Thursday, November 03, 2005

Other Items

Pru finds Alan Cowell's "Close Ally of Blair Resigns Again in Scandal" hilarious. Pru feels that a disgraced resignation from a "centrist" will always be couched by the New York Times.

Pru: He has disgraced the country and yet, reading the gentle chiding from Alan Cowell, it is as though David Blunkett will be named Knight Commander by Order of the British Empire.

There's a "White House Memo" that Carl e-mails about. He wonders whether it will get the sort of ridicule that it deserves and that a "White House Letter" by Elisabeth Bumiller would? Good question.

It's entitled "Press Secretary on Trial in the Briefing Room" and attempts to provide you with the crashing waves that have threatened the love tunnel that exists between the press and Scott McClellan. Stretch praises him. Elite Fluff Patrol squad member Richard W. Stevenson blows air kisses. See, Scotty said Karl Rove and Scooter Libby weren't involved in the outing of Valerie Plame and now that the "public record" demonstrates that this is false, poor Scotty and poor press just aren't sure, as Dionne Warwick once sang, what to do with themselves.

It's a tough time for both sides. All those expectations. All those laughs. Could it all be coming to end? He fed them, they stroked him. It was a mutal love affair born of self-interests on both sides. So Stevenson uses terms like "unwilling or unable" (is he charting on patients?) to attempt to explain the bind Scotty finds himself in (although it applies equally as well to what passes for the press). If Scotty comes out and speaks the truth (highly unlikely considering the administration he serves in), Karl Rove might go ballistic on him.

What's Scotty to do?

Stevenson frets and worries.

It's all so very "Victim of Romance:"

Homeroom studyhall
I knew that I was gonna fall
Late at night I weep
Mumble in my sleep
Yeah knock on wood
Say I never felt so good
Heaven above
It must be love
I'm a victim of romance

Sing it, Stevenson, sing it!

("Victim of Romance" is written by John Martin. I'll plug Michelle Phillips' version which is available on her album of the same name and which Hip-O Select released this year on CD.)

"A member of a prominent Texas political family, he was viewed by many reporters when he took the job as genial and straightforward but difficult to knock off the White House's talking points," Stevenson all but sobs into pillow.

Stevenson reassures us that, in all the madness, Scotty's high roaded it and "has instead appealed to the better instincts of his journalistic inquisitors." Yes, Stevenson can't stop singing "Victim of Romance:"

Cold blooded felony
Murder in the first degree
It's a crime
What he's done to my spine

It certainly is. It certainly is a crime what Scotty's done to Richie's spine. A victim . . . a victim
. . . Stevenson's just a victim of romance.

Hopefully, it will all be worked out in time for home coming. I'd hate to think Richie might miss getting pinned by Scotty.

Craig S. Smith files "Chirac Appeals for Calm as Violent Protests Shake Paris's Suburbs" and Brenda wonders why she learned more of this on Sunday from Ty's section of "The Third Estate Sunday Review News Review 10-30-05." Well, Ty's very smart and three days of rioting seemed like news to him. The Times had to wait for day six before it struck them as news (and they file on day seven). If Chirac hadn't spoken up, readers might still be waiting.

The Times misses a great deal. Let's note Wally on the topic of what the New York Times covers and doesn't cover:

Florida: Fishing ban is overturned
A two-month ban on recreational grouper fishing in the Gulf of Mexico was overturned Monday, a day before it was scheduled to go into effect. Judge John E. Steele of Federal District Court ruled that federal officials went too far when they outlawed all grouper fishing to protect one species, red grouper. The restrictions were to have established a closed season for grouper in November and December in federal waters and reduced the daily bag limit of the fish to one from two. The decision means that many species of grouper can be caught in federal waters, beyond nine miles offshore in the Gulf. Red grouper remains off limits in those waters through December.
That's an Associated Press thing (in full) from "National Briefing."
Florida: Trick-or-Treaters told to proceed with caution
Government officials in South Florida urged parents not to let their children go trick-or-treating after dark because of power failures and fallen power lines affecting much of the area a week after Hurricane Wilma. "If your kids don't need to go door to door trick-or-treating this year, they probably shouldn't," Lt. Bill Schwartz of the Miami police said. "If you can find an alternative like a mall, we highly recommend it." Public schools in Boward Country were closed through at least tomorrow and in Miami-Dade through today. Florida Power and Light said it had restored power to about 25 percent of the 3.3 million people who lost power after the hurricane. But it said some areas might not get power back until Nov. 22.
Also Associated Press also "National Briefing."
It sure is nice to be a "briefing." I asked C.I., when NYC had their day of blackout, how did that play in the paper of record? Front paged. No surprise there.
On the trick-or-treating, it was also because of "debris" from the hurricane and it was much stronger here than the Associated Press paragraph lets on. Then we're reading that 25% of the people who lost power have had it restored. But in some radio reports they say 77%. I don't think anyone's gotten an honest accounting and I don't think they'll get one because the national press isn't interested in this story.
Let me tell you what else you're not being told by the national paper of record. Jeb Bush called off city elections that were to have taken place yesterday in Miami-Dade (including the election of Miami's mayor). Students are missing classes because of the damage done by the hurricane and the lack of a quick response. Jeb's offering waivers because the school's won't meet the compliance demands. Depeche Mode has cancelled their concert, the one that was to kick start their tour, scheduled in Fort Lauderdale. You hearing much about the way it's effecting migrant farm workers?
Maybe if we talk about the effect it's had on college football, some might pay attention?
Did you hear about Tuesday's rainfall? In Broward, you had an apartment complex's roof cave in due to the damage from the hurricane combined with yesterday's rain. They're saying 500 people are now homeless. This story didn't end when the hurricane swept through Florida but the national media acts like it has. You've got complexes and condos that are unsafe and people wondering where they're supposed to go.
And guess what one answer was in Miami? You could stay overnight at a motel. The motel didn't have electricity, but you could stay there. And this "solution" came from the city government.
Where's the national media?
Tomorrow I'll try to be my usual smart ass self. This isn't supposed to be The Daily Florida. But one day without power in NYC is a massive, national news story. What happens in Florida isn't apparently cause for concern. But when a fishing ban is overturned, count on the New York Times to give you that news.

That's from yesterday's The Daily Jot (before anyone looks through the "National Briefing" for the items Wally noted).

I've been sick as a dog and had to think a moment to be sure but it was last week that we crossed the 2000 mark for American troop fatalities in Iraq (official count). Why did I wonder? We're now up to 2035. One week later. Which brings us to the next two highlights.

Krista e-mailed to highlight Elizabeth de la Vega's "The White House Criminal Conspiracy" (The Nation):

Legally, there are no significant differences between the investor fraud perpetrated by Enron CEO Ken Lay and the prewar intelligence fraud perpetrated by George W. Bush. Both involved persons in authority who used half-truths and recklessly false statements to manipulate people who trusted them. There is, however, a practical difference: The presidential fraud is wider in scope and far graver in its consequences than the Enron fraud. Yet thus far the public seems paralyzed.
In response to the outcry raised by Enron and other scandals, Congress passed the Corporate Corruption Bill, which President Bush signed on July 30, 2002, amid great fanfare. Bush declared that he was signing the bill because of his strong belief that corporate officers must be straightforward and honest. If they were not, he said, they would be held accountable.
Ironically, the day Bush signed the Corporate Corruption Bill, he and his aides were enmeshed in an orchestrated campaign to trick the country into taking the biggest risk imaginable--a war. Indeed, plans to attack Iraq were already in motion. In June Bush announced his "new" pre-emptive strike strategy. On July 23, 2002, the head of British intelligence advised Prime Minister Tony Blair, in the then-secret Downing Street Memo, that "military action was now seen as inevitable" and that "intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy." Bush had also authorized the transfer of $700 million from Afghanistan war funds to prepare for an invasion of Iraq. Yet all the while, with the sincerity of Marc Antony protesting that "Brutus is an honorable man," Bush insisted he wanted peace.

