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Noted with Interest, March 2014

Mar 17, 2014

* NEW * Paul Krugman wonít save us: We need a new conversation about inequality
by Thomas Frank. I've been saying this for years (though not this well). You've probably been saying this for years. EVERYONE has been saying this for years. So when are we going to stop talking and start DOING! From Salon, Feb 23, 2014. Accessed Mar 17, 2014.

tags: Noted with Interest

Noted with Interest, November 2013

Nov 26, 2013

Storybook Plutocracy
by Thomas Frank. Review of George Packer's The Unwinding. ". . . a minor masterpiece of the social-disintegration genre—a beautifully written, clinically observed story of the slow-rolling economic transformation that has, over the last 30-odd years, made vast parts of America into a destitute wasteland while lifting a fortunate few to a kind of heaven on earth. . . ." From Public Books, November 21, 2013. Accessed November 26, 2013.

Obamacare: The Biggest Insurance Scam in History
by Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers. I told you so, four years ago. Merry Christmas! From truthout, October 30, 2013. Accessed November 5, 2013.

There Are Good Alternatives to US Capitalism, But No Way to Get There
by Jerry Mander (can that name be for real?). An excerpt from his new book, The Capitalism Papers: Fatal Flaws of an Obsolete System. I disagree it is obsolete, quite the contrary, unfortunately. I will confess this, too: I love capitalism. But I love ice cream, too, and if I let ice cream have its way with me the way capitalism is having its way with the world today, a similar end would result. From AlterNet, July 24, 2013. Accessed November 5, 2013.

Imploding the Myth of Israel
by Chris Hedges. The greatest tragedy in history, following so soon after the second greatest. A two-state solution will never work; a one-state solution will never be proposed. The Jews will be fighting on and on, winning all the battles, until they lose the war (as we learned so starkly in The Gatekeepers). From truthdig.com, November 4, 2013. Accessed November 5, 2013.

tags: Noted with Interest

Noted with Interest, October 2013

Oct 30, 2013

A Summary of McMinimum Wages and McWelfare in One Hilarious Clip
by Bill Maher. So why is no movement starting up in our country? Excerpted by The Daily Unworthiest. Accessed Oct 30, 2013.

The Folly of Empire
by Chris Hedges. No one conveys the doomsday to which we are rushing like Hedges. From Truthdig.com, Oct 14, 2013. Accessed Oct 16, 2013.

Looting the Pension Funds
By Matt Taibbi. If you are a public employee, your pension is almost certainly disappearing into the pockets of the 1%. Find out how. From RollingStone, September 26, 2013. Accessed October 2, 2013.


tags: Noted with Interest

Noted with Interest, September 2013

Sep 18, 2013

Almost Half The Country Canít Afford Basic Needs
by Alan Pyke. The line on the graph is disturbingly straight and steep. Have we passed the halfway mark in 2013? From thinkprogress.com, Sep 18, 2013. Accessed Sep 18, 2013.

Everything Wrong with America in One Simple Image
by Justin Rosario. An eye-opening graphic and a stunning video of Jeff Daniels ("Why America Is NOT the Greatest Country in the World, Anymore"). I would like to see some verification on the graphic. If it is true, it is truly appalling. From AddictingInfo.org, Sep 13, 2013. Accessed Sep 14, 2013.

Left With Nothing
By Michael Sallah, Debbie Cenziper, Steven Rich. They want it all—your money AND your life. And they'll get it. From The Washington Post, Sep 8, 2013. Accessed Sep 12, 2013.

Cornel West and the Fight to Save the Black Prophetic Tradition
by Chris Hedges. Okay, brothers and sisters, he's an eccentric. However, he is also the genuine article. Where else today can we hear the echoes of King? From Truthdig, Sep 9, 2013. Accessed Sep 12, 2013.

Poverty Has Same Effect On The Brain As Constantly Pulling All Nighters
By Bryce Covert. End Poverty Now! We can do it. From ThinkProgress, August 30, 2013. Accessed September 1, 2013.

The Expendables: How the Temps Who Power Corporate Giants Are Getting Crushed
by Michael Grabell. The "migrantizing" of the American work force. More and more of us are waiting at proverbial street corners, wondering if we'll go to work today. From Pro Publica, June 27, 2013. Accessed September 1, 2013.

9 out of 10 Americans Are Completely Wrong About This Mind-Blowing Fact
By "Politzane." Income inequality: Way worse than you think. Linked at Upworthy (Adam Mordecai), undated. Accessed Sep 1, 2013.

tags: Noted with Interest

Noted with Interest, August 2013

Aug 25, 2013

The Comforts of the Apocalypse
By Rob Goodman. Much food for thought. Why are we here? Where are we going? What does it all mean? From The Chronical of Higher Education, Aug 19, 2013. Accessed Aug 25, 2013.

The Blip
By Benjamin Wallace-Wells. What if everything we've come to think of as American is predicated on a freak coincidence of economic history? And what if that coincidence has run its course? (And note the Comments.) From New York Magazine, Jul 21, 2013. Accessed Aug 1, 2013.

UK Report Recommends Author Payments for Library Ebook Lending
By Ian Clark. The UK is way ahead of us in bringing eBooks to public libraries, though even they still have a long way to go. From Library Journal, Aug 1, 2013. Accessed Aug 2, 2013.


tags: Noted with Interest

Noted with Interest, March 2013

Mar 31, 2013
How is it we can live with ourselves while children die of preventable disease, starvation, and abuse? How is it we can live with ourselves when in our own land of plenty men and women are forced to work for less than they need to live decently, by employers who reap billions from their labor and who live in luxuriant circumstances unimagined by the most profligate potentates in history? How is it we can live with ourselves in a country which every day massacres innocent women and children in a misguided, dollar-driven assault on the whole world? How is it we can live with ourselves in a society where we need full-time armed guards patrolling our school corridors? How can we live with ourselves when we see the deficit rising to over a trillion dollars a year and the climate deteriorating in front of us and not only do nothing to ameliorate these impending train wrecks, but instead do everything we can to bring them about as soon as possible? How can we let, how DO we let, all of this happen, when we have the power to stop it?

We are a “not caring” people, not an “uncaring” people. However, is there, finally, any difference between the two? I think when someone figures this out, how we can tolerate these states of affairs, indeed even consciously and willingly abet and worsen them, we will have discovered the defining attribute of our species. Because no other species has this awareness and should it be miraculously visited upon the dog, the elephant, or the dolphin, who could imagine their being co-conspirators in such enormities?

* NEW * George Carlin on the New World Order
No one told it like it is like George Carlin: “...There’s a reason education sucks and there’s a reason that it will never, ever, ever be fixed ... Because the owners of this country don’t want that ... They spend billions of dollars every year lobbying, lobbying to get what they want. Well, we know what they want. They want more for themselves and less for everybody else ... They don’t want well-informed, well-educated people capable of critical thinking ... They want people who are just smart enough to run the machines and do the paperwork and just dumb enough to passively accept all these increasingly shittier jobs with the lower pay, the longer hours, the reduced benefits, the end of overtime, and the vanishing pension that disappears the minute you go to collect it, and now they’re comin’ for your Social Security money ... And you know something? They’ll get it ... The game is rigged, and nobody seems to notice, nobody seems to care ... It’s called the American Dream, because you have to be asleep to believe it.” From YouTube. Accessed March 31, 2013.

Before Greed: Americans Didn’t Always Yearn for Riches
By Richard White. From Boston Review, Jan/Feb 2013. Accessed March 20, 2013.


tags: Noted with Interest

Noted with Interest, August 2012

Aug 31, 2012

Whoops!: Why Everyone Owes Everyone and No One Can Pay, by John Lanchester, Allen Lane/Penguin, 2010
I had to send along this excerpt from the great John Lanchester’s book on the financial meltdown:
“For several decades after the second world war the western liberal democracies devoted themselves to the question of how to harness capitalism’s potential for economic growth to the political imperative to provide better lives for ordinary people. The jet engine of capitalism was harnessed to the ox cart of social justice. This was the cause of much bleating from the advocates of pure capitalism, but the effect was that the western liberal democracies became the most admirable societies that the world has ever seen. Not the most admirable we can imagine, and not perfect; but the best humanity had as yet been able to achieve. Then the Wall came down, and to various extents the governments of the west began to abandon the social-justice aspect of the general post-war project. The jet engine was unhooked from the ox cart and allowed to roar off at its own speed. The result was an unprecedented boom, which had two big things wrong with it: it wasn’t fair and it wasn’t sustainable.”

Greed and Debt: The True Story of Mitt Romney and Bain Capital
By Matt Taibbi. Matt takes on Mitt, raining on Romney's parade, in a piece released a week early to coincide with the Republican convention. From Rollingstone, August 29, 2012. Accessed August 29, 2012.

tags: Noted with Interest

Noted with Interest, June 2012

Jun 03, 2012

* NEW * How corporate socialism destroys
By David Cay Johnston. Taxpayers are providing the capital for corporate projects, taking on the risk inherent in such ventures, and not participating in the profits, which all go to the corporations. This is corporate socialism at its worst. From Reuters, Jun 1, 2012. Accessed Jun 3, 2012.

tags: Noted with Interest

Noted with Interest, April 2012

Apr 22, 2012

A Dangerous Mind?
By Andrew F. March. RIP First Amendment. Torture, endless war, presidential privilege to murder citizens without judicial review, the end of free speech. Truly, 9/11 destroyed far more than the Twin Towers. It destroyed the American soul. From The New York Times, Apr 21, 2012. Accessed Apr 22, 2012.

Florida. How Soon We Forget.
By Erika Wood. The Republicans, at least in Florida, will stop at nothing to deny the vote to likely supporters of the Democratic ticket. We should be encouraging everyone to vote, not doing this. From the New York Times, Apr 5, 2012. Accessed Apr 6, 2012.


tags: Noted with Interest

Noted with Interest, March 2012

Mar 24, 2012

* NEW * Education woes linked to national security
By Kimberly Hefling. Seventy-five percent of our young adults are disqualified from military service because they are physically unfit, have criminal records, or have been inadequately educated. That's three out of four. And we're "Number One"? From Associated Press, Mar 20, 2012. Accessed Mar 23, 2012.

The White Savior Industrial Complex
By Teju Cole. He's not dissing Kristof so much as reminding the rest of us why Kristof is necessary: Because the worst excesses of colonialism are still with us, today delivered by such as the IMF and World Bank. And Kristof and other White Saviors (read Jolie, Clooney, Farrow, et al.) are missing, or ignoring, that point. From The Atlantic, Mar 21, 2012. Accessed Mar 21, 2012.

Age of Ignorance
By Charles Simic. Read the Comments. They are almost as good as the article. From New York Review of Books, Mar 20, 2012. Accessed Mar 20, 2012.

The Difference Between Private and Public Morality
By Robert Reich. Get distracted enough about irrelevant social issues (It's none of your business, Buddy!) and you won't notice them picking your pocket. From The Huffington Post, Mar 14, 2012. Accessed Mar 14, 2012.

Dennis Kucinich and “wackiness”
By Glenn Greenwald. Our Congress has lost its last sane voice, and as he fades from view, so-called liberals nip at his heels. From Salon.com, Mar 10, 2012. Accessed Mar 10, 2012.

