Philocrites : Scrapbook : July 2004 Archive

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Harvard to return $2.5m given by Arab president

Quoted 07.28.04:

Harvard Divinity SchoolHarvard Divinity School will give back a $2.5 million cash gift from the president of the United Arab Emirates, ending more than a year of controversy spurred by the country's support of an Arab League think tank that promoted anti-Semitic ideas.

Ralph Ranalli, Boston Globe 7.28.04

Friday, July 23, 2004

Continental: Complaints led to drop-'Doonesbury' poll

Quoted 07.23.04:

doonesbury.jpgContinental Features President Van Wilkerson told E&P . . . he conducted the survey because Garry Trudeau's comic "created more controversy than other strips." . . .

Of the 38 papers that run the Continental-produced Sunday comics section, 21 wanted to drop "Doonesbury," 15 wanted to keep it, and two had no opinion or preference. . . .

The Continental head said he doesn't know exactly when "Doonesbury" will leave the package; he's currently polling clients to see if they want to replace it with "Agnes," "Get Fuzzy," "Pickles," "Zits," or another comic.

Dave Astor, Editor & Publisher 7.21.04

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Street peddlers

Quoted 07.22.04:

New Yorker - Tom BachtellThe pedicab is, no getting around it, a rickshaw with pedals. (In fact, the second-leading pedicab company is called Manhattan Rickshaw.) It offers, in a pointedly symbolic, Bertolt Brecht-meets-Barbara Ehrenreich package, both the eternal facts of capitalism—the capitalist proceeds from home to office by dint of someone else’s sweat—and the essential ironies of the post-industrial era: the more emancipated we seem to become from physical labor, the more physical labor is left for someone else to do. What Robert Reich has talked about for years, and John Edwards has talked about for the past several months—that the gap has widened between the wealthy few and everybody else—is, in the bicycle taxi, suddenly given a local habitation and a loud bell. The feeling is not even so much capitalist as feudal. You are the lord of the manor, being pulled through the streets on a sedan chair; he is Piers Plowman, in spandex shorts.

Adam Gopnik, New Yorker 7.26.04

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Land of the Free

Quoted 07.20.04:

"This is the place," Mormon leader Brigham Young said when he first beheld the Salt Lake Valley stretching out before him in 1847. But I am looking around Grafton, [New Hampshire,] at the open general store ("worms and crawlers available"), the closed general store, the closed museum, and the one open filling station, and I am thinking: This is not the place.

This is tiny, rural Grafton, where a band of oddball Libertarians want to found a no-tax, no-zoning — heck, no-rules-at-all — colony smack in the heart of Live Free or Die Country. The Free Town Project's stated intention is to move "in enough Libertarians to control the local Government and remove oppressive Regulations . . . and stop enforcement of Laws prohibiting Victimless Acts among Consenting Adults, such as Dueling, Gambling, Incest, Cannibalism, and Drug Handling."

Alex Beam, Boston Globe 7.20.04

Being governor wasn't on Romney's list

Quoted 07.20.04:

Turnaround - Mitt RomneyAlthough it weighs in at nearly 400 pages, [Gov. Mitt Romney's new memoir] "Turnaround" devotes little ink to the Bay State, a point driven home by the index, in which the pop group Barenaked Ladies has more entries than Massachusetts.

Raphael Lewis, Boston Globe 7.20.04

The easy stereotypes don't fit John Kerry

Quoted 07.20.04:

More than once in the next two weeks, people will talk about his family, money, and schooling pedigrees; they should save their breath. The truth is he wasn't all that preppie in the view of most real preppies; he was a combat leader in Vietnam who turned against the war when people with his pedigrees didn't typically fight in wars. He was mostly a moderating influence in the radicalizing antiwar movement he gave new life to in 1971, but I remember vividly him telling me during the veterans demonstration here that he assumed his activism would preclude a political career. . . .

