Buy This For Me

There are two things I want to do right now. First, I want to improve through practice my Spanish skills. It's been a while since I was regularly learning new Spanish lessons at the same time the lessons were entirely in Spanish. I liked the classes. I scored well.

Second, I want to learn Arabic. Reading "The Arabists" and all the other texts I've consumed after 9/11 lead me to want to travel into the Arab world. Again, because I want to understand. But there I'm caught in a tug of war between international understanding and domestic entrepreneurship.

I've reserved John Sperling's auto-biography "Rebel With a Cause". His story appeals to me as his life began a very poor boy and lives in his 9th decade as a very wealthy man. But it is not his wealth that attracts my attention. It is his mid life crisis. He split from his leftist activism, university teaching and California dreaming to eventually launch the University of Phoenix -- a for profit educational institute.

Who the Hell is Ward Harkavy?

I'm listening to the Michael Medved show on WIND 560AM through their netstream and a caller pops in the conversation about John Bolton. He says he read something about Bolton's actions in obstructing the Iran-Contra affair at the Village Voice Blog.

So I drop in at the Village Voice, something I usually avoid because of the Voice's arch leftist bent and New York proximity, but I want to understand where the caller is coming from. It turns out the information the caller cites comes from one of the few blogs hosted by the Village Voice. It is called "The Bush Beat" and its editor is Ward Harkavy. Ward's an old sports editor for the Voice until they scalped the sports section of the Village Voice.

Each day Ward overloads the reader with corners, curves and fastballs relative to President Bush. Today's post is about, what else, power, money, politics, religion, philosophy and pizza. I'm hungry.

I don't think Ward Harkavy would like me very much. I'm Roman Catholic. I attend a church attended to my the Order of Opus Dei. I've expressed interest in studying religion and philosophy at Ave Maria University. I come from a Domioes Pizza fed family. I subscribe to Father Richard John Neihaus' "First Things" journal. I like the selection of Cardinal Ratzinger as Pope and the choice of Benedict for a title. I don't think much of Gary Wills. I read the Wall Street Journal when I can afford it.

Ultimately, I'm the guy that Ward prays for my sins. But this is the Village Voice. The only prayers they offer are to stay affloat. Nonetheless, they still have some ad subscribers, but their sidebar directs you to Indymedia, FAIR, the ACLU's "torture" site, Halliburton Watch, Human Rights Watch, the Center for Constitutional Rights and Henry Waxman's minority office on the House Reform Committee. Do I to try to understand Ward's politics?

There's way too many writers to chronicle, but I actually am interested in understanding some of Ward Harkavy's bio. Where's he from? Where has he written? What schools did he attend? Alternatively, it is easier to settle with the conclusion that he edits for the Village Voice so he's likely a tool of some other pizza chain dominatrix with monetary connections manipulating the Gay Arena.

Er, maybe not pizza, but rather mystery meat.


The Family That Plays Together, Stays Together

Once again a member of Congress is upset that the media reports facts. This time it is Bernie Sanders(I-VT). Bernie passes around the cash to keep his family in his business.

Bennington Banner Story
WASHINGTON -- Rep. Bernard Sanders used campaign donations to pay his wife and stepdaughter more than $150,000 for campaign-related work since 2000, according to records filed with the Federal Election Commission.

This article didn't please Rep. Sanders so he labeled the story "a lie". The Bennington Banner followed up with an editorial about the concerns.
The way Rep. Sanders has reacted to the revelatons, we think, indicates that he realizes how the situation looks. He claims the story was a lie, although the information came from public government records and was confirmed by his own staff, and he does not refute any of the facts in our report.

Those dirty facts are always get in the way of progress.


Uhh, Frontpage Please

Yea, it's buried in section B, page 9, but the San Francisco Chronicle gives some space to Brian Simpson to explain to Californians why they are paying so much at the pump.

Who's to blame for high gasoline prices?

U.N. Votes To Outlaw Nuclear Terrorism (washingtonpost.com)

A moment of silence please; the United Nations expands international law for the safety or people and the environment throughout our wonderful planet. Today, the General Assembly "Votes To Outlaw Nuclear Terrorism".
The Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism is the first anti-terrorism treaty to be adopted since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States. It is the 13th anti-terrorism treaty and builds on recent efforts by the U.N. Security Council to compel states to strengthen their laws and policies to combat terrorist groups.

The treaty goes into effect if it is ratified by 22 member states. I'm so elated that the it only took the UN bureaucracy 42 months to look out the windows of their Manhattan offices. Heck, for a few months they were inhailing the evidence.


Beltway Irony

It is little stories like these that have placed Eric Phieffer's "Beltway Buzz" blog at National Review Online on my morning reads.
Earlier this week, Democracy for America sent a letter to supporters blasting Tom DeLay for having his wife and daughter on his campaign re-election payroll.

Before it was Democracy for America, the organization was Dean for America, created by DNC Chair Howard Dean to support his now-failed presidential bid. What DFA's letter failed to mention is that Democracy for America is now run by – Dean’s younger brother, Jim. In the 2004 cycle, he was paid $22,177 By Dean For America and $6,009 by Democracy For America, according to the non-partisan Political Money Line website. Up to date dollar numbers for 2005 are not currently available.


Protestors at John Bolton Hearing

The protestors at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the nomination of John Bolton for US Ambassador to the United Nations was interrupted by protestors. Three women from the organization "Code Pink 4 Peace" stood up and held banners as they shouted their slogans against the Bolton nomination.

One of the protestors was Gael Murphy. Gael is one of two co-founders of Code Pink. The other co-founder is Medea Benjamin.

This was not the first time Gael Murphy has been escorted from a committee hearing. During Don Rumsfeld's testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee regarding Abu Ghraib, Gael stood up and disrupted that hearing as well.

Are there more? Yes.

Gael was also escorted out of the Republican National Convention. You might say that perhaps Gael shows up on a watch list, though there doesn't seem to be any real security threat other than obtaining security clearance DURING THE PRESIDENT'S SPEECH. It does not appear that she has in fact threatened anyone with anything other than a banner they don't want to see and some words they don't want to hear.

I wonder if she would agree to an interview.

MORE: Gael has apparently met the Protest Warriors. They liked her almost as much as I do.


More Trouble at Old Grey Lady

Editor and Publisher has a story -- "Fired 'NYT' Foreign Correspondent Angrily Denies Charges" -- that includes some quotes from Susan Sachs, the fired Times reporter.

It's he said, she said. Sachs is employing the services of the Newspaper Guild, a Communications Workers of America union, to defend herself against the charges.


Washington Post Sells Short

Mike Allen, original reporter for the Washington Post on the "GOP Talking Points Memo", has filed a new report about the admission from Senator Mel Martinez that the author of the memo works in his office. Brian Darling, Martinez's General Counsel, admitted to authoring the memo and then provided his resignation.

Allen fumbles the story in only the second paragraph though. He describes Darling as a former lobbyist "on gun rights and other issues". Allen is right about the "other issues". However, he is depiction of Darling's lobbying efforts as "gun rights" is really inaccurate. Darling worked with the Airline Pilots Security Alliance as a spokesman and legislative consultant. The aim of the group was to support legislation for pilots to carry arms in the cockpit.

A more accurate representation would have reflected the aims and accomplishments of APSA. Simply toting it as lobbying for "gun rights" is not enough. The Post readers deserve more.