Thursday, August 25, 2005

Other items

Today's New York Times takes up a lot space. Does it provide much?

David Leonhardt informs you "Rents Head Up as Home Prices Put Off Buyers." Also on the front page, Gardiner Harris informs you "Age-Old Cures, Like the Maggot, Get U.S. Hearing." Now Harris' story is a shocker (the rent rise, though bad news for many, was warned of for some time). I remember being shocked when I first read about it . . . in The New Yorker. John Colapinto covered this at length in "Bloodsuckers" (July 25, 2005 issue -- article not available online).

Laurie Goodstein details the latest on Pat Robertson in "Broadcaster Offers Apology for Calling for Assassination." Here's the quick version. As other religious organizations state they don't agree with his call to assisinate Hugo Chavez, Pat Robertson offers an apology for the general public while claiming on the TV show where he offered the opinion (700 Club) that he never said that:

"I said our Special Forces should 'take him out,' " Mr. Robertson told his audience on "The 700 Club" on the Christian Broadcasting Network. " 'Take him out' could be a number of things, including kidnapping."
The video from Monday's telecast, easily available on the Internet, shows Mr. Robertson saying of the Venezuelan president: "I don't know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it. It's a whole lot cheaper than starting a war, and I don't think any oil shipments will stop."

It's pretty simple, he either said it or he didn't. And anyone who's heard the clip or read the transcript knows that Pat Robertson is lying to his audience.

KeShawn e-mails to note Ralph Blumenthal's "Report of Second Gun Is Used in Defense of a Texas Woman Facing Death:"

After nearly 17 years on death row and a last-minute reprieve in December, a Texas woman facing lethal injection next month in the killings of her husband and two children is raising new claims of innocence based largely on conflicting accounts of whether a mysterious second gun had been recovered and never revealed to the defense.
Citing a prosecutor's claimed slip of the tongue, lawyers for the inmate, Frances Newton, 40, argued Wednesday in their latest clemency petition that the state may have tested the wrong gun after the slayings in 1987.
The prosecutor, Roe Wilson, assistant district attorney here in Harris County, said in court papers on Tuesday that she had no recollection of having told Dutch television in June that a previously unreported gun had been found at the crime scene but that a viewing of the videotape showed "she made such erroneous statement." Actually, she told the Court of Criminal Appeals, she meant to say "ammunition."

Meant to say? Meant to say! Why didn't Pat Robertson try that one!

Frances Newton's case is one of the scheduled topics for today's Democracy Now!

Brenda e-mails to note Salman Masood and David Rohde's "Pakistan Now Says Scientist Did Send Koreans Nuclear Gear:"

Pakistan's president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, confirmed Tuesday for the first time that a Pakistani nuclear scientist had provided North Korea with centrifuge machines that could be used to make fuel for an atomic bomb, a Japanese news agency reported.
In an interview here with the agency, Kyodo News, General Musharraf said the former head of his country's nuclear program, Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan, had sent "centrifuges - parts and complete" to North Korea. The Pakistani leader did not divulge the number of centrifuges that arrived in North Korea, saying, "I do not exactly remember the number."

Considering the length of the headline to Elisabeth Bumiller's article today, the article itself is surprisingly short: "For 3rd Day in a Row, Bush Says Withdrawal Now From Iraq Would Embolden Terrorists." It's not an embarrassment for her, but it's nothing to brag about either. She doesn't disgrace herself the way Elaine saw an NBC performer, er, reporter doing yesterday.
Bully Boy repeats his nonsense for a third day in a row. Bumiller notes it. She also notes that the event is like one of Bully's 2004 campaign rallies. (The cherry picked audience certainly is.)
She notes this on Cindy Sheehan:

Mr. Bush met Ms. Sheehan in a similar setting in June 2004, but she has said he acted as if he was at a party, did not know her son's name and was disrespectful to her, calling her "Mom" throughout the session.

She then notes the anti-Cindy Sheehan at the rally.

The problem, the biggest one, goes to the paper which has no coverage of the protests and which acts like a dog. You wave a ball in front of a dog then hide it, the dog's wondering where the ball went. That's the Times today.

Amy Goodman said it better (no surprise there) yesterday on Democracy Now!:

It's interesting, while President Bush did talk to reporters yesterday, it seems like he has taken a break from his break now at Crawford and gone to Idaho, because of the protests. You have these reporters who are just sitting there baking in the hot sun with nothing to do, and -- except to interview the people who are protesting, like Cindy Sheehan, outside, and so President Bush knows he's got an obliging press. He goes to Idaho, the press follows, and he can take them away from interviewing these protesters. But he was talking to reporters, talking about Cindy Sheehan, but not talking about the comment of Pat Robertson.

I'm not sure that a photo-op with the same script for a third day in a row required anyone filing a story.

We'll note two items (by Times' reporters) in National Briefing that should have been actual stories (the topics alone trump most of the fluff in today's edition):

Workers were evacuated from the country's most contaminated nuclear site, the Hanford reservation in Richland, by the Energy Department, after a suspected breach in a container, but officials said no radioactive material had leaked. The State Emergency Operations Center was activated after a brown absorbent material leaked out of a 55-gallon drum as workers were unearthing containers of waste that had been buried for many years. An inner drum containing a minor amount of radioactive material did not leak and there was no environmental contamination, officials said. David Carrillo Penaloza (NYT)

Representative John Conyers Jr., a leading member of the Congressional Black Caucus, called for an investigation into the Bush administration's demotion of a Justice Department official who had protested the department's handling of racial data in a study of police traffic stops. The official, Lawrence A. Greenfeld, is being replaced as director of the Bureau of Justice Statistics. Mr. Conyers Jr., a Michigan Democrat, called for a Congressional investigation, saying it was "totally unacceptable for the Justice Department to politicize statistical releases and demote individuals merely because they were seeking to provide accurate summaries of statistical information regarding racial profiling."

Via Rod, the scheduled topics for today's Democracy Now! include:

Military families and veterans respond to President Bush's speech in Idaho.
We look at the case of Texas death row inmate Frances Newton. She is scheduled to be executed on September 14 despite the fact that there is new evidence of her innocence.

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