Monday, January 31, 2011

Police attack praying Egyptians

Egyptian protesters increase pressure

Harper's $16 billion boondoggle

The Ottawa Citizen:

Ottawa - The Canadian military does not have the ability to conduct aerial refuelling of the F-35 fighter jet it wants to purchase and is now looking at ways to get around that problem.

Options range from paying for modifications to the stealth jets to purchasing a new fleet of tanker aircraft that can gas up the high-tech fighters in mid-air. That option could cost several hundred million dollars, depending on how many new tankers are needed.

In addition, because the F-35 would not be able to safely land on runways in Canada’s north because those are too short for the fighter, the Defence Department is looking at having manufacturer Lockheed Martin install a “drag” chute on the plane.

But the acquisition, estimated to cost between $16 billion and $21 billion, has come under fire from a variety of critics as being unnecessary and too costly

Continue reading here.

Geoff Stevens, The Record:

Pressure from Washington is clearly a factor. The Americans want their allies to participate in its JSF (Joint Strike Fighter) program — meaning everyone would buy and fly a version of the same aircraft. A U.S.-made aircraft, naturally. Washington selected the single-engine F-35, built by Lockheed Martin (coincidentally the same people who built the star-crossed Starfighter).

Canada, like the other allies, had no voice in the decision to go with the F-35. There was no competition for the contract, no evaluation here of other aircraft, and no bidding on price. The price is staggering. No one seems to know for sure, but it looks at least $20 billion for 65 aircraft. (This compares to $2.4 billion for twice as many CF-18s, admittedly three decades ago.)

That $20 billion is a huge commitment to make without a debate in Parliament, without examination by a parliamentary committee — and without, in fact, any considered explanation to the Canadian public as to why the country needs this particular plane at this immense cost.

Defence Minister Peter MacKay brushed off the safety issue when he was asked last summer what would happen if the F-35’s single engine failed on patrol in the Far North. “It won’t,” he replied.

His confidence is unnerving. Here’s a comment from a former Conservative cabinet minister who knows the North extremely well: “Single engine? In the Arctic? I wouldn’t put my worst enemy in one!”

Yet the Harper government, trying to please the Americans, is proposing to do just that. But it’s not a worst enemy who will be flying the plane. It’s Canadian aircrews who will be put in harm’s way by their own government.

Continue reading here.

The Nature Conservancy: A Year in Review

Lower corporate taxes no cure-all

Opinion, The Toronto Star:

Corporations set down roots for all sorts of reasons and most have little to do with tax levels. They come to Canada because of our highly trained workforce, access to major markets, sophisticated communications, lack of corruption, quality social services and more.

If corporate taxes were all that mattered, Ireland with its rate of 12.5 per cent would still be booming. No one would do business in Scandinavia, where taxes remain high. In the United States, where corporate taxes vary enormously from state to state, companies would be flocking to zero-tax areas like Nevada and Wyoming. Curiously, they aren’t.

It’s also not clear that lower corporate taxes necessarily lead to more jobs. The evidence on that is decidedly mixed. Other measures, such as spending on infrastructure or cuts to personal income taxes, may help create as many or more jobs

Continue reading here.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Egyptian army tries to restore order

Hundreds mourn Egypt's dead

Entire Bill Maher appearance on Fareed Zakaria

This is from well over a month ago, but Maher's entire appearance on CNN's Fareed Zakaria GPS is finally available. Maher as usual is spot on, especially his criticisms regarding President Obama who is "wussy" and a "wimpy" Democrat.

Egyptian protests continue

What makes NFL football so great: socialism

Football is our most successful sport because the NFL takes money from the rich teams and gives it to the poor teams...just like President Obama wants to do with his secret army of ACORN volunteers.

Continue reading here.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Analysis: Upheaval in Egypt

Billions lost through tax loopholes and preferences

In spite of the extensive free advertising the program received from suppliers like Home Depot and Rona, it seems relatively few Canadians took advantage of the much hyped Home Renovation Tax Credit on their tax returns last year.

In a report outlining the billions of dollars Ottawa gives up in targeted tax credits, Department of Finance officials admitted that only three-quarters of the $3-billion set aside for the high-profile program ever got paid out.

Is it time to forget these types of tax credits altogether? Definitely, says Toby Sanger, senior economist with the Canadian Union of Public Employees.

Continue reading here.

Congressional Republicans want to redefine rape

Mother Jones:

Drugged, raped, and pregnant? Too bad. Republicans are pushing to limit rape and incest cases eligible for government abortion funding.

For years, federal laws restricting the use of government funds to pay for abortions have included exemptions for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest. (Another exemption covers pregnancies that could endanger the life of the woman.) But the "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act," a bill with 173 mostly Republican co-sponsors that House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has dubbed a top priority in the new Congress, contains a provision that would rewrite the rules to limit drastically the definition of rape and incest in these cases.

With this legislation, which was introduced last week by Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), Republicans propose that the rape exemption be limited to "forcible rape." This would rule out federal assistance for abortions in many rape cases, including instances of statutory rape, many of which are non-forcible. For example: If a 13-year-old girl is impregnated by a 24-year-old adult, she would no longer qualify to have Medicaid pay for an abortion. (Smith's spokesman did not respond to a call and an email requesting comment.)

There used to be a quasi-truce between the pro- and anti-choice forces on the issue of federal funding for abortion. Since 1976, federal law has prohibited the use of taxpayer dollars to pay for abortions except in the cases of rape, incest, and when the pregnancy endangers the life of the woman. But since last year, the anti-abortion side has become far more aggressive in challenging this compromise. They have been pushing to outlaw tax deductions for insurance plans that cover abortion, even if the abortion coverage is never used. The Smith bill represents a frontal attack on these long-standing exceptions.

