January, 2008 link archive

Thursday, January 3, 2008

The Justice Department opens a criminal inquiry into the destruction of CIA interrogation videos, appointing a prosecutor who is 'Neither "outside" nor "special," nor "independent,"' but who is reportedly "well known as a publicity-averse specialist in organized crime cases."

With the top priority for 'Bush's Final Year' said to be FISA legislation, the Los Angeles Times reports that "The rightward shift on the federal bench is likely to prove a lasting legacy of the Bush presidency," with Republican appointees holding "a 60%-to-40% edge over Democrats on the influential U.S. appeals courts."

As a court ruling leads Amnesty International to claim the 'same protections as journalists,' 2007 is remembered as 'The year presidential candidates debated torture,' the U.S. "does not torture" tops the list of the Bush administration's 'dumbest legal arguments' of 2007, and 2008 may already have an early entry.

Amid 'Pakistan's Frayed Politics,' the International Crisis Group takes what is described as "a somewhat unusual stance" in calling on President Musharraf to leave office, and it's argued that "What Bush wants us to view as the Musharraf nuclear insurance policy is in fact a nuclear protection racket."

As "foreign bureaus continue to fall like dominoes," a report that 'Most networks scrambled to get people to Pakistan after killing,' cites the publisher of the Tyndall Report as saying that U.S. broadcast networks "don't have permanent bureaus" in Pakistan, Iran or Afghanistan. Plus: 'Prankster playing Bhutto's son on Facebook fools news outlets.'

With 10,000 Israeli police set to secure President Bush's visit to Jerusalem, 'Palestinian pilgrims return to Gaza,' U.S. admissions of Iraqi refugees is "nose-diving," and concerning the problems returning home faced by the estimated 4.4 million displaced Iraqis, it's reported that "Petraeus said ... Those solutions will have to come from Iraqis."

Glenn Greenwald offers up "a new chart illustrating the most significant and under-discussed political fact in the U.S.," and the New York Times is accused of 'Taking Aim At Edwards' in reporting his call for a 10-month troop withdrawal from Iraq, leaving "a 3,500-to-5,000-strong contingent that would protect the American Embassy and possibly humanitarian workers."

As the 'Populist message gets louder' in Iowa, where 'Independents plan to caucus with Dems,' second-choice endorsements lead to the observation that 'Iowa pieces falling into place for Obama,' who, along with Sen. Clinton. has reportedly spent $20 million there, compared to $4 million for John Edwards.

Aides to Edwards 'insist he won't fizzle after Iowa,' despite having no offices in any of the 22 states that go to the polls on "Tsunami Tuesday," which continues to lag behind early frontrunner, "Super Duper Tuesday." Plus: Des Moines Register shows 'How not to conduct a presidential poll.'

As reporters ready their exit from Iowa, Fred Thompson, who went begging on Fox News, may be readying his exit from the race, and with Fox excluding Rep. Ron Paul from a debate, Rory O'Connor asks: 'Should big media choose our candidates?'

Vanity Fair's article on the 'Vast Right-Wing Hypocrisy' of Richard Mellon Scaife, notes that "His commitment to conservative politics has never been primarily about upholding traditional morality; it has been about promoting policies that help to preserve his own wealth and that of people like himself."

Mike Huckabee laments the difficulty of trying "to keep up with every single thing," and after protesters asking "Who Would Jesus Bomb?" were arrested at his Iowa office, he thanked bloggers for doing "the Lord's work."

As Republican presidential candidates stand against "the militant gays" and "a people perverted," Editor & Publisher asks of the Wall Street Journal: Was there really any pressing need to cover Dennis Kucinich's old, and much laughed over, UFO encounter?"

A new book on the environment co-authored by Newt Gingrich is described as "no revolutionary manifesto. It's Gingrich as Smokey the Bear,' and about his previous effort, a critic writes: "Though there are many candidates for the honor of Year's Sloppiest Book, the wall-to-wall bloopers in 'Pearl Harbor' ... warrant special 'wretching noises' from us all."

A writer who goes in "Search for the Happiest Places in the World," is said to be at his "best in lowly Moldova, one of several post-Soviet nations dumped at the bottom of the happiness heap." More on Moldova, including "Transnistria - I'm back in the USSR!"

January 1-2

Friday, January 4, 2008

Change trumps experience according to a media survey of Democratic caucus-goers, putting Sen. Barack Obama on top in Iowa, and with the Clinton campaign said to be 'stung by third-place finish ... What does Clinton do to become the "comeback kid"?'

As the prospects for "Obama-ish cajolery" are weighed, Black Agenda Report examines Obama's progressive credentials, and "Democracy Now!" hosts a discussion of the Democratic race with supporters of the top three candidates.

In the face of the conventional wisdom that 'domestic issues now outweigh Iraq,' Juan Cole points to multiple indicators that suggest that this is "demonstrably untrue," and concludes that Hillary Clinton's record on Iraq hurt her deeply in Iowa, as even Gen. Petraeus admits 'we can't kill our way out of Iraq.'

The Des Moines Register reckons that the 'Democrats win caucus night' by virtue of the party's far greater turnout -- which by the overall numbers would put Huckabee in 4th place -- as Sens. Biden and Dodd bow out of the campaign, the latter with a renewed commitment to blocking FISA immunity.

On the Republican side, Mike Huckabee rides "a crest of evangelical Christian support to victory," suggesting that he has "more than the other Republicans, recognized how to navigate and exploit" the religious right leadership, albeit on "tailor-made territory," as his campaign retools its message for New Hampshire.

As Politico.com calls Iowa for 4th place finisher Sen. John McCain (scroll down), who says "Make it 100," when asked about how long U.S. troops could stay in Iraq, Chris Floyd makes the case, contra Harper's Scott Horton, that the man is no Daniel Webster.

Calling the caucuses 'two body blows to the political establishment," Alexander Cockburn and Jeffery St. Clair note CNN's unwillingness to give Ron Paul his fair slice of the pie chart, while conservative strategist Richard Viguerie slams Fox News for attempting to limit GOP discussion to "a Neocon theme of perpetual war for perpetual big government.

"Hundreds of pie charts are attacking Wolf Blitzer's head, and no matter what demographic they pull up, it's all Obama, winning women, men, aliens, furniture," recounts one observer of the election coverage, which was also apparently marked by some reflexive and unprofessional hostility toward Clinton, as Bill Bennett lowers the bar for democracy.

Among the questions Sarah Sewall suggests the press should be asking about how the drawdown in Iraq will try to minimize humanitarian consequences, is why the "flipping" of enemy tribes in Anbar and elsewhere should be viewed as more than just "tactical alliances or transitions."

Adding up a bad year in Afghanistan, a Canadian broadcast asks if it's 'Mission Impossible?,' as warnings are issued of 'dire food shortages,' in the coming months, a model hospital with a poor delivery record is targeted for a fix, and questions are raised about 'Britain's key weapon in Afghanistan: the bribe.'

Although Bush's Middle East trip is "absolutely" about containing Iran's influence in the region, there appears to be a shift in narrative on Iranian EFPs, and Marc Lynch points to evidence that the Gulf states are no longer interested in a being "a pawn in the U.S.-Iranian struggle for power."

With 'attention back on allegations against Bhutto's widower,' an essay in the New Statesman looks at how politics in Pakistan has become "a revenger's tragedy in its regular oscillation between civilian and military rule," and a McClatchy piece weighs continued U.S. involvement with President Musharraf.

$100 a barrel oil is traced to a lone trader said to be "seeking bragging rights and a minute of fame," but questions still remain about the impact of higher oil prices which, in Paul Krugman's view, highlight challenges of China's economic growth that have been largely absent from the candidates' foreign policy discussions.

Although "Chinese authorities announced that all video-sharing websites must have official government approval before they can be accessed by Chinese surfers," a sampling of 'banned and bootlegged' DVDs in Beijing suggests that pirates may be "unwittingly making China a freer place."

Responding to the CIA's declassification of Rep. Jane Harman's letter advising against the destruction of the agency's interrogation tapes, Marty Lederman contends that "even more noteworthy is what is not in the letter," Plus: Tom Engelhardt on 'How Bush took us to the dark side.'

Fallout from a video of nuclear power plant guards napping in the "ready room" is reportedly shaking up the industry, scientists and academics challenge Britain' next generation of nuclear plants, and a radical Czech art group 'wins award and faces prosecution for nuclear bomb prank.'

The National Academy of Sciences puts out a new evolution book arguing against creationism in the curriculum but rejecting a 'science-religion' gap, as a new survey finds that 61% of Americans agree with evolution when the question is asked in "a non-loaded manner."

Jan. 3

Monday, January 7, 2008

Long-gagged FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds details for the London Times a 'U.S coverup on the sale of nuclear secrets abroad' and charges that 'Israel planted nuclear moles in the U.S,' as the Brad Blog fleshes out the details. Plus: 'Nuclear... deterrence?'

A Pravda-style reading is prescribed for an anonymously-sourced report in the New York Times which floats the possibility -- which Pakistan quickly rejected -- of conducting "far more aggressive covert operations in the tribal areas of Pakistan," without providing much in the way of "mission plan."

With strengthening political parties not a big ticket item in U.S. aid to Pakistan, and regionalism and ethnic suspicion growing, Christian Parenti argues that "Without addressing the deeper geostrategic forces at work here and developing a diplomatic solution, there will be no rollback of Taliban-style Islamic fundamentalism."

The deteriorating security situation in Pakistan's tribal regions sends thousands fleeing to Afghanistan, while pledges to scale down the controversial military prison at Bagram, which now has twice as many prisoners as Guantanamo, remain unfulfilled.

'An Imperialist Comedy' Summing up his disgust with the common interpretation of "Charlie Wilson's War" as a "feel good comedy," Chalmers Johnson quotes what he regards as the most accurate review so far, which concludes that it "isn't just bad history; it feels even more malign, like a conscious attempt to induce amnesia."

As the 'scale of Kenya's refugee crisis begins to emerge,' Caroline Elkins connects the current violence to the colonial legacy left behind by Britain, detecting "a Kiplingesque touch redolent of the colonial "white man's burden," in Gordon Brown's call for Kenyan leaders to "behave responsibly."

