Monday, July 31, 2006
Reagan on Bush
Ron Reagan, that is (not his "sainted" father):
Isn’t it past time we realized that whenever Bush or his allies seem to admit an uncomfortable truth, it’s only a tactical retreat. They’re really just trying to get through the day. Then, when we’ve stopped paying attention, they’ll go back to doing what they’re good at: subverting the truth.And isn't it past time more people spoke out just like that.
Our Fair And Balanced US Press
When Pope Benedict comes out against abortion, women priests or gay marriage, the evening TV news never fails to mention this. But it wasn't until I visited Juan Cole's site today that I found out that the Pope has called for an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Hezbollah. I won't hold my breath waiting to see this on FOX News any time soon. (Or NBC, CBS or CNN, for that matter.)
What To Focus On Today?
Well, there's Bush's pet legislation to overturn the Sixth Amendment and turn all of America into Gitmo. (Read about it here or here.) Or there's the fact that the much-abused Labour MPs and cabinet members have had quite enough of Tony Blair's toadying to Bush and may actually act on their long-simmering disgust with him. Or the fact that Bush's lies about his "tax cuts paying for themselves" have been categorically refuted. (The original CBPP links are here and here.) Aw, what the heck: You pick 'em.
Sunday, July 30, 2006
Roasting ballots by an open fire
Welcome to Occupied Mexico!
The Mexican Crackup
Mexican Demo update
Welcome to the DEM(exic)O!
Another Step Closer
George W. Bush has said that he would "like to close" the detention camp at Guantanamo. Surprise, surprise: he lied.
The controversy over the US-run detention centre at Guantanamo Bay is to erupt anew with confirmation by the Pentagon that a new, permanent prison will open in the Cuban enclave in the next few weeks. Camp 6, a state-of-the-art maximum-security jail built by a Halliburton subsidiary, will be able to hold 200 prisoners. Commander Robert Durand, a spokesman for Joint Task Force Guantanamo, said the $30m, two-storey block was due to open at the end of September. He added: "Camp 6 is designed to improve the quality of life for the detainees and provide greater protection for the people working in the facility."Since Bush is lying about wanting to close Guantanamo, should we believe that the permanent camp will hold only 200 prisoners? They may have plans for a much larger detainee population:
U.S. citizens suspected of terror ties might be detained indefinitely and barred from access to civilian courts under legislation proposed by the Bush administration, say legal experts reviewing an early version of the bill. [...] According to the draft, the military would be allowed to detain all "enemy combatants" until hostilities cease. The bill defines enemy combatants as anyone "engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners who has committed an act that violates the law of war and this statute." Legal experts said Friday that such language is dangerously broad and could authorize the military to detain indefinitely U.S. citizens who had only tenuous ties to terror networks like al Qaeda.Consider how broadly the concept of "terrosist" has been applied for purposes of including people on the "no-fly" list, consider the groups that the FBI has been monitoring as "suspected terrorists", and you see how dangerous this legislation is. Is this permanent detention camp likelier to be populated by the likes of Cindy Sheehan and Medea Benjamin than by members of al Qaeda? Or by you and me, if we say the wrong thing in the wrong place? It isn't paranoia if they really are out to get us. "If this were a dictatorship, it'd be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I'm the dictator." George W. Bush, December 19, 2000
Conservative Megachurch Pastor Preaches Leaving Caesar's Things To Caesar. And Loses A Good Chunk Of His Parishioners.
