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Summaries are excerpted from the source articles; the featured article follows the summary section. A recommended "site of the day" will also appear occasionally following the summaries.

1//Worldpress.org, US

In a most contradictory fashion, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's hard-line government has unexpectedly revived the support for reforms in Iran, both domestically and internationally. Inside the country's political arena the extravagant self-reliance of Ahmadinejad's extremist approach toward cultural and political issues, followed by widespread international condemnation, has resulted in a dramatic retreat by many prominent political figures in the Islamic Republic from their previous conservative positions to more flexible ones Ex-president (1989-1997) and current head of the powerful Expediency Discernment Council, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, could be singled out as the most iconic political figure to definitively take a step back from Ahmadinejad's policies. Rafsanjani is considered as one of the most influential architects of the Islamic Republic's political system, and is a long-time ally of the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. ... A conservative figure throughout his presidency, Rafsanjani's tough approach toward social and political freedom once spawned the reformist movement led by Mohammad Khatami. ... The tendency to adopt a semi-reformist approach in the conservative ranks has paralleled concerns among the minority reformist Khatami supporters. According to many observers, a coalition between the two traditional rivals against the hard-line government is probable.

by Peter Michaelson

Now that she's gone, it's a battle between the Christian cross and the Nike swoosh to replace her as the national symbol of our beliefs and values. We took her for granted, no doubt, but she was always there, in the palm of our hands, the very image of our unspoken, sometimes even unconscious, communion with the ideals and destiny of America.

by Steven Jonas, MD, MPH

"The 100 Hours" of the new Democratic House of Representatives is beginning just about now as I write this. The primary significance of "The 100 Hours" is that the legislative block of time exists. As much as the Republicans and their Privatized Ministry of Propaganda would like the public to think that the 100 hours are clock hours and the clock began ticking with the ceremonies opening the Congress took place on Jan. 4, the plan has always been that they are legislative hours, to begin when the first session of the 110th Congress is convened. The significance is that the House Democrats under the leadership of Speaker Pelosi have a plan, and it is a plan for dealing with substantive issues, six of them. The significance of "The 100 Hours" is that it is focused on substance, on enacting legislation, totally unlike Gingrich's "Contract on America." In the latter, six of its eight (not ten as is commonly thought) provisions dealt with Congressional processes, not substance.

Tuesday, 09 January 2007 08:14

Mary Shaw: Why I Oppose the Draft

by Mary Shaw

With George W. Bush possibly calling for tens of thousands of additional U.S. troops to be sent to Iraq, I have to wonder where all these troops will come from.

Tuesday, 09 January 2007 07:40

BuzzFlash Mailbag for January 9, 2007


Want to join the conversation? Share your thoughts with other Mailbag readers by clicking here.

Subject: Bush's Mission Accomplished

I would like to see a TV spot repeatedly showing our glorious macho-chicken leader in his "Mission Accomplished" visual, followed by a screen with the words "So what the hell are we doing in Iraq?"

There has been no accounting for the money which has been poured into the Iraq whirlpool. It should be remembered that the Bush clan has benefited from our wars for generations; it is in their genes to profit while others sacrifice.

All the billions previously voted to "support our troops" have been squandered and spent otherwise. The time has come to just say "NO"! We have tolerated the leadership of a cadre of fools long enough. If cutting off the money is the only way to stop them, then cut and let the billionaires pay their own way in Iraq if they want to stay there. Bring our kids home!

Creed Ballew

by Michael Winship

I was awakened Monday morning by the smell of gas.

My first impulse was to go to the kitchen and check whether any of the knobs on the stove accidentally had been opened, leaking gas into my Manhattan apartment. Nope. Then I opened the front door to see if the heavy smell was out in the hallway, too. It was.

by John F. Williford
(as sent to Rep. Jay Inslee)

I've watched in stunned amazement statements by Senator Biden, saying the idea of dumping more of our troops into it isn't likely to stall the meat grinder of Iraq (Obviously, I'm paraphrasing); but, as Mr. Bush is Commander-in-Chief, there isn't anything Congress can do about it. WHAT?

by Carol Davidek-Waller

This week our president is going to make a speech in which he will try and drag the Americans deeper into his Iraqi quagmire. He wants to escalate military operations. The timing is suspicious. The strategy is simple and devilish.

by Cindy Sheehan

After a slightly hairy flight from Cancun, Mexico, to Havana, Cuba, Col. Ann Wright, Medea Benjamin, Adele Welty (Son, Timmy was a firefighter who was killed in the line of duty on 9/11 -- and she is a member of 9-11 Families for Peaceful Tomorrows), Tiffany Burns and I arrived safely and got immediately down to business.


Or, Why Sending 20,000 More Troops Is Just a Drop in a Bucket ... of Blood

Re: The President's Apparent Decision To "Pull a Johnson" and Escalate the Number of Troops in Iraq

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