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Pete Seeger (1919-2014): He Changed the World One Song at a Time PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Guest Commentaries
Written by John W. Whitehead   
Wednesday, 29 January 2014 11:56

Pete Seeger at the Clearwater Festival 2007. Photo by Anthony Pepitone.

My job is to show folks there’s a lot of good music in this world, and if used right it may help to save the planet.” – Pete Seeger

The world will be saved by people fighting for their homes. Homes will be saved by people who fight for the world.” – Pete Seeger

Pete Seeger, the activist/singer/songwriter who tried to change the world with every note he uttered, died January 27 at age 94, and we are all the poorer for it.

A longtime friend whose letters I treasured for their hand-drawn embellishments and whose words of encouragement urged me to keep on fighting, Seeger belonged to a dying breed of Americans who cared more about making a difference using whatever resources were available to them than luxuriating in creature comforts and basking in the glow of their greatness.

Long before the Beatles or the Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix or Bob Dylan, there was Pete Seeger, a lone ranger fighting injustice with little more than a five-string banjo in hand and a gift for putting words to music. Unarguably one of the most important musical influences of the 20th Century, Seeger helped to lay the foundation for American protest music, singing out about the plight of everyday working folks and urging listeners to political and social activism.

 
The End of Childhood in the Era of the Emerging American Police State PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Guest Commentaries
Written by John W. Whitehead   
Wednesday, 08 January 2014 09:23

It wouldn’t be a week in America without another slew of children being punished for childish behavior under the regime of zero tolerance that plagues our nation’s schools. Here are some of the latest incidents.

In Pennsylvania, a 10-year-old boy was suspended for shooting an imaginary “arrow” at a fellow classmate, using nothing more than his hands and his imagination. Johnny Jones, a fifth-grader at South Eastern Middle School, was suspended for a day and threatened with expulsion under the school’s weapons policy after playfully using his hands to draw the bowstrings on a pretend “bow” and “shoot” an arrow at a classmate who had held his folder like a gun and “shot” at Johnny. Principal John Horton characterized Johnny’s transgression as “making a threat” to another student using a “replica or representation of a firearm” through the use of an imaginary bow and arrow.

 
Iran: It’s Not About Nuclear Weapons PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Guest Commentaries
Written by Sheldon Richman   
Monday, 02 December 2013 11:24

If you want to understand the U.S.-Iran controversy, know this: It is not about nuclear weapons.

You’re thinking: Of course it’s about nuclear weapons. Everyone says so.

Well, not everyone does. But it isn’t a numbers game. As William O. Beeman points out in the Huffington Post:

“There is a strange irony in President Obama’s announcement of the temporary agreement. He mentioned the term ‘nuclear weapon’ multiple times in his announcement, implying that Iran was on a path to develop such a weapon. One wonders if he actually believes this or if his repeated implied accusation was a rhetorical device designed to placate his hard-line critics.

“The president must know by this time that there is no evidence that Iran has or ever had a nuclear-weapons program. Every relevant intelligence agency in the world has verified this fact for more than a decade. U.S. National Intelligence Estimates that were made public in 2007 and 2011 underscored this. The International Atomic Energy Agency has also consistently asserted that Iran has not diverted any nuclear material for any military purpose.

“Even Israeli intelligence analysts agree that Iran is ‘not a danger’ to Israel.”

 
Rand Paul’s NSA War and the Invisible Liberals PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Guest Commentaries
Written by Ted Rall   
Wednesday, 02 October 2013 09:45

Way back when, Democrats such as George McGovern opposed wars of choice. And Democrats such as Frank Church exposed the CIA. It later led to an executive order – by President Ronald Reagan, of all people – that banned political assassinations.

A Democratic Congress held impeachment hearings against U.S. President Richard Nixon – partly because he tapped the phones of a few hundred Americans and, in so doing, violated their privacy rights. Back then, millions of liberals marched against the Vietnam War without blinking. It didn’t matter a bit that the president at the time was a Democrat.

But look what’s going on now.

As I write, we have a so-called liberal president in the White House. Yet he and his Democratic congressional allies aren’t fighting the good fight. They’re committing the worst crimes of anyone.

 
Why Rodney Blackwell Thinks He Has a Play in the Davenport Casino Game PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Guest Commentaries
Written by Jeff Ignatius   
Tuesday, 17 September 2013 16:28

Local developer Rodney Blackwell clearly got the Davenport City Council’s attention with a $250-million casino-development proposal on September 7. But from the outset it didn’t appear there was any path forward for it.

The Isle of Capri (IOC) has, through October 15, an exclusive negotiating agreement with Dan Kehl’s Scott County Casino company to sell its Rhythm City property. And, as Blackwell readily admits, even if it didn’t, the Isle wouldn’t want to negotiate with him and his partner, the Canadian company Clairvest Group.

So the city council’s 9-1 vote on September 11 to table a development agreement with Kehl appeared to be little more than a delay. Kehl has said he’ll complete the sale by the October 15 deadline. And the Riverboat Development Authority (RDA) – which holds the Rhythm City gaming license – on September 16 approved an operating agreement with Kehl’s company. (All these agreements are steps toward actually building the casino, and beyond them is approval from the Iowa Racing & Gaming Commission.)

The message of Kehl’s comments and the RDA’s action is that the train has left the station, and Blackwell isn’t on it. As RDA Chair Gary Mohr told the Quad-City Times: “The RDA will keep its commitments. I don’t know if people don’t understand it or they just don’t like it.”

But Blackwell thinks he has a play. He said in an interview last week that he believes the city council can kill the Kehl deal, and that it further has the leverage to force the Isle of Capri to negotiate with him and Clairvest. Alternatively, the city could use its power to push Kehl to make a larger investment than the $110 million he has pledged to spend on a new casino and hotel complex. (Kehl said the three-phase development will total $200 million.)

 
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