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Obama Embraces the Military

In naming retired Gen. Eric K. Shinseki as veterans affairs secretary, President-elect Barack Obama made what may be the most politically and morally significant choice of his transition.

Posted on Dec 9, 2008 READ MORE


Obama
AP photo / Rick Bowmer

Resuscitating Health Care Reform

With unemployment soaring, the need grows daily for guaranteed health care. But that may not happen in the coming year because of the desperate need to revive the economy and put people to work.

Posted on Dec 8, 2008 READ MORE



Flickr / SteelCityHobbies

Auto Bailout Comes With Car Czar, Standard

White House and congressional leaders have agreed to bail out the auto industry. Detroit will get $15 billion in loans and, to make sure the Big Three keep running after their warranties expire, a so-called car czar will oversee long-term restructuring. And because we’re really serious about getting this right, George W. Bush gets to pick the car czar. D’oh!

Posted on Dec 8, 2008 READ MORE



commons.wikimedia.org

Blackwater Guards Indicted for Shootings

Five Blackwater guards were indicted on charges of manslaughter on Monday in a case that will test the legal accountability of private contractors in Iraq. A sixth guard pleaded guilty. The Blackwater employees killed 17 unarmed Iraqi civilians without justification at a Baghdad traffic circle, the Justice Department alleges.

Posted on Dec 8, 2008 READ MORE


military jet crash

Navy Plane Crashes in San Diego Neighborhood

Just before noon Monday, a U.S. Navy F-18 jet crashed into a San Diego neighborhood as it was approaching Miramar Naval Air Station, hitting at least one home. Updated

Posted on Dec 8, 2008 READ MORE


Rice

Rice: ‘Pakistan Has a Responsibility to Act’

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice paid a visit to CNN’s “Late Edition” on Sunday to talk with Wolf Blitzer about the tense situation between Pakistan and India. “We are awaiting action,” Rice told Blitzer, hours before Monday’s news that action on Pakistan’s part apparently had started.

Posted on Dec 8, 2008 READ MORE


Crackdown in Pakistan

Pakistani officials have responded to the call, coming from India as well as the U.S., to take serious action against militant groups operating in their country. Pakistani forces launched widespread raids late Sunday and arrested Lashkar-e-Taiba commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, believed to be a ringleader behind the recent Mumbai attacks.

Posted on Dec 8, 2008 READ MORE


‘Carnage’ in Athens

The BBC reports on the riots that have plagued the Greek capital since police shot and killed a teenager on Saturday.

Posted on Dec 8, 2008 READ MORE


Canada, Banana Republic

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Posted on Dec 8, 2008 READ MORE


Obama’s Economic Balancing Act

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Posted on Dec 8, 2008 READ MORE


The Scalpel

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Posted on Dec 8, 2008 READ MORE    



AP photo / Douglas Healey

The Best and the Brightest Led America Off a Cliff

The multiple failures that beset the country can be laid at the feet of our elite universities. Harvard, Yale, Princeton and Stanford, along with most other elite schools, do a poor job educating students to think. They focus instead on creating hordes of competent systems managers.

Posted on Dec 8, 2008 READ MORE



AP photo / Brian Kersey

Obama Throws Support to Chicago Sit-In

President-elect Barack Obama has added his voice to the chorus of encouragement for a group of Chicago workers who are sitting-in at their former factory. Obama said the workers, who have protested their way into the national spotlight, were “absolutely right” and “what’s happening to them is reflective of what’s happening across this economy.”

Posted on Dec 8, 2008 READ MORE



Flickr / sergis blog

Maryland Police Keep You Safe From Terrorist Nuns

How did two nuns end up on a list of terrorists? Blame a now-defunct investigation by the Maryland State Police, who sent undercover troopers to spy on political groups and identify supposed terrorists, among them pacifists, environmentalists, a congressional candidate and those two feisty nuns. Update 

Posted on Dec 7, 2008 READ MORE



Flickr / Franco Folini

Senator Tells GM Chief to Take a Hike

As congressional leaders, the White House and President-elect Obama came to terms with a $15-billion loan package for the auto industry, Sen. Chris Dodd suggested Sunday that not all executives should stick around to spend that money. GM CEO Rick Wagoner “has to move on,” the senator declared on “Face the Nation.”

