Saturday, November 04, 2006

Other Items

Snyder, 23, of Colorado Springs, Colo., said a deal had been reached for a discharge, but he found out he would be returned to his unit at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo. His troubles are complicating efforts for those among the 220 American soldiers who fled to Canada and want to return to the United States, according to lawyers, soldiers and anti-war activists. "Nobody's going to come back from Canada anymore," said James Fennerty, a Chicago-based attorney who represents Snyder and other AWOL soldiers. Several soldiers who went to Canada have said they don't want to return to Iraq. Sgt. Patrick Hart, who deserted the Fort Campbell, Ky.-based 101st Airborne Division in August 2005, a month before his second deployment, said he felt misled about the reasons for the war. "How can I go over there if I don't believe in the cause? I still consider myself a soldier, but I can't do that," said Hart, a Buffalo, N.Y., native who served more than nine years in the military. "The whole story behind it, it all feels like a big lie," Glass said. "I ain't fighting for no lie."

The above was noted yesterday. It's an AP article entitled "AWOL Soldiers On The Outside Looking In" and we'll note that Brett Barrouquere is the author of it. E-mails note that it's being carried by many sites and papers. In addition to that, "One Day After Surrender, AWOL Iraq War Resister Flees Again; Says Military Reneged on Deal to Turn Himself In" is the Democracy Now! interview that Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez did with Kyle Snyder yesterday (listen, watch or read). Kyle Snyder is part of a movement of resistance to war within the military. He is only one of the many who have gone public. Others include Camilo Mejia, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Aidan Delgado, Jeremy Hinzman, Brandon Hughey, Patrick Hart, Corey Glass, Ricky Clousing, Mark Wilkerson, Kevin Benderman, Joshua Key, Ivan Brobeck, Robin Long, Ryan Johnson, Clifford Cornell, Katherine Jashinski and Agustin Aguayo.

More information on war resistance within the military can be found at Center on Conscience & War, The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, and the War Resisters Support Campaign. In addition Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters.

It is a movement and it needs to be covered. When covered by independent media, I'm not speaking of Democracy Now!, as members have pointed out, it is too often covered in a "Whatever you may think about . . ." Carl noted an interview, aired on the radio (not a Pacifica program, or an Air American program, for those who can't figure out who hedged bets -- it should be obvious), where the host had to include those qualifiers. Carl noted that such was not the case on other 'acceptable' topics.

I'm glad Carl pointed that out, because I had forgotten it. It is true. Some who do cover it, weaken the coverage by acting as though they're working for NPR or the mainstream media (NPR is the mainstream). Why is that?

And why is that so many in independent media refuse to cover the story of war resisters? Early on, this may have been right before or right after the illegal war started, there was a couple who were both being deployed to Iraq, the husband and the wife. They had children and they were stating that one parent needed to remain with the children. (Rightly stating.) I never read the coverage of that (I'm thinking I was on the road speaking out against the war during it's brief coverage by the press) but I heard about it from a 'left' friend who stated an opinion of "shouldn't have signed up." (The 'left' friend was for the war.) The opinion was that they should have known war was always an option. Should they have also known that the military would be so insane as to attempt to deploy both parents?

Should they have also known that age old notion of just and unjust wars would be tossed aside? (If Bully Boy and Blair's fall 2002 bombings had goaded retaliation, then they could have fashioned a Gulf of Tonkin type cover, Bully Boy didn't even have that). The oath is to defend against all enemies foreign and domestic. It doesn't included "real and manufactured."

If you're against the war, you're for ending it. If a troop refuses to deploy, whether or not they self-check out, to stand up against an illegal war they're showing bravery and you undercut that with your attempts to 'frame' the issue. (I'm not sure the person Carl's referring to is interested in this decade's hulahoop; however, the way that interview was set up strikes me as either using the hulahoop or trying to find cover for what you're about to present.)

