Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Job opportunities--

AfterCollege Career Network Digest, 11/17/2010
for University of Puget Sound Department of Politics and Government students

Featured Employers
Ampush Media

For jobs, events, and announcements exclusively for Department of Politics and Government students, visit AfterCollege.

New Jobs

Harry Cain Scholarship

This is a ways out, but worth keeping in mind. We've had majors get it in the past.

Harry Cain Scholarship
This scholarship was established to support students who plan to enter the field of public administration or public service. Applicants should have a deep commitment to service to the community and proficiency in public speaking.
SponsorSchool of Business and Leadership
Awardvaries with fund balance and number of recipients awarded
EligibilityClass standing on the application due date is sophomore, junior, or first semester senior; commitment to community service and public speaking.
How to Apply Application Form
Due DateFriday, March 4, 2011, 4 p.m.
Evaluation BySBL Scholarship and Award Committee. Recipients will be notified by April 15, 2011

Global Institute for Leadership and Civic Development

Become a Global Leader and Study Abroad

The new millennium brings with it many opportunities and challenges. As a member of this ever changing world, the decisions you make today not only affect you, but others around you. What type of impact are you going to leave on our world? We invite you to join students from around the world and spend four weeks in Prague, Czech Republic for our 12th Annual Global Leadership Program in Prague, our 2nd Annual Women and Leadership Program, our newly expanded Global Leadership Program in Panama, or for one of our 2-week programs in Rome, Panama, or Prague training to become a global citizen, a future leader, and one of tomorrow's great social innovators.


11/16 Talk: Insiders and Outsiders in Europe

Summer Workshop in Slavic and Central Asian Languages

Intensive language training has been offered at the Bloomington campus of Indiana University since 1950. The Summer Workshop provides up to 200 participants in Slavic, East European and Central Asian languages the opportunity to complete a full year of college language instruction during an eight-week summer session.

Utilizing the resources of Indiana University's own specialists as well as native speakers from other universities and abroad, the Summer Workshop has developed and maintained a national program of the highest quality. Allowing all participants to pay in-state tuition fees, the program has as its goal the enhancement of speaking, reading, listening and writing skills through classroom instruction and a full range of extra-curricular activities. Fellowships and funding are available.

Google Policy Fellowship

About the Google Policy Fellowship program

What is the Google Policy Fellowship program?
The Google Policy Fellowship program offers students interested in Internet and technology policy the opportunity to spend the summer working on these issues at public interest organizations in either Washington, DC, San Francisco, CA, Toronto, or Ottawa, Canada. Students will work for 10 weeks over the summer of 2010.
What organizations are participating in Google Policy Fellowship program 2010?

  • American Library Association
  • Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic
  • Cato Institute
  • Center for Democracy and Technology
  • The Citizen Lab
  • Competitive Enterprise Institute
  • Creative Commons
  • Electronic Frontier Foundation
  • Future of Music Coalition
  • Internet Education Foundation
  • Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies
  • Media Access Project
  • National Hispanic Media Coalition
  • New America Foundation
  • Progress and Freedom Foundation
  • Public Knowledge
  • Technology Policy Institute

Important Dates

What is the program timeline?
January 17, 2011: Student application deadline; applications must be received by midnight Pacific time.
February 28, 2011: Student applicants are notified of the status of their applications.
June 2011: Students begin fellowship with host organization (start date to be determined by student and host organization); Google issues initial student stipends (see more information on stipends in the payments here).
July 2011: Mid-term evaluations; Google issues mid-term stipends.
August 2011: Final evaluations; Google issues final stipends.


Are there any age restrictions on participating?
Yes. You must be 18 years of age or older by January 1, 2011 to be eligible to participate in Google Policy Fellowship program in 2011.
Are there citizenship requirements for the Fellowship?
For the time being, we are only accepting students eligible to work in the United States, if your host organization is located in the U.S. (e.g. U.S. citizens, U.S. permanent residents, and individuals with a current U.S.student visa) and students eligible to work in Canada, if your host organization is located in Canada (e.g. Canadian citizens, Canadian permanent residents, and individuals with a current Canadian student visa). Google can not provide guidance or assistance on obtaining the necessary documentation to meet this criteria.
Who is eligible to participate as a student in Google Policy Fellowship program?
In order to participate in the program, you must be a student. Google defines a student as an individual enrolled in or accepted into an accredited institution including (but not necessarily limited to) colleges, universities, masters programs, PhD programs and undergraduate programs. Eligibility is based on enrollment in an accredited university by January 1, 2011.
You may be enrolled as a full-time or part-time student. You must also be eligible to work in the United States, if your host organization is located in the U.S. (e.g. U.S. citizens, U.S. permanent residents, and individuals with a current U.S.student visa) and students eligible to work in Canada, if your host organization is located in Canada (e.g. Canadian citizens, Canadian permanent residents, and individuals with a current Canadian student visa). Google can not provide guidance or assistance on obtaining the necessary documentation to meet this criteria.
I am a International student can I apply and participate in the program?
In order to participate in the program, you must be a student (see Google's definition of a student above). You must also be eligible to work in the United States or in Canada (see citizen requirements for fellowship above). Google can not provide guidance or assistance on obtaining the necessary documentation to meet this criteria.
I have been accepted into an accredited post-secondary school program, but have not yet begun attending. Can I still take part in the program?
As long as you are enrolled in a college or university program as of January 1st, 2011, you are eligible to participate in the program.
I graduate in the middle of the program. Can I still participate?
As long as you are enrolled in a college or university program as of January 1st, 2011, you are eligible to participate in the program.

