Saturday, October 31, 2009

Kurt Vile: Live at the Empty Bottle

A review by this blogs Rock Reviewer.

A UU Church Story

A story's told me of a woman and man who visited a UU Church. The woman joins but the man declines. Too political, too liberal for him.

They're seen little until he calls and tells the woman's near end-of-life and she wishes a memorial at her Church when she passes.

The minister says of course and the Church pitches in to do what a Church does. The readings and music chosen. A member videos the memorial garden and brings the tape to the hospice. Support's offered. The woman passes. The memorial observed.

A little time passes and the man joins explaining he didn't know this is what the Church did. He's grateful. He's found a Church home.

Marking life's passages. Comforting a spirit. That's what Churches do. Movements don't. (I've belonged. They grind and take. They don't give.)

Maybe when trying to stick to visitors, we ought to spend some time explaining just what Church is about. Tell our visitors what we do very well.

Because our Practice can be obscured by our 'ism and Politics. Our beliefs we've changed over the years, while our practices have endured for centuries. We should tell visitors just that. It's what we do that's core.

'Expert Panels' Won't Improve Health Care

Gleicher's Editorial in WSJ,
At a town-hall meeting in New Hampshire this summer, President Barack Obama explained why government "expert panels" are an essential part to overhauling the health-care system. Right now the United States spends $6,000 more per person each year than other advanced nations and isn't healthier for it. He said these panels would reduce wasteful spending by providing "guidelines" for doctors on which procedures to perform.

His panels are now part of legislation moving in Congress. But the idea of inserting a government panel between patients and physicians remains contentious and with good reason. Inevitably, the panels' guidelines will come to be seen as the industry's "best practices" and would therefore be adopted as a blueprint for which procedures health insurance should cover.

The idea of creating expert panels has a certain logic to it. After all, who is better qualified to determine best medical practices than medical experts? The medical field itself has been edging toward a similar approach in recent years with "evidence based medicine," an approach that assumes it is possible to determine what works and what doesn't by reviewing published medical literature.
Read the whole thing... panels disturb me most about reform; as I view them from my twenty years inside the Med/Gov/University/Industrial behemoth writing alerts and tick-boxes for the panelists.

All nice fellows if you're reading...but

......Give me empowered and educated consumers anytime.

The Meena Bazaar blast

Via The Frontier Post.

Meena was a Bazaar for Women. The Taliban are blaming Blackwater for the attack. Threat Matrix has a good analysis of that frame, including: This conspiratorial attitude is encouraged by Pakistani officials who insist on blaming the US, India, Israel, and anyone but the terrorists in their own midst who are actually conducting the attacks.

Think hard what you write. The world's wired and reads English.

Read more:
From the Post,
Thirteen unidentified dead bodies of Meena Bazaar car-bomb blast were buried at Rehman Baba graveyard on Friday. The death toll of the said blast was raised to 110 as another body of a child was recovered from the rubble of the blast on Friday. Thirteen mitigated bodies were put in the morgue of Khyber Medical College but even after three days their bodies were not identified. As these bodies were not yet identified, they were buried in Rehman Baba graveyard. Meanwhile, the death toll from the Meena Bazaar bombing reached 110. As tense calm descended over the provincial capital, rescue workers of the Peshawar Development Authority (PDA) and a team sent from Islamabad by the Capital Development Authority (CDA) retrieved another body of a child from the debris of a collapsed building of the blast. There was complete shutter down in the city on Friday to mourn the killing of innocent people. The bodies of two children were recovered from the rubble of a mosque, Masjid Umme Habiba, late at night while many injured expired in hospital. Of the retrieved bodies, 71 people were completely burnt in the blaze. Those killed in the blast included 32 women and 12 children. There is complete shutter down in the city to mourn the killing of innocent people.

I.A. Rehman: The roots of terrorism

From The Dawn,
Two things about the terrorist threat must be borne in mind. First, the fight against terrorism is going to be long, bitter and costly. The conflict in Afghanistan is a major contributing factor but Pakistan will not be rid of the terrorist threat even after peace has returned to Afghanistan.

