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    • What Protests in Lebanon, France, Chile and Ecuador Have In Common
      There’s some important events happening today: another Brexit vote, and the Canadian federal election (whose results are not obvious), but we won’t know how either of those end till later, so let’s discuss some popular protests of massive size. In France the protests were sparked by an increase in diesel taxes. The demands included an […]
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Your Breakfast Read, Lazy Sunday Edition

War on Terror, Cont’d

From the plethora of horrible consequences from the Iraq war.
A deadly interrogation in Iraq

A U.S. soldier who lost two of his men questions a suspected insurgent about the attack. Afterward, a slain, naked Iraqi — and the truth about what befell him — are left behind in a dark culvert.

This story is heart wrenching and infuriating.
Deadly Afghan ambush shows perils of ill-supplied deployment

The ambush and the nearly nine-hour battle in the rugged mountains of eastern Kunar province illustrated many of the toughest challenges inherited by the Obama administration and U.S. commanders and their soldiers, who’re scrambling to regain the upper hand in an eight-year-old guerrilla war that’s growing bloodier and more unpopular in both countries by the day.

Intelligence is inadequate. The Afghans and their U.S. trainers expected to face no more than a dozen insurgents in Ganjgal on their mission to sweep the village for arms and meet with the elders to discuss implementing an agreement to accept the local government’s authority.

When will we be allowed to use the Q-word?
Up to 50 Taliban die in Afghan clashes.

Up to 50 Taliban insurgents have been killed in Afghanistan’s western Farah province after clashes that left seven Afghan and two US soldiers dead, government officials said Sunday.

I think we new a new dimension of chess for Afghanistan.
Why the US is afraid of ‘Afghanization’

The weakest link in the United States’ Afghan strategy has been its handling of the calculus of power in Kabul. Now, any US strategy to salvage the war can only work if its central axis is a strong, authoritative government in Kabul. In other words, “Afghanization”, which means leaving President Hamid Karzai and his new team in the cockpit. While Washington has its own hidden agenda, Afghans expect a single, identifiable fountainhead of power.


Politics

Public Option, RIP. Thank you Dems, especially President Obama for fighting so vigorously for it.
Public Option Fades From Debate Over Health Care

It was just one line in a campaign manifesto, and it hardly seemed the most significant or contentious. As a presidential candidate, Barack Obama said he would “establish a new public insurance program” alongside private health care plans.

That proposal took on a life of its own, but it now appears to be dying, a victim of an ineffectual White House strategy, the president’s failure to argue passionately for the “public option” and all-out opposition by the insurance industry and much of the health care industry.

The one and only Bob Somerby once said we were getting our keisters kicked by the “teabaggers”. Anybody wants to dispute that?
Lashing Out at the Capitol

Tens of Thousands Protest Obama Initiatives and Government Spending

The summer of discontent may represent an opportunity for the GOP.
Protests present GOP with tricky task

The ability to channel the wide-ranging frustrations expressed by speaker after speaker may determine whether beleaguered conservatives will be able to create a movement rivaling that which liberals used to help power Democrats back into the majority in the 2006 congressional elections and Barack Obama into the White House last year.

The sentiments expressed Saturday, however, suggest Republicans can’t necessarily count on the tens of thousands of protesters who turned out in Washington – and at simultaneous rallies in Dallas, Denver, Quincy, Ill., and other cities and towns across the nation – to make inroads in the 2010 congressional midterm elections and, later, to mount a stiff challenge to President Obama’s 2012 reelection effort.

Many marchers displayed little allegiance to Republicans, and some were openly hostile, contending that that when the party controlled Washington until 2006, the federal government spent recklessly.

Does the level of douchiness get any higher?
How to disqualify yourself from ANY discussion, even if you do have a point.


Around The Nation

Another tragic case of domestic violence perhaps not taken as seriously as it should have been.
Kentucky GOP ex-lawmaker arrested; ex-fiance is dead

After months of trying to use the legal system to protect herself from her former fiancée, 29-year-old Amanda Ross was found shot to death early Friday outside her home in downtown Lexington.

Hours later, the man she feared, former state representative and one-time gubernatorial candidate Steve Nunn, was taken into police custody at the edge of the Hart County cemetery where his parents are buried.

a Related story from the same saga
Former Kentucky lawmaker’s life had begun to unravel

Friends of former state representative and one-time gubernatorial candidate Steve Nunn said his life started to unravel after a divorce and the death of his father — and the issuance of a domestic violence order against him earlier this year led to a further downward spiral.

Did this creep’s wife know the whole time what was going on?
Jaycee Lee Dugard abductor Phillip Garrido ‘wanted cute blond girl’

Phillip Garrido selected the pretty blond girl with the gap-toothed grin as his prey during a “child shopping” trip because she looked “cute” , his wife Nancy has told investigators in California.

The Clintons were never anywhere near of becoming a dynasty, although that was on of the many cris de guerre we heard against Hillary Clinton’s candidacy.
America’s Top Dynasty?

[J]ust glance at today’s Senate and count those whose parents were once members of Congress, or governors, or in a presidential Cabinet, and you’ll see potential dynasties in training: Evan Bayh, Bob Bennett, Bob Casey, Chris Dodd, Judd Gregg, Mary Landrieu, Lisa Murkowski, Mark Pryor, the cousins Mark and Tom Udall; add Jay Rockefeller, nephew of a vice president.

The Constitution states that “no title of nobility shall be granted by the United States,” yet it seems political nobility is as American as apple pie.

But were the Kennedys truly the greatest dynasty our nation has seen? What about the Bush or Roosevelt families? The Adamses? The Rockefellers? The Tafts?


Economy Watch

Beware, the next Black Swan could be around the corner.
Why capitalism fails

The man who saw the meltdown coming had another troubling insight: it will happen again

We have lost our competitive edge.
Most Competitive Countries in 2009

The global economy may show signs of recovery but many countries still face a long slog. To make the most of the current economic climate, countries from Spain to Singapore must focus on attracting investment through a combination of business-friendly policies, world-class infrastructure, and a large pool of highly-trained local talent.

Maybe Peru is just trying to help boost the US economy.
U.S. officials troubled by fake currency flowing from Peru

In the last year, agents have recovered about $8 million in fake notes across the U.S. and $18 million, as well as fake passports, in raids in Peru, authorities say.

The future is no longer what it used to be.
With financial services jobs in short supply, newly minted MBAs are exploring other options

It used to be that a master of business administration could almost guarantee a gig on Wall Street, but not anymore. A national unemployment rate that hit 9.7 percent last month has left six job seekers for every one job. Adding to that, the financial services sector, a mainstay for MBA grads, cut tens of thousands of jobs following the financial crisis and continues to shed hundreds of jobs each month.

That has left some MBA graduates wondering how to adapt their career plans to the new market realities so they can use their coveted degrees.

How have they fared since Lehman went down?
Tales From Lehman’s Crypt

A look at how some of the people who worked at Lehman are faring now, and how they have survived the emotional tumult of the firm’s sudden collapse.


Op-ed Columns

According to the National Academy of Sciences, 18,000 American die every year due to a lack of insurance coverage Nick Kristof makes wonders: “After Al Qaeda killed nearly 3,000 Americans, eight years ago on Friday, we went to war and spent hundreds of billions of dollars ensuring that this would not happen again. Yet every two months, that many people die because of our failure to provide universal insurance — and yet many members of Congress want us to do nothing?”
He then makes an intriguing suggestion.
The Body Count at Home

Nikki White died at the age of 32. She had lupus, a chronic inflammatory disease that was untreated because she could not afford health insurance.

[…]

My suggestion for anyone in Nikki’s situation: commit a crime and get locked up. In Washington State, a 20-year-old inmate named Melissa Matthews chose to turn down parole and stay in prison because that was the only way she could get treatment for her cervical cancer. “If I’m out, I’m going to die from this cancer,” she told a television station.

Obama Will Neeed LBJ’s Skills to Pass Health Care

Lyndon Johnson was a master of the legislative arts, having served as Senate majority leader before moving to the White House. Washington lawyer Harry McPherson, who served as counselor to President Johnson, recalls how LBJ used flattery to gain support for a civil-rights bill from Republican leader Everett Dirksen. Johnson reminded Dirksen of the statue of Abraham Lincoln that stood in the town square in his hometown of Pekin, Illinois. Then he’d lean in close and suggest Dirksen’s leadership on this historic bill would make it possible for him to be memorialized alongside Lincoln.

(College) Kids, beware of the Stupid Drink.
Joe Sixpack: The Stupid Drink, defined

That’s the drink that takes you from a fun night to a night you regret, from being in control to losing it, from drinking to drinking too much.

The Stupid Drink is not my original idea, although Lord knows I’ve downed my share of idiocy. Instead, it comes from students at the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, who coined the term in their winning entry in this year’s National Student Advertising Competition.

The Trial of John Roberts

A campaign finance case in the Supreme Court could tell us if Chief Justice Roberts will be remembered as the next John Marshall or Earl Warren.

Mr. President, Stop Picking On ‘Bureaucrats’

There you go again, Mr. President.

After promising to restore faith in our government and make it “cool” and “competent,” you slighted our public servants by derisively referring to them as “bureaucrats” in an effort to appease those who worry about a government takeover of health care.

Even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while, Niall Ferguson edition
Wall Street’s New Gilded Age

A year after the crash, a few financial giants are back to making millions, while average Americans face foreclosure and unemployment. What’s wrong with this picture?


Around The World

This guy seriously needs help.
Le petit président needs stuffing, Carla

Just when we thought that President Nicolas Sarkozy could not appear any more preposterous, he proves us all wrong. Last week’s big story from France is how, for a photo-opportunity at a motor vehicle technology plant, the Elysée’s media advisers arranged that none of the technicians posing on the platform with Sarkozy was taller than his 5ft 5in.


Odds & Ends

Stay away from Facebook.
Lying Down Game: Hospital Staff Face Sack

Seven hospital workers have been suspended for allegedly taking part in the Facebook ‘lying down game’ while on duty.

Some late revenge?
Rodney King beats cop in boxing match

In this round of Rodney King vs. the police, King won by unanimous decision.

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