Saturday, April 02, 2005

Grab bag or clearing house post

Bloggers being "testy" at best today. (Blogger is the program used for this site.) This morning's post was lost and had to be recreated. I apologize for the delay.

A number of e-mails came in over the lack of posts last night. There were three but wanting to avoid another all nighter (daylight savings time, by the way -- turn the clocks forward an hour tonight), The Third Estate Sunday Review gang, Rebecca, Betty and myself all attempted to do some work last night. Whether that will prevent another all nighter or not, I have no idea.

A number of you have written in asking questions about Betty. If you want your e-mail forwarded to Betty, please note that in your e-mail. (Betty's e-mail address is If you're just curious about Betty beyond the information on her "about me" page, there will be an interview with her in this Sunday's TheThird Estate Sunday Review . Other than that and what's been said here, anything else Betty chooses to reveal is up to her and you should address your questions to her. (Or note "please forward" on your e-mails to this site.)

But there is an issue that Gina brings up which is she feels that there are more and more resources/reviews and not enough "opinion. And when we did get opinion this week, it was on The Progressive which struck me as the ultimate Oprah moment, no easy task for you."

You could pin it down to just "low energy levels" due to a vast increase in work demands (which should be easing any day now) or any number of reasons. I know that from my viewpoint, learning March 3rd that Lizz Winstead was off Unfiltered and why wasn't a high point and sent me into a long period of less than cheerful. (Mentioning it here would have risked revealing the source. Those who wrote in response to the March 4th Unfiltered post, did get a brief explanation and those who wrote at length on the subject usually got a longer explanation. Rebecca, Folding Star and Ron of Why Are We Back In Iraq? usually had to suffer through long -- and I'm sure depressing -- e-mails for probably a full week beginning March 3rd.) (Which doesn't make me the source for all of Rebecca's comments regarding what went down on Unfiltered. She mentioned that I'd given a heads up to some details and mentioned some details she'd gotten elsewhere in at least one post. That resulted in several e-mails to this site from members asking my opinion. I haven't read Rebecca's post or posts on Unfiltered because the entire topic depressed me too much. If you want clarity on what was information I'd passed on and what wasn't, you can check with Rebecca. Though she may pull a Judy Miller on you. But I know one of her sources and I also know that she had a few others she was speaking to.)

So it wasn't a fun time. Add in the increasing disillusionment with the Times and I'm sure Gina has a valid complaint. But to clarify for the five members who e-mailed this week asking when I was going to address Elisbeth Bumiller's writing on the Bully Boy, Bumiller wrote a White House Letter. To me, that's a floating op-ed and when she's doing that, I don't comment because I really attempt to avoid addressing the op-eds. (Addressing the lack of diversity on the op-ed pages is not addressing the op-eds themselves, to answer a question Skip e-mailed.)

And as long as I'm clarifying, Skip got a reply to his question. A writer for a paper that will remain unnamed didn't get a reply. But since ___ claims to follow this site for "your hilarious mistakes," I will address an issue ___ raised. First of all, glad you garner entertainment from the site. Wish I could say the same for my reaction to your writing. However, before you attempt to correct me on comments regarding Judith N. Shklar and Michael Walzer, you might want to do more than fact check who was a student of whom. For instance, Shklar's disagreements with Spheres of Justice was not breaking news at this site. Just because you were unfamiliar with them doesn't mean that I was "off the deep end again."

Shklar's opposition to Spheres of Justice was well known but possibly it didn't get covered in a general interest course in journalism. It's not my job to spoonfeed the press, especially someone who apparently has a very large beef with this site but doesn't want to publicly address the community. Which is a shame because you could be right and I could be wrong. Wouldn't be the first time. However, on the subject of Shklar & Spheres of Justice, you're talking out of your ___ and I'd refer you to footnote 39 on page 138 of Shklar's The Faces of Injustice. For additional research, you'll have to do the work yourself.

But before you write that I'm "off the deep end again" and that I don't know what I'm speaking of with a list of bonds you perceive between Walzer and Shklar that prevents Shklar (who is deceased) from disagreeing with Walzer, you might want to check out the footnote.

For the record, here's the footnote:

39. This is clearly an argument directed against Michael Walzer's Spheres of Justice, Basic Books, New York, 1983, esp. pp. 26028, 313-315, with which I disagree on almost every point.

Pretty clear to me. Again, there are additional resources but you'll need to find them yourself.
Did your journalism degree not require learning how to do research? (That would explain a great deal about your writing.)

So that takes care of Skip and apparently my personal fan club as well.

Back to Gina's issue.

There's also the fact that we were doing Women's History Month (on the heels of Black History Month) which involved member's contributions. After rushing through our year-in-review awards Christmas Eve or Christmas Day (and forgetting one category and failing to check names on another), I do make a point to make sure that when I read something, it doesn't just "sound right." Any member could (and can) offer any opinion they want and that's fine. But when they're mentioning facts, I do have to check that out. That involves research and sometimes trying to see if the fact they're offering can be seen that way. (All posted could be.) Liang, for instance, did a wonderful timeline entry that was informative and a pleasure to read. But it was a nightmare to fact check. (Liang's facts were all correct.)

If the facts seem iffy or wrong, I e-mail the member about that and they can beef up that section or they can just delete it. (Or they can say, "Screw you, I don't want to post after all!")
(No one's ever done that.)

Frank in Orlando felt he was made a fool of when his comments were posted. In his comments, he made the point that when covering a story on Hillary Clinton in the Times, whether or not the Times got it right should have been suggested. When I read that e-mail, I dashed off a reply to Frank in Orlando asking him to re-read the post he was commenting on. He e-mailed back that he had and he wanted his comments posted. Since that point was raised in the text as well as in the headline (believe the phrasing was something like "if the Times is correct and . . ."), he really needs to take responsibility for any embarrassment he felt after his comments were posted.

But the point is that with "Highlights" and "Notes" in February and March, it involved more than just retyping an e-mail I'd printed up or copying and pasting if I'd just read it. All highlights and notes were wonderful and I think we all learned something about the people and events highlighted and noted as well as about our fellow members. But if anyone thought that those posts meant some sort of a break for me (a number e-mailed to complain that there weren't more posts by me during March), please note that besides providing links if someone asked me to add some to their comments, I also had to fact check the posts before they went up.

I'd also point out that when I was originally thinking about this site, I really had planned to do only an entry or two a day and then during December holidays, a number of members spoke of the fact that so many sites were going on holiday. As I've said before, in college, I spent my share of holidays alone so I certainly understand when someone writes that the day would be a little easier for them if something they were counting on was there for them. (As I remember holidays alone, TV provided repeats and parades -- and parades weren't a great deal of fun, for me, to watch alone.) So the posts got increased and that was intended only as a short term measure.

A few members this week expressed outrage over a CounterPunch article that I linked to. (Yes, a member brought it -- the article -- to my attention, as noted in the entry.) They felt that Naomi Klein was attacked in that article. Some wanted to know why I didn't defend Klein.

If a member wants something highlighted (from the left), we'll highlight it. If it's something that might create controversy, I don't think it's my role to rush in and say, "Okay, we're linking to this but everyone be aware . . ." (I would do a disclaimer if we were linking to a parody.) (And have done that when we've linked to a parody.)

I didn't intend for this to ever come off like an op-ed column (though that's what my posts seem like more and more to me) but as a resource/review. Part of being a resource/review is addressing other viewpoints. The woman who wrote the article, Sharon Smith, is of the left. As is Naomi Klein.

I had assumed that members would have their say and, if my own opinion was requested, I'd deal with that in another post. (But we never got a post by members because no one wanted to be quoted.)

With regard to my own feelings for Klein, somewhere on this site, early on, you'll find a statement about me to the effect that I attempt to avoid hero worship but if I fail in that regard it has to do with Naomi Klein.

I think she's a valuable voice and hope she becomes even more valuable and that, in old age, those of us who are still around, speak of her in the manner that we speak of Howard Zinn or Gloria Steinem or Alice Walker or Gore Vidal . . . The way we speak of any number of people who've led a long life of truth telling.

Sharon Smith attended a conference (I believe it was a conference, maybe it was a panel) and wrote what she saw and felt. She's entitled to do that. There's nothing wrong with her offering her opinion.

Did I agree with her evaluation on what Klein meant? No. (But Smith was there and I wasn't.) As I read the comments -- of Klein -- that she noted, I felt Klein was attempting to pick up two threads at once. I also felt that, from her AlterNet interview we'd previously linked to as well as an article in The Nation that we'd noted (the article appeared September 30th, The Common Ills started mid-November, but we have noted this article -- both because it's important and because it makes me laugh), anyone who'd read those two pieces would understand what she was short-handing. When she spoke, as quoted by Smith, about some "dueling fundamentalists" and some being "enemies of the Iraqi people" she was touching on topics in both of those articles.

That's not, how dare she short-hand! (I don't know that she did short-hand. From what's quoted by Smith, it looks like she short-handed. As someone who resorts to allusions and impressions frequently, far be it from me to suggest that anyone else pull out all the building blocks every time they speak or write.) It's also not, "It should have been obvious to Smith!"
The two appear to have a disagreement. (Though my opinion, asked for in e-mails, it's not as different as Smith thinks. I could be wrong. Smith has an e-mail address at the bottom of the article, there's an administrator's e-mail address for Klein's site, so feel free to take the issue up with them.)

