Saturday, April 30, 2005

Coming up on The Laura Flanders Show and on The Kyle Jason Show

Coming up on The Laura Flanders Show:

Saturday, April 30
There were more rips in society’s safety net this week, courtesy of King George and Congress. Meanwhile wartime profiteers, big oil and big medicine are raking in profits. Is the struggle of retirees at General Motors to keep their benefits a sign of what’s to come for US workers? And speaking of health care, what’s really happening to the people delivering most of it - America’s nurses? SUZANNE GORDON, author of “
Nursing Against the Odds,” and DEBRA BURGER, president of the California Nurses Association, talk about life where the buck stops.Then Nigerian music legend KING SUNNY ADE, on two decades of touring in America, why his music is loved by so many people across the world and the real meaning of Juju music!

The Laura Flanders Show airs on Air America. It begins in a little over five hours from when I'm typing this (I'm not in the mood to do time zones, my apologies). For more information, click the link. And if Air America doesn't air in your listening area, remember that you can listen online.

Don't forget that Marty's So What Else Is News starts an hour earlier than usual beginning today. Or that Ring of Fire is now two hours. The Kyle Jason Show follows The Laura Flanders Show:

Tonight on The Kyle Jason Show, Kyle speaks to Nassau County Legislature Dave Mejias, about his upcoming marathon and race for re-election. Later in the show, multi-award winning actor and director, Rome Neal and famed Composer Bill Lee stop by to chat with Kyle abou the their most recent production titled, "Monk", a play about the life and times on Thelonious Monk. Don't miss this exclusive interview with two of the greatest artisitic performers and creators of our time.

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Air America programming notes and the gone but never forgotten Lizz Winstead on the Bully Boy's press conference

Programming notes from Air America.

Politically Direct Airs Sunday
Politically Direct, Air America's latest progressive news and interview show, launches this Sunday, May 1 from 2:00-3:00pm EST directly from Washington, DC. Veteran activist David Bender hosts. Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton and Robert Byrd join him to discuss the "nuclear option."

In October, David Bender co-hosted the Sunday program Campaign Countdown with Rachel Maddow. (Link takes you to to the Air America Place archives for that show.)

Ring of Fire Expands to Two Hours with Callers
The new two-hour, call-in Ring of Fire debuts this Saturday from 5:00-7:00pm, with hosts Bobby Kennedy and Mike Papantonio. The Pap Attack returns as a featured segment.

The Pap Attack? Popular segment Papantonio did on Unfiltered. Kent Jones does "Kent Jones Now" on The Rachel Maddow Show these days which is also a revival of a popular segment that
appeared on what show? Oh, yeah, Unfiltered. Rachel Maddow co-hosted what show? Unfiltered. That's not a slam at Papantonio, Jones or Maddow. It is noting that a network that was more than happy to pull the plug on Unfiltered continues to pick the bones of that program.
Chuck D and Lizz Winstead (co-hosts of Unfiltered)? I don't know. I hear Montel Williams and Sally Jesse may be interested in radio programs. (That's sarcasm.) No word yet on whether Rikki Lake will be replacing Randi Rhodes.

Let's jump over to Lizz Winstead's site to get her take on the Bully Boy's press conference since we won't get her voice from Air America these days:

Social Obscurity
Thank God the OC was preempted for that! Now I finally understand the Bush Strategy on Social Security.

I just needed to hear his overall plan for the future before I could comprehend it and because I am pretty sure I was blacklisted from his LieLapalooza Tour, I had to wait for last nights Network Television debut to see the show.
So let me lay out the four major points of his plan and then explain how he is gonna achieve it.
In a nutshell: Create a world where the life expectancy rate is oh, say, 12. That way you can eventually do away with Social Security altogether. This is why he never talks about solvency. We dont neeeed solvency. Now you can shut up about it!

Combine that with the Rapture and youve got yourself a plan everybody can get behind and not be left behind.

Winstead goes over the points so click on the link.

Last programming note:

So What Else is News? Changes Hours
Marty Kaplan delivers his usual "un-spinning" of the days news, just an hour earlier. Tune in from 3:00pm-5:00pm this Saturday.

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NYT: A. Elizabeth Jones becomes the latest to say "no" to Bolton, Pepper Spray Eight win symbolic victory, Portland says bye-bye to FBI task force

Molly e-mails to note Douglas Jehl's "Bolton's Nomination Is Questioned by Another Powell Aide:"

A fourth senior member of Colin L. Powell's team at the State Department expressed strong reservations on Friday about the nomination of John R. Bolton as ambassador to the United Nations.
The official, A. Elizabeth Jones, is a veteran diplomat who stepped down in February as assistant secretary of state for Europe and Eurasia. Among those who have now voiced public concerns about Mr. Bolton, Ms. Jones joins Lawrence Wilkerson, Mr. Powell's chief of staff; Carl W. Ford, Jr., who headed the department's intelligence bureau; and John R. Wolf, who was assistant secretary of state for nonproliferation. Associates of Mr. Powell have said he has expressed concerns of his own in private conversations with at least two Republican senators.

"I don't know if he's incapable of negotiation, but he's unwilling," Ms. Jones said in an interview. She said she believed that "the fundamental problem," if Mr. Bolton were to become United Nations ambassador, would be a reluctance on his part to make the kinds of minor, symbolic concessions necessary to build consensus among other governments and maintain the American position.

Regarding Eduardo Porter's "A Democrat on Bush's Social Security Team," Billy e-mails in wondering how a Democrat can be in bed with Bush? I'll avoid the easy laughs and once again note that there's not a huge gulf between neoliberals and neocons. One bullies at gun point, the other through economic blackmail. Either way a country's right to self-determination and self-rule goes out the window when the "neos" come along. As for Bush's embrace of "Democrat" Robert C. Pozen, the Republicans love Zell Miller too. Maybe Pozen, Miller and Joe Lieberman can big-tent their way into another party?

Paul, Joan, Keesha, Zach, Elaine, Carl and Beth all e-mailed regarding "National Briefing." For members not familiar with the section, this is a series of paragraphs on various states. In November and December, we often utilized this section because it was where the rare Ohio story appeared (or at least ones not mocking). Two items are standing out to members this morning.

The first item is:

WEST CALIFORNIA: SPRAYED PROTESTERS WIN SUIT A federal jury in San Francisco sided with eight logging opponents who said law enforcement officials used excessive force when they swabbed pepper spray on the eyes of protesters to break up demonstrations in 1997. The eight jurors awarded $1 to each plaintiff against Humboldt County sheriff's deputies and Eureka police officers. Carolyn Marshall (NYT)

To anyone new to the above story, it has been covered by Democracy Now! many times. For
a longer story that will provide background, I'd suggest the September 8, 2004 story entitled
"Trial Set to Begin Over Use of Pepper Spray-Soaked Cotton Swabs on Non-Violent Protesters in 1997."

Here is in the introduction to that report:

On three separate occasions in a three-week span in the fall of 1997, Humboldt County police officers arrived at peaceful sit-in protests calling for the protection of Headwaters Forest in northern California.
On all three occasions, the activists - who ranged in age from 16 to 40 years-old - locked their arms in metal pipes to participate in a non-violent protest of logging practices. And on all three occasions, the police responded using a method that Amnesty International would later deem "tantamount to torture."
One by one, police officers forcibly seized the heads of each demonstrator and inserted cotton swabs saturated with the chemical agent pepper spray into their eyes. In two of the cases, officers also sprayed the substance directly into their eyes at close range.
The eight activists filed a civil rights lawsuit against Humboldt County later that month. In connection with the suit, police video-tapes of the pepper spraying were released to the public. When excerpts of the tapes aired on network television news, the graphic images drew international outrage and condemnation.
The case went to court in 1998, but the trial ended in a hung jury. Over the following years, challenges were made at the state, appeals court and US Supreme Court levels. Today the civil rights case of the "Pepper Spray Eight" returns to trial in San Francisco.
To talk about this case, we are joined on the phone from San Francisco by the lead counsel in the lawsuit, Dennis Cunningham and one of the plaintiffs in the case, Spring Lundberg. Before we speak to them, we go back seven years to the morning of September 25, 1997 where Spring and other activists were engaging in a sit-in protest at Pacific Lumber's offices, in Scotia, California. The police arrived on the scene. This is what happened.

The report is listen, watch or read. You'll see footage of the forced swabbing. It's a powerful report.

As for the monetary involvement, it was a symbolic victory. The San Franciso Chronicle has a report on this entitled "Logging protesters win pepper spray case Jury awards $1 each after third trial over Humboldt incident." From the article by Stacy Finz:

This time, Attorney Dennis Cunningham asked the jurors to award Spring Lundberg, who was 17 at the time of the protests, and the other seven plaintiffs in the case between $10,000 and $100,000 for pain and suffering. Despite the jury's paltry award, he said his clients feel vindicated.
"It was never about the money," Cunningham said. "It was always about the principle."
He said that the jurors, who appeared to be emotionally drained after the two-week trial, didn't say much about how they came to their decision. He said he could only surmise that the eight-person panel compromised.
"They probably felt that the cops had to do something," said Cunningham, adding that although the protesters did not suffer long-term injuries from the pepper spray, it was a "profound experience that will stay with them for the rest of their lives."
Police and deputies put pepper spray directly into the eyes of the protesters, who had chained themselves together, in hopes that the burning would force them to unlock their shackles.

