Friday, September 16, 2011

  • Obama Admin Faces Controversy over Rushed $535 Million Backing of Failed Solar Power Firm, Solyndra


    The Obama administration is facing scrutiny following the failure of a solar energy company that received half a billion dollars in government aid and then went bankrupt, laying off about a thousand workers. Newly disclosed internal White House emails show just 60 days after Obama took office, his administration rushed to approve a $535 million loan guarantee to the solar panel manufacturing company Solyndra, despite warnings from the Office of Management and Budget that the loan had not been properly vetted. The White House had advocated Solyndra receive the loan as part of Obama’s stimulus package in order to create green jobs and assist American solar panel manufacturers competing with heavily subsidized Chinese counterparts. Republican opponents of green jobs initiatives could attempt to highlight the firm’s collapse during the upcoming elections. We speak with Joe Stephens, the Washington Post investigative reporter who broke the story. "There are people who are critical of green jobs overall and think they don’t really work, especially at this time during a recession," Stephens says. "Solyndra might become a household name during the presidential campaign." [includes rush transcript]

  • Over 500,000 Sign Petition to Stop Georgia Execution of Troy Davis


    Thousands of people who believe the state of Georgia is about to execute an innocent man are rallying behind the high-profile death row inmate Troy Anthony Davis. Davis was convicted of the 1989 killing of an off-duty Savannah police officer, Mark MacPhail, but has always maintained his innocence. His case has become a focal point for anti-death penalty activists in the United States and abroad, attracting supporters such as Pope Benedict XVI, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and former U.S. President Jimmy Carter. The Georgia Superior Court has scheduled Davis’s execution for next Wednesday, Sept. 21. Seven of the nine non-police witnesses who implicated Davis have recanted their testimony, and there is no physical evidence that ties him to the crime scene. With his legal appeals exhausted, the fate of Troy Davis rests largely in the hands of Georgia’s Board of Pardons and Parole, which could commute his death sentence and spare his life. Yesterday, supporters delivered a petition containing more than half a million signatures to a state parole board in support of clemency for Davis. We speak with Benjamin Jealous, president and CEO of NAACP, a leading organization in the campaign to stop Davis’s execution. "It’s been activism that has kept Troy alive to this point," Jealous says. [includes rush transcript]

  • Troy Davis’s Sister: "The Fight for Troy Has Brought Us a Whole New Family All Over the World"


    The campaign to stop the Sept. 21 execution of death row prisoner Troy Davis has been led by his sister, Martina Correia, who herself is fighting for her life in a bout with cancer. We’re joined by Troy Davis’s other sister, Kimberly Davis, from Savannah to talk about the global day of action to save her brother. "Even though Martina is sick now in the hospital, she is still fighting from her hospital bed," Davis says. "We’re not only fighting for justice for Troy; we’re fighting for the Troy Davises that came before him, for the Troy Davises that are going to come after him. The fight for Troy Davis has brought a whole new family to us...all over the world." [includes rush transcript]

  • 40 Years After Attica Rebellion, New Tapes Reveal Nixon, Rockefeller Praised Deadly Crackdown


    It was 40 years ago this week when New York state police raided the prison in Attica, New York, ending a prison uprising to protest inhumane conditions at the facility. On Sept. 13, 1971, then-New York Gov. Nelson Rockefeller ordered armed state troopers to raid the prison. Troopers then shot indiscriminately some 2,000 rounds of ammunition. In the end, 39 men would die: 29 prisoners and 10 guards. After the shooting stopped, police beat and tortured scores of more prisoners. Newly uncovered audio recordings reveal that President Richard Nixon enthusiastically supported the violent operation when he spoke by phone with Rockefeller on the day of the raid. Rockefeller confides in Nixon that before the raid, he thought it was possible that as many as 300 prisoners could be killed, but went ahead with the operation anyway. Throughout the tapes, Nixon discusses the racial component of the uprising, describing the prison rebellion as "basically a black thing." Nixon would go on to erroneously state that all of the victims of crackdown were African American, downplaying the multiracial leadership within Attica at the time of the uprising. We speak to University of New Hampshire at Manchester historian Theresa Lynch, who helped disclose the tapes. [includes rush transcript]