This because of the second reality that the roots of terrorism in Pakistan are indigenous; they lie in the enormous work the state has done, by its acts of omission and commission, to eradicate the ideas of liberal Islam and facilitate the rise of obscurantists leaving the entire area of intra-religious discourse open and clear to utterly conservative and dogmatic twisters of texts and exploiters of the faithful’s vaguely understood belief. Pakistan will not be safe from terrorists’ depredations unless a crash programme to build a tolerant, pluralist society is seriously executed.
Long, bitter, and costly: the Administration needs to prepare Americans for it too. My Churches Social Justice committee would condem Bush for not preparing Americans the way they remembered FDR had done for them during WW2. Well, dithering is not the way towards a tolerant, pluralist society.

Chicago Symphony Orchestra dedication to slain Chicago kids

Included in last weeks program,
Brahms's A German Requiem is music of consolation, written to comfort in times of loss. Violence among youth in Chicago has become a central issue within our communities.

In response, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus and Music Director Designate Riccardo Muti dedicate these performances of Brahms's A German Requiem to the memory of Chicago youth who have lost their lives to senseless acts of violence and to those left behind.
At least CSO notices...

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Billion Dollar Winner - The Novel by A P Jones‏

Arlene sends her schedule. I'll probably try and make the Oct 31 signing.

I will be on the radio this Sunday November 1 Evening from 9pm until 10 pm on WVON 1690AM. You can listen over the internet at I will be on with my State Representative LaShawn Ford and Marilyn Stewart from the Chicago Teacher's Union.

If you are local, you can also hear me every Sunday from 10 - Midnight on the Garfield Major Show on WRLL 1450AM. It's the old WVON and doesn't power up that far.


I am having a booksigning on October 31 at African Accents 5820 W. Chicago Ave from 2 - 4pm- CPT means I'll probably be there until 6pm.

I'll be at Marquette School 6550 S. Richmond on November 4 for their Reading Program from 2 - 4pm.

I'm having a booksigning on Saturday November 7 at WestSide Coffee Express 314 N Pulaski from 8am until 1pm.

Please forward this on to your email list. The reviews for the book have been great and with your help we can turn it into a bestseller. It is the perfect gift for birthdays, Kwanzaa, Christmas, the incarcerated, the shut in and for young children who are in the 6th grade and up.

If you know of book clubs, block clubs or church groups where I can make a presentation, please email me and let me know.

Thank you.

A. P. Jones - Author

Billion Dollar Winner - The Novel

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Where God Meets Schlitz

In tomorrow's Chicago Sun Times from the land of the Brandy Manhattan.
JANESVILLE, Wis. -- In an effort to minister to those turned off by traditional religion, services are held at a bar here at 10:30 a.m. every Sunday.

A social beer and cigarette -- as well as chicken wings and coffee -- are allowed at the Red Door Ministry at the Willowdale Saloon.

"I want the people who don't want to go to church, those who are wounded and broken, especially from religion," says leader Kathy Price.

Last Sunday, about a dozen people gathered around a few tables. One woman sipped a beer and a bloody Mary, a few people lit up cigarettes, and the others munched on coffee cake. Price stuck with an iced tea but said she didn't have a problem with a couple of cocktails among the congregation.

"I want to reach out to the person who believes a beer separates them from God," Price said.

Price grew up in her father's street ministry and coffee house, watching her dad minister to the homeless and the lost.
Works for me.

A Monk lifts his vow of Silence

From Lon Monk's plea deal with the Feds. For PG who often asks me what's happened with Rezko. Monk was Blagojevich's friend and first Chief-of-Staff, and --if he survives till June-- he will testify to this.
Beginning prior to Blagojevich’s election as governor in 2002, Defendant had conversations with Blagojevich, Antoin “Tony” Rezko, and Christopher Kelly individually and collectively about how the four of them could make money from their control over the State of Illinois government. Those conversations included a number of specific ideas for making money, such as through operating businesses that would get state money or receiving fees from people who did business with the state. As a general matter, Rezko was responsible for trying to set up the money-making arrangements and Kelly and Rezko were the most knowledgeable about how the plans would work. Defendant understood that Blagojevich and Defendant would use their power and authority in state government as needed to assist whatever plans Rezko and Kelly put in place to make money. Defendant further understood that he would share in the money that was made, but that those funds would not be disbursed to Blagojevich or Defendant until after they were no longer in government.
All they way back to 2002 with key administration players like Emmanual on tape in all their profane Chicago-tough-ball-buster-talking glory. It's going to be very hard for Obama to claim he was chaste in this giant Illinois brothel.

Wait for June PG.

What Is Wrong With UU the Way it Is? part 1

Strange Attractor asks here and East of Midnight picks it up here.

