FUBAR

The Iranian revolution at 30

The 20th century was a time of great and terrible revolutions. The Russian Revolution of 1917 promised a communist utopia. It delivered man-made famines, the Gulag Archipelago and at least 20 million murdered. The Chinese Revolution of 1949 brought the Great Leap Forward and the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution; estimates put the death toll as high as 65 million.

Rush Limbaugh and the stupidity meter

When Rush Limbaugh said he wanted Barack Obama to fail, the clanging of the stupidity meter roused me to action.

Usually, I have the stupidity meter set to mute when it comes to the Vesuvius of Vacuity because everything he says is bound to set off the alarm and the dog can’t sleep with all the stupid racket.

But, for some reason, this statement tripped the alarm and I felt bound to investigate.

The Blago road show

Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich has chosen, as is his right, to skip his impeachment trial by the state Senate. He is not even mounting a defense. Indeed, his high-powered Chicago lawyer quit the case, saying, "I never require a client to do what I say, but I do require them to at least listen."

Tolerating racism promotes racism

"Monkey Monday."

For the four men sitting at the end of a bar in downtown Stuart, Florida — on the day commemorating the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. — Monkey Monday was the term they used to express their contempt for the holiday. And, I surmise, for black people in general.

I overheard only snippets of their conversation. But the phrase Monkey Monday — repeated often, with great emphasis — was unmistakable.

Six days later, at the conclusion of an unforgettable week in U.S. history, I find myself trapped in a moment in time.

Blagojevich’s words will come back to haunt him

A day after Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s loudly proclaimed his innocence during a media blitz, the governor’s more private words are to take center stage at his impeachment trial.

The state Senate was expected Tuesday to hear secretly made wiretaps of Blagojevich allegedly discussing how he could benefit from his appointment power.

The ghost of Gordon Gekko

Not terribly long ago all that was wrong with Wall Street was embodied in the character Gordon Gekko as portrayed by actor Michael Douglas in the smash hit movie, "Wall Street."

Government ownership of banks? It could happen

Government ownership of banks could become a reality is the economy continues to falter and two of the nation’s larger banks — Citibank and Bank of America — plunge deeper into trouble.

It’s not something that Democrats are Republican want to discuss openly but in discussion behind closed doors advisors are telling both President Barack Obama and Congressional leaders that nationalization of some banks may be necessary.

And if the government takes over banks, what stops them from stepping in and seizing control of auto companies, health care and other American industries?

Federal agencies fail to meet civil liberty mandates

Key Federal agencies have failed to meet legal requirements to protect the civil liberties of Americans and an oversight board charged with enforcing the mandates hasn’t met since 2006, USA Today reports.

Flagged by the study were the Departments of Defense, State and Health and Human Services. All have failed to comply with a 2007 law that requires them to appoint civil liberties protection officers and provide Congress with information showing their programs don’t undermine the public’s rights, civil liberties and privacy.

The law was passed by Congress in 2007 but the administration of former President George W. Bush showed little interest in forcing the agencies to comply.

Should we close the Guantanimo prison?

Is Gitmo worth the grief? President Barack Obama wasn’t in office 24 hours before he ordered military prosecutors to seek a 120-day suspension of legal proceedings for terrorist suspects at the U.S. base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Obama followed up with an executive order directing the Pentagon to close down the prison within the next 12 months.

NSA spied on journalists, other Americans 24/7

Russell Tice, a former analyst for the uber-secret National Security Agency, says former President George W. Bush’s warrantless wiretapping program including spying on millions of Americans, including journalists, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Tice, appearing on Countdown with Keith Olbermann on MSNBC, says Americans were targeted under the pretense of profiling them for elimination from the NSA’s high-tech surveillance programs but — in fact, the agency was keeping tabs on the day-to-day lives of American citizens who have no connection with terrorism.

Tice specifically identified journalists as a target of the expanded NSA spying but said others groups were targeted as well.