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Peter B. Collins
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November 28, 2005
The NYTimes covers the Alito connection to the extreme right wing group Concerned Alumni of Princeton (CAP):
In the fall of 1985, Concerned Alumni of Princeton was entering a crisis.
The group, whose members at the time included the Supreme Court nominee Samuel A. Alito Jr., had been founded in 1972 by alumni upset that Princeton had recently begun admitting women. It published a magazine, Prospect, which persistently accused the administration of taking a permissive approach to student life, of promoting birth control and paying for abortions, and of diluting the explicitly Christian character of the school.
As Princeton admitted a growing number of minority students, Concerned Alumni charged repeatedly that the administration was lowering admission standards, undermining the university's distinctive traditions and admitting too few children of alumni. "Currently alumni children comprise 14 percent of each entering class, compared with an 11 percent quota for blacks and Hispanics," the group wrote in a 1985 fund-raising letter, which was sent to all Princeton graduates.
By the mid-1980's, however, Princeton students and recent alumni were increasingly finding such statements anachronistic or worse. "Is the issue the percentage of alumni children admitted or the percentage of minorities?" Jonathan Morgan, a conservative undergraduate working with the group, asked its board members that fall in an internal memorandum. "I don't see the relevance in comparing the two, except in a racist context (i.e. why do we let in so many minorities and not alumni children?)," he continued.
However, in 1985, Sam Alito was bragging to Ed Meese about his connection to CAP:
[I]n an application for a promotion in the Reagan administration in the fall of 1985, Judge Alito was asked to provide information about his "philosophical commitment " to administration policies and listed his membership in Concerned Alumni.
When the White House disclosed the application this month, liberal groups opposed to his nomination pounced on the connection. "The question for senators to consider and to ask is why Samuel Alito would brag about his membership in an organization known for its fervent hostility to the inclusion of women and minorities at Princeton?" asked Ralph G. Neas, president of People for the American Way.
The funny thing is CAP was beyond the pale even for Bill Frist:
The university's administration did not appreciate the accusations. In 1975, an alumni panel that included Senator Bill Frist of Tennessee, the current Republican leader and a 1974 Princeton graduate, concluded that Concerned Alumni had "presented a distorted, narrow and hostile view of the university that cannot help but have misinformed and even alarmed many alumni" and "undoubtedly generated adverse national publicity."
Mr. Frist could not be reached for comment.
When Frist has a problem with you being too extreme, that tells you something.
(From the diaries -- Plutonium Page. Great references here; definitely take the time to check them out, and read through the transcript DemFromCT has excerpted in the diary.)
Much has been written, much has been discussed. Nonetheless, here are some authoritative discussions from last week that are well worth the read. The transcripts are from a Council on Foreign Relations meeting involving some big names in the flu world. Staffed by Laurie Garrett, the conference included Robert G. Webster (Professor, Division of Virology, Department of Infectious Diseases, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital) and Steven Wolinsky (Chief, Division of Infectious Diseases, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University) in the first session. A partial transcript follows (the moderator is Ray Suarez from the NewsHour):
Citing this LATimes article:
Even as debate over the Iraq war continues to rage, signs are emerging of a convergence of opinion on how the Bush administration might begin to exit the conflict. In a departure from previous statements, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said this week that the training of Iraqi soldiers had advanced so far that the current number of U.S. troops in the country probably would not be needed much longer.
President Bush will give a major speech Wednesday at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., in which aides say he is expected to herald the improved readiness of Iraqi troops, which he has identified as the key condition for pulling out U.S. forces. The administration's pivot on the issue comes as the White House is seeking to relieve enormous pressure by war opponents. The camp includes liberals, moderates and old-line conservatives who are uneasy with the costly and uncertain nation-building effort.
Josh Marshall says that BushCo is declaring victory and getting out, with all the histrionics of the past weeks on John Murtha just a cover:
I'm going to way out on a limb and take James Fallows' word over the president's and assume that there's been no radical turnaround in the training and functioning of the Iraqi Army over the last couple months.
And if that's true, it clarifies this essential point: there is no debate about withdrawing American troops from Iraq. That's over. What we have is posturing and positioning over the political consequences of withdrawal. The White House and the president's partisans will lay down a wall of covering fire, calling anybody who considers withdrawal an appeaser, to allow the president to go about the business of drawing down the American presence in Iraq in time to game the 2006 elections.
My view is that Vietnam makes it difficult to believe that BushCo will pull out so quickly - the interval between the US leaving and Iraq collapsing into unvarnished civil war and chaos would be too short - the cutting and running by BushCo would be too apparent. And I think this will put Democrats on the hot seat as well as Republicans on what to do in Iraq.
More on the flip.
