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Jon Hamm

Brother, Can You Spare a Few Billion More?

Those poor, beleaguered health insurance honchos would be totally out to sea without the help of Hollywood’s best and brightest—Jon Hamm, Will Ferrell and Olivia Wilde among them—to launch a dinghy of hope their way in the form of this timely PSA. Down with the public option!

Posted on Sep 22, 2009 READ MORE


Hollywood in Shanghai
AP / Eugene Hoshiko

China at Odds With WTO Over Media Import Rules

It’s not the first time that objections have been raised over the kinds of values promoted, whether explicitly or implicitly, by media products hailing from the general vicinity of Hollywood, but this time the issue concerns a whole country taking on a major international commercial coalition: China and the World Trade Organization, respectively.

Posted on Sep 22, 2009 READ MORE


Obama and Middle Eastern leaders
AP / Charles Dharapak

Mideast Peace Talks Yield Only a Handshake

So much for President Obama’s hopes to make progress in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict this week. After meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Obama had little to show for his time with the two leaders beyond the symbolic level of a tentative handshake to open their discussion at New York’s Waldorf Astoria Hotel.

Posted on Sep 22, 2009 READ MORE


Pentagon
teachersparadise.com

Pentagon Puts a Hold on Troop Increase Request

Although the word is already out that Gen. Stanley McChrystal is about to submit a formal request to the White House to send more American troops to Afghanistan, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that the Pentagon has told McChrystal to wait, perhaps to let the Obama administration reconsider its next move.

Posted on Sep 22, 2009 READ MORE


Obama

Turning the Tide on Climate Change

President Obama held forth about the need to move quickly and “together” on the problem of global warming in a speech Tuesday at the United Nations. “Our prosperity, our health and our safety are in jeopardy and the time we have to reverse this tide is running out—and yet we can reverse it,” he said.

Posted on Sep 22, 2009 READ MORE


Obama: ‘I Was Actually Black Before the Election’

The president showed up on the “Late Show With David Letterman” on Monday (if you broadcast it, he will come) and responded to Jimmy Carter’s speculation that racism is to blame for some of the nasty behavior of his detractors.

Posted on Sep 21, 2009 READ MORE


A Clunker, Not a Cadillac

Finally, a health care proposal George W. Bush could love. Sen. Max Baucus’ idea to tax “Cadillac” insurance plans has been pushed by Republicans for years.

Posted on Sep 21, 2009 READ MORE



U.S. Marine Corps / Sgt. Pete Thibodeau

It Came From Afghanistan

It’s hard to read Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s assessment of the Afghanistan war without hearing one of those horror-movie voices that seems to come from everywhere and nowhere, a voice that grows louder and more insistent with every page: “Get out. Get out. Get out.”

Posted on Sep 21, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / David Boyle

Newspaper Bailout? Maybe, but Don’t Hold Your Breath

President Obama says the kind of journalism done by newspapers is “absolutely critical to the health of our democracy” and he’s “happy to look at” proposals to save “fact-based reporting.” But don’t expect the newspaper-junkie-in-chief to break out the keys to the bailout vault anytime soon.

Posted on Sep 21, 2009 READ MORE



U.S. Air Force / Staff Sgt. Stacy L. Pearsall

Army Puts a Woman in Charge

Women make up just 13 percent of the Army, but one of them now oversees the training of every single drill sergeant. That means she also oversees, by extension, the training of every single soldier.

Posted on Sep 21, 2009 READ MORE


Baucus
stateofthedivision.blogspot.com

Baucus Planning Health Care Bill 2.0

After receiving a less-than-spectacular reception from his congressional colleagues for his health care reform bill last week, Sen. Max Baucus is going back to the drawing board to work on some big changes in an effort to win more of his aforementioned peers to his side. Meanwhile, Sen. Olympia Snowe remains undeclared about his first draft.

Posted on Sep 21, 2009 READ MORE


Michael Schwartz

Sen. Coburn’s Aide: All Pornography Is Gay Pornography

Hey, you can really learn some interesting and revealing stuff at the Values Voter Summit! Take, for example, this startling declaration made Saturday by Michael Schwartz, Sen. Tom Coburn’s chief of staff, about how all pornography is gay and can make viewers gay ... or at least less attentive to their wives.

