At 10:00am on Monday morning, I read on Twitter that Anthony Lewis, the revered New York Times legal writer and columnist, had died at age 85. A few minutes later, I sent out a Tweet calling him “a giant of journalism who saved Gideon & Bosnia.”
American households will be blanketed this week by a torrent of coverage, commentary and regret about the 10th anniversary of the Iraq war. Liberals claim that Twitter – if it had existed – could have stopped the invasion. Conservatives argue that the links between Saddam Hussein and terrorism have, in fact, been underplayed.
If George W. Bush had launched such a group, the coverage would be overwhelming and the criticism widespread. Last Friday, a story by Nicholas Confessore of the New York Times revealed that President Obama’s political team is trying to raise $50 million to fund the conversion of his re-election campaign into Organizing for Action, a “powerhouse” new national lobbying group.
Retired NBA star Dennis Rodman arrived in North Korea, yes, North Korea, on Tuesday in the latest of a series of visits by American citizens to the Stalinist state. Rodman and three members of the Harlem Globetrotters will engage in “basketball diplomacy,” according to this exclusive Associated Press story on Rodman’s trip. The retired Chicago Bulls star and five-time NBA champion will play an exhibition game with North Korea’s top basketball stars and conduct a basketball camp for children.
Typhoid and hepatitis outbreaks are spreading. An estimated 70,000 people are dead, and another 850,000 are refugees. After covering the battle for Damascus for a month, my colleague – photographer Goran Tomasevic – declared the situation a “bloody stalemate” this week.
Keeping his promise to the people of Tunisia, Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali resigned yesterday after his own party rejected his call for the creation of an apolitical government of technocrats to ease the country’s rising political tensions. My colleague Tarek Amara reported this morning that the ongoing political instability is slowing economic growth in Tunisia just as the country’s economy was showing its first signs of life since the 2011 revolution.
He quoted Jack Kennedy but sounded more like Lyndon Johnson.
In an audacious State of the Union address Tuesday, President Barack Obama made sweeping proposals to reduce poverty, revive the middle class and increase taxes on the “well off.” While careful to not declare it outright, an emboldened second-term president laid out an agenda that could be called a “war on inequality.”
Update at 12:20 pm EST on 2/13/13:
The Veterans Administration weighed in Tuesday on the dispute between Esquire magazine and Stars and Stripes over the benefits available to the retired Navy SEAL who reportedly killed Osama Bin Laden. In an email, a Veterans Administration spokesperson laid out the benefits available to combat veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan: