Tuesday, May 31, 2005
In providing deep background for the Post reporters, Felt continually pointed them in the right direction. Without Felt's help, and that of many other sources, the Watergate scandal may never have been kept alive by the media, and President Nixon might never have resigned from office.
The question is, Did Felt do the right thing in the right way? What was his motivation? and does it matter? Felt had a personal as well as a professional axe to grind, but is it possible that the right thing was done for the wrong reason?
Saturday, May 28, 2005
She acknowledged that Iraq's new government has had difficulties, but she said the leadership has not made a compromise "as bad as the one in 1789 that made my ancestors three-fifths of a man, so let's be humble about what they're going through."We in the US must be careful to remember that our own democracy did not spring forth fully developed from the minds of the Founders. Just consider Native Americans and African-Americans, and you will recognize the long road to imperfection. It has taken more than two hundred years to achieve a democracy that, great as it is, allowed Abu Ghraib to happen.
Big Papi, designated hitter David Ortiz addressed the Red Sox slump over the last dozen games on MLB.com:
"I think it's pretty good for us to come out of a little slump that way," said Sox designated hitter David Ortiz. "One thing we haven't been doing is hitting like we did today. This is a really good offensive team, and we haven't been swinging the bats. This game today gives everybody more confidence and lets people believe that we still have really good hitters."
"The median family income of a Harvard student is $150,000. According to the Educational Testing Service, only 3 percent of freshmen at the top 146 colleges come from the poorest quarter of the population."
What makes this even more amazing is the fact that these families claim solidarity with the poor and underprivledged, yet they have supported societal and policy changes that continue to keep the poor down.
"For 30 years they have presided over failing schools without fundamentally transforming them. They have imposed a public morality that affords maximum sexual opportunity for themselves and guarantees maximum domestic chaos for those lower down.
In 1960 there were not big structural differences between rich and poor families. In 1960, three-quarters of poor families were headed by married couples. Now only a third are. While the rates of single parenting have barely changed for the educated elite, family structures have disintegrated for the oppressed masses."
What's more, every attempt to improve public schools--like vouchers for students attending private and parochial schools--are thwarted. Maybe Brooks is right; maybe it's all a conspiracy to maintain an elite hegemony against the poor.
Thursday, May 26, 2005
Having visited Bethlehem, in the West Bank, before the outbreak of the second intifada, I can tell you that there is a crushing poverty in the Plaestinian territory. Israel is blamed for most of this, but in truth, it was Arafat's support (tacit or otherwise) of suicide bombers that forced Israel to close the border, thus cutting off the Palestinians from their jobs. Abbas has made the first move away from violence, and that alone is worth a mere $50 million.
From the NY Times:
''You have made a new start on a difficult journey, requiring courage and leadership each day. And we will take that journey together,'' Bush told Abbas in the first visit of the top Palestinian leader to the White House of his presidency.
Wednesday, May 25, 2005
Neil MacFarquhar of the NY Times writes:
"Aside from Mr. Rafsanjani, the remaining candidates hoping to succeed President Mohammed Khatami include one moderate cleric and four former senior officers in the Revolutionary Guards, whose loyalty to the supreme leader is unquestionable.
In this lineup, Mr. Rafsanjani is viewed as a compromise figure - the least distasteful conservative to the liberals and the most liberal among the conservatives."
Khatami, though a reformer, failed to make any reforms, namely because the Revolutionary Council blocked him. Rafsanjani has the conservative chops to hold Islamic fundamentalists at bay, but is he really a reformer or just a power hungry bureaucrat who wants a second shot a fleecing his own countrymen? Maybe Rafsanjani has seen the light (or more likely the winds of change). At 70 maybe he thinks he has less to lose by becoming a reformer and accomplishing some real change, maybe even securing his place in history.