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    • Killing Herd Animals
      One of the great crimes and tragedies of our world is how we treat the animals we eat (or whose milk or eggs or other products we eat and use.) Factory farming keeps them in tiny enclosures, feeds them monotonous foods, and then when they’re slaughtered it’s a terrible experience: they’re terrified and die in […]
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Your Breakfast Read, Served By The Confluence

Politics

Can politicians and talking heads involved in hotly debated issues avoid pernicious hyperbole, if only to spare the rest of us fake over-the-top outrage pomposity pontification like this? Ergh!

Will he finally make the case more convincingly and show some passion?
Obama to Push Health-Care Plan in New Hampshire After Town Hall Protests

President Barack Obama will defend his efforts to overhaul the U.S. health-care system at a town hall in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, today after a series of protests met his fellow Democrats in recent days.

When the economy is doing poorly, give people a permanent tax cut. When the economy is doing booming, give people a permanent tax cut. Someone is uninsured, give him a tax cut. Someone needs a safety net for his retirement, give him a tax cut. Privatize everything and sabotage the government. What is there to rebrand?
GOP rebranding effort flames out

Television crews and reporters wedged themselves among the crowd of party faithful to cover the National Council for a New America’s first event at a packed pizza parlor in an Arlington, Va., strip mall. The resulting coverage dominated cable news chatter for the next week. Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney were also on board.

But the council has since flamed out – at least publicly.

Palin loses her final fight with Alaska lawmakers over stimulus

Reversing a governor’s appropriation veto requires a vote of 75 percent of the Legislature, a hurdle rarely met. The override passed 45 to 14 and if a single other legislator had voted against it or been absent from the special session, it would have failed.

Supporters argued Palin badly overstated the “strings” attached to taking the money, and that frigid Alaska could use the assistance.

The next issue that will not be reformed
Obama Says Immigration Changes Must Wait Till 2010

President Obama said Monday that efforts to change the immigration system would be a major focus for his administration only next year, after other major priorities were accomplished, including passage of a new health care system.


War On Terror 2.0

Taliban Now Winning

The Taliban have gained the upper hand in Afghanistan, the top American commander there said, forcing the U.S. to change its strategy in the eight-year-old conflict by increasing the number of troops in heavily populated areas like the volatile southern city of Kandahar, the insurgency’s spiritual home.

Opium barons at top of kill or capture list as US targets the Taleban

The Pentagon has put 50 of Afghanistan’s powerful opium barons on a “kill or capture” list, signalling a radical shift in tactics against the Taleban.

The announcement came as the commander of US forces in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, admitted that the insurgency, nurtured by tens of millions of dollars from the country’s vast poppy fields, now held the upper hand.

McChrystal wants huge boost in U.S. civilians in Afghanistan

In addition to requesting some 45,000 additional U.S. troops in Afghanistan, the country’s top American military commander will ask the Obama administration to double the number of U.S. government civilian workers who are in the country.

Obama faces tough choices on Afghanistan

Having already “surged” an additional 21,000 troops to Afghanistan bringing US forces up to a peak of 68,000, Mr Obama could be forgiven for responding with expletives. At a time when the US president is under acute pressure to rein in a huge US fiscal deficit and when the Pentagon is severely overstretched, another hefty troop request would be hard to satisfy.


Around The Nation

63 already? It looks like 1992 was yesterday with a young Bill.
Bill Clinton Celebrates His 63rd in Las Vegas

Hillary Rodham Clinton, the secretary of state, is in The Congo, as part of her trip to Africa, and thus will miss the celebration. No worries. Mr. Clinton might be celebrating on the strip on Monday, but his actual birthday is not until Aug. 19.

Yikes!
Michael Douglas’ son could get life in prison

The son of actor Oscar-winning actor Michael Douglas could face life in prison for selling large amounts of an illegal drug over a three-year period before his arrest late last month, court records show.

The violent anti-choice movement found its hero
Violent abortion foes flock to visit jailed Tiller murder suspect

The list of those visiting and communicating with the man accused of killing Wichita abortion doctor George Tiller reads like a who’s who of anti-abortion militants.

Two convicted clinic bombers. The man behind the Army of God Web site. Several activists who once signed a declaration that defended the killing of abortion doctors.

