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AP / Morten Holm / SCANPIX

Talks Aim to Ease Chechnyan Conflict

Akhmed Zakayev, head of the Chechen government-in-exile, and Dukuvakha Abdurakhmanov, chairman of the Chechen parliament, met in Oslo for talks on stabilizing the situation in the breakaway Russian republic. A mediator said it marked the first time a “serious political dialogue between the Russian-installed regime in Chechnya and the government-in-exile” has occurred.

Posted on Jul 24, 2009 READ MORE


Fatal Health Care

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Posted on Jul 24, 2009 READ MORE



DoD

Psst! We May Never Leave

While affirming the Dec. 31, 2011, date for the pullout of U.S. troops from Iraq, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki did mention in a speech to a Washington think tank the possibility of extending that deadline if Iraqi forces still required “further training and further support.”

Posted on Jul 24, 2009 READ MORE


Georgia
rferl.org

Russia: No Rebuilding of Georgia’s Military

Russia has announced it will take “concrete steps” to hinder any attempt by Georgia to rebuild its military capability, claiming it is “deeply worried” that its small neighbor might be preparing for yet another conflict. The stern words come as Vice President Joe Biden pays a visit to Georgia just ahead of the first anniversary of its war with Russia over South Ossetia.

Posted on Jul 24, 2009 READ MORE



Summit Entertainment

Inside the Gates Arrest, Plus ‘Hurt Locker’ Review

This week the Truthdig panel talks about the racial politics behind the arrest of high-profile Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., who himself said, “I was cast by him [the policeman] in a narrative and he didn’t know how to get out of it.” Also, pop culture critic Sheerly Avni gives a big thumbs up to a new and telling film about the Iraq war, “The Hurt Locker.”

Posted on Jul 24, 2009 READ MORE



Summit Entertainment

Inside the Gates Arrest, Plus ‘Hurt Locker’ Review

This week the Truthdig panel talks about the racial politics behind the arrest of high-profile Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., who himself said, “I was cast by him [the policeman] in a narrative and he didn’t know how to get out of it.” Also, pop culture critic Sheerly Avni gives a big thumbs up to a new and telling film about the Iraq war, “The Hurt Locker.”

Posted on Jul 24, 2009 READ MORE



Larry Blumenfeld on New Orleans After Katrina

Why are New Orleanians—along with people from all over the world who continue to flock there—so devoted to a place that was, even before the storm, the most corrupt, impoverished and violent corner of America? “Nine Lives” by Dan Baum helps provide an answer.

Posted on Jul 24, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / jonrawlinson

The Attack of the 1-Percenters

The wealthiest 1 percent’s share of America’s total income is the highest it’s been since 1929, their tax rates are the lowest they’ve faced in two decades and they’ve bought unprecedented protection for themselves on the most pressing issues.

Posted on Jul 23, 2009 READ MORE


Wall St.
Flickr / David Paul Ohmer

The Wall Street-Health Care Connection

When I heard Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., floating the idea of a tax on health benefits in order to raise revenue for health-care reform, I was baffled; how could this be?

Posted on Jul 23, 2009 READ MORE


drone

UAVs: The Future of Warfare in America

Defense Secretary Robert Gates has said it, and judging by this three-part series from CNN, the age of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) is upon us. It’s warfare by joystick—and the Predator drone is only the beginning.

Posted on Jul 23, 2009 READ MORE



White House / Pete Souza

Obama Boosts America’s Public Image

A survey conducted by the Pew Research Center shows that people in 25 countries view the U.S. more favorably now that President Obama is in office than they did during the Bush II era, but it’s not a worldwide trend—Israel and parts of the Muslim world are among the exceptions.

Posted on Jul 23, 2009 READ MORE



Collage from Flickr / Korean Resource Center and senate.gov

How the Democrats Sucker-Punched Labor

It was a foregone conclusion that Republicans and big business would fight tooth and nail against the proposed Employee Free Choice Act, the union bill that would make organizing easier, but in the end it was Democrats who killed it. The Socialist Worker, appropriately enough, has the most comprehensive take on the story to date.

