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February 05, 2003

Bits and Pieces

Minitrue: In George Orwell's 1984, the Ministry of Truth is responsible for news, entertainment, education, and the fine arts. It's affectionately known as "Minitrue," a highly appropriate name considering that what it really does is churn out fabrication after fabrication in order to make the government look as good as possible.

Although it's almost a week old and has thankfully faded into obscurity, this story is worth remembering. It suggests that "Iraqi spies" have been circulating in the U.S., to encourage anti-war sentiment. Will this be the last we hear of such misinformation, or is it only the beginning? [cue theme from "The Twilight Zone"]

Compartmentalization: Another old story that I'm just getting to is the one about the cancelled poetry reading at the White House. After hearing that some poets were planning to read anti-war/pro-peace and justice poetry at the White House event to which they were recently invited, Laura Bush cancelled the event.

``While Mrs. Bush respects the right of all Americans to express their opinions, she, too, has opinions and believes it would be inappropriate to turn a literary event into a political forum.'' Noelia Rodriguez, spokeswoman for first lady Laura Bush, said Wednesday.

Remember, Laura Bush was a teacher, and she taught us that "there's nothing political about literature." Good thing there's nothing political about that position. It's great that our First Lady is there to clarify those impermeable borders that divide the world into neat little boxes, don't you think? Without someone like her enforcing those rigid boundaries, people could get really confusedů

Online OD: What would you do if you watched someone take a deadly drug overdose via webcam? What a horrifying story.

Bloodthirsty Much?: Attorney General John Ashcroft is wants to kill people:

Mr. Ashcroft has stirred a controversy in federal prosecutors' offices nationally in recent months by insisting that they seek executions in some cases in which they had recommended against it. Under Justice Department rules, local federal prosecutors can only recommend whether to seek the death penalty; the final decision is up to the attorney general.

Makes you proud to be an American, don't it?

Impeach Bush: Speaking of being proud to be an American, there appear to be two, count 'em, two! competing campaigns to impeach George W. Bush and trusted members of his gang. The Vote to Impeach campaign appears to have the support of former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, not to mention the weight of the International A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition (a major organizer of the large anti-war protests in Oct. and Jan.). Meanwhile, the Impeach-Bush-Now effort is headed up by U of IL College of Law Professor Francic A. Boyle, who also wrote the articles of impeachment against George Bush I. One of my favorite 80s bands, The Woodentops, sang a song in which they bouncily chanted "don't let history repeat itself, don't let history repeat itself." I've thought about that song a lot since December 2000.

Plagiarism: If you've taught a writing class since the dawn of the Internet, you'll enjoy this. And if you've taught any college class in recent years, you might be glad to have your suspicions confirmed that grades are up, while studying is down.

Posted February 5, 2003 02:04 PM | general politics

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