Sunday, September 04, 2005

"Third Estate Sunday Review News Review 9-04-05" (The Third Estate Sunday Review)

We're on a break at The Third Estate Sunday Review. Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts comics (plural) will go up right after this. I'll post this from The Third Estate Sunday Review.

"Third Estate Sunday Review News Review 9-04-05"
C.I.: Welcome to The Third Estate Sunday Review News Review this September 4, 2005. Let's start off with the peace report from Jess of The Third Estate Sunday Review.

Jess: Peace takes a hit in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. The Glenwood Springs Post Independent reports that the First United Methodist Church has retracted their invation to Cindy Sheehan to speak after some members began objecting to her scheduled appearance there on September 16th. Mo Barz, one of the members objecting, felt that the church needed to stay out of politics. Barz also told the paper that it would welcome the Bully Boy as a speaker because: " After all, he was voted in as the president and we should treat him as such."Which seems to imple that at the First United Methodist Church, you are welcomed not as a result of your faith or beliefs, but based upon whether or not you have a title. It may be harder for a rich man to enter heaven but, apparently, not to enter the First United Methodist Church in Glenwood Springs.
In Austin, the reception was warmer as Cindy Sheehan reports in "How Does Scotty McClellan Live with Himself? Bring Them Home Now Bus Tour - Day 1 and 2" at

We marched from the state capitol to Austin city hall. It was quite a sight as many hundreds of people followed us down Congress Street behind our "Support our troops, Bring Them Home Now" banner. We sang and chanted as we walked. People were joining us for our march from the sidewalks. It was the most remarkable march I have ever been a part of.
For the rally at City Hall, we were greeted by easily 2000 plus people, whom I joked with about moving to Austin and running for mayor. Most of the crowd had been to Camp Casey at one time or the other. We had VFP, IVAW, MFSO and GSFP members speak. My friend, David Rovics played a couple of songs, including: Every Mother's Son about Casey. My friend, Jim Hightower also spoke. It is always a treat to hear him.
I spoke and I talked about how George couldn't come out and see me when I was in Crawford, because he didn't have an answer for me: there is no "Noble Cause" so how could he answer me. He admitted the other day that it was for oil. I don't consider that a good enough reason for so many people being dead. Iraq could and would sell us their oil. I really believe immoral criminals are running our country and it is making me even more determined to save it with millions of my fellow citizen's help.

For more information on the bus tour, you can check out Bring Them Home Now. Upcoming stops on the tour this week include:

Indianapolis, IN: Mon, Sep. 5th - Wed, Sep. 7th a number of events scheduled and more on the way
Cincinnati, OH: Wed, Sep. 7th - Thu, Sep. 8th events being planned
Columbus, OH: Thu, Sep. 8th - Fri, Sep. 9th FROM BUSH'S DOORSTEP TO D.C.! BRING THEM HOME NOW TOUR
Cleveland, OH: Fri, Sep. 9th - Sun, Sep. 11th events being planned
Pittsburgh, PA: Sun, Sep. 11th - Wed, Sep. 14th events being planned

I know we're trying to move into the Hurricane coverage and everyone's rushing on that so I'll close by noting Military Families Speak Out's Nancy Lessin and Charley Richardson's "National Guard, the Gulf Coast and the War in Iraq" which is posted at Bring Them Home Now.

"Stay at home and serve your country" was the slogan used to attract men and women into service to their communities and their country in the National Guard. The promise to the men and women of the Guard was also a promise to citizens of the various states that they would have a force available to them in time of emergency.
One weekend a month, two weeks each year, those who signed up to serve in the state militia known as the National Guard trained to protect Country and Constitution and to provide aid in times of local emergencies such as forest fires, floods, hurricanes, blizzards, and civil unrest. National Guard soldiers have specifically been trained to assist in emergencies such as the one that Hurricane Katrina brought to the Gulf Coast on August 28-29, 2005.
Unfortunately, about 35% of Louisiana's and 40% of Mississippi's National Guard troops have been deployed to Iraq -- to a war that has nothing to do with protecting Country and Constitution. Along with the troops who have been deployed is much of the heavy equipment -- vehicles, generators, air support -- that is needed along the Gulf Coast today. While the Bush Administration claims that this in no way impeded rescue efforts along the Gulf Coast, those residents who waited days for water, food, shelter, medical assistance and evacuation -- and those who are still waiting, and those who watched this horror unfold across the nation -- have a very different view of the situation.

C.I.: Thank you Jess for the report and the transition. We now go to Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix.

Cedric: Well C.I. England's The Independent is reporting that "Warnings went ignored as Bush slashed flood defence budget to pay for wars." Geoffrey Lean notes that:

Vital measures to protect New Orleans from "catastrophic" hurricane damage were scrapped by the Bush administration to pay for its wars on terror and in Iraq, despite official warnings of impending disaster.Funding for flood prevention was slashed by 80 per cent, work on strengthening levees to protect the city was stopped for the first time in 37 years, and planning for housing stranded citizens and evacuating refugees from the Superdome were crippled. Yet the administration had been warned repeatedly of the dangers by its own officials.

That's not surprising to anyone who's followed this story on Democracy Now!Thursday, Democracy Now! broadcast "Homeland Emergency: Disaster Relief is Suffering Under New DHS Bureaucracy:"

AMY GOODMAN: Matthew Brzezinski, I mean, we know a lot about the Department of Homeland Security because of monitoring -- some say "spying on" -- people here in this country, dealing with issues of terrorism, as they define it, but this -- isn't this the first major test of the Department of Homeland Security? Whether this was a bomb or a hurricane, it's being in charge of all of the forces to deal, and the question is: Where were all of those forces? I watched an interview with Michael Green* last night, the head of FEMA, and it was astounding to see that he said when he woke up on Monday morning, he understood -- Michael Brown -- he understood that this was going to be a catastrophe. President Bush was at Crawford for two more days. He said he understood on Monday that this could be a massive disaster. Now they're talking about bringing in the National Guard, now, with so much of the National Guard all over this country in Iraq. But what about this?
MATTHEW BRZEZINSKI: Well, I mean, I think -- you know, I think that you raise a good point. And I think we have been a little slow off the ball here, and, you know, this is one of the criticisms levied against the Department of Homeland Security is that it tries to be sort of all things to all problems. You know, DHS does everything from tracking foreign sex offenders to levying taxes on goods coming into the country, to, as you said before, monitoring, you know, potential terrorists, and you know, now disaster relief.AMY GOODMAN: Defining affirmative action groups as terrorists. That's the latest.MATTHEW BRZEZINSKI: And you know, and so it's got this huge agenda, and the problem is maybe it's just not focused enough. And I think something like this will highlight not only the need for perhaps a refocused either Department of Homeland Security, where you hive off certain duties from it or you just narrow it, and I think it will also highlight something that's extremely important and that's been overlooked in Washington for a number of years now, and that is the importance of first responders. You know, this catastrophe, like the subway bombing in London, showed that, you know, either terrorist acts or acts of nature, while they're not preventable, but you can mitigate the consequences if you’re prepared. And getting people timely medical attention can save lives. And I think we saw that in London.

Here in this country, the Associated Press reports, we're only now sending in more National Guard. 10,000 will be added to bring the total to 40,000.

C.I.: Cedric, you have relatives in Louisiana?

Cedric: Yes, I do. And they are very disastisfied with the response from the federal government. They also feel, that like the people in Mississippi, they're largely overlooked by the government and the media, that the effects go beyond New Orleans but the reporting seems to be based there. My relatives are just outside of Baton Rouge. Another thing ignored, and thanks to Dallas for providing me with an article from his hometown paper, is that the two areas set up to house the evacuated people are near capacity at present and buses are still being routed to Dallas. That article, by the way, is Emily Ramshaw's "Dallas makes desperate plea for help" from The Dallas Morning News. Where the coordination failed, who knows? But I think some would wonder how more people than a city could house were being sent to an area.

C.I.: Cedric, Common Ills community member Billie has been critical in her e-mails to me about the situation in Dallas. According to her, the sites being used were not the original site discussed, that originally a space utilized to store records had been selected but was abandoned due to issues of safety. Once that site was ruled out, on a Wednesday, according to Billie, new sites were selected and she feels that they appear to have been selected for their close proximity to City Hall in downtown Dallas. One site, The Convention Center, is next door to City Hall and the other, Reunion Arena, is further down the street. She asks specifically why the Cotton Bowl is not being utilized and wonders if that has to do with the fact that Dallas will be holding it's State Fair shortly and the Cotton Bowl is utilized for big game between Oklahoma and Texas, football game, each fall. Did you find anything about Dallas offering additional spaces, Billie has a list of fifteen empty spaces owned by the city that are unoccupied currently?

