Monday, January 15, 2007

Morning News Roundup (15 January)

Remembering Martin Luther King
  • Many of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s most formative writings and sermons -- some dating to when King was a precocious 19-year-old seminary student in 1948 -- languished for decades in a battered, cardboard box.

    The texts, which illuminate the theological foundations that America's most celebrated social activist would repeatedly return to, are revealed in a book to be released today -- Martin Luther King Jr. Day -- by Stanford University's King Papers Project.
    King was not a conformist Christian. He not only eschewed literalism, he was a strident critic of how the Christian church perpetuated injustices such as slavery and segregation.

    "Too often has the church talked about a future good 'over yonder,' totally forgetting the present evil over here," King wrote in 1952 to Coretta Scott, his future wife.
    "Any religion that professes to be concerned about the souls of men and not concerned about the city government that damns the soul, the economic conditions that corrupt the soul, the slum conditions, the social evils that cripple the soul, is a dry, dead, do-nothing religion in need of new blood," King preached in 1962 to his congregation at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta. [SFChronic]

  • Here's U2 performing their song, "MLK," from Rattle and Hum

Iraq's (Decidedly Uncivil) Civil War

BushCo's Wars
  • President Bush and his aides, explaining their reasons for sending more American troops to Iraq, are offering an incomplete, oversimplified and possibly untrue version of events there that raises new questions about the accuracy of the administration's statements about Iraq. President Bush unveiled the new version on Wednesday during his nationally televised speech announcing his new Iraq policy.
    "They blew up one of the holiest shrines in Shia Islam - the Golden Mosque of Samarra - in a calculated effort to provoke Iraq's Shia population to retaliate," Bush said. "Their strategy worked. Radical Shia elements, some supported by Iran, formed death squads. And the result was a vicious cycle of sectarian violence that continues today."

    That version of events helps to justify Bush's "new way forward" in Iraq, in which U.S. forces will largely target Sunni insurgents and leave it to Iraq's U.S.-backed Shiite government to - perhaps - disarm its allies in Shiite militias and death squads.

    But the president's account understates by at least 15 months when Shiite death squads began targeting Sunni politicians and clerics. It also ignores the role that Iranian-backed Shiite groups had in death squad activities prior to the Samarra bombing. [this McClatchy report is a long one, but a must-read]

Climate Crisis
  • The White House has denied a Guardian report that Bush is preparing to make an “historic shift” on global warming in his State of the Union address. “[The story] is inaccurate on all fronts,” a White House official said, “and especially regarding the State of the Union.” [ThinkProgress' ThinkFast]

  • And here's a bit from that aforementioned Guardian report, which was published in The Observer this last weekend:
    Bush and Blair held private talks on climate change before Christmas, and there is a feeling that the US President will now agree a cap on emissions in the US, meaning that, for the first time, American industry and consumers would be expected to start conserving energy and curbing pollution.

    'We could now be seeing the beginning of a consensus on a post-Kyoto framework,' said a source close to the prime minister. 'President Bush is beginning to talk about more radical measures.'
    A change of heart on the environment was signalled earlier this month when the US administration unexpectedly announced that polar bears were now an endangered species because their habitat in the US state of Alaska had suffered from melting ice sheets caused by global warming. The government is now required to act on threats to the bears' survival. The EU has its own so-called cap and trade scheme, under which industries are given a quota of carbon dioxide emissions: if they exceed the limits, they must pay for extra credits that can be bought from cleaner industries - an incentive to firms to go green.

    Downing Street is increasingly confident that the arguments pushed by Sir Nicholas Stern, author of the recent Treasury report on the cost of global warming, that doing nothing will eventually prove more costly than trying to avert catastrophe are now gaining in momentum. However, Stern warned: 'The US will work it out for itself. Nobody will be telling them what to do, and nobody should.'
  • Governments and businesses must act now against climate change, and the United States needs a bigger public debate about its risks, the chairman of the Lloyd's insurance market said Friday. Peter Levene warned that vast storms bigger than Hurricane Katrina are likely to batter the United States in coming years despite a relatively calm 2006 Atlantic hurricane season.
    "We cannot risk being in denial on catastrophe trends. So, two years after Katrina and one year away from a national (US) election, where's the public debate on catastrophe trends?" he said. "Over the coming years, with warmer sea surface temperatures making wind-storm landfall more likely, particularly destructive storms are a likely scenario." [TerraDaily]

Domestic Potpourri
  • Keeping a promise he made on the campaign trail in 2006, Senator Jim Webb (D-VA) did more for the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan on his first day in the Senate than the man he ousted, George Felix Allen, did in the entire previous Congress.

    Going unnoticed in the frenzy of Democrats assuming control of Capitol Hill and George W. Bush seeking to plunge the country deeper into the Iraq quagmire, Webb introduced the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2007, legislation that will provide the newest Veterans with educational benefits like those received by men and women who served in the three decades following World War II. [Bob Geiger]

Obama Watch
  • Political Wire is reporting that Barack Obama may announce his candidacy for president on Wednesday's Oprah Winfrey Show, citing an inside source and the fact that:
    The Oprah schedule for Wednesday, January 17 says to "check back later" for more details on the show. Since all shows are taped in advance, this suggests something is up.
    [Daily Kos diarist MissLaura]

Big Blue Marble
  • Oddly enough, Iran's announcement that it is resuming enrichment will be reassuring to some at the IAEA. Its recent slowdown in activity had expert observers worrying that Iran has a secret program elsewhere. [Foreign Policy's Passport]

  • Stepped up U.S. military activity in the Persian Gulf is to counter "very negative" behavior by Iran and undercut its belief that American forces are overcommitted in Iraq, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Monday. Gates said the time is not right for diplomatic talks with Iran, but left open that possibility for the future.
    "We are simply reaffirming that statement of the importance of the Gulf region to the United States and our determination to be an ongoing strong presence in that area for a long time into the future," he said. WaPo]

  • "24" is back on Fox TV – the hit show starring Kiefer Sutherland, which premiered Sunday night, once again features at least one big torture scene in every episode – the kind of torture the Bush White House says is necessary to protect us from you-know-who.
    It's especially unfortunate to see Kiefer Sutherland play the world's most popular torturer -- because his father, Donald Sutherland, has been a prominent antiwar activist since Vietnam days and starred in some great films critiquing fascist politics, including "MASH" and Bertolucci's "1900" – and also because Kiefer's grandfather, Tommy Douglas, was Canada's first socialist premier, and was recently voted "the greatest Canadian of all time" -- because he introduced universal public health care to Canada.

    The grandson meanwhile is being paid $10 million a season by Rupert Murdoch to shoot kneecaps, chop off hands, and bite his enemies to death (Sunday's special thrill). [The Nation]

And one more thing... Tom Tomorrow on Dear Leader's Very Bad Idea (via The Village Voice):

Tom Tomorrow @ Village Voice
: : : : : : : : : :

Go to the Cracks in the Facade main page.



At 10:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Times actually had a pretty decent article yesterday about the stereotypes associated with streets named after MLK.

Okay, yeah, the Chris Rock joke is hysterical. But since I live just 2 blocks off MLK and drive that street every single day (through massive amounts of construction), the joke isn't actually true.

I'm actually quite excited by all the development and improvements happening down in the S. Seattle section of MLK Ave.


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