LA Progressive: 4 April to 10 April, 2010 — Articles

Naomi CampbellThe GOP’s Rebel Yell! Standing jubilantly before his subjects like a schlubby cartoon potentate, Newt Gingrich, the GOP’s resident court jester/sage/adulterer extraordinaire, declared Obama to be the most “radical” president in U.S. history at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference. Reveling in the event’s torch passing pageantry, the audience lapped up Gingrich’s tirade against the “secular socialist” Obama machine. Coming on the heels of Virginia governor Bob McDonnell’s racist paean to Confederate pride (in which Southern honor was smote in a zip-a-dee-doo-da world without slavery or slaves), the conference issued another call to arms. — Sikivu Hutchinson

Coal Mine Disaster: Legal Corruption and Legal Murder. The corporate media is talking about the tragic coal mine “accident.” That’s a lot like saying that the junkie’s gun accidentally went off during the 7-11 robbery. Except that the junkie had an uncontrollable biological urge. And the junkie had not spent years thumbing his nose at the safety regulations and at the state and federal government agencies that tried to impose those regulations. — Tom Hall

The Post Office. In every civilization there are great days on which history turns. In the spring my two cultures come together on a great day of liberation. One day, Passover reminds of freedom, that we came out as millions fleeing the slavery to a system which took the fruits of our labor. The other, April 15th, the day our taxes are due with the government taking the fruits of our labor. — Rabbi Sara Shendelman

A Nuanced Look at How We Die. There are those, Dr. Cohen himself passionately among them, who don’t see death as an evil to be avoided at all costs. They believe each individual has the autonomy to make reasonable end-of-life decisions, and that prosecuting doctors and nurses for anything short of criminal malfeasance is a travesty that will only ruin innocent lives and increase patient suffering. — Michael Sigman

Report on the Benefits of Immigrant Legalization Falls Short. A wide range of economic studies—studies which consider legalization’s impact in both the long term and in context to comprehensive immigration reform—conclude that legalization does in fact benefit both native-born and immigrants alike. — Immigration Impact

International Crisis Group Calls Congo Government a Failure and Warns of Anarchy. The International Crisis Group’s latest report, “Congo: A Stalled Democratic Agenda,” scrutinizes the four-year presidency of Joseph Kabila, calls it a failure, and warns that DRC risks anarchy without democracy and institutional reform. — Georgianne Nienaber

The Obama Record. There is a lot of misinformation circulating on talk radio, at town hall meetings, in the blogosphere, and around office water coolers about President Barack Obama. For instance, Obama is criticized for allegedly doing nothing and for doing too much. While Obama, like all presidents, has made mistakes, his presidency has thus far been marked not just by bitter opposition but by an ambitious array of initiatives and numerous accomplishments. His is turning out to be one of the most active presidencies in history. — Robert Watson

Extremism in the Defense of Librium. On the one hand the latent threats of violence and intimidation that underlies the actions and speech of the Tea Party crowd is enough to make any clear-thinking person seriously alarmed about the direction the lunatic fringe of American politics seems to be headed. On the other hand, these people are just so damned funny! We’re talking Ambivalence City here! Part of me wishes them to go away and the other part would mourn their loss if they ever did. Let’s face it: These assholes are the best thing to happen to progressive politics in this country since Eleanor Roosevelt. — Tom Degan

Coal: There Is No Good Way to Get It. The wrenching drama of the latest coal mine disaster, this one at the Upper Big Branch coal mine in West Virginia, reminds us to be careful what we wish for. Just as the Obama administration is finally imposing a moratorium and stronger regulations on “mountaintop removal” as a means of getting at coal through open-pit mining, an explosion in a deep mine points up the hazards of getting at coal the traditional way. — John Peeler

Will California Kill State Research into Homosexuality “Cure”? Lowenthal’s bill would add to California’s law books present-day science and values which were absent in 1950. The State has not conducted research into homosexuality for decades. “This (present) code simply mischaracterizes and institutes bigotry against the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community,” echoed Mario Guerrero, a director of Equality California. — Carl Matthes

A Klan by Any Other Name Would Smell as Racist. Those of you who remember the televised images of angry white protestors in the 1950s and 1960s know that this is nothing new. Whenever a black child tried to integrate a school in the Jim Crow South, the teabaggers of their day were out there to show their outrage. Whenever African Americans tried to register to vote or sit at a segregated lunch counter, the same crowd was out there. They came with their fists, their vulgarity, threats of violence and spitting. — David A. Love

