Ben Armbruster

New Study Projects Iraq and Afghanistan War Costs Will Total up to $6 Trillion

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will ultimately cost the United States anywhere between $4 and $6 trillion, when the total cost, including long-term care for the war’s veterans, is calculated, says a new report from a top Harvard researcher that was released on Thursday.

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Strip-Club Owner Opens Dog Shelter Named After Newt Gingrich

Last September, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich retracted an “Entrepreneur of the Year” award he accidentally presented to Dallas strip club owner Dawn Rizos and refunded the $5,000 donation Rizos made to Gingrich’s American Solutions for Winning the Future. At the time, Rizos said she would take the money to build a shelter for unwanted pit bulls. The Dallas Morning News reported yesterday that “Newt’s Nook: A Home For Pit Bulls” is now open:

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Even Pat Buchanan Thinks Obama/Nixon Comparisons Are Idiotic

Taking cues from their communications shop over at Fox News, GOP Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Judd Gregg (R-NH) yesterday attacked the White House’s campaign against Fox’s unethical journalistic practices by comparing President Obama to President Nixon. “Let’s not start calling people out and compiling an enemies list,” Alexander said, touting his days as a junior staffer in the Nixon White House as credentials for his charge. Gregg said he was “fascinated” by Alexander’s criticism and wondered if Obama is “Nixon-fying” the White House. But yesterday on MSNBC, top Nixon aide Pat Buchanan dismissed out-of-hand any comparison of Obama to Nixon:

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Mitt Romney Pushes Hysterical Scare Tactic About Public Option

Last night on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney propagated a fearmongering claim that a public health insurance option would bring death to the country:

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CIA Told Zubaydah They Mistook Him for a High-Level al Qaeda Operative

According to new transcripts from of a 2007 Combatant Status Review Tribunal held at Guantanamo Bay, detainee Abu Zubaydah said that his CIA captors told him after he was subjected to torture that “they had mistakenly thought he was the No. 3 man in the organization’s hierarchy and a partner of Osama bin Laden.” “They told me, ‘Sorry, we discover that you are not Number 3, not a partner, not even a fighter,’” Zubaydah said. Zubaydah, who was subjected to waterboarding 83 times in one month, also said that he nearly died in prison:

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Matthews Gets Alarmist Over Family Planning Measure in Stimulus Bill

In their latest attempt to rally against the new economic stimulus package, many conservatives are ridiculing a measure that would aid states by making it easier to provide comprehensive family planning services to low-income women. Rep. Robert Wexler (D-FL) defended the measure on MSNBC’s Hardball this afternoon, noting that “family planning saves, if done correctly, an enormous sum of money down the road in the health care system.” However, host Chris Matthews thought the measure sounded more like something straight out of communist China:

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Iraqi Journalist Throws His Shoes at Bush During Baghdad Press Conference

President Bush was in Baghdad yesterday on a surprise farewell visit highlighting the security deal recently reached between the U.S. and Iraq. CNN Baghdad correspondent Michael Ware reports this afternoon that during a press conference with Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, an Iraqi man threw a shoe at Bush — “a grave insult in the Arab world” — but “it just sailed past his head”:

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McCain and Palin Off Message in Response to North Korea Diplomacy

Yesterday, the Bush administration announced that the United States was removing North Korea from the State Department’s list of state sponsors of terrorism. The decision was made after North Korea "agreed to resume disabling a plutonium plant and to allow some inspections to verify that it had halted its nuclear program."

The administration’s move quickly split the McCain-Palin ticket. John McCain issued a preemptive statement on Friday expressing his displeasure with the agreement:

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Media Blindly Accept That Russia-Georgia Conflict Is Good For McCain

Since the violence broke out last week between Russian and Georgian military forces, pundits and media figures have been trying to determine how the conflict will affect the U.S. presidential election. Many in the media, however, have blindly asserted -- seemingly without examining any evidence -- that the war in Georgia helps Sen. John McCain (R-AZ). Some recent examples:

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Fox News Distorted Photographs of New York Times Reporters

This morning on Fox & Friends, co-hosts Steve Doocy and Brian Kilmeade called Jacques Steinberg’s June 28 New York Times article on Fox News’s declining ratings a “hit piece,” adding that Steinberg and Times editor Steven Reddicliffe are “attack dogs.” During the segment, Fox aired blatantly distorted photos of Steinberg and Reddicliffe with their teeth yellowed, eyes blackened, and facial features exaggerated:

steinbergweb.jpg reddweb.jpg

Media Matters has the video.

Update: The Times' Culture Editor Sam Sifton said, "It wasn't a hit piece. It was straight news. This was a hit piece by Fox News. It is beneath comment." Asked if the paper planned to respond to Fox's actions, he said no: "It is fighting with a pig, everyone gets dirty and the pig likes it."

Straight Talk Express Has Special Comfy Chairs for Well-Behaved Reporters

The Washington Post reports that Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) is now traveling in a new “Straight Talk Express� campaign airplane. It “features a special area� with “a couch and two captain’s chairs� where “McCain will conduct group interviews with the press.� But not all reporters covering McCain can enjoy this new lap of luxury. Top McCain aide Mark Salter said “‘only the good reporters’ would get to sit in the specially-configured section for interviews. ‘You’ll have to earn it,’he said.� So how can these reporters “earn� a seat? Never challenge the Senator, as McCain biographer Matt Welch explained in a recent interview with the Los Angeles Times:

[McCain is] very open to people. You can come on the bus, everything is great but if he knows or if his team knows that you have a hostile line of questioning or you have a long and well documented critique, they’re not going to talk to you. […]

As a human, he’s haunted by the notion of honesty and about honor and truth. He wishes that he could speak the truth all the time. He doesn’t. I don’t think he speaks the truth any more than any other politician really, no more, no less.
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