Lawyers for the father of a Marine from Maryland who died in Iraq and whose funeral was picketed by anti-gay protesters say a court has ordered him to pay the protesters' appeal costs.I'm floored by the workings of the legal system, and floored again that the newspaper actually published the link to the site where the family can take donations.
Lawyers for Albert Snyder of York, Pa., also say he is struggling to come up with fees associated with filing a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court.
The high court agreed earlier this month to consider whether the protesters' message is protected by the First Amendment or limited by the competing privacy and religious rights of the mourners.
On Friday, Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ordered that Snyder pay costs associated with the Fred Phelps' appeal. Phelps is the leader of the Westboro Baptist Church, which conducted protests at Marine Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder's funeral in 2006 in Westminster.
CLICK HERE to learn more about The Al Snyder Fund.
The Competitive Enterprise Institute plans to recognize "Human Achievement Hour" between 8:30pm and 9:30pm on March 27, 2010 to coincide with Earth Hour, a period of time during which governments, individuals, and corporations have agreed to dim or shut off lights in an effort to draw attention to climate change.
So instead, leave your lights on between 8:30-9:30pm. I think it's a great idea. Not just as a celebration of the human achievement and technological progress that has given us lives without parallel in human history, though it is that. Those space shots of North vs. South Korea say it all.
But it's also something that every single environmentalist out there ought to celebrate, as an environmentalist.
Quick question - before the incandescent bulb, what did people use for lighting? Because it was quite widespread, even on public streets. The answer is...
They used a LOT of whale oil. Illumination in lamps and candles was its #1 use. And we all know where it came from, and how.
Every environmentalist in existence should give daily thanks, on their knees, for the incandescent bulb. And instead of (or in addition to) turning lights off for Earth Day, turn them on for an hour to celebrate the achievement of their invention. They can be LED lights, or incandescent, or anything else.
Anything but whale oil, which was replaced by the very light bulbs and electricity that envirohadis so often despise.
It's not quite an aftermath yet, as there are a few steps to go. But the shape of the landscape is clear enough - and unsurprising. President Obama, as was easy to forsee, is well on his way to becoming one of the USA's most divisive Presidents.
That a guy who proclaimed himself to be "post-partisan" should take toxic partisanship to heights not seen since the Watergate era... is only surprising to those who wanted to be conned. To believe that the most left-wing senator in the USA, with a congress run by Nancy Pelosi, and a personal history of abdicating the initiative to his party, would be anything other than the divisive figure he has become, was always a fool's expectation.
The rise in partisanship, and rancor, may not even be a bad thing. Obama and "President" Pelosi have been uniformly excellent at exacerbating the USA's most pressing problems, and that has consequences. Dealing with those consequences will require major shifts in America, as is characteristic of Fourth Turning/ Winter generational periods. In that cold environment, clarity of choice is a virtue, and bitter battles to be expected.
In that environment, too, the destruction of 60+ vote and bi-partisan expectations for major reforms may also prove useful. What it will not be, is stabilizing.
The What? I'll let the Clay Mathematics Institute explain:
"Formulated in 1904 by the French mathematician Henri Poincaré, the conjecture is fundamental to achieving an understanding of three-dimensional shapes (compact manifolds). The simplest of these shapes is the three-dimensional sphere. It is contained in four-dimensional space, and is defined as the set of points at a fixed distance from a given point, just as the two-dimensional sphere (skin of an orange or surface of the earth) is defined as the set of points in three-dimensional space at a fixed distance from a given point (the center).
Since we cannot directly visualize objects in n-dimensional space, Poincaré asked whether there is a test for recognizing when a shape is the three-sphere by performing measurements and other operations inside the shape. The goal was to recognize all three-spheres even though they may be highly distorted. Poincaré found the right test (simple connectivity, see below). However, no one before Perelman was able to show that the test guaranteed that the given shape was in fact a three-sphere."
