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Archive for September 2010

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Deaf Community Celebrates Veto of Mendoza Eugenics Bill

September 30th 2010

Today the Deaf American Sign Language community is celebrating the veto of AB2072 Mendoza Eugenics Bill which should have never been introduced in the first place. We are expecting thousands to attend the American Sign Language Celebration today. The fight to stop eugenics and linguistic genocide does not end today. It is time for the diverse Deaf community to take its rightful place in politics and have a voice in its own future. We must stop our tax money from supporting national organizations such as the National Center for Hearing Assessment and Management (NCHAM) at Utah State University which, like a wolf in sheep's clothing, pushes its agenda of cochlear implants and the auditory-oral education method, while claiming that its representative of the communication options. The diverse Deaf community needs to exercise its might to ensure early intervention and Deaf education respects American Sign Language.


Mendoza Eugenics

Schwarzenegger Vetoes Controversial Mendoza Eugenics Bill in California as Biased

September 30th 2010

Deaf issues - Gov Schwarzenegger of CA
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger of California

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger of California vetoed the controversial state legislation, AB2072, known to its critics as “the Mendoza deaf eugenics bill.” In a September 29 letter to the California State Assembly, the governor wrote that while children experiencing hearing loss and their parents need information, he recognized the “the strong feelings from advocates on both sides of this issue.”

However, said Schwarzenegger, while the so-called “Mendoza bill” attempts to provide comprehensive information, “Unfortunately, the mechanism is through an advisory committee that is anything but unbiased. It’s also an advisory committee that will not only duplicate efforts by other state programs and materials by nationally recognized and respected organizations, but it represents a significant workload that will require fiscal resources that cannot be spared.” A fiscal conservative posed with the greatest fiscal deficit in the nation, Governor Schwarzenegger wrote that California’s Newborn Hearing Program and other agencies already provide programs for children while the legislation would have represented “significant workload that will require fiscal resources that cannot be spared.” Read more ..


Thanks for Removing Inaccurate Remarks about Rep. Dennis Kucinich

September 29th 2010

Yesterday, September 28, The Cutting Edge News ran a story online that was authored by a Congressional candidate which contained completely unsupported assertions about Congressman Dennis Kucinich. I contacted you to alert you regarding the inaccurate and misleading statements in the story. I appreciated your immediate response, your professionalism, and ultimately your decision to remove this article from The Cutting Edge News. Thank you for your time and consideration in this matter. 

Editors Note: We agreed the reference to Kucinich could not be supported, even in an Opinion piece, and it was removed shortly after it appeared.


American Sign Language Celebrates its Worldwide Culture

September 28th 2010
On September 30th, Sacramento, California will have an American Sign Language Celebration which attracts thousands of people who use American Sign Language. It is a global movement to celebrate International Day of Sign Language Rights and promote awareness about Deaf people. Senator Wiggins, Senator Leno, Assemblymember Huffman, Assemblymember Chesbro, and the Office of the Governor plan to appear as well to speak about the importance of recognizing and respecting American Sign Language and including Deaf people in the political process regarding anything about them. I read in the news that a recent celebration of Indian Sign Language in India ended in tears after a long day of public ridicule, but their success is that state social welfare minister Ram Kishore Saini did arrive at the venue two and a half hours after the scheduled time to speak.There is much to celebrate about sign languages around the world, which in too many countries are facing linguistic genocide and public ridicule.

Lehman on the Edge

Lehman Brothers and Government Regulation: It Was the Least they Could Do

September 27th 2010

Crime Topics - Richard Fuld
Former Lehman CEO Richard Fuld

On September 1, former Lehman Brothers CEO Richard Fuld Jr. testified about the failure of his Wall Street firm, painting himself and his company as victims of “uncontrollable market forces” and unsympathetic government banking officials.

Afterward, The New York Times said the seemingly “tragic and solitary figure” had gained a “fairly sympathetic hearing” from the federal Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission as he gave his version of the chaotic days before Lehman’s massive bankruptcy filing on Sept. 15, 2008 — two years ago. Read more ..


J-Street Should Lose Tax Exempt Status

September 27th 2010
J-Street is a disgrace. They have lied about the source of their funding and misrepresented their true aims. They are part and parcel of the George Soros-oil lobby Obama White House which lifted them into the saddle. Should this group not be compelled to forfeit its tax-exempt standing for misleading so many people and raising money in the process? Sounds like a reasonable prosecution to me.