A shifting narrative in the U.S. media "about an Iraqi soldier shooting and killing two US soldiers during a joint mission," leaves out "the part of the story which is capturing attention in Iraq," as the killer 'becomes a hero' and the Washington Post delves into a 'Darker Shade of Green Zone.'

As "more upbeat" coverage of Iraq improves relations between the Pentagon and the news media, an op-chart provides a graphic reminder that 2007 was the deadliest year yet for U.S. troops, bombing returns to Baghdad, and a new analysis (.pdf) finds that the bulk of foreign fighters come from countries allied with the U.S.

The details of his lawsuit against John Yoo appear to suggest that "the focus here isn't about getting Padilla any concrete remedy for his detention and interrogation so much as a judicial rebuke of the policies that led to his confinement," although Jonathan Turley suggests that is an unlikely avenue for redress.

Newsweek reports on 'a scramble at the CIA to lawyer up,' in the face of Attorney General Mukasey's decision to launch a full-scale FBI probe into the destruction of the interrogation tapes, as Jason Leopold assesses signs that fear of the tapes becoming part of the public record motivated their destruction.

With President Bush -- 'Remember him?' -- beginning a Middle East tour, apparently convinced that "future generations will understand the brilliance of his foreign policy," Israel and other countries in the Middle East consider setting their own course on Iran, an issue which is expected to 'overshadow Arab-Israeli conflict' on his trip.

Nixon Was Bad. These Guys Are Worse,' says George McGovern in a Washington Post op-ed that makes the case for impeaching Bush and Cheney, as "Aragorn" confronts Hannity and helps put 'impeachment on the New Hampshire table.'

With John McCain playing his support for the "surge" in Iraq as an asset,' and suggesting that the question of WMDs was irrelevant, his "hundred years war' is judged as more than just a sound bite, and Media Matters dissects the spin behind his supposed fourth place victory in Iowa.

Mike Huckabee returns to the pulpit for a sermon on how to be part of 'God's Army,' as he takes flak for criticizing Bush's foreign policy, and Brad DeLong dissects his plan to abolish the IRS, concluding that, although it would be a disaster, it would at least be more honest than the schemes of his GOP rivals.

As new 'jobs picture' is released, which has some 'looking for a bunker to hide in,' an American Economic Association panel weighs the prospects of a recession, and Paul Krugman warns that the proponents of the Bush legacy are flipping 'from hype to fear' in an effort to maintain the status quo.

To account for the collapse of media narratives in Iowa, Frank Rich points to the 'two largest elephants in the room: Iraq and George W. Bush," as "pack journalism" moves in on Hillary Clinton who, Katha Pollitt imagines, must be wondering about the difference between "triangulation" and "unity," and how Barack Obama has morphed into "a great big humongous hope object."

Although EU membership has provided environmental organizations in Bulgaria and Romania with new clout, CorpWatch investigates how "a national frenzy to cash in on an anticipated tourist boom in Bulgaria" is threatening "one of Europe's largest protected areas and ... unspoiled tracts of wilderness."

Jan. 4-6

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

As New Hampshire's votes are counted, it's said about the 'the best campaign coverage on TV,' that "The channel's eye is ideally Warholian in its insatiable appetite and peerlessly democratic in its lack of discrimination."

A report on "significant new voting rights barriers," cites Indiana's photo ID requirement, which will be argued before the Supreme Court on Wednesday, and "is seen as being the most important election law case since the court's decision awarding the presidency to George W. Bush in 2000."

Before setting off on a trip to the Middle East, that is 'High on security, low on expectation,' President Bush's pre-trip media blitz included telling 'The amazing lie that will not die.' Plus: 'Bush is coming. Look busy.'

The Israeli army has reportedly developed "a tiny bulldozer for combat operations inside Palestinian cities," and following a trip down 'Highway 443: Israel's forbidden road,' McClatchy details how in 'Just going to work, Palestinians and Israelis travel different roads.'

As it's reported that 'Ahmadinejad loses favor with Khamenei,' about the U.S.' confrontation with Iranian boats, Juan Cole notes that "The U.S. says it won't protest the incident, which means that they concur it wasn't an intentional provocation from Tehran."

Pakistanis want a 'larger role for both Islam and democracy,' according to a World Public Opinion poll, which also finds that a majority "rejects 'Talibanization,' and supports recent government efforts to reform the madrassah system." And 84 percent said the U.S. military presence in the region was either a "critical" or an "important" threat to Pakistan's "vital interests."

As the Wall Street Journal is criticized for too much Pakistan coverage, Pakistani media hasn't "dared" raise the possibility that Benazir Bhutto's assassination was an inside job, says reporter Shahan Mufti, who also tells "On the Media" that Pakistani satire has disappeared from TV. But in Oman, the "laughathon" is back on.

With Sen. Barack Obama and John Edwards said to be boosted by the 'fear of recession,' it's reported that House Democrats "will probably offer up a $100 billion package of tax cuts and spending increases to juice the economy." Plus: 'at the Democratic presidential debate... "Thinking the unthinkable."'

Given the degree to which "the word 'change' is bubbling on people's lips," writes Jonathan Schell, "You'd think that a word, not a person, had won each of the primaries in Iowa and New Hampshire." And it's argued that "Bill Clinton is right. There is a 'Press Hysteria' that may well sweep Obama to the nomination," despite being 'Not such a hit' in the blogosphere.

David Corn wonders if Clinton is 'Fibbing About Obama and Iraq?', as she claims that both Edwards and Obama have "been given a free ride this campaign," and while a new poll finds that 'Obama ties Hillary nationally,' in another survey, she's still number one.

With the Clinton campaign reportedly facing 'a cash crunch,' amid a rival's claim that their "money is drying up," the Kucinich campaign is raising money by selling Florida voting machines. Plus: Take me to your leader.

Following a suggestion that "McCain may be trapped in his love affair with the media," Glenn Greenwald points out that despite a national surge of his own, "to listen to media reports, Edwards doesn't even exist."

As Bill O'Reilly explains that "I had no choice ladies and gentlemen, but to uphold the constitution," Rep. Ron Paul gets some major minutes on "The Tonight Show."

Paul's supporters in New Hampshire also chased Sean Hannity and crashed a Frank Luntz focus group, leading Luntz to charge one with "subverting the poll."

As it's reported that 'Mexicans fear Huckabee,' who "is loath to talk about his preacher days," Kathleen Hall Jamieson tells Bill Moyers that it was a "mistake for Huckabee" to have Chuck Norris on the podium during his victory speech in Iowa.

January 7

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

With 'Hillary Rising,' after defying the 'Pitchmen of Inside Politics,' the 'Conventional wisdom hits the reset button,' and an argument is made for 'Why Feb. 5 looks super to Clinton.'

Although Sens. Obama and Clinton each won nine delegates in Tuesday's primary, she is currently leading by more than 100 delegates. A Financial Times article on "superdelegates," prematurely declared Clinton the loser in New Hampshire. Plus: A 'Memo to the anti-Clinton brigades.'

Before Tuesday's vote, the ever-influential Chris Matthews speculated that the Democratic establishment would "Kill the fire of insurgency," and it's suggested that "if Edwards really believes in change he'll pull out of the race to leave all of the change voters to Obama."

Addressing New Hampshire's 'Polling Fiasco,' ABC's polling director cites a Stanford professor, who speaks to the issue of interviewer gender and race, and name placement on ballots. More from the Brad Blog and Pollster.com.

FAIR finds that David Brooks has it backwards in a column about Sens. McCain and Obama, Eric Boehlert says that "Bill Kristol and Maureen Dowd deserve each other," and the New Republic 'Rebrands Ron Paul,' who responds to the effort in a statement on his Web site and in comments to Reason.

A post headlined, 'Obama hasn't forgotten about his day job,' cites his efforts to help stem the violence in Kenya, where he has kin, and where the 'other half of the Kenyan story' is presented by Slum TV.

A survey by the union that represents U.S. diplomats, found that 48 percent cited "disagreement" with Bush administration policy as a factor in their opposition to serving in Iraq, and that only 18 percent think Secretary of State Rice is doing a good or very good job of defending their profession.

The U.S. military's Operation Raider Harvest in Diyala province, despite being launched with "extraordinary secrecy," came as 'No Surprise to Many Insurgents,' with many having "left more than a week ago."

As President Bush is 'urged to add Iraqi refugees to Mideast agenda,' a report on one Iraqi family's flight to the U.S., via Turkey, Greece, Guatemala and Mexico, notes that "in the last five fiscal years, the U.S. government has resettled only 2,372 refugees from Iraq. Most are Christian."

A reporter visits the Israeli town of Sderot, which regularly takes incoming from Gaza, where residents are said to be "looking on with anger and cynicism" at President Bush's visit to Israel and the West Bank.

At a Gaza protest, placards showed Bush as "a vampire swigging Muslim blood," while Israeli right-wing activists dubbed him the "Founding Father of HAMAStine."

Sibel Edmonds says that despite being contacted by reporters from around the globe about the Times of London article, she hasn't heard from a single mainstream outlet in the U.S., calling into question one report that 'Spy Story Bombshell Rocks Washington.' Plus: Washington Note hands off story to commenters.

The Department of Defense's Inspector General has declined to investigate rape charges by former Halliburton/KBR employee Jamie Leigh Jones, and a federal magistrate gives the White House five business days to report whether millions of deleted e-mails exist on back-up tapes.

Environmental groups 'cite oil leases in U.S. delay on rating polar bear's status,' and the livestock industry is said to be "ramping up to fight growing calls to ban two of the most deadly poisons used to kill wild mammals."

CJR reports on the 'Redemption of Chris Rose,' the Times-Picayune columnist who revealed his struggle with depression in an article titled 'Hell And Back,' and whose post-Katrina columns were collected in "1 Dead in Attic." Plus: Harry Shearer on 'Three Little Words: We Moved On.'

Radar's Charles Kaiser picks journalism's "Winners & Sinners" of 2007, and a memo to the AP's Southern California editorial staff begins: "Now and for the foreseeable future, virtually everything involving Britney is a big deal."

January 8

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Among the problems with the World Health Organization's study that estimates 151,000 violent Iraqi deaths between March 2003 and June 2006, and which was published in the New England Journal of Medicine, is that "There seems to be an idea that only violent deaths 'count.'"

