A good part of the reason I started blogging was because I went to a history conference at a UT branch up between Dallas and Fort Worth and found that, contrary to belief, many well known academic historians have found community history projects to be invaluable because of their focus and details. Photos rated high. Photos with details rate high. Interviews with participants in events rated high. Interviews with older people rated high if you cover their experience and perspective.
- Prairie Weather


“Protest works. Just look at the proof”


The last place you will hear about the new American labor movement is in big American outlets.

Via lambert, via susie. See them, their blogrolls, Twitter hash tag #1u and just about any other outlet where citizens can get the word out.

The Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW)

The CIW is a community-based organization of mainly Latino, Mayan Indian and Haitian immigrants working in low-wage jobs throughout the state of Florida. Via.


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« The Unfortunate Necessity of Wikileaks | Main | Will public anxiety on the oil spill be harnessed or allowed to dissipate? »

This Week In Tyranny

No Associated Press content was harmed in the writing of this post


The ACLU is trying to find out more “about the implementation of the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 (FAA), an unconstitutional spying law that gives the executive branch virtually unchecked power to collect Americans’ international e-mails and telephone calls in dragnet fashion, without a warrant and without suspicion of wrongdoing.” And director Anthony Romero made his overall unhappiness with the Obama administration abundantly clear. Good for him.


America engaged in human experimentation on detainees in the name of national security. Depressing details from Nick Baumann and Jeff Kaye.


Marcy on The US Prison Colony. The latest in our descent into evil.


Um, Heidi N. Moore - I’d really appreciate a tiny bit of obvious context to this reporting:

Peter Roberts, Chief Executive Officer of the Americas for property giant Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL), put it this way: “We’re not going to see a ‘crash’. We’re going to see a long work-through.” Roberts believes commercial property values are in the process of bottoming out and will get to the ground floor by early 2011.

He credits the government’s support programs in capital markets with reversing the psychology of nervous markets in 2009: “The powers that be are very focused in making sure that we don’t have a crash in the real estate market. That has infused the mindset of investors.”
So the government allowed homeowners to twist in the wind, and therefore residential real estate collapsed. But it bent over backwards to prop up commercial real estate, and it’s held up pretty well. How fascinating. Seriously, wouldn’t your readers be better informed by a sentence or two pointing out that clear discrepancy?


If the White House has any expectation of labor lifting a finger in November and beyond, there are going to need big, significant lift from the President to prove that they ‘did a lot for labor.’ Cause right now, there’s really nothing at all.”


More trouble may be ahead for Goldman Sachs.


Depressing Middle East update. We still don’t know what happened, but Israel’s leaders increasingly look like a bunch of teabaggers, Charles Schumer is an asshole and the guy who got Helen Thomas’ offensive remarks on tape is no prince either.


In the comments here I linked to this article about the coming “save BP - think of the pensioners!” campaign. A little over a week later the campaign is in full swing. The BBC has a nice overview, and note this from London Mayor Boris Johnson “When you consider the huge exposure of British pension funds to BP it starts to become a matter of national concern if a great British company is being continually beaten up on the airwaves.” In one bit of pushback Investment and Pensions Europe reported: “The government is being urged to tighten regulations requiring pension schemes to disclose what environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues are taken into account in their investment policy following the impact of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill on the BP share price.”

Before I make sympathetic noises for the pensioners let’s get something out of the way: The basic principles of investing are pretty simple. Diversify - don’t put all your money into one stock, or even one sector; spread it out. If you won’t need your money for ten years or more, invest in stocks - which are more volatile but have better long term returns. If you’ll need the money in the near term, heavily tilt your money towards bonds and government securities. Returns won’t be as good, but you’ll take on less risk. This is “Day 1 of your financial planning seminar” stuff. And anyone who was alive during the Enron and dot com collapses has no excuse for being caught flat footed on these points.

That said, those who depend on pensions heavily invested in BP stock for necessities shouldn’t be told to start buying cat food. The solution, however, is not to start screaming “LEAVE BP ALONE!” If BP is collapsing, let it. Imagine a world without it. But couple a means-tested pension bailout with new legislation requiring pension schemes to invest with a basic level of prudence in addition to whatever ESG requirements IPE reported on. But for God’s sake don’t prop up BP!


Leftover links: Yves pointed me to Fishgrease’s post on booming. Then in a happy coincidence Fishgrease showed up in the comments of my DKos cross post and I had the chance to compliment him/her personally. The US set a deadline, since passed (America to big business: we’re taking the “dead” out of deadline!), for BP submitting a plan or something. The oil and money lobbies are temporarily at cross purposes. Is our only chance for reforms from the government finding stress lines between large lobbies and hammering at them? There’s a report that the administration is considering a CCC-style jobs project, but nothing official.

It’s hard to keep up with all BP’s lies and obfuscations, but here is one more or less at random. Oh, and did you know there’s already an enormous dead zone in the Gulf? We only pay attention when we foul the environment all at once, but there’s lots of damage that’s been slowly accumulating for decades. It probably dwarfs the damage the spill is doing. We don’t appear to be wired to appreciate slowly accumulating damage.


Still more leftover links. Tim Dickinson has a long report in Rolling Stone, a publication that still seems to be coming to terms with this whole internet thingy. Please folks - offer full page and print view options. And unless you are providing timely information for making money-based decisions (like the Wall Street Journal does) then it probably doesn’t make too much sense to hide your content behind a paywall or delay the full online version. Anyway, I haven’t gotten to Dickinson’s piece yet but it looks good.

When The Onion is on, it is absolutely magnificent.


I can’t explain why I find this story endlessly hilarious. I think Manson’s utter sincerity is what does it. Viera asked her a question and she answered in a completely straightforward way. She wasn’t trying to be outrageous. Just the facts, ma’am. The fact that she was scrupulously accurate enough to correct herself, thus requiring her to use the offending word a second time, is pure comedy gold. (By the way, when you invite a 13 year old on TV to go into detail on a personal drama that turned violent, you really shouldn’t be surprised if lots of shocking language is involved. NBC should have figured something like this was at least a real possibility. They knew what they were getting, and protests to the contrary seem a little disingenuous.)


I WISH I COULD WRITE LIKE Dawn Johnsen - remember her?

The example of the torture memo argues heavily for greater transparency so that lawmakers and the American people may better understand and respond to the actions of their government. Of course, public explanations must safeguard national security, including sources and methods. But the memo’s conclusion that the president’s constitutional authorities entitled him to override the federal torture law is a clear example of legal analysis the government should make public. That’s how democracies work.
The president’s decision to let her nomination die from malign neglect makes a lot more sense now. Can’t have a busybody like that calling the shots.

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