After the election cycle is over, it'll be interested to see what happens with independent media outlets and the coverage. When even Adam Nagourney (always one to pick and spin from -- he put out the phoney 'values voters' myth -- then decried it months later without noting his own part in co-writing the faux 'report' that led to the myth being accepted) noting Iraq in his election coverage, it may be that some who are rediscovering Iraq in the last few weeks are doing it just to advance or gas bag about the election. After it's over, if they continue to ignore the war resisters and the peace movement, I think we'll all have some answers. We may not be happy with the answers, but we'll know where the outlets stand.

There hasn't been much life or bravery in independent media on the subject of the war. There's been hide behind the generals, there's been, "Oh look, ___ cheerleaded the war but now he's back in the fold!" (It's always a "he.") I'm wondering how many of those producing independent media accepted the lies of the revisionary history on Vietnam because, to judge by the coverage, either a lot have or they're too cowardly.

If you need an example, try this. The Nation's strongest cover statement of the year on Iraq is going to be that the generals are revolting? (No laughs, they meant they were uprising against the machine.) If they think, all outlets, that they have to water it down for 'the people,' they're not following the polling. The turning against the war did not come this year. To judge by the majority of independent coverage (of what passes for it), you'd think it was April 2003 and not November 2006. The transplant in need of a hair style (length isn't the issue, the fact that the hair is so hideous is an issue) can trash Naomi Klein all he wants (and he obviously wants to very badly) but Naomi Klein didn't have to wait for polling, she didn't have to wait until everyone was ready for a dialogue. The fact that Americans are now ready for a serious dialogue and independent media that can't cover those who self-check out of the military is AWOL is rather sad. Actually, they aren't AWOL. Their months and months of ignoring this topic qualifies for desertion. When Russ Feingold called for withdrawal, where was The Nation's cover story or The Progressive's? A US senator called for withdrawal. Where was the coverage?

Neither appears able to find the peace movement even if you take them by the hand and lead them to it. (You can lead the press to protest but you can't make them attest?) You can get a cover story on Hillary Clinton, in 2006, because she might run for president in 2008, but you can't get a cover out of Russ Feingold? (Or of Ted Kennedy shortly before that.) An opinion journal, which is what The Nation is, is supposed to help shape opinion as well as inform. It's whole reason for existance is to float opinions, expose them to wider circulation and, thereby, influence.

It hasn't done with regards to the war. Thirty years from now, someone stumbling across the complete 2006 print copies of the magazine in an attic will probably have a difficult time determining that the United States started an illegal war that continued to wage in 2006. Tom Hayden's piece on the peace makers meet up in Jordan never ran in the print version. The coverage of Ehren Watada didn't run in the print version. The coverage of Kyle Snyder? The coverage of Kyle Snyder is like the coverage of Ricky Clousing, Darrell Anderson and Mark Wilkerson, non-existant. Same with the coverage of Troops Home Fast, Military Families Speak out's efforts this summer, Camp Casey, Camp Democracy . . .

Do we really need a text equivalent of the chats & chews in terms of topics? That's seems to be what most of 2006 has provided. Don't point to your web only exclusives, or something you said on a program. People pay for the print editions (I've subscribed forever) and if you're not choosing to put into print, you're sending a message that it's not as valuable. It's worth tossing online to have some 'new content' but it's not worth printing. That may not be the intended message, but it is the message received.

Independent media sorely needs to demonstrate some independence. Hiding behind the Harry Reids isn't independence. Harry Reid is an awful 'leader.' Forget the abusive legislation that's come out of Congress, for years (which could be overturned by acts of Congress), we will be living with two Supreme Court Justices who are not qualified and do not represent most Americans. One of them replaced Sandra Day O'Connor who wasn't a 'moderate' but such are the times that she's seen as one. That's a lifelong history of damage and the blame goes to Harry Reid because he was supposed to be leading the opposition in the Senate. From issues of reproductive rights to public interest and everything in between, the public will suffer because of those two votes for years and years to come. Instead of 'exploring' the mainstream media's topic of the week (providing an alternative perspective), the magazines need to be informing about the real alternatives. Example, if Time and Newsweek are gas bagging about Hillary's run in 2008, there's no reason for The Nation to cover Hillary. We don't need an 'alternative' understanding of Hillary Clinton (who's been widely written about for over a decade now). We do need to know about members of Congress who stand up. A John Conyers cover story would be an alternative to the mainstream coverage of Hillary Clinton. Offering instead a cover story on Hillary reads like a copy of one of Marvel Comics' old What If? series.

