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Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 70,330

Journal Archives

Truthdig’s Books of the Year: Part One

(Truthdig) Thoreau once advised: “Read the best books first, or you may not have a chance to read them at all.”
In our first installment of 2014’s top picks, we asked Truthdig staff and reviewers to select the best, hoping that you will have the chance to read them.

Whether on climate change, soaring wealth inequality, or the surveillance state, this has been a year of calls to action—and above all, it’s been a great year for digging for the truth. You can find all of our favorites here.

1. “Pro: Reclaiming Abortion Rights” by Katha Pollitt

Katha Pollitt’s powerfully argued “Pro” brings our attention to life before the watershed Roe v. Wade decision and critically examines the ensuing abortion wars of the last decades.

“Pollitt is an equal opportunity critic,” writes reviewer Ruth Rosen. “Part of her book is a brilliant attack against the ‘pro-life’ movement and the strategic war it has waged against women and abortion. At the same time, she offers a frank and critical appraisal of the abortion rights movement and what it might have done differently…. Aside from women’s sexuality, Pollitt brilliantly demonstrates how opponents’ views are linked to ‘anti-feminism, the shaming of sexually active girls and single women, fears of white demographic decline, and conservative views of marriage and sexuality or outright misogyny.’ ”


2. “The Underground Girls of Kabul: In Search of a Hidden Resistance in Afghanistan” by Jenny Nordberg

New York Times reporter Jenny Nordberg’s fascinating account of survival in a deeply segregated context does as much to challenge conventional stereotypes as it does to shed light upon an extraordinary Afghan subculture. In an almost entirely male-dominated context, where the birth of a girl is more often than not a cause for mourning, the book examines the bacha posh—girls temporarily raised as boys and presented to the outside world as such.


4. “The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap” by Matt Taibbi

Rolling Stone regular Matt Taibbi’s gonzo, take-no-prisoners approach has provided for scathing, often hilarious and always well-deserved takedowns of some of the worst culprits of the financial crisis. In a survey of the country’s “grifter class,” his 2010 book, “Griftopia,” characteristically depicted Goldman Sachs as the “vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity.” ..........(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truthdig.com/arts_culture/item/truthdigs_books_of_the_year_part_one_20141212

Noam Chomsky: The U.S. Declares Itself to Be the World’s Leading Terror State and Is Proud of It

Thom Hartmann: Time for the U.S. to do Like Chile...

The Long History of Presumed White Innocence and Black Guilt

The Long History of Presumed White Innocence and Black Guilt

Wednesday, 10 December 2014 12:46
By Claudia Garcia-Rojas, Bitch Media | Op-Ed

One hundred and twenty-two years ago, Ida B. Wells, an African American journalist who reported on the horrors carried out by white lynch mobs against Southern blacks, penned a oft-pronounced slogan that still rings true today: "This is a white man's country and the white man must rule."

This year, the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner further cement these words. In the past three weeks, grand juries decided not to indict the police officers who caused the deaths—Darren Wilson and Daniel Pantaleo—for any crime.

Following the announcement of Wilson's non-indictment, the grand jury released his sworn statement. His words reveal a narrative so grossly entrenched in our American culture that it goes uncontested to this day: this is the narrative of white innocence.

"White innocence is the insistence on the innocence or absence of responsibility of the contemporary white person," argues Thomas Ross, a law professor at the University of Pittsburgh Law School. What this means is that white people will not be considered guilty of a crime simply because on the color of their skin. This is due to the fact that white innocence is historically predicated on the criminalization and violation of (primarily) black bodies. The framing of whites throughout United States as inherently innocent and blacks as guilty not only encourages the continued perpetuation of white violence against black people, such as physical police violence, the discriminatory enforcement of laws, and mass incarceration, but also makes it a necessary condition of the state, as the state maintains its power and dominance through the criminalization of (mainly) black people. ................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/27930-the-long-history-of-presumed-white-innocence-and-black-guilt

Comprehensive Study Shows Abortions Are ‘Very Safe’ and Far Less Risky Than Giving Birth


via truthdig:

Despite the fact that officials all over the U.S. feel the need to regulate abortion as though it were a pernicious procedure, a study by UC San Francisco researchers shows that complications rarely occur after an abortion.

