I'd like to take this moment to thank everyone who wrote in last week to express sympathy on the loss of my grandmother. Sonia Bock died October 5, 2005 at the age of 108. Yes, she was indomitable: a woman of three centuries.
She was born in 1897, in Ruvno, Poland. She lived through Tsarist Russia, the Bolshevik revolution, the Holocaust. Though many in her family did not. Two of her brothers and their whole families perished. I remember my mother telling me the wail. The wail that went up in the bungalow colony that my grandparents my mom and her sister went to every summer. The wail when my grandmother got the news that her family had been killed. She came to America by boat in 1929. In 1930, she gave birth to my mother in Harlem with my grandfather, an orthodox rabbi.
In her fifties she contracted cerebral meningitis and was sent to a sanatorium in the Catskills. Not expected to live, she cut everyone's hair and was out in two years. She was an unusual mix of old fashioned in her views of women. "You must always be independent," she would say. "When your husband comes home meet him with a hug and supper, then give him the newspaper to read, but you should have already read it. Then discuss it with him. Communication is everything." She was the eternal student. She spoke four languages: Russian, Yiddish, Hebrew, English and was always taking conversation classes in French. At about 4 foot 10 inches tall, she was a pint size fireball. A life force. My heart. I'd like to share a poem that I also read when my father died. I don't know who wrote it:
Do not stand at my grave and weep. I am not there. I do not sleep. I am a thousand winds that blow. I am the diamond glints on snow. I am the sunlight on ripened grain. I am the gentle autumn rain. When you awaken in the morning s hush, I am the swift uplifting rush, of quiet birds in circling flight. I am the soft star that shines at night. Do not stand at my grave and cry. I am not there. I did not die.
On Capitol Hill, House Democrats began chanting "shame, shame, shame" on Friday after the Republican leadership pushed through a bill to make it easier for oil companies to build new domestic refineries. The bill passed 212-210 but only because the house leadership extended the vote by 40 minutes during which time two Republicans switched their vote. The legislation will streamline government permits for refineries, open federal lands for future refinery construction, weaken environmental protections, and offer subsidies to build refineries even though oil companies are making record profits Congressman Ed Markey of Massachusetts called the legislation the "leave-no-oilman-behind bill." The bill would also limit the power of community or citizen groups because if they filed a lawsuit to challenge the location of a refinery they would be required to pay an oil company's legal costs whether they win or lose the lawsuit. The New York Times reported that during the extra 40 minutes of voting House Speaker Dennis Hastert, majority whip Roy Blunt and former Majority Leader Tom Delay all pressured other Republicans to change their votes. After the Republicans extended the vote, Democrat Henry Waxman asked from the floor, ''Doesn't this make the House a banana republic?'' Then House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi took the floor.
In New Orleans - three city police officers are facing charges in connection to the beating of a 64-year-old African-American man and the assault of an Associated Press television producer. On Saturday night, the police began hitting a man accused of public intoxication outside a French Quarter bar. The man - 64-year-old Robert Davis - was hit at least four times in the head and was dragged to the ground when another officer kneed him in the back. The incident was caught on tape by a crew from the Associated Press. Once the police realized they were being videotaped they ordered the AP to stop shooting. When the AP producer held up his press credentials, an officer grabbed him, leaned him backward over a car, jabbed him in the stomach and started screaming at him to leave the scene. Meanwhile on Friday, state authorities in Louisiana announced they were investigating allegations that during Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans police broke into a car dealership and made off with nearly 200 cars - including 41 new Cadillacs.
A hunger strike at the U.S.-run prison camp at Guantanamo Bay has entered its third month. At least 22 detainees have been hospitalized and are being force fed through nasal tubes and IVs. The number of detainees taking part in the hunger strike is in dispute. The Center for Constitutional Rights estimates 210 detainees are on hunger strike. The U.S. military says that as many as 130 took part in the strike but that only 26 are still refusing to eat.
