It’s that beautiful late August weather, with low humidity and cool breezes. The cicadas are singing – yes, even in the early morning – and even though you know we’ll still have yet another hot spell, summer is really over. In every year of my life, I’ve felt that strange sadness: School, and sweaters, and pencil cases already? Even though it’s been a very long time since I had a pencil case.
And that’s what this Dar Williams song always brings back:
LONDON — The former editor of the News of the World received payments and benefits from the newspaper while working as an aide to Conservative leader David Cameron, the BBC reported Tuesday.
Andy Coulson resigned from the now-defunct tabloid early in 2007 after a reporter and a private investigator were jailed for hacking into the voicemails of royal staff.
Six months later he was hired as communications chief to Cameron, then Britain’s opposition leader. Cameron became prime minister in May 2010.
The BBC, without giving its source, reported that Coulson continued to receive severance pay amounting to several hundred thousand dollars from the paper until the end of 2007, and also kept his health care plan and company car.
Coulson denied knowing about phone hacking, but resigned from Downing St. in January after police reopened their inquiry into wrongdoing at the paper.
Alternet’s Addie Stan, who knows an awful lot about the right wing and their religious movements, has a piece today about the denial in the media about the threat posed by radical fundamentalists — and Bachmann and Perry:
Then there are the deniers, such as Lisa Miller, Newsweek‘s religion editor, who stepped forward on the Web site of the Washington Post to reassure readers that all this talk of dominionism and the GOP is just a paranoid fantasy of the left.
A Victory for Progressives
Believe it or not, for progressive reporters, Miller’s high-profile denial is something of a victory, for it means the work of investigative journalists for progressive publications is making its mark on the more mainstream outlets, as when the New Yorker‘s Ryan Lizza echoed Sarah Posner’s reporting for Religion Dispatches in his profile of Bachmann, or when Michelle Goldberg built on the dogged research of Rachel Tabachnick (writing here for AlterNet) and others for her Daily Beast piece on dominionism’s claim on both Perry and Bachmann.
“Some on the left seem suspicious that a firm belief in Jesus equals a desire to take over the world,” Miller wrote at the Post‘s “On Faith” site. Then she went on to say, parenthetically, “Some extremist Christians leveled a similar charge against Barack Obama in 2008, that he was the antichrist aiming to take over world governments.”
To equate dominionism with “a firm belief in Jesus” does a disservice to all those Americans who firmly believe in Jesus, but who also firmly believe in the separation of church and state. To deny the pervasive influence of dominionism on the professed faith of many — perhaps most — on the religious right is to reveal a breathtaking ignorance of American evangelical theology as it has evolved over the past 40 years.
And to equate the fact, proven by diligent reporters and by the theological writings of right-wing religious leaders, of the impact of dominionist ideology on Republican politics with the malevolent, racist fantasy of Obama as anti-Christ should really be a firing offense at any publication whose credibility rests on the conveyance of factual information. But I expect that Miller will keep her job.
Not Just a River in Egypt
As I wrote last week, media people tend to deal with the religious right and its belief systems in one of two ways: either through the lens of exoticism (as if the reporter were an anthropologist visiting some strange and primitive culture), or through denial, because the truth is just too awful and jarring to the worldview of the well-educated, rational reporter. For journalists in the latter category, the America of the religious right is just not the America they know, nor is it the one they care to know.
I’ll spare you a point-by-point takedown of Miller’s insulting and ridiculous piece; Peter Montgomery has done an excellent job of that at Religion Dispatches, and Fred Clarkson further eludicates at the Daily Kos. The larger point is this: the religious right was born of a turn toward dominionism among a certain segment of the evangelical population in the 1960s.
Times columnist Joe Nocera goes off on a rant about how Democrats are destroying jobs by having the NLRB rule in favor of the Boeing union. Go read the comments for how quickly the readers are setting him straight.
I especially liked this one:
Wait a minute. You are telling me that I could one day fly on a commercial airplane assembled by non-union workers? From South Carolina? As a native North Carolinian, I say: Ha ha ha. No way.
Isn’t this the larger issue? That Boeing is avoiding using unionized skilled middle class protected workers, in favor of lesser educated, lesser skilled workers who cannot organize because of a backward archaic state government, where the workers have little benefits or rights–and all this is in order to shave a few bucks and weaken the union, and isn’t that shear retaliation? Seems pretty clear to me. In fact, the Obama administration is protecting (creating) lots of jobs in WA state and the right of workers to organize. Very noble.
