Thursday, July 30, 2009


Sonia Faces Rookie Challenges

J. Scott Applewhite / AP Photo
Sonia Sotomayor may now don the robe—but in the Supreme Court, she's a freshman all over again. In the two months she has to prepare for her first case, she'll need to study up on a lot more than the law. Sotomayor will need to familiarize herself with court protocol and her duties as its newest member. She'll have to learn that when someone knocks on the door while the judges are in session, it's the newest judge who must answer it. And she'll also be responsible for taking notes on decisions, and reporting them accurately to the court clerk. Sotomayor will vote last when the judges vote on cases, which may give her the power to break a tie. She's also responsible for reaching out to the others, but when it comes to making friends, Sotomayor already has a lot in common with the other judges: Both she and Samuel Alito attended Princeton and Yale Law School, and she'll have fellow New Yorkers on the bench, as Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Antonin Scalia grew up in Brooklyn and Queens, respectively. Finally, she'll learn to navigate around the renovation site in the courthouse. As Alito remembers of his first few months: "I didn't know where anything was, how to get in or how to get out."
Read it at Associated Press

White House Charges CEOs for Lunch

Ron Edmonds / AP Photo
There's no such thing as a free lunch, even at the White House. When four of the country's top executives got the chance to spend their lunch hour in the president's private dining room last month, White House staffers asked the guests to foot the bill. "From time to time, White House guests are asked to reimburse for their meals, the reasons include ensuring there is no conflict or appearance of a conflict," said White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki. But the Bush administration never charged for these types of meals, a former official told Politico, saying that meals are typically covered by official entertainment expenses under the executive residence budget or by the White House's annual account. "We've got to relax about this," said Letitia Baldridge, who headed Jackie Kennedy's staff in the 1960s. "To have people to the White House and worry about the price of things is laughable." Hopefully Skip Gates brings his wallet.
Read it at Politico




If Birthers Are Right, Obama's a Brit

So what if the birthers are right, and Barack Obama was born in Kenya in 1961? Daniel Hannan, British politician and member of the European Parliament, points out that Obama would be a British subject, since Kenya was a colony under British rule until 1963. In a tongue-in-cheek blog post for The Daily Telegraph, Hanna proposes an alternate birther theory: "Perhaps his entire career is a clever scheme to bring the colonists' rebellion to an end and revoke the Declaration of Independence." He continues: "If so, we should ensure that the reunification of the two states happens on the best possible terms. It would be nice if American learned to make tea properly." Hannan, a conservative, also proposes that Obama's nation of wayward colonists learn to play cricket better, and that they export some patriotism.
Read it at The Daily Telegraph

Sunday, July 26, 2009


Kennedy's Final Push for Health Care

Ted Kennedy may have been sidelined by brain cancer over the past year, but the senator seems determined to have a hand in the creation of universal health care—the goal he has worked toward for 46 years. He wakes up in the morning in his house on Cape Cod to a packet of news clippings his wife has put together, the Los Angeles Times reports, and if there's a hearing going on at the Capitol, he watches it on his computer. He exerts whatever influence he can from his sickbed, advising his Washington aides via phone. "He has lived for this day, when America would finally extend this right to every citizen," his son Patrick, a Democratic congressman, said in a recent interview, with tears in his eyes. "There's no doubt if he could, he would be here in the thick of this." Kennedy's illness is bringing a sense of urgency to a usually slow-moving Congress, the paper reports, "with friends on both sides of the aisle mindful of passing a bill in time for him to see it signed."
Read it at Los Angeles Times

Saturday, July 25, 2009


In the market for a new home? How about Karl Rove's D.C. digs? According to The Reliable Source, Rove just put his Kent neighborhood brick-and-stone house on the market for a measly $1.585 million (he bought the pad for $799,000 eight years ago). It's five bedrooms and four-and-a-half baths with several perks:
Real estate photos show sunny kitchen, big entertaining spaces, pleasant yard, lots of bookshelves, one wall-mounted deer head.
Rove's aide said he'll be moving to Texas, presumably to be closer to friends.

