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Nasser Shiyoukhi

The Tears of Gaza Must Be Our Tears

Muslim, Christian or Jew, we ignore this suffering at the peril of our own humanity. As Rachel Corrie wrote in her last letter to her parents, “I could live a comfortable life and possibly, with no effort at all, exist in complete unawareness of my participation in genocide.”

Posted on Aug 9, 2010 READ MORE


Chris Dodd and the Politics of Joy

When I sat down last week at the Capitol with Chris Dodd to talk about his 36 years in Congress, he didn’t change my attitude toward the longest-winded legislative body in the world. But he reminded me of something missing in our public life: an ebullient joy about what democratic politics can accomplish.

Posted on Aug 8, 2010 READ MORE



Gates Foundation

40 Billionaires Agree to Give Half of It Away

With philanthropy buddies Warren Buffet and Bill Gates leading the way, 40 representatives of the uber rich have pledged to give half of their fortunes to good works. George Lucas of “Star Wars” (and ruining “Star Wars”) fame and Ted Turner, who gave us CNN before it was terrible and has the mustache to prove it, are among those on the list.

Posted on Aug 4, 2010 READ MORE



AP / Frank Franklin II

George Steinbrenner’s Evil Empire

The Boss didn’t leave his heirs a baseball team but a financial empire that can never be rivaled, villains you can depend on and a legacy like Sherman’s to Georgia.

Posted on Aug 4, 2010 READ MORE



house.gov

Another Prominent Democrat Faces Ethics Charges

Rep. Maxine Waters, a stalwart progressive voice in the House for nearly 20 years, is defending herself against charges that she improperly intervened to help bail out a bank with ties to her husband. Waters released a statement denying any wrongdoing, saying she was merely working on behalf of minority banks.

Posted on Aug 2, 2010 READ MORE


How Big Government Saved the Malibu

Who could have imagined that the bailout of the auto industry, one of the single most unpopular moves by the Obama administration, would become one of its best talking points?

Posted on Aug 1, 2010 READ MORE


Picking the Wrong Education Fight

It’s galling that civil rights groups would oppose Obama administration initiatives to improve failing schools—initiatives that hold the greatest promise for minority students.

Posted on Aug 1, 2010 READ MORE



Photo illustration based on an image by Flickr user cometstarmoon (CC-BY)

The Politics of Stupidity Strike Again

Can a nation remain a superpower if its internal politics are incorrigibly stupid? While we’re at it, does any other democracy have a powerful legislative branch as undemocratic as the U.S. Senate?

Posted on Jul 28, 2010 READ MORE


Quack Medicine on Taxes

The modern Republican argument about taxes seems to boil down to two principles, both misguided: Taxes can be reduced, but they can never be allowed to go up. And whatever level taxes are at, they are too high.

Posted on Jul 27, 2010 READ MORE



U.S. Army / Spc. Christopher Wellner

$8.7 Billion More Disappears in Iraq

The special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction says the Pentagon cannot account for $8.7 billion of Iraq’s money. The Department of Defense was supposed to spend the funds, which came from the sale of oil and other assets, on reconstruction, and it may have—it just doesn’t know for sure.

Posted on Jul 27, 2010 READ MORE


Rebuke but No Consequences for Post-Bailout Bonuses

Sticks and stones and all that: U.S. bankers are probably glad today that, as the childhood rhyme claims, “words can never hurt me,” since the Obama administration’s so-called pay czar has decided to criticize them for paying out $1.6 billion in extra payments to top execs after they received federal bailout funds—but not seek any punishment.

Posted on Jul 23, 2010 READ MORE


Our Secret Leviathan

Back in the bad old days of the Cold War—when mutual nuclear annihilation was a policy option—a culture of secrecy arose in Washington. What wise observers understood even then was that while governments tried to keep secrets from each other, their chief concern was to keep secrets from their own people.

Posted on Jul 21, 2010 READ MORE



AP / J. Scott Applewhite

The Grinches Who Stole Summer

Thanks to the defection of the two relatively enlightened Republican senators from Maine and the quick replacement of the late Democratic Sen. Robert Byrd, unemployment checks that had been stalled for millions of American families since early June will soon resume. But for Republicans, it has been a defining issue that will haunt the party.

Posted on Jul 21, 2010 READ MORE



Amazon

Amazon Sells Many More Digital Books Than Hardcovers

It looks like Amazon’s e-book strategy is paying off. CEO Jeff Bezos revealed Monday that, “even while our hardcover sales continue to grow,” his company sold 180 Kindle edition books for every 100 hardcovers last month. That figure has accelerated since Amazon dropped the price of its best-selling product, the Kindle e-book reader, by $70.

Posted on Jul 20, 2010 READ MORE



AP / Maya Hitij

Calling All Future-Eaters

We sit passive and dumb as corporations and the leaders of industrialized nations ensure that climate change will accelerate to levels that could mean the extinction of our species. Homo sapiens, as the biologist Tim Flannery points out, are the “future-eaters.”

