Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Democracy Now: World Water Day, Ron of Why Are We Back In Iraq, Jude of Iddybud and Somerby of The Daily Howler

Democracy Now! "always worth watching" (Marcia).

Headlines for March 22, 2005
- Judge Does Not Order Feeding Tube to Be Reinserted in Schiavo Case
- 10 Die in Minnesota School Shooting on Reservation
- Tribal Leader: "The Darkest Day in the History of Our Tribe"
- Third High-Profile Shooting In Past Two Weeks
- Attorney: U.S. Has 500 Hours of Guantanamo Video
- FBI Memo: Intelligence Gained At Guantanamo "Suspect At Best"
- Kofi Annan Calls for Sweeping UN Changes
- Army Raises Maximum Age of Reserve Recruits
- Newspaper Calls for U.S. Withdrawal From Iraq

The Case of Terri Schiavo: A Debate Between a Bioethicist and a Disability Rights Activist
A Federal Judge has refused to order the reinsertion of Terri Schiavo's feeding tube after an unprecedented action by Congress to allow her case be reviewed by federal courts. We host a debate between a bioethicist and a member of a disability rights group, Not Dead Yet. [includes rush transcript]

Rep. Barney Frank: "Clearly Politics Was a Factor" in Terri Schiavo Legislation
We speak with Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) who voted against the Terri Schiavo legislation. Frank says, "It is clearly wrong for the congress of the United States, this body of elected officials, driven more by ideology and by self-electoral considerations and advancement to other offices and re-election, shouldn't be trying to cancel out the decision made by the State of Florida." [includes rush transcript]

World Water Day 2005: Water Privatization in Stockton and Detroit
To mark World Water Day 2005, we take a look at the issue of water privatization in this country in California and Michigan. We speak with activists from Stockton and Detroit and an independent filmmaker who produced the documentary, "Thirst." [includes rush transcript]

Ron is covering the Ohio hearing at Why Are We Back In Iraq? with two entires today. Here's one Billie asked us to highlight:

John McCarthy of the Associated Press wrote a pretty good article (with an awful title: "Ohio Official Says Election Went Smoothly" instead of say "Ohio Official Pelted With Questions About Election Mishaps") about what happened which can be read everywhere from ABCnews to the Ohio News Network to Yahoo News to Wired to U.K.'s The Guardian to about thirty other Media Websites that I could find on Google News.
Cleveland Congresswoman
Stephanie Tubbs Jones sat in with the U.S. House Administration Committee, though she's not part of it (Rep. Jones is just an American patriot concerned about our votes). Here are a few highlights from the A.P. article about her sharp exchanges with Ohio Secretary of State and Bush-Cheney 2004 Ohio Chairman J. Kenneth Blackwell: "Tubbs Jones questioned Blackwell about a telephone message delivered to thousands of voters just before the election to make sure they voted in the correct precinct, especially if they had not changed their registration and needed a provisional ballot. Tubbs Jones wondered why he didn't say in the message that voters had the option to use provisional ballots at their local boards of elections. Blackwell said, "It worked," several times, his voice rising as Tubbs Jones continued the question."
In response to a question by the highest-ranking Democrat on the committee, Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald of California, J. Kenneth Blackwell answered "that to rig the machine allotment to favor Bush" was insane crazy tin foil headed and that "[i]t would have taken the collusion of 176 Democratic leaders. It's silly on its face to think there was some kind of bipartisan conspiracy."
I've got a story coming up (it's been coming up for two months now...but it's still not ready for as-Prime-as-I-get Time yet) about one of those 176 Democratic leaders in Ohio and it's not going to be a pretty one.

