There is no evidence, other than meaningless polls and impotent protests, that Bush has turned the world against the US...

Global poll shows wide distrust of United States - Print Version - International Herald Tribune

It was not surprising to see this headline on the Drudge Report last night, it seems as if a new study showing America's supposed tumble in popularity polls around the world, most of which have attributed by the media and Democratic politicians to the radical policies of the Bush Administration and its failure to "work with our allies". Hogwash I say; purely rhetorical slander. Typical Democratic political tactics in the Bush-era, and it is disturbing that so many members of the media accept this as fact despite the substantial evidence to the contrary.

Where is the proof that Bush foreign policy has isolated US? The rhetoric coming out of the Democratic presidential candidates on the consequences of the Iraq War is in lock-step, but so much of what they are saying is simply without factual support. One of the central criticisms of White House foreign policy is that it has led to a drastic surge in anti-Americanism abroad, and thus further isolated the United States at a time when cooperation was needed in the face of international terrorism. But how then do the Democrats explain the continual electoral support for candidates in Europe and Asia that either explicitly support our current foreign policy, or maintain a solidly pro-American platform in a campaign against an anti-American (or rather anti-Bush) candidate?

If the Democrats were accurate in their assertion, it would be reasonable to assume that after six years of Bush there would be significant evidence of shifts in the international political order, with voters in other Western democracies and traditional US allies embracing candidates that campaigned on the same anti-Bush strategy that is the foundation of current Democratic talking points. However, in almost every major test of the electoral relevance of supposedly burgeoning anti-Americanism, it has proven impotent and irrelevant. The pro-American candidate has prevailed in nearly every contest in which they were pitted against an opponent that was explicitly suspicious of the United States and the current White House.

This is particularly undeniable in the elections held in those countries that comprise our "traditional allies", as John Kerry and John Edwards liked to call their anti-war sympathizers in Western Europe, which were bitterly divided in the international debate prior to invading Iraq. I will never forget the cover of The Economist the week after Spain's President Jose Marie Asnar lost his reelection bid in 2004 following his controversial handling of the terrorist attacks during the week before the election, which played off of the "most wanted" playing cards used to identify fugitives of Saddam's regime and insinuated that Blair, Howard and Bush were the next to fall. This was the first major electoral test of the "coalition of the willing" and the strength of the anti-war, anti-Bush movement sparked by his controversial decision to invade Iraq, and it was a blow to the initial legitimacy of the conflict. Much to my delight, it has now become apparent that the premonitions of the British news magazine were misguided and in fact it would be the other side of the debate that would suffer defeats at the polls in every subsequent referendum.

I must admit that there has in fact been a bit of a sea change in the Spanish-speaking world, with Latin and South America emerging as a hotbed of radicalism in the early 21st century, but we have always had trouble containing radicalism in Latin politics and this is clearly not the area of the world that Democrats are referring to when they cite the growth of anti-American sentiments.

In Europe, Asia, Oceania and our neighbors in North America, the pro-US candidate has emerged victorious as pragmatism and different priorities have rendered over-hyped anti-Americanism silent at the polls. But that won't change the tune coming from the Democratic presidential candidates, who will jump on every opportunity to emphasize that Bush has undermined our interests abroad and failed to work with our allies. They point to large demonstrations and opinion polls, but what do these matter if they fail to translate into electoral success? My question for these windbag politicians and their minions on the internet (yes I am talking to you Reddit users) is simple: Where is the proof that Bush has damaged the US abroad?


Update: Colin Falls signs pro deal with Italy's Upea Capo...

South Bend Tribune: Falls heads for Europe

I was anxiously awaiting the NBA draft on Thursday because I was certain that my boy Colin Falls was going to sneak into the mix and find himself picked at the end of the second round because he can make it rain from the cheap seats and has a degree from Notre Dame, which immediately catapults him to the top of the maturity depth chart and the bottom of the potential risk-factor list.

Apparently Colin has been plagued by a torn plantar fascia in his left foot for months, choosing to play through the pain during his senior season in which he put up very impressive numbers. Despite his pain, Colin averaged 15.3 PPG and 2.8 boards, while shooting just shy of 40% from 3-point distance and 83% from the charity stripe. He also set the bar for all-time 3-pointers in ND history (331), as well as Big-East history (189). However, uncertainty about how much he would be able to contribute in the short-term likely dropped him out of consideration by NBA General Managers, so Colin has chosen to sign a professional contract with Italian Serie A franchise Upea Capo. Another former-ND hoopster, Torin Francis, played for Upea Capo last year, but will not be returning.

