Nobody Listening in Washington? Then Send a Message to Gliese 581d…It May Work Out Better in the (Very) Long Run

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

Once again, Radio Australia has come through with a fascinating story.  In celebration of Australia’s 2009 National Science Week (August 15-23, 2009) and The International Year of Astronomy,  Cosmos magazine has put together this project:

Welcome To Hello from Earth

Welcome to HELLO FROM EARTH.

This site is collecting messages that will be transmitted to Gliese 581d, a planet outside our Solar System which may support life. Comments are moderated: inappropriate messages will be rejected, and messages must be in English (so we can evaluate them).

Register here to send your message before the deadline: 5pm Monday 24 August 2009 Sydney time (07:00 GMT Monday 24 August 2009)

Gliese 581d, our nearest neighbor outside our Solar System which may support life,  is about 20.3 light years away from Earth in the constellation Libra, so anybody/anything out there might be interested in relating to us here on Earth.  However, many of us won’t be around to find out if they respond, since the message won’t be received until December 2029!

Gliese 581d artist impression

Artist rendition courtesy European Southern Observatory............. Gliese 581d is the outlying planet in the Gliese 581 system, and orbits its parent star every 66.8 days. It may be covered by a large and deep ocean and is the first serious 'waterworld' candidate discovered beyond our Solar System.

NASA will be sending the messages that are posted to the site right after the end of Science Week so why not check out the site, which is crammed full of interesting info, and send a message!

There’s an interesting, short video featuring editors of Cosmos magazine to watch and more details on Gliese 581d and other “exoplanets.”

The countdown clock will be running until the time for messages is over, so go on over and express yourself before time runs out on August 24!  There are messages from around the world (including mine) which are fun to read!

Heck, if your Congressperson isn’t responding to your concerns, maybe some kind soul on Gliese 581d may get back to you…someday!

More info at the site:

Home | HelloFromEarth.net | Gliese 581d | National Science Week 2009.

HUGE BREAKTHROUGH in Breast Cancer Diagnosis; When Will We See It in the U.S.?? (If Ever…)

By InsightAnalytical-GRL

According to the medical industry, mammograms are a must for early detection of breast cancer.  The benefits of early detection is well worth the risks of being irradiated on a regular basis.

What if there was a much simpler and safer way to test for this disease?

Well, a few days ago on Radio Australia I heard a segment on Australia’s “Smart 100 Awards.” In fact, the number one “smart idea” was a simple procedure to help in the discovery of breast cancer.

This isn’t a new story. In fact, 10 YEARS AGO, a retired professor of physics named Dr. Veronica James published an article on the subject in Nature magazine.  As reported on March 4, 1999 by ABC (Australia):

Pubic hair may reveal early breast cancer › News in Science (ABC Science).

C. Johnson, The Lab


A single pubic hair may provide all the information needed for early detection of breast cancer, preliminary studies by an Australian scientist suggest.Hair from breast cancer patients has a different molecular structure to hair from healthy subjects, Dr Veronica James and colleagues report in the current issue of the journal Nature.Moreover, all hair samples from women who were healthy but carried the BRCA1 gene – which is associated with a high risk of breast cancer – showed the same structural anomaly, raising the possibility of an early diagnostic test.

SNIP

The changes in molecular structure showed up when hairs were bombarded with a beam of highly focused x-ray beams, generated in synchrotron facilities in Japan and the USA. A synchrotron is a device that accelerates protons or electrons in a magnetic field. When the accelerated protons or electrons are suddenly stopped, the energy is released as intense x-ray beams.

SNIP

Initially Dr James studied scalp hair only. When the data looked interesting she set about looking at a larger sample of hairs, but on that occasion the results were inconsistent.

“We saw all sorts of odd-bod changes. But it looked like some of the hair had had treatment. One sample was black, white and yellow.”

When she eliminated hair samples that had been permed less than three months before collection, the pattern was clear.

To avoid problems caused by hair treatment, she approached Professor John Kearsley, an oncologist at St George Hospital in Sydney, and asked if patients could supply pubic hair samples.

SNIP

If a reliable test proved possible, the cost could be as low as $20 a sample.