Ignoring discussions or topics isn't really serving anyone. Smith offered a view point and it was valid to raise it. I'm hoping that the focus of the e-mails (on Smith and Klein) was the result of the fact that Klein is held in high esteem and not the result of "oh two women are battling! Cat fight!" They aren't having a cat fight, as I see it, they're both addressing where the movement stands and what they feel needs to be done. (And doing so in a grown up manner which does allow for disagreement.) But not one e-mail mentioned Smith's remarks on Geov Parrish. (There's a member contribution that will go up later tonight on this site regarding Geov Parrish.)
Hopefully, that's due to the fact that people are either unfamiliar with Parrish or don't hold him in as high regard as they do Klein. Otherwise, we might need to examine ourselves on why we focused on a Smith v. Klein battle. (Which is not calling any e-mailer sexist. But it is noting that we're conditioned as a culture to respond in certain ways when two women have a civilized disagreement that we wouldn't think twice of if it involved two men.)

Just as I feel Klein short-handed (and I don't condemn or criticize her for that -- the alternative would be for her to take over the panel and deliver a lengthy speech), Smith short-handed as well. There are a number of topics where we're understanding what Smith's saying by what she's alluding to or implying and not from what she's outright stated. (It's a short article.)

But they are allowed to disagree and to debate. (Again, my opinion, I don't think they are as far apart as Smith does. I could be wrong.) And we will certainly highlight Smith again if a member comes across her writing or if I do on my own.

On the subject of highlighting, four e-mails came in this week asking why we don't highlight Media Matters. Since we have often linked to their site, I'm guessing that the question means why don't we highlight their individual writing.

Take it up with Media Matters. Ask them if they can be quoted as long as they are credited. Point, they do short entries. They are to-the-point entries. They are packed with information. But as I understand fair use, it's pretty much impossible to highlight one of their standard posts because they're short. I could pull a sentence. Maybe two. But the reality is that this is a community that (unless a new influx of members have come in that I'm unaware of) has serious privacy concerns. They do not like being tracked online and the fact that, other than Ron of Why Are We Back In Iraq, no one's dealt with what information is being tracked has resulted in the fact that most members do not visit links.

That's been addressed here before which is why I've asked you to choose your excerpt carefully if you're excerpting. If something made you laugh and that's why you want it highlighted and you're offering an excerpt, make sure it includes the laugh. If, from an article you think is strong, there was a passage that just stood out to you for whatever reason (point being made, beautifully written, whatever) make sure that's what you're highlighting -- or asking to be highlighted.

I'm looking in my e-mails of another account (you can sign up and receive Media Matters via e-mail) and the first Media Matters e-mail I opened is two paragraphs and the second paragraph is one sentence. That's the text. The contact info at the bottom doesn't count as text. Unless Media Matters is offering that their items, as long as they are properly credited, can be quoted in full, we won't do it due to fair use issues.

Jude had a one paragraph post that we quoted half of (Friday) because it was just too important and I thought, "Okay, if we exceeded fair use, I think Jude will understand and not take offense." It was an important post and she made her comments cleary and with great brevity. She summed up what most of us were feeling beautifully. (And briefly, I would've gone on for the equivalent of five pages on the same topic.) We posted the petition from Tom Hayden's site for the same reasons: it was important and I didn't think he would take offense to it.

I have no assumptions on Media Matters's policy on quoting them, however. And since they do write brief entries, they could clarify it. (Don't even suggest that I e-mail them and ask them. I was telling Ron this morning that the e-mails reached such a peak in the last few days that I'm now having trouble just keeping up with reading them. So if you want them to quoted here, I'm happy to, but take the lead on that and get their permission because I don't have the time to.)

I don't think a month goes by that we don't mention David Brock (and we've quoted from his book, possibly from "books.") There's no attempt on my part to overlook what they do at Media Matters, but there are concerns regarding fair use.

As for this site, we have a Creative Commons agreement. That was added when The Majority Report had someone on speaking of that. That was done so that statements couldn't be altered. By that I mean, my statements. As long as they aren't altered, I don't care if anyone posts them in full. (By altered, I don't mean edited such as including ". . ." I do, however, mean that words I disagree with aren't put in my mouth to convey an endorsement for something I don't believe in.) As for members posts, they're posted so fair use applies. Quoting from a member's post in full is something I can't give permission for. (That includes Kat's posts here under Kat's Korner. Kat would need to give you permission. If she gives you permission, you have mine as well.)

Our UK members frequently post entries from this site onto various sites (usually in DVD reviews where they're quickly pulled down). That doesn't bother me at all. If someone's highlighting an issue on their site and wants to use something here (that I've written) as a jumping point or entry point or as the full point, feel free. (Of course, in my mind, that means someone of the left, but anyone could do so, as long as they didn't alter the comments to endorse something that wasn't being endorsed.)

So again, no, there's no problem with Media Matters. We've linked to them before, we'll link to them again. It's hard to do a pull quote from a brief item. But we have quoted from David Brock's longer writing.

I e-mailed a draft of this post to Shirley. She wants two points clarified/made. 1) If anyone ever feels the quote used from their writing borrowed too much, please e-mail the site immediately.
2) Reposting any item by me from this site is allowed as "a courtesty one blogger to another and is does not apply to any use by an institution or individual attempting to profit from their own writing or someone else's." (If that's not clear to you, I'm a little confused too. I'll re-read her e-mail and make sure I posted that correctly.) (I think she's saying, an individual blogger or any indy media is more than welcome to repost a full entry but a magazine or a for pay site is not.)
Clarification: Shirley adds "For profit." Reposting full entries is not allowed for profit.

This is a long post, but Shirley also reminded me in her e-mail to do a heads up on Jane Fonda's upcoming 60 Minutes interview. I'll try to mention that in another entry because I know this one is one long run on.

On the plus side, maybe there won't be any e-mails saying that Third Estate Sunday Review is resulting in no lengthy posts on Saturdays anymore. Back to Gina, she notes that in TV reviews at Third Estate Sunday Review with Ava, I've been full of observations lately, just not here. It's fun to write with Ava. And on a TV review, I'm assuming more people get that even when we're making a point, we're being silly and that it's okay to laugh. In writing those, we're usually throwing out observations to each other trying to get a response (laughter) and then from our various one and two-liners we pull together a review. And in a pretty depressing month, where most days I just wanted to come home and crawl into bed, that's been one of the few highlights.
So let me say thank you to Ava because writing TV reviews with her has been fun, entertaining and a huge joy.

The e-mail address for this site is (Shirley wants this put in in every entry and she has a reason for that).
Note: Any typos or word errors are there for your amusement. If I've mispelled a proper name, please advise me so I can correct it.
Note II: Post corrected for clarity, thanks to Kara, and "for profit" point added per Shirley.

This morning's Times floods the zone re: Pope John Paul II

Yesterday, while at lunch, I overheard one breathless woman exclaim, "Did you hear? The Pope just died!" This woman, whom I know vaguely, usually concerns herself with "news" coverage relating to what teacher is sleeping with what student.

So right away, it was obvious we were entering a new feeding frenzy and that the (media) circus had yet again come to town.

Coming back from lunch, I was greeted with "Should we go to Italy?" This from a man who'd spent the morning juggling his evening plans with the woman he lives with and the one he sees on the side. Being neither doctors nor immediate family, I really didn't grasp a purpose of the proposed "road trip" short of providing someone with coverage for not being able to live up to promises he was finding increasingly hard to keep.

All of which brings me to this morning's New York Times which features not one, not two, but three front page stories on Pope John Paul II. Also front-paged are four photos (one of which takes up nearly half the front page). It's flood-the-zone time and we check in on St. Peter's Square, New York, Jerusalem and Poland while articles are authored by Ian Fisher, Jodie Wilgoren and Daniel J. Wakin. I'm sure all three articles are fact based and I won't question the sincerity of the individual authors, but I do question the paper's need to flood the zone on this story.

Pope John Paul II, barring a miracle, will soon pass away. And I'm sure those photographed holding vigils and praying are sincere.

I'm just not sure of the paper's sincerity. Is it just a need to get "ahead of the story," or is something more going on?

Phone calls and e-mails report on the all- "news"- networks' coverage of this expected event and the only phrase that comes to mind is "event TV." That's hardly surprising and a solid reason to give up watching TV "news." Stoking the melodrama and upping the hand wringing has become the hallmark of TV "reporting." (Sunday, ABC's This Week plans to devote a full hour to Pope John Paul II.) But when the Grey Lady, which prides itself on "taste" and "restraint," ups the ante as well, I'm left wondering exactly what's going on?

Is this coverage (including the Times) some cultural reflection of our fear of death? Sociologically what does this say about our reaction to a natural phase of life?

I don't know.

I do know that Democracy Now! managed to address the issues of Pope John Paul's health and his legacy in one story yesterday. Yes, just one. That can be done when you forsake melodrama and go with the facts in a straight foward manner.

