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Here is the 'Beat 360°' pic:
Wolfgang Lauenburger and his dogs perform during the 33rd International Circus Festival of Monte Carlo last week in Monte Carlo, Monaco.
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[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/01/23/obama.abortion/art.obama.inspiration.gi.jpg caption="President Obama has decided to overturn a Republican-favored abortion funding policy."]
President, NARAL Pro-Choice America
Well, pro-choice America, after eight long years of an anti-choice administration, we can finally exhale. Just minutes ago, President Obama repealed the global gag rule! Following yesterday’s 36th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, this victory is that much sweeter.
It’s really starting to sink in that having a pro-choice president goes a long way for women’s health and privacy. We say it all the time, but it bears repeating: Elections matter. Pro-choice Americans worked long and hard to help elect a pro-choice president because we know it is the best way to reverse divisive anti-choice policies that harm women and their families.
We know that former President Bush attacked choice plenty of times as president, but the global gag rule was one of his worst offenses. In the short video below, our policy director, Donna Crane, tells you everything you need to know about the global gag rule in 90 seconds:
This policy forced health clinics around the world to choose between providing women and families with health care they desperately needed and getting financial support from the United States. The policy cut off U.S. funds to health clinics unless the clinics agreed not to use their own, private, non-U.S. funds for abortion services, abortion-related advocacy, or even abortion counseling or referrals.
Need an example of how this has harmed women’s health? The Family Planning Association of Kenya, which does not provide abortion, had to cut its outreach staff in half, close three clinics that served 56,000 clients in traditionally underserved communities, and raise fees at the remaining health centers. One of the clinics that closed housed a unique well-baby center that provided comprehensive infant and post-partum care. That well-baby center is now lost to the community.
President Obama has taken a strong stand in support of family planning, and we really need to thank him for this victory for women’s health.
So, as we look forward, we certainly have reason to celebrate. However, we also have to remain realistic, based on the projected choice composition of the new Congress. We've made significant gains, but there's still work to be done.
For more information, please visit www.ProChoiceAmerica.org so we can change the tone of the debate in Congress, with a focus on common sense measures that will prevent unintended pregnancy and reduce the need for abortion.
For an opposing view by the FRC (Family Research Council) click here.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/01/22/obama.abortion/art.obama.thur.cnn.jpg caption="President Obama issued a statement defending Roe v. Wade for protecting "women's health and reproductive freedom.""]
Family Research Council
On the day after millions of Americans solemnly marked the 36th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision that has led to the loss of an estimated 50 million lives, President Barack Obama took unilateral steps to expand abortion at taxpayers' expense.
In one of his first official acts as President of the United States, President Barack Obama rescinded the "Mexico City Policy." This policy prohibits taxpayer funds from going to foreign non-governmental organizations that use other funds to promote and perform abortions. Under the Mexico City Policy, funding for family planning is not reduced by one penny but recipient agencies must decide whether or not to engage in abortion promotion or provision. A policy against promoting abortion is only "anti-family planning" if one assumes that abortion itself is a method of "family planning."
Tony Perkins, President of Family Research Council, had this to say:
"Yesterday, President Obama issued executive orders banning the torture of terrorists but today signed an order that exports the torture of unborn children around the world. At a debate last year at Rick Warren's Saddleback Church, then-candidate Barack Obama vowed to find 'common ground' on the issue of abortion and that he, as President, would work to 'reduce the number of abortions.' His action today flies in the face of that vow and probably sets a record as the most quickly broken campaign promise ever leaving the question, how many more broken promises to families lie ahead?
"Both sides of the abortion debate, from Planned Parenthood to Family Research Council, agree on a simple economic point: when you subsidize abortion, abortions will increase. Thanks to his actions today, U.S. taxpayers will be forced to take part in exporting a culture of death. We have a responsibility to respect the policies and traditions of the other countries, which have laws recognizing the right to life of the unborn, and it is an insult to fund organizations that are intent on overturning those laws by promoting an elite ideology of abortion on demand.
"One of President Obama's first acts is to rescind this vital government policy and reward pro-abortion groups. This should serve as a bitter pill for those who campaigned for him, all the while proclaiming their belief in the cause of life and family."
To read comments from NARAL Pro-Choice America, click here.
The L.A. Times
I'm a pollster and political consultant associated with Republican causes: the Contract with America, the "death tax" and, of course, ending wasteful Washington spending. So why am I behind the new stimulus legislation - the biggest spending bill ever to be considered by Congress? Maybe because when it comes to some things - crumbling schools, overcrowded highways, an ineffective energy system, clean-water facilities that don't clean water and trains and planes that are always late - we're all on the same side.
