Celebrating what would have been his 100th birthday, nationwide events in honor of late President Ronald Reagan are taking place across the country. Located in the picturesque hills of Simi Valley, the Reagan Presidential Library’s 15 million dollar restoration includes new programs and exhibits to commemorate the former president.
Reagan is often credited with ending the Cold War and improving an ailing economy. He is among the most highly ranked American presidents.
“We’ve done some research on this. The overwhelming majority of people think that President Reagan inspired freedom and changed the world,” said Robert Bauer, director of external affairs at the Ronald Reagan Foundation. “When the Berlin Wall fell and a new day dawned in Eastern Europe that was a symbol of freedom.”
The exhibits commemorate Reagan's life from boyhood to the announcement that he would withdraw from public life due to Alzheimer’s disease. Artifacts of various sizes are on display at the museum— from a Boeing 707 aircraft to a red dress Nancy Reagan wore at a royal ball.
“We’re the most visited presidential library in the world,” said Bauer. “We have about 450,000 guests per year but we expect to increase in the centennial year.”
The library is something of a tourist magnet, drawing both Reagan fans and those curious about the former president.
“I’m not sure I wanted to go,” said Ellen Lebowitz, a museum guest who visited the library with her husband. “I hate to say it we’re both raging liberal democrats—and I came away very impressed.”
Lebowitz’s husband agreed.
“I have, I think, more respect for President Reagan than I did when he was in office,” said Howard Lebowitz.
Although revered by the GOP for steadfast conservative policy, Reagan started out as a Democrat but switched parties in 1962. His vision continues to be invoked by Republicans and Democrats alike.
February 27, 2011
February 22, 2011
The Libyan government's violent response to protesters is disgusting, but hardly surprising.
The late Anwar Sadat characterized Muammar Gaddafi as a madman for his reckless, violent behavior. Gaddafi’s government has funded dozens of terror organizations in the Middle East, Africa and Latin America. The Libyan government incited coups in Egypt and Tunisia, and orchestrated plenty of assassinations. Gaddafi's fomentation of violence has ranged from the Philippines to India. He is also no stranger to extreme anti-Semitic attitudes which have caused the remaining Jews of a minority population in Libya to flee.
Despite enjoying some Western support in recent years, due to outwardly reformed behavior, Libya is hardly a free nation.
The tyrant's time is running out. And he knows it.
Here's an excerpt:
[...] Col. Gaddafi’s body language suggested he feels stressed, angry and rattled by events, said Mark Bowden, a Toronto-based communications coach and body-language specialist who has trained with world leaders. Col. Gaddafi’s taut, stiff upper lip seen during his speech is associated with anger. His hand motions, such as his repeated drumming of his fist up and down at chest level, suggests passion — not an ecstatic passion or a truthful passion, but an angry passion. “He is showing the signs of stress and anxiety. He is seen rearranging his clothes and coming up off his toes, slightly unbalanced, suggesting he is very unsettled,” Mr. Bowden said. Col. Gaddafi’s fumbling gestures also suggest he was ill-prepared and the speech was largely unscripted....
Read it all here.
February 16, 2011
Read it all here.
Hairdressers, barbers and cosmetologists held roughly 821,900 jobs in the United States in 2008. In Jan. 2009, a National Cosmetology Association poll of 600 mid-to-high-end salons found that 72 percent had seen drops in clients’ spending.
“The salon business has been harmed by the recession because it is a luxury, ”said Avner Chamir, a hair salon owner in Sherman Oaks, Calif. “People will cut back on these expenses. This recession has been hard on us just like everyone else.”
Chamir’s business, Diva Hair Salon, first faced economic trouble at the end of 2008. The owner claims he can see no sign of recovery despite projected gains in personal consumption expenditures.
“I’ve been forced to make tough decisions,” he said. “I’ve had to let people go.”
Chamir’s salon, which has boasted a number of wealthy clientele, has seen a 40 percent revenue drop in business since late 2008.
“I haven’t seen more customers. I know we hear the recession is over, but for us it’s not. Nothing has changed but maybe 2011 will be better—we’ll wait and see,” said Chamir.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, many barbers and hairdressers are self-employed, opting to lease a booth or chair space from a salon owner rather than risk a business venture.
Chamir now leases a chair to former stylists who, prior to the country’s economic woes, received a set salary plus bonuses. Chamir has needed to lay off other employees, from assistants to stylists. His salon no longer has a cosmetologist, simply because it was too expensive to keep one on permanently, and instead focuses exclusively on hair design.
“I work longer days, much harder than before,” he explained. “I fly out to San Jose twice a month for a few clients who can’t come to Los Angeles. You have to be creative to keep your doors from closing.”
Chamir’s colleagues, independent contractors, rent a chair and pay a monthly fee for utilities and the building’s maintenance. Cutting back on his stylists’ salaries by paying them an hourly wage and having them rent a chair in his salon has not been an easy decision. Chamir has had to cut back on expenditures, both in his business and privately, but so have his stylists....
February 15, 2011
CBS News chief foreign correspondent Lara Logan was sexually assaulted and beaten while covering the protests in Egypt, the network said on Tuesday.
Logan, a chief foreign correspondent for CBS, was separated from her "60 Minutes" crew while covering the celebrations in Cairo's Tahrir Square last Friday following Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's resignation. Logan was rescued by a group of women and 20 Egyptian soldiers, the network added.