I just took a look in my crystal ball: Sanford is finished.
Governor broke law in flights

Gov. Mark Sanford violated state travel law by flying overseas in more expensive business-class seating, violations that could help build a case of impeachment against him, state Sen. David Thomas of Fountain Inn alleged Monday.

Breakfast Can Wait. The Day’s First Stop Is Online.

Karl and Dorsey Gude of East Lansing, Mich., can remember simpler mornings, not too long ago. They sat together and chatted as they ate breakfast. They read the newspaper and competed only with the television for the attention of their two teenage sons.

That was so last century. Today, Mr. Gude wakes at around 6 a.m. to check his work e-mail and his Facebook and Twitter accounts. The two boys, Cole and Erik, start each morning with text messages, video games and Facebook.


Economy Watch

Shut Out at Home, American Seek Opportunity in China

Shanghai and Beijing are becoming new lands of opportunity for recent American college graduates who face unemployment nearing double digits at home.

What are we paying these people for?
Where did that bank bailout go? Watchdogs aren’t sure

Despite a new oversight panel, a new special inspector general, the existing Government Accountability Office and eight other inspectors general, those charged with minding the store say they don’t have all the weapons they need. Ten months into the Troubled Asset Relief Program, some members of Congress say that some oversight of bailout dollars has been so lacking that it’s essentially worthless.

AIG’s Liddy Heads Toward Retirement With ‘$1, a Few Bruises’

American International Group Inc.’s former Chief Executive Officer Edward Liddy, who returned the bailed-out insurer to profitability, didn’t know what he was getting into when he joined the firm, he wrote to employees.

“Truth be told, I had no idea what I was in for when I accepted this assignment, but I am glad that I came,” Liddy said in a letter dated Aug. 7. “It hasn’t been easy, and goodness knows, it hasn’t been pretty.”


The math behind the likely jobless recovery

In modern economy, industries vanish and it takes time to replace them


Op-ed Columns

These Baseline Scenario guys are very smart
Like Your Health Insurance? Maybe You Shouldn’t. (By Simon Johnson and James Kwak)

If we fail to reform our health care system this year, a major reason will be that a majority of Americans are satisfied with their health coverage and believe that reform could hurt them. According to a recent (unscientific) Consumer Reports survey, 64 percent of readers are satisfied with their plans — down from 67 percent in 2007, but still a clear majority. A recent New York Times poll found that 59 percent of Americans do not think that health-care reform will benefit them personally; 69 percent are concerned that reform could harm the quality of their own care and 68 percent are concerned that it could limit their access to treatment.

This is deeply misleading, for two reasons. First, what does it mean to say that you are satisfied with your health insurance? Consider homeowner’s insurance. Until you need it — your house burns down — you have no way of judging its quality. The same goes for health coverage; until you have a serious illness, the kind where your plan’s limits and exclusions may kick in, how do you know if your health coverage is any good?

As more U.S. troops arrive, is Afghan war worth it? (By Lee Hamilton)

Tens of thousands more American troops are en route, adding to the approximately 90,000 troops, both U.S. and allied, already on the ground. The U.S. military leadership likely will request more troops in the months ahead. President Barack Obama will have to make a crucial decision on the future of a conflict that has become his war.

I think Prof Blinder was one of the first to push the “C4C” idea.
Stay the Stimulus Course (By Prof Alan Blinder)

Apparently not bothered by facts, some congressional Republicans are already claiming that President Obama’s $787 billion stimulus package has failed and are even advocating that some of the remaining scheduled steps in the legislation be canceled.

In medicine, that would be malpractice. In politics, it’s demagoguery. In reality, we need to stay the course.

Health Reform’s Hearing Problem (By Danielle Allen)

Both Sides Are Deaf to the Real Debate About Consequences

Aren’t we actually moving in the opposite direction?
A Century-Old Principle: Keep Corporate Money Out of Elections

The founders were wary of corporate influence on politics — and their rhetoric sometimes got pretty heated. In an 1816 letter, Thomas Jefferson declared his hope to “crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country.”


