Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Arrival in Wales

We (the New York City labor chorus and a few hangers on like me) arrived in London's Heathrow Airpoprt this morning (Tues.) and almost immediately were taken by bus to Cardiff and the University of Wales in Cardiff, where we are staying for the next three days (Wed., Thurs., and Fri.) On Friday we will we will head for Swansea, where we will stay until we return to London (Heathrow) for the flight home.

The flight from JFK (in NYC) to London was uneventful (that's the way I like airplane trips to be). But I'm convinced that American Airlines is giving each customer less space. They offered us chicken or meat lasagna, but we declined. We had had sandwiches in the airport before we left. In addition to the Chorus There was a large contingent of Hassidic Jews on the plane and a smattering of families as well. It was pretty full.

Wales (Cardiff) is beautiful. That's all for now, we have to be up and on the bus at 8:30am tomorrow (Wed.). More later.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Protest Chipotle chain treatment of Florida farmworkers

If you patronize Chipotle (or even if you don't) you'll want to send this letter to the restaurant chain's CEO regarding the treatment of Florida farmworkers who pick the tomatos, etc. that are served at the restaurant.

Here's some information from Take Action:
Chipotle, how about some integrity for Florida's farmworkers?
For decades, Florida's farmworkers have faced terrible abuses and brutal exploitation. Workers earn sub-poverty wages for toiling 60-70 hours per week, and some have even been chained to poles, locked inside trucks, beaten, and robbed of their pay.

Chipotle, the country's fastest-growing fast food chain, claims to serve "food with integrity." But the company has turned its back on farmworkers demanding a lasting commitment to ending the brutal exploitation in Florida's fields.

Add your name to the open letter to Chipotle CEO Steve Ells demanding real "food with integrity" and an end to horrific working conditions.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Addendum to "Republican extra-curricular sex activities"

It occurs to me that John Ensign and Mark Sanford were (are) two of the loudest opponents of gay and lesbian marriage, because it would violate the sanctity of marriage. Enough said.

Republican extra-curricular sex activities

According to the AP's Jim Davenport, one week after Republican Senator John Ensign (Nev) admitted to a nearly year-long extramarital affair with a former member of his campaign staff, Republican Governor Mark Sanford (SC) admitted today that he spent Fathers Day weekend in Argentina with a woman with whom he's been having an affair.

Both of these men were likely 2012 Republican candidates for president. They were also currently honchos in the Republican Party apparatus. After their announcements Ensign resigned as the third person in the GOP senate leadership and Sanford resigned today from his position as head of the Republican Governors Association.

Anyone who reads the newspapers or watches TV knows that not being able to keep it in one's pants isn't a specifically Republican weakness, but Democrats don't hold themselves out as paragons of virtue like the Republicans do. So these falls from grace don't also label them as hypocrites. These Republican politicians have also been two of the most vocal self-rightous critics of President Obamas' proposals.

If this keeps happening, all that will be left to the 2012 Republicans will be McCain, Palin and Gingrich (oops, he cheated on two wives).

Democrats opposed to meaningful healthcare reform

Here are the names of the nine Democratic senators who are opposed to a public healthcare option:

Kay Hagan (NC)
Bill Nelson (FL)
Max Baucus (MT)
Kent Conrad (ND)
Mary Landrieu (LA)
Ron Wyden (OR)
Blanche Lincoln (ARK)
Tom Carper (DE)
Maria Cantwell (WA)

These nine senators may very well be the difference between meaningful (even if not perfect) healthcare reform and the bogus Republican-preferred version.

According to Alexander Bolton on the Bill Press show:
A coalition of liberal groups has launched a $1.1 million television ad campaign to ratchet up pressure on senators who have not embraced the creation of a broad government-run health insurance plan.

The ads begin airing on Friday and will run for 10 straight days.

The ad is running in the home states of eight members of the Finance panel: Sens. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine).

Of those senators, Lincoln, Wyden and Grassley are up for reelection in 2010.

