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Health Insurance Whistle-Blower Knows Where the Bodies Are Buried

Wendell Potter is the health insurance industry’s worst nightmare. He’s a whistle-blower. Potter, the former chief spokesperson for insurance giant CIGNA, recently testified before Congress, “I saw how they confuse their customers and dump the sick—all so they can satisfy their Wall Street investors.”

Posted on Jul 14, 2009 READ MORE



AP photo / Jacqueline Larma

The Man in the Mirror

The commercial exploitation of Michael Jackson’s death was orchestrated by the corporate forces that rendered him insane. He was infected by the moral nihilism and personal disintegration that are at the core of our corporate culture. He was a reflection of us in the extreme.

Posted on Jul 13, 2009 READ MORE


Storm

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Posted on Jul 9, 2009 READ MORE


Party of Franken, Party of Palin

Al Franken left showbiz to prove himself a serious policy wonk as well as a devoted family man; Sarah Palin transformed herself and her family into a reality television show. Their long, odd trips reflect the journeys of their respective parties.

Posted on Jul 8, 2009 READ MORE


Palin the Pretender

What fans loved about Sarah Palin was her perceived authenticity. She was repeatedly described as “real.” But now it appears she doesn’t really know who she is. Or what she wants.

Posted on Jul 8, 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



AP photo / Carolyn Kaster

Sexism and Sarah Palin

Marie Cocco writes that Sarah Palin’s “intellectual emptiness” and “demonstrably poor judgment” should not excuse the “sexist cant that Palin ... has been subjected to since she burst onto the national scene.” Eugene Robinson, however, finds that the fear of “being painted as elitist and sexist” has perpetuated the myth that Palin is “a substantial figure whose presence on the national stage is anything but a cruel, unfunny joke.” Read on and decide for yourself.

Posted on Jul 7, 2009 READ MORE


Don’t Cry for Me, Alaska

What can you say about an ambitious politician who says that “life is too short” to worry about, you know, boring things such as responsibility or duty? You can say that all of us who ever took Sarah Palin seriously—or pretended to take her seriously—should be deeply ashamed.

Posted on Jul 7, 2009 READ MORE


A Trashing as Old as Suffrage

None of Sarah Palin’s numerous shortcomings excuse the sexist cant that she, like Hillary Clinton before her, has been subjected to since she burst onto the national scene.

Posted on Jul 7, 2009 READ MORE


King

Rep. Peter King Slams Media’s MJ Mania, Intensifies Mania in So Doing

Any salient points that hard-boiled Long Island Congressman Peter King made about the media’s Michael Jackson fixation were, for one, overshadowed by his descriptions of Jackson as a “low-life” and a “pedophile,” and also apparently lost on certain mainstream media outlets.

Posted on Jul 6, 2009 READ MORE


Thomas Paine
Portrait by Auguste Millière

The Age of Paine

“That filthy little atheist,” as Thomas Paine was called by Theodore Roosevelt, has few monuments dedicated to his memory. Building a bronze and marble monument to Paine will never revive the republic, but his words still carry an electric current of freedom. His intellectual and political energy is always available for rediscovery.

Posted on Jul 3, 2009 READ MORE


24-Week News Cycle

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Posted on Jul 2, 2009 READ MORE



Background: Flickr / Tracy O

Washington Post Makes a Really Bad Decision

For a mere $250,000, lobbyists and captains of industry were invited to “an off-the-record dinner and discussion at the home of [Washington Post] CEO and Publisher Katharine Weymouth.” Invitees were promised unfettered access to the paper’s reporters as well as “key Obama administration and congressional leaders.”

Posted on Jul 2, 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



Collage: eonline.com / andrewbostom.org / drrobertrey.com

Designer Vaginas: Is Female Circumcision Coming Out of the Closet?

As a circumcised and sexually fulfilled African woman who has been lectured for years by Western NGOs about the moral implications of my genitalia, you can imagine my surprise learning about the the wind of labiaplasties and genital rejuvenations currently sweeping across Europe and America.

Posted on Jul 2, 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


Still Selling

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Posted on Jul 1, 2009 READ MORE



AP photo / Louis Lanzano

The Root of Madoff’s Evil

Bernard Madoff should be exhibit A in why the dark world of totally unregulated private money managers and hedge funds should be opened to the light of systematic government supervision. Instead, he is being treated as an aberrant menace.

