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And the Winner Is ... Iceland

Hats off to the Scandinavians, who continue to make the world’s progressives green with envy. Even as Iceland faces economic catastrophe, the volcanic island nation has made history by naming the world’s first (for the most part) openly gay national leader. Johanna Sigurdardottir will become prime minister. (The New York Daily News says Norway briefly had an openly gay man as prime minister.)

Posted on Feb 1, 2009 READ MORE



Mark Fischer on Copyright in the Digital Age

A new book by Lawrence Lessig asks what constitutes copyright infringement in the era of “sampling” and point-and-click downloading.

Posted on Jan 30, 2009 READ MORE


Making Him Do It

Intragovernmental squabbling probably makes the conflict-averse Obama uncomfortable. But the “make him do it” dynamic could finally bring the center of Washington’s political debate closer to the progressive center of American public opinion.

Posted on Jan 29, 2009 READ MORE


The GOP’s Soundproof Room

Unbeknown to the House Republicans who voted unanimously against President Obama’s stimulus package, we are in the midst of a rare fundamental shift in American politics.

Posted on Jan 29, 2009 READ MORE



obamaicon.me

No They Can’t

Three Iraqi candidates and two campaign workers were killed Thursday as the country prepared for local elections in 14 out of 18 provinces. That’s something to keep in mind with all the talk of improved security. Relative to the hell-on-Earth of recent years, “improvement” amounts to only five people murdered for showing an interest in politics.

Posted on Jan 29, 2009 READ MORE


Barack Obama

Obama Blasts ‘Shameful’ Bonuses

The president is famous for his even disposition, but he appears to be flat-out pissed at the news that Wall Street bankers showered themselves with bonuses while helping drive the economy into a ditch.

Posted on Jan 29, 2009 READ MORE


Bill O'Reilly

Colbert Turns O’Reilly Against Himself

Bill O’Reilly must be some kind of highly dedicated comedian who has managed to fool the country with a series of elaborate Andy Kaufman-esque stunts. How else to explain moments like this, exquisitely captured by Stephen Colbert, when the “Factor” host unintentionally ridicules himself ad absurdum?

Posted on Jan 29, 2009 READ MORE


Economic Policy That Might Actually Work? Who Knew?

After eight years of trickle-down tax cuts that pushed the prosperous up and left most everyday Americans sliding further down, the stimulus bill now moving swiftly through Congress is more than a reversal of political course. Let’s hope it’s not too late.

Posted on Jan 29, 2009 READ MORE


Stimulus Brings on a Family Feud

President Obama’s visit with House and Senate Republicans this week was useful for setting a new tone and a refreshing break from the Bush administration’s habit of consulting almost no one. But it was a sideshow to the main battle over how to improve the economy, which is among Democrats.

Posted on Jan 29, 2009 READ MORE


Obama’s Stuck Playing the Same Lame Game

The president took his swing in the 25-year-old game of ideological pingpong known as the global gag rule, but he also made it clear he’d like everyone to put their paddles down.

Posted on Jan 29, 2009 READ MORE



cachefly.net

Gore Lectures Congress, but Is It Too Late?

Al Gore went back to his old stomping grounds Wednesday to present the Senate Foreign Relations Committee with a mini version of his famous climate lecture. But even if those politicians somehow get their act together, the damage we’ve already caused will be with us until the year 3000 or later, according to a new report.

Posted on Jan 28, 2009 READ MORE


Conservatives Have Their Own Plan

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Posted on Jan 28, 2009 READ MORE


Blago Tapes Played at Impeachment Trial

Previously unreleased audio recordings of Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich talking gambling legislation and campaign contributions were played in all their ignominy during his impeachment trial Tuesday. There’s a lot more going on here than a vacant Senate seat.

Posted on Jan 27, 2009 READ MORE


NATO: Dead Man Walking

NATO has no coherent overall purpose and has not had one since the end of the Cold War. Any number of redefinitions and reorganizations have been proposed or tried and have proved unsatisfactory because no one can explain what it is that NATO really does or is for, other than to clean up behind the United States.

Posted on Jan 27, 2009 READ MORE


Maybe the Only Crime Was by Blago’s Barber

Is Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich about to be impeached on grounds of loopiness, obnoxiousness and a bad haircut? It is unclear to me what else Blagojevich has done that a duly constituted jury would find illegal.

Posted on Jan 27, 2009 READ MORE



Writers Pressure Obama Over Afghanistan

Truthdig columnists Chris Hedges and Robert Scheer are among the notable writers who have signed this appeal urging President Obama to rethink Afghanistan. The ad, appearing in The Nation and The New York Review of Books, warns that “a new beginning will not be possible as long as we continue to spill the blood of the men, women, and children of Afghanistan.”