Why the paper needs to turn the front page over to a death watch this morning (with two pages -- A6 and A7 -- inside turned over to the continuation of the same three stories, plus six additional photos and a sidebar entitled "Many Days of Tradition, Security and Homage") for an event that has yet to happen is beyond me.

Maybe that's just me. Maybe I just don't respond well to feeding frenzies or media circuses.
And maybe I've failed to grasp how severely we've trashed our notions of privacy as we've raced to embrace the Tabloid Nation feel.

But I'm looking at the Times, reflecting on the reports of TV coverage from phone calls and e-mails, while flipping around the net to see how many "news" web sites are handling this and
what I'm seeing is Terry Schiavo's autopsy competing with the latest death watch (and losing -- apparently Schiavo is now "so yesterday") on what could be assumed to be the "serious" or "hard" news story topics while both lose out to topics such as the ten "most affordable cars" and "lucky days for lovers."

So I'm wondering exactly when did death pageants become the new beauty pageants? And what exactly does that say about us?

Again, barring a miracle (which could happen, probably won't, but it could), Pope John Paul II will soon be deceased. And certainly that will be a story. He's a world leader, an international figure. He's touched many lives and many will be affected by the loss.

But after one long death watch, is it really time to start up another? And do death watches qualify as "hard" news or are we looking at features passing themselves off as "hard" news?
I'm sure it will sell papers, I'm sure it will pull in viewers and "hits" to web sites.

And to the best of my knowledge, there's no patron saint of privacy. So perhaps dignity and restraint are too much to expect from today's media and the notion that anything less than a feeding frenzy doesn't properly honor a person at the end of life has taken hold?

Having raised the issue of "living wills" for over two weeks, perhaps the news media (or "news" media) is now trying to alert us to a modern development -- the need for planning the living eulogy?

I don't know. But what's going on strikes me as something other than a journalistic conceit to pull off a literary Faulkner (As I Lay Dying) while rushing to cover all bases (and then some).

Having upped the ante to the extreme in the lead up, what exactly do they intend to do when the Pope passes?

And exactly when did the Times decide to toss out their own pose of "restraint" and "taste?"
(Probably somewhere around the time they decided to do daily reporting on the Michael Jackson trial -- too many articles on which have made the front page.) The paper's need to institute a death watch, to join in (and front page to the extreme) on the feeding frenzy may be a portent of things to come. If so, the road ahead doesn't look smooth.

Do we get the media we deserve or just the one we settle for? The tabolid-ization of the news and nation ups the ante even higher while an ill and ailing man struggles with his own mortality.
So a "quality of news" question might be one we should ponder before the press starts beating the drums for the next death watch.

As always, I could be wrong.

The e-mail address for this site is

Friday, April 01, 2005

Laura Flanders speaking engagements and topics for her show Saturday

Saturday on The Laura Flanders Show on Air America (radio):

Saturday, April 2
Death and dying in America are center stage with the Pope and Terri Schiavo. We’ll talk about what we’ve learned about some people’s strange relationship with mortality and we’ll unravel the right-wing conspiracy to make the most of the Terry Schiavo case.
Conservative foundations, resuscitating Operation Rescue and the Vatican’s hidden hand all played a part. Pro-choice protester SUNSARA TAYLOR tells us how she braved the hospice barricades. Investigative journalist FRED CLARKSON describes the religious right’s organizing. Finally, extraordinary jazz singer CHERYL BENTYNE on her new CD featuring the swing and bebop music of Anita O’Day.

At, you can find a schedule of upcoming events for Laura Flanders:

New York, NY
Thursday 4/14, 6:30-8:30 pm
Conversation with Karen Finley and Ellen Willis at New York University.
Cantor Film Center. 36 East 8th Street. Room 101.

Burlington, VT

Monday 4/18, 7-9 pm
Conversation with Tariq Ali at The University of Vermont.
Ira Allen Hall.
Co-sponsored by Vermont Progressive Party and the UVM Women's Center.

Houston, TX
Tuesday 4/19, 7:30 pm
Conversation with Tariq Ali at The University of Houston.
Houston Room, Second Floor, University Center.

Austin, TX
Wednesday 4/20, 7-9 pm
Conversation with Tariq Ali at The University of Texas.
Jester Auditorium, A121, 21st & Speedway.

Durham, NC
Monday 4/25 Noon
Brown Bag Lunch.
Duke University.
Perkins Library,
Rare Books Room.
Co-sponsored by The Sallie Bingham Center for Women's History & Culture.

7 pm
The Regulator Bookshop.
720 Ninth Street. (919) 286-2700.

Boulder, CO
Monday 5/2
4 pm
Lecture at The University of Colorado, Old Main Chapel.
Followed by reception with the Women's Studies Department at the Women's Studies Cottage.

7 pm
Word is Out
Women's Bookstore. 2015 10th Street. 303 449-1415.

Tuesday 5/3
12-1 pm
Lecture at Denver University.
Co-sponsored by the Gender & Women's Studies Department. The Chamber Center.
The Garden Room.

5:30-7 pm
The Denver Woman's Press Club.
1325 Logan Street.

7:30 pm
The Mercury Cafe.
2199 California Street.
(303) 294 9258

Thursday 5/5
4 pm
Keynote address at The University of Colorado Women's Studies graduation ceremony.
Old Main Chapel.

St Louis, MO
Thursday, 5/12,
7 pm
Left Bank Books.
399 North Euclid.
(314) 367-6731

Friday, 5/13,
2 pm
The National Conference for Media Reform, panelist, "Creating the Solution."

As with other listings, make a note, mark it on a calender or bookmark this entry. If you're expecting me to remember to post a reminder, you're setting yourself up for frustration.
The e-mail address for this site is:

And I'll note that between Amy Goodman's Un-Embed the Media tour, The Nation going to New Jersey, Dahr Jamail and Laura Flanders, a lot of areas are being covered. Hopefully something is coming to or near your community. (If you're in the United States. My apologies to our international members. But if you know of events in your area that you would like highlighted, please e-mail the site and we'll get it up. Our international members and our third party members often suffer from my focus on domestic -- United States -- and on the Democratic Party. I apologize for that and encourage you to keep me on my toes -- and to keep me honest.)

Dahr Jamail writing you may have missed and appearences for April

Dahr Jamail is supposed to have an interview with Socialist Worker magazine but I'm not finding it online. Check yourself because I may be missing it. (Eric Ruder is the interviewer.)

But for those jones-ing for new posts to Iraq Dispatches, I'll point to these two articles in Socialist Worker.

"We will resist U.S. empire, say voices across Middle East:"

"Iraqi culture is being crushed under the tracks of US tanks," says Dahr Jamail, one of the few independent journalists reporting from occupied Iraq. He is clear what is happening there.
He tells Socialist Worker this week that "day by day... more people have been enraged by the occupation and are joining the resistance".
The anti-war movement takes to the streets in force on Saturday to show the massive and continuing anger at the occupation of Iraq and the threat of war against Iran and Syria.

March 19, 2005 "Dahr Jamail on his experience of the Iraqi resistance:"

I first began reporting from Iraq in November 2003 after seeing the disparity between the mainstream media and independent reports coming out of the country. I had done so much reading before my first trip that I felt I knew what to expect.
But the reality was much worse than I imagined. I was shocked by how brutal the occupation was and how intense the anti-American sentiment was among so many Iraqis. I saw how there was no reconstruction taking place. Every building was in a complete shambles.
Six months into the occupation, Iraqis were talking about how even under sanctions they were able to rebuild power stations and services, while here was the most powerful army in the world and they had achieved nothing. Billions of dollars had been allocated to reconstruction, yet no work had been done.
I was struck by the growing poverty among ordinary people. Before the invasion the jobless rate was 30 percent. By November 2003 it had risen to 40 percent. Now it is well over 50 percent. Jobs are so hard to come by now that many Iraqis have been reduced to begging or selling little bits and pieces.

The above are excerpts. And check the site because I must be missing the interview. Here is an excerpt from the interview I can't find:

Dahr Jamail: I was in Falluja during the April siege last year for a couple of days, and then I went back in May several times to report on what happened. But I didn't go in November, because the military cordoned off the city and maintains that cordon to this day. They're not letting any journalists in there. I’ve been getting information by interviewing refugees, or through some of my colleagues who have been in and out of the city several times.Life there is horrendous. At least 65 percent of the buildings have been bombed to the ground, and what’s left has been severely damaged. There's no water, no electricity and, of course, no jobs. And when people go back into the city, they have to get a retina scan and get fingerprinted, and then they're issued an ID card.
Then they go inside to find what's left of their homes, and in a really horrible situation in which the military remains in total control of the town. There are snipers everywhere, and the ambulances aren't able really to run--they're still being targeted by the military. The one remaining hospital--Falluja General Hospital--is barely functioning, because people have to go through checkpoints to get there.
Life in Falluja is really a horror story. Most of the city's residents are refugees and will continue to be refugees for quite some time. They're scattered in small towns on the outskirts of Falluja, as well as Baghdad and other cities. The last estimate I heard was about 25,000--maybe a little bit more than that--had returned back to a city that once had a population of 350,000.