Yesterday, in Quebradillas, Puerto Rico, the 42nd Puerto Rican to lose his life in Iraq and Afghanistan was laid to rest:
El soldado Alexis Román Cruz, muerto en Taji, Irak, el pasado 16 de este mes, fue despedido hoy como "héroe americano y puertorriqueño" en el cementerio municipal de Quebradillas por varios cientos de familiares, vecinos, compañeros y ciudadanos en contra de la guerra. . . . Román Cruz murió a los 32 años en Taji, al norte de Bagdad, por la explosión de una bomba cerca del vehículo en el que viajaba con otros compañeros, que resultaron heridos.
Con la muerte de Román Cruz ascienden a 42 los militares puertorriqueños muertos en Irak y Afganistán desde que EE.UU. invadió ambos países.
His commanding general said:
This island [Puerto Rico] has made great sacrifices and contributions for the Nation, for which we are grateful and will never forget. . . . Alexis is an American and Puerto Rican hero and he is a hero because he was supported by his community, his island and all of us. In the name of the Army and the Nation I represent. I am honored to be here to give a final salute to a family we must admire.
May Alexis Roman Cruz rest in peace. I honor his sacrifice. I rue the misguided policies that led to his loss of life. My prayers and thoughts to his family.
November 25, 2005
From the GREAT CITY OF MONTRÉAL IN THE GREAT PROVINCE OF QUÉBEC...
As they say here in this fabulous place: Guten Morgen!!
Michael and I braved swirling snows and psycho plow drivers to bust out of George Bush`s America yesterday. This morning we breathe the fresh air of freedom! Smells like baked bread. And cigarettes. God, they smoke everywhere here. On the upside, though...not one lecture from a fundamentalist knuckledragger. They like to keep their religion...oh, what`s the word...private.
So we had some in-depth discussions last night about the state of the world and our place in screwing it up. Our audience was more than willing to give us their unvarnished opinions as long as we kept putting 5-dollar bills in their g-strings. And the takeaway message is: "What is the MATTER with you people down there? Have you lost your minds?" What else could I say? Yes. Yes, we have. This evening we`ll try and patch things up with our hunky northern friends. Developing...
So what`s new in your neck of the woods? We sure hope all your Thanksgiving edibles went down the right gullet, and that at least a few peas were flicked at the elders of your clan. Use this as your Cheers and Jeers thread. And if you want to start drinking early, well...who am I to intervene?
Bis Dienstag...Auf Wiedersehen!
Laugh or cry?
Former FEMA Director Michael Brown, heavily criticized for his agency's slow response to Hurricane Katrina, is starting a disaster preparedness consulting firm to help clients avoid the sort of errors that cost him his job.
"If I can help people focus on preparedness, how to be better prepared in their homes and better prepared in their businesses -- because that goes straight to the bottom line -- then I hope I can help the country in some way," Brown told the Rocky Mountain News for its Thursday editions.
Brown said officials need to "take inventory" of what's going on in a disaster to be able to answer questions to avoid appearing unaware of how serious a situation is.
What can you say about this? Truly some people are shameless.
Last year, on Thanksgiving, I wrote about Abraham Lincoln, the President who declared Thanksgiving a national holiday.
Since I mention Lincoln 1860 in every other post, I thought I'd reprint that post, which I still like. You'll find it in extended.
This is an Open Thread.
December 1, 12-1 PM EST: Please join us on Thursday, December 1 -- World AIDS Day -- to learn more about the relationship between violence against women and HIV/AIDS, and the impact of US global AIDS policy. Ask a question today!
I try to ignore the Kaus/Jarvis axis of faux Dems as much as possible. But Ann Althouse spent a day slandering Atrios and the commenters so I was checking to see if she had corrected herself. Unsurprisingly she doesn't. But then I stumbled on to her post defending Scalia's saying Gore made him do it in Bush v. Gore. What is striking to me is not her defense of Scalia, which, truth be told, doesn't surprise me. But rather her defense of Bush v. Gore in the comments. I'll discuss it on the flip.
December 7, 1-2 PM EST: Between 2001 and 2004, more than 1,188 Guatemalan women and girls have been brutally murdered. Just 9 percent of these murders have been investigated by the police. Talk with experts about this brutal violence against women in Guatemala and learn what you can do to stop it. Ask a question today!
Kolbe is out.
Rep. Jim Kolbe (news, bio, voting record), a leading proponent of free trade and the only openly gay Republican in Congress, announced Wednesday that he will not seek a 12th term next year.
Kolbe, 63, said in a statement that he wants to find "new avenues of service" and spend more time in Arizona.
"I make this decision not out of despair or discouragement or even uncertainty about my political prospects for election," he said.
Short of a Graf win in the GOP primary, the Democrats might have had a difficult time winning in Arizona's eight congressional district before Kolbe's retirement announcement even though President Bush only carried the district with 53 percent of the vote in 2004 and 49 percent in 2000. But today's news offers the Democrats a solid pick up opportunity that could put Nancy Pelosi one step closer to the Speaker's chair in the 110th Congress.
