Some political watchers are saying this could be the nastiest, most negative election season of all time
have been declared at Airports in the US, UK and Middle East after the discovery of suspicious packages originating in Yemen
. The packages, modified toner cartridges, have been described
as "definitely not a complete bomb" but being "potentially sinister".
The race is on:
India by 2020, China by 2025 - will the US get there at all?
A Year at War:
One Battalion's Wrenching Deployment to Afghanistan
: "Some 30,000 American soldiers are taking part in the Afghanistan surge. Here are the stories of the men and women of First Battalion, 87th Infantry of the 10th Mountain Division" out of Fort Drum, NY., based in Kunduz Province
, Afghanistan. Over the next year, The New York Times will follow their journey, chronicling the battalion’s part in the surge in northern Afghanistan and the impact of war on individual soldiers and their families back home. (First link is an interactive feature containing images and autoplaying video, and requires flash. Second link is a standard-style article.) [more inside]
Tea Party Nationalism: A Critical Examination of The Tea Party Movement and the Size, Scope and Focus of its National Factions
is a new study that released today, just two weeks before the US midterm elections, by The Institute for Research & Education on Human Rights
(IREHR). Sponsored by the NAACP, it reports that the Tea Party movement
is “permeated with concerns about race” and has “given platform to anti-Semites, racists and bigots.” [more inside]
For the first time in their freely-traded history, the Australian Dollar
, the Canadian Dollar
and the US Dollar
are all within a penny
"The Man Who Never Was."
Vanity Fair editor Todd S. Purdum
follows up his 2007 profile of then-Senator John McCain
and a scathing
2009 profile of Sarah Palin
by asking whether McCain, "...the leader so many Americans admired — and so many journalists covered — ever truly existed." (Previously)
Top-performing nations recruit 100% of their new teachers from the top third. In the US, it's 23% - and 14% of high poverty schools.
A new study by McKinsey and Company examines what Finland, Singapore and South Korea do to attract top graduates to teaching, including selective admissions to teacher training, competitive compensation, a more professionalized work environment, cultural respect and greater opportunities for advancement. Doing the same in the US would cost roughly $180 billion a year. [more inside]
Lookout Mountain Laboratories (Hollywood, CA) was originally built in 1941 as an air defense station. But after WWII, the US Air Force repurposed it into a secret film studio which operated for 22 years during the Cold War. The studio produced classified movies for all branches of the US Armed Forces, as well as the Atomic Energy Commission, until it was deactivated in 1969. During this time, cameramen, who referred to themselves as "atomic" cinematographers, were hired to shoot footage of atomic bomb tests in Nevada, Utah, New Mexico and the South Pacific.
Some of their films have been declassified and can be seen here. [more inside]
Combat operations in Iraq are over!
Except, the AP says "our content should not refer to the end of combat in Iraq, or the end of U.S. military involvement."
Meanwhile, in Iraq, a new show has been airing since Ramadan that has been described as "Punk’d, Iraqi-Style, at a Checkpoint
." You can watch 14-minutes of the show (in Arabic, no English subtitles), here
Postcards from Berlin
is a call from a Berlin (Germany) design studio for virtual postcards from all of the places in the US named Berlin.
The Gray And The Brown
- why the baby boom generation's concerns about race may mean that it's stabbing itself in the back as it moves into retirement.
Washington, We Have a Problem.
On the heels of a New Yorker feature exploring the question, "Just How Broken Is The Senate,"
Vanity Fair publishes a look at the (mindboggling) day-to-day life of the modern US Presidency.
The Music-Copyright Enforcers “A few years back, we had Penn, Schoen and Berland, Hillary’s pollster guys, do a study. The idea was, go and find out what Americans really think about copyright. Do songwriters deserve to be paid? Absolutely! The numbers were enormously favorable — like, 85 percent. The poll asked, ‘If there was a party that wasn’t compensating songwriters, do you think that would be wrong?’ And the answer was, ‘Yes!’ So then, everything’s fine, right? Wrong. Because when it came time to ask people to part with their shekels, it was like: ‘Eww. You want me to pay?’ ” [more inside]
This past March, former US President Bill Clinton acknowledged
to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that tariff policies his administration championed in the mid-1990's helped destroy Haiti's rice production
and contributed to the impoverished nation's inability to feed itself. But while most of the world has stopped paying attention to Haiti's woes, Mr. Clinton has become the de facto leader of the effort to rebuild it after the catastrophic earthquake this past January
. Will his influence be enough? Reports
from the UN Office of the Special Envoy to Haiti
indicate that the reconstruction progress has been slow
. [more inside]
After America Speaks
gave 3500 people
the opportunity to address the budget deficit
, the CEPR has invented its own play-at-home version, the Deficit Calculator
. [more inside]
The US Department of Justice has announced arrests
in four states
of ten alleged members of a “deep-cover” Russian spy ring whose ultimate goal was apparently to infiltrate U.S. policy-making circles. So much for burger diplomacy? [more inside]
The whistle has blown in Port Elizabeth. Stoppage time in Pretoria, and three men run into the box. Altidore flicks the ball across, but Dempsey walks it straight into the goalkeeper. On the rebound, Donovan puts it in the net. The world reacts
. [more inside]
Today is the first day of summer, and for many Americans that means taking a road trip with the family. For Barry Stiefer, it means visiting all 50 states
(48 by car), while only taking one week of vacation time. [more inside]
Where are Americans Moving?
