April 30, 2009 Agri-biz at root of swine flu?
t's been 15 years since the North American Free Trade Agreement, and while
debate still rages over the wisdom of the arrangement, the recent swine
flu outbreak threatens to bring the pact under sharp criticism. Mounting
evidence is pointing to a US-owned industrial pig farm as a likely source
of the swine flu virus. The farm is one of many factory farms that set
up shop in Mexico after NAFTA rearranged the laws to make such moves more
profitable. Many experts have been warning for years about the potential
for a swine flu pandemic to arise out of the conditions present in industrial
April 29, 2009 Discovering Bacteria's
Amazing Communication System
Bonnie Bassler discovered that bacteria "talk" to each other,
using a chemical language that lets them coordinate defense and mount
attacks. The find has stunning implications for medicine, industry —
and our understanding of ourselves.
April 28, 2009 Britons Cleared Over 7/7 Attacks
Three Britons have been cleared of helping to plot a series of suicide
bombings in London in July 2005, in which 52 people were killed. Mohammed
Shakil, Sadeer Saleem and Waheed Ali were accused of searching for possible
targets with two of the four British Muslims who launched
co-ordinated bomb attacks on three underground trains and a bus.
April 27, 2009 The Jay Bybee Problem
How did Jay Bybee breeze through a confirmation hearing for his appointment
to the Federal Appeals Court in February 2003? Not a single Democrat
questioned Bybee at the session, and the proceedings came to a quick
The following month he was confirmed by the full Senate. Just six months
prior to the hearing, Jay Bybee had signed legal memos providing cover
for CIA agents torturing detainees — yet Congress voted
him to a lifetime on the federal bench. How did this happen? And what
will become of Judge Bybee now?
24, 2009 The Bernie Madoffs Of Global Warming
Testifying before the House Energy and Commerce Committee's energy
and environment subcommittee, Vice President Al Gore tells Rep. Joe
(R-TX) that he's been trusting the lies of corporate polluters, the "Bernie
Madoffs of global warming."
April 23, 2009 Someone Forgot to
Say "Harsh Interrogation Tactics"
While Fox news and major newspapers continue to use euphemisms
such as "harsh interrogation tactics" to describe the Bush administration's
approach to intelligence gathering, House Minority Leader John Boehner
(R-Ohio) used a more succinct term today: "torture."
17, 2009 Rethink Afghanistan: Cost of War
As we pay our tax bills, it seems an appropriate time to urge everyone
to Rethink Afghanistan, a war that currently costs over $2 billion a month
but hasn't made us any safer. Everyone has a friend or relative who just
lost a job. Do we really want to spend over $1 trillion on another war?
Everyone knows someone who has lost their home. Do we really want spend
our tax dollars on a war that could last a decade or more?
April 15, 2009 Elizabeth Warren Introduces COP's April Report
Elizabeth Warren — the Harvard Law professor and economic thinker,
who was appointed to chair the five-person Congressional oversight panel
for the $700 billion bailout fund — introduces
the April oversight report of the Congressional Oversight Panel: Assessing
Treasury's Strategy: Six Months of TARP. Hor more on Warren visit her
TPM blog Warren
April 14, 2009 Glenn Greenwald: Drug Decriminalization
Salon columnist and bestselling author Glenn Greenwald is the author
of a new Cato Institute policy paper on Portugal's pathbreaking
successful drug decriminalization program. Greenwald sat down with Reason.tv's
Nick Gillespie to talk about the lessons from Portugal — and Barack
Obama's decidedly disappointing performance so far on drug policy, executive
power, and civil liberties.
9, 2009 The Case Against Shell: Landmark Human Rights Trial
The multinational corporation Shell financed, armed, and otherwise colluded
with the Nigerian military forces that used deadly force and conducted
massive, brutal raids against the Ogoni people of the Niger Delta. Shell
was also involved in a strategy that resulted in the executions of nine
Ogoni leaders who were working for environmental justice and human rights,
including internationally-acclaimed writer and activist Ken Saro-Wiwa.
The Center for Constitutional Rights, EarthRights International and
other human rights attorneys sued Shell for their role in the repression
the Ogoni and the executions of the "Ogoni Nine". The case
will go to trial on April 27, 2009 in New York City.
April 7, 2009 Credit Card Industry Defeated for Now
Hidden penalties, sudden interest rate hikes, and deceptive language are
just a few of the questionable tactics used by credit card companies to
extract money from increasingly stressed consumers. Now, some on Capitol
Hill are trying to regulate the more abusive practices. With bills actually
moving through both houses of Congress, the credit card lobby is finding
itself on the defensive, and turning out in force
to oppose the legislation.
April 6, 2009 Eight Years of Failed
Policy in Afghanistan
Jonathan S. Landay has been reporting on Afghanistan for 23 years. Now
that the U.S. Administration plans a new surge into the country, Landay
says that in Afghanistan, "there's a great deal of apprehension." Landay
says he believes that, "most Afghans don't want the Taliban back,
at least not the way they ran the country in the 1990s. And yet, because
of the fact that these last eight years have been squandered by the previous
administration, and because of its misguided policies towards Pakistan,
and because of Pakistan's policies, people are very much sitting on the
fence in Afghanistan. He says this is, "because they're not convinced
anymore that the United States is there to "rebuild" their
country, they are convinced that the U.S. is there to occupy their country
of a war against Islam."
April 3, 2009 Bike with Ten-cornered Wheels
Bike fanatic Didi Senft, who's been building crazy cycles for years,
shows off his latest "angular" bikes. The creator from eastern
Germany has now come up with bicycles which have wheels with either
four or three corners.
April 2, 2009 Goldman Vet Sparks Conflict On Hill
Barack Obama's plan to name yet another Goldman Sachs alum to his economic
team is proving too much for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT). Sanders put
a hold on the nomination of Gary Gensler to head the Commodity Futures
Commission, effectively stopping the nomination process in its tracks.
Sanders says Gensler, who spent 17 years at Goldman Sachs and then joined
the Treasury Department under Bill Clinton, played too big a role in
deregulating derivatives in the 90s' to be trusted to reregulate the
market now. Senate
Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), however, has told ANP that he plans "move
forward" with Gensler's nomination despite Sanders'
hold. To Christopher Hayes, Washington editor of The Nation Magazine,
the Majority Leader's defense of Gensler and Goldman is a disturbing
indication that it may be business as usual on the Hill when it comes
regulation on Wall Street.
April 1, 2009 Best
For their latest mission, 30 Improv Everywhere agents found a random
funeral in the obituary section of the newspaper and turned it into
the best funeral
ever. They picked a man who had very few surviving relatives and then
showed up to his funeral to make it truly awesome.