The Failure of Annapolis - by Stephen Zunes: "Despite the best efforts by the Bush administration of putting a positive spin on the recently completed summit in Annapolis to restart the 'Performance-Based Road Map to Peace,' there is little reason to expect that it will actually move the Israeli-Palestinian peace process forward as long as the United States insists on simultaneously playing the role of chief mediator and chief supporter of the more powerful of the two parties."
Public Libraries For Profit -- In These Times: "In late October, Jackson County, Ore., re-opened the doors to 15 of its public libraries after a lack of funds had forced them shut on April 6—the largest library closure in U.S. history. However, as patrons returned to the bookshelves in the southern Oregon county, they learned that their libraries are now under private, for-profit management."
U.S. Lobbyists Assault E.U. Regs -- In These Times: "Iraq is not the only place that is handing the United States its ass. The European Union surpassed America in 2005 to become the world’s largest, richest economy. America’s former dominance had made it the global arbiter of health and safety standards, but its decline may be the best news in a long time. The E.U. is wielding its market clout to compel producers, including U.S. corporate giants, to eliminate toxic ingredients. REACH, the E.U. regulations that govern chemical use and production, recently forced Procter & Gamble to exclude suspected endocrine disputers and carcinogens from its products. As detailed in Mark Schapiro’s new book, Exposed: The Toxic Chemistry of Everyday Products and What’s at Stake for American Power, Procter & Gamble, while insisting its original line was safe, is now marketing many of the E.U. formulas in America."
Hounding the Bush Dogs -- In These TimesMark Pera is not one to back down from a challenge. The son of a steelworker, Pera toiled in Northwest Indiana’s mills to put himself through college and law school. As a Cook County assistant state’s attorney, he worked on environmental criminal prosecution and public utility regulation, diligently fighting special interests. Now the broad-shouldered, 52-year-old father of four is setting his sights on the 2008 Democratic primary in Illinois’ 3rd congressional district, which encompasses southwest Chicago and nearby suburbs. By the looks of it, he’s not messing around. Five full-timers staff his campaign headquarters, a two-story brick house outfitted with stickers and schedules. In August, Pera took a leave of absence from his job to run full time. He also took out a home equity loan to finance portions of the campaign. His favorite phrase? “We’re committed to winning this race.”