America mourns the death of its political parties; printed books are going extinct as ebooks take their place; meanwhile, BlackBerry Messenger plays a significant role in the London riots. These discoveries and more, below.

On a regular basis, Truthdig brings you the news items and odds and ends that have found their way to Larry Gross, director of the USC Annenberg School for Communication. A specialist in media and culture, art and communication, visual communication and media portrayals of minorities, Gross helped found the field of gay and lesbian studies.

The links below open in a new window. Newer ones are on top.

Democratic Party dies a slow death The Democratic Party is dead. The remains will be buried alongside those of the Republican Party, which died some time ago.

Appeals Court Allows Suit Against Rumsfeld Last week, a federal district court judge in Washington, D.C., determined that a lawsuit filed against former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld by a former military translator who claimed to have been tortured by U.S. forces at Camp Cropper in Iraq could go forward despite claims from Rumsfeld and the Obama administration that he should be immune from suit.

Stop Panicking About Our Long-Term Deficit Problem. We Don’t Have One. Standard & Poor’s did not downgrade the U.S. political system or the stock market. It downgraded United States Treasury bonds and bills—and did so after Congress had removed whatever tiny chance existed of even a small delay in payments.

The printed book is doomed: here’s why Our children will grow up with ebooks and they’ll always view printed books as a less convenient relic.

Wikipedia as The Man Lately Wikipedia has been criticized from without and within for reflecting a Western, male-dominated mindset similar to the perspective behind the encyclopedias it has replaced.

BlackBerry Messenger’s Role in London Riots Twitter and Facebook may have enjoyed gushing praise for its roles in catalyzing revolutions across the Middle East, but another social network is emerging as a conduit for mayhem in this weekend’s riots in London on Saturday night and Sunday evening: BlackBerry Messenger, known better to thumb-typers as BBM.

Hollywood’s Reality: TV It’s the small screen that keeps the big six studios in business.

Academic Claims Israeli Textbooks Are Biased Nurit Peled-Elhanan of Hebrew University says textbooks depict Palestinians as “terrorists, refugees and primitive farmers.”

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