Why doesn't the Times play it up as an full blown article and not just a brief? Well, hey, I'd be the last to knock the Times' committment to social justice on environmental matters in their own area. I mean, they're always front paging pressing issues effecting wealthy and powerful friends who are concerned that their doorman might not be able to hear the call of a bird or some other pressing need. (Yes, that was sarcasm.) The Times appears to prefer their environmental activism take place around a table at Elaine's. (That sarcasm is aimed at the reporting in the main section. The science section does do actual environmental reporting. Editorials frequently speak out on pressing environmental issues. But as many have noted, to make the front page, you need to occupy one of a certain set of addresses.)

The second item from "National Briefing" that members are e-mailing about is this:

OREGON: CITY QUITS TERRORISM FORCE Portland became the first city to pull out of an F.B.I.-led Joint Terrorism Task Force after the City Council voted for the action on Thursday. The departure stems from an impasse between the bureau and Mayor Tom Potter over his request for top-secret clearance. Mr. Potter said he needed the clearance to supervise two police officers on the force, both with top-secret clearances. The bureau denied the request. Eli Sanders (NYT)

This is a follow up to a story (we noted it earlier) and it was big news to members then. Now it's a paragraph, an aside, but please note, we get another full story on the Michael Jackson case.
No doubt, the Times will be so proud of their coverage of the Jackson case that they'll compile it into one volume and issue it as a book. Kind of like those People Profiles paperbacks that People was so fond in 1999. (They may still be fond of them, I don't believe I've seen any since Julia Roberts or Meg Ryan graced the cover.)

Might I suggest a title for that volume? Perhaps "The New York Times Goes Wacko for Jacko?"

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This morning's New York Times: Tony Blair, Nepal, Putin, M. Cherif Bassiouni . . .

On the frong page of this morning's New York Times, Kate Zernike's "Plea Deal Is Set For G.I. Pictured In Abuses in Iraq" which deals with Lynndie England, visible in so many photographs coming out of Abu Ghraib.

Inside the paper, Alan Cowell has "For Blair, a Mere Victory in the Election May Not Be Enough:"

For much of this week, Mr. Blair's campaign has been shifted off course by opposition attacks on his credibility that culminated in his decision on Thursday to release in full the ambiguous 13-page legal advice he received in March 2003, shortly before the war started, from the attorney general, Lord Goldsmith.
Even Thursday night, as he face an audience of young people on television, the mood was primarily one of hostility. One member of the audience accused the prime minister outright of having lied to the people in explaining why Britain went to war.
[. . .]
At issue, most political experts here still feel, is not whether Mr. Blair will win, but how convincingly. In the British system, a reduced majority in Parliament can leave a prime minister with little authority, vulnerable to attack by opponents and rebels within his own party. He could be replaced at 10 Downing Street in mid-term if the party decided to switch leaders, or if Parliament forced an early election.

Francisco e-mails to note Larry Rohter's "O.A.S. to Pick Chile Socialist U.S. Opposed As Its Leader:"

In a rebuff to the Bush administration's efforts to press Latin America to take a tougher stance on Cuba and Venezuela, a Chilean Socialist emerged Friday as the consensus choice to become secretary general of the Organization of American States.
The O.A.S. is scheduled to convene in Washington on Monday to formally elect the Chilean, Interior Minister José Miguel Insulza, 62. His opponent, Luis Ernesto Derbez, the Mexican foreign minister and Washington's favored candidate, withdrew Friday afternoon after negotiations in Santiago, Chile, that involved Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and several of her South and Central American counterparts.
It is the first time in the organization's history that a candidate initially opposed by the United States will lead the 34-member regional group. Until it became clear that the numbers were not in its favor, the United States sought twice to block Mr. Insulza, by first supporting a Salvadoran and then Mr. Derbez.

Krista e-mails to call our attention to Somini Sengupta's "Nepal Ends Crisis Rule, but Bans Some Protests:"

The implications of his announcement, however, were far from clear, particularly the fate of emergency measures, including the jailing of political dissidents, curbs on news media freedoms and special powers awarded the military in the name of squelching the Maoist rebellion in the country. Perhaps more important, the king did not address what would be done to restore democratic rule. His handpicked deputies have governed the country since Feb. 1.
[. . .]
In India, analysts discounted the king's move, citing the continuing rebellion and his failure to address the question of a return to democratic government. "Thirty people killed here, emergency lifted there doesn't make a difference until the structure of the conflict begins to change," said Ajai Sahni, executive director of the Institute for Conflict Management, a research organization based here.
The secretary general of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, had pressed for "a return to constitutional rule as soon as possible." "I made this clear to the king," Mr. Annan told reporters last week in New Delhi, India's capital.

The dateline on the above article is " Published: May 1, 2005 ." Obviously, it's one intended to run in tomorrow's paper. (Today's the thirtieth.) So don't grab your editions (the way I did) and flip through wondering how you missed rare news of Nepal (rare for the Times). You didn't miss it in the print edition.

Every now and then, the Happy Talkers come out re: Iraq. While Operation Happy Talk has long been a favorite ploy of the Bully Boy administration, as Lloyd notes, it's been "very depressing and distressing" to see some Democrats engage in it as well. Lloyd notes the Associated Press article online at the New York Times entitled "Attacks Kill 10 as Violence Continues in Iraq:"

Insurgents launched fresh attacks in Baghdad and northern Iraq on Saturday, killing at least 10 Iraqis and wounding more than 30, officials said, in a second day of violence aimed at shaking the country's newly formed government.
[. . .]
Some of the worst attacks occurred in the capital, still reeling from Friday's onslaught in which at least 17 bombs exploded in Iraq, killing 50 people, including three U.S. soldiers.
A suicide car bomb exploded Saturday near the offices of the National Dialogue Council, a coalition of 10 Sunni Arab factions that had been negotiating for a stake in Iraq's new Shiite-dominated government. The blast killed two Iraqi civilians and wounded 18, police said.
Another suicide car bomb targeting an Iraqi army patrol exploded Saturday near the Mohammad Rasoul Allah Mosque in eastern Baghdad, killing two Iraqi women and a girl, and seriously wounding four soldiers, police Lt. Col. Ahmed Abboud Effait said.

Rob and Kara both e-mailed to note Steven Erlanger's "Putin Urges Israel to Let Palestinian Security Forces Use Weapons:"

President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia urged Israel on Friday to allow Palestinian security forces the weaponry required to fight terrorism as he completed a three-day visit to the Middle East intended to revive Russia's fading influence in the region.
Mr. Putin met with the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, for two hours to discuss peace talks and renewed Russian economic and security aid to the Palestinians, Moscow's former clients.
In particular, Russia will provide Mr. Abbas with two transport helicopters to replace those of his predecessor, Yasir Arafat. Israel had destroyed them to limit Mr. Arafat's movements after the Israeli Army returned to the West Bank in the spring of 2002 to try to put a stop to Palestinian attacks, some organized by the security services. Israel also put severe restrictions on weapons allowed to the Palestinian police.

KeShawn e-mails to note Warren Hoge's "Lawyer Who Told of U.S. Abuses at Afghan Bases Loses U.N. Post:"

M. Cherif Bassiouni, a professor of law at DePaul University in Chicago who was the human rights commission's independent expert for Afghanistan, said Friday that he had received an e-mail message from a commission official in Geneva a week ago telling him his mandate had expired.
The day before, he had released a 21-page report saying that Americans running prisons in Afghanistan had acted above the law "by engaging in arbitrary arrests and detentions and committing abusive practices, including torture."

This has shaped up as an international look provided by the Times. There are a few other things members have e-mailed on and I'll put them in an entry to immediately follow this.

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Friday, April 29, 2005

Arianna Huffington's upcoming site

On Monday, the New York Times ran an article that resulted in comments at other sites. To bring everyone up to speed, from our Monday entry:

We'll start the discussion on this morning's New York Times with this:
Arianna Huffington, the columnist and onetime candidate for governor of California, is about to move blogging from the realm of the anonymous individual to the realm of the celebrity collective.
She has lined up more than 250 of what she calls "the most creative minds" in the country to write a group blog that will range over topics from politics and entertainment to sports and religion. It is essentially a nonstop virtual talk show that will be part of a Web site that will also serve up breaking news around the clock. It is to be introduced May 9.
[. . .]
Ms. Huffington's effort - to be called the Huffington Post ( - will also seek to ferret out potentially juicy items and give them legs. In fact, she has hired away Mr. Drudge's right-hand Web whiz, Andrew Breitbart, who used to be her researcher.
But unlike the Drudge Report, the Huffington Post will be interactive, offering news as well as commentary from famous people and allowing the masses to comment too, although not always directly with the celebs. Notables will oversee certain sections, with Gary Hart, the former Colorado senator, for example, taking the lead on national security issues. R. O. Blechman, the magazine illustrator, has designed the site. All material will be free and available on archives.
That's from Katharine Q. Seelye's (or "Kit Seelye" when blogging during the debates) "A Boldface Name Invites Others to Blog With Her."

