What may be the dumbest corporate merger of all time—the $165 billion deal that saw AOL gobble up Time Warner a decade ago—ended just before the holidays, when AOL formally spun off into a totally separate company.
Our hearts go out to the Haitians. Earthquakes and hurricanes. Disaster after disaster. There’s no letup. We’ll send cash, food, meds, trucks, pumps, clothes, shovels, tarps, bulldozers, cement, computers, docs, water, clergy, plumbing, prayers, and everything else we can think of.
Giant corporations are trying to co-opt the meaning of one of our important words: “local.” It’s important because small businesses across the country have created a very positive, grassroots economic movement, based on being local producers, providers, and marketers. Over 130 cities have “local business alliances,” with 30,000 businesses enlisted.
There’s international scientific agreement that emissions generated by humans are, in fact, warming the planet. So just as a journalist has no need to quote a “scientist” claiming the Earth is flat, journalists have no professional obligation to present the views of scientists who deny that global warming gases, produced by humans, are warming the planet—unless the skeptics have new and credible evidence to back them up.
Over 40 years after Dr. Over 40 years after Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination, his words still speak to the social conditions that so many Americans face. Our unemployment rate is hovering at 10 percent, and the wealthiest 10 percent of us control over 70 percent of the nation’s wealth. Economic inequality remains a barrier to greater racial equality. The national commemoration of King’s birthday, therefore, is more for reflection than celebration.
It’s worth $11 billion-worth a year–our bottled-water industry, dominated by such giants as Nestlé and Coca-Cola. But wait, shriek industry PR flacks, our product is pure goodness, not pollution. What are you talking about?!
Umar Farouk Abdulmatullab—the young Nigerian who got on an airliner in Amsterdam with explosive material strapped to his crotch, intending to blow up the plane over Detroit. (Detroit! As if Detroit didn’t have enough trouble.)
And you thought Star Wars was just science fiction, right? Ha! Remember how the heroic insurgents were first ferreted out by a drone? Remember how the rulers of the universe were called “The Empire?” Remember their vast force of identical armor-clad soldiers? Remember Darth Vader, the Empire’s evil genius, sounding for all the world like Dick Cheney? But perhaps most of all, remember how the whole Battle Star community, pro-war and pro-peace alike, went up in flames?
The Obama administration has failed to close the facility, where—by many accounts—inmates were harshly interrogated and even tortured, by its own deadline. Now there’s talk that the prison will remain open at least through 2010. And the proposal to move detainees to a maximum security prison in Illinois superficially retires Guantánamo as a symbol, while retaining the legal problems it embodies. Equally troubling is the administration’s expansion of detention facilities in Afghanistan that are almost impenetrable for lawyers and humanitarian groups.
Nationally, typical low-income neighborhoods have 30 percent fewer supermarkets than higher-income neighborhoods. The problem isn’t only in urban areas; food deserts are also common in many rural communities. Across the country, too many families are forced to do their food shopping in convenience stores stocked with overpriced, highly processed, fatty food with low nutritional value, often past its expiration date. In stores like these, staples such as milk can cost more than at supermarkets.