Tuesday, August 03, 2010

BAUAW NEWSLETTER - TUESDAY, AUGUST 3, 2010

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Bay Area United Against War Newsletter
Table of Contents:
A. EVENTS AND ACTIONS
B. VIDEOS
C. SPECIAL APPEALS AND ONGOING CAMPAIGNS
D. ARTICLES IN FULL

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A. EVENTS AND ACTIONS

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Dear Berkeley Community Member,

We are writing to ask you to join us on Thursday, August 5th from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on the steps of the BUSD Administration Building (2134 MLK Jr. Way) for a candlelight vigil protesting the Governor's proposed elimination of child care funding for low-income families. As you may know, the Governor has proposed devastating cuts to state support for childcare. In Hayward programs are already closing and in Berkeley and neighboring communities the programs will close as of August 31st. We must send a message to our Governor that these cuts are inhumane and unwise. Families will not have vital child care services, and programs and school districts do not have funds to operate while there is no signed California state budget!

Our State needs more childcare and support for preschool, not less!

At this event you will have a chance to write letters to the Governor and to make strategic phone calls to legislative leaders. Parents, teachers, classified staff, Berkeley leaders and others will speak briefly about the devastating impacts these proposed cuts are already having.

To help us plan, please send an email to bft4tchr@lmi.net to let us know if you and your family can attend. This will help a great deal in organizing materials.

Thanks very much.

Beatriz Leyva-Cutler; Cathy Campbell; Maria Carriedo; Exec. Director, BAHIA; BFT President; BUSD Preschool Principal

Cathy Campbell
President, Berkeley Federation of Teachers
2530 San Pablo Avenue, Suite A
Berkeley, CA 94702
Phone: (510) 549-2307
Fax: (510) 549-2308

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Rally at Livermore Against Nuclear Weapons
Friday, August 6th, 8:00 A.M.
Meet at Vasco Rd. and Patterson Pass Rd., Livermore, CA.

Gathering to pledge to never again use nuclear weapons, on this 65th anniversary
of the U.S. bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Tri Valley CARES and other groups will rally near the West Gate of Lawrence Livermore Lab. Norman Solomon will speak. Call East Bay Peace Action at 925-443-7148 for more information.

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Progressive Film Festival Aug. 7-8
A fundraiser for the ANSWER Coalition
at ATA, 992 Valencia St. at 21st St., San Francisco

$6 admission for each screening
Light refreshments. Wheelchair accessible.

Sat. August 7
7pm - Maquilapolis (City of Factories)
Documenting the struggle of women workers in Tijuana.

"Many consider the U.S.-Mexico border to be 'the laboratory of the future.' In Maquilapolis the border is also the site where global capitalism is facing profound resistance. The maquiladora workers are neither helpless victims nor dupes of neo-liberal capitalism, but rather social actors in the full sense of the word" -Rosa-Linda Fregoso, UCSC

Carmen Durán works the graveyard shift at one of Tijuana's 800 maquiladoras; she is one of millions of women around the world who labor for poverty level wages in the factories of transnational corporations. When the plant where Carmen worked for six years moved to Indonesia, they try to avoid paying the legally mandated severance pay to which they were entitled by law. Carmen becomes a promotora, a grassroots activist, challenging the usual illegal tactics of the powerful transnationals.

The filmmakers gave several women workers in Tijuana video cameras to make a record of their struggles, giving the film the intimate feel of video diaries. Spanish with English subtitles, 68min., 2006

8:30pm - 9 Star Hotel
A story of Palestinian workers struggling for survival under Israeli occupation.

This unflinching documentary follows Ahmed and Muhammad, two of the many Palestinians who illegally cross the border into the Israeli city of Modi'in in search of work. Together they share food, belongings and stories, and live under the constant threat of imprisonment from Israeli soldiers and police. With raw, handheld images, this disconcerting yet touching film documents friendship, nostalgia and the uncompromising urge to survive. 2007, 78min., Arabic and Hebrew with English subtitles.

Sun. August 8
Cuba: An African Odyssey
Documenting Cuba's role in the African Liberation struggles of the 60's & 70's.

5pm - Part 1: Congo and Guinea Bissau

7:30pm - Part 2: Angola

In this ambitious and revealing documentary, Egyptian-French filmmaker Jihan El-Tahri traces the history of Cuban solidarity with African liberation movements in the 1960s and 70s. It begins in 1965 when Che Guevara led a group of Cuban revolutionary fighters in an unsuccessful attempt to support the struggle for true independence in the Congo. It then moves to Cuban's role in the struggles against Portuguese/NATO colonialism in Guinea-Bissau and Angola.

Cuba: An African Odyssey combines remarkable archival footage-much of it never before seen in the U.S.-with an amazing cast of participants showing Cuba's pivotal role in the liberation movements in Africa. Over 300,000 Cubans fought alongside African revolutionaries, one of many examples of Cuba's true internationalism. Spanish and English with English subtitles, 2007, Part 1 - 130min., Part 2 - 60min.

If you cannot attend, but would like to make a much-needed donation to the ANSWER Coalition:
https://secure2.convio.net/pep/site/Donation?ACTION=SHOW_DONATION_OPTIONS&CAMPAIGN_ID=1443&JServSessionIdr004=q6a1fcbds2.app213b

A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition
Act Now to Stop War & End Racism
http://www.ANSWERcoalition.org http://www.answersf.org
answer@answersf.org
2489 Mission St. Rm. 24
San Francisco: 415-821-6545

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MASS DEMONSTRATION

Benton Harbor, Mich. - August 10, 2010

STOP WHIRLPOOL CORPORATION FROM STEALING LAND FROM THE RESIDENTS OF BENTON HARBOR

PROTEST THE OPENING OF THE JACK NICKLAUS
SIGNATURE GOLF COURSE FOR THE RICH.
JACK NICKLAUS, ARNOLD PALMER, TOM WATSON,
AND JOHNNY MILLER WILL ALL BE THERE!
BRING YOUR GOLF CLUBS TO PROTEST
THE "CLUBBING" WHIRLPOOL
HAS BEEN GIVING BENTON HARBOR FOR TOO LONG!

BENTON HARBOR CITY HALL
200 WALL ST.

Aug. 10, 10:30am

Questions: Contact Rev. Edward Pinkney, 269-925-0001
bhbanco.org

YOUR CITY COULD BE NEXT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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There are signs plastered all over the New York City subway system warning that, "Assaulting MTA New York City Transit subway personnel is a felony punishable by up to seven years in prison." What will Johannes Mehserle, an Oakland BART subway cop get for the murder of Oscar Grant? HE COULD EVEN GET PAROLLE! OR AS LITTLE AS FOUR YEARS! WE WANT THE MAXIMUM FOR MEHSERLE!

Longshore workers call for labor/community rally for:

Justice for Oscar Grant! Jail Killer Cops!

The next labor/community organizing meeting will be:

7 PM, Tuesday August 31, 2010
Longshore Hall - Henry Schmidt room
400 North Point St @ Mason
near Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco
Media/Publicity: Jack Heyman 510-531-4717, jackheyman@comcast.net

You are urged to attend!

A broad group of labor and community organizers met Tuesday, July 27 to help organize a mass demonstration demanding Justice for Oscar Grant! Jail Killer Cops! to take place Saturday, October 23 in Oakland. Committees were set up and organizing has begun involving people from the Bay Area and coordinated nation-wide. Bay Area United Against War Newsletter encourages everyone to become involved in organizing and building this very urgent event. We can't allow the police to have a license to murder the innocent and unarmed with a slap on the wrist. We demand the maximum for Johannes Mehserle!

Oscar Grant was murdered in cold blood!

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SAVE THE DATE: JUSTICE FOR OSCAR GRANT -- October 23, 2010
Media/Publicity: Jack Heyman 510-531-4717, jackheyman@comcast.net

ILWU Local 10 Motion on the Verdict in the Oscar Grant Case
Whereas, Oscar Grant's killer, BART police officer Johannes Mehserle received a verdict of involuntary manslaughter on July 8, 2010; and

Whereas, video tapes show clearly that Oscar Grant was lying face down on the Fruitvale BART platform, waiting to be handcuffed with another cop's boot on his neck posing no threat when he was shot in the back and killed in cold blood by Mehserle; and
Whereas, this is just another example in a racist justice system where police officers go free for killing young black men; and

Whereas, the Contra Costa Times reports that police are holding a rally in Walnut Creek on July 19, 2010 to show support for the killer cop so his sentence will only be a slap on the wrist; and

Whereas; the ILWU has always stood for social justice;

Therefore be it resolved that the labor movement organize a mass protest rally October 23, 2010 with participation from community groups, civil rights organizations, civil liberties organizations and all who stand for social justice demand jail for killer cops.

THAT LOCAL 10 DELEGATES TO THE BAY AREA LABOR COUNCILS ARE DIRECTED TO RAISE THE ABOVE MOTION AT THEIR NEXT MEETING

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Education 4 the People!
October 7 Day of Action in Defense of Public Education - California

http://defendcapubliceducation.wordpress.com/

MORE THAN 100 activists from across California gathered in Los Angeles April 24 to debate next steps for the fight against the devastating cutbacks facing public education.

The main achievements of the conference were to set a date and location for the next statewide mass action-October 7-and for the next anti-cuts conference, which will happen October 16 at San Francisco State University. The other key outcome was the first steps toward the formation of an ad hoc volunteer coordinating committee to plan for the fall conference.

These decisions were a crucial step toward deepening and broadening the movement. For example, the fall conference will be the key venue for uniting activists from all sectors of public education, and especially from those schools and campuses which saw action on March 4, but which have yet to plug into the broader movement.

This will be crucial for extending the scope and increasing the strength of our movement, as well as for helping us strategize and prepare for what is certain to be a tough year ahead. Similarly, the fall mass action will be crucial to re-igniting the movement following the summer months.

http://defendcapubliceducation.wordpress.com/

Organizing for the next Statewide Public Education Mobilization Conference at SFSU on OCT 16th
Posted on May 24, 2010 by ooofireballooo
Organizing for the next Statewide Public Education Mobilization Conference
@ San Francisco State University on October 16th

MORE THAN 100 activists from across California gathered in Los Angeles April 24 to debate next steps for the fight against the devastating cutbacks facing public education.

The main achievements of the conference were to set a date and location for the next statewide mass action-October 7-and for the next anti-cuts conference, which will happen October 16 at San Francisco State University. The other key outcome was the first steps toward the formation of an ad hoc volunteer coordinating committee to plan for the fall conference.

These decisions were a crucial step toward deepening and broadening the movement. For example, the fall conference will be the key venue for uniting activists from all sectors of public education, and especially from those schools and campuses which saw action on March 4, but which have yet to plug into the broader movement.

This will be crucial for extending the scope and increasing the strength of our movement, as well as for helping us strategize and prepare for what is certain to be a tough year ahead. Similarly, the fall mass action will be crucial to re-igniting the movement following the summer months.

Proposal: Form a conference organizing listserve immediately!

Please join the google group today.

* Group home page: http://groups.google.com/group/fallconferencesfsu

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NOVEMBER 2010 - CONVERGE ON FORT BENNING, GEORGIA
November 18-21, 2010: Close the SOA and take a stand for justice in the Americas.
www.soaw.org/take-action/november-vigil

The November Vigil to Close the School of the Americas at the gates of Fort Benning, Georgia will be held from November 18-21, 2010. The annual vigil is always held close to the anniversary of the 1989 murders of Celina Ramos, her mother Elba and six Jesuit priests at a the University of Central America in El Salvador.

ORGANIZE YOUR COMMUNITY FOR THE 2010 VIGIL!

November 2010 will mark the 20th anniversary of the vigil that brings together religious communities, students, teachers, veterans, community organizers, musicians, puppetistas and many others. New layers of activists are joining the movement to close the SOA in large numbers, including numerous youth and students from multinational, working-class communities. The movement is strong thanks to the committed work of thousands of organizers and volunteers around the country. They raise funds, spread the word through posters and flyers, organize buses and other transportation to Georgia, and carry out all the work that is needed to make the November vigil a success. Together, we are strong!

VIGIL AND RALLY AT THE GATES, NONVIOLENT DIRECT ACTION, TEACH-IN, CONCERTS, WORKSHOPS AND A ANTI-MILITARIZATION ORGANIZERS CONFERENCE

There will be exciting additions to this year's vigil program. Besides the rally at the gates of Fort Benning, Georgia with inspiring speakers and amazing musicians from across the Americas, the four day convergence will also include an educational teach-in at the Columbus Convention Center, several evening concerts, workshops and for the first time, the Latin America Solidarity Coalition will stage a one-day Anti-Militarization Organizers Conference on Thursday, November 18, 2010.

SHUT DOWN THE SOA AND RESIST U.S. MILITARIZATION IN THE AMERICAS

Our work has unfortunately not gotten any easier and U.S. militarization in Latin America is accelerating. The SOA graduate led military coup in Honduras, the continuing repression against the Honduran pro-democracy resistance and the expansion of U.S. military bases in Colombia and Panama are grim examples of the ongoing threats of a U.S. foreign policy that is relying on the military to exert control over the people and the resources in the Americas. Join the people who are struggling for justice in Honduras, Colombia and throughout the Americas as we organize to push back.

Spread the word - Tell a friend about the November Vigil:
http://www.SOAW.org/tellafriend

For more information, visit:
www.SOAW.org.

See you at the gates of Fort Benning in November 2010

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B. VIDEOS:

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Video Shows Michigan Oil Spill
By ROBERT MACKEY
July 29, 2010, 1:57 pm
http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/07/29/youtube-video-of-michigan-oil-spill/?ref=us

As my colleague Emma Graves Fitzsimmons reports from Michigan, the Environmental Protection Agency now estimates that more than one million gallons of oil may have spilled from a pipeline into the Kalamazoo River this week, which is far more than the pipeline's owner, Enbridge Energy Partners, initially estimated.

In a statement posted online, the E.P.A. explained that the government has taken charge of the clean-up effort and is working to keep the oil from reaching Lake Michigan.

On Monday, when a 30-inch pipeline burst in Marshall, Mich., releasing hundreds of thousands of gallons of crude oil into Talmadge Creek, a waterway that feeds the Kalamazoo River, local residents started posting video of the damage on YouTube. As the site's own CitizenTube blog noted, a user calling herself Picture Takin Diva posted these aerial images of the creek, with the comment, "It's not the Gulf, but it's pretty bad!"

Another user, Corrive 9, who uploaded the video at the top of this post on Tuesday, also conducted some interviews with people who live near the river. Looking at the oily water, this man said, "It smells like a mechanic's shop, for one thing, but it's just a shame because this river was just becoming cleaner and now this. We fish this, catch a lot of small-mouth bass out here, great big ones."

A third YouTube user, who goes by 420 Stardust Glitter, uploaded these silent images of the oil water with a note saying, "The oil is so thick it's starting to look gummy and the smell of the toxins are unbearable."

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Sometimes there are things so beautiful it takes your breath away and confirms the best and most basic good in the nature of humanity...bw
Stand By Me | Playing For Change | Song Around the World
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Us-TVg40ExM&feature=player_embedded

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Pete Seeger Live - New Protest Song About BP Oil Spill in Gulf Coast on Banjo w James Maddock Guitar
Published on Friday, July 30, 2010 by YouTube
http://www.commondreams.org/video/2010/07/30-2

On July 23th 2010 Pete Seeger performed live at a Gulf Coast Oil Spill fundraiser at The City Winery in New York City. There, he unveiled to the public his new protest song about the BP oil spill entitled "God's Counting on Me, God's Counting on You." Backing up Pete's singing and banjo picking is the singer/songwriter James Maddock on acoustic guitar. All proceeds of this concert went to the Gulf Restoration Project. The show was produced and hosted by Richard Barone. The video was edited and mixed by Matthew Billy.

Lyrics:

When we look and we can see things are not what they should be
God's counting on me, God's counting on you
When we look and see things that should not be
God's counting on me, God's counting on you
Hopin' we'll all pull through, Hoping we'll all pull through,
Hopin' we'll all pull through
Me and you.

It's time to turn things around, trickle up not trickle down
God's counting on me, God's counting on you
It's time to turn things around, trickle up not trickle down
God's counting on me, God's counting on you
Hopin' we'll all pull through, Hoping we'll all pull through,
Hopin' we'll all pull through
Me and you.

And when drill, baby, drill turns to spill, baby, spill
God's counting on me, God's counting on you
Yes when drill, baby, drill turns to spill, baby, spill
God's counting on me, God's counting on you
Hopin' we'll all pull through, Hoping we'll all pull through,
Hopin' we'll all pull through
Me and you.

Don't give up don't give in, workin' together we all can win
God's counting on me, God's counting on you
Don't give up don't give in, workin' together we all can win
God's counting on me, God's counting on you
Hopin' we'll all pull through, Hoping we'll all pull through,
Hopin' we'll all pull through
Me and you.

There's big problems to be solved, let's get everyone involved
God's counting on me, God's counting on you
There's big problems to be solved, let's get everyone involved
God's counting on me, God's counting on you
Hopin' we'll all pull through, Hoping we'll all pull through,
Hopin' we'll all pull through
Me and you.

When we sing with younger folks, we can never give up hope
God's counting on me, God's counting on you
When we sing with younger folks, we can never give up hope
God's counting on me, God's counting on you
Hopin' we'll all pull through, Hoping we'll all pull through,
Hopin' we'll all pull through
Me and you.

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Underwater Lakes Of Oil From BP Spill Will Continue To Cover Gulf Beaches With Toxic Layer Of Invisible Oil For Months
Posted by Alexander Higgins - July 28, 2010 at 10:59 pm - Permalink
http://blog.alexanderhiggins.com/2010/07/28/underwater-lakes-of-oil-from-bp-spill-will-continue-to-cover-gulf-beaches-with-toxic-layer-of-invisible-oil-for-months/

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Feds think public can't HANDLE THE TRUTH about toxic dispersants says EPA Sr. Analyst
July 28, 2010
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eN4MJFeEYuE&feature=player_embedded

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Breathing Toxic Oil Vapors??? vid
http://www.rumormillnews.com/cgi-bin/forum.cgi?read=179134

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Black Rain By Mob Rules
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FkQLJCggRLQ&feature=related

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TOXIC RED ALERT! - Oil and Benzene RAIN is NOW FALLING!!!!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mbjKH_mC_8A

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Justice for Oscar Grant! Jail Killer Cops!

Mooncricket: When Two Worlds Collide-The Mehserle Rally Raw & Uncut-Race Does Matter...
Posted on July 25, 2010 by Davey D

Big shout out to film maker Mooncricket who captured not only the rally that took place for killer cop Johannes Mehserle in Walnut Creek but also caught the ignorance and huge disconnect that many have when it comes to dealing with issues of race and police brutality..

In the clip below you hear the confrontations but more importantly you hear how deeply embedded racial perceptions are. pay close attention to the woman who wants to lecture one brother about genocide in Rwanda and then tells him about OJ Simpson.. It was a constant theme repeated over and over again which suggested that revenge from the OJ trial was sitting on everyone's mind.

In this video listen to the other woman who attempts to tell us why people get pulled over and profiled and finds it hard to believe the police are doing anything wrong...This same woman is later caught on film yelling that mexicans should go back to Mexico.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pE2N1B_K2sg&feature=related

This is an intense confrontation and highlights what's far too often typical when dealing with issues of police brutality which is a variation of blaming the victim. 'How come you aren't here protesting when 'Blacks are killing Blacks' is usually the retort one hears from both whites and blacks when police brutality issues come up. It's a misplaced argument on a number of levels. First, many organizers are involved in programs, vigils, marches, churches etc about violence in their communities. For example, today Saturday June 24th there was a big Silence the Violence Rally in San Francisco that deals with urban crime. There are dozens of organization in Oakland that were started and still around to help foster conflict resolution and provide alternatives. They range from Youth Uprising to Love Life Foundation, Nation of Islam, Omega Boys Club to Urban Peace Movement etc..Such outlets under different names exist in every city around the country.

The second question that usually pops up is 'Well if you have so many organizations why is there still crime in the hood?' The question is a disingenuous one. My experience shows that most who ask those questions have not been involved in many of the community efforts to help push back on crime, yet they're expecting miracles. The fall back answer that many like to give is that they push back on crime by supporting the police. But even the police are looking for both volunteers and funds for their own programs like PAL and DARE... Those same people asking all these hard questions aren't involved in those outlets.

Lastly one can look at the huge array of tough 3 strike type laws, harsher sentencing guidelines, zero tolerance directives, higher budgets, new training and weaponry given to the police over the past 15-20 years and yet crime still persists. Should we not change some things about their approach?

With that being said, protesting Black on Black crime is not a criteria for addressing police misconduct. One has nothing to do with the other. The thug on the corner committing crimes is not a public servant. The police are. The thug on the block has not been granted a badge, a license to carry a gun, received months of training and given the trust and duty to protect and serve the citizens of various communities. The police have been given that which means they are directly accountable to the community. The thug has not made that contract with the community and so its bit unreasonable to expect folks to openly confront a criminal the way they would the police to seek redress.

One could easily ask that question to citizens in Walnut Creek or neighboring Concord if they are outside with signs protesting in front of meth houses which exist out there? Are they in front of the homes of people who commit domestic violence or any other number of crimes? ...Most aren't yet they wish to ask all these questions. There's an old saying don't ask of others what you aren't doing yourself?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZFtjO91dW9g&feature=related

In the scenes below you see some more intense arguments and some of the blatant racism that folks in the crowd are will to shout out at those who support Oscar Grant.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pgsWpQijbsk&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QWdvhXifyM8&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dzmiTiEwdyc&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x4C8J4mVj7E&feature=related

Below we see the Peaceful ending to rally in Walnut Creek ..As marchers leave and head toward the BART station they come top find the gates have been shut closed on the Grant protesters.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X2NqeNqI8yA&feature=related

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Innocence Lost: Ethan McCord recounts aftermath of Iraqi civilian massacre | UNPC 7/24/2010
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ihPGtcHjNk&feature=player_embedded

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BP OIL SPILL HEALTH EMERGENCY! DIRE! MUST BE WATCHED! Corexit Being Sprayed From Coast Guard Planes!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1FxfYqnlQ50&feature=player_embedded

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BP SPRAYING POISONOUS GAS ON PEOPLE IN GULF! MUST SEE
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=exaGh3SWTLs&feature=player_embedded

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Papantonio: BP's Floating 3rd World Death Trap
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pUmkxR6TY_Y&feature=player_embedded

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Mexican kindergarten kids vs racist white minutemen
Little kids stand up for their parents after the minutemen go harass migrants at the Mexican Consulate in the city of Santa Ana.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z7YrkpKNB7M&feature=player_embedded

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HEALTH ALERT: Toxic Rain In Miami From Gulf Oil Leak, Plants & Trees Dying
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fSvHho90O3g

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Sarah Kruzan: Sentenced to Life Without Parole at Age 16
http://media.causes.com/595178?email=true

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Make A Living With My Own Two Hands/ Hell It's Part of Being Who I Am
by Abby Zimet
July 14, 2010
http://www.commondreams.org/further/2010/07/14

After two days of often emotional testimony from Gulf Coast residents, the White House oil spill commission heard Louisiana native, crawfisherman and singer-songwriter Drew Landry sing it like it is in a newly, sorrowfully minted lament for a way of life he fears has been destroyed. From "The BP Blues": "Kickin mud off up a crawfish hole/ barefooted with a fishin pole/ went to workin in the oil fields/ that's the only way to pay our bills..."

After the song, Landry told the hearing: "It feels like BP is in control of this deal, and the Coast Guard does what they want...More importantly, it feels like the people don't have a voice in this thing. It just sucks. Let's just do the right damn thing. It shouldn't be this hard. It shouldn't take a committee to listen to people."

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The Gulf 20 years from now
http://www.brasschecktv.com/page/895.html

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BPMakesMeSick.com
Tell President Obama to demand that BP stop blocking
clean-up workers from using life-saving respirators:
http://bpmakesmesick.com/

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"Corporations don't mind if we repeat history--it's cheaper that way." --Keith Olberman

Gulf's Human Health Crisis Explodes -- Countdown with Keith Olberman
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3036677//vp/38175715#38175715

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COREXIT is Eating Through Boats in the Gulf
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bLvNqlVNMh0&feature=player_embedded

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Gulf toxicologist: Shrimpers exposed to Corexit "bleeding from the rectum"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X1mI-DJII1U&feature=player_embedded

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BP Makes Me Sick
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-m5MeqlETpY

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Tar ball clean up in Cocoa Beach -- East Coast of Central Florida
http://www.myfoxorlando.com/dpp/news/brevard_news/070710-Cocoa-Beach-tar-balls

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Tar ball clean up in Cocoa Beach
Oil/Water samples from Gulf...VERY TOXIC
http://blog.alexanderhiggins.com/2010/07/08/independent-water-samples-of-the-bp-gulf-oil-spill-contradict-epa-samples-and-found-to-be-highly-toxic/

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YouTube - Obama admin bans press from filming BP oil spill areas in the Gulf
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WpJBsjKhRTo&feature=player_embedded#!

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Police State Canada
http://tv.globalresearch.ca/content/police-state-canada

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BP Death Clouds Already Onshore! Benzene-3400ppb Hyrdrogen Sulfide-1200ppb TOXIC AIR ALERT.flv
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dngpCYgKxZ0

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Kid with oil stuck on her! Destin Beach, Fl. June 23rd, 2010
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1QwsCHd7Lcg&feature=player_embedded#

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Is it raining oil
in Metro New Orleans?
River Ridge, LA
Just south of the airport
[The question mark isn't appropriate in this title. The video clearly shows that it's raining oil in River Ridge--no question about it...bw]
http://www.brasschecktv.com/page/874.html
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G20 Police Accused of Rape Threats, Strip-Searches
29 June 2010
http://readersupportednews.org/video/4-video/2323-g20-toronto-police-rape-threats-women-strip-searched

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BP Slick Covers Dolphins and Whales.mov
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pxDf-KkMCKQ

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Licence to Spill
Posted on 06.30.10
http://www.youandifilms.com/2010/06/licence-to-spill-full-report/

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Two Pensacola Beach Scenes: Dying Baby Dolphin and Ocean "Water Bubbling "...Like It's Got Acid In It. God Help Us All"
opednews.com
For OpEdNews: theWeb - Writer
Two scenes from Pensacola--one of a dying baby dolphin, the other of water bubbling like there's acid in it.
A dying, oil-covered baby dolphin is taken from Pensacola waters. It died shortly after being discovered.
http://www.youtube.com/user/pcolagregg
http://www.opednews.com/articles/Video-Pensacola-Ocean-Wa-by-the-web-100624-933.html

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THE SHORT FILM BP DOESN'T WANT YOU TO SEE ABOUT WHAT'S REALLY HAPPENING TO THE PEOPLE IN THE GULF
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xRl6-o8CpXA

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ROV films oil leak coming from rock cracks on seafloor.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b2RxIQP0IBU

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Oil Spill Threatens Native American "Water" Village
The town of Grand Bayou, Louisiana, has no streets and no cars, just water and boats. And now the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico threatens the very existence of the Atakapa-Ishak Indians who live there. "We're facing the potential for cultural genocide," says one tribe member.
(c) 2010 National Geographic; videographer and field producer: Fritz Faerber
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2010/06/100608-us-oil-gulf-indians-video/

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Roger Waters - "We Shall Overcome" for Gaza
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vnMMHepfYVc

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Rachel Maddow: Disgraceful response to the oil itself
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26315908/#37563648

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It Ain't My Fault by Mos Def & Lenny Kravitz | stupidDOPE.com
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xnR1BrGgRVM

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Gulf Oil Spill?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zAHS5z6QKok

Dear Readers,

If you are wondering why an antiwar newsletter is giving full coverage to the oil spill, it's because:

(1) "Supplying the US army with oil is one of BP's biggest markets, and further exploration in the oil-rich Gulf of Mexico is part of its long-term strategy."*
(2) "The Senate on Thursday, [May 27, 2010] approved a nearly $60 billion measure to pay for continuing military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq..."**

The two are inextricably entwined and interdependent.

--Bonnie Weinstein

*The black hole at the bottom of the Gulf
No one seems to know the extent of the BP disaster
By David Randall and Margareta Pagano
Sunday, 23 May 2010
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/the-black-hole-at-the-bottom-of-the-gulf-1980693.html

**Senate Approves Nearly $60 Billion for Wars
By CARL HULSE
May 27, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/28/us/politics/28cong.html?ref=us

Watch BP Live Video Webcam Camera Feed of Gulf Oil Spill Here! (Update 7)
http://blog.alexanderhiggins.com/2010/05/20/live-video-feed-webcam-gulf-oil-spill/

What BP does not want you to see:
ABC News went underwater in the Gulf with Philippe Cousteau Jr., grandson of famous explorer Jacques Cousteau, and he described what he saw as "one of the most horrible things I've ever seen underwater."

Check out what BP does not want you to see. And please share this widely -- every American should see what's happening under the surface in the Gulf.
http://acp.repoweramerica.org/page/invite/oilspillvideo?source=sprd-fwd&utm_source=crm_email&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=oilspillvideo20100527&utm_content=link1

Live BP Gulf Oil Spill Webcam Video Reveals 5 Leaks
http://blog.alexanderhiggins.com/2010/05/24/live-bp-gulf-oil-spill-webcam-video-reveals-5-leaks/

Stop Shell Oil's Offshore Drilling Plans in the Arctic
http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/308597489?z00m=19844689

Sign the Petition to Ban Offshore Drilling Now!
http://na.oceana.org/en/stopthedrill?key=31522015

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C. SPECIAL APPEALS AND ONGOING CAMPAIGNS

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Ohio may execute an innocent man unless you take action.
http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/save-kevin-keith

Kevin Keith is scheduled to be executed on September 15th, despite a wide range of new evidence that suggests he is innocent. Kevin, who has been on Ohio's death row for 16 years, was convicted on the basis of faulty eyewitness identification.

Thirteen years after he was convicted, Kevin discovered that one of the State's supposed "witnesses" -- a hospital nurse who was critical to corroborating the legitimacy of the surviving victim's eyewitness identification -- does not actually exist. He has an alibi affirmed by four people and new evidence has emerged implicating another suspect.

No court has heard the full array of new evidence pointing to Kevin's innocence. Take action today to stop Ohio from executing a man who very well may be innocent.

Sincerely,

Stefanie Faucher
Associate Director

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Please sign the petition to release Bradley Manning

http://www.petitiononline.com/manning1/petition.html (Click to sign here)

To: US Department of Defense; US Department of Justice
We, the Undersigned, call for justice for US Army PFC Bradley Manning, incarcerated without charge (as of 18 June 2010) at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait.

Media accounts state that Mr. Manning was arrested in late May for leaking the video of US Apache helicopter pilots killing innocent people and seriously wounding two children in Baghdad, including those who arrived to help the wounded, as well as potentially other material. The video was released by WikiLeaks under the name "Collateral Murder".

If these allegations are untrue, we call upon the US Department of Defense to release Mr. Manning immediately.

If these allegations ARE true, we ALSO call upon the US Department of Defense to release Mr. Manning immediately.

Simultaneously, we express our support for Mr. Manning in any case, and our admiration for his courage if he is, in fact, the person who disclosed the video. Like in the cases of Daniel Ellsberg, W. Mark Felt, Frank Serpico and countless other whistleblowers before, government demands for secrecy must yield to public knowledge and justice when government crime and corruption are being kept hidden.

Justice for Bradley Manning!

Sincerely,

The Undersigned:
http://www.petitiononline.com/mod_perl/signed.cgi?manning1

--
Zaineb Alani
http://www.thewordsthatcomeout.blogspot.com
http://www.tigresssmiles.blogspot.com
"Yesterday I lost a country. / I was in a hurry, / and didn't notice when it fell from me / like a broken branch from a forgetful tree. / Please, if anyone passes by / and stumbles across it, / perhaps in a suitcase / open to the sky, / or engraved on a rock / like a gaping wound, / ... / If anyone stumbles across it, / return it to me please. / Please return it, sir. / Please return it, madam. / It is my country . . . / I was in a hurry / when I lost it yesterday." -Dunya Mikhail, Iraqi poet

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http://couragetoresist.org/donate

Dear Gio,

Thanks again for supporting military war resisters. We do this work because it is a tangible contribution to a future without empire and war. With your help, we've won a number of victories recently--you might have read about "Hip Hop" stop-loss soldier Marc Hall, or single mom, and Afghanistan deployment resister, Alexis Hutchinson in the news.

Now, intel analyst Bradley Manning is in the headlines and facing decades in prison for leaking a video of a massacre in Baghdad. If Pfc. Manning is the source of the video, then he did what he had to do to expose a war crime. Regardless, he's wrongly imprisoned and we are doing everything we can to support him. Keep an eye out for action alerts in the coming days on how to support Bradley!

If you have not yet had a chance to make a donation recently, I'm asking that you please consider doing so now so that together we can step up to support Bradley Manning and all GI war objectors!

http://couragetoresist.org/donate

Jeff Paterson,
Project Director, Courage to Resist

p.s. Our new August print newsletter is now available:
http://www.couragetoresist.org/aug10-newsltr.pdf

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Please forward widely...

Lynne Stewart Sentenced to Ten Years in Prison
By Jeff Mackler
(Jeff Mackler is the West Coast Director of the Lynne Stewart Defense Committee.)

The full force of the U.S. criminal "justice" system came down on innocent political prisoner, 30-year veteran human rights attorney and radical political activist Lynne Stewart today, July 15, 2010.

In an obviously pre-prepared one hour and twenty minute technical tour de force designed to give legitimacy to a reactionary ruling Federal District Court John Koeltl, who in 2005 sentenced Stewart to 28 months in prison following her frame-up trial and jury conviction on four counts of "conspiracy to aid and abet terrorism," re-sentenced Stewart to 120 months or ten years. Koeltl recommended that Stewart serve her sentence in Danbury, Connecticut's minimum security prison. A final decision will be made by the Bureau of Prisons.

Stewart will remain in Manhattan's Metropolitan Correctional Center for 60 days to prepare an appeal.

The jam-packed New York Federal District Court chamber observers where Koeltl held forth let our a gasp of pain and anguish as Lynne's family and friends were stunned - tears flowing down the stricken and somber faces of many. A magnificent Stewart, ever the political fighter and organizer was able to say to her supporters that she felt badly because she had "let them down," a reference to the massive outpouring of solidarity and defiance that was the prime characteristic of Lynne's long fight for freedom.

Judge Koeltl was ordered to revisit his relatively short sentence when it was overturned by a two-judge majority of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Judges Robert D. Sack and Guido Calabresi ruled that Koeltl's sentence was flawed because he had declined to determine whether Stewart committed perjury when she testified at her trial that she believed that she was effectively operating under a "bubble" protecting her from prosecution when she issued a press release on behalf of her also framed-up client, the blind Sheik Omar Abdel Rachman. Rachman was falsely charged with conspiracy to damage New York state buildings.

Dissenting Judge John M. Walker, who called Stewart's sentence, "breathtakingly low" in view of Stewart's "extraordinarily severe criminal conduct" deemed the Second Circuit's majority opinion "substantively unreasonable." Walker essentially sought to impose or demand a 30-year sentence.

The three-judge panel on Dec. 20, 2009 followed its initial ruling with even tougher language demanding that Koeltl revisit his treatment of the "terrorism enhancement" aspects of the law. A cowardly Koeltl, who didn't need this argument to dramatically increase Stewart's sentence, asserted that he had already taken it under consideration in his original deliberations.

Government prosecutors, who in 2005 sought a 30-year sentence, had submitted a 155-page memorandum arguing in support of a 15-30 year sentence. Their arguments demonstrated how twisted logic coupled with vindictive and lying government officials routinely turn the victim into the criminal.

Stewart's attorneys countered with a detailed brief recounting the facts of the case and demonstrating that Stewart's actions in defense of her client were well within the realm of past practice and accepted procedures. They argued that Koeltl properly exercised his discretion in determining that, while the terrorism enhancement provisions of the "law" had to be taken into consideration, the 30-year-prison term associated with it was "dramatically unreasonable," "overstated the seriousness" of Stewart's conduct" and had already been factored into Koeltl's decision.

Stewart's attorneys also argued convincingly in their brief that the Special Administrative Measure (SAM) that Stewart was convicted of violating by releasing a statement from her client to the media was well within the established practice of Stewart's experienced and mentoring co-counsels- former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark and past American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee president Abdeen Jabarra. Both had issued similar statements to the media with no government reprisal. Clark was an observer in Koeltl's courtroom. When he testified in support of Lynne during her trial one overzealous prosecutor suggested that he too be subject to the conspiracy charges. The more discreet team of government lawyers quietly dropped the matter.

At worst, in such matters, government officials refuse defense attorneys client visiting rights until an agreement on a contested interpretation of a SAM is reached. This was the case with Stewart and her visiting rights were eventually restored with no punishment or further action. Indeed, when the matter was brought to then Attorney General Janet Reno, the government declined to prosecute or otherwise take any action against Stewart.

But Koeltl, who had essentially accepted this view in his original sentence, reversed himself entirely and proceeded in his erudite-sounding new rendition of the law to repeatedly charge Stewart with multiple acts of perjury regarding her statements on the SAM during her trial.

Koeltl took the occasion to lecture Stewart regarding the first words she uttered in front of a bevy of media outlets when she joyfully alighted from the courthouse following the judge's original 28-month sentence. Said Stewart at that time, "I can do 28 months standing on my head." A few moments earlier Stewart, with nothing but a plastic bag containing a toothbrush, toothpaste and her various medications, had stood before Koeltl, who had been asked by the government to sentence her to a 30-year term, effectively a death sentence for Lynne, aged 70, a diabetic and recovering breast cancer victim in less than excellent health.

Koeltl dutifully followed the lead of the Second Circuit judges, who feigned outrage that Stewart could possibly appear joyful that her life was spared despite 28 months in prison. Koeltl insisted that Stewart's remark was essentially contemptuous of his sentence and insufficient to convince Stewart of the seriousness of her "crime." Lynne's defense was that while she fully understood that 28 months behind bars, separating from her "family, friends and comrades," as she proudly stated, was a harsh penalty, she was nevertheless "relieved" that she would not die in prison. Koeltl needed a legal brick to throw at Lynne's head and ignored her humanity, honesty and deep feeling of relief when she expressed it to a crowd of two thousand friends, supporters and a good portion of the nation's media.

The same Judge Koeltl who stated in 2005, when he rendered the 28-month jail term, that Lynne was "a credit to her profession and to the nation," clearly heard the voice of institutionalized hate and cruelty and responded in according with its unstated code. "Show no mercy! Thou shall not dissent without grave punishment" in capitalist America.

Lynne was convicted in the post-911 generated climate of political hysteria. Bush appointee, Attorney General John Ashcroft, decided to make an example of her aimed at warning future attorneys that the mere act of defending anyone whom the government charged with "conspiracy to aid and abet terrorism," could trigger terrible consequences.

On July 15 Judge Koeltl made the decision of his career. Known for his meticulous preparation in such matters, and already having enraged the powers that be with his "light" sentence of Stewart, he bent full tilt to the reactionary political pressures exerted on him by the court hierarchy. He had the option to stand tall and reaffirm his original decision. The "law" allowed him to do so. He could have permitted Lynne to leave prison in less than two years, recover her health, and lead a productive life. His massively extended sentence, unless overturned, will likely lead to Lynne's demise behind bars - a brilliant and dedicated fighter sacrificed on the alter of an intolerant class-biased system of repression and war.

Courage is a rare quality in the capitalist judiciary. For every defiant decision made, usually driven by a change in the political climate and pressed forward by the rise of mass social protest movements, there are thousands and more of political appointees that affirm the status quo, including its punishment of all who struggle to challenge capitalist prerogatives and power.

Lynne Stewart stands tall among the latter. We can only hope that the winds of change that are stirring the consciousness of millions today in the context of an American capitalism in economic and moral crisis keeps the movement for her freedom alive and well. The fight is not over! What we do now remains critical. Lynne's expected appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court cannot be written off as absurd and hopeless. What we do collectively to free her and all political prisoners and to fight for freedom and justice on every front counts for everything!

Write to Lynne at:

Lynne Stewart 53504-054
MCC-NY 2-S
150 Park Row
New York, NY 10007

For further information call Lynne's husband, Ralph Poynter, leader of the Lynne Stewart Defense Committee
718-789-0558 or 917-853-9759

Send contributions payable to:

Lynne Stewart Organization
1070 Dean Street
Brooklyn, New York, 11216

---

Listen to Lynne Stewart event, that took place July 8, 2010 at Judson Memorial Church
Excerpts include: Mumia Abu Jamal, Ralph Poynter, Ramsey Clark, Juanita
Young, Fred Hampton Jr., Raging Grannies, Ralph Schoenman
http://www.takingaimradio.com/shows/audio.html

And check out this article (link) too!
http://www.baltimorechronicle.com/2010/062210Lendman.shtml

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Requesting Your Support
By Dahr Jamail
July 12th, 2010
Dear Readers:

This morning we hired a flight out to the well site where the Deepwater Horizon sank. This environmental crime scene is now littered with boats and relief wells flailing to stop the flow of oil that has been gushing into the Gulf of Mexico for almost 3 months. Tomorrow, we are hiring a boat to take us to some of the most devastated coastline, which is still smeared in oil, causing harm to uncountable ecosystems and wildlife.

I have been on the Gulf Coast of Louisiana for two weeks now, and together with my partner, Erika Blumenfeld, we have brought you stories and photographs that document and archive the human and environmental impact of the historic and horrific disaster that is the BP oil catastrophe.

In our story, Fending For Themselves, we wrote about the growing crisis of the Pointe-au-Chien Indian Tribe being displaced by the encroaching oil, and showed you images of their dying marshlands.

We produced an original photo essay for Truthout, Mitigating Annihilation, which clearly depicts the futility of the booming efforts, and the resulting destruction of the local and migratory bird rookeries, along with South Louisiana's fragile and endangered coastline.

Our most recent post, Hell Has Come To South Louisiana, articulates the desperate situation of the shrimpers and fisher-folk whose livelihood that spans generations is threatened by extinction.

The complexity and breadth of this continued crisis is beyond what we could have imagined, and our questions have led us to dynamic and impassioned interviews with environmental philosophers, activists, scientists, sociologists, riverkeepers, bayoukeepers, indigenous tribes, and fisher people.

As a freelance team, we could not have produced this important work without your generous support. We are deeply grateful to those who were able to contribute to our efforts thus far.

Our work here is just beginning, and with so much of our investigation requiring that we be out in the field, I am humbly appealing for your continued support to help us extend our reporting, so that we may continue to bring you the unfolding events of this devastating issue that clearly effects us all.

Please support our work in the Gulf Coast by making a donation. There are several ways you can donate:

If you would like to make a tax-deductible donation, International Media Project (IMP) is providing fiscal sponsorship to Dahr Jamail.

Checks for tax-deductible donations should be made out to "International Media Project." please write"Dahr Jamail" in the memo line and mail to:

International Media Project/Dahr Jamail
1714 Franklin St.
#100-251
Oakland, CA 94612

Online, you can use Paypal to donate HERE.

Donations can also be mailed to:

Dahr Jamail
P.O. Box 970
Marfa, TX 79843

Direct links to our pieces produced thus far:

Living on a dying delta
http://dahrjamailiraq.com/living-on-a-dying-delta

Fending For Themselves
http://dahrjamailiraq.com/fending-for-themselves

No Free Press for BP Oil Disaster
http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=52082

Mitigating Annihilation
http://www.truth-out.org/mitigating-annihilation61145

Hell Has Come to South Louisiana
http://dahrjamailiraq.com/hell-has-come-to-south-louisiana

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HE WAS MURDERED!
HE WAS MURDERED!
HE WAS MURDERED!
HE WAS MURDERED!

RIP Oscar!

DEMAND JUSTICE FOR OSCAR GRANT
Victory for movement, but justice still needs to be won

Calling on all supporters of justice for Oscar Grant and opponents of racist police brutality:

The jury verdict is not justice for Oscar Grant - it is up to the new movement to use its power to win real justice. THIS IS THE TIME TO ACT.

DEMAND:

The maximum sentence for killer cop Johannes Mehserle.

Jail Officers Pirone and Domenici, the two police who were accomplices to murder.

Disarm and disband the BART Police.

Provide massive funding to Oakland for education and jobs for Oakland's black, Latina/o, Asian, and poor and working-class white youth.

Stop police/ICE racial profiling of Latina/o, black, Asian, and other minority youth with and without papers.

Furthermore, we call on Oakland Mayor Dellums and other governmental authorities in Oakland to declare that this verdict does not render justice to Oscar Grant and to act on the demands of the movement.

If you haven't already done so yet, join the JUSTICE FOR OSCAR GRANT ACTION PAGE on Facebook at: http://www.causes.com/causes/188135

BAMN STATEMENT:

Oscar Grant Verdict Is Victory for the Movement,
But Justice for Oscar Grant Still Needs to Be Won

Today's [THURSDAY, JULY 8, 2010] conviction of Johannes Mehserle is a victory for the movement. Despite all the foot-dragging and machinations of the police, the justice system, the government, and the politicians, the movement secured the first conviction of a California police officer for the killing of a black man. This victory is important and provides some greater protection for black and Latina/o youth. However, this verdict does NOT constitute justice for Oscar Grant.

Tens of millions of people around the world saw the videotape and know that Oscar Grant was murdered in cold blood by Johannes Mehserle. And yet, because of the failure of the prosecutor's office to fight the change in venue, and because of the pro-police bias of the judge, the jury was deprived of even being able to consider convicting Mehserle of first-degree murder. The Los Angeles county jury which heard that case did not include a single black juror.

BAMN salutes the new civil rights movement for this victory. However, achieving justice for Oscar Grant requires that the movement continue to build and grow in determination, drawing in millions more black, Latina/o and other youth.

BAMN also salutes Wanda Johnson, Oscar Grant's mother, for refusing to accept a civil settlement and for fighting to achieve justice for her son. We pledge to Wanda Johnson, Oscar's daughter Tatiana, her mother, and all family and friends that we will not rest until we achieve justice for Oscar.

We call on the movement to maintain the fight for justice for Oscar Grant by raising and fighting to win the following demands:

The maximum sentence for killer cop Johannes Mehserle.

Jail Officers Pirone and Domenici, the two police who were accomplices to murder.

Disarm and disband the BART Police.

Provide massive funding to Oakland for education and jobs for Oakland's black, Latina/o, Asian, and poor and working-class white youth.

Stop police/ICE racial profiling of Latina/o, black, Asian, and other minority youth with and without papers.

Furthermore, we call on Oakland Mayor Dellums and other governmental authorities in Oakland to declare that this verdict does not render justice to Oscar Grant and to act on the demands of the movement.

Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration, and Immigrant Rights and Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary (BAMN)

(510) 502-9072 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (510) 502-9072 end_of_the_skype_highlighting letters@bamn.com BAMN.com
--
Ronald Cruz
BAMN Organizer, www.BAMN.com
& Civil Rights Attorney

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SOME GOOD NEWS FOR TROY ANTHONY DAVIS - INNOCENT MAN ON DEATH ROW:
http://www.troyanthonydavis.org/call-to-action.html

Georgia: Witnesses in Murder Case Recant
By SHAILA DEWAN
June 23, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/24/us/24brfs-WITNESSESINM_BRF.html?ref=us

In an unusual hearing ordered by the Supreme Court that began in Savannah on Wednesday, several witnesses said they had concocted testimony that Troy Anthony Davis killed a police officer, Mark MacPhail, in 1989. Last August, the Supreme Court ordered a federal district court to determine if new evidence "clearly establishes" Mr. Davis's innocence, its first order in an "actual innocence" petition from a state prisoner in nearly 50 years, according to Justice Antonin Scalia, who dissented. Seven of the witnesses who testified against Mr. Davis at his trial have recanted, and some have implicated the chief informer in the case. Mr. Davis's execution has been stayed three times.

For more info: www.iamtroy.com | www.justicefortroy.org | troy@aiusa.org Savannah Branch NAACP: 912-233-4161

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Mumia Abu-Jamal - Legal Update
June 9, 2010
Robert R. Bryan, Lead counsel for Mumia Abu-Jamal
Law Offices of Robert R. Bryan
2088 Union Street, Suite 4
San Francisco, California 94123-4117
www.MumiaLegalDefense.org

Dear All:

There are significant developments on various fronts in the coordinated legal campaign to save & free Mumia Abu-Jamal. The complex court proceedings are moving forward at a fast pace. Mumia's life is on the line.

Court Developments: We are engaged in pivotal litigation in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, Philadelphia. At stake is whether Mumia will be executed or granted a new jury trial on the question of the death penalty. Two years ago we won on that issue, with the federal court finding that the trial judge misled the jury thereby rendering the proceedings constitutionally unfair. Then in January 2010 the U.S. Supreme Court vacated that ruling based upon its decision in another case, & ordered that the case be again reviewed by the Court of Appeals.

The prosecution continues its obsession to kill my client, regardless of the truth as to what happened at the time of the 1981 police shooting. Its opening brief was filed April 26. Our initial brief will be submitted on July 28. At issue is the death penalty.

In separate litigation, we are awaiting a decision in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on prosecutorial abuses, having completed all briefing in April. The focus is on ballistics.

Petition for President Barack Obama: It is crucial for people to sign the petition for President Barack Obama, Mumia Abu-Jamal & the Global Abolition of the Death Penalty, which was initially in 10 languages (Swahili & Turkish have since been added). This is the only petition approved by Mumia & me, & is a vital part of the legal effort to save his life. Please sign the petition & circulate its link:

www.MumiaLegalDefense.org

Nearly 22,000 people from around the globe have signed. These include: Bishop Desmond Tutu, South Africa (Nobel Peace Prize); Günter Grass, Germany (Nobel Prize in Literature); Danielle Mitterrand, Paris (former First Lady of France); Fatima Bhutto, Pakistan (writer); Colin Firth (Academy Award Best-Actor nominee), Noam Chomsky, MIT (philosopher & author); Ed Asner (actor); Mike Farrell (actor); & Michael Radford (director of the Oscar winning film Il Postino); Robert Meeropol (son of Julius & Ethel Rosenberg, executed in 1953); Fatima Bhutto, Pakistan (writer); Noam Chomsky, MIT (philosopher & author); Ed Asner (actor); Mike Farrell (actor); Michael Radford (director of the Oscar winning film Il Postino); members of the European Parliament; members of the German Bundestag; European Association of Lawyers for Democracy & World Human Rights; Reporters Without Borders, Paris.

European Parliament; Rosa Luxemburg Conference; World Congress Against the Death Penalty; Geneva Human Rights Film Festival: We began the year with a major address to the annual Rosa Luxemburg Conference in Berlin, Germany, sponsored by the newspaper junge Welt. The large auditorium was filled with a standing-room audience. Mumia joined me by telephone. We announced the launching of the online petition, Mumia Abu-Jamal & the Global Abolition of the Death Penalty.

A large audience on the concluding night of the World Congress Against the Death Penalty in Geneva, Switzerland, February 25, heard Mumia by telephone. He spoke as a symbolic representative of the over 20,000 men, women & children on death rows around the world. The call came as a surprise, since we thought it had been canceled. Mumia's comments from inside his death-row cell brought to reality the horror of daily life in which death is a common denominator. During an earlier panel discussion I spoke of racism in capital cases around the globe with the case of Mumia as a prime example. A day before the Congress on February 23, I talked at the Geneva Human Rights Film Festival on the power of films in fighting the death penalty & saving Mumia.

On March 2 in the European Parliament, Brussels, Belgium, members Søren Søndergaard (Denmark) & Sabine Lösing (Germany) announced the beginning of a campaign to save Mumia & end executions. They were joined by Sabine Kebir, the noted German author & PEN member, Nicole Bryan, & me. We discussed the online petition which helps not only Mumia, but all the condemned around the globe.

Donations for Mumia's Legal Defense & Online Petition: The complex litigation & investigation that is being pursued on behalf of Mumia is enormously expensive. We are in both the federal & state courts on the issue of the death penalty, prosecutorial wrongdoing, etc. Mumia's life is on the line.

How to Help: For information on how to help, both through donations & signing the Obama petition, please go to Mumia's legal defense website: www.MumiaLegalDefense.org .

Conclusion: Mumia remains on death row under a death judgment. He is in greater danger than at any time since his arrest 28 years ago. The prosecution is pursuing his execution. I win cases, & will not let them kill my client. He must be free.

Yours very truly,

Robert
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Robert R. Bryan
Law Offices of Robert R. Bryan
2088 Union Street, Suite 4
San Francisco, California 94123-4117

Lead counsel for Mumia Abu-Jamal
www.MumiaLegalDefense.org

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Lynne Stewart and the Guantanamo Lawyers: Same Fact Patterns, Same Opponent, Different Endings?
Lynne Stewart will be re-sentenced sometime in July, in NYC.
By Ralph Poynter
(Ralph Poynter is the Life partner of Lynne Stewart. He is presently dedicated 24/7 to her defense, as well as other causes.)
Ralph.Poynter@yahoo.com

In the Spring of 2002, Lynne Stewart was arrested by the FBI, at her home in Brooklyn, for materially aiding terrorism by virtue of making a public press release to Reuters on behalf of her client, Sheik Abdel Omar Rahman of Egypt. This was done after she had signed a Special Administrative Measure issued by the Bureau of Prisons not permitting her to communicate with the media, on his behalf.

In 2006, a number of attorneys appointed and working pro bono for detainees at Guantanamo were discovered to be acting in a manner that disobeyed a Federal Judge's protective court order. The adversary in both cases was the United States Department of Justice. The results in each case were very different.

In March of 2010, a right wing group "Keep America Safe" led by Lynne Cheney, hoping to dilute Guantanamo representation and impugn the reputations and careers of the volunteer lawyers, launched a campaign. Initially they attacked the right of the detainees to be represented at all. This was met with a massive denouncement by Press, other media, Civil rights organizations ,and rightly so, as being a threat to the Constitution and particularly the Sixth Amendment right to counsel.

A second attack on the Gitmo lawyers was made in the Wall Street Journal of March 16. This has been totally ignored in the media and by civil and human rights groups. This latter revelation about the violations, by these lawyers, of the Judge's protective orders and was revealed via litigation and the Freedom of Information Act. These pro bono lawyers serving clients assigned to them at Gitmo used privileged attorney client mail to send banned materials. They carried in news report of US failures in Afghanistan and Iraq . One lawyer drew a map of the prison. Another delivered lists to his client of all the suspects held there. They placed on the internet a facsimile of the badges worn by the Guards. Some lawyers "provided news outlets with 'interviews' of their clients using questions provided in advance by the news organizations." When a partner at one of the large Wall Street law firms sent in multiple copies of an Amnesty International brochure, which her client was to distribute to other prisoners, she was relieved from her representation and barred by the Military Commander from visiting her client.

This case is significant to interpret not because of the right wing line to punish these lawyers and manipulate their corporate clients to stop patronizing such "wayward" firms. Instead it is significant because, Lynne Stewart, a left wing progressive lawyer who had dedicated her thirty year career to defending the poor, the despised, the political prisoner and those ensnared by reason of race, gender, ethnicity, religion , who was dealt with by the same Department of Justice, in such a draconian fashion, confirms our deepest suspicions that she was targeted for prosecution and punishment because of who she is and who she represented so ably and not because of any misdeed.

Let me be very clear, I am not saying that the Gitmo lawyers acted in any "criminal" manner. The great tradition of the defense bar is to be able to make crucial decisions for and with the client without interference by the adversary Government.

I believe that they were acting as zealous attorneys trying to establish rapport and trust with their clients. That said, the moment the Department of Defense and the Department of Justice tried to remove Julia Tarver Mason from her client, the playing field tilted. Ms Tarver Mason was not led out of her home in handcuffs to the full glare of publicity. There was no press conference. The Attorney General did not go on the David Letterman show to gloat about the latest strike in the War on Terror, the purge of the Gitmo lawyer...NO.

Instead an "armada" of corporate lawyers went to Court against the Government. They, in the terms of the litigation trade, papered the US District Courthouse in Washington D.C. They brought to bear the full force of their Money and Power-- derived from the corporate world--and in 2006 "settled" the case with the government, restoring their clients to Guantanamo without any punishment at all, not to say any Indictment. Lynne Stewart, without corporate connections and coming from a working class background, was tried and convicted for issuing, on behalf of her client, a public press release to Reuters. There was no injury, no harm, no attacks, no deaths.

Yet that same Department of Justice that dealt so favorably and capitulated to the Gitmo corporate lawyers, wants to sentence Lynne Stewart to thirty (30) YEARS in prison. It is the equivalent of asking for a death sentence since she is 70 years old.

This vast disparity in treatment between Lynne and the Gitmo lawyers reveals the deep contradictions of the system ---those who derive power from rich and potent corporations, those whose day to day work maintains and increases that power--are treated differently. Is it because the Corporate Power is intertwined with Government Power???

Lynne Stewart deserves Justice... equal justice under law. Her present sentence of 28 months incarceration (she is in Federal Prison) should at least be maintained, if not made equal to the punishment that was meted out to the Gitmo lawyers. The thirty year sentence, assiduously pursued by DOJ under both Bush and Obama, is an obscenity and an affront to fundamental fairness. They wanted to make her career and dedication to individual clients, a warning, to the defense bar that the Government can arrest any lawyer on any pretext. The sharp contrasts between the cases of Lynne and the Gitmo lawyers just confirm that she is getting a raw deal--one that should be protested actively, visibly and with the full force of our righteous resistance.

Write to Lynne:

Lynne Stewart 53504-054
MCC-NY
150 Park Row
New York, New York 10007

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Bernadette McAliskey Quote on Zionists:

"The root cause of conflict in the Middle East is the very nature of the state of Israel. It is a facist state. It is a international bully, which exists not to protect the rights of the Jewish people but to perpetuate a belief of Zionist supremacy. It debases the victims of the holocaust by its own strategy for extermination of Palestine and Palestinians and has become the image and likeness of its own worst enemy, the Third Reich.

"Anyone challenging their position, their crazed self-image is entitled, in the fascist construction of their thinking, to be wiped out. Every humanitarian becomes a terrorist? How long is the reality of the danger Israel poses to world peace going to be denied by the Western powers who created this monster?"

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POEM ON WHAT ISRAEL DOES NOT ALLOW INTO GAZA - FROM THE IRISH TIMES / CARDOMAN AS A BIOLOGICAL WARFARE WEAPON

[ The poem does not mention that the popular herb cardamom is banned from importation into Gaza. Israel probably fears that cardamom can be used as a biological weapon. Rockets with cardamom filled projectiles landing in Israel could cause Israeli soldiers 'guarding' the border to succumb to pangs of hunger, leave their posts to go get something eat, and leave Israel defenseless. - Howard Keylor]

Richard Tillinghast is an American poet who lives in Co Tipperary. He is the author of eight books of poetry, the latest of which is Selected Poems (Dedalus Press, 2010 ), as well as several works of non-fiction

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No tinned meat is allowed, no tomato paste,
no clothing, no shoes, no notebooks.
These will be stored in our warehouses at Kerem Shalom
until further notice.
Bananas, apples, and persimmons are allowed into Gaza,
peaches and dates, and now macaroni
(after the American Senator's visit).
These are vital for daily sustenance.

But no apricots, no plums, no grapes, no avocados, no jam.
These are luxuries and are not allowed.
Paper for textbooks is not allowed.
The terrorists could use it to print seditious material.
And why do you need textbooks
now that your schools are rubble?
No steel is allowed, no building supplies, no plastic pipe.
These the terrorists could use to launch rockets
against us.

Pumpkins and carrots you may have, but no delicacies,
no cherries, no pomegranates, no watermelon, no onions,
no chocolate.

We have a list of three dozen items that are allowed,
but we are not obliged to disclose its contents.
This is the decision arrived at
by Colonel Levi, Colonel Rosenzweig, and Colonel Segal.

Our motto:
'No prosperity, no development, no humanitarian crisis.'
You may fish in the Mediterranean,
but only as far as three km from shore.
Beyond that and we open fire.
It is a great pity the waters are polluted
twenty million gallons of raw sewage dumped into the sea every day
is the figure given.

Our rockets struck the sewage treatments plants,
and at this point spare parts to repair them are not allowed.
As long as Hamas threatens us,
no cement is allowed, no glass, no medical equipment.
We are watching you from our pilotless drones
as you cook your sparse meals over open fires
and bed down
in the ruins of houses destroyed by tank shells.

And if your children can't sleep,
missing the ones who were killed in our incursion,
or cry out in the night, or wet their beds
in your makeshift refugee tents,
or scream, feeling pain in their amputated limbs -
that's the price you pay for harbouring terrorists.

God gave us this land.
A land without a people for a people without a land.
--
Greta Berlin, Co-Founder
+357 99 18 72 75
witnessgaza.com
www.freegaza.org
http://www.flickr.com/photos/freegaza

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Please sign the petition to stop the execution of Mumia Abu-Jamal and
and forward it to all your lists.

"Mumia Abu-Jamal and The Global Abolition of the Death Penalty"

http://www.petitiononline.com/Mumialaw/petition.html

(A Life In the Balance - The Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal, at 34, Amnesty Int'l, 2000; www. Amnesty.org/en/library/info/AMR51/001/2000.)

[Note: This petition is approved by Mumia Abu-Jamal and his lead attorney, Robert R. Bryan, San Francisco (E-mail: MumiaLegalDefense@gmail.com; Website: www.MumiaLegalDefense.org).]

Committee To Save Mumia Abu-Jamal
P.O. Box 2012
New York, NY 10159-2012

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Donations for Mumia's Legal Defense in the U.S. Our legal effort is the front line of the battle for Mumia's freedom and life. His legal defense needs help. The costs are substantial for our litigation in the U.S. Supreme Court and at the state level. To help, please make your checks payable to the National Lawyers Guild Foundation indicate "Mumia" on the bottom left). All donations are tax deductible under the Internal Revenue Code, section 501c)3), and should be mailed to:

It is outrageous and a violation of human rights that Mumia remains in prison and on death row. His life hangs in the balance. My career has been marked by successfully representing people facing death in murder cases. I will not rest until we win Mumia's case. Justice requires no less.

With best wishes,

Robert R. Bryan
Lead counsel for Mumia Abu-Jamal

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Short Video About Al-Awda's Work
The following link is to a short video which provides an overview of Al-Awda's work since the founding of our organization in 2000. This video was first shown on Saturday May 23, 2009 at the fundraising banquet of the 7th Annual Int'l Al-Awda Convention in Anaheim California. It was produced from footage collected over the past nine years.
Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kTiAkbB5uC0&eurl
Support Al-Awda, a Great Organization and Cause!

Al-Awda, The Palestine Right to Return Coalition, depends on your financial support to carry out its work.

To submit your tax-deductible donation to support our work, go to
http://www.al-awda.org/donate.html and follow the simple instructions.

Thank you for your generosity!

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KEVIN COOPER IS INNOCENT!
FLASHPOINTS Interview with Innocent San Quentin Death Row Inmate
Kevin Cooper -- Aired Monday, May 18,2009
http://www.flashpoints.net/#GOOGLE_SEARCH_ENGINE
To learn more about Kevin Cooper go to:
savekevincooper.org
LINKS
San Francisco Chronicle article on the recent ruling:
http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/05/13/BAM517J8T3.DTL
Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling and dissent:
http://www.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/opinions/2009/05/11/05-99004o.pdf

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COURAGE TO RESIST!
Support the troops who refuse to fight!
http://www.couragetoresist.org/x/
Donate:
http://www.couragetoresist.org/x/content/view/21/57/

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D. ARTICLES IN FULL

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1) 1 Soldier or 20 Schools?
By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF
"For the cost of just one soldier in Afghanistan for one year, we could start about 20 schools there."
July 28, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/29/opinion/29kristof.html?src=me&ref=general

2) With Recovery Slowing, the Employment Outlook Fades
By CATHERINE RAMPELL
July 30, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/31/business/economy/31econ.html?hp

3) US Peace Movement Adopts New Comprehensive Strategy
By David Swanson
Global Research, July 30, 2010
afterdowningstreet.org
http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=20363

4) Oil industry safety record blown open
National Wildlife Federation says catalogue of oil industry accidents proves BP disaster in Gulf of Mexico is not a one-off
By Suzanne Goldenberg, US environment correspondent
guardian.co.uk
Thursday 29 July 2010 20.18 BST
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/jul/29/america-bp-oil-industry-safety-record

6) Open Secrets
by Hendrik Hertzberg
August 2, 2010
http://readersupportednews.org/off-site-opinion-section/71-71/2553-finding-qtop-secret-americaq

7) A Sin and a Shame
By BOB HERBERT
July 30, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/31/opinion/31herbert.html?_r=1&hp

8) Army Broadens Inquiry Into WikiLeaks Disclosure
By ELISABETH BUMILLER
July 30, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/31/world/31wiki.html?ref=world

9) Social Security Jitters? Better Prepare Now
By TARA SIEGEL BERNARD
July 30, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/31/your-money/31money.html?ref=us

10) Surface of Gulf of Mexico looks better, but millions of gallons of oil remain below
Bob Marshall, The Times-Picayune
Published: Thursday, July 29, 2010, 8:15 PM
http://www.nola.com/news/gulf-oil-spill/index.ssf/2010/07/surface_of_gulf_of_mexico_look.html

11) Targeted Killing Is New U.S. Focus in Afghanistan
By HELENE COOPER and MARK LANDLER
July 31, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/01/world/asia/01afghan.html?hp

12) Despite Rule, BP Used Dispersant, Panel Finds
By MATTHEW L. WALD
July 31, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/01/science/earth/01dispersants.html?hp

13) Deception by dispersal; the great Gulf oil tragedy
Rocky Kistner's Blog
July 30, 2010
http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/rkistner/the_pictures_below_were_all.html

14) Defining Prosperity Down
By PAUL KRUGMAN
August 1, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/02/opinion/02krugman.html?hp

15) Indigenous Tribes Resist Dam Construction By Taking Workers Hostage
posted by: Natasha G.
August 1, 2010
http://www.care2.com/causes/human-rights/blog/indigenous-tribes-resist-dam-construction-by-taking-workers-hostage/

16) Cuba to Cut Workers and Relax Business Rules
"Those who are laid off, he said, will be retrained or reassigned."
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
August 1, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/02/world/americas/02cuba.html?ref=world

17) Rule Limiting Legal Services in Terror Cases Is Challenged
By CHARLIE SAVAGE
August 3, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/04/world/asia/04terror.html?hp

18) Gulf Spill Is the Largest of Its Kind, Scientists Say
By CAMPBELL ROBERTSON and CLIFFORD KRAUSS
August 2, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/03/us/03spill.html?ref=us

19) Survey Finds Broad Anxiety Among Gulf Residents
"More than a third report children with new rashes or breathing problems, or who are nervous, fearful or 'very sad' since the spill began. And even though the gusher of oil has been stanched, almost a quarter of residents still fear that they will have to move."
By SHAILA DEWAN
August 2, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/03/us/03gulf.html?ref=us

20) A Mailroom Mix-Up That Could Cost a Life
By ADAM LIPTAK
August 2, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/03/us/03bar.html?ref=us

21) California: Ban on Affirmative Action Is Upheld
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
August 2, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/03/us/politics/03brfs-BANONAFFIRMA_BRF.html?ref=us

22) 99 Weeks Later, Jobless Have Only Desperation
By MICHAEL LUO
August 2, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/03/us/03unemployed.html?ref=us

23) BP's "Missing Oil" Washes up in St. Mary's Parish, LA
by Antonia Juhasz
http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/08/01-1

24) In the thick of it: Former Danville resident engulfed in oil spill research
By BEN KLEPPINGER
bkleppinger@amnews.com
July 31, 2010
http://www.amnews.com/stories/2010/07/31/loc.616440.sto

25) Between Queens and Brooklyn, an Oil Spill’s Legacy
“Estimated at 17 million to 30 million gallons — smaller than the ballpark estimate of 100 million gallons released by the Deepwater Horizon well but outstripping the 11 million that poured from the Exxon Valdez — the combined spills along Newtown Creek have obliterated wildlife, polluted an aquifer, hindered economic development and set off health scares among those who live and work nearby.”
By MIREYA NAVARRO
August 3, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/04/science/earth/04newtown.html?hp

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1) 1 Soldier or 20 Schools?
By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF
"For the cost of just one soldier in Afghanistan for one year, we could start about 20 schools there."
July 28, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/29/opinion/29kristof.html?src=me&ref=general

The war in Afghanistan will consume more money this year alone than we spent on the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Mexican-American War, the Civil War and the Spanish-American War - combined.

A recent report from the Congressional Research Service finds that the war on terror, including Afghanistan and Iraq, has been, by far, the costliest war in American history aside from World War II. It adjusted costs of all previous wars for inflation.

Those historical comparisons should be a wake-up call to President Obama, underscoring how our military strategy is not only a mess - as the recent leaked documents from Afghanistan suggested - but also more broadly reflects a gross misallocation of resources. One legacy of the 9/11 attacks was a distortion of American policy: By the standards of history and cost-effectiveness, we are hugely overinvested in military tools and underinvested in education and diplomacy.

It was reflexive for liberals to rail at President George W. Bush for jingoism. But it is President Obama who is now requesting 6.1 percent more in military spending than the peak of military spending under Mr. Bush. And it is Mr. Obama who has tripled the number of American troops in Afghanistan since he took office. (A bill providing $37 billion to continue financing America's two wars was approved by the House on Tuesday and is awaiting his signature.)

Under Mr. Obama, we are now spending more money on the military, after adjusting for inflation, than in the peak of the cold war, Vietnam War or Korean War. Our battle fleet is larger than the next 13 navies combined, according to Defense Secretary Robert Gates. The intelligence apparatus is so bloated that, according to The Washington Post, the number of people with "top secret" clearance is 1.5 times the population of the District of Columbia.

Meanwhile, a sobering report from the College Board says that the United States, which used to lead the world in the proportion of young people with college degrees, has dropped to 12th.

What's more, an unbalanced focus on weapons alone is often counterproductive, creating a nationalist backlash against foreign "invaders." Over all, education has a rather better record than military power in neutralizing foreign extremism. And the trade-offs are staggering: For the cost of just one soldier in Afghanistan for one year, we could start about 20 schools there. Hawks retort that it's impossible to run schools in Afghanistan unless there are American troops to protect them. But that's incorrect.