Continue reading here.

Massive civil uprising in Egypt

More race baiting from Arizona Republicans

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Out on the Ice

GQ Magazine:

Brian Burke isn't just a legend of the NHL. He's a fists-up, knock-your-teeth-out gladiator. But when his hockey-loving son came out of the closet and died soon after, he was thrust into a strange new role: advocate for gays in a macho sports culture. He's no cheerleader—he looks like he hates every minute of it—but locker-room homophobia may have finally met its match.

Continue reading here.

Layton: ban insiders, fundraisers from Senate

The Canadian Press:

NDP Leader Jack Layton wants the Prime Minister to ban party insiders and fundraisers from the Senate as a concrete first step toward a broader overhaul.

Layton said his party stands by its long-time goal of abolishing the Senate completely.

But in the meantime, Layton says Stephen Harper should live up to his promises of the past and make the Senate more democratic and accountable, one step at a time.

He is asking Harper to stop appointing failed party candidates and party insiders to the Senate. And he wants the government to stop senators from fundraising.

“Let me tell you, just because someone flipped pancakes for the Conservative Party doesn’t give them the right to turn down legislation that was adopted by the majority of elected representatives of the Canadian people,” Layton told a parliamentary study group.

“Too often, today’s Senate is doing partisan work, killing legislation or, for that matter, fundraising for the Conservative party. And they’re doing it all with public money.”

“It makes a joke of our democratic system.”

Continue reading here.

Robert Reich on corporations and overseas jobs

This past Monday, prior to President Obama's State of the Union address, former Secretary of Labour Robert Reich appeared on MSNBC to discuss how multinational corporations are making record profits (after government bailouts and low corporate tax rates), yet continue to create more jobs overseas, as opposed to doing all they can to create jobs in America.

Rick Mercer blasts Conservative attack ads

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Chris Matthews destroys Michelle Bachmann

Obama's "frustrating" record vs. LBJ and Medicare

Democracy Now!:

In his State of the Union address, President Obama defended his healthcare overhaul and invited Republicans to help him move forward with essential fixes to the law. We hear from Dr. Atul Gawande, a surgeon at Brigham and Woman’s Hospital in Boston, staff writer at The New Yorker magazine and an associate professor at Harvard Medical School. "There’s leadership needed to give meaning to the policies for the public and to explain what the value is," Gawande says. "Obama] allowed the opponents to brand every one of those policies as failures, even though they passed."

Stonewalling the Goldstone Report

Harry Belafonte on Obama

Democracy Now!:

We speak with legendary singer, actor, humanitarian and activist, Harry Belafonte. "I think [Obama] plays the game that he plays because he sees no threat from evidencing concerns for the poor," Belafonte says. "He sees no threat from evidencing a deeper concern for the needs of black people, as such. He feels no great threat from evidencing a greater policy towards the international community, for expressing thoughts that criticize the American position on things and turns that around. Until we do that, I think we will be forever disappointed in what that administration will deliver."

Egypt's 'unprecedented' protests

Lax regulation, risk taking caused 2008 crisis


The financial crisis was avoidable and the result of poor decision making both in Washington and at top financial firms that fostered a culture of excessive risk taking, according to a draft report.

Among regulators the report singles out former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan and his successor Ben Bernanke. The report faults Greenspan and his allies for pushing the idea that financial institutions could “police themselves.”

Bernanke and former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson were criticized for not seeing the problems in the subprime mortgage markets earlier.

Clinton administration officials were rebuked for pushing to shield over-the-counter derivatives from regulation

Continue reading here.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Senate seats for Tory bagmen an "unfair subsidy"

The Globe and Mail:

Jack Layton’s New Democrats are accusing the Conservatives and Liberals of having an unfair advantage because their party bagmen and political operatives sit in the Senate – and draw their salaries from Canadian taxpayers.

The tough talk comes with Prime Minister Stephen Harper again stirring the political pot by vowing to campaign in the next election on abolishing the per-vote public subsidy paid to political parties.

Go ahead, the NDP says. But first let’s have a conversation on whether senators-cum-bagmen also constitute a political subsidy.

NDP campaign chief Brad Lavigne, who was showing off the party’s election headquarters Monday, noted that Senate appointments give the other parties “taxpayer-sponsored, full-time fundraisers, full-time campaign directors.”

His salary is paid for by party membership fees; his rivals, however, earn taxpayer dollars. “That’s an unfair subsidy,” Mr. Lavigne said. “I’d like to take that up with people and see how they feel about that.”

Continue reading here.

100 % renewable energy achievable by 2030: study

The Huffington Post:

A report published in the journal Energy Policy claims that by 2030, the world can achieve 100 percent renewable energy if the proper measures are taken.

What exactly are these measures? According to PhysOrg, over 80 percent of our world's energy supply currently comes from fossil fuels. We would need to build approximately four million wind turbines, nearly 2 billion solar photovoltaic systems, and about 90,000 solar power plants. The 5 MW wind turbines needed are up to three times the capacity of most of our current wind turbines. Doable? Perhaps. Formidable? Most certainly.

But Mark Delucchi and Mark Jacobson believe that if the will exists, there is a way. Germany and China have both already built 5 MW offshore turbines. A few dozen utility-scale solar plants already exist. Plus, the researchers believe that all of the major necessary resources are available - the only "material bottleneck" lies in obtaining rare earth materials, supplies which could be increased with more mining or recycling.

Human beings are probably the biggest blockade in achieving a renewable energy goal. As Discovery News explains, "With so many new Republicans on Capitol Hill who don't believe in the science of climate change (which will continue until the year 3000), not to mention many members of the public, it may be a challenge to achieve such a task and get off fossil fuels."

