Monday, November 22, 2004

This evening, the News Hour is reviewing the Artest-Jackson-Wallace fracas in Detroit last Friday night. Jack McCallum (SI), Greg Anthony (ESPN), and Ray (NHr) are going over the causes and effects of the fight which broke out at the Pacers-Pistons basketball game.

Greg Anthony, former (NY) Knick presciently observed that if you were at work and someone threw racial epithets and beer at you, they would likely be subject to civil, if not criminal action. He certainly was not defending Ron Artest and his teammate Jackson, who both went into the stands to take on fans, but, is pointing out the justice needs to be handed out across the out-of-bounds line. It's quite interesting; "Ed" and "Mrs Ed" were out buying sneakers of a confidential size on Saturday A.M. at the local "ya gotta go ta ...'s" store. There, as she tried on her third pair was a previoiusly taped story from two of the local AM sports-talk racket in a slick journal touting the local snearker company's ware. They were on to the violence on the sports scene, of which the latest episode will take on pre-eminent postion. The debate, pro-or-con, was cages for fans. I'm on the con side of this one. Though, in terms of where the blame lies, I'm on the "pro-fan" side. Though before you think I'd cave for the money, it seems inconceivable someone who's making 10,000 times my imaginary limit would have any need to cross the out-of-bounds line to take on someone who's biggest decision in life is betweeen Bud and Miller lite. (We assume he's already duped into the Bush choice). So, my only conclusion is that money can't buy your restraint, given sufficient provocation. Which further underscores the depth of the pent up hatred over, say racial issues. No amount of dinero could, I guess, keep me from flattening the nose of a racist pig who threw the N-word and the remains of a pint in my face.

This is not about justification; it's about responsibilty. Every time a person hurls a racial epithet over the railing, I'm hurt. (I say this as one who did at the '64 MO-MN football game when an MN halfback fumbled a kickoff on our 5 yard line).

This is not a message of hope. Some recent reading of Spong tells me to be patient. Or more likely, allow for a worsening of the human condition as respect for God evaporates in the face of evidence a good deal of our former faith was misplaced. Searching for it in the storm will be challenging.

Saturday, November 6, 2004

I was horrified this morning on waking to the rarely-watched TV news, reflecting on my post of yesterday, it could easily be construed to support the recent Democratic Leadership Council style of 'middle-of-the-road' . Such is not my wish.

Also, last night on "Bill Moyer's NOW", Christopher Edley, Dean of the UC Berkeley Law school was cautioning against just such a reaction. As we go back over the pass to reconnect with the wagon train, let's not camp safely within the circle. We have to move them over the mountain. Sharing with them the dangers of crossing, but also the hope of the fertile valleys on the other side. While we're at it, we have to allow that some will be perfectly happy to camp where they are now. It shouldn't be an affront to us who see the need to move on.

Edley was prepared to allow the moral issues to come in to the agenda of the left. On this one, our view should be "we are standing among you, let's go in this direction", rather than "come on, over here". Today's Newark Star Ledger offers a cartoon. The Bush caricature standing on the bank of a chasm, with hundreds of flanking supporters holds out a hand and says "I'm reaching out to you ... JUMP!". This is directed at an equally large crowd on the other side, a few with donkey ears. The bottom is not in sight; the width appears beyond any broad jump record!

Friday, November 5, 2004

To my LiberalsLikeChrist, I offer this assessment of the election this week: if we liberals (like Christ) want to prevail in future elections, we have to do that most Christ-like thing, and surrender our issue for the other person's issue. There should be little detectable self-interest in our advocacy. While we're at it, we can rightly ask what the other person is surrendering of their self-interest.

I've just started reading "Imperial Hubris" by Anonymous (who has 20+ years in the security of the USofA). He chastens our leaders for being blind on the motives of our south Asian adversaries. We liberals are as misunderstanding of the needs of our own country, as our leaders are misunderstanding of the needs of Afghanistan and Iraq.

This may be controversial, but it's now time to "turn our back" on some of those social issues which tend to divide, and pray we can work our agenda when we regain the popular platform.
Otherwise, to the rest of the nation, we're just another cadre of "Nader's Raiders". It's time to lead the wagons from the same side of the mountain, not as we have been doing, by being over the next pass, if not continental divide. We _can_ wait for the wagon train to catch up, or admit we've shirked our duty and have crossed "the pass too far" for the rest of the wagon train. Unless we return to the train, we'll find out they've selected a new wagonmaster, whose scouts are out in the prarie grass surrounding the wagon train.