Turkey on Edge

Iran Bankrolls Creeping Islamization of Turkey's Secular Constitution

September 27th 2010

Turkish Topics - Tayyip Erdogan
Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan at AKP rally

Iran has agreed to donate $25 million (£16 million) to Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in a move that will increase fears that Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan is preparing to abandon the country's secular constitution through a referendum. The government of Turkey promptly denied that it had received any money from the Islamic government of Iran, while Turkish and foreign observers express concern over Erdogan’s growing power in Turkey and his success in intimidating the once-powerful Turkish military. Read more ..


Midterm Electionbs on the Edge

Democrats Can Run But Can’t Hide from Ethics Charges this November

September 27th 2010

Contributors / Staff - Armstrong_Williams

Like many, I like to spend my summer months catching up on some good books and vacationing in Europe. Only this year, I’ve stopped reading fiction. Why bother when real life is so much more interesting? In fact, I think I’ll stop reading books altogether for the next several weeks. All I need are the latest editions of The Hill and the Washington Times to cover the scintillating scandals that have totally rocked Democratic Reps. Charles Rangel (NY) and Maxine Waters (CA). I know fiction writers are green with envy on these developing storylines.

The latest developments surrounding the Waters and Rangel cases have both looking like they will spend 2011 in retirement; perhaps even in the pokey if there’s another shoe that has yet to fall.

Both claim their innocence, with Rep. Rangel defiantly telling supporters and whoever will listen earlier this year at his annual mega-birthday bash that he will fight these allegations with every fiber of his being.

Has anyone seen this summer movie before? I have. Try 2006 when Republicans such as former Reps. Rick Renzi, Richard Pombo, Mark Foley, and others lined up to the microphones to declare their innocence. Instead of summarily removing them from office (or at least asking them to step down from running that year), Republican leaders whistled in the other direction, refusing to set an example. [I don’t remember; did Republican leadership not call for any of their resignations? Seems to me they might have belatedly called for Foley’s, but like I said, I’m not sure. Boehner publically asked Renzi to step down. Pombo and Foley were not publically asked.] Read more ..


Toxic Edge

Plastics Ingredient Vinyl Chloride is Focus of Lawsuit Against Chemical Giant Rohm and Haas

September 27th 2010

Corporate Logos - Dow Chemical

Bryan Freund compares his fragile condition to having “a time bomb in your head. You just don’t know when it’s going to go off.”

Freund, 49, has brain cancer, which he blames on careless practices at a chemical plant just north of his home. He’s among 17 current or former residents of the village of McCullom Lake, Illinois, who have developed the disease since 1993; 10 have died. The plant, operated by Rohm and Haas, a subsidiary of Dow Chemical Co., is at the root of a potentially groundbreaking lawsuit scheduled for trial Sept. 20 in Philadelphia. “This is the biggest brain cancer cluster case I’m aware of,” said Aaron Freiwald, a lawyer for the plaintiffs who has worked on the case for nearly five years.

The seeming excess of brain cancer in McCullom Lake — a municipality of barely 1,000 people in McHenry County, about 50 miles northwest of Chicago — is striking in itself, given that malignant brain tumors occur in the general U.S. population at the rate of 6.4 per 100,000, according to the National Cancer Institute. But the town has recorded 13 benign brain tumors in addition to the 17 malignancies, as well as one case of liver disease severe enough to require a transplant. Read more ..


Africa on Edge

Rwanda: Is Justice Served by Anti-Western Narratives treating Tutsis as 'Unworthy Victims'

September 27th 2010

Africa Topics - Rwanda child victim

Political wars around the history of genocide are most evident in controversies over the Holocaust. But they are also sharpening around Rwanda, where in 1994 the “Hutu Power” regime killed hundreds of thousands of Tutsis as well as moderate Hutus.

The political context of this development is that the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) government headed by Paul Kagame - which ended the genocide when it seized power - is both determined to use the west's guilt at failing to stop the 1994 genocide to entrench its own impunity, and trade on the victims of the Rwanda genocide in order to deflect criticism of its domestic authoritarianism and external aggression.

This strategy is diminishing in effect. A real momentum is growing behind the recognition of the RPF's own responsibility for massacres of civilians, mainly Hutus, leading to accusations that it too has committed genocide. Until now most attention has focused on massacres inside Rwanda, during the RPF's invasion in 1994 and subsequent consolidation of power, most notoriously at Kibeho in 1995.

These events led some Hutu propagandists to propound the theory of the “double genocide.” This is a simplistic and distorting idea because RPF massacres were localized, with neither the national scope nor the consistent targeting of the huge Hutu Power murder-campaign. Nevertheless, there is no doubt that the RPF committed genocidal massacres of Hutu civilians. Read more ..


Venezuela on Edge

The Electoral Illusions of Venezuela's Totalitarian Regime

September 27th 2010

Latin American Topics - Los Dos Amigos
Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro

On September 26, Venezuela  held parliamentary elections. Since Hugo Chavez was elected to the presidency in 1998, Venezuela has been transformed from a country with democratic institutions to one where the president controls all branches of government. The elections serve the purpose of making Chavez look like he is presiding over a free society but in reality provide no real chance for change. In this context, it is important to understand the true nature of the present Venezuelan political reality. Read more ..


Edge on Terror

Attacks in Tajikistan Signal Growing Islamist Menace in Central Asia

September 27th 2010

Terrorism - Uzbek/Tajik jihadis

Militants in Tajikistan’s Rasht Valley ambushed a military convoy of 75 Tajik troops on September 19, killing 25 military personnel according to official reports and 40 according to the militants, who attacked from higher ground with small arms, automatic weapons and grenades. The Tajik troops were part of a nationwide deployment of security forces seeking to recapture 25 individuals linked to the United Tajik Opposition militant groups that had escaped from prison in Dushanbe on Aug. 24. The daring prison break was conducted by members of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), and saw five security guards killed and the country put on red alert. According to the Tajik government, after the escape, most of the militants fled to the Rasht Valley, an area under the influence of Islamist militants that is hard to reach for Tajikistan’s security forces and thus rarely patrolled by troops. Read more ..


Cuba on Edge

Cuba in The U.S. Congress

September 27th 2010

Cuba Topics - Los Hermanos Castro y Cia.
Fidel Castro and Raul Castro

Holding true to its historic ability to garner international press attention seemingly disproportionate to its geographic size, Cuba has once again claimed the spotlight. From a now disputed statement from Fidel Castro that the ”Cuban model” no longer functions to the glimmering possibility that the U.S. government will remove Cold War-era travel bans, it is clear that change is in the Caribbean winds.

As a recent TIME Magazine article reports, the bill in the House of Representatives, H.R. 4645: Travel Restriction Reform and Export Enhancement Act appears to be stalled after clearing the initial hurdle of the House Committee on Agriculture by a vote of 25-20-1. Read more ..


America on Edge

Antoine Dodson has Left the Hood

September 27th 2010

Social Topics - Antoine Dodson

Just two months ago, Antoine Dodson was just scraping by and trying to support his family. Today he is an international Internet celebrity.

It all started when a Huntsville, Alabama, news crew taped an interview of the visibly upset Antoine about the attempted rape of his sister by an assailant in July. Antoine defended his sister, struggling with the assailant who then fled. Within hours, the video of the news was posted on YouTube. Millions have watched the original video while millions more have watched the auto-tuned remix. The song has taken on a life of its own and even cracked the Billboard Top 100 chart.

Profits from the YouTube videos, iTunes sales of the song, merchandise, and donations have been enough for Antoine, who supports his five brothers and sisters, to move himself and his family out of the “projects” and into a new house.

While the Dodson family has greatly benefited from the video, one has to ask why the Dodson video has become so popular. Read more ..


The Weapon's Edge

Massive Sale of U.S. Arms to Saudi Arabia Undercuts American Values

September 27th 2010

Contributors / Staff - Mitchell Bard
Mitchell Bard

The Arab lobby now seeks to capitalize on fears of war with Iran to convince Congress to approve the largest arms sale in U.S. history to Saudi Arabia. In fact, the sale will do nothing to protect the Saudis from Iran and will reward them for continuing to undermine our values and interests.

Who is this Arab lobby? It is led by the Saudis themselves and supported by Arabists – current and former government officials who believe America must keep the Saudis happy to ensure the flow of oil – oil companies who profit from that relationship and defense contractors who also make money and tell the Pentagon they can lower the unit costs for American weapons and keep production lines open. This formidable lobby has proven nearly impossible to defeat as the Saudis have already purchased roughly $100 billion worth of U.S. arms.

The argument that the Saudis need $60 billion worth of new arms to defend themselves from Iran is especially ludicrous. If the Obama administration prevents Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, then Iran poses less danger to the Saudis; if Iran gets the bomb, the new arms will be of no use.

While the Saudis argue the sale is needed to defend them from the Iranians, a significant part of the arms deal is dedicated to bolstering the palace guard. This reflects the Saudis’ main concern, protecting the monarchy from internal opponents who cannot be fought with fighter planes and helicopters. Read more ..


