January 13th, 2009

Murasaki Shikibu
  • homasse

Top Army recruiter weighs fat camp for recruits

Top Army recruiter weighs fat camp for recruits

FORT JACKSON, S.C. – The Army has been dismissing so many overweight applicants that its top recruiter, trying to keep troop numbers up in wartime, is considering starting a fat farm to transform chubby trainees into svelte soldiers.

Maj. Gen. Thomas Bostick, head of the Army Recruiting Command, said he wants to see a formal diet and fitness regimen running alongside a new school at Fort Jackson that helps aspiring troops earn their GEDs.

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What "Waltz With Bashir" can teach us about Gaza

What "Waltz With Bashir" can teach us about Gaza

The stunning new Israeli film reveals painful parallels between one of Israel's darkest moments and the current conflict.

The Israeli slaughter in Gaza is continuing into a third week under the approving gaze of the Bush administration, both political parties and the mainstream media. A U.N. Security Council resolution, worldwide protests, cries of outrage from human rights groups and the Red Cross, petitions by academics, and televised images of civilian deaths have no effect on Israel or on the American establishment. Nearly 900 Gazans have been killed, the already-desperate strip has been devastated, whole families wiped out. It is clear that Israel has no strategic vision, no idea of what its onslaught is supposed to ultimately achieve or how to end it. When it finally ends its assault, Hamas will emerge from the rubble, Iran and Hezbollah will be empowered, Egypt and Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas will be weakened, and America's standing in the region will be lower than ever.

Yet in America the war might as well not even be happening. This Sunday's New York Times' "Week in Review" section, that snapshot of the American intelligentsia's collective brain, contained not a single word about Gaza. The ongoing carnage is clearly passé.
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Controversial Oprah Guest Reverend Ed Bacon Clarifies His Gay Remark

Last Thursday I posted about the Reverend Ed Bacon's appearance on Oprah during her Best Life Week's spirituality episode, on which Bacon told a gay male viewer that "being gay is a gift from God."

EdbaconBacon's remarks lit up the forums on Oprah's site with hundreds of anti-gay messages from so-called Christians.

Bacon clarified his remarks on the show via satellite:

"After hearing from Sedrick, who says he had a tough adolescence growing up as a gay teen in rural Alabama, the Rev. Bacon said something Oprah says she has never heard a minister say. 'Being gay is a gift from God,' the Rev. Bacon said. 'But our culture doesn't understand that. And consequently, the culture sends messages that you ought to isolate. And isolation is the antithesis of what all of us need.' To further explain his comment, the Rev. Bacon joins Oprah via satellite. 'I meant exactly what I said,' he says. 'It is so important for every human being to understand that he or she is a gift from God.' Just as the Oprah.com message boards were buzzing, the Rev. Bacon says he has been receiving plenty of feedback. The majority of it, he says, is positive. 'My e-mail was full of comments, and what I gather is that it simply unleashed a flood of healing throughout the country and Australia and Great Britain, across the continent. It was amazing.'"

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hilarious lost

The Growing Clout of the Nouveau Poor

Collapse )By Barbara Ehrenreich

January 12, 2009

Ever on the lookout for the bright side of hard times, I am tempted to delete "class inequality" from my worry list. Less than a year ago, it was the one of the biggest economic threats on the horizon, with even hard-line conservative pundits grousing that wealth was flowing uphill at an alarming rate, leaving the middle class stuck with stagnating incomes while the new super-rich ascended to the heavens in their personal jets. Then the whole top-heavy structure of American capitalism began to totter, and--poof!--inequality all but vanished from the public discourse. A financial columnist in the Chicago Sun Times has just announced that the recession is a "great leveler," serving to "democratize[d] the agony," as we all tumble into "the Nouveau Poor..."


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wooosh faraday

Jimmy Carter’s bike stolen from Carter Center


Thieves also make off with wife Rosalynn’s bicycle; both were gifts from local shop owner

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Monday, January 12, 2009

If you see our nation’s 39th president hoofing around the center that bears his name, feel sorry for the guy. Someone snatched his bike.

Jimmy Carter’s bicycle was stolen earlier this month from the Carter Center in Atlanta. The bad guy(s) also made off with former first lady Rosalynn Carter’s cruiser, too.