I'll try and blog my thoughts over the weekend.

First though: there's lots that falls into what might be "UU". My Church and past Church, your Church, the UUA connecting all the Churches. The UU blogsphere to include the many listservs and networks. Then there's our Seminaries, finally there's something out there called UUism. They're all distinct.

I'd wager for most practicing UU's, their Church is the extent of their UU practice. The UU blogsphere is often not at all about UU topics. The Seminaries: I don't know much about what goes on there.

Second: flat membership growth doesn't imply something's wrong. If UU Churches disappear, it wouldn't mean we did something wrong. I don't have a sense anything is really wrong with all of these diminsions of UU practice. Maybe we're not doing something we should, and we'll fail some goal, but that's different than wrong.

A UUA Prez can say some mighty foolish things, but that's on him/her; not you, me, or the wider UU.

More later.... 'nuff to say what's UU important to define, before making any diagnosis. Otherwise we could do a wrong-site intellectual-surgery.

What's your Beef?

She writes,
But damn it, I am a white middle-class woman who listens to NPR, buys organic food, doesn't believe in God, and votes Democrat and I don't think I should have to apologize for that.
Darn, I'm an aging, American ethnic male, savoring my Chicago Style Italian Beef (image via What's your Beef?), voting ever more conservative. I pray the Gods will stand with me, and if they don't; that I'll have strength to go it alone. I've never had to defend myself at Church. Or to Illinois Republicans for that matter. Have you? To your Democratic caucus? At my Church we unite in practice, not in identities. (So should the Illinois GOP.) We shouldn't have to defend what we are, or even have to explain it much. I sure don't.

Anita Dunn needs to read Jasper Becker's Hungry Ghosts

From the 1997 review of Jasper's book in the NYT. Mao's philosophy took China here,
Near the end of 1959, with China in the midst of Chairman Mao Zedong's crazily utopian Great Leap Forward, the official Communist Party newspaper issued some dietary instruction for the masses of the country's newly collectivized agricultural workers. ''The peasants must practice strict economy,'' The People's Daily intoned. ''Live with the utmost frugality and eat only two meals a day, one of which should be soft and liquid.''

Life and history are in the details, and one of the many virtues of this disturbing and important book by the British journalist Jasper Becker is its attention to the small, concrete matters that display larger, more abstract ones in the fullness of their horror and absurdity. ''Hungry Ghosts'' is Mr. Becker's powerful, sober, lucid and sometimes lurid account of what was probably the worst famine in history, the one that resulted from Mao's blindly misguided and ruthlessly enforced attempt to achieve Communism overnight.

For the party newspaper to tell people that it was good for them to eat less at a time when it was also spinning fantasies about the bounty being engendered by the Great Leap was a relatively small, if telling, irony. At the larger, horrific center of Mr. Becker's account is the widespread resort among the Chinese people to that most sickening form of desperation: cannibalism, the selling of human flesh on the market, the swapping of children so people could use them for food without committing the additional sin of eating their own.
I don't think she knows. I think we're being lead by an illiterate administration. Void of any sense of history. Simple Chicago Democratic ward heelers; counting votes, shaking people down, taking vengeance on any dissent to the Regular Party Organization.

Peace Making: CSM: University blasts in Pakistan and the future of Islam

These are the folks Rev Morales should be issuing a statement of our Solidarity with their struggle. Via CSM,
When the Taliban attacked the International Islamic University in Pakistan this week, many were shocked that militants were targeting an Islamic school. In fact, the double suicide bombers were going after a university that is at the forefront of changing the way Islamic and Western knowledge are brought together in the Muslim world.

I also had some misconceptions before I had lectured in the very building where the second bombing took place. But the encounters I had there in 2007 utterly changed my understanding of Pakistan, as well as the future of Islam.

I had only landed in Islamabad just a few hours before I was scheduled to give my first talk at the university, and whether it was the 13-hour time difference with Los Angeles, two nights flying in coach, or walking through an arrivals lounge that had recently been attacked by terrorists, I felt more uneasy about being in Pakistan than Baghdad or Gaza during their own periods of intense violence.

Matters weren't helped when I was introduced to a group of male religious studies students by my host as someone who'd lived in Israel and speaks Hebrew. In fact, my stomach sank a bit – especially as their long beards and traditional dress reminded me a lot more of the Taliban than the graduate students I normally spend time with.