Realities of a Syrian Intervention
By Col. Gian P. Gentile. A sober assessment of the consequences of intervention in Syria. From The National Interest, Mar 2, 2012. Accessed Mar 3, 2012.


tags: Noted with Interest

Noted with Interest, February 2012

Feb 29, 2012

Don’t tell us it’s not a class war
By Gerald Caplan. He evokes Naomi Klein’s classic Shock Doctrine, and shows how it pertains to the present. From The Globe and Mail (Canada), Feb 24, 2012. Accessed Feb 29, 2012.


Capitalism And Its Discontents: Richard Wolff On What Went Wrong
by David Barsamian. “When a system has everybody playing more or less by the rules and achieves the level of dysfunction we have now, it’s time to stop looking for scapegoats and understand that the problem is the system itself.” Hear, hear! Pardon me if I feel vindicated by this cogent, crystal-clear dissection of our current mess. From The Sun, Feb 2012. Accessed Feb 28, 2012.


The “Undue Weight” of Truth on Wikipedia
By Timothy Messer-Kruse. I like Wikipedia, and many of us rely on it. However, it is important to remember from time to time just where the articles come from and how they are maintained. Here is a credible, true-life story of a man who discovered that reliability was more important than truth on Wikipedia. It was an eye-opener for me. From The Chronicle of Higher Education, Feb 12, 2012. Accessed Feb 15, 2012.


All together now: Montaigne and the art of co-operation
by Richard Sennett. The Comments on this article are as interesting as the article itself, perhaps more so. It is an essay, and a sentiment, in support of what I have been writing about here since 2008. From The Guardian, Feb 10, 2012. Accessed Feb 15, 2012.


Contraception’s Con Men
by Garry Wills. In the wake of the recent flap over contraception coverage in health plans, Wills disassembles the opposition arguments one by one. From The New York Review of Books, Feb 15, 2012. Accessed Feb 15, 2012.

tags: Noted with Interest

Noted with Interest, January 2012

Jan 11, 2012

The Global War Against Baby Girls
By Nicholas Eberstadt. The ultimate expression of misogyny, ultimately suicidal. From The New Atlantis, No. 33, Fall 2011. Accessed Jan 12, 2012.

How Would You Like to Be in a Military Prison...Forever?
By Michael R. Hicks. The National Defense Authorization Act (signed by Obama on Dec 31) essentially sets aside constitutional protections for U.S.citizens. Accessed Jan 8, 2012.

Iowa: The Meaningless Sideshow Begins
by Matt Taibbi: “It’s the same old ritual, but I just don’t think it’s going to fly the same way this time around.” Let us hope not. From RollingStone Politics, Jan 3, 2012. Accessed Jan 3, 2012.

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Noted with Interest, December 2011

Dec 08, 2011

She's Alive... Beautiful... Finite... Hurting... Worth Dying for
By Vivek Chauhan. Accessed Dec 8, 2011.

The brutal logic of climate change
By David Roberts. Your grandchildren are doomed. From grist, Dec 5, 2011. Accessed Dec 7, 2011.

First Nations taxation
By Anonymous. Okay, it's a blog post about a fairly obscure Canadian issue, but this writer reminded me of the great I.F. Stone. From ‚pihtawikosis‚n, Dec 3, 2011. Accessed Dec 5, 2011.

Where Were You When They Crucified My Lord?
By Chris Hedges. Well, where were you? From truthdig.com, Dec 5, 2011. Accessed Dec 5, 2011.

Guantanamo for US citizens? Senate bill raises questions.
By Brad Knickerbocker. Repression by legislation, or, Hey, Dude, Where's My Constitution? From The Christian Science Monitor, Dec 3, 2011. Accessed Dec 3, 2011.

tags: Noted with Interest

Noted with Interest, November 2011

Nov 30, 2011

One Nation, Under Arms
By Todd S. Purdum. The release of George Kennan’s personal papers has been a revelation: “What is being done to our country today is surely something from which we will never be able to restore the sort of a country you and I have known.” From Vanity Fair, January 2012. Accessed November 30, 2011.

This Is What Revolution Looks Like
By Chris Hedges. As the parks are cleared by the forces of the corporatocracy, Hedges sees victory on the horizon. From Truthdig.com, Nov 15, 2011. Accessed Nov 15, 2011.

Breathing New Life Into Our Democracy: Part I of III
By Deborah Coyne. From Canadians Without Borders, undated. See also Part II and Part III. Accessed November 12, 2011.

Wall Street Isn’t Winning—It’s Cheating
by Matt Taibbi. From Rolling Stone, October 25, 2011. Accessed November 7, 2011.

Finding Freedom in Handcuffs
by Chris Hedges. From Truthdig.com, November 7, 2011. Accessed November 7, 2011.

tags: Noted with Interest

Noted with Interest, October 2011

Oct 17, 2011

A Movement Too Big to Fail
by Chris Hedges. From Truthdig.org, Oct 17, 2011. Accessed Oct 17, 2011.

The Declaration of the Occupation of New York City: An Approved Message from the General Assembly
Via Jennifer Cusano. From Elephant Journal.com, Oct 4, 2011. Accessed Oct 8, 2011.

The Big Picture: A 40-Year Scan of the Right-Wing Corporate Takeover of America
by Don Hazen and Colin Greer. From AlterNet, Oct 3, 2011. Accessed Oct 4, 2011.

tags: Noted with Interest

Noted with Interest, September 2011

Sep 07, 2011

Goodbye to All That: Reflections of a GOP Operative Who Left the Cult
by Mike Lofgren. A must-read from a disenchanted, long-time DC staffer. From truthout.org, September 3, 2011. Accessed September 7, 2011, 2011.

The Limping Middle Class
By Robert Reich. A summary of exactly what has been happening to us for the past 30 years, and where to go from here. From the New York Times, September 3, 2011. Accessed September 4, 2011.

A Crisis in Confidence
By Deborah Coyne. These lessons from a “good governance” pundit from north of the border may be too little too late. However, they nevertheless are wise words the entire developed world—currently coming apart at the seams—should heed. From Canadians Without Borders, August 19, 2011. Accessed September 4, 2011. See Also, Part II, Part III, and Part IV.


tags: Noted with Interest

Noted with Interest, August 2011

Aug 30, 2011

Letter from Prison: Tim DeChristopher Speaks
DeChristopher is in prison for two years for disrupting a government oil lease giveaway, excuse me, auction, which was later declared incorrectly administered. From Grist.org, August 29, 2011. Accessed August 30, 2011.

The Election March of the Trolls
By Chris Hedges. From Truthdig.com, August 29, 2011. Accessed August 29 , 2011.

Lost in the Debt Ceiling Debate: The Legal Duty to Create Jobs
By Jeanne Mirer and Marjorie Cohn. Your right to work--it’s the law! From War Is A Crime.org, August 11, 2011. Accessed August 27, 2011.

Our Politics Are Sick
By Kurt Andersen. Cogently presented, but without reference to the three great crosses we bear: racism, homophobia, and misogyny. From the New York Times, August 19, 2011. Accessed August 20, 2011.

The best way to fight the two-party monopoly
By Michael Lind. I’m not sure the author provides the answer promised in the title, but it is worth the read anyway. From Salon.com, August 9, 2011. Accessed August 9, 2011.

What Happened to Obama?
by Drew Westen. From the New York Times, August 6, 2011. Accessed August 7, 2011.

tags: Noted with Interest

Noted with Interest, July 2011

Jul 24, 2011

Tim DeChristopher and the feds
By Bill McKibben. How to make a martyr. From The Salt Lake Tribune, Jul 23, 2011. Accessed Jul 24, 2011.

The sound of libraries suffocating
How to kill a golden goose. From the Santa Maria Times, July 5, 2011. Accessed July 24, 2011.

tags: Noted with Interest

Noted with Interest, June 2011

Jun 20, 2011

This Hero Didn’t Stand a Chance
by Chris Hedges. Tim DeChristopher will be sentenced on July 26. From Truthdig.com, Jun 20, 2011. Accessed Jun 20, 2011.

No Justice in Kafka’s America
by Chris Hedges. From Truthdig.com, June 12, 2011. Accessed June 18, 2011.

tags: Noted with Interest

Noted with Interest, May 2011

May 31, 2011

The American Dream
by George Carlin. You better believe it. From YouTube, 2005. Accessed May 31, 2011.

The Sky Really Is Falling
By Chris Hedges. “We’ve already guaranteed ourselves a miserable century. The question is whether it’s going to be an impossible one.” From Truthdig.com, May 30, 2011. Accessed May 30, 2011.

Why Liberal Sellouts Attack Prophets Like Cornel West
By Chris Hedges. From Truthdig.com, May 23, 2011. Accessed May 23, 2011.

Faulty Towers: The Crisis in Higher Education
By William Deresiewicz. Amazing how similar this crisis sounds to all the others that are happening to us. A brilliant summation. From The Nation, May 4, 2011. Accessed May 13, 2011.

tags: Noted with Interest

Noted with Interest, April 2011

Apr 25, 2011

The Corporate State Wins Again
By Chris Hedges. No it has not! We must take a stand. We will take a stand. And we will win. From Truthdig.com, Apr 25, 2011. Accessed Apr 25, 2011.

The Straight Dope: Bill Moyers Interviews David Simon
The creator of The Wire tells it like it is. From Guernica, April 2011. Accessed April 14, 2011.

Why the United States Is Destroying Its Education System
By Chris Hedges. How education has lost its way in America. From Truthdig.com. Accessed Apr 11, 2011.

Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%
Whaddaya know? Joe Stiglitz agrees with me. Self-interest means taking care of the next guy! The Golden Rule isn’t altruistic—it’s a survival tactic. by Joseph Stiglitz, from Vanity Fair, May 2011, accessed April 11, 2011.

tags: Noted with Interest

Noted with Interest, March 2011

Mar 28, 2011

The Collapse of Globalization
by Chris Hedges. From Truthdig.com, Mar 27, 2011. Accessed Mar 28, 2011.

Losing Our Way
by Bob Herbert, who is leaving the Times (this is his last column). First Frank Rich, then Bob Herbert. How soon before the last two decently liberal voices, Kristof and Krugman, are gone? From The New York Times, Mar 25, 2011. Accessed Mar 28, 2011.

This Time We’re Taking the Whole Planet with Us
by Chris Hedges. From Truthdig.com, Mar 7, 2011. Accessed Mar 8, 2011.

Armies of Expensive Lawyers, Replaced by Cheaper Software
By John Markoff. Who needs globalization? The non-managerial middle class can be replaced by an Intel chip. From the New York Times, Mar 4, 2011. Accessed Mar 8, 2011.

Degrees and Dollars
By Paul Krugman. Krugman’s take on the previous item. From the New York Times, Mar 6, 2011. Accessed Mar 8, 2011.

2011 Annual Letter from Bill Gates
By Bill Gates, undated. Well worth a read. From the Gates Foundation. Accessed Mar 8, 2011.

Unintended but Sound Advice
By Bob Herbert. We hang together, or we hang separately. Which do you think is happening today? From The New York Times, Feb 28, 2011. Accessed Mar 1, 2011.

tags: Noted with Interest

Noted with Interest, February 2011

Feb 28, 2011

No Other Way Out
by Chris Hedges. March 19—Our next opportunity to act our conscience. From Truthdig.com, Feb 28, 2011. Accessed Feb 28, 2011.