“You would just put a few hairs in an envelope. You wouldn’t need access to a mammography machine.”

MORE

Imagine that. No mammography machine. No pain, no radiation.  And the original testing was done on machines in Japan and here in the good old U.S. of A.

10 years later…

I wake up to hear the interview with Dr. Peter French, the Chief Scientist at Fermiscan, Ltd., who describes the whole process again. This is the NUMBER ONE innovation honored in  Australia this year.  And, there is actually a TEST now According to the Fermiscan website, the company has already completed a  “2,000 patient trial and has commenced a clinical study using the Fermiscan Test in conjunction with current screening to assess the use of the test by physicians in a clinical setting.”

Here’s the transcript of the interview:

8 June  2009

Hair Test to Detect Breast Cancer

How a strand of hair can test for breast tumours

Hair Test to Detect Breast Cancer
Contact: Dr. Peter French, Chief Scientist
Fermiscan Holdings Ltd
Level 5, 48 Hunter Street, Sydney, NSW 2000
International Telephone: +61 2 9245 4460

TRANSCRIPT:

DESLEY BLANCH : A revolutionary test that detects the first signs of breast cancer from a few strands of a woman’s hair was named as the most innovative product in Australia in the inaugural Smart 100 Awards. Here’s how it works. The Australian researchers report that hair from women with breast cancer can be distinguished from hair obtained from women without the disease — by exposing hair samples to high-powered X-rays from a synchrotron particle accelerator.

When hair is exposed to x-rays, the radiation is defracted in a distinctive pattern by the alpha-keratin that forms hair.

Fermiscan’s test is based on technology developed by Veronica James, a retired physics professor from the University of New South Wales in Sydney and from whom the company has acquired the patent rights.

Dr Peter French is chief scientist at Fermiscan Holdings. Here is part of an interview he gave me last year, where he explains X-ray defraction and how its pattern differs between normal hair and hair from women with breast cancer.

DR PETER FRENCH : X-ray diffraction is really sending X-ray particles through substances, often biological substances such as hair or crystals of proteins or DNA and, as they go through, some of those particles are deflected by the underlying structures of the substance that they hit. So in the case of hair, they’re deflected by as you said the alpha-keratin that makes up the hair fibre.

Most go straight through, but a few are deflected and after they’re deflected or they bounce off the underlying structures, they end up interfering with each other and causing a distinctive pattern of, mainly, arcs. So you see a picture of a circle in the middle with a whole lot of arcs around it and the arcs reflect the spacings of the underlying structures of the hair.

Now this has been a technique that has been used to look at hair structure for probably 50 years, so there’s nothing new in that. What was new was that the advent of the Synchrotron technology, which was really available from the late 90s enabled Dr James to show that in some cases, that women had an extra additional feature in the pattern, which wasn’t an arc it was actually a circle and this circle appeared in the hair from women who had breast cancer and she published this originally in “Nature” in 1999 and that was really how the work started.

DESLEY BLANCH : And, how early do you believe your test could detect this disease?

DR PETER FRENCH : We’re still working on that. So far though, we know that we can detect cancers that are at least 9 millimetres in size and probably smaller, and that’s certainly, usually below the level that a woman can feel the cancer with breast self-examination, for example.

DESLEY BLANCH : And where’s the hair cut from and how much hair is required for the test?

DR PETER FRENCH : We need about 20 strands or fibres of hair and it’s cut from the back of the head, usually behind the ear, which is the area of the hair which is usually less environmentally damaged. Some environmental damages which can cause us problems in the tests include dyeing and perming of the hair, and therefore we need about four weeks of regrowth post any dyes or perms so that we can get an accurate result with the test. So hair is simply cut from behind the head and we examine the part of the hair very close to the scalp.

DESLEY BLANCH : And what does breast cancer do to the hair structure?

DR PETER FRENCH : Well, this is still an area that we’re trying to understand. The mechanism would be something along the lines we propose that the breast cancer itself secretes a range of cytokines, growth factors and other proteins that can cause a change in the way that the hair follicle works and it does this by secreting these proteins and other molecules into the blood stream. The blood stream contacts the hair follicle and we believe that some of these molecules can cause a change in the way the follicle works and the way that it puts out the highly ordered normal strands of hair.