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I love this man

UK Police Charge 11 for Homophobic Abuse at Football Game

Fans

After police released 16 photographs of Tottenham Hotspur fans from a match against Portsmouth last month, eleven were arrested, five are still being sought, and those arrested were charged today, according to the Guardian:

Campbell"The group, which includes two 15-year-olds and a 13-year-old, are alleged to have subjected the former England player to abuse during the club's 2-0 home win against Spurs at Fratton Park in September...A police spokeswoman said of the accused: 'They were charged with indecent chanting at a football match using words which were essentially swearwords. They weren't appropriate to be used at all, especially where there were children and we received a number of complaints.'"

These were the chants:

"He's big, he's black. He takes it up his crack. Sol Campbell, Sol Campbell."

"Sol, Sol, wherever you may be / You're on the verge of lunacy / And we don't give a f**k if you're hanging from a tree / You Judas c**t with HIV."

The Guardian adds: "Campbell, a former Spurs player, was outspoken about the incident, likening the abuse to human rights violations. Speaking on Radio 4's Today programme he said: 'We can all take the booing or light banter, but when it gets to the realms of verbal abuse, it's a bridge too far.' The FA recently announced funding for an anti-homophobia video as part of a campaign to rid football grounds of homophobic abuse."

Source

Mr. T the Patriot

Bad Economy May Fuel Hate Groups, Experts Warn

Experts Warn That Downturn Could Drive Discontent, Help Extremists Recruit

By Carrie Johnson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, January 11, 2009; Page A04

For 20 years, Bart McIntyre has tracked white supremacist movements, even spending two years undercover in Alabama to penetrate a violent young band of criminals who called themselves the Confederate Hammerskins.

Away from his wife and young daughter, McIntyre took the alias "Mark," attended Ku Klux Klan rallies and educated himself in racist propaganda. He and a law enforcement partner ultimately helped build criminal cases that sent more than 10 men to prison for their involvement in the murder and vicious beatings of black men in the Birmingham area in the early 1990s.

Now, as McIntyre prepares to retire from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, he and other analysts are warning that the threat from hate groups and splinter organizations connected to the Klan should not be underestimated, especially at a time of economic unrest.
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empress i

dueling stories...who's telling the truth?

Rice shame-faced by Bush over UN Gaza vote: Olmert

Mon Jan 12, 4:59 pm ET

JERUSALEM (AFP) – US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was left shame-faced after President George W. Bush ordered her to abstain in a key UN vote on the Gaza war, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said on Monday.

"She was left shamed. A resolution that she prepared and arranged, and in the end she did not vote in favour," Olmert said in a speech in the southern town of Ashkelon.
The UN Security Council passed a resolution last Thursday calling for an immediate ceasefire in the three-week-old conflict in the Gaza Strip and an Israeli withdrawal from Gaza where hundreds have been killed.

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White House: reports of Olmert-Bush call inaccurate

1 hr 10 mins ago

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The White House on Tuesday denied reports that a telephone call by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to President George W. Bush forced Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to abstain in a U.N. vote on the Gaza war.

"I've seen these press reports, they are inaccurate," White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe said.

In a speech late on Monday, Olmert said he had demanded to talk to Bush with only 10 minutes to spare before a U.N. Security Council vote on a resolution opposed by Israel calling for an immediate ceasefire.

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empress i

well i'm glad SOMEBODY asked...

Clinton Confirmation Hearing: Deputies Will Manage State Department
January 13, 2009 11:29 AM

Hillary Clinton sought to assuage senators on Monday about her ability to manage the sprawling State Department by saying that she won't actually be running it.

The biggest obstacle between Clinton and confirmation as Secretary of State may not be her husband's conflict of interests. Instead, there is often a deep, if rarely spoken, concern about her management skills, stemming from both the botched healthcare rollout in the early '90s and her famously chaotic and back-biting presidential campaign.

Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) gingerly broached the subject by noting that management is not her "greatest strength" and asked how the Senate could be comfortable that she would sail the ship in the direction she intended.

Clinton was ready with an answer, clearly anticipating the challenge. "This is to me one of the most important questions," she replied. "I decided to fill a position that had not been filled although it had been created ten years ago, and that was the deputy for resources and management."

As secretary, Clinton said, "you get consumed by the crisis of the moment." Even "with the best intentions to deal with management," she said, the secretary routinely spends her time on more immediate concerns, "on Gaza, or Iran, or on Russia and the Ukraine pipeline."

Clinton said she had called on Jack Lew, a former director of the Office of Management and Budget, to fill the position. James Steinberg, she said, had agreed to leave the deanship of the Lyndon Baines Johnson public policy school in Austin, Texas, to help manage the department as well.

