October 10, 2008
Eighteen months into our own financial crisis, Cursor is suspending publication.
In 2007, we lost our main source of foundation funding, which accounted for more than two-thirds of our budget. Since then, your contributions have kept us operating on a shoestring, but unfortunately, we don't have a large enough readership to cover our costs.
If we're getting paid, it takes about $75,000 per year to run Cursor, which could be less if another organization takes us on, or, takes us over. If that doesn't happen, we must secure commitments for enough major donations from foundations and/or individuals to reach $50,000, at which point we would lean on you for the rest.
Regardless of what happens, thank you to everyone who has contributed money, and to all of the blogs and other sites whose material we've relied on. And thanks especially to my co-writers, David Vest and Bill Stouffer, for their contribution to a production that's now about twice the length of "War and Peace," and sadly of course, heavily weighted toward the former.
Sign up to get an e-mail if and when we restart, and feel free to contact me with any comments or suggestions. We hope you've appreciated our work as much as we've valued your readership, and with a little luck, there'll be more of both.
P.S. If we do restart, we'll be hiring an experienced writer for 20 to 30 hours per week. If you'd like to take a flyer on that prospect, send me links to your writing, no attachments please, and we'll be in touch with any good news.
A sad day for progressives.
Cursor has always been something special, the essential news aggregator.
The end of an era.
Cursor.org was a lefty daily news aggregator that was blissfully straightforward.
Damn, the best link blogger ever has gone away.
[N]obody in the 'sphere could pick links and stitch them together with such insight and elegance. Cursor will truly be missed.
For as long as we've known it, Cursor has been the most useful distillation of the days events available online.
That's a real loss of some of the best journalism out there.
Cursor has been unflinching in its focus on the war... They also never let Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib or the CIA renditions off of the radar.
I think that's a major loss, given the amount of ground they covered.
For almost a decade, the Cursor crew have done a truly admirable job of providing an antidote to the corporate media.
My longtime favorite news aggregation site, Cursor.org appears to have run out of money. Really a shame.
One of the first, one of the best, they'll be much missed.
This is a damn shame. Cursor has been operating since the jurassic period when this humble space also started out.
Bad news for those of us trying to keep the thin threads of information flowing.
One of my favorite websites closed their doors about a week ago, and I'm still sad about it.Friday, October 10
With 'Investors fleeing mutual funds' in Thursday's '1932-like decline,'
a Wall Street Journal survey of economists sketches out "a challenging scenario" for the next president which, a Washington Post analysis suggests, may include 'the end of American capitalism.'
After running out of digits, the U.S. debt clock will be retooled so it will be able to display "a quadrillion dollars of debt," as 'shelters and soup kitchens hold crisis front lines' and BusinessWeek wonders how Americans will adapt to 'the new age of frugality,'
As this week's congressional hearings showcase the 'unapologetic titans of finance,' Facing South looks at how the GOP managed to get an $8 million bailout for the party from failing Wachovia, whose own lavish party plans (now cancelled) appear to have set a new record for insensitivity in the face of some stiff competition.
With a meeting of finance ministers weighing a global economic approach to the crisis, Paul Krugman warns that "they'd better announce a coordinated rescue plan this weekend -- or the world economy may well experience its worst slump since the Great Depression."
The financial crisis tests 'the limits of unity within the E.U.,' as Prime Minister Gordon Brown, angered by Iceland's failure to guarantee British savings its failed banks, retaliates against Icelandic companies using his country's anti-terrorism legislation.
With the E.U. reportedly planning "to use the global financial crisis as an excuse to renege on climate change commitments," the U.N. forecasts an 'ill wind for the climate,' and a new unconventional fuels report highlights 'climate vs. independence' in the face of the disaster still to come. Plus: 'Nature loss "dwarfs bank crisis."'
A 'shrinking, more costly force' is already reportedly pushing the Pentagon toward 'meltdown,' and McClatchy's Nancy Youssef looks into how the 'financial crisis could put crimp in defense spending plans.'
Even as walls start to come down in Baghdad, Patrick Cockburn reports that the U.S. is being blamed for the assassination of a prominent Shia MP loyal to Muqtada al-Sadr, triggering clashes with U.S. troops. And in a separate report Cockburn looks at how corruption helped fuel Iraq's cholera epidemic.