It's one of 7 "Millennium Problems" which has standing $1 million prizes for a solution at the Clay Mathematics Institute. Err, make that 6. Dr. Grigory Perelman in St. Petersburg has become the first winner of a Clay Millennium Prize. Only problem? He doesn't want it. He also failed to show at a 2006 Fields Medal ceremony from the International Mathematical Union.
"THE battle to save some of the world's most endangered species is turning bloody, with wildlife charities deploying guns and military vehicles to protect elephants, rhinos and tigers from a surge in poaching.
At least one British organisation, Care for the Wild International (CWI), is buying military-style field equipment and supporting the deployment of armed guards, while the US-based International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) has bought night-vision supplies, ammunition and light aircraft.
WWF, formerly known as the World Wildlife Fund, has hired former SAS soldiers to train African wildlife wardens, and the Zoological Society of London is funding elephant-mounted patrols to protect rhinos in Nepal. The trend towards militarisation follows an estimated 150 deaths among game wardens in Africa in gunfights with poachers."
This strikes me as a good idea - note the game warden death toll. The military option will fail, absent measures that take local needs into consideration. But there comes a pint where it's clearly necessary, and I'd say we reached it a while ago.
I'd even go a step farther. Special Forces is not about being Rambo, so much as it's about forming productive relationships with locals; deepening institutional familiarity with key terrain, languages, and cultures; training both military and paramilitary forces; and building relationships with local military and paramilitary forces that can really help in a crisis. Anti-poacher work hits every one of these facets. Working with African militaries and game wardens would be both good policy, and excellent training for new Special Forces troops.
The Times of London talks about the large roster of foreign fighters in Pakistan's tribal belt. They serve as shock troops that consolidate al-Qaeda's local control over the tribes in Pakistan, and also conduct operations in Afghanistan.
"First-hand accounts from locals in the lawless areas of Pakistan close to the Afghan border, combined with those of Pakistani officers in the region, suggest that there is no shortage of Islamic foreigners willing to join the fray. Britain claims that these fighters are still the source of 75 per cent of terror plots against it.
Among this disparate group are al-Qaeda's Arab fighters, with a reputation for being well heeled and well mannered; Uzbeks from the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), regarded as tough, rough and poor; and the Punjabis of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), viewed by their hosts as arrogant but militarily competent."
That said, Islamic paradise has its drawbacks. If we're clever enough to exploit them. Right now, we're doing the exact reverse:
"It's because of them that the army has come to our land and destroyed our homes," one local tribesman said. "Because of them our businesses are wrecked. Because of them we live as internal refugees.
"I've met ordinary people who say that they'd even welcome Israel or India if they helped us get rid of these Arabs and their friends."
Republicans and other opponents of the bill did their job on this; they persuaded the country that they didn't want this bill. And that mattered basically not at all. If you don't find that terrifying, let me suggest that you are a Democrat who has not yet contemplated what Republicans might do under similar circumstances. Farewell, social security! Au revoir, Medicare! The reason entitlements are hard to repeal is that the Republicans care about getting re-elected. If they didn't-if they were willing to undertake this sort of suicide mission-then the legislative lock-in you're counting on wouldn't exist. . . . If the GOP takes the legislative innovations of the Democrats and decides to use them, please don't complain that it's not fair. Someone could get seriously hurt, laughing that hard.Democrats murdered the tooth fairy, with hammers. John Taylor, President of the Virginia Institute of Public Policy, is even more effusive:
Kudos to President Obama for creating the modern Tea Party movement; for planting the seed in the minds of the American people that we need to completely reconsider the morality of entitlements; and for shining the light of day on how authoritarian the Progressive movement's agenda actually is. In November, we'll all be saying, "Couldn't have done it without you..."We should also thank nearly 50% of the citizens of Minnesota, without whom none of this would be possible, as well as countless others who, in a moment of sophomoric idealism, voted to elect the current government of unprincipled influence peddlers touting a molecule-thin veneer of "hope and change." Thankyou! Like the Democrats, we too "have a dream." It is to re-establish a country based on the generality principle of non-discrimination; a country that needs no entitlement bureaucracy awarding the spoils of political interest. We considered the dream unreachable, until now...
