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Ethiopian Soldier
flickr.com

Ethiopian Troops Enter Somalia

The Ethiopian army has crossed into Somalia as tensions build between the transitional Somali government and the Islamic militia that controls Mogadishu.

Posted on Jul 20, 2006 READ MORE


Bush Breaks Bread With NAACP

Bush spoke to the NAACP?s annual convention for the first time during his presidency.  His speech drew both applause and silence as he addressed the group he has avoided for five years.

Posted on Jul 20, 2006 READ MORE


casting an election ballot
iwight.com

Election Protection

What good is a democracy without fair and clean elections?  In this piece for Tom Paine, Art Levine looks ahead to the November vote, and explains ways concerned Americans can protect it.

Posted on Jul 20, 2006 READ MORE


Brits and Bush Divided on Lebanon

According to The Times (of London), British officials dispute the effectiveness of Israel?s bombing campaign and warn of a potential backlash.

Posted on Jul 20, 2006 READ MORE


Some Religious Fanatics Joyous Over Middle East Violence

Apparently some religious fanatics see the Rapture as a silver lining to the current turmoil in the Middle East and can barely contain their joy. Read some truly frightening messages posted to a Rapture Ready/End Times message board. (Harpers via BoingBoing.net)

Posted on Jul 20, 2006 READ MORE


Lamont in a Dead Heat With Lieberman

Connecticut businessman and teacher Ned Lamont has pulled into a dead heat with Sen. Joe Lieberman, according to a Quinnipiac poll.
That is unbelievable momentum, and should erase any doubt about Lamont’s viability.

Posted on Jul 20, 2006 READ MORE


Annan: Hostilities Between Israel and Hezbollah Must Stop

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan demanded a cease-fire while also condemning Hezbollah and attacking Israel for “excessive use of force.” The European Union made similar demands for a cessation of violence and pledged 10 million euros in aid. Bombed-out roads in southern Lebanon are hampering aid efforts.

Posted on Jul 20, 2006 READ MORE


Molly Ivins: In Politics, Comedy and Tragedy

George Bush at the G8, Katherine Harris in Florida,  Joe Lieberman in Connecticut, Ralph Reed in Georgia, and good old Tom DeLay in the grand state of Texas ...  so bad they’re almost funny.

Posted on Jul 20, 2006 READ MORE


Ellen Goodman: Putting a Wedge Between the Right and Loony Right

The columnist says Bush’s veto of the stem cell bill has set him apart from his colleagues in the GOP and put him squarely in the ranks of the loony right. She also takes on a range of other “wedge issues” that have proved so divisive as to end up dividing even the staunchest conservatives.

Posted on Jul 20, 2006 READ MORE


Iraqi PM Condemns Israel

In yet another awkward turn of events for the Bush administration, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki denounced Israel’s actions in Lebanon.

Posted on Jul 19, 2006 READ MORE


Joe Conason: Middle East Crisis Blows Up Bush’s Illusions

The recent bloodshed in Israel, Lebanon and Iraq is a tough lesson in “what happens when the leadership of ‘the indispensable nation’ takes a mental vacation.”

Posted on Jul 19, 2006 READ MORE


Lebanon “Torn to Shreds”

Fouad Siniora, the Lebanese prime minister, called for an immediate cease-fire between Israel and Hezbollah and announced that more than 300 people had been killed in his country during the week of attacks. Twenty-nine Israelis have been killed since the fighting began.

Posted on Jul 19, 2006 READ MORE


Does Al Qaeda in Iraq Have a Leader?

According to a prominent Cairo lawyer, the man identified by the U.S. as the leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq has been in an Egyptian prison for seven years. More details from the BBC on this murky story.

Posted on Jul 19, 2006 READ MORE


Paying for Being Poor

A new study by the Brookings Institution found that the urban poor pay hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars a year in extra costs for necessities, such as car insurance, home appliances, banking fees and other basics. (NYT link)

Posted on Jul 19, 2006 READ MORE


stemcell image

Bush Vetoes Stem Cell Bill

Its official.  In his first use of the veto, the president has refused to sign H.R. 810, or ғthe Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2005.  According to Bush, ԓHuman beings are not a raw material to be exploited or a commodity to be bought or sold. The bill, which passed the Senate just shy of the two-thirds majority needed to override a veto, would undo funding limits imposed by the administration in 2001.

  • The silver lining here might be the impact of this on the midterm elections.  Check out the roll call on Daily Kos.

  • Posted on Jul 19, 2006 READ MORE


    Foreign Companies Buy U.S. Roads

    U.S. roads and bridges paid for by American taxpayers are being sold to companies abroad. Selling roads and bridges to private companies provides states with extra cash in the short term, but as Indiana’s House Democratic leader has argued, these deals are shortsighted taxpayer rip-offs that funnel long-term profits to foreign coffers. (h/t AmericaBlog)

    Posted on Jul 19, 2006 READ MORE


    Colbert with The Word

    Colbert Skewers Ploy Against Unions

    Pseudo-pundit Stephen Colbert uses his nightly “The Word” segment to satirize labor relations.  The word is solidarity, “as in me and all my management buddies are in solidarity about hating unions.”

