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Intellectuals and Society

Intellectuals and Society

By Thomas Sowell
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Family Values

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Posted on Jun 30, 2009 READ MORE


The Long Goodbye

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Posted on Jun 30, 2009 READ MORE


Iraq Has Another One of Its Famous Turning Points

As the media trumpets sound for the pullback of American troops from urban areas in Iraq, the essential lesson of our involvement must be recalled: Nothing about our entanglement in Iraq has ever been as it seemed.

Posted on Jun 29, 2009 READ MORE



AP photo / Kent Gilbert

Honduran President Shall Return

A day after he was forcibly removed from office, Manuel Zelaya said he will return to Honduras on Thursday to reclaim his presidency. Zelaya enjoys the support of many of his fellow Latin American leaders as well as the president of the United States. However, he still has to deal with his military and political rivals.

Posted on Jun 29, 2009 READ MORE



AP photo / Khampha Bouaphanh

America’s ICE Backwards Approach to Immigration

While the nation’s understaffed immigration courts strain under a backlog that has grown to more than 200,000 cases, thousands of new border agents have been hired and the number of government attorneys who argue for deportation has increased by 35 percent, pushing more cases onto an already overburdened system.

Posted on Jun 29, 2009 READ MORE



U.S. Army / Sgt. 1st Class Alex Licea

We’ll Always Have Baghdad

The Iraqi capital threw a party Monday as U.S. troops began pulling out of Iraqi cities. It’s the first step in the military’s withdrawal plan, which promises to bring U.S. forces home by 2011. But it will be some time before many of the 131,000 troops return to the U.S., and there’s virtually no accounting of the thousands of private contractors and mercenaries.

Posted on Jun 29, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT
afsc.noaa.gov

The Seal as Role Model for Obese Kids

A program at the New England Aquarium is aimed at inspiring obese children to get up and exercise by watching seals stretch, jump and swim. It’s hoped that the seals’ athleticism will move kids to get up and “you know ... run,” as one official put it.

Posted on Jun 29, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT

Big Week for LGBT

This week marks the 40th anniversary of Stonewall, considered the beginning of the gay rights movement. President Obama is set to meet with gay leaders (and all the anger they’ll bring with them over his failed promises regarding repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” and the Defense of Marriage Act) to commemorate the event. Check out this interview with Jarrett Barrios, the president of GLAAD.

Posted on Jun 29, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT
YouTube / Al Jazeera

U.S., Britain Part Company in the Poppy Fields

The U.S. has decided to stop funding poppy field eradication in Afghanistan, declaring the policy a failure and a waste of money. Since 2003, opium production has gone up 40-fold in Afghanistan, making it the producer of 90 percent of the world’s heroin. But Britain, backed by the Afghan government, will continue destroying poppy fields as a way to stem the drug trade.

Posted on Jun 29, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT
Flickr / Hamed Saber

Iran Blames It All on the West

A recount of 10 percent of the ballots in Iran’s June 12 presidential election has begun amid heightened tensions with the West. Nine British Embassy workers were arrested in Tehran on Sunday for allegedly being behind the postelection civil unrest. Five of the detainees were later released, but the EU is threatening to pull out  its diplomats. Updated

Posted on Jun 29, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT
AP photo / Louis Lanzano

150 Years in the Slammer for Madoff

Bernard Madoff, the man responsible for the biggest Ponzi scheme in human history, has been sentenced to 150 years in prison. The judge was unswayed by the “tormented state” Madoff now finds himself in after swindling $65 billion over a span of 20 years, which affected thousands of people, from Elie Wiesel and Sandy Koufax to small investors and retirees.

Posted on Jun 29, 2009 READ MORE


Barack Obama
White House / Samantha Appleton

Obama Overload?

President Obama is still wildly popular and he seems determined to revel in it by popping up three times a day to make a statement or greet a world leader. However, Joel Connelly writes in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, “a president should take time out of the public eye, and not tire out the country.”