But as with most things in Pakistan, appearances were deceiving, and the situation was far more complex, and inspiring, than I'd imagined.

It turned out that the students with whom I was meeting weren't merely studying Islam, they were PhD students in comparative religion. They were situating Islam, its history, and its religious dynamics within the broader study of religious experience worldwide.

Moreover, the recently established program in which they were studying was a model for the International Islamic University's drive to develop a new curriculum, one that would combine 1,000 years of Islamic learning with the latest developments in American and European humanities and social studies scholarship.

The students explained they were all learning Hebrew, as well as biblical criticism and contemporary approaches to religious studies as part of their course work. As we began to talk it became clear that neither students nor faculty had much time or desire to engage in spirited critiques of the United States or the West.
Harry Hopkins words to Churchill came to my mind when AQI bombed the great Mosque at Samarra. They fit here.
Few dramatists could match the poignant scene when Britain stood alone against the Nazi power that dominated a conquered or fawningly neutral Europe. Roosevelt sent his envoy Harry Hopkins to Churchill. At dinner Hopkins quoted from the Book of Ruth: "Whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people and their God my God," softly adding, "Even to the end." --From Meachem Franklin and Winston
I can't imagine Rahm, or David or Valerie quoting the Book of Ruth to an ally; even though all three of them think they're Obama's Harry Hopkins. But Rev Morales? He should know... UUs should know... thy people shall be my people and their God my God Even to the end.

Friday, October 23, 2009


An excerpt from an interview with Phil Donahue in 1979.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Anita Dunn

We've given America over to clowns. How more stupid can a White House Communications director get?

Poster via The Peoples Cube,

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Where are the Socialists when you need 'em? "Geithner aides made millions on Wall Street"

Obama administration officials now working on fixing and regulating the financial system were beneficiaries of several million dollars in pay from Wall Street and private equity companies, it has been revealed.

Financial disclosure forms show that prior to joining the government, Gene Sperling, a senior Treasury adviser, was paid $887,727 by Goldman Sachs and $158,000 for speeches to companies that included Stanford Group, the company run by Sir Allen Stanford, who has since been charged with fraud.


Lewis Alexander, another adviser, was chief economist to Citigroup before joining the administration; he was paid $2.4m in the last two years.

Even though some of the officials whose previous salaries were disclosed are senior, many were appointed as “counselors”, meaning they escaped Senate confirmation hearings which could have highlighted their past remuneration and employment at a time of heightened animosity towards the financial industry.

Earlier this month the release of the telephone call logs of Tim Geithner, Treasury secretary, showed he had numerous conversations with a number of Wall Street executives, sparking allegations that the administration was too close to the industry.
My old Comrade Frank Zeidler would have been outraged to have Socialism sullied by association with this Administration.

Bipartisanship: Inouye comes out for the McCrystal plan

Bipartisan consensus building on A-Stan strategy. America's not as divided as some would have us think. Via FP,
Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, the head of the Senate Appropriations Committee, came out Tuesday in strong agreement with the Afghanistan assessment put forth by General Stanley McChrystal and promised to fully fund any forthcoming troop increase there.

The stance of the powerful Hawaii lawmaker is the opposite of his House counterpart, Wisconsin Democrat David Obey. Inouye is also taking a starkly different tone from the Senate Armed Services Committee chairman Carl Levin, D-MI, who has said he opposes sending more combat troops there.

But after returning from a weekend trip to the region, Inouye said that his meetings with troops, officials, and military leaders convinced him that the mission in Afghanistan is not only winnable, but should be pursued under the counterinsurgency strategy that McChrystal has called for, which is necessarily troop intensive.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Feinstein on Afghanistan strategy

Now, if you're going to stay, you have to have a way of winning. ...glad she understands that.

Capital Hill Cubans: Neda Deserved the Nobel

They wrote,
It's an odd Nobel Peace Prize that almost makes you embarrassed for the honoree. In blessing President Obama, the Nobel Committee intended to boost what it called his "extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples." A more suitable time for the prize would have been after those efforts had borne some fruit.

The Nobel Committee's decision is especially puzzling given that a better alternative was readily apparent. This year, hundreds of thousands of ordinary people in Iran braved ferocious official violence to demand their right to vote and to speak freely. Dozens were killed, thousands imprisoned. One of those killed was a young woman named Neda Agha-Soltan; her shooting by thugs working for the Islamist theocracy, captured on video, moved the world.