Posted on Jan 26, 2009 READ MORE


Timothy Geithner
Wikimedia Commons / Presidencia de la Nación Argentina

Senate Sends Geithner to Treasury

Timothy Geithner may be a tax dodger who helped funnel taxpayer funds to his banking buddies, but we need that kind of cunning right now. That’s the thinking on Capitol Hill, anyway. The Senate confirmed President Obama’s pick to head Treasury on Monday, over the grumbles of 34 senators.

Posted on Jan 26, 2009 READ MORE



Gaza Ad Stirs Controversy Across the Pond

Two of Britain’s biggest networks, Sky and the BBC, have refused to air a two-minute fundraising appeal on behalf of Gaza. The decision not to broadcast the spot, produced by a committee made up of Britain’s biggest aid agencies, has triggered public outcry, condemnation from politicians and a formal investigation by the BBC Trust.

Posted on Jan 26, 2009 READ MORE


First Dance After the Inaugural Ball

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Posted on Jan 26, 2009 READ MORE


Rodney Dangerfoot

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Posted on Jan 26, 2009 READ MORE


Super Man

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Posted on Jan 26, 2009 READ MORE


Too Much Information

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Posted on Jan 26, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / hthg1983

Biden Says Banks May Get More, More, More

The vice president let it slip Sunday that the $700 billion TARP bailout bill could have a sequel. Also, Nancy Pelosi indicated that Congress might dole out more funds to financial institutions. Let’s see, that’s $700 billion on TARP, $850 billion for the still-pending stimulus package, plus the mysterious billions they’re tossing around at the Federal Reserve. ... Here’s hoping China doesn’t cut up our national credit card.

Posted on Jan 26, 2009 READ MORE


Partisan Politics Wait in the Wings

Beneath the warm pledges of bipartisanship and the earnest calls for cooperation lurks an unpleasant fact: From the moment it loses power, the opposition party turns to the task of getting it back.

Posted on Jan 26, 2009 READ MORE


Behold: The 1,474-Megapixel Picture of Obama’s Inauguration

Using special equipment, photographer David Bergman was able to capture a massive image of the inauguration. With resolution like that, you can see what generation iPhone Yo-Yo Ma is sporting, and a whole lot more.

Posted on Jan 26, 2009 READ MORE


Blagojevich

Blago Compares Himself to Gandhi, MLK and Mandela

A confession: We’ve been avoiding the news about embattled Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, whose impeachment trial begins Monday. There are too many storm clouds on the horizon to waste time on this man’s circus. But we couldn’t help but pause to marvel at the chutzpah of the governor, who dropped this bombshell on Sunday.

Posted on Jan 25, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / Johannes Roith

Bolivia’s Indigenous Majority Catches a Break

Bolivian President Evo Morales, himself an Aymara Indian, has won a referendum on a new constitution granting special privileges to Bolivia’s indigenous people. The electorate split along racial lines, with the country’s elite white and mixed-race minorities largely opposing the measure.

Posted on Jan 25, 2009 READ MORE


book covers

Brenda Wineapple on Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass

Two recent books show how a man of reason and conservative temperament and a man of passion and radical disposition joined together, even before either knew it, to end slavery.

Posted on Jan 23, 2009 READ MORE


Obama’s Salvage Operation

Repairing the damage that George W. Bush did to the nation’s values, honor and pride will be complicated and, at times, politically inconvenient. But nothing is more urgent, and nothing will ultimately reap more benefits at home and abroad.

Posted on Jan 23, 2009 READ MORE


Obama Must Halt America’s Moral Decline

Barack Obama’s is a restoration presidency. His job in office, as during the campaign, is to summon up the better America that was abandoned or repudiated during the past eight years by his predecessor.

Posted on Jan 22, 2009 READ MORE


George Mitchell
senate.gov

Pursuing Peace in the Middle East, Obama Style

President Obama didn’t wait long to tackle one of the most intractable items in his in box: the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. On a whirlwind Thursday, Obama spoke to leaders in the region (minus Hamas), called for an end to the Gaza blockade and appointed George Mitchell (above), the man who brokered a truce in Northern Ireland, as Mideast envoy.

Posted on Jan 22, 2009 READ MORE


Cheney’s Mementos

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Posted on Jan 22, 2009 READ MORE


The Bush Years

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Posted on Jan 22, 2009 READ MORE


In Box

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Posted on Jan 22, 2009 READ MORE


Defining ‘Bipartisan’ in a New Era

When Obama delivered his stunningly eloquent and inspiring address at midday on Jan. 20, he provided a powerful hint of what bipartisan, a term hollowed out by habitual and insincere misuse, means to him now.

