Thursday, March 31, 2005

The true Schiavo legacy

There are two images that will unfortunately survive Terri Schiavo's tragic death:
The first is the Rev.Jesse Jackson and "Operation Rescue's" Randall Terry standing arm-in-arm where neither of them should have been.

The second is Rep. Tom DeLay's demonstration that he missed the 8th grade civics class where they taught kids about the separation of powers: The NYT reports:

"The time will come for the men responsible for this to answer for their behavior, but not today," said Mr. DeLay, who was instrumental in pushing emergency legislation that gave the federal courts jurisdiction over Ms. Schiavo's care, only to see them decline to order her feeding tube restored. Saying that the courts "thumbed their nose at Congress and the president," Mr. DeLay, of Texas, suggested Congress was exploring responses and declined to rule out the possibility of Congressional impeachment of the judges involved.

While Pres. Bush panders to the "culture of life" (while killing more than 15,000 young Americans in Iraq) Michael Daly tells the real story, and it's the story of so many U.S. teens:

"In between binges, she attempted her own miracle diet. Her medical records would note, 'She apparently has been trying to keep her weight down with dieting by herself, drinking liquids most of the time during the day and drinking about 10-15 glasses of iced tea.'
"Then, she would rebel and binge and purge herself again, so often that her stomach lining was damaged. The enamel on the back of her teeth was eroded by gastric acids.
"Her bulimia nervosa became so severe that the purging deprived her heart of potassium. An executioner's lethal injection does the opposite, flooding the body with potassium, but the effect is the same. A cellular reaction known as the sodium potassium pump is disrupted and the heart can no longer beat.
"The paramedics got Terri Schiavo's heart thumping again, but not before she suffered irreversible brain damage. The video of her in a persistent vegetative state can be seen as a kind of an after-after picture."

That's the real story. It's one that the networks won't tell you. The next time you see an ad that focuses on weight as the hallmark of attractiveness: Think about Terri Schiavo. That will truly give meaning to her tragic death.

Arabs and Jews together at last

Well we finally found out what will bring Arabs and Jews together in Jerusalem.
The NYT reports:

... major leaders of the three faiths - Christianity, Judaism and Islam - are making a rare show of unity to try to stop [a 10-day World Gay Pride festival and parade in Jerusalem in August]. They say the event would desecrate the city and convey the erroneous impression that homosexuality is acceptable.

"They are creating a deep and terrible sorrow that is unbearable," Shlomo Amar, Israel's Sephardic chief rabbi, said yesterday at a news conference in Jerusalem attended by Israel's two chief rabbis, the patriarchs of the Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox and Armenian churches, and three senior Muslim prayer leaders. "It hurts all of the religions. We are all against it."

Abdel Aziz Bukhari, a Sufi sheik, added: "We can't permit anybody to come and make the Holy City dirty. This is very ugly and very nasty to have these people come to Jerusalem."

What else can we say?
Chelsea demo March 18 Posted by Hello

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Bush escalates rhetoric on barnstorming tour

Joshua Micah Marshall (TPM) notes that in his barnstorming tour to sell his social security snake oil President Bush has escalated his threats. According to a CBS radio interview, he said:

"Now is the time to fix it, and I think there is a political price for not getting involved in the process."
He added: "I think there is a political price for saying, 'It's not a problem, I'm going to stay away from the table.'"

Catholic League's Donahue takes the high road again

It seems Madonna and husband director Guy Ritchie showed up at a Purim celebration last week in London wearing "ecclesiastical costumes." One might say: "Not the classiest act." But did Catholic League President William Donahue (not known for his class either) take the high road? You tell me.

According to Rush and Molloy in the Daily News, Donahue said: "We're quite disappointed. We Catholics thought we had finally gotten rid of the witch when she discovered Kabbala. In the event she discovers the Wiccan religion, the Catholic League...would be ever so happy to send her husband a broom complete with instructions for what to do with it."

Way to go Bill!

Invoking Nelson Mandela's Name in Vain

One question.

Is it possible that these two-bit celebrities actually think that invoking Nelson Mandela's name will somehow transform them into people we can respect?

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Women's Films at Pioneer Theater

Celebrate Women's History Month by attending COMING UP SHORT: FILMS BY WOMEN FILMMAKERS. Films include:




April 10th * 4pm *
Pioneer Theater

155 East 3rd Street (at Ave. A)
New York, NY 10009

Tickets are $9 and each attendee will receive a gift bag full of materials from our sponsors worth over $25. To buy tickets, click on the "Pioneer Theater" logo. Space is limited.

