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THE WRIGHT FRAME April 30, 2008

Posted by wmmbb in US Politics.
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Or is it the Wright frame-up? As Paul Woodward says at The War in Context it is remarkable how little attention is actually paid to what Rev. Jeremiah Wright actually says at the National Press Conference in Washington or in pulpit. Everybody is supposed to be in awe of the way the right wing media circus will do with the latest opportunity. Snippets aplenty, and much like the Clinton campaign with motives as pure as snow. Their’s is not a racist campaign. But could any candidate run against the corporate media and win the election?
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AFGHANISTAN AGAIN April 28, 2008

Posted by wmmbb in South West Asia.
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As it happens my nephew served in Afghanistan for a tour of duty before he left the service, so that focused my attention. In these cases there is often a personal context, a historical context to frame the current developments, and the political, even geo-political, context. The long and involved history of Afghanistan is a story of imperialisms, and in the twentieth century the struggle for modernization and reaction to those attempts, and of a country in which the national state was notional, or subject to negotiation, rather than a common understanding among the peoples of Afghanistan.
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THE MARATHON CAMPAIGN April 28, 2008

Posted by wmmbb in US Politics.
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Susan Milligan in The Boston Globe points out the Republicans as much as the Democrats are running into problems after a long drawn out campaign. As Obama said the other day babies have been born and have learnt to speak in the fifteen months he has been campaigning.
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PUBLIC INTELLECTUALS April 26, 2008

Posted by wmmbb in Social Environment.
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I am not familiar with the literature on opinion leadership, but I suppose public intellectuals who create and frame ideas would feature. For example, if a set of ideas such as neo-liberalism, or any other economic fashion, was considered, there would be a set of influential proponents. Most of us are not that well informed, or expert, or imaginative, and recognize it. Some of us tend to accept the plausible as given, and do not take the trouble to drive concept around the block and see whether the wheels fall off. That might be the minimum, but even that degree of engagement with disciplined thinking in comparing evidence and conclusions requires skill and application. Far easier in that case to rely upon the experts.
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FRIDAY NIGHT DOG BLOG – SMOOTH OPERATORS April 26, 2008

Posted by wmmbb in DOG BLOG -.
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We experienced heavy rain this week, which meant that on a few days we did not get out. It is easy enough to take digital photos, but putting them together is another story.
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INTEGRATIVE POWER April 25, 2008

Posted by wmmbb in Peace.
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So what is war good for? Today marks the landing at Anzac Cove when Australians, New Zealanders joined the British and French, to invade another country, Turkey, in their fight for “King, the Empire and country”. When not engaged in fruitless, heroics to scale Lone Pine, they were taking their gin to go over the top in the bogs of the Somme and elsewhere in which one military commentator described as stupidity. Then there has been the tiresome repetition of wars that has entrapped most generations. The constructive thought is to think of alternatives.
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NUCLEAR BACKYARD April 24, 2008

Posted by wmmbb in Humankind/Planet Earth, Natural Environment.
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The activities of human beings have reached the point some time ago when they threatened the life support systems of the earth. To quote Dr Michael Molitor, via Deltoid:

In order to stabilise concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere at safe levels by 2050 we will need to avoid more than 600 billion tonnes in expected carbon emissions over the next 42 years. There is both a massive potential cost and opportunity associated with achieving this ambitious global target.

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THAT WOMAN, CLINTON April 23, 2008

Posted by wmmbb in US Politics.
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The consensus of opinion seem to be that Clinton will win in Pennsylvania, but the margin of her success will be significant. Polls in Pennsylvania appear to be giving her a clear lead. A loss would be fatal to the Clinton campaign, but any win could be spun, as it will be. According to The New York Times , age is decisive in indicating whether Democratic voters are likely to support Clinton or Obama. Voter turnout is reported as heavy, but that is coming off a low base of 26% in the Democratic primary election of 2004.

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PHOENIX REPUBLIC April 22, 2008

Posted by wmmbb in Australian Politics.
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Will the Australian Republic arise from the ashes and devastation of the 1999 Constitutional Referendum? I am somewhat surprised that the invited experts in the governance group of the 2020 Ideas would settle on the revival of this idea. According to ABC News Online, leading monarchist Professor David Flint apparently made reference to Mugabe’s behavior in Zimbabwe, and drank a toast to the Queen as it was her birthday (something I did not know, much less cared about) to illustrate the complete irrelevance of monarchism for me, at least.
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OBAMA FOR PRESIDENT April 21, 2008

Posted by wmmbb in US Politics.
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Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labor in the Clinton Administration and now at UCB proclaims on his blog his support for Obama. He writes:

I believe that Barack Obama should be elected President of the United States.