Cedric: No, C.I., I didn't. The Dallas Morning News story did note that Dallas was appealing to surrounding communities for assistance and that they were "scrambling" to provide a new site, and that "it would likely be near the Convention Center."

C.I.: Thank you, Cedric. And let's bring Dallas in here because he lives in that area. Dallas, I know you haven't planned to speak but is Billie correct regarding the proximity of The Convention Center to City Hall?

Dallas: Yes, she is. A street runs between The Convention Center, a two-way street, and City Hall. City Hall is a multi-storied building, and one that Howard Dean spoke in front of when he was running for the Democratic nomination, the mayor's office and the city council's offices are in that building. Like yourself, I don't have any knowledge of any earlier site that might have been selected before Reunion Arena and The Convention Center.

C.I.: So what's the area like? Can you explain any positives or negatives to the area?

Dallas: Well there's a large fountain in front of City Hall. City Hall itself is a glass and concrete building that juts out with rising floors. I'm trying to think here, sorry.

C.I.: You're doing fine.

Dallas: The fountain. When children take field trips to downtown Dallas, they're discouraged from touching the water in the fountain because the homeless bathe in it.

C.I.: Does Dallas have a large homeless problem?

Dallas: I don't know the figures on it but I would say yes. I can tell you that if I were walking through the area, the immediate area in front of City Hall, the east side, I'd pass probably fifty homeless people sitting on benches underneath the trees. It's not uncommon to see drugs used openly, pot for instance, in that area underneath the trees.

C.I.: Right out in front of City Hall?

Dallas: Yes, but again, I'm only saying what I've seen. I've probably been in that area five or six times this year alone. Including in June to renew my driver's license which is on the east side, bottom floor of City Hall, in the back of the building. Now right across from City Hall, and possibly this is why they chose The Convention Center, is the main branch of the public library. They have multiple computer stations on each floor with web access and that would be a positive to the location, that the refugees could utilize the computers to check in and check up on other family members. The library system doesn't require that you have a library card to utilize their computers. If they did, I'm sure they'd waive it for the refugees, but they are open to all. There is no sleeping in the library because there have been problems with the homeless people. That's thought by some to result from the fact that the homeless shelters are basically over night areas and as the day begins, the homeless are forced to leave them and return in the evening.

C.I.: So we've got the library across from City Hall and The Convention Center and refugees will be able to access computers and check national lists and send e-mails, etc. What else is there for them?

Dallas: The federal building's on that street. Two or three blocks up you have a bus and train station, the West End Station. So if they are looking for jobs or needing to get away or explore, they've got access to that. The museum's downtown and after five, I believe, it's free to the public. Prior to that there is a cost.

C.I.: Okay, and we're dealing with individuals and families, what about grocery stores? Yeah, they're providing food but my six-year-old is nervous, scared and upset. All that's on my mind is getting the kid a candy bar. What's the status there?

Dallas: I'm not aware of a grocery store in downtown Dallas. The Convention Center was serving food prior to this so they do have facilities that they can prepare hot meals for the people. I don't know that they will use them but I know I've eaten lunch there before. If you want booze or cigarettes, you can buy them at one of the many hole in the wall stores there but there's not a grocery store that I've ever seen. You could buy candy for your kids at one of those booze and cigarette stores. There are places to eat but they do cost money. The Greyhound Bus Station is downtown. The bus and train station that I was talking about before is local buses and trains that run in the DFW area. But Greyhound, if some friend or family said to one of the refugees, "Come stay with me," they could buy a ticket for the person and the person could easily walk to the Greyhound Bus Station.

C.I.: A zoo?

Dallas: The zoo is in Oak Cliff, that's south of downtown Dallas, across the Trinity River. They could catch a local bus or train to the zoo but they couldn't walk it. There is a cost for admission but the city owns the zoo and they could waive the fee.

C.I.: A park?