Posted on Jul 1, 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


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


Brüno Blitzes Conan O’Brien

Sacha Baron Cohen’s latest cultural satire is upon us—and the host of the “Tonight Show.” Conan O’Brien does his best, but all the lap-dancing and Kugel-staring is just too much for him to bear. [Update: Video fixed]

Posted on Jun 26, 2009 READ MORE


Journalism in the Twitter Era

Journalism is famously described as “the first rough draft of history.” But the history of this Iranian moment is a first, rough hailstorm of bits and bytes, tweets and texts. In the tweet of Mousavil388: “One Person=One Broadcaster.”

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


Iran’s Regime Reveals Its Brutality

The truly significant result of the suppressed Iranian revolt is that the most important Islamist radical movement in the contemporary world has demonstrated that it has become a brutally repressive dictatorship whose leaders rig elections and beat down clear popular demands.

Posted on Jun 23, 2009 READ MORE


Ed McMahon and Johnny Carson
AP photo / Douglas C. Pizac

Ed McMahon Was an Everyman Till the End

Despite his fame, money and extraordinary résumé—he had been a Marine, pitchman, newsboy, ditch digger, talent show host and, of course, the most famous sidekick in the history of television—Ed McMahon came off as a likable everyday guy. Before his death Tuesday at the age of 86, McMahon even experienced the wrong end of the mortgage crisis, albeit with a Beverly Hills mansion.

Posted on Jun 23, 2009 READ MORE


America’s History, Now on YouTube

Amid the Web site’s trashy home videos and other uneven chronicles of pop culture is a memorable new look at America’s past that whets the appetite for more free fun. The National Archives, in celebration of its 75th anniversary, has posted 17 videos to YouTube.

Posted on Jun 22, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / .faramarz

Iran Arrests Hundreds, Admits Vote Errors

Iranian election officials announced over the weekend that in 50 districts, there were more votes cast than voters. It’s a glimmer of hope for protesters, who stayed home Sunday as the government flooded the streets of Tehran with security personnel. State media reported the arrest of 457 people following Saturday’s violence.

Posted on Jun 22, 2009 READ MORE


The Islamic Republic Is Not in Danger

Few think that the demonstrations in Tehran, and now in other Iranian cities, can produce a change in regime. What is being challenged is the reactionary social and political form the Iranian system has assumed under Ahmadinejad and the most conservative clerics.

Posted on Jun 16, 2009 READ MORE



AP photo / Ben Curtis

Learning to Live With the Devil We Know

The protests in Iran have captured the imagination of Western media, but the re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad should come as no surprise. The world needs to move past the controversy of the Iranian elections and, like him or not, find a way to deal with President Ahmadinejad and his nuclear ambitions.

Posted on Jun 16, 2009 READ MORE



Wikimedia Commons

The American Empire Is Bankrupt

This week marks the end of the dollar’s reign as the world’s reserve currency. It marks the start of a terrible period of economic and political decline in the United States. And it signals the last gasp of the American imperium. That’s over. It is not coming back. And what is to come will be very, very painful.

Posted on Jun 14, 2009 READ MORE


Obama and the Politics of Short Memories

Business has been on the ropes since last fall’s financial collapse, but the first glimmerings of recovery are calling forth a capitalist counteroffensive.

Posted on Jun 14, 2009 READ MORE


‘Daily Show’ Skewers New York Times

The “Daily Show’s” Jason Jones kicks the Gray Lady while she’s down with this uncompromising look at the day-old news business.

Posted on Jun 11, 2009 READ MORE


All Politics, and Change, Is Still Local

The worship of the White House that led Colorado’s governor to renege on a health-care promise is one more pass-the-buck cop-out in a nation whose federalist system imagined states as “laboratories of democracy.”

Posted on Jun 11, 2009 READ MORE


Why So Scared of a Public Plan?

Big insurance and pharmaceutical companies are lobbying frantically (and spending millions of dollars) to foreclose the possibility of the most promising aspect of health care reform: a public insurance option.

