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January 29, 2011

Michael Winship: The Bush Legacy Strikes Out American Justice

(Photo by Robin Holland)

Below is an article by Public Affairs Television senior writer Michael Winship.

The Bush Legacy Strikes Out American Justice
By Michael Winship

The Detroit Tigers are retiring the great baseball manager Sparky Anderson's number 11 this season. "It's a wonderful gesture," Detroit Free Press columnist Michael Rosenberg wrote. "I just wish Sparky could see it."

Anderson won three World Series -- one managing the Tigers, two with the Cincinnati Reds -- and passed away this past November. Rosenberg said, "Retiring his number now is the baseball version of waiting until a relative dies to say thank you."

That's because it comes sixteen years after Anderson left the Tigers in a bitter feud with owner Mike Ilitch. Yet as Sparky once said, "I've got my faults, but living in the past is not one of them. There's no future in it."

I wish I could say the same, let bygones be bygones and the rest, but when it comes to two other baseball devotees, the Presidents Bush, it's tough. Father and especially son left behind a heap of wreckage.

I hear some of you say forget it, time to move on. Maybe, but theirs is not a legacy that simply fades in the distance and leaves us in peace. What they did continues to impact our lives in deleterious ways, notably when it comes to the full speed, head-on collision of partisan politics with American justice.

Just this week, the US Office of Special Counsel (OSC) released a long overdue, 118-page report concluding that George Jr.'s White House used government agencies for Republican pep rallies and sent officials off on electioneering trips using taxpayer money, especially in the lead-up to the 2006 midterm elections. These are violations of the Hatch Act, which prohibits federal employees from engaging in partisan political activities in the workplace and forbids the use of tax revenues for political purposes.

According to the OSC's findings the abuses were "a systemic misuse of federal resources." As the website Talking Points Memo reported, "The Office of Political Affairs (OPA) in Bush's White House, overseen by Karl Rove, dispatched cabinet officials to campaign for Republican candidates on the federal dime and forced federal political appointees to attend political meetings during work time."

One memo, at the US Department of Health and Human Services, read, "This meeting is mandatory. It will essentially be the same large meeting that we had last year about this time. So, please clear your schedule, put your pom-poms on, and let's go!!!"

There won't be any punishment for the cheerleaders -- unless you count Democrats taking back the House and Senate in 2006, despite Rove and the GOP pulling out all the stops with their White House boiler room operation. No request has been made asking the Justice Department to file charges; Rove and any other miscreants fled the scene of the crime before Inauguration Day 2009 and can no longer be prosecuted. The Obama White House, however, has moved its Office of Political Affairs to Democratic National Committee HQ and the presidential re-election effort to Chicago. What could possibly go wrong in Chicago?

Attempting to rectify another Bush injustice this week, the Obama administration named two new commissioners to the US Commission on Civil Rights, which currently has an imbalance of four Republicans (two claim to be "independents") to three Democrats (one commissioner's reappointment by House Speaker Boehner will even things up -- it's a little complicated). Talking Points Memo: "The Bush administration stacked the commission with conservatives by having two of the commissioners switch their affiliation from Republican to independent. The move, said the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel, was legal. But it was also, as former Commission Chairman Gerald Reynolds (a Republican appointee) acknowledged, intended to 'game' the system. The scheme unfolded in 2004, and the panel has since focused on racism against white people and claimed that measures intended to aid minority groups are discriminatory."

Meanwhile, the Bush family's Supreme Court appointees -- along with that mossback relic of the Reagan era, Antonin Scalia -- habitually thumb their noses at the very notion of an independent and impartial judiciary. Last week, the citizen's lobby Common Cause formally requested that the Justice Department investigate whether Justices Scalia and Clarence Thomas (Bush Sr.'s notorious appointee) should have been disqualified from hearing the Citizens United case, last year's landmark ruling that lifted restrictions on corporate political contributions, allowing huge amounts of secret cash to pour into our elections.

