Tuesday, June 28, 2005

a big day for free downloads

I posted the first installment of Raising Adults. Help yourself!

And i posted a free excerpt from The Youth Worker's Guide to Helping Teenagers in Crisis, due August 5th from Youth Specialties.

Read. Enjoy. Pass 'em along.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

what makes a liar two

In response to the what makes a liar post a few days ago, Chad wrote:

Did you miss the part about where Durbin compared our soldiers to people who ran Nazi death camp because a little urine got accidentally splashed in a Quran? And you're worried about Karl Rove?

It's a good question.

I did catch the Durbin thing -- though i wouldn't characterize the portion of his speech i heard in quite the way Chad did. Mr. Durbin said something like If i read this to you and you didn't know where it came from, you would think it described the actions of people we all agree are the bad guys.

If Mr. Durbin was saying Americans, representing America, have done/are doing things unworthy of the American ideal, I agree with him. And that seemed to be the spirit of his seemingly half-hearted apology a few of days later. He didn't apologize for the core argument; he apologized that someone -- you perhaps -- might have thought he was painting everyone in an American uniform as a Nazi/Stalinist/Maoist.

This is not Mr. Durbin's attitude toward service people. In March 2005, for example, he offered an amendment to the new banruptcy bill seeking...well, here's the language: To protect servicemembers and veterans from means testing in bankruptcy, to disallow certain claims by lenders charging usurious interest rates to servicemembers, and to allow servicemembers to exempt property based on the law of the State of their premilitary residence.

The bill passed. Mr Durbin's amendment failed, 58-38. Except Mr. Jeffords of Vermont and Mr. Specter of Pennsylvania, everyone who sought to exempt servicepeople from harsh treatment under a more stringent bankruptcy law were Democrats -- the liberals Mr. Rove slandered this week in New York. Put another way, no Republican except the embattled Mr. Specter, voted to protect American troops from losing the farm while deployed in Afghanistan or Iraq. You tell me what that means juxtaposed against Karl Rove's comments.

A better man than me would have posted his embarrassment that Howard Dean spoke so broadly and contemptuously of Republicans in the last month. That man was not available at the time, but he is now. Some of my best friends are Republicans...

My objection to Mr. Rove is what appears to me to be a long and storied history of lying. T.S. Eliot's wrote:

The last temptation is the greatest treason,
To do the right thing for the wrong reason

If this is true of doing the right thing, how much more is it true of doing the wrong thing?

Friday, June 24, 2005


click away

this is not Live Aid 2

Bob Geldof on what's behind the LIVE8 concerts next month:

These concerts are the start point for The Long Walk To Justice, the one way we can all make our voices heard in unison.

This is without doubt a moment in history where ordinary people can grasp the chance to achieve something truly monumental and demand from the 8 world leaders at G8 an end to poverty.

The G8 leaders have it within their power to alter history. They will only have the will to do so if tens of thousands of people show them that enough is enough.

By doubling aid, fully cancelling debt, and delivering trade justice for Africa, the G8 could change the future for millions of men, women and children."

Thursday, June 23, 2005

what makes a liar?

Recounting the speech Illinois Senator Richard Durbin made last week, comparing interrogation methods at the Guantanamo detention center to those of terrorist regimes, Karl Rove asked: "Has there ever been a more revealing moment this year? …Let me just put this in fairly simple terms: Al Jazeera now broadcasts the words of Senator Durbin to the Mideast, certainly putting our troops in greater danger. No more needs to be said about the motives of liberals."

Really. It's that simple?

Rove also derided liberal American's response to the attacks on 09.11.01: "Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 in the attacks and prepared for war; liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers."

Here's part of what I think about that:

• If you say something that isn't true, that means you lied.

• If you claim someone said or did something they didn't say or do, that means you lied.

• If you do that repeatedly and on purpose, that makes you a liar.

Is there a more egregious liar in American political life today than Karl Rove?

The nominations are open…

Monday, June 20, 2005

america is dying

"An American these days may be a welfare cheat, he may fuck little boys and he may just want to steal Iraq's oil. But as long as he gives it up for Jesus, stays out of jail and keeps the weight off, he's still viable, still a story. What he is underneath doesn't matter. And nobody is particularly interested in finding out."