This metaphor is purposeful.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Friday, June 18, 2004

The 100th issue of The News' Dark Time is now
on the news stands:

While much is happening to disgust us on the
news we are receiving, this issue concludes
the review of Prof Kenneth Miller of Brown U
tolk on Evolution at Unino County College in

"Culture Wars?" says who??

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

A new issue, # 99 !!! is on the stands at:

Part II (of what looks like III) of a review of Prof Kenneth R Miller, of Brown University, talking "Time to Abandon Darwin?: Evolution vs Intelligent Design.

A telling talk for those of us who are proponents of science education.

Friday, April 9, 2004

The current issue of the News' Dark Time reports on a talk given last night (Thu, 4/8) by Dr Kenneth Miller, of Brown Univ. His subject: "Time for Darwin? Evolution vs Intelligent Design". Your editor is at once, as Dr Miller, a practicing Roman Catholic, _and_ a supporter of the teaching of evolution. Miller pointed out you can't each biology without teaching evolution. It's the centerpice of any theory of the diversity of species on the planet.

Read the review, over two issues, numbers 98 and 99 (the latter pending at this post).

Sunday, March 28, 2004

Yesterday, Patty and I, along with son Chip, and friends Bill and Susan attended the new Tim Robbins play, Embedded. As the title suggests, it portrays the activities of the journalists "embedded" with the US forces in the Iraq war. Since I'm not a theater critic, let this be a report of what we saw.

The play will not win any souls to the anti-war cause, but may alert some to how news is managed. It is preaching to the converted.

Embedded features an ensemble cast, with each cast member playing two or three roles. The scenes are set on a stage without curtains, with changes managed by lighting. There are four types of scene. The most memorable are six figures sitting in a triangle, with the Cheny figure sitting highest, with the corresponding Wolfowitz and Pearle below, and with (apparently?) Powell, Rice and Rumsfeld (Rum-Rum) seated in the lowest level. They never look at one another, just have
this dialogue with themselves and the audience on how they are going to manage public perceptions. A compelling
feature of this scene is the masks the players wear to both hide their identity, yet give emphasis to the expressions
made with their eyes and mouths.

This scene is interspersed with three other types of scenes reflecting the home front and/or split scenes with soldiers and loved ones reading each other's mail, scenes of the "front", and the journalists. The play traces events from just before the war (how do we justify it), it's early uncertainty on the road to Bagdahd, to just after victory was declared. (The playbill says Oct '02 - June '03). It includes vignettes with a soldier shooting and killing a whole family, the Jessica Lynch episode (ala Saving Private Ryan), and forcefully, the thrall that journalists were held in to "report" the news, "Never call them
US troops -- it's ``coalition forces''" A few reporters take the chance of questioning their work. One knows well how to work the system, and most sway to the rhythm of the military briefers.

The play is set against a backdrop with flashing stills and movie clips from WWII, ... where the presidential advisers are paying homage to Leo Strauss, (1899-1973) who the program identifies as "the celebrated philosopher-king of the neoconservatives, {who} was a classicist and philosophy professor at the University of Chicago where he taught the works of Plato, Machiavelli, Nietzsche, and Hobbes."

From the Playbill notes on Strauss:

"Strauss believed that democracy, however flawed, was best defended by an ignorant public pumped up on nationalism and religion. Only a militantly nationalistic state could deter human aggression, and since most people were naturally self-absorbed and hedonistic, Strauss blieved that the only way to transform them was to make them love their nation enough to die for it. Such nationalism requires an external threat -- and if one cannot be found, it must be manufactured.

-- Kitty Clark"

Embedded is playing at The Public Theatre, 425 Lafayette
St, Manhattan.

Thursday, March 11, 2004

The News' Dark Time turns Two Years Old tomorrow, 3/12/04.

One year ago, the times were getting darker as the Bush illlegitimacy was taking us closer to their destiny with Iraq. We're waiting for John Kerry to tell us how he (if not duped) thought his vote in favor of "action" wasn't giving the Carte Blanche to the most corrupt group to occupy the White House since Nixon.

