Thursday, March 26, 2009

26 Mar 2009: Today's Democracy Now!

Usury Country: Payday Loans Pushing Millions of Middle Class Americans Deeper into Debt
Lawmakers and public officials in California, Ohio, South Carolina, Missouri, Washington and other states are attempting to crack down on the controversial practice known as payday lending. Payday loans are short-term loans or cash advances secured by a post-dated check. The annual interest rate for these loans can be as high as 400 percent, ten times the highest credit card rates. Today, it’s a $40 billion industry with more than 22,000 stores. We speak with journalist Daniel Brook about his Harper’s Magazine article, “Usury Country," and with Ginna Green of the Center for Responsible Lending. [includes rush transcript]

Afghans Urge Obama to Send Aid, Not Troops, to Afghanistan
President Obama is expected to unveil a revised Afghanistan strategy Friday that will focus on expanding and improving the Afghan national police force. The revised policy is also expected to send more US troops to counter the Taliban’s expanding influence in the southern part of the country. We speak with Pratap Chatterjee of CorpWatch, who recently traveled to Afghanistan.

Report: Despite Obama’s Vow, Combat Brigades Will Stay in Iraq
Nearly four weeks ago, President Obama declared that US combat operations would end in Iraq by August 2010. Despite Obama’s pledge, new evidence has emerged that the US plans to keep combat brigades in Iraq, but they will operate under a different name. Investigative reporter Gareth Porter of Inter Press Service reveals some of the brigade combat teams currently in Iraq will stay beyond August 2010 and will be renamed so-called “advisory and assistance brigades.”

Admin to Unveil New Finance Regulations
Lawmakers Trim Obama Budget
Clinton Admits US Drug War Failure
11 Die in US Strikes in Pakistan
US, Israel Accused of Deadly Sudan Bombing
HRW Accuses Israel of War Crimes in Phosphorus Attacks
Indigenous Groups Hold Global Warming Summit
Paterson, Legislators Agree on Drug Law Repeal
Vermont Governor Vows to Veto Same-Sex Marriage Bill
IBM to Shed 5,000 Jobs
African American Scholar John Hope Franklin Dies at 94

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