Lew would also be empowered to represent the State Department before Congress and with the president during budget negotiations, Clinton said.

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this has gone a little way toward assuaging one of my own quiet worries about clinton's tenure at state.
waiting
  • bispo

Freshman Rep. Cao: ‘I Hope That The GOP Will Not Tolerate’ Extreme Anti-Immigrant Rhetoric

Yestday, ThinkProgress interviewed Rep. Joseph Cao (R-LA), who defeated incumbent William Jefferson to represent Louisiana’s second district, which includes New Orleans. Cao came to the United States from Vietnam when he was eight, after the fall of Saigon, and is the first Vietnamese-American to serve in Congress. ThinkProgress asked Cao to respond to a 2007 quote by shock jock Michael Savage about political refugees’ inability to assimilate:
SAVAGE: We’re getting refugees now who have never used a telephone, a toothbrush, or toilet paper. You’re telling me they’re going to assimilate? They will never assimilate. They come here and they bring their destitute ways to this country, and they never assimilate. And then their children become gang-bangers. It is a disaster.
Cao pointed out that when he arrived in the United States, he had never used a toilet or toilet paper either. “But I have assimilated, and assimilated well, I believe,” he said. He said that the Republican party must not tolerate rhetoric and ideas that mirror Savage’s, which he called “racist” and “repulsive”:
CAO: You know, the Republican party should not have those kinds of views that you just conveyed. A statement like that would be very anti-immigrant, almost to me borderlining to almost being racist, if you ask me. So I take that statement as being quite repulsive, if you ask my opinion. So I hope that the GOP will not tolerate those kinds of views and will not take those positions.
Watch it:

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  • bispo

Former GOP House Aide Nabbed Trying to Sell Inaugural Tickets

gop.elephant.dead
Selling inauguration tickets isn't illegal, not yet anyway. But it was still embarrassing for one former congressional aide who now works at a powerful lobbying firm when she was caught this week trying to sell tickets to Barack Obama's swearing-in ceremony for big bucks.

The former aide is Gina Santucci, who now works as associate general counsel at BGR Holding, the lobbying, public relations and financial advisory firm formerly known as Barbour Griffith & Rogers, founded by current Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour and veteran GOP political strategist Ed Rogers.

Until recently, Santucci worked as legislative counsel to Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas), whose office received its share of inaugural tickets on Tuesday. Santucci was on the congressman's distribution list, Poe's office acknowledged when contacted by the Sleuth.

But Santucci apparently had no intention of going to the inauguration herself. Her entrepreneurial spirit took over, and she headed straight for Craigslist, where she listed four of the highly coveted tickets to Obama's inaugural ceremony and fetched a speedy offer from someone willing to pay $875 a piece.

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  • bispo

Will the American public get all ‘emotional’ over Bush’s farewell address?

On Thursday night, President Bush will give a 10-15 minute prime time farewell address. However, just a few weeks ago, in a Dec. 18 interview with C-SPAN’s Steve Scully, Bush said that he might avoid a farewell address because he didn’t want the American public to go through a “real emotional goodbye” with him:

SCULLY: Will you deliver a farewell address in this office?

BUSH: Thinking about it. Thinking about it. A lot of Presidents have, and I’m giving it serious thought. I don’t want it to be — you know, kind of a real emotional goodbye. If I give it, it’s going to be trying to leave behind some lessons learned.

Watch it:

White House spokesperson Dana Perino said yesterday that Bush will “uphold the tradition of presidents using farewell addresses to look forward — by sharing his thoughts on greatest challenges facing the country, and on what it will take to meet them.” However, as recently as the C-SPAN interview, Bush didn’t seem to have any idea what he was going to say. Scully told him that there was “a great tradition of presidential warnings,” and Bush eagerly replied, “[T]hank you for giving me some ideas.”

Update: Yesterday on Fox news, Sean Hannity asked Bush, "When you know you have just a few days left, do you get emotional?" Bush replied, "I don't get that emotional at this point, because I've been saying goodbye to people for a couple of weeks now. And I'm sure I'll get emotional as we get to the end."
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waiting
  • bispo

More GOP Fail

gop.elephant.dead

If true, this is too rich:

The Republicans—who had just finally won control of the State House for the first time in 40+ years – were suppose to elect their Speaker of the House today. And failed!

