Thursday, September 01, 2005

Other items

In this morning's New York Times, Elisabeth Bumiller's left to run down the mock excercises John Roberts has been participating in to prepare for the September 6th (same day Joan Baez's Bowery Songs live CD is released) confirmation hearing. The article's entitled "Lengthy Practices Prepare Court Nominee for His Senate Hearings" and probably would have played better as a White House Letter. It depends upon being told what happened (as opposed to witnessing it) and being told by those with a vested interest in a favorable outcome. (Which means they don't want to raise the hopes to high.) As a topic, it's trivia passing as news. That's not a slam at Bumiller's writing in this article, just at the topic itself.

Rachel notes Jad Mouawad and Simon Romero who remind us it's not just a Bully Boy economy (failing), it's also a Bully Boy world (ditto) in "Gas Prices Surge as Supply Drops:"

For the first time since the 1970's, gasoline lines reappeared yesterday in some corners of the country.
Three days after Hurricane Katrina dealt a devastating blow to the nation's largest energy hub, the worst-case possibility was quickly becoming a reality: gasoline prices surging well above $3 a gallon, with some consumers complaining of price gouging; service stations in a handful of locations running out of gas; drivers rushing to fill their tanks, only to find themselves waiting in line with others.

David E. Sanger has an article that's full of worthless quotes. We're told the Bully Boy doesn't like to use personal tragedy to make himself look good. Who flew back to D.C. during the Terry Schiavo "crisis?" We're told by another friend that we shouldn't believe the reports about Iraq (siphoning off the National Guard). That's not even open to debate. That's established, well established. The article's entitled "Hard New Test for President" and it's dubbed "news analysis." So where's the analysis? 9/11? We get comments from "aides" to the Bully Boy. Where's the analysis?

Lloyd raises another issue.

Lloyd: Of course the National Guard was unprepared. You think BB worried about whether there would be enough on hand? Did he worry about that when he took his little vacation from the Guard in the early seventies? He always assumes things will work out just fine.

Carl e-mails to note Steven R. Weisman's "State Dept. Official Urges Inclusive Tack on 9/11" which tells us (Carl:) "Coach Hughes is still playing from the same play book. We will be winners if we look like winners!" (Hughes counsels on ambassadors attending interfaith ceremonies so everyone will get that it's "not just about us." Which means, if you carry that logic through, Karen Hughes defines "us" as a nation with no interfaith citizens.)

The right to privacy is a huge issue to this community so when a member, Ellis, e-mails to note that an article on the Patriot Act is "not worth reading," it has to be pretty bad. We'll pan for fools gold when it comes to this topic. Don't bother with Alison Leigh Cowan's "At Stake in Court: Using the Patriot Act to Get Library Records:"

It was a hearing where the name of the client was never disclosed, the subject of the federal inquiry remained unidentified and the context for the exercise was kept top secret.
For all its intrigue, an important principle was at stake: the right of law enforcement officials to use the USA Patriot Act to demand library records in counterterrorism investigations.

That was the issue at stake? Right to privacy, reasonable search (informed search), those seem like 'principles.' How about the principle of a fair trial since we're informed that the proceedings frequently sputtered and halted as the judge attempted to abide by the Patriot Act.

At one point, the writer notes that "Little is know." That's true after you've read the article as well.

Barbara e-mails to note Karen W. Arenson's "76 Arrested Protesting N.Y.U. Cutoff of Student Union:"

The president of the A.F.L.-C.I.O., the secretary-treasurer of the United Auto Workers and a state senator were among nearly 80 people who were arrested yesterday during a protest of New York University's decision to end dealings with a union of graduate student teaching and research assistants.
The protesters linked arms and sat down in front of the university's Bobst Library, despite warnings from the police that they would be charged with disorderly conduct.
"This is about the N.Y.U. administration union busting," John J. Sweeney, the president of the A.F.L.-C.I.O., declared to a cheering, sign-waving crowd. "We are here today to express our anger and our disgust. Union busting is for corporate criminals who have no values, not for an educational institution."

The Bully Boy is supposedly back to work, such as it is, and Cindy Sheehan and Camp Casey are hitting the road. Via BuzzFlash, here's Cindy Sheehan's "It Was the Oil, Stupid
The Peaceful Occupation of Crawford - Day 25

"If Zarqawi and bin Laden gain control of Iraq, they would create a new training ground for future terrorist attacks," Bush said. "They'd seize oil fields to fund their ambitions. They could recruit more terrorists by claiming a historic victory over the United States and our coalition." (George Bush, August 30, 2005 in San Diego.)
So it is official, Casey had his blood shed in Iraq for OIL. He died so we could pay over 3.00/gallon for gas. Like I suspected all along, my dear, sweet son: almost 1900 others; and tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis died so the oil fields wouldn't "fall into the hands of terrorists" and so George and his immoral band of greedy robber barons could become wealthier. Like I have said all along: how can these people sleep at night and how can they choke down their food knowing it is purchased off of the flesh and blood of others? We have found our "Noble Cause." And it is OIL. This man and his handlers need to be stopped.
Well, George and I are leaving Crawford today. George is finished playing golf and telling his fables in San Diego, so he will be heading to Louisiana to see the devastation that his environmental policies and his killing policies have caused. Recovery would be easier and much quicker if almost ½ of the three states involved National Guard were not in Iraq. All of the National Guard's equipment is in Iraq also. Plus, with the 2 billion dollars a week that the private contractors are siphoning from our treasury, how are we going to pay for helping our own citizens in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama? And, should I dare say "global warming?" and be branded as a "conspiracy theorist" on top of everything else the reich-wingers say about me.