Payments, Forms, and Other Administrative Stuff

How do payments work?
Google will provide a stipend of $7,500 USD to each Fellow for the summer.
  • Accepted students in good standing with their host organization will receive a $3,500 USD stipend payable shortly after they begin the Fellowship in June 2011.
  • Students who receive passing mid-term evaluations by their host organization will receive a $2,000 USD stipend shortly after the mid-term evaluation in July 2011.
  • Students who receive passing final evaluations by their host organization and who have submitted their final program evaluations will receive a $2,000 USD stipend shortly after final evaluations in August 2011.
  • Please note: payments will be made by prepaid debit card or checks; payments are contingent upon satisfactory evaluations by host organizations and completion of all required forms; and fellows are responsible for payment of any state or federal taxes associated with their receipt of the Fellowship stipend.
What documentation is required from students?
Students should be prepared, upon request, to provide Google or host organization with transcripts from their accredited institution as proof of enrollment or admission status. Transcripts do not need to be official (photo copy of original will be sufficient).
I would like to use the work I did for my Google Policy Fellowship to obtain course credit from my university. Is this acceptable?
Absolutely. If you need documentation from Google to provide to your school for course credit, you can contact Google. We will not provide documentation until we have received a final evaluation from your mentoring organization.

Host Organizations

What is Google's relationship with the host organizations?
Google provides the funding and administrative support for the program. Google and the host organizations are not partners or affiliates. The host organizations do not represent the views or opinions of Google and cannot bind Google legally.

More Questions

What if I have a question not answered in this FAQ?
You can reach Google Policy Fellowship team at policyfellowship@google.com .

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Chris Murphy to join Bysiewicz in race for Lieberman's seat

Rep. Chris Murphy announced his candidacy for Senate today, becoming the second Democrat to run for retiring Sen. Joe Lieberman's Connecticut seat and setting up the first of what are expected to be many high-profile Senate primaries in 2012.

"I've decided to run for the United States Senate in 2012 because I believe that I can be a stronger voice for the issues that matter to Connecticut, like creating good jobs and ending these costly wars, in the Senate," Murphy said in a statement released this morning.

Murphy is set to make a more public announcement early this evening at the Waverly Inn in Cheshire, Conn., according to a source who asked to be anonymous because the decision is not yet public.

Murphy joins former Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz, who launched her campaign Tuesday, in the Democratic primary. Lieberman announced Wednesday that he would not seek reelection.

The matchup between Murphy and Bysiewicz will be one of the biggest primaries in the country, with both candidates claiming strong political operations and plenty of name ID to start with. Both campaigns have internal polls showing their candidate with a lead. There's also the possibility that the race could grow to include a really big name -- Ted Kennedy Jr. -- and/or another congressman -- Rep. Joe Courtney (D-Conn.) -- which would make it one of the biggest Senate primaries in recent history.

But it will by no means be the only high-profile primary.

Already, Republicans appear headed for a busy season. Competitive primaries are forming for open seats in North Dakota and Texas, as well as the primaries to face Sens. Jim Webb (D-Va.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) and Ben Nelson (D-Neb.). And that's not to mention the Republican incumbents who could face viable primary challenges, including Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), John Ensign (R-Nev.) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine).

Democrats appear headed for primaries to face Sen. Scott Brown (D-Mass.) and potentially for seats in North Dakota and Texas left open respectively by the announced retirements of Sens. Kent Conrad (D) and Kay Bailey Hutchison (R).

The GOP could also have a primary in Connecticut, where two 2010 Senate candidates -- former Rep. Rob Simmons and former wrestling executive Linda McMahon -- are looking at running.

Get ready for another fun Senate primary season. The Republican presidential race won't be the only game in town.

Obama shifts political staff, will launch campaign in March or April

President Obama is moving his political operation outside the White House and will launch his reelection campaign in March or April.

With the biggest parts of a staff reshuffling behind him, Obama has approved some more moves for his political team, shifting his political director to the Democratic National Committee and sending two key operatives to serve as deputy campaign managers in what will be his campaign headquarters in Chicago.

In addition, we now have an official time frame for the campaign's launch. In an e-mail to members of the Democratic National Committee, Chairman Tim Kaine announced the staffing moves and said Obama's 2012 campaign "will be based in Chicago starting in March or April of this year."

