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While America Aged

While America Aged

By Roger Lowenstein
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MJ star
Flickr/wyteone

L.A. Taxpayers Hit With MJ Memorial Bill

When the Los Angeles Lakers won the NBA championship in June, the team and private donors paid the $2 million tab for the victory celebration. The same can’t be said for Michael Jackson’s July 7 public memorial at Staples Center, unfortunately.

Posted on Jul 9, 2009 READ MORE


Welcome to Maine
Flickr/Phil Romans

Gay Marriage Hits a Snag in Maine

Having enlisted the same PR firm, Schubert Flint Public Affairs, that handled the publicity behind the pro-Proposition 8 push in California last fall, opponents of gay marriage claim to have amassed enough signatures to prevent a new law recognizing same-sex nuptials from taking effect on Sept. 12. A referendum on the issue would be held in November. Back to the voting booth, Mainers.

Posted on Jul 9, 2009 READ MORE



USAF / Staff Sgt. Samuel Bendet

Netherlands to Return Artifacts to Iraq

Dutch art dealers have surrendered 69 artifacts that were stolen from Iraq following the U.S. invasion. The ancient objects will remain in the Netherlands until they can be returned to Iraq. In addition to losing 15,000 treasures stolen from Iraq’s national museum, the country has had to contend with rampant looting since the 2003 invasion.

Posted on Jul 9, 2009 READ MORE


Storm

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Inspiration

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cia.gov

CIA ‘Lied’ to Congress

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Silvestre Reyes wrote that his panel “has been misled, has not been provided full and complete notifications, and (in at least one occasion) was affirmatively lied to” by the CIA. The committee learned of the matter in the secret testimony of CIA Director Leon Panetta, who revealed that the agency he just inherited has been deceiving Congress since 2001.

Posted on Jul 9, 2009 READ MORE


Iran protest
AP photo

Protesters Venture Out in Tehran

The crowds that emerged in Tehran on Thursday to once again contest the recent national election numbered only in the low thousands, but the first mass protest in 11 days demonstrated that the postelection unrest has yet to be resolved in Iran.

Posted on Jul 9, 2009 READ MORE


Kabul blast
AP photo

Explosives-Laden Truck Detonates, Kills 25 in Afghanistan

An overturned truck filled with timber and, it turned out, explosives blew up early Thursday morning in Logar province, Afghanistan, killing 25 people. Thirteen of the victims were children on their way to school, according to the Associated Press.

Posted on Jul 9, 2009 READ MORE



AP photo / Philippe Wojazer, pool

Does Obama Have a Friend in the Vatican?

When Obama meets with Benedict XVI on Friday, there will be no right-wing Catholic demonstrators upbraiding the pontiff for conferring the church’s legitimacy upon this liberal politician. In fact, when it comes to economics, this conservative pope is to the left of the president.

Posted on Jul 9, 2009 READ MORE


Party of Franken, Party of Palin

Al Franken left showbiz to prove himself a serious policy wonk as well as a devoted family man; Sarah Palin transformed herself and her family into a reality television show. Their long, odd trips reflect the journeys of their respective parties.

Posted on Jul 8, 2009 READ MORE


The Unemployed Will Roar

There’s a lot of argument in Washington about the economy, but if anyone’s looking for some clear voices, there are 650,000 of them just waiting to be heard. That is roughly the number of long-term unemployed who will begin losing their jobless benefits in September.

Posted on Jul 8, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / otodo

G8 Leaders Agree to Limit Their Hot Air

G8 summit participants have all agreed to cut carbon emissions by 80 percent over the next four decades. Enough to keep Florida above water? The world leaders involved have to keep their promises first, as do successive governments over the next 41 years. Then there are the developing nations that could just absorb all that outsourced pollution. Nice start, though.

Posted on Jul 8, 2009 READ MORE


Time for a Second Revolution?

Hold on to your latte, there are some seriously pissed-off white Americans out there who are not happy with the way things are going—and they’re armed. Truthdig’s Chris Hedges leads this tour of “Americana: The 2nd Revolutionary War.”