A posthumous award for Neda, as the avatar of a democratic movement in Iran, would have recognized the sacrifices that movement has made and encouraged its struggle in a dark hour. Democracy in Iran would not only set a people free, it would also dramatically improve the chances for world peace, since the regime that murdered her is pursuing nuclear weapons in defiance of the international community.

Announcing Friday that he would accept the award, Mr. Obama graciously offered to share it with "the young woman who marches silently in the streets on behalf of her right to be heard even in the face of beatings and bullets." But the mere fact that he avoided mentioning either Neda's name or her country, presumably out of consideration for the Iranian regime with which he is attempting to negotiate, showed the tension that sometimes exists between "diplomacy and cooperation between peoples" on the one hand, and advocacy of human rights on the other. The Nobel Committee could have spared Mr. Obama this dilemma if it had given Neda the award.
I think what's happening in Iran now will be of far greater consequence to world Peace than anything President Obama may do. Iranians are leading a reformation in Islam among Shia and Sunni alike that will be far more enduring and a greater contribution to world peace. Obama should mention Iran and Neda during the acceptance, but the movement's set either way. I don't think it can be stopped.

Big Enviornment, Big Business, Big Government

Al Gore questioned on Polar Bears.

Long War Journal: An early account of the battle at Camp Keating

Bill Roggio links an account of the battle.

Also Anthony Loyd on 2 Rifles in Sangin from Times OnLine.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Code Pink's visit to Afghanistan

The CSM story if you haven't read it.
During their weeklong visit here, in which they met with government officials, politicians, ministers, women activists, and civil society groups, the small team of Code Pink members had hoped to gather evidence to bolster their call for US troop withdrawal within two years, and capitalize on growing anxiety back home about the war.

While the group hasn't dropped its call for a pullout, the visit convinced them that setting a deadline isn't in Afghanistan's interests, say Ms. Benjamin and fellow cofounder Jodie Evans.

"We would leave with the same parameters of an exit strategy but we might perhaps be more flexible about a timeline," says Benjamin. "That's where we have opened ourselves, being here, to some other possibilities. We have been feeling a sense of fear of the people of the return of the Taliban. So many people are saying that, 'If the US troops left the country, would collapse. We'd go into civil war.' A palpable sense of fear that is making us start to reconsider that."
Also, Tina Brown: Let's Not Abandon Afghan Women
In all the debate about Afghanistan, we don’t hear much about our obligation to the wretched lives of Afghan women. They are being treated as collateral damage as the big boys discuss geopolitical goals. No, we can’t go around saving every failed state, but as well as clear national security interest, there’s a moral obligation here that is being forgotten.
Read her all. History does Judge Skipper.

Claus Christian Malzahn: Obama's Nobel Prize Is More of a Burden than an Honor

Forget 2011, what should keep Obama awake is the suicide bomber who will mark Obama's Oslo acceptance this year. If I were deployed in Afghanistan, or a Pakistani in Peshawar, it would be a good day to spend in a harden structure to avoid bearing this burden. Via Der Spiegel,
What keeps him awake at night is probably much more the question of how he can prevent the Taliban from being in charge in Kabul when he makes his -- undoubtedly very moving -- speech at Ground Zero on Sept. 11, 2011 to mark the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.

The joy over the awarding of the Nobel Prize this year would be far greater if it paid tribute to concrete results rather than just reflecting enthusiasm about diplomatic efforts which may be very laudable but which are also, to date, fruitless. For example, a decision by Iran to not pursue nuclear weapons. Or the successful stabilization and democratization of Afghanistan. Or an effective peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians. Or, or, or …

It would not have hurt the Nobel Prize Committee, therefore, if they had decided to put Obama on the waiting list for the 2011 prize, and decided to give the 2009 award to an Iranian blogger or a Chinese dissident instead. Barack Obama would surely not have complained about such a decision.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Peace Making: Times Online: Obama rejects 'Biden option' on Afghanistan

Today's story,
According to people at the meeting, Senator McCain told Mr Obama that he should not move at a "leisurely pace" while US commanders wait for a decision on troop levels. The comment drew a sharp response from the President, who replied that nobody felt more urgency than he did about the war and there would be nothing leisurely about his decision.

During a 90-minute discussion, Mr Obama did not show his hand on possible troop increases. But he did make clear that that the war would not be reduced to a narrowly defined counter-terrorism effort in the border areas with Pakistan, a strategy that has been linked with his Vice-President, Joe Biden.

