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Empire of Illusion

Empire of Illusion

By Chris Hedges

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Barack Obama

Watch the State of the Union Live—Right Here

No need to leave your computer, you can get a live feed of Barack Obama’s first official State of the Union address right here.

Posted on Jan 27, 2010 READ MORE


Yemen
Wikimedia Commons

U.S. Sending More Troops to Yemen

The Pentagon is planning to ramp up the number of U.S. special forces troops in Yemen, pointing to the botched Christmas Day attack on Northwest flight 253 as part of the impetus for the increase. It’s not clear yet how many more American troops will be sent over, but the boost will be significant, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Posted on Jan 27, 2010 READ MORE



apple.com

Tabletus Interruptus

Steve Jobs calls his new tablet “a magical device at a breakthrough price,” but chances are you don’t need one and can’t afford it anyway.

Posted on Jan 27, 2010 READ MORE


Supreme Fuck-Up

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Posted on Jan 27, 2010 READ MORE    


O'Keefe arrested
AP/Patrick Semansky

Anti-ACORN Filmmaker’s Hijinks Lead to Arrest

Budding filmmaker and right-wing sting operator James O’Keefe was among a group of four people arrested in New Orleans on Monday for entering the office of Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu under false pretenses. The 25-year-old O’Keefe had previously been heralded by GOP types for shooting footage of ACORN employees allegedly involving themselves in the cover-up of a (fabricated) prostitution business.

Posted on Jan 27, 2010 READ MORE


Moses
Wikimedia Commons / The Yorck Project: 10.000 Meisterwerke der Malerei

Behold the iPad

After months of breathless anticipation, techies everywhere have a new gadget/cultural phenomenon on their hands in the form of Apple Inc.’s new tablet, the iPad. Apple CEO Steve Jobs was on hand to do the unveiling honors at San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts on Wednesday morning, and based on the results, you can bet the lines will be forming in front of Apple stores yet again.

Posted on Jan 27, 2010 READ MORE


In Defense of the Filibuster

This won’t comfort Democrats mourning the loss of their filibuster-proof majority, but the existence of the filibuster is, on balance, a good thing.

Posted on Jan 27, 2010 READ MORE


Obama
AP / Alex Brandon

The Sorry State of the Union

The state of the union is just miserable, no matter how President Obama sugarcoats it. He will claim that progress has been made in stabilizing the markets, increasing national security and advancing toward meaningful health care reform, but he will be wrong on all three counts.

Posted on Jan 27, 2010 READ MORE



Castro Edition

Going nuclear in the Senate, the anthropology of “Avatar” and why Fidel Castro sent doctors instead of soldiers to Haiti. These stories and more on today’s list.

Posted on Jan 27, 2010 READ MORE


A Duped President’s Wasted Foreign Policy Year

President Obama’s failures in Israel and elsewhere abroad have astonished the international public and left in despair those Americans who can scarcely believe that a whole year has been irresponsibly wasted.

Posted on Jan 26, 2010 READ MORE


Let the Haitians In

Haitians need to be allowed into the United States, legally, compassionately and immediately. I visited hospitals and clinics in Port-au-Prince, with thousands of people waiting for care, and amputations happening with ibuprofen or Motrin, if patients were lucky.

Posted on Jan 26, 2010 READ MORE


Mona Lisa
Wikimedia Commons/Musée du Louvre

Is the Mona Lisa da Vinci in Drag?

There’ve been a number of theories bandied about concerning the famously enigmatic masterpiece we know well as the Mona Lisa, but this latest one about Leonardo da Vinci’s mysterious muse is a doozy, and it definitely wins points for creativity and flair.

Posted on Jan 26, 2010 READ MORE



Flickr / diongillard

Toyota Moving Forward With Recall, Sales Freeze, Factory Timeout

The world’s biggest automaker is in even bigger trouble. Following an earlier recall of 4.2 million vehicles and a second recall of 2.3 million, Toyota is suspending sales of eight models and halting production at five plants in North America. (continued)

Posted on Jan 26, 2010 READ MORE



Original: Wikimedia Commons / Scrumshus

Health Care Reform? What Health Care Reform?

