Thursday, June 4, 2009

Y! Alert: The Full Feed from

Yahoo! Alerts
My Alerts

The latest from The Full Feed from

New York Times Fetes Gay Couples Featured In Wedding Pages With Cocktail Party Top
It took a lot of Googling, Facebooking and old-fashioned shoe-leather reporting to track down nearly all 300 same-sex couples that have appeared in the Sunday New York Times' wedding pages since gay ceremonies were first included in 2002. (Contact information is jettisoned after three months for privacy reasons.) But there many of them were, beaming and mingling at The Times Co.'s cocktail party Tuesday night, a Pride Month celebration.
Sarah Holewinski: U.S. Too Quick To Justify Afghan Deaths Top
Conclusions from the US investigation into the May 4th airstrikes in Afghanistan are leaking out. It appears that US personnel made mistakes--resulting in civilian deaths--by not sticking to their own stringent guidelines on the use of force. After eight years in Afghanistan, American forces finally have good rules in place to minimize civilian deaths, but didn't stick to them when they counted the most, in the heat of battle. So why are US officials still blaming the Taliban? Lt. Commander Christine Sidenstricker said in Kabul today, "The fact remains that civilians were killed because the Taliban deliberately caused it to happen. They forced civilians to remain in places they were attacking from." Let's break this down to the nuts and bolts: Taliban tactics are egregious. They put civilians in harm's way. They are violating international laws and everyone knows it. This makes the US military's job a whole lot harder. But regardless of what the other side does in war, the US military has responsibilities to avoid civilians and obey its targeting restrictions. If you want to talk strategy instead of international law, avoiding civilian deaths is smart. Everyone knows that too. That's why the US military put in place rigorous rules of engagement that ushered in several months of far fewer airstrike casualties. In Farah Province on May 4th, those rules could have saved lives. In one case, a plane given the OK to attack the Taliban didn't confirm its target before dropping bombs. That might have given the Taliban time to flee and civilians time to enter the target zone. In another, buildings housing militants were struck, but the "imminent threat" required to green light for bombing wasn't there. The new US commander in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, told the Senate this week: "In addition to the tragic loss of life, I am acutely aware of the negative repercussions resulting from civilian casualties." He's got it right: civilian deaths breed anger. But so do immediate denials of civilian harm in incidents like Farah. US Commanders need to understand this quickly. President Obama and Secretary Clinton appropriately expressed their regret for the Afghans burying their dead, but other US officials accused villagers and the Afghan Government of exaggerating the numbers killed. And now to continue to downplay the US role even after the results of this investigation are made public, they're literally adding insult to injury. More on Afghanistan
Bruce Fein: Lies, Damn Lies, and Armenian Deaths Top
On April 24, 2009--Armenian Remembrance Day-- President Barack Obama issued a statement "remember[ing] the 1.5 million Armenian [deaths] in the final days of the Ottoman Empire." The President stumbled. To paraphrase Mark Twain, there are three kinds of lies: lies, damn lies, and the number of Armenians who are claimed by Armenians and their echo chambers to have died in an alleged World War I genocide. Almost a century later, the number of deaths they assert oscillates between 1.5-2 million. But the best contemporary estimates by Armenians or their sympathizers were 300,000-750,000 (compared with 2.4 million Ottoman Muslim deaths in Anatolia). Further, not a single one of those deaths necessarily falls within the definition of genocide in the authoritative Genocide Convention of 1948. It requires proof that the accused was responsible for the physical destruction of a group in whole or in substantial part specifically because of their race, nationality, religion, or ethnicity. A political or military motivation for a death falls outside the definition. Immediately after the war, when events and memories were fresh, Armenians had no incentive to concoct high casualty figures or genocidal motivations for their deaths. Their objective was statehood. Armenians were encouraged by the self-determination concept in President Woodrow Wilson's Fourteen Points, (while conveniently forgetting that they were a minority in Eastern Anatolia where they hoped to found a new nation). Armenian leaders pointed to their military contribution to defeating the Ottomans and population figures that would sustain an Armenian nation. Boghus Nubar, then Head of the Armenian Delegation to the Paris Peace Conference (1919), wrote to the French Foreign Minister Stephen Pichon: "The Armenians have been, since the beginning of the war, de facto belligerents, as you yourself have acknowledged, since they have fought alongside the Allies on all fronts, enduring heavy sacrifices and great suffering for the sake of their unshakable attachment to the cause of the Entente...." Nubar had earlier written to the Foreign Minister on October 29, 1918, that Armenians had earned their independence: "We have fought for it. We have poured out our blood for it without stint. Our people played a gallant part in the armies that won the victory." When their quest for statehood shipwrecked on the Treaty of Lausanne and annexation by the Soviet Union in 1921, Armenians revised their soundtrack to endorse a contrived genocide thesis. It seeks a "pound of flesh" from the Republic of Turkey in the form of recognition, reparations, and boundary changes. To make their case more convincing, Armenians hiked the number of deaths. They also altered their story line from having died as belligerents against the Turks to having perished like unarmed helpless lambs. Vahan Vardapet, an Armenian cleric, estimated a prewar Ottoman Armenian population of 1.26 million. At the Peace Conference, Armenian leader Nubar stated that 280,000 remained in the Empire and 700,000 had emigrated elsewhere. Accepting those Armenian figures, the number of dead would be 280,000. George Montgomery of the Armenia-American Society estimated a prewar Armenian population of 1.4-1.6 million, and a casualty figure of 500,000 or less. Armenian Van Cardashian, in testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 1919, placed the number of Armenian dead at 750,000, i.e., a prewar population of 1.5 million and a post-war figure of 750,000. After statehood was lost, Armenians turned to their genocide playbook which exploited Christian bigotries and contempt for Ottoman Muslims. They remembered earlier successful anti-Ottoman propaganda. United States Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire during the war, Henry Morganthau, was openly racist and devoted to propaganda. On November 26, 1917, Morgenthau confessed in a letter to President Wilson that he intended to write a book vilifying Turks and Germans to, "win a victory for the war policy of the government." In his biography, "Ambassador Morgenthau's Story," Morgenthau betrays his racist hatred toward Turks ("humanity and civilization never for a moment enters their mind") and unconditional admiration for Armenians ("They are so superior to the Turks intellectually and morally."). British Prime Minister Gladstone's histrionic figure of 60,000 Bulgarian Christians slaughtered in 1876 captured the imagination of the west. The true figure later provided by a British Ambassador was 3,500--including Turks who were first slain by the Christians. From 280,000-750,000, Armenians initially raised their death count to 800,000 to test the credibility waters. It passed muster with uninformed politicians easily influenced by campaign contributions and voting clout. Armenians then jumped the number to 1.5 million, and then 1.8 million by Armenian historian Kevork Aslan. For the last decades, an Armenian majority seems to have settled on the 1.5 million death plateau--which still exceeds their contemporary estimates by 200 to 500 percent. They are now testing the waters at 2.5-3 million killed as their chances for a congressional genocide resolution recede. It speaks volumes that champions of the inflated death figures have no explanation for why Armenians on the scene would have erred. Think of the absurdity of discarding the current death count of Afghan civilians in the United States-Afghan war in favor of a number deduced in the year 2109! Armenians have a genuine tale of woe. It largely overlaps with the tale of tragedy and suffering that can be told by Ottoman Muslims during the war years: 2.4 million deaths in Anatolia, ethnic cleansing, starvation, malnutrition, untreated epidemics, and traumatic privations of war under a decrepit and collapsing Empire. Unskewed historical truth is the antechamber of Turkish-Armenian reconciliation. That is why the Government of Turkey has proposed an international commission of impartial and independent experts with access to all relevant archives to determine the number and characterization of World War I deaths. Armenians are balking because they are skeptical of their own figures and accusations. *Bruce Fein is a resident scholar at the Turkish Coalition of America. More on Turkey
Icahn's Biogen Takeover: Denner's North Korea Quip Top
When last we left the cliffhanger that was yesterday's Biogen Idec (NASDAQ: BIIB) annual meeting: the forces of billionaire investor Carl Icahn claimed they had won two of four director seats up for election. The New York Times was reporting Icahn had secured at least one place, and Biogen itself had adjourned the meeting saying results of the vote were not yet clear and would be announced later this month.
Robert Rosenthal: Must Plane Food Be Plain Food? Top
It's high time to put some air into the airlines. Heading into the summer travel season is a reminder of what a pain it is to fly. Not only for all of the usual reasons--overbooking and overcrowding, invasive security procedures, creeping lines, inevitable delays, screeching infants---but also because planes these days stink. Literally. They never smelled too good to begin with, what with that flotation device they call your seat, nothing more than an absorbent cushion for the preceding passenger's vile gas. But it's worse now than ever before because, by virtually eliminating food on flights, the airlines have created ethnic food warfare at 36,000 feet. I'm writing from seat 14A on Continental flight 538 from Newark to Miami. The stench is making my eyes tear and I think I'm gonna blow. I've got one hand holding my nose closed while the other is reaching for the barf bag. I'm beyond nauseous. The plane has yet to leave the ground. It's 6:50 am and the strange little wiry guy seated right next to me is clearly enjoying what I assume to be breakfast from a Styrofoam box. The ingredients are totally unrecognizable to me; it looks like mucous-colored, already-digested gruel. Have you ever enclosed used, sweaty gym clothes in a plastic bag only to discover it somewhere months later? Well that mephitic odor is preferable to what I'm now inhaling from my seatmate's UFO (Unidentified Food Odor). I consider this is a form of terrorism. They checked this guy at security, so I'm relatively confident he isn't armed with more than three ounces of shaving cream, hair gel, suntan lotion or other weapons of mass destruction. But they did not check him for stink. And now he's using it as a weapon. Of mass eruption. Pardon me a sec; I'm dry heaving now. It's not like anyone is going to miss airplane food. But, in the free-for-all that has become bring-your-own-food-on-board, instead of asking, "where's the beef", I find myself pleading, where's the air? This morning's flight is not the first time I've been beset by a predicament of this nature. The last time this happened to me was on the eastbound leg of a Jet Blue flight back home from Los Angeles. Shortly into the trip my fellow passengers and I were noticeably agitated by what surely seemed like the lingering smell of vomit. This sensory assault definitely wasn't coming from the plane's galley, for the only signs of nourishment on this six-hour transcontinental journey were a bag of purple potato chips, chocolate chip biscotti and overpriced swill. Since there was no throw up in sight, the smell was apparently emanating from some selfish bonehead's idea of a meal. Yet in spite of the malodorous ambiance, I found myself peckish an hour into the journey, at which point I tore into the package of food that my brother had thoughtfully provided me, left over from the dinner party he threw the night before. It was a bountiful melange of curried shrimp with roasted garlic and a salad of arugula with strawberries, very runny Brie and candied walnuts, dressed with a heady truffle vinaigrette. Alarmed by the noxious looks and finger pointing normally directed at a purse snatcher, it took less than four seconds to realize that I was the one making the entire plane reek. I ate it that quickly as well, out of shear embarrassment and fear. It tasted good. And I topped it off with Jet Blue biscotti - their best product, by the way. But I made no lasting friends on that trip. Back to my current Miami flight, where I'm still suffering from the culinary jihad being waged by the dachshund-looking dude monopolizing my armrest. Some would say it's karmic retribution. I'd call it take-out terrorism. Look, one man's savory is another man's stench. But if only an airline could eliminate the variety of on-board odors, it would surely gain competitive advantage. Well here's how they can: at mealtime, drop the oxygen masks. That's the perfect use for these things anyway -- your own personal air supply. Then passengers can carry on their tuna casserole. Bring grandma's goulash on board. Feel free to stink up the whole coach cabin with a French Livarot cheese whose pungency begs for a shower. Chitins, kimchi, fish sauce? Go ahead and enjoy whatever stinking food you like. No one will know the difference. And we'll be flying the friendly skies once again! Remember: "Life is short. Never waste a meal." More on Airlines
Francesca Biller-Safran: Same-Sex Marriage Opponents Jealous that Gay Weddings will be Better than Theirs Top
Let's just get to the heart of it already and be honest with one another, my anti-gay sisters and brothers. Those who oppose same sex marriage are just worried that you won't be able to compete with stylishly fabulous gay weddings and receptions once they become the norm. And you also probably won't be invited too. Writer Fran Lebowitz said, "If you removed all of the homosexuals and homosexual influence from what is generally regarded as American culture, you would pretty much be left with Let's Make a Deal. Just admit it; everyone knows that once same sex marriage becomes legal, no one will be want to attend a heterosexual wedding ever again. Hallelujah! Just think of it, no more tiny boxes to check on Wal-Mart-designed invitations for choices of only chicken or fish eaten at a hotel or place of worship, with only wine or champagne, man and wife, and Rabbi or Priest, while drunkenly dancing to the Macarena and George Michael!. With a mainstream culture of gay weddings, there will be an untold fortitude of taste and class including fashionable attire, even for bridesmaids, grooms-maid's, brides-men, brides-brides and grooms-groom's. I apologize if I left anyone out. Have your people call my people. There will also be a moratorium of no more ugly pyramids of fat people stuffed into tight clothing with bouffant hairdos posing for pictures, except for the rare drag queen who will finally be allowed to attend the ball for the first time in his or her life. Bless their heart. Instead there will be glamorous black and white 1030's style film photos, Fred Astaire top hats and brides who will look traditionally different but groomed beyond any dream by Elton John, finished off with hairstyles that will cause no one PTSD. There will also be a sudden unavailability of wedding planners for heterosexual weddings. Caterers, wedding dress designers and florists will suddenly become booked up as they plan long-awaited weddings for their friends and anyone who has supported them, leaving "straight" couples to fend for themselves. But that's okay, because we know from reading best sellers like the Bible that same sex marriage is a sin anyway; therefore, if one were to be un-hypocritical and intelligent, losing out on "sinful" wedding planners won't be a sin in anyone's book after all. On the ugliness of blatant homophobia, John Stewart said, "Why can't they have gay people in the army? Personally, I think they are just afraid of a thousand guys with M16's going, "Who'd you call a faggot?" The f- word is ugly, and the gay haters are even uglier and jealous that they don't have as great taste, make less money overall than non-straight's, and simply not as creative or stylish. . . not even the same ball park. Just think of the floral centerpieces alone we will get to bring home. No more baby breath bouquets with three roses in only three colors and a monogrammed ribbon to fight over. No more hideous matching Technicolor polyester bridesmaid dresses blinding our eyeballs just to make the bride look thinner in comparison because she is wearing white long dress with ten inch heels hidden beneath. Robin Williams said, "We had gay burglars the other night. They broke in and rearranged the furniture." No more aging D.J.'s to get all the grandparents from Miami and New York and The Los Angeles Valley to dance to the Village People's YMCA, because the Village People will finally be allowed to get married, and in high style at that. Once gay weddings become mainstream; the dinner courses and decorations alone will be worth buying the stylish and slightly more expensive wedding gifts. Just stop the lying already. I can't take it, someone bring me some happy juice, or as the old ladies used to call manishevitz in my old neighborhood. I know those who say they are against same-sex marriage claim religious and moral high grounds. But why not instead look at the issue from a different view that may serve their own selfish needs even better in the long run? Hail Jesus! . . I just had a genius, evangelical-like idea! And Hail Mary, Pat Robertson and Mitt Romney too while I'm at it! If you begin to turn your hatred and ignorance into a more understanding, less bigoted frame of mind beginning right now; perhaps some homosexuals may still have it in their big hearts and talent to forgive you, and help in your children's and grandchildren's weddings after all. It's just a matter of time until "those people" will be able to legally wed anyway under Obama, so why not get on their good side now so that you can have wedding album-ready receptions. It also may get you on the waiting list for invitations to the some of the greatest parties that will yet be known to man, and thrown by men. More on Barack Obama
Dan Goleman: Are Women More Emotionally Intelligent Than Men? Top
And will women naturally emerge as the organizational leaders of the future? These days many voices answer "Yes" to these questions. For example, by the year 2018, according to the Chartered Management Institute in the UK, the workplace will one where the demand for "female" management skills will be far stronger than today. The world of work will be more fluid and virtual, and women will move up the chain of command because, as Claire Shipman and Katty Kay write in Time , "their emotional intelligence skills may become ever more essential." Actually, that depends on what you mean by "emotional intelligence." If you equate the term with empathy alone, then women have a decided advantage. But the details are more interesting - and important in their implications for grooming outstanding leaders - than that simplistic equation reveals. First, there are many models of emotional intelligence , from the one first proposed in 1990 by two Yale psychologists, Peter Salovey and John Mayer, through the version I described in my 1995 book by that name and in my work since, to what by now are many others. While all vary in details, they all agree on one premise: emotional intelligence describes a range of self-mastery and interpersonal abilities. Empathy is but one of these. My own model of leadership emotional intelligence posits four domains: * Self-awareness, e.g., knowing your strengths and limits, and so having a well-grounded self-confidence. * Self-Management, e.g., staying motivated and focused, keeping disturbing emotions from disrupting your efforts. * Interpersonal Awareness, e.g., the various kinds of empathy. * Relationship Management, e.g., collaboration and teamwork, resolving conflict, persuasion. There are a host of studies showing one or another gender difference in this range of abilities. Of the three main varieties of empathy - cognitive, emotional, and empathic concern - women on average outdo men when it comes to the second kind, sensing a person's feelings in the moment. On the other hand, women on average do less well than men when it comes to self-confidence. Remember, though, that when we talk about any such behavioral differences, we're looking at small advantages in largely overlapping bell curves. A given woman may be more self-confident than most men, and a given man might be more emotionally empathic than most women. Then there's the fact that people can improve on these abilities, especially as expressed at work. When I talked with Naomi Wolf about her work with early career women, she described several ways to boost their self-confidence. And emotions expert Paul Ekman told me about how his methods for upgrading the ability to read other people's emotions, which he finds works powerfully for men and women alike. The good news for anyone who wants to improve key strengths to be more effective as leaders at work comes from Ruth Malloy, who heads leadership coaching for Haygroup in Boston. Their research found that while on average among people in organizations there were decided gender differences, when you looked among the most effective leaders - those with business results in the top 10 percent - the gender differences had disappeared. The women were every bit as confident as the men, and the men as empathic as the women.