Anaxamander has the details in his/her diary. The Tennessee State House has 50 Republicans and 49 Democrats. Well, Rep. Kent Williams (R-TN) got the support of all 49 Democrats plus his own vote to put himself in the Speaker’s chair.

***

In the last election, a bunch of belligerent right-wing radicals tried to bully Rep. Williams (a moderate) into taking far-right stands—going so far as to threaten boycotts on his family business, etc.

Well, Rep. Williams had had enough of bullies and blowhards destroying the Republican Party from within. And the Democrats knew it. So the Democrats approached Rep. Williams about being the new House Speaker.

Rep. Williams said, “yes,” and history was made, just minutes ago.

***

The GOP was promising all sorts of abortion votes, 2nd amendment votes, anti-immigrant votes, anti-gay votes, etc. – your basic nightmare right-wing nutjobs run amuck scenario. Not so fast!!

If this is true, I nominate any one of those 49 Democrats to replace Harry Reid.

 

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Source: John Cole

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AG Andrew Cuomo reins in health care giant United on price fixing; systemic overcharging revealed

AG Andrew Cuomo reins in health care giant United on price fixing; systemic overcharging revealed

In a landmark deal with state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, one of the nation's largest health insurers has agreed to spend $50 million to reform its billing practices.

In exchange for avoiding a lengthy and costly court fight, UnitedHealth Group Inc., said it will create a massive database - overseen by an outside non-profit organization - to determine fair rates for reimbursements.

Cuomo said he would seek hundreds of millions of dollars in restitution for what he called a decade of "consumer fraud" of millions of out-of-network patients.
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  • bispo

Fred Barnes Tells Us Bush's Achievements

gop.elephant.dead

The postmortems on the presidency of George W. Bush are all wrong. The liberal line is that Bush dangerously weakened America's position in the world and rushed to the aid of the rich and powerful as income inequality worsened. That is twaddle. Conservatives--okay, not all of them--have only been a little bit kinder. They give Bush credit for the surge that saved Iraq, but not for much else.

He deserves better. His presidency was far more successful than not. And there's an aspect of his decision-making that merits special recognition: his courage. Time and time again, Bush did what other presidents, even Ronald Reagan, would not have done and for which he was vilified and abused. That--defiantly doing the right thing--is what distinguished his presidency.

Bush had ten great achievements (and maybe more) in his eight years in the White House, starting with his decision in 2001 to jettison the Kyoto global warming treaty so loved by Al Gore, the environmental lobby, elite opinion, and Europeans. The treaty was a disaster, with India and China exempted and economic decline the certain result. Everyone knew it. But only Bush said so and acted accordingly.

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Chicago Paper Reveals Obama's Early Support For Same-Sex Marriage

After research in its archives, the Windy City Times uncovered copies of Outlines newspaper and an IMPACT survey which were published in Wc1996 and summarized in various news articles during the final weeks of the 2008 presidential campaign. The articles, which contain quotes related to Obama's position on same-sex marriage, have been revealed in a Windy City Times article to be published tomorrow. Towleroad was forwarded the following in a release:

"During his run for Illinois state Senate in 1996, Barack Obama stated his unequivocal support for gay marriage, according to an exclusive story in the Jan. 14, 2009 Windy City Times newspaper. President-elect Obama's answer to a 1996 Outlines newspaper question on marriage was: 'I favor legalizing same-sex marriages, and would fight efforts to prohibit such marriages.' There was no use of the phrase 'civil unions'. [Outlines purchased Windy City Times in 2000 and merged companies.] This answer is among those included in this week's Windy City Times feature on Obama's evolving position on gay marriage. Windy City Times also includes his answers to the candidate questionnaire of IMPACT, at one time a gay political action committee in Illinois. In that survey he also stated his support of same-sex marriage."

Obama now says, and said during his campaign for president, that he supports civil unions for gays and lesbians but believes marriage is between a man and a woman. He also believes in letting states decide whether or not same-sex marriage should be legalized.

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normal

Removing cats to protect birds backfires on island

Removing cats to protect birds backfires on island

It seemed like a good idea at the time: Remove all the feral cats from a famous Australian island to save the native seabirds.

But the decision to eradicate the felines from Macquarie island allowed the rabbit population to explode and, in turn, destroy much of its fragile vegetation that birds depend on for cover, researchers said Tuesday.

Removing the cats from Macquarie "caused environmental devastation" that will cost authorities 24 million Australian dollars ($16.2 million) to remedy, Dana Bergstrom of the Australian Antarctic Division and her colleagues wrote in the British Ecological Society's Journal of Applied Ecology.

