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Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Giving the Mundane Its Beautiful Due
How sad to read of John Updike's death Tuesday at the age of 76. As one headline put it, "Rabbit is gone." For many of us, the much-celebrated author of a lifetime of novels, stories, essays and reviews found his voice most powerfully and poignantly in his four "Rabbit" novels about small-town, middle-class American life, and Harry 'Rabbit' Angstrom's often ludicrously flawed journey through it. Updike saw Rabbit as a "purposely representative" male of his generation, a high school basketball star turned car salesman and lousy husband and father floundering through the untidy realities of love, sex, marriage and changing times. His aim, he once said, was to "give the mundane its beautiful due." He did so in prose that was graceful, precise, keenly observed, rich with pitch-perfect metaphors that stopped in our tracks even those of us who usually don't like metaphors. "Writing makes you more human," Updike said, and so did reading him. He will be missed.
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Check Out Bush Checking Out
A NYT interview with Reuters head photo editor re: Bush's January 15th farewell address: And I turned to one of my editors - First I said, "Oh, my God." And he said, "What?" And I said, "You've got to see this picture of Bush. This is really stunning... If he wasn't just back there behind that door crying, I don't know what that look on his face is."
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Ever Hear The One About When Gary Cooper and Mahatma Gandhi Went Into A Bar And....
Once and (Almost) Future King Rod Blagojevich, Illinois' recently impeached governor, has been making the rounds of talk shows to defend his, ummm, honor. For an equally hilarious, terrifying view of a nationally televised train wreck, check out the TPM montage of his arguments here. Ed.'s note: Make sure you stay for the possibly-horse-stealing cowboy story.
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Tuesday, January 27, 2009
George HW Bush, Sexist Pig; Bill Clinton, Sidekick
Bush & Clinton teamed up Monday at a forum before the National Automobile Dealers Association in New Orleans. George HW's sexist joke floored Bill. Ain't bipartisanship grand?
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In Gaza, No Winners Once More
Israel has again launched attacks in Gaza after Palestinian militants killed an Israeli soldier on patrol, the BBC reports here . Israel has also stopped the flow of aid supplies to Gaza's 1.5 million residents, including tens of thousands of people displaced and injured in Israel's three-week offensive. The renewed violence comes just as former Senator George Mitchell, President Obama's Middle East envoy, arrives in the area to try to get Israelis and Palestinians back to peace negotiations. But the latest attacks by Israel are a grim reminder of the daunting challenges Mitchell faces. As Neve Gordon and Yigal Bronner note in their CD Gaza story here, "Hatred... is the great winner of this war."
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Put These Guys in Guantanamo: AIG Gives $450 Million of Bailout Cash to Just 400 Employees
Bloomberg news is reporting this evening: American International Group Inc., the insurer saved from collapse by government money after losses on credit-default swaps, offered about $450 million in retention pay to employees of the unit that sold the derivatives, according to two people familiar with the situation. About 400 workers at the financial products unit may get the money in two installments...
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Ruth Rosen: Wait Until After the Revolution, Honey
At TPMCafe, Ruth Rosen writes this afternoon: Today, New York Times columnist Bob Herbert asked , why listen to Republicans? Indeed. And yet this morning came the shocking and startling news that our new president has asked House Democrats to cut a provision that would expand contraceptive family planning for Medicaid patients.
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To Be Or Not To Be Great
The lead "Talk of the Town" piece in this week's New Yorker reminds us what President Obama – admittedly, at this early point in time, "a star" of "staggering eloquence" – must do to achieve the greatness many think him capable of: create progressive policies and institutions that will outlast him. Read the entire piece here
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Monday, January 26, 2009
Health Care for Kids
With the Senate poised this week to vote on expanding children's healthcare coverage under the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), is urging people to write their senators to ensure passage of the much-needed legislation. Without it, they say, the number of uninsured kids – now, an estimated 1 in 8 – is likely to rise.
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House Judiciary Chair Conyers Subpoenas Karl Rove
Today, House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, Jr. issued a subpoena to Karl Rove requiring him to testify regarding his role in the Bush administration's politicization of the Department of Justice, including the U.S. attorney firings and the prosecution of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman.
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