Act on climate change without U.S., report says

The Toronto Star:

Canada should move ahead with a domestic emissions trading system to limit climate change even without similar steps in the United States, a climate change think tank says.

The National Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy, a government-appointed panel that studies environmental issues, said in a new report Tuesday that Canada must tackle global warming now, despite economic risks to the country if its policies are out of step with those south of the border.

Continue reading here.

The paranoid, radical and gun talk on the right

On MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews yesterday, Eric Boehlert from Media Matters for America and David Corn from Mother Jones joined host Chris Matthews to discuss the persistence and stubborn nature of right-wing television and radio pundits to use violent rhetoric, and equating their political opponents as enemies of the state.

Harper not playing well with others

Susan Delacourt, The Toronto Star:

Opposition parties say that if Harper was interested in making Parliament work, he’d be talking to Ignatieff, Layton — and he’s not.

Continue reading here.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Investing in America's future

Robert Reich, Former Secretary of Labor; Professor at Berkeley; Author, Aftershock: 'The Next Economy and America's Future'

In the global economy, the only "asset" that's unique to any nation -- and that determines its living standard -- is the people who comprise it. Hopefully the president will touch on this Tuesday night.

Continue reading here.

Will he say this?

Alan Grayson, Former U.S. Congressman from Florida's 8th District

This is the speech that I would like to hear President Obama give tomorrow: "My Fellow Americans: Although my title is 'President,' you did not elect me to preside. You elected me to lead."

Continue reading here.

Why can't the U.S. be more like Canada?

"Canada is a country that has health care and not a lot of gun violence. And we've become just a more war-like, mean, cramped conservative country."

Why Olbermann is different than Fox News pundits

Mitchell Bard, Writer and Filmmaker

Anyone charging that Olbermann's show was equivalent to Beck's clearly hasn't watched either. Olbermann wasn't objective, but he was honest about it. His show was well-researched; it relied on facts to make progressive points.

Continue reading here.

Columbia University professor on Palestine papers

Democracy Now!:

Newly released documents show Palestinian negotiators agreed to give up large tracts of West Bank land, and nearly all of East Jerusalem, in peace talks with the Israeli government. The disclosure is among many contained in what is being called the "Palestine Papers"—over 1,700 files from inside Israeli-Palestinian negotiations dating from 1999 to 2010. The news network Al Jazeera began publishing details of the documents on Sunday. We speak with Columbia University professor Rashid Khalidi.

Friday, January 21, 2011

50th anniversary of CIA backed Lumumba killing

Democracy Now!:

This week marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Patrice Lumumba, the first democratically elected leader of what is now known as the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Lumumba’s pan-Africanism and his vision of a united Congo gained him many enemies. Both Belgium and the United States actively sought to have him killed. The CIA ordered his assassination but could not complete the job. Instead, the United States and Belgium covertly funneled cash and aid to rival politicians who seized power and arrested Lumumba. On January 17, 1961, after being beaten and tortured, Lumumba was shot and killed.

Riz Khan - Is social media driving reform?

Tunisian police join protesters

Vermont Governor pushing public health insurance

Democracy Now!:

As the House votes to repeal President Obama’s healthcare reform bill, the state of Vermont is taking matters into its own hands. We speak with Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin, who is leading efforts to create a single-payer healthcare system in the state. He was voted into office after making single payer a cornerstone of his campaign. "If Vermont can get this right, the other states will follow," Shumlin says.

Complete Bill Maher interview on Anderson Cooper

This is from a few weeks back now, and I previously posted this, but here is the entire interview with Bill Maher on Anderson Cooper 360°.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Australia begins flood clean up

Joe Lieberman makes an ass out of himself

The Huffington Post:

During an appearance on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" today, Senator Joe Lieberman (I-Conn) continued to insist that Saddam Hussein was developing weapons of mass destruction even though none were ever found after the invasion of Iraq.

The senator, retiring his seat in 2012, also said that despite the enormous cost to the U.S. in blood, prestige and treasure he does not regret his vote for war and would do it all over again.

Arianna Huffington, a guest on the show this morning as well, asked Senator Lieberman on what evidence did he base his claims of Iraq having WMD.

Dripping with condescension, Lieberman retorted, "I don't think you've read it, sweetheart."

Indeed President Bush himself admitted that Iraq having no WMD's was one of the biggest mistakes of his presidency.

"When we didn't find weapons I felt terrible about it, sick about it and still do, because a lot of the case in removing Saddam Hussein was based upon weapons of mass destruction," Bush said last November.

Continue reading here.

Brazil struggles with flood recovery

50 years after Eisenhower's warning

Democracy Now!:

This week marks the 50th anniversary of President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s famous farewell speech to the nation in which he warned against the rise of a "military-industrial complex." We speak with William Hartung, director of the Arms and Security Initiative at the New America Foundation, who traces the rise of the military-industrial complex through the story of the nation’s largest weapons contractor, Lockheed Martin. Hartung’s new book is Prophets of War: Lockheed Martin and the Making of the Military-Industrial Complex.

Watchdog: Harper’s budget plan doesn’t add up

The Toronto Star:

The federal government’s plan to cut $6.8 billion in spending over five years isn’t achievable without major services and program cuts, Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page said Thursday.

Continue reading here.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Canadian woman alleges rape by Mexican police

Rebecca Rutland went to the Canadian consular agency in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, on Jan. 12 to say Mexican police had raped her.

The Toronto Star:

Rebecca Rutland, 41, told the CBC that she was out drinking with fiancé, Richard Coleman on New Year’s Eve in the seaside town of Playa Del Carmen (about 60 kms from Cancun) when the 51-year-old found himself in a heated exchange with police.