Mid-August Lunch: Buon Appetito! Mid-August Lunch may be out of step with the movie mainstream (all the more reason to feast your eyes on it), but it is very much in the Italian cinematic tradition of Neo-Realism. Like his motion picture predecessors such as Vittorio De Sica, Roberto Rossellini, Luchino Visconti and Federico Fellini, Di Gregorio has cast a number of non-professional actors in the roles of the Italian mamas, and a couple of the director’s real life friends to play versions of themselves. This “amateur” casting – as the term “Neo-Realist” implies – often gives performances a more true-to-life, if less polished, quality, and it works very well onscreen here. — Ed Rampell

Alan Greenspan: As Unrepentant as Ever. He still wants to blame a “few bad apples,” instead of looking at his own role fanning the flames and pouring gasoline on the fire while the $8 trillion housing bubble was being pumped up. Greenspan said AIG’s problems were with insurance, but Born countered that if CDSs had been insurance they would have been regulated. Greenspan is bullshitting us again. — Joseph Palermo

What Else Can Tiger Say? Just Play. Tiger’s always been a mass distraction to the PGA, but as long as it was favorable publicity that benefited the tour, raised purses and endorsement opportunities, it was okay. Tiger Woods is always going to be three things; Black, great and popular. I know Tiger thinks he’s Caublasian, but trust me on this one…that’s not working out real well for him. — Anthony Samad

Universal Healthcare is Still Needed. Is Universal Healthcare still on our radar now that the Obama Administration and congress has passed the healthcare reform bill?.

Capitalism’s Golden Rule. doubt that any portion of the collapse of GM was included as a cost of NOT having national healthcare. But all those Golden Handcuff’s that GM’s employees understandably put on their own wrists as the only way they could see for keeping their loved ones healthy and covered just might have contributed to the recent very expensive collapse of the company, the company towns, all the nameplates and jobs. — Bob Letcher

Break Up the Banks. As long as the big banks are allowed to remain big, their political leverage over Washington will remain big. And as long as their political leverage remains big, the taxpayer and economic tab for the next mess they create will be big. By all means, give regulators resolution authority and also impose the tightest regulations possible. But Congress and the White House shouldn’t stop there. Limits should be placed on how big big banks can become. — Robert Reich

California Assembly Outdoes the LAUSD and City of L.A. in Sending Mixed Message with AB 1832. While Californians were fixated on Tiger Woods and the trial of Michael Jackson’s doctor Monday, the State Assembly took a unified step in stifling the voice of the People to bring about change. –Jasmyne A. Cannick

american standard tabby catTrust in the GOP’s Dearth of Experience. When Republicans warn that a policy is a job-killer – Americans should listen. If any group of lawmakers and thinkers know about killing jobs it’s the Grand Old Party. In 2008, the final year of the Bush Administration, after two terms of careless deregulation implemented with bastardized pseudo-free market battle cries, the economy lost 2.6 million jobs. An annual job loss not equaled since 1945. When it comes to job extermination the GOP’s display case has a full assortment of trophies. So, of course Republicans are now the best authority on how not to kill jobs. Basically, don’t do what they did. — Tina Dupuy

Paging Dr. King. That’s what I love about this guy! American history is littered with “Christian” religious leaders. Try as you might, you can’t escape them. The thing that sets Reverend King apart from most of these guys is the fact that he wasn’t a hypocrite. He never tried to twist the words of Jesus of Nazareth into anything other than what they were – a call to love one another and for kindness and gentleness. The Trappist monk Thomas Merton is another celebrated American Christian who took the gospel seriously. So was Dorothy Day. Please give me a day or two and I might be able to name more, but at the moment none come to mind. Both Merton and King died in 1968, Day in 1980. They’re gone and they’re not coming back. — Tom Degan

Why CNN Fails. CNN’s chief problem is not a lack of partisanship. Instead, it is that CNN’s “news” primarily consists of opinions from partisan political hacks. Most work for CNN because no candidate wants to hire them, and it’s an easy gig because they don’t have to know much about the subjects they pontificate about. Does CNN really believe viewers are still interested in the opinions of the corporate-funded James Carville? Or that CNN will steal viewers from FOX News by hiring Erick Erickson of Redstate.com, who publicly threatened to shoot census workers? CNN is failing because it’s selling stale conventional wisdom, which viewers are rejecting. — Randy Shaw

DHS Inspector General: No Assurance That Deputization Of Immigration Law Is ‘Achieving Its Goals’. Immigrant and civil rights activists have long claimed that the program leaves all brown-skinned residents vulnerable to racial profiling and other civil rights abuses, regardless of their immigration status. The inspector general’s assessment largely concurs with observations made by groups on the ground and goes further in pointing out that the program is inefficiently administered and failing to meet its goals. --Andrea Christina Nill

Rep. Michelle Backman (Rep. Stillwater, Minnesota)

