Monthly Archives: December 2008

2009 May Be the YEAR of Lincoln and Darwin

Both Lincoln and Darwin were born in 1809, so expect a lot of retrospective reflection on these two figures throughout 2009. In the United States, Edgar Allan Poe might also get some attention—as I believe that he too was born … Continue reading

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Was 2008 a Bad Year for Free Speech?: Janet Albrechsten Thinks So

Janet Albrechsten’s review of the threats to free speech that occurred in 2008 (primarily triggered pre-emptively by fears of fundamentalist Muslim violence directed at authors and publishers) is sobering reading. Money quote: If large sections of the media – normally … Continue reading

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Funny?: A Clear, Articulate Response to the Republican Party’s Defense of “Barack the Magic Negro”

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The Future of Journalism?

Maureen Dowd’s recent column on the outsourcing of a California newspaper’s entire content to Indian writers at $7.50 per thousand words is sobering reading. Money quote: He fired his seven Pasadena staffers — including five reporters — who were making … Continue reading

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When Bush Goes, Will the American Practice of TORTURE Go With Him? Obama Needs to Act Clearly and Decisively on This Issue

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Barack Obama: American Cicero?

Charlotte Higgins, in the Guardian, has an interesting essay comparing Barack Obama to the Roman orator Cicero here. In addition to being an interesting reflection on Obama, the essay is a pretty good primer on the basic arts of rhetoric. … Continue reading

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Homosexual Metaphor Watch: Is Gay Behavior “a destruction of God’s work” Akin to Rainforest Destruction?

According to the International Herald Tribune today, Pope Benedict likened gay behavior to ecological destruction: Pope Benedict said Monday that saving humanity from homosexual or transsexual behaviour was just as important as saving the rainforest from destruction. The Church “should also … Continue reading

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“Learning to read slowly and carefully”: On the Value of Literature in a Fast-Paced Internet World

With the MLA conference coming up in San Francisco, Inside Higher Ed quotes an MLA report on the importance of teaching literature to undergraduates:  “Sustained, deep engagements with literary works and literary language open perceptions of structure, texture, and the layering of meanings … Continue reading

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BARACK OBAMA Fundamentalist Horror Watch: Tearing Down the WALL of Separation BETWEEN Science and STATE

As we speak, Barack Obama is undoing eight years of Bush success in building a high wall of separation between SCIENCE and STATE! Yikes. Yesterday, Obama announced the appointment of a Nobel Prize winning scientist to his cabinet, and also … Continue reading

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Nouriel Roubini’s Latest Prognostications on the US Economy

Economist Nouriel Roubini was interviewed by US News & World Report recently, and was asked about Obama’s economic team, and whether he thought the recession would turn into a depression: What advice do you have for President-elect Obama? First of … Continue reading

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A Historic Document on Torture: Captain Ian Fishback’s Letter to John McCain, September 16, 2005

Ian Fishback risked his career trying to get answers to the torture question. Andrew Sullivan calls Fishback’s letter, in 2005, a historic document, and thinks that Fishback should be TIME’s “Man of the Year.” Here’s Fishback’s letter: Dear Senator McCain: … Continue reading

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“No one will be safe”: Robert Patterson on the Boyd 2008 Weekend

Patterson lists the things that he took from this high powered intellectual conference. His whole bullet list is sobering. Below are two of them. Money quote: That there is no soft landing. We are not in a recession. We are … Continue reading

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America has No King—but Jesus?: Rapture-Ready Rick Warren is Anti-Gay Rights, Anti-Evolution, and Doesn’t Think Mormons and Jews Go to Heaven. So Why is He Doing Obama’s Innaugural Invocation?

It’s annoying, to say the least, that Obama is giving inaugural invocation duties to Rick Warren, a person who is politically active against gay rights, rejects the scientific theory of evolution, thinks Mormons and Jews go to hell, and looks … Continue reading

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“The boys in Iran won’t like it”: A Great Clean Energy Ad

I like the ad below. Hopefully, Obama will use the recession to put people to work building large windmill farms, and other forms of renewable energy, even as Roosevelt created jobs during the (1930s) Depression making hydroelectric dams:

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Things Can Be Different

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Good Riddance

The American Prospect’s Paul Waldman bids “43″ (George Bush) farewell. Money quote: Goodbye to the rotating cast of butchers manning the White House’s legal abattoir, where the Constitution has been sliced and bled and gutted since September 11. Goodbye to the … Continue reading

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Responsibility, Participation, and Complicity: The Marquis de Sade’s Clodomir, Herman Melville’s Turkey, and George Bush’s Lindy England

In the Maquis de Sade’s short story, “The Lady of the Manor of Longeville, or a Lady’s Revenge,” there is a particularly unsettling scene in which the aristocratic Lord of the manor, upon discovering that his 26 year-old wife is having an … Continue reading

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Liberated Woman Come Home?: A Female Version of the Prodigal Son

I read the above as an anti-feminist video that maps the “geography of hell” and “otherness”—and concludes with a North American woman (Gale Garnett) making a choice between two paths. One path leads to “frustration” and “confusion”—and the other leads to “true love.” I … Continue reading

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Mental Health Break

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“FAMILIES in crisis that are preyed upon by charlatans with faith magic and false solutions”: A Scary Scene from the Film “Poltergeist”—with an Ironic Admonition to Use CRITICAL THINKING

As we head into a recession (or worse) a lot of religious charlatans will be out preying upon people who are hitting bottom—and bamboozling them with thought magic, simplistic reasoning, and threats of hell. This scene (from the movie Poltergeist) has long … Continue reading

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