Generally, yes. That's the conclusion of recent research, including this gem:
"And those that were mandatory or discussed lawsuits - the vast majority of the programs the researchers examined - slightly reduced the number of women and minorities in management. Required training and legalistic training both make people resentful, the authors suggest, and likely to rebel against what they've heard."
Amazing! It turns out that putting people through "training" modeled on political indoctrination programs in dictatorships is productivity-draining make-work for a subset of the political class. Fortunately, it impairs its own stated objectives, thus creating more "demand" for the political class' "work."
Yeah, never saw that one coming, either.
On a more basically human level, it's amazing that some 4th grader hadn't pointed the problem out yet. Of course, they'd have to be asked... but people with a graduate humanities degree need the help. Perhaps they could be sent to mandatory courses on "4th grader training," explaining the benefits of testing one's thinking to survive the questions of an 8 year old...
"In 1978, a trio of psychologists curious about happiness assembled two groups of subjects. In the first were winners of the Illinois state lottery. These men and women had received jackpots of between fifty thousand and a million dollars. In the second group were victims of devastating accidents. Some had been left paralyzed from the waist down. For the others, paralysis started at the neck.... For a control, the psychologists assembled a third group, made up of Illinois residents selected at random from the phone book."
The answers were kind of surprising, and spawned a whole sub-genre of psychological research into human happiness.
Not nearly as funny as "CRACKED.COM Goes Postal on 5 Things You Think Will Make You Happy (But Won't)," but contains many similar insights... and a few different ones.
But the FEC data suggest plenty of wealthy donors continued to support Democrats with their checkbooks, at least through December.Large donors, in my view, tend to be 'investors' in government more than simply fans...what will it take to grow a Democratic Party that is connected to the $200 donors??
The Democratic National Committee, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee together took in more than $37.3 million from donors who gave $10,000 or more during the year, the FEC data show. On the GOP side, donors at the same level gave less than $15.6 million to the Republican National Committee, the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee combined, the data show.
The overall money race is much closer, with Democratic committees raising $141 million and the GOP close behind at $137.6 million. The Democratic committees, in other words, got more than twice as much of their individual contributions from big donors as Republicans did.
The contrast was particularly sharp between the DNC, which received 60 percent of its money from donations of less than $200, and the RNC, which took in nearly 80 percent of its receipts from the smallest donors. The RNC still edged out the DNC by $4 million in total money raised from individuals.
From John Mauldin's investment newsletter. I thought this rang true (link added):
"One participant [at the 7-day Singularity University event] suggested that in the future, as we get closer to true AI, computers should be tasked with designing the next generation of AI and computers. I pointed at that if we were to do so, then the Turing Test might not be the best way to determine if we had true artificial intelligence rather than just extremely sophisticated programs. I proposed the Mauldin Test. When a computer tells us that it no longer wishes to program a smarter computer, we will have arrived at the point of self-awareness and survival instinct. I suggest that is true AI. Just a thought."
UPDATE: Winds reader "Piercello" has been thinking along similar lines, into a full-blown theory that links intelligence to emotion.
So let's be clear - all media companies are struggling as both the basic models they operate under (online and offline) are challenged, and as the economy means they no longer have the cushion of good times.-
Let's look at two responses to the problem.
The LA Times ran an ad that wrapped the front page for the film Alice In Wonderland; that was controversial, but what made it deeply controversial is that the ad was designed with copy and font to look like the Times' front page...with an ad layered on top of it.
Sen. Ted Kaufmann [D-DE] lays out his position on financial sector reform, in a floor statement that I think is clearly argued. Which sounds like faint praise, but these days... it's a rarer commodity than I'd like.
Agree or disagree, you won't walk away wondering where he stands, or why.
There's wishful thinking about guys like Jerry Brown, and then there's examples of people stepping up for real. New Jersey's new Republican governor Chris Christie, who has already been cited by Armed Liberal and roiled the waters with a spending freeze, lays it on the line in another extraordinary, and frank, speech:
It's not extraordinary in terms of the problems it outlines - public sector unions have created these problems in state after state, and California certainly understands the high taxes = tax base exodus phenomenon (for NJ, it's $70 billion in wealth over 4 years). But it's pretty extraordinary in terms of the stands it takes, and the clarity it brings. He spares neither side of the aisle.
