Monday, February 06, 2006

Other Items

A teenager who police said attacked patrons of a gay bar in Massachusetts with a hatchet and a handgun last week died Sunday of wounds suffered during the weekend in a shootout with Arkansas police officers.
The police say the teenager, Jacob D. Robida, 18, shot and killed an officer during a traffic stop on Saturday before the shootout a short time later with other officers. Police officials also believe that Mr. Robida killed a 33-year-old woman from West Virginia, apparently an acquaintance he had picked up at her home after the attacks in Massachusetts.
As of late Sunday, the authorities were trying to piece together the details of Mr. Robida's final days as he tried to evade a nationwide police manhunt and escape arrest in the gay bar attacks.

The above is from Pam Belluck's "Fugitive in Gay Bar Attacks Dies After Shootout With Arkansas Police" in this morning's New York Times. A more newsworthy topic than Belluck's "fun" topic yesterday which, unlike this report, made the front page. On this topic, yesterday
Seth wrote on the hate crime as did Kat and Rebecca (Kat and Rebecca wrote in a joint entry posted at both of their sites).

Liang notes Thomas Fuller's "Crowds Demand Resignation of Thai Leader:"

Opponents of Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra of Thailand organized a huge demonstration in Bangkok on Saturday that stretched into the early hours Sunday, and a second cabinet minister resigned as criticism mounted over Mr. Thaksin's recent business deals.
Newspapers and opposition politicians have expressed outrage that Mr. Thaksin, one of the wealthiest men in Southeast Asia, sold nearly $2 billion worth of assets -- including stock holdings in satellite, telecommunications and news media concerns -- without paying any tax.

What's the paper missing this morning? A great deal as usual. But specifically I'm thinking of the topic of Betty's "The Pig Is Racism, The Pig Is The New York Times." Wednesday the Times front paged Coretta Scott King's death. There has been no editorial devoted to her life or passing, there has been no column devoted to her life or passing. To the editorial board, it's as though she didn't matter. They've had time to note nominations for the Oscars and any other topic you can imagine, but not to devote space to honoring King. Is it because she wasn't friends with Gail Collins? Is it because the paper wasn't all that fond of MLK? Is it because she's African-American? Is it just another sign of how out of touch the New York Timid is? Is it all of that and more?

Who knows. But Sunday, in the Week in Review, Gail Collins friend who passed away was again noted. While the Times can give up that "prime real estate" to honoring King, others can.

Cindy notes "Coretta King Rejected War" (Madison Capital Times via Common Dreams):

President Bush may have tried to claim a little bit of the legacy of Coretta Scott King with a warm and generous reference to her at the opening of his State of the Union address this week, but it should be remembered that King was a foe of this president and a frequent critic of his abuses of power.
On the eve of the invasion of Iraq in 2003, King celebrated the anniversary of the birth of her late husband, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., by recalling that the slain civil rights leader had been outspoken in his opposition to unnecessary and unwise wars.
"We commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. as a great champion of peace who warned us that war was a poor chisel for carving out a peaceful tomorrow. We must pursue peaceful ends through peaceful means. Martin said, 'True peace is not just the absence of tension, it is the presence of justice,' " Coretta King told a crowd that had gathered at Atlanta's Ebenezer Baptist Church. She continued, "May his challenge and his example guide and inspire us to seek peaceful alternatives to a war with Iraq and military conflict in the Middle East."
Coretta King continued to speak out against the Bush administration's policy of pre-emptive war-making, and she always make it clear that she disagreed passionately with this president.

And Mia notes Heather Gray's "Working with Coretta Scott King" (CounterPunch):

At Mrs. King's request I organized the first International Anti-Apartheid Conference at the Center as one of the ceremonial and educational forums in the launching of the King holiday. The Conference took place in Ebenezer Baptist Church. It was filled to capacity.
For this full day event, we had anti-apartheid activists participating such as Johnny Makathini of the African National Congress Observer Mission to the United Nations; producer Danny Schechter with singer Steven Van Zandt who had recently produced the album "Ain't Gonna Play Sun City" to discourage artists from performing in and supporting the apartheid South African government; representatives of the Washington Office on Africa; Jennifer Davis of the American Committee on Africa in New York; and Tandi Gcabashe of the American Friends Service Committee's Southern Africa Peace Education Project in Atlanta (Gcabashe was the exiled daughter of Chief Albert Luthuli who was the first African Nobel Peace Prize winner in 1961 and formerly the President of the African National Congress.)
This event was typical of Mrs. King's work. She was successful in drawing people together and providing an atmosphere and opportunity for learning, sharing and planning. All of this is necessary for the building of grasssroot movements as she was well aware.
In addition to all this, Mrs. King was constantly in demand to speak at events and to endorse every imaginable issue. She did this while seeking financial resources to maintain the King Center and raising her four children. It was never easy. And while conflicts and disputes occasionally arose at the Center, which is to be expected in most growing institutions, Mrs. King far exceeded her mission of educating people in the tactics of non-violent social change.
Upon reflection, Coretta Scott King, more than any other, has taught us about Martin Luther King and the methods of non-violent social change. It is likely that the modern civil rights movement in America and its methods would be a footnote were it not for her. She provided opportunities for young aspiring activists to learn about and adapt the non-violent tools. Her work spawned similar non-violent centers throughout the world. She kept the flame burning and it is not about to be extinguished. Hers was a job well done! Her legacy will be profound.

How long will the Times' editorial board remain mute on Coretta Scott King's passing? Who knows. The funeral's tomorrow. Maybe they'll run something then? Especially since an "official" will be attending and they do love their officials at the Times. (Check out Wally's "This Just In! Bully Boy Will Attend Coretta Scott King Funeral!" for a comedic take on that.)
But for now the silence remains and it's pretty disgusting, more so when the treatment of King is compared to the treatment of Gail Collins' friend.

In answer to a question from Lyle: Yes, Democracy Now! will air today. Amy Goodman's back in the United States (back from Qatar) and if you listen to the program and the hearings fall during the time you normally listen, remember that you can listen, watch or read the program online.

Gareth notes this from London's The Independent, Ben Russell's "Amnesty's appeal for 'forgotten prisoners:'"

Campaigners have appealed for the Government to intervene to help the nine "forgotten prisoners" from Britain who are languishing in Guantanamo Bay.
The human rights group Amnesty International, which publishes a report today on the impact of long-term detention on prisoners and their relatives, also lambasts ministers for failing to help the nine, many of whom are refugees who have lived in Britain for much of their lives.
The foreign office says it cannot press the cases of the men because they are not British citizens, even though some have British wives and children.

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