UNDERNEWS

Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who has covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

May 18, 2009

BREVITAS

POLITICS

Green Parties across the U.S.
are running a record number of candidates in local and state elections. Fewer elections are scheduled in odd-numbered years, but over 100 Greens from running for office in 2009 elections. In 2005, 69 candidates had declared their run by the middle of May. In 2007, that number was 74. So far in 2009, 119 candidates have declared their runs.

Fair Vote -
The California Assembly got the ball rolling on a solution to the potential disenfranchisement of overseas voters when runoffs ensue, as they voted unanimously to send ranked voting ballots along with standard single-choice ballots to voters on foreign soil. If the bill becomes law, California's overseas voters will be able to rank their preferences on the ranked choice voting ballot in case the first round of voting leads to a runoff election. This way, their preferences will be taken into account when their stateside fellow Californians go to the polls a second time.

BUSH WATCH


Democracy Now - GQ Magazine has revealed former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld repeatedly placed Biblical quotes on President Bush's top-secret briefings during the early days of the invasion of Iraq. One briefing paper showed an image of a US soldier in Baghdad below the Biblical quote: "Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed." Another briefing paper included a photograph of a US tank next to the quote "Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand." A third briefing paper showed US tanks entering an Iraqi city alongside the quote "Open the gates that the righteous nation may enter, the nation that keeps faith." Some Pentagon officials were concerned that, if Rumsfeld's top secret briefings were ever leaked, they could be interpreted as a suggestion that the war was a battle against Islam. One Pentagon official warned the fallout "would be as bad as Abu Ghraib."

MONEY & WORK

Labor Radio
- UAW workers and their supporters are hitting the picket lines at the Chrysler engine plant in Kenosha Wisconsin to protest the use of U.S. tax dollars to close the plant and ship its jobs to Mexico. Glenn Stark,, President of UAW Local 72: "They're gonna shut six U.S. plants down and not any of the four Mexico plants. In fact, three years later now they're gonna open a plant in Mexico doing the work that we were promised. It almost coincides with the date we're gonna close on."

TORTURE

Voters for Peace
has filed complaints with the District of Columbia Bar and with four other states seeking the disbarment of 12 Bush-Cheney torture lawyers. Complaints have been filed against: John Yoo, Judge Jay Bybee, and Stephen Bradbury who authored the torture memoranda. As well as attorneys who advised, counseled, consulted and supported those memoranda including Alberto Gonzales, John Ashcroft, Michael Chertoff, Alice Fisher, William Haynes II, Douglas Feith, Michael Mukasey, Timothy Flanigan, and David Addington. These detailed complaints, with over 500 pages of supporting exhibits, have been filed with the state bars in the District of Columbia, New York, California, Texas and Pennsylvania, and they seek disciplinary action and disbarment.

MEDIA

Bloomberg
- The Harvard Crimson has produced 12 Pulitzer Prize winners and prepared generations of journalists for newspaper careers during its 136 years. That wellspring of talent is drying up as the paper's editors now shun the field. With the industry in turmoil from plunging circulation, just three of the 16 graduating seniors who were on the Crimson executive board in Cambridge, Massachusetts, are seeking positions in journalism, said Paras Bhayani, 22, the departing managing editor, who is joining Teach for America. In the 1960s and 70s, more than half of the Crimson's board members found jobs at newspapers, alumni say. . . Of the Crimson's last 10 managing editors, only two are working at newspapers. . . Newsroom employment in the U.S. plummeted 11 percent last year to 46,700, a level last seen in 1979, according to the American Society of News Editors.

DRUG BUSTS

Web MD
- The active chemical in marijuana promotes the death of brain cancer cells by essentially helping them feed upon themselves, researchers in Spain report. Guillermo Velasco and colleagues at Complutense University in Spain have found that the active ingredient in marijuana, THC, causes brain cancer cells to undergo a process called autophagy. Autophagy is the breakdown of a cell that occurs when the cell essentially self-digests. . . The findings appear in the April 1 issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

SHOP TALK

What with all the fuss
about the new search engine Wolfram Alpha, we thought we would test it out, so we punched in "Progressive Review." Here's what we got: "Wolfram Alpha isn't sure what to do with your input. . . Related inputs to try: Finance: financial information PROGRESSIVE. . . Periodicals: information about a periodical REVIEW." So we think we'll stick with Google for awhile where our "Progressive Review" shows up at the top of 218,000 pages in English with that phrase.

THE MIX

A study by the UCLA School of Law
finds that the average same sex couple spends about $7400 on their wedding, which means gay marriages have produced more thant $111 million for the Massachusetts economy since the 2004 when they became legal.

CUBA

Washington Post - Oil, up to 20 billion barrels of it, sits off Cuba's northwest coast in territorial waters, according to the Cuban government -- enough to turn the island into the Qatar of the Caribbean. At a minimum, estimates by the U.S. Geological Survey place Cuba's potential deep-water reserves at 4.6 billion barrels of oil and 9.8 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, stores that would rank the island among the region's top producers. . . Cuba has said it welcomes U.S. investment, but American companies remain largely silent on the issue, at least in public, bound by trade sanctions that were established under the Kennedy administration

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