aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Our War on Terror
Coming in the NYTimes Book Review this weekend, a major look at George Bush’s war on terror:
...by branding the cause a war and calling the enemy terror, the administration has lumped like with unlike foes and elevated hostile elements from the ranks of the criminal (stigmatized in all societies) to the ranks of soldiers of war (a status that carries connotations of sacrifice and courage). Although anybody taking aim at the American superpower would have seemed an underdog, the White House’s approach enhanced the terrorists’ cachet, accentuating the image of self-sacrificing Davids taking up slingshots against a rich, flaccid, hypocritical Goliath. In rejecting the war-on-terror frame recently, Hilary Benn, the British secretary of state for international development, argued: “What these groups want is to force their individual and narrow values on others, without dialogue, without debate, through violence. And by letting them feel part of something bigger, we give them strength.”
But criticizing the calamities of the last six years of American foreign policy has become all too easy. And it does not itself improve our approach to combating terrorist threats that do in fact loom large - larger, in fact, because of Bush’s mistakes. The challenge now is to accept that just because George W. Bush hyped the threat does not mean the threat should be played down. Rather, we must urgently set about reversing the harm done to the nation’s standing and security by simultaneously reasserting the moral difference between the United States and Islamic terrorists and by developing a 21st-century toolbox to minimize actual terrorist threats. Several new books take up this challenge, each addressing a different piece of the national security predicament. Together, they allow one to begin to define a new approach to counterterrorism…
I’ll link when it’s out from behind the paywall.
Doctors trained in Cuba to serve poor in the U.S.
Eight US students have graduated from a Cuban medical school after completing a six-year study programme funded by the country’s communist government.
The eight came to Cuba as part of a deal agreed between President Fidel Castro and members of Washington’s Congressional Black Caucus.
Under the plan, Cuba offers students from deprived backgrounds full scholarships, including accommodation.
They are meant to return to the US to offer low-cost healthcare. [...]
According to the Cuban authorities, more than 80 young US students are currently receiving training at the Latin American Medical School in Havana, whose qualifications are recognised by the World Health Organization.
Cuba’s free healthcare system has been a key foreign policy tool for winning hearts and minds in the developing world, our correspondent says.
The government has sent tens of thousands of Cuban doctors abroad to help some of the world’s poorest communities.
It also trains large numbers of foreign doctors on the island.
29,000 reasons to doubt MySpace sex-offender action
Stephanie Booth reacts to MySpace removing the profiles of 29,000 convicted sex offenders. Her post is an amazing compilation of important facts that must be read in full and kept as a reference:
I think that MySpace’s announcement is more of a PR stunt than anything. This kind of action is the result of the ambient paranoia around sexual predators online, but it also fuels it. If MySpace are doing that, it must mean that we are right to be afraid, doesn’t it? I think it is a great pity that the media systematically jump on the fear-mongering bandwagon. We need more sane voices in the mainstream press.
Here is a collection of links related to this issue. Some I have mentioned in the body of the post, some I have not.
- MySpace bars 29,000 sex offenders
- Could You End Up on a Sex Offender Registry?
- MySpace and the Sex Offenders
- Megan’s Flaws?
- Just The Facts About Online Youth Victimization: Researchers Present the Facts and Debunk Myths (see danah’s post for YouTube video)
- Video: BBC Interview (Teenagers, Facebook)
- Adolescents, MySpace, internet: citations de danah boyd et Henry Jenkins (quotes are in English)
- De la “prÃƒÂ©vention internet”
Via danah boyd, “the Attorneys General have far better PR machines than MySpace. What you are seeing in the press is what the AGs have spun out in their ongoing efforts to force legislation to ban youth from social sites. This is about throwing out numbers that will make people feel afraid; it is not about trying to paint an accurate portrayal of what’s happening.”
Disney pledges to cut out smoking
The Disney Studio has pledged to remove smoking from its family-oriented films.
The media giant’s chief executive Robert A Iger said depictions of smoking in future Disney-branded films would be “non-existent”.
And smoking will be “discouraged” in films aimed at adults released under its Touchstone and Miramax banners.
Mr Iger made the promise in a letter to US congressman Edward Markey. DVDs that show cigarettes will also carry anti-smoking announcements, he added.
Meanwhile, over at Fox News a guest opposing a bipartisan Senate proposal to fund an extension the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) by way of a cigarette tax lit up a cigarette on-air to prove his point. (President Bush, of course, opposes SCHIP.)
Disney is likely to garner kudos for its move. The American people generally favor the regulation of cigarettes:
For seven years, proponents have been trying to get the Food and Drug Administration to regulate cigarettes, and President Bush has firmly opposed.
Just last week, he declared that “nicotine is not a drug to be regulated under FDA.”
But most Americans think it is. In a new Washington Post poll, two-thirds of the public said they support the proposal set to be considered in the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions this morning.