I was asked my opinion and here it is.

When the fright wing screams, "Shut up, Hollywood!" we realize that's nonsense. Actors, directors, writers, producers, technicians, et al are part of this country. They have every right to speak up.

I have no idea what was behind some of the comments made.

There seemed to be an attitude that they wouldn't "speak the truth about Bully Boy" because they had their careers to worry about.

I don't recall that stopping Janeane Garofalo. Or Bruce Springsteen. Or Dave Matthews. Or Carole King. Or Sharon Stone. They and others in 2004 spoke out freely.

But more importantly, there are issues to highlight. It's not just about a candidate. Jessica Lange's testified to Congress on the issue of farming. Meryl Streep's gone before Congress.
Certainly Jane Fonda's career never prevented her from activism.

Nora Ephron, who was cited in the Times article, isn't just a wonderful director or an excellent screenwriter, she's also someone who spent years as a professional journalist. I'm not clear on why she's not qualified to post to a blog?

Ephron's a feminist and she's addressed that topic as a journalist and a filmmaker. I can't imagine she'd silence herself at this late date. Perhaps people commenting are unfamiliar with Nora Ephron?

Warren Beatty was on the list. Is it a regional thing? Did the news not travel east about Beatty's strong remarks regarding the "triangulation" b.s. of the Clinton administration? When has Warren Beatty ever censored his political beliefs? When he was working on George McGovern's campaign? When he was working on Gary Hart's campaign? Is he worried his beliefs might hurt his career? He made Reds over objections of that sort. He didn't censor himself when people screamed, "You can't make a film on John Reed!" So why exactly would he back down now?

Warren Beatty is a strong liberal and he's never hidden that. Again, maybe the news didn't travel east, but Beatty had strong words about what the Democratic Party needed and what it didn't. He didn't censor himself so this is nonsense to think that he would now.

During the Vietnam conflict, Jane Fonda spoke out. Give her credit for her courage and her activism. But she wasn't the only one. You had others. John Phillips (the Mamas and the Papas) credited his own statements to Jane Fonda's activism. So instead of getting upset that some celebrities will be blogging, it would be smarter to realize that the ones who get involved will encourage others to. And people that Fonda might not have reached, John or Michelle Phillips might have. It's about more voices. I say that all the time and I mean it.

If a celebrity wants to write on any topic that brings traffic to this new site, that's good news. There will be coverage there that is about politicians and legislation. And the environment and a living wage will be addressed there. By having a variety of people willing to contribute, the site will have a variety of issues it can cover.

People who haven't even read it (there's nothing up there yet) are condemning it and they don't even understand what Huffington's doing and why she's doing it.

She's trying to include more voices and she realizes that celebrities will attract people to the site.

This isn't an attempt to destroy some other web sites or bloggers. Nora Ephron will probably write there more often than she does the yearly or so op-ed for the Times, but she's not going to be a daily blogger. (If she would be, we'd all be better for it. And anyone who thinks otherwise may not have ever read her journalism.)

If Drew Barrymore wants to write about peace, she should. I'll read it. I'm sure it will make many of us think. Provided we're not screaming, "Not a real blogger! Celebrities shut up!"

I mean, isn't that a Laura what's her name book title? (I know her name, I'm just not in the mood to mention it.) Isn't that a tactic of the right?

More voices is always the answer. What Huffington's attempting to pull off (and my hopes are with her) is to provide a variety of voices speaking of issues that matter to them. She's not attempting to stage a coup on the blog world. There is a place for this (and I hope it succeeds).
I hope our members here will check out the site when it goes up.

I'm not threatened by the site. I'm hopeful it will build a huge membership quickly. Whether anyone likes it or not, we are a celebrity obsessed/driven community. So people who don't normally visit blogs will visit Huffington's.

And it will get people talking and thinking. I don't see how that's a bad thing.

(We'll also try to highlight people who blog there. And I won't be doing "disclosures" on that. We'll support the project and since I don't believe it's a money making business -- I could be wrong there -- I won't be doing "disclosures" if we highlight someone I know.)

In case anyone's forgotten, it took Cher calling C-Span to seriously raise the issue of the neglect of wounded troops returning to this country. Don't dismiss her as a Vegas diva or a Hollywood actress because that's what the right does. Cher is active and has been active. And she's aware of the world around her.

She has a right to comment.

I don't understand the panic. George Clooney has been outspoken, does he not have that right? Or does he just not have that right online? Is Russell Simmons just allowed to speak to reporters? He can't blog? Is that how it works?

I don't think so. Carly Simon and Russell Simmons have been working on the issue of drug sentencing. Are the people worrying about Huffington's site aware of that? Alyssa Milano was on the campaign trail speaking for John Kerry. Are the ones condemning Huffington's blog aware of that?

It's not a threat. It's an opportunity to get more voices out there and, because of who they are, there will be some curiousity (hopefully a great deal). The site's not going to hurt the blog world. The site may lead some people to seek out other blogs, it may raise their curiosity about what's available online. And apparently Gary Hart's involvement in the site (reported by Seelye in her article) has been overlooked as well.

Some of the comments on Huffington herself were troubling. I know some people are bothered by her choice of spirituality/worship. Huffington's spirituality is her own business. Hopefully, it nourishes her. I've found her to be a smart and caring person.

And the attacks are reminding me of the recall race when she was urged to drop out. That made no sense. She was the only one seriously addressing any issues with Ah-nuld, the only one not pulling punches. And it was obvious Bustamante was going bust -- obvious to anyone paying the slightest bit of attention. (Maybe news didn't travel east?) Davis was in trouble. Some of it wasn't his own doing but some of it was. Huffington was a strong candidate. No one was going to be forced to vote for her. You'd think that even people rooting for Bustamante would have been happy Huffington was in the race due to the fact that she was taking on Ahnuld and she was going to the people, not to Jay Leno and Tim Russert and anyone else who would toss her softballs.

But some sites wanted to question her. And for some reason that always means going personal.
"Do you know what she believes in?" (Her spirituality.) "Do you realize who she was married to?" "Do you know that she used to write right wing columns and books?" Over and over, the message was "I don't trust her!"

If someone's got some dynamite expose on Huffington, they should publish it. They could easily interest in Judith Regan in such a book. But the fact of the matter is that Huffington's a populist and that's where she's at today. If it was about "personal exposure," she had more outlets in the nineties.

If you've got a problem with the politics she's been practicing for some time now, you need to say so. But this, "I don't trust her!" nonsense that flairs up anytime she's seen as a threat (either in a race for office or someone's misguided belief that they're in a race with her for web visits) really reflects more on the people condemning her.

I like Arianna Huffington. I think she challenges us all to remember the debt we have to one another. I believe she's avoided dealing with the easy topics and addressed more complex ones -- ones that are easy to shy away from. I've found her genuine and I don't doubt or question her motives.

What she's attempting to do would be wonderful for the country and I'm surprised people aren't rushing in to say, "Thank you, Arianna!" They should be.

Her site will not be a threat to other blogs. It will be a resource providing more voices. That should be welcomed. She's provided a valuable resource to our nation for some time now. So why is it that it becomes "she has a funny accent" (she has a charming accent, my opinion) and "she's not really left the right" every time she steps out of the box that people want to place her in?

Maybe people were objecting to the language in Kit Seelye's article? I didn't pay too close attention to that. But maybe there was a problem there? If so, take it up with Seelye. Huffington didn't write the article.

When the site goes up, we'll provide a link to it (a permalink) and we'll highlight it.

Huffington will go on Pyramid or anywhere else she can go to try to get the message out. This is another avenue to pursue social justice. I'm not seeing any ulterior motives. The easiest thing for Huffington to do would be to lay by the pool. Instead she's being active (yet again).

So others are welcome to have their problem with her or being threatened by her, but, to me, this is another example of how Arianna Huffington is committed to change and doing more than her share. I applaud her. And if others are booing, they might need to take a look within. Huffington's attempting to plant seeds and further the cause of social justice. I don't see how there's a problem with that. If The Huffington Post is a success, it will only increase awareness and discussion.

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Via BuzzFlash "FBI Raids Noe's Condo, Seizes 'Some Property'..." Bush fundraiser probe

Eric e-mails this item in and notes that he saw it at BuzzFlash. So let me note, when you see an item at BuzzFlash, AlterNet or Raw Story, please pass that on. Why? If people aren't visiting those sites, it lets them note what they can find there. It's one more way to underscore how a site you enjoy visiting is a resource.

