Friday, July 28, 2006

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Photo Point

A revealing photo from 2002 of the United Nations and Hezbollah flags virtually side-by-side at a UN Post across the border from Israel.

It may go at least part of the way to explaining how the Israelis could have accidentally struck a UN outpost during a battle with Hezbollah.

This may further explain it: “Observers told me the U.N. and Hezbollah personnel share water and telephones, and that the U.N. presence serves as a shield against Israeli strikes against the terrorists."

Cube of Goodness

The People’s Cube has a hilarious, yet vaguely disturbing set of solutions to the Middle East’s problems. Solution 5 reads:
“If everyone in the World Community sued a Zionist, we could have years of delightful litigation imposed on this illegitimate state. And come to think of it, wouldn't it be even more effective to simply file lawsuits against every Jew in the world? That would put a quick stop to their crooked lobbying efforts!”

And solution 8:
“In my learned opinion, I think that the nation of Iran could easily absorb the entirety of Amerikkka. The result would be a true global-spanning Iran with the Amerikkkan military at its disposal to quickly terminate all conflict in the Middle East. Overnight, the Zionist-Occupied Amerikkkan War Machine would become the Iranian Peace Machine, and that dumb fascist monkey Bush-Hitler would finally be reigned in and replaced by a caring leadership that has repeatedly demonstrated that they know what the word "restraint" means.”

Humorous, but I can’t help but feeling that someone out there actually believes in these things. Scary thought.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The Purpose of the Euston

I was recently quoted in a piece by Guy Rundle at Spiked, in a piece slamming what he sees as confusion and lack of direction coming from the Euston Manifesto and its signatories. He says:
“Given that the Euston Manifesto’s high-profile signatories include Julie Burchill, one can presume that its ‘anti-totalitarianism’ is subject to extremely flexible interpretation. Instead of bringing in a new politics, the EM group merely reproduces the confusion and atomisation of the Blogosphere in a new form.”

Perhaps I am approaching the Euston in the wrong manner, but I knew at the offset that my own political leanings were not going to gel with a good portion of those signing it. Some of those who hold the Euston in esteem may have wanted to have this manifesto become a party program of sorts, but the likelihood of having a monolithic voice generated by those signing the Euston is nearly impossible due to its generally vague language, and I believe the original authors foresaw this. On Iraq (and international military intervention for that matter):

“The founding supporters of this statement took different views on the military intervention in Iraq, both for and against. We recognize that it was possible reasonably to disagree about the justification for the intervention, the manner in which it was carried through, the planning (or lack of it) for the aftermath, and the prospects for the successful implementation of democratic change. We are, however, united in our view about the reactionary, semi-fascist and murderous character of the Baathist regime in Iraq, and we recognize its overthrow as a liberation of the Iraqi people. We are also united in the view that, since the day on which this occurred, the proper concern of genuine liberals and members of the Left should have been the battle to put in place in Iraq a democratic political order and to rebuild the country's infrastructure, to create after decades of the most brutal oppression a life for Iraqis which those living in democratic countries take for granted — rather than picking through the rubble of the arguments over intervention.”

This document is not claiming to unit all of its members under a single foreign policy program, rather a shared understanding that our foreign policy should reflect a progressive internationalist stance - putting democracy at the forefront of political action. It is this basic principle that steers the Euston, even when my specific policy recommendations may radically differ from other signatories.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Hank Johnson, Congressional Candidate [GA-4]

Hank Johnson, a progressive Congressional Candidate, is trying to take Cynthia McKinney's Democratic spot. Anyone who can toss her out of office is welcome in my book…

Imperialistic Test Pushers

In California, they are implementing a standardized test that all high school students will be required to pass to graduate. Of course, Indybay hates standards, so they are making a fuss.
“It’s an unfair practice that disproportionately affects low-income students of color. And it should be changed.”

How does a standardized test discriminate? It is standardized for crying out loud, meaning it is used across all class and ethnic groups within the public school system. A better example of how discrimination is used in our public schools is when a teacher gives preferential treatment to a student. A standardized test removes that predicament.
“For years, in some form or another, school systems across the country have routinely used standardized tests. But, with the 2002 passage of No Child Left Behind, President Bush’s sweeping education reform bill, the tests went from being an assessment of student progress to, in many cases, being the deciding factor in whether or not they’ll graduate.”

That is because standardized tests previously meant very little. A test is supposed to asses a student’s progress, but you are saying they should receive a passing grade even if they fail this assessment. That is just silly. It is that type of practice that dilutes the achievement that is graduating high school.

“Add to that any personal issues they may be dealing with -- poor test taking skills, trouble at home, etc. -- and the odds are stacked against them.”

Well, if you have a personal issue such as “poor test taking skills”, you had best do the work necessary to correct that. Again, you are basically saying that a student who can not pass a minor remedial test should be allowed the merit that a high school diploma will bring. I say bullocks to that! It is high time we reapplied value to a high school diploma, and stop treating those four years as an adult babysitting operation.

No one is entitled to a degree. If a student can not demonstrate their grasp of the material, they should not be passed.
“For students in under-funded (i.e. poor) school districts, passing these tests is next to impossible.”

While I do not doubt that coming from a poor school will not help ones future academic prospects, I do doubt that the test is “next to impossible” for students in poorer school districts. And again, I would like to reiterate that if a student can not show that they understand basic material, then they should not receive a diploma.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Nonsense Alert

Scott Norvell has a report on some recent acts of censorship.
“The BBC also tells us that a church school in Southern England opted to remove John Lennon's song 'Imagine' from an end-of-year program at the last minute because its lyrics were deemed anti-religious.”


The school has a right to include or exclude any song they wish, but this recent wave of self censorship to avoid offending anyone at school graduations and other events is appalling.

Must everything be analyzed to death?

Sunday, July 23, 2006

A lazy Sunday

Another classic from another era…