As the U.S. launches airstrikes on the southern outskirts of Baghdad, described as "one of the biggest airstrikes of the war," the Washington Post reports that the U.S. is now stressing "Iraqi solutions," an approach that 'acknowledges benchmarks aren't met.' Plus: 'The "Surge" One Year Later.'

The U.S. military's push in Diyala province claimed the lives of nine U.S. soldiers in two days. It's part of "Operation Iron Harvest" and somehow connected to "Operation Raider Harvest," both of which are under the auspices of "Operation Phantom Phoenix," described as "an overarching operation to defeat extremism throughout all of Iraq."

A federal judge refuses to delve into the destruction of CIA interrogation tapes, the former CIA official who is said to have ordered their destruction reportedly will not testify without a grant of immunity, and a New York judge has made a preliminary ruling denying a motion to dismiss Dan Rather's lawsuit against CBS.

As it's reported that Sen. John McCain -- who's calling for a "respectful" political dialogue -- had a "wide advantage" among the 34 percent of New Hampshire's GOP voters who said they disapproved of the Iraq war, Dave Lindorff asks: "What could the voters in New Hampshire be thinking?"

Sen. Hillary Clinton said the turning point in her New Hampshire win was Saturday's "buddy system" debate, which began with ABC's Charles Gibson, "focusing on a fictional, futuristic scenario, at this point farfetched." And it's reminded that "the last time New Hampshire held a two-party primary, the polling failed by a larger margin!"

The New York Times presents anecdotal evidence that 'Women's support for Clinton rises in wake of perceived sexism,' Joe Conason contends that 'bashing Hillary backfired,' CJR gives it a name, and Greg Sargent concludes that "the process by which information about the candidates is transmitted to voters is profoundly screwed up."

Slate's Jack Shafer details how on election night, 'CNN runs its preposterous slogan into the ground,' but doesn't mention the newest addition to "The Best Political Team on Television."

As local reporters are put on notice, 'Race for White House Coming Your Way,' the 'Democrats rush to build up campaigns in Nevada,' which has just opened its newest "casino," and where a columnist notes an "essential to living in Nevada that's sure to come in handy in the coming days: A sense of knowing when we're being hustled."

With Ron Paul set to appear in a GOP debate to be televised Thursday night on Fox News, Mike Huckabee is said to be "the first major presidential candidate to so openly embrace" a certain brand of "militaristic evangelism." Plus: 'The Chuckabee Show.'

Three federal judges reportedly "appeared in agreement Wednesday that a movie lambasting Hillary Clinton seemed an awful lot like a 90-minute campaign advertisement." The movie is produced by Citizens United, and former New York Times reporter Jeff Gerth appears in the trailer.

Screen This! As a physician defends patients who go online to research their ailments, it's reported that the U.S. ranked last among 19 industrialized countries in preventable deaths due to treatable conditions, according to a study "Measuring the Health of Nations." Plus: 'Physician-owned hospitals faulted on emergency care.'

With the medical and legal professions in the U.S. said to have "lost their allure, their status," the Economist reports on the demise of Japan's salaryman, and its "enormous implications in a country in which the company is the dominant institution," and where "Social norms keep people at their desks."

Edward Wasserman decries what he calls "the new order of online news -- calibrated journalism," and Robert Boynton, who interviewed leading non-fiction writers for his book, "The New New Journalism," argues that "As professional skeptics ...we should be suspicious of the knee-jerk way in which journalists invoke the 'no money for information' rule."

Good magazine looks at the twentysomething film genre "mumblecore," which has garnered its practitioners more play than pay, and with the publication of Granta's 100th issue, the Guardian traces its evolution "From student rag to literary riches."

January 9

Friday, January 11, 2008

With no clear end in sight, Andy Worthington sums up the "gloomy scenario" for detainees on the sixth anniversary of Guantanamo, which is being marked by worldwide protests, and "Democracy Now!" takes a look back at 'six years of imprisonment, torture and suicide.'

As a U.S. federal judge blocks the deportation of an Egyptian national, rejecting "a secret and unreliable 'assurance'" that he won't be tortured by the Egyptian govenment, a 'U.K. civil servant is cleared in CIA rendition leaks case', amid calls for an inquiry into the two year long prosecution.

In a series of what it termed "precision air strikes," the U.S. military dropped 40,000 pounds of explosives 'near supposedly safe zone' southeast of Baghdad, underscoring, McClatchy notes, "the tenuousness of U.S. progress against Islamic extremists in Iraq." Plus: Is Diyala the harbinger of things to come?

As John McCain and Joe Lieberman celebrate a year of the surge, Greg Mitchell reviews the 'media silence' that attended its birth, and Thomas Ricks tells Keith Olbermann "Iraq is no longer on the front pages every day. For some politicians that might be exactly the definition of success they were looking for."

A "mini-surge" is expected in Afghanistan, as John Pilger argues that 'the good war is a bad war,' noting his discussions with a representative of Rawa who decries "silence in the west over the atrocious nature of the western-backed warlords" and concludes "In some ways, we were more secure under the Taliban."

With the U.S. now seen in a 'policy retreat' across the Middle East, President Bush gets lost in translation, while his talk about an 'end to Israeli occupation' appears hedged with some important qualifiers, and does not universally impress. Plus: Another Bush 'coinage.'

A 32 year old document suddenly released before Bush's trip to Israel is seen as another step in 'the unraveling of Israel's nuclear ambiguity,' as Israel's Ambassador to the U.S. emphasized that "all options were on on the table in dealing with Iran's nuclear weapons program."

As the official version of naval incident in the Strait of Hormuz 'starts to unravel,' and the Pentagon grows skeptical of its own audio/video mashup, Helena Cobban considers how Congress should react this time to a potential Gulf of Tonkin incident, but failure to escalate brings disappointment on Fox News.

'Flag pins! Virgins! Reagan!' From the perspective of a Salon review, "The 40th president was all but exhumed" during a GOP debate that opened with patriotic pageantry, and provided a forum for some heated rhetoric about Iran. And the winner is ...

Dennis Kucinich calls for a recount of New Hampshire primary ballots, citing "serious and credible reports, allegations and rumors," about the integrity of the results, including "unexplained disparities in hand and Diebold machine counted ballots,' as Brad Friedman turns tables on "conspiracy theory" allegations.

"A madman could not have designed it to be worse," writes John Dean, pondering what it would take to fix the 'broken presidential nomination process,' as 'the Politico's loud mea culpa' for the coverage of that process puts the spotlight on who is in the echo chamber.

The Wall Street Journal opens up its opinion page, and given that it "is usually a good fit with Rupert Murdoch's political philosophy ... this could be viewed as a chance to spread the word."

In an attempt to rebrand Hillary Clinton, her campaign enlists the aid of Wal-Mart ad guru Roy Spence, whose recent "idiosyncratic flights of fancy" following some business setbacks include what's termed a "Forrest Gump-esque walk around the country."

'The public senses an economy going south,' according to a Los Angeles Times survey, and the 'R word index' suggests that the press thinks so too, with 'credit card debt soaring as house prices plunge,' and more than one economist comparing recent hikes in oil prices to "a $150 billion tax increase."

'Dr. Robert Jarvik, Pitchman' comes under ethical scrutiny as part of a House investigation of "celebrity endorsements in the marketing of prescription medicines," as Big Pharma wields the first amendment in defense of its 'right to find out what doctors are prescribing.'

Adbusters gets its day in court, seeing to "break the corporate monopoly on Canada's broadcast media," and secure a space on Canadian television for its "consumer-awareness TV spots" that have been "rejected by just about every major commercial broadcaster in North America."

As the homeland security campus takes over, 'Apaches rise to defend homelands from Homeland Security,' which is seeking to use eminent domain to take land to build the U.S.-Mexico border wall.

Jan. 10

Monday, January 14, 2008

A federal appeals court dismisses a suit seeking damages for Guantanamo torture, ruling that the former detainees are not "persons" under U.S. law, a decision which appears to "undergird a culture of torture," and Harper's Scott Horton points out that the judges hearing the case were "all movement conservative Republicans."

The Bush administration also makes the argument that felons are not "people" in a Supreme Court brief about the 2nd Amendment right to bear arms, as an article in the Independent looks at a British plan for prisoners to be 'chipped like dogs.' Plus: 'Maybe He Shouldn't Have Spoken His Mind.'

As the joint chiefs chairman joins the ranks of those urging that Guantanamo be shut down because, he notes, the "negative publicity" is damaging the U.S. image worldwide, U.S. Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell in an extended interview (press release) with Lawrence Wright admits that waterboarding "would be torture" for him.

A court filing appears to call into question the independence of the Justice Department's torture tapes investigation, the Wall Street Journal gets agitated about the John Yoo lawsuit, whose real value, it's argued, lies in calling further attention to a "national disgrace," and a cold war precedent puts CIA torture in context.

A lawyer for "low risk" scientists suing over intrusive background checks complains of the government's talismanic use of the word 'terror,' the new process for review of requests for classified reconnaissance information eliminates civilian orientation, passing control to Homeland Security, and a national id card is said to advance the goal of "total transparency."

De-de-Baathification? The Iraqi parliament passes a law allowing reinstatement of ex-Baath party members, but apparently "riddled with loopholes and caveats," as Juan Cole notes that it was "spearheaded by Sadrists, and the ex-Baathists in parliament criticized it," amid fears that it could lead to "a new purge" of Sunnis.

As the authors of the Lancet study of Iraq mortality respond to what's termed "a unique blend of error and innuendo" in the Wall Street Journal, questions continue to arise about the more recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine, which Andrew Cockburn contends is guilty of "sloppy methodology and tendentious reporting."

A repair of Blackwater trucks after a September shooting incident and before FBI teams arrived, is said to have essentially "destroyed evidence," as "Democracy Now!" reports on how private military firm CACI has been 'awarded millions in new government contracts' despite accusations of abuse.

With President Bush working to ensure a 'permanent presence in Iraq,' the Iraq war slips out of the public eye, while the New York Times' search for the common threads in 121 cases of homicide by returned veterans of Iraq or Afghanistan triggers hostility on the right.

After a spiritual journey in the Holy Land, President Bush makes a "last ditch speech" at Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi aimed at resurrecting his "freedom agenda," while again berating Iran as "the world's leading state-sponsor of terror," even as Saudi Arabia rules out use of its territory for an attack.

