Friday, September 16, 2005

Other items

Joel Brinkley pens "Sharon Tells U.N. It's Time for Palestinian Peace Steps" in this morning's New York Times. Rob and Kara provide responses.

Rob: Brinkley can't get a comment from Nasser al-Kidwa?

(al-Kidwa is the Palestinian ambassador to the UN and was present for Sharon's speech.)

Kara: Sharon's in violation of more than Israel's own court but Brinkley can't find room for that? The usual problem with the mideast coverage is the paper's reliance on "official sources" which render all but the leaders, the ones recognized by the paper, invisible. Today Brinkley cherry picks who he'll quote and what courts he'll cite.

Rob: If you need a fan club bulletin on Sharon, Brinkley provides it. If you need to know what stalker Brinkley unearthed as he followed Sharon around, you've got it. What you don't have is the reaction of those present in the UN, their comments (one is quoted) or anything of merit other than "Sharon said . . ." It's a gossipy, little telephone call, overheard from a distance.

Greg Myre's "Court Says West Bank Barrier Must Detour by 5 Arab Villages" details the Israeli court finding. (The International Court of Justice in The Hague's ruling on the wall is noted in Myre's article.)

Micah e-mails wondering "how a bit of truth snuck into NYT?" He's referring to Matthew L. Wald's "Experts Assess Deregulation as Factor in '03 Blackout" and specifically to this paragraph:

"The most serious mistake we can make is pretending that markets do things that they do not do," said Kellan Fluckiger, executive director of the electricity division at the Alberta Department of Energy. "Markets allocate risk, they allocate capital, they provide price signals. Markets do not have a conscience, they do not provide social policy, and they do not do things they are not paid to do."

Beverly e-mails to note the Associated Press article "Study Attributes Stronger Storms to Warmer Seas:"

Storms with the power of Hurricane Katrina are becoming more common, in part because of global warming, according to a report from a team of researchers that will be published Friday.
The number of storms in the two most powerful categories, 4 and 5, rose to an average of 18 a year worldwide since 1990, up from 11 in the 1970's, according to the report, which will be published in the journal Science.
The researchers were led by Peter J. Webster of the Georgia Institute of Technology.
There was no increase in storms over all, the researchers said, just in their intensity. But the rise in intensity, they said, coincided with an increase of nearly 1 degree Fahrenheit in the surfaces of tropical seas around the world.

The Times offers many puff pieces to John Roberts, Jr. but we'll instead focus on what Lloyd's e-mailed (yes, he seems to live at The Progressive web site but it's a nice neighborhood populated with wonderful people), Matthew Rothschild's "The Roberts Mask" (This Just In, The Progressive):

I've watched a bit of the Roberts hearings, and the guy is smart and the guy is prepared and the guy is smooth.
But he may be too smart, too prepared, and too smooth for his own good--and for the country's.
I sense in Roberts a troubling patness.
He's figured out all the angles, he knows just what to say, and he says it with agility, aplomb, self-effacement, and humor.
But what lies behind the mask?
A summa cum laude from Harvard and Harvard Law School surely is savvy and self-aware enough to put Clearasil on his face.
And so he's presented this facade of moderation and modesty.
But beneath the façade lies a foundation of Republican hackwork, and behind the most studied modesty often lurks arrogance.
I suspect it does here.
Let's look beyond the rehearsed performance and examine the record.
Roberts was not just "working for a client" when he worked in the Reagan Justice Department and when he was principal deputy solicitor general under the first George Bush. "Roberts chose the 'client.' He chose to serve Administrations committed to rolling back civil rights protections, overturning Roe v. Wade, limiting access to federal courts, and undermining separation of church and state," as People for the American Way has noted.
He wasn't just some hired gun. He eagerly enlisted in the Reagan Revolution. And during the confirmation hearings, he beamed proudly at his association with it.

Elaine notes Katha Pollitt's "Intelligible Design" (The Nation):

Sometimes I wonder if the future, in some strange metaphysical way, reaches down into our psyches and readies us to accept what is to come. Maybe we know things before we know them. By the time change is plain to see, we've unconsciously adapted to it and have learned to call it something else--God's will, human nature, life.
Let's say, for example, that the American Empire is just about over. Let's say China and India and other countries as well are set to surge ahead in science and technology, leaving reduced opportunities for upward mobility for the educated, while capital continues to roam the world in search of cheap labor, leaving a shattered working class. Let's say we really are becoming a society of fixed status: the have-nots, an anxious and defensive middle and what George W. Bush famously calls his base, the have-mores. What sort of shifts in culture and social structure would prepare us for this looming state of affairs? A resurgence of Christian fundamentalism would fill the bill nicely.
Intellectually, scientifically, even artistically, fundamentalism--biblical literalism--is a road to nowhere, because it insists on fidelity to revealed truths that are not true. But religious enthusiasm is not all bad. Like love or political activism, it can help troubled souls transform their lives. And if what we're looking at is an America with an ever-larger and boxed-in working class and tighter competition for high-paying jobs among the elite, fundamentalism is exactly the thing to manage decline: It schools the downwardly mobile in making the best of their lot while teaching them to be grateful for the food pantry and daycare over at the church. At the same time, taking advantage of existing currents of anti-intellectualism and school-tax resistance, it removes from the pool of potential scientists and other creative professionals vast numbers of students, who will have had their minds befuddled with creationism and its smooth-talking cousin, intelligent design. Already, according to a study by University of Minnesota biology professor Randy Moore, 40 percent of high school biology teachers don't teach evolution, either because it's socially unacceptable in their communities or because they themselves don't believe in it.

