Philocrites : Scrapbook : April 2006 Archive

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Save Darfur rally draws unusually diverse coalition

Quoted 04.30.06:

Most demonstrations usually attract a uniform crowd, who often share the same political, religious and ethnic makeup, as was the case when Latinos dominated the massive immigration protests last month.

But today's rally brought together people from dozens of different backgrounds and affiliations, many of whom strongly disagree politically and ideologically on many issues. . . .

[The Save Darfur Coalition] has grown into a broad-based alliance of more than 160 faith-based groups that include religious and secular Jews, evangelical Christians, Catholics, Muslims, human rights organizations, Arab groups, black churches and Buddhists.

Sudarsan Raghavan, Washington Post 4.30.06, reg req'd

New England colleges increasingly out of reach for most families

Quoted 04.30.06:

The average debt for a fourth-year student at a private college in New England grew 49 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars [in the last decade], to $23,491.

The average debt for a fourth-year student at a public four-year college grew 39 percent, to $15,399.

The share of a family's annual income that went toward paying for private college in New England — after financial aid grants were factored in — grew from a quarter to a third.

The share of income needed for a public four-year college grew from 18 percent to 21 percent. For community colleges, the share grew only a hair, from 16 to 17 percent. . . .

The cost of private schools is particularly important in Massachusetts because far more students from Massachusetts attend private colleges and universities — 43 percent in the Bay State compared with 26 percent nationally, MassINC officials said.

Marcella Bombardieri, Boston Globe 4.30.06, reg req'd

Friday, April 28, 2006

Rape pervasive for women trying to enter U.S.

Quoted 04.28.06:

Some [women smuggled into the U.S. from Mexico] consider rape "the price you pay for crossing the border," said Teresa Rodriguez, regional director of the UN Development Fund for Women.

If caught by the US Border Patrol, women are often deported to Mexico's violent border towns in the middle of the night, despite a 1996 agreement between the two countries that promised women and children would only be returned in daylight hours, according to directors of migrant shelters along the 2,000-mile border. . . .

"The normal rule, according to women who migrate, is that before leaving their countries they have to take the pill for at least one to three months to ensure that they will not get pregnant after a rape," said Aguilar, of the group Carecen Internacional.

Julie Watson [AP], Boston Globe 4.28.06, reg req'd;

18 families worth $185.5B are behind estate-tax repeal movement

Quoted 04.28.06:

The multimillion-dollar lobbying effort to repeal the federal estate tax has been aggressively led by 18 super-wealthy families, according to a report released today by Public Citizen and United for a Fair Economy at a press conference in Washington, D.C. . . .

It reveals how 18 families worth a total of $185.5 billion have financed and coordinated a 10-year effort to repeal the estate tax, a move that would collectively net them a windfall of $71.6 billion. . . .

The stakes of the campaign are great, not only for the super-wealthy families, but for the public. If the familiesí repeal bid succeeds, it will cost the U.S. Treasury a trillion dollars in the first decade — roughly what it would cost to provide health insurance for every uninsured person in the United States.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Mass attendance in Boston Archdiocese down to 17 percent

Quoted 04.27.06:

Fewer than one in five Catholics who live in the Boston Archdiocese regularly attend Mass at a parish, according to church statistics. The archdiocese estimated its Catholic population at about 1.85 million in 2005, but Mass attendance was just 319,559 (17.3 percent), according to numbers from the archdiocese.

While attendance has dipped from around 20 percent prior to the clergy sex abuse crisis, which centered in the Boston Archdiocese, experts see the numbers as part of a wider trend — a de-emphasis on Mass as a critical part of Catholic living.

Jay Lindsay [AP], 4.27.06

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Mitt Romney's clumsy Mormon shtick

Quoted 04.26.06:

Romney isn't always so nimble. For one thing, he really, really likes joking about polygamy — the ultimate Mormon oddity, and one in which Romney's family was directly involved. . . . "I believe marriage should be between a man and a woman . . . and a woman . . . and a woman," Romney quipped at the 2005 St. Patrick's Day breakfast in Boston. He made the same joke on Don Imus' 2006 St. Patrick's Day show. Thanks to Romney's perfect delivery and the self-deprecating subtext — the tension between Romney's defense of "traditional" marriage and his own ancestors' history — it's a pretty funny line. But if you're trying to convince evangelicals that you share their values, why make your job more difficult? For that matter, why annoy your fellow faithful, who could be a big help in your presidential campaign but tend to bristle at plural-marriage humor?

