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Showing posts from February, 2013

Radicalizing Dr. King: Obama's presidency has nothing to do with the legacy of King

  More at The Real News Eternity Group - At the Real News Network, Paul Jay speaks with Anthony Monterio about the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr..  Monteiro and Jay speak about King's "radicalization," which includes Kings' thoughs on the "capitalistic economy.  A quote from Dr. King presented in the video discussion reads:  One day we must ask the question, "Why are there forty million poor people in America?" And when you begin to ask that question, you're raising a question about the economic system, about a broader distribution of wealth. When you ask that question, you begin to question the capitalistic economy. And I'm simply saying that more and more, we've got to begin to ask questions about the whole society. We are called upon to help the discouraged beggars in life's market place. But one day we must come to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring. It means that questions must be rai

After Unprecedented Fight, Hagel Confirmed as Obama’s Pentagon Chief

Inter Press Service - Ending a long and controversial battle, the U.S. Senate Tuesday voted 58-41 to confirm former Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel as President Barack Obama’s new secretary of defence. The confirmation, which followed a more-lopsided 71-27 vote to end a Republican-led filibuster against the decorated Vietnam War veteran, broke mainly along party lines, with four Republican senators joining the 52 Democrats and two independents in the chambre in voting to approve the nomination. The vote marked a major defeat for hard-line neo-conservatives, notably the Emergency Committee for Israel (ECI) and its chairman, Republican operative Bill Kristol... read more .

TSA Now Traumatizing Disabled Toddlers in Strollers

Tom Hartman @ The Daily Take - After the attacks of 9/11, it was only natural that our government would put in place new policies to help prevent future terrorist attacks. Unfortunately, thanks to the Bush Administration and its "fear everything" doctrine, we went nuts. As a result, what we have today is a system that is badly broken, that does very little to actually protect the lives of Americans, and that is in need of some serious reconsideration.  Read more .

What If the Iranians Waterboarded an American?

Tom Engelhardt @ TomDispatch - Sometimes, the world can be such a simple, black-and-white sort of place.  Let me give you an example.  Imagine for a moment that the Iranians kidnap an American citizen from a third country.  (If you prefer, feel free to substitute al-Qaeda or the North Koreans or the Chinese for the Iranians.)  They accuse him of being a terrorist.  They throw him in jail without charges or a trial or a sentence and claim they suspect he might have crucial information (perhaps even of the “ticking bomb” sort -- and the Iranians have had some genuine experience with ticking bombs).  Read more .

How Israel Legitimizes Torturing Palestinians to Death

Charlotte Silver @ Al-Jazeera - Six days after Arafat Jaradat was arrested by the Israeli army and the Shin Bet, he was dead. Between the date of his arrest - February 18 - and the day of his death - February 23 - his lawyer Kamil Sabbagh met with Arafat only once: in front of a military judge at the Shin Bet's Kishon interrogation facility.  Read more .

Palestinian officials warn of possible third intifada in wake of Arafat Jaradat's death

Lauren McCauley @ Common Dreams - In the wake of the death of detained Palestinian Arafat Jaradat, officials with the Palestinian Authority have issued a warning to President Obama that Palestine could be "on fire" during his upcoming visit to the region if he does not exert pressure on longtime ally Israel regarding the ongoing treatment of prisoners.  Read more .

Zero Dark Thirty, the CIA and film critics have a very bad evening

Glenn Greenwald @ Guardian UK - Just a few months ago, the consensus of the establishment press and the nation's (shockingly large) community of film critics was that Zero Dark Thirty was the best film of the year and the clear (and well-deserved) front-runner to win the most significant Academy Awards. "OK, folks, you can plan something else for Oscar Night 2013 . . . . Zero Dark Thirty will win Best Picture and Best Director (Kathryn Bigelow)," pronounced Time Magazine's Richard Corliss. "'Zero Dark Thirty' and Kathryn Bigelow won major critics' prizes on Sunday, confirming the Osama bin Laden manhunt thriller as an Oscar frontrunner," said Entertainment Weekly.  Read more .

Haitian Senate Calls for Halt to Mining Activities

Inter Press Service - Outraged that they have not been consulted, this week Haitian senators called for a moratorium on all activities connected with recently granted gold and copper mining permits. In a resolution approved by 15 of 16 senators present, the lawmakers also demanded the establishment of a commission to review all of the current mining contracts and “a national debate on the country’s mineral resources”.  Read more .

Oscar Pistorius lead detective taken off case after attempted murder charges

Guardian UK - The case against Oscar Pistorius took another astonishing turn on Thursday when the lead detective investigating the case was sacked after being charged with seven counts of attempted murder himself. It emerged that Hilton Botha, who had given an unconvincing performance in the witness stand on Wednesday, and two other police officers are accused of drunkenly firing shots at a minibus carrying seven passengers in October 2011.  Read more .

Bradley Manning: 1,000 Days in Detention and Secrecy Still Reigns

Guardian UK - On Saturday Bradley Manning will mark his 1,000th day imprisoned without trial. In the course of those thousand days, from the moment he was formally put into pre-trial confinement on 19 May 2010 on suspicion of being the source of the WikiLeaks disclosures, Manning has been on a long and eventful journey.  Read more.

The Lonely Soldier and the Moral Scars of War

James Jeffrey @ Guardian UK - In trying to understand the ongoing suicide epidemic among soldiers and veterans a third factor in addition to physical injuries and PTSD is now being discussed: the moral injuries they bring back. The US Department of Veterans Affairs recently coined the terminology and is spot-on in its choice.  Read more .

UN will not compensate Haiti cholera victims, Ban Ki-moon tells president

Guardian UK - The UN has taken the rare step of invoking its legal immunity to rebuff claims for compensation from 5,000 victims of the Haiti cholera epidemic, the worst outbreak of the disease in modern times and widely believed to have been caused by UN peacekeepers importing the infection into the country.  Read more .

Artists Face the Gag in India

Inter Press Service - “I am godless. I am an artist. I will find another country that is secular and will take me…” These are the emotional words of one of India’s most famous and critically acclaimed actors, Kamal Haasan, who ran from one court to another to get his 17 million dollar trilingual film Vishwaroopam (Universe) released in his home state Tamil Nadu in south India last month.  Read more .

Farmer Challenges Monsanto Seed Patent in Supreme Court

NY Times - With his mere 300 acres of soybeans, corn and wheat, Vernon Hugh Bowman said, “I’m not even big enough to be called a farmer.” Yet the 75-year-old farmer from southwestern Indiana will face off Tuesday against the world’s largest seed company, Monsanto, in a Supreme Court case that could have a huge impact on the future of genetically modified crops, and also affect other fields from medical research to software.  Read more .

War Made Easy

Corporations Write Our Laws and Profit From Our Misery

Chris Hedges @ Truthdig - Marela, an undocumented immigrant in her 40s, stood outside the Elizabeth Detention Center in Elizabeth, N.J., on a chilly afternoon last week. She was there with a group of protesters who appear at the facility's gates every year on Ash Wednesday to decry the nation's immigration policy and conditions inside the center. She was there, she said, because of her friend Evelyn Obey.  Read more .

Georgia presses US supreme court to overturn Warren Hill's stay of execution

Guardian UK - The state of Georgia has applied to the US supreme court to overturn a stay of execution for Warren Hill, the intellectually disabled prisoner who came within half an hour of being put to death on Tuesday night. Georgia's attorney general has filed a petition with the highest court in the US, arguing that Hill is not entitled to a stay of execution, because of the fact that he has exhausted all legal remedies. The petition states that his lawyer's argument that the prisoner is "mentally retarded" is not new, and has been rejected by previous courts.  Read more .

When Wars Come Home

Charles Derber and Yale Magrass @ Truthout - In the flood of commentary about the Newtown massacre and broader US gun violence, liberals tend to blame failures of gun control while conservatives blame the mentally ill and Hollywood. But they are both missing one important and overlooked explanation: the domestic consequences of a militarized superpower engaged in chronic wars around the world.  Read more .

Thousands Converge: Demand Action from Obama to Avoid 'Climate Disaster'

Jon Queally @ Common Dreams - Following a rally on the National Mall, the gathered crowd— estimated between 35,000 to more than 50,000 people—began a march towards the White House just before 2:00 PM ET. Though President Obama is away for the weekend at a private golf resort in Florida—playing a round with Tiger Woods no less—the campaigners hope their numbers show the growing ranks of the climate justice movement.  Read more .

Climate Rally Draws “Line in the Sand” on Canadian Pipeline

Inter Press Service - The largest climate rally in U.S. history is expected Sunday in Washington DC with the aim of pressuring President Barack Obama to reject the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. Activists are calling Keystone “the line in the sand” regarding dangerous climate change, prompting the Sierra Club to suspend its 120-year ban on civil disobedience. The group’s executive director, Michael Brune, was arrested in front of the White House during a small protest against Keystone on Wednesday.  Read more .

Betty Friedan's "The Feminine Mystique": 50 Years Later

Peter Dreier @ Truthout - Betty Friedan's book, The Feminine Mystique, identified the "problem that has no name" - which feminists later labeled "sexism." Three years after its publication - 50 years ago this month - Friedan was instrumental in organizing the National Organization for Women (NOW) and other key groups that helped build the movement for women's equality.  Read more .

Political Violence Grips Egypt From All Sides

Inter Press Service - Since the second anniversary of the uprising that ended the Mubarak regime, Egypt has witnessed a spate of political violence. Egypt’s opposition led by the high-profile National Salvation Front (NSF) blames President Mohamed Morsi for the bloodshed, but many blame the NSF and its leaders. “The NSF’s slowness in condemning recent violence has made it appear to the public as if it were condoning – even inciting – acts of violence and sabotage,” Amr Hashim Rabie, senior analyst at the Cairo-based Al-Ahram Centre for Political and Strategic Studies told IPS.  Read more .

Ecuador's Rafael Correa headed for landslide election

France 24 - Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa is widely expected to win a new term after overseeing a period of political stability and economic growth in the small South American country. The tough-talking incumbent, a close ally of Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez and other left-leaning presidents in the region, should win enough votes in Sunday’s election to avoid a second round, a majority of opinion polls showed. In power since 2007, Correa is the first Ecuadorian president to complete his mandate in over sixteen years.  Read more .

Drones Across US Skies Closer to Reality

Andrea Germanos @ Common Dreams - A day when thousands of drones are flying across U.S. skies is not that far away.  In a step to bring this closer to reality, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced on Thursday it was soliciting proposals for six drone research and test sites around the country.  Read more .

Malcolm McLaren's widow fears Met will get punk fashion show all wrong

Guardian UK - McLaren, the architect of punk, was the Sex Pistols' manager and proprietor of a Kings Road shop, which traded variously as Too Fast to Live, Sex and Seditionaries, with his partner Vivienne Westwood. He died in 2010. Young claims there are numerous errors in the institute's collection of punk clothing. She provided the Observer with a list of items in the Met's collection which she considers to be misattributed, misdated or questionable. "My concern is for history to be portrayed correctly," she said. "I wrote to them to say pretty much everything in there is wrong. They should have engaged Malcolm when he was alive."  Read more .

The Queer Case Against Prisons

Toshio Meronek @ Truthout - The book Prisons Will Not Protect You describes a sentiment that many queer people can relate to. Every day, police stop transgender people for "walking while transgender," as prison wardens send others to solitary confinement "for their own protection," without recognizing the mental torture that results from 23 and a half hours of isolation per day. Cops still raid gay bars just because (Atlanta, Fort Worth and New York City being a few places where raids have happened in recent years, with some cops beating patrons while calling out uncreative slurs like "Faggots!"). And at ACT UP rallies, the state protects AIDS-profiteering corporations instead of protecting people who protest ever-broadening patent laws that keep life-saving drugs unaffordable for many. In particular, if you're black, Latino, Native American, disabled, homeless, transgender, or any combination of the above, violence at the hands of police and prison a

How High Could the Minimum Wage Go?

Jeanette Wicks-Lim @ Dollars & Sense - The minimum wage needs a jolt—not just the usual fine-tuning—if it’s ever going to serve as a living wage. Annual full-time earnings at today’s $7.25 federal minimum wage are about $15,000 per year. This doesn’t come anywhere near providing a decent living standard by any reasonable definition, for any household... read more .

'Let Us Not Be Deceived': Cornel West Names Obama as 'War Criminal'

Jon Queally @ Common Dreams - Philosophy professor, social critic and activist Cornel West says that like Richard Nixon and George W. Bush, there is no way to avoid the conclusion that President Obama—due to his execution of foreign wars and direction of clandestine military operations overseas resulting in the direct and foreseeable death of innocent people—should be called out for what he is: a 'war criminal'.  Read more .