Rick Horowitz: Cheney, Selling Cheney Top
There's another way to look at it. Dick Cheney's "I'm Not Going Anywhere" tour, that is. You can't turn on your TV these days without seeing the former veep filling the screen with his latest account of what they did back when they were in charge, and why they did it, and how wonderfully it all worked, and how if it didn't work it was somebody else's fault. (Think George Tenet. Think Richard Clarke.) And most of all, how the new guys are messing everything up. Cheney's former boss -- and we use the word loosely -- may have slunk back to his beloved Texas when his time was through. But not the veep. And the question is, "Why not?" There's a cottage industry devoted to plumbing Dick Cheney's motives. After all, it's traditional -- not to say polite -- to cede the spotlight to the new arrivals once your lease runs out. But Cheney won't go. He certainly won't shut up. And the question is, "What's up with that?" He's jealous, some people say. He just can't stand it that the Dems are back on top. He's angry, other people say. As the years went on, he was more and more on the losing side in Bush administration strategy battles, and he's still trying to refight those fights. Or he's vain. He's intent on polishing up his tattered reputation before the historians get a crack at him. Or he's nervous. He's scared that some international police force is going to swoop down on him someday and hold him to account for the waterboarding and the other horrors of the dark side, so he's trying to put his version on the record first. Or he's a conniver. He's saying Obama is letting our guard down so that, if ever and whenever another attack occurs, Cheney can duck his own responsibility for Osama bin Laden still being on the loose, and he can say, "See? I told you so!" Or he's a patriot. He's speaking out because the country he loves is in mortal danger, and somebody has to be willing to sound the alarm. (Maybe so, although you'd like to think that before he went public with "Our defenses our down! We're vulnerable!" he'd tried to pass the word through the appropriate private channels. After all, telling our enemies that this is a good time to come after us may not be the best way of keeping us safe, right?) Plausible explanations, every one of them. But there's another explanation. An even better explanation. The book deal. Dick Cheney is looking for a book deal. Absolutely true -- the story was in the papers a couple of weeks ago, but the few people who saw it probably didn't pay it much attention. After all, they must have said to themselves, who's going to want to publish Dick Cheney's memoirs? He left office with an approval rating down there with the lepers -- no insult intended to lepers. And worse than that: The guy was pretty much invisible for eight years! "Dick Cheney" and "undisclosed location" went together like "Heck of a job" and "Brownie." Like "Abu" and "Ghraib." Even the truest of true believers, they must have figured, weren't going to rush to pick up a book by a guy who's famous for saying practically nothing about practically everything. For a memoir to sell, you need a writer who's willing to spill the beans. Who's willing to name names and point fingers. Dish the dirt and settle scores. That's what gets readers psyched. Which is what gets publishers psyched. Which is what starts the bidding war. Which is what jacks up the price of the deal. Which may be the whole point of the recent Cheney barrage -- not jealousy or anger or vanity or nerves or conniving or even patriotism. Maybe he's just in it for the money. What a relief. Rick Horowitz is a syndicated columnist. You can write to him at More on Dick Cheney
Sean Gilfillan: President Obama's Speech: Classic Lesson in Counterinsurgency Top
If you don't think that Al Qaida spearheads a growing global insurgency, you have been on Mars for the past 13 years. And if you don't think that President Obama's speech today was a classic lesson in counterinsurgency, then you are not looking at the big picture. David Galula's 1964 classic, "Counterinsurgency Warfare", tells us that an insurgency is a: protracted struggle conducted methodically, step by step, in order to attain specific intermediate objectives leading finally to the overthrow of the existing order. This is the battle we currently are in with the Al Qaida Movement (which is a lot easier to remember than the Global Salafi Jihadist Movement). The President now calls them the "Extremists". President Obama's speech today was the first step, the outlining of a counterinsurgency "strategy", from which we will enact operations and tactics. For those that have never studied counterinsurgency, here are a few quick tidbits to keep in mind for when you analyze the effectiveness of the President's speech. (All of these are direct quotes from either John Nagl, who wrote the forward for the republished 2006 version of "Counterinsurgency Warfare" or directly from David Galula himself, followed by my own comments.) 1. An insurgency is a competition between insurgent and government (in this case, the collective of governments) for the support of the civilian population. This is crucial. We are in a battle with the AQ Movement for the hearts and minds of young potential recruits and the populations they belong to. Finally, the Iraqis, with our help, have succeeded in winning the counterinsurgency in Iraq. However, in Afghanistan we are currently losing the battle. Overall, I would say that before today, we were losing the global counterinsurgency against Al Qaida strictly within the majority Muslim communities. After today, our actions will dictate if we can win over the support of those civilian populations. We'll start to notice once locals start to provide us with intelligence and hand over Al Qaida's top dogs. 2. Key terrain in an insurgency is not physical space, but the political loyalty of the people who inhabit that space. Self-explanatory. We need those populations to be loyal to their local governments. If their governments are oppressive, we need to show the population that we are trying to work with them to make them more open. We have to build trust. 3. The insurgent, having no responsibility, is free to use every trick if necessary, he can lie, cheat, exaggerate. He is not obligated to prove; his is judged by what he promises , not what he does. 4. The counterinsurgent is tied to his responsibilities and to his past, and for him, facts speak louder than words. He is judged on what he does , not on what he says. If he lies, cheats, exaggerates, and does not prove, he may achieve some temporary successes, but at the price of being discredited for good. This was what we failed to realize with Abu Ghareb, Guantanamo Bay and torture. The counterinsurgents are responsible for the safety and security of the population. We violated their trust, and trust is the key to winning hearts and minds. The Bush Administration was discredited within the Muslim majority communities for good. Now, with a new President, we can hopefully be given a new chance for the populations to judge us off our actions. Hopefully this chance is not squandered. 5. The insurgent alone can initiate the conflict. Never forget that. 6. The insurgent has a formidable asset- the ideological power of a cause on which to base his action. The counterinsurgent has a heavy liability-he is responsible for maintaining order. Hopefully, President Obama's strategic speech will present populations with a choice of ideological causes to get behind. His speech was entirely about living in peace. The Al Qaida Movement's rhetoric is always about violence, death and jihad(war). I hope that was clear to the populations we are trying to reach. Congrats to the President for an incredibly successful, classic counterinsurgency speech to win over the hearts and minds of the various populations from which the AQ Movement fills its ranks. Now it is time for Operations and Tactics (aka ACTIONS) that follow through on those eloquent words. More on Barack Obama
Annelle Sheline: Cairo's Reaction to Obama's Speech Top
Listening to Barack Obama's address to the "Muslim world" from Cairo University, I found myself checking off the points that I had heard mentioned by Dalia Mogahed, the executive director of Gallup's Center for Muslim Studies and the Muslim West Facts Project and the face of Obama's strategy to listen to Muslims. Mogahed had outlined the three points indicated by polls that Muslims wanted to hear. Respect. Respect from the United States for the religion of Islam and for Muslim cultures Cooperation. No more unilateral action, but cooperation between equal partners Issues. Address the policies of the United States that have angered Muslims on key issues, including Palestine, Iraq, Guantanamo, etc. Mogahed soon clarified my misconception that she represents a pretty Egyptian woman in a hijab who, Sibyl-like, assumes the voice of the Muslim people. She is not employed by the State Department and remains a senior analyst at Gallup. She did not travel with the White House delegation but came independently to her native Egypt, (she has lived in the States since age five). When questioned about her vision for Muslim/American relations, she answered, "I have no vision. I am a scientist [she received a Master's in Chemical Engineering]. I use the best tools possible to present an accurate picture of Muslims' opinions and I compile these into reports, which I can only hope the president will find useful." She had not yet seen the speech he would deliver the next day; she has yet to meet Obama. I was impressed, therefore, to hear her recommendations repeatedly reinforced by his speech. I lost count of the number of times he used the word "respect". The premise of his statements was the necessity of collaboration in a globalized and interdependent world. And it seems that she was right. She, and the other advisers who contributed to the speech written by Ben Rhodes. And spoken aloud by our "Commander in Speech" as Marwan Bishara, Al Jazeera's senior Middle East analyst, referred to him. Because the speech was a hit. Al Jazeera's anchor in Doha was positively glowing and had to be reminded by a sleepy-looking Bishara to not be overly dazzled. Dazzlement was in the air. Afterwards, walking the artificially quiet streets of Cairo as people began to emerge as if from an air raid, I interrupted a group of men still clustered around a TV. " Helwa awi " (Very nice.) They said they had very much liked the speech. I asked if there had been any problems and they said none at all. Trying to keep in mind that they would be unlikely to tell me anything else, they appeared genuinely pleased. In a taxi, I asked the driver for his opinion, and he launched into a happy spiel in heavy Cairene about Obama wanting peace and trying to make all the countries of the world work together. When I asked if this was possible, he responded that there had never been a president like Obama in the US, and therefore, " Aiwa, mumkin " (Yes, it's possible). Speaking later with Sheikh Khaled El Guindy, one of the premier figures of Al Azhar mosque, he said, through a translator, "If we at Al Azhar had written this speech ourselves, we could not have done it better." He joked, "my only problem with it was that he did not mention me!" (Sheikh El Guindy appears on Islamic TV program watched by 25 million). I couldn't believe how positive everyone's reaction seemed. After all the cliches of "Actions speak louder than words" and "One speech can't change years of mistrust" - surely it couldn't have been that easy? Finally an Egyptian journalist and friend called, "Why did he have to use those words?" she moaned. "What? Which words?" I asked, trying quickly to remember any phrase that had stuck out as particularly provocative, "America's unbreakable bond with Israel. I mean, of course it's the truth, but did he have to say it with those words?" While she had liked the speech, she knew that some would wonder why Obama had emphasized the suffering of the Jews more than the Palestinians, ("They are tortured by Israeli security forces in Gaza!"). Listening to commentary from Al Jazeera Arabic, she exclaimed, "They're complaining that the Palestinian issue was the third issue instead of the first. They're trying to find any little faults they can." (For the record, the Palestinian issue was actually the second in Obama's checklist of issues. Violent extremism was the first. Hats tip to Dalia Mogahed and Co.) I felt better somehow; hearing only positive reactions felt like some kind of fifth dimension. This is Cairo after all, a city the Dalia Mogahed had revealed polls as one of the region's most pessimistic. When I mentioned Al Jazeera's criticism to Libyan philanthropist and prominent businessman Hassan Tatanaki, he laughed, "If this is all they can find to criticize, let them," he chuckled. Tatanaki and Sheikh El Guindy have already responded to Obama's call for cooperation. I met with them to discuss the launch of the Al Azharia* satellite channel, which will air in Ramadan, (late summer this year.) The channel's goal is to represent moderate Islam using the prestige of Al Azhar Islamic University and Mosque, in an effort to counter the extremists that "stepped into the void of Muslim leadership", as Tatanaki puts it. "In the age of Obama we realized it was time to look at new ways to deliver our message," added Sheikh El Guindy. More on Egypt
Carol Hoenig: Does Putting on a Robe Eliminate One's History? Top
I've been trying to wrap my brain around the topic of whether female judges make different decisions from their counterparts based on the whirlwind conversation surrounding Judge Sonia Sotomayor. Today's New York Times takes a closer look at this topic in an article titled "Debate on Whether Female Judges Decide Differently Arises Anew." While some believe that these judges should rely solely on upholding the law of the land with the Constitution of the United States as their compass, I cannot help but believe that each judge, no matter their gender or race, comes to the bench with his or her own history that defines how that law is interpreted. And, for me, I take comfort in that since it brings to the table another side of an issue that may be lacking due to inexperience. Justice Ginsberg gave this point some credence when deciding a case concerning a teenage girl. "They have never been a 13-year-old girl," Justice Ginsburg said of her eight male colleagues, several of whom had suggested during oral argument that they were not troubled by the search. "It's a very sensitive age for a girl," Justice Ginsburg went on to say in an interview with USA Today. "I didn't think that my colleagues, some of them, quite understood." For years, the Supreme Court consisted of only white males, but each one had to have brought something of his history to the bench that helped him make either an informative or prejudiced decision, in spite of the fact that the Constitution was to be upheld. If anything, his history contributed in debating each issue on its own merits. Maybe I'm putting too much empathy above the law and maybe that is dangerous and compromises the Constitution, but I'd prefer to have diversity in our justice system instead of inflexible edicts that will not allow for compassion toward our fellow, diverse citizens. More on Supreme Court
Mark Blankenship: In Pixar's Up, Two Chairs Mean the World (SPOILERS) Top
I never thought I'd cry while wearing 3-D glasses. Then I saw Up . Spoilers ahead. And I'm going to assume you know the basic plot points. My favorite image in the film is the sight of Carl and Ellie's chairs sitting on a cliff by Paradise Falls. We see them from Carl's point of view as he floats away, and we know both how it kills him to leave them behind and why he absolutely must let them go. We know these things because of the movie's remarkable storytelling. Carl and Ellie's relationship, for instance, gets richly defined in a wordless opening montage that balances scenes of enormous joy with the kind of pointless moments that don't mean anything until you reflect on them and realize how intimate they were. Plus, we see moments of heartbreak---the day Ellie and Carl learn they can't have children, the day Ellie realizes she's dying---that do as much to unite partners as happy times. I've had all these moments in my own relationship. As I'm typing this, my partner is shuffling around our apartment getting ready for bed. We're not talking, and we're not doing anything special, but Up has reminded me how valuable this time is. Our relaxed silence is something to be treasured, and I wouldn't appreciate it nearly as much if we hadn't shared some stormy weather and some blissful highs. How many movies, animated or not, capture all that? Thanks to this storytelling depth, we can see Carl and Ellie's favorite chairs resting side by side at Paradise Falls and know exactly who was sitting in them. We know what Carl is leaving as his house carries him away. But then again, we also know those chairs will be safe. They aren't in the real world, after all. Up doesn't oversell its fantasy elements, but they're everywhere. The image of Paradise Falls that young Ellie rips from a library book, for instance, says the falls are "a place out of time." It's also no accident that if you drop the uppercase letters, "paradise falls" sounds like a reference to Eden. Those magical markers help explain impossible things, like how explorer Charles Muntz can still be alive and strong enough to fight, even though he's easily over 100. More importantly, though, the magical ribbon woven through the story lets us see Carl's journey in non-literal terms. When he enters Paradise Falls, we know he's less in reality than at the crossroads of his life. His childhood is there (in Muntz), his marriage is there (in his house), and his potential future is there (in Russell.) With his childhood and his marriage over, he has traveled to a place where he must choose how to live from now on. Will he stay forever in his home -- in his past -- or will he head for something new? That question is answered when we see those chairs by the falls. Sitting there, they symbolize a man moving on. Yet because the falls are a place out of time, we know the chairs will survive. Carl can leave his past without obliterating it. He can bid it a fond farewell. And even if we cry when he waves goodbye, we can't be entirely distraught. We know that by flying off to rescue Russell, Carl is starting a fantastic new adventure. We all spend time in liminal spaces like Paradise Falls, deciding what to keep and what to leave behind. As Carl survives pain and joy and goes right on living, we're reminded that we can choose to do the same thing. For more, please join me at The Critical Condition
David Quigg: Netanyahu v. Obama (Judge Judy Presiding) Top
Senior Israeli officials accused President Obama on Wednesday of failing to acknowledge what they called clear understandings with the Bush administration that allowed Israel to build West Bank settlement housing within certain guidelines while still publicly claiming to honor a settlement "freeze." (source: New York Times , 6/3/09 ) JUDGE JUDY: I understand you gentlemen have a disagreement. PRESIDENT OBAMA: Yes, your honor. PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU: (muffled unintelligible sounds) JUDGE JUDY: Prime Minister Netanyahu, why don't you tell me what this is all about. NETANYAHU: (muffled unintelligible sounds) JUDGE JUDY: I can't make out what you're saying. NETANYAHU: (muffled unintelligible sounds) JUDGE JUDY: You're gonna need to take off that gas mask. NETANYAHU: Very well, your honor. But you should know that the gas mask makes for excellent television. It practically guarantees you high ratings. JUDGE JUDY: That's very nice. I have 10 millions viewers and none of them can hear you with that thing on. NETANYAHU: I wore a gas mask on Nightline . JUDGE JUDY: Yes, I know. NETANYAHU: During the Gulf War. JUDGE JUDY: Yes. It was very dramatic. What's your point? NETANYAHU: Ted Koppel could hear me. Maybe you could call ABC and see if there's some better way to mic me. I can wait. JUDGE JUDY: Well, I can't. This is your chance. Make your case. Now. NETANYAHU: Certainly. I'd simply request that you imagine that I'm wearing the gas mask. JUDGE JUDY: Trust me when I say that you don't want to know what I'm imagining right now. NETANYAHU: Alright then. This is an open-and-shut case, your honor. My country had a deal with President Bush. Under the deal, we could build certain housing in the West Bank settlements while telling the world that we were abiding by a settlement freeze. Now President Obama is ... JUDGE JUDY: I assume you got this deal in writing. NETANYAHU: I beg your pardon. JUDGE JUDY: The deal. The deal with Bush. I assume you got it in writing. NETANYAHU: Not exactly. JUDGE JUDY: Not exactly ? Well, did you or didn't you? NETANYAHU: No. JUDGE JUDY: Well, why not? NETANYAHU: The United States is a longtime friend, your honor. JUDGE JUDY: Well then you probably know that your old friend here has presidential elections every four years. NETANYAHU: Of course, your honor. But how were we supposed to know that a new president would bring change? OBAMA: Your honor, my campaign slogan was "Change We Can Believe In." JUDGE JUDY: His campaign slogan was "Change We Can Believe In." NETANYAHU: That's just it, your honor. We don't believe in this change. Therefore, it cannot be "Change We Can Believe In." Therefore, you must rule in our favor. JUDGE JUDY: Don't you must me, mister. NETANYAHU: I'm sorry, your honor. JUDGE JUDY: Let's get back to business. If I understand this correctly, this case is all about what the word "freeze" means. You're telling the world that you're honoring a settlement freeze , right? NETANYAHU: Right. JUDGE JUDY: How about you, Obama? You're awfully quiet. Why does "settlement freeze" mean to you? OBAMA: Well, you see, a freeze means a freeze. A stop. No more building. NETANYAHU: We disagree. We think President Obama is insisting on something more frozen than a freeze. JUDGE JUDY: More frozen than a freeze?! Now I've heard everything. Look, let me ask you a question. If I advertise that I'm selling popsicles and you come into my shop and find out that I really only sell one of those slushy drinks ... A, oh, what do you call it? OBAMA: A granita, your honor. JUDGE JUDY: No, not a granita , Mr. High Price Of Arugula. No. Um. It's on the tip of my ... Slurpee!!! Like from 7-Eleven. With the funny straws. Anyway. Don't think I've forgotten where I'm heading with this, Netanyahu. If I advertise that I'm selling popsicles but I really only sell Slurpees, aren't my advertisements a lie? NETANYAHU: That all depends, your honor. Our position is that if a former president of the United States told you verbally that your Slurpees are frozen enough , then you should be free to tell the world that your Slurpees are popsicles. JUDGE JUDY: Don't pee on my leg and tell me it's raining! NETANYAHU: Um. JUDGE JUDY: Um is not an answer. NETANYAHU: (muffled unintelligible sounds) JUDGE JUDY: Don't think you can pull at my heartstrings with that gas-mask routine. If you want an emotional judgment, you go on Dr. Phil. Huffington Post blogger David Quigg lives in Seattle. His boastfully named personal blog is here . His Twitter feed is here . More on Barack Obama
Tony La Russa Sues Twitter Over Alleged Fake Page Top