Posted on Jul 8, 2009 READ MORE



twitter.com/AKGovSarahPalin

Sarah Palin Gets Philosophical

We’ve been following Sarah Palin on Twitter and so far we’ve been rewarded with a lot of boring dispatches about the Iditarod, the “Labor Commish” and those dreamy smoke jumpers. But the fickle Alaska governor dropped a couple of quotes on us Wednesday that make it pretty clear she sees herself as a conscientious iconoclast willing to “sacrifice to win.”

Posted on Jul 8, 2009 READ MORE


Two Standards of Detention

Nonviolent activists and Muslims are held in draconian conditions, while the man charged with killing Dr. George Tiller trumpets from jail the extreme anti-abortion movement’s campaign of intimidation, vandalism, arson and murder.

Posted on Jul 8, 2009 READ MORE


Stadium Strike
cbsnews.com

S. African Strike Threatens World Cup

Talk about a trump card. The 2010 World Cup in South Africa is set to be a momentous occasion for the country to show itself off to the world. But a strike by 70,000 construction workers demanding pay increases has halted work on the stadiums being built for the tournament.

Posted on Jul 8, 2009 READ MORE


British Defense Minister
daylife.com

Real Talk on Afghanistan

At a time when many think of the current war in Afghanistan as something that can be fixed by a surge in troop levels, Britain’s new defense secretary drops some incredibly real talk to explain to the U.K. public that “more lives will be lost” and “the situation ... is not yet decided.”

Posted on Jul 8, 2009 READ MORE


Benedict XVI
highvolumemedia.com

Pope Says Capitalism Is Failing

In the spirit of the poignant critiques of capitalism made popular by Pope John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI has written a scathing letter just in time for the capitalist G-8 economic summit in Italy that demands we find a “profoundly new way of understanding business enterprise.”

Posted on Jul 8, 2009 READ MORE


Progressives Flex Health Care Muscle

The progressive Democrats in Congress have had just about enough of all this bipartisanship, especially if it means scrapping a public health care plan. Rahm Emanuel recanted his hint of compromise to a room full of hopping-mad House liberals Tuesday night. Earlier, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid made it clear that losing a public option was a deal-breaker for 10 to 15 Senate Democrats.

Posted on Jul 8, 2009 READ MORE


McNamara and Johnson
AP photo

McNamara’s Evil Lives On

It was the stark evil Robert McNamara perpetrated as secretary of defense that must indelibly frame our memory of him. To not speak out fully because of respect for the deceased would be to mock the memory of the millions he caused to be maimed and killed in a war that he later freely admitted never made any sense.

Posted on Jul 8, 2009 READ MORE


Day Job

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Winners

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Original: Flickr / nos_inventory

Google Gives Microsoft a New Reason to Lose Sleep

Google’s inexorable drive toward world domination took a major leap forward Tuesday when the company unveiled plans to build its own operating system. Google says it is designing the long-rumored OS, called Google Chrome OS, “to be fast and lightweight, to start up and get you onto the Web in a few seconds.” Wouldn’t that be nice?

Posted on Jul 8, 2009 READ MORE


Palin the Pretender

What fans loved about Sarah Palin was her perceived authenticity. She was repeatedly described as “real.” But now it appears she doesn’t really know who she is. Or what she wants.

Posted on Jul 8, 2009 READ MORE


gonzales
AP photo / Ron Edmonds

Gonzales’ New Gig

Seems like even those Bushies who didn’t manage to make it to the end of the W. age with their political reputations intact are popping up with brand new jobs; take, for example, former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, who’s slated to teach a political science course at Texas Tech University this fall.

Posted on Jul 7, 2009 READ MORE


Baldwin
hollywoodgrind.com

Alec Baldwin Considering Congressional Bid

After the likes of Ronald Reagan, Sonny Bono and Al Franken, Alec Baldwin’s (still tentative) musings about taking up the celebrity-politician mantle carry a certain sense of dramatic inevitability. The “30 Rock” star may play a Republican on TV but leans to the left in his offscreen life.

Posted on Jul 7, 2009 READ MORE


Barack Obama
White House / Pete Souza

Obama Still Backs Public Option

Rahm Emanuel may think his boss is open to alternatives, but the president released a statement Tuesday reaffirming his support for government-run health care. A separate e-mail from Obama’s permanent campaign, Organizing for America, urged supporters to write their local newspapers and lobby for health care reform that includes “the choice of a robust public insurance option.”

Posted on Jul 7, 2009 READ MORE


Palin
AP photo / Dan Joling

Palin Sticks to the Script

Having startled allies and detractors alike with her resignation announcement last Friday, Alaska Gov. (for now) Sarah Palin got back to work Tuesday, signing a bill, doing a little Eskimo dancing and deflecting questions about her political plans.

Posted on Jul 7, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / TheeErin

Homeland Insecurity: Bombs in Government Buildings

In the last year, government investigators were able to take explosives into federal buildings, build bombs there and then waltz around unmolested.
The Departments of Homeland Security, Justice and State were all infiltrated, as well as the offices of two members of Congress.

Posted on Jul 7, 2009 READ MORE



AP photo / Hadi Mizban

So This Is What Victory Looks Like?

It is wishful thinking to believe that the Iraqi military will be able to hold the ruins of Iraqi society together without major U.S. intervention. The United States has assumed the role of Saddam’s Special Republican Guard, waiting to be called in to crush any sign of rebellion or insurrection. It’s a lose-lose situation with only one way out.

Posted on Jul 7, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT
Flickr/art makes me smile

Only Voluntary Gitmo Statements Valid, Justice Dept. Says

A Justice Department official told a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Tuesday that only voluntary statements made by terrorism suspects detained in Guantanamo Bay should be used as evidence during their military trials. This means whatever they said under harsh interrogation should not be regarded as fact. The hearing concerned legislation about the use of statements obtained through harsh interrogation.

Posted on Jul 7, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT

George W. Bush Is Packin’ Serious Heat

Fun fact about Good Ol’ Dubya: Our former president has been hanging on to the heat of his one-time nemesis—Saddam Hussein’s 9-millimeter Glock 18C. According to The New York Times, it may be one of the many classy artifacts to be displayed in the George W. Bush Presidential Library, set to open in 2013 in Dallas.

Posted on Jul 7, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT
Flickr / .faramarz

Iran Opposition Locks Arms Against Crackdown

On Tuesday, Iran’s three leading opposition candidates formed a unified front to demand an end to the government’s harsh crackdown on protesters and the release of all those detained. Meanwhile, in a radio interview, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad thanked Iranians for re-electing him and promised to “dedicate [his] entire existence to serving the people.”

Posted on Jul 7, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT
Flickr / wha'ppen

Costa Rica: The Happiest Place on Earth

The New Economics Foundation released its new report ranking countries according to their levels of happiness, life expectancy and their ecological footprint. According to the study, Costa Rica is the happiest place in the world, while the U.S.—surprise, surprise—is less green and less happy than it was 20 years ago.

Posted on Jul 7, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT

Meet the Uighurs

On Tuesday’s “Democracy Now!” broadcast, Amy Goodman interviews Nury Turkel, an Uighur-American attorney and co-founder of the Uighur Human Rights Project. Get to know the Uighurs and their struggle in China.

Posted on Jul 7, 2009 READ MORE



AP photo / Carolyn Kaster

Sexism and Sarah Palin

Marie Cocco writes that Sarah Palin’s “intellectual emptiness” and “demonstrably poor judgment” should not excuse the “sexist cant that Palin ... has been subjected to since she burst onto the national scene.” Eugene Robinson, however, finds that the fear of “being painted as elitist and sexist” has perpetuated the myth that Palin is “a substantial figure whose presence on the national stage is anything but a cruel, unfunny joke.” Read on and decide for yourself.

Posted on Jul 7, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / Paul Keleher

Public Option in Critical Condition

President Obama and most Democrats see a government-run health plan that competes with private insurers as vital to real health care reform, but a veto- and filibuster-proof majority just ain’t what it used to be. In the face of a massive lobbying effort, the White House has indicated a willingness to shelve the public option.

