Friday, February 24, 2006


Because I was sick this week, the highlights really fell to the wayside. New member Marissa wondered if no one was suggesting highlights? They were suggested, I just rarely had time because I was sick. For anyone who's new, members suggest the highlights. Or, sometimes, a blog will suggest them. If I'm noting something I type, "I'll note . . ." If a member doesn't want to be credited, the highlights are just tossed out there. Due to the number of suggestions, everything that's recommended doesn't get highlighted. It helps if you write something about why the highlight is important to you. Don't expect that I'll read it and understand.

For instance, you may pull the passage that spoke the most to you for the excerpt and without knowing what came before, I may miss the power of the passage. Another reality is that I do not know everything (by any means) and if this is a new subject/topic to me, I may not grasp why the highlight is important. If it's important to you and you explain why in the e-mail, it goes up. Zach always picks the excerpt, always notes why it's important to him and usually writes one or two sentences why. So Zach's tend to go up quite often. (And Zach does choose good highlights.) Long term members who don't suggest very often also get their suggestions highlighted. On any given day, there are many worthy things that are worth highlighting but there just isn't time. I've said this before but it's been a few months: If you feel like your suggestions do not get noted, e-mail about it so we can figure out what's going on. I may not be grasping what you're sending, I may not be getting what you're sending, or I may put it off for another entry and then forget.

The last one does happen. Robert Parry and Matthew Rothschild are voices that speak to the community, but if I'm pressed for time, they're likely to be passed over. They use a different font at their sites (Consortium News and The Progressive) which makes dashes, parenthesis and more turn into squares. On that, I'm not going back in and correcting font anymore and I've asked others to stop doing it as well. With the DN! entries, for some reason they are running together when the font is fixed (or anything on them). Tuesday's entry was one that has been "fixed" several times now. The first time for font. The other times to try to get the spacing right. So those will just be left alone from now on unless there's a factual error.

Grace Lee Boggs is another one who can be set aside and I end up forgetting. The reason for setting her aside is that if the person has copy and pasted from The Boggs Center, her column tends to run in one straight line and throw the entire site off. Three paragraphs suddenly become one long line. So if you're suggesting Grace Lee Boggs or anyone else from The Boggs Center, go to The Michigan Citizen Daily and copy and paste from there. Otherwise, it does get put off if I'm working on the DN! entry (which is almost always e-mailed). More often than not, it's probably me forgetting after I've set a highlight aside so if you're suggestions aren't showing up, let me know.

Do I have to agree with every word of every highlight? No. And there are times I don't. In those cases, the issue is whether or not the person is a) of the left and b) making a point that no one else may be making. There were two entries this week that I asked Jess to e-mail on and explain that there was a thought in the thing that was suggested but that it added nothing. Let's say someone had a thought on gentically modified crops but the thought began in the first sentence and then it was just marking time until the end. While I think gmc is a serious issue, something (no one e-mailed on that this week) that has nothing to offer to the conversation won't go up.

On the left. We're a site for the left. We highlight from left sources. Sometimes that may mean that if a left site posts someone not of the left, we can highlight it. If a member thinks it's important enough, we can highlight it. That's up to members to make that case because part of the resource/review of this site is to make sure that everyone's aware of how many voices on the left are out there. You probably don't see them on the chat & chews or hear them on NPR, but they do exist. And if we're not highlighting them, then who else should?

Erika had a question in her e-mail this evening. It's a good question. She noted that the last few days, the morning entries have included several links to the Washington Post and wondered if alternative voices were being left aside?

I worried about that as well. But on those mornings, I felt the New York Times was utterly worthless. (Maybe it wasn't, maybe it was my opinion because I was sick.) The point I was attempting to make with those entries was, yes, we know that alternative media can and does do a better job than the paper of record. But to show how bad of a job I felt the Times was doing, I was attempting to contrast it with another mainstream, daily paper.

My opinion was that the Times wasn't breaking any news, wasn't offering any perspective on anything that mattered to our lives. I was attempting to demonstrate that not only when compared to alternative media were they falling down on the job, but also when compared to a close approximation, they were doing a lousy job.

I thought that point was coming through (remember I was sick with a high fever) but obviously that wasn't the case because Erika's very astute and if the point was stated or implied, she would have grasped it.

