Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Statement on the Selection of 'Race to the Top' Phase 2 Finalists


Trenton, NJ - Governor Chris Christie today issued the following statement in response to New Jersey's selection as a finalist in Phase 2 of Race to the Top:

"President Obama and Secretary Duncan today recognized our administration's plan for bold reform of our state's education system.  This announcement affirms our decision to stick with real reform and not capitulate to the watered-down, failed status quo approach advocated by the NJEA.  Now is the time for New Jersey's leaders to join me to begin enactment of the pillars of real education reform contained within our Race to the Top application - more charter school opportunities for students, more choice for parents and fidelity to placing student success ahead of union self interest."

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Virginia Senator Jim Webb Calls For End To Government Diversity Programs

Virginia Senator Jim Webb Calls For End To Government Diversity programs

Virginia Senator Jim Webb
has gotten some attention lately by calling for an end to diversity programs. Webb argues that the programs hurt poor whites and reduce the ability to achieve racial harmony.

In the Wall Street Journal, Webb stated that a "plethora of government-enforced diversity policies have marginalized many white workers. The time has come to cease the false arguments and allow every American the benefit of a fair chance at the future."

Webb argues that federal diversity programs benefit immigrants over whites and blacks:

"In an odd historical twist that all Americans see but few can understand, many programs allow recently arrived immigrants to move ahead of similarly situated whites whose families have been in the country for generations," he wrote. "The injustices endured by black Americans at the hands of their own government have no parallel in our history, not only during the period of slavery but also in the Jim Crow era that followed," he wrote.

Former Virginia Governor Douglas Wilder has vocally opposed the column. He has also challenged Webb to produce data, which support his assertions:

"If it's not for the civil rights movement and diversity programs, he would not be a United States senator today," Wilder said, claiming that votes from minorities helped Webb get elected. "Things are tough enough without having people you thought were friends do things like this," Wilder said.

I was certainly surprised to read that a Democratic Senator would publicly oppose diversity programs, but he is from Virginia, which produces a different kind of Democrat than other parts of the country. I am not surprised, however, that there are many poor whites who agree with Senator Webb. Affirmative action programs are not supported by many whites across America, who see no need for an aggressive commitment to reducing racial equality.

According to a Rasmussen Poll, 55 percent of Americans oppose Affirmative Action programs. Therefore, the public support is not there and probably never has been. Fortunately, however, much of this opposition likely comes from the Republican Party, which allows Democrats to protect these opportunities.

Webb's opposition is a serious threat to the Democrats, because he chinks the armor of the party and creates ideological divides. In fact, while Webb claims that he is helping to create racial harmony with his outlandish assertions (he calls white privilege a myth in the title of his column), he is actually increasing and perpetuating racial tension. Poor whites should not be pointing the finger of blame toward people of color. Instead, they should be pointing fingers toward corporate America and the rich, who hoard a disproportionate amount of America's wealth.

Senator Webb makes a solid point that many of our nation's Affirmative Action programs have been hijacked by broader diversity initiatives that don't include underrepresented minorities. Many universities, for example, are more than happy to release their diversity numbers, but "just can't quite figure out" how to collect statistics on the number of African Americans, Native Americans and Hispanics on their campuses.

This is largely due to the fact that many campuses and corporations have started using anyone who is non-white to fill their numbers. Additionally, some forget just how much white females benefit from Affirmative Action programs, which have left underrepresented minorities in the dust.

What Webb also forgets to mention is that the strongest Affirmative Action programs in America are not the official ones. Many of these programs involve opportunities given by the "good old boy system," where unqualified men and women like George W. Bush and Elena Kagan find themselves getting opportunities above more qualified candidates (in fact, our entire Supreme Court will be almost completely full of Harvard and Yale graduates once Elena Kagan is confirmed).

Rather than focusing on undermining opportunities for hard-working black Americans, Webb might be better off engaging in empowered advocacy for those he represents and spending time in Washington fighting tax cuts for the wealthy, who are the ones keeping his constituents poor. He's really got it wrong on diversity and is singing the same song as the Republican Party.
Dr. Boyce Watkins is the founder of the Your Black World Coalition and a Scholarship in Action Resident of the Institute for Black Public Policy. To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here.

Nigel Carr: Florida State Star Faces Multiple Felonies

Nigel Carr
was expected to start for the Florida State Seminoles as a linebacker this season. Those plans are probably going to be altered, now that Carr faces a slew of felonies related to burglaries he allegedly committed this week.

According to Tallahassee police, Carr burglarized a parked SUV, stealing the victim's book bag that contained her purse and other valuables. Carr allegedly dumped the items in to a nearby trash can and police say they found the victim's credit card on the floor board of a vehicle being driven by Carr.

Surprisingly, Carr is also a suspect in another car burglary on campus and faces charges from alleged marijuana possession. His career is in serious jeopardy and may likely be coming to an end.

I am not sure what the reasoning might be behind this alleged incident, assuming that the police version of the facts are accurate. Nearly any crime involving a college athlete on the weekend or at night makes me wonder if alcohol or drugs were involved. Carr's charges for marijuana possession lead me to suspect that this is a strong possibility. For some reason, we've fed our young people a set of beliefs that create a culture of substance abuse as a fundamental part of college life.

As my daughter prepares for college, I make it clear to her that she should be strong enough to not follow the crowd. I am not one to tell her to refrain from alcohol consumption, but I let her know that college can be a blast without risking rape, illness, incarceration or death, which occurs each year in alcohol-related incidents across the country. While we can't say that substance abuse played a role in the Carr case, this point should be made nonetheless.

What is also interesting about Nigel Carr is that he is described by his teammates as being one of the most reliable men on the Florida State roster. This is surprising in light of the fact that the multiple felonies against him paint a man who is undisciplined, unprincipled and out of control. This defines the contradiction lived by many college athletes across America: They are Einsteins on the football field and unintelligent in the classroom. Hard-working when someone puts a ball in their hands, but as lazy as water buffaloes when it comes to preparing for their academic future. They are ultra-disciplined when it comes to their athletic regimens, but incredibly unfocused when it comes to how they conduct their personal lives.

The contradiction of the collegiate athlete occurs because many of them have been told that as long as you can dribble a basketball or throw a football, everything is going to be OK. You don't have to learn how to read. You don't have to be responsible with your personal choices. You don't have to manage your money properly. You don't have to worry about your future. What the athlete finds later on, though, is that the man who only defines himself as an athlete has put himself in to the same social trap that has incarcerated black men for the past 100 years. Athletes must become more intelligent.

One final and very important point is that when an athlete is arrested for robbery or found to violate NCAA rules by accepting money from a sports agent, the NCAA itself is at least partly responsible. Some athletes steal, borrow or take money under the table because they don't have enough to live on.

A player like Nigel Carr, in a free market, would earn between $250,000 and $1 million per year based on the revenue he generates for Florida State University. Given that his coach earns $1.8 million per year off the backs of his athletes (who do all the work), we know that the system is inherently unjust. Some people commit crimes because they are stupid, and some do it because they have no other way to survive. While we don't know what motivated Nigel Carr, we can certainly say that many athletes struggle financially due to the greed of the NCAA.

Dr. Boyce Watkins is the founder of the Your Black World Coalition and the Athlete Liberation and Academic Reform Movement (ALARM). To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here.

Black Farmers Still Waiting to be Compensated for Racism

Black farmers across the United States have been the victims of systematic discrimination for several decades. This has been proven in court, and the United States Department of Agriculture has agreed to pay a $1.25 billion dollar settlement to the black farmers who brought the suit. What is saddest about the settlement, however, is that Congress has not yet approved the funds. This is another form of racism that the farmers must face, because their justice is being consistently denied by government officials who are insistent upon remaining stubborn.

The USDA came under increased scrutiny recently because of the unjust firing of Shirley Sherrod. I am hopeful that the sloppy handling of the Sherrod incident is not indicative of the way the USDA does business. In fact, groups have been calling for the firing of the Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack over the Sherrod incident. He may deserve it. The way Ms. Sherrod has been treated should be an illuminating moment exposing the USDA's pattern of racism, which also caused the plight of these black farmers.

The black farmers' settlement issues began in a 1997 court case, Pigford v. Glickman. As a senator, Barack Obama sponsored "Pigford II," which re-opened the case leading to the $1.25 billion settlement in February of this year. In the settlement of the case, farmers were to be awarded $50,000 each to settle their claims of racial discrimination. As president, many thought Obama would push the payment of the settlement through, but he has not made it a priority. The House has already approved the settlement funds, but now the Senate is holding it up, primarily the Republicans. While Republicans say they would like to see the claims money approved, we all know that the Republican Party could care less about black farmers.

Hopefully the Sherrod firing will make the continuing injustices against these black farmers at the hands of the USDA and now the federal government so clear that both parties will be embarrassed into ending this delay.

Cases like this one are part of the reason I can't stand politics. Elected officials sit comfortably in their offices playing games with one another, while there are real people engaged in real suffering as a result of their decisions. Black farmers are on the verge of bankruptcy waiting for these economic injustices to be corrected, and there is no sense of urgency in Washington. I argue that for every day the approval is delayed, substantial penalties should be applied to the amount of the settlement.

Saddest in all of this is that the discrimination took place over decades, meaning that there are many farmers who may have died broke waiting for us to do the right thing. It's time for black farmers to be compensated, and for the political games to come to an end.

Dr. Boyce Watkins is the founder of the Your Black World Coalition and a Scholarship in Action Resident of the Institute for Black Public Policy. To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here.

Lawsuit Claims College Ordered Student to Alter Religious Views on Homosexuality, Or Be Dismissed

Another example of the failure of our educational system. Augusta State University, in its attempt to be "multicultural" and "tolerant", only succeeds in promoting intolerance against religious beliefs.

From FOXNews.com:
Jennifer Keeton, 24, has been pursuing a master's degree in school counseling at Augusta State University since 2009, but school officials have informed her that she'll be dismissed from the program unless she alters her 'central religious beliefs on human nature and conduct,' according to a civil complaint filed last week....
"[Augusta State University] faculty have promised to expel Miss Keeton from the graduate Counselor Education Program not because of poor academic showing or demonstrated deficiencies in clinical performance, but simply because she has communicated both inside and outside the classroom that she holds to Christian ethical convictions on matters of human sexuality and gender identity," the 43-page lawsuit reads.
Several comments on the news website suggested that Keeton should have 1) known better than to express her "bigoted" views in class; 2) realized that her views were incompatible with counseling; or 3) never gone into such a degree program as a believing Christian. Several others indicated that they would now never go into the ASU counseling program.

This is the shame of modern "multiculturalism," especially with regard to the perceived protected class of homosexuals. Instead of fighting to stay in such counseling and psychology programs, Christians are drummed out of the counseling field with the result that the majority of counselors in the country are pro-gay and anti-religious. Maybe this is an admission that only homosexuals need counseling while Christians don't? That's obviously absurd. Yet more absurd is the idea that counselors can hold anti-religious beliefs and fairly treat Christians.

This anti-religion sentiment isn't fixed in a single department, but is endemic within the university system. Remember Ken Howell, the University of Illinois adjunct who was fired for daring to teach Catholic beliefs about homosexuality in a class on Catholicism?

How can Christians ever be able to express their own views in education when they run away from the intimidation and threats of coercive action? The answer, of course, is that Christians shouldn't run away from intimidation. Jennifer Keeton has brought up a lawsuit, and rightly so, against Augusta State University. Christians should stand up for their beliefs, despite the bigoted and unfair systems found in today's universities.

Google Back to Google News Utah court orders new trial in polygamist case

LOS ANGELES — Utah supreme court Tuesday overturned the conviction of jailed polygamist sect leader Warren Jeffs, ordering a fresh trial into charges that he was an accomplice to the rape of a teenage girl.

Jeffs, 54, was convicted in 2007 on two charges stemming out of the arranged marriage of a 14-year-old girl to her 19-year-old first cousin.

He had appealed against his conviction and sentence of two consecutive five-year jail terms, arguing legal procedures had not been followed.

"We conclude that there were serious errors in the instructions given to the jury that deprived Jeffs of the fair trial to which all are entitled under our laws," the Utah court ruled.

"We therefore reverse the convictions and remand for a new trial."

Jeffs is the leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, a breakaway sect of Mormonism that supports polygamy.

The court added in its ruling: "We regret the effect our opinion today may have on the victim of the underlying crime, to whom we do not wish to cause additional pain.

"However, we must ensure that the laws are applied evenly and appropriately, in this case as in every case."

Jeffs was arrested in 2006 in Las Vegas, Nevada, after being on the FBI's ten most wanted list until his capture.

Obama: Leaked Afghan War Documents Reveal Nothing New

President Obama speaking in the Rose Garden of the White House, after a bipartisan meeting with members of Congress, 27 Jul 2010
Photo: AFP President Obama speaking in the Rose Garden of the White House, after a bipartisan meeting with members of Congress, 27 Jul 2010

Mr.Obama said Tuesday that while the leak of sensitive militaryinformation is a matter of concern, the documents failed to generateany information that has not already been addressed in his new warstrategy implemented last year.

The documents covering the last six years of the Afghan war were released Sunday by the website WikiLeaks.They include details of civilian casualties allegedly caused bycoalition forces and allegations Pakistan's intelligence service, theISI, supports some of the insurgent groups operating in Afghanistan.

PresidentObama told reporters at the White House that under a new strategy, theUnited States has greatly increased its commitment to Afghanistan andinsisted upon greater accountability from the country and its neighbor,Pakistan.

On Tuesday, Afghanistan's National Security Councilsaid the leaked documents show the U.S. has ignored Pakistan's role inthe Afghan insurgency.

In a statement referring to Pakistan, theAfghan council said the lack of a clear U.S. policy towards forces whouse terrorism has led to devastating results.

Council head andAfghan national security advisor Rangin Dadfar Spanta later questionedU.S. aid to Pakistan, saying it is "not justifiable" for the U.S. togive $11 billion to Pakistan for reconstruction and security and seethose "same forces training terrorists."

Pakistan ForeignMinistry spokesman Abdul Basit dismissed allegations that his countrysupports elements of the Afghan insurgency on Monday, calling them"far-fetched and skewed."

The U.S. Chairman of the JointChiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen said Tuesday the unauthorizedrelease of the papers could put U.S. troops in Afghanistan at risk.

U.S. officials say they are launching an investigation into who provided WikiLeakswith the classified documents. One military official says it could be"days if not weeks" to determine how the documents released onlinecould impact the lives of U.S. service members and coalition partner

Daniel Craig Set to Meet 'The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo'

Daniel Craig
David Fincher's remake of Stieg Larsson's novel The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo now has its leading man -- Daniel Craig has signed on to play journalist Mikael Blomkvist in Sony's update of the wildly popular thriller. Craig's character is a disgraced reporter who finds himself tasked with unraveling a decade's old mystery involving the disappearance of a young woman from a wealthy family. The Girl Who Played with Fire is currently making the rounds in theaters, and The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest is set to premiere on October 15.

Craig's deal has options for the actor to return for both sequels -- no small feat considering how busy he is these days. The performer who is best known for taking over the role of James Bond, could have a fledgling franchise in this series, and if the Comic-Con buzz is any indication, could have a third series in the works with Cowboys and Aliens. Trying to figure out the logistics of all these shooting schedules -- particularly if the next Bond film ever gets off the ground -- could be a real challenge.

With Craig now locked in, Fincher and company can start working on the next major casting selection -- choosing a young actress to play the role of antisocial hacker Lisbeth Salander. Deadline's list of potential candidates for the part includes Ellen Page, Emily Browning, Mia Wasikowska, Rooney Mara, Sara Snook, and Sophie Lowe.

I do like the casting of Craig in this part -- his Blomkvist should be similar to the one in the novel, which I just finished. Casting Salander is the more crucial, and difficult choice. Any of these ladies strike your fancy or would you prefer someone else?

NFL wont discipline Michael Vick after latest off the field problem

The NFL has informed Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick that he will not be disciplined in the wake of the shooting at his birthday party in Virginia Beach last month. Vick could've been disciplined by the NFL under the personal conduct policy but NFL commissioner Roger Goodell chose not to, instead offering up a warning to Vick to make better decisions and take more care in how he conducts his personal life.

Former Ohio State great Jack Tatum dies of a heart attack

Jack Tatum, known for his ferocious hits on the football field, died at age 61 of a heart attack.

JackTatum, who won a national championship at Ohio State in 1968, diedTuesday at age 61. (Photo courtesy of OhioStateBuckeyes.com)

Tatum was recruited by Woody Hayes to play at Ohio State were heearned first-team All-Big Ten in 1968, 1969, and 1970. He was part of aBuckeyes team that won the national championship in 1968 and finished27-2 as a starter. In 1970, he was voted the National Defensive Playerof the Year. He finished in seventh place that year for the HeismanTrophy.
After college, he played for nine season in the NFL, mainly with theOakland Raiders, where he was nicknamed “The Assassin”. His hit on NewEngland Patriots’ Darryl Stingley left him the wide receiver paralyzed.

Tatum was inducted into the Ohio State Varsity O Hall of Fame in1981 and was later inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in2005.

He suffered from diabetes and had five toes amputated from his left foot.

Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel gave this statementon the passing of Jack Tatum: “We have lost one of our greatestBuckeyes. When you think of Ohio State defense, the first name thatcomes to mind is Jack Tatum. His loss touches every era of Ohio Stateplayers and fans.”
For more college football updates, check out our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter at osaadelson, twstephens and osplanner.

Maurice Clarett Is Headed Back to School

aurice Clarett will be headed back to school this summer, when he continues his education at THE Ohio State University. The former freshman sensation was released from prison in April after serving four years of a seven and a half year sentence for aggravated robbery and carrying a concealed weapon. You know, college stuff.

After almost four years in jail, Maurice Clarett is headed back to school … the same school he left after his freshman year. Ohio State confirmed Clarett has been granted enrollment at the university and will start classes this summer.

“Maurice Clarett has been granted re-entry into the Ohio State University, following a review by the College of Education and Human Ecology,” said Jim Lynch, director of media relations for Ohio State.

“This is a surreal feeling to be back at Ohio State in such a supportive environment,” Clarett said in a statement. “I have looked forward to being back in school and I’m doing my best to fit in with other students. I don’t want to be a distraction or nuisance to the football team or to students on campus.”
–USA Today via 10 TV

Who was the guy that got rejected so Maurice could be accepted? A go-getter, I’m sure. His resume must have been written in pencil on a barbeque-sauce-covered Chili’s napkin. Psh Amateurs. My resume is written on a Red Lobster napkin, to distinguish myself as a classy gentleman. Maurice highlights after the jump.

As Futility Reigns in Afghanistan, House Will Vote on More Funding Maybe as Early as Tuesday, Congress Has the Power and Responsibility to End this Wa

By Kevin Zeese

The House of Representatives will be voting this week, possibly as early as Tuesday, on $33 billion in funding to escalate the war in Afghanistan. The vote comes at a time of embarrassment and evident failure in Afghanistan. Record deaths of troops and Afghan civilian, rapidly rising spending and reports indicating it will just get worse.

The news reports of problems on the ground are bad enough, but the release of 92,000 documents by Wikileaks shows the war is "more grim than the official portrayal," as the New York Times concluded. TIME’s Joe Klein reported said that the documents make clear how futile the situation in Afghanistan is – and how utterly duplicitous our Pakistani "ally" has been.

Summarizing the Wikileaks war documents, the Guardian says:

• How a secret "black" unit of Special Forces hunts down Taliban leaders for "kill or capture" without trial.

• How the US covered up evidence that the Taliban have acquired deadly surface-to-air missiles.

• How the coalition is increasingly using deadly Reaper drones to hunt and kill Taliban targets by remote control from a base in Nevada.

• How the Taliban have caused growing carnage with a massive escalation of their roadside bombing campaign, which has killed more than 2,000 civilians to date.

The House vote is not a slam dunk but you can be sure that the White House and military establishment will do everything they can to get the supplemental funding. The vote is likely to be close as the previous vote for war funding in the House won with only a five-vote margin. To accomplish that the House leadership had to manipulate the vote so that it was a procedural vote on "a self-executing rule" as well as amendments but not an actual vote on war funding. In addition, the war vote was sweetened with funding for unemployment benefits and state budgets included.

This weeks vote could be even closer. This vote is likely to be an up or down vote on war funding with the economic sweeteners removed by the Senate. It will be a clear vote to which Americans can hold elected officials accountable in the mid-term elections. Let your congress member know you will be watching their vote and it will determine your vote in the fall.

While the Afghan war is America’s longest ever, the military has been unsuccessful in developing strategies and tactics that work. General Patraeus, who has taken over command of the war from the fired Stanley McChrystal, says he is reviewing the strategy and changing its emphasis to put more effort on counterinsurgency. In fact, counterinsurgency was McChrystal specialty; indeed it is why he was put in charge of the war. Reports indicate that Patraeus is likely to amend the rules of engagement to allow the deaths of more Afghan civilians. Every civilian death puts success further away. Last Friday there was a report of a mass killing of 52 civilians NATO forces. Civilian deaths is one reason why the Afghanistan security monitor reports that the counterinsurgency tactics are showing no signs of success and that the U.S. military build-up in Kandahar will actually strengthen the Taliban by uniting Afghans in their resistance to the U.S. military.

And, the size of the U.S. troop presence is becoming an absurdity. The U.S. now has 1,000 troops for every single Al-Qaeda operative in Afghanistan and each of those troops cost the U.S. $1 million per year – all in borrowed money. In addition, there are even more mercenaries in Afghanistan. The cost of the war mounts to $7 billion per month. More and more Americans are recognizing that the weapons and war budget are wrecking the U.S. middle class.

The strategy of training Afghans to defend themselves has been backfiring. In recent weeks three British troops were killed by an Afghan soldier in Helmand Province when the Afghan turned and killed them during a joint patrol. A week later, an Afghan soldier opened fire at a training exercise in northern Afghanistan killing two U.S. civilian trainers (aka mercenaries) and a fellow Afghan soldier.

As bad as all of this sounds, Admiral Mike Mullen, America’s top military officer warned this weekend that the Afghanistan war will get worse, that there will be more troop deaths as well as deaths of Afghans. Mullen’s views are consistent with the number two in command in Afghanistan, Lt. Gen. David Rodriguez. Rodriguez testified before Congress in early July that while U.S. troop deaths in Afghanistan were at record highs during the last two months, deaths will continue climbing for the foreseeable future.

While the U.S. has no exit strategy and the administration has been backing away from Obama’s promise to remove significant numbers of troops in 2011, documents from Great Britain, show that country, the closest ally of the United States, will be out of Afghanistan by 2014.

It is time to end this futile and counterproductive war. This is the time for Americans to push Congress to stop the war by voting against the supplemental funding for the increase in troops in Afghanistan. Please call and email your elected Representative today.

You can call toll free on a number provided by the Friends Committee on National Legislation, 1-888-493-5443, or use the regular Capitol Hill switchboard number, (202) 224-3121.

Congress has the power and the constitutional responsible to end this war. Citizens have the power and responsibility to demand that they do so.


Kevin Zeese is executive director of Voters for Peace www.VotersForPeace.US.

US Defense Dept. Can’t Account For $8.7 Billio

US Defense Dept. Can’t Account For $8.7 Billion

TheDefense Department is unable to account for $8.7 billion of the $9.1billion in Development Fund for Iraq monies in received forreconstruction in Iraq. This according to a study published today bythe Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction.
“This situation occurred because most DoD organizations receivingDFI (Development Fund for Iraq) funds did not establish the requiredDepartment of the Treasury accounts and no DoD organization wasdesignated as the executive agent for managing the use of DFI funds,”the report states.
The Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) findsthat only one Defense organization actually set up the accountsrequired by the Treasury.
“The breakdown in controls left the funds vulnerable to inappropriate uses and undetected loss,” SIGIR says.
The study recommends that the Secretary of Defense create newaccounting and reporting procedures to avoid such mistakes in thefuture. It also recommends designating an executive agent to overseeprogress, establishing measurable milestones, and determining whetherany DoD organizations are still holding DFI funds.
(Source: Federal News Radio)

Hitler, Jews, War, Media, Israel… Just Another Chat With Oliver Stone

oliver_stone_225.jpgEngaged (and engaging) as Oliver Stone was in his recent chat with Movieline, I can tell you he knows how to put an interviewer on the defensive. But he can also make you laugh! Or wince. Or wince and laugh. Or maybe just wince. Depends on your mood I guess — and exactly what he said about the Jews, Hitler, Russia, Israel, WWII and the media this time around.
In fairness to Stone, the source of the article currently making the rounds — about his docs South of the Border and his forthcoming Secret History of America, among other subjects — is behind a paywall at the Sunday Times of London. But Cinematical got a hold of it, citing a few winners of Secret History’s delightful, conspiracy-minded revisionism:
Hitler was “an easy scapegoat.” He also said, “We can’t judge people as only ‘bad’ or ‘good’. [Hitler] is the product of a series of actions. It’s cause and effect. People in America don’t know the connection between WWI and WWII.” […]
“Hitler was a Frankenstein but there was also a Dr. Frankenstein. German industrialists, the Americans and the British. He had a lot of support.” While none of those companies wrote Mein Kampf or were filmed leading enormous rallies such as in Triumph of the Will, there is of course some of truth to Stone’s statements. Companies like Ford and General Motors have been investigated for collaborating with and/or profiting from World War II, and Ford and Hitler supposedly enjoyed a mutual admiration, according to Henry Ford and the Jews. Hitler even presented Ford with the Grand Service Cross of the Supreme Order of the German Eagle in 1938.
However, Stone goes even further in this interview, dredging up that old chestnut we love, the “Jews Run the Media” conspiracy. The reason that Hitler was demonized and certain aspects of the Holocaust are overlooked — “Hitler did far more damage to the Russians than the Jewish people, 25 or 30m,” says Stone — is that the Jews in the media don’t allow for open discussion. “The Jewish domination of the media,” is how he put it[. …]
“There’s a major lobby in the United States. They are hard workers. They stay on top of every comment, the most powerful lobby in Washington. Israel has f***** up United States foreign policy for years.”
And so on. I’m waiting for the follow-up — that “You make me wanna smooooke” moment — that will really elevate Stone into the rare air that knows from Jewish world domination. Wall Street 2 press tour, anybody?