David Bacon: Let's Stop Making Migration a Crime

David Bacon @ Truthout - We need an immigration policy based on human, civil and labor rights, which looks at the reasons why people come to the US, and how we can end the criminalization of their status and work. While proposals from Congress and the administration have started the debate over the need for change in our immigration policy, they are not only too limited and ignore the global nature of migration, they actually will make the problem of criminalization much worse. We need a better alternative.  Read more .

DOJ Kill List Memo Forces Many Dems Out of the Closet as Overtly Unprincipled Hacks

Glenn Greenwald @ Guardian UK - This past week has been a strangely clarifying political moment. It was caused by two related events: the leak of the Justice Department's "white paper" justifying Obama's claimed power to execute Americans without charges, followed by John Brennan's alarming confirmation hearing (as Charles Pierce wrote: "the man whom the administration has put up to head the CIA would not say whether or not the president of the United States has the power to order the extrajudicial killing of a United States citizen within the borders of the United States"). I describe last week's process as "strange" because, for some reason, those events caused large numbers of people for the first time to recognize, accept and begin to confront truths that have long been readily apparent.  Read more .

The Imaginary World of the “War Against al-Qa’ida”

Ira Churmus @ Common Dreams - The on-again, off-again debate is on again: Does the executive branch of the United States government ever have the right to assassinate American citizens without due process of law? A brave soul, who hopefully will remain nameless, has leaked an internal Justice Department “White Paper” outlining the Obama administration's reasons for answering “Yes.” A chorus of critical voices answers, just as loudly, “No.”  Read more .

Gaza Gags Civil Liberties

Inter Press Service - Gaza is becoming increasingly radicalised as Hamas continues its crackdown on civil liberties, press freedom and the rights of women. In the last few weeks a number of journalists have been arrested and accused of being involved in “suspicious activities”, several detainees shot dead by police during arrest attempts, and female students asked to abide by a strict Islamic dress code.  Read more .

Obama’s Shakedown of Medicare

Shamus Cooke @ Workers Action - In a political era of corporate dominance it was inevitable that doublespeak would become the official language of Washington, DC. Now “cuts” to social programs are referred to as “savings,” while the destruction of these programs is “reform.” This is the essence of President Obama’s doublespeakish “Race to the Top” public education “reform,” as well as his yet-to-be-announced deficit plan based on Medicare “savings.”  Read more .

Every 30 Minutes A Farmer Kills Himself, You'll Never Guess Why

America’s Global Torture Network

Robert Scheer @ Truthdig - The title, “Globalizing Torture,” says it all. This meticulous accounting of the network of torture chambers that the United States has authorized in more than 54 nations is a damning indictment that should make all of us in this country cringe with shame.  Read more .

Opening Message at Brennan Hearing: 'Stop CIA Murder'

Common Dreams - 'Stop CIA Murder' was the message that opened the confirmation hearing of CIA nominee and drone war architect John Brennan Thursday afternoon as he faced the Senate Intelligence Committee. MSNBC reported that minutes before the hearing was scheduled to begin at 2:30 that one protester had already been removed from the chambers, and a series of interruptions from CODEPINK members brought in the beginning of the hearing.  Read more .

Tip Your Server and Save the World

William Rivers Pitt @ Truthout - It's your fourth shift in a row at the restaurant, all doubles because you only make $2.65 an hour and need to pay for rent and heat and electricity, and your section is a set of booths and tables - six four-tops, four two-tops, one eight-top - that seat forty-four customers total, and it's been packed from start to finish across your whole rip with couples and clusters of workers from the accounting firm next door and families with children and foreigners who can't read the menu and have never heard of tipping, and twenty different people in your last two shifts have sent their meal back because the cook is new and in the weeds and can't handle the volume and keeps screwing up the orders, and that's not your fault, but the customers take it out on you because you're there.  Read more .

Japanese whaling industry 'dead in the water', says animal welfare group

Guardian UK - Japan's whaling industry is "dead in the water" and cannot survive without huge taxpayer subsidies, according to a study. The report, to be published on Tuesday by the charity International Fund for Animal Welfare (Ifaw), draws on Japanese government data for the first time to build a case against the use of millions of dollars in public subsidies to prop up the industry amid a dramatic decline in consumption of whale meat.  Read more .