According to Rutland, the couple was arrested, taken to a sprawling jail, and separated. Rutland said she was forced to perform oral sex on an officer. Then, she says, two officers took turns raping her.

Rutland, who is currently working on her thesis in Thunder Bay, said the pair was also robbed of hundreds of dollars and jewellery

Continue reading here.

Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish on Democracy Now!

Democracy Now!:

Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish was a well-known Palestinian gynecologist who spent years working in one of Israeli’s main hospitals. On January 16, 2009, two days before the end of Israel’s brutal 22-day assault on Gaza, his home was shelled twice by Israeli tanks. His three daughters and his niece were killed. He has just written a book about his life called I Shall Not Hate: A Gaza Doctor’s Journey on the Road to Peace and Human Dignity. He joins us in our studio for an extended conversation.

Tax cuts drive Harper’s right-wing agenda

The Toronto Star:

Ottawa — In the spring of 1987, at a conference of western Canadian activists in Vancouver, Stephen Harper showed up with an 11-point “Taxpayers Reform Agenda” that attacked the traditional political class in Ottawa and called for the implementation of a “new economics” of smaller, leaner government.

More than two decades later, Harper is still pursuing the goal of transforming Canada into a more right-wing nation along the lines envisioned by the likes of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan.

During five years in power, the Prime Minister and his colleagues have relentlessly anchored their economic strategy on this goal. They have done so by shedding government programs, shifting cash resources to the provinces and, above all, hamstringing Ottawa’s ability to act in future by reducing its financial clout through personal and corporate income tax cuts

Continue reading here.

Obama pulls a Clinton

Robert Scheer, Editor of, Author, 'The Great American Stickup'

When Bill Clinton suffered a midterm reversal, he abruptly embraced the corporate money guys who had financed his opposition in an effort to purchase a second term. Now we have Barack Obama, and the same cycle begins anew.

Continue reading here.

Republicans smacked down over health care repeal

Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner (New York) makes the case regarding why the Republicans want to repeal the recently passed health insurance reform legislation, and details their lies and spin regarding the legislation, such as a "government takeover" and "socialized medicine". Weiner also correctly points out how the recently passed health insurance reform legislation was previously a Republican plan, specifically proposed by former (retired) Republican Senator Bob Dole.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Mammoth could be brought back to life in 4 years

The Huffington Post:

Researchers will attempt resurrecting the mammoth, a species believed extinct for over 5,000 years, after finally obtaining tissue last summer from a carcass preserved in a Russian mammoth research laboratory.

The team will be led by Professor Akira Iritani, professor emeritus at Kyoto University, notes

Though the study began in 1997, the researchers were unable to determine how to safely extract DNA until a 2008 experiment by Dr. Teruhiko Wakayama, during which he cloned a mouse that had been in deep freeze for 16 years.

They plan on taking nuclei from the mammoth cells and inserting them into an elephant's egg cells from which the nuclei have been removed. This will create an embryo that contains the mammoth's genes. The embryo will then be inserted into the elephant's womb, and the animal will, hopefully, give birth to a mammoth.

Continue reading here.

Michael Moore on Rachel Maddow last night

Filmmaker Michael Moore appeared on The Rachel Maddow Show last night to discuss gun control, the gun lobby and the NRA, gun laws and regulations in other countries, and America's gun culture in the wake of last week's tragic shooting in Tucson, Arizona.

Lithuania must reopen CIA secret jail investigation

Amnesty International:

The investigation surrounding the existence of secret prisons run by the US Central Agency (CIA) in Lithuania must not be closed until all avenues of evidence have been thoroughly pursued, Amnesty International has said.

The Lithuanian Prosecutor General recently closed the investigation into whether State Security Department (SSD) officials had colluded with the CIA to create and operate the secret sites on 14 January 2011.

“Closing this investigation is premature”, said Julia Hall, Amnesty International’s expert on counter-terrorism and human rights in Europe.

“By shuttering the investigation before all the evidence has been gathered and all lines of inquiry pursued, the prosecutor cuts off a process that had the potential to hold people accountable for serious human rights violations.”

A Lithuanian parliamentary inquiry issued a report in December 2009 concluding that the secret prisons existed and that SSD officials should be investigated for “abuse of power” under Lithuanian law.

Continue reading here.

Assange to reveal tax info on 2,000 rich tax cheats

Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder, today pledged to make public the confidential tax details of 2,000 wealthy and prominent individuals, after being passed the data by a Swiss banker who claims the information potentially reveals instances of money-laundering and large-scale illegal tax evasion.

In a carefully choreographed handover in central London, Rudolf Elmer, formerly a senior executive at the Swiss bank Julius Baer, based in the Cayman islands, said he was handing the data to WikiLeaks as part of an attempt "to educate society" about the amount of potential tax revenues lost thanks to offshore schemes and money-laundering.

"As banker, I have the right to stand up if something is wrong," he said. "I am against the system. I know how the system works and I know the day-to-day business. I wanted to let society know how this system works because it's damaging society," he said

Continue reading here.

Two bullied teens commit suicide

The narrative of anti-gay bullying leading to suicide was not a flash in the pan news story limited to 2010. This is a chronic problem that has existed for decades, and a problem that will continue well into the future until school districts get with the program and enact tough anti-bullying policies inclusive of LGBT youth, and find ways to include LGBT themes into curriculum.

The latest tragedy comes from Jefferson High School in Alexandria, Minnesota. Over the weekend, an 18-year-old gay student, Lance Lundsten, took his own life. Friends and those who knew him said that he was bullied at school because of his sexual orientation

Continue reading here.

The Huffington Post:

In a separate incident in Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania, 16-year-old high school student Tiffani Maxwell reportedly shot herself on Saturday morning, according to local station WPXI.

Maxwell's family believes bullying is to blame for her death. Maxwell was expelled last week. The family said students told teachers they saw Maxwell do drugs.

"She got text messages, saying 'Tiffani you're in rehab.' 'You're on drugs,'" said Maxwell's mother Sandy. Maxwell's parents said their daughter wasn't on drugs and they were just rumors.

The parents are hoping to now save other teenagers from bullying.

"Even if it saves one kid ... just remember there are family members behind you and that tomorrow will be better," said Sandy Maxwell.

More details here.

Continue reading here.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Heartbreak for survivors of mudslides in Brazil

"Leao" visits the grave of her owner for the second consecutive day. Cristina Maria Cesario Santana died in Brazil's catastrophic landslides.

The Associated Press:

Teresopolis, Brazil — Efforts to fly rescue helicopters to hundreds of people stranded by massive mudslides were slowed by renewed rains in a region north of Rio de Janeiro, as the death toll rose to 633 in a disaster that has left thousands more homeless.

With rainy skies and low visibility in an area full of craggy, steep peaks, officials focused their attention on the survivors they could reach more immediately, mapping out a plan to get people living in tents in the short term, and into safe, affordable housing in the coming months.

Mayor Jorge Mario Sedlacek of Teresopolis, one of the hardest-hit cities, said Sunday that more than 2,000 tents were being brought in, each capable of sheltering up to 10 people. Teresopolis has more than 3,000 people who were made homeless by the slides.

“They will give families shelter for up to six months while more permanent solutions can be developed,” Sedlacek said. “These tents will at least re-establish the family units, which will bring some comfort to people living in communal shelters.”

Continue reading here.

Tunisia in a fragile state

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in his own words

Democracy Now!:

Today is the federal holiday that honors Dr. Martin Luther King. He was born January 15th, 1929. He was assassinated April 4, 1968, at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. He was just thirty-nine years old. While Dr. King is primarily remembered as a civil rights leader, he also championed the cause of the poor and organized the Poor People’s Campaign to address issues of economic justice. Dr. King was also a fierce critic of US foreign policy and the Vietnam War. We play his “Beyond Vietnam” speech, which he delivered at New York’s Riverside Church on April 4, 1967, as well as his last speech, “I Have Been to the Mountain Top,” that he gave on April 3, 1968, the night before he was assassinated.

Pretty clever: "People for Corporate Tax Cuts"

"It says you care about corporate riches."

Giffords' condition upgraded from critical to serious

The Associated Press:

Tucson, Arizona — U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords has surmounted one hurdle after another since she was gravely wounded in the Arizona shootings. Her latest was especially significant – a condition upgrade from critical to serious.

Her doctors' decision Sunday was yet another sign of a remarkable recovery since she was shot in the head Jan. 8 when a gunman opened fire as she met constituents in a Tucson supermarket parking lot. Six people died and 13 were wounded, including the congresswoman.

She had been in critical condition since the attack but doctors were positive, and at times almost giddy, in describing her progress.

She responded from the moment she arrived at the emergency room, at first just squeezing a doctor's hand. Then she raised two fingers.

Giffords opened her unbandaged eye shortly after President Barack Obama's bedside visit Wednesday

Continue reading here.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Inside Story - The future of Tunisia

Brazil battles to aid flood victims

On the tragic shootings in Arizona

Michael R. Bloomberg, 108th Mayor of the City of New York

We don't know all the facts from Tuscon, Arizona yet, but we do know that every single day, 34 Americans die to gun violence. And so it will continue until we get serious about cracking down on illegal guns and protecting innocent people.

Continue reading here.

Tunisia civil uprising

Early returns show 'overwhelming' secession vote

The Associated Press:

Juba, Sudan — Southern Sudan's president on Sunday offered a prayer of forgiveness for northern Sudan and the killings that occurred during a two-decade civil war, as the first results from a weeklong independence referendum showed an overwhelming vote for secession.

Exhausted poll workers who counted ballots overnight and deep into Sunday morning posted returns at individual stations, and an Associated Press count of a small sample showed a 96 percent vote for secession.

Sudan's south ended its independence vote Saturday, a vote most believe will split the large country in two at the divide between Sudan's Muslim north and Christian and animist south. The two sides ended a more than two decade civil war in 2005 in a peace deal that provided for last week's vote.

If everything stays on track, by July Southern Sudan should be the world's newest nation.

Continue reading here.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Marcus Gee smacks down Rob Ford on budget

The Globe and Mail:

How? Well, nobody really knows. The TTC says its share will come from an “unspecified budget reduction.” That was the phrase someone scribbled on the budget document presented to the transit commission on Wednesday. “Ten-cent fare increase” was crossed out in pen, “unspecified budget reduction” written in. That is how rushed and haphazard this sped-up budget blitz has been. Officials are almost literally rearranging the city’s finances on the back of a napkin.

But the real fault lies with Mr. Ford, who came to office vowing to cut taxes and waste without any credible plan for doing it. His platitude-filled campaign focused on cutting things like councillor expense budgets and free meals at overtime council meetings, symbolic cuts that have barely dented the city’s $9-billion-plus budget.

Now that he is mayor, Mr. Ford seems to think that if he talks sternly enough about the need for cost-cutting, city managers will simply snap to it. Instead – lacking any real direction about what they should cut or how, told to hold the line on taxes and fares but avoid any major cuts in service – they are flailing about in confusion. It’s the inevitable result when you have a mayor who ran on slogans and governs on bluster

Continue reading here.

