News Articles By Lisa Graves

What If BP Were a Human Being?

(Publisher's Note: The Center for Media and Democracy is strongly supporting efforts to redress the Supreme Court's terrible decision in the Citizens United case through laying the foundation to amend the U.S. Constitution. We will be sending out an update of CMD's work in coalition efforts on this critical issue later this month. In the meantime, we have obtained permission to re-print this provocative editorial commentary on Corporate rights and British Petroleum's role in the devastating oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, by fellow amendment proponent Bruce Dixon. -- Lisa Graves, Executive Director of the Center for Media and Democracy)

What If BP Was A Human Being?

By BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

The third largest oil company in the world, BP was born in 1909 as the Anglo-Persian Oil Company, and was partly owned by the British government. Its headquarters offices are in the UK.. So if it were a flesh and blood person, it would be far and away the wealthiest person on earth, and a nominal British subject. Assuming that our imaginary human BP got into the oil business at the youthful age of say, 20, and stayed at it for just over a century, BP the human being would be closing in on his 121st birthday. Damned few of us will see triple digits, and none of us that reach even our 60s and 70s retain the level of energy, or often of interest that we possessed only a couple decades before. A normal 120 year-old human will have more than a few ailments and bodily systems on the brink of failure. But not our human BP. If BP were a person, it would be immensely, almost inconceivably wealthy AND perhaps immortal.

An Insider's View of the Spin about Elena Kagan, President Obama's Supreme Court Choice

James O'Keefe on Fox NewsElena KaganAs soon as I heard that Elena Kagan was President Obama's choice for the Supreme Court's latest open seat, I knew the first criticism of opponents would be that she "lacked judicial experience." That does not make her unqualified for this role, given her exceptionally distinguished career as a lawyer and policymaker. It does, however, reveal the deeply disingenuous games Republicans are playing with the U.S. judicial system. I want to tell you how that is so, based on my prior experience as the lead attorney on the Justice Department Working Group on Judicial Nominations and as the former Chief Counsel for Nominations for the Senate Judiciary Committee.

SourceWatch Preserves History Unwritten by the Family Research Council

Dr. George RekersDr. George Rekers of Family Research CouncilRecently, SourceWatch helped preserve history when the Family Research Council (FRC) deleted one of its co-founders from its website after he was caught in an embarrassing scandal. The FRC was co-founded by James Dobson and George Rekers, and the organization attempts to inject what it considers to be evangelical Christian values into the public debate. Most recently, as noted in SourceWatch, the FRC held a "prayercast" against health insurance reform in which Dobson publicly prayed that his savior would "frustrate the plans of the Evil One and revive us again with conviction and forgiveness,” referring to the President of the United States, Barack Obama.

Texas Spins History, Again

cowboy.jpgIn a straight party-line vote, ten people on the Texas "Board of Education" voted Friday to change history textbooks to advance right-wing ideological positions on historical matters (the five members of the other party voted against the measures as a whole). Because Texas is one of the most populous states in the union, the contents that it requires in its history books will affect the quality of historical education students receive in other states. (Hawai'i, for example, lacks the population leverage to push for a laid-back island view of history.) In all, the Board has passed over 100 amendments to the curriculum since the beginning of the year. According to the New York Times, "no historians, sociologists or economists" were consulted during the Board's meetings on these right-wing changes, which were spearheaded by board member and dentist Don McLeroy, who claimed expertise in a host of serious educational matters not involving tooth decay.

Oil-Funded Gov Joins with Oil-Funded Front Group to Appeal Greenhouse Gas Regs

supreme court gas station signAlthough it seems a bit like a dog-bites-man story, the New York Times reported that Texas Governor and 2012 presidential aspirant Rick Perry (R-TX) has joined with the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) in challenging the Environmental Protection Agency's decision to regulate carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas. As the Center for Media and Democracy has documented on our SourceWatch site, CEI has been well-funded by Exxon and other oil companies, and is one of the main U.S. corporate front groups fighting efforts to address global warming and regulate the industry that feeds it funding. But, the courts are now stacked in Perry's favor, as noted below.

Tribune Plans Millions in Exec Bonuses while Reporting Gets Cut

A U.S. federal bankruptcy court is expected to rule this week on whether the bankrupt Tribune media company can pay its executives big bonuses despite the cuts to its reporting staff. According to Business Insider, the Tribune is seeking to pay out over $45 million to its executives (down from $70 million this summer). The Tribune company probably owns a paper near you: the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Baltimore Sun, Sun Sentinel (South Florida), Orlando Sentinel, Hartford Courant, Morning Call and Daily Press and 23 TV stations and more.

Talk about bankster envy! What's a failing media conglomerate that has slashed staff and frozen salaries doing giving such golden parachutes to management, while ad revenues plummet? It must be hard for the top dogs to take a critical look at the big bankster bonuses when they are pressing hard to line their own wallets. I must confess that I do have a bias, having seen some great investigative reporters I know laid off by the Tribune's "cost-saving" measures, which apparently do not including saving millions of dollars at the top.

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