I Am Beginning To Like Bush Cheney

"Did you hear that Dick Cheney and Barack Obama are cousins? It's strange, isn't it? In a related story, 20 years ago, it turns out Rudy Giuliani was briefly married to himself."

Talk show host DAVID LETTERMAN

"Well, the president first and foremost is grateful he's not a candidate this year. He's glad he's not out there."

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Who could have thought?

The policy disagreements remain, but at a personal level, I am kind of not feeling as agitated about these guys no more. This might be a temporary hiccup and the animosity might come back tomorrow, or the day after, but right now I am kind of feeling okay about George W Bush and Dick Cheney, Wyoming man. By the way, did I tell you? I have been to Wyoming. It feels and looks like a different planet. I remember thinking, there is life on Mars, after all.

George and Laura Bush must be commended for their outspokenness on the Burma issue. I greatly admire that. It means a lot to me personally that they are doing what they are doing. Could they do more? Sure. So can India.

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And after I learned Dick Cheney is a distant cousin of Barack Obama, I think that changes things, don't you? The guy still looks wrong, but he does not feel all that evil.

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In The News

Barack Obama and Dick Cheney Not Kissing Cousins? The BV Entertainment Newswire Blog, NY
Obama chats about cousin Cheney with Leno Chicago Tribune
Obama jokes about Cheney relation United Press International
Obama is vice-president's distant cousin, says Cheney's wife Guardian Unlimited
Barack Obama and Dick Cheney are cousins Telegraph.co.uk
Republican bogeyman Cheney is related to leading candidate for ... Independent
Obama and Cheney are 'cousins'
Aljazeera.net, Qatar
Cheney, Obama are 'cousins'.
Sydney Morning Herald, Australia
Obama and Cheney discover hidden family ties
Cheney & Obama are distant cousins
RTE.ie, Ireland
Barack Obama and Dick Cheney 'are cousins'
Times Online, UK
Barack Obama and Dick Cheney are cousins
Telegraph.co.uk, United Kingdom
Cheney, Obama 'distant cousins'
BBC News, UK

