Sunday Menu

Morning lineup:

CBS: Sunday Morning: Warby Parker, an online seller of eyewear; targeting baby boomers; Hugh Hefner; ad icons; Taschen Books; yacht re-sales; lint art.

ABC: This Week: Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY); Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC); Roundtable: George Will (ABC News), former White House communications director Anita Dunn, Chrystia Freeland (Thomson Reuters), Jonathan Karl (ABC News); Martha Raddatz (ABC News), professor of international politics Vali Nasr (Tufts University).

FOX: Fox News Sunday: Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN); Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ); Roundtable: Brit Hume (Fox News), Kirsten Powers (New York Post), Bill Kristol (Weekly Standard), Juan Williams (Fox News).

NBC: Meet The Press: Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ); Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI), Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA); Roundtable: Katty Kay (BBC), Matt Bai (New York Times), David Brooks (New York Times).

CBS: Face The Nation: Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN).

Bloomberg: Political Capital: Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).

CNN: State Of The Union: Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA); Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI); Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC).

NBC Universal: The Chris Matthews Show: Norah O’Donnell (CBS News), David Ignatius (Washington Post), Michael Duffy (Time), Helene Cooper (New York Times) on the questions Is the president lagging the country on getting out of Afghanistan? and Will the Tea Party get behind the winner if it is Mitt Romney or Jon Huntsman?

CNN: Fareed Zakaria GPS: pending

CNN: Reliable Sources: Aaron Barnhart (Kansas City Star), David Zurawik (Baltimore Sun), Glynnis MacNicol (Business Insider), journalist Jose Antonio Vargas.

PBS: Washington Week: Martha Raddatz (ABC News), Doyle McManus (Los Angeles Times), Nia-Malika Henderson (Washington Post), Pete Williams (NBC News).

TV One: Washington Watch: Kelvin Boston (“Moneywise”); author and syndicated columnist Michelle Singletary; financial wellness expert Rodney Anderson.

C-SPAN: Newsmakers: Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA); Emily Cadei (Congressional Quarterly), Craig Whitlock (Washington Post).

Evening lineup:

CBS: 60 Minutes: Hard Times Generation: for some children, socializing and learning in school are being cruelly complicated by homelessness; Wynton Marsalis: the jazz missionary shares his love of America’s most distinctive art form by taking his Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra around the world.

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Sunday Menu

Morning lineup:

CBS: Sunday Morning: on Father’s Day, a look at middle-aged men: is there really such a thing as a mid-life crisis? Also: Hollywood heavyweights Julia Roberts and Tom Hanks, starring in “Larry Crowne”; the artisans who build hand-crafted guitars; Dick Van Dyke, still hoofing it at age 85; men who refuse to “go gray.”

ABC: This Week: Sen. John McCain (R-AZ); Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States Husain Haqqani; Keep America Safe’s Liz Cheney, David Ignatius (Washington Post); Robin Roberts of “Good Morning America” with her special Father’s Day interview of President Obama; Roundtable: George Will (ABC News), Amy Walter (ABC News), Matthew Dowd (ABC News), Jacob Weisberg (Slate).

FOX: Fox News Sunday: outgoing Secretary of Defense Robert Gates; Jon Stewart (“The Daily Show”); Roundtable: Bill Kristol (Weekly Standard), Mara Liasson (NPR), Dana Perino (Fox News), former White House Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton.

NBC: Meet The Press: Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC); Roundtable: Richard Engel (NBC News), Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Paul Gigot (Wall Street Journal), presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, Chuck Todd (NBC News).

CBS: Face The Nation: Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY); Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY); Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI).

Bloomberg: Political Capital: Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN).

CNN: State Of The Union: outgoing Secretary of Defense Robert Gates; senior strategist for the Obama Re-election Campaign David Axelrod.

NBC Universal: The Chris Matthews Show: Major Garrett (National Journal), Norah O’Donnell (MSNBC), Michelle Cottle (Daily Beast), John Harris (Politico) on the questions Would Mitt Romney beat Barack Obama? and Will Romney and Jon Huntsman have to answer questions about what Mormons believe?

CNN: Fareed Zakaria GPS: former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich, former Director of the Office of Management and Budget David Stockman; academic Fawaz Gerges; Iranian journalist Maziar Bahari.

CNN: Reliable Sources: John Avlon (Daily Beast), Jennifer Rubin (Washington Post) Julie Mason (Politico), filmmaker John Ziegler, Larry King (CNN).

PBS: Washington Week: Michael Duffy (Time), Nancy Youssef (McClatchy), Dan Balz (Washington Post), Jim Barnes (National Journal).

TV One: Washington Watch: former U.S. Undersecretary of Commerce Dr. Robert Shapiro; senior fellow at the Urban Institute Dr. Margaret Simms; Stephen Moore (Wall Street Journal).

C-SPAN: Newsmakers: from the U.S. Conference of Mayors, Democratic and Republican mayors will discuss issues facing cities.

Evening lineup:

CBS: 60 Minutes: The Spark: from Tunisia, where protests against the repressive government not only toppled its autocratic ruler, but sparked the uprising in Egypt that forced President Hosni Mubarak to resign; Endless Memory: a report on the recently discovered phenomenon of “superior autobiographical memory,” the ability to recall nearly every day of one’s life.

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Tweets U Missed

StopBeck Stop Glenn Beck
So, in addition to saving the Jews, Glenny is also going to save the Constitution. But, ya gotta buy his book first, mkay?

MaddowBlog Maddow Blog
Update: Catherine Ferguson Academy to stay open, continue as charter school

dailydish Andrew Sullivan: The
He’s Totally Serial!: Al Gore embraces Mitt Romney on climate change. I’m sure Mitt is thrilled to all goshness.

politifact PolitiFact
Romney: Job creation in current recovery worst since Hoover. It’s bad, but others were worse. False

AlanColmes Alan Colmes
Mitt Romney: “I’m Also Unemployed”

JohnFugelsang John Fugelsang
Now that Weiner’s gone can we all just come together & get back to blaming the black guy for not cleaning up Bush’s mess?

JeffersonObama C Gauvin
John Boehner Sex Scandal! Affairs with Two Mistresses! – Video goo.gl/cvHwu

MMFlint Michael Moore
And now it’s Boehner’s turn: Enquirer reports NY Times is preparing story on Speaker Boehner’s two mistresses.

mikeallen Mike Allen
flash: NBC’s Norah O’Donnell jumps to CBS News as Chief White House Corresp. and prin. sub. anchor of “Face”

fivethirtyeight Nate Silver
In Scotland. My hotel room is named after a brand of whisky and of course they left a free sample of it. I’m sold!

WestWingReport West Wing Report
Headline in NY Daily News this afternoon: “Weiner Gets Frank.”

pewresearch Pew Research Center
1st time in a decade: as many Republicans as Dems say U.S. “should mind its own business internationally.”

GottaLaff GottaLaff
“Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies” ~ Groucho Marx

BorowitzReport Andy Borowitz
The CIA believes Gaddafi will resign “but first we’ve got to get him to sign up for Twitter.”

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The Swedish Life

I stumbled upon this intriguing Web document this afternoon, called Amusing facts about Sweden, Swedish Culture, and Swedish Governance, compiled by an American. The “American” is the young, impressively credentialed Dr. David Black-Schaffer, who in 2008 received his Ph.D. in electrical engineering at Stanford, where he met and married a Swedish woman who was studying for her Ph.D. in applied physics.

According to a recent study by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, a 34-nation cooperative based in Paris, Sweden ranks second (to France) in social spending percentage of their gross domestic product (GDP). Whereas the United States spends a lowly 7.2 percent of GDP on social well-being, Sweden spends 27.3 percent. (You can read all about the study here, at Business Insider.)

Let’s take a look at some random aspects of the quality of life in Sweden, as provided by Dr. Black-Schaffer, courtesy the Swedish government (i.e., the taxpayer):

  • As of 2004 you can pay your Swedish taxes by sending an SMS message from your cell phone.
  • The government sends you a completely filled out tax form and if it looks good you just go online and click okay to pay your taxes.
  • Taxes are generally between 50 and 70% of your income. (Of course your employer already pays the full amount of your salary to the government in taxes before you even get anything.)
  • Companies must lay off employees in first-in-last-out order when they are downsizing.
  • You can take sick leave during your vacation if you are ill.
  • Parents get a total of 13 months of paid maternity leave and the father is required to take at least 1 month of it. (There has been a discussion about changing this to 15 months and requiring the father and mother to each take 5 and then split the last 5 as they feel appropriate.)
  • Parental leave can be used to take off time for parenting classes before your child is born.
  • Parents can save up their maternity leave for more than 5 years (i.e., use it for doctor’s appointments, school visit days, etc.).
  • Daycare cost is based on your family income with a government imposed maximum. (Currently about 1/10th as much as in the U.S.!)
  • If you have a new child, your other children get a month of free daycare so you can concentrate on the new one.
  • All employees (including graduate students) get 5 weeks of paid vacation a year.
  • All employers (as of 2004) are required to provide free massage.
  • Yearly car inspections include comprehensive safety checks as well as pollution controls.
  • Car insurance is flat-rate depending on the deductibles (i.e., no “comprehensive” vs. “collision” vs. “uninsured” vs. “medical”), and liability insurance is not required.
  • The transportation department of the Swedish government works actively to reduce the number of traffic deaths each year to zero. (Mainly by reducing the speed limits.)
  • The government installs elk fences along the sides of large roads to prevent elk from wandering into traffic.
  • Any product you purchase is guaranteed for 1 year, and the retailer must exchange it if it fails in that time. (This includes things like clothes and shoes.)
  • All non-military property that is not fenced in, or is not a farm or someone’s personal garden is open to anyone for hiking through or camping for one night.
  • Roughly 20% of the country’s police stations close during the summer since everyone is off on vacation.
  • Swedish university students are required to pay a membership fee in the student union, but no tuition.
  • American textbooks are cheaper in Sweden than in the U.S.
  • Privacy is taken so seriously that putting up video cameras in laundry rooms to catch vandals is illegal.

