As area residents and activists prepared to participate in a public hearing on DuPont Titanium Technologies' request to increase polluting activities at its plant outside Pass Christian, Mississippi, they had no idea they'd have a long wait before getting a turn to speak. "When they realized a handful of prominent supporters - including economic development directors, chamber boosters, bankers and several plant employees - had reserved the first hour and a half of floor time, the hundreds of concerned residents grew livid," reports Greg Harman.
Salon.com has published an excerpt from former right-wing journalist David Brock's new book, The Republican Noise Machine: Right-Wing Media and How It Corrupts Democracy. In an accompanying interview, Brock talks about how the conservative media "sets a climate and helps set parameters and helps form impressions. ...
"As Howard Rheingold, who literally wrote the book, Smart Mobs, says: 'Civilizations jump in complexity whenever a threshold for collective action is lowered. It's not just street protestors. It's science, democracy, markets, the way people meet and mate, the way people use cities and the way motor vehicles use roadways that are affected ... when mobile communication and pervasive computing enable new forms of collective action,'" Brad deGraf writes for AlterNet. "'Wikis' have become the participatory writing tool of choice, and have revolutionized online collaboration.
"A California elections panel examining computerized voting machines has unanimously recommended that machines using touch-screen technology be banned in some California counties," reports W. David Gardner.
The Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression chooses April 13, the anniversary of Jefferson's birth, to issue its annual "Jefferson Muzzles" award to call attention to "those who in the past year forgot or disregarded Mr. Jefferson's admonition that freedom of speech 'cannot be limited without being lost.'" This year's awards included:
One year after the staged toppling of Saddam Hussein's statue in Firdos Square, the bloody violence in Iraq is reaching new peaks.
"The United States-led occupation in Iraq
has enlisted a British public relations firm to help
promote the establishment of democracy in the country.
The firm, Bell Pottinger, based in London, is creating
television and radio commercials that will explain to
Iraqis how and why the United States is handing over
sovereignty to an interim Iraqi government in June. The
campaign will begin next week on local and satellite
stations in Iraq. Bell Pottinger, a subsidiary of Chime Communications, has
California legislators want to stop the use of all paperless electronic voting machines in the state, fearing the same type of fiasco that plagued Florida in the 2000 election. State Sens. Don Perata (D-Oakland) and Ross Johnson (R-Irvine), the chairman and vice chairman of the Senate election committee, have written a letter to Secretary of State Kevin Shelley, urging him to decertify all paperless touch-screen voting machines before the general election. The March 2 primary "was a test-flight of widespread use of these machines.
Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell and PR giant Burson-Marsteller are launching "Help Ohio Vote," a state-wide, 18-month, $15.3 million PR and advertising campaign "educating Ohio voters about new [electronic] voting machines." The massive campaign includes focus groups, media tours, ads, direct mail, and an "embedded" media program.