Good luck Colin, hope to see you back in the states and on ESPN soon!


Who deserves the credit for foreign policy victory on Korean Peninsula?

Houston Chronicle: UN nuclear monitor to visit N. Korea

Everyone in Washington and on the major cable news networks has embraced the idea that President Bush has a failed foreign policy, and to back up this audacious claim it provides the "lost" war in Iraq as their evidence.

The problem with politicians making the bold and extreme decision to classify a particular president's policy failed, whether in the foreign or domestic realms, is that it guides their rhetoric on when addressing each by-product of said policy and marginalizes the scope of any debate over the nuances of that policy.

The recent breakthroughs in the drawn-out standoff between North Korean and essentially every other government in the world, but primarily the US, have brought the promise that the nuclear reactor which has recently been utilized in the development of several nuclear weapons from the rogue regime of Kim Jong-Il. The multilateral diplomatic approach utilized by the State Department under Colin Powell and Condi Rice is essentially the exact approach advocated by the president's detractors on Capitol Hill, so it would not surprise me if claims come from current presidential candidates, particularly on the Democratic side, that they in fact are responsible for this resounding foreign policy victory rather than the president.

I agree with everyone who asserts that Christopher Hill is the individual within the Bush Administration that deserves the lion-share of the credit, and I believe that the Chinese were the single indispensable element of the entire diplomatic effort. I also believe that the South Korean cooperation, serious cooperation on the part of Putin in Russia, as well as Japanese diplomatic leverage helped push the envelope and keep talks moving forward. But if Bush is to be tossed to the dust-bin of history based simply on his effort in Iraq then we are unlikely to learn anything from his presidency and American politics may be forever doomed to death by sensational sound-bite.

I am curious if someone would like to explain to me why the recent developments are not a significant mark of success on Bush's record. Any answer will suffice, conspiracy theory or critically contrived op-ed.


NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg bails on GOP...

Mayor Bloomberg Quits the G.O.P. - The Caucus - Politics - New York Times Blog

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has thrown gasoline on the flames under the talking heads on the blogosphere and cable news, who have been predicting the media mogul and multi-Billionaire is eying a third-party run for the White House in 2008, when his office released a statement around 6pm (EST) tonight which stated:

I have filed papers with the New York City Board of Elections to change my status as a voter and register as unaffiliated with any political party. Although my plans for the future haven’t changed, I believe this brings my affiliation into alignment with how I have led and will continue to lead our city.

A nonpartisan approach has worked wonders in New York: we’ve balanced budgets, grown our economy, improved public health, reformed the school system and made the nation’s safest city even safer.

We have achieved real progress by overcoming the partisanship that too often puts narrow interests above the common good. As a political independent, I will continue to work with those in all political parties to find common ground, to put partisanship aside and to achieve real solutions to the challenges we face.

Any successful elected executive knows that real results are more important than partisan battles and that good ideas should take precedence over rigid adherence to any particular political ideology. Working together, there’s no limit to what we can do.

Bloomberg is one of the wealthiest men in the world and could easily afford to drop $1Billion on a media blitz to raise his name recognition and pick apart the vitriol likely to be the centerpiece of the two major parties general election campaigns. It seems entirely reasonable to think that he could leverage his many media outlets and deep pockets to establish himself as the consensus reform candidate with an impressive resume. Rasmussen Reports, an independent polling agency, recently released a startling figure, which showed that 27% of respondents would vote for Bloomberg as an independent. This support base surges to over 1/3 when presented with the possibility that Bloomberg would recruit business leaders and other independent-minded politicians to run on behalf of his new party for Congress.

Though it is everything but exciting to consider an all New York ballot in 2008, analysis of a Bloomberg candidacy has been largely ignored and dismissed as fanciful, but Rasmussen aptly points out the fallacy in this dismissal. I will cover the details and implications of an election left undecided by the Electoral College in my next post...

Chris Matthews throws watermellon-sized softballs to Democratic candidates...

Chris Matthews might as well have let the candidates choose the questions he was going to ask him today during MSNBC's "Super Tuesday" joke, and he spent more time facilitating the anti-Bush talking points and exchanging banter with the embarrassingly disrespectful crowd than he spent pressing the candidates about the issues. It was almost as pathetic as his interview with Nancy Pelosi, which left him looking like a star-struck teenager as he literally answered each question in the process of asking it while simultaneously drooling all over himself.

