Sunday, August 07, 2005

This morning's New York Times

In this morning's New York Times, the first thing that catches our eye (Jess, Ty, Jim, Dona, Ava and C.I. are composing this entry) is Lawrence K. Altman's "Avian Flu Vaccine Called Effective in Human Testing." From the article:

Government scientists say they have successfully tested in people a vaccine that they believe can protect against the strain of avian influenza that is spreading in birds through Asia and Russia.
Health officials have been racing to develop a vaccine because they worry that if that strain mutated and combined with a human influenza virus to create a new virus, it could spread rapidly through the world. (The vaccine cannot lead to such a situation because it is made from killed virus.)
Tens of millions of birds have died from infection with the virus and culling to prevent the spread of the virus. About 100 people have been infected, and about 50 have died from this strain of the avian influenza virus, called A(H5N1). So far there has been no sustained human-to-human transmission, but that is what health officials fear, because it could cause a pandemic. And that fear has driven the intense research to develop a vaccine.

The topic was noted by Elaine in the previous post [mirror site; and here at this site]. England is planning a test to check how they would handle the outbreak of a bird flu panademic.

The headline to Sheryl Gay Stolberg's "Is There Room In The Debate For A Gentlman" (Stolberg did not compose the headline) is viewed by all of us as sexist and limiting. The headline writer may not be aware of it but there is a woman that sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee. And since there's only one woman, we look forward to the headlined story "Is There Room for More than Woman on the Judiciary Committee." No, we're not holding our breath on that. But notice that we used "Woman" and not "Lady." "Lady" and "Gentleman" connate more than civility in this day age. The piece should have a headline that clearly denotes civility. Instead the term utilized lilmits the scope. (We're speaking of the headline, not of Stolberg's article.)

Next we turn to Philip Shenon's "9/11 Group Says White House Has Not Provided Files:"

The White House has failed to turn over any of the information requested by the 10 members of the disbanded Sept. 11 commission in their renewed, unofficial investigation into whether the government is doing enough to prevent terrorist attacks on American soil, commission members said.
The members said that the Bush administration's lack of cooperation was hindering a project that was otherwise nearly complete.
Thomas H. Kean, the former Republican governor of New Jersey who led the bipartisan Sept. 11 commission, said he was surprised and disappointed that the White House, the Pentagon, the State Department, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and several other executive branch agencies had failed to respond to requests made two months ago for updated information on the government's antiterrorism programs.
The requests came not from the disbanded commission, which was created by Congress, and had subpoena powers, but from its shadow group, which the members call the 9/11 Public Discourse Project. It was established by the members of the Sept. 11 commission when the panel formally went out of business last August, shortly after releasing a unanimous report that called for an overhaul of the nation's counterterrorism agencies.

It should be noted that the Times has largely ignored this "shadow group."

Richard W. Stevenson reports on "Mother Takes Protest to Bush's Ranch:"

The mother of an American soldier killed in Iraq led a protest march on President Bush's ranch here on Saturday, prompting the White House to send two senior officials to meet her after she was blocked by the authorities from approaching Mr. Bush's home.
The mother, Cindy Sheehan, who has made regular public appearances in opposition to the war, was accompanied by several dozen chanting antiwar activists, including other parents who had lost children to the war, as she walked down a country road toward Mr. Bush's ranch. About five miles from the ranch, they were met by the local police, who barred them from getting any closer. Ms. Sheehan said she would remain as close as possible until Mr. Bush agreed to see her.

This topic was the topic of The Third Estate Sunday Review's editorial and due to that, we all read multiple accounts (including many AP articles -- or various versions of the same one) on this. We have to note that Stevenson doesn't have much to offer that the AP didn't cover. We'd also note that quotes in his piece are quoted elsewhere. We're not accusing of plagarizing, we're just noting that he's not bringing much to the table. Maybe we're all just dead tired (we are) but Stevenson's article reads tremendoulsy like the AP coverage. (To read The Third Estate Sunday Review editorial click here.) Of course, Stevenson's article doesn't include the "Why did you kill my son?" quote that popped in other coverage but then his article is shorter than anything else we read.

Ty notes that someone seems to be swallowing a great deal of "hog wash" these days and that "Military Plans Gradual Cuts In Iraq Forces" continues the swallowing pattern. Bully Boy may bring home 30,000 Americans (may). That will still leave over a a hundred thousand, right? The headline writer trumpet the good news and only the good news this morning. Yes, this is another headline that we have a quarrel with. We question it's tone and the use of "Iraq Forces?" Troops. American Troops. Maybe the headline writer missed all the Operation Happy Talking (lucky her or him, if that's the case) but Iraq has trained and armed "Iraq Forces." "American Troops" or "American Troops Stationed In Iraq" would work better in the headline.

Remember the "may" qualifier? From the article:

But in his assessment, given as part of a larger regional analysis, General Abizaid also warned that it is possible that the Pentagon might have to keep the current levels of about 138,000 American soldiers in Iraq throughout 2006 if security and political trends are unfavorable for a withdrawal. The number of troops will temporarily increase this December to provide security for Iraqi elections. And some troops leaving Iraq could be held in Kuwait as a reserve force.

Give Schmitt credit for raising the above points in his third paragraph. He's exploring the claims in this article -- it's only the headline writer that's so chipper and and unquestioning.

We'll note Alan Cowell's "Robin Cook, Former British Foreign Secretary, Dead at 59:"

Robin Cook, a former British foreign secretary who quit the government to protest the invasion of Iraq, died on Saturday after collapsing in the Scottish Highlands on a mountain called Ben Stack, the police said, without explaining the cause of death. He was 59.

[. . .]

In a volume of memoirs published shortly afterward, Mr. Brown suggested that Mr. Blair knew all along that Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction available for use. He wrote of his bitter opposition to what he saw as interventionist American foreign policy and Mr. Blair's association with it.

We'll also note Norimitsu Onishi's "Where First A-Bomb Fell, Prayers Ask 'Never Again:'"

At 8:15 a.m. Saturday, as tens of thousands of Japanese bowed their heads here to mark the instant when an atomic bomb fell 60 years ago, only the loud, telltale buzz of the summer cicadas broke the respectful silence. In an hourlong ceremony at the Peace Memorial Park, participants, as in previous years, laid wreaths, burned incense, prayed for the souls of the dead, and gave impassioned pleas for world peace and the abolition of nuclear arms. Few in Hiroshima can remember an Aug. 6 that was not oppressively hot, and Saturday morning's blazing sun matched expectation and memory.

Jess noted this earlier. Jess notes currently that the AP article linked to at the start of the earlier entry on this topic estimated the participants as "more than 55,000." The Times uses the more imprecise "tens of thousands."

And that's going to do it for this entry. We're all tired. Hours were wasted due to Blogger and what should have been a session that ended five hours ago turned into an all night, most of the morning one. The e-mail address for this site is When the Blogger program is working again, The Third Estate Sunday Review's two posts (plus "A note ot our readers") will go up there and this will go up at The Common Ills. That's right members who prefer the mirror site, you scooped the main site.

Note: This entry originally appeared at the mirror site. I've cleaned it up in terms of "note noting" ("note" was the word we wanted). The mirror site is brown screen (when composing) and the typed words (in compose) are sometimes white and unreadable. That's fine if I'm doing the entry myself but when it's a group entry and we're all talking, I'm going to make more than my usual mistakes.