In a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, Common Cause President and CEO Bob Edgar wrote, "It appears both justices have participated in political strategy sessions, perhaps while the case was pending, with corporate leaders whose political aims were advanced by the decision. With respect to Justice Thomas, there may also be an undisclosed financial conflict of interest due to his wife's role as CEO of Liberty Central, a 501(c)(4) organization that stood to benefit from the decision and played an active role in the 2010 elections."

Justice Thomas dismissed his failure to report his wife's income -- not only from the right wing Liberty Central but also the conservative Heritage Foundation -- as a "misunderstanding of the filing instructions." As for those "political strategy sessions," Thomas and Scalia attended secretive, invitation-only desert retreats, fundraisers held by billionaire Charles Koch, who, with his brother David, owns the energy giant Koch Industries, the second largest private company in the United States, and bankrolls the right wing, including elements of the Tea Party movement.

At those sessions, discussions may have been held about Citizens United while the case was under consideration; certainly, many of those in attendance have taken full advantage of the ruling and poured millions into the campaigns of conservative candidates -- Common Cause reports that Koch Industries' political action committee spent $2.6 million on last year's elections, in addition to tens of millions contributed by Americans for Prosperity, the right wing group founded by the two brothers. (The 2011 Koch retreat takes place this weekend; thousands plan to gather in nearby Rancho Mirage, California, to protest.)

This isn't the first time Justices Scalia and Thomas have hobnobbed with corporate bigwigs and right wing muck-a-mucks. Scalia is a regular headliner at the right-wing Federalist Society. In 2009, Thomas was featured at the Heritage Foundation's annual fundraiser and in 2008 delivered the Wriston Lecture at the conservative Manhattan Institute, an event that costs $5,000 to $25,000 to attend. Conservative court colleague and George W. Bush appointee Samuel Alito has also given the Wriston Lecture and attended fundraisers for The American Spectator magazine and the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, the wonderful folks who gave us ACORN hoaxster James O'Keefe.

(Thanks for this information to the progressive ThinkProgress website. And yes, I know liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has allowed the NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund to name a lectureship after her; that's an issue, too.)

"The Supreme Court is the guardian of its own integrity," The Boston Globe editorialized on Thursday. "That means staying above politics and maintaining an air of dispassionate consideration of constitutional issues. The court is not an elected body, and shouldn't function like one. This is especially important because, unlike with an elected body, there are few external constraints on the justices: They set their own rules, and the need for comity on the court largely prevents them from policing each other. Their shared commitment to maintaining judicial decorum is all that binds them."

No one is above the law, it's said, but Justices Scalia, Thomas and Alito certainly behave like they are. None of them attended Tuesday's State of the Union address -- certainly not the first time that's happened, but still symbolically disrespectful. Sadly, unlike baseball legend Sparky Anderson's, their numbers are unlikely to be retired any time soon.

Michael Winship was senior writer for Bill Moyers Journal on PBS and is president of the Writers Guild of America, East.


January 21, 2011

Michael Winship: Court and Chevron's "Crude" Attacks Continue

(Photo by Robin Holland)

Below is an article by Public Affairs Television senior writer Michael Winship.

Court and Chevron's "Crude" Attacks Continue
By Michael Winship


Joe Berlinger's back is against the wall. Last week the independent filmmaker, already facing crushing debt from legal bills, was dealt a major blow in his continuing fight against the third largest company in America, Chevron.

It's a battle that epitomizes the hardship individuals face trying to challenge corporate giants that punch back with a knockout force of high-powered lawyers and unlimited cash.

What's more, Joe's struggle continues to raise serious First Amendment issues and -- as we approach the first anniversary of the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision -- throws yet another spotlight on the increasingly pro-business stance of the nation's legal system.