Around The World

Myanmar court convicts Nobel laureate Suu Kyi

Who knew the wrong translation could be unfunny?
Lost in Translation: Clinton Says She, Not Bill, is the Secretary of State

Apparently the translator made a mistake and the student had wanted to know what President Obama thought of the deal. A State Department official tells ABC News the student went up to Clinton after the event and told her he was misquoted.

Mission accomplished.
Despite bombings, Iraq confident it can maintain security

A series of bombings in Baghdad and Mosul on Monday killed at least 49 people and wounded more than 230 in the latest attack since the June 30 pullout of US combat troops from Iraqi cities.

The explosions were the latest in a series of attacks on Shiite targets that officials fear could spark retaliation, setting off a cycle of sectarian violence that could unravel security gains made under US control.

What is it with these guys who never seem to die?
Militant commander resurfaces to rebut official claims of his death

A senior Taliban commander who the Pakistani government believed was dead suddenly resurfaced today, sowing further confusion about the leadership of the Pakistani Taliban, days after Baitullah Mehsud’s apparent assassination.

New Momentum — but No Clear Goal — for Iran’s Street Protests

In recent days, despite the regime’s heavy-handed efforts to stifle the resistance, public demonstrations have become more decentralized and frequent as protesters become increasingly bold and defiant. This shift in mood — from despondency in late June after the Basij fired on protesters following the June 12 presidential election, to a renewed sense of optimism — signals that the vocal opposition movement will not be going away anytime soon.

Women continue to pay a very high price in crisis.
Congo’s Rape Epidemic Worsens During U.S.-Backed Military Operation

For the women of eastern Congo, a U.S.-backed Congolese military operation meant to save them from abusive rebels has turned into a nightmare of its own.

An already staggering epidemic of rape has become markedly worse since the January deployment of tens of thousands of poorly trained, poorly paid Congolese soldiers, with people in front-line villages such as this one saying the soldiers are not so much hunting rebels as hunting women.


From The History Files

Donald Versus Hitler: Walt Disney and the Art of WWII Propaganda

During World War II, Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse weren’t just about entertainment. Film studios used animated characters to spread propaganda and educate Americans about their enemies. And the animators themselves were employed to make insignia for military units and equipment.


From The World Of Science

I think I have a perfectly symmetrical face. How come I’m losing my marbles? Is it the health-care debate or is something else happening?
Losing your mind? The answer is in the mirror

Although the connection between a symmetrical face and cognitive ability may seem surprising, scientists believe that it could be explained by the idea that a good set of genes for facial symmetry may be linked with an equally good set of genes for brain preservation.

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40 Responses

  1. >>>The Obama administration is proposing to scale back a long-standing ban on tracking how people use government Internet sites with “cookies” and other technologies, raising alarms among privacy groups.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/08/10/AR2009081002743.html?hpid=topnews

  2. Yeah, poll numbers dwindling they are dialing back the control – Political Punch has a piece where they backstab Pelosi’s comments on the protests.
    Meanwhile, tabloids seem to have been drafted
    http://edgeoforever.wordpress.com/2009/08/11/tabloids-do-the-talking-points/

    • I knew Pelosi was about to land under the bus.

      All those people have to stop the “un-American” nonsense. We heard that ad nauseum when Right-wingers had power.

      • Any time anyone offers an a opinion that is greeted with complaints, Obama has to interject himself as the ” good guy”. I don’t expect him to back up his speaker of the house . But I do expect him to appreciate that Pelosi’s arms are tired from all the sacks of cash she’s raking into the Dem coffers with her” donor maintenance events” and perhaps not stab her in the back….i have to readjust my expectaions…again

      • she can not be near me. There is no room. Let her run along behind. She helped crowd the place and now she can not fit in.

        WOMEN WITH INTELLIGENCE AND EXPERIENCE,MEN WHO SUPPORT THEM AND COUNTRY BEFORE PARTY ALWAYS

        PUMAS,BUBBAS,EQUALISTS AND THOSE PEOPLE RULE.

