Thursday, September 15, 2005

Democracy Now: The Roberts' Hearings; Ajamu Baraka, Margaret Kimberley, Dave Lindorff, Mike interviews Cedric

170 Die in Iraq Over Two Days of Violence
In Iraq, a suicide car bomber has killed at least 21 people after he rammed his car into a convoy of police vehicles in Baghdad. This comes a day after 150 people died in one of the bloodiest days of the Iraq war. In the deadliest incident on Wednesday up to 114 Shiite day laborers were killed after they were lured to a car packed with explosives. Over a dozen other attacks were reported in Iraq on Wednesday injuring as many as 600 people.

Iraqi Justice Minister Condemns U.S. For Arbitrarily Detaining Iraqis
The U.S. is also coming under criticism in Iraq by the country's Minister of Justice, Abdul Husain Shandal. In an interview with Reuters he condemned the US military for arresting Iraqis without a warrant and for holding thousands of them without charges. The Justice Minister also said he wants to strip immunity from foreign troops.

State of Texas Executes Frances Newton
The state of Texas has executed Frances Newton. She was killed by lethal injection shortly after 6 o'clock last night despite widespread calls for a stay of her execution. She is the first African-American woman to be executed in Texas since Reconstruction. Her supporters included Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, the Austin American Statesman and the head of the American Bar Association. Numerous questions were raised about whether Newton received a fair trial when she was convicted of killing her husband and two children 18 years ago. Her state-appointed attorney, Ron Mock, did not interview a single witness in preparation for her trial. He has since been barred from handling capital cases due to incompetence. Hours before her execution, the Supreme Court denied a petition to stop her execution.

The three items above are from today's Democracy Now! Headlines and were selected by Kara, Ben and Brad. Democracy Now! ("always worth watching," as Marcia says):

Headlines for September 15
- 170 Die in Iraq Over Two Days of Violence
- Zarqawi: New Attacks Revenge for U.S. Assault on Tal Afar
- State of Texas Executes Frances Newton
- GOP Blocks Investigations Over Katrina & Downing St. Memo
- Report: Chertoff Failed In Overseeing Hurricane Response
- Israeli Court Orders Part of West Bank Wall Torn Down
- 21 Guantanamo Hunger
-Striking Detainees Hospitalized
- Haiti's Electoral Council Blocks Jean-Juste Presidential Run

Senate Dems Frustrated by Roberts' Refusal to Answer Questions on Wide Range of Topics
US Chief Justice nominee John Roberts was questioned for a second day at his Senate confirmation hearing for his views on a wide range of topics but repeatedly declined to answer questions by members of the Senate Judiciary committee, saying they could come before the Supreme Court.
Roberts is widely expected to win approval from the Republican-controlled committee next Thursday. Republican senators ended their questions late yesterday but agreed to let Democrats have another round today, and then conclude the day with testimony from outside witnesses. The full Senate will vote by the end of the month. If confirmed, Roberts will be the youngest chief justice in over 200 years.
We play excerpts of the hearing and speak with two legal experts, Ted Shaw of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and Peter Irons author of "A People's History of the Supreme Court." [includes rush transcript - partial]

Note one: I hate to into the template. So when I go twice in one night, there's a reason. Last night we added Media Channel Org which most of you know via Danny Schechter and we've added Rory O'Connor. In addition to that Melissa e-mailed to note that Christine (Ms. Musing) noted two new Ms. blogs A New Leif (Carol Ann Leif) The Smeal Report (Eleanor Smeal). They are up now.

Melissa asks that I pass it on. Itwas too late last night to phone anyone but I've already called Elaine and Mike's on the phone now. They'll pass it on. All community sites link to Christine's Ms. Musing so there should be no problem adding . But be patient because no one at The Third Estate Sunday Review is going to go into their template until Sunday. (For those who don't know the story, they had a template designed that was incredible. The first morning of publishing, they were adding links repeatedly. Then the thing crashed. It was finally decided to just go with a Blogger template. The week last month when posts wouldn't go up, they had just added a link -- Cass Elliot's page, I think -- and they had problems again. So if there's anyone more leery than I am about the template, it's Jim, Dona, Jess, Ty and Ava.)