CARE, a humanitarian organization, operates 300 schools in Afghanistan, and not one has been burned by the Taliban. Greg Mortenson, of "Three Cups of Tea" fame, has overseen the building of 145 schools in Afghanistan and Pakistan and operates dozens more in tents or rented buildings - and he says that not one has been destroyed by the Taliban either.

Aid groups show that it is quite possible to run schools so long as there is respectful consultation with tribal elders and buy-in from them. And my hunch is that CARE and Mr. Mortenson are doing more to bring peace to Afghanistan than Mr. Obama's surge of troops.

The American military has been eagerly reading "Three Cups of Tea" but hasn't absorbed the central lesson: building schools is a better bet for peace than firing missiles (especially when one cruise missile costs about as much as building 11 schools).

Mr. Mortenson lamented to me that for the cost of just 246 soldiers posted for one year, America could pay for a higher education plan for all Afghanistan. That would help build an Afghan economy, civil society and future - all for one-quarter of 1 percent of our military spending in Afghanistan this year.

The latest uproar over Pakistani hand-holding with the Afghan Taliban underscores that billions of dollars in U.S. military aid just doesn't buy the loyalty it used to. In contrast, education can actually transform a nation. That's one reason Bangladesh is calmer than Pakistan, Oman is less threatening than Yemen.

Paradoxically, the most eloquent advocate in government for balance in financing priorities has been Mr. Gates, the defense secretary. He has noted that the military has more people in its marching bands than the State Department has diplomats.

Faced with constant demands for more, Mr. Gates in May asked: "Is it a dire threat that by 2020 the United States will have only 20 times more advanced stealth fighters than China?"

In the presidential campaign, Mr. Obama promised to invest in a global education fund. Since then, he seems to have forgotten the idea - even though he is spending enough every five weeks in Afghanistan to ensure that practically every child on our planet gets a primary education.

We won our nation's independence for $2.4 billion in today's money, the Congressional Research Service report said. That was good value, considering that we now fritter the same amount every nine days in Afghanistan. Mr. Obama, isn't it time to rebalance our priorities?

I invite you to visit my blog, On the Ground. Please also join me on Facebook, watch my YouTube videos and follow me on Twitter.

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2) With Recovery Slowing, the Employment Outlook Fades
By CATHERINE RAMPELL
July 30, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/31/business/economy/31econ.html?hp

There is no more disputing it: the economic recovery in the United States has indeed slowed.

The nation's economy has been growing for a year, with few new jobs to show for it. Now, with growth at an annual rate of 2.4 percent in the second quarter, and federal stimulus measures fading, the jobs outlook appears even more discouraging.

"Given how weak the labor market is, how long we've been without real growth, the rest of this year is probably still going to feel like a recession," said Prajakta Bhide, a research analyst for the United States economy at Roubini Global Economics. "It's still positive growth - rather than contraction - but it's going to be very, very protracted."

A Commerce Department report on Friday showed that the economy had grown at a faster pace earlier in the recovery, expanding at an annual rate of 5 percent at the end of 2009 and 3.7 percent in the first quarter of 2010. Consumer spending, however, was weaker than initially believed.

Many economists are forecasting a further slowdown in the second half of the year, perhaps around an annual rate of 1.5 percent. That is largely because businesses have refilled the stockroom shelves that they had whittled down during the financial crisis, meaning there will not be much need for additional inventory orders.

Fiscal stimulus policies are also expiring, which may further drag on growth. And individual stimulus programs like expanded unemployment benefits have faced huge political battles each time they have come up for extension in Congress.

The approaching mid-term elections may further entrench the political stalemate after Congress returns from its August recess. As a result, pressure will probably increase on the Federal Reserve to use its tools to prevent a double-dip. Recent reports from Fed officials suggest the central bank has become increasingly worried about where the economy is headed.

American businesses, if not American households, seem to be hanging on.

The key driver of growth in the second quarter was nonresidential fixed investment, which covers items like office buildings and purchases of equipment and software. This sector rocketed up at an annual rate of 17 percent in the second quarter, compared with a 7.8 percent increase in the first. The equipment and software category alone grew at an annual rate of 21.9 percent, the fastest pace in 12 years.

"We're seeing a sort of handover from consumer spending to capital spending," John Ryding, chief economist at RDQ Economics, said "The consumer also looks to have saved more than we thought before, which means they're perhaps further on road to financial adjustment than we thought they were previously."

Growth in consumer spending, which is usually a leading indicator of a recovery and which accounts for most economic activity in the United States, has been leveling off. It grew at an annual rate of 1.6 percent in the second quarter after an annual increase of 1.9 percent in the previous quarter.

The personal savings rate in the second quarter was estimated to have been 6.2 percent of disposable income, significantly higher than the 4 percent that had been estimated.

A separate report released Friday by the University of Michigan and Reuters showed that consumer sentiment tumbled in July.

The fact that businesses seem to be investing more in equipment than in hiring may be a reason why households have been reluctant, or perhaps unable, to pick up the pace of their spending.

"There are limits on the degree to which you can substitute capital for labor," Mr. Ryding said. "But you can understand that businesses don't have to pay health care on equipment and software, and these get better tax treatment than you get for hiring people. If you can get away with upgrading capital spending and deferring hiring for a while, that makes economic sense, especially in this uncertain policy environment."

Data revisions of covering the last three years were also released on Friday. These showed that overall 2009 and 2008 were slightly worse than previously reported, but that the first quarter of 2010 was better.

As the global economy recovers, America's trade activity has picked up. But imports once again grew faster than exports last quarter, presenting a drag on growth. Imports spiked at an annual rate of 28.8 percent, the biggest jump in a quarter-century, compared with an annual increase of 10.3 percent in exports.

Government spending shot up more than many anticipated, growing at an annual rate of 4.4 percent after a decline of 1.6 percent in the first quarter. Public spending was broad-based, with even state and local spending increasing for the first time in a year. This may be in part because of federal stimulus monies transferred to the states.

"You could see this in the monthly number for state and local construction spending," said Nigel Gault, chief United States economist at IHS Global Insight. "Construction slows down during winter months, so stimulus may not have been doing as much earlier this year."

Other policy initiatives, like the expiring homebuyer's tax credit, also appear to have lifted demand. Residential fixed investment spending on items like new homes grew at an annual pace of 27.9 percent in the second quarter, after falling 12.3 percent the previous period.

"This will almost certainly reverse hard next quarter," Jay Feldman, director of economics at Credit Suisse Securities, wrote in a note to clients.

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3) US Peace Movement Adopts New Comprehensive Strategy
By David Swanson
Global Research, July 30, 2010
afterdowningstreet.org
http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=20363

Last week 700 leading peace activists from around the United States met and strategized in Albany, N.Y. ( http://nationalpeaceconference.org ). They discussed, debated, and voted for a comprehensive new plan for the coming months. The plan includes a new focus and some promising proposals for building a coalition that includes the labor movement, civil rights groups, students, and other sectors of the activist world that have an interest in ending wars and/or shifting our financial resources from wars to where they're actually needed. The full plan, including a preface, is available online.

The plan includes endorsements and commitments to participate in events planned for Detroit on August 28th, and Washington, D.C., on August 28th and October 2nd, as well as a national day of actions led by students on October 7th, and a week of anti-war actions around the country marking the start of Year 10 in Afghanistan on October 7-16. Dates to put on your calendar now for 2011 include mid-March nationally coordinated teach-ins to mark the eighth year of the Iraq War and to prepare for bi-coastal spring demonstrations the following month, New York City, San Francisco and Los Angeles mobilizations on April 9, 2011, and blocking of ports on May Day.

Here is the full list of actions agreed upon:

1.The Rainbow PUSH Coalition and the United Auto Workers (UAW) have invited peace organizations to endorse and participate in a campaign for Jobs, Justice, and Peace. We endorse this campaign and plan to be a part of it. On August 28, 2010, in Detroit, we will march on the anniversary of that day in 1963 when Walter Reuther, president of UAW, Martin Luther King, Jr., and other civil rights leaders joined with hundreds of thousands of Americans for the March on Washington. In Detroit, prior to the March on Washington, 125,000 marchers participated in the Freedom Walk led by Dr. King. At the march, King delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech for the first time before sharing it with the world in Washington. This year, a massive march has been called for October 2 in Washington. We will begin to build momentum again in Detroit on August 28th. We also endorse the August 28, 2010 Reclaim the Dream Rally and March called by Rev. Al Sharpton and the National Action Network to begin at 11 a.m.. at Dunbar High School, 1301 New Jersey Avenue Northwest.

2.Endorse, promote and mobilize for the Saturday, October 2nd "One Nation" march on Washington, DC initiated by 1199SEIU and the NAACP, now being promoted by a growing coalition, which includes the AFL-CIO and U.S. Labor Against the War, and civil rights, peace and other social justice forces in support of the demand for jobs, redirection of national resources from militarism and war to meeting human needs, fully funding vital social programs, and addressing the fiscal crisis of state and local governments. Organize and build an antiwar contingent to participate in the march. Launch a full-scale campaign to get endorsements for the October 2 march on Washington commencing with the final plenary session of this conference.

3.Endorse the call issued by a range of student groups for Thursday, October 7, as a national day of action to defend education from the horrendous budget cuts that are laying off teachers, closing schools, raising tuition and limiting access to education, especially for working and low income people. Demand "Money for Education, not U.S. Occupations" and otherwise link the cuts in spending for education to the astronomical costs of U.S. wars and occupations.

4.Devote October 7-16 to organizing local and regional protests to commemorate the ninth anniversary of the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan through demonstrations, marches, rallies, vigils, teach-ins, cultural events and other actions to demand an immediate end to the wars and occupations in both Iraq and Afghanistan and complete withdrawal of all military forces and private security contractors and other mercenaries. The nature and scheduling of these events will reflect the needs of local sponsors and should be designed to attract broad co-sponsorship and diverse participation of antiwar forces with other social justice organizations and progressive constituencies.

5.Support and build Remember Fallujah Week November 15-19.

6.Join the new and existing broad-based campaigns to fund human needs and cut the military budget. Join with organizations representing the fight against cutbacks (especially labor and community groups) to build coalitions at the city/town, state and national level. Draft resolutions for city councils, town and village meetings and voter referendum ballot questions linking astronomical war spending to denial of essential public services at home. (Model resolutions and ballot questions will be circulated for consideration of local groups.) Obtain endorsements of elected officials, town and city councils, state parties and legislatures, and labor bodies. Work the legislative process to make military spending an issue. Oppose specific military funding programs and bills, and couple them with human needs funding issues. Use lobbying and other forms of protest, including civil disobedience campaigns, to focus attention on the issue.

7.Mid-March, 2011 nationally coordinated teach-ins to mark the eighth year of the Iraq War and to prepare for bi-coastal spring demonstrations the following month.

8.Bi-Coastal mass spring mobilizations in New York City, San Francisco and Los Angeles on April 9, 2011. These will be accompanied by distinct and separate non-violent direct actions on the same day. A prime component of these mobilizations will be major efforts to include broad new forces from youth to veterans to trade unionists to civil and human rights groups to the Arab, Muslim and other oppressed communities, to environmental organizations, social justice and faith-based groups. Veterans and military families will be key to these mobilizations with special efforts to organize this community to be the lead contingent. Launch a full-scale campaign to get endorsements for these actions commencing with the final plenary session of this conference.

9.Select a week prior to or after the April actions for local lobbying of elected officials at a time when Congress is not in session. Lobbying to take multiple forms from meeting with local officials to protests at their offices and homes.

10.Recalling that the West Coast Longshore Workers Union shut down the ports for May Day 2008, and noting the recent successful actions in Oakland to block the unloading of an Israeli ship in solidarity with Palestine, the National Peace Conference will join with immigrant rights and union organizers to plan for May Day actions that include picket lines at the ports in San Francisco and Los Angeles. A large portion of war materiel is shipped from West Coast ports. These areas are home to large number of immigrants, many of whom work as truck drivers. A picket line, with veterans in the forefront, provides an opportunity to unite broader sections of the people in action. It also generates the possibility of impacting the war by blocking shipments of war materiel, and provides further consideration for continuing direct actions of this kind.

11.National tours. Organize over a series of months nationally-coordinated tours of prominent speakers and local activists that link the demands for immediate withdrawal to the demands for funding social programs, as outlined above.

12.Pressure on Iran from the US, Israel and other quarters continues to rise and the threat of a catastrophic military attack on Iran, as well as the ratcheting up of punitive sanctions that primarily impact the people of Iran, are of grave concern. All peace activists and organizations should be organizing for a peaceful and just solution to the concern over Iran's nuclear program, including, but not limited to, supporting a Nuclear Weapons-Free Zone in the Middle East (which would of course deal with Israel's nuclear arsenal) and insisting that diplomacy, not war or threat of war, is the only acceptable option.

13.In the event of an imminent U.S. government attack on Iran or such an attack, or a U.S.-backed Israeli attack against Iran, or any other major international crisis triggered by U.S. military action, a continuations committee approved by the conference will mount rapid, broad and nationally coordinated protests by antiwar and social justice activists.

14.In the event of U.S.-backed military action by Israel against Palestinians, aid activists attempting to end the blockade of Gaza, or attacks on other countries such as Lebanon, Syria, or Iran, a continuations committee approved by the conference will condemn such attacks and support widespread protest actions.

15.Support actions to end the Israeli occupation and repression of Palestinians and the blockade of Gaza.

16.Support actions aimed at dismantling the Cold War nuclear, biological, radiological and chemical weapons and delivery systems. Support actions aimed at stopping the nuclear renaissance of this Administration, which has proposed to spend $80 billion over the next 10 years to build three new nuclear bomb making factories and "well over" $100 billion over the same period to modernize nuclear weapons delivery systems. We must support actions aimed at dismantling nuclear, biological, radiological and chemical weapons and delivery systems. We must oppose the re-opening of the Iranian mining industry, new nuclear power plants, and extraction of other fossil fuels that the military consumes.

17.Work in solidarity with GIs, veterans, and military families to support their campaigns and calls for action. Demand support for the troops when they return home and support efforts to counter military recruitment.

18.Take actions against war profiteers, including oil and energy companies, weapons manufacturers, and engineering firms, whose contractors are working to insure U.S. economic control of Iraq's and Afghanistan's resources.

19.Support actions, educational efforts and lobbying campaigns to promote a transition to a sustainable peace economy.

20.Develop and implement a multi-pronged national media campaign which includes the following: the honing of a message which will capture our message: "End the Wars and Occupations, Bring the Dollars Home"; a fundraising campaign which would enable the creation and national placement and broadcast of professionally developed print ads as public service radio and television spots which communicate this imperative to the public as a whole (which would involve coordinated outreach to some major funders); outreach to sympathetic media artists to enable the creation of these pieces; an intentional, aggressive, coordinated campaign to garner interviews on as many targeted national news venues as possible which would feature movement voices speaking to the honed our nationally coordinated message; a plan to place on message op-ed pieces in papers around the country on a nationally coordinated schedule.

21.We call for the equal participation of women in all aspects of the antiwar movement. We propose nonviolent direct actions either in Congressional offices or other appropriate and strategic locations, possibly defense contractors, Federal Buildings, or military bases in the U.S. These actions would be local and coordinated nationally, i.e., the same day for everyone (times may vary). The actions would probably result in arrests for sitting in after offices close. Entering certain facilities could also result in arrests. Participants would be prepared for that possible outcome before joining the action. Nonviolence training would be offered locally, with lists of trainers being made available. The message/demand would be a vote, a congressional action to end the wars: Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan. Close U.S. bases. Costs of war and financial issues related to social needs neglected because of war spending would need to be studied and statements regarding same be prepared before the actions. Press release would encourage coverage because of the actions being local and nationally coordinated.

22.We will convene one or more committees or conferences for the purpose of identifying and arranging boycotts, sit-ins, and other actions that directly interfere with the immoral aspects of the violence and wars that we protest.

23.The United National Antiwar Conference calls for building and expanding the movement for peace by consciously and continually linking it with the urgent necessity to create jobs and fund social needs. We call for support from the antiwar movement to tie the wars and the funding for the wars to the urgent domestic issues through leaflets, signs, banners and active participation in the growing number of mass actions demanding jobs, health care, housing, education and immigrant rights such as:

July 25 - March in Albany in Support of Muslims Targeted by Preemptive Prosecution called by the Muslim Solidarity Committee and Project Salam.
July 29 & 30 Boycott Arizona Actions across the country as racist Arizona law SB 1070 goes into effect, including the mass march July 30 in NYC as the Arizona Diamondbacks play the Mets.

All the other mass actions listed above leading up to the bi-coastal actions on April 9, 2011.

24.The continuations committee elected at this conference shall reach out to other peace and social justice groups holding protests in the fall of 2010 and the spring of 2011, where such groups' demands and tactics are not inconsistent with those adopted at the UNAC conference, on behalf of exploring ways to maximize unity within the peace and social justice movements this fall and next spring.

David Swanson is the author of "Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union"

http://davidswanson.org
http://warisacrime.org

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4) Oil industry safety record blown open
National Wildlife Federation says catalogue of oil industry accidents proves BP disaster in Gulf of Mexico is not a one-off
By Suzanne Goldenberg, US environment correspondent
guardian.co.uk
Thursday 29 July 2010 20.18 BST
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/jul/29/america-bp-oil-industry-safety-record

The oil industry has been responsible for thousands of fires, explosions, and leaks over the last decade, killing dozens of people and destroying wildlife and the environment across America, according to a report published today.

None of the individual incidents catalogued by the National Wildlife Federation comes close in scale to BP's oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the worst environmental disaster in America's history. But the thousands of lesser offshore spills, pipeline leaks, refinery fires and other accidents demolish the industry argument that BP's ruptured well was a one-off, and that the oil and gas business has grown safer, the report's authors said.

"These disasters make it clear that the BP disaster isn't a rare accident," said Tim Warman, who directs the global warming programme for NWF, which calls itself the country's largest conservation organisation. "These are daily occurrences. These are daily incidents of not paying attention."

In a further grim reminder, the American midwest was in the throes of its own environmental disaster today, with a ruptured pipeline gushing gallons of oil into Michigan's Kalamazoo River.

Enbridge Energy, which is Canadian-owned but based in Houston, said the spill may have reached 1m gallons. Federal government officials in Washington and the state of Michigan were struggling to stop the oil from reaching the Great Lakes.

In the Gulf of Mexico, meanwhile, while BP's oil well remains capped, a tugboat crashed into an abandoned well this week and set off a 100ft gusher of oil and gas.

The coastguard commander, Thad Allen, told reporters today that operations were switching from response to recovery, suggesting that equipment and personnel in the Gulf could be drastically scaled back in four to six weeks. "If you need fewer skimming vessels out there, there is going to be a levelling you need to consider," he said.

The report from the National Wildlife Federation drew on records from the Minerals Management Service, which regulates offshore drilling, and the Environmental Protection Agency, to come up with a figure of 1,440 offshore leaks, blowouts, and other accidents were reported between 2001-2007.

In addition to environmental damage, these caused 41 deaths and 302 injuries.

The safety record for onshore activities was even more dismal. Some 2,554 pipeline accidents occurred between 2001 and 2007, killing 161 people and injuring 576.

"Oil and gas is being produced in 34 states across the country and it is just not being regulated to the extent it needs to be," said Lauren Pagel of Earthworks, which monitors extractive industries.

At times, the accidents occurred far from industrial installations such as offshore drilling rigs or refineries. In one particularly gruesome incident from August 2000, three families with young children on a camping trip in New Mexico were consumed by a 500ft fireball from a ruptured pipeline. All 12 people were killed, and an official investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board later blamed the pipeline company for failing to detect or repair severely corroded pipes.

Four years later, a tanker truck lost control and crossed guard rails outside Washington DC, igniting 8,000 gallons of burning petrol on one of the country's busiest highways. "There was fire everywhere," the report quotes highway officials as saying. Four people were killed.

Among the causes for the poor safety record was the industry's relentless costcutting, despite record profits, said the report's authors, describing equipment failures, tank corrosion, and other signs of poor maintenance. The poor safety and environmental records were not restricted to the so-called Big Oil companies.

Enbridge Energy has had 400 separate spills between 2003 and 2008, spewing 1.3m gallons of crude into the environment, according to official records.

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5) Scientists Find Evidence That Oil And Dispersant Mix Is Making Its Way Into The Foodchain
By Dan Froomkin
froomkin@huffingtonpost.com | HuffPost Reporting
First Posted: 07-29-10 06:27 PM
Updated: 07-31-10 09:39 AM
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/07/29/scientists-find-evidence_n_664298.html

Scientists have found signs of an oil-and-dispersant mix under the shells of tiny blue crab larvae in the Gulf of Mexico, the first clear indication that the unprecedented use of dispersants in the BP oil spill has broken up the oil into toxic droplets so tiny that they can easily enter the foodchain.

Marine biologists started finding orange blobs under the translucent shells of crab larvae in May, and have continued to find them "in almost all" of the larvae they collect, all the way from Grand Isle, Louisiana, to Pensacola, Fla. -- more than 300 miles of coastline -- said Harriet Perry, a biologist with the University of Southern Mississippi's Gulf Coast Research Laboratory.

And now, a team of researchers from Tulane University using infrared spectrometry to determine the chemical makeup of the blobs has detected the signature for Corexit, the dispersant BP used so widely in the Deepwater Horizon

"It does appear that there is a Corexit sort of fingerprint in the blob samples that we ran," Erin Gray, a Tulane biologist, told the Huffington Post Thursday. Two independent tests are being run to confirm those findings, "so don't say that we're 100 percent sure yet," Gray said.

"The chemistry test is still not completely conclusive," said Tulane biology professor Caz Taylor, the team's leader. "But that seems the most likely thing."

With BP's well possibly capped for good, and the surface slick shrinking, some observers of the Gulf disaster are starting to let down their guard, with some journalists even asking: Where is the oil?

But the answer is clear: In part due to the1.8 million gallons of dispersant that BP used, a lot of the estimated 200 million or more gallons of oil that spewed out of the blown well remains under the surface of the Gulf in plumes of tiny toxic droplets. And it's short- and long-term effects could be profound.

BP sprayed dispersant onto the surface of the slick and into the jet of oil and gas as it erupted out of the wellhead a mile beneath the surface. As a result, less oil reached the surface and the Gulf's fragile coastline. But more remained under the surface.

Fish, shrimp and crab larvae, which float around in the open seas, are considered the most likely to die on account of exposure to the subsea oil plumes. There are fears, for instance, that an entire year's worth of bluefin tuna larvae may have perished.

But this latest discovery suggests that it's not just larvae at risk from the subsurface droplets. It's also the animals that feed on them.

"There are so many animals that eat those little larvae," said Robert J. Diaz, a marine scientist at the College of William and Mary.

Oil itself is of course toxic, especially over long exposure. But some scientists worry that the mixture of oil with dispersants will actually prove more toxic, in part because of the still not entirely understood ingredients of Corexit, and in part because of the reduction in droplet size.

"Corexit is in the water column, just as we thought, and it is entering the bodies of animals. And it's probably having a lethal impact there," said Susan Shaw, director of the Marine Environmental Research Institute. The dispersant, she said, is like " a delivery system" for the oil.

Although a large group of marine scientists meeting in late May reached a consensus that the application of dispersants was a legitimate element of the spill response, another group, organized by Shaw, more recently concluded "that Corexit dispersants, in combination with crude oil, pose grave health risks to marine life and human health and threaten to deplete critical niches in the Gulf food web that may never recover."