    Posted on Jul 19, 2006 READ MORE


    Jon Stewart_CNN

    Stewart Slams Lebanon Coverage

    “The Daily Show” host offers a roundup of Lebanon reporting and confronts the media’s seeming inability to process the crisis.

    Posted on Jul 19, 2006 READ MORE


    Conservatives Fuming Over Bush’s Foreign Affairs

    Ultra right-wingers at places like the American Enterprise Institute say they are furious at Bush over his apparent timidity on crises in Lebanon, North Korea and Iran.
    Hey, if things aren’t going the AEI’s way, it’s gotta be good news.

    Posted on Jul 18, 2006 READ MORE


    U.S. to Allow Israel Another Week of Bombing in Lebanon

    That’s apparently the consensus emerging from the two countries; Israel would be given a week to further weaken Hezbollah, at which point Condoleezza Rice would travel to the region and try to establish a buffer zone.
    Strange, to be hearing about such plans in advance.

  • Meanwhile, the first Israeli ground troops have entered Lebanon
  •  

    Posted on Jul 18, 2006 READ MORE


    Fireworks
    From digi-hound.com

    Ralph Reed Concedes Defeat in Georgia Primary

    Unable to distance himself from scandal-tarred lobbyist Jack Abramoff, Reed conceded defeat in Georgia’s Republican race for lieutenant governor.
    C-e-e-e-e-e-e-l-e-brate good times, come on!

    Posted on Jul 18, 2006 READ MORE


    Kucinich Resolution
    Courtesy Rep. Dennis Kucinich

    Truthdig Exclusive: Rep. Kucinich’s Resolution Calls on Bush to Push for Cease-Fire

    Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) introduced a resolution Wednesday that calls on President Bush to appeal to all sides for a cessation of hostilities in the Israeli-Lebanon conflict and to commit the United States to multiparty negotiations, along with support for an international peacekeeping mission during the talks.

  • Also, read the speech that Rep. Kucinich delivered on the House floor on Tuesday that warned of “mutually assured destruction” if saner heads do not soon prevail in the Middle East.

  • Posted on Jul 18, 2006 READ MORE


    Robert Scheer: What Bush’s Open Mike Revealed

    In the midst of a Middle Eastern crisis that threatens to destabilize the entire region and perhaps beyond, it was unnerving that what most seemed to interest President Bush at the G8 summit is that China is a long flight from western Russia.

    Posted on Jul 18, 2006 READ MORE


    Israeli girls write on shells
    AP / Sebastian Scheiner

    Israeli Girls Write Messages on Lebanon-Bound Shells

    A nauseating sign of the times:
    Preteen Israeli girls at a heavy artillery position in northern Israel are photographed apparently gleefully scrawling their names and other inscriptions on shells destined to be dropped on Lebanon. One reads “Nazrala with love”—a reference to Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasarallah. (h/t: Zak Brown)
    We find it disgusting whenever the ordnance of ANY country bears these kinds of messages. But to see children doing the writing is almost beyond the pale.

    Posted on Jul 18, 2006 READ MORE


    Tom Hayden: Things Come ‘Round in Mideast

    The veteran social activist, drawing upon his own rude political awakening to the realities of Israeli and Middle East politics during the 1980s, warns that the Israel lobby in the U.S. aims to ?roll back the clock? and ?change the map? of the region and that its neoconservative supporters will probably try to use the current Middle East crisis to ignite a larger war against Hamas, Hezbollah, Syria and Iran.

    Posted on Jul 18, 2006 READ MORE


    Grieving Iraqi brother
    AP / Mohammed Adnan

    Iraq’s Grim Death Toll: Over 3,000 in June Alone

    An average of more than 100 civilians were killed PER DAY in Iraq last month, the highest tally since the fall of Baghdad, according to the U.N. And that number has been steadily increasing since at least last summer.
    So not only are things horrifically bad in Iraq, they are getting worse.

    Posted on Jul 18, 2006 READ MORE


    Pregnancy Centers Giving False Info on Abortion

    From the Wash Po: “Federally funded ‘pregnancy resource centers’ are incorrectly telling women that abortion results in an increased risk of breast cancer, infertility and deep psychological trauma….”
    Surprise, surprise.

    Posted on Jul 18, 2006 READ MORE


    Bush Set to Veto Stem Cell Bill

    It would be the first time the president has used his override power; but that’s only because he has made unprecedented use of so-called signing statements to ignore the parts of new laws that he doesn’t feel like obeying.

