• Terminally Ill Medical Marijuana Patient Should not be Evicted, ACLU tells Property Management

    by ACLU of Michigan 

    Elk Rapids, Mich. – In a letter today, the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan came to the aid of a terminally ill woman who is being evicted from her apartment for legally using medical marijuana to treat the painful symptoms of her advanced brain cancer. The ACLU wrote the letter on behalf of Lori Montroy, 49, a resident of Elk Rapids who is facing eviction by the Gardner Group of Michigan, the company that manages her apartment complex.

  • Ripped from the Headlines: Greed, Corruption and Hate Crimes in Northeastern Pennsylvania

     by Brasch

    In Shenandoah, Pa., in the heart of the anthracite coal region, racism and cultural hatreds have led to murder and public corruption.  In this 1,400 word overlook, award-winning journalist Walter Brasch looks at the most recent incidents.

  • Progessive Anger you can Believe In


    by David Michael Green

    Hey did you hear about the iconic African-American guy who plays golf, and whose relationship with the public is in a free-fall lately?

    No, as a matter of fact – I’m not talking about Tiger Woods.

    You know, I’ve really been trying not to write an article every other week about all the things I don’t like about Barack Obama.

    But the little prick is making it very hard.

    Like any good progressive, I’ve gone from admiration to hope to disappointment to anger when it comes to this president. Now I’m fast getting to rage.

  • Why are Dems Allowing GOP Think Tanks to Write the Senate HC Bill?

    by Paul VA

    One of the Major concerns about the Senate health care bill rests in the new excise tax on worker benefits that many people remember as a proposal originally made in last year's campaign by John McCain.

    That tax on so-called "Cadillac benefits" seemed like a good idea, especially coupled with the prospect of a public option in the bill to control health care costs for millions of Americans.

    Unfortunately, though the public option has been stripped out, the health benefits tax still remains. While there could have been some argument for its inclusion if publicly funded health care were made available, the combination of this tax on the middle class and individual mandates on the working poor might make this the most regressive reform proposal ever made by a Democratic Congress. Especially in light of the fact that the groups that funded the heritage Foundation studies that promoted this tax are the same groups getting away scott free from the employer mandates and taxes needed to make a national health care system work.

      The idea for a tax on "Cadillac" health benefit plans did not result as a response to the recent rise in health insurance costs for working Americans as many of its proponents claim.

    It instead came from none other than Ronald Reagan as far back as 1982, and was picked up by conservative groups, most notably the Heritage Foundation who documented the historyof this unpopular GOP tax before it became an unpopular Democratic one:

    President Ronald Reagan first proposed a change to the tax law governing health insurance in 1983, but Congress never acted on the proposal. Six years later, analysts at The Heritage Foundation unveiled a national health reform proposal grounded in comprehensive tax reform. Now, the idea could—depending on its details—potentially serve as the basis of a bipartisan compromise on health reform in the coming months.

    The reason why the free market anti-tax followers of Ayn Rand proposed this tax is because it would allow groups like the junk food industry from paying any new taxes on things like the sale of sodas and junk food to fund health care. Yep, those are the people the funded these studies with the purpose of leading you to pay their taxes for them.


  • The Democrats Blinked

    By bowing to Sen. Joseph Lieberman and his obstructive pals in both parties on health care reform, President Obama has confirmed what Republicans always say about Democrats: They simply aren't strong enough to govern. Or at least the Democrats elected last year -- and their colleagues in the Senate leadership -- don't seem to be.

    Their moment of truth came when Rahm Emanuel, the White House chief of staff and self-styled tough guy from Chicago, urged the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, to strip out the most progressive aspects of the proposed health care reform bill in order to appease Lieberman. Unless the Connecticut senator got his way, he threatened to join a Republican filibuster -- conniving with a political minority to kill reforms that a majority of Americans has wanted and needed for decades.

    Neither Emanuel nor his boss possesses the courage to call the bluff of the reform opponents and urge a victory for that majority through the legislative process known as "reconciliation," which allows the Senate leadership to stuff a sock in the mouth of the filibuster. Instead, they have surrendered to the same forces that want nothing more than to frustrate and ruin them.

