Friday, November 21, 2008

Iraq and NYT's tabloidish ways

Separately, Abdulbasit Turki Saeed, the president of Iraq's Board of Supreme Audit, responded Thursday to public criticism surrounding the dismissals of anticorruption monitors, known as inspectors general, in Iraqi government ministries.
"There are some changes in the inspectors general, which were made in accordance with reports on the offices' performance," Mr. Saeed said.
"It's not a personal issue," he added. "Some offices are competent and some are not. That's why there was some changeover for the less competent."

The above is from Katherine Zoepf's "Iraqi Who Captured G.I. Is Dead, U.S. Says" in this morning's New York Times. We're not interested in the 'US military says' aspect indicated by the headline, if you are use the link. I'm going back and forth on this next thing but it's ticked me off so it's going in here. I know Angelina Jolie and have for many years (long before she was an adult). I've defended her here at this site from slams and smears by McClatchy and the New York Times. So we'll go back to that today and ask: Who the hell cares what People magazine agrees to or does not agree to? Does someone mistake People for the Washington Post?

It's a journalism story (if sourced or backed up with more than whispers) that People allegedly agreed to hand over editorial decisions to Angelina as part of a deal to obtain baby photos. But even then, the story is not Angelina. Any concessions she gets from the press (already on their knees begging) have to do with journalism, not with an actress. It's a story (if true) of a supine press. [From their knees to their back, like good little doggies, they know how to roll over.] Brooks Barnes writes the story and it's not one even a parent can take pride in. Again, Barnes' target should be a journalistic outlet allegedly handing over editorial control. Instead it's the paper's chance to rip apart Angelina with little jabs about her "clan" -- family. She's built a family. It's an insulting article and it's appalling journalism.

But the reason we're mentioning it is not just because for Barnes' article to have any merit, the focus needs to be People magazine and not Angelina, but also because it is on the front page.

The New York Times thinks People may have handed over control (again) of its magazine to a celebrity in order to garner access. And this is on the front page? Of the main news section? Now we know Iraq's not making the front page. But flip to A6 where you'll find Mark Mazzetti's "Key Data Held Back In Inquiry, C.I.A. Says" which opens with:

An internal investigation by the Central Intelligence Agency has found that the agency withheld cruical information from federal investigators who spent years trying to determine whether C.I.A. officers committed crimes related to the accidental downing of a missionary plane in Peru in 2001.
The August 2008 report by John L. Helgerson, the C.I.A.'s inspector general, could lead the Justice Department to reopen its investigation into the shooting, examining in particular whether senior C.I.A. officers obstructed justice or lied to Congress by burying details about the incident and the C.I.A.'s broader counternarcotics program.

That's buried on A6 but the smear job, the attack on Angelina is on the front page. Again, if People agreed to what the article maintains, that's got nothing to do with Angelia who holds no degree in journalism and is not required to operate under any press ethic. It does have to do with People. Regardless, it's not front page news and that's even if if the two gossips who ran to the paper had been willing to go on record. Barnes should be very careful because that is an attack on Angelina and it's those sort of 'reports' that destroy access and when access dries up, careers do as well. And the Times, having down-sized in size, appears determined to down-size in substance as well as it continues to ape the New York Post.

Xinhua notes Baghdad roadside bombings have claimed 3 lives and left nineteen injured so far today.

H. Josef Herbert (AP) notes the six winners of the International Press Freedom Award (Committee to Protect Journalism):


Bilal Hussein Associated Press photographer, Iraq
Danish Karokhel and Farida Nekzad,
Pajhwok Afghanistan News executives, Afghanistan

Andrew Mwenda, managing editor, The Independent, Uganda,
Hector Maseda Gutiérrez, imprisoned reporter, Cuba

Burton Benjamin Award:

Beatrice Mtetwa, media lawyer, Zimbabwe

Herbert notes of Bilal:

The committee also had been among those who had pressed for the release of AP photographer Bilal Hussein, winner of a Pulitzer Prize in 2005 for his news photography, including the fighting in Fallujah and Ramadi. Hussein was on assignment and did not attend the news conference.

Steven Hurst, former AP bureau chief in Baghdad, said Hussein was taken into custody and held for more than two years without charges. "He did nothing but his job as a photographer in a war zone," said Hurst, adding that the military evidently "didn't like the story that was being told by his pictures."

The awards are presented Tuesday in ceremonies that Gwen Ifill will preside over and presenters include Richard Engel (NBC), Christiane Amanpour (CNN) and Harry Smith (CBS News).

Megan notes Mickey Z's "Obama and the Great Depression" (Information Clearing House):

No, I don't mean that Great Depression. I'm talking about the inevitable moment -- maybe next week, maybe next year -- when the Kool Aid wears off and the Obamatrons wake up to realize their hero offers nothing even approximating hope or change.
The carefully calculated speeches -- which have always been filled with empty, hollow phrases—will no longer soothe a battered and desperate populace and the Obamabots will suddenly recognize that the Pope of Hope has never been anything more than a human marketing strategy, a product. This year's iPhone. "Yes we can"? Merely the first three words of a longer phrase: "Yes we can continue to work, consume, and obey authority without question."

Kimberly Wilder (On The Wilder Side) notes this article on Malik Rehim's recent award and click here for a message from Malik who is running for Congress and the vote takes place December 6th.

2008 Campaign Videos

The Green Party explains:

Greens focus on electing Malik Rahim, Louisiana Green Party candidate for the US House on Dec. 6

Greens focus on electing Malik Rahim, Louisiana Green Party candidate for the US House on Dec. 6


For Immediate Release:
Monday, November 17, 2008

Scott McLarty, Media Coordinator, 202-518-5624, cell 202-904-7614,
Starlene Rankin, Media Coordinator, 916-995-3805,
Christian Roselund, Media Contact for the Malik Rahim campaign, 504-905-5676,

Rahim, co-founder of the Common Ground Collective, receives Thomas Merton Award for his relief work in the aftermath of Katrina

Video clip: Rahim's keynote speech at the Green Party's 2008 National Convention, July 12 in Chicago

WASHINGTON, DC -- Green Party leaders are focusing on the campaign to elect Malik Rahim, Louisiana Green candidate for the US House in New Orleans (District 2) (, urging local and national support and assistance for Mr. Rahim.

The election for the 2nd District US House seat will take place on December 6 instead of November 4 because of election delays caused by Hurricanes Gustave and Ike. District 2 is currently represented by William Jefferson, who is facing trial on 16 counts of corruption.

"Malik Rahim is more than just a welcome change from Rep. Jefferson and the corrupt political culture he represents. New Orleans voters have a chance to elect a hero who organized thousands of Common Ground volunteers to provide food, health care, and other basic services to hurricane victims in the wake of Hurricane Katrina," said Jody Grage, treasurer of the Green Party of the United States. "We're encouraging Greens and friends all over the US to donate to his campaign, and those who can get to New Orleans to work on his campaign."

Mr. Rahim is co-founder of the Common Ground Collective (, an organization that provides short-term relief to victims of hurricane disasters in the Gulf Coast region. Mr. Rahim is a former Black Panther and ran for New Orleans City Council in 2002 as a Green Party candidate.

On November 12, Malik Rahim received the Thomas Merton Award ( for his work in community organizing and providing relief in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Under Mr. Rahim's leadership, the Common Ground Collective opened the first free health clinic in the city of New Orleans, helped reopen schools, gutted over 3,000 homes that needed repair in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans, and provided direct services to nearly 200,000 returning residents.

Malik Rahim's political agenda include support for a national health care program (with an endorsement of HR676, 'The United States National Health Insurance Act'), federal money to rebuild the Gulf Coast region's healthcare infrastructure, federally funded Category 5 flood protection, and comprehensive storm protection by maintaining and preserving ecosystem services, including rebuilding the region's cypress swamps.


Green Party of the United States
202-319-7191, 866-41GREEN
Fax 202-319-7193
Running tally of Green election victories
Green candidate news
Green candidate database for 2008 and other campaign information:
Green Party News Center
Green Party Speakers Bureau
Green Party ballot access page

Cynthia McKinney/Rosa Clemente 'Power to the People' Campaign for the White House

~ END ~

Public broadcasting notes. First up NOW on PBS this week:

What role did the credit rating agencies play in the current economic crisis? This week, a former managing director at Standard & Poor's speaks out on U.S. television for the first time about how he was pressured to compromise standards in a push for profits. Frank Raiter reveals what was really going on behind closed doors at the credit rating agencies the public relies on to evaluate the safety of their investments.

