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States of Emergency: The Object of American Studies

States of Emergency: The Object of American Studies

By Russ Castronovo (Editor), Susan Gillman (Editor)

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Tag: Barack Obama

Obama’s Court Votes May Return to Haunt Him

Republican senators are asking themselves why they should give President Obama more leeway to name justices to his liking than then-Sen. Obama was willing to accord President Bush when he voted against both Bush nominees.

Posted on Jul 15, 2009 READ MORE

AP / Mark Lennihan

‘Government Sachs’ Strikes Gold ... Again

Connect the dots: Goldman Sachs made $3.44 billion in profit this past quarter, while the U.S deficit topped $1 trillion for the first time in the nation’s history and appeared to be headed toward doubling that figure before the budget year is out. Since most of the increase in the federal deficit is due to bailing out the banks and salvaging the greater economy they helped destroy, why is the top investment bank doing so well?

Posted on Jul 14, 2009 READ MORE

White House / Pete Souza

Obama Wants to Send Unemployed Back to School

At 14.1 percent, Michigan’s unemployment rate is the highest of any state. So it was a fitting setting for the president to announce his plan to spend $12 billion retraining the unemployed in community colleges. This plan would be a lot more exciting if its budget didn’t inevitably have to be compared with the trillions we’ve thrown at lousy banks.

Posted on Jul 14, 2009 READ MORE

Sheldon Whitehouse

Confirmation Remarks Worth Revisiting

Supreme Court confirmation hearings are as much about politicians grabbing a little face time as they are about probing a nominee’s legal philosophy. Amid all the posturing and finger-wagging Monday, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse spoke rather eloquently about what the court has become, and what it should be: “ ... A place ... where the comfortable can be afflicted and the afflicted find some comfort. ... ”

Posted on Jul 14, 2009 READ MORE

AP photo / Win McNamee, pool

White Men Can’t Trump

For the Republicans outraged at “wise Latina” Sonia Sotomayor, being white and male is seen as a neutral condition, the natural order of things. Any “identity”—black, brown, female, gay, whatever—has to be judged against this supposedly “objective” standard.

Posted on Jul 13, 2009 READ MORE

Closet Racism in the Age of Obama

Unless Sotomayor suffers a “complete meltdown,” Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina predicted, she will be confirmed. The price, though, is barely coded race baiting that has been part of the assault on Sotomayor since her nomination was announced.

Posted on Jul 13, 2009 READ MORE

Wikimedia Commons/Revisorweb

U.S. Budget Deficit Climbs to Over $1 Trillion

America’s spend-a-thon has brought some inevitable consequences, not the least being that we now are looking at a federal budget deficit of more than $1 trillion for the first time ever, and that number is projected to nearly double by October.

Posted on Jul 13, 2009 READ MORE


54 Die in Post-Withdrawal Bombings

Thursday saw the deadliest day since the withdrawal of most U.S. soldiers from Iraq’s urban areas, with 54 people being killed in attacks across the country. Some believe the increase in bombings is an attempt to delegitimize the post-U.S. Iraqi security forces. Others believe it to be just the continuation of six years of bloodshed.

Posted on Jul 10, 2009 READ MORE

Obama Africa

Obama to Seek to End Africa’s Conflicts

It seems that President Obama has finally taken Africa seriously—and in a way that doesn’t look like Bush-era health funding that reeks of an infomercial for Christian charity. In a speech on Saturday, Obama is expected to focus on the importance of democratic governance on the continent and will make the ending of conflicts a key diplomatic initiative.

Posted on Jul 10, 2009 READ MORE

Kabul blast
AP photo

Explosives-Laden Truck Detonates, Kills 25 in Afghanistan

An overturned truck filled with timber and, it turned out, explosives blew up early Thursday morning in Logar province, Afghanistan, killing 25 people. Thirteen of the victims were children on their way to school, according to the Associated Press.

Posted on Jul 9, 2009 READ MORE

AP photo / Philippe Wojazer, pool

Does Obama Have a Friend in the Vatican?

When Obama meets with Benedict XVI on Friday, there will be no right-wing Catholic demonstrators upbraiding the pontiff for conferring the church’s legitimacy upon this liberal politician. In fact, when it comes to economics, this conservative pope is to the left of the president.

