Saturday, September 10, 2005

Ruth's Morning Edition Report

Ruth: I'm going to start off with a quote that will shock any thinking person. As you read it, remember this is from a reporter, one who is, presumably, not on the federal government's payroll. The reporter is "reporting" on the critiques of the Bully Boy's response to Hurricane Katrina, lack of response, and to the charges as to the motivations on the part of the Bully Boy.

"I think that's ridiculous. I think that's kind of spouting off of people who don't know know the president, don't know this administration, don't know the people who work there."

That was NPR's Juan Williams doing non-reporting on Fox "News" Sunday, September 4th. (See C.I.'s comments about the even more offensive Mara Liasson by clicking here.) Did you miss it? If you're a sane person, you may have. I do not watch Fox "News." There's neither enough time nor enough money to make me watch. Possibly, in the next draft of The Patriot Act, we will all be forced to watch?

Until then, we have CounterSpin.

CounterSpin is the weekly half hour program done by FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy In the Media). For thirty minutes each week, this program heard on non-commercial radio, they take a look at the mainstream media reporting and put it under the microscope.

I've mentioned CounterSpin before and I want to focus on it now because this Friday's broadcast, which I heard on Pacifica's WBAI, addressed a number of issues the community is interested in.

For much of the week, the community has been bothered by the frequently snide dismissals of the issues of race at another site. I said what I thought about that site at a roundtable here not long ago. Listen to CounterSpin's Friday episode, you can listen online where they archive the program, and you'll find that the fact checker is not the last voice on all issues, though he apparently wants to be.

First though, I want to note something I learned that I hadn't heard of. Armstrong Williams is a name many of us know because he was caught taking being on the government payroll, though he claims he would have pushed No Child Left Behind regardless. The story didn't end there but you may not have heard about it elsewhere.

Federal investigators just concluded an investigation. Over four million dollars was handed out to promote the Bully Boy's education programs. "In 10 out of 11 examined groups receiving monies" there was no disclosure that they'd been paid by the government to promote the program.

Tired of hearing the fact checker attack everyone all week?

On the subject of "refugees" as a term being utilized, law professor Rosa Brooks explained that,
"Legally, no, it's not an accurate term. Refugee, legally speaking is defined by the convention on refugees. It has to do with two things -- one being displaced from your own country. So anybody who is inside their own country isn't a refugee period. Technically it means fleeing from persecution."

Professor Brooks offered that the press, in this country and outside of the country, had long used the term to describe victims of natural disasters, but the fact remains that legally the term is inaccurate. The fact remains. So the fact checker is not always accurate even when he is on his high horse and attempting to castigate Jesse Jackson.

As for the issue of the two photos, where one featured the term "looting" in the caption and it just so happened that the one featuring that term captioned a photo of a person of color, Professor Brooks made comments similar to what C.I.'s said here: that they provide a wonderful starting point for a discussion on race.

Tracey has been especially upset by the fact checker this week and his determinations of what is acceptable for discussion and what is not. As she pointed out to me, "Grandma, when we went over that site, we didn't find one thing about the photos of the toppled statue of Saddam." No, we did not. The fact checker was not interested in that "Tale of Two Photos." Possibly because there was no way to play Even the Score for Gore which, though fun, really has gotten old, day after day. Five years later, two wars, and Tracey wonders exactly what is the point of the repeated fluff on fluff?

The fact checker savaged Jesse Jackson for three times pointing out that refugee was not the correct term. It turns out that Rev. Jackson was correct which would make the fact checker . . . wrong. The fact checker was also wrong to dismiss topics he clearly has no interest in and knows little about.

You did not get the same attitude on CounterSpin. Possibly, that is due to the fact that the half-hour is used to inform and not even old scores. But Professor Brooks dealt with the issues of looting and spoke of "the defense of necessity." Though it is a legal principle, Plato dealt with the laws, so our Platonic fact checker has no excuse for missing that.

Rebecca, a powerful blogger and a force to be reckoned with, called the commentaries coming from that site "white power." I think that was a good call. I remember from my college days a number of people who took up that call. What I read this week at the fact checker's site was a nervous, middle-aged man creeped out by discussions on race. If that seems like a caustic critique, I'd suggest people read the way the fact checker addressed Diane Rehm of NPR not all that long ago.

Robert Parry is someone that's frequently highlighted at this site. Mr. Parry has no problem addressing the press attacks on Al Gore in 2000. He also is not foolish enough to make the claim that it all started with Mr. Gore. Mr. Parry wrote an article that spoke to me on the issue of Roberts' nomination, he mentioned his own mother in the piece, and like Jayla and Trina who e-mailed me this week, I've wondered where the fact checker's been on this?

Apparently, since Al Gore never had an abortion, the concern is not one for the fact checker. By the same token, since Al Gore is not an African-American, the fact checker has little interest in addressing issues of race. Perhaps if Al Gore had been wrongly accused of being present when the statue of Saddam was toppled, the fact checker would have addressed the photos of that?

I am all for sticking by your college roommate. Treva was my college rommate and we've remained best friends over the years. Were Treva attacked, I would certainly come to her defense. I would not, however, use her as the prism to filter all discussions through.

Nor would I foolishly claim, as the fact checker did to CJR, that the 2004 coverage of the election was better than the 2000 coverage. Al Gore was called a liar repeatedly. John Kerry was as well. Al Gore was questioned as to his childhood chores, John Kerry was vilified for his military service with one vile distortion after another. The claim that the 2004 coverage was better is a laughable claim and one that can only be made when the prism used is all about Mr. Gore.

I told C.I. I'd be addressing the fact checker and asked if that was fine. The response was, "More than fine. I wished you let me post your rebuttal on Diane Rehm." Looking back, I wish I hadn't pulled that piece that as well.

The arrogance and insensitivity to issues of race has outraged the community this week. Listening to CounterSpin seriously address the topics provided me with the perfect spring board to address the fact checker.

Facts are facts, he might say. True. But facts are also open to interpretation and they are also, as any Platonic student surely knows, dependent upon which ones you select. You can have a pity party that you don't feel your series on education is getting enough attention and, therefore, slam the other issues emerging in the public discussion or you can seriously address those issues. CounterSpin elected to seriously address them.

When Tracey and I poured over the fact checker's site as I was working on the rebuttal to his slams against Diane Rehm, I found a number of issues that bothered me. As a Jewish woman, I was disturbed by his apparent lack of awareness to the persecution by the Church of the Jews.
His ringing endorsement of the Mel Gibson film was offensive to this reader. But then, Al Gore is not Jewish, is he?

Gina made a comment in the roundtable that, as an African-American woman, she's never felt welcomed at the fact checker's site. As she noted in the editorial she and Krista wrote in the round-robin, this week the issue of race was dealt with and African-Americans actually were mentioned at the fact checker's site. The result is she no longer "feels" she is not welcome, she "knows" she is not welcome.

While slamming Atrios and assorted others this week (and allowing the f-word up at his own site, something the fact checker did not use in the past), there has been a serious attitude of "I am the gatekeeper." I spoke to Gina about that. Her response is that, like the troll under the bridge, the fact checker may find others will simply find other routes to journey.

So I'd suggest you consider making CounterSpin a stop on your journey. Other issues addressed, by the hosts Janine Jackson and Peter Hart, included the press coverage of the death of the Rehnquist. (Including that ABC could only find one person to put on air critical of Rehnquist.) CounterSpin's providing serious critiques. It's not fighting a battle to redeem a college roommate and claiming all roads lead to the press coverage of the 2000 election.

In college, I knew a nice young man named Tom who would respond to each new album by the Beatles, Dylan, the Mamas & the Papas, or the Rolling Stones with the charge that "they're all ripping off Buddy Holly!" "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" goes back to Buddy Holly? People began to avoid Tom because he was obviously on some personal mission with regards to Mr. Holly. This led to his dubious claim that even "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" owed a "debt" to Mr. Holly because Mr. Holly had recorded a song entitled "Peggy Sue."

The reality was, of course, that many artists had long recorded songs with women's names in the title. (With men's as well.) Near the end, as he became the laughingstock on campus, he was making the assertion that Jimi Henrix and Ravi Shankar's guitar playing was a rip off of Buddy Holly's. Even Janis Joplin and Joan Baez were said, by Tom, to be ripping off Buddy Holly's guitar notes with their vocals. It was all about Mr. Holly, all of the time.

When you came back to campus excited over a 45 or lp you had just scored, the first thing you did before putting it on the turntable, was to check and make sure that Tom was not around. As the fact checker continues his one man dedication to all things Gore, he reminds me more and more of Tom, who was not a bad person, just a young man of limited focus and scope who became a real drag on everyone around him.

Remember Juan Williams' comment that I opened with? Here's CounterSpin's editorial reply:

Evidently in Williams view people who don't hang out with White House staffers have no right to comment on them or their actions.

CounterSpin offers the critiques that I think the community will enjoy so please consider listening.

Since this entry will also be reposted on Monday, I'll remind everyone of KPFK's Sojourner Truth. Sojourner Truth, hosted my Margaret Prescod, regularly airs from seven to eight in the morning, Pacific Time. This week, I wrongly wrote that it airs Monday through Friday. According to the KPFK site is airs Tuesdays. It also aired Monday this week as well as Wednesday with a special Monday evening broadcast. A number of you e-mailed to note how much you enjoyed it. (Cindy had been recommedning this program to me so we should all say thank you to Cindy.) It will air Tuesday. But check in Monday morning to see if it airs then as well. This is one of my new favorites and I'm glad to know that so many of you enjoyed it as well.

As C.I. explained Friday, I've gone from having all my grandkids over every morning during the week to just myself and little Elijah. A few of you e-mailed to state that you thought it would be easier to just have an infant in the house. As Hillary Clinton has noted, it takes a village. With Tracey and my other grandchildren present, we had many hands available and Elijah was thrilled with the options provided. Now it's back to just the two of us and it is an adjustment so I'll be filing my entries on Saturday for the time being. I hope to return to doing it during the week and I'll try to pass on heads up to C.I. throughout the week when I'm aware of something that's coming up.

Here is a heads up for the community:

KPFA listen live · visit online
KPFK listen live · visit online
KPFT listen live · visit online
WBAI listen live · visit online
WPFW listen live · visit online

Those are the five Pacifca stations.

From Houston's KPFT:

Programming will be preempted on Monday, September 12, 8:00 AM -5:00 PM, and most likely Tuesday, September 13, 8:00 AM -5:00 PM, for the rescheduled John Roberts hearings. Wednesday and Thursday are also possibilities, but a complete schedule has yet to be announced.

That is central time zone. From New York's WBAI:

Coverage of John Roberts Confirmation Hearings

Hearings on Bush's nominee for Chief Justice will be covered live over Pacifica Radio. Mon., 11:00 am-6:00 pm; Tues., 9:00 am-6:00 pm (tentative times). Times for Wed. and Thurs. TBA.
Anchored by Mitch Jesserich of Free Speech Radio News and WBAI's Deepa Fernandes in D.C., and Pacifica's national affairs correspondent Larry Bensky in Berkeley, with guest analysts and listener calls during pre- and post-shows and breaks.

I'm not finding times for the west coast but when they go up, I'll e-mail them to C.I.

Are you listening to Laura Flanders?

The Laura Flanders Show just started and I hope you're listening because Laura is on fire tonight. Her opening editorial is probably my favorite of all of them except when she addressed the issue of Iraq during, I think, the LA book festival.

Kat here and I've only just now finished the cross postings to the mirror site. That's a lot harder than it seems like it would be. Dallas and I are hunting down links for Ruth's post and it will go up momentarily.

We're all about to start working on the latest Third Estate Sunday Review so be sure to check that Sunday morning.

C.I. would slap me on the knuckles if I didn't put in the e-mail address for this site,

The Laura Flanders Show: Sat: Collen Rowley, Michael Franti, Kate Taylor; Rep. Cheeks Kilpatrick; Sunday: Lynn Woolsey, Cindy Sheehan, George Galloway

Kat here. Before anyone starts BMW-ing about when this post went up, C.I. asked me to help out Friday afternoon by doing this post and said as long as it went up before The Laura Flanders Show started, everything was fine. So everything's copasetic.

That's both a sixties term and, I think, a Yiddish word. I'm on the phone with Ruth right now. She did her Ruth's Morning Edition Report. Shirley had agreed to post it this morning around ten a.m. Shirley's time but going through the e-mails (at both and the private address for members only) she couldn't find anything from Ruth. Ruth's sending it to my account ( and I'll put it up after I get done with this.

Maybe not right after because the mirror site is way behind on cross postings and I told Ava and Jess I'd try to grab some of that. Already here, I've written more than I often do at my own site (Kat's Korner) so I don't want to hear from any of you jokers about "Where are the posts?" at my site. In fact, I'll probably cross post this at my site.

The Laura Flanders Show airs Saturdays and Sundays. You can listen online or via the radio. It's six hours of strong radio hosted by Laura who is the reason the show's so awesome. I can't imagine a community member not knowing about this show because Lord knows it's noted "up in here" (nod to Cedric) often enough. But I do know that for every member like Maria who makes it a point to listen each Saturday & Sunday, there are others who are unable to. Some members don't have speakers. Some have slower computers (which is why C.I. avoids, at your request, sites that feature pop ups -- in our community there are at least five members that have computers which will freeze up for a bit if the pop ups pop up).

So if you don't get Air America broadcast on a station you can pick up, if you don't have XM satellite radio and if you're unable to listen online, let me just give you some basics on the show so you'll get why members who do listen really love, love, love this show. (Nod to the Beatles and their "All You Need Is Love.")

Saturday and Sunday, the program starts off with an editorial by Laura. She talks about what's happened this week. She pulls from this event and that event, from this Bully Boy mistake and that you-just-can't-believe-it-happened-but-it-did report, to put it all in perspective. These things going on aren't isolated events. In her passionate editorials, she finds the thread that connects them together and connects us to one another. That's my biggest beef with the editorials in the New York Times. It's always this "I am shocked, just shocked, that ____ happened" as though a similar thing didn't happen last week or the one before and the month before and hell the last five years.

Laura's not playing here's piece of the puzzle, she's showing you the full puzzle and how it all fits together. She can make you laugh during that or she can get your blood boiling or both. But, and I think this is the reason she's such a community favorite, she never leaves you feeling helpless. She never leaves you thinking, "Well that happened, let's be mad at least and now let's move on."

"Don't leave politics to the politicians," she'll regularly implore you and she gives you enough facts that you know you can't leave it to them and enough hope that you know you can do something if you get off your lazy butts.

After that opening, she may come back to it after the first commercial break or she might go immediately to calls or guests. And she's got amazing guests. Joan Baez was on two Sundays ago. Susan Sarandon's called in. Matthew Rothschild, another community favorite, has been on the show. Danny Schechter, ditto, has been on the show. The amazing Richie Havens has been on the show. Medea Benjamin, who we all love, has been on the show countless times. Jesse Jackson and his son Jesse Jackson Jr. have been on the show. Eve Ensler is another frequent guest.

Look at just those names, there's a lot more to that list, and notice the mix. Politics, activism and arts. Gender and race. It's all got a place on this show. This isn't Meet the Press where you scratch your head and wonder, "Is the whole country made up of white males?"

Tonight, while we're all on the phone working on The Third Estate Sunday Review, we'll have it on the background sometimes one person's broadcast is a bit behind and we'll have an echo thing going on in the background. When e-mails ask about why Ava and C.I. especially are quiet for huge sections of the roundtable, they'll usually fall back on "We're the ones that get stuck taking down notes that turn into the transcripts." That's usually true, but let's be honest, if The Laura Flanders Show is on during one of those things, they've usually got one ear on the show. We all do. (Which is why Dona will not let "The Third Estate Sunday Review News Review" start until after the show ends. She knows for that feature to work, we need all ears on deck.)

If you miss something on a show or miss a show, you can go to Air America Place and pull up the archives and listen at any time, day or night.

So if you're unable to listen live you might want to consider checking out the show on Air America Place.

The Laura Flanders Show airs seven to ten est. Here's what's coming up tonight and tomorrow:

Saturday, September 10
Bring the troops home, but not the war. Americans are saying no to the occupation of Iraq and no to an occupation of the Gulf Coast.
REP. CAROLYN CHEEKS KILPATRICK, D-MI, on her Friday visit with storm survivors in Baton Rouge and Houston.
COLEEN ROWLEY, the FBI whistle-blower who tried to prevent the 9/11 attacks and now a congressional candidate, on how this administration stops career public servants from doing their job.
MICHAEL FRANTI, of Spearhead, from San Francisco’s 7th annual "Power to the Peaceful" concert.
KATE TAYLOR on memories, healing and remembrance.

Sunday, September 11
REP. LYNN WOOLSEY, wants a date to bring U.S. troops home.
British M.P. GEORGE GALLOWAY in his first U.S. appearance since he called out the Senate on Iraq, on the war, truth-telling and fighting power.
CINDY SHEEHAN from the 'Bring Them Home Now' bus tour that’s taking the anti-war movement from Crawford, TX, to Washington, D.C.

NEW - Now you can listen to the Laura Flanders Show via podcast on iTunes!
Go to the Laura Flanders Blog

Look at those guests and think about the mix. And thanks to Martha for forwarding that e-mail that had the information above.