At The Daily Howler, Bob Somerby devotes an entry to Terry Schiavo (et tu, Bob?). Being Bob Somerby, he actually has something beyond the standard talking points to discuss. From the entry:

What did Scarborough viewers hear? Scarborough introduced a neurologist named William Hammesfahr -- a man whom Scarborough twice described as a "nominee for the Nobel Prize." And Hammesfahr, the brilliant Nobel nominee, completely contradicted Roig-Franzia. (Hammesfahr has provided expert testimony on behalf of Terri Schiavo’s parents.) Terri Schiavo did not have a heart attack, he said. She never had an eating disorder. And she isn't in a persistent vegetative state. In fact, according to Hammesfahr, Terri Schiavo can "stand up or sit up and can sort of moan and make sounds that get [her] wishes known." Indeed, "she follows a lot of commands," the brilliant Nobel nominee said.
[. . .]
Like last night, for example. Consider the impressive Hammesfahr, the brilliant Nobel Prize nominee. Here's what we found when we ran a search: Three years ago, David Sommer of the St. Petersburg Times reported that Hammesfahr "advertises himself as a nominee for a Nobel Prize based on a letter his congressman wrote to the Nobel committee." Yes, Hammesfahr was "nominated" for the Nobel Prize by his Republican congressman, Peter Bilirakis, back in 1999! And uh-oh! In 2003, William Levesque of the St. Peterburg Times described more of Hammesfahr’s brilliance:
LEVESQUE (10/25/03): In a 2002 order by Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge George Greer ruling that Mrs. Schiavo could not recover, Greer labeled Hammesfahr a "self-promoter."
The judge noted that Hammesfahr testified that he had treated patients worse off than Mrs. Schiavo yet "offered no names, no case studies, no videos and no test results to support his claim."

Of course, viewers weren't told that in Scarborough Country, just as they weren't told that the brilliant expert's "Nobel nomination" came from his local Republican hack. We've lived in two Americas for years. This week has been no exception.

Over at Iddybud, Jude's tackling Ohio (thank goodness for Jude and Ron). Here's an excerpt
Dallas wanted highlighted:

Yesterday, Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell appeared before a Congressional field committee and had the audacity to state, simply, that "everything went smoothly" in the Ohio election last November.
He called citizens' concerns - your concerns and mine - "fabrications and exaggerations". He even jabbed at people like me, who are talking about him on this blog. (Read the linked Toledo Blade story by Jim Provance).
I guess he cannot take criticism in a constructive or non-defensive manner. Regardless, I don't see how he thinks he can just sweep all these concerns away with his horrid accusations, arrogant insults, and closing his eyes and pretending the problems aren't there. Unless we allow him to do so.

Do you sense my being so not into this entry? You are correct.

Todd: New member here and I really think that the Terry Schiavo issue needs to be covered.

Well there you go, Todd. Democracy Now! and The Daily Howler. Enjoy them.

And for the rest of the community (531 e-mails), no we won't be covering it any other form.
Democracy Now! is a news show. I'm sure they covered it in a news manner. (I didn't watch. First one I've missed in sometime. I'll try to catch Headlines and the water story tonight.) Like Bob Somerby, I'm sure they found a way in that made it interesting and unique.

But for the rest of this . . .

Like members, I'm "beyond saturation" (Dallas). There's a "difference between informing and shoving talking points down people's throats" (Erika).

Keesha: "Good f*cking God, you'd think another pretty little blonde girl had been kidnapped the way this story has dominated everything and silenced out real news."

Todd: The fact that everyone is covering this should tell you how important the topic is!

We've never been a community that would cover what everyone else did. (If you're looking for that here, Todd, you're going to be disappointed.)

We're not part of an echo chamber, we don't attempt to chase down what everyone else talks about.

If everyone else is talking about something (how "everyone else" is defined, I have no idea), then that's all the more likely that it's not something I'm going to choose to highlight.

When you're dealing with a topic that Larry King's addressing at the same time, maybe that's a hint that it's gone far enough?

Marcia: God I love Randi [Rhodes], but I turned the show off today after an hour. I love her. I listened to four hours of non-stop Schievly yesterday. I couldn't take it again today. After an hour of the same story over and over and no sign that we'd move on to another topic, I turned it off. I love Randi. Hopefully this hula-hoop craze will die down soon and I can go back to listening.

Cedric: If Stephanie Tubbs-Jones were white, would the media care about Ohio? If it were white voters that were the ones harmed in the Ohio vote, would the media care? This is way beyond huge but it's all Terry Schiavo.

