Maybe it was Exxon's CEO raking in $144,573 a day in compensation that moved mainstream media outlets to look more closely at the way corporations are shredding their social contract with workers?
Just the other day, Washington Post business columnist Steven Pearlstein argued that it's high time corporate America confronts the question: "What is the new social contract it has to offer around which a stable political business model can be built?"
"Either the members of the business community," Pearlstein writes, "will have to come up with an improved social contract that allows them to run competitive companies while ensuring that the gains of globalization are spread more equitably, or they will have to face the almost certain prospect that angry and anxious voters will roll back globalization.... " He ends by warning the CEOs of the world-- ones like Jim Owens of Caterpillar-- that they better show some "backbone and ingenuity in dealing with the excessive and unreasonable demands of Wall Street..."
In her smart Los Angeles Times op-ed, "E-Gitator" Laurie David (as she was dubbed in a lavish spread in Vanity Fair's current "Green Issue,") observes that "the issue of global warming is finally catapulting toward a tipping point. With the debate firmly behind us, the focus is turning to solutions....the dots are finally being connected and global warming is fast becoming recognized as the most critical issue of our time."
David goes on to note that "the only place not feeling the heat is the White House..the Bush Administration is unmoved." But I'd argue that the Bush administration has already conceded that climate change is real. Why? Because they treat information about climate change the way they treat the truth about the Iraq war. They scrub data from websites. They rewrite science with political spin. And they give scientists like James Hansen at NASA what I would call the "Shinseki treatment"--they silence them; cut them off from reporters.
The global, fact-based evidence is too overwhelming, and the public is ready to deal with this problem, even if the administration can't or won't.
The atomization of New Orleans has done more to destroy the political fabric of the post-Katrina city than even some of the most concerned observers had dared imagine.
In a community that last elected a white mayor when Richard Nixon was serving as president, three white candidates â€“ Louisiana Lieutenant Governor Mitch Landrieu, wealthy civic leader Ron Forman and Republican lawyer Rob Couhig â€“ collected 56 percent of the vote in the first mayoral vote after last fall's hurricane swept much of the city's minority population away to Houston, Atlanta and more distant locations.
With turnout among the African-American diaspora low, Mayor Ray Nagin, the most prominent African-American candidate, won just 38 percent. He'll face Landrieu, who took 29 percent, in a May 20 runoff election.
Inside the Beltway, legislators have been slow to support moves to censure or impeach President Bush and other members of the administration. Only 33 members of the U.S. House of Representatives have signed on as cosponsors of Congressman John Conyers' resolution calling for the creation of a select committee to investigate the administration's preparations for war before receiving congressional authorization, manipulation of pre-war intelligence, encouraging and countenancing of torture, and retaliation against critics such as former Ambassador Joe Wilson, with an eye toward making recommendations regarding grounds for possible impeachment. Only two members of the Senate have agreed to cosponsor Senator Russ Feingold's proposal to censure the president for illegally ordering the warrantless wiretapping of phone conversations of Americans.
Outside the Beltway, legislators are far more comfortable with censure and impeachment -- at least in the state of Vermont. Sixty-nine Vermont legislators, 56 members of the state House and 14 members of the Senate, have signed a letter urging Congress to initiate investigations to determine if censure or impeachment of members of the administration might be necessary.
The letter, penned by state Rep. Richard Marek, a Democrat from Newfane, where voters made international news in March by calling for the impeachment of Bush at their annual town meeting, suggests that Bush's manipulations of intelligence prior to the launch of the Iraq war, his support of illegal domestic surveillance programs and other actions have created a circumstance where Congress needs to determine whether the time has come for "setting in motion the constitutional process for possible removal from office."
Co-written by Sam Graham-Felsen.
Of all of the disastrous hallmarks of the Bush presidency, Bush's darkest legacy in the long run may be his unmitigated assault on the environment and his deliberate campaign to cover up the immediate threat of global warming.
The Bush Administration has http://www.latimes.com/news/science/environment/la-na-toxic29mar29,0,561... ">undermined the Environmental Protection Agency, http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/08/politics/08climate.html?ei=5089&en=221... ">appointed corporate cronies in the oil industry to critical environmental posts, and muzzled top scientists from warning the public about the imminent climate crisis. It was no exaggeration when http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2004/10/07/gore_calls_bush_wo... ">Al Gore said "George W. Bush has by all odds been by far the worst president for the environment in the entire history of the United States of America -- bar none."
An interesting tidbit from the Advocate shows Giuliani's continuing campaign to woo evangelicals. Seems he's really going all-out in embracing these guys, as was reported during his recent swing through right-wing Southern churches. Now Ralph Reed and Rick Santorum, too!
The numbers from the new Survey USA polling on President Bush are stunning. As EJ Dionne notes in his Washington Post column today, a majority of voters approve of Bush in just four states--Utah, Wyoming, Idaho and Nebraska.
It's no secret W's numbers are bad. But this bad? Fifty-nine percent of respondents disapprove of Bush in Kentucky! Similar stats prevail in once reliably red states such as Indiana, South Carolina and South Dakota (where abortion is practically illegal). A majority of Texans now frown on their old Governor.
At a time when the red-blue political map looks close-to-obsolete, check out the fascinating snapshot of Southern politics offered up in the Pew Research Center's latest poll. The study challenges those who still discount the idea of economic populism being a winning issue in the South. But, as Chris Kromm lays out in Southern Exposure's invaluable blog Facing South--the survey also describes what many have long felt is the core challenge for Southern progressives: "How do we draw on the strengths we have with economic populism"" Kromm asks, "while finding ways to creatively neutralize/ challenge social conservatism... There are no magic bullets."
Nation Event Note
The Nation is visiting Yale University on Wednesday, April 26, 2006. Click here for details on a free public event, sponsored by the Roosevelt Institute, featuring Nation editor and publisher Katrina vanden Heuvel.
Let's hope Rudy Giuliani picked up a copy of the Wall Street Journal today. In its pages journalist Jeanne Cummings asks whether Ralph Reed will "become the first casualty of the Abramoff scandal?" Something for Rudy to remember when he campaigns for the onetime boy wonder's Lt. Governor bid in Georgia next month.
Reed's campaign, Cummings notes wryly, "is having trouble squaring his opposition to gambling with his work on behalf of Mr. Abramoff's casino clients." Here's the juicy backstory:
Between 2001 and 2003, Mr. Reed collected more than $4 million in fees from Abramoff clients with gambling interests, including Indian tribes. Mr. Reed's specialty was ginning up opposition from religious leaders to tribes trying to elbow into Abramoff clients' turf. Payments to Mr. Reed's firm were funneled through organizations such as tax-exempt or charitable groups aligned with Mr. Abramoff, which obscured their source.
War Is Personal: A photo-essay on how grief has transformed the father
of a slain US marine.