Mexico's Drug War

Mexicans Take Justice into Their Own Hands in Violence Reminiscent of the 1910 Revolution

September 27th 2010

Mexican Topics - Mexico lynching

An attempted kidnapping September 21 in the northern Mexican state of Chihuahua touched off a burst of mass outrage that left two suspected young kidnappers dead and a small town in open rebellion. While the details are still sketchy, the events began with the abduction of a 17-year-old female worker of a seafood restaurant in the town of Ascensión by a group of young men. Read more ..


Oil Spills

Enbridge Doesn't Cough-up Enough in Claims for Michigan Oil Spill

September 27th 2010

Energy / Environment - Denise Green - Enbridge oil spill victim
Oil spill victim Denise Green testifies before Congress

Phyllis Nelson defied her doctors’ predictions by surviving chronic lung disease for the last seven years, and until late July she had her symptoms under control with just a single puff a day from her inhaler.

Then came the oil spill on July 25 — more than 800,000 gallons of crude from a broken pipeline spewing into the waterways near the trailer home park where she lives in Battle Creek, Mich. The spill forced Nelson and her neighbors to evacuate. Read more ..


The Toxic Edge

Oxygen-Starved Dead-Zones Continue to Grow in U.S. Waters

September 27th 2010

Environment Topics - drain to ocean

The number of “dead zones” in U.S. coastal waters — where oxygen is so depleted that it can harm marine life — has soared 30-fold over the last half century, according to a new White House report that warns the phenomenon poses both economic and environmental hazards.

The report by a task force of federal, state and private scientists assembled by the White House said the rise of hypoxia in ocean waters can be traced mostly to pollution, such as wastewater and fertilizer runoff. The nutrient-rich pollutants fuel blooms of algae and other bacteria that suck oxygen out of the water, the researchers said. Read more ..


Book Review

Stayin' Alive: A History of Class Struggles in the '70s

September 27th 2010

Book Covers - Stayin Alive

Stayin' Alive: The 1970s and the Last Days of the Working Class. Jefferson Cowie. New Press. 2010. 488 pp.

The decade of the seventies has become a historiographic cottage industry. For a long time, about the only study out there was Peter Carroll's It Seemed Like Nothing Happened; first published in 1982, it has held up surprisingly well. The consensus on the standard treatment now seems to be Boston University historian Bruce Schulman's 2001 book The Seventies; David Frum gave the decade a puckish -- and pointedly neocon -- reading in How We Got Here in 2000. More recent treatments have tended to focus on aspects of the period, like the Ford and Carter presidencies. In 1973 Nervous Breakdown, (2006) Andreas Killen made a compelling case for that year as a synechdoche for the seventies as a whole. And Natasha Zaretsky rendered a compelling gender reading of the period in No Direction Home: The American Family and Fear of National Decline.

Labor historian Jefferson Cowie, who teaches at the school of Industrial Labor Relations at Cornell, follows the recent tendency to render portraits of the decade through a particular lens. In Stayin' Alive, that lens is both specific and yet capacious: that of the American working class. Working-class culture figures prominently in all the above-mentioned works, but Cowie's focus on it gives his book an energy and coherence that will likely make it among the more useful and durable treatments of the period. Read more ..


Cuba on Edge

Does Castro's Change of Heart Signal a Change in Pace in U.S.- Cuba Relations?

September 27th 2010

Cuba Topics - Fidel Castro remonstrating

After four years of silence induced by grave physical illness, punctuated only by occasional newspaper commentaries, Fidel Castro has regained his voice. To the surprise of many, he is using it to make some startling comments on the escalating conflict between Iran and the western world. In one of his most recent statements on the subject, expressed in an exclusive interview with Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic magazine, Castro surprised friends and foes alike by excoriating Iran’s Ahmadinejad for intensifying conflict in the Middle East by encouraging anti-Semitism in Iran. Specifically, Castro criticized Ahmadinejad’s denial of the Holocaust, declaring to Jeffrey Goldberg, “The Jews have lived an existence that is much harder than ours. There is nothing that compares to the Holocaust.”

Castro has come out since publication of Goldberg’s piece to explain that the reporter missed the crucial irony in his statement that was originally heralded as a shocking admission that the Cuban economic model was failing. Instead, Castro explained that he had meant “exactly the opposite,” that the US capitalist model could no longer be seen as a model for the U.S., much less for Cuba. Fidel has made no such clarification or retraction regarding his words for Ahmadinejad, however. In this case, at least, it seems that Goldberg got Castro’s message right the first time. Read more ..


Book Review

Sci-Fi Writers Go Boldly Where No One Went Before

September 27th 2010

Book Covers - Time and Space

Space and Time: Essays on Visions of History in Science Fiction and Fantasy Television. David C. Wright, Jr., Allan W. Austin McFarland. 2010. 231 pp.