The American Lockdown State

Tom Engelhardt @ TomDispatch - Consider Inauguration Day, more than two weeks gone and already part of our distant past.  In its wake, President Obama was hailed (or reviled) for his “liberal” second inaugural address.  On that day everything from his invocation of women’s rights (“Seneca Falls”), the civil rights movement (“Selma”), and the gay rights movement (“Stonewall”) to his wife’s new bangs and Beyoncé’s lip-syncing was fodder for the media extravaganza.  The president was even praised (or reviled) for what he took pains not to bring up: the budget deficit.  Was anything, in fact, not grist for the media mill, the hordes of talking heads, and the chattering classes?  Read more .

Chilling Legal Memo From Obama DOJ Justifies Assassination of US Citizens

Glenn Greenwald @ Guardian UK - The most extremist power any political leader can assert is the power to target his own citizens for execution without any charges or due process, far from any battlefield. The Obama administration has not only asserted exactly that power in theory, but has exercised it in practice. In September 2011, it killed US citizen Anwar Awlaki in a drone strike in Yemen, along with US citizen Samir Khan, and then, in circumstances that are still unexplained, two weeks later killed Awlaki's 16-year-old American son Abdulrahman with a separate drone strike in Yemen.  Read more .

The Mali Blowback: More to Come?

Stephen Zunes @ Foreign Policy in Focus - The French-led military offensive in its former colony of Mali has pushed back radical Islamists and allied militias from some of the country’s northern cities, freeing the local population from repressive Taliban-style totalitarian rule. The United States has backed the French military effort by transporting French troops and equipment and providing reconnaissance through its satellites and drones. However, despite these initial victories, it raises concerns as to what unforeseen consequences may lay down the road.  Read more .

NYPD Being Sued Over 'Widespread and Intense' Surveillance of Muslims

Yahoo! News - Civil rights attorneys on Monday asked a federal court in Manhattan to order the New York Police Department to halt its surveillance of Muslims not suspected of unlawful activity. Police surveillance of New York Muslims at restaurants, bookstores and mosques has been "widespread and intense," the attorneys wrote in their motion.  Read more .

Rosa Parks' Stamp on American History

The Root - Today, to honor the Feb. 4 centennial of the birth of Rosa Parks, the United States Postal Service has issued a Rosa Parks stamp. Last year, a stone carving of Parks was added to the National Cathedral. In 2005, she became the first woman and second African American to lie in honor in the nation's Capitol and, through a special act of Congress, a statue of her was ordered placed in the Capitol.  Read more.

Time to Take On Concentrated Poverty and Education

The Nation - Researchers know a lot about how various factors associated with income level affect a child’s learning: parents’ educational attainment; how parents read to, play with and respond to their children; the quality of early care and early education; access to consistent physical and mental health services and healthy food. Poor children’s limited access to these fundamentals accounts for a good chunk of the achievement gap, which is why conceiving of it instead as an opportunity gap makes a lot more sense.  Read more .

Twenty-Five Cablevision Union Members Fired During Confrontation with Management

Mike Elk @ In These Times - Around 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday morning, four dozen unionized Cablevision workers gathered outside of an executive’s door in the company’s Brooklyn office and demanded to speak to him, citing Cablevision’s “open door” policy. The workers, who voted to join Communication Workers of America (CWA) over a year ago, were upset over how contract negotiations were going—they felt that Cablevision was not addressing union concerns about pay, benefits, pensions and job security. An hour later, says CWA, the still-waiting workers were shocked to be informed by management that 25 of them were to be fired. CWA believes that the firings were illegal retaliation, noting that the 25 workers were all key union leaders within the workplace.  Read more .

The Legacy of Chattel Slavery: Private Prisons Blur the Line Between Real People and Real Estate

Christopher Petrella @ Truthout - Although many criminal justice activists are quick to denounce the most egregious race-based expressions of prison privatization, ranging from involuntary prison labor to racially disparate sentencing policies, few, if any, have attended to the deeply racialized, yet somewhat arcane, relationship developing between the private prison industry and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Curiously, one of the best ways to understand exactly how the private prison industry views itself and its fundamental mission is to analyze changes in the IRS corporate filing status of private prison companies.  Read more .