Obama is effectively shutting down his political affairs office in the White House and moving his campaign staff elsewhere, in order to keep the two entities separate and avoid the turf battles and disparate messaging that sometimes occur when a sitting president is running for reelection.

He is expected to formally begin his campaign for president by filing the necessary paperwork in a couple of months. At that point, he can begin raising money for the effort and filling out his staff -- the latter which has already begun.

The staff moves, first reported by the New York Times, include moving White House Social Secretary and former campaign finance chair Julianna Smoot and Democratic National Committee executive director Jen O'Malley Dillon to Chicago to serve as deputy campaign managers.

Smoot's exit leaves a vacancy in the social secretary job for the second time in 11 months. Smoot replaced Desirée Rogers after Rogers fell victim to the gate-crashing incident at the White House.

Kaine said O'Malley Dillon will leave the DNC after the committee's meeting in February.

Patrick Gaspard, who is now the White House political director, will move to the DNC to assume Dillon's role, a senior administration official said. Political operations at the White House will be consolidated under David Plouffe, the former campaign manager who has recently arrived as senior adviser.

Obama long ago settled on Jim Messina, currently a White House deputy chief of staff, as his new campaign manager. The new leadership trio of Messina, Smoot and O'Malley Dillon all served on the president's 2008 campaign, but will be in more prominent roles in 2012.

O'Malley Dillon ran Obama's battleground states effort last time around. Prior to that, she ran former Sen. John Edwards's (D-N.C.) presidential campaign in Iowa.

"In making these transitions, I am pleased with the vital role that our DNC will play throughout the 2011 and 2012 election cycles, both advancing the President's agenda and keeping our Democratic Party strong," Kaine said.

Obama is making a rare move by hosting his reelection headquarters outside of Washington -- a further sign of his desire to keep to two operations separate.

Obama's Tucson speech will not 'change the tone' of politics

President Obama's speech at the Tucson memorial Wednesday night garnered praise from both conservatives and liberals, but it's unlikely to change the tone of our political discourse.

For some reason, though, this idea seems to have gained traction.

By not pointing fingers or seeking to score political points, they said, Obama positioned himself well as he readies his State of the Union Address for Jan. 25. That speech will lay out his goals for the year ahead, his first with a divided government.

"The president's speech last night was potentially seismic for him," said Richard Greene, a communications strategist who has written on history's most unforgettable speeches. "Every time the president shows himself in this very warm, very human light, a light that everyone can relate to, he softens up the argument against his agenda."

Whatever good will the president has earned among conservatives will dissipate quickly. As Greg wrote earlier this week, calls for civility are usually short-lived in Washington -- and by historical standards, the incivility of our political discourse isn't as unprecedented as it seems. There are reasons for partisanship -- Republicans and Democrats simply want different things. Should Republicans in Congress decide to cooperate with the president, their tone will have to change -- after, all there's no cooperating with a tyrant -- but that will be because they see some benefit in doing so, not because Obama gave a gracious speech in Tucson.

Likewise, many of the presidents usual antagonists in the conservative media, such as Glenn Beck, praised the president for his speech. But, ultimately, Beck's audience wants to hear baroque conspiracy theories about generations-long liberal schemes to subvert the United States; they're not there to hear him offer balanced, wonky critiques of how the HAMP program has failed to stem the foreclosure crisis. They want to hear him explain why the president is trying to destroy the country. That's why they come to him in the first place.

A few weeks from now, if not a few days or hours, that's what they'll get. A single speech by the president cannot shift the market incentives of the ideological media, nor the underlying structural incentives that create polarization and partisanship in the first place.

Steve Cohen: I regret that Goebbels crack created "distraction," but Republicans are still liars

Dem Rep. Steve Cohen, who refused to back off last night in the face of criticism of his reference to Goebbels and the GOP's "big lie" technique, is out with a new statement on the matter:

Taken out of context, I can understand the confusion and concern. In speaking about the Republican message of "government takeover of health care" that has been drummed into the heads of Americans and the media for more than a year, I referenced the non-partisan, Pulitzer prize-winning Politfact.com judgment that named the Republican message as the "2010 Lie of the Year."

"While I regret that anything I said has created an opportunity to distract from the debate about health care for 32 million Americans, I want to be clear that I never called Republicans Nazis. Instead, the reference I made was to the greatest propaganda master of all time. Propaganda, which is called "messaging" today, can be true or false. In this case, the message is false.

"I would certainly never do anything to diminish the horror of the Nazi Holocaust as I revere and respect the history of my people. I sponsored legislation which created one of the first state Holocaust Commissions in America and actively served as a Commission member for over 20 years. I regret that anyone in the Jewish Community, my Republican colleagues or anyone else was offended by the portrayal of my comments. My comments were not directed toward any group or people but at the false message and, specifically, the method by which is has been delivered.

