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Obama hugs
AP photo / Alex Brandon

Obama Gives Health Plan a Town-Hall Pitch

While Congress was away, President Obama made another play to boost public support of his health care reform plan. It came Wednesday in a town-hall-esque forum in Virginia. Those hoping for the federal government to back a viable single-payer system, however, will have to keep on hoping.

Posted on Jul 1, 2009 READ MORE


no smoking
blogs.citypages.com

If the Cigarettes Don’t Get You, the Meds Might

As if quitting smoking wasn’t hard enough: The FDA is slapping mental health warnings on varenicline and buproprion, two drugs commonly prescribed to help smokers ditch their “cancer sticks,” as both medications may cause serious neuropsychiatric problems and could even provoke suicidal behavior among users.

Posted on Jul 1, 2009 READ MORE


Mark Sanford
thenewliberator.wordpress.com

South Carolina GOP Souring on Sanford

Despite Gov. Mark Sanford’s public mea culpas and hopeful Scriptural references, it seems that several prominent figures from South Carolina’s Republican ranks are putting the heat on him to devote himself fully to his family—and we all know what that political parlance means.

Posted on Jul 1, 2009 READ MORE


Schwarzenegger
U.S. Army / Staff Sgt. Jim Greenhill

Schwarzenegger Won’t Budge as California Nears Collapse

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed a Democratic proposal to cut $11.4 billion in spending, saying that “the Legislature must solve the entire [$27 billion] deficit ... and must not push the problem off to tomorrow.” With IOUs now a certainty and the state in financial ruin, a prominent Democrat called the governor’s stance “the most irresponsible thing that I’ve seen in my 15 years of public service.”

Posted on Jul 1, 2009 READ MORE


Praying
blogspot.com

Honduran Coup Leaders Stand Defiant

The Honduran coup leaders are showing their bravado. Said hombres have defied an international deadline to return democratically elected President Manuel Zelaya to power within 72 hours, doubling down on their swagger with a quip that “only a foreign invasion could reinstate him.”

Posted on Jul 1, 2009 READ MORE


Police
typepad.com

No Firings in LAPD’s May Day Brutality

A Los Angeles police review panel comprised mostly of cops has refused to fire any of the officers involved in the 2007 May Day brutality in MacArthur Park. The city shelled out $13 million in settlements because of the melee, but the worst punishment handed down was a 20-day suspension for one cop.

Posted on Jul 1, 2009 READ MORE


Wal-Mart
cnbc.com

Playing Publicity With Health Care?

SEIU President Andrew Stern and Wal-Mart have joined forces, breaking with most other companies to support President Obama’s plan requiring employers to provide health insurance to workers. The thing often forgotten is Wal-Mart’s horrible record on health care and its current move to make about 40 percent of its employees part-time and thus ineligible for benefits.

Posted on Jul 1, 2009 READ MORE


Still Selling

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Posted on Jul 1, 2009 READ MORE


Welcome to the Next 150 Years

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Posted on Jul 1, 2009 READ MORE



AP photo / Louis Lanzano

The Root of Madoff’s Evil

Bernard Madoff should be exhibit A in why the dark world of totally unregulated private money managers and hedge funds should be opened to the light of systematic government supervision. Instead, he is being treated as an aberrant menace.

Posted on Jul 1, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / TheGiantVermin

FDA Experts Recommend Pain Drug Ban

The Food and Drug Administration’s expert panel has recommended the agency ban Vicodin and Percocet. Both drugs contain acetaminophen, which is known to cause liver damage. The panel also recommended reducing the standard doses of over-the-counter acetaminophen products, such as Tylenol.

Posted on Jul 1, 2009 READ MORE


U.S. Troops Leave Iraqi Cities, but Unsettled Issues Remain

Now that American troops are withdrawing from the cities of Iraq, the calculation must begin as to whether the loss of some half-million to million lives and the ruin of the infrastructure and social structure of Baghdad and much of the rest of the Iraqi nation have served some good purpose.

Posted on Jun 30, 2009 READ MORE


Undo the Coup

The first coup d’etat in Central America in more than a quarter-century occurred last Sunday in Honduras. It was led by a graduate of the U.S. Army’s School of the Americas, a military facility that has trained some of Latin America’s worst torturers, murderers and human rights abusers.

Posted on Jun 30, 2009 READ MORE


Al Franken
U.S. Air Force / S. Sgt. Maria L. Taylor

Dems Make Franken a Player

Al Franken won’t officially be a U.S. senator until next week, but he’s set to make a big impact, and not just because he gives his party that 60th seat. Senate Democrats have reserved four committee spots for Franken, two of which will make him a key participant in health care reform and the confirmation of President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee.

Posted on Jun 30, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT
Flickr / ho visto nina volare's

Pina Bausch, 1940-2009

The renowned German choreographer Pina Bausch has died. The death of the artist, a revolutionary figure in dance, comes as a great loss to both the world of dance and the international arts community. “Pina Bausch continually pushed the boundaries of what we call dance,” said John Neumeier, director of the Hamburg Ballet. “I simply cannot imagine a successor. ... ”

Posted on Jun 30, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT

Classic Coups, Cloaks and Daggers

Honduran President Manuel Zelaya was ousted in his pajamas in a 1980s-style coup, while the CIA has begun recruiting laid-off Wall Street financial analysts to screw up other economies. Check out Jon Stewart’s take on things in this clip from Monday night’s “Daily Show.”

Posted on Jun 30, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT
commons.wikimedia.org / Jonathunder

That’s Senator Al Franken to You

At long last, the Minnesota Supreme Court has declared Al Franken the victor in the state’s remarkably tight and seemingly endless U.S. Senate race. The comedian-turned-politician won the almost eight-month-long battle against Republican incumbent Norm Coleman, who conceded Tuesday, by 312 votes, giving the Democrats a filibuster-proof 60-seat majority in the Senate to add to their comfortable advantage in the House.

Posted on Jun 30, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT
AP photo / Emad Matti

20 Killed in Kirkuk Suicide Bombing

A car bomb killed at least 20 people and wounded 40 in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk on Tuesday. The bombing comes on the heels of national celebrations marking U.S. troops’ pullback from Iraq’s cities and towns, and just a week after another suicide attack left 80 people dead in Taza Khurmatu, just south of Kirkuk.

Posted on Jun 30, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT

Bethany McLean on Madoff

Amy Goodman talks with Bethany McLean, pictured, a contributing editor at Vanity Fair and one of the journalists responsible for exposing the Enron scandal in 2001, about Bernie Madoff and what his 150-year sentence means on Wall Street. Check out this clip from Tuesday’s “Democracy Now!”

Posted on Jun 30, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT
Flickr / freegazaorg

Israel Seizes Aid Ship to Gaza

The Israeli navy has seized a boat carrying 20 peace activists trying to deliver food, medicine and school supplies to the Gaza Strip. The trip was carried out by the Free Gaza Movement in defiance of Israel’s blockade of Gaza, in place since Hamas took control of the area in 2007.

Posted on Jun 30, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT
pornfilmfestivalberlin.de

China’s Porn Filter on Hold

After facing loads of criticism at home and abroad, China is delaying a rule on the mandatory installation of anti-porn and anti-violence software on all new computers sold. Many have found problems with the software, claiming it blocks sensitive political sites and opens computers to government surveillance and hackers.

Posted on Jun 30, 2009 READ MORE


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


ENTER_ALT_TEXT
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


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