Confronting what the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff predicts will be a worse year ahead in Afghanistan, the U.S military turns to the warlords, as Anand Gopal surveys 'the surge that failed,' Gareth Porter reports that 'Afghan peace talks widen US-UK rift on war policy,' and "The Big Picture" offers a front line view.
With the 'showdown' over Uighur detainees testing "the power of the judiciary to enforce fundamental constitutional rights in the war on terror," ProPublica explores the possibility that they were simply 'sold to the U.S. military for bounty.'
Although whistleblowers from inside the NSA have "finally" gotten airtime in the mainstream media for allegations that the agency "routinely eavesdropped on private telephone calls," David Swanson contends that ABC's report was hardly "exclusive" and "left most of the story out."
Amid signs that McCain is underestimating his audience, the AP finds that he is losing ground with working-class whites,' and an investigation of the programs Palin pursued as governor undermines attempts to paint her as a "working class hero."
McCain rallies draw angry crowds in Waukesha and more in Pewaukee, as one video captures the mood of a 'McCain-Palin mob' in Ohio, and another video of some "unvarnished" Obama opponents in Kentucky raises questions of class.
As 'Palin pre-empts state report, clears self in probe,' Max Blumenthal and David Neiwert discuss their new article in Salon which profiles the right wing radicals and secessionists who helped launch her career.
While Hugh Hewitt faces an uphill struggle hawking an "alternate reality," Sean Hannity, fresh from setting a "new low" with a "faux documentary," is poised to become "an even more prominent part of Fox after the election."
A recent spate of TV and radio ads and an influx of cash appear to have revived the prospects for passage of a California ballot initiative that would ban gay marriage, even as Connecticut's Supreme Court rules that same sex couples have the right to marry.
'Is it really over for McCain?' Among the political hands interviewed by the Guardian, is the editor of the American Spectator, who says that "McCain - to paraphrase Sam Cooke - don't know much about the economy."
As the 'Fed's half-point rate cut proves no match for Wall Street's fear,' recapping "The longest day in the global economy," the Independent notes that the New York Federal Reserve is lending an additional $37.8 billion to AIG.
With 'Latin leftists gloating over "Comrade" Bush's bailout,' the New York Times reports that the 'U.S. may take ownership stake in banks,' following a press conference comment by Treasury Secretary Paulson, that was seen as "one more sign that we're headed toward a Swedish solution of our banking crisis."
As it's reported that nearly one in six homeowners is 'Under Water,' the sheriff of Cook County 'Puts brakes on evictions,' saying that "We will no longer be a party to something that's so unjust."
The Left Business Observer's Doug Henwood says in an interview that "the risk of something really nasty looks the highest it's been since the end of World War II," but adds that "sometimes when people are thinking the world is coming to an end, that can be a sign that we're close to the bottom."
In addition to signaling the collapse of "the management bullshit industry," the financial crisis is also credited with reawakening 'the inner poet of the commentariat.'
As ABC News provides an 'Inside account of U.S. eavesdropping on Americans,' a federal appeals court panel blocks the release from Guantanamo of the 17 Uighurs, and China says that it won't torture them.
Robert Fisk reports that secret hangings are being "carried out regularly" in a Baghdad prison, 'Turkey authorizes extension of military strikes in Iraq,' Iran's ambassador there 'has harsh words for U.S.,' a House committee is lauded for its hearing on political reconciliation in Iraq, and on "Book TV," Tom Engelhardt and Michael Schwartz talk TomDispatch and Iraq.
With a forthcoming NIE on Afghanistan said to warn that the country is in a "downward spiral," AFP reports on a new Afghan casualty study by Marc Herold, and the FCC announces that it has launched a probe into the Pentagon pundits program.
The National Journal reports that candidates McCain and Obama 'have not tipped their hands on defense spending,' and while Gen. David Petraeus 'sidesteps election question' during a talk at the Heritage Foundation, he is also said to have "repeatedly made statements that bolstered the foreign-policy proposals of Sen. Barack Obama."