Democratic congressional leaders are hitting the pause button while they figure out how to press ahead—if at all—with comprehensive health care reform. The most conservative Democratic senators have made it clear they oppose budget reconciliation, but then the whole point of reconciliation is to avoid the votes of conservative Democratic senators. (continued)

Posted on Jan 26, 2010 READ MORE


If the Constitution Were Written Today

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Posted on Jan 26, 2010 READ MORE



U.S. Air Force / Staff Sgt. Nicole Ketchen

British Government Warned That Iraq War Would Be Illegal

Before the invasion of Iraq, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw’s top legal adviser warned that the use of force was “contrary to international law” and “would amount to the crime of aggression.” (continued)

Posted on Jan 26, 2010 READ MORE


Newsday home page
newsday.com

Newsday’s Paid Content Project Hits Major Glitch

In the future, news junkies may be willing to pay a subscription fee to get their fix, but judging by what’s happening over at Long Island’s Newsday newspaper, that time has not come. According to The New York Observer, after three months, only 35 people had signed up to have full access to newsday.com for $260 a year.

Posted on Jan 26, 2010 READ MORE


buffet
Flickr / Flair Candy

Americans Bingeing on Internet’s Info-Buffet

If it is true that “how you do one thing is how you do everything,” then Americans are right on track with their consumption habits, both in terms of food and information. Among his observations, The Atlantic’s Derek Thompson points out how the info-glut on the Internet doesn’t exactly lead to a more accurately informed public.

Posted on Jan 26, 2010 READ MORE


Ethiopian plane wreckage
bbc.co.uk

Lebanese Officials Say Jet Flew the Wrong Way Before Crash

Despite being told to change course by air traffic controllers in Beirut, the pilot of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 409 that crashed Monday flew into the storm he was advised to avoid, Lebanese officials said Tuesday.

Posted on Jan 26, 2010 READ MORE


O'Connor
Wikimedia Commons / The Supreme Court Historical Society

O’Connor Obliquely Critiques SCOTUS Campaign Finance Ruling

Granted, Sandra Day O’Connor is retired from the U.S. Supreme Court, to which she was a Ronald Reagan nominee, but during a law school conference Tuesday at Gerogetown, the former justice still made concerned noises about the top court’s Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling.

Posted on Jan 26, 2010 READ MORE


Gates

‘Daily Show’: Bill Gates, Twitter-er

Now that Bill Gates doesn’t have to run one of the world’s biggest companies, he has more time to devote to a few of his favorite causes including, say, trying to revamp the school system at home and fight hunger abroad—you know, just hobby material. Here, he tells Jon Stewart about his post-Microsoft life, as well as how he learned to tweet just last week.

Posted on Jan 26, 2010 READ MORE


Lego semi
Flickr / psiaki

No Texting for U.S. Bus, Truck Drivers

Apparently America’s truck drivers aren’t immune to the siren call of text messaging from time to time, as Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has had to specifically address the driving and texting issue among truckers and bus drivers with a new prohibition on the practice.

Posted on Jan 26, 2010 READ MORE



Pre-State of the Union Edition

Petraeus says there’s plenty more Afghan war where that came from, Saudi Arabia gets to buy an election or two and Social Security goes on the chopping block. These stories and more on today’s list.

Posted on Jan 26, 2010 READ MORE



AP / Rich Pedroncelli

California’s Folly — Prop. 13

California now struggles with fiscal and social disaster because of a 32-year-old initiative that makes raising revenues and passing budgets nearly impossible.

Posted on Jan 26, 2010 READ MORE



White House / Pete Souza

Fighting Words, Winning Actions

It’s not enough to use variations of the word “fight” more than 20 times in the course of relatively brief remarks, as the president did Friday in Ohio. At some point, he needs to—metaphorically, of course—actually slug somebody.

Posted on Jan 25, 2010 READ MORE


Franco

‘Howl’ Stars Franco, Hamm Slam Prop. 8

When you’re in a movie about a countercultural figure as big as Allen Ginsberg, it’s going to be hard to avoid the political questions, and “Howl” stars Jon Hamm and James Franco, who plays the Beat-era poet in the film, were ready to hold forth at the Sundance Film Festival about one prominent political topic of our time: California’s Proposition 8.