Posted on Sep 21, 2009 READ MORE


small town flags
Flickr / Sundi_MOZ

‘Rural Brain Drain’ Turns Small Towns Into Ghost Towns

For those die-hard bicoastal types who view much of America’s heartland as flyover territory, the phenomenon of “rural brain drain,” as The Chronicle of Higher Education calls the ongoing migration of younger generations from the country’s small towns, probably doesn’t seem terribly troubling—but the Chronicle makes the case for why this mass exodus may constitute a national crisis.

Posted on Sep 21, 2009 READ MORE


Manuel Zelaya
ABR / Ricardo Stuckert

Ousted Honduran President Makes His Return

After nearly three months in exile, ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya has reportedly returned to his home turf, although his exact whereabouts were unclear Monday. Meanwhile, the U.S. government is still putting pressure on current leader Roberto Micheletti and his camp to restore Zelaya to power.

Posted on Sep 21, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / brewbook

FCC Backs Net Neutrality

Federal Communications Commission Chair Julius Genachowski proposed two rules Monday that would preserve the Internet’s status quo of openness and equality. If the rules are adopted, Internet service providers—including mobile carriers—would be barred from restricting or blocking access to “lawful” content.

Posted on Sep 21, 2009 READ MORE


troops in Afghanistan
Flickr / Army.mil

White House: No News (Yet) on Afghanistan Strategy

Although the Obama administration was well aware of the fact that, by Monday morning, everyone and his cousin knew about Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s warning about “mission failure” in Afghanistan, which the general had issued to the White House as part of a report that found its way into the clutches of Washington Post journalists, there will be no official call for more troops until an equally official request is submitted.

Posted on Sep 21, 2009 READ MORE


AIG sign
visitbulgaria.info

AIG on the Mend?

After narrowly escaping catastrophe during the financial implosion that began last fall, American International Group—otherwise known as AIG—is leveling out, according to a cautiously optimistic new report from Congress’ Government Accountability Office.

Posted on Sep 21, 2009 READ MORE


Following in Your Tank Tracks [A Cartoon From China]

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Posted on Sep 21, 2009 READ MORE


Just for You

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Posted on Sep 21, 2009 READ MORE    


Olympia Snowe
AP / J. Scott Applewhite

Talk of Bipartisanship Is Now Thoroughly Warped

All of the health bills on offer, even the supposedly “liberal” House bill, are already centrist compromises built on a private health insurance market. Above, Olympia Snowe, who may turn out to be the single Senate Republican voting for reform.

Posted on Sep 21, 2009 READ MORE


Obama

Obama on Racist Rhetoric, Health Care Craziness and Rude News

This just in from President Obama: Being rude is the easiest way to get airtime. Well, at least that’s his take on the lows to which public discourse has sunk of late, especially concerning the keenly contentious issue that is health care reform.

Posted on Sep 20, 2009 READ MORE


McChrystal
U.S. Navy / MC1 Molly Burgess

McChrystal’s Report Could Change Obama’s Afghanistan Plan

The situation has changed significantly since President Obama took office last winter and fixed his focus on Afghanistan, and these changes—including a disputed Afghan presidential election and deadly spikes in insurgent violence—may spell trouble for Obama’s initial strategy in that country, according to an assessment issued by Gen. Stanley McChrystal. Updated

Posted on Sep 20, 2009 READ MORE


G-20 protest zone
AP / Gene J. Puskar

Globalization Goes Bankrupt

The rage of the disposed is fracturing the country, dividing it into camps that are unmoored from the political mainstream. Movements are building on the ends of the political spectrum that have lost faith in the mechanisms of democratic change. You can’t blame them. But unless we on the left move quickly, this rage will be captured by a virulent and racist right wing, one that seeks a disturbing proto-fascism. 

Posted on Sep 20, 2009 READ MORE


Gorbachev
AP / Dmitry Lovetsky

Gorbachev on Gorbachev

You’d think that Mikhail Gorbachev, having stood at several key historical junctions in the not-so-distant past, might have a few thoughts about his time in office and the turns of events that happened since—and Soviet Russia’s last leader does.

Posted on Sep 20, 2009 READ MORE


Barack Obama
White House / Pete Souza

Obama Won’t Buckle Under on Torture Inquiry

Seven former heads of the CIA formally requested that President Obama halt an ongoing inquiry into suspect abuse (aka torture) by the agency, arguing that important CIA work would be hampered by such an investigation. Obama didn’t bite, claiming that “nobody’s above the law.” Except George W. Bush, it seems.

Posted on Sep 20, 2009 READ MORE


Iran
wordpress.com

Iran’s Soccer Censorship

As protests in Iran continue, the extent to which the government will go to silence dissent has sunk to even further depths of ridiculousness. Protesters at a Tehran soccer match chanted and waved green banners, to which government censors responded by delaying the telecast of the game and editing out the crowd noise and close-ups.

Posted on Sep 20, 2009 READ MORE


Truthdig editors

Truthdig’s Editorial Roundtable

Truthdig editors Robert Scheer, Peter Scheer and Kasia Anderson give their takes on their picks from the week’s crop of news stories, including the rise of radical rhetoric on the right, Obama’s so-called socialism (for Wall Street) and how to shop for new planets to call our future home.

Posted on Sep 19, 2009 READ MORE



AP / Ben Curtis

Protest Returns to Iran

Protest returned to the streets of Iran Friday after an annual rally in support of the Palestinian cause turned into a massive demonstration against the government and the disputed presidential election three months ago.

Posted on Sep 19, 2009 READ MORE


Rush Limbaugh
politicsandfunk.com

Limbaugh: His ‘Call for Segregation’ Was Made in Jest

Conservative radio behemoth Rush Limbaugh took to the airwaves Friday to refute reports that he had called for racial segregation the previous day while commenting on a school bus brawl between black and white teenagers. Limbaugh argued that he had been joking and that liberals with “no sense of humor” had recast his sarcastic riff in a literal light.

Posted on Sep 18, 2009 READ MORE


Left, Right & Center

‘Left, Right & Center’: Baucus, Beck, Missiles and Money

Russia might be pleased with President Obama’s decision to nix Bush’s missile shield plans, but how about Eastern Europe? Meanwhile, Sen. Max Baucus’ health care reform plan foundered, and Obama made a play to get through to the powers on Wall Street. All this—plus the Glenn Becking of American political discourse—is part of this week’s discussion on “Left, Right & Center.”

Posted on Sep 18, 2009 READ MORE


Eric Holder
theblacksentinel.wordpress.com

Ex-CIA Heads Ask Obama to Drop Interrogation Investigation

Attorney General Eric Holder may be convinced that he should go forward with his probe into the interrogation techniques used on terror suspects by CIA agents during the Bush II era, but seven former directors of the intelligence agency disagree—and they’re asking Holder’s boss, President Barack Obama, to intervene.

Posted on Sep 18, 2009 READ MORE


U.S. and Israeli flags

Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process Stopped in Its Tracks?

Although the Obama administration, in particular Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, is maintaining a cautiously positive stance about the current state of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, there doesn’t seem to be much progress on that front—which, as Al Jazeera English points out in this report, might have to do with all involved parties driving a hard-line approach.

Posted on Sep 18, 2009 READ MORE


Lethal Injection Gurney
Arizona Department of Corrections

Botched Execution Gives Chance for Testimony

The failed attempt to execute an Ohio man has given new impetus to a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of lethal injection in the state. Technicians were unable to kill Romell Broom on Tuesday, and now a judge is ordering Broom be deposed in the federal lawsuit, a day before the executioners are to try again.

Posted on Sep 18, 2009 READ MORE



AP / Hasan Sarbakhshian

Secret Report Says Iran Could Build a Bomb

Let’s see how the cable news channels cover this one: A “secret report” by the International Atomic Energy Agency suggests that Iran has “sufficient information” to make a nuclear weapon and has “probably tested” a key component, but the agency admits it has no hard evidence of a warhead program in Iran.

Posted on Sep 18, 2009 READ MORE



Flick / MeetTheCrazies

Where Did All These Marchers Come From?

Josh Silver from FreePress.net joined us to discuss the Glenn Beck phenomenon, Obama’s health care plan and our country’s dependence on for-profit media.

Posted on Sep 17, 2009 READ MORE



Flick / MeetTheCrazies

Where Did All These Marchers Come From?

Josh Silver from FreePress.net joins us to discuss the Glenn Beck phenomenon, Obama’s health care plan and our country’s dependence on for-profit media.

Posted on Sep 18, 2009 READ MORE


book cover

Joel Kotkin on California’s Golden Age

Kevin Starr’s newest volume in his magisterial series on California examines the dream of endless prosperity that was, for a time, synonymous with the American dream.

