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After fall in Egypt, Muslim Brotherhood self-reassessment is critical, experts say


WASHINGTON — Nine months after former Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi was removed from office by a military coup, members of his Muslim Brotherhood party need to develop a unified message if they want to stage a comeback to power, experts said Tuesday. 

But it won’t be easy.

A large number of Brotherhood leaders are imprisoned in Egypt, where the group was declared a terrorist organization last December, and the group encompasses myriad beliefs, making a unified and coherent ideology difficult to define. 

"The Muslim Brotherhood is more of a tribe, more of an identity belonging than an ideology," said Hassan Mneimneh, an expert on extremism in the Arab world with the German Marshall Fund.

The Muslim Brotherhood was founded in Egypt in 1928 as an Islamist social and political movement. It has since spread throughout the Middle East and North Africa, though it’s largest base is in Egypt . Until 2012, when Morsi was elected Egyptian president, it functioned primarily as an opposition party, which the experts said explains in part the problems the group faces today.  

As an opposition, Mneimneh said, the Brotherhood didn’t need to develop an effective social, political or economic theory. But Morsi, as head of state, did not have that luxury.

The Brotherhood’s fall from power in Egypt was jarring in part because of a failure by both citizens and party leaders to realize the party’s lack of experience as a ruling party and what that would mean to its governing capacity, experts said. 

"This idea that the Brotherhood was somehow going to sweep the whole region and now they’re rolled back or whatever, I think would have been a very exaggerated idea to begin with," said Michele Dunne, a Middle East senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Now, despite the chaos in Egypt, the group has a chance for revision and development, the panelists said. 

For the Brotherhood, “this is the time to try to evolve framework into something more concrete,” Mneimneh said.

(John Kuhn/MEDILL)

(The panel was broadcast live by C-SPAN and is available here:

Audience members live tweeted the event using the hashtag #mbFUTURE. Below are some highlights.)

Watch Live: Boston Marathon Tribute



Want to read the Pulitzer-winning work of 2014? Link’s below.

For journalism:

From The Guardian US: 

From The Washington Post:

From The Boston Globe:

Chris Hamby’s investigative work:

Eli Saslow’s explanatory reporting on food stamps:

Will Hobson and Michael LaForgia, local reporting on homelessness:

David Phillips, national reporting, on the affect of soldiers as the army downsizes after war:

Jason Szep and Andrew R.C. Marshall, international reporting, on the persecution of the Rohingya in Myanmar:

Feature Writing: No award.

Stephen Henderson, commentary:

Inga Saffron, criticism:

Editorial staff of The Oregonian, in Portland, for editorial writing:

Kevin Siers, for editorial cartooning:

Josh Haner, feature photography:

Tyler Hicks, breaking news photography:

Books, drama, and music:

"The Goldfinch" by Donna Tartt, fiction

"The Flick" by Annie Baker, drama

"The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, 1772-1832" by Alan Taylor, history

"Margaret Fuller: A New American Life" by Megan Marshall, biography

"3 Sections" by Vijay Seshadri, poetry

"Toms River: A Story of Science and Salvation" by Dan Fagin, general nonfiction

"Become Ocean" by John Luther Adams, music

-John Kuhn, Medill News Service

Washington Post, Guardian US win Pulitzer

The Pulitzer Prize Board awarded public service pulitzers to The Washington Post and The Guardian US for their coverage of the National Security Agency revelations. 


Staff of The Boston Globe won the Pulitzer for their breaking news coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings, which happened a year ago this week.


Here’s a shot of the full lists of prize winners:


In a phone interview with the New York Times, New Yorker editor David Remnick called the public service award "The epitome of important reporting and the epitome of what public service in journalism is all about."

Elsewhere in the Twitterverse:

As New York Times Reporter Michael Barbaro pointed out, the Pulitzer Prize Board did not name a winner in the feature writing category.

-John Kuhn, Medill News Service 

The Pulitzer Prize and the long shadow of Edward Snowden

In a little more than an hour, the Pulitzer Prize Board will announce 2014 winners. 

Photos and bios of the winners will be available here:

The Associated Press reported this morning that:

Among the potential contenders are reporters who revealed the massive U.S. government surveillance effort. The revelations, based on thousands of documents handed over by leaker Edward Snowden, were first published in June in The Guardian and The Washington Post, which last week received a George Polk Award for national security reporting.

