Experience past quickies: one. two. three.
More recent quickies
If you don't like Bush, this material won't change your mind, but it will correct some of your thinking. If you're a Bush supporter, you will be disappointed to learn that in the eyes of professionals, and for good reasons, this president is making some potentially dangerous mistakes.
These two dozen presidential experts have placed the Bush II presidency in a nutshell, with its strengths and weaknesses laid bare. Absent another terror attack in the United States, this assessment will likely still be reasonably accurate at the time of the next Presidential election.
"Criminals are totally taken aback," said Ajuelos. "Some don't even try to run away when they see us. We're tall on our blades, and very fast. They know they don't have a chance to escape."
Around 14,000 people are infected with HIV every day A record number of people were infected with HIV around the world this year, a report says. Figures from UN Aids and the World Health Organization put the number of new infections at five million. The report also estimates that three million people died from the disease this year. But it warns that the figures could rise sharply in the years ahead, with Eastern Europe and Central Asia on the verge of epidemics.
Hamas West Bank leader Adnan Asfour said the movement will agree to handing over its weapons only after the sovereign State of Palestine is established with full independence. Hamas, he said, would not accept any cease-fire or hudna if the Palestinian Authority intends to base it on the revival of the road map process.
We must not only make politics a part of our culture but make our culture a part of our politics. The first political campaign in which I took part - at the age of 12 in Philadelphia - featured a candidate who made ten to twelve appearances every evening on different street corners, preceded by a string band that attracted the crowd. By the time, he was finished he held an outdoor rally for 12,000 in front of city hall. How often have you seen that?Sam Smith shows he's not shy to support songs and certainly knows what to sing. But things are not so clear these days.
I remember something else from that period - a record my father brought home of labor songs. I do not remember anything anyone said from that time, but I do recall bits and pieces of those songs. As Joe Hill said, 'A pamphlet, no matter how well-written, is read once and then thrown away - but a song lasts forever."
There are folks who understand this. For example, the punk rock movement has stood out over the past two decades, not just as an accessory to politics but as politics itself waiting for the political activists to take over.
This is no unusual. After all Billy Holliday sang about lynching long before the civil rights movement took off.
For example, knowing what you know now, would you have been an abolitionist in 1820, a feminist in 1870, a labor organizer in 1890? Or would you have said, why bother? In 1848 the first women's conference was held at Seneca Falls. Of the three hundred persons there, only one woman lived long enough to vote. Would you have gone to Seneca Falls anyway?
The trouble is we know how that one turned out. We don't know how this meeting will turn out. And precisely because any of us who attempt to change history's course are wandering in the wilderness, we need each other, we need sources of courage, and we need the music and the art to carry use through until the laws and policies make sense.
...the Bush administration — which likes to portray itself as the inheritor of Reagan-like optimism — actually has a Nixonian habit of demonizing its opponents.Paul Krugam shows he's not shy in saying whom he's talking about. "Some" is something to avoid. If you got an example use it, otherwise STFU!
For example, here's President Bush on critics of his economic policies: "Some say, well, maybe the recession should have been deeper. It bothers me when people say that." Because he used the word "some," he didn't literally lie — no doubt a careful search will find someone, somewhere, who says the recession should have been deeper. But he clearly intended to suggest that those who disagree with his policies don't care about helping the economy.
And that's nothing compared with the tactics now being used on foreign policy.
The campaign against "political hate speech" originates with the Republican National Committee. But last week the committee unveiled its first ad for the 2004 campaign, and it's as hateful as they come. "Some are now attacking the president for attacking the terrorists," it declares.
Again, there's that weasel word "some." No doubt someone doesn't believe that we should attack terrorists. But the serious criticism of the president, as the committee knows very well, is the reverse: that after an initial victory in Afghanistan he shifted his attention — and crucial resources — from fighting terrorism to other projects.
In his forthcoming book, "The Progress Paradox," Gregg Easterbrook piles on the happy tidings. The air is cleaner. The water is cleaner and we are using less of it. Our homes have doubled in size in a generation and home ownership rates are at an all-time high. There are now fewer highway deaths in the U.S. than in 1970, even though the number of miles driven has shot up by 75 percent.David Brooks shows he's not shy in supporting one of the most scientifically inept writers of pro-pollution propaganda.