As it's asked, 'Is the McCain campaign behind the hate speech at rallies?,' even Fox News reports that "In recent days, when Barack Obama's name has been mentioned, it has gone from boos and hissing to actual chants and calls of traitor, criminal, and even terrorist," and, here's one that mainstream news outlets do not appear willing to touch.
With CNN apparently trying to cash in on a McCain attack ad, his TV spots are deemed to be "nearly 100 percent negative," by the Wisconsin Advertising Project. And about what he calls "some pretty over-the-top attacks," Obama tells ABC News, he's "surprised" that McCain "wasn't willing to say it to my face."
As McCain is diagnosed with 'planetariophobia,' his 'five oldest debate moments' are captured, and Rolling Stone's profile of him is said to make "George W. Bush look like a Horatio Alger hero who pulled himself up by his bootstraps." Plus: Is Sen. Norm Coleman suited for office?
McCain and Palin are interviewed together by Sean Hannity, who is the subject of a poem by John Cleese, and the "NewsHour" discusses the race with journalists from Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida -- text and video.
As the networks are called on to "stop allotting so much tube time to Tina Fey," David Brooks says that Palin "represents a fatal cancer to the Republican party," and as the 'DOJ goes long for Sarah Palin,' just "Substitute 'politics' for 'athletics,' and we have Palin," writes Dave Zirin.
"A more inspiring evocation of the spirit of liberal America -- past, present and future -- does not exist," writes a Financial Times' reviewer about Simon Schama's book, "The American Future: a History," which is also a four-part BBC television series, trailer here, that premieres this week.
Despite a focus on the economy in Tuesday's debate, neither Sen. McCain, nor "that one," are said to have addressed "the radically changed economic and budget realities that will face the new president."
Sen. Obama did call for the firing of AIG execs who resorted in California after being bailed out, and about the former head of the company's financial products unit, who was retained as a consultant after having "single-handedly brought AIG to its knees," Rep. Henry Waxman told former AIG CEOs, "When I retire I want to come work for you at $1 million a month."
As 'Cox's SEC censors report on Bear Stearns collapse,' Business Week, reporting that "Tuesday's declines bring the Dow's loss for 2008 to almost 29% -- making it the worst year since 1937's decline of 32.8%," quotes one analyst who says that "It's just a downward spiral of fear."
"We're way past the point at which conventional monetary policy has much traction," writes Paul Krugman, in response to a coordinated rate cut by central banks, which came one day after the Federal Reserve announced that it would buy up unsecured commercial paper. And according to a new IMF report: 'World economy to slow sharply, led by U.S.'
The bailout story obscured last week's finalizing of 'Broader FBI powers,' and Wired reports that a privacy and terrorism commission funded by Homeland Security, has found that data-mining "technology would not work and the inevitable mistakes would be un-American."
"I think the moment has arrived for the court to shine the light of constitutionality on the reasons for the detention," said a federal judge, ordering the release into the U.S. of seventeen Uighur men being held at Guantanamo, after which the Justice Department announced that it's filing an emergency appeal. Plus: 'Two 50-year-olds released from Guantanamo.'
With negotiations on an Iraqi/U.S. security deal said to have come down to "one main sticking point - to what extent U.S. troops can be prosecuted in Iraqi courts," McClatchy reports that the findings of an upcoming NIE on Iraq, "seem to cast doubts on McCain's frequent assertions that the United States is 'on a path to victory' in Iraq."
As a U.S. inquiry finds that '30 civilians died in Afghan raid,' which is one-third the number that Afghan and U.N. officials have claimed, during Tuesday's debate, McCain, who is said to have "seemed surprisingly unsteady" on foreign policy, again argued that U.S. strategy in Afghanistan should be modeled on Iraq.
Despite a debate that was structured in McCain's preferred format of a town hall, post-debate polls favored Obama.
"By far the most likely thing that could derail Obama's victory," reports Politico, is "a racial backlash that is not visible in today's polls."
A New York Times editorial hits McCain and Palin for "running one of the most appalling campaigns we can remember," and Jeffrey Feldman asks: "If, for example, a McCain supporter threatens the life of Sen. Obama by shouting 'Kill him!' at a Palin rally, should Sen. Obama's Secret Service contingent launch an investigation?"