Recognizing the Language of Tyranny
By Chris Hedges. From Truthdig.com, Feb 6, 2011. Accessed Feb 7, 2011.

Where Liberals Go to Feel Good
by Chris Hedges. Either you are or your aren’t. From Truthdig.com, Jan 24, 2011. Accessed Feb 5, 2011.

tags: Noted with Interest

Noted with Interest, January 2011

Jan 31, 2011

What Corruption and Force Have Wrought in Egypt
By Chris Hedges. Let’s pause in our exultation over Egypt to reflect what it really portends for the future. As usual, Hedges offers insights and warnings we would be wise to attend. From Truthdig.com, Jan 30, 2011. Accessed Jan 31, 2011.

U.S. will respond to Chinese military advances: Gates
By Phil Stewart. Can you say “Arms Race”? From Reuters, Jan 8, 2011. Accessed Jan 11, 2011.

Misery with Plenty of Company
By Bob Herbert. Poverty is our greatest threat. From The New York Times, Jan 7, 2010. Accessed Jan 11, 2011.

Even Lost Wars Make Corporations Rich
By Chris Hedges. “Either you stand for something or you do not.” From Truthdig.com, Jan 10, 2010. Accessed Jan 11, 2011.

Gallup: Only 31% Say They’re Dems—Tied for Lowest Level in 22 Years
By Jon Terbush. There are now more self-proclaimed Independents than either Democrats or Republicans. Can you say “Third Party”? From Talking Points Memo, Jan 6, 2011. Accessed Jan 7, 2011.

“The Left Has Nowhere to Go”
By Chris Hedges. “If you were one of the millions who backed down in the voting booth in 2008, don’t do it again....” From Truthdig.com, Jan 3, 2011. Accessed Jan 3, 2011.

New Year’s Prediction
By Robert Reich. Read it and weep. Then let’s get mad and get going. From The Huffington Post, Dec 30, 2010. Accessed Jan 1, 2011.

U.S. Approved Business with Blacklisted Nations
By Jo Becker. Lie down with dogs... From The New York Times, Dec 23, 2010. Accessed Jan 1, 2011.

tags: Noted with Interest

Noted with Interest, December 2010

Dec 27, 2010

Help Stop Destruction of the Free Internet Now
By Eliot D. Cohen. Net neutrality is dead. Look for censorship, mainstream media dominance of the bandwidth, increased government surveillance, pricing by download, etc. Act together and act now: Go offline between 2 and 3 pm Eastern Time on New Year's Day. From Truthdig.com, Dec 26, 2010. Accessed Dec 27, 2010.

2011: A Brave New Dystopia
by Chris Hedges. Happy New Year. From Truthdig.com, Dec 27, 2010. Accessed Dec 27, 2010.

How to Be President in a Fact-Free America
by Gary Young. Wise words from across the pond. From The Nation, Jan 3, 2011. Accessed Dec 18, 2010, 2010.

Obama Threatens Social Security,
by William Greider, from The Nation, Dec 9, 2010. Accessed Dec 11, 2010.

In Defense of Government
by Kai Wright. From The Nation, Dec 6, 2010. Accessed Dec 8, 2010.

From Jefferson to Assange
by Robert Scheer. If we abandon Assange, we abandon democracy. From Truthdig.com, Dec 7, 2010. Accessed Dec 8, 2010.

Happy as a Hangman
by Chris Hedges. We are all complicit. From Truthdig.com, Dec 6, 2010. Accessed Dec 7, 2010.

tags: Noted with Interest

Noted with Interest, November 2010

Nov 30, 2010

* NEW * Real Hope Is About Doing Something
by Chris Hedges. Where will you be on December 16? From Truthdig.com, Nov 29, 2010. Accessed Nov 30, 2010.

Power and the Tiny Acts of Rebellion
By Chris Hedges. From Truthdig.com, November 22, 2010. Accessed November 26, 2010.

This ain’t no banana republic
By W.W. A debate on the effect of income inequality in the U.S., from one of the last remaining serious mainstream media venues. Be sure to read the Reader Recommended comments. From The Economist, November 19, 2010. Accessed November 20, 2010.

The Origin of America’s Intellectual Vacuum
By Chris Hedges. We don’t need communism, but we do need to bring these ideas back. From Truthdig.com, November 15, 2010. Accessed November 19, 2010.

The Phantom Left
By Chris Hedges. From Truthdig.com, Oct 31, 2010. Accessed Nov 2, 2010.

tags: Noted with Interest

Noted with Interest, October 2010

Oct 21, 2010

John Robertsís America
By Timothy Egan. How the Citizens United decision has taken political power away from the individual and transferred it to the corporatocracy. From The New York Times, October 20, 2010. Accessed October 21, 2010.

Mortgage Damage Spreads: Big Bank Stocks Hit Again as Modern Finance Collides with the Legal System
Headline from the Wall Street Journal, October 16-17, 2010. Oh, that fuddy-duddy legal system. Oh, that old stick-in-the-mud morality.

Barbarians at the Gate
by Eric Alterman. We seek, in vain, for an explanation of how the American political scene has imploded. Alterman offers some insight, though when he calls the Tea Party/Fox News/Gingrich talk “crazy” I believe he misses the point. Crazy like a fox. From the Nation, October 6, 2010, accessed Oct 12, 2010.

How Democracy Dies: Lessons from a Master
by Chris Hedges. From truthdig.com, October 11, 2010. Accessed October 12, 2010.

tags: Noted with Interest

Noted with Interest, September 2010

Sep 29, 2010

Retribution for a World Lost in Screens
By Chris Hedges. From Truthdig.com, September 27, 2010. Accessed September 29, 2010.

Dear Angry American, Joining the Tea Party is NOT Your Only Option
By Arianna Huffington. From The Huffington Post, Septemper 22, 2010. Accessed September 26, 2010.

Seven Reasons I Really Dislike Public Education Reform
By Jim Taylor. And good reasons, all. The problem is not primarily in our schools; it is in our society. From Psychology Today, August 16, 2010. Accessed August 22, 2010.

Do Not Pity the Democrats
By Chris Hedges. Looking for the tipping point. From Truthdig.com, Sep 13, 2010. Accessed Sep 13, 2010.

tags: Noted with Interest

Noted with Interest, August 2010

Aug 21, 2010

Top Ten Facts about Society Security on the Program’s 75th Anniversary
The most successful federal program in history, and Republicans want it to go away. Why? Because the dollars are not going into the pockets of the corporatocracy. From Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Aug 13, 2010. Accessed August 22, 2010.

Too Long Ignored
By Bob Herbert. Do we have to wait for firebombs through our living room windows before we understand that this situation threatens us all, that the alleviation of black hopelessness in the U.S. does not require compassion, but merely a healthy sense of self-interest? And be sure to read the Reader Recommended comments on this column. From the New York Times, Aug 20, 2010. Accessed Aug 21, 2010.

The Jobs Crisis: What Hit Us?
By Bob Burnett. Note “the three malignant notions.” They are still with us. And when will Burnett’s important point, that “creating wealth for a handful of CEOs isn’t consistent with the national interest” finally be understood by the electorate? From The Huffington Post, Aug 13, 2010. Accessed Aug 21, 2010.

The Horror Show
By Bob Herbert. “You cannot allow joblessness on this scale to fester.” From the New York Times, Aug 10, 2010. Accessed Aug 21, 2010.

Video: Flash mob erupts in West Seattle Target
By Amy Rolph (with YouTube video link). And don’t miss this video of a musical protest at a Seattle Target store that contributed $150,000 to a corporate-picked, homophobic candidate for governor of Minnesota. Young people, putting their safety and their futures on the line for a cause! Can we bring back the 60s, even without a draft? From Seattlepi Blogs, undated entry. Accessed Aug 21, 2010.

tags: Noted with Interest

Noted with Interest, July 2010

Jul 24, 2010

Calling All Future-Eaters
by Chris Hedges. Having a warm summer? Probably just a fluke. From truthdig.com, Jul 19, 2010. Accessed Jul 24, 2010.

Obama’s Health Care Bill Is Enough to Make Your Sick
by Chris Hedges. Let us take a close look at this 2,000-page bill. Anything that long has to be suspect. From Truthdig.com, Jul 12, 2010. Accessed Jul 14, 2010.


tags: Noted with Interest

Noted with Interest, June 2010

Jun 19, 2010

A ‘Prophecy’ Worth Watching
By Chris Hedges. The decline of theatre—yet another aspect of a vibrant democracy which is passing from the scene. From Truthdig.com, June 13, 2010. Accessed June 19, 2010.

Rebooting the world: a job for a new generation
By Dan Tapscott. Just don’t blame us. From The Globe and Mail (Toronto), undated. Accessed June 17, 2010.

Last Chance, Mr. President, to Go Big and Go Left
By Peter Daou. Of course, he didn’t. From Huffington Post, June 14, 2010. Accessed June 16, 2010.

The Christian Fascists Are Growing Stronger
By Chris Hedges. The barbarians are at the gates, and the next terrorist or financial outrage could put them at the helm. The time to act is now! From Truthdig.com, Jun 7, 2010. Accessed June 12, 2010.

Is There a Global War between Financial Theocracy and Democracy?
By Les Leopold. Why are so many of us saying the same thing (though not always as eloquently as Leopold), and so little seems to be being done? From Huffington Post, June 11, 2010. Accessed June 11, 2010.

This Country Needs a Few Good Communists
By Chris Hedges. From Truthdig.com, May 31, 2010. Accessed June 5, 2010.


tags: Noted with Interest

Noted with Interest, May 2010

May 27, 2010

Trading Apathy for Action
by Deborah Coyne. A wise and empathic Canadian writes a call to action that we should be heeding as well. From Canadians Without Borders, April 9, 2010. Accessed May 26, 2010.

The Greeks Get It
by Chris Hedges. Following what ought to be instead of what is. The time has come for radicalization. It can still be done at the ballot box. We just have to wake up, America! From Truthdig.com, May 24, 2010. Accessed May 26, 2010.

Cuts to Child Care Subsidy Thwart More Job Seekers
By Peter S. Goodman. As government shrinks, and our taxes continue to be shifted to war and corporate welfare, look for business to begin offering sweatshop wages. From The New York Times, May 23, 2010. Accessed May 25, 2010.

What Soldiers at War Can Teach Us About Surviving Financial Warfare
By Arianna Huffington. All Together Now at the grassroots. But we still need to legislate a living wage and guaranteed employment. From the Huffington Post, May 20, 2010. Accessed May 22, 2010.

BP and the ‘Little Eichmanns’
by Chris Hedges. The most eloquent Cassandra we have today. From Truthdig.com, May 17, 2010. Accessed May 19, 2010.

After Religion Fizzles, We’re Stuck with Nietzsche
By Chris Hedges. From Truthdig.com, May 9, 2010. Accessed May 13, 2010.

No One Cares
By Chris Hedges. The Corporatocracy reigns supreme. From Truthdig.com, winner of this year’s Webby Award for Political Blogs, May 3, 2010. Accessed May 5, 2010.


tags: Noted with Interest

Noted With Interest, April 2010

Apr 28, 2010

The New Secessionists
By Chris Hedges. Vermont is among the two dozen states contemplating secession, and it surely has its most eloquent defender in Thomas Naylor. From Truthdig.com, April 26, 2010. Accessed April 28, 2010.