Gene Roddenberry. Rod Serling. Bill Panzer. Terry Nation. Glen A. Larson. Their names are synonymous with science fiction and fantasy television shows. Together, they have enabled generations of fans to “boldly go where no man has gone before’’ through time travel or by exploring the far reaches of outer space.

The visionaries behind Star Trek, The Twilight Zone, Highlander: The Series, Battlestar Galactica, and many others relied upon their own creative impulses and talents to create their hit TV series. The writers and producers, though, also based some of their otherworldly episodes on their own understanding of history, current events, and the power of popular culture. Often influenced by liberal ideals, they addressed the Cold War, racism, technological change and other pressing issues of their day, according to the new book, Space and Time: Essays on Visions of History in Science Fiction and Fantasy Television.

Misericordia University professors David C. Wright, Jr., Ph.D., and Allan W. Austin, Ph.D., collaborated on the project to study an important genre that has been widely seen as “lacking academic legitimacy,’’ according to Dr. Wright. The MU colleagues developed the concept for McFarland & Company, Inc. Publishers, wrote individual essays, solicited chapter proposals, and edited the nine submissions they selected for their groundbreaking book. Read more ..


J-Street Funding Revelations Show the Soros-Saudi Connection has an Obama Implication

September 26th 2010
The latest revelations show that J-Street--a so-called pro-Israel lobby--is a just massive deception by Saudi money and the George Soros fortune, a fortune which he is determined to use for anti-Jewish and anti-Israel purposes. Since Soros is a major funder of President Barack Obama, it explains the White House's sudden elevation of this fake Israel lobby J-Street to share the roundtable with such organizations as AIPAC and the Conference of Presidents. I had placed a lot of hope in both Obama and J-Street. I now join the ranks of many Americans, Jewish and otherwise who feel disappointed and deceived by both.

Mendoza Eugenics a Threat to Deaf People Nationally

September 22nd 2010
I have read with shock the saga of Tony Mendoza and his eugenic campaign against the Deaf of California. This is not a crisis just for California. This legislation will be emulated throughout the country. Mendoza should now be yanked from office, voted out or recalled and referred for prosecution if justified. It should be a warning to the other state legislators everywhere. The Deaf will not sit still for these measures designed to erase our identity. Edwin Black and 10 more like him should speak about the horrors of eugenics before it takes root across the nation.

Mideast Peace

Hamas and the Peace Process--Internal Palestinian Tensions Roil

September 20th 2010

Palestine Topics - Hamas at Press Conference
Hamas leader Khaled Mashal

Unsurprisingly, the Hamas leadership—both in Gaza and Damascus, and less so in the West Bank—has greeted the resumption of direct Israeli–Palestinian talks with a flood of contrarian rhetoric. Characterizing the process as a “sellout” of the Palestinian “cause,” the movement argues that President Mahmoud Abbas lacks the necessary “mandate” to represent his people. Hamas leader Khaled Mashal went so far as to call Abbas “a zero,” amid accusations of “treason” and “betrayal.” The group has also issued fiery denunciations of the growing cooperation between Palestinian Authority (PA) security agencies and their Israeli counterparts. Read more ..


Inside Islam

What Arabs Really Think About Iran

September 20th 2010

Arab Topics - Saudi Prince in Meeting

It is no secret that Arab public opinion toward U.S. President Barack Obama has soured since his June 2009 speech in Cairo, Egypt. According to a slew of recent opinion polls, Arabs have been deeply disappointed with Obama’s accommodations to Israel. Analysts have suggested that this discontent has caused Arabs to embrace Iran and its nuclear program, and are hostile to U.S.-led attempts to isolate and pressure the Islamic Republic. But on this front, the numbers tell a very different story. Read more ..


Edge on Terror

Homeland Security Wakes Up to Home Grown Terrorist Threat

September 20th 2010

Terrorism - Arab terrorist
New Mexico-born terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki

The head of the Department of Homeland Security stressed on September 17 that a growing number of homegrown terrorist plots are the most concerning threat to national security.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano emphasized that large terrorist plots like the al-Qaeda attack on Sept. 11, 2001, are still a serious danger to the U.S. But the growing number of individual and local terrorists, often inspired by the umbrella hardline groups, are more troubling and harder to thwart, she said. Read more ..


The Political Edge

Key Dem Senators Not Ruling Out Yes Votes on DREAM Act

September 20th 2010

Politics - Capitol Building at night

Senate Democrats who blocked an immigration bill in 2007 say they are undecided on how to vote on the measure this week.

Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) plans to attach the controversial DREAM Act to the defense authorization bill. But it’s unclear if it can attract 60 votes.