Former New York Times reporter Judith Miller, who was earlier spotted 'chillaxing in Abu Dhabi,' now pens an article singing the kingdom's praises with the tag line "While radical Islamists fight to restore the Dark Ages, a modernizing sheikhdom invests in Western culture."

One possible answer to the question of 'who spun the Hormuz incident,' raised by Jim Lobe, is that it was a ploy by U.S. military leaders to "force the administration to conclude an 'incidents at sea' agreement with the Iranian navy," as IPS's Gareth Porter talks about the role played by "sensationalist journalism."

The Clinton and Obama camps trade barbs, with the media -- including Bob Herbert -- accused of misconstruing what Bill Clinton meant by "fairy tale," and a Clinton supporter's insinuation raising the possibility that surrogates are being used to hit Obama with racially charged language and stereotypes.

On "Meet the Press," Hillary Clinton defends her 2002 war vote in part, David Corn argues, by again mischaracterizing Obama's position on Iraq, and in part, another fact check notes, by deceptively invoking the name of Chuck Hagel.

With Mitt Romney struggling to save 'the greatest fake reality show ever,' Mike Huckabee, who is said to be driving a wedge between old and young evangelicals, goes courting South Carolina churchgoers "in code," and Ira Chernus considers how 'faith talk on the campaign trail' might become a threat to democracy.

As the Minutemen adopt a highway near the border, a "neo-Nazi threatmaker" is accused of being a paid informant for the FBI.

Although the New York Times' public editor thinks hiring William Kristol was a "mistake," and is surprised that Kristol refuses to talk to him, he appears to hold out for the possibility that he will "somehow turn into William Safire."

Jan. 11-13

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

After having "all but disowned" the NIE on Iran, President Bush traveled to Saudi Arabia, and a reporter covering Bush's trip finds it "striking ... how much his faith is coloring his approach to the biggest foreign policy challenges."

Bin Laden described Saudi Arabia as "the Islamists' main enemy in Iraq," according to an article by Michael Scheuer, and when "The Iraqi defense minister said Monday that his nation would not be able to take full responsibility for its internal security until 2012," it contradicted a statement by an Iraqi government spokesman.

Unanswered questions about Iraq's Justice and Accountability Law, push up against 'Bill Kristol's Fairy Tale,' and Secretary of State Rice's claim that Iraq's national reconciliation has moved along "quite remarkably." Plus: 'Ignoring Iraq: Why Has it Become the Forgotten Issue of the '08 Race?'

In advance of Wednesday's deadline, CQPolitics responds to Al-Sahab's invitation by offering up '20 Questions for Ayman al-Zawahiri,' and with the "Filipino Monkey" continuing to make waves, War In Context cites an Asia Times article which points out that "there are no international waters in the Straits of Hormuz."

With Pakistani militants said to have "turned on their former handlers," the country's military intelligence agency, Pakistan has also reportedly expelled U.S. journalist Nicholas Schmidle who wrote about the "Next-Gen Taliban" for the New York Times Magazine, and who had been covering the Pakistani elections for Slate.

As 'Allies Feel Strain of Afghan War,' an eyewitness describes the "bomb- and-gunfire assault" by Taliban attackers at the Kabul Serena Hotel, which fancies itself an "oasis of luxury in a war-ravaged city.'' Earlier: 'Pseudo-development in Karzai's Afghanistan.'

With a report that 'Clinton and Obama call for truce over Dr. King dispute,' Eugene Robinson finds it "surprising that the Clinton campaign has been so aggressive in keeping the race issue alive," and a Clinton pollster tells the New Yorker: "The Hispanic voter -- and I want to say this very carefully -- has not shown a lot of willingness or affinity to support black candidates."

As Rep. Dennis Kucinich awaits his debate fate, Mitt Romney gets a push from Democrats and a staffer's mom, Brad Blog reminds that "Counting ballots is not done to find out what went wrong, but rather, to assure the results are right," and a campaign is launched to 'Say "No" to Pollsters!'

Following a Washington Post analysis advancing the unsubstantiated claim that "Edwards has offended many Democrats with his candidacy," TV talkers 'gang up on Edwards,' and David Sirota has some news 'For the blowhards who insist it's a two-way race...' Plus: Hair today, gone tomorrow!

Tim Russert joins in distorting Bill Clinton's "fairy tale" remarks, Howard Kurtz misrepresents Sen. Barack Obama's 2004 comment on his Iraq war stance, Sen. John McCain 'Takes a page from Karl Rove,' and it's argued that 'We deserve what we get.'

The Nation's Christopher Hayes tells "On the Media" that because "there's too much quantity right now in political coverage ... you have no time to think." Hayes, who recently wrote about the 'Return of the Swift Boaters,' previously covered 'The New Right-Wing Smear Machine,' including the "Obama/madrassa canard," which is not going away.

As he kicks off the media blitz for his book "Confessions of a Political Hitman," Stephen Marks tells the New York Times that "I still have my business, Kingfish Consulting, but will leave the opposition-research work to others," although he was still active as of September.

Vegged-out candidates debate the 'Road to the Greenhouse,' a survey is made of 'Shelves stocked with fakers,' and a shift in production from the U.S. to China illustrates 'The downside of green light bulbs.' Plus: 'Carbon offsets: Feel Good Greenwashing?'

'It Costs Just $2,500. It's Cute as a Bug. And It Could Mean Global Disaster,' according to Mira Kamdar, author of "Planet India."

Following the House's passage in December of a bill "Recognizing the importance of Christmas and the Christian faith," Jason Leopold reports on pending legislation by the Republican founder of the Congressional Prayer Caucus to designate the first week in May as "American Religious History Week."

January 14

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

President Bush has reportedly left "many Mideast political observers mystified as to the purpose of the visit and doubtful that the president made inroads on his twin campaigns for Arab-Israeli peace and isolation for Iran."

Gareth Porter reviews 'How the Pentagon Planted a False Hormuz Story,' as Bush again appears to distance himself from the NIE on Iran, saying that "I defended our intelligence services, but made it clear that they're an independent agency; that they come to conclusions separate from what I may or may not want."

Speaking to the "hypocrisy of the United States," Fareed Zakaria tells NPR that "we talk a lot about Democracy, except in Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia, and Egypt, in other words, [with] all the countries that matter, we emphasize the stability of the present."

Nir Rosen sees 'Al Qaeda in Lebanon' as "perhaps the first sign that the war in Iraq is spilling into the region," and a subsriber-only article on IraqSlogger reports on the spread of opium production in Iraq.

With a report that White House e-mails may be "gone forever," House Democrats call for a special prosecutor to investigate the destruction of CIA videos, and Nat Hentoff speculates on 'What the CIA had to destroy."

As 'One small man leaves a million corpses,' James Wolcott, surveying publishers' offerings to determine 'How Bush Stacks Up,' concludes that "Perhaps Bush's post-presidential memoir should be titled 'From Coffins to Coffers,' since he's helped fill so many of both." Earlier: 'Publishers will hit the campaign trail.'

Mitt Romney's victory in Michigan is described as "a defeat for authenticity in politics," and with Rep. Ron Paul having "thumped two reputed Republican heavyweights" in Michigan, the party's candidates are said to 'share one bond.' Plus: Michigan results reveal dangerous trends for Hillary.'

As it's suggested that 'What happens in Vegas should stay in Vegas,' the Review-Journal endorses Sen. Barack Obama, the "establishment" candidate according to Bill Clinton, who says of Hillary, "the insurgents are with her."

With John Edwards bearing the 'White Man's Burden,' it's reported that the exclusion of Rep. Dennis Kucinich from the debate "will likely be described as a First Amendment victory" by NBC, and Kucinich is said to be "The only candidate who would pass the Martin Luther King Test."

As a call goes out for "serious national black news shows," CJR reviews how the press "engaged in an epic game of Telephone" to stoke "racial tension" between the Clinton and Obama campaigns, and Eric Boehlert laments the degree to which "Voters have become essentially secondary, props in the background that are occasionally queried for a color quote."

With an inflation rate that is the 'Worst in 17 Years,' and with 'Politicians poised to debate economic stimulus,' Robert Kuttner asks: 'Will the faltering economy help the Democrats?'

A transportation panel that recommended a gas tax increase of between 25 and 41 cents, included "no less a conservative luminary than Paul Weyrich," who said that "The orthodoxy in the conservative movement is don't raise any tax. But in this particular instance, I don't see any alternative."

Citgo commercials featuring former Democratic Rep. Joseph Kennedy III, reportedly "appear to win over some viewers who see Venezuela in a more positive light after viewing the ad than they did before," but Kennedy's "fronting for this dictator is shameful," according to the chairman of the economics department at George Mason University.

A Monte Carlo meeting between a judge and a CEO dirties a coal case, and in refusing to hear the appeal of man who said that chemicals he was exposed to at work made him ill, four of seven California Supreme Court justices "cited a conflict of interest because they controlled stock in oil companies that provided some of the solvents at issue in the case."

Although North Dakota is second only to Michigan in people moving out of the state, according to a recent survey, North Dakotans are steamed about a National Geographic article on 'The Emptied Prairie,' written by Charles Bowden and photographed by Eugene Richards.

January 15

Thursday, January 17, 2008

"The U.S. military conducted more than five times as many airstrikes in Iraq last year as it did in 2006," reports the Washington Post, the Bush administration inflated claims about Iraq reconstruction, according to a GAO report, and it's argued that "despite the cosmetic acts of the President and his undertakers, America's Iraq is still a corpse."

Reviewing 'John McCain's real war record,' Mark Benjamin writes that to "buy into the McCain-knows-best version of the Iraq war, you have to ignore a lot of history," including McCain's post-Abu Ghraib defense of Donald Rumsfeld, and a company employing former Rumsfeld aide Stephen Cambone, has been awarded a $30 million contract from a Pentagon office that Cambone helped to create.

"Security has undeniably improved, but people don't yet have the confidence to leave their homes unless it's necessary," says Qasim Al-Septi, owner of a Baghdad gallery that was part of a bustling pre-war art scene, and where in 2004, there was said to have been a "roughly 50/50 split between pro- and anti-Saddam voices ... support for the tyrant runs deep there."

As 'NATO allies bristle at criticisms from Gates' about Afghanistan, made in an interview with the Los Angeles Times, the head of U.S. Central Command says that "the Pakistani military appears willing to work more closely with the U.S. military," and a Christian Science Monitor reports asks: 'Will Iraq playbook work in Pakistan?'