On March 21st, we had a post here entitled "Forget Matt Lauer, where in the world is Dahr Jamail?" that listed his speaking engagements. Here are his engagements for April:

April 05, 2005
Port Townsend, Washington
Tuesday, April 5 at 7 p.m.
Dahr Jamail Is Coming to Port Townsend !
Wheeler Theater at Fort Worden State Park

April 09, 2005
Santa Cruz, California
Saturday, April 9, 2005 - 7:00 pm
Dahr Jamail, one of the only Independent, Unembedded journalists in Iraq, speaks
in Santa Cruz
The Santa Cruz Vets Hall - 846 Front Street, Santa Cruz, CA

April 10, 2005
Sonoma County, California
Sunday, April 10th at 2:00 pm
Interviews with Dahr Jamail
Sonoma State University’s Cooperage Auditorium

April 11, 2005
Oakland, California
Monday, April 11, 6:30 pm
Dahr Jamail Reports Back From Iraq
Nahl Hall, CCA Oakland Campus, 5212 Broadway

April 13, 2005
UC Berkeley, California
Wednesday, April 13, 2005 - 5:30-7:30 pm
Dahr Jamail speaks at UC Berkeley
3108 Etcheverry Hall, UC Berkeley

And we'll also note this since it's on May 1st and I will probably be doing the usual catch up at that time:

May 01, 2005
Brussels, Belgium
Sunday, May 1st , 2005 1 pm
Conference: What road to peace in Iraq?
Brussels, Belgium.
Free University of Brussels Pleinlaan 2 1050

Mark it on your calender, make yourself a note or bookmark the post. (Don't count on me to remember to do a heads up on my own the day before an event.)

The Nation in New Jersey next week

Next week in New Jersey, The Nation will be having several events. This is the first in what's planned to be a series of campus activities this year. Princeton is the first stop.

Thursday, April 7, 2005
Meet Nation Editor Katrina vanden Heuvel and Nation National Affairs Correspondent William Greider in an author signing.
2:00 to 3:00pm at The U-Store, Princeton University campus
Ask questions of a Nation magazine panel on the media, politics, the war and the Bush Administration.
8:00 to 9:30pm at McCosh Hall, #50; Princeton University campus
FREE. Seating Limited. please arrive early.
Doors open at 7:30.
Katrina vanden Heuvel (Nation Editor)
William Greider (Award-winning author, Nation Nat'l Affairs Correspondent)
Juliet Eilperin (McGraw Professor in Writing, Princeton Univ., Washington Post reporter)
Sean Wilentz (Dayton-Stockon Professor of History, Princeton University)
Plus a panel of student questioners. (Audience questions to follow.)
Sponsored by The Nation; co-sponsored by The Daily Princetonian, The Progressive Review, The Idealistic Nation, Whig-Clio, the Organization of Women Leaders and The Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.

I know community members are familiar with Katrina vanden Heuvel and I'd guess if you're in the area that may be all you need to know to get you motivated to go. But I want to take a moment to note William Greider as well. If I were to make a list of list of people who have influenced my political thought, William Greider would have to appear on that list. His books are many -- and all worth reading. (I believe the latest was The Soul of Capitalism -- that was the last one I read at any rate, so if there's a book since, please e-mail the site so I can pick it up.) He's an amazing writer and one of the high points of the eighties Rolling Stone magazine.

We have a number of members who were, and are, Rolling Stone readers and if you remember strong writing exposing trickle down economics (among other topics), you were reading Greider.

Everyone involved is worth listening to but the combination of Katrina vanden Heuvel and William Greider should make this a don't miss opportunity if you're in the area.

It's highly likely that I won't remember to mention this event again (especially if problems with Blogger come up again), so if you're in that area, write it down or bookmark this post to remind yourself. (Or e-mail me next week, by Tuesday, so I can post a reminder.)

Site e-mail address is The Nation web site is a permanent link that you can find, as with all our permalinks, on the left.

Democracy Now: Zimbabwe elections, Afghanistan, Pope John Paul II; Daily Howler, Jude (Iddybud); Ron (Why Are We Back in Iraq), Matthew Rothschild

From Democracy Now!,"always worth watching" -- Marcia, it's one don't miss segment after another:

Headlines for April 1, 2005
- Pope John Paul II in "Very Grave" Condition
- Terri Schiavo Dies, 13 Days after Feeding Tube Removed
- World Bank Oks Wolfowitz To Head Bank
- ACLU Says Top Iraq Commander May Be Guilty of Perjury
- U.S. Intelligence Agencies "Dead Wrong" on Iraq WMDs
- U.S. Accused to Using Food Access as Military Tactic
The Zimbabwe Elections: Opposition Accuses Mugabe of Rigging the Vote
Yesterday, parliamentary elections took place in Zimbabwe. Reports from the country say that the elections went off relatively peacefully. And for the first time- the opposition party, Movement for Democratic Change, was able to campaign openly. The party is the first to seriously challenge President Mugabe's government since Zimbabwe won independence in 1980. [includes rush transcript]
Taliban Country: Afghanistan 3 1/2 Years After the U.S. Invasion
We talk to Sonali Kolhatkar, co-Director of the Afghan Women's Mission and filmmaker, Carmela Baranowska who was embedded with 800 U.S. Marines in one of the most remote and dangerous parts of Afghanistan. She made a film called Taliban Country which is a disturbing expose of American actions in that country. [includes rush transcript]
A Look At The Legacy of Pope John Paul II
Pope John Paul II is in what the Vatican describes as very grave condition and has been administered the last rites after suffering heart failure yesterday. The 84-year-old Pope reportedly decided himself not to go to the hospital. [includes rush transcript]

Over at The Daily Howler, Bob Somerby is addressing Michelle Cottle's (of The New Republic) claim that the national press mocks people of faith. In the excerpt below, he's providing examples which don't appear to back up Cottle's claim:

Did Terri Schiavo "attempt to verbalize the sentence" for Weller? Weller had made even more outlandish claims in that earlier declaration, the one which fooled that compassionate observer. But so what? The Times simply described Weller as "a lawyer." The Times politely refusing to ridicule Weller. Indeed, the paper refused to even mention the good lawyer's religious point of view.
But just who is this Barbara Weller, simply described by the Times as a lawyer? She's a lawyer for the Christian Law Association, a point Times readers might have wanted to know as they read her miracle declarations. Long before Weller got involved in the Schiavo case, the Hartford Courant's David Renner described her conduct elsewhere:

RENNER (7/5/92): They met on Independence Day, but people who are unhappy with the liberal positions of the United Church of Christ said they were not ready to declare their own independence--yet.

They were urged Saturday to stay within the 1.6 million-member denomination to fight to change such policies as the church's stand in favor of abortion rights and its taking affirmative action to place gay and lesbian ministers in church positions.
"It is God against the devil," said Barbara Weller, a founder of the Biblical Witness Fellowship, a conservative caucus within the church.
She said that the devil appears to have the upper hand, thwarting conservative Christians at every level.
In 1992, Weller thought the devil had gained the upper hand because Christian conservatives were being thwarted. Now, she said Terri Schiavo was trying to verbalize pre-canned thoughts--and the New York Times printed it straight.
What exactly should the Times do about a source like Weller? That's a tough call, but it's perfectly clear that the paper-of-record went out of its way to avoid "ridiculing" her religious views, which are in fact "out of the mainstream." For the record, the Washington Post took the same tack with Weller and her miracle declarations. They also reported Weller's claim straight. To the Post, Weller was a "lawyer," plain and simple. There was no reference to her religion. Simply put, there was nothing to mock.

Over at Iddybud, Jude's demonstrating her wisdom once again. As Rebecca noted last night (in her Women's History Note), don't ask where are the women writers, ask why you don't know about them. Jude's someone who should have her a huge audience and be booked on the chat & chews. From "Dead Wrong" she addresses why she hasn't felt the need to
weigh in on the WMD report:

We have known it all along. What I would like to know is when we'll see an official report examining the role of the White House, particularly Dick Cheney and his band of NeoCons, in massaging the data on WMD. The Commission's report did not deal with that subject matter at all.

To the point, informed, saying what needs to be said -- check out Jude's blog Iddybud because she's also got some amazing photographs lately. (I was referring to buildings, but John Edwards supporters will be pleased with other photos as well.)

Over at Why Are We Back in Iraq?, Ron continues to do amazing work. He's owned the Talon story from the start and continues to do so. Today, he has a post regarding Talon and this post which Billie picked for excerpting:

Finally, NYU's Jay Rosen at Press Think responds to another sort of challenge, issued by blogger, writer Halley Suitt, in regards to the meme about "white, male, American bloggers...not promoting enough diverse talent in the blogosphere." So Jay rises to the challenge, by introducing his readers to some new and different voices that he selected with the help of Lisa Stone: Fourteen New Voices: A Reply to Halley's Comment. Now I'm presented with the additional challenge of checking out all the bloggers named and adding them to my blogroll which I'll get to within the next week. In the meantime, go read Jay & Lisa's co-post and discover some new voices for yourself.
Journalism isn't dead yet. It's up to us to give it new life, by doing it ourselves or by helping them to understand that they haven't been doing their jobs very well at least the last five years. The more blogs, the merrier. Of course, I already link to a ton of blogs that I couldn't possible keep up with every day, but I do make a point of hitting the neglected ones that aren't on my short list every chance I get, and I hope everyone else does the same when they can.