The DREAM Act, introduced by Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), would grant U.S. citizenship to certain children of illegal immigrants who came to the country before the age of 16. Democrats helped block the bill three years ago when it fell eight votes short on a procedural motion. While some Republicans supported that motion, eight Democrats voted no, including the late Sen. Robert Byrd (W.Va.) and Sens. Max Baucus (Mont.), Mary Landrieu (La.), Mark Pryor (Ark.), Kent Conrad (N.D.), Claire McCaskill (Mo.), Jon Tester (Mont.) and Byron Dorgan (N.D.). Read more ..


Media on the Edge

TIME Magazine is Lying When it Says Israel Does Not Care About Peace

September 20th 2010

Contributors / Staff - Mitchell Bard
Mitchell Bard

As the author of a book on myths and facts about the Arab-Israeli conflict, I am often asked to identify the most prevalent myth. The answer can be found on the cover of the recent edition of Time magazine, which purports to explain "Why Israel Doesn't Care About Peace."

This assertion reinforces the views of the Arab lobby, especially State Department Arabists, who often work in tandem with foreign interests to frustrate broader U.S. policy goals. They have long believed that Israelis don't know what's best for themselves and must be forced, like recalcitrant children, to capitulate to the demands of the Arabs for their own good.

The Arabists, especially concerned that the creation of a Jewish state would jeopardize our access to Saudi oil, initially tried to prevent the creation of Israel altogether. Since 1948, their consistent posture has been that U.S. interests are best served by distancing the United States from Israel in order to improve our ties with Arab states.

We now have more than six decades of experience, which has utterly refuted this view. During these decades, we've seen U.S.-Israel relations grow closer without adversely affecting either our ties with Arab allies or oil supplies. Moreover, the true threats to U.S. interests have been external powers - the Soviet Union, regional provocateurs like the Iranians, inter-Arab rivalries (e.g., Syria and Lebanon) and terrorism, all of which the Arabists either ignored or downplayed. Read more ..


Edge on Human Trafficking

American Women and Girls are not Exempt from Global Sex Trafficking

September 20th 2010

Social Topics - Mother of Child victim

Child trafficking is one of the fastest growing crimes in the world - an underground business, often conducted on the internet, and driven by enormous profits. According to UNICEF, an estimated 2.5 million children, the majority of them girls, are sexually exploited in the multibillion-dollar commercial sex industry.

While the problem is usually associated with countries with unstable economic and political systems, today it is the biggest in Europe, the United States, Russia and Africa. 

"Last year we identified 56 cases of young people who have experienced sexual exploitation just in the Washington D.C. area," Andrea Powell, executive director of FAIR Fund stated. Powell co-founded the organization eight years ago to stop the trafficking of youth worldwide. It has assisted thousands of teen-aged girls and boys so far in the United States, Bosnia, Serbia, Russia and Uganda.

Child trafficking is one of the fastest growing crimes in the world - an underground business, often conducted on the internet, and driven by enormous profits. According to UNICEF, an estimated 2.5 million children, the majority of them girls, are sexually exploited in the multibillion-dollar commercial sex industry. Read more ..


Natural gas on the Edge

Natural Gas Exports are Challenged as Fair Deal for Peru

September 20th 2010

Energy Topics - Peru Pampa CNG facility

Between 2004 and 2009, approximately $1.13 billion in revenue generated by the Camisea natural gas project was transferred to local governments in Camisea’s sphere of influence. However, more than five years after the start of operations, critical gaps in meeting the basic needs of local citizens remain.” -Oxfam

The natural gas industry in Peru has boomed since mid-2004, when natural gas from the Camisea Project, located in the Urubamba Basin in the southeastern Peruvian Amazon, began to flow. At approximately $1.7 billion, Peru’s Camisea Project represents the largest investment in the country’s history. Since the project’s 2004 launch, according to an Oxfam report published in July of 2010, Camisea has been satisfying part of the external market demand for natural gas, albeit at alarmingly low prices dictated by the existing contract. These low prices, along with the sub-par royalties awarded to Peru in comparison to other gas-exporting Latin American countries, have become a liability for the Peruvian economy. Indeed, in terms of natural gas exports, Peru is currently not getting a fair deal. Read more ..


The November Elections

Discussing Islam Appears Off-Limits for U.S. Politicians

September 20th 2010

Islamic Topics - Ground Zero mosque protest

After a scorching summer consumed with controversy over issues centering on Islam spilling into the political arena, the topic has quickly turned to political dynamite and threatens to derail midterm campaigns if politicians dare touch it.

