Blog Posts by Holly Bailey, Yahoo News

  • Gates on Iraq: 'I do have hope'

    Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates bemoaned the latest surge of violence in Iraq but insisted he still has “hope” the country can turn itself around.

    “I don’t think we are back to square one,” Gates told Yahoo News Global Anchor Katie Couric “I do have hope… Don’t ask me to put odds on it, because I don’t know what those odds are. But I don’t think the Iraqis want to go back to where they were in 2006, 2007.”

    Gates’ comments came as 26 people were killed in separate bombings across Baghdad and Iraq’s Sunni-dominated Anbar province Monday. The region has been rocked by a surge in sectarian violence in recent weeks, fueled by militants emboldened by the civil war in neighboring Syria.

    Gates, who is in the midst of a publicity tour for his new memoir, “Duty,” blamed the violence in part on long simmering tensions between Iraqi President Nouri al-Maliki’s Shia-led government and Sunni leaders who have accused al-Maliki of trying to marginalize them.

    For years, U.S. officials have pressed

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  • Gates: White House 'should go look in the mirror'

    Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates pushed back against critics who suggested he should have sat on his memoir about his years in the Obama administration, insisting his tell-all is not a “betrayal” of Obama.

    In an interview with Yahoo News Global Anchor Katie Couric, Gates insisted he did not have an “adversarial relationship” with Obama and that he has a “lot of admiration” for the president. But the former defense secretary, who also worked for President George W. Bush, did not mince words about Obama’s current and former top aides, who have slammed Gates’ account as being self-serving and driven by politics.

    “Well, for a micromanaging White House, they should go look in the mirror,” Gates told Couric. “Maybe they ought to think about how they do business. And I think it’s fair to say that the book is a lot more critical about the people around the president than it is of the president.”

    Still, Gates said Obama was ultimately responsible for setting the tone of a White House he says

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  • Exhibition a tribute to first gallery that focused solely on photography

    It’s hard to imagine in the age of Flickr and Instagram that it was once hard to find and view original photography. But even 50 years ago, it was rare for museums and galleries to dedicate much wall space to a medium that, back then, primarily flourished on the pages of news magazines.

    In 1959, a young street photographer named Larry Siegel decided to work on changing the perception that photography wasn’t art. He converted a small storefront on East 10th Street in New York City into a gallery dedicated exclusively to showing photography.

    The Image Gallery soon became a meeting place and exhibition space for photographers who went on to be considered legends in their field, including Saul Leiter, Garry Winogrand and Robert Frank.

    Early patrons, who had not been used to seeing photography prints on display, didn’t quite know what to think.

    “In those days, photographic prints were not well known,” Siegel recalls. “People would walk in, point to the wall, and ask, ‘What’s that?’ They thought

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  • Dueling agendas test de Blasio, Cuomo relationship

    In 1997, Andrew Cuomo was moving up the ranks in Washington as President Bill Clinton’s Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, but he was still focused on New York, where he longed to follow in his father Mario’s footsteps and run for governor.

    Cuomo wanted someone who could be his “eyes and ears” on the ground in New York, as one former aide put it, an envoy who could keep him apprised of the political landscape back home not just for the benefit of his work for the Clinton administration but for his own political future.

    He turned to an old acquaintance from Clinton’s 1992 campaign in New York: Bill de Blasio, a former aide to Mayor David Dinkins who was considered a rising star among Cuomo’s network of political friends back home. He tapped de Blasio to be regional director of HUD, overseeing New York and New Jersey, but de Blasio quickly became more than just a work colleague.

    “Bill became someone that Andrew really relied on,” recalled Chris Lehane, a Democratic strategist and

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  • Bill de Blasio sworn in as NYC mayor

    NEW YORK — Bill de Blasio was formally sworn in as the 109th mayor of New York City on Wednesday, becoming the first Democrat in two decades to lead City Hall and ushering in what is expected to be an era of liberal progressive governance in the nation’s largest city.

    De Blasio, a former City Council member who most recently served as the city’s public advocate, formally assumed control of the city during a star-studded inauguration ceremony held on the chilly steps of City Hall in Lower Manhattan, where he doubled down on his campaign pledge to fight economic inequality in the city. He likened it in importance to other problems the city has faced, including the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and Superstorm Sandy.

    "Our city is no stranger to big struggles — and no stranger to overcoming them,” de Blasio declared. “New York has faced fiscal collapse, a crime epidemic, terrorist attacks, and natural disasters. But now, in our time, we face a different crisis — an

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  • Behind-the-scenes doc shows moment Romney learned he had lost the presidency

    Mitt Romney really thought he was going to defeat President Barack Obama in the 2012 election — a belief he held right up until the polls closed on Election Day. As he told reporters on his campaign plane en route to his election night rally in Boston, he hadn’t considered losing. He hadn’t even written a concession speech.