Inside Story - Crisis in Lebanon

Why is Glenn Beck targeting Frances Fox Piven?

Democracy Now!:

For more than a year, Fox News host Glenn Beck has been increasingly targeting Frances Fox Piven, a 78-year-old distinguished professor of political science and sociology at the Graduate Center, City University of New York. Beck has repeatedly accused her of advocating violence and of hatching a plan in 1966 to overthrow the system. Piven joins us in our studio.

Gun sales rising in Arizona

Republican Congressman wants guns in Congress

The Huffington Post:

Rep. Louis Gohmert (R-Texas) recently signaled his intention to submit a piece of legislation that would make exceptions to a number of firearms laws by allowing members of Congress to carry guns in D.C. and even into the Capitol building, including the chamber floors.

"There is a rash of legislation further infringing on Second Amendment rights that has been unwisely proffered in the wake of events in Tucson," Gohmert told The Hill in a statement. "If members of Congress wishes to carry a weapon in the federal District of Columbia, it should be permissible. Accordingly, we are in the process of drafting a bill that will allow members of Congress to do that."

Continue reading here.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Devastating floods and landslides in Brazil

US subpoenas Icelandic politician's Twitter account

Democracy Now!:

The U.S. Department of Justice has subpoenaed the internet company Twitter for personal information from several people linked to the online whistleblower website WikiLeaks. The subpoena asks Twitter for all records and correspondence relating to their accounts. Icelandic parliament member Birgitta Jónsdóttir, who has collaborated with WikiLeaks, is one of the five people targeted by the subpoenas. "I think it opens up a whole can of worms when it comes to parliamentary immunity worldwide," Jónsdóttir says. "Icelandic authorities are taking this very seriously."

2010 is Mexico's bloodiest year

Obama addresses Arizona shooting

(Associated Press video)

Graph should be on front page of every newspaper

Peter H. Gleick, Water and Climate Scientist, President, Pacific Institute

Climate change is worsening, fast. The National Climate Data Center of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has just announced that for the entire planet, 2010 is the hottest year on record, tied with 2005. And the period 2001 to 2010 is the hottest decade on record for the globe. The actual data are here.

This graph and this information should be on the front page of every newspaper in the world. Every Congressional representative should see it.

And the hottest 10 years on record in order?


How often do you have to get hit on the head before you say "ouch." Or before you even say "stop hitting me on the head"? For climate deniers, probably forever. We can expect them to talk about how cold the winter is, here or there.But for the rest of us, enough should be enough. The planet has a fever and it's getting worse.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Haiti transformed into the "Republic of the NGOs"

Democracy Now!:

One year after the massive 7.0-magnitude earthquake that devastated Haiti, reconstruction efforts have barely begun. We speak with Alex Dupuy, a professor of sociology at Wesleyan University. "There is a dramatic power imbalance between the international community—under U.S. leadership—and Haiti. The former monopolizes economic and political power and calls all the shots," Dupuy writes. "This unequal relationship is reflected in the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission." The IHRC is co-chaired by Bill Clinton.

Haiti's unspent billions examined

Assange 'faces death penalty' in US

Assange's lawyers said his human rights could be violated if he is extradited

Al Jazeera English:

Lawyers for WikiLeaks' founder say he could face death penalty or torture if he is extradited to the US via Sweden.

Defence attorneys for Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, has said he could end up facing the death penalty in the US if the UK extradites him to Sweden, where he is accused of sex crimes.

The lawyers fear that Sweden will in turn hand him over to the US.

Following Assange's appearance in a London court on Tuesday, his attorneys published an outline of the defence he will use at a full extradition hearing scheduled for February 7.

"There is a real risk that, if extradited to Sweden, the US will seek his extradition and/or illegal rendition to the USA, where there will be a real risk of him being detained at Guantanamo Bay or elsewhere" according to a legal memo on the website of the law firm Finers Stephens Innocent.

"Indeed, if Mr Assange were rendered to the USA, without assurances that the death penalty would not be carried out, there is a real risk that he could be made subject to the death penalty."

The Australian citizen, who has angered the US and other states by releasing embarrassing classified US diplomatic cables, is wanted by Sweden for questioning over alleged sexual offences against two women in Sweden last summer.

According to his lawyer, the allegations stem from a dispute over "consensual but unprotected sex.

Continue reading here.

Bill Maher on Jay Leno last night

Bill Maher has been making the media rounds this week as the ninth season of HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher debuts this Friday. Last night, Maher appeared on The Tonight Show and really went off on the NRA and how the Democratic Party can reclaim the patriotism mantle. Unfortunately, NBC has edited the videos they provide on The Tonight Show website, so the full interview (and the good stuff) wasn't included.

Toxic gas leaks caused by project under land

Apparently the Conservative government's strategy regarding greenhouse gas reduction is to spend billions sinking carbon dioxide from the Alberta tar sands project underground, as opposed to seeking out alternative energy sources. Well, it appears their plan might have a hitch or two.

The Winnipeg Free Press:

A Saskatchewan farm couple whose land lies over the world's largest carbon-capture and storage project says greenhouse gases leaking out are killing animals and sending groundwater foaming to the surface like shaken soda pop.

The gases were supposed to have been injected permanently underground.

Cameron and Jane Kerr own nine quarter-sections of land above the Weyburn oilfield in eastern Saskatchewan. They released a consultant's report Tuesday that links high concentrations of carbon dioxide in their soil to 6,000 tonnes of the gas injected underground every day by energy giant Cenovus (TSX:CVE) in an attempt to enhance oil recovery and fight climate change

Continue reading here.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Bill Maher on Anderson Cooper 360° last night

Bill Maher threw it down and like always, told it exactly how it is last night on Anderson Cooper 360° last night.