Posted on Jun 29, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / CarbonNYC

Swine Flu Cases in U.S. Top 1 Million

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that more than 1 million Americans have contracted swine flu this year. That figure dwarfs the 27,717 confirmed and probable U.S. cases, but it also means the odds of surviving the disease—127 people have died—are much better than previously thought.

Posted on Jun 29, 2009 READ MORE



AP photo / Bebeto Matthews

The Truth Alone Will Not Set You Free

The modern world, as Kafka predicted, has become a world where lies become true. And facts alone will be powerless to thwart the mendacity spun out through billions of dollars in corporate advertising, lobbying and control of traditional sources of information. The lines between artists, social activists and journalists have to be erased.

Posted on Jun 29, 2009 READ MORE



White House / Pete Souza

Obama and the Stone Tablets

The president has shied away from handing Congress his own plans on “stone tablets,” but if he doesn’t intervene in the health care debate, and soon, lawmakers are going to send him an unworkable monstrosity of a bill.

Posted on Jun 28, 2009 READ MORE


Berlusconi’s Italians [A Cartoon From Germany]

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Posted on Jun 28, 2009 READ MORE



AP photo / Kent Gilbert

Honduras’ Leftist President Gets the Boot

President Manuel Zelaya won a free trip to Costa Rica on Sunday, courtesy of his nation’s military. The Honduran president was ousted after attempting to hold an unofficial referendum on extending presidential term limits, over the objections of the Honduran Supreme Court and Congress.

Posted on Jun 28, 2009 READ MORE


He’s All Yours

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Posted on Jun 28, 2009 READ MORE


Dennis Kucinich
SEIU International

Kucinich Says Climate Bill Might Make Things Worse

Rep. Dennis Kucinich explains why he voted against the climate bill that narrowly passed the House Friday: “It sets targets that are too weak, especially in the short term, and sets about meeting those targets through Enron-style accounting methods. It gives new life to one of the primary sources of the problem that should be on its way out—coal—by giving it record subsidies.”

Posted on Jun 27, 2009 READ MORE


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Flickr/Ed Yourdon

House Passes Climate Bill

The House of Representatives has passed a climate change bill by a vote of 219 to 212. The bill, which was a top priority for President Obama, largely resembles California’s environmental program and requires that large American companies reduce emissions of global warming gases by 17 percent by 2020 and 83 percent by 2050.

Posted on Jun 26, 2009 READ MORE


Left, Right & Center

‘LRC’: In Defense of Auto-Eroticism

On this week’s “Left, Right & Center” it’s lots of sex, a little health care and even less Michael Jackson. Is sexual repression a uniquely Republican problem? Discuss.

Posted on Jun 26, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT

So Whatever Happened to Obama’s ‘Sunlight’?

If, as President Obama once claimed, “sunlight is the best disinfectant,” then why is his administration keeping a significant amount of information in the dark? Check out this clip from last night’s “Daily Show” to find out why Jon Stewart is responsible for at least some of that.

Posted on Jun 26, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT
army.mil - Ahmad al-Rubaye

GIs Aren’t Leaving Iraq Just Yet

As U.S. security forces prepare to pull back from Iraqi cities, violence has surged: In the past two weeks alone, some 200 people have died in suicide bombings. As a result of the heightened violence, some American troops are being repositioned in the areas surrounding the most volatile cities in an effort to ensure a more peaceful transition to Iraqi security forces.

Posted on Jun 26, 2009 READ MORE


Vodka
absolutavila.com

‘To Health’?

A study published in The Lancet medical journal concludes that the effects of alcohol should be viewed in the same light as the effects of smoking. Alcohol consumption is linked to one in every 25 deaths worldwide, the study said.

Posted on Jun 26, 2009 READ MORE


Ahmadinejad
blog.ecr.co.za

Reformists Allegedly Tortured in Iran

Several reformists currently jailed in Iran are alleged to have been tortured as the government tried to obtain videotaped “confessions” of a foreign plot against the government. Such “confessions” would paint politicians like presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi as agents of the West.