The liberal coalition is also targeting Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), who has voiced opposition to the so-called public health insurance option, and Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.). Hagan has voiced support for an alternative to the public option: health insurance co-ops, a plan pushed by Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.).
Obviously the more pressure we can put on these nine senators now, the greater chance we of moving them in a progressive direction. American's healthcare and democracy are at stake.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Will Congress reject the American people's preferred healthcare reform plan?

Well, we are about to find out for whom those people in Washington, who claim to be representing us, are really working. It's clear that for the most part the Republicans will vote against anything Obama proposes. They seem to have decided that opposing Obama (to hell with the American people) is their way back to the magic kingdom. There may very well be a number (currently unknown) of Democrats who will also oppose the Obama-proposed healthcare reform initiative. What they will mostly oppose is any public option to the medical-industrial complex. As Paul Krugman said in the New York Times (Monday, 6/22/09):
Honestly, I don't know what these Democrats are trying to achieve. Yes, some of the balking senators receive large campaign contributions from the medical-industrial complex - but who in politics doesn't? If I had to guess, I'd say that what's really going on is that the relatively conservative Democrats still cling to the old dream of becoming kingmakers, of recreating the bipartisan center that used to run America.
I take it what "the bipartisan center" really means is a right-wing consensus, which doesn't take the wishes of the American people into account.

In the case of the healthcare reform initiative the desires of the majority Americans is not in doubt. The New York Times (6/20/09) reported:
Americans overwhelmingly support substantial changes to the health care system and are strongly behind one of the most contentious proposals Congress is considering, a government-run insurance plan to compete with private insurers, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll. The poll found that most Americans would be willing to pay higher taxes so everyone could have health insurance and that they said the government could do a better job of holding down health-care costs than the private sector.
As the lords and ladies of Congress decide, for whatever reasons, what healthcare reform they can tolerate (or their sponsors will allow them to support), there are two obvious victims of this betrayal - the health of the American people and democracy, neither of which, I suspect, are of great concern to the rulers. But as we consider for whom to vote in 2010 how candidates respond to the wishes of the people should take center stage.

Take Back WBAI: New member-voter registration campaign

Bob Lederer forwarded the following e-mail from Akinlabi Mackall re: Take Back WBAI. It proposes a 3-week new member-voter registration campaign. I will be in Wales for two of those weeks, but if possible I will try to keep this blog and my FaceBook page updated.

(Friends - Akinlabi Mackall, a former WBAI Local Advisory Board member and longtime community activist with S.E.E.D.S., one of the endorsing groups of the Coalition to Take Back WBAI, asked that I forward this to the people on the Coalition's email list. Hopefully we can discuss this at tonight's meeting, which again, is as follows):
Tuesday, June 23, 6:30-10:00 PM
District Council 1707,
75 Varick St. (north of Canal St.), 14th fl
(A, C, E or 1 train to Canal St.)

Subject: Take Back WBAI: Proposed 3-Week New Member-Voter Registration Campaign
To: Justice & Unity Campaign
Date: Sun, 21 Jun 2009 21:43:28 -0400
From: jaydub16@aol.com

The reversal of the last local station board (LSB) election result is crucial to the future of WBAI (as well as Pacifica). Now, as much as ever, we must practice at 'BAI what the Justice and Unity Campaign (J & U) has always "preached": engagement of the radio station with the voices from and righteous struggles of our communities. The present LSB majority is the opposite of what the station and our communities need. J & U's efforts to engage "the people" are on the right track, but more is called for; much more.

As you know, I've spoken to you about Justice & Unity organizing a focused, 3-week new member-voter registration campaign ending on the July 15th deadline.

Perhaps people in the Coalition to Take Back WBAI (CTBW) will support such a campaign. They were certainly energized at the rally last Wednesday. I think one thousand (1000) new member-voters is an ambitious yet achievable goal. I expect that 1000 "new" voters for our slate will make for a much needed, decisive win; even for potentially lower vote getters on our slate.

I suggest that the approach include the following:

1. CTBW, J & U and Friends immediately identify and engage 100 to 150 prospective small, medium and large groups, orgs and churches across the WBAI listening area (especially NY- NJ).