Matt Taibbi in America is Dying, Rolling Stone, 06.16.05.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

jubilee part one

On June 1 I wrote about my hope that the G8 Nations will soon do what it takes to level the playing field for the world's poorest nations.

On June 7 I posted at InsideWork.net on "The Business of Change."

I'm posting now because the finance ministers of the G8 nations agreed today in London to cancel the debt of 18 Heavily Indebted Poor Countries who have met standards of good governance and anti-corruption measures. Another 20 countries are at the threshold of compliance.

Assuming all 38 come under the debt cancellation umbrella, about 55 billion dollars will be written off by the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the African Development Bank. That represents 1.5 billion dollars in yearly payments that can be diverted to disease prevention, health care, education and infrastructure where it's needed most. The conditions of the agreement ensures that's where the money will go.

As far as I'm concerned, that makes this a very good day. We can talk next week about what remains to be done. But not today -- today is for grateful celebration.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005


Finally read The Downing Street Memo first reported by the Times of London May 1, 2005.

I'm embarrassed to have waited so long to read it -- I guess I thought it was going to be a longish document. Turns out it really is a memo -- notes from a meeting on July 23, 2002 outlining U.S. administration plans to go to war in Iraq saying: "the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy." and "There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action."

There have been, as far as I can find, no refutations of the memo to date.

Is it just me or is that a smoking gun?

And if it is a smoking gun, who's going to remove it from the hands of the shooter?

one trillion dollar bet

Highlights of the SIPRI Yearbook 2005 are available today from The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. Among them:

• World military expenditure exceeded $1 trillion in 2004. The USA accounted for 47 per cent of this spending.

• The combined arms sales of the top 100 arms-producing companies in 2003 were 25 per cent (in current dollars) higher than in 2002.

• In the new security environment, which focuses on insecurity in the South and greater global security interdependence, there is an increasing awareness of the ineffectiveness of military means for addressing threats and challenges to security and a growing recognition of the need for global action.

SIPRI is an independent foundation funded by the Swedish government to "conduct scientific research on questions of conflict and co-operation of importance for international peace and security, with the aim of contributing to an understanding of the conditions for peaceful solutions of international conflicts and for a stable peace."

Find more at the The SIPRI home page.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

a modest proposal

Wisconsin State Representative Mark Pettis has proposed a measure to allow 19-year-old armed forces personnel to drink in bars.

"We consider these young men and women fighting to defend our country adults, so why shouldn't they be given the privilege of an adult beverage?" he said. "If we can trust a 20-year-old with launching a cruise missile, why can't we trust them with a Miller Lite?"

The efficacy of serving alcohol to the young has been addressed pretty thoroughly by the law enforcement, medical and human development communities -- with ample surveillance tape supplied by the Girls With Low Self-Esteem Spring Break video francise. I don't think I can add anything to that.

But Rep. Pettis gets me thinking: Instead of lowering the drinking age for enlisted adolescents, perhaps we should raise the fighting age to something like 40.

If we passed such a law, prohibiting any American under the age of 40 from serving in the armed forces, I wonder what would happen to U.S. foreign policy.

Just so you know, I'm not inflexible on this. I would be willing to lower the age to, say, 36. Or raise it to 50. Any co-sponsors?

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

i coulda hadda G8

When Mr. Bush arrives in Scotland for the G8 Summit on July 6, 2005, a growing number of Americans are hoping he'll show up with concrete commitments to:

• ramp U.S. poverty aid up to 1% of the federal budget

• cancel 100% of the debt of the world's poorest countries and restructure the debt of second tier debtor nations

• reform trade rules to level the field for willing work forces around the world

There is enough. Anyone who says otherwise is hiding something.

Want more? Visit ONE: The Campaign to Make Poverty History.

why i lied

A better man than me would have started delivering free chapters of Raising Adults at westofthe101.com no later than May 31, 2005. That is, after all, what I promised.

Unfortunately, that man was not available. i'm sorry. I promised to deliver the goods in May and failed to do so. Soon...just days from now. I'll notify you.