Posted on Dec 7, 2008 READ MORE


Left, Right & Center

‘Left, Right & Center’: Hey, This Really Is a Recession!

Should the Big Three U.S. automakers be driven out of Washington (or Detroit) without the financial help they desperately need? What’s to be done about the massive job losses across the country?

Posted on Dec 6, 2008 READ MORE


SIM cards
ukfreesims.co.uk

Cell Phone Cards Lead to Arrests in India

Police in India are looking within their own national borders for possible leads and potential allies involved in late November’s terrorist attacks in Mumbai, following a technological trail to two new suspects arrested on Friday.

Posted on Dec 6, 2008 READ MORE


Favreau
donkeydish.com

Team Obama Wunderkind Caught Dallying with Clinton Cutout

A key member of Barack Obama’s past and future team of aides has learned the hard way that “transparency” cuts both ways when it comes to the potential for evidence of one’s moments of private revelry—or tomfoolery—to travel far and wide on the Internet in a flash.

Posted on Dec 6, 2008 READ MORE


Obama weekly address

Obama: ‘We Need Action’ on Economy ... ‘Now’

Barack Obama paid a visit to the Internet on Saturday with his weekly president-elect-themed YouTube address, sounding an urgent note about the economy, pointing to the dismal news about job losses in November and pointing out what his team plans to do about it.

Posted on Dec 6, 2008 READ MORE


O'Reilly
youtube.com

O’Reilly Leaving Radio to Focus on TV Show

Looks like Bill O’Reilly is preparing for the Obama era—he says he’s been working too many hours. Whatever the reason, the Fox News heavy is giving up his syndicated radio show to focus his energies on “The O’Reilly Factor.”

Posted on Dec 6, 2008 READ MORE


GM building
AP photo / Paul Sancya

A Toyota Takeover Could Save GM

Considering only two options for an imperiled General Motors —either bailout by the U.S. government or bankruptcy—omits an important alternative, which I see as the best option: a takeover of GM by Toyota Motor Corp.

Posted on Dec 5, 2008 READ MORE


Seat at the Table
change.gov

Team Obama’s New Transparency Tactic

If the secret policy wonk in you has always hankered to sit in on those exciting meetings that happen in elite circles of government, you’re in luck—members of the Obama transition team have found another way to use the Web with their new “Seat at the Table” initiative.

Posted on Dec 5, 2008 READ MORE


Simpson
AP photo / Isaac Brekken, pool

O.J. Simpson Sentenced to Prison

O.J. Simpson’s fame in the football and film arenas was eclipsed by his nationally polarizing murder trial in 1995. On Friday, he was back in court in Las Vegas facing kidnapping and burglary charges, but the outcome was not in his favor this time.

Posted on Dec 5, 2008 READ MORE


Walters 'n' Palin

Walters Fascinated by Fellow Celebrity Palin

It’s dizzying, really, if you think about it: In this clip, media celebrity Barbara Walters names political celebrity Sarah Palin as one of her “Barbara Walters’ 10 Most Fascinating People of 2008,” which people are mostly compelled to watch because Walters’ name is attached to it. Celebrities are fascinating!

Posted on Dec 5, 2008 READ MORE


Clinton and Obama
AP photo / Charles Dharapak

Keeping Track of Change

For anyone seeking real reform of America’s foreign and defense policies in the years ahead, the introduction of Barack Obama’s national security team last Monday was a mixed bag. Yet what these and other appointments really suggest about Obama’s broader prospects for reform requires vigilant public attention.

Posted on Dec 5, 2008 READ MORE


Mugabe
U.S. Air Force / Tech. Sgt. Jeremy Lock

Mugabe’s Last Stand?