Adam Reilly, Slate 4.26.06; see also Romney's gaffes (Adam Reilly, Boston Phoenix 4.21.06)

Blacks, Jews mobilize to stop genocide in Darfur

Quoted 04.26.06:

For blacks determined to speak up more forcefully than they did during the Rwandan genocide, and for Jews, who commemorated the Nazi Holocaust on their Yom Hashoah holiday yesterday, the movement to save Darfur has become a means of keeping their most fervent promise: never again.

"When we say 'never again,' we mean it," said Nancy Kaufman, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston. "But as Jews, as Americans, we did not do enough about the Rwandan genocide. Here we have a genocide unfolding before our eyes, and we do not want to feel that way about this. Something could be done in this situation and not enough is being done."

The Save Darfur Coalition was created in July 2004 at the initiative of the American Jewish World Service and the Committee of Conscience of the US Holocaust Museum — a panel set up on the premise that the museum should serve as a watchdog against future genocides. But it took extensive local organizing, much of it originating in the Boston area, to create the national grass-roots campaign.

Charles A. Radin, Boston Globe 4.26.06, reg req'd; Save Darfur Coalition; NPR's On Point discussion about Darfur with Samantha Power (4.18.06); Looming chaos in Chad (Eric Reeves, op-ed, Boston Globe 4.26.06)

7 Gitmo detainees claim renditions to countries that use torture

Quoted 04.26.06:

Stop Torture - Unitarian Universalist Service CommitteeAt least seven US prisoners at Guantanamo Bay say they were transferred to countries known for torture prior to their arrival at the base, according to recently released transcripts from military commission hearings and other court documents.

At least three of them allege that they were tortured during interrogations in Jordan, Morocco, and Egypt. . . .

Evidence obtained through torture is not admissible in US courts. But the military tribunal at Guantanamo Bay had no such prohibition until last month, when the rule was added just before a key Supreme Court decision on the issue. Even now, defense lawyers and human rights groups say the rules of evidence are so loose — allowing secret evidence and anonymous witnesses — that it is impossible to screen out evidence obtained illegally.

Farah Stockman, Boston Globe 4.26.06, reg req'd

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Ohio clergy complain about Blackwell-aligned megachurches

Quoted 04.25.06:

In a challenge to the ethics of conservative Ohio religious leaders and the fairness of the Internal Revenue Service, a group of 56 clergy members contends that two churches have gone too far in supporting a Republican candidate for governor.

Peter Slevin, Washington Post 4.25.06, reg req'd

Why colonial slaves sided with Britain in the revolution

Quoted 04.25.06:

'Rough Crossings' by Simon SchamaWhile the Patriots' rhetoric railed against the sins of George III, many American blacks decided that the English King, as [Simon] Schama put it, was their "enemy's enemy, and thus their friend, emancipator, and guardian." For blacks, our "vaunted war for liberty was . . . a war for the perpetuation of servitude," Schama said.

One can say that the offer of freedom was a cynical move to undercut the American cause, and that slavery still existed elsewhere in the British Empire. But when the British lost the war, and the Americans demanded their slaves back, the British lived up to their obligations and evacuated the black men, women, and children who had rallied to their side — along with white loyalists — to resettle them in Canada. One black man even changed his name to "British Freedom."

H.D.S. Greenway [op-ed], Boston Globe 4.25.06, reg req'd; buy Rough Crossings: Britain, the Slaves and the American Revolution by Simon Schama from

Monday, April 24, 2006

Immigration divides Catholics and GOP

Quoted 04.24.06:

While Catholic bishops and many Republican politicians share opposition to abortion, they are often split over the specifics of immigration changes. Church leaders are challenging, and in some cases even vowing to defy, the tougher enforcement proposals by Republican lawmakers.

Rachel Zoll [AP], Boston Globe 4.24.06, reg req'd

Cambridge parish hosts memorial Mass for Rwandan genocide

Quoted 04.24.06:

Last year in Cambridge, Rwandans who had settled in the Boston area held their own memorial service. This year, they were joined by a growing number of Bostonians who want to be part of the country's healing.

Christine McConville, Boston Globe 4.24.06, reg req'd

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Polygamy's hierarchy problem

Quoted 04.22.06:

It's hard to sustain a polygamous household. It's not for everybody. Most of us are too jealous. But some people aren't, [HBO's "Big Love"] suggests. And for them, maybe we should tolerate or legalize plural marriage.