Democrats are quick to note that this is "a race we can win." The eighth district contains a portion of Tucson, a city in which Democrats forcefully gained control of power during the local elections earlier this month. What's more, with the popular Democratic Governor Janet Napolitano leading the ticket next fall, Dems say they should be able to win in the eighth district next year.
This race becomes a top-tier pickup opportunity. DeLay and NRCC chair Tom Renolds can't be too happy today. And the continued ethical and legal troubles bedeviling the GOP might force additional retirements.
Via PFAW, The Nation breaks some news on ScAlito and CAP:
Some argue that Alito's membership in the organization hardly proves he shared such views. "It would be outrageously inaccurate to say Sam was deeply involved in the group, and he certainly wasn't in charge of choosing the articles," T. Harding Jones, who edited Prospect during the 1970s, told me, adding that CAP's main goals were strengthening the alumni's voice and championing a more ideologically balanced curriculum. Diane Weeks begs to differ. Weeks graduated from Princeton three years after Alito did and went on to work with him as an assistant US Attorney in New Jersey. In an interview she took pains to stress that she considers Alito "a man of integrity" with a first-rate legal mind. But, she added, "when I saw CAP on that 1985 job application, I was flabbergasted. I was totally stunned. I couldn't believe it." CAP, she said, "made it clear to women like me that we were not wanted on campus. And he is touting his membership in this group in 1985, thirteen years after he graduated. He's not a young man by this point, and I don't buy for a second that he was doing it just to get a job. Membership in CAP gives a good sense of what someone's personal beliefs are. I'm very troubled by this, and if I were on the Senate I would want some answers."
I want answers. Do Senate Democrats?
Updated Dec. 22: The USA PATRIOT Act's 16 expiring provisions were extended 5 weeks. Negotiators plan to work out a deal that will pass a Senate filibuster before the 5 weeks are up.
Via Jeralyn, the Houston Chronicle has a sickening investigative piece concluding that the the 1993 execution of teenager Ruben Cantu was a screwup of epic proportions:
Texas executed its fifth teenage offender at 22 minutes after midnight on Aug. 24, 1993, after his last request for bubble gum had been refused and his final claim of innocence had been forever silenced.
Ruben Cantu, 17 at the time of his crime, had no previous convictions, but a San Antonio prosecutor had branded him a violent thief, gang member and murderer who ruthlessly shot one victim nine times with a rifle before emptying at least nine more rounds into the only eyewitness -- a man who barely survived to testify.
Four days after a Bexar County jury delivered its verdict, Cantu wrote this letter to the residents of San Antonio: "My name is Ruben M. Cantu and I am only 18 years old. I got to the 9th grade and I have been framed in a capital murder case."
A dozen years after his execution, a Houston Chronicle investigation suggests that Cantu, a former special-ed student who grew up in a tough neighborhood on the south side of San Antonio, was likely telling the truth.
FRAC plans for this publication to help state and local officials, food stamp and TANF caseworkers, LIHEAP offices, utility executives and offices, community-based organizations, food banks, anti-hunger advocates, and others seeking to help families with this coming winter's terrible cost crunch for poor families. Food Research and Action Center
Sweet. The DCCC has delivered on our request for a listing of every congressional seat and currently announced candidates. As a quick perusal will show, there are still way too many Republicans running unopposed. Check your district if you are represented by a Republican. If we have a candidate, help out however you can. If not, do whatever you can to find a candidate.
The DCCC can do a lot, but we in the netroots number millions. We know lots of people who would never register on the DCCC's radar. I'm not talking lawyers or career politicians -- we've got more than enough of those -- but teachers, firefighters, farmers, vets, etc. Real people that could be persuaded to make a run to help build clean house in DC and take power away from those utterly corrupted by it.
Collectively, let's plug every hole on that list and make sure we have a Democrat challenging in every single Republican district in 2006.
Unembedded is a stunning book of photographs from four photojournalists roaming Iraq without U.S. military escorts. I've been featuring photos from the book over the past week or so.
Click on photo to enlarge.
SADR CITY, BAGHDAD, JULY 15, 2004
Women squeeze into a car on their way to a henna party, the Iraqi equivalent of a bridal shower, after they have had makeup applied in a salon. They ride behind tinted windows to protect their modesty.
Photo by Kael Alford
For the impatient amongst us, you can see more pictures from the book here. You can buy straight from the publisher at that link, or from Amazon here, or anywhere else you'd like (including your favorite independent bookseller).
Help Needy Monterey Families and Children
Children's Services International is a unique and wonderful local non-profit that serves homeless and low-income families and children throughout Monterey County.
Call to participate 3-6pm PT:
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