So that's what you got coming to you this weekend. You can watch that movie on broadcast or cable that, if it was worth seeing, you already saw a few times before. Or maybe you're thinking, "Man there just ain't enough centrist and right programming for me!" in which case, tune into NPR. It's easier to sit on the fence and maybe you like getting splinters in your ass.

But if you want to get informed, if you want to get motivated and if you want to get some reality, check out The Laura Flanders Show. (I know, I'm preaching to the converted here and most members are already listening. But we do have members who aren't able to listen online and don't have Air America in their area or satellite radio.)

C.I. usually ends with this so let me put it in:

Remember, you can listen over broadcast radio (if there's an AAR in your area), via XM Satellite Radio (channel 167) or listen online.

C.I. will be back tomorrow morning. You got three entries this morning (don't miss the thing on Iraq). That was a last minute thing, having to go out of town. But for those who've worried since Rebecca announced that C.I. and others would be in D.C. at the end of September, if it comes down to it and there's no time to knock out some entries ahead of time, C.I. will dictate them over the phone. (Cindy e-mailed me asking about Rebecca's post if that meant this site would "go dark" during those days of activism. No, Cindy, it won't. Entries will go up. Though I agree with Rebecca that it's past time C.I. grabbed a few days off.)

I'm going to get some cross posts up because I know the members that prefer the mirror site understand and come over here when there's nothing up, they, especially the European members, really prefer the look of the mirror site and consider it their own. After I do that, I'll post Ruth's latest. And remember it will go up again Monday morning as well.

NYT: "Casualty of Firestorm: Outrage, Bush and FEMA Chief" (Elisabeth Bumiller)

To Democrats, Republicans, local officials and Hurricane Katrina's victims, the question was not why, but what took so long?
Republicans had been pressing the White House for days to fire "Brownie," Michael D. Brown, director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, who had stunned many television viewers in admitting that he did not know until 24 hours after the first news reports that there was a swelling crowd of 25,000 people desperate for food and water at the New Orleans convention center.

Mr. Brown, who was removed from his Gulf Coast duties on Friday, though not from his post as FEMA's chief, is the first casualty of the political furor generated by the government's faltering response to the hurricane. With Democrats and Republicans caustically criticizing the performance of his agency, and with the White House under increasing attack for populating FEMA's top ranks with politically connected officials who lack disaster relief experience, Mr. Brown had become a symbol of President Bush's own hesitant response.

The above is from Elisabeth Bumiller's "Casualty of Firestorm: Outrage, Bush and FEMA Chief" in this morning's New York Times.

What do we learn from Bumiller's article? We "learn" that an anonmice says Bully Boy wanted to go into the heart of New Orleans but Karl Rove wouldn't let him. We "learn" that the African-American person must remain anonymous due to fearing the wrath of Rove.

Does anyone take that at face value?

Bumiller does.

She's apparently never heard the tales of Rove spinning the press. Now maybe she has a reason to trust this nameless person? But isn't it interesting that the anonymous tale makes Bully Boy look quite good? Convient?

Somehow, possibly due to hanging out with anonymice, she missed the public record on "Brownie."

From Democracy Now! yesterday:

Report: FEMA Head Fabricated Parts of Resume
More questions are being raised about the head of FEMA, Michael Brown. According to Time Magazine, Brown may have fabricated parts of his resume. Brown claimed that he worked in Edmond Oklahoma as an assistant city manager with emergency services oversight." In fact he was an administrative assistant to the city manager. One city official said he was essentially an intern. Brown also claimed that he was once the Director of Christian nursing facility in Oklahoma. But an administrator at the facility told Time that Brown was "not a person that anyone here is familiar with." In addition Brown claims on his resume that he won a prize for being "Outstanding Political Science Professor" at Central State University. But according to an official at the school, Brown "wasn't a professor here, he was only a student." Time reports these revelations raise new questions about how rigorously the White House vetted Brown before putting him in charge of FEMA. Most of his work experience prior to joining FEMA dealt with horses. He worked as the head of the International Arabian Horse Association for 11 years. He became the head of FEMA two years ago replacing his college friend, Joe Allbaugh.

Those are pretty serious issues. He reportedly lied about a teaching position. He reportedly lied about being an assistant city manager. It's hard to believe that Bumiller hasn't heard of those allegations but they're absent from her story.

Which means she's no Wilgoren. There's no transformation here. She's back to leading the Elite Fluff Patrol. Squad leader reporting for duty with a tale she can't credit to anyone that just so happens to paint the Bully Boy in glowing terms. He's not responsible, the article tells us, he wanted, really wanted, to go into the heart of New Orleans.

Were that allegation true, it's not as glowing as Bumiller fluffs it to be. It's yet another example of a failure of leadership on the part of the Bully Boy. Who's in charge here? Who's the adult?

You won't find it out in Bumiller's article.

It was nice, for a brief moment, when she returned to the real world. She erred even then but
. . . Now she's flying high on fluff yet again. Pushing unsourced tales off as "news" and ignoring very real, very serious allegations that are in the public record. (Allegations that the Times has yet to note.) She's curbed her excess, so she's learned something: write in a professional style if not manner.

She poses as a reporter today.

To her credit, she does note in the second paragraph that "Brownie" isn't gone. He wasn't fired. He remains as the head of FEMA. So let's ask it again, "Where's the accountability? Who's the adult?" A fluffer can't deal with that aspect.

It's left to Anne E. Kornblut (with fluffer Richard W. Stevenson) to address the allegations. The article, "Director of FEMA Stripped of Role as Relief Leader," should come with a warning: Fluffer On Board. From the article:

The action also came hours after a report on Time magazine's Web site that Mr. Brown had inflated his résumé set off a new round of questions about his qualifications. Newsday also reported inconsistencies in his resume.

This is a bad article, this is a really bad article. What are the "inconsistencties" Newsday reported?

Let's go to that Newsday article, Craig Gordon and Daniel Wagner's "A dubious resumeAs calls increase for FEMA chief's ouster, new doubts come to light about where he did, and didn't, work:"

The official White House announcement of Brown's nomination to head FEMA in January 2003 lists his previous experience as "the Executive Director of the Independent Electrical Contractors," a trade group based in Alexandria, Va.
But two officials of the group told Newsday this week that Brown, in fact, never was the national head of the group but did serve as the executive director of a regional chapter, based in Colorado, where Brown has lived.
And, Brown's immediate successor as the Rocky Mountain executive director, Terry Moreland, recalled that Brown held the job for less than six weeks before becoming FEMA general counsel in 2001.
Upon learning that the 2003 press release on the White House Web site states that Brown was the IEC executive director, the group's current top administrator, Larry Mullins asked, "Do you think I could get that taken down?" and said he planned to call the White House to have it removed.At the same time, the January 2003 White House press release on Brown's nomination dropped any reference to Brown's main job prior to joining FEMA in 2001 - a decade-long stint with the International Arabian Horse Association.
FEMA spokesman Mark Pfeifle said last night that documents Brown provided to the White House stated that he was the interim director of the group in Colorado but "when it was written up in the public release, it did not contain that portion." Pfeifle did not know why, and the White House did not immediately return calls for comment.

Now let's return to the Times article and note this section:

Mayor Miller said Dallas would start its own relief fund to help finance the removal of 1,500 evacuees from downtown shelters into apartments over the next 10 days.
"Where is FEMA national?" she said. "We keep being told that help is coming and so far we're not getting the help. So we will do what the government can't do. We will take the 1,500 people sleeping on cots and air mattresses and move them into apartments with beds and furniture and sheets and towels."

What's going on in Dallas? Apparently the Times can only tell you what they're told, over a phone line. And then call it "reporting." (I've stated here many times that when I do phone calls on something, I don't consider it reporting. The Times apparently does.)

Dallas will be reporting on the city of Dallas' efforts with evacuees at The Third Estate Sunday Review. Unlike the reporters involved in this story -- there's a long list, we'll note it in a moment -- Dallas was actually in the Convention Center. Here's the below the title credits, the end credits in fact, for this article because more than Kornblut & Stevenson are involved:

Reporting for this article was contributed by Carl Hulse in Washington; Ralph Blumenthal and Bill Dawson in Houston; Michael Cooper in Gulfport, Miss.; Michael Luo in Baton Rouge, La.; Motoko Rich in New York; and Campbell Robertson in Ocean Springs, Miss.

Two journalists reporting from Houston? Is that a typo? Blumenthal and Dawson were both reporting from Houston?

If they were reporting from Houston, where's the fact that Harris county refuses to allow a low-watt radio station to broadcast from the stadium? If we need more information, and apparently Blumenthal and Dawson feel that we do (witness the section on computers), how did they miss this that aspect of the story? Or does the Times just not give a damn?

So two articles and one skirts over the obvious fact that the allegation isn't "inconsistencies," it's outright lies. The resume, is it a government document? Did no one check it out? Did no one do a background check? That's the sort of that thing that's missing from both articles. Bumiller's fails to even mention it which is a huge oversight since her article is labeled a "news analysis."
You kind of have to report the basic facts to do any sort of analysis.