Young Superheroes in a Hut
by Nicholas Kristof. The way we let some people live. From the New York Times, April 10, 2010. Accessed April 13, 2010.

15 Mind-Blowing Facts About Wealth and Inequality in America
Graphic depiction of the greatest threat facing our democracy. From Business Insider, undated. Accessed April 10, 2010.

Is America ‘Yearning for Fascism’?
by Chris Hedges. It CAN happen here. From Truthdig.com, Mar 29, 2010. Accessed Apr 4, 2010.


tags: Noted with Interest

Noted With Interest, March 2010

Mar 28, 2010

The Rage Is Not About Health Care
By Frank Rich. Excellent diagnosis of the March Madness. The Republicans—their politicians and their pundits—are fomenting rebellion with their hysteria, and are treading dangerously close to advocating the overthrow of the government by force and violence. From the New York Times, Mar 27, 2009. Accessed Mar 28, 2010.

The Health Care Hindenburg Has Landed
By Chris Hedges. Dissecting Kucinich’s defection. From Truthdig.com, Mar 22, 2010. Accessed Mar 27, 2010.

Calling All Rebels
by Chris Hedges. Answer the call! From Truthdig.com, March 8, 2010. Accessed March 12, 2010.

Ralph Nader Was Right About Obama
by Chris Hedges. Another eloquent call for a third party. From Truthdig.com, Mar 1, 2010. Accessed Mar 4, 2010.

tags: Noted with Interest

Noted with Interest, February 2010

Feb 28, 2010

We Can’t Wish Away Climate Change
by Al Gore. Into how deep a circle of hell will be condemn the next generation? From the New York Times, Feb 27, 2010. Accessed Feb 28, 2010.

Chris Hedges on ‘The Death and Life of American Journalism’
Pulitzer Prize-winner Hedges reviews the new book by Robert W. McChesney and John Nichols, and fears their solutions for reversing the decline of American journalism come too late. From Truthdig.com, Feb 26, 2010. Accessed Feb 27, 2010.

Boycott FedEx
by Chris Hedges. FedEx: The poster child for what is wrong with American labor. From Truthdig.com, Feb 22, 2010. Accessed Feb 25, 2010.

The Information Super-Sewer
by Chris Hedges. Have we created a monster? From Truthdig.com, Feb 15, 2010. Accessed Feb 18, 2010.

Obama vs. Obama
by Michael Brenner. Let the post-mortem begin. From the Huffington Post, Feb 12, 2010. Accessed Feb 12, 2010.

The Creed of Objectivity Killed the News
by Chris Hedges, whom we all should be reading. “The symbiotic relationship between the press and the power elite worked for nearly a century. It worked as long as our power elite, no matter how ruthless or insensitive, was competent. But once our power elite became incompetent and morally bankrupt, the press, along with the power elite, lost its final vestige of credibility.” From Truthdig.com. Accessed , 2010.

tags: Noted with Interest

Noted with Interest, January 2010

Jan 28, 2010

A Radical Treasure
by Bob Herbert. The best eulogy I have found for Howard Zinn. From the New York Times, Jan 29, 2010. Accessed Jan 30, 2010.

Democracy in America is a Useful Fiction
by Chris Hedges. The war is over, and we lost. From Truthdig.com, Jan 24, 2010. Accessed Jan 27, 2010.

After the Massachusetts Massacre
by Frank Rich. Another excellent take on where we go after Massachusetts. From the New York Times, Jan 23, 2010. Accessed Jan 26, 2010.

Highlighted Reader Comments on the Supreme Court Corporate Campaign Funding Story
Some memorable comments from the people. From the New York Times, Jan 21, 2010. Accessed Jan 24, 2010.

Swept off our feet
by Brian McGrory. Another brilliant post-mortem on Massachusetts. From Boston.com, Jan 20, 2010. Accessed Jan 21, 2010.

Obama Finally Gets His Victory for Bipartisanship
by Drew Weston. One man’s cogent post-mortem on the Massachusetts Senate election. From The Huffington Post, Jan 20, 2010. Accessed Jan 20, 2010.

Greg Mortenson Interviewed by Bill Moyers
if you haven’t read the books or know the man, this is a great introduction. From Bill Moyers Journal, Jan 15, 2010. Accessed Jan 17, 2010.

Wall Street Will Be Back for More
By Chris Hedges. And more and more and more. From Truthdig.com, Jan 10, 2010. Accessed Jan 16, 2010.

A Farm for The Future
Is there a farm in your future? From Natural World via Google Videos, undated. Accessed Jan 16, 2010.

Reducing America’s Economic Polarization Will Lead to Political Comity
By Robert Creamer. Not to mention leading to a measure of social justice we have almost entirely abandoned since the Reagan Revolution. From the Huffington Post, Jan 4, 2010. Accessed Jan 4, 2010.

“Food Rules”: A Completely Different Way to Fix the Health Care Crisis
By Michael Pollan. If we are going to finally get going on fixing the health care crisis, let’s start at the start—fixing the dreadful way we eat! From the Huffington Post, Jan 4, 2010. Accessed Jan 4, 2010.

Beware the Progressive Democrat
By Helen Redmond. As the final health care vote approaches, eloquent voices for progressive change, such as Redmond’s and Hamsher’s below, are raised in a howl of protest.From . Accessed , 2010.

Criticising the President on Health Care is “Naderite” and “Hurts the Progressive Agenda”
By Jane Hamsher. Big Tent, indeed. From Firedoglake, Dec 28, 2009. Accessed Jan 1, 2010.

A Most Meaningful Gift Idea
By Nicholas Kristof. Get involved! If you can’t give your time or your voice to change which must come in 2010, give a few of your dollars. Nicholas Kristof provides links to several successful nonprofits who are improving the lot of the poor around the world. From the New York Times, Dec 23, 2009. Accessed Jan 1, 2010.

Democracy Now: 2009 in Review
You may have to find your way to the Jan 1, 2010, show. Accessed Jan 1, 2010.

2009: The Things I Want to Forget (Part II)
By Arianna Huffington. We must not forget. From the Huffington Post, Dec 31, 2009. Accessed Jan 1, 2010.

2009: The Things I Want to Forget
By Arianna Huffington. From the Huffington Post, Dec 28, 2009. Accessed Jan 1, 2010.

tags: Noted with Interest

Noted With Interest, October 2009

Oct 19, 2009

To Cut Costs, Airlines Send Repairs Abroad
By Daniel Zwerdling. The airlines save 2/3 of the hourly rate for union maintenance workers in the states when they outsource these vital services to nonunion foreign labor. From National Public Radio, Oct 19, 2009. Accessed Oct 19, 2009.

Looking for a Middle Class
by Maria Cocco. We are each and every one of us under assault by the plutocracy. Wake up! From Truthdig.com, Oct 15, 2009. Accessed Oct 16, 2009.

The Truth About Jobs That No One Wants to Tell You
by Robert Reich. Put America to work! It is our only way out from under. And it’s cheap! See Hey, Buddy, Can You Spare a Job? From Robert Reich’s Blog, Oct 1 & 2, 2009. Accessed Oct 3, 2009.


tags: Noted with Interest

Noted With Interest, September 2009

Sep 25, 2009

New Rule: If America Can’t Get It Together, We Lose the Bald Eagle
By Bill Maher. And quite plainly, we can’t. From the Huffington Post, Sep 25, 2009. Accessed Sep 25, 2009.

Librophiliac Love Letter
A compendium of beautiful libraries. I’m a librarian; I couldn’t resist. From Curious Expeditions via Manhattan Users Guide, Sep 6, 2009. Accessed Sep 24, 2009.

Fallingwater
by Cristóbal Vila. Lovely. From YouTube via Manhattan Users Guide, Sep 23, 2009. Accessed Sep 24, 2009.

Baseball Infographics and Other Visual Treats
by Craig Robinson. Okay, it's not politics, but I love baseball and these are some of the most impressive graphics we’ve seen on the game. From FlipFlopFlyBall.com. Accessed Sep 24, 2009.

Globalization Goes Bankrupt
by Chris Hedges. “[U]nless we on the left move quickly, this rage will be captured by a virulent and racist right-wing, one that seeks a disturbing proto-fascism.” It may be too late, and the rage may already by co-opted by the right. From Truthdig.com, Sep 20, 2009. Accessed Sep 23, 2009.

Afghanistan’s Other Front
by Joseph Kearns Goodwin. How to get Afghanistan right. It won’t be easy. From the New York Times, Sep 15, 2009. Accessed Sep 16, 2009.

Stop Begging Obama and Get Mad
by Chris Hedges. Who is becoming my favorite progressive voice. From Truthdig.com, Sep 14, 2009. Accessed Sep 16, 2009.

The politics of the veil
by Robert Fulford. One of the more articulate essays I have read regarding the Islamic obsession with covering up their women. From National Post, Sep 12, 2009. Accessed Sep 15, 2009.

How Did Economists Get It So Wrong?
by Paul Krugman. Probably by their narrow focus and lack of imagination. See next item, in response to this piece. From the New York Times, Sep 2, 2009. Accessed Sep 6, 2009.

Other Economists in the Room
By Jane Smiley. She goes after Krugman and other economists for their tunnel vision and toadyism. From the Huffington Post, Sep 3, 2009. Accessed Sep 4, 2009.

Ike’s Other Warning
by Max Blumenthal. I liked Ike. And he liked Eric Hoffer! From the New York Times, Sep 2, 2009. Accessed Sep 4, 2009.

Progressives Pay the Price for Confusing a Party with a Movement
by David Sirota. Wise words which I have been shouting to my half a dozen readers for months. Back to the grass roots! From Truthdig.com, Sep 3, 2009. Accessed Sep 4, 2009.

Obama’s September Choice: Charge or Trim
By Robert L. Borosage. David Brooks should not require further putting down. From the Huffington Post, Sep 2, 2009. Accessed Sep 2, 2009.

Has Obama’s Handling of the Bank Bailout Undermined Health Care Reform?
by Arianna Huffington. Disregarding Huffington’s naive notion of the purpose of government, this fine piece makes several good points about Obama’s fast-fading glory. Sad. Ineffably sad. From the Huffington Post, Aug 31, 2009. Accessed Sep 2, 2009.


tags: Noted with Interest

Noted With Interest, August 2009

Aug 26, 2009

The Terrible Bargain We Have Regretfully Struck
By Melissa McEwan. Sometimes, I think discriminating against another because they are different from us is as despicable and blameworthy as physically attacking them, and perhaps does greater long-term damage. From shakesville, Aug 14, 2009. Accessed Aug 26, 2009.

New Rule: No Shame in Being the Sorry Party
By Bill Maher. Did Obama really say that? There may be hope after all. From The Huffington Post, Aug 21, 2009. Accessed Aug 24, 2009.

Life After the Death of the Public Option
By Nate Silver. If you are in despair about Obama dropping the public option, you might read this, and it might make you feel better. From FiveThirtyEight, Aug 16, 2009. Accessed Aug 19, 2009.

Chris Hedges on Alex S. Jones’ “Losing the News”
by Chris Hedges. He is a long-time reporter and a passionate writer on the transformation of journalism. My favorite quotation from this piece: “It is by shattering the creed of objectivity, by standing unapologetically in the swelling ranks of the poor and powerless and challenging corporate power, that journalism will survive.” From Truthdig.com, Aug 13, 2009. Accessed Aug 15, 2009.