Because so much attention goes to his pedigrees and to Vietnam, most Americans would be surprised to be reminded that 27 years passed between his defeat and his true arrival on the national political scene four years ago when Al Gore came close to picking him for the Democratic ticket. For all his supposed advantages, Kerry came up the hard, slow way.

Thomas Oliphant, Boston Globe 7.20.04

Friday, July 16, 2004

Kerry keeps his faith in reserve

Quoted 07.16.04:

John KerryAides describe [John] Kerry as a religious man — a former altar boy who was reared by a devoutly Catholic mother and is married to a similarly devout Catholic woman, Teresa Heinz Kerry. The two often attend Sunday Mass and receive Communion.

On the road, Kerry carries a rosary, a prayer book and a medal with the image of St. Christopher, patron saint of travelers, which he wore during the Vietnam War, according to a longtime associate who demanded anonymity to discuss an issue the candidate did not want to discuss. Kerry prays, sometimes with friends, including in 1999 when he helped former Vietnam crewmate Del Sandusky through hard times, the associate said.

Kerry "openly shares his values and his beliefs with Americans, but he does so always remembering that religion is personal, not a political prop," Kerry spokesman David Wade said.

Jim VandeHei, Washington Post 7.16.04, reg req'd

Thursday, July 15, 2004

No cygnet and watchers ask, Wherefore art thou Romeo?

Quoted 07.15.04:

Juliet the Swan, Boston Herald photo by Mark GarfinkelThe wait is over. There will be no baby swans this year in the Public Garden. Romeo and Juliet, the feathered pair who for six weeks feverishly guarded a nestful of eggs near the lagoon, have abandoned their nest. And one specialist now believes that both may be females; perhaps Romeo and Juliet are, in fact, Juliet and Juliet.

Donovan Slack, Boston Globe 7.15.04; see also "Public Garden prepares to make way for cygnets" (Boston Herald 6.30.04) and "A swan song for Romeo, Juliet" (Boston Globe 7.12.04)

Judge clears Unitarian ministers over same-sex unions

Quoted 07.15.04:

While the rulings do not make same-sex marriages legal in New York, advocates for the cause say the decision will greatly strengthen their position.

"This decision shows what happens when courts in New York start examining the constitutional arguments for discriminating against same-sex couples," said Susan Sommer, supervising lawyer for the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, a group that has filed suit to allow same-sex couples in New York City to wed. "This court got it dead right, and it will strengthen our case."

Thomas Crampton, New York Times 7.14.04, reg req'd

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

In Iraq, silencing memory

Quoted 07.14.04:

Kanan Makiya - PBSAs a member of the State Department's Democratic Principles Working Group and the principal author of a draft Iraqi constitution emphasizing secularism and minority rights, [Kanan] Makiya was the war's great liberal hope. He even earned a spot by President Bush's side in the Oval Office in April 2003, where the two watched on television as Saddam Hussein's statue came crashing down in Firdos Square. Soon after, Makiya, whose Iraq Research and Documentation project at Harvard has been collecting evidence of atrocities in Iraq since 1992, headed to Baghdad to rescue and catalogue what he calls Iraq's "sacred texts" — the government records that provide a documentary history of mass murder. . . .

Alas, for reasons about which no two members of the Bush team seem able to agree, the very officials who only last year were touting Makiya's work as an essential foundation of Iraqi democracy have reduced his status to that of an unwanted stepchild, leaving him penniless and adrift in this blood-soaked landscape.

Lawrence F. Kaplan, Washington Post 7.11.04, reg req'd; via Matthew Yglesias

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

NAACP won't weigh gay marriage

Quoted 07.13.04:

[NAACP chairman Julian] Bond is in the front rank of African American leaders who affirm gay marriage as a civil right and defy what he calls "the biblical literalists" who find homosexuality sinful. Standing with him are civil-rights icons Coretta Scott King and U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D., Ga.), the Rev. Al Sharpton and former U.S. Sen. Carol Moseley Braun, former surgeon general Joycelyn Elders, actress Whoopi Goldberg, and the Rev. William Sinkford, head of the Unitarian Universalist Association.