The debate has focused around a Manhattan Islamic center – including a mosque – located two blocks from Ground Zero and numerous threats -- some carried out -- to burn or rip pages out of copies of the Muslim holy book the Koran. The political nature of the storm escalated to such heights that nearly every public figure weighed in on one side or another.

But a Congress that was vehemently involved in posturing on the issue as it left for summer recess remained deafeningly quiet on the issue when it came back in session last week. President Obama switched gears as well, choosing to focus on the economy this week after putting the White House at the center of the debate again last weekend while defending Islam in his Pentagon address on the ninth anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Read more ..


Turkey on the Edge

An Imaginary Vote in the Turkish Election

September 20th 2010

Turkish Topics - Turkish Flags

Had I voted in Sunday's referendum in Turkey, I would have struggled to decide whether to vote for or against the constitutional amendments put forth by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

On the one hand, the reform package includes progressive amendments, such as constitutionally guaranteed gender equality. On the other hand, it grants the AKP the power to appoint most of Turkey's high court judges without a confirmation process. Prior to Sunday, the secular courts were the last remaining check on the power of the AKP -- an authoritarian movement with Islamist roots that has often interpreted democracy as unchallenged majority rule. That judicial check is now gone. Read more ..


Book Review

The American Ad Industry--Tracing its Origins

September 20th 2010

Book Covers - The Man who Sold America

The Man Who Sold America: The Amazing (but True!) Story of Albert D. Lasker and the Creation of the Advertising Century. Jeffrey Cruikshank and Arthur Schultz. Harvard Business Press, 2010. 435 pages.

We take advertising for granted. Even as companies rush to implement the technology the Tom Cruise character experienced in Minority Report that immersed him in personalized ads, continuous commercial messages are a consistent part of our culture. Douglas Rushkoff's brilliant book, Life, Inc. eloquently explored the corporatization of our lives, but once upon a time, advertising itself was a minor part of things, and were mostly announcements rather than persuasive and pervasive pleas.

I was fascinated by this sprawling, old-fashioned biography of Albert Lasker, an important figure in the world of advertising and politics of whom I was only faintly aware. I recalled him being mentioned by David Ogilvy in his essential books, as someone who made a ton of money but knew little about his role in essentially creating the modern advertising agency and industry.

Among his accomplishments, according to authors Cruishank and Schultz, is the prominence given to content and copywriting; the consumer-centered ad; modern political advertising; branding commodities (particularly produce); selling previously unmentionable female hygiene products; and more, including the “creation” of orange juice. Read more ..


The Edge on Terrorism

The Anniversary of 9/11 and What Didn’t Happen That Day

September 20th 2010

Terrorism - Ayman al-Zawahiri
Ayman al-Zawahiri

September 11, 2010, the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, was a day of solemn ceremony, remembrance, and reflection. It was also a time to consider the U.S. reaction to the attack nine years ago, including the national effort to destroy al Qaeda and other terrorist groups in order to prevent a repeat of the 9/11 attacks. Of course, part of the U.S. reaction to 9/11 was the decision to invade Afghanistan, and the 9/11 anniversary also provided a time to consider how the United States is now trying to end its Afghanistan campaign so that it can concentrate on more pressing matters elsewhere. Read more ..


The Financial Edge

New Debit Cards May Revolutionize the Card Industry

September 20th 2010

Economy - credit cards

Imagine strolling into Bob’s Sandwich Emporium to discover that the chalkboard behind the counter lists both lunch specials and financing specials.

That pastrami on rye with extra pickles, the board explains, will cost $10 if paying with a debit card, $10.16 if paying with a Visa credit card, and $10.25 if paying with an American Express card.

Quick: which card do you pull out of your wallet?

This scenario is anathema to the card companies and card-issuing banks that reap massive profits on the so-called interchange fees that merchants pay every time a consumer swipes a card. Read more ..


Argentina on the Edge

Hot Times in Argentina Leading to the 2011 Presidential Election

September 20th 2010

Latin American Topics - Cristina Fernandez gesture
President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner

Alleged wiretapping hearings lead by a politician, the shutdown of an Internet provider and the investigation of a newsprint factory have all occurred in Argentina over the last few days. They all connect in one clear way: they signify the climax of President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner’s presidency; they represent a moment of truth for the controversial figure. Argentina is fast approaching the 2011 presidential elections and the whole country is seized by the battle between the Kirchnerites and their fierce opposition. In this war, great names will be toppled and the ghosts of Argentina’s past—specifically the lingering effects of the country’s brutal military dictatorship—will certainly influence the country’s future. Read more ..