Posted on Sep 18, 2009 READ MORE


Moby-Dick
tower.com

Google Teams Up With Speedy Bookmaker

Bibliophiles who can’t warm up to the idea of curling up with an e-reader or a laptop instead of a bona fide book may be heartened to hear that Google just took a significant step in the direction of making more book titles available on short notice—in the offline world.

Posted on Sep 17, 2009 READ MORE


Selective Deficit Disorder

When President Bush vastly expanded the deficit with his massive tax cuts for the wealthy, where were the conservative organizations that recently marched on Washington?

Posted on Sep 17, 2009 READ MORE


Jimmy Carter Is Right

President Obama has to give even his most vocal critics the benefit of the doubt. But I don’t. There’s a particularly nasty edge to some of Obama’s detractors that is difficult to explain in terms other than racism.

Posted on Sep 17, 2009 READ MORE



senate.gov

Did Somebody Spike Sen. Grassley’s Ovaltine?

If you haven’t been following Sen. Chuck Grassley’s psychodrama, here are the recent developments. The Republican who personally delayed a health care reform has pretty much decided not to vote for any bill, even if he likes it, and is now offended that the president had the audacity to quote him accurately.

Posted on Sep 17, 2009 READ MORE



White House / Chuck Kennedy

Massachusetts Close to Replacing Kennedy With a Temp

Democrats would like an interim senator to fill Ted Kennedy’s shoes until a January election provides a more permanent solution, and the Massachusetts House of Representatives on Thursday agreed to give Gov. Deval Patrick the power to appoint just such a person.

Posted on Sep 17, 2009 READ MORE


dinosaur
bbc.co.uk

T. Rex in Miniature

The going theory about the Tyrannosaurus rex, in case you didn’t know, had been until very recently that this famous mega-dinosaur sported stumpy little arms as an evolutionary adaptation related to its jumbo body size. Then a fossil of Raptorex kriegsteini—perhaps 1/100th the size of T. rex, its descendant—came along and upended that notion with its own disproportionately puny forelimbs.

Posted on Sep 17, 2009 READ MORE


Carter

Carter Sticks to His Guns, Repeats Racism Charge

Although Barack Obama himself apparently disagrees with Jimmy Carter’s assessment that some of the vitriol recently directed at the president is propelled by racism, Carter reiterated and expanded upon his claim during a town hall meeting Wednesday night at Atlanta’s Emory University.

Posted on Sep 17, 2009 READ MORE



U.S. Navy

Obama Punts Missile Shield, Russians Dance the Kalinka

Add this to the oft-forgotten list of things progressives can celebrate about the president: Obama’s decision to postpone the deployment of a missile shield in Eastern Europe has possibly averted a new arms race with Russia.

Posted on Sep 17, 2009 READ MORE


Bill O'Reilly

Bill O’Reilly Wants a Public Option

Bill O’Reilly says of the very public option that makes his Foxy friends’ heads explode: “I want that. ... [I]f the government can cobble together a cheaper insurance policy that gives the same benefits, I see that as a plus for the folks.” Quick, look out your window to see the flying pigs.

Posted on Sep 17, 2009 READ MORE


soldiers in Afghanistan
Flickr/Army.mil

Yet Another Reason Why War in Afghanistan Is a Bad Idea

Numerous historical examples have demonstrated that attempting to go to war in Afghanistan isn’t really the best plan, what with the tricky geography and all, yet here we are, eight years into just that very scenario. Along with the landscape-oriented issues, The Wall Street Journal has noted yet another reason that this war is dragging on without a clear end in sight.

Posted on Sep 17, 2009 READ MORE


Bear Ice Cap
polarice.com

Investors Against Climate Change

We normally think of capitalists as ravaging the Earth with profit in their eyes. While that still might be true, 181 of the world’s largest investors have issued a united call for action against climate change, most importantly a binding treaty to cut pollution and boost funding for low-carbon technologies.

Posted on Sep 17, 2009 READ MORE


Clinging to Civility

For me, the real Obama moment of this back-to-work season wasn’t the speech before Congress or Wall Street. It was in the Virginia schoolhouse when a ninth-grader asked him a question that had nothing and everything to do with his presidency.

Posted on Sep 16, 2009 READ MORE


Testing the Obama Effect

President Obama was the first Democrat to win Virginia’s electoral votes since 1964, and his drop in the polls has already had a powerful influence on the direction of this year’s contest for governor.

Posted on Sep 16, 2009 READ MORE


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