Saturday, February 02, 2008

Author's Query: Can you identify a Speaker or potential Speaker of the House to the left of Nancy Pelosi?

1999–2006 Dennis Hastert (Ill.)
1995–1999 Newt Gingrich (Ga.)
1989–1995 Thomas S. Foley (Wash.)
1987–1989 James C. Wright, Jr. (Tex.)
1977–1987 Thomas P. O'Neill, Jr. (Mass.)
1971–1977 Carl Albert (Okla.)
1963–1971 John W. McCormack (Mass.)
1955–1961 Sam Rayburn (Tex.)
1953–1955 Joseph W. Martin, Jr.
1949–1953 Sam Rayburn (Tex.)

John Boehner Roy Blunt Tom DeLay

Second question: Can you name a President of the Senate, Vice President or President who is or was to the left of Nancy Pelosi?

by Anthony McCarthy

Brown Out by Anthony McCarthy

While I’m trying to get back the piece lost to a power outage or to reconstruct it, you might like to read Derrick Z. Jackson on the effect John Edwards had on the Democratic race and why the issues he raised matter.

From that point, the strands of Edwards's populism dissipated into relative Democratic bliss. It was refreshing that Obama and Clinton toned everything down in a race where acrimony was burning bridges to the voters. But the compliments to Edwards are more complicated than the pleasantries.

If, as the stereotypes of this campaign go, Obama represents transformative hope and Clinton represents international Rolodex Day One experience, Edwards significantly tapped into a critical segment of Democratic voters who smoldered with how the world's richest nation fell so far behind on healthcare and its standard of living and lurched into an unnecessary war whose tragedies will haunt us for decades.

You might also want to read about Craig Smith’s memorial service. He was the founder and artistic director of Emmanuel Music before his sudden death last November.

The large crowd heard reminiscences of the early days, when Smith showed up as a red-cheeked 22-year-old from Idaho with an overwhelming passion for Bach, to the point that he would seek out numbers of the cantatas in the license plates of passing cars. The compensation for musicians was little more than Sara Lee coffee cakes; the parts on their stands were little more than cut-up photocopies of a score.

But the cantatas came together so well that, very early on, Smith had the outlandish idea of performing the entire cycle of Bach cantatas, something that had never been done before, let alone by a modest church-based ensemble. Since then, Emmanuel has traversed the full cycle not once but twice. His vision and conviction drew into the church's orbit dozens of young and idealistic musicians whose talents he nurtured, among them the baritone Sanford Sylvan and the late Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, who arrived at Emmanuel as a violist. Sylvan spoke movingly on Thursday night, wondering whether, without Smith's inspired leadership, "Lorraine would have put her viola away forever" in order to pursue what became a celebrated vocal career. Sylvan also wondered: "Would Peter Sellars ever have staged an opera without puppets in it?"

Note To New Readers by Anthony McCarthy

These are words.

To know what they mean you have to read all of them.

Yes, this can be hard but it is how they work. They do not work if you won't.

Update: ..... Wild Leftists Don’t Have The Blues. by Anthony McCarthy

f you were unpopular in high school you had three choices. First, you could make a degrading and fawning attempt to get in with the cool kids and end up their fool, something no one with an ounce of self-respect would do. Alternatively, you could bitterly grouse about it to yourself and whoever else would listen. In that case you can wear your retained pride like a chip on your shoulder and stew in bitterness till the end of your days. Or you can take another route, which I’ll finish with.

I had imagined that anyone who was familiar with what I write and who didn’t like it doesn’t read me anymore. It’s clear from the experimental essay I posted over the past three weeks, that wasn’t true.

You don’t write short,” my brother said when he read through the entire essay - posted at my blog in its intended sequence. And it’s true, I don’t tend to. In part that’s because the subjects of those posts are impossible to handle otherwise. And experience proves that if you leave steps you will get called on it*. You can’t assume that everyone will understand a reference or fill-in the elided portions of an historical or other kind of point. Leaving in something that you assume some people will already know for those who don’t is only fair if you want them to read what you write. Sometimes you make the same point more than once in the same hope of making things clearer. Someone once made the point that brevity was all well and good but it often takes a lot longer to read. And I will not insult anyone who does me the honor of reading what I post by writing down at them.

Another blogger friend who read through the whole thing said that it was provocative. Well, it was. I didn’t write it to be provocative but because I think the mental and political habits that come from a belief in various determinisms are fatal to democracy. I had originally intended to use contemporary quotes from biological determinists to make the same point. But since just about every last one of those today claim to be the true heirs of Darwin, it was cowardly and unproductive to dodge the issue of his version of biological determinism.

Criticizing Darwin is just one of a number of third rails on the left today, especially on the blogs. You aren’t supposed to say what you think about those, it will bring all kinds of false charges and absurd distortions onto you. You should point those out for purely clerical reasons but, as just about always happens, you can’t get them retracted. But I’m happy to be able to tell you that despite the outrage it will cause, you can touch those prohibited topics and survive. You can even feel better for having said what you really think, too.

The taboo against dissing Darwin, pointing out the political futility of neo-atheist invective or, hardest of all, telling your fellow leftists that we aren’t going to get everything we want right away that those will come only with a long period of hard work, has nothing to do with reason or facts.

Talking about those are a violation of the received and enforced acceptable viewpoint. The fact that required viewpoint has brought nothing in the way of real-world results, except failure, is just as unspeakable. Admitting the failure of the left was partly the result of these kinds of attitudes was my entire reason to begin blogging. Changing the futile habits of the left is absolutely necessary to winning back the political power we lost in the 1970s. It is all about getting that political power back in order to change things in the real world for the better.

I’m not interested in fostering that encoded allowable viewpoint or in rearranging the provided set of thought-blocks into would-be political positions for the false reassurance of anyone. Anyone who has ever entertained a toddler knows that you don’t build with blocks and expect it to stay up.


The third way to handle being unpopular is to refuse to let it cramp your own style. If you realize that the anxious, nervous, competitive and mean spirited attention seekers of the cool aren’t nearly as popular as they think they are you are a long way on the road to independence. If you refuse to let their rejection keep you from doing what you want you can avoid the unproductive unhappiness of those poor kids who are enslaved by the bitterness over their rejection. Think about how much better we have it than high school non-conformists. Online, no one is going to reach out of the screen and knock your front teeth out. Not even if you tease them.

So, take it from one who has cooties and doesn’t care. You can do more than just survive, you can be happy doing what makes sense to you.

* You will also get called on them even if you put every last one in with footnotes. But you take your chances when you publish something.

Next post, back to the news.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Mildred Bailey

Cognac for your ears:

My muse (Erato, not to be confused with the other Erato) doesn't want to tell me what to write today. He's out looking for some new tongue piercings I guess. He's also talking about getting a union for muses...

Friday Critter Blogging

From one extreme (picture from swampcracker):

To another extreme (plum p's Henriette with a drinking problem):

Why Edwards Went

John Edwards has thrown in the towel in the Democratic primary race. Now it's time to dissect all the reasons for his not doing better. A common argument seems to be that both Clinton and Obama adopted those policies from Edwards which really did well in opinion polls (universal health care, say) which left Edwards without that crucial selling point he needed.

A different argument states that Edwards' "two Americas" concept did not appeal to voters who mostly think of the poor as "others". This is spelled out in a recent Reuters article:

Given that 47 million U.S. citizens lack health insurance and there is a vast gulf in incomes between the richest and poorest Americans one might expect social equality would be a priority for many voters.

But a Pew Research Center survey this month showed "dealing with the problems of the poor" ranks 13th on a list of domestic priorities for voters, a position that has held steady for years and did not change much even in the wake of Katrina.

People express their concern about poverty through voluntary giving and remain suspicious about the effectiveness of government programs, said Michael Dimmock, the Pew Center's associate director.

And a stark difference of opinion remains on the causes of poverty. Many say that America's offer of opportunity allows anyone with a strong work ethic to climb out of poverty. Government therefore should not redress problems caused by irresponsible behavior.

