November 19, 2003

In 1969, a small mission hospital in Tennessee burned down and all of its records were lost. As a result my ex-wife, who was born in that hospital, did not have a birth certificate until she was 23 years old. This created an unforeseen problem at St. Albans (Episcopal) Church, where our wedding date was fast approaching in the summer of 1991. It seems that while it is quite possible to be born without a birth certificate, you need one… Read more

November 19, 2003

Slate's Jack Shafer wonders why the mainstream press has been dismissive of Stephen F. Hayes' report in The Weekly Standard on alleged links between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaida. Hayes' article largely summarizes a memo by Undersecretary of Defense Douglas J. Feith, which may account for some of the skepticism. Feith does not enjoy a reputation as a disinterested pusuer of the truth. Like many of his fellow hawks in the Bush administration, he has a track record of reaching conclusions… Read more

November 18, 2003

"U.S. agrees to international control of its troops in Iraq." That's the headline of an article in yesterday's (UK) Independent in which Leonard Doyle and Stephen Castle report on comments from Javier Solana, the EU's foreign policy chief. "Everybody has moved, including the United States, because the United States has a real problem and when you have a real problem you need help." There is a "growing consensus" that the transfer of power has to be accelerated, he said. "How… Read more

November 17, 2003

Via Jeanne and Eve I was directed to this site, where you can find the cover of TIME from any week in the magazine's history. This, as they note, allows you to see who or what was on the cover of TIME during the week in which you were born. I knew before looking what the cover would show for mine. I was born three days after the presidential primary election in California. TIME's cover for that week shows the… Read more

November 17, 2003

It's a tricky matter for a place like Eastern College/University to produce an alumnus like Bryan Stevenson. Stevenson went from Eastern to Harvard Law School. This, in itself, is cause for institutional pride — it highlights that the quality of education the school provides is acceptable even to the elite centers of higher education. At the same time, Stevenson's acceptance at Harvard Law probably had cartoon dollar signs appearing in the eyes of Eastern's alumni office. Harvard Law usually means… Read more

November 17, 2003

The previous post discusses Bryan Stevenson, founder of the Equal Justice Initiative of Alabama. Stevenson is, like me, a graduate of Eastern College in St. Davids, Pa. (So too is Doug Davidson, formerly of The Other Side magazine, whose interview with Stevenson I noted.) We Eastern College grads now face a dilemma. A couple of years ago, our alma mater changed its name and its accreditation — it's now Eastern University. The new university includes not only the liberal arts… Read more

November 17, 2003

Atrios is raising funds for a cause that deserves all the support you can give it — the Equal Justice Initiative of Alabama. EJI provides legal assistance to death row inmates and to the poor in Alabama, a state with no public defender system, where the average capital trial lasts three days. Three days. Thousands of prisoners in Alabama have been sentenced to life in prison without parole and other excessive punishments for non-violent offenses. One EJI client is an… Read more

November 16, 2003

I haven't said much here about now-former judge Roy Moore, the Alabama chief justice who was removed from office this week. The man's demagoguery has been so blatant I figured I'd let his media mongering and foolishness speak for themselves. But I was reminded of Moore this morning in church by the Old Testament reading. The passage, from 2 Kings 18, tells the story of Hezekiah, a reformer and one of the few good kings Judah ever had. ("Good" both… Read more

November 14, 2003

I usually enjoy Slate's Moneybox column, written by Daniel Gross, but today Gross is guilty of the myopic Magooism of the wealthy — oblivious to how very, very many of us he's leaving out. Gross' topic is limousine liberals, whom he just seems to have discovered — he writes his is "divining a trend." Well, yes, some very wealthy people are liberals. And yes, the disconnect between their political rhetoric and their lavish lifestyles is often amusing. But Oscar Wilde… Read more

November 14, 2003

Newspaper's lead story is a mean old lie. Here's the lead graf from today's front-page USA Today story by Barbara Hagenbaugh: Taxpayers' refund checks will increase nearly 27 percent to an average $2,500 per family early next year, according to new forecasts from tax experts and economists, who say the windfalls will aid consumers, the economy and President Bush's re-election campaign. Wow. That's quite a figure. An average 27 percent increase in the tax refund for American families. Bravo! Oh,… Read more

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