Friday, September 08, 2006

Scholastic Provides Rewritten Guide to Focus on Critical Thinking

Scholastic Provides Rewritten Guide to Focus on Critical Thinking

The Scholastic company, who withdrew a guide to the upcoming docudrama about 9/11 two days ago because they "believe it was not in keeping with their high standards," has "rewritten this guide to focus more sharply on the issues of the docudrama as well as the background events."

This program is highly controversial because:

As a docudrama, it contains imagined scenes that some of the political figures who lived through the period say are misleading and inaccurate.

It is an emotional portrayal of a period leading up to one of the searing events of our time—one which I personally witnessed first-hand from our Scholastic offices (less than a mile from the World Trade Center site). Several of our employees’ family members died in the attack.

It is being broadcast in a period just before the 2006 elections. A major election issue is the relationship between terrorism, the war in Iraq, and other conflicts in the Middle East and Afghanistan. As such, The Path to 9/11 is viewed by some as political and partisan.
The new guide can be seen here.

NY25: Rep. Walsh Caught Flip-Flopping

NY25: Rep. Walsh Caught Flip-Flopping

At Daily Kos, a blogger from Rochester, N.Y. has posted an audio of a question he asked of Congressman James Walsh about the minimum wage issue, claiming that he received far less than an honest reply.

This USATODAY article shows that Rep. Walsh voted "Yes" last June for a raise in the federal minimum wage on an appropriations committee that had no official jurisdiction on the issue. The amendment was attached to a bill funding health and education programs, and it was expected to be likely stripped out when the measure came to the House floor.

When his vote counted on a similar amendment - Rep Walsh's vote was with the Bush Republicans - and that vote was "No". According to the Post Standard's Peter Lyman, the DCCC has accused Rep. Walsh of flip-flopping on the minimum wage. Rep. Walsh gave the excuse that he voted for the first amendment because it was attached to the spending bill for the Labor Department, where "it belonged."

Should the question of "belonging" change your representative's core support of raising the incredibly embarrassing $5.15 federal minimum wage? Are voters right to point out the hypocrisy here? 37 million Americans are living below the poverty line today.

You decide.

Bolton is toast

Bolton is Toast

Steve Clemons is reporting that John Bolton's confirmation as U.N. ambassador is all but dead - squashed flat - finito.

In his book Our Endangered Values - America's Moral Crisis, President Jimmy Carter questions some of John Bolton's past statements about the very international organization that he represents on behalf of our country. Mr. Bolton, who is the United States' ambassador to the United Nations, has publicly stated that he thinks it's a "big mistake for us to grant any validity to international law even when it may seem in our short term interest to do so." He has insisted that the United Nations is "valuable only when it directly serves the United States." Bolton represents the revolutionary new foreign policies of the United States. While he was undersecretary of State for arms control, Mr. Bolton made some false statements about Cuba's involvement in the production of biological weapons and when he could not force intelligence agents to corroborate his statements, he attempted to have some of them discharged. President Carter believes this kind of action epitomizes the kind of politicization of intelligence that has led to the Iraq WMD fiasco.

President Carter, recognizing that there are as of yet no commonly accepted definitions for this type of activity in shaping policy, has chosen to use "fundamentalism" to describe the conglomeration of characteristics attributed to neo-conservatives and/or to the extreme right wing. These are the people who dominate the highest councils of American government and approve of preemptive war as an acceptable avenue to reach an imperialistic goal. A dependence upon military force to expand America's influence has dramatically reduced the attractiveness of our political, cultural, and religious offerings to the world. He believes that our great nation could realize "all reasonable dreams of global influence if we properly utilized the advantageous values of our religious faith and historic ideals of peace, economic, and political freedom, democracy, and human rights."

John Bolton has been carrying the ball for President Bush at the U.N. The failure of his conformation leads us to see that the members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee are seeing the value of the return to tradional diplomacy, which has been appropriately utilized by every Oval Office predecessor of George W. Bush.

The True Path to 9-11

The True Path to 9-11: What ABC won’t tell you by Kevin Hayden

Don't miss this definitive piece by the owner and chief operator of the American Street.

An excerpt:
After the USSR fell apart, our Presidents have had to redefine alliances, revamp our military for post-Cold War needs, compete with the rising oil needs of the world’s two largest populations in China and India, modernize our communications technology in the midst of a global information technology revolution, recognize that groups of terrorists were utilizing those same technological advances to build global terror capacities, counter that growing threat, and still seek, via diplomacy, the proper balance of ‘carrot-and-stick’ initiatives to try and move major oil supplying nations to less repressive societies, and to try to do so with minimal loss of life.

That’s a pretty tall order that takes time to achieve. From the time the USSR dissolved till the 9-11 attacks occurred was just under ten years. All three presidents during that period countered terrorists throughout, but each also made some choices that caused some terrorists to react with further violence. As none of the three presidents was a mindreader, it was generally impossible to predict the logic of terror masterminds, especially when new ones arose -like Bin Laden - who were largely unknown.

Yet, as information about such key terrorists grew, analysts could occasionally make successful predictions about likely responses. And that had to be weighed along with other intel data, in presidential decisions about Bin Laden and other Al Qaida leaders, as the avalilable knowledge about them grew. Thus, it’d be reasonable to expect that Bin Laden was unknown to the first President Bush, that Clinton, especially in his second term, would gain some advantage from the growing knowledge and the second President Bush would have the broadest knowledge of all available to him.

Satirist Fearguth has created his own artistic statement about ABC's decidely partisan fiction:

More Americans Get Their Distorted History
From ABC Than From Any Other Source