Stock Ownership: Theory vs. Reality. I can’t help wondering how much more I (and millions of other Americans) could be earning from our stock portfolios if the billions of dollars paid in executive compensation (based on rationale that is marginal at best) were distributed to the shareholders. — Ron Wolff

Could 2010 Be a Good Year for Democrats After All? With Congress having finally passed health care reform, pundits are saying President Obama has gotten his “second wind” – and the conventional wisdom is being revisited. Could it be the 2010 midterms will be a good election for Democrats, and Scott Brown’s victory in Massachusetts was just their low point? — Paul Hogarth

9/11, Financial Crisis, Church Sex Scandal? Imagine That! Isn’t it precisely the job of political, financial and religious leaders to imagine disasters and then prepare for them? (Plausible ones, that is, as opposed to, say, anti-asteroid Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher’s crusade for funds to combat “objects coming from space that could cause colossal loss of lives on our planet.”) And if their imaginations fail them, and us, shouldn’t they be held accountable — morally and, when appropriate, criminally? — Michael Sigman

Paper Entrepreneurs Beating Product Entrepreneurs: 30 Years On. Paper entrepreneurs ensure that capital is allocated efficiently among product enrepreneurs. But paper entrepreneurs do not directly enlarge the economic pie. They only arrange and divide the slices. They provide nothing of tangible use. For an economy to maintain its health, entrepreneurial rewards should flow primarily to product, not paper. — Robert Reich

Not Out of the Woods Yet in Iraq. It is too early for the U.S. elite’s self-congratulation that democracy has finally been solidified in Iraq. Defeat could yet be snatched from the jaws of victory after U.S. forces leave, and even before that if the latest election is as destabilizing as was the one in 2005. — Ivan Eland

Catholic Church: Safe Haven for Criminals? I have concluded that any nonreligious organization with such a track record of abuse would have been indicted under the RICO Act a long time ago, for acts performed as part of an ongoing criminal organization. Racketeering, pedophilia, rape, assault, and criminal conspiracy to cover up all of the above—these are the things for which prisons were made. — David A. Love

Alan Greenspan and Ayn Rand

Haiti: Naomi Campbell’s Shot at Real Heroism. Health care in Haiti before the earthquake was inadequate. Now many health care workers have been killed, others have left the country and those that remain are overwhelmed not only with delivering care, but also with putting their own lives back together and dealing with friends and family who lost everything in the quake. So what happens? Predictably, the international NGOs roll in and force the closure of part of the established infrastructure. Why? One would suspect so that they can garner a part of the billions in funding promised by the UN donor conference. –Georgianne Nienaber

Outrage Is All the Rage. It’s often momentarily satisfying to react to outrage with more outrage. For years, I’ve rooted like a sports fan for MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann when he righteously matched and even outstripped the bile of the ignorant Right. But during his recent absence from the airwaves, it’s been a tonic to follow Laurence O’Donnell’s more reasoned approach and Rachel Maddow’s measured, humorous way of skewering the opposition. –Michael Sigman

Tea Baggers, Ku Kluxers, and Red ShirtsThe Tea Bagger movement’s spiritual forebears – the White Citizens’ Councils and the George-Wallace-for-president-in-‘68 crowd come to mind – went apoplectic when Congress passed historic civil rights bills in the 1960s. –Berry Craig

The Myth of the Sensible CenterThe “moderate Republican” has gone the way of the typewriter. As the tea party people and their ilk become more racist and reactionary – and their rhetoric more incendiary, each day – the GOP encourages them and endeavors to pull them into its embrace. Meanwhile the “bluedog Democrats” become increasingly irrelevant with each passing day, their bark more in evidence than their bite. --Carl Bloice:

41st & Central: The Untold Story of the LA Black PanthersThe Pan African Film & Arts Festival is proud to present the 2010 Audience Favorite Award winning film 41st & Central: The Untold Story of the L.A. Black Panther Party as part of its extended year-round programming at the Culver Plaza Theatre.

Liberals Lose to Fox Party, Corporate Party. Conservatives and the nice, polite folks I think of as carriage liberals have no choice but to step out into the cold with the outspoken progressives or go on doing what they’ve been doing for years now – giving their money and their votes to people who despise them and routinely screw them over. –Jim Fuller

Greenspan, Summers, and Why the Economy Is So Out of WhackIf any three people are most responsible for the failure of financial regulation, they are Greenspan, Larry Summers, and my former colleague, Bob Rubin. In 1999 they advised Congress to repeal the Glass-Steagall Act, which since 1933 had separated commercial from investment banking. By 1999, Wall Street was salivating over such a repeal because it wanted to create financial supermarkets that could use commercial deposits to place bets in the financial casino. That would yield the Street trillions. –Robert Reich

Published by the LA Progressive on April 11, 2010
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...