  • Reid Has 60 Votes to Pass Healthcare

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid unveiled a final compromise Saturday morning to a health care bill that numerous progressive Democrats, labor unions, and grassroots organizations said has been gutted of any meaningful consumer reforms and amounts to a bailout for the insurance industry.

    The language in Reid’s 383-page "manager's amendment" includes further concessions over abortion that were made in order to win the support of Sen. Ben Nelson, (D-Nebraska), who has said he would not vote for the bill if it did not include tighter restrictions prohibiting the use of federal funds for abortion.

    On Saturday morning, after marathon negotiation sessions with Reid, Nelson announced that he intended to put his weight behind the bill, becoming the crucial 60th vote. Reid needs the support of 60 senators to cut off debate and fend off a Republican-led filibuster.

    At a news conference Saturday morning, Nelson said, “Change is never easy, but change is what’s necessary in America. And that’s why I intend to vote for health care reform.

    Reid tweeeted Saturday morning, "Thanks to Sen. Ben Nelson for announcing his support for the Senate health care bill, making him our 60th vote."

    Under Reid's new proposal, according to the New York Times, "states would have the authority to bar coverage for abortions by new government-approved health insurance plans."

    A section of the bill titled “state opt-out of abortion coverage” explains how this would work: “A state may elect to prohibit abortion coverage in qualified health plans offered through an exchange in such state if such state enacts a law to provide for such prohibition.”

    Some health plans receiving federal subsidies could offer coverage for abortion, but they could not use federal money to pay for the procedure. They would have to use money taken from premiums paid by subscribers and would have to keep it separate from federal money.

    The government would subsidize premiums for many low- and moderate-income people. Under Mr. Reid’s amendment, some health plans receiving federal subsidies could offer coverage for abortion, but they could not use federal money to pay for the procedure. They would have to use money taken from premiums paid by subscribers and would have to keep it separate from federal money.

    The Hill reported that Nelson also won "a major concession on the proposed expansion of Medicaid to everyone with incomes below 133 percent of the federal poverty level. Nelson, along with governors of both political parties, expressed anxiety that the expansion would burden state budgets. Under the manager's amendment, the federal government will cover more of the cost of the expansion than under the original bill."

    Nearly two months after Reid announced details of the Senate health care bill, which included the coveted public option and an "opt-out" provision, meaning individual states could decline to participate; the legislation has been dramatically altered to the point of being unrecognizable.

    The public option has been dropped entirely, although Reid, as recently as last week, insisted that it was still part of the final package albeit in the form of a provision that expanded Medicare to individuals beginning at age 55.

    But Reid stripped that provision from the bill this week after Sen. Joe Lieberman, (I-Connecticut), said he would move to filibuster the legislation if the amendment remained intact.

    The concession, which came at the urging of senior Obama administration officials, angered some Democratic lawmakers and lead grassroots organizations, such as, to launch an online campaign urging supporters to sign a petition calling for the Senate bill to be defeated.

    “The latest Senate health care bill has no public option. No expansion of Medicare. And it does too little to guarantee that uninsured Americans will actually be able afford the coverage they'll be required to purchase,” Moveon’s “No Deal” email to supporters said.

    The way in which Democrats now propose to expand affordable health care coverage to millions of uninsured Americans is simply by tightening regulations governing the health care industry.

    Reid, according to The Hill, also left intact a proposal to create multi-state, nonprofit health insurance plans that "would be negotiated by the federal Office of Personnel Management, which manages the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, as an alternative to the traditional insurance plans that would be offered under the bill."

    But Rep. Lynn Woolsey, (D-California), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said Thursday the Senate bill “is much more expensive than it appears and will leave taxpayers holding the bag for a huge give-away to the private insurance industry.”

    “The Senate plan requires everyone to buy health insurance, creating some 30 million new customers for insurers, but it does not have a public option to control costs,” Woolsey said, calling the Senate bill a “gift” to health insurance companies. “By providing low-cost competition, the public option would have forced insurers to rein in the spiraling costs of premiums.”