As he bowed out, Edwards said Obama and Clinton had pledged to put ending poverty central to their campaigns. Yet in his speech he chastised the party for its failure on the issue.

"I don't know when our party began to turn away from the cause of working people," said Edwards. "In this campaign we ... looked them square in the eye and we said: 'We see you, we hear you and we will never forget you.'"

Some commentators dismissed the electoral viability of the campaign message as out of step with the educated, middle class voters at the core of the Democratic party.

Ya think? Could it be that Edwards was just a little bit too early with this campaign? Wait until the "Bush boom" has really worked itself through this country, and lots of middle class people will be much more familiar with the lives of the poor. I would have thought that the capricious god of health insurance might have told some of those educated, middle class voters that they themselves might be just a paycheck or two from poverty. Add to that the way your house is no longer a good investment to keep you from sliding into the group of the Unwashed, and I think that the view of the poor as others is rapidly fading.

But Edwards was against something more powerful than those perceptions: The press took him down quite early in his campaign:

Critics called the former senator a hypocrite last summer for getting a $400 haircut and building a large house, but by the end of his campaign many advocates for the poor praised his dedication to the issue.

I'm sure the term "Breck girl" strikes a bell in your brain. My guess is that the conservatives deemed him as the early front-runner among the Democrats and decided to squash him. So we were left with the articles about the expensive haircut and the large house and after those? Crickets.

A politician who can't get the media to report his ideas doesn't bring those ideas to our attention. Of course one might argue that this is the failure of the media more than the failure of the politician.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

From My Favorites File

I recommend Hildegard von Bingen's music for meditation and for those times when everything is just too much.

On Age Discrimination

I haven't written very much on this type of discrimination, even though it's something that the laws make illegal and even though the basis of defining it is very similar to the way other types of discrimination are defined in the labor markets or in education: To treat your membership in some demographic group (say, those over forty) as a sign of your general competence when in reality the two have no such simple relationship. An example of the kind of case that this might create:

The California Supreme Court will hear Google Co.'s appeal of a discrimination lawsuit filed by a 54-year-old manager who claims he was fired after a supervisor told him his opinions were "too old to matter."

A court of appeal in October ruled that a jury should determine if Brian Reid has evidence that Google routinely paid smaller bonuses and gave poorer performance reviews to older managers.

On Wednesday, the state high court said it would review that decision.

I have no way of judging how valid this specific suit is, of course. But it would be discriminatory to assume that a person's opinions were "too old" or that a person would be "too weak" or "too slow" or whatever, just on the basis of that person's age. For instance, it would be discriminatory to fire all workers in some physically demanding job at the age of fifty, without actually testing the strength of those workers.

There are reasons to believe that age discrimination might be quite common in firms, the main one being that older people have often been working for a firm longer and are earning higher salaries or wages. Whenever economic times are bad it would seem to make sense to get rid of those costing the most to the firm.

On the other hand, we are all growing older(unless we die first) and this would seem to make the use of age discrimination less likely than sex or race discrimination, say. After all, if it's common it might hit us in the future, so why not make it less common today?

The use of age as a proxy for all kinds of capabilities can run in the other direction, too. People can be judged to be too young for certain jobs or responsibilities, even if their actual abilities would suffice. But the increasing earnings over time mean that most age discrimination cases will be about older workers.

The intersection of age and gender may make age discrimination cases different for men and women. Older women tend to suffer from the extra judgment that they are not sufficiently eyecandyish. Getting rid of female newsreaders, when they age, seems to be fairly common, while the men are allowed to shrivel up on our screens.

Lots of little choppy thoughts here.

What Today's Headlines Tell The Cynical Me

They tell me that the United States is still interested in watching the mental and physical disintegration of Britney Spears. Somehow she has lost her membership in the human race and can now be treated as a zoo animal, or something worse, really, because we intervene when zoo animals are in pain and suicidal. We don't sell tickets for that.

Where did this thorough othering come from? Heath Ledger's death was treated as a similar entertainment show. Is it all those Reality Shows which have made it seem that it's ok to treat celebrities as if they are not human beings?

