating and negative outlook for the United States, setting itself apart from Standard & Poor's, which downgraded the U.S. last week."
"Moody's said it expects the economy will improve and additional measures to reduce the budget deficit will be in place by 2013. The rating agency said this is why it reiterated its AAA rating for U.S. debt on Aug. 2, when the Senate agreed on a 10-year plan to reduce the deficit by more than $2 trillion."
"But Moody's said that its negative outlook, which it also assigned on Aug. 2, was due to political squabbling in Washington -- the biggest potential threat to the bond rating." 08-11
- 08-14-11 The HOA Loophole (BankRate.com)
"Florida law allows homeowners associations, or HOAs, to foreclose on properties when dues are in arrears and does not require the HOA to notify the primary mortgage lender. Florida has 40,000 homeowner and condo associations, many struggling to keep basic services going with so many owners behind in dues. The HOA's lawyers encourage them to foreclose because, if the bank beats them to it, they usually won't see a cent."
"Here's where opportunity creeps in: Since most homeowners owe less than $15,000 in association dues, the HOAs can file their foreclosure cases in county court rather than in circuit court, where caseloads are backed up. This allows the associations to get final judgment on a foreclosure in as few as 270 days verses the 617 days it now takes for the average bank foreclosure."
"Yes, a mortgage lender would gladly pay the back dues to protect their investment -- if they knew about it. But because the HOA doesn't have to notify the bank of its foreclosure actions, it could be months or even years before the primary lender forecloses." 08-11
- 08-17-11 Military Body Armor Improperly Tested (ABC News)
"The Army improperly tested new bullet-blocking plates for body armor and cannot be certain that 5 million pieces of the critical battlefield equipment meet the standards to protect U.S. troops, the Defense Department's inspector general found." 08-11
- 08-21-11 How the U.S. Compares with Other Countries on Bandwidth Usage (Time.com)
"The U.S. has the most subscribers of any other country at 302.9 million, followed by Japan with less than half as many at 117.1 million. And U.S. cell phone customers use more minutes on average than any other country's subscribers at 793 minutes per month, followed by France at just 231. Yet the average price of a minute in the U.S. is the lowest of any country, at four cents. Compare that to 23 cents in Japan and 13 cents in France.”
"Aside from prices, the most interesting—and alarming—thing about the comparison is how much radio spectrum is poised to be available for wireless. On that front, the U.S. is dead last with only 50 MHz becoming available soon. That spells trouble because the carriers are facing a spectrum crunch as they already serve more customers per megahertz of spectrum available to them than any other country by a wide margin." 08-11
- 08-21-11 Very Cheap Houses Now Available (Time.com)
"A recent post at real estate site Trulia’s blog revealed that it is now cheaper to buy than rent in 74% of America’s 50 most populous cities—and unsurprisingly, Baltimore and Detroit are two of the cities where it’s cheaper to buy." 08-11
- 11-05-11 Mississippi to Consider If a Fertilized Egg Is "a Person" (CNN.com)
"Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour offered his support Friday for an amendment to the state constitution that would define life as beginning at the moment of conception, saying he cast his absentee ballot for the measure despite struggling with its implications."
"Though the text of the amendment is simple, the implications if it passes couldn't be more complex. If approved by Mississippi voters on Tuesday, it would make it impossible to get an abortion and hamper the ability to get some forms of birth control." 11-11
- 11-07-11 Gadhafi's Final Days (CNN News)
"Daou said their living conditions went from bad to worse as the rebels tightened their siege of the city. They moved around abandoned houses every three to four days, he said, surviving on the little food they could find." 11-11
- Elizabeth Taylor Dies (Wikipedia.org)
"Dame Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor, DBE (February 27, 1932 – March 23, 2011), also known as Liz Taylor, was an English-American actress. A former child star, she grew to be known for her acting talent and beauty, as well as her Hollywood lifestyle, including many marriages. Taylor was considered one of the great actresses of Hollywood's golden age. The American Film Institute named Taylor seventh on its Female Legends list." 03-11
- Tantawi and Military Council Take Control in Egypt (ABC News)
"As thousands in Egypt celebrate the end of Hosni Mubarak's 30-year reign today, authority in the North African nation has shifted to Defense Minister Hussein Tantawi, a man experts and some protestors said is undoubtedly a member of the old regime, but clean of the human rights abuses the plagued the state's intelligence and police agencies." 02-11
- -Girl's Wish for Clean Water Takes Off After Her Death (MSNBC News)
"Rachel Beckwith wanted to raise $300 by her ninth birthday to help bring clean water to people in poor countries. Donors from across the world are making sure her wish is realized after her death, perhaps a thousand times over."
"Rachel was about $80 short of her goal when she turned 9 in June, and then a horrific highway traffic accident took her life away last week. But news of the Bellevue, Wash., girl’s pluck and selflessness emerged after the tragedy, and it is inspiring thousands of people — most of them strangers — to push her dream along." 07-11
- After Tyranny: How Can Libya Avoid Iraq's Fate? (Time.com)
"Away from the dizzying euphoria on Tripoli's streets, where Libyans have held wild celebrations of the end of Muammar Gaddafi's 42-year rule, there is a specter that hovers over the scene in the minds of many Libyan officials and Western governments — that of another Arab capital: Baghdad." 08-11
- Arabian Spring: A Country-by-Country Look at Protests in the Middle East (New York Times)
Provides "the latest news on the protest movements and uprisings shaking countries across the Middle East and northern Africa" in the spring of 2011. 02-11
- Bill Clinton's Vision for the Economy (CNN News)
"First of all, we face more and more intense competition from around the world, and at the same time we have adopted—except in the eight years I served and the first two years President Obama was serving—this antigovernment philosophy, which has mostly, as I point out, been an antitax and an antiregulation philosophy, so that we have dramatically increased the national debt and our reliance on other countries to fund it. Now we are facing the retirement of the baby boomers and once again a dramatic increase in health care cost. So we have to figure out a way to put the country in the future business. We have to get ahold of the long-term debt problem, and we have to revitalize the private sector. And you can’t do it with an antigovernment strategy. You have to have a smart government and a strong economy." 11-11
- The Tax and Revenue Problem (Time.com)
"A telling example: General Electric, whose CEO Jeffrey Immelt recently landed a high-profile role heading up Obama’s advisory “Council on Jobs and Competitiveness,” pays some of the the lowest taxes of any corporation in America. The marginal corporate tax rate may be 35%, but GE effectively paid 15% in 2007, just 5.3% in 2008 and not one single penny in 2009. After recording $10.3 billion in income, they actually got a $1.1 billion tax benefit from the government. If that’s not a revenue problem, what is?" 11-11
- Top One Percent Getting Richer (CNN News)
"From 1979 to 2007, average household income for the nation's top 1% more than tripled, while middle-class incomes grew by less than 40%, according to a new report from a research arm of Congress." 10-11
- Wael Ghonim, Revolutionary (Time.com)
"But in spite of his career achievements and comfortable life, he chose to be part of a hidden, more dangerous world — one in which he sought to activate change in his homeland. After he returned to Egypt, that work thrust him into prison for more than 10 days. When he emerged, he was hailed by some as the leader of the faceless group of young revolutionaries who are credited with getting the uprising against President Hosni Mubarak off the ground." 02-11