"It is disappointing that my comments have been used to distract from the health care reform debate. It is my hope that we can return our focus to the matter at hand-health care for 32 million Americans."

Parse this and it's clear Cohen is not budging. He reiterates that he didn't compare Republicans to Nazis, and rejects the claim that his remarks diminshed the Holocaust. Meanwhile, he's expressing regret that his remarks allowed others to create a distraction from the health debate. And he regrets the fact that some people were offended by "the portrayal" of what he said, not the comments themselves.

Meanwhile, by making the unabashed claim that today's GOP health care "messaging" is "propaganda" by another name, Cohen is standing by his core allegation about a massive Republican campaign of mendacity. He's not backing off one bit.

FORD-LASA Special Projects

LASA is pleased to announce the fourth cycle of the Ford-LASA Special Projects competition, made possible by a contribution by the Ford Foundation to the LASA Endowment Fund. Funds provided will support such activities as trans-regional research initiatives, conferences, working groups, the development of curriculum and teaching resources, and similar projects organized and carried out by LASA Sections or by ad hoc groups of LASA members. Proposers are encouraged to think creatively about how this funding might be used to advance the principles of hemispheric collaboration among Latin American Studies scholars and teachers. Proposals that do not assign priority to this objective will not be considered for funding.

Proposals should identify the participants in the proposed activity, the objectives of the project, and the process by which those objectives are to be achieved. The total amount requested in each proposal may not exceed $12,500. Grants may be combined with other sources of funding, and may be used to initiate projects that continue with funding from other sources. No project or group will be funded more than once.

Proposals of no more than five (5) single-spaced pages in length must be received by the LASA Secretariat by March 15, 2008. Proposals will be reviewed by a panel of four LASA members appointed by the President for each program cycle, chaired by the Vice President of LASA. Applicants will be informed of the results within two months after the submission deadline.

Preference will be given to projects that involve trans-regional collaboration in the Western Hemisphere, and which are intended to result in publication of project results. It may be possible for LASA to disseminate project results, including conference papers, through its website, which would not preclude eventual publication in other media. Project directors are encouraged to consider submitting a panel proposal based on their work for presentation at the June 2009 LASA Congress. Within 18 months of the announcement of the award recipients, the project directors will be required to submit a report on the activities undertaken with Special Project funding, suitable for publication in the LASA Forum.

New book on courts & policy in Brazil

Drawing on the experience of the Brazilian federal courts since the transition to democracy, Judging Policy examines the judiciary's role in debating and formulating public policy in Latin America’s largest democracy. During a period of energetic policy reform, the high salience of many policies and a judicial structure conducive to policy contestation ensured that Brazilian courts would become an important institution at the heart of the policy process. Through a study of the full federal court system, this book develops a framework with cross-national implications for understanding how courts influence policy actors' political strategies and the distribution of power in new democracies.

Political Party and Political Legitimacy

Political party is an organization that is locally articulated, that interacts with and seeks to attract the electoral support of the general public. It plays a direct and substantive role in political recruitment and education. Political party is also committed to the capture or maintenance of power, either alone or in coalition with others. It becomes the vehicle for mass political participation based on political culture and ideology. In a democratic polity, political parties play a significant role that they become the backbone of the polity. The quality of democratic political system depends on the ability of the political parties to absorb demands and aspirations of the people and deliver them back as a product of political process. With Indonesia's return to democracy in 1999, operational controls on political parties and the ban on the establishment of new parties were lifted. This situation has allowed greater opportunities for all Indonesians to actively participate in Indonesia's transition to democracy.

Similarly, moral acceptance of the subjects to the authority of the rulers is deemed important for the justification of their right to rule. Legitimacy relates to the acceptance of power by the people and the process whereby power gains acceptance by the people which essentially includes the process of mobilization of support through ideology, institution building, system of rewards and punishment, performance or manipulation. It involves the capacity of the system to engender and maintain the belief that the existing political institutions are the most appropriate ones for the society. Furthermore, legitimacy brings about stability and possibility to create changes and improvements in the society. It also expands the authority of the ruler as well as limiting it. Legitimate government will bring about political stability and eventually deliver what the voters expect. Thus in order to create political stability and changes in the society, rulers or regimes need to have legitimacy, the moral right to rule, failing of which crisis of legitimacy and stability is the consequence. Democratically administered elections will provide a thoroughfare for a party or coalition of parties to gain necessary political legitimacy to rule.

In the same vein, the electorate in a democratic polity plays a very significant role: it can either establish or bring a government down. No party or parties shall possess any moral right to rule or legitimacy unless it receives endorsement from the electorate. As such, government is merely a form of representation of the people through a democratic process called elections. Once installed, a government is expected to be effective: to run its large administration efficiently and to set goals for policy that are realistic and achievable, and within the broad outlines of its election program. Moreover, it is expected that the government is to be publicly accountable: "the government must be able to give an account of their actions and policies, to explain and justify them to an appropriate audience." The government must act within the terms and conditions of their authority, and conform to standards of conduct that are appropriate to their office.

