Thursday, February 26, 2009
I'm Not Making This Up. Really.
In an interview last night on ABC radio, RNC Chairman Michael Steele was even more astonishingly himself than usual. To summarize: Who ARE these people?
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The World Has High Hopes...
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With Winners Like These, Who Needs Losers?
Republicans firing up for new electoral triumphs at a Conservative Political Action Conference have assembled an impressive roster of speakers. They include Rush Limbaugh, Joe the Plumber, former U.N. Ambassador John "There is no such thing as the United Nations" Bolton, RNC chair Michael "open to everything, baby" Steele, and Rep. Michelle – "We're running out of rich people in this country," but God is still on our side as long as we don't harbor un-Americans – Bachmann. Should be, umm, rich.
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To The Women Of Gaza
In honor of the upcoming International Women's Day, CODEPINK is highlighting the plight of women in Gaza and seeking donations to an international delegation's delivery of humanitarian aid there. For as little as $10 per person, they will be giving out packages of everything from food and first-aid materials to soaps and sweets. Their campaign will distribute goods through four Gaza-based groups. To donate or get more information go here.
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Unprecedented: Government Does Something Profoundly Sensible!
In a budget announcement today, word has it that President Obama will ask Congress to raise taxes on the rich and cut Medicare costs – and thus profits to insurance and drug companies, among others – to help provide health care for the uninsured. Redistribute wealth and care for those in need? Amazing. More later.
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Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Still Watching in Afghanistan
With the Obama administration evidently inclined, still and all, toward escalation in Afghanistan, we hope someone sends them a new study of public opinion in seven Muslim nations and the Palestinian territories showing a widespread backlash to U.S. efforts to fight terrorism with an expanded military presence. The report by the University of Maryland's Programme on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) finds large majorities in Islamic countries rejecting terrorism but supporting key goals of Al Qaeda – most notably, expelling American forces out of those countries. Steven Kull, director of PIPA's WorldPublicOpinion.org., says the backlash represents "a conundrum" for American policy makers that needs to be addressed. Because polling took place before Obama's election, he adds, there is a possibility "things could change." For now, the Islamic world is "still watching." We are, too.
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The Unkindest Cut Among Quite A Few, All Admittedly Well-Deserved
The reviews have not been kind to Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and his rebuttal of President Obama's speech. His cringe-worthy performance has been called sing-songy, amateurish, awkward, laughable, "a disaster...a form of nihilism" by the usually low-key David Brooks, and my personal favorite, "not exactly terrific" by Nina Easton, of Fox News yet. Still, comparisons to the stunningly weird Kenneth the page on NBC's "30" Rock seem extreme. Captain Kangaroo, perhaps, or Mister Rogers, or Pee Wee Herman, but Jindal was nowhere as entertaining as Kenneth. Jeez. Between Michael Steele and now this, we can't wait to see what the once-upon-a-time party of ideas comes up with next.
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Only The 14 Of You Out There Who Remain Ambivalent About The Incessant Place of Cell Phones In Our Lives Need Read This
A fine, witty poem today from NPR's "Writer's Almanac" with Garrison Keillor, who can be way too precious but also spot-on, about missing the days "when people who were talking to themselves/ might actually have been talking to God/ or an angel./ You respected people like that..."
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Taking Charge of Our Future, But Listening To Our Past
Obama's speech last night was, as we have gladly, improbably come to expect of our president, elegant, thoughtful, and pitch-perfect in its mix of toughness with optimism. Duly noting the economic crisis engulfing us, he said the "day of reckoning has arrived, and the time to take charge of our future is here.” We cannot question Obama's speaking skills. But we can ask him to sharpen his much-praised listening skills when it comes to the brewing disaster that is Afghanistan. Despite mounting evidence that military might will not solve the problems there, Obama seems intent on escalation. As John Feffer asks in his CD piece here , "Why is the new Listener-in-Chief... so unable to hear the word "quagmire?"
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Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Yay Naomi!
The Canadian Globe & Mail is reporting : Naomi Klein has won the inaugural Warwick Prize for Writing. Klein won for her much-praised lefty tome The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism (Picador). Chair judge China Mieville called it "a brilliant, provocative, outstandingly written investigation into some of the great outrages of our time. It has started many debates, and will start many more..."
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