Saturday, January 14, 2006

RadioNation with Laura Flanders: Rocky Anderson, Lorna Vogt, Luciano Collano, Stuart Klawans, Ryan Tronier, Reobert Gehrke, Chip Ward and more

Kat here asking you to sing along with me for a minute.

We are a part of the RadioNation

What's this RadioNation? It's the new name for Laura Flanders' show: RadioNation with Laura Flanders. Laura teams up with The Nation magazine to bring you six hours of radio.

"B-b-but Kat, Laura already brought us three hours on Saturday and three hours on Sunday."

Let me try to break it down for you. Each show on Air America reflects the views of the host. The wonderful Janeane Garofalo and her co-host Sam Seder do The Majority Report and their show might be the magazine equivalent of any number of shows. Other shows? Eh, not so lucky. The one the community dislikes intensely, hosted by Baby Cries a Lot, could be called Parade with Baby Cries a Lot if it were to partner up with its print equivalent.

Like The Nation magazine, Laura Flanders has never felt the need to take part in Operation Happy Talk regarding the invasion/occupation of Iraq. The stained fingers, the flawed elections and "elections" didn't lead her to second guess reality. (Nor the magazine.) It's teaming a strong broadcasting voice (much more than actually) with a strong magazine (ditto).

I'd call it a "marriage" but I'm afraid the 'vangicals would self-implode. They're already on the verge of losing it having to face the facts that a woman can fall in love with a woman or a man can fall in love with a man and that either couple can go on to build a happy home, I think the thought of a marriage between a radio program and a magazine might be enough too much for them and I'm sure Oral Roberts University has clock towers.

I am sure that this teaming is a good thing. It takes two strong resources and teams them which can potentially (hold on to your Left Behind DVDs and books, 'vangicals) blend audiences for both and increase exposure (someone pick up the elderly man who'd been fanning himself with the latest "news"letter from Jimmy Dobson's Focus on the Fool) for both.

So I think it's a great partnership. I support the rights of radio programs and magazines to marry. And if you listened to RadioNation with Laura Flanders last Saturday and Sunday, you know the world didn't come to an end but a wonderful show got even more wonderful.

Now let me note what Martha passed on:

RadioNation with Laura Flanders
This Saturday & Sunday, 7-10pm ET on Air America Radio
On Saturday, pro-peace, pro-Kyoto protocols, pro-LGBT equality, MAYOR ROCKY ANDERSON is as different from Utah's Senator Hatch as you can be.
Want to end the failed war on drugs? Utah's Harm Reduction Project are forging the way. We'll talk to LORNA VOGT and LUCIANO COLLANO. Utahn youth are PSYC'hed to take on the state legislature. LGBT Utahns want their Brokeback Mountain, and the Nation's STUART KLAWANS has a review.
On Sunday, our journalists' roundtable features RYAN TRONIER of KRCL's "RadioActive" and ROBERT GEHRKE, DC correspondent for the Salt Lake Tribune. We'll also hear from environmentalists achieving the impossible with among others, TomDispatch contributor CHIP WARD.
It's all on RadioNation with Laura Flanders this weekend on Air America Radio.

The show goes to Utah as part of the Purple tour which will take Flanders and company around the nation as they demonstrate that there are no "red" states and "blue" states. There are pockets in some states that, thanks to the consolidation of radio, haven't heard a voice break from the Bully Boy choir for many years.

So the tour will not only provide you with reality about the state of the country, it will garner attention for alternate voices. And when it comes to the alternate voices living in supposed Bush country, they need some attention because they've been left on their own and they've continued speaking out. Brave people all.

Confession, after the 2004 election, I saw some of them writings, I'll call them "You are stupid and we're not" writings, insulting so-called "red" states (stereotyping the states and every person who lived in them) and I had a few chuckles. I am very thankful that members of this community who lived in those areas, had lived in those areas, or had family in those areas shared their stories for the four or five part "Red" State Series back in 2004. I know I learned from it and that it was a lot more productive than some "F**K the South" nonsense that could only turn us against each other and provide cover for a Democratic Party system that failed to reach out to many areas of the country because bean counters felt the race could be "managed" most efficiently by focusing only on certain areas. Now that Howard Dean is heading the DNC we'll be able to see if he really means to make the Democratic Party a party that competes in every state.

I live in California and money and candidates, like sunshine, flood in every election cycle. The thought of a presidential candidate not visiting various areas of my state for meet and greet functions and rallies had never entered my mind. Thanks to members, I got a better look at the realities and many of them were ugly. One that stands out is the elderly man, who'd come to count on his party headquarters as a place where he could have a cup of coffee, help out and enjoy some discussions about politics, waking up to find that the Democratic Party was no longer interested in having a headquarters in his town or his county. Or the female member who just wanted a John Kerry yard sign and had to drive two hours to get one because that's how far away her closet Democratic Party headquarters was. Those are realities and a lot more valuable than any cheap laughs.

Bean counters are lazy and dangerous. Lazy because they want to win the race the easiest way possible. Dangerous because they focus on the one race. So they keep planting on the same bit of soil over and over and ignoring other parts. There are fifty states. The Democrats need to be competative in all fifty. But, as one member pointed out, do you know how long it's been since a Democrat running for president visited Hawaii in a race?

I hope Howard Dean's addressing that in preparation for 2008. But RadioNation with Laura Flanders will be going around the country in their America Is Purple tour and demonstrating that regardless of where we live, we're not as different as simple jokes might make us out to be.
Not this weekend, but next, RadioNation with Laura Flanders will broadcast from the Sundance film festival so get ready for that as well.

C.I. mentioned a BuzzFlash premium to me which I'll give a shout out too. Bob Marley's Legend
is a DVD you can purchase and, by purchasing, show some support for independent media (BuzzFlash). And before some members get his boxers in a wad ("boxers" because so far it's always been a male member -- which is fitting description if you think about it) and goes running to Beth with a "Dear Common Ills ombudsperson, C.I. is plugging BuzzFlash again and my favorite site is No One Knows About It Because I Never Do An E-mail To Plug It But I Get Really Offended When Other Members Who Plug BuzzFlash Or Other Sites Don't Do The Work For My Lazy Ass By Plugging My Favorite Site For Me" (really that is how those e-mails strike me), I'm plugging it. C.I. brought it up to me not for mention here but in wondering if I'd be interested in it? I said no before I realized that it was a BuzzFlash premium. (I'm big on attending concerts.) It's a great premium, obviously you can't see Bob Marley in concert today and if you're one of the many who get tired of the crowds at concerts (I love them, each grouping has their own energy -- or lack of it -- and their own personality -- ditto) or the parking hassles or whatever else, you should consider the premium. That was my plug, not C.I.'s. So the four or five who always feel the need to go running to Beth should get it correct in their e-mails that I plugged the premium but I did not shoot the deputy. ("I Shot The Sherrif" is one of the many songs you can find on the DVD.)

Now make plans to listen to Laura. Be like Carl and invite some friends over who've never listened to the show or be like Liang and have listening parties with friends who enjoy the show.
Get the word out.

And on getting the word out, let me note that the upcoming edition of Ms. sounds like a must read and if you missed C.I.'s summary of it that went up late Thursday night, please check that out and remember that the issue goes on sale Tuesday (January 17th).

Reactions to the week long meeting of the Alito fan club (aka the hearings)

We'll be flashing back a little in this entry, to the week almost over. My comments below can be read as summarizing the views of members who didn't give permission to be quoted. (They can also be seen as my own views; however, were it not for the e-mails on this topic, I wouldn't be writing this entry until Monday.) With the exception of Joey wondering that "[p]erhaps this was the best the Democrats were capable of," no member who weighed in was even mildly impressed with the performance of Democrats this week.

First we'll zoom in on Bill Scher's "More Holes In Alito's Stories" (Liberal Oasis):

As if the ROTC story about his membership in Concerned Alumni of Princeton (see below) wasn't thin enough, turns out that ROTC had already been brought back to Princeton the same year Alito became an alumni.

The above was noted by Billy. In a number of e-mails, members express anger and disbelief over the Senate Dems lack of response to the ROTC issue.