Just as the Timid had to revise their policy for titles when faced with a disgraced Spiro Agnew, they revise "lie" to make it "inconsistencies."

And apparently the Timid is too timid to take on the allegations of a sitting official they haven't yet determined is wounded in the eyes of the Bully Boy. They'll wait for cues and only if they smell blood will they seriously address the alleagations about his lying on his resume.

It's all about the access at the Times. "All the news that gains us access."

The e-mail address for this site is

NYT: "Plaintiffs Win Round in Lawsuit on Patriot Act" (Alison Leigh Cowan)

A federal judge ruled on Friday that the government cannot continue to bar the representatives of a nonprofit organization from speaking out about the sweeping powers that the antiterrorism law known as the USA Patriot Act gives investigators seeking library records.
In a ruling being followed by librarians, civil libertarians and others involved in the continuing debate over reauthorization of the law, Judge Janet C. Hall of United States District Court granted an emergency request by the American Civil Liberties Union for a preliminary injunction. Judge Hall found that the government fell short in meeting the heavy burden of proof needed to argue that national security interests warrant ignoring the organization's First Amendment right to free speech.
The 29-page decision, if permitted to stand, would lift the federally imposed order that is keeping the nonprofit organization from identifying itself as the recipient of a recent request for patron information from the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The judge, however, granted a stay along with her ruling giving the United States attorney's office until Sept. 20 to persuade the federal Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit to overturn her decision. If that court fails to act quickly, she wrote, then the plaintiffs would be free to identify themselves and comment on some aspects of the case.

The above is from Alison Leigh Cowan's "Plaintiffs Win Round in Lawsuit on Patriot Act" in this morning's New York Times. Call it the good news (so far) for today (Trevor will enjoy this article). But note that Cowan mentions in a footnote that the verdict appears to indicate that this provision (the one effecting libary records) has been used in the past ("many") but no one's brought suit before. (The plantiffs, Cowan reports, are thought to be " Library Connection, a library consortium in Windsor, Conn., that serves as the back office for many libraries in the Hartford area.")

That footnote needs to be explored in a future story since we've had reassurance (to use the word the Times is so nervous nelly around: "lies") that the provision hasn't been used. Hopefully, one of the Times op-ed writers (or an editorial) will pick up on it since news doesn't get a lot of weight in the actual reporting these days. (It really doesn't get a follow up either. The follow ups come from the thought pieces on the editorial and op-ed pages.)

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Editorial Reading press releases, live from the Green Zone

[Note: This is an editorial.]

What the hell goes on in the Green Zone? Forget the rumors that led to a guild becoming involved (rumors of wild behavior on the part of Times reporters, rumors that someone was fired for telling truths to wives back in the United States, rumors, rumors, rumors), exactly what do they do?

Not a whole hell of a lot.

The big Iraq news of the week was Tal Afar. The Times front paged Kirk Semple's " Baseball in Iraq: As Pastimes Go, It's Anything But." Apparently the jock fumes reach the Green Zone as well. (Though I'll refrain from pinning this one on Todd S. Purdum.)

This is a front page story. Why? Not because it's a big story in Iraq. It's not. It's a piece of disgraceful fluff. It's Operation Happy Talk. And while it goes on, while we're bored with a non-story passing for front page news, the Times can't even report on Tal Afar.

What do they do in the Green Zone?

Yes, Friday, finally, a story ran in the Times on Tel Afar: "U.S.-Iraqi Sweep Arrests 200 in Rebel Staging Area" but the Times receives no credit for that article, it's an Associated Press article. Whatever it's positives or minuses, all the Times did was run a report by another news organization.

So what do they do in the Green Zone?

And what the hell is Robert F. Worth? Is he a reporter? Is he an op-ed writer? Read
"Basra Bombs Kill 16 Iraqis and 4 U.S. Contractors" and try to answer that question.

I'm unable to grasp how, in a story on bombings, this opening qualifies for a news report:

There was also a piece of good news: American military officials said [. . .]

What did "American military officials" say? It doesn't matter for this discussion. (A contractor was released.) What is that judgement call ("good news") doing in the paper? Is Worth channeling Matt Lauer? Tip to Worth: "In other news . . ." You're supposed to be reporting. You're not there to editorialize.

The sentence, the part noted above, reveals all that is wrong with the Times reporting on Iraq.
"American military officials said . . ." That's the basis for every damn thing. (Yes, I'm tossing around "damn." Call me Bumiller. But "damn" is much more mild than the word I'm saying outloud as I dictate this.)

Reporters are supposed to serve as the eyes and ears of the public. That's why they're called the "watch dogs." That's not happening when every "report" is a press release. "American military officials said . . ." And what did you see Robert F. Worth? What did you hear? Not what were you told. What did you observe all by yourself?

Or does that require leaving the Green Zone? From all accounts, it's Delta House there so who would want to leave -- other than someone with a modicum of taste?

Look they can Boys Gone Wild it or not all they want in the Green Zone, I don't care. I do care what makes into print but I wonder if anyone reporting from the Green Zone does?

I did a conference call with three friends (reporters) on this asking them to play devil's advocate so I could anticipate the responses. (The Times would call the phone call "reporting.")

So here's the big argument. "It's not safe. I could lose my life."

You know what, cover cook-offs. If that's your excuse, cover cook-offs. No one's forcing you to be there. The paper certainly isn't forcing anyone. Reporters are choosing to be there. If you're a reporter and you're there, you need to be reporting.

It's not safe, doesn't cut it. It wasn't safe for Daniel Pearl. He went after the story. Others have before him and will after. The attitude of "Oh it's tough here so you have to cut me slack" doesn't wash. You get off your asses or the Times needs to appoint J-school graduates who are ready to dig in and find stories. (Which the Times, being the Times, will water down. But a diluted news report is still more powerful than any of the diluted press releases that regularly get filed.)

There is nothing, I repeat nothing, that reporters can point to with pride coming out of Iraq for the paper. You're not making a name for yourself. The t-shirt you should be furnished with when you depart can only proclaim: "I SURVIVED THE GREEN ZONE." That's all that's being done. Reporting isn't being done. (And the Times is becoming a joke to other print organizations over their "reporting" from Iraq.)

Want a blast from the past? Try this ("More Iraqi Army Dead Found in Mosul; 2 Clerics Slain," November 23, 2004):

Basic services are still unavailable in Falluja, and the valves in the city's main water-treatment plant are still not working. But troops will provide bottled water until the plant and the city's heavily damaged water and sewer pipes can be fixed, the general said.

The general said it, did he? Well Richard A. Oppel. Jr. and James Glanz, did you follow up on that? Or did you just print what you were told? (Rhetorical question.)

Does anyone working for the Times in Iraq do anything more than play telephone chain? Does anyone not buckle immediately?

From Molly Bingham's "Home From Iraq" (Atlanta Journal-Constitution):

The intimidation to not work on this story was evident. Dexter Filkins, who writes for The New York Times, related a conversation he had in Iraq with an American military commander... Towards the end of one of their conversations, Dexter declined an invitation for the next day by explaining that he'd lined up a meeting with a "resistance guy." The commander's face went stony cold and he said, "We have a position on that." For Dexter the message was clear. He cancelled the appointment.

If you're going to discuss Iraq, you have to discuss Filkins at some point. I'm aware it's more pleasing to discuss Judith Miller. But if she had a part in getting us over into Iraq, it's the "reporters" like Filkins who keep us there. For the record, Filkins has denied Bingham's version of the events. People will have to make up their own minds as to whom to take the word of.

While you're attempting to sort that out, let's again note this:

Christian Parenti mentioned Filkins last night on The Laura Flanders Show: "Dexter Filkins politics are very different from the Dexter Filkins politics we know in the New York Times. [In person, he's saying] 'Oh it's awful, the situation is totally out of control.'" That's a paraphrase (I've left out a "Dude" among other things).

Oh, it's awful, the situation is totally out of control?

Didn't seem that way when Filkins reported "In Faulluja, Young Marines Saw the Savagery of an Urban War" -- his rah-rah-rah piece of "award winning" journalism. Six days after the battle (Nov. 15), Filkins' story makes it into print. Exactly how slowly does he type? Exactly whom edited that copy?

From Dahr Jamail's "Iraqi Hospitals Ailing Under Occupation" (pdf format, you can find the quote below at this site here):

Burhan Fasa'a, a cameramn with the Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation (LBC), witnessed the first eight days of the fighting. "I entered Falljuah near the Julan Quarter, which is near the General Hospital," he said during an interview in Baghdad. "There were American snipers on top of the hospital," who, he testified, "were shooting everyone in sight." The Iraqi Red Crescent would have to wait a full week before being permitted to dispatch three ambulances into the city.

