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This page features brief excerpts of news stories published by the mainstream media and, less frequently, blogs, alternative media, and even obviously biased sources. The excerpts are taken directly from the websites cited in each source note. Quotation marks are not used.
This page features brief excerpts of news stories published by the mainstream media and, less frequently, blogs, alternative media, and even obviously biased sources. The excerpts are taken directly from the websites cited in each source note. Quotation marks are not used. Because most of our readers read the NYT we usually do not include the paper's stories in HIGHLIGHTS.
Name of source: Seattle P-I
SOURCE: Seattle P-I (12-18-06)
"Thanks for 'Second Acts' and your very kind letter," he said in a letter to Mark Updegrove, author of a new book about post-presidential life. "I'm not quite ready to take the stage for the 2nd act. After a two-year sprint, then I'll take the lessons of your book to heart."
Bush may not be thinking about the next act, but planners are planning for it. And they foresee an unprecedented post-presidency, largely because of the war.
The White House sought $5 million in the 2007 budget to begin hiring and training the Secret Service detail that will protect Bush after he leaves office. The money also will be used to protect 2008 presidential candidates.
Congress bumped the appropriation up to $16.5 million.
Name of source: UPI
SOURCE: UPI (12-17-06)
"First Into Nagasaki" is scheduled to be released Dec. 26, and will feature the articles Weller wrote after sneaking into the Japanese city of Nagasaki four weeks after the United States dropped an atomic bomb, the Chicago Sun-Times said.
The articles, being published by Weller's son Anthony, were censored by the U.S. military; U.S. Gen. Douglas MacArthur had placed Japan off-limits to the media, the Times said.
Name of source: WaPo
SOURCE: WaPo (12-18-06)
Collins looked out his window and saw a small plane crashing into a building right in front of him -- the accident that killed New York Yankees pitcher Cory Lidle and his flight instructor. Instinctively, he recalled, he pulled his Fuji digital camera from a drawer and started shooting, thinking to himself, "This is going to be on the news."
Collins, a consultant for a software company, said he remembered reading about Scoopt, a year-old agency in Scotland that brokers photos for "citizen journalists." Within minutes, he had e-mailed his digital shots to Scoopt. Hours later, his picture of a smoking Manhattan high-rise was in three British newspapers, including a front-page splash in the Times of London. He earned $650 for his work.
The rapid rise of digital technology, which enables ordinary people almost anywhere to record images and post them quickly on the Internet, is changing the way the world witnesses history, not to mention the dependable misbehavior of celebrities. Events that once were recorded only by human memory may now endure in full, pixelated detail, available in seconds around the globe.
SOURCE: WaPo (12-16-06)
Now Oscar Marion is anonymous no longer. He has had his name restored.
In a ceremony yesterday at the Capitol, Marion was recognized as the "African American Patriot" he always was. A proclamation signed by President Bush expressed the thanks of a "grateful nation" and recognized Oscar Marion's "devoted and selfless consecration to the service of our country in the Armed Forces of the United States."
The occasion was a triumph for his distant cousin, genealogist Tina C. Jones, who researched his identity and pressed officials to honor him.
SOURCE: WaPo (12-15-06)
That interest came into focus recently after Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) went public with an account of a meeting last Friday in which he said the president seemed to be comparing his situation to that of Truman in the late 1940s. According to Durbin's account and another source familiar with the meeting, Bush told the gathering of congressional leaders that Truman's approach to dealing with the Cold War was not initially popular but that he was vindicated by history -- the implication being that Bush would be vindicated about Iraq as well.
White House aides later disputed this reading of Bush's comments, but the episode may offer a glimpse into the psychology of a president who, like Truman in his second term, seems beset by trouble and pressures on all sides and who is ready to look to history for some comfort and guidance.
"Everyone loves a winner, and history reflects Harry Truman was a winner," said Rep. Ike Skelton (D-Mo.), whose father was a longtime friend of the late president and who met Truman as a young man. "It is all familiar front-yard psychology -- associate yourself with a winner."
By many accounts, Bush is fascinated by history and biography -- he reads extensively and meets periodically with presidential scholars -- and Truman has certainly seemed to be on his mind in recent months. In his commencement address this year at West Point, Bush discussed Truman at some length, lauding his early role in structuring U.S. forces and institutions for the Cold War....
Name of source: CBS News
SOURCE: CBS News (12-17-06)
The Nazis were famous for record keeping but what 60 Minutes found ran from the bizarre to the horrifying. This Holocaust history was discovered by the Allies in dozens of concentration camps, as Germany fell in the spring of 1945.
As correspondent Scott Pelley reports, the documents were taken to a town in the middle of Germany, called Bad Arolsen, where they were sorted, filed and locked way, never to be seen by the public until now.
Name of source: Salisbury Journal (UK)
SOURCE: Salisbury Journal (UK) (12-15-06)
The aim is to use the train to transport tourists from the visitors centre to within walking distance of the ancient stones.
But the chairman of the Stonehenge Alliance, George McDonic, said the trains would conflict with both national and international policies that seek to protect the landscape around the World Heritage site.
Name of source: Richmond Times-Dispatch
SOURCE: Richmond Times-Dispatch (12-17-06)
As a student leader in the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, Pesti expected her days might be numbered after she was captured during the Soviet crackdown. She had been made to lie on a cot beneath a brightly burning light and keep her hands still and plainly visible. She wasn't so much afraid of dying as she was of the insects that would crawl onto the bare bulb and fall on her face.
She could hear the gunshots of executions from her cell. She felt certain her short, hard life -- orphaned and wounded and still only 19 -- had reached an inevitable end.
"I don't really believe in miracles," she says now, "but . . . "A strange thing happened on her way to the firing squad 50 years ago yesterday. She was taken to the office of a Soviet interrogator, who told her he had a family in Russia he might never see again and he had a few hours to save the lives of some young people so he was going to spare hers. She was put on a truck, then a train, where she hid in a coal box. She figured she was headed to Siberia. As the train rumbled along, she passed out.
When she came to, the train had stopped. She slipped outside and asked an old man walking along the tracks where she was. Sopron, he said -- the last city in Hungary before the Austrian border.
Sick, cold and barely clothed, she started walking toward the bright lights of Austria.
Name of source: Iraqi News Agency/WNA
SOURCE: Iraqi News Agency/WNA (12-17-06)
The Iraqi Museum has been subjected to looting after the fall of the previous regime, where the number of artifacts stolen from the museum was more than eight thousand assorted pieces.
The source pointed out that the Iraqi museum will be re-opening early next year through the provision of electronic protection and iron gates.
Name of source: AFP at Yahoo News
SOURCE: AFP at Yahoo News (12-16-06)
"The chances that we are dealing with the remains of the French heroine are diminishing," Philippe Charlier said after completing six months of research.
"The results do not allow us to give an answer with certainty. But my historical prejudices on relics that turn out to be false lead me to think that we are headed towards a hypothesis of a false relic."
SOURCE: AFP at Yahoo News (12-13-06)
The dam is a heritage of the Hittites, who ruled over vast areas of the Middle East from 2000 to 1000 BC, fought Pharaoh Rameses The Great, among others, and built some of the biggest cities of the time in the heart of Anatolia, the Asian part of modern Turkey.
The 2,500 inhabitants of Alacahoyuk know the Hittites well: since the early 20th century, archaeologists have been digging the remains of a royal city at the entrance of their village about 160 kilometers (100 miles) east of Ankara.
Name of source: Times Online (UK)
SOURCE: Times Online (UK) (12-17-06)
The Prime Minister’s wife, who is representing the family of the secret agent, Paul Rosbaud, has lodged a claim demanding that MI6, then usually known as the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), release all its information on the case “so that the public can properly evaluate and appreciate the undoubtedly great contribution [he] made tothe Allied victory at considerable personal risk”.
The Investigatory Powers Tribunal, the legal body that investigates the conduct of the Intelligence Service, has declined to rule on the issue, but the Rosbaud family has vowed to continue the campaign until the truth about the German agent is revealed.
Rosbaud was one of the most important agents of the war. A scientist bitterly opposed to the Nazi regime, he provided Britain with valuable intelligence on jet aircraft, radar, flying bombs and Nazi attempts to develop the atomic bomb.
SOURCE: Times Online (UK) (12-17-06)
Ahron Cohen, an Orthodox Jew from Greater Manchester and a leading member of the anti-Zionist Neturei Karta movement, sparked new controversy on his return from Tehran by suggesting that God would have saved the victims of the Nazis if they had deserved to live.
Cohen, whose house in Salford was pelted with 1,000 eggs lastyear because of his extremist views, told The Sunday Times: “There is no question that there was a Holocaust and gas chambers. There are too many eyewitnesses.
“However, our approach is that when one suffers, the one who perpetrates the suffering is obviously guilty but he will never succeed if the victim did not deserve it in one way or another.
“We have to look within to improve and try to better ourselvesand remove those characteristics or actions that may have been the cause of the success of the Holocaust.”
Name of source: LAT
SOURCE: LAT (12-17-06)
The voice belongs to Thomas Pigor, a cabaret singer with a mischievous sense of timing. He and irreverent comic-book writer Walter Moers collaborated on the short video "Adolf — The Bonker." Mocking Hitler's southern German accent with the pronunciation "bonker" instead of bunker, the clip has been viewed more than 4 million times on YouTube and other sites since its Internet debut in July.
"It's a blasphemous joy to see Hitler shrunk into this tiny, pathetic cartoon figure. It destroys the myth of the cult figure some still hold," Pigor said, sitting near a candelabrum on a drizzly afternoon. "I didn't anticipate such a hit. I thought it would only be big on the cabaret scene. But its popularity shows that the time is ripe for breaking the Hitler taboo."
Name of source: AP
SOURCE: AP (12-17-06)
Warren Ludlum, who lives in Old Tappan, N.J., said that his B-24 bomber was shot down by enemy planes over Linz, Austria, in July 1944, while he was being escorted by P-51 fighters piloted by the Tuskegee Airmen.
Successive Serbian and Bosnian governments have lacked the political will to arrest wartime political leader Radovan Karadzic and his military chief, Gen. Ratko Mladic, said Carla Del Ponte.
"My assessment remains that the Serbian government could easily arrest Ratko Mladic should the authorities want to do it," Del Ponte told the council. "It is simply a question of political will."
"This $1,000 bill is one of only two known of its type; the other surviving example is in the museum at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco," Greg Rohan, president of Dallas-based Heritage Auction Galleries, said Friday.
Rohan said that type of bank note is known to collectors as a "Grand Watermelon" because the green-striped zeros in the denomination "1,000" printed on the back of the bill look like the fruit.
Momentum is growing behind new human rights investigations in Chile and other countries where dictators ruled with impunity. Prosecutors are dusting off cases of abduction and torture, digging up mass graves and using DNA to identify the victims.
In Chile, Uruguay and Argentina, judges are finding ways around the amnesty laws that long protected the perpetrators. In Brazil and Mexico, democratically elected presidents have finally opened up long-secret files to provide evidence against those responsible.
But the Kazakhs who took to the streets in mass protests in December 1986 were dismissed as drunkards and hooligans by the Communist authorities who crushed their uprising. Now, 20 years later, these middle-aged former rebels feel their sacrifice and struggle have never been recognized.
Instead, this weekend's anniversary of the revolt in Kazakhstan -- a nation that spans Central Asia's steppes from European Russia to the Chinese border -- is being kept low-key by a government with reason to tread cautiously.
It will be the first time in history that the U.S. Mint has produced a series featuring women.
While a new presidential series will be $1 circulating coins, the wives will be on half-ounce gold coins with each likely to sell for more than $300.
Both coins were authorized by Congress in 2005 with lawmakers modeling the $1 coin series after the Mint's extremely popular 50-state quarters.
The hope is that changing the images on the presidential coins every three months will spur greater interest and help the maligned dollar coin finally achieve acceptance with Americans. The Susan B. Anthony dollar, introduced in 1979, and the Sacagewea, introduced in 2000, have both been flops.
Critics have attacked the education reform as reminiscent of the pre-World War II system that encouraged children to sacrifice themselves for the emperor and nation.
The measure, a reform of Japan's 1947 education law, would call on schools to teach "love of country" and "public spirit."
The case has put fresh strains on German-Polish ties -- a relationship still troubled by painful memories of Nazi brutalities.
The Prussian Claims Society complaint filed with the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg in November stems from territorial rearrangements reached after the war by the victorious Allies -- the United States, Great Britain and the Soviet Union -- at the 1945 Potsdam conference.
SOURCE: AP (12-14-06)
Now, decades after Holy City fell into ruin, the 142-acre site is a prime piece of real estate in the hills outside booming Silicon Valley, and it is up for sale for $11 million.
"Bad, good or indifferent, there is a history here, and my hope is that somebody will take that history and spin it into a good thing for the future," said Jim E. Miller, the real estate agent who is selling Holy City for three elderly investors who have owned the property since 1966.
SOURCE: AP (12-14-06)
The bill, proposed by the Socialist government in July, would also ban symbols and references to the Franco regime in public buildings and asks local and regional governments to rename streets or plazas that are named after Franco or refer to his regime.
SOURCE: AP (12-13-06)
The letters sold for $1.7 million — more than double the estimated price.
Name of source: NYT Book Review
SOURCE: NYT Book Review (12-17-06)
Name of source: Baltimore Sun
SOURCE: Baltimore Sun (12-17-06)
The city had slowed to a near halt. Schools were closed. Church services were banned. The federal government limited its hours of operation. People were dying -- some who took ill in the morning were dead by night.
"That's how quickly it happened," said Sardo, 94, who lives in an assisted living facility just outside the nation's capital. "They disappeared from the face of the earth."
Sardo is among the last survivors of the 1918 flu pandemic. Their stories offer a glimpse at the forgotten history of one of the world's worst plagues, when the virus killed at least 50 million people and perhaps as many as 100 million.
Name of source: Richard Cohen at Slate.com
SOURCE: Richard Cohen at Slate.com (12-15-06)
U-Boat? The Unterseeboot responsible for sinking untold allied ships during World War II, costing many lives and so impressing Winston Churchill that he said, "The only thing that really frightened me during the war was the U-boat peril"? That U-boat? Yes, apparently. And that raises another question: Who would buy, not to mention wear, a watch named after a killer sub that, while used in World War I, really earned its rep in World War II as a fighter on the side of the Nazis? In other words, who could be so ahistorical, ignorant, or just plain tasteless to wear something on their wrist that immediately brings to mind, among other things, the ovens of Auschwitz?
One answer is that it has to be the same people who will soon bid on the car CNNMoney.com and AOL both called "Hitler race car." This Auto Union D-Type is expected to go for as much as $12 million at a Paris auction. The car was built by Ferdinand Porsche, then with Auto Union, the company now known as Audi. In the '30s, Porsche accepted Hitler's challenge to build a car that would showcase German technological advances....
Name of source: Reuters
SOURCE: Reuters (12-15-06)
Today, the sociology professor sees little anti-war sentiment at the liberal arts school. Iraq, he says, is a different war than Vietnam, in one big way.
"It's a pretty short explanation: D-R-A-F-T," Lewis said. "We've segregated the war. It's nasty, it's sad ... but it's 'over there.'"
Critics of President Bush have compared the bleak and bloody war in Iraq with the U.S. failure in Vietnam a generation ago, but the flower-power peace movement that marked the Vietnam era is mostly a memory.
The lack of a draft has kept the war at arm's length from most Americans, though polls show a majority believe the United States should leave Iraq -- sentiment that helped Democrats win control of Congress in November.
SOURCE: Reuters (12-15-06)
Bangladesh won independence from Pakistan on December 16, 1971, following a nine-month guerrilla war which cost millions of lives.
SOURCE: Reuters (12-14-06)
Gustav Schuster, a gynecologist who worked in Nazi courts which ordered the sterilization of handicapped women as part of Adolf Hitler's drive to create a 'master race', had collected hundreds of paintings, graphics and etchings.
The paintings, among them a work by German impressionist Max Liebermann, reviled by the Nazis for his Jewish background, were confiscated by occupying Soviet forces in 1945. It was not clear where Schuster himself had obtained the works of art.
Relatives of Schuster, who delivered Nazi party propaganda speeches, applied for their return after German re-unification in 1990, starting a legal battle that has dragged on for several years.
SOURCE: Reuters (12-14-06)
Christodoulos, Orthodox archbishop of Athens and of all Greece, made the request during a visit when he and the Pope signed a joint declaration on issues of common concern, such as the defense of life.
According to spokesmen for Christodoulos, the Pope was a bit perplexed by the request, perhaps not knowing that the vast museums he technically owns as sovereign of Vatican City have a fragment of the 5th century BC structure.
He said he would consider the request, they said.