Friday, July 24, 2009

By Belle Eugenia Smth

O friends I pray tonight,
Keep not your kisses for my dead
cold brow.
The way is lonely; let me feel them
Think gently of me; I am travel-worn,
My faltering feet are pierced with
many a thorn.
Forgive ..O hearts estranged, forgive,
I plead..
When ceaseless bliss is mine I shall
not need
The tenderness for which I long


The Crystal Gazer

I shall gather myself into my self again,

I shall take my scattered selves and make them one.

I shall fuse them into a polished crystal ball

Where I can see the moon and the flashing sun.

I Shall sit like a sibyl, hour after hour intent.

Watching the future come and the present go -

And the little shifting pictures of people rushing

In tiny self-importance to and fro.

Sara Teasdale


President Obama today stood by his comments that the Cambridge, Mass. police department acted "stupidly" in its arrest of Henry Louis Gates, telling ABC News that the Harvard University professor should not have been arrested.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Henry Louis Gates Jr. Details Arrest

Looks like Henry Louis Gates Jr. will be using his first-hand experience with the "rotten" criminal justice system in a project examining how cops treat black men and women differently from their white counterparts. "I hope to make a documentary about racial profiling for PBS. [The idea] had never crossed my mind but it has now," Gates told The Washington Post in an exclusive interview. The Harvard academic also gives new details on his arrest. He said he repeatedly demanded that one officer give his name, and that when he stepped outside of his house and demanded the information from six other cops, they arrested him. Gates time in the slammer was a traumatic experience. "I have mild claustrophobia. The jail cell was very claustrophobic," Gates said. The city of Cambridge and the police department, in full damage-control mode, released a joint statement calling the arrest "regrettable and unfortunate" and said the criminal charges would be dropped.
Read it at The Washington Post

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Henry Louis Gates Jr. Arrested

Lee Marriner / AP Photo
Henry Louis Gates Jr., perhaps the most famous African-American scholar in the country, was arrested while trying to get into his locked home near Harvard, where he works. “Police say they were called to the home Thursday afternoon after a woman reported seeing a man try to pry open the front door,” according to the Associated Press. Gates reportedly refused to identify himself when a policeman asked him to, called the officer a racist, and said “this is what happens to black men in America.” Though he showed his driver’s license and Harvard identification card, police booked him for disorderly conduct. Friends say that Gates was in his home already by the time police arrived. Gates directs the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard, has authored 11 books, and edits The Root.
Read it at The Boston Globe

Monday, July 20, 2009



Which Governor is the Next Spitzer?

Move over Spitzer, and make room for an as-yet unnamed governor. Gawker reports that a woman who worked at the same escort agency that Eliot Spitzer frequented has said she serviced another sitting governor on three occasions. This as-yet-nameless governor was "a very standard client" who "didn't take the full hour," according to the woman, who alleges that a lobbyist paid for the governor's sessions. The governor's wife is "quite prominent in her own right." Let the reckless speculation begin!
Read it at Gawker


Sunday, July 19, 2009


Saturday, July 18, 2009



World's Oldest Man Dies

A little bit of history has vanished today. Henry Allingham, the world's oldest man and oldest surviving British veteran from World War I, has died at age 113. Allingham was the last known survivor of the Battle of Jutland, perhaps the greatest battle of World War I, reports CNN. The former soldier was dedicated to the military and the memory of fallen troops, and appeared at numerous memorial events in his later years. When asked how he'd want to be memorialized, Allingham said people should think of those who died in the war. "Remember them, not me" he said.
Read it at CNN


