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In Their Boots

American Vets’ Stories in Their Own Words

The Brave New Foundation is launching an important new project, “In Their Boots,” which gives veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan a platform to tell their own stories about serving and sacrifice. Check out American soldiers’ compelling stories in this week’s installment.

Posted on Jul 2, 2008 READ MORE



mediamatters.org

Fox Sinks to New Lows

Fox News apparently doesn’t handle bad publicity very well. In response to a New York Times story that suggested the network’s ratings might be slipping, the co-hosts of “Fox & Friends” cried foul, broadcasting photos of Times reporter Jacques Steinberg and editor Steven Reddicliffe. The problem? The “news” channel had doctored the pictures to make the journos appear less attractive.

Posted on Jul 2, 2008 READ MORE


How to Steal an Election With the Help of FISA

There’s a lot more to object to in the new FISA bill than just retroactive immunity for the telecoms. It seems that the regulation of surveillance is still hopelessly out of date. How is a court supposed to handle complex algorithms and countless terabytes of data? Truthdig contributor Elliot Cohen warns that the new law could conceivably allow the theft of the 2008 presidential election.

Posted on Jul 2, 2008 READ MORE


It’s Not the Man, It’s the Movement

I was on a panel at the Aspen Ideas Festival in Colorado this week when Newsweek’s Jonathan Alter asked me, “Is Obama a sellout?”

Posted on Jul 2, 2008 READ MORE


Blackwater guard
Salon.com

Private Contractors in Iraq to Lose Immunity

The folks at Blackwater and other private security outfits in Iraq encountered a dramatic setback Wednesday after an Iraqi minister announced that private guards will no longer be given immunity from U.S military and Iraqi law, ending more than five years of unregulated mercenary violence in the country.

Posted on Jul 2, 2008 READ MORE


Wal-Mart
cnbc.com

Wal-Mart Employees Are Restless

Wal-Mart may be fined by a Minnesota judge for violating the state’s employment laws. The fines are for ‘‘contractual violations,” a fancy way of saying that Wal-Mart denied rest breaks to workers at least 1.5 million times.

Posted on Jul 2, 2008 READ MORE


Googlehand
businessweek.com

Inquiry on Search Partnership

A recent advertising partnership between search giant Google and competitor Yahoo has antitrust authorities worried. Not only does a Google-Yahoo deal look ridiculous in name, but critics (such as Microsoft) say the partnership would consolidate Google’s control of Internet search ad revenue to a whopping 90 percent of U.S. market share.

Posted on Jul 2, 2008 READ MORE


Olbermann to Obama: ‘Give Them Something to Cry About’

The “Countdown” host is as frustrated as can be with Barack Obama’s newfound enthusiasm for the dreaded FISA bill, but luck has provided the senator with a second chance to walk the “tight rope,” and Keith Olbermann hopes he takes it.

Posted on Jul 1, 2008 READ MORE


S.F. Mayor Proud of His City’s Values

Politicians usually try to explain away their records once they bid for higher office. Take the case of just about any big-time Democrat and the issue of gay marriage. But San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, who formally launched an exploratory bid Tuesday for the California governorship, says he’s not worried about his gay rights legacy: “We’re about civil rights and equal rights, you better believe it. ... I’m proud of that, I’m not going to hide from that.”

Posted on Jul 1, 2008 READ MORE


Schumer on oil
AP photo / Charles Dharapak

Happy Oil Dependence Day

As we head into the Fourth of July weekend of patriotic bluster and beer swilling—but before we are too besotted with ourselves—might we also for once consider our imperfections? Why not take a moment to heed the cautions of our founding father, George Washington, whose true legacy will most likely be ignored during the flag-waving weekend?

Posted on Jul 1, 2008 READ MORE


marijuana
commons.wikimedia.org

So Much for the War on Drugs

Despite spending countless billions and passing draconian laws, the United States is anything but a drug-free zone. The percentages of those in the U.S. who have tried marijuana or cocaine are greater than the percentages of any other country surveyed, according to a new study. The Netherlands, which has notoriously lax drug policies, had less than half the percentage of marijuana users and an even lower level of cocaine dabblers relative to the U.S.

Posted on Jul 1, 2008 READ MORE


nuclear fireball
U.S. Department of Energy

Nuclear Treaty Turns 40

Four decades ago, officials from countries around the world signed the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), pledging to bring the spread of those weapons to a halt. The treaty also pledged the signatories that possessed said weapons at the time—such as the United States—to get rid of their nuclear arms.