The other headline news has to do with yet another Al Qaeda leader being captured or killed. Why are they always number three? Why can't we ever catch or kill a number four, say?

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Parsing Political Punditry: Dowd and Brooks

I've had a fun morning thinking about the codewords in Maureen Dowd's and David Brooks' columns. By codewords I mean those sometimes sneaky, sometimes shouting insertions and word selections which affect the general argument the same way an inappropriate picture added to it might: they make your mind wander off a little and open up that gap which allows someone else's values to be inserted in your very own brain.

Though Maureen Dowd's codewords are not especially sneaky, as shown by this opening of her most recent column:

Even newly armored by the spirit of Camelot, Barack Obama is still distressed by the sight of a certain damsel.

It's already famous as The Snub, the moment before the State of the Union when Obama turned away to talk to Claire McCaskill instead of trying to join Teddy Kennedy in shaking hands with Hillary.

Nobody cared about W., whose presidency had crumpled into a belated concern about earmarks.

The only union that fascinated was Obama and Hillary, once more creeping around each other.

It would have been the natural thing for the Illinois senator, only hours after his emotional embrace by the Kennedys and an arena full of deliriously shrieking students, to follow the lead of Uncle Teddy and greet the rebuffed Hillary.

She was impossible to miss in the sea of dark suits and Supreme Court dark robes. Like Scarlett O'Hara after a public humiliation, Hillary showed up at the gathering wearing a defiant shade of red.

Calling Hillary Clinton "queen Hillary" and her acts "brazen" (as Dowd does later in the same column) tells us more than we want to know about Dowd's own developmental stage, which appears to be about thirteen except that she suffers from gender confusion and so plays with the guys against the gals. But it's not only that Clinton the "damsel" "distresses" Obama. Later Dowd argues that Obama is the more emotionally delicate candidate, the one who would govern with the feminine consensus style. Everything is about gender stereotypes for Dowd (men are not called brazen), and based on those stereotypes Hillary Clinton should not be running at all.

But then a man who is emotionally delicate would never win the general elections. What Dowd is really trying to achieve is the total destruction of both Democratic candidates. This, and the lack of similar vitriol when it comes to her columns on the Republicans suggests to me that Dowd is a mole or at least a social conservative.

What makes parsing both the Dowd and Brooks columns hard is the Clinton Derangement Syndrome which almost all pundits appear to have caught. I'm not going to call it "inexplicable" the way many described the so-called Bush Derangement Syndrome, because I'm the polite blogger, but I do note with some wonder that destroying the Constitution, starting unnecessary wars and seeding the Civil Service with incompetent ideologues is perfectly ok from the pundits' point of view, but running the Clinton political machinery with ruthlessness and ambition causes a blood-red haze to cover all those inquiring eyes. It is the Clintons in their self-centered and rude approach to politics who appear to be destroying this country, and this is what the pundits on their perches squawk about.

We were given few columns as juicy about George Bush and his Real Character. The actual attempts to destroy this country were treated with politely interested analysis. Even that rectangular bump under George's jacket in the 2004 debates was courteously ignored. A manufactured war with a real advertising campaign full of lies raised few angry voices among the political commentators. But the Clintons!

David Brooks also has the Clinton Derangement Syndrome, though that is more expected in a conservative pundit. His latest column begins with a description of the Clintons as the political mafia of this country:

Last week there was the widespread revulsion at the Clintons' toxic attempts to ghettoize Barack Obama. In private and occasionally in public, leading Democrats lost patience with the hyperpartisan style of politics — the distortion of facts, the demonizing of foes, the secret admiration for brass-knuckle brawling and the ever-present assumption that it's necessary to pollute the public sphere to win. All the suppressed suspicions of Clintonian narcissism came back to the fore. Are these people really serving the larger cause of the Democratic Party, or are they using the party as a vehicle for themselves?