US announces more sanctions on Burma ABC Online, Australia
Burmese Authorities Lift Curfew in Rangoon Voice of America
Bush Sets New Sanctions Against Burmese Military Junta Washington Post
Bush expands sanctions on Myanmar Los Angeles Times
Bush to Announce New Sanctions Against Burmese Government
Voice of America
Myanmar's state media call for Suu Kyi to compromise in talks with ...
International Herald Tribune, France
Myanmar lifts curfew, ban on assembly imposed after anti ... International Herald Tribune
Bush pressures Burma to release political prisoners, negotiate ...
USA Today
Burma junta in constitution move BBC News
Burma's military rulers draft new constitution Malaysia Sun
Burma lifts curfew, ban on assembly
USA Today
No Longer the Generals' Burma
Washington Post, United States 1988 ... I was working for Sen. Pat Moynihan then, about the only prominent American to notice what was happening in that isolated country. One day, after the Senate passed its first-ever resolution on Burma, a photo arrived in our office showing a column of Burmese marching with a banner reading: "Thank you Senator Moynihan." ........... The most recent peaceful uprising reflects fundamental changes within Burma and the wider world. ....... Soldiers are hunting down leaders of the protest movement and torturing them. Revered Buddhist monasteries are being occupied; the monks are being defrocked, beaten and sometimes killed. Government newspapers demand unity against "neo-colonialist stooges" and "killers in the airwaves" -- the Western radio stations that Burmese depend on for news. People are afraid. ....... By attacking monasteries, it has created a problem it cannot solve ...... Through the Internet, Burma's dissidents are more connected to each other and the world than ever before. The leadership is more disconnected from its people, and from reality, holed up in a bizarre new capital in the jungle. ....... the only solution that appears realistic -- a negotiated political transition in which the military saves some of its status and face. ....... the generals are vulnerable. Whether they get rich from gas, gems, timber or narcotics deals, the revenue is usually deposited in hard currency (since Burmese cash is worthless) in accounts in such places as Singapore and Dubai. That cash generally can't be used internationally without passing through the U.S. or European banking system, where it can be blocked, as President Bush announced Friday that the administration would do. America and Europe can persuade, or compel, the banks themselves to freeze the junta's accounts. ......... the arcane world of global finance. But targeted financial sanctions have become highly sophisticated. ........ decades of generalized trade restrictions against North Korea had little impact -- but when the United States, acting alone, caused one foreign bank to freeze one account belonging to North Korea's leaders, Kim Jong Ilcame to the nuclear negotiating table pretty fast. Even hermit kings can't afford to have their credit cards frozen, as Burma's rulers may soon learn. ......... No one can prosper without their permission. Outside aid might help some Burmese survive. But to think it can bring prosperity (much less spur political change) is naive. ......... Senior people in Washington would have to work seven days a week tracking Burmese money around the world, cracking down on those who shelter it, while simultaneously managing complex, multiparty diplomacy. ........ here is something else that is new: The American president cares about Burma and is energizing his administration to act. And he should: Burma is one place where America remains largely admired ....... The main obstacle to a successful Burma policy is the belief that we are as powerless today as we were 20 years ago. Let the generals hiding in their jungle fortress believe that nothing in the world has changed. And let us prove them wrong.
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India's Role in Burma's Crisis
BusinessWeek New Delhi has sympathy for the troubled nation, but energy needs and relations with China are complicating the equation ...... For the last two months, Burma has been in a crisis. ...... Global supporters of democracy have been vocal about the repression. ..... Officially, India hosts about 70,000 Burmese refugees; unofficially, the number is twice that. Nearly 60% of top Burmese dissidents are based in India, and they receive active and staunch support from several Indian politicians such as George Fernandes, a fiery labor leader who was Defense Minister from 1998 to 2004. Burmese students often gather at his Samata Party office in New Delhi, and he often takes up Burma's cause in Parliament. ........ "From 1988 to 1998, India burned its interests in Burma by isolating the junta and supporting democracy," says Brahma Chellaney, professor of strategic studies at New Delhi's Centre for Policy Research. "By then, China had already come in. India does not want to repeat that mistake." ....... In Rangoon and Mandalay, Chinese merchants, traders, and contractors live lavish lives, and some pursue drug dealing, human trafficking, and bribery of junta officials ....... Burma-China bilateral trade is $1.5 billion, making China the largest partner for Burma, and China is Burma's largest arms provider. "In 10 years, Burma will be China's just like Tibet is," predicts M.D. Nalapat, professor of geopolitics at Manipal University, Karnataka. ...... For the last four years, India has been engaged in fierce competition with China over securing its energy requirements from Africa, Russia, and Burma. ....... the Indians are building ports and roads, including a 165km "India-Myanmar friendship highway" linking Manipur in India's northeast to central Burma and continuing to Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore. ......... "pragmatic engagement." ....... the Burmese military has received $200 million in military aid from India. ....... Beijing's ability to use its Security Council veto to keep Burma's human rights record off of the U.N. agenda is more important to the junta than any economic incentives India could offer. ....... India's Communist Party, surprisingly, supports India's strategic shift on Burma in favor of the junta. ....... if India does not take the initiative with Burma now, it could lose its sheen as a champion of freedom and democracy in Asia ..... "This is the beginning of the end of the military junta. The people are willing to carry on." ........ the junta is running out of money despite the support from India and China: "They're running up against their own reserves and are virtually bankrupt." Tourism is down sharply, and ........ the regime cannot get access to Burmese Army-related bank accounts in the U.S..... Better for the Indian government to support a new Burmese regime and secure India's interest early on this time around.
