Thursday, September 29, 2005

Other Items

Unlike traditional government programs intended for the most disadvantaged, the emphasis is on people with full-time jobs who earn too much to qualify for federal assistance but too little to obtain a conventional mortgage, at least not in the cities or neighborhoods where they want to live.
Typically, those household incomes are 80 percent to 120 percent of the median income, which, in expensive metropolitan areas like San Francisco, Boston and New York, can extend into six figures for a family of four.
Nicolas P. Retsinas, director of the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard, said, "In many places where housing costs have escalated, that historical social contract appears to have been voided, the contract that if you work you can find a decent place to live."

The above is from Dean E. Murphy's "Cut-Rate Homes For Middle Class Are Catching On" in this morning's New York Times.

Pru e-mails to note Craig S. Smith's "Abuse of Electroshock Found in Turkish Mental Hospitals:"

Turkey's psychiatric hospitals are riddled with horrific abuses, including the use of raw electroshock as a form of punishment, according to a human rights report issued in Istanbul on Wednesday, just days before Turkey begins formal talks to join the European Union.
The report, by Mental Disability Rights International, a Washington-based group, came after several visits in the past year by the group's investigators to psychiatric hospitals and other facilities for people with developmental or mental disabilities.

Pru says she thinks it will be discussed in relation to Turkey's desire to join the European Union and wonders where Alan Cowell is on this? "Lost in the fish & chips, is he?"

Kara notes that online there's a two paragraph Reuter's story attached. Here's an excerpt:

The European Parliament gave only a grudging blessing on Wednesday to membership talks with Turkey starting next week and said Ankara must recognize the massacres of Armenians during the years around 1915 as genocide before it can join the Euopean Union.

Charlie asks that we note Andrew C. Revkin's "In a Melting Trend, Less Arctic Ice to Go Around:"

The floating cap of sea ice on the Arctic Ocean shrank this summer to what is probably its smallest size in at least a century of record keeping, continuing a trend toward less summer ice, a team of climate experts reported yesterday.
That shift is hard to explain without attributing it in part to human-caused global warming, the team's members and other experts on the region said.
The change also appears to be headed toward becoming self-sustaining: the increased open water absorbs solar energy that would otherwise be reflected back into space by bright white ice, said Ted A. Scambos, a scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colo., which compiled the data along with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
"Feedbacks in the system are starting to take hold," Dr. Scambos said.

And in the one day news cycle, it's a story, now it isn't, we have Thom Shankar's "Army Inquiry Finds No Evidence G.I.'s Gave War Photos to Web:"

An Army inquiry has found no evidence to prove that American military personnel sent graphic photographs of Iraqi war dead to an Internet site in exchange for online pornography, Army officials said Wednesday.
[. . .]
The photographs include those of people in American military uniforms standing around what appear to be dead bodies, some deformed by fire or explosion. Others include graphic images of severed body parts and internal organs spilled onto the pavement.
An official of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the organization that wrote Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld demanding an inquiry into the matter, expressed frustration that the military had concluded that no felony occurred.
"I think the military's conclusion is premature and it unfortunately will send the message that they are not taking this case seriously," said Ibrahim Hooper, the council's spokesman.

John Warner's making those "maybe" rumbles again. But if pattern holds, they're just rumbles. Warner won't do anything. He's lucky that the re-election rate is so high (my opinion) because otherwise he would have been out of Congress as soon as Elizabeth Taylor dumped him. Back then, Mr. Dull made every meeting and was so proud of his attendance. He really seemed to expect a gold star. I hope the attendance held because he's got nothing else to be proud of as he stifles one investigation after another.

Be scared, be very scared. Condi Rice is in Haiti ahead of the elections. David E. Sanger tells you all about it, or as much as someone could at a paper that parrots the State Department regardless of administration, and, unlike previous reporting on her original journey outside the US as Secretary of State, doesn't feel the need for a fashion report. Rice is telling Haiti they can have a new start. Which, we'll translate, means "as long as you vote for oppression and our endorsed candidate!" Otherwise? We'll spirit your president away just like we did last time.

Sanger offers that we "encouraged him to go" (Aristide). That's a nice way to put it. It's not true, but it sure sounds nice. Violence, we're told, is on the decrease. Well after the alleged football stadium slaughter is that really a surprise? Oh wait, the Times didn't tell you about that. In fact that Times doesn't tell you very much about Haiti period. (And who was the plant, the reporter, that asked Condi the feel-good question anyway. "Reporter asked" needs to be identified so we can know who sucked up to Condi by making claims that Aristide was attempting to incite violence.) (Was it Sanger? He does serve in the Elite Fluff Patrol which makes him the perfect reporter for this beat.)

Sanger notes that "missing" from Rice's remarks was investment which is usually something that they love to push on these jaunts to the third world. Missing from Sanger's reports are the allegations of violence and slaughter. But hey, he just parrots the State Dept.

