mousemusings...multimedia, music, progressive politics, video, web design and general rants
Human beings will be happier - not when they cure cancer or get to Mars or eliminate racial prejudice or flush Lake Erie but when they find ways to inhabit primitive communities again. That's my utopia.
~Kurt Vonnegut
Monday, September 25, 2006

Release the NIE!

, writing in The Nation, calls for public release of the infamous NIE. He'll settle for a redacted version, but wants the document out in the public forum.

Disambiguation: there is more than one infamous NIE. The one I am referring to is the one reported in the NYT that reveals that "the American invasion and occupation of Iraq has helped spawn a new generation of Islamic radicalism and that the overall terrorist threat has grown since the Sept. 11 attacks."

The Washington Post has been all over this one, too. They have an interview with retired Army Maj. Gen. John Batiste, who agrees with the NIE.

Within hours of the breaking of the news of the NIE, the White House had a reply. Reuters carried a piece on the subject, quoting White House spokesman Peter Watkins.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A newspaper report that a U.S. intelligence analysis said the Iraq war gave rise to a new generation of Islamic radicals and made the overall terrorism problem worse was "not representative of the complete document," the White House said on Sunday.

A day later, the WaPo quoted Negroponte.

The conclusion of U.S. intelligence analysts that the Iraq war has increased the threat from terrorism is only "a fraction of judgments" in a newly disclosed National Intelligence Estimate, Director of National Intelligence John D. Negroponte said yesterday.

Funny, isn't it, that they both said the same thing. And neither one said anything substantive. Of course the version in the news was not the full story. the document is classified. The reporters could not read it, so it would have been impossible for them to characterize it fully. To point that out is to point out the obvious, which is, well, pointless.

So if the Bush administration wants to defend itself, it will have to do what Corn suggests: release the report for public viewing. It's OK to black out anything that would reveal sources or methods.

Don't try to defend yourself by implying that you know more than we do, but you can't tell us the specifics. We are sick of that. We don't trust you. You've lied too much already. You have to show us the evidence. Just show us the report. Either that, or shut up and take your lumps.
posted by : Joseph j7uy5 | link |   | |

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Letter from Dennis Kucinich about Bush Administration Plans for a US War vs. Iran

This deserves at least some attention:

Dear Friends,

The Bush Administration is preparing for war against Iran, using an almost identical drumbeat of weapons of mass destruction, imminent threat, alleged links to Al Queda, and even linking Iran with a future 911.

In the past few months reports have been published in Newsweek, ABC News and GQ Magazine that indicate the US is recruiting members of paramilitary groups to destabilize Iran through violence. The New Yorker magazine and the Guardian have written that US has already deployed military inside Iran. The latest issue of Time writes of plans for a naval blockade of Iran at the Port of Hormuz, through which 40% of the world's oil supply passes. Other news reports have claimed that an air strike, using a variety of bombs including bunker busters to be dropped on over 1,000 targets, including nuclear facilities. This could obviously result in a great long term humanitarian and environmental disaster.

Earlier this year, I demanded congressional hearings on Iran and was able to secure the promise of a classified briefing from the Department of Defense, the State Department and the CIA. When the briefing was held, the Department of Defense and the State Department refused to show and are continuing to block any congressional inquiry into plans to attack Iran...

...You will recall that four and a half years ago I warned this nation about the deception behind the build up to war against Iraq. Everything I said then turned out to be 100% right...

Four years ago, skeptics thought Kucinich was off base. Now at least 50% of Americans agree that he was right, at least about the war.
posted by : Joseph j7uy5 | link |   | |

Thursday, September 21, 2006

DeVos Promotes Intelligent Design

When I came home from work, and saw the headline: DeVos Backs Discussion of Intelligent Design, I knew I wanted to blog it. Alas, I get the afternoon paper. Ed Brayton gets the morning paper, and had already beaten me to it. Not only that, but Mike and PZ had already added a few licks. They even made the same points that I was planning to make.

Since Ed's post is rather polite, I thought I would play the role of attack dog. But PZ led with the headline Michigan: I presume you won't actually elect this clown, right? So that point has been made. As to whether DeVos has a chance, well, I would not rule him out yet. DeVos still trails in the polls, despite a breathtakingly expensive ad campaign. He's spent $3,250,000 of his own money so far, and $21 million total. That's compared to $12 million raised by the Democratic incumbent, .

