Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Truthout... News Briefs 12/29/10

News Briefs
Tuesday 28 December 2010  

Arizona Bans Ethnic Studies and, Along With it, Reason and Justice
Randall Amster J.D., Ph.D., Truthout: "While much condemnation has rightly been expressed toward Arizona's anti-immigrant law, SB 1070, a less-reported and potentially more sinister measure is set to take effect on January 1, 2011. 
This new law, which was passed by the conservative state legislature at the behest of then-School Superintendent (and now Attorney General-elect) Tom Horne, is designated HB 2281 and is colloquially referred to as a measure to ban ethnic studies programs in the state. As with SB 1070, the implications of this law are problematic, wide-ranging and decidedly hate filled."

Bittersweet Revitalization: Oakland's Reincarnation
Max Eternity, Truthout: "In spite of an ongoing, grim economic downturn felt nationally, the city of Oakland continues to enjoy a beatification, resurrection and transformation which has turned a rather neglected, desolate place into a spectacularly cleaved jewel in the Pacific Northwest. Architecture and public art are definitely playing a significant role in the emerging identity of Oakland. Take, for instance, a modernist-revival building and plaza a stone's throw from Lake Merritt and just a few blocks from Oakland's downtown Whole Foods and Trader Joe's. The sublimely designed Cathedral Christ of the Light, built by world-renowned firm SOM Architects, is but one of many fine examples in the city's newly refined, designer-built architectural environment."

Paul Krugman | The Era of Instability: Where We Went Wrong
Paul Krugman, Krugman & Co.: "It seems that in the United States, our perception of history has changed in the wake of the Great Recession. J. Bradford DeLong, a professor of economics at the University of California at Berkeley, makes this point in an online syndicated column about how our generation used to pity our grandfathers, who lacked the knowledge and compassion to fight the Great Depression effectively, and how we are repeating the same mistakes today. I share his sentiments."

Afghanistan War: Is Child Abuse a New Taliban Gambit?
Nichole Sobecki, GlobalPost: "Spc. Jaime Adame carried the young girl across the airfield, her tiny, gauze-wrapped body cradled in a polyester blanket, his camouflage rippling in the winds of the waiting Blackhawk. 'What's wrong?' shouted Staff Sgt. Christopher Meece, the crew chief, above the roar of the helicopter as Adame handed him the child. 'Another one,' he said grimly. Amid the ruinous injuries from roadside bomb blasts and gunshot wounds typical of this war lies a hidden horror facing the air ambulance teams operating across Afghanistan. All too often they are called to pick up and treat cases of violent abuse - typically of women and children like 2-year-old Razia."

Sacrificing the Rainforest on the Altar of Energy
Milagros Salazar, Inter Press Service: "The construction of five hydroelectric dams in Peru as part of an energy deal with Brazil will do considerable damage to the environment, such as the destruction of nearly 1.5 million hectares of jungle over the next 20 years, according to an independent study. More than 1,000 km of roads will have to be carved out of primary and secondary forests to build the dams and power plants and put up power lines, says the report, carried out by engineer Jose Serra for ProNaturaleza, a leading conservation organisation in Peru."

News in Brief: Key Pakistani Party to Quit Cabinet on Tuesday, and More ...
A secular party in Pakistan's ruling coalition said it would quit the cabinet on Tuesday; US business is booming overseas as American companies hire employees in countries with growing markets; anti-earmark lawmakers finance pet projects through similar process.

Iran Executes Two Men, One for Allegedly Spying for Israel
Laura Kasinof, The Christian Science Monitor: "Two Iranian men were executed today in Tehran's Evin Prison, one for allegedly spying for Israel and the other for belonging to a group dedicated to the violent overthrow of the Islamic revolution. According to the Iranian government news agency IRNA, Ali Akbar Siadat was found guilty of working for Mossad, Israel's secret intelligence service. Mr. Siadat had established relations with Mossad starting in 2005, and was arrested in 2008 while trying to flee Iran along with his wife, according to IRNA."

Robert Naiman | The Christmas Truce of 1914: "Threat to National Security"?
Robert Naiman, Truthout: "As we celebrate Christmas 2010, 100,000 US troops languish in Afghanistan, and Bradley Manning sits in 'maximum custody' in Quantico for the alleged crime of disclosing classified 'secrets' about US foreign policy - 'secrets' like the video of US troops killing two Reuters employees in Iraq, a video that the US military refused to release to Reuters. It is a particular stain on our country to be at war during the Season of Peace, just as it is a particular stain on our country to be at war during the Olympics. 'Peace on Earth' should stick in our throats a bit this holiday season, when our own government is bombing other people's countries, a practice which we have, so far, been unable to stop."

The GOP Plan to Force State Bankruptcy to Cripple Public Employee Unions (Video)
Countdown With Keith Olbermann: James Pethokoukis, money and politics columnist for Reuters, talks about apparent Republican support for allowing states to declare bankruptcy as a means of undermining unions.

Samuelson on Social Security: An Artifact From a Strange Year
Richard (RJ) Eskow, Campaign for America's Future: "Historians of the future will look back on this year as a turning point in the drive to dismantle a popular, self-funded program by convincing people that it's a 'big government' initiative that 'costs too much.' Ours will be remembered as a time when superstition ruled the land, just as it did in ancient Europe - except that today we make sacrifices on the altar of tax magic, not black magic. Whenever that day arrives, Robert J. Samuelson's latest Washington Post editorial will be a useful artifact for students of this demon-haunted time."

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