    Posted on Jul 18, 2006 READ MORE


    Alberto Gonzales
    From ThinkProgress

    Gonzales: Bush Personally Blocked DOJ Probe of Spy Program

    Testifying before Congress this morning, Atty. Gen. Alberto Gonzales said that Bush halted the investigation into the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping program by personally denying security clearances to Department of Justice lawyers investigating the case. (article or video)

  • Pardon us for being reflexively cynical about Bush’s motives in this one, but the president doesn’t have a shred of credibility on this issue.

  • Posted on Jul 18, 2006 READ MORE


    Bush-Merkel massage
    From Comedy Central

    Jon Stewart’s Sexual Bush-Merkel Joke Not So Outlandish Anymore…

    On last night’s “Daily Show,” Jon Stewart joked that we were lucky Bush’s “open mike” didn’t pick him up “pointing out some Merkel camel toe,” a lewd sexual reference to German Chancellor Angela Merkel. However, in light of Bush’s just publicized unsolicited massage of Merkel, Stewart is looking prophetic all of a sudden.

    Posted on Jul 18, 2006 READ MORE


    Bush's massage
    From bild.t-online.de

    Groper in Chief?

    At the G8 summit, President Bush gave German Chancellor Angela Merkel an unsolicited back massage, which an obviously uncomfortable Merkel quickly shrugged off. (h/t: Crooks and Liars)

  • Video
  • (much more after the jump…)

    Posted on Jul 18, 2006 READ MORE


    ‘Yo Bush!’ Tony Blair Mocked as U.S. Poodle

    Responding to Monday’s “open mike” incident in Russia, The Guardian said Blair “all but offers to carry [Condoleezza Rice’s] bags” to the Middle East (Bush denied him), revealing Blair’s subservient role in the relationship. (article, British press reactions)

  • Not to mention the fact that Bush carried on the conversation about one of the most dangerous powder kegs in the world while chewing with an open mouth and barely looking at Blair.
  •  

    Posted on Jul 18, 2006 READ MORE


    Israel Says Offensive Could Last Weeks

    That’s the assessment of the head of Israel’s northern army command. Meanwhile, an Israeli strike killed at least 16 people near Beirut and Hezbollah killed at least one with another rocket volley into northern Israel; the toll has risen to at least 227 killed in Lebanon and 25 in Israel.

  • However, Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni gave the first hope that earnest efforts are underway to find a cease-fire solution.
  •  

    Posted on Jul 18, 2006 READ MORE


    Stephen Colbert

    Colbert’s Middle East Proposal: Worship Miss Israel & Miss Lebanon

    As violence once again wracks that troubled region, “The Colbert Report” host reminds us that the 2006 Miss Universe Pageant is this weekend. “Let’s forget about the conflict between Israel and Lebanon, and focus instead on the competition between Miss Israel and Miss Lebanon.”

    Posted on Jul 18, 2006 READ MORE


    Jon Stewart

    Stewart Makes a Prophetic Bush-Merkel Sexual Joke

    “The Daily Show” host was just being playful last night when he joked that President Bush could have been caught on the open mike talking about German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s “camel toe” (a lewd sexual reference). But in light of the just-publicized unsolicited massage Bush gave to Merkel, Stewart is looking prophetic all of a sudden.

    Posted on Jul 17, 2006 READ MORE


    Molly Ivins: The Suicide of Capitalism

    When the Long Term Capital Management hedge fund went belly up in 1998, it nearly wrecked world markets. So why are we allowing well-connected Republicans to prevent the SEC from staving off the next catastrophe?

    Posted on Jul 17, 2006 READ MORE


    UK Reporter: Baghdad ‘Verging on Total Collapse’

    A journalist at The Times (of London) sums it up: “West Baghdad is no stranger to bombings and killings, but in the past few days all restraint has vanished in an orgy of ethnic cleansing.”

    Posted on Jul 17, 2006 READ MORE


    John Boehner
    From thanhniennews.com

    Boehner Gets Nailed on Campaign Ad Hypocrisy

    From Greg Sargent at the Prospect: “GOP House Majority Leader John Boehner wants you to know that it’s OK if Republicans use images of people killed on 9/11 for political purposes, but at the same time, it’s very very bad indeed if Dems show pictures of flag-draped coffins.” How’s that?.... (more)

    Posted on Jul 17, 2006 READ MORE


    Mr. Fish - Israeli Generals

    Share
    Posted on Jul 17, 2006 READ MORE    


    Akbar Ganji
    From alikhaligh.com

    Iranian Dissident: Iraq War Hurting Our Hopes for Democracy

    Tehran’s most prominent journalist, Akbar Ganji, said that America’s actions in Iraq are harming Iran’s reform movement by giving the regime an excuse to stifle dissent.

    Posted on Jul 17, 2006 READ MORE


    Have You Passed the New Democratic Sniff Test?