As Glenn Greenwald curates 'Sarah Palin's museum of trite right-wing tactics,' Mother Jones compiles the public records requests made by reporters for information about her, and conservative bloggers make no effort to debunk Eric Boehlert's column on how 'The Palin rape-kit story has not been "debunked."'
With Sen. McCain said to be no longer interested in "palling around with reporters," one of whom follows up on how 'Palin camp limits media from her own supporters,' cable news outlets are called on to stop endlessly looping Palin's stump speeches until she gives a press conference, although she did answer several questions from reporters on Tuesday.
As Nevada authorities raid the Las Vegas office of ACORN, Jason Leopold notes that while the group "has long been a target of Republican Party operatives ...the accusations of malfeasance have never been supported by evidence." Plus: 'GOP goes nuts on ACORN - and Fox eats it up.'
Heather Mallick describes the fallout from her initial column about Gov. Palin, and why she turned down the opportunity to defend it on Fox News, where the "shows aren't interviews so much as bear-baiting." And, 'Sean Hannity, Robert Gibbs and anti-Semitism: How to go on Fox News."
Before his "dangerous political stunt" in Kenya, that got him arrested and deported from the country, "Obama Nation" author Jerome Corsi did a Bloggingheads.tv segment with Firedoglake's Jane Hamsher. Corsi was also reportedly planning to deliver a check to George Obama, part of another political stunt by Dinesh D'Souza.
As the 'Fed fiddles while Rome burns,' the Dow drops below 10,000 on the first Monday after the bailout.
A House committee "spent the day unloading on Lehman Bros. CEO Richard Fuld," who was reportedly coldcocked at the gym after the company declared bankruptcy, and company executives are accused of having deceived investors with upbeat comments, five days before the bankruptcy declaration.
With a poll finding that a majority of Americans believe a depression is somewhat or very likely, Wall Street is seen as following 'the Path of the Steel Industry in Pittsburgh,' and ProPublica's scouring of Senate confirmation testimony reveals that 'Top regulators once opposed regulation of derivatives.'
As Danny Schechter puts the con in confidence, a McCain adviser claims that her candidate "has made the economy, and his economic policies ... the fulcrum of his whole campaign," a campaign that is now planning cuts to Medicare and Medicaid, to make up for revenue shortfalls in its health care plan.
With eBay, which was founded by a McCain favorite, reportedly shedding 10 percent of its workforce, a Chicago woman who last week purchased a Michigan house on eBay for $1.75, says that she plans to flip it, and an NPR correspondent discusses his switch in reporting beats from science, to the dark science.
Journalists were forbidden from interviewing supporters of Gov. Palin, at a Florida rally where one supporter was heard to have yelled "kill him," in reference to Sen. Obama, who was deemed a "terrorist" by an audience member at a rally for Sen. McCain, while the reaction to a "visual op-ed" that ran in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, was said to be "stunning in its ferocity."
Keith Olbermann delivers a "special comment" on Palin's recent remarks, including those trying to tie Obama to William "Willie" Ayers, and a report on 'our weekend with Sarah,' notes that "she was still being cocooned and took no questions from the media," but Palin did receive some 'Northern Exposure.'
With Keating-related online searches far more popular than those for Ayers, the AP reports on McCain's links to the U.S. World Freedom Council, and the group's role in Iran-Contra.
As the first scheduled debate is held in Minnesota's U.S. Senate race, Harper's reports that 'Senator Norm Coleman gets by with a little help from his friends.'
Nate Silver assesses the electoral map on "Countdown," and as voter registration closes in nineteen states, reporting on the numbers is said to "ignore an even more important angle to the story: the What's At Stake. Plus: 'Why 8 million African Americans are not registered to vote.'
With a report that 'Iraqi women fear going public as candidates' in provincial elections, Iraq is also said to be 'The only place unaffected by yesterday's financial turmoil,' while Pakistan seeks a $100 billion bailout from the international community to avert bankruptcy.