Karzai’s secret U-turn on Afghan rape law
by Jerome Starkey. Don’t you just love the folks we align ourselves with, spending trillions on them in a futile attempt to root out their bad guys while exterminating hundreds of innocents in the process? From The Independent, Aug 15, 2009. Accessed Aug 15, 2009.

Nader Was Right: Liberals Are Going Nowhere With Obama
by Chris Hedges. So sad, so true. We knew it then and voted for Obama because we wanted to win. Never again. From Truthdig.com, Aug 10, 2009. Accessed Aug 13, 2009.

Ouster of Honduran President Zelaya was Coup—Obama
Reuters. Obama scolds his critics who complain he is not doing enough to restore democracy to Honduras. Does anyone think the U.S. could not put Zelaya back in a New York minute if it wanted to? Does anyone think Zelaya could have been removed in the first place without U.S. approval? Can you say “disingenuous”? From the New York Times, Aug 10, 2009. Accessed Aug 11, 2009.

Is It Now a Crime to Be Poor?
By Barbara Ehrenreich. Barbara, it always has been! From the New York Times, Aug 8, 2009. Accessed Aug 10, 2009.

A Crowded Hub Away from Home
by Shoinn Freeman. Remember that co-pilot who crashed in Buffalo? She was making less than minimum wage. She wasn’t alone. From the Washington Post, Aug 4, 2009. Accessed Aug 5, 2009.

OpenCongress.org
We’ve got Congress covered! This joint effort of the Participatory Politics and Sunlight Foundations is your one-stop shop for keeping an eye on what Congress is up to, tracking and emailing your members, and even participating in helping build the site through their wiki and other procedures. It is worth a careful look and frequent visits. Now, if we could only figure out how to keep such a good eye on that very busy and secretive Executive branch! Accessed Aug 1, 2009.

Taken to the Cleaners
We may as well just put them in shackles and rags, house them out back of the manse, and have done with it. From Economist.com, Jul 31, 2009. Accessed Aug 1, 2009.

Wall Street on Speed
by Robert Kuttner. How Wall Street (e.g., Goldman Sachs, etc.) scams the system to make its billions. From The Huffington Post, Jul 26, 2009. Accessed Jul 28, 2009.


tags: Noted with Interest

Noted With Interest, July 2009

Jul 26, 2009

President Obama’s Longtime Physician Opposes White House Health Plan, Advocates Single Payer
An impassioned appeal for single payer. From Democracy Now, Jul 22, 2009. Accessed Jul 25, 2009.

Congrelate.com
Congrelate lets you see and sort information about your members of Congress. Watch the video to understand what is in Congrelate and how to get it out. From Sunlight Labs. Accessed Jul 25, 2009.

Recovery.gov
Here is where you can go to track your state’s involvement with the federal recovery program. What is actually going on, how are funds being spent, and a slew of other information about our hopeful journey on the road to recovery. Accessed Jul 25, 2009.

Slow, Costly and Often Dangerous Road to Wind Power
By Kate Galbraith. What is it Dan Rather said? “Americans will put up with anything provided it doesn't block traffic.” From the New York Times. Accessed Jul 23, 2009.

The words of God do not justify cruelty to women.
by Jimmy Carter. Unequivocal and overdue. From the Guardian, Jul 12, 2009. Accessed Jul 12, 2009.

Two Standards of Detention
by Amy Goodman. Kill an abortion doctor and get full access to the media. Let a friend stay in your apartment for two weeks and get buried alive. From Truthdig.com, Jul 8, 2009. Accessed Jul 11, 2009.

Premiere U.S. Fighter Jet Has Major Shortcoming
by R. Jeffrey Smith. The jet the Obama administration is trying to phase out against congressional opposition costs $44,000 per hour to fly and requires 30 hours of maintenance for every hour in the air. From the Washington Post, Jul 10, 2009. Accessed Jul 11, 2009.

Behind the Facade
by Bob Herbert. After all the hype, Herbert reminds us about the real Michael Jackson—a man this world is better without. From the New York Times, Jul 3, 2009. Accessed Jul 7, 2009.

Here We Go
By digby. A pleasing screed on the fading public option. From digbysblog, Jul 6, 2009. Accessed Jul 7, 2009, 2009.

tags: Noted with Interest

Noted With Interest, June 2009

Jun 30, 2009

What can I do to help Obama?
Let Robert Reich tell you what you can do to advance the cause of universal single-payer health care (or at least the public option!). From Salon.com. Accessed Jun 29, 2009, 2009.

The Capitalist Manifesto: Greed Is Good (To a point)
By Fareed Zakaria. Thoughtful essay on the future of our economic system in the wake of its most recent collapse. From Newsweek. Accessed Jun 27, 2009.

So, the Daily Show Ruined White House Transparency for All of Us
Jon Stewart takes on Obama’s many transparency pledges and wonders how opaque = transparency. Found at Indecision Forever.com. Accessed Jun 27, 2009.

Clearing the Cache: Keeping .Gov Weird
Oddball video from the fun-loving folks at USA.Gov. From Personal Democracy Forum. Accessed Jun 26, 2009.

How the Food Makers Captured Our Brains
By Tara Parker-Pope. What's behind the global obesity epidemic? From the New York Times. Accessed Jun 26, 2009.

Letter to Peter Welch (D-VT), June 25, 2009
Your “June Highlights from the House” email newsletter announces a bill you have introduced “which creates a public health insurance plan that would compete on a level playing field with private insurers.” Such a level playing field can only come about by crippling the public option. Everyone knows that, as they know that a true public option will kill the private insurance industry. You have now come down on the side of maintaining the current horrific system. I am extremely disappointed, although I can’t say I’m surprised.

Transparency: The Largest Bankruptcies in History
Clever visualization of bankruptcies, including the fourth largest—GM. From Good Magazine. Accessed Jun 23, 2009.

Neda’s Martyrdom and the Pitfalls of Obama’s Chronic Pragmatism
By Peter Daou. Is Obama missing his moment? From The Huffington Post. Accessed Jun 22,, 2009.

U.S. Senate OKs $106B for Wars, Equipment, Other Programs.
The $106B “emergency” spending bill. After seven years, it’s still an emergency? No, but it is still extra-budgetary. From DefenseNews. Accessed Jun 22, 2009.

Big win for independents via Supreme Court ruling approving Instant Runoff Voting in Minneapolis.
A great concept, and a boost for democratizing elections. From Politics in Minnesota. Accessed Jul 22, 2009.

Obama blocks list of visitors to White House
By Bill Dedman. The new transparency! From MSNBC. Accessed Jun 19, 2009.

The Party Blog
Find out how often your senators and representatives are being wined and dined by lobbyists. You won't believe some of these. From the Sunlight Foundation. Accessed Jun 18, 2009.

House Panel Votes to Keep the F-22 Jet Fighter Alive
By Christopher Drew. Militarism will be with us as long as we elect greedy politicians willing to counter the Pentagon and common sense. From the New York Times. Accessed Jun 18, 2009.

Plotting the Salary of Politicians versus their Effectiveness
Cool visualization. Be sure to click the “What World MPs Really Make” link to see the full screen display. From Shakeupmedia.com. Accessed Jun 17, 2009.

Project: Race Tracker
Track every race for the U.S. Senate, U.S. House, and state governor. Includes info on candidates, contributions, past elections, and more. From OpenCongress.org. Accessed Jun 17, 2009, 2009.

Maximum posted speed limits
State speed limits on interstate highways. From the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Accessed Jun 12, 2009.

Global arms spending hits record in ’08
A few depressing facts and figures from the people who did NOT bring you “War Is Not The Answer.” From Reuters, Jun 8, 2009. Accessed Jun 8, 2009.

The NYT’s nice, new euphemism for torture
by Glenn Greenwald. Lest we forget, language matters. Lest we forget. From Salon.com, Jun 6, 2009. Accessed Jun 9, 2009.

Obama’s poor choice for faith leader
by Frances Kissling. Obama appoints an opponent of abortion and contraception to the Department of Health and Human Services Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. Huh? From Salon.com, Jun 7, 2009, with a hat tip to Jon Hutson. Accessed Jun 7, 2009.

The Economy Is Still on the Brink
By Sandy B. Lewis and William D. Cohan. Questions that need answering about a crisis that is far from over. From the New York Times, Jun 6, 2009. Accessed Jun 7, 2009.

Flake wants tighter financial interest rules
by Susan Crabtree. Did you know that corporate contributions to congressional members are not considered of “financial interest” to the members for purposes of determining the corporations’ eligibility to receive earmarks initiated by those members? Rep. Flake (R-AZ) would like to legislate that connection and deny those earmarks, and we are with him all the way. From TheHill.com, Jun 6, 2009. Accessed Jun 6, 2009.

Obama’s trail of broken promises
by David Sirota. A companion piece to “The Dawning Age of Obama...” below. Have progressives all quite given up? Hard to say. From Salon.com, Jun 6, 2009. Accessed Jun 6, 2009, 2009.

Next Test: Value of $125,000-a-Year Teachers
by Elissa Gootman. This is only one piece of the puzzle, but an essential one. From The New York Times, Jun 4, 2009. Accessed June 5, 2009.

Vis-a-Visclosky: Or How I Learned to Take Campaign Contributions and Turn Them Into Earmarks.
By Paul Blumenthal, with a telling visualization from Sunlight Foundation, Jun 4, 2009. When is a bribe not a bribe? When Congress does it, apparently. Accessed Jun 4, 2009.

Roll Vote: Allow guns in national parks measure
How did your senators vote on this amendment to the credit card bill? Find out here. From the Associated Press, May 12, 2009. Accessed Jun 4, 2009.

The Dawning Age of Obama as a Potentially Teach-able Moment for The Left: Five Key Lessons Beyond the Gnashing of Radical Teeth
By Paul Street. A compendium of the areas in which Obama has fallen short, at least in the eyes of progressives. From ZNet, May 30, 2009. Accessed Jun 4, 2009.

Books Books Books
Below is a list of books that have come to our notice over the past month. All are recommended reading. The links take you to the Amazon.com page for each book.

tags: Noted with Interest

Noted With Interest, May 2009

May 23, 2009

Map of Madoff Victims
Mad at Madoff? Check out this mashup map of Bernie Madoff victims around the country. Maybe even find yourself out there. We are proud to see he only stuck it to five Vermonters. You can’t cheat an honest man. Accessed May 27, 2009

Iran: Political Prisoner’s Life in Danger
This is the sort of thing we, as a nation, can no longer object to, given our support for unlimited detention, suspended due process, and torture. Human Rights Watch, May 23, 2009. Accessed May 24, 2009

Senate Votes on the Gun Amendment
Find out how your senators voted on the amendment to the credit card bill—which passed!—that allows loaded assault weapons into national parks. From U.S. Senate. Accessed May 22, 2009.

Final Vote Results for Roll Call 277
And do the same for your representative. From The Clerk of the House of Representatives. Accessed May 22, 2009.

Keep Parks Safe: Say No to Loaded Guns in our National Parks
And if you do or don’t like the way they voted, go to this handy resource put together by the National Parks Conservation Association to find and write them. Do it! It matters! From National Parks Conservation Association. Accessed May 22, 2009.