Many a conservative will complain about the smothering influence of the “nanny state,” the ills of a regulated economy and all that, but I, for one, look to Sweden fondly.

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Doubting The Thomases

Is Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas guilty of “judicial insider trading”? That’s the question posed last week by Brad Friedman over at The Brad Blog.

As Friedman and I both reported in January, there’s plenty of smoke and flames, and last week the wind just kicked it up a notch. Friedman:

While there has been little indication that law enforcement is actually investigating the crimes of the U.S. Supreme Court Justice …, last Friday when Thomas’ Financial Disclosure Form for 2010 was released, the matter appears to have gotten shadier still ….

Connecting the dots, it would seem the couple made huge profits from Thomas’ participation and insider knowledge of last year’s Citizens United ruling at the U.S. Supreme Court.

Details follow, but first, some intriguing history. Friedman again (emphasis mine):

… during Thomas’ contentious confirmation hearings in 1991, he received a huge boost when an outside organization ran $100,000 worth of television commercials attacking those Senators who were threatening to vote against Thomas’ confirmation. That organization? A newly formed group called Citizens United.

And 20 years later, Thomas decided in favor of the group in the now-infamous Citizens United v. FEC case, which “has allowed a tsunami of corporate money into our political and electoral system.”

Friedman again (emphasis mine):

It was that decision that allowed corporations to pour virtually unlimited money into 501(c)(4) non-profits that could, in turn, use the money to affect elections with millions of dollars in campaign ads, etc.

Ginni Thomas created one of those 501(c)(4) organizations [Liberty Central] just after oral arguments were argued before her husband in the Citizens United case, and somehow managed to raise some $550,000 in about two months’ time before the end of 2009.

But here’s where the story really gets interesting. On January 21, 2010, Thomas and the court made their 5-4 ruling in favor of Citizens United, with Thomas voting with the majority. Seven weeks later, Virginia Thomas announced that Liberty Central would “accept donations from various sources — including corporations — as allowed under campaign finance rules recently loosened by the Supreme Court.”

Virginia Thomas left Liberty Central in November 2010 but then launched a second group — Liberty Consulting — soon thereafter. Questions abound. Just how much income Mrs. Thomas generated from these ventures remains unknown, and Mr. Thomas isn’t disclosing. Here’s what else a group called ProtectOurElections.org wants to know, and they’ve posed them to the Justice Department:

  • Was Mrs. Thomas tipped off to the Citizens United decision before it was rendered?
  • Did Mrs. Thomas launch Liberty Central to take advantage of Citizens United and did she receive any income as a result of Citizens United?
  • What happened to the $550,000 raised by Mrs. Thomas for Liberty Central (which is listed on its 2009 IRS 990 form)?
  • Did Mrs. Thomas raise funds for Liberty Central after the Citizens United decision and if so how much and what was it used for?
  • Is Liberty Consulting engaged in consulting Supreme Court litigants or potential litigants?
  • Is Liberty Consulting engaged in lobbying and if so is Mrs. Thomas lobbying for litigants before the Supreme Court?
  • Is Liberty Consulting a legitimate company or a conduit to raise funds for the Thomas family?

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Sunday Menu

Morning lineup:

CBS: Sunday Morning: profiling Jimmy Fallon; the growing influence of bloggers; a chat with Jim Parsons of “The Big Bang Theory”; kids attend drama camp; a visit to the demolition derby.

ABC: This Week: Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL); former New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine (D); former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich; Claire Shipman (ABC News), former Assistant Pentagon Press Secretary Torie Clarke, former wife of French President Nicolas Sarkozy Cecilia Attias; Roundtable: Democratic strategist Donna Brazile, Peggy Noonan (Wall Street Journal), Jake Tapper (ABC News), George Will (ABC News).