Not quite the way Filkins reported it. For that matter, not quite the way Richard A. Oppel, Jr. and James Glanz report it. (They report that the Iraqi Red Crescent found no one when they entered Falluja. They just fail to seriously address why that is.) It goes beyond Filkins but Filkins has the prize and he contributed the go-go boy gone wild story that portrays a massacre as a video game.

Reality: Preceding the blood bath, males of "fighting age" were prevented from leaving that city. The destruction was severe and has not been "fixed." (Does the United States military still provide bottled water? Did they ever? Not what they told you, but what you could verify, please.)

Press releases continue to pass for reporting ("Hussein Confessed to Massacre Order, Iraqi President Says") and they should all be worried. They're the upcoming Judy Millers. They're the laughingstock of many of their peers. (Filkins epecially whose appearance on Terry Gross's Fresh Air is legendary -- and the tales repeated of it are far more interesting than what he actually said on air.)

Let's note this:

On this 60th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Amy Goodman, host of the national radio and TV show "Democracy Now!" is submitting a formal request to the board of the Pulitzer Prize, calling for The New York Times and its reporter William Laurence to be stripped of the 1946 Pulitzer Prize for their coverage of the atomic bomb. Laurence was also on the payroll of the US War Department. Goodman recently wrote an Op-Ed in The Baltimore Sun (written with journalist David Goodman, her brother) called "The Hiroshima Coverup" (see ).
Goodman said, "William Laurence and the New York Times won a Pulitzer Prize for his reporting on the atomic bomb, and his faithful parroting of the government line was crucial in launching a half-century of silence about the deadly lingering effects of the bomb. It is time for the Pulitzer board to strip the atomic bomb apologist and his newspaper of this undeserved prize."

This is Filkins future. I used to assume that it would take place long after he was gone. (And long after I was gone.) But he's the one reporters bring up to me. They're friends and they know I consider his reporting proganda. (Had the election gone differently, would his story have been more realistic?) So maybe they're just saying what they say to please me? I don't think so. (I could, as always, be wrong.)

But away from them, when you walk someone through Filkins reporting, someone who has no idea who he is, they grasp that its people like Filkins that keep us in Iraq.

By failing to report accurately what Operation Enduring Falsehood did (and what they do) they allow a number of otherwise well meaning people to think "fine tuning" is an answer. (Filkins is also a laughing stock for a TV appearance I missed. He supposedly minimized a trial for the abuses of Abu Ghraib -- with regard to instructions from above.) Fine tuning isn't an answer. As Filkins allegedy told Parenti, "It's totally out of control." Until that truth makes it into the reports, I'm saddened by those who argue fine tuning and aren't war hawks but I don't blame them for the failures of the press to report reality. They're being short changed. (Hawks aren't. They don't need excuses to continue war. They thrive on it the way some in the Green Zone thrive on the chaos.)

But here's the reason Filkins may feel the bite while he's still alive. Some domestic reporters in the United States aren't speaking fondly of the embeds. They're pointing fingers right now as the clampdowns that reporters have gone along with in Iraq come home to the United States.

The Boys Gone Wild are also a joke to people who've served in the area. And those first hand accounts will continue to come out. A Worth or Glanz will be embarrassed for being so quick to print press releases, but Filkins was in Falluja. He saw with his own eyes and he didn't report.

The bodies, the limbs piled up in the streets, Filkins somehow missed. And he was there. A friend at one of the top ten (circulation) dailies has gone from lukewarm support of Filkins' infamous "reporting" to outright disgust with it. The opinion is there is no "comeback" from it. That Filkins could do a mea culpa and return his prize and he'd still be damaged goods.

That kind of talk may not make it into the Green Zone but Filkins should worry. And so should the paper.

In an early November piece on Falluja (this one co-written with James Glanz), a military officer told Filkins that "it ought to go down in history." Filkins accepted the gung-hu attitude, too bad he didn't consider the words themselves. This will go down in history.

This will haunt the Times and it will haunt Filkins.

Amy and David Goodman may not get the Times stripped of a Pulitizer (though I hope they do) but just addressing the issue accomplishes something. And when the issue of Dexter Filkins is seriously addressed it will further tarnish the paper's name.

With Judith Miller, the paper waited far too late to address the situation. (Both her reporting itself and the legal argument they attempt to make -- they not Millers' attornies.) If they hem and haw with regards to what passes for "reporting" from Iraq currently, they'll further hurt their already badly damaged reputation.

In the meantime, by not revisiting the press releases they published, they do real reporting, democracy and the people of the United States a huge disservice because they're not reporting. It took Cindy Sheehan to act as the spark to wake up a nation. The Times could have done that long ago with some strong reporting. It shouldn't be the job of the editorials to try to later straighten out the reporting.

And as the press in the United States feels they're under attack, they're making some rather rude comments about those in the Green Zone that they feel have condoned this sort of behavior.

Democracy Now! noted the following Friday:

The journalists who have been covering Hurricane Katrina have literally been risking their lives for the last week. Reporters have been stationed in and around New Orleans since the Hurricane hit and have tirelessly reported on the devastation to the city. Some journalists have expressed enormous outrage at government officials for their slow response. A few television reporters openly broke down on air as they report the horrific conditions and the desperation of victims. Reporters have witnessed the militarization of the city and are starting to feel the effects of the government crack-down on information gathering.
FEMA is now rejecting requests by journalists to accompany rescue boats searching for storm victims. In addition, journalists are being asked not to photograph any dead bodies in the region. NBC News Anchor Brian Williams reported on his blog, that police officers had been seen aiming their weapons at members of the media. And a blogger named Bob Brigham wrote a widely read dispatch that the National Guard in Jefferson County are under orders to turn all journalists away. Brigham writes: "Bush is now censoring all reporting from New Orleans, Louisiana. The First Amendment sank with the city."
Earlier this week, Reporters Without Borders issued a warning about police violence against journalists working in New Orleans. They highlighted two cases – in one case police detained a Times-Picayune photographer and smashed his equipment to the ground after he was seen covering a shoot-out with police. In the second case, a photographer from the Toronto Star was detained by police and his photos taken from him when police realized that he had snapped photos of a clash between them and citizens who the police claimed were looters.

Those in the Green Zone may have kidded themselves, if they were non-Arabic, that they weren't being controlled. It was just the Arabic reporters suffering, right?

A Dexter Filkins could cancel the meeting with the resistance and kid himself that he made the choice. (Like Madonna' s ludicrous claim in the nineties that the difference was she chained herself.) The "choices" that have been made are now impacting reporters outside the Green Zone and they aren't amused.

That's why the Times should be concerned. The rumblings and grumblings are coming from their competitors. Not from independent media, which the Times would easily dismiss (as it so often does). I don't know that other dailies are doing a better job than the Times (the daily I read is the New York Times). Reporters at other papers seem to think to think they are. Three reporters in particular (two at one organization, one at another) are mentioned repeatedly (by press not affiliated with the two organizations).

The Times is aware that Judith Miller has become the fall guy for every reporter that gave breathless (and non questioning) coverage to WMD claims. So they're familiar with the concept of a fall guy. (They've also created a few over the years.) They should be really concerned right now because although Filkins isn't the "name" that Miller is (even people who didn't read her reporting in real time can now list the problems with it), he'll quickly become that. One reporter trying to cover New Orleans has already used Filkins as an adjective to express dismay over conditions that authorities attempted to impose. ("They thought I'd do a Filkins!")

Whereas the derision of Miller began with the independent press, Filkins' is starting at the top. Again, he wrote a first person account of what happened in Falluja. That's hard to come back from as details continue to emerge about what didn't get reported in that piece of melodrama.
The paper should be very worried. It took years for the criticism of Miller to go beyond independent media. If Filkins gets burned by the mainstream press, it will be a much harder hit than any criticism the Times faces over Miller.

The fact that they've continued to offer press releases won't help them either. They should have dealt with this long ago. They need a new chief in Baghdad and they need it right away.

What Americans need is some honest reporting.

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[Note: Post corrected for typos per Shirley. Typos or not, thanks to ___ for taking dictation. There wouldn't have been any posts on Saturday without ____ and had I been able to do them myself, there would have been more typos judging on my fondness for inverting letters. 9-12-05.]

Friday, September 09, 2005

"Bush censura toda la información que surge de Nueva Orleans, Louisiana. La Primera Enmienda se hundió con la ciudad". ("Democracy Now!")

Francisco: Hola mis amigos. Kanye West: "George Bush no tiene interes en personas negras." Condi Rice "compras para zapatos mientras miles mueren y otros quedan" en New Orleans.
De parte de "Democracy Now!" doce cosas que vale hacer notar este fin de semana.

Cifra de muertos en Nueva Orleans podría ser 10.000
En Nueva Orleans, el alcalde de la ciudad calcula que puede haber 10.000 muertos tras el devastador huracán de la semana pasada.

FEMA solicitó ayuda horas después de que huracán azotara el Golfo de México
Nuevos documentos filtrados demuestran que la Agencia Federal para el Manejo de Emergencias (FEMA, por sus siglas en inglés) esperó cinco horas antes de solicitar ayuda en la región, luego de que el Huracán Katrina azotara Nueva Orleáns. El director de la FEMA, Michael Brown, dijo en ese momento que los 1.000 empleados de Seguridad Nacional podían demorar dos días para llegar al lugar del desastre. El documento enviado por Brown al Director de Seguridad Nacional, Michael Chertoff, concluía amablemente: "Gracias por su consideración al ayudarnos a cumplir con nuestras responsabilidades". Según Associated Press, el documento de Brown no incluía términos que hicieran referencia a una emergencia, y describía al huracán como "un acontecimiento cercano a una catástrofe". El documento de Brown decía que se esperaba que los empleados "dieran una buena imagen sobre el manejo del desastre a los funcionarios del gobierno, organizaciones comunitarias y opinión pública". Mientras que la FEMA tardaba días en enviar ayuda, decenas de miles de personas de la costa del Golfo de México se quedaban sin alimento, agua o un lugar donde quedarse. El documento se filtró mientras aumentaban las críticas a Brown. El senador demócrata Ken Salazar se unió el martes al cada vez mayor número de personas que piden la renuncia de Brown. Muchos de ellos, como el ex presidente Bill Clinton, piden que se lleve a cabo una investigación de la respuesta del gobierno.

Clinton: Se necesita comisión independiente para examinar la respuesta del gobierno
Mientras tanto, el ex Presidente Bill Clinton dijo a CNN que el gobierno le falló a la gente de la costa del Golfo de México, y llamó a formar una comisión independiente para examinar la respuesta del gobierno al huracán Katrina. "Creo que se debería analizar lo sucedido y tengo una opinión firme sobre la forma en que debe organizarse y funcionar la Agencia Federal para el Manejo de Emergencias (FEMA), pero para eso habría que dejar pasar un tiempo. En este momento... todavía estamos buscando cadáveres y aún podría haber gente con vida en el lugar".

Presidente de la comisión del 11 de septiembre critica respuesta al huracán
El presidente de la Comisión del 11 de septiembre criticó públicamente la respuesta del gobierno al huracán y a la inundación. Thomas Kean dijo: "Se cometieron los mismos errores que en el 11 de septiembre, y en algunos casos incluso peores. Se trata de fallas que abarcan a todo el sistema, que pueden ser resueltas y que debieron ser resueltas de inmediato".

Pentágono: Portahelicópteros USS Bataan esperó durante días la orden de ayudar La crítica a la respuesta del gobierno federal también proviene de fuentes inusuales como el Pentágono. El Teniente Comandante Sean Kelly, un portavoz del Pentágono para el Comando del Norte, reveló a la BBC que ese Comando estaba preparado para enviar helicópteros para búsqueda y rescate desde el portahelicópteros USS Bataan, casi inmediatamente después del huracán. Dijo: "Teníamos todo pronto. Sólo quedamos en suspenso porque debíamos esperar la autorización del Presidente lo autorice". Esa autorización tardó días en llegar, a pesar de que el buque estaba en un muelle en las afueras de Nueva Orleans. En el USS Bataan había médicos, camas de hospital, alimentos, y capacidad para producir hasta 455.000 litros de agua potable por día.

Pilotos de la Armada amonestados por salvar a 100 víctimas del Huracán
El New York Times informó que dos pilotos de helicópteros de la Armada y su tripulación fueron amonestados por ayudar el martes a trasladar en ferry a 100 víctimas del huracán a un lugar más seguro. El Comandante Michael Holdener defendió la amonestación, y dijo que "todos queremos rescatar personas. Pero se les dijo que tenemos otras misiones en este momento y que esa no es la prioridad". El Comandante ordenó más tarde la suspensión de los esfuerzos de ayuda a civiles. Uno de los tenientes amonestados fue retirado de la rotación de vuelo del escuadrón y temporalmente asignado a la supervisión de un recinto diseñado para cuidar las mascotas de los integrantes del servicio.

Diputada Pelosi solicita a Bush que despida al director de la FEMA
Pasamos a una noticia de Capitol Hill, donde la líder de la minoría de la Cámara de Representantes, Nancy Pelosi, criticó duramente al director de la Agencia Federal para el Manejo de Emergencias (FEMA), Michael Brown, a quien describió como alguien totalmente "carente de autoridad". Antes de asumir como director de la FEMA, Brown se había desempeñado durante 11 años como director de la Asociación Internacional de Caballos Árabes. Pelosi dijo que había visto recientemente a Bush, y que lo exhortó a que despidiera a Brown. Relató que el Presidente había respondido: "¿Por qué habría de despedirlo?". Según Pelosi, cuando ella sostuvo que Brown debía ser despedido por todo lo que salió mal la semana pasada, Bush contestó: "¿Qué fue lo que no salió bien?"

FEMA llena de jerarcas nombrados por motivos políticos, en vez de especialistas
Surgen cuestionamientos a las razones por las que el gobierno de Bush decidió designar a en los altos mandos de la FEMA a personas que carecían de experiencia en el manejo de desastres. El subdirector de la FEMA, Patrick Rhode, había sido organizador de la campaña Bush-Cheney y jefe de personal de la Casa Blanca. El tercer funcionario en jerarquía de la FEMA, Scott Morris, es especialista en relaciones públicas, y trabajaba para una compañía de Texas que producía avisos publicitarios de radio y televisión para la campaña Bush-Cheney.

Bomberos se quejan del modo en que FEMA manejó la crisis
Siguiendo con noticias sobre la FEMA, el diario Salt Lake City Tribune informa que la semana pasada, mientras Nueva Orleans pedía ayuda en forma desesperada, la FEMA envió 1.000 bomberos a Atlanta a una jornada de clases sobre temas como las relaciones comunitarias y el acoso sexual. En vez de ser enviados a Nueva Orleans, los bomberos recibieron capacitación para ser funcionarios de relaciones comunitarias de la FEMA. Su principal tarea, una vez que llegaron a la costa del Golfo de México, fue repartir volantes de la FEMA. Algunos bomberos acudieron a la prensa y se quejaron de que su capacidad no era bien aprovechada. La FEMA atacó a los bomberos que hablaron. La portavoz de la FEMA, Mary Hudak, dijo: "Yo le pediría a ese bombero que reviera su compromiso con la FEMA, con su tarea como bombero y con los ciudadanos de este país".

Informe: Director de la FEMA inventó partes de su currículum
Surgen más cuestionamientos acerca del director de la Agencia Federal para el Manejo de Emergencias (FEMA), Michael Brown. Según la revista Time, Brown habría inventado partes de su currículo. Brown sostuvo que trabajó en Edmond, Oklahoma, como gerente asistente de la ciudad y y supervisor de sus servicios de emergencia, pero en realidad fue asistente administrativo del gerente de la ciudad. Un funcionario de la ciudad dijo que Brown era básicamente un pasante. Brown también afirmó haber sido director de un asilo cristiano en Oklahoma. Pero el administrador del lugar le dijo a la revista Time que Brown no era "una persona a la que cualquiera conozca" en ese lugar. Además Brown sostiene en su currículo que obtuvo un reconocimiento por ser un "destacado profesor de ciencia política" en la Universidad Central Estatal. Pero un funcionario de ese centro de estudios dijo sobre Brown: "No fue profesor aquí, sino tan solo un estudiante". Time indica que estas revelaciones hacen surgir nuevos cuestionamientos acerca del rigor con que la Casa Blanca examinó a Brown antes de ponerlo a cargo de la FEMA. La mayor parte de la experiencia laboral del funcionario antes a ingresar a la FEMA está relacionada con los caballos. Durante 11 años fue director de la Asociación Internacional de Caballos Árabes. Hace dos años fue designado director de la FEMA, en lugar de su amigo de la universidad Joe Allbaugh.

Barbara Bush: La reubicación "está resultando muy bien" para los "desamparados"
El gobierno federal es ampliamente criticado por su lenta respuesta, pero la ex primera dama Barbara Bush dijo al programa radial Marketplace que la reubicación está "funcionando muy bien" para algunos de los que se vieron obligados a abandonar Nueva Orleans, ya que "de todos modos eran desamparados". Escuchamos las palabras de Barbara Bush en el estadio Astrodome de Houston. "Muchas de las personas que están en este estadio eran, de todos modos, indigentes, de modo que esto está resultando muy bien para ellos".

