Friday, May 28

Bob Herbert in the New York Times: In a widely covered speech ... [former Vice-President] Gore said that Iraq had not become, as President Bush has asserted, "'the central front in the war on terror.'" But he said it has become, unfortunately, "the central recruiting office for terrorists." ...

The war in Iraq, said Mr. Gore, in an interview on Wednesday, "is the worst strategic fiasco in the history of the United States. It is an unfolding catastrophe without any comparison."

... the former vice president said: "What makes the United States special in the history of nations is our commitment to the rule of law and our carefully constructed system of checks and balances. Our natural distrust of concentrated power and our devotion to openness and democracy are what have led us as a people to consistently choose good over evil in our collective aspirations, more than the people of any other nation."

It may be that the president never understood what made the U.S. great. In that case, he'd be among those who could benefit most from a reading of Mr. Gore's speech. If he followed that up with a look at the Bill of Rights (it would only take a few minutes), he'd have a better understanding of what this country, at its best, is about.
(NYT login: opensewer; password: iswatching)
The Federal Reserve said yesterday that it had ordered a unit of Citigroup to pay $70 million for abuses in personal and mortgage loans to low-income and high-risk borrowers nationwide. (NYT; login: opensewer; password: iswatching)
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, one out of every 75 American men now resides in prison. (Here are some more stats.)

Monday, May 24

'Fahrenheit 9/11' is not the movie Moore watchers, fans or foes, were expecting. ... [Michael Moore] exercised self-control, getting out of the way of a story that is bigger than he is. 'It doesn't need me running around with my exclamation points,' he said. ...

Speaking of America's volunteer army ... 'They serve so that we don't have to. They offer to give up their lives so that we can be free. It is, remarkably, their gift to us. And all they ask for in return is that we never send them into harm's way unless it is absolutely necessary. Will they ever trust us again?'

Friday, May 21

In NYC - "Subway Officials Seek Ban on Picture-Taking" - I mean, this is just stupid. (nytimes login:opensewer; password:iswatching)
Standardization and teaching leave no room for imagination in the classroom. Look here:
"The teaching of writing as a machine procedure gains momentum by the day. In Indiana this year, the junior-year English essay will be graded by computer, and similar experiments have been tried in Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Oregon."
Essays graded by computer if you didn't catch that.

Tuesday, May 18

Friday, May 14

High school art student is questioned by police and secret service for drawing Bush, dressed as a devil, launching a missile even though the art teacher assigned students to keep a notebook depicting pictures of the war in Iraq. Of course, he wasn't charged with anything, but the school punished him anyway. What a way to encourage artistic freedom, teach'.

Thursday, May 13

Reading this article today made me think:

I live in a city with no population growth, no job growth; a city attempting to find its future. "Turning the economy around" in a city like this is a monumental effort. The last thing people here want to think about is all-encompassing social and economic change. They just want to know their job will be around next year.

With the income gap in this county widening, and many Americans going deeper into debt, one must ask the question: Is there a way to operate an economy that does not require growth? ...that does not require constant increases in consumer spending? ...that does not require those of lower income levels to go into debt so they may exist at the same standard of living as their neighbors?

Wednesday, May 12

A good article on the confusing, arbitrary and sometimes terrifying rules of immigration to the US. Makes me glad my citizenship came the easy way (born here).
Joan Gallagher is suing her former employer, InterMune, claiming that she was fired for refusing to join an illegal effort to sell the company's main drug for an unapproved use.

Tuesday, May 11

New Opensewer featured artist Johanna Goodman is fascinated by the woman with the poufy hair and buck teeth walking down Third Avenue and the trainer at the gym who plucks out his eyebrows... Celebrities, smiling-sexy-pouty faces: she paints them.
A quick follow-up to my recent post on the who-cares Friends finale...Rob and Laura show how it's done.

Friday, May 7

"Hitler's executioners got their day in court--and their much-deserved death certificates. But the monsters who engineered the Soviet killing machines never got theirs. Why? Is it, in part, because the Left in the West, which controls the cultures of its societies, was able to block the delegitimization of its ideas?

What a shame, because wouldn't Nuremberg-style trials in post-Soviet Russia have powerfully discredited the socialist fairy tale that continues to have such a powerful hold on so much of the world's imagination--despite the horrifying historical record? Wouldn't it have done much damage to the efforts of the gulag deniers that you describe in your book? What do you make of all of this?"

Following up on my post from Wednesday, an interview with the authors.
Two new articles on the bloodlust of prosecutors over at Slate:

1) "The message from the government is clearer than ever: Submit or we'll nail you, innocent or otherwise, for even the most picayune dodging and weaving... when the government falls in love with a crime for which it can pretty much arrest, prosecute, and incarcerate anyone at any time, we are none of us safer for it," writes David Feige, explaining how anyone, anywhere, suspected of any crime, is liable to be nailed and jailed for obstruction.

2) Henry Blodget explains how accountants get more years in jail than murderers.

Wednesday, May 5

Fools for Communism--Still Apologists After All These Years... a book review over at Two thoughts on this topic: One is that young Americans with liberal and left leanings still fail to grasp the inherent wrongness of the communist dream, and sometimes ally themselves, with or apologize for, the murderers of millions. Another is that socialism and communism are still seen as the opposite of capitalism (which might not be an unfair notion), but this idea unfortunately seems to limit critiques on capitalism to having a socialist nature.

Related anecdote: Saw an ad for a talk about, and rally against, Ashcroft and the growing police state. The talk was at a gathering of socialist intellectuals. Life imitates parody sometimes, too.

Tuesday, May 4

Congress and Surgeon General declare “War on Fat.” Look out for the new law!

Monday, May 3

Editors Beware... management speak in the industry supposedly dedicated to honesty.