Starting later than usual tonight because I took Nina out to the place of her choice for dinner. Last night's post never would have made it up if she hadn't said, "Oh let me type the thing up!" (We made the last showing of the movie but missed the previews.) I hate typing, I'm a hunt and peck kind of guy. When she finished typing up the tape of Wally's interview, I asked her, "Did you put in that you typed it?" And she didn't. We had to hurry to make the film so I couldn't go in and add it last night. But I'll put it in here and say, "Isn't she great?" (She really is.) And let me thank C.I. too because Wally and me both got a ton of e-mails after C.I. gave a heads up to the interview today. I got nothing but praise but Wally told me he got a few asking where were the penis jokes? Apologies to those left hanging, we forgot to penis jokes. We'll do 'em next time. So I've done my thanks, let's get started with Democracy Now!
Less Than Half of Reviewed Gitmo Detainees Accused of Violence
The news comes as a new study based entirely on Pentagon data shows that of 500 Guantanamo detainees whose cases were reviewed, fewer than half of them have been accused of committing violent acts against the United States or its allies. The study, carried out by lawyers for two detainees, found that the government has identified only 8% of the detainees as al Qaeda fighters. Of the rest, the study found that 40% have no connection with al Qaeda at all and 18% are have no affiliation with either al Qaeda or the Taliban. Meanwhile, 60% of the 500 detainees have been detained "merely because they are 'associated with' a group or groups the US government asserts are terrorist organizations."
You ever know a kid who told a big lie and the more obvious it became, the more he would lie to try to get out of it? I think that kid is the Bully Boy. He's built his "strong man" image on lies and one of the lies was that he's locked away (in Guantanamo) all these dangerous types to protect us. Truth doesn't reflect that. So Bully Boy's lies get bigger and he's trotting out the lie about how much he is protecting us (again) to try to make people say, "Oh, then it's okay that you spy on us." It's not okay. He's a liar and some people have the hardest time facing that.
Injured Iraq War Veteran Forced To Pay For Body Armor
In military news, the Charlestown Gazette is reporting a West Virginia soldier injured in a roadside bombing in Iraq has been forced to pay for the body armor that was removed from him while he was being treated. Last week, 1st Lt. William "Eddie" Rebrook IV was forced to pay $700 dollars after he was told the army had no record the armor was taken from him. Rebrook said: "If a soldier's stuff is hit by enemy fire, he shouldn’t have to pay for it… There’s a complete lack of empathy from senior officers who don’t know what it’s like to be a combat soldier on the ground." His mother, Beckie Drumheler, added: "It's outrageous, ridiculous and unconscionable. I wanted to stand on a street corner and yell through a megaphone about this."
Tony told me today, "You gotta put this in, you gotta!" He said it's "proof" that Bully Boy doesn't support the troops. I say, "Tony, come on. Bully Boy supports the troops . . . as targets. That's why he said 'Bring it on!' That's why he didn't provide body armor, that's why he had no plan. He loves targets." That's all we are to Bully Boy, targets. Cannon fodder. Things to be dimissed and sold out. We aren't his "base." The CEO "president" doesn't care for the workers which makes him pretty much like all the other CEOs.
Let's note the one and only Dave Zirin's "The Value of A Number:"
When Jackie Robinson broke Major League Baseball's color line in 1947, baseball ceased to be just a game. In the dark years of McCarthyism, as his biographer Arnold Rampersad wrote, "only Jackie Robinson insisted day in and day out on challenging America on questions of race and justice." As Martin Luther King said of Robinson, "He was a sit-inner before sit-ins. A freedom rider before freedom rides." In 1997, on the fiftieth anniversary of Robinson's rookie season, MLB commissioner Bud Selig took the unprecedented step of retiring Robinson's number, 42, from the league.
Now a new push is taking place to honor another legend in a similar way. An appeal has been made by Hispanics Across America (HAA) to retire the number 21 of Pittsburgh Pirate Roberto Clemente. A native of Puerto Rico, Clemente was not the game's first Latino but its first breakout star. Clemente was a regular season and World Series MVP with 3,000 career hits, but he is especially revered for his efforts to support Latin American communities in the United States and abroad. Clemente's almost Bolivarian reputation was cemented when he perished in a 1972 plane crash taking medical, food and clothing supplies to earthquake-ravaged Nicaragua.
But the effort to honor Clemente has met resistance from a surprising source: Jackie Robinson's daughter Sharon. In January, she said, "To my understanding, the purpose of retiring my father's number is that what he did changed all of baseball, not only for African-Americans but also for Latinos, so I think that purpose has been met. When you start retiring numbers across the board, for all different groups, you're kind of diluting the original purpose."
The place of blacks and Latinos in baseball is a highly sensitive one. Twenty years ago, African-Americans comprised 27 percent of the game's players; today they represent just 8.9 percent. In 2005 the Houston Astros became the first team since the days of Robinson to make the World Series without one African-American player. Latinos, according to 2005 rosters, represent 37 percent of players. Honoring Clemente, the HAA feels, is a way of honoring the role they play in today's game. HAA president Fernando Mateo responded to Sharon Robinson quite sharply, saying, "We as an organization and a community are surprised that Jackie Robinson's daughter would publicly address the retirement of Roberto Clemente's number or say it should not be retired. We believe it is self-serving of her to inject her personal views simply to keep her legendary father's number the only one in retirement."
Olympics are about to start. I said that to Tony today on campus and he shot back, "The Winter Olympics." Yeah, but it's Olympics. And remember, we got one more day to get through and then it's THE WEEKEND! Are you ready for it? If not, go read Rebecca's "dream journal" (stealing from C.I.).
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