In which a conservative pastor chooses to actually live according to Christ's teachings instead of making his church yet another Republican Party precinct headquarters:
MAPLEWOOD, Minn. — Like most pastors who lead thriving evangelical megachurches, the Rev. Gregory A. Boyd was asked frequently to give his blessing — and the church’s — to conservative political candidates and causes. The requests came from church members and visitors alike: Would he please announce a rally against gay marriage during services? Would he introduce a politician from the pulpit? Could members set up a table in the lobby promoting their anti-abortion work? Would the church distribute “voters’ guides” that all but endorsed Republican candidates? And with the country at war, please couldn’t the church hang an American flag in the sanctuary? After refusing each time, Mr. Boyd finally became fed up, he said. Before the last presidential election, he preached six sermons called “The Cross and the Sword” in which he said the church should steer clear of politics, give up moralizing on sexual issues, stop claiming the United States as a “Christian nation” and stop glorifying American military campaigns. “When the church wins the culture wars, it inevitably loses,” Mr. Boyd preached. “When it conquers the world, it becomes the world. When you put your trust in the sword, you lose the cross.” Mr. Boyd says he is no liberal. He is opposed to abortion and thinks homosexuality is not God’s ideal. The response from his congregation at Woodland Hills Church here in suburban St. Paul — packed mostly with politically and theologically conservative, middle-class evangelicals — was passionate. Some members walked out of a sermon and never returned. By the time the dust had settled, Woodland Hills, which Mr. Boyd founded in 1992, had lost about 1,000 of its 5,000 members. But there were also congregants who thanked Mr. Boyd, telling him they were moved to tears to hear him voice concerns they had been too afraid to share. “Most of my friends are believers,” said Shannon Staiger, a psychotherapist and church member, “and they think if you’re a believer, you’ll vote for Bush. And it’s scary to go against that.”Of course, the people who left Boyd's church were probably also unhappy about this move of his, too, which happened a year before his famous sermons:
In the end, those who left tended to be white, middle-class suburbanites, church staff members said. In their place, the church has added more members who live in the surrounding community — African-Americans, Hispanics and Hmong immigrants from Laos. This suits Mr. Boyd. His vision for his church is an ethnically and economically diverse congregation that exemplifies Jesus’ teachings by its members’ actions. He, his wife and three other families from the church moved from the suburbs three years ago to a predominantly black neighborhood in St. Paul.No, he didn't up and move the church itself to that neighborhood (which I'm guessing is near either Rice Street and/or University Avenue). But he obviously has been preaching a gospel of tolerance -- of skin tone, anyway -- that probably set the teeth of his white, middle-class suburbanite flock on edge. Thing is, the public schools in the Twin Cities are very good. The excuse usually given for living in the 'burbs -- The Schools -- really isn't operative here. People live in the 'burbs because they want to avoid seeing black people, who they see as criminals and Drains On The Taxpayer. (Of course, it would be far less of a drain on the average taxpayer if rich people were made to pay their fair share, but it's not politically correct among these folks to say that.) For this pastor to actually engage blacks and Hmong and Vietnamese persons, and to encourage them to join his church no matter their financial status, is every bit as shocking to his conservative white parishioners as his "The Cross and The Sword" sermon.
Saturday, July 29, 2006
Ummm...looks like nuclear power may not be the solution for global warming
Mercury rising south of the border
I don't know what's funnier: The fact that the Lieberman campaign staff was passing out non-union-made campaign buttons, or that they tried to pretend they had nothing to do with the buttons once somebody pointed the absence of the union bug.
Friday, July 28, 2006
The "Hiding Among Civilians" Myth
Ehud Olmert and the IDF are justifying the wholesale bombing of Lebanon, especially of Beirut (which in the course of two weeks has now been reduced to the same pitiful condition it was in during the horrendous civil war of the 1970s and 1980s), by saying that the Hezbollah soldiers who are their targets are hiding among the civilian population. Except that they're not, as Mitch Prothero points out:
Throughout this now 16-day-old war, Israeli planes high above civilian areas make decisions on what to bomb. They send huge bombs capable of killing things for hundreds of meters around their targets, and then blame the inevitable civilian deaths -- the Lebanese government says 600 civilians have been killed so far -- on "terrorists" who callously use the civilian infrastructure for protection. But this claim is almost always false. My own reporting and that of other journalists reveals that in fact Hezbollah fighters -- as opposed to the much more numerous Hezbollah political members, and the vastly more numerous Hezbollah sympathizers -- avoid civilians. Much smarter and better trained than the PLO and Hamas fighters, they know that if they mingle with civilians, they will sooner or later be betrayed by collaborators -- as so many Palestinian militants have been. For their part, the Israelis seem to think that if they keep pounding civilians, they'll get some fighters, too. The almost nightly airstrikes on the southern suburbs of Beirut could be seen as making some sense, as the Israelis appear convinced there are command and control bunkers underneath the continually smoldering rubble. There were some civilian casualties the first few nights in places like Haret Hreik, but people quickly left the area to the Hezbollah fighters with their radios and motorbikes. But other attacks seem gratuitous, fishing expeditions, or simply intended to punish anything and anyone even vaguely