Posted on Jul 9, 2009 READ MORE

The Unemployed Will Roar

There’s a lot of argument in Washington about the economy, but if anyone’s looking for some clear voices, there are 650,000 of them just waiting to be heard. That is roughly the number of long-term unemployed who will begin losing their jobless benefits in September.

Posted on Jul 8, 2009 READ MORE

Progressives Flex Health Care Muscle

The progressive Democrats in Congress have had just about enough of all this bipartisanship, especially if it means scrapping a public health care plan. Rahm Emanuel recanted his hint of compromise to a room full of hopping-mad House liberals Tuesday night. Earlier, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid made it clear that losing a public option was a deal-breaker for 10 to 15 Senate Democrats.

Posted on Jul 8, 2009 READ MORE

Barack Obama
White House / Pete Souza

Obama Still Backs Public Option

Rahm Emanuel may think his boss is open to alternatives, but the president released a statement Tuesday reaffirming his support for government-run health care. A separate e-mail from Obama’s permanent campaign, Organizing for America, urged supporters to write their local newspapers and lobby for health care reform that includes “the choice of a robust public insurance option.”

Posted on Jul 7, 2009 READ MORE

AP photo / Hadi Mizban

So This Is What Victory Looks Like?

It is wishful thinking to believe that the Iraqi military will be able to hold the ruins of Iraqi society together without major U.S. intervention. The United States has assumed the role of Saddam’s Special Republican Guard, waiting to be called in to crush any sign of rebellion or insurrection. It’s a lose-lose situation with only one way out.

Posted on Jul 7, 2009 READ MORE

Flickr / Paul Keleher

Public Option in Critical Condition

President Obama and most Democrats see a government-run health plan that competes with private insurers as vital to real health care reform, but a veto- and filibuster-proof majority just ain’t what it used to be. In the face of a massive lobbying effort, the White House has indicated a willingness to shelve the public option.

Posted on Jul 7, 2009 READ MORE

White House / Sharon Farmer

Friends Don’t Let Friends Bomb Iran

Whatever their private discussions, the governing administrations of the United States and Israel are engaged in a public back and forth that ought to give one pause. It all started when Vice President Biden said “Israel can determine for itself” whether to bomb Iran.

Posted on Jul 6, 2009 READ MORE

Obama’s Long, Hard Summer

As the president and centrist Democrats in Congress haggle over the deficit, they could usefully recall that the party’s inability to deliver on Bill Clinton’s 1992 campaign pledges, particularly on health care, led to a stunning defeat two years later.

Posted on Jul 6, 2009 READ MORE

Medvedev and Obama
AP photo / RIA-Novosti, Vladimir Rodionov, Presidential Press Service

Obama and Medvedev Set New Tone for U.S.-Russian Relations

Sure, some of the show of good will between President Barack Obama and his Russian counterpart, Dmitry Medvedev, was glad-handing for the cameras, and that whole missile-shield issue was swept under the rug for the time being, but some actual progress was made during their summit in Moscow on Monday.

Posted on Jul 5, 2009 READ MORE

I Am Robama, and I Come in Peace

Number 44 has been spotted in Orlando, in the form of an animatronic addition to Walt Disney World’s Hall of Presidents. And it speaks with the president’s actual voice. It’s as creepy as it is amazing, and easily worth a quick look.

Posted on Jul 3, 2009 READ MORE

Legalize LA

New, Softer Approach to Illegal Workers

The immigration raids of the Bush years that have carried over into the Obama administration may be changing. The era of federal agents busting into shops and rounding up undocumented workers for deportation is being replaced by a new effort to use fines and civil sanctions, making employers responsible, rather than the workers themselves.

Posted on Jul 3, 2009 READ MORE


Racial Row in Freemasonry

Not only are the Freemasons a bit weird, some are also a bit racist. The admittance of Victor Marshall, a 26-year-old African American, to a chapter in Atlanta last year caused many Georgian Freemasons to seek to revoke the charter of Marshall’s chapter, sparking a legal battle over equality in this new “post-racial” world.

Posted on Jul 3, 2009 READ MORE

The Battle Over the Burqa

Since President Barack Obama in his recent Cairo speech made a tut-tutting remark about countries that restricted wearing religious garb in school, the controversy over the Muslim burqa has resumed in Europe.