"During this period, profit was primary; analytics were secondary," Raiter tells NOW Senior Correspondent Maria Hinojosa.

Who was watching the watchers? Surprising new revelations about the economic debacle, this week on NOW.

Selected E-Mails and Documents from our Investigation
Confidential Presentation to Moody's Board of Directors (pdf),
October 2007—by Raymond W. McDaniel, Chairman and CEO, Moody's Corporation. McDaniel describes a topic he calls "Erosion by Persuasion" in which "Analysts and MDs [managing directors] are continually "pitched" by bankers, issuers, investors—all with reasonable arguments—whose views can color credit judgment, sometimes ... "we 'drink the kool-aid.'"

A Standard & Poor's internal email (pdf) from December 2006, in which an employee states: "rating agencies continue to create [an] even bigger monster - the CDO [collateralized debt obligation] market. Let's hope we are all wealthy and retired by the time this house of cards falters."

In an Instant Message exchange (pdf), an S&P employee in the structured finance division writes: "It could be structured by cows and we would rate it."

Further emails, documents and testimony are available from The Committee on Oversight and Government Reform hearing "Credit Rating Agencies and the Financial Crisis," as is video of the hearing.

White Paper on Rating Competition and Structured Finance
by Jerome Fons, a former Moody's Exec who testified at the "Credit Rating Agencies and the Financial Crisis" hearing. Fons argues that the credit rating agencies have a conflict of interest inherent in their business model, and considers alternatives.

The program begins airing tonight on most PBS stations, check local listings, as does Washington Week which finds Gwen sitting down with four including the New York Times' Helene Cooper, Ceci Connolly (Washington Post) and NBC's Pete Williams. Staying with TV but turning to commercial TV, CBS' 60 Minutes offers the following on Sunday:

Assault On Pelindaba
Scott Pelley investigates the boldest assault ever on a facility containing weapons-grade uranium -- a still-unsolved crime that could have had calamitous consequences.
For Better Or Worse
Foreigners who marry Americans are entitled to become permanent residents of the U.S., but in a stricter post-9/11 world, hundreds of widows are being asked to leave the country because their husbands died – even some whose children were born in the U.S. Bob Simon reports.
Lesley Stahl catches up with Rex Lewis-Clack, a musical savant born blind and mentally impaired who, at 13 years old now, is making remarkable strides despite doctors' predictions. | Watch Video

60 Minutes has been scoring record ratings of late.

Public broadcasting heads up radio. WBAI Sunday, Monday and Wednesday:

Sunday, November 16, 11am-noon
Andrew Andrew prove two opinions more mindbending than one.

Monday, November 24, 2-3pm
Cat Radio Cafe
Author/editor Nelson W. Aldrich, Jr. on "George, Being George," an
oral history of literary legend George Plimpton; novelist Arthur Nerseian
on "The Sacrficial Circumcision of the Bronx," second of The
Five Books of Moses series based on urban terrorist Robert Moses;
andJordan Roth of Jujamcyn Theatres announces, a new way
to get discounted theatre tickets while saving the world. Hosted by Janet Coleman
and David Dozer.

Wednesday, November 26, 2-3pm
Satire with brand new boxing gloves for the new guys and more ground
for the old guys. With transition team Janet Coleman, David
Dozer, John McDonagh, Marc Kehoe, Scooter, Moogy Klingman, Paul
, The Capitol Steps, Prince Fari and the great Will Durst.

Broadcasting at WBAI/NY 99.5 FM
Streaming live at WBAI
Archived at Cat Radio Cafe

Stan's "Movies, Lauren Bacall, and more" went up last night and, swiping from his site Oh Boy It Never Ends, other community posts:

The e-mail address for this site is

the new york times
katherine zoepf

mickey z.
kimberly wilder
 60 minutes
 cbs news

 cat radio cafe
 janet coleman
 david dozer
 washington week

 now on pbs

thomas friedman is a great man

oh boy it never ends