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President Bush and his acolytes continually suggest that the occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq are "success stories" that just have not receiving proper attention from the U.S. media.

Unfortunately for the spin doctors who dressed the president up in flight-suit drag and made their Iraq "mission accomplished" declaration three years ago are having a hard time convincing serious observers of global affairs that they have achieved anything but disaster.

According to the The Failed State Index, an authoritative annual analysis produced by Foreign Policy magazine and the Washington, DC, based Fund for Peace, both Iraq and Afghanistan are in serious trouble.

Reviews of four stellar films: Three Times, Art School
Confidential
, Lady Vengeance and Army of Shadows.

Works by Nicky Beer, Sandy Tseng, Eric Leigh and Shara Lessley,
winners of the Discovery/The Nation Joan Leiman Jacobson Poetry Prize.

Richard Lingeman's Double Lives explores the richness of
friendships between such literary lions as Hawthorne and Melville,
Hemingway and Fitzgerald, and Kerourac, Ginsberg and Cassidy.

Times Square may be the most dynamic urban space of the twentieth
century, but you wouldn't know it from reading Marshall Berman's On
the Town.

Alan Taylor's Divided Ground examines how land-grabbing
settlers destroyed Indian society and how postrevolutionary
politicians speeded their demise.

September 11 marked a turning point in the history of Saudi Arabia,
raising new questions about political repression, religious
extremism and the future of its youth.

A policy of "affirmative discrimination" helped put twenty women in
the Afghan Parliament, but how can they confront the warlords and
criminals who hold most of the power?

Mothers in America are in serious need of a new deal to remedy a profound wage gap with other working women and men, and an outdated family support structure.

ARCHANGELS & MARTIANS...

Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.

While John Kenneth Galbraith was good at pointing out the failures of the free
enterprise system, he could never overcome the play-to-win mentality
of American capitalism.

Why should anyone be surprised that Dick Cheney's good oil boys are
making out like bandits?

Using the insidious pretense of the "unitary
executive," George W.

The plagiarism flap over Opal Mehta is essentially a story
about clichés and stereotypes passing from one subliterary commercial
product to another.

Longtime Nation Associate John Kenneth Galbraith is best
remembered not only as a New Dealer, old-line liberal or Keynesian
economist but as a contrarian and independent thinker.

The US and Iran are engaged in a reckless game of chicken that could
end in disaster for the Persian Gulf region and the world.

Yesterday the Washington Post offered a prescient warning about the pathetic lobbying "reform" bill passed by the House 217-213 last night.

Democrats tempted to vote for this sham because they're scared of 30-second ads that accuse them of opposing lobbying reform ought to ask themselves whether they really think so little of their constituents. As for Republicans willing to settle for this legislative fig leaf, they ought to listen to Rep. Christopher Shays (R-Conn). "I happen to believe we are losing our moral authority to lead this place," Mr. Shays said on the House floor last week.

The GOP leadership wanted to claim the mantle of reform without actually enacting any reforms. Sadly, eight Democrats--enough to switch the outcome on a razor thin vote--took the bait. They are:

Justice triumphed over blood vengeance Wednesday as jurors declined to sentence a marginal 9/11 conspirator to death, while one of the real culprits languishes in a secret prison, unlikely to ever come to trial.

Despite the loud and determined voice of immigrant communities for
fair and just immigration reform, we have yet to see an acceptable
proposal from Congress.

To understand what the sham lobbying "reform" bill that the House will likely pass today will do, you need to understand what it won't do. The only reason Congress is talking about lobbying reform is because of Jack Abramoff and his Fedora-studded guilty plea last January. Yet the so-called reforms in the "Lobbying Accountability and Transparency Act" will do absolutely nothing to prevent the next Abramoff, as this valuable chart from Public Citizen shows.

Moreover, as Public Citizen recognizes: "Corruption by lobbyists and lawmakers does not begin or end with Abramoff; it is a systemic problem. There are many more Jack Abramoffs peddling their wares on the Hill."

Yes. Don't forget about prostitutes at the Watergate servicing Republican members of Congress and CIA aides. Abramoff may be too technical, but hookers everyone can understand.

As the May Day protests, they evoked memories of an earlier generation
of immigrants who lived with the fear of deportation.

At least one GOP lawmaker is paying attention to L'Affair Abramoff: Ohio Rep. Bob Ney. Time is running out for the former "Mayor of Capitol Hill."

Dennis Hastert pushed the Ohio Congressman from his House Administration Committee chairmanship following Abramoff's DC indictment in January. Since then, a game of wait and see has transpired between Ney and the law.

Ney's statute of limitations in the Abramoff Sun Cruz casino fleet investigation expired last Thursday, with the Justice Department opting for an expanded corruption probe. Ney's lawyer says his client will learn in "a month or two" whether he faces criminal charges. Multiple guilty pleas from Abramoff and his aides ID'd Ney as the bribe-taking "Representative #1."

A political nightmare, with a scriptural spin, tells the true story of
two nefarious lords and their faithful servant.