Oh, one more thing. I haven't explained this clearly in awhile and it's popping up again. If you want a Bob Herbert, Paul Krugman or Maureen Dowd column highlighted, you need to write something to share with the community. I'm not linking to them otherwise. (And remember that if people don't subscribe to the paper they won't be able to read them at the Times' website.) That's always been the policy here. I also avoid the editorials as best as I can. If you want to weigh in, you're welcome to, just note that it's to go up at the site and it will go up.

This is one of two planned entries for tonight. This one is a highlight-fest where I'm dropping back into the e-mailed suggestions for some of the things we missed this week. If I miss something on a good day, we don't drop back. There's too much going on to keep playing catch up. But this week, highlights were hardly present because I was rushing to finish the entries and either get back in bed or else run to the bathroom.

Mia noted Norman Solomon's "The Unreal Death of Journalism" (CounterPunch):

The reporting about the death penalty is usually light years from what really goes on. We're accustomed to those kinds of gaps. By the time we become adults, we've seen thousands of televised narratives -- from entertainment shows to newscasts -- that purport to depict death but actually do nothing of the sort. It's not hard to watch because so much about death is hidden from media viewers.
For those who champion death-dealing policies as solutions, whether administered by the "Department of Defense" or the "Department of Corrections," euphemisms are vital. Fog prevents acuity about what can't stand the light of day.
"Government officials don't want the American public to view the death penalty as a lethal, destructive, violent act that isn't really necessary," says Bryan Stevenson, executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative of Alabama. "Therefore we sanitize and obscure the act of killing a person, who is no longer a threat to anyone, with protocols and procedures that are aimed at comforting the public. The problem is that intentionally killing another human being is always painful and shocking. As medical doctors, correctional staff and anyone who gets close to capital punishment quickly discover, there is no comfortable way to kill a human being who doesn't have to die."
But there are plenty of comfortable ways for news media to report on the killing of human beings.

Chad noted that Tom Hayden's website has several timelines on the sixties. To view, click the link.

Belinda noted the following (in full because it's an announcement and we should get the word out) from Democratic Underground:

Your friends here at DU have launched our new online literary magazine!
Posted by joeybee12
Added to homepage Fri Feb 24th 2006, 08:09 AM ET
Those of us who visit the Writing Forum have lunched our first issue of our online literary magazine, The Necessary Language. You can visit it (and we hope you will) at We started this as a way for us unpublished and under-published writers to get a forum for our work. We also see it as a learning experience, so we do not edit pieces submitted.
The magazine will be quarterly, and if you’re interested in submitting to future issues, you can PM me (although I leave tomorrow for 3 weeks in Europe!) and I can give you more information. We ask that submissions be sent in plain text to Currently we take fiction--short stories, short shorts, poetry, artwork and photos. In the future we may take non-fiction and essays if there's a great interest in this.
In the meantime, have a look, and tell your friends. We want EVERYONE to read this!

Brianna wanted to note something from the Green Party and we'll also note it in full because a) it's a press release and b) we don't note the Green Party enough here:

"Dissent, Freedoms, Privacy Under Sustained Assault by Bush"
Thursday, February 16, 2006

Scott McLarty, Media Coordinator, 202-518-5624,
Starlene Rankin, Media Coordinator, 916-995-3805,
Greens see political dissent under sustained attack by the Bush AdministrationPlanned detention centers, expanded USA Patriot provisions, specious charges of 'eco-terrorism', no-fly lists, warrantless domestic surveillance, and invasions of privacy are destroying freedom and the rule of law, say Greens
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Green Party leaders called on all Americans to recognize and stand up to various attacks by the Bush White House on the right to political dissent.
Greens noted expanded government power to block and crush protest, President Bush's order for the NSA to spy on U.S. citizens without obtaining warrants in accord with FISA, surveillance of library records, and evidence (such as the no-fly list) that the U.S. government is compiling databases on Americans who disagree with Bush policies.
Among more recent and less known threats:
Arrests of demonstrators at "special events of national significance"
A new provision in the USA Patriot Act bill would allow authorities to arrest demonstrators on felony charges at any "special event of national significance" if they are caught breaching a security perimeter. The measure would extend the power of the Secret Service, allowing agents to arrest people who enter an arbitrarily defined restricted area at an event, even when the President or any other official protected by the Secret Service isn't present. No hearings are planned on the provision."The new provision will empower the Secret Service to declare any area at any given time the site of an event of 'national significance' in order to arrest people expressing unwelcome political ideas and charge them with a felony," said Jody Grage Haug, co-chair of the Green Party of the United States and founder of the Nonviolent Peacekeeper Pool in Seattle. "It'll crush the kind of civil protest that was necessary to advance the civil rights movement. The purpose of the new Patriot Act provision is not security, but intimidation and suppression of political speech."

