Monday, February 16, 2009
US Foreclosure Image is 2008 World Press Photo
A picture of an armed sheriff moving through an American home after an eviction due to a mortgage foreclosure was named World Press Photo of 2008 on Friday.
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Sunday, February 15, 2009
Large Whole Wheat, With Mushrooms and Cash
It's in equal parts unsurprising and profoundly disheartening to read that corruption – sometimes in the comic-book-worthy form of wads of cash stuffed into pizza boxes – may have helped derail the U.S. $125-billion effort to rebuild Iraq after the disastrous 2003 invasion. The fact that senior American military officers likely stole millions of dollars – ours, actually – in the name of the "good" of the Iraqi people puts one more lie on the table in Iraq, and offers one more cautionary note, if we needed it, on the still-evolving scale and tenor of American involvement in Afghanistan. For more on a widening investigation into something we kinda already figured was happening, go here
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Saturday, February 14, 2009
Jeez, Now Why Would Anyone Think That?
Proving that the Rod Blagojevich story is truly the gift that just keeps giving, Sen. Roland Burris admitted Saturday that the former governor's brother asked him for a campaign contribution before Burris' appointment to the Senate, thus contradicting his own testimony in January before an Illinois House impeachment committee. Proving that everyone in beleaguered Illinois is getting a little bit testy, the head of that committee called Burris' protestations of innocence on the subject "a load of B.S."
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Hearts and Flowers: From Israel With Love, Sort Of
The news that Israel has opened the Gaza border to exports for the first time in a year to allow the shipping of 25,000 carnations to Europe for Valentine's Day is surreal, and heartbreaking. How's about letting out some people to get medical care, food, or land instead? Israeli spokesmen said the shipping of the flowers from blockaded Gaza was a generous gesture. Gazans, understandably, said it was "nothing." Abdul Karim Ashour of the Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committees called the opening "propaganda," adding that, besides, most of Gaza's carnation crop has already been lost, and fed to the sheep. "The season has finished," he said. "It is very sad." Gazan growers used to send 40 million flowers abroad. Truth is, there is so much, too much, sad here, and flowers don't begin to cover it.
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'My Silence Cannot Be Bought'
On Thursday night, Beverly Eckert, whose husband died on 9/11, died herself in the Buffalo plane crash. From our archives we wanted to share a piece Beverly wrote over 5 years ago: By suing, I've forfeited the "$1.8 million average award" for a death claim I could have collected under the fund. Nor do I have any illusions about winning money in my suit. What I do know is I owe it to my husband, whose death I believe could have been avoided, to see that all of those responsible are held accountable. If we don't get answers to what went wrong, there will be a next time. And instead of 3,000 dead, it will be 10,000. What will Congress do then? So I say to Congress, big business and everyone who conspired to divert attention from government and private-sector failures: My husband's life was priceless, and I will not let his death be meaningless. My silence cannot be bought.
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Small Steps: First Rachel Maddow, Now This
Saudi King Abdullah has appointed a woman to the council of ministers for the first time as part of a Cabinet reshuffle, the Saudi state-run Channel One reported Saturday. Noor Al-Fayez will serve in the new position of deputy minister for women's education in the Saudi Council of Ministers. Good news, more needed. Now maybe they could reconsider the "Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice?"
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Friday, February 13, 2009
Human Rights Activist Alison Des Forges Dies in Buffalo Plane Crash
Historian Alison Des Forges, 66, a prominent human rights advocate who documented genocide in Rwanda, was one of 50 people killed in Thursday's Continental Airlines crash near Buffalo. Kenneth Roth, president of Human Rights Watch, said Des Forges, "epitomized the human rights activist - principled, dispassionate, committed to the truth and to using that truth to protect ordinary people."
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49 Killed in Buffalo, NY Plane Crash
The Buffalo News is reporting: Forty-nine people reportedly died when an aircraft identified as a Continental Airlines flight crashed into a house in Clarence Center shortly after 10 p.m. last night, starting a huge fire which poured thick smoke throughout the hamlet. more...
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Thursday, February 12, 2009
White House Reacts To Republican Judd Gregg Withdrawing As Sec of Commerce
For Immediate Release February 12, 2009 STATEMENT FROM PRESS SECRETARY ROBERT GIBBS "Senator Gregg reached out to the President and offered his name for Secretary of Commerce. He was very clear throughout the interviewing process that despite past disagreements about policies, he would support, embrace, and move forward with the President's agenda..."
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In Gaza, 13 vs. 1,360 and No Winners
The horrifying news out of Gaza in Conn Hallinan's CD Views piece confirms once more the need to change an American policy where, in David Bromwich's words, "fiction pervades the commentary." Increasingly, critics of Israel's invasion in Gaza are calling for the U.S. and other western countries to pressure Israel through boycotts, divestment and sanctions. Arguing that the massacre of Palestinians must stop and that all, even Israel, would benefit, writer and activist Taraq Ali quotes Israeli Isaac Deutscher after the Six-Day War: "You can triumph yourself to death." For more outraged, illuminating commentary from contributors to the London Review of Books, go here
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