Then I was going to point out that this is a part of the Republican War on Science. But Mike's title is: The Republican War on Science Continues.

So I had to add something new, or at least try to.

Some background: DeVos is the Republican candidate for governor in Michigan. He is also a lead operator in the Amway/Quixtar pyramid scheme. (Note: it is not, technically speaking, an illegal pyramid scheme; it is a pyramid scheme that uses a legal loophole to sidestep prosecution.)

Mike made the point that DeVos' promotion of intelligent design is yet another manifestation of the Republican War on Science. Chris Mooney has argued the point very effectively in his book. But there is more to it than that.

The war on science is also a war on reason. But the reason that is important is not that science and reason are sacred icons that are never to be defiled. The war on science is important because of the effects it has on people. The war on science has a purpose: it distorts the power structure in our country, much to the detriment of its citizens.

One of the sources of political power is the power of persuasion. The problem with science is that it can be very persuasive, but when done properly, science can be used on to persuade people of things that the science actually supports. That makes it dangerous.

And that is the connection to the Amway/Quixtar business. DeVos made his billions using the power of persuasion, but not with the power of logic. A simple mathematical analysis of the business shows that it cannot possibly work for the majority of participants. So it is not in DeVos' best interest to teach people to think in a scientifically rigorous manner. To the contrary, it is in his best interest to destroy the foundations of scientific education. By introducing faith in the guise of science, he is trying to do exactly that.

When a reported called DeVos' attention to the flap over his ID/Creationism stance, DeVos stated:

"This debate is another attempt," he said, "by the other side to take the subject away from the true debate in Michigan and the true debate is how are we going to get Michigan back to work."

No, it is not a diversionary tactic. It is a valid point in its own right. If DeVos does not understand the issues, that is a valid point. If he does not support science education, that is a valid point. If he values deception over truth, that is a valid point. In an honest debate, one does not derisively dismiss a valid point. If he has a valid argument to offer, he should let us know what it is.

An editorial in the Livingston County Press & Argus, the editorial board expresses this considered opinion:

DeVos should not be pushing intelligent design

It's disappointing that Republican gubernatorial candidate Dick DeVos has said that he favors teaching intelligent design alongside evolution in our public school science classes.

His decision appears to pander toward a segment of his political party at the expense of quality education.

Intelligent design — the belief that our world is so complex that it had to be the product of a higher form — was called religion masquerading as science by a federal judge in Pennsylvania last year. That's a pretty good summary of it.

People can and should hold their personal beliefs about the existence of a Supreme Being who created all life. But that belief should not be forced upon our public school systems as a scientific alternative.

We suspect that DeVos fully understands what he is doing and merely wants to solidify himself among some Christian observers, while forcing his opponent to reject the argument.

This is a time when we need to improve our reputation as a state that values scientific research and investment. In this case, DeVos is not providing the type of leadership change this state needs.

In an interview, DeVos said this:

"I've always believed that our children should be provided with more knowledge, not less," DeVos said in a statement. "Lots of intelligent people can disagree about the origins of life. In the end, I believe in the system of local control. Local school boards should have the opportunity to offer evolution and intelligent design in their curriculums."

This is an example of a politician contorting a topic to conclude his statement with a standard party line. In this case, he ends up not addressing the issue at hand, which he knows nothing about, but instead changes the topic to one that he feels is a strong point. The thing about this that is dishonest, is that if he really believed in local control, he would hardly be able to support a unitary executive.

Furthermore, the issue of local control is not really a strong point of the Republican party at this stage of history. Over the past six years, the Party has been selective, favoring local control when it suits their interest, but discarding it when it does not.

What he is doing in his campaign is fundamentally dishonest, just as his business model is dishonest.

In this campaign, the challenger has the advantage of having no political record that the incumbent can attack. But DeVos does have a business record, and that record reveals him to be a Merchant of Deception.
posted by : Joseph j7uy5 | link |   | |

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Gender Gap Closing!

