Stanford Daily: Top 5 Shockers of Summer
The Stanford Daily Online lists what they consider the top 5 shocking news items of the summer and I have to admit they're pretty shocking.
The intersection of politics, faith, pop culture, and other surprises.
The Stanford Daily Online lists what they consider the top 5 shocking news items of the summer and I have to admit they're pretty shocking.
Insider - tvguide.com: "Star Trek purists, take a deep breath! On Sept. 16, the iconic ‘60s series will return to syndication for the first time since 1990, but with a startling difference: All 79 episodes are being digitally remastered with computer-generated effects not possible when Gene Roddenberry created the show 40 years ago. The news could cause Roddenberry loyalists to have a collective cow, but the longtime Trek staffers in charge of the makeover say they're honoring the late maestro's vision, not changing it. "
I linked to this video below, but here 'tis all ready for you to push the button and watch for yourself. Well worth the 7 minutes.
Mark Evanier reports: "It's starting to look like one other Senator, in addition to Ted Stevens, placed a 'secret hold' on that bill to make government spending more accountable. It's not confirmed yet but Robert Byrd may have also done the deed. For what it's worth, my opinion of Byrd is not as low as my opinion of Stevens...but it's close."
Salt Lake Tribune reports even Mormon country is unhappy: "A crowd of thousands cheered Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson for calling President Bush a 'dishonest, war-mongering, human-rights violating president' whose time in office would 'rank as the worst presidency our nation has ever had to endure.'"
BBC NEWS reports good news in the art world: "Two masterpieces by artist Edvard Munch have been recovered two years after they were stolen from an Oslo museum.
Crooks and Liars has the video and transcript: "Olbermann delivered this commentary with fire and passion while highlighting how Rumsfeld’s comments echoes other times in our world’s history when anyone who questioned the administration was coined as a traitor, unpatriotic, communist or any other colorful term. Luckily we pulled out of those times and we will pull out of these times.
G.O.P. Congressman Shifts to Favor an Iraq Timetable - New York Times: "Only a few weeks ago, Representative Christopher Shays, a Republican from Connecticut, minced no words in responding to calls led by Democrats for a phased withdrawal from Iraq. “To have a timetable is absolutely foolish,” he said.
Ohio to Delay Destruction of Presidential Ballots - New York Times: "With paper ballots from the 2004 presidential election in Ohio scheduled to be destroyed next week, the secretary of state in Columbus, under pressure from critics, said yesterday that he would move to delay the destruction at least for several months.
From ajc.com: "Alaska Republican Ted Stevens admitted Wednesday that he used a parliamentary maneuver to secretly block legislation that would open federal spending practices to public scrutiny.
From ajc.com: "Cumberland Island, so secluded that it hid a Kennedy wedding from the world, could soon offer up its treasures to a convoy of visitors.
Mark Evanier featured this clip from Carson's Tonight Show, and it's hilarious. Really made me miss Carson. However, I was nonplussed at his apparent ad libs with the African-American actor--at first he was acting like Don Rickles, but a later ad lib... I don't know... anyway, check it out.
Clinton, 9/11 and the Facts--William Rivers Pitt reviews ABC's upcoming attack on Clinton, and the facts behind it: "Leaving aside the wretched truth that the far right is once again using September 11 to score political points, the facts regarding the still-lingering effort to blame the Clinton administration for the attacks must be brought to the fore. Nowrasteh, at several points in his miniseries, rolls out a number of oft-debunked allegations that Clinton allowed Osama bin Laden to remain alive and free before the attacks.
BBC NEWS: Comic book veterans take on 9/11: "Five years after the attacks on New York and Washington, and two years after the 9/11 Report detailing it became a surprise bestseller, the events of 11 September 2001 are being put before the public again - this time as a comic book.
Braintree native is taking a crack at reviving a humor magazine - The Boston Globe: "The 48-year-old Cracked has always been the Avis Rent a Car of the humor magazine business, the C-student's second read after Mad. ``Humor magazines are an extremely difficult category to crack,' says University of Mississippi magazine expert Samir Husni . ``From National Lampoon to Mad to Cracked to Spy, they start with edgy political humor, then slowly but surely they turn to boring political humor, and then it's sex and blondes. They start with a blast, and they die with a blast. The odds are against them from Day One.'"