2. Identify a minimum of ten (10) --preferably twenty (20) -- core campaign coordinators, each assigned to about 10 groups, orgs and churches. These core coordinators would be responsible for overseeing / monitoring / tabulating the registrations of new member-voters by each of their assigned groups.

3. Depending on each group's size and the 'BAI member status of its own members, all the groups will be asked to focus its members and friends on doing all of the following (as appropriate):
(a) contributing $25 or volunteering for 3 hours and registering to become a new WBAI member-voter AND voting in a way that will ensure election of candidates committed to local autonomy and genuine engagement of underrepresented communities.
(b) getting three or more of their friends to do "a" above.

Given the time constraints and the very busy schedules of many of our folks, we need a team of core coordinators who can focus on this mini campaign. Obviously, each of the 10-20 core coordinators must be a self starter, organized and persistent. A dedicated email list for "core communications" might be useful; and 2 or 3 overall coordinators may help with the efficiency (ies) as well.

I am willing to contact the leaderships of the following 17 groups immediately, to request their commitment to participate in this proposed 3-week push:
BEPAA, BNYEE, CBJC, CEMOTAP, CSH, D-12, FFDMS, HCCLC, ICOPE, NAKO, NYABPsi, N-BUF (NY), NYSCKRS, Operation Power, Roots Revisited, Sankofa CEP, S.E.E.D.S., and a selection of churches.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

June 29: Book Party & Signing - Martin Duberman

June 29, 2009, 7:00 PM

Waiting to Land: Martin Duberman and the Radical Queer Movement

Bookstore Cafe
126 Crosby Street,

A panel discussion and book launch to celebrate the publication of Martin Duberman’s Waiting to Land: A (Mostly) Political Memoir.

Martin Duberman is an American historian, playwright, and gay-rights activist. He has authored over 20 books including James Russell Lowell (a National Book Award finalist), Paul Robeson, Stonewall, and the memoir Cures: A Gay Man's Odyssey. His play In White America won the Vernon Rice/Drama Desk Award for Best Off-Broadway Production in 1963.
In 2007 he published The Worlds of Lincoln Kirstein, a biography of the man who was the force behind George Balanchine's New York City Ballet.

Moderated by Laura Flanders
Martin Duberman
Richard Kim
Kenyon Farrow
Marcia Gallo

Book signing to follow

Sponsored by:
The New Press
The Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies (CLAGS)
The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center
Queers for Economic Justice
The Nation
The Indypendent

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Paul Krugman debates the President's economic proposals

Here's an interesting discussion (from the day Obama announced his economic proposals) between Paul Krugman and the American Bankers Association's Diane Casey-Landry. She obviously thinks the President went too far and Krugman thinks he didn't go far enough. Gwen Ifil moderates. It's only a few minutes long. It's by way of Firedoglake

Monday, June 15, 2009

June 17: Take Back WBAI

Take Back WBAI

Undo the Coup!

Wed., June 17, 5-8 PM

In front of WBAI,
120 Wall St. (corner of South St. ),

( Trains: 2,3,4,5 to Wall St ).

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Wiwa v. Shell case victory

The following is from a press release from the Center for Constitutional Rights case against Shell:
New York, June 8, 2009 — Today [on the eve of the trial], the parties in Wiwa v. Shell agreed to settle human rights claims charging the Royal Dutch/Shell company, its Nigerian subsidiary, Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC or Shell Nigeria), and the former head of its Nigerian operation, Brian Anderson, with complicity in the torture, killing, and other abuses of Ogoni leader Ken Saro-Wiwa and other non-violent Nigerian activists in the mid-1990s in the Ogoni region of the Niger Delta.

