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Posted on Dec 23, 2009 READ MORE    


Decades From Hell: One Down, One to Go

This was, nationally and globally, a lousy decade. I hate to put a damper on your holiday season, but the next one has every prospect of being worse.

Posted on Dec 23, 2009 READ MORE



AP

Tension Simmers in Iran

The immense crowds gathering in Iran identify either a pre-revolutionary situation or political decadence suggesting that the end may be near, but might also be very bad.

Posted on Dec 22, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / Greenpeace International

Climate Discord: From Hopenhagen to Nopenhagen

The nonbinding, take-it-or-leave-it Copenhagen accord may be a failure, but the whole process has inspired a new generation of activists.

Posted on Dec 22, 2009 READ MORE


Obama
White House / Pete Souza

Obama Defiant in Face of Health Care Criticism

So, as we all know, Congress is getting closer to passing a version of the much-ballyhooed health care reform bill this holiday season. But will it look anything like what Barack Obama talked up while he was but a proto-president on the campaign trail? He thinks so.

Posted on Dec 22, 2009 READ MORE


Forster
http://www.todayinliterature.com/biography/e.m.forster.asp

Reconsidering E.M. Forster

Novelist E.M. Forster was a writer who might be said to have been simultaneously ahead of his time—or at least better suited to take on certain topics like homosexuality that couldn’t be treated frankly during his heyday—and resistant to some of the modernist impulses he saw arising among authors from the generation following his own.

Posted on Dec 22, 2009 READ MORE


penguins
en.cop15.dk

What Went Awry in Copenhagen?

A lot of hoopla, and even hope, went into this month’s Copenhagen climate convention, and leaders from a slew of nations showed up to try to strike an agreement. So why wasn’t a bigger, better deal reached by the end of their power huddle?

Posted on Dec 22, 2009 READ MORE


Kaine

‘Barry From D.C.’  Gives Virginia Gov. a Shout-Out

Since President Barack Obama has reportedly decided to linger in Washington for a few more days to make sure Congress passes a health care bill before Christmas Day, he has a little time to play with, or so it would seem ... (continued)

Posted on Dec 22, 2009 READ MORE


Darth on Wall Street

Wall Street Officially Joins the Dark Side

Well, this looks about right. Although it doesn’t exactly represent the sort of image overhaul we’d recommend for Wall Street types given the past 15 months or so, this footage of Darth Vader and a supporting cast of stormtroopers ringing the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday has a certain refreshing frankness about it, no?

Posted on Dec 22, 2009 READ MORE


Griffith
griffith.house.gov

Alabama Congressman Changes Parties Over Health Care

Alabama Rep. Parker Griffith, a freshman congressman who formerly figured among the famous “Blue Dog” Democrats in Congress, has reportedly decided to defect to the GOP after breaking with his party over health care reform. This shift in the Democratic ranks could spell trouble for the 2010 election, especially if Rep. Griffith’s switchover inspires others to follow suit.

Posted on Dec 22, 2009 READ MORE



Larry’s List: Blizzard-Free Edition

Curl up with some eggnog and click on to find out why Americans can’t make things (hint: business school), why Michelangelo wasn’t such a loner, after all, and more.

Posted on Dec 22, 2009 READ MORE



White House / Pete Souza

Winning Ugly

When all is said and done the health care reform legislation that President Obama now seems likely to sign into law, while an unlovely mess, will be remembered as a landmark accomplishment.

Posted on Dec 22, 2009 READ MORE


Michelle Bachmann
AP / Charles Dharapak

Michele Bachmann: Welfare Queen

The anti-government insurrectionist has taken more than a quarter-million dollars in government handouts thanks to corrupt farming subsidies she has been collecting for at least a decade.

Posted on Dec 22, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / Esparta

Mexico City Brings Gay Marriage South of the Border

Mexico City, one of the largest metropolises in the world, is set to become the first city in Latin America to legalize gay marriage. The mega-city and its surrounding suburbs are home to roughly 20 million people, just under one-fifth of Mexico’s population.