One particular concern: "The properties that facilitate the movement of dispersants through oil also make it easier for them to move through cell walls, skin barriers, and membranes that protect vital organs, underlying layers of skin, the surfaces of eyes, mouths, and other structures."

Perry told the Huffington Post that the small size of the droplets was clearly a factor in how the oil made its way under the crab larvae shells. Perry said the oil droplets in the water "are just the right size that probably in the process of swimming or respiring, they're brought into that cavity."

That would not happen if the droplets were larger, she said.

The oil droplet washes off when the larvae molt, she said -- but that's assuming they live that long. Larvae are a major food source for fish and other blue crabs -- "their siblings are their favorite meal," Perry explained. Fish are generally able to excrete ingested oil, but inverterbrates such as crabs don't have that ability.

Perry said the discovery of the oil and dispersant blobs is very troubling -- but not, she made clear, because it has any impact on the safety of seafood in the short run. "Unlike heavy metals that biomagnify as they go up the foodchain, oil doesn't seem to do that," she said. Rather, she said, "we're looking at long-term ecological effects of having this oil in contact with marine organisms."

Diaz, the marine scientist from William and Mary, spoke at a lunchtime briefing about dispersants on Capitol Hill on Thursday.

Dispersant, he explained, "doesn't make the oil go away, it just puts it from one part of the ecosystem into another."

In this case, he said, "the decision was to keep as much of the oil subsurface as possible." As a result, the immediate impact on coastal wildlife was mitigated. But the effects on ocean life, he said, are less clear -- in part because there's less known about ocean ecosystems than coastal ones.

"As we go further offshore, as the oil industry has gone offshore, we find that we know less," he said. "We haven't really been using oceanic species to assess the risks, and this is a key issue."

(Similar concerns have been expressed about the lack of important data that would allow scientists to accurately assess the effects of the spill on the Gulf's sea turtles, whose plight is emerging as particularly poignant.)

Diaz warned of the danger posed to bluefin tuna -- and also to "the signature resident species in the Gulf, the shrimp." He noted that all three species of Gulf shrimp spawn offshore before moving back into shallow estuaries.

Diaz also expressed concern that dispersed oil droplets could end up doing great damage to the Gulf's many undersea coral reefs. "If the droplets agglomerate with sediment," he said, "they could even settle to the bottom."

Nancy Kinner, co-director of the Coastal Response Center at the University of New Hampshire, said the use of dispersants in this spill raises many issues that scientists need to explore, starting with the effects of long-term exposure. She also noted that scientists have never studied the effects of dispersants when they're injected directly into the turbulence of the plume, as they were here, or at such depth, or at such low temperatures, or under such pressure.

She also said it will be essential for the federal government to accurately determine how much oil made it out of the blown well. A key data point for scientists is the ratio of dispersant to oil, she said, and "if you don't know the flow rate of the oil, you don't know what you dispersant to oil ratio is."

After a series of ludicrous estimates, the federal government settled last month on an official estimate of about 20,000 to 40,000 barrels a day, but BP is widely expected to contest that figure and some scientists think it is still a low-ball estimate.

There seems to be no doubt that history will record that the use of dispersants was good for BP, making it harder to tell how much oil was spilled, and reducing the short-term visible impact. But what's less clear is whether it will turn out to have been good for the Gulf.

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Dan Froomkin is senior Washington correspondent for the Huffington Post. You can send him an e-mail, bookmark his page; subscribe to his RSS feed, follow him on Twitter, friend him on Facebook, and/or become a fan and get e-mail alerts when he writes.

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6) Open Secrets
by Hendrik Hertzberg
August 2, 2010
http://readersupportednews.org/off-site-opinion-section/71-71/2553-finding-qtop-secret-americaq

hese are hard times for newspapers, and not just the Times. America's other iconic daily of the past half-century, the Washington Post, has been doing a long, slow fade, speeded up lately by the Great Recession. The Post's weekday circulation is barely two-thirds what it was in the nineteen-nineties. During the most recently measured six-month period alone, sales of the weekday paper plummeted thirteen per cent. Repeated buyouts have decimated the staff. Last year, the Post closed its remaining domestic bureaus, in Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York. Its stock price today is less than half what it was in 2004. Kaplan, the for-profit education outfit the Post acquired in 1984, now provides some sixty per cent of its income. A glum, decade-old newsroom wisecrack-that the Post is a test-prep tutoring service that puts out a newspaper as a hobby-got glummer in 2007, when the Washington Post Company officially declared itself an "education and media company," no joke.

All the more reason, then, to ladle on the praise when the Post shows that it can still produce the kind of public-spirited, enterprising journalism that is essential to the health of a free society. Last week, in a series of three articles totalling some thirteen thousand words, the paper explored the immense national-security industry created since 9/11-a bureaucratic behemoth, substantially privatized but awash in public money, that "has become so large, so unwieldy, and so secretive" that it "amounts to an alternative geography of the United States, a Top Secret America hidden from public view and lacking in thorough oversight." Mimicking, consciously or not, the work product of its subject, the series begins by summarizing itself with a PowerPoint-like set of bullet points:

* Some 1,271 government organizations and 1,931 private companies work on programs related to counterterrorism, homeland security and intelligence in about 10,000 locations across the United States.

* An estimated 854,000 people, nearly 1.5 times as many people as live in Washington, D.C., hold top-secret security clearances.

* In Washington and the surrounding area, 33 building complexes for top-secret intelligence work are under construction or have been built since September 2001. Together they occupy the equivalent of almost three Pentagons or 22 U.S. Capitol buildings-about 17 million square feet of space.

* Many security and intelligence agencies do the same work, creating redundancy and waste. For example, 51 federal organizations and military commands, operating in 15 U.S. cities, track the flow of money to and from terrorist networks.

* Analysts who make sense of documents and conversations obtained by foreign and domestic spying share their judgment by publishing 50,000 intelligence reports each year-a volume so large that many are routinely ignored.

Beyond the numbing numbers, the Post describes a vast archipelago of gleaming new office parks, concentrated in the Washington suburbs but also scattered throughout the country, protected by high fences and armed security guards, bland-looking but inaccessible, and filled with command centers, internal television networks, video walls, armored S.U.V.s, and inner sanctums called SCIFs, short for "sensitive compartmented information facilities." How much of this-"the bling of national security," the Post calls it-is necessary or even useful may be doubted, but it is undeniably expensive. Much of it is there because the taxpayer cash to buy it is there-an unending, ever-growing, BP-worthy fiscal blowout that, beginning just after 9/11 and continuing to this day, flooded the agencies with "more money than they were capable of responsibly spending," the Post writes. "They've got the penis envy thing going," a contractor whose business specializes in building SCIFs says. "You can't be a big boy unless you're a three-letter agency and you have a big SCIF." Moreover, fully a quarter-million holders of top-secret security clearances are employees not of the government but of private, profit-making businesses. Government agencies serve as a hiring hall for contractor corporations offering perks and salaries the agencies can't match, leaving them to rely on recent graduates whose familiarity with the countries they analyze, including their languages, is minimal. The concern this raises-a concern that Robert M. Gates, the Secretary of Defense, and Leon Panetta, the head of the C.I.A., told the paper they share-is "whether the federal workforce includes too many people obligated to shareholders rather than the public interest-and whether the government is still in control of its most sensitive activities."

An intelligence community hobbled, as the Post shows, by a toxic mixture of secrecy, compartmentalization, turf rivalry, and tremendous duplication of effort is further bedevilled by a problem familiar to every computer addict: too much information. Every day, for example, the National Security Agency alone intercepts and stores nearly two billion separate e-mails, phone calls, and other communications. By the time the gusher reaches officials charged with making policy, it's still a fire hose. "The complexity of this system defies description," John R. Vines, a retired Army general who reviewed the Defense Department's slice of it last year, told the Post. "Because it lacks a synchronizing process, it inevitably results in message dissonance, reduced effectiveness, and waste. We consequently can't effectively assess whether it is making us more safe."

The story the Post tells is not about criminal conspiracies or rogue elements or corruption in the usual sense. No one's dedication to the cause of protecting America is questioned. The tale has no villains-unless you count the pathologies of secrecy and bureaucracy and the panicky bravado that led the White House, Congress, and the public to frame the response to Al Qaeda as an essentially unlimited War on Terror. It is an exposé about a secret world, but it exposes no secrets. Interviewees who asked for anonymity did so not in order to "leak"-to reveal classified information-but to express judgments that their bosses and colleagues might hold against them. Virtually all the data that the paper collected in the two years it took to prepare the series was already in the public record.

And the bulk of the public record is no longer to be found in library stacks, dusty courthouse files, and microfilm rolls. Just as its subject is a new kind of bureaucratic enterprise, "Top Secret America" is a new kind of journalistic enterprise, pairing expert reporting of the traditional shoe-leather variety with the information-gathering power of the Internet. One of the series' lead writers, Dana Priest, is a winner of two well-deserved Pulitzer Prizes, for her stories on abuses at Walter Reed and the C.I.A.'s overseas "black sites." The other, William M. Arkin, is that despised creature, a blogger-or was until he put aside the national-security blog that he conducted on the Post's Web site to begin his collaboration with Priest. While she worked the phones and racked up the miles, he sat in his converted barn in Vermont, surfing oceans of data. The result is a portrait of a problem. Laying it all out is a start. Reining it all in will be harder.

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7) A Sin and a Shame
By BOB HERBERT
July 30, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/31/opinion/31herbert.html?_r=1&hp

The treatment of workers by American corporations has been worse - far more treacherous - than most of the population realizes. There was no need for so many men and women to be forced out of their jobs in the downturn known as the great recession.

Many of those workers were cashiered for no reason other than outright greed by corporate managers. And that cruel, irresponsible, shortsighted policy has resulted in widespread human suffering and is doing great harm to the economy.

"I've never seen anything like this," said Andrew Sum, an economics professor and director of the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University in Boston. "Not only did they throw all these people off the payrolls, they also cut back on the hours of the people who stayed on the job."

As Professor Sum studied the data coming in from the recession, he realized that the carnage that occurred in the workplace was out of proportion to the economic hit that corporations were taking. While no one questions the severity of the downturn - the worst of the entire post-World War II period - the economic data show that workers to a great extent were shamefully exploited.

The recession officially started in December 2007. From the fourth quarter of 2007 to the fourth quarter of 2009, real aggregate output in the U.S., as measured by the gross domestic product, fell by about 2.5 percent. But employers cut their payrolls by 6 percent.

In many cases, bosses told panicked workers who were still on the job that they had to take pay cuts or cuts in hours, or both. And raises were out of the question. The staggering job losses and stagnant wages are central reasons why any real recovery has been so difficult.

"They threw out far more workers and hours than they lost output," said Professor Sum. "Here's what happened: At the end of the fourth quarter in 2008, you see corporate profits begin to really take off, and they grow by the time you get to the first quarter of 2010 by $572 billion. And over that same time period, wage and salary payments go down by $122 billion."

That kind of disconnect, said Mr. Sum, had never been seen before in all the decades since World War II.

In short, the corporations are making out like bandits. Now they're sitting on mountains of cash and they still are not interested in hiring to any significant degree, or strengthening workers' paychecks.

Productivity tells the story. Increases in the productivity of American workers are supposed to go hand in hand with improvements in their standard of living. That's how capitalism is supposed to work. That's how the economic pie expands, and we're all supposed to have a fair share of that expansion.

Corporations have now said the hell with that. Economists believe the nation may have emerged, technically, from the recession early in the summer of 2009. As Professor Sum writes in a new study for the labor market center, this period of economic recovery "has seen the most lopsided gains in corporate profits relative to real wages and salaries in our history."

Worker productivity has increased dramatically, but the workers themselves have seen no gains from their increased production. It has all gone to corporate profits. This is unprecedented in the postwar years, and it is wrong.

Having taken everything for themselves, the corporations are so awash in cash they don't know what to do with it all. Citing a recent article from Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Professor Sum noted that in July cash at the nation's nonfinancial corporations stood at $1.84 trillion, a 27 percent increase over early 2007. Moody's has pointed out that as a percent of total company assets, cash has reached a level not seen in the past half-century.

Executives are delighted with this ill-gotten bonanza. Charles D. McLane Jr. is the chief financial officer of Alcoa, which recently experienced a turnaround in profits and a 22 percent increase in revenue. As The Times reported this week, Mr. McLane assured investors that his company was in no hurry to bring back 37,000 workers who were let go since 2008. The plan is to minimize rehires wherever possible, he said, adding, "We're not only holding head-count levels, but are also driving restructuring this quarter that will result in further reductions."

There can be no robust recovery as long as corporations are intent on keeping idle workers sidelined and squeezing the pay of those on the job.

It doesn't have to be this way. Germany and Japan, because of a combination of government and corporate policies, suffered far less worker dislocation in the recession than the U.S. Until we begin to value our workers, and understand the critical importance of employment to a thriving economy, we will continue to see our standards of living decline.

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8) Army Broadens Inquiry Into WikiLeaks Disclosure
By ELISABETH BUMILLER
July 30, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/31/world/31wiki.html?ref=world

WASHINGTON - Army investigators are broadening their inquiry into the recent disclosure of classified military information to include friends and associates who may have helped the person they suspect was the leaker, Pfc. Bradley Manning, people with knowledge of the investigation said Friday.

Two civilians interviewed in recent weeks by the Army's criminal division said that investigators were focusing in part on a group of Private Manning's friends and acquaintances in Cambridge, Mass. Investigators, the civilians said, apparently believed that the friends, who include students from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Boston University, might have connections to WikiLeaks, which made the documents public.

It is unclear whether the investigators have specific evidence or are simply trying to determine whether one person working alone could have downloaded and disseminated tens of thousands of documents.

The Army has charged Private Manning with disclosing a classified video of an American helicopter attack to WikiLeaks, as well as more than 150,000 classified diplomatic cables. Military officials said Friday that the private was also the main suspect in the disclosure to WikiLeaks of more than 90,000 classified documents about the Afghan war, some of which were published this week by The New York Times, the German magazine Der Spiegel and the British newspaper The Guardian.

A military official acknowledged on Friday that Army investigators were looking into whether Private Manning physically handed compact discs containing classified information to someone in the United States. Private Manning, an intelligence analyst who was deployed over the past year in Iraq with the Second Brigade of the 10th Mountain Division at a remote base east of Baghdad, visited friends in Boston during a home leave in January.

Investigators believe that he exploited a loophole in Defense Department security to copy thousands of files onto compact discs over a six-month period. In at least one instance, according to people familiar with the inquiry, Private Manning smuggled highly classified data out of his intelligence unit on a disc made to look like a music CD by Lady Gaga.

Adrian Lamo, a computer hacker who this year traded instant messages with Private Manning, said in a telephone interview on Friday that he believed that WikiLeaks was in part directing Private Manning and providing technical assistance to him in downloading classified information from military computers. Military officials would not confirm Mr. Lamo's claim. Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, did not respond to an e-mail seeking comment.

Mr. Lamo, who turned Private Manning in to the authorities, is cooperating with the Army and has a strained relationship with WikiLeaks. Last month, WikiLeaks denounced Mr. Lamo, along with a Wired News reporter, Kevin Poulsen, who broke the story about Private Manning's arrest, as "notorious felons, informers and manipulators."

As Mr. Lamo characterized it in Friday's interview, Private Manning "was to a great extent manipulated by WikiLeaks." Mr. Lamo, who had extensive e-mail exchanges with Private Manning before reaching out to the authorities, said he believed that "there is at least one co-conspirator but probably more."

Mr. Lamo said that he believed that a person with ties to WikiLeaks had helped Private Manning set up encryption software that would have allowed him to e-mail small bits of classified data outside the military computer system without detection. According to Mr. Lamo, the small bits were meant to attract the notice of Mr. Assange.

Mr. Lamo acknowledged that he had no direct evidence that Private Manning had help. He said he based his belief on information from people who knew Private Manning, not on his contact with the soldier himself. Asked if Private Manning had ever told him of any WikiLeaks assistance, Mr. Lamo replied, "Not explicitly, no."

In one e-mail that Private Manning sent to Mr. Lamo in May, the private described his role with WikiLeaks as "a source, not quite a volunteer."

One of the civilians interviewed by the Army's criminal division, who asked for anonymity so that his name would not be associated with the inquiry, said Friday that the investigators' questions led him to believe that the Army was concerned that there were classified documents in the Boston area.

"I was under the impression that they believed that perhaps Bradley had used friends in Cambridge as a mechanism for moving documents," he said.

The civilian also said that the Army had offered him "a considerable amount of money if I were to keep my ear to the ground and be an in with them with WikiLeaks." He said that he had turned the Army down and that he had no connection to WikiLeaks. The other civilian also said in an interview on Friday that he had no connection to WikiLeaks.

The first civilian said it appeared from the questioning that Army investigators "are trying to build a network among Bradley's friends to infiltrate WikiLeaks."

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates denounced WikiLeaks on Thursday for endangering lives because it included the names and villages of Afghan informants in the documents released. He has asked the F.B.I. to assist in the Army inquiry. Unlike the military, the F.B.I. can prosecute civilians.

The Times, and the two other publications given access to the documents, posted online only selected examples from documents that had been redacted to eliminate names and other information that could be used to identify people at risk.

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9) Social Security Jitters? Better Prepare Now
By TARA SIEGEL BERNARD
July 30, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/31/your-money/31money.html?ref=us

If you are worried about the future of Social Security, join the crowd.

With the nation's debt swelling, the pressure on Washington to cut spending will only rise. Social Security may not be the first place lawmakers look. But the program, which has provided a significant financial cushion for retirees and others since the first checks were mailed in 1937, will surely be part of the discussion.

The program, which has its own dedicated stream of income, is projected to pay out more this year than it is taking in, but that is a function of the weak economy. Social Security will, according to the last annual report from its trustees, be able to pay full benefits through 2037. Then, if there are no changes in the program in the meantime, the taxes collected will be enough to pay out only about 75 percent of benefits through 2083.

So while Social Security's finances are stable in the short term, most experts agree that the program needs to be bolstered for the long term. Among the proposals circulating is one from Representative John Boehner of Ohio, the House Republican leader, who recently suggested raising the retirement age to 70 for people at least 20 years from retirement.

Other options include increasing Social Security payroll taxes, subjecting more income to the tax, reducing initial benefit payments or cutting cost-of-living increases (which would affect current retirees).

But even if it's not clear yet what, if anything, will be done to Social Security and when, we thought it would be useful to look at a worst-case possibility - to assume that benefits will not continue to be as generous. This is especially important as pensions continue to fade away.

So what are the financial implications of pushing back the full retirement age? What happens if the government reduces benefits for future retirees? What will that mean to people in the middle of their careers, beyond the rote response that they're going to have to work longer and save more?

Yes, it means fewer dinners out and driving a more economical car. But it also may mean that people in their 20s, 30s or even older have to put aside a lot more money to partly make up for any cut to benefits. Otherwise, people may risk a sudden drop in their living standard when they retire.

And while lawmakers may, in the end, not decide to make drastic changes in Social Security, many of the financial advisers and other experts we talked to said they were erring on the side of caution and were already recommending that their clients start saving more now.

"People 50 and below should change their planning now to incorporate a benefit cut," said Laurence J. Kotlikoff, an economics professor at Boston University who ran some numbers for us to see what life would be like if the retirement age were immediately raised to 70. That change would translate into a nearly 20 percent cut in benefits, because you would have to wait an extra three years to get the same amount of money, he added.

Several financial planners told us they were assuming that clients in their 30s and 40s might receive just 50 to 80 percent of their full benefits. Or, the advisers say, they may figure that the cost-of-living adjustments applied to benefits won't keep pace with inflation, or some other combination of adjustments. (For the record, executives from AARP said their polls had long shown that younger people were skeptical about receiving full benefits.)

"It's better to be conservative now than risk being underfunded for retirement," said Jorie Johnson, a financial planner in New Jersey.

Mr. Kotlikoff's calculations looked at how a couple's spending and saving patterns might have to change if the government raised the full retirement age to 70 (we assumed it was imposed right away, though such a change would probably be phased in over many years). That would essentially translate to a 19 percent cut in monthly benefits, according to Mr. Kotlikoff. He performed the calculations using his company's retirement planning software, ESPlanner, which shows what people need to save to ensure a consistent standard of living over the course of their lives.

Our examples illustrate how a cut in benefits might feel if you had longer to plan for it - say, you were 35 years old when the system changed. We also looked at the repercussions for a 45-year-old or a 55-year-old.

In all cases, we based our assumptions on a married couple with two children and a $350,000 mortgage on a house in New York State. They save 10 to 15 percent of their income during their careers (the rate rises as they age) as well as an additional $100,000 for their children's college education. They earn a conservative 2 percent above inflation on their retirement savings and retire at 65 but take Social Security benefits at 67, three years before full retirement age.

Some people may not have the wherewithal to save a whole lot more. Indeed, about half of all recipients start collecting benefits as soon as they're eligible, at age 62, because in some cases Social Security is their main income.

But here's how a family with more flexibility might fare:

AT 35 YEARS OLD At this stage, our couple are earning $120,000 ($60,000 each) and they have $75,000 in total retirement savings. But to make up for the decline in Social Security benefits, they need to save about $84,474 above and beyond what they are already saving before they retire. We assume they save the extra money in a taxable account that allows for easy access, because they are already saving 10 percent or more of their total income in a 401(k). That extra money saved is equivalent to about a 7.8 percent increase in total retirement savings, across all accounts. This also means they'll have less discretionary income - about 9.4 percent less to be exact - to spend each year, over the course of their lives.

AT 45 YEARS OLD Our couple now earn $140,000 and has amassed about $255,000 in a 401(k) account. But if they learn their Social Security benefits are going to be cut by nearly 20 percent, they will need to save nearly an extra $90,000 - which is about 8.3 percent more in their taxable and tax-deferred accounts - by the time they retire. To do that, they need to cut their discretionary spending by about 9.7 percent a year for the rest of their lives.

"They have a larger permanent reduction in their living standard than the 35-year-olds because they have fewer years to adjust," Professor Kotlikoff said. "They can't spread out the loss in spending power over as many years."

AT 55 YEARS OLD Informing people a mere decade from retirement that their Social Security payments will be cut or that the retirement age will rise, is not likely, experts said. Even so, let's assume the worst for a moment.

At 55, our couple are earning about $175,000, and has nearly $525,000 in total retirement savings. But to help offset the lost Social Security money, they will need to save $82,900 more - or nearly 7.7 percent across all accounts - over the next decade. To do that, they will have to spend 10.4 percent less each year.

"Increases in Social Security's retirement age is another way to say Social Security benefit cut," Professor Kotlikoff said. "And big benefit cuts, like those being contemplated, will mean big hits to the spending power of the affected generations. Younger cohorts would suffer less pain, but for a longer time, while older cohorts experience more pain for a shorter time. Either way you cut it, it hurts."

One financial planner, who has dual citizenship in the United States and Greece, said he was not taking chances. "Having seen what happened in Greece, I feel even more strongly today that I should not count on any Social Security for me and my younger clients," said the planner, George Papadopoulos, 43, of Novi, Mich. "I will continue to tell clients not to highly rely on Social Security and think of any money coming their way as gravy."

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10) Surface of Gulf of Mexico looks better, but millions of gallons of oil remain below
Bob Marshall, The Times-Picayune
Published: Thursday, July 29, 2010, 8:15 PM
http://www.nola.com/news/gulf-oil-spill/index.ssf/2010/07/surface_of_gulf_of_mexico_look.html

Charter captain Mike Frenette has been wondering whether the news media are living in a parallel universe. The Internet and mainstream media this week are filled with reports that the BP oil disaster is over, that the Gulf is now devoid of the slicks and sheen, and the marshes are no longer being bathed in crude.