Monday, March 28, 2005

National Day of Action to Protect Social Security

National Day of Action to protect Social Security is Thursday

Working families, union leaders and community allies in dozens of cities across the country will hold events

Thursday, March 31

challenging Charles Schwab, Wachovia and other Wall Street firms to withdraw their support for privatizing Social Security.
The National Day of Action is the biggest single-day grassroots mobilization ever to defeat President Bush's plan to create private accounts that would give a windfall to financial firms but cause Social Security's guaranteed benefits to be cut by nearly half and increase the federal debt by $5 trillion.

In Washington state, protests will be held at noon on March 31 outside Charles Schwab offices in Seattle, Bellevue, Tacoma and Spokane to tell the company: "Don't pick our pockets to line yours!" (Download the rally flier.)

SEATTLE -- 508 Union St. -- Contact Bob Gorman: 206-448-4888

BELLEVUE -- 11100 NE 8th St. -- Contact Steve Dzielak: 206-448-1059

TACOMA -- 1148 Broadway -- Contact Patty Rose: 253-473-3810

SPOKANE -- 601 W. Riverside -- Contact Beth Thew: 509-327-7637

The Charles Schwab Corp. is a major backer of the push to privatize Social Security accounts because it is well positioned to make huge profits managing private accounts. Schwab’s support for privatization is a conflict of interest for the company given that many of its clients have entrusted their savings with the firm to ensure their retirement security.

The AFL-CIO has been pressuring various U.S. financial firms with a vested interest in privatizing Social Security to withdraw their public support for Bush's plan. The success of this campaign spurred Republican congressional leaders last Friday to ask the Labor Department to investigate these AFL-CIO activities as potentially illegal.

For more information about the national Social Security campaign against Schwab and other Wall Street firms, visit or

Also Thursday, those of you in Olympia who oppose Bush's Social Security plan have an opportunity to demonstrate that opposition. The House Children and Family Services Committee will be holding a public hearing at 1:30 p.m. Thursday in JLOB House Hearing Room D on SJM 8014, a resolution expressing opposition to the privatization of Social Security. Sponsored by Sen. Pat Thibaudeau (D-Seattle), it has already passed the State Senate on a party-line 25-23 vote.
Brecht Forum
451 West St. Between Bank & Bethune


Tuesday, March 29
7:30 pm
Caliban and the Witch
Women, the Body and Primitive Accumulation

Silvia Federici

Wednesday, March 30
7:30 pm
Restoring Immigrant Voting Rights
Ron Hayduk, Bill Perkins, Bryan Pu-Folks, Michele Wucker and Others TBA

Thursday, March 31
7:30 pm
America’s Military Today The Challenge of Militarism
Tod Ensign

Friday, April 1
6:00 pm
Diane Greene Lent Photographs of United for Peace and Justice

Saturday, April 2
10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Introduction to the Theater of the Oppressed
Forum Theater
Led by the Theater of the Oppressed Laboratory

Sunday, April 3
5:00 pm
Co-sponsors: RAWI & TAHRIR
Shattering the Stereotypes
Muslim Women Speak Out

Fawzia Afzal-Khan & Other Contributors

Sunday, March 27, 2005

The "soul" of Terri Schiavo and the Book of John (Podhoretz)

It's Easter Sunday perhaps a few words on the soul and "The Schiavo Stakes" are in order. Let us turn to the Book of John (Podhoretz):

"Those who want her to live tend to view life as a gift a treasure beyond value that has been bestowed upon us and that we therefore have no right to squander. The giver of the gift cannot be seen by the human eye, and the essence of the gift cannot be seen either.

We usually call that essence the "soul." Our souls define us: They make us who we are in the deepest sense. And they transcend us as well: They are our connection to the divine, to all in the universe that is unseen and unknowable but is still there."

I'm not an expert on Christianity, although I checked with my resident expert. It seems to me that there may be many reasons for Ms. Schiavo to go on living (I'm not privy to all the information that the doctors and courts have had) but the preservation of her soul is not one of them.

To the best of my knowledge (correct me if I'm wrong) there is no religion in which the soul dies with the human body. Presumably her soul will transcend the death of her human body. It will move on to another dimension where it will live on.

This kind of nonsense that Podhoretz spouts simply confuses the issues involved. He goes on to say:

"Most religious people share this set of beliefs, which is why those who have pushed hardest to save Schiavo are devout Christians."

If "most religious people share this set of beliefs," why is that "those who have pushed hardest to save Schiavo are devout Christians" and not most religious people? Could it be that they don't believe that? Not even Christians, if I'm correct.

