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A Modest Roundup of (Im)pertinent Media about the Current Administration

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"Partisan Broadcasting System." Because right-wingers are in such short supply in commercial broadcasting, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting has recently given two of them (Tucker Carlson and Paul Gigot) their own shows, meanwhile cutting venerable Bill Moyers' weekly program from 60 to 30 minutes. Coincidence? A June 7 New Yorker article by Ken Auletta documents how W is packing the CPB board with campaign contributors; writing for In These Times (July 19), Pallav Vora notes a crucial July 13 Senate committee meeting on CPB funding, and a campaign by lobbying group Common Cause (www.commoncause.org) to protect the CPB's editorial integrity.

 

 "Two, Three, Many Iraqs." With things going so well in Afghanistan and Iraq, you'd think the Bushies would be fixed for international adventures. But that's why they're in charge and you're not. As Michael Klare reports in The Nation (July 5), the unilateralist Bush Doctrine has us on collision courses with at least three countries: nuclear-nonproliferation treaty violator Iran (where anything from economic sanctions to U.S. airstrikes are a possibility); North Korea, whose unabashed efforts to build a nuclear arsenal has drawn tough talk from Dick Cheney -- and a squadron of B-52s to the region; and China/Taiwan, where the U.S. has stepped up military aid to the island nation whose moves toward independence anger the mainland.

 

"Blackening the Skies." Burning coal pollutes; everyone knows that. So with cleaner technology available, why are there plans on the table for nearly 100 new coal-fired power plants? One reason is rising natural-gas prices, but most of the others waft from the White House, which is pushing to ease clean-air regs on older plants that expand, meanwhile pandering to Western coal-producing states and Southern coal-burning states -- most of which, conveniently, vote Republican. Keith Schneider reports in E Magazine (July/August).

"Lone Star Justice." Lately, Alberto Gonzales has kept busy trying to make W look wise in the Abu Ghraib prison-torture scandal. But this isn't the first time the chief executive and his chief legal counsel have danced around international law. When Bush governed Texas, writes Alan Berlow for Slate (June 15), Gonzales advised in a death-penalty case that international law guaranteeing home-country legal counsel to foreign nationals accused of a crime didn't apply to the Lone Star State. In that context, Gonzales' January 2002 "Memorandum for the President" arguing that the Geneva Conventions were "obsolete" seems slightly less surprising. http://slate.msn.com/id/2102416/

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