Study: Climate change odds much worse than previously thought
Perhaps reality is two times more dire than predicted even six years ago. From R&D Daily. Accessed May 21, 2009.

Our unending war of terror, by Noam Chomsky
Words of wisdom and warning regarding our official policies on torture, from one of America’s pre-eminent thinkers. Wake up, America, before they come for you. Read this piece! With a hat tip to EF. From Salon.com. Accessed May 21, 2009.

Transparency in Government
Tennessee takes the lead, in this state website that is attempting to be a model of governmental transparency. Any thoughts from down that way? Accessed May 6, 2009.

This Is What Drives Us Nuts!
Two days after Defense Secretary Gates says we have enough C-17s for ten years, another Democratic voice, this one House Appropriations Committee Chair David Obey (D-WI), says he is putting $2.2 billion more into the budget to buy C-17s! Where does it end?! Accessed May 6, 2009.

13th Annual Webby Awards
The NYTimes calls them the Oscars for the Web. These cutting-edge sites are incredibly impressive. From The Webby Awards. Accessed May 6, 2009.

Should We Be Talking About Living Wages Now?
By Jeannette Wicks-Lim, from the Political Economy Research Institute (PERI), undated. Yes, we should! Wicks-Lim offers many of the arguments we summarized in Poor and Poorer. Accessed May 3, 2009.

Newsy.com
This Internet startup provides two- to three-minute videos on breaking news, with a credible effort at providing a balanced perspective. And can you resist falling for the lovely new Internet star Charlotte Bellus? G’day, Darlin’! Accessed May 2, 2009.

Workers Walk the Plank
By Bob Herbert, from the New York Times, Apr 27, 2009. We’ve said it all too often here on ATN: Jobs, not bailouts. Herbert agrees in this fine and heartfelt column. Accessed May 1, 2009.

The Clinton Bubble
By Robert Scheer, from truthdig.com, Apr 28, 2009. From Tim Geithner’s lunch dates to the growing numbers of erstwhile middle class falling into poverty, no one can wonder where Robert Scheer’s outrage is. Accessed May 1, 2009.

Books Books Books
Below is a list of books that have come to our notice recently (we’ll be adding to this list throughout the month). All are recommended reading. The links take you to the Amazon.com page for each book.

tags: Noted with Interest

Noted With Interest, April 2009

May 01, 2009

Creep, by Radiohead
A moving, if depressing, animation of the Radiohead song. If it is no longer at this site, try the less sharp version on YouTube. Accessed Apr 5, 2009.

YouTube EDU
YouTube has produced a site containing an educational subset of their videos. The self-starter can get a million-dollar education online today, without ever stepping foot inside a classroom. Accessed Apr 5, 2009.

Transaction Data
Wondering where all that TARP money went? Check out this Google Maps mashup. Find out how much YOUR bank got. From FinancialStability.gov. Accessed Apr 8, 2009

Charter Schools in Eight States: Effects on Achievement, Attainment, Integration, and Competition
The first charter school (1992) is only 17 years old, so studies of the effects these 4,000 school are having on our children are still sketchy and contradictory. However, this Rand Corporation book does examine four primary research questions: (1) What are the characteristics of students transferring to charter schools? (2) What effect do charter schools have on test-score gains for students who transfer between traditional public schools (TPSs) and charter schools? (3) What is the effect of attending a charter high school on the probability of graduating and of entering college? (4) What effect does the introduction of charter schools have on test scores of students in nearby TPSs? Bottom Line: Charter school performance is comparable to traditional public schools, though some scant evidence exists that a greater proportion of charter school students graduate and go on to college. From Rand Corporation. Accessed April 11, 2009.

Baracknophobia: Hannity, Bachmann and Beck are Terrified of Obama
A truly funny Comedy Central routine by Jon Stewart. Found on the Huffington Post. Accessed Apr 11, 2009.

The Economic Impact of Extending Marriage to Same-Sex Couples in Vermont
It’s positive! From Policy Archive. Accessed Apr 23, 2009

Happy Daze (April 2009)
Don’t forget to check out all the GOOD NEWS from April, now that we are into May.

How to Grow Your Own Fresh Air
Science fiction, or the way we will all be living soon? Kamal Meattle is living this way now. See his fascinating four-minute video on how he is doing it. From TED Talks. Accessed Apr 26, 2009.

A Torturous Compromise
By Thomas L. Friedman, from the New York Times, Apr 28, 2009. Friedman, as he has done before, comes down on the side of expedience, prepared to forgive torturers and abandon the rule of law, for the sake of peace in our time. Be sure to read the Editors' Selections from the 399 Comments posted—they are unanimously condemnatory. Accessed Apr 30, 2009.

“They Frankly Own the Place”
By Paul Blumenthal. The title quotation is from Senator Dick Durbin, referring to the financial sector—banking, insurance, and real estate. They have spent $3.6 billion since 1997 lobbying Congress, and they have gotten everything they paid for. From the Sunlight Foundation. Accessed Apr 30, 2009.

Books Books Books
Below is a list of books that have come to our notice over the past month. All are recommended reading. The links take you to the Amazon.com page for each book.

tags: Noted with Interest

Noted With Interest, March 2009

Apr 02, 2009

Stjepan Hauser—Song to the Moon (Rusalka)
Cellist Stjepan Hauser plays a really lovely adaptation of Dvorak’s Song of the Moon on YouTube. Hat tip to EF. Accessed Mar 8, 2009.

Broken Government: An assessment of executive branch failures since 2000
All right, we want to look forward, like Obama. But historians need these reminders of the enormities of the Bush administration, especially when they are presented in such a comprehensive manner. From The Center for Public Integrity. Accessed Mar 8, 2009.

Reviving the Dream
An excellent column by Bob Herbert that came out the day after we wrote the item on the Employee Free Choice Act, and that speaks to the same concerns. From the New York Times, Mar 9, 2009. Accessed Mar 10, 2009.

The State of the Birds
Birds are bellwethers of our nation’s environmental health, and the news is not good from this first-ever comprehensive report. Accessed Mar 21, 2009.

America Is in Need of a Moral Bailout
“But unless we grasp the ‘societal play of forces that operates beneath the surface of political forms’ we will be cursed with a more ruthless form of corporate power, one that does away with artifice and the seduction of a consumer society and instead wields power through naked repression....” By Chris Hedges, Mar 23, 2009. From Truthdig.com. Accessed Mar 26, 2009.

Pew Report Finds Major Flaws in Pennsylvania’s Effort to Lease Turnpike
This report will help other states tread the perilous path to public-private partnerships. From The Pew Charitable Trusts. Accessed Mar 27, 2009.

Senator Cardin [D-MD] Introduces Bill that Would Allow American Newspapers to Operate as Non-Profits
An idea worth supporting? Could be. Non-profit newspapers could not make political endorsements, but otherwise would operate much as they do today. Advertising and subscription revenue would not be taxed, and contributions would be tax deductible. From Sen. Cardin’s web site. Accessed Mar 27, 2009.

Books Books Books
Below is a list of books that have come to our notice over the past month. All are recommended reading. The links take you to the Amazon.com page for each book.

tags: Noted with Interest

Noted With Interest, February 2009

Mar 02, 2009

Track Your Congressional Delegation
Sign up for weekly email updates on key votes of your congressional delegation. Includes links to send email to them using pre-addressed forms, and news of upcoming votes for review. From Roll Call at Congress.org. Accessed Jan 31, 2009.

Understanding Science: How Science Really Works
Cool and useful guide to science. From The University of California at Berkeley. Accessed Jan 31, 2009.

Top Ten Jury Verdicts in 2009
Number 1? A $388 million judgment against the IRS. Gotcha! (Of course, we’re going to end up paying it.) From LawyersUSA. Accessed Jan 31, 2009.

Regional Trade Agreements Information System
A great reference tool, showing regional trade agreements in force and proposed around the world, including texts of the agreements. From the World Trade Organization. Accessed Jan 31, 2009.

A Citizen Journalist’s Guide to Open Government
Blogger Alert: Good information on getting hold of public records. From Knight Citizen News Network. Accessed Jan 31, 2009.

NOTICE: Links are always provided.
Every All Together Now item that discusses a document, a web site, a podcast, or other digital resource contains a link to that resource. On some systems that link might not be as apparent as it could be. For instance, here is an item from last month’s “Noted with Interest”:
Two great voices started off the year on Democracy Now last month: On January 1, Amy Goodman re-ran her 2004 interview of Utah Philips, folk musician and activist, who died in 2008. The next day, DN showed activist and historian Howard Zinn speaking at Binghamton University a few days after the November election. View, listen to, or read, but don’t miss these inspiring talks.
Notice that “Utah Philips, folk musician and activist” and “activist and historian Howard Zinn” are in a slightly different font from the rest of the text. Click inside either phrase and you will go to the Democracy Now page that contains both the podcast for that show, which you can view and listen to on your computer, and the printed transcript of the interview. If you right-click the link, you are given the opportunity to open the link in a new Window or Tab, keeping All Together Now viewable in its window.

Virtual Volunteering
Yes, you can do it from home! Find out how. From ServiceLeader.org. Accessed Feb 10, 2009.

Henry’s Night (video)
Our friend, D.B. Johnson, is the author of a series of picturebooks about a bear named Henry. They are based on the writings of Henry David Thoreau. The first one, Henry Hikes to Fitchburg, was a bestseller. We think his latest one, Henry’s Night, will be one, too. It has already received a starred review from an early reviewer. View the video trailer the author created and see if you agree. Accessed Feb 12, 2009.

GreenHomeGuide.com
There’s money in the stimulus package for greening up your home. This site tells you how. Accessed Feb 17, 2009.

February Oversight Report (.pdf, 499Kb, 52 pp.)
“…Treasury paid substantially more for the assets it purchased under the TARP than their then-current value.” From Congressional Oversight Panel, Feb 6, 2009. Accessed Feb 21, 2009.