Come on John. If you're going to pontificate, at least try to make some sense.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Bush and the Red Lake shooting

The Daily Kos reports that:

"President Bush broke his public silence on Saturday about the deadliest U.S. school shooting in six years, touting the government's response 'at this tragic time' after some American Indian leaders complained he paid little attention to the rampage.
Bush's delayed public reaction to the shooting stood in contrast to his swift and high-profile intervention this week to prolong the life of Terri Schiavo, a brain-damaged woman in Florida whose feeding tube was removed."

But Bush's lack of response to the shooting was clearly in keeping with his slow and stingy response after the Tsunami destroyed thousands of lives in South Asia. Clearly Karl Rove didn't think either the deaths of some Native Americans or the destruction of lives and land in South Asia would be of concern to their constituency. It seems that disasters and tragedies that happen largely to people of color are of much lower on this administration's list of priorities. With Bush and Rove it's always politics, not humanity

Friday, March 25, 2005

Democrats and the Schiavo tragedy

Nation contributing editor Robert Scheer writes:

"... facing a media storm dominated by heart-rending but inconclusive video clips of Schiavo, Republican demagogues led by Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas)--who is battling ethics problems--took the easy, cynical way out. They rushed through a bill, past cowed Democrats, that moves the case to federal court and applies only to Schiavo's parents.

Even more shocking, President Bush did what he would not do in August 2001 when terrorism warnings were 'blinking red,' in the words of the then-head of the CIA: He returned to Washington from one of his many sacrosanct vacations, in this case to sign this ill-conceived legislation."

So the question is: Where were the Democrats?

New York Daily News columnist Richard Cohen asks the same question:

"On the Terri Schiavo debate, the [Democratic] party went AWOL.
By late Sunday, when the debate had reached the House of Representatives, Barney Frank stood almost alone in opposing the bill."

"Frank's was a bravura performance: .... One could only have wished that it had been matched by John Kerry or Hillary Clinton, or any of the other Democrats who are being mentioned as presidential candidates."

One other name that comes to mind, who has been absent from the Schiavo debate: Democratic National Chair Howard Dean.

So guys! When are we going to see you stand up and speak out against the DeLay onslaught on American values?

Republicans plan to "pack" the Supreme Court

MoveOn is asking people to help stop the Republican attack on the Supreme Court:

"Radical Republicans are reaching for absolute power to appoint Supreme Court justices who favor corporate and extreme-right interests over the rest of us - and we only have a few weeks to stop them."

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Delay and Sciavo politics

If there is still any doubt about the cynical political way in which the right-wing Republicans are using the Terri Schiavo tragedy check out Rep. Tom DeLay's talk to a Family Research Council (FRC) gathering March 17-18 at Washington, D.C.'s Willard Hotel, recorded by Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

"One thing that God has brought to us is Terri Schiavo, to help elevate the visibility of what is going on in America," DeLay told the crowd.
"This is exactly the issue that is going on in America, of attacks against the conservative movement, against me and against many others," DeLay said. He complained that "the other side" was leading the attack, with a goal "to defeat the conservative movement."
According to DeLay, a "whole syndicate" of "do-gooder" forces are arrayed against him in "a huge nationwide concerted effort to destroy everything we believe in."

It's all there: God brought us the Schiavo case. Why? To counteract "attacks against the conservative movement [us], against me [how self-serving can you get?], and against many others [of us]."

And then the big finish: "a huge nationwide concerted effort [you know: the liberals, the elite media, Hollywood, the liberal courts, etc.] to destroy everything we believe in."

It's a simple strategy: scare them, create a link between you and them and then any enemy of yours is an enemy of theirs. Not bad Tom, not bad.

The right-wing blogosphere must be working overtime to figure out how the tape was doctored {Dan Rather, where have you gone? When we need you). Just like they have already denied the infamous right-wing Schiavo talking points.

MacNamara, Wolfowitz and the World Bank

As you already know, Bush has nominated Paul D. Wolfowitz, who the Washington Post describes "as the neoconservative hawk best known as the brains behind the war in Iraq" to head the World Bank.

What you may have forgotten is that Robert MacNamara, the architect of the war against Vietnam, after he left his job as Secretary of Defense, went on to occupy the position of World Bank president.

Marx (Karl, not Groucho) wrote that "...all great incidents and individuals of world history occur, as it were, twice. ...the first time As tragedy, the second as farce."

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Bush's IRS investigates Black church for political activity

In what may be one of the great ironies of the 2004 Presidential election the Miami Herald reports the following:

"A Liberty City church's tax-exempt status is in jeopardy as the IRS has launched a probe into a visit by former candidate John Kerry last fall. Some wonder if the probe is politically motivated."

Do they now?

PS: Thanks to Greg Beato on Wonkette for pointing out this article

Monday, March 21, 2005

Terri Schiavo again: GOP "talking points"

DC's Inside Scoop has the infamous GOP "talking points," presumed to have come from Rick Santorum's office. Here are the key "points:"

"* This is an important moral issue and the pro-life base will be excited that the Senate is debating this important issue.

* This is a great political issue, because Senator Nelson of Florida - has already refused to become a cosponsor and this is a tough issue for Democrats."

The fact is that whatever happens in the Florida court, whatever Judge Wittemore does, no matter how important it is to the lives of the Schiavo family and Terri, I don't believe that this is what this is about for the Right-wing Congress and the White House.
Whatever happens, they have already won. By virtue (perhaps a wrong word) of their votes and the showboat Presidential flight, they have already established their anti-choice creds. In fact, I believe that they would prefer that the judge rule not to reinsert the feeding tubes. That will reinforce the anxiety and paranoia of the faithful. It's not about god, religion or spirituality. It's about political power.
If the judge rules against their wishes, the Rove-De Lay cabal can say: "See that's why we need Congress to approve Bush's judicial nominees. We can't trust these Liberal judges to act in our interests."
This despite the fact that, as Dave Weigel and "Talk Left" point out, Judge Wittemore's "decisions do not show political partisanship, or even liberal tendencies. Truth has never been at the heart of the right-wing strategy.

Randall Terry and "Operation Rescue" of Terri Schiavo

So according to Joshua Micah Marshall and Dave Weigel extremist anti-choice activist Randall Terry, founder of Operation Rescue, is involved with the Schindler family (Terri Schiavo's parents) in her case. Terry and his ilk will use anyone and anything in their quest for power in order to impose their agenda on the rest of us. That's what people like Terry feed on.
This also begins to bring into focus why the Congressional Right-wing has suddenly become so involved. And why Bush made his completely unnecessary emergency flight home (no doubt on the wings of Karl Rove) so quickly to sign the Bill.

"According to Elizabeth Bumiller, also in the NYT:

"his dramatic return was seen as a powerful embrace of the 'culture of life' issues of religious conservatives who helped him win the White House in 2004. Those groups will be crucial to the political fortunes of the Republican Party in 2006 and 2008."

The NYT quotes Senate Rep. leader Bill Frist:

"These are extraordinary circumstances that center on the most fundamental of human values and virtues: the sanctity of human life."
Note the use of code words to alert the faithful.

Bumiller writes that NYT article
"...Republican senators were provided with talking points, apparently by Republican aides, that characterized the Schiavo case as 'a great political issue' that resonates with Christian conservatives. "

Carl Hulse and David D. Fitzpatrick describe the atmosphere in Washington today:

"The mood in the Capitol was subdued as members of both parties gathered to plot strategy. Some said the atmosphere reminded them of a vote on going to war, colored by a life-and-death decision."

And they quote one of The Fla. Reps who opposed the Bill:

"'These actions today are a clear threat to our democracy,' said Representative Jim Davis of Florida, one of three Democrats from Ms. Schiavo's home state who joined others in temporarily stalling the bill."

Although the NYT articles pretty well spell the case details out (and are available with the on line link}, Terri Schiavo has been in "a persistent vegetative state for 15 years since suffering "extensive brain damage" following a brief heart stoppage.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

What is "Red"? How times change.

One other thought from reading the Daily Kos:Dave Weigel refers to a book "Growing Up Red."
At first I thought ah ha! a book about growing up in a Communist or at least a Left-wing family. But it turns out to be about growing up in "Red America."

How times change! and our language with them.

Congress and the Schiavo case: Why?

Why has Congress butted in to the tragic but decidedly private case of Terri Schiavo?
Their highly uncalled-for actions seem to set a precedent (if one is needed for this out of-control Congress to do anything to satisfy its reactionary constituency) for them to enter into any private situation that they don't like (there seem to be more and more of these events with this Congress).

The NYT has an analysis of the politics of the Schiavo case worth looking at:

"For Republicans, it was a chance to try to carve out new territory in the "culture of life" issues so paramount to passionate religious conservatives, who have flooded Congressional offices with messages beseeching help in keeping Ms. Schiavo alive. For Democrats still struggling in the wake of their defeat in the November elections, the case offered a way to portray their newfound willingness to move to the center on such issues.
And for Representative Tom DeLay, the House majority leader facing inquiries into fund-raising improprieties in Texas and potential violations of House travel rules in Washington, taking a prominent role in rallying conservatives to the Schiavo cause also provided a sudden distraction from his troubles."

PS. Thanks to The Daily Kos for pointing me to this article.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Protests against war in Iraq around U.S.

Check out Iranians for Peace for Sima Shakhsari's list of protests around U.S.

Demonstrate March 19 & 20

Very encouraging candlelight march Friday eve. 3/18 in Chelsea, NYC. Photos will be posted after tomorrow's demo:

New York CityTroops Out Now Coalition
DATE: Saturday, March 19
EVENT: Gather at 10am in Marcus Garvey Park (124th St. and 5th 125th St. and Lennox Military Recruiting Station).
March to Central Park. Gather in the East Meadow of Central Park (97th St. and 5th Ave.) at 12 noon.
At 3 pm, March to Mayor Bloomberg's house.

See you there!

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Pro-bush propaganda at UNC-Wilmington

It seems that the Women's Resource Center at UNC-Wilmington has upset columnist Mike S. Adams, a contributor to a reactionary website called, by advertising a performance of the "Vagina Monologs" with, among other things, "Vagina" flashing in bright lights and distributing "pussy-pops," vagina-shaped lolypops, at the entrance to Kenan Auditorium and he says: "Several 'distinguished' members of our university community walked around licking the sex-organ-shaped treats in an apparent display of feminist empowerment." Heavens!
And, of all things, "before attending the play, attendees were handed a program, which listed skits to be performed." Hard to believe.
At one point he says: "Unbelievably, the brochure passed out at TVM claimed the following: 'Since the US occupation and regime change in Iraq, women have lost more freedom than they've gained.' Director Kathleen Berkeley continues the tradition of using the WRC to promote anti-Bush propaganda, even after the Kerry defeat."
It all seems to me much more like pro-bush rather than "anti-Bush propaganda."
Mr. Adams seems to have a problem spelling out "Pussy" and "cunt," but no difficulty with "coochie snorcher." sometimes, I guess, inconsistency is the hobgoblin of small minds.

He seems to also have trouble with the blind. The article is headlined: "Blind feminists find nuts, details at eleven," a reference to a saying in the body of the article: "Even blind squirrels occasionally find nuts." They certainly found a reactionary one this time.

He concludes by saying: "But, what do I know. I'm a happy man, without an angry vagina." Mr. Adams: I'd really worry more about your closed mind, than your private parts.

The weekend demos: "Moonbats" and more

I had been planning to attend this weekends activities in opposition to the war in Iraq on the second anniversary of the U.S.invasion more or less out of obligation and commitment to peace and justice, but then I read Michelle malkin's column in the N.Y. Post and I am much more enthusiastic.
She promised me "the most unhinged of left-wing activists, from breast-exposing pacifists [although it might be a bit chilly for that]to the conspiracy-mongers of" And also "the dictator-luvin' ladies of Code Pink who prance around in pastel underwear" who she promises will "be out in full force." Sounds like a very colorful day to me.
"Oppose the war, support the troops." Sounds right to me.
Most of all I will get to be labeled a "Moonbat" by the "seasoned observers who cover the War on Terror in the 'blogosphere' (the increasingly influential world of Internet weblogs)."
If and when I start another blog, I think I'll call it "Moonbat Haven."
One other reason for going: it's probably the only place I can be certain not to run into Ms. Malkin. Not bad. Huh.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Weekend events to end the War in Iraq

This is going to be a big weekend. It's the second anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. There are many events planned.

Fri. there will be a candlight vigil in Chelsea, NYC. This is the evening prior to the main events on Saturday.

To find an event in your area: Sojourners

United for Peace and Justice is sponsoring demonstrations on Saturday (3/19) under the banner "The Cost of Endless War."

Growing skepticism to Bush's social security plan

Thanks to Wonkette for pointing us toward Jonathan Weisman's piece in the Washington Post regarding the growing skepticism to Bush's social security plan. Weisman writes:

"Three months after President Bush launched his drive to restructure Social Security by creating private investment accounts, public support for his program remains weak, with only 35 percent of Americans now saying they approve of his handling of the issue, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

While the White House has helped convince more than two-thirds of those polled that Social Security is heading for a crisis or possible bankruptcy without change, 56 percent disapprove of his approach, a survey of 1,001 adults conducted March 10-13 shows. By comparison, 38 percent approved of his handling of the issue and 52 percent disapproved of it in mid-December.

Moreover, 58 percent of those polled this time said the more they hear about Bush's plan, the less they like it."

Laurie Garrett scorches Newsday's corporate parent

The deterioration of the mass media in the quest for profits is continuing unabated. But people are beginning to fight back. Democracy Now reports that when Pulitzer-prize winning journalist Laurie Garrett quit New York Newsday last week, she had this to say:

"In a blistering memo to her colleagues at the paper, she ripped Newsday's parent company - the Tribune Company - for putting profit over quality journalism. In the memo announcing that she is going to work full time at the Council on Foreign Relations, she wrote that 'All across America news organizations have been devoured by massive corporations - and allegiance to stockholders, the drive for higher share prices, and push for larger dividend returns trumps everything that the grunts in the newsrooms consider their missions.' She went on to write, 'This is terrible for democracy. I have been in 47 states of the USA since 9/11, and I can attest to the horrible impact the deterioration of journalism has had on the national psyche. I have found America a place of great and confused fearfulness.'"

Monday, March 14, 2005

Kerik does it again

Is there no end to Bernard Kerik's greed?

Wonkette points us to the Daily News story

" [Rudolph Guiliani's] Former Police Commissioner [and partner] Bernard Kerik accepted thousands of dollars in royalties from a book published to raise money for the families of heroes killed on Sept. 11, 2001."

The News goes on to say:

"Kerik's royalties on the book have so far totaled $75,954.52....
The deal came about when Kerik was engaged in a torrid year-long affair with the book's publisher, Judith Regan....
In contrast, former Fire Commissioner Thomas Von Essen, who also wrote an introduction to the book, accepted no money."

Will the never-ending Kerik revelations finally sink Giuliani's 1908 Presidential hopes?

The FCC clears Nicolette Sheridan and Terrel Owens of obscenity

According to Zap2it, The FCC has cleared the Nicolette Sheridan/Terrell Owens MNF skit.
"The Federal Communications Commission ruled Monday (March 14) that a skit involving "Desperate Housewives" star Sheridan that aired on ABC's "Monday Night Football" last fall may have been "titillating," but it wasn't indecent."

But don't think that these idiots (the FCC) have their noses any less up he ass of the right wing:

"FCC Commissioner Michael Copps agreed with the ruling but urged broadcasters to show a little more restraint in the future.
'There wasn't much self-discipline in this particular promotion,' Copps says in a statement. 'As stewards of the public airwaves, broadcasters can and should do better.'

To say this level of stupidity is scary as hell, masks the real question behind the FCC's involvement in this "skit": If Terrell Owen was white, would anyone have noticed Nicolette Sheridan's naked back?

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Peace Pins

Here's something you should know about.

Check out PeacePins, a small organization "dedicated to supporting the anti-war movement." They will provide pins, pendants and bumper stickers to help you express your views.

Odd notes: the video store

[Although Contested Terrain is devoted, as promised, to politics and culture, occasionally I will write something just because I find it interesting. So! Here goes.]

Have you ever wondered who invented the video store? Well it was George Atkinson in 1979 with Video Station in Los Angeles. But that's not the end of the story.
In the early 1980's, according to the NYT's obituary, Video Station stock went public. And in the mid-1980's Atkinson was forced to leave Video Station due to disclosures of "filing false financial reports."
So not only did Atkinson invent the video rental business, but was a pioneer in what is now probably as popular an activity on Wall Street as home movie viewing: stock manipulation.

Just thought you'd like to know.

Hierarchy in the Blogosphere?

Check out Annalee Newitz piece on developments in the blogosphere ("B-List Blogs").

She writes:

"What's surprising is that the bloggers themselves are striving just as hard to bring this chaos to an end as everybody else is. And they're doing it by setting up their own hierarchy of what's valuable in the blogosphere and what isn't. It's common nowadays to hear about A-list blogs and B-list blogs, or funded and unfunded blogs. And of course it's no accident that blogs are achieving some degree of legitimacy at the same time that bloggers are creating their own versions of the authoritarianism and money hunger that already plague the traditional media."

Long live the chaos!

Did Disney censor "Boston Legal"

So irony prevails!

According to Rory O'Connor (Alternet):

This Sunday's episode of ABC's Boston Legal focusing on censorship was itself censored, purged of all references to Fox and Bill O'Reilly. And nobody's talking.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

CIA Outsources Torture 2

According to the New York Daily News, "Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said ... that before the United States hands over terror suspects to foreign governments, it receives assurances they won't be tortured. But he acknowledged that once a transfer occurs, the U.S. has little control."

Don't I remember another man who washed his hands after condemning someone to death.

Brecht Forum reopens

The Brecht Forum/New York Marxist School is reopening in its new space 451 West St. (Bt. Bank & Bethune) in Westbeth. Check out the spring schedule at this singularly important (dare I call it venerable?) New York City Left institution.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

"Bush gives UN the Finger"

Check out David Corn in the Nation on John Bolton's nomination as UN ambassador:

Bolton: Bush Gives the UN the Finger
By David Corn

"If you were sitting in the Oval Office and George W. Bush asked, "Hey, tell me, who could we appoint to the UN ambassador job that would most piss off the UN and the rest of the world," your job would be quite easy. You would simply say, "That's a no-brainer, Mr. President, John Bolton." And on Monday Bush took this no-brain advice and nominated Bolton to the post, which requires Senate confirmation." (read on)

Conference reminder

Just a reminder about this weekend's conference.
Sounds interesting. But this is not an endorsement of DSUSA.

Youth Organizing Against Right-Wing & Corporate Power
March 11-13
New York City

The Friday opening plenary and registration will be located at American Federation of Musicians - Local 802, 322 West 48th Street (between 8th & 9th Aves).

Saturday and Sunday activities will be located at the Bayard Rustin High School for the Humanities located at 351 West 18th Street (between 8th & 9th Aves).

Monday, March 07, 2005

CIA outsources torture

The CIA has been "rendering" suspected terrorists around the world, primarily to countries who have no compunctions about torture.
According to the New York Times:

"The Bush administration's secret program to transfer suspected terrorists to foreign countries for interrogation has been carried out by the Central Intelligence Agency under broad authority that has allowed it to act without case-by-case approval from the White House or the State or Justice Departments, according to current and former government officials."


"The process, known as rendition, has been central in the government's efforts to disrupt terrorism, but has been bitterly criticized by human rights groups on grounds that the practice has violated the Bush administration's public pledge to provide safeguards against torture."

Check out this colloquy yesterday between 60 Minutes correspondent Scott Pelley and Michael Scheuer, who until three months ago was a senior CIA official in the counterterrorist center:

So the CIA started taking suspects to Egypt and Jordan. Scheuer says renditions were authorized by Clinton's National Security Council and officials in Congress - and all understood what it meant to send suspects to those countries.

"They don't have the same legal system we have. But we know that going into it," says Scheuer. "And so the idea that we're gonna suddenly throw our hands up like Claude Raines in 'Casablanca' and say, 'I'm shocked that justice in Egypt isn't like it is in Milwaukee,' there's a certain disingenuousness to that."

"And one of the things that you know about justice in Egypt is that people get tortured," says Pelley.

"Well, it can be rough. I have to assume that that's the case," says Scheuer.

But doesn't that make the United States complicit in the torture?

"You'll have to ask the lawyers," says Scheuer.

Is it convenient?

"It's convenient in the sense that it allows American policy makers and American politicians to avoid making hard decisions," says Scheuer. "Yes. It's very convenient. It's finding someone else to do your dirty work."

Sunday, March 06, 2005

More on Tom Delay

If you caught tonight's 60 Minutes piece on Texas Rep.Tom Delay, you can follow the latest developments on The Daily Delay, a blog devoted exclusively to the misadventures of Tom Delay.
They describe themselves as

"The Daily DeLay, a project of Public Campaign Action Fund's Campaign Money Watch, exposes Tom "The Hammer" DeLay as the most corrupt politician in Washington. DeLay's anti-democratic, pro-special interest agenda - all in the pursuit of personal power and partisan gain - must be stopped."

Bring the Troops Home Now



SAT. MARCH 19th, 2005


10:00 AM - Marcus Garvey Park
124th St. and 5th Ave. to 125th St. and Lennox Military Recruiting Station...

NOON - Central Park, East Meadow
97th St. and 5th Ave.

3:00 PM - March to Mayor Bloomberg's house

The night before




Recently Formed Community Group Schedules Neighborhood Event As Part Of Nationwide Weekend Of Activities

On Friday March 18, 2005 at 6:30 P. M., Chelsea Neighbors United To End The War will assemble on the northwest corner of 8th avenue and 24th street in Chelsea to hold a Candlelight Walk To Mark The Second Anniversary of the Iraq War.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Bush: Foolish consistency

Few people have ever proven as conclusively as George W. Bush the perceptiveness of Emerson's dictum that "foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds."
Check out the New York Times report on Bush on social security in 1978:

"Mr. Bush had long been intrigued by the idea of allowing workers to put part of their Social Security taxes into stocks and bonds. One Tuesday in the summer of 1978, in the heat of his unsuccessful race for a House seat from West Texas, Mr. Bush went to Midland Country Club to give a campaign speech to local real estate agents and discussed the issue in terms not much different from those he uses now.

Social Security "will be bust in 10 years unless there are some changes," he said, according to an account published the next day in The Midland Reporter-Telegram. 'The ideal solution would be for Social Security to be made sound and people given the chance to invest the money the way they feel.'"

(Thanks to Joshua Micah Marshall's Talking Points Memo" for pointing this out)

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Why privatization? Why now?

I've been thinking for a while about why the Bushies have invested so much second-term energy and political capital into this bogus social security plan. I've come to a conclusion very similar to the following, which I found at Air America :

But one of the most succinct and plausible explanations comes from Doolittle over at Daily Kos:
"Running beneath the Bush administration's talk of creating an "Ownership Society" is something they won't come right out and say openly: They are crafting a long-term strategy to render the Democratic Party impotent for decades to come. It's no secret that virtually every act of the Bush White House is done with political considerations in mind, usually camouflaged with Orwellian language...Here's where it really gets diabolical. If privatization becomes a reality, every issue from that point on can be framed as a potential threat to people's retirement funds. Environmental laws. Labor laws. Corporate taxes. Liability laws. The whole regulatory framework of modern corporate America will suddenly be transformed into a drag on stock earnings and a direct attack on the retirement funds of millions of Americans."

Summit to end the war in Iraq

Check out Karen Huppert's report in The Nation on "an antiwar summit called by United for Peace and Justice [last weekend],[at which] 400 leaders from progressive organizations across the country gathered [in St. Louis] to hash out a plan to end the war in Iraq.

Some interesting poll numbers

Here are some interesting poll numbers from tomorrow's New York Times by way of Armando on the Daily Kos:

On Social Security: Nation Prefers Dems over GOP by 50-31
by Armando

From a NYTimes Poll in tomorrow's paper:

Four months after Mr. Bush won a solid re-election over Senator John Kerry, 63 percent of respondents say the president has different priorities on domestic issues than most Americans. Asked to choose among five domestic issues facing the country, respondents rated Social Security third, behind jobs and health care. And nearly 50 percent said Democrats were more likely to make the right decisions about Social Security, compared with 31 percent who said the same thing about Republicans.
More good news in the poll:

And Mr. Bush does not appear to be much more in step with the nation on what the White House has long viewed as his strong suit: 58 percent of respondents said the White House did not share the foreign affairs priorities of most Americans.
Ok, disagree on domestic policy. And disagree on foreign policy. So why this?

For all that, Mr. Bush's approval rating remains unchanged, at 49 percent, from a month ago, suggesting that the disagreement with Mr. Bush's ideas has yet to take a toll on America's view of him.
It's the 'having a beer with him' thing. Gotta be.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Stop Bush from packing the courts

Here's the latest from MoveOn

As we write this, the Senate is debating the nomination of mining and cattle industry lobbyist William Myers III for a lifetime appointment to the Circuit Court of Appeals -- the second highest court in the land. Myers is the first of 20 nominees Bush has re-submitted in his second term. All 20 repeat nominees were rejected last term by Senate Democrats (as compared to 204 judges they accepted) because these nominees consistently sided with corporate special interests over the rights of ordinary Americans.

The Senate has the power to approve or reject judicial nominations because judges -- above all else -- must be trusted by Americans on all sides to rule fairly. So why does Bush refuse to send new nominees both parties can agree on? Because while his presidency will be over in 4 years, the judges he appoints will be on the bench for the rest of their lives. This is Bush's big push to lock in his hard right, corporate-friendly ideology for decades to come -- and that is exactly why we must not back down now.

The fight begins today. ....
It's crucial that our Senators know that we out here in America are counting on them to hold the line against all 20 of Bush's rejected, partisan judges.

Please sign today.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Have you no shame, Mr. Novak?

According to Dave weigel/DailyKos the Republican National Committee's Martha Stewart-like relationship to truth has reared its ugly head again.
It seems that new DNC chair Howard Dean made a speech at Cornell University in which he said "if Social Security were left alone for 30 years, its benefits would be reduced to 80 percent of what it is now."
When this story was reported by Robert Novak on CNN, he changed it to say "Over the years it [social security]'s going to lose about 80 percent of the benefits."
Although David Brooks pointed out this discrepancy on MediaMatters on Feb. 28th the RNC website continues to repeat it as of this writing.
Perhaps the question really is: what will the Republican right-wing (redundant at this point?) not do to promote its agenda?
This must be the way Mr. Novakis carrying out the mission he describes in the latest issue of Vanity Fair:
"I'm trying to tell the truth and taking positions that I hope are godly positions, positions that I hope are helpful to my fellow man,"