If you followed the Alito fan club meeting this week (if you did, hopefully you followed them via
Pacifica -- which provided live "gavel to gavel" coverage), you heard about CAP. If you didn't, CAP was "all in up Alan Bloom's bloomers." (Credit that to Ty who came up with it on the phone tonight.) This was an alumni org for Princeton that existed to whine about the loss of "cultural standards" which, as most people know, is usually a term used as code for a more inclusive approach.

For CAP, standards were decaying due to the Princeton's willingness to admit people of color (CAP focused its outcry at African-Americans) and women. And like most little Bullies, they also went after gays and lesbians. The "standards" have nothing to do with any standard other than preventing equal opportunity and equal access.

That a would be Supreme Court judge joined an organization opposed to equal opportunity and equal acess should scare the hell out of everyone.

This organization was important enough to Alito to list it on a resume for the Justice Department (Reagan administration). It was one of two orgs he listed. Here's Carol Leif on Alito's dance of distortion during the hearings (at Zach's request), from "Membership Has Its Privileges" (The Leif Report, Ms. Magazine):

No, you can't use the excuse that you forget being a member. That's lame. What? Now you remember it so well that you know you weren't a very active member and you didn't donate a lot of money to your club. Um, but you were a member, right? In the phrases "active member" and "big donor member," the key word is member. If you were a member of the KKK, do you think it would matter how active you were? Did anyone care how active Michael Dukakis was in the ACLU? Incidentally, being a member of the ACLU might not be so bad in this particular hypothetical job, but I digress. It doesn't even matter because it would take a pretty silly group of people to focus on the minutae of your club activity and miss the big picture of your club membership.
No, you can't compare this to McCarthyism. Join any club you want, just don't apply for this job. Nice attempt to shift focus though.

He can't recall why he listed it on a job application in 1985. He can't recall any participation in the organization, he says, so he must not have been very active in it. But what can he recall?

He joined because the ROTC was being mistreated by Princeton. The Democrats have gotten so scared of the war issue (Iraq) that they let that fly all week. All week, Alito was able to falsely claim that the ROTC was being mistreated by Princeton. As Bill Scher points out, they were back on campus when Alito joined.

Now of course a chicken hawk administration would nominate a chicken hawk judge. Alito didn't go to Vietnam, Alito didn't oppose Vietnam. Alito hid out in ROTC. Apparently we're not to question his "service" which, no doubt, included many brave manuevers that kept New Jersey "safe" from Viet Cong.

Alito joined the ROTC in 1970 because he was "worried that he might be drafted for the Vietnam War and, if so, determined to go as an officer, college classmates said" ("Alito Joined ROTC While at Princeton," Washington Post). Those who knew him (ibid) said he wasn't interested in the war (not enough to discuss it or have an opinion on it).

But in the week long fan club meeting, he was able to hide behind the ROTC whenever he was pressed on CAP. Since he is a judge and is attempting to be a Supreme Court Justice, he should have been asked to explain his position.

No, not repeat his ROTC nonsense. But since he repeatedly claimed offense at the way the ROTC was viewed by some on campus, he should have been asked to explain why they might feel that way? Friday, in a testimonial, we heard that he went to great lengths as a judge to attempt to figure out a court case from all angles. Does he do that?

A judge should. (It's kind of like expecting that the person at the drive thru window will remember to put the catsup packets in your sack.)

So why not test that out while he was present?

"You keep referring to opposition towards the ROTC. Could you explain what these people were opposed to?"

In the early seventies, the apathetic Alito used the ROTC to hide in and avoid serving in Vietnam. This week, he used the ROTC to hide behind. He's gotten a great deal of mileage out of the ROTC.

In today's climate, Dems are apparently as caught up in myth as everyone else. Alito didn't want to go into specifics on the ROTC and he wasn't forced into doing so. The position of not wanting the ROTC on campus wasn't a minority position in the final years of Vietnam. Regardless of where the baby boomers are today, a large portion of them then held an opposite view to the one Alito expressed in the hearings (one that apparently wasn't expressed while he was at Princeton).

If he'd been pressed to explain why there was opposition, he might have been able to demonstrate that he can look at an issue from various angles. (Doubtful but it could happen.) Or he might have provided the sort of right-wing thought he now believes in and, as a result, angered a large segment of baby boomers.

A number of e-mails came in on this (with several members citing episodes of The Simpsons, believe it or not). Why was Alito allowed to say, "I joined CAP because some people were mean to the ROTC" without ever being forced to expand on that?

Mia, noting that military recruitment on campus has become a large issue to students and parents once again, feels that the Dems missed an opportunity to score some points. Her argument is that Alito was able, at the hearings, to hide in the ROTC and end the conversation there. But objections to the ROTC were about a program, not about a person. "Why wasn't he probed on that?" Mia wondered.

Brady points out that "Bully Boy's so distorted 'service' that now joining a campus program to avoid a war is seen as 'noble.'"

Lindsay notes she is in her senior year (high school) and bothered by recruiters "constantly." Her father is "sick of them calling," her mother "feels like if we weren't struggling to figure out how to pay for college, they [recruiters] wouldn't be targeting me." As they discussed the hearings each night, Lindsay's parents repeatedly questioned Alito hiding behind the ROTC and the Dems letting him do so.

Susan notes that her college days coincide with Alito's and that "serious issues were left unstated. This wasn't a case of someone joining the national guard, this was a case of the ROTC."

Susan: He should have been pressed on this issue. This wasn't about one region of the country. The University of Nebraska had their ROTC headquarters occupied by student protesters. While the Republicans want to refight the 'cultural wars' that brought about a more equal society, the Democrats seem to wish that they would just go away. You saw that in the reluctance on the part of the senators to really address the issues of "one person, one vote" and other advances in civil rights which was a tiny sidebar until witnesses were brought in on Friday.
As they attempt to turn back the clock on civil rights, abortion, privacy and personal liberties, the right cloaks the effort in talk of "tradition" and the Democrats did a lousy job of explaining the issues and the history that led to so many in this country supporting the changes that brought more democracy to our nation. I was disappointed more often that not as I listened to the hearings.

Erika writes that she found Diane Feinstein embarrassing "day after day" and feels that Rebecca's entry on the "Miss Diane, Girl Senator" non-action figure was "apt."

Erika: I don't feel a thing has changed since Anita Hill stood before the committee. Hearing girly-girl Feinstein titter and stroke was embarrassing to this feminist. If she can't conduct herself in a professional manner, step down from the committee. I don't believe that her serving on it aids women in the least. The patronizing attitudes evidenced towards Hill seem to have been replaced with a complacency now that Feinstein's on the committee as she provides the cover for everyone to say, "See, we have improved." Feinstein is no improvement.

KeShawn wondered why the Democrats were unable to connect topics?

KeShawn: This wasn't about an issue here and an issue there. Alito represents an assault on freedom. The right to abortion, civil rights, the right and expectation to be free from the government spying you, the right of a system founded upon and practicing checks and balances, it was all about rights. Our rights should have been stressed as the theme. Each questioning should have opened with each senator saying, "Okay, to get back to the concern over your dismissal of the rights of citizens" and from there they should have probed the various issues.
They should have asked questions in that manner as well. "Judge Samuel Alito, you do understand why people are troubled by your views on rights?" That should have been hammered home. The attacks on minorities are not about him not liking women or him not like people of color or gays and lesbians, this is about him not liking a system, not supporting one, where we are all equal. The cases that were brought up showed a similar pattern of him siding against the rights of citizens. This should have been something that eachDemocratic senator began and ended with.

Gupta expressed similar thoughts.

Gupta: This is supposed to be the country that allows equal opportunity and no one wanted to address that. Do gays and lesbians have a right to employment? Of course they do. Instead of attempting to show 'I care' they [Democratic senators] should have been starting off with, "I find it really sad that I have to ask a question like this because in America, it shouldn't even be an issue." That would have shown how dangerous Alito was. He is dangerous. They let him dance around everything but they didn't even word their questions so that most listeners would get how dangerous. The Republicans would have called foul but they were already attacking the Democrats anyway so that shouldn't have been a concern. Alito's dangerous and that message should have been hammered hom with each and every question.