Policía acusada por golpear y arrestar periodistas
La organización Reporteros Sin Fronteras denunció casos de violencia policial contra periodistas que trabajan en Nueva Orleans. Según señalan, la policía amenazó el 1 de septiembre a un periodista y un fotógrafo del Toronto Daily Star que cubrían un enfrentamiento entre policías y saqueadores. Cuando la policía advirtió que ya habían tomado fotografías, tiraron el fotógrafo al suelo, le quitaron las cámaras y las tarjetas de memoria que contenían unas 350 fotografías. Rompieron además su carné de prensa. Cuando el fotógrafo pidió que le devolvieran las fotografías, la policía amenazó con pegarle. También fue arrestado un fotógrafo del diario de Nueva Orleans, Times Picayune, luego de que lo vieran cubriendo un tiroteo donde estaba involucrada la policía. La policía tiró todos sus equipos al suelo.

Gobierno federal intenta bloquear acceso de la prensa a Nueva Orleans
En Nueva Orleans, el gobierno federal es acusado de intentar la censura de las imágenes que surgen de la ciudad devastada. La agencia de noticias Reuters informa que la Agencia Federal para el Manejo de Emergencias (FEMA, por sus siglas en inglés), rechaza los pedidos de periodistas que quieren acompañar a los botes de rescate en la búsqueda de víctimas del huracán. Además, se pidió a los periodistas que no tomen fotografías de cadáveres en la región. Los críticos de esa solicitud de la FEMA compararon su política con la del Pentágono, que prohíbe a los periodistas tomar fotos de ataúdes de soldados muertos en Irak. Brian Williams, presentador de noticias de NBC News, informó que se vio a policías apuntar sus armas contra miembros de la prensa. Mediante un blog en Internet, Bob Brigham publicó un reporte ampliamente difundido, en el que afirma que la Guardia Nacional tiene órdenes de no permitir el ingreso de periodistas al condado de Jefferson. Brigham escribió: "Bush censura toda la información que surge de Nueva Orleans, Louisiana. La Primera Enmienda se hundió con la ciudad".

Francisco: Hello my friends. Kanye West: "George Bush does not care about black people." Condi Rice "purchases shoes while thousands die and other they remain" in New Orleans. Here are twelve things of note from "Democracy Now!" worth noting this weekend.

New Orleans Mayor Estimates 10,000 Dead in City
In New Orleans, the city's mayor is now estimating 10,000 people may have died following last week's devastating hurricane.

Hours After Hurricane Struck Gulf, FEMA Requested Help
Newly leaked memos are showing that FEMA waited five hours after Hurricane Katrina had struck New Orleans before requesting help to be dispatched to the region. Even then Michael Brown, the director of FEMA - the Federal Emergency Management Agency - said that the 1,000 Homeland Security employees could take two days to show up at the disaster scene. Brown's memo to Homeland Security Director Michael Chertoff politely ended, "Thank you for your consideration in helping us to meet our responsibilities." According to the Associated Press, Brown's memo lacked any urgent language besides describing the hurricane as a "near catastrophic event." Brown's memo told employees would be expected to "convey a positive image of disaster operations to government officials, community organizations and the general public." While FEMA took days to send help, tens of thousands of Gulf Coast residents were left without food, water or a safe place to stay. The memo was leaked as criticism of Brown increased. On Tuesday Democratic Senator Ken Salazar joined the growing chorus in calling for Brown's resignation. There are also many, including former President Clinton, calling for an independent investigation into the government's response.

Clinton: Independent Commission Needed to Examine Gov't Response
Meanwhile former President Bill Clinton told CNN that the government had failed the people of the Gulf Coast and he called for the eventual formation of an independent commission to examine the government's response to Katrina. "I think there should be an analysis of what happened and I have some strong feelings on how I feel FEMA should be organized and operated but the time to do that, in my opinion is after some time passes," said Clinton. "Right now we still have...we are still finding bodies there and there might be some people alive there.

9/11 Commission Chair Criticizes Hurricane Response
The chair of the Sept. 11 Commission has publicly criticized the government's response to the hurricane and flooding. Thomas Kean said "The same mistakes made on 9/11 were made over again, in some cases worse, Those are system-wide failures that can be fixed and should have been fixed right away."

Pentagon: USS Bataan Waited Days For Orders to Help Out
Criticism of the federal government's response is also coming from some unlikely sources including the Pentagon. Lt. Commander Sean Kelly, a Pentagon spokesman for Northern Command, revealed on the BBC that NorthCom was prepared to send in search and rescue helicopters from the USS Bataan almost immediately after the hurricane hit. He said, "We had things ready. The only caveat is: we have to wait until the president authorizes us to do so." That authorization didn't happen for days even though the ship was docked just outside New Orleans. On board the ship had doctors, hospital beds, food and the ability to make up to 100,000 gallons of water a day.

Navy Pilots Reprimanded For Saving 100 Hurricane Victims
The New York Times is reported that two Navy helicopter pilots and their crews have been reprimanded after helping ferry 100 hurricane victims to safety last Tuesday. The Commander of the unit criticized them for taking part in the rescue at a time they were supposed to be delivering food and water to military bases along the Gulf Coast. Commander Michael Holdener defended the reprimand. He said "We all want to be the guys who rescue people. But they were told we have other missions we have to do right now and that is not the priority." The Commander then ordered a halt to civilian relief efforts. One of the Lieutenants who helped with the unauthorized rescue efforts, was taken out of the squadron's flying rotation and temporarily assigned to oversee a kennel designed to hold pets of service members.

Rep. Pelosi Calls On Bush to Fire FEMA Head
In other news on Capitol Hill, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi assailed the head of FEMA, Michael Brown, who she described as having "absolutely no credentials." Before joining FEMA Brown spent 11 years as the head of the International Arabian Horse Association. Pelosi said she recently saw President Bush and urged him to fire Brown. She said the president responded to her request by saying "Why would I do that?" When Pelosi said because of all that went wrong last week, she said he replied "What didn't go right?"

FEMA Filled With Political Appointees, Not Disaster Experts
Questions are also being raised as to why the Bush administration chose to appoint a number of other top officials at FEMA who had no experience handling disasters. FEMA's deputy director and chief of staff Patrick Rhode, was an advance man for the Bush-Cheney campaign and the White House. The agency's third-highest ranking official, Scott Morris, was a public relations expert who worked for a Texas company that produced TV and radio spots for the Bush-Cheney campaign.

Firefighters Complain Over FEMA's Handling of Crisis
In other FEMA news, the Salt Lake City Tribune is reporting that last week -- while New Orleans was desperately calling for help, FEMA sent 1,000 firefighters to Atlanta for an all-day class on topics such as community relations and sexual harassment. Instead of being sent to New Orleans, the firefighters were being trained to be community relations officers for FEMA. Their main job -- once they got to the Gulf Coast -- was to disseminate FEMA fliers Some firefighters went to the press and complained that they were being underutilized. FEMA lashed out at those firefighters who spoke out. FEMA spokeswoman Mary Hudak said "I would go back and ask the firefighter to revisit his commitment to FEMA, to firefighting and to the citizens of this country.

Report: FEMA Head Fabricated Parts of Resume
More questions are being raised about the head of FEMA, Michael Brown. According to Time Magazine, Brown may have fabricated parts of his resume. Brown claimed that he worked in Edmond Oklahoma as an assistant city manager with emergency services oversight." In fact he was an administrative assistant to the city manager. One city official said he was essentially an intern. Brown also claimed that he was once the Director of Christian nursing facility in Oklahoma. But an administrator at the facility told Time that Brown was "not a person that anyone here is familiar with." In addition Brown claims on his resume that he won a prize for being "Outstanding Political Science Professor" at Central State University. But according to an official at the school, Brown "wasn't a professor here, he was only a student." Time reports these revelations raise new questions about how rigorously the White House vetted Brown before putting him in charge of FEMA. Most of his work experience prior to joining FEMA dealt with horses. He worked as the head of the International Arabian Horse Association for 11 years. He became the head of FEMA two years ago replacing his college friend, Joe Allbaugh.

Barbara Bush: Relocation is "Working Very Well For Them"
While the federal government has been widely criticized for its slow response, former First Lady Barbara Bush told the radio show Marketplace that the relocation is "working very well" for some of those forced out of New Orleans since they were "underprivileged anyway." This is Barbara Bush speaking at the Astrodome in Houston. "And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this--this working very well for them," Bush said.

New Orleans Police Accused of Beating/Detaining Reporters
Reporters Without Borders has issued a warning about police violence against journalists working in New Orleans. According to the group, on Sept. 1 police threatened a reporter and photographer from the Toronto Daily Star at gunpoint because they were seen covering a clash between police and individuals identified by police as looters. When police realized the photographer had snapped photos, they threw him to the ground, grabbed his cameras and removed the memory cards containing about 350 photographs. His press card was also torn from him. When the photographer asked for his photographs back, police officers threatened to hit him. Police also detained a photographer from the New Orleans-based Times Picayune after he was seen covering a shoot-out involving the police. Police smashed all of his equipment on the ground.

