Curious whether others shared my own ambivalence, I undertook an informal investigation of left-wing opinion on American foreign policy since 9/11. . . . Some of the people I interviewed opposed going to war in October because they feared a bloody quagmire and didn't trust the Bush Administration, but changed their minds a month later when the Taliban unexpectedly fell. Others went in the opposite direction, coming out against the war only after US bombing began to inflict heavy civilian casualties. A few people supported targeted strikes against Al Qaeda training bases, but not the overthrow of the Taliban--not because of any sympathy for the regime but because the Bush Administration might be emboldened to overthrow other governments. Others argued, in contrast, that we shouldn't be bombing Afghanistan unless we were willing to send in ground troops. Some said that a struggle against radical Islam is necessary, but that we should be waging it in Saudi Arabia, not in Afghanistan. And many of the people who cautiously supported the Afghan intervention passionately assailed the war on terror as a new cold war, a danger to both American democracy and security. -- Adam Shatz, The Nation
A 2003 paper by Rutgers sociologist Ted Goertzel offers some interesting insight into the left-wing psyche:
In the 1970s, Stanley Rothman and Robert Lichter administered Thematic Apperception Tests to a large sample of "new left" radicals (Roots of Radicalism, 1982). They found that activists were characterized by weakened self-esteem, injured narcissism and paranoid tendencies. They were preoccupied with power and attracted to radical ideologies that offered clear and unambiguous answers to their questions. . . .
The unwillingness to offer alternatives reveals a lack of self-confidence and self-esteem. If they offered their own policy ideas they would be vulnerable to criticism. They would run the risk that their ideas would fail, or would not seem persuasive to others. This is especially difficult for anti-capitalists after the fall of the Soviet Union. It has also been difficult in the war against terrorism because Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden are such unsympathetic figures. Psychologically, it is easier to blame America for not finding a solution than it is to put one's own ideas on the line.
Maggots found on patient's face
A woman was shocked to find maggots crawling on her mother's face in a hospital's intensive care unit.
Nyree Ellison Anjos alerted staff at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital when she saw the larvae wriggling near a feeding tube attached to her mother's nose.
The memories of tyranny are still alive in the minds of many Czechs, Hungarians, Poles and Slovaks. We also remember the challenges we faced early in our democratic transition. It is a testament to the resilience of our peoples that we are where we are now -- members of NATO and the European Union, and strong allies of the U.S. We got here by believing in the transformational power of democracy and a market economy. But we needed others to believe in us, too. We could not have made it alone. We needed the perseverance and support of Western democracies for freedom finally to arrive.
The attainment of our immediate goals of stability and prosperity could have made us complacent. It has not. We feel that as free and democratic nations we have a
duty to help others achieve the security and prosperity that we now enjoy. That is why we have been part of the coalition to help democracy emerge in Iraq.
While the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal is conservative, the newspaper's news pages are liberal, even more liberal than The New York Times. The Drudge Report may have a right-wing reputation, but it leans left. Coverage by public television and radio is conservative compared to the rest of the mainstream media. Meanwhile, almost all major media outlets tilt to the left.Surprising? We've been telling you about it forever and you still find it surprising?
These are just a few of the surprising findings from a UCLA-led study, which is believed to be the first successful attempt at objectively quantifying bias in a range of media outlets and ranking them accordingly.
This last sentence should scare the French cizitens more than it should reassure them.
France's public debt is spiralling out of control, according to a report commissioned by the French government from the chairman of BNP Paribas bank.
[...] report shows that the debt stands at 1,117 billion, representing 66 per cent of France's GDP or 18,000 per citizen.
The staggering figure encompasses the debt accumulated by the state and local authorities, as well as social and health insurance bodies, over the past few decades.
However, it does not include the upcoming time bomb of civil servants' pensions. Depending on who you agree with, this could add between 450 billion and 900 billion to the country's arrears.
As things stand, French taxpayers see almost all of their income tax contributions end up in interest repayments for their public debt, to the tune of 45 billion each year.