Dallas: There's a tiny cemetary on the Convention Center grounds or right next to it. I have no idea from what period. There's also some metal statues of bulls in the same areas. I'm not aware of any park downtown.

C.I.: You spoke of trees earlier, that the homeless people generally sat on the benches underneath the trees. Are there many trees downtown?

Dallas: No. There's not a lot of shade other than from the tall buildings and skyscrapers. It is very hot right now, in Dallas, but another plus for the area is that it is pedestrian friendly and you can't say that about many other areas in Dallas. I'd said earlier, about the zoo, that the city could waive the fees because they own it. They may also own the museum downtown because council members have held Town Hall meetings there. There are positives and negatives to the area. I'm not sure that would have been my first choice to place them if only because of the homeless population that's really centered in downtown Dallas.

C.I.: Is there another area you would have selected?

Dallas: In the city limits proper, I would've, and I don't know what the city owns where, I'm just going by what's in the area, I would've gone with Turtle Creek, White Rock Lake or a number of places in East Dallas simply because they do have more trees and parks. It's really hot in Dallas right now. I don't think I could stay in The Convention Center 24/7 without going crazy and if you're just looking for a cool space outside to get away, you're not going to find it in that area. The photo-op issue that Billie raises is valid but it's also true that down the street from City Hall and The Convention Center you have the Belo building and that's the home of WFAA, channel eight, and The Dallas Morning News. Anything that happens, good or bad, should be well reported if only for proximity and I would assume that reporters, at least from channel 8, that's WFAA, and The Dallas Morning News would be there constantly.

C.I.: Is there anything you'd like to add?

Dallas: I'm sure I've forgotten something but I'm not thinking of anything right now. The area is concrete. Parking lots and buildings. And in the Texas heat, it's gets very hot outside. The area is very white, I'm referring to the concrete sidewalks around City Hall and The Convention Center, and the sun just bounces off it causing a lot of glare. I don't go down there without sunglasses unless I want a headache just from the glare.

C.I.: Thank you, Dallas. We'll now go to Betty, of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man, who's addressing the issues of race and the hurricane in an editorial format.

Betty: Well C.I., at the risk of being accused of breeching some sort of "liberal intelligence," whatever that means, this Black woman will state that I remain outraged that on the same day the Associated Press ran two photos of looting but a White couple was foraging and an African-American couple was looting. This is not insignifcant and it's at the root of the coverage. On The Today Show, I saw two police officers in a Wal-Mart looting, though one told the camera, as they stuffed their shopping cart, that they were doing their job. But somehow the whole looting story gets portrayed in the standard stereotype of "those shiftless, lazy, jobless Black people out for a free ride again." And that's what those pictures, the captions to them, demonstrate. One couple, the White couple, forages like Grizzly Adams or something. The other couple, the Black couple, loots. Now let's talk about the people who were there, some of whom remain there, when the hurricane hit. Like Cedric, I have huge praise for the fine work done by Democracy Now! but I don't see the same consistency elsewhere. I'll note "Race in New Orleans: Shaping the Response to Katrina?" from Friday's Democracy Now!:

DR. BEVERLY WRIGHT: I hear people say, you know, well, people shouldn't live there. People have been living here for more years than the United States has been in existence. This is the first time we are having something this catastrophic. This is after learning how to build dams and sending people to the moon. You know, so, as a citizen of New Orleans, I am very angry, and I really, really believe that it's driven by race. People can say what they want, but when you look at who is left behind, it is very -- it is very disturbing to me, not to mention the fact of what's going to happen afterwards. Who will be involved in the rebuilding, and the redesigning of New Orleans? Just before the hurricane, African-Americans, middle class African-Americans, our grassroots people were basically fighting for their life. We were fighting gentrification at a rate we have never seen before. We were fighting the takeover of our public schools. We were fighting the dropping of the residency requirement. Hope Six wiped out a housing project that had 7,000 African-Americans. They were displaced the same way that we have been displaced. Crime and violence was rampant because of the displacement of about 7,000 people, poor people who had no place to go. All of this discussion about what's going on, crime and violence in the city, well, that was going on before the hurricane and we didn’t get the attention or help we needed to deal with a looming drug addiction problem, and a small number of people who are thugs and murderers and drug dealers. Well, they're there now. What you are seeing now is no more than what we saw then, and these people were also preying on our communities before the hurricane. Now, we have to deal with the rebuilding. Who will be involved in the rebuilding of New Orleans, in the clean-up, you know, in the construction, and what I am experiencing, trying to find housing, the discrimination is rampant.


Why didn't they get out of New Orleans, as they were told, before Hurricane Katrina hit? Because, many of them said, they didn't have the money or the means. Most of them were black. As they waited to be taken somewhere, anywhere, they felt deceived and discarded by the rest of the country.
"It's because we're not important enough," said Tanya Miller, 37, who along with her family had spent days floating on an air mattress and a powerless boat before being picked up.
Around the perimeter of Miller's temporary new home stood several dozen police officers, mostly white, holding their rifles at the ready.
"We just don't want anybody to get out of hand in this heat," said Louisiana state trooper Chance Thomas, who stood on the bridge pointing the muzzle of his M-16 at the crowd below. "I'm just doing crowd control."
But Steven Mullcur, 36, a construction worker, said that when he and his wife wanted to visit his father, who lives not far from the camp, to use his shower, "two cops pulled up and said that if we didn't go back they'd put a bullet in me or worse."
"The statement that ticked me off the most was, 'You should've left before -- now stay here,' " Mullcur said.
One police officer, who declined to be identified, confirmed that the residents were not allowed to leave their garbage-strewn wasteland except on helicopters, which took only the severely ill, or on buses, which were not there.
"They're treating us like criminals here," said Miller's son, Danard, 13. "They're not letting us leave."
Cynthia Walton, 47, a diabetic with high blood pressure, wondered whether race played a role in their fate.
"We've been very patient and polite," said Walton, who has walked on crutches since her spinal surgeries four years ago. "I'm not doing anything wrong. Is it because we're black?"

As the AFP reports Jesse Jackson saying, "There is a historical indifference to the pain of poor people, and black people ... we seem to adjust more easily to black pain." So to those that would dismiss discussions on race and the hurricane, I would ask, "Is it because it doesn't effect you that you can be so easily dismissive?"

C.I.: Thank you, Betty. We now go to Elaine, who just completed a month and two weeks substituting for Rebecca at Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude with reporting on the hurricane from outside the U.S.

Elaine: Cedric noted the lack of coverage on areas other than New Orleans so I'm going to begin with Scotland's Sunday Herald's "EYEWITNESS: By Toxy Morris, a surgeon in Hattiesburg, Mississippi:"

The conditions are extremely bad here. There are murders, looting and vandalism. Every tree in sight is down and there’s no electricity or water. The army is issuing water to us and we have to use lamps. About 80% of the state has no power and it will be a month until we get it back.There’s four of us in the household. Me, my wife and two sons, one of whom, Ben, is still en route from Edinburgh. He has been studying there and is in Florida right now . My other son, Rob, is a newspaper reporter and is stationed with the police in Mississippi. He’s very busy right now.
We have had three killings in our neighbourhood. One of the people killed was a friend of mine, an Anglican priest. He was shot down for his car and its contents. He leaves behind a wife and six children. It’s a very sad situation. I have also heard that a lady was shot to death for a bag of ice. Can you believe that? Over a bag of ice!
These three murders haven’t been reported in the media here – I think they are trying to avoid ill feeling and panic. But we have a serious crisis on our hands. There are some bad apples, although it’s not as bad as New Orleans. Everyone is very distressed but they are pulling together, trying to be courageous.
We are cooking on charcoal. We have enough food but it is going to become a problem because there are very few stores open and all the perishables have been destroyed. You can’t get any gasoline either. On the upside, people are getting hold of generators so the 500-bed city hospital now has power again.

Australia's Sydney Morning Herald reports that evacuees have been taken out of New Orleans "leaving the heart of New Orleans to the dead and dying, the elderly and frail stranded too many days without food, water or medical care."

C.I.: Elaine, the difference between the terms?

Elaine: I'm honestly not sure. But at some point the press began using "evacuees" instead of "refugees." Possibly during the evacuations. However, transporting a refugee to a stadium doesn't alter the refugee status.

Jim: I'm going to interrupt for a moment.

C.I.: Jim of The Third Estate Sunday Review.