"You can't beat the prices," said the hotel cashier, who makes $400 a week. "I come here because it's cheap."
Across town, another mother also is familiar with the Supercenter's low prices. Kelly Gray, the chief breadwinner for five children, lost her job as a Raley's grocery clerk last December after Wal-Mart expanded into the supermarket business here. California-based Raley's closed all 18 of its stores in the area, laying off 1,400 workers.
Gray earned $14.68 an hour with a pension and family health insurance. Wal-Mart grocery workers typically make less than $9 an hour.
"It's like somebody came and broke into your home and took something huge and important away from you," said the 36-year-old. "I was scared. I cried. I shook."
Wal-Mart gives. And Wal-Mart takes away.
The AARP's Washington headquarters, in a stunning reversal, has endorsed the current Medicare prescription drug plan.
A Public Citizen analysis of the AARP's finances, however, reveals a long list of potential conflicts of interest. AARP's financial records show that, if the bill is passed, the group stands to make tens of millions of dollars through its various commercial health care ventures. A representative for AARP acknowledged Friday in the New York Times that about 24% of the AARP's revenues come from their health insurance-related activites.
It may also focus attention on his ties to HCA, the hospital chain founded by his family, observers said.
With Sen. Frist as majority leader, "you now have a spokesman on health issues who is not simply a policy maker but someone with an M.D. behind his name who understands health care from the inside," said Chip Kahn, president of the Federation of American Hospitals.
Sen. Frist's likely election to the majority leader post already is raising new questions about his ties to HCA. The chain was founded by his father and is now run by his brother, Thomas Frist.
Read "Minding the Gap" and you won't be able to do that anymore. Researched by Loyola University's Center for Urban Research and Learning, the report combines findings from the 1990 and 2000 census counts, along with health studies, economic surveys and other existing sources to paint a comprehensive picture of what life is like for blacks and whites in Chicago.
You can thumb through it and, on virtually any page, find numbers that will take your breath away.
Whites are 125 percent more likely to use marijuana than blacks; 181 percent more likely to use cocaine; 431 percent more likely to use inhalants; 516 percent more likely to use LSD.
And yet blacks account for 79 percent of all drug arrests.
Follow that number where it leads -- to prison, to a lack of education, to a lack of job opportunities -- and you start to get the idea that all of this is way more complicated than you want to think it is. Do all the well-meaning, moral algebra you want and you just can't make that number -- 79 percent -- look fair.
Minding the Gap: An Assessment of Racial Disparity in Metropolitan Chicago, the first research project of the Human Relations Foundation/Jane Addams Policy Initiative, focuses on seven different quality of life measurements:
* income, wealth & employment
* law enforcement, crime and justice system
* health and welfare of children
Using information from a variety of sources, the report focuses on the gap between whites, African Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans and Native Americans.
Free and responsible government by popular consent just can't exist without an informed public. That's a cliché, I know, but I agree with the presidential candidate who once said that truisms are true and clichés mean what they say (an observation that no doubt helped to lose him the election.) It's a reality: democracy can't exist without an informed public. Here's an example: Only 13% of eligible young people cast ballots in the last presidential election. A recent National Youth Survey revealed that only half of the fifteen hundred young people polled believe that voting is important, and only 46% think they can make a difference in solving community problems. We're talking here about one quarter of the electorate. The Carnegie Corporation conducted a youth challenge quiz of l5-24 year-olds and asked them, "Why don't more young people vote or get involved?" Of the nearly two thousand respondents, the main answer was that they did not have enough information about issues and candidates. Let me rewind and say it again: democracy can't exist without an informed public. So I say without qualification that it's not simply the cause of journalism that's at stake today, but the cause of American liberty itself. As Tom Paine put it, "The sun never shined on a cause of greater worth." He was talking about the cause of a revolutionary America in 1776. But that revolution ran in good part on the energies of a rambunctious, though tiny press. Freedom and freedom of communications were birth-twins in the future United States. They grew up together, and neither has fared very well in the other's absence. Boom times for the one have been boom times for the other.
George W Bush's Whitehall address yesterday represented the boldest challenge to the conventional wisdom of the British and European elites since Woodrow Wilson preached the rights of self-determination of smaller nations after the First World War.
