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Kahlil Bendib | What We Call Defense Is Pretty Funny / otherwords.org

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How to Save Ourselves From the 'Save PBS' Routine

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  • A more productive discussion of public broadcasting is sorely needed--one that is not reduced to "save it" or "kill it."
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  • GOP PBS NPR DOA?
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  • Taking the Public Out of Public TV
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  • Tell PBS: Bring Back Now!
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Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR)

If you like reading this article, consider contributing a cuppa jove to Evergreene Digest--using the donation button above—so we can bring you more just like it.

It is as predictable as can be: Invigorated Republican politicians announce their intention to kill public broadcasting, which they claim is a bastion of liberal bias. Defenders of NPR and PBS step in to defend the system. The Republicans, who were unlikely to win a vote on their plan, retreat for the moment. Public broadcasting is "saved." (See Slate, 2/10/11.)

The public broadcasting fight of 2011 is playing out the same way. A more productive discussion of public broadcasting is sorely needed--one that is not reduced to "save it" or "kill it."

The purpose of public broadcasting is clear: to promote ideas and perspectives that are ignored or underrepresented in the commercial media. As the 1967 Carnegie Commission put it, it should "provide a voice for groups in the community that may otherwise be unheard," serve as "a forum for controversy and debate," and broadcast programs that "help us see America whole, in all its diversity." How well public broadcasting is living up to those ideals should be the principal test for gauging its value.

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GOP PBS NPR DOA?, Timothy Noah, Slate

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  • The new chairman of the House appropriations committee, Harold Rogers, R-Ky., has proposed zeroing out the budget for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which funds public television and radio. This is far from the most troublesome of the GOP's proposed budget cuts (among other things, the plan also calls for zeroing out Americorps and family-planning funds, and it slashes the Environmental Protection Agency's budget), but it's getting big headlines because everybody has a television and a radio and nobody wants to see Scott Simon's children go hungry. In singling out CPB, Rogers and other House Republicans are initiating a familiar Washington ritual: the nine stages of not eliminating government broadcast funds.
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  • The nine stages of not eliminating public broadcasting's subsidy.
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Taking the Public Out of Public TV, Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR)

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  • PBS fare differs little from commercial TV
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  • There is precious little "public" left in "public television."
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  • Choking on Its Contrived Objectivity, the Media Refuses to Take a Stand on Sanity
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Tell PBS: Bring Back Now! Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR)

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Catastrophic Weather Events Are Becoming the New Normal

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  • For two decades now we've been ignoring the impassioned pleas of scientists that our burning of fossil fuels was a bad idea. And now we're paying a heavy price.
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  • Are You Ready for Life on Our Planet Circa 2011?
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  • The Planet Keeps Warming, But U.S. Media Interest Cools
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  • Fox News Boss Ordered Staffers To Cast Doubt On Climate Change Science
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  • An Answer for Bill O'Reilly
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Bill McKibben, AlterNet

This article is made possible with the contributions of readers like you. Thank you!

NASA's Terra satellite images show an epic winter storm that buried more than a third of the United States in drifting snow, sleet and ice. Photo Credit: AFP

If you were in the space shuttle looking down yesterday (Feb 1) , you would have seen a pair of truly awesome, even fearful, sights.

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Much of North America was obscured by a 2,000-mile storm dumping vast quantities of snow from Texas to Maine--between the wind and snow, forecasters described it as "probably the worst snowstorm ever to affect" Chicago, and said waves as high as 25 feet were rocking buoys on Lake Michigan.

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Meanwhile, along the shore of Queensland in Australia, the vast cyclone Yasi was sweeping ashore; though the storm hit at low tide, the country's weather service warned that "the impact is likely to be more life threatening than any experienced during recent generations," especially since its torrential rains are now falling on ground already flooded from earlier storms. Here's how Queensland premier Anna Bligh addressed her people before the storm hit: "We know that the long hours ahead of you are going to be the hardest that you face. We will be thinking of you every minute of every hour between now and daylight and we hope that you can feel our thoughts, that you will take strength from the fact that we are keeping you close and in our hearts."

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The Planet Keeps Warming, But U.S. Media Interest Cools, Miranda Spencer, Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR)
After the anticlimax of the COP-15 climate-policy negotiations in Copenhagen last year (Extra!, 2/10)—in which the more than 190 UN-member nations walked away with a non-binding statement of intent cobbled together in secret by the U.S. and a few other wealthy nations—public and press expectations for this year’s COP-16 meeting (11/29–12/10/10) in Cancún, Mexico, were low.

Fox News Boss Ordered Staffers To Cast Doubt On Climate Change Science,  Jack Mirkinson, Huffington Post
A top Fox News editor sent an email to staffers and journalists questioning the science behind global warming and directing them to always point out on air that the theory has its skeptics.

An Answer for Bill O'Reilly, Al Gore, Huffington Post
Scientists have been warning for at least two decades that global warming could make snowstorms more severe. Snow has two simple ingredients: cold and moisture. Warmer air collects moisture like a sponge until it hits a patch of cold air. When temperatures dip below freezing, a lot of moisture creates a lot of snow.

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A special message to our readers

David Culver, ed., Evergreene Digest

Our apologies for our tardiness with announcing that my brother-in-law died suddenly of a heart attack on Saturday, Feb 12, and so our operations were slowed down accordingly last week (Feb 13-19) to allow my wife and I an opportunity to mourn our loss. Normal operations resume on Monday, February 21.

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Thank you for your patience.

Thanks for reading Evergreene Digest!

Dave

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New Obama strategy: Beat up poor people

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  • To prove it is "serious" about the deficit, the White House proposes cutting a program that helps pay heating bills.
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  • It's the biggest domestic spending cut disclosed so far, and one that will likely generate the most heat from the president's traditional political allies.
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Andrew Leonard, Salon

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Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Lydia Howell

iStockphoto/triffitt

The Obama administration, reports National Journal's Mark Ambinder, will propose big cuts to a program that provides energy assistance to poor people when it unveils its suggested 2012 budget. "The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP," writes Ambinder, "would see funding drop by about $2.5 billion from an authorized 2009 total of $5.1 billion."

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The news is generating a lot of outrage from progressives, in large part because of a paragraph that suggests that the White House wants to gain political advantage from being seen as tough on the most vulnerable Americans -- people who can't afford heating oil during cold winters.

It's the biggest domestic spending cut disclosed so far, and one that will likely generate the most heat from the president's traditional political allies. That would satisfy the White House, which has a vested interest in convincing Americans that it is serious about budget discipline.

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The Forgotten Jobless and Our Future

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  • Their numbers and continuing growth are staggering, and their desperate situation effects all working class Americans -- employed and unemployed.
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  • The fact that their fate was left unaddressed last December, while the economic top one percent were allowed hundreds of billions of dollars in tax breaks, says a lot about the political priorities of those who set policy in this country and whose voices they listen to.
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  • Mobilizing the Jobless
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Mark Vorpahl, Workers Compass

Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor John Stoltenberg

In the political theater exhibited last December where 13 months of unemployment extensions were linked to continuing tax breaks for the rich, a significant issue was left out of the drama, though it directly impacts the lives of millions. That is the fate of those who have become known as the 99ers.

The 99ers are those who have not been able to find a job, though they have exhausted all their employment benefits. The number of people applying for unemployment benefits peaked from November 2008 to May 2009. Ninety-nine weeks later those still unemployed had exhausted their benefits and disappeared from the official unemployment statistics. They no longer have a social safety net to land in and crawl out of.

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Mobilizing the Jobless, Frances Fox Piven, The Nation
An effective movement of the unemployed will have to look something like the strikes and riots that have spread across Greece in response to the austerity measures forced on the Greek government by the European Union, or like the student protests that recently spread with lightning speed across England in response to the prospect of greatly increased school fees.

