“Ramrodding bills through because you’ve got the clout to do so—rather than because you’ve got arguments on your side—is not a good way to do the people’s business,” Barack Obama once said about Bill Daley, his new chief of staff.
But that was back in 2003, when Obama was just in the state legislature, and Bill Daley was the head of SBC. Obama was criticizing Daley for his heavy-handed lobbying drive that benefitted the telecommunications company.
Don Blankenship, CEO of West Virginia coal giant Massey Energy, is resigning at the end of the month. Blankenship, whose tenure oversaw the worst mining disaster in forty years that left twenty-nine dead, will receive a golden parachute, much to the dismay of angry shareholders and critics.
As holiday travelers grumble about the TSA’s airport screening practices, the manufacturers of full body scanning machines have increase their lobbying efforts. USA Today reports that “companies with multimillion-dollar contracts to supply American airports with body-scanning machines more than doubled their spending on lobbying in the past five years and hired several high-profile former government officials to advance their causes in Washington, government records show.”
Patti Smith just won the National Book Award for her beautiful memoir, Just Kids (Ecco Books). Smith gives us the tender story of her longtime relationship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. The two met in the summer of 1969, when both were hungry and homeless in New York City, and quickly fell in love. They were proverbial starving artists and often faced a choice between buying art supplies or day-old bread.
Just Kids book cover
This week, the Justice Department found that inmates and employees at ten federal prisons were exposed to toxic metals while processing e-waste for recycling. The report confirms a March 2009 article in The Progressive.
This week, The New York Timesreports that inmates and employees at ten federal prisons “were exposed to toxic metals and other hazardous substances while processing electronic waste for recycling, a four-year investigation by the Justice Department’s inspector general found.”
Last month, the FBI raided two homes in Chicago and five in Minneapolis, and an anti-war committee office. According to the FBI, the goal of the raids was to seek evidence “concerning the material support for terrorism.” The FBI hasn’t filed any charges, but the FBI did subpoena 14 activists in Illinois, Minnesota, and Michigan.
Today is a National Call-In Day to support anti-war and international solidarity activists who are scheduled to appear before a grand jury in Chicago.
U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald is in charge of the Northern District of Illinois and is responsible for this investigation. His number is (312) 353-5300.
President Barack Obama rolled into Madison, Wisconsin, on a crisp fall afternoon to rally his base for the upcoming midterm election. He spoke on the stairs of U.W.-Madison’s Memorial Library to an energetic crowd of 26,500 people
“I don’t know about you, but I’m fired up,” he said when he took the stage to a roar of applause.
Obama was noticeably looser in his speech than in previous visits during the presidential campaign. Casually dressed in a light blue dress shirt with rolled sleeves and no tie, the President warmed up the audience with tales of his youth.