The settlement, whose terms are public, provides a total of $15.5 million. These funds will compensate the 10 plaintiffs, who include family members of the deceased victims; establish a Trust intended to benefit the Ogoni people; and cover a portion of plaintiffs’ legal fees and costs. The settlement is only on behalf of the individual plaintiffs for their individual claims. It does not resolve outstanding issues between Shell and the Ogoni people, and the plaintiffs did not negotiate on behalf of the Ogoni people.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Amy and Juan open letter on WBAI

The struggle within WBAI seems to have taken on proportions that might ultimately compromise the station's politics in order to enhance its financial position. I realize that the future of the station is at stake. The precarious financial state of WBAI cannot be overcome by abdicating the station's political responsibility to the community that it serves, especially now, when we are embroiled in two wars (perhaps three, if you count Pakistan) and the most serious crisis of capitalism since the 1930s. The truth has become even more essential since the corporate-owned media have for the most part abdicated any responsibility for investigative journalism. We need WBAI now more than ever. I'm not certain how this struggle will turn out, but I know how it has to if free speech is to prevail. Democracy Now is a key centerpiece of WBAI's contribution to the community it serves. Below is an open letter from its co-hosts, Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzales, to the entire WBAI community ("WBAI management, staff, listeners and supporters"). They object strongly to a number of actions the Pacifica board has taken. They particularly object to the shortening of "Wake up Call" - the morning show - by one hour. I suspect that they did not know when they wrote the letter that that extra hour would be devoted to a double broadcast of Democracy Now. I am certain that that would not change one word of the letter, except possibly to make it stronger.


So here is their letter:

To: WBAI management, staff, listeners and supporters
From: Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez, co-hosts of Democracy Now!

We have recently learned that starting this week, the new management at Pacifica station WBAI is shifting the broadcast time of Democracy Now! from its customary 9 a.m. slot to 8 a.m. We hear this change is part of a reorganization of programming that could end up eliminating the popular and long-running Wake Up Call program on WBAI.

This decision disturbs us deeply and we urge that it be reconsidered.

We fully recognize that any station broadcasting DN! has the right to choose the appropriate time slot for the show. In normal circumstances, we would even welcome the chance to have DN! air in that keyhour. But we believe this sudden change will only
exacerbate long-simmering internal divisions among Pacifica listeners and staff.

We are also dismayed by the recent firing of WBAI program director Bernard White. Every station management has the right and responsibility to hire and fire staff they feel most appropriate. But the removal of Bernard, as far as we can tell, lacked the basic due process any employee is entitled to under the law. Given Bernard's decades of devotion and dedication to BAI, the way he was treated lacked basic human consideration.

These latest actions, however, are only symptoms of a bigger problem.

Nearly a decade ago, an unprecedented listener movement won a great victory. It ousted a Pacifica board and management that had lost its way and forced a return to Pacifica's democratic founding principles. We were both proud to be part of that movement. Like many, we believed it a victory of historic proportions for media reform in America. But we have grown increasingly distressed since then as we have watched the Pacifica reform movement, once so powerful and united, fall into deeply divided and warring camps.

A governance structure that was meant to assure greater democracy turned out to breed greater factionalism. Many station managers and executives found it impossible to manage while they answered to daily monitoring requests from newly empowered community boards. Too many activists who had once blasted the old Pacifica national board for gagging dissident producers, for unjust firings, and for poor financial management, then turned around and adopted practices that were eerily similar once they gained positions of power. Legal costs skyrocketed as every action or firing by one group led to new law suits by those on the other side. And most unfortunately, charges of racism, elitism, narrow nationalism and opportunism have
become as much a part of the war of words at Pacifica these days as American missiles in Pakistan or Afghanistan.

In short, an extraordinary amount of time and energy has been spent in what resembles more like the perpetual feuds of a dysfunctional family. We urge our brothers and sisters to reject these deeply destructive tendencies. Pacifica, along with the progressive media of which it is such a vital part, cannot grow unless all of us learn to seek more common ground.

Democracy Now! was born and nurtured inside Pacifica. We still consider ourselves part of that family even though ours has been an independent show for years. Because of those deep ties, we urge that the scheduling of Democracy Now! not be used as a weapon by the current management of WBAI against its opponents.

In Struggle,

Amy and Juan

*The views expressed here are the individual opinions of Juan and Amy and do not necessarily reflect the views of the board and staff of Democracy Now!

Sunday, June 07, 2009

just practicing

Bluestockings June events

BLUESTOCKINGS Cafe & Bookstore
172 Allen Street @ Stanton (1 block south of Houston)

Tuesday, June 9, 7PM - $5 Suggested

“Murals as Protest and Celebration”
Amy Goodman presents muralist Janet Braun-Reinitz and arts activist Jane Weissman

They will discuss community murals and their transformational powers. protest, celebration, beauty, knowledge, inspiration -each of these can be found within or actualized by a mural.

Wednesday, June 10, 7PM - $5 Suggested
Solidarious Harvest Collective "The Greening of Cuba"

Come for a presentation on Cuba's transformation of its farming system: fields became smaller, production was localized near consumption, and organic practices were widely adopted. , and join in a discussion about the greening (or greenwashing) of the food system in the U. S.

Saturday, June 13, 7PM - Free

Reading: John Potash “The FBI War on Tupac Shakur and Black Leaders”

After 12 years of accumulating evidence concerning the murder of Tupac Shakur, John Potash has put it all together and published “The FBI War on Tupac Shakur and Black Leaders,” a volume filled with details gleaned from CIA and FBI documents, court transcripts, and over 100 interviews.

Monday, June 15, 7PM - Free

Reading: Mitchell Gold “Crisis”

Gold will read from his book on the alarmingly high rate of suicide among gay teens and will lead a discussion on means of support through the views and experiences of a diverse group of Americans. “Crisis: 40 Stories Revealing the Personal, Social, and Religious Pain and Trauma of Growing up Gay in America” is a book for anyone concerned with the relationship between teens and suicide.

June 12: Noam Chomsky - Crisis & Hope: Theirs and Ours

Friday, June 12, 7:00 pm

Crisis & Hope: Theirs and Ours
Noam Chomsky

Moderated by Amy Goodman
with Music by Earthdriver & Mahina Movement

490 Riverside Drive, (Bt 120 and 121st St)

On the 40th anniversary of his classic American Power & the New Mandarins, Noam Chomsky will address a wide range of issues from the global economic crisis, U.S. military intervention in the Middle East and South Asia, left electoral and social movement upsurges in places like El-Salvador, Bolivia and Venezuela, and the election of Barack Obama.

Sliding scale for talk: $20/$25/$30
Reception with Noam Chomsky (includes reserved seating for the talk): $50/$100/$250/$500
Special Benefit for the Brecht Forum,
(Please contribute what you can afford.)

(Co-sponsor: The Brecht Forum,The Education Ministry of The Riverside Church,Mission and Social Justice Commission of The Riverside Church,Theatre of the Oppressed at The Riverside Church, The Theater of the Oppressed Laboratory (TOPLAB), Bluestockings Books.)

At the historic Riverside Church in Harlem there will be a very special evening with the worlds leading radical intellectual Noam Chomsky.
I'm sending this from my new iPhone. Wow!

My new iPhone: You can teach an old dog new tricks

Andrew and I got iPhones yesterday (Ann decided to stick to one like her old one) so I'm playing with it and trying to learn new tricks (proving that you can teach an old dog......). I'll let you know how I'm coming along.

French Open: Roger makes history

Well, what is there to say? First of all, Roger has now won the career Grand Slam: Australia, Paris, Wimbledon, and the U.S. Open. He is the sixth man to accomplish that ( Andre Agassi, Don Budge, Roy Emerson, Rod Laver, and Fred Perry). Federer and Pete Sampras (who you will notice is missing from the career grand slam list) stand alone in Grand Slam wins: Total - Sampras, 14-4/ Roger, 14-5. But Sampras never won at Roland Garros. So at some level Federer stands alone. The closest to Roger and Pete is Roy Emerson with 12-3. Without wanting to anger the tennis gods, it's less than (06-22) two weeks till Wimbledon and a possible 15th for Roger. He is scheduled to play a tournament in Halle, Ger. this coming week and probably Eastbourne, GB in the lead-up to Wimbledon. Go Roger!