AMERICAblog's John in DC quotes an interesting passage from Ron Suskind's book "The One Percent Doctrine," and concludes: "So many things at work here. First, Cheney is caught red handed trying to falsely link Iraq to the larger war on terror (something he'd done repeatedly). And second, when he gets caught doing it, Cheney still pushes ahead."
Eat The Press | Fox News' Ratings Take a Nosedive | The Huffington Post: "Fox News' ratings, TVNewser reports, are down since August of last year. Like, way down. Like down 28 percent in primetime among all viewers, down 20 percent in primetime in the 'money demo' (viewers aged 25-54) and down 7 percent in daytime viewership overall. In fact, the only place Fox is up is during the day, when they managed a ratings increase of just 2 percent, and even then only in the money demo.
Beyond Macaca: The Photograph That Haunts George Allen: "But was it an isolated 'mistake'?
NYT editorializes on the bad poverty and uninsured numbers released yesterday: "Despite the Bush-era expansion, the number of Americans living in poverty in 2005 — 37 million — was the same as in 2004. This is the first time the number has not risen since 2000. But the share of the population now in poverty — 12.6 percent — is still higher than at the trough of the last recession, when it was 11.7 percent. And among the poor, 43 percent were living below half the poverty line in 2005 — $7,800 for a family of three. That’s the highest percentage of people in “deep poverty” since the government started keeping track of those numbers in 1975.
No surprise here... from the NYT: "State Department investigators have found that the head of the agency overseeing most government broadcasts to foreign countries has used his office to run a “horse racing operation” and that he improperly put a friend on the payroll, according to a summary of a report made public on Tuesday by a Democratic lawmaker.
MiamiHerald.com: Once again Leonard Pitts nails it--go read the whole column: "The Lambert case intrigues me because it illustrates a point I've made on many occasions when people bring out Bibles to explain why gay folk deserve no civil rights. Maybe now, without the reflexive emotionalism that gay brings to cloud their view, a few more people will see the obvious: Bible literalism is impractical and impossible. Or maybe they won't see.
From the ajc.com: "Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist had not met all the requirements needed to keep his medical license active --- even though he gave paperwork to Tennessee officials indicating that he had --- his office acknowledged Tuesday. Tennessee requires its licensed physicians to complete 40 hours of continuing medical education every two years. Frist, a heart-lung surgeon who will retire from the Senate this year to consider a 2008 presidential run, submitted a license renewal with the Tennessee Health Department stating he had fulfilled that requirement. Responding Tuesday to repeated requests from The Associated Press, a Frist spokesman said the Republican senator was working to clear up the problem and had contacted the Tennessee Board of Medical Examiners to see if corrective steps were necessary. "
BBC NEWS: Google makes novels free to print: "Search engine Google plans to offer consumers the chance to download and print classic novels free of charge.
MotherJones.com will soon have something well worth checking out (I just read the magazine version): "Lie by Lie—An Interactive Timeline
Rodney Ho reports on his AJC radio blog:
A few decades back, marketers experimented with subliminal advertising, which proved to be of dubious utility. But in this day of ADD and TiVo, not only has Clear Channel Radio pushed 30 second ad instead of 60 seconds, they are offering TWO second ads. Yes, a whopping TWO seconds long!
According to the New York Times, on Sept. 10, all 1,100 of Clear Channel’s stations... will air two-second bursts advertising the Simpsons’ debut for Fox. Every half-hour you may hear Homer’s “Woo-hoo” or something along those lines for two seconds. The senior VP for Fox Kaye Bentley told the New York Times compared these ads to pop-ups. They go by so fast, she said, you can’t avoid them. Fox ais also using such “blink” ads for the premieres of “Prison Break” and “House.”
You may be interested to know that global warming, earthquakes, hurricanes, and other natural disasters are a direct effect of the shrinking numbers of Pirates since the 1800s. For your interest, I have included a graph of the approximate number of pirates versus the average global temperature over the last 200 years. As you can see, there is a statistically significant inverse relationship between pirates and global temperature.
The Falling Paycheck - New York Times: "After huddling with his economic team at Camp David this month, President Bush emerged from a meeting and, flanked by advisers — including the secretaries of labor, commerce and the Treasury — announced to reporters, “Things are good for American workers.”
In the Works, from my pal MC's website www.michaelchabon.com:
Mark Evanier writes:
Had he lived, he would have been 89 years old today...and still brilliant. Oh, his amazing creative powers might have dimmed with time and health. The last few years he drew, failing motor skills caused him to not draw anywhere up to his old standards. But that was okay because nobody else was drawing up to his old standards, either.
We're talking Kirby here...Jack Kirby, owner of (arguably) the most fertile imagination ever seen in adventure and fantasy comic books. People referred to him as a great artist, and he was...but I always thought that compliment kind of missed the point. It wasn't just that he drew so well but that he thought of wonderful things to draw that no one else would ever have imagined. Another pretty good artist, Al Williamson, once said, "If you told me or most of my buddies to draw fifty spaceships, they'd all look like they were built in the same plant. If Jack drew fifty spaceships, they'd look like they were built by fifty different alien races."
Telegraph reports on the apparent conservatization of the Archbishop of Canterbury: "The archbishop of Canterbury has told homosexuals that they need to change their behaviour if they are to be welcomed into the church, The Sunday Telegraph can reveal.
Crooks and Liars � Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert are winners at the Emmys and also had the best presenters patter. Watch the video
What Is the Latest Thing to Be Discouraged About? The Rise of Pessimism - New York Times: "The early stages of the Iraq war may have been a watershed in American optimism. The happy talk was so extreme it is now difficult to believe it was sincere: “we will be greeted as liberators”; “mission accomplished”; the insurgency is “in the last throes.” Most wildly optimistic of all was the goal: a military action transforming the Middle East into pro-American democracies.
Issues Await if Democrats Retake House - New York Times: "As the start of the fall campaign looms and House Democrats remain within realistic reach of reclaiming the majority, party leaders are beginning to explore the delicate question of what happens if they win."
Clergywomen Find Hard Path to Bigger Pulpit - New York Times: "Whether they come from theologically liberal denominations or conservative ones, black churches or white, women in the clergy still bump against what many call the stained-glass ceiling — longstanding limits, preferences and prejudices within their denominations that keep them from leading bigger congregations and having the opportunity to shape the faith of more people.
Crooks and Liars has the H&C video-- Ann Coulter gets her freak on: "Whenever Ann is faced with the reality that Osama hasn’t been caught yet by this administration–well–Poor Ann. Kirsten Powers actually responds to Coulter’s ridiculous line that Afghanistan is going swimmingly and brings up the fact that Osama is still alive and well. Coulter then plays her usual Clinton card and freaks. 'Sean, help me–Sean, where are you? Sean, these mean people are talking…I can’t get my 10,000 words of Liberal hate speech in…I’m melting.' Michael Brown didn’t mind that Hannity talked over him during the segment.."
ADL Blasts Christian Supremacist TV Special & Book Blaming Darwin For Hitler (via C&L): "The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today blasted a television documentary produced by Christian broadcaster Dr. D. James Kennedy's Coral Ridge Ministries that attempts to link Charles Darwin's theory of evolution to Adolf Hitler and the atrocities of the Holocaust. ADL also denounced Coral Ridge Ministries for misleading Dr. Francis Collins, the director of the National Human Genome Research Institute for the NIH, and wrongfully using him as part of its twisted documentary, 'Darwin's Deadly Legacy.'
In Poll, G.O.P. Slips as a Friend of Religion (but then, so does the Democratic Party) - New York Times: "A new poll shows that fewer Americans view the Republican Party as “friendly to religion” than a year ago, with the decline particularly steep among Catholics and white evangelical Protestants — constituencies at the core of the Republicans’ conservative Christian voting bloc.
Kentucky Governor Signs Plea Deal - New York Times: "Gov. Ernie Fletcher of Kentucky, who was indicted in May in connection with a hiring scandal, signed an agreement yesterday admitting wrongdoing by his administration and promising to reconstitute the state’s Personnel Board.
There's something about Mary (Worth)--by Mark Schwed in the Palm Beach Post, via ajc.com:
BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Pluto vote 'hijacked' in revolt: "A fierce backlash has begun against the decision by astronomers to strip Pluto of its status as a planet.