connected to Hezbollah. Lighthouses, grain elevators, milk factories, bridges in the north used by refugees, apartment buildings partially occupied by members of Hezbollah's political wing -- all have been reduced to rubble. In the south, where Shiites dominate, just about everyone supports Hezbollah. Does mere support for Hezbollah, or even participation in Hezbollah activities, mean your house and family are fair game? Do you need to fire rockets from your front yard? Or is it enough to be a political activist? The Israelis are consistent: They bomb everyone and everything remotely associated with Hezbollah, including noncombatants. In effect, that means punishing Lebanon. The nation is 40 percent Shiite, and of that 40 percent, tens of thousands are employed by Hezbollah's social services, political operations, schools, and other nonmilitary functions. The "terrorist" organization Hezbollah is Lebanon's second-biggest employer.What's more, by deliberately targeting Lebanese civilians, the Israelis are blowing up any goodwill the Lebanese people, whatever their persuasion, may have held for either them or for America:
As we drive south toward Tyre, we soon pass a new series of scars on the highway: shrapnel, hubcaps and broken glass. A car that had been maybe five minutes ahead of us was hit by an Israeli shell. Three of its passengers were wounded, and it was heading north to the Hammound hospital at Sidon. We turned around because of the attack and followed the car to Sidon. Those unhurt staked out the parking lot of the hospital, looking for the Western journalists they were convinced had called in the strike. Luckily my Iraqi fixer smelled trouble and we got out of there. Probably nothing would have happened -- mostly they were just freaked-out country people who didn't like the coincidence of an Israeli attack and a car full of journalists driving past. So the analysts talking on cable news about Hezbollah "hiding within the civilian population" clearly have spent little time if any in the south Lebanon war zone and don't know what they're talking about. Hezbollah doesn't trust the civilian population and has worked very hard to evacuate as much of it as possible from the battlefield. And this is why they fight so well -- with no one to spy on them, they have lots of chances to take the Israel Defense Forces by surprise, as they have by continuing to fire rockets and punish every Israeli ground incursion. And the civilians? They see themselves as targeted regardless of their affiliation. They are enraged at Israel and at the United States, the only two countries on earth not calling for an immediate cease-fire. Lebanese of all persuasions think the United States and Israel believe that Lebanese lives are cheaper than Israeli ones. And many are now saying that they want to fight.
Friday Cat Blogging
The Occult and the Afterlife: A Biblical Perspective
Thursday, July 27, 2006
It's Just Not Dubya's Day
His supposed friend Vladimir Putin has sold aircraft to Hugo Chavez, and is backing Venezuela for a seat on the UN Security Council.
As if that news weren't bad enough, his definite nonfriend Cindy Sheehan has bought a ranch in Crawford.
Doesn't that just make your day?
This Made Me Happy
Chicago to Wal-Mart: Start paying something resembling a living wage and benefits by 2010, or you can forget about expanding here. Of course, Wal-Mart is hinting that this will mean that they won't be gracing Chicagoland with any more Wal-Marts and may close the ones that they have. To which the Chicago city council says "Tough. Costco already meets our wage and benefit requirements. Why can't you?"
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
Like Son, Like Father
The father of our junior Senator seems to be a bit of an exhibitionist:
Police cited the father of U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman, Norm Coleman Sr., on Tuesday for lewd and disorderly conduct for allegedly engaging in a sex act in a car outside a pizzeria. According to a police report, the elder Coleman, 81, was having sex with 38-year-old Patrizia Marie Schrag, who was also cited for lewd and disorderly conduct. The St. Paul Pioneer Press first reported the citation. A police spokesman didn't immediately return a call from The Associated Press.The pizzeria in question is the Savoy, in a part of town that is borderline slum -- well away from City Hall, and the sort of place where wealthy men go to find hookers and be reasonably confident that their wives don't find out. Speaking of wives, this might finally cause the timid StarTribune to stop sitting on the various stories about Norm "Family Values" Coleman and his wife (and their alleged "open marriage") that have for years been a prominent part of local political gossip.
Exploding Yet Another Right-Wing Myth About Canadian Health Care
If you've lived in the US for any length of time during the past three decades, you've heard somebody repeat, at least once, the idea that "Canadians have to wait much longer than Americans to get health care!" Um, no. In fact, they generally have less of a wait than Americans do.
College Graduates' Wages Drop 5.2% Since 2000
Some Bush "boom", eh?
Condi Speaks in Code
In a press briefing before her trip to the Middle East, Condoleezza Rice said (emphasis mine),
What we're seeing here, in a sense, is the growing -- the birth pangs of a new Middle East and whatever we do we have to be certain that we're pushing forward to the new Middle East not going back to the old one.Birth pangs? Odd way to describe all those deaths. Or maybe not....
For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places: All this is but the beginning of the birth-pangs. Then they will deliver you up to tribulation, and put you to death; and you will be hated by all nations for my name's sake. And then many will fall away, and betray one another, and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because wickedness is multiplied, most men's love will grow cold. But he who endures to the end will be saved. (Matthew 24:7-13, Revised Standard Version)We have to get those End Timers out of power before they get us all killed trying to make their fantasies a reality. [Hat-tip to Tinsel Wing, by way of Jo in Salon's Table Talk.]