It was this past May when my friend and colleague Bill Moyers and I first wrote about Joe's documentary Crude and its legal troubles. The film tells the story of how Ecuadorians challenged the pollution of rivers and wells from Texaco's drilling in the Lago Agrio oil field, a rainforest disaster savagely damaging the environment and the local population's health that's been described as the Amazon's Chernobyl. When the petrochemical behemoth Chevron acquired Texaco in 2001 and attempted to dismiss claims that it was now responsible, the indigenous people and their lawyers fought back in court.

In May, Federal Judge Lewis A. Kaplan ordered Berlinger to turn over to Chevron more than 600 hours of raw footage used to create the film. On appeal, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit limited the amount of footage to be turned over (although it still amounts to more than 500 hours), but ordered Berlinger to submit to depositions.

Now, on January 13, that same court ruled, as reported in The New York Times, that Joe "could not invoke a journalist's privilege in refusing to turn over that footage because his work on the film did not constitute an act of independent reporting," and that the argument "that he was protected as a journalist from being compelled to share his reporting materials was not persuasive." As evidence, the court said that the film "was solicited by the plaintiffs in the Lago Agrio litigation for the purpose of telling their story, and changes to the film were made at their instance."

Berlinger responded, "While the idea for Crude was pitched to me by Steven Donziger, one of the Lago Agrio Plaintiffs' lawyers, this was not a commissioned film. I had complete editorial independence, as did 60 Minutes and Vanity Fair who also produced stories on this case that were solicited by Mr. Donziger. The decision to modify one scene in the film based on comments from the plaintiffs' lawyers after viewing the film at the Sundance Film Festival was exclusively my own and in no way diminishes the independence of this production from its subjects. I rejected many other suggested changes and my documentary Crude has been widely praised for its balance in the presentation of Chevron's point of view as well as the plaintiffs'."

Were mistakes made, errors in judgment? Perhaps. But the court's ruling fails to fully understand the nature of news and documentary reporting and will have a chilling effect on journalists who constantly receive information and suggestions from sources representing a variety of interests and points of view. It's the professional journalist's job to sort through them on the way to determining the truth. As Moyers and I wrote in May, "This is a serious matter for reporters, filmmakers and frankly, everyone else. Tough, investigative reporting without fear or favor -- already under siege by severe cutbacks and the shutdown of newspapers and other media outlets -- is vital to the public awareness and understanding essential to a democracy."

Just as dismaying about this latest ruling is the endless sinking feeling that the courts more than ever are stacked against the individual seeking redress against big business. In the 39 states where judges are elected, corporate cash has poured into judicial races -- contributions have more than doubled in recent years, prompting Sandra Day O'Connor to say, "No state can possibly benefit from having that much money injected into a political campaign." And in the federal courts, well, suppose Joe Berlinger's case were to make it all the way to the Supreme Court. A recent Fortune magazine cover proclaimed it "the most pro-business court we have ever seen," and as the Times more understatedly noted last month, "It is clear... that the Supreme Court these days is increasingly focused on business issues."

In case you missed the Times story over the holidays, it was headlined "Justices Offer Receptive Ear to Business Interests." Scholars at Northwestern University and the University of Chicago prepared a report analyzing nearly 1500 Supreme Court decisions across almost six decades. It found, "The Roberts court, which has completed five terms, ruled for business interests 61 percent of the time, compared with 46 percent in the last five years of the court led by Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, who died in 2005, and 42 percent by all courts since 1953."

According to the Times' Adam Liptak, "The Roberts court's engagement with business issues has risen along with the emergence of a breed of lawyers specializing in Supreme Court advocacy, many of them veterans of the United States solicitor general's office, which represents the federal government in the court. These specialists have been extraordinarily successful, both in persuading the court to hear business cases and to rule in favor of their clients."

Many of these lawyers work for or with the US Chamber of Commerce and its National Chamber Litigation Center, which calls itself "the voice of business in the courts on issues of national concern to the business community."