The U.S. has finally decided that it is “well past time” for Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe to be shown the door. This after he stole an election in June, subverted a power-sharing arrangement and run his once-prosperous nation into the ground.

Posted on Dec 5, 2008 READ MORE


Mexico Security
nytimes.com / Adriana Zehbrauskas

Mexican Drug Wars Claim 5,000 Lives in 2008

It’s been a creeping tragedy that has escaped serious attention by many major media outlets, but the recurring waves of drug violence in Mexico have taken the lives of about 5,000 people in 2008. In response, the Mexican government has deployed more than 40,000 troops, though corruption within the state’s security forces remains a grave problem.

Posted on Dec 5, 2008 READ MORE


Unemployment Chart
U.S. Department of Labor

A Dark November for Jobs

The news continues to get worse after the government finally put the “official” stamp on the current recession. The Labor Department has announced that 533,000 jobs were lost in November, the biggest monthly cut in 34 years—with analysts fearing that the 11-month trend of increasing job losses will deepen even further.

Posted on Dec 5, 2008 READ MORE



Warren I. Cohen on China’s ‘Factory Girls’

There’s a revolution underway in Chinese culture as young women flock from villages to factory employment in the cities, leaving traditional values behind.

Posted on Dec 5, 2008 READ MORE


Those Other Elections

A month after Barack Obama’s triumphant victory, we are still celebrating America’s only authentic national religion, and it isn’t Christianity—it’s presidentialism.

Posted on Dec 5, 2008 READ MORE


The Beauty of Free Money

No, the federal government isn’t going to discover new billions under some rock in a national park. But with the economic downturn, the new president’s imperative will be to spend as fast as he can, to the tune of perhaps $500 billion, to keep the economy from going belly up.

Posted on Dec 5, 2008 READ MORE


Bush the Infallible

Remember that long-ago news conference when George W. Bush couldn’t think of any mistakes he had made? Unbelievably, he still can’t.

Posted on Dec 5, 2008 READ MORE


O'Reilly

O’Reilly: Dangerous ‘Far-Left Loons’ Nixed Torture

The CIA would still be able to keep America safe by using harsh interrogation methods (read: torture) on terrorists if it weren’t for those despicable, meddling “far-left loons”—according to Bill O’Reilly, Fox News pundit and well-known international terrorism expert.

Posted on Dec 4, 2008 READ MORE



Flickr / Joe Crimmings Photography

The High Cost of Hope

Was it his charisma? His rhetorical gifts? His policy ideas? There’s a more cynical and perhaps realistic explanation for Barack Obama’s historic electoral victory over John McCain: When all was said and done, the Democrat had about $400 million more to spend than his rival.

Posted on Dec 4, 2008 READ MORE



thesmokinggun.com

Is Bush Dallas Bound?

The Smoking Gun has the scuttlebutt on the president’s new $2 million home in Dallas. Should he need to borrow a cup of sugar, Bush can call on billionaire neighbor Tom Hicks, who succeeded him as owner of the Texas Rangers.

Posted on Dec 4, 2008 READ MORE



U.S. Air Force

‘Why We Fight’ Director on the American Way of War

Filmmaker Eugene Jarecki speaks with Truthdig’s Kasia Anderson about his new book, whether Obama can deliver, and why the U.S. is like Elvis.

Posted on Dec 4, 2008 READ MORE


Remaking the World in America’s Image

The evidence suggests that American policy under Barack Obama will be a continuation of the neoconservative foreign policy of the Bush administration, given a human face.

Posted on Dec 4, 2008 READ MORE


Afghan prisoner
AP photo / Xinhua, Xie Xiudong

Who Are the Afghan Insurgents?

Who exactly are the Afghan insurgents? Every suicide attack and kidnapping is usually attributed to “the Taliban.” In reality, however, the insurgency is far from monolithic.