- Over 20,000 Die in Pakistan Earthquake
- Mudslides Bury 1,400 Alive in Guatemala
- GOP Forces Through Oil Refinery Bill
- New Orleans Police Face Charges Over Beating
- Environmentalists Criticize Selection of IAEA For Nobel Prize
- Guantanamo Hunger Strike Enters Third Month
- Thousands Take Part in Silent Peace March in LA
At least 20,000 people have died in Pakistan and India in a massive earthquake Saturday. Hardest hit was the area around the Pakistani Kashmir capital of Muzaffarabad. It is believed to be the worst natural disaster in Pakistan's history and officials fear the final death toll could exceed 40,000. We go to Lahore to speak with author and activist Tariq Ali and a Moeen Cheema, a professor of law and policy in Pakistan.
We take a look the plight of American Indians living in southeast Louisiana weeks after hurricane Katrina hit the gulf coast. Tribal leaders say they have been overlooked by the media, relief organizations and the federal government.
Today is known as Columbus Day - we take a look at why some people are not commemorating the arrival of Christopher Columbus to the so-called "new world."
Amy Goodman's grandmother, Sonia Bock, died October 5, 2005 at the age of 108. She was born in 1897, in Ruvno, Poland. She lived through the pogroms of Tsarist Russia, the Bolshevik revolution and the Holocaust.
The major qualification of Ms. Miers seems to be that she is a Bush loyalist. Cronyism anyone? At least she isn't Michael Brown.
Her intellectual brilliance comes immediately into question when Ms. Miers is quoted as saying that George W. Bush was the most brilliant person she has ever known. Perhaps Ms. Miers doesn't get out much.
Most amazing of all are Bush's reassurances to his neo-con base. He insists that Ms. Miers is a strict constructionist and a conservative and "would stay that way." Are you sure Mr. President?
"I've known her long enough to know she's not going to change, that 20 years from now she will be the same person with the same judicial philosophy she has today."
How Bush knows this is a mystery. Perhaps he looked into to her soul as he once did with Vladimir Putin.
What we know, and apparently the president doesn't know, is that Ms. Miers has made several significant and profound changes in her life, not the least of which involves her religion. Born and raised a Roman Catholic somehow and in some way the woman who will not change, changed, from Catholic to Evangelical. This is no small development in anyone's life whether you view it from the Catholic or the Evangelical end of the story.
The right to a safe, legal abortion is on the line with Harriet Miers' nomination to fill Sandra Day O'Connor's seat on the Supreme Court. With the O'Connor seat as the fifth vote on abortion, the public, especially women, deserves to know much more about Harriet Miers and her views on the issues.
Right now, we who care about a woman's right to choose an abortion have reason to be alarmed -- this is a sampling of why:
Lorlee Bartos, Miers' campaign manager in 1989 when she ran for Dallas City Council, told USA Today that Miers told her she used to be pro-choice, but a "profound, born-again experience" changed her mind -- "She is on the extreme end of the anti-choice movement," Bartos said.
Nathan Hecht, an ultra-conservative Texas Supreme Court Justice and Miers' on-again, off-again boyfriend, said, "I know she is pro-life. She thinks that after conception, it's not a balancing act -- or if it is, it's a balancing of two equal lives." (Washington Post 10/5/05)
James Dobson of Focus on the Family, who "welcome[s] the president's nomination," said, "Some of what I know I am not at liberty to talk about ...I have reason to believe she is pro-life." (New York Times 10/4/05; Washington Post 10/4/05)
Brady e-mails to note Jesse Jackson, Jr.'s "What Liberals Don't Get About Supreme Court Nominees" (Common Dreams):
Disappointed conservatives are approaching the nomination from an ideological perspective and they are not sure Harriet Miers is pure enough for them. Liberals are concerned about the lack of a paper trail and judicial record by which they can judge her views on the issues. Liberals have the cart before the horse.
Supreme Court interpretation of issues flows from the structure of a broad ideological framework. Philosophically, that structure may lead a Justice to interpret the Constitution in broad or narrow terms. A Justice will see the Constitution as static - as a "strict constructionist," "originalist" or "literalist" - or as a living document. It will lead a Justice to an interpretation that helps to build a more perfect union or one that perpetuates state-centered federalism (states' rights).