The Times reported, "The chamber now files briefs in most major business cases. The side it supported in the last term won 13 of 16 cases. Six of those were decided with a majority vote of five justices, and five of those decisions favored the chamber's side. One of them was Citizens United, in which the chamber successfully urged the court to guarantee what it called 'free corporate speech' by lifting restrictions on campaign spending."

The court's independence -- and historic skepticism about the needs of corporate America -- are relics of the past. Here's what was in a 2007 edition of BusinessWeek magazine: "Robin S. Conrad, head of the Chamber of Commerce's litigation arm, notes that the judicial branch offers an alternative forum where business can seek changes it has failed to win from other branches of government. In the 1990s, the chamber and other business groups made this a vital part of their tort reform strategy on a state level, pouring money into local judicial campaigns to reshape state supreme courts and, ultimately, state laws. Now with a US Supreme Court that's not allergic to business cases, the approach is playing out on a national level..."

It was President Calvin Coolidge who in 1925 famously declared, "The chief business of the American people is business," a sentiment this Supreme Court and much of the American judicial system would stoutly embrace. But ironically -- especially for journalists and filmmakers like Joe Berlinger -- he made the remark in a speech to the American Society of Newspaper Editors. Its title: "The Press under a Free Government."

Truth and freedom, Coolidge said, "are inseparable." There is "no justification for interfering with the freedom of the press, because all freedom, though it may sometime tend toward excesses, bears within it those remedies which will finally effect a cure for its own disorders."

Michael Winship was senior writer at Bill Moyers Journal on PBS and is president of the Writers Guild of America, East.


January 10, 2011

Michael Winship: Hate Speech the Right's Magic Bullet

(Photo by Robin Holland)

Below is an article by Public Affairs Television senior writer Michael Winship.

Hate Speech the Right's Magic Bullet
By Michael Winship

The Russian playwright Anton Chekhov had a rule: if you show a gun in the first act, by the time the curtain falls, it has to go off. For weeks and months, that gun, the weapon of angry rhetoric and intemperate rabblerousing, has been cocked and loaded in plain view on the American stage; Saturday morning outside a shopping mall in Tucson, Arizona, it went off again and again and again.

The target, Gabrielle Giffords, a member of the United States Congress, lays critically wounded, one of thirteen shot and still alive. Six others are dead, including a respected Federal judge who happened to be there but who previously had received death threats from anti-immigration extremists, a member of Congresswoman Giffords' staff and a nine-year old girl, Christina-Taylor Green. Just elected to her school's student council, she had been brought by a neighbor to Congresswoman Gifford's constituent event so she could see how grown-ups put democracy into action.

Instead, this child - born on 9/11 -- became just one of the latest victims of more political violence in America, violence fueled by an incoherent rage against government and elected officials who cannot instantly bring back prosperity and the jobs lost overseas or restore in a blink some idealized vision of a nation that might once have been but is no more. And all of it egged on by right wing leaders and their cronies lurking in the swampier reaches of the Internet, hate radio and television.

We now see the deadly effect. The root causes are many and less distinct: fear of the future and what it may or may not hold, hostility inflamed by the economic injustice and uncertainty that force too many to live from paycheck to paycheck without anything saved or the slightest guarantee of security -- a gnashing of teeth and sharpening of claws because others may have what you have not. Or this: the simple fact that there are just too many damned guns in this country. One in four Americans owns at least one. The NRA would order gun racks in the cradles of newborn infants if they could. Too many weapons are used not for hunting or target shooting or legitimate protection, but for combating feelings of inadequacy and weakness with fantasies of firepower -- fantasies that crazed gunmen too often try to make reality. That someone like Jared Lee Loughner can walk into a store and buy a weapon that fires 30 rounds a clip is probably not what the Founding Fathers had in mind when they talked about "a well-regulated Militia being necessary to the security of a free State."