NPR reviews the Pakistani government's evidence that Taliban commander Baitullah Mehsud was behind the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, and in what was described as an "embarrassing battlefield defeat," 47 people were reportedly killed when troops loyal to Mehsud attacked a key fort in northwestern Pakistan on Wednesday.

'Democratization Takes a Beating in 2007,' according to a survey on "Freedom in the World," and a new report from the Institute for Southern Studies finds that "the U.S. response to Katrina breached many U.N. human rights principles."

As it's suggested that "Republicans will hold any attempt to help the economy now hostage to yet another try at making the Bush tax cuts permanent," new home construction in 2007 was down 25 percent over 2006, and the 'Wealthy may be next in line in U.S. home crisis.'

Rep. Michele Bachman says that she's "proud" to be from a state where "we have more people that are working longer hours, we have people that are working two jobs."

Lester Brown questions widespread projections of economic growth in discussing his book, "Plan B 3.0," which he describes as "a wartime mobilization, an all-out response proportionate to the threat that global warming presents to our future," and which has just been made available for free. And on the GE-owned MSNBC, Tucker Carlson pitches nuclear power.

As the Democratic candidates' varieties of change are discussed, John Edwards, despite some evidence that he 'Doesn't Exist,' managed to out- "mill" Sen. Hillary Clinton's "35 years" during Tuesday's debate, and also said: "I think my greatest strength is that for 54 years I've been fighting with ever fiber in my being."

About a statement made by Sen. Barack Obama during an interview with the Reno Gazette-Journal, that voters aren't looking for a "chief operating officer," Clinton claimed to have been "somewhat taken aback," and in another interview, flat out "taken aback." Plus: 'Did the Clintons try to whack a cat?'

A New York Times report that 'In South Carolina, the Campaign Mud Arrived Before Santa,' doesn't mention the "pro-Mike Huckabee push polling," or the Swift Boot Vets for Truth mailer targeting Sen. John McCain. And with Michigan behind him, Mitt Romney now 'pledges to save southern economy.'

Responding to Matt Taibbi's 'Merchants of Trivia,' a reporter sets about 'Defending (Gulp!) the Campaign Press,' while agreeing that "TV media is almost impossible to defend."

As protesters disrupt an appearance by Bill Maher on "The Tonight Show," ripping NBC and GE for ignoring impeachment and for not allowing Rep. Dennis Kucinich to debate, liberal cartoonists slam Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart over the writer's strike.

The Guardian reports on pushback against the design for a new national library in Prague, by the Czech-born architect Jan Kaplicky, that resembles a green and purple jellyfish. More on the architect and his firm, Future Systems.

January 16

Friday, January 18, 2008

With the Army Chief of Staff said to be justifiably worried that the "surge has sucked all of the flexibility out of the system," Secretary of Defense Robert Gates calls for an extended U.S. presence in Iraq, and military contractors draw renewed fire over their lack of accountability in an new report from Human Rights First.

In a "groundbreaking agreement" by Iraqi nationalists that he says "has emerged independently of the United States," Robert Dreyfus finds "the seeds of true national reconciliation in Iraq," but a skeptic points to what may be well concealed "American fingerprints." Plus: Reidar Visser on tensions in Iraqi Shiite identity.

The IMF and the UN predict predict "a period of economic growth and political progress" for Iraq, with the caveat that "Of course all of this is conditional on oil production expansion and the security situation improving," as one northern province goes two weeks without electricity.

As the CIA mirrors the views of the Pakistani government on Bhutto's killer, despite a very popular alternative theory, and a 'frontier insurgency spills into a Pakistani city,' Roger Morris weighs the price Pakistan continues to pay for 'America's most generous and tragic patronage.'

In return for a deal to build three nuclear power stations in the Persian Gulf, French president Nicolas Sarkozy, who has "placed the French nuclear industry at the heart of his foreign policy," has secured an agreement to allow France to build one of the first non-American foreign military bases in the region in decades.

With 'more nuke guards caught napping,' and Democrats presidential candidates all talking about an obituary for Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository, Nieman Watchdog recommends some tough follow up questions about what exactly to do about nuclear power.

'The Official Story' on the CIA torture tapes investigation, Scott Horton contends, has been marked by "charade-like internal investigations" and, Jonathan Turley adds, a bi-partisan spin, as 'Canada places the U.S. and Israel on torture watch,' and psychological associations 'move to gut bill on interrogations.'

Although a just disclosed internal White House study shows that more than '473 days of e-mail are gone', and the backup tapes likely "recycled," a White House spokesman insists that there is "no evidence" that any e-mail is missing.

With 'Muslim American voters left out in the cold' by both parties, and rumors poisoning community relations in the South, Ross Perot gets "pleasantly surprised," while in 'The Weepy Witch & the Secret Muslim,' Katha Pollitt argues that getting into an "oppression sweepstakes" will hand the election to the GOP.

As Sen. Barack Obama draws fire from the left for soft pedaling the legacy of Ronald Reagan, the right responds with "amusement, and an approving nod or two," and Sen. Hillary Clinton is accused of wheeling out a Bush administration mantra.

Hillary Clinton's "35 years of experience" is found to be based on some 'curious math,' as Ari Berman looks at some recent problematic encounters with her campaigns' 'most aggressive attack dog ... Bill.'

The Edwards campaign takes on the media for acting "as if there were only two candidates in the race" with a satirical video drawing attention to its absence from media coverage, not to mention polls, as it launches a series of 10 second ads that are said to raise powerful points but stretch things a bit.

Two Washington watchdogs call on CNN to exclude Ralph Reed from "the best political team on television," citing his "tenuous relation to the truth," ethical issues, and political bias, as Chris Matthews, reportedly under pressure from MSNBC, apologizes to Hillary Clinton.

As Joe Conason considers the extent to which biblical law is at the heart of Mike Huckabee's presidential vision, the candidate is observed resurrecting "Santorum's dog," raising questions about who would tell whom to stick a pole where, and repurposing the popcorn popper. Plus: 'A Heathen's Guide to the Rapture.'

As it's argued that an "absurd fixation on scale and growth has made many companies weaker," polls show that 'big business is even more unpopular than you might think,' and David Cay Johnston explains how government policies have "quietly funneled money from the poor and the middle class to the rich and politically connected."

An article for the American Constitutional Society examines how the Bush administration has been using "federal preemption of state tort law claims to undermine public health and safety protections."

Commenting on the Bush administration's decision to exempt the navy from a federal court order limiting its use of sonar in training exercises, David Niewert highlights how it keeps "the 'unitary presidency' ball moving forward."

'Art attack' The New Statesman looks beyond Banksy to a group of like-minded street artists who joined him in an effort to bring their work to the West Bank and the Separation Wall, while for reverse graffiti artists who recycle pollution, it's argued that "the message is actually in the material."

Jan. 17

Monday, January 21, 2008

With Iraq "irretrievably broken," Andrew Bacevich argues that the only undeniable success of the surge lies in ensuring "that U.S. troops won't be coming home anytime soon," but the New York Times' Michael Gordon explains why this is a feature, not a bug for those who are "serious."

The AP searches for answers to the question 'Why Does Johnny Come Marching Homeless?,' the New York Times profiles a veteran's descent into "homicidal, and suicidal, behavior," and an anti-war veterans group charges that "the killing of innocent civilians is policy," as Fox News attacks "non-existent veterans."

An investigative report uncovers how a former Triple Canopy CEO parlayed false credentials into political and financial advantage for his new private security firm Sovereign Deed, one of whose backers is said to have been motivated by "a shared vision of America's dystopic future and a desire to profit from it." Plus: Blackwater's electoral "nastygrams."

Even if it's one year to go, Robert Parry warns that the consequences of the Bush debacle are nowhere near ending, as Gareth Porter investigates the 'Iran/Argentina Terror Frame-Up,' and verities about the origin of "signature attacks" are exposed to skepticism.

As the New York Times profiles a military blogger who admittedly "pulled punches, not wanting to undermine the war effort," an article in the new issue of Arab Media and Society investigates the 'possibilities of the open source movement,' taking a mil-blog and Riverbend's Baghdad Burning as points of comparison.

Although recent interviews show that British government experts were as inept as Donald Rumsfeld in failing to foresee the post-war Iraqi insurgency, Jonathan Steele recounts in an excerpt from his new book how Tony Blair dismissed warnings by outside academics, "with blithe self-confidence" and a "lack of interest in detail."

FBI 'accused of covering up a file detailing government dealings with a network stealing nuclear secrets,' reports the London Times, apparently corroborating allegations made by gagged whistleblower Sibel Edmonds and, Daniel Ellsberg notes, scooping the entire U.S. press.

Under pressure from allies, Canada removes the U.S. and Israel from its torture watch, a Guantanamo detainee's lawyer alleges that there are more CIA torture tapes, and former Homeland Security head Tom Ridge insists that "waterboarding was, is - and will always be - torture."

A punishing Israeli blockade leaves Gaza dark and cold, amid questions about what Israeli air strikes are targeting, and Israel prepares to conduct a review of "army assassinations in the West Bank and Gaza Strip that killed civilians in the past year," as Chris Hedges warns that Israel is creating new generations of militants.

In his first public appearance since 2006, Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hizbullah, 'taunts Israel over body parts" left on the battlefield in its recent war with Lebanon, apparently seeking a deal over Lebanese prisoners held in Israeli jails, although the initial reaction was not positive.

As GOP candidates continue to try out the Reagan mantle, Frank Rich reminds that 'Reagan is still dead' and George Bush's unpopularity is the real uniter, and Paul Krugman argues the importance of challenging the narrative and recalling the failure of Reaganomics. Plus: Whose figurehead?

Former president Bill Clinton 'intervenes (but doesn't intimidate)' in Nevada, as leading Democrats reportedly tell him to 'pipe down,' and Sen. Barack Obama vows to "directly confront" him over "statements that are not factually accurate."

Historians voice concern that Martin Luther King's legacy is being reduced to a single speech, with his concerns for the dignity of labor and his opposition to the Vietnam war largely sidelined, as white supremacists plan to protest the holiday with a march on Jena.

In a speech at King's Ebenezer Baptist Church, Obama calls for unity, emphasizing the need to overcome 'homophobia, anti-semitism and xenophobia,' as he walks a 'black-white tightrope' in the South, and Bill Moyers reflects on the "tempest in a teapot" over the roles of King and President Johnson in advancing civil rights.