(If you're going to vote on something, make sure it's a declaration of war, or not)

Your editor, on this anniversary is now tending to the children of Newark, Hillside, and Elizabeth, New Jersey, as a Mathematics Teacher at the Benedictine Academy (in Elizabeth). Our (just short of 200) students are all young ladies. It is generous to use the term "lady", since many of them are still struggling with an adolescence which barely takes them out of their youth, if not infancy. The tragedy we see at BA is the absence of leadership in the home, stemming directly from a lack of leadership in the community at large. The two most obvisous being the church and the state.

We adults have produced a stable of so-called leaders who equivocate at every turn. "I didn't {inhale, lie, ...}" Pick your president. Business schools are starting to offer courses in ethics, after the cows are out of the barn. Money is in charge. My church, the Catholic church, has bishops who don't know their flocks, some of whom are beginning to understand the violence they have done to the message of peace and love. It's a sad day when the voices of hope are the few secular institutions which aren't afraid of the liberal label, and struggle to maintain a diverse dialogue.

In the classroom, I'm not without the charges of racism: "you only call out the black girls", when discipline is needed. Possibly. Many hypotheses are possible. While I'm mindful of the charge, and instructed by it, I'm aware of its other causes: a very few young ladies may be from family situations so wounded by encounters with white authority there is nothing one can do in the moment but pay the bill. adam's sin, as it were. to the extent our civil and religious leaders are working for their constituents, and not the larger constituency, we are ill served. i don't fault the adolescent; i don't even fault their adults. i don't even fault "the system". but...

I do find fault with those who inhabit the most visible roles in this system who use _every_ moment to curry their supporters, as opposed to challenge those same supporters. I fault all of us who inhabit any leadership position, however small, who fail to challenge our own commitment to the neediest among our charges. In each of my six classes, there is at least one student who knows where my hot buttons are. A friend at St Helen's, Bob H, has me praying for my students. It's working. While I can't see any visible change in specific students, nor measure it in myself, I can perceive a change in my need to react to any individual student's irritation of the moment.

Your editor has a few high principles:

+ never give advice,
+ never trust a friend who won't sacrifice a principle for you, ..

"Let me prove how completely trustworthy I am by sacrificing a high principle and give you some advice".

Saturday, February 21, 2004

The current issue of the News Dark Time is on the streets:

  • To Be a Republican
  • study of bush psyche
  • Things you have to believe to be a Republican

Saturday, February 7, 2004

What Free Speech Means to Me

My opinions are my own.

In a free and just society:
I am not compelled to reveal them,
nor may my opportunity to share them be withheld.

A government may not infringe on my personal liberty
as a result of them, nor may it reward me in any way
for expressing them.

The government has the obligation to keep communications channels:
a. from being monopolized by anyone or any organization, and
b. economically and ideologically competitive.

Friday, February 6, 2004

Alterman and Green
on Bush's use of the truth:

"He has such a high regard for the truth,
he uses it sparingly"

-- A Lincoln

Thursday, February 5, 2004

Found this site on the Web.

Al Eisle is the Editor of The Hill News

looks like _excellent_ up to date news of the sort
the NDT just _loves_.

e.g. Billy Tauzin (R, LA), former Democrat, is hanging it up
as chair of the Telecom committee, to take a seven, count-em
seven figure job as a lobiest for the drug industry.

now why would anyone object to that? might it have to do
with his recent inside work in behalf of the so-called
medicare prescription bill!?

Sunday, February 1, 2004

Without other announcement, the NDT has two new issues out:
+ 94 -- Healthcare??
+ 95 -- Vice Mis Leader !

Also featured is the link to this afternoon's CNN showing of MoveOn's Bush in 30 seconds, and a letter from reader Maria Johnson in the state of TX about the state of justice there.

Let's declare today the official opening of the political season (Since the Soup/Hype -uh er bowl has held our attention until now). Since the NDT supported Dr Dean (NDT #85, 7/15/03) long before our NJ Gov McGreevey jumped on the bandwagon, we'll not be throwing in the towel just yet. Letters we receive from the now-Trippiless campaign tell us to hold out through the Wisconsin primary. For sure. But let's waste no time exposing the hollow shell (or is it suit?) we have sitting in the White House. To that end, the NDT is going to take Gary Hart's next-to-last good idea, and "build down" our list of links (column 3) to feature those doing the best job of exposing the current emporer in his new clothes.

Friday, January 30, 2004

This morning our students went up the street about a mile to the regional food bank for No Central NJ. We sorted canned goods, drinks, cereals, pasta, ... The need is great. What amazes me is not only the vast amount of stuff that needs moving, but that there
are people in sufficient need to consume all this stuff.