Over at The Progressive, Matthew Rothschild has two "This Just In"s up. The first deals with Schiavo and we'll excerpt from the second entitled "Bush, Cheney, Get Their Whitewash:"

Another investigation, another whitewash.
The presidential commission on how the U.S. was so wrong about Iraq's supposed weapons of mass destruction gives Bush and Cheney exactly what they wanted: cover.
The Silberman-Robb report lays the blame primarily on the CIA for "poor tradecraft and poor management" and for presenting Bush with "alarmist" information in his daily briefings.
And it essentially exonerates Bush and Cheney from the charge that they cooked the intelligence. "In no instance did political pressure cause [analysts] to skew or alter any of their analytical judgments," it said.
Never mind that Cheney virtually set up camp at the CIA while they were drawing up those judgments.
How his unprecedented lurkings didn't represent political pressure is just beyond me.

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Boxer wants a timetable for leaving Iraq, should Russert meet the press?, and other items

From the LA Times, note Greg Miller and Bob Drogin's "Intelligence Analysts Whiffed on a 'Curveball': Report says one Iraqi defector singlehandedly corrupted prewar weapons estimates:"

Despite persistent doubts about his credibility, Curveball's claims were included in the Bush administration's case for war without so much as a caveat. And when CIA analysts argued after the war that the agency needed to admit it had been duped, they were forced out of their jobs.
The disclosures about Curveball and the extensive role he played in corrupting U.S. intelligence estimates on Iraq were included in a devastating report released Thursday by a commission established by President Bush to evaluate U.S. intelligence on weapons of mass destruction. The 601-page document is a sweeping assessment of U.S. intelligence failures that identifies breakdowns in dozens of cases involving multiple countries and terrorist organizations.
But in many ways, Curveball's story is the centerpiece of the report, a cautionary tale told in excruciating detail to highlight failures that plagued U.S. spy agencies at almost every step in the intelligence process -- from collection to analysis to presentation to policymakers.

From Editor & Publisher, note Allan Wolper's "Ethics Corner: Time for Russert to 'Meet the Press' As other journalists face jail time, the TV host needs to explain why he agreed to testify in the Valerie Plame probe:"

It's time for Tim Russert to meet the press. It's time for the host of NBC's long-running, Sunday morning interview program to stop hiding behind his bosses and start talking. It's time for him to answer questions about his secret testimony, delivered under oath in the Valerie Plame CIA-leak case.
It's long past time for Russert to explain why he testified last August and then remained a high-profile member of an organization founded 35 years ago to keep reporters away from subpoena-toting prosecutors. That organization, The Reporters Committee For Freedom of the Press, is a leader in the legal fight to stop special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald's crusade to catch The CIA Leaker and jail any reporter who resists him.
Russert's secret testimony has become a quiet embarrassment to the members of the Reporters Committee, whose members have until now kept their opinions to themselves. Russert's willingness to answer Fitzgerald's questions is astounding because he is a member of the RCFP steering committee along with Earl Caldwell, the former New York Times reporter whose refusal to obey a Nixon Administration subpoena was the motivating force behind the committee's formation.
"I was stunned when I found out that Russert testified," said Caldwell, now an endowed professor at The Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communication at Hampton University in Virginia. "A guy like Tim Russert, he should know better. But he didn't come out of journalism, he comes out of politics. Maybe he sees things another way."

From The Chicago Tribune, noteGlenn Jeffers "Marine reservist arrested on charge of desertion -- Family says he sought discharge, focused on school:"

Lance Cpl. Charles Lee, 21, of the 800 block of Concord Lane, Hoffman Estates, surrendered Wednesday to local police. Military officials say Lee was supposed to be with the Chicago-based 2nd Battalion, 24th Marine Regiment. That unit was called up June 1 and is in the midst of returning to the U.S. after serving south of Baghdad.But on Thursday, members of Lee's family said he thought he had completed his obligations to the Marine Reserves and was concentrating on completing his degree in biomedical engineering. "It's not fair," said Lee's mother, Sung Joo. "Two years ago, he tried to [get a] discharge, but nobody [would] accept it."Lee joined the reserves in the summer of 2001, shortly after graduating from Fremd High School, to help pay for school, said his brother, James, 19.

From the Washington Post, Rob e-mails "U.S. Soldier Convicted In Iraqi Shooting Death
Charge Is Reduced to Manslaughter
" by Melissa Eddy. From that article:

A military court Thursday convicted a U.S. Army tank company commander of a lesser criminal charge in connection with the shooting death of a wounded Iraqi man last year.
Capt. Rogelio Maynulet was found guilty of assault with intent to commit voluntary manslaughter, which carries a maximum of 10 years in prison. Prosecutors had sought conviction on a more serious charge of assault with intent to commit murder, which has a 20-year maximum.

From the BBC note Paul Wood's "Iraq war: two years on:"

Now, he has just become the first US serviceman from Iraq to be charged with murder. He is accused of killing two unarmed Iraqis, shooting them in the back, and putting their bodies on display as a warning to others.
Lt Pantano denies the charges. But the accusations against him, along with the Abu Ghraib prison scandal and the growing insurgency, all show how Iraq has turned out to be so much more complicated than the Americans ever expected.

So far, more than 1,500 US servicemen and women have died in Iraq - 10 times the number killed in the "major combat operations" that President Bush said had ended on 1 May 2003.
And - literally - countless thousands of Iraqi civilians have lost their lives.
Just after President Bush made his declaration, I met Saed Abbas, whose wife and six children all died in an American airstrike.

In fact, 43 members of his extended family were killed by the single missile. His brother lost his six children; his sister, seven.

In These Times has "Wake Up! Washington’s alarming foreign policy" by Chalmers Johnson:

I believe that on November 2, 2004, the United States crossed its own Rubicon. Until last year's presidential election, ordinary citizens could claim that our foreign policy, including the invasion of Iraq, was George Bush's doing and that we had not voted for him. In 2000, Bush lost the popular vote and was appointed president by the Supreme Court. In 2004, he garnered 3.5 million more votes than John Kerry. The result is that Bush's war changed into America's war and his conduct of international relations became our own.
This is important because it raises the question of whether restoring sanity and prudence to American foreign policy is still possible. During the Watergate scandal of the early '70s, the president's chief of staff, H. R. Haldeman, once reproved White House counsel John Dean for speaking too frankly to Congress about the felonies President Nixon had ordered. "John," he said, "once the toothpaste is out of the tube, it's very hard to get it back in." This homely warning by a former advertising executive who was to spend 18 months in prison for his own role in Watergate fairly accurately describes the situation of the United States after the reelection of George W. Bush.

Lastly, from The San Francisco Chronicle, note John Wildermuth's "Boxer wants deadline for leaving Iraq Senator says Iraqis can't rely forever on U.S. for security:"

Sen. Barbara Boxer, back from a visit to Iraq, called on President Bush Tuesday to set a deadline for pulling U.S. troops out of that country and letting the Iraqis handle their own defense.
"If we do not set a date, the signals are very mixed,'' Boxer said in San Francisco. "People will just sit back and let us defend them.''
While U.S. military leaders were both concerned about the growing danger of a lengthy stay in Iraq and confident that the newly trained Iraqi military forces can handle the country's security, Iraqi officials she talked to had their doubts about when their troops would be ready, the California Democrat said.

Times on Berger, LA police scandal, and UN, The Independent notes two British journalists arrested for covering Zimbawe's elections

Question for the day, is Sandy Berger entering a plea deal to put the incident behind him or is he Sticky Fingers Berger?

Kara e-mailed wondering how this would play out elsewhere. I have no idea what others will say. Many defended him at the time, including myself (this was before The Common Ills went up). However, if he's pleading guilty, that's different than operating under the presumption of innocent until proven guilty.

Kara writes that this "is an important issue." I couldn't agree more. To reference the story we're discussing, Eric Lichtblau's "Ex-Clinton Adviser to Admit Taking Classified Papers" from this morning's New York Times.

The material involved a classified assessment of terrorist threats in 2000, which Mr. Berger was reviewing in his role as the Clinton administration's point man in providing material to the independent commission investigating the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Officials with the Archives and the Sept. 11 commission ultimately determined that despite the incident, the commission had access to all the material needed in its work.
When the issue surfaced last year, Mr. Berger insisted that he had removed the classified material inadvertently. But in the plea agreement reached with prosecutors, he is expected to admit that he intentionally removed copies of five classified documents, destroyed three and misled staff members at the National Archives when confronted about it, according to an associate of Mr. Berger's who is involved in his defense but who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the plea has not been formalized in court.

Kara: I don't care what his reasons were or what someone Clintonista rushes in to offer as defense. If he did it, if he removed material the 9-11 commission was intending to review, it doesn't matter to me if he returned it or if "ultimately" the commission "determined" they had all the material they needed.

Agreed. That was an investigation, not the type we needed, but all we've gotten thus far. If he removed materially intentionally in the midst of an investigation, serious issues are raised.

Again, he may be copping a plea to put the matter behind him. I don't know. But if he does indeed plead guilty, there are questions that he needs to answer. Maybe he'll pull a Mad Maddie and say he's answered that question thousands of time and take offense when anyone asks it, but the reality is an investigation was ongoing and if he's pleading that he intentionally removed papers (for whatever personal reason) there's really no defense for that.

The paper notes (rumor, at this point, and people should remember that as we wait to see what happens):

On Sept. 2, 2003, in a daylong review of documents, Mr. Berger took a copy of a lengthy White House "after-action" report that he had commissioned to assess the government's performance in responding to the so-called millennium terrorist threat before New Year's 2000, and he placed the document in his pocket, the associate said. A month later, in another Archives session, he removed four copies of other versions of the report, the associate said.
Mr. Berger's intent, the associate said, was to compare the different versions of the 2000 report side by side and trace changes.

The paper also wonders what the future will hold for him (the usual he-looks-forward-to-putting-this-behind-him is offered).

Berger may have truly been tired. He may have been uncomfortable reviewing the documents in the designated space. While that may be the case and that may be understandable, the fact remains that it was in the midst of an investigation.

I have no desire to trash Berger and I hope the rumors are false . If they're true, he has questions to answer and there's no "moving on" until it's dealt with. That's not meant to imply that he should be crucified but that is to say that if he wants to continue his career in the public sector, he needs to answer tough questions. In a perfect world, he'd go on Democracy Now! and answer questions for Amy Goodman & Juan Gonzalez. Since I don't see that happening, possibly he could go on Nightline before Ted Koppel steps down.

John M. Broder's "Los Angeles Paying Victims $70 Million for Police Graft" was cited in an e-mail this morning by Marcia who pointed out that she heard about it and a LA Times article on the story, yesterday on Democracy Now!. From the Times' article:

The city has settled, at a cost of almost $70 million, nearly all of more than 200 lawsuits filed in the aftermath of the worst corruption scandal in the Los Angeles Police Department's recent history, officials said Thursday.
A handful of cases remain from the episode, the so-called Rampart scandal, which erupted in 1999 when an officer assigned to an antigang unit in the city's Rampart Division blew the whistle on fellow officers. They were accused of framing some of their victims, robbing suspects and engaging in a pervasive pattern of brutality and other misconduct.
[. . .]
More than 100 criminal convictions were overturned as a result of an investigation into the Rampart Division, and more than a dozen officers resigned or were dismissed. The scandal further tarnished the reputation of a department that many in African-American and Latino neighborhoods already considered a hostile occupying force. It also led directly to a consent decree with the Justice Department that provided for federal monitoring of arrests to track racial profiling and for more stringent civilian oversight of the police.

Here's the Democracy Now! item from yesterday:

Los Angeles Pays $70 Million in Police Abuse SettlementsThe city of Los Angeles is expected to announce today it will end up paying a total $70 million in settlements to citizens who were abused by the police as part as what is known as the Rampart Division police scandal. Over the past five years the city has been sued more than 200 times for police mistreatment and abuse. The Rampart scandal began in September 1999 when Officer Rafael Perez pleaded guilty to charges that he had stolen three kilos of cocaine from LAPD evidence facilities. In exchange for a five-year sentence, he promised to tell authorities about a case in 1996 in which he and his partner shot a young man then planted a gun on him to justify the shooting. Attorney Gregory Yates, who represented clients who were abused, said he was disappointed that none of the major lawsuits went to trial in front of a jury. A trial, he said, "would have exposed how massive and widespread the corruption was."

Also note Warren Hoge's "U.N. Votes to Send Any Sudan War Crime Suspects to World Court:"

The Security Council voted Thursday night to send any war crimes suspects from the Darfur region of Sudan to the International Criminal Court in the Hague, after the United States obtained amendments to exempt Americans from the tribunal's jurisdiction.
The vote of the 15-member Council was 11 in favor, with four abstentions- Algeria, Brazil, China and the United States.

The Times also reports on Zimbabwe's elections but after two "democracy" stories that have had "addendum" stories tacked on to them after about the U.S.'s influence in the region, we'll look elsewhere for reporting on Zimbabwe's elections. So we'll turn to The Independent and highlight Meera Selva's "Zimbabweans queue to vote in 'rigged' poll." From that article:

The European Union has already dismissed the election as fraudulent, but Mr Mugabe has the support of South African election observers, who are expected to rule that the vote is free and fair.
[. . .]
Yesterday, some voters complained that election officials, all chosen by the government, had followed them into the voting booth. MDC officials had urged voters to remain at the polling stations after voting to watch the observers, but the government said anyone lingering would be arrested. The results, expected today, are likely to show that Zanu-PF increased its majority in parliament. Mr Mugabe is keen to win a two-thirds majority, which will allow him to amend the constitution and create an un-elected senate, appointed by the President. Critics say the new chamber, which will have the power to scrutinise proposed legislation, will allow Mr Mugabe to bypass parliament.
Archbishop Pius Ncube, whose see is in the MDC heartland of Bulawayo, caused an outcry when he said the election was fixed and the only way Zimbabweans could oust Mr Mugabe was through a "non-violent popular uprising". Yesterday, he said that Zanu-PF would only win 40 per cent of the vote if the election were truly fair.

Also pay attention to this note at the end of the article:

* Two British journalists have been arrested while covering the election. Toby Harnden, The Sunday Telegraph's chief foreign correspondent, and Julian Simmonds, its photographer, were at a polling station in a primary school near Norton, south of Harare, early in the afternoon, when they were taken into custody.

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Thursday, March 31, 2005

Thomas Friedman is a great man -- Betty's blog goes live

Okay, calm down, chill. You've read the title and thought I'd gone beyond "in fairness." (Yazz may be freaking out. If she's seeing this in the morning, Gina's just spit out her coffee.)

No, I don't think Thomas Friedman is a great man. Neither does community member Betty.
But that's the name of her web site: Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man. It's a humor site. "A parody" as she notes on her site.

So please check it out and check out Rebecca's interview with Betty over at Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude. The plan (which could change) is for The Third Estate Sunday Review
to conduct a longer interview with Betty this weekend for this coming Sunday's edition at their site.

While we're mentioning The Third Estate Sunday Review, let me note their editorial from this past Sunday "There Must Have Been Nothing Else Going On In The World."

And while we're noting community members doing blogs, let's note A Winding Road. Today Folding Star has a post on Fred Korematsu:

A Civil Rights hero passed away yesterday in California. Fred Korematsu's name is not as commonly known as some other heroes in the American civil rights movement, but it should be.
Korematsu was an American citizen of Japanese ancestry who stood up for what was right in 1942 against overwhelming opposition. That year, one of the most vile affronts to civil rights occurred when the United States ordered all of the Japanese who were living on the West Coast into interment camps, regardless of American citizenship.
While Korematsu's family and friends prepared to follow orders and urged him to do the same, he said no. Korematsu knew what so many others knew, but were forcing themselves to overlook in a time of war, which was that this was a grievous violation of his constitutional rights.

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Rebecca notes women writers on Women's History Month

Rebecca (Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude): i want to note women who write for women's history. at my site, i did a women's history note for jane fonda and that's really all i had time for. i was thinking about posting this there but as a community member of the common ills, i felt i would share this here instead and take part in the community's salute to women's history month.

i want to recognize not 1 woman, but all women who write. that's the good writers, the bad writers. as the topic of where are the women bloggers buzzes and the issue of where are the women op-ed writers rages, the fact of the matter is that women have always been writing. we write today. we are out there.

instead of guessing that we need 'mentoring' or 'nuturing,' some would be better off realizing that what we need is recognition.

as bloggers (male and female) stand bemoaning the 'lack of women bloggers' sometimes adding 'blogging on politics,' they stand on the necks of all of us women who are blogging. they choke off our air. instead of whining 'where are they?' they'd do better to start noticing that we are out there. i hate doing links and i'm not going to push that off on c.i. so i'll just say that if you check the blogroll of the common ills, you'll find a number of women bloggers. not all. but some strong 1s like jude and leah and katrina to name just 3.

the bloggers who go out of their way to highlight talking points memo every day, when's the last time they bothered to read AND highlight katrina's editor's cut? do they have any idea what jude is doing? what pam's doing over at big brass blog. (note, i want no links on this post, please. i'm being lazy and not doing them, so c.i. shouldn't do them for me.)

women are out there. people of color are out there. but if you go to the same sites only or you count on who the mainstream media has recognized, you're going to be left with an awfully male, awfully white world. and because you've made that mistake, don't turn around and wail 'where are they???????????????'

we're right here.

and we were here before the net. this argument has been going on for years.

'i would recognize women, but they aren't working in this field.' whatever the field is.

we've written in every field. today, tomorrow and in the past.

but to be 'known' we have to be recognized. and we can support 1 another but if the opinion makers aren't recognizing us, that's really beyond our control.

yesterday, randall highlighted charlotte perkins gilman and i remember the 1st time i learned of her. i was reading a survey book on women in political thought and thinking of a professor (male) who'd taught a class where women weren't mentioned and he'd responded that women really weren't interested in writing about political thought.

that statement was loudly disproven as we rushed to name feminist thinkers we knew of (and guess what, we didn't learn about them in our classes). 'well,' he said, 'i mean classically speaking.'

there's always some reason we aren't included. but the thing is, that doesn't stop us.

i was e-mailing kat of kat's korner about this and she brought up 'women who rock' which is a headline that pops up every few years and in between those years the lament is 'where are the women who rock?' they're rocking their asses off, even though no 1 may be noting them.

she included a line from a stevie nicks' song 'who in the world do you think that you are fooling? well i've already done everything you are doing.' [Note: "Two Kinds of Love" from The Other Side of The Mirror.] exactly. women are already writing. they've always been writing.

and we may virginia woolf it in a room of our own, or we may get immediate and loud recognition. or we may fall in the middle, but we keep writing and we always will, not dependent upon whether some 'official spokesperson' decides we're worthy of recognition.

1 of the many great things the 2nd wave of feminism did was rescue women writers who were in danger of being lost to history. you can't read gerda lerner's writings without realizing how many women wrote in a period that we're taught is absent of women writing.

so my point in this is that we do write, we will write. and we do many other things. and a lot of us have pretty much given up on getting the 'official stamp of approval' because we know how this little game plays out. some 1 wrings their hands and acts all concerned but in a week, maybe 2, they feel the hand wringing was enough of a contribution, enough of an action and they return to the same mind set citing the same exact males and a year or 2 on down the line, they'll suddenly resurface wondering 'where are the women.'

so i want to salute all women writers in all mediums past and present who carved out a space for themselves and kept at it regardless of whether they were noted or not in their own time. i want to salute the voices that come in all varieties and with all opinions, voices we aren't afraid to share and don't do so with any hope that we'll suddenly be 'recognized.'

i write because i want to and it's great if it reaches people but i'm not going to stop writing just because i haven't been 'officially stamped.' and i think this attitude begun long before me. i think it would have to. because if i can note today how few women are recognized for their writing, i can only imagine how bad it was in previous time periods. so i will note the women who write and have written.

On page 73, the fearful face of a haunted black woman stares askance, tentatively tugging on her right ear. Her head is shaven, her eyes are marked

On page 73, the fearful face of a haunted black woman stares askance, tentatively tugging on her right ear. Her head is shaven, her eyes are marked by dark circles, and her breasts droop ever so slightly under an orange-yellow muscle shirt that shows off her golden-brown skin. As she reappears on subsequent pages, the pictures document her bout with breast cancer, showing the scar that is proof of her ordeal, and revealing to the reader traces of intense beauty in her vulnerability.
While these photos depict a dark time that many women would want to forget, Deborah Willis uses them to remember, having photographed herself for "Cancer Diaries," just one chapter in Family History Memory, her new collection of photos and prose that chronicles her life, as well as her life’s work in documenting the African-American experience.
"It’s not hard to look at," says 57-year-old Willis from her New York home, about "Cancer Diaries." "I see it as a reminder of what I was struggling through at the time. I see my visual image as a part of my diaristic." She calls Family History Memory, begun in 2001, the same year she was diagnosed with breast cancer, an effort to teach people "to value how photographic memory is essential to storytelling."

The above is from "Reflected in the Lens: After Years of Chronicling the African-American Experience, Photographer and Former MICA Professor Deborah Willis Turns the Camera on Herself" by Christina Royster-Hemby from The Baltimore City Paper. Yes, it's Thursday and we're doing the Indy Media Round Up.

From IE Indy Media, note Caoimhe's "Olunkunle Eluhanla Coming Home To His Mates:"

McDowell has been forced to admit that he made a mistake in deporting Palmerstown student Olunkunle Eluhanle and is now bringing him back from Nigeria. He is giving him a six month visa to remain in Ireland to do his Leaving Cert. This is obviously due to the immense amount of effort put into this campaign by the Palmerstown Community School students and Residents against Racism, who together forced this issue. They kept this issue alive in the media, which led to all of the oppostion parties, the Archbishop of Dublin, the Teachers Union of Ireland, Integrating Ireland and different schools around the country among others, all coming out against the deportation.
What needs to be done now is that all of those on that flight should be brought back.

From The Boise Weekly, note Bingo Barnes' "The Future of Radio: With technology changing how we consume information, will public radio have a voice in the world of tomorrow?:"

Kevin Klose, the president and CEO of National Public Radio visited Idaho last week. Boise Weekly caught up with him to ask a few questions.
[. . .]
What can both the people who access NPR on the Internet and the local listeners of public radio can expect from NPR in the future?
First of all, lets start with basic radio listeners, which is where the bulk of our support is from. NPR and the member stations are at the forefront of technological change in radio transmission.
In 1979 you were the first to distribute to memberstations your programs.
Yes, we got off the phone lines. But what is coming next is HD radio, which is digital radio transmission. We and our member stations have proven to the FCC that as this digital pipe emerges and analogue transmission-which is the way radio is transmitted now in this country-transitions to digital transmission, we have shown to the FCC that we can multiplex down the pipe. In other words we can put two or more non-interfering channels into the same frequency. It's amazing. Nobody was interested in this. The commercial side was utterly disinterested. They didn't want to go through the rigmarole of having new competition with each other.

Rob e-mails (from The Hartford Advocate) Christopher John Treacy's "Back to the Garden: Tori Amos gets all biblical on her latest :"

"Everything is so fast food, it's super-size-me music, super-size-me information, and it's super-size-me art," she says. "I feel like everything is 'something for dummies.' But you cannot base your performance as an artist of any kind on that model. I don't make records for dummies. I don't provide that sort of literal experience through music; I work in allegory. But Jesus didn't do that either. He didn't do 'literal-anything,' and you know what? I feel like I'm in really good company."
Amos says that she tries to construct music that speaks for itself -- so there's still enjoyment to be derived even if the intended meaning gets misperceived, either through a pure lack of metaphoric understanding, or as a result of language barriers.
"On the last few records, I've wanted to create music that, if you didn't speak English, you could enjoy on a different level," she says. "This record is really popular in Europe, so far, and that's because of its musicality, its rhythmic complexity, etc. -- because it doesn't get translated into all the languages. If people don't want to know what any of the words might mean, that has to be valid, and I have to respect that. So I've had to surrender that one for the sake of not wanting to take a person's enjoyment away. As [my] husband would say, 'Wife, don't beat me over the head with what it means! Let me love it.'"
But that doesn't mean that she's moving away from her standard conceptual motif; Amos is still very much involved in the intersection of feminism, religion and spirituality.

From Worcester Indy Media, note Kvn's "Kerry tells Worcester - EXPAND the Military:"

John Kerry came to town, bringing the near obligatory “recently returned Iraqi Vet” for his show-and-tellesque Political Speechmaking 101 moment. Kerry was in Worcester at the invitation of the Worcester Telegram and Gazette to be part of their Visions 2005 community awards celebration and Kerry wowed the crowd by announcing his plans to actively work for the EXPANSION of the U.S. military.
In "the Kerry Plan", our Senator is very clear, he is not arguing for an expanded military simply to put more bodies on the ground. Sen. Kerry argues that in the present world order, the "military must be reshaped to meet today's threat environment." He continues, "Challenges to America's security do not start and stop with Iraq. The war in Iraq taught us that a lightening fast, information age military can drive to Baghdad in three weeks, but it also reminded us that there is no technological substitute for boots on the ground. Our ongoing commitments in Iraq, the nature of the War on Terror and the need to be ready for any future challenges mandate larger ground forces, equipped and trained for any mission."
Kerry’s expansion calls for an increase in “boots on the ground” by 40K (30KArmy and 10K Marines) and he estimates it would take 2 years for the recruitment and training process to Kerry believes, “The U.S. military is too small for our national security needs….Our military must have the strength and resources to meet any challenge, now and in the future.” How Kerry intends to increase the number of military personnel at a time when recruitment is hitting new lows wasn’t addressed.
Although Kerry is clear in saying that re-enlistments and recruitment are all down because of the present situation soldiers are facing in Iraq.

Two of you were reading NYC Indy Media. Shirley e-mails Ya-Ya Network's "Counter Recruiting Victory: NYPD Rescinds Policy Barring 1st Amendment Activity in Front of Schools:"

March 29, 2005- To settle a lawsuit brought by the New York Civil Liberties Union on behalf of the youth-advocacy organization Ya-Ya Network, the New York City Police Department has agreed to rescind a policy by which it was prohibiting all First Amendment activity on public sidewalks in front of schools. Under that policy, which has been in effect for years, the NYPD had barred all leafletting, petition-gathering, press conferences, picketing, and other First Amendment activity on public sidewalks in front of schools.
The NYCLU brought the case on behalf of the Ya-Ya Network in October 2003 after students working with the group were threatened with arrest outside of schools for handing out literature informing students of their rights to keep personal information from military recruiters and of the risks of relying on promises made by recruiters. Earlier that year, two students from another youth group were arrested outside a school for seeking to gather petition signatures about the City's AIDS curriculum. As the NYCLU case was scheduled to go to trial this month, the City agreed to the settlement, which federal Judge Denise Cote approved earlier this month.NYCLU Associate Legal Director Christopher Dunn, who handled the case, said, "Because schools are at the center of many important controversies, they should be a hotbed of First Amendment activity. This settlement assures that students, parents, teachers, advocates, and community members can exercise their First Amendment rights in front of schools without fear of arrest." A copy of the settlement is enclosed.