Instead of obsessing on "horse race journalism," about which no one really has any "special insight," Jay Rosen contends that the campaign press should be "bringing new knowledge into the system" to "make certain that what needs to be discussed will be discussed in time to make a difference."

As environmental groups 'fall out over anti-whaling tactics,' issues of cultural bias and moral standing rise to the surface, and tourism companies turn global warming to advantage selling 'tourism at the end of the world.'

Jan. 18-20

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Following the biggest one-day drop in world stock markets since September 11, 2001, the Federal Reserve, in its first emergency action since 2001, cut its overnight lending rate by three quarters of a percentage point, to 3.5 percent, in what was described as "a none-too-faint whiff of panic."

As 'Candidates talk up their plans to stimulate the weakening economy,' Hillary Clinton accused Barack Obama of "looking for a fight," following a debate that saw John Edwards "effectively serving as an arbiter between the two," in advance of a Super Tuesday that 'might be super confusing.' Plus: 'Obama's relationship with alleged fixer.'

A columnist describes 'A bad bout of Billharea,' and Bill Clinton, said to have been hit with a "right wing talking point," watches as Atlanta's mayor distorts his "fairy tale" comment.

As Fred Thompson confounds the skeptic who said he was 'Too Lazy To Withdraw,' Sen. John McCain, after reassuring reporters of his fidelity to them, campaigned in Alabama on a holiday he voted against establishing.

With a disclaimer that "polls should not be considered prophetic," one has Mitt Romney leading -- while being dogged -- in Florida, and another finds Rudy Giuliani 'trailing on home ground,' as a New York Times article leads to "pondering what could have been. A Giuliani White House."

A report that the Bush White House has 'no comprehensive e-mail archive,' after having scrapped a system installed during the Clinton administration, follows an analysis that showed the archives missing for "several key days" during the Plame investigation.' Plus: 'Preserving the Presidency.'

About the Washington Post's article on Freedom's Watch, with its election-year kitty of $200-plus million, pumped up by Sheldon Adelson and "more than double the amount spent by the largest independent liberal groups in the 2004 election cycle," Jim Lobe cites "a connection that the mainstream media has almost entirely ignored and that remains somewhat taboo."

With 'Israel forced into U-turn over Gaza,' where the power shortage was reportedly "greater than Israel had previously thought," Israel "has decided to embrace the electric car," amid battling translations over whether Prime Minister Olmert said that Gaza's residents "can" or "will" walk.

As the Bush administration moves the goal posts on an Israeli/Palestinian peace plan, a U.S. immigrant described simply as "T," tells Ha'aretz of having been 'beaten up in "pogrom" by ultra-Orthodox gang,' and the 'Controversy over Maureen Dowd's New Hampshire dateline goes international!'

Miri Ben-Ari, "The Hip-Hop Violinist," performs her soundtrack to Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech for the first time in Israel, and Israeli-born saxophonist Gilad Atzmon, in an essay on 'The Primacy of the Ear,' writes about "the road from music to ethics." Earlier: 'Music to Save the World.'

"The Jewish Messiah," an "absurdist parody" by the Dutch writer Arnon Grunberg, is said to be "devilishly clever and robustly ironic," but "too grim and freighted for laugh-out-loud humor." In an interview with Publisher's Weekly, Grunberg touches on his reporting from Afghanistan.

With 'Pakistan roiled by flour and electricity shortages, food price rises,' its 'leader eases grip on TV but bans some journalists,' and the New York Times editorializes that "The only way for Mr. Musharraf to regain any credibility is by ensuring that the election is free and fair."

A pre-emptive nuclear strike is a 'key option' of "a radical manifesto for a new Nato," and in a war that is said to have "largely ended," the U.S. hits "more than 30 targets in a 35-bomb blitz," and gun battles between government forces and a millenarian Shia cult, reports Patrick Cockburn, "underlines how swiftly violence can explode in Iraq where everybody is heavily armed."

As Jose Padilla is sentenced to 17 years, it's argued that "talk of the 'failure' of the war on terror rests on the false premise that there really is such a war," Morgan Spurlock's new movie, "Where In The World Is Osama Bin Laden?" premieres at Sundance, and four of the five Academy Award nominees for best documentary are war-related.

Among the subjects cited for White House News Photographers Association awards, are cluster bombs, presidential candidates and the crisis in Darfur, and media award nominations find something to be GLAAD about almost everywhere but Fox News.

As Katie Couric finds an audience, an Atlantic essay by Caitlin Flanagan is recommended on the grounds that "Couric's forced, half-psychotic perkiness strained through Flanagan's melancholy is just devastating."

January 21

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Truth Be Told President Bush and seven top administration officials issued 935 false statements about the national security threat from Iraq in the two years following 9/11, according to "The War Card," a study published by the Center for Public Integrity, because, "Somebody had to do it."

The U.S. military also fires 'A salvo at the White House' over Iraq, and about the law reinstating ex-Baath party members, a U.S. senior diplomat tells the Washington Post that its "about as clear as mud."

Fighting Bankruptcy "It is virtually impossible to overstate the profligacy of what our government spends on the military," writes Chalmers Johnson. Read excerpts - 1, 2, and 3 -- from Johnson's "Nemesis," just released in paperback.

With a report that the Federal Reserve chairman has privately "expressed growing pessimism about the economy," President Bush's original economic stimulus plan is analyzed, and graded, along with those from presidential candidates, garnering Rudy Giuliani an "incomplete." Plus: find out what "could jolt the political landscape ahead of the November elections."

Tore Down That Wall! As its claimed that Hamas 'spent months cutting through Gaza wall in secret operation,' a little reported theory is offered as to why Israel chose now to further crack down on Gaza.

In addition to no questions on Israel, there were no questions on education or global warming during CNN's Democratic debate on Monday, which was commercially sponsored by a coal industry front group.

The State's endorsement of Sen. Barack Obama dismisses John Edwards for having "morphed away from the optimist who won South Carolina in 2004. The candidate who stayed mostly above the fray four years ago is angry now, and pushing hard to turn working-class angst into political opportunity."

David Sirota takes issue with Sen. Hillary Clinton's commitment to ending poverty, and a man calling himself "a grassroots activist," claims to be behind anti-Clinton robo-calls into South Carolina, which include the cat-whacking allegation. Plus: 'Just try to understand delegate totals.'

A report on campaigns' spending plans leading up to Feb. 5, notes that two unnamed Republican candidates are considering Super Bowl advertising, and quotes Republican media consultant Don Sipple on spending in California.

As Pennsylvania's governor endorses Clinton, Rep. Ron Paul also picked up an endorsement, on the 35th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, and printing papers from the Internet that discussed women's role in society, was among the offenses against an Afghan journalism student sentenced to death Tuesday for blasphemy.

Attorney General Mukasey continues his 'Tap Dance On Torture,' and a review of "Torture and Democracy," notes the author's argument "that torture is a craft, not a science, whose practitioners 'pick their techniques by imitating others, opportunistically adapting familiar procedures from other contexts ...'"

A report that 'Mexico hits drug gangs with full fury of war,' was followed by Tuesday's capture of '11 alleged hit men,' as Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff "described an extensive surge in violence against federal agents along the Southwest border."

A spokesperson for an ad agency that's pitching "pre-written" weather articles for the Department of Homeland Security, tells Vermont's Seven Days that "Over the past year, we've just noticed that staffing has been a little down at newspapers."

As Sundance attendees do the "Brand-dance," a new radio documentary, "Design of Desire," which includes a segment titled "A brand of Me," about the marketing of, and to, teenagers, coincides with the Sundance screening of "Kids + Money," by Lauren Greenfield, photographer and author of the acclaimed "Fast Forward."

The subjects of "The Linguists," another Sundance entry, discuss their efforts to 'document vanishing voices,' in a film which one review concludes, "makes a compelling case for this particular kind of academic derring-do." And with Romanian films taking major prizes at Cannes, there's a 'New Wave on the Black Sea.'

January 22

Thursday, January 24, 2008

The New York Times reports on a spike in violence against, and within, the Awakening Councils, and Mark Perry writes that a "trust gap," not the Iraqi insurgency, "is killing the American military," which reportedly hopes to shorten 15-month tours in Iraq and Afghanistan by this summer.

With 'Supporters at home and abroad backing away from Musharraf,' the U.S. has reportedly "launched planning for more extensive use of U.S. troops to train Pakistani armed forces," amid a U.S. claim that Pakistani-based Al-Qaeda and Taliban forces have switched their focus from Afghanistan to Pakistan.

"It keeps going up, up and away," said Sen. Kent Conrad, in response to a CBO report on war funding, "which averaged about $93 billion a year from 2003 through 2005, rose to $120 billion in 2006 and $171 billion in 2007," all of which "is effectively being put on a government credit card." Plus: 'Deal reached on economic stimulus package.'

Rep. Dennis Kucinich announces his "State of the Union" plans, CNN viewers respond to the 935 false statements leading up to the invasion of Iraq, and the British government is ordered to make public a secret draft of its Iraq WMD Dossier.

With a reminder that "Every War Has Two Losers," a review of the book, "This Republic of Suffering," by one historian, prompts another to ask: "Is This Republic Suffering?"

As 'More Gazans Flood Across Border,' Tony Karon argues that 'Hamas Blows a Hole in Bush's Plans,' by having "managed to take advantage of the impossible situation the U.S.-Israeli policy had created for Mubarak and for President Mahmoud Abbas, to once again emerge on top."

"Either sign a peace deal, or go into Gaza and get rid of the people who launch rockets," says a hairdresser in the besieged Israeli city of Sderot, who "has invented a Kassem hairdo.... made out of synthetic hair that can be attached to a customer's real hair."

Jetting from one celeb-fest and en route to another, U2's Bono stopped off at the Pentagon to discuss global poverty, while in the U.S., the percentage of those living in poverty in 2006 was 12.3, compared to 11.7 in 2001, or, as Keith Olbermann put it in an interview with John Edwards, "the poor have not recovered from the previous recession."

As a Los Angeles Times poll 'finds Clinton holding on to lead,' it's argued that 'Leading Dems Miss the Boat on Health Care,' and documents related to Clinton's "National Taskforce on Health Care Reform," obtained by Judicial Watch, are already providing fodder for conservative columnists.