Arizona budget cuts and mental health services

Democracy Now!:

While federal investigators and the news media try to uncover the motivation behind Saturday’s shooting rampage in Tucson, the picture emerging of the accused gunman, Jared Lee Loughner, is of a severely disturbed 22-year-old. Loughner’s apparent mental health problems have shone a spotlight on issues surrounding mental health treatment in Arizona, which made drastic budget cuts to behavioral health services in 2010. We speak with H. Clarke Romans of the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Southern Arizona.

One year after Haiti's devastating earthquake

Will Arizona continue to relax gun laws?

Democracy Now!:

Jared Lee Loughner’s first court appearance on Monday happened to coincide with the opening of the new session of the Arizona State Legislature. Among the proposals up for debate in the new legislative session are two measures to loosen Arizona’s already lax gun laws. We speak with Dr. Matt Heinz, a Tucson-based doctor and a member of the Arizona House of Representatives.

Thousands flee Brisbane flooding

Transparency in the age of Obama

Signing the healthcare reform bill clearly was reason to smile for Democrats, as it will most likely prove to be a significant boon for some of their campaign donors

Cindy Sheehan, Opinion, Al Jazeera English:

The real debate took place behind the closed doors of the Oval Office, with a strict guest list including insurance executives and none other than the lobbyists who were supposedly being ushered out of town and back to Dodge.

Worst still, healthcare reform had miraculously overnight transformed into healthcare insurance reform, somehow the healthcare insurance industry had snagged the deal of the century, Obama had agreed to a policy that included a provision that every American had to buy healthcare insurance!

Talk of a public option, had been locked in a box, left in Dennis Kucinich's office on Capitol Hill - with the keys somewhere at the bottom of the Potomac - placed there to taunt him for the rest of his political life. I don't remember having the opportunity to tune into my local affiliate of the "I'm liberal, really I am" channel to watch that discussion, were those meetings available for view in your market?

Continue reading here.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Inside Story - The US defence budget

Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik

Democracy Now!:

The court documents filed Sunday suggest the the attempted assassination of Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona was premeditated. While the motivation for the attack remains unclear, the picture emerging of the suspect, Jared Lee Loughner, is of a severely disturbed 22-year-old with mental health issues. We speak with Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik.

Husband of Gifford makes statement on shooting

The Huffington Post:

On behalf of Gabby and our entire family, I want to extend our heartfelt gratitude to the people of Arizona and this great nation for their unbelievable outpouring of support. Gabby was doing what she loved most -- hearing from her constituents -- when this tragedy occurred. Serving Southern Arizonans is her passion, and nothing makes her more proud than representing them in Congress.

Like all Americans, we mourn the loss of Judge John M. Roll, Christina Taylor Green, Dorothy Morris, Phyllis Schneck, Dorwan Stoddard and Gabe Zimmerman, a fine man and beloved member of Gabby's team. We must never forget them, and our prayers are with their families. Our hearts go out to everyone injured yesterday; we hope and pray for their quick recovery. We also extend our thanks and appreciation to all of the first responders, medical personnel, law enforcement, and Arizona citizens who acted swiftly on Saturday and continue to assist our community through this tragedy. Many stories of heroism are emerging, and they are a source of strength for us during this difficult time. We are forever grateful.

Many of you have offered help. There is little that we can do but pray for those who are struggling. If you are inspired to make a positive gesture, consider two organizations that Gabby has long valued and supported: Tucson's Community Food Bank and the American Red Cross.

Community Food Bank
3003 S Country Club Rd # 221
Tucson, AZ 85713-4084
(520) 622-0525

American Red Cross, Southern Arizona Chapter
2916 East Broadway Boulevard
Tucson, AZ 85716
(520) 318-6740

Arizona's gun culture

Democracy Now!:

"[Arizona] is a gun state," says Tucson-based journalist Jeff Biggers. "I think we see a huge difference between the right to own a weapon to go hunting or to defend yourself and the right for mentally disturbed people to purchase semiautomatic firearms without any sort of registration or regulation." We speak to Biggers about Arizona's gun laws.

Reich disappointed in Obama the centrist

Robert Reich says the president is unwilling to take on Republicans.

The New York Times:

“If you widen the lens, the public is being sold a big lie — that our problems owe to unions and the size of government and not to fraud and deregulation and vast concentration of wealth. Obama’s failure is that he won’t challenge this Republican narrative, and give people a story that helps them connect the dots and understand where we’re going.”

Mr. Reich, 64, is one of several prominent liberal economists who despair of what they say is this president’s political caution, and his unwillingness to duel with an emboldened Republican Party.

Faced with a Republican majority in the House, Mr. Obama this week appointed Gene Sperling, a former adviser to President Bill Clinton, as director of his National Economic Council, and William M. Daley, a centrist politician turned banking executive, as his chief of staff. Mr. Daley was a member of the Third Way, a group that counsels deficit reduction, more tax cuts and perhaps trimming Social Security.

“By freezing federal salaries, by talking about deficits, by extending the Bush tax cuts, he’s legitimizing a Republican narrative,” Mr. Reich says.

“Why won’t he tell the alternative story? For three decades we’ve cut taxes on the wealthy while real wages stood still.”

Continue reading here.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Shooter may have had ties to hate group

The Huffington Post:

Washington - Jared Lee Loughner, the alleged shooter of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and others on Saturday, may have ties to anti-Semitic, anti-immigration hate group American Renaissance, according to a leaked memo from the Department of Homeland Security.