Posted on Jul 2, 2009 READ MORE

John McCain
AP photo / Charles Dharapak

Suddenly, a Trillion Dollars Is Too Expensive?

The senators who now claim we cannot afford to spend a trillion dollars to make long overdue changes in health care know exactly what that amount can buy. They know because they have spent it, year after year, on military misadventures and subsidies to big banks and corporations.

Posted on Jul 1, 2009 READ MORE

Warming Up a New Politics?

That some highly vulnerable Democrats in the House were willing to face tens of thousands of dollars worth of Republican attack ads as the price of supporting a bill to curb global warming is the untold story of what, so far, is the year’s most dramatic legislative showdown.

Posted on Jul 1, 2009 READ MORE

Political Foolishness and Teen Pregnancy

The decline in contraceptive use may cheer those who have promoted faith-inspired school curricula, but now we have sad and clear evidence that political foolishness among adults is leading to foolish and harmful behavior among kids.

Posted on Jul 1, 2009 READ MORE

It’s Obama’s War Now

The U.S. military has launched the first major offensive of Barack Obama’s new Afghanistan strategy, sending thousands of troops to Helmand province under the moniker Operation Strike of the Sword.

Posted on Jul 1, 2009 READ MORE

U.S. Troops Leave Iraqi Cities, but Unsettled Issues Remain

Now that American troops are withdrawing from the cities of Iraq, the calculation must begin as to whether the loss of some half-million to million lives and the ruin of the infrastructure and social structure of Baghdad and much of the rest of the Iraqi nation have served some good purpose.

Posted on Jun 30, 2009 READ MORE

Undo the Coup

The first coup d’etat in Central America in more than a quarter-century occurred last Sunday in Honduras. It was led by a graduate of the U.S. Army’s School of the Americas, a military facility that has trained some of Latin America’s worst torturers, murderers and human rights abusers.

Posted on Jun 30, 2009 READ MORE

Al Franken
U.S. Air Force / S. Sgt. Maria L. Taylor

Dems Make Franken a Player

Al Franken won’t officially be a U.S. senator until next week, but he’s set to make a big impact, and not just because he gives his party that 60th seat. Senate Democrats have reserved four committee spots for Franken, two of which will make him a key participant in health care reform and the confirmation of President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee.

Posted on Jun 30, 2009 READ MORE

Iraq Has Another One of Its Famous Turning Points

As the media trumpets sound for the pullback of American troops from urban areas in Iraq, the essential lesson of our involvement must be recalled: Nothing about our entanglement in Iraq has ever been as it seemed.

Posted on Jun 29, 2009 READ MORE

AP photo / Kent Gilbert

Honduran President Shall Return

A day after he was forcibly removed from office, Manuel Zelaya said he will return to Honduras on Thursday to reclaim his presidency. Zelaya enjoys the support of many of his fellow Latin American leaders as well as the president of the United States. However, he still has to deal with his military and political rivals.

Posted on Jun 29, 2009 READ MORE

Barack Obama
White House / Samantha Appleton

Obama Overload?

President Obama is still wildly popular and he seems determined to revel in it by popping up three times a day to make a statement or greet a world leader. However, Joel Connelly writes in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, “a president should take time out of the public eye, and not tire out the country.”

Posted on Jun 29, 2009 READ MORE

AP photo / Bebeto Matthews

The Truth Alone Will Not Set You Free

The modern world, as Kafka predicted, has become a world where lies become true. And facts alone will be powerless to thwart the mendacity spun out through billions of dollars in corporate advertising, lobbying and control of traditional sources of information. The lines between artists, social activists and journalists have to be erased.

Posted on Jun 29, 2009 READ MORE

White House / Pete Souza

Obama and the Stone Tablets

The president has shied away from handing Congress his own plans on “stone tablets,” but if he doesn’t intervene in the health care debate, and soon, lawmakers are going to send him an unworkable monstrosity of a bill.

Posted on Jun 28, 2009 READ MORE

AP photo / Kent Gilbert

Honduras’ Leftist President Gets the Boot

President Manuel Zelaya won a free trip to Costa Rica on Sunday, courtesy of his nation’s military. The Honduran president was ousted after attempting to hold an unofficial referendum on extending presidential term limits, over the objections of the Honduran Supreme Court and Congress.

