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White House / Pete Souza

Financial Oversight: We’re Still Waiting, Mr. President

We have a “regulation czar,” but no new regulations. It seems we can expect little from those with a track record of enabling bad policies.

Posted on Dec 8, 2009 READ MORE


Daily Show

‘Daily Show’: Tactics of Mass Obstruction

Here’s some shocking news: Certain members of the U.S. Senate may be employing stalling tactics to make sure their version of the highly contested health care reform legislation, should it ever see the light of day, takes freaking forever to create.

Posted on Dec 8, 2009 READ MORE


No Exit

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Posted on Dec 8, 2009 READ MORE


Some Summit

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youtube

Can Gadgets Save the Magazine?

What to do when your business and the medium it’s printed on are disintegrating into pulp? Form a consortium, of course. Condé Nast, Hearst, Time, News Corp. and something called Meredith have banded together to crack this nut with a common digital format, shared innovation and maybe even a new gadget or two. (continued)

Posted on Dec 8, 2009 READ MORE


Baghdad firefighters
AP / Hadi Mizban

At Least 127 Killed in Baghdad Bombings

A spate of car bombings attributed to al-Qaida killed at least 127 people and wounded 448 in Baghdad on Tuesday. The bombs targeted a police patrol and official buildings, according to the BBC.

Posted on Dec 8, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / Brani's fashion dolls

Tiger’s Oppressive Standard of Beauty

Tiger Woods has a Barbie thing so pronounced it suggests his philandering is as much about validation as lust.

Posted on Dec 8, 2009 READ MORE



AP / Leslie E. Kossoff

21st Century Skills: Education’s New Cliché

What’s new about them? They sound like the skills one would have gotten from a good 20th century education—or from a lot further back than that.

Posted on Dec 8, 2009 READ MORE



Larry’s List: Rainy Day Edition

It’s pouring in Larry HQ, which makes it a better time than ever to read about guns and gals, China and America’s inferiority complex, military anthropologists and more. Soak it up after the jump.  Many, many updates

Posted on Dec 7, 2009 READ MORE


Virgin Galactic
virgingalactic.com

Virgin Galactic Gears Up for Space Flights

As if his plan for global domination weren’t enough, Virgin Group honcho Richard Branson is taking to space with his new commercial spacecraft, SpaceShipTwo, which will grant six paying customers at a time the experience of weightlessness for six minutes.

Posted on Dec 7, 2009 READ MORE


Tupac
youtube.com

Tupac Makes the Vatican’s Cut

It’s kind of sweetly dorky, like your grandpa finally figuring out how to use his iPod or something, but the Vatican has apparently discovered the late hip-hop icon Tupac Shakur and has gone so far as to include one of his songs, “Changes,” among a lineup of eight tunes on “The Vatican’s Playlist” (which has its own MySpace page!).

Posted on Dec 7, 2009 READ MORE


‘It’s All About Joe’

Those feisty progressives are at it again, running an ad against Joe Lieberman that features the actual chairman of the Connecticut for Lieberman party—but what exactly is the Connecticut for Lieberman party?

Posted on Dec 7, 2009 READ MORE


Lahore bombings
bbc.co.uk

Market Bombings Kill at Least 36 in Pakistan

Two bomb blasts ripped through a busy market in Lahore, Pakistan, on Monday evening, killing at least 36 people and injuring about 100. The bombs were reportedly set off via remote control, and the explosions came on the heels of a suicide bombing in Peshawar that killed at least 10 earlier in the day.

Posted on Dec 7, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / ianduffy

EPA Moves Toward Regulation of Greenhouse Gases

Who needs Congress? The EPA officially determined Tuesday that “greenhouse gases (GHGs) threaten the public health and welfare of the American people.” Under the Clean Air Act and with the blessing of the Supreme Court, the agency might now be able to regulate emissions that contribute to the climate crisis. (continued)

Posted on Dec 7, 2009 READ MORE



solvingpoverty.org

ACORN Probe Finds No Pattern of Illegality

The Republicans’ favorite punching bag, ACORN, has emerged from an external review process looking far less shady than its opponents would like, but the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now still has some management issues, according to the inquiry’s findings.

