Friday, September 30, 2005

Other Items

Lawrence A. Franklin, the former Defense Department analyst charged in a far-ranging national security inquiry with passing classified military information to pro-Israel lobbyists, has agreed to a guilty plea, officials said Thursday.
Prosecutors declined to discuss the exact terms of the agreement. It is to be formalized in federal court in Alexandria, Va., next week, when, court officials say, Mr. Franklin is scheduled to enter his plea.
But the unexpected development suggests that Mr. Franklin has agreed to cooperate with prosecutors in exchange for possible leniency and may now become the star witness against the two remaining defendants, Steven J. Rosen and Keith Weissman. Mr. Rosen and Mr. Weissman were dismissed last spring, amid the investigation, as senior officials of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or Aipac.

The above is from Eric Lichtblau's "Ex-Pentagon Analyst Is Said to Agree to a Guilty Plea" in this morning's New York Times.

Ginny e-mails to note Robert Pear's "Senate Panel Opens Inquiry on F.D.A. Chief's Resignation:"

A Senate committee said Thursday that it had opened a bipartisan investigation of the reasons for the sudden resignation of Lester M. Crawford as commissioner of food and drugs.
The panel said it wanted to determine if Dr. Crawford had complied with federal ethics laws and if his financial disclosure statements had been accurate. The same Senate committee recommended confirmation of Dr. Crawford in June.
The committee chairman, Senator Michael B. Enzi, Republican of Wyoming, and the senior Democrat on the panel, Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, said they were examining why Dr. Crawford resigned abruptly on Friday, with no explanation, just two months after he was confirmed by the Senate.
Mr. Enzi and Mr. Kennedy asked for help from the new inspector general at the Department of Health and Human Services, Daniel R. Levinson.

Melissa e-mails to note David D. Kirkpatrick's "Democrats Attack Radio Host's Remarks on Crime:"

William J. Bennett, the former Republican secretary of education, came under fire from Democratic Congressional leaders on Thursday for comments he made on a radio program about the potential for reducing crime by aborting all black children.
"I do know that it's true that if you wanted to reduce crime, you could, if that were your sole purpose, you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down," Mr. Bennett, now a radio talk show host, said in a broadcast earlier this week. "That would be an impossible, ridiculous, and morally reprehensible thing to do, but your crime rate would go down. So these far-out, these far-reaching, extensive extrapolations are, I think, tricky."
In a radio broadcast on Thursday, Mr. Bennett called the criticism of him "ridiculous, stupid, totally without merit" and said his critics had taken his comments out of context.

Melissa wonders why they aren't also asking that his PBS cartoon be taken off the air. She doesn't name it but I know what she's referring to. I wasn't aware that PBS still aired it. It's the worst drawn animated show on TV -- for a reason. It's made on the cheap and when PBS can't afford to pay for worthwhile programming their "sweetheart deal" with Bennett should have been ended a long time ago.

Wally e-mails to note Julia Preston's "Judge Orders Release of More Prison Abuse Photos:"

A federal judge in Manhattan ruled yesterday that the Defense Department must release dozens of withheld photographs and videotapes that show abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, rejecting an argument by top military officials that publishing the images would endanger American troops.
"Our nation does not surrender to blackmail," wrote the judge, Alvin K. Hellerstein of Federal District Court.
Judge Hellerstein was responding to a statement by Gen. Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who said publication of the images could provoke acts of terrorism against American soldiers.
"Our struggle to prevail" in Iraq, the judge wrote, "must be without sacrificing the transparency and accountability of government and military officials."

Joan e-mails to note Margaret Kimberley's "Andrew Young and Vote Theft" (Freedom Rider, The Black Commentator):

In May of 2000 thousands of eligible voters in Florida were removed from the rolls. Governor Jeb Bush and Secretary of State Catherine Harris used Florida's rules that bar felons from voting to wrongly remove eligible voters. Black voters were disproportionately affected and Al Gore lost that state and the presidency because of this chicanery.
In 2004 Ohio Republicans used a simpler ruse to keep blacks from getting anywhere near voting machines. They simply didn't send enough voting machines to polls in black precincts. Voting machines were kept in storage on the day of a presidential election. In Ohio and many other states provisional ballots
went uncounted. Electronic voting machines that lacked paper trails produced dubious results.
There is no mystery about what ails the American voting system. There is no guarantee that eligible voters will be able to vote and voters have no guarantee that their votes will be counted. Instead of addressing the obvious problems, politicians have instead decided to create new problems and disenfranchise more people than they have already. The Commission on Election Reform has given them
the out that will do terrible harm.
Former president Jimmy Carter has spent the last twenty years observing elections all over the globe. His role as the commission's co-Chair at first seemed logical, but James Baker's participation is utterly illogical and an insult to anyone who values the franchise.

Brenda e-mails to note Katha Pollitt's "Desperate Housewives of the Ivy League?" (The Nation):

But I did find one place where the [New York Times] article is still Topic No. 1: Yale. "I sense that she had a story to tell, and she only wanted to tell it one way," Mary Miller, master of Saybrook, one of Story's targeted colleges, told me. Miller said [Louise] Story met with whole suites of students and weeded out the women who didn't fit her thesis. Even among the ones she focused on, "I haven't found that the students' views are as hard and fast as Story portrayed them." (In a phone call Story defended her research methods, which she said her critics misunderstood, and referred me to her explanation on the web.) One supposed future homemaker of America posted an anonymous dissection of Story's piece at Another told me in an e-mail that while the article quoted her accurately, it "definitely did not turn out the way I thought it would after numerous conversations with Louise." That young person may be sadder but wiser--she declined to let me interview her or use her name--but history professor Cynthia Russett, quoted as saying that women are "turning realistic," is happy to go public with her outrage. Says Russett, "I may have used the word, but it was in the context of a harsh or forced realism that I deplored. She made it sound like this was a trend of which I approved. In fact, the first I heard of it was from Story, and I'm not convinced it exists." In two days of interviewing professors, grad students and undergrads, I didn't find one person who felt Story fairly represented women at Yale. Instead, I learned of women who had thrown Story's questionnaire away in disgust, heard a lot of complaints about Yale's lack of affordable childcare and read numerous scathing unpublished letters to the Times, including a particularly erudite one from a group of sociology graduate students. Physics professor Megan Urry had perhaps the best riposte: She polled her class of 120, using "clickers" (electronic polling devices used as a teaching tool). Of forty-five female students, how many said they planned "to be stay-at-home primary parent"? Two. Twenty-six, or 58 percent, said they planned to "work full time, share home responsibilities with partner"--and good luck to them, because 33 percent of the men said they wanted stay-home wives.

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

Friday, September 30:* A look at the Red Cross and disaster relief funding. We'll speak with Richard Walden of Operation USA who is highly critical of the way the Red Cross has used the substantial sums of funds it has received in the wake of hurricane Katrina.
* We take a look at legislation making its way through Congress that critics say will destroy public access television in the U.S.

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