Short Takes: News From All Over: September 23, 2004

Poverty and Park Life
By Helen Williams, ElectronicIraq
While violence erupts around Baghdad, the shocking disparity between Iraq’s richest and poorest citizens goes unnoticed by everyone except those entrenched in it. Helen Williams, a Youth Aid Iraq worker, documents some of these striking scenes of misery and comfort as bloody conflict permeates all aspects of daily life in the beleaguered country. With the national and international eye being clouded by the war with Iraq, the savage drama of Iraq’s ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’ is receiving even less attention than the smaller wars with poverty being fought at home in America. — Brendan Themes

The New Stealth PACs
By Staff, Public Citizen
From the

Bush-bashing of MoveOn to the Kerry-bashing of the Swift Boat Veterans United Seniors Association to the Americans for Job Security, the 501(c) nonprofits have created quite a stir this election year, launching vicious attacks on presidential candidates while keeping the identities of their donors secret. Public Citizen has decided to shed a little light on these well-heeled attack dogs by publicly documenting their shenanigans, revealing instances where these powerful polemicists and progressives have exploited lax regulation and tax loopholes to clandestinely throw more money and muscle into the American democratic machine. — Brendan Themes

It started as a pint-size classified, placed between solicitations for chauffeurs in a Mexico City newspaper. ‘If you are a taxi driver who navigates the Internet and uses a cell phone, you can participate in an artistic project. Multimedia Center, The National Center for Arts.’ Taxi drivers came from all over the city, to document their daily lives on the Internet in personal websites. In one taxi a married couple cannot stop kissing. Don Facundo, a Mexico City taxista, explained that these sites help taxi drivers to ‘create their culture.’ In Spanish with numerous photos. — Elizabeth Dwoskin

Idea Generators: Creativity Tools for Journalists
By Chip Scanlan,
Where do writers, especially journalists, get their ideas? Chip Scanlan asks his reporters to leave the building and walk five minutes in any direction and write down every question that comes to mind. Ellen Barry, of The Boston Globe, thinks you can find them anywhere, sometimes even in the yellow pages. ‘I must have been stuck on the B’s because I did baby models and bronze baby shoe salesmen and baby modeling agencies…’ she said in Best Newspaper Writing 2002. — Elizabeth Dwoskin

The World Votes
By Staff,
Imagine if the entire world could vote in the American Presidential Election? Seems unfair, at first, unless one thinks of all the people affected by the policies advanced by the President of the United States. Such is the premise of the website The World Votes, where so far, 203 Africans, 569 Asians, 335 Australians, 6666 Europeans, 733 South Americans, and 1950 North Americans have registered to vote by electronic ballot. Results will be available after November 2nd. — Elizabeth Dwoskin

What is a Progressive, Anyway?
By Christa Westerberg,
Since editorialist David Brooks coined the term ‘progressive conservatism’ for his editorial in The New York Times Magazine a few weeks ago (the party of tax subsidies and corporate welfare should become the party of limited, but ‘energetic’ government), the jury is out on what exactly the term progressive means. From interviews, it seems that ‘progressives’ are barely united by a belief that government should do something for people, but that this belief is not necessarily partison. — Elizabeth Dwoskin

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