    An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll conducted this week underscored the discontent among liberals over the fact that the public option had been scrapped.

    According to the poll, 47% said the health care package in its current state is a “bad idea,” while 32% said they believed it was a “good idea.”

    MSNBC reporter Chuck Todd, said via Twitter Wednesday that much of the “movement on the 'bad idea' comes from some of the president's core support groups, folks upset about lost public option."

    Todd added that “large majorities of the president's core support groups believe his plan is a ‘good idea,' but the margins have shrunk."

    Still, according to the poll, 41% of respondents said they believe that the Senate should pass something as opposed to not passing reform legislation at all.

    Woolsey said the public might not realize that the Senate bill will cause financial hardship for many.

    “The Senate bill insists that people buy insurance that many cannot afford now, and many more will not be able to afford in the future, given that premiums are rising four times faster than wages.” she said. “So who will pay when people must buy health care insurance they can’t afford? Taxpayers.”

    New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, however, said it's time to "take a deep breath."

    "Consider just how much good this bill would do, if passed — and how much better it would be than anything that seemed possible just a few years ago," Krugman wrote Friday. "With all its flaws, the Senate health bill would be the biggest expansion of the social safety net since Medicare, greatly improving the lives of millions. Getting this bill would be much, much better than watching health care reform fail."

    The fractious nature of the health care debate within the Democratic party alone reached a boiling point earlier this week when Howard Dean, a physician and the former chair of the Democratic National Committee, told Vermont Public Radio Tuesday that the health care bill marked “the collapse of health care reform in the United States Senate.”

    “Honestly the best thing to do right now is kill the Senate bill, go back to the House, start the reconciliation process, where you only need 51 votes and it would be a much simpler bill,” Dean said.

    The former Vermont governor followed up his statements with hard-hitting opening salvo in an op-ed published in Thursday’s Washington Post.

    “If I were a senator, I would not vote for the current health-care bill,” Dean wrote. “Any measure that expands private insurers' monopoly over health care and transfers millions of taxpayer dollars to private corporations is not real health-care reform. Real reform would insert competition into insurance markets, force insurers to cut unnecessary administrative expenses and spend health-care dollars caring for people. Real reform would significantly lower costs, improve the delivery of health care and give all Americans a meaningful choice of coverage. The current Senate bill accomplishes none of these.”

    White House senior adviser David Axelrod reacted angrily to Dean’s earlier statements and said it would be “insane” to derail the legislation because of ideological differences over the inclusion of a government-run insurance program to compete with the private sector.

    "We're on the verge of doing something that would make an enormously positive difference for people," Axelrod said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” "I don't think you want this moment to pass. It will not come back again."

    Former President Bill Clinton agreed.

    He said Thursday that although the Senate bill is not drafted the way he would have drafted it, nor does it contain "everything everyone wants," abandoning it would be a "colossal blunder" for the Democratic party and "far more important, for the physical, fiscal, and economic health of our country."

    Labor unions, including the Services Employee International Union (SEIU), meanwhile urged passage of the Senate bill, but the groups were critical about the concessions Democratic leaders made this week to secure passage of the legislation.

    SEIU president Andy Stern said Thursday, “We don’t like the bill. It has to be improved. But we don’t think that these senators are going to do any better.”

    Unions spent millions of dollars on lobbying efforts this year to gain support of health care reform, due in large part to assurances by Democrats that a bill would include a government-operated insurance program.

    Stern said he holds out hope that earlier proposals along the lines of a public option will find its way back into a final piece of legislation before it’s sent to Obama for his signature. In a letter to union members Thursday, he called on Obama to uphold his campaign promise before signing legislation into law.

    “President Obama must remember his own words from the campaign. His call of ‘Yes We Can’ was not just to us, not just to the millions of people who voted for him, but to himself. We all stood shoulder to shoulder with the president during his hard-fought campaign,” Stern wrote.

    AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, however, registered deep disappointment with the Senate bill, saying in a statement Thursday that “it bends toward the insurance industry, will not check costs in the short term, and its financing asks working people and the country to pay the price, even as benefits are cut,”

    “The House bill is the model for genuine healthcare reform,” Trumka said. Working people cannot accept anything less than real reform.”

    Republicans, who stand united against the health care bill, promised to make it difficult for Democrats to hold a final vote on the legislation, expected to take place Christmas Eve.

    Truthout intern Yana Kunichoff contributed to this report.

  • Bill Moyers Journal December 11, 2009

    The text of the December 11, 2009 Bill Moyers Journal

    BILL MOYERS: Welcome to the Journal. There's only one way to counter the power of organized money, and that's with the power of organized people. This is the theme of our broadcast this week.

    We've all seen in recent months how the insurance companies, the drug cartels, Wall Street bankers, corporate lobbies and other powerful interests are reaching deep into their pockets to stifle efforts at reform. And they've been winning. It's been a year since the big financial firms blew a hole in the economy and took down the jobs, wages, pensions and homes of millions of people. They would have gone down too — devoured by their own greed — were it not for the taxpayer bailout. But now major banks and securities firms are on track to pay their employees up to $140 billion in compensation this year. That's more than the combined budgets of the Departments of Commerce, Education, Energy, Housing and Urban Development, the National Science Foundation and the Environmental Protection Agency.

    Goldman Sachs — the godfather of Wall Street — is projected to earn around $45 billion this year in net income with its employees slated to receive an average paycheck of $743,000.

    But get this — just this week, Goldman announced that its top 30 executives will forego their usual big cash bonus in response to public outrage over runaway compensation deals. Maybe people in the streets are getting through at last to Wall Street. Here's what I mean.

  • Major Medical Breakthrough Cancer Genome Sequenced

    by Turkana

    In health care news, researchers have mapped the genetic history of two of the most common types of cancer. As reported by The Guardian:

      Scientists have reconstructed the biological history of two types of cancer in a genetic tour de force that promises to transform medical treatment of the disease.

    The feat, a world first, lays bare every genetic mutation the patients have acquired over their lifetimes that eventually caused healthy cells in their bodies to turn into tumours.

    The procedure gives doctors a profound insight into the biological causes of a patient's cancer and marks a major milestone in progress towards personalised anticancer therapies and strategies to prevent the disease.

  • Bill Moyers on Howard Dean

    by Hollowdweller

    I love Bill Moyers.

    This whole backlash against Dean for speaking his mind reminded me of one of his commentaries when he used to be on NOW.

    This commentary was done during the 2004 primaries right after the "Dean Scream" incident and I think in the one part I hilighted I think he pretty much nails this situation we are all complaining about and the feeling that not only the 2004 Dean supporters but all the young folks and others who did the same for Obama are feeling now.

  • On Death and Living Well

    by Edward Paul James McGinley

    "For let me tell you gentleman, that to be afraid of death is only another example of thinking one is wise when one is not."
                          Spoken by Socrates in Plato’s Apology

    Sometimes the best thing that can be said of someone is that they shall soon be dead. Usually though, it is just a nice additional thought to have about them. Yes, for some there is not much hope of redemption except in death, and yet they struggle against it all the more mightily, and spit and rail at its approach. We have for this long lived in fear of death. It is after all, a final end to the affair we carry on with ourselves, with the identities we develop over a lifetime of performances. Will there come a time when we will see the necessity of, even the wisdom in, our own timely demise?

  • Obama's Nobel Peace Prize in a Spiritual Context

  • The Religion of Debt

    by Planet Waves

    This article, excerpted here, grew out of an ongoing email correspondence on banking and economics between me and it's author, Kelly Cowan. Kelly is an artist, investor and observer of the economy and capital markets. Although she left the professional investment world behind long ago, she is a close watcher of economic and market trends. She maintains close contacts with a number of individuals in the investment world. The full article can be found at Planet Waves--Eric Francis, editor

    FROM THE TEMPLE OF DEBT a prayer rings out. It is the busiest time of year for the Cathedral of Commerce. 'Tis the season of Debt.