As 'Afghans start registering voters for 2009 polls,' an estimated 20,000 Pakistanis have fled to Afghanistan in recent weeks, and with reports of Saudi-brokered talks between Taliban leaders and the Afghan government, Patrick Cockburn opines that 'The commander is right... you'll never beat the Taliban.' Plus: 'Afghans want peace - not another Iraqi-style "surge."'
Spiegel goes 'Looking for the good guys off the Somali coast,' Human Rights Watch declares Somalia to be "the most ignored tragedy in the world today," and a BBC correspondent finds that "the really eerie side to many parts of Mogadishu is the lack of people."
With 'Reorganization Fatigue' said to be afflicting U.S. intelligence, 'Arab media give war on terror an F,' and in a 1998 interview with Mother Jones, Sen. McCain asked: "Look, is this guy, Laden, really the bad guy that's depicted?"
The book "American Lightning," first chapter here, tells the story of the 1910 dynamiting of the Los Angeles Times building, while a new novel by "Mystic River" author Dennis Lehane, "climaxes in those days in September 1919 when the police walk off the job and Boston collapses into anarchy."
As the financial crisis gets "distributed to Europe with a vengeance," sends European and Asian stocks tumbling, and pushes the Dow down to its lowest level in four years, Floyd Norris offers 'live blogging amid panic.'
'Consumers batten down the hatches,' and companies "get more aggressive in attempts to hold onto old customers and attract new ones," but so far there is little evidence of success.
With the bailout under fire for failing to deal with the downward spiral of house prices and offering insufficient relief to homeowners facing foreclosure, one woman finds her own way out. Plus: Getting set up with the "Prosperity Gospel."
President Bush is accused of provoking a financial panic to "stampede Congress into passing the bail-out," Naomi Klein explains the "pre-existing agenda" to Stephen Colbert, and critics looking for the roots of the crisis eye a "surge of deregulation."
Scott Horton analyzes how Gwen Ifill got played in the VP debate --Queen Latifah has her own take -- as ExileD examines Palin's 'rigged redemption' by pundits who once again managed to see a quite different debate than the majority of viewers.
The "Mosaic Intelligence Report" sends both vice presidential candidates to "Mideast 101" following a debate seen as marred by historical misreading, an overly narrow vision of the country's foreign policy alternatives, and a confusion of precedents.
Although she might have won the battle of the flag pins, it's noted that Palin has been 'palling around with secessionists,' while McCain's brother spies "communist country" in Northern Virginia.
After the 'New York Times plays the Ayers card,' Sarah Palin follows suit with the "racially tinged" charge that Obama is "palling around with terrorists," in a campaign pitch that appears to be inadvertently highlighting issues of hypocrisy and brand damage.
With economists already lining up behind Obama, his campaign releases a 13-minute Web documentary highlighting McCain's role in the Keating 5 scandal, a history that an earlier video recapped in 97 seconds.
Even Karl Rove is now projecting an Obama victory, and as others weigh the odds of a landslide, the Democrats take aim at a 60 seat majority in the Senate.
President Bush is represented by his "favorite hunter" at a select conference on wildlife policy, the EPA declines to set standards for rocket fuel in drinking water and gets sued over failure to block discharges of polluted water, and investigations dissect the CDC's lackadaisical response to contaminated trailers housing Katrina refugees.
As 'Oliver Stone gets ready to uncork his October surprise,' the Bush administration is said to be in transition from planning for a dynasty to attempts to lock in a legacy.
Andrew Bacevich ponders the bill left behind by "the 'go to Disney World' approach to waging war," Chalmers Johnson discusses the incompatibility of America's civilian and military economies, and Tom Englehardt explores the "perkier future" envisioned by spooks before signs of accelerated decline had begun to set in.
"The idea that we're more civilized than people in the Middle Ages went out the window with secret torture chambers in Baghdad," writes Ronald Wright in his new 'Short History of the New World Order,' which follows up on his earlier bleak assessment of the possibilities for sustained progress.
"We're not going to win this war," admits Britain's most senior military commander in Afghanistan, adding to a consensus that is growing "everywhere but Washington," as reports link Karzai's brother to the heroin trade, and a USAID subcontractor is charged with fraud.