And it begins to reinforce the 'there two sides to every coin' bromide when, what independent media should be reinforcing, there are actually a wide variety of coins. Not just the ones bearing the face that the mainstream media chooses to shine a spotlight on this week. I like The Nation, I've subscribed for years but as we head towards the four year mark of the illegal war it needs to be to stated that the coverage isn't cutting it.

A few weeks back, when they started their student nation page, I thought we'd provide a link to that. Then I started hearing the complaints from high school students and college students over and over. Their points are valid and they don't feel they're being spoken with (they do feel talked down to), that they're being engaged or that they're being represented. Ty said readers loved "Eisenhower Democrats" to note who The Nation was covering (see "Oh, that 'campus' beat") and they were wondering who came up with that. I was on the road at the beginning of the week so I didn't find out about that until Friday night. If you got an e-mail from Ty answering that, he's correct that I tossed that out. But I didn't coin it. It came from a student activist in Iowa.

The coverage isn't cutting it and if people think it is, they need to get out more. They need to leave their own circles and explore the country because it's not cutting it. Saying that isn't a "war on The Nation." I read the magazine, I subsribe to it. (There's a magazine we will never again note here short of a management change -- which needs to come quick from rumors of its impending death. Visitors could call that ignoring of the magazine "a war" on it, if they wanted to, but when something's beyond hope, I don't waste my time.) There are so many "wars on" that visitors detect. I supposedly have a "war on Damien Cave" (of the New York Times). I have no particular feelings about Damien Cave as a reporter. He's been praised, he's been slammed. That's based upon what makes it into print, what I know behind it (such as a story being heavily shopped around to other outlets that passed -- rightly) and possibly some talk around the Times passed on by friends.

You can argue I have a "war on" Dexter Filkins. Linda Greenhouse gets slammed for a private speech she gives to college alumni. She 'expressed opinions!' (That happened to reflect the opinions that the paper shares in their editorials.) Dexter Filkins didn't just out the Green Zone portion of the paper (in speech after speech, only one of which received mainstream coverage) he insulted them. I don't think there's anything I've ever typed here (even when bored or angry) that was as insulting to those with the paper reporting from the Green Zone as Dexy's take on 'what really happens.' (Like most of his 'what really happens' takes, it came many years after and was in contradiction to everything he'd ever stated in interviews or reported.) For those who didn't grasp it, the reporter Dexy Filkins' much publicized speech said the war was lost. That is an opinion (one I happen to share). But Linda Greenhouse is the one publicly humiliated and taken to task? It's not as though she shared tales out of school about other reporters at the paper. Dexy did. And he also offered his opinions, which is Greenhouse's supposed crime.

Now the mainstream media picked up on that speech. (With fawning coverage of 'truth teller' Dexy.) That speech has been given on campuses for some time. The paper should be aware that wasn't Dexy's first visiting of that topic.

If Judith Miller got the US into war all by herself (as some would have you believe), it's the Dexys who kept American blind to the reality of the war. Allowing the military to determine an interview? Allegedly allowing the military to vet his copy? Whining that Paul Bremer waited until his book to talk about what was 'obvious' to everyone at the time (while Bremer was in Iraq) when, in fact, Dexy didn't report on that (he never mentioned it until he did that laughable book review of Bremer's book)? Turning in some of the most laughable pieces to ever run in the New York Times (including the period when he thought he was Loretta Young playing 'girl reporter in the war zone')?