Posted on Jun 28, 2009 READ MORE

Flickr/Ed Yourdon

House Passes Climate Bill

The House of Representatives has passed a climate change bill by a vote of 219 to 212. The bill, which was a top priority for President Obama, largely resembles California’s environmental program and requires that large American companies reduce emissions of global warming gases by 17 percent by 2020 and 83 percent by 2050.

Posted on Jun 26, 2009 READ MORE

AP photo / Dan Balilty

A Settlement Stalemate With No End in Sight

The Obama administration’s confrontation with Israel over its colonies inside the Palestine territories began as a test of Prime Minister Netanyahu, who was elected in order to defy the U.S. How it will end is a mystery.

Posted on Jun 25, 2009 READ MORE

AP photo / Charles Dharapak

The Sickening Influence of Campaign Contributions

Democrats who are talking down Obama’s health care initiative tend to have something in common—their abject dependence on campaign contributions from the insurance and pharmaceutical corporations fighting against real reform.

Posted on Jun 24, 2009 READ MORE

Poster Addict for Tobacco Law

It’s all right to be just a bit defensive when you’re the addict in chief, but President Obama happens to be, hands down, the best possible spokesman for the new FDA regulation. He should embrace the role.

Posted on Jun 24, 2009 READ MORE

Collage from Fox and James Montgomery Flagg

Public Option or Bust

Health care reform is shaping up as astronomically expensive, but that’s only if private insurers and Big Pharma get their way, writes Clinton-era Labor Secretary Robert Reich. Without competition from the government—a public option—the health care industry will continue to gouge and Americans will still be in the weeds, a trillion dollars poorer.

Posted on Jun 24, 2009 READ MORE

AP photo / Brennan Linsley, pool

Foreclosure Fiasco

The Bush-Obama strategy of throwing trillions at the banks to solve the mortgage crisis is a huge bust. The financial moguls, while tickled pink to have $1.25 trillion in toxic assets covered by the feds, along with hundreds of billions in direct handouts, are not using that money to turn around the free fall in housing foreclosures.

Posted on Jun 24, 2009 READ MORE

Free Speech vs. Surveillance in the Digital Age

Tools of mass communication that were once the province of governments and corporations now fit in your pocket. As these technologies have developed, so too has the ability to monitor, filter, censor and block them.

Posted on Jun 23, 2009 READ MORE

Obama ‘Strongly Condemns’ Iran Crackdown

The president opened his Tuesday press conference by saying, “The United States and the international community have been appalled and outraged by the threats, the beatings, and imprisonments of the last few days. I strongly condemn these unjust actions… .”

Posted on Jun 23, 2009 READ MORE

Baracks Obama
White House / Lawrence Jackson

Obama Comes Closer to Meddling

The president reiterated Tuesday that he has no intention of “interfering with Iran’s affairs,” but he also dialed up his criticism of the regime’s crackdown from “it is of concern to me” to “I strongly condemn these unjust actions.”

Posted on Jun 23, 2009 READ MORE

Promises, Promises

Posted on Jun 23, 2009 READ MORE    

AP photo / Ali Zare

Iran Had a Democracy Before We Took It Away

Iranians do not need or want us to teach them about liberty and representative government. We gave to the Iranian people the corrupt regime of the shah and his savage secret police and the primitive clerics that rose out of the swamp of the dictator’s Iran.

Posted on Jun 22, 2009 READ MORE

Obama’s Iran Dilemma

The president’s initial caution served the interests of freedom by making clear that the revolt against Iran’s flawed election is homegrown. As the struggle continues, we cannot pretend that we are indifferent to its outcome.

Posted on Jun 21, 2009 READ MORE

Daring to Dream

Most of the great American advances, from the airplane to the Constitution, were born from reinvention, not tinkering. For all the positive, even admirable steps Obama’s America seems poised to take, the aspirations still seem too small, too unimaginative, too confined by old conceptions of how things must work.

Posted on Jun 18, 2009 READ MORE

White House / Pete Souza

Deficit Could Be Obama’s Achilles’ Heel

President Obama once said the deficit “keeps me awake at night.” He’s not alone. Three recent polls show that while Obama’s approval ratings remain high, most Americans are preoccupied with the deficit and many question about whether the president is willing and able to rein in spending.

Posted on Jun 18, 2009 READ MORE

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