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
No shrimp, Sherlock
Anthrax, Coulter, and the NAACP
Threatening letters, at least two containing a white powdery substance, were sent to NAACP offices in three states, a spokesperson for the organization said Monday. The civil-rights group's offices in Baltimore and New York City received letters with the powder, said spokesperson Richard McIntire. The branch in Norfolk, Va., also received a letter, the FBI said, although it was not immediately determined whether the letter contained powder. Marvin Cheatham, who heads the Baltimore office of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said he opened the letter Friday and the substance later was identified as boric acid.I saw that DiversityInc.com piece even as the news of Ann Coulter's boasting about her own fake-anthrax mailing was still recent enough to be reverberating in my brain. I think I'll check in with David Neiwert over at Orcinus. He keeps track of racist and eliminationist movements, and I seem to recall that anthrax, real or fake, is a favored weapon of white supremacists.
Understanding Bob Somerby
Some people (the most recent one being a commenter over at the Tapped blog) have noted with some surprise that Bob Somerby seems to be uncharacteristically eager to defend Joe Lieberman. But if you've been following Somerby's online career over the past decade, it's not that surprising. The irony is that Somerby's latest Lieberman defense winds up proving the very point he wants to discredit: Namely, that Lieberman's 1988 action was a monumental betrayal that really did cause great harm to Clinton and, by extension, to America -- by making it politically possible for the Republicans to proceed with impeachment. Somerby says that Lieberman wasn't the only Democrat to go after Clinton. But Somerby is honest enough to admit that they didn't start attacking Clinton until Lieberman started attacking him. And that, ladies and germs, is what created the "bipartisanness" the Republicans needed to impeach Bill Clinton. (But not, luckily, to remove him.) You gotta understand the dynamic at work with Bob Somerby. Here are the rules he operates by:
NPR Shills for the DLC
Today's Morning Edition featured back-to-back reports about Joe Lieberman and the DLC. Fair and balanced reporting? Neither, thanks. David Welna's report on Lieberman was all about "the unexpected rise of Ned Lamont and the sudden danger Lieberman found himself in of losing his job." Welna tells us "This has caused a sense of indignation among Lieberman's supporters." Indignation is the response to offensive behavior. If Welna has accurately characterized the supporters' feelings, they obviously feel that giving the voters a real choice about whether Lieberman remains their Senator is Just Not Right. Jim Amann, speaker of the Connecticut House, clearly is indignant, even downright outraged: "Shame on all of us if we allow a shrieking minority in our party to hijack this primary." Shrieking minority. Nice way to talk about the voters. I hope lots of Connecticut voters heard that description and tell their friends. Mara Liasson's report on the DLC was longer, and even more dismissive of the Democrats who dare to reject the DLC:
"In the blogosphere, the DLC is attacked as centrist sellouts and shills for big corporations, but the fight really boils down to one issue: the war in Iraq."No, the fight boils down to the DLC being centrist sellouts to the Bush agenda and shills for big corporations. The DLC wants the fight to be about the war in Iraq so it doesn't have to answer for its collaboration with the protofascists who are destroying our democracy. To present what passes for the blogosphere's side of the story, Liasson interviews quotations from Elaine Kaymarck — a DLC operative who provides us with this insight:
"The blogosphere also has been really pushing the notion that Democrats have to have firm and decisive stands on issues, and that we cannot afford any more flip-flopping candidates a la John Kerry."Why is a Democrat repeating the GOP smear against Kerry? How many times did the
"We're not a grassroots organization."And he says it like it's a good thing. Vilsack goes on to say that the DLC can serve to "unify" the party, but somehow I don't see that happening, because, according to Liasson, what the Democrats have to do is
"...get the passion of the netroots and the policy ideas of the DLC working in harness so they elect Democrats rather than tearing them apart."In other words, the DLC calls the shots and the netroots activists shut up and obey. This report supports the observation by Ezra Klein, Josh Marshall, and others that the defining characteristic of Lieberman and his DLC allies is a sense of entitlement: that Senate seat belongs to Lieberman, the Democratic Party belongs to the DLC. Why is that so? Because they say so. They've got the power and that means they're entitled to keep it. The DLC is different from the GOP exactly how?
Is The National Electricity Grid Falling Apart?
And if so, is it being deliberately starved to death per the recommendations of Grover Norquist?