This skimming boat was photographed Wednesday in a large stretch of oil from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico near Timbalier Bay.

That's not what he and his crew saw at the mouth of the Mississippi River and along the river's delta this week.

"There was more oil at South Pass Tuesday than I've seen since this whole thing started; it was really discouraging," Frenette said. "I don't know where everyone else is looking, but if they think there's no more oil out there, they should take a ride with me.

"I wish this thing was over so I could get back to fishing. But that's just not the case. We're a long way from finished with the oil."

Scientists and oil spill experts agree with Frenette. They say the Gulf might look cleaner on the surface right now, but there is probably hundreds of millions of gallons of BP's oil in tiny, hard-to-see droplets below the surface. And slicks like the one Frenette saw this week will still be floating to the surface for weeks and months to come.

For months a fleet of research vessels has been tracking clouds of diffused oil particles floating 3,300 to 4,300 feet below the surface, said Steve Murawski, NOAA's chief scientist for fisheries. The microscopic droplets were formed when the dispersant Corexit was pumped into the geyser of oil and methane that for 84 days rocketed into the Gulf from the failed wellhead 5,000 feet below the surface.

"These are tiny droplets, between 20 and 60 microns, and with the concentrations we're seeing (4 to 5 parts per million) when you put this in a beaker it looks like clear sea water," Murawski said. "You can't see it, but there's definitely components (of the oil) in the water."

A skimming boat is seen in a large stretch of oil from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico near Timbalier Bay on Wednesday.

Those findings run counter to the flurry of sunny news reports that flooded the Internet this week in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Bonnie. As the storm approached, officials braced for the long-feared worst-case scenario: A surge that would lift millions of gallons of crude from the Gulf and drive it deep into interior coastal wetlands, which have been largely untouched by the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

But when Bonnie fizzled and post-storm search crews looking for oil found little to report, the sigh of relief turned into bubbling optimism that the crisis might be over.

By Tuesday, however, reports of oil impacts began rising again. Frenette and Don Sutton, both captains on "vessels of opportunity" -- boats hired to help with the spill response -- saw their optimism crushed at the river's South Pass on Monday.

Frenette said the oil that flowed into and around South Pass was the thickest and largest concentration he had found since the disaster began April 20. Other captains told him, meanwhile, that they had seen long ribbons oil, with a mousse-like consistency, off the coast of Empire.

Sutton said he found lines of floating tar balls that stretched for more than 15 miles Tuesday and Wednesday.

"I followed a line that stretched from South Pass to Southwest Pass probably two to three miles off the shore," he said. "And that wasn't all we saw. There were patches of oil in that chocolate mousse stuff, slicks, and patches of grass with oil on them.

"The Gulf might look clear, but we're still seeing oil coming ashore."

Oil from the Gulf of Mexico spill is seen near an unprotected island near Timbalier Bay on Wednesday.

Doug Rader, chief ocean scientist for the Environmental Defense Fund, wasn't surprised by the deceptive appearance of the Gulf.

"The confusion comes with the word 'oil' itself," he said. "Most people hear 'oil' and they think of the dark, gloppy stuff that comes in the can at the automotive store, or from the barrels in Saudi Arabia.

"But oil is composed of many, many more components than the black stuff you see. And when that black stuff is gone, there's still plenty of those components -- many of which are extremely toxic -- still in the water."

Rader, like other marine scientists, is concerned the public will lose interest in the threat posed by the disaster once the surface is clear.

"If you go back and look at the sheer amount of oil dumped -- 60,000 barrels a day for 87 days -- you get about 220 million gallons," he said. "Of that, 11 million gallons were burned and 30-some million were collected, meaning about 50 million gallons were eliminated.

"That leaves you about 175 million gallons of oil-based pollution loose in the Gulf. And when it degrades from the thick stuff you can see, that doesn't mean it's all gone. There's still an untold amount of toxins from that oil in the marine environment."

Other sightings of possible impacts this week included a growing swatch of dead surf clams along the coast from Buras to Empire, and hundreds of starfish inching out of the water and onto the beach at the Chandeleur Island chain.

Ryan Lambert, who runs Cajuns Fishing Adventures in Buras, said he first noticed a small number of the nickel-sized clams washed up on a beach on Day 47 of the disaster. By Wednesday, the dead clams stretched for several miles in a band 10 feet wide.

"That first patch was maybe 6 feet by 10 feet, with maybe hundreds of clams, a lot of them wrapped around big old tar balls," he said. "Wednesday, there were millions of them.

"I've been down here 40 years. I've never seen that before."

The starfish were sighted by crew members working on vessels of opportunity who did not want to be quoted for fear of losing their jobs.

Marine biologists said both events could be the result of low dissolved oxygen levels, a common development in warm, summer months. Or they could be related to the oil.

Bob Marshall can be reached at rmarshall@timespicayune.com or 504.826.3539.

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11) Targeted Killing Is New U.S. Focus in Afghanistan
By HELENE COOPER and MARK LANDLER
July 31, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/01/world/asia/01afghan.html?hp

WASHINGTON - When President Obama announced his new war plan for Afghanistan last year, the centerpiece of the strategy - and a big part of the rationale for sending 30,000 additional troops - was to safeguard the Afghan people, provide them with a competent government and win their allegiance.

Eight months later, that counterinsurgency strategy has shown little success, as demonstrated by the flagging military and civilian operations in Marja and Kandahar and the spread of Taliban influence in other areas of the country.

Instead, what has turned out to work well is an approach American officials have talked much less about: counterterrorism, military-speak for the targeted killings of insurgents from Al Qaeda and the Taliban.

Faced with that reality, and the pressure of a self-imposed deadline to begin withdrawing troops by July 2011, the Obama administration is starting to count more heavily on the strategy of hunting down insurgents. The shift could change the nature of the war and potentially, in the view of some officials, hasten a political settlement with the Taliban.

Based on the American military experience in Iraq as well as Afghanistan, it is not clear that killing enemy fighters is sufficient by itself to cripple an insurgency. Still, commando raids over the last five months have taken more than 130 significant insurgents out of action, while interrogations of captured fighters have led to a fuller picture of the enemy, according to administration officials and diplomats.

American intelligence reporting has recently revealed growing examples of Taliban fighters who are fearful of moving into higher-level command positions because of these lethal operations, according to a senior American military officer who follows Afghanistan closely.

Judging that they have gained some leverage over the Taliban, American officials are now debating when to try to bring them to the negotiating table to end the fighting. Rattling the Taliban, officials said, may open the door to reconciling with them more quickly, even if the officials caution that the outreach is still deeply uncertain.

American military officials and President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan have begun a robust discussion about "to what degree these people are going to be allowed to have a seat at the table," one military official said. "The only real solution to Afghanistan has got to be political."

The evolving thinking comes at a time when the lack of apparent progress in the nearly nine-year war is making it harder for Mr. Obama to hold his own party together on the issue. And it raises questions about whether the administration is seeking a rationale for reducing troop levels as scheduled starting next summer even if the counterinsurgency strategy does not show significant progress by then.

A senior White House official said the administration hoped that its targeted killings, along with high-level contacts between Mr. Karzai and Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, Pakistan's army chief and a former head of its intelligence service - which is believed to have close links to the Taliban - would combine to pressure Taliban leaders to come to the negotiating table.

A long-awaited campaign to convert lower-level and midlevel Taliban fighters has finally begun in earnest, with Mr. Karzai signing a decree authorizing the reintegration program. With $200 million from Japan and other allies, and an additional $100 million in Pentagon money, American military officers will soon be handing out money to lure people away from the insurgency.

"We're not ready to make the qualitative judgment that the cumulative effects of what we are doing are enough to change their calculus yet," the White House official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly. But, reflecting the administration's hope that the killings are making a difference, he added, "If I were the Taliban, I'd be worried."

Mr. Obama's timetable calls for an assessment in December of how his strategy is faring. The administration has not yet begun a formal review of the policy. But while several officials said Mr. Obama remained committed to the strategy he set out at the end of last year, they conceded that the counterinsurgency part of it had lagged while the counterterrorism part had been more successful.

That divergence could lead to a replay of last year's policy debate, in which Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. pushed for a focus on capturing and killing terrorist leaders, while the Pentagon, including the current commander in Afghanistan, Gen. David H. Petraeus, pushed for a broader strategy that also included a strong focus on securing Afghan population centers with more troops.

Still, in an interview Thursday with "Today" on NBC, Mr. Biden appeared to reiterate his earlier stance.

"We are in Afghanistan for one express purpose: Al Qaeda," he said. "Al Qaeda exists in those mountains between Afghanistan and Pakistan. We are not there to nation-build. We're not out there deciding we're going to turn this into a Jeffersonian democracy and build that country."

The administration's shift in thinking is gradual but has been perceptible in the public remarks of various officials. The incoming commander of the military's Central Command, Gen. James N. Mattis, was asked last week by Senator Jack Reed, Democrat of Rhode Island, whether the administration's July 2011 date for starting to withdraw American troops implied a shift in emphasis from counterinsurgency to a strategy concentrating on killing terrorists.

"I think that is the approach, Senator," he replied.

The emerging American model can best be described as "counterterrorism, with some counterinsurgency strategy that forces the hands of insurgent leaders," said a diplomat with knowledge of the planning. It melds elements of both strategies in a policy that continues to evolve, as conditions change.

Some of the feelers to the Taliban are being put out by the Karzai government and some by the Pakistanis. Some, eventually, will be handled by General Petraeus and other military officials. Contacts are being kept under wraps, several officials said, because any evidence that insurgent leaders are talking to American or Afghan officials could be used against them by rival insurgents.

Another factor that has spurred talk of reconciliation is a classified military report, called "State of the Taliban," prepared by Task Force 373, a Special Operations team composed of the army's Delta Force and Navy Seals, which has captured insurgents and taken them to Bagram Air Base for interrogation.

While the report does not offer a silver bullet for how to deal with the Taliban, one official said that for the first time, it gives Americans and their allies "a rich vein of understanding of why the Taliban was fighting and what it would take them to stop." The report depicts the Taliban as spearheading a fractured insurgency, but one in which conservative Pashtun nationalism and respect for Afghan culture are both at play, this official said.

Despite deep American concerns about Pakistan's trustworthiness as an ally, Pakistan has also emerged in recent months as a potential agent for reconciliation. Mr. Karzai has held at least two meetings with General Kayani of Pakistan. American officials say they believe that their talks have not yet delved into the details of negotiations with insurgent leaders, but Pakistan is eager to play a role in talks with the Haqqani network, a major insurgent group based in the country that has close ties to its intelligence service.

The links between Mr. Karzai and General Kayani, officials said, helped seal a recent trade deal between Afghanistan and Pakistan, which required concessions on the part of the Pakistani military.

"The best hope for resolving Afghanistan lies in Pakistan, and we have made some progress there," said Senator John Kerry, the Massachusetts Democrat who is chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee and a frequent visitor to the region.

Eric Schmitt contributed reporting.

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12) Despite Rule, BP Used Dispersant, Panel Finds
By MATTHEW L. WALD
July 31, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/01/science/earth/01dispersants.html?hp

The Coast Guard approved dozens of requests by BP to spread hundreds of thousands of gallons of surface oil dispersants in the Gulf of Mexico despite the Environmental Protection Agency's directive on May 26 that they should be used only rarely, according to documents and correspondence analyzed by a Congressional subcommittee.

In some cases, the Coast Guard approved BP's requests even though the company did not set an upper limit on the amount of dispersant it planned to use.

The dispersants contributed to "a toxic stew of chemicals, oil and gas, with impacts that are not well understood," Representative Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts, the Democratic chairman of the House Subcommittee on Energy and Environment, wrote in a letter sent late Friday to Thad W. Allen, the retired Coast Guard admiral who is leading the federal response to the oil spill.

In a conference call on Saturday morning, Admiral Allen and Lisa P. Jackson, the E.P.A. administrator, said they had worked together closely and had come very near to achieving the agency's goal of reducing dispersant amounts by 75 percent.

On May 26, the E.P.A. directed BP to stop using dispersants on the ocean surface, except in "rare cases when there may have to be an exemption," and to limit use of the chemicals underwater.

But Mr. Markey's letter pointed to more than 74 exemption requests in 48 days, of which all but 10 were fully approved by the Coast Guard. In some cases, BP asked for permission after it had already applied the chemicals, the letter said. And in one case, the Coast Guard approved the use of a larger volume of dispersants than the company had applied for.

As an example of the conflicting numbers, Mr. Markey said that in a request filed on June 16, BP told the Coast Guard that in the previous several days it had used a maximum of 3,365 gallons of dispersant in a single day. But in e-mails to members of Congress giving updates on the spill response, the company said it had used 14,305 gallons of dispersant on June 12 and 36,000 gallons on June 13.

Admiral Allen and Ms. Jackson said they had reduced dispersant use by 72 percent. "In any government program I've worked in, that's pretty significant progress," Admiral Allen said.

Admiral Allen said his agency would try to reconcile the conflicting numbers that were issued during what he called "the equivalent of an environmental war."

The two officials said the government would conduct a postmortem evaluation of the effectiveness of skimming, burning and spreading dispersants to determine what had worked best.

But Ms. Jackson said, "There's absolutely no doubt that use of dispersants was one of several essential tools to mitigate this spill's impact."

A spokesman for BP, Scott Dean, also said he could not respond in detail because the company had not seen Mr. Markey's letter. But he said, "From the outset we've operated in a unified command that has included E.P.A. and the Coast Guard."

Mr. Dean said BP had worked "hand in glove" with the two agencies on dispersant decisions. Under the "joint command" structure set up in the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, the federal government and the oil company mount a response to a spill.

While it was known that BP continued the use of surface dispersant after the May 26 directive, it was not clear how much was being used. According to the documents analyzed by the committee, the company did cut back substantially on the use of underwater dispersants after the directive was issued.

The E.P.A. and the Coast Guard have both described the use of the dispersants as a trade-off. The chemicals break down blobs of oil into smaller droplets that are easier for naturally occurring bacteria to digest. But they can also have harmful effects on marine animals. And if the dispersants are too successful and allow a proliferation of bacteria, the bacteria can use up all the oxygen in the water and kill the fish and other organisms.

In testimony before Congress on July 15, Ms. Jackson said her agency had been looking for signs of unusually low oxygen levels and had not found them.

In his letter, Mr. Markey said the May 26 directive had "become more of a meaningless paperwork exercise than an attempt to abide by the directive and eliminate surface applications of chemical dispersants."

In fact, other government correspondence disclosed by Mr. Markey indicates a dispute within the E.P.A. about the proper use of dispersants. At one point, the Dallas regional office of the agency agreed that the incident command center, run by the Coast Guard and BP, should get blanket approval to use 5,000 gallons of dispersant a day, to "improve operational efficiency."

But the next day, the Dallas office rescinded that policy, saying that the center should make a request each evening about the amount it wanted to use the next day and that the agency would make a decision overnight.

Mr. Markey said that while the agency said on May 26 that applications for surface dispersant use should be rare, the Coast Guard, in approving the applications, cited routine factors like there being too much oil to skim.

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13) Deception by dispersal; the great Gulf oil tragedy
Rocky Kistner's Blog
July 30, 2010
http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/rkistner/the_pictures_below_were_all.html

The pictures below were all taken on July 28, 2010, just off the Gulf coast of Grand Bayou near Barataria Bay. They were taken shortly after cleanup authorities announced major surface oil had been cleaned up.

Yesterday, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal announced commercial fishing has been reopened in some areas of the bayou. The governor called this a "positive step" and called for more testing "so commercial fishermen across our coast can get back in the water."

You would think this kind of news would have people like Clint Guidry, president of the Louisiana Shrimp Association, dancing in the aisles.

But he's not.

In fact, he's downright discouraged about it. The way he figures, BP and the myriad of state and federal agencies monitoring this historic mess need to slow down and do more testing. They need to make damn sure the oil is gone before they allow shrimp boats to drag their nets along the muddy bottom of the Mississippi delta, stirring up huge swaths of chemical dispersant-laden oil that lies under surface of the Gulf and the bayou. If that happens, Guidry and most fishermen around here know all it will take is for one oily contaminated batch of shrimp to make it to market and end their season-and perhaps their careers.

Why are Guidry and everyone else worried? In a word: dispersants, the magical chemical concoction that BP has been spraying madly everywhere for the past three months. According to BP cleanup workers and local residents, they're still spraying, even spraying close to shore at night.

"They're burying it, "Guidry says. "That amount of oil doesn't just disappear overnight. It's got to be somewhere. If they haven't captured it on the surface or on the shorelines, then it's got to be on the bottom. And that's the last place you want it to be if you're a shrimp boat fisherman."

Guidry and many other fishermen I've talked to agree that BP's intent all along has been to bury the oil underwater and keep it out of sight. Some biologists agree that keeping it underwater and out of the marshes is best. But many fishermen think once it gets on the bottom, it can't be retrieved or cleaned up. It's stuck in the muck. And if it gets stirred up by boat or by storm, it will not be a pretty picture.

Dean Blanchard is president of the Blanchard's Seafood, the largest shrimp distributor in the state. He's worried too. He's seen and heard dispersant planes flying around nearby Barataria Bay, one of the hardest hit areas by the oil. "They're just sinking it," Blanchard says. "It's not being cleaned up." BP denies it's applying dispersants close to shore. But that's not true according to residents in Grand Isle, who were attending a town hall meeting there last night. They've seen them and heard them flyuing nearby, especially at night when the cleanup crews come in.

Several fishermen involved in BP's cleanup operation have told me that crews who've spotted oil on the water and have tried to skim it up but were waived off by BP and told to evacuate the area. They say BP then flew in dispersant planes to spray it so it sank.

"They're just trying to hide it," said one cleanup worker. "Then they'll leave us with nothing to fish."

The people who sell shrimp are worried too. "I don't know what I would do," says Karen Hopkins, who works at Blanchard Seafood, which normally sells 13-15 million pounds of shrimp a year. "After all the dispersants they've been using around here, I don't trust anyone right now to tell me it's safe."

Trust. That's a feeling severely lacking in the fishing community here. No one trusts anyone after three months of anxiety and depression, watching wave and wave of oil pour into their fishing grounds. They don't trust BP, the Louisiana fish and wildlife agencies, the EPA or virtually every politician who parades through these communities with false promises and grandstanding accusations. They've seen it before during Katrina. Now they're seeing it again. Some people who are connected are making good money off the misfortune of others. Most are just trying to get by.

Two days ago, I took a late afternoon boat ride with Eric Tiser, a member of the Houma Tribe and a fisherman who was born and raised in Venice. Tiser has never been hired by BP to do cleanup work, although he knows the bayou like the back of his hand. He says many of his friends haven't gotten any work too. But plenty of out-of- towners with political connections have, some of them getting hired on with three or four boats a piece. That's $2,500 a day for captains and $1,200 a day for deckhands. Not a bad wage around here--or anywhere. But some fishermen like Tiser haven't seen a day of work for BP.

Tiser took me out through the labyrinth of canals that crisscross the Louisiana delta and out to Barataria Bay and to the Gulf. We rode in a small skiff along the seashore. The beach was deserted, but there was evidence of cleanup workers everywhere; bags, boom and ever port-a-potties along stretches of beach that were inaccessible to the public.

As we cruised along we came upon sheens of oil, patches of red, crusty orange globs of crude mixed with dispersants that looked like spongy orange cake batter floating in the saltwater. Some patches were milky white, the color of dispersants, and some bright orange. Some areas were green, where it appeared droplets of oil stretched down to the murky bottom. The smell was overpowering, like being stuck in a gas station with all the pumps nozzles pointing at your face. It gave you a headache just being there. I had one the next day.

But probably the most disturbing thing was the sea life, or lack of it. We would see occasional fish dart around in the water, some of them doing circles at the surface before dropping to the bottom in a death spiral. A few pelicans flew by, and some porpoise swam in the cleaner patches of water. But the sea life was not abundant, and it seemed more like the Dead Sea than the most vibrant fishing ground in the world. Along the shore, oil was everywhere. Tiser sank into the mud and pulled out an oil-soaked foot that had become stuck in a glob of petroleum-tainted marshland mud.

"This is cleaned up?" Tiser asked. "They've sunk most of the oil. They don't want to clean it up. They want to bury it and leave it here for us."

Seeing this oil---some of the worst I've seen in many boat trips here since early May-was very sad to see. But what is more discouraging is the story line now being promoted by BP---and in the press. The oil spill is over, the dangers have been hyped. And look... even the marshes are coming back!

Well, I'm sorry to report that the fishermen I've come to know well and to trust, tough men and women who have survived horrific storms most Americans will never see, have a different story to tell. This disaster is not over, they say. It's just beginning.

Perhaps someday those who are covering it up-quite literally-will be exposed. But by then, it will be too late. And we all will suffer for it.

(All photos by NRDC, on Flickr.)

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14) Defining Prosperity Down
By PAUL KRUGMAN
August 1, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/02/opinion/02krugman.html?hp

I'm starting to have a sick feeling about prospects for American workers - but not, or not entirely, for the reasons you might think.

Yes, growth is slowing, and the odds are that unemployment will rise, not fall, in the months ahead. That's bad. But what's worse is the growing evidence that our governing elite just doesn't care - that a once-unthinkable level of economic distress is in the process of becoming the new normal.

And I worry that those in power, rather than taking responsibility for job creation, will soon declare that high unemployment is "structural," a permanent part of the economic landscape - and that by condemning large numbers of Americans to long-term joblessness, they'll turn that excuse into dismal reality.

Not long ago, anyone predicting that one in six American workers would soon be unemployed or underemployed, and that the average unemployed worker would have been jobless for 35 weeks, would have been dismissed as outlandishly pessimistic - in part because if anything like that happened, policy makers would surely be pulling out all the stops on behalf of job creation.

But now it has happened, and what do we see?

First, we see Congress sitting on its hands, with Republicans and conservative Democrats refusing to spend anything to create jobs, and unwilling even to mitigate the suffering of the jobless.

We're told that we can't afford to help the unemployed - that we must get budget deficits down immediately or the "bond vigilantes" will send U.S. borrowing costs sky-high. Some of us have tried to point out that those bond vigilantes are, as far as anyone can tell, figments of the deficit hawks' imagination - far from fleeing U.S. debt, investors have been buying it eagerly, driving interest rates to historic lows. But the fearmongers are unmoved: fighting deficits, they insist, must take priority over everything else - everything else, that is, except tax cuts for the rich, which must be extended, no matter how much red ink they create.

The point is that a large part of Congress - large enough to block any action on jobs - cares a lot about taxes on the richest 1 percent of the population, but very little about the plight of Americans who can't find work.

Well, if Congress won't act, what about the Federal Reserve? The Fed, after all, is supposed to pursue two goals: full employment and price stability, usually defined in practice as an inflation rate of about 2 percent. Since unemployment is very high and inflation well below target, you might expect the Fed to be taking aggressive action to boost the economy. But it isn't.

It's true that the Fed has already pushed one pedal to the metal: short-term interest rates, its usual policy tool, are near zero. Still, Ben Bernanke, the Fed chairman, has assured us that he has other options, like holding more mortgage-backed securities and promising to keep short-term rates low. And a large body of research suggests that the Fed could boost the economy by committing to an inflation target higher than 2 percent.

But the Fed hasn't done any of these things. Instead, some officials are defining success down.