FOX: Fox News Sunday: former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty; Roundtable: Brit Hume (Fox News), Mara Liasson (NPR), Bill Kristol (Weekly Standard), Juan Williams (Fox News).

NBC: Meet The Press: DNC Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), RNC Chair Reince Priebus; former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA); Roundtable: Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed (D), Republican strategist Mike Murphy, Richard Wolffe (MSNBC), Kim Strassel (Wall Street Journal).

CBS: Face The Nation: House Democratic Whip Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD), House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI); Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC).

Bloomberg: Political Capital: White House Economic Adviser Austan Goolsbee.

CNN: State Of The Union: from Manchester, New Hampshire, Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH); Rep. Charlie Bass (R-NH); former New Hampshire Gov. John H. Sununu (R), former New Hampshire Sen. John E. Sununu (R); possible GOP presidential candidate Jon Huntsman; Philip Rucker (Washington Post), Neil King (Wall Street Journal).

NBC Universal: The Chris Matthews Show: Andrea Mitchell (NBC News), David Ignatius (Washington Post), Rana Foroohar (Time), John Heilemann (New York Magazine) on the questions Tough new signs America won’t recover soon: Can President Obama still win? and Is talking to the Taliban the way out of Afghanistan?

CNN: Fareed Zakaria GPS: Eliot Spitzer (CNN), conservative commentator Ann Coulter, Chrystia Freeland (Reuters), British historian Andrew Roberts; former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger; David Ignatius (Washington Post).

CNN: Reliable Sources: pending

PBS: Washington Week: James Kitfield (National Journal), Karen Tumulty (Washington Post), Jackie Calmes (New York Times).

TV One: Washington Watch: White House Economic Adviser Austan Goolsbee; president and CEO of Sojourners the Rev. Jim Wallis, Peter Sprigg of the Family Research Council.

C-SPAN: Newsmakers: Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN); Julie Hirschfeld Davis (Bloomberg News), Joseph Schatz (Congressional Quarterly).

Evening lineup:

CBS: 60 Minutes: Designing Life: profiling famous microbiologist Craig Venter, whose scientists have already mapped the human genome and created what he calls “the first synthetic species”; The N-Word: a Southern publisher’s sanitized edition of “Huckleberry Finn” that replaces the N-word with “slave” over 200 times is the focal point for a debate on the use of the controversial word in American society; The King’s Speech: with its starring actor, Colin Firth, and a report on the historic find in an attic that helped make the “The King’s Speech” an Oscar favorite.

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Gandhi’s Seven Blunders Of The World

I stumbled upon this thought-provoking list this morning. It’s attributed to Mohandas Gandhi and was written shortly before his assassination in 1948. He gave to his grandson, Arun Gandhi, during their final day together.

  • Wealth without work.
  • Pleasure without conscience.
  • Knowledge without character.
  • Commerce without morality.
  • Science without humanity.
  • Worship without sacrifice.
  • Politics without principle.

Gandhi called these acts of “passive violence” and said that preventing these is the best way to prevent oneself or one’s society from reaching a point of violence.

I would also call them good yardsticks by which to measure the integrity of our political, business and educational leaders.

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The Tax Cuts And The Damage Done

It’s been exactly 10 years since the 2001 Bush tax cuts were signed into law. (A second round was passed in 2003.) Today, Zaid Jilani over at ThinkProgress reminds us, “The cost of these budget-busting 2001 and 2003 tax cuts was, as estimated by Citizens for Tax Justice, roughly $2.5 trillion through 2010.”

ThinkProgress:

… has estimated ten other possible policies we could’ve paid for at the same $2.5 trillion price of the Bush tax cuts. While not all of these policies are currently performed by the federal government, they do represent an accurate calculation of the monetary tradeoffs:

  • Retrofit 144.6 Million Households For Wind Power Every Year For Ten Years
  • Give 122.7 Million Children Low-Income Health Care Every Year For Ten Years
  • Retrofit 54.2 Million Households For Solar Photovoltaic Energy Every Year For Ten Years
  • Give 49.2 Million People Access To Low-Income Healthcare Every Year For Ten Years
  • Provide 43.1 Million Students With Pell Grants Worth $5,500 Every Year For Ten Years
  • Provide 31.5 Million Head Start Slots For Children Every Year For Ten Years
  • Provide VA Care For 30.7 Million Military Veterans Every Year For Ten Years
  • Provide 30.4 Million Scholarships For University Students Every Year For Ten Years
  • Hire 4.19 Million Firefighters Every Year For Ten Years
  • Hire 3.67 Million Elementary School Teachers Every Year For Ten Years
  • Hire 3.6 Million Police Officers Every Year For Ten Years

And as Jilani also reminds us, “In 2010, Congress then went on to renew the Bush tax cuts for an additional two years, and the political will for the sort of public investments listed above appears to have dried up.”