“Given the importance of the policy to our security – and to our troops – the President said that he will be rigorous and deliberate, while moving forward with a sense of urgency,” one senior Obama administration official said.

“The President reiterated that we need this debate to be honest and dispense with the straw man argument that this is about either 'doubling down' or leaving Afghanistan."
Less dithering debate than please, and talk to your Generals more often instead.

Peace Making: Nasser Yousaf : North West Frontier Province takes the brunt

From his editorial in The Dawn,
The expression of such intense emotions matters little to our homebred Afghan experts who can be observed spearheading the ‘pullout of Afghanistan’ campaign. The local media also seems to be taking a great interest in the campaign by picking up the juiciest bits from the statements of the now visibly demoralised US generals.

The latest proof of this was seen when a leaked report referred to the alarm raised by the commander of US and Nato forces, Stanley McChrystal, calling for reinforcements as he saw defeat staring the troops in the face. The sense of defeatism contained in McChrystal’s report sent shudders down the spines of those in the Frontier who have seen the worst face of the enemy battling the US-led forces.

The US might be an ignoble villain responsible for all the world’s woes but it is doing one thing right: keeping the Afghans from fleeing their country like they did during the Soviet occupation and subsequent Taliban rule. Those referring to present-day Afghanistan as an occupied country intentionally neglect this most crucial aspect of the ongoing hostilities and the great sufferings of the Pakhtuns.

Pulling out at this stage would amount to handing over Afghanistan to the Taliban, which would undoubtedly force another wave of migration of Afghans and their consequent settlement in the Frontier. This could be the worst imaginable nightmare for the Frontier as the province — teetering and crumbling — is seen grappling with the most decisive moments of its volatile history.
In the build up to our invasion of Iraq the Pope said, Whoever decides that all peaceful means available under international law are exhausted assumes a grave responsibility before God, his own conscience and history. (Famously repeated by Tim Russert to SecDef Rumsfeld. See my post here.) Seems to me those advocating we stand down from Iraq face an equally grave responsibility before God. Someone pays the price for foolish pacifism too. Seems it's only the warriors charged with responsibility before God but I have a feeling God brings pacifists to the docket too. History certainly will.

Bill Ayers: I wrote Dreams of My Father. Michelle asked me too.

Friend and fellow Chicago Blogger Anne Leary bumps into Bill Ayers at Reagan National Airport and Ayers volunteers this challenge.
Then, unprompted he said--I wrote Dreams From My Father. I said, oh, so you admit it. He said--Michelle asked me to. I looked at him. He seemed eager. He's about my height, short. He went on to say--and if you can prove it, we can split the royalties. So I said, stop pulling my leg. Horrible thought. But he came again--I really wrote it, the wording was similar. I said I believe you probably heavily edited it. He said--I wrote it. I said--why would I believe you, you're a liar.

He had no answer to that. Just looked at me. Then he turned and walked off, and said again his bit about my proving it and splitting the proceeds.
Well, they are experts at comparing texts out there and while maybe they can't prove authorship beyond a doubt, they can give a pretty good estimate. Dreams of My Father a very different read than Audacity of Hope. One is literature and the other more a quick political job. Ayer's being sarcastic? Maybe, or maybe he's tired of being under the bus. He's not a guy who goes down easily.

Update: Mark Rhoads from Illinois Review made this comment over at Anne's blog,
Mark Rhoads said...

People forget that it took Ted Sorensen 52 years until May of 2008 to finally admit in his memoirs that he was the real author of "Profiles in Courage" in 1956 and not John F. Kennedy. JFK took all the credit and accepted the Pulitzer Prize for nonfiction in 1957 for a book he did not write and he secretly shared royalties with Sorensen to keep the secret.

