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Robert Gates
DoD / R. D. Ward

Army to Add 22,000 Soldiers

Those wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are taking their toll. To cope with rising demand, Defense Secretary Robert Gates says he will increase the size of the Army by 22,000 troops for a period of three years. That means there will be 569,000 active-duty soldiers, bringing America’s active-duty armed forces close to 1.5 million.

Posted on Jul 20, 2009 READ MORE


Khamenei
AP / Office of the Supreme Leader

Iranians Still Split Over Election

Although Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, aka Iran’s supreme leader, has called the recent protests over the contested election evidence of foreign powers meddling in his country’s affairs, his words didn’t seem to sway Iranian opponents, who on Monday proposed a referendum to sort out the issue.

Posted on Jul 20, 2009 READ MORE



White House / Chuck Kennedy

Astronauts and Obama Have Different Worlds in Mind

The crew of Apollo 11, the NASA mission that 40 years ago Monday first put a man on the moon, marked the occasion with President Obama at the White House. The president hailed their accomplishments as a boon to the home planet. But astronauts of the Apollo series aren’t satisfied with such earthbound praise—they want a national commitment to send Americans to Mars.

Posted on Jul 20, 2009 READ MORE


Honduras
nytimes.com

EU Suspends Aid to Honduras

More than three weeks after the coup, the European Union has decided to halt aid to Honduras. The EU refused to give coup leaders $90 million in aid after the interim government rejected its demands that power be returned to ousted President Manuel Zelaya. That rejection caused EU-Honduran talks to break down.

Posted on Jul 20, 2009 READ MORE


POPPY
msnbc.com

A New Type of Surge

U.S. government officials are conducting a new kind of “surge.” The DEA has started dispatching agents to Afghanistan to target opium trafficking networks that are believed to be funding the Taliban insurgency, a change from the Bush-era policy of poppy crop destruction.

Posted on Jul 20, 2009 READ MORE


Women Soldiers
rwor.org

Four Weddings and Four Funerals

The Nepalese government has stirred up a hornet’s nest of criticism with a plan to pay men to marry Nepalese women who were widowed in the country’s 10-year civil war. Women’s groups are calling the plan humiliating and contrary to human rights.

Posted on Jul 20, 2009 READ MORE



ABR / Ricardo Stuckert

Honduras Talks Get Lost in Costa Rica

Honduras’ coup-empowered interim government refuses to discuss any deal that involves the return of ousted President Manuel Zelaya, pictured above, despite overwhelming international and regional pressure. But Costa Rica’s Nobel Prize-winning President Oscar Arias isn’t giving up for fear that failure could lead to civil war.

Posted on Jul 20, 2009 READ MORE



U.S. Army / Sgt. 1st Class Benjamin R. Bond

Extreme Makeover: Bagram Prison Edition

The New York Times reports that a U.S. military review calls for “overhauling the troubled American-run prison [at Bagram Air Base] as well as the entire Afghan jail and judicial systems, a reaction to worries that abuses and militant recruiting within the prisons are helping to strengthen the Taliban.”

Posted on Jul 20, 2009 READ MORE


Not All Scandals Are Equal

Bill Maher compares the letters of South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, who fell in love in Argentina, with the texts of former U.S. Rep. Mark Foley, who fell for congressional pages.

Posted on Jul 20, 2009 READ MORE


Taliban Releases Video of U.S. Captive

The Pentagon is condemning the Taliban for releasing a video of a U.S. soldier captured in Afghanistan, identified as 23-year-old Bowe Bergdahl.

Posted on Jul 20, 2009 READ MORE


The Nightmare

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Posted on Jul 20, 2009 READ MORE    


Terrorvision

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Posted on Jul 20, 2009 READ MORE    



U.S. Army / Staff Sgt. Andrew Smith

War Without Purpose

Al-Qaida could not care less what we do in Afghanistan. We are fighting with the wrong tools. We are fighting the wrong people. We are on the wrong side of history. And we will be defeated in Afghanistan as we will be in Iraq.

