Leid Stories Stories and news that affect us all

May 30, 2014  

It’s been quite a week—chockablock with news issues and developments of every sort  having impact locally, regionally, nationally and globally.

Have a thought or two about them that you’d like to share? Well, lucky you! It’s “Free Your Mind” Friday on Leid Stories—your chance to bring the week to a close with an analytical flourish.

Join us at the gathering place for the exchange of information, opinions and ideas. Call 888-874-4888 and tell us what’s on your mind.

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May 29, 2014  

Four Days In the Kitchen: Remembering Dr. Maya Angelou

Snowed By Snowden: NBC ‘Interview’ A Shameless PR Stunt

Dr. Maya Angelou died at her home in Winston-Salem, N.C., yesterday—a continuing chapter, one can’t help but believe, in an extraordinary life that packed centuries of experiences, wisdom, heartache and triumph into 86 years.

Utrice Leid recalls a one-on-one interview with Dr. Angelou that turned into a mind-boggling, four-day karmic experience for us both at the kitchen table.

NBC’s much-publicized “interview” of Ed Snowden by resident news “star” Brian Williams was, simply stated, an embarrassment to journalism. Leid Stories called it right when it predicted yesterday that the interview should be seen as “a study on the role of the media in aiding and abetting hidden agendas.

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May 28, 2014  

In the Midst of Calamity, Haiti Moves to Expel Foreign "Stabilizing" Forces

Observations on Nigeria’s Boko Haram Crisis; Ed Snowden’s Spy Games

Veteran journalist Kim Ives, an editor with Haïti Liberté, a news weekly serving the Haitian diaspora, reports on Haiti’s efforts to remove various international contingents of “stabilizing forces” assigned to the embattled country after the catastrophic earthquake four years ago. He also discusses President Michel Martelly’s latest moves to frustrate increasing demands for national elections.

Leid Stories offers commentaries on the government’s handling of the continued Boko Haram terrorist attacks and crisis in Nigeria, raising questions about the country’s superrich business sector, and on NBC’s “interview” tonight of NSA spy Edward Snowden—a study on the role of the media in aiding and abetting hidden agendas.

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May 27, 2014  

Investigative reporter Paul DeRienzo files the second installment of a series on an ecological disaster caused by massive contamination from the Hanford Site, a sprawling nuclear-reactor complex on the Columbia River in south-central Washington state.

The still-partially-functioning site, built in 1943, was where two-thirds of the nation’s plutonium was manufactured during World War II and the Cold War. It housed the world’s first plutonium-production reactor that produced much of the nation’s nuclear arsenal, including the nuclear bombs used against Japan. But the operation of its nine reactors, phased out between 1968 and 1987, has created the largest ecological disaster in the United States.

During those 40-plus years, DeRienzo says, a steady stream of industrial and radioactive waste created by the production of the element was dumped directly into the air, river and ground of the 586-square-mile reservation. “Now, the United States is faced with the largest cleanup in history, and little hope that it will totally succeed,” he says.

DeRienzo, working under a Polk Awards journalism grant, presents exclusively for Leid Stories Part 2 of his investigation: “The Hanford Site: America’s Fukushima.”

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May 27, 2014  

Today, Memorial Day, as the nation pauses to remember and honor the men and women  who died while serving in the armed forces, let us also reflect on the expansive scales of tragedy that over time have destroyed the lives and futures of hundreds of millions of people all over the world, says the late historian Howard Zinn.

Shortly after publication of his book “Just War” in 2006, Zinn in an address to peace activists in Los Angeles tackled long-held (actually, manipulated by the government and the media) national attitudes about of the inevitability of and justification for war, and the often ahistorical understanding of the total consequences of military action.

War, Zinn argues, almost always is the result of an unwillingness to employ many other options and, he says, usually involves the poor and working class bearing the brunt of the burdens and sacrifices in service of the interests of the rich and powerful. 

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May 23, 2014  

Want to return to a place of calm and reclaim the joy of being fully centered again? Simple. Unburden yourself of thoughts and ideas that cause you to be anxious or fretful—you know, like Congress, the economy, elections, U.S. domestic and foreign policy, and the like.

Thoughts like these aren’t meant to the hoarded; they should be shared. “Free Your Mind Friday” on Leid Stories is here for you.

Call in (888-874-4888). Share. Recenter yourself. Another crazy week’s ahead. 

