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Consider getting your news from various sources – not just TV (Too often TV provides shallow coverage of the same stories.  Or reporters who don’t do real investigation, but just look for opportunities to talk “on location.”)

Distrust editorials; look for facts - all the facts.  Much editorial writing, especially about politics or government action, twists carefully selected factoids to further the writer’s own agenda.  Or the agenda of his publisher.

Read newspapers – check out the New York Times – also available online at http://www.nytimes.com/

Listen to National Public Radio – available online at http://www.npr.org/ – or from a station near you.
(NPR also has a great show that makes fun of the news – Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me.)

Check out BBC World News for a different perspective – how do people outside of the U.S. see the world? Available online at http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/

PIRG stands for Public Interest Research Group.  They work to protect citizens against corporations.  There is one for each state – find yours through the national website at www.uspirg.org

Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs) take on powerful interests on behalf of the American public, working to win concrete results for our health and our well-being. With a strong network of researchers, advocates, organizers and students in state capitols across the country, they stand up to powerful special interests on issues where powerful special interests stand in the way of reform, on issues such as product safety, identity theft, political corruption, environmental protection, prescription drugs, and voting rights.

Suggestions for reading or viewing about subjects that are important to all of us:

Movies to see:  

Syriana  with George Clooney, Christopher Plummer, Matt Damon

Big oil means big money. Very big money. And that fact unleashes corruption that stretches from Houston to Washington to the Mideast and ensnares industrialists, princes, spies, politicos, oilfield laborers and terrorists in a deadly, deceptive web of move and countermove. This lightning-paced, whip-smart action thriller grips your mind and nerves with an intensity that doesn't let go for an instant.

Who Killed the Electric Car w/ Martin Sheen
In 1996, electric cars began to appear on roads all over California. They were quiet and fast, produced almost no exhaust and ran without gasoline. Ten years later, these futuristic cars were almost entirely gone. What happened? Why should we be haunted by the ghost of the electric car?

The Laramie Project
With Steve Buscemi, Janeane Garofalo, Christina Ricci, Peter Fonda, and Laura Linney.

In October 1998, 21 year-old Mathew Shepard was found savagely beaten, tied to a fence, and left to die in Laramie, Wyoming. The Laramie Project is the portrait of a town painfully forced to confront itself in the reflective glare of the national spotlight, responding with love, anger, sympathy, support and defiance.

An Inconvenient Truth
One of the most important and prescient documentaries of all time, this movie presents clear, accessible facts about the increasingly desperate crisis of global warming.

Books to read:


MoveOn's 50 Ways To Love Your Country
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the idea of taking political action.  What difference can one person make?  The answer is “a lot!”  This book describes 50 persons’ stories about how they took action – from starting a web site or a letter writing campaign to meeting with their senator.  The editors’ precise suggestions for achieving maximum effectiveness accompany each story.

The Republican Noise Machine by David Brock
How the Republican right has hijacked American political discourse in the United States, selling conservatism to the public and discrediting its opponents.  Most political news in America is influenced or controlled by the Republican right, who want you to falsely believe that the media has a liberal bias.  “Think Tanks” and “Institutes” with neutral-sounding names are actually facades for highly-paid conservatives who seek to shape Americans’ perception of the news and current events.  You’ll never listen to the news the same way again.

The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot by Naomi Wolf
This book is a shocking and disturbing look at the parallels between the United States today and the historical actions of dictators (or would-be dictators) in closing down an open society.  Whether you identify yourself as a Democrat or Republican, a Christian fundamentalist or a pro-choice eco-friendly Independent, this book sounds the alarm for all American patriots about the unchecked erosion of civil liberties we take for granted.  From the determination to use torture and the establishment of secret prisons to the surveillance of ordinary citizens and their imprisonment without charges, attorneys, or trial, this book details why each and everyone of us should help defend our rights and freedom.

Conservatives Without Conscience by John W. Dean
A revealing look at what the “conservative” label truly means.  Dean reviews both the recent history of the right-wing “conservative” movement from Nixon to Bush II, and the psychology behind authoritarians, whose lack of conscience allows them to lie, cheat, steal, bully, threaten, and intimidate in order to get what they want.  Despite the fact that the authoritarians have been in control for some time now, Dean offers hope that in recognizing the enemy, we can arm ourselves against him.  “Democracy is not a spectator sport that can be simply observed.  To the contrary, it is difficult and demanding, and its very survival depends on active participation.”


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