The article BuzzFlash steers you to is from the Toldedo Blade, Mike Wilkinson and James Drew's "FBI raids Noe's condo, seizes 'some property': Investigators seek evidence of campaign-fund activity:"

The federal probe into whether local Republican fund-raiser Tom Noe was illegally funneling money to the Bush campaign had been ongoing for months. It reached a turning point Wednesday night.
FBI agents swept into Mr. Noe’s Maumee condo about 7:30 p.m., spending three hours scouring the home of one of the most prominent Republicans in northwest Ohio. They were looking for evidence of violations of federal campaign contribution laws.
The federal probe is studying Mr. Noe’s campaign contributions to the President, and specifically contributions made by others who may have received money from Mr. Noe, possibly allowing him to exceed the $2,000 spending cap.

This story makes me think of a point Mike Malloy was making last night on his show, that we're seeing the beginning of the end of the Bully Boy's free ride.

On another note, Guerrilla News Network is a great resource. Boyd e-mailed to ask me why I wasn't highlighting it. I haven't been and there is a reason. I think it's a great resource. But when I linked to it, I had no idea that Frances Moore Lappé's son was involved in running it.
I've never met Anthony Lappé, but his mother is someone I've met and who's been a huge inspiration to me. (Not just with Diet For a Small Planet but obviously that's the starting benchmark in her long career of activism.) I found that out a few weeks ago when a friend said "I'm really happy you're linking to Anthony's site." I asked who because I had no idea which site she was speaking of. And she then informed that she was speaking of Guerrilla News Network and that one of the people involved was Frances Moore Lappé's son. So to avoid charges of conflict of interest, I've avoided linking since then unless a member was highlighting it.

So Boyd, start highlighting it in e-mails and we'll highlight it here. And unless a member expresses concern over this, I'll start highlighting the site on my own as well. But I'm not going to type "disclosure" everytime it's highlighted by me. (I won't highlight it except by members if anyone feels it's a conflict of interest. Just e-mail me by Sunday if you think it is a conflict of interest.) So consider this the heads up.

Cedric e-mailed, on another topic, "Please don't go back into the entry." That's regarding my mispelling of Cedric's name which I didn't realize until this morning. He says with this site and the mirror site, it's too much trouble for a typo. Since those are his feelings, I'll leave it as is; however, his name is Cedric and my apologies to him for getting his name wrong ("Cedrick").
Cedric's a very active member in this community and I was just in one of my idiotic modes when I mispelled his name.

I was hoping to write about a problem Dallas brought to my attention today. Dallas isn't the only one with this problem. I appreciate everyone who responded and I hope it's okay that I'm putting this off until tomorrow. I'm fading, sorry. I will attempt to do the thing on "celebrities blogging" tonight but if you don't see it up, that means I saved to draft and went on to bed.

The e-mail address for this site is

Christine (Ms. Musing), Katrina vanden Heuvel (Editor's Cut) and Jude (Iddybud)

At Ms. Musing, Christina notes that Ms.' "No Comment" is now available online. If you've read Ms., you're familiar with this feature. You've enjoyed it. By being available online, you can (hint, hint) e-mail it to friends.

Christine also notes one of my favorites (who I've sadly never met), Susan Faludi:

Susan Faludi spoke at Radcliffe this week as part of the 2004–2005 Voices of Public Intellectuals Lecture Series: Feminisms Then and Now. Her talk dealt with the post 9/11 anti-feminist reaction and the reinforcement of gender roles as reflected in advertising and other media. How are things now? Harvard News' Ken Gewertz writes:
Despite feminism's victories over the past three decades, in certain ways women are worse off now than they were 30 years ago, Faludi said. While 1974 was "a bleak scene for women," with female representation in leadership positions and in the professions far below what it is today, there was still a sense that "women were busting out" and questioning social institutions in a way that is no longer much in evidence.

In the same entry, Christine notes that Barbara Ehrenreich will be speaking at Radcliffe on May 10th.

Josh e-mails Katrina vanden Heuvel's latest Editor's Cut:

"Now that we're there, we're there and we can't get out," Democratic National Committee Chair Howard Dean told an audience of nearly 1,000 at the Minneapolis Convention Center on April 20th. "The president has created an enormous security problem for the US where none existed before. But I hope the president is incredibly successful with his policy now that he's there."
I agree with Dean--a political figure I admire-- that the war in Iraq has put the US in greater danger. But the question facing us today is who will speak for the millions of Americans who believe that continued occupation increases the danger? Who will speak for the millions who believe that the US has gotten bogged down in Iraq? Who will speak out against the (majority of the) Democratic Party's silent consent to the Bush Administration's Iraq war policies? Who will speak out about the wrenching human and economic costs of occupation? Who will speak out in support of a clear and honorable exit strategy? Who will make a clear, unequivocal declaration that the US will not maintain permanent military bases in Iraq?

[Actually not her latest. I'm seeing a new one up that must have gone up after Josh visited. We'll highlight that this weekend. Note, Katrina vanden Heuvel then quotes Tom Hayden's open letter to Howard Dean. We'll quote that tomorrow. I'm holding off due to fair use. ]

Trina e-mails to note that over at Iddybud, Jude's highlighting Jim Wallis' recent article from Sojourners:

It is now clear there are some who will fight this religious war by any means necessary. So we will fight, but not the way they do. We must never lie or misrepresent the facts or the truth. We must not demonize or vilify those who are our opponents. We must claim that those who disagree with our judgments are still real people of faith. We must not fight the way they do, but fight we must. A great deal is at stake in this battle for the heart and soul of faith in America and for the nation's future itself. We will not allow faith to be put into the service of one political agenda. This is a call for the rest of the churches to wake up. This is a call for people of faith everywhere to stand up and let their faith be heard. This is not a call to be just concerned, or just a little worried, or even just alarmed. This is a call for clear speech and courageous action. This is a call to take back our faith, and in the words of the prophet Micah, "to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with our God."

E-mail address for this site is

Jill (Third Wave Agenda) and The Third Estate Sunday Review on reproductive rights

Natalie e-mailed to note Jill of Third Wave Agenda has a column up at NYU News:

The first time I volunteered for the Haven Coalition, I met a 14-year-old girl and her mother. The girl was pregnant and had traveled to New York for a second-trimester abortion because the restrictive laws in her own state wouldn't allow her to obtain one there. She was unable to get an earlier procedure in the first place because her family is very low-income, and those same restrictive laws bar state funding from subsidizing abortions, even for the poorest women.
She talked about her dreams of eventually going to business school. In many ways, she was just like most other 14-year-olds: English was her favorite school subject, she said her mother was her best friend and she liked doing her friends' hair for fun.
In other ways, though, she wasn't: She had an older sister who had given birth at a young age, and she didn't want that for herself. She changed my life.
Haven provides free housing in volunteers' homes for low-income women coming to New York City for second-trimester abortions. It was founded after activists in the city learned that women were traveling here for abortions, and then sleeping on park benches and in Port Authority while they went through the two-day-long procedure because they couldn't afford to pay for a hotel. Haven is activism at its best: It's hands-on. It directly helps people. It transcends rhetoric and politicking, and deals with real people and real issues. If we want to change minds and truly understand the values we espouse, we have to get into the thick of it. While there is value in political action on all levels, one of the most important things we can do as activists is to directly assist those who need it.

On the subject of abortion, I've wanted to highlight an early Third Estate Sunday Review article all week. Like most things I hope to find time to do, it falls by the wayside. (Even with help from Ava, Kat and Dallas. Thank you all.) It's called "Abortion: Why It Still Matters" and it's the story of "Karla" who ended up pregnant while an underage teenager (incest victim) and needed the help of her aunt. From the article:

In a new area, with no family other than her parents, Karla didn't feel she had any options. She also kept hoping her mother would start defending her. But that never happened.
"I think maybe it was losing the house and feeling that in moving, she was at risk of losing her friends. She always brought that up when I'd say, 'I can't go on like this.' 'Joanne will never understand!' she'd scream at me. That was a woman who was really big at her church."
Realizing her own mother had no intention of ever stopping the repeated rapes, Karla found herself trapped in the situation and the silence.

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Dahr Jamail's Eyewitness in Iraq DVD

Heads up to a DVD:

New Video Tells Dahr's Story Testimonies From Falluja

*Eyewitness in Iraq: Dahr Jamail, an Unembedded Report
*A Pepperspray Production, 28 minutes Dahr Jamail recognized that Americans were being misled about the US occupation of Iraq, so he went to Iraq to find the truth.
After being*un*embedded in Iraq totaling over 8 months, he returned to the States to tell what he discovered.
In this video Dahr Jamail speaks of the horrors of occupation, the use of illegal weapons by American forces, the rip-off of American taxpayers by Bechtel and other US corporations, the shabby and biased media coverage of the situation by US media, and of the resilient determination of the Iraqi people to be free fromforeign occupation.

A portion of the price of this video goes to support Dahr in his ongoing efforts.
See the preview!

Buy the video from the Pepper Spray Productions website

More writing, photos and commentary at

So check out the video and if you're interested and able to afford to purchase the video, consider doing that.

The e-mail address for this site is

Sunday Chat & Chews (and Meet the Press still calls Gloria Steinem "Gloria Steiner")

The Sunday Chat & Chews, for those with strong stomachs.