ST. LOUIS — St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa is suing the social-networking site Twitter, claiming an unauthorized page that used his name to make light of drunken driving and two Cardinals pitchers who died damaged his reputation and caused emotional distress. The suit filed last month in the Superior Court of California in San Francisco seeks unspecified damages. Messages left Thursday with La Russa's attorney and San Francisco-based Twitter were not returned. The lawsuit claims that someone created a false account under La Russa's name and posted updates, known as "tweets," that gave the false impression that the comments came from La Russa. The suit said the comments were "derogatory and demeaning" and damaged La Russa's trademark rights. The account bearing La Russa's name is no longer active. The lawsuit includes a screen shot of three tweets. One posted on April 19 said: "Lost 2 out of 3, but we made it out of Chicago without one drunk driving incident or dead pitcher." Cardinals pitcher Darryl Kile died of a heart condition in his Chicago hotel room in 2002. Cardinals reliever Josh Hancock died in an auto accident in April 2007, and the medical examiner measured his blood-alcohol level at of 0.157 _ nearly twice the legal limit. One month earlier, La Russa was found sleeping behind the wheel of a running sport utility vehicle in spring training with a blood-alcohol level of 0.093 percent. He pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of driving under the influence. La Russa's lawsuit said the page bearing his name was hurtful to the 64-year-old manager, who has led the Cardinals since 1996 and also managed the Chicago White Sox and Oakland A's during a 30-year managerial career. The lawsuit includes a screenshot of tweets with the heading "Hey there! Tony La Russa is using Twitter," with a picture of the manager. The same page includes an aside that reads, "Bio Parodies are fun for everyone." Some professional athletes and others connected to pro sports have embraced Twitter. Shaquille O'Neal posted a message on his site saying he was pulling for former teammate Kobe Bryant to win a fourth championship as the Lakers entered the NBA finals against Orlando. "I am saying it today and today only," O'Neal tweeted. "I want kobe bryant to get number four, spread da word." Buffalo Bills receiver Terrell Owens posted a message on his Twitter site Tuesday that his search for a home to rent hit a snag because residents "(don't) want any drama n their neighborhood!! LOL!!! Wow!!." More on Sports
Andrea Chalupa: Meet the Human I.P.O. Top
K. Michael Merrill is wealth and community personified. As a pillar and founder of Portland's esteemed blogging community, , where I first started blogging , Mikey is an example to us all: you too can be a human I.P.O. In an exclusive post for , Mikey shares how he "went public" to raise money for various projects and to feel rich everyday: Lesson Number One: You are your own boss! You are your own product! In my case, this is literally true, as I make money by selling shares of myself through my personal IPO project. This way, I can multiply my own value: first I accomplish tasks in my life, then I import that value into the online marketplace. My shareholders are a community dedicated to my profitability.* Lesson Number Two: Don't worry about spending money to make money. Everything you do with your money projects your commitment to your future income, so don't skimp on things like embossed, spot-colored, watermarked, foil-stamped business cards, promotional DVDs, and fine Lacoste briefs. Think: Why do you want money? So you can have very nice things. I say, cut out the middle man, and just buy nice things! Sure, you might buy fewer things than you might want, but these quality items will outlast you, and your heirs will truly know you were a successful person when you bequeath these items to them upon your death. Lesson Number Three: Use the system to your advantage. A friend told me that the easiest, most lucrative way she ever made money was to have her bong (wrongly) confiscated, and subsequently "lost," by the Brown University security department. Since, according to the bong owner, the bong was actually an antique Tunisian narghile originating from the estate of the deceased actor Van Heflin ("Shane"), Brown University wrote her a check in the amount of the lost item's estimated value: $500. Done. Lesson Number Four: Every time you make a financial transaction you not only benefit from the value of what you bought, but you squeeze more value out of that transaction by blogging about it! For example, every time I drink a beer, I write about my experience in a running project called 1000 Beers. It's not just blogging. Everything you do can be a part of a larger money-making project. Lesson Number Five: Transform your concept of self-worth. It is better to lose money than to make it. Take risks! I lost $80.00 funding an egg farm in Rwanda. A man afraid of losing money is no better than a monkey. Continued on
Ahmadinejad Blasted By Iran's Supreme Leader For Corruption Claims Top
Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, faced a rare backlash from some of the country's most powerful officials today after a furious television debate in which he labelled many of his critics corrupt. More on Ahmadinejad
Alex Leo: Chyron Of The Day: CNN Takes A Slap At Obama Top
I don't even know where to start with this one, well actually let's start with the word "at." You can take a swipe at someone or you can slap someone, but to slap AT someone means doing this. Secondly, I don't think "His Slap At Dick Cheney" shows enough reverence for our commander in chief. When I worked at ABC News, we weren't even allowed to say "Bush" without "Pres." or "President" in front of it in our chyrons. The CNN folks did, however, use Cheney's full name. Thirdly, the guest they had on to discuss this "slap" was none other than the slapee's daughter, Liz "Torture Is Awesome" Cheney. Good job, guys. By the way this "slap" was a reference to abuses from maybe when we tortured those guys and took pictures of it? The eldest Cheney daughter said that with what Mitt Romney is derisively calling a "torture apology," Obama was pulling the rug out from under the people who "kept us safe." More on CNN
GOP Hunting Lisa And Michael Madigan's Paper Trail Top
[T]he national Republican Party is up to something at City Hall, where it has formally asked dozens of city departments to turn over copies of any communication they've had with Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and her father, Illinois House Speaker and state Democratic Party Chairman Michael Madigan.
Unemployed Men Struggle In Dating Game Top
NEW YORK — Sean Hamilton considered stopping his search for that special someone when he lost his job in January. With 90 percent less income and no unemployment coming in, the 34-year-old IT professional couldn't really pay for a dinner date. And how would he explain his financial situation without coming across as a slacker? "To speak plainly, chicks don't dig a broke guy," said the Dallas resident, now a part-time consultant. So he came up with a strategy: "I don't bring it up." Men have been hit much harder than women by this recession. Close to 80 percent of the job losses since December 2007 were jobs held by men, according to economics expert Mark J. Perry, who analyzed Bureau of Labor Statistics data. April unemployment was a seasonally adjusted 10 percent for men and 7.6 percent for women. For some guys, unemployment is the last thing they want to reveal to a potential date. Even if men aren't expected to pay for a date, they feel pressure from women who are looking for someone who is financially stable. "A lot of men are very careful not to say, 'I'm unemployed,'" said Pepper Schwartz, chief relationship expert at "They say, 'I'm working on this project. I'm taking a sabbatical from work' or 'You heard of GM declaring bankruptcy? I worked there.' They find ways to make it sound like it's not permanent." Hamilton said when he is pressed, he says he's a consultant. He proposes cheap dates, like cooking an elegant dinner for a woman at her place. Christie Nightingale of Premier Match, with clients in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and New York, said an unemployed man is a harder sell. She used to be able to brag to her female clients that a man worked in hedge funds, for example. Now she has to explain that he is a great match in other areas _ looks, religion _ "but, you know, he's looking for a job." "I find that women are very accepting," she said. "Some of the women are going through it as well. They have friends that have gotten laid off. It's the times that we're in." Colin Deeb, 25, who was let go from his computer consulting gig in November, said he has had some experiences where women "seemed a lot less interested the second I told them that I was not gainfully employed." But that has been rare for the aspiring actor from Brooklyn, N.Y. He said it helps that he is actively looking for work and going on auditions. And he's gotten creative with dates _ meeting for a bike ride, grabbing coffee or finding a cheap play. "You learn to keep things simple when you're not working as much as you would like to be," he said. "Generally women have been OK with that." Simple has its limits, though. Melissa Braverman, who blogs about dating, said she knows someone who was asked out on a walking date and considered it a turnoff. And in the last six months, she's noticed that men don't suggest meals. When they meet for drinks, they limit it to one hour. She believes it's so she won't order a second drink. "The recession is almost becoming an excuse," said Braverman, 35, of New York City. "Men don't want to take the initiative, suggesting something fun that is inexpensive. It's more well, 'I can't afford to take you out for a meal, let's keep it brief.' Unfortunately, a lot of times chemistry needs time to develop." Schwartz said unemployed men need to keep a positive attitude and show potential mates that they are stable: "`I don't have a job but I'm doing everything I can to find one. I own my own house.'" Being too cheap can be a turnoff for women like Virginia Wall, 40, who works in retail sales in Philadelphia. She doesn't believe in coffee or drinks as a first date and expects the man to pay. If he can't afford to take her to lunch _ nothing fancy, just a casual place to sit and get to know each other over a sandwich _ then he probably shouldn't be dating, she said. "He shouldn't bring someone in his life if he can barely take care of himself," she said. Sit out of the dating game, though, and you may miss out on the love of your life. Christopher Floyd, 39, a photographer and video producer in Albuquerque, N.M., almost stopped communicating with a woman he met on eHarmony late last year because of his financial situation. His business has decreased 65 percent and he is trying to do a short sale on his home. But his potential love match, Angela Sowers, 31, who works in human resources in Sacramento, Calif., persuaded him to give the relationship a shot. She flew out with friends to meet him and the two hit it off. Floyd is moving to Sacramento next week and will live with her parents, so the two can date locally. Sowers, who has had to foot the bill for a few plane tickets, said she isn't too worried about his lack of income. She's hoping he can get his business going in Sacramento. "The relationship isn't based on how much money he makes," she said. "It's who he is and what's in his heart that matters to me."
5 States Vow To Fight Atlantic Pollution Top
ALBANY, N.Y. — Governors of five states promised Thursday to work together to protect the Atlantic coast and collaborate on developing offshore wind farms for renewable energy. The agreement established the Governors Mid-Atlantic Regional Council on Oceans with New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia. "For centuries, New York and the region have relied on the ocean to provide services like food, commerce, recreation and transportation," New York Gov. David Paterson said. They now face a new generation of issues to keep the sea healthy, he said. Problems include more beaches closed by pollution, depleted fisheries, rising tides and warming waters. The agreement indicates the five states will identify ways to protect plant and animal habitats, beginning with the 10 offshore canyons that stretch from New York to Virginia with their fish, marine mammals and corals, said Sarah Chasis, director of the Ocean Initiative for the Natural Resources Defense Council, who attended the meeting. The governors also committed to encouraging wind energy developments in appropriate offshore areas, improving coordination for projects in each other's and federal jurisdictions, and pushing for federal investment in wastewater infrastructure to protect beaches and fisheries. "Any threat to these natural resources brings economic consequences that threaten jobs, local economies, and our economic well being," New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine said. The two governors met at the Borough of Manhattan College with representatives of the other states and Nancy Sutley, who leads the White House Council on Environmental Quality. Nationally, 1,167 _ or 32 percent _ of all monitored beaches had closings or advisories in 2007, according to state data collected by the federal Environmental Protection Agency. That compares with 23 percent a decade earlier. Once one of the nation's leaders in hard clams, producing about 700,000 bushels a year, Long Island now produces fewer than 10,000 bushels. New York lawmakers in 2006 established the state Ocean and Great Lakes Ecosystem Conservation Council and ordered the heads of New York agencies to devise a long-term coast management plan, which was released earlier this year.
Danny Schechter: On Tiananmen's 20th: The Challenge of China Top
"No Investigation, No Right To Speak" -- Chairman MAO Anniversaries are always pretexts for news pegs, and when the 20th year since the Tiananmen protests and massacre in China rolled around, it was not surprising that every media outlet outside of China marked the event with pages of reminiscences and commentary. For the first time in recent memory, Chinese writers took over the New York Times op-ed page. For many, those events in June 1989 were a sign that the Chinese people were embracing U.S style democracy. They had built what looked to us, but wasn't, a replica of the Statue of Liberty in the center of Beijing, and sang songs including "We Shall Overcome." Then, articulate English speaking leaders emerged happy to talk to American TV networks soon out in force. What was not really explained in much detail was that the students were supporting the reform of the Communist Party, not its abolition. They sang patriotic songs including "The Internationale," a Communist anthem, and their Goddess of Liberty was a universal symbol, not a pro-American one. That said, when the tanks moved in, and the machine guns came out, and when the clamp-down followed, the workers and other people in the People's Republic became sympathetic to the students and the reformers in the party. That's when the paranoid old line bureaucrats and dogmatists panicked and showed how brutal they could be. Beijing's rulers were condemned politically by the whole world for their barbarity; the real response -- much of that world began to trade and invest in the "new China." After all, business is business. As their system moved from Marxism-Leninism to "Market-Leninism," criticisms were blunted in the name of pragmatism and profiteering. The martyrs of the movement were forgotten, except by human rights groups who carried on without much impact. The Chinese government rejected them; the US government avoided them. Most Chinese students moved from trying to make change to making money, from communists to consumers. At the same time, resistance continues. Dissident and former Party higher-up Bao Tong told the Wall Street Journal , "June 4 is still here. Tiananmen is still here. However, it's not a Tiananmen massacre; it's suppression in the style of a 'little Tiananmen.'" The 76-year-old holds up four fingers. "Every four minutes there is a protest with more than 100 people." Repression has been cranked up, not only against Chinese but Tibetans. The Chinese police state grew more sophisticated with spy technology imported from U.S based companies like Cisco and others. The Great Wall of China became at the same time a Great Mall and a Great Firewall. The internet was censored even as more Chinese students went to school throughout the world and began, in their own way, to challenge the often corrupt commissars and the "Princelings" -- the sons and sometimes daughters of the ruling elite -- by the way they lived and thought. In response to the Party's pervasive presence, many became fiercely nationalistic, not socialistic and then overly materialistic. The same Chinese media that had over-politicized the populations with party line polemics for years now began to depoliticize the population, promoting fashion, entertainment and shopping. Our media stopped focusing on the abuses as China started buying up U.S treasuries and stabilizing our economy. Beijing even bought into sub-prime loans and was not too happy about their losses, which led to today's threats to dump the dollar and demand "fiscal responsibility." Tim Geithner's trip to China is all about placating them, while at the same time looking tough and independent for U.S eyes. It is all a dance with Beijing playing the music. (The Chinese are not wrong about the lack of US market discipline, but they have plenty of corrupt operators themselves.) As for the U.S media that is marching down Tiananmen's memory lane, their human rights coverage has left much to be desired. There was the hyping of the Olympics by NBC (which excluded other media outlets.) There was and is the continuing failure to cover the persecution of Falun Gong with any regularity (with some exceptions) for ten years. The Chinese called them a cult; our media called them a cult." There was little critical scrutiny. Mostly, the Falun Gong were not covered at all by the national press, except when something big happened, as in a highly publicized incident in which practitioners supposedly set themselves on fire in Tiananmen Square. The Washington Post , to its credit, debunked the incident. But that hasn't stopped a stream of misinformation and stereotyping. Just last month, CBS , on the entertainment side, referenced Falun Gong as terrorists in an episode of "The Unit," an international cop and intrigue show. It may be a dramatization, but it reinforces a false impression. Read this excerpt from The Unit, Episode 20: Reporter: "So you admit that [your government is] aiding the Chinese?" ..."But you admit they are identifying cult members around the world for the Chinese..." Man: "Look... We have reason to believe that the Falun Gong is working with Muslim Separatists to perpetrate an attack on Chinese soil. So we are not helping out the Chinese. We're being a good terrorist watchdog." Reporter: "So how do you know the Falun Gong was planning an attack on Chinese soil?" Falun Gong is asking that CBS withdraw the episode, run a disclaimer, and encourage the news division to report on the real story of Falun Gong. The program is scheduled to air on TV in England on July 29th. To date, the network has discussed the complaint and promises to fully respond to their appeal. But not until after Chinese websites, sanctioned by the government, plastered the clip all across the web there. Maybe the government will now turn fiction into faction, and classify these folks -- known for their subversive meditating and exercises -- as dangerous terrorists. Here you have a mainstream network not just getting it wrong, but actually putting people's lives in jeopardy, all for dramatic effect. "When we saw this episode, we were horrified," says Gail Rachlin, spokesperson for the New York-based Falun Dafa Information Center. "We have been reporting for years about Falun Gong adherents being killed by Chinese police, while the Beijing government uses labels like "cult" and "terrorist" to further their persecution of innocent Chinese citizens. Linking us to terrorism puts those in China at greater risk of abuse. This is incredibly serious." In 2006, Amnesty International reported that the "official campaign of public vilification of Falun Gong...has created a climate of hatred against Falun Gong practitioners in China which may be encouraging acts of violence against them." A Falun Gong practitioner told me what happened when he followed up with CBS. "I just talked to xxx the "vice Pres" of whatever who put me in contact with xxx the "senior vice pres" of whatever. I felt like both of them don't know what day it is." He said he was told that his complaint is in the hands of "Program Practices," the protocol for shows that get complaints. I asked if he expects any action. His response: "All in all the conversation went well, but again I hung up feeling that she is not the one in charge." No one even tends to be in charge when it comes to an institution admitting they blew it. It's not just Falun Gong that gets this type of smarmy uninformed media treatment. Perhaps, in the aftermath of the Tiananmen anniversary, in which we once again idolize the man who stood up to the tanks, we will look more closely at how we might stand up for justice in China and real information at home, about the good and the bad, there and here. News Dissector Danny Schechter, editor of, wrote Falun Gong's Challenge to China (Akashic Books) and has visited the People's Republic twice. His latest book is PLUNDER: Investigating Our Economic Calamity (Cosimo Books at Comments to More on Timothy Geithner
Craig Crawford: It's Up to You, Israel and Islam Top
Ok, so Barack Hussein Obama threw down the gauntlet with an exceedingly blunt speech today in Cairo that, while not a policy address in diplomatic terms, provided a road map for ending hostilities between Jewish and Arab interests. If the President's direct words, holding both sides accountable for progress, are not soon echoed by Israeli and Muslim leaders then the world shall know that they are not now nor perhaps shall ever be true agents for peace. If electing a Christian with Muslim heritage who has repeatedly stood firm for Israel's Jewish rights is not enough to end this ridiculous conflict then the American people can do no more. We've tried everything, from Jimmy Carter's conciliations to George W. Bush's war mongering. This is your last chance, folks, or you're on your own. Obama spoke essential truths on Thursday. He said things that each side have so far dared not to say themselves in public -- namely, that Arabs privately accept Israel's right to exist, and that Israelis privately acknowledge the inevitability of a Palestinian state. It is time for each side to step up and lead their peoples to the place that Obama described. If they don't, we can rightly conclude that neither side is worthy of American support. Craig blogs daily at on CQ Politics. More on Barack Obama
Bruce Raynor: Open letter to the labor movement regarding UNITE HERE conflict Top