Posted on Jul 1, 2008 READ MORE


John Yoo

Way Beyond Waterboarding

Last week Rep. John Conyers tried to get a straight answer out of John Yoo, the former Bush administration lawyer who argued that the president had a legal right to order torture. The spectacle of Yoo equivocating over whether the president could have someone buried alive is something to behold.

Posted on Jul 1, 2008 READ MORE


Starbucks cups
chasingthecool.wordpress.com

Starbucks Going From Venti to Grande

Fine, so the headline was a bit much, but this was one time we didn’t mind saying venti instead of large: Turns out that even the top bananas at Starbucks finally realized that they’ve overextended themselves, and due to the sagging economy, they’re closing 600 U.S. retail locations. Great—so that means there’ll be only eight Starbucks stores on every block instead of nine.

Posted on Jul 1, 2008 READ MORE


Terror Goes a Lot Further With Good Advertising

A basic argument in Washington’s war on terror, an argument that one might think settled by now, concerns whether al-Qaida is the powerful global organization the Bush administration says it is or whether it has been, since its retreat into the Pakistan tribal areas, mostly an Internet phenomenon.

Posted on Jul 1, 2008 READ MORE


Obama
Flickr / BohPhoto

Obama Heads to the Right

Barack Obama says he was erroneously “tagged as being on the left,” a reputation that served him well during the primaries. Now that he has the nomination secured, the candidate is trying to reinvent himself as a centrist. Take his endorsement Tuesday of one of George W. Bush’s signature policies, the “faith-based initiative.”

Posted on Jul 1, 2008 READ MORE


Springsteen
timeout.com

The Gospel According to ... the Boss?

Unitarian Universalist minister Jeffrey Symynkywicz is quite the Bruce Springsteen enthusiast, apparently. The Boston fan has studied Bruce Springsteen’s lyrics as though they were Scripture, and the end result is Symynkywicz’s new book—wait for it—“The Gospel According to Bruce Springsteen.”

Posted on Jul 1, 2008 READ MORE


Election Day
Arts Engine Inc.

Portrait of an American Election

“Election Day” isn’t a film that highlights the horse-race aspect of American politics, nor is it about red or blue states. Instead, director Katy Chevigny and her colleagues from Arts Engine Inc. aimed to capture a much more complex story—or rather, a multilayered and interconnecting set of stories—about an array of Americans from different states, backgrounds and political positions, all taking part in some way in the 2004 U.S. presidential election.

Posted on Jul 1, 2008 READ MORE


Irony

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Posted on Jul 1, 2008 READ MORE    


South American Food Crisis

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Posted on Jul 1, 2008 READ MORE



Flickr / Svadilfari

Georgia Cops to Charge for Their Trouble

If you plan on speeding through Holly Springs, Ga., be warned: The police chief there has decided to start charging the pulled-over a fuel surcharge. Cop houses around the country are struggling with the high cost of gas. The chief in Holly Springs said he got the idea from businesses, such as airlines, that pass their troubles on to the consumer.

Posted on Jul 1, 2008 READ MORE



voanews.com

Afghanistan Death Toll Outpaces Iraq

For the second month in a row, the number of American and NATO troops killed in Afghanistan—45—was higher than in Iraq. In fact, the so-called forgotten war was deadlier last month than at any time since the United States invaded in 2001, according to an AP tally.

Posted on Jul 1, 2008 READ MORE


Bush’s Loose Ends

George W. Bush’s presidency seems exhausted and irrelevant, but that’s a dangerous illusion.

Posted on Jun 30, 2008 READ MORE


Battle for the Bench

If the long conservative era that began with Ronald Reagan’s election is over, will the judges appointed during the right’s ascendancy be able to block, frustrate and undermine the efforts of a new progressive majority?

Posted on Jun 30, 2008 READ MORE


Ready, Aim, Backfire

There’s a silver lining in the Supreme Court’s recent ruling on the Second Amendment: Even Antonin Scalia recognizes that gun control is not the same thing as gun confiscation.

Posted on Jun 30, 2008 READ MORE


polar bear
Richard Ellis

Politicizing the Polar Bear

More than any other mammal (except of course Mr. Homo sapiens), Ursus maritimus, which translates as maritime bear, has been in the forefront of the news lately, the subject of television specials, lawsuits, congressional debates, and New York Times editorials. Why?