ABC's This Week has these guests:

Rep. Nancy Pelosi, House Minority leader
The Rev. Pat Robertson, founder and chairman, Christian Broadcasting Network
Tom Brady, New England Patriots quarterback

Yes, you read that correctly. A football player, a preacher (whose business dealings don't seem to follow the teachings of Jesus -- see Greg Palast) and Nancy Pelosi. At least they have Pelosi.

On NBC's Meet the Press:

White House Chief of Staff
Foreign Relations Committee
Foreign Relations Committee

Two Republicans and one Democrat. That balanced Tim Russert. He'd probably have had three Republicans but then he'd been left without anyone to beat up on.

Over at CBS's Face the Nation, Blinky continues to at least try:

Social Security; The Filibuster Fight;
The Bolton Nomination
Sen. Chuck Hagel
Foreign Relations Committee
Republican - Nebraska
Rep. Sam Brownback
Judiciary Committee
Republican - Kansas
Sen. Dick Durbin
Minority Whip
Democrat - Illinois
Karen Tumulty
TIME Magazine

Two Republicans, one Democrat. That appears to be proportional representation this Sunday on NBC and CBS. Check your local listings for when the shows air (they're morning shows in almost all markets -- one member advised me that Meet the Press is sometimes on in his area early Monday morning).

And yes, for those wondering, the about page at Meet the Press still has "Gloria Steiner" and not Gloria Steinem. It's supposed to be a news show, right? It's supposed to be factual. They're aware of the problem, they just don't want to correct it. Anyone want to say conservative bias?

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Democracy Now: Rep. Jim Moran, Aarit Shahani, Bob Somerby (Daily Howler) on Ann Coulter and Janet Maslin

Headlines for April 29, 2005
- Gas Prices Near All
-Time Highs as Gas Co.'s Report Record Profits
- Bush Calls For Construction of New Nuclear Power Plants
- Baghdad Bombings Kill 22
- LA Times: U.S. Allied with Sudan Despite Role in Darfur Genocide
- Court Rules Against Police in Pepper Spay Trial
- Guantanamo Prisoners Subjected to Mock Interrogations
- Pentagon Releases 700+ Photos of War Dead
- Rep. Waters Calls Questions U.S. Role in Arming Haiti Police

Bush Social Security Plan Cuts Future Benefits
In a prime-time news conference, President Bush for the first time proposes to cut Social Security benefits as part of his plan to overhaul the retirement system. We get reaction from Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA). [includes rush transcript]

Latin America in Revolt: Rice on Four-Country Tour As Leftist Victories Sweep Region
As Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice embarks on a five-day tour of Latin America, we take a look at recent developments in the region with several countries increasingly moving towards to left of the political spectrum. [includes rush transcript]

Real ID Act Attached to "Must-Pass" Spending Bill Imposes Anti-Immigrant Measures
Congress is poised to pass a law billed as an antiterrorism measure that would have a significant impact on immigrant rights in this country. The bill is attached to a "must-pass" appropriations measure for troops in Iraq and tsunami relief. We take a look at the "Real ID Act" with Aarti Shahani of Families for Freedom. [includes rush transcript]

Rallies Planned Ahead of Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Meeting
On May 2, nearly all of the governments in the world will meet at the UN to review the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty - a review conference that takes place every five years. We take a look at some of the rallies and marches planned ahead of the meeting to demand global nuclear disarmament. [includes rush transcript]

Jim (Third Estate Sunday Review) and Julia both e-mailed about Bob Somerby's The Daily Howler today:

MASLIN'S FOLLY: Bear with us, folks--we love this stuff. On Tuesday, we discussed Janet Maslin's New York Times review of Ann Coulter's kooky best-seller, Slander (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 4/26/05). In her review, Maslin cited a part of Slander where Coulter assembled six troubling "liberal" quotes; in one of the quotes, Peter Jennings said that health care was one of the Castro regime's "success stories." Maslin praised Coulter for "having a field day" at the expense of Jennings' "egregious loose talk." In so doing, Maslin extended the part of her review which praised Coulter's assiduous scholarship. "A great deal of research supports" Coulter's claims, Maslin said, and yes, she counted Coulter's 780 footnotes and praised Coulter for her "measured reasoning." When Maslin scolded Jennings' "loose talk," she continued to push the secondary theme of her review. Slander's author may be driven by bile, but by gum she did do her homework!
But Coulter didn't do her homework; in an astonishing number of kooky cases, she didn't do her work at all. In RE Jennings, there was nothing obviously wrong with his statement about Cuban health care, and in the rest of the report from which this statement was cadged, he portrayed a crumbling Cuban economy and a Cuban human rights nightmare. But so what? Coulter cadged the health care quote and used it to rail against Jennings' rank liberalism. And Maslin was
right there cheering her on--and failing to fact-check Coulter's work.
How inept were Maslin's claims about Coulter's diligent scholarship? Since Maslin praised the part of Slander where Coulter cadged that quote from Jennings, we decided we'd fact-check the five other quotes which comprise Coulter's "loose talk" six-pack. And remember what we’ve always told you--there seems to be no part of Coulter's book which stands up to the simplest fact-check. Did Coulter do a "great deal of research" when she slapped this book together? Should Coulter be praised in the Times for those footnotes? Hardly. Consider the kooky cracked pottery we stumbled across when we fact-checked Coulter's "quote" from Keith Kelly.
Yes, Coulter lists six naughty quotes on page 117 and invites us to marvel at their foolishness. One of the "quotes" is attributed to Kelly, a long-time reporter for the New York Post. Here's the text, as it appears in Slander. Kelly’s "quotation" comes with a critique from triumphant Coulter:
COULTER (page 118):"[T]he media consortium...decid[ed] on October 22--for the sake on national unity in the current political crisis--not to release an in-depth analysis of the Florida election...which, according to inside sources, gave the state election to Al Gore."
Keith Kelly, the New York Post, December 5, 2000 [129](The media consortium study was not completed for another year, at which point it was promptly released, showing that Bush had won on every count.) [130]
That's the "quotation," as it appears in Slander, along with two of those Famous Footnotes and a pithy Koulter Kritique. This passage appears on page 118 of the hardback edition--and on page 149 of the paperback version. Amazingly, no part of this passage was amended when Slander came out in paper. We say that's amazing because--as is the norm with Coulter's work--every single part of this passage is wrong, right down to those highly-praised footnotes.
To start with: No, Keith Kelly didn’t make this statement, nor did anyone else at the New York Post. According to Coulter's footnote 129, this quotation comes from a 12/5/00 Post report headlined "No President, but Election Books are Coming." Yes, there was a report with that headline that day, and yes, the report was written by Kelly. But Kelly's story didn't discuss the consortium vote count in Florida--which, of course, hadn't yet been completed--and no, Kelly's story didn't include the statement which Coulter attributes to it. As usual, her attribution is totally wrong; Kelly had nothing to do with the quoted statement. Like so much of her work in Slander, this presentation by Coulter isn't just wrong; it's bizarrely wrong. And of course, it comes in a part of the book which Maslin specifically praised.

Julia notes that she started using the search engine today to look up Cokie Roberts and "too much to read at lunch! People should be using this resource and he [Bob Somerby] is very funny. It could be really depressing without his humor because you start realizing how screwed up our media is. You think you know. But when you're using that search engine and going through all of his documented evidence, you realize it's much worse then you could ever picture."

Jim said The Daily Howler gets a link this weekend when the next Third Estate Sunday Review edition goes up, a permalink, and that Maslin really is something. I'll add, if you haven't read the book Maslin's "reviewing," you may get taken in. But if you've read it . . . I asked if she'd even read all of Carrie Fisher's last book (The Best Awful). I'd already read My Life So Far, by Jane Fonda, and the review by Maslin was a joke. Maslin wasn't reviewing the book and she rarely does. She gives a summary. When she offers her opinions on a book (check out Bob Somerby for her review of Sidney Blumenthal's The Clinton Wars) she has no idea what the book is about other than the publicity for it. From the publicity, she apparently decides whether she likes it or not and then skims for a few examples to back up her view. When she reviewed films (after the brief flash at the beginning), she was lazy and gave you summaries instead of film reviews with a few "facts" tossed in to round up her "This is what happens" summary. The nicest term is "pedistrian" for what Maslin tosses off in her I-can't-be-bothered way.

With Slander, she apparently knew the publicity, had decided she liked the book based on that, and then decided to praise footnotes that she never checked out. As Somerby points out elsewhere (use the search function), she praised a book that trashed her own paper. Now who knows what she thinks of the Times, but you'd think most people reading some of Coulter's nonsense, most people working for the Times, would be struck by the fact that it seemed wrong and check out the footnotes. Not Maslin. She appears to just want to rush through her book reports, slap them down on the teacher's desk, and rush out to the parking lot for a smoke.

Which is why she's a "reviewer" for non-readers only. People who seriously read, who enjoy it, have no use for Maslin because it's hard to read anything she's "reviewed" and not think, "Good Lord, did she even read it!" (There was a review last week on a book that Lyle was impressed with. Then he read the book. Lyle: I thought, wow, she's actually doing her job. Then I read the two books she was comparing and it was as though she'd skimmed the same section in both.)

