Tuesday, September 27, 2005

NYT: "Demotion of a Prosecutor Is Investigated" (Philip Shenon)

The Justice Department's inspector general and the F.B.I. are looking into the demotion of a veteran federal prosecutor whose reassignment nearly three years ago shut down a criminal investigation of the Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff, current and former department officials report.
They said investigators had questioned whether the demotion of the prosecutor, Frederick A. Black, in November 2002 was related to his alert to Justice Department officials days earlier that he was investigating Mr. Abramoff. The lobbyist is a major Republican Party fund-raiser and a close friend of several Congressional leaders.
Colleagues said the demotion of Mr. Black, the acting United States attorney in Guam, and a subsequent order barring him from pursuing public corruption cases brought an end to his inquiry into Mr. Abramoff's lobbying work for some Guam judges.
[. . .]
Colleagues said they recalled that Mr. Black was distressed when he was notified by the department in November 2002 that he was being replaced.
The announcement came only days after Mr. Black had notified the department's public integrity division in Washington, by telephone and e-mail communication, that he had opened a criminal investigation into Mr. Abramoff's lobbying activities for the Guam judges, the colleague said. The judges had sought Mr. Abramoff's help in blocking a bill in Congress to restructure the island's courts.

The above is from Philip Shenon's "Demotion of a Prosecutor Is Investigated" in this morning's New York Times. Shenon's is the high of the Times. The low?

Brian Lavery step right up and claim your raspberry. The headline's not his fault ("I.R.A. Destroys What It Says Were the Last of Its Weapons") and he'd probably argue that he's under no obligation to speak of the recent rioting by non-IRA. By, in fact, "loyalists." And he'll weakly offer that to note that the loyalists paramilitary units haven't been asked to disband isn't the focus of his story. (On that he's wrong. When you have one paramilitary group disarming and the paramilitary group on the other side isn't disarming, that's part of your story.) But what he does best is what he always does best. He can't make sense of the "alphabet soup" (poor kid) but he can always go running to Ian Pasely for a quote, can't he?

And readers of the Times will never know that "protestant preacher" Pasely is as looney as Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson combined. And a little more prone to statements of violence (some say more than statements) than Robertson when he's got Hugo Chavez in his cross hairs.
Members have asked before does the Times hate the Irish Catholics and Brian Lavery keeps giving them fuel to answer "yes." So the IRA has disarmed, according to the agency responsible -- not named this time -- with a caveat and Lavery has to run to Paisely to find out not if and when the unionist paramilitaries will do any disarming but what does Pasely think about this.

It's really important to know what Paisely thinks because . . . Lavery loves doing feelings checks with hate mongers. Lavery was missing in action when the worst violence in a decade took place. (That was the description of the police.) Readers notice that. They notice that when the worst violence in a decade occurs, and when it's done by unionists, Lavery's off on holiday. So when the Times whines about how unfair it is for people to ask if the Times is anti-Irish Catholic, they need to take a hard look at the "reality" they present via Lavery.

Here's another low, the non-correction-correction. Alessandra Stanley, for a TV review, has been under attack from Geraldo & the right-wing. Today he gets a clarification and the paper takes yet another hit in credibility.

Let's be clear that a TV review is being clarified for the literal minded. They let lies and mistakes stand day after day in the entertainment coverage. (Calling a song written and recorded in 1985 a "1987 song" is but one example.) But when little Geraldo and the right wing cry and complain, they get heard. Not because the Times thinks it's wrong. But to end the complaining. There shouldn't be a correction, there shouldn't be a clarification. AS's review didn't call for anything except that a reader not be so damn literal.

Lloyd e-mails to note Ruth Conniff's "Marketing the Military" (Ruth Conniff's Weekly Column, The Progressive):

In October, the military will launch a new TV ad campaign using the innovative idea of trying to sell military service to reluctant parents, particularly mothers. A close-up picture of a young black woman's face peers out of one Defense Department ad. The TV ad features a not-so-subtle picture of a checkbook and calculator on the kitchen table. In the script, the young woman pleads with her mom (the viewer), "That's why I want to enlist in the military: It'll be good for my career."
Having just figured out how hard it will be to help this bright young girl fulfill her dream of becoming a doctor, you, her mom, are directed to look at the Defense Department website for more information.
Should you gamble your precious daughter's life in order to pay for college and help her get a leg up? Let the military help you figure it out!
One of the many dismaying aspects of this story is the transfer of tax dollars from the public, through the Pentagon, to corporate advertisers. Instead of spending public funds to reduce the pressure on American families that are having a harder and harder time affording college, we are paying Madison Avenue firms to exploit their dilemma. There is plenty of money to be made in military recruitment, apparently. Even Spike Lee got into the game with a catchy ad for the Navy.

Rod e-mails to note today's scheduled topic for Democracy Now!:

Tuesday, September 27: We'll look at what happened in the jails of New Orleans as the hurricane hit. Were some prisoners left to die?

Rod also notes the immediate upcoming dates for the Un-Embed The Media Tour:

* Amy Goodman in Norfolk, VA:
Fri, Sept 30
Independent Media: A PrimerKeynote Speech
Naro Expanded Cinema
1507 Colley Avenue
Norfolk, VA 23510
Minimum donation $10
Tickets available at Naro Cinema
For more information, visit

* Amy Goodman in Philadelphia, PA: Sat, Oct 1
*TIME: 10 AM
National Alliance for Media And Culture
2005 Conference
Panel Discussion: Taking Liberties: Freedom, Creativity and Risk in the Media Arts
Sheraton Society Hill
One Dock Street (2nd and Walnut Streets)
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Registration Fees:
NAMAC Members
Full Price $295
At the door $325
Additional Member Organization Representative $150
Youth Affiliated with a Member Organization $100
Day Pass $150
Students (under 23) $150
Non-Members Full Price $375
At the Door $400
Day Pass $175
for more information:
Tel: 215 222 2593

* Amy Goodman in Dayton, OH:
Sat, Oct 1
*TIME: 7:30 PM
Reclaiming Media Acess for Everyone
With Phil Donahue
Dayton Convention Center
22 E. 5th St., 3rd Floor
Dayton, Ohio 45402
There will be ASL interpretation
Tickets: $10
Available at

* Amy Goodman in Columbus, OH:
Sun, Oct 2
First Congregational Church
44 E. Broad St.
Columbus, Ohio
(Next to Columbus Museum of Art)
$10 suggested donation, no one turned away for lack of funds

We'll be noting The Third Estate Sunday Review's piece on the rallies all week:

Gavin, 43, vet: The military is for fighting battles. If the mission was to topple the government of Saddam Hussein, that mission is now over. The military is not the peace corp. It is not for rebuilding power plants or constructing sewage lines. It is time to bring the troops home and let Iraqis take care of their own country. The excuse that they're not ready is a hollow one because they have had time. The military can't establish a democracy. Iraq needs to get its house in order and it will need money from us for that and it will need international support and help but we have no business continuing to occupy Iraq. The troops need to come home and Congress needs to take a serious look at how we got over there.

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