      • From the people under the bus to pelosi.

        she has to run along behind the bus

        WOMEN WITH INTELLIGENCE AND EXPERIENCE,MEN WHO SUPPORT THEM AND COUNTRY BEFORE PARTY ALWAYS

        PUMAS,BUBBAS,EQUALISTS AND THOSE PEOPLE RULE

      • mablue, it’s Obama’s MO from the primaries. Send out underlings to say all the nasty stuff, while remaining coolly “above the fray” and tsk tsk-ing.

        Problem is, that works well for campaigns, but it does not work so well when you are now the one in charge, and held responsible for it. The People view the behavior of a president very, very differently than they view the heat of a campaign. Obama and Axelrod have not figured that out yet. The ground under their feet has changed dramatically with the Dems ascension to power, and they are still trying to do the speaking-truth-to-power, put-upon underdog act . Um, that doesn’t fly so well when you ARE the Power, and everyone knows it.

    • That is an All-American collection of the scornful and the scorned. Tabloids—-what a great American tradition going all the way back to the Founding Fathers. A well told story in “Scandalmongers”—they taught us well.

      • Journalism hasn’t changed, thay have always been the lap dogs of the powerful. The only difference is today there are fewer outlet as the power has been consolidated by the wealthy.

  3. I have heard GOP congress critters talk about some good ideas related to health care reform but I think they get lost in the hyperbole of Hannity. I truly wish the GOP would remake itself because we need a strong 2 party system. I think it would be interesting for the 2012 election if we had two “third” party candidates—one in the Dem/progressive mold and one in the Rep. conservative mold.

    I don’t know what we are going to do about corporations and politics.

    Thank God Obama is limited to a max of two terms.

    • The GOP has some ideas about HC?

      I just know of 2: Sen. Bob Bennett (R-Utah) with joined Ron Wyden to sponsor what is a bill with some good points, and then there is Tom Coburn who has a similar bill.

      The GOP never really cared about reforming HC when they had all levers of power. Even now, they’re just for killing off whatever Dems propose.

      Too bad, these Dems are not giving us a bill to vigorously fight for. To the contrary they have been successfully deflating us with the watered down bill they are proposing.

      • I saw some Republican on TV last night who says he has a bill to open up the Congressional health plan to everyone in the country, but it’s been buried and blocked. Can’t remember his name.

        Not the ideal fix, but there ARE some decent suggestions out there that are being ignored. It’s one thing to say that you think the GOP plans are inadequate to the task. I agree with that. But that’s not what the Dems are saying – they are saying that no solutions are being offered whatsoever, just “NO”. That’s a lie, plain and simple.

        • imho the plans that GOP as a party are putting forth are not what a lot of us consider plans, they look like John McCain’s tax credits. Hence the feeling that the GOP has nothing to offer us.

          I think there are some individuals on the conservative side who have some IDEAS, and I agree the media is not giving their ideas the time of day, but the GOP has not put them together in a cohesive plan/message.

  4. “President Barack Obama will defend his efforts to overhaul the U.S. health-care system at a town hall in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, today after a series of protests met his fellow Democrats in recent days.”

    The actors have been chosen, the set is being built and they are rehearsing their lines…..

    I’ve heard all over the morning news how Obama is going to ENGAGE the protesters. Let the healing begin!!!!
    …and the deluge of kabuki theater sound bites will hit us come the evening news, and we will all see the light. I can’t wait to hear what the hand picked protesters will have to say!!!

    • I’m really curious to see the atmosphere of that town hall and the type of questions he’ll get.

      I hope it’s not “Mr. President, why are your opponents so mean?”

      • part of the anger present in the town halls around the country is how they were letting some people in and leaving others out…. to the point of saving seats for their choices.

        this will certainly be no different… hell, they don’t let the press corps get in an unscripted question!

        • imo – much of the anger at town hall meetings isn’t limited to health care reform.
          During the past year, people have lost their jobs, their homes, their 401Ks, their kids’ dreams of college….WHILE the government gave BILLIONS of taxpayer monies to the very institutions that created the financial crisis.
          People are ANGRY!

          • I think there’s a lot of uncertainty out there right now: Foreclosures, unemployment, bankruptcies and so on. And some people are good at exploiting it.

          • Apparently there is a man with a gun, holstered on his leg, visible, and he has a permit and the police says he is OK, because he is on church (PRAISE JESUS AND PASS THE GUNS??????? What kind of preaching goes on there?) property and it is considered private property. I don’t think this guy got the Palin memo and is a fan of Glen Beck, with his rantings where he is red and looks as if he is going to explode.

