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The Weblog at The View from the Core - Thu. 12/08/05 06:30:07 AM

Readworthies XXVII

A handful of interesting, informative, and insightful articles.

News, editorials, columns, essays, et al.

Blanco's office scrambled to spin Katrina: E-mails detail effort to ensure feds took blame for slow response by Jan Moller @The Times-Picayune (ht):

Gov. Kathleen Blanco and the Bush administration were locked in a pitched political battle to shape public opinion about the response to Hurricane Katrina at the same time they were trying to manage the rescue operation, documents released late Friday by the governor's office show.
E-mails turned over by the state to the congressional committees investigating the hurricane response show that the governor's senior staff was deeply involved in trying to preserve the governor's political standing and make sure that the White House was blamed for the slow pace of the initial response....

Is Religion Evil? Secularism's Pride and Irrational Prejudice by Carl E. Olson @ Igatius Insight (ht):

The common wisdom in many circles (most located in certain cities on the East and Left Coasts) is that religion, in general, is a bad thing, and that in the hands of "fundamentalists," the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis, and ultra-super-radical-Islamic terrorists, it is inevitably evil. Eliminating religion, it is then suggested or even openly argued, is a sure way to rid the world of evil. The term "religion," it should be noted, almost always refers to Christianity (or a form of pseudo-Christianity) and then, in some cases, to Islam....

For the Love of Narnia by Michael Nelson @ The Chronicle Review (ht):

The strategy for marketing the movie The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, which will open across the country on December 9, resembles nothing so much as the strategy used to re-elect George W. Bush as president in 2004: Pursue mainstream voters, er, viewers in widely broadcast ads that stress martial valor and family values, and target Christian evangelicals with overtly religious appeals church by church, radio station by radio station.
It's a strategy that appears to be working, at least so far. While Newsweek, which was given an exclusive look at the rough cut of the movie, says that Lion is "only as Christian as you want it to be," Ted Haggard, president of the National Association of Evangelicals, describes it as a "tool that many may find effective in communicating the message of Jesus to those who may not respond to other presentations."
But it's not a strategy that Philip Pullman will allow to succeed without a fight. Pullman is the author of His Dark Materials, a three-volume children's book series that has won popular and critical acclaim rivaling that of the half-century-old, seven-book The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis, of which The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is the first volume. In articles, interviews, and speeches, Pullman has described The Chronicles not just as "propaganda in the cause of the religion [Lewis] believed in," but also as guilty of advancing views such as, "Death is better than life; boys are better than girls; light-colored people are better than dark-colored people; and so on." And those are just Pullman's G-rated charges. He also has blasted The Chronicles in public forums as "one of the most ugly and poisonous things I've ever read," "propaganda in the service of a life-hating ideology," "blatantly racist," "monumentally disparaging of girls and women," and marked by a "sadomasochistic relish for violence."
If Pullman is right, not only should mainstream moviegoers stay away from Lion, so should evangelical Christians. "The highest virtue, we have on the authority of the New Testament itself," the avowedly atheistic Pullman said in a recent interview about the movie, "is love, and yet you find not a trace of that in the books."
But is Pullman right?...

The Unsteady Path of Constitutional Democracy: Considering the Middle Eastern Moment from the Perspective of 18th Century America by Justin Paulette @ Intellectual Conservative (ht):

At every step toward democratization in the Middle East and Central Asia, skeptics have claimed that the imperfections of the process, the factious contentions among the population, and the narrowness of the democratic victories portend the inevitable failure of the entire enterprise. The nascent Iraqi republic, for example, has endured Sunni boycotts, fiercely competing regional cabals (based largely on religion) and all of the ills and burdens associated with democratic governance the world over. Now, in the wake of a new Iraqi constitution, as well as elections in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Lebanon, perhaps a moment of self-reflection should temper the next volley of doomsday predictions.
It would constitute a massive distortion of history to claim that the obstacles presently suffered in the Middle East must necessarily foreshadow the futility of the democratic movement at hand. Such cynicism is particularly unfounded if the condemnation of Middle Eastern fortunes is based upon a claim that those people do not benefit from the favorable winds which ushered in America’s constitutional democracy. The U.S. Constitution was an object of deep mistrust, charged with scandalous power-mongering and proving an extraordinarily hard sell at the time of its eventual adoption. Were a foreign viewer to witness the debacle of American democratization and constitution-building during the late 18th century, surely our fate would have seemed no less imperiled and worthy of derision than the efforts now underway in the Middle East....

The Donner Party's Over by Barbara and David P. Mikkelson @ Urban Legends Reference Pages:

Claim: Two of Santa's reindeer were originally named 'Dunder' and 'Blixem,' not 'Donner' and 'Blitzen.'
Status: True....

Lane Core Jr. CIW P — Thu. 12/08/05 06:30:07 AM
Categorized as Readworthies.


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