To: The American Labor Movement The conflict between UNITE HERE and Workers United /SEIU must end. All of the workers affected by this dispute deserve nothing less. After months of negotiations and mediation with no real progress, a few weeks ago we put forward a comprehensive proposal that provides a clear path to resolution . The proposal respects each union's organizing jurisdiction, provides a fair division of assets, and resolves representational issues for contested units. The offer to UNITE HERE included approximately $50 million from Workers United, in an effort to ensure UNITE HERE's viability - a sum almost three times what HERE entered the merger with. We expressed a willingness to submit any outstanding issues to binding arbitration, and - as a show of good faith - we unilaterally stood down. Unfortunately, UNITE HERE Hospitality President John Wilhelm rejected all aspects of our proposal out of hand . Worse, the leaders of UNITE HERE refused to negotiate and have actually escalated their hostile actions since we disarmed. This fight is causing real pain for working families whose union dues are being used to wage an internecine battle, rather than fighting for gains in the most difficult economic times our nation has seen in more than 50 years. We urge all who care about the Labor Movement to join us in saying that this fight must end, and in calling on both sides to end this dispute by agreeing to a binding arbitration process. John Wilhelm would like people to believe that this fight was in some way initiated by SEIU, but nothing could be further from the truth. SEIU did not cause the divorce within UNITE HERE. Rather, the discord between the different parts of the union in culture and strategic ideas made the merger untenable practically from day one. Contrary to Wilhelm's claims, SEIU has a long history of supporting the leaders and members of both unions that comprised UNITE HERE. In the aftermath of the tragic events of 9/11, workers from HERE saw their livelihood threatened by the collapse of the hotels and casinos' business. SEIU stepped in and gave HERE $2 million to keep their finances afloat and to make certain that the workers were able to keep their homes and put food on the table. SEIU has also assisted HERE in organizing drives on numerous occasions and even transferred 10,000 members to HERE who were employed in the hospitality industry. Despite all of that, HERE was nearly broke when it merged with UNITE in 2005. From a financial perspective, the merger worked very well for the former HERE. Although the hospitality industry represents a rich organizing opportunity, HERE was unable to develop much organizing activity due to the lack of resources. Not only was the International Union in trouble, scores of locals were in financial distress. By contrast, in the 5 years since the merger, UNITE HERE spent well over $150 million on organizing in the hospitality industry. Also, many HERE locals were rescued by UNITE's better-financed joint boards. The sad fact is that despite spending tens of millions of dollars, the post-merger organizing results were weaker than pre-merger and once healthy joint boards were now saddled with a host of financial issues as the growth in membership that the merger promised never materialized. By December 2008, John Wilhelm and his supporters launched an open, clearly unconstitutional attack on the former UNITE. They attacked former UNITE joint boards trying to trustee them and threaten them with financial ruin. And they destroyed the authority delegated to the two presidents, John Wilhelm and Bruce Raynor, jointly. The joint presidential power was key to protecting each side of the merger against unfair domination by the other; and Wilhelm tried to read this essential protection right out of the constitution. Only after this naked power grab by Wilhelm did the former UNITE forces begin to consider leaving UNITE HERE. Petitions in support of disaffiliation from UNITE HERE were signed by nearly 100,000 workers and votes were held in hundreds of locals across North America to break away. Those workers voted to create a new union called Workers United at a founding convention in March. The leaders of Workers United ultimately decided to affiliate with SEIU because they felt it was in the best interest of their members to stand with a union that is strong and with whom many workers share employers. The leaders of the former UNITE and the former HERE engaged in mediation for over a year to try to resolve their differences. SEIU joined the latest round of negotiations only after Workers United had affiliated with SEIU. Over the past several weeks, Workers United, SEIU and UNITE HERE have been attempting to resolve our differences through mediation overseen by UFCW President Joe Hansen. President Hansen has put forth a proposal that we think provides a framework for a settlement. We have made it very clear that we are prepared to engage in further settlement discussion to narrow our differences and to submit outstanding issues to binding arbitration. Precious time has been wasted on this dispute. This is a critical moment in our labor movement and in our nation's history. For this reason, we are calling on John Wilhelm and his UNITE HERE leaders to sit with us and resolve our differences through binding arbitration. We want binding arbitration now. Let's resolve this and get back to the business of working for working families. We never sought out this fight. We simply want to end it. We are engaged in no offensive activities against UNITE HERE. Where elections are scheduled or where our members are under attack, we will vociferously defend them. However, while to this point we have stood down, if this isn't resolved by the end of June, we are prepared to respond vigorously to UNITE HERE's recent hostile actions and defend our union. These actions have included: writing to Workers United employers and urging them to escrow dues and deny access to union representatives; leafleting at Workers United workplaces; encouraging workers to leave their union and join UNITE HERE instead; and prompting employers to stop bargaining for first contracts at newly organized workplaces. For the sake of working families and Labor Movement it is our deep hope that UNITE HERE will end these actions and join us in ending this civil war. Achieving an agreement that will bring an end to this dispute must supersede any of differences that have created this current situation. We remain committed to achieving a resolution so both unions can focus all efforts on enforcing contracts, engaging in political action and organizing workers. Let's end this now. Let's get back to fighting for economic and social justice to improve the lives of union members and working families. We renew our call to John Wilhelm to agree to submit any and all outstanding issues to arbitration. We urge all who care about the Labor Movement to join us in this call for binding arbitration on all outstanding issues so this conflict can cease. Andy Stern President SEIU Bruce Raynor President Workers United Edgar Romney Secretary-Treasurer Workers United
Obama In Germany At Start Of WWII Memorial Tour Top
DRESDEN, Germany (AFP) - US President Barack Obama arrived in this eastern German city Thursday at the start of a solemn two-day mission of World War II remembrance, and a fresh round of transatlantic diplomacy. Air Force One touched down at 8:50 pm (1850 GMT) in Dresden, three-quarters of which was destroyed by Allied bombing in February 1945 but whose Baroque centre has since been lovingly restored. More on Obama Mideast Trip
Steve Futterman: Memories of a Goddess Top
Even 20 years later, I can still vividly remember the scene -- Beijing citizens desperately trying to get as close as they could to a white, paper mache statue that had come to symbolize their cause. The statue was the Goddess of Democracy. Some tried to touch it, some cried. It all began on a late hot afternoon as I was leaving Tiananmen Square after another long day of covering the pro-democracy protests. In the rear of the vast square I noticed some unusual activity. I strained to see what it was but couldn't quite make it out, so I quickly walked over to see what was happening. When I got there were a number of protesters, mostly men in their early 20's, hammering pieces of metal scaffolding together. I inquired what they were doing was told the students had decided to construct a "Chinese Statue of Liberty." Tiananmen Square is directly in front across the street from the entrance to the Forbidden City on which hangs the famous, imposing, giant picture of Mao Zedong. It was in front of that entrance, in fact, that Mao declared the birth of the People's Republic of China. And here, only a few hundred yards away from this sacred spot, the young protesters had decided to construct their statue. It was yet another in a long series of acts of defiance in which the student protesters challenged the Communist government. The government had already watched the students spit in the face of martial law by disrupting the visit of Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and conduct massive sit-ins and demonstrations in and around Tiananmen Square. And now the students were putting up a "Chinese Statue of Liberty." Slowly, as the scaffolding was erected under the late afternoon sun and word began to spread, hundreds of people encamped in the front of the square slowly began to walk over to the opposite site where the statue was being constructed. Every successful cause or movement must have a symbol, and the Goddess of Democracy was designed to be that symbol -- a symbol that would be seen throughout the world. As the building of the scaffolding was being completed and the sun was beginning to set, one of the students brought a straw basket filled with paper flowers. The basket was attached to the top of the metal skeleton. Suddenly the wind whipped through the square and a red paper flower fell to the ground, not far from me. I quickly moved over, picked it up and put it in my shirt pocket. The sky grew dark and the street lamps in the square became the only source of light. The number of onlookers surrounding the scaffolding continued to grow and the whole event seemed to take on the feeling of a sixties celebration -- a happening. It was going to take the entire evening to construct this newest affront of the ruling Chinese regime and thousands of people were going to spend the night watching. I've often wondered what it would have been like to witness some of the romanticized moments in history -- the signing of the Declaration of Independence or the taking of the Bastille. Now, I was watching an event that would possibly be written about in history books. With the scaffolding now complete, the pieces of the statue were brought to the square on flat bed carts pushed by the young protesters. It was like a Chinese version of the a Fourth of July Parade down Main Street, USA, as the four pieces of the Goddess of Democracy were rolled down Beijing's Main Street, Chang'an Avenue (Avenue of Eternal Peace). When the pieces finally arrived at Tiananmen Square, a huge roar went up from the even growing crowd. It was a surrealistic scene as the powerful television lights from the numerous camera crews lit up the nighttime scene. Throughout the night there workers, most of them from the Beijing Central Academy of Fine arts, put the pieces together. It was a slow, arduous process, yet virtually no one left the square so enraptured were they by the power if this paper-mache Goddess. The crowd cheered each time a new section was put in place. By the time dawn arrived the Goddess had taken form -- her head, her outstretched arms holding the torch, and most of her body. Finally at about 7 o'clock the next morning the statue was completed and the scaffolding began to be removed., The students had their symbol. The impact was immediate and enormous. That night tens of thousands of ordinary Beijing citizens, people who had played no active role in the protests, came to the square to see it firsthand. There seemed to be a sense of urgency as many had their pictures taken with the Goddess in the background. It was as if they didn't expect the statue to stand very long. Ironically the way the statue was positioned, the Goddess's face was looking in the direction of Mao Zedong. It was a short lived stare. A few days later, Chinese government troops savagely took control of the square, effectively bringing to an end this show of public protest and discontent. Some believe the statue played a role in convincing the Chinese leaders that the time had come to crack down. It stood for one week, but 20 years after its birth and death, the Goddess of Democracy endures as a lasting symbol. The power of the statue was so strong that when Chinese troops toppled it, the government felt compelled to broadcast it repeatedly on Chinese television. I still have that reed paper flower. And I feel certain, if real political freedom ever takes places in China, a new Goddess of Democracy will be built. If that day comes I hope to back there with my red paper flower. More on Tiananmen Square
House GOP Wants Cuts To Drug War Top
When President Obama's drug czar declared an end to the war on drugs, Republicans were apparently listening closely. House GOP leadership now wants to cash in the peace dividend. Republican Leader John Boehner (Ohio) and Whip Eric Cantor (Va.) released a set of proposed budget cuts Thursday that included trimming $220 million from drug war spending over the next five years. The duo propose eliminating the National Drug Intelligence Center, saving $44 million the first year and $220 million over five years, they say. The NDIC "has been the subject of significant public debate recently because it unnecessarily duplicates the work of other agencies and its justification seems to have more to do with its powerful patron than its benefits to the taxpayer," the leadership team offers. The NDIC referred a call to the Department of Justice, which did not immediately respond. The Republicans don't spell out just who that patron might be, but let's piece it together: the center is located in Johnstown, a rural piece of Pennsylvania that may seem an odd place for a drug intelligence center. The area also happens to be represented by Democrat Jack Murtha, an appropriations subcommittee chairman who directs millions each year to government projects in his district. Currently at the center of a pay-for-pork scandal, Murtha is favorite target of Republicans and a close ally of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). He's also an unabashed supporter of the earmark process and isn't backing down on the NDIC. "I don't want to point out the obvious here, but for the past few years Republican's were opposed to the NDIC because it wasn't funded in the President's budget, yet this year they are opposed to the NDIC because the President recommended funding it. Make up your mind," said Murtha spokesman Matthew Mazonkey. "What gets lost in this Republican flip-flop distraction is the actual substance to their arguments, and that's because they have none. I don't think anyone is shocked to learn that Republicans haven't a clue what they are talking about when it comes to the NDIC." Boehner spokesman Michael Steel dismissed the response. "Whether or not NDIC is included in the President's budget, it is widely regarded as a pointless and duplicative waste of the taxpayers' money. That having been said, it is surprising that a President who has promised earmark reform -- though that promise has largely been ignored in the face of squeals from Congressional Democrats -- would now embrace such a notorious earmark from Speaker's Pelosi's prince of pork." Perhaps the GOP objection to the NDIC is also ideological. It is a conservative mantra that health care decisions should be the private domain of doctors and patients. A top NDIC priority: getting between the doctor-patient relationship by going after providers who prescribe medication at levels it considers unacceptable. Ryan Grim is the author of This Is Your Country On Drugs: The Secret History of Getting High in America , due out later this month Get HuffPost Politics On Facebook and Twitter!
Chip Berlet: Did Right-Wing Pundits Help Pull the Trigger on Tiller? Top
Scott Philip Roeder, charged in the shooting death of Dr. George Tiller, was a regular consumer of conservative talk radio, television, and websites. But did Bill O’Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck—or any other commentator whipping up an audience with overheated demonizing rhetoric—actually help pull the trigger? It’s not quite that simple. These pundits are not legally culpable for the assassination of Dr. Tiller--but they must share some portion of moral responsibility for creating a dangerous environment in which Tiller's death was made more likely. Right-wing pundits demonize scapegoated groups and individuals in our society, implying that it is urgent to stop the groups and individuals named by the pundits from wrecking the nation. Some angry people in the audience already believe conspiracy theories in which the same scapegoats are portrayed as subversive, destructive, or evil. Add in aggressive apocalyptic ideas that suggest time is running out and quick action mandatory and you have a perfect storm of mobilized resentment threatening to rain bigotry and violence across the United States. Demagogues and conspiracy theorists use the same “tools of fear,” consisting of four main elements: 1) dualism. 2) scapegoating. 3) demonization. 4) apocalyptic aggression. The basic dynamics remain the same no matter the ideological leanings of the demonizers or the identity of their targets. Meanwhile, our ability to resolve disputes through civic debate and compromise is hobbled. Currently, its right-wing demagogues and conspiracy theorists who dominate the political landscape. I've just published a new study: Toxic to Democracy: Conspiracy Theories, Demonization, & Scapegoating , that sadly is especially timely given the assassination of Dr. Tiller. The study focuses on the history and dynamics of conspiracism, but argues that it is the combination of demagogic demonization and widespread conspiracy scapegoating that is so dangerous. In such circumstances, angry allegations can quickly turn into aggression and violence targeting scapegoated groups or individuals Conspiracy theories are widespread among right-wing populists in the Patriot Movement, which spawned the armed citizens militias and the Freemen in the 1990s—networks from which Roeder seems to have emerged. I trace the roots of conspiracism throughout U.S. and European history, and argue that conspiracism is a lousy form of political analysis. Modern conspiracism is rooted in bigotry, especially antisemitism and racism. Conspiracy theories encourage demonization and scapegoating of blameless persons and groups—distracting society and would-be agents of change away from the real causes of social and economic injustice. Conspiracism is practiced by demagogues on the Right and on the Left—and both inside and outside the corridors of power. What historian Richard Hofstadter famously described as the “paranoid style” in American political rhetoric is a form of apocalyptic belief that can quickly move far beyond the conscious intent of those who practice it. That's because people who believe conspiracist allegations sometimes act on those irrational beliefs, and this has concrete consequences in the real world. Thus the tools of fear pointed to Dr. Tiller, and what happened is now tragic history. Toxic to Democracy is available in PDF format from PRA at More on Bill O'Reilly
State's Attorney Won't Halt Death Penalty Prosecutions Despite Public Defender's Plea Top
Prosecutors in Cook County will continue seeking the death penalty despite pleas from the public defender for a moratorium. Chicago Public Radio reports that the Cook County state's attorney's office will seek the death penalty in some cases, even though the public defender's office lacks the resources to defend the accused. "The courts cannot dictate to the states attorney which cases the state will choose to seek death on and a lack of funding on the part of the public defender does not change that," spokeswoman Sally Daly told WBEZ . On Wednesday, Cook County Public Defender Abishi Cunningham said the county has depleted its share of a state fund that pays for costs in death penalty cases and was down to its last $100. U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley said he would speak to the House Judiciary Committee about finding federal money for the public defender's office, and that imposing the death penalty without funding defense attorneys flies in the face of the Constitution and "our moral compass."
Anneli Rufus: The Crocodile Farmer's Lament Top
"Man-eating" animals are still animals, and thus ostensibly blameless when they act like animals -- and helpless when their lives are under human control. This story in today's Phnom Penh Post is unnerving in so many different ways: "Lim Chhay, owner of a Siem Reap crocodile farm, is gearing up for his yearly harvest of hatchlings. His crocodiles will stop laying eggs as the rainy season hits, and after 80 to 90 days of incubation, he will welcome a new generation of baby reptiles" Cute! " ... which he can sell on the market for US$10 to $15 each." Entrepreneurial! Sell for what purpose? On what market? At 3,000, "the egg count is slightly lower than last year, but he is heartened by a rise in demand from Thai and Vietnamese buyers. 'People want more crocodiles this year,' he said." That has to be the most interesting sentence I've read all day. They do? For what? "Each year, Lim Chhay sells newborn crocs" Awww.... " ... across the border, where they are raised in better conditions" Commendable! " ... before being killed for their skin." What?? That still happens??? (Yes, at places such as this . And the coveted Nike Air Max 90 is made with you-know-what.) "But despite the increase in demand from foreign buyers, Lim Chhay has experienced an overall drop-off in profits due to a lack of tourists." This darn economy! "For US $3 per person, Lim Chhay will show travellers the crocodile pits, which he said once served a morbid purpose." Uh oh. "Chhay said, 'In the Khmer Rouge time, the soldiers would take people here and feed them to the crocodiles, so they didn't have to kill them with bamboo spears and dispose of the bodies.'" No. Just ... no. "Many of the older crocodiles who once served the Khmer Rouge as man-eaters still remain at the farm.... The deteriorated and battle-scarred skin of Lim Chhay's older crocodiles makes their hides worthless. But Lim Chhay also refuses to sell them for their meat. 'I don't want to kill them,' he said. 'Their life is as valuable as mine.'" How compassionate! How Buddhist! But ... why are the lives of the old crocs -- which Chhay estimates are fifty to eighty years old -- worth as much as his own, while baby crocs are happily sold by the thousands for their skins? The human mind is capable of greatness, but it's also capable of twisting into self-contradictory but self-serving pretzels. As for the Khmer Rouge feeding people to man-eating animals -- how unimaginably vile. This happened not in medieval times but when I was in high school. Among those whom the Khmer Rouge most enthusiastically killed were wearers of prescription eyeglasses, like me. Had I been born in Cambodia, not here -- same moment, different country -- I might have met that fate. To the crocs, of course, it was just meat.