The most infuriating question so far was his lame attempt at pressing John Edwards about what he WOULD HAVE DONE IF HE WAS PRESIDENT DURING HURRICANE KATRINA! What an absolute joke. Nobody could stop what happened in New Orleans, NOBODY, and what good does it do the city to belabor the issue of how the initial response was managed? Is it not more important that we realistically address what we are going to do with New Orleans from today forward? It is irresponsible to dodge the matter of whether or not we are actually going to rebuild below sea level, which should be at the top of the Democrats list of things to avoid considering they have all embraced Al Gore's forecast of a several meter rise in global sea levels. Where is the justice in rebuilding people's homes in a place that might be completely indefensible against the forces of nature ten or fifteen years down the road? Clearly this is too complicated for Chris Matthews to wrap his mind around.

Well, as usual Matthews delivers on his daily unspoken promise to wet himself in the presence of the modern day "Bobby Kennedy", as he ridiculously referred to Barack Obama, who apparently captures all of the "magic" that Chris is still clinging onto from his free love and world peace college years. There are two different Chris Matthews; the bulldog that doesn't let Republicans finish a sentence that casts Bush in a positive light, and there is the fourteen year-old school girl who stares dumbstruck at his 'heroes' and lets them get away with intentional distortion of history and marginalization of the future.

That is just my take though.


My new eLearning blog launched...

I have spent a lot of time recently thinking about the eLearning industry and researching various eLearning solutions. I have decided to share my thoughts on a new blog which can be found at 21stcenturyelearning.blogspot.com.

My first post is about utilizing locally hosted project management software packages to track users and evaluate progress. Specifically I address the new Google Apps for Educators suite, which is a cost-effective solution for eLearning IT managers who are looking to implement Google services in an easily customizable and micromanaged environment.


Judge for yourself, Norman Finkelstein via YouTube...

Norman Finkelstein giving a talk at Suffolk University in MassachusettsImage via Wikipedia

A friend of mine criticized the fact that I had included silly martial arts montage videos in my first post on the Finkelgate controversy, so I have decided to post more of Norman Finkelstein in his own words so my readers can judge for themselves how professional and tenure-worthy/unworthy they believe him to be.

The first nine clips of this YouTube playlist feature a debate between Professor Finkelstein and CNN's Wolf Blitzer. It took place several years ago so you will probably find it rather humorous.

The last few clips are a debate between Finkelstein and former-Israeli Foreign and Security Minister Shlomo Ben Ami on Democracy Now.

The last two are longer and include both parts of a lengthy speech given very recently by Finkelstein on whether or not criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic.

Be forewarned, this is a long collection of videos, but I wanted to present a comprehensive collection of highlights for you to see and pass judgement for yourself. I hope these videos are better received than those I included in my last post, and I hope everyone enjoys watching.

I encourage everyone to share their reactions in the comments below.

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Tucker Carlson is a pathetic sell-out...

Ever since leaving CNN for his own show on MSNBC, Tucker Carlson has misplaced his spine and abandoned everything that made him the prominent conservative commentator that he used to be. Ever since he was sandwiched between Chris Matthews and Keith Olberman, Tucker has made a mockery of his reputation and does very little other than bad mouth Republicans at every turn. This might be due to the fact that no self-respecting Republican will any longer be a guest on his show, which has left him with random Democratic operatives who make bad points to which he lamely responds, "I agree, I agree." Chris Matthews may as well be standing behind him pulling the string, because I haven't heard anything other than pandering to his now liberal audience for months.

When his book came out a few years ago, Politicians, Partisans and Parasites: My Adventures in Cable News, I read it in one night. I used to ask for bow ties at Christmas time because I was the biggest Tucker Carlson fan in the entire Chicagoland area. But for whatever reason, Tucker has changed, and I don't buy for one second that it is because of the war in Iraq. Personally I think he is drinking the kool-aid Chris Matthews brews for him every morning, because he sounds like an idiot a lot of the time. I know he is smarter than that, but it is difficult to tell anymore when the best part of his show is when he brings on Willy Geist to poke fun at Paris Hilton.