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May 22, 2014  

Detroit: Court Hears ‘Grand Bargain’; Banksters See A ‘Renaissance’

In Vermont, A Big Victory for Free and Fair Elections

In Congress, Republicans Force New Probe Into Benghazi Terrorist Attack

Federal mediators announced yesterday that the United Auto Workers union has agreed to help raise funds to cover the costs of retirees’ pensions as part of a “grand bargain” with Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr to pull the City of Detroit out of bankruptcy.

Leid Stories correspondent Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African Newswire, brings us up to speed on yesterday’s legal dealings; a sudden affection for the city by bankster JPMorgan Chase; and the Koch Brothers’ effort to make an example of Detroit.

On April 16, Leid Stories featured a small political action committee, calling itself Wolf-PAC, that had launched an ambitious plan to end corporate financing of political campaigns—in essence seeking to reverse the effect of controversial Citizens United U.S. Supreme Court decision that political spending by corporations is a form of protected speech.

Todd Jagger, Wolf-PAC’s coordinator for Texas and Western states, reports a historic victory for the organization in Vermont.

Under restrained protest, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi yesterday presented five Democrats who will join the Republican-led select committee re-examining the Sept. 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya.

The matter has been thoroughly discussed and put to rest, said Pelosi. Not so, says the irksome Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), as he makes his case on the Senate floor. 

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May 21, 2014  

Super Tuesday Primaries Largely About ‘That Other America’

Nigeria: Crisis of Violence, Crisis of Confidence in President Jonathan

The 2014 midterm election season officially began yesterday, with the first batch of primaries in six states--Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Kentucky, Oregon and Pennsylvania.

Customarily, elections are grist for the political mill in the world of media mindbenders, and the May 20 kickoff is no exception. After all, it’s the runup to the high-stakes 2016 presidential race, but more immediately a status report on the health of the Democrat-Republican duopoly and the remaining ambitions of an increasingly unpopular president.

But Super Tuesday was about another story, too, says Leid Stories—a narrative that hasn’t changed in many, many years. It is the story of “that other America” taking care of its business and seeing to its very narrow interests.

The death toll rises above 118 confirmed after two car bomb blasts yesterday in Jos, Nigeria, where, on Christmas Day 2011, the Islamist extremist group Boko Haram claimed responsibility for two bombs that killed 41 people. Police were able to disarm two other bombs.

President Goodluck Jonathan’s predictably staid response (an official statement said he “condemned” yesterday’s bombings) is doing little to convince Nigerians of his capacity for leadership, especially at a time of crisis (an estimated 278 girls abducted by Boko Haram on April 14 from their school dorms in Chibok are still missing). A multinational team, including several African nations, is helping with strategies to deal with Boko Haram and escalating acts of terrorism proven and believed to be linked to the group.

Leid Stories asks listeners: Given the situation, what are Nigeria’s and Jonathan’s options now? 

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May 20, 2014  

America’s Fukushima: The Largest Ecological Catastrophe in U.S. History

On April 17, Leid Stories introduced investigative reporter, broadcaster, activist and teacher Paul DeRienzo, who discussed a special assignment he was about to undertake—a deep look at an ecological disaster caused by massive contamination from a sprawling nuclear-reactor complex, called the Hanford Site, on the Columbia River in south-central Washington state.

It was there that two-thirds of the nation’s plutonium was manufactured during World War II and the Cold War. “During those 40-plus years,” DeRienzo says, “a steady stream of industrial and radioactive waste created by the production of the element was dumped directly into the air, river and ground of the 586-square-mile reservation. Now, the United States is faced with the largest cleanup in history, and little hope that it will totally succeed.”

DeRienzo, working under a Polk Awards journalism grant, presents exclusively for Leid Stories the first of three comprehensive reports based on his investigation: “The Hanford Site: America’s Fukushima.”

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May 19, 2014  

60 Years After the Brown Decision, Some Awful Truths About ‘Progress’

It was no accident that education was the battleground for the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund’s hand-to-hand combat with state and federal courts on the broader matter of civil rights. Education was among African Americans’ greatest aspirations; in apartheid America, it therefore was to be denied the descendants of slaves.

In Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (1954), a consolidation of five separate cases the Fund had been litigating over a 20-year period seeking equal access to education for African Americans, the U.S. Supreme Court declared segregation in public schools unconstitutional. The landmark decision opened up the sluices of educational opportunity—although it many states found ingenious ways to delay its implementation—and ushered in the latter-day civil-rights era.

Now, 60 years since Brown, and 50 years since the passage of the Civil Rights Act, what does the record show about racial “progress” and “democracy” in America? Leid Stories says it’s time to admit to some awful truths.

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