An interactive map of county-to-county migration within the US in 2008.
"During World War I, the [US] Army lost 7 million person-days and discharged more than 10,000 men because they were ailing from STDs. Once Penicillin kicked in in the mid-1940s, such infections were treatable. But as a matter of national security, the military started distributing condoms and aggressively marketing prophylactics to the troops in the early 20th century
." [more inside]
Infographic: Food spending in the biggest U.S. cities.
Austin, TX is living large. Detroit, MI must be losing weight.
Make a Map
is a website that lets you create your own maps of the US and areas thereof using various demographics data. It's still in beta stage but it's got all of the US (at least everywhere I've thought to look) and so far has datasets for median household income, population change 2000-9, population density, median home value, unemployment rate, average household size and median age. It's fun to use and taught me a great deal about my home city. The sitemaker, ESRI, also has a pretty good free globe map software, ArcGIS Explorer
, for which you download map layers
Provoking pro-choice advocates,
Oklahoma passed two highly restrictive abortion laws
on Tuesday. One (rtf file)
requires doctors to show women an ultrasound of their fetus and point out its physical characteristics — even if the patient was impregnated through rape or incest. The second (rtf file)
stipulates that doctors cannot be sued if they decide to lie to an expectant mother regarding her baby's birth defects. A third requires clinics to post signs
telling patients they cannot be forced to have an abortion. The first law prompted
an immediate lawsuit
from Tulsa's only abortion clinic
. [more inside]
The Rise and Fall of Frank Ma, Last of New York's Asian Godfathers:
How a Chinese immigrant became a crime lord, ordered a hit that left the wrong men dead, sparked a 16-year international investigation and finally landed in prison for the rest of his life.
Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell (R) has proclaimed April to be Confederate History Month in his state
, without referencing slavery or civil rights. The move has angered civil rights leaders
and revived a controversy
that has lain dormant for eight years
. FireDogLake is reporting that the neo-confederate group which lobbied Governor McDonnell to make the proclamation has ties to white supremacists
. [more inside]
"There is no conventional or chemical or biological threat out there that we cannot counter with our overwhelming conventional forces." ~ US President Barack Obama
The US 2010 Nuclear Posture Review Report (NPR) has been announced. (pdf) For the first time,
the United States is explicitly
committing not to use nuclear weapons except in "extreme circumstances"
, pledging not to develop new ones and limiting the use of those in storage -- even for self defense. Nuclear weapons will not be used against non-nuclear states that are in compliance with the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty
, even in response to a hypothetical biological or chemical weapons attack, or a crippling cyberattack. The new focus will be deterrence
. [more inside]
Recently, Paul Krugman has been advocating
for US trade protectionism
to counter China's apparent undervaluation of renminbi. Peking University Economics professor Yiping Huang disagrees
Leaked CIA Report: "Public Apathy Enables Leaders To Ignore Voters" (pdf / Scribed link here)
outlines possible public relations / propaganda strategies to shore up public support in Germany and France for a continued war in Afghanistan.
, the low-income community grassroots organisation, is set to close by April 1st
, citing "a series of well-orchestrated, relentless, well-funded, right-wing attacks that are unprecedented since the McCarthy era". Meanwhile the New York Times has issued a correction
on the stories which led to the 87-3 vote to remove ACORN's Federal funding (previously
), admiting that "while footage shot away from the offices shows one activist, James O'Keefe, in a flamboyant pimp costume, there is no indication that he was wearing the costume while talking to the Acorn workers."
Remember Peter Watts
, the Canadian sci-fi writer who in December was arrested and charged with assaulting a border agent, resisting arrest, and being an asshole after being pulled over for inspection while leaving the US because his rental car had Washington plates
? He was today found guilty of "failure to comply with a lawful command"
by a Port Huron, Michigan, jury.
Part Three, The Sentencing, will take place April 26. Watts faces up to two years in federal prison. [more inside]
In the US, the conservative movement’s latest rallying cry against abortion
claims pro-choice groups are conducting a systematic eugenics
campaign to turn African Americans into an "endangered species
." The idea is finding renewed traction and condemnation in Black communities.
Several bloggers at RHRealityCheck are offering counter
. [more inside]
Basicland vs. Sorrowland
A parable about how one nation came to financial ruin by Charles Munger
. For extra colour there's... [more inside]
Though President Obama has signed no laws since taking office that prohibit gun purchases and ownership, that hasn't stopped permit applications and weapons sales in the United States from rising through the roof and worried state legislators from passing laws
they wouldn't otherwise pass, which greatly ease access and allow carrying weapons in, among other public areas, city, state and national parks
. Schools may have to get their kids prepared.
He was... "...the meanest, toughest, most ambitious S.O.B. I ever knew but he'll be a hell of a secretary of state." -- Richard Nixon
Meigs Haig, Jr.,
, former NATO Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, who served US Presidents Nixon (as a military adviser, deputy assistant for national-security affairs, and chief of staff), Ford (chief of staff), and Reagan (secretary of state), has died at the age of 85
. Haig commanded a batallion
during the Vietnam War (where he was seriously wounded), managed the White House during the Watergate scandal that brought down President Nixon, and was himself a former Presidential candidate. [more inside]
The United States and Australia have long shared a peaceful alliance, but it was not always so. In 1942, U.S servicemen and Australian soldiers fought openly and violently in what is known today as The Battle of Brisbane
. [more inside]