Monday, July 24, 2006
Cronyism, falling standards, neglect of the poor, lawlessness: threads from the same corrupt cloth
Sunday, July 23, 2006
Scratch A Conservative, Find A Racist
David Brock wrote a letter to Creators Syndicate asking them about their decision to syndicate Samuel Francis's column. Here's their answer:And yes, when Francis died not long afterward (barely three months after penning this piece for the openly racist VDARE website), nearly the whole of the "respectable" side (and much of the blatantly non-respectable, openly racist side) of the right-wing noise machine did not merely ignore the death of an embarrassing man, but stepped forth to send him off with the tenderest eulogies , eulogies that outdid even those they gave arch-segregationist Strom Thurmond. Here's Joseph Sobran:"Did I disagree with the column? Yes," responded Anthony Zurcher, a Creators editor who saw the Francis piece before it was syndicated. "Did I feel it was so reprehensible that it shouldn't have been sent out? No." In his Nov. 26 column, Francis decried the MNF spot not only for its implied nudity and implied sex, but for racial reasons. (Sheridan is white and Owens is black.) Francis wrote, among other things: "Breaking down the sexual barriers between the races is a major weapon of cultural destruction because it means the dissolution of the cultural boundaries that define breeding and the family and, ultimately, the transmission and survival of the culture itself." The column prompted yesterday's letter from David Brock, president and CEO of Media Matters for America, an organization dedicated to "monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media." Brock, a former conservative, wrote Creators President Rick Newcombe to say "Creators' willingness to distribute such abhorrent views calls into question the syndicate's ethical and editorial standards. ... [W]e are looking forward to hearing your explanation as to why your syndicate judges Sam Francis to be an appropriate columnist for your roster." Zurcher said Creators distributes columnists from across the political spectrum, and "we don't tell them what to say." He noted that other Creators columnists, including Roland Martin, have discussed the MNF spot from a different perspective than Francis took. The syndicate editor acknowledged that Francis addressed "a very sensitive topic." But, "he's entitled to his opinion and David Brock is entitled to his opinion," said Zurcher. "I have a lot of respect for David Brock and what he does, and for media watchdog groups on both sides. They have an important role to play."Yes, Francis is entitled to his opinion that "Breaking down the sexual barriers between the races is a major weapon of cultural destruction." Creators is entitled to syndicate it. Newspapers are entitled to publish. But, expressing concerns about breaking "down the sexual barriers between the races" is not a broaching a "senstive topic," it's f---ing racism.
Along the way Sam wrote a few books, including a small study of his intellectual hero James Burnham. I don’t think Sam actually met Burnham, but I worked with Jim at National Review during his last years there and shared Sam’s admiration for him. The key to Sam’s thinking was Burnham’s book The Machiavellians, a study of power I also regard as seminal. Long before it became fashionable to mock the “politically correct,” Sam was attracted by Burnham’s pessimistic logic and total scorn for liberal optimism, especially in matters of race and ethnicity. Like Burnham, he had no desire to be accepted by liberals and stoically endured their ostracism. He was devoid of self-pity. It never crossed his mind to complain about the neglect he received, though it was a sort of organized neglect; his enemies were well aware of him, and they feared his pen. Sam was a familiar figure at conservative gatherings. He was an uncompromising Southern paleoconservative, with an abiding contempt for Lincoln and the liberal tradition. ..."Southern conservative" = racist as hell, of course. Oh, and here's another good friend of Francis', just for grins. Just in case it hasn't been made utterly clear how bigoted the man was, do note that in 1995, he actually managed to get fired from the Washington Times -- not exactly a bastion of liberal or anti-bigoted thought -- for a column that attacked the Southern Baptist Convention for finally getting around to condemning slavery, 150 years after splitting from the main Baptist Convention rather than renounce slavery. Check this out:
Not until the Enlightenment of the 18th century did a bastardized version of Christian ethics condemn slavery. Today we know that version under the label of 'liberalism,' or its more extreme cousin communism.Remember, this wasn't some obscure low-hit-count blogger or college professor. This was a darling of the movement.
Calderon: I want peace, but not the crap that getting it requires.
Housing Bubble's Slow Deflation Getting Faster
Fewer buyers, more foreclosures. What was that again about the "Bush boom"? For whom?
