"Not least art thou, thou little Bethlehem In Judah, for in thee the Lord was born..."
--from a famous quote by John Oldcastle
The Christmas season is upon us
May we be reminded of the Word, wonderful counselor, glorious messenger of peace
From the Celtic carol Don Oiche Ud I mBeithil (That Night in Bethlehem)
"I sing of a night in Bethlehem, a night as
bright as dawn
I sing of that night in Bethlehem, the night
the Word was born.
The skies are glowing gaily, the earth in
white is dressed
See Jesus in the cradle drink deep in
His mother's breast
And there on a lonely hillside the shepherds
bow down in fear
When the heavens open brightly and God's message
rings out so clear
Glory now to the Father in all the heavens high
And 'peace to His friends on earth below'
is all the angels cry."
Don Oiche ud I mBeithil, beidh tagairt ag grian go brach
Don Oiche ud I mBeithil go dtainig an briathar slan
Ta griosghrua ar spearthaibh 's an talamh 'na cludach ban;
Feach Iosagan sa chleibhin, 's an mhaighdean a dhiul le gra.
Ar leacain lom an tslebhe go nglacann na haoiri scath
Nuair in oscailt ghil na speire ta teachtaire De ar fail
Cead gloire anois don Athair I bhFlaitheasaibh thuas go hard!
Is feasta fos ar talamh d'fhearaibh dea-mhein siochain!
Click photo for CNN International's coverage
photo credit: AP
Ukraine: The Orange Revolution Goes On
The NY Times reports:
"The demonstrators' desires..transcend the destiny of their candidate. In conversations over the past few days, protesters expressed a wish to carry Ukraine not only to democratic rule but also to alter the fundamental direction of the country's history.
For more than three centuries, Ukraine has been the prize of Russian czars and Soviet leaders. Its territory has been a battlefield of vicious wars and political repression. Yushchenko's supporters say their goal is to face West, a compass point they believe will end Ukraine's history as a pawn of their northern neighbor."
The editorial on today's Madison Capital Times' webpage shows how they believe "Bush and his fellow Republicans went out of their way to disregard and disrespect the international body [of the UN] in ways that embarrassed" exiting UN Ambassador John Danforth, who spent a mere seven months in the position.
With unrealistic calls for Kofi Annan's resignation, it is believed that Danforth was never given an real opportunity to improve relations between the United States and the United Nations.
With no offense intended toward Mark Halperin of ABC Political News, I found his reply to a Harvard Political Review interview question, regarding the topic of courage, to be ambiguous and decidedly pusillanimous, in and of itself. The question pertained to limited news coverage of photographs of American bodies coming home from Iraq. Sometimes I think our journalists attempt to look so very unbiased, even in interviews like these, that they miss the mark of truth by a mile (or much more).
Mark Halperin: ....the press's courage and capacity to press the government on these matters is less than it's been in years past for a variety of reasons. And that means that the press's capacity to give Americans the full view of the costs and benefits of this war is really limited in a way that I think is bad for the country...
HPR: How can you deliver the news if you don't have the courage to show the full consequences of the war?
Mark Halperin: It's very hard when we're not able to travel all around [Iraq] because of security reasons. Unfortunately we have to rely on government officials, and without singling the Bush administration out, we know for a fact that all governments lie, and that governments tend to lie particularly during wartime. So it's a challenge to show a complete picture, positive and negative, because of the circumstances of this war.
Why not "single the Bush administration out"? Who else was directly accountable during the Iraq war?
If "the circumstances of this war" are in question, (not WWI or Vietnam, etc), then why not be straight about who is being criticized?
Why are journalists afraid? Mainstream political journalists weave and wind their logic around their fear of being labeled as biased. We wind up with a meaningless, tangled ball of junk.
In defense of Mr. Halperin's performance in this interview, he did later admit:
"The Bush administration is very aggressive about protecting their interests, and not necessarily always balancing First Amendment rights."
I thought this was a good inteview, although I would have liked to have seen the interviewer take some of these questions a bit further. I think we may have received many relevant and helpful clues from Mr. Halperin as to how the media can improve on safeguarding the media's First Amendment rights on behalf of themselves and for the dual benefit of American democracy.
In its December 11th issue, Ben Milder of the Harvard Political Review reveals that "progressive blogs are now a media force with which to be reckoned".
Today, blogs are treated by the mainstream media as a novelty, and have at best a niche audience. Yet if they continue to grow at their current pace, they could indeed someday succeed in their goal of making the media and even the entire political system more accessible to the average American.