Today is Columbus Day. That’s an important holiday here in Massachusetts, so I don’t have to teach today. Of course that doesn’t mean I don’t have work to do, but it’s still a nice break from my regular routine. But should we be honoring Christopher Columbus with a holiday?
Parades span the country from LA to Denver to Massachusetts. You can see people dressed in red, white and green – celebrating their Italian heritage. You’ll see American flags flying, people dressed as Christopher Columbus and parade floats fashioned after Columbus’ famous fleet of ships….[you may also see] people holding up signs that read “Don’t celebrate genocide” and “Columbus: America’s first terrorist”. Every year, Native Americans rally together to protest the celebration of a man who historical research has now revealed to be less than the hero we were taught about in elementary school.
The Boston Globe’s James Carroll has an interesting piece about Columbus’ religious motivations: Columbus and the American Problem.
Apparently, Columbus’ goal was “the old Crusader ambition of recapturing for Christianity the place where Jesus had walked, especially Jerusalem.”
“…banishment of both Jews and Muslims – the 1492 purification of the Christian realms. That his departure was simultaneous to the expulsion of the unbelievers had significance for Columbus, who later wrote, in his report to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, “And thus, having expelled all the Jews from all your kingdoms and dominions . . . Your Highnesses commanded me that I should go to the said parts of India.’’
The word “India’’ had an imprecise meaning in Europe, with its main connotation being the realms that lie to the east beyond those controlled by Muslims. Achieving those realms by going west defined Columbus’s purpose – and the freedom from Islamic control was the point.
For Columbus, achieving Jerusalem was not merely a matter of releasing the Holy Sepulcher from the age-old Muslim bondage. Like millennialists before and after him, he seems to have believed that the final restoration of the Holy Land to Christian dominion would usher in the Messianic Age. “God made me the messenger of the New Heaven and the New Earth,’’ he wrote in about 1500, “of which he spoke in the Apocalypse of St. John . . . and he showed me the spot where to find it.’’ An apocalyptic impulse informed the New World project at its birth; the project assumed hostility to Islam; and its ultimate purpose involved Jerusalem. Those three facts remain pillars of the American problem today.
Meanwhile, back in the 21st Century…
NOBEL PRIZE FOR ECONOMICS
For the first time, the Nobel Prize for Economics goes to a woman, American Elinor Ostrom and her colleague Oliver Williamson.
Indiana University’s Ostrom and Williamson, a professor at the University of California at Berkeley, were awarded the prize for their work in the field of “economic governance,”
Hmmm…sounds like the Nobel committee is sending another “message.” Maybe Dakinikat can enlighten us further.
Ms. Ostrom “challenged the conventional wisdom that common property is poorly managed and should be either regulated by central authorities or privatized,” the Nobel judges said. “Based on numerous studies of user-managed fish stocks, pastures, woods, lakes, and groundwater basins, [Ms.] Ostrom concludes that the outcomes are, more often than not, better than predicted by standard theories. She observes that resource users frequently develop sophisticated mechanisms for decision-making and rule enforcement to handle conflicts of interest, and she characterizes the rules that promote successful outcomes.”
Ms. Ostrom, who was interviewed by phone during the announcement press conference in Stockholm, described the prize as “an immense surprise,” and said, “I’m still a little bit in shock.”
Her Ph.D. is in political science, but she said she considers herself a political economist.
The GLBT community may finally be waking up to the reality of the candidate so many of them supported for the presidency. Now that he got what he wanted from them, he isn’t in much of a hurry to pay them back.
“Obama, I know you are listening,” pop star Lady Gaga told the crowd, before shouting, “Are you listening? We will continue to push you and your administration to bring your words of promise to a reality.”
Christine Quinn, the first openly lesbian speaker of the New York City Council, said she had one request for lawmakers at all levels across the country.
“Look me in the eye and tell me I am less of a person than you are,” she said. “Look me in the eye and tell me my family is worth less than yours. Look me in the eye and tell me I am not an American. Well you know what, not one person in any of those places can do that, not one of them.”
She continued: “So what we’re here about today is to start telling the truth and to force the lawmakers from coast to coast and in the nation’s capital to make our law books tell the truth.”
Reaction from the White House? John Aravosis: BREAKING FROM NBC: White House official calls gays part of “Internet left fringe”
NBC just did a piece about today’s gay rights march in Washington. For the political context of the gay community’s ire, NBC went to Chief Washington Correspondent John Harwood. Harwood was asked if the White House was worried about “the left as a whole,” and concerns they have that the White House isn’t doing things that “the left” expected them to do. Harwood said the following:
Barack Obama is doing well with 90% or more of Democrats so the White House views this opposition as really part of the Internet left fringe.
