Jan 28 2011

Weekly Digest – 01/28/11

Our weekly edition is a nationally syndicated one-hour digest of the best of our daily coverage.

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This week on Uprising:

* Obama Short on Specifics, Long on Compromise
* Black Agenda Report on Black Leaders and War
* Egyptians Rise Up!
* Tunisian Revolution Stays Strong

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Obama Short on Specifics, Long on Compromise

ObamaPresident Obama addressed Congress and the nation on Tuesday in his State of the Union Address. Speaking for about an hour, he referred to this being “our generation’s Sputnik moment,” announcing a relatively bold goal of adopting clean energy so that “[b]y 2035, 80 percent of America’s electricity will come from clean energy sources.” This went hand-in-hand with his call for cutting subsidies to oil companies. Obama also focused on education by first chastising parents and teachers for their responsibility, and then lauding his own education policy called Race To the Top calling it “the most meaningful reform of our public schools in a generation.” Obama called on Americans to “out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world” even as he announced a 5-year domestic spending freeze. The President also obliquely voiced support for the DREAM Act, extolled the end of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, and then made a strong call for the return of military recruiters and ROTC onto all college campuses. He stood firm on the health care reform bill, and preserving college tax credits. In job creation, the President called for major infrastructure rebuilding while assuring Congress that such a plan would not increase the deficit. In foreign policy, the President reiterated that the Afghanistan war was going well, and sent a clear message of support for the Tunisian revolution. Using his standard rhetoric of trying to please both aisles of the party divide the President made more than a dozen mentions of Democrats and Republicans working together. I spoke the day after the speech with:

GUESTS: Amy Dean, co-author of “A New New Deal: How Regional Activism Will Reshape the American Labor Movement,” Kai Wright, Editorial Director of ColorLines. He’s an Alfred Knobler Fellow of The Nation Institute

Read Amy Dean’s article here: http://www.inthesetimes.com/working/entry/6874/

Read Kai Wright’s article here: http://colorlines.com/archives/2011/01/the_state_of_our_union_is_weak

Black Agenda Report on Black Leaders and War

Glen FordGlen Ford is a writer and radio commentator and the Executive Editor of The Black Agenda Report. This week’s commentary is on Black Leaders And War.

Visit www.blackagendareport.com for more information.

Egyptians Rise Up!

EgyptEgyptians, seemingly inspired by the revolution in Tunisia, have flooded their streets with major protests this week, threatening the power of President Hosni Mubarak. The actions started on Tuesday, dubbed the “National Day of Anger” and continued through Friday, the day this program is recorded. Midan-al-Tahrir, or Liberation Square in the capital Cairo was filled with hundreds of thousands of people demanding exactly that – liberation from a repressive regime. The demonstrations have broken out in many different parts of Cairo, as well as all across the 85-million strong nation. The Egyptian government announced a ban on protests and public gatherings with a massive deployment of riot police. They have also shut down the internet in an effort to squelch communication. So far at least 6 protesters and one policeman have been killed and hundreds rounded up. But protesters are not backing down giving Mubarak the biggest challenge of his 30 year reign. Friday saw the most violent and chaotic clashes between police and protesters, with the government announcing a curfew. Young activists are at the forefront calling for an end to the regime, as well as for social, political, and economic reforms. Last June, a 28 year old man named Khaled Saeed was allegedly tortured to death by Egyptian police after he posted a video of police sharing confiscated narcotics. Activists have set up a website and Facebook page called We are All Khaled Saeed, which made a call for the demonstrations on Tuesday and seem to be playing a significant role in what is happening. The U.S. has historically considered President Mubarak an even closer ally than Tunisia’s Ben Ali. So far the White House has said that it was keeping a close watch on the situation in Egypt and that it respects the universal rights of assembly and speech of all Egyptians. White House Spokesperson Robert Gibbs said that Mubarak remains a “close and important ally.” Meanwhile, protests have also sparked in neighboring Jordan with major demonstrations in the capital Amman, and just today tens of thousands marched in Yemen.

GUESTS: Alex Ortiz, a student at American University in Cairo

View Alex’s video stream coverage of Tahrir Square in Cairo at www.justin.tv/cairowitness

Tunisian Revolution Stays Strong

TunisiaJust a few days in existence, Tunisia’s Unity Government, formed in the aftermath of President Ben Ali’s hasty departure, is facing stiff popular opposition. Last weekend, protesters formed a spontaneous gathering they call a “Caravan of Liberation” outside the offices of the interim Prime Minister in the capital Tunis. Here are excerpts from an Al Jazeera report on the “final day of National Mourning.” Nationwide, Tunisians are demanding an end to the fledgling government of Prime Minister Mohammed Ghannouchi, who served as PM under President Ben Ali. Having pushed Ben Ali out, Tunisian protesters are angry about what they see as simply a continuation of the former regime in the newly formed government. The military has sided with protesters saying it will “safeguard the revolution,” but Army Chief Rachid Ammar warned that a power vacuum could result in a dictatorship. Ammar was reportedly fired by Ben Ali for refusing to fire on protesters in the weeks before the President’s departure, making him a popular hero. He has been reinstated by the interim government which now finds itself under threat of popular revolt. Meanwhile, the exiled leader of Tunisia’s Islamist movement Rached Ghannouchi plans to return to his country after 20 years. His party was among the most severely repressed under Ben Ali, but his supporters did not play a visible role in the uprising.

GUEST: Radia Daoussi, a Tunisian native, is the president of the Vineeta Foundation, a non-profit focusing on public health and human rights. She also works for international organizations, including UNDP, UNICEF, and the World Bank

Sonali’s Subversive Thought for the Day:

“Revolution is not the uprising against preexisting order, but the setting up of a new order contradictory to the traditional one.” — Jose Ortega y Gasset

One response so far

One Response to “Weekly Digest – 01/28/11”

  1. brent thorntonon 30 Jan 2011 at 12:15 am

    my wife and i are raising 3 daughters in China Lake, which you may or may not know is home to China Lake Naval Air Weapons Testing Facility. EVERY weekday morning, my 3 daughters, ages 3,7,10, listen to sonali on uprising. she has become my daughters hero, and i just wanted to let you know that your efforts are making a huge impact on my daughters. keep up the dilligence, it is appreciated and respected by Ridgecrest/Chinalake, and our little town in between, Inyokern. thank you sonali and KPFK!