Posted on Jun 26, 2009 READ MORE


Facebook
guardian.co.uk

Lobbying For Privacy 2.0

If a movie written about Facebook by Aaron Sorkin wasn’t enough, the fast-growing social networking site is in the midst of hiring lobbyists in both Washington and Brussels to push for easing privacy regulations, no matter how well-meaning those restrictions may be, “that would keep people from the beneficial sharing of information.”

Posted on Jun 26, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / Mykl Roventine

Still Waiting on Minnesota

It’s been nearly eight months since Minnesotans went to the polls and they still don’t know who one of their senators is. Norm Coleman trails Al Franken by 312 votes and the case is now in the hands of Minnesota’s Supreme Court, if only it could be bothered to rule.

Posted on Jun 26, 2009 READ MORE


Turning Soldiers Into Crusaders

“Fault Lines” has this disturbing look at efforts to transform American soldiers into “government-paid missionaries,” as one Christian fundamentalist group put it. Featuring Truthdig’s Chris Hedges.

Posted on Jun 26, 2009 READ MORE


Brüno Blitzes Conan O’Brien

Sacha Baron Cohen’s latest cultural satire is upon us—and the host of the “Tonight Show.” Conan O’Brien does his best, but all the lap-dancing and Kugel-staring is just too much for him to bear. [Update: Video fixed]

Posted on Jun 26, 2009 READ MORE


book cover

Danny Goldberg on the Digital Music Revolution

Is there a social consequence to the increasing numbers of consumers who expect to get information and entertainment for nothing? Can there be too much of a good thing? “Appetite for Self-Destruction: The Spectacular Crash of the Record Industry in the Digital Age” by Steve Knopper provides a useful autopsy.

Posted on Jun 26, 2009 READ MORE


Getting Off the Grid

Today’s technology revolutions have been rightfully celebrated for improving everything from education to medicine to commerce, but we don’t often consider the psychological and societal consequences of always being connected and available.

Posted on Jun 25, 2009 READ MORE



AP photo / Dan Balilty

A Settlement Stalemate With No End in Sight

The Obama administration’s confrontation with Israel over its colonies inside the Palestine territories began as a test of Prime Minister Netanyahu, who was elected in order to defy the U.S. How it will end is a mystery.

Posted on Jun 25, 2009 READ MORE


Michael Jackson
AP photo / Joel Ryan

The King of Pop Is Dead

Michael Jackson was rushed to an L.A. hospital Thursday, where he was pronounced dead. He was 50 years old. His astonishing musical career, perhaps unparalleled among solo artists, unraveled into a tabloid mess of child molestation, doctor-sanctioned self-mutilation, bizarre parenting and, ultimately, debt. He was about to launch a comeback tour.

Posted on Jun 25, 2009 READ MORE


Hiking

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Posted on Jun 25, 2009 READ MORE


Arlington

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Posted on Jun 25, 2009 READ MORE    


ENTER_ALT_TEXT
commons.wikimedia.org - Tej

Retrial for Journalist’s Alleged Killers

The Russian Supreme Court has ordered a retrial for the three men acquitted of murdering Anna Politkovskaya, a journalist who exposed human rights abuses in Chechnya. Politkovskaya, a leading critic of then-President Vladimir Putin, was one of many Russian journalists mysteriously silenced after speaking out against the government.

Posted on Jun 25, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT

The Latest From Iran

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad demands a public apology from President Obama for “interfering” in Iran’s affairs, while the crackdown widens in the Islamic Republic. Here’s a report from Bloomberg on the latest happenings in Iran.

Posted on Jun 25, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT

Out of Protest, a Revolution

Writer and religious scholar Reza Aslan joins Jon Stewart to discuss what he sees as a major shift in Iran: What once was a battle over fraudulent election results has become a revolution over the future of the Islamic Republic. Check out the interview on Wednesday night’s “Daily Show.”