Elaine also noted Pollitt's article in the roundtable late last night (early this morning?) so check your inboxes for the gina & krista round-robin. (It's many K because it's their regular Friday round-robin and it contains the Roberts commentary they've done all week in their special round-robins. They did a wonderful job. Not just my opinion, judging from the e-mails from members.)

Did you miss the George Galloway/Christopher Hitchens debate (moderated by Amy Goodman) (which, unless I missed it, and I may have, I didn't see the Times do a write up on)? Rod passes on this:

The Grapple in the Big Apple
The Debate between George Galloway and Christopher Hitchens, moderated byAmy Goodman on Wednesday evening will be broadcast on C-SPAN Book TV at the following times:
Saturday, September 17 at 9:00 pm (EST)
Sunday, September 18 at 12:00 pm (EST)
Monday, September 19 at 5:30 am (EST)

(Marcia says she heard that over 70,000 people listened to the debate.)

Scheduled topics for today's Democracy Now! include:

Fri, September 16: As President Bush travels to New Orleans to deliver a prime-time speech tonight, we continue our coverage of hurricane Katrina.
We'll get a report from the ground as well as hear an excerpt of a debate between British MP George Galloway and author and columnist ChristopherHitchens discussing New Orleans.

From the city that never sleeps, the journalist that never sleeps continues the Un-Embed the Media Tour:

* Amy Goodman in Huntsville, AL:
Fri, Sept 16
*TIME: 730 PM
Media-ocracy: How the American Media Compromises Democracy
Chan Auditorium Administrative Science Building
The University of Alabama
Huntsville, AL Admission is FREE
A sign language professional will provide interpretation
For more information, call 256-489-3884 or email
Reception before the speaking engagement (Reservations are required!)
6:00 - 7:00 pm
Union Grove Art Gallery
The University of Alabama in HuntsvilleCost is $30. Includes refreshments and Goodman's book, The Exception to the Rulers: Exposing Oily Politicians, War Profiteers, and the Media that Love Them.
Call 256-824-6210 or email no later than Sept.9, 2005.
Space is limited.

* Amy Goodman in Birmingham, AL:
Sat, Sept 17
Amy Goodman speaking event:
Hill University Center Alumni Auditorium
14th Street South @ University Blvd
Free and open to the public
Pre-event reception:Bare Hands Gallery
109 Richard Arrington, Jr. Blvd
4:30-6:30 PM
For more information, visit:
or contactDiane McNaron,, 205.838.1391
David Gespass, 205.323.5966

* Amy Goodman in Santa Fe, NM:
Mon, Sept 21
Lannan Readings & Conversations
Robert Fisk with Amy Goodman
Lensic Performing Arts Center
211 W. San Francisco St
Santa Fe, NM 87501
Tickets: $6 general public, $3 with student ID
Tickets for each event go on sale the first SATURDAY in the month prior to the event.
By phone:
505.988.1234 (Lensic Box Office), Mon-Sat, 10-5
In person:
Lensic Performing Arts Center, 211 W. San Francisco St, Santa Fe, NM 87501,
Mon-Sat, 10-5
Order tickets online at the Lensic website,

* Amy Goodman in Washington, DC:
Fri, Sept 23 *TIME: 5:30 PM
First Annual Unvarnished Truth Awards
Amy Goodman will be a recipient.
Busboys & Poets Restaurant
14th and V St. NW Washington, DC
5:30 Jazz Reception
6:30 Dinner and Awards Ceremony
Attire: Semi-formal
Reservations for the dinner and awards ceremony are $150 per person
(fundraiser for Pacifica Radio's Washington Bureau)
Reservations (no ticket sales) for this event will be taken at (202)588-0999 x 348 beginning Sept. 1

* Amy Goodman in Washington, DC:
Sun, Sept 25
Green Festival
Washington D.C. Convention Center
801 Mount Vernon Place NW
Day of Ticket Prices:
Adults--$15 each day
Kids 12 & Under--Free
Ride Your Bike--$5
For more information, visit

* Amy Goodman in Norfolk, VA:
Fri, Sept 30
Independent Media: A Primer
Keynote Speech
Naro Expanded Cinema
1507 Colley Avenue
Norfolk, VA 23510
Minimum donation $10
Tickets available at Naro Cinema
For more information, visit

Rod asked that we note something that's "so obvious, people may miss it." Amy Goodman hosts Democracy Now! (with Juan Gonzalez) Mondays through Friday. A holiday means a special episode that's been prepared ahead of time. In addition to that, she's been on this Un-Embed the Media tour for months. She's moderated the debate this week, she's hosted a broadcast for a new low wattage radio station. She's done more things this summer than even Rod can keep track of. So Rod asks for a shout out to Amy Goodman and her dedication to real journalism. We're glad to note that here but you can do it one better by making sure that you're aware of any event in your area or that your friends and family in an area Goodman's visiting are aware of the event.

Rod's right about the level of dedication and the time the Unembed the Media tour and other events have taken and Goodman deserves to be noted for all that she does. Maria's doing the bilingual run down of Democracy Now! Headlines this weekend so, stealing from Maria, make sure you're passing on that Democracy Now! is providing their headlines in Spanish and English, text and audio.

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