Note the selection of words in that paragraph: "toxic", "demonizing", "pollute", "narcissism". Note also how glibly Brooks talks about the demonizing of foes and the distortion of facts, as if the Republicans have not done exactly this for the last two decades at least. Dirty politics can be openly discussed, it seems, but only if it is in the context of that monster couple from hell: the Clintons.

Isn't this fun? I bet some of you are running all around your brains preparing the comments about how I'm ignoring all the real criticisms of Clintons' perfidies. But it's possible to write about those without bringing up links to the Scarlet Letter, say, or without making subtle anti-environmental connections with the name "Clinton." It's that other stuff I'm discussing here.

Brooks is quite a master of the sneaky aside in emotional writing, by the way. He often comes up with columns which look quite reasonable for even a fervent middle-of-the-road goddess, until she looks at them much more carefully. In this column, for instance, Brooks mainly talks about the Kennedys endorsing Obama and about all the good feelings that raised in the country. But then he puts in this:

After his callow youth, Kennedy came to realize that life would not give him the chance to be president. But life did ask him to be a senator, and he has embraced that role and served that institution with more distinction than anyone else now living — as any of his colleagues, Republican or Democrat, will tell you. And he could do it because culture really does have rhythms. The respect for institutions that was prevalent during the early '60s is prevalent with the young again today. The earnest industriousness that was common then is back today. The awareness that we are not self-made individualists, free to be you and me, but emerge as parts of networks, webs and communities; that awareness is back again today.

Sept. 11th really did leave a residue — an unconsummated desire for sacrifice and service. The old Clintonian style of politics clashes with that desire. When Sidney Blumenthal expresses the Clinton creed by telling George Packer of The New Yorker, "It's not a question of transcending partisanship. It's a question of fulfilling it," that clashes with the desire as well

See how he snuck in that bit (bolded by me) about fairly conservative values as something that everybody knows as prevalent once again? He does this a lot, and almost always without any actual evidence, in the form of "we" statements which encompass all of us, even those who don't believe a word of Brooks' arguments. Clever, that. This might be the reason why Brooks is regarded as the bridge-guy: the conservative who can calmly talk to the raving hippies.

The Horror Of It

Now that John Edwards has bowed out from the Democratic primary white guys will have to vote either their gender or their race. Or sit at home.

What does this remind me of?

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

My Question on the Florida Primaries

Is this: Shouldn't the talking heads interpret the Florida results (or at least the early exit polls) as a defeat of fundamentalism (Huckabee)? After all, they have been busy interpreting all Democratic results as being about either race or gender (of which white guys have neither). It looks to me as if there is a very good plotline here about how fundamentalism has been rejected by the conservatives and what that might mean. And yes, I know that my argument makes little sense but then so do the plotlines about the Democratic primaries.

This could be my own bias, but I really think the traditional media is treating the Republican candidates with kid gloves while throwing darts at the Democratic candidates. And yes, there is a lot of free-floating hatred of Hillary Clinton among the journalists.

Speaking of that, I listened to the On Point program last night. It was an uninterrupted bash-Hillary party. But the most revealing moment came when someone asked whether a Clinton/Obama or Obama/Clinton ticket was a possible winner. One of the experts on the show said that this wouldn't do because it would imply too much change.

Funny that. I thought this election was all about new winds blowing and change. But not when it comes to gender AND race, I guess.

On Kidney Thefts

Globalization has hit the shadier aspect of the organ markets:

As the anesthetic wore off, Naseem Mohammed said, he felt an acute pain in lower left side of his abdomen. Fighting drowsiness, he fumbled beneath the unfamiliar folds of a green medical gown and traced his fingers over a bandage attached with surgical tape. An armed guard by the door told him that his kidney had been removed.

Mr. Mohammed was the last of about 500 Indians whose kidneys were removed by a team of doctors running an illegal transplant operation, supplying kidneys to rich Indians and foreigners, police officials said. A few hours after his operation last Thursday, the police raided the clinic and moved him to a government hospital.

Many of the donors were day laborers, like Mr. Mohammed, picked up from the streets with the offer of work, driven to a well-equipped private clinic, and duped or forced at gunpoint to undergo operations. Others were bicycle rickshaw drivers and impoverished farmers who were persuaded to sell their organs, which is illegal in India.