So, let's look at how this on-air experiment is going. Talented writers and actors are trying to make plausible the idea that American women raised in an age of sexual egalitarianism are bighearted enough to share a husband. Is it working?


William Saletan, Slate 4.21.06

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Archdiocese of Boston discloses finances; revenues $46m short

Quoted 04.20.06:

The archdiocese owns 1,500 buildings in Eastern Massachusetts, with an estimated replacement value of $2.8 billion; it employs 3,000 people and oversees hundreds of parishes, schools, cemeteries, hospitals, and social service organizations.

The archdiocese and its parishes have $330 million in assets, but officials said financial restrictions and debt total $376 million, resulting in a $46 million gap. Despite having laid off dozens of employees and stabilizing fund-raising in the last several years, the archdiocese is also running an annual operating deficit, and it faces serious ongoing problems from diminished attendance at Masses, decreased school enrollment, a shortage of priests and nuns, and massive building maintenance costs.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Baptism rate is dropping across denominations

Quoted 04.18.06:

[T]his Easter, the holy day of resurrection, statistics find Americans slowly drifting away from the ancient baptismal ritual.

The Catholic Church has more than doubled in size in the past half-century, but its rate of infant baptism steadily has fallen . . .

Methodists and Lutherans have seen both baptisms and their membership numbers slide for years.

Even Loy's denomination, the Assemblies of God, which has had a boom in membership since 1980, saw its annual baptism numbers peak in 1997, then inch downward.

The Southern Baptist Convention has seen a half-century decline in baptisms and stalled growth in membership. . . .

Behind the drop, experts see pressures ranging from fewer babies since the postwar boom, to increased secularization and interfaith marriage, to more "seeker churches" that downplay tradition.

Cathy Lynn Grossman, USA Today 4.12.06; via Get Religion

Monday, April 17, 2006

Use your blog to enhance your reputation

Quoted 04.17.06:

Employers regularly Google prospective employees to learn more about them. Blogging gives you a way to control what employers see, because Google's system works in such a way that blogs that are heavily networked with others come up high in Google searches.

And coming up high is good: "People who are more visible and have a reputation and stand for something do better than people who are invisible," says Catherine Kaputa, branding consultant and author of Blogging for Business Success [sic].

But pick your topics carefully and have a purpose. "The most interesting blogs are focused and have a certain attitude," says van Allen. "You need to have a guiding philosophy that you stick to. You cannot one minute pontificate on large issues of the world and the next minute be like, 'My dog died.'"

Boston Globe 4.16.06, reg req'd

God's publicist

Quoted 04.17.06:

[Larry] Ross characterizes part of his job as finding the sweet spot where faith and the culture intersect, because religion on its own often isn't enough, as he sees it, to generate mainstream press.

Strawberry Saroyan, New York Times Magazine 4.16.06, reg req'd

Saturday, April 15, 2006

McLennan on William Sloane Coffin: 'Justice, not charity'

Quoted 04.15.06:

The Rev. William Sloane Coffin Jr., who died this week, was a giant of a man — physically, intellectually, and spiritually. It was impossible not to notice him and be affected by him.

I took a life-changing "Seminar for Friendly Disbelievers" with him in my freshman year, learned about deep religious confrontation with racism and war in my sophomore and junior years, and by senior year was a student deacon of Battell Chapel at Yale and on my way to divinity school. "Justice, not charity," was one of Coffin's constant refrains, which I now try to teach to a community service-oriented college generation that often seems politically unaware and inactive. . . .

Coffin quoted the biblical prophet Amos regularly: "Ah, you that turn justice to wormwood, and bring righteousness to the ground. You who trample on the poor and take from them levies of grain. Hate evil and love good, and establish justice in the gate." Justice, not charity.

Scotty McLennan, op-ed, Boston Globe 4.15.06, reg req'd

Friday, April 14, 2006

Put Sox back on broadcast TV

Quoted 04.14.06:

Support for the [Red Sox] transcends income levels in New England. At Fenway Park, the ownership acknowledges this by making sure some tickets are affordable to a family on a budget. Its television policies should reflect a similar sensitivity. . . .

[T]he team ought to return Friday night baseball to broadcast television . . .

Editorial, Boston Globe 4.14.06, reg req'd

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Workers fired for taking part in immigrant rallies

Quoted 04.13.06:

Across the country, workers and students have paid a price for attending the immigration rallies that have recently swept the nation. They have lost jobs or been cited for truancy for joining the hundreds of thousands who have protested proposed federal legislation that would crack down on illegal immigrants.

