Friday, March 10, 2006

NYT: "Unexpected Rise in Jobless Claims" (Reuters)

The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose unexpectedly last week, to 303,000, the highest level this year, a government report showed on Thursday.
The increase of 8,000 took the number of initial claims above 300,000 for the first time since the week of Jan. 7, the Labor Department said. Economists had expected claims to dip to 290,000 from the 294,000 initially reported for the week that ended Feb. 25.

The above is from a Reuter's article, carried by the New York Times, entiteld "Unexpected Rise in Jobless Claims." Eli, Brad, Rob and Melanie pick it for the spotlight story from the paper of record today.

Now what does that mean? How about a lot of headlines stretched into articles and a lot of fluff?
Good call. We'll go elsewhere for reality in this entry.

Martha notes Walter Pincus' "Panel on Eavesdropping Is Briefed by White House" (Washington Post):

Concerns have been raised over the past two months about the legality of such monitoring without a warrant from the secret court set up under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The subcommittee was created as part of a plan by Roberts to head off calls for an investigation of the NSA monitoring by the full intelligence committee.
Both House and Senate panels have been negotiating with the White House over what kind of inquiry Congress will be able to make into the controversial program, and what rules will govern it.
Members of the Senate subcommittee -- which, along with Roberts and Rockefeller, includes Republicans Mike DeWine (Ohio), Orrin G. Hatch (Utah) and Christopher S. Bond (Mo.) and Democrats Carl M. Levin (Mich.) and Dianne Feinstein (Calif.) -- will not be able to share what they learn with the other eight members of the intelligence panel, according to rules the White House has proposed.

So is this what it's going to be? What we're going to accept? Our elected officials will work out "deals" with the White House on how an investigation will be conducted? We let Bully Boy set the agenda for the 9/11 investigation from the start. (Referring to the Congressional one, but it applies to the independent, or "independent," commission as well.) The administration breaks the law and our response is going to be to accept deals hammered out between the criminals and Congress? Is that how it's going to be? Is that how little our Constitution means to any of us?
Possibly, instead of buying up flags, Americans should be buying up copies of the Constitution and studying those. The difference is one is a totem and one's what's supposed to be the law of the land. We can have the government that people fought for (not referring to the military) or we can have the government we settle for. Right now, it seems like we're going to go along with futher dismantling the Fourth Amendment. What's next? The Thirteenth? The First? (We all know it won't be the Second.)

The law was broken. A Senate committee deciding that they can "fix" things by eliminating the judiciary from the process and retroactively legalizing a crime doesn't cut it.

Considering the way things are going, the next highlight may be a sign of things to come --
Cedric notes Margaret Kimberley's "Drug Money Wins the Olympics" (The Freedom Rider, The Black Commentator):

In the recent winter Olympics, American Julia Mancuso won a skiing gold medal in the women's giant slalom. Before winning the gold, Mancuso was best known for bragging about her family's criminal past:
"My grandfather had his family in Chicago, and his dad was working for the mafia; he was a rum runner. I don't know too much about it. I just like to joke about it."
Having a rum running grandpa in the distant past is no big deal if your father was a major drug dealer. Mancuso's father, Ciro Mancuso, ran a $120 million marijuana and cocaine smuggling empire until he was arrested in 1990, the early days of the horrendous war on drugs.The story of Ciro Mancuso is a story of corruption in the criminal justice system. The system never was very just, especially for black people. The war on drugs resulted in the largest numbers of black people in shackles since the days of slavery. There are now more black faces
behind bars than there were during the Jim Crow era. Of course, segregation and lynch law precluded the need for jails.
For decades Black Americans complained about the ravages wrought by drugs in their communities. First heroin, then cocaine, then crack cocaine brought crime, illness and the wholesale destruction of entire communities.The years of pleading resulted in very little help. It was always possible to get rid of drugs, but the powers that be were never interested in doing so. Thai war lords, Central American contras, and the Sicilian mafia were allowed to bring drugs into the United States because they were favored by the United States government.

"Star" athletes, medal winning ones, can brag about their families' ties to organized crime? Well, if we're going to accept that the Bully Boy can break the law and not have any kind of real Congressional investigation, why not? It's all about what you're willing to accept.

Last day in London for Democracy Now! so remember to listen, watch or read (transcripts).

The e-mail address for this site is