Washington, DC Metro Station on a cold January morning in 2007. The man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time approx. 2 thousand people went through the station, most of them on their way to work. After 3 minutes a middle aged man noticed there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried to meet his schedule.
4 minutes later:
the violinist received his first dollar: a woman threw the money in the hat and, without stopping, continued to walk.
6 minutes:
A young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again.
10 minutes:
A 3-year old boy stopped but his mother tugged him along hurriedly. The kid stopped to look at the violinist again, but the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children.. Every parent, without exception, forced their children to move on quickly.
45 minutes:
The musician played continuously. Only 6 people stopped and listened for a short while. About 20 gave money but continued to walk at their normal pace. The man collected a total of $32.
1 hour:
He finished playing and silence took over. No one noticed. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.
No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the greatest musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth $3.5 million dollars. Two days before Joshua Bell sold out a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100.
This is a true story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and people's priorities. The questions raised: in a common place environment at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context?One possible conclusion reached from this experiment could be this: If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world, playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments ever made.... How many other things are we missing?

Thursday, July 16, 2009


Indian forces ready to march down Champs Elysees
Paris, IANS:
Four hundred soldiers from the Indian armed forces will lead the marchpast down historic Champs Elysees later on Tuesday as France celebrates the beginning of its revolution more than 200 years ago with the storming of the Bastille prison in 1789.
And watching the parade will be Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the first foreign leader to be accorded the honour.Comprising the Indian contingents marching down the famed Champs Elysees will be soldiers of the Maratha Light Infantry, one of the oldest and most famous regiments whose history goes back 235 years.In the 18th and 19th centuries, the units of the regiment fought in several campaigns, including China, Burma, Africa and Abyssinia. It also fought during World War I and in World War II.A million Indian soldiers fought in World War I, including at two places in France -- Somme and Givenchy. Around 100,000 Indians died in that war. More than 2.5 million Indians fought on the side of the Allies in World War II, apart from the country providing military bases and feeding a large percentage of Allied soldiers.More than six decades later, as the Marat ha Light Infantry conquers another frontier with thousands of Parisians watching as 93 of its personnel march down, it will be led by Captain Vivek Khanduri.Also seen will be the Indian Navy and Air Force contingents with their bands. With pipes and drums playing the familiar tunes of "Kadam, kadam badhaye ja" and "Haste Lushai", it will be an evocative moment for India-France ties.Manmohan Singh landed here Monday evening for his brief visit and was received by Justice Minister Michelle Alliot-Marie. He will be hosted to a working lunch by French President Nicolas Sarkozy during which the two leaders will discuss the gamut of global and bilateral issues.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009



Jacko's Firework Disaster

According to Us Weekly and other media reports, Michael Jackson's prescription-drug addiction was kicked off by a life-altering incident that occurred while filming a Pepsi commercial in 1984. During a take at L.A.'s Shrine Auditorium, fireworks exploded before they were supposed to, igniting Jackson's head in flames. Unaware of the fire at first, Jackson continued to dance, ultimately suffering second- and third-degree burns on his scalp and body. "He was never the same after the incident," Us Weekly reports. To relieve the burns and the pain of multiple surgeries following the accident, Jackson was prescribed several medications. Rare footage of the incident has also been released.
Read it at Us Weekly

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Cheney's Death Squads Modeled on Munich

AP Photo
Do reports of Dick Cheney's alleged assassination squads remind you of Munich? That’s because they should: Newsweek reports that the plan was “to hunt down and kill terrorists using commando teams similar to those deployed by Israel after the 1972 Munich Olympic massacre, according to a former senior US official.” Two sources also tell Newsweek that Dick Cheney was not involved in creating or monitoring the operation, which never got off the ground. CIA Director Leon Panetta said he ended the program last June when he first became aware of it, but former-director George Tenet first put it on hold in 2004 after deciding it “posed an unacceptable risk of failure or exposure,” according to former intelligence officials. The CIA never totally scrapped the plan, thinking it might become necessary at some point. They didn’t inform Congress of the plan because it wasn’t operational, not because the vice president told them not to, according to two former officials. Other officials, however, confirmed the account that Cheney was involved in the program and its secrecy.
Read it at Newsweek

Sunday, July 12, 2009



Did Obama Check Out That Woman?