DESLEY BLANCH : And do we understand the reason for the ring pattern?

DR PETER FRENCH : Again, this is an area that we’re investigating. The ring usually means that there’s a disordering of an ordered crystalline-like pattern and so what we believe is that it’s likely that the normal highly ordered arrays of alpha-keratin filaments that are present in the hair are disrupted in some way by the presence of the cancer secreting these molecules into the blood stream.

DESLEY BLANCH : Fermiscan Holdings’ Chief Scientist Dr. Peter French describing their breast cancer test which was voted in at Number One in Australia’s Smart 100 Awards.

So the question becomes: when does this great idea make it’s way over here? And, if there ARE trials one of these days, how long with the FDA drag its feet in approving such a test? Or will this major breakthrough die overseas at the behest of our wonderful, profit-oriented “health care system”?  It will be ironic if women here are deprived of this test, considering that the initial research by Dr. James was run on machines in Japan and HERE, in the U.S.

Go visit the Fermiscan website and read the details of the trial and look at the simple charts. It seems that for women under 70, the sensitivity of the test is about 74%.  This is only 4% lower than mammography and ultrasound combined.  (Ultrasound and mammograms alone are only about 50%.  Sensitivity refers to the ability to actually CORRECTLY detect cancer.

Sounds pretty darned good to me for a test which involves snipping a few hairs…

Welcome to “Fiji on the Potomac”…

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

It was already Easter Sunday in Australia when I turned on my Grundig shortwave radio and tuned in to Radio Australia.  I always find the news interesting from Australia because the regional news often talks about events in Southeast Asia– places like Vietnam, Thailand and  little-talked about places in the media here like Fiji.

Well, the report that caught my attention that morning was about Fiji’s woes.

Fiji has had 4 coups in the last 20 years…and hopes of bringing democracy to the country are fading.

Fiji’s constitution has been scrapped and the screws are being put to the media. From Radio Australia:

FEATURE: Fiji’s political crisis

Fiji has been plunged into political chaos after the country’s Court of Appeal ruled that the interim government of Commodore Frank Bainimarama was illegal.

Last Updated: Mon, 13 Apr 2009 14:03:00 +1000

Campbell Cooney and Sean Dorney

(SNIP)

The scrapping of Fiji’s constitution also appears to mean the scrapping of any notion of a free and open media in Fiji.

“Emergency regulations are in force,” Commodore Bainimarama said on Saturday.

“However, these regulations are only an emergency measure. I am sure we will all, including the media, collaborate with the relevant agencies.”

But Fiji’s media hasn’t really been given a choice about co-operation.

On Friday officers from Ministry of Information and the Police Media Unit were placed in the country’s newspaper, radio and TV newsrooms.

In response, sections of Fiji’s media have launched a self-imposed news blackout in response to new censorship regulations.

Fijian media are boycotting political stories, with newspapers on Monday strikingly bland in their design and reports.

The Fiji Times on Sunday ran blank spaces where censored stories critical of Friday’s abolition of the constitution and the re-appointment of Commodore Frank Bainimarama’s government would have run.

For Monday, it ran no stories at all relating to the extraordinary events of the past four days.

The Fiji Sun says it will not print any political stories under the current censorship provisions, imposed on Friday.

The main television station in Fiji, Fiji One, refused to run a news bulletin on Sunday because the management objected to the censorship being imposed by the head of information, Major Neumi Leweni.

Major Leweni has been given exceptional powers as the chief censor – he can recommend the closure of any newspaper, television or radio station that does not obey his directions.

Now apart from the fact that here in the U.S. the media was bought and sold for Obama during the election season and is still pushing his charms at us constantly,  we’ve also had rumblings about the government “helping” newspapers in trouble.  We know from the banking debacle that banks who take money from the government are either in cahoots with the people responsible for this financial mess or, it they were outside the cabal and forced to take money, they’re having a hard time extricating themselves from the Obama Administration’s grip.

Right now our own Constitution is being disregarded when convenient.  We have a compliant/complicit media along with a dying print media that may be willing to be “helped.”