Saturday, July 22, 2006
Berlusconi the Bushbarian
A Good Sign
From the New York Times:
GEORGETOWN, Ky. (July 22) -- The request seemed simple enough to the Rev. Hershael W. York, then the president of the Kentucky Baptist Convention. He asked Georgetown College, a small Baptist liberal arts institution here, to consider hiring for its religion department someone who would teach a literal interpretation of the Bible. But to William H. Crouch Jr., the president of Georgetown, it was among the last straws in a struggle that had involved issues like who could be on the board of trustees and whether the college encouraged enough freedom of inquiry to qualify for a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa. Dr. Crouch and his trustees decided it was time to end the college’s 63-year affiliation with the religious denomination. “From my point of view, it was about academic freedom,’’ Dr. Crouch said. “I sat for 25 years and watched my denomination become much more narrow and, in terms of education, much more interested in indoctrination.’’ Georgetown is among a half-dozen colleges and universities whose ties with state Baptist conventions have been severed in the last four years, part of a broad realignment in which more than a dozen Southern Baptist universities, including Wake Forest and Furman, have ended affiliations over the last two decades. Georgetown’s parting was ultimately amicable. But many have been tense, even bitter.Think about it: They turned down taking any more money from the SBC rather than turn themselves into fundie madrassas like Bob Jones University. Then again, the SBC was coughing up less and less dough even as it imposed more and more restrictions:
In 1987, college officials negotiated an agreement with state Baptist leaders that allowed either side to end the affiliation, with four years’ notice. Both sides said that they had wanted to continue the relationship, but that the strains had recently become acute. Georgetown asked the Kentucky Baptist Convention two years ago to allow 25 percent of the college’s trustees to be non-Baptist, but the proposal was rejected. Only about half of Georgetown’s students are Baptist, and less than half of the alumni are Baptist, Dr. Crouch, the college’s president, said. “I realized that our fund-raising depended on getting non-Baptists on our board,’’ Dr. Crouch said. Then, a year ago, the Kentucky convention turned down a nominee for Georgetown’s board for the first time. Around the same time, Dr. York asked the college to look for a religion professor who would teach theologically conservative positions. “You ought to have some professor on your faculty who believes Adam and Eve were the first humans, that they actually existed,’’ Dr. York said. Dr. Crouch and Georgetown’s trustees decided it was time to exercise their escape clause.Freed from the sheltering, encircling, constricting arms of the SBC, Georgetown now is able to do things that will lead to its being taken seriously as an institute of higher learning:
Georgetown continues to pursue serious academic ambitions, like pursuing a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, the college honor society. Only 270 colleges and universities have Phi Beta Kappa chapters, and there are rigorous standards for new ones. Among the most important requirements are freedom of inquiry and expression on campus, along with respect for religious, ethnic and racial diversity. A Georgetown requirement that tenured professors be Christian could pose problems with the honor society. The college must also improve on a number of specific standards, including increasing the number of books in its library and reducing professors’ course loads. Phi Beta Kappa considers applications over a three-year cycle, and Dr. Crouch hopes Georgetown will be ready to reapply in 2009. “Phi Beta Kappa is the gold standard,’’ said Rosemary Allen, the Georgetown provost.This passage sums it all up:
“The convention itself in its national and state organizations has moved so far to the right that previous diversity on the faculty and among the trustees is no longer possible,’’ said Bill Leonard, dean of the Divinity School at Wake Forest. “More theological control of the curriculum and the faculty has been the result.’’ David W. Key, director of Baptist Studies at the Candler School of Theology at Emory, put it more starkly. “The real underlying issue is that fundamentalism in the Southern Baptist form is incompatible with higher education,’’ Professor Key said. “In fundamentalism, you have all the truths. In education, you’re searching for truths.’’Even as well-funded agents of Satan like Howard Ahmanson are trying to drag the Episcopalian/Anglican churches back into the Dark Ages, the Baptist colleges are making a stand for education over indoctrination.