Books Books Books
Below is a list of books that have come to our notice over the past month. All are recommended for anyone who wants to find out the truth behind all the misinformation, disinformation, and lies we are asked to swallow every day. The links will take you to the Amazon.com page for each book.

tags: Noted with Interest

Noted With Interest, January 2009

Feb 01, 2009

Involuntary part-time work on the rise (.pdf, 4 pp., 60Kb)
When is a job less than a job? When your hours are cut involuntarily—and the numbers are soaring. Today, at over 7,000,000, they are as high as they have ever been. (From the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Accessed January 3, 2009)

Million-Dollar Farms in the New Century
Though they comprise only two percent of all U.S. farms, they account for half of all farm sales. (From the USDA Economic Research Service. Accessed January 3, 2009)

Utah Philips and Howard Zinn
Two great voices started off the year on Democracy Now last month: On January 1, Amy Goodman re-ran her 2004 interview of Utah Philips, folk musician and activist, who died in 2008. The next day, DN showed activist and historian Howard Zinn speaking at Binghamton University a few days after the November election. View, listen to, or read, but don’t miss these inspiring talks. (From Democracy Now. Accessed January 8, 2009)

COBRA Premiums for Family Health Coverage Consume 84 Percent of Unemployment Benefits
We talked about the scant health care options for the unemployed in Health Care in Hard Times. Now FamiliesUSA.org quantifies the COBRA numbers in this press release. COBRA premiums exceed three-quarters of unemployment insurance (UI) benefits in 41 states and exceed 100 percent of UI benefits in nine of them. Essentially, unemployment equals loss of health care in these states. (From FamiliesUSA, January 9, 2009. Accessed January 10, 2009)

Ethanol’s Federal Subsidy Grab
The news release shows how corn-based ethanol, an alternative energy that has failed to realize its promise in many ways, continues to grab the lion’s share of federal support, leaving far cleaner alternative energy technologies such as wind, solar, and geothermal begging for the crumbs. (From Environmental Working Group. Accessed January 10, 2009)

Cost of Raising a Child Calculator
They don’t come cheap! And perhaps this calculator will help some people stop at one or two when they realize the annual costs of raising a child. And this doesn't include college! (From U.S. Dept of Agriculture. Accessed January 25, 2009)

Sanders Votes No on Geithner
Find out why Vermont’s Independent senator voted against Obama’s pick for Treasury Secretary. (Thanks to CF for the tip.) (From Democracy Now, January 28, 2009. Accessed January 29, 2009)

David Korten: Agenda for a New Economy
Why aren’t more voices sounding like this one: “We’ve got finite resources. And the question is, what are our economic priorities? How do we allocate those resources? And it requires a fundamentally different approach to the economy: evaluating economic performance by the things that we really want, in terms of human and natural well-being, rather than a system that is purely designed to increase financial returns to the already very wealthy.” (From Democracy Now, January 26, 2009. Accessed January 31, 2009)

Update: City Lights
U.S. Conference of Mayors now has over 15,000 ready-to-go projects to add 1.22 million jobs to the economy—right now! (From U.S. Conference of Mayors. Accessed January 13, 2009)

Update: All Together Now
Lots of January activities, petitions, and other outreach. Remember, send us what you are doing—we want to take part!

tags: Noted with Interest

Noted with Interest, December 2008

Jan 06, 2009
Here are a few items noted with interest over the past month.

Values and Behavior Survey 2008—Personal Integrity Assessment
In Stealing, Lying, and Cheating we discussed the ethical standards of today’s youth. Now, you can check out your standards by taking this short integrity test. No cheating, now! (From The Josephson Institute. Accessed December 21, 2008)

Bankruptcy Filings Over One Million for Fiscal Year 2008
Two years after the implementation of the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act, bankruptcies are on the rise again, up 30 percent in the current fiscal year as compared to the previous one. (From U.S. Courts, December 15, 2008. Accessed December 22, 2008)

Judicial Selection During the Bush Administration: 2008 Edition
The Bush legacy will last for decades in the federal courts, where Bush has appointed nearly 37 percent of the sitting judges. (From Alliance for Justice. Accessed December 30, 2008)

Coming to Our Senses: Education and the American Future (.pdf, 51 pp., 1.8Mb)
From first place in high school graduation rates throughout the 20th century, the U.S. had fallen to 21st out of 27 advanced economies by 2005. And college completion rates for younger workers (age 25-34) have dropped dramatically from 2nd to 11th place. Our global educational competitive edge will be lost unless the ten recommendations posed in this report are implemented soon. (From College Board. Also see California Faces Growing Shortage of College-Educated Workers, from the Public Policy Institute of California. Accessed December 30, 2008)

A Reference Guide to the U.S. Rescue Efforts
Here is a handy 61-page reference to where all those billions are going in the Big Bailout. Read it and weep. (From Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton, and Garrison, December 22, 2008. Accessed December 30, 2008)

Update: Slouching Toward Accountability
The Treasury Department on December 30, 2008, sent this response (.pdf, 15 pp., 410Kb) to the Congressional Oversight Panel, answering their ten questions.

Update: No Sex, Please, We’re Abstaining
An article in the January 2009 journal Pediatrics reports that “The sexual behavior of virginity pledgers does not differ from that of closely matched nonpledgers, and pledgers are less likely to protect themselves from pregnancy and disease before marriage... Clinicians should provide birth control information to all adolescents, especially virginity pledgers.” (From Pediatric. Accessed December 31, 2008)

Uncle Jay Explains the News
A hoot from YouTube, accessed January 1, 2008 (with a tip of the hat to C.F.)

tags: Noted with Interest

Noted with Interest, November 2008

Dec 01, 2008
Here are a few items noted with interest over the past month:

Average Income in 2006 Up $60,000 for top 1 percent of households, just $430 for bottom 90 percent.
For the fourth straight year, income gains at the top outpaced the rest of the population. Since 2002, the average income of the top 1 percent has risen 42 percent, while that of the bottom 90 percent (where you and I live) has risen 4.7%. (From Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, October 22, 2008. Accessed October 26, 2008)

New Judicial Watch/Zogby Poll: 81.7% of Americans Say Political Corruption Played a “Major Role” in Financial Crisis
It is interesting to note this figure is almost exactly the same as the number of Americans who think the country is on the wrong track. (From Judicial Watch, October 21, 2008. Accessed October 26, 2008)

New August Data Show Americans Drove 15 Billion Fewer Miles Than a Year Ago
This report bewails the drop in tax revenue used for road building and repairs. We had an answer for that long ago (see Driven to Despair), but we haven’t run across anyone taking us up on it. (From U.S. Department of Transportation, October 24, 2008. Accessed October 28, 2008)

Mid-Life Suicide: An Increasing Problem in U.S. Whites, 1999-2005, by Guoqing Hu, et al. (.pdf)
Whites, aged 40-64 are responsible for annually raising the U.S. suicide rates between 1999 and 2005 by 2.7 percent for men and 3.9 percent for women. They are the only racial or age group showing an increased rate over this period. In 2005, suicide claimed 32,637 lives in the U.S. and was the fourth-leading cause of death for people aged 10-64 years. (From American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Accessed November 15, 2008)

Immigrant-Owned Businesses Contribution To The Economy Detailed In New Report
This first-ever study of business ownership rates among immigrants has some surprising numbers, revealing immigrants are real powerhouses behind American business. (From The Small Business Administration. Accessed November 15, 2008)

AARP's Longevity Calculator
Find out your prospects for living forever. No fudging, now. (From AARP. Accessed November 17, 2008)

2008 Premature Birth Report Cards: The Nation Gets a “D”
What grade does your state get? Ours is the only state that received as high a grade as a “B” (From The March of Dimes. Accessed November 17, 2008)

Dynamic Maps of Bank Card and Mortgage Delinquencies in the United States
Find out where your county, state, and country stand in the current credit squeeze. (From Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Accessed November 18, 2008)

Obama Makes Best Case for Public Financing,
An excerpt from Obama’s The Audacity of Hope, noted by Daryn Cambridge, November 18, 2008, makes the argument for getting big corporate and lobbyist money out of politics. The question is how? (From Common Cause. Accessed November 22, 2008)

tags: Noted with Interest

Noted with Interest, October 2008

Nov 01, 2008
Here are a few items noted with interest over the past month:

A Guide to the Housing Crisis: Ten Questions and Answers
Plain English straight talk about the financial collapse for which our grandchildren will still be paying. (From The Century Foundation. Accessed October 5, 2008)

Integrating Instruments of Power and Influence: Lessons Learned and Best Practices
Have we learned any lessons from Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq, and Afghanistan? If the multiple recommendations of this two-year study are taken seriously, perhaps we have. In its essence: less reliance on our military and more cooperation among all interested parties, especially indigenous ones. (From The Rand Corporation. Accessed October 5, 2008)

Nuclear Weapons Dismantlements Up 20 Percent
Betcha didn’t know we were taking apart out nukes. Bush, in a right move for a change, set a goal in 2004 of achieving the lowest number of nuclear weapons consistent with national security needs. By 2012, we will be down to one-quarter the number of nukes we had at the end of the Cold War. (From The National Nuclear Security Administration. Accessed October 5, 2008)

Public Transit Users Save $9,499 Household Annually, Up Over $250 From Last Year
Pretty amazing statistics, showing how urbanites can save real money using public transit. (From American Public Transportation Association. Accessed October 11, 2008)

Fact Sheet: Federal Employee Performance Appraisals to Include Information Sharing (.pdf)
After years of complaints about a lack of information sharing among intelligence agencies (NSA, CIA, DoD Intelligence, FBI), sharing skills have finally risen to the level of a requirement for government employment. They even have their own web site. We’ll just have to wait and see how it works out. (From Information Sharing Environment. Accessed October 11, 2008)

Ohio Middle Class Index: 8 Years of Failed Economic Policies (.pdf)
As Ohio goes, so goes the nation. This stark one-page summary of the beating middle class Ohioans have taken at the hands of the Bush administration should be in every voter’s pocket when they go to the polls on Tuesday. McCain just promises more of the same. (From Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH). Accessed October 11, 2008)

Is America Ready to Vote?: State Preparations for Voting System Problems in 2008
We’ve been keeping an eye on voter disenfranchisement issues here at ATN. See, for example, Stand Up and Be Counted and No Voter Left Behind. Now here is what may be the exhaustive final word from a trio of careful examiners of state-by-state voting issues. Make sure your polls are on the up and up come Tuesday. (From The Brennan Center for Justice (in association with Common Cause and Verified Voting). Accessed October 17, 2008)

In Their Own Words: Voices of Jihad—Compilation and Commentary
David Aaron has produced this compilation of original writings of radical Islam fundamentalists. (From the Rand Corporation, 2008. Accessed October 18, 2008)

tags: Noted with Interest

Noted with Interest, September 2008

Oct 01, 2008
Here are a few items noted with interest over the past month:

Bankruptcy Filings Near Million Mark for 12-Month Period Ending June 30, 2008
Business and non-business filings were up 28.9 percent from the 12-month period ending June 30, 2007; business filings were up 41.6 percent. (From U.S. Courts.gov. Accessed August 30, 2008)

Bringing Pell Grants to My Eyes
Just a great little essay on what it means to be a Democrat. (Free registration may be required.) (From The New York Times, Op-Ed Contributor Sarah Vowell. Accessed August 31, 2008)

Capturing CO2 from Coal-Fired Plants: Challenges for a Comprehensive Strategy
The world gets a quarter of its energy from coal, including almost half of its electricity. In a carbon-constrained future, carbon from coal must be captured and sequestered. Competing and conflicting political, technological, and economic factors combine to delay development of sequestration technology, as explained in this Congressional Research Services report. (From OpenCRS. Accessed September 2, 2008)

Father Knows Best
A funny antidote to the endless speeches of the Democratic and Republican conventions. By Matt Mendelsohn (From The New York Times, September 7, 2008 (free registration required). Accessed September 7, 2008)

FDIC Report Highlights Suggestions for Expanding Mortgage Loans to Low- and Moderate-Income Households
Hard to believe, but the FDIC is out there telling banks how to get back into the mortgage business, lending to low- and moderate-income customers. Their main suggestion: Don’t get greedy. Sell the customer a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage and make sure they can pay it back. (From Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Accessed September 8, 2008)

Virtual Fence for Mexico Border Is Put Off
The border fence is $400 million over budget, the wire mesh portion (the people-stopper) is costing $3.5 million more per mile than the $4 million it was expected to cost, the program is way late, and is about to shelve—in favor of the physical portion of the fence—the “virtual fence” portion Boeing is building at a cost that could reach $24 billion all by itself. Something there is that doesn’t love a wall. (by August Cole, from the Wall Street Journal, September 10, 2008, p. A3. Accessed September 10, 2008)

More to Give: Tapping the Talents of the Baby Boomer, Silent, and Greatest Generations
Local, state, and national guidelines and recommendations for putting more “Experienced Americans” to work as volunteers. (From AARP, in association with Civic Enterprises. Accessed September 12, 2008)

So far like the present...
Find updates here on three recent civil rights violence matters: Luis Ramirez, Baron Pikes, and LaVena Johnson. (From All Together Now, July 30, 2008.)

