A suicide bomber wearing an explosive belt blew himself up among a crowd of Iraqi police recruits Wednesday, killing at least 17 people, a hospital official in the city of Fallujah said. In Baghdad, authorities found the bodies of 37 people shot to death in six different locations.
Details of the bombing were sketchy Wednesday. U.S. and Iraqi troops cleared the streets and cordoned off the area around the police station, where most of the city government's offices are located. U.S. military authorities have not yet released any information about the attack.
The above is from Nelson Hernandez' "Suicide Bomber Kills 17; 37 Bodies Found in Baghdad" (Washington Post). Martha just e-mailed that. There are three articles that members are e-mailing about in this morning's New York Times but we're taking a pass on them because a) I'm not in the mood for it and b) as I gripe on the phone my language grows ever more 'colorful' which means it would be very easy for a word (or two or three or . . .) to slip in here and we do attempt to keep this a work-safe environment for members who read online from their jobs.
So that's news of Iraq. Let's do some other highlights and call this an entry. We're not noting Mia's highlight this morning. It looks wonderful and I hope to note it in the next entry later this morning but (due to its nature -- and Mia will grasp that) my first thought was, "Oh no, we were going to write about that!" It's interesting but I want to read it in full before noting it. (And figure out if we need to scrap something planned for this Sunday.) (I also don't think I could give it the attention it deserves because I'm so upset by the sliming the Timid continues to do.)
Call it a link fest. And I'm pulling from e-mails with headings noting voices that speak to the community. (I'll read the rest of the e-mails later today -- with help since there's so many.)
We'll start with KeShawn's highlight, Katrina vanden Heuvel's "Energy Independence Day" (Editor's Cut, The Nation):
George Bush won't ask Congress for permission for torture or domestic spying. But when it comes to energy policy -- he is very, very concerned about the limits of his presidential powers.
According to The Washington Post, he "renewed his call for Congress to give him the authority to ‘raise' mileage standards for all passenger cars." Then perhaps signaling a nod and a wink to his Big Oil friends, "White House officials said later, however, that they didn't know when or how the president would use that authority."
Meanwhile, the GOP Congress is scrambling to flex some 11th hour Election Year muscle of its own by reviewing oil company tax returns and "reaffirming authority for state and federal officials to fight price gouging."
No surprise that they are also attempting to exploit an increasingly squeezed middle-class by once again calling for drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge under the false pretense that it will provide economic relief at the gas pump. The truth, as the US Geological Service estimates, is that ANWR drilling would likely produce a total amount insufficient to fill the need for even one year of US domestic consumption and it wouldn't even hit the market for 10 years!
I recorded The Charlie Rose Show (KvH was supposed to be on, Ava noted it here last night) but haven't had a chance to watch it. (Two e-mails asked about the show.)
Lloyd notes Ruth Conniff's "The 'I Want Mine' Vote" (Ruth Conniff's Online Column, The Progressive):
Let's face it, Republicans have garnered votes and contributions for decades based on raw self-interest. The really neat thing about the $100 plan is it lets the little guy in on the action. Too poor to benefit from massive capital gains tax cuts? Not a captain of industry who stands to gain millions from tax shelters, incentives, and deregulation? Now you, too, can get $100!
OK, it's not much. Not even enough to make up for a month of Bush's historic high gas prices, if you drive regularly. But hey, it's a start.
Here are my suggestions for improvement: I'd like free college for my kids. Yeah, that's right. If you want me to vote Republican in the fall, and help the party in power hang onto all three branches of government, I want to see some cash on the barrelhead. After all, we're talking about mortgaging the future here--environmental catastrophe, suspension of basic Constitutional rights, turning our country into a symbol of torture and occupation for generations of angry young Muslims around the world, a possibly eternal state of war, complete with spying and secret military police. A hundred bucks is just not enough. For that matter, who's to say there will be any public school system left by the time my kids finish 12th grade, what with the way infrastructure is going in this country, plus No Child Left Behind and the privatization trend?
I think I'd better add that I want fully funded private education starting in kindergarten.
If I'd read Francisco's e-mail earlier, I'd have linked to Juan Gonzalez via Common Dreams in the last post. Click here to read "On Streets of New York, Solidarity Reigns." (And thanks Francisco for being way ahead of me as usual.)
For those still reeling from the New York Timid's latest attempt at sliming immigrants (that would include me), Brenda notes Jesse Jackson's "Are Immigrants Putting Justice on Parade?" (Chicago Sun-Times via Common Dreams):
May 1, a day of worker celebration, began in the United States around the struggle for the eight-hour day. Now it is honored across the world, but largely ignored in the United States. How fitting then that this year, immigrant workers from across the world have revived the day, marching to defend their dignity -- and energizing an entire movement for social justice.
They march to make their humanity known. They march to make their views known. They march because they will not be victims or pawns, but will be the subjects of their own history in this country. The new immigrants seek precisely what has made our country great: They thirst for democracy and freedom, a job and security for their families, for citizenship rights and to leave repression and poverty behind.
Lower-wage workers in this country -- many of them African Americans -- worry that employers are using immigrants to displace them, to undermine good jobs, force wages down and weaken labor organizing. But the answer to that isn't to turn on other poor workers. It is to raise the minimum wage (frozen since 1997); bolster union organizing and create a card-check system so a majority of workers can choose a union; run a full employment economy, and crack down on exploitative employers and off-the-books hiring.
