French actor Gerard Depardieu has resorted to becoming Russian in order to avoid paying taxes in France, with a little help from Vladimir Putin of course; Jane Harman is being considered for CIA director, despite her past involvement in an Israeli intelligence influence operation; meanwhile, the Obama administration has been compiling a database that helps it determine how to treat a suspected terrorist. These discoveries and more below.

On a regular basis, Truthdig brings you the news items and odds and ends that have found their way to Larry Gross, director of the USC Annenberg School for Communication. A specialist in media and culture, art and communication, visual communication and media portrayals of minorities, Gross helped found the field of gay and lesbian studies.

Depardieu, in Tax Fight, Gets Russian Citizenship The Kremlin has cast Gerard Depardieu in one of the most surprising roles of his life — as a new Russian citizen.

E-book Reading Rises, Print Reading Dips The percentage of adult Americans who read a book this fall fell to 75% from 78% a year ago, according to new survey findings by the Pew Research Center released December 27.

Jane Harman for CIA Director? Really? Even in a town with memory holes as deep as dark space, the persistence of Jane Harman’s name near the top of lists for CIA director is a mystery.

Online Courses Look for a Business Model Professor Jeremy Adelman has taught a world-history class at Princeton University for several years, but as he led about 60 students through 700 years of history on the ivy-covered campus this past fall, one thing was different: Another 89,000 students tuned into his lectures free of charge via Coursera, an online platform.

Capitalism’s Legitimation Crisis More than 5 years into the Second Great Depression, capitalism continues to suffer from a legitimation crisis.

How Obama Decides Your Fate If He Thinks You’re a Terrorist Over the past two years, the Obama administration has begun to formalize a so-called “disposition matrix” for suspected terrorists abroad: a continuously evolving database that spells out the intelligence on targets and various strategies, including contingencies, for handling them.

Piety and Plenty: The Buying and Selling of Christmas In large doses, the American Christmas really is a little hard to swallow.

Lincoln in Hollywood, from Griffith to Spielberg About halfway through Steven Spielberg’s extraordinary new film, Daniel Day-Lewis, playing Abraham Lincoln, sits in a nearly deserted telegraph office at the War Department, quietly conversing with two young military telegraphists.

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