Doug thinks that the Democrats once again "pinned their hopes on the press riding in on a white stallion to save the day. They suffer from too many rescue fantasies that they should have given up on a long time ago. The press isn't worried about making their argument for them."

Julie noted that she felt like Cedric: "Disappointing and Disappointed."

Sabina feels that Democrats on the Judiciary Committee "need to work together" and that this didn't happen. "No senator should have to say 'I hope someone else will pick up on this in their questioning.' The Republicans used talking points over and over. The Democrats didn't have to do that but they did have to be aware of what the others were planning to question on. They seemed unprepared and scattered."

Brandon felt there were problems online.

Brandon: I don't take James Carville seriously and I don't take the cheerleaders online seriously. The Democrats did a lousy job in these hearings. Can the grassroots stop the nomination? Maybe. But it won't come about with "I think Biden made a good point today when he said . . ." type of criticism. A lot of online critics seem to have studied under Mark Shields and they draw their own independence and critical capabilities into question when they prop up one of the most embarrassing performances by the Democrats. This was a group that looked like it was the fourth quarter and they were just now realizing they needed a play book.

Dominick noted a point Elaine made about the need for the Democrats to demonstrate, ahead of the 2006 elections, that they know how to fight. (Dominick didn't provide a link or cite this. I know Elaine made the point in roundtables for the gina & krista round-robin. Online, she made it in this entry and possibly elsewhere at her site as well.)

Dominick: It's like expecting me to make a wager on a fighter I've never seen box. You're asking people to make a real leap of faith. Democrats need to demonstrate what they can do and, thus far, they haven't demonstrated that they know how to fight effectively.

End Zone found the questioning "disjointed" and believes that until the Democratic Party starts listening to the base "and not the press" that "the best that they can hope for is a few kind editorials that won't make a difference on any election day."

Marcia was especially critical of Diane Feinstein (and praised Kat's commentaries).

Marcia: My rights cannot be defended by anyone acting like they're the hostess at TGIF. "oooh Diane's for the environment!" Why should I care when she can't stop apologizing for each questions she's about to ask?

Melinda praised Wally for including so many of Isaiah's comics this week and was bothered that I hadn't done the same. That's a good point. I was rushing in the morning and know of no archive for Isaiah's more recent work (Rebecca did one this summer, per-Alito and pre-Roberts). Wally hunted those down on his own and knows Isaiah's work better than Isaiah does (a point made this week). Wally did a better job of providing visuals this week than I did, Melinda's correct.

Charlie e-mailed to note thanks and appreciation to Gina and Krista for all their hard work on the daily special editions of the gina & krista round-robin. Charlie also cited this entry by Mike as worthy of note.

(Agreed and, again, think everyone did strong work this week.)

Charlie's one of the members who's stayed active even in disappointment and he credits the attention from the community (that's sites, the round-robin and highlights by members) for keeping us all focused.

We'll start wrapping this entry up. If you noted something but didn't note permission to quote you, hopefully, there's some representation of your views in the members noted here or in the bits and pieces I wrote in this entry. If that's not the case and you want to be quoted, please e-mail to let me know.

As I noted near the top, the ROTC issue was one that came up repeatedly. Kyle wrote to express his frustrations over the Democrats not attempting to make Alito explain those comments. He also asked that we note an entry here from December 28th. We'll close with that entry, "Hypocrisy in Recruiting:"

At some military bases, commanders will not even allow police recruiters on the grounds, for fear that they will steal troops who might otherwise re-enlist, said Lt. Mike Barletta of the San Diego County Sheriff's Department.

The above is from Timothy Egan's "Police Forces, Their Ranks Thin, Offer Bonuses, Bounties and More" in this morning's New York Times and Jim asked me if I would give that section its own entry to make sure everyone caught it.

In case anyone missed the hypocrisy of not allowing police recruiters on military bases, we'll note this from Democracy Now! (December 7, 2005):

Case Challenges Recruiting Access for Military on Campus
And the Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday in a case that challenges military recruiting on campus. A coalition of over 160 law schools is contesting the 1996 Solomon Amendment, which allows the government to deny financial support to any university that does not give military recruiters the same access to students it gives to other employers. The law schools are arguing they should only have to grant the military equal access when the military allows equal access to openly-gay recruits. The Supreme Court is widely expected to rule in favor of the Solomon amendment. Chief Justice John Roberts appeared to defend it during the proceedings, saying: "It says that if you want our money, you have to let our recruiters on campus."

Who pays for the military? We do. So if the military wants our money, by the logic of John Roberts and the government, then they really shouldn't be able to refuse police departments the right to recruit on bases. Or they could just drop the case and their attempts to bully law schools.

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Other Items

For more than 800 members of the Army's Individual Ready Reserve (IRR), the most memorable part of the holiday season was a surprise stocking-stuffer from the United States Army. It came in the form of a blue and white Western Union Mailgram that ordered them to report for active duty in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Eric, a second year law student, who completed four years of active duty in 2002, was at his parents' house on Christmas Eve when they handed him what looked like an innocuous piece of mail from the Secretary of the Army. "I was pretty shocked," Eric (not his real name) says. "I went up to my room and hyperventilated for a bit and then came back down and didn't tell anyone for two days. I didn't want to ruin Christmas."
You might remember this practice by the name critics gave it during the 2004 presidential election: the "backdoor draft." In June of that year, the Pentagon announced the initial call-ups of the IRR--a rarely-deployed group of about 114,000 soldiers who have completed their active duty requirements and returned to civilian life. This raised the specter of unwilling combatants being pulled back into military service against their will, generating headlines, controversy and uncomfortable memories of Vietnam. It also proved to be such a headache to administer that in November 2005 the Army appeared to capitulate to pressure by suspending the program. But as In These Times has learned, the program has not been suspended. In exclusive interviews, six soldiers who received mobilization orders expressed anger and frustration about what they say is a bad-faith effort by the Army to wring extra service out those who are about to complete their service commitment. Nearly all asked that their names be changed in this article for fear of reprisal as they negotiate their responses to these orders. "Back when people started using the phrase 'backdoor draft,' I was really skeptical," says one ex-ROTC cadet, who strongly opposes the Iraq war. "Now that I've been served papers, it really does feel like that."
All of the officers interviewed who received orders to deploy in late December share one thing in common: They all started active duty in 1998, which means their full 8-year contract with the Army--or Mandatory Service Obligation (MSO)--will expire in May. "We're all coming up on our MSO dates," says Jason, who along with about 40 other members of West Point's Class of 1998 received a call-up. "I get the impression that they did a check to see who they were coming close to losing and went ahead and sent out the orders." Army spokeswoman Lt. Col. Pamela Hart denied this, insisting that "no population was singled out."

The above is from Christopher Hayes' "Backdoor Draft, Back Again: Despite signaling that it would no longer tap the Individual Ready Reserve, the Army calls up more troops just in time for the holidays" (In These Times). Note, In These Times, not the New York Times. If they stumble upon this story (if), it will be a few days or weeks from now. Carl e-mailed to note the article.

We're noting highlights in this post and then I'm going to sleep. (After posting the hearings post started last night and completed early this morning.) With Ruth's permission, I'm delaying her report until tomorrow morning. For it to be read by technorati means indexing and republishing repeatedly. (That's true of all entries.) She read the earlier post (I've been in e-mails for almost two hours now) and phoned to say that she'd prefer to read that, as a member and would rather her entry be held. That was the same thought I had (but for different reasons, I'm just tired this morning). In fact, I'm not even tagging this entry. We'll put it up as is for members. Kat will cover The Laura Flanders Show later today.

This was the intended MLK highlight for last night, Cynthia McKinney's "America in Bush's Crosshairs" (The Black Commentator) which was noted in an e-mail by Natalie:

Now, for those of us who knew Del, we can only speak of his interminable commitment to the financial freedom of black people. That, indeed, was the unfinished dream of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. For we must remember that it was at the dawning of the Poor People's Campaign, the submission to America of the "bounced check to the Negro," and the launching of the demand to Congress for an economic bill of rights that Dr. King was cut down by snipers' bullets at a Memphis, Tennessee motel.
But Del didn't let the dream die with Dr. King. His labor of love was to cradle and nurture the black entrepreneurial spirit - for we all know that the long road to freedom lies at the end of self-sufficiency. And so, for Del and for Lou, the Georgia Black Chamber was a labor of love. And so it must be for all of us. Thank you for being here this morning.

But now, in my remaining minutes, what can I say but that in 1968, Dr. King was demanding 12 billion dollars for jobs for those able to work, incomes for those unable to work, and an end to discrimination. Finally, a decade later, President Carter signed into law, the Humphrey-Hawkins Full Employment and Balanced Growth Act.
How far from the ideals of Dr. King and this legislation has this Administration taken our country?

McKinney is referring to Del Delaper and the above is an excerpt.

Apologies to anyone expecting more this morning. I have been reading the e-mails throughout the morning (and for almost two hours straight since starting this entry). If it helps anyone who feels short changed, my left ear drum is "fluttering" in annoying manner. (A common occurrence these days when I fly anywhere but it's still a pain in the butt -- and painful.) I'm going to shove some cotton in my ear and take a long nap.

Thanks to Kat for letting me farm out the Flanders post. It will be up before the program starts tonight. (Hopefully, I will be as well. But all bets are off if the pain continues and I take the prescription I have for this problem.)

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(Time on post is time created, it's 9:20 am as I type this parenthetical.)

NYT: Clucks and half-presents in an editorial passing for an article

"Disarray at Center for Dr. King Casts Pall on Family and Legacy" is the front page story that Shaila Dewan is credited for in the New York Times.

The story's old news to this community. When the main participants are non-white (and not accused of a crime or Bully Boy lapdogs), news takes a little longer to reach the Grey Lady.

Like Keesha, I'm already on record regarding the sale of the King Center to the federal government. (Opposed.) So keep that in mind.

Dewan tells you that "many" are in favor of the sale and finds ONE person to quote on it. Dewan notes, but never questions, that the National Park Service is offering the family eleven million dollars for the King Center. Eleven million dollars?

Why the property must be very valuable, right?

There are some apparent repairs that need to be made. Ironically enough, the National Park Service says there are eleven million dollars worth of repairs that need to be made.

So we're supposed to believe that out of the good of their hearts, the National Park Service is willing to blow twenty-two million of tax payer monies?

MLK's crypt is on this land. Presumably that too would be part of a sale.

Coretta Scott King is not quoted but she's alluded to repeatedly. It's a strain on her, we're told, as her children are split on what to do. No where in the article is a reader told what the community already knows, that prior to her stroke, she was said to be opposed to the sale.

The King Center hasn't been what it should have been. I don't think there's a great deal of dispute about that. (I could be wrong.) But having lagged behind for years, the debate (or fight, if you prefer) over it's future may be the best thing to happen.

A decision is now forced and something will result. Either the two children wanting to sell for eleven million dollars will get their way or the two who find the idea of the federal government owning The King Center repugnant (which, again, I do) will get their way.

Either way, the center will have a direction. The articles full of tidbits and gossip. (The Times hasn't done any work of their own, they rely on articles by others for this front page story they've sat on for a month -- apparently they feel it honors the legacy of MLK to run old news now.)

I think it will be really sad if the government ends up owning The King Center. But, again, either way the center will have a direction. Owned by the government, it will become a tourist attraction only and it's doubtful that MLK's teachings (other than playing the one speech over and over) will be noted. If the side wanting to retain family control of The King Center wins out, the debate of the center's reason for being should lead to a new focus for the center.

It's already a proven tourist attraction (which, no doubt, is why the federal government wants it). It can continue as that. But it could be a great deal more if the family retains ownership. Sometimes expressing differences leads to a sharper vision. That's a point (one of many) the article never raises but the paper can't even find a person to go record against the sale of the center so it's not surprising that this is presented, by the paper, as something "many" support and that the only "witnesses" are the ones advocating the sale or (this is the paper's idea of balance) those who can see "both sides."

Sound familiar? It's the way the Times portrays political debates as well. You get the right and then you get the mushy center.

MLK fought for a larger good (another point the paper's not interested in). As a result of the larger struggle, sometimes he and his family suffered. The debate within the family today is a reflection of the same struggle. Hopefully, those advocating the sale of the center to the federal government are doing so to keep the center alive. If so, you have two points of view attempting to determine how to best serve the legacy. The struggle may be painful but MLK never claimed that the road was easy.

The paper can cluck all he wants but tody the family's involved in a struggle and, regardless of which result you side with, that reflects the fighting spirit of MLK. That's a point the article could have made but doesn't.

Hiding behind Coretta Scott King, the paper attempts to silence one side and appears to bemoan a failure to 'go along to get along.' The failure is the paper's, not the family's. But, as Jeff Cohen and Norman Solomon noted in Adventures in Medialand: Behind the News, Beyond the Politcs, this is the paper that, in response to MLK's "Beyond Vietnam Speech," "lecutred that Vietnam and racism were 'distinct and separate' issues; merging the two did a 'disservice to both' and led to 'deeper confusion'" (page 208). Dewan's article this morning follows the same pattern of selective information in the "we know best" attitude that's a hallmark of the New York Times.

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(This may be our only entry on the Times. No member's e-mailed on the paper this morning. Regardless, this isn't the make up entry for missing yesterday.)

Community note

An entry worked on for most of last night and this morning will go up after the entry (or entries) focused on the New York Times this morning. (I've read the paper and don't see a great deal. I'm going through the e-mails and, so far, members aren't focused on it this morning either.) I thought it would be a quick entry but a number of members e-mailed on the hearings. Remember that if you want to be quoted, note that when you e-mail. Those who didn't note it are not quoted but on the issue (ROTC) that seemed to be the focus of a number of e-mails, I did attempt to summarize the issues raised.

Pulling from the e-mails, I wasn't paying attention to the time. As a result, we'll have two entries on MLK to make up for nothing yesterday. My apologies for that.

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Fools and Damn Fools distort the legacy of MLK

A bitter dispute over the planned military flyover at Monday's Martin Luther King march has split peace activists, longtime march supporters and East Side community members, and could result in a smaller turnout for what has been the nation's largest MLK march.
Some opponents of the flyover are calling for a boycott of the march, while others plan to attend with bandanas over their mouths and black and yellow ribbons around their arms in a show of protest.
Two fighter jets from the 99th Flying Training Squadron at Randolph AFB will zoom over Pittman-Sullivan Park at noon at the end of the nearly three-mile march from Martin Luther King Drive to Iowa Street.
While some say the flyover will provide a patriotic flair to the march during a time of war, others say it will represent support for the war -- something King would not approve of.
The Rev. Herman Price, chairman of the city's MLK Commission, said the flyover was meant to honor King, and he is dismayed by the divisiveness it has caused.
"It all depends on how you look at it," Price said Thursday. "They say the planes represent war and bombs and death, but at the same time those planes can also represent our freedom and peace."

The above, from Lisa Marie Gómez's "Sparks Fly Over Flyover at MLK March" (San Antonio Express-News via Common Dreams) was noted KeShawn who declares Herman Price "an idiot."

KeShawn: If you're that ignorant of what MLK stood for, you don't chair a commission on the man and his legacy. To say "it all depends on how you look at it" reveals that Price learned of the "I Have a Dream" speech and not a damn thing else. Like my grandfather always said, "There are fools and there are damn fools."

Possibly Sheila McNeil would rank in the last grouping? McNeil explains that this is "a peace march" and that the military provides peace. Maybe the FBI could also fly over at this MLK event as long as the commission endorses a "depends on how you look at it" view? McNeil has been very involved in the committee, reports Triana who lives in San Antonio, and has "seized as much glory for it as she could as soon as she could."

Price and McNeil get glorified, the war machine gets glorified (What? A predator drone wasn't available for a fly over?) and any sense of what MLK stood for is buried. It all depends on how you look at it, to use Price's words, and the way Triana, KeShawn and I see it, it looks pretty disgusting, pretty self-serving and having little to do with the legacy of MLK.

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Friday, January 13, 2006

Democracy Now: Iran, New Orleans, Alito v. Pacifica; Amitabh Pal, Robert Parry, Ellen Goodman ...

Reports: German Intelligence Aided US Air Strikes in Iraq
This news from Germany -- The German intelligence service is coming under heavy criticism amid revelations its agents lent support to the United States invasion of Iraq. According to several media reports, German Federal Intelligence Service agents in Baghdad helped select at least one bombing target aimed at Iraqi president Saddam Hussein in which twelve civilians were killed. The operation was reportedly approved by the government of former Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, despite Germany’s public opposition to the war at the time.
Wal-Mart Mulls Challenge as Maryland Passes Health Law
In Maryland, state legislators passed a law Thursday that would require retail giant Wal-Mart to increase health care spending for its employees. The measure is expected to be replicated in other states. The measure overrode a gubernatorial veto and followed an intense lobbying battle between Wal-Mart and labor groups. Under the new law, employers with 100,000 or more workers must devote at least 8 percent of their payrolls to health insurance, or pay the difference into a state Medicaid fund. A Wal-Mart spokesperson told the New York Times the company is considering bringing a lawsuit to challenge the law. Democratic State Senator Gloria Lawlah, who sponsored the bill, said: "This is not a Wal-Mart bill, it's a Medicaid bill." This bill says to the conglomerates, 'Don't dump the employees that you refuse to insure into our Medicaid systems.' “
Cité Soleil Residents Demonstrate Against UN Raids
In Haiti, residents of the poor community Cite Soleil held a massive demonstration Thursday in protest of a planned UN armed raid on their neighorhoods. UN mission head Juan Gabriel Valdes vowed a raid was imminent last week amid growing calls from Haiti’s business leaders and foreign officials. Aid workers are already reporting one person has been killed and 17 injured in clashes with UN troops this week. The injured included a 12-year old girl. John Joel Joseph, a community organizer for Lavalas, the political party of ousted Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide told the Associated Press: "The population is standing up to say 'No' to U.N. persecution in Cite Soleil. Every day, we are counting dead bodies."
Iran Threatens To Break Off UN Inspections Over Nuclear Row
This news on the Iran nuclear stand-off -- On Thursday, Iran threatened to halt snap inspections of its nuclear sites by the United Nations if it is referred to the Security Council. The protocol allows intrusive and short-notice inspections of the country’s nuclear sites. The move came after the United States, Britain, France and Germany said Thursday that nuclear talks with Iran were at a dead end and the issue should be brought before the Council. The crisis over Iran’s nuclear program intensified this week after Iran removed seals at three nuclear facilities following a two-year freeze. Iran says its nuclear programs are solely for the peaceful generation of electricity.
The above four items are from today's Democracy Now! Headlines and were selected by Kansas, Eddie, Melody and JoanDemocracy Now! ("always informing you," as Marcia says):
Headlines for January 13, 2006

- Alito Wraps Up Testimony As Aides Predict Confirmation
- Iran Threatens To Break Off Inspections Over Nuclear Row
- Hajj Stampede Kills At Least 345 Muslim Pilgrims
- DNA Tests Confirm Guilt of Executed Virginia Murderer
- Wal-Mart Mulls Challenge as Maryland Passes Health Law
- Reports: German Intelligence Aided US Air Strikes in Iraq
- WFP Warns 2M At Risk in Kenyan Food Drought
- Man Who Shot Pope Released In Turkey
Crisis Over Iran's Nuclear Program Intensifies

Iran threatened to halt snap inspections of its nuclear sites by the United Nations if its nuclear program is referred to the Security Council. The move came after the United States, Britain, France and Germany said Thursday that nuclear talks with Iran were at a dead end and the issue should be brought before the Council. We speak with Middle East and Iran expert Ervand Abrahamian of Baruch College. [includes rush transcript]
Rebuilding New Orleans: The Struggle Continues

We look at the the ongoing struggles around rebuilding New Orleans after the Hurricane Katrina disaster. We speak with Marc Morial, president of the National Urban League and a former mayor of New Orleans and Tracie Washington, an attorney representing a number of evacuees in New Orleans who are staying in hotels and are facing eviction.
FCC vs. The League of Women Voters: A Look at the Case That Pitted Samuel Alito Against Pacifica Radio

On the final day of confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito on Capitol Hill, we look at the 1984 case of that pitted Samuel Alito against Pacifica Radio. The case - known as the FCC v. League of Women Voters - centered on the constitutionality of a law that prohibited the airing of editorials by any public radio and TV outlet that received funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. We speak with the attorney in the case, Frederic Woocher.
We'll get the highlights started with Iran because what better way for the Bully Boy to distract from his spying scandal?  Make war noises, scream rally round the leader!  Nedra steers us to Amitabh Pal's "Iran's nuclear path is a challenge" (Amitabh Pal's Weekly Column, The Progresive):
The Bush Administration’s nuclear policy is not very reassuring to other countries, including Iran. From scuttling multiple nuclear arms-control treaties to updating its nuclear arsenal, the United States has in recent years conveyed the wrong signals to the rest of the world.
And when it comes to Iran specifically, there’s been a strong contingent of neocons that has been urging Bush to attack the nation.
Republican Senators have introduced bills calling for Iranian “regime change.” Bush himself has stated that he “will not tolerate” a nuclear Iran, and has named it a charter member of the “axis of evil.” In addition, the Bush Administration’s Nuclear Posture Review, (its major policy statement on the subject of nuclear weapons), named in 2002 seven countries as targets, including Iran. Although the troubles in Iraq make a U.S. ground invasion unlikely, military action on a smaller scale may be a possibility, with potentially destabilizing ramifications.
And then there’s Israel, the only nuclear power in the Middle East, with an existing nuclear arsenal roughly equal to that of France or Britain, according to analyst Avner Cohen in the April 2005 issue of Current History magazine. Ariel Sharon on a number of occasions has made belligerent statements about Iran, although he has denied having any immediate unilateral plans to attack Iran.
So what needs to be done to ensure that Iran doesn’t become another member of the nuclear club?
The United States has to provide security guarantees, and make Iran confident that it will not suffer the fate of two of its neighbors.
Plus, all the five established nuclear powers have to seriously undertake their commitment under Article VI of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and take concrete steps to get rid of their nuclear arsenals.
The nuclear hypocrisy of the five established powers has been one of the major reasons that Iran’s nuclear program has widespread support among its populace.
As Bully Boy eyes Iran (eyes with blood lust), on this thirteenth day of January, the US military fatality count stands at 34 and at 2214 since the invasion.
Alito wasn't present, but the hearings went on.  Patrik notes Robert Parry's "Alito & the Ken Lay Factor" (Consortium News)  which provides a break down of unitary theory and the impact it could have:
The "unitary" theory of presidential power sounds too wonkish for Americans to care about, but the confirmation of Samuel Alito to the U.S. Supreme Court could push this radical notion of almost unlimited Executive authority close to becoming a reality.
Justice Alito, as a longtime advocate of the theory, would put the Court's right-wing faction on the verge of having a majority committed to embracing this constitutional argument that would strip regulatory agencies, such as the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Communications Commission, of their independence.
If that happens, George W. Bush and his successors would have the power to instruct these agencies what to do on regulations and enforcement, opening up new opportunities to punish enemies and reward friends. The "unitary" theory asserts that all executive authority must be in the President's hands, without exception.
The Supreme Court's embrace of the "unitary executive" would sound the death knell for independent regulatory agencies as they have existed since the Great Depression, when they were structured with shared control between the Congress and the President. Putting the agencies under the President's thumb would tip the balance of Washington power to the White House and invite abuses by letting the Executive turn on and off enforcement investigations.
For instance, if the "unitary executive" had existed in 2001, Bush might have been tempted to halt the SEC accounting investigation that spelled doom for Enron Corp. and his major financial backer, Enron Chairman Kenneth Lay. As it was, the relative independence of the SEC ensured that the accounting probe went forward and the fraudulent schemes propping up the Houston-based company were exposed.
Direct presidential control of the FCC would give Bush and his subordinates the power to grant and revoke broadcast licenses without the constraints that frustrated Richard Nixon's attempts to punish the Washington Post company for its Watergate reporting. Bush also would be free to order communication policies bent in ways that would help his media allies and undermine his critics.
The Federal Election Commission, which oversees political finances, is another agency that would fall under presidential control. Hypothetically at least, influence-peddlers like Jack Abramoff who spread campaign contributions to corrupted lawmakers could get a measure of protection if the President didn't want the agency to pursue their violations.
The hearings or "hearings."  A number of topics were addressed (and misaddressed) today.  I'm not as tickled by the term "stink bomb" as one Senator was.  I will note that chortles continued once Laurence Tribe began speaking and he had to stop and wait for the chortling Senator to come to their senses.  If you felt the Senator never did, chances are you know whom we're speaking of.  The Senator who either felt the need to play Barbara Walters ("If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be?") or to play Mystery Date (stated by a woman seated next to me) didn't go out on a high note.
Tribe and Kate Michelman spoke effectively.  The testimonails in favor of Alito started out resembling too many late night "It changed my life!" infomercials.  As the parade continued, the Cult of Alito became more mind numbing (one had to wonder if some "vouchers" had been mind numbed before they became mind numbing?)
So now the Senate committee's done all it probably plans to.  Use NOW's
Take Action: Call Your Senators Today  link today and remember this number 1-800-839-5276.  Delilah Boyd (A Scrivener's Lament) always displays it.  Why?  It's the toll free number for the Capitol Hill Switchboard.  Dial it, ask for the Senator you want to speak to and they'll transfer you to her or his office.  You can store the number and use it to contact the offices of House members as well. Or you can just remember Delilah's got it posted at her site and visit A Scriverner's Lament not just for her humor and keen observations (noted in the year-in-review) but also for the solid information she hooks you up with.
Brad notes Ellen Goodman's "Is Roe v. Wade Already Collapsing?" (Boston Globe via Common Dreams):

To know what's at stake in the Supreme Court confirmation hearings, it's best to travel 1,200 miles west from the paneled Senate room to a small nondescript clinic in a Great Plains state.
It's best to turn from the blue-and-white charts brandished by senators to the parking lot filled with cars from places as far away as Rapid City or even Wyoming. It's best to turn from the buzz about precedents and privacy to the quiet of a waiting room.
Here, late in the afternoon, the clinic is still full. There's a soldier who will make a 700-mile round trip from the western part of the state. There's a teenager slouching beside a tense mother. There's a rancher, a mother of two high-schoolers and pregnant after having an IUD removed.
This is the only clinic in the state and this is the only day in the week when a woman can get an abortion in South Dakota. Today, they'll be treated by one of four doctors flown in from Minneapolis because it's impossible to recruit locally. Today's doctor is Miriam McCreary, a mother of four and grandmother of nine, who graduated from medical school in 1958. At 70, she still knows ''how desperate women are to end their pregnancies."
One clinic, one day, one doctor. This is what it's like in South Dakota right now under Roe v. Wade. It's also like this in North Dakota and Mississippi, and not very different in Arkansas or a dozen other states.
Antiabortion lobbyists here boast that South Dakota is the legislative laboratory for testing and imposing state restrictions. Last year, five new restrictions passed, including one, now being challenged, to force doctors to recite a state-written speech saying that abortion ends the life of ''a whole, separate, unique living human being." This year, the Legislature, which just opened its 35-day session, is being pressed by a state task force to add more mis-informed consent, more delays, more expensive barriers.
It goes without saying that South Dakota is one of seven states with a ''trigger law" ready to ban abortion if Roe is overturned. But something else requires saying: It's possible to add so many burdens onto the back of Roe that it collapses without ever being overturned.
And back to the issue of why the Bully Boy needs someone like Alito on the Court to beging with, Mia notes Jennifer Van Bergen's "Why the Bush Doctrine Violates the Constitution" (CounterPunch):
Bush has used presidential "signing statements" - statements issued by the President upon signing a bill into law -- to expand his power. Each of his signing statements says that he will interpret the law in question "in a manner consistent with his constitutional authority to supervise the unitary executive branch."
Presidential signing statements have gotten very little media attention. They are, however, highly important documents that define how the President interprets the laws he signs. Presidents use such statements to protects the prerogative of their office and ensure control over the executive branch functions.
Presidents also -- since Reagan -- have used such statements to create a kind of alternative legislative history. Attorney General Ed Meese explained in 1986 that:
To make sure that the President's own understanding of what's in a bill is the same . . . is given consideration at the time of statutory construction later on by a court,
we have now arranged with West Publishing Company that the presidential statement on the signing of a bill will accompany the legislative history from Congress so that all can be available to the court for future construction of what that statute really means.
The alternative legislative history would, according to Dr. Christopher S. Kelley, professor of political science at the Miami University at Oxford, Ohio, "contain certain policy or principles that the administration had lost in its negotiations" with Congress.
The Supreme Court has paid close attention to presidential signing statements. Indeed, in two important decisions -- the Chadha and Bowsher decisions - the Court relied in part on president signing statements in interpreting laws. Other federal courts, sources show, have taken note of them too.
Okay, thank you to ___ for allowing me to dictate the DN! entries this week.  I'll be catching a flight soon.  I do intend for us to have at least one additional entry today, possibly two.  Thanks to Gina and Krista for their great work on the round-robin this week, all week.
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Ring in the New Year with Photo Calendars. Add photos, events, holidays, whatever.

Other Items

Lynda highlights the bad news contained in Felicity Barringer's "U.S. Reverses Accord and Opens 389,000 Acres in Alaska to Explore for Oil:"

The Interior Department has decided to open 389,000 acres of Alaskan lakes, tundra and shoreline to oil exploration, reversing an eight-year-old compromise intended to protect the habitat of hundreds of thousands of migratory birds and the hunting grounds of Inupiat natives who live near the Beaufort Sea.
[. . .]
Critics, including Alaska Natives and groups like the Audubon Society and the Wilderness Society, said the protection would not prevent fragmenting the birds' habitat or the disturbance when pipelines were built.
There will be airplane and helicopter traffic, the critics said, and industrial activity will be a fixture of the collection of lakes and damp tundra that is now empty 150 miles west of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Sidebar, on any given day, any given week, there are many things that members and myself would like to get it. (And there are post-its all around my computers.) Yazz noted in an e-mail that I didn't award any honors (or dishonors) in the year-in-review. That entry was a nightmare that took over eleven hours (Elaine says fourteen hours, I believe, and she called while I was working on it and right when the thing was about to post, so take her word for it and not my estimate). If it had been the quick, easy entry I had thought it would be, I did have awards I planned to give out. One was to Felicity Barringer for not just sharing her disagreement in private but being willing to put it up here. Whether you agreed with her or not, hopefully, you saw her point. I thought that she deserved note for sharing. If other things pop up, I'll note them as they do but (yes, Yazz, "in fairness"), I thought that was something to note.

Back to the items.

Kevin highlights Adam Liptak's "Few Glimmers of How Conservative Judge Alito Is:"

On one of the few occasions Judge Alito spoke about his general approach to the law, he embraced a mode of constitutional interpretation, originalism, often associated with Justices Scalia and Thomas.
"In interpreting the Constitution," Judge Alito said Wednesday, "I think we should look to the text of the Constitution, and we should look to the meaning that someone would have taken from the text of the Constitution at the time of its adoption."

Alito contradicted himself throughout and was all over the map. This "general approach," for instance, was directly refuted on the day (it's all a blur) when he went into internet porn. There he spoke of an interpretation larger than "originalism." A problem throughout this article is that a reporter who tries to decipher Alito is headed for trouble if they try to condense by marrying fragments of the question with his answers. Alito did not answer the questions directly. That was obvious observing the hearings all week. Alito skated over everything. He wasn't challenged with follow ups often enough and when he did get a follow up he continued his dance of disinformation. Some of the things reported as "answers" (by the Times and the AP -- the only things I've seen) are not answers. His saying Congress can do something, for instance, is merely stating that Congress has the ability to do something, it's not answering whether or not he thinks the Court could or should overrule a proposed legislation. A number of Democrats on the panel appeared to either hear what they wanted or not listen closely. (That's been true of the press as well.) "Can" is ability. (Yes, we're back to that lesson again, do you believe it?) Congress can pass anything it has the votes to pass. Whether or not it will be upheld in a legal challenge is a completely different issue. Observing the hearings, for me, was one long moot court nightmare where you kept wishing people would get what was being said but they didn't.
(They being most Democrats on the committee -- though not all -- and some members of the press.)

Judith Resnik calls it best in the article: "He's fabulous at tautology." We'll address the Alito fan club that met from Monday through Thursday in highlights further down.

Molly notes Michael Barbaro's "Maryland Sets a Health Cost for Wal-Mart:"

The Maryland legislature passed a law Thursday that would require Wal-Mart Stores to increase spending on employee health insurance, a measure that is expected to be a model for other states.
The legislature's move, which overrode a veto by Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich, was a response to growing criticism that Wal-Mart, the nation's largest private employer, has skimped on benefits and shifted health costs to state governments.
The vote came after a furious lobbying battle by Wal-Mart and by labor and liberal groups, and is likely to encourage lawmakers in dozens of other states who are considering similar legislation. Many state legislatures have looked to Maryland as a test case, as they face fast-rising Medicaid costs, and Wal-Mart's critics say that too many of its employees have been forced to turn to Medicaid.

Lloyd highlights Matthew Rothschild's "Impeachment Calls Grow Louder" (This Just In, The Progressive):

Last Saturday, I went to a town hall meeting on the Iraq War and impeachment in Madison, Wisconsin. This one was sponsored by Veterans for Peace. More than 150 other events around the country on January 7 were co-sponsored by Progressive Democrats of America and
In Madison, about 350 people crammed into the Labor Temple to show their enthusiastic support for bringing the troops home. But what really got the crowd going was the drive for impeachment.
The event opened with longtime peace activist Robert Kimbrough asking people to speak up so we all could hear them. But not for the sake of the NSA or the CIA or the FBI or the Pentagon, he said, adding that they all have recording devices that will pick everything up anyway.
Someone shouted behind me, "Bring it on!"
Ed Garvey, a great Wisconsin progressive, addressed the dismissive attitude that prevails in Washington and among the cynics: that impeachment is impossible, and that we're just wasting our time talking about.
The same was said about the women's suffrage movement and about the civil rights movement, he observed, adding that when he's done he'd like to echo Rosa Parks, who said, after the bus boycott, "My feet may be tired but my soul’s at rest."
I'm telling you, my friends, there's something going on at the grassroots that the mainstream media isn't getting.

And what the Times can't figure out about Alito, feminist can (no surpise there). These are the Alito highlights. We'll start with Susan's highlight, Kim Gandy's "Mostly Serious New Year's Resolutions" (Below the Belt, NOW):

- I pledge to do my part to oppose the nomination of Samuel Alito the Supreme Court, for all the reasons given here and here. Even if I've already called my Senators, I pledge to go call 'em again now! I know this fight could decide women's reproductive rights for the next 40 years or longer, and I am committed to doing my part to stop Alito. (And in fact, if you have some time, we'd love to have you in D.C.! Find out more about joining our campaign in D.C.)
- I resolve not to be fooled by Sam Alito's evasion, obfuscation, and wiggle words (that's a legal term, for all of you non-lawyers out there ;>) and to focus on his very serious anti-woman ideology, even if it is really funny that his excuses sound a lot like "the dog ate my homework" The excuses? In today's hearing they went something like this: the computer forgot to remind me that I promised not to rule on Vanguard cases and I really don't remember being in that misogynistic club, but if I did it must have been about the ROTC and the military (sounds of patriotic music playing in the background).
- I will do everything I can to make sure Congress doesn't take women's rights lightly, and to remind our elected officials--especially the ones who claim to be "progressive"--that women's issues matter and women's votes count!
- I'll work with my local NOW chapter on whatever campaigns I can help with in my area, knowing that all across the country I will be joined by hundreds of thousands of feminists and progressive allies working to take back our country from the far Right! (Don't know your local chapter?
Click here!)

Keesha notes Eleanor Smeal's "Rights of Women Are on the Line as Alito Testimony Ends" (The Smeal Report, Ms. Magazine):

This is not a Roberts hearing. No question, Alito will receive many more "no" votes on confirmation than John Roberts did in September.
Those of us concerned about women's rights are leaving the hearings strong and determined. We must keep remembering that the rights of women depend on us staying strong.
Now we must keep mobilizing so our Senate supporters not only vote "no" but also make these votes count enough to stop Alito.
Click here for Ms. magazine's complete coverage of the Alito

And Martha notes Carol Leif on CAP in "Membership Has Its Privileges" (The Leif Report, Ms. Magazine):

No, you can't use the excuse that you forget being a member. That's lame. What? Now you remember it so well that you know you weren't a very active member and you didn't donate a lot of money to your club. Um, but you were a member, right? In the phrases "active member" and "big donor member," the key word is member. If you were a member of the KKK, do you think it would matter how active you were? Did anyone care how active Michael Dukakis was in the ACLU? Incidentally, being a member of the ACLU might not be so bad in this particular hypothetical job, but I digress. It doesn't even matter because it would take a pretty silly group of people to focus on the minutae of your club activity and miss the big picture of your club membership.
No, you can't compare this to McCarthyism. Join any club you want, just don't apply for this job. Nice attempt to shift focus though.

Again, three feminists can grasp what the Times can't. (I'm referring to the reporting. Elaine discussed Thursday's Times' editorial on Alito in the roundtable last night. Reminder, check your inboxes for the latest gina & krista round-robin and, again, Gina and Krista did an outstanding job with their special editions. I thank them for all their hard work and hope others do as well.)

Reminder, late last night a magazine spotlight went up here. It's on the latest edition of Ms. which goes on sale Tuesday, January 17th.

Rod notes a scheduled topic for today's Democracy Now!:

Day Four of the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito.

And Seth has an entry on the Alito hearings in case anyone missed it.

In addition, remember that the following sites provided Alito coverage (and more) this week:

Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude
Mikey Likes It
Kat's Korner
Cedirc's Big Mix
Like Maria Said Paz
The Daily Jot

Great work by all. (And Betty, who participated in the roundtables for Gina & Krista, also got a new chapter posted.)

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NYT: "Padilla Pleads Not Guilty; Bail Is Denied" (Terry Aguayo)

Jose Padilla, who was transferred from military to civilian custody last week, was ordered held without bail by a federal judge Thursday after pleading not guilty to criminal charges that he provided money and support to terrorism forces overseas.
"He pleads absolutely not guilty to the charges contained in the indictment," Michael Caruso, Mr. Padilla's lawyer, said before Magistrate Judge Barry Garber.

[. . .]
Mr. Caruso said holding Mr. Padilla in pretrial detention would be "especially brutal" inasmuch as he was held in military custody without charges for over three years as an enemy combatant.

The above is from Terry Aguayo's "Padilla Pleads Not Guilty; Bail Is Denied" in this morning's New York Times. So Padilla's finally transferred to the civilian justice system (or to a justice system period) and he's still imprisoned? Bully Boy's America.

Attempting to drive out the fog imposed by Bully Boy is Larry's highlight. Or, as he calls it, "Take that Colin Powell!" From Elizabeth Holtzman's "The Impeachment of George W. Bush" (The Nation):

A President can commit no more serious crime against our democracy than lying to Congress and the American people to get them to support a military action or war. It is not just that it is cowardly and abhorrent to trick others into giving their lives for a nonexistent threat, or even that making false statements might in some circumstances be a crime. It is that the decision to go to war is the gravest decision a nation can make, and in a democracy the people and their elected representatives, when there is no imminent attack on the United States to repel, have the right to make it. Given that the consequences can be death for hundreds, thousands or tens of thousands of people--as well as the diversion of vast sums of money to the war effort--the fraud cannot be tolerated. That both Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon were guilty of misleading the nation into military action and neither was impeached for it makes it more, not less, important to hold Bush accountable.
Once it was clear that no weapons of mass destruction would be found in Iraq, President Bush tried to blame "bad intelligence" for the decision to go to war, apparently to show that the WMD claim was not a deliberate deception. But bad intelligence had little or nothing to do with the main arguments used to win popular support for the invasion of Iraq.
First, there was no serious intelligence--good or bad--to support the Administration's suggestion that Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda were in cahoots. Nonetheless, the Administration repeatedly tried to claim the connection to show that the invasion was a justified response to 9/11 (like the declaration of war against Japan for Pearl Harbor). The claim was a sheer fabrication.
Second, there was no reliable intelligence to support the Administration's claim that Saddam was about to acquire nuclear weapons capability. The specter of the "mushroom cloud," which frightened many Americans into believing that the invasion of Iraq was necessary for our self-defense, was made up out of whole cloth. As for the biological and chemical weapons, even if, as reported, the CIA director told the President that these existed in Iraq, the Administration still had plenty of information suggesting the contrary.

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Thursday, January 12, 2006

Mag Spotlight: Ms. Magazine Winter 2006 edition

Thanks to a friend who dropped off a care package (much needed after the Alito fan club aka "the hearings") which included chocolate and the new issue of Ms. which is supposed to go on sale Tuesday the seventeenth. It's been awhile since we've done a magazine report. But after today, we may really need one. (I'm tired, so forgive typos. Any in quotes are my typos and not the magazine's.)

We'll start with the cover story, Robin Morgan interviews Jane Fonda ("A Ms. Converstation: Jane Fonda Talks With Robin Morgan." Issues addressed include "clicking"*, empowerment, religion, you name it.

Here's an excerpt (page 38) that may provide perspective at the end of a depressing week:

Jane Fonda: So now I can support a real, grassroots, anti-war movement -- including male and female veterans' groups. It took seven years with Vietnam for soldiers to speak out, but at the second anniversary of the invasion of Iraq as many as 4,800 people rallied outside Fort Bragg, the speakers vets and military families against the war!

The interview covers a wide range of topics.

[*"Clicking" Jane O'Reilly's "Click! The Housewife's Moment of Truth" appeared in Ms. -- I believe the first issue. The basis of this essay was about the moments when you share something "personal" that's just something that happens and someone else has experienced it as well. It's not just something that happens. "Click"s are those moments when a lightbulb goes off and you realize that something you thought was a personal problem is, in fact, a political one -- it's just that those establishing the guidelines hadn't ruled it as such.]

As always with Ms., the letters pages are worth reading (four pages). This isn't "When you used you 'shan't' perhaps you were unaware that you split the structure of the sentence . . ." This is people sharing what an article sparked for them, their own experiences, the things that speak to them. ("People" are predominately females but Ms. does have male readers and it does include male letters from time to time. Including two this issue. One of which is from the vice president of Moosehead Breweries explaining an ad and stating that the company "WILL NOT tolerate this type of sexism and tasteless work again.")

In "Keeping Score," one of Eddie's favorites is quoted:

I guess we're just a little tired of all the death that comes with the 'Culture of Life.'"
-- Randi Rhodes

You also get a rundown of five magazines ratio of female to male writers from September to December of 2005 and milestones.

Plan B and Susan Wood's reason for quitting the FDA over their disregard for science is addressed in "Denial by Delay."

"Reproductive Rights on Trial " is a feature we've already highlighted this week. "Anita Hill on Harriet Miers " should generate interest.

From the Ms. Calendar, we'll note "Girl Trouble" airing on PBS beginning January 17th (check your local PBS listings) since that's just around the corner (Tuesday). (Documentary on "the lives of three teenage girls caught up in San Francisco's juvenile justice system.) "Global" provides you with a look at news around the world including rape "as an international war crime" in Darfur (Femke Van Zeijl). We'll highlight Iraq Sunday in our "outside the mainstream US media" entry. (If I'd opened the issue before doing the indymedia roundups tonight, I would've included it there.)

Blanche Wiesen Cook's "WOMEN AND PEACE: The Legacy" is a must read (and comes with suggested additional readings). Excerpt from page 43:

The long war in Vietnam created another generation of women peace leaders. WILPF was refortified with younger activists who flocked to its meetings in every state. A great chain of being connected Jane Addams with Kay Camp, Ruth Gage-Colby, Anne Florant, Helen Kusman, Bea Siegel, Trudy Orris; with civil rights activists Virginia Durr, Fannie Lou Hamer, Flo Kennedy; and with a new generation of feminists in Crystal Eastman's tradition, notably Gloria Steinem. At a WILPF meeting in 1966, I met my partner Clare Coss. We worked, and created enduring friendships with Bella Abzug, Mim Kelber, Amy Swerdlow, Cora Weiss and Lyla Hoffman -- who were among the founders of Women Strike for Peace, organized in 1961 to protest nuclear armaments and nuclear poisons in our food supply, the result of atmospheric tests.

[WILPF is the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, founded in 1921.]

Katti Gray contributes "SILENCE=WAR: A new wave of feminist peace activists take it to the streets." Excerpt:

Mounting death tolls -- more than 2,100 at press time -- soaring costs, an ever-growing Iraqi insurgency and daily revelations of the Bush administration's disinformation campaign to garner U.S. support for the war have soured even those who may have initially backed the overthrow of Saddam Hussein's government. At the U.S. Capitol, not far from the converted townhouse in which WAND conducts its activism, U.S. Rep. Lynn Woolsey, a California Democrat, also has her mind on war. "The Congress," she says, "has to catch up with the American people. And the American people are sick of the bloodshed."
Together with Democrats Maxine Water, Barbara Lee, Jan Schakowsky and four congressmen, Woolsey co-founded the House of Representatives' "Out of Iraq Caucus." Considering women make up only 10 of the 435 seats in the House, the 23 women in the 69-member caucus represent a disproportionate share of the groups. In November, the group filed a "discharge petition" that would require the president to begin bringing U.S. troops home.

Bay Fang provides text and Andrea Camuto photos to "A Brave Sisterhood: Women overcame years of gender apartheid -- and even bullets -- to run for office and vote in Afghnaistan's recent elections." Excerpt (pages 51-52) on Hossai Andar:

Andar had problems campaigning in Ghazni, a city which is largely under the control of Abdul Rasul Sayyaf, the feared leader of one of the main mujahideen groups that fought against the Soviets. "I don't trust my own mother," says Andar. "Everyone is from a political party. I tell them I'm running for one of the three seats set aside for women, but they know my campaign is very wide [in the constituency she hopes to serve]. People are tired of Sayyaf -- they want democrats, educated people."

Jeanne K. C. Clark remembers "The Booming Voice of Molly Yard: Celebrating the great feminist, human-rights leader and NOW president." Excerpt:

When Molly was elected national chair of the American Student Union, things really got interesting. That's when Eleanor Roosevelt came into her life.
The first lady had contacted Molly to talk to her about the criticisms Molly and the student union had made of Franklin Roosevelt's administration and policies. The result was a lifelong friendship and political alliance.
With Eleanor Roosevelt's guidance and support, Molly put forth her talents toward making the world better. She was active in every progressive campaign over the next 60 years. She was a founder of Americans for Democratic Action, worked to defeat Richard Nixon in his California Senate race and was a key organizer for progressive candidates in Pennsylvania. She was particularly active in the great battles for civil rights, working with black and white civil rights groups. She worked with Dorothy Height to integrate the YWCA, and helped organize the historic 1963 March onWashington.

Martha Burk provides "24 Hours in Arkansas: Or, how I wasn't fooled by Wal-Mart fawning over women." Donna Brazile provides "Poverty Is a Woman's Issue" and much, much more.

(Full content listing available here.)

The issue is a strong one so utilize your libraries, bookstores, grocery stores, Tower, et al. If you don't normally read Ms., pick up this issue and flip through it to see if it interests you. (My guess is it will.)

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