Jim Remsen, Philadelphia Inquirer 7.11.04

Recovering a hijacked faith

Quoted 07.13.04:

Jim WallisMany people around the world now think Christian faith stands for political commitments that are almost the opposite of its true meaning. How did the faith of Jesus come to be known as pro-rich, pro-war, and pro-American? What has happened? How do we get back to a historic, biblical, and genuinely evangelical faith rescued from its contemporary distortions? . . .

The loss of religion's prophetic vocation is dangerous for any society. Who will uphold the dignity of economic and political outcasts? Who will question the self-righteousness of nations and their leaders? Who will question the recourse to violence and rush to wars, long before any last resort has been unequivocally proven? Who will not allow God's name to be used to simply justify ourselves, instead of calling us to accountability?

Jim Wallis, Boston Globe 7.13.04

Monday, July 12, 2004

GOP's 'Christian nation'

Quoted 07.12.04:

Secularist bigotry does exist. It can be found in policies that forbid any mention of faith in student graduation speeches in public schools, in campaigns to get Christmas decorations off public property, or in the recent successful push by the American Civil Liberties Union to remove a tiny cross from the Los Angeles County seal. But it is hardly bigoted to see the [Texas Republican Party's] "Christian nation" plank as an affirmation of Christian supremacy, relegating non-Christians (if only in a "symbolic" way) to second-class status. . . .

Numerically, the United States is a predominantly Christian nation. That's a factual statement — just like the statement that historically, Christianity has been a major force in our public life. But to call the United States a "Christian nation" is an assertion of ideology, not fact — particularly coming from the same corner as efforts to legislate religious beliefs about homosexuality or abortion.

Cathy Young, Boston Globe 7.12.04

A people's poet

Quoted 07.12.04:

Neruda was a literary champion of stuff. Nothing was off limits. He wrote odes to his socks, to a lemon, to a girl gardening, to ironing, to bees and bicycles, to a stamp album.

Editorial, Boston Globe 7.12.04

Sunday, July 11, 2004

Churches go commercial to spread their message: TV campaigns bring denominations to homes

Quoted 07.11.04:

Under the tutelage of professional marketers such as the UCC's [Ron] Buford, churches are turning to paid advertising to deliver more overtly self-interested messages: to give a denomination a distinct brand, to drive up attendance and contributions, and to raise the pride of current members. Attracting new members may appear to be the main goal. Often it is not.

"The main thing ads do is make your own members feel good — and that ain't a bad thing," said the Rev. Eric C. Shafer, director of communications for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, which began a $7 million campaign in 1999.

Said David Strand, director of public affairs for the more conservative Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod: "It's like Buick ads trying to make sure Buick owners stay loyal to the brand. That sounds kind of crass, but that's how it works."

Alan Cooperman, Washington Post 7.11.04, reg req'd; via Just a Bump in the Beltway

This brand is your brand

Quoted 07.11.04:

The Culting of BrandsMany Americans are dissatisfied with traditional social and religious institutions, [Douglas] Atkin argues, so commercial brands from Apple to Harley-Davidson to Mary Kay are now "serious contenders for belief and community" -- and ought to act the part.

Joshua Glenn, Boston Globe 7.11.04

Thursday, July 8, 2004

Fleecing the flock

Quoted 07.08.04:

It may be that President Bush and his re-election campaign have finally found the limits of evangelical good will.

The Rev. Jim Evans, Ethics Daily 7.7.04; via Beliefnet

Can a former Electra electrify the electorate?

Quoted 07.08.04:

Does John Kerry rock? Signs point to no. But he did at least try to rock 43 years ago; witness the timely resurrection of the Electras, JFK's "high school garage band," which has just reissued its first and only album on CD. . . .

Here is verbiage from the original liner notes of the Electras' 1961 record, a 500-copy vanity pressing they sold at private-school dances: "At Saint Paul's they are a regular and popular feature in the intermissions of the Term dances; and in the Fall of 1961 they were invited to play at the Senior Class Dance of the Chapin School in New York, where they were extremely well received." And here is the relevant capsule biography of our fave band member: "John Kerry, electric bass, is a resident of Oslo, Norway, and the producer of a pulsating rhythm that lends tremendous force to all the members."