However, in emerging democratic society like Indonesia, many of a time we find out that once elected, the representatives tend to forget the fact they are essentially subjected to being publicly accountable. They neglect their constituents who have successfully catapulted them to power. Once elected, they would mostly indulge in their own business and greedily reaping the "fruits" of being successfully elected as the "respected members" of people's representatives while neglecting their foremost responsibility and duty as people's representatives: to articulate, defend and support the interests, preferences and grievances of those whom they represent. Instead of focussing on their professional responsibility as people’s representatives, personal gains becomes their main agenda in office. They ignore the fact that they are there for a reason: to serve the public at large.

To rectify this situation, one should return to the fundamentals of representation. Political representation essentially implies “government of, by and for the people”. In parliaments, whether at the national, provincial or local levels, the representatives are obliged to articulate the aspirations and supports from their constituents, and turn them into policies or laws, which would affect not only their constituents but also the public in general. Sound judgment and bold arguments of these representatives are thus functions of a good policy or law. Without them, everybody loses, including those who are not their direct constituents.

Such fundamentals will highlight the need for people's representatives to fully comprehend their duties and responsibilities in a system of political representation. They must realize that the positions they are holding come with huge responsibility. They are merely the extension of people's power and their ultimate duties and responsibilities are being professionally serving the public, not only their own constituents but the public at large. The representatives should be held accountable to the people whom they supposedly represent.

Problems of Participation
Thursday, February 12, 2009 3:09 PM
Larry Diamond has noted in one of his works that one paradox of democracy is that in some circumstances a political system can be made more stably democratic by making it somewhat less representative. At the same time, electoral system is the central rule of the game determining who governs in a polity. Its position is so important that careful steps should be taken before taking any decision to adopt any kind of electoral system, be it the proportional representation, the district system or the mixture of the two. This is what has so far been done by the so called political reformers in the post-Suharto Indonesia. In the name of limiting ethnic or regional movements and promoting more stable politics by encouraging broad-based parties, Indonesian political reformers purposely adopted an electoral system that provides necessary means to achieve the agenda of "stable democratic polity" in Indonesia.

Through a combination of spatial registration for political parties, pressures for smaller parties to amalgamate into larger ones, reductions in the electoral system's proportionality requirement, and regional vote-distribution requirements for presidential elections, political reformers in Indonesia have attempted to engineer the development of a few large parties with a national reach. However, the results of both 1999 and 2004 general elections showed the opposite. Instead of resulting in a moderate multi-partism, the general elections further fragmented the already fragmented party system. While the numbers of parties have reduced significantly in the 2004 general elections, on the contrary, parliamentary fragmentation increased. Measures to promote nationally focused parties and limit the enfranchisement of minorities have had some modest successes, but have not fundamentally changed the nature of electoral politics.

So far as the process of political engineering in Indonesia is concerned, it has been focussing more on protecting the incumbents and the continuance of the status quo. It is yet to focus on utilizing the opportunity to engineer substantial political transformation. Even though legislative framework continued to be enhanced through enactment of new laws prior to the successor election with the aim of creating more credible electoral process and achieving more representative results, this incrementalism has resulted in the elections being tightly scheduled creating major logistical complexity with little time for appropriate planning. Moreover, the drastic reduction in the district magnitude in the 2004 general elections has considerably raised the threshold for electoral victory and made it much more difficult for smaller parties to win seats than at previous elections, when districts were based on entire provinces. This electoral arrangement is considerably more advantageous to the large, well-organized, established parties than towards smaller, new parties, and threatens the prospect of wider political representation.

Several observers had suspected that the prolonged last minute preparation may be deliberate to avoid public scrutiny to the internal political process of the parties in putting forward nomination and as a cloak to shift public attention from demanding political accountability. Furthermore, the tight scheduling is believed to have benefited political elites close to the central party boards and deprived regional candidates. Political oligarchy has been holding captive the efforts to achieve the common good and to improve the process of political representation.

Debbie, PA to Mr Screwtape: Football Crazy, Football Mad Hiya!

Just sweeping up the chicken bones, cigar butts and beer tins. My Guv'nor, Mr Screwtape had a few too many and is snoring at his retro desk, his horned head resting on his traditional-style blotter.

The Boss, His Satanic Majesty, came down to watch the football with Mr Screwtape down here in Reception. We can get it on the Contracts and Arrivals screen, the giant HD plasma over the reception desk. Mr Screwtape explained that the combined subscriptions saved us the cost of going topside. The Boss asked about 'adult channels' and my Guv'nor looked baffled, as usual, so I said that if there were any, they were definitely part of the package and nothing extra had been ordered. The Boss looked fleetingly annoyed, then went back to acting as if I don't exist. Suits me.