I missed this the first time around, but now I am "happy"* to report that the gender pay gap is narrowing. On August 31, 2006, just in time for , the US Dept. of Labor issued a report that shows a shrinking of the gender pay gap. Here are two of the items they chose to highlight:

Although women, on average, may earn less than men for a variety of reasons, including differences in work schedules and career decisions to accommodate raising their families or taking care of loved ones, education is a great equalizer, accounting for more favorable changes in real earnings for women than for men over the last 25 years.

What has been called the "pay gap" is shrinking and is now the smallest it has ever been since the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) began tracking this data.

Of course, there are two sides to every story.

Whenever people start analyzing large data sets, they somehow find ways to pull out numbers that make their point. Here is another way to look at the same data:


I had to shrink it a little to fit, but you see the point. The gender pay gap is shrinking, but only because the pay for men is falling faster than the pay for women.

The graph is from the 's Economic Snapshot for September 6, 2006. They say:

Of course this projection is preposterous, but it clearly shows the absurdity of celebrating that men’s pay is shrinking faster than women’s

If the trends continue, in 2024 there will be no gender pay gap, and men will be earning about half of what they used to make. Contrary to the BLS report, it is not education that's the great equalizer; it's trickle-down economics. If everyone is at the bottom, then everyone is equal.

Or, in other words, a rising tide lifts all yachts.

* Those are "air quotes, " which I find annoying, but useful.
posted by : Joseph j7uy5 | link |   | |

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Michigan Politics 2006

This is a book about the billions: where they came from, and how they were gotten.
Don't vote in Michigan's next election without first reading this book: . (free download, about 2.3 MB PDF).

He's claiming that he'll bring jobs to Michigan, but his company has laid off 600, offered early buyouts to hundreds more, and opened a plant in China.

Admittedly, there are two sides to this story. But the counterattack by the Republican party is, frankly, laughable. They point out that Michigan has lost 103,100 jobs under Granholm (2003-2006). But they fail to mention that from 2000-2003, under the Engler administration, the state lost 239,900 jobs.

If you just look at the numbers under Granholm administration, it looks bad. But in point of fact, she's done quite a bit better than her predecessor.

Getting back to the topic of the book, it is worth noting that it is more than an exposé on the "moral values" of the Republican gubernatorial candidate. It is an exposé of the whole concept of the ownership society.

posted by : Joseph j7uy5 | link |   | |

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Michigan Peaceworks Announcements

Here are some peace-related events in and around Washtenaw County, courtesy of Michigan Peaceworks:

Michigan Peaceworks
120 1/2 W. Liberty, Ann Arbor, MI 48104. 734-761-5922.


The Community Calendar is provided as a community service of Michigan Peaceworks (MPW). The following events are not necessarily endorsed by MPW. If you have an event of interest to our audience, send an announcement (maximum two paragraphs) to at least one week in advance of the event.

Protest Bush in Clarkston Michigan TOMORROW
Friday September 8
11am -
Oakland County airport on the (south side of M-59)
Gather on the public easement directly across from the airport exit on M-59 between the sidewalk and M-59.

Oakland County International Airport
6500 Highland Road
Waterford, Michigan, USA, 48327-1607
Phone: 248-666-3900
Fax: 248-666-3341

For more info. contact:
Bruce Fealk, 248-652-8781

Unveiled: Stories from the Lives of Muslim Women is a performance piece that explores the mysterious lives behind the veil. This piece uncovers, for Western society, the personal lives, inner struggles and triumphs of Islamic Women, by providing an illuminating tapestry connecting all, through the threads of humanity. You will laugh, perhaps cry but for certain walk away from the experience with a clearer picture of the women who walk within your midst, veiled.

Monday, September 11, 2006 8PM
Eastern Michigan University
Roosevelt Hall Auditorium

Wednesday, September 13, 2006 8PM
Arab American Museum, Dearborn
Tickets: General $8, Student $5
(Tickets will not be sold at the door)
Tickets can be purchased at The EMU Convocation Center Box Office 799 North Hewitt Rd. Ypsilanti, MI 48197
M-F 9-5 734- 487-2282

You can also contact for tickets.

Michigan Peaceworks' Youth Activist Network

September 13th has been designated the day for students, en masse, to opt out of recruiters' databases (the No Child Left Behind Act legally obligates public schools to turn over contact information for high school students to military recruiters; see below). It will be a day when high school students pledge to not to go to war and kill.