Revised, 7/22. I didn't make it clear that the Kennedy School of government gives a Master's in Public Administration, an MPA, analogous to an MBA, and that their mid-career program is essentially an Executive MPA, analogous to the Executive MBA. Just as the Exec MBA is a for-real degree, I assume the Exec MPA is a for-real degree, requiring very intensive study. In general, accelerated degrees tend to give the technical basics, but leave out the field service/internships/study projects and especially the thesis that give most Master's degrees (though not the American MBA) their depth. This seems to the case here, since as Wikipedia says: The schools major degree programs are a two-year Master of Public Policy (MPP) program, which focuses on policy analysis and design, and a Master of Public Administration (MPA) program, similar to an MBA. The MPA is available in two forms: a one-year "mid-career program" intended for professionals between 7 and 15 years after college graduation and a two-year MPA program intended for recent graduates. So, the rub comes in what Calderon conveyed to his Mexican audience by saying he had a "maestria" from Harvard. And I do suspect that his audience was misled, at least to some degree, because Executive degrees are just not the same as the full-rate versions. Resume inflation is a dangerous game for would-be leaders to play, because leadership is about trust. Voters generally conclude that politicians who fake a resume-- like certain presidents claiming to continue to fly in the Texas Air National Guard after having been grounded--are, morally speaking, scum._______________________________________________________________________ AMLO did an interview in which he said that 30,000 precinct tallies couldn't match ballots cast plus blanks with ballots received. Let's let El Machete take it from there: Yesterday, López Obrador (along with his assistants Claudia Sheinbaum and Octavio Romero Oropeza and computer wiz Esteban) returned to Carlos Loret de Mola’s radio show in W Radio (Televisa’s XEW). They brought 21 well-labeled boxes with documents — copies of “actas”. In paper about 30,000, out of the 50,000 “actas” with “arithmetic errors” that López Obrador’s team has so far been able to review. (They left a DVD with evidence of the 50,000.) Claudia Sheinbaum said there are still more “actas” that their team hasn’t been able to review yet. They showed to the camera a few cases of discrepancy between the figures in the “actas” and the figures in the IFE report. I’ll list here only those I was able to capture. (The video is here: http://media.amlo.org.mx/Entrevista_Loret_20072006.wmv.) He gave examples of errors in favor of Calderon of 600 votes. According to El Universal, The Economist is waffling, worried that AMLO might be angling to have the elections canceled. Calderon, with tin ear cocked to the orders of the White House, declared that the election is over; never mind about the niceties of letting the proper authorities decide that. He wants to "paint Mexico white," declaring that white is the color of peace, harmony and brotherhood. The PRD is less than happy about having peace and harmony imposed in disregard to law. It has denounced the counselors of the federal election institute (IFE) for their partisan behavior and announced a loss of confidence in the IFE. The PRD also accused the PAN of creating an atmosphere of fear by accusing the PRD of being violent. One of the stories of yesterday that I frankly didn't understand was the claim by the IFE that 2,873 precincts had been recounted and that despite what would seem to be massive (a roughly 3% miscount) and systematic (benefiting Calderon and Obrador while injuring the others) arithmetic errors, PAN actually gained a bit. Well, the PRD says this recount is bogus and that the IFE counselor, Rodrigo Morales is lying. A network of organizations called Ecclesiastical Observatory is accusing the church of contributing to the climate of violence by playing footsie with Calderon, the charge of playing footsie that (given the nature of PAN and the takeover of the upper reaches of the Catholic Church by the radical right) is almost certainly true. At issue is a meeting between Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera and Calderon. Meanwhile, a breakfast meeting between the rector of the National University (UNAM) Juan Ramon de la Fuente and AMLO is said (by what sort of idiot I am not sure) of having damaged the university. It's not like the rector of UNAM has the sort of power that a cardinal does, so this is probably a smoke screen. The political situation looks like this to me: the investment community (Bushco) hates this uncertainty, wants Mexico's oil (PEMEX) privatized immediately, and is pushing Calderon to grab the reins. Calderon has the support of most of the church hierarchy and control of the electronic media (which is mostly playing BS; I keep glancing at it and getting pro-wrestling and Natalie Holloway knockoffs, with no real news). On the other hand, if Calderon pushes too hard, he could find himself -- perhaps not immediately, but when he tries to privatize PEMEX-- in a very hot climate. The next big demo is this Sunday[7/23: Correction: it is on 7/30]. I'll bet the numbers are even greater.
Friday, July 21, 2006
Friday Cat Blogging
Big bucks bees
"Sir? A small PR problem. You're on fire, but if we can keep it out of the newspapers, it shouldn't be a problem."
Toward A Homeopathic Theory Explaining The Actions Of The Bush Junta
In order to try and understand the Bush/PNAC mentality responsible for things such as this and this, religious mania is often invoked. But while Bush is always more than happy to throw red meat to the evangelicals, I suspect that his actual religiosity is a mile wide and an inch deep. You gotta understand, the PNAC mindset is aligned with the mindset of buccaneering COOs everywhere. This mindset states, in accordance with homeopathic principles, that the cure for stupidity is EVEN MORE stupidity. Company in debt and can't turn a profit? Leverage even MORE debt so you can take over another company -- that'll fix things! Country bogged down in Iraq and Afghanistan while the economy goes in the toilet due to war debt and tax giveaways for the rich? Invade ANOTHER country -- that'll fix things! Until someone finds a better explanation, this is the one I'm running with.
Too Bad It Happened In Saint Petersburg (Russia, That Is) ...
...or we could have busted Bush for violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. On further review, it looks like US citizens are bound by Title VII even when overseas, so Merkel could file a complaint against Bush if she liked.
Thursday, July 20, 2006
David Broder is not the stupidest man alive
Bonddad On The Bush Economy
Bonddad discusses the Bush Economy -- and, among other things, the worst job-creation rate in forty years and the fact that working people haven't had a raise in five years.