Posted on Jun 30, 2008 READ MORE


gun movies
totalfilm.com

Top 10 Films in Favor of Gun Control

When someone points a gun in a movie, that’s usually the audience’s cue that adrenaline-cranking good times are about to be had. Not so in this lineup of films, compiled by Participant Media’s TakePart.com with the aim of countering the overplayed guns=fun equation.

Posted on Jun 30, 2008 READ MORE



AP photo / Alex Brandon

Canadians Experience Obama Envy

Canadians admire Barack Obama more than any other politician in either the U.S. or Canada, according to a recent poll. But there’s plenty of envy to go around. According to the same survey, a majority of both Canadians and Americans think Canada has a superior health care system.

Posted on Jun 30, 2008 READ MORE


Failing Rape Victims

The evidence collected from rape victims after they’ve been assaulted goes into something called a rape kit. It’s the product of a lengthy and uncomfortable examination process that, according to a recent report in the Los Angeles Times, far too often leads to nothing. Some 400,000 rape kits are sitting in storage, untested, right now.

Posted on Jun 30, 2008 READ MORE


McCain

McCain and the Media: A Love Story?

The McLaughlin Group takes a look at why, as John McLaughlin claims, Sen. John McCain is “emerging upward”—at least in terms of the press’ treatment of the Republican “maverick,” whom one media source praised for his “zealous, unbending beliefs,” even as another touted his willingness to thumb his nose at ultraconservatives and compromise when necessary. Pat Buchanan, however, is adamant that the McCain “love affair is over.”

Posted on Jun 30, 2008 READ MORE


Clark
AP photo / Danny Johnston

McCain, Obama Rebuke Clark

Monday brought yet another round of political Mad Libs, which proceeds as follows: 1. (Insert surrogate name here), adviser to (candidate)‘s presidential campaign, slams (rival candidate) for lack/excess of (personal quality) on (major media outlet); 2. (Rival candidate) blasts (surrogate), hints that such antics reveal opposition’s true character; 3. (Candidate) distances self from (surrogate), who goes on to apologize and perhaps step down; 4. Repeat as necessary.

Posted on Jun 30, 2008 READ MORE


Dear American Voter

A Venezuelan’s Perspective on Campaign ‘08

There’s a great deal riding on this November’s presidential election—and, clearly, not just for Americans. Link TV has put together a new feature called “Dear American Voter” to tell those who will be able to cast their vote in the U.S. what their choices might represent for the rest of the world.

Posted on Jun 30, 2008 READ MORE


Mugabe
AP photo / Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi

Africa Summit Plays Nice With Mugabe

If Zimbabwe’s Thug-for-Life Robert Mugabe had any worry about the reception he would face at the African Union summit at Egypt’s Sharm el-Sheikh resort on Monday, he can exhale. Mugabe received a leader’s welcome and only modest challenge as he sailed through his first international meeting since being reinstalled as Zimbabwean president after a sham election. Updated

Posted on Jun 30, 2008 READ MORE


Kim Jong Il and soldiers
AP photo / Korean Central News Agency via Korea News Service

Food, Not Bombs

Remember when North Korea loomed menacingly as the next big nuclear threat on the world stage, with cognac-swilling Communist Kim Jong Il starring as the latest dictator du jour? What a difference a few years can make: The North Korean government has now demonstrated its willingness to halt the country’s nuclear weapons program and has begun accepting food shipments from the U.S. and increased aid from the World Food Program.

Posted on Jun 30, 2008 READ MORE


Klein Shock Doctrine
independent.com

The Truthdig Interview With Naomi Klein

Critics and challengers of Naomi Klein’s work had better take a close look at her latest book, “The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism,” before launching their attacks. This is one writer whose research and documentation are so exhaustive that would-be detractors will not only find her analysis to be dauntingly watertight, even if they don’t share her views about the unnatural disasters enabled by free-market capitalism, but they might also discover that some of her source material seems strangely familiar.

Transcript available here.

Posted on Jun 30, 2008 READ MORE


Wes Clark

Wes Clark on McCain’s Heroism

It seems a critique cannot be leveled against John McCain without first paying homage to his time as a prisoner of war. Even Barack Obama is careful not to offend. So it was somewhat surprising on Sunday to hear another veteran, Gen. Wesley Clark, rebuff McCain’s war heroism: “Well, I don’t think riding in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to be president.”

