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Archive for January 19th, 2010

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Bill Moyers & Thomas Frank: How America’s Demented Politics Let the GOP Off the Hook for Their Giant Mess

By Bill Moyers and Thomas Frank, Bill Moyers Journal. Posted January 19, 2010.

Bill Moyers interviews Thomas Frank on how our short attention span has allowed conservatives to escape blame for their role in the economic meltdown.

Editor’s note: In the following interview Bill Moyers and Thomas Frank, author of “What’s the Matter With Kansas” and “The Wrecking Crew,” talk about why conservatives can get away with blaming Obama for the past decade of conservative failures.

Bill Moyers: There were hands in the air in Washington this week, but it wasn’t a stickup. The new Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, appointed by Congress to find out how America got rolled, began hearings this week. These four are not the victims of one of the greatest bank heists in history – they’re the perpetrators, bankers so sleek and crafty they got off with the loot in broad daylight, and then sweet talked the government into taxing us to pay it back.

Watching that scene on the opening day of the hearings, it was hard enough to believe that almost a year has passed since Barack Obama raised his hand, too — taking the oath of office to become our 44th President. Even harder to remember what America looked like before Obama, because we’ve also been robbed of memory, assaulted by what the Nobel laureate Czeslaw Milosz described as a “fantastic proliferation of mass media.” We live in a time “characterized by a refusal to remember.” Inconvenient facts simply disappear down the memory hole, as in George Orwell’s novel, “1984.”

President Obama’s made plenty of mistakes during his first year, and we’ve critiqued them frequently here on the JOURNAL, but hardly anyone talks any more about what happened in the years before. He inherited from George W. Bush the biggest financial debacle since the Great Depression, along with two unpopular and costly wars, and a dysfunctional and demoralized government.

It’s important to remember those years, a time that has been characterized by the historian Thomas Frank, as “A Low, Dishonest Decade.” He’s here to talk about them with me. Thomas Frank is editor of the recently relaunched BAFFLER magazine, a literary journal; a contributing editor of HARPER’S; a weekly columnist for THE WALL STREET JOURNAL; and the author of ONE MARKET UNDER GOD, the bestselling WHAT’S THE MATTER WITH KANSAS? and his latest bestseller, THE WRECKING CREW, now out in paperback. Good to have you back.

MORE HERE

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Poll: Most Don’t Want Sarah Palin to Run for President

CBS News-  Posted by Kevin Hechtkopf

January 18, 2010 6:30 PM

A new CBS News poll finds that a large majority of Americans say they do not want former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin to run for president.

Specifically, 71 percent say they do not want the former Republican vice presidential nominee to run for president, while 21 percent say they do want her to run.

When the results are split out by party, 56 percent of Republicans say they do not want her to seek the office and 30 percent do. Meanwhile, 88 percent of Democrats do not want her to run. Among independents, 65 percent do not want her to run and 25 percent do.

The poll also finds that more people view Palin negatively than positively and that her book tour did not improve overall views of her. However, she is a little better-known now than she was last fall, and both favorable and unfavorable ratings of her have increased slightly.

MORE HERE

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BBC News, January 16, 2010

From left: Osama Bin Laden (1998); Photo-fit of Osama Bin Laden, aged 52; Gaspar Llamazares (Izquierda Unida)

A photo of Bin Laden from 1998 (left) was digitally altered using elements from an image of Gaspar Llamazares (right)

A Spanish politician has said he was shocked to find out the FBI had used his photo for a digitally-altered image showing how Osama Bin Laden might look.

Gaspar Llamazares said he would no longer feel safe travelling to the US after his hair and parts of his face appeared on a most-wanted poster.

He said the use of a real person for the mocked-up image was “shameless”.

The FBI admitted a forensic artist had obtained certain facial features “from a photograph he found on the internet”.

The digitally-altered photos of the al-Qaeda leader, showing how he might look now, aged 52, were published on the state department’s Rewards for Justice website on Friday.

Officials said they had adapted a 1998 file image to take account of a decade’s worth of ageing, and possible changes to facial hair.

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