The Times, post Dexy (as he was preparing to leave) did start get honest about where they could go and where they couldn't (in their actual reporting, this was noted). They got honest about realities outside the Green Zone as well. They could get a lot more honest but there's not one reporter filing from Baghdad right now that doesn't have a byline on a better article than anything Dexy filed. If Tavernise, Sabrina Tavernise, goes wonkish, I'll go off. No one has done a better job of exploring the humanity of this war (at the Times) then she has. I'm not interested in hearing Russell Crowe sing, I'm not interested in reading Tavernise goes wonkish. It's not her strength. Her strength is looking at the chaos around her and finding a way to tell that in understandble terms to the readers. Kirk Semple, Michael Luo, Damien Cave, Richard A. Oppel Jr., Paul von Zeilbauer, all of them have pieces they can point to with pride. The same can't be said of Filkins. His pieces didn't hold up in real time and they don't hold up now. They were and remain an embarrassment on every level (including his attempt to be a sob-sister in his final days -- "So solider, you gotta' a girl back home?"). Even Michael R. Gordon has things in his resume he can be proud of. His strength is in reducing everything to numbers and stats and there are stories where that strength works. (When it doesn't, I'm laughing as I read and laughing as I type up a comment here.)

Juan Forero's 'reporting' gives me a headache. I loathe Juan Forero's 'reporting.' Even before membership decided the focus would be Iraq, a member had to beg and beg to get me to address his 'reporting' because it gives me a headache just to read his spin. If I'm choosing to ingore someone or some outlet, it's because I feel it's beyond hope. Nothing's going to change it, no comment, no observation will ever make a damn bit of difference.

Has the Times gotten that much better? A friend at the paper swears John F. Burns has passed his fed-up point with the lies that the press is regularly told. (If I hold back on anyone, it is Burns because of a friend's view. I hope that bears out.) It has gotten better in the Iraq coverage. But it's also true that it doesn't have a lot of competition from independent media.
And it's honesty (in print, about what can be verified and what can't be) has probably lowered my own expectations.

But whatever negative criticism Damien Cave and Paul von Zeilbauer got for their daily coverage during the summer (they also got praise, though that's never noted by visitors), the fact is they continued to cover Iraq. Some days they did it well (by Times standards), some days they didn't. But when independent media took the summer off from the topic, they remained covering it. (And that was noted here in real time as well.)

To expect The Nation to live up to its stated goal and to criticize it when it doesn't isn't a "war." If the magazine was useles, it would be like another magazine that got delinked and will never be mentioned here again unless management changes. (The "In Style" for the 'left.') You've got a refusal to stand by stories, you've got a jerk who ripped off Mike, you've got a wishy-washy attitude on the war (though they'll point to the cover story, by an outside writer, that they did in 2005), you've got a pointless magazine that's not worth highlighting, not worth handing out a gold star too. It's tanking and if its demise occurs before The Third Estate Sunday Review closes shop (November of 2008 is the plan) we have the parody send off already prepared. Otherwise, it does not exist. That's a "war." At this site, if I'm commenting on something, it means that I think it can be better (and should be). If I'm ignoring something outright repeatedly, over and over, I think it's a lost cause and we should all move on. (Members don't always agree and they get the final word.)

Going through the public account e-mails today, I saw a lot of visitors complaining about this war or that war. You're not part of the community and I really don't care what you think. The community is too large as it is, has been for some time, which is why Brad always jokes about thinning the herd. One caring soul wanted to suggest that "mocking never works, more flies with honey and all that stuff."

We dealt with "Don't Knock the Mock" in our first months of existance. A 'left' blogger was offended that Jimmy Dobson had been called a Fool on the Hill here and wanted to lecture at his site. (As Rebecca would say, of course it was a man.) He wrote an 'inspring' piece of crap about how we had to learn to communicate with James Dobson. It was the sort of crap that only an anti-feminist could churn out because feminists have been charting the war waged by the Dobson types since the eighties (actually the end of the seventies). Go read Gloria Steinem's Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions and you'll find that some 'astute' commentators in the last two years were rather late to the party (though they got a great deal of credit -- even though a number of observations appear word for word in that book -- no surprise, the 'astute' were males). But back then, the 'left' was enthralled with the myth of 'values voters.' They just knew that the 'vangical voters could be swayed. Not by stating positions clearly and strongly, not by an honest dialogue. But, by trickery and hulahoops.

Historically ignorant and probably leery of women's rights (and all rights to non-straight, White males), they rushed in to disown abortion. They had little flags and crosses on their sites just knowing that there was going to be stampede to the Democratic Party if they could just disguise a bit and drop a lot more. There was no running of the bulls. The peeling off wasn't even significant. And you have to be historically ignorant of the ebb and flow of conservative churches in this country to think there would be.

But don't mock? Don't undervalue humor. The mock would be most successful, aimed at the administration, if aimed at Alberto Gonzales because he's someone who truly cares what people think. (Which is why Dems in the Senate should press hard when he appears before it. He sweats, he gets nervous, he starts to reveal and then, when it's time for the next Dem, you get some dumb ass wanting to hear the sound of their own voice instead of following up on what just happened.) (Republican senators are very aware of this quality in Gonzales. It's why they rush to the rescue and pile it on so thick.) That's why he removed the drape, he didn't want to be the national joke that John Ashcroft was. That's why he gets caught in lies. He's probably the most concerned about public opinion of anyone in the administration. (Rumsfled and Cheney don't give a damn. They came of age on the outside and they feed off scorn.) (Bully Boy is oblivious to reality and, on the rare occassion when it does intrude, he looks visibly stunned.)

Saturdays are a pain in the ass because I try to wade through as many of the public e-mails as I can. No one's working the public account on the weekend other than me. If you're a visitor and you want to have your say on something, someone will read it. (Martha & Shirley are now officially working the private accounts in addition to Ava, Jess and myself. Eli's working them on Tuesday and Thursday. Thanks to all for that.) As for going up at the site, unless you're a reporter who's been commented on here (by name), we don't care. We don't care that you think Harry Reid has a 'secret plan' for bringing new life into the Democratic Party. I don't even care enough to structure a response other than the obvious: Really? By squeezing all life out of it first?

We don't care about the the group of troops spelling out that they remember 9-11. Is that supposed to be news? Has anyone forgotten 9-11? Instead of 'remembring' it, try understanding that Iraq had nothing to do with 9-11. It neither supplied nor trained hijackers.
It had nothing to do with 9-11. (But Jess said that photo popped up repeatedly in the e-mails.)

If you're a reporter and you want to disagree in private, it will be read by me eventually. I will not do a response. I'm not interested in a having a private conversation, I have enough conflicts of interest as it is. But it will be read and it will be factored in. (And has been the site started.) If you want to have your say here, it will go up here. Not in bits and pieces, in full. Felicity Barringer remains the only one who wanted to disagree and wanted it noted publicly. Again, agree with her or disagree with her, she had the guts to go public. Due to the response from the members over that, should anyone else want to go public, it will probably result in two entries. One where they have their say (unedited except by them) and one that contains a response. Originally, it was have your say, I've had mine already.

But I don't have the time to deal with e-mails from members who feel that this statement isn't accurate or that one wasn't, which was the result of Barringer's comments. (Though no one ever asked, my opinion was she was sincere in her opinion and I believe I personally disagreed with every one of them. She had a right to have her say, my personal opinion. I also know that even those who disagreed with her strongly, have read what she said more than once because e-mails from members continue to note her response. They still don't agree with her but they do not what her opinion was.)

If you are e-mailing about an event, you need to give lead time. There is no way, even with others working the acounts, that all e-mails are going to be read within 24 hours. It would help if you'd note what it was and the date in your heading. That would make it more likely for it to be read. I'm not interested in Democratic events. There are plenty of places to read about that online. We will note Green events when possible because we do have Green members, Greens get less attention, and I'm not trying to push a party off anyone. (Gina and Krista's polling found that 71% of members responding identify as Democrat.)

We're a site for the left. We don't link to the right. There was a blogger recently who wanted a link and I've stated here that I will try to do that for anyone who is starting a site because e-mails have made clear how difficult it can be to start up for some. If you can't reply to an e-mail I wrote asking if you're right wing, you don't need to be asking for a link. And after the many stabs in the back Rebecca got from the 'girl' bloggers, if you don't reply to such an e-mail, I note it to everyone in the community so they won't waste their time linking to you either.