Posted on Jun 30, 2008 READ MORE


OIL-E

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Posted on Jun 30, 2008 READ MORE


Bush’s Buddy

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Posted on Jun 30, 2008 READ MORE



Patrick Chappatte, NZZ am Sonntag

France Rejects Mugabe

France’s foreign minister, Bernard Kouchner, announced on Monday that his country would not recognize the government of Robert Mugabe. Kouchner, who co-founded the human rights organization Doctors Without Borders, dismissed Zimbabwe’s recent election as a “farce.”

Posted on Jun 30, 2008 READ MORE


The Illusion of Saving Nations From Themselves

The Bush government was elected in 2000 on a platform including vigorous opposition to the United States Army’s doing “nation-building.” What a difference a five-year-long military disaster can make!

Posted on Jun 30, 2008 READ MORE



commons.wikimedia.org

Israel Agrees to Hezbollah Deal

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s Cabinet has agreed to a German-brokered prisoner exchange with Hezbollah. It is believed that under the terms of the deal, Israel would receive the bodies of two captured soldiers in return for the release of five Lebanese prisoners and the bodies of 10 more.

Posted on Jun 29, 2008 READ MORE


oil
Flickr / YouLocalDave

American Fingers in Iraq’s Cookie Jar

The theory that the Bush administration wanted Iraq for its oil has just gotten a major boost. It turns out that the U.S. State Department sent over a team of lawyers and consultants to help the Iraqi government work out several high-profile no-bid contracts with five Western oil giants.

Posted on Jun 29, 2008 READ MORE


Mugabe
AP photo / Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi

Mugabe Prevails in Sham Election

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has fought tooth and nail to maintain his position of power during the three months since his authority was threatened by opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, widely recognized (but not by Mugabe) as the winner of last March’s election, and now it looks like all that hard work and abject brutality has paid off.

Posted on Jun 28, 2008 READ MORE


Mandela birthday

Nelson Mandela Turns 90

He was surrounded by stars from the movie and music industries, but Nelson Mandela was the big draw at the iconic South African leader’s 90th birthday party in London’s Hyde Park, where Mandela took his moment in the spotlight to urge well-wishers to continue the fight against AIDS.

Posted on Jun 28, 2008 READ MORE


Olbermann
jossip.com

Clash of the TV Titans

When two big TV pundits with larger-than-life egos play out their personal grudge match on their shows, and their respective parent networks join in the fray, guess who loses? In the case of Keith Olbermann v. Bill O’Reilly, just about everybody loses, according to this piece from Variety.

Posted on Jun 28, 2008 READ MORE


Taliban

Is This the Year of the Taliban?

It’s been more than six years since the invasion of Afghanistan but, as this Mosaic Intelligence Report illustrates, it looks like the Taliban is actually getting stronger and bolder—as evidenced by the recent Taliban-led prison break at Kandahar’s Sarposa Prison. Could 2008 be the Year of the Taliban?

Posted on Jun 28, 2008 READ MORE


midwest flood
AP photo / Jeff Roberson

Floods Fall, Anger Rises

After the past weeks’ disastrous floods, many in the rural Midwest are looking to the government not with gratitude but animosity. Folks in towns that requested levees back in 1993 were left, paradoxically, high and dry by the Army Corps of Engineers, which required small communities to pay more than $1 million for flood barriers.

Posted on Jun 27, 2008 READ MORE


Congress' Backbone
jumpcut.com / anselpixel2

Congress’ Missing Backbone

After doing everything but follow the overwhelming anti-war mandate given by voters in the 2006 congressional elections, the Democratic-controlled Congress accepted a war bill late Thursday that will keep U.S. troops in Iraq until at least Jan. 20.

Posted on Jun 27, 2008 READ MORE


Obama and Clinton
AP photo / Charlie Niebergall

A Place Called Unity

Hillary Clinton finally campaigned with Barack Obama, at a rally in the town of Unity, N.H. Never one to miss out on using overtly direct town names—remember Bill Clinton was born in a place called Hope—the Democratic Party may be trying a bit too hard to heal its wounds after a divisive battle in the primaries.

Posted on Jun 27, 2008 READ MORE


book cover

Doug Henwood on the Global Power Elite

Are we now ruled by an international “superclass” that hollows out traditional notions of national sovereignty, and whose loyalties are only to the bottom line and its own members?

Posted on Jun 27, 2008 READ MORE


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