No one can prove that the vitriolic talk from the right was in the killer's mind as he carried out his attack, but no one can prove it wasn't, either. So in the absence of evidence to support either side, why doesn't the right just volunteer to put an end to all the ballistic language and images it's been employing for many years now? Why not cease and desist if there's any doubt about the impact on lunatics of provocative violent-saturated words and images? Sarah Palin must have suddenly felt queasy about those crosshairs over Giffords' congressional district that were still up on her website, because the mama grizzly, half-term governor took them down soon after the violence (although as of this writing they were still on her Facebook page). But then she sent an aide to do a radio show in which she agreed with the sympathetic interviewer that the crosshairs were more like "surveyors' symbols"! Why prolong that kind of stuff? Why not just knock it off and apologize or simply shut up?

The fact is, it has been the right's goal to poison our political discourse for years. Remember the notorious "GOPAC Memo" back in the 1990's, created for the Republicans' leadership training institute and endorsed by Newt Gingrich? Titled "Language: A Key Mechanism of Control," in it, candidates are instructed in what words to use when defining their opponents (i.e., liberals). "These are powerful words that can create a clear and easily understood contract," the memo said. "Apply these to the opponent, their record, proposals, and their party" (in other words, demonize them).

Among them: intolerant... lie... pathetic... radical... sick... steal... traitors. Gingrich and his allies deliberately set out to employ toxic language against their opponents, and are still doing it. They will say anything to get a vote, especially now that the angriest and most irrational so often make up a majority of those who bother to go to the polls. This kind of talk is part and parcel of their strategy, and no matter what motivated the Tucson killings, it needs to stop.

Their lock and load rhetoric is reinforced by the rambling ranks of those who go on the Internet to spout any conspiracy theory, distortion of history or outright lie that helps them make it through the night. Add, too, the men and women of radio and television, the Limbaugh's, Beck's, and their ilk who use the airwaves as a cudgel, battering viewers and listeners with the certainty of their illogic, their thinly veiled messages of bigotry and meretricious embrace of Constitution, religion, flag and family.

All of them will huff and puff that this is an isolated incident by a madman that cannot be blamed on their bombast and bluster. But let's call it out for what it is, let's debate what in our gut we know to be true: even if it was not their intent, it's likely the words of the right on radio and TV and in the books they publish spurred on the man who killed two and wounded six in a Knoxville, Kentucky, church in July 2008, and the murderer of George Tiller, one of the few doctors in America who still performed late-term abortions for women with problem pregnancies whose health was at stake from life-threatening complications, or whose infants would be born dead or dying. Their invective, whether inadvertently or not, has encouraged the vandalism and threats faced by so many of our candidates and elected officials, including the now desperately wounded Congresswoman Giffords. Her shooting, and the death and wounding of so many who came to meet with her are just the latest example of ideologically-motivated bloodshed.

"Let me say one thing," said Clarence Dupnik, sheriff of Pima County, Arizona, where the shootings took place, "because people tend to pooh-pooh this business about all the vitriol that we hear inflaming the American public by people who make a living off of doing that. That may be free speech, but it's not without consequences." He singled out radio and TV and said, "When you look at unbalanced people, how they respond to the vitriol that comes out of certain mouths about tearing down the government, the anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous." An elected Democrat, he was immediately attacked by Republicans and the right, his statements dismissed as partisan and inappropriate.

"The facts weren't even out there, Rep. Giffords had been carted away in a stretcher, we didn't even know her condition, but the war had already started. The folks on the hard left were already out there blaming the tea party." So complained Judson Phillips, founder of Tea Party Nation. He told The Washington Post, "If we ever needed an official political obituary to political civility in this country, we've seen it."

Mr. Phillips, that obituary was written long ago, thanks to you and your friends. Enough.

Michael Winship is senior writer at Public Affairs Television in New York City.


January 5, 2011

Michael Winship: At Year's End, A Tale of Two Cities

(Photo by Robin Holland)

Below is an article by Public Affairs Television senior writer Michael Winship.

At Year's End, A Tale of Two Cities
By Michael Winship

At the end of a brief Christmas holiday there, last week's blizzard was edging up the east coast and we checked the status of our flights back to New York every couple of hours or so.