Posted on Jul 19, 2010 READ MORE



AP / Gregory Bull

Possible Cause of Death: Privatization

When a branch fell from a tree at the Central Park Zoo, killing a 6-month-old baby, Mayor Michael Bloomberg declared it “an act of God.” But in all likelihood it was the act of a mayor.

Posted on Jul 15, 2010 READ MORE


‘A Good Year to Die’

George Steinbrenner’s well-timed death—though I suspect he may not have seen it that way—points up the insanity of the current estate tax situation.

Posted on Jul 15, 2010 READ MORE


A Change Election—in the Wrong Direction

The furious and frustrated electorate should be careful when they demand change in the upcoming midterm elections—because what they get may well be very different from what they actually want.

Posted on Jul 14, 2010 READ MORE



AP / Carolyn Kaster

There’s Just No Pleasing Some Robber Barons

The flight from reason that now marks American public discourse came home for me last Friday when I found myself on public radio debating whether Barack Obama is anti-business.

Posted on Jul 13, 2010 READ MORE


The Thing That Ate the WIC Budget

The government’s struggles with infant formula, of all things, offer a broader lesson in how hard it is to take even the most common-sense steps to save taxpayer dollars.

Posted on Jul 13, 2010 READ MORE


Reality and Reform for How the EU Keeps Its Peace

The European Union deliberately has chosen not to challenge the United States as a military or political superpower. This is convenient for most and saves Europe a great deal of money. It is prudent, since no one knows what the U.S. would do if the Europeans undertook a role that challenged American primacy.

Posted on Jul 13, 2010 READ MORE



White House / Pete Souza

Obama’s Health Care Bill Is Enough to Make You Sick

A close reading of the new health care legislation, which will conveniently take effect in 2014 after the next presidential election, is deeply depressing.

Posted on Jul 11, 2010 READ MORE


The Decision

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Posted on Jul 11, 2010 READ MORE


Millions Watch Rich Guy Get New Job

Based on the record ratings for its special featuring LeBron James’ announcement of his new team, ESPN announced that instead of airing NBA games, it would schedule two-hour specials showing the rich guy cashing his ginormous paychecks.

Posted on Jul 11, 2010 READ MORE


Pitfalls of Soaking the Rich

Rich Trumka—the AFL-CIO president intercepts any attempted honorific with an easy “Call me Rich”—comes armed with charts. His first one is, literally, in shades of gray. Its message is anything but.

Posted on Jul 6, 2010 READ MORE



Flickr / walknboston (CC-BY)

Wall Street Donors Withhold Money, Affection From Democrats

Maybe the Democrats are doing something right after all. According to the number crunchers at The Washington Post, donations from the New York area to the party’s congressional campaign committees are down 65 percent, with the drop largely attributed to Wall Street’s dissatisfaction with financial reform. (continued)

Posted on Jul 6, 2010 READ MORE



AP / Reed Saxon

Ailing Journalism in Ailing Times

The L.A. Times executive suite, desperate for company income, shows an ethics-be-damned attitude in breaching the line between ads and news.

Posted on Jul 5, 2010 READ MORE


Republican Worldview: It’s All Good

Judging by their response to millions of uninsured Americans, the drilling disaster in the Gulf and the economic crisis, Republicans should run on the slogan “It’s all good. Except for that Obama guy. And Nancy Pelosi.”

Posted on Jul 1, 2010 READ MORE



U.S. Army / Staff Sgt. Susan Wilt

Congress Tires of Lining Karzai’s Pockets

The House has decided not to approve some $4 billion in aid to Afghanistan after The Wall Street Journal reported that the country’s notoriously corrupt government has secretly flown billions of dollars in U.S. aid and drug money to “safe havens abroad.”

Posted on Jul 1, 2010 READ MORE



Photo illustration from White House photo by Pete Souza

Regulators Made Sure Goldman Sachs Got All of Its Bailout Money

A devastating report in The New York Times documents how Timothy Geithner’s New York Fed worked tirelessly to make sure that AIG was forced to pay banks such as Goldman Sachs 100 percent on dubious contracts that might otherwise have been slashed or subjected to lawsuits. (continued)

Posted on Jun 29, 2010 READ MORE



U.S. Marine Corps / Lance Cpl. Alfredo V. Ferrer

We Can’t Afford War

The U.S. will eventually negotiate its withdrawal from Afghanistan. The only difference between now and then will be the number of dead, on all sides, and the amount of (borrowed) money that will be spent.

Posted on Jun 29, 2010 READ MORE



U.S. Air Force / Tech. Sgt. Francisco V. Govea II

The Land Where Theories of Warfare Go to Die

Afghanistan is the place where theories of warfare go to die, and if the COIN theory isn’t dead yet, it’s utterly failed so far to prove itself.

Posted on Jun 28, 2010 READ MORE



White House / Pete Souza

Whose Supreme Court Is It?

