Shocked and Persuaded

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Separating Fact From Fiction

Axis of Progress

At this point we’ve all heard much too much about George Bush’s Axis of Evil [1]. For those of you that have been flying in outer space or tripping on some really good drugs for the last 8+ years since W. coined this phrase during his State of the Union Address on January 29th, 2002 it simply refers to the boogey men that ran Iraq, Iran, and North Korea at the time. Read the rest of this entry »

Fallen Update

The Department of Defense has identified 1,162 American service members who have died as a part of the Afghan war and related operations. It confirmed the death of the following American last week:

KING, Brandon M., 23, Pvt., Army; Tallahassee, Fla.; 101st Airborne Division.

According to icasualties.org:

Iraq = 4,4412 US, 179 UK, and 139 Other > 4,730 Total

Afghanistan = 1,188 US, 322 UK, and 436 Other > 1,944 Total

The dial continues to move in the wrong direction in the latter and it is speeding up! GET OUT WHILE YOU STILL CAN MR. PRESIDENT!

Microphone Checka…1, 2 Checka!

Re: a recent (and largely awesome) editorial in The Times by Brent Staples addressing the phenomena of cutting and pasting senior theses.

Mr. Staples should have stopped while he was ahead. I was thoroughly enjoying his piece on the wrote nature of higher education these days and the lack of any type of synthetic analysis, with students swallowing and spitting up information in no particular order and with zero continuity. However, upon arriving at the closing of this piece I was amazed to see the author distill rap musicians (his analogy) down robots “sampling” “…beats and refrains from the works of others.” Tell that to some of the great wordsmiths this country has ever produced like Q-Tip & Phife Dawg of A Tribe Called Quest, Rakim of Eric B. & Rakim, Gang Starr’s Guru, or my personal favorites EPMD. If Mr. Staples meant to say that DJs sampled beats and refrains he should have said so. The greatest rap MCs are true American treasures and deserve the respect we afford our favorite rock n’ rollers, jazz musicians, and country stars. CHECK YOURSELF MR. Staples!

Welch’s Haste Betrays Liberal Facade!

You would think that any group with a proven track record back to 1970 of fighting against discrimination and for affordable housing, quality education, and adequate social safety-nets for “…low- to moderate-income people across the United States” would be just the type of organization that our “liberal” congressman Peter Welch would go to the wall for regardless of the baseless attacks leveled at such an organization by the bigoted and racist right-wing of the Republican party? WRONG! ACORN is that organization and Mr. Welch decided to vote “Yes” on an amendment – last September 17th – to the Higher Education Act of 1965, which banned all federal funding to the Washington, DC based association of community organizers. This forced ACORN to end all field operations and close all field offices. This was a proud, vibrant, and relevant group with approximately 500,000 members branching out into foreclosure counseling at a time when minorities and the lower 25th percentile in the country were getting hammered by variable interest mortgages coming home to roost and declining real-estate valuations due to a variety of external and internal forces. They were influential in upping voter registration and turnout amongst minorities during the 2008 election to levels not seen before, which along with their political mobilization efforts were the reason folks like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh lashed out at them so frequently and with such vitriol.

Mr. Welch has always attempted to evince a genuine and holistic concern for the little guy regardless of color, religion, or political preference. This turns out to be nothing more than window dressing given his stance on ACORN. Why am I coming down so hard on Mr. Welch ex post facto? Well it is quite simple really he acted hastily and did not wait for a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report released June 14th, which vindicated ACORN of misusing the $40.4 million in federal grants it received and election fraud. Furthermore, he wasn’t even one of the 23 signatories to a letter requesting the GAO “…provide information on federal funding provided to ACORN and oversight of the use of this funding.” (Note: Neither Vermont Senators signed this letter either!) I have two questions for Congressman Welch: 1) Why vote before you have all the facts? and 2) Why not signed the aforementioned letter? I wonder what the harm is in having the GAO (Run the ever pragmatic and empirical Republican Douglas W. Elmendorf) do a little gumshoing in an effort to get all the facts in a row. When the facts change we are supposed to change our minds and clearly the facts with respect to ACORN have changed and I would hope that Congressman Welch would change his mind and work to overturn last September’s amendment to the HEA. After all this type of haste when in the hands of congress gives the imprimatur to really well thought out and implemented acts like The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 (a.k.a., The Bank Bailout) and the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002. Two great ideas that have served this country and the world oh so well! Oh yeah and one more thing the moneys ACORN received during fiscal years 2005 to 2009 amount to about 0.3% of The 2008 Bank Bailout, which begs one more question: Don’t Mr. Welch and the rest of congress have anything better to do than bully and subsequently shutdown an organization like ACORN? I thought we wanted the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth! Orwell was right Ignorance Is Strength on Capitol Hill.