At Funmentionables, Mike Morris takes on the Wall Street Journal:
[The Wall Street Journal's] Tevi Troy’s assertion that many American Presidents have been influenced by the Bible (“The Presidential Bible Class”) was as inarguable as it was superficial. It left unasked two vital questions: Have presidential Bible consultations yielded universally positive results? and Should the Bible be relied upon as an unerring counsel for political leaders?
To answer the first question we need only travel back in time to 2003 to recall the account of former French President Jacques Chirac who claimed President Bush tried to convince him to join the invasion of Iraq because “Gog and Magog are at work in the Middle East.” Gog and Magog are not Mr. Magoo’s adorable nephews, but rather they are creatures prophesied in the Book of Revelation to bring destruction upon Israel. Given that a recent Gallup poll shows that 53% of Americans believe that invading Iraq was a mistake, we may have been better served if Bush had studied more about the tensions between Shiites and Sunnis and worried less about Gog and Magog.
I have twice heard Michael Copps speak at Free Press national conferences. He is a former FCC Commissioner, a thoughtful and principled man who now has grave concerns about media consolidation, including the latest proposed mega-deal wherein Comcast hopes to buy Time-Warner. Here are Copps’ words on this latest terrible development:
You may wonder why a long-time regulator like me is writing to you. … I worked at the intersection of policy and journalism as a member of the Federal Communications Commission and saw first-hand how my agency’s decisions limited your ability to accomplish good things. Since I stepped down two years ago, the situation has only gotten worse. I want to do something about it. I want you to do something about it, too. Let me tell you what I saw. I was sworn in as a commissioner in 2001. “What an awesome job this is going to be,” I thought, “dealing with edge-of-the-envelope issues, meeting the visionaries and innovators transforming the ways we communicate, and then making it all happen by helping to craft policies to bring the power of communications to every American.” It was a heady time…. New media would complement the traditional media of newspapers, radio, TV, and cable, ushering in a golden age of communications. … The FCC that I joined had a different agenda. It had fallen as madly in love with industry consolidation, as had the swashbuckling captains of big media. The agency seldom met an industry transaction it didn’t approve. The Commission’s blessing not only conferred legitimacy on a particular transaction; it encouraged the next deal, and the hundreds after that. So Clear Channel grew from a 1970s startup to a 1,200-station behemoth. Sinclair, Tribune, and News Corp. went on buying sprees, too, and the major networks extended their influence by buying some stations and affiliating with others. Gone are hundreds of once-independent broadcast outlets. In their stead is a truncated list of nationwide, homogenized, and de-journalized empires that respond more to quarterly reports than to the information needs of citizens.
Today, I brought my camera to the refurbished City Library in downtown St. Louis. Such an exquisite building. I noticed quite a few homeless people sitting in the Great Hall. Many of them were just sitting quietly, and only a few were reading. When a guard passed by I commented, “It seems like a lot of folks are here because it’s warm in here.” He paused, then said, “The thing about those homeless people . . . [pause], is that [pause] many of them are really good at using the computers.” He took me around the corner and showed me that none of the computer terminals were empty, and it seemed as though many of them were being used by homeless people.
I brought a tripod to take HDR photos today. This building is extraordinary.
I can’t say it any better than Lee Camp:
Why do we do these things? it’s the same reason the NSA is out of control, and corporate spending on politicians. it’s because we CAN. That’s a sorry excuse for doing anything at all.
In the case of our drone that are “defending our freedom,” it’s warmongering run amok. Shame on us, and it’s hurting us in the long run, despite the momentary excitement that our military must feel when they blow some to bits from their control board back in Las Vegas. All in a day’s work, as is the job of trying to justify why that man (or that wedding party) was a danger to America.
What does it mean when you see “100% Natural” on a food label? Nothing at all!
“Problems cannot be solved by the level of awareness that created them.” Albert Einstein
This quote appeals me more than the platitude to think outside the box. It challenges us to reframe problems, which sometimes means there’s actually no problem at all (or the problem might be much worse than we thought). I often think of this quote in terms of our seemingly intractable national problems. Conservation can substantially alleviate the “need” to spew CO2 into the air, but conservation is not part of the Chevron-driven national dialogue. Good schools and decriminalization of drugs are a LOT cheaper than prisons, but politicians fail to connect the dots to those other levels. Ubiquitous applications of this quote, but we so often get trapped on our own cozy level, cozy because that’s what we are used to, and we are so used to it that it seems to be stone foundation rather than something to vigorously question.
I saw this on Facebook, apparently published by this group: