Thursday, March 02, 2006

Other Items

The Times has their fluff on today. Professional Fluffer David D. Kirkpatrick rushes to reassure that the Alito note to Jimmy Dobson is nothing worth paying too much attention to.

Lost in the fluff zone (permanently?), the Times misses many things. Martha notes the following, Carol D. Leonnig and Mary Beth Sheridan's "Saudi Group Alleges Wiretapping by U.S.: Defunct Charity's Suit Details Eavesdropping" (the Washington Post):

Documents cited in federal court by a defunct Islamic charity may provide the first detailed evidence of U.S. residents being spied upon by President Bush's secret eavesdropping program, according to the organization's lawsuit and a source familiar with the case.
The al-Haramain Islamic Foundation, a Saudi organization that once operated in Portland, Ore., filed a description of classified government records in a lawsuit Tuesday and immediately asked a judge for a private review.

Kara notes Katharine Viner's "A Message Crushed Again" (Los Angeles Times via Common Dreams):

The Flights for cast and crew had been booked; the production schedule delivered; there were tickets advertised on the Internet. The Royal Court Theatre production of "My Name Is Rachel Corrie," the play I co-edited with Alan Rickman, was transferring later this month to the New York Theatre Workshop, home of the musical "Rent," following two sold-out runs in London and several awards.
We always felt passionately that it was a piece of work that needed to be seen in the United States. Created from the journals and e-mails of American activist Rachel Corrie, telling of her journey from her adolescence in Olympia, Wash., to her death under an Israeli bulldozer in Gaza at the age of 23, we considered it a unique American story that would have a particular relevance for audiences in Rachel's home country. After all, she had made her journey to the Middle East in order "to meet the people who are on the receiving end of our [American] tax dollars," and she was killed by a U.S.-made bulldozer while protesting the demolition of Palestinian homes.
But last week the New York Theatre Workshop canceled the production -- or, in its words, "postponed it indefinitely." The political climate, we were told, had changed dramatically since the play was booked. As James Nicola, the theater's 's artistic director, said Monday, "Listening in our communities in New York, what we heard was that after Ariel Sharon's illness and the election of Hamas in the recent Palestinian elections, we had a very edgy situation." Three years after being silenced for good, Rachel was to be censored for political reasons.
I'd heard from American friends that life for dissenters had been getting worse -- wiretapping scandals, arrests for wearing antiwar T-shirts, Muslim professors denied visas. But it's hard to tell from afar how bad things really are. Here was personal proof that the political climate is continuing to shift disturbingly, narrowing the scope of free debate and artistic expression, in only a matter of weeks. By its own admission the theater's management had caved in to political pressure. Rickman, who also directed the show in London, called it "censorship born out of fear, and the New York Theatre Workshop, the Royal Court, New York audiences -- all of us are the losers."

Remember Democracy Now! is in New Mexico and scheduled for today are the topics "issues surrounding uranium mining" and Laura Berg the nurse threatened with sedition charges (Matthew Rothschild wrote about the woman's case here). Also Kat's latest musical commentary (on Nina Simone) is here and Ava and my joint entry "Industry Shocker: America's Funniest Videos? Not That American" is here.

The e-mail address for this site is (And yes, I'm phoning this entry in -- on several levels. Ava and I worked late on our joint entry last night and it was a long day long before the entry. I would love to take Kat up on her offer, very kind offer, to do tonight's indymedia roundup; however, I'm already taking off Sunday evening -- Jess and Ty will be filling in -- so I'll make time to do tonight's entry but, warning, it will probably post after midnight for some domestic members -- it always posts late for international members.)