In the end, we'll see more of this sort of thing. If not from current incumbents, from their eventual successors. Because there won't be a choice.
There are no constraints left to halt America's slide into a totalitarian capitalism. Electoral politics are a sham. The media have been debased and defanged by corporate owners. The working class has been impoverished and is now being plunged into profound despair. The legal system has been corrupted to serve corporate interests. Popular institutions, from labor unions to political parties, have been destroyed or emasculated by corporate power. And any form of protest, no matter how tepid, is blocked by an internal security apparatus that is starting to rival that of the East German secret police. The mounting anger and hatred, coursing through the bloodstream of the body politic, make violence and counter-violence inevitable. Brace yourself. The American empire is over. And the descent is going to be horrifying.I was going to just page away from it and shrug when I caught the author's byline:
Chris Hedges writes a regular column for Truthdig.com. Hedges graduated from Harvard Divinity School and was for nearly two decades a foreign correspondent for The New York Times. He is the author of many books, including: War Is A Force That Gives Us Meaning, What Every Person Should Know About War, and American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America. His most recent book is Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle.I'm sure there are NYT and WaPo reporters who post on VDare and Stormfront and places like that. I don't go to those sites often, so can't say I have any kind of data. And I can't find examples in my bookmarks for other crazed left-wing ex-legacy media journalists.
Over at The Futurist, "GK" laid out the 4 Horsemen in January 2009. All elements remain in place.
Meanwhile, the Wall St. Journal notes that VCs are having a difficult time. They may have avoided a 5th Horesman, however, depending on how the SEC and Senate define the Venture Capital funds that were finally excluded from the House and Senate versions of the new financial rules bill.
Marc Danziger is doing errands with Biggest Guy and chatting. Parent bliss.Back soon.
The Weekly Standard does a very good job documenting all of the scandals and forced retractions by the IPCC. As you might expect, there are rather more of them than have been published in the "mainstream" media. It makes for a long article, and taken together, they are incredibly damning. Having read them, I do not think "hoax" is too strong a word to describe these instances - and the comparison of Climategate to The Pentagon Papers is apt.
Though the cover drawing of an unclothed Al Gore isn't really something I wanted seared into my brain....
On the other hand, this program may hold some good lessons for California in a few years.
By which, he meant the whole TED format, and the format of his own talk. He goes on to draw parallels between that format, the current education system, and the "mainstream" media's failing model. On which topic, see Belmont Club's post about schools trying to ban laptops in classrooms.
I agreed with this from Jarvis:
"Why shouldn't every university - every school - copy Google's 20% rule, encouraging and enabling creation and experimentation, every student expected to make a book or an opera or an algorithm or a company. Rather than showing our diplomas, shouldn't we show our portfolios of work as a far better expression of our thinking and capability? The school becomes not a factory but an incubator."
He also asks this, and here's where we diverge:
"We must stop our culture of standardized testing and standardized teaching. Fuck the SATs.* In the Google age, what is the point of teaching memorization?"
The question shouldn't be rhetorical, because there really is an answer.
The answer is that in order to fit new information in, it requires a framework. Franeworks do require problem-solving skills, but they are NOT all process. They are ALSO made up of things you know. Indeed, they depend on that, or else the framework collapses. Which means the new isn't integrated, just thrown on the wall. And there, alas, goes the value-add of perspective, and much of one's problem solving capability.
The black belt in martial arts is the beginning of real learning. Getting there takes a certain amount of rote. And of collision with unpredictable real sparring, too, so that the rote is integrated and understood.
Engineers do a lot of rote learning before they go out to apply their problem-solving skills and build bridges. The skills are 2 different sets - but I wouldn't drive over a bridge built by someone who hadn't done both sets.