Posted on Jan 25, 2010 READ MORE



White House / Pete Souza

Obama to Propose Spending Freeze

As part of his State of the Union address Wednesday, the president is expected to call for a three-year freeze on non-military, non-entitlement discretionary spending that amounts to a small fraction of the budget. It’s a stunt, for the most part, aimed at soothing budget-conscious independents. (continued)

Posted on Jan 25, 2010 READ MORE


Haitians
AP / Ryan Remiorz, The Canadian Press

Food Crisis Grows in Haiti

It’s been nearly two weeks since the cataclysmic earthquake in Haiti, and the life-or-death issue of food distribution looms larger than ever, despite the concerted efforts of various aid organizations—and the efforts of Haitians themselves—to combat starvation.

Posted on Jan 25, 2010 READ MORE


Limbaugh
AP / Chris Carlson

This Is Not an Actual Rush Limbaugh Column

The wicked (and satirical, everyone!) masterminds over at The Onion have once again cooked up an illuminating, if discomfiting, parody—this time in prose form, skewering the particularly contentious public figure of Rush Limbaugh. It’s not pretty, but then, neither are many of the statements Limbaugh has emitted over the course of his storied broadcasting career.

Posted on Jan 25, 2010 READ MORE


Bernanke
AP / Susan Walsh

Good Bernanke News Gives Wall Street a Boost

Well, it’s good news for Mr. Bernanke, at least: The U.S. stock market did better Monday than it had in the last three days of trading, thanks in part to signs that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s support in the Senate appeared solid. The sunny quarterly report from Apple Inc.—coming just days before the company was expected to make a major announcement—also helped reverse last week’s slide.

Posted on Jan 25, 2010 READ MORE



Flickr / joey.parsons

High Blood Pressure Linked to Dementia

Before we scare you, keep in mind that if everyone in America who experienced high blood pressure—that’s about a third of us—got dementia, you would know about it. However, new research suggests that the relationship between hypertension and dementia is more pronounced and alarming than doctors previously understood ... (continued)

Posted on Jan 25, 2010 READ MORE


McChrystal
Wikimedia Commons / U.S. Army Sgt. David Alvarado

McChrystal Discusses Afghanistan Plan

America’s top brass in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, sat down for a talk with the Financial Times last week about his strategy in the South Asian nation, how long he thinks U.S. troops will remain there and the possibility of the Taliban’s participation in the Afghan government.

Posted on Jan 25, 2010 READ MORE


Met entrance
Wikimedia Commons/Physicistjedi

Patching Up Picasso’s ‘Actor’

A visitor at New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art made her mark, unexpectedly, on Pablo Picasso’s turn-of-the-last-century painting “The Actor” by accidentally falling into it Friday and adding a 6-inch rip not intended by the artist to the lower right corner of the canvas. Big oops!

Posted on Jan 25, 2010 READ MORE


White House app video
White House via YouTube

The White House: Now Available in iPhone-Friendly Format

Top White House press-wrangler Robert Gibbs cheerfully unveils the new White House iPhone app in a new promotional video released Monday for the occasion. As jaunty music plays in the background, Gibbs sets the scene in the video by declaring that users can watch him “set the White House press corps straight every day” with the app. Such a card, that Robert Gibbs.

Posted on Jan 25, 2010 READ MORE


Baghdad Sheraton
AP / Karim Kadim

Triple Bomb Attack Targets Baghdad Hotels

On Monday, a series of three coordinated bombings targeting landmark hotels in Baghdad killed at least 36 people and wounded 71, according to The New York Times. Also Monday, Iraqis hung Saddam Hussein’s cousin and former aide Ali Hassan al-Majeed—aka “Chemical Ali”—for crimes against humanity, largely for his role in the mass killing of Iraqi Kurds in 1988.

Posted on Jan 25, 2010 READ MORE



Flickr / Mat Packer

South Carolina Lt. Gov. Apologizes for Comparing the Poor to ‘Stray Animals’

South Carolina’s Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer has apologized for comparing poor people to “stray animals” that are encouraged by gifts of food to breed uncontrollably. Bauer, who is running in the state’s gubernatorial election, told CNN while apologizing that he is “not against animals.”