Michelle Obama Wears $10 Gap T-Shirt To Lunch With Nancy Reagan Top
While hosting a lunch for former First Lady Nancy Reagan at the White House, Michelle paired her luxe white boucle Michael Kors skirt with a striped T-shirt from the Gap as well as its coordinating floral cardigan. More on Michelle Obama Style
Obama Arab World Speech: Extremists Call Him "Wise Enemy" Top
CAIRO — Muslim shopkeepers, students and even radical groups such as Hamas praised President Barack Obama's address Thursday as a positive shift in U.S. attitude and tone. But Arabs and Muslims of all political stripes said they want him to turn his words into action _ particularly in standing up to Israel. Obama impressed Muslims with his humility and respect and they were thrilled by his citing of Quranic verses. Aiming to repair ties with the Muslim world that had been strained under his predecessor George W. Bush, he opened with the traditional Arabic greeting "Assalamu Aleikum," which drew enthusiastic applause from his audience at Cairo University. Even some extremist Web sites, which have carried statements from al-Qaida in the past, gave rare praise for Obama by calling him a "wise enemy." One posting on a chat room expressed admiration for Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton "wearing a head scarf ... and she and Obama taking off their shoes" during a visit to Cairo's Sultan Hassan mosque. Mohammed Zakarneh, a 33-year-old former fugitive militant in the West Bank town of Jenin, said Obama's speech "planted seeds of hope in our hearts, as Arabs and Muslims." Obama's address touched on many themes Muslims wanted to hear. He insisted Palestinians must have a state and said continued Israeli settlement in the West Bank is not legitimate. He assured them the U.S. would pull all it troops out of Iraq by 2012 and promised no permanent U.S. presence in Afghanistan. But at the top of his priorities, he put the battle against violent extremism. And he was faulted for not apologizing for U.S. wars in Muslim countries. The Iranian government, which Obama is trying to draw into a dialogue, was silent. But state television described the speech as: "Too many words. Attractive but unbelievable." Fawzi Barhoum, a Hamas spokesman in Gaza, said there was change in tone. But he complained that Obama did not specifically mention the suffering in Gaza following the Israeli incursion this year that killed more than 1,000 Palestinians. "There is a change between the language of President Obama and previous speeches made by George Bush," he said. "So all we can say is that there is a difference in the statements, and the statements of today did not include a mechanism that can translate his wishes and views into actions," said Barhoum, whose group the U.S. considers a terrorist organization. But Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, a moderate who rivals Hamas for leadership of the Palestinians, welcomed Obama's words. "The part of Obama's speech regarding the Palestinian issue is an important step under new beginnings," his spokesman Nabil Abu Rdeneh said. "It shows there is a new and different American policy toward the Palestinian issue." In Gaza, a Palestinian living with his wife and nine children in two tents after their home was razed in the Israeli offensive this year, cringed at Obama's demand that Palestinians recognize Israel's right to exist. "For a man like me, who has been terrorized by Israel, who has lost his home because of Israel ... he ignored my suffering, and he started talking about their (Israelis') rights and that Hamas and the Palestinians should recognize Israel," said Mohammed Khader, 47, after watching Obama on a generator-powered TV set. "Unbelievable." In a traditional Ramallah coffee shop, middle-aged men watched the speech on TV while they puffed on cigarettes or water pipes. Some even put their card and backgammon games on hold to follow along. Customer Basel Abul Abed said it was a turning point. "His real problem will be with Israel, not with Arabs and not with Muslims," he said. "We are waiting for Mr. Obama's real work. Next time we see him, we want him to congratulate us for our Palestinian state." Another customer, 56-year-old Mohammed Sbeih, said: "His point in the speech of recognizing the Palestinians suffering is a positive point. But if the Palestinians have to abandon violence, Israel will have to as well. " A joint statement by eight Syrian-based radical Palestinian factions, including Hamas, was harsher. "Obama's speech is an attempt to mislead people and create more illusions to improve America's aggressive image in the Arab and Islamic world," it said. The message for Israel was mixed. Obama strongly endorsed the U.S. alliance with the Jewish state but harshly criticized its West Bank settlement policy. The director of Israel's government press office, Danny Seaman, said the speech was "not bad." Before the address, many Muslims said one of the things they wanted to hear most from Obama was respect for Islam. And many said he delivered. "It was very good of him to address Muslims by quoting from holy Quran, something I did not expect in his speech," said Osama Ahmed Sameh, a 45-year-old Iraqi government employee at the Ministry of Higher Education. In Egypt, Shahinda al-Bahgouri, a 20-year-old student at Cairo University where Obama spoke, was also impressed. "All we want as Muslims is for there to be a partnership," she said. "And he was seriously humble. Humility is important for us." In Syria, political analyst Imad Shouaibi said: "It is a speech with a different language from what we used to hear. This is a positive thing." Sheik Muhammad al-Nujaimi, member of the committee in charge of rehabilitating Saudi militants, said he is going to tell the militants Muslims should offer help to the new American administration and reciprocate its overtures. "Americans are a civilized people. The previous president didn't represent them. Today, there's a new president who's using a new language and wants a new world in place. We should give him a chance and not open up a new front that will lead to the failure of his plan." Zahid Husain Gardezi, a 50-year-old landowner in the Pakistani city of Multan, was pleased by Obama's warmth. "It is the first time I have ever heard such affectionate words from an American for Muslims," he said." Arab satellite stations Al-Arabiya and Al-Jazeera, as well as Egyptian TV broadcast the speech live, with a voice-over Arabic translation. Lebanese Hezbollah officials said they didn't watch Obama's speech although the group's Al-Manar TV carried it live. The station's newscast described it as "historic" _ a rare acknowledgment from a mouthpiece of the militant Shiite group. But the approval was tinged with criticism, saying Obama spoke to the Muslim world more like a "preacher" and did not distance himself from the pro-Israeli lobbyists. Syrian state TV did not air the speech but the mobile text messaging service of the official Syrian news agency SANA sent four urgent headlines on it as Obama spoke. Afghanistan's state television broadcast the speech live, but without translation so few could understand it. At a Kabul restaurant, diner Ahmad Khalid watched the speech on TV and said Obama's words should turn into action. The Americans "should not do what they are doing in Muslim countries," he said. Iranian television did not air Obama and most Iranians who own satellite dishes could not watch it as their reception was jammed. In Iran, Mohammad Ali Abtahi, a cleric who was vice president under reformist President Mohammad Khatami, called the speech "compensation for a hostile environment which was created during President Bush." Political commentator Ali Reza Khamesian said Obama's acknowledgment of Iran's right to produce nuclear energy for peaceful purposes was "a step forward for better ties with the United States." Before the speech, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said any statements by Obama were just "words, speech and slogan" without specific measures by Washington, such as lifting sanctions on Iran. In Iraq, the anti-U.S. Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr _ whose militia fighters waged fierce battles with the Americans before a cease-fire in 2007 _ was skeptical U.S. policy would change. "The honeyed and flowery speeches express only one thing _ that America wants to adopt a different attitude in subduing the world and putting it under its control and globalization," al-Sadr said in a statement. Some Iraqis were disappointed that Obama did not express remorse for his predecessor's war on Iraq. "I think there should have been apologies from him for the deaths and misery caused by wrong American policies against Muslims, whether it be in our region or in other places," said Baghdad engineer Muhsin Karim, 45. Mohammed Ali, 40, a Shiite cleric from Najaf, was reassured by Obama that the U.S. is committed to getting out of Iraq. "Listening to Obama's speech, I became more assured that the withdrawal of the U.S. troops from Iraq will be implemented and that the new U.S. administration is committed to help Iraq," he said. Others were critical. Wahyudin, the 57-year-old director of a hard-line Islamic boarding school in Jakarta, Indonesia, said "I don't trust him." "He's just trying to apologize to Muslims because of what America _ or really Bush _ has done in the past," said Wahyudin, who goes by one name. "He's promising to be different. But that's all it is, a promise. We want action. We want to see an end to all intervention in Muslim countries. That's what we're fighting for." In Pakistan, where the U.S. believes many top al-Qaida leaders including Osama bin Laden may be hiding, citizens were generally skeptical that American deeds would match Obama's soaring words. "Whatever wounds America has inflicted on the world, they are very deep and they cannot be erased away by only one speech," political analyst Siraj Wahab told Aaj TV. Hamayon Raza, a pharmacy owner in Multan, pointed to a Pakistani army offensive against the Taliban in the northwest Swat Valley that has displaced up to 3 million people and blamed it on Obama. "The American president has fooled Muslims," Raza said. "Whatever has happened in Iraq, Afghanistan and now in Pakistan, who would believe Obama's words?" ____ Associated Press reporters from the Middle East, Asia and Europe contributed to this report. More on Obama Mideast Trip
Arthur Rosenfeld: Quiet Teacher: Part Four Top
Welcome to the last online installment of my new novel, Quiet Teacher. My next post will mark a return to health and wisdom topics. If you've missed the first three installments, they are archived on my blog and only a click away. In reading this serialization, you are participating in an age-old yet brand new experiment. Writers as luminous as Charles Dickens and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (Sherlock Holmes), have serialized their books, although this may be the first time a major online newspaper has serialized a book as a pre-publication "tease" for the print edition. Quiet Teacher is the second book in a series about the lives, loves, and action adventures of Dr. Xenon Pearl, a South Florida neurosurgeon who saves lives in the operating room during the day and goes out as a vigilante at night. There's something for everybody in these literary thrillers: Chinese history, medicine, martial arts, romance, ghosts, and of course page-turning action. I know you'll want to know what happens to Xenon, so by all means use the links at the bottom to order a specially discounted copy of the book. Chapter Three First on the scene was a strapping young blonde with stubble on his chin. He regarded the ambulatory, half-headless biker like an entry to Ripley's Believe It Or Not and frowned when I identified myself and steered him toward the Subaru. I joined Wanda at the tractor-trailer, where a Florida Highway Patrol trooper used the Jaws of Life to work the door open. The driver was a big man with a big belly and a full beard going white. "How you feeling?" I asked. "Who wants to know?" "The doctor standing next to you." "Weak," he said. "But not so weak I won't strangle the life out of that guy in the Porsche if you drag him over here." "I get that," I told him. "The troopers will have you out of here in no time." Wanda tapped me on the arm. "The ambulance is leaving." "You know what? I'm going to ride with the kid." "I'll pick you up at the hospital." "Don't worry about it. I'll get a ride. Anyway, I may be there a while. This much head trauma all at once--they may need my help." I ran over and climbed in and the burly kid shut the door behind me. The seal was so tight I could feel the change in air pressure and the noise of the road was suddenly gone. We might as well have been in a tomb. Tierra's eyes were closed and she was as pale as a corpse. Her mother held her hand. "She'll be fine," I said, even though I was not so sure. "We just need to relieve the pressure on her brain." The driver maneuvered his way through what was left of the rush-hour traffic as if he were water seeking its level, finding holes and sliding through them without any fuss. "You're good," I said, leaning through the divider. "Thanks." "Don't talk to him," the burly blonde kid said. "He needs to pay attention to the road." I ignored him and kept at the driver. "You do martial arts, right?" The driver smiled. "You got that from the driving?" "Something in the way you handle the wheel. What style?" "A little aikido." When a martial arts guy says he does something a little bit, you can be pretty sure he's a veteran, particularly when he's in his forties and has a U.S. Marines tattoo on his forearm. "Desert Storm?" I asked. "It's that obvious?" "I didn't figure you for Grenada. Where can I find you if I want to be in touch?" He gave me a card from his shirt pocket. It had a school name and number. "I'm there evenings, Monday through Friday." * * * The ambulance pulled into the bay at the hospital, and I went straight to the nursing station. "I'm Dr. Pearl. Who's the neurosurgeon on call?" There was a flicker of recognition on her face. "Pearl . . . " An orderly pushed Kimberly past, immediately followed by little Tierra. "I don't work here anymore, but there go two trauma cases with two more on the way. You're about to have more patients than surgeons." "I'll have to check with Dr. Khalsa," the nurse said. My former boss, John Khalsa, was the Chief of Neurosurgery in the hospital district's division of surgery. The consummate politician, his influence seemed to grow by the hour. Lately, I'd heard talk he might be running for office. "You didn't answer me about who's on call," I pressed. "Dr. Tremper." Scott Tremper is a competent surgeon. He was at my right elbow during the case that killed my career. "Who else?" "His partner, Dr. Weiss." "I don't know Weiss." "He's new. A young man." "My replacement, you mean." The nurse blushed and looked down at the phone. "They say he's very good. I'm sorry, but I really need to ring Dr. Khalsa." "Then do it." They brought in the truck driver and started a chart on him. It said his name was Edson Erkulwater. I stuck my head into the treatment cubicle. A physician's assistant I didn't recognize was working on him. "Dr. Xenon Pearl," I introduced myself. "How's he doing?" "The Xenon Pearl? I heard you were canned for crazy." "You're swamped. We'll see what Khalsa says. In the meantime, scan Mr. Erkulwater's neck. I'm betting you'll see something at C5, C6." The assistant looked at me evenly. "Already ordered," he said. I went in search of little Tierra. She was in a room with Dr. Jean Morris, an ER doc I'd dated briefly. There hadn't been chemistry, but we remained friendly and I gave her a peck on the cheek. "Wow. Xenon. What are you doing here?" "I came in on the ambulance. The wreck happened in front of me. There are other patients, and I knew the duty surgeon would need help." We examined Tierra together, agreed she was crashing quickly and that we should prep her for surgery. "Dr. Weiss is on his way," Jean said. "I'll do it. If we wait just a bit, she loses any chance for accomplishment or achievement in the future. If we wait longer than that, she dies on the table. How's the mother?" "I haven't seen her, but I heard she's stable. Look, I hate to ask this, but do you have hospital privileges?" "I'm privileged enough to know how to save this little girl." She looked pained. "This cowboy stuff is what got you fired. If you take a wrong step now, they'll sue you around the block and back." "I didn't come in to make trouble. I was on the road, that's all. You know how fast they go when the fluid builds, Jean. I don't want this on my conscience and neither do you." She nodded, her decision made. "All right. I'll back you up." On the way to the locker room, I passed the motorcyclist sitting up on a gurney talking to Vicky Sanchez, my favorite OR nurse. She was trying not to stare at his naked brain. "You think Ferraris are fast, you gotta let me take you for a ride on my bike," he said. "Dr. Pearl!" Vicky said. "So nice to see you. Are you back with us?" "For tonight I am. We have a trauma overload. How's Galina?" Her face brightened at the question. "Can you believe she's talking a blue streak? All those months of silence and now I can't shut her up." The little Russian girl had been orphaned by events of the previous year, and I had been instrumental in helping Vicky adopt her. "Your loving home did the trick," I said. She smiled and pointed at the biker. "Anyway, meet Charles Czarnecki." "How do you feel, Charlie?" "Tired," he answered. I took Vicky by the elbow and walked a few steps. "Keep him away from reflective surfaces," I said. "I don't want him to see himself. He's in a kind of fugue state right now, sort of a heightened denial. We need to get him into surgery before infection sets in." "We're waiting for Dr. Tremper," Vicky said. "It shouldn't be long now." I went to the OR locker room. Weiss's name was on my old locker. I took the empty one above it and dug around for scrubs. Dressed for work, I used my cell phone to call Roan Cole, anesthesiologist extraordinaire and my best friend and former partner in crime. "I'm about to do a epidural on a little kid. Care to help me?" "What? Where?" "Samaritan." "Come on." "No joke. Car accident happened in front of me on the road, and I came in with the ambulance. Multiple casualties. Tremper's coming in and the new guy Weiss, too. They need one more." "Get her prepped and into the OR. I'll be there in twelve minutes." I went out to my old operating suite. I cruised the room. Almost everything was the same: my boom lamps, the scan reader in the corner, the trays and instruments, even Roan's tool chest with the familiar Arrogant Bastard Ale sticker and the black-and-yellow Batman oval, along with a temporary tattoo of the Sandman and a Wonder Woman sticker frayed around the edges. I was suddenly overwhelmed by nostalgia. It bent me over and I reached out for support. That was how John Khalsa found me--propped up on an operating table with wet eyes and a stricken expression and shaking slightly in a fashion strictly taboo for any kind of surgeon.