Posted on Jun 25, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT
commons.wikimedia.org / Bidgee

The Case of the Whacked-Out Wallabies

Australians have found the source of a rash of mysterious crop circles: drugged-out wallabies. According to the attorney general of Tasmania, the kangaroo-like creatures have been eating opium poppies in fields grown for medical purposes, getting high and walking around in circles. Are you listening, Mel Gibson?

Posted on Jun 25, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT
AP photo / Lee Jin-man

North Korea Threatens a Nuclear ‘Fire Shower’

In the latest North Korean madness, the communist country has declared it would respond to any attack by the U.S. with a nuclear “fire shower” and said it would increase its nuclear arsenal. The statement came on Thursday, the day after President Obama warned of the “unusual and extraordinary threat” that Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program poses to the U.S.

Posted on Jun 25, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT
AP photo / Karim Kadim

Bomb Rips Baghdad Market Ahead of U.S. Pullback

At least 76 people were killed and more than 150 wounded in Baghdad by a bomb detonated in a busy marketplace Wednesday night. The bombing, just six days before U.S. security forces are set to pull back from Iraq’s cities and towns, was the third such incident to inflict double-digit civilian casualties in the last two weeks.

Posted on Jun 25, 2009 READ MORE



AP photo / Charles Dharapak

The Sickening Influence of Campaign Contributions

Democrats who are talking down Obama’s health care initiative tend to have something in common—their abject dependence on campaign contributions from the insurance and pharmaceutical corporations fighting against real reform.

Posted on Jun 24, 2009 READ MORE


Poster Addict for Tobacco Law

It’s all right to be just a bit defensive when you’re the addict in chief, but President Obama happens to be, hands down, the best possible spokesman for the new FDA regulation. He should embrace the role.

Posted on Jun 24, 2009 READ MORE


Courtly Politics

The United States Supreme Court claims to be above politics, and it sometimes even achieves that aspiration.

Posted on Jun 24, 2009 READ MORE


Journalism in the Twitter Era

Journalism is famously described as “the first rough draft of history.” But the history of this Iranian moment is a first, rough hailstorm of bits and bytes, tweets and texts. In the tweet of Mousavil388: “One Person=One Broadcaster.”

Posted on Jun 24, 2009 READ MORE


Mark Sanford
house.gov

Did Taxpayers Fund Sanford’s Love Jaunts?

U.S. taxpayers twice paid for Mark Sanford’s trips to Argentina, though they occurred before he met his mistress there. Another trip to the land of gauchos was funded by South Carolinians and took place after he met his lover, though before he claims to have, er, danced the tango with her.

Posted on Jun 24, 2009 READ MORE



AP photo / Mary Ann Chastain

Governor Admits Argentine Tryst

Turns out Mark Sanford was not hiking in Appalachia, naked or otherwise, during his mysterious seven-day vanishing act. As the governor admitted during the obligatory tearful news conference Wednesday, he spent Father’s Day weekend having an affair with a “dear, dear friend” in Argentina. Family values strike again.

Posted on Jun 24, 2009 READ MORE


H1N1
theusdaily.com

H1N1 Theory Reconsiders Origin

A new theory puts the origin of the H1N1 virus not in Mexico, where right-wing anti-immigrant groups want it, but in Asia. Scientists explain that there has been no evidence demonstrating the virus in North American pigs, but plenty of evidence of a “sister virus” circulating in Asia.

Posted on Jun 24, 2009 READ MORE


Bagram width=
access.gpo.gov

More Ex-Detainees Allege Abuse

More than two dozen former detainees at the Bagram military base in Afghanistan say they were beaten, deprived of sleep and threatened with dogs while under U.S. supervision there between 2002 and 2008. None of the detainees were ever charged, and some got apologies upon release.

Posted on Jun 24, 2009 READ MORE


Drugs
welt.de

Drugs Are Sick

U.N. drug chief Antonio Maria Costa believes drug use should be treated as an illness and not criminalized. Costa says international law enforcement should shift focus to traffickers rather than users, an intriguing (look at the U.S. prison population) but problematic (look at Mexico’s drug war death toll) strategy.

Posted on Jun 24, 2009 READ MORE


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