Posted on Jan 25, 2010 READ MORE



ethiopianairlines.com

90 Feared Dead in Lebanon Plane Crash

An Ethiopian Airlines plane carrying 90 passengers and crew crashed off the coast of Lebanon on Monday. The aircraft, which took off in a severe storm, was seen on fire before it went down. The cause of the crash is officially unknown, but Lebanese officials discounted the possibility of sabotage.

Posted on Jan 25, 2010 READ MORE


Everybody Must Get Stoned

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Posted on Jan 25, 2010 READ MORE    


God Is Watching

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Posted on Jan 25, 2010 READ MORE    


Cornel West Calls Out Barack Obama

In this video message to the president, the celebrated professor asks, “How deep is your love for poor and working people?” and urges, “Don’t simply be the friendly face of the American empire.”

Posted on Jan 24, 2010 READ MORE


The Urgency of a Teddy Roosevelt Moment

The only proper response to the distortion of our political system by ideologically driven justices is a popular revolt of a sort deeply rooted in the American political tradition.

Posted on Jan 24, 2010 READ MORE


The Supreme Court’s Shoddy Scholarship

In opening the floodgates for corporate money in election campaigns, the Supreme Court did not simply engage in a brazen power grab. It did so in an opinion stunning in its intellectual dishonesty.

Posted on Jan 24, 2010 READ MORE



Democracy in America Is a Useful Fiction

Corporate forces, long before the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, carried out a coup d’état in slow motion. The coup is over. We lost.

Posted on Jan 24, 2010 READ MORE



AP / Hadi Mizban

Biden Promises to Appeal Blackwater Dismissals

Vice President Joe Biden expressed his personal regrets to Iraqi leaders and promised that the U.S. will appeal the dismissal of manslaughter charges against five Blackwater security contractors over a bloody Baghdad shooting in 2007 that killed 17 people.

Posted on Jan 24, 2010 READ MORE



AP / J. Scott Applewhite

White House Pushes for Bernanke

With unemployment running at 10 percent and Wall Street bankers again pocketing big bonuses, many see Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s priorities as skewed. But absent from those critics is the White House, which believes Bernanke will be reconfirmed for a second term next week.

Posted on Jan 24, 2010 READ MORE



Flickr / B69D

Fighting a Shell Game in the Arctic

A legal challenge by environmental and indigenous Alaskan groups may dampen Shell Oil’s chances of drilling for billions of barrels of oil in the U.S. portion of the Arctic’s Chukchi Sea. It’s feared the controversial plan could spell disaster for endangered species as well as increase global warming.

Posted on Jan 24, 2010 READ MORE



AP / Rachel Jones

Venezuela’s Whopping Oil Reserves

A new assessment by the U.S. Geological Survey says that Venezuela’s oil reserves could be double those of Saudi Arabia, a finding that could significantly alter the world’s geopolitical stage and crude oil market.

Posted on Jan 23, 2010 READ MORE



AP / Alex Brandon

Obama Assails Court Decision

In his weekly radio address, President Obama showed his dismay at the Supreme Court’s decision to remove corporate campaign finance limits, warning of a pending deluge of special interest money into our democracy—a subject he knows quite well as he continues to fight for health care reform.

Posted on Jan 23, 2010 READ MORE


Haiti: A View From the Middle East

How are Middle Eastern media outlets reporting the crisis in Haiti? Mosaic Intelligence Report analyzes how some TV networks are seeing parallels between Port-au-Prince and Gaza, or pointing to the hypocrisy of the U.S. sending aid to one country while bombing others.

Posted on Jan 23, 2010 READ MORE



AP / Mohammed Zaatari

War Looms Between Israel and Hezbollah

It looks like a hop, skip and a jump. There’s the first electrified fence, then the dirt strip to identify footprints, then the tarmac road, then one more electrified fence, and then acres and acres of trees. Orchards rather than tanks. Galilee spreads beyond, soft and moist and dark green in the winter afternoon—a peaceful Israel, you might think.

Posted on Jan 22, 2010 READ MORE


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