July 30, 2004
U.S. has Largest Deficit in History
A White House report released today shows the nation’s budget deficit is at its highest in U.S. history. Officials there however are proud of the 445-billion dollar deficit saying it is less than what they originally predicted.
Over Five Million Jobs Lost in Two Years: Bureau of Labor
The Bureau of Labor Statistics released a report showing that from January 2001 through December 2003, 5 point 3 million workers were displaced from jobs they had held for at least 3 years. “Displaced workers are defined as persons 20 years of age and older who lost or left jobs because their plant or company closed or moved, there was insufficient work for them to do, or their position or shift was abolished.” A slight majority of those workers were re-employed. But, half of them earned less than what they did prior to their job loss; a third lost a full 20-percent of their previous wages.
Bush Pushes Shrimp Tax
Bush Administration officials plan to tax imported shrimp hoping to appease some southern voters. Mark Antokas reports from WMNF in Tampa.
Schwarzenegger vs. Democratic Legislature
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger wants to curb the democratically controlled legislature’s power by turning them into part-timers. Christopher Martinez reports from Sacramento.
The United Nations Security Council passed a watered down resolution on the devastating crisis in the western Darfur region of Sudan. Haider Rizvi has more from the U.N.
Homeland Security Secretary May Step Down Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge may step down after the November elections. According to the Associated Press report, Ridge says he is over worked and under paid. He adds that he’s concerned about putting his two teenage children through college. The Homeland Security position pays a bit less than 176 thousand dollars a year.
Democratic Convention Speaker Highlights
The Democratic Convention wrapped up last night with presidential candidate John Kerry accepting the presidential nomination from the nation’s Democrats. While many watched Kerry speak last night – most missed the numerous others speakers throughout the 95-million dollar four-day event. All but the Rev. Al Sharpton read from the party script. Here are some excerpts:
Kerry Speech Strong – But Concerns Persist
Senator Kerry gave what many observers there called one of the best speeches of his career. Kerry made many pledges from never needlessly sending troops to war to never privatizing Social Security. Mitch Jeserich has more from Boston.
Hearings on 9-11 Commission Report
Today in Washington, DC Senators held hearings on ways to implement the 9-11 commission’s report. The report includes addressing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as well as other security failures in order to deal with terrorism. From Capitol Hill, Selina Musuta reports.
WTO – Cotton Farmers in Senegal
The chances of an agreement on agricultural issues at WTO talks between the European Union, the US, Australia, India and Brazil at tenuous at this hour. India has rejected the latest draft and negotiations continue. With no agreement in sight among the major players, the World Trade Organization General Council meeting is expected to spill over to the next few days. The Geneva meeting is the first major summit since the breakdown of talks last September in Cancun, Mexico. Poorer countries are demanding richer states cut farming subsidies that deny them access to markets. Five key member states have put together a document on the highly controversial topic of agricultural reform. The draft is criticized by African countries who say cotton issues are not addressed. African farmers suffer from prices on the international market, and seek solutions to face shortcomings. Ndiaga Seck tells us that Senegalese farmers try to develop different crops and the government must lower taxes on agricultural machines to face world market realities.
Gentrification Guts Affordable Housing
Boston and New York, the sites of the national political conventions, are both known for housing markets with sky-high rents. But neither of the major presidential candidates, nor their parties, are addressing what many communities across the country call is a critical need: affordable housing. Darby Hickey reports from Washington, DC that tenants, homeowners, and small businesses are working together to resist the process of gentrification
If democracy means building political power from the ground up, then this election season is ripe with possibility. At block parties, school gyms and county fairs, volunteers are mobilizing their base and registering voters traditionally overlooked or dismissed. In Seattle, one such drive is focused on districts with high concentrations of low-income residents. Martha Baskin has our story.