S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Mid-week Round-up

There are times during the weekend that I miss something that is happening in the news.  It could be political news or correspondence, or something else of importance online.  By Wednesdays, therefore, it is catchup time on the web for my blog.  To begin the news roundup, here are a few items of interest from my Email in-box that need to be shared more widely:
The earth's environment is under assault, from both man made and nature made events.
1)The U.S. oil spill [is] hurting energy moves in Congress, according to a current Reuters item.  People are speculating that it may eventually reach Miami or even the Atlantic.  To quote -

The massive, uncontrolled oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is roiling President Barack Obama's carefully laid plans to open up America's coasts to drilling again, while rattling Congress to a point where the oil industry's exploratory plans could face a big shake-up.
2) Because of the environmental impact to the earth by the events of the past month or so, visuals sent to me by my regular contributor, Jon, captured my attention.  These images are from the earlier environmental crisis involving the volcano eruption in Iceland:
In Photos: 1) Lightning electrifies volcano ash - 4/20, Yahoo! News; and 2) Northern Lights seen above Iceland's ash plume.
There was also a bit of good news, however, to soften all the scary headlines. Senator Carl Levin announced May 4 on the Senate floor that Kalamazoo Central High School in Kalamazoo, Michigan is the institution that gets President Obama for its" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Commencement
speaker. To quote Melody Barnes from the White House,"The response was overwhelming. Over 1,000 schools submitted outstanding applications, and more than 170,000 people weighed in on the six finalists."  I was one of those 170,000 voters, though I missed out on voting for the winner. 
In hearing what was outstanding about Kalamazoo H.S., I learned that anonymous benefactors have for years contributed scholarship money for everyone who graduates from there and wants to go on to college.  By the time many of these kids go off to school they will join their college student peers who are already "College Students 'Addicted' to Social Media, a Study Finds," reports Live Science (via Jon).  Electronic communication is ubiquitous, but not without cost to its young consumers.  Also from Jon and Yahoo!/Live Science, we learn that "Watching TV at Age 2 [is] Linked to a Host of Problems at 10."  Parents should think more carefully about the amount of freedom to watch unlimited television they give their kids.
"For Conservatives, Freedom's Just Another Word," opined my weekly Democratic Strategist Newsletter. "Freedom," says author John Schwarz, "is too important to be left to conservatives. No argument there."  This item, the third in the TDS/Demos forum on "Progressive Politics and the Meaning of American Freedom," is by Matt Yglesias, a Fellow at the Center for American Progress, a prolific writer at, and the author of Heads in the Sand. Matt's post is a response to John Schwarz's earlier essay in this series.  To quote:
I was a philosophy major in college, and as such I came to appreciate the importance of the controversy between the libertarian conception of "negative liberty" (the absence of state coercion) and the modern liberal idea of "positive liberty" (the presence of opportunity).
Due to U.S. financial sector deregulation in the past couple of decades, the opportunities for Wall Street to take advantage of the absence of state coercion caused the economic meltdown in 2007-08.  Fed Chairman Benjamin Bernanke has been one of the key players throughout the fiscal crisis.  And Libertarian Representative Ron Paul of Texas has been one of his most vocal critics, leading the charge for auditing the Federal Reserve. So far none of the key players have been held accountable for what happened.  My other regular contributor, Diane, sent me this story, labeling it "What a surprise."  Bernanke Admits Printing $1.3 Trillion Out Of Thin Air.  To quote from the article:
Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke admitted the central bank created $1.3 trillion out of thin air to buy mortgage backed securities. This shocking admission came from the Joint Economic Committee hearing on Capital Hill last week. I was dumbfounded when I saw Bernanke shake his head in the affirmative as Representative Ron Paul said, "Well, where did you get the money? You created this money. So you did monetize debt, and that went into the banking system." I was amazed he admitted this. . . . What is even more shocking is I could not find a single mainstream news agency that covered this revelation. . . The mainstream media doesn't even bat an eye over the Fed creating $1.3 trillion in a little more than a year to buy worthless debt no one else will touch. I do not get it. I guess we could have asked the Fed to print up a trillion dollars to pay for health care and avoided that drawn out battle in Congress.
Liberals and Progressives in the Democratic party have been the most vocal in opposition to the Obama administration's stance against what is termed looking backwards and not moving forward.  In response, a  "Blueprint for Accountability" will be presented by The Culture Project, June 7 at 7:30 PM at the Skirball Center for Performing Arts at NYU.  To quote:
The Culture Project has yet again assembled some of the most important and influential voices of our time to help us understand the unprecedented events, policies, and circumventions of the past administration. The “Blueprint for Accountability” series fuses theater, film, debate, and discussion to call attention to these crimes while urging policy makers, elected officials, and world citizens to craft a decisive moral response against torture; capable of restoring both America ’s dignity and standing throughout the international community.
The panelists to date are:  
  • Former CIA Officer Valerie Plame Wilson
  • Retired Iraq commander Lt. General Ricardo Sanchez
  • Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ron Suskind
  • Author and environmentalist Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
  • Poet, Journalist, and Human Rights Activist Rose Styron
  • Executive Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights Vince Warren
  • Director of the Bellevue/NYU Program for Survivors of Torture Dr. Allen Keller
  • Best-Selling Author and Investigative Journalist Jeremy Scahill
  • The event is being directed by recent Oscar winner for best documentary, Fisher Stevens (The Cove)
The evening will utilize vital archival footage as well as bring to life compelling dramatic scenes and never-before-heard testimony performed by acclaimed actors James Spader, Liev Schreiber, Julianna Margulies, Mariska Hargitay, and Matt Dillon.
Speaking about a lack of accountability, I couldn't leave without passing this Huffington Post along from Jon. It is headlined: "Tiger Woods Had Sex With 121 Women: according to the 'National Enquirer.'   No comment.
So to summarize -- The environment is under assault, from within and without.  Life can be very tough for young people, but students in Kalamazoo might get a boost from President Obama's Commencement address.  Politicians are polarized and the economy is still struggling, particularly in the area of unemployment. And wrongdoers are coming under increased scrutiny.
My closing question is, so what else is happening?   "Fort Woof is Best Dog Park in the South" comes from MSNBC. To quote and end on a lighter note:
[In Fort Worth, Texas] Fort Woof, now has the honor of being on the list of top dog parks in the south.
According to Southern Living Magazine, the dog park is third on the list behind Dog Beach Paw Playground at Fort De Soto Park in Tierra Verde, Fla., and Dogwood Park in Knoxville, Tenn.
Southern Living likes the park because it's fenced, there are areas for large and small dogs to roam plus a lot of water spigots and free plastic waste bags.
[Wednesday - May 5, 2010]

Blogs: My general purpose/southwest focus blog is at Southwest Progressive.  My creative website is at Making
Good Mondays
. And Carol Gee - Online Universe is the all-in-one home page for all my websites.

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