Textbook change

It turns out the textbook I had earlier selected for the public speaking class I’ll be teaching was out of print. It’s okay. This one is better, more compact, and probably cheaper (I’m seeing it available for around $12). It is:
A Pocket Guide to Public Speaking
Dan O’Hair, Hannah Rubenstein, and Rob Stewart
2nd Edition, 2007
Bedford/St. Martin’s; ISBN: 0312452071
Please support independent booksellers.

Paris Hilton finds a god

Even behind bars, Paris Hilton has access to the media. Now she says she’s found “God,” presumably the god of Abraham, and will stop acting dumb. According to the Independent:

Hilton’s conversion appears to have taken place with remarkable speed. Just on Friday she was crying in court and calling out for her mother as Judge Michael Sauer overturned the sheriff department’s decision to transfer her to house arrest and ordered her back to her 8ft by 12ft cell. “It’s not fair,” she whimpered.

Actually, the version I got was more about screaming than whimpering.

After her conviction last month, Hilton enjoyed distinctly cushy treatment from the LA sheriff – who, it has since emerged, received a chunky re-election contribution from Hilton’s grandfather last year. First she was told she would serve only 23 days of her 45-day sentence as long as she behaved herself. Then, barely three days after she checked herself into the prison system on 3 June, she was sent home to serve out the remainder of her sentence under house arrest – for unspecified medical reasons.

Unspecified medical reasons? For some reason, only CNN would report that according to TMZ.com, she had a problem with the food. “I was not eating or sleeping. I was severely depressed and felt as if I was in a cage. I was not myself. It was a horrible experience,” she told Barbara Walters.

So “distinctly cushy treatment from the LA sheriff” wasn’t good enough for her. The mattress on the cot was too thin, the pillow wasn’t what she was accustomed to, and the blanket might have been scratchy. Plus, the food sucked.

So this spoiled rich bitch–to call her anything more polite would be an insult to others of her ethnicity and gender–now hopes for help from the biggest daddy of them all, a daddy that many turn to on the rationalization that they need help to manage their behavior, a behavior that Hilton has used in her remorseless and relentless self-promotion. According to the Times:

The comments appeared to be further confirmation that Hilton and her advisers are trying to make up for the public relations disaster of her behaviour last week, when was dragged back to jail crying and screaming after a Superior Court judge decided that she should not have been released after serving three days of a 45-day sentence for a breach of probation.

Ah, yes. Screaming was the version I got. Screaming for attention from a media all too willing to grant it to her as a diversion from real issues.

More stations off air in Pakistan

More television stations have been taken off the air in Pakistan as the military-dominated regime widens its censorship.

The military was infuriated by television coverage six days earlier that showed thousands of supporters of the [suspended] chief justice [Chaudhry] shouting “Musharraf is a dog!” and “The generals are traitors!” at the gates of the supreme court. Since then all public meetings of more than five people have been banned in Islamabad and television stations have been ordered to stop live broadcasts of the chief justice’s rallies.

Pakistan imposes censorship on Chief Justice issue

This has been going on for a while, and I’ve been watching quietly.

Some time ago, Pakistani President Musharraf submitted a “reference” against Pakistan’s Supreme Court Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, alleging misuse of power. Musharraf had demanded Chaudhry’s resignation, detaining the Chief Justice for several hours, while Chaudhry refused to comply. As Chaudhry had apparently been willing to hear a few too many cases against the Musharraf regime, members of the legal establishment interpreted this as an attack against the independence of the judiciary. There has police violence against the Chief Justice and against widening protests opposing Musharraf. “Within days of the judge’s suspension, police in Islamabad used tear gas against demonstrators and smashed equipment at the privately-run Geo TV station which had showed pictures of the protests. President Musharraf later apologised for the incident.”

Yet, “the same channel had its high-profile discussion programme banned a day earlier. And three TV channels were briefly taken off air earlier in the week for running footage of bloody clashes between police and lawyers.” And it is now clear the government has abandoned even the pretense that it isn’t trying to suppress coverage of the unrest with a formal order prohibiting satellite channels “from telecasting programmes, including live talk shows and discussions, on the issue of the presidential reference against Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry.”

The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) accuses the media of broadcasting “gruesome/gory scenes of mutilated bodies of tragic incidents of terrorism creating fear and unrest in the society which serves the purposes of the terrorists.” So those who support the Chief Justice are now being cast as terrorists, while on May 12, “pro-Musharraf Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) cadres clashed with those of opposition parties” in Karachi, preventing Chaudhry from speaking.

A statement attributed to “The president MMA, Qazi Hussain Ahmad, Maulana Fazlur Rehman, and PTI Chief Imran Khan” claims:

There is mass uprising against his autocratic rule. May 12th Karachi mayhem have exposed him and his allies totally. Now in a desperate move he has on the one hand gagged the press and is imposing pre-censorship on electronic media and on the other he is openly dragging in the army to protect his personal interests and political exploits. Nothing can be more disastrous for the country than using the armed forces for searching political survival.

The Bush administration has continued to back Musharraf, who capitulated to Washington in Bush’s “war on terror” rather than be seen as a supporter of the Taliban. Pakistan might otherwise have been attacked the way Afghanistan was, where, after nearly driving the Taliban out of the country, the U.S. is now slowly losing ground, and where the Taliban apparently are in effective control of the southern third of the country, while warlords undermine central government authority in almost all the rest, and the country now supplies 90% of the world’s opium.

It no longer seems credible that Musharraf can retain power in what has become a very dangerous situation. Nuclear-armed rivals Pakistan and India have been improving relations, while Islamist groups seek further restrictions in Pakistan under what they see as Islamic law, and have engaged in kidnappings and threatened violence to accomplish their ends, while India has long blamed such groups for attacks in the disputed Punjab territory. The BBC writes, “But no one in Pakistan underestimates the brute power and guile of the military,” and it seems to me likely that another coup, such as that which brought Musharraf to power, is in the offing.