Ghastly, isn't it? At least people have two kidneys. The illegal markets for hearts or livers would leave the unwilling "donors" dead.

Stories like this one is one reason why letting commercial markets function in organ transplants is not the most ethical of alternatives. Whenever such a market is created, the criminal minds will do something of the kind described in the above quote.

Commercial markets also have a slightly different problem: Only the most desperate are eager to sell their organs, and the most desperate are more likely to be malnourished and ill, with organs which are not that healthy, either. Those sellers are also more likely to suffer from having just one kidney left, say.

So why would anyone support markets in organ transplants? The main reason is that more organs would then become available and that this could save lives. But such markets would require an enormous amount of oversight for all the reasons mentioned above. And they still would reveal that ugly class-based aspect of the rich buying health and the poor selling it.

Today's Word

It is "to transmogrify", meaning to "change into a different shape or form, especially one that is fantastic or bizarre."

The example gives of a slightly different definition is this:

change by reversal, reverse, turn - change to the contrary; "The trend was reversed"; "the tides turned against him"; "public opinion turned when it was revealed that the president had an affair with a White House intern"

What a fascinating example to pick.

My example might be: The political pundits have transmogrified the presidential primaries.

On The State of the Union Speech

U not goan maek us listen to chimpy R U?

That is the comment of fourlegsgood's Maddie, and I sort of agree. I have decoded the previous SOTU speeches for your enjoyment, but this year I am too lazy. The transcript is here.

Some Good News

Concerning the FISA bill:

The Senate yesterday left the fate of a new electronic surveillance law backed by the Bush administration up in the air, as a Republican-led effort to cut off a Democrat-led debate and proceed to a vote on the bill failed, mostly along party lines.

And why is this good news? Because Bush insists that the law include retroactive immunity from prosecution for the telecommunications companies which participated with the administration in warrantless wiretaps. The Republicans then tried to cut the debate on the law short but the Democrats would have none of that.

As Harry Reid said:

Let's not forget: the question of retroactive immunity wouldn't even be before us if President Bush hadn't ignored Congress and established his own process outside the law.

Isn't it interesting how something procedural like this can also be exciting and important? Well, at least for us politics geeks. (When did I become one?)

Monday, January 28, 2008

Today's Idle Thoughts

When I was a very small goddess I used to dream about Superwoman skills: to be able to fly, to be invisible when desirable and to be able to split into several clones at will. In some ways the Internet allows the last two options. You can play a game, read a blog and pretend to work, all at the same time! You can also have different personalities for each of those tasks, and with the exception of the work task, you can pretend to be some other race, gender or age than your meatspace specifications allow. Or you may just lurk, invisible and menacing (just kidding about that).

It's really quite fun. And then there's the ability to "reverse time" on the net, to go backwards in your choices and to choose a different branch, a branch you already rejected in the past. We live in a very primitive version of the world of many science fiction books, dudes.

The next stage might be to leave the actual body in some barrel of nutritious liquids and to let the spirit soar?

No. That would never work, because our bodies are as much a part of us as our minds.

What They Talk About Elsewhere

Do you ever listen to the BBC news? If you do, you are familiar with the odd feeling one gets when the news about the U.S. they discuss are partly not the same as the news we get from the U.S. media or are at least weighted differently. The same is true of foreign newspapers.

Take this article from the U.K. Times about the Sibel Edmonds case:

AN investigation into the illicit sale of American nuclear secrets was compromised by a senior official in the State Department, a former FBI employee has claimed.

The official is said to have tipped off a foreign contact about a bogus CIA company used to investigate the sale of nuclear secrets.

The firm, Brewster Jennings & Associates, was a front for Valerie Plame, the former CIA agent. Her public outing two years later in 2003 by White House officials became a cause célèbre.

The claims that a State Department official blew the investigation into a nuclear smuggling ring have been made by Sibel Edmonds, 38, a former Turkish language translator in the FBI's Washington field office.