Harwood then went on to say:
For a sign of how seriously the White House does or doesn’t take this opposition, one adviser told me those bloggers need to take off the pajamas, get dressed, and realize that governing a closely divided country is complicated and difficult.
So the gay community, and its concerns about President Obama’s inaction, and backtracking, on DADT and DOMA, are now, according to President Obama’s White House, part of a larger “fringe” that acts like small children who play in their pajamas and need to grow up.
LESTER HOLT: John what we saw in that protest today, was it simply frustration or does it represent a serious problem the President is having with an important part of his base?
JOHN HARWOOD: As a practical matter Lester I don’t think it’s a serious problem. we’ve seen and certainly Bill Clinton learned that they Democratic President can get punished by the mainstream of the electorate for being too aggressive on social issues so for now I think the administration feels that if they take care of the big issues — health care, energy, the economy — he’s going to be just fine with this group.
What a bunch of arrogant, bigoted SOBs!
HEALTH CARE NIGHTMARE
After working for months behind the scenes to help shape health care reform, the insurance industry is now sharply attacking the emerging plan with a report that maintains Senate legislation would increase the cost of a typical policy by hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars a year.
Despite repeated promises by President Obama and Democratic leaders that their health care overhaul would lower costs, the proposals before Congress would probably not cut overall US health care spending significantly anytime soon, health policy specialists say
The bills under construction…include many incremental or slowly phased-in programs designed to eliminate waste and reward quality and efficiency. But they stop short of such bold cost-cutting moves as aggressively overhauling the way care is organized and doctors and hospitals are paid, or investing intensively in finding the best treatments for diseases and tying the results to reimbursements. Nor do they give people with employer-sponsored insurance the chance to comparison-shop for the best insurance deals and pocket any savings.
Kansas City Star: Benefits still years away, even if health care passes
Under the Democratic bills, federal tax credits to help make health insurance affordable for millions of low- and middle-income households won’t start flowing until 2013 — after the next presidential election. But Medicare cuts and a sizable chunk of the tax increases to pay for the overhaul kick in as soon as it is enacted.
SECRETARY OF STATE
This is a sad story, if true. Hillary Clinton: “I’m Looking Forward to Retirement” But nothing in the text of the story supports the headline writer’s interpretation that she “designs on the White House.”
Guardian UK: Hillary Clinton starts talks in Northern Ireland
MEDIA AND PUNDITS
Here are a couple of recent stories that I missed now that I’m so overworked.
Joe Conason says: Time for the Media to Fess Up
At this late date, it is scarcely radical to suggest that Whitewater and all the other “scandals” deployed by the Washington press corps to besiege the Clinton White House (before the Lewinsky affair) were without substance. In the pages of the New York Times and the Washington Post, which created and promoted those stories, even such media mandarins as Thomas Friedman and Evan Thomas now casually assure us that they were overblown, even “bogus.” And former New Republic editor Andrew Sullivan today admits that the famous takedown of the Clinton healthcare reforms he published in 1994, Betsy McCaughey’s “No Exit,” was essentially a fake too.
Belated as those affirmations are, by more than a decade, they may still matter — if only because they arrive at a time when the mainstream media is just beginning to descend into some of the same bad habits that plagued us during the last Democratic presidency and the far right is already talking impeachment.
So why did you go along with the Koolaid Krew, Joe? You had to know that if the media was so gung ho for Obama, there was an underlying motive–didn’t you?
How did I miss this story? Peggy Noonan teaching at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government? Yep, that’s right.
You’ve got to go read the quotes at Gawker!
Actually, she’s leading a study group, not teaching a class. Here she is on video talking about the project.
And here is her syllabus. It’s a riot-and-a-half!
And here is a dramatic reading of the syllabus by Chris Lehman (husband of Ana Marie Cox)
At Political Animal: Steve Benen on the new White House media strategy (basically it comes down to attacking Fox News).
NY Daily News: White House: Fox News ‘a wing of the Republican Party’
The Obama administration declared Fox News – and its owner, reporters and commentators – shills for the President’s Republican opponents Sunday.
“Let’s not pretend they’re a news network,” White House communications director Anita Dunn said on CNN’s “Reliable Sources,” firing the latest salvo in the long-simmering feud.
“Fox News often operates almost as either the research arm or the communications arm of the Republican Party,” Dunn said.
“What I think is fair to say about Fox, and certainly the way we view it, is that it really is more a wing of the Republican Party,” she added.
HAVE A MARVELOUS MONDAY!!!!!!!!!
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Filed under: broken promises, Clinton Derangement Syndrome, foreign policy, Health Care Reform, Hillary Clinton, Human Rights Tagged: | Columbus Day, GLBT rights, Media, Morning News Links, Nobel Prize for Economics