For example, last week Richard Fisher, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, argued that the Fed bears no responsibility for the economy's weakness, which he attributed to business uncertainty about future regulations - a view that's popular in conservative circles, but completely at odds with all the actual evidence. In effect, he responded to the Fed's failure to achieve one of its two main goals by taking down the goalpost.

He then moved the other goalpost, defining the Fed's aim not as roughly 2 percent inflation, but rather as that of "keeping inflation extremely low and stable."

In short, it's all good. And I predict - having seen this movie before, in Japan - that if and when prices start falling, when below-target inflation becomes deflation, some Fed officials will explain that that's O.K., too.

What lies down this path? Here's what I consider all too likely: Two years from now unemployment will still be extremely high, quite possibly higher than it is now. But instead of taking responsibility for fixing the situation, politicians and Fed officials alike will declare that high unemployment is structural, beyond their control. And as I said, over time these excuses may turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy, as the long-term unemployed lose their skills and their connections with the work force, and become unemployable.

I'd like to imagine that public outrage will prevent this outcome. But while Americans are indeed angry, their anger is unfocused. And so I worry that our governing elite, which just isn't all that into the unemployed, will allow the jobs slump to go on and on and on.

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15) Indigenous Tribes Resist Dam Construction By Taking Workers Hostage
posted by: Natasha G.
August 1, 2010
http://www.care2.com/causes/human-rights/blog/indigenous-tribes-resist-dam-construction-by-taking-workers-hostage/

As corporations construct hydroelectric dams in the Amazon, one small dam in Mato Grosso, Brazil has generated a large outcry and resistance from the indigenous peoples who live there.

The energy company Aguas da Pedra dynamited what turned out to be a sacred ancestral burial ground for the Arara tribe in order to construct the Dardanelos dam. In response, 11 tribes led by the Arara, Cinta Larga and Rikbaktsa took over the site and held nearly 100 construction workers hostage. They demanded that the construction be halted and that the company pay 10 million reais (5.7 million USD) in compensation for the loss of the burial ground and damage of the Aripuanã river, whose waters have become polluted and fish have almost completely disappeared. If the company did not concede, they would set the dam on fire.

A day after taking the workers hostage, 26 were released in exchange for 5 project engineers and managers. Days later all hostages were released, with a meeting scheduled this week for representatives of the Dardanelos dam and the state's National Foundation for Indigenous Affairs.

Antonio Carlos Ferreira Aquino, local coordinator of the National Foundation for Indigenous Affairs explained that the money demanded was not for the indigenous peoples' pockets. "What they want is a sustainable program in the area that will recover the loss they have suffered in this archaeological site."

Besides losing the burial ground, the Arara and other tribes have been hit hard by the pollution of the Aripuanã river due to construction. According to Survivors International, they have caught almost no fish in the past two years and had to rely on farmed fish brought by the government.

In Mato Grosso alone there are 33 tribes, with an estimated 250,000 people. There are 77 hydroelectric dams planned for upstream of the area, with 5 already in construction.

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16) Cuba to Cut Workers and Relax Business Rules
"Those who are laid off, he said, will be retrained or reassigned."
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
August 1, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/02/world/americas/02cuba.html?ref=world

HAVANA (AP) - The Cuban government will scale back controls on small businesses, lay off unnecessary workers and allow more self-employment, President Raúl Castro said Sunday, major steps in a country where the state dominates nearly every facet of the economy.

But Mr. Castro, speaking at the opening session of Parliament, also scoffed at what he said was media speculation that Cuba planned sweeping economic changes to dig itself out of a financial crisis. "With experience accumulated in more than 55 years of revolutionary struggle, it doesn't seem like we're doing too badly, nor that desperation or frustration have been our companions along the way," he said.

About 95 percent of all Cubans work for the government, a sector Mr. Castro called "considerably bloated." Those who are laid off, he said, will be retrained or reassigned.

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17) Rule Limiting Legal Services in Terror Cases Is Challenged
By CHARLIE SAVAGE
August 3, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/04/world/asia/04terror.html?hp

WASHINGTON - A group of human-rights lawyers filed a lawsuit on Tuesday challenging a federal regulation that restricts their ability to provide legal services to certain terrorism suspects. At the same time, they unveiled broader plans to contest the Obama administration's decision to authorize the military and the C.I.A. to kill a United States citizen suspected of ties to Al Qaeda.

The lawyers asked a federal district court judge in Washington to strike down a Treasury Department rule requiring them to obtain a license before they can work on a lawsuit against the administration's efforts to kill Anwar Al-Awlaki, a radical Muslim cleric who was born in New Mexico and is believed to be hiding in Yemen.

"The same government that is seeking to kill Anwar Al-Awlaki has prohibited attorneys from contesting the legality of the government's decision to use lethal force against him," says the complaint, which was jointly filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Constitutional Rights.

A Treasury Department spokeswoman had no immediate comment on the lawsuit over its licensing requirement. But last month, when the department labeled Mr. Awlaki a Specially Designated Global Terrorist, Stuart Levey, the Treasury Department's Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, said Mr. Awlaki posed a threat to national security.

"Anwar al-Awlaki has proven that he is extraordinarily dangerous, committed to carrying out deadly attacks on Americans and others worldwide," Mr. Levey said at the time. "He has involved himself in every aspect of the supply chain of terrorism - fundraising for terrorist groups, recruiting and training operatives, and planning and ordering attacks on innocents."

It has been widely reported that the Obama administration placed Mr. Awlaki on a target list earlier this year, after a Nigerian man who was charged with attempting to blow up a Detroit-bound airliner on Dec. 25 told interrogators that Mr. Awlaki had directed him to undertake the attack.

Mr. Awlaki's father contends that his son is not the terrorist that the administration portrays him to be. He retained the two advocacy groups on July 7 to pursue a legal challenge to his son's inclusion on a list of people to be killed by American forces or agents without a trial. Working without compensation, they began developing a lawsuit over whether the executive branch could lawfully carry out such a killing in the face of the Constitution's protection against being deprived of life "without due process of law."

The lawsuit could test of some of the most deeply contested disputes to arise in the conflict against Al Qaeda - including whether the entire world is a battlefield for legal purposes, or whether terrorism suspects who are found away from combat zones must, in the absence of an imminent threat, instead be treated as criminals and given trials.

But on July 16 - before the advocates were ready to file such a lawsuit- the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Asset Control announced that it was applying the global terrorist designation to Mr. Awlaki. That step blocked Mr. Awlaki's assets and made it a crime for Americans to engage in transactions with him or for his benefit without a license from the office.

The groups applied for such a license on July 23, stressing that there was no time for delay. But the Treasury Department has yet to respond to its application.

The lawsuit seeks a judicial ruling that requiring such a license in these circumstances is illegal, contending that the regulation exceeds the Treasury Department's statutory authority, violates the lawyers' own constitutional rights, and lacks sufficient standards and safeguards. However, it also says the groups would accept a ruling simply ordering the government to issue a license immediately.

"Targeting Americans for execution without any form of due process while at the same time obstructing lawyers' ability to challenge that policy is fundamentally un-American," said Anthony Romero, the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union.

Lawyers for the groups acknowledge that they could face many legal obstacles beyond the licensing requirement. The government could try to block the lawsuit on threshold questions, such as by challenging Mr. Awlaki's father's standing to sue, or by asserting that the dispute cannot be litigated because the targeted-killings policy is a matter of state secrets.

Mr. Awlaki, 39, was once an imam at mosques in the United States who had a reputation as a moderate. But in 2004, he moved to Yemen and produced a series of sermons and writings calling on Muslims to wage violent war against the United States. Many of the sermons have circulated widely on the Internet.

Officials contend that since 2004, Mr. Awlaki has evolved from serving as an inspirational figure to Islamist jihadists to a more "operational" role. In designating him for its global terrorist list last month, the Treasury Department said that Mr. Awlaki had pledged an oath of loyalty to the leader of Al Qaeda's Yemeni branch, had recruited people to join the group, had facilitated terrorist training camps in Yemen, had solicited funding for terrorism, and had helped to focus the branch's attention "on planning attacks on U.S. interests."

Vince Warren, the executive director of the Center for Constitutional Rights, argued that international law does not permit a government to kill people far from combat zones, calling that policy assassination. And in the case of a United States citizen like Mr. Awlaki, he contended, such a policy is also a violation of the Constitution's Fifth Amendment - and a dangerous precedent.

"The governmental talking points around what is at stake does not make constitutional law," Mr. Warren said. "We are trying to take this out of the realm of Sunday morning talk shows and put these issues before a court so the government can set forth the evidence."

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18) Gulf Spill Is the Largest of Its Kind, Scientists Say
By CAMPBELL ROBERTSON and CLIFFORD KRAUSS
August 2, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/03/us/03spill.html?ref=us

NEW ORLEANS - The BP spill is by far the world's largest accidental release of oil into marine waters, according to the most precise estimates yet of the well's flow rate, announced by federal scientists on Monday.

Nearly five million barrels of oil have gushed from BP's well - and about 800,000 have been captured by containment efforts -since the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded on April 20, according to the latest data. That amount outstrips the estimated 3.3 million barrels spilled into the Bay of Campeche by the Mexican rig Ixtoc I in 1979, previously believed to be the world's largest accidental release.

The BP spill was already thought to be the largest spill in American waters, but it was unclear whether it had eclipsed Ixtoc.

"We've never had a spill of this magnitude in the deep ocean," said Ian R. MacDonald, a professor of oceanography at Florida State University.

"These things reverberate through the ecosystem," he said. "It is an ecological echo chamber, and I think we'll be hearing the echoes of this, ecologically, for the rest of my life."

Federal science and engineering teams, citing data that are "the most accurate to date," estimated that 53,000 barrels of oil a day were pouring from the well just before BP was able to cap it on July 15. They also estimated that the daily flow rate had diminished over time, starting at about 62,000 barrels a day and decreasing as the reservoir of hydrocarbons feeding the gusher was gradually depleted. Before Monday's announcement, federal scientific teams had estimated the spill in a range from 35,000 to 60,000 barrels a day.

The teams believe that the current estimates are accurate to within 10 percent.

As the estimates of the number of barrels spilled increases, so, too, do the penalties under the Clean Water Act, which calls for fines of $1,100 per barrel, or $4,300 per barrel if the government finds that gross negligence led to the spill.

At 4.9 million barrels, that means that the total fine could be $5.4 billion - and, if gross negligence led to the spill, $21 billion. If BP successfully argues that the 800,000 barrels it has recovered should mitigate the penalty, then the figure drops to $4.5 billion and $17.6 billion, respectively.

The amount of oil estimated to be pouring from the well has been a matter of dispute from the earliest days of the spill. Federal and BP officials initially announced that no oil appeared to be leaking, then 1,000 barrels a day, then 5,000 a day, frequently repeating that spill estimates are rough at best and that the main goal was to stop the well. But criticism mounted that no effort was being made to measure the leak with more certainty.

The Obama administration announced the creation of a scientific group dedicated to analyzing the flow rate, which came up with a new estimate of 12,000 to 19,000 barrels a day in late May, a figure that was met with skepticism. That, too, was later revised upward several times before Monday's announcement. Previous estimates came from analysis of videos from remote-controlled vehicles at the wellhead, modeling of the reservoir and measurements of the oil that was collected by surface ships in the response effort.

After BP capped the well, these measurements could be reinforced by pressure readings within the well. Those pressure readings were compared with pressure estimates when the well was first drilled to determine whether the rate had changed over time, which it apparently had.

The government is continuing to study the data and may refine the estimate.

Meanwhile, BP continued efforts Monday to permanently seal the well. It said it was preparing to conduct final testing on Tuesday to determine whether to go ahead with a plan to pump heavy drilling mud into the runaway Macondo well, in hopes of permanently sealing it by the end of the week.

During the tests, a surface ship will slowly inject small amounts of mud into the well to make sure the mud will reach the oil reservoir from the column of pipes and valves that sit atop it. If that is accomplished, BP will pump higher volumes of mud, and possibly cement, into the well, in an operation known as a static kill or bullheading.

BP executives said Monday that they expected positive results from the tests, which will also check the pressure of the well to ensure that it is safe to pump the mud.

The efforts come 18 days after BP placed a tight-fitting cap on the well that put a temporary end to months of leaking. Engineers had planned to begin the tests on Monday but had to delay when they found a small hydraulic leak in the capping control system above the well.

Kent Wells, senior vice president for exploration and production at BP, said on Monday that a day or two after the pumping of mud began, engineers would consider pumping cement into the well, which could permanently plug it. Engineers might also decide to wait for a relief well to be completed before pumping cement in. There is also a chance that they will pump cement during the static kill and later through the relief well, to make sure the runaway well is sealed.

"We want to end up with cement in the bottom of the hole, completely filling the entire Macondo well," Mr. Wells said Monday. "Whether that comes from the top or whether it comes from the relief well, those will be decisions made along the way."

An estimated 2,000 pounds of mud is to be flooded into the well this week.

Thad W. Allen, the retired Coast Guard admiral who is leading the federal response to the spill, cautioned against rushing to declare the static kill a final victory over the well. "I don't think we can see this as the end-all, be-all, until we actually get the relief wells done," he said.

Mr. Wells said the last 100 feet of the first of two relief wells should be completed by Aug. 15. A final killing of the well by pouring mud and cement just above the reservoir could take a few days or as much as a few weeks. If the first relief well somehow misses its target, a second one is being drilled for insurance.

Campbell Robertson reported from New Orleans, and Clifford Krauss from Houston. Catrin Einhorn and John Schwartz contributed reporting from New York.

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19) Survey Finds Broad Anxiety Among Gulf Residents
"More than a third report children with new rashes or breathing problems, or who are nervous, fearful or 'very sad' since the spill began. And even though the gusher of oil has been stanched, almost a quarter of residents still fear that they will have to move."
By SHAILA DEWAN
August 2, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/03/us/03gulf.html?ref=us

ATLANTA - When it comes to getting information about the BP oil spill, Gulf Coast residents trust Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana more than Gov. Haley Barbour of Mississippi, and they trust Mr. Barbour more than President Obama.

Most of them do not think it is safe to eat local seafood.

More than a third report children with new rashes or breathing problems, or who are nervous, fearful or "very sad" since the spill began. And even though the gusher of oil has been stanched, almost a quarter of residents still fear that they will have to move.

Those are some of the findings of the first major survey of Gulf Coast residents conducted since the BP well was capped. The survey, conducted from July 19 to 25 by the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University, suggests that the spill's effects have not been contained along with the oil itself.

"There's been a very overt effort by BP and the Coast Guard to project a sense that the crisis is over, but this is far from the case," said Dr. Irwin Redlener, the director of the center and president of the Children's Health Fund, a sponsor of the survey. "Our survey shows a persistent and overwhelming level of anxiety among families living near the coast, driven by both medical symptoms in their children as well as a substantial level of psychological stress."

The survey included 1,200 coastal residents in Louisiana and Mississippi, most of whom live within 10 miles of the ocean.

One in five reported that their household income had dropped since the spill. Forty-three percent said they had been directly exposed to oil, either at beaches, on their property or in helping with the cleanup. Those who had been exposed were more than twice as likely to report that their children had developed physical or mental health problems since the spill. Also, families that had more concerns about their children's mental health were more likely to report that they are considering moving.

One respondent, Shannon Drury, a mother of four in Venice, La., said her husband, a commercial fisherman, had been working for BP but was owed six weeks' pay. For a time after the spill, Ms. Drury was forced to find work as a houseboat cleaner, coming home exhausted at night.

Ms. Drury's 11-year-old daughter has grown more insecure, she said. Another child has developed a mysterious rash that Ms. Drury suspects is infected. Tensions over money, she said, reminded her of the warning from a visiting speaker from Alaska, who said the divorce rate there had skyrocketed after the Exxon Valdez disaster.

"I realize what the woman was talking about now, because it puts different strains on your family from what you've been used to," Ms. Drury said.

Another survey respondent, Sherry Mareno, 39, a Buras, La., fisherman who lost her job after the spill, is trying to sell her house and leave the Gulf Coast. She and her 11-year-old son both developed serious skin rashes, and she blames the chemical dispersants used to fight the oil.

"Mentally it's putting a strain on me and my whole family," said Ms. Mareno, a mother of two whose husband, a fisherman, also lost his job. "I'm just ready to get my family out of here."

Dr. Redlener acknowledged that it was difficult to pinpoint which ailments were related to the spill, but he said the researchers had made an effort to be conservative. The study excluded any children who had emotional or behavioral problems before the spill from its calculation that 19 percent of children had developed such problems.

It is not clear how much money is available to pay for mental health treatment for parents and children. Kenneth Feinberg, who is administering the BP claims process, has said mental health claims will not be covered. BP is considering requests from Mississippi and Louisiana for $39 million to cover mental health treatment through October 2011. Ms. Drury said that her church was starting a family counseling program, but that she had not had any other offers of help.

Physical health problems will be covered under the claims process, a spokesman for BP said.

Governor Jindal won praise for both his handling of the spill and for his trustworthiness, with 78 percent of Louisiana residents saying they trusted him "a great deal" or "a good amount." He was trailed by local officials (75 percent), the Coast Guard (73 percent) and, among Mississippians, Governor Barbour (58 percent). Forty-eight percent of the respondents said they trusted Mr. Obama, and 31 percent said they trusted BP officials.

The survey showed some other differences in attitudes between Mississippi and Louisiana. In Louisiana, fewer than half of the participants said they thought it was not safe to eat gulf seafood. But in Mississippi, where the seafood industry is smaller, three-quarters were of the opinion that local seafood was not safe. Mississippi families were more likely to have cut back on beach trips and fishing than Louisiana families.

Fewer than 5 percent of the respondents said they had received any compensation from BP.

Robbie Brown contributed reporting.

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20) A Mailroom Mix-Up That Could Cost a Life
By ADAM LIPTAK
August 2, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/03/us/03bar.html?ref=us

WASHINGTON

Sullivan & Cromwell is a law firm with glittering offices in a dozen cities around the world, and some of its partners charge more than $1,000 an hour. The firm's paying clients, at least, demand impeccable work.

Cory R. Maples, a death row inmate in Alabama, must have been grateful when lawyers from the firm agreed to represent him without charge. But the assistance he got may turn out to be lethal.

When an Alabama court sent two copies of a ruling in Mr. Maples's case to the firm in New York, its mailroom sent them back unopened.

One envelope had "Return to Sender - Left Firm" written across the front along with a stamp that said "Return to Sender - Attempted Not Known." The other was stamped with slightly different language: "Return to Sender - Attempted Unknown."

Two associates handling Mr. Maples's case had indeed left the firm, but it seems that no one bothered to tell the court or the mailroom that new lawyers there had stepped in. By the time Mr. Maples's mother called, her son's time to appeal had run out.

The firm's name did not appear on the papers it had submitted in Alabama. The reason for that is not clear, but it may have been to avoid offending corporate clients. It certainly added to the confusion in the mailroom.

Sullivan & Cromwell has worked hard to undo the damage, but it has so far failed to persuade the courts to waive the deadline for filing an appeal. After losing in the federal appeals court in Atlanta, the firm persuaded a former United States solicitor general, Gregory G. Garre, to represent Mr. Maples in the Supreme Court.

Last month, Mr. Garre asked the justices to hear the case. The core of his argument - one that might convince a schoolchild if not a federal judge - is that Mr. Maples should not be blamed for a mistake he did not commit.

Variations on Mr. Garre's argument arrive at the Supreme Court all the time. For the most part, they are rejected, on a theory that is as casually accepted in criminal justice as it is offensive to principles of moral philosophy.

Mr. Maples's case "is a textbook illustration of why the doctrine of imputing responsibility to the client for a lawyer's mistake is so out of touch with reality," said Deborah L. Rhode, an authority on indigent defense and legal ethics at Stanford.

There is substantial evidence that Mr. Maples murdered two companions after a night of drinking. It is less clear that the crime warranted the death penalty, which is said to be reserved for the worst of the worst.

Mr. Maples's court-appointed trial lawyers were novices at presenting evidence about the appropriate penalty, conceding to the jury that they "may appear to be stumbling around in the dark." Even so, the jury vote in favor of recommending the death penalty was the bare minimum under Alabama law, 10 to 2.

Alabama is the only state that does not provide all poor death row inmates with lawyers to challenge their convictions and sentences. In an appeals court brief in 2006, the state explained that it relied on fancy firms like Sullivan & Cromwell to handle such cases.

"The overwhelming majority of Alabama death row inmates enjoy the assistance of qualified (and often über-qualified) counsel in collaterally attacking their convictions and sentences," the state's lawyers wrote, which is another way of saying that lawyers from prominent firms donate their services to fill the gap left by the state.

In the Maples case, Judge Glenn E. Thompson, of the Circuit Court in Morgan County, Alabama, was not willing to cut the pro bono lawyers before him any slack. He said deadlines were deadlines and ruled that a court clerk was not required to do anything to follow up when life-or-death rulings came back from Sullivan & Cromwell unopened.

"How can a circuit court clerk in Decatur, Ala., know what is going on in a law firm in New York, N.Y.?" Judge Thompson asked.

An Alabama lawyer, John G. Butler Jr., also represented Mr. Maples, and there is no dispute that he received a copy of the crucial ruling.

But Mr. Butler said in a sworn statement that he was Mr. Maples's lawyer in name only, serving as local counsel because the New York lawyers were not licensed to practice in Alabama. He said he had not passed the ruling along to his co-counsel or to his client.

Nor did the court clerk think to inform the man whose life was at stake. A federal appeals court last year said that was Mr. Maples's fault. "Maples never requested the clerk to give him personal notice in addition to his counsel," an unsigned opinion for a divided three-judge panel of the court said.

A spokesman for Sullivan & Cromwell declined to comment on the case, citing the pending Supreme Court petition.

That petition discussed a precedent that might seem instructive.

In 2006, in Jones v. Flowers, the Supreme Court considered what sort of notice must be given when the government wants to sell a home for unpaid taxes. If a letter is returned unopened, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote for the majority, officials must try harder to reach the owner.

"This is especially true," he wrote, "when, as here, the subject matter of the letter concerns such an important and irreversible prospect as the loss of a house."

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21) California: Ban on Affirmative Action Is Upheld
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
August 2, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/03/us/politics/03brfs-BANONAFFIRMA_BRF.html?ref=us

The State Supreme Court on Monday upheld California's 14-year-old law barring preferential treatment of women and minorities in public school admissions, government hiring and contracting. In a 6-to-1 ruling, the court rejected arguments from the City of San Francisco and Attorney General Jerry Brown that the law, known as Proposition 209, violates federal equality protections. Opponents of the ban say it creates barriers for minorities and women that do not exist for other groups, like veterans seeking preference.

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22) 99 Weeks Later, Jobless Have Only Desperation
By MICHAEL LUO
August 2, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/03/us/03unemployed.html?ref=us

BRATTLEBORO, Vt. - Facing eviction from her Tennessee apartment after several months of unpaid rent, Alexandra Jarrin packed up whatever she could fit into her two-door coupe recently and drove out of town.

Ms. Jarrin, 49, wound up at a motel here, putting down $260 she had managed to scrape together from friends and from selling her living room set, enough for a weeklong stay. It was essentially all the money she had left after her unemployment benefits expired in March. Now she is facing a previously unimaginable situation for a woman who, not that long ago, had a corporate job near New York City and was enrolled in a graduate business school, whose sticker is still emblazoned on her back windshield.

"Barring a miracle, I'm going to be in my car," she said.

Ms. Jarrin is part of a hard-luck group of jobless Americans whose members have taken to calling themselves "99ers," because they have exhausted the maximum 99 weeks of unemployment insurance benefits that they can claim.