Edmonds had been employed to translate hundreds of hours of intercepted recordings made during a six-year FBI inquiry into the nuclear smuggling ring.

She has previously told The Sunday Times she heard evidence that foreign intelligence agents had enlisted US officials to acquire a network of moles in sensitive military and nuclear institutions.

I'm pretty sure that Edmonds was under a gag order about all this, but the case seems not to attract much curiosity here.

On Future Superpowers

Parag Khanna's "Waving Goodbye to Hegemony" is necessary reading for anyone interested in the question of the U.S. role in the world. It's like stepping out of the house and looking at it from the street. If you mostly follow U.S. news and media you have spent most of your time looking at the insides of that house and very little time at seeing how the other houses on the same street have changed. There's a new McMansion near the corner, for example.

This doesn't mean that I'd agree with Khanna on every point, but the article is a very good start for a discussion.

Big Plans For Hist Last Year And Fashion For Men

That's what a headline says George Bush has: big plans for the 357 days left of his reign. He was supposed to be a rubber duckie president by now, what with the extremely high disapproval ratings, but the codependent Congress isn't fighting him properly. So yes, I'm a little bit scared.

All this appears to have no connection to the men's haute couture fashions Dior has revealed to us. I think the connection is in one of the themes of that collection: torture victims.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Now you can say that you got both the long and the short of it on this blog this week.

Anthony McCarthy

Musicology Corner Posted by Anthony McCarthy

Liberty: Two Views.

La destinée, la rose au bois : Conrad Gauthier, 1885-1964

Les Femmes : La Bolduc, 1894-1941

“The bitterness, it comes from inequality” Posted by Anthony McCarthy

It comes out three times a year and is only about twelve pages long but Oxfam America’s magazine is a source of some interesting news.

On page 2 of the Winter 2008 edition of Oxfam Exchange there is this item relevant to the weekend’s discussions.

Oxfam’s focus is a campaign to create equitable solutions in the [global warming] crisis. While least responsible for causing climate change, poor people bear the brunt of its impacts.

So much for them being the cause of the species demise.

There is also this on the same page:

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour and other state officials insist that the state does not discriminate by race or income in awarding aid to storm victims. One program limited eligibility to families that carried regular homeowners’ insurance. Gov. Barbour was quoted in the article as having told Congress that this condition reflected the fact that “we’re not bailing out irresponsible people.” To which Ashley Tsongas, Gulf Coast policy adviser for Oxfam America, is quoted as responding. “The fact is, people who have no money choose food and medicine, and not insurance. That moral superiority doesn’t recognize the reality people face.”

While neither of these has online links yet, here is a short interview with Daniel Kiptugen, Oxfam’s Peace and Reconciliation Officer in Kenya

What do you think is really behind the current violence?

- Well in this case, the youth thought maybe the couple had been allocated their land unfairly, by outsiders. When we look at the causes of conflicts, it’s not simply what some people are saying, ethnic clashes. It’s really about poverty, about resources.

In Eldoret, there are a lot of disputes over land, and over the allocation of funds and support from the center. Who are they going to? Who are they not going to? Yes there is an ethnic aspect, but it’s more than that. Many people are coming to towns seeking employment but they can’t get it, they can’t get resources. Then despondency becomes ire. .....

I will post a links to some other stories in the print edition about the horrible results of the gold rush in Ghana and racism and discrimination in Peru if they are put online.

at a recent rally, he sang "Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran,"

Posted by Anthony McCarthy

He’s being given a free ride by the media, now that their great white hope, Fred Thompson has fallen trough, but John McCain is the most dangerous of all the Republicans in the race.

He says North Korea should be threatened with "extinction".

His most thorough biographer and recent supporter Matt Welch concludes: "McCain's program for fighting foreign wars would be the most openly militaristic and interventionist platform in the White House since Teddy Roosevelt... [it] is considerably more hawkish than anything George Bush has ever practiced."

Senators Clinton, Obama You Want My Vote?

Stop doing the Republicans work for them! Show me how you will attack McCain, Romney and Huckabee and not other Democrats.

Posted by Anthony McCarthy