He constantly wants to assert that Bush lied, which is the most intellectually dishonest position that the fringe Bush-haters have taken, when there is so clearly a difference between being wrong and being disingenuous. Unfortunately Tucker has lost touch with common sense and has bought into the left-wing spin machine talking points. I am sure that when he realizes that he has contributed to the emergence of a Democratic decade in control over government, he will change his tune real fast. Unfortunately, by then the damage will be done and America will be much, much weaker than it has ever been at any point in our history. Apparently that is the America that Tucker wants to live in...


Somewhere in the shadows of Boston Alan Dershowitz's evil laugh can be heard as he plunges pins into his voodoo doll of Norman Finkelstein...

Norman Finkelstein giving a talk at Suffolk Un...Image via Wikipedia

The worst day in the life of Norman Finkelstein was the day Alan Dershowitz decided to trivalize the ethical, political and culture clashes that have resulted from the creation of the Israeli state in his book The Case For Israel. Dershowitz is one of the most infamous litigators in modern American history, having served on O.J. Simpson's defense team and subsequently becoming Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law at Harvard University. Unfortunately for Professor Finkelstein, Dershowitz thought it would be a good idea to pretend that he was also a Jewish historian.

Yesterday, Professor Finkelstein was denied tenure by the DePaul University Liberal Arts and Sciences Department for reasons that are absolutely indefensible. Under pressure from Dershowitz, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Charles Suchar decided to disregard the regular tenure process and recommended that he be denied tenure. In doing so he has failed to respect academic freedom and has betrayed one of DePaul's most beloved teachers by the students whom he has taught.

An internal memo written by Suchar charged that the "personal attacks" in many of Finkelstein's books "border on character assassination, and in my opinion ... embody a strategy clearly aimed at destroying the reputation of many who oppose his views." The memo went on to state that Finkelstein’s record is “inconsistent with DePaul Vincentian values, most particularly our institutional commitment to respect the dignity of the individual and to respect the rights of others to hold and express different intellectual positions.”

Is he kidding? First of all, I am not familiar with anyone who has a problem with Professor Finkelstein's characterization of his/her position which is different from his own, except Alan Dershowitz. Secondly, how is it at all consistent with Vincentian values to respecting divergent opinions to silence one of the great "devil's advocates" in modern intellectual society.

DePaul University President Rev. Dennis Holtschneider commented to Jennifer Howard of The Chronicle on Higher Education that the outside attention Professor Finkelstein's situation has inspired was apparently disrespectful or inappropriate in some way, as if it was wrong for those of us who care about Finkelstein to voice our opinions. He stated, "This attention was unwelcome and inappropriate and had no impact on either the process of the outcome of this case."

I am sorry Father Holtschneider, but you were wrong not to listen to the overwhelming support showed by the DePaul community for one of its finest professors, and if you do not care about what we had to say then you should not be our president and I think you should resign. A true man of the Lord would care more about those who are members of his community than to just dismiss them as "unwelcome and inappropriate".

When Dershowitz was informed of Finkelstein's fate he stated that, "It was the right decision, proving that DePaul University is a first-rate university, not as Finkelstein characterized it, 'a third-rate university'. Based on objective standards of scholarship, this should not have even been a close case." His last statement is particularly interesting, considering it was his own disregard for the "objective standards of scholarship" that started all of the controversy in the first place.

I had three classes with Professor Finkelstein as a student in the DePaul political science department and I can say confidently that no other professor I have ever had has influenced my perception of the world and the great debates of our time than he, and for that I will be forever grateful. I may disagree with some of his opinions and those of others, but I will forever respect them because of what I learned from Norman Finkelstein.

To deny him tenure because of his supposed rejection of opinions divergent from his own is proof that the DePaul administration was clearly intimidated into its unfortunate decision and failed to consider Finkelstein strictly on the merits of his resume. I can only hope that he will find justice in the end, and I wish him the best of luck as he tries to find his next soapbox. Below I have included videos of the first encounter between Dershowitz and Finkelstein on Democracy Now, during which Finkelstein successfully makes Dershowitz look like both the chump and fraud for which he will be remembered.

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New Orleans Congressman William Jefferson officially indicted on 16 federal counts...

ABC7 Chicago: Grand jury to indict Rep. Jefferson in bribery investigation...

In the months leading up to the midterm elections last fall I was shocked and confused when Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert and the majority of the Republican Conference came out in support of New Orleans Congressman William Jefferson, whom had recently become the first member of Congress ever to provoke the FBI into performing warranted searches of his Capitol Hill offices.

