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Monday, December 7, 2009 marked the 68th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attacks. Survivors of the assault participated in a commemorative wreathlaying ceremony at the Navy Memorial in Washington, DC. The presiding officers of the memorial were (from left to right) Retired Rear Admiral Edward "Ted" K. Walker, Jr. (second from left), Rear Admiral Patrick Lorge, Retired Commander John Budzik, and Mr. John Carl Mindte.

All photos by Jeff Malet / maletphoto.com




The ceremony began at 1:00 p.m. on Monday, December 7 and featured performances by the United States Navy Band.

Photo by Jeff Malet / maletphoto.com






Jeff Malet / maletphoto.com






Jeff Malet / maletphoto.com




Retired Commander Budzik, a survivor of the 1941 attacks, lays a wreath during the ceremony. Budzik joined the Navy in 1939 and retired as a commander with 28 years of service.

Jeff Malet / maletphoto.com




Survivors of the attack preside over the ceremony, including Retired Admiral Edward "Ted" K. Walker Jr. As a nine-year-old son of a naval officer, Walker directly witnessed the Pearl Harbor attacks. He now serves on the Board of the United States Navy Memorial.

Jeff Malet / maletphoto.com




Retired Rear Admiral Walker, Rear Admiral Lorge, and Retired Commander Budzik.

Jeff Malet / maletphoto.com




Retired Commander Budzik.

Jeff Malet / maletphoto.com




The Navy Ceremonial Gaurd.

Jeff Malet / maletphoto.com




The Pearl Harbor Survivors Association, the Naval group that attends the annual commemoration, said that next year's ceremony may the group's last "given the age of their members." From the AP report: "The youngest survivors are now about 85 years old, and their numbers are dwindling. Richard Laubert, 89 years old, said he hopes to return for the 69th anniversary next year."

Jeff Malet / maletphoto.com

Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ), the co-chairman of the House Progressive Caucus, released a statement today calling a reported compromise on the public option "troubling."

Leaders "have already compromised far too much," Grijalva said.

Ten Senate Democrats -- five conservatives and five progressive -- have been meeting to work out a compromise on the public option. One option on the table is to water down or remove the public option but allow some people between 55 and 65 buy into Medicare. Another is to lower the eligibility age altogether.

Here is the full text of Grijalva's statement:

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In an interview last Friday with conservative talk radio host Lars Larson, Sarah Palin left the door wide open to running for president in 2012 -- as a third-party candidate, not a Republican.

"That depends on how things go in the next couple of years," said Palin, when asked whether she would consider the move.

She further explained: "If the Republican party gets back to that [conservative] base, I think our party is going to be stronger and there's not going to be a need for a third party, but I'll play that by ear in these coming months, coming years."

A security consultant who was a passenger on AirTran Flight 297 says the man who claims he thwarted porn-watching Muslim hijackers clearly fabricated the story, but Brent Brown adds that the airline's version of events underplays the seriousness of what happened.

Brown told WSBTV that Tedd Petruna, who says a group of Muslim terrorists were casing the plane, is "living in a fantasy world." (Petruna now has his own hash tag on Twitter.)

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The Obama administration wants to make sure people in Afghanistan and Pakistan heard six key sentences in the president's announcement about sending more troops - telling them "America seeks an end to this era of war and suffering."

The State Department took President Obama's comments and similar remarks made by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (they also promised the U.S. has no interest in "occupying" Afghanistan) and translated them into several languages to be spread via compressed video that can be watched on cell phones and mobile devices.

Clinton taped videos directly to the people of Afghanistan and translated into Arabic, Dari, Pashto, and Urdu and one to people in Pakistan, dubbed in Punjabi.

"Building on the lessons of 21st century statecraft, we are aiming to continually listen, learn and engage people around the world," the State Department's Katie Dowd wrote. "It is our hope that we can continually leverage new tools and technology to reach and engage people whether they are 10 or 10,000 miles away."

Alec Ross, senior adviser for innovation at State, told TPMDC that citizens in Afghanistan and Pakistan may lack traditional Internet access in computers with high-speed broadband but they are increasingly getting mobile access. (Read more about Ross' efforts here.)

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So: You've heard about this big summit in Copenhagen, at which negotiators will try to save the planet by agreeing to cut greenhouse gas emissions. The news that President Obama will be there for the conference's last few days -- coming on the heels of China and India's announcements of nationwide efficiency targets -- has raised expectations that world leaders will be able to tout substantive progress by the end of next week. But what exactly is on the agenda in Denmark, and what can we realistically expect?

Herewith, a quick and dirty guide to the Copenhagen talks:

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President Obama will soon be honored with a statue in Jakarta, Indonesia, depicting him as a child in the period when he lived there for four years.

The statue, erected by a private group called "Friends of Obama" and financed by local businessmen and businesswoman, will be two meters tall, and made of bronze. It will be located at a playground near the elementary school that the young Obama attended.

The statue will be unveiled on December 10, at a ceremony attended by Jakarta's governor, the U.S. ambassador to Indonesia, and hundreds of children who have attended the school.

This isn't the only instance of a statue of Obama in the country -- though others are not as friendly. In the city of Yogyakarta, artist William Syanhur will take a fiber-glass statue of Obama around the city on a bicycle taxi, in order for people to boo Obama in effigy for his decision to send more troops to Afghanistan despite having received a Nobel Peace Prize.

Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top commander in Afghanistan, and Amb. Karl Eikenberry both expressed full support for President Obama's new strategy in the Afghanistan War today during hearings before the House Armed Services Committee.

"I can say without equivocation that I fully support this approach," Eikenberry said.

"I fully support the president's decision," McChrystal told the committee. "I'm confident we have the right strategy and the right resources."

Asked about the July 2011 date to begin withdrawal, McChyrstal said it's not a "major factor" in his military strategy.

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