Anna Johnson [AP], 4.13.06

Christian Seders provoke Jewish concerns

Quoted 04.13.06:

Christian Seders "set off great anxieties" in the Jewish community, says Christopher Leighton, executive director of the Institute for Christian and Jewish Studies in Baltimore. "There's this fear that well-meaning Christians will end up confiscating Jewish liturgical property."

Even more, there's the fear that evangelicals are using the Christian Seder to proselytize among Jews. Objectors point to the involvement of Messianic Jews, those who believe in Jesus Christ, and Jews for Jesus, a missionary group that seeks to bring Jews into Christianity, in the growing popularity of the ritual among evangelicals.

Zofia Smardz, Washington Post 4.13.06, reg req'd

William Sloane Coffin, liberal prophet, dead at 81

Quoted 04.13.06:

The Rev. William Sloane Coffin, a former Yale University chaplain known for his peace activism during the Vietnam War and his continuing work for social justice, died yesterday at his home in rural Strafford.

David Gram [AP], 4.13.06; Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Reuters, Washington Post

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Hispanic advocacy groups, Catholic Church, SEIU quickly organized rallies

Quoted 04.12.06:

What began with a national organizational meeting just two months ago has resulted in unions blanketing workers with fliers at hotels, restaurants and stores, Roman Catholic churches accelerating their campaign of preaching to immigrants and pressuring politicians, and Hispanic community leaders working with radio deejays to give protesters detailed instructions: wear white, remain peaceful and be positive. And when marchers were criticized for carrying Mexican flags, organizers quickly spread the word to carry U.S. flags instead.

Peter Prengaman [AP], Washington Post 4.12.06, reg req'd

Bush claim that bioweapons were found in Iraq proved false

Quoted 04.12.06:

President Bush's claim three years ago that weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq was based on U.S. intelligence that was later proved false, the White House acknowledged on Wednesday.

Nedra Pickler [AP], 4.12.06; Even as Bush spoke, U.S. intelligence officials knew it was untrue (Joby Warrick, Washington Post 4.12.06)

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Christian Coalition falling apart; Reed, Robertson 'disastrous'

Quoted 04.11.06:

The once-mighty Christian Coalition, founded 17 years ago by the Rev. Pat Robertson as the political fundraising and lobbying engine of the Christian right, is more than $2 million in debt, beset by creditors' lawsuits and struggling to hold on to some of its state chapters. . . .

From its inception, the coalition was built around two individuals, Robertson and Ralph Reed. Both were big personalities with big followings.

"After the founders left, the Christian Coalition never fully recovered," said James L. Guth, an expert on politics and religion at Furman University in South Carolina. "The dependence on Robertson and Reed was really disastrous."

Alan Cooperman and Thomas B. Edsall, Washington Post 4.10.06

Utah County UUs welcome gay rights road trip during BYU visit

Quoted 04.11.06:

Love, unity and the acceptance of all people, including those of nontraditional sexual preferences — that was the message Sunday at an interfaith worship service where gay rights advocacy group Soulforce Equality Ride was the special guest.

Nearly 100 members from several local churches, including the Springville Presbyterian Church, Provo United Church of Christ and the Utah Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship greeted Soulforce at the service held at the Community Congregation Church in Provo. . . .

Haven Herrin, Soulforce Equality Ride's co-director, said the group's coast-to-coast mission is to visit 19 to 20 private universities, colleges and military academies to create a dialogue with students about gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender issues.

Brigham Young University is one of the group's stops where Soulforce riders plan to discuss elements of the university's Honor Code that they believe discriminate against homosexual students.

Michael Rigert, Daily Herald 4.10.06; Five Soulforce members cited, removed from BYU campus (Daily Herald 4.11.06)

Sunday, April 9, 2006

Gospel of Judas highlights trafficking in ancient texts

Quoted 04.09.06:

The Secrets of Judas[T]hieves apparently lifted the manuscript from the Egyptian desert, kicking off decades of illicit trafficking — and an ethical dilemma: Is it right to pay for and publish stolen documents for the purpose of spreading knowledge?

"The present owners can't sell it because they don't have, in international law, a legal title to something that was stolen," says James Robinson, one of the world's foremost experts on gnostic texts and author of a forthcoming book about the gospel, The Secrets of Judas: The Story of the Misunderstood Disciple and His Lost Gospel. "They're trying to sell the sensationalism of the Gospel of Judas to get as much back as they can from whatever they paid for it." . . .

