Wednesday, June 29, 2005

All's Fair?

According to Yahoo! News (via Sploid) Unhappy love affair explains Rice stance on Iran: MP . A mysterious woman, MP, has argued that Rice got dumped in college by an Iranian, and thus does not like the country. While the article says that the interplay between love and diplomacy is nothing new, the devil's advocate/feminist in me has to ask whether such speculation would be as rampant with a male Sec of State.

O Bill, We've Missed You

Safire, that is, not Clinton. William Safire returns to the NYT op-ed page today to write in praise of Judy Miller of the NYTand against the SCOTUS decision to allow the prosecution of Miller and Time reporter Matthew Cooper. In The Jailing of Judith Miller , her argues that reportorial privilege is key:

The principle at stake here is the idea of "reportorial privilege," embraced in shield laws in 49 states and the District of Columbia, but not in federal courts. That privilege not to testify - held by lawyers, members of the clergy, spouses and others - gives assurance to whistleblowers that information confided to a reporter revealing corruption or malfeasance in government will not result in loss of job or more severe retaliation from on high. (Most of the states' attorneys general, recognizing the value of press leads in law enforcement, strongly supported the reporters in this case.)


Safire is right to lament the SCOTUS's lack of action and to list steps that need to be taken. We should be years beyond the point where people are still made martyrs of for free speech, and the High Court's failure to acknowledge this is a scary indicator the direction of future rulings on media issue.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Pay Our Teachers More!

Dave Eggers and friends opine in the NYT today about the need to pay our teachers more, Reading, Writing, Retailing. They're absolutely right, and the article is worth a read.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

The Real Battle Against PBS

Frank Rich, in his column today, The Armstrong Williams NewsHour, argues convincingly that the real problem facing Public Broadcasting is not the spector of lost funding but the insidious monitoring of its content as part of an attempt to turn it into a propaganda outlet. As a big supporter of PBS - I was only allowed to watch the NY affiliate WNET as a child - and a semi-regular listener to NPR, - yes I'm a dork - the idea that independent broadcasting could become less independent is a frightening one. Rich is right to call for more investigative reporting into the measures being taking against Bill Moyers, Travis Smiley and their colleagues.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Reviewers, Take Note

Fascinating article in the New Yorker by Hanna Rosin about Patrick Henry College, a Christian school outside of DC where the students are trained for a career in politics. The article, God and Country, profiles a number of students, many of whom were homeschooled. Most of these students are already well-integrated into the Republican power structure. While I think the idea of a school to train political leaders is brilliant, there were two things in particular that disturbed me.

The first is that the school is overtly Christian, and that the students are trained to be Christian Republicans. In an increasingly pluralistic society, the idea that the leaders of one of the dominant political parties are explicitly subscribing to a religious idealogy and morality when they make their decisions is upsetting. If these students become the best trained leaders for the Republicans, the party will become more the party of Christian conservatism, not compassionate conservatism. This alienates a number of less religious Republicans. Additionally, since the Democrats have no comparable training program, we are at a disadvantage. The Republicans have, among others, ISI, the Heritage Foundation internship program, and now this school. Democrats have avid readers of the NYT and WaPo.

Secondly, the role of women at the school is ambigious. Many female students are ambitious and high powered, but also are expected by their male colleagues to give it all up to be wives and mothers, a view the girls themselves sometimes endorse. Rosin writes:

"A faction of homeschooling parents lobbied Farris not to admit girls to the college, but he told me that he considered that an “extreme” position. “All women, moms included, benefit from a great education,” he said. Men and women compete openly. When all the best papers in a constitutional-law class that Farris taught were turned in by girls—and not for the first time—Farris yelled at the boys to grow up. The new careerist code of the Joshua Generation can become a problem for the girls, however. Even the most ambitious ones, those who wake up at 3 a.m. to study, told me without reservation that as soon as they had children they would quit their jobs to raise them."


While all college-age women struggle with the question of balancing career and family, such an approach does not bode well for the future of women in the Republican party, and in American politics as a whole.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Albany Actually Makes a Decision

I was alerted to this story by a friend that works at Naral Pro-Choice NY, which advocated for this bill. As the NYT reports today, Albany Legislators Back Giving Morning-After Pill Without Prescriptions. This is good news for women who want greater control over their own reproduction, although it will certainly anger pro-life activists and force Republican Governor Pataki to make a hard decision.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Austentations

Because I've lost count of the times I've read Pride and Prejudice, In Love with Jane from the NYRB

The Great Jewish-American Synthesis

Via the Chronicle of Higher Education: The Great Jewish-American Synthesis

Time Wasters

Time's list of the 50 Coolest Websites 2005 is the usual mix of shopping sites, blogs, and everything between. Still, a good place to go for procrastination.

Apologies

Blogging has been light the past week because of break/moving twice in as many weeks. Posting will pick up with the start of the Dartmouth term.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Karl's Heir Apparent...

This Slate profile of Dick Wadhams, who's being hailed as the next Republican Kingmaker, is a fascinating look at the political dark arts. Two of the points it makes are particularly salient.

First, the article discusses how Wadhams bankrolled two bloggers who were exposing pro-Daschle bias among the media during the tight 2004 campaign for his senate seat. Daschle lost to his Republican challenger Thume, and I'm sure that this sort of media manipulation helped:

"Another way to control a campaign is to shape its news coverage, and Wadhams found a new way to do that for the Thune campaign. South Dakota Republicans had long accused the Sioux Falls Argus Leader, the state's most influential paper, of being pro-Daschle. When two bloggers, Jason Van Beek and Jon Lauck, began cataloguing alleged acts of bias like lack of criticism of Linda Daschle's lobbying practice, Wadhams hired them as campaign researchers. Wadhams insists he wasn't underwriting the bloggers' online enterprises. But Van Beek and Lauck didn't disclose that the Thune campaign was cutting them checks. And they succeeded in aiding Thune: The assistant managing editor of the Argus Leader admitted that the paper's coverage had been affected by the online criticism, implicitly acknowledging that it was tougher on Daschle in the Thune race than it had been in the past."

Secondly, the article highlights Sen. George Allen (R-VA) as the potential Republican frontrunner in 2008. His name has been bandied about by the punditocracy, and his employment of Wadhams indicates that some within the party support his increasing prominance.

"The South Dakota race established Wadhams as a giant-slayer, giving him his pick of future clients. In January, he signed on with Sen. George Allen, a Virginia Republican whose staunch conservatism is leavened by his good ol' boy manners. Outside his home state, Allen is a relative unknown, but he's generating plenty of interest among party apparatchiks. In an April poll in the National Journal, pollsters, consultants, and media pundits picked Allen as the No. 1 choice to head the 2008 GOP ticket. "

And as for the next generation of Roves, Heritage Foundation Summer Camp is here to do the training, according to this NYT article, Next Generation of Conservatives (by the Dormful).

Friday, June 10, 2005

Once You Pop...

Bizarre story via Drudge, Synagogue Sued Over Missing Ashes, about a Houston synagogue that replaced the ashes of a congregant with a can of sour cream and onion potato chips. The switch was discovered when the dead woman's relatives went to her masoleum niche, only to find the chest with her ashes gone. They are now suing the synagogue and funeral home.

While this story is strange and sad, it is even more interesting because Judaism usually frowns on cremation and prefers to bury its dead. The reason is more complex then avoiding situations such as this, but this story provides an additional argument for traditional burial.

Hope for CS Majors Everywhere

Continuing in the vein of frivolous news stories (it is interim) this story from the NY Daily News, which comes off of Dartblog: Nerds Make Better Lovers.

As anyone who's seen Revenge of the Nerds can attest, there's something about the Darth Vader mask in the moonscape that's just too hard to resist.

Something Affordable at Neimans?

And by something I mean the store, as this Slate article, The Takeunder, reports. Apparently Neiman Marcus is only one of a bunch of companies being sold for a price that is not an exorbiant overvaluing of the company's net worth. It's an interesting trend.

Now if only their clothing wasn't as overpriced as well.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

So True

David Brooks really needs to stick to social commentary, because when he does, its so on target. This Op=Ed, Life Lessons From Watergate, frames Woodward's use of Watergate to find himself and get ahead in the context of the experience of recent college grads. He writes:

" Entering the world of the Higher Shamelessness, they begin networking like mad, cultivating the fine art of false modesty and calculated friendships. The most nakedly ambitious - the blogging Junior Lippmanns - rarely win in the long run, but that doesn't mean you can't mass e-mail your essays for obscure online sites with little "Thought you might be interested" notes.

They create informal mutual promotion societies, weighing who will be the crucial members of their cohort, engaging in the dangerous game of lateral kissing up, hunting for the spouse who will look handsomely supportive during some future confirmation hearing, nurturing a dislike for the person who will be the chief rival when the New Yorker editing job opens up in 2027.

And of course they are always mentor-hunting, looking for that wise old Moses who will lead them through the wilderness and end their uncertainty. They discover that it's socially acceptable to flatter your bosses by day so long as you are blasphemously derisive about them while drinking with your buddies at night.

This is now a normal stage of life. And if Bob Woodward could get through something like it, perhaps they will too."


You mean this blog won't help me get the New Yorker Job? Damn.

Friday, June 03, 2005

A Genetic Basis for Sexual Behaviors?

The study may have been done with fruit flies, but the results are striking: For Fruit Flies, Gene Shift Tilts Sex Orientation