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Wednesday, April 23 2014

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Op-Ed
 

John H. Cushman, Jr: What the Latest Keystone XL Delay Really Means

By delaying a final decision on the Keystone XL pipeline until Nebraska devises a legally valid route across the state, the Obama administration may have pushed the question off for months—most likely until after the November mid-term elections. That lets the president ride out the hotly contested campaign for control of Congress without having to decide whether the controversial pipeline is in the national interest.

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Tom Engelhardt: Why Kidnapping, Torture, Assassination, and Perjury Are No Longer Crimes in Washington
Full story: Tom Dispatch


Jon Krakauer: Death and Anger on Everest
Full story: New Yorker


Mark Potok: Bombing Anniversary a Reminder of the Radical Right's Rage

Nineteen years ago today, evil came to Oklahoma City. Timothy McVeigh, fueled by hatred of the government he saw as an oppressive tyrant, set off a massive truck bomb at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, tearing away the lives of 168 Americans, including 19 small children in a day-care center.

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Kevin C. Elliott and David B. Resnik: More light, less heat over endocrine disruptors

Over the past year, scientists have engaged in a vigorous dispute over Europe's potential regulations for endocrine-disrupting chemicals. The debate began last summer, when 18 scientists wrote an editorial that was sharply critical of a leaked European Union plan. Other scientists countered that the plan was reasonable and supported by scientific evidence.

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Melanny Martinez: An Open Letter to Sasha Obama from One Daughter to Another

Dear Sasha Obama,

My name is Melanny Martinez. I am thirteen years old and I am currently in the seventh grade at a Catholic private school in Texas. I know you go to private school too and you must understand how hard they can be sometimes. I wanted to write you a letter because I believe you could understand what I am going through. This might be a little odd and I don't know if you will ever get to read this, but I thought it was worth a try.

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Erwin Vermeulen: Japan's Northwest Pacific "not-for-purposes-of-scientific-research" Whale Killing Program Could Start Later This Month

On March 31st, a ruling by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) served a devastating blow to Japan's whaling industry. The court's landmark ruling stated that the Japan whale Research Program in the Antarctic (JARPA II) was not conducted for the purposes of scientific research. It ordered that Japan revoke the scientific permits given under JARPA II and refrain from granting any further permits under that program.

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Emily Cassidy: Every time we eat GE soy we are taking a dose of Roundup with it

A new study led by scientists from the Arctic University of Norway has detected "extreme levels" of Roundup, the agricultural herbicide manufactured by Monsanto, in genetically engineered soy.

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Guillermo Cantor: Nativist Group Urges Republican Party to Further Alienate the Immigrant Community

Anti-immigrant groups periodically use a common tactic of circulating reports warning lawmakers and the general public about immigrants' supposedly threatening character. These reports often consist of portraying immigrants as an economic and fiscal burden, a threat to societal integration, or a political menace to an idealized status quo.

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Jim Hightower: Ryan's Joke Is on Us

My guess is that Rep. Paul Ryan, the Republican Party's highly touted budget guru, doesn't have a very tight grip on the concept of irony.

Otherwise, why would he choose April Fools' Day to release the latest version of what the GOP intends to do to federal programs (and to the people who count on them) if it takes total control of Congress? But there he was on April 1, declaring with a straight face that, "We [Republicans] believe that we owe it to the country to offer an alternative to the status quo. It's just that simple."

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Robert Reich: Antitrust in the New Gilded Age

We're in a new gilded age of wealth and power similar to the first gilded age when the nation's antitrust laws were enacted. Those laws should prevent or bust up concentrations of economic power that not only harm consumers but also undermine our democracy — such as the pending Comcast acquisition of Time-Warner.

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Amanda Marcotte: Why Do Christian Right-Wingers Pretend America's Laws Don't Apply to Them?
Full story: AlterNet

Amanda Ufheil-Somers: A Loveless Diplomatic Marriage with No Future

Among the would-be therapists of the foreign policy world, the alliance between the United States and Saudi Arabia is a textbook case of a "loveless marriage."

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Robert Reich: Happy Tax Day, and Why the Top 1% Pay a Much Lower Tax Rate than You

It's tax time again, April 15, when our minds turn toward paying the taxes we owe or possibly getting a tax refund. But what we don't think about enough is whether our tax system is fair. The richest 1 percent of Americans are now getting the largest percent of total national income in almost a century. So you might think they'd pay a much higher tax rate than everyone else.

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Alex Xourias: Milking Public Education

The building stood facing me, the windows staring ahead like hundreds of scrutinizing eyes. It was larger than I thought it would be.

I looked around as I dug my hands into my pockets, struggling to retain heat. Across the street was a public housing development that appeared to be shut down: broken doors, smashed windows, an overall sense of abandonment. To the left was a park, buried under feet of snow.