Which is to say that the current model for schools, like that of newspapers, is not 100% wrong. It may be 40% wrong, or even 70% wrong, but not 100%. There's definitely something to Jeff's 20% Rule suggestion. But ditching common sets of things that educated people should know, in favor of pure process or washed-out curricula, has been tried. It has not gone well, and is not the answer.
Always interesting to see the responses....
My answer. Working, so far.
As the BBC puts it: "They do not eat pork, they practise male circumcision, they ritually slaughter their animals, some of their men wear skull caps and they put the Star of David on their gravestones." They also have a tribal artefact called the "ngoma lungundu," which seems to be a replica of the Ark of the Covenant.
No replica of a melted Nazi by the Ark, though. Guess Hollywood's influence is limited.
Many Lemba are now Christians or Muslims, but DNA testing has confirmed that the Jewish practices and symbols, and Lemba oral history, are no coincidence. Members of the Lemba's priestly clan (the Buba) even have a genetic element also found among the Jewish priestly clan, the Kohanim.
London's Daily Telegraph has the photo and short story: 'Astro-squirrels' use coconut shells as helmets.
Really, anyone who has ever owned a bird feeder, and watched Gilligan's Island, has entertained serious suspicions of this sort for quite some time...
Romania's tyrant Nicolae Ceausescu ran one of Europe's most ruthlessly repressive dictatorships until 1989 when he and his wife Elena were overthrown by their captive subjects and executed on television. The country had been so thoroughly brutalized by its own government that it was still an emergency room case even years after its communist rulers were dispatched. Unlike some formerly Eastern bloc countries, its reputation still hasn't recovered entirely even though it belongs to the European Union and NATO.
"Last time I was in Romania," independent foreign correspondent Michael Yon said to me in an email, "it was terrible. It was like hell."
"The featureless plain filled with cardboard and scrap-metal squatters' settlements as awful as many I had seen in Africa, Asia, and Latin America," Robert D. Kaplan wrote in his outstanding book Eastward to Tartary: Travels in the Balkans, the Middle East, and the Caucasus about his journey in the year 2000 from Eastern Europe to Central Asia. Romania, he wrote at the time, despite its location in Europe, was a Third World country. "The train [from Hungary] began to move," he wrote. "My face was glued to the window. An elevated hot water pipe caught my eye. Where the pipe's shiny new metal and fiberglass insulation ended and rusted metal and rags began--the same point where mounds of trash and corrugated shacks began to appear, where cratered roads suddenly replaced paved ones--marked Romania."
The country doesn't look anything like the Third World anymore. It would not be in the European Union if it did. I was slightly surprised, though, by how many scars from the communist era were still visible when the Ministry of Foreign Affairs invited me and three of my colleagues to visit near the end of 2009.
Some Western Europeans seemed to lose a bit of confidence in themselves and their civilization after the near-apocalyptic traumas of the two world wars, but Romanians, like others in Eastern Europe, have emerged from a third and much more recent trauma in a different emotional state. Bogdan Aurescu, Romania's Secretary of State for Strategic Affairs, spoke for most of his countrymen as he explained it.
"The level of affection," he said, "or preference for a partnership relation with the United States is high, one of the highest in Europe. The French have a preference for the Obama Administration, but Romanians don't make distinctions between a Republican administration or a Democratic administration. It's irrespective of ideological affiliation."
His assistant served hot cups of black Turkish coffee and bottles of water.
"Since it's irrespective of ideological affiliation," said my colleague Gregory Rodriguez from the Los Angeles Times, "what do you ascribe this preference to?"
"During the communist years," Aurescu said, "there was a sense of disappointment that the U.S. was not here. We felt separated from the Western culture we feel we belong to. Western culture, including American culture, was and still is a part of our identity. That was very much reflected after the Romanian Revolution 20 years ago in very strong support for both EU and NATO accession. We are culturally oriented, without any possibility of doubt or shift, towards Western democratic culture."
You're not Adam Gadahn
Yes I am. Of course I am.
Well, how do we know that? Do you have any ID?
No, I burned my American citizenship papers. I reject American Imperialism.