His Satanic Majesty was in a good mood for once as he had taken off his business suit and was slumming in a Hawaiian shirt and roomy shorts. They don't chafe his hide. His red pelt is regrowing, judging by the curly wires peeping out around his hocks. He has given up being full-body waxed as he has broken up with his girlfriend Miranda, at least for the time being. She insisted on him being peeled each month and while he can dish it out, he can't take it. The howls used to rattle the stained glass windows in the firmament. He was celebrating his freedom with an enormous Cohiba glowing in the corner of his mouth and scratching himself luxuriously with his long nails as the new hair poked itchily through.

Mr Screwtape got in to the spirit of things by dressing in antique football strip and blowing an ancient shrill whistle. He claimed he got it from George Best in return for the succession of beautiful women George had bedded, but when I checked the file, it seems very little business was done with Best. A few passes to him which defied physics, but that would have been no use if he had not had his own gifted feet. Still, Mr Screwtape has an old autograph book of his most important signings and Best is in there, so they had some private business which didn't show in the main sequence files. The Boss had better not find out; he's apt to turn nasty if he thinks his representatives are trying to cut HellCo out of the deal.

Lord Lucifer and Mr Screwtape settled themselves on the Barcelona office chairs, their hooves up on the leather upholstery, with beer, pizza and chicken legs laid out within reach on glass coffee tables. They like to throw the bones over their shoulder as they once saw Henry VIII do, so I learned to duck. His Excellency clicked his fingers imperiously every time he wanted a ring-pull popped and the can appeared in his hand, as if by magic. I did more running than Rooney.

At the end of the match the Dark Lord was on his feet, shouting his approval at Fabio Capello and saying that he must get a pair of glasses with a heavy black line across the frames, it obviously made people take you seriously. He'd been feeling as if people didn't treat him as if he was quite real. More like he was some mythic joke character, and he wanted to improve his public recognition. He looked at the pictures, the cameras sweeping the pitch and the crowd and then looked accusingly at Mr Screwtape.

"Screwy, there's a lot of people there. A lot of demand unsatisfied. We should be exploiting that."
"Yes, Sir" said Mr Screwtape "and we have agents on the sideline in every team in the country. I'm particularly proud of the Parent's Recruitment campaign. We've had several referees abused and assaulted already, and the players are only seven years old."
"See, that's your trouble, Screwy. You don't think big. Junior league, pah. A game that size and there must be millions of dollars we could be earning through selling moody tickets, fixing the outcome of games and betting on them. And that's before HellCo have made a single signing. What are we offering these people?"

Mr Screwtape was doing the goldfish thing with his mouth again. I coughed and broke in.
"Your Highness, we've been wondering if you would condescend to captain the HellCo team. We are negotiating with several prominent talent agents".

The King of the Underworld preened and slapped Mr Screwtape on the back, knocking the pea right out of his whistle, which rolled away under the reception desk.
"I'll show you how it's done, Screwy, it will be like Cloughy and Taylor, like er, er, er,..."
"Morecambe and Wise, Sir" I suggested.
The Lord of Chaos looked at me and narrowed his goaty eyes, but decided that treating me like unwelcome chewing gum on his hoof was still the way to go.
"Call me when you've got the lads assembled, and I'll take over" he roared, then took himself happily off, burbling about wild parties and wilder women.

Mr Screwtape looked crestfallen.
"Are we really negotiating with key players, Deborah?"
"I'll have to get the files, Mr Screwtape, as I understand you have some expertise in the area".
It was Mr Screwtape's turn to fix me with a hard stare.
"There are no files Deborah, and I'll thank you to remember I have been doing this job for several millenia." He clicked his fingers and this time some real magic happened. The autograph book appeared. "There are some people with whom one has a cordial relationship regardless of anything else. The angels couldn't save George Best and I couldn't sign him. He was the architect of his own downfall."
"What happened to him, Mr Screwtape, Sir?"
"The usual. There was a hearing. The moderators took in to account the violence against women and the thefts. I appeared against him."
"Against him? And yet he gave you his autograph?"
"So you admit you have been going through my personal belongings. He had done me a particular service and I repaid it by prosecuting very lightly."
"Yes. I wanted George Carman QC very badly. His was a valuable contract, and it wasn't easy as he was a leading lawyer of his generation, adept at wriggling. Best helped me goad him by seducing Carman's wife. In fact, he was happy to oblige. ".
"What happened to Carman?"
"He's down on Deck Three with the Specialists. The charges included trying to have Best killed, even though he was Carman's drinking chum.The moderators found it most unsporting". He continued thoughtfully "Even when you tell them all Best did, there was still that spark, that recognition of someone who had been given a gift - two if you count the looks - and yet those very things helped destroy him. One wonders; if he had been as ugly as Rooney, would he ever have got in to some of the scrapes? Perhaps he'd have stayed on the straight and narrow. Unfortunately."
"Mr Screwtape - you could have got Bestie killed!"
"Don't be silly. Carman was happy enough to give a woman a slap, as was Best, but Carman was fundamentally a cowardly bully. So long as nobody was prepared to do it for Carman, Best was safe. He was a much bigger danger to himself than anybody else was."