Politico republished a story this morning, too, from March, highlighting the Pulitzer Prize Board’s dilemma:

The issue before the Pulitzer Prize Board: Does it honor reporting by The Washington Post and The Guardian based on stolen government documents that are arguably detrimental to the national security of the United States, and which were provided by a man who many see as a traitor? Or, does it pass over what is widely viewed as the single most significant story of the year — if not the decade — for the sake of playing it safe?

Read more:

The AP also listed Andrea Elliott of The New York Times as a potential winner, for her story on homelessness in New York City. And John Cichowski of New Jersey is making some noise, too, for his writing on the traffic jams on the George Washington Bridge following lane closures linked to Gov. Chris Christie’s staff.  

Check back after 3!

-John Kuhn, Medill News Service



Anti-Bullying bill already has 194 co-sponsors, but needs more


California Democrat Linda Sanchez pleaded for more lawmakers to support a school safety bill that’s been stuck in a House subcommittee for nearly a year.

The Safe Schools Improvement Act is basically an anti-bullying bill, requiring schools to provide a minimal “code of conduct” against harassment, and specifically prohibit it on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion and sexual orientation.

At a news conference Thursday morning, Sanchez said that research finds high incidents of bullying in are disabled children, and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender kids. According to the Gay, Lesbian, & Straight Education Network, eight out of 10 LGBT students have reported being harassed in school.

“So some of the hesitation we’ve had getting, in particular, Republican co-sponsors is that they object to including LGBT students,” Sanchez said. “But what they’re failing to get is that the legislation would help every student, not just one group of students.”

Sanchez already has 194 co-sponsors for her bill, but needs more support from the other side of the aisle for it to go anywhere in the House.

“The issue is not partisan,” said Rep. Mike Honda, D-Calif., who shared his own story about being bullied as a young Japanese-American following World War II. “The issue is very human.”

(Homa Bash/Medill News Service) 

Colbert to replace Letterman: Will late-night TV become more political?

CBS announced Thursday that Stephen Colbert will take the helm at the “Late Show” after David Letterman retires in 2015. 

Colbert’s new job means the end for his popular Comedy Central show, “The Colbert Report,” which debuted in 2005 with the comedian — and Northwestern grad — inhabiting a fictionalized character that shares his name and satirizes conservative media pundits. 

Fans of Colbert may be disappointed to hear the beloved character won’t make the trip over to CBS — at least outright — according to an interview Colbert did with Bill Carter of The New York Times:


Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh senses a political move on the part of CBS:


You can listen to Limbaugh’s reaction to the announcement via Media Matters.

Colbert’s late-night peers, on the other hand, took to Twitter to congratulate him on his big break:





CBS said in a press release that Colbert’s premier date as host of “Late Show” will be announced once Letterman determines a timetable for his final shows in 2015.

(Ashley Hickey/MEDILL)



“Everybody says that water is a right, that doesn’t necessarily mean to say it’s free.”

Barbara Frost, Executive Director of WaterAid International said, at press conference this morning. 

WaterAid International is a non-profit organization that works to provide clean water around the world.  WaterAid has the support of Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., and Rep.Ted Poe, R-Texas.  The congressmen work together to support the Water for the World Act, which aims to improve the efficiency that the U.S. provides safe drinking water, hygiene and sanitation (WASH), by improving USAID’s focus on the poorest countries.

WaterAid says its efforts are to bring clean water services to help 2.5 billion people who do not have anywhere safe to go to the bathroom and therefore defecate openly.  

According the UNICEF, nearly 700,000 children die every year from unsafe water.

Frost explained that for WaterAid, “It’s about getting safe water accessibly, adequately and affordably to poor communities.“

Some countries service water needs through the public sector and some through private.  “How that is done really depends on the environment and the context of the country.”  She said.

Ryan budget heats up


WASHINGTON – The byzantine circus that is budget season nears its zenith.

Today, the House continued its consideration of House Con Res. 96, better known as the Ryan Budget.  Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan’s budget would repeal the Affordable Care Act, among trillions in other cuts.  The word used most often to describe it today was “draconian.”