There are many reasons why Bill Ayers might want his authorship known now including revenge. But this story and others by Jack Cashill might finally stir up some reporters in main stream media to at least intervew Obama's former unhappy book agent who felt she was cut out after all her hard promotion work when the big pay day came for Dreams in 2007-2008. The most interesting part of the Jack Cashill stories to me is that he had hired some scholars to compare the language in passages of Dreams to other books written by Bill Ayers. One example would be the nautical terms and metaphors in Dreams that were never part of the life of Barack Obama but were part of the personal history of Bill Ayers from asmall part of his life spent in the Merchant Marine. The last common sense question for Obama as an author is how come he never published anything--not so much as a single op/ed or a single letter to the editor in public print and then comes forth one year with a full blown best seller? It makes one wonder when so many other writers can offer many examples of their published writing before a first book effort. We know from public sources that Obama had to return and advance from a publisher for a prior book writing effort that flopped. The only published srap with his byline was a poem from his freshman year at Occidental College. One other was a pro-choice article in the Harvard Law Review attributed to him as editor but without his byline. So he had zero history of published writing and suddenly writes a book? Does that make common sense?
-Mark Rhoads, Illinois Review

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

The Obama\McChrystal plan for Afghanistan

Michael O'Hanlon in full via Short War Journal. If it's really an Obama\McChrystal plan, call me an Obama supporter. I just wish the Prez would clear time to talk with his Commander more often, and pick up the administrations Battle Tempo.
Michael O'Hanlon, Washington Post opinion. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the US commander in Afghanistan, has come under fire for making public comments about the war. While answering questions after an Oct. 1 speech - in which he avoided taking sides in the policy debate - McChrystal challenged a popular alternative to the approach that President Obama sent him to Afghanistan to pursue. An op-ed on this page Saturday argued that a battlefield commander should not get ahead of his president in public. Next, national security adviser James L. Jones faulted McChrystal for speaking outside his internal chain of command while the president is reviewing his strategy and basic assumptions about the war. Certainly, if given a do-over, McChrystal might make different, more nuanced statements; he was indeed too blunt and impolitic. But the criticism goes too far. The Obama/McChrystal plan is classic counterinsurgency and focuses on protecting the Afghan population while strengthening Afghan security forces and government. McChrystal was asked about a "counterterrorism" strategy that would purportedly contain al-Qaeda with much lower numbers of American troops, casualties and other costs. McChrystal did not try to force the president's hand on whether to increase the foreign troop presence in Afghanistan. The general critiqued an option that is at direct odds with Obama's policy and conflicts with the experiences of the US military this decade. That is not fundamentally out of line for a commander.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Times Online: Barack Obama accused of snubbing Dalai Lama to placate China

Does this a path Make Peace? Barack Obama accused of snubbing Dalai Lama to placate China
Tibet’s spiritual leader arrived in Washington yesterday on his first visit since Mr Obama’s inauguration. For the first time since 1991 he will not be received at the White House. The Dalai Lama will eventually meet Mr Obama, but not until the US President returns from the Beijing meeting.

American officials have insisted that the delayed encounter is part of a broad new strategy to win Chinese co-operation on a range of issues including North Korea, Iran, Taiwan — and Tibet. But the break with a nearly 20-year tradition of White House “drop-ins” by the Dalai Lama follows a declaration by Hillary Clinton, the Secretary of State, that human rights alone cannot be allowed to determine the US-Chinese relationship.

Peace Making Issue: Michcael Yon: The Greatest Afghan War

Michael Yon describing what looks like our unfolding failure and defeat if you stick with the present course: The Greatest Afghan War.
The Greatest Afghanistan War has deteriorated so noticeably that one can now feel the enemy's growing pulse. Each month it beats steadier, stronger, and in 2010 it will finally be born.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

BiCoastel UUism

Can someone please explain why ML holds these Forums East and West but not in the Midwest where new ideas -when they finally reach here- are so worn we Midwesterners see right through them? Have I missed something in the schedule?

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Why Chicago didn't want the Olympics

In case any UU's are wondering, Edward McClelland writes a nice column in Slate about why,
The vote in Copenhagen comes as Daley's popularity is at the lowest point in his 20-year mayoralty. Chicagoans have a remarkable tolerance for public corruption and insider deals, but this year, we finally snapped. The mayor rammed a deal through the City Council to lease the street parking concession to a private firm for $1.1 billion. Parking rates doubled and tripled. The Department of Revenue hired extra meter readers to slap tickets on motorists a minute late in paying. A study by the inspector general showed the city could have earned an extra billion by hanging onto the meters. Chicago also has the highest sales tax of any big city in the nation (10.25 percent), and a network of street-corner cameras is spitting out $100 tickets for rolling right turns on red.