Let’s hope not. We must work to make sure the Bush tax cuts are dead and buried in 2012 and we regain a sense of what it means to live and work in a civilized society.

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What’s Wrong With Our World?

The answer is simpler than you might think. That’s the conclusion of Tom Shadyac, a reformed Hollywood filmmaker, in his new documentary project I AM. And while “I am” might make a fitting response — G.K. Chesterton thought so — Shadyac and his illustrious interviewees explore the question in some depth.

Following a crisis of conscience (that coincided with a physical crisis as well), the director of such Hollywood hits as Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, The Nutty Professor and Bruce Almighty took to interviewing some great thinkers — Desmond Tutu, David Suzuki, Coleman Barks, Thom Hartmann, Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, Lynne McTaggert and more — for their take on the answer, and their conclusions were strikingly similar.

We do not cooperate, as in natural world, they tell us. Instead, we compete. We do not consume only what we need, we hoard. We do not share, we deny. And ultimately, we do not accept the fundamental truth that we belong together, we separate, we segregate, we isolate. We are, in a word, sick. So, what can we do about it? That’s the second question.

It’s a good film. You should get out and see it. And take a friend.

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Sunday Menu

Morning lineup:

CBS: Sunday Morning: The USDA’s food pyramid gets a makeover; the scourge of bedbugs; Mike Wallace’s 2007 interview with assisted suicide advocate Dr. Jack Kevorkian; Chris Rock on Broadway; house arrests; actor Christopher Plummer.

ABC: This Week: White House Economic Adviser Austan Goolsbee; Paul Krugman (New York Times), chief economist of the Chamber of Commerce Martin Regalia, Chrystia Freeland (Thomson Reuters); Roundtable: Republican political adviser Mark McKinnon, Jonathan Karl (ABC News), former Clinton press secretary Dee Dee Myers, Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain.

FOX: Fox News Sunday: famous person Sarah Palin; Roundtable: Bill Kristol (Weekly Standard), Mara Liasson (NPR), Kimberley Strassel (Wall Street Journal), John Podesta (Center for American Progress).

NBC: Meet The Press: pre-empted due to NBC Sports’ coverage of the French Open.

CBS: Face The Nation: House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA); Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R).

Bloomberg: Political Capital: Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX).

CNN: State Of The Union: White House Economic Adviser Austan Goolsbee; former director of the Congressional Budget Office Douglas Holtz-Eakin, former director of the White House budget office Alice Rivlin; Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX); Democratic political strategist Anita Dunn, Republican political strategist Ed Gillespie.

NBC Universal: The Chris Matthews Show: Bob Woodward (Washington Post), John Heilemann (New York Magazine), Helene Cooper (New York Times), Alex Wagner (Huffington Post) on the questions He won the White House as the insurgent, so how will Barack Obama win again as the incumbent? and Can Republicans run for president while running from interviews?

CNN: Fareed Zakaria GPS: economists Ken Rogoff (Harvard University) and Jeffrey Sachs (Columbia University); spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood Essam El Erian; inventor Nathan Myrhvold.

CNN: Reliable Sources: Nancy Cordes (CBS News), Jeff Jarvis (BuzzMachine), Maureen O’Connor (Gawker) on the Anthony Weiner saga; Margaret Carlson (Bloomberg News), Matt Lewis (Daily Caller), Lynn Sweet (Chicago Sun-Times) on Sarah Palin’s bus tour; Jill Abramson (New York Times); lawyer Lynn Bloom.

PBS: Washington Week: Deborah Solomon (Wall Street Journal), John Harwood (CNBC), Jeff Zeleny (New York Times).

TV One: Washington Watch: Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL); U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk; former Oklahoma Gov. and CEO of the American Bankers Association Frank Keating.

C-SPAN: Newsmakers: Rep. Sander Levin (D-MI); Humberto Sanchez (National Journal), Ian Swanson (The Hill).

Evening lineup:

CBS: 60 Minutes: The Speed Traders: a rare look inside the secretive world “high-frequency trading,” a controversial technique the SEC is scrutinizing in which computers can make thousands of stock trades in less than a second; City of David: a report from under the city of Jerusalem — from a controversial archeological dig that has become a flashpoint in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; Lady Gaga: with her outrageous costumes and mega hit dance songs, Lady Gaga has become the world’s most talked about entertainer.

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