The budget will probably pass the House, but stands almost zero chance of passing the Senate.  You would think that would make this vote less heated.  You would be wrong.

Late in the day, an out-of-breath Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer took to the podium to refute Republican allegations that House Democrats were responsible for increasing the deficit.  “I heard Rep. Brady’s comments when I was downstairs and had to come right up here,” he panted.  The exchange between the Maryland Democrat and Texas Republican got heated, steadily increasing in volume.  At one point, Brady claimed that President Bush’s trillion-dollar addition to the deficit was the fault of former Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

“I’d be happy to discuss that with you in a special order,” Hoyer responded.  That’s about as close as it gets in the House to saying “You wanna take this outside?”

At one point, three Wisconsin congressmen traded barbs about who knew the most about cheese.

The House will wrap up debate and vote on the Ryan budget tomorrow.

(Sean Kennedy/MEDILL)



Speaker Boehner, Destiny’s Child Kelly Rowland and Taco Bell reps walk into a room…

An unlikely duo stood together for a cause Tuesday afternoon – Speaker of the House John Boehner and Destiny’s Child singer Kelly Rowland.


So what could the two possibly have in common?

Well, both apparently back a partnership between Taco Bell’s Foundation for Teens and the Boys & Girls Clubs of America to help kids stay on the road to graduation and cut dropout rates.


When Boehner stepped up to the podium to throw his support behind the partnership and what it hopes to achieve, the crowd listened politely.

But when the Grammy-award winning Rowland took the microphone, dozens of smartphones and cameras went up simultaneously to snap shots of the Destiny’s Child.


Funny how a celebrity advocate can result in a packed house and rapt attention.

Rowland, who said she went to a Boys & Girls Club with a friend as a young child once, had one simple message for teens:

“Believe in yourself and know what you possess.”


(Kelly Rowland wipes away a tear as Sherice Neil, a former Boys & Girls Club member and Taco Bell employee, speaks to the crowd.)

Back to the cause: the Taco Bell Foundation is committing $30 million in grants to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America over the next five years.

Note: There was nary a taco in sight at the Taco Bell-sponsored event. Instead, attendees were treated to bowls of apples and towers of cupcakes. 

(Homa Bash/MEDILL)

the madness ends..

March Madness ended last night when UConn defeated Kentucky 60-54.  It’s a sad time for many of us as we shift our focus back to the rest of life.

For those who may not have followed along but still want to have something to talk about with their friends and colleagues that are already counting down to Selection Sunday 2015 (341 days…) here are some quick facts about the 2014 NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament.

The tournament was full of upsets and surprises for everyone, including the President Barack Obama…

A 7-seed has never before made it to the final game

there are twin brothers on the Kentucky team - Aaron and Andrew Harrison.

Aarron Harrison had game winning shots against Michigan (elite 8) and Wisconsin (final 4) 

UConn’s coach has only been there for 2 years

And it seems that UConn is a little grumpy about not making the tournament last year…

Hope this helps at the water cooler and in the break room today at work! 



Senators and Congressmen spoke at the AFL-CIO rally to raise the minimum wage and called out Congressional Republicans who oppose it.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of Calif., Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa, Rep. George Miller of Calif., and Sen. Al Franken of Minn., were vocal about their support of minimum wage workers and the associated social and political obstacles ahead.

Still, the Democrats at the rally were confident they are on the side of the American people. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called out Republicans who oppose raising the minimum wage, and even want to lower it. “Nothing could be further from the mainstream,” He said.

According to Gallup about 75 percent of Americans support raising the minimum wage.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi commanded that raising minimum wage is about helping working women and that raising minimum wage will help American families. 

Although democrats are confident about their plight, the greatest obstacles are gaining results politically. 

Sen. Tom Harkin painted the scenario from his view, “If you went to any normal politician seeking re-election, and you said, ‘I’ve got an issue here, that polls like this: 73 percent of the American people support it, 71 percent of Independents support this issue, 90 percent of Democrats, even 53 percent of Republicans…’ You throw out that issue to most politicians and they would say, ‘give me that issue…I’d like to vote on it!’”

“Well that’s the polling for raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour,” Harkin continued, “but the Republicans are high bound by their ideology. …You know what I say?…Let them take that ideology and let them lose in November.”

(Taryn Galbreath/MEDILL)