            So, the protesting is done with guns holstered on legs, like commandos out in the open? I have been to man protests and the only thing that had metal was some chairs that we gave to folks that couldn’t stand due to disabilities and age. How times are changing. 😦

          • Oh, the man with the holstered gun, is in the adjacent church next to where President Obama is about to talk on the Health Care Reform. The visual is sure to make the evening news and I for one am very disappointed that some folks have taken to using guns to add fear, to an already tense situation.

      • GGGGGreat news roundup!!
        Thanks so much. 🙂

  5. Michael Douglas’ son a meth dealer? WTF? Here’s someone born with every advantage known and the best he could do with his life is deal meth?

    Rich kid, if you do nothing at all in this world, at the very least, do no harm!

  6. I think it will be pretty interesting to hear the next Repub president complain and whine about all the messes he/she is having to clean up.

  7. Who was it said,”Afghanistan is where empires go to die” .
    I guess it’s our turn.
    And that brings ne to my second thought, if you got a degree or a marketable skill, get out before they close the borders.
    China, France , Germany, anywhere but the U K their government is as are as corrupt as ours.
    Between the republican anti-science nutters and the Dems selling out to Wall street there will be nothing left for the little guy or gal.

  8. Speaking Of Thomas Jefferson and his warnings:
    If the Founding Fathers could have forseen the present state of affairs, the republicans sold out and the Democrats are selling out to Wall Street and big business, they would have surrendered to the British, bought the rope, and hung themselves.
    Congratulations to my Senators and Representative, the situation is now FUBAR.

  9. From CNN:

    Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the sister of President John F. Kennedy and a champion of the disabled who founded the Special Olympics, died Tuesday, the Special Olympics said. She was 88.

  10. Just running out the door but had to share this line:

    Are we headed to a point in our history when any criticism about this president will be deemed racist?

    They’re only just noticing this? Helllloooo …. 2008? Anyone?

    http://newsbusters.org/blogs/noel-sheppard/2009/08/10/msnbc-anchor-socialist-becoming-new-n-word

  11. Very small aside. What’s up with the Der Spiegel piece on Disney. Walt Disney? Not Warner or any of the other studios. Curious, those Germans.

  12. New Poster Reveals the Ugly Face of Racism

    Words cannot describe – It must be seen to be believed.

    • Isn’t Tom Bevan cute! He’s one of these people who are concerned about people who cry racism than they are with racism itself. But I can’t completely blame them.

      I have been complaining since the Primaries that people who cry racism at the tiniest thing do a disservice to all of us and to the issue.

      People may end up minimizing what is a serious issue, trivialize it or become completely tone deaf, sometimes out of protest.

    • Seen … and read ! Too funny, lol!

      “- First, the obvious: Purple is only a tick or two away from black on the color spectrum, so it’s clearly no coincidence that Obama’s likeness was imposed over Tinky Winky and not Dipsy, Laa-Laa, Noo-Noo, or Po. Tinky Winky is an unspeakably devious subliminal reminder of the pigmentation of our President’s skin.”

    • Does anyone remember when Jerry Falwell was complaining that the teletubbies were gay? One was purple to embrace the gay lifestyle.
      So which is it racist or homophobia?
      Oh my God what are we teaching the children?
      Where do all these silly people come from?

      WOMEN WITH INTELLIGENCE AND EXPERIENCE,MEN WHO SUPPORT THEM AND COUNTRY BEFORE PARTY ALWAYS

      PUMAS,BUBBAS,EQUALISTS AND THOSE PEOPLE RULE

  13. Harry Reid in trouble?

    http://www.lvrj.com/news/52948952.html

    Poll: Reid would lose if Lowden were to run

  14. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8195467.stm

    Be prepared when the truth hits the obot mind.

    WOMEN WITH INTELLIGENCE AND EXPERIENCE,MEN WHO SUPPORT THEM AND COUNTRY BEFORE PARTY ALWAYS

    PUMAS,BUBBAS,EQUALISTS AND THOSE PEOPLE RULE

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