Name of source: Toronto Globe and Mail
SOURCE: Toronto Globe and Mail (12-15-06)
Ms. Weiss was just 18 when the Nazis came to her village in Hungary in 1944, and put her entire family on a train to Auschwitz II (Birkenau) concentration camp. She lost her father, her mother, her brother and seven sisters in the gas chambers and crematoria. Of 49 relatives, she was the only survivor.
"I now ask you, Ahmadinejad, what happened to them? Where are they?" Ms. Weiss told a room of diplomats and scholars, her voice creaking with emotion. "They became smoke, ashes, dust."
Ms. Weiss was addressing a conference called "Holocaust denial: Paving the way to Genocide" that was held yesterday at the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum in Jerusalem, a pointed counterattack to a meeting of known Holocaust deniers being hosted in Tehran this week by Mr. Ahmadinejad.
Name of source: Breitbart
SOURCE: Breitbart (12-15-06)
Once criss-crossed by more than 120 tramway lines -- horse-drawn from 1855, then steam- and finally electric-powered -- Paris, like most major European cities, was gradually seduced away by the car and underground train, closing its last line in 1937.
Running 7.9 kilometres (4.7 miles) along an east-west route, just inside the southern rim of the capital, the new"T3" tramway replaces an overcrowded bus line and will eventually be tripled in length to encirle the whole city.
SOURCE: Breitbart (12-15-06)
Indictments issued in six states by the US Justice Department accused 15 of the 16 of fraudulently immigrating into the US by lying about their background in Bosnian Serb military forces, the department said in a statement.
SOURCE: Breitbart (12-14-06)
Name of source: NPR (audio)
SOURCE: NPR (audio) (12-17-06)
SOURCE: NPR (audio) (12-14-06)
The painting depicts doctors performing surgery on a boy's leg -- an unusual subject for art at the time. Dr. Samuel Gross, a world-famous Philadelphia surgeon, stands, lecturing to students, scalpel in his bloody, gloveless, right hand. There's more blood on his assistants and, of course, the patient.
Name of source: NYT
SOURCE: NYT (12-16-06)
The agreement was disclosed in a report issued Friday by the Government Accountability Office that rebuked the Smithsonian for failing to provide the public with sufficient details about the Showtime contract.
Under the deal, Showtime Networks has some exclusive rights to create documentaries using the institution’s collections for broadcast on Smithsonian on Demand, a new cable channel that will be jointly owned by the two parties.
The deal attracted harsh criticism earlier this year from some documentary filmmakers and members of Congress, who questioned whether the agreement would limit the access of independent researchers to the Smithsonian’s public archives.
The Government Accountability Office reported that the Smithsonian followed its internal contracting guidelines. But, it added, the institution was negligent in waiting more than two months after the contract came into effect to publicly disclose its existence.
SOURCE: NYT (12-16-06)
In a statement, the leaders of the institutes said that the ministry’s Institute for Political and International Studies, which had served in the past “as a mainstream Iranian interface with foreign think tanks and research institutes,” was no longer an acceptable partner.
The 34 signers of the statement included the directors of the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London; the Aspen Institute Berlin; the German Marshall Fund in Washington; the Geneva Center for Security Policy; the Center for International Studies and Research in Paris; the United States Studies Center in Sydney, Australia; and the Center for International Relations in Warsaw.
Name of source: Columbia Journalism Review
SOURCE: Columbia Journalism Review (12-14-06)
Jesus, of course, is as reliably evergreen a cover subject as they come -- ever-mysterious, ever-controversial -- and one that, naturally, pops up annually on newsstands around Easter and/or Christmas. With the appearance this week of two visually similar Jesus Cover Stories (Newsweek, U.S. News and World Report), we wondered: How has the Jesus Cover Story been packaged over the years? How has it changed (or not)?
Often, such covers involve a painting of a cherubic Jesus cradled in Mary's arms accompanied by a question (some variation on Who Was He?) or a nod to some book or bit of research which shows How Jesus Isn't Who You Thought He Was. Such is the case this week with Newsweek's and U.S. News' dueling Jesus covers -- which, although they feature paintings from entirely different centuries, can be hard to differentiate for a newsstand browser with no art history training.
On U.S. News' cover, reporter Jay Tolson is "In Search of the Real Jesus" -- having apparently lost track of Him sometime after March of 2004 (when Tolson wrote a cover story titled, "The Real Jesus.") While Time "Search[ed] for Jesus" on a December 1996 cover (and "Search[ed] for Mary" back in 1991), its cover has thus far been Jesus- (and Mary-) free this year (ditto the years 2000-2003). Not so Newsweek, with the current cover headline: "The World of the Nativity: How First-Century Jewish Family Values Shaped Christianity" (which reminded us a bit of Tolson's above-referenced 2004 Jesus Cover Story for U.S. News, subtitled,-"How the Jewish reformer lost his Jewish identity.")...
Name of source: Newsletter of the National Coalition for History (NCH)
SOURCE: Newsletter of the National Coalition for History (NCH) (12-15-06)
This legislation was never subjected to the scrutiny of a congressional hearing. It was rammed through the House in late September in an effort to enact the measure and provide federal funding for a private museum in Virginia prior to the 150th anniversary of the birth of President Woodrow Wilson on 10 December 2006. If enacted the bill would have diverted NARA funds to a private museum that has neither any significant library holdings nor any archival collection associated with President Wilson (the Wilson papers, for example, are housed at Princeton University). The measure specified that federal money would be channeled to the site by NARA to "provide interpretive and educational services that communicate the meaning of the life of Woodrow Wilson," with the proviso that "the Archivist shall have no involvement in the actual operations of the library, except at the request of the non-Federal entity responsible for the operation of the library."
National Archives insiders report strong opposition to the legislation by professional staff. According to one source, had the measure come to hearing, NARA would have opposed the bill for a variety of reasons, perhaps chief of which would be that the bill would have set a dangerous precedent in which other private presidential museums and historic sites would feel at liberty to pursue special earmarked funding for their private institutions as well. With NARA running a $10-$12 million projected shortfall in FY 2007, the agency clearly cannot afford a diversion of limited funds to such special-interest purposes. In addition, designations by small historic sites and museums claiming to be "presidential libraries" add to the already confusing miscellany of nomenclature relating to presidential libraries, thus making it that much harder for the general public to understand what is and what is not a true presidential library.
For the reasons cited above, the National Coalition for History opposed enactment of this measure and communicated that opposition to Virginia senators and key members of the Senate, including members of the Homeland Security Committee to which the bill was referred for consideration.
While the measure was not acted on in the 109th Congress, according to a spokesperson for Representative Goodlatte, the Congressman plans to reintroduce the bill and hopes to see the measure enacted early in the 110th Congress.
Readers who reside in Virginia who wish to make their voices heard on this measure are encouraged to contact their House member or senator and express your views on the proposed legislation. Member offices can be reached via the Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121.
Name of source: Independent (UK)
SOURCE: Independent (UK) (12-15-06)
A devastating attack on Mr Blair's justification for military action by Carne Ross, Britain's key negotiator at the UN, has been kept under wraps until now because he was threatened with being charged with breaching the Official Secrets Act.
In the testimony revealed today Mr Ross, 40, who helped negotiate several UN security resolutions on Iraq, makes it clear that Mr Blair must have known Saddam Hussein possessed no weapons of mass destruction. He said that during his posting to the UN, "at no time did HMG [Her Majesty's Government] assess that Iraq's WMD (or any other capability) posed a threat to the UK or its interests."
Name of source: Newsweek
SOURCE: Newsweek (12-9-06)
While we can never be exactly sure of what Jesus, Mary and Joseph actually looked like, we know they were not fair-skinned, flaxen-haired Europeans. And, though an emerging fringe of historians would argue otherwise, it’s fairly certain they weren’t black Africans. In all likelihood, what they were was something in between: olive-skinned, dark-featured Semitic Jews living in Israel. Yet depictions of them as such are exceedingly rare compared to the countless number of images that have proliferated through the millennia portraying them as Caucasians.
Until now. With New Line Cinema’s new movie, “The Nativity Story,” we finally get what many historians agree is a more accurate representation of the Holy Family. Cast with a group of dark-haired, dark-complexioned actors whose nationalities range from Guatemalan to Australian and Irish to Israeli—those who aren’t Middle Eastern certainly look like they could be—the movie strives for physical accuracy, and in doing so may challenge some Christians’ notions of what the story’s central characters looked like: the Angel Gabriel, for one, is played by Sudanese actor Alexander Siddig, who you might have caught this time last year playing the part of an Iranian prince in “Syriana.” (Ethnically ambiguous baby Jesus gets only about a minute of screentime at the end.)