A summary of that wisdom would go like this: (a) terrorism cannot be defeated in the long run, its perpetrators sooner or later have to be treated with, and their legitimate demands met in some form or other; (b) the Muslim world, and specifically the Arab portion of it, is culturally unsuited to freedom and democracy; (c) the Arab-Israeli dispute lies at the heart of the ills of the Middle East; (d) Israel is principally at fault in that conflict and must be pressured into making most concessions; (e) it is the EU that has played the lead role in bringing about the peace and prosperity of the Continent since 1945; (f) wongdoers on the international scene should be treated with via multilateral forums such as the UN and associated bodies such as the International Atomic Energy Agency; (g) endless discussion in such bodies is therapeutic in and of itself, and is invariably preferable to the use of force.
What do philosophers talk about in the morning? According to David Steele, editorial director of Open Court’s Popular Culture and Philosophy series, it’s Seinfeld and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
And so the idea for the hugely successful series was born. First came Seinfeld and Philosophy: A Book about Everything and Nothing, followed by The Simpsons and Philosophy: The D’oh of Homer and The Matrix and Philosophy: Welcome to the Desert of the Real, with Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Philosophy: Fear and Trembling in Sunnydale coming soon.
"No to the pro-Saddam Al Jazeera channel in Iraq,"
"Media distortion is a stab in the back."
"Islam is the solution,"
"Democracy is the solution,"
"Glory to both the Sunni and Shi'ite martyrs of Islam,"
"Free nation, happy people..."
But apart from general references to "independence" and "freedom," there is a marked absence of graffiti commentary on the U.S. military occupation.
"I haven't noticed anything against the Americans, but they are present all over Baghdad, so who's going to trouble themselves?" Yasiry said.
People with implicit racial prejudices are left mentally exhausted after interacting with someone from a different race, perhaps because they are trying to quell their feelings.
The new study, the first of its kind, shows that areas in the brain associated with self-control light up in white people with implicit racial biases when they are shown images of black people.
Furthermore, the study showed that the level of this brain activity correlated very closely with poor performance in a test of thinking ability given right after a face-to-face interview with a black person. The researchers believe this indicates that the subject's mental resources have been temporarily drained by their efforts to suppress their prejudices.
Again: One wishes, for the sake of the whole planet, that the people in and around the White House nowadays truly mean it when they say, “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us,” and that they respect as children of God the losers, the nobodies so loved by Jesus in the Beatitudes, in His Sermon on the Mount: the poor in spirit, they that mourn, the meek, the merciful, the peace makers and so on.
But such is obviously not the case. George W. Bush smirks and gloats unmercifully as he boasts of his readiness to loose more than a hundred cruise missiles, what I call “Timothy McVeighs,” into the midst of the general population of Iraq, nearly half of whom are children, little boys and girls under the age of 15.
His domestic policies, whose viciousness is peewee in comparison with what he is so eager to do to foreigners who don’t look like him and talk like him, who don’t have names like his, nonetheless inflict pain on those Americans of the sort enumerated in the Beatitudes, by depriving them of decent health care and educations, and of food, shelter and clothing when times are bad. It seems quite possible that his opinion of the American people has been formed while watching the Jerry Springer Show, which is Republican propaganda of the most pernicious kind.
A teacher who used a poem containing crude humor and adult language as a classroom exercise at Dunedin Highland Middle School is under investigation by the school district.
The poem, which was given to 25 eighth graders, contains words and phrases such as: "douche," "there is no prostitute for careful editing," and "Sleazy Street." Students were asked to correct the poem in class using editing symbols.
One parent filed a complaint with the Office of Professional Standards last month about the assignment, saying she found the poem to be "offensive and sexually harassing," as described by the Pinellas County Code of Student Conduct. Lisa Porthouse also has pulled her 13-year-old daughter out of the school.
So I got myself a spell checker and figured I was on Sleazy Street.
But there are several missed aches
that a spell chukker can¹t can¹t catch catch.
For instant, if you accidentally leave a word
your spell exchequer won¹t put it in you.
And God for billing purposes only
you should have serial problems with Tori Spelling
your spell Chekhov might replace a word
with one you had absolutely no detention of using.
Because what do you want it to douch?
It only does what you tell it to douche.
You¹re the one with your hand on the mouth going clit, clit, clit.
It just goes to show you how embargo
one careless clit of the mouth can be.
Which reminds me of this one time during my Junior Mint.
