Originally published on Sat November 17, 2012 3:53 pm
For the sake of argument, let's agree that when we use the word "inauguration" in this particular post, we are talking about the multiday, ball-bestrewn, soiree-soaked, tuxedo-dappled extravaganza that costs tens of millions of dollars and often leaves many Americans out in the cold — figuratively and literally.
Congressional leaders after their meeting with President Obama Friday. From left: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D), House Speaker John Boehner (R) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R).
As President Obama and congressional leaders started negotiations Friday to find a way to avoid the nation's going over the fiscal cliff, it was fairly plain that even some of those who are wisest in the ways of Washington couldn't agree on whether policymakers would actually be able to prevent the federal government from becoming a cliff diver.
A diamond prospector filters earth from a river in Koidu, the capital of diamond-rich Kono district in eastern Sierra Leone. Koidu suffered some of the worst ravages of Sierra Leone's war in the 1990s as rebels forced citizens to mine at gunpoint. Ten years after the conflict, diamonds remain a contentious issue.
Credit Issouf Sanogo / AFP/Getty Images
Small-scale artisanal mining has sustained this area since diamonds were discovered in 1930, but it is hard work and the pay is low.
Sierra Leone's "blood diamonds" helped fuel atrocities in the impoverished West African nation in the 1990s. The war has now been over for a decade, and the country's most valuable resource is no longer known as the product of a conflict. But it remains a contentious issue.