Via BuzzFlash here are five items you might want to follow.
From The Nation, Ayelish McGarvey's "Dr. Hager's Family Values:"
Late last October Dr. W. David Hager, a prominent obstetrician-gynecologist and Bush Administration appointee to the Advisory Committee for Reproductive Health Drugs in the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), took to the pulpit as the featured speaker at a morning service. He stood in the campus chapel at Asbury College, a small evangelical Christian school nestled among picturesque horse farms in the small town of Wilmore in Kentucky's bluegrass region. Hager is an Asburian nabob; his elderly father is a past president of the college, and Hager himself currently sits on his alma mater's board of trustees. Even the school's administrative building, Hager Hall, bears the family name.
That day, a mostly friendly audience of 1,500 students and faculty packed into the seats in front of him. With the autumn sunlight streaming through the stained-glass windows, Hager opened his Bible to the Old Testament Book of Ezekiel and looked out into the audience. "I want to share with you some information about how...God has called me to stand in the gap," he declared. "Not only for others, but regarding ethical and moral issues in our country."
For Hager, those moral and ethical issues all appear to revolve around sex: In both his medical practice and his advisory role at the FDA, his ardent evangelical piety anchors his staunch opposition to emergency contraception, abortion and premarital sex. Through his six books--which include such titles as Stress and the Woman's Body and As Jesus Cared for Women, self-help tomes that interweave syrupy Christian spirituality with paternalistic advice on women's health and relationships--he has established himself as a leading conservative Christian voice on women's health and sexuality.
And because of his warm relationship with the Bush Administration, Hager has had the opportunity to see his ideas influence federal policy. In December 2003 the FDA advisory committee of which he is a member was asked to consider whether emergency contraception, known as Plan B, should be made available over the counter. Over Hager's dissent, the committee voted overwhelmingly to approve the change. But the FDA rejected its recommendation, a highly unusual and controversial decision in which Hager, The Nation has learned, played a key role. Hager's reappointment to the committee, which does not require Congressional approval, is expected this June, but Bush's nomination of Dr. Lester Crawford as FDA director has been bogged down in controversy over the issue of emergency contraception. Crawford was acting director throughout the Plan B debacle, and Senate Democrats, led by Hillary Clinton and Patty Murray, are holding up his nomination until the agency revisits its decision about going over the counter with the pill.
From Truthout, William Rivers Pitt's "One of These Days:"
So the phone rings and I answered it while trying to navigate Memorial Drive in Cambridge - yes, at that moment I was the jerk on his cell phone who almost kills you with his car - and on the line is a producer from MSNBC who wanted me on the Connie Chung show. Hot damn, I thought. This is getting serious. The producer wanted me on the show to talk about Hans Blix and the weapons inspections taking place in Iraq. Great, I said. Yeah, she went on, we want you to talk about how the inspectors are doing a really bad job.
So picture this moment. There I was, trying to drive down one of the worst roads in Cambridge with a cell phone the size of a gallon of milk stuck to my ear, and I have this MSNBC producer telling me that if I go on the show, I have to dump all over the inspectors who at that time had been in-country about a week. Coincidentally, that was exactly the same line of rhetoric being pushed by the White House at exactly that time. I'm sure the look on my face was priceless, and I'm lucky me, the car and the giant cell phone didn't wind up in the Charles River.
I asked her if she knew who she was talking to. She didn't understand. My book, I told her, says there are no weapons of mass destruction and therefore no reason to go to war there. I'm the last person on the planet, therefore, who is going to haul water for the idea that there are weapons in Iraq. Furthermore, I said, I don't know where you get off trying to gin up resentment against the inspectors. They just got there, and if they can finish their work without getting derailed by nonsense like this, it'll hopefully keep a lot of people from getting killed. The MSNBC producer laughed quietly - that's the part I will never forget, how she laughed - and hung up.
For me, that's it in a nutshell. That's what ails us as a nation. The corporate media does not report the news anymore. They create consensus, they manufacture the common fictions under which we are expected to live. With the TV media, this behavior is all the more insidious because TV reaches everyone.
From Common Dreams, Justin Quinn's "Anti-Bush Protesters Plan Lawsuit Over Arrests:"
Lawyers representing "The Smoketown Six" are scheduled to announce today the filing of a federal civil rights lawsuit against law enforcement agents who arrested the protesters during a visit by President Bush to East Lampeter Township earlier this year.
A press conference concerning the lawsuit is expected to be held this morning in Philadelphia.
The lawsuit alleges that the demonstrators' right to free speech was violated after police arrested them for stripping down to thong underwear and piling on top of each other in an attempt to re-enact a photograph from the Abu Ghraib prison scandal in Iraq.
The protesters were taken into custody minutes before the president's tour bus passed through Smoketown in July. They later were charged with disorderly conduct.
From AlterNet, Bruce Schneier's "National Insecurity Cards:"
As a security technologist, I regularly encounter people who say the United States should adopt a national ID card. How could such a program not make us more secure, they ask?
The suggestion, when it's made by a thoughtful civic-minded person like Nicholas Kristof in The New York Times, often takes on a tone that is regretful and ambivalent: Yes, indeed, the card would be a minor invasion of our privacy, and undoubtedly it would add to the growing list of interruptions and delays we encounter every day; but we live in dangerous times, we live in a new world ... .
It all sounds so reasonable, but there's a lot to disagree with in such an attitude.
The potential privacy encroachments of an ID card system are far from minor. And the interruptions and delays caused by incessant ID checks could easily proliferate into a persistent traffic jam in office lobbies and airports and hospital waiting rooms and shopping malls.
But my primary objection isn't the totalitarian potential of national IDs, nor the likelihood that they'll create a whole immense new class of social and economic dislocations. Nor is it the opportunities they will create for colossal boondoggles by government contractors. My objection to the national ID card, at least for the purposes of this essay, is much simpler.
It won't work. It won't make us more secure.
In fact, everything I've learned about security over the last 20 years tells me that once it is put in place, a national ID card program will actually make us less secure.
From Yahoo News, the Associated Press' "Critics Ask Congress to Temper Patriot Act" by Jesse J. Holland:
Sens. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, and Dick Durbin, D-Ill., told the Senate that while they cannot show any specific abuses, the anti-terrorism law is written in a way that could allow abuses.
"Our law cannot be written for the best and the brightest. They must also anticipate enforcement from the worst and the weakest," said Craig, who is pushing a bill with Durbin that would scale back some of the Patriot Act's powers.
Critics of the law want Congress to pass the SAFE Act to limit the Patriot Act in several ways, including requiring government officials to inform suspects about the "sneak and peek" searches within seven days if a judge does not intervene. The current law does not specify when the government has to inform suspects about the secret search.
Tori sent a quote from a BuzzFlash interview that apparently went up yesterday but I can't find it on the site. When I do find it, we'll highlight it.
We will note, quickly because I'm running late this morning, that at Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude, Rebecca's been addressing the issue of the polio outbreaks. Click here and here to read her commentaries.
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