New Clear Vision


constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted


Finding Hope in Arizona

January 12, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Current Events, Guest Author, Politics

We Can and Must Learn from the Tucson Tragedy

by Keli Goff

More than a year ago former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi generated headlines due to a rare public display of raw emotion. She became visibly choked up while voicing concern that the increasingly heated rhetoric permeating our political discourse at the height of the health care debate could soon turn violent; something she had seen firsthand years before with the 1978 shooting of San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and Harvey Milk, one of the nation’s first openly gay elected officials.

There were plenty of those who at the time thought Pelosi was being paranoid or dramatic. Today of course her words seem sadly prescient. Around that time I wrote a post titled “Why I’m  Grateful for Joe Wilson and the Fury of Racists.” To the surprise of many, in it I expressed optimism with the direction our country was heading, despite agreeing with Pelosi that the vitriolic tone hijacking our political discourse was coming close to paralyzing it altogether. (more…)

Breaking News: Democratic Congresswoman Shot in Arizona

January 08, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Current Events, Politics

Solar Advocate, Gay Rights Supporter Gabrielle Giffords Attacked in Tucson

Editor’s Note: While remaining committed to finding the positive news in the daily cycle, reality nonetheless intrudes and at times demands our attention. Today’s shooting of Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and a Federal Judge who had previously been the target of anti-immigrant protesters, among other victims, is a sobering reminder of the political “climate of fear” that has been fostered here in Arizona.

“Even before the shooting of a U.S. congresswoman on Saturday, the state of Arizona was in the throes of a convulsive political year that had come to symbolize a bitter partisan divide across much of America,” writes David Schwartz in Reuters. “I feel huge sorrow, that’s just been building in southern Arizona for some time, this hate, hate, fear, somewhat around SB 1070, somewhat around healthcare reform. It definitely heated up when President Obama was elected,” said Molly McKasson Morgan, 63, who participated in Tucson politics and knew Giffords. “It’s never been this angry, it’s never been this divisive,” said Alfredo Gutierrez, a former state lawmaker. As Matt Bai has written in the New York Times, “the question is whether Saturday’s shooting marks the logical end point of such a moment of rhetorical recklessness — or rather the beginning of a terrifying new one.”

This report attempts to synthesize the details of today’s shooting and place it in a context framed by Arizona politics. In addition to the fact that the gunman was apparently preoccupied by “literacy” issues, he also listed Mein Kampf as among his favorite books and claimed to be a recent Army recruit. Giffords previously has had her office vandalized, and notably was listed among the 20 congresspersons on Sarah Palin‘s infamous “gun sight” chart that targeted Democratic politicians in a provocative manner. The Tucson Citizen‘s “Three Sonorans” blog is reporting that also today the Mexican-American Studies department at the University of Arizona was vandalized, and that the Federal Judge who was killed had recently been assigned to hear the challenge to the law banning Ethnic Studies in Arizona. Giffords’ Republican opponent in the November 2010 congressional race, Jesse Kelly, was also criticized for a campaign event at a shooting range, advertised with the words “Get on Target for Victory in November,” “Help remove Gabriel Giffords from office” and “Shoot a fully automatic M16.”

We want to express our deepest condolences to all of the families affected by this tragedy, and also to all Arizonans struggling to find cause for hope in these very trying times…. (more…)

2010 Recap: Food, Agriculture, and Justice

January 02, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Devon G. Pena, Ecology, Politics

The Year That Was — and What Wasn’t

by Devon G. Peña

Progressive media outlets have been busy providing an end of the year retrospective on the most notable events and issues that carried the headlines in 2010. Many news services and blogs in the food- and agriculture-related areas ranked the Food Safety Modernization Act and the Child Nutrition Act at the top of their lists.

Playing up the ‘democratizing’ influence of the Web, many of the alternative source and agglomeration sites ranked the top news items based on their popularity among readers. AlterNet, for instance, gave its highest ranking for 2010 to the impact of the BP gusher on the safety of seafood coming from the Gulf of Mexico. As members of a nation largely defined (and constrained) as consumers, people reading progressive sources have in some cases reflexively expressed the greatest concern for a story on the safety of the seafood they’ve been consuming.

What is left out of this accounting is another side of the story: the growing hunger and impoverishment of seafood industry and other workers displaced by what was arguably the most significant and unjust environmental catastrophe of the year. (more…)

For 2011: Accentuate the Positive

January 01, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Current Events, Politics, Randall Amster

Time for a New Clear Vision

by Randall Amster

For the coming year, rather than short-term resolutions, I’m issuing an ongoing challenge that is at once both personal and political. Despite much evidence to the contrary, and notwithstanding the relentless news cycle that we frequent, I believe that 2011 will be the year that the majority of people in the world demonstrably turn away from the brink of destruction and embrace a spirit of positive innovation and creative intervention in their communities. This may seem like a preposterous conclusion, but then again if someone told you in early 2001 that we would be living in a perpetual state of terror/war and that our rights would be wholly eviscerated in short order, you might have said the same thing. (more…)