Well, that's awfully convenient innit? So how are we supposed to know who you are? Can anyone vouch for you? We can't just let anyone into Gitmo on their say-so alone. How would that make us look?
But, I really am Adam Gadahn. Haven't you seen my movies?
That could've been anyone with a fake beard. It could've been my brother-in-law. In fact, you look a little like my brother-in-law. Certainly not anybody important.
But I am important! I'm a notorious traitor to the US, and confidant of the famous Osama Bin Laden himself!
Right, so what did you do to rise in the ranks of Al Qaeda? Let's see your resume. Where'd you go to school? What degrees do you have? Do you have any public speaking experience?
Well sure, I made those movies telling Americans their streets would run with blood.
So how'd that turn out? Besides which, that doesn't prove you're Adam Gadahn. The real Adam Gadahn must've been a pretty sharp dude, to scare Americans into re-electing George Bush. What'd you do before that, that would qualify you for such a position?
I went to HS in California.
Liberty Mutual (yes, the insurance company) says:
"In 2006, Liberty Mutual created a TV commercial about people doing things for strangers. The response was overwhelming. We received thousands of positive emails and letters from people all over the country commenting on the ads.
We thought, if one TV spot can get people thinking and talking about responsibility, imagine what could happen if we went a step further? So we created a series of short films, and this website, as an exploration of what it means to do the right thing."
Hence "The Responsibility Project."
I love it! Well done, down to earth examples designed to spark comment and thought, and the concept itself is sorely needed in today's culture. Kudos, too, to NBC, for partnering up with them.
How often do you find a cross-over story about three notable Left Coast industries: venture capital, media, and -- err -- sex?
It seems that noted San Francisco sex writer Violet Blue did some checking on what the SF Chron and sfgate.com were doing with her content (NSFW WARNING) and didn't like what she found. Her past columns had been copied to another domain, all outbound links (and some punctuation) stripped, the articles split into multiple pages, the pages stuffed with keywords - some inappropriate, and festooned with pay-per-click ads. And it emerged that multiple domains had also been aliased to these dead-end copies. Now where have we seen that kind of behavior before?
Here I should mention that sfgate.com is apparently - by admission of the author - within the letter of her contract by making this use of her work. That relationship, now terminated, was based on a level of trust that she feels has been abused, and made no explicit stipulations on how the content can be reused. The interest here is what this occurrence may say about the ongoing behavior of the MSM online, and its implications for the industry's business model.
This incident is not a one-off.
The Violet Blue post also mentions the LA Times as creating similar ad-stuffed dead end pages, also with a list of multiple aliased domains. What caught my attention was that both the Chron's and Times' alias lists incuded subdomains of one common domain: perfectmarket.com. Perfect Market is an LA-area startup that claims to:
[help] newspapers, magazines, and broadcasters with a web presence and other online publishers grow their revenue with little effort and no risk. Our proprietary technology solution better fulfills the needs of intent users - people who arrive at their sites through keyword searches seeking specific information - with exactly what they're looking for in our customers' online content. Optimized content with relevant ads generates higher click-through rates for advertisers, and dramatically more revenue for publishers and their ad network partners.
Perfect Market is a well backed venture. It has raised over $20m in venture capital, the most recent round closing in February and announced yesterday. Interestingly, this round was led by the bankrupt Tribune Company, parent company of the LA Times. Perfect Market also has solid backing from more traditional VCs, including Trinity, Rustic Canyon and IdeaLab. (Mayfield also has a board seat, though no publicized investment.)
Again, nothing to see here from a legal perspective. The company is selling a service and technology to its MSM clients, who bear responsibility for its operation against content that they have bought or licensed.
There are three business perspectives that do emerge from considering Perfect Market's business model. The first is the potential reaction of authors who find their work reused in this fashion, and the consequent ability of MSM sites to work with those with an established byline. Ms. Blue has pretty much covered that by example, so I will pass.