Anti-Olympians are unwilling to bleed even more money for a Games they see as a vanity project to revive Daley's approval ratings, and a boondoggle that will benefit the city's elite, at the expense of ordinary Chicagoans. When the IOC demanded that the city cover all cost overruns, the City Council voted 49-0 to guarantee unlimited public funds. Even though the Council will have oversight over Olympic spending, there's a suspicion that the Olympic Village, the velodrome, the swimming pool, the white-water rafting course, the hurdles and the starting blocks will all be built by the mayor's pals, at inflated prices. That's how Chicago works.
And Chicago West Sider Arlene Jones had a couple of sharp to-the-point comments over at her face book.

If the IOC can tell Daley "NO", can we find 26 aldermen to tell him "no" as well?

Well since Chicago can't have the OLYMPICS, can the SouthSide finally get a WalMart?

So hopefully with this bid behind us, the Mayor will not run for reelection next year and Chicagoans can begin to confront some looming problems.

Postscript: From Politico today: The agony of Obama's defeat
“Obama and his advisers have proven to be less smart post-campaign than in the campaign,” said John Hoberman, a University of Texas professor who studies the International Olympic Committee. “The specter of a smart politician like Obama walking into this is not pretty. The question is whether he took the trouble to consult any sort of expert about what he was getting into…..Really smart people can get swept up in a really ignorant way when it comes to dealing with the Olympic movement. It appears this is what has happened again.”

“This is not a huge hit, but I didn’t think it was worth the risk,” Hoberman said. “At the end of the day, it appears that these crafty Chicago politicians did get themselves in way over their heads.”
Really smart people getting swept up in a really ignorant way... no kidding! God help the world with this parking-meter salesmen in the White House. A President trying to prove he's not weak and ineffective is not a hopeful prospect for the next three years.

Meadville Lombard's: Fall Classroom Schedule: Pragmatism

Somewhere on my blog you'll find someone taking a shot at me for considering Dewey as a bit of a Unitarian Theologian. So it's nice to see Mike Hoque teaching a class that includes these: John Dewey, “The Quest for Certainty,” “Truth and Consequences,” “Common Sense and Scientific Inquiry from Susan Haack's, Pragmatism ,Old and New: Selected Writings

Many flavors of UUism today but I'm guessing John Dewey blends us all together whether we know it or not. From Whitehead's John Dewey and His Influence over at Harvard Square,
We are living in the midst of the period subject to Dewey's influence. For this reason there is difficulty in defining it. We cannot observe it from the outside in contrast to other periods also viewed in the same way. But knowledge outruns verbal analysis. John Dewey is the typical effective American thinker; and he is the chief intellectual force providing that environment with coherent purpose. Also wherever the influence of Dewey is explicitly felt, his personality is remembered with gratitude and affection.
Thanks to Hoque for making that feeling more explicit at Meadville-Lombard.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Peace Making Issue: 43 U.S. Troops Have Died in Afghanistan Since Gen. McChrystal Called for Reinforcements

via CNS News.

Going to the Copenhagen to push for Mayor Daley's Olmpics while Obama's got McChyrstal's request on his desk deeply offends me. Not to mention all the other problems Obama's get to deal with.

Bill Kristol says Obama will fly to Afghanistan before coming home to talk for only the second time with McChyrstal since McChyrstal took command. Obama should follow that with a trip home to Altgeld Gardens, where he started his career as community organizer, and spread some of his inspiration to a wounded neigborhood.

There is plenty for the President to do before helping out Daley's machine in its last gasps for the Mayor's Olympics obsession.

Postscript: Via David Frum today: Obama's cynical Afghan ploy: As a candidate, Barack Obama demanded that we commit ourselves to the "real war" in Afghanistan. Now that he's in office, is he about to declare "mission accomplished?"
More than 60,000 Americans are fighting and dying in Afghanistan at this moment. Can it really be that they remain there not to win a war, but because pretending to support their mission was necessary to win Barack Obama the Democratic nomination and the presidency? And can it be that Obama is now preparing to reverse course on this unfinished war because from his new point of view in the Oval Office, it's already "mission accomplished"?
My Congressmen, Bill Foster, was similarly tough last year. I'd like to know where he's going to stand here.

Update: Margaret Margaret Carlson channeling Kit Bond:
I rarely have common ground with Republican Senator Kit Bond of Missouri. He’s compared waterboarding to the sensation of swimming, and closing the Guantanamo prison to inviting terrorists to move next door. Still, Bond has a point when he says “it’s baffling that the president has time to travel to Copenhagen, to be on ‘Letterman’ and every channel except the Food Network, and, yet, he doesn’t have time to talk with and listen to his top general.”