Federal Government Attempts to Block Press Access To New Orleans
In New Orleans the federal government is being accused of trying to censor the images coming out of the devastated city. The Reuters news agency is reporting that the Federal Emergency Management Agency is now rejecting requests by journalists to accompany rescue boats searching for storm victims. In addition journalists are being asked not to photograph any dead bodies in the region. Critics of FEMA's request compared the policy to the Pentagon's policy that bars reporters from taking photographs of the caskets of soldiers killed in Iraq. NBC News Anchor Brian Williams is reporting that police officers have been seen aiming their weapons at members of the media. And a blogger named Bob Brigham has written a widely read dispatch that the National Guard in Jefferson County are under orders to turn all journalists away. Brigham writes QUOTE "Bush is now censoring all reporting from New Orleans Louisiana. The First Amendment sank with the city."

Air America weekend line up: Howard Zinn, Herbie Hancock, Thom Hartmann, Dar Williams, Darian Dauchan, James Wolcott ...

From the Air America Radio homepage, here's the weekend line up as posted currently:

Ring of Fire
Saturdays 5pm-7pm ET. Rebroadcast Sundays 3pm-5pm
Yes, now is the time for pointing fingers. Mike talks with the always-incisive
James Wolcott about the Bush administration's chronic inability to accept criticism and correct its mistakes: first 9/11, then Iraq, now Katrina. Wolcott is contributing editor of Vanity Fair magazine and author of Attack Poodles and Other Media Mutants. What's in store for the nation's energy supply now that Katrina has cut into our domestic oil capacity? Bobby talks with Jason Grumet, executive director of the National Commission on Energy Policy, about the post-hurricane scenario and the Bush administration's oily energy policy. Howard Zinn, political scientist, historian, activist and icon of the American left, shares the wisdom of his life on the front lines. He joins Mike to examine the need for political activism in America today. Don't Miss The Pap Attack: Bush's Homeland Insecurity

[Howard Zinn contributes to The Progressive. His most recent article, on landmines, is entitled "A Surgeon's Touch."]

The Laura Flanders Show
Saturdays and Sundays 7pm-10pm ET
Laura shares up to the minute live reports and interviews.

[Hopefully, we'll be able to post a list of guests Saturday.]

The Kyle Jason Show
Saturdays 10pm-Midnight ET
This weekend Kyle highlights jazz legend Herbie Hancock.

[Kat notes that Herbie Hancock's new album, Possibilities , contains contributions from, among others, Stevie Wonder, Annie Lennox, Sting, Carlos Santana, Damien Rice and Trey Anastasio.]

Sundays 7-8 am ET
At last the climate chaos long predicted by scientists and environmentalists has hit U.S. shores in the form of high velocity Hurricane Katrina - but it's only a sign of whats to come, according to our guests. We'll hear from John Rennie, editor-in-chief of Scientific American, which predicted the devastation in a 2001 article, Drowning New Orleans, and Mike Tidwell, author of the prophetic 2003 book, Bayou Farewell. He'll tell us why this cataclysmic event is another September 11th event that will either make, or break, this country.

The Thom Hartmann Show
Sundays 10am-1pm
We are pleased to announce the addition of "The Thom Hartmann Show" to our weekend lineup. Thom--who broadcasts from our affiliate’s studios in Portland, Oregon--will now be heard on Sundays from 10AM - 1PM ET, on both WLIB, and the Air America Network.

[Author and radio host Thom Hartman regularly contributes original content to BuzzFlash. His most recent "'Independent Thinker' Book of the Month Review" is of Barbara Ehrenreich's Bait & Switch.]

Mother Jones Radio
Sundays 1pm-2pm ET
Angie Coiro returns with more commentary, interviews and insight.

[Check at Mother Jones magazine's web listing for the radio show for guests.]

Politically Direct
Sundays 2pm-3pm ET
David Benders continues to deliver the best interviews on todays issues.

The Laura Flanders Show
Saturdays and Sundays 7pm-10pm ET
Laura shares up to the minute live reports and interviews.

The Revolution Starts...Now
Sundays 10pm-11pm ET
Folk singer/songwriter Dar Williams plays her favorite picks including: Judy Collins, Paul Simon, Simon and Garfunkle, The Byrds and Suzanne Vega. Her latest album, "My Better Self" (featured left) hits stores on September 13th and it's filled with both political and personal insights.

On the Real
Sundays 11pm -1 am ET
Join Chuck D and Gia'na Garel for more discussion of hurricaine Katrina and its aftermath. Guests include Charlie Cross, author of "Room Full of Mirrors: A Biography of Jimi Hendrix" and actor/writer Darian Dauchan on his one man show "Fall Patriots," which follows the lives of three African American soliders in three different American wars.

[If you missed it earlier this week, Chuck D's "Hell No We Ain't Alright" ran at CounterPunch and was noted on Democracy Now! in "Three Displaced New Orleans Residents Discuss Race and Hurricane Katrina."]

[Last week, Chuck D

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Sunday Chat & Chews

Are you ready to rumble!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Sunday Chat & Chews think they are. The shows air on broadcast TV, check your local listings for air times.

NBC's Meet the Press is thrilled, to the point of breathless, with their "Exclusive!"

It's true, they don't overlap guests with This Week . . . this week. And good thing the John Roberts, Jr. hearings were postponed, otherwise Meet the Press couldn't have done their only in depth look at the nomination of someone to a lifetime appointment. The motto appears to be, "Give us time . . . we may get around to it."

Here's the line up:
New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin
author John Barry & Dr. Ivor van Heerden on Hurricane Katrina's aftermath.
Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA)

What's ABC's This Week to do in the face of such an extreme "EXCLUSIVE!" throwdown from Russert & co. at NBC? Did you guess bring on the Dalai Lama? No? Well that's why you're not in charge at This Week!

His Holiness will try to attemp to stop the slap fights between the Georges during the roundtables. Lots of luck, Dalai. (That was a joke. Dalai Lama will speak of 9/11, he's not taking part in This Week's roundtable because His Holiness is prevented from participating in the smarmy and snarky.)

They'll also have Thad Allen to discuss Hurricane Katrina (he's coordinating the Hurricane Katrina Federal Relief Efforts) and Senator Barack Obama. (How many chat & chews, do you think, were this close to booking Brown himself before he got dumped today?)

But let's face it, people watch This Week for one reason and one reason, the ___ing sex appeal of that roundtable! Yet again, This Week does not disappoint! Along with the Georges, you get juicy beefcake from hot hot hot Newt Gingrich and Fareed Zakaria! Is your heart thumping? Your head reeling?

George Steph is quaking his loafers, no doubt, trying to figure out how to up the ampage on the sexual heat when confronted with such a trinity of hotties.

But here's a thought. George Steph is really supposed to stay in his role, even in the roundtable, as host. Which leaves George Will (who more and more comes off like a caustic Sally Rogers after yet another date bails on her in front of Rob and Laura) to do what he does (I didn't say "well"), pontificate. So the first George is neutrel and the second, the oddball, is advocating for the right-wing. Now you've got Fareed who thinks of himself as a reporter (others beg to differ) and isn't really supposed to be an advocate. Will's blind date this weekend is Newt and Newt's right-wing.

So, for those needing the quick & easy (I have no idea if that's truly George Will's nickname by the way -- in the words of Mama Cass, "Shhh, no rumors") you've got two people who shouldn't be partisan advocates chat and chewing the week's events with two people who are partisan advocates from the right. Check the tires, This Week, the hoopty's veering hard right.

Which brings us to CBS' Face The Nation. At half the length of the other two, it's surprising how much more it can pack in when it wants. Who's on? Is it another game of Mystery Date?

No, they actually have announced this week:

CBS Evening News Anchor Bob Schieffer
The Aftermath Of Hurricane Katrina; Supreme Court Nomination
Lt. Gen. Russel Honore
Commander, Joint Task Force Katrina
Sen. Mary Landrieu
Democrat - Louisiana
Sen. Susan Collins
Republican - Maine
Chairman, Committee On Homeland Secutiry And Governmental Affairs
Jan Crawford Greenburg
The Chicago Tribune
Carin Pratt is the Executive Producer of Face the Nation.

"You're going to pick Face, aren't you?"

Yes. I don't watch any. Sometimes they'll be a guest on the other two that would make me select one. But Face is a half hour, it takes itself more seriously and Bob Schieffer handles the host duties better than the other two.

Note also that if you're looking for something other than a 100% male line up, you have to turn to Face. Why, on the other two shows, both of which last twice as long as Face, aren't there any women? I don't know. (And no fair calling George Will a female. Besides making him cry, possibly the term you're looking for is "capon." Possibly not.)

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