Posted on Dec 7, 2009 READ MORE


Budrus trailer

Palestinians, Israelis Unite to Save Village in ‘Budrus’

This is the kind of story that offers some inspiring relief to the seemingly relentless bad news about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: The new documentary “Budrus” follows an unlikely alliance between feuding Palestinian groups and between Palestinians and Israelis, forged in the interest of saving a village through nonviolent protest.

Posted on Dec 7, 2009 READ MORE



U.S. Marine Corps / Lance Cpl. Matthew R. Jones

Tony Blair Ignored Iraq Warning, Top General Says

Add Maj. Gen. Tim Cross to that growing list of people who foresaw disaster in Iraq but were ignored. The senior British liaison to the U.S. reconstruction effort warned his prime minister before the invasion that insufficient postwar planning would lead to chaos. The rest is history. (continued)

Posted on Dec 7, 2009 READ MORE


Senate Debate to Focus on Abortion

The health care reform bill that made it through the House of Representatives last month didn’t exactly win rave reviews from the pro-choice camp, and now it’s the Senate’s turn to have it out over whether government-subsidized health care should ever include coverage for abortions and, if so, under what circumstances that should be allowed.

Posted on Dec 7, 2009 READ MORE



AP / Jens Meyer

Liberals Are Useless

The gravest danger we face as a nation is not from the far right, although it may well inherit power, but from a bankrupt liberal class that has lost the will to fight and the moral courage to stand up for what it espouses.

Posted on Dec 7, 2009 READ MORE



cironline.org

Corporate Farmer Calls Upon Sen. Feinstein to Influence Environmental Dispute

Wealthy corporate farmer Stewart Resnick (shown above with wife Lynda) has written check after check to U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s campaigns, and when he needed her help, he got quick results.

Posted on Dec 6, 2009 READ MORE


Nation Building

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Forward March

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White House / Pete Souza

The Health Care Race to Christmas

President Obama’s speech on Afghanistan and his subsequent jobs summit underscored why it’s essential to get a health care bill done quickly.

Posted on Dec 6, 2009 READ MORE


‘Mosaic’: The Real Reason Behind Obama’s Afghan Surge

Something just doesn’t add up about the stated logic of sending 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan, says Jamal Dajani, who has a theory about the president’s real reason for escalating the war.

Posted on Dec 6, 2009 READ MORE



AP / Joerg Sarbach

These Iranian Troubadours Show How Music Can Corrupt the Soul

Music and Islam have a dodgy relationship. I guess it’s really all to do with that most jealously guarded commodity, the human soul, over which music exerts such passion.

Posted on Dec 6, 2009 READ MORE



What Can the FCC Do for You?

The Federal Communications Commission has a long and disappointing history of generally failing to regulate ever-larger media and telecommunications companies, except, during fits of prudishness, in the area of so-called indecency. But the latest incarnation of the FCC is proving to be more of a consumer advocate than its predecessors. (continued)

Posted on Dec 6, 2009 READ MORE



AP / Charles Rex Arbogast

Gitmo Prisoners’ New Digs?

A deal is being brokered that would probably make a state prison in rural Illinois the new home of detainees now held at the prison in Guantanamo Bay. Republicans have voiced outrage at the prospect of bringing the detainees Stateside, citing security threats.

Posted on Dec 6, 2009 READ MORE


Morales
AP / Juan Karita

Morales Closes In on 2nd Term

Bolivia’s President Evo Morales, opinion polls running heavily in his favor, appeared headed for a second five-year stint as president as voting wrapped up Sunday. The “peasant president” commands wide support among the country’s poor indigenous people—65 percent of the population.