[For those not aware, Rebecca has had support from some 'girl' bloggers who 'love what you write and let's trade links!' but then they never could. "You're too contorversial right now. Give me a week or two." I didn't know about that in real time. I only found out when Elaine subbed for Rebecca the first time and called me to say she was cleaning up Rebecca's blogroll and why. Those who'd done Rebecca that way that were linked from this site were pulled. Rebecca's a lifelong friend, we've known each other since college, and you jerk her around and you cease to exist in my book. It pisses me off, and I'll wrap this up quickly because I will go into non-work-safe language if I stay on the topic, that so many wanted to write those 'let's stick together because we're women' b.s. e-mails to Rebecca and got their links and then refused to link to her. All those sites are forever banned at this one. They will never be noted. They will never be linked. They are a joke and an embarrassment run by scared little girls who wanted to ride Rebecca's readership but didn't want to publicly be associated with her. One even requested -- and was 'loaned' money by Rebecca -- 'loaned' because that was about two years ago and it was never repaid. In my book, you are a joke. Your little ditherings about your vactions and your inability to address the war make you a joke. No, you make yourself a joke, your posts only reflect that. At the end of each day, Rebecca's made a difference with her readers and all you've provided was a distraction.]

I think that basically sums up vistor e-mails except for the 'concern' expressed by one who wanted to advise that "You could get mentioned on ___ if you would tone down" criticism re: Iraq. For the record, the site, not me, was mentioned on ___ in our first year. I didn't see that as a highpoint or as a cause for celebration. I've purposely avoided those type of entries since then to avoid being mentioned on ___. Your measure of success ("you could really make some money") fails to grasp that I don't need to "make some money," that I'm not interested in making "some money," that I'm not interested in gas bagging on radio or TV. Cokie Roberts has been ritually crucified -- they cut off her head and a million Cokies sprung up to replace her -- some of which were supposedly going to 'change it all.' Before there was Cokie Roberts, there were millions in different eras. There always will be. The concerned closed with "And reporters would mention you if you were nicer to them." I'm not interested in "nice," thanks all the same. And though my comments (humor or serious) may shock some, I grew up around the deciding group, not the reporters filing stories. My comments on reporters are far less damning than anything I heard as a child in the living room or dining room. If it's a shock to you (or a reporter) that's the reality of how they're discussed.

I have friends who are reporters and I'm not trying to insult them (though I know the phone will ring as soon as it goes up), but the 'power' of the reporter is a myth for the most part. Woodward and Bernstein, with Watergate, became stars. Since that time, the mainstream media needs to inflate to justify the guests they bring on their chats and chews. But there really aren't 'stars' these days. And in any era, there really weren't. Not working within the mainstream. They are the paid employees. They're spoken of the same way any other worker is by the boss. If that bursts any bubbles, sorry. It's a comic book creation -- Clark Kent, Brenda Starr -- it's just rarely reality (and rarely has been reality).

Having dispensed with the visitor e-mail (if you get a reply in an e-mail, you had something worth responding to -- and that's always the case though I tend to focus on the inane e-mails here) we'll wrap up quickly. Brenda notes this from Reuters:

But after a reporter called to ask about the deployment and news of it began to spread, senior commanders ordered Specialist Cardona to stay in Kuwait, fearing he and his unit could be singled out by insurgents because of his role at Abu Ghraib.
Later on Friday, they announced that he would return to his base at Fort Bragg, N.C.
The Army offered no explanation as to why Mr. Cardona's unit commanders had planned to deploy him, given his record in Iraq. The abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib came to light after pictures of it were discovered in 2004.

That's an update to something noted in yesterday's snapshot:

In other news of deployment status, Jamie McIntrye (CNN) reports that Santos Cardona will be sent to Kuwait and not Iraq, the Army has decided, due to the fact that Cardona was the "U.S. Army dog handler who was convicted of abusing detainees at Abu Ghraib prison". As to how he's been allowed to remain in the service? In June, Santos was "sentenced . . . to 90 days hard labor and a reduction in rank . . . found guilty of derelecition of duty and aggravated assault" (AP). The prosecution had recommended a discharge for bad conduct but apparently the actions fit into someone's understanding of 'service' and Cardona has managed to remain in the military instead of being drummed out of the service.