Court Philippe ChatrierMen's Singles - Finals
Robin Soderling SWE (23)1614
Roger Federer SUI (2)Winner6776
Match StatisticsServe Statistics

(2) R. Federer defeats (23) R. Soderling - 6 - 1; 7 - 6; 6 - 4

Federer's Path to the Finals

First Round - Defeated Alberto Martin - 6 - 4; 6 - 3; 6 - 2

Second Round - Defeated Jose Acasuso - 7 - 6; 5 - 7; 7 - 6; 6 - 2

Third Round - Defeated (32) Paul-Henri Mathieu - 4 - 6; 6 - 1; 6 - 4; 6 - 4

Fourth Round - Defeated Tommy Haas - 6 - 7; 5 - 7; 6 - 4; 6 - 0; 6 - 2

Quarterfinals - Defeated (11) Gael Monfils - 7 - 6; 6 - 2; 6 - 4

Semifinals - Defeated (5) Juan Martin Del Potro - 3 - 6; 7 - 6; 2 - 6; 6 - 1; 6 - 4

Saturday, June 06, 2009

It's Kuznetsova in Paris

Well, the women's French Open final is history. I was wrong. It was Kuznetsova, not Safina.  So Safina remains #1 without a slam. Tommorow 9AM (NBC) Federer plays for history. Go Roger!

Court Philippe ChatrierWomen's Singles - Finals
Dinara Safina RUS (1)42
Svetlana Kuznetsova RUS (7)Winner66
Match StatisticsServe Statistics

Friday, June 05, 2009

French Open: Men's final set

Well the final contenders for the French Open final have been decided. Roger Federer v. Robin Soderling. If Roger wins, it will be the fourth grand slam, the missing one in his career. After coming back from 2 sets down in the quarters (actually 2 sets and 5-1 in the third) and from 2 sets to one in the semis, I think it's Roger's tournament. But we'll see. Sunday will tell the story. Go Roger.

But don't forget Safina v. Kuznetsova tommorow (Sat.).

Court Philippe Chatrier Men's Singles - Semifinals

Robin Soderling SWE (23)               6    7    5   4   6

Fernando Gonzalez CHI (12)           3    5   7    6   4

Match Statistics Serve Statistics

Court Philippe Chatrier Men's Singles - Semifinals

Juan Martin Del Potro ARG (5)       6   6   6   1   4

Roger Federer SUI (2)                       3   7   2   6   6

Match Statistics Serve StatisticsW

Court Philippe Chatrier Men's Singles - Semifinals

Thursday, June 04, 2009

New Hampshire makes six

Yesterday (Wed 6/3) New Hampshire (home of World Fellowship) became the sixth state to legalize gay and lesbian marriage.

Hopefully New York will be next.

The Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson, elected in New Hampshire in 2003 as the first openly gay bishop in the Episcopal Church, was among those celebrating the new law.

"It's about being recognized as whole people and whole citizens," He said.

"There are a lot of people standing here who when we grew up could not have imagined this," he elaborated. "You can't imagine something that is simply impossible. It's happened, in our lifetimes."

Watch" Nurse Jackie" Mon. @ 10:30 PM

Our friend Merritt Wever (right) is playing first-year nursing student Zoey Barkow in the new Showtime series Nurse Jackie. It begins Monday evening @ 10:30 PM (right after Weeds.) You may remember Merritt from the George Clooney film Michael Clayton or the short-lived TV series Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.

Just for the record Edie Falco is Nurse Jackie

French Open: An all-Russian final

Saturday's women's final in Paris will be all-Russian: #1 Dinara Safina v. #7 Svetlana Kuznetsova. As you can see below, Kuznetsova had a bit harder a time with Stosur than Safina did with Cibulkova. Kuznetsova also might be more tired from her epic 5-set battle with Sarina Williams yesterday (Wed.). My money (figuratively) is still on Safina. But they are the perfect duo for a clay court final. 