John Edwards 'struggles for attention, even in native state,' and a report asking 'Whom will white male S.C. Democrats vote for?,' notes that speaking to a largely black audience, Obama "took the unusual step of bringing up Internet rumors that he's a Muslim," saying, "Don't be confused when you hear some of the negative stuff.... It's the same old okey-doke."

One day after Jesse Jackson said that Sen. Barack Obama needs a surrogate, former South Carolina Democratic party chair Dick Harpootlian said of the Clintons, "The politics of deception that they have been practicing remind me of Lee Atwater's campaigns here."

On "Hardball," radio talker Ed Schultz said that "Bill Clinton is lying about Barack Obama," after which blog swarm ambushee Chris Matthews said, "Bill Clinton accusing the other side of spinning, this is rich stuff," and a Financial Times columnist warns that 'Davos Bill is tarnishing his brand,' but, "You gotta do what you gotta do."

A South Carolina civil rights activist argues that "Talking race in a white media echo chamber works to Clinton's advantage," Michelle Obama tells a South Carolina newspaper that her role will remain "that of spouse," as she's "not a politician," and 'CNN readers respond angrily to "race or gender" story.'

Ted Conover reviews "Gang Leader for a Day," for which social scientist Sudhir Venkatesh spent years hanging out with "J.T.," the leader of a Chicago crack gang, who is depicted "trying to expand his turf by pitching young would-be gangsters in Iowa with the zeal of an Amway salesman." Venkatesh is also involved in a new study examining Chicago's sex trade.

More popular in the U.S. than apples and oranges combined, it's described as "a worldwide poster child for bio-nondiversity .... a geopolitical force that has both shaped and toppled nations," and, "the atheist's nightmare."

January 23

Friday, January 25, 2008

Amid concerns that agreements the White House is seeking with the Iraqi government are designed to "bind the next president," immunize contractors, and circumvent Congressional approval, Iraq's foreign minister admits to Patrick Cockburn that these agreements, which he views as necessary, will be "denounced as a sell-out in Iraq."

As the U.S. 'Army lowers recruitment standards again,' an inquiry into Iraqi prisoner abuse by British soldiers concludes that troops must be taught "a better understanding between right and wrong," but finds "no evidence of endemic abuse."

Sen. Jay Rockefeller and sudden White House generosity concerning access to the warrantless surveillance program documents help get the FISA ball rolling toward an immunity showdown scheduled to take place just hours before Monday's State of the Union address.

A recent poll finds that 57% of likely voters, "cutting across ideology and geography," oppose telecom immunity, as samples from recent coverage suggest that the 'mainstream media still gets the wiretapping debate wrong.'

A deal is struck on a 'stimulus package' for the U.S. economy, but because it "essentially consists of nothing but tax cuts and gives most of those tax cuts to people in fairly good financial shape," Paul Krugman calls it a "cave in" by Democrats, as it's noted that the check may not be in the mail.

With the economy 'cratering,' the government is only just now talking about a stimulus, suspects David Sirota, because "the group demanding help has changed," as an article in Slate explains 'how the feds stopped the states from averting the lending mess.'

In Colombia to push free trade, Sec. of State Condoleezza Rice is said to be facing a "tough sell," with more than 700 union members killed in the country since 2001, and a rosy CSIS report designed "to reduce Chavez to size and build up Colombia's President Uribe," seems to be more PR than bona fide research.

During Senate testimony (scroll down), the EPA chief defends his "refusal to let California set limits on the greenhouse gas emissions of automobiles," asserting that climate change posed no "compelling and extraordinary" risk to the state, no matter what his staff said, as 'Detroit parties on,' and Exxon tops off profits.

Among the mounting problems facing nuclear power plants in the South are critical water shortages due to the ongoing drought, one of at least four Achilles heels the industry faces according to one count, as 'nuclear revival rekindles waste concerns' across the globe.

Having Bill Clinton play "bad cop" against Sen. Barack Obama is apparently still seen as a plus by Hillary Clinton's campaign, but it is driving some of his former supporters off the bus, and leaving others concerned that he may hurt the party, while with Clinton and Obama attacking, Edwards gains.

As 'Republicans play to the right in Florida debate,' and call for deeper tax cuts, McCain ducks a question on his economic credentials, John Dean looks at why the GOP is losing its grip on the core business vote, and amid the Iraq happy chorus, Mike Huckabee breaks out with the parable of the Easter egg.

With his campaign reportedly "floundering," Huckabee 'turns to televangelist for fundraising,' and compares America to Nazi Germany, while John McCain pulls Joe Lieberman officially on board.

A liberal advocacy group aims to take out an insurance policy to make sure President Bush maintains his current level of popularity, and offers "I am a Bush Republican" buttons in advance of the State of the Union address, as GOP candidates duke it out through Hollywood surrogates.

Reuters, apparently in "black comedy" mode, sums up the implications of Paul Wolfowitz's return to government service, as Donald Rumsfeld resurfaces, hawking the virtues of propaganda, and talking of pods.

In its inquiry into the hiring of the New York Times' 'Fifth Columnist,' the New Republic reports staffers' concerns that "Judy's point of view has returned," while contrasting coverage of the death of Heath Ledger illustrates the two faces of Rupert Murdoch's News International, and James Carville And Paul Begala get the boot (for a while).

John Pilger emphasizes continuity in the 'danse macabre of US-style democracy,' and takes apart the sugar-coated election reporting of the BBC's Washington Bureau chief, who has reportedly "gone native," while former U.K. ambassador Craig Murray puzzles over the "growing weirdness" of U.S. political culture.

Nick Turse presents voices from 'the missing archives of a lost war,' as reminders of the suffering inflicted by the U.S. during what the Vietnamese refer to as "the American war," as an anthropologist considers the lingering ghosts of that war.

Jan. 24

Monday, January 28, 2008

With President Bush threatening a veto, a New York Times editorial pans Senate Democrats' enabling of 'The FISA Follies, Redux,' as presidential front-runners promise a no vote on cloture, although it is not yet clear how far they are willing to go. Glenn Greenwald lays out 'what's at stake' in today's vote.

In a "prebuttal" to the State of the Union speech, congressional Democrats call on Bush to denounce torture, as Scott Horton reviews recent 'Bulletins from the Ministry for Torture,' and a portrait of Orwell hanging on his wall poses questions of clarity for Attorney General Mukasey.

A Findlaw article examines global trends in criminalizing speech that is construed as indirect incitement of terrorism, Jonathan Turley considers the implications for the justice system of 'the mad pursuit of a trophy terrorist,' and Sen. Carl Levin argues that 'detainee abuse undermines American security.'

Faced with a day to day reality that belies "claims of success and progress," Dahr Jamail finds that ordinary Iraqis have begun to suspect that "behind the U.S. smile is hatred and violence," while Patrick Cockburn, back in Fallujah, is told by "a crucial U.S. ally" that "If there is no change in three months, there will be war again."

Five years on, Editor & Publisher revisits a 'prescient interview' on press coverage of the run-up Iraq war, and the BBC plans an anniversary dramatization, as an 'Iraq benchmark report card' on the first anniversary of the surge, finds only 3 of 18 goals accomplished.

Although his rejection of a British special envoy is said to motivated by an attempt "to improve his image by standing up to Western powers," Afghan President Hamid Karzai concedes that "if I am called a puppet because we are grateful to America, then let that be my nickname," as rumors swirl of an American successor.

Amid "the worst internal violence since Lebanon's 1975-1990 Civil War," and still without a president, many Lebanese, according to the Mosaic "Intelligence Report," are now asking is "another civil war is in the offing?"

In response to a lawsuit charging that fuel restrictions constitute "collective punishment," Israeli officials state that their "economic warfare" against Gaza will include electricity cuts, as desperate Gazans try to get supplies through the hole in the wall, and the media is accused of (mis-)framing the conflict. Plus: Hebron's 'tragical history tour.'

Despite a majority of voters "eager to turn the page," Frank Rich outlines some of investigative pitfalls that might turn into 'The Billary Road to Republican Victory,' and Garry Wills contends that problems of accountability magnified by our current semi-plural presidency weigh against another such experiment.

Following Obama's victory in South Carolina, the Clinton camp is reportedly pushing the idea that he is "the Black candidate," though any intentional effort to stir the racial debate is denied, as Obama pick up endorsements from some Kennedys, as well as from the coiner of "the first Black president."

On the campaign trail, Sen. John McCain warns "there's going to be other wars," and accuses Mitt Romney of wanting to withdraw troops from Iraq, while Romney attempts to use McCain's climate legislation against him.

In an effort to "super-size" its election coverage, Fox News plans a mash-up of football and politics conflating the Super Bowl with Super Tuesday, and "throwing overkill to the wind," with 'News Corp. set for a big payoff at many levels.'

A breakdown of 'who gets stimulated,' shows that the top end gets the lion's share of the proposed economic package, as a bleak 'economic state of the union,' has Paul Craig Roberts concluding that this is 'the profile of a third world country' which, adds Naomi Klein, may open the door for "disaster populism."

Despite signs that the U.S. is 'waving goodbye to hegemony,' as other nations no longer "count on America's guarantees quite as much as before," IPS's Jim Lobe finds 'Neo-cons shaken, but not deterred.'

In his reconstruction of the history of CIA interrogation after 9/11, Spencer Ackerman contends that surprisingly "the agency had limited experience with interrogation, and had few people on staff who had even conducted one," skimming over some earlier entries in the CIA's torture resume.

Although former Indonesian dictator Suharto, "saw up to a million political opponents killed," most obituaries paper over the role of his Western backers, and John Pilger contends, he was 'our model dictator.' Watch Pilger's 1994 documentary 'Death of a Nation,' now on line, which details Western complicity in the genocide in East Timor.

"Democracy Now!," covers the death of Suharto with an in-depth discussion of his 30-year reign, Allan Nairn's interviews with Bill Clinton and Richard Holbrooke on their support of the Indonesian dictatorship, and excerpts of the documentary Nairn made with Amy Goodman on the "Santa Cruz massacre."

Jan. 25-27

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

'Remember Me?' President Bush kept the debunkers busy on what was described as "a red-letter night in American history."

And while 'Bush tries to show that he's still on the job,' he's overshadowed by 'Camelot '08.'