A part of us hoped one or both legs of our return would be scrubbed so we could spend another day or two in a town that knows how to celebrate any and all occasions with music and dance, food and drink, and feathers and bows. As Christmas began at stately and majestic St. Louis Cathedral in Jackson Square, even the solemn midnight mass was enlivened by the arrival of several Asian teenagers wearing balloon animal hats.

But alas, all went according to schedule. The trip from New Orleans to Atlanta was uneventful and although it seemed every other ongoing flight to the metropolitan area was canceled, for some reason ours went forward like a jet-fueled version of the Little Engine that Could, landing at Liberty International in Newark, NJ, just as the storm hit full throttle. No cabs or trains and a perilous nighttime bus ride into the city followed by the subway downtown took more time than the plane from Atlanta.

That long journey home made us even more regretful that we hadn't stuck around New Orleans, especially at this time of year. It is, of course, a place where the philosophy of life falls somewhere to the left of "Whoopee!" and the open go- cup of beer or other spirits carried along the streets is as much a symbol of the town as Mardi Gras, the fleur-de-lis and the "Who Dat?" football Saints. But it is especially grand at Christmas: an afternoon concert of carols performed Dixieland-style at Preservation Hall, holiday lights spelling out "Peace Yall" in the French Quarter, the steam calliope on board the Natchez Queen riverboat pumping out "Jingle Bell Rock," Christmas Eve bonfires on the Mississippi levees.

Almost five and a half years ago, when levees along the canals burst in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, flooding eighty percent of the city with as much as ten feet of water and killing hundreds, many in the Bush White House wrote off New Orleans completely; others apparently saw the catastrophe as a convenient way to create a new city both smaller in size - 100,000 who fled have yet to return -- and whiter.

But New Orleans is a city of survivors, and if you have an ounce of soul coursing through your veins, the moment you arrive the idea of this vibrant place going under is simply unthinkable. And in fact, in conversations, including the overheard, local residents said progress was being made and recovery efforts were succeeding, even in the Lower Ninth Ward, the African American neighborhood most devastated by the hurricane - and the last to get its water and power back.

But the obstacles facing the town and its mayor, Mitch Landrieu - less than a year in office and the first white mayor in thirty years -- remain daunting. As Justin Vogt writes in the latest issue of Washington Monthly, "Piloting New Orleans successfully will require all of Landrieu's political gifts and more. The Big Easy faces tremendous challenges. More than 40,000 abandoned properties fester all over the city. New Orleans boasts the highest murder rate in America. Its out-of-control police department is currently the subject of a massive investigation by the Department of Justice; a dozen officers have already been indicted. As a parting gift, former Mayor [Ray] Nagin left behind an $80 million budget deficit. And although the city was not impacted by the BP oil disaster as directly as surrounding rural parishes, three pillars of the metro area's economy -- oil and gas, tourism, and seafood--are all threatened by the spill's still-unknown long-term effects. Governing under these conditions will require making the kinds of difficult choices that inevitably create serious political vulnerabilities for any elected leadership -- but especially one like Mitch Landrieu's, which has the added burden of holding together an unlikely biracial coalition."

What's more, eventually the billions in federal recovery money fueling much of the city's rebuilding will be gone - and how those dollars have been used will doubtless come under scrutiny by the new Republican House of Representatives. Add to that deficit reduction mania and cutbacks in both public works and public employees and you've got trouble.

We certainly had trouble as New York City grappled with its biggest blizzard in the last four years. In years past, squadrons of plows worked their way down busy Seventh Avenue outside my Manhattan apartment building several times during a storm; the night of this latest, a single plow came through on just a couple of occasions, and the outer boroughs were crippled for days. The morning after, the door to my building was drifted in and blocked - not the city's fault, but indicative of what they were up against. Investigations have been announced as to whether disgruntled Sanitation Department employees implemented a slowdown to pad overtime or in protest of recent rollbacks, which included layoffs of several hundred employees (from a total of 6300) as well as demotions and reduced salaries for many supervisors.

