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[snip] Losing ground. From the Illinois Poverty Summit's 2006 report: in 2000 about one in six Chicagoans was poor; in 2004, when the poverty level was around $19,000 for a family of four, the figure was about one in five.

[snip] The L word. Prolific writer and blogger Andrew Sullivan supports Bush's tax cuts and privatizing social security and opposes affirmative action and hate-crime laws. But because he opposes torture and incompetent war making, he's being called a liberal by Bush backers. So are John McCain, Chuck Hagel, Bob Barr, and other card-carrying Republicans. Writing at, Glenn Greenwald reflects that these days the only criterion for labeling someone a liberal is "a failure to pledge blind loyalty to George W. Bush."

[snip] So who's the pope of academia? Writing in the ultraconservative Catholic periodical First Things, theologian Edward Oakes of the University of Saint Mary of the Lake critiques What Jesus Meant and purports to teach its author, Garry Wills, a lesson in logic: "The two great institutional legacies of the Middle Ages to modern civilization are the Catholic Church and the contemporary university, of which the latter is surely the more rigidly hierarchical: With its politically correct orthodoxies, its hegemonically imposed anti-hegemonic discourse, its salary-mongering, its freedom from taxation (how Constantinian!), its speech codes, its teacher evaluations . . . the contemporary university makes the Catholic Church look like a Quaker meeting house."

[snip] Loyalty ain't cheap. United Airlines, just out of bankruptcy but hardly out of the woods, has given its CEO, Glenn Tilton, stock worth about $30 million and each of its mechanics stock worth about $20,000, reports Crain's Chicago Business. The company says this program "is designed to directly align the interests of the new shareholders of United and the management team." Evidently United's board thinks Tilton needs 29,980,000 more reasons to put the company ahead of his own personal interests than does the average airline mechanic.

[snip] Religion and morality don't mix. The National Catholic Reporter reports on a national Pew Research Center survey taken in October. Asked when it's OK to torture suspected terrorists, 42 percent of Catholics said "rarely" or "never," as did 47 percent of white Protestants--and 57 percent of secularists.

[snip] I, George W. Bush, do solemnly swear to faithfully execute the laws of which I approve. Remember how Congress debated the USA Patriot Act and how on March 9 Bush signed the revised act, including new provisions that require more reporting to Congress and ensure that the FBI doesn't abuse its powers to search homes and secretly seize papers? Charlie Savage of the Boston Globe reports that "after the reporters and guests had left, the White House quietly issued a 'signing statement,'" in which Bush said he could withhold information from Congress if he decides it would "impair foreign relations, national security, the deliberative process of the executive, or the performance of the executive's constitutional duties."

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