When an Arabic-speaking Egyptian and his Greek agent first offered the Gospel of Judas to buyers, they sold it as a package with other ancient texts for $3 million — well above the budget of Robinson and other scholars who tried to buy it.

So far, only a handful of inner-circle scholars are familiar with the contents of the Gospel of Judas. Despite the enticing name, experts say it was written at least a century after Judas Iscariot died, so it's apt to be most interesting to academics who concentrate on second-century gnosticism, Robinson says.

G. Jeffrey MacDonald, Christian Science Monitor 3.7.06; see also Expert doubts Gospel of Judas revelation (Richard N. Ostling, AP 3.2.06), Gospel of Judas inspires awe, wrath (Charles A. Radin, Boston Globe 4.8.06, reg req'd), Elaine Pagels's testimonial (New York Times 4.8.06, reg req'd)

Student debt interfering with public service careers

Quoted 04.09.06:

More than 23 percent of all four-year public and 38 percent of private college graduates have too much debt to manage as a starting teacher according to a new report released by State Public Interest Research Groups' Higher Education Project.

Press release, Pew Charitable Trusts 4.5.06

Saturday, April 8, 2006

'There is no such thing as a Christian politics'

Quoted 04.08.06:

'What Jesus Meant'The Gospels are scary, dark and demanding. It is not surprising that people want to tame them, dilute them, make them into generic encouragements to be loving and peaceful and fair. If that is all they are, then we may as well make Socrates our redeemer.

It is true that the tamed Gospels can be put to humanitarian purposes, and religious institutions have long done this, in defiance of what Jesus said in the Gospels. . . .

The institutional Jesus of the Republicans has no similarity to the Gospel figure. Neither will any institutional Jesus of the Democrats.

Garry Wills, op-ed, New York Times 4.9.06, reg req'd; buy What Jesus Meant by Garry Wills from Amazon

Meet the religious left

Quoted 04.08.06:

[Introducing Bible-thumping liberals, pious peaceniks, ethnic churchgoers, conflicted Catholics, and religious feminists.]

Steven Waldman, Slate 4.5.06

Friday, April 7, 2006

UCC marketer: Networks censor church-going gays

Quoted 04.07.06:

When I've talked to network executives, it's clear that they believe they're being fair because they air programs with gay characters. From "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" to "Will & Grace," the networks portray gay people in one dimension, like minstrels who exist simply to entertain viewers. But showing lesbians and gay men seeking relationships with God is deemed "too controversial" for the public airwaves.

We're simply asking to pay for airtime, like any other advertiser reaching people in the marketplace. Just as WLBT refused to sell advertising time to an African-American minister who was running for Congress in 1962, the networks will not do business with a church that proclaims everyone is welcome in 2006.

Ron Buford, director of the UCC Still Speaking campaign, op-ed, San Jose Mercury News 4.6.06

Ohio clergy appeal to IRS about Blackwell-aligned megachurches

Quoted 04.07.06:

A group of religious leaders accused the Internal Revenue Service yesterday of playing politics by ignoring its complaint that [Fairfield Christian Church in Fairfield, Ohio, and World Harvest Church in Columbus] are engaging in what it says are political activities, in violation of the tax code.

Stephanie Strom, New York Times 4.7.06, reg req'd; AP coverage; megachurch activities in governor's race (AP, Akron Beacon Journal 4.7.06); meetings were focused on gay-marriage ban (AP, Columbus Dispatch 4.6.06)

Thursday, April 6, 2006

America crossed the line; Christians must resist idolatry of endless war

Quoted 04.06.06:

We know from history and experience, from the wisdom of the founders and the wisdom of scripture that the idolatrous pursuit of endless war against an unknown enemy is the most direct path from democracy to tyranny. We are already far down that path, and now we must turn back.

Sermon, the Rev. Robert Massie, St James's Episcopal Church in Cambridge 3.19.06

Wednesday, April 5, 2006

Kos wants lockstep progressives to rebuild Democratic Party

Quoted 04.05.06:

Crashing the GatesThis summer, the kid who regularly got beat up in high school for being a 110-pound nerd with a Spanish accent will host the first Yearly Kos convention in Las Vegas. The headliner addressing this in-person gathering of the blog's faithful: Senate Minority Leader Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev. . . .