"Our study shows that between 2000 and 2007, there has been widespread ecosystem devastation and decades of conservation effort compromised," Bergstrom said in a statement.

The unintended consequences of the cat-removal project show the dangers of meddling with an ecosystem — even with the best of intentions — without thinking long and hard, the study said.
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Cao Disputes Bush’s Comment That Not Landing Air Force One Was His Biggest Mistake During Katrina

Yesterday, ThinkProgress spoke to freshmen Rep. Joseph Cao (R-LA), who recently beat incumbent Democrat William Jefferson. House Republicans are pointing to Cao — who was able to win in a heavily African-American district — as the future of their party. Interestingly though, Cao didn’t run on partisan conservatives issues. He received almost no backing from the national Republican party and told ThinkProgress that his top policy concern is the rebuilding of the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina.

Yesterday in his final press conference, President Bush addressed Katrina by hitting back on criticisms his administration received: “Don’t tell me the federal response was slow.” When asked about his biggest mistakes in office, Bush addressed Katrina only by saying that he could have landed Air Force One and avoided the infamous disastrous photo op.

When ThinkProgress spoke to Cao yesterday, he disputed Bush’s comments:

CAO: Well, from experiencing the devastation of it and living through it, I believe the federal response was a little slow, given the fact there were people stranded in their homes, people not having foods to eat, not having water to drink. I believe that the FEMA could have been more prepared and more proactive in their response to Katrina.

Q: And do you think that the worst mistake was not landing Air Force One?

CAO: No. Whether or not the President landed Air Force One, I don’t think would have contributed to the federal response of Katrina. It would have conveyed a message that he had a lot more concerns for the plight of the people, but I don’t think that the landing of Air Force One would have improved the federal response to Katrina.

Watch it:

When asked about it will take to rebuild the Gulf Coast, Cao replied, “Coastal restoration, health care, and education — you name it, we need it.”
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peggy

Maturity trumps youth in Brazil's battle of the carnival queens


The 2009 carnival is the first to mark a carnival queen older than 40



Brazil is coming of age. A country where youth and beauty have long since been the twin pillars of popular culture is grappling with a new reality: that women of a certain age can be the most beautiful of all.

As the country prepares for next month’s Carnival, eyebrows have been raised and heads turned by two of Rio’s most famous samba schools, which have elected women in their mid40s as carnival queen. They have entered the preserve hitherto reserved for the most beautiful young celebrities.

Each year the country’s glamorous women slug it out to be chosen in front of the massed drummers for each of the 12 samba schools competing in Rio de Janeiro’s enormous samba stadium – the Avenue, or Sambodromo – in front of a live audience of 70,000.


Collapse )It’s interesting that women over 40 are serving as examples of beauty,” said Joyce Pascowitz, Brazil’s elder stateswomen of fashion. The boss of the fashion website, Glamurama, and Pascowitz magazine added: “This puts a value on Brazilian women over the age considered the maximum. It shows that, yes, there is life after 40. And not just intelligent life.”

A carnival veteran for 15 years, Ms de Oliveira has not paraded for three years. She will be dancing for the famous Portela samba school.

The role of Queen of the Drums, which involves dancing pneumatically in a bikini, heels and giant headdress, in front of 400 or so drummers is not for the fainthearted. “The queen is a model of beauty, charm and swing,” said Ms Pascowitz. Ms de Oliveira celebrated her appointment in front of the cameras at a Portela rehearsal, wearing a transparent mini-dress covered in thousands of Swarovski crystals.

Historically, the Queen of the Drums was the most beautiful girl in the favela. Today she is usually a soap star, celebrity or beauty queen.

Natália Guimarães, 24, won Miss Brazil in 2007. This year she parades for the Vila Isabel school for the second consecutive year “It’s wonderful,” she said. “Age doesn’t matter. It’s the personality that the queen shows that’s important.”

Becoming queen is a great career move. “Today women use carnival to promote themselves,” said Meme de Oliveira, Ms de Oliveira’s brother and manager. “Luma doesn’t get involved in this. She goes to carnival because she likes carnival.”