High school activists will carry stacks of opt-out forms to school on that day and encourage their peers to fill them out and turn them in to the school office.

Join and support high school students in this day of mass opting-out of inclusion in military recruiters' databases.

- Download the Ann Arbor Public Schools' opt-out forms here.
- Download generic opt-out forms here.
- Download handbills publicizing Opt-Out Day here.
- Download fliers publicizing Opt-Out Day here.

For more information or assistance call the Michigan Peaceworks office at 734-761-5922.

An Inconvenient Truth
The critically acclaimed film on Global Warming

Free Admission
2 Show Times:
September 13th at 7:00 pm & September 14th at 7:00 pm

Clinton Theater
132 W. Michigan Avenue in Clinton, Michigan
Phone: 517-456-4315

Sponsored by Lenawee Peacemakers, CANOPAS and
Manchester Area People for Peace (MAPP)

One United Michigan presents...

Michigan Women's Summit 2006
What's at Stake for Michigan Families

Friday, September 15, 2006
8:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Lunch provided.

The Michigan Women's Summit 2006: What's at Stake for Michigan Families will call women to action about issues we all care about – improving women’s health care, economic status and educational opportunities.

Join in discussions and workshops to learn more about how affirmative action programs in Michigan have created opportunities for women that benefit all of our families.

Various locations.

Prospects for Peace:
Conflict Resolution in the Middle East

Robert F. Kline lecture features:
Juan Cole
Professor, History, University of Michigan
Author of Informed Comment Blog and

Helena Cobban
Journalist , Christian Science Monitor
Author of Just World News Blog

Cobban and Cole have been at the forefront in translating the complex forces in the Middle East to nonexpert citizens.

Sunday, September 17, 2006
4:00 pm
; Reception to follow

First Unitarian Universalist Congregation
4001 Ann Arbor-Saline Rd
Suggested Donation $10-25 Sliding Scale
For more information call 734-665-6158.

Come celebrate America's wild lands, wild waters, and wild lives with Walkin' Jim Stoltz and special guests Kitty Donohoe, Matt Watroba and the Long Hairz Collective. Enjoy an evening of stunning photography, live music and stories, and action information from over two dozen wilderness advocacy organizations.

The concert will be held at Washtenaw Community College, Morris Lawrence Building - Towsley Auditorium in Ann Arbor, Michigan on September 18, 2006. Doors will open at 6:30 pm. The concert starts at 7:00 pm.

This event is free and open to the public. To obtain your FREE TICKET to the Ann Arbor show, call (734) 973-9161 or email Tickets will also be available at the door while the supply lasts.

Ride-sharing and alternative transportation are appreciated.

For more information, call Jeannine or Dale at (734) 971-5870.

An Evening with Carrie Newcomer

Quaker singer-songwriter and activist

Sept. 22, 2006
The Ark / Ann Arbor, MI / 734-761-1451

Newcomer has been telling stories and blending diverse musical styles for nearly two decades, influenced by "singing poets" as well as by the R&B and rock 'n' roll she heard growing up within the range of Chicago's radio waves. Described as one of the definitive voices of the Heartland, the Indiana native sings of the small joys and pains in life, emphasizing the little moments that are often taken for granted.

Washtenaw County Democracy for America presents:

"Iraq for Sale": The War Profiteers

Sunday October 8, 3 pm
Pittsfield Charter Township Hall

6201 W.Michigan Ave., Ann Arbor, MI 48108

Acclaimed director Robert Greenwald (Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price, Outfoxed, and Uncovered) takes you inside the lives of soldiers, truck drivers, widows and children who have been changed forever as a result of profiteering in the reconstruction of Iraq. Iraq for Sale uncovers the connections between private corporations making a killing in Iraq and the decision makers who allow them to do so.

posted by : Joseph j7uy5 | link |   | |

Monday, September 04, 2006

Terrorism Index Reminder

You might have seen the article, The Terrorism Index, in Foreign Policy magazine a while ago. If you did, here is a reminder of the high points. If you did not, go read the whole thing.


posted by : Joseph j7uy5 | link |   | |


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