Jim: Australia's ABC carries a Reuters report that United States Chief Justice William Rehnquist died.

C.I.: Thank you for that, Jim. Elaine, can you sum up the coverage from outside the United States.

Elaine: I'd characterize it as far more skeptical than the reporting coming out of this country.

C.I.: Okay. Well stay right there and we'll bring Ava out to join you and we'll discuss the news Jim just informed us of. Ava of The Third Estate Sunday Review. Elaine, Ava, your thoughts on where the battle to preserve reproductive rights stands.

Ava: Well obviously, Rehnquist was no friend of the reproductive rights. But the issue here, and this is something that has come up in all of our, C.I., Elaine and myself, all of our volunteer work we've been doing on the choice issue, it's not just an issue of one vote staying the same.

Elaine: Right. With John Roberts, Bully Boy has signaled that he'll pick young. These are lifetime appointments. It's very easy to say, "Oh the vote didn't change." But the larger issue is that someone of Rehnquist's beliefs appointed to the bench will likely be serving for many, many years.

C.I.: Rehnquist's health problems were known. By the way, we're not discussing Rehnquist, this about the Court and the make up of it. Anyone needing or wanting a look back at Rehnquist can consult their daily paper. I'm sure, for instance, that the Times will feature many stories on him. Roberts is, for a Supreme Court Justice, relatively young. Other names mentioned prior to the announcement of Roberts were also young. Elaine, address that.

Elaine: John Kerry didn't make reproductive rights a campaign issue. Any of us around in 1992 were aware that Bill Clinton did. John Kerry touched on it only when it was brought up and then attempted, my opinion, to justify his position instead of making a strong argument. Katha Pollitt at The Nation addressed the disconnect between the Kerry campaign and women.
There's a tendency for the party, The Democratic Party, to use Roe v. Wade as an election issue.
Strong talk during an election cycle and then weak support from many in the party. In 2004, it wasn't used as a campaign issue, they didn't trot it out. And what we've seen since is certain leaders within the party appear to back off of support for the issue, we've seen the party elevate an anti-choice person, Harry Reid, to Senate Minority Leader and we've seen candidates such as Bob Casey Jnr. pushed in place of pro-choice candidates. Sorry for the background there. But the hope itself is that each presidential election year we can get a Democrat into office who will nominate Justices who see Roe v. Wade as established law. The hope is that Democratic leadership will fight to preserve Roe v. Wade but that hope appears to be a false one this year.

Ava: Right. We saw it with the tarring and feathering of NARAL over their previous ad. I'm not remembering the media demanding that Republicans denounce the band aids with little purple hearts drawn on that many wore at the GOP convention. Nor am I remembering any right wing bloggers dismissing those people as "military studies majors." But those who support Roe often find themselves dismissed as "women's studies majors." The crowd that came of age with triangulation see it as an easy road to victory, despite the results there, and there is serious concern that the party has not only moved away from strong support for Roe but also began to waffle on the issue.

C.I.: While Bob Casey Sr. alleged that he'd been denied a prominent platform at the 1992 convention, Democratic convention, due to his anti-choice stance, in 2005, his son, also anti-choice, Bob Casey Junior is someone we're supposed to rally around?

Elaine: Correct. And I know all three of us have taken the pledge not to give the Democratic Committe for the senate elections for that reason. But a stronger message needs to be sent out and that's what groups are cooridinating now.

Ava: And where we stand right now is with all eyes on Diane Feinstein. Some are more hopeful than others. The smiling photo-op after the announcement was made didn't help. His comments on the man who died in the Jonestown Massacre should have received a prominent rebuke from Feinstein. When that didn't happen, hopes that she was going to seriously address the nomination grew thinner.

Elaine: And let's note, and you noted it the Saturday after Sandra Day O'Connor announced her retirement, Feinstein is the only woman serving on the Judiciary Committee. Over a decade after Anita Hill faced the Senate, only woman serves on the committee. That's unacceptable.

Ava: Elaine mentioned Katha Pollitt and I'll note that she's one of the few writers seriously questioning the embrace of Jim Wallis and his position on the issues. In an editorial, The New York Times scolded people who saw Hillary Clinton's remarks last spring as a stepping back from reprodutive freedom. Forget that Democrats should worry anytime the paper praises a Democrat, the events since have not brought about any kind of reassurance for choice supporters from the party.