What To Eat At Your Next BBQ Top
Barbecues are my favorite part of the summer; who can resist good friends, good times, and good food? But sometimes these get-togethers make it too easy to overindulge. Although one day of splurging won't do too much damage, regularly letting loose at BBQs certainly doesn't help with my weight maintenance. I didn't want to wake up Tuesday morning feeling guilty about my diet, so this Memorial Day I made mostly healthy choices. Here's my Feel Great Weight barbecue strategy. More on Food
Ariston Anderson: Pet Shop Boys Write Social History 1983-2009 Top
Ever since the mid-1980s, the Pet Shop Boys have seen the world as a London dance floor. They're nearly as celebrated for their smart, chilly dance pop ("West End Girls," "Opportunities (Let's Make Lots of Money)") and their arch cover versions ("Always on my Mind," "Where the Streets Have No Name"). The duo, Chris Lowe and Neil Tennant, met in 1981, and a lot has changed in 28 years. But their 10th album, Yes , new this spring, is typically complex and passionate, blending delightful experimentation with masterful pop. Tennant spoke with WalletPop about how the Pet Shop Boys' work has documented social history, how to make a living with music videos no longer appearing on MTV, and musicians' latest professional challenges. Q: What's the meaning of " Love, etc. ," the first single on your new album? A: In our society, we celebrate the market and money and celebrity so much. I don't think it really makes people happy; I think it makes them panic, really. We live in a very claustrophobic society, with the obsession with fame and all the rest of it. But there's a place for love and affection and friendship -- you don't need all this stuff. You need love. Love is going to be the only way of achieving fulfillment or happiness or security. Of course, that was before the legendary credit crunch. And so now "Love, etc." seems a bit like an anthem for that. Q: You're a band known for high-concept videos. Is there still a place for these videos out there, with MTV and VH1 mostly broadcasting reality shows? A: I think most people watch videos on YouTube, now, don't they? So "Love, etc." works very well on YouTube. I've actually never seen it on the television. The animator came over and filmed Chris and I. Took about five minutes. He just wanted some facial expressions from us. And he did the whole thing. It's really a bit '60s I think: It's basically "all you need is love." So this is an updated psychedelic video. Q: The whole album is really upbeat. Is that a response to the credit crunch? A: No, we start writing these songs before the credit crunch. We had no kind of manifesto; we just wanted to kind of have fun. I mean, we were all interested during the album in what was going on -- there were all the subprime leases in America, and Obama was everywhere, Hillary Clinton. There was a sense of the world changing that I think is reflected in the songs. Q: Your second big hit in the U.S., " Opportunities (Let's Make Lots of Money) ," was a Reagan-era song. Is that song hopelessly out of date now, or do you feel there's an entrepreneurial spirit in the air? A: I think we do reflect the times a bit, either knowingly or unknowingly. We wrote "Opportunities" in 1983. It was a comment on Thatcherism. And then "Love, etc." -- you know, it's amazing: It's 26 years later, and it kind of bookends the whole era. You know, you could write social history from "Opportunities" to "Love, etc." When we wrote "Opportunities," money was huge -- although actually, when you look back, it was in the 90s that money really took off. And in this decade it really, really took off. There's a huge influence from Russian and former Soviet oligarchs: people saw that kind of money and suddenly realized that rich people weren't that rich. We've got this thing today where money has become sort of postmodern. It's not real anymore. Q: If "Opportunities" was a comment on Thatcherism, is "Love, etc." a comment on capitalism? A: There's been a sense in the last 20 years that capitalism has run to benefit the few guys at the top. I remember EMI was sacking this guy who was running it, and they had to pay him $15 million to pay him off. You sort of think, Where did this $15 million come from? How many records have you got to sell to get that, to pay off people? EMI signed Mariah Carey, and then she made that film that was a disaster. And so they terminated the contract. They had to pay her $30 million to pay it off. I remember saying to somebody, "Do you really think Mariah Carey is no longer going to sell any records and have no career anymore?" It's not my kind of music, but I don't think that. Q: How has the recession affected you? Have you had to cut back? A: We live relatively modestly. We don't live like rich people -- he says, sitting in a house in Chelsea -- but I get taxis, I walk, I get the tube. So no, it hasn't really affected me. I don't have enough money to have lost that much. Q: Are musicians getting paid less than they used to? A: The Internet has destroyed the old music business. When you make an album, some people will make the moral choice to buy it, rather than nick it for free on the Internet. This is quite a humiliating business to be in now: You speak to people who download your album, and they say, "Don't worry, I'll buy your copy," as if that's a really funny thing to say. The attitude is, "If I feel like it, I'll buy a copy," and you're meant just to have to accept that. You spend a year making an album, and people steal it. Few people make the decision to buy it, or they buy it because they like the packaging. That has affected musicians. There is some weird influence from the Internet on the recession. I haven't quite worked out what it is yet. I know people who work for magazines and newspapers, and they're just going down the pipeline. Anything digitalized is going to be impacted. And I wonder if we won't regret it in the end. Pet Shop Boys' album Yes is now out. More on Barack Obama
KENZO LEE HOUNSOU: Kimora Lee Simmons announces baby's name on Twitter Top
Kimora Lee Simmons didn't keep her thousands of followers waiting for long. The former supermodel-turned-CEO tweeted about the arrival of her son with boyfriend Djimon Hounsou, following with the baby's name on Wednesday, reports. More on Twitter
Wendy Gordon: Make Dad's Day: Clean, Green Ways to Help Him Out Top
Forget the tie. How many does a man need, anyway? Give your dad something he'll really appreciate--a good nap and then a trip to the park. "How can I do this?" you say. "I'm just a kid." Do a couple of the weekend chores on his list and, to bring him real peace of mind, do them in a green way. Then follow up with a treat for everyone--a day or weekend at a National Park (100 are offering three fee-free weekends this summer) or a favorite nature spot near you. But let's not get ahead of ourselves, there are a couple of green chores to be done. Read the rest of the post. More on Green Living
Joe Peyronnin: Bukra Enshalla Obama Top
President Barack Obama called for a "new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world" in an historic speech delivered today in Cairo, Egypt. The fact is, though, that many people don't want one. In ten days Iran has a national election that could have important consequences for President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. In past elections many eligible voters who opposed the Iranian regime did not cast a ballot. But there have been indications that more people will vote against the ruling government due to their country's growing economic difficulties and oppression. So the Iranian leadership was taking no chances that a "rock star" president offering a new beginning would fire up opposition. Shortly before Obama spoke, Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said, "The nations in the region hate the United States from the bottom of their hearts because they have seen violence, military intervention and discrimination." Speaking to thousands of Iranians on the twentieth anniversary of the death of Ayatollah Khomeini, he dismissed the American president, "The new US government seeks to transform this image. I say firmly, that this will not be achieved by talking, speech and slogans." For his part, President Obama's call for a sustained effort to "respect one another and to seek common ground" may have sounded more appealing to Iranians who were able to get his speech. "Any nation--including Iran--should have the right to access peaceful nuclear power if it complies with its responsibilities under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty," the president said. Yet President Obama also said that America's strong bond with Israel is "unbreakable." And, referring to the Holocaust, he had an explicit criticism for President Ahmadinejad, "Six million Jews were killed...denying that fact is baseless, ignorant and hateful. Threatening Israel with deeply wrong." Not surprisingly the Cairo audience did not applaud, but the whole Muslim world clearly heard this message loud and clear. President Obama's much anticipated speech to the Muslims did not contain soaring rhetoric or new initiatives. Rather the president seemed to want to restate America's positions and begin a new very personal dialog with the Muslim world. The son of a Muslim from Kenya, and an African American who has lived in a Muslim country, this American president is different than all the rest. But President Obama was also realistic, "I do recognize that change cannot happen overnight. No single speech can eradicate years of mistrust." He then continued, "But I am convinced that in order to move forward, we must say openly the things we hold in our hearts, and that too often are said only behind closed doors." The hardest challenge involves the Israelis and Palestinians. Here President Obama was straightforward; "the only resolution is for the aspirations of both sides to be met through two states, where Israelis and Palestinians each live in peace and security." But the president signaled a change in U.S. policy when he indicated Hamas, a terrorist organization, could play a role in future negotiations. "Hamas does have support among some Palestinians, but they also have responsibilities," he said. "To play a role in fulfilling Palestinian aspirations...Hamas must put an end to violence, recognize past agreements, and recognize Israel's right to exist." Then President Obama firmly stated, "(The) United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements." He said that this violates agreements and undermines peace. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office issued a cautious statement in response, "The government of Israel expresses hope that President Obama's important speech will lead to a new period of reconciliation between the Arab and Muslim world, and Israel...Israel is obligated to peace and will do as much as possible to help expand the circle of peace, while taking into consideration our national interests, the foremost of which is security." President Obama explained to his Muslim audience that his "first duty as President (is) to protect the American people." He described Al Qaeda as ruthless and determined to kill on a massive scale. He pointed out that they have killed more Muslims than people of other faiths. He explained the presence of American troops in Afghanistan and his desire to get them out as soon as possible. But he described Iraq as "a war of choice." And he said that the United States was in the process of withdrawing troops from that country. President Obama's speech was interrupted several times by applause. Shouts of "we love you" could be heard on three occasions. The president's speech was truly historic and important. But there were no "Yes we can!" campaign slogans. Just straight talk. Peace in the Middle East has been elusive for more than 2,000 years. There are too many conflicting interests and complicated divisions within countries and within the Muslim religion. President Obama concluded his speech by quoting from the Koran, Talmud and the Holy Bible. He then ended hopefully, "The people of the world can live together in peace." He might also have said, "Bukra enshalla," or, "Tomorrow, God willing."
Rick Horowitz: The GOP Program: Complain, Complain, Complain Top
They don't like his Broadway shows. They don't like his standing Os. They don't like his condiments. They don't like his elegance. They don't like his way with words. They don't like his fawning herds. They don't like his cushy life. They don't like his pushy wife. They don't like his limo rides. They don't like the way he glides. They don't like his taste in food. They don't like his attitude. They don't like his busy days. They don't like his spendthrift ways. They don't like his outside shot. They don't like the things he's got. They don't like his reaching out. They don't like his growing clout. They don't like that he likes jazz. They don't like the fun he has. They don't like his lofty dreams. They don't like how calm he seems. They don't like his Teleprompters. They don't like his helicompters. They don't like a thing about him. They'd be better off without him. They prefer a manly man. Who rides a horse. (Who gets a tan.) Who has a ranch. Who's used to plush. Who clears away the underbrush. Here's what makes them come undone: Count the votes. They lost. He won. # # # Rick Horowitz is a syndicated columnist. You can write to him at More on GOP
Meredith Lopez: Rogue Mothering Top
There are many reasons why I'm sure I'm going to Mommy Hell when I die -- a place that smells of curdled, regurgitated formula and sounds like a constant, low-pitched whine of "unh-keh keh keh rar keh YEEEEEEAAAAHHHH" -- but the latest reason is this: I have stopped reading baby books. That's right. No more Dr. Weissbluth, no more Dr. Spock, no more Dr. Moore. I still have all my books, but I've put them on a shelf in our bedroom bookcase, aka The Bookcase Full Of Books We No Longer Care About But Can't Quite Bring Ourselves to Give Away or Sell. Even my mother still reads Dr. Spock, and I'm 33 years old. ("Chapter 197: What to do when your 20 year-old drops out of college and moves to New York with no money, no job, no friends there, and no place to live.") The beginning of the end of reading baby books came, for me, when the Juban Princeling was three months old and we were told by his pediatrician to stop letting him nap in his stroller at home. He wasn't sleeping in it anymore anyway, but he didn't seem to want his crib, either. What followed was what I - what's the opposite of lovingly? Hatingly? - refer to as "Hell Week." The kid would not nap in his crib. He slept in it just fine at night, but during the day you would have thought his crib mattress was lined with acid-tipped needles and broken glass. One night it got so bad that I walked out of the apartment, went to the East River, called my mom, and sobbed to her for 45 minutes while my hands froze and snow fell on my head. (My mom: "Do you want to hear what Dr. Spock has to say about it?") A few days later it got even worse, so that Husband came home early and worked the rest of the day from his company laptop on our dining table. Nothing says "Mother of the Year" quite like your husband rushing home to watch the baby while he works because he's really that scared of what you might do. During Hell Week I consulted everything I could for help. Dr. Weissbluth, while I'm sure is a genius, told me in his book that my son should be starting to get into a naptime routine, with a long first nap of the day evolving around 9am. Oh, that Dr. Weissbluth. He's a laugh riot. I told the Princeling about this and he laughed at me. Or pooped. With babies that young it's pretty much the same thing. Every book I read, every website I went to, had contradictory advice, but I still tried everything. Swaddle. No swaddle. Mobile. No mobile. Lullabyes. Rocking. Swaying. Standing on my head. Hopping on one foot, waving a lotus leaf, and chanting in Sanskrit. I stopped just short of animal sacrifice, though if Hell Week had turned into Hell MONTH, who knows what drastic measures I would have resorted to trying. The only thing I refused to do was putting a toy in his crib, "to keep your baby entertained and to teach him that his crib is a place of fun and enjoyment." Yeah, right. I had visions of the Princeling choking on any toy small enough to get into his mouth, and suffocating himself on any toy not big enough to eat. The only thing that worked, finally, was pulling the earphones out of my MP3 player (which has its own external speaker) and putting a classical cd on a loop by his crib. But that idea did not come from any book I read. It came from my own experience as a camp counselor years ago, when I used to play soft music for the kids during nap time. Hell Week finally ended, the Princeling came to terms with napping in his crib, and life went on as usual. As my son continued to grow and develop, I found myself consulting my stacks and stacks of baby books less and less often. I did buy "Caring For Your Baby and Young Child" by the American Academy of Pediatrics because I am not a complete barbarian. That book is used as my first resort during times when, say, the Princeling spent all day throwing up at me. Not on me - at me. He would, like, aim it right for my chest whenever I picked him up. I took it as a term of endearment. Again, with babies that young it's hard to tell when they are sick vs. when they are annoying you on purpose vs. when they just want to say "I love you, Mom. BLUARGCH." As we - and by "we" I mean "I" - packed up to move to our new digs in Brooklyn, I came across my stacks and stacks of baby books and it occurred to me that it's been a while since I sat down and read the chapters on my son's latest developments. By the time we moved he was almost seven months old. Next week he'll be eight months. So long as he's not sprouting new limbs or sudden weird birthmarks (I've seen The Omen , I know what's up), still eats everything we feed him and gets enough sleep, I figure he's fine. He's a happy, well-adjusted, easy baby, despite having me for a mother. He plays, he laughs a lot, he tries to crawl and ends up pushing himself backwards, he loves to be held upside-down as well as thrown into the air (Mommy Hell!), he shrieks like a banshee for no particular reason, he tries to shove all his bath toys into his mouth at once and then gags, he sits up without support, he babbles nonstop in his little baby language. In other words, he's a perfect little 8 month old baby, and I don't need any books or experts to tell me that.
Andy Borowitz: Cheney Rips "Missed Opportunity" of Obama's Speech: "That Was the Perfect Time to Bomb Them" Top
Former Vice President Dick Cheney blasted President Barack Obama over his speech in Cairo today, calling the address a "missed opportunity," explaining, "While everyone was distracted by his speech, that was the perfect time to bomb them." Asked to elaborate on his remarks, which he made during an appearance on Fox News, Mr. Cheney said, "Look, it's military strategy 101: create a diversion, then bomb the unsuspecting bastards to kingdom come." The former vice-president said that if he had made the speech in Cairo, "you can bet your ass it would have played out differently." "I would have said all the same things about beginning a new era, turning a page, yada yada yada," he said. "But then, ka-BOOM!!!!" For more, click here . More on Satire
Steven Waldman: Bush's Excellent Speech In Cairo -- What Might Have Been Top
Obama's speech reminds us that 9/11 needn't have led to a conflict between the West and Islam. It's a reminder of the road not taken. Remember, after the attacks, the whole world -- including the Muslim world was on our side. America was innocent. Much of the Islamic world didn't much like Al Qaeda, whose agenda had as much to do with fighting the Saudi Arabian hierarchy as it did fighting America. George Bush got off to an excellent start. He made a forceful case that Islam was not the enemy, but a peaceful religion that had been hijacked by extremists. "The Islam that we know is a faith devoted to the worship of one God, as revealed through The Holy Qur'an. It teaches the value and the importance of charity, mercy, and peace." (November 15, 2001) "[I know] that the Muslim faith is based upon peace and love and compassion." (September 28, 2001) "The face of terror is not the true faith of Islam. That's not what Islam is all about. Islam is peace. These terrorists don't represent peace. They represent evil and war." (September 17, 2001 ) He gathered together a global coalition to topple the Taliban, made more effective because it included Muslim nations. In fact, today's speech by Barack Obama is one that George W. Bush would have felt ideologically comfortable giving in 2002. So how did we get to the point of America being hated or distrusted by the Muslim world? First, there were a few innocent, but damaging, slip-ups, like Bush referring -- just once -- to the efforts as a "crusade." More significantly, while he maintained a generous attitude toward Islam, the base of his party, religious conservatives, did not -- and Bush went along. A major Protestant leader referred to Muhammad as a "demon-possessed pedophile," another called Islam a "vile, wicked religion." Bush's spokesmen would occasionally aver that the President disagreed with such sentiments but their was no indignation and before long anti-Islamic rhetoric became absolutely commonplace in evangelical circles. When General Gerry Boykin made his famous comments that his God was "a real God" and that of Islam "was an idol." Boykin was not fired and, indeed, was involved in torture policy. It turns out, during this time, the military intelligence briefings were arriving on Bush's desk adorned with Bible quotes. Muslims who believed this was a Holy War against them, it turns out, had at least some evidence for that notion. All of that paled in comparison to the prolonged Iraq war and the photos from Abu Ghraib -- including evidence that torturers specifically used mockery of Islam as a torture technique . But just as important is what didn't happen. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were not combined with a major effort to win the hearts and minds of young Muslims through efforts like the Peace Corps or international aid -- or efforts to help establish schools in Pakistan not dedicated to teaching fundamentalism. Bush, who supported domestic service programs and faith-based service, could easily have proposed every single one of the ideas that Obama proposed today: "Around the world, we can turn dialogue into Interfaith service, so bridges between peoples lead to action - whether it is combating malaria in Africa, or providing relief after a natural disaster.... On education, we will expand exchange programs, and increase scholarships, like the one that brought my father to America, while encouraging more Americans to study in Muslim communities.... And we will match promising Muslim students with internships in America; invest in on-line learning for teachers and children around the world; and create a new online network, so a teenager in Kansas can communicate instantly with a teenager in Cairo. We will create a new corps of business volunteers to partner with counterparts in Muslim-majority countries... The United States will partner with any Muslim-majority country to support expanded literacy for girls, and to help young women pursue employment through micro-financing that helps people live their dreams...." America's real mistakes were exaggerated or exploited by America's enemies in the Arab world to cast us as hostile to Islam and Muslims. Without any American counter-examples -- young men and women helping to build Muslim societies -- the vile anti-Americanism could take root easily. Most anti-terrorism experts believe this anti-Americanism helps Al Qaeda recruit. Instead of 9/11 becoming a moment for America and the Islamic world to coalesce around a mutual goal, it became a clash of civilizations. Instead of having a relatively small enemy, we found ourselves with a big one. More on Afghanistan
Rob Cohen: I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here! Episode 3 Recap: "An Increasingly Awkward Con Job" Top