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Andy Rowell: Frack Wells Emit Up to 1,000 Times More Methane

On Sunday the world's leading climate scientists called for a rapid disinvestment from fossil fuels into renewables.

And in calling for prompt disinvestment from coal and oil, they argued that gas could be a "bridging" fuel between the dirtiest fossil fuels and clean renewables.

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Robin Claremont: The Surprising Truth Behind Tax Day: Where Your Taxes Go

If you groan about Tax Day, you're certainly not alone.

But what if Tax Day was something we could be proud of as members of a democracy? Would you feel differently about paying taxes if you knew they were going to support public services that you, your family, and your community rely on – such as public safety, roads and bridges, schools, health care, social services, and national parks?

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Ben Schrieber: It is unconscionable to slow down the transition to renewable energy in the hope that convenient solutions will materialize from the ether

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report suggests that current levels of climate action put the planet on pace for up to 5°C of warming by the year 2100. It is clear on the need for an emissions budget for climate pollution to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

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Hannah McKinnon: Reality Check: Climate Change and the Tar Sands

Today's report, the work of thousands of the world's leading scientists who make up the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, is clearer than ever that the world needs to take urgent action to reduce carbon pollution. In response, we've released a new report, Reality Check: Climate Change and the Tar Sands, to make sure Canadians have access to good information about the root cause of the country's failure to act on this urgent issue.

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Mona Funiciello and Don Kraus: A Taxing Solution to the Greatest Challenge of Our Time

Ben Franklin said it best — nothing is certain, "except death and taxes."

Like most Americans, we submit our 1040s to maintain the health of our nation. However, we'd personally rather decrease our income tax and instead pay a fee that reduces carbon pollution and could preserve the planet.

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Chuck Collins: Close the Paris Hilton Loophole

If our leaders want to balance the budget, here's a suggestion: Congress can scrap a new "Paris Hilton" giveaway that's draining billions of federal tax dollars.

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Isaiah J. Poole: A Better Path to Prosperity

Washington politicos aren't quite right when they say that federal budget proposals are "dead on arrival."

Even if they don't become law, budgets stand as living, breathing testimonies of the values and priorities of the people who write them.

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Robert Reich: Why the Minimum Wage Should Really Be Raised to $15 An Hour

Momentum is building to raise the minimum wage. Several states have already taken action — Connecticut has boosted it to $10.10 by 2017, the Maryland legislature just approved a similar measure, Minnesota lawmakers just reached a deal to hike it to $9.50. A few cities have been more ambitious — Washington, D.C. and its surrounding counties raised it to $11.50, Seattle is considering $15.00

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Craig Aaron: More Than 50 Public Interest Groups Call on Washington to Reject 'Unthinkable' Comcast-Time Warner Cable Merger

On Tuesday, Comcast filed documents at the Federal Communications Commission asking the agency to approve its proposed merger with Time Warner Cable. If the deal is approved, Comcast will become the dominant cable company for two-thirds of the country and it will control over half of the nation's next-generation broadband customers.More than 50 public interest groups submitted a letter to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler calling a market takeover of this scale "unthinkable" and urging the agency to block the deal. The coalition delivered the same letter to Attorney General Eric Holder at the Department of Justice, which is also charged with reviewing the merger. The groups signing the letter include leading consumer rights, arts, free speech, and open Internet organizations, including Consumers Union, CREDO, Demand Progress, Free Press, the National Alliance for Media Arts and Culture, the National Organization for Women, the Parents Television Council, Public Knowledge and the Writers Guild of America East and West.

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Douglas Lucas and Amy O'Neal: Portrait of a failed president: Inside the art of George W. Bush
Full story: Salon.com

Rebecca Solnit: Call climate change what it is: violence
Full story: The Guardian UK


Robert Borosage: Sense and Nonsense: The Budget Battle In The House

This week, the House of Representatives will vote on the Republican budget presented by the Republican Budget Committee chair Paul Ryan, as well as on the Congressional Progressive Caucus "Better Off Budget."

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Subhankar Banerjee | An Ode to the Seasons for Peter Matthiessen

Do you know about Peter Matthiessen?

Maybe you've read one or more of his many unforgettable books. Snow Leopard, perhaps? Or maybe, Shadow Country? Both, one non–fiction and the other an epic novel, had won the National Book Award. The list of books he wrote is rather long. You may have read more of his books than I have.


Peter Matthiessen passed away on Saturday, at his home in Sagaponack, New York. He was 86. I'm sure you will read about him in many places now.

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E.J. Dionne Jr: Supreme oligarchy
Full story: Washington Post


Peter Van Buren: No-Fly-List America: Post-Constitutional America, Where Innocence is a Poor Defense
Full story: Tom Dispatch

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