    And that wasn’t just rhetoric. A new documentary about Romney’s 2008 and 2012 presidential bids captures the moment the GOP nominee realizes his quest for the White House is over, that the internal poll numbers that suggested a landslide victory over Obama were dramatically wrong.

    “I just can’t believe you’re gonna lose,” someone tells him.

    “Yeah, yep,” a stunned Romney replies.

    “So what do you think you say in a concession speech,” Romney adds with a hint of a smile. “By the way, someone have a number for the president?”

    It’s the opening scene from a trailer for “Mitt,” a documentary set to premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on Jan. 17 and stream on Netflix starting

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  • De Blasio picks William Bratton as New York's top cop

    NEW YORK — In the most closely watched hire of his new administration, Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio tapped William Bratton to serve at the city’s police commissioner.

    The long-rumored move returns Bratton as chief of the nation’s largest police force at a time when the department’s “stop and frisk” practices, which allow officers to randomly search people, have come under intense legal and public scrutiny.

    De Blasio made rolling back “stop and frisk” a major element of his winning mayoral campaign — even featuring his multiracial son, Dante, in an ad in which he vowed that his dad would be the “only one who will end an era of stop-and-frisk that unfairly targets people of color.”

    But as many of de Blasio’s political rivals pointed out during the campaign, Bratton has been a proponent of “stop and frisk”— a program that expanded when he ran the Los Angeles Police Department between 2002 and 2009.

    Both de Blasio and Bratton sought to play down the rift in a press conference Thursday. Bratton

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  • Alex Prager photographs the mystery and anxiety of a 'Face in the Crowd'

    Crowds have long been a subject of fascination for photographers, from the curious spectators in Weegee’s pulpy crime scene photos of old New York City to the color-soaked beachgoers cataloged by Martin Parr.

    But Los Angeles photographer Alex Prager has taken it a step further in her documentation of crowds — staging imaginary scenes seemingly influenced by a mix of Alfred Hitchcock suspense, the Technicolor style of William Eggleston and the costume design of Cindy Sherman.

    Prager’s “Face in the Crowd,” which is being presented at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., until March 9, features large-scale photos of hundreds of costumed actors she shot on specially constructed sets including a movie theater lobby, an airport terminal and a beach.

    Viewers are given a bird's-eye view of the hustle and bustle of the crowd. But Prager has infused the people in her photos with distinct individuality, and each person’s face invites examination of emotions and motivations. At the focal

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  • 'The Car Poolers' documents Mexican workers doing what it takes to get by

    Located two hours south of the U.S. border, Monterrey, Mexico, has been the unfortunate poster child for the drug war and ensuing violence that has claimed thousands of lives and sent the country into chaos.

    But there is another side to Monterrey, one in which hard-working residents seek to rise above the grisly drug-fueled crimes that have grabbed headlines around the world and have a better and more normal life.

    It’s those people who are the subject of “The Car Poolers,” a project by photographer Alejandro Cartagena. He took pictures of workers commuting to jobs riding in the back of pickup trucks in Monterrey. The series will be shown at the United Photo Industries Gallery in Brooklyn, N.Y., from Dec. 5 to Jan. 31.

    Cartagena, who is from Monterrey, had spent years documenting the impact of development and suburban sprawl on his city — a rapid expansion fueled in part by residents trying to escape drug-related violence.

    Some workers were buying homes more than an hour from their jobs — a

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  • Selfie reflections of 2013

    When Kim Kardashian decided to debut her newly slim physique in October, four months after giving birth to daughter North West, the reality television queen sidestepped the usual celebrity protocol of posing for the magazine most willing to pay big bucks for the post-baby body reveal.


    Instead, Kardashian donned a revealing white swimsuit and posed provocatively in front of a mirror, iPhone in hand, and snapped her own photo.

    As if there needed to be more proof, Kardashian’s snapshot confirmed that 2013 was truly the year of the selfie — a slang word for the self-portraiture that has overtaken social media with the rise of cell phone cameras.

    [Related: iPhone 5 at No. 9, see what else is on Top Searches of 2013]

    Kardashian’s "selfie" which she posted on Instagram and shared on Twitter, quickly went viral. More than 1 million people liked the photo on Instagram — making it one of the photo sharing network’s most popular images of all time — and more than 15,000 Twitter users re-tweeted or

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