Elaine: And, outside of Pollitt and a few others, it's become the issue that the press doesn't touch unless to applaud someone "moderating" a stance. John Roberts Jr.'s confirmation hearings start Tuesday but Meet the Press has provided no forum for a debate on his positions regarding choice or what it could mean to women's health.

C.I.: Thank you Elaine and Ava. We'll leave it there since we do have other reports. Ty of The Third Estate Sunday Review will now bring us up to date on events outside the United States.

Ty: In China, the death toll mounts for victims of Typhoon Talin. Australia's ABC reports the count has now climbed to 54 and that 1,024 people are dead from flooding this year.The BBC reports that "Vladimir Kuznetsov, the elected head of a key UN budget oversight committee, had been arrested in an FBI raid." He was arrested Thursday and for those wondering why the Russian was not entitled to diplomatic immunity, UN Secretary Kofi Annan had waived Kuznetsov's right to that immunity. The New York Times reports that France's President Jacques Chirac has been hospitalized and will remain there for a week. The reason given is "vascular trouble." In Columbia, the Associated Press reports, "greed grew to great" for U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Daniel Rosas who is awaiting a court martial for drug smuggling.

C.I.: Allged smuggling?

Ty: No, Rosas has signed a document where he confessed and stated "Greed overtook my state-of-mind. I saw an opportunity and took advantage of it." England's The Independent reports that in Afghanistan, kidnapping victim David Addison is dead. Addison was kidnapped last Wednesday and was in Afghanistan to assist with road building. Aljazeera reports that "Taliban rebels have killed a kidnapped election candidate as well as a senior district official and three policemen, a Taliban spokesman said." The BBC reports that in Uganada a court battle is likely if the government continues to refuse to release condoms that they are storing and refusing to allow distribution of. The Associated Press reports that in Russia, two men released to them from Guantanamo Bay where they were held for suspected terrorism have been released after the Russian authorites "found no evidence of their involvement in terrorism-related activity, prosecutors said."

C.I. Thank you Ty. And now Mike, of Mikey Likes It!, will quickly bring us the latest from Iraq.

Mike: Aljazeera reports that talks over the Iraqi constitution have begun again:

The Congress of the People of Iraq on Saturday called for amendment of the new draft constitution to be affirm the Arab identity of the country and rejected the "division of Iraq and squandering of its wealth and resources under the pretext of federalism". The group, in a statement, urged the principle of decentralization as a temporary alternative to federalism.
In deference to Kurish sensitivities, the current text refers only to Iraq's Arab population as part of the Arab world, a clause that has angered the Arab League, of which Iraq was a founding member.

The statement also stressed what it called resistance to occupation through the use of all means as a legitimate right.On the resistance, the Associated Press reports that they have killed 19 "Iraqi security forces."Bring the troops home now? Not really. But 300 troops stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan will be returning state side to aid with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, according to the Associated Press.

C.I.: Thank you Mike. For our final report, we got to Kat of Kat's Korner.

Kat: C.I., two quick stories in entertainment news. First, the government of Zimbabwe is publicly alleging that the Nicole Kidman film The Interpreter is CIA propaganda. In this country, the film tanked which might suggest to some that the claim is true. The Associated Press reports that NBC is attempting to raise a wall between themselves the statements of Bully Boy's lack of caring and concern for African-Americans made by rapper Kanye West. They are stating that West had been provided with scripted remarks and did not use them. Always one to cower, Matt Lauer stated on the special that, "Sometimes that emotion is translated into inspiration, sometimes into criticism. We've heard some of that tonight." Lauer's unaware that criticism can be inspiring so possibly he's losing brain cells now that his hair is pretty much gone. Among West's statements were "George Bush doesn't care about black people" and "I hate the way they portray us in the media. If you see a black family, it says they're looting. See a white family, it says they're looking for food." Kayne West's latest album, Late Registration, came out Tuesday.

C.I.: Thank you, Kat. And thank you to Dallas for hunting down links as well as participating in remarks this time. Thank you also to Dona for overseeing the entire review and, with Jim, for helping find and assemble reports. Dona and Jim of The Third Estate Sunday Review. Thanks also to Jess' parents who helped hunt down stories.