The second is the reaction of the so-far-unnamed party to the transaction: the search engine. The keyword and ad-stuffed dead end copy pages apparently produced by Perfect Markets's technology are identical, from a search company's point of view, to those created by more questionable tactics such as scraping. The intent is the same: to spam the index. This is the behavior that routinely gets questionable sites shoved to Google's back pages, or banished altogether. One has to wonder just how long this type of abuse will be tolerated, simply because it's being practiced by a recognized media outlet. (And we can note in passing that the irony of an MSM which routinely suggests that deep links are 'stealing' behaving in this fashion is thick enough to spread on toast.)
Finally come the implications for the businesses of the MSM sites themselves. While Perfect Market suggests that what they are enabling is an exhibit of MSM brand power, reality would seem to be the opposite. It should be clear that neither the potential reader nor the original author are going to be happy with the existence of a keyword stuffed, link stripped dead end page. The difference between these pages and those of a more prosaic SEO spammer is simply the brand attached to them, which might entice the reader to click through. It should be obvious that the Chron, the Times, and other MSM outlets behaving in this fashion are doing no less than milking their brands to the detriment of long term trust and value. It is a subtle, but telling, exhibition of their desperation.
(Cross-posted with minor edits from Due Diligence.)
You know, Marlboro, after a two year negotiation, they give a five year contract giving 4.5% annual salary increases to the teachers, with no contribution, zero contribution to health care benefits.I'm dying to hear the Jerry Brown version of that speech...
But I am sure there are people in Marlboro who have lost their jobs, who have had their homes foreclosed on, and who cannot keep a roof over their family's head there is something wrong.
You know, at some point there has to be parity. There has to be parity between what is happening in the real world, and what is happening in the public sector world. The money does not grow on trees outside this building or outside your municipal building. It comes from the hard working people of our communities who are suffering and are hurting right now.
More "Led by the Stupid and Loathsome," I'm afraid. Seems that Gita Sahgal led Amnesty International's gender-affairs unit until very recently. When she was recruited, she was up front about needing to fix a very troubling connection for Amnesty: Moazzam Begg, a a British citizen who was captured in Pakistan in 2001 and known as "Britain's most famous supporter of the Taliban."
Begg still believes in the Taliban's ideals, you see, and he and his organization continue to defend them, and to promote a global Islamic Caliphate. Amnesty International was happy to make him a minor celebrity and endorse him, because he was incarcerated at Guantanamo Bay from 2001-2005. The fact that he also supports treating women like animals, preaching hatred against other religions, etc., and still says that the Taliban's corpse filled rule was the best thing that happened to Afghanistan.... well, that bothered Ms. Sahgal. Amnesty International? They didn't really give a ---.
So, not realizing that torture, executions, and the denial of people's rights because they were born female are OK if endorsed by an Amnesty-approved source, longtime Amnesty employee Ms. Saghal told a reporter from the London Times that she thought the link to Begg tainted Amnesty.
Clearly, something had to be done about this, and done right now.
So, of course "Amnesty" International suspended her from her job in the gender-affairs unit. Sahgal writes:
"A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when a great organisation must ask: if it lies to itself, can it demand the truth of others?
....I have always opposed the illegal detention and torture of Muslim men at Guantanamo Bay and during the so-called War on Terror. I have been horrified and appalled by the treatment of people like Moazzam Begg and I have personally told him so. I have vocally opposed attempts by governments to justify 'torture lite'.
The issue is not about Moazzam Begg's freedom of opinion, nor about his right to propound his views: he already exercises these rights fully as he should. The issue is a fundamental one about the importance of the human rights movement maintaining an objective distance from groups and ideas that are committed to systematic discrimination and fundamentally undermine the universality of human rights. I have raised this issue because of my firm belief in human rights for all.
I sent two memos to my management asking a series of questions about what considerations were given to the nature of the relationship with Moazzam Begg and his organisation, Cageprisoners. I have received no answer to my questions. There has been a history of warnings within Amnesty that it is inadvisable to partner with Begg. Amnesty has created the impression that Begg is not only a victim of human rights violations but a defender of human rights.... I have been a human rights campaigner for over three decades, defending the rights of women and ethnic minorities, defending religious freedom and the rights of victims of torture, and campaigning against illegal detention and state repression. I have raised the issue of the association of Amnesty International with groups such as Begg's consistently within the organisation. I have now been suspended for trying to do my job and staying faithful to Amnesty's mission to protect and defend human rights universally and impartially."