Name of source: Salon
SOURCE: Salon (12-14-06)
Pollard, who volunteered with the Scouts in Milford, died in Seminole, Fla., said Shawn Smith of Smith Funeral Home in Milford, which is handling arrangements.
Pollard ran a Milford troop from 1973 to 1975 when no men volunteered. But her application for a leadership position was denied when the Boy Scouts contended a woman was not a good role model for young boys enrolled in Scouting.
Name of source: Press Release -- Thomas B. Fordham Foundation
SOURCE: Press Release -- Thomas B. Fordham Foundation (12-12-06)
At the event, hosted by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute and supported by the Louis Calder Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation of New York, scholars and education leaders highlighted alternatives to a hyper-narrow curriculum, including testing added subjects like history, lengthening the school day to encompass art and music, and providing stronger curricular guidance and instructional materials for teachers.
“Narrowing the K-12 curriculum isn’t just a problem that arrived with No Child Left Behind,” said Fordham president Chester E. Finn, Jr. “Since the dawn of standards-based education reform, some states and schools have reacted to pressure for better basic skills by squeezing out history, civics, literature, and the arts. This is wrong. Our kids need both to walk and chew gum and our schools must prepare them accordingly, ensuring that they’re adept in the basic skills while also acquiring a broad liberal arts education.”
Business leaders, including technology mastermind Dr. Sidney Harman; artists, including poet and chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts Dana Gioia; statesmen, historians, and practicing educators from around the country gathered at the Fordham symposium, Beyond The Basics: Why reading, math, and science aren’t sufficient for a 21st century education, to ponder possible remedies, including:
Increasing instructional time in U.S. classrooms. According to data newly analyzed by Kate Walsh, president of the National Council for Teacher Quality, students in some cities (e.g. Chicago) spend the equivalent of eight weeks less in school per year than their peers in other cities (e.g. New York). Such sharp differences mean less time for learning basics—and everything else.
Adding subjects to the testing docket. Brown University scholar Martin West presented research showing that, at a national level, instructional time for reading has risen dramatically while time for non-tested subjects such as history has eroded. However, states that test students in history haven’t experienced these same declines; their students spend more time studying history than in other states. UNESCO researcher Aaron Benavot also found that U.S. primary schools spend more time on reading instruction—and less on the arts—than do other OECD nations.
Equipping teachers with better instructional materials and professional development to teach a well-rounded curriculum. A range of leaders including Kati Haycock of the Education Trust, E. D. Hirsch, Jr. of the Core Knowledge Foundation, and Antonia Cortese of the American Federation of Teachers faulted states for lacking a coherent curriculum that teachers can use in class. As most state standards are too vague to be helpful, teachers crave clear expectations and powerful classroom tools.
“The narrowing of the curriculum is not an inevitable response to testing and accountability,” said education historian Diane Ravitch. “Some schools, districts, and states have done a better job ensuring a broad education for all of their students, and they deserve to be emulated. The educators in charge of schools must hew close to a vision of a good education for their students, regardless of NCLB requirements.”
In the coming months, the Thomas B. Fordham Institute will release a volume highlighting today’s discussions and conclusions.
Name of source: Press Release -- The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies
SOURCE: Press Release -- The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies (12-15-06)
South Carolina attorney Robert N. Rosen, author of Saving the Jews: Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Holocaust, has admitted that he was wrong to claim that Yitshaq Ben-Ami and Dr. Alexander Rafaeli, two leaders of the activist Bergson Group, "sat out the war in America, preferring to agitate for the overthrow of the British in Palestine rather than enlist and fight Nazis themselves."
Rosen's admission came in response to protests by the families of Rafaeli, Ben-Ami, and other Begson Group leaders, represented by Washington, D.C. attorney Jeffrey Weiss.
Rosen's book staunchly defends FDR's response to the Holocaust and harshly attacks those who, in the 1940s, pressed the Roosevelt administration to aid Jewish refugees. Rosen devotes a portion of the book to attacking the Bergson Group, a Jewish activist group that used rallies, newspaper ads, and lobbying Congress to try to bring about U.S. rescue of refugees from the Holocaust. One of the major points of Rosen's attack on the Bergson Group is his claim (on p.313) that the group's leaders "sat out the war in America, preferring to agitate for the overthrow of the British in Palestine rather than enlist and fight Nazis themselves."
