American Taliban

images-1You’re a young man who eschews walking in favor of a skateboard, who has a bevy of wahinis surrounding him when he surfs, who is blessed with a Washington D. C. family that is powerful and rich, who is allowed to delay college to find himself: his more spiritual side.

A High School theme paper and an interest in Arabic poetry lead him to a madrasa in Brooklyn where he starts to learn Arabic; then his friend and mentor at the school invites him for further study in Pakistan; then he discovers the erotic closeness of other men and goes off into the mountains to train and learn to improve his marksmanship. He does all of this in a romantic quest to be like Richard Burton and to live life to the fullest.

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Let’s Try the War Criminals

As a kid I learned that when your parents have you dead to rights … lie, lie, lie, and never stop lying. Now I was maybe eleven but there is a political party today that uses the same tactics.

SadamThe Republicans—especially those running for the nomination to be our next president—have been mumbling, stumbling, and bumbling in an effort to seem presidential and still support the party that brought us the death and destruction that was the Iraq War, the ruin of the American middle class, and what is possibly the biggest theft in our history in collusion with Wall Street and the banksters.

It is difficult to hear the blatant mendacity involved in the Republican revisions to the history of the Iraq war.

I contend that the only way to uncover the truth of this shameful episode in the history of this country is to charge the main instigators of the war—the people who supported the Bush Doctrine—and let the courts decide whether it was all just an embarrassing mistake based on faulty intelligence or whether in fact people such as Cheney, Bush, Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld, Perle, Feith, and Krystal, are  war criminals (and war profiteers) that should be behind bars.

I’m musing that Jeb Bush might find it ironic to learn that his bumbling reopened the case and might put his brother into prison after all.

Time To Rethink American Exceptionalism?

By The Daily Take Team, The Thom Hartmann Program | Op-Ed
Published in Truthout and excerpted here.

Each country thinks that it’s exceptional, and, truth be told, each country really is exceptional in its own special ways.

Abu GraebBut there’s a difference between celebrating your own unique way of life and thinking that you can do whatever you want and force your way of life onto everyone else. And if we as Americans want to move forward both as a people and as members of the international community, we need to understand this fact and start basing our foreign policy around it.

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How Testing Is Destroying Education

Jeff Bryant, in Nation of Change, has presenting a good argument for re-thinking our focus on testing as the true measure of the effectiveness of teaching. This is an old argument of mine and this article makes some excellent points that I will add to my arsenal.

testingHow Test Obsession Is Killing Education

Jeff Bryant, Nation of Change

Decisions to pass or fail students, rate teacher “ineffective” or “effective,” even keep schools open or close them down are now being made to an ever-increasing extent based on scores.

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