First they were there. Then they quit. Then they came back. Then they quit--off camera. Then, in pre-taped footage, they were there. Then they quit again. And then, live, during the third episode, just two days after the whole thing began, they're back, begging for forgiveness. Whether this is actually a strategy to win the game or just to stay in the news for as long as possible, Heidi and Spencer are milking this show for all it's worth, and NBC doesn't seem to be catching on yet. They also seem to be missing the almost-universal negative press, like James Hibberd's declaration that this is becoming " an increasingly awkward con job ." I guess any press is good press for Speidi. Here's a recap of Wednesday night's episode. Thank God there's only one more left this week. As if the show weren't excruciating enough, having to watch it every night is killing me a little on the inside. I guess that's better than having my hand torn apart by angry rats. Act One: So they're beginning with a recap of last night's awkward live vote-off segment. They really don't have anything better to show us? Apparently not, because now we're onto an entire segment about Janice accidentally spilling water into John Salley's boot. Do they really expect Lou Diamond Phillips to be able to spice this conflict up in a confessional? This is boring, even for I'm A Celebrity , and that's saying something. I don't understand what they're asking us to vote on. All we've seen is them hanging out with each other in the jungle. Can't there be some ruse so we can at least pretend it's not a straight popularity contest? Act Two: As the feud between John and Janice continues into and through the duration of act two, I'm beginning to see a major flaw in the production of this show: if they have only one day to film and edit material for the next day's episode, there's not enough time to manipulate the situation or to edit it together to make it at least marginally entertaining. This, of course, assumes that reality shows that do have enough time are at least marginally entertaining, another assumption I'm beginning to question. Act Three: I guess because of the shampoo-feud, Janice has decided to sit out the food challenge. What is the point of this show? If you can just sit out of something you don't want to do and claim you're "sick," where's the conflict? It kind of makes me think that these other celebrities want to stick their hands in that wall of spiders, rats, and... fish? These celebrities look a little too happy about what's going on. Also, John Salley, if you can stick your hand in a contained space with two tarantulas, you might need to rethink your definition of arachnophobia . You don't have it. Act Four: Lou Diamond Phillips is a trooper. He needs medical attention, but don't worry, "He's fine." Then why does he need medical attention? But despite his leadership abilities and tolerance for pain, he doesn't have much of a way with words. "One way or another, I was coming out of there with that star." One way or another? What other way is there to come out with the star besides sticking your hand in and just coming out with the star? Please let this charade end soon. Four acts already feels like too much. Act Five: Boy, am I glad I stuck around for this act. Glad, of course, is relative. It's getting harder and harder to feel any amount of joy or happiness while watching this show. But the appearance of Daniel Baldwin was slightly entertaining, even if it was hinted at over the past few days. It's funny to watch NBC invent news ways to sell out every night. And then came the bombshell: Heidi and Spencer are back, pleading insanity to right their wrong of leaving camp so impulsively. It might be the least sincere apology speech I've ever heard. They want to learn from the experiences of the other celebrities? Spencer wasn't going to pass some sort of 600 question psych test? What are they talking about? If I were on the jury, I wouldn't let them off so easy; you can't plead insanity if you were never sane to begin with. However, it will be nice to have them back. Not because I like them. But because every good story needs an antagonist (or two). Throughout this episode, they've been trying to turn Janice into the bad guy. She made John Salley cry! But she's nothing compared to Speidi. Bring on the character conflict. And putting them back in the Lost Chamber is brilliant. Just when I thought the world was no longer just, the producers have thought of the perfect punishment for the pair of deserters. Having them spend the night with rats, spiders, and jungle slime (is there any challenge that won't involve rats, spiders, and jungle slime?) is so perfect, it makes me think this entire plot was planned in advance. Act Six: After such an exciting fifth act, this three-minute act was a bit of a throwaway. Will they let Heidi and Spencer back? Is it even really the celebrities' decision? I'd imagine this whole Speidi conflict is fueling ratings, and when 6.4 million viewers constitutes a "good" hour for NBC, they need all the help they can get. More on NBC
Jim Luce: In Sri Lanka: Reconciliation and Reconstruction Top
Sri Lanka is now focused on the "3 R's:" Rehabilitation, Reconstruction, and Reconciliation. The immense cost for resettling the 280,000 people in the camps is staggering. European leaders need to stop lecturing and start helping. It is actually possible that China will be able to step into the picture if Europe continues to lecture -- instead of assist -- the government of Sri Lanka. We will see Asians helping Asians, and the 'Chinese Century' will become self-fulfilling. Japan, too, is providing assistance. The government of Sri Lanka is cash-stretched for having paid for the military campaign to end three decades of war, coupled with the lack of tourists since the Tsunami, followed by the global meltdown that hurts Sri Lanka as much as any other country. The Sri Lankan military is providing for the refugees. The faces of children are heartbreaking. Even more tragic is that at least some of them had been trained as child soldiers by the Tamil Tigers. I will file a story shortly about a project just north of Colombo to rehabilitate the child soldiers who have been rescued. The world may never know the exact number of Sri Lankans -- Tamil and Sinhala combined -- killed in the decades-long conflict, or even in its final battle. Ironically, the government slowed its final offensive to assure the fewest number of civilian casualties -- the Tamils used as human shields. The U.S. and Europe used that time to demand a ceasefire that would have allowed Tiger leadership to escape and regroup. The caring response of Sri Lanka's exhausted militia is inspiring. The United Nations believes a total of 80,000 to 100,000 people died on both sides during the 28 years of bloodshed. Given the unprecedented number of women and children the Tigers held hostage -- some estimated up to 100,000 were used as human shields -- the number killed in the final days of fighting could be high. But the U.N. has stated that the Times of London's estimate of 20,000 killed in the final battle as being based on unreliable data. An additional 80,000 joined the military in the last six months. The European Union's unsuccessful attempts to cry "war crimes" against Sri Lanka perhaps ironically heralds the end of European colonial domination as it has been known for over four hundred years. President Mahinda Rajapaksa has announced that he welcomes all the Tamils who have been compelled to live abroad back to the island to take part in the future development process. Paradise was turned into hell by the Tamil Tigers Sri Lanka's new Minister of National Reconciliation is the former high-ranking Tamil Tiger leader, V. Muralitharan. Young and old have both been victims of the war. He has been appointed by the president. At press-time, an interview with Mr. Muralitharan and the Huffington Post is pending. Last week, a distinguished group of Tamil professionals from the north met with the government and pledged their full cooperation in rebuilding the region to its old glory. The government plans to provide electricity to the north as soon as possible. Giving water to an exhausted and dehydrated child. Sadly, many European NGO's who came to the island to help after the Tsunami stayed to work and support the Tigers. A Norwegian head of an NGO was expelled just last week for actively supporting the Tamil Tigers in the last days of their existence. In the past, another Norwegian NGO was charged with "losing" three dozen vehicles, including heavy earth moving equipment, to the Tigers. The organization I founded ten years ago, Orphans International Worldwide , active in the south since the Tsunami and associated with the United Nations (DPI), stands by ready to assist as needed. These children will always remember their rescuers. More on Sri Lanka
Erik Ose: Solving the Superdelegate Puzzle, One Year Later Top
Now that President Obama has settled into the job enough to give Brian Williams a backstage pass to the West Wing, the heat of last year's campaign has faded. Especially with Secretary of State Clinton at his side as they tour Egypt to help repair U.S.-Arab relations, the significance of June 4th to Obama's rise may have diminished. Yet it was one year ago today that Hillary Clinton announced plans to suspend her campaign for the Democratic nomination, and urged her supporters to unite behind Barack Obama. It was an overdue end to a seemingly endless primary campaign. And a surprising one, considering that until actual primary voters weighed in, the nomination had appeared to be Clinton's for the taking. Bill and Hillary at New York rally, June 3, 2008 She had money, momentum, and crucial to the Democratic nominating process, Clinton had a big lead in superdelegate support. The rules say these Democratic elected officials and other party leaders can choose to back whomever they want, regardless of how their states or districts voted. One of the unanswered questions from the primary campaign was why more superdelegates didn't choose Clinton over Obama, even though they were party insiders, and she was the insider candidate. Plus, the conventional wisdom was that Hillary might be a stronger general election pick. After Obama battled Clinton to a standstill on Super Tuesday, parts of the Democratic establishment were open-mouthed in disbelief. For the next three months, the Clinton campaign did its best to fan doubts about Obama's electability. They were helped as controversies involving the Rev. Jeremiah Wright and Obama's "bitter" comments swirled around his candidacy. Hillary Clinton won crucial states like Ohio and Pennsylvania, largely by rebranding herself as a "fighter" and tailoring her message to older, white, working class Democrats. (In hindsight of Obama's resounding victory over McCain in the fall, the conventional wisdom was dead wrong. If Hillary had ended up as the nominee, many disillusioned Obama voters would have stayed home. John McCain would never have picked Sarah Palin as his VP, instead going with his gut instinct to choose someone far less politically radioactive, like Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty or former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge.) Yet Obama kept getting a steady trickle of superdelegate endorsements. In mid-February, Clinton was backed by 100 more supers than Obama, but her advantage steadily shrank. On May 9, various news organizations reported that Obama had overtaken Clinton in the superdelegate chase. The final tally as of June 4 was 389 superdelegates for Obama versus 282 for Clinton. Interviewed for the New York Times' official post-mortem on Hillary's campaign, Pennsylvania superdelegate Jason Altmire explained the "frustration" within Hillary's campaign, since "they kept winning state after state and they expected others [superdelegates] to start turning their way and it just didn't happen." So what happened? Harold Ickes would surely like to know. In addition to being a divisive presence in Hillary's inner circle, the legendarily hot-tempered Democratic operative was in charge of the Clinton superdelegate operation. Certainly, some superdelegates saw the writing on the wall. They recognized Barack Obama was both the Democratic Party's future and the strongest candidate for the fall, and endorsed accordingly. Some were reluctant to fight past battles and ready for the party to embrace new leadership. All had personal reasons for their choices. As a blogger and activist who campaigned for superdelegates to support Obama over Clinton, I had a window on the behind-the-scenes maneuvering going on largely out of view of the press and the campaigns themselves. There was a secret war being waged by both Obama and Clinton supporters to convince individual superdelegates to endorse their preferred candidates. The Clinton campaign, in an all-out struggle to prevent the nomination from slipping away, was very public about its strategy. They openly encouraged their supporters, particularly big money donors, to pester and cajole superdelegates on Clinton's behalf, unconcerned that heavy-handed lobbying might turn off the very superdelegates they were trying to influence. But they were beaten to the punch by Obama supporters, who organized spontaneously, and used the power of the internet to shine light on who the superdelegates were and how ordinary citizens could contact them. None of this was encouraged by the Obama campaign, who had their own, internal strategy to woo the supers. Obama himself began personally calling superdelegates in late 2007, something Hillary agreed to do only after March 4 . Although Team Obama eventually decided a little citizen lobbying might not be such a bad thing. Yet throughout the primaries, lobbying was happening fast and furiously at the grassroots and netroots levels. Although careful to remain neutral, Democratic Convention Watch was essential for anyone tracking superdelegates. A no frills, Blogger-hosted site run by two Denver political junkies, DemConWatch became the most trusted source for news about superdelegate endorsements, more accurate and up-to-date than any brand name media outlet. The Superdelegate Transparency Project was another independent, neutral resource. A joint project of LiteraryOutpost , OpenLeft , DemConWatch, and HuffPo's Off the Bus , organizer Jennifer Nix described the effort as a "collaborative project among all interested parties to bring transparency and accountability to the Democratic National Convention." They posted state-by-state breakdowns of which superdelegates had endorsed which candidates, what popular vote totals each had received, and whether the supers' endorsements lined up with the votes in their respective districts. Obama supporters on and sites like DailyKos and Democratic Underground were constantly circulating lists of uncommitted superdelegates. In mid-February, jumped into the fray when it began an online petition drive that 400,000 signed, calling for superdelegates to "let the voters decide between Clinton and Obama, then support the people's choice." In North Carolina, our congressional superdelegates originally backed former Sen. John Edwards. When Edwards exited the race in late January, most had yet to endorse another candidate. So a few Obama supporters in N.C. organized Voters for Obama. Our website, , launched on President's Day (Feb. 19). Using info gathered by DemConWatch and STP, we posted state-by-state lists of supers, their endorsements, and going a crucial step further, included contact info (work mailing addresses, e-mails, and phone numbers) for selected superdelegates. We provided simple instructions on how to make polite, respectful phone calls or send e-mails asking superdelegates to support Obama. Over the next few months, 15,000 people visited our site, and we helped voters from around the country generate an estimated several thousand e-mails and phone calls to superdelegates. Volunteers gathered thousands more signatures on petitions in seven states including North Carolina. And together with the efforts of other Obama supporters doing the same thing we were, it made a difference. Most superdelegates are politicians, and they pay attention to the voters who elect them. Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory announced his support for Obama on Feb. 25 as a superdelegate from Ohio. Following a news story about his previous indecision, Mallory said he heard from many of his local citizens. "[I] got lots of calls and e-mails, mostly telling me to support Obama," he said. "I got three or four calls in support of Clinton, but it was very lopsided." In mid-Feburary, approximately 400 superdelegates remained uncommitted. We targeted half of them, mostly elected officials and state Democratic party leaders, who we thought would be the most responsive to their constituents and rank-and-file Democrats in each state. Of the 205 superdelegates we posted contact info for, 130 of them (63%) endorsed Obama during the three and a half months leading up to June 4, when Hillary announced her intention to suspend campaigning. 56 superdelegates that we lobbied (27%) remained neutral, while only 19 (or 9%) came out for Hillary. Our target superdelegates delivered an 111-delegate net gain for Obama. Superdelegate endorsement graph courtesy of DemConWatch Belatedly, the Clinton campaign set up their own online lobbying operation, including slick websites paid for by the campaign. But whoever was running the show was decidedly not slick enough to realize there was little reason to include contact info for all the supers, including those who had already endorsed Hillary. Or to include personal cell phone numbers and e-mail addresses. Nice going, Harold. NObama Democrats backing Hillary were late to the party, but they made up for it with frenzied enthusiasm once they got going. Taylor Marsh harangued her listeners to lobby superdelegates for Hillary, and sites like and (Party Unity My Ass) were hot on the bandwagon. A project called also launched, and although officially neutral, became the go-to site for disgruntled Clintonistas. Three of the top five sites directing traffic to were official Clinton websites, and a fourth was a site affiliated with PUMA PAC. By late May, Obama's high profile supporters were anxious to get the nomination fight settled. Perhaps fed up with the efforts of Hillary dead-enders to keep dividing the party, on May 22 Arianna Huffington called for superdelegates to endorse Obama, and encouraged her readers to contact and lobby them. In the end, enough superdelegates swung behind Obama to allow pledged delegates from the final primaries to put him over the top. Obama reached a majority of 2,118 delegates on the night of June 3, after voters in Montana cast their ballots in the 54th nominating contest of the season. The next day, Democratic members of Congress who had remained Clinton supporters up until that point urged her to withdraw , and she announced she would. Hillary delivered her concession speech three days later on June 7th, at a final event packed with her supporters. A year later, I would like to thank all our Voters for Obama coalition members, volunteers, and supporters . Special thanks go out to co-organizers Mani Dexter, who did most of the superdelegate research necessary to first set up our site, and Dana Lumsden, for his enthusiasm and unwavering support; SuperVoters Susan Baylies and Scott Priz, for being willing to put on capes for Obama and help deliver 2,000 signed petitions to N.C. Gov. Mike Easley; and local organizer Cristobal Palmer, whose tireless efforts helped make our N.C. petition drive a success. And a big thanks to everyone who visited and used its tools to call, e-mail, or sign a petition to superdelegates for Obama. We let our party leaders know their constituents wanted Obama to be the Democratic presidential nominee in 2008, and they listened. Erik Ose is a veteran of Democratic campaigns in North Carolina and blogs at The Latest Outrage . More on Barack Obama
Dr. Alex Benzer: How to Toss Toxic Mates in 3 Simple Steps Top
Last night, I was talking to these two lovely young ladies -- let's call them Ashley and Sarah -- at a networking event in Los Angeles. They seemed preoccupied about a message Ashley was composing on her Blackberry. They kept on going back and forth, with Sarah editing Ashley -- "No, say it this way" -- and then Ashley re-editing the edit. Eagle-eyed professional that I am, I thought, "Gee, could this possibly be about a boy?" They sheepishly admitted, yes, it was about a boy -- specifically, the one Ashley was dating. Sorta. So why was it so hard to compose this message? "Because he's being a douche-bag," Ashley said, rolling her eyes. I sensed that 'douche-bag' was a term of art, so as a scientist I had to figure out exactly what made him so. As it turns out, the boy -- 'DB' henceforth -- was being unclear in his intentions. He said he cared for her but his career came first. When asked point blank whether he cared for her, he'd offer evasive, non-committal answers like "Well, I've been with you 8 months now, haven't I?" To this, I told Ashley that I've heard a guy say "You are wonderful; it's a privilege to be with you and I absolutely adore you" before, and it sounded different from "Well I haven't run away yet ." Over the course of our conversation, it became clear that Ashley was unfulfilled in the relationship. Yet she kept on making excuses for DB. Why? She gave two reasons. First: "It sucks to be single -- this way at least I've got somebody." And second: "I just feel great around him when he is around." Hmmmm. Let's parse the first statement for a moment. Somehow Ashley's thinking that mediocre treatment from a guy is better than no treatment at all. This is a very, very dangerous assumption. Because it leads you straight down what I call the ladder of compromise. In the study of organizational behavior, it's called normalization of deviance . It goes something like this: a guy does something which you don't like all that much -- maybe shows up late. You don't say anything. So he keeps on showing up late. Pretty soon, you're regularly waiting a whole hour for him to show up. Or say a guy puts you down a little and you don't complain, because he's so great in all these other departments. Your unconscious is always working to avoid cognitive dissonance, so on some deep level it accepts that this is the level of treatment you deserve. Now your self-esteem is in the toilet, so you think the next guy who comes along who treats you well is crazy. Instead, you serially glom on to guys who treat you like dirt. What you've done is that, little by little, you've allowed poor treatment to be okay. You've normalized the deviance. Ladies (and gentlemen, too) -- this is a very pernicious thing. Once you allow the foot in the door for a little mistreatment, you're effectively allowing a lot more of it to happen down the road. Heck, psychologists even have a name for it -- the 'foot in the door technique.' That's why you have to practice zero-tolerance when it comes to being treated well. This is how my smart, beautiful friend Holly (featured in the introduction to The Tao of Dating for Women ) ended with a deadbeat who physically abused her. For 1.5 years. This is how another very smart, gorgeous woman ended up with a husband who beat her up routinely -- for 12 years . And is still with him. Repeat after me: "I will only spend time with people who treat me exceptionally well and make me feel like the queen of the universe." Why? Because you have a duty to the world to be the best possible version of you -- so you can shine your light as far and wide as possible. I'm telling you -- the world needs you now more than ever. So when you let a guy get away with doing something -- anything -- to diminish that light, you're shirking your duty to the world. So henceforth, I want you to practice ruthless compassion for yourself. Sure, the guy's cute, and you feel great when he's around. But if he's putting you down instead of lifting you up, it's time for him to go. Like, now. Granted, because of the brew of chemicals in your head and the unconscious compromises you've already made, this is a tough thing to do. You also have to admit that you've been wrong -- totally, completely wrong. Your ego hates that. Well, get over it, girl -- don't let your ego ruin your life. Also, notice Ashley's second reason: "I just feel so good when he is around." That's exactly the way a junkie describes a hit of crack or heroin. Basically, a drug. There was no description of mutual enrichment, support, or deepening of the spirit. Just a jolt of good feeling, which is the essence of what drugs do -- empty euphoria. Well, guess what, ladies -- neurophysiologically, guys can operate exactly the same way that drugs do. So he's not just like a drug -- he is a drug. And just as bad for you. And we all know how tough it is to get off drugs. So this is how you rid your life of the drug of Toxic Dude (or Dudette): 1) Detox. This means you stay away from him for at least one week -- two's even better. Going on a trip and having no contact with him is one of the more effective ways. Technically, it allows your brain to downregulate receptors and adapt to normal chemistry. Practically, it gets him off your mind. 2) Get help. Like Odysseus, canvass your compadres to keep you away from toxic dude, since you know you're too weak to do it yourself (see my post on the Odysseus Protocol ). Listen to them -- they often know what's good for you better than you do. 3) Do better. Hang out with people who do elevate you and make you feel wonderful, and notice the contrast. Heck, maybe even go on a date with a nice guy for a change. It gets a lot harder to go back to instant ramen once you've had gourmet pasta. The other interesting thing that the girls were doing was trying to figure out why DB behaved the way he did, spending much time and energy guessing what this and that could mean. And you know what? It doesn't matter. At all. It only matters how well you're being treated -- whether you're feeling fulfilled or not. That is your internal compass and the chief criterion. You have to realize that no man is a complete ogre, so sure -- he's going to have some redeeming qualities. You're not totally nuts, so you hang out with him because it feels good on some level. But I urge you to set your standards high, ladies (and guys). And once you've set them, do not tolerate any subpar treatment. Sure, have compassion for people and make allowances for their foibles - nobody's perfect. But set boundaries and stick to them, because boundaries that move are no boundaries at all. I tell you that you deserve the best only because it's abolutely true, so believe it and live accordingly. Follow me on Twitter: @dralexbenzer Visit my blog: Join me on Facebook email: dralex(at)
White House: Kal Penn Is Arriving Soon Top
I just read a post at that questioned why actor Kal Penn was not at work yet at the White House despite news of his new job coming out on April 7.