Lynda: Terry, Terry, Terry! If I hear that name one more time, I'll scream. I'm feeling like Jan Brady these days! "Terry, Terry, Terry!" Did anything else in the country happen? (Ohio maybe.) Did anything else happen in the world? This is a 15 minute story, tops. Instead, it's wall to wall coverage and about as interesting as the wall to wall shag rug carpeting I had in the 70s. (What was I thinking when I picked out that carpeting!)

Brady: Can you please start highlighting some radio programming that's not about the woman from Florida? I can't figure out if everyone's on the Democratic Party payroll and has to cite the same talking points or if it's a case of copy-cat syndrome. But I'm sick of it. There are other godd*m, f**king stories.

Brady, see the last paragraphs of this post.

Ben: Let me see if I understand this correctly: the GOP used the woman in Florida to shift attention from real issues. And the so-called left media is responding by focusing not on real issues but by continuing to pant and drool over this story like a bone they just can't let go.
Enough. Enough. Enough. Are there any programs not covering this? If so, please steer me to them.

Zach: Okay, I listened to Stephanie Miller today. She mentioned Ohio. And she devoted the bulk of the show, three hours, to the same story I hear every where else. You're steering me to that show wasted my morning.

My apologies to you, Zach. Seriously. I can't believe the left's response myself. It's gone beyond talking points and marching orders. It's a feeding frenzy (no, that's not an attempt at a bad pun). I'm sick of it too.

Elaine had a great point (I think). I asked her to resend her e-mail and if comes back, we'll quote it. (Her e-mail had garbage in it every other word. Characters and numerals. What I was able to figure out was worth sharing. But I don't want to risk assembling something and putting her name to it when I'm having to infer certain words.)

Susan: The Joni Mitchell quote from "The Three Great Stimulants" was so apt and I thought of it as I listened to various radio programs today. "Wouldn't they like their peace/ Don't we get bored?" I know I am beyond bored with the continued concentration by everyone on this one story. It's worse than Elizabeth Smart, Laci Peterson or Michael Jackson. And they just chatter and chatter away thinking they're telling us something we didn't already know. It's boring. For the love of God, please stop. (To be Jon Stewart about it.)

Liang: Are we going to be tested on this? That's what the coverage makes me want to ask because it's the same story, the same points, over and over. Like a really bad lecture that never ends. I got the point. The GOP did this to deflect from the real issues. The GOP used the woman. I got that. Now I'm just bored. And wondering why I was ever excited about the thought that web would provide independent voices and allow more topics to emerge than just the ones the mainstream media covered. Everyone has overdone it online. And every left radio show has overdone it that I've listened to. I just put on CDs today. I couldn't take this crap nonstop.

Nor I. It's overkill.

Todd, we aren't covering it. This is it. The community doesn't want to hear about it and obsess over it. Feel free to leave or stay but if that's what you're looking for, find another community because you won't be happy here.

In answer to Brady's question, I had one hour to listen to news today. I found nothing but the same topic. Thought to check Laura Flanders because I'd heard she did (or does) Your Call.
Listened to that. Got some genunine information from the program. (Including something we'll discuss later tonight.) But I'll toss it out to the community and ask where else can we go?
Free Speech Radio News is always a solid half hour of important stories. If you have a suggestion, please e-mail it to common_ills@yahoo.com because the community as a whole is sick of turning on the TV and radio and hearing the same story over and over.

Here's info on the show:

Show Time
Phone Number
415-841-4134 (Bay Area)866-798-TALK (Toll-Free)
Listen to the show online
Tune into
KALW 91.7 FM in the San Francisco Bay Area.

There is an archive section of past shows (I haven't checked it out, sorry). And here's tomorrow's topic:

COMING ON WEDNESDAY The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics -- Do you know what's in your shampoo, toothpaste, deodorant and other products?

Note: Shirley just e-mailed and said the 531 was unclear. That's the number of members who e-mailed saying, "Please, please, do not cover this." (Those are my words.) I have no interest in being one more voice on this topic, so don't worry about. There are too many voices on this subject already. But to be clear, that was 531 arguing that we do not become one more voice in the chorus singing that same tune. Don't worry, we won't become that.