Posted on Dec 21, 2009 READ MORE


Hoping for More

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Posted on Dec 21, 2009 READ MORE    


The Anti-Semite

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Posted on Dec 21, 2009 READ MORE    



Flickr / Dunechaser

Democracy Activist to Get Day in Court in Myanmar

After a Kafkaesque series of house arrests, pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi will have her day in court. The Supreme Court in Myanmar has finally agreed to hear an appeal against her most recent detention.

Posted on Dec 21, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / alancleaver_2000

Crime, Murder Rate Drop

Despite staggering unemployment and a poor economic climate, the nation’s crime rate fell 4.4 percent in the first six months of 2009. The national murder rate also fell 10 percent—a decline that is being called one of the more significant in decades.

Posted on Dec 21, 2009 READ MORE


Glenn Beck Talks ‘Truth Problem’ With Leno

Glenn Beck took time off from televised crying last Friday to explain himself to Jay Leno. "I'm a regular guy. I'm a self-educated man," said Beck, who bragged about his 10 weeks of college. Shortly before announcing "I'm not a TV guy," Beck declared that "we have a truth problem" in America. No shit.
Posted on Dec 21, 2009 READ MORE



AP / Harry Hamburg

Senate Leaps Health Care Hurdle

The Senate health care bill found 60 votes and cleared a major obstacle Monday morning. The diluted bill—which is expected to win final approval in the Senate this week—is a far cry from the public option-based draft initially proposed months ago. Nonetheless it aims to provide health coverage for 30 million who are now uninsured.

Posted on Dec 21, 2009 READ MORE



Collage from fly navy and soundfromwayout

Nader’s Utopia: The World According to Ralph

Ralph Nader describes his new book as a “practical utopia.” His quixotic answer to Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged,” it is a window into the world the consumer advocate and independent presidential candidate wishes he could create.

Posted on Dec 21, 2009 READ MORE


Progressives: Don’t Scream, Organize (update)

For progressives, the question on the health care battle going forward is not whether they have a right to be angry but whether they can direct their fury toward constructive ends. This column has been updated by the author.

Posted on Dec 20, 2009 READ MORE



Larry’s List: Hanukkah Hangover Edition

Put down the dreidel and step away from the latkes. It’s time to read about the mercenary surge in Afghanistan, Sarah Palin the Terminator, why your boss is incompetent and much more.

Posted on Dec 20, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / liz_com1981

Stolen Auschwitz Sign Found in Pieces

“Arbeit macht frei.” Work makes you free. Those three German words sat over the entrance to the Auschwitz concentration camp in southern Poland for the better part of a century until the 16-foot, 90-pound sign went missing Friday. Police found it in northern Poland on Sunday, cut into three pieces. Five men were arrested.

Posted on Dec 20, 2009 READ MORE


Warts and All

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Posted on Dec 20, 2009 READ MORE


Save the Bottom Line

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Posted on Dec 20, 2009 READ MORE    



stewart.army.mil

Get Pregnant, Get Court-Martialed

Remember when protecting women’s rights was given as a justification for invading countries? Well, the U.S. general in northern Iraq has added pregnancy to the reasons why a soldier could be court-martialed—a list that includes selling weapons and taking drugs.

Posted on Dec 20, 2009 READ MORE


Guantanamo tower
U.S. Army / Staff Sgt. Jon Soucy

Moving Day for Some at Guantanamo

While President Barack Obama will miss his goal of shutting down Guantanamo by January, the U.S. has returned 12 detainees from the notorious prison to their respective homelands. That leaves more than 100 detainees awaiting repatriation.