This is one of the budget's largest expenditure items, second only to primary and secondary school education - "twice as much as research and third-level education", according to the report.
In his conclusions, [the report] criticises successive governments - both right and leftwing - which have all "consistently taken the easy option"; when it came to public finances.
The document suggests several measures to tackle deficits: reduce the number of civil servants; freeze the current government's policy of tax cuts; merge a number of redundant administrative authorities and push back retirement age to salvage the French public pensions system.
In a television interview on Wednesday, he said: "France spends too much and too badly, we must take the matter into our own hands."
Message to the Arab world: Democracy works.
Iraqis will go to the polls tomorrow for the third time this year. Their actions mark both a triumph for the Iraqi people and a warning for Arab autocrats. Not only has the Iraqi march toward democracy proved naysayers wrong, but Iraqis' growing embrace of democracy demonstrates the wisdom of staying the course. Iraqis are changing political culture. Howard Dean and John Murtha may believe that the U.S. military has lost. Brent Scowcroft may think Arab democracy a pipe dream. They are mistaken.
This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Higher Education Act, but instead of commemorating it by reaffirming our commitment to education and opportunity for all, Congress is scheduled to vote on the largest federal college financial aid cuts in our history.I sent a letter to the editor to answer some of the worst arguments against tax cuts, so called cuts in social programs and most of all, his assertions that both cause shortages of engineers our high-tech companies need to grow. The letter was published today. It is unfortunately limited to only 200 words and not available online. The editor of the Times gave it a pretty nice title.
Congressional Republicans are on the verge of cutting approximately $15 billion in federal college financial aid. Included in these cuts are nearly $8 billion in new charges that will raise the cost of college loans – through new fees and higher interest – for millions of American students and families who borrow to pay for college. For the typical student borrower, already saddled with $17,500 in debt, these new fees and higher interest charges could cost up to $5,800.
Congress is voting on this raid on student aid (as well as health care and other vital services) in order to provide a $70 billion package of tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, half with incomes over $1 million per year.
This raid on student aid breaks the (formerly) bipartisan commitment to education and opportunity for all. It is wrong to cut financial aid for students and families already struggling to pay for college.
Financial barriers should not prevent qualified students from going to college, and that is why America has long made the commitment to help families afford higher education.
Making it harder for students to go to college not only undercuts our promise to individuals, it undermines America’s economy and world leadership. Studies show that financial barriers will prevent 4.4 million high school graduates from attending a four-year public university over the next decade and prevent another two million from attending any college at all. The nation is facing a shortage of 12 million college-educated workers by 2020.
In 2004, China graduated 600,000 engineers, and India graduated 350,000. America graduated just 70,000. Europe now produces more Ph.D.s in science and engineering each year than the United States does.
Together, we can do better, and we must if we want to remain a strong global economic leader. College affordability is key to maintaining a strong economy for generations to come, as well as providing individual opportunity.
Earlier this year, a bipartisan effort found savings and efficiencies to be had in college financial aid. These funds should be reinvested by boosting Pell Grants and making college loans more accessible, rather than tax breaks for millionaires.
The administration and congressional Republicans have a choice to make: Provide more tax breaks for a chosen few, or more opportunity for all. Their decision will confirm whether or not they are acting in the best interests of both individual Americans and our collective economic future.
A stronger America starts at home, and one of the best investments we can make as a nation is in education. This is my commitment to you.
David Wu is a Democrat who represents Oregon’s First Congressional District, which includes western Washington County.
Wu's column taxes reality
As usual, there are many “misrepresentations” in Rep. Wu’s class-warfare hit piece.
First, the federal spending on education has almost doubled since 2001. The “cuts” Rep. Wu is talking about would only reduce the automatic rate of increase. In other words, we will still be spending more on education after Republicans are done with their “raid on student aid.”
Second, tax cuts for the 1% of the richest Americans (who already pay 25% of federal income taxes) Rep. Wu resents so much have fueled one of the most impressive economic recoveries we have witnessed in a long time.
That recovery in turn has resulted in the highest level of federal tax receipts in the US history. (The graph can be found on the Department of the Treasury site.)