Greens are urging Congress to vote down the current version of the USA Patriot Act, citing the 'security perimeter' provision as well as other warrantless invasions of privacy.
Defining vandalism as "eco-terrorism"
In the wake of criminal property destruction by small number of environmental activists, the U.S. Department of Justice has called such acts 'eco-terrorism', even though such actions have nothing to do with inflicting injury and fear on human beings. (The Green Party supports neither violent protest nor vandalism.)"When public officials label vandalism and other property crimes 'terrorism', then terrorism ceases to have any useful meaning -- except as a tool for making the public see all dissent, including nonviolent civil disobedience and legitimate environmental protest, as criminal behavior," said Richard Scott, Online Fundraising and Outreach Coordinator for the Green Party.
Justice Alito's support for Bush Administration on domestic spying
During his February 7 confirmation hearing, Judge Samuel Alito declared "I stand behind this President being commander-in-chief, to pursue fifth column movements," defining fifth column as "a movement known to every war where American citizens will sympathize with the enemy and collaborate with the enemy."Since the Bush Administration has accused its critics of expressing sympathy with America's enemies, Judge Alito's comments imply that the Court should uphold White House efforts to spy on, intimidate, and suppress political dissent. Judge Alito also espouses an "unitary executive" theory of an imperial presidency that stands above the law and beyond the oversight of Congress and the courts.

"When Judge Alito talks about fifth column movements, he means all Americans who protested the invasion of Iraq and who will protest the impending U.S. assault on Iran," said Rebecca Rotzler, co-chair of the Green Party and participant in the 1999 WTO protests in Seattle as a member of the Mid-Hudson (New York) Direct Action Network.
Detention centers
On January 24, Halliburton subsidiary KBR announced that the Department of Homeland Security's U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement component has awarded KBR a five-year $385 million contract to build and maintain detention centers to deal with "an emergency influx of immigrants, or to support the rapid development of new programs" -- possibly in response to political unrest."In recent years, peaceful protesters against global trade authorities and against the war on Iraq have increasingly found themselves detained for over 24 hours without charge. We know that FEMA has sought bids from major real estate and engineering firms to construct giant internment facilities, ostensibly to deal with disasters and attacks on the U.S. But evidence that FEMA also claims the power to detain political protesters goes back to the Iran-Contra hearings in the 1980s. The American people should recognize these developments as ominous in the era of endless 'war on terror', military occupation of Iraq, and a likely U.S. military attack on Iran," said said Sundiata Tellem, co-chair of the Green Party Black Caucus.
Greens noted that some leaders in Congress, including Democrats, are already backing down from holding President Bush accountable for his illegal order for domestic spying without warrant or congressional oversight."These threats to our freedoms and to the rule of law are more dire than at any time in U.S. history, because of surveillance technology, training of civilian police forces in military tactics as ordered by President Clinton in the mid 1990s, and the control of media by conglomerates that benefit from such policies. The Green Party has already called for impeachment of President Bush and Vice President Cheney for various crimes and abuses of power. But it will take a very loud 'No!' from the American people and a concerted effort to remove the Bush regime from power if we're going to regain our rights and freedoms," said Marc Sanson, co-chair of the Green Party and former director of the Heartland Peace Center in Springfield, Illinois.
Green Party of the United States
1700 Connecticut Avenue NW, Suite 404
Washington, DC 20009.
202-319-7191, 866-41
GREENFax 202-319-7193
Green Party rebuttal to President Bush's 2006 State of the Union Address (Video News Release)

Charlie noted that Patricia J. Williams had a column up available to all at The Nation. (Usually Williams' columns are available to subscribers only.) It's entitled "Emotional Truth" and focuses on the truths and "truths" that may be revealed through DNA testing:

If there is value to this kind of "emotional truth"--if I can be permitted that term--it is important not to confuse it with the sort of truth that DNA tells us. So while DNA can undoubtedly pinpoint certain aspects of our ancestry, it does not make literal sense to say, as Gates does to Oprah Winfrey: "You've got education in your genes." Of course, he was speaking metaphorically at that moment, using the human genome as a metaphor for a pattern of socialization, a family habit, a thirst for knowledge modeled by parents. But at other points in the program that metaphoric dimension is applied rather more carelessly--and more dangerously. "I'm 50 percent white," says Gates. But there is no more an allele for "whiteness" than there is for "education." "White" is a malleable social designation with a freighted history. Were his Ashkenazi ancestors to appear before us today, they might be called white, but as Eastern or Southern Europeans coming to America a hundred years ago, they probably would not have been considered so.
It behooves us to be less romantic about what all this DNA swabbing reveals. I worry about the craving to "go back to Africa," to "connect with our Yiddishness" or to feel like new doors have been opened if we have an Asian ancestor. The craving, the connection, the newness of those doors is in our heads, not in our mitochondria. Rather, it is the process of superimposing the identities with which we were raised upon the culturally embedded, socially constructed imaginings about "the Other" we could be. The fabulous nature of what is imagined can be liberating, invigorating--but it is fable. If we read that story into the eternity of our blood lines, if we biologize our history, we will forever be less than we could be.

Martha notes that Ms. has a look back at some of the pioneers who have passed away "including Rosa Parks, Molly Yard, Coretta Scott King, Wendy Wasserstein, Shirley Chisholm and C. DeLores Tucker." Click here to view the index page which contains links.

Martha also wondered why I didn't ask her and Shirley to help out with the e-mails? I know they would have and I appreciate that. I honestly hadn't planned to ask anyone. Jim and Dona asked if it was okay for them to help Jess and Ava and I was just glad to have it off my hands. Ty was surprised and when he found out that I took Jim and Dona up on their kind offer, he volunteered as well. I know that it would have only taken an e-mail to Martha or Shirley (only one e-mail, they would have handled it between them after that) but I was really too sick for even that one e-mail. Throwing up, I'm used to. So used to it, that if I'm nervous before speaking, I can rush to the bathroom (if I can make it to one in time), throw up and then go speak. But this was different. It wasn't the throwing up that bothered me, it was my stomach which sometimes felt like I had jagged edges of glass dragging through it, other times like I had a sheet of ice in it that was breaking and, other times, it just felt sore. Standing was a problem. (As was sitting.) I spent most of my time on my side, curled up in a ball. If I was lucky enough to have the energy to grab it, I'd have a heating pad on my stomach. (By the way, thank you to Krista. I was afraid I wouldn't be able to do the column for the gina & krista round-robin and Krista called and offered to let me dictate it to her. Today, I could probably write it but there was no way before this morning that I was going to be able to type up one myself and e-mail it.)

Brady noted Molly Ivins' latest:

Cynics are fond of meditating on the evil done in the name of reform. I'm a great believer in perpetual reform myself, on the theory that political systems, like houses, are always in want of some fixing. However, I have seen some pluperfect doozies passed off as reform in recent years, starting with "Social Security reform."
Conservatives used to oppose reform on principle, correctly regarding it as a vile plot by goo-goo good government forces to snatch away their perks. This once led to a colorful scene in the Texas legislature in which the letters R*E*F*O*R*M appeared on the rear ends of six female members of a baton drill team, who turned and perched their derrieres pertly on the brass rail of the House gallery.
Reform follows scandal as night the day, except in these sorry times when it appears we may not get a nickel's worth of reform out of the entire Jack Abramoff saga. Sickening. A real waste of a splendid scandal. When else do politicians ever get around to fixing huge ethical holes in the roof except when they're caught red-handed? Do not let this mess go to waste! Call now, and demand reform!
Sheesh. Tom DeLay gets indicted, and all the Republicans can think of is a $20 gift ban. Forget the people talking about "lobby reform." The lobby does not need to be reformed, the Congress needs to be reformed. This is about congressional corruption, and it is not limited to the surface stuff like taking free meals, hotels and trips. This is about corruption that bites deep into the process of making laws in the public interest. The root of the rot is money (surprise!), and the only way to get control of the money is through public campaign financing.

Doug noted Joshua Frank's "The Democrat's Pull Out Method" (CounterPunch):

Dean is in part is being honest; they certainly are not cutting and running. But the plan Dean is touting is anything but sensible as he claims, and the antiwar movement should not, I repeat, should not support this ugly thing. The "plan", if that's what you want to call it, does not ask for immediate withdrawal -- it would be phased. And more importantly it's not a withdrawal at all -- it's a call for redeployment of armed forces to other outposts in the Middle East.
According to the policy report itself, which is titled, "Strategic Redeployment: A Progressive Plan for Iraq and the Struggle Against Violent Extremists", put out by the Center for American Progress which Rep. John Murtha supports, redeployment isn't all that better than the Republican's plan to "stay the course":
"As redeployments begin, the remaining forces in Iraq would focus on our core missions: completing the training of Iraqi forces; improving border security; providing logistical and air support to Iraqi security forces engaged in battles against terrorists and insurgents; serving as advisors to Iraqi units; and tracking down terrorists and insurgent leaders with smaller, more nimble Special Forces units operating jointly with Iraqi units...
"By the end of 2007, the only US military forces in Iraq would be a small Marine contingent to protect the US embassy, a small group of military advisors to the Iraqi Government, and counterterrorist units that works closely with Iraqi security forces. This presence, along with the forces in Kuwait and at sea in the Persian Gulf area will be sufficient to conduct strikes coordinated with Iraqi forces against any terrorist camps and enclaves that may emerge and deal with any major external threats to Iraq ... 14,000 troops would be positioned nearby in Kuwait and as part of a Marine expeditionary force located offshore in the Persian Gulf to strike at any terrorist camps and enclaves and guard against any major acts that risk further destabilizing the region."
There it is, spelled out in frightening detail. The Democrat's election year stunt is just more of the same. This is what we should have expected from the beleaguered and directionless Democratic Party, and the antiwar movement should in no way get excited about their meager offering. They still want US military bases in Iraq and the rest of the Middle East. And US troops won't be coming home anytime soon. They'll just be transferred from one imperialist venture to the next.

Lastly, Melanie wrote twice with this highlight. It was supposed to be included in the entry with only one highlight this week (the DN! entry) but my stomach was killing me. My apologies to Melanie who chose the excerpt, labeld that it was a highlight in the title and explained why this article was something that spoke to her. In short, she did everything you should have to do to get something highlighted. What she and I didn't count on was my stomach. Here's Werther's
"A Half-Dozen Questions About 9/11 They Don't Want You to Ask" (CounterPunch):

The events of September 11, 2001 evoke painful memories, tinged with a powerful nostalgia for the way of life before it happened. The immediate tragedy caused a disorientation sufficient to distort the critical faculties in the direction of retrospectively predictable responses: bureaucratic adaptation, opportunism, profiteering, kitsch sentiment, and mindless sloganeering.
As 9/11, and the report of the commission charged to investigate it, fade into history like the Warren Commission that preceded it, the questions, gaps, and anomalies raised by the report have created an entire cottage industry of amateur speculation--as did the omissions and distortions of the Warren Report four decades ago. How could it not?
While initially received as definitive by a rapturous official press, the 9/11 Report has been overtaken by reality, not only because of unsatisfying content--like all "independent" government reports, it is fundamentally an apology and a coverup masquerading as an exposé--but because we now know more: more about the feckless invasion of Iraq, more about the occupation of Afghanistan and the purported hunt for Osama bin Laden, more about the post-9/11 stampede to repeal elements of the Bill of Rights, more about the rush to create the Department of Homeland Security, an agency to "prevent another 9/11," which, in retrospect, is plainly about cronyism, contracts, and Congressional boodle.
Many of the amateur sleuths of the 9/11 mystery have based their investigations on microscopic forensics regarding the publicly released video footage, or speculations into the physics of impacting aircraft or collapsing buildings. But staring too closely at the recorded traces of subatomic phenomena involved in a one-time event can deceive us into finding the answer we are looking for, as Professor Heisenberg once postulated. Over 40 years on, the Magic Bullet is still the Magic Bullet: improbable, yes, but not outside the realm of the possible. But there is surprisingly little discussion of the basic higher-order political factors surrounding 9/11, factors that do not require knowledge of the melting point of girder steel or the unknowable piloting abilities of the presumed perpetrators. Let us proceed, then, in a spirit of detached scientific inquiry, to ask questions the 9/11 Commission was unprepared to ask.

I think those were the ones members wrote passionately about. If there's something that's been overlooked, e-mail.

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