Border patrols

Here’s a map of what are supposed to be U.S. interventions around the world since the end of World War II.

Seriously? We haven’t done anything in Canada or Mexico? In Mexico’s case, doesn’t the War on Drugs count? It’s right there in the title. We’re at war. Mexico supplies drugs.

Anybody have any idea what we could have been doing in Australia? Everywhere else seems to make sense, but what secrets could koalas and kangaroos have been hiding?

(A little research, and it looks like it had something to do with influencing an election during Nixon’s term in retaliation for the Aussie PM’s opposition to the Vietnam War. Learn something new every day.)

Via Informed Comment.


Presidents’ Day highlights

Happy Presidents’ Day.

And judging from the way things are going in the political world, this time next year, this guy is going to be president of the U.S.

Even with his “radical Islamic policies” as Rick Santorum‘s spokeswoman said today:

Over at Talking Points Memo, they described Alice Stewart’s “comment” as a Freudian Crypto-Islamic Slip.

She later called MSNBC to say that she meant to say “radical environmental policies.” An honest mistake, no doubt. I, too, tend to confuse the environment with Islam. Doesn’t everybody?

It does show what the rabid right truly believes. They are in a holy war … a jihad, if you will. Santorum has said that Protestants and professors are under the sway of Satan, and his spokeswoman says Obama is a Muslim. There are still a bunch of religions left to insult. Let’s see how many they go for in the next eight months.

One other interesting bit of polling data. According to Public Policy Polling, 10 percent of Michigan Republicans think Santorum is too liberal. Here’s the PDF. Check out page 8. I didn’t think people could be more delusional. I was wrong.

Religious right wronged?

The current “not-Romney” frontrunner in the GOP presidential campaign, Rick Santorum, is getting a lot of scrutiny these days. You’d think he wouldn’t want anyone to look into the things he said in the past.

But here’s a little head scratcher from 2008 (From Think Progress):

In a 2008 speech at Ave Maria University, Rick Santorum, a devout Catholic, warned about the dangers of “the NBA” and “rock concerts,” but also said that while Protestants founded America, mainline Protestantism is in such “shambles” that “it is gone from the world of Christianity as I see it”:

Santorum: We all know that this country was founded on a Judeo-Christian ethic but the Judeo-Christian ethic was a Protestant Judeo-Christian ethic, sure the Catholics had some influence, but this was a Protestant country and the Protestant ethic, mainstream, mainline Protestantism, and of course we look at the shape of mainline Protestantism in this country and it is in shambles, it is gone from the world of Christianity as I see it. […]

So, the Catholic guy seeking the backing of the evangelical right, says mainline Protestantism is gone from the world of Christianity.

I’m really underestimating the Republicans. I once asked if the worst case scenario was “Will they charge ahead full speed and drive that bus of the cliff and into a river of hungry crocodiles.”

Now it’s more like “Will they charge ahead full speed and drive that bus off the cliff and into a river of hungry crocodiles next to a nuclear plant during an earthquake just as the tsunami wave reaches 50 meters.”

But I’m sure it could get worse. We still have less than eight months to go.

Birthday song: ‘Teen Angel’

One of my brothers would have been 52 today. Here’s the song that was Number 1 in America the day he was born:

What was it about the early ’60s that had teens rushing to buy records about dying in car wrecks. Here, in “Teen Angel,” a 16 year old girl runs back to a stalled car on a railroad track to get the ring her boyfriend gave her.

Remember “The Leader of the Pack” from the Shangri-Las 1964? The boyfriend died in a motorcycle crash on a rainy road. And there was Ray Peterson‘s “Tell Laura I Love Her” in 1960. That was about a guy who wanted to get his girlfriend a nice present and entered a stock car race, where he died after his car overturned and burst into flame.

In 1964, Jan and Dean had “Dead Man’s Curve.” A crash victim talks about watching the Jaguar he was drag racing against wipe out, killing the other driver. You’d think they’d have figured out there’s a reason they called it Dead Man’s Curve. Idiots.

Honestly, I’d rather hear songs about “Dancing in the Streets” than dying in a car wreck.

And this version is pretty good, too.

Which bring me back to my brother. He once told me he enjoyed the Rolling Stones, but added, “I’d like to see the rest of the band, if Mick would just get his lips out of the way.”

Ad nauseum: Santorum vs. Romney

When the following political ad came out, a number of political experts were saying it was powerful and effective ad by Rick Santorum attacking Mitt Romney.

Then Jon Stewart at “The Daily Show” pointed out the downside of the ad.

So, Romney ends up with a bunch of santorum on his shirt. (Google will explain it to you.)

The wheel of misfortune

Anybody interested in the criminals working for Rupert Murdoch?

Take a look at this nice round graphic at Pro Publica called “Murdoch’s Circle: The Growing News International Scandal.”

With a click of a button, you can see who’s been implicated, who’s been ousted and who’s been arrested.

It’s a gift that keeps on giving.

A class act

For those of us who are advocates of public schools, this says something about our country’s values … especially when we’re compared to other parts of the world. From the New York Times.

In New York, the affluent typically send their children to private schools. But not the foreign-born affluent. In a divergence, a large majority of wealthy foreign-born New Yorkers are sending their children to public schools, according to an analysis of census data.

There are roughly 15,500 households in the city with school-age children where the total income is at least $150,000 and both parents were born abroad. Of those, about 10,500, or 68 percent, use only the public schools, the data show.

That is nearly double the rate of American-born parents in the city in the same income bracket.

The census data include both immigrants and those temporarily stationed in the city for work. The disparity is even sharper for foreign-born parents with household incomes of $200,000 or more. About 61 percent send their children only to public schools, compared with 28 percent of native-born couples in the same income bracket.

In western Europe, the government funds public schools. And the citizens have no problem with that.

In in certain parts of America, everybody wants to put their children in private schools to ensure separation from “the other.” It’s a separation based on wealth, or race or religion, and in this conscious move toward a new type of segregation, that means public schools, serving the common good, suffered.

And that doesn’t have to be. Affluent neighborhoods have successful public schools. But despite that, people still send their kids to private schools, a total waste of money.

And here we see well-to-do Europeans, arriving in America, looking at the school system and saying, “what’s the problem?”

“When they go to public school, they’re in a whole new world, a whole world of different people and different values, which is what the world is like,” said Lyn Bollen, who grew up in Birmingham, England, and attended — and taught at — state-run schools. “Shielding them from that is doing them a disservice.”

One Indian parent said:

“We’re always back and forth, but our kids will probably be in many more nations, so it’s important for them to be able to deal with multicultural exposure,” she said. “Many more street-smart skills are developed in public schools.”

The rest of the world is aware that accepting diversity leads to a competitive advantage. You don’t put your kids in schools to be with their mirror images. You put them in places where they are exposed to different cultures and ideas.

That’s a lesson plan we should follow.