Court Philippe ChatrierWomen's Singles - Semifinals
Dinara Safina RUS (1)Winner66
Dominika Cibulkova SVK (20)33
Match StatisticsServe Statistics

Court Philippe ChatrierWomen's Singles - Semifinals
Samantha Stosur AUS (30)4773
Svetlana Kuznetsova RUS (7)Winner6656
Match StatisticsServe Statistics

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

French Open: Semis are set

Well the semi-finals are set both for the men and women in Paris. A week ago no one would have predicted how it would be at this point. There are at least three men (Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, and Andy Murray) who are surprisingly missing from the party. As I said yesterday, I still think that Roger is the man to beat. Even more so now that Murray is out. Although it should be noted that, as Ann put it, Soderling seems to still be in the bubble from his defeat of the clay king and Gonzalez and Del Potro are very good. But it's Roger's tournament to lose.

So here are the men's semis:

Robin Soderling SWE (23)
Fernando Gonzalez CHI (12)

Juan Martin Del Potro ARG (5)
Roger Federer SUI (2)

In some sense, the women's semis are as surprising as the mens. Dinara Safina (#1) is still on board and there was no one who's loss was as surprising as Nadal's. We rarely get a #20 and 30 in the semis. Just like among the men many familiar faces are missing: #s 2&3 the williams sisters (Venus and Serena), #4 Elena Dementieva, #5 Jelena Jankovic and #8 Ana Ivanovic. Oh and don't forget unseeded Maria Sharapova (who had a good tournament until yesterday when she met semi-finalist Domeninika Cibulkova). I predict an all-Russian final, with Safina coming out on top.

So here are the women's semis:

Dinara Safina RUS (1)
Dominika Cibulkova SVK (20)

Samantha Stosur AUS (30)
Svetlana Kuznetsova RUS (7)

Monday, June 01, 2009

Murder for "Life"

Domestic terrorism, just like the international version, does not happen in a cultural vacuum. So all of the right-wing deniers who rushed to the microphones and video cameras to absolve themselves of any guilt for the murder of Dr. George Tiller, who, according to Amy Goodman yesterday morning, is "Remembered for Lifelong Dedication to Women’s Reproductive Health" are as usual delusional. The Supreme Court long ago decided that crying fire in a crowded theater was not covered by free speech. These right-wing shouters are promoting violence. There are many weak-minded people among their followers who are easily manipulated. I have no idea what Bill O'Reilly intended each time he referred to "Tiller the baby killer." But that's not the point. In an atmosphere dominated by the right-wing gun culture and a bunch of weak-minded disciples, O'Reilly's rants certainly contributed to the tragedy at the Reformation Lutheran Church in Wichita, Kansas last Sunday. One of the most notable aspects of Tiller's assassination is that O'Reilly has once again proven that he has perfected the victim role. Here's what he said yesterday:
When I heard about Tiller’s murder, I knew pro-abortion zealots and FOX News haters would attempt to blame us for the crime and that is exactly what happened.
A man is dead and when he heard about the murder all he could think about was how it would effect BillO', that's a level of self-involvement that's hardly believable. The object of rational people should not be to shut up O'Reilly and his lynch mob, but to make their irresponsible rantings irrelevant.

Survivors of Air France flight 447 landed on an island

According to news reports:
an Air France plane carrying 228 people from Brazil to France has gone missing over the Atlantic. A search and rescue mission is underway off the coast of Brazil.
Does anyone else believe that the survivors of Air France Flight 447 landed on an island and are in for one hell of an experience. There might even be some time travel involved.

Federer avoids another upset at Roland Garros

Yesterday's earthquake at Roland Garros in Paris - the upset of the clay master Rafael Nadal - has shaken up the men's draw. There are several possible champions on the horizon. If you share our support of Roger Federer, you'll be interested in today's Federer v. Tommy Haas match. In a nutshell, Haas took the first two sets and then Federer remembered who he was and took the final three. So our favorite is still in the running and with both Nadal and Novack Djokavic gone the only real threat to his finally winning the one slam he hasn't won is Andy Murray. So this week should be fun.

Court Philippe ChatrierMen's Singles - 4th Round
Tommy Haas GER 277740
Roger Federer SUI (2)Winner664566
Match StatisticsServe Statistics