By Michael Faulkner - 02.09.14
The government’s promised launch of a four-year long commemoration of World War One kicked off with a salvo from Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove. He set the tone of what we may expect by shooting down the popular TV satirical/historical spoof of the 1980s, “Black Adder”, which parodied several hundred years of British history, culminating in in a final episode with the whole cast “going over the top” to collective annihilation on the western front. He then had a go at Joan Littlewood’s popular musical of the 1960s “Oh What a Lovely War”, which charted the course of the conflict and its impact on the participants through the changing...
By Conn Hallinan - 02.09.14
In November 2001, when the CIA assassinated al-Qaeda commander Mohammed Atef with a killer drone in Kandahar, Afghanistan, the U.S. held a virtual monopoly on the technology of lethal robots. Today, more than 70 countries in the world deploy drones, 16 of them the deadly variety, and many of those drones target rural people living on the margins of the modern world.
Armed drones have been hailed as a technological breakthrough in the fight against terrorists who, in the words of President Obama, “take refuge in remote tribal regions…hide in caves and walled compounds…train in empty deserts and rugged mountains.” But much of...
By Steven Jonas, MD, MPH - 02.09.14
Pope Francis has been taking some pretty remarkable positions, for a Pope at any rate, during his first year in office. Indeed, in the context of the Roman Catholic Church they could be considered radical. For example, he has opened the door to gay Catholics, he has acknowledged that there is some sort of “gay lobby” within the Vatican itself, he has said that atheists might well be welcomed into heaven. He has also been engaging in some fairly substantive house-cleaning and reorganizing, like bouncing more than one reactionary Cardinal from places of influence on policy making and politics...
By Harry Targ - 02.09.14
Global Economic Context
Looking at the last third of the twentieth century, Canadian economist James Davies, in a study prepared by the World Institute for Development Economics Research, wrote “income inequality has been rising for the past 20 to 25 years and we think that is true for inequality in the distribution of wealth.” In 2,000 the study showed, the top 1 percent of the world’s population accounted for 40 percent of the its total net worth, with the bottom half owning 1.1 percent. Edward Wolff, another economist...
By Iris Vander Pluym - 02.09.14
This is your body on conservatives.
On November 26, Marlise Munoz’s husband Erick found her unconscious on the floor. She had suffered a pulmonary embolism, her brain received no oxygen for some time, and she was pronounced dead at the hospital. As paramedics, Erick and Marlise understood well what “life support” meant, and Marlise had made clear that in such tragic circumstances she would not want such interventions.
But Marlise was 14 weeks pregnant, and Texas has a “pregnancy exclusion” law: unlike other adults, a pregnant person may not have life support withdrawn even...
By Mickey Walker - 02.09.14
Where do I begin? Religion is always a good place to start. So here goes:
1. Comingle issues of Church and State so that freedom of religion as guaranteed by the First Amendment to the US Constitution becomes as fuzzy as a lint catcher in a Beaumont, Texas coin- operated washateria.
Sometimes politicians seek to mix religion and politics together in order to sway voters and exercise power. Jerry Falwell of Liberty Baptist Church in Virginia directed his Moral Majority, a Christian organization devised by him...
By Loren Adams, 02.09.14
Shutting down three lanes on the nation’s busiest bridge creates an inescapable metaphor. Not just Christie, but the entire right-wing has been determined to shut down the government for decades. And has. By God, if they don’t get their way, lanes are closed, jobs killed, government thrown into lockdown, and the nation suffers. How fitting the name of the iconic structure, George Washington Bridge (GWB), named for the nation’s father.
The Republican Party’s motives are three-fold: (1) philosophy, (2) vengeance, and (3) concentration of wealth/power.
By Donald B. Ardell - 02.09.14
Recently, I was asked to go along with a friend to a Toastmasters meeting. Despite a 40-some-year career involving lots of public speaking, I had never been. It’s not that I wasn’t interested. I assumed it would be worthwhile to turn up at a Toastmasters function and learn more about the art and science of public speaking. I’ve long been interested in articles and workshops on this topic and the related focus that Toastmaster’s develops towards...