Lastly, the US is failing to produce enough engineers to satisfy the needs of the growing economy not because high-school graduates do not go to college but because, when forced to take remedial math and science classes, they change their majors or drop out all together.
And there is only one culprit here: public schools are interested in equality of outcome rather than in creating opportunities to push our brightest and most talented students to their limits the way China and India do.
The result is a lot of mediocre students who consistently fail to meet the tough requirements of engineering departments in American colleges.
O.K., but what about their crusade? We are accustomed to looking at maps that show an area called Âthe Muslim world,Â stretching from West Africa across the Middle East to Southeast Asia, as though this always has been and must be; but before the time of Mohammed these same areas were Christian, Jewish, Hindu, or Zoroastrian, among others. How did they make the switch, and what happened when they did? This is the topic The Legacy of Jihad: Islamic Holy War and the Fate of Non-Muslims a new anthology edited by Andrew G. Bostom. This exhaustive, 759-page tome contains both primary-source material and interpretive essays, dating from the earliest period of Muslim expansion to the present day. One learns very quickly that the caliphate was established not by evangelism but by the sword, and the non-Muslims who were subjected to the rule of the caliphs were either forced to convert, allowed to live as social inferiors under a religious caste system called dhimmitude, or simply killed outright.
The U.S. economy entered its fifth year of expansion in November, with non-farm payroll employment, a broad economic indicator, having expanded by 4.5 million jobs (3.4 percent) since bottoming in May 2003. Wal-Mart, meanwhile, the nation’s largest private employer, has been creating new jobs at a much higher rate. Data obtained from Wal-Mart show the retail giant expanding employment by 15 percent in the same two-and-a-half-year period.
Idaho's unemployment rate is dropping -- in part because construction is booming in several areas of the state.Oregon:
Kathryn Tacke, a regional economist for the state, says construction wages have risen 22 percent in the last two years.
Four percent of chief financial officers in the Portland area expect to add staff in the first quarter of 2006 and 6 percent anticipate reductions in personnel, according to the most recent Robert Half International Financial Hiring Index.
The majority of respondents, 83 percent, foresee no change in hiring in the first quarter.
The legislative policy rationale is that society and government have a strong interest in fostering heterosexual marriage as the social institution that best forges a linkage between sex, procreation and child rearing.Answer: NY State Supreme Court in its decision to reverse a ruling that would have allowed same-sex couples to get married in New York City made by justice Doris Ling-Cohan.
We find it even more troubling that the court, upon determining the statute to be unconstitutional, proceeded to rewrite it and purportedly create a new constitutional right.And this:
[The ruling] was an act that exceeded the court's constitutional mandate and usurped that of the legislature.And lastly this:
We find it even more troubling that the court, upon determining the statute to be unconstitutional, proceeded to rewrite it and purportedly create a new constitutional right.I can only say this: Wow!
Denise Armstrong decided to home school her daughter and two sons because she thought she could do a better job of instilling her values in her children than a public school could. And while she once found herself the lone black parent at home-education gatherings that usually were dominated by white Christian evangelicals, she's noticed more black parents joining the ranks.
"I've been delighted to be running into people in the African-American home-schooling community," Armstrong said.
Home-school advocates say the apparent increase in black families opting to educate their children at home reflects a wider desire among families of all races to guide their children's moral upbringing, along with growing concerns about issues such as sub-par school conditions and preserving cultural heritage.
Poland was the heart of the CIA's secret detention network in Europe until recently, an analyst of the U.S.-based Human Rights Watch organization was quoted as telling a Polish newspaper.We may never know the whole truth however because the same people who insist such centers existed in the first place now say they have been closed because of all the publicity. I don't know and frankly don't care if such "secret" centers exist. But wouldn't it be typical for the media and other usual suspects to create a fake story that leaves doubts and taints otherwise worthy cause?
Reports of the CIA operating secret jails in Poland and Romania as part of its war on terrorism have caused controversy on both sides of the Atlantic and dogged U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's European trip this week.