Douglas Jehl informs you that the obvious has become so obvious that even "Republicans See Signs That Pentagon Is Evading Oversight:"

Republican members of Congress say there are signs that the Defense Department may be carrying out new intelligence activities through programs intended to escape oversight from Congress and the new director of national intelligence.
The warnings are an unusually public signal of some Republican lawmakers' concern about overreaching by the Pentagon, where top officials have been jockeying with the new intelligence chief, John D. Negroponte, for primacy in intelligence operations. The lawmakers said they believed that some intelligence activities, involving possible propaganda efforts and highly technological initiatives, might be masked as so-called special access programs, the details of which are highly classified.
"We see indications that the D.O.D. is trying to create parallel functions to what is going on in intelligence, but is calling it something else," Representative Peter Hoekstra, Republican of Michigan and chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said in an interview.

You think?

Like maybe . . . what Matthew Rothschild wrote about in "California National Guard Story Grows Stranger" (The Progressive) back in July:

The protest was co-sponsored by CodePink, the Peninsula Raging Grannies, and Gold Star Families for Peace. Internal Guard e-mails, obtained by the San Jose Mercury News, revealed that a new intelligence unit within the Guard was monitoring the demonstration.
State Senator Joseph L. Dunn, who chairs the subcommittee that governs the Guard's budget, had never been informed of the existence of this unit, he says. Once he read about it, he demanded all documents that related to it, and to the surveillance of the Mother's Day protest.
After he made that request, "the California National Guard erased the computer hard drive of a retiring colonel who oversaw the fledgling project," according to
Mercury News reporter Dion Nissenbaum.
The Guard’s director of public affairs, Lieutenant Colonel Douglas Hart, says this was routine.
"It is standard operating procedure for us to take computers from people who have left our employ, clean them, and reissue them," he says.
Senator Dunn isn't buying that.
"Our inside sources say that excuse is nonsense," Senator Dunn tells The Progressive, adding that his sources say that such a procedure was not in place for the last 100 departing employees.

Congressional committees are pressing Stephen Cambone on this. We're told. No one's pressed Stephen Hadley on what he told who after Karl Rove e-mailed to say, "Funniest thing, Stevie, I was talking to the press and OOPS! I brought up Valerie Plame! Slap me with a wet noodle! Love to the Bully Boy, Krazy Karl!" So it will be interesting to see if Congress and the press operate under some special Stephen policy or if they actually press Cambone.

Jennifer e-mails to note Robert Parry's "What to Do About the Bush Problem" (Consortium News):

Disaster experts will tell you that a key to surviving a catastrophe is to quickly discard the old paradigm of normalcy and to act with urgency and creativity in facing the new reality. There is no time for fretting or wishful thinking; decisiveness and imagination are crucial.
The same holds true for nations. History has taught us that sometimes when a leader has made catastrophic choices, others -- from within the ruling elite or from without -- must do something to shatter the old paradigm of normalcy and protect the nation.
The United States may have found itself in such a predicament. Figuratively at least, the flood waters are surging through the first floor and -- while some say the water won't rise much more -- others think it's time to grab the kids and seek higher ground.
The stark question now before the country is: Should it sit still for the next three-plus years of George W. Bush's presidency or demand accountability, including possibly the removal of him and his political team from office?
Though it's true that impeachment of both President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney would be an extreme step, this constitutional option must be judged against the alternative of a continued national leadership that is facing worsening crises while known for a trademark refusal to admit mistakes or to make meaningful adjustments to its policies.
Over and over, Bush has made clear that he has no intention to reverse himself on any of his core decisions, which include the Iraq War, tax cuts weighted toward the upper incomes, tolerance of record budget deficits and rejection of the chief international agreement on global warming, the Kyoto Treaty. (Bush even questions the overwhelming scientific consensus on global warming.)
So, the hard choice is whether the country would be better off starting this political battle now with an eye toward a change in control of Congress in 2006 or simply waiting for the next presidential election in 2008.
Unthinkable Option
At this point, the Washington consensus is that Bush's impeachment or a forced resignation is unthinkable. Even columnists, who judge Bush as unfit -- both by intellect and temperament -- to lead the country, refuse to entertain the notion of impeachment.
For instance, New York Times columnist Frank Rich wrote that the Katrina disaster had exposed Bush's incompetence and phoniness, but Rich still wouldn't take the logical next step and urge Bush’s removal from office.
"Once Toto parts the curtain, the Wizard of Oz can never be the wizard again," Rich wrote. "He is forever Professor Marvel, blowhard and snake-oil salesman. Hurricane Katrina, which is likely to endure in the American psyche as long as L. Frank Baum's mythic tornado, has similarly unmasked George W. Bush."

Rod e-mails to note today's scheduled topics on Democracy Now!:

Thursday, September 29:* House Majority Leader Tom Delay indicted in Texas
* FBI comes under intense pressure in Puerto Rico over killing of longtime independence leader Filiberto Ojeda Rios.

And remember that the Un-Embed The Media Tour goes on and here are this weekend's scheduled appearances:

* Amy Goodman in Norfolk, VA:
Fri, Sept 30
Independent Media: A Primer
Keynote 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
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 Center22 E. 5th St., 3rd Floor
Dayton, Ohio 45402
There will be ASL interpretation
Tickets: $10Available 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

* Amy Goodman in Poughkeepsie, NY:
Wed, Oct 5
*TIME: 5:30 PM
Vassar College
The Villard Room, Main Building
Poughkeepsie, NY

Also remember that Mike has an interview with Betty at his site and that community member Seth just started his own site: Seth in the City. Congratulations to Seth and we're glad to have another voice out there. More voices, not less. That's the motto.

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