The teacher read my entire paper on A Sale of Two Titties
out loud to all of my assmates.
I¹m not joking, I¹m totally cereal.
It was the most humidifying experience of my life,
being laughed at pubically.
So do yourself a flavor and follow these two Pisces of advice:
One: There is no prostitute for careful editing.
And three: When it comes to proofreading,
the red penis your friend.
Sixteen-year-old Ryan Richter got kicked out of school Monday morning for a stick-figure drawing that another student thought was a violent threat.
Richter, a LaBelle High School sophomore, sketched a figure shooting another figure. He did the sketch in a recent geometry class and passed it along to a friend and thought nothing else of it.
The classroom doodling, however, got him suspended for a week and as of Monday’s disciplinary hearing, got him kicked out of LaBelle High and recommended for a 45-day stint in Hendry County’s alternative high school.
By passing I-75, the initiative making marijuana possession Seattle cops' "lowest law-enforcement priority," in September, voters handed potheads a pass to indulge in their favorite illicit substance without police interference. Starting in September, Seattle cops were ordered to ignore small-time possession and only arrest dope fiends dumb enough to flaunt their pot use in public.
By all evidence, Seattle's streets have not--contrary to some I-75 opponents' claims--been overrun with zonked-out hippies in VW buses veering, bong in hand, into oncoming traffic. In fact, since the initiative passed in September, just nine pot busts have gone to City Attorney Tom Carr's office for prosecution. Which raises the inevitable question: Just how dumb do you have to be to get arrested for pot in post-I-75 Seattle? Four of Seattle's stupidest potheads--either prosecuted or busted post-I-75-- provide answers and a few cautionary lessons.
Last Sunday I opined that many of the best books of the last decade never even made the Giller Prize shortlist and, by way of example, cited Guy Vanderhaeghe's 2000 novel The Last Crossing. The next day I walked into the Star and one of my colleagues pointed his finger at me. "That Vanderhaeghe book was one of the worst novels I've ever read," he said. "The characters were boring! The story was boring!" He gave me an intense look, as if trying to fathom a mystery. "Why did you like it?"
Why? Answer me that, Canlit man! We members of the reading public want to know! I said something about the limpid prose of the novel, and made a break for my office. (If you're ever challenged about a literary opinion, always cite "limpid prose.")
Highway police who stopped a driver they believed was using his cell phone erred twice. First, he was just scratching his ear. Second, he was a lawyer.
The charge: driving while "holding his ear with his right hand in a permanent fashion."
Valdivielso wrote: "To presume that this unconscious act cannot be performed would lead us to the absurd situation of having to wait to stop the vehicle in a place that does not pose a danger for other occupants of the road in order to scratch, by which time, depending on how bad the itch is, I probably would have crashed before finding an adequate place to stop, or the itch would have gone away, reducing the pleasure I get from scratching."
Unlike David Kamp, I'm not a practitioner of what I like to call "snark," a word fungus that has completely destroyed the once-noble profession of book reviewing. A review is snarky by definition if it criticizes something written by me or by my friends, and particularly if it refers to me as "an ordinary humor dork, yet another doughy, 35-ish white man with a goatee and thinning hair." Reviews should only praise books in general, and should always give a flattering impression of the writer's appearance in particular. Would the great Lionel Trilling, whose wife Diana used to provide me with a weekly hummer, ever have referred to, say, John O'Hara as a "doughy 35-ish white man?" I think not. These are books we're writing here, people! Sacred objects of a bygone age! Books! How dare you criticize me, David Kamp? Have you no shame, man? Have you no respect for the temple of literature?
Further complicating the situation is the fact that David Kamp has been stalking me for nearly a year. The editors of the Times should have known this. Assigning him this review was a clear conflict of interest.
This maximalist vision—which, in the absence of weapons of mass destruction President Bush and others in his Administration have been playing up as a rationale for the war and its punishing sequel—is morally attractive and strategically astute, but programmatically inordinate. To transform Araby and dry up the roots of terror: that sounds like an objective worth paying any price or bearing any burden to achieve. But who will pay that price? Other people's kids who would not know Tom Friedman from a cord of wood. Yet his views, his vision, could get them killed.
These troublemakers were, by definition, activists (active: 1. In action, moving. 2. Causing or initiating change. 3. Engaging, contributing, participating). They felt that what they did counted and that they themselves counted..