Alex Beam, Boston Globe 7.8.04

Tuesday, July 6, 2004

Army stage-managed fall of Hussein statue

Quoted 07.06.04:

As the Iraqi regime was collapsing on April 9, 2003, Marines converged on Firdos Square in central Baghdad, site of an enormous statue of Saddam Hussein. It was a Marine colonel — not joyous Iraqi civilians, as was widely assumed from the TV images — who decided to topple the statue, the Army report said. And it was a quick-thinking Army psychological operations team that made it appear to be a spontaneous Iraqi undertaking.

After the colonel — who was not named in the report — selected the statue as a "target of opportunity," the psychological team used loudspeakers to encourage Iraqi civilians to assist, according to an account by a unit member.

But Marines had draped an American flag over the statue's face.

"God bless them, but we were thinking … that this was just bad news," the member of the psychological unit said. "We didn't want to look like an occupation force, and some of the Iraqis were saying, 'No, we want an Iraqi flag!' "

Someone produced an Iraqi flag, and a sergeant in the psychological operations unit quickly replaced the American flag.

Ultimately, a Marine recovery vehicle toppled the statue with a chain, but the effort appeared to be Iraqi-inspired because the psychological team had managed to pack the vehicle with cheering Iraqi children.

David Zucchino, Los Angeles Times 7.3.04, reg req'd; via Tapped

Kerry embraces former rival, citing 'courage and conviction'

Quoted 07.06.04:

John Edwards / Getty Images

Senator John Kerry today chose Senator John Edwards to be his running-mate, turning to the North Carolina Democrat whose strong campaign skills and engaging personality made him the top choice of many Democratic leaders, Mr. Kerry's aides said this morning.

Adam Nagourney, New York Times 7.6.04, reg req'd

UU focus and folk music linked?

Quoted 07.06.04:

Explore the history of folk music and you'll find performers aplenty who melded protest, justice and social consciousness into their songs.

Investigate the history of the Unitarian-Universalist Church and you'll find congregations tuned to the same mode of thinking.

Colin Hickey, Central Maine Morning Sentinel 7.6.04

Thursday, July 1, 2004

3 Utahns off Moon hook: Disciple of leader admits trio didn't help host event

Quoted 07.01.04:

A top disciple of the Rev. Sun Myung Moon conceded Wednesday that the group did not have clear permission to list three prominent Utahns as helping host a dinner where Moon proclaimed himself the Messiah.

Lee Davidson, Deseret Morning News 7.1.04

Moon over Washington

Quoted 07.01.04:

Why are some of the capital’s most influential power players hanging out with a bizarre Korean billionaire who claims to be the Messiah?

John Gorenfeld, The Gadflyer 6.9.04

Group: Bush allies illegally helping Nader in Oregon

Quoted 07.01.04:

Ralph Nader / APEfforts by two conservative groups to help President Bush by getting independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader on the ballot in the key battleground state of Oregon prompted a complaint to the Federal Election Commission Wednesday by a liberal watchdog group.

CNN 6.30.04

Mental toll on troops detailed

Quoted 07.01.04:

Nearly one in five US combat troops returning from war-torn Iraq suffered from post-traumatic stress, major depression, or other serious mental afflictions, according to new data detailing the psychological costs of the bloodiest war in a generation.

Raja Mishra, Boston Globe 7.1.04

Major Bush fund-raiser donates to Nader campaign

Quoted 07.01.04:

Billionaire Richard J. Egan built his reputation in politics as a major donor and fund-raiser for the Bush campaign, steering hundreds of thousands of dollars into Republican coffers in recent years. But now it appears Egan and his relatives are bankrolling a new candidate: independent presidential contender Ralph Nader.

Anne E. Kornblut, Boston Globe 7.1.04