Posted on Jul 7, 2009 READ MORE


Don’t Cry for Me, Alaska

What can you say about an ambitious politician who says that “life is too short” to worry about, you know, boring things such as responsibility or duty? You can say that all of us who ever took Sarah Palin seriously—or pretended to take her seriously—should be deeply ashamed.

Posted on Jul 7, 2009 READ MORE


A Trashing as Old as Suffrage

None of Sarah Palin’s numerous shortcomings excuse the sexist cant that she, like Hillary Clinton before her, has been subjected to since she burst onto the national scene.

Posted on Jul 7, 2009 READ MORE


Franken

Franken Takes On New Role in D.C.

Following his arrival on Capitol Hill on Monday, Al Franken downplayed his status as the winner of the 60th Democratic seat in the U.S. Senate and emphasized what his Minnesota constituents need their “second senator” to accomplish.

Posted on Jul 6, 2009 READ MORE


Id Kah
Wikimedia Commons / Colegota

Tense Times in Western China

Monday brought more news of unrest in China’s Xinjiang region following Sunday’s bloodshed in Urumqi—this time in the city of Kashgar, where police reportedly broke up about 200 people assembling near the Id Kah mosque in the city’s center.

Posted on Jul 6, 2009 READ MORE



White House / Sharon Farmer

Friends Don’t Let Friends Bomb Iran

Whatever their private discussions, the governing administrations of the United States and Israel are engaged in a public back and forth that ought to give one pause. It all started when Vice President Biden said “Israel can determine for itself” whether to bomb Iran.

Posted on Jul 6, 2009 READ MORE


King

Rep. Peter King Slams Media’s MJ Mania, Intensifies Mania in So Doing

Any salient points that hard-boiled Long Island Congressman Peter King made about the media’s Michael Jackson fixation were, for one, overshadowed by his descriptions of Jackson as a “low-life” and a “pedophile,” and also apparently lost on certain mainstream media outlets.

Posted on Jul 6, 2009 READ MORE


Robert McNamara

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My First Recession [A Cartoon From Australia]

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ENTER_ALT_TEXT
Flick/jeffandmandyg

Government Insiders Lobbying for Health Care Companies

According to The Washington Post, the U.S. health care industry has hired over 350 ex-government officials and ex-members of Congress to influence their former colleagues in the debate over health care reform. The newspaper’s report says three out of every four major health care companies employ at least one government insider and an estimated $1.4 million is spent daily on lobbying efforts by the health care industry.

Posted on Jul 6, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT

A Bloody Crackdown in China

It is now estimated that at least 156 people have been killed, more than 800 injured and some 700 arrested as the Chinese government cracks down on protesters who are demanding justification for the death of two Uighur workers in restive Xinjiang province. Here is some video footage of the protests taking place.

Posted on Jul 6, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT
AP photo / John Rous

Remembering McNamara

Once again we were in a briefing on body counts, and he was in charge with the latest figures, and once again, any personal responsibility for the deaths seemed to elude him. Finally one understands the desperate shrillness of the anti-war movement, as an attempt to tug at the arm if not the inaccessible soul of this impervious man.

Posted on Jul 6, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT
John F. Kennedy Presidential Library

Robert McNamara Dies

Former Defense Secretary Robert McNamara died Monday at the age of 93. McNamara was considered to be the leading architect of U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War, sometimes referred to as “McNamara’s War,” which left more than 58,000 U.S. troops and 3 million Vietnamese military and civilians dead.

Posted on Jul 6, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT
Flickr/.faramarz

Iran Bristles as Sarkozy Gets In a Zinger

After crackdowns, deaths and the detention of 1,000 protesters and nine British Embassy employees, Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei has warned the West of the power of the “united fist” of the Iranian people if it continues criticizing the Iranian election results. The announcement came after French firecracker President Nicolas Sarkozy said Monday: “Really, the Iranian people deserve better than the leaders they have today.”

Posted on Jul 6, 2009 READ MORE


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