This week’s hearings over Elena Kagan’s nomination to the Supreme Court will mark a sea change in the way liberals argue about the judiciary.

Posted on Jun 27, 2010 READ MORE



Flickr / Wagner T. Cassimiro "Aranha" (CC-BY)

Save the Trees, Save the Planet

What would the wealthy nations of the West (and their rising rivals in the East) do if they actually wanted to prevent catastrophic warming? Here in Africa, the obvious answer is that they would find the ways and means to discourage deforestation.

Posted on Jun 23, 2010 READ MORE


The Satire Keeps Spilling Out

And sometimes, life imitates farce. Thus the spectacle of BP’s Chief Executive Officer Tony “I’d like my life back” Hayward spending the weekend at a yacht race.

Posted on Jun 22, 2010 READ MORE


Another World Is Possible, Another Detroit Is Happening

“I have a dream.” Ask anyone where the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. first proclaimed those words, and the response will most likely be at the March on Washington in August 1963. In fact, he delivered them two months earlier, on June 23, in Detroit.

Posted on Jun 22, 2010 READ MORE


All Shook Up for BP

Joe Barton is not alone. The Texas congressman’s lavish sympathy for BP—which he sees not as perpetrator of a preventable disaster but as victim of a White House “shakedown”—is actually what passes for mainstream opinion among conservative Republicans today.

Posted on Jun 21, 2010 READ MORE


Some People Have Too Much Money

They say you can’t take it with you, so you might as well leave it to your dogs. Actually the son of the heiress who left her pets and staff millions claims she was manipulated into creating a zany will. So who forced her to cover her Chihuahua with diamonds long before she died?

Posted on Jun 21, 2010 READ MORE



Collage from a White House photo by Eric Draper

Congressional Leaders Surviving Recession Quite Nicely

Those public servants running Congress have some nice lives to retire to, according to the latest public disclosures. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has her multimillion-dollar California vineyard and Minority Leader John Boehner has money invested in BP. Woops!

Posted on Jun 16, 2010 READ MORE



Ari Mintz

A ‘Prophecy’ Worth Watching

Theater, which at its best makes us more human and humane, has become increasingly mediocre, produced as spectacle or driven by the presence of Hollywood celebrities.

Posted on Jun 13, 2010 READ MORE


Spend Now, Save Later

Do Democrats honestly think that nickel-and-diming on stimulus now will either have a substantial impact on the long-term deficit or be of greater help to them in this fall’s elections than more robust growth?

Posted on Jun 13, 2010 READ MORE



Flickr / frozenchipmunk (CC-BY)

Obama Wants $50 Billion For Teachers, Cops and Firefighters

With a relative drop in the bailout bucket, the president thinks he can save 300,000 teachers who would otherwise be kept by economic calamity from annoying America’s children. The money would go to state and local governments struggling to make ends meet.

Posted on Jun 13, 2010 READ MORE


A Loss Won’t Silence the Democratic Left

This week’s primaries should have been good news for Democrats. Instead, a stray comment from an Obama aide briefly threatened a civil war in the Democratic Party, which needs all the unity it can get.

Posted on Jun 9, 2010 READ MORE



White House / Pete Souza

White House Pledges $400 Million to Palestinians

A White House statement calls the $400 million aid package announced Wednesday “a down payment on the United States’ commitment to Palestinians in Gaza, who deserve a better life and expanded opportunities, and the chance to take part in building a viable, independent state of Palestine, together with those who live in the West Bank.”

Posted on Jun 9, 2010 READ MORE



U.S. Navy / MC2 Justin Stumberg

BP Knew: Years of Internal Probes Warned That Neglect Could Lead to Accidents

A series of internal investigations over the past decade warned senior BP managers that the company repeatedly disregarded safety and environmental rules and risked a serious accident if it did not change its ways.

Posted on Jun 7, 2010 READ MORE



Truthdig collage based on a White House photo by Pete Souza

The Christian Fascists Are Growing Stronger

Tens of millions of Americans are creating a theocratic state based on “biblical law,” and shutting out all those they define as the enemy.

Posted on Jun 7, 2010 READ MORE



Flickr / JosephLenoardo (CC-BY-SA)

Marijuana Delivery Services Evade Bans on Dispensaries

A flourishing and unregulated industry of pot delivery services is circumventing bans on storefront dispensaries and bringing medical marijuana directly to homes, offices and more unconventional locations across California, records and interviews show.

Posted on Jun 6, 2010 READ MORE



Live Chat: ‘Treat Palestinians Like Jews’

Robert Scheer addresses reader questions and comments about his most recent column and Israel’s deadly attack on the aid flotilla.

Posted on Jun 5, 2010 READ MORE


Haiti aftermath
AP / Gregory Bull

Haiti in Waiting

With a good degree of exasperation, Haiti’s president has been forced to remind the international community that only Brazil has paid in full on its promised aid following the earthquake that devastated the country in January.

Posted on Jun 5, 2010 READ MORE


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