Hastert and his colleagues were motivated to stand with their colleague from across the aisle on the grounds that such an investigation violated the underlying principle of separation of powers between the Executive and Legislative branches of the Federal Government.

At the time it was easy to criticize Hastert for his decision to stand on principle, even in the face of an inevitable Democratic ascension and the dissolution of the Republican majority, largely due to the GOP's own "culture of corruption", and I doubt a Republican member of the minority would receive the same unconditional support of Speaker Pelosi if a similar situation were to arise during the current Congress. While I can understand Hastert's motivation, I do not understand how he could have thought it politically advantageous to so firmly stand with an obviously suspect Congressman who was basically caught red-handed with his hand in the corporate piggy bank.

The day I met the Speaker while working as an intern in his Washington office during the summer of 2005 he confided in myself and my fellow interns that he had just had a troubling conversation with a Republican member, whom he did not name at the time but later turned out to be Duke Cunningham, regarding real estate transactions that were under investigation in California. As it turned out, Cunningham was speedily indicted, convicted and sentenced to what will likely amount to the rest of his life in prison for those shady dealings, which along with other Republican ethical lapses was the primary impetus for the rise of the Democrats to the majority in the House. Hopefully Hastert didn't go too far in his defense of Jefferson, because if the Republican's are to win back the House or Representatives in 2008 they will have to reestablish the moral high ground over their Democratic colleagues. Jefferson's indictment is surely a good start toward that end, but many more liberal heads will have to roll before voters are likely to forget the disastrous record of the 109th Congress.

Congressman Jefferson faces charges surrounding alleged kick-back payments he accepted, $90,000 of which he subsequently attempted to conceal in the freezer of his Washington DC apartment during an FBI raid, the discovery of which led the FBI to seek warrants to search his Congressional offices, which had theretofore been beyond the Bureau's jurisdiction. If convicted Jefferson faces nearly 200 years behind bars, which makes it seem unlikely that the unprecedented constitutional circumstances surrounding the tactics used by FBI agents when gathering evidence against Jefferson will provide the legal leverage he needs to beat the wrap on bribery and corruption charges.

Two of Jefferson's associates have already been indicted and negotiated plea bargains for their roles in the conspiracy. Brett Pfeffer, a former-Jefferson aide plead guilty to soliciting bribes on Jefferson's behalf and was sentenced to seven years in prison. Another Jefferson confidant, Kentucky telecommunications executive Vernon Jackson, plead guilty to paying $400,000 to $1,000,000 in bribes to the Congressman in exchange for his assistance securing business deals in Nigeria and other African nations, and was sentenced to more than seven years in prison.

Both former-Jefferson associates agreed to cooperate in the case against the Congressman in exchange for their plea deals, which substantially lessened the hard time they faced for their role in the alleged bribery.


Chicago Trophy most recent project aimed at making Chicago most attractive destination for 2016 Olympics....

Chicago Sun-Times: It's not the Games, but...

The City of Chicago has announced yet another major international project aimed at impressing the world, and particularly the International Olympic Committee (IOC), as it fights for the 2016 Olympic Games. The Chicago Trophy will bring four of Europe's great soccer clubs to the Windy City for a tournament that event organizers hope will become the premier North American tournament for European Club soccer, indisputably the best professional soccer league in the world.

Mayor Richard Daley called the Chicago Trophy tournament "further evidence that Chicago is becoming a great international sports town." He may have added that it is also proof that the city is becoming a great destination for international investment, as the tournament will be organized by Platinum One, and Irish sports management agency, and the lead sponsor is Shelbourne Development, who recently had their revised $2 billion plan for a 150-story Chicago Spire along the lakefront approved by the City Council.

Platinum One chairman Fintan Drury said the Chicago Trophy was inspired by the desire to bring a great summer soccer tournament to North America "to rival the best in Europe and in Asia."

The inaugural Chicago Trophy will feature Sevilla FC of Spain, Club Deportivo Toluca of Mexico, and Wisla Krakow of Poland, as well as a yet to be named Italian club. Each team will play two matches, earning three points for a win, one for a draw and bonus points for goals scored. It will be hosted July 27 & 29 at Soldier Field and tickets are priced at $45, $65 and $80, and one ticket will give fans the ability to watch a double-header.