Aug 022011

The most famous scientist in the world, Stephen Hawking, has never avoided the big questions, from the nature of time to the fate of the universe.

By Dan Vergano, USA Today

British physicist Stephen Hawking attends the 2010 World Science Festival opening night gala performance at Alice Tully Hall on Wednesday, June 2, 2010 in New York. (Evan Agostini, AP)

But that was just a warm-up. Now he is squaring off with God.

Hawking will kick off Curiosity, the Discovery Channel’s weekly look (Sunday, 8 p.m. ET/ PT) at what research says about life’s big questions. It starts on Aug. 7., with an epsode entitled, “Is There a Creator?” Afflicted with a form of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) while young and now paralyzed, Hawking speaks with the aid of a voice synethesizer, and a narrator on the show.

“I recently published a book that asked if God created the universe. It caused something of a stir,” Hawking, 69, begins on the episode. (The “stir”, in fact, was religious leaders denouncing his book’s conclusion that God was unnecessary to the universe.) On the show, he takes viewers on a walk through humanity’s history of appraising our place in the universe, from Vikings facing down eclipses to the laws of modern cosmology, which explain the origin and structure of universe. “I believe the discovery of these laws is mankind’s greatest achievement,” he says. Continue reading »

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Aug 022011

K. Olbermann

Patrice Greanville

THESE ARE TOUGH TIMES FOR PEOPLE WHO TELL THE TRUTH IN AMERICA, especially in the lamebrain media where they are almost non-existent, so I guess we must be grateful for what we get. Still, we feel that some glaring omissions should be pointed out in those cases where, as happened with Keith Olbermann’s Special Comment last night (8.1.11), good intentions do not suffice to get the American people to really understand what is now facing them. Continue reading »

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Aug 022011

By Black Agenda Report managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

Obama's demagogic skills makes Louisiana's legendary Huey Long --"The Kingfish"—look like a rank amateur. Except that the latter often delivered for the people.

So why won’t the president call Republican and bankster bluffs and shut down the phony debt ceiling crisis? Why won’t the Republicans take yes-may-I -have-another-tax-cut-for-the-rich for an answer? And why won’t president Obama stand up and fight for the poor and working people who voted for him in their tens of millions, who have made his career possible.

It’s taken a long while, but I’m finally coming around. I’m about ready to admit the truth. Supporters of the president have long insisted that The Man simply knows things most of us don’t. After all, he’s the president. He’s got access to the facts, the figures. He’s looking further, they say, seeing deeper, playing sixth dimensional chess while most of us can barely get our minds around checkers. You know, they just might be right. If there’s one thing this phony debt ceiling crisis proves, it’s that Barack Obama really is smarter than most of us, especiall smarter than the tens of millions who voted him into office. Continue reading »

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Aug 022011

Action Alert / A Dispatch from FAIR

David Gregory’s Social Security Nonsense
Misinforming viewers about deficit’s causes–and public’s solutions

What's most irritating is that insufferable idiots—or is it ignoramuses?— like Gregory are the norm, not the exception. A situation that just happens to suit the status quo admirably.—Eds

Corporate media coverage of budget deficits and debt often turns to blaming Social Security and Medicare for being the real problem. NBC’s Meet the Press host David Gregory is especially fond of passing off such misleading claims as facts.

In a question to Republican Sen. John Thune, Gregory put it this way (7/31/11):
Senator, what’s really ludicrous to the American people, even when the American people don’t always speak with one voice on this matter, is that Washington is not really dealing with what really drives the debt, that’s entitlement spending. It’s been going on this way and was a ticking time bomb since the ’60s, and Democrats–like you were saying, “Hey, we can’t deal with Social Security and Medicare.”

Republicans, you know, sign tax pledges, “I’m not going to raise taxes.” Well, we can’t deal with revenues. I mean, this is what’s ludicrous to the American people. And even here, if we have a deal, we’re going to solve a political problem but not the underlying fiscal problem, which is what creates our debt, senator, no? Continue reading »

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Aug 022011

BARRY GREY, WSWS.ORG (a member of the SEP, a socialist organization)

The nation would have been far better off if Obama had never tackled "the Deficit Crisis".

The agreement reached by the Obama administration and Democratic and Republican congressional leaders to raise the federal debt limit marks a turning point in the class struggle in the United States. The deal imposes sweeping cuts in vital social programs upon which millions of working people depend without a penny in tax increases on the corporations or the wealthy.

It inaugurates a frontal attack on Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security as part of a drive to reverse all of the social reforms of the 20th century. It sets a precedent for an escalation of the assault on social programs far beyond the already cruel cuts mandated in the agreement by linking increases in the federal debt limit to the equivalent amount in deficit reduction. The current issue of Bloomberg Businessweek features a cover story headlined “Why the Debt Crisis is Even Worse Than You Think” which argues that $15 trillion must be slashed over the next decade—more than five times the level of cuts in the agreement reached over the weekend. Continue reading »

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