So, while “officers from the Ministry of Information” aren’t quite in television studios or newsrooms here yet because so far very few feathers are being ruffled,  don’t you wonder if things will change if and when some of the mass media that adore Obama and helped create him begin to get a bit uppity? Obama and his crowd are so very good at applying pressure and intimidation…

In Fiji, the press is fighting back as best they can by ignoring any political stories or running blank spaces.

Wouldn’t that be something?  Dead air on all the talking heads’  TV shows?  A refusal by newspapers and magazines to run Obama’s propaganda?

One can dream..

Oh, but now there’s a new development…The courts are being “recreated” and there’s much talk of reform.

Fiji courts to be reinstated, says attorney-general

(SNIP)

In a wide-ranging interview with the ABC’s Michael Vincent, Mr Sayed Khaiyum [Fuji’s Attorney General] also: defends the actions of the Fijian interim regime as part of a long-term vision; speaks about the need for fundamental reform in the nation; and says communications blackouts are not as serious as had been claimed.

SNIP

The Attorney-General defended the actions of the interim regime. Asked about negative international reaction, he said: “With any changes, any reforms, people who are perhaps not in the country itself may take a different view.

“People need to look at our history, need to look at the objectives, the vision of the government including (that of) the President, and make their judgement calls then.”

Vision outlined

He said the national vision had been outlined in recent speeches by the President and the Prime Minister.

“Fundamentally, we need a number of reforms in Fiji, in particular things like electoral reform, before we can have true democratic and parliamentary elections.”

Present features of the electoral system were that “a huge gerrymandering (electoral boundary changes) takes place within it; you don’t have equal value of votes; you don’t have equal suffrage, and plus it’s based on ethnicity . .

“You don’t have basic notions of citizenry.”

MORE

Well, that’s the way to get true “reform”–have a few coups.  And the Police Media Unit and a military man running the “information office”–nice touches, yes?  But not to worry about those “communications blackouts”–who knows whether Radio Australia shut down its transmitters in Fiji–the AG doesn’t have any “personal knowledge” about it.  Anyway, it’s all OK because Commodore Bainimarama was once a U.N. Peacekeeper, doncha know.

We’re in the middle of our own stealth coup now and many of us saw it coming during the primaries as the Democratic Party acted anything but.  And, the “ethnicity card”…well, we had/have that, too.

The BBC report on the problems in Fiji includes the following observation by Professor Helen Ware in Australia:

“The country’s about to fall off a cliff…”

And other observers see the promises being made as “vague and worryingly-open ended.”

Sounds so familiar over here in “Fiji on the Potomac”…

“THE ILLUSION OF BARACK OBAMA”…A Must-Read from The Australian

~~Posted by InsightAnalytical-GRL

Back in August I posted a report on my dealings with a Radio Australia talk show host named Phillip Adams who also does a column for The Australian.  His post was really a testament to the aging, radical crowd that sneers at anything that’s “not Obama.” See  I Write to an Aussie Talk Show Host About Obama, He Gets “Inspired,” Writes a Column in “The Australian” (Mentioning Me), and Then….

Well, The Australian printed a piece in May that offsets the Adam Phillips piece and doesn’t mince words.

A commenter called “Woman Voter” writing in a thread at No Quarter suggested that a post be done on this piece, so I’m going to pick up on it. It’s worth a read and I am posting it in its entirety.

The piece, entitled The Illusion that is Barack Obama, was written by Fred Siegel “a contributing editor of City Journal. He teaches at the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art.” City Journal is an “urban-policy magazine” put out by the Manhattan Institute, a conservative think-tank. Siegel has written other pieces for CJ on the subject of Obama, all questioning his candidacy (just search “Fred Siegel” at the site and you’ll come up with a list of articles).  In case you’re wondering what became of Judith Miller, she’s listed as an editor; but don’t be put off by the conservative nature of this publicaton…the pieces on Obama are worth looking at.

This particular piece is s a litany of the flaws in the Barack Obama candidacy, a compendium which gives a picture of Obama that is easy to absorb. The reader might not agree with all the premises offered, but there’s enough here to make it a worthwhile read.

The Illusion that is Barack Obama

Fred Siegel | May 05, 2008

POLITICAL campaigning necessarily produces a wide gap between words and deeds. This is the price of bringing together a broad coalition with disparate interests. All effective politicians are at times authentically insincere or sincerely inauthentic. Exaggeration, embellishment, overstatement, doubletalk, deception and lies presented as metaphorical truths are the order of the day.

So, of course, Barack Obama is no different. He exaggerates the credit he deserves for a limited piece of ethics-reform legislation. He embellishes when he presents himself as having had a consistent record on the Iraq war when in fact he’s done a fair amount of zigzagging.

He engages in doubletalk when, on free trade and Iraq, he tells the yokels one thing and the policy people another. He overstates when he presents his minimal accomplishments in the Illinois Senate as proof of his stature. He engages in systematic deception when he says he doesn’t take money from lobbyists.

He presents a lie as metaphorical truth when he says it was the 1965 bloody Sunday attacks on peaceful civil rights protesters in Selma, Alabama, that inspired his parents to marry. (They had been married for years already.)

All of this is unappealing, but also unexceptional. What makes it different is that there’s not just a gap but a chasm between his actions and his professed principles, which would normally kill a candidacy. And because his deeds are so few, the disparity is all the more salient.

Obama, far more than the others, is the “judge me by what I say and not what I do” candidate. He wants to be the conscience of the country without necessarily having one himself.

The disparity between Obama’s rhetoric of transcendence and his conventional Chicago racial and patronage politics is a leitmotiv of his political career. In New York, politicians (Al Sharpton excepted) are usually forced to pay at least passing tribute to universal principles and the ideal of clean government.

But Chicago, until recently a city of Lithuanians, blacks and Poles governed by Irishmen on the patronage model of the Italian Christian Democrats, is the city of political and cultural tribalism.

Blacks adapted to the tribalism and the corrupt patronage politics that accompanied it. Historically, one of the ironies of Chicago politics is that the clean-government candidates have been the most racist, while those most open to black aspirations have been the most corrupt. When the young Jesse Jackson received his first audience with then mayor Richard Daley Sr – impervious to the universalism of the civil rights movement in its glory – offered him a job as a toll-taker. Jackson thought the offer demeaning but in time adapted.

In Chicago, racial reform has meant that the incumbent mayor, Richard M. Daley, has been cutting blacks in on the loot. Louis Farrakhan, Jackson, Jeremiah Wright and Obama are all, in part, the expression of that politics. It hasn’t always worked for Chicago, which, under the pressure of increasing taxes to pay for bloated government, is losing its middle class. But it has served the city’s political class admirably.

For all his Camelot-like rhetoric, Obama is a product, in significant measure, of the political culture that Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass described: “We’ve had our chief of detectives sent to prison for running the Outfit’s (the mob’s) jewellery-heist ring. And we’ve had white guys with Outfit connections get $100 million in affirmative action contracts from their drinking buddy, Mayor Richard Daley … That’s the Chicago way.”

At no point did Obama, the would-be saviour of US politics, challenge this corruption, except for face-saving gestures as a legislator. He was, in his own Harvard law way, a product of it.

Why, you may ask, did the operators of Chicago’s political machine support Obama? Part of the answer was given long ago by the then boss of Chicago, Jake Arvey.

When asked why he made Adlai Stevenson – a man, as with Obama, more famous for speeches than for accomplishments – his party’s gubernatorial candidate in 1948, Arvey is said to have replied that he needed to “perfume the ticket”.

Obama first played a perfuming role as a state senator. His mentor, Emil Jones, the machine-made president of the Senate, allowed him to sponsor a minor ethics bill. In return, Obama made sure to send plenty of pork to Jones’s district. When asked about pork-barrel spending, Jones famously replied: “Some call it pork; I call it steak.”

Obama repaid the generosity. When he had a chance to back clean Democratic candidates for president of the Cook County board of supervisors and Illinois governor, he stayed with the allies of the Outfit. The gubernatorial candidate he backed, Rod Blagojevich, is under federal investigation, in part because of his relationship with Tony Rezko, the man who helped Obama buy his house.

The Chicago way has delivered politically for Obama even this year. Ninety per cent of his popular-vote lead over Hillary Clinton comes from Illinois, and two-thirds of that 90 per cent comes just from Cook County.

