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 20, 2009



Jordan Times
- "If Israel continues not to accept solving the Palestinian issue on the basis of a two-state solution, then the other option before us is one democratic state in which Muslims, Christians and Jews live side by side enjoying the same rights," Arab League Secretary General Amr Musa said.

Jonathan Cook, Z Mag - The United Nation's watchdog on torture has criticized Israel for refusing to allow inspections at a secret prison, dubbed by critics as "Israel's Guantanamo Bay", and demanded to know if more such clandestine detention camps are operating. . . Findings from Israeli human rights groups show that the prison has in the past been used to hold Arab and Muslim prisoners, including Palestinians, and that routine torture and physical abuse were carried out by interrogators.


Chuck Todd, MSNBC
- Obama gave shout-outs to three governors who attended today's Rose Garden announcement on the new national car emission standards. He called Governors Jennifer Granholm (D-Mich.), Deval Patrick (D-Mass.) and Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-Calif.) some of the "finest governors" in the country. Interestingly, majorities of residents in all three states don't seem to agree with the president on this issue. . . The three governors have a collective job rating of 34%.


Joseph Young, Washington Times - D.C. Public Schools has a shortage of well-trained and qualified teachers, according to a report released this month by DC Voice, a group of activists concerned with the quality of education. . . The report also found that Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee had not filled 225 teaching positions before the first day of school last fall, up nearly 50 percent from the previous year. The most common reasons for the vacancies given by the principals interviewed were the lack of applications for such positions as math and special-education teachers, the report states. . .


Clay Burell, Education Change - Recent research published by the Hoover Institution by UC-Davis economics professor Scott Carrell and University of Pittsburgh economics professor Mark Hoekstra found that one disruptive student in a classroom significantly "reduces peer student math and reading test scores." They continue, "The results of our analysis provide evidence that, in many cases, a single disruptive student can indeed influence the academic progress made by an entire classroom of student."


1926 -- Thomas Edison says Americans prefer silent movies over talkies.


Although the media
emphasized the fact that the new emissions standards might raise car prices by $1300, most neglected this key point reorted by the Portland Press Herald: "Obama said drivers would make up the higher cost of cleaner vehicles by buying less gas at the pump. It would take three years to pay off the investment and would, over the life of a vehicle, save about $2,800 through better gas mileage.

Politicus USA - Rep. Joe Barton defended his anti-global warming position on C-SPAN by arguing CO2, carbon dioxide should not be regulated because it is not a pollutant. He said that since CO2 is in Coca-Cola it is safe for people and should not be regulated. "I would also point out that CO2, carbon dioxide, is not a pollutant in any normal definition of the term. . . I am creating it as I talk to you. It's in your Coca-Cola, you're Dr. Pepper, your Perrier water. It is necessary for human life. It is odorless, colorless, tasteless, does not cause cancer, does not cause asthma. There is nobody who has ever been admitted to the hospital for CO2 poisoning, so it is not a pollutant. "


- One statistic that stands out in America's recession-stung economy is the unemployment rate for adult men: in April for the second month in a row it surged ahead of the national average to 9.4 percent versus 8.9 percent for all workers. The jobless rate for adult women was 7.1 percent. "In the 2001 recession, 51 percent of all job losses were for men. It was evenly split. But in this recession 80 percent of the jobs that have been lost have been men's," said Andrew Sum, a labor economics professor at Northeastern University who has studied this issue in detail.
Men also incurred about 80 percent of the job losses in the 1990-91 recession, but Sum said by his calculations the numbers this time were dramatically different. In the 1990-91 recession, men lost 1.037 million jobs. They have lost 4.5 million to date in this one.

Lots of coverage of the Gallup poll indicating a slight lead for pro-lifers for the first time, but more important is a poll from CNN that says 69% of Americans do not want the Supreme Court to overrule Roe v. Wade.


Speaking at the
University of Pennsylvania commencement, Google's CEO Eric Schmidt asked the inevitable question: what is the meaning of life? In order to answer that questions, he said, firsf turn off your computer.




Telegraph UK - An Australian surfer who took part in a competition when he was on sick leave from work has had an appeal against his sacking upheld. The baggage handling company he worked for found out about his exploits and promptly fired him. The Industrial Relations Commission initially upheld his sacking, but on appeal ruled that terminating his employment was too harsh and ordered the company to pay compensation. Mr Bevan injured his back while working for Oceania Aviation Services. He saw an osteopath who issued him with a medical certificate that recommended he remain off work until September 16. While he was on leave, his grandfather died and Mr Bevan decided to compete in the surfing tournament, which he had won the previous year, in his memory. His back had improved and the osteopath was happy with his progress. The day he entered the water Mr Bevan was on a scheduled day off from work which fell within the period of sick leave. However, when he returned to work and told bosses he had been for "a bit of a paddle", he was fired. The commission found Mr Bevan had gone surfing "in his own private time" and noted that the osteopath said he had not put his injury at risk by surfing.

Boing Boing - The new US credit-card bill specifies a minimum type-size and a list of approved fonts for the terms and conditions, to replace the mind-clouding teeny-weeny eye-strain-o-rama font that normally fills a Bible-sized tome that accompanies your standard credit card. Section 122 of the Truth in Lending Act is amended by adding at the end the following new subsection: "(d) Minimum type-size and font requirement for credit card applications and disclosures. -All written information, provisions, and terms in or on any application, solicitation, contract, or agreement for any credit card account under an open end consumer credit plan, and all written information included in or on any disclosure required under this chapter with respect to any such account, shall appear- "(1) in not less than 12-point type; and "(2) in any font other than a font which the Board has designated, in regulations under this section, as a font that inhibits readability.".


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It makes no more sense to treat carbon dioxide as a pollutant than it does water or oxygen. All three are natural and essential to life. The AGW myth has corrupted politicians, computer modelers and some scientists. It is a deadly threat to civilization and to liberty. The hyperbolic claims made for future doom will never materialize, but the social evils that result from uncritical belief in the myth are already causing harm.

May 20, 2009 8:44 PM  
Anonymous Mairead said...

Why don't you try breathing water for an hour? Water has oxygen in it and humans are about 98% water in general, so it should be easy, right?

May 21, 2009 7:28 AM  

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