Was Obama’s move brilliant?

In the face of furious hyperbolic opposition from the Republican party who warned him that he was threatening to undermine the very foundations of democracy in the US, president Obama has gone ahead with his plan to use his executive powers to temporarily spare anywhere from three to five million undocumented immigrants from the threat of deportation for three years by offering them temporary legal status.
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The unraveling of Bill Cosby’s reputation continues

More and more stories are emerging that are contradicting Bill Cosby’s reputation as a genial and avuncular person. It has been hard for most people to swallow, given the overwhelmingly positive public image he has had. I had never watched his hit TV shows or seen his comedy routines so perhaps had not fallen under his spell as much as others and so the allegations did not seem as unbelievable to me.
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Gregory Peck (1916-2003)

I always liked Gregory Peck. Although he was sometimes criticized for having a somewhat wooden acting style, there was no question that he had an impressive on-screen presence where he seemed to ooze integrity and the viewer was confident that he would do the right thing. I haven’t seen all his films of course, but as far as I am aware, there were very few in which he played a villainous character, one being Joseph Mengele in The Boys From Brazil.
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The success of the propaganda system

On November 19 I tuned in to the radio news program The World and a story was already in progress. In it a voice with a British accent was describing his treatment at the hands of his captors. He described being tortured, stripped naked and beaten, threatened with execution, and heard the sound of a woman screaming in the next room and was told that it was his wife being tortured.
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Joan Rivers and vicious humor

I don’t think I ever saw the late Joan Rivers actually perform her standup comedy routine except for very short bits but her presence could be felt everywhere in the media and so I knew about her indirectly. I knew that she was a pioneer, entering the field of standup comedy when it was almost exclusively a male field and that she had to fight her way to make it.
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Update on Julian Assange

Veteran investigative reporter John Pilger gives an update on the status of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, confined to the Ecuadoran embassy in London since 2012 that is guarded round the clock by police to ensure that he does not slip out of the country. Pilger says that even the British government that, like the US, hates Assange with a passion and would hand him over to the US in a minute to be tortured, is getting frustrated with Sweden’s intransigence and unwillingness to take any steps towards resolving this impasse.
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