You’ve probably seen it by now: The photo of President Obama “checking out” a woman in a pink dress at the G-8 conference in Italy. It’s been touted by Matt Drudge and Fox News, but here’s the thing: It’s fake. Even Fox’s Greta Van Susteren says so, and provides video evidence, calling it the “lying picture that’s going around the web.” It becomes quite clear from the video that Obama is looking at the ground, and not the woman’s backside. Fox News is, of course, continuing to run the misleading photo anyway.
Read it at MediaMatters

Saturday, July 11, 2009


Wednesday, July 08, 2009


Monday, July 06, 2009


NEW YORK A New York congressman says in a YouTube video that Michael Jackson was a "pervert."
Rep. Peter King said society is "glorifying" a "low-life" while ignoring the efforts of teachers, police officers, firefighters, veterans and volunteers.
Jackson was acquitted of molesting a boy.
In the video, the congressman says the "day in and day out" coverage of Jackson's death is "too politically correct."
He conceded that Jackson "may have been a good singer" and "did some dancing."
King is among the possible Republican contenders for the seat held by Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (JILL'-uh-brand.)
King has said in the past that he represents the interests of "blue-collar conservatives."

Health Care Industry Spending Over $1.4M A Day On Lobbying


A Treasured Bush Memento, Once the Property of a Foe, May Be Put on Display

George W. Bush Presidential Library (left); Associated Press
Former President George W. Bush has long prized the gun seized when Saddam Hussein was captured hiding in a hole in the ground in Iraq in 2003.


Federer Makes Wimbledon History

After a grueling match opposite American underdog Andy Roddick at Wimbledon this afternoon, Roger Federer claimed his 15th Grand Slam title and surpassed the record previously held by Pete Sampras. Although not quite as thrilling as last year’s epic match-up of Nadal and Federer, the duo were forced to play five sets before Federer won 5-7, 7-6 (6), 7-6 (5), 3-6, 16-14. This was Federer’s seventh consecutive Wimbledon final and 20th Grand Slam final overall.
Read it at USA Today

Friday, July 03, 2009


Obama Blocks Cheney Docs

The Obama administration will protect a court filing that reveals conversations Dick Cheney had with top officials over the Bush administration's response to "Plamegate." The information, derived from interviews between Cheney and special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, was kept private during the Bush administration, and now the Obama administration has agreed that it should not be disclosed out of fears that it will discourage future public officials from holding similar interviews. But the document could shed more light on Cheney's role in the Valerie Plame case, in which the CIA spy was outed in the press, setting off a scandal. The document is said to reveal conversations between Cheney and top officials about Bush's mention of uranium in a speech on Iraq and conversations between Cheney and Scooter Libby, who was convicted of obstruction of justice over the Plame case only to have his sentence commuted by the president. As for Plame, Assistant Attorney General David Barron said Cheney discussed "the appropriate response to media inquiries about the source of the disclosure."
Read it at The Washington Post

Wednesday, July 01, 2009


Palin Wants to Run Against Obama

Sarah Palin is itching for a rematch. The Alaska governor told Runner's World magazine that she'd beat Barack Obama in a foot race, according to an article published online today. "I betcha I'd have more endurance," she said. "My one claim to fame in my own little internal running circle is a sub-four marathon. What I lacked in physical strength or skill, I made up for in determination and endurance." Palin said she's been a runner all her life, and was born to marathoners who organized family runs. But don't go scanning the streets of Anchorage for the governor just yet: apparently she's unrecognizable without her usual hair and makeup. "When I run, I'm totally incognito because I'm not wearing a trough full of makeup. I can go running through a mob of tourists and they don't recognize me," Palin said. If only the governor had made these claims before the election run-off, maybe we could've caught a glimpse of the two running laps.
Read it at Runner's World