Archive for May 10th, 2011

May 10, 2011

Happy Belated Mother’s Day

by Vince

With a cinematic mash-up:

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May 10, 2011

Quote of the Day

by Vince

For the torture hawks out there:

“Listen, waterboarding and/or other coercive techniques did nothing to contribute to our attempts to track down OBL (Osama bin Laden). What did succeed was weeks, months and years of diligent, laborious, and dedicated work – all within the bounds of legal and ethical boundaries … No torture, no waterboarding, no coercion – nothing inhumane – is considered a useful tool in our work…

I cannot even count the amount of times that I personally have come face to face with detainees, who told me they were primarily motivated to do what they did, because of hearing that we committed torture.

Even the rumor of torture is enough to convince an army of uneducated and illiterate, yet religiously motivated young boys to strap bombs to their chests and blow themselves up while killing whoever happens to be around – police, soldiers, civilians, women, or children. Torture committed by Americans in the past continues to kill Americans today,” – a seniorUS interrogator in Afghanistan.

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May 10, 2011

How exceptional is America?

by Vince

Richard Cohen has an interesting take that is worth reading in full:

What God prefers should not be monkeyed with. But certain kinds of exceptionalism raise certain kinds of question. For an industrialized nation, the United States has a very high murder rate and, no surprise, a very high execution rate. We have a health-care system cleverly designed to bankrupt the average person and a political system so dysfunctional that we may go into national bankruptcy, blaming one another for spending too much or taxing too little, but not both. God indeed works in mysterious ways.

And yet clearly America must change fundamentally or continue to decline. It could begin by junking a phase that reeks of arrogance and discourages compromise. American exceptionalism ought to be called American narcissism. We look perfect only to ourselves.

May 10, 2011

Blaming Obama, not the Bush Tax Cuts for the Rich, when the Economy is bad

by Vince

When the economy is bad, everyone blames the president. This goes back, at least, to Martin Van Buren and the Panic of 1837, but recently happens time and time again with Barack Obama.

Obama is blamed when the job reports come out and all looks gloomy. When the unemployment rate hovers around 9%, it’s Obama’s fault. Obama is the president and is the only one who can answer to the criticisms. Past presidents are out of office and have handed over the torch to Barack.

Where I have issue is when Obama is solely blamed and the Bush Tax cuts for the rich (which Obama extended for 2 years) are given no blame at all. They have been in effect for almost a decade, have nothing significant to show for (in terms of job creation, as wishfully hoped by the rich on the Right), and are a form of an immoral domination system (even more so since they are not accomplishing their purpose).

Why are these tax cuts never criticized but often irrationally praised as the panacea to save American jobs?

May 10, 2011

For Those Who Agree With Torturing

by Vince

Whether or not torturing (or it’s euphemism “enhanced interagation techniques” (EIT) lead America Navy Seals to OBL, it strips humans of their dignity and God-given image.

Now that that is out of the way, I want to confront this ideology mix-up. When the Khmer Rouge (the architects of the Killing Field in Cambodia) tortured, we called it inhumane and torture. When the Nazi’s tortured Jews, we called it inhumane and torture. When America tortures terrorist suspects (while there are more effective legal alternatives out there), we call it “protecting our country”, “defending liberty”, “fighting terrorists”, or some other Americanized slogan that could go on a bumper sticker.

I want to know why we don’t see our torture as what it is: torture. It isn’t any nice, prettier, or better if we do it, too. We will go down in history as torturing and we have little room to condemn others (even radical Muslims who torture Americans and their own). An eye for an eye, even when doing it for “just” causes, leaves all blind.

This all reminds me of the death penalty and the war on terror. We kill people who kill people to show that killing people is bad. We torture people who torture people to try to attain some righteous outcome. That doesn’t sound like logical math to me.

May 10, 2011

Standardized Testing and Reading Materials

by Vince

We have the Keystone exams today and tomorrow. It is a better form of testing, at least scheduling wise, than the PSSA’s. With the PSSA’s, I would miss 2 classes a day. That would call me to make two separate lesson plans and could get confusing after a few days. With the Keystones, we meet every day but for a pretty brief period (30 mins.)

I am even blessed with having the bright math kids take their exam in my room. Well, it isn’t as much blessed as lucky, I guess.

Anywho, reading for today:

May 10, 2011

Political Cartoon of the Day

by Vince

H/T: Tony Auth

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