Trevor e-mails to note Brian Conley's "Palestine Hotel, One Week Later…" (Alive in Baghdad):

Firdos Square is the site of the infamous propaganda event where the US toppled Saddam’s statue. It is easy to determine where the hotel compound is, from the massive concrete blast walls surrounding the area. However, it is nearly impossible to determine the entrance, and it still escapes me how anyone who hasn’t been there before is expected to find it.
Luckily Omar has been there many times working for others. The entrance is about ten feet wide and covered with a dark canvas roof, but open to the air. There were several Iraqi young men with kalashnikovs milling about at the entrance. They agreed to look at our two forms of ID after much insistence-we realized later it appeared they were prepared to let us just walk right in. After the ID check we were both frisked and proceeded down the street to the next checkpoint.
At the second checkpoint we had our IDs again checked-I’m not sure what cause we would have to fake them or change our identity once we were already mostly in the compound-and were searched once more. Just beyond the second checkpoint were two American soldiers relaxing in the shade, with some kind of military vehicle nearby-perhaps a Bradley?
Beyond the final checkpoint there is still a maze of razor-wire, concrete blast walls, and winding walkways to navigate before you reach the Palestine Hotel. At the entrance to the Palestine Hotel we were greeted by massive piles of broken glass and trash all over the terrace in front of the building. One week later, yet the area was still covered in debris and the various post-attack detritus that litters much of Baghdad.
It was simultaneously disorienting and comforting to see that even in the relative security of the Palestine compound, there still wasn’t anymore speed at reconstruction than elsewhere in Baghdad. Many of the front windowpanes were still empty or bearing the jagged edges of partial panes. Despite the devastation, many journalists passed us without a second look to the rubble strewn about. It was quite a shock to see the havoc played out in front of the hotel, one week later, and just a short way from the hotel, towards the blast walls and the Square, an American tank and several troops were stationed.

And still on the topic of Bully Boy, Lyle e-mails to note Nat Parry's "Bush's Rule of Law" (Consortium News):

George W. Bush reacted to the indictment of Dick Cheney's top aide, Lewis Libby, with a startling assertion about the U.S. legal system. "In our system," the President declared, "each individual is presumed innocent and entitled to due process and a fair trial."
While Bush's statement was surely intended to remind the public that Libby has yet to be convicted of a crime, it was remarkable to hear Bush endorse the presumption of innocence and due process after all he has done to erode those principles.
For four years, it has been a central legal precept of the "War on Terror" that Bush has the absolute right to imprison anyone of his choosing, including American citizens, who are then denied even a day in court, let alone a fair trial or presumption of innocence.
While the "rule of law" is usually defined as the universal protection of everyone equally under the law, Bush’s "rule of law" seems to mean, "We rule, so we decide who's protected by the law." Those protections are denied people whom Bush deems "terrorists" or "bad guys."
Bush's lip service to presumption of innocence, for example, must have been cold comfort to Jose Padilla, a U.S. citizen held without charges and without the benefit of his day in court since May 2002.
Padilla was arrested at Chicago's O'Hare airport and accused of plotting to set off a radiological "dirty bomb"in a U.S. city. Bush unilaterally
determined that Padilla was closely associated with al-Qaeda and represented a "continuing, present and grave danger" to the United States.
Bush cited his powers as commander in chief in declaring Padilla an “enemy combatant” and ordering him detained indefinitely at a military prison in South Carolina. Bush
said Padilla was a "bad guy" and "he is where he needs to be, detained."
Padilla could be jailed for the duration of the war on terrorism, a potential life sentence given the fuzzy goals and indefinite timetable of the conflict. No trial is to be held.
Major Victory?
Padilla's capture was initially portrayed by the administration as a major victory in the "War on Terror." Bush said there was a "full-scale manhunt on" for other terrorists involved in the alleged plot, but to date, no one else involved has been captured.

Later, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz said the Padilla bomb plot amounted only to "some fairly loose talk" and "there was not an actual plan" to attack U.S. cities. [Washington Post, June 13, 2002]
In other words, nothing concrete in the alleged plot had occurred. Padilla had no bomb-making materials, no target, no operational co-conspirators, no plan. Beyond assertions from administration officials, there also was no evidence of Padilla's guilt.

Still no case brought against Padilla, still he remains imprisoned.

Rod passes on that a scheduled topic for today's Democracy Now! is:

Excerpts from the historic funeral of civil rights pioneer, Rosa Parks, in Detroit, & more

The e-mail address for this site is

[Note from Shirley: David Gregory is "Stretch." I corrected typos I caught.]