Last month, I conducted a national survey of 800 registered voters on their attitudes toward infrastructure investment. It was commissioned by Building America's Future, a bipartisan coalition of elected officials - chaired by Pennsylvania Gov. Edward G. Rendell, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg - formed to support infrastructure investment.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/meast/01/19/gaza.war/art.gaza.prayer.gi.jpg caption="A Palestinian man Monday prays in the rubble of his home, destroyed during Israel's offensive in Gaza."]
The Smart Set
Say what you like about Israelis, they know how to play the game. I'm speaking of the humanity game. It's a game with specific rules and expectations in Western civilization. Its centerpiece, the very core of the game, is self-reflection. Demonstrating your humanity (since the Enlightenment, at least, but the roots go back to the beginning) is less about doing and more about reflecting on what you've done. The basic formula is already there at the Delphic Oracle: Know thyself. The trick of it, the reason that the humanity game is hard to play, is that the quest for self-knowledge does not lead to clarity, but down ever deeper into the muck. Knowledge, in the Western tradition, is very much about its limits. Knowing ourselves is thus partly about knowing the infinity of an enigma.
Ari Folman's Waltz with Bashir is a “know thyself” kind of movie. It is obsessed with memory, and memory is the thread around which a self is built. You can't know yourself without memory. The problem is that Folman doesn't remember. Crucially, he doesn't remember anything from his youthful days in the Israeli army when he was part of the Israeli incursion into Lebanon. He decides that he needs to remember, and tracks down a number of his fellow soldiers in order to reconstruct that past. The story is told in animated form. It's a nice move. It creates a distance from the reality of lived experience. It is like drifting through someone else's dream.
Debra J. Dickerson
The Onion summed it up best: "Black Man Given Nation's Worst Job." So many daunting challenges face President Obama that it's hard to know on which to offer him my unsolicited advice first. It's a crapshoot as to whether any president could heal our bedridden economy, guide us out of Iraq, end our petro dependence, save the environment, and convince the world that the last eight years were an aberration of which we are ashamed. Only Obama, however, gives us any reason to hope that we can begin to bridge the divide between the races, so I'll leave those other issues to, well, other journalists.
America's election of its first black president has to be followed by a demonstrated and pragmatic drive to improve race relations, or we'll have fallen prey to the biggest delusion in world history. For all the racial ugliness this campaign has exposed, though, and for all that will no doubt follow, it's not only whites who will imperil this process. Obama will have to lead both races in redefining blacks in the American mindset. Unless I'm much mistaken, blacks will face the greater crisis of imagination.
Roland S. Martin
There are so many things that we could take away and remember forever regarding the inauguration of the first African-American president in the history of the United States, but I'll always remember the laughter of a little girl.
Shortly after President-elect Barack Obama finished the oath and became President Barack Obama, he joined hands with his family and waved to the cheering voices of 1.8 million people packed from the Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial.
People cried, others hugged, celebrities and everyday folks snapped photos to capture the moment.
There really was an amazing energy that permeated the crowd as we all witnessed a barrier come tumbling down before our eyes.
But what stood out for me was a moment when President Obama looked down at his 7-year-old daughter, Sasha, and she said something to him, and then let out this huge laugh.
Special to CNN
The big news in New York politics is not that Caroline Kennedy, a deeply private person, preferred to be in private life.
Rather, the big news - and for Democrats, the good news - is that Gov. David Paterson has put another crack in the glass ceiling by appointing Kirsten Gillibrand to the Senate.
Gillibrand has it all. She moves with equal ease among Manhattan high-rollers and Delaware County dairymen.
She knocked off an entrenched Republican congressman in a conservative district. When she began, no one but she and then-Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairman Rahm Emanuel thought she could win.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/01/23/gitmo.detainee/art.gitmo.filer.gi.jpg caption="Ali al-Shiri was released in 2007 from the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba."]
A Saudi national released from U.S. detention at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in September 2007 is believed to be a key leader in al Qaeda's operations in Yemen, according to a U.S. counterterrorism official.
The Defense Department recently estimated that more than 60 terrorists released from Guantanamo may have returned to the battlefield.
According to the counterterrorism official, freed detainee Ali al-Shiri traveled to Yemen after being released to Saudi Arabia and may have been involved in recent al Qaeda attacks in Yemen, including a car bombing outside the U.S. Embassy in Sanaa last year that killed nearly a dozen people.