Although Hillary Clinton has offered solid and sensible policy proposals, Obama’s strike me as even more so. His plans for reforming Social Security and health care have a better chance of succeeding. His approaches to the housing crisis and the failures of our financial markets are sounder than hers. His ideas for improving our public schools and confronting the problems of poverty and inequality are more coherent and compelling. He has put forward the more enlightened foreign policy and the more thoughtful plan for controlling global warming.
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STRANGE OR STRANGER? April 20, 2008

Posted by wmmbb in Life Experience.
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Colleen at Simply Coll has started a meme, at least with me and a few of her other readers. The Myers-Briggs personality test and multiple intelligence test as per Howard Gardiner are given online. These tests, as it typical of personality tests, are based on multiple choice questions and answers. My problem is that I cannot easily answer the questions. It is not as it I am lying (or though I think that would be relatively easy to manufacture outcomes) . So these tests do not really work for me.
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TOO OLD TO BE ALIVE? April 20, 2008

Posted by wmmbb in Social Environment.
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One of the long term effects of the Illawarra Ideas Summit is that it gave a sense of other people’s problems – the young, the old, the disabled, the unfortunate and the changing demographic profile of the population. There are, it seems, always exceptional individuals, and while perhaps they should not be taken as the rule, but they show what can be done. Now this bloke does even look like an 80 year old person, let alone act like one. Wendy Urguhart has the BBC video report.
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RENEWED ATTACK ON IRAQ April 20, 2008

Posted by wmmbb in Iraq.
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The Iraqi government army, backed by American and British airpower and firepower, is according to this report from ABC Online attempting a second, and more successful, push against the al Mahdi Army, although that description is contested by other sources.
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FRIDAY NIGHT DOG BLOG – RUFF AND READY April 19, 2008

Posted by wmmbb in DOG BLOG -.
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Mountain Girl provided the photo challenge this week – “Rough”. I have to say “ruff and ready” is not too far from the mark for the dogs. I sometimes forget things and have to make do. It rained through the week so we had the deal with the slippery effects both after and during the rainfall. And it is true that I opted once for the ruff and rocky road home – somehow I forget about other dogs along the way. (As this set of photos is put together, consistent with the theme, Emmylou Harris is singing “Rough and Rocky”.)
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NECK AND NECK April 18, 2008

Posted by wmmbb in US Politics.
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They have turned into the final straight, and this poll describes the outcome as too close to call. Preferring to believe this polling as more realistic, I will disregard a previous suggestion that Clinton is ahead of Obama by 20%. The Newsmax/Zogby telephone poll,via Truthdig, taken over the 15-16 April identifies clear gender, geographic, racial and social class differentiations in support by the Democratic voters of Pennsylvania for the respective candidates. According to this poll result, Clinton leads Obama by 45 to 44% with an expected margin of error of plus or minus 4.1%
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BERLUSCONI BACK April 18, 2008

Posted by wmmbb in European Politics.
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A general election was held in Italy on April 13 and April 14, 2008 after the President dissolved parliament on February 6, 2008. Romano Prodi’s left-centre coalition had been defeated in a January Senate vote. Now it seems that Berlusconi and his coalition, including the Northern League and the post-Fascist, National Alliance , have won a majority in the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate.
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THE BATTLE OF BASRA April 18, 2008

Posted by wmmbb in Iraq.
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The news comes in day by day, and the focus moves on. Even in Iraq where so much is happening, and the media has lost interest, partly because it is a dangerous and difficult environment for reporters. Prime Minister Al Maliki is currently in Europe talking of mysterious forces, presumably Al Qaeda, ” that wish to do harm”, but last week he was the general directing the Battle of Basra as the Mahdi army. From reports, that exercise seemed to be a spectacular failure, with many of the Government forces surrendering en masse rather than die for a cause they did not believe in. Maliki is still prime minister so nothing has changed?
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TELEVISION IN FOCUS April 16, 2008

Posted by wmmbb in Australian Politics, US Politics.
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“The idiot box” is not too far off the mark. There is just something about the presumption of television in particular along with its pervasiveness inclusiveness, and non-participatory nature that is inherently undemocratic. The normative values assumed by the presenters appear to have an authority that cannot seemingly be questioned.
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US MILITARY SUICIDES April 15, 2008

Posted by wmmbb in US Politics.
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Much has been made of supporting the troops. As we should have known this is just a slogan for political purposes, and not a commitment. The treatment of the veterans and the conditions at Walter Reed are evidence. Leaving aside questions of definition or measurement, 20% of all suicides in the US in 2005 were current or former members of the armed services, making them the most likely or among the most likely people die by suicide.
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20% LEAD April 15, 2008

Posted by wmmbb in US Politics.
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Polls can be wrong of course, but in this case the margin appears too great. Clinton is leading Obama in Pennsylvania by 57% to 37% according to the American Research Group. The previous week their poll findings had the candidates tied at 45%. How can the volatility of the polling outcomes be explained?
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