On the subject of My Life So Far, Krista e-mailed to note that it debuted on the Times best sellers (hardcover) list Sunday at number one. Krista encourages everyone to check out and asked when Monster-in-Law opens? It opens May 13th.

Maureen Dowd slammed Jane Fonda's book Sunday in the Times. A number of you wanted this site to address it. I passed. Dowd read the book. She didn't like it, but she read it. I'm not surprised by her opinion of it. You can read Rebecca's take here. But she's entitled to dislike it. I'm not interested in a back and forth or with everyone agreeing with me. But I do think that a requirement for a book review is to read the book. Unless, you hate it so much and note that in your review. Pauline Kael would do that in her film reviews from time to time. If she couldn't get through a movie, she'd note that in the review and why. Maslin appears to skim sections of a book (at best, "sections") and then wants to write a "review" (report) and act as though she's read it. It strikes me as dishonest. Praising Coulter for her footnotes, to go back to Somerby, is dishonest. Not just because Coulter's footnotes are wrong, but also because when praising Coulter's footnotes, Maslin's creating the impression that she's checked them out. Why praise them if you haven't checked them out? Maslin leaves readers with the impression that she's done her work but reading the books she's reporting on, it's hard to believe that claim.

The Times appears to be okay with that.

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Falluja, terrorist warning ignored?, NOW, Sibel Edmonds and the Patriot Act

Dahr Jamail has an article "This is our Guernica: Ruined, cordoned Falluja is emerging as the decade's monument to brutality" which he co-wrote with Jonathan Steele (article ran in The Guardian):

Robert Zoellick is the archetypal US government insider, a man with a brilliant technical mind but zero experience of any coalface or warfront. Sliding effortlessly between ivy league academia, the US treasury and corporate boardrooms (including an advisory post with the scandalous Enron), his latest position is the number-two slot at the state department.
Yet this ultimate "man of the suites" did something earlier this month that put the prime minister and the foreign secretary to shame. On their numerous visits to Iraq, neither has ever dared to go outside the heavily fortified green zones of Baghdad and Basra to see life as Iraqis have to live it. They come home after photo opportunities, briefings and pep talks with British troops and claim to know what is going on in the country they invaded, when in fact they have seen almost nothing.

From Newsweek (as noted by Rachel Maddow on her show this morning), note Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball's "Another Lost Opportunity: A convicted terrorist was providing U.S. officials with very specific information about a terrorist attack three months before 9/11:"

In the spring of 2001, one of the U.S. government’s most valuable terror informants gave the FBI a far more alarming account of Al Qaeda plans to attack inside the United States than has ever been publicly disclosed, according to newly available court documents.
Algerian expatriate Ahmed Ressam, whose sentencing for a Millennium-eve plot to blow up the Los Angeles airport was unexpectedly postponed today, told bureau interrogators nearly four years ago that Al Qaeda commander Abu Zubaydah had been discussing plans to smuggle terrorist operatives and explosives into the country for the purpose of launching a strike on U.S. soil, the documents show.
The fresh documents, released in federal court in Seattle in recent days, shed new light on an issue that dominated last year’s hearings by the September 11 commission: precisely how much did the U.S. government know about Al Qaeda plans to strike inside the country in the summer of 2001 when the attacks on the World Trade Towers and Pentagon were in their final stages?

Over at NOW, please note "House Passes Anti-Abortion Legislation Endangering Teen Health:"

"By passing this deceptive legislation, the House took another step toward final passage of a law that will endanger a women's health and safety," said NOW President Kim Gandy. "It is not for anyone else but the woman and her doctor to decide how or when she should get an abortion."
In a 250 to 157 vote, the House passed a teen endangerment bill which restricts a young woman's ability to obtain an abortion outside of the home state by punishing any adult who accompanies her, even if the closest city is across state lines.

Go to NOW to read more and note that the ACLU has several items of interest. For those following the Sibel Edmonds case click here and the Patriot Act is dealt with here.

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This morning's Times

For those who skipped the Bully Boy's performance last night (for whatever reason), the New York Times has posted the transcript.

Rob e-mails to note Alan Cowell's "Blair, on Defensive, Releases a Secret Memo on Iraq War:"

Parts of the 13-page document, written by Lord Goldsmith, Britain's attorney general, on March 7, 2003, were made public Wednesday by the BBC and Channel 4, prompting a new furor about whether Mr. Blair misled the nation by depicting the war as unequivocally lawful.
The full document showed that while Lord Goldsmith said in public on March 17, 2003, that the imminent invasion of Iraq was unambiguously legal, the private advice he gave to Mr. Blair 10 days earlier showed far greater concerns about the legal consequences of going to war.
"There are a number of ways in which the opponents of military action might seek to bring a legal case, internationally or domestically, against the United Kingdom, members of the Government or U.K. military personnel," the document said, as it laid out the legal landscape. It concluded with a discussion of the level of force permitted by United Nations resolutions concerning Saddam Hussein's 1990 invasion of Kuwait.

Krista notes Marlise Simmons' "Sudan Poses First Big Trial for World Criminal Court:"

Almost three years after the International Criminal Court opened over United States opposition, the United Nations Security Council asked it to investigate atrocities in Sudan and, in the process, placed the court squarely in the international spotlight. By any measure, the request was an important vote of confidence in the new tribunal.
[. . .]
On the conflict in Darfur in Western Sudan, however, where as many as 300,000 people have been killed and more than two million others displaced, the court is under pressure to act swiftly, not only in the hope of ending the bloodshed but also, some diplomats say, because it would allow the Security Council to postpone direct intervention and nonetheless appear to be taking action.
Darfur will put the court to its first major test, as it carves a legal path from accusation, through investigation and indictment, all the way to trial, verdict and punishment.

For those receiving Krista & Gina's "round-robin" each Friday, Krista notes this will again be a major topic and to check your inboxes this evening for it.

Cedric* e-mails to note Eduardo Porter's "Economy Hits Energy Prices, and the Brakes:"

The economy braked sharply in the first three months of the year, the government reported yesterday, expanding at its slowest pace in two years as rising energy prices spurred a burst of increased inflation and dragged down spending by businesses and consumers.
[. . .]
Investors in financial markets were taken aback by the unexpected sluggishness, sending stocks tumbling and pushing bond yields down as the new data cemented expectations that the Federal Reserve will increase interest rates by another quarter of a percentage point at its meeting on Tuesday even as growth is decelerating.
[. . .]
Activity slowed across most of the economy, from consumer spending to government consumption, but the sharpest retreat was in corporate investment, which expanded at barely a third of the pace of its growth in the last three months of 2004.

[*I think I mispelled Cedric's name last night. If so, I'll correct it this evening. My apologies to Cedric.]

Lynda notes that while the Bully Boy was stammering and spinning last night, Congress was in session and advises people to read Sheryl Gay Stolberg's "Congress Passes Budget With Cuts in Medicaid and in Taxes:"

The House and Senate broke a lengthy impasse over federal spending Thursday night, narrowly adopting a $2.56 trillion federal budget for 2006 that aims to trim the growth of Medicaid by $10 billion over five years, add $106 billion in tax cuts and clear the way for oil drilling in an Alaskan wildlife refuge.
The back-to-back votes - 214 to 211 in the House and 52 to 47 in the Senate - ran mostly along party lines. As the roll was called in the Senate, shortly before midnight, Vice President Dick Cheney sat in the chamber, ready to cast his vote to break a tie, if necessary.

As Rachel Maddow noted on her show this morning, the Republicans have put drilling in Alaska into this economic bill.

Natalie notes Jodi Wilgoren's "In One Prison, Murder, Betrayal and High Prose:"

The two-and-a-half-hour production of Shakespeare's "King Lear" ran without intermission so that the audience of 100 inmates would not be idle in a big room. And, shortly after their curtain call on Tuesday night to a standing ovation, the actors lined up again, this time against the gymnasium wall, for one of the six daily head counts here at the Racine Correctional Institution.
"It's an opportunity for us to see something in ourselves that others don't see," Megale Taylor said of the play, adding that his role as the Fool had shown him "how much of a fool I've been in my life."

Dallas e-mails to note that the Times has an AP article online entitled "20 Are Killed in Attacks on Security Forces in Iraq:"

Insurgents carried out a series of attacks in Baghdad on Friday using car bombs and mortar rounds, killing at least 20 Iraqis and wounding more than 65, officials said. A car bomb killed another Iraqi soldier near the southern city of Basra.
The worst-hit area was a district of Baghdad where four suicide car bombs exploded, hitting Iraqi soldiers and police and Iraqi civilians on a Friday, the Muslim day of worship for most Iraqis.

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Thursday, April 28, 2005

Stephanie Tubbs Jones continues the fight for democracy

House Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones continues to fight the brave, noble (and too often lonely) fight for democracy and our voting rights. From The Free Press, we'll note Case Ohio's "Citizens' Alliance for Secure Elections teach-in:"

Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-OH 11) will be fighting for democracy again on May 7th when she opens the CASE (Citizens' Alliance for Secure Elections) teach-in in Columbus, Ohio. CASE, along with many watchful Americans, is convinced the full story has not been told about the elections in Ohio in November of 2004. So they are working with other local groups (including Americans for Democracy) to bring concerned people together for this teach-in about Fighting for Election Justice and Integrity.
The people who have led the battle for discovery and reform will work closely with concerned individuals to tell their stories. They will explain why they are concerned, what they have done, and how they have done it. They will ask that people in the workshop groups stay networked, keep informed, and continue to work with the workshop leader to broaden the work already begun.
The plan is to build a more informed public core and enlarge the group of activists working on election issues. CASE began when concerned citizens gathered to testify before the Ohio Joint Committee on Ballot Security in March 2004. As the committee heard 22 hours of testimony about the need for a VVPAT (Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail), several individuals who were there to witness and testify, saw others there that shared a common interest. Fourteen met after the second session in the basement cafeteria of the statehouse and formed the association of activists that has been successful in keeping the issue of fair and open elections before the public for much of the past year.
After the Joint Committee on Ballot Security voted 8 to 1 in favor of VVPAT the newborn CASE thought for a few days that their work was done. They quickly realized that many obstacles remained. Even after the Ohio Senate voted unanimously for VVPAT in HB262 and the House followed with a nearly unanimous vote, it was clear that there were many forces set against the election. The new legislation did not require VVPAT implementation until 2006 and many counties were set to purchase equipment in 2004 that they could upgrade if upgrades were available.
CASE kept the issue before the public and Secretary of State Blackwell and the county boards backed down and decided to wait.

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BuzzFlash interviews Robert McChesney; Robert Parry on the media; The Black Commentator on the Black Caucus

We'll note that BuzzFlash has an interview with Robert McChesney that's a wide ranging discussion on the media:

BuzzFlash: You are the founder of Free Press, which is the organization sponsoring the National Conference for Media Reform May 13 - 15 this year in St. Louis, Missouri. The title is "The Media Are in Crisis. The Time To Act Is Now." What will people get out of attending this conference?
Robert W. McChesney: It's going to be a large and heterogeneous conference with two or three thousand participants, so no two people will experience the exact same thing. The unifying thread is that we need to organize politically to change media policy. We will address three planks of media activism. Even though our conference is aimed primarily at emphasizing the political organizing that has to go on and the full range of media policies, we also pay attention to people who do independent media, and the experts who critique lousy media coverage.
People will come here to learn about media policy issues and how groups are working on them at every level, from local to global. People who are active will get a chance to talk to each other, interact and share ideas. A great conference will enable us to share one or two or three years of work in one weekend. A lot of people will be interested in policy and want to learn about it, but the other aspects will be independent media and media criticism. There also might be activists in areas such as campaign finance, environmental issues, civil liberties, et cetera, who can link up with like-minded people. There will be a huge division of people doing independent media who will be able to get out there, to talk to and meet with each other. Likewise, a lot of the people who do the great media criticism of our times will be present.
This conference will bring together people who are devoted and are thinking about the issues in a lot of different ways, so only good things are going to happen. It's about raising the knowledge level of everyone. We know from our first conference, you can't really predict exactly what’s going to happen. It's like popping popcorn.

BuzzFlash: You're a professor of communications at the University of Illinois, focusing on the mass media. And you're in practically every DVD on the media BuzzFlash has
offered as a premium. You're sort of the lead act on media reform. Free Press has offices in Northampton, Massachusetts and in Washington, D.C. Is the media reform movement growing?Robert W. McChesney: I think the obvious answer is yes. You know, MoveOn and True Majority each polled their membership in recent months about what issues their groups should be working on and putting energy into over the next couple of years. In both surveys, media reform ran second, ahead of environment, education and many other great, pressing issues. There's a growing recognition by people that, unless they do something about media in this country, they're going to have a lot of trouble winning all the other issues they care about. Part of the process of changing this globe for the better, and democratizing society, is to go through changing the media. It's a very important part of our work.

There's so much to read there, worth reading, but I'll highlight this section below because members who've read Bonnie Anderson's book really love it:

BuzzFlash: We interviewed Bonnie Anderson, author of NewsFlash, who had worked for CNN for many years. One of the things she mentioned was that the first obligation of a corporation is to the shareholder of the company that owns it.
Robert W. McChesney: Bonnie's book, by the way, is terrific. I just read it. And now we have bookshelves filled with books like Bonnie Anderson's, by high quality, greatly respected journalists. The point of all of them is that corporate pressure has destroyed journalism in this country, period. There's no other way to read it. We have to radically change our media system. We have to think boldly. We cannot let journalism be the province of these companies. They've lost their right to control our journalism. They've abused that phenomenal privilege that they have been given. And we've gotten answers. We've got creative ways to come up with enlightened democratic policies to promote viable journalism, to promote a free media. I think in the long term we want policies that can promote more competitive markets, and much more local ownership. We've got to think creatively about encouraging and expanding nonprofit and non-commercial media and creating a more heterogeneous nonprofit sector. These are the institutional steps we've got to put in place to build the sort of press system that can do the job that has to be done if democratic government's going to amount to a hill of beans in this country.

Also on the topic of the media, Robert Parry is addressing what's prompted some Dems to find a spine? From "Mystery of the Democrats' New Spine:"

But another part of the answer lies with the Democrats. They appear less defensive, more willing to make their arguments without so many equivocations. Though there are still flashbacks to the old Democrats -- for instance, Sen. Joe Biden's reference to Alberto Gonzales as "old buddy" at the Attorney General’s confirmation hearing -- those examples are rarer.
One explanation for the Democrats' turnabout is the rise of progressive media, most notably progressive AM talk radio which has expanded rapidly over the past several months. Finally, Democratic leaders can go on sympathetic radio shows and make their case directly to listeners.
Before, Democrats almost always would find themselves speaking in unfriendly territory. Sometimes they would appear on conservative media, such as Fox News, or they'd face mainstream pundits eager to prove they weren't liberal by being tougher on Democrats than Republicans, the likes of NBC's Tim Russert.
Faced with hostile questioning, national Democrats often sought a safe middle ground, which made them look weak or indecisive, opening them to attacks as "flip-floppers" or "lacking conviction." On the other hand, Republicans could count on friendly receptions from conservative hosts and mostly deferential treatment on mainstream programs.
Limbaugh's Value
For more than a decade now, conservative talk radio has had the Republicans' back.

Republicans could count on Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, et al to go out on the nation's air waves and organize support for conservative positions. Whenever Republicans were in a tough spot, they knew they had defenders.
That, in turn, meant Republicans had more margin of error when making their case. An overstatement -- or even an outright falsehood -- wouldn't be a political death knell. So, Bush could talk loosely about Democratic senators as "not interested in the security of the American people" or pretend that Iraq's Saddam Hussein had barred U.N. weapons inspectors before the war and expect little fallout. [See's "
Reality on the Ballot."]
By contrast, Democrats could expect any clumsy remark to be turned into a huge controversy both by mainstream and conservative news outlets. In Campaign 2004, John Kerry got pummeled for saying that he had supported one version of an Iraq War appropriations bill but opposed another, when it was barely mentioned that Bush had opposed the first version and supported the second.
Four years earlier, Al Gore saw his words twisted beyond recognition to make him out to be a liar or delusional, a crucial factor in Election 2000. [See's "
Al Gore v. the Media."] During the run-up to war in Iraq, Gore was savaged again for his thoughtful critiques of Bush's unilateralist foreign policy. [See's "Politics of Preemption."]
The liberals simply lacked a media that could defend Democrats when they took tough stands or when they made innocent mistakes. They were pretty much on their own, helping to explain their timidity.