The University of Florida produces a web journal called ImageText with interdisciplinary studies of comics. The latest issue has a review of a book I too enjoyed reading--so much that I have an endorsement in it. Check it out.
From Strangers with Candy. See his earlier relevant quote here.
Christian Coalition losing chapters - AP on Yahoo! News: "Three disgruntled state affiliates have severed ties with the Christian Coalition of America, one of the nation's most powerful conservative groups during the 1990s but now buffeted by complaints over finances, leadership and its plans to veer into nontraditional policy areas."
Bush's New Iraq Argument: It Could Be Worse: "Of all the words that President Bush used at his news conference this week to defend his policies in Iraq, the one that did not pass his lips was 'progress.'
Senator Apologizes to Student for Remark - New York Times: "Senator George Allen of Virginia personally apologized to a volunteer for his opponent’s campaign on Wednesday for a perceived racial insult, addressing a misstep that has complicated his re-election campaign and raised doubts about his potential as a Republican presidential contender in 2008.
The Raw Story | Murtha: Marine recall shows Iraq getting worse: "Congressman John Murtha (D-PA) has blasted the involuntary recall of Marines to Iraq at 'a time when we should be bringing our fighting men and women home from Iraq, we're sending more over there,' as symbolic of the 'mismanagement of this effort.'"
"I love my church, and I'm a Catholic who was raised by intellectuals who were very devout. I was raised to believe that you could question the church and still be a Catholic. What is worthy of satire is the misuse of religion for destructive or political gains. That's totally different from the Word, the blood, the body, and the Christ. His kingdom is not of this earth."
Poll Shows a Shift in Opinion on Iraq War - New York Times: "Americans increasingly see the war in Iraq as distinct from the fight against terrorism, and nearly half believe President Bush has focused too much on Iraq to the exclusion of other threats, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.
AJC has an op ed piece on House Science Committee hearings on the problems with voting machines, which concludes: "There's something unsettling about living in a democracy with a margin of error of 9 percent."
Judicial Watch doesn't like judge's service on nonprofit board; from NYT via ajc.com: "The federal judge who ruled last week that President Bush's wiretapping program was unconstitutional serves as a trustee and officer for a Detroit nonprofit group that has given at least $125,000 to the American Civil Liberties Union in Michigan, one of the plaintiffs in the high-profile case.
Slate is serializing the graphic novel version of the 9/11 report by Sid Jacobson and one of my all-time favorite artists and people, Ernie Colon. Check it out. (You can order the hard copy through Amazon at the link to the right).
MSNBC's Joe Scarborough, who would vote for Bush again, still has some big complaints (H/T C&L): "These days the President seems distracted, disjointed and dumbed-down in press conferences. His jokes fall flat and are often inappropriate.
Bill Clinton in the New York Times: "Regarding the politics of welfare reform, there is a great lesson to be learned, particularly in today’s hyper-partisan environment, where the Republican leadership forces bills through Congress without even a hint of bipartisanship. Simply put, welfare reform worked because we all worked together. The 1996 Welfare Act shows us how much we can achieve when both parties bring their best ideas to the negotiating table and focus on doing what is best for the country."
BBC NEWS has the amazing story: "Three fishermen who say they spent nine months adrift in the Pacific have been giving more details of their ordeal.
Frank Rich's column on the failure of Bush fear tactics is online at truthout.org: "As the election campaign quickens, genuine nightmares may well usurp the last gasps of Rovian fear-based politics. It's hard to ignore the tragic reality that American troops are caught in the cross-fire of a sectarian bloodbath escalating daily, that botched American policy has strengthened Iran and Hezbollah and undermined Israel, and that our Department of Homeland Security is as ill-equipped now to prevent explosives (liquid or otherwise) in cargo as it was on 9/11. For those who've presided over this debacle and must face the voters in November, this is far scarier stuff than a foiled terrorist cell, nasty bloggers and Ned Lamont combined."
Baptist Church in Waterton NY goes back to the dark ages: "The First Baptist Church dismissed Mary Lambert on Aug. 9 with a letter explaining that the church had adopted an interpretation that prohibits women from teaching men. She had taught there for 54 years."
HuffPo summarizes a USN&WR Insider bit about the Prez: "He loves to cuss, gets a jolly when a mountain biker wipes out trying to keep up with him, and now we're learning that the first frat boy loves flatulence jokes. A top insider let that slip when explaining why President Bush is paranoid around women, always worried about his behavior. But he's still a funny, earthy guy who, for example, can't get enough of fart jokes. He's also known to cut a few for laughs, especially when greeting new young aides, but forget about getting people to gas about that."
The Raw Story has the whole transcript: "At a news conference today, Bush also conceded that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction.
I'm so glad to learn that you're doing so well. Couldn't happen to a nicer, more deserving guy.
As for me, you're right, I really am busy as all get-out, but how can I say "no" to you? So e-mail your questions and I'll do the best I can. I'll just make one important request--
Please write the kind of questions that can be answered briefly. I simply haven't time for long, philosophical musings because I've been doing an average of a dozen phone, e-mail and personal interviews daily, what with the Spider-Man movie about to open, my bio going on sale at the same time and a DVD I did with Kevin Smith also going on sale at the same time! --And I still have my own writing projects to complete!
I'll wait for your questions, but remember, my friend-- be merciful!
Okay, Peter— for better or worse, here’s my stab at answering your questions…
Absolutely not! I never got tired of seeing those raw pages of art! They were the basis, the foundation on which I attempted to build the finished product. I loved looking at all the brilliant artwork those guys produced. It was totally thrilling.
I liked comics when I was a kid, but they were a different type then. They were just reprints of newspaper strips like The Katzenjammer Kids, Dick Tracy, Krazy Kat, etc.
Some. I have a few pieces of art that illustrators autographed and gave me, but really not very much.
I’m a great admirer of good artists, whether they’re “fine” artists, comicbook artists, advertising artists or cartoonists. But I’m not really a collector, or a “patron of the arts” or any such-- I’m usually too busy doing my own things.
Today’s comicbook art is, for want of a better word, fancier and more illustrative than in the past. I think that so-called “classic Marvel art” concentrated more on story and today’s art concentrates more on the artwork itself. That’s not true of all strips, of course, but it seems applicable to many. As for the artists themselves, I enjoy all their work—perhaps the most interesting, to me, is Alex Ross.
No matter whose names I mention, there will be many more I should also mention, because I’ve worked with so many great ones. But those who come to mind immediately are: Kirby, Ditko, Romita, Buscema and Kane. They made a tremendous impact because they were not only great artists but great visual story-tellers as well.
Untrue! I can draw stick figures with the best of ‘em! Don’t really have any drawings to show—but even if I did I wouldn’t know how to e-mail ‘em!
One of the many interesting opportunities the internet offers is the ability for a group of people--diverse geographically and otherwise--to come together and discuss certain topics and issues using mailing lists. Several years ago I found a several-hundred-member list that focused on the life and work of Jack Kirby, one of the all-time greatest comic book artists. Through that list I’ve developed some good friendships, with people such as a Pulitzer-prize winning author in Berkeley, Ca., an art teacher in Asheville, N.C., a writer for the Army Corps of Engineers in Huntington, W.Va., postal workers in Roswell, N.M., and Alliance, Neb., a comics artist in Great Britain, a member of a Pink Floyd cover band of some note also in the U.K., and many others. I’ve even met a few of them in the real world, and it seemed we’d known each other for years.
Hokum on Homeland Security - New York Times editorial: "Ever since British intelligence did such a masterly job in rounding up terrorists intent on blowing up airliners, the Bush administration has relentlessly tried to divert attention from the disintegration in Iraq and focus instead on its supposed prowess in protecting our country against terrorist attacks. That ploy ought not to wash. While the administration has been pouring its energies and money into Iraq, it has fallen far behind on steps needed to protect the homeland."
SoVo.com: "A gay Lutheran pastor facing possible expulsion from his church says he will choose his partner over his vocation if he is disciplined for being in a gay relationship.
The Quiet Farang - interesting op-ed piece by novelist John Burdett (who has written two terrific thrillers based in Bangkok) in the New York Times: "As of now, it seems possible that Mr. Karr did not commit the murder, but is an attention-seeking farang kee-nok — “Western drifter.” Like other members of that group, he tried to make ends meet by taking on teaching jobs, made regular visa runs to Malaysia, lived in a budget hotel, drifted around Southeast Asia with no apparent direction.
In Nashville, Sounds of Political Uprising From the Left - New York Times: "Country music, the genre of lonely hearts and highways, lost jobs and blue-collar woes, has become a cultural battleground. Conservatism is widely seen as having the upper hand, a red-state answer to left-leaning Hollywood.
Different Focus in Atlanta on Young’s Remark - New York Times: "Andrew Young built his fame as the first lieutenant of the civil rights movement, working closely with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and becoming the first black congressman from Georgia since Reconstruction.
Independent Online Edition > UK Politics: "'I have no idea what John Prescott did or did not say since it was a private conversation, but... the current US administration has been a disaster for the American people and has done untold damage not only to international relations but to the environment.'"
Recently a judge ruled that Georgia Tech's tolerance guidelines, which most universities have, restricted the free speech of those conservative Christians who wanted to be intolerant of other religions. Phil McKnight of Tech's faculty penned an op-ed piece (to balance the screed written by the young woman who brought the case):
Ruling for the Law - New York Times: "No sooner had this ruling been issued than Mr. Bush’s loyalists in Congress, who have been searching for ways to give legal cover to an illegal spying program, began calling for new laws to overcome Judge Taylor’s objections. Republicans quickly pointed out that Judge Taylor was appointed by President Jimmy Carter and that some of the many precedents she cited were written by liberal judges. These efforts to undermine Judge Taylor’s arguments will undoubtedly continue while the White House appeals the decision, and the outcome in the conservative Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals is uncertain.
Looks like the suspicion many have had about this wacko is stronger this morning: "Something about an anonymous e-mail message to a University of Colorado journalism professor in May, part of a voluminous four-year correspondence about the 1996 murder of JonBenet Ramsey, persuaded the professor to approach the police and led to the arrest of an American schoolteacher in Bangkok this week as a suspect in the girl’s killing.
This whole JonBenet Ramsay confessed killer story is creeping me out... and I'm wondering if the guy isn't just an obsessed, insane liar?
A federal judge on Thursday ruled that the U.S. government's warrantless wiretapping program is unconstitutional and ordered it ended immediately.
In a 44-page memorandum and order, U.S. District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor, -- who is based in Detroit, Michigan --struck down the National Security Agency's program, which she said violates the rights to free speech and privacy.
Taylor's ruling stems from a case filed by the American Civil Liberties Union. According to The Associated Press, Taylor is the first judge to rule the eavesdropping program unconstitutional.
Conservative Joe Scarborough, the MSNBC host who had the "Is Bush an Idiot?" package the other night, continues his rightwing rant--against Bush: "Friends and foes alike agree that George W. Bush is one political figure who gets worse with age. Look back at his performance as Texas governor and you will see a funny, self-assured public figure who inspires confidence. But these days, the mere opening of Mr. Bush’s mouth makes many GOP loyalists shake in their tasseled loafers.
Hotline On Call: A New Explanation For "Macaca?" Allen's explanations just get worse (h/t Americablog): "What does Macaca really mean? Three Virginia Republicans confirmed to the Hotline that several Allen campaign aides and advisers are telling allies that the word was a made-up, off-the-cuff neologism that these aides occasionally used to refer to tracker S.R. Sidarth well before last Saturday's videotaped encounter.
Tom Lasseter of McClatchy in Iraq reports: "As security conditions continue to deteriorate in Iraq, many Iraqi politicians are challenging the optimistic forecasts of governments in Baghdad and Washington, D.C., with some worrying that the rosy views are preventing the creation of effective strategies against the escalating violence.
Bush Bubble Alive and Well: "The White House made a big to-do about President Bush's meeting Monday with four outside experts on Iraq. Spokesman Tony Snow held the meeting up as proof that the president is interested in -- and consistently exposed to -- different points of view, and even dissent.
Christianity for the Rest of Us: How the Neighborhood Church is Transforming the Faith
Most pundits will tell you that the mainline churches—Presbyterians, Methodists, Lutherans, Episcopalians, Congregationalists, and Disciples of Christ—are in decline: it is now commonplace to assume that liberal churches are doomed and only evangelical churches are growing. Think again, says Butler Bass (The Practicing Congregation) in this challenging and hopeful book, which summarizes the findings of a three-year study funded by the Lilly Endowment. Yes, many mainline churches are struggling, but not because liberal Christianity is a contradiction in terms. Rather, the old neighborhood Methodist church has fallen on hard times because the old neighborhood has been replaced by a strip mall. And many mainline churches are thriving. Butler Bass showcases ten of them, including Redeemer UCC in New Haven, Conn., and Saint Mark (Lutheran) in Yorktown, Va. She then examines ten practices, from hospitality to worship to vigorous theological discussion, and posits that these practices are the heartbeat of vital mainline churches. Her provocative conclusions include the observations that today’s mainliners have redefined politics by favoring bottom-up acts of service over structural change. And the thriving congregations are neither red nor blue, but purple—a mix of Democrats and Republicans. This is Bass’s best book yet. (Oct.)
Publishers Weekly has a piece on a book by a Presbyterian theologian causing some brouhaha in the ranks:
Controversy is churning within the Presbyterian Church (USA) over the publication of a 9/11-conspiracy book. The July publication of Christian Faith and the Truth Behind 9/11: A Call to Reflection and Action by Westminster John Knox, an imprint of the Presbyterian Publishing Corporation, has angered some in the denomination.
The book’s author, theologian David Ray Griffin, is active in the 9/11 Truth Movement (http://www.911truth.org/) and asserts that the Bush Administration caused or allowed the attacks on the United States in order to justify amplifying American power through war.
Eat The Press | Cracked Is Back, With A Stella(r) Comedy Roster Led By Michael Ian Black | The Huffington Post: "After a 48-year history and a year-and-a-half long hiatus, Cracked Magazine is back, rejigged, restaffed and reimagined as a serious humor magazine, prepared by people who would know. Led by comedian/actor/editor-at-large Michael Ian Black, whose credits include The State On MTV, Stella, Wet Hot American Summer and VH1 'I Can Dryly Comment On The Events Of The '70s, '80s and '90s,' the magazine has tapped into the comedy community hard, featuring writers from The Daily Show, Saturday Night Live & Chappelle's Show (this cover alone namechecks Rob Corddry, Ed Helms, South Park's loveable Libertarians Trey Parker and Matt Stone, Bill Murray, Carlos 'Mind Of' Mencia, and Ian Black). Greatest Living Writer Ever and super-hip dad Neal Pollack."
Crooks and Liars - MSNBC's Scarborough: “Is Bush An ‘Idiot’?”: "Lawrence O’Donnell made an interesting statement that Bush is an easy target and probably 'the easiest ever at this point'. Fund worked his hardest to defend Bush and even resorted to saying it was the left who made these claims because 'they can not argue with his policies'.
AMERICAblog: : "Sounds like Dick and Karl may be in a bit of a legal conundrum here. Either they testify or they admit that outing an undercover CIA agent was done in their official capacities as members of the Bush White House. If they admit that, doesn't that mean Bush will fire them?"
Meanwhile, in Baghdad ... - New York Times editorial: "As everyone with a television is aware, Lebanon has just suffered through a terrible month, with more than 1,000 people killed, most of them innocent civilians. But Iraq has suffered through an even worse month. Since June, more than 3,000 Iraqis have been killed each month, and the rate continues to rise. While Lebanon is now trying to pick up the pieces, Iraq is falling apart at an accelerating pace.
Bush Said to Be Frustrated by Level of Public Support in Iraq - New York Times: "President Bush made clear in a private meeting this week that he was concerned about the lack of progress in Iraq and frustrated that the new Iraqi government — and the Iraqi people — had not shown greater public support for the American mission, participants in the meeting said Tuesday.
The New Yorker' Hendrik Hertzberg with another outstanding piece in The Talk of the Town: "In this August of 2006 a palpable, ’68-like shift in sentiment is in the steamy air. Among foreign-policy �lites and the broader public alike, it has become the preponderant conviction that George W. Bush’s war of choice in Iraq is a catastrophe.
Daily Kos: George Allen speaks French and knows Macaque: "According to the Washington Post story, Allen says he doesn't know what the word 'Macaca' means. He actually wants us to believe that as he pointed to a person of color and used the French word for monkey, twice, that he doesn't know what it means."
Crooks and Liars has the video of George Allen’s Macaca: "Sen. George Allen has a funny way of communicating with the only non-white at an all Republican event."
Crooks and Liars has video of Olbermann: The Nexus of Politics and Terror: "Keith runs down the timeline from 2002 until the latest UK plot regarding the politicization of terror. Remember when Tom Ridge explained how the administration signaled terror alerts that he didn’t think should have been used?"
Has Bush v. Gore Become the Case That Must Not Be Named? - New York Times' Adam Cohen: "At a law school Supreme Court conference that I attended last fall, there was a panel on “The Rehnquist Court.” No one mentioned Bush v. Gore, the most historic case of William Rehnquist’s time as chief justice, and during the Q. and A. no one asked about it. When I asked a prominent law professor about this strange omission, he told me he had been invited to participate in another Rehnquist retrospective, and was told in advance that Bush v. Gore would not be discussed.
Did Cheney Go Too Far? Dan Froomkin in the WaPo: "By insinuating that the sizeable majority of American voters who oppose the war in Iraq are aiding and abetting the enemy, Vice President Cheney on Wednesday may have crossed the line that separates legitimate political discourse from hysteria.
Democrats See Security as Key Issue for Fall - New York Times: "After being outmaneuvered in the politics of national security in the last two elections, Democrats say they are determined not to cede the issue this year and are working to cast President Bush as having diminished the nation’s safety.
Looks like an interesting lineup coming up on this season's "Dancing with the Stars" on ABC. From TV Week:
Crooks and Liars has the link from Newsweek via MSNBC: "At the same time, […]Dick Cheney, darkly warned that the Connecticut primary victory of antiwar candidate Ned Lamont over Sen. Joseph Lieberman would only encourage 'Al Qaeda types.' (Interviewed by NEWSWEEK, former Homeland Security secretary Tom Ridge bridled at his former colleague’s remark: 'That may be the way the vice president sees it,' he said, 'but I don’t see it that way, and I don’t think most Americans see it that way.')"
AMERICAblog has this excerpt from the Fayetteville NC paper: "Something else verges on terrifying too. The reactions by some of our politicians were a chilling reminder of their willingness to use our fear to further their own agenda.
Bush wants to rewrite the Geneva Conventions so it can continue humiliating and torturing prisoners. The only problem is, it works both ways: "The Geneva Conventions protect Americans. If this country changes the rules, it’s changing the rules for Americans taken prisoner abroad. That is far too high a price to pay so this administration can hang on to its misbegotten policies."
Eavesdropping and the Election: An Answer on the Question of Timing - New York Times: "THE NEW YORK TIMES’S Dec. 16 article that disclosed the Bush administration’s warrantless eavesdropping has led to an important public debate about the once-secret program. And the decision to write about the program in the face of White House pressure deserved even more praise than I gave it in a January column, which focused on the paper’s inadequate explanation of why it had “delayed publication for a year.”
AMERICAblog has the links and some comment: "Surprise, surprise. According to NBC, the plan wasn't as 'imminent' as first reported. And the U.S. pushed the Brits to act faster. Found this over at TPM Muckraker:
A senior British official knowledgeable about the case said British police were planning to continue to run surveillance for at least another week to try to obtain more evidence, while American officials pressured them to arrest the suspects sooner. The official spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the case.
In contrast to previous reports, the official suggested an attack was not imminent, saying the suspects had not yet purchased any airline tickets. In fact, some did not even have passports.
From ajc.com: "For 20 years, a scientist near Savannah has taken weekly water samples from the same dock, giving him a composite snapshot of the estuary's health.
Cynthia Tucker on GOP and terrorism in the AJC: "There they go again.
The Blog | John Zogby: New Zogby Poll Reveals that Dems Nationwide Support Lamont and his Anti-War Credentials : "An overwhelming majority of Democrats - 79% - nationwide said they are glad that the three-term senator was defeated by Lamont, who ran a powerful anti-Iraq war campaign. They also said Lamont's victory over one of the few pro-war Democrats in Washington makes them optimistic they can win control of at least one of the two houses of Congress in November."