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Friday, January 23, 2009
It's Obama's War Now: US Drones Fire on Pakistan Tribal Area
Al Jazeera is reporting: At least 19 people have been killed in two missile attacks by suspected US drones flying over northwest Pakistan. In the first assault, three missiles were launched on a house in North Waziristan close to Afghanistan, intelligence officials and witnesses said on Friday.
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Yes We Can Drink Fructose and Caramel Coloring, but Toward What End?
In the midst of the country's current wave of optimism comes Capitalist Trick #6,427: a new, slick, impossibly entertaining ad from the folks at Pepsi. Using quick cuts and iconic images, it fast-forwards through a century of fads, from flappers to James-Dean-era car races to mosh pits to hip hop before flashing the punch line: "Every generation refreshes the world...Now It's Your Turn." So okay. Historically, the Captains of American Industry have been good at this, at harnessing cultural moments and meanings to their own profitable ends. Still, the ad raises some questions. Among them: Our turn to do what, and who will benefit?
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Human Rights Group: Obama Left Wiggle Room On Torture
The Washington Post blog is reporting tonight: Did President Obama’s executive order today banning torture leave wiggle room for the possibility of reverting to coercive techniques that the current exec order outlaws? Michael Ratner, the president of the Center for Constitutional Rights, tells me he thinks the answer is Yes.
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Thursday, January 22, 2009
Now (Or At Least Soon) To Gaza, Please
Al Jazeera English had a dramatic human-interest story out of Gaza today. It's a potent reminder, if we needed one, that the suffering of the Palestinians under the Israeli occupation in Gaza continues, and has yet to be addressed by the new administration. Soon, we hope. Read the full story here
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Light in the Tunnel
We welcome President Obama's directive, only hours into his first day in office, to suspend military tribunals at Guantanamo Bay. The order is widely viewed as the first step toward fulfilling his campaign promise to close the atrocity that is Guantanamo, a move long overdue. The motion, which will suspend cases against 21 men, represents the same mix of symbol and substance that for now is Obama's presidency. For the hopeful among us, it is also what the American Civil Liberties Union called "the first ray of sunlight in what has been eight long years of darkness."
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Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Take 2: Obama Retakes the Oath of Office
McClatchy News is reporting : WASHINGTON — Chief Justice John G. Roberts was ushered into the Map Room of the White House on Wednesday night to re-administer the oath of office to President Barack Obama because the original oath on Tuesday had a word out of sequence.
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Not Quite Lincoln (Yet)
Much has been made of the parallels between the improbable journeys of Barack Obama and Abraham Lincoln, and each leader’s appeal to what Lincoln called “the better angels of our nature.” In a cogent piece in The Nation, historian Eric Foner stresses another, less-celebrated aspect of the parallels: the role of activists who in his own beleaguered time called Lincoln to his better angels. Foner wrote: “The Lincoln we should remember is the politician whose greatness lay in his capacity for growth. Much of that growth stemmed from his complex relationship with the radicals of his day, black and white abolitionists who fought against overwhelming odds to bring the moral issue of slavery to the forefront of national life.”
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Check Out...
... the new Obama White House website:
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Of Interest To Each Other
Tuesday's dawning of the much-heralded new day in America was perhaps not irrevocably, indelibly, altogether new - so the cynics will rush to say - but in a relative universe, we'll take it. Consider: We saw a smart skinny black guy with an exotic name, a former community organizer and constitutional lawyer who espouses a seemingly genuine progressive vision, take office as our 44th President. He spoke, first, of being humbled, and grateful, and mindful of the past. He spoke of "men and women obscure in their labor," of slavery and sweatshops, of segregation and Khe Sahn.
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'Homeland Security' and Empty Inaugural Parade Seats
Maybe they didn't take the Os off the White House keyboards... but the Bush/Cheney team still wrecked havoc with the Obama Inauguration. The mainstream media's not talking about it but did everyone else notice the nearly empty bleachers all along the Inaugural Parade route? Despite massive crowds in DC? Despite overwhelming demand for tickets?
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