Posted on Jul 20, 2009 READ MORE


Obama’s Aces in the Hole

It was not the soaring rhetoric that is Barack Obama’s signature, but he recently offered the sound bite that may define his presidency: “Don’t bet against us.”

Posted on Jul 20, 2009 READ MORE


Black America’s New Reality

A century ago, when the NAACP was founded, black America was under siege. Some critics have wondered whether there is still a role for an organization like the NAACP. President Obama says there is.

Posted on Jul 20, 2009 READ MORE



© 2001 Reese Erlich

Opinions Walter Cronkite Never Aired

In the fall of 2002, Walter Cronkite agreed to be interviewed about the pending U.S. invasion of Iraq. That interview was never published. Looking back at the transcript seven years later, Walter’s views proved quite prescient. Here’s some of what he told me.

Posted on Jul 20, 2009 READ MORE


Change Machine

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Posted on Jul 17, 2009 READ MORE    


Dennis Kucinich
AP / Charlie Neibergall

Dennis vs. Goliath

Rep. Dennis Kucinich talks about winning a big victory for health care reform, grilling Hank Paulson over the Bank of America-Merrill Lynch merger, and the battle against crony capitalism.

Posted on Jul 17, 2009 READ MORE


Dennis Kucinich
AP / Charlie Neibergall

Dennis vs. Goliath

Rep. Dennis Kucinich talks about winning a big victory for health care reform, grilling Hank Paulson over the Bank of America-Merrill Lynch merger, and the battle against crony capitalism.

Posted on Jul 17, 2009 READ MORE


Cheney
fortunespawn.com

House Committee to Launch CIA Probe

Former Vice President Dick Cheney may have some ’splainin’ to do, and to the House Intelligence Committee at that, when the panel kicks off its investigation into claims that the CIA kept information about a covert counterterrorism program secret from Congress for eight years. Rep. Jan Schakowsky announced the probe Friday.

Posted on Jul 17, 2009 READ MORE


Obama
whitehouse.gov/video/

Obama on Health Care: ‘We Are Going to Get This Done’

Despite rumblings from detractors on both sides of the aisle, President Barack Obama held his ground as he held forth about health care reform in a speech at the White House on Friday afternoon, declaring that he was “absolutely convinced” that substantial changes to the system will be made this year.

Posted on Jul 17, 2009 READ MORE


Harry Potter
Warner Brothers Pictures

Conservative Christians Give Harry Potter Their Blessing

Although the pope and other prominent Christians have registered their disapproval of the Harry Potter franchise in the past, the newest film in the series, “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” is getting glowing reviews from fellow members of their fold. It’s not quite on the level of WWHPD? but some are noting the teenage wand-wielder’s similarities to a certain other powerful young man from a very popular book.

Posted on Jul 17, 2009 READ MORE


Left, Right & Center

‘Left, Right & Center’: Vetting Sotomayor, Sizing Up the GOP

This week’s show includes two Republicans filling in for Tony Blankley—Mike Murphy and John Henke—making this episode more like “Left, Right, Right & Center,” if you will. Robert Scheer joins them to weigh in about the Sotomayor hearings, the future of the GOP and what to do about the health care conundrum, among other lively topics.

Posted on Jul 17, 2009 READ MORE


Cronkite
AP / File

Walter Cronkite, TV’s First Anchor, Dies at 92

One of the news industry’s longest-living legends, Walter Cronkite, died of cerebrovascular disease Friday at the age of 92. Over the course of his storied career as the anchor of CBS News, Cronkite covered some of the biggest events of the 20th century. He himself coined his famous and often-quoted sign-off line: “And that’s the way it is. ... ”

Posted on Jul 17, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / aflcio2008

Democrats Gut Union Bill

Senate Democrats aren’t doing their friends in organized labor any favors. Lawmakers have decided to strip out the basic reform in the proposed Employee Free Choice Act that would make creating unions much easier—the whole point of the bill. But all may not be lost. ...

