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Inside the system

April 27, 2001 | Page 4

Wrong time to do the right thing

SOMETIMES IT'S the wrong time to do the right thing. At least that's the opinion of the Union Leader, the reactionary New Hampshire newspaper.

A plaque was erected in February in honor of 12 New Hampshire citizens who fought with the Abraham Lincoln Brigade against the rise of fascism in Spain. Hundreds of people from the U.S. volunteered to fight in Spain against Gen. Francisco Franco and his fascist allies, Germany's Adolph Hitler and Italy's Benito Mussolini.

But the Union Leader ran an editorial denouncing the plaque--and convinced some legislators to have it removed. "The fact that America fought fascism later does not validate the defiance of those who fought in Spain," said Rep. Tony Soltani. "These people were fighting fascism at the wrong time."

--Associated Press, February 18, 2001

The Mercedes gap

THE NEW chair of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) isn't too interested in communications. Michael Powell has long downplayed the need to equip public schools with up-to-date computer equipment--so that poor and working-class students can learn how to use the Internet and all the information it provides access to. Powell recently compared the "digital divide," the huge gap in Internet access between rich and poor households, to a term he himself coined: the Mercedes divide.

"I cannot say that I understand the urgency," Powell wrote in 1999. "The rhetoric is powerful: 'A digital divide,' 'information haves and have-nots,' 'affluent suburbs versus poor urban children.' They certainly are clever sound bites that give the sense of urgency and crisis."

Powell recognizes that only 51 percent of classrooms are wired, but says it isn't really a cause for alarm. But if they get computers at all, poorer schools often rely on donations of outdated computer equipment from corporations--which then take a tax break for their "generosity."

Even industry spokespeople see the point that Powell misses. "There's a point where you have to make an investment and not run our schools on leftovers," Robin Willner, director of IBM corporate-community relations, told Congress last fall.

--Miami Herald, April 2, 2001

It's breakfast time with Big Brother

"WE'RE REACHING people from the moment they wake up until they fall asleep." In case it wasn't obvious, those words gushed forth from international media boss Rupert Murdoch.

"We give them their morning weather and traffic reports through our television outlets around the world," he wrote in his 1999 annual report. "We enlighten and entertain them with such newspapers as the New York Post and the Times [of London] as they have breakfast.

"We update their stock prices and give them the world's biggest news stories every day through such news channels as Fox or Sky News. And when they get home in the evening, we're there to entertain them...Before going to bed, we give them the latest news, and then they can crawl into bed with one of our best-selling novels from HarperCollins."

Extra!, November/December, 2000

Can't we get along?

LOVE YOUR Neighbor Corp. in Michigan has sued the Love Thy Neighbor Fund Inc. in Florida for trademark infringement.

Chicago Sun-Times, April 12, 2001

Heard it through the grapevine

"WE'RE DOING everything we can to bring the solution to an end."
--George W. Bush on the spy-plane crisis with China

"I THINK there is some methodology in my travels."
--Bush

"OF ALL states that understands local control of schools, Iowa is such a state."
--Bush

"THESE TYPES of policies should be based on common sense, sound science and include the participation of all aspects of the food chain."
--Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman

"WE ARE very concerned about the fact that he is an activist, that he opposes the Boy Scouts, supports homosexual marriage--all the homosexual agenda... We don't want this to become the leak in the dike."
--Rev. Louis Shelton, chair of the Traditional Values Coalition, on why his group's opposition to President Bush's selection of a gay Republican to run the White House Office of National AIDS Policy

"RONALD REAGAN tried to tell us that ketchup was a vegetable. Now George Bush is trying to tell us that arsenic is a flavor-enhancer in our drinking water."
--Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.)

"I HAVE yet to see a death case among the dozens coming to the Supreme Court on eve-of-execution stay applications in which the defendant was well represented at trial."
--Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg

"IF WE give one inch to these terrorists in the form of negotiations, then we've got no one to blame but ourselves when we turn into another Detroit or Washington, D.C."
--Keith Fangman, president of the Cincinnati Fraternal Order of Police

"WE CONSIDER the workers to be our slaves, and this belief is made all the easier by a supply of labor that is endlessly abundant."
--Bangladesh sweatshop owner Muhammad Saidur Rehman

"IT WAS the marketplace that determined what the price of electricity would be at any given time. We helped keep the lights on in California."
--Wayne Cousins, spokesperson for a Canadian power generator that made $176 million in profits by selling power to California

"SHE'S GOT a lot of volunteers. She's got tens of thousands of volunteers. She needs [the office] for the volunteers."
Bill Clinton on why Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's office has a rent of more than $500,000

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