Both countries deny hosting such facilities, and the United States has declined to comment on the reports.
Unions, and the lawmakers who've helped fix the game on unions' behalf, share the blame.So I wonder what's really behind all those attacks on Wal*Mart and what will happen to Wal*Mart and its shoppers if the unions win. Somehow, I don't think it will be good for anybody considering GM is laying off a lot of people.
The new German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, met with president-elect Lech Kaczynski on Friday and reassured Poles that closer German ties with Russia would not mean Germany would ignore Polish concerns about Moscow.
"Good, strategic relations with Russia are important to us but they cannot be developed over Poland's head," Merkel told reporters. "Good German-Polish relations and German-Russian relations cannot be mutually exclusive," she added.
German-Polish relations were strained by Poland's support for the Iraq war. Poland's relations with Russia have deteriorated since Poland mediated in bringing a pro-Western government to power in Ukraine. Things have deteriorated further in recent weeks as Russia banned agricultural imports from Poland.
Poland and the ex-Soviet Baltic states were outraged earlier this year when Schroeder and Putin signed a deal to build an undersea pipeline to transport Russian gas to Germany.
They accused Germany of not consulting its new EU partners - a notion which Berlin rejects, claiming the pipeline is merely a commercial venture.
Merkel told Polish Prime Minister Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz the pipeline is not a threat because Poland and other countries will be able to tap into it.
So far this year, Poland, the region's largest country, has won some 25 major tech or research-driven investments, according to the Polish Foreign Investment Agency. One lure is the country's thriving universities, which are churning out 55,000 graduates per year in math, science, computing, and engineering. Krakow, which boasts three universities within a 100-kilometer radius, is attracting the likes of Motorola (MOT ), Capgemini, and Delphi -- all of which have set up R&D centers in the area. Siemens employs 500 telecom-software and systems-software engineers in its Wroclaw R&D center. Says Richard Lada, vice-president for Central and Eastern European operations at Motorola, "Poles have a can-do spirit."Should American engineers be worried? In the short term, yes. But the (unintended?) goal of globalization is equalization of markets, including labor. So in the longer term, as the engineers are being snapped by growing economies worldwide, they will demand higher salaries.
IBM (IBM ), the latest to join the migration, announced in September that it will open a development lab in Krakow focused on systems and security management. India's Tata Consultancy Services, which already operates an IT outsourcing center in Budapest, is considering setting up another in Krakow.
[...] if we send everyone home, we will end up paying more for produce unless subsidies are substantially increased. Are the Americans willing to pay more for produce?
Why would we want to reconcile with the French anyway now that we know why they opposed the war ? Maybe it's just me, but after learning that France is America's oldest enemy and knowing how badly it screwed Poland during WWII, I just don't understand why we even care any more. Is French wine so good?For me it was a rhetorical question. Even if they were our best friends, their wine would still be over-rated. Considering how arrogant the French are and, more importantly, how detrimental their government's actions are to our foreign policy, I would rather stop drinking wine altogether if I couldn't buy anything else.
In 1976, a Paris wine shop arranged a tasting as a gimmick to introduce some California wines; the judges, of course, were all French and militantly chauvinistic. Only one journalist bothered to attend, a Time correspondent, looking for a possible American angle. The story he got turned out to be a sensation. In both red and white blind tastings, an American wine won handily: a 1973 Stag's Leap cabernet and a 1973 Chateau Montelena chardonnay. When the story was published the following week, it stunned both the complacent French and fledgling American wine industriesÂand things have never been the same since. Taber, the Time man, has fashioned an entertaining, informative book around this event. Following a brisk history of the French-dominated European wine trade with a more detailed look at the less familiar American effort, he focuses on the two winning wineries, both of which provide him with lively tales of colorful amateurs and immigrants making good, partly through willingness to experiment with new techniques. While the outrage of some of the judges is funny, this is a serious business book, too, sure to be required reading for American vintners and oenophiles.So there we have it. I knew it was more about snobbery than just a good taste. What I don't understand is what are certain francophiles thinking.
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