Bomb explodes in North Cotobato. Another bomb found. Security tightened. Hope for the Anti-Terrorism bill after all? You bet. With an official CPP appeal against it, expect a stampede to approve it. Forget sober debate, the president needs political momentum for her Cebu shindig.
The nurses’ exam brouhaha continues with perhaps the most pea brained scheme yet:
The government will start a shame campaign against nursing schools that have fared poorly in the last three licensing exams to dissuade students from enrolling in these institutions, officials said yesterday.
But even as President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo approved the plan in yesterday’s Cabinet meeting, her officials bickered over whether the nursing graduates who passed last June’s leak-tainted licensing exams would have to take a new test.
Shame campaign!? Good grief -and because the courts have imposed a temporary ban on closing down substandard schools? Actually, the idea -to provide a list of schools based on performance so students can evaluate them- is a good one. It’s the “shame campaign” part that’s nuts.
Palace reverses itself on cheap loans. Armed Forces reverses itself on requiring citizens to produce residence certificates on demand. Strategic retreats. Anyway, the Ombudsman has announced: hold the line.
Businessmen want constitutional amendments focused on economic provisions and not the political ones -and they aren’t in favor of how it’s being done now.
Government’s next big business: bargain basement sale of large parcels of military lands?
Race to be the next chief justice is on.
Good news, if it happens: billboards to be dismantled includes those of politicians.
Thai King sacrifices his land to save Bangkok.
In the punditocracy, overseas, commentary on North Korea continues, from The Australian (be very, very afraid), Thailand’s The Nation (thank goodness the Japanese and Chinese decided to be friendlier), the Korea Herald (don’t panic! don’t panic!), and the Inquirer editorial (everyone, stay calm!).
My Arab News column for this week recalls a visit I paid to the DMZ in Korea: Neither North Nor South Is Closer to Reunification.
Jojo Robles pens quite a curious column:
In particular, the various anti-change groups said that the signatures in five congressional districts would fail to meet the minimum 3 percent of all registered voters required for the petition – three in Davao, one in Makati and in the lone district of General Santos City. What the inspectors found, however, were 195 boxes containing signatures verified by local Comelec registrars, whose authentication of the signatures can’t be questioned, unless the opposition is willing to say that the poll body’s people at the local level cannot be trusted at all.
The problem is, the certifying was done by the Comelec, but the verifications by barangay officials. Look at the forms yourself. And so, much room for mischief- discrepancies between the numbers certified (in quite a few cases, with reservations or other cautionary comments by the Comelec officials) by the Comelec and the barangay officials’ verifications (and how? to verify you needed forms that only the Comelec’s supposed to have).
Robles also says that former Cebu governor Garcia says if Comelec officials’ right to certify is challenged, it will affect all future elections -but this was before anyone could take a look at what was being put together (again, indicating the lack of transparency of the process): as noted above, one major problem is that the Comelec certified verifications done by people other than themselves.
And I don’t know where he got the idea anyone’s being quiet, at all.
Manuel Buencamino takes a government propaganda piece and shreds it: he wonders, as a taxpayer, why the government’s media is only used to pitch the messages of one side.
Mike Tan is against free market principles being applied to higher education. See also a Newsbreak article on how the vouchers system for schools is unraveling.
In the blogosphere, Hillblogger takes a combined strategic and tactical look at North Korea and its options. baratillo@cubao points out how alone in the world, the Communist Party of the Philippines has issued a statement praising North Korea’s nuclear test (quote is from the news article quoted in turn by the blogger):
The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), in a statement, hailed North Korea’s tests as a “militant assertion of national sovereignty and the right of an independent country to develop its own powerful self-reliant defense capability.”
It said North Korea’s development of nuclear weapons would deter any US attack on the Stalinist state and would be “a positive factor in our common striving for genuine peace in the world.”
Security sources have previously said that there were still ties between Pyongyang and the CPP, which has been waging a Maoist guerrilla campaign in the Philippines for over three decades, making it one of the world’s longest-running communist insurgencies.
Achieving Happiness validates the thinking of the party faithful:
But then again, North Korea has all the right to develop its defense capability. North Korea and its people are under siege by the likes of the United States, continually threatened by sanctions and even actual, all out war of aggression.
Larry Johnson in TPM Cafe chronicles what he says is America’s defeat. Pajamas Media focuses on suitcase nuclear bombs. History Unfolding (hat tip, ZenPundit) looks at Henry Kissinger -and uses him as a take-off point for looking at how media is weak on analysis. Also, see his analysis of Kissinger’s weakness as a policy maker and thinker:
But neither then nor now, apparently, was Kissinger willing to draw a reality-based conclusion. Since South Vietnam was almost certain to fall eventually anyway, we might have given the North Vietnamese the coalition government in the South that they demanded and at least spared the Indochinese people six more years of heavy fighting and millions of tons of American bombs. (Peace in 1969 might also have preserved Prince Sihanouk in power in Cambodia, and we would never have heard of the Khmer Rouge.) That, however, was politically unacceptable, both domestically and, in Nixon and Kissinger’s eyes, internationally. In the same way, facing reality – that Iraq will never turn out as we had hoped and that continued insurgency and civil war are further strengthening extremism – is not an option, apparently, in the Bush Administration.
As I mentioned yesterday, Kissinger’s real betrayal came in 1975, when he decided to blame the American people for the loss of South Vietnam. (While US aid to the South had been reduced – not cut off – in 1973-4, it has been shown by scholarship and even by a contemporary Pentagon report that the South Vietnamese had not even received all the equipment they had been promised. They collapsed from political weakness, not from lack of supplies.) And as I pointed out yesterday, the only purpose I can see to holding the course in Iraq for two more years is to blame President Bush’s successor for whatever happens afterwards, rather than accept that we have made one of the worst strategic miscalculations in American history. Meanwhile the violence in Iraq will get worse.
The blog is a delight to discover, since I just recently bought a copy of one of his books, “American Tragedy: Kennedy, Johnson, and the Origins of the Vietnam War” (David Kaiser)
Philippine Commentary advocates an anti-terror law. I have my misgivings and still wonder why we can’t enact laws of limited duration (which require the law to be revisited and re-passed annually, for example).
Iloilo City Boy says the nursing exam controversy is the middle class’ “Wowowee.”
mongster’s nest wryly notes teachers were recently ignored in favor of dogs.
Oliphant (my title for it: “the parliament of the future”)