  • Barack Obama, Inc

    by Cenk Uygur

  • Desperately Needed Homes Sit Unused in Mississippi

    In Mississippi, hundreds of federally funded modular homes sit unused because local jurisdictions are employing zoning ordinances that have a discriminatory impact on displaced resident

    Thousands of residents of the Gulf Coast are unable to exercise their right to return more than four years after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita made landfall because of a lack of affordable housing. In Mississippi, however, hundreds of federally funded modular homes like those pictured here sit unused because local jurisdictions are employing zoning ordinances that have a discriminatory impact on displaced residents.

  • The History of Progressive Change

    by Hawesdawg

    There is as much anger on this site as we've seen since the heady PUMA days. Everyone is calling the bill inadequate to what we want. Some are saying it's worth killing the bill (including Markos and Dean).

    But killing the bill is bad idea in light of the history of how change occurs within the Madisonian framework that we have to labor under in DC.

    This is how change happens. Slowly, painfully and frustratingly.

    If you haven't read Atul Gawande's piece in The New Yorker, you need to.

  • E-Marriage: A new Option for Same Sex Couples

    This morning Michigan Public Radio did a segment on a new proposal being put forth by Michigan State University Law Professors Adam Candeub and Mae Kuykendall that they call "E-Marriage". They have created the Legal E-Marriage Project. Their project was announced in late October with this press release.

    Professors Candeub and Kuykendall argue that states should permit a couple to marry under the laws of whichever location (in or out of the authorizing state) the couple chooses. The professors explain that the couple's physical presence within the particular state authorizing their marriage has never been a requirement the states must impose in order to marry couples. Couples have for centuries married by proxy, mail, and telephone. The military has for many years recognized such marriages as legal for purposes of spousal allowances and death benefits, they explain.
  • Barack Obama: Scapegoat

    by Eclectablog

    Cross-posted at Eclectablog.

    I'm frankly puzzled by the meme that the debacle that is the Congressional debate on health insurance reform is President Obama's fault.

    Let's review:

  • Putting the Patient First

    by Lucretiamott

    Several years ago, a doctor threatened to have me fired because I refused to give a chemotherapy without adequate pre-medication to a large, newly diagnosed leukemia patient. It was a doctor I respected but because of my extensive training as an oncology nurse with special experience in high risk leukemia patents, I refused to administer this order because I knew it could possibly harm the patient. The physician came in on his weekend off, gave it himself and admonished me in front of our patient for delaying his chemotherapy and told me I would be meeting with him and my Supervisor come Monday and by Tuesday, I would be lucky to have job.
    This story took an unexpected turn for this patient, me and the doctor. It has relevance to the current direction of health care reform. For our Congressional Representatives, many progressives know in their experience that a weak, bad bill offers far more harm to patients than delaying this plan without constructive changes.

  • The Broken Promises of A Republican President

  • No Peace Prize for Obama's Fractured Coalition


    by Dantilson

    All across America in late 2008, millions of people of diverse backgrounds and beliefs integrated themselves into an electoral coalition that reacted to eight years of presidential ineptitude and fraud by electing a man of genuine intelligence and integrity, Barack Obama, as President.

    For the sake of argument, let’s divide that coalition into two main parts: The Fired Up people who believed Obama was worthy of their passionate, active support - and The Fed Up people who were to varying degrees less enthusiastic or involved, but who still voted for Obama because they were so sick and tired of eight years of ruinous Republican rule.

  • Recognizing Genocide Denial Against American Indians

    by Winter Rabbit

    The extent to which a Nation denies the genocide it has committed is a measure of that Nation's social conscience. The social conscience of the United States is infected with numerous rationalizations that keep the dark light from shining. Federal and state institutions are named after mass murderers, and the land tells a story of massacres and atrocities that occurred. But the truth is not forgotten, it is denied.