In fact, two of the group's five leaders, Ben-Ami and Rafaeli, enlisted and fought in the U.S. Army. Ben-Ami fought in the Battle of the Bulge and elsewhere; Rafaeli fought in Normandy, the liberation of Paris, the Battle of the Ruhr, and the liberation of Maastricht (in Holland), and served in the army's Counter-Intelligence Corps (CIC). The other three Bergson Group leaders --Peter Bergson (Hillel Kook), Samuel Merlin, and Eri Jabotinsky, were classified 4-F and thus exempt from military service.
The families, in requesting an apology and retraction from Rosen, pointed out that Rosen had access to accurate information about the Bergson leaders' military service, since that information appears in other books which Rosen mentions in Saving the Jews.
In correspondence with Mr. Weiss in recent weeks, Rosen acknowledged that his statement about Ben-Ami and Rafaeli was wrong, and promised that it would not appear in any future editions of the book. At the same time, however, the families expressed their strong disappointment that Rosen, instead of issuing an unambiguous public apology, claimed that his statements had been misunderstood.
The families of Ben-Ami, Rafaeli, and a third Bergson group leader, Eri Jabotinsky, issued this statement through The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies:
"Robert Rosen's error about our parents is not some minor point; it is an important part of his book's attempt to denigrate all those who challenged FDR's refusal to rescue Jews from the Holocaust. The draft-dodging charge is an attempt to undermine the credibility and integrity of the Bergson Group. In his book, Rosen smears our parents as fascists and terrorists who were supposedly disloyal to the Allied war against Hitler. This accusation is blatantly false. We are glad that his erroneous statement about Yitshaq Ben-Ami and Alexander Rafaeli will not appear in future editions of his book. We are disappointed that he refused to issue a simple, clear, public apology for smearing our parents. We are equally disappointed that the publisher of his book, Thunder's Mouth Press, has not had the decency to publicly apologize for publishing erroneous statements that harm a person's good name."
Earlier this year, fifty-five leading Holocaust scholars denounced Rosen for writing, in Saving the Jews, that criticism of President Franklin Roosevelt's response to the Holocaust is "anti-American" and "America-bashing." The scholars' protest was the subject of a recent feature story in the Washington Post. (For the full text of the petition and the list of signatories, call the Wyman Institute at 202-434-8994 or visit www.WymanInstitute.org)
Name of source: National Geographic News
SOURCE: National Geographic News (12-14-06)
That's according to a new study based on DNA evidence from ancient human remains found in Africa. The findings are reported in tomorrow's issue of the journal Science.
Name of source: Economist
SOURCE: Economist (12-13-06)
Last month the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California hosted a symposium commemorating the 35th anniversary of Intel's 4004 microprocessor, which revolutionised computing by combining disparate functions into a single chip and was Intel's first step towards becoming the world's biggest chipmaker. Other notable dates this year include the 25th birthday of the IBM personal computer, the 50th anniversary of the first hard-disk drive and the 60th anniversary of the first general-purpose digital electronic computer, the ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer), which weighed 27 tonnes and contained over 19,000 vacuum tubes. Never before has the computer industry seemed so preoccupied by such historical milestones.
“History”, said Cicero, “illuminates reality, vitalises memory, provides guidance in daily life.” By that measure, there is a lot of illumination and guidance going on in Silicon Valley. Any excuse to celebrate an anniversary is seized upon and milked for all it is worth. Why?
Name of source: Guardian
SOURCE: Guardian (12-14-06)
And despite his half century in public service, a defense secretary who served three presidents and oversaw two wars is being sized up not by the long reach of his career but by its ending - the body slam of Iraq.
With an eye on his legacy, Rumsfeld asked to be judged by the extraordinary nature of today's threat, like none that has come before.
``There's no road map, no guidebook,'' he said. ``The hope has to be - not perfection - but that most decisions, with the perspective of time, will turn out to be the right ones and that the perspective of history will judge the overwhelming majority of those decisions favorably.''
In the early going, the assessment is harsh.
Ex-generals asserted he was a failure months before his continued service became untenable, an extraordinary airing of protest. Then came a clamor from Democrats and some Republicans for President Bush to show the door to a man who leaves the Pentagon on Monday after nearly six years on the job....