Bush to call on China, India to do more on Myanmar Reuters
Mizoram urges India to pressure Burmese junta Mizzima.com The Mizoram Committee for Democracy in Burma (MCDB), formed with several civil societies, human rights activists, intellectuals, and concerned citizens of Mizoram at a press conference today reiterated the need for India's intervention in Burma's political crisis. ...... "We want democracy in Burma
India trying to make "a poor rich country" rich: FM Sify "India is rich because of its native entrepreneurial talent; it is poor because many policy and procedural hurdles stand in the way of the entrepreneurs. ... India is rich because its people are hardworking, resilient and pragmatic; it is poor because often commonsense is devoured by ideology ." ....... describing growth as "the best antidote to poverty". ...... India's GDP grew at an average rate of 3.5 per cent in those "lost decades", he said recalling that it required a balance of payments crisis in 1991 to jolt India out of its slumber. Then "brushing aside the predictions of doom, the people embraced the new paradigm of an open and competitive economy." ...... describing the first decade of the new millennium as "the best since independence." ...... In the seven years beginning 2000-01, India's GDP has grown at an average rate of 6.9 per cent. Since 2003-04, the growth rate has moved to a higher plane and the average has been 8.6 per cent. 2006-07 was a splendid year with the GDP recording a growth of 9.4 per cent. ......... One would have thought that the challenge of development - in a democracy - will become less formidable as the economy cruises on a high growth path, Chidambaram said. ....... "The reality is the opposite." Democracy - rather, the institutions of democracy - and the legacy of the socialist era have actually added to the challenge of development, he said. ........ several infrastructure projects like airports, seaports, dams and power stations and mineral-based industries such as steel and aluminium faced violent protests over land acquisition. ....... "the early development models that we inherited are simply incompatible with the demands of a globalising economy."
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NDTV.com There's a range of structural reforms that India needs to undertake to further deregulate and open its economy so that it can have more broad-based growth ....... the initial impetus to growth still comes very much from domestic demand in the rest of the world
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Expressindia.com "There is no question of withdrawing the case against Amitabh Bachchan," Sailesh Krishna, principal secretary to Chief Minister Mayawati ...... The officer while dismissing the star's plea before the Allahabad High Court that he was willing to forego his claim on land in Barabanki district also questioned the authority of lawyer of gram sabha of Daulatpur to exonerate Bachchan if he donated the land. ....... returning the land doesn't exonerate the star.
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Gates Fights To Eradicate Malaria Forbes Nowadays every cause has a celebrity attached to it. Madonna is adopting orphans in Malawi. Bono is rocking to relieve debt in Africa. Even Angelina Jolie is shining a light on refugees around the world. ....... “With all the HIV activists in the world, not one of the celebrities has come out for malaria.” ...... funding for malaria has grown 300% in the last three years and is currently $200 billion per year. ....... Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which has committed $860 million to malaria programs and another $650 million to support the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. ......... malaria offers the chance for a great return on investment. Here's the math: ninety percent of the annual one million malaria deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa. Plus, malaria costs Africa $12 billion in lost productivity. ....... one million malaria deaths a year is equivalent to “losing every student in the New York City public school system in one year.” ...... malaria eradication is a critical first step towards making the African economy productive. “Ten dollars buys a bed net, delivers it to Africa, installs it, educates people on how to use it and protects two people, often a mother and child, for up to five years” ....... a malaria vaccine, currently in Phase II trials. ....... so many people are attracted to the cause is because it’s an achievable goal. Unlike poverty, which is broad and multi-layered, malaria is easy. Medicines treat the disease and bed nets and insecticides prevent it. ........ even President Bush is putting his money where his mouth is. The President’s Malaria Initiative is a $1.2 billion effort, which started in 2005, and is gaining traction. “If you win this office, you will inherit a record commitment to fighting malaria,” Gates said. “The world needs you to sustain it and enhance it. Malaria will never be eradicated without the full support of the President of the United States.
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Writers Guild votes overwhelmingly to authorize a strike Los Angeles Times nearly 12,000 members. ..... 1988. That vote paved the way for a 22-week strike that cost the entertainment industry an estimated $500 million. ...... Seeking to defuse tensions, the major studios on Tuesday withdrew a proposed revamping of the decades-old residuals payment system, removing a major stumbling block to negotiations. ....... the union's other key demands, such as granting residuals for shows streamed over the Web free and giving writers a bigger cut of home video sales. ....... Writers maintain they were shortchanged years ago when they agreed to a discounted pay formula for home video sales, only to see that business take off. And they're determined not to make the same mistake again as the digital revolution upends the entertainment industry. ........ the studios maintain that DVD sales are needed to offset rising marketing and production costs, and they contend that it's too early to lock into pay formulas for shows distributed online because technologies are rapidly changing and they're still grappling with uncertain business models. ...... As is often said, writers can't shut down production, but actors can. For that reason, many studio executives have been more focused on preparing for a possible actors' strike next summer.