The question of how they thought they could get away with that and what sort of a message that sends to the ranks will go undiscussed because the chance to discuss the lowered standards (a very real concern for career service members) passed this week. To the slogan we don't note here add "blindly": "____ ___ _____ Blindly." And superficially. That was the message when all the spin and counterspin, from both camps, was over.

We'll also note Sabrina Tavernise's "7 U.S. Troops Die in Iraq; U.S. Intelligence Chief Visits:"

The American military, meanwhile, announced the deaths of seven more American troops. All were killed Thursday, three in a roadside bomb in eastern Baghdad and four in the roiling western province of Anbar in sniper and bomb attacks.
Hidden killing continued across the capital, with 83 bodies and a severed human head found in the two days ending Friday. At least nine other Iraqis died in violence on Friday, Reuters reported, including a freelance journalist, a singer, a taxi driver and a gas station employee.

[. . .]
The tale of a kidnapped American soldier took a fresh turn on Friday, with a relative saying that kidnappers had demanded a $250,000 ransom for his release. Entifad Qanbar, a former associate of Ahmad Chalabi, identified himself as the soldier's uncle and said by telephone from Baghdad that American officials working for his release had met with an intermediary trusted by the kidnappers earlier this week.
[. . .]
The office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said on Friday that it lacked the money to care for the soaring number of Iraqi refugees inside and outside the country. A spokesman, Ron Redmond, told reporters in Geneva that just two-thirds of its $29 million budget had been financed, and that some employees were going without salaries.

Jonah passes on this regarding two WBAI programs (broadcast over NYC airwaves, you can also listen live online and WBAI archives broadcasts as well):

Sunday, November 5, 11am-noon
Author/actor/Green guberanatorial candidate Malachy McCourt holds forth.
Monday, November 6, 2-3pm
Pianist Simone Dinnerstein on her debut recital at the Metropolitan Museum of Art; actress Megan Dodds on her solo performance in The Royal Court Theatre's long-awaited production of "My Name is Rachel Corrie,"; and novelist Heidi Julavits on "The Uses of Enchantment," her Rashomon-like novel about a high school girl who vanishes and returns to accusations that she faked her abduction. Hosted by Janet Coleman and David Dozer.-
--Cat Radio Cafe, online at

And it's the weekend which means RadioNation with Laura Flanders, on Air America radio, online, XM satellite radio, live at 7:00 pm EST till 10:00 pm EST Saturday and Sunday:

The least watched races could affect women and people of color for years to come. We'll hear from South Dakota, on the battle over the nation's meanest abortion law, with women's health advocate CHARON ASETOYER and feminist author and Nation writer JENNIFER BAUMGARDNER. Plus civil rights attorney KIM CRENSHAW on Michigan, where an initiative to end affirmative looms. And plans to Video the Vote with film maker IAN INABA and Guerilla News Network's ANTHONY LAPPE.
As an Iraqi court delivers its verdict on Saddam Hussein, Iraqi law expert SCOTT HORTON on its timing, how it was planned and the reaction. Our media roundtable features the Nation's KATRINA VAN DEN HEUVAL and syndicated Cape Cod Times columnist SEAN GONZALES. Plus election protection experts ELLIOT MINCBERG of People for the American Way and WARREN STEWART of VoteTrustUSA.

The e-mail address for this site is And I'm still going through the public e-mails. To the person with the hotmail account, your highlight will be noted tomorrow. I just saw it and it's about an event on Monday.

And the following community members have updated their sites since Friday morning:

Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude;
Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man;
Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix;
Mike of Mikey Likes It!;
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz;
Wally of The Daily Jot
and Trina of Trina's Kitchen

At Kat's Korner, Betty filled in on Monday, Ruth filled in on Wednesday, and I filled in last night.