And yet, if lawmakers continue attempting to restrict women from access to reproductive health care, the real danger could lie in unsafe abortion practices rather than the tried and true medical methods that have been scientifically proven to be safe.


After analyzing data from nearly 55,000 women who received abortion care under California’s Medicaid program, researchers at UC San Francisco concluded that hardly any of them had serious complications within six weeks of their procedure. Just 126 cases necessitated follow-up care for surgery, a blood transfusion, or other conditions that require hospital admission.

Other studies, including data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, have also confirmed abortion’s safety. We already had some evidence, for instance, that giving birth is about 14 times riskier than having an abortion. But the new UCSF study goes a bit further than previous research by tracking the complete data on all of the health care used by women who have received abortions. Since many women have to travel long distances to end a pregnancy, the UCSF researchers also examined women’s follow-up care at facilities closer to where they live…

“Abortion is very safe as currently performed, which calls into question the need for additional regulations that purportedly aim to improve safety,” said Ushma Upadhyay, an assistant professor at Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH), a leading research program based at UCSF.

When Charter Schools Are Nonprofit in Name Only

from ProPublica:

This post has been updated to include a response from National Heritage Academies.

A couple of years ago, auditors looked at the books of a charter school in Buffalo, New York, and were taken aback by what they found. Like all charter schools, Buffalo United Charter School is funded with taxpayer dollars. The school is also a nonprofit. But as the New York State auditors wrote, Buffalo United was sending " virtually all of the School's revenues" directly to a for-profit company hired to handle its day-to-day operations.

Charter schools often hire companies to handle their accounting and management functions. Sometimes the companies even take the lead in hiring teachers, finding a school building, and handling school finances.

In the case of Buffalo United, the auditors found that the school board had little idea about exactly how the company – a large management firm called National Heritage Academies – was spending the school's money. The school's board still had to approve overall budgets, but it appeared to accept the company's numbers with few questions. The signoff was "essentially meaningless," the auditors wrote.

In the charter-school sector, this arrangement is known as a "sweeps" contract because nearly all of a school's public dollars – anywhere from 95 to 100 percent – is "swept" into a charter-management company.

The contracts are an example of how the charter schools sometimes cede control of public dollars to private companies that have no legal obligation to act in the best interests of the schools or taxpayers. When the agreement is with a for-profit firm like National Heritage Academies, it's also a chance for such firms to turn taxpayer money into tidy profits. .................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.propublica.org/article/when-charter-schools-are-nonprofit-in-name-only

Professor Richard Wolff: The State of Workers' Wages around the World

Published on Dec 9, 2014

Economist Richard Wolff compares the stagnation of wages in the U.S. for the past 30 years to the increase in wages in emerging markets and explains why capital left America

Chris Hedges, Danny Sheehan and Keith McHenry on the NDAA

Published on Dec 10, 2014

From Chris Hedges' talk, "Defending Our Civil Liberties" in Santa Cruz, CA on November 23rd 2014. The Romero Institute is trying to pass a resolution in Santa Cruz that would stop the enforcement of unconstitutional sections of the National Defense Authorization Act, and gain standing to challenge its constitutionality in federal court.

Detroit's hip arts scene lures Brooklyn-based Galapagos

from the Freep:

Detroit's burgeoning reputation as a haven for young urban artists got a boost Monday with news that Brooklyn-based Galapagos Art Space will move to Corktown and Highland Park in 2016.

Founded in 1995 and often cited as an anchor for Brooklyn's revitalization, the multi-purpose arts center is closing in New York this month.

"We were priced out of New York," Robert Elmes told the Free Press on Monday.

Elmes, the founder and executive director of Galapagos, said that young artists unable to afford New York prices are moving to places like Portland, Ore.; Austin, Texas, or Minneapolis. Yet the nation continues to need a "national mixing chamber" for young artists and Detroit appears to be stepping up to that role, he said. ...............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.freep.com/story/money/business/michigan/2014/12/08/galapagos-arts-corktown/20122551/

He is a man seemingly without a conscience ............

[font size="4"]......... for whom the ends always justify the means[/font]

A quote from V for Vendetta, but very apropos.

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