To visualize what volunteers do in a place like this, imagine capillary action in your blood system. There is one long table, 40-50 yards
in parallel with an assembly line roller tray. The students find one of four prinicpal jobs: first, scooping boxes, cans, bottles, ...
the food stuffs out of large 4' x 4' x 4' crates/cartons they have come in on. there is no order to the cartons or contents. they girls
in this job simply set the stuff up on the long table, starting to impose some order on their stuffs. At this point, the ultimate desitnation is worth noting: there are 15 pallet stations beyond the roller assembly station. Each station will receive a particular king of commodity:
kitchen paper, water and bottled drinks, canned drinks, canned fruit, pasta and beans, ... haba (Heath and Beauty Aids!) ... The second joib is the skill poisition: collecting the stuffs on the table and finding an appropriate box or carton floating down the assembly line. The third job is simply moving the nearly filled carton from the assembly line to the pallet area. A job in limited demand is the setting the
newly opened boxes at the head of the line.

It was most interesting to watch the young ladies find their niche in the process. We were guided in by four strapping young men, one stressing "safety", like where the fire exits were, ... With some prodding from him, the girls started taking their positions, and the process began to flow! There were on the order of 150 of us there, including 12-15 faculty and administration. For the better part of two hours we moved the food.

Our day was kicked off by the diocesan director of Catholic Community Services, who is not directly connected to the Food Bank, but is really the diocesan, or 4 county co-ordinator for the 75 local food banks, who are the member distributors. Imagine a request, "I need 8 cases of tomato and pasta sauce." She noted in her 20 years in the position, with some sadness, the growth in the need for their services.

I felt the girls "got it". Some will continue to.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

It's Wednesday a.m. 11" of snow here in the Nor East, and school for
today was called off last night. The NDT is carrying a new button in
support of MoveOn.Org's campaign to expose Bush's dedt dumping.
Where is he dumping it? On your and my children, theirs, and ...?

As you may or may not know, MoveOn.Org opened their doors to
anyone who could put together a cogent 30-second TV spot, conducting
a contest to air the best commercial on the Super Bowl. You probably
also saw some of the RWC (that's Right Wing Conspiracy, if you didn't
know) attack on the MoveOn.Org effort. Within a day or two of opening
the campaign, the RWC was claiming MoveOn.Org was calling Bush a Nazi,
linking him to the third Reich, ... While there is plenty of evidence
in support of Bush family money coming from those vile sources, the
MoveOn.Org effort was clearly about today and tomorrow. As a subscriber,
"Ed" saw the first contest entries, and spotted the eventual winner
pretty early on.

It depicts children, non seemingly over ten yrs, working in blue collar
jobs. At the end, a caption comes on, showing you "Who'se going to
pay for the Bush budget excesses". Go to the link and see for

The current campaign is to shame CBS into eventually airing the ad.
Their stated reason to deny the ad is it detracts from the festive
atmosphere. An equally likely scenario is that other big sponsors
have requested their ads not be shown in the same commercial break.
But that would just be guessing? "Ed" doesn't have the kind of
loose change it takes to talk to those people.

Meanwhile, the snow awaits...

Sunday, January 25, 2004

Welcome to the Web Log for the News' Dark Time
We hope you will take advantage of this space to
report on "Some of the News That's not Fit to Print."

Whatever the reasons, some of which must be apparent
we live in a place and time where many thinking people
know we aren't being delivered
"All the News That's Fit to Print"

Greetings, loyal readers of The News' Dark Time. Those of you who are interested in "reporting" for the NDT, please feel free to write me. I've opened up a weblog on,
"newsdarktime", of course where I'm inviting you to post your rants against the dark in which we live. Your editor is particularly interested in stories where you feel you have evidence the news you receive has been spun by your news source. (Not that we won't spin news here, but, we feel, in reaction to the major outlets.)

Mind you, there are plenty of sites who are on top of the alternate news. My favorites are and CommonDreams. What we are looking for is what the news business has
for years been called "page six" material. You'd be surprised what you will find on the page six of your hometown paper.

The proximate cause of my opening this blog is the current issue of Wired, where Glenn Reynolds lists his Top Ten Blogs, a few of which I'm also interested in, a few not. Notably, The New York Times itself, and "my inbox", but also kausfiles and Howard Kurtz.

Enough for now, I'll be linking both ways to/from The News' Dark Time.