Posted on Dec 20, 2009 READ MORE


Venezuelan helicopter
AP / Reinaldo D' Santiago

Tensions High Between Colombia and Venezuela

Tensions are running high, and relations running low, between Colombia and Venezuela. The latter’s president, Hugo Chavez, told his generals to prepare for war, while the Colombian government announced a new base on the countries’ border and activated six air battalions.

Posted on Dec 20, 2009 READ MORE



Pro-Choice Public Education Project / Creative Commons

Oklahoma Abortion Law Stays on Hold

To the ire of anti-abortion supporters, a temporary restraining order has been extended on an Oklahoma law requiring doctors to report the personal information of women seeking abortions to a Web site. 

Posted on Dec 19, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / S. Lo

Olé! Catalonia Takes Steps to Stop Bullfighting

The northeast Spanish province of Catalonia has made the first step toward banning the practice of bullfighting, a cultural phenomenon but also a sizable thorn in the side of animal rights activists.

Posted on Dec 19, 2009 READ MORE


Howard Dean
AP / Charles Dharapak

The Deadly Cost of Blocking Health Care Reform

The liberals attacking the Senate health reform bill must never have known real illness. They’ve never been fired at the age of 50 and left without health insurance. They’ve probably never known anyone who died for lack of health insurance.

Posted on Dec 18, 2009 READ MORE


capitol
Flickr / laura padgett

GOP Fails in Bid to Filibuster Military Spending Bill in Senate

If it wasn’t crystal clear before that Senate Republicans will stop at nothing to make sure their Democratic rivals don’t pass a health care reform bill by Christmas, or anytime, it should be now. On Friday, GOP senators attempted, unsuccessfully, to filibuster a huge military spending bill that needed to be passed before midnight ... (continued)

Posted on Dec 18, 2009 READ MORE


Sen. Ben Nelson
bennelson.senate.gov

Senators Still in Health Care Huddle

It could be a long and snowy weekend on Capitol Hill for our sparring U.S. senators, who were busy antagonizing each other and making various accusations and threats Friday as they wrestled over the health care bill. The Democrats’ lone holdout, Sen. Ben Nelson, was the subject of a woo-in conducted by his peers ... (continued)

Posted on Dec 18, 2009 READ MORE


Left, Right & Center

‘Left, Right & Center’: Fat Cats and Health Care Spats

Does Congress need to consider a health care reform do-over? Those Americans holding out the dying embers of hope for anything resembling a public option might think so. Tony Blankley finds the revolting Democrats, well, revolting, but a seafaring Robert Scheer focuses his ire on Wall Street’s notorious fat cats on this week’s “Left, Right & Center.”

Posted on Dec 18, 2009 READ MORE


Zardari
AP / Shakil Adil

Dozens of Pakistani Politicians Called to Corruption Courts

Pakistan’s Supreme Court dealt a blow to many in the country’s ruling elite Friday by reopening corruption cases against “thousands of politicians,” according to The New York Times, and calling for dozens of those officials to appear before the courts. Included on the list was President Asif Ali Zardari, but his position grants him immunity against prosecution.

Posted on Dec 18, 2009 READ MORE


Gibbs

Gibbs, Chinese Scuffle Over U.S. Press Access in Copenhagen

Relations were a bit strained between the U.S. and China during Friday’s session at the Copenhagen climate conference, and some of that tension apparently was channeled by the Chinese and American media that converged in a crowded room as President Barack Obama, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and other world leaders huddled.

Posted on Dec 18, 2009 READ MORE


polar bears
problembear.wordpress.com

Forecast Uncertain at Copenhagen Conference’s End

The world leaders who showed up for the final stretch of the Copenhagen climate summit, perhaps assuming that their lesser representatives would have paved the way for a relatively easy finale, were in for some long hours and tough talks lasting into the night. Things didn’t go as planned, it seems, and rifts between countries weren’t being resolved in time Friday to strike the deals they sorely needed to make. Updated

Posted on Dec 18, 2009 READ MORE


Portuguese flag
Wikimedia Commons / Open Clip Art Library

Portugal’s Gay Marriage Proposal

Portugal is likely to become the sixth European nation—after Belgium, Norway, Sweden, Spain and the Netherlands—to legalize gay marriage. The Portuguese government has proposed to change the country’s official definition of marriage to include same-sex unions.

Posted on Dec 18, 2009 READ MORE



Wikimedia Commons

Eritrean Team Seeks Asylum in Kenya

You know things are bad when your national soccer team flees the country. That’s what happened to Eritrea, whose national team absconded while in Kenya for a regional soccer tournament. The athletes later reappeared in the capital city of Nairobi, seeking asylum.

Posted on Dec 18, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / Mohammed Aliwi

Iranian Soldiers Take Control of Iraqi Oil Well

Iranian troops have again entered Iraqi territory, though in a disputed border section, and taken control of an oil well in the al-Fakkah field, about 200 miles from Baghdad.

Posted on Dec 18, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / Tanya N

CIA Working With Palestinian Security

Even after the hoopla of President Barack Obama’s executive order barring torture, evidence is surfacing that CIA agents are cooperating with, and potentially supervising, Palestinian security agents who are detaining and allegedly torturing Hamas supporters in the West Bank.

Posted on Dec 18, 2009 READ MORE


wildmen

Tony Platt on Ishi—the Last of the Yahi

A new book by Douglas Cazaux Sackman gives us new ways of thinking about the last man “uncontaminated” by modernity and explores our continuing nostalgia for the “wilderness.”

Posted on Dec 18, 2009 READ MORE


Nancy Pelosi
speaker.gov

Democrats Need More Pelosi, Less Reid

The fact is some can play this game and some can’t. Nancy Pelosi delivers time and again. Harry Reid hasn’t. The president and his chief of staff could use some coaching, too.

Posted on Dec 17, 2009 READ MORE



White House / Pete Souza

The Candidate-vs.-President Canard

Every now and then, an insider inadvertently exposes the hideous rationalizations that run the American political grotesquerie. Such is the case with the president’s flip-flop on drug imports.

Posted on Dec 17, 2009 READ MORE


Martyr's Square statue
Wikimedia Commons/Vladanr

Lebanese Rappers Make Their Case for Peace

Young hip-hop artists in Lebanon are using their music to deal with their lives in the wake of years of violence, reaching across religious and sectarian divisions and promoting nonviolence, and they’ve joined forces with pro-peace organizations while they’re at it.

Posted on Dec 17, 2009 READ MORE


Stewart

‘Droopy’ Lieberman Kills Health Care Reform

Even Droopy has his day, unfortunately. In this clip from Wednesday’s “Daily Show,” Jon Stewart channels some of the primal rage induced by Sen. Joe Lieberman’s not-so-subtle stymieing behaviors during this week’s health care reform showdown in the Senate.

Posted on Dec 17, 2009 READ MORE



Federal Reserve

Bernanke Wins Senate Panel’s Support

It’s been a good week for Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. First came the news that he’d been chosen to be Time magazine’s Person of the Year, and then, on Thursday, the Senate Banking Committee voted to approve his nomination to lead the Fed for another four years.

Posted on Dec 17, 2009 READ MORE



Larry’s List: Liebermancare Edition

Oh what to make of Sen. Joe Lieberman’s dark influence on health care reform? Should it be passed or torpedoed for the greater good? And what about sexting? Hey, there’s more to life than health care. And it’s all here, in today’s list.

Posted on Dec 17, 2009 READ MORE


Beck
youtube.com

Fox News Draws Record Ratings in 2009

This doesn’t bode well for next year, but it looks as if leaning ever to the right helped Fox News in 2009. The cable news channel, home to a host of conservative pundits (Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, etc.) pulled in its highest ratings ever, which was definitely not the case for CNN and MSNBC.

Posted on Dec 17, 2009 READ MORE


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