Eye on the Watcher’s Council

As you may know the members of the Watcher’s Council each nominate one of his or her own posts and one non-Council post for consideration by the whole Council. The complete list of this week’s Council nominations is here.

The Colossus of Rhodey, “John Edwards: The Biggest Phony in the Prez Race?”

Since each and every presidential aspirant of both parties is vigorously trying to convince people that he or she is something that he or she is not if only in some cases that he or she is of presidential mettle, picking the biggest phony is a pretty tall order. The competition is extremely stiff. Hube examines an interview of John Edwards by George Stephanopoulos and proclaims him the winner of the accolade.

The Glittering Eye, “Spotting the Unforeseen Secondary Effects”

In my submission for this week I attempt to anticipate the unforeseen secondary effects of the WGA television writers’ strike. Television is so influential in our lives these days that the effects are likely to be important and I believe that most of them will be unforeseen and unintended.

Rhymes With Right, “School District & Cops Agree — Ignore The Law”

Greg examines an illegal immigration case in Arizona. One thing I might add to Greg’s commentary is that schools have financial incentives to retain students, particularly students from poor families, since the federal subsidies they receive depend on head count.

Done With Mirrors, “Behind the Anger”

Callimachus considers the interview by a French journalist of the chap who appears so frequently in pictures of demonstrations in Pakistan made notorious some quarters of the blogosphere as “Rage Boy”.

Cheat Seeking Missiles, “Hollywood’s KoolAid Fest Continues: Wimps for Lambs”

Laer rails against the crop of big-budget anti-war Hollywood movies that are not precisely box office faves. I can’t remember who it was who characterize H. G. Wells as having sold his birthright (i.e. as a storyteller) for a “pot of message”. The reason that these pictures don’t attract audiences is not just their relentlessly negative portrayal of America and Americans but that they’re not telling interesting stories. I don’t know that there’s any starker example of how much we’ve changed over the years (or, at least, how much Hollywood has changed) than in comparing pictures like 30 Seconds Over Tokyo, The Purple Heart, The Human Comedy, or The Best Years of Our Lives with the current crop of war pictures. None of the former could remotely be considered to glorify war or even, I think, to glorify America. Those pictures continue to be watched more than 60 years later. I wonder if Rendition will be watched sixty years from now. Oh well, don’t worry. I’m sure that Lions for Lambs will find a home in the hearts of the members of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences if not those of Sony stockholders.

Soccer Dad, “Poverty and Terror, Again”

Soccer Dad posts on an academic study of the causes of terrorism that I commented on myself. The significance of the findings is that in solving a problem one must suit the means to the ends. So, for example, if the cause of terrorism is not poverty, we can’t expect aid intended to combat poverty to eliminate terrorism. If, however, repressive government is the cause of terrorism then what should we expect to eliminate terrorism?

Bookworm Room, “Racist Talk About Education”

Bookworm takes as her point of departure for this post a newspaper article on the reasons that African Americans and Hispanics lag in educational achievement and asks a reasonable question. If the reasons are poverty and prejudice, why is it that Jews in early and mid 20th century America did so well despite desparate poverty and enormous prejudice? People from differing cultures should be expected to respond differently to similar circumstances. I’d like to ask a follow-up question. Are the opportunities for people with high school or even college educations what they were fifty years ago? Education is not a ticket to instant gratification. It’s a means to a solid life.

Right Wing Nut House, “Dennis Kucinich — A Merry Prankster”

Rick Moran muses on Rep. Dennis Kucinich’s resolution to impeach Vice President Dick Cheney. I suspect that the Congressional Democrats will prudently continue to dodge this particular bullet. There is a problem that I think will continue to haunt them. When you run on an activist platform for some reason or other people will expect you to, well, act. Similarly, when you run as a reform party for some reason or other people expect you to reform. It’s a cruel world.

Big Lizards, “Iraq in the Balance: Will the Shia Prosecute Their Own?”

Dafydd ab Hugh comments reasonably on a story on the Iraqi Ministry of Health’s involvement in sectarian violence. You see, the Health Ministry is the fiefdom of Moqtada al Sadr’s faction and, consequently, that of his Mahdi Army. That’s the significance of the story I mentioned last week about the Health Ministry’s distributing dangerous or defective medications obtained from Iran—Moqtada al Sadr’s connections with Iran are well known. I’m afraid that Dafydd will be disappointed. What he’s looking for reflects a greater degree of political maturity than I think the Iraqis possess at this point. That will take a long, long time.

‘Okie’ on the Lam, “The Next Iron Chef vs Battle POTUS”

‘Okie’ compares the Iron Chef competition to the campaign for the parties’ nominations for the presidency. The difference, unfortunately, is that the contest for the presidency is a lot more important and the contestants are a lot less interesting.

The Education Wonks, “Foreign Students In America: They’re Back!”

We’re even more reprehensible than we were five years ago and for some reason or another the number of foreign students in American schools is increasing. Go figure.

Joshuapundit, “”Land For Peace’, American Style”

Freedom Fighter drolly compares the conflict between the Israelis and Palestiians with the issues between Mexican nationalists in the United States and the rest of us.

Well, I’ve decided which posts I’ll vote for this week. Which posts would get your votes?

3 comments… add one
  • Callimachus, BTW, cited the Krueger study at the end of his Rage Boy post.

    Also, I noticed that you cited Robert Pape for the idea that occupatoin leads to terror. I was not wrong in citing Scott Atran who does the same. (They may have co-authored an article on the topic.) However, I think Pape is the main proponent of that idea.

  • J Link

    Correct me if wrong, but here:

    The journalist is British and his name is Patrick French, rather than a French journalist.

  • J Link

    my comment above had a problem publishing.
    i am referring to this section:

    Done With Mirrors, “Behind the Anger”

    Callimachus considers the interview by a French journalist of the chap who appears so frequently in pictures of demonstrations in Pakistan made notorious some quarters of the blogosphere as “Rage Boy”.

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