Posted on Jul 23, 2009 READ MORE


U.S. Foreign Wars Not Going According to Plan

For all America’s trouble, Iraq has turned out to be a sectarian, authoritarian ally of Iran with no interest in working with the U.S. The “new Vietnam” of Afghanistan, meanwhile, is turning out to be worse than Vietnam.

Posted on Jul 23, 2009 READ MORE


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AP / Mel Evans

N.J. Politicians, Rabbis Arrested on Corruption Charges

Forty-four people were arrested Thursday— including three New Jersey mayors, two state legislators and several rabbis—in a federal investigation into public corruption and an international money-laundering scheme in which items ranging from human organs to fake designer bags were trafficked.

Posted on Jul 23, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT

Barack Who?

As Barack Obama begins his seventh month in office, mainstream news anchors still can’t seem to figure out the president’s citizenship. ... I mean, was this guy even born here? Jon Stewart examines how this mystery man got to be the American president in the first place. Check out this clip from last night’s “Daily Show.”

Posted on Jul 23, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT

Honing the Message

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger posted this video on his Twitter page last night, thanking his fans and fellow Twitterers for their suggestions on the state’s budget crisis. But what’s with that huge knife?

Posted on Jul 23, 2009 READ MORE


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Flickr / art makes me smile

U.N. Is Refused Access to Info on Gitmo

The U.S. recently denied U.N. officials access to information on conditions at Guantanamo Bay and other overseas detention facilities. It was the latest in a series of refusals by the Obama administration to allow international human rights organizations to probe Bush-era practices. Administration officials insist, however, that they have not formally closed the door on visits to Gitmo.

Posted on Jul 23, 2009 READ MORE


The Politics of Tenacity

Wow, what big and unexpected news! Reforming the health care system is really hard, and Republicans want President Obama to fail. Imagine that.

Posted on Jul 23, 2009 READ MORE



DoD / Cherie A. Thurlby

Blue Dogs: The Special Interest Pets

Fiscal conservative is one of those terms used by politicians of all sorts to describe themselves, without any real justification. That phrase is often used to mislead the public about the priorities and policies favored by those who claim to embody budgetary prudence.

Posted on Jul 23, 2009 READ MORE


Health Plan: Ask ‘What,’ Not ‘When’

Now that it’s gripped the imaginations of politicians and the media, the politics of the calendar has overtaken the plain truth that Congress already is moving—barely moving, and not necessarily to a triumphal finish—toward reform.

Posted on Jul 23, 2009 READ MORE


Taking On ‘Big Food’

I don’t know that we will ever have a dramatic moment in the annals of Big Food like the 1994 testimony of tobacco executives before Congress. But I have begun to wonder whether this is the summer when the (groaning) tables have turned on the obesity industry.

Posted on Jul 23, 2009 READ MORE


iPhone
Courtesy of Apple

A Phone to Die For

After losing a prototype iPhone, a Chinese product manager for Apple’s overseas manufacturer killed himself by jumping from his apartment window. Apple doesn’t directly manufacture its products, but the company’s notorious and sometimes belligerent devotion to secrecy isn’t playing well in light of reports that Sun Danyong, 25, was harassed before his death by security personnel from his employer’s parent firm.

Posted on Jul 22, 2009 READ MORE



White House / Pete Souza

Obama Met With Health Execs and Lobbyists

From AP: “President Barack Obama’s administration began holding private meetings with health industry executives at the White House a few weeks after he took office, a visitor list released Wednesday night by the White House shows.” The White House released the list in response to a Freedom of Information Act request.

Posted on Jul 22, 2009 READ MORE


Obama’s Health Care Press Conference

The president must have had those blue dogs in mind when he attempted to link health care reform to deficit reduction during his press conference Wednesday. At least one pundit called it a defining moment. We embed, you decide.

Posted on Jul 22, 2009 READ MORE


What Really Causes Autism? Thousands of Parents Still Blame Vaccines

Tens of thousands of parents are refusing to accept the medical research that shows little correlation between vaccines and autism and are taking on the medical establishment.