He was subsiding in to a reverie of past successes, but time was pressing.
"Mr Screwtape, Sir, there's another match on Sunday and it might not end so well, His Excellency is expecting a football team to manage and you have yet to corrupt an entire international industry".

"A demon's work is never, done, Deborah" he sighed "And by far the most difficult part is that FIFA have got in to the corruption business well ahead of us". With that he popped the rings on the remaining four tinnies of Wife Beater, downed them in swift sequence and slumped senseless at his desk.

New book on courts & policy in Brazil

Drawing on the experience of the Brazilian federal courts since the transition to democracy, Judging Policy examines the judiciary's role in debating and formulating public policy in Latin America’s largest democracy. During a period of energetic policy reform, the high salience of many policies and a judicial structure conducive to policy contestation ensured that Brazilian courts would become an important institution at the heart of the policy process. Through a study of the full federal court system, this book develops a framework with cross-national implications for understanding how courts influence policy actors' political strategies and the distribution of power in new democracies.

The Israeli Way of War

“That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow. That is the whole Torah; the rest is the explanation; go and learn.” – Hillel the Elder, c.100 BC.

The dry forest on the Israeli-Lebanese border provided shade but little relief. Rain had not fallen for months, and the blistering season-long heat wave that would later set parts of northern Israel on fire was currently burning down forests in Russia.

An Israeli intelligence officer led me to this concealed yet sweltering viewpoint near the border fence overlooking Lebanon where Hezbollah guerrillas were busy fortifying positions for the next round of conflict, a round that will almost certainly be bloodier and more destructive for both sides than the last. A small green valley covered with Mediterranean scrub stood between us and the Party of God.

“Four years ago you could easily see Hezbollah positions and bunkers from here,” she said. “Now you can’t. Hezbollah pretends to respect United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701, but that’s just their public face. Their posts are now hidden in houses and mosques.”

A young soldier standing watch handed me a small glass of coffee with no cream or sugar. Tea is the preferred social and professional lubricant in most of the Middle East, but most Israelis and Lebanese I’ve interviewed prefer coffee.

Loughner’s Jewish mother? Not so much

I noted the other day that an acquaintance of Jared Lee Loughner, the accused gunman in Gabrielle Giffords shooting in Tucson, believed his mother was Jewish.

Bryce Tierney told Mother Jones that Loughner listed Mein Kampf as a favorite book in part to provoke his Jewish mother.

Nate Bloom, the noted Jewish roots columnist and researcher, has done the legwork -- and pretty much buries this notion.

I'll hand it over to him:

It is appalling how one comment---a friend of Jared Loughner telling a Mother Jones’ reporter that Jared Loughner’s mother is “Jewish”---goes viral in an instant.

In hours, "this fact" was all over on anti-Semitic sites. And, of course, there are the “commentators” who love to ‘blame the victim’ via some pop psychology theory that Jared acted out of “Jewish self-hatred.”

I figured that this was the moment to try and get “truth” dressed, and into the public arena a lot faster than usual. In other words, to use the tools of the internet to determine the veracity of what this friend told Mother Jones.

I cover Jews in popular culture for Jewish newspapers and I know how often famous people are mis-identified as Jewish or mis-identified as not Jewish. I also know that a lot of people are not outright lying about claiming someone is Jewish---they just get it wrong.

So, with my friend Michael, we ran down everything we could from public records on Jared Loughner’s mother’s family background. It took a lot of “search terms” and databases to find what we did.

Here’s what we found:

Jared Lee Loughner’s mother is Amy Totman Loughner;

Amy Loughner---Known Parentage from Public Records:

Her [Amy’s] parents were Lois May Totman and Laurence Edward Totman.

----Lois M. Totman died in 1999 and Laurence E. Totman died in 2005. Both were registered nurses. Laurence worked at a VA facility in Tucson. We both found this info via google news archives, social security death index.

From 1930 census records

Laurence E. Totman was born in Illinois in 1925.

His (Laurence’s) parents were Laurence A. Totman and his wife, Mary.

Laurence Totman pere (the elder) was born in Kansas to a Pennsylvania father and an Illinois mother. Mary was from Illinois, as were both of her parents.

A sister-in-law named Myrtle M. Brennan is listed as living with them also.

1920/1910 census records---Totman Family:

In 1920, Lawrence Totman, (Jared’s) great-grandfather, is living with his aunt, Rosa Clarke, who was born in illinois to two Irish-born parents.

Rosa is his mother's sister. On the 1910 census, his (Laurence, the elder) maternal grandparents are listed as Irish-born.

Father, Orvie Totman was born in Ohio to Ohio-born parents.