Last night, it was noted that a member is considering starting a site in October. If you read Mike's interview with Cedric, you will learn that there are actually two members considering starting websites. If they do, or any other member, they will be noted here and of course they'll be linked to (here and by the other community sites).

Note two: All this week, the entries are dictated over the phone in the morning. As well as the Democracy Now! post. Thanks to everyone who's helping by posting and transcribing. (And to Dallas, Shirley and Eli who are supplying them with the web addresses for what we're linking to.) So how does it work right now? In case anyone's wondering. I've got my laptop with me and in the evening as soon as the roundtable for the gina and krista round-robin is over, i'm reading the e-mails. I'm reading some in the morning (based on what's in the subject heading).
The mid-morning (which is mid-day due to where I am) post is based on the e-mails that a friend prints up so we're using her judgement call. Anything that's delayed (and everything's delayed these days), the hope is to catch later that night. (I know, it's not happening that way.)
I'm in D.C. until the Roberts hearings are over so that's just the way it is right now. If you've gotten an e-mail, it's been noted that it was dictated and, depending upon who transcribed it, it's been noted "Do not be confused, this is dictated" because depending on the person, things are taken down differently.

Liang got one yesterday and the quotes were done differently so she e-mailed back to make sure it was a real e-mail. Yes, it was. The person who took that down (thank you to everyone who's helping me out) indicated a quote with "///" and not with quotation marks. (Which is fine.) (That's a quote from something else. Obviously the e-mails, as well as the entries like this, could be considered nothing but quotes since they are being dictated.)

That's our housekeeping for the day, so let's move on.

Micah e-mails to note Dave Lindorff's "Frances Newton died Wednesday for Bush's sins" (CounterPunch):

The 40-year-old black woman, executed by the death-obsessed state of Texas last night following a rejection by the US Supreme Court of her attorneys' last-ditch appeal, and after the state's craven and bloodthirsty "pardons and parole" board refused to recommend a stay to Gov. Rick Perry, hardly merited mention in the nation's media, which is now awash in stories about Bush's disaster in New Orleans. (The story got a 79-word shirt-tail report on page 25 of the New York Times, tucked under a larger story about the House changing rules for hate crimes and child molesters, and next to a story about Hurricane Ophelia.)
Those who are looking for an example of an innocent person's being executed by the state may well find it in the case of this unfortunate woman, who almost certainly was not guilty of killing her husband and child as charged by the state of Texas.

KeShawn e-mails to note Ajamu Baraka's "The Internationally Recognized Rights of the 'Internally Displaced'" (The Black Commentator):

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the debate is already raging on how to deal with those displaced by the disaster and whether to rebuild New Orleans and other coastal communities. Competing interests combined with poor planning and a disjointed response from public and private agencies have created confusion about priorities, funding and other crucial details. It is imperative that a human rights and humanitarian law framework be applied to these discussions and form the basis for all future action.
The United Nations Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement provide just such a framework. The principles identify the internationally recognized rights and guarantees of people who have been forcibly displaced from their homes and communities due to a number of factors, including natural disaster. According to this set of principles, those who have been displaced from their homes but not crossed international borders are classified as “internally displaced persons,” not “refugees” or “evacuees.” This is not a mere question of semantics, but an essential definition that establishes the obligations that government has to protect and defend the rights of the Gulf Coast residents who have been dispersed across the country.
The extent to which various aspects of the recovery should be funded will be a topic of much debate among policymakers, especially given the federal deficit and competing economic needs. But the rights of the displaced must be viewed as a separate and overriding issue. Receiving protection and humanitarian assistance from government authorities is not an act of benevolence, but rather is obligatory for displaced people – for the duration of their displacement. This will be especially important to remember after media coverage of Katrina has faded, and we must not compound the plight of the displaced by letting them fend for themselves once the dust has settled. If we accept that it will take years to rebuild New Orleans, we must also accept that it will take no less time to rebuild the lives of the displaced from New Orleans and throughout the Gulf Coast.