Posted on Dec 6, 2009 READ MORE



flickr.com / manos2036

Riots Mark Anniversary of Greek Teenager’s Shooting

Violence erupted in Athens on Sunday as thousands took to the streets to mark the anniversary of the death of 15-year-old Alexandros Grigoropoulos, shot dead by Greek police a year ago. Within a few hours of his death, riots had spread across the country in a two-week spate of looting and burning.

Posted on Dec 6, 2009 READ MORE



flickr.com / Bob Hannaford

Free Tuition for Harvard Law Suspended

Two years after Harvard Law School announced it would waive a year of tuition for students who pledged to work five years in the nonprofit sector or in government, the school has suspended the program, citing both the recession and a flood of students seeking to get in on the deal.

Posted on Dec 5, 2009 READ MORE



flickr.com / andersdenkend

Who Wants to Be a Big Brother?

With 4.2 million surveillance cameras in Britain and not enough people to observe them all, a company called Internet Eyes has come up with a solution: reward volunteer “spies” with cash prizes to watch streaming camera footage and blow the whistle on evildoers.

Posted on Dec 5, 2009 READ MORE


polar bear
Richard Ellis

Crunch Time for the Climate

President Obama has shifted travel arrangements so he can be present at the final negotiating sessions of this month’s Copenhagen climate summit. The move, a result of international pressure, will have Obama making two trips to Scandinavia, one to pick up his Nobel Peace Prize on Wednesday in Oslo, then again Dec. 18 for the key Copenhagen discussions.

Posted on Dec 5, 2009 READ MORE


iPhone orchestra
nytimes.com

The iPhone as Musical Instrument

It was a sonorous synthesis of computer science, musical innovation and some of the best kind of product placement imaginable when Stanford University professor Ge Wang convened the Stanford Mobile Phone Orchestra on Thursday. Here we have a group of people who have figured out how to play compositions including Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” (performed near the end of this YouTube clip) on their smartphones.

Posted on Dec 4, 2009 READ MORE


California map

California Climate Change Primer With Your Host, Gov. Schwarzenegger

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger apparently isn’t one of those Republicans who believe that growing international concerns about climate change stem from a vast left-wing conspiracy. Here, he takes stock of the climate-related challenges his adopted home state may face and what’s to be done about them.

Posted on Dec 4, 2009 READ MORE


Anne Frank's diary
AP / Evert Elzinga

How the Anti-Semites of Hezbollah Have Sent Anne Frank Back Into Hiding

“This young woman who upsets people ...” was the headline in Lebanon’s L’Orient Littáraire yesterday. The teenager was Anne Frank, who died of typhoid at Bergen-Belsen in 1945 after being betrayed to the Nazi authorities, along with her family, in her Amsterdam “safe house.”

Posted on Dec 4, 2009 READ MORE


Left, Right & Center

‘Left, Right & Center’: Obama’s Undoing?; Tiger’s Foul Play

So, President Obama finally announced his long-awaited decision to increase the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Will it be his undoing? At least on this week’s “Left, Right & Center,” opinions on left and right converge, although for different reasons. And how about the latest unemployment figures—what, only 11,000 jobs lost? We’re doing less-worse than ever, but are we doing better? And is there any reason to take Tiger Woods to task for his alleged infidelities? 

Posted on Dec 4, 2009 READ MORE


the raven
Flickr / kevindooley

Poe’s Poems Fetch Big Bucks at Auction

Edgar Allan Poe may have died penniless, but his poems are now worth a heap of money—$662,500, to be exact. On Friday, an unidentified bidder at a Christie’s auction in New York paid just that much for a first-edition collection of poems by the master of the macabre, titled “Tamerlane and Other Poems” and printed under the vague pseudonym of “A Bostonian.” 

Posted on Dec 4, 2009 READ MORE


Copenhagen ticket
landcoalition.org

U.N. to Investigate Climate E-Mail Controversy

The apparently deliberately timed release of leaked e-mails stolen from climate scientists at the University of East Anglia has created problems for the global warming cause just as world leaders are preparing to convene at the Copenhagen climate change summit, and now the United Nations is launching its own investigation into the incident.

Posted on Dec 4, 2009 READ MORE


Caballo y Jara
Wikimedia Commons

A Chilean Icon Is Reburied

Victor Jara, acclaimed Chilean singer, was tortured and killed in 1973 during the U.S.-directed coup that brought Augusto Pinochet to power. He was to be reburied in Santiago Friday after hundreds of people paid their final respects. The body had been exhumed in June to clarify how he died. He had been shot more than 30 times.

Posted on Dec 4, 2009 READ MORE


Unemployment
wfxl.com

November Surprise: Job Loss Eases

In a sign that the U.S. economy’s two-year job-molting cycle might be coming to an end, the Labor Department reported Friday that just 11,000 American jobs were lost in November and that the unemployment rate had fallen back to 10 percent.

Posted on Dec 4, 2009 READ MORE


bookcover

Troy Jollimore on Karen Armstrong’s ‘The Case for God’

Have nonbelievers misunderstood, even as they have mocked, the very concept of God—a concept that has more to do with practice than belief?

Posted on Dec 4, 2009 READ MORE



U.S. Air Force / Staff Sgt. Stephen J. Otero

Why Obama’s Strategy Won’t Succeed

Even if the surge works, why wouldn’t al-Qaida—or some like-minded group—simply set up shop in Somalia? Or in Yemen, another failing state?

Posted on Dec 3, 2009 READ MORE


Obama
AP / Haraz N. Ghanbari

Obama on His Own

In Copenhagen, a major binding agreement at the global warming summit is not to be. Not this year. In Washington, the Senate is so divided that it became clear months ago that climate legislation will be pushed off until 2010 at the earliest. Still, the United States can meet the challenge of a world demanding that it take the lead on global warming. Here’s how.

Posted on Dec 3, 2009 READ MORE


Not My Switzerland
AP / Keystone, Peter Klaunzer

Jewish Groups Object to Switzerland’s Minaret Ban

Recognizing that this week’s popular vote to forbid the building of minarets in Switzerland represented a blatant show of religious intolerance it couldn’t ignore, an association of Jewish organizations is expressing its strong disagreement with the ban and calling on Swiss leaders to defend religious freedom.

Posted on Dec 3, 2009 READ MORE



speaker.gov

Put Your Money Where Your Jobs Aren’t

The president is so desperate for ways to fight unemployment he issued a call Thursday for “fresh perspectives and new ideas.” Well, Nancy Pelosi has some. The House speaker wants to spend some of that hot, hot TARP money on job creation. (continued)

Posted on Dec 3, 2009 READ MORE


Lambert
adamofficial.com

‘Heat’ From Christian Law Firm, FCC Behind ABC’s Lambert Shut-Out

Janet Jackson escaped unscathed this time, but it seems that the FCC may have gotten on ABC’s case for airing “American Idol” alum Adam Lambert’s public displays of homoeroticism during his American Music Awards performance last month. A law firm associated with the late Rev. Jerry Falwell ... (continued)

Posted on Dec 3, 2009 READ MORE



White House / Lawrence Jackson

Obama’s Surge in Afghanistan Hardly a Surprise

There was much disappointment on Tuesday night about Barack Obama’s decision to widen the war in Afghanistan, but there can have been no real surprise.

Posted on Dec 3, 2009 READ MORE



Finding Farce in Terrorism

A British comedy that follows a group of bumbling terrorists trying to pull off an atrocity has won approval from the taste-makers at the Sundance Film Festival. The movie was reportedly inspired by real-life tales of farce in terrorist cells, which, in the words of the filmmaker’s office, “have the same group dynamics as stag parties.”

Posted on Dec 3, 2009 READ MORE


Tiger Woods Scandal

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The Ratio

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