Saturday, August 27, 2005

Other items in the Times (count to ten slowly and skip "8") plus Dahr Jamail's latest "Two 'Green Zones'"

Oh, the Times. Let's note Jennifer 8. Lee and Matthew Sweeney. (If you're going with the name of an Uma Thurman film, can't you go with a successful one? Then again, maybe Pulp Ficition Lee wouldn't sound that much better? -- put in at a friend's request.) Let's note their
"Monthly Mass Bicycle Ride Leads to 49 Arrests in Manhattan" in this morning's New York Times -- a story so bad it took "2" writers to pen.

As the story's told in the paper (for chuckles?), "Since then [GOP convention last fall], the rides have become a point of contention with the police." Coming in very late on the story, the writers are either unaware that the "point of contention" occurred before the GOP convention or they simply don't care. "We observe, you decide." (From my friend who brought us, "Walk on,")

The "2" note:

The bicyclists, who have split into different starting points since the police confrontations began, began riding last night around 7:30. About 250 cyclists started in Union Square with 15 officers on scooters behind them. As that group moved through the city, officers from different directions converged on the group and bisected it, arresting bicyclists.

Why it all sounds so poetic, almost like a ballet on wheels. Let's leave the "2" for some reality.

SARAH TURNER: Hi, my name is Sarah Turner. I was on the corner of Second Avenue and 10th Street where the Critical Mass had just completed. The police came with a line of motorcycles. And they started pushing the bikes. And the bikers started pushing back. There was a man who was trapped under his bike. And the police all grabbed him at once. One police officer violently pushed his face into the ground and put his knee on the person's neck. The other police officers quickly were shouting to get back, as everybody was chanting, "Let him go, let him go." The police started taking out their batons and swinging them at the protesters. The protesters were chanting, "The whole world is watching." one police officer took out his pepper spray and said, "Get back, or you're all going to get sprayed."
ELIZABETH PRESS: My name is Elizabeth Press. I'm a producer at Democracy Now! I was just arrested at 36th and 7th Ave. while documenting the Critical Mass bike ride. I pulled up to a red light. In front of me, the cops were arresting a mass group of bike riders. I pulled over to the side and put my camera on the arrests. And then the officer came up to me and said I was violating the law. After being detained I was then released at 34th and 7th Avenue.

That's from Democracy Now!, "Critical Mass: Over 260 Arrested in First Major Protest of RNC" (August 30, 2004). Not as pretty, is it?

NYCBKR didn't think so -- from "NYPD Arrests 49 Bicyclists during August Critical Mass"
(NYC Indymedia):

The New York Times is reporting 49 arrests during last night's Critical Mass ride. I witnessed about twenty arrests at St. Marks and Third Ave. The Times also lists Houston St./ Second Ave., w. 18th St. and W. 34th St. as arrest locations.
Earlier, as the ride proceeded along Greenwich Ave. towards 7th Ave. the NYPD attempted to block the front of the ride with vans while undercover officers on bikes aggressively chased cyclists. There was no warning given by the NYPD and their actions caused panic among peaceful cyclists who were forced to ride into oncoming traffic and risk their lives in order to avoid the trap.

Read the story closely and ask yourself who the "2" spoke to? Do you see a rider quoted? Do you see anyone from the rally? The bike ride takes place after the rally. There was a send off to the bike ride and numerous people participated in the send off but only one is noted: "Norman Siegel, a lawyer who represents the group. He is also a candidate for the city's public advocate."

That's the New York Times. (A point I thought we'd made long ago but then the visitor -- see previous entry -- pops up and we have to go into remedial mode.) Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber informed us of "sixes and sevens" and "nines" -- they just neglected to warn us of "8"s.
(Ref to Tim Rice & Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Don't Cry For Me Argentina" from Evita.)

Julia e-mails to note Nina Bernstein's "Rights Agency Urges U.S. Not to Deport AIDS Patient:"

The petition is the first deportation case involving AIDS to be accepted by the O.A.S. agency, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.
Advocates for human rights say it points to a larger trend: As groups like deportable immigrants and death row inmates are being blocked from domestic courts by legislators impatient with protracted appeals, international bodies like the O.A.S. commission, the International Court of Justice at The Hague, and the United Nations Committee Against Torture are expanding their reach to fill the gap.
"In the past it hasn't been as relevant," in countries like the United States and Canada, said Brian Tittemore, a staff lawyer for the commission, which has mainly dealt with human rights abuses in Latin American member states since it was founded in 1965.
"Previously people were protected under those strong national Constitutions. But the more you see these gaps and gray areas, the more it matters."

Ted e-mails to note Jodi Wilogoren's "Chicago Mayor Is Questioned in Federal Corruption Inquiry" (with Gretchen Ruethling contributing):

Like his father, who ran this city for 21 years, Mr. Daley has been dubbed "mayor for life," but until now he had largely avoided the tarnish of corruption that plagued the elder Mayor Daley.
Though the current Mayor Daley was recently named one of the nation's top big-city mayors by a national magazine, and continues to headline fund-raisers across the country, his popularity here has plummeted amid the scandal, with an approval rating of 53 percent in a Chicago Tribune poll this May. The same survey found that 57 percent of the public holds him personally responsible for the scandal, and suggested he would lose in 2007 if challenged by Representative Jesse L. Jackson Jr., who is pondering a run.
The interview with investigators came two days after hundreds of Chicago's business and political leaders flocked to a speech by Representative Rahm Emanuel titled "Mayor Daley's Chicago: A City We Can Be Proud Of." Intended to remind voters of the mayor's achievements in public schools, public housing and beautification of city streets, the speech in many ways only served to underscore his vulnerabilities. That Mr. Emanuel felt the need to rush to the mayor's defense said more than any of his words.

We'll note an article Dahr Jamail just posted entitled "Two 'Green Zones':"

As the US-backed Iraqi puppet government flails about arguing over the so-called constitution, Iraq remains in a state of complete anarchy.
There is no government control whatsoever, even inside the infamous"Green Zone" where the puppets seem to have tangled their strings.
Why the harsh tone for the conflagrations of the so-called Iraqi government?
Because the price paid for this unimaginably huge misadventure of the neo-conservative driven Bush junta is being paid by real human beings who shed real blood and cry real tears. Because well over 100,000 Iraqis and over 1,800 US soldiers would be alive today if it wasn't for the puppeteers of Mr. Bush.
The coward sits behind his guards in Crawford, Texas, too afraid to deal with the reality of the grief he and his masters have caused to thousands of military families who have lost loved ones in Iraq.
Meanwhile, fires are raging out of control not only in Iraq, but right here in the US.
"I ask you, Mr Bush, if you believe that this war is for 'Our Freedom' and 'Our Values' why don't you send your daughters to fight for freedom," wrote Fernando Suarez del Solar recently, who lost his son in Iraq due to the lies of Mr. Bush.
He continued, "Why don’t your closest associates send their children to defend these values? Why are the children of immigrant families dying? Why are children from working families who are the least privileged dying? Why Mr. Bush? Why?"
Of course Suarez del Solar knows the answer. It’s a rhetorical question asked of a prep school punk who has never earned nor risked anything. A smirking dimwit, who has never truly served his country, let alone fellow human beings outside of his gangster corporate crony pals who inserted him into the highest office…twice.

I want to make sure that we're all aware of Dahr Jamail's latest so I'll post this right now and start another entry noting two things that members e-mailed in on.

The e-mail address for this site is