Inside Islam

Islamization and the Arab-Israeli Peace Process

September 20th 2010

Terrorism - Islamic Jihad

The Arab and non-Arab Muslim umma, or global community, vehemently denies pre-Islamic Jewish and ignores pre-Islamic Christian connections to all the territories that comprised historical Syro-Palestine—including Judea, Samaria, modern Israel within the 1949 armistice borders, and Gaza. This historical negationism is melded to Islam’s own theological supresessionism which abrogates Judaism and Christianity as deliberately corrupted, crude manifestations of the one true primordial monotheism, Islam. (See Koran 3:67—“No; Abraham in truth was not a Jew, neither a Christian; but he was a Muslim and one pure of faith [i.e., Islam]; certainly he was never of the idolaters.”) Such an eternal religio-political worldview should raise grave doubts about the prospects of negotiating a permanent peace settlement between the Israelis and the local Arab Muslim representatives of the global Islamic umma, the Palestinian Arabs. Read more ..


Agriculture on the Edge

Coffee Plants Benefit As Complex Biological Interactions Keep Pests at Bay

September 20th 2010

Science - Azteca ants

Proponents of organic farming often speak of nature's balance in ways that sound almost spiritual, prompting criticism that their views are unscientific and naïve. At the other end of the spectrum are those who see farms as battlefields where insect pests and plant diseases must be vanquished with the magic bullets of modern agriculture: pesticides, fungicides and the like.

Which view is more accurate? A 10-year study of an organic coffee farm in Mexico suggests that, far from being romanticized hooey, the "balance and harmony" view is on the mark. Ecologists John Vandermeer and Ivette Perfecto of the University of Michigan and Stacy Philpott of the University of Toledo have uncovered a web of intricate interactions that buffers the farm against extreme outbreaks of pests and diseases, making magic bullets unnecessary. Read more ..


The Obama Edge

Obama Faces Elections and Foreign Policy Choices

September 20th 2010

Obama Admin Topics - Barack Obama with Flag

We are now nine weeks away from the midterm elections in the United States. Much can happen in nine weeks, but if the current polls are to be believed, U.S. President Barack Obama is about to suffer a substantial political reversal.

To begin thinking about this, we must bear three things in mind. First, while Obama won a major victory in the Electoral College, he did not come anywhere near a landslide in the popular vote. About 48 percent of the voters selected someone else. In spite of the Democrats’ strength in Congress and the inevitable bump in popularity Obama received after he was elected, his personal political strength was not overwhelming. Over the past year, poll numbers indicating support for his presidency have deteriorated to the low 40 percent range, numbers from which it is difficult, but not impossible, to govern.

Second, he entered the presidency off balance. His early focus in the campaign was to argue that the war in Iraq was the wrong war to fight but that the war in Afghanistan was the right one. This positioned him as a powerful critic of George W. Bush without positioning him as an anti-war candidate. Politically shrewd, he came into office with an improving Iraq situation, a deteriorating Afghanistan situation and a commitment to fighting the latter war. But Obama did not expect the global financial crisis. When it hit full blast in September 2008, he had no campaign strategy to deal with it and was saved by the fact that John McCain was as much at a loss as he was. The Obama presidency has therefore been that of a moderately popular president struggling between campaign promises and strategic realities as well as a massive economic crisis to which he crafted solutions that were a mixture of the New Deal and what the Bush administration had already done. It was a tough time to be president. Read more ..


The Edge of Safety

Better off Dead

September 20th 2010

Contributors / Staff - Armstrong_Williams

I’m sorry, but the killing of James Lee, the Discovery Channel gunman who took several employees hostage, was the only option for that sick individual. Over time we have seen many James Lees and the lives they’ve destroyed in pursuit of their twisted outlook on life. In past hostage situations, imagine that the police had responded in a similar manner; how many innocent people and bystanders would be alive today? While we believe there is a time and place for negotiating with mental head cases that take people hostage, still we can never know the magnitude of loss of lives with that tactic until the smoke clears.

Special thanks go out to the Montgomery County officers and SWAT members who thought it better to shoot first and later ask questions about what kind of device Lee had strapped to his person during those intense hours. Often Law Enforcement officials are blamed and second-guessed when people in these situations lose their lives for no reason. We also know that even in the James Lee matter, their quick decision to shoot could have had severe consequences. In the final analysis though, their quick thinking and judgment from past experiences may have saved hundreds of people from injury, death, or destruction. Going forward, when we as countrymen are faced with hostile situations of this magnitude, it would be wise to subdue or eliminate the perpetrator if possible. This principle should apply in cases where it was later learned that their threats and actions would not have led to innocent people dying. Read more ..



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