CIA rendition: more than a quarter of countries 'offered covert support'

Guardian UK - The full extent of the CIA's extraordinary rendition programme has been laid bare with the publication of a report showing there is evidence that more than a quarter of the world's governments covertly offered support. A 213-page report compiled by the Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI), a New York-based human rights organisation, says that at least 54 countries co-operated with the global kidnap, detention and torture operation that was mounted after 9/11, many of them in Europe.  Read more .

Henry Wallace, America's Forgotten Visionary

Peter Dreier @ Truthout - One of the great "What if?" questions of the 20th century is how America would have been different if Henry Wallace rather than Harry Truman had succeeded Franklin Roosevelt in the White House. Filmmaker Oliver Stone has revived this debate in his current ten-part Showtime series, "The Untold History of the United States," and his new book (written with historian Peter Kuznick) of the same name.  Read more .

American Manhood: An identity defined by brain trauma and gun violence

Eternity @ Max – Violence in American culture is increasingly finding its way into the media spotlight.  With numerous mass shootings having happened–in Colorado, Connecticut and Arizona–within the last year, some members in congress are asking that gun control laws be tightened, which has prompted an expected backlash from gun rights advocates, including the National Rifle Association (NRA). As well, some in politics and the press are also asking to what degree does gun related violence have to do with “manhood?”  Read more .

Nine Football Players Killed By Brain Trauma

Jeff Fecke @ Care2 - Unquestionably the most popular sport in the United States, professional football is a ten billion dollar a year industry, and high-level college football brings in billions more. The sport is at the top of its game, and with Super Bowl XLVII coming up on Sunday, it’s easy to think that football can only continue to get more popular. Behind the scenes, though, there is increasing concern that football could be in trouble.  Read more .

Ramarley Graham's family sues NYPD on anniversary of teen's shooting death

Guardian UK - After shooting dead an unarmed teenager in his bathroom, a New York City police officer threatened to kill the boy's distraught grandmother, a newly filed lawsuit alleges. Filed Friday, a day before the one-year anniversary of the death of 18-year-old Ramarley Graham, the suit accuses the NYPD of improperly training its officers, disproportionately targeting minority youth through its controversial stop and frisk practices and covering up the facts surrounding the death.  Read more .

Barack Obama, Drone Ranger

Bill Moyers and Michael Winship @ Common Dreams - Soon after he succeeded Bush, President Obama announced he would not permit torture and would close down the detention camp at Guantanamo Bay. He also said:     “The orders that I sign today should send an unmistakable signal that our actions in defense of liberty will be just as our cause. And that we the people will uphold our fundamental values as vigilantly as we protect our security. Once again, America’s moral example must be the bedrock and the beacon of our global leadership” Four years later, Guantanamo remains open. In fact, just a few days ago, the State Department announced it was eliminating the office assigned to close the prison and move its detainees.  Read more .

How Whole Foods and the Biggest Organic Foods Distributor Are Screwing Workers

Ronnie Cummings and Dave Murphy @ Alternet - Whole Foods Market (WFM) CEO John Mackey has done a brilliant job of creating the illusion that his empire is all about abundance, bounty and the good life. But there’s nothing bountiful or good about the way the second-largest non-unionized food retailer exploits workers. United Natural Foods Incorporated (UNFI), the largest multi-billion dollar wholesale distributor of organic and “natural” foods in the U.S., is currently under investigation for 45 violations of federal labor law, including physically threatening immigrant workers in California who were trying to form a union.  Read more .

Dr. Oz: Is the most trusted doctor in America doing more harm than good?

MIchael Specter @ The New Yorker - OOne evening a few weeks ago, several members of a television film crew crammed themselves into a tiny examination room on the seventh floor of the Research Medical Center, in Kansas City. The sun had set and the light was fading. Two men, one hoisting a big camera and the other a sound boom, stood in a corner less than a foot from one another. The hospital’s chief of medicine, the head of its cardiology department, and a nurse were also in the room. All were watching as a heavyset forty-six-year-old woman, with cornflower-blue eyes, a sweet smile, and auburn hair parted neatly in the middle, struggled to keep pace on a treadmill. Earlier that day, she had complained of chest pains, and had reported a family history of heart disease. Now she was taking a cardiac stress test, and it wasn’t going well. After little more than a minute, her blood pressure spiked, at 184/92.  Read more.