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What Corruption and Force Have Wrought in Egypt

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  • What is happening in Egypt, like what happened in Tunisia, tightens the noose that will—unless Israel and Washington radically change their policies toward the Palestinians and the Muslim world—threaten to strangle the Jewish state as well as dramatically curtail American influence in the Middle East.
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  • Chomsky: Why the Mideast Turmoil Is a Direct Threat to the American Empire
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  • When Corporations Choose Despots Over Democracy
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Chris Hedges, TruthDig

Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Jim Fuller

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AP / Ben Curtis

The uprising in Egypt, although united around the nearly universal desire to rid the country of the military dictator Hosni Mubarak, also presages the inevitable shift within the Arab world away from secular regimes toward an embrace of Islamic rule. Don’t be fooled by the glib sloganeering about democracy or the facile reporting by Western reporters—few of whom speak Arabic or have experience in the region. Egyptians are not Americans. They have their own culture, their own sets of grievances and their own history. And it is not ours. They want, as we do, to have a say in their own governance, but that say will include widespread support—especially among Egypt’s poor, who make up more than half the country and live on about two dollars a day—for the Muslim Brotherhood and Islamic parties. Any real opening of the political system in the Arab world’s most populated nation will see an empowering of these Islamic movements. And any attempt to close the system further—say a replacement of Mubarak with another military dictator—will ensure a deeper radicalization in Egypt and the wider Arab world.

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The only way opposition to the U.S.-backed regime of Mubarak could be expressed for the past three decades was through Islamic movements, from the Muslim Brotherhood to more radical Islamic groups, some of which embrace violence. And any replacement of Mubarak (which now seems almost certain) while it may initially be dominated by moderate, secular leaders will, once elections are held and popular will is expressed, have an Islamic coloring. A new government, to maintain credibility with the Egyptian population, will have to more actively defy demands from Washington and be more openly antagonistic to Israel. What is happening in Egypt, like what happened in Tunisia, tightens the noose that will—unless Israel and Washington radically change their policies toward the Palestinians and the Muslim world—threaten to strangle the Jewish state as well as dramatically curtail American influence in the Middle East.

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Chomsky: Why the Mideast Turmoil Is a Direct Threat to the American Empire, Amy Goodman, Democracy Now!
An interview with Noam Chomsky about what this means for the future of the Middle East and U.S. foreign policy in the region.

When Corporations Choose Despots Over Democracy, Amy Goodman, TruthDig
“People holding a sign ‘To: America. From: the Egyptian People. Stop supporting Mubarak. It’s over!” so tweeted my brave colleague, “Democracy Now!” senior producer Sharif Abdel Kouddous, from the streets of Cairo.

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Vision: How Small, Mostly Conservative Towns Have Found the Trick to Defeating Corporations

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  • As the Right pushes privatization as a solution to the economic collapse, one organization is teaching communities how to defeat corporations.
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  • Vermont Is Gearing Up to Strike a Major Blow to Corporate Personhood, Ban It Statewide
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  • The Hidden History of Corporate Rule
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Tara Lohan, AlterNet

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California's treasurer just announced that the state may need to begin issuing IOUs if the governor and legislature can't close the budget gap. And California's not the only place that's hurting. The Great Recession, hit not only businesses and individuals, but governments as well. The National Conference of State Legislatures estimated that 31 states are facing a combined shortfall for fiscal year 2011 of nearly $60 billion.

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So, what's being done? "Cities and states across the nation are selling and leasing everything from airports to zoos -- a fire sale that could help plug budget holes now but worsen their financial woes over the long run," the Wall Street Journal reports. "California is looking to shed state office buildings. Milwaukee has proposed selling its water supply; in Chicago and New Haven, Conn., its parking meters. In Louisiana and Georgia, airports are up for grabs."

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Vermont Is Gearing Up to Strike a Major Blow to Corporate Personhood, Ban It Statewide, Democracy Unlimited of Humboldt County
On the anniversary of the Citizens United decision, Vermont politicians are moving to deny corporations the rights that humans enjoy.

The Hidden History of Corporate Rule, Democracy Unlimited of Humboldt County
British Crown Corporations began operating in North America with the start of European settlement. These Crown Corporations, also known as colonial corporations, were a tool to export wealth back to the stockholders and the monarch that chartered them. The creation of corporations expanded empire and made the aristocracy wealthy. These early crown corporations were given the right to levy taxes, wage war, and imprison people all while enjoying a monopoly over trade in the regions where they operated. As Thomas Hobbes stated, corporations are “chips off the old block of sovereignty.”

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