Some of this advantage came from the efforts of Obama’s political ally, the flame-throwing reverend James Meeks, a political force in his own right. Meeks, who mocks black moderates as “niggers”, is an Illinois state senator, the pastor of a mega-church and a strong supporter of Jackson’s powerful political operation, which has put its vote-pulling muscle squarely behind the Obama campaign. It was only with Obama’s remark about bitter, white, working-class, small-town voters that we saw his difficulties appealing beyond the machine’s reach. He won his US Senate race in 2004 not only because his opponents self-destructed but also because of the machine’s ability to deliver votes.

In Pennsylvania, he has lacked such assistance and the campaigning has not gone nearly so well. First, Obama pretended to be a tenpin bowler and scored a 37. Then, appearing before a supposedly closed San Francisco audience, he complained that small-town Pennsylvanians “cling to guns or religion or antipathy towards people who aren’t like them, or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment, as a way to explain their frustrations”. This is the man who belongs to a church built on bitterness, rancour and conspiratorial fear. During the Wright affair, Obama not only repeatedly lied about what he knew and when but violated the spirit of the civil rights movement in its mid-1960s glory.

When, as a young man, I was on the periphery of the movement, there was an unwritten rule that if people told racist jokes or speakers engaged in defamatory rhetoric, you needed to register your immediate disapproval by confronting the speaker or ostentatiously walking out.

Wright’s “black theology” is essentially a Christianised version of Malcolm X’s ideology of hate.

But for 20 years, Obama, who had planned to run for mayor of Chicago, kept silent about the close, if at times competitive, relationship between Wright, whose 8000-member mega-church gave him his political base, and Farrakhan. His ambition overrode his moral integrity.

As part of his “black value system”, Wright attacked whites for their “middle classism”, materialism, and “greed in a world of need”. Obama sounded similar notes in his recent address at the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in New York, in which he laid the blame for the sub-prime mortgage crisis on those who had “embraced an ethic of greed, corner cutting and inside dealing”.

But that’s exactly what Obama did in buying his luxurious house. Given the choice of purchasing a less expensive home or getting into bed with his fundraiser-cum-slumlord-cum-fixer Rezko, Obama chose the latter. Then again, the oppressed of Trinity United Church of Christ are building Wright a $US1.6 million ($1.7million), 960sqm home complete with four-car garage, whirlpool and butler’s pantry. This house, which backs on to a golf course, is to sit in Tinley Park, a gated community in southwest Chicago that is 93 per cent white.

The Obamas’ charitable giving is consistent with Wright’s talking Left while living Right. Obama and his wife are quite well off. They had an estimated income of $US1.2 million from 2000 to 2004. But the man who preaches compassion and mutuality gave all of 1 per cent of that income to charity during those years. Most of that went to Wright’s church.

There is a similar chasm when it comes to Obama’s claim to post-partisanship. His achievements in reaching out to moderate voters are largely proleptic. But words are not deeds and, although Obama has few concrete achievements to his name, his voting record hardly suggests an ability to rise above Left v Right.

In the Illinois Senate, he made a specialty of voting present, but after his first two years in the US Senate, National Journal’s analysis of rollcall votes found that he was more liberal than 86 per cent of his colleagues. His voting record has only moved further Left since then. The liberal Americans for Democratic Action gives him a 97.5 per cent rating, while National Journal ranks him the most liberal member of the Senate. By comparison, Clinton, who occasionally votes with the Republicans, ranks 16th.

Obama is such a down-the-line partisan that, according to Congressional Quarterly, in the past two years he has voted with the Democrats more often than did the party’s majority leader, Harry Reid.

Likewise, for all his talk of post-racialism, Obama has played, with the contrivance of the press, traditional South Side Chicago racial politics. The day after his surprise loss in New Hampshire, and in anticipation of the South Carolina primary, with its heavily black electorate, South Side congressman Jesse Jackson Jr – Obama’s national co-chairman – appeared on MSNBC to argue, in a prepared statement, that Clinton’s teary moment on the campaign trail reflected her deep-seated racism.

