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Thursday, March 26, 2015

Public sentiment ignored in ‘the law’

Viewpoints: Every so often we have reason to recall the classic Dickens line uttered by his Mr. Bumble character in Oliver Twist: “If the law supposes that, the law is a ass.” We think Mr. Bumble’s cogent, albeit ungrammatical observation was borne out once more by the judge who recently issued his denial ruling in response to several petitioners who requested release of the grand jury minutes in the case of senselessly killed Eric Garner in Staten Island last July. Comment.

Do a better job on gender equality

Viewpoints: LONDON, March 21, 2015 (IPS) - Undoubtedly, we are at a crucial time in the advancement of gender equality. As we move towards consensus on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), we must ensure the rights of women and girls are firmly embedded in the post-2015 development framework. Comment.

Whistleblowers and the prosecution loophole

Viewpoints: When facing the prospect of criminal prosecution for leaking highly classified material to his mistress and later lying about it to the FBI, General David Petraeus found unlikely allies on Capitol Hill. Senators John McCain (R-AZ), Lindsay Graham (R-SC), and Diane Feinstein (D-CA) have all spoken out against criminally prosecuting the four-star general, in part because they feel he has “suffered enough.” Comment.

Whistleblowers and the prosecution loophole

Viewpoints: When facing the prospect of criminal prosecution for leaking highly classified material to his mistress and later lying about it to the FBI, General David Petraeus found unlikely allies on Capitol Hill. Senators John McCain (R-AZ), Lindsay Graham (R-SC), and Diane Feinstein (D-CA) have all spoken out against criminally prosecuting the four-star general, in part because they feel he has “suffered enough.” Comment.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Why this Catholic doctor supports medical aid in dying

Viewpoints: Inspired by the public advocacy of terminal brain cancer patient Brittany Maynard, lawmaker in Washington, DC, and at least 16 other states – from California to New York – have introduced bills that would authorize the medical option of aid in dying. Comment.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Cheerleaders for undermining the presidency

Viewpoints: Given where he lines up on the political spectrum, hardly would James Baker, the onetime secretary of state, be among my favorite people. Baker served under President Reagan and the first President Bush and seems to be as loyal to the Bush clan as they could desire. He was in the forefront of that hijacking of the democratic process in the disputed 2000 election, leading the charge to have the Florida vote re-count stopped by a right-tilted high court to hand the presidency to George W. Bush. And these days he’s extolling Jeb Bush as the Republicans’ top gun for 2016. All of that notwithstanding, Baker does seem capable of a level of stand-up behavior that puts him poles apart from most of the classless bunch, in Congress and elsewhere, with whom he shares fealty to the GOP brand. Comment.

Gender equality, the last big poverty challenge

Viewpoints: NEW YORK, March 16, 2015 (IPS) - It is estimated that women account for two-thirds of the 1.4 billion people currently living in extreme poverty. They also make up 60 per cent of the world’s 572 million working poor. Comment.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

In home stretch, the president shifts gears

Viewpoints: Come to think of it, it may not be as far-fetched as it sounds, to suggest for public conjecture whether President Obama entertained a secret desire to be tending the nation’s affairs while Capitol Hill was totally under Republican control. The ready reaction would be that the president’s going there is just too masochistic to warrant serious consideration. And maybe it is. But into the last two years of his presidency, facing both a House and Senate with Republican majorities, the zip and/or panache in Obama’s speech and actions might give some of us pause as to his possibly having a preference for gladiator duty where he’s definitely facing odds not in his favor. Comment.