Wyclef Jean May Run For President In Haiti

. by Nick Neyland
Considering the corruption charges aimed at Wyclef Jean’s Yele Haiti Foundation, this next piece of news may come as a surprise: The singer is apparently considering a bid to run for president of the country, which would follow on from his appointment as ambassador-at-large for Haiti in 2007.

Current president President René Préval cannot seek re-election as the race to enter the 2010 presidential contest begins, and the focus on the contest is sure to be huge following the devastation wreaked upon Haiti during the earthquake last year. A vague statement issued by Jean’s family reads as follows:

"Wyclef's commitment to his homeland and its youth is boundless, and he will remain its greatest supporter regardless of whether he is part of the government moving forward ... If and when a decision is made, media will be alerted immediately." Jean had previously claimed he was set to encourage the youth vote in Haiti during the upcoming election, but it appears his ambition may have taken a sizable leap since then.

[via The Guardian]

A $20 Million Reward for Failure

tony-hayward-and-bob-dudleyThe details are still being worked out. The BP Board meets this afternoon.
But if the press reports are anything to go by, the company’s embattled CEO, Tony Hayward will walk away with anything from at least £11 million to £12 million plus. That’s about $18.5 million.

And that’s the low estimate. The huge amount is likely to add insult to injury to many American politicians, who see Hayward’s gaffe-prone response to the oil spill as an outrage.
Many of these gaffe’s have been detailed on this blog like this quip that the environmental impact would be “very, very modest” and “I want my life back”.

Of course, Hayward did not personally cause the accident, but it happened on his watch. This is the man who was supposedly meant to bring safety to the fore on that watch.

This is man who came in after the dark chaotic days of Lord Browne whose own tenure oversaw the Texas refinery fire and spills on the North Slope.

Hayward’s ship was meant to be one of “silent runnings” but it ended in a loud and very public ecological and human disaster.
And in that sense, many people will see Hayward’s golden handshake and pension pot as a reward for failure.

It will certainly outrage many in America further – especially the businesses across the Gulf that are struggling to pay the bills, and keep their businesses afloat.

But BP will try and appease that anger by appointing  the company’s first no-British CEO, Bob Dudley.
Dudley grew up in Mississippi and so the fact that the disaster happened in his backyard is meant to be some kind of comfort to an American public desperate for the disaster to end.

The move also reflects how important America is to BP:  About one-third of the company’s oil and gas wells, refineries and other business interests are in the US,  and 40 percent of its shareholders are Americans.
But this disaster will impact BP and the region for years to come. The company’s finances are not going to look pretty. BP is forecast to unveil the worst quarterly loss in British corporate history tomorrow, which could rise to $25 billion.

And as the NYT says: “The move would also be a recognition by the board that even though the oil has stopped spewing into the gulf, dealing with the consequences of the Deepwater Horizon accident — from tens of billions of dollars in claims to possible criminal charges and new regulations on offshore drilling — is likely to dominate the company’s agenda for years.”

But American shareholders may no longer be investing in “BP”. One thing being mooted is that the company changes the name of its American operations back to Amoco, the company Dudley once headed.
Changing your name is a tried and tested response to disasters.

Remembered how Exxon renamed the Exxon Valdez to the Exxon Mediterranean.  But that was just one tanker, this is a whole company…

Singer Rihanna Enlists in Peter Berg’s Battleshi

Peter Berg’s alien invasion movie “Battleship” has added a noob in R&B singer Rihanna, who will be making her feature film debut on the big-budget action movie.
“Battleship”, loosely based (very, very loosely based) on the Hasbro board game of the same name, will star Alexander Skarsgard and Taylor Kitsch as Naval commanders and brothers who face a superior alien threat that have arrived on the planet’s oceans for some unknown purpose, starting a war between the two species.
Peter Berg (“Hancock”) will direct the film, which is scheduled for a May 25, 2012 release.