“Those tears,” said Jackson, “have to be analysed … They have to be looked at very, very carefully in light of Katrina, in light of other things that Mrs Clinton did not cry for, particularly as we head to South Carolina, where 45 per cent of African-Americans will participate in the Democratic contest … We saw tears in response to her appearance, so that her appearance brought her to tears, but not hurricane Katrina, not other issues.”

In other words, whites who are at odds with, or who haven’t delivered for, Chicago politicians can be obliquely accused of racism on the flimsiest basis, but pillars of local black politics such as Wright, with his exclusivist racial theology, are beyond criticism.

Liberals love Obama’s talk of taking on powerful financial interests. But here , too, he is rather slippery. In his Cooper Union speech, he denounced in no uncertain terms the “special interests” of people on Wall Street (who are well represented among his campaign donors).

He, of course, had an opportunity to push for repealing the privileged tax treatment of private equity firms when that question was before Charles Grassley’s Senate subcommittee – but he simply made a pro-forma statement in favour of doing so and disappeared.

Nationally, as in Chicago, Obama the self-styled reformer never crosses swords with any of his putative foes. To pick another example, he has attacked “predatory” sub-prime lenders while taking roughly $US1.3 million in contributions from companies in that line of business.

Obama is the internationalist opposed to free trade. He is the friend of race-baiters who thinks Don Imus deserved to be fired. He is the proponent of courage in the face of powerful interests who lacked the courage to break with Wright (until Wednesday). He is the man who would lead our efforts against terrorism yet was friendly with Bill Ayers, the unrepentant 1960s terrorist. He is the post-racialist supporter of affirmative action. He is the enemy of Big Oil who takes money from executives at Exxon-Mobil, Shell and British Petroleum.

Obama has, in a sense, represented a new version of the invisible man, a candidate whose colour obscures his failings.

But so far, the wild discrepancy between Obama’s words and his deeds, and between his enormous ambitions and his minimal accomplishments, doesn’t seem to have fazed his core supporters, who apparently suffer from a severe case of cognitive dissonance. Like cultists who rededicate themselves when the cult’s prophecies have been falsified, his fans redouble their delusions in the face of his obvious hypocrisy.

That is because Obama, in the imagination of many of his fans in the public and the press, is both a deduction from what was – the failures of the Bush administration and the scandals of the Clintons – and an expression of what should be.

The ideal, the aspiration, is so rhetorically appealing that it has been assumed to be true. They remind one of Woodrow Wilson’s answer when asked if his plan for a League of Nations was practicable: “If it won’t work, it must be made to work.”

I Write to an Aussie Talk Show Host About Obama, He Gets “Inspired,” Writes a Column in “The Australian” (Mentioning Me), and Then…

…you may be as surprised as I was about what he said and how he said it…or maybe not!

Last week I wrote about an interview I heard on Radio Australia hosted by Phillip Adams.  His guest was Bruce Shapiro, a contributing editor for The Nation. I wrote about this interview in a post on August 1 and included a link to the audio.

During the conversation the talked turned to Obama both host and guest were awed by the turnout for Obama in Berlin.  Since I think Adams runs a great, informative show, I felt it my duty to inform him of the circumstances–that there were rock bands, brats and beer offered to anybody who showed up to see Obama.

Adams wrote back to me, asking if for some more information, and I provided a link to the Gateway Pundit’s post which included a link to a report in a German paper, the Berlin Morgenposten. He was curious about the “hijacked” crowd (his term, not mine):

G’day Gloria…haven’t heard about this…a rock concert? a hi-jacked crowd? .more info?

Then the “fun” began with this follow-up email (unedited for typos):

> Dear Gloria.I write a couple of weekly coumns for The Australian, our national
> newspaper.here’s one that will go in early next week – inspired by YOU!
Thought it might amuse..

(“The Australian” is a Murdoch paper and Australia’s only national newspaper.)

Adams had attached an advance copy of his article.  My full name was included and, at my request, he told the website editors to remove it prior to publication.  (They didn’t…the piece went up with my full name, misspelled, but there nonetheless. A couple of emails later, the correction had been made and only my first name appears toward the end of the piece.)