Let’s grant women land rights and power our future

Viewpoints: BONN, March 4, 2015 (IPS) - Women are not only the world’s primary food producers. They are hardworking and innovative and, they invest far more of their earnings in their families than men. But most lack the single most important asset for accessing investment resources – land rights. Comment.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

A legally-binding treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons

Viewpoints: NEW YORK, March 6, 2015 (IPS) - Five years after the adoption of the NPT (Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty) Action Plan in 2010, compliance with commitments related to nuclear disarmament lags far behind those related to non-proliferation or the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Comment.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Going global with the presidential ‘dis’

Viewpoints: In how many different ways will Republicans on Capitol Hill and elsewhere in the country be prepared to show their wanton disrespect for the President of the United States? We are but a mere two months into the life of the new Congress, and the bashing and attempted blocking of the president that has seemingly been the be-all and end-all of the GOP’s raison d’etre, has continued right on in inveterate fashion, perhaps with even more gusto now that the party controls both houses of Congress. Comment.

Community Reinvestment Act can boost energy-efficiency, funding for low-income schools

Viewpoints: One in five Americans spends his or her days in our nation’s 140,000 K-12 schools. Those schools spend close to $8 billion a year on energy costs, the second-largest line item in a school budget after personnel costs. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that 25 percent of the energy used in schools is wasted. In a world of shrinking budgets and resources, energy-efficiency savings in utility costs could be used for desperately needed funding for additional teachers and school resources. Comment.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Water and the world we want

Viewpoints: HAMILTON, Canada, Feb 25 2015 (IPS) - We have entered a watershed year, a moment critical for humanity. As we reflect on the successes and failures of the Millennium Development Goals, we look toward the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals to redress imbalances perpetuated through unsustainable economic growth and to help achieve key universally-shared ambitions, including stable political systems, greater wealth and better health for all. Comment.

Thursday, Feb. 26, 2015

Patrick Manning’s long road to redemption

Trinidad and Tobago: Up to quite recently, it looked like former Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Patrick Manning was intent on being a central player again in the country’s politics, after having been reduced by illness to an incidental, sideline role for the better part of the current government’s soon-to-expire term. Comment.

Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2015

Towards true Caribbean independence

Grenada: Every generation in every nation, has a few exceptionally talented individuals who go on to exhibit the caring acts and intuitive vision of stalwarts. And as the hand of time would have it, in the generational cohort which gave Grenada, Carriacou & Petite Martinique and the Caribbean, Anthony C. George, there is certainly at least one such person. Comment.

Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015

Is the American business community racist?

Viewpoints: The film “Selma” calls us to consider where we stand today and what we are doing as individuals and communities about racial justice. Comment.

Thursday, Feb. 19, 2015

Don’t take Black History Month for granted

Viewpoints: Black History Month is almost over. Why do we celebrate it anyway? Because we must. We owe it to ourselves, regardless of where we fit among the Census Bureau’s categories. Awareness of the contributions of Black men and women to the betterment of civilization should be embedded in every educated person who is sensitive to the world around us. And those who are not as well. Comment.

An utterly un-presidential 2016 contender

Viewpoints: The findings of a Rutgers-Eagleton survey on New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie released last week showed the governor’s favorability numbers taking a nosedive, 42 percent of NJ voters approving and 52 percent disapproving of his performance in office. A far cry, this, from those salad days when, back in 2013, he was seeking a second term and, he would later admit, was looking to “run up the score” against his opponent as he and his retinue tried to bolster what they saw as presidential credentials in the man. Comment.

Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2015

People power, the solution to climate inaction

Viewpoints: BRISBANE, Feb. 10, 2015 (IPS) - Nothing is more important to farmers like me than the weather. It affects the growth and quality of our crops and livestock, and has a major impact on global food supply. Comment.

Thursday, Feb. 12, 2015

The T&T leader’s ‘see-through’ subterfuge

Viewpoints: There’s been no shortage of comment since Trinidad and Tobago’s Prime Minister, Kamla Persad-Bissessar’s dramatic action a few days ago, in firing several colleagues, from both within the cabinet and elsewhere in her beleaguered government, in the wake of yet another scandal. Comment.

Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2015

I hope to God, they preserve it!

Viewpoints: In the midst of this bitter cold February month in Brooklyn, we had some warmth in our hearts to welcome the charming and endearing performing artiste, Diana Ross at the Kings Theatre, last Tuesday evening. Comment.

Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2015

This is going to hurt me more than it hurts you

Viewpoints: SEATTLE, Washington, Feb 7 2015 (IPS) - “Enhanced interrogation”: the George W. Bush administration bureaucrats who coined the term had perfect pitch. The apparatchiks of Kafka’s Castle would have admired the grayness of the euphemism. But while it sounds like some new kind of focus group, it turns out it was just anodyne branding for good old-fashioned torture. Comment.

Sunday, Feb. 8, 2015

It is high time for these court hearings to end

Viewpoints: It seems as if Mr. Michael Ashcroft will not stop pursuing the people and Government of Belize for this 33.5 million dollars that he claims he is owed. I have heard our Prime Minister The Right Honorable Dean Barrow said over and over again that in his opinion, the then Prime Minister Said Musa and his Attorney General Francis Fonseca now the Leader of the People’s United Party (PUP), acted illegally by approving the payment of the loan without the approval of the Belize’s National Assembly. Comment.

Saturday, Feb. 7, 2015

Getting mean-spirited about the weather

Viewpoints: It is the cheapest of cheap shots to dump on public officials who, in full better-safe-than-sorry mode, make decisions about how to respond to predicted adverse weather conditions based on word relayed by forecasters. Politician types, the media and others who jump all over a sequence like we experienced recently in New York City, when blizzard conditions we were prepared for didn’t quite materialize, are flat-out intent only on exploiting the possibilities they see in such situations for ridicule and general bad-mouthing aimed at whoever is on the hot seat. It’s tawdry stuff. Comment.

Patent examination and legal fictions

Viewpoints: GENEVA, Feb. 3, 2015 (IPS) - Industry’s demands and political pressures exerted by developed countries to expand and strengthen patent protection worldwide have been based on the argument that patents promote innovation and thereby contribute to achieve social, political and economic well-being, independently of the level of development of the country where they are granted and enforced. Comment.

Friday, Feb. 6, 2015

Row over Jamaica’s bid to slow beach erosion

Jamaica: KINGSTON, Feb. 2, 2015 (IPS) - A plan that government says will slow the rate of erosion on Jamaica’s world-famous Negril beach is being opposed by the people whose livelihoods it is meant to protect. Comment.

A free and open internet for an innovative and competitive economy

Viewpoints: If you’re reading this online, thank net neutrality. Net neutrality is the principle that all Internet content must be delivered equally. This article shouldn’t be transmitted more slowly than another one. Your cat video shouldn’t be given priority over a TED Talk. More importantly, your small business’ website shouldn’t be loaded slower than Amazon’s. Put it this way: Net neutrality prevents preferential treatment; it is freedom from interference. Comment.

Saturday, Jan. 31, 2015

Two kinds of income inequality

Viewpoints: Income inequality is back in the news, propelled by an Oxfam International report and President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address. The question is whether government needs to do something about this — or whether government needs to undo many things Comment.

Friday, Jan. 30, 2015

Cuba/US: Catching a glimpse of the possible future

Viewpoints: HAVANA, Jan. 21, 2015 (IPS) - All Cubans, on either side of the Florida Straits, but in places like Spain, France or Greenland – where there must be a couple of Cubans – as well felt it was a historic moment that included each and every one of us, when U.S. President Barack Obama announced on Dec. 17 the normalisation of relations after half a century of hostility. Comment.

Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015

Dems not blameless in GOP Capitol gains

Viewpoints: Speaker John Boehner was constrained to remark in a TV interview the other day that President Obama, during his recent State of the Union address, was looking out on members from the House and Senate that included 80 more Republicans than the last time he had done his State of the Union routine. Boehner’s beef — that the president’s speech should have reflected in tone and content the new Republican plurality, but didn’t — was of course no excuse for the scowl the speaker wore on his face while sitting in back of the president for the entire hour or so of the address. Comment.