Amy Loughner’s Mother’s Line:

See obit, below, from Arlington (Illinois) Daily Record, June 24, 1999---Obituary of Helen Medernach of Virgil, Illinois. Helen was the sister of Lois M. Totman (the mother of Amy Totman Loughner). Helen was the great aunt of Jared Loughner.

As you can see, Helen’s funeral (mass) was held at a Catholic church. Helen (and Lois) were the children of Anton Bleifuss and Jessie Bleifuss (nee Anderson). Lois M. Totman died just days after her sister, Helen.

According to the census records, Anton Bleifuss was born in Bremen, Germany, to German parents. Jessie Anderson Bleifuss was born in Illinois to a father born in Denmark and a mother born in Illinois.

Conclusion---It is exceedingly unlikely that Amy Loughner has any Jewish ancestry. The only “line” not traced his Amy’s father’s mother’s family. The other three lines (Amy’s father’s father, Amy’s mother’s father, and Amy’s mother mother)---show, to all but the most obtuse, that these were/are not Jewish families. Moreover, it is quite clear that Amy’s mother, Lois Bleifuss Trotman, came from a Catholic family.

At OpEd News, Rob Kall interviews Rabbi Stephanie Aaron of Giffords' shul, Congregation Chaverim, she dispenses with any notion that the Loughner's were in any way associated with the community:

"We had a meeting of the Tucson Board of Rabbis. We all looked at our rosters from many years back. No one has ever heard of the family -- him, his parents, any of them. I can say with absolute certainty that we do not know him in pretty much the entire affiliated community."

I would add this: Bleifuss may be a Jewish name. (The noted investigative journalist, Joel Bleifuss, is Jewish.) Anton Bleifuss, Jared Lee Loughner's great-grandfather, might then have been Jewish -- but not so committed that he didn't defer to his wife when it came to raising the children as Roman Catholics.

As I noted in my earlier posting, Jared Loughner is not the most reliable of reporters, and Tierney's recollection was added as an aside. Mix into this the fact that Amy Loughner's brother is Anton Totman -- apparently named for his mother's father.

Loughner's family was in no way Jewish, nor was his mother -- but she might have mentioned her Jewish grandfather, beloved enough to live on in her brother's name, with pride or interest. Under those circumstances Loughner, who sought "chaos" according to Tierney, might have sought to provoke his mother and his uncle by pretending to admire (or actually admiring) Adolph Hitler. He might have told Tierney that his mother was Jewish as a shorthand, or might have seen her as Jewish -- like I said, not the most reliable reporter. Or he might have explained the lineage, and Tierney might understandably have conflated it as "mother Jewish."

It sets up a fascinating contrast: Gabrielle Giffords, who plunges into public service when she is 30, just the same age she delves into her father's Judaism and chooses to embrace it; and Jared Loughner, who learns of a distant Jewish connection deep in his family's past -- and reviles it as he retreats into madness.

An obituary for Loughman's great aunt, Helen Medernach, is after the jump.

Date: June 24, 1999

Section: Business

Edition: Cook

Page: 10

Column: Obituaries

Helen Medernach of Virgil

A funeral Mass for Helen Medernach, 77, will be held at 10:30 a.m. Friday, at S.S. Peter & Paul Church. Fr. Aloysius Neumann will officiate.

Born Sept. 21, 1921, in Sycamore, the daughter of Anton and Jessie (nee Anderson) Bleifuss, she passed away peacefully Sunday, June 20, 1999, at Bethany Care Center in Sycamore, where she had made her home since May. Interment will be in S.S. Peter and Paul Cemetery, Virgil.

Helen grew up in Sycamore and graduated from Sycamore High School, class of 1939. She went on to take business courses which shortly landed her a job at Anaconda Wire Company in Sycamore. She went to California with her sister, Lois, and was employed in a business office for a few years before returning to work in Chicago. The last 20 years of her working career were spent in the business office at the Duplex Company in Sycamore.

She was united in marriage to William H. `Willie' Medernach on May 16, 1959.

They made their home in Sycamore for a short time before moving to Virgil where they lived across the street from the church for many years.

Survivors include her sisters, Virginia Stran of DeKalb, Irene Luty of Covina, Calif., Lois (Lawrence) Totman of Tucson, Ariz. and Dorothy (`Trig') Troeger of Sycamore; several nieces and nephews; and a family of dear friends. In addition, she leaves the quiet, simple legacy of one who cared. Her many thoughtful words of thanks, encouragement and friendship were patiently penned into countless cards that found their way into the hearts of many friends and neighbors through the years.

She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband in 1997; and brothers, Albert, Lyle, Leslie and Donald Bleifuss.

Friends may call from 4 to 8 p.m. today, at Conley Funeral Home, 116 W. Pierce St., Elburn, and from 9:30 a.m. until the time of the Mass Friday, at the church.

Memorials in her name may be made to Masses in her memory.

Monday, January 3, 2011

So you want to be a political operative..

This link was sent to me by an alum who works in a Congressional office, saying that they've had this conversation "many many times" with students...