Consumer Advocates Ramp Up Effort To Ban Payday Lending (VIDEO) Top
The Center for Responsible Lending has launched a website to bring to light stories of people who say they've been victimized by payday lenders. The site, , is part of an effort to drum up support for legislation to ban lending at interest rates above 36 percent. Payday loans are paycheck advances, usually for a few hundred dollars, that carry a sizable fee. With a two-week repayment deadline, the fees amount to an annualized rate of interest in the triple digits, which consumer advocates say traps borrowers in never-ending cycles of debt. Payday loans are illegal in 15 states. "These loans, which often carry an APR of 400 percent, trap the average payday borrower in a cycle of debt that forces the borrower to pay much more in interest and fees than he or she originally borrowed," said a release . "Black and Latino families have been especially hard hit by these predatory products, just as they have been in the subprime mortgage debacle." Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) has introduced a bill that would cap interest rates nationwide at 36 percent annually, a measure that would effectively kill the payday lending industry. It would be similar to a measure that Congress passed in 2006, which forbade interest rates above 36 percent for military families. Industry advocates say the short-term loans are useful to poor folks who find themselves in the occasional financial bind, and that APR is inaccurate measure of the value of payday loans. Several lawmakers, including Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), are sympathetic to short-term lenders. The Online Lenders Alliance, a lobby group for internet payday lenders, hosted a fundraiser in May for Dodd and Sen. Tim Johnson (D-S.D.). Other lawmakers, including Rep. Joe Baca (D-Calif.) and Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) also appeared at OLA events. (The lawmakers and the OLA tried to be as discreet as possible about their hookup .) Consumer advocates also briefed members of Congress on Thursday about the downsides of payday loans, according to a release from the Center for Responsible Lending. The Consumer Federation of America, the NAACP, and the Inter-religious Working Group on Domestic Human Needs, among others, hosted the briefing. The Center for Responsible Lending produced a video argument against payday lending. WATCH: HuffPost readers: Had an interesting experience with a payday lender? Share your story -- email . Get HuffPost Politics On Facebook and Twitter! More on Interest Rates
50 North Side Parking Meters Vandalized: Police Top
About 50 coin-fed parking meters were vandalized today in the three adjacent North Side neighborhoods of Andersonville, Edgewater and Uptown, according to Chicago police.
Unemployment Rate: Part-Timers Are Hidden From Data Top
TOWNSHEND, Vt. — When the monthly unemployment figures come out Friday, Greg Noel will go from collecting government statistics to becoming one. Again. Noel, 60, was among more than 60,000 Americans hired in April to help with the 2010 Census. But he's out of work once more and moving back on the unemployment rolls because his temporary gig is finished. It's a familiar predicament in today's economy, in which some 2 million people searching for full-time work have had to settle for less, and unemployment is much higher than the official rate when all the Americans who gave up looking for jobs are counted, too. For the past month, Noel and more than 140,000 Census workers fanned out to create a map of every housing unit in the country, part of what will be the largest peacetime mobilization of civilian workers. He roamed the spine of the Green Mountains with a handheld GPS unit for several weeks, wandering down dirt roads and chatting with people whose livelihoods are also uncertain. Work was good: The sun was out, the snow was gone and the blackflies hadn't begun to hatch. Because of the surge of Census hiring, April unemployment only rose to 8.9 percent _ a much slower increase than had been feared. But the latest unemployment figures aren't likely to get similar help. Thousands like Noel who were among one of the largest segments of the work force _ people who have taken part-time jobs because they can't find full-time work _ have returned simply to being unemployed. Consider the numbers: _The 8.9 percent April unemployment rate was based on 13.7 million Americans out of work. But that number doesn't include discouraged workers, or people who gave up looking for work after four weeks. Add those 700,000 people, and the unemployment rate would be 9.3 percent. _The official rate also doesn't include "marginally-attached workers," or people who have looked for work in the past year but stopped searching in the past month because of barriers to employment such as child care, poor health or lack of transportation. Add those 1.4 million people, and the unemployment rate would be 10.1 percent. _The official rate also doesn't include "involuntary part-time workers," or the 2 million people like Noel who took a part-time job because that's all they could get, plus those whose work hours dropped below the full-time level. Once those 9 million workers are added to the unemployment mix, the rate would be 15.8 percent. All told, nearly 25 million Americans were either unemployed, underemployed, or had given up looking for a job in April. The ranks of involuntary part-timers has increased by 4.9 million in the past year, according to a May study by the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland. Many economists now predict unemployment won't peak until 2010. And since employers generally increase the hours of existing workers before hiring new ones, workers could be looking for full-time jobs for some time. "You haven't seen job loss numbers like this before," said Heather Boushey, a senior economist at the Center for American Progress in Washington. "It's been such a sharp dip down that you'll see a lot of employers taking on temporary and part-time workers before they add employees." For tens of thousands of people like Noel, a part-time job isn't their dream position, but it beats the alternative. A Pennsylvania native and veteran of the Silicon Valley boom-and-bust cycle, Noel settled in southern Vermont in 2003. He's worked a series of jobs, commuting to his latest position as an auditor for a family-owned food and beverage distributor in Brattleboro before being laid off in early spring. Vermont is in better shape than most states _ but not by much. Real estate and tourism, pillars of the state's economy over the past decade, are staggering. Many parents who were frantic last year about sons and daughters serving in Iraq and Afghanistan _ the state has sent a disproportionate share of its young people overseas _ now are relieved their children have a steady job with benefits. Financial jobs are few. "The economy?" Noel asks between bites of a bison burger in a tiny diner. "You just don't know if it's ever going to come back. We may never have it so good again." When the Census Bureau offered him a part-time job mapping houses nearly an hour from his Windham home, Noel jumped at it. The money, between $10 and $25 per hour plus 55 cents per mile, was a big factor. But Noel said he also wanted to be part of a larger community effort, and the 2010 Census is nothing if not a large community effort. When the first numbers are released in December 2010, the Census Bureau will have spent more than $11 billion and hired about 1.2 million temporary employees. The government conducts its Census every decade to determine the number of congressional seats assigned to each state, but the figures collected also help the government decide where to spend billions of dollars for the poor and disabled, where to build new schools and prisons, and how state legislative boundaries should be designed. It hasn't been the perfect job _ that would be a full-time position with benefits _ but Noel says the Census job worked out well. It eased the pain of being unemployed, giving him something to do, and made him realize his entire life doesn't have to be about financial management. "It's just statistics," said Noel, "but it's important." But last week, he was unemployed again, a victim of the Census Bureau's efficiency. Since the government was able to draw from a well-qualified but mostly out-of-work pool of applicants, the work done by more than 140,000 field employees went far more quickly than expected. "We've always done well, but this time around was amazing," said Stephen L. Buckner, a Census Bureau spokesman. "It's a tough economic time." For some temporary workers, the outlook is brighter. Ian Gunn spent five weeks "being paid to hike. It was great." Gunn, an 18-year-old high school senior heading to Renssalaer Polytechnic Institute next year to study computer science, hopes for a better economy when he graduates, one that offers more security than a series of part-time jobs. "It's going to take time," he said, "but I've got four more years." Noel, though, is uncertain about the future. It's possible he'll be called back to work later in the fall for the final push. The Census Bureau expects to send roughly 1.2 million workers out to count people who don't return their questionnaires; the hiring will push down unemployment numbers for several months during that period. For now, Noel says, he and his wife are living without frills. He looks for another job and she runs Green Mountain Chef, a catering business near Stratton Mountain. Demand has slowed dramatically since the economic meltdown began, as it has for most tourism-dependent businesses in Vermont. Noel hopes to avoid being a statistic for too long. Unemployment insurance will give him about $425 per week _ enough to pay the mortgage, and maybe the health insurance bill. Right now, the couple pays about $280 per month, but that will climb to $850 in September, when his government-subsidized COBRA policy expires. "I hope something comes up," he says. "But there's not an awful lot out there." ___ On the Net: Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics,
Texas Sues BP For Pollution Violations Tied To Deaths Top
HOUSTON — BP Products North America Inc. is being sued by Texas authorities who accuse the petrochemical giant of 46 pollution violations at its Texas City refinery _ including one tied to an explosion that killed 15 workers and injured 170 others four years ago. The suit filed by the Texas Attorney General's Office in state court in Austin last month and announced Thursday alleges the BP Texas City refinery, about 35 miles southeast of Houston, spewed hundreds of thousands of pounds of pollutants in a "pattern of unnecessary and unlawful emissions." The state said the emissions were the result of poor operational practices and inadequate maintenance at the refinery, the nation's third largest, refining 460,000 barrels of crude oil daily. "BP Products is charged with polluting our environment, concealing information from authorities and harming Texans," Attorney General Greg Abbott said in a statement. "In recent years, more than 45 unlawful pollutant emissions occurred at BP's Texas City facility. "This enforcement action holds BP accountable for failing to comply with environmental, health and safety laws that are intended to protect Texans from harm," he said. According to the suit, which court documents indicated was filed May 22, among the improperly released air pollutants were volatile organic compounds, carbon monoxide, hydrogen sulfide, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides. BP spokesman Ronnie Chappell said Thursday the company had no comment on the lawsuit specifically but that the company's goal was to "resolve this matter and address the state's concerns." "We are working hard to reduce the number of emissions events at the Texas City refinery," Chappell said, noting more than $1 billion in investments to upgrade facilities. "When they fully take hold, the improvements we are making should deliver a significant decrease in the number, size and frequency of emissions events at the refinery." The suit seeks an injunction requiring BP to take all necessary steps to eliminate future unlawful emissions. The state also wants BP to install additional air-quality monitors "to ensure future compliance with emissions restrictions" and is seeking unspecified civil penalties, fines and attorneys' fees. A hearing on the state's request for a temporary injunction is scheduled for June 29 in Austin. Abbott said the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality filed 15 enforcement orders against BP between 2000 and 2007. He said the company was required to report unlawful emissions to the state environmental agency and fix the problems. BP, however, not only failed to comply with time deadlines to report the emissions to state authorities but also failed to take steps to prevent additional illegal emissions in a timely manner, Abbott said. The fatal explosion in March 2005 led to an unlawful release of contaminants for more than 160 hours, Abbott said. The TCEQ later determined the event was "avoidable" and was the result of BP's "poor operations practices." In March of this year, a federal judge in Houston approved a plea deal, highly criticized by victims, that fined parent British oil company BP PLC $50 million for its criminal role in the blast. The agreement included BP's subsidiary pleading guilty to a violation of the Clean Air Act, a felony, and also placed the company on three years probation. A month earlier, BP agreed to pay almost $180 million to settle a federal pollution case with the Department of Justice and Environmental Protection Agency. That agreement, which federal authorities said addressed BP's failure to comply with a 2001 consent decree, included spending $161 million on pollution controls, $12 million in penalties and $6 million to reduce air pollution near the Texas City refinery.
Ayatollah Khamenei: Muslim Nations Still "Hate America" Top
Iran's supreme leader dismissed President Obama's speech at Cairo University Thursday, saying the Muslim world continues to "hate America." And he criticized the United States and its allies for asserting that Iran seeks nuclear weapons, which he insisted are forbidden under Iran's brand of Islam. More on Iran
Luis Carlos Montalván: Veteran Stigma: "What Does My Country think of Me?" Top
As if to pour salt on the physical and psychological wounds of millions of America's veterans, a recent trend has emerged in both public pronouncements and privately held attitudes that suggests that veterans returning from the 'long wars' in Iraq and Afghanistan pose a security risk to potential employers, fellow workers, and workplace patrons. "I cannot be open about my post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with prospective employers in light of the Homeland Security debacle," says former Army Sgt. and Iraq veteran Steve Kraft. "It's like a scarlet letter." The "debacle" Sgt. Kraft refers to means comments made by Janet Napolitano, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), citing a section of an April 7, 2009, DHS Report titled "Disgruntled Military Veterans" to the effect that "DHS assesses that right-wing extremists will attempt to recruit and radicalize returning veterans...suffering from the psychological effects of war." "Having been singled out by the media for attention, Napolitano's statement surely discourages would-be employers from considering hiring veterans applying for jobs, especially in an uncertain economy." But while the DHS incident lingers in the minds of the public, it isn't the only highly publicized case of veterans stigmatized for their courageous and honorable military service. A scandal at Penn State erupted in February when the University's Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) department posted a contentious video on its website. Produced as part of a package to help faculty deal with "worrisome student behaviors," the video depicted an angry young veteran and a professor who felt threatened by him. Unhappy with his grade, the veteran threatens the professor and says he deserves a better grade, "or else." Former Petty Officer 3rd Class Maggie Kwok, a 25-year-old Chinese-American sophomore and the President of Penn State's Veterans Organization was shocked by the University video. "I can't believe they made this video about us," recalled the former Navy Corpsman of the incident when it happened. "Veterans on campus were very upset," said the veteran of Guantanamo and Iraq. The university responded to the veterans' concerns by removing the video. And yet, the stigma that veterans face has, as Sgt. Kraft feels, turned into widespread employment discrimination, precisely at a time when getting a job is especially difficult. Major Matt Tully, a New York Army National Guardsman and an attorney in his civilian life, specializes in fighting the employment discrimination faced by many veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns. "It's a growing problem," said Major Tully, "higher now than at any other time in the past." According to a 2007 GAO Report, only 1 in 10 veterans files a Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) complaint. "It used to be that employers didn't know that it was illegal to discriminate against veterans who served in the Reserve or National Guard," said Major Tully. "Now, employers intentionally disregard USERRA." Due to the long wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, employers have taken steps to lay off those Reservists who are called up to Active Duty. "For example, an airline pilot who deploys to Iraq for a year..." said Major Tully, "...has to be retrained upon his return, which costs a lot of money and overtime." In recent years, the Departments of Labor (DOL) and Justice (DOJ) have taken a much harder stance against the discrimination facing military reservists now that violations are becoming more flagrant. The growing problem is also being discussed and debated in Congress. In January 2009, Rep. Lloyd Doggett [D-TX], sponsored H.R. 466, the "Wounded Veteran Job Security Act." If passed, the bill would prohibit "...any employment discrimination or acts of reprisal against any person who has, or who has been treated for, an injury, illness, or disability determined by the Secretary of Veterans' Affairs to have been incurred in, or aggravated by, military service." According to testimony by Congressman Doggett, "...the amount of time required for the treatment of a veteran's service-connected disability exceeds the amount of vacation and sick leave allotted to the veteran. Some employers have viewed this as grounds to terminate veterans, leaving them faced with an impossible choice - whether to continue receiving the treatment that they need or to keep the job that supports them." But many veterans aren't even able to get a foot in the doorways of potential employers. Rick Jackson, the Program Coordinator for New York State's "Troops to Teachers Program," is worried that his office will soon shut down. "School principals have PTSD in the back of their minds after DHS put out their 'terrorist watch' for veterans," said Jackson. "Many principals seem to have the attitude that 'All these guys [veterans] do is yell and scream and I'm not going to have that in my hallway." In a labor market that is contracting rather than expanding, seeing the hiring of returning veterans as unnecessarily risky puts those military personnel behind the 8-ball in terms of landing jobs. For many veterans, dealing with the stigma attached to their wounds isn't something easy to do. Retired Army Capt. Mark Brogan was severely wounded in 2006 when an improvised explosive devise (IED) blasted his HMMWV ("Humvee") while on patrol in Iraq. "I'm leery of putting down PTSD or TBI on an application for work or school," said Capt. Brogan. "I am concerned with back-door discrimination." While former Army Sgt. Steve Kraft applies for federal jobs in New York City, he participates in group therapy for PTSD twice a week. "It potentially can affect me a great deal if I get a job offer" said Kraft of the growing discrimination against America's veterans. "The way veterans are being mistreated makes me wonder, 'What does my country think of me?'" More on Afghanistan
State Department E-Mail: Watch Obama On CNN! Top
Last September, the Obama campaign sent out a text message urging recipients to watch one of the presidential debates on CNN (even though it was airing on every major network). The campaign claimed it was an accident and sent out a revised message shortly thereafter. Echoes of that incident came back Thursday when the following e-mail, sent out to an unknown list Wednesday by the State Department, was forwarded by a tipster: -----Original Message----- From: Centro Inf. y Referencia [mailto:[redacted]] Sent: Wednesday, June 03, 2009 2:22 PM Subject: Discurso del Presidente Obama en El Cairo Estimados usuarios: Les recordamos que el presidente Obama pronunciará su discurso desde la Universidad de El Cairo, el dí de mañana. La cadena CNN transmitirá este paso trascendental en vivo. Este atento a los acontecimientos!, conectese a CNN desde muy temprano. Esperamos contar con sus comentarios, saludos cordiales Translated, it reads: We would like to remind you of the speech that Pres Obama will deliver today from the University of Cairo. CNN will transmit this momentous step live. Be aware of this and tune in to CNN early. We look forward to gaining your feedback, best wishes. A request to the e-mail's sender asking why the department targeted CNN specifically went unanswered. More on CNN


Auctions - Find out when new auctions are posted

Horoscopes - Receive your daily horoscope

Music - Get the newest Album Releases, Playlists and more

News - Only the news you want, delivered!

Stocks - Stay connected to the market with price quotes and more

Weather - Get today's weather conditions

You received this email because you subscribed to Yahoo! Alerts. Use this link to unsubscribe from this alert. To change your communications preferences for other Yahoo! business lines, please visit your Marketing Preferences. To learn more about Yahoo!'s use of personal information, including the use of web beacons in HTML-based email, please read our Privacy Policy. Yahoo! is located at 701 First Avenue, Sunnyvale, CA 94089.

1 comment: