April 2011 archive

Random Japan



After taking heat for accepting a ¥1.04 million donation from a South Korean expat, Prime Minister Naoto Kan agreed to return the money. Political contributions from foreigners are a no-no in Japan.

The Osaka and Bombay stock exchanges agreed on a tie-up, paving the way for them to “develop financial products linked to their stock indexes and list them at each other’s markets.”

Toyota and Microsoft announced a joint venture to develop automotive software that will be “important for achieving the next-generation low-carbon, energy-saving society.”

The justice ministry ordered Japan’s Prosecutor General to record all interrogations of criminal suspects in an effort to “establish a new criminal justice system.”

The coast guard announced that 170 crewmembers serving on five ships were unable to vote in local elections earlier in the month because they were engaged in relief operations in quake-hit areas.

Nepal’s Ministry of Culture said it will honor the mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki with its inaugural Gautama Buddha International Peace Award. The prize is worth $50,000.

Japan, the US and India have announced they will begin scheduling regular minster-level talks. The rise of China is “expected to be a major topic.”

A trio of taxis in Hamamatsu, Shizuoka have been festooned with drawings of characters from hit manga and animated TV series Strawberry Marshmallow. Punters who catch these cabs will get a commemorative card designed by the series’ author.

FDR: “Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob.”

An Antemdius entry uses a quote from Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who said in his speech announcing the Second New Deal in 1936:

For twelve years this Nation was afflicted with hear-nothing, see-nothing, do-nothing Government. The Nation looked to Government but the Government looked away. Nine mocking years with the golden calf and three long years of the scourge! Nine crazy years at the ticker and three long years in the breadlines! Nine mad years of mirage and three long years of despair! Powerful influences strive today to restore that kind of government with its doctrine that that Government is best which is most indifferent.

Sound familiar?  We are repeating the past.  Roosevelt went on:

We had to struggle with the old enemies of peace–business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering.

They had begun to consider the Government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs. We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob.

What was true in 1932 is true today, and has been for going on thirty years now, but especially the last ten.  We saw 9/11 happen on the Shrub’s watch, with the election-stealing chimp sitting on his ass and let a major terrorist attack kill nearly three thousand people.  We saw that same dictator brush off warnings that hurricane-wrecked levies, allowed to deteriorate for years, would not hold up under the weight of rising floodwaters, and New Orleans drowned.  The Shrub presided over the largest financial meltdown since the First Great Depression, and the current dictator enable the bailout of the very same corporate criminals who caused it.  Barry Obama, Hopey McChangerton himself, sat by and let the Gulf of Mexico die from BP’s criminal negligence.  Now the Obamassiah is waltzing through the devastation left behind by ever more extreme tornadoes as a result of Global Warming, spouting empty words, as is his pattern, but fully intending to do absolutely nothing to help the survivors.

When it comes to oppressing people, the U.S. government – at the behest of Big Money – has no trouble at all getting intimately involved in the lives of citizens.  But when We the People need a hand up, when we are poor and downtrodden and need the government we pay for with our hard-earned dollars to come through for us, we are left to suffer on our own.  There’s always money for more wars and more police state bullshit, always more money for endless corporate bailouts, but never so much as a single penny for ordinary folk.

And it’s all because we let organized money back into politics.  For a brief moment in our nation’s history, we thought we had broken its influence.  We were wrong.  The corporate bosses who were defeated in the 1930s regrouped, re-organized, and slowly but steadily chipped away at the victories we fought for and won, until today there is almost nothing left – and what remains is likely to disappear within our lifetimes.

I had planned to continue my college classes over the summer.  Now, because of federal and state austerity measures, I have to wait until the Fall.  Being unemployed, this means I am pretty much screwed unless I can find a job before what little money I have runs out.  That is not going to happen without a miracle.  I’ve been unemployed too long, my credit history too disastrous, my lack of reliable transportation the nail in the coffin.  I have no idea what I’m going to do to support myself.  I am one of the millions of Americans left out in the cold because of the rule of organized money.

It does not have to be this way.  More Americans than not support the things progressives and liberals support.  We want single-payer health insurance, a cleaned up environment, clean energy, protection from unsafe labor conditions, protection from unsafe food and drink, protection from outsourcing and mass layoffs, protection from employers when those employers try to prevent us from organizing to defend our rights, and a whole host of other things that are crucial to all real democracies.

We are not going to take back our country through the right-wing Democrat Party.  They are the Washington Generals to the Republicans’ Harlem Globetrotters, and both political organizations are wholly owned subsidiaries of the corporations that now control this nation lock- stock, and a million smoking barrels.  The best and only way we’re going to take back our country is through the twin prongs of massive protests that shut down the centers of power and running candidates from alternative political parties (like the Greens and Progressives) that actually represent us.  Pretending to oppose the Democrats, all the while knowing that one is going to cave in and vote for them anyway, is a betrayal of everything one claims to stand for, and it does not help the rest of us fight back against the monstrous system that has grown so far out of our control.

Cross-posted from Progressive Independence.

Health and Fitness News

Welcome to the Stars Hollow Health and Fitness weekly diary. It will publish on Saturday afternoon and be open for discussion about health related issues including diet, exercise, health and health care issues, as well as, tips on what you can do when there is a medical emergency. Also an opportunity to share and exchange your favorite healthy recipes.

Questions are encouraged and I will answer to the best of my ability. If I can’t, I will try to steer you in the right direction. Naturally, I cannot give individual medical advice for personal health issues. I can give you information about medical conditions and the current treatments available.

You can now find past Health and Fitness News diaries here and on the right hand side of the Front Page.

Mango for Dinner and Dessert


If you are also a fan of mango, this is the best time of year to enjoy them, writes Martha Rose Shulman in this week’s Recipes for Health:

Often called the “king of fruits” elsewhere in the world, the mango is not high in calories, and it is an excellent source of beta carotene, vitamin A and potassium. Now is the time to get acquainted with them: although they’re in season from January to August, mangoes peak in May and June. A ripe mango gives a bit when pressed, and its fragrance should be heady and sweet, particularly at the stem end. But if you can find only hard, green mangoes, bring them home anyway – they will ripen at room temperature in a few days time. Put them in a paper bag with an apple to speed the process along.

To dice a mango, cut down the broad side of the fruit, slightly off center, from the stem end to the tip end. The knife should slide down against the flat side of the pit. Repeat on the other side, cutting as close to the pit as possible. Cut the flesh from the sides of the pit, following the curve of the pit.

Lay each half on your cutting surface and score with the tip of your knife in a crosshatch pattern, down to — but not through — the skin. Lift the mango half, and press on the skin with your thumbs to turn it inside out. Little cubes of mango will pop out on the other side, and you can easily cut them away from the skin.

If you want to peel the mango before cutting, slice off a small piece of the end, stand the mango upright and peel down the sides using a paring knife, between the skin and the flesh, as you would a pineapple.

Strawberries in a Mango Sea

A simple mango puree paired with strawberries makes a refreshing and healthful treat.

Pigeon Peas With Mango

Garam masala adds spiciness to this curry dish.

Shrimp and Mango Tacos

A sweet and pungent combination of mango, shrimp, chilies and cumin.

Mango, Orange and Ginger Smoothie

Ginger combines well with mango in this dish.

Red Coconut Rice Pudding With Mango

This dish is inspired by a classic Thai sweet made with sticky rice.

Beltane and a Remembrance for Ben Masel

Beltane, the old Gaelic name for the month of May, is the last of the three Wiccan spring fertility festivals, the others being Imbolc and Ostara. Beltane is the second principal Celtic festival (the other being Samhain). Celebrated approximately halfway between Vernal (spring) equinox and the midsummer (Summer Solstice). Beltane traditionally marked the arrival if summer in ancient times. It is one of eight solar Sabbats.

Beltane, like Samhain, is a time of “no time” when the veils between the two worlds are at their thinnest. No time is when the two worlds intermingle and unite and the magic abounds! It is the time when the Faeries return from their winter respite, carefree and full of faery mischief and faery delight. On the night before Beltane, in times past, folks would place rowan branches at their windows and doors for protection, many otherworldly occurrences could transpire during this time of “no time”. Traditionally on the Isle of Man, the youngest member of the family gathers primroses on the eve before Beltane and throws the flowers at the door of the home for protection. In Ireland it is believed that food left over from May Eve must not be eaten, but rather buried or left as an offering to the faery instead. Much like the tradition of leaving of whatever is not harvested from the fields on Samhain, food on the time of no time is treated with great care.

When the veils are so thin it is an extremely magical time, it is said that the Queen of the Faeries rides out on her white horse. Roving about on Beltane eve She will try to entice people away to the Faeryland. Legend has it that if you sit beneath a tree on Beltane night, you may see the Faery Queen or hear the sound of Her horse’s bells as She rides through the night. Legend says if you hide your face, She will pass you by but if you look at Her, She may choose you. There is a Scottish ballad of this called Thomas the Rhymer, in which Thomas chooses to go the Faeryland with the Queen and has not been seen since.

Tonight, when the Beltane fires are lit, there will be some sadness in out hearts. A good man, and one of my favorite DFH activists, Ben Masel has passed through that thin veil to the Summerlands.

Ben was from Wisconsin and the perennial candidate for public office, including the US Senate. He was diagnosed earlier this year with lung cancer and was in the hospital when the protests in Madison started. Against all advice, he left the hospital to join the protest. he diaried them at Daily Kos, he tweeted and documented the events on his FaceBook page.

I met him in Pittsburgh and looked forward to seeing him this June. We exchanged e-mails and private tweets about his health and the wisdom of leaving the hospital to join the protests in Wisconsin. It was what he wanted to do in the time he had, while he still could.

I can still feel his hug when we met. He will always be in my heart.

He will be remembered tonight when we light the Beltane fires.

May the Goddess guide him on his journey to the Summerlands. May his family and friends find Peace.

Blessed be. The Wheel Turns.

Punting the Pundits

“Punting the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”

George Zornick: The Tables Turn in Town Halls, and Maybe DC

In the summer of 2009, raucous town halls were a central turning point in the healthcare reform debate, as angry constituents bombarded legislators with furious monologues and protests over the legislation.

Many of the protests were organized by lobbyist-run groups like Americans for Prosperity (AFP), which was busing in people to crash the meetings and providing them with guidelines on how to do so.

Over the past two weeks, town halls are once again a big political story. Ever since Republicans in the House of Representatives passed Representative Paul Ryan’s draconian budget, which cuts taxes on top earners while essentially ending Medicare, there have been widespread reports of angry voters challenging Republicans who voted for it.

This time, to the extent AFP is involved, they are mainly playing defense. The Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) Hari Sevugin  tweets that AFP may be busing some people to Ryan town halls to help him counter the constituents that are critical of him.

Mike Hendricks: Pfc. Bradley Manning’s new ‘home’

State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley lost his job last month for committing one of Washington’s greatest sins – telling the truth.

The military’s treatment of alleged WikiLeaks leaker Army Pfc. Bradley Manning had, up to that point, been “ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid,” Crowley said. Thus the Pentagon took the unusual step Thursday of taking the press on a tour of Manning’s new home, for now.

“We want people to understand what the facts are,” Col. Tom Collins told me as we walked behind a pack of 14 other journalists at the medium-security military prison at Fort Leavenworth.

By “facts,” Collins meant the facts since Manning arrived in Kansas last week to await trial on charges of leaking hundreds of thousands of classified government documents concerning the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as sensitive diplomatic cables and details about Guantanamo detainees.

Collins was not referring to the “facts” to which Crowley was referring when commenting on Manning’s treatment in recent months at the Marine Corps brig in Quantico, Va.

Eileen Appelbaum and Lonnie Golden: Eileen Appelbaum and Lonnie Golden

The most recent national jobs reports show improvements in the labor market, but the employment gains and the falling unemployment rate are still largely the result of a decline in layoffs and firings of workers.

Hiring remains weak as the latest government report on job openings and labor turnover shows. In a job market still facing challenges, reducing the number of workers who are laid off or fired is essential to building a healthier labor market, strengthening the recovery and spreading its benefits. Mandating paid sick days is one policy that will help employers keep workers in jobs.

Job retention is as important as job creation in getting the economy back on track. That’s why it’s critical to have a better understanding of the policies that will help employers keep workers in jobs, including paid sick days policies.

David Sirota: Why the Fat Guy Should Lose His Privilege

“Obesity is a national health crisis. … If current trends continue, it will soon surpass smoking in the U.S. as the biggest single factor in early death, reduced quality of life and added health care costs. … Obesity is responsible for more than 160,000 excess deaths a year. … The average obese person costs society more than $7,000 a year in lost productivity and added medical treatment.”-Scientific American, January 2011

Considering those troubling statistics, Advertising Age’s headline this week is welcome news: “Weight Watchers Picks a New Target: Men.” The story details how the nation’s biggest diet company is using the NBA playoffs to launch its first male-focused advertising campaign. Sounds great-except for one thing: Why only now?

This is a significant question in a country whose debilitating weight problem is more male than female-and “more” means a heckuva lot more. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, almost 70 percent of men are overweight, as compared with 52 percent of women. Yet, somehow, 90 percent of the commercial-weight-loss industry’s clients are female and, somehow, this industry hasn’t seen males as a viable business. How can that be?

Eugene Robinson: ‘Oh Yeah, Prove It’

Let’s see: The Arab world is in tumult, with worrying signs that a Libya-style descent into civil war may be happening in Syria, where the stakes are unimaginably higher. Nearby, the warring Palestinian factions, Hamas and Fatah, may be forming a united front. Closer to home, new leaders are being tapped for the Pentagon and the CIA. The government is fast approaching its legal debt ceiling. Painfully high gasoline prices have put the nation in a sour mood. Tornadoes are wreaking death and destruction across the South.

So the leader of the free world summons the media for an important announcement-but not about war, peace or the economy. It’s about his birth certificate.

Gail Collins: Introducing the Things of Spring

Springtime Progress Report: Early this year, we learned that Utah was considering a bill to name a Browning pistol its official state firearm. Meanwhile in Washington, Senator Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey was pushing for a bill that would make it more difficult to sell guns to people on the terror watch list. I am excited to report that one of these pieces of legislation finally has been passed into law.

Yes! Utah now has an official state gun. It beat out Arizona, which this week bestowed its honor on the Colt Single-Action Army pistol.

Lautenberg’s bill, meanwhile, has gone nowhere whatsoever. It would require that gun purchases by people on the terror watch list be vetted by the attorney general’s office to make sure that arming the individual in question would not pose a danger to homeland security. Opponents point out that the terror watch list is not always reliable, and the bill might therefore force innocent Americans to go through an entire additional step while purchasing armaments and explosives.

Charles M. Blow: Silliness and Sleight of Hand

On Wednesday, he released his long-form birth certificate, but not without chiding the media and his detractors for their “silliness” in forcing the issue.

No sooner had he released it than Donald Quixote was off to his next windmill: the president’s college grades.

Donald Trump is still playing to suspicions of President Obama. And it’s no longer theoretical. It’s theological. For them, truth is no longer dependent on proof because it’s rooted in faith: faith that American exceptionalism was never truly meant to cover hyphenated Americans; faith in 400 years of cemented assumptions about the character and capacity of the American Negro; and faith that if the president doesn’t hew to those assumptions then he must be alien by both birth and faith.

This just in: President Obama has proved, yet again, that he is a natural-born citizen of the United States. Which we already knew-“we” meaning those of us who believe there is such a thing as objective reality.

Greg Mitchell: At 8th Anniversary of Bush’s Landing on the Deck: ‘Mission’ Still Not ‘Accomplished’

Sunday marks the 8th anniversary of Mission Accomplished Day, or as it might better be known, Mission Accomplished (NOT) Day. Coming on a weekend, there will be even fewer mentions of this in the national media than last year, and Keith Olbermann will not be on the air to update the usual close to his telecast when he marks exactly how many days since Bush declared victory (you do the math).

In my favorite antiwar song of this war, “Shock and Awe,” Neil Young moaned: “Back in the days of Mission Accomplished/ our chief was landing on the deck/ The sun was setting/ behind a golden photo op.” But as Neil added elsewhere: “History is a cruel judge of overconfidence.”

Nowhere can we see this more clearly than in the media coverage of the event. Even today, nearly eight years later, the often “overconfident” reporting from Baghdad and Kabul sometimes takes your breath away.   At least two U.S. soldiers have been killed in Iraq this week so far, and over 45,000 or our troops remain there today. (For a full accounting of costs of all sorts, go here [1].) .  So let’s return to the days of Mission Accomplished….


On This Day In History April 30

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

Click on images to enlarge

April 30 is the 120th day of the year (121st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 245 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1900, Jones dies in a train wreck in Vaughn, Mississippi, while trying to make up time on the Cannonball Express.

John Luther (“Casey”) Jones (March 14, 1863 – April 30, 1900) was an American railroad engineer from Jackson, Tennessee, who worked for the Illinois Central Railroad (IC). On April 30, 1900, he alone was killed when his passenger train, the “Cannonball Express,” collided with a stalled freight train at Vaughan, Mississippi, on a foggy and rainy night.

His dramatic death, trying to stop his train and save lives, made him a hero; he was immortalized in a popular ballad sung by his friend Wallace Saunders, an African American engine wiper for the IC.


On April 29, 1900 Jones was at Poplar Street Station in Memphis, Tennessee, having driven the No. 2 from Canton (with his assigned Engine No. 382 ). Normally, Jones would have stayed in Memphis on a layover; however, he was asked to take the No. 1 back to Canton, as the scheduled engineer (Sam Tate), who held the regular run of Trains No. 1 (known as “The Chicago & New Orleans Limited”, later to become the famous “Panama Limited”) and No. 4 (“The New Orleans Fast Mail”) with his assigned Engine No. 382, had called in sick with cramps. Jones loved challenges and was determined to “get her there on the advertised” time no matter how difficult it looked.

A fast engine, a good fireman (Simeon T. Webb would be the train’s assigned fireman), and a light train were ideal for a record-setting run. Although it was raining, steam trains of that era operated best in damp conditions. However, the weather was quite foggy that night (which reduced visibility), and the run was well-known for its tricky curves. Both conditions would prove deadly later that night.

Normally the No. 1 would depart Memphis at 11:15 PM and arrive in Canton (188 miles to the south) at 4:05 AM the following morning. However, due to the delays with the change in engineers, the No. 1 (with six cars) did not leave Memphis until 12:50 am, 95 minutes behind schedule.

The first section of the run would take Jones from Memphis 100 miles south to Grenada, Mississippi, with an intermediate water stop at Sardis, Mississippi (50 miles into the run), over a new section of light and shaky rails at speeds up to 80 mph (129 km/h). At Senatobia, Mississippi (40 miles into the run) Jones passed through the scene of a prior fatal accident from the previous November. Jones made his water stop at Sardis, then arrived at Grenada for more water, having made up 55 minutes of the 95 minute delay.

Jones made up another 15 minutes in the 25-mile stretch from Grenada to Winona, Mississippi. The following 30-mile stretch (Winona to Durant, Mississippi) had no speed-restricted curves. By the time he got to Durant (155 miles into the run) Jones was almost on time. He was quite happy, saying at one point “Sim, the old girl’s got her dancing slippers on tonight!” as he leaned on the Johnson bar.

At Durant he received new orders to take to the siding at Goodman, Mississippi (eight miles south of Durant, and 163 miles into the run) and wait for the No. 2 passenger train to pass, and then continue on to Vaughan. His orders also instructed him that he was to meet passenger train No. 26 at Vaughan (15 miles south of Goodman, and 178 miles into the run); however, No. 26 was a local passenger train in two sections and would be in the siding, so he would have priority over it. Jones pulled out of Goodman, only five minutes behind schedule, and with 25 miles of fast track ahead Jones doubtless felt that he had a good chance to make it to Canton by 4:05 AM “on the advertised”.

But the stage was being set for a tragic wreck at Vaughan. The stopped double-header freight train No. 83 (located to the north and headed south) and the stopped long freight train No. 72 (located to the south and headed north) were both in the passing track to the east of the main line but there were more cars than the track could hold, forcing some of them to overlap onto the main line above the north end of the switch. The northbound local passenger train No. 26 had arrived from Canton earlier which had required a “saw by” in order for it to get to the “house track” west of the main line. The saw by maneuver for No. 26 required that No. 83 back up and allow No. 72 to move northward and pull its overlapping cars off the south end, allowing No. 26 to gain access to the house track. But this left four cars overlapping above the north end of the switch and on the main line right in Jones’ path. As a second saw by was being prepared to let Jones pass, an air hose broke on No. 72, locking its brakes and leaving the last four cars of No. 83 on the main line.

Meanwhile, Jones was almost back on schedule, running at about 75 miles per hour toward Vaughan, unaware of the danger ahead, since he was traveling through a 1.5-mile left-hand curve which blocked his view. Webb’s view from the left side of the train was better, and he was first to see the red lights of the caboose on the main line. “Oh my Lord, there’s something on the main line!” he yelled to Jones. Jones quickly yelled back “Jump Sim, jump!” to Webb, who crouched down and jumped about 300 feet before impact and was knocked unconscious. The last thing Webb heard when he jumped was the long, piercing scream of the whistle as Jones tried to warn anyone still in the freight train looming ahead. He was only two minutes behind schedule about this time.

Jones reversed the throttle and slammed the airbrakes into emergency stop, but “Ole 382” quickly plowed through a wooden caboose, a car load of hay, another of corn and half way through a car of timber before leaving the track. He had amazingly reduced his speed from about 75 miles per hour to about 35 miles per hour when he impacted with a deafening crunch of steel against steel and splintering wood. Because Jones stayed on board to slow the train, he no doubt saved the passengers from serious injury and death (Jones himself was the only fatality of the collision). His watch was found to be stopped at the time of impact which was 3:52 AM on April 30, 1900. Popular legend holds that when his body was pulled from the wreckage of his train near the twisted rail his hands still clutched the whistle cord and the brake. A stretcher was brought from the baggage car on No. 1 and crewmen of the other trains carried his body to the depot ½-mile away.

Six In The Morning

Obama appalled by tornado damage in Alabama

By Stephanie McCrummen, Perry Bacon Jr. and Michael E. Ruane, Updated: Saturday, April 30

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – President Obama joined thousands of storm victims across the tornado-ravaged South on Friday in making his way past splintered

houses along devastated streets, and he promised federal aid to help communities rebuild.

In the first major test of his administration in responding to a natural disaster, the president and his wife, Michelle, toured a ruined section of this city, where 39 people were killed and hundreds remained unaccounted for. They spoke with residents trying to salvage belongings in the aftermath of the week’s twisters.

“I’ve never seen devastation like this,” the president said. “We’re going to make sure you’re not forgotten.”

CIA: An Arm of the Military?

A More Militarized CIA for a More Militarized America

The first four Directors of the CIA (from 1947-1953) were military officers, but since then, there has been a tradition (generally though imperfectly observed) of keeping the agency under civilian rather than military leadership. That’s why George Bush’s 2006 nomination of Gen. Michael Hayden to the CIA provoked so many objections from Democrats (and even some Republicans).

The Hayden nomination triggered this comment from the current Democratic Chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Dianne Feinstein: “You can’t have the military control most of the major aspects of intelligence. The CIA is a civilian agency and is meant to be a civilian agency.” The then-top Democratic member of the House Intelligence Committee, Jane Harman, said “she hears concerns from civilian CIA professionals about whether the Defense Department is taking over intelligence operations” and “shares those concerns.” On Meet the Press, Nancy Pelosi cited tensions between the DoD and the CIA and said: “I don’t see how you have a four-star general heading up the CIA.” Then-Sen. Joe Biden worried that the CIA, with a General in charge, will “just be gobbled up by the Defense Department.” Even the current GOP Chair of the House Intelligence Committee, Pete Hoekstra, voiced the same concern about Hayden: “We should not have a military person leading a civilian agency at this time.”

Of course, like so many Democratic objections to Bush policies, that was then and this is now. Yesterday, President Obama announced — to very little controversy — that he was nominating Gen. David Petraeus to become the next CIA Director. The Petraeus nomination raises all the same concerns as the Hayden nomination did, but even more so: Hayden, after all, had spent his career in military intelligence and Washington bureaucratic circles and thus was a more natural fit for the agency; by contrast, Petraues is a pure military officer and, most of all, a war fighting commander with little background in intelligence. But in the world of the Obama administration, Petraeus’ militarized, warrior orientation is considered an asset for running the CIA, not a liability.

That’s because the CIA, under Obama, is more militarized than ever, as devoted to operationally fighting wars as anything else, including analyzing and gathering intelligence….

DocuDharma Digest

Regular Features-

Weekly Features-

Featured Essays for April 29, 2011-


Popular Culture 20110429: Propaganda

Self-deception is not a new cultural phenomenon, but it has always been popular.  Self-deception takes many forms.  Some kinds are harmless, such as the almost universal one of thinking that one is more attractive than one actually is.  Others can be devastating, such as thinking that one is, for example, thinking that one is obese when actually he or she is seriously underweight.  Interestingly, both of these conditions have to do with self image.  As a matter of fact, many kinds of self-deception have to do with self image.

There are other kinds as well.  In many of those cases it is not just an individual having deceptive thoughts herself or himself, but rather is encouraged to cleave to ideas that the individual probably deep down believes not to be true.  This is the basis of the idea of propaganda, when ideas are planted by outside sources.  There is one big movement that is current and we shall talk about it at some length.  

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