Posted on Jul 17, 2009 READ MORE



twitter.com/AKGovSarahPalin

Palin Promises to Loosen Her Tongue

The Alaska governor tells her Twitter followers “elected is replaceable;Ak WILL progress! + side benefit=10 dys til less politically correct twitters fly frm my fingertps outside State site.” Palin indicates in a more recent message that later this month she will launch a personal Twitter account for nonstate business and, presumably, more quotes on the nature of quitting.

Posted on Jul 17, 2009 READ MORE


Stewart

The Judgment Days of Sotomayor

Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor avoided a “total meltdown” during her confirmation hearings, even as she underwent a grilling by the likes of Sen. Lindsey Graham, who trotted out a series of scathing anonymous evaluations of Sotomayor by unimpressed attorneys. Clearly, Sen. Graham hasn’t Googled himself lately.

Posted on Jul 17, 2009 READ MORE


Jobs
L.A. Times / Alana Semuels

California Unemployment on the Rise

More bad news on the economy front. California reported Friday that its statewide unemployment rate increased in June, leaving 11.6 percent of Californians without work while shedding 66,500 jobs in only 30 days.

Posted on Jul 17, 2009 READ MORE


Rueda
cnn.com

A Next Step in Mexico’s Drug War

In the next step of the continuing battle between the Mexican government and the country’s powerful drug cartels, 5,500 police and military personnel are being sent to the state of Michoacan, where recent drug-related violence has killed 20 government security agents.

Posted on Jul 17, 2009 READ MORE


Detainee
guardian.co.uk

Detainees vs. Bush

Finally someone is going after George W. Bush for his crimes against the world—it’s just a shame that it’s not the U.S. Congress. An Al-Jazeera journalist imprisoned for six years in Guantanamo is planning joint legal action against the former president.

Posted on Jul 17, 2009 READ MORE


Indonesia Ritz
krithikav.files.wordpress.com

Deadly Explosions Hit Two Indonesian Hotels

The Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels in Jakarta were the targets of two explosions on Friday in the first such attacks in four years. Nine people were killed and 50 injured in blasts that occurred within minutes of each other, according to the Associated Press. “There are indications of suicide bombs,” one official said.

Posted on Jul 16, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / Haldini

China Is Here

The planet’s already on the brink of resource exhaustion and climate catastrophe, and China is 17 times more populous than America was during our industrial era. If we just sit back and celebrate “miracles,” then there’s not going to be much of a world left.

Posted on Jul 17, 2009 READ MORE



Warren I. Cohen on Obama’s Foreign Policy Challenges

The daunting problems Bush’s successor has inherited may prove all but insurmountable as he makes his way through a thicket of difficulties—the nuclear ambitions of authoritarian regimes, the quagmire of Mesopotamia and the persistent bloodletting in Pakistan and Afghanistan, to name only the most prominent. A recent book by David E. Sanger, a longtime foreign affairs correspondent for The New York Times, offers a close-up look at the world Obama confronts.

Posted on Jul 17, 2009 READ MORE


Pedophiles, Witches and Kids

If we have reached the point in society where basic adult concern for children is mistaken for evil, we’re back in Salem, 1692.

Posted on Jul 16, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / Klearchos Kapoutsis

Blame the Midas Touch

If one tries to draw an urgently contemporary lesson from Greek myth, the story of Midas is irresistible. It provides a commentary on our global economic and financial crisis, in which the pursuit of wealth has ruined us.

Posted on Jul 16, 2009 READ MORE


India and Pakistan
AP / Amr Nabil

India Hits Pause on Peace Talks With Pakistan

Last year’s terrorist attacks in Mumbai put extra strain on the already tense relationship between India and Pakistan, and India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has put the kibosh on any neighborly peace talks until the alleged perpetrators are held accountable.

Posted on Jul 16, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT

Killing Time (and People) In Tenn. Bars

There’s a war on guns raging all over the United States ... except in Tennessee. Thanks to American hero/state Sen. Doug Jackson, Tennessee gun owners can now carry concealed weapons into bars to settle their differences over a round of shots. Check out this clip from Wednesday’s “Colbert Report.”

Posted on Jul 16, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT

Sebelius Talks Health Care on ‘The Daily Show’

Jon Stewart interviews Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on health care reform. She’s pushing for a public health care option and looking to change this “unsustainable, unconscionable, unacceptable ” system. Check out this clip from last night’s “Daily Show.”

Posted on Jul 16, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT
Flickr/.faramarz

Iran Covers Up Deaths and Threatens West

In Iran, it is estimated that hundreds more people than Iranian officials have admitted have died in the heavy military crackdowns on election protesters. Meanwhile, President Ahmadinejad has promised to do more cracking down, this time on the West, stating “this nation will strike you in the face so hard you will lose your way home.”

Posted on Jul 16, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT
Flickr / clayirving

China’s Stimulus Lifts Its GDP

Just when we were settling into the idea of a worldwide recession, China has reported its second-quarter growth rate at 7.9 percent. The People’s Republic has issued twice as much in new loans as the U.S. this year and, thanks to a $585 billion stimulus package, confidence and continued strong economic activity reign. However, some experts see problems with the Chinese model down the line.

Posted on Jul 16, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT
AP / Sergey Ponomarev

Another Chechnya Rights Activist Slain

In Chechnya, a renowned human rights activist and outspoken critic of the abuses committed during the Chechen wars was kidnapped and killed Wednesday. Natalya Estemirova’s death has sparked international outrage and marks the second such slaying of a Russian rights activist this year.

Posted on Jul 16, 2009 READ MORE


Darth Cheney [A Cartoon From Germany]

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Posted on Jul 16, 2009 READ MORE


Confirm This

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Posted on Jul 16, 2009 READ MORE


The Silent Education Crisis

The problems we face from kindergarten to 12th grade get regular, if still insufficient, attention. But we rarely confront how badly we’re faring when it comes to educating our people after high school.

Posted on Jul 15, 2009 READ MORE


Stains From the Bush Era Won’t Fade

The legacy of that administration’s anti-terrorism tactics cannot be washed away in a tide of feel-good rhetoric about moving on, nor will it fade eventually if we apply Obama’s spiritual wisdom that this should be a time for “reflection, not retribution.”

Posted on Jul 15, 2009 READ MORE


Sotomayor Enters the D.C. Twilight Zone

The would-be first Latina justice faces a committee with only two women members in order to get confirmed by a Senate with only 17 women for a seat on a court with only one woman. And yet Sotomayor has to prove that she isn’t biased.

Posted on Jul 15, 2009 READ MORE



AP / Susan Walsh

Pelosi’s Toothless ‘Commission’

Congressional leaders are expected to announce a new commission to investigate the causes of America’s financial disaster. But unless the speaker and her colleagues summon much greater courage than they have displayed to date, it will only highlight the failure of the Democrats to live up to their heritage.

Posted on Jul 15, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / Franco Folini

California Sees Red

Looks like Republicans are going to win out in California’s seemingly endless budget battle, despite holding a minority in the state Legislature. The deal lawmakers are inching toward favors Gov. Schwarzenegger’s desire to make the poor, the elderly and schoolchildren pay for the state’s financial crisis.

Posted on Jul 15, 2009 READ MORE


Hillary Clinton
Flickr / Center for American Progress Action Fund

Where Does Hillary Clinton Fit In?

Break one lousy elbow and those gossipy Washington types are ready to pronounce you politically dead. Hillary Clinton has been taking it easy for a month while she recovers, opening the door for scrutiny as to her importance in the Obama administration. There are just so many heavies chirping in the president’s ear, they say. (More after the jump)

Posted on Jul 15, 2009 READ MORE


tony
AP / Sang Tan

Blair for EU President?

Tony Blair has apparently set his sights across the English Channel, as he is a contender to become the first president of the European Union. While he has yet to officially announce his candidacy, the British government has already declared its support for Blair, and he is seen as a front-runner for the position.

Posted on Jul 15, 2009 READ MORE


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