Also from NYC Media, Portland e-mails Jed Brandt's "FBI Pressures Anarchist Internet Administrator Into Disclosing IP Addresses:"

According to the report on their discussion forums, two comments were posted to subdomains hosted by the server, including, which claimed responsibility for "propaganda of the deed." Although the administrator "Dave" is under some kind of government gag order, he did say this: "Both incidents involve topics which are completely out of line for consideration here at flag and really I can only view them in two ways. Either people are simply ignorant about the murderous history of the FBI, or, as is my belief in one case, they are trying to make flag vulnerable to government intrusion."
It's all getting very real. The administrator of, a major anarchist internet host, has gone public with a harrowing account on FBI thuggery.
According to
the report on their discussion forums, two comments were posted to subdomains hosted by the server, including, which claimed responsibility for "propaganda of the deed." Although the administrator "Dave" is under some kind of government gag order, he did say this: "Both incidents involve topics which are completely out of line for consideration here at flag and really I can only view them in two ways. Either people are simply ignorant about the murderous history of the FBI, or, as is my belief in one case, they are trying to make flag vulnerable to government intrusion."

Lynda notes the San Francisco Bay Guardian News' "Veterans payWhy are former soldiers shelling out more for AIDS drugs than everybody else?" by Tali Woodward. From that article:

Patient A is sick with AIDS and makes $35,000 a year. The federal government pays every last cent of his prescription drug costs. Patient B, who has the same disease and the same income, must pay $7 each time he needs a prescription filled -- which can add up quickly for a heavily medicated AIDS patient.
What's the difference between Patient A and Patient B? The second one is a military veteran.
It's a strange twist in the complicated web of government programs designed to help disadvantaged people get their meds -- one that is unknown even to most people who are affected by it. An estimated 20,000 patients with HIV seek care at the country's Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals each year.
But under the current system, some of the most needy are having to pay for drugs they would get for free if they hadn't served in the armed forces. And the discrepancy may get bigger soon. President George W. Bush's proposed budget for 2006 would more than double the co-pay the V.A. charges for all prescriptions -- bumping it from $7 to $15.

From The Syracuse New Times, ??? e-mails Sam Graceffo, M.D.'s "Rock the Jailhouse Doc:
The Abu Ghraib shockers reveal the ethical dilemmas of medical personnel in the military

The telephone rang at the hospital ward: "This is Doctor Graceffo," I answered. The response stunned me: "This is Colonel Schroder, and you will not answer the telephone as Doctor Graceffo, but as Captain Graceffo." I replied, "Yes sir, I understand." In my view, I was a doctor first and a soldier second; the Army viewed it differently.
That long-ago interchange came to mind as I read of the ethical dilemmas faced by some military doctors serving at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. The military physician is sometimes confronted with conflict between medical ethics and compliance to military policy.
In an article published in the medical journal Lancet, author Steven Miles claims doctors at the prison falsified death certificates to cover up killings. Miles, a University of Minnesota professor who has researched human rights issues for 20 years, also contends that doctors hid evidence of beatings and even revived a prisoner so that he could be tortured further. The Defense Department denies these charges, but investigations are ongoing.
The American Medical Association's council on ethics and judicial affairs has a long-standing policy against doctors joining in abuse "in any form" and says that they have an obligation to report it whenever they are aware of it. An essay in the New England Journal of Medicine by Dr. Robert Jay Lifton urged military physicians to come forward with what they know about prisoner abuse or torture.
Clearly, the soldier-doctor is often a captive of the all-powerful military machine. Even if the command structure does not directly endorse or promote torture and abuse of prisoners, it may have a policy of doing little or nothing to discourage it when it occurs.
It seems likely that when all is known about the prisoner abuses in Iraq, some doctors will be shown to have been complicit. While their moral lapses in no way compare to those of Nazi doctors during World War II, they are still serious deviations from accepted medical ethics and practice.

Brenda e-mails, from Euguene Weekly, Kera Abraham's "Test CaseBiscuit Fire decision seen as turning point in future of forest management:"

The charred wooden skeletons in the burned-out patches of the Biscuit Wilderness are totems of change, hinting at the past like the ruins of a once-vibrant city. The burned trees also harbor keys to the future: the nutrients that will feed the forest's re-growth. Already plants are shooting up in tufted rings around their trunks, shocks of green against the black, soaking in nitrogen-rich ash and the sunlight that beams clear to the forest floor.
The Biscuit Fire blazed a mosaic into southern Oregon's Siskiyou National Forest in the summer of 2002. It was the biggest wildfire in the country that year, eating through 500,000 acres of America's most florally diverse wilderness. To a human observer, the fire appears devastating, having ripped dark scars into that beautifully freakish landscape. But the forest operates on a broader time scale, and the burn is part of a natural pattern of destruction and regeneration that created an ecosystem unlike any other on Earth. The forest, in all its stark magnificence, needs the fire.
Now, the Forest Service pushes forward with a logging plan that could rob the nutrients from the future forest, like starving a woman in the early stages of pregnancy. The Biscuit Plan proposes to remove 370 million board feet of timber -- enough to fill logging trucks positioned bumper-to-bumper from Canada to Mexico -- from 20,000 acres of the Siskiyou. Opponents of the operation say it contradicts the Northwest Forest Plan, enacted in 1994 to balance logging with endangered species protections. The Forest Service's potential breach of that legislation is the basis of two federal lawsuits challenging the legality of the Biscuit Plan. Silver Creek Timber Company has already started cutting, seemingly trying to get the trees on the ground before the lawyers get to court. Meanwhile, protesters link up on bridges, hang from trees and blockade roads, trying desperately to stall the operation until judges can rule it illegal.

Ross e-mails Blair Goldstein's "Pro-choice activists worry bill sets precendent" from The Independent Weekly:

If Senate Bill 200, also named "The Baby Greer Act," passes this session, those convicted of killing a pregnant woman will be charged with double homicide instead of a single murder.
Supporters of the bill say the law is needed to protect pregnant women from domestic violence. But pro-choice activists say the bill does little to prevent domestic violence and instead establishes a dangerous precedent that could damage abortion rights in the state.
"This bill has nothing to do with domestic violence and everything to do with establishing fetal rights," said Paige Johnson, director of public affairs for Planned Parenthood of Central North Carolina. "The real issue here is women are more likely to be beaten when they are pregnant, and we need to address that."

From The Stranger, Marcia e-mails Eli Sanders' "GOD WAS WITH THEM:"

Last June three men from rural Washington jumped out of a pickup truck and, wielding a broken vodka bottle, attacked a gay man in Seattle. This week all three were found guilty of a hate crime, bringing an end to a story that has been covered here--when it has been covered at all--as a clash of opposites: rural versus urban, straight versus gay. But a look into the pasts of the victim, Micah Painter, and his three attackers reveals that a single force shaped all four young men: Evangelical Christianity.
[. . .]
The man they thought walked like a girl was named Micah Painter. He had left the Timberline, a gay club at the foot of Capitol Hill, where a celebration in honor of Gay Pride weekend was taking place, and was on his way to get a dry shirt from a friend's car. As he headed away from the club, Painter heard someone yelling "f*ggot!" and turned to see a person in the white truck giving him the finger. Although he had no idea exactly what type of person this was, Painter had long been clear on how Evangelicals felt about his appearance, and his affection for other guys. Painter's father had been an Evangelical preacher and, as Painter would put it later, "having a faggot child was not his idea of fun." At a young age, Painter said, he had run away from the violence of his home life, vowing not to be beaten and bullied anymore.

From The Madison, Wisconsin Indy Media Center, note Stephen Mikesell's "More Details on Mob Violence in Kapilvastu, Nepalby:"

In an audio interview taken Sunday night, a journalist returning from Kapilvastu District provides further details and insights for WORT-FM Radio on the anti-Maoist mob killing, burning and rape in villages that began on Nepal's southern border with India on February 17. Landlord instigation, government complicity, struggle over land, religious undertones, killing of innocent villagers, cross-border gunmen, Red Army retribution, and massive flood of refugees are documented.
Kathmandu, March 28. The widespread killings, house burnings and rapes in Kapilvastu District of Southern Nepal in mid-February reported as being anti-Maoist vigilantism arose out of many local antagonisms. A journalist reporting on his investigation says the anti-Maoist uprising was actually a mix of state sponsored terror, landlord attacks on landless villagers, and a religious war of lowland Hindus and highland war refugees.
In the last nine years following the start of the people's war, large numbers of people have fled the highland districts of Rukum, Rolpa, etc., where the People's War had begun, to settle in border districts of Nepal. The Nepal government has been trying to evict these people from the government lands they have cleared and has cast suspicion on them as being Maoists, even though they came fleeing the Maoists. Deeply entrenched local landlords who share the Hindu culture of the northern plains also found the new settlers with their highland religious traditions and more communal forms of culture threatening, and blamed them for encroaching on their lands and stealing resources. And as the People's War spread into the lowland areas, the Maoists targeted the refugee villages as base for their activities.

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