Sunday, January 18, 2009

NATIONAL & WORLD DIGEST - January 18, 2009

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44 U.S. Presidents - Interesting Slide Show Backed by Ravel's Bolero

The Top 43 Appointees Who Helped Make Bush The Worst President Ever

New York Times
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-Editorial: Closing Guantánamo
In a long series of valedictory speeches and interviews, President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney have been crowing about Guantánamo Bay, secret prisons and abusive interrogations, claiming they met the highest legal standards and that no prisoner had been tortured. Fortunately, the truth broke through the noise, in the words of some of the very people ordered to carry out the policies.

Washington Post
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-Latin Opportunity
Why Mexico's president is counting on Barack Obama
AS HE TOOK office eight years ago, George W. Bush promised to make relations with Latin America a priority. The president's first foreign trip was to the ranch of Mexican President Vicente Fox, where Mr. Bush expansively promised "to boldly seize the unprecedented opportunity before us." There was no compelling reason for this hemispheric focus, other than the fact that Mr. Bush had been governor of Texas and was more familiar with Latin America than other parts of the world. That may explain why Latin America quickly dropped from the top of the administration's agenda after Sept. 11, 2001.

-Beyond Gaza
The trust that Barack Obama wants to rebuild will require sending some early messages.
BARACK OBAMA is not yet president, but he is already having a gravitational effect on the conflict in Gaza. Egypt, the Bush administration and, above all, Israel appear eager to bring the fighting to a conclusion before Tuesday. Yesterday Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni flew to Washington to sign a showy -- if somewhat vague -- agreement with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice about the interdiction of future arms smuggling to Gaza. Israel may sign a similar deal with Egypt over the weekend.

Wall Street Journal

-The Power of Prayer
As the U.S. grows more diverse, the inaugural prayer has become less inclusive. Steven Waldman on why the ceremony has gone from pluralistic to solely Protestant.

Pew Research center
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-War in the Middle East
Before Israel's Invasion, Hamas Popularity Was Waning Among Its Neighbors -- Even in Gaza Itself
Before the current Middle East conflict, Hamas hardly enjoyed universal popularity among Muslims, and among some key Arab publics, its support had been waning. Read more

-Mideast Competes -- but Still Loses -- to Economy and Obama in Public
Interest Public interest in the Middle East conflict is on par with other recent foreign news stories, but is lower than in the Israel-Hezbollah war in August 2006. A slightly greater percentage say the media have not been critical enough of Hamas than say the same about coverage of Israel. Read more

-War in Gaza Quickly Shifts News
A bloody new chapter in the Israel/Palestinian conflict dramatically shifted the media agenda from domestic to foreign crises, dominating the news in a busy week. Furthermore, the media themselves became another front in the Middle East war. Read more

-American Progress Report
Gains Seen On Minority Discrimination -- But Little Else
As Obama prepares to take office, majorities say the country is losing ground on many key issues, especially economic ones. Read more

-Recession Ramifications
Hispanics and the Economic Downturn: Housing Woes and Remittance Cuts Latinos, especially the foreign-born, are feeling the sting of the economic downturn and, in some respects, even more so than the general population. Read more

-American Gospel: Religion, Race -- and Obama
A religious scholar discusses the president-elect's place in the nation's historical tension between religion and politics and examines the role of black churches as well as the controversy surrounding the Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Read more

-Daily Number: 13% - National Satisfaction
As President George W. Bush prepares to leave office, the level of satisfaction Americans feel towards the state of their country is in sharp contrast to where it was when he began his term. Check back every weekday for another number in the news. Read more

-Inaugural Address
America's Obama Optimism
Public confidence in Barack Obama to deal with the nation's most pressing problems is high and many Americans not only see the president-elect as a problem-solver, but as a "uniter" as well. Read more

-Hispanics and the New Administration: Immigration Slips as a Priority
Latinos, who heavily supported Obama in the November election, rate such issues as the economy, health care and education as the more important issues facing the country. Also, Hispanics were more likely to be first time voters than the general public. Read more

-Ask Not ...
Since John F. Kennedy's famous inaugural address, the word "sacrifice" has become a rarity in the lexicon of politicians -- and of pollsters too. Read more

-Friending Mom and Dad
The Growth of Social Networks
The share of adult internet users who have a profile on a social networking site has more than quadrupled in the past four years. Read more

-Russian Roulette
European Worries About Reliance on Russian Energy Were Already High
Just as concern about energy dependence has become widespread, so too have unfavorable views of Russia and its Prime Minister Putin. Read more

-Transition Watch
Media Shift from War to Washington
Even as the fighting in Gaza continued to generate major coverage, the storyline shifted back to the daunting tasks confronting president-elect Barack Obama. Read more

-Obama Cabinet Appointees Highly Visible
Much of the increased awareness of the president-elect's high-level personnel selections has to do with his choice of Hillary Clinton to serve as secretary of state. Read more

Fort Report
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-Obama tries to seduce Republicans
It's no secret Barack Obama is trying to seduce Republicans these days. But his conservative courting runs much deeper and wider than is publicly known.

-US moves 6 Gitmo detainees, rejects hearing delays
GUANTANAMO NAVAL BASE, Cuba (AP) - The U.S. Department of Defense announced Saturday that it transferred six detainees out of Guantanamo, leaving about 245 at the offshore prison as President-elect Barack Obama prepares to take office.

-US welcomes Israel's ceasefire declaration
The Bush administration on Saturday welcomed Israel's decision to declare a unilateral ceasefire in its military operations against Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip and urged both sides to end attacks immediately.

-"Every kid gets a trophy"
Joan Walsh
I can't believe President Bush's approval ratings have climbed as he edges to the end of his tragic term. Except I sort of understand it; I felt sorry for him tonight during his farewell address, which was utterly self-indulgent and delusional. It's hard to see someone leave the presidency so shamed

-Gaza invasion: Powered by the U.S.
Taxpayers are spending over $1 billion to send refined fuel to the Israeli military -- at a time when Israel doesn't need it and America does.
Editor's note: Generous support for this article was provided by the Investigative Fund at the Nation Institute.
By Robert Bryce


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