    Crossposted at Native American Netroots

  • Facebook Privacy in Transition - But Where is it Heading

    by Nicole Ozer, Technology and Civil Liberties Policy Director, ACLU of Northern California

    The next time you log onto Facebook, you'll be thinking about privacy: how private are your photos, friends, status updates, and personal details, and how public do you actually want them to be?

      In response to pressure about its privacy practices, including an ACLU petition signed by over 43,000 concerned Internet users, Facebook has released a new privacy policy, modified its profile and publication privacy controls, and rolled out a "Transition Tool" to guide all 350 million Facebook users through the process of choosing new privacy settings.
  • Health Care and Cancer: Reforming the Odds in a Costly System

    by Jane W. Battaile

    The government that recently advised women in their 40s they needn't bother with mammogram screenings now says its message was misunderstood. The task force "did not say what the task force meant to say,'' its vice chairman told Congress last week. 
  • Organic Bytes #202: The Year in Review & the Organic Revolution Ahead

    by Organic Consumer

    First published at

    January:    The Inauguration of Hope & Change
    February:   Yoplait & Dannon Go Growth Hormone-Free
    March:      Stop NAIS! Over 10,000 OCA Activists Take Action
    April:      Organic Garden at the White House
    May:        USDA Gives Farmers $50 Million to Go Organic
    June:       Via Organica Launched in Mexico
    July:       Organic Concerns Shape Food Safety Debate
    August:     Whole Foods Promises to Sell More Organics in 2010
    September:  USDA Disowns "Organic-Biotech" Report
    October:    Court Declares GMO Sugar Beet Approval Illegal
    November:   NOSB Tells USDA to Stop Organic Cosmetics Fraud
    December:   Stop Siddiqui! 77,000 People Take Action

  • A Tale of Two Frames

    Digg this!

    by NCrissieB

    Conservatism dominated American politics for the past three decades, so it's hardly surprising that more Americans self-identify as conservative than as liberal/progressive. But I was surprised to see that disparity increase over the past 20 months, despite the failures of conservative policies under the Bush era and even while Democrats swept elections in 2006 and 2008. Republicans are fleeing their party, its numbers are at near record lows, but conservatives aren't fleeing their ideology. As one pundit described it, American voters are like the patient who knows he's sick but doesn't trust his doctor. They know they need help, but they don't trust government to provide it.

  • We're Only as Strong as our weakest link

    By Jed Lewison

    We've talked a fair bit recently about the importance of motivating Democrats to vote the 2010 Congressional midterms. In light of the troubling signs that Dems just aren't motivated to turn out, here's an important set of numbers that helps explain where the problem is:

                    (Among Dems only)
                      Fav    Unfav

    Barack Obama       85%     6%
    Nancy Pelosi       86%     5%
    Harry Reid         63%    29%


    Among Democrats, President Obama and Speaker Pelosi both enjoy 80% net favorable ratings. Majority Leader Reid: 34%.

  • 2012 We're Looking at the Wrong Target

    by Adam Schmidt

    First off, I recommend you take a look at his Wikipedia entry for the details but I'll summarize here.  He's been governor now for just shy of 7 years so he's got a good bit more experience in that department than Palin.  He came from the state legislature having served as a state Senator for 12 years.  He switched from Democrat to Republican in 1998 so he could be perceived as a moderate but this is also the guy who prayed for rain on the steps of the state capitol in November of 2007.  He's very publicly Southern Baptist and that would appeal to the teabag crowd.

  • Senator Feinstein Demands Social Security Cuts

    by Dave Johnson

    This post originally appeared at Speak Out California.

    California Senator Dianne Feinstein has joined a group of Senators threatening to allow the nation to default on its debt unless a commission to "fast track" cuts to Social Security is created. 

    Talking Points Memo describes what is going on,

    Moderate and conservative Democrats want to empower an outside entitlement commission to reshape major domestic spending programs like Medicare and Social Security, and they're threatening a truly nuclear option to get their way. If Congress does not create this commission, they say, they will vote against must-pass legislation to raise the nation's debt ceiling, which would trigger a default, and, perhaps, economic calamity.