I wrote back to take issue with a couple of things in the piece, knowing full well that Adams was within his rights to say what he wanted.  I never “accused” Obama of anything, nor did I say the crowd was “left over” from a rock concert, as Adams wrote. (Unfortunately, I wrote to Adams the first time using the form on his page, so I don’t have a copy.  But the gist of it was simply that I was providing him with an “update” to the facts surrounding Obama’s speech, something that he might not have known about…which, he didn’t.)  But, I went on the record by replying:

Also, did I really “accuse” him if, indeed, he actually has used rock bands as
part of his events, not only in Berlin, but also in Oregon in May?…I just
wanted to apprise you of the staging in case you weren’t aware of it! (And the
food sure sounded good in Berlin, having almost overdosed on brats when I
visited there years ago!).  The question will always be, of course, whether the
crowds were there for Obama alone, the bands, alone, or a combination of both (and in what proportion if the latter!)

Thanks for revising my name if not the term “accuse.”   Because, if I’m ferreted out as being an Obama basher because of being labeled an “accuser” (I am a critic, but based on reasoning and observation, not obsession with any other politician), I really do have some fears the way things have been going here lately…I would like to refer visitors to my site to your piece but I’d be hesitant to do so with my full name “in lights”!

So, here is the tease for article as it appears in August 5 edition of The Australian:

In his advance copy to me, Adams called his piece “BARACK AND ROLL” but the print/web version has different title and there have been a few minor revisions.

Here are some key passages:

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Funding In-Depth, Investigative Reporting as a “Charitable Matter”??

It’s being talked about, according to Bruce Shapiro…on Radio Australia!!

I listen every *morning via shortwave radio to “Late Night Live” with Phllip Adams which features “ideas and opinions from around the world.” It is the best talk radio I have ever listened to.  Some reasons why from part of Adams’ ABC bio:

Phillip Adams is a prolific and sometimes controversial broadcaster, writer and film-maker. As presenter of Late Night Live, he has interviewed thousands of the world’s most influential politicians, historians, archaeologists, novelists, theologians, economists, philosophers and sundry conversationalists. ‘It’s a privilege to present Late Night Live,’ he says. ‘No radio program, anywhere on earth, casts a wider net.’ Phillip’s laid-back approach has become a trade-mark for Late Night Live, as has his humour, curiosity, his ability to flesh out rare insights from his guests, and his amazing store of anecdotal knowledge.

Largely self-educated (he left school in his mid-teens) he’s the author of over 20 books, including The Unspeakable Adams, Adams Versus God, Talkback, Retreat From Tolerance and A Billion Voices. His writing has appeared in many of Australia’s most influential publications and he has been a contributor to The Times and The Financial Times in London, and to the New York Times.

And that’s just part of his resume…

The guest on July 29 was Bruce Shapiro. Shapiro is a contributing editor at The Nation and correspondent for Salon as well as the Executive Director of the Dart Centre for Journalism and Trauma at the University of Washington.

Shapiro began his career on the fertile journalistic and political terrain of Chicago in the 1970s, and was a founding editor of the radical magazine Haymarket. He’s been the director of The Nation Institute’s Supreme Court Watch, a civil liberties watchdog; teaches investigative journalism at Yale University and, as co-convenor of the Dart Foundation Fellowship in Trauma and Journalism, is leading efforts to reform news reporting on violence.

He also co-authored a book with Jesse Jackson entitled “Legal Lynching: The Death Penalty and America’s Future” in 2001 and, in 2003, published “Shaking the Foundations: 200 Years of Investigative Journalism in America.”

Shapiro spent the full hour with Adams. If you listen to the show (Link to audio here), you’ll hear some of the usual Obama talk that we’re used.  See below for details…

Eventually, however,  the talk turned to the state of journalism with Adams noting the demise of the L. A. Times weekly book review magazine just this past week.  It was second only to the New York TImes book review in importance and now it’s gone.

This is where the conversation really got interesting.  The  talk turned to the future of high-quality journalism (Minute 36:00 on the audio).   Shapiro said that it’s been a “terrible couple of years” in the news business.  Many of Shapiro’s friend in the news business have left or are in “profound anxiety” about the possibility of losing their jobs. Debt, technology, and lowered ad revenues have created a period of “huge change” in the industry.

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