It's unclear whether Loughner maintains a direct connection to the group, however, "strong suspicion is being directed" at American Renaissance in the wake of the group being referenced in Loughner's Myspace and YouTube videos, according to the memo, which was obtained by Fox News.

American Renaissance is a white nationalist group that operates under a pseudo think tank called the New Century Foundation. The group runs a magazine and conferences based on eugenics and the superiority of whites, according to Southern Poverty Law Center

Continue reading here.

Keith Olbermann's special comment on Giffords

Well said Keith.

Headless bodies found in Mexico

More than 30,000 people have been killed since 2006, when the government began a crackdown on gangs.

Al Jazeera English:

Police find decapitated bodies and severed heads outside shopping centre in the latest grisly incident in the drug war.

Police found the bodies of 15 slain men, 14 of them decapitated, on a street outside a shopping centre in the Pacific coast resort of Acapulco.

Police in the southern state of Guerrero, where Acapulco is located, said on Saturday that handwritten signs were left with the bodies, a common calling card of Mexico's cartels

Continue reading here.

Giffords warned of Palin's target imagery

"I mean, this is a situation where -- I mean, people don't -- they really need to realize that the rhetoric and firing people up and, you know, even things, for example, we're on Sarah Palin's targeted list. But the thing is that the way that she has it depicted has the crosshairs of a gunsight over our district. When people do that, they've gotta realize there's consequences to that action."

Gabrielle Giffords slowly recovering

The Huffington Post:

Tuscon, Arizona - Rep. Gabrielle Giffords remained hospitalized Sunday as investigators sought to understand what motivated a gunman to carry out an assassination attempt on the Democratic lawmaker in a rampage that killed six people.

Doctors treating Giffords provided an optimistic update Sunday about her chances for survival, saying they are "very, very encouraged" by her ability to respond to simple commands along with their success in controlling her bleeding

Continue reading here.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Israeli soldiers kill innocent man in raid

Former Gitmo commander subpoenaed for torture

Democracy Now!:

Protests are planned at the White House next week to mark the ninth anniversary of the first transfer of foreign prisoners to the U.S. military prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. Meanwhile, the Center for Constitutional Rights filed a request Thursday asking a Spanish court to subpoena the former commanding officer at Guantánamo Bay, Major General Geoffrey Miller, over the alleged torture of four Guantánamo prisoners. Last month, CCR also asked another Spanish judge to prosecute six former Bush administration officials who authored the legal memos authorizing the torture of foreign prisoners.

Breaking: Democratic Congresswoman shot

A very disturbing breaking news story: Arizona Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords has been reportedly shot in the head at a Safeway grocery store in Tucson, Arizona. Congresswoman Giffords was included in Sarah Palin's infamous and despicable target map.


Giffords was talking to a couple when the suspect ran up firing indiscriminately and then ran off, Michaels said. According to other witnesses, he was tackled by a bystander and taken into custody.

Tucson Citizen:

Rep. Giffords was shot "point blank in the head."

The Huffington Post:

According to KOLD, a Tucson CBS affiliate, the shooting occurred just after 10:00 AM local time at a Safeway grocery store. KOLD has not confirmed that Rep. Giffords was shot.

NPR reports that Giffords was shot at a public event at a grocery store in Tucson, Ariz. Peter Michaels of of Arizona Public Media tells NPR that at least five others, including staff, were hurt as well.

Obama picks another Wall Street executive

Democracy Now!:

President Obama appointed William Daley, a top financial executive and former Clinton administration official, as his new White House chief of staff. Daley is the Midwest chair of JPMorgan Chase, a board member of Merck, and former head of SBC. Obama will also reportedly name former Goldman Sachs consultant Gene Sperling to head the National Economic Council. We speak with Ari Berman of The Nation magazine.

Harper relied on few complaints to scrap census

The Toronto Star:

Ottawa — The Conservative government listened to only a relative handful of Canadians — including conspiracy theorists afraid the government was going to round them up — before scrapping the mandatory long-form census, according to documents obtained by the Toronto Star.

Canadians were unhappy with so-called intrusive questions, the aggravation of filling it out and even a few were convinced the census was part of a government plot, according to Statistics Canada documents obtained under Access to Information.

But there is virtually no overwhelming evidence in the Statistics Canada documents to support the government’s contention of widespread privacy concerns — the very argument it used this summer to kill the mandatory long-form census.

Continue reading here.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Thousands of dead turtle doves fall from sky in Italy

The Huffington Post:

On Wednesday, GeaPress reported hundreds -- possibly thousands -- of dead and dying birds in Italy. Countless turtle doves were found scattered in the streets, in flower beds and hanging tragically from trees "like Christmas balls" in the town of Faenza. Many of the birds that fell dead from the sky were discovered with a mysterious blue stain in their beaks.

In the past week, similar incidents of mass animal deaths have been reported across the world. Thousands of dead birds fell from the sky in Arkansas on New Year's Eve, and similar incidents were reported on different days in Louisiana, Kentucky and Sweden. Two million fish were discovered dead in Maryland, with other fish kills also reported in Brazil, New Zealand and Arkansas -- approximately 100 miles from the bird incident. 40,000 crabs washed up on England beaches in the past few days, as well.

While the events are likely unrelated, most still remain a mystery. Officials suggest fireworks are likely responsible for many of the bird deaths and that unusually cold weather could be to blame for the strange mass deaths of fish and crabs.

GeaPress suggests that the blue stains found in mouths of the dead and dying birds in Italy could be the result of poisoning or possibly signs of hypoxia. Both the local forest service and the WWF in Faenza have sent some of the dead birds for testing, though the results likely won't be available for at least a week.

Visit to see the shocking photos of the dead turtle doves.