Economy

Guardrail Design Raises Concerns

Update: In recent years, highways have been made safer by guardrail end units that absorb the impact of collisions and redistribute the energy to protect drivers and passengers. But one popular system is now generating concerns over a slight design change, reports Daniel J. Goldstein, with new company comment.

The Choice of Guns Over Butter

The American political system continues to ignore President Eisenhower’s dour warning about the Military-Industrial Complex and embrace President Reagan’s happy “We’re No. 1” illusions. The long-term consequences of this choice have been devastating to most U.S. citizens and to the world, writes Gary G. Kohls.

Capital Insiders Help Amgen

President Obama gave a ringing defense of progressive government and the good it can do for the nation and the people. But a little-noticed addition to the fiscal-cliff bill was a reminder of how politics can work to the advantage of corporate special interests, say Bill Moyers and Michael Winship.

Overcoming the Great Dismal

The core challenge facing today’s U.S. political process is whether the daunting threats to the planet and its people can be addressed, responsibly and cooperatively. Another hope is that in building these solutions, America can break loose from the chains of soulless mediocrity, as Phil Rockstroh explains.

Egypt’s Pluralist Politics

Though U.S. observers tend to view Egypt’s politics through a secular-vs.-Islamist lens, a clearer way of seeing what’s happening in that important Arab country is to examine other issues, like the economy, that are motivating Egyptians, writes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

What to Make of Barack Obama?

Exclusive: In his Second Inaugural Address, President Obama offered a powerful rejoinder to the Right by arguing that progressive reform fits firmly within the Founders’ vision of a strong country advancing the “general Welfare” and securing “Blessings of Liberty.” But does his rhetoric reflect the real Obama, asks Robert Parry.

New Hope for a Second Term

President Obama’s Second Inaugural Address surprised some pundits with his strong messages on climate change, immigration reform, gun safety and other social issues. But whether real action follows will depend on a shift in public consciousness, says Robert F. Dodge.

America’s War for Reality

Exclusive: The United States has been on a three-decade binge of unreality, imbibing delusions that began with Ronald Reagan and have continued through the Tea Party. The challenge now is for rational Americans to show they have the toughness and tenacity to fight for the real world — and to save it, writes Robert Parry.

‘Fixing the Debt’ on Average Folks

Goldman Sachs’ Lloyd Blankfein and other tycoons behind “Fix the Debt” want average folks to expect less from Social Security and other safety-net programs but are doing all they can to protect their special interest tax breaks and dodge the slightly higher tax rates for the rich, note Bill Moyers and Michael Winship.

America’s Bloody Price for Power

Exclusive: “The Untold History of the United States” shakes up the traditional recounting of the last century, forcing Americans to rethink key assumptions, but director Oliver Stone and historian Peter Kuznick have not written a people’s history, says Jim DiEugenio in part two of his review.