Posted on Jan 22, 2009 READ MORE


The Downside of Bipartisanship

Remember this, President Obama: There are few Washington traditions as annoying as the cultish worship of bipartisanship, for it ignores the simple fact that sometimes one party gets things disastrously wrong.

Posted on Jan 22, 2009 READ MORE


To Each His Own Obama

President Barack Obama intends to use conservative values for progressive ends, and in doing so he will confuse a lot of people.

Posted on Jan 22, 2009 READ MORE


Faith Amid the Ruins of Faith

After the collapse of trust in every sort of expert—after lenders financed houses for people who couldn’t afford them, bankers created systems they couldn’t even describe and, finally, we hear, Bernie Madoff ripped off even his high school friends—there is a residue of resilience.

Posted on Jan 22, 2009 READ MORE



YouTube / WhiteHouse

Obama Takes Oath Again, Just to Be Safe

The second time was the charm for Chief Justice John Roberts, who flawlessly administered the oath of office to Barack Obama a day after botching the pledge. The White House counsel explained that they opted for a repeat “out of an abundance of caution.” Obama actually legally became the president even before taking the oath the first time.

Posted on Jan 21, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / seiu_international

Senate Confirms Clinton

Hillary Clinton made it safely through the confirmation process, despite a last-minute hissy fit from Senate Republicans. John McCain prevailed upon his colleagues to shape up and, in the end, only two voted against Clinton’s confirmation as secretary of state. She was then hastily sworn in.

Posted on Jan 21, 2009 READ MORE



White House / Eric Draper

Worth a Thousand Words

The Boston Globe has assembled a stunning array of photos from Inauguration Day. Images from Washington, D.C., and from viewing parties around the world capture the excitement and wonder of that historic day. The subjects include Kenyans in Obama’s father’s home town, former Olympians Tommie Smith and John Carlos embracing, and crowds at the capital’s Mall as photographed from a satellite.

Posted on Jan 21, 2009 READ MORE


Barack Obama
Flickr / No. Nein

Obama Announces New Ethics Rules, Freezes Aides’ Salaries

President Obama says “[t]ransparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones” of his administration. To that end, he will toughen lobbying restrictions and require all federal agencies to give high priority to Freedom of Information Act requests. The president also announced a pay freeze for about 100 of his highest-paid aides.

Posted on Jan 21, 2009 READ MORE


A Long Train Ride

Barack Obama rode to Washington, D.C., for his presidential inauguration on a whistle-stop tour, which was compared to the train ride taken by Abraham Lincoln in 1861. The train holds a deeper symbolism, though, that undergirds Obama’s historic ascension to the White House.

Posted on Jan 20, 2009 READ MORE


Kennedy Collapses During Inauguration Lunch

An ailing Ted Kennedy experienced seizures during a ceremonial luncheon on Capitol Hill and was removed from the private function, according to reports. President Obama accompanied Kennedy from the room and then returned to offer a few words of support. The luncheon then went ahead, though without Sen. Robert Byrd, who was too upset over his friend’s seizure to stay. Update 2

Posted on Jan 20, 2009 READ MORE



AP photo / Saul Loeb, pool

Good Riddance

Say it with us: former President Bush. After eight crazy years, George W. Bush is escaping to Texas, where he plans to work on his memoirs and, one imagines, clear some brush. He leaves a nation in despair. Perhaps his greatest achievement was scaring America into the arms of Barack Obama. Heckuva job, Bushie.

Posted on Jan 20, 2009 READ MORE


Obama Takes the Oath of Office

In case you missed Chief Justice Roberts bumbling the oath of office or you just want to relive the historic moment when Barack Obama became the nation’s 44th president, the first of African descent, here is his swearing in and speech in its entirety.

Posted on Jan 20, 2009 READ MORE



AP photo / Charles Dharapak

The President of the United States

At noon Eastern Time, Barack Obama became the 44th president of the United States. His inauguration speech celebrated America’s history of progress, called for a new era of responsibility and rebuked the Bush administration’s abuse of the Constitution.

Posted on Jan 20, 2009 READ MORE


Too Soon

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Posted on Jan 20, 2009 READ MORE


Front-Row Seat

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Posted on Jan 20, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / Presidential Inaugural Committee

Thousands Join Obamas for Day of Service

It looks like Barack Obama’s national community service day was a big hit. Reports of thousands of volunteers are appearing in newspaper pages from New York to Philadelphia to San Francisco. Did you participate in your own community? Let us know in the comments.

Posted on Jan 20, 2009 READ MORE


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