Part of the anger directed at immigrants comes from workers understandably scared as manufacturing jobs are shipped abroad and lower-paying service jobs take their place. But global corporations, not immigrants, are taking those jobs abroad. The answer isn't cleaning up immigration, but electing leaders who will challenge the corporate hold over our trade policies.
I had a sentence here that I'm deleting because we're not returning to the topic of the Timid again this morning. Be glad for Gonzalez, Jackson, Democracy Now! and the others who don't put Wall Street above human lives and we'll leave it at that.
Cindy notes John R. MacArthur's "Edward Kennedy's Bland, Tepid Book" (Providence Journal via Common Dreams):
If you want to know why the Democrats are unlikely to retake the majority in either house of Congress this November, you need look no further than the boilerplate party platform, just published, entitled America Back on Track and allegedly written by Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D.-Mass). Already, that Kennedy claims to be the actual author of this "book" reveals an unbecoming vanity -- common to his father and late brothers -- that weakens the cause of defeating President Bush's right-wing hordes. But worse is that one of the last, semi-authentic liberals in the upper house would let his name be used by a party machine that seems determined to maintain its minority status in Washington.
With Bush way down in the polls, Tom Delay in disgrace and Iraq a growing disaster, you would think that the Democrats, including Kennedy, might sense an opportunity. Read this committee-written tract and witness the opportunity squandered, just as it was squandered in 2004 by the junior senator from Massachusetts, the "Kennedyesque" John Kerry.
To be fair, Ted Kennedy does acknowledge a "collaborator" for America Back on Track named Jeffrey Madrick, the editor of Challenge Magazine. But it's not fair to poor Madrick to be saddled with such a task, or blamed for the result, even if he was well paid.
Turgid, often self-contradictory and always predictable, this book -- if it had to be published -- should have been ghosted by somebody with the courage to reject at least some of the bromides mandated by a party leadership in rapid decay.
Zach notes Robert Parry's "A Reverse Thousand Days" (Consortium News):
One thousand days, as a measure for a President's accomplishments, were enshrined by the length of John F. Kennedy's time in office cut short by assassination. But now it could be an organizing principle for undoing George W. Bush's troubling legacy -- what might be called "a reverse thousand days."
With Bush's second term having about as many days left as Kennedy’s presidency lasted in total, the challenge to the American people is how to use that time to restore U.S. traditions in a variety of key areas. These include: limits on Executive power; protection of constitutional freedoms; pragmatic policies based on science, not ideology or religion; avoidance of "entangling" foreign conflicts when military objectives are unclear.
In five-plus years in office, Bush has pushed radical approaches in each of these areas --asserting "plenary," or unlimited, powers as Commander in Chief; abrogating legal and constitutional rights of citizens; disdaining the "reality-based community"; and ordering "preemptive" strikes in an indefinite conflict against vague notions, "terror" and "evil."
No question, it has taken the American people collectively a long time to catch on to Bush’s game. In November 2004, Bush received a huge number of votes across large swaths of the country (even if his total may have been boosted by some ballot tampering here and there).
In 2005, however, as the Iraq War dragged on, as hundreds of more U.S. soldiers returned home in coffins and as new evidence about Bush’s pre-war deceptions surfaced, the tide of public opinion turned decisively.
Bush’s contempt for pragmatic government also was exposed by the inept reaction to Hurricane Katrina; his clumsy campaign to partially privatize Social Security; soaring gasoline prices amid inaction on conservation, alternative fuels and global warming; and the exploding federal debt with hundreds of billions of dollars owed to China and other U.S. rivals.
The result has been a collapse in Bush's approval ratings across the country, with Bush now holding a net-positive rating in only four states, according to SurveyUSA.com's state-by-state numbers for April.
Zach also notes this KPFA program this morning (time given is Pacific):
The Morning Show
Mark Danner, author of "The Secret Way to War: The Downing St. Memo and the Iraq War's Buried History" -- Prof. at the Graduate School of Journalism at UC Berkeley,
May 3 at the Berkeley/Richmond Jewish Community Center 1414 Walnut St. 7:30
David Bacon on Labor
Sheila Chung, Director of the Bay Area Immigrant Rights Coalition;
Arnoldo Garcia, National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights
Jeffrey Goldfarb, Prof. of Sociology at the New School for Social Research and author of "The Politics of Small Things: The Power of the Powerless in Dark Times"
Ken Croswell, author of "Ten Worlds: Everything That Orbits the Sun"
If you missed it (I doubt many did), David Bacon (who contributes to The Morning Show each Wednesday) was a guest on Democracy Now! yesterday ("Are U.S. Trade Policies & NAFTA Causing An Influx of Undocumented Workers in U.S.?").
We'll pick up Mia's highlight in the next entry later today. Apologies for a link fest, but I can't believe the Timid continues to slime immigrants. You'd think they'd be ashamed of their conduct by now but they're obviously incapable of shame. So a group of people, who are asking for something very basic and could really use the support of an institution as powerful as that paper, are attacked repeatedly in the paper that invented the notion of "balance" but selectively applies it in most cases and tosses it out right out the window with regards to this issue. I'm sure they'll have some pressing "social issue" to cover soon. A bird's nest, possibly? Or maybe they'll have a friend pass away and need to get the presses rolling to make sure that everyone treats the death as something far more historical than the death of Coretta Scott King?
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