Well, of course she has. Amnesty ceased to be a great organization, or to give a damn about human rights, several years ago. Shame you were late to get the memo, Ms. Sahgal. Salman Rushdie gets it, and takes his analysis to the sensible conclusion:
"Amnesty International has done its reputation incalculable damage by allying itself with Moazzam Begg and his group Cageprisoners, and holding them up as human rights advocates. It looks very much as if Amnesty's leadership is suffering from a kind of moral bankruptcy, and has lost the ability to distinguish right from wrong. It has greatly compounded its error by suspending the redoubtable Gita Sahgal for the crime of going public with her concerns. Gita Sahgal is a woman of immense integrity and distinction and I am personally grateful to her for the courageous stands she made at the time of the Khomeini fatwa against The Satanic Verses, as a leading member of the groups Southall Black Sisters and Women Against Fundamentalism. It is people like Gita Sahgal who are the true voices of the human rights movement; Amnesty and Begg have revealed, by their statements and actions, that they deserve our contempt."
Just remember, next time you hear the words "Amnesty International" - this is the organization that fired its gender affairs staffer for criticizing a member of the Taliban over their human rights record.
Mickey Kaus' long post here about John Edwards' alleged affair with Rielle Hunter is almost self-refuting. Basically, we have an anonymous source saying Hunter said she had an affair with Edwards, versus Hunter, on the record, saying that's not the case. Then there's Edwards, also saying it's not the case. But Kaus initially deems Edwards' denial too vague and non-specific. But then:Now, we all know how this turned out, right?? I'm sure Matt apologized to Mickey at some point...Update: The AP has Edwards adding "It's completely untrue, ridiculous" and saying the story was "made up." By the Enquirer? Or by one of the people the Enquirer cites? Either way, it's a direct attack on the integrity of someone (not necessarily a smart move for a politician in Edwards' position). ...[Banging my head against the wall] Basically what we have here is that if we assume the anonymous hearsay is true and the on-the-record first-hand denial is false, then Edwards is either mishandling the story by denying it too vaguely ("the story is false") or else is mishandling it by denying it too directly ("made up") but what if the story's not true? No doubt by now we've had all the legitimate news organizations in the country looking into it and it seems that . . . nobody can come up with any evidence. As we saw with Scott Beauchamp, and the fake John Kerry intern affair story, if you just operate from within an assumption of guilt it's very hard for someone to prove his innocence but that's why we . . . don't operate with an assumption of guilt!
But if the court would identify an important individual right -- in this case, the right to bear arms -- and then deny that it applied to the states, those who never accepted the incorporation doctrine might try to "de-incorporate" other rights. That's not a risk worth taking.Isn't that a peach??
Nothing like a fantastic hockey game to cap it all off, with a goal in overtime to secure home team gold. Up in Canada, this was a hugely important game. And if you were watching down south, you saw 2 teams playing exciting on-the-attack styles, which made for a good game. Team USA coach Ron Wilson:
"Canada and the United States play the game like it should be -- not sitting back and playing on your heels and waiting for something bad to happen and counter-punching, but actually going on the attack. I know Mike (Babcock)'s teams play that way and I try to play that way, not very successfully right now with my team in Toronto [Canada]."
US coach Ron Wilson may get even more grief back in Toronto for saying that "Sometimes, the best team in the tournament doesn't win a gold medal." In a 1-game format, however, he's right. And Team USA was more consistent throughout.
But it did come down to one game, aganist another great team. And a finish that set a record for home country gold medals. That was thanks, in part, to a program called "Own the Podium," which aimed to secure more advance support for Canadian olympians, and focus on winning instead of just competing. That's a big cultural change for Canada, and a welcome one. Mission Accomplished.