"I don't want my readers to be readers. I want them to be activists," Moulitsas said. "I want them to come to Daily Kos, learn about what's happening in the country. And then when all of that is done, I want them to turn off the computer, walk outside and talk to real people."

Joe Garofoli, San Francisco Chronicle 4.5.06; buy Crashing the Gates: Netroots, Grassroots, and the Rise of People-Powered Politics from Amazon

Barrios drops out of district attorney race

Quoted 04.05.06:

Sen. Jarrett Barrios announced Wednesday he was suspending his campaign for Middlesex district attorney and would instead seek re-election to the Cambridge legislative seat he has held since 2003.

AP, 4.5.06

Tuesday, April 4, 2006

William F. Buckley Jr calls Iraq war a 'failure'

Quoted 04.04.06:

Buckley said he doesn't have a formula for getting out of Iraq, though he said "it's important that we acknowledge in the inner councils of state that it (the war) has failed, so that we should look for opportunities to cope with that failure." . . .

Buckley, often called the father of contemporary conservatism in America, articulated his beliefs in National Review magazine, which he founded in 1955. . . . Both Ronald Reagan and Barry Goldwater said they got their inspiration from the magazine.

Heidi Przybyla, Bloomberg News 3.31.06; via Political Animal

Monday, April 3, 2006

Cardinal a long-time advocate for immigrants

Quoted 04.03.06:

Religious observers say that for the church at large and [Cardinal Roger] Mahony in particular, the immigration debate provides an opportunity to stress values that have recently received little attention. For the past few years, [the Rev. Thomas J.] Reese said, some in the church's leadership have been "appalled" at how Republican politicians used opposition to abortion to capture the Catholic vote in 2002 and 2004. By putting itself squarely on the liberal side of the immigration debate, Reese said, the church's hierarchy can "go on the record and show that the Roman Catholic Church is not in the back pocket of the Republican Party."

Mahony seemed to agree when, in the interview, he married the church's position on immigrant rights to its antiabortion stance.

"People unfortunately always want to place the pro-life agenda in two boxes: abortion and euthanasia," he said, speaking of two issues opposed by most Republicans. "But our pro-life agenda encompasses a broad spectrum of issues, and [immigration] is one of them."

John Pomfret, Washington Post 4.3.06, reg req'd

Why polygamy is bad for liberal democracies

Quoted 04.03.06:

So far, libertarians and lifestyle liberals approach polygamy as an individual-choice issue, while cultural conservatives use it as a bloody shirt to wave in the gay-marriage debate. The broad public opposes polygamy but is unsure why. What hardly anyone is doing is thinking about polygamy as social policy.

If the coming debate changes that, it will have done everyone a favor. For reasons that have everything to do with its own social dynamics and nothing to do with gay marriage, polygamy is a profoundly hazardous policy.

Jonathan Rauch, Reason 4.3.06; orig. pub. in National Journal; see also Rauch's argument for same-sex marriage

Sunday, April 2, 2006

Wesley Clark upstages Kerry, Clinton in Dems' new security plan

Quoted 04.02.06:

That Clark was the one presidential prospect allowed to speak owes much to his role alongside the Senate Democratic leader, Harry M. Reid of Nevada, and the House Democratic leader, Nancy P. Pelosi of California, in crafting the national security plank in which the party pledges to "eliminate" Osama Bin Laden, better equip the US military, and ensure that 2006 "is a year of significant transition to full Iraqi sovereignty."

Dennett's designs

Quoted 04.02.06:

'Breaking the Spell' by Daniel C. DennettThe book is a brick (450 pages) possibly suitable for breaking church windows — but was it designed as such? In dealing with artifacts one needs to distinguish between intended purposes and incidental effects. I assume that Dennett intended his book to be read not thrown; but it can be thrown and its use as a missile might confer reproductive benefits on those who so deploy it. The logic of evolutionary explanations requires, though, that one discriminate between heritable adaptations that have been selected for per se because of the advantages they confer, and incidental byproducts selected per accidens. It may have been the case that objects of the rough size, shape, and weight of Dennett's book were used by his ancestors and are used by his contemporaries as missiles, but that doesn't settle the question of the actual point of the book. Is its being a book, or a potential weapon, an intended or incidental feature of its manufacture? I shall assume that the answer is clear.

John Haldane, Commonweal 3.10.06, reg req'd; buy Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon by Daniel C. Dennett from Amazon