You won’t find the big news of the week in this article. No major mainstream media headlines. Welcome to the Friday Edition of Un(der)reported News—stories you may not have seen but might find interesting.
If you have stories from the week that you think have been buried and may have been missed by fellow Planetarians, here’s the place to post them!
Coming Soon: A Movie About… Redistricting?
Filmmaker Jeff Reichert is writer and director of an upcoming documentary about redistricting. That’s something you don’t hear every day.
True, people who watch politics for a living know the urgency of redistricting, the state-by-state redrawing of congressional and legislative lines following each decade’s census to adjust for population changes over the previous 10 years. And true political junkies are fascinated by the back stories of redistricting — the self-dealing, double-dealing, partisan and personal revenge and bizarrely designed districts that provide drama and occasional moments of comedy to the process.
Supreme Court upholds government position in detainee photo battle
The Supreme Court tossed a lower court’s decision to release photos of U.S. soldiers abusing enemy combatants in foreign prisons on Monday.
That ruling, which means the 2nd Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals must re-examine the case, constitutes a victory for the president, who has insisted recently that the publication and dissemination of the photos could stir anti-American sentiment and endanger U.S. troops fighting abroad.
Sen. Shelby wants ‘living wills’ for the country’s largest financial companies
The Senate Banking Committee’s top Republican on Monday said the government should require large firms to have the financial equivalent of “living wills.”
Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) said he wants those firms to have formal plans in place for dealing with future economic crises to avoid the need for future government bailouts. He also wants the federal government to beef up the bankruptcy process.
The 50 Richest Members of Congress
Even membership in Congress’ most exclusive club couldn’t insulate lawmakers from the economic downturn.
According to Roll Call’s annual examination of House and Senate financial disclosure forms, while the 50 richest Members of Congress remain financially flush — each with a minimum net worth of nearly $5.5 million — many of them suffered significant financial losses in 2008.
Wall Street’s a casino, so maybe state gambling laws apply
WASHINGTON — Sen. Maria Cantwell wants to use state gambling laws to regulate parts of Wall Street, saying someone needs to police financial markets where “casino capitalism” involving highly speculative trades she likens to sophisticated betting continue unabated and threaten to create yet another financial crisis.
Iraqi journalists speak out
The crowd was not large, but given the fact that a gathering of outspoken Iraqi journalists is an obvious target for violence here in Baghdad, and that the Muslim world is currently celebrating the Eid al-Adha religious festival, the crowd was large enough.
The scene was Baghdad’s Firdos Square, best known to Americans as the place where Iraqis, in a televised event we later learned was stage-managed, pulled down a huge statue of dictator Saddam Hussein after U.S. troops occupied the city in April 2003.
D.C. Council takes first vote on same-sex marriage
WASHINGTON (AP) — The D.C. City Council on Tuesday took the first of two votes it needs to pass a bill that will allow same-sex marriage in the city, voting to accept the bill 11 to 2. A second, final vote is expected later in the month, and D.C.’s mayor has promised to sign the bill. The bill had been expected to pass, as 10 of the 13 council members co-sponsored it.
Marriages would begin in the city as soon as the bill passes a period of Congressional review, but it is unlikely Congress will alter the law.
Google to limit free newspaper articles
Google, which has come under fire for making newspaper content easier to read without buying a paper edition, made changes Tuesday to allow publishers more control of their content.
Google updated its First Click Free program to let publishers limit online readers to looking at no more than 5 pages of content per day without registering or subscribing.
Study: In Afghan Debate, Few Antiwar Op-Eds in Nation’s Two Leading Newspapers
President Obama has issued orders for a major escalation of the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan by sending 34,000 additional troops. Has the media helped beat the drum for war? A new study by Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting reveals pro-war voices outnumbered anti-war ones by a huge margin in the OpEd pages of the nation’s two leading newspapers, The New York Times and the Washington Post.
Documents reveal new information about destruction of torture tapes
Records obtained late last month by the American Civil Liberties Union reveal new information about the CIA’s destruction of videotapes depicting the brutal interrogation of prisoners at CIA black sites, including the precise date the tapes were destroyed and evidence that the White House was involved in early discussions about the proposed destruction.
Iraq Sees Alarming Rise in Cancers, Deformed Babies
Baghdad – The guns are gradually falling silent in Iraq as a fragile stability takes hold, turning the spotlight on a stealthier killer likely to stalk Iraqis for years to come.
Incidences of cancer, deformed babies and other health problems have risen sharply, Iraqi officials say, and many suspect contamination from weapons used in years of war and accompanying unchecked pollution as a cause.
U.S. set to fund more stem cell study
The Obama administration has begun approving new lines of human embryonic stem cells that are eligible for federally funded experiments, opening the way for millions of taxpayer dollars to be used to conduct research that was put off-limits by President George W. Bush.
Have the Media ‘Falsely Framed’ ACORN?
Until recently, ACORN, the largest community organizing group in the country, was well known primarily among liberal activists and the low-income people it has organized since it began in Little Rock in 1970. By mobilizing poor people and their middle class allies, it has won major victories — at the local, state and national levels — to improve the living and working conditions of everyday people.