As BuzzFlash notes:

Check out for more info on the bus tour and how you can be involved.
Learn more about Cindy at or about Gold Star Families for Peace at

We'll close by noting this editorial from The Third Estate Sunday Review:

Editorial: Let Cindy Sheehan be the spark that gets your own passion burning
Ruth called it Saturday at
The Common Ills in her latest Ruth's Morning Edition Report: The Summer of Activism. That's what we're seeing.
While Matt Taibii and others sneer, pockets of activism have been springing up all over the country. Cindy Sheehan's month long vigil at Camp Casey (I & II) in Crawford, Texas finally pushed the issue into the national discussion.The invasion/occupation wasn't a topic that Americans were unclear on. Polls have consistently demonstrated that the people have turned against the war. But the corporate media found little use for discussions other than to note, usually in passing, the polls on attitudes towards the war.
Brave independent voices have spoken and kept the issue alive for some time. They include, but are not limited to, the passionately pro-peace The Nation (take that George Packer!), Amy Goodman, Dahr Jamail, Matthew Rothschild, and a host of others.
Did we mention Amy Goodman? Let's note her again. While surveys show an erosion of the public's faith in mainstream journalism, Democracy Now! has gone from the little engine that could to the news program that can. Available on radio, television and the web, Democracy Now! has grown and continues to grow. Whether on campus, at church, at a peace rally, in the grocery store, or where ever, it's becoming harder and harder to find ourselves in a conversation with someone where they don't bring up Democracy Now! at some point.
As Luke noted this summer at wotisitgood4, Goodman's become the equivalent of a rock star. If you're "in the know," you're following Democracy Now! in audio, video or transcript form. There's a reason for that. Besides being a daily information packed news hour, Democracy Now! didn't rely on generals and government spokespersons to discuss the invasion/occupation. Not before we went into Iraq and not during. While the mainstream media sucks the collective thumb of "we were all wrong," the fact of the matter is "we" were not all wrong. What happened was voices were shut out of the debate in the mainstream media.
While it's true that the occupation has blown up in the faces of the Bully Boy, it's also true that it's blown up in the faces of the mainstream media who, as a group, acted as cheerleaders for war. While they repeatedly wash their hands like Lady MacBeth, the public notes that they were all wrong. The fact that they are still commenting and, in many cases, arguing that the "war can still be won" with a little fine tuning, only deepens the distrust.
People like Amy Goodman have kept the truth alive in the darkest hours. Light bulbs have come along. Bright Eyes performance of "When A President Talks To God" was one example. Jane Fonda's statement about the war, and the loud applause that greeted it, on the David Letterman show in April was another. Pacifica's live coverage of the John Conyers, Jr. hearing on the Downing St. Memo and how we were lied into war was another. Bit by bit, these moments began to register and build. And as we saw the reaction, the nation started to realize that, as the polls had demonstrated, the whole country wasn't lined up behind the pundits and the press in blind support for a continued occupation.
With all of that building, Cindy Sheehan sets up camp in Crawford and becomes, as she'd hoped, a spark that finally turns private conversations into a national dialogue.The dialogue's started. We've moved beyond the national lethargy. Let this Summer of Activism spill over into the other seasons. The dialogue's begun and we'll need to be able to count on all the people who are already on board but we need to realize that others have joined the cause. Still others would if they knew the issues at stake.
This is where you come in. You've got to continue to take the lead on itiating the dialogue and discussion in your own circles. Cindy Sheehan can be the spark, she can't be an entire movement.
As Elaine noted Friday, let Sheehan's actions motivate you take ownership of your own life. That's what a democracy should be about.

[This editorial was written by the following: The Third Estate Sunday Review's Ty, Jess, Dona, Jim and Ava, C.I. of The Common Ills, Betty of Thomas Friedman is a Great Man, Kat of Kat's Korner, Elaine substituting for Rebecca at Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude and Mike of Mikey Likes It!]

The scheduled topics for today's Democracy Now! include:

The Drowning of New Orleans: we speak with a reporter who warned four years ago that only massive reengineering of southeastern Louisiana could save New Orleans from a catastrophic flood.
We continue our look at the link between extreme weather and global warming with Ross Gelbspan, author of "The Heat is On: The High Stakes Battle Over Earth's Threatened Climate"
Federal emergency management is now housed in the Department of Homeland Security where disaster relief is not the top priority. We speak with the author of "Fortress America: On the Frontlines of Homeland Security --An Inside Look at the Coming Surveillance State."

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