About the official Democratic response, as opposed to the response by Democrats, David Brooks said: "she started by praising us all as part of a united country. And then she attacked pundits. I mean, aren't we Americans? Don't we bleed if we're cut?"

As 'Washington elite lead Clinton backlash,' amid a report of another potential 'strategic catastrophe,' the Washington Times finds something to like about Ralph Nader, and CNN puts skin in the game.

With "dozens of interests eager to get a free ride on the first must-pass piece of legislation of the year," a state task force finds 'Ailing hospitals good to CEOs,' and an article describes how the U.S. Supreme Court goes about 'Taking care of business.' Plus: a 'coal industry champion' to head product safety commission?

The mortgage crisis creates a 'ghost town' in Ohio, Dean Baker finds Pravda-style reporting on the U.S. economy, and FAIR takes the New York Times to task for an article claiming that Bush's economic growth record "would be the envy of most presidents."

With the 'Justice Dept. accused of blocking Gonzales probe,' and the 'GOP unable to force vote on Bush surveillance bill,' former National Intelligence Director John Negroponte confirms the use of waterboarding in telling the National Journal that it "has not been used in years."

Five U.S. soldiers are killed in an "increasingly lawless Mosul," Juan Cole has 'One last argument with Bush," and Jeremy Scahill reports that seven Blackwater protesters were given a 'secret trial and criminal conviction.'

As 'Bush's delusions die in Gaza,' where "a noxious mix of human and animal waste" is turning streets into sewers, and where medical supplies are running low, a call goes out for "Washington to help, not hinder, the reaching of a cease-fire" between Hamas and Israel.

The ''Pakistani Taliban grows bolder,' and at "an unprecedented briefing for foreign journalists," a Pakistani military leader said the country's nuclear weapons are "absolutely safe and secure," following Friday's broadcast of the first ever TV interview with Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud, who said the 'U.S., not Taliban, threat to Pak nukes.'

While the AP was headlining Baitullah Mehsud 'Entering Limelight,' it was also being reported that 'Mullah Omar sacks Baitullah for fighting against Pak Army,' which was based on an Asia Times' article. Plus: 'Finding the home of Mr. "Nukes 'R Us."'

The U.S. mainstream 'media buries U.S. complicity in Suharto's bloody rule,' while in Indonesia, a 'U.N. graft meeting targets plundering leaders.'

As this year's decentralized World Social Forum marked by last Saturday's Global Day of Action, coverage of the World Economic Forum in Davos is criticized for "lots of stories quoting lots of 'big' names saying lots of obvious things."

With violence and war the common themes of Academy Award nominees for best foreign language feature, the anti-war film "Beaufort" -- Israel's first nomination in 20 years -- came after Israel's initial submission, "The Band's Visit," about an Egyptian police band that gets lost when it comes to Israel to perform, was disqualified. (scroll down)

While the films "12" from Russia and "Mongol" from Kazakhstan are said to "have put the ex-Soviet countries' film industry back on the map," a WSWS dismissal of the Academy Award nominations argues that "one would draw the conclusion from many of these films that the ordinary American is a psychotic."

January 28

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Attorney General Edwards? The 2008 presidential campaign 'loses a voice' for "the other America," as John Edwards drops out of the race, but with a pledge from his two competitors.

As Sens. McCain and Clinton win Florida primaries, there was a piece missing from her victory party, while his platform was described as "something we can all rally behind."

He "didn't even care enough about conservatives to lie to us," said a Republican consultant about the candidate who fell 1,189 delegates short of the number needed to win his party's nomination, despite spending an estimated $40 million. Plus: 'A contrast in losing.'

Describing how "the New Right delivered the White House to Ronald Reagan in 1980," with the Heritage Foundation serving as "the brain trust of the Reagan era," James Ridgeway reiterates the notion that "no enemy is more reviled among Republicans than Hillary Clinton." And, could Michael Bloomberg data mine his way to the presidency?

"Given that waterboarding is not part of the current program, and may never be added to the program, I do not think it would be appropriate for me to pass definitive judgment on the technique's legality," said Attorney General Mukasey, testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

As President Bush issues signing statements disputing the prohibition of federal funds to establish permanent military bases in Iraq, exercise U.S control of Iraq's oil resources, and provide contractor oversight, Gary Hart reflects on 'The Burdens of Empire.'

With 'Bombs Away Over Iraq,' Bush is now sending signals that Iraq troop cuts may not continue past this summer. In response to Bush's claim that "more than 20,000 of our troops are coming home," Fred Kaplan points out that "These are the 20,000 troops that were sent over as part of the surge." Plus: U.S. allies not honoring financial pledges.

As he argues "Why lovers of Israel should vote for McCain,' Sen. Joe Lieberman again rules out running with McCain, but said that he'd likely attend the Republican convention if McCain gets the nomination, and "probably be more welcome there." And despite spending four our of the past five weekends stumping for McCain, Minnesota's governor 'denies VP talk.'

After Ted Kennedy's endorsement of Barack Obama provoked a "gender-uber-alles reaction," NOW's national organization came to Kennedy's defense, a Boston Globe columnist argued, "Make no mistake. This is an endorsement that matters," and CNN's Glenn Beck asked a guest if she had "ever just pictured Ted Kennedy naked?"

With former Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell invited to testify at a House hearing on voting irregularities, Brad Blog alerts about a Diebold-issued 'Product Advisory' in Florida, and suggests that "With 'friends' like Markos Moulitsas at Daily Kos, Democrats may not need Republicans to help them lose this year. "

The 'Networks ignore Gulf Coast in debates,' but you can do something about that, and as a debate on science is proposed, Mike Huckabee chooses God over You, and Katie Couric asks candidates, "If you were elected president, what is the one book other than the bible you would think is essential to have along?"

In a controversy described as "no different than our division over the Confederate flag," there's an effort in South Carolina to remove a statue of former governor and U.S. senator, "Pitchfork" Ben Tillman, from the state capitol grounds.

One biographer "said Tillman did more to spread prejudice than any other American," and reviewing a new book, "The Bloody Shirt," Jonathan Yardley said that Tillman's four-decade political career "may well have been the most contemptible in American history."

As Rio's carnival hosts a Holocaust-themed float, Robert Bolano's "Nazi Literature in the Americas" is described in the introduction to an excerpt as, "a tour de force of black humor and imaginary erudition." Additional excerpts here and here.

With an "On The Media" segment asking, "By what calculus does a news organization nominate twentysomethings for the journalistic equivalent of a death pool?," comes a reminder of "the APís valiant, cold turkey effort to break its addiction to reporting on Paris Hilton."

January 29

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Amid "signs of the Awakenings strategy hitting turbulence," U.S. commanders in Iraq are now saying they want to freeze troop cuts beginning this summer, likely saddling the next administration with pre- "surge" troop levels. And with 'Soldier Suicides at Record Level,' a 'Bomb takes death toll of journalists in Iraq war to 126.'

As President Bush is told that Canada is 'Ready to quit Afghanistan,' new reports 'sound alarm bells on Afghan mission,' including one which finds that 'NATO's not winning in Afghanistan.' And a Karachi shoot out is said to provide "stark evidence that al-Qaeda-linked sleeper cells have been activated against the Pakistani state. Plus: "The Uncensored History of the 9/11 Investigation."

'Thank You. Now Go to Hell.' Following Attorney General Mukasey's testimony, it's suggested that "If you want to fight torture, you better get a law degree," and John Dean said of Mukasey: "we can only hope that his advice in private is stronger than the advice he's willing to share."

Sen. Russ Feingold explains the 'FISA Bill in 30 Seconds,' the constitutionality of telecom immunity is questioned, and Truthout reports on efforts to stop immunity by Democrats connected to Third Way, "a non-profit 'progressive' think tank that is funded and controlled by hedge fund managers, corporate lawyers and business executives."

In dismissing a class-action suit against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers over post-Katrina levee breaches, a federal judge said that while the agency failed to protect the city, his hands were tied by the Flood Control Act of 1928, passed in the wake of the flood that inspired "When the Levee Breaks." Plus: 'CDC suppressed toxic trailer warnings.'

As Israel's Supreme Court 'Affirms plan to reduce power to Gaza,' the Winograd Report is dismissed for its "nonsense conclusion" about the last days of the war in Lebanon, and 'The Israel Factor' loses its most reliable candidate.

'CNNís Reagan Mystique' After McCain and Romney sparred during Wednesday's debate over the latter's alleged "timetable" for Iraq withdrawal, Ron Paul was applauded when he called their wrangling "rather silly," and Mike Huckabee repeated his call for investing in infrastructure.

Romney talks a radio talker into supporting Paul, Newt Gingrich and Sean Hannity 'weigh their McCain options,' and in a "non-concession speech," Rush Limbaugh 'vows to fight on.'

Jonathan Raban sees the primary campaigns "exposing all the underlying fault-lines in American society," and in avance of tonight's debate, Sen. Barack Obama is urged "to prepare his own one-minute version of the Checkers speech to unload the Rezko albatross." Plus: Edwards couple lauded for "aggressive push-back against ... media figures."

In 'The face of power,' an inquiry is made into What font says 'Change'?, and the "Best Political Team on Television" extends the brand.

As Ralph Nader sets up an exploratory committee for another presidential run, contribute $300 and get premiums, including a DVD of "Sicko," or watch it here for free.

Charles McGrath tells the story behind "Beautiful Children," by Charles Bock. Eleven years in the making and one of two new books that deal with 'The sordid world of Sin City's lost kids,' it is also said to be "about the aftermath of war -- not merely Iraq, although that is mentioned -- but more important 'the war of all against all.'"

An article on 'Rethinking the Meat-Guzzler' cites the impact of ethanol on food and feed prices, and questions about food safety are being raised by a Humane Society investigation that shows slaughterhouse workers getting "downers" up for USDA inspection. Earlier: Michael Pollan on 'Our Decrepit Food Factories.'

Coinciding with reports of a plague comeback, is the story of a "mead-drinking, tunic-wearing medieval re-enactor from upstate New York," setting off in search of his lost son, who has immersed himself in the folk music of the Lemko people.

During a sit down with NPR, Vinicio Capossela, dubbed the "Tom Waits of Italy," plays his song "Dirty Windows of America" on a toy piano. Hear more from Capossela, who performed in the U.S. for the first time last spring.

January 30

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