    The George Soros-backed Democracy Alliance pools contributions from the richest progressive donors in the country to fund advocacy groups capable of building a counterweight to the well-entrenched conservative movement. But there’s a potential dark side for groups whose views don’t conform to the Alliance’s…. (more)

    Posted on Jul 17, 2006 READ MORE


    Steve King
    From C-span.org

    GOP Rep. King Compares Latinos to Drunks

    The anti-immigration congressman made a speech before Congress in May that blasted the idea of providing interpreters for Spanish speakers at polling stations, saying the practice would “coddle” Hispanics, “just like an enabler for an alcoholic, hand them a bottle of booze so they do not cure themselves….”

  • This is the same guy who recently proposed erecting an electrified fence along the U.S.-Mexico border, and compared Latinos to livestock.
  •  

    Posted on Jul 17, 2006 READ MORE


    Israel Softens Stance on Cease-Fire Conditions

    The Israeli prime minister appeared to drop his country’s insistence that Hezbollah must be dismantled before Israel discontinues its attack. (You have to scan down the article to see the “softening.” Israel is still demanding release of its two captured soldiers, a cessation of rocket attacks on Israel, and the deployment of the Lebanese army along the border.)

  • This may be just a blip, but it’s encouraging to see Israel appearing to be open to compromise.
  • Posted on Jul 17, 2006 READ MORE


    Juan Cole: Bush’s Open-Mike Comments Leave Me ‘Trembling’

    The University of Michigan professor and Middle East expert is horrified at Bush’s belief (caught on an open mike) that Hezbollah is entirely to blame for the violence wracking Lebanon, and that Syria could easily stop Hezbollah if it chose to do so. “It is an astonishingly simple-minded view of the situation…. I come away from it shaken and trembling.”

    Posted on Jul 17, 2006 READ MORE


    Bush and Blair

    Open Mike Catches Bush Blaming Syria for Hezbollah Escalation

    At the G8 summit for world leaders, President Bush was caught on a live microphone telling Tony Blair that he held Syria accountable for Hezbollah’s actions against Israel.
    “What they need to do is get Syria to get Hezbollah to stop doing this shit and it’s over,” Bush told Blair while chewing on a buttered roll.
    Important: This is not a hypocrisy alert. Bush’s unguarded statements were for the most part consistent with his public ones. But it’s still a fascinating glimpse into his manner of interaction with America’s closest ally.

  • Article
  • Best video/audio/transcript combo: CNN.com (The video link “The sh_t hear ‘round the world” in the center of the page—not linkable)

  • Blogger reaction:

  • The Carpetbagger Report: “The president often comes across as an unsophisticated simpleton in public…but incidents like this…suggest Bush is even less impressive in private.
  • Juan Cole: Bush’s comments “astonishingly simple-minded”
  •  

    Posted on Jul 17, 2006 READ MORE


    Ralph Reed
    Erik S. Lesser / The New York Times

    Scandal Battering Ralph Reed’s Hopes in Georgia

    The former head of the Christian Coalition, who is running for Lt. Gov. of Georgia, is now finding himself trailing at the polls, largely as a result of his connection to disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

  • It’s gratifying to see that after playing in the muck for so long with Abramoff, Reed can’t separate himself from the stink of corruption.
  • Posted on Jul 16, 2006 READ MORE


    Desire Controls What We Perceive, Study Finds

    From Live Science: “Without realizing it, people will perceive things according to how they want to see them, a new study suggests.”

  • This may explain, for example, why people on different sides of an argument remember wildly different aspects of the confrontation.

    Posted on Jul 16, 2006 READ MORE


  • White House to Welcome Another Corrupt, Brutal Dictator?

    Despite Bush’s 2004 proclamation that America wouldn’t receive corrupt foreign officials, the president appears set to welcome Kazakhstani President Nursultan Nazarbayev—an authoritarian leader allegedly on the receiving end of bribes by U.S. businessmen. Why the welcome from Bush? Might have something to do with all the oil Kazakhstan is sitting on….

    Posted on Jul 16, 2006 READ MORE


    William Kristol and Juan Williams

    Juan Williams Takes Bill Kristol to the Woodshed

    After conservative pundit William Kristol argued that Bush’s ?coddling? of Iran had ?invited? the latest outbreak of violence, and that the United States should join in the new fighting, Juan Williams pegged Kristol for what he is: a warmonger. Kristol’s stunned expression is priceless.

    Posted on Jul 16, 2006 READ MORE


    Hezbollah’s Existential Calculus

    Although some in Lebanon hail members of the militant group as national heroes, others call them outright terrorists who are dragging the country into an unwinnable war. The future of Hezbollah—and perhaps its imitators and spawn across the Middle East—would seem to hang in the balance over this conflict.

    Posted on Jul 15, 2006 READ MORE


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