President Bush and his conservative allies are focused on the broad ideological argument out of which Supreme Court interpretation of issues will flow. Liberals are merely focused on the end product - her position on the issues.
Liberal civil rights groups want to know Ms. Miers stand on the issues of affirmative action, economic set-asides, racial discrimination and police-community relations. Liberal voting rights groups want to know whether her interpretation of the criteria for proving voter discrimination in court will be based on proving a discriminatory "effect" or must they prove a discriminatory "intent." Liberal women's groups want to know her views on the issue of abortion and whether there is a right to privacy in the Constitution. Liberal labor wants to know where she stands on labor-management issues.
Liberals don't seem to understand that where she comes down on virtually all of these issues will depend on this ideological framework. Conservatives are clear.
A reader named Margaret e-mailed me a very significant example of out-and-out plagiarism from a real live news organization that may have serious ramifications for ex-"journalist" Jeff Gannon.
No. You can't go to jail for committing the crime of plagiarism. But, in this case, you might be committing a major crime if you lie about it.
During Jeff's interview with Joe Wilson (the former U.S. diplomat whose wife was outed as a CIA operative by conservative writer Robert Novak, a possibly illegal action which is believed to have been prompted by the White House in order to get back at an editorial Mr. Wilson wrote for The New York Times), Mr. Gannon took one of his questions directly from a Wall Street Journal article written by David S. Cloud (WSJ cache and MND link , and in case the latter link disappears here's a cache snapshot taken by Light In The Darkness) and, yes, if it's that internal memo question:
Gannon: "An internal government memo prepared by U.S. intelligence personnel details a meeting in early 2002 where your wife, a member of the agency for clandestine service working on Iraqi weapons issues, suggested that you could be sent to investigate the reports. Do you dispute that?"
Cloud: "An internal government memo addresses some of the mysteries at the center of the White House leak investigation and could help investigators in the search for who disclosed the identity of a Central Intelligence Agency operative, according to two people familiar with the memo. The memo, prepared by U.S. intelligence personnel, details a meeting in early 2002 where CIA officer Valerie Plame...a member of the agency's clandestine service working on Iraqi weapons issues, suggested at the meeting that her husband...could be sent to Niger to investigate the reports."
Many of us bloggers have wondered why Jeff Gannon danced around the issue of whether or not he had somehow seen an "internal government memo" in an argument about why he was subpoenaed at the Free Republic Website (Justin Raimando even mentioned the WSJ article in this article on Gannon but he didn't quite add it all together) and, after resigning from GOPUSA, in an interview with Editor and Publisher: "I am not going to speak to that. It goes to something of a nature I do not want to discuss."
Jeff's "nature" is that, aside from anything else, he is a plagiarist and he couldn't very well come out and cop to that and admit that he never saw sh*t.
(David S. Cloud is now with the New York Times before any e-mails come in on that.)
Last night, CBS ran a piece about charges by ex-FBI director Louis Freeh against Bill Clinton in a segment clearly intended to sell his new book. Freeh is now the lead attorney for the giant MBNA credit card combine. (I found little balanced explanation in the story of why there was bad blood between Freeh and Clinton.)
I also found it interesting that the same publishing company has a new book that CBS is not covering. Why? Because it is about CBS. It's by Dan Rathers fired producer Mary Mapes, who lashes out at the network and the bloggers who went after Rather.
"I was incredulous that the mainstream press -- a group I'd been a part of for nearly twenty-five years and thought I knew -- was falling for the blogs' critiques. I was shocked at the ferocity of the attack. I was terrified at CBS's lack of preparedness in defending us. I was furious at the unrelenting attacks on Dan. And I was helpless to do anything about any of it.
Editor & Publisher notes that the link to her book
...goes to a dead Amazon page. In fact, the book (which is due out on Nov. 8) seems to have disappeared completely from Amazon, except for its audio version (Mapes narrates herself).
Barnes and Noble still has the book, which is called "Truth and Duty, " online, with the Nov. 8 pub date (and no excerpt). The book is still featured at the site of the publisher, St. Martin's Press, which promises an excerpt -- but not until pub day.
Calls to a publicist at St. Martin's have not yet been returned.
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