Whatever the truth, there weren't enough hands on deck. The Obama $787 billion job stimulus two years ago helped many states balance budgets and protected or created state and municipal jobs--in fact, the government says about half the jobs generated by stimulus money were funded by state or local governments. But now that money's almost gone, too. According to the official recovery.gov website, 92% of the monies have been made available, excluding tax benefits. And regardless of the stimulus, according to The New York Times, in 2009, local governments eliminated 210,000 jobs.

Over the next years we'll continue to see states and local governments grapple with recession fueled deficits, unemployment and conflicts with public employee unions, which in many instances are being used to deflect blame from the real culprits: big business, the banks and government. As the Times' Michael Powell reported Sunday, "A growing cadre of political leaders and municipal finance experts argue that much of the edifice of municipal and state finance is jury-rigged and, without new revenue, perhaps unsustainable. Too many political leaders, they argue, acted too irresponsibly, failing to either raise taxes or cut spending.

"A brutal reckoning awaits, they say."

If what New York City briefly underwent last week is any indication, the fun has just begun. As we clambered over unplowed drifts and were carried by howling winds down frozen streets and sidewalks -- and despite the post-Katrina hell that great southern city has experienced -- our frostbitten hearts knew what it means to miss New Orleans. Happy New Year.

Michael Winship is senior writer at Public Affairs Television in New York City.


January 3, 2011

Moyers Rewind: Is God Green?

In 2006 as part of the series MOYERS ON AMERICA, Bill Moyers took a look at a growing divide among evangelical Christians over global warming and other environmental issues in "Is God Green?" The documentary follow the path of some of the evangelicals leaders who split with colleagues and released "An Evangelical Call to Action" on climate change in early 2006. Now, THE NEW YORK TIMES reports the "an increasingly fierce backlash against the mingling of Christianity and environmentalism has emerged from other quarters of the evangelical movement." Review the debate by watching "Is God Green?" and exploring the links below.

Watch the Preview

  • "An Evangelical Backlash Against Environmentalism," THE NEW YORK TIMES, December 30, 2010.
  • Glossary: From Creation care to mine slurry
  • Documents: Read the Cornwall Declaration. Explore the global warming debate
  • Timeline: What happened in Donora, PA that led to the Clean Air Act? When did the Kyoto Protocol go into effect?
  • Sites:Check local air and water quality. Find out about other faiths and the environment.

Capitol Crimes...Again

Disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff is back on the big screen for the second time in a year in CASINO JACK, this time portrayed by Kevin Spacey. This spring he was the centerpiece in Alex Gibney's documentary CASINO JACK AND THE UNITED STATES OF MONEY. Spacey has been nominated for a Golden Globe for best actor in a comedy or musical...Abramoff is out of jail and in a half-way house. The news isn't so good for Abramoff's friend former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay -- he's been convicted by a Texas jury of money laundering and is due to be sentenced on January 10, 2011. Review the original case through Bill Moyers 2006 exploration of Abramoff and his Washington world. CAPITOL CRIMES delved deep into the dark side of American politics — bringing to light a web of relationships, secret deals and political manipulation. The DALLAS MORNING NEWS said: "If anyone can untangle a complicated new story and make it understandable, it's Bill Moyers. So if you're trying to figure out the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal, he explains it all in CAPITOL CRIMES."

Watch Capitol Crimes

Find out more

  • Documents: From the legal filings to Congressional hearings
  • Abramoff Glossary: From ARMPAC to the Tigua Tribe -- the Abramoff scandal and the money and politics in America
  • Timeline: From the College Republicans to Bob Ney's guilty plea -- the Abramoff timeline
  • Email Trail: Read some of the emails documenting the web of politics and money.
  • Read the complete transcript

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