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July 18, 2008

Update: Body of War - Tomas Young

BODY OF WAR introduced viewers to Tomas Young, a young veteran who was paralyzed less than a week after arriving to fight in Iraq.

Today, Tomas Young is leaving his Kansas City hospital for a rehabilitation center in Chicago. While his speech and motor control of his hands and arms have been compromised, his family is hopeful that he will recover.

Correspondence is still welcome and his family will forward mail sent to him at:

Tomas Young
112 NE 113th Street
Kansas City, MO 64155

February 29, 2008

Update: CUFI

On Wednesday, February 27th, presumptive GOP Presidential nominee John McCain received the endorsement of Pastor John Hagee, a Texas televangelist who leads Cornerstone Church and founded Christians United for Israel (CUFI). In October, BILL MOYERS JOURNAL interviewed Pastor Hagee and profiled CUFI. Click below to watch our report.
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December 5, 2007

Trade Update: The Peru Deal

For those of you on the free trade beat, Senate Democrats and Republicans yesterday overwhelmingly approved a trade deal with Peru, handing President Bush "an unusual victory," says THE NEW YORK TIMES, yet it remains to be seen whether the deal will serve as a catalyst for similar agreements in Latin America and Asia.

The Peru deal passed the House in November, though by a slimmer margin, after both parties reached a late compromise. As Speaker Pelosi explains after the vote:

Today, the House built upon President John F. Kennedy’s legacy of free trade by passing an agreement that promotes both free and fair trade. The Peru Free Trade Agreement represents a remarkable breakthrough because Democrats were able to secure enforceable, basic labor rights and environmental standards in the core text of a free trade agreement.

President Bush too praised the recent Senate vote, yet continues to urge lawmakers to hasten the passage of pending agreements:

Today's action by the Senate also marks the approval of the first free trade agreement that fulfills the May 10 bipartisan trade agreement with Congress by incorporating enforceable labor and environmental standards. I look forward to signing this legislation into law and urge Congress to promptly consider and approve our other pending free trade agreements, starting with Colombia, which would be important to the stability of the region, and including Panama and South Korea.

What do you think?

  • Will passage of the Peru agreement affect pending trade deals with Panama, South Korea and Colombia?

  • August 15, 2007

    Story Update: Alaskan Pork

    Taxpayers for Common Sense, an earmark watchdog group recently featured on THE JOURNAL, has helped bring to light, with the Associated Press, alleged earmark abuses by prominent Alaskan legislators, Sen. Ted Stevens and Rep. Don Young. From the AP article:

    More than 2,000 projects worth $7.5 billion have gone to Alaska since 2000, says Taxpayers for Common Sense. Alaska received a little over $1 billion in the 2005 highway bill.

    A 2005-2007 study of earmarks by the group showed that Alaska _ ranked 47th in population _ has done far better than other states, when spending is calculated per person. Spending over the three-year period came to $4,311 per person in earmarked projects for Alaskans, while Hawaii was a distant second at $1,812. At the low end were the populous states of Texas, at $98 per person, and New York, $95 per person.

    Part of the difference can be explained by Alaska's special needs, with its remote geography, rough terrain and extreme weather. But the clout of Stevens and Young also has played a huge role.

    According to the AP, some of these 2000 earmark projects included:

    • $500,000 to the Alaska Fisheries Marketing Board, which used some of these funds to paint a Boeing 737 to look like a Chinook Salmon.
    • $1 million was set aside for mobile computers for police cars in Wasilla, Alaska, which has a population of 6,700.
    • $435,000 went to the Alaska Christian College in 2005, which had several dozen students at the time.

    For an interactive map detailing earmark allocation by state, compiled by Taxpayers for Common Sense, click here.

    July 3, 2007

    Story Updates: Libby, Eagles, Trade and more

    Libby Sentence Commuted: Reaction to President Bush's commutation of Scooter Libby's sentence was rapid. House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, Jr. announced that he will be holding a full committee hearing next week titled, "The Use and Misuse of Presidential Clemency Power for Executive Branch Officials." After President Clinton pardoned 140 people on his last day in office, Congressional leadership held similar hearings entitled, "Proposals to amend the president’s power to grant reprieves and pardons." Read an excerpt from testimony here.

    Read more about the issues surrounding the case and continue the conversation.

    Watch Bill Moyers' recent essay entitled, "Begging his Pardon"

    "We have yet another remarkable revelation of the mindset of Washington's ruling clique of neoconservative elites—the people who took us to war from the safety of their Beltway bunkers. Even as Iraq grows bloodier by the day, their passion of the week is to keep one of their own from going to jail."

    Watch Bill Moyers interview with Ambassador Joseph Wilson from NOW with Bill Moyers, February 28, 2003. It was the release of Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame's identity as a CIA agent which led to the Libby trial.

    "Somehow it's hard for me to imagine that a democratic system will emerge out of the ashes of Iraq in the near term. And when and if it does, it's hard for me to believe that it will be more pro-American and more pro-Israeli than what you've got now," says Joseph Wilson in his interview.

    More about Plamegate and Judith Miller from BUYING THE WAR.

    Continue reading "Story Updates: Libby, Eagles, Trade and more" »

    June 27, 2007

    Story Updates

    More Capitol Crimes...
    Yesterday, U.S. District Court Judge Ellen Huvelle sentenced J. Steven Griles to 10 months in prison for obstructing an investigation into the Jack Abramoff scandal. As you probably remember, Griles is the former energy lobbyist that became the Deputy Secretary of the Interior in 2001, until he resigned the post in 2004 to set up his own lobbing firm. From a recent WASHINGTON POST story:

    Griles asked Abramoff for favors for the women in his life, prosecutors said, and in exchange helped Abramoff's clients with their government business. One of Griles's girlfriends, Italia Federici, got $500,000 for her nonprofit from Abramoff's Indian tribes.

    "I concealed the nature and extent of my true relationship with Italia Federici," Griles confessed to the judge yesterday in a statement interrupted by stifled sobs. Choking out the words, a burly, red-faced Griles told Huvelle that "this has been the most difficult time in my life. My guilty plea has brought me great shame and embarrassment."

    Capitol Crimes, the recent Moyers report about Jack Abramoff and the dark side of American politics, can be viewed online in its entirety here. Also, for information about Griles and the revolving door, check out this story from NOW with Bill Moyers from May 30, 2003.

    Continue reading "Story Updates" »

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