    "I will not vote for raising the debt limit without a vehicle to handle this," Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) told McClatchy. "This is our moment."

  • Democrats and Republicans -- two very different kinds of internal party struggle

    by David Brin 

     There seem to be civil wars taking place within both of the major American parties.  At least, that is how internal disputes among republicans, and among democrats, are portrayed in the media -- as bitter tiffs  between political pragmatists and stubbornly intransigent (or else 'principled') idealists of either the far-right or far-left.

    Certainly, you do hear some left-leaning democrats accusing President Obama of betraying his promises and beliefs, by accepting anything less than the full suite of liberal health care recommendations, or by continuing to put troops in the Middle-East.  Meanwhile, the wrath of Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck crashes  down upon any GOP office holder who so much as utters the word "compromise."

    So, have we embarked on an era of ever-more bilious partisanship?

  • Chamber Me This

    by James Boyce 

     The U.S. Chamber Of Commerce's recent actions on two of the most important issues facing our country, health care reform and climate change, are a complete riddle to not only me, but to many of the chamber's own members and former supporters.

    Or, then again, maybe they're not. Or maybe they are? Who knows at this point?

  • What's Up with the Rainforest: Stopping Rainforest Destruction Can Cut World Emmissions by 17%

    by James Boyce 

     Around the world rainforests are hurting. The deforestation of vast tracts of these precious lands does more than just ruin local ecosystems. The health and vitality of rainforests help maintain life for everything on the planet. Reason enough for all of us to contribute to ending their destruction and encouraging their growth. This is why, working with The Rainforest Alliance, we helped create The Rainforest and The Rainforest NewsLadder. Every couple of weeks I will check in to see what's buzzing in The Rainforest providing you with the latest news and media surrounding this priority issue.

    There was a lot of chatter this week in The Rainforest about the role economics plays in deforestation.

  • You Say you Want a Revolution

    You Say You Want A Revolution? The Virtual One Is Almost Here.

    by James Boyce

    If you're looking for an early bet for the top story of 2010, bet on the story being the Internet Revolution, because after years and years of anticipation and progress, the next two to three years are when we are going to see the Internet become what we all thought it would be.

      Actually, the term Internet might not even be correct. What I see is much more like the virtual world finally truly coming of age in ways that can no longer be dismissed and with a strength that continues to slay those business models that are linked to the past. (And the cheap debt that supported the legacy model.)

    Why do I believe this?

  • Some Simple Questions After Obama's Afghanistan War Speech

    This was posted to the OpenLeft web page:

    by David Sirota

    Just a few quick questions to ponder after President Obama's speech announcing a massive escalation in Afghanistan - the very first being shouldn't we be able to honestly answer these queries before mindlessly cheering on a deployment of more troops to a Central Asian war zone?
  • Is President Obama's surge a trap?

    Is President Obama’s Surge A Trap?

    By Cynthia McKinney

    Last night, President Obama announced both his decision to add 30,000 U.S. troops to the mire in Afghanistan and his desire to see other countries and N.A.T.O. match his surge. Thanks to U.S. taxpayers, mercenaries will continue to be a part of the foreign presence in Afghanistan. The Republicans support the President’s move and are expected to reward President Obama with the bulk of their Congressional votes to pass his plan.
  • Obama's Speech

    by Cory S. Ewing

    People need to remember that the previous President avoided the real problem,
    which lay in Afghanistan, by starting a war in Iraq, who was no threat to us.
    Now Al Qaeda is stronger than ever and has assumingly expanded to the eastern
    coast of Pakistan. While we ease out of Iraq, we need to focus on the real
    problem and weaken Al Qaeda as much as possible. As Obama said, we can't fight
    the threats to our nation from home, we have to go fight them face to face to
    ensure our safety. No one likes war, but it's better than being attacked again.
    At least this President is addressing the problem where it truly exists and is
    doing his best to get our country on the right track.
    Cory S. Ewing
    2010 Iowa House of Representatives Candidate, District 69

  • Paulette Garin, Wisconsin State Coordinator for Progressive Democrats of America, views on Obama's Speech

     President Obama’s authorization to send another 30,000-plus troops to Afghanistan is clearly a move in the wrong direction.  Our involvement in Afghanistan has been morally suspect and legally questionable from its inception.  Who are we fighting?  Al-Qaeda?  The Taliban?  What are we fighting for?  The War on Terror?  Protect President Karzai and a government of doubtful credibility? 