Samba sensation


- Brazil’s carnival dates back to the 18th century and is a mix of Portuguese and African traditions. The first parade of samba schools was in 1928

- The top 12 samba schools parade in Rio’s Sambodromo stadium with up to 6,000 drummers, dancers and other participants. Each
school has a rainha, or queen, who leads the drums corps

- A panel of 40 judges grade each samba group in ten categories, from floats to costumes

- 700,000 visitors travelled to Rio de Janeiro for the carnival last year

- Last year a 3.5 centimeter piece of fabric lost the São Clemente school the gold prize. It came unstuck from its strategic location on a dancer’s costume, breaking the rule that carnival dancers should not appear completely naked

- Another samba school was banned from parading last year with a float depicting victims of the Holocaust and a Hitler figure.</div>

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I.O.U.S.A.



Commentary: Running on empty

WASHINGTON, Jan. 12 (UPI) -- When "IOUSA" made its documentary film debut last August, it soon earned the sobriquet "fiscal wake-up tour." Its unrelenting gloom toted up a $9 trillion federal debt, a $738.6 billion trade deficit, and the news that each U.S. citizen now owes $30,000. But all the stats are already hopelessly out of date, as evidenced by CNN's two-hour Saturday update of "IOUSA," repeated on Sunday, starring Dave Walker, president and CEO of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, and former U.S. comptroller general under three presidents; Pete Peterson, chairman of the Blackstone Group, chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations, former chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and former chairman and CEO of Lehman Bros.; Bill Bradley, former U.S. senator and Democratic presidential candidate; and Alice Rivlin, former director of the Office of Management and Budget.

The all-star cast was supplemented by cameos by Warren Buffett; two former Federal Reserve chairmen, Paul Volcker and Alan Greenspan; and two former treasury secretaries, Paul O'Neill and Robert Rubin. On the short list for an Oscar nomination for Best Documentary, "IOUSA" revisited by CNN's Ali Velshi and Christine Romans, co-anchors of "Your Money," piled on with stats that put the United States among the world's failing nations as it plunges into another Great Depression.

Global forces now can override most anything that monetary and fiscal policy can do, said Alan Greenspan, "and central banks have increasingly lost their capacity to influence the longer end of the market."
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CNN broadcasted IOUSA and it was very impressive. The documentary ran for almost 2 hrs. If you havent seen it yet, you better... the clip is the 30 minutes version...
hat lasso

$500,000 reward in Dawson Creek bombings

After four bomb attacks on its energy facilities in northeastern B.C., EnCana is offering a $500,000 reward for information that helps identify who is behind the incidents.

EnCana announced Tuesday that the information must directly lead to an arrest and prosecution of the individual or individuals responsible for the recent bombings.

"We take the bombings of our facilities very seriously. The safety of our workers and the people who live in the communities where we operate is of paramount importance," Mike Graham, EnCana's executive vice-president & president, Canadian Foothills Division, said Tuesday.

"That's why we are putting up this reward to help stop these bombings and end the threat that they pose to people in the Dawson Creek area."

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'What I Want for You — and Every Child in America'

Next Tuesday, Barack Obama will be sworn in as our 44th President. On this historic occasion, PARADE asked the President-elect, who is also a devoted family man, to get personal and tell us what he wants for his children. Here, he shares his letter to them.
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Dear Malia and Sasha,

I know that you've both had a lot of fun these last two years on the campaign trail, going to picnics and parades and state fairs, eating all sorts of junk food your mother and I probably shouldn't have let you have. But I also know that it hasn't always been easy for you and Mom, and that as excited as you both are about that new puppy, it doesn't make up for all the time we've been apart. I know how much I've missed these past two years, and today I want to tell you a little more about why I decided to take our family on this journey.

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team science

Bush declares Obama inauguration a federal emergency

WASHINGTON — President George W. Bush on Tuesday declared an emergency in the District of Columbia that will let the nation's capital tap deeper into federal coffers for Barack Obama's inauguration.

Bush said that an emergency exists and ordered federal aid to supplement the $15 million in federal funds already appropriated for the event.

White House spokesman Scott Stanzel said District of Columbia Mayor Adrian M. Fenty requested the emergency declaration on Jan. 7 because he decided that the crowds expected for the nation's 56th presidential inauguration would exceed the city's ability to protect the public.

If the extra money is needed, it will come from the Federal Emergency and Management Agency budget, Stanzel said.

In a statement, the White House said the assistance is available to the district for emergency measures to protect public health and safety.

Fenty and others have said millions could descend on Washington for the inauguration.

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I get the reasoning here, but the headline is just hilarious. "Help! A black guy is moving to the neighborhood!"