Posted on Dec 4, 2008 READ MORE


Rice and Gilani
AP photo / B.K. Bangash

Rice Sounds Positive Note After Pakistan Visit

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice expressed confidence in the Pakistani government’s commitment to cracking down on terrorist groups operating within its borders after meeting with President Asif Ali Zardari and other Pakistani officials on Thursday.

Posted on Dec 4, 2008 READ MORE


Mugabe
AP photo / Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi

Kenyan PM Turns Up the Heat on Mugabe

If there was ever any doubt that Zimbabwe’s longtime proto-dictator, President Robert Mugabe, wouldn’t exactly take to anything resembling a “power-sharing arrangement,” that doubt has vanished along with the hope that Mugabe would actually work with his political rival, Morgan Tsvangirai.

Posted on Dec 4, 2008 READ MORE



Wikimedia Commons

U.S. Puts Fresh Cash Into the Drug War

While the rest of the world has been preoccupied with a financial meltdown, a handful of wars and a terrorist attack or two, Mexico has been waging war on its homegrown drug industry, and the death count is mounting. U.S. Ambassador Tony Garza announced that El Norte is sending a couple hundred million down south to aid the cause.

Posted on Dec 4, 2008 READ MORE



Wikimedia Commons / mlb.com

Bailout Ballpark

The U.S. taxpayer is on the hook for more than $300 billion of Citigroup’s junk investments, so where did the ailing bank find $400 million to put its name on the New York Mets’ new stadium?

Posted on Dec 4, 2008 READ MORE


Breathing New Life Into Health Care

Over the past 10 months, as the hemorrhage of jobs began to push the national unemployment rate toward its October level of 6.5 percent, about 3 million Americans were thrown off the insurance rolls or had their incomes fall so much that they became eligible for Medicaid or the State Children’s Health Insurance Program.

Posted on Dec 4, 2008 READ MORE


Not a Team of Rivals at All

When the journalistic pack bites into a tasty cliché, they often refuse to let go, lazily chewing and regurgitating a phrase like “team of rivals” long after the flavor is gone.

Posted on Dec 4, 2008 READ MORE


Which Hillary Will We Get?

It was a moment bound to give anyone second thoughts about Hillary Clinton’s nomination as secretary of state: Rush Limbaugh called it a “brilliant stroke.”

Posted on Dec 4, 2008 READ MORE



highereducation.org

Report Fails 49 States on College Affordability

Because of its inexpensive community colleges, California was the only state to earn a passing grade in the affordability category of the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education’s annual report. Just as the demand for quality education is expected to spike, too many students are priced out of college, the center found.

Posted on Dec 3, 2008 READ MORE


Learn How to Take a Softball

The Onion pokes fun at facing the rigors of the “Larry King Live” interview with this tour of NASA’s Larry King training facility.

Posted on Dec 3, 2008 READ MORE



Collage: US Census / the-isb.com

Minnesota Race Continues to Perplex

In case you haven’t been following Al Franken’s fortunes in Minnesota’s ongoing recount, here’s a brief recap: He was down, but not by much, then down by less and, a little later, even less, then he claimed to be up, but now it looks like he’s down again, but not by much. Confused? You’re not alone.

Posted on Dec 3, 2008 READ MORE


Big Three
aolcdn.com

Poll: Auto Bailout Low on Fuel

With a bailout of the Big Three hovering over our political landscape, popular opinion has signaled a considerable voice against any federal support for the failing auto industry. A poll shows 61% of Americans oppose a bailout, believing any government assistance would be both unfair and ineffective in fixing the economy.

Posted on Dec 3, 2008 READ MORE


Beard!
nytimes.com

And Commerce Secretary Goes to ...

Bearded political renaissance man and current governor of New Mexico Bill Richardson was picked Wednesday morning to be Barack Obama’s secretary of commerce. The unsurprising move makes Richardson the latest politician drafted by Team Obama, who point to Richardson’s experience at the U.N., as governor, and as energy secretary.

Posted on Dec 3, 2008 READ MORE


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