For them, the resolution recently of the lengthy Senate impasse over extending jobless benefits was no balm. The measure renewed two federal programs that extended jobless benefits in this recession beyond the traditional 26 weeks to anywhere from 60 to 99 weeks, depending on the state's unemployment rate. But many jobless have now exceeded those limits. They are adjusting to a new, harsh reality with no income.

In June, with long-term unemployment at record levels, about 1.4 million people were out of work for 99 weeks or more, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Not all of them received unemployment benefits, but for many of those who did, the modest payments were a lifeline that enabled them to maintain at least a veneer of normalcy, keeping a roof over their heads, putting gas in their cars, paying electric and phone bills.

Without the checks, many like Ms. Jarrin, who lost her job as director of client services at a small technology company in March 2008, are beginning to tumble over the economic cliff. The last vestiges of their former working-class or middle-class lives are gone; it is inescapable now that they are indigent.

Ms. Jarrin said she wept as she drove away from her old life last month, wondering if she would ever be able to reclaim it.

"At one point, I thought, you know, what if I turned the wheel in my car and wrecked my car?" she said.

Nevertheless, the political appetite to help people like Ms. Jarrin appears limited. Over the last few months, 99ers have tried to organize to press Congress to provide an additional tier of unemployment insurance. But the political potency of fears about the skyrocketing deficit has drowned them out. The notion that unemployment benefits discourage recipients from finding work has also crept into Republican arguments against extensions. As a result, the plight of 99ers was notably absent from the recent debate in the Senate.

Senator Debbie Stabenow, Democrat of Michigan, is now working on a bill to help those in the group, a spokesman, Miguel Ayala, said, but the chances of providing them with additional weeks of benefits seem dim.

"It's going to be extremely hard to pass," said Andrew Stettner, deputy director of the National Employment Law Project. "We barely got 60 votes to keep 99 weeks, so it's even harder to get more."

Other ways of helping the long-term jobless might have a better shot of succeeding, Mr. Stettner said, like a temporary jobs program or assistance for emergency needs.

Ms. Jarrin ping-pongs between resolve and despair. She received her last unemployment check in the third week of March, putting her among the first wave of 99ers. Her two checking accounts now show negative balances (she has overdrafts on both). Her cellphone has been ringing incessantly with calls from the financing company for her car loan. Her vehicle is on the verge of being repossessed.

It is a sickening plummet, considering that she was earning $56,000 a year in her old job, enjoyed vacationing in places like Mexico and the Caribbean, and had started business school in 2008 at Iona College.

Ms. Jarrin had scrabbled for her foothold in the middle class. She graduated from college late in life, in 2003, attending classes while working full time. She used to believe that education would be her ticket to prosperity, but is now bitter about what it has gotten her.

"I owe $92,000 for an education which is basically worthless," she said.

Last year she moved to Brentwood, Tenn., south of Nashville, in search of work. After initially trying to finish her M.B.A. program remotely, she dropped out because of the stress from her sinking finances. She has applied for everything from minimum-wage jobs to director positions.

She should have been evicted from her two-bedroom apartment several months ago, but the process was delayed when flooding gripped middle Tennessee in May. In mid-July, a judge finally gave her 10 days to vacate.

Helped by some gas cards donated by a church, she decided to return to this quiet New England town, where she had spent most of her adult life. She figured the health care safety net was better, as well as the job market.

She contacted a local shelter but learned there was a waiting list. Welfare is not an option, because she does not have young children. She says none of her three adult sons are in a position to help her.

A friend wired her $200 while she was driving from Tennessee, enabling her to check into a motel along the way and helping to pay for her stay here. But Ms. Jarrin doubts that much more charity is coming.

"The only help I'm going to get is from myself," she said. "I'm going to have to take care of me. That has to be through a job."

So, in her drab motel room, Ms. Jarrin has been spending her days surfing the Internet, applying for jobs.

Lining the shelves underneath the television are her food supplies: rice and noodles that Ms. Jarrin mixes with water in the motel's ice bucket and heats up in a microwave; peanut butter and jelly; a loaf of white bread.

Ms. Jarrin still has food stamps, which she qualified for in Tennessee. But she is required to report her move, which will cut them off, so she will have to reapply in Vermont.

She has been struggling with new obstacles, like what to do when an address is required in online applications. She is worried about what will happen when her cellphone is finally cut off, because then any calls to the number she sent out with her résumés will disappear into a netherworld.

The news, however, has not been all bad. She had her first face-to-face interview in more than a year, for a coordinator position at a nonprofit drop-in center, on Monday.

And last Thursday, she got her first miracle, when an old friend from New York sent by overnight mail $300 in cash, enough for another week in purgatory.

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23) BP's "Missing Oil" Washes up in St. Mary's Parish, LA
by Antonia Juhasz
http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/08/01-1

BP's "Missing Oil" coats wetlands and beaches along the waterways near St. Mary's Parish, Louisiana, where no one is booming, cleaning, skimming, or watching.

I am traveling the Gulf Coast writing a new book on the Gulf oil disaster.

The good news is that the cap is holding. The bad news is that, with the well no longer gushing, the oil is out of sight and out of mind and BP is pulling up boom and pulling back workers, skimmers, cleaners, and the rest of the clean-up apparatus all across the Gulf. Even without new oil, the 40,000 barrels a day that spewed from the Macondo well for nearly 100 days continue to wash up on shores, including ones which no one is protecting or cleaning.

There is no shortage of people desperate to do this work. On Wednesday, July 28, Mayor Ron Davis of Prichard, Alabama took me to visit a packed Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER) training class required for anyone involved in BP clean-up efforts. The city offers these classes for free. With unemployment at over 14% and poverty reaching 40%, the students who filled this, the tenth class, were effusive with gratitude. Although there is a waiting list over two months long to get in, as the the cleanup jobs shrivel away, this is the last class the city will offer.

The next night I attended a BP community forum in St. Mary's Parish, Louisiana with representatives from BP, the U.S. Coast Guard, and other agencies available to talk to the public.

Here I met fishermen desperate to be put to work as part of BP's Vessels Of Opportunity (VOO) program, using their boats to fish for oil instead of seafood by laying boom and absorbents and skimming. When the Parish President announced that St. Mary's Parish did not, does not, and would not have oil, he was immediately surrounded by local fishermen, one of whom said loudly, "then why does Kermit have oil in his bag right now?" At which point the President turned off the mike and, in Kermit's words, "all hell broke lose."

Kermit Duck's (yes, that's his real name) grandfather, great grandfather, and so on, have been fishers in St. Mary's Parish since Morgan City was founded. Kermit had spent that day looking for oil. He found a lot of it and brought some to the meeting in a ziplock bag to prove that it is out there. He is not a part of the VOO program, although he has spent two months on a waiting list trying to get hired. Instead, thanks to BP, he is four months unemployed and desperate to see a real clean-up effort take place so that one day he might be able to fish again.

On Friday Kermit took me out on a boat to show me the oil.

We spent five hours on the water traveling between Oyster Bayou and Taylor's Bayou. We saw a lot of oil. With the exception of a small amount of boom outside of the Mouth of East Bay Junop, we saw no boom, skimmers, absorbents, or clean-up crews. The Juno boom was coated with oil, as was the area behind it.

We saw plenty of freshly oil-soaked grass and beach. The strong harsh smell of crude filled the air as we neared. The oil had washed up in waves, covering a large patch of grass here, leaving a clean patch beside it there. Fields of oil glistened as the sun picked up the oil's sheen.

We walked along a shell beach on the south end of Oyster Bayou speckled throughout with fresh tar balls that reached from the reeds to inside the water's edge. Kermit's friend Buddy used an oar to dig below the beach surface, revealing more oil beneath.

Over the last months I have traveled the coasts of every state affected by the spill. Until this trip, every time I walked an area with oil, clean-up crews were never far behind. The oil would wash up, the crews would clean it, and the oil would wash up again. It was a sad dance to watch.

This is far more disturbing. BP's oil continues to coat the Gulf Coast. The oil I saw yesterday was washing up into Louisiana's vital wetlands, the last barrier of protection from hurricanes. If the grass remains unprotected and unclean, the oil can enter the root system, killing the grass forever. The oil was also at the mouth of Oyster Bayou, at the heart of St. Mary's Parish's way of life.

Before I left, Kermit assured me that his Parish President would now act and hold BP accountable to clean up the oil. Hopefully, he will not be alone in his efforts.
Copyright (c) 2010 HuffingtonPost.com, Inc.

Antonia Juhasz is the author of The Tyranny of Oil: the World's Most Powerful Industry, and What We Must Do To Stop It (HarperCollins, 2008), and The Bush Agenda: Invading the World, One Economy at a Time (HarperCollins, 2006). She is working on a new book on the Gulf Coast oil disaster for Wiley Publishers.

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24) In the thick of it: Former Danville resident engulfed in oil spill research
By BEN KLEPPINGER
bkleppinger@amnews.com
July 31, 2010
http://www.amnews.com/stories/2010/07/31/loc.616440.sto

DAUPHIN ISLAND, Ala. - The Deepwater Horizon disaster has spawned a massive, deadening monster in the water off the Gulf Coast.

Created partially by adding nearly 2 million gallons of secretive chemical dispersants to scores of millions of gallons of leaked oil, the monster floats beneath the surface, creating oxygen-free zones that are toxic to almost all life.

The monster has forced sharks, dolphins, fish and even tiny zooplankton to flee to the shallows of the coastline as it expands; it has disrupted the food chain as oil- and methane-consuming bacteria thrive in the newly darkened waters; it has devastated industries like tourism and seafood, while simultaneously impacting seemingly unrelated areas like feed for livestock.

The monster is an anomaly the likes of which science has never seen before - and likely will never see again. Because of its unique, unheard-of nature, no one knows how light or severe the long-term effects will be.

But one former Danville resident, perched fortuitously at a forefront of biological research and observation in the gulf, will have a front-row seat to whatever the aftermath of the monster turns out to be.

Monty Graham knew what he wanted to do with his life when he was 6 years old.

He was living in New Hampshire at the time, and got to visit the prominent New England Aquarium in Boston.

"I visited New England Aquarium once and was hooked. Never wavered," Graham wrote.

Graham was born in Lexington and spent more than 10 years of his life in Danville. He graduated from Danville High School and spent two years at Centre College before transferring to the University of North Carolina Wilmington. He later taught biology at Danville High School for the better part of a year in the late 80s.

Graham went on to earn a master's in marine science and a doctorate in biology with an emphasis on oceanography.

Today, Graham is a biological oceanographer specializing in plankton at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab on the coast of Alabama. Plankton and the even tinier zooplankton sit at the bottom of the ocean's food chain in a very important position.

"The reason we're interested in these small guys is because they're the most abundant life in the ocean," Graham said. "What they lack in size, they make up for in numbers."

Graham has worked at the Sea Lab for about six years, studying oxygen levels in the water, measuring attributes of plankton and zooplankton, and gaining a scientific understanding of the natural ebb and flow of life in the Gulf of Mexico from season to season.

This spring, decades after his formative childhood moment at the aquarium, Graham experienced another formative moment, one he believes will shape much of the rest of his career - the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig.

After the rig sank in late April, oil and methane began leaking at extreme rates from a pipe on the floor of the ocean, eventually becoming one of the largest oil spills in human history. The spill dwarfs the 1989 Exxon-Valdez spill and by some estimates beats the 1980 Ixtoc and 1991 Gulf War oil spills as well.

"People are just clawing their way through a mess right now to figure out what's happening," Graham said. "Something of this magnitude is not going to happen again. It better not happen again."

The problems caused by the spill are manifold, but one unique issue now plaguing the Gulf is BP's use of largely unstudied chemical dispersants to minimize the amount of oil reaching the shore, Graham said.

The dispersants used by BP are preauthorized for the handling of oil spills, but they're usually used to handle spills of 100 barrels or less, Graham said. According to media reports, more than 1.8 million gallons of dispersants have been applied to oil leaking from the Deepwater Horizon site.

"They're using them in quantities that have never been imagined," Graham said.

The specific line of dispersants used by BP - Corexit - is banned in the United Kingdom but was approved for use in the Gulf of Mexico by the Environmental Protection Agency. Corexit dispersants are more toxic and less effective than other dispersants, according to the EPA.

Oil dispersants trap oil and hold it in globules in the water instead of allowing it to rise to the surface, where it can evaporate. By keeping the oil away from the surface and therefore away from the shore, BP is minimizing its costs of cleaning up oil that reaches the shore, Graham said.

But BP's use of dispersants on top of the water and below the surface has effectively trapped the oil throughout the water column, preventing it from rising to the surface, where lighter toxic compounds in the oil can evaporate off, he said.

"One of the concerns is we're maintaining toxicity for a longer period of time," he said. "The concern is that it will be a problem that we're going to be dealing with not just for a few months now, but it's going to be a decades-long issue."

Graham said scientists in the Gulf have been trying to get BP and the federal government to let them study the dispersants being used in order to better understand their toxicity and possible effects, but no one will provide any samples for research.

"We get nothing. It's been a very difficult situation to work in," he said. "The academic scientists who know the most about this area ... have been marginalized."

Effects of the spill

Besides potentially maintaining higher levels of toxicity, the oil trapped in the water column is also suffocating the ocean, causing radical drops in oxygen levels never before seen, Graham said.

Following the oil and methane spill, Graham's measurements of oxygen levels in the waters where he studies plankton dropped to two to three times lower than normal, to a level so low most animals cannot tolerate it.

That suffocating effect is why all kinds of sea animals have been showing up in greater and greater numbers, closer and closer to shore - they can't breathe in their normal habitats anymore.

"It really changed our whole ecosystem in a number of ways," Graham said.

In addition to the oxygen-free dead zones created by leaking oil, another problem that gets much less attention but may be more important is the creation of high-density methane pockets in the water, with concentrations of methane thousands, even tens of thousands of times higher than the concentration of methane in the air, Graham said.

"When this is done, everybody's going to look back and they're going to say the big thing environmentally was not the oil, it was the methane," Graham said.

The high concentrations of methane, created after methane escaping from the ocean floor dissolves into the water, are like huge all-you-can-eat buffets for bacteria in the water, Graham said.

"They're going crazy on the methane," he said.

The Gulf Coast area has an incredibly flexible, resilient ecosystem that sees changes quite regularly. Hurricanes buffet the area every year and freshwater from the Mississippi River and other freshwater sources create a high level of variability.

"If there's one thing you can describe the northern gulf as, it's extremely variable," Graham said.

But even with the Gulf Coast's enormous capacity for change, the effects of the oil spill are still way outside anything the ecosystem is used to handling. After studying the Gulf Coast for six years, not many know that fact better than Graham.

"We do know how this little part of the ocean behaves normally," he said. "We have a good understanding of how variable the system should be."

One of the elemental changes Graham is currently observing is an increase in heavier carbon in zooplankton. Zooplankton usually contain a certain percentage of carbon-12, the most common form of carbon on earth, as well as a smaller amount of a slightly heavier form of carbon, carbon-13.

Following the oil spill, Graham has been watching as zooplankton get heavier and heavier, as the ratio of carbon-13 to carbon-12 in their systems climbs.

"There's a shift in those ratios beyond anything we've ever seen before," he said.

Graham said he's hopeful the Gulf ecosystem will prove resilient enough to beat the oil and methane behemoths, but only time will tell.

"We know that the system is extremely variable. Now it's our task to (study this) unnatural insult to this system," he said. "The ecosystem doesn't have a glass jaw. It can take a lick and it can come right back. ... There is hope that it's not going to be completely changed for decades."

A silver lining

There are some upsides to the whole situation for Graham. Shortly after the oil spill, Graham applied for funding from the National Science Foundation to help him study the Gulf ecosystem in the wake of the spill.

Normally, scientists who apply for grants from the NSF have about a 15-percent success rate, Graham said. But following the spill, NSF released funding through a special program designed to get money to researchers when something unique has happened and people need get out into the field and do research immediately.

"I essentially wrote a three-page letter on Thursday ... and then heard on Friday morning that I was going to be funded," he said.

The additional money from the NSF allowed him to hire an additional scientist in his lab and increase his number of sample collections from the ocean.

Beyond additional funding, the leaked oil itself actually has a potential upside as far as research goes.

Despite its destructive and transformative effects, the oil spill has also made it possible for Graham to trace the ecosystem's food chain on a level that would otherwise have been impossible.

In an environment like a small pond, it's easy for biologists to figure out who eats whom by adding what's called a "tracer."

If the tracer shows up in bacteria and then in fish, the biologists know the fish are eating the bacteria. If the tracer shows up in plankton, then they know the plankton are eating the bacteria. But in a giant ocean ecosystem like the Gulf, there was no way to get enough tracer into enough of the population to accurately measure who is eating whom on a large scale.

Until the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, that is.

"We've never been able to trace this until now," Graham said. "Unbeknownst to BP, they actually injected a tracer into the water column."

Having a tracer like that is helping Graham to learn about the food chain and giving him another window from which to observe the Gulf ecosystem as it reacts to the spill.

Graham said he has no idea what the coming months and years will reveal about the gulf ecosystem and the long-term effects of the oil spill. It truly is a one-of-a-kind event, one for which you cannot make predictions, he said.

"We really can't say anything definitive. There is no model," he said. "It may be years before we understand how this is all happening."

Copyright: AMNews.com 2010

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25) Between Queens and Brooklyn, an Oil Spill’s Legacy
“Estimated at 17 million to 30 million gallons — smaller than the ballpark estimate of 100 million gallons released by the Deepwater Horizon well but outstripping the 11 million that poured from the Exxon Valdez — the combined spills along Newtown Creek have obliterated wildlife, polluted an aquifer, hindered economic development and set off health scares among those who live and work nearby.”
By MIREYA NAVARRO
August 3, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/04/science/earth/04newtown.html?hp

The salt marshes are long gone from Newtown Creek, and so are most of the birds and fish. Instead, this waterway straddling Brooklyn and Queens is dotted by bulkheads and containment booms meant to keep oil away from the shoreline while underground pumps work around the clock removing petroleum from adjacent land.

Decades in the making and confined to a corner of industrial New York, the oil spills in and along Newtown Creek lack the drama of disasters like the current one in the Gulf of Mexico and the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska.

But long before the Deepwater Horizon disaster riveted the nation, more than a century of unchecked operations and storage by more than 50 oil refineries along the four-mile-long creek fouled its waters and seeped through 55 acres of land in the vicinity.

Estimated at 17 million to 30 million gallons — smaller than the ballpark estimate of 100 million gallons released by the Deepwater Horizon well but outstripping the 11 million that poured from the Exxon Valdez — the combined spills along Newtown Creek have obliterated wildlife, polluted an aquifer, hindered economic development and set off health scares among those who live and work nearby.

“The impact is more subtle than in the gulf,” said Phillip Musegaas, a lawyer with Riverkeeper, an environmental group that sued ExxonMobil in 2004 for its role in the contamination. “The spill is unseen, and it’s in an area that was industrialized and already polluted. But the waterway is severely stressed, and it’s not a functioning ecosystem anymore.”

Now, after a history of neglect and lawsuits against oil companies like BP and Exxon Mobil over the extent and pace of cleanup efforts, local residents say they have cause for hope: the federal government is proposing to designate the creek a toxic Superfund site, mandating a rigorous cleanup of the water and sediment.

Some residents say the gulf spill is helping to sensitize New Yorkers now as never before to the responsibilities borne by oil companies and the risks that people run in living cheek by jowl with toxic contaminants.

“We all joke that we’re going to end up with big lumps in our throat so we can afford our rents,” said Nate Zubal, 29, an interior designer in the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn, where many residences and businesses sit atop a layer of spilled fuel oils. “A cleanup is pretty important with so many people living so close.”

The Bloomberg administration supports the Superfund designation for the creek, although it lobbied hard against one for Brooklyn’s noxious Gowanus Canal out of fear that it could derail lucrative development projects. (The Environmental Protection Agency prevailed and gave the Gowanus Superfund status in March.)

While the E.P.A. calls Newtown Creek one of the nation’s most heavily polluted waterways, oil is hardly the only problem. In samples of the sediment and surface water, the agency has also found sewage from system overflows, as well as pesticides, metals and PCBs from decades of industrial activity.

Officials say that Superfund designation for the creek could come as early as September, opening the way for a thorough federal assessment of the extent of the contamination and how long and costly the cleanup will be.

“The Superfund designation means that this water body will be evaluated in its entirety, which has never happened to date,” said Angela Carpenter, a branch chief in New York with the E.P.A., which runs the Superfund program.

State officials say the Superfund cleanup could last more than a decade.

Under the program, the E.P.A. requires the parties responsible for contaminating the site to pay to reverse the damage. BP, ExxonMobil and Chevron are expected to be among the parties enlisted.

The cleanup would deal only with the water and sediment in Newtown Creek, not the contamination underneath the adjacent land in Greenpoint. The federal Superfund program excludes strictly petroleum cleanups. But environmental and community groups say the designation will at least prevent oil from leaching into the water from the land as it has in the past.

“Everyone is excited about getting the job done,” said Katie Schmid, director of the Newtown Creek Alliance, an advocacy group. “You need federal oversight of the whole project to ensure effective remediation.”

While the creek itself awaits a cleanup, oil companies are continuing to pump out oil from their property in Greenpoint, an effort that began over two decades ago after the Coast Guard first spotted evidence of oil seepage into the creek in 1978. Since 1990, ExxonMobil, BP and Chevron have pumped out about 11.1 million gallons of spilled oil, state officials say.

The pace has been too slow for Greenpoint residents, environmental groups and the New York state attorney general’s office, which all have lawsuits pending against some or all of the companies for the pollution. (Negotiations are under way to settle suits filed by the state and Riverkeeper against ExxonMobil.)

BP’s role was mostly inherited: its petroleum storage terminal in Greenpoint was once home to a Mobil refinery whose operations released about five million gallons into the ground, state environmental officials say. In 1969, BP’s predecessor, the Amoco Oil Company, bought the 10-acre property; it began a cleanup in 1981 under an agreement with the city. About two million gallons now remain to be recovered under the BP property, state officials say.

The state says that BP is not meeting its schedule for collecting oil from the ground and asked that the company increase its current lineup of nine extraction wells.

Marti D. Powers, a spokeswoman for BP, said the company is adding four additional wells to meet state requirements, but it is fighting a lawsuit by residents. “The plaintiffs have to date not identified any spills by BP that have impacted them,” she said.

The bulk of the overall cleanup work, from the collection of oil to the treatment of contaminated groundwater before it is released into Newtown Creek, has rather fallen to ExxonMobil.

As the main inheritor of Standard Oil, which had dozens of refineries along the creek by the end of the 19th century, ExxonMobil owns most of the contaminated land and is responsible for an oil plume that extends under about 300 homes in a residential area of Greenpoint.

Carolina Asirifi, a spokeswoman for ExxonMobil, said the company’s 20 operating recovery wells were pumping as fast as was safely possible — currently at a rate of about 2,000 gallons of oil and a million gallons of groundwater a day.

“ExxonMobil has been working extremely hard,” she said. “We’ve made significant progress.”

Residents fear that toxic gases will penetrate their homes from below. A state Department of Environmental Conservation study in 2006 found no oil-related vapors in samples of indoor air, although a comprehensive study of the health consequences of the spills has yet to be carried out.

As the community awaits the Superfund decision and more detailed analysis, the proposed Superfund designation has spawned a kind of creek boosterism.

“We’re turning the corner,” said Ted Gruber, chairman of the Long Island City Community Boathouse, whose members often venture into Newtown Creek in canoes. “People like us are paddling in greater numbers. People are beginning to care.”

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