On Stupidity
College professor Thomas H. Benton presents a slew of recent books which he says suggests that it is time to reverse the customer-service mentality plaguing academe.(From The Chronicle of Higher Education. Accessed September 13, 2008)

CREW releases fourth annual most corrupt members of Congress report
See if yours made the top 20 this year. (From Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), September 12, 2008. Accessed September 14, 2008)

Employer Health Benefits 2008 Annual Survey
Employer-sponsored health insurance rose five percent in 2008 to $12,680 for family coverage. Employees on average pay $3,354 out of their paychecks to cover their share of the cost. (From the Kaiser Family Foundation and Health Research & Educational Trust. Accessed September 27, 2008)

Salaries Set for Fannie, Freddie CEOs
The base salary of $900,000 will probably exceed $1 million with bonuses. That is one-tenth of what the CEOs were receiving who drove Fannie and Freddie to bankruptcy. Still, it’s nice work if you can get it. (From AARP Bulletin Today. Accessed September 27, 2008)

FactChecking Debate No. 1
Check out the muddled facts in the first Obama/McCain debate. (From FactCheck.org. Accessed September 27, 2008)

tags: Noted with Interest

Noted with Interest, August 2008

Sep 01, 2008
Here are a few items noted with interest over the past month:

A Community Guide to Environmental Health
Field workers will find this guide of great value in developing community environmental health. From organizing communities, to fixing water problems, improving farming and health care, and other issues. Take along a .pdf of this manual in your digital backpack. (From Hesperian. Accessed August 3, 2008)


E-Voting Activist More Optimistic About Voting Systems
Aviel Rubin, computer professor at Johns Hopkins University, was one of the earliest experts to sound the alarm about electronic voting. In his 2006 book, Brave New Ballot: The Battle to Safeguard Democracy in the Age of Electronic Voting, he pointed out several fatal shortcomings in the systems that had been introduced since the 2000 election, and his warnings have resulted in some important improvements. The system you are likely to use this fall is still not perfect. In this interview, Rubin summarizes the good, the bad, and the ugly that characterize our electronic voting systems today. (From Computerworld.com. Accessed August 3, 2008)

Child Well-Being Index (CWI) 2008 Report
The report finds that following an upward trend for eight years, from 1994 to 2002, progress in American children’s quality of life has now moved into a stall/slow growth period. (From Foundation for Child Development. Accessed August 3, 2008)

International Monetary Fund Programs and Tuberculosis Outcomes in Post-Communist Countries
“IMF economic reform programs are associated with significantly worsened tuberculosis incidence, prevalence, and mortality rates in post-communist Eastern European and former Soviet countries....” (From Public Library of Science (PLoS) Medicine. Accessed August 3, 2008)

Top One Percent of Tax Filers Pay Highest Share in Decades
As well they should. (From Highbeam Research. Accessed August 3, 2008)

Bad Ballot Design Results in Staggering Numbers of Lost Votes
Even after the infamous “butterfly ballot” in Florida’s Palm Beach which resulted in 30,000 lost votes in the 200 election, problems continue to plague elections. View some really poor ballot design. (From Brennan Center for Justice at New York University Law School. Accessed August 6, 2008)

Hydrogen Vehicles Making Impressive Progress Toward Commercialization, But Continued Government Support Needed Before Substantial Reductions Are Seen in U.S. Gasoline Usage and Carbon Emissions
Good summary of costs and schedules involved in the move to hydrogen vehicles. (From The National Academies. Accessed August 7, 2008)

Our CEOs, Their Foreign Agents
How CEOs, colluding with foreign dictatorships, bring totalitarianism home rather than deliver democracy abroad. (From The American Prospect. Accessed August 7, 2008)

Changes in wages and salaries in constant dollars, June 2007-June 2008
The beat goes on, as our salaries again drop, this time 1.8 percent in June from a year ago. (From The Editor’s Desk at the U.S. Dept. of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. Accessed August 9, 2008)

Oil Companies Escape Billions in Royalty Payments to Americans; Drilling Expansion Will Enrich U.S. and Foreign Corporate Freeloaders
Thanks to a “bureaucratic oversight by the Department of Interior during the implementation of the [Deep Water Royalty Relief Act of 1995], oil companies that secured leases in 1998 and 1999 were exempted from royalties, regardless of the prevailing market price of oil.” This will end up costing the American taxpayer over $60 billion over the lifetime of the leases. Oil drilled on federal (read “your”) land earns a free ride for 24 oil companies, half of them located in foreign countries. (From Public Citizen. Accessed August 9, 2008)

U.S. Military Covering Up Possible Murders of Female Service Members
The John Birch Society(!) joins the growing number of voices questioning the deaths of LaVena Johnson and other females in the military whose causes of death may have been covered up by officials. (From The John Birch Society. Accessed August 30, 2008)

tags: Noted with Interest

Noted with Interest, July 2008

Aug 01, 2008
Here are a few items noted with interest over the past month:







Land Degradation on the Rise
A quarter of the world’s population depend on land that is being degraded—20 percent of all cultivated areas; 30 percent of forests; 10 percent of grasslands. The primary culprit is poor land management, and the consequences are dire—for populations and for the environment. (From the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations)

Price Surge Driving Some Countries Close to Tipping Point—IMF
“The impact of surging oil and food prices is being felt globally but is most acute for import-dependent poor and middle-income countries confronted by balance of payment problems, higher inflation, and worsening poverty, a new IMF study warns.” The study neglects to discuss the extent to which the predator “aid” policies of the IMF have contributed to—even caused—those problems. (From the International Monetary Fund)



Global Trends in Sustainable Energy Investment 2008
Another record-breaking year in global investment in renewable energy, with $148.4 billion of new money raised in 2007, an increase of 60% over 2006. Most is in wind power, but increasingly capital is moving toward next-generation technologies such as cellulosic ethanol, thin-film solar technologies, and energy efficiency. New coal-fired plants are stalled and banks are incorporating "Carbon Principles" into their lending guidelines. Investment in renewables is expected to rise to $600 billion annually by 2020.

The race is on.
(From the United Nations Environment Programme, Sustainable Energy Finance Initiative.)


World and Economic Social Survey 2008: Overcoming Economic Insecurity
Economic insecurity resulting from adverse events can threaten middle-class lifestyles in advanced countries and produce devastating social disruption in needier regions. While some argue that such forces are beyond our control, this survey “offers a different perspective. What is needed is a strong ‘social contract’ to help secure the spaces within which individuals, households, and communities could pursue their day-to-day activities with a reasonable degree of predictability and stability, and with due regard for the aims and interests of others.” In other words, let’s confront this problem All Together Now. For a stark look at how adverse natural and economic events are exploited now in a global predatory environment, read The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism by Naomi Klein. (From the United Nations Development Policy and Analysis Division.)

Using Financial Innovation to Support Savers: From Coercion to Excitement
As I’ve had cause to note in other entries on ATN (Going Under: A Nation in Debt; Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?), thrift is a dying art in America, with savings rates moving into the minus figures. If you’re determined to reverse this course, and get yourself into a savings mode by hook or by crook, this paper from the Harvard Business School Working Knowledge forum can help. It provides a spectrum of savings strategies, from coercive means requiring extensive governmental involvement, to fun and exciting methods you can engage in entirely on your own. Worth a look.


2008 State Fact Sheets
“The moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children....” [Hubert Humphrey] Find out how your state government has treated your state's children in this statistical report from the Child Welfare League of America (CWLA). Get the numbers on abuse, family situations, poverty and income, health, education, and other facts. Fact Sheets also available back to 2000.

tags: Noted with Interest

Noted with Interest, June 2008

Jul 01, 2008
Here are a few items encountered over the past month which, though enlightening, didn't rise to the level of demanding a full entry in All Together Now:

Reducing work-life conflict: What works? What doesn't?
When a people take responsibility for their mutual health care, it is incumbent upon them to take responsibility for their mutual health. In 2001, Health Canada conducted a major public health survey on work-life conflict. This is the fifth in a series of six reports summarizing findings and recommendations from that survey.
Bridging the global digital divide, one laptop at a time
This article from the Knowledge@Wharton: The Wharton [School of Business] Experience: Online summarizes the state of the One Laptop Per Child program, including emerging competitors (Intel, Microsoft), and raises some good questions regarding the use and usefulness of the program.
Is Google making us stupid?
Are we losing our ability for “deep reading,” thanks to the quickness and convenience of the Internet? This essay by Nicholas Carr from the Atlantic Monthly explores the way new technologies (from the invention of writing through the Internet) affect our mental processes.
Proposed “business activity tax nexus” legislation would seriously undermine state taxes on corporate profits and harm the economy
This report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) came to my attention just after I'd produced the July 2 entry. Both relate to current legislation that will deny taxation powers to states and localities which they have long enjoyed. There is a full court press in this nation to starve government, not for ideological reasons, but for reasons of pure greed. We are facing corporate gangsterism in this country, and anyone who thinks that is an exaggeration had better wake up. Incomes are down over the past generation, our constitutional rights are in the tank, we're at endless war, fuel prices are affecting our mobility, millions are losing their homes. Where will it end? And when will it end? Where and when we say it will.
ACM elects new leaders committed to international initiatives
The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) has just elected its new leaders and we're gratified to see such a mix. Britain, Canada, and the U.S. are represented at the top (pres, vp, and sec/treas), two of whom are women. Italy, the U.S., Canada, and India have members-at-large. They are all committed to reaching out to the four corners of the world to involve as large a body as possible in the development of this still-new but ubiquitous and vital industry.
Federal wildlife report censored
Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) reports that “a large portion of an Inspector General evaluation of federal wildlife programs has been blacked out prior to publication,” rendering the report “virtually unreadable.”
Americans drove 1.4 billion fewer highway miles in April of 2008 than in April 2007 while fuel prices and transit ridership are both on the rise
This report, from the Department of Transportation shows a 1.8 percent decline in miles driven on public roads between April 2007 and 2008. Midsize SUV sales were also down 38 percent in May 2008, as compared to May 2007.
Network designed to help health care professionals
If you remember the June 28 ATN entry (click the "Health" tag if it has expired), it concerned physicians and their reluctance to incorporate technology into their practices. The Europeans are not nearly so far behind, as this article from the Community Research and Development Information Service (CORDIS) relates. Doc@Hand, a software application funded by the European Union, helps physicians by integrating search engines, databases, and patient information in an easy-to-use package aimed at improving cancer care.
Green investing gains traction in 2007 (.pdf)
From investment consultants Capgemini and Merrill Lynch comes this report on where the richest folks are putting their money—and it's increasingly into green investments. Worldwide, 13% of the “high net worth investors” are allocating part of their portfolios to alternative energy sources, mostly in wind and solar. Europe and the Middle East lead the way, where about 20% of high rollers are investing in green technology. Guess who's dead last. Right. North America, at about 6%.

tags: Noted with Interest

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