Some stuff Ampersand has read lately.

  • In a wonderful post, Body and Soul discusses Bobby Kennedy’s ability to emphasize and persuade, and in passing responds to a post of mine about Dennis Kucinich. Alas, I must agree with Jeanne’s assessment of Kucinich.

  • Check out this impressive website (from the staff of Representative Henry Waxman) detailing how the Bush administration “manipulates, distorts, or interferes with” scientific research that contradicts right-wing ideology. Well worth your browsing time. (Via Tapped).
  • Martha Nussbaum’s article in the current Dissent, “Genocide in Gujarat,” is a must-read. Especially useful for readers like me, as a primer on issues of Hindu Nationalism and Hindu/Muslim conflict in India. Via Half the Sins of Mankind, who has an interesting discussion with a reader (including criticism of the Nussbaum essay)
  • In the last decade, over 300 young women in a border city of Mexico (Ciudad Juárez, near Texas) have been murdered by a serial killer, or more likely by multiple copycat killers. Amnesty International has investigted the Mexican government’s response to the killings, and is not impressed: “The pervasive failure of the authorities to address these cases is tantamount to tolerance of them.” Read the Amnesty report here, and a New York Times story here.
  • Groupthink Central reports on a growing surge of masculinity – or of something people like to call “masculinity,” anyway – on the right.
  • Over on Volokh Conspiracy, David Bernstein has an excellent post on the Jews being “God’s chosen people.” The “chosen people” schtick isn’t a statement of Jewish superiority; it’s more a way of saying, “God is picking on us.”
  • Speaking of Jews, Religion in the News points out the support of many on the right for bills that in effect make it legal for some employers to discriminate against Jews. This isn’t really news, of course, but it is ironic in light of all the recent fuss about alleged Democratic discrimination against Catholics.
  • An article by Israeli peace activist Uri Avnery, “The Prisoner of Ramallah,” presents a positive portrait of Yassar Arafat – something I don’t think I’ve ever read before in my life. )Via Aron’s Israeli Peace Weblog.)
  • “Basic Income” is the proposal that every person in a country – no matter how rich or poor – should receive a basic, minimal level of income. Here’s an interview with Philippe Van Parijs, one of the more prominant supporters of Basic Income plans.
  • Two absolutely wonderful, ass-kicking, keyboard-pounding hypocrit-bashing posts from Real Live Preacher about Christianity and homosexuality: one that’s just indescribable, and one which argues that there’s no scriptural basis for homophobia. (Via Long story; short pier).
  • An interesting (and distressing, and depressing) MSNBC story about violent misogyny in Muslim immigrant ghettos of France. Influenced by the worse of Muslim fundimentalism, some Muslim men have been practicing beatings and gang-rapes to “punish” women and girls. Some female immigrants are organizing, lobbying for better police protection and organizing emergency housing.
  • This, umn, tribute to racing really cracked me up. It also cracked a couple of my firends up. Does that mean it’s really funny, or just that my friends and I are immature?
  • Amy at The Fifty Minute Hour has a message for “men who feel proud of themselves because their gender was enlightened enough to give women the vote: IT TOOK YOU DAMN LONG ENOUGH.”
  • Nathan Newman points out that privatizing military services has left US troops living in squalor. Praise the free market! Paul Krugman in the Times makes a similar argument.
  • Angry Bear does the math and finds that the “red states” – home of so much whining about federal spending – get more from Federal spending than they repay. In most “blue states,” the opposite is true.
  • The Head Heeb reports on an infuriating (but not too surprising) case from Botswana, in which a court ruled that there is no such thing as marital rape.
  • Some activists in San Francisco have hit on a funny anti-Starbucks protest: soaping up Starbucks windows and posting “closed” and “for lease” signs. (Via Boing Boing).
  • Mark Kleiman has an interesting post on prostitution and slavery. “To my mind, someone who pays for and uses the sexual services of a slave is morally — and, if I got to write the laws, would be legally — a rapist, since he has engaged in sexual relations with an unconsenting party. And in a country where sexual slavery is known to be an issue, I’d make that a crime of strict liability, as carnal knowledge of a minor is: the customer should be responsible for assuring himself that the person he’s about to have sex with has consented to it. ”
  • Joanna Grossman points out that a recent court decision in New York – regarding which parent decides when parents can’t agree on the child’s name – pretends to use a “best interest of the child” standard, but in effect discriminates against mothers.
  • Prometheus 6 is unsurprised by USA Today’s poll regarding the Bryant case, and so am I.
  • This story is all over the blogosphere, but for the benefit of my few readers who haven’t run into yet: Fox News is suing Al Franken. Why? Because Franken uses the words “fair and balanced” in the subtitle of his new book. Nice to see that the right-wing press has such a profound committment to free speech. (Via Making Light).
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10 Responses to Some stuff Ampersand has read lately.

  1. 1
    pdm says:

    Religion in the News points out the support of many on the right for bills that in effect make it legal for some employers to discriminate against Jews.

    C’mon, Amp, get with the program

  2. 2
    RA says:

    Hmmm, the Zionist lobby…is that where I’m supposed to put up this plaque?

    Anyway, I believe the blogger you quoted, Amp, was using Jews as an *example* of a group against whom a religious organization could discriminate. Maybe even an incendiary example? Lucky for us, Jews also have some faith-based charities, and if we want, we can fire all the goyim now.

  3. 3
    Josh Kamensky says:

    I’m glad you noted your agreement to Jeanne d’s appraisal of Kucinich. I have a lot of respect for your argument about supporting progressive arguments in the primary, but I’ve only contributed to Dean. I am proudly to the left of him on Israel, balanced budgets, and general politics. And I’m thrilled that Kucinich is in Congress.

    Dean, however, has generated real momentum for Democratic chances (let’s call them “beating bush chances”) in this election. He’s done it not by selling out his principles, but by defining them — on civil unions, on the war, and on labor. While there are discernible waffles and contradictions in the first two, it’s the third that’s given me security in my continued support for him. Last year, the AFL-CIO awarded him their first “Wellstone award”, which got me to pay attention. At the convention last week, he proclaimed himself in favor of revising Taft-Hartley in favor of neutrality card-check without prompting. For me, that seals the deal — in fact, that should make some of last cycle’s Nader voters pay attention, because only Nader was going that far left on labor. One thing the Democratic party has to wake up to is that the justness of the issue aside, the best thing they can do for their electoral chances is to allow as many workers to form unions as want to. If someone’s willing to pick the kind of fight that neutrality would bring, then they have vision, guts and a sense of justice.

    And just as mainstream Dems need to realize that labor issues are their lifeline, progs need to realize just what kind of poison DK’s 30-year anti-choice career means. Do I believe that he’s changed his tune? Yes. Do I hold it against him? No. Do I think he is the right candidate, because of that, to lead a unifying charge of the dispossesed into electoral triumph or even significance? Most certainly not.

  4. 4
    --k. says:

    Goddamn, Josh. That is the single best thing I’ve heard about Dean so far. –About Dean. From Dean? Every time I hear that line about being tired of listening to fundamentalist preachers, I swoon. But I distrust swooning as a leading indicator of a political candidate’s aptitude, and I remain mightily distressed by how much in common I don’t have with Dean on civil liberties issues.

    Plus the balanced budget thing. He really needs to wise up on that.

  5. 5
    bean says:

    In the last decade, over 300 young women in a border city of Mexico (Ciudad Juárez, near Texas) have been murdered by a serial killer, or more likely by multiple copycat killers. Amnesty International has investigted the Mexican government’s response to the killings, and is not impressed: “The pervasive failure of the authorities to address these cases is tantamount to tolerance of them.” Read the Amnesty report here, and a New York Times story here.

    You can also read some interviews with people who are doing a hell of a lot of damn hard work on this issue here and here

  6. 6
    bean says:

    BTW — the claim that all 300 murders were by a serial killer and/or copycat killers is false. Many of those women were killed by a serial killer and/or copycat killers. But the majority of them are victims of domestic violence, not a serial killer.

  7. 7
    Amy S. says:

    You know, something about the supposed inate rightness of Jeanne’s Kucinich critique is continuing to elude me. I probably need to tune in on the box when both Dean and Kucinich are on… maybe there’s something I’m missing. Or maybe I should cherish my mass-media free vacuum precisely *because* I can steer clear of the unfathomable “electability” business. I seem to get farther away from understanding people’s genuflection before this particular great God less and less with each passing election cycle. Maybe I’d like to continue to not understand it. :(

  8. 8
    Joe Grossberg says:

    The “chosen people” schtick isn’t a statement of Jewish superiority; it’s more a way of saying, “God is picking on us.”

    Exactly! You know, like “chosen” to be held to a higher moral standard.

  9. 9
    Joe Grossberg says:

    I read the homage to Arafat, and thought this was ridiculous:

    In October 1973 Arafat realized that this hope [for a military conquest of Israel] had no basis in fact. The armies of Egypt and Syria did indeed attack Israel and achieved initial surprise, giving them a resounding victory, but within two weeks the Israeli army had turned the tables and was advancing on Cairo and Damascus. Arafat, forever the rational engineer, drew the logical conclusion: there exists no military option.

    From there it was but one step to the second conclusion: the Palestinian state can only be founded on compromise, by a political settlement with Israel. He started to work on it.

    What nonsense. The author doesn’t just dispute Arafat’s current role in terrorism; he denies that Arafat has viewed it as legitimate at any point since 1973. That time period includes both Intifadas and the Achille Lauro hijacking, among other “exceptions”.

    That’s probably why you haven’t previously seen such a hagiography — one would have to deny the clear-as-day fact that Arafat certainly did not abandon the idea of armed struggle 30 years ago.

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