CBS described the attack as "brutal" and said Logan was recovering in an American hospital, declining to provide additional details.
But some in the media have brought up the victim's romantic history, hardly relevant to the assault Logan suffered. Some pundits, such as Nir Rosen, have even made light of the gruesome attack on Logan
Steven Nelson, for The Daily Caller, has more:
[....] Rosen called Logan a “war monger” and expressed doubt that she was actually assaulted.
“Jesus Christ, at a moment when she is going to become a martyr and glorified we should at least remember her role as a major war monger” wrote Rosen.
“Look, she was probably groped like thousands of other women, which is still wrong, but if it was worse than [sic] I’m sorry."
Read it all here.
Rosen apologized three hours after the initial Tweets.
February 13, 2011
In The Financial Post, Lawrence Solomon argues that democracy, in its truest sense, would only lead to oppression in Egypt as the majority of Egyptians prefer an Islamic government that rules according to Islamic law. Solomon cautions against pushing democracy on Egypt and cites sobering statistics to make his case that Western style democracy is unlikely in Egypt. Here's an excerpt:
Most Egyptians — three-quarters of its overwhelmingly Muslim population, public opinion polls say — want “strict imposition of Sharia law” and a larger proportion wants policies that most in the West would view as human rights abuses — 82% would stone adulterers and 84% want the death penalty for Muslims who leave their faith.
While most of the urban generation in Cairo’s Tahrir Square desires a modern Egyptian state of some kind, the Egyptian majority does not: 91% of Muslims want to keep “Western values out of Islamic countries.” For the vast majority outside the main cities, the outrages perpetrated by Mubarak lie mostly in his suppression of Islamic fundamentalist values, such as his ban on female genital mutilation and his moves to phase out polygamy and child brides. Most Muslim Egyptians not only oppose a modern Egyptian state, they would dismantle the existing Egyptian state, two-thirds wanting instead “to unify all Islamic countries into a single Islamic state or caliphate.”
Read it all here.
February 12, 2011
Writing for The Guardian, Karima Bennoune recounts Algerian anti-government in which demonstrators clashed with police. Bennoune argues that the "contexts" of Egyptian and Algerian protests are different while the "struggles are the same." Here's an excerpt from Bennoune's article:
There were small echoes of Egypt. Thousands of police in full riot gear painted the square blue in their uniforms, attempting to occupy the space and prevent the demonstration, yet the protestors remained, for hours risking arrest and beatings, shouting slogans and singing effervescently. A large group of young men, with the obvious cooperation of the police, entered the scene violently, chanting in favour of President Bouteflika (in power since 1999) and attempting to provoke fights with the protestors. (This was so reminiscent of Cairo, that for a moment, one half-expected a charge of men riding camels like in Tahrir Square.) At one point, these youths rushed the bench where I stood taking photographs with journalists, and we all toppled to the ground. Later, the pro-government provocateurs started throwing large stones....
Read it all here.
Do other regional protests stand a chance of impacting government change?
February 11, 2011
Barbara Salvin, for AOL News, argues Egypt has a real chance at democracy and speculates on whether Iran is next. Salvin hails the moment as the "first great revolution of the 21st century: a historic event that has broken once and for all the stereotype that Arabs are not ready for democracy and freedom."Read it all here.
Kenneth Bandler, for Fox News, argues that it is now up to Egyptians to decide whether to keep the peace with their Israeli neighbors. Bandler speculates on the role the Muslim Brotherhood may play in the new Egyptian government and points to the Muslim Brotherhood's ideological ties to Iran "which poses a threat to the entire region."
Ellis Goldberg, a Professor of Political Science at the University of Washington and at the American University in Cairo, explains why Egypt's military, which now controls the country, will not embrace democracy. Writing for Foreign Affairs, Golderberg argues "the [Egyptian] army presents itself as a force of order and a neutral arbiter between contending opponents, but it has significant interests of its own to defend, and it is not, in fact, neutral."
February 9, 2011
University of California, Irvine faculty members sent a letter Wednesday to Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas, requesting that Rackauckas drop all criminal charges against the students who disrupted a speech last year by the Israeli Ambassador to the U.S.Read it all here.
The letter, signed by 100 faculty, including five deans, argued that the 11 students, who face criminal conspiracy charges, were punished enough by the university.
"This is sufficient punishment," the faculty letter says. "There is no need for criminal prosecution and criminal sanctions. The use of the criminal justice system will be detrimental to our campus as it inherently will be divisive and risk undoing the healing process which has occurred over the last year."
Following the Feb. 8, 2010 incident and a subsequent university investigation, UC Irvine revoked the Muslim Student Union's charter for one year and placed the organization on probation for another year. However, the school reduced punishment, restoring the group's charter Dec. 31, 2010 and instead adding a year of probation and 100 hours of community service.
“Their behavior is not speech protected by the First Amendment,” said Erwin Chemerinsky, the founding dean of the University of California, Irvine School of Law. "But I don't think there should be criminal prosecution. University discipline, which was imposed, should be deemed sufficient."
The students, who can face anything from probation and community service to a six-month jail sentence if convicted, each face one count of misdemeanor conspiracy to disrupt a speech and one misdemeanor count of disturbing a meeting....