Posted on Jul 22, 2009 READ MORE


Barack Obama
White House / Lawrence Jackson

Obama Pushes Health Care in the Face of Delays

President Obama made an appeal Wednesday night for health care reform, complete with this zinger: “This isn’t about me. I have great health insurance, and so does every Member of Congress.” However, his Senate mentor, Dick Durbin, said not to expect a health care vote before the August recess. Excerpts from the president’s speech and video after the jump.

Posted on Jul 22, 2009 READ MORE


Israel Palestine Land
wordpress.com

Whitewashing Israeli History

Because if it’s not in the history books, it didn’t happen. Today’s Orwell Award goes to the Israeli government, whose education minister has decided to remove references to what Palestinians call the “catastrophe”—when Israel defeated five Arab nations in a 1948 war and expelled 700,000 Palestinians—from textbooks given to Arab schoolchildren.

Posted on Jul 22, 2009 READ MORE


Brawl.gov Over Media Reform

The ruling party in South Korea passed a bill that allows print media companies to own up to a 20% share in the broadcast medium. The opposition believes this benefits only a handful of conservative media giants. So they started fighting ... in parliament. Watch the protest and the “Seoul” demonstrated by politicians for just media policies.

Posted on Jul 22, 2009 READ MORE


F-22
DoD / Master Sgt. Kevin J. Gruenwald, USAF

Deep-Sixing the F-22

I’ll believe it when it finally happens. But the news that Congress might actually stop production of a high-tech, job-generating and, most of all, high-profit weapons system because it fills no legitimate national security function is a considerable victory for President Barack Obama and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, as well as for logic.

Posted on Jul 21, 2009 READ MORE


Take Politics Out of Health Care Reform

If you’re interested in how to get health care costs under control, the case of the F-22 offers an instructive example.

Posted on Jul 21, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / buddhakiwi

Palin’s Legal Defense Fund Under Scrutiny

When she announced her resignation from office earlier this month, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin mentioned mounting legal bills stemming from various ethics investigations as one reason for her decision; now, she may not be able to tap into a legal defense fund set up to help her offset those costs.

Posted on Jul 21, 2009 READ MORE


Obama Means Business About Two-State Solution

There is new evidence that the Obama government is serious about halting Israel’s colonization of the Palestinian territories—and about imposing, rather than merely inviting, a two-state Middle East solution.

Posted on Jul 21, 2009 READ MORE


Moon Landing [A Cartoon From United Arab Emirates]

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Posted on Jul 21, 2009 READ MORE


Strip Poker

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Posted on Jul 21, 2009 READ MORE    


brain
dailymail.co.uk

Google and Adderall to the Rescue?

It’s not news that the planet is in trouble, that global food and energy supplies won’t last long at the current rate of consumption, and that we’ve basically got a big mess on our hands as the species most responsible for all of the above and more. What’s the human race to do? Why, the answer may lie in intelligence augmentation, according to The Atlantic’s Jamais Cascio.

Posted on Jul 21, 2009 READ MORE



U.S. Air Force / Master Sgt. Shane A. Cuomo

Senate Votes Down Military Boondoggle

One politician’s jobs program is another’s “inexcusable waste of money.” Luckily for the taxpayer, that’s how Barack Obama feels about the F-22 strike fighter, a plane Congress has been pushing over the military’s objections. After Obama threatened a veto, the Senate voted not to fund the jet, which was designed to fight the Soviets.

Posted on Jul 21, 2009 READ MORE


Gates
pbs.org

Prof. Gates Tells His Side of the Story, Chastises Policeman

Looks like Harvard professor and race scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. won’t face criminal charges after last Thursday’s unfortunate confrontation with a Cambridge, Mass., police officer, but the incident definitely touched off some reactions well beyond Harvard Square. Meanwhile, Gates has given his account of what happened and has called for an apology from the officer in question.

Posted on Jul 21, 2009 READ MORE


The 21st Century Color Line

As it moves into its second century, the NAACP is, unfortunately, as relevant as ever.

Posted on Jul 21, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT

On Race and Pat Buchanan

Rachel Maddow sets the record straight on reverse discrimination and corrects some of the “facts” Pat Buchanan spewed on her show in a heated debate the two had on affirmative action and race. Watch this clip from last night’s “Rachel Maddow Show.”

Posted on Jul 21, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT

Fighting for the White Man

As a “recent black man,” Stephen Colbert reacts to President Obama’s speech to the NAACP and talks reverse discrimination with Geoffrey Canada, executive director of the Harlem Children’s Zone. He also holds forth on the plight of white men, the least victimized folks ever. Check out these two clips from last night’s “Colbert Report.”

Posted on Jul 21, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT
laalmanac.com

L.A. County Supervisors to Sue Calif. Lawmakers

Following the long-awaited agreement on closing the California budgetary gap, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to sue state lawmakers if they pursue their plans to use city highway and redevelopment taxes to cover the state deficit. The supervisors are also looking into the legality of some of the proposed cuts, which greatly affect those who need help the most.

Posted on Jul 21, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT
AP / J. Scott Applewhite

Economic Decline May Have Slowed

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke presented a report Tuesday about the U.S. economy’s health. On the “bright side,” the economy appears to be declining at a slower rate than before, but home prices are still falling, credit is still very tight and, oh yeah, job losses are still rising. As a result of all the good news, the Fed intends to maintain “exceptionally low” interest rates for a while longer.

Posted on Jul 21, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT
Radio Nederland Wereldomroep

U.N. Faces Nearly $5 Billion Shortfall in Aid

The United Nations is facing a $4.8 billion shortfall in funding for humanitarian aid to some of the world’s poorest peoples. At the top of that list are the inhabitants of Zimbabwe, Palestine and Kenya, which face increasingly dire financial needs. Although emergency relief donations have risen, the global credit crunch has made it harder for developed countries to keep pace with the need.

Posted on Jul 21, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / ECohen and White House / Eric Draper

The Bush Baby Boom

Yet another report confirms, as The Guardian explains, “that rates of teen pregnancy and STDs are, after more than a decade of decline, once again on the rise.” Thanks to President Bush’s abstinence-only sex education agenda, black, Hispanic and poor women are more likely to have unwanted pregnancies.

Posted on Jul 21, 2009 READ MORE


When Trust and Media Were One

The greatest sorrow in marking Walter Cronkite’s death is the necessity of acknowledging that we have replaced his work ethic and wisdom with puffery and ideological pontification.

Posted on Jul 21, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / Kiwi Flickr

California Cuts Budget Deal

Soon California can stop being the butt of jokes—although seriously, Alabama, let’s not point fingers. Party elders in Sacramento have reached an agreement that should balance the budget with $15.5 billion in cuts that will hurt students, the poor, children and the elderly. Republicans, who make up only about a third of the state Legislature, managed to thwart any new taxes.

Posted on Jul 21, 2009 READ MORE


O'Reilly

O’Reilly Preferred Pre-Ideological Cronkite, Thank You Very Much

In case anyone wonders, Fox News’ own Bill O’Reilly spent some time in the media trenches working with Known Lefty Ideologue Dan Rather after the CBS anchor took over from Walter Cronkite, whom O’Reilly eulogizes in this clip ... or at least uses Cronkite’s memory to bash the liberal establishment.

Posted on Jul 20, 2009 READ MORE


Gates
Harvard Gazette / Justin Ide

Black-History Expert Arrested in His Home; Racism Alleged

One Sgt. James Crowley may have thought he was stopping a break-in when he showed up at a house near Harvard Square in Cambridge, Mass., last Thursday, but the man he eventually arrested there happened to be professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., chair of the Afro-American studies department and director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for Afro-American Research at Harvard University, who just happened to be in his own home.

Posted on Jul 20, 2009 READ MORE


Jimmy Carter
cartercenter.org

Carter Breaks With Southern Baptists Over Gender Equality Issue

Former President Jimmy Carter has made human rights an ongoing focus of his life’s work, and his position on the issue recently compelled him to sever his ties with the Southern Baptist Convention after being affiliated with it for six decades. Carter, in a recent piece for The Observer, complains that higher-ups in the denomination haven’t changed their sexist ways.

Posted on Jul 20, 2009 READ MORE


Support Iran Protesters Without Meddling

In reality, the U.S. has very little ability to impact what has become a massive, spontaneous movement for change in Iran. And it shouldn’t.

Posted on Jul 20, 2009 READ MORE


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