John Cassidy @ The New Yorker - Ed Koch, who has died, at the age of eighty-eight, always had a sense of timing—or maybe he just made a Faustian pact with the fates. During his 1977 mayoral run, which started with him as the outsider in a Democratic field that included Mario Cuomo, Bella Abzug, and the incumbent, poor old Abe Beame, the city suffered an infamous blackout with widespread looting. Koch, who was running on a law-and-order platform, was the principal beneficiary. After defeating Cuomo and the others, he served three terms in City Hall, during which time he became a national figure (and international one, actually); wrote a best-selling book that was turned into an Off Broadway show; retained popular support while, at some point, infuriating almost everybody; and, finally, suffered defeat at the hands of the courtly David Dinkins, a politician who was in many ways his polar opposite.  Read more .

For Black Boys, the NFL - and Traumatic Brain Injury - Can Be Lottery Tickets

Mychal Denzel Smith @ The Nation - This Sunday, citizens across these United States will indulge in the country’s most cherished pastime: watching large men give each other life-threatening concussions. For about twenty weeks, millions of us sit riveted as players in the NFL collide into one another at breakneck speeds, delivering bone-crushing hits that thrill and excite, and it all concludes on our favorite holiday, Super Bowl Sunday. Buckets of chicken and kegs of beer will be consumed in raucous atmospheres at homes and bars across the land, as we all watch the next generation of Alzheimer’s patients and suicide victims ride on to national glory.  Read more .

Depression Recession: The anemic job recovery

Robert Reich - We are in the most anemic recovery in modern history, yet our political leaders in Washington aren’t doing squat about it. In fact, apart from the Fed – which continues to hold interest rates down in the quixotic hope that banks will begin lending again to average people – the government is heading in exactly the wrong direction: raising taxes on the middle class, and cutting spending.  Read more .

Traditional Farming Holds All the Aces

Inter Press Service -  Last monsoon season, 65-year-old Sunadhar Ramaparia, a member of the Bhumia tribe in the eastern Indian state of Odisha, mixed indigenous crops like ‘para’ paddy, foxtail millet and oil seeds in his upland plot. The rains came, then played truant for 23 days and in the scorching heat even lowland farmers’ hybrid paddy saplings burnt to dust. But Ramaparia harvested a full crop. Deforestation and climate change have resulted in erratic rainfall, shrinking water bodies and severe soil degradation... read more .

Murder of Landless Workers’ Leader Recalls Brazil’s Dictatorship

Inter Press Service - The execution-style killing of a leader of the Landless Workers’ Movement in a sugarcane plantation in the southeastern Brazilian state of Rio de Janeiro, where bodies of opponents of the dictatorship were incinerated in the 1970s, recalls one of the most tragic chapters in this country’s history.  Read more .

Newseum opens exhibit featuring Martin Luther King Birmingham, Alabama jail cell door

Art Daily - To celebrate the beginning of Black History Month, today the Newseum opens "Jailed in Birmingham," a new exhibit featuring a casting of the original jail cell door behind which the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was confined after his April 1963 arrest for leading nonviolent protests in Birmingham, Ala. It was in this cell that the civil rights leader penned his historic letter defending civil disobedience. The "Letter From Birmingham Jail," written in response to a statement by a group of eight white Alabama clergymen... read more .

A Good Use of Heartbeats: An Interview With First Nations Activist Caleb Behn

Rebecca carter @ Truthout - First Nations activist, attorney and writer Caleb Behn talks about the continuing colonial incursions into his Dene homeland in Northeastern British Columbia, his family and nation's fight against the extractive industries and bringing Idle No More to a minus-35-degrees-Celsius-environment.  Read more .

Violence, Brain Trauma and Manhood in America

Eternity @ Max - Violence in American culture is increasingly finding its way in the spotlight.  With mass shootings having happened in Colorado and Arizona in the past 2 months, some members in congress are asking that gun control laws be tightened, which has prompted an expected backlash from gun rights advocates, including the National Rifle Association (NRA). Some in politics and the press are also asking to what degree does gun related violence have to do with "manhood."  This comes in light of a string of suicides of several celebrated sports icons.  "Too many of us have been taught manhood in a way that is not do not cry, man up" is what CNN sports journalist, Keven Powell, wrote in a December 2, 2012, editorial, entitled "Manhood, football and suicide.  This commentary was in response to the murder/suicide of Kansas City Chief's linebacker, Jovan Belcher, who fatally shot his girlfriend and himself.  Read mor e.