It is Thursday which means a new edition of The Black Commentator, which also means, as Keesha points out, a new Freedom Rider from Margaret Kimberley. This one is entitled "Judith Miller and Jayson Blair:"

In 2003 the New York Times faced a major scandal involving one of its reporters, Jayson Blair. Blair was caught with his pants down, so to speak. He plagiarized the work of other reporters, quoted people he had never contacted, and claimed to be in places he never visited.
The Times called the Blair mess "a
low point in the 152-year history of the paper." It is indeed very bad if a reporter behaves more like a novelist, but it always seemed to me that the Times protested a little too much in the Blair case. While the Times is said to be the newspaper of record, it has had many low moments in its history.
The Times told Martin Luther King to shut up and mind his own business when he dared to speak out against the war in Vietnam. Dr. Wen Ho Lee went to jail because of the Times' hyperventilation, only to be cleared of any wrongdoing. Tons of newsprint went into reporting the Whitewater non-scandal.
The Times hasn’t always lived up to its highly vaunted reputation. Today it faces a scandal involving a reporter who makes Jayson Blair look like a paragon of journalistic virtue.
Judith Miller, one of the Times' star reporters, sits in jail after refusing to name a source in a grand jury investigation. The alleged source revealed the name of CIA agent Valerie Plame, all in an effort to punish her husband, Ambassador Joe Wilson, and anyone else who revealed the Bushmen lies about Iraq.

Quick note because I checked the public e-mail address last night (
If you are a visitor, do not e-mail this site to say "Margaret Kimberly is wrong! The Times did not push the slogan 'paper of record!' Daniel Okrent already explained that!" The paper did push it. Okrent was wrong, and we've noted that here. People speaking to the press for the Times pushed that phrase. Not reporters, people in actual power at the paper. The Times pushed the slogan and Okrent missed it. Maybe he just looked within the paper itself? If so, his mistake. (One of many.) But in published interviews, people representing the Times pushed "paper of record." Okrent either did sloppy research or he was dishonest with readers.

We've acquired a visitor who wants to play fact check on the items we link to. (It's the same one that Ava noted in the round-robin.) He can take it elsewhere. But before he or anyone else writes in to say "Margaret Kimberley is wrong!" they need to do a little more than take the questionable word of Daniel Okrent.

Mike (Mikey Likes It!) interviewed Cedric (Cedric's Big Mix). From "Interview with Cedric and Democracy Now! Headlines" here's an excerpt from the conclusion of the interview:

[Mike:] Well I think it went well. I think you came off very real. I don't want to call it "work" because I know you see it as something that benefits you, but I did have one more question. Everyone knows that you took one of the guys, one of your friends at the nursing home, Vern's death pretty hard.
[Cedric:] I just . . . I want to be able to say, "It's cool that his family ignored him." But it's not cool. C.I. highlighted that and I asked about it and C.I. said "Hey, you made even an asshole like me tear up so don't think it wasn't good." But I feel like it would be lying to write "His family realizes now that they should have visited and called so everything worked out for the best." I don't think that. I wasn't going to say it was okay. If someone's got a family member or a friend in a nursing home, they need to know those people aren't sitting around thinking, "This is the life!"They, if they're lucky, have some friends in the nursing home. But they feel, and I don't just mean the three that I'm visiting with, they feel like they're forgotten. I just wish that people could get what it feels like if you're in one of those places and no one visits. Yes, they know you're busy. They'll say that to their friends. They talk you up, their kids, their grandkids, like they walk on water. They think about them and they are just waiting for a visit or a phone call and every day it doesn't come, that hurts them. They don't turn around and lash out. If anything, they start defending the kids and grandkids and talking about how busy they are and how they want to visit. But it hurts. Forgive me for the lecture.

It's Thursday, we have the indymedia roundup entries for tonight. Again, apologies for the delays.

The e-mail address for this site is (Members, use the private e-mail account because I am checking that regularly.)