Posted on Jun 11, 2009 READ MORE



AP photo / Ben Curtis

America’s Foreign Policy Phobias Are Overblown

Recent developments in the Middle East and Central Asia, from Iran’s raucous election to Pakistan’s tribal revolt against the Taliban, cast doubt once again on Washington’s basic assumptions and anxieties.

Posted on Jun 10, 2009 READ MORE


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Posted on Jun 10, 2009 READ MORE    



rackjite.com

Dobbs Takes a Dive

It seems that immigrant bashing isn’t the ratings fertilizer it used to be. Just ask CNN blowhard Lou Dobbs, who hitched his wagon to a xenophobia boomlet only to discover that angry white men are a fickle bunch.

Posted on Jun 10, 2009 READ MORE


book cover

Susie Linfield on How to Think About the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

A provocative new book, “One State, Two States,” by revisionist Israeli historian Benny Morris breaks a taboo by asking whether anti-Zionism has become the anti-imperialism of fools. Can his polemic act as the ax that helps break up the frozen and brittle nature of a debate over the seemingly intractable war between Palestinians and Jews?

Posted on Jun 5, 2009 READ MORE



AP photo / Damian Dovarganes

Prop. 8 and the Misery of the Law

The right to rebel is my real subject here, but the misery of the law is not incidental. No good case can be made for rebellion as an unqualified good in itself. But the right to rebel also cannot be limited to the rebel causes that were won long ago and have passed over into our national mythology.

Posted on Jun 4, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / steve9567

Domestic Terrorism by Any Standard

If right-wing broadcasters don’t want to be blamed when someone murders a person they have demonized repeatedly—as in the case of George Tiller, the doctor shot dead in his Wichita, Kan., church last Sunday—then they ought to moderate their rhetoric.

Posted on Jun 4, 2009 READ MORE


Rush and Newt Are Winning

A media environment that tilts to the right is obscuring what President Obama stands for and closing off political options that should be part of the public discussion.

Posted on Jun 4, 2009 READ MORE


O’Reilly: ‘If I Could Get My Hands on Tiller ... ’

Back in 2006, here’s what Bill O’Reilly had to say about the recently murdered Dr. George Tiller: “[I]f I could get my hands on Tiller—well, you know. Can’t be vigilantes. Can’t do that. It’s just a figure of speech. But despicable? Oh, my God. It doesn’t get worse. Does it get worse? No.”

Posted on Jun 3, 2009 READ MORE


Petraeus
USAF / Staff Sgt. Bradley A. Lail

Replace Petraeus

Gen. David Petraeus has proven the rule that past military victories do not guarantee future success. The general has made a mess of Afghanistan and Pakistan, yet he remains dangerously popular.

Posted on Jun 2, 2009 READ MORE



Mr. Fish

Chinese Media Sour on North Korea

China takes a lot of heat for being too buddy-buddy with North Korea, but if the harsh words in one of the middle kingdom’s tabloids are any indication, Beijing is none too happy with Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions. “This is an unprecedented threat that China has never faced in its thousands of years,” says a writer in the Global Times, a People’s Daily spinoff.

Posted on Jun 1, 2009 READ MORE


Health Care Reform’s Pulse Is Fading

So it’s health care overhaul this year—or bust. If this is the bet, right now I’d put my money on bust.

Posted on Jun 1, 2009 READ MORE


America’s Changing Moral Universe

Way back in 2004, pollsters and pundits just knew that cultural and moral issues were the wave of the future. But a funny thing happened on the road to the revival tent. Updated

Posted on May 31, 2009 READ MORE


Fessing Up Has Lost Its Shock Value

It seems government and investors are now engaging in damning honesty. With these outbursts of candor so brazen and self-explanatory, the press is being bypassed.

Posted on May 28, 2009 READ MORE


The West’s Reckless Approach to Relations With Russia

The basic question is whether the United States wishes to treat Russia as a permanent enemy, even if it is not. The result of treating states as enemies is that sooner or later they become them.

Posted on May 26, 2009 READ MORE


Combating Epidemic Ignorance

Some on the right are blaming immigrants for swine flu in the U.S. Actually, the outbreak had nothing to do with immigrants and everything to do with ordinary travel and commerce.

Posted on Apr 29, 2009 READ MORE


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