    We have placed our troops and our treasure in an un-winnable conflict at a cost of almost $1Million dollars per soldier per year.  Too many lives have been lost on all sides struggling to endure this conflict.  Our continued involvement is economically unsustainable. We cannot allow Afghanistan to become the next Vietnam .  There is no military solution in Afghanistan . Our military has served us well--but to no avail--please bring them home to their families.

  • Obama's Speech

    by Gloretha Darlene Pickney Gray


    I understood where President Obama was coming from. Bush went into a war with no
    exit plan and when his term was over he lefted us in a mess, he and his father
    both. President Obama has to go back in but he is going with a exit plan. The
    first exit is Iraq, next year, the next exit is in 2011 Afganistan the major
    part of the war is over for real.
    What the republicans are so up set about is the job is getting done and they are
    trying to through the focus on the money that's being spent. They did get upset
    when Bush and his father was spending all that money they where spending. It not
    the money, it's a Democrat to a great job of cleaning up the mess they made and
    exposing all the mess they where doing and the president we have skin and face
    look a little different than there's, sad to say, but that moster is still
    If President Obama skin was like his mothers and he was a republican it would be
    fine for him to send more troops and spend all the money he wanted. President
    Obama do not want to send any troops, but with things the way they are he has
    too.  Lets all keep our president and the troops in our prayers.

  • He Took the Hit for Us Last Night. Period

    The President said (by this decision) that doing what he thought was the most moral thing (for the people Bush ruined) was more important than a second term.

    And this morning every pundit shit on him. That coward Cheney did it a day early.

    This did the President no good in the polls. It could cost him a second term. He knows that. The easy way out, the best for "his numbers" was to pull out. I couldn't believe he sent troops in, not because I hate war, but because I know it was the last thing on earth he wanted to do. I watched Rachel Maddow last night. She went back and forth, saying that he did what he had to do, that he shouldn't have done it. It was hard for her.

  • President Obama's Speech

    by Harold Saive

     I found it painful to see Obama perpetuate Bush's 9/11 lie - a covert False
    Flag attack to justify global resource wars for shrinking oil and gas reserves. 
    But the bogey man - Osama Bin Laden, was once again trotted out in desperation
    since no pentagon-contrived rationalization has yet been compelling enough to
    justify the sacrifice of blood and treasure.  It would have played better if
    Obama had been permitted to tell the truth about the need to secure BIG OIL's
    pipelines and the CIA's poppy crops than to risk unleashing the pent-up fury of
    up to 70 million informed Americans outraged that the office of their President
    has been reduced to "puppet theatre".

  • President Obama's Speech

    by Anne Brock


    I was saddened. For a vague promise of a withdrawal in three years, we are
    sending more troops to die. We elected Obama to get out of the wars in Iraq and
    Afghanistan, not to prolong them. Propping up a crippled regime yet again.
    Haven't we learned that we can't force democracy? Some say we should stay to
    protect the women of Afghanistan, but we have already abandoned their rights.
    Don't use them when it's convenient.

    I really hoped Obama would have the courage to do something different. So much
    for change.

  • President Obama's Speech


    by Illise Hope Myden DeSanti 


    I was pleased with Pres. Obama's speech, and the clear goals that he set for
    Afghanistan and Pakistan. We all have to understand that we should not be
    surprised by any of this, since he did say this would happen during the
    campaign, that his focus would be Afghanistan, and that we would set the goals
    to leave there when there is stability in the region, and he has set the course
    to achieve that. I am pleased that finally we the people of this country can
    debate these issues, without being treated as if we are is
    refreshing to know that we have an Administration that can speak to we the
    people like we are adults."