Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who has covered Washington under nine presidents and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

January 15, 2009



Washington Times -
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the nation's largest business lobby, which usually aligns itself with Republicans, has been working closely with President-elect Barack Obama on the financial bailout and the economic recovery package. R. Bruce Josten, the chamber's executive vice president for government affairs, called the presidential transition team's outreach to the organization "expansive and extensive," and said Mr. Obama will have to rely on the organization to pass the stimulus plan. . . In particular, Mr. Josten praised Mr. Obama for asking that 40 percent of the stimulus go to tax cuts.

Pro Publica
- Until today, the Obama team's pitch to release the funds had been short on specifics. But this afternoon, Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) announced that the Obama team had assured him it would spend between $40 billion and $100 billion of the bailout money on foreclosure relief for homeowners. Beyond that, it seems Obama won't spell out just what his administration will do with the money. Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT), head of the Senate banking committee, said yesterday that he no longer expected a detailed proposal - the details will come via hearings in the Senate. That "makes more sense than, with 72 hours, trying to fashion something in great detail between now and then before a vote," he said


Unsilent Generation -
Included among the many parting shots from the lame-duck Bush administration are two actions that will add to the suffering of the terminally ill, of whom old people make up the majority. The first of these actions makes it easier for health care workers to ignore or override the wishes of dying patients. The second threatens the availability of hospice care - the one setting in which such patients can be sure that their choices will be respected and their pain subdued.


- The internet will get a chance to watch live as lawyers spar in a Recording Industry Association of America file sharing lawsuit this month, a federal judge ruled. U.S. District Judge Nancy Gertner of Massachusetts granted over-the-internet coverage for a Jan. 22 motions hearing in the RIAA's lawsuit against Boston University student Joel Tenenbaum and others. The defendants are seeking to dismiss allegations they shared copyrighted music over peer-to-peer networks. . . The ruling is groundbreaking. Federal trial courts rarely, if ever, permit still pictures or live feeds from their courtrooms, though appeals courts are more open


Lindsay Beyerstein, Washington Independent
- One in five union activists gets illegally fired in the run-up to unionization elections, economist Dean Baker said at an event held at the National Press Club. Baker's estimate is based on data compiled by the National Labor Relations Board and analyzed by Baker's colleagues at the Center for Economic and Policy Research - a liberal economic policy think tank in Washington.


Jason Gurskis, Fox News
- Could the scooter, extremely popular in Europe and Asia, bring back that free feeling and rush of adrenaline without damaging the environment? "In general, scooters are not as good a deal for the environment as they seem to be because of how much they pollute," says Bryan Welch, publisher of Mother Earth News, an environment-minded monthly magazine. . . According to the Environmental Protection Agency, most people who think scooters and motorcycles are less polluting than four-wheelers fail to take into account the sophisticated emission controls found in most cars today. "Because of the size and design of scooters, you can't have the catalytic converters and emission controls that you can in a car," explains the EPA's Cathy Milbourn. "Scooters produce fewer greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2), but produce significantly more hydrocarbons (HC) and nitrogen oxides (NOx)." According to current EPA standards, cars are allowed to emit 0.16 grams of HC and NOx per mile. Scooters can get away with emitting 1.3 grams per mile — more than eight times the amount of cars.




NY Post - Just to make sure everyone gets it, the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, which handles much of the inaugural planning, has deemed that 'A New Birth of Freedom' will be the official inaugural theme. The phrase, from the Gettysburg Address, expresses Lincoln's hope that the sacrifice of those who died to preserve the nation would lead to 'a new birth of freedom' for our nation.


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January 16, 2009 12:11 PM  

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