Archives for News

Laura Flanders: The F Word: Let the Punishment Fit the Crime

Let the punishment fit the crime, they say. Well, we now know the punishment for the BART officer who shot Oscar Grant: 2 years and time served. He could actually be out of prison in seven months–for killing a man. His involuntary manslaughter charge normally carries a four-year sentence, and could have included California’s “gun enhancement,” which would’ve raised his sentence to 14 years. Instead, his short sentence has been decried as less than Michael Vick was given for killing dogs. Meanwhile, some of the protesters arrested when the original verdict came down are facing felony charges which could carry
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Stephan A. Schwartz: Willful Ignorance

The most important political and intellectual reality in America today can be seen in a 2006 CBS News poll, which found that a large segment of Americans “do not believe that humans evolved.” This sentiment is usually discussed in religious terms. I suggest it should be seen as a political statement. The Gallup Organization addressed the same issue, but also included the age of the Earth, and conducted a series of polls of American adults in 1982, 1991, 1993, 1997, 1999, 2001, and 2004. In each survey the wording of the questions was kept the same, so that the polls
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Kevin Cathcart: Iowan Courts Under Attack

Something happened on Election Day in Iowa that threatens the principles of democracy upon which this country was founded: Three well-respected Iowa Supreme Court Justices lost retention elections following a vicious campaign by anti-gay groups who targeted them because of the Court’s 2009 unanimous decision to uphold marriage equality for same-sex couples. The purpose of the judiciary in Iowa is to uphold that state’s constitution and protect the fundamental rights of individuals — and the duty of the federal judiciary is to uphold the principles in the federal Constitution. The founders of our nation understood that if courts are not
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Sue Dunlap: Choice Still a Winning Issue With Women Voters

On November 2, California bucked a national trend and elected pro-choice, pro-women leaders. The results from California should teach candidates around the nation an important lesson: if you want women to vote for you, you must be willing to speak honestly and directly about the issues that women care about. Contrary to what Carly Fiorina claimed during her campaign, reproductive health still matters. Much has been made of the fact that in nationwide exit polling, Democrats lost the women’s vote by just one percent. However, these nationwide numbers do not tell the whole story –there were several key statewide races
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Sen. Chris Dodd: The Future of Latin America: Opportunities and Challenges for U.S. Policy in the Hemisphere

Today, I spoke to the students, faculty, and staff from Central Connecticut State University, including members of their Latin American Association and the Latin American, Latino, and Caribbean Center. I laid out my vision for the future of U.S — Latin America relations, calling for a fundamental shift in the United States’ Latin American policy to reflect the region’s changing economy and evolving democracy. The Future of Latin America: Opportunities and Challenges for U.S. Policy in the Hemisphere: I’ve been a Senator for a long time–but I’ve been passionate about Latin America for an even longer time. In 1966, I
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National Mall Slated for Major Restoration After Getting A ‘C’

WASHINGTON — The National Mall got a “C grade” Tuesday from Interior Secretary Ken Salazar as he signed a plan to restore what he called “the front yard of America” – now notable for its dead grass and sinking seawalls. Salazar visited the Jefferson Memorial and toured a construction zone nearby where workers are replacing a seawall. He said the National Park Service should aim for an “A grade” for the mall. “There’s a lot that has to be done,” Salazar said, noting other sections of the seawall around the Tidal Basin also are sinking into the mud. “There are
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Cheney Lurks Just Beneath Bush’s Words

Some initial reports about former president George W. Bush’s new memoir, “Decision Points,” suggest that it refutes the theory that Dick Cheney was the true power behind the throne. It’s hardly surprising, of course, that in Bush’s reimagining of his presidency he would not give that theory any ammunition, at least not overtly. But Cheney is everywhere in the book, if you know how to look. As several observers have previously noted, Bush in his memoir repeatedly complains of being “blindsided.” He was “blindsided” by the pictures of torture at Abu Ghraib, an utterly predictable outcome of his administration’s decision
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Steve Lombardo: It Was More Than Just A Wave

A week ago today, voters flipped the Obama coalition on its head and voted for Republicans in a mid-term landslide that has the potential to be a transformational election. Notice how we used the word “potential.” That’s because every new majority can go in one of two directions: it can either cement its winning coalition or it can fritter it all away. History will be the judge, but the next 12 months will give us a pretty good indication of how this will turn out. Either way, what is clear is that this was a historic defeat for Democrats. And
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Larry Beinhart: Why the Stimulus Package Failed

The stimulus package failed because it consisted mostly of tax cuts. Tax cuts are among the very worst ways to create jobs and certainly the most expensive. The stimulus package authorizes 787 billion dollars. According to the official website (Recovery.gov) $565 billion has actually been spent or credited. There are three categories of “stimulus.” Citing amounts spent, they are: $243.4 billion in tax cuts. $154.5 billion in contracts, grants, and loans. This is what we actually think of as a stimulus, construction and research projects. $166.8 billion in entitlements. This is mostly money to the states to help with unemployment
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William Hartung: Don’t Stall on New START

It’s time for the U.S. Senate to ratify the new arms reduction treaty between the United States and Russia (New START). The treaty‘s benefits are clear and concrete (PDF). Each side would reduce its nuclear stockpile by about one-third. Each side would adhere to an effective, multi-faceted monitoring scheme — including satellite reconnaissance, on-site inspections, and extensive information exchanges — that would ensure compliance with the agreement. The treaty would also set the stage for enhanced U.S. and Russian cooperation on urgent issues such as curbing Iran’s nuclear ambitions and securing nuclear weapons and bomb-making materials to keep them out
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