The Los Angeles Times reports that Iraq is viewed as still too dangerous by many of the country's exiled professionals, as 'militiamen attack returning refugees in Baaquba,' eleven die during a U.S. raid in Mosul, and War News Radio explores the impact of the war on the country's religious divides.
Commenting on the New York Times' "Beckett-esque" interview with "a captain of industry in what's left of Somalia," a piece in Editor & Publisher asks "just what are the ethics of dealing with a pirate?"
With the 'U.N.'s focus hijacked by pirates in Somalia,' and international fleets gathering to combat the threat, an editorial points out that "that same international community which worries about a few hundred Somali pirates was not bothered by news of thousands of Somalis who die every year while fleeing from hunger in primitive boats."
Following an intensive lobbying blitz replete with "promises and threats on both sides," the House passes a bailout bill and Paul Krugman holds his nose in support, despite concerns that it may not buy the country the time it needs to really deal with the crisis.
If a bailout fails to shore up Wall Street, Dean Baker has a suggestion about what responsible politicians could do, and in a new piece for Vanity Fair, Joseph Stiglitz outlines "a plan to reverse the Bush-era follies and regain America's economic sanity."
As talk of a depression spikes, the national debt tops $10 trillion, the credit crisis deepens, and the Senate GOP reportedly "balked" at attempts to attach an unemployment benefits extension to the Wall Street rescue.
After some pre-debate maneuvering to keep IQ off the table, Gov. Palin faces off with Sen. Biden in what's described as an "interplanetary exchange," in which her strategy of not answering questions at all got an assist from the beleaguered moderator.
With instant follow-up polls giving the debate to Biden by comfortable margins, "coherence" may have proved an issue, and Andrew Sullivan rounds up debate reactions, as Think Progress provides blow by blow annotation, and Cokie Roberts gets tripped up.
As David Brooks resets the bar, Palin suggests that the current vice-president was unfairly targeted by the media, contemplates greater powers, and makes up talks with the British ambassador. Plus: 'A short guide to Sarah Palin's extreme religious views.'
Facing setbacks in the polls, McCain pulls back in Michigan, and Florida GOP leaders meet in secret to grapple with his "sagging performance in this must-win state."
McCain jokes that he is "not rich," insists that he does not complain about the media, and laments that "Life isn't fair."
'First George Will, and now Charles Krauthammer' consider the virtues of an Obama presidency, and a former GOP star 'gives up,' while others on the right prepare to redirect 'rage and self-pity' into another assault on the media, and rage-prone Bill O'Reilly offers a novel proof of God's existence.
The APA sends a letter to President Bush informing him of its new policy prohibiting "psychologist participation in interrogations at unlawful detention sites," and Jane Mayer concedes that on U.S. torture " the stumbling block to accountability is the complicity of the American public," but sees a possible opening for change.
Deadly attacks on two mosques in Baghdad 'belie steps on reconciliation,' while circumscribed reconstruction goes forward in Samarra, where straying outside the nine safe neighborhoods "is still to invite violent death," and Robert Dreyfuss compiles a series of reports pointing to 'new civil war, insurgency.'
The Washington Post investigates the up to $300 million in contracts awarded last week by the Pentagon to develop covertly pro-American publicity in Iraqi media, as Congress pushes restrictions on spending for Iraq reconstruction.
Whether or not it is called a "surge," the bulk of a requested increase in U.S. ground forces in Afghanistan doesn't appear to be coming soon, as the leak of a British envoy's impolitic assessment gets spun into "a web of obfuscation." Plus: A bird's eye view of Afghan compounds.
Amid heightened security concerns, the Pakistani army is now reportedly engaged in fighting militants "on three fronts," a leaked high-level report ties Pakistani intelligence to the Taliban, and the country's lawyers lament merely exchanging one dictator for another.
A top Israeli commander charges that hundreds of radical settlers are engaged in violence against both Palestinians and Israeli troops, an Israeli intellectual speaks out about how he became a target for "Jewish terrorists," and IPS profiles former members of the IDF who speak out about the army's abuse of Palestinians.
As the Communist Manifesto turns 160, the czar gets rehabilitated, Stalin builds his fan club, and "Rasputin" bursts into song.
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