If the government can’t protect workers getting jerked around by their company, then government isn’t what I want it to be.
And again I ask, Boeing really expects people to fly on planes made by non-unionized workers (from SC??) being paid sub par salaries, and no worker protection? Ha. After the first malfunction, let’s look at the black box and see where the airplane was built. I’ll bet you a free round trip ticket on an Airbus, it wasn’t in WA state.
WASHINGTON — Retired teacher Nancy Packard doesn’t seem the type to get hauled off to jail, yet the Lincoln grandmother was being handcuffed and patted down by police officers Monday outside the White House.
Packard, 67, and five other Nebraskans were arrested as part of two weeks of daily demonstrations to highlight opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline. Before her arrest, Packard told The World-Herald that she wanted to send a message to President Barack Obama that a broad spectrum of the public objects to the pipeline — not just a bunch of college kids.
“We have to stop using oil and coal and start using renewable energy. We’ll do it eventually — why not do it now?” Packard said.
Lori Fischer, 54, of Shelby, Neb., said her farm is a couple of miles from the existing Keystone pipeline. She questioned the wisdom of building another pipeline through the state.
“That’s like playing Russian Roulette by putting two pipelines there,” Fischer said.
[...] Jane Kleeb of Bold Nebraska and other organizers talked about the need to push the Obama administration to reject a permit for the pipeline, which would carry tar sands oil from Canada to Texas, crossing Nebraska’s Sand Hills and the Ogallala Aquifer along the way.
A final environmental impact statement on the pipeline is expected soon, to be followed by additional public hearings. The State Department has said a decision on the pipeline will come by the end of the year.
Pipeline supporters say the project would boost the country’s energy supplies, bring down gas prices and foster economic development and jobs.
Opponents say that it would lead to a significant increase in greenhouse gas emissions and that potential oil spills from the pipeline would pose a danger to the aquifer.
Kleeb said Monday that whatever jobs are created by the pipeline won’t be worth anything if the aquifer is contaminated.
She also said Obama has a choice. “We can either go down a path of energy independence or we can continue to rely on foreign oil, and this pipeline puts us clearly on the path of depending on foreign oil.”
One of my favorite subjects! I hope to go to my grave without ever have stepped foot in Disney World:
In American culture, Disney has become synonymous with childhood. Present-day grandparents grew up watching the animated films, wearing Mickey Mouse pajamas and begging to go to Disneyland. But while it all seems innocent, few people have considered the hold that the Disney Corporation has not only on their own lives, but on the world as a whole.
Henry Giroux and Grace Pollock explore this relationship between consumer and industry in their book “The Mouse that Roared: Disney and the End of Innocence.”
Cuddly cartoon animals and whimsical fairy-tale stories are merely Disney’s public face. The expansive conglomerate is not limited to Disney film and theme parks. It also owns six motion picture studios, ABC television network and its 226 affiliated stations, multiple cable television networks, 227 radio stations, four music companies, three cruise lines, theatrical production companies, publishing houses, 15 magazine titles and five video game development studios. This media and culture monopoly goes unnoticed by most Americans, who just want to indulge their childhood fantasies as Disney so deftly enables with its movies, theme parks and merchandise.
[...] Cultural pedagogy provides the lens through which Giroux and Pollock evaluate not only the media monopoly the Disney conglomerate has built, but also the impact of that media on the development of cultural attitudes and behavior through the targeting of youth, beginning today with Disney video programs aimed at infants.
The Baby Einstein products are designed to entertain and educate children as young as three months. However, according to the Journal of Pediatrics, infants who watched an hour or more of television a day displayed slower language development. While the Baby Einstein Company did eventually remove the section from their web site claiming that their videos had educational value for children, a 2007 study still showed that 48 percent of parents thought these videos had a positive effect on young children.
“The Mouse that Roared” also draws attention to the gender stereotypes in Disney princess movies, from older cartoons such as “The Little Mermaid” to their newest, “Enchanted.”
“Disney has become a major player in global culture, and the first casualties of its dominance in popular culture are, of course, those who are most defenseless – children,” the book warns.