Cedrick e-mails to highlight, from The Black Commentator, "
A crack has opened in the historical Black continuum. 2005 will be recorded as the year that the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) came apart at the seams, the victim of an unprecedented rightwing money and media offensive in Black America, rank treachery by a hardcore handful of Caucus members, and the indiscipline and gross irresponsibility of many more.
The CBC's collective failure to stand for its constituents and the struggle-birthed legacy of African Americans is also, ironically, a product of historical Black political practice and instinct: the imperative toward unity, which has up to now been the salvation and defining characteristic of the African American polity.
Black progressives, seeking unity above all else, have allowed the Congressional Black Caucus (and other Black institutions) to be neutered by the machinations of a small and unrepresentative group of corporate collaborators who are paid specifically to create the illusion of vast new fractures in African American public opinion. These mercenary men and women profit by bearing false witness to their own constituents' core beliefs on issues of peace, social and racial equality, public power vs. corporate domination, elemental fairness in the marketplace and public sphere, and the struggle to abolish privilege.
Having no stake in Black unity -- quite the opposite -- these turncoats advertise their deviance from historical Black political thought and practice, signaling their openness to the enemy's agenda. Disastrously, progressive African American politicians, representing the overwhelmingly progressive Black public, fear to challenge the sell-outs, lest the veneer of Black unity be tarnished. As a result, the malefactors are allowed not only free reign to market their treachery, but are afforded a de facto veto over the CBC's collective decision-making. The Congressional Black Caucus has been paralyzed, as if bitten by a venomous snake.
CBC Chairman Mel Watt (NC), a progressive lawmaker, admitted as much to
Lizz Brown, talk show host on St. Louis radio station WGNU. Watt urged Brown not to read too much into the fact that ten of 41 CBC members voted for the Republican bankruptcy bill, since the Caucus as a whole "did not take a position" on the legislation. But of course, the Caucus could not take a position on bankruptcy, if unanimity or near-unanimity were required. Therefore the CBC, as an institution, sat out a "bright line" vote on an issue of monumental consequence to their core constituency: the predatory lender-besieged Black community.
The CBC also disappeared as a political entity in the fight over repeal of the estate tax, a Republican measure that benefits
less than one-half of one percent of Blacks, weakens the nation's capacity to maintain a social safety net for all the rest of us, and reinforces wealth privilege. Eight Caucus members sided with the rich, and against their constituents -- with not a hint of sanction from the CBC, which "did not take a position" on the matter. (See BC, "Black Caucus Losing Cohesion," April 21, 2005.)
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6 Congressmembers ask for RNC inquiry, Jesse Jackson, Jr., Luke of wotisitgood4

Tori e-mails to note "Six Congresspeople call for US Justice Dept. inquiry regarding the RNC" by Gideon and from NYC Indymedia:

Six Democratic members of the House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary, Hon. John Conyers, Jr., Hon Robert C. Scott, Hon. Sheila Jackson Lee, Hon. Jerold Nadler, Hon. Melvin Watt, and Hon. Linda Sanchez wrote a letter dated April 25, 2005 to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales regarding "credible and troubling reports of police misconduct and perjury in connection with the arrests and prosecution of demonstrators at last year's Republican National Convention in New York City." They called for "immediate federal scrutiny by the Justice Department" of possible "criminal deprivations of rights under color of law and civil violations of the police pattern and practice laws." A copy of the letter is attached.

Boyd e-mails to highlight (from Boston's IMC) CE Campbell's "

Last night, the National Voting Rights Institute and Lesley University hosted Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. to speak to the issue of a constitutional right to vote for all US citizens. Speaking to a packed audience at the Marran Theater, Congressman Jackson made it abundantly clear that there is no specific guarantee providing the right to vote under the US Constitution, and so he has filed House Joint Resolution 28 to remedy this.
BOSTON -- Last night, the National Voting Rights Institute and Lesley University hosted Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. to speak to the issue of a constitutional right to vote for all US citizens. Speaking to a packed audience at the Marran Theater, Congressman Jackson made it abundantly clear that there is no specific guarantee providing the right to vote under the US Constitution, and so he has filed House Joint Resolution 28 to remedy this. The 15th, 19th, and 26th Amendments provide protection against discrimination on the basis of race, sex, and age respectively. But with regard to national elections it is the 10th Amendment that provides for states, not the federal government, to determine the right to vote and how elections may be conducted. Since national elections are shaped by a state's rights system, Congress does not have the authority to define entitlements of suffrage or impose election procedures. Some states do not allow convicted felons to vote until their time is served, while others prohibit voting for life. States like Vermont and Maine allow felons to vote while in prison. The methods of marking, casting and counting votes varies widely from state to state, and within states themselves. "Voting in America is overseen by 13,000 different election administrations, all separate and unequal," Congressman Jackson states. Legislation like the Help America Vote Act of 2002 cannot contend with many of the irregularities and problems plaguing US elections for this reason. By implication, the current Carter - Baker Election Commission will serve more as a facade of official inquiry than affect true reform.
A Constitutional amendment will "provide Congress with the authority to craft a unitary voting system that is inclusive of all Americans and guarantees that all votes will be counted in a complete, fair and efficient manner," Jackson also states. Fighting to shift power away from state and local governments will likely be met with significant resistance. While such an amendment may help to curb practices that disenfranchise voters, it could also have severe consequences for how elections are conducted and certified. When asked what voting methods he preferred, Congressman Jackson said the simple answer is that he does not have one. His issue, he said, is fighting for this Constitutional provision to vote, because all other questions about voting must follow from this. By what methods and technologies an election is conducted is a matter of heated debate, with advocates for total computer voting at odds with those who fight to preserve paper ballots counted by hand. The passing of House Joint Resolution 28 and its impact remain to be seen.
[Article is noted to be in the public domain and I'm unsure where to cut, so it's posted in full.]
wotisitgood4) "bigtime purge:"
* fauxnews is still pushing the ms13 gang story - 'they are categorised with alqaida'
* idiot leeden: " instead of expanding (CIA) personnel -- as the president requested and Congress obliged after the terrorist attacks three and a half years ago, and as the president again requested and Congress again obliged following the dreadful recommendations of the 9/11 Commission just before last year’s elections -- we should drastically reduce manpower, and then, if necessary, slowly rebuild... The intelligence community needs a big-time purge" LINK now, ive long argued that we'd all be a lot better off if the entire intelligence community was thrown on the scrap-heap - but we know what will happen if we follow leedens advice - goss would simply get rid of all the christian westermanns and leave the osp. good heavens. heil to the Executive.
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Events in Ireland via Joe Black's "It Happened in the Phoenix Park all in the month of May"

From Ireland's IE Indymedia, Dominick sends Joe Black's "It happened in the Phoenix Park all in the month of May" which is a strong article that we'll excerpt from. We will note all events that are listed in this post. From Black's article:

I stared this piece intending it to be little more than an ad for this Maydays anarchist picnic in the Phoenix park (details follow) with perhaps a little bit of context thrown in. But suddenly I found myself carried away by the political geography of this park which was after all originally built as a Deer park for a discarded mistress of Charles II (hence the high wall). If you know even a little of that history the park becomes a different place and suddenly the events of Mayday 2004 fall into a greater context of political protest and the control of space.
One year ago, on Mayday 2004, the summit of the EU heads of state took place in Farmleigh House in the Pheonix Park. The entire park was filled with surveillance cameras, ringed with fences, draped with barbed wire, buzzed by helicopters, rigged with motion detectors and surrounded with riot police. In the end water cannons were deployed to keep a protestors out of the park.
History is normally written by the winners and it is common to find each new generation of radicals having to rediscover the stories of those who went before them. Thus, it is not surprising that many of those who protested last year probably were unaware of the history of battles between radical movements and the state that the park played host to in the past.
While the park hosts many of the symbols of power in Ireland - past and present - from the monument to the arch-reactionary Wellington, to the US-ambassador's residence and the Garda Headquarters, it has also seen its fair share of opposition. The
invincibles assasinated the British Secretary there in 1882, it was the site of many early 20th century trade union ralies and the magazine fort in the park was captured at the start of the 1916 rising and was raided again by the IRA in 1939. The phoenix park is, in many ways, a symbolic battleground for the soul of Ireland. In recent years radical movements in Ireland have re-energised Mayday in Dublin. This year, even without the pomp and grandeur of the EU heads of state, a series of radical events are planned to span the weekend. A festival of radical opposition that is once again bubbling to the surface. And once again the Phoenix Park is on the menu.
Mayday Radical Events:
Anarchist 1st of May picnic in Phoenix Park DCTU May Day Demonstration - Solidarity with Migrant Workers including a Get up stand up block to help organise the unorganised Reclaim the Streets

[Note: The article is worth reading. I'm editing right at this point to drop down and include the other events in Ireland.]

May weekend events in Dublin
* May Day Demonstration - Solidarity with Migrant Workers This years May Day trade union demonstration will take place on Saturday April 30th meeting at 2.30 at the Garden of Remembrance in Parnell Square. The demo will march to Liberty Hall and is on the theme of solidarity with migrant workers. The march has been called by the Dublin Council of Trade Unions
Join The Get Up Stand Up Bloc And Help Organise The Unorganised
This Mayday weekend, the Get Up Stand Up Campaign will be organizing a block on the Trades Council March In Dublin. After the march we will be returning to the roots of Mayday and parading through the city to distribute leaflets on basic workers' rights to people working in casualised labour. Join us in building the labour movement.
Anarchist 1st of May picnic in Phoenix Park
This Mayday let us go back to the park and have ourselves a picnic free of all the state imposed hassle and madness of last year. This will be (at least) the fourth anarchist picnic held in the park. Meet up at the Wellington Monument at 1pm
Reclaim The Streets
On Monday, May 2nd, starting from the Spike on O'Connell Street at 1.30pm, Reclaim The Streets and Dissent! Ireland, along with Critical Mass will be holding a free street party to help highlight the effects that the G8 leaders have on the world, and to help people mobolise to take action and travel to this years G8 Summit at Gleneagles, Scotland on July 6th.
More information
The anarchist origins of Mayday in Chicago -
The Peterloo massacre -
Original texts reporting on Peterloo
The 1820 revolt in Scotland
Liam Brady and 1939 raid on the magazine fort
The Invincibles
Larkin and the Invincible monument
History of the park
About the park today
A kids game based in the park

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