And This Is How He Treats His Friends, Mind You
After all the hard work the American conservatives and the Bush Junta did to get Angela Merkel elected, Bush apparently decided to remind her that he owns her lock, stock and barrel and can do whatever he wants with her. Tony, too.
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
The Disconnect Between The Washington Post's Newsroom And Editorial Page...
...is almost as bad as the one over at the Wall Street Journal. While the WaPo's editorial page and A-list pundit consiglieres such as Kurtz continue to verbally fellate Bush and Company in particular and Republicans in general, actual WP reporters like Walter Pincus and Dan Froomkin keep doing their best to inject a little reality into the proceedings (emphases mine):
Amid all the other news yesterday, the attorney general's startling revelation that President Bush personally blocked a Justice Department investigation into the administration's controversial secret domestic spying programs hasn't gotten the attention it deserves.
Bush's move -- denying the requisite security clearances to attorneys from the department's ethics office -- is unprecedented in that office's history. It also comes in stark contrast to the enthusiastic way in which security clearances were dished out to a different group of attorneys: Those charged with finding out who leaked information about the program to the press. It is not common for a president to personally intervene to stop an investigation of his own administration. The most notorious case, of course, was the Saturday Night Massacre of 1973, during which President Richard Nixon ordered the firing of Archibald Cox, the special prosecutor who had been appointed to investigate the Watergate scandal. Among the many major differences, however: In that case, Attorney General Elliot Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William D. Ruckelshaus resigned rather than follow Nixon's order.
Bush's action is also another example of what I have previously noted is a consistent White House modus operandi: That time and time again, Bush and his aides have selectively leaked or declassified secret intelligence findings that served their political agenda -- while aggressively asserting the need to keep secret the information that would tend to discredit them.
John Thune Is Running Away from George Bush
In 2004, the White House political operation recruited Thune to challenge Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle. He dealt the Democratic Party a major blow, edging Daschle in South Dakota as Bush captured a second term. Thune, a conservative who rarely breaks with the GOP or Bush, said Wednesday that if he were up for re-election this year, he'd adopt a different strategy. "If I were running in the state this year, you obviously don't embrace the president and his agenda," Thune told reporters at the National Press Club. He said the Iraq war is Bush's biggest problem. [...] "Clearly we are facing a headwind if you look at the national political environment," Thune said. "The president's numbers in most places aren't good ... these are going to be tough races to win."So Thune thinks he needs to distance himself from Bush to win re-election. Will someone please ask him if he's also going to distance himself from Rovian campaign tactics, such as making secret payments to bloggers to distort the media coverage of the election ?
More Evidence That The Economic Gaslighting Isn't Working Any More
More and more American workers are starting to ask the question "If the economy's been in such wonderful shape for the past few years, then where the hell's my pay raise?"
Scratch A Wingnut, Find A Plagiarist?
First, Ben Domenech. Next, Ann Coulter. Now, Ralph "Damien Thorn" Reed -- who just lost his bid to be the GOP candidate for Georgia's lieutenant governor -- has been revealed to be a less-than-original thinker:
On April 14, 1983, Reed wrote a column for The Red & Black student newspaper attacking the late Mohandas K. Gandhi. Entitled "Gandhi: Ninny of the 20th Century," it denounced the motion picture Gandhi for its favorable treatment of the life of the pacifist leader of the Indian independence movement. A graduate student complained to the editor of The Red & Black that Reed had plagiarized a Commentary article by film reviewer Richard Grenier. After an investigation, Reed was fired from the paper. Reed wrote a final column acknowledging his failure to cite sources but accusing the graduate student who complained of "the most shocking, profane form of personal attack I can imagine." (Nina J. Easton, Gang of Five: Leaders at the Center of the Conservative Crusade, page 130-31)Over in one of the Eschaton comments threads, we find this bit of personal testimony:
By the way the graduate student mentioned in Ralph's plagiariam incident was me. The "investigation" into the incident consisted of a phone call from the editor of The Red and Black to Ralph who admitted the plagiarism and was fired on the spot. I hand delivered a letter outlining the plagiarism and including a copy of the Commentary article to the Red and Black offices. Less than 2 hours later I received a call from the R&B telling me they had discussed the matter with Ralph, he had admitted the plagiarism, and was fired on the spot.Charming, eh? That's Our Ralph.
My letter to the R&B only discussed the plagiarism issue and was incredibly judicious. Ralph's politics (and mine) were not mentioned or implied in any way. I remember Ralph attacked me personally in his response. This pretty much sums up the entire right wing approach. Attack people who reasonably point out your shortcomings in the most vicious terms possible with no regard for the truth.
Ralph has been a disgrace for a long time. It didn't just happen overnight.
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