Thursday, February 02, 2006

Police apologize to Cindy Sheehan, Bully Boy don't believe in clinics and NYT silent on Coretta Scott King

Good evening. Amy Goodman's still in Doha and today's Democracy Now! was devoted to covering the history and present of Al Jazeera so go the website if you missed the broadcast.
Let's kick things off.

Capitol Police Apologize, Drop Charges Over Sheehan Arrest
One day after Cindy Sheehan was arrested for wearing an anti-war T-shirt to President Bush's State of The Union address, Capitol police have dropped her charges and apologized. Sheehan, whose son Casey died in combat in Iraq in April 2004, was removed from the House gallery Tuesday night after unveiling a T-shirt that read: "2,245 dead and how many more?" -- a reference to the number of US service members killed in Iraq. In a statement, Capitol Police Chief Terrance Gainer said Sheehan should not have been arrested. President Bush began his speech shortly after she was removed.

No they shouldn't have arrested her. What was it, C.I. said, "Terrorist with intent to t-shirt"?
She is being targeted and the police had no reason to pull her from the audience, let alone to arrest her. An apology doesn't make up for what they put her through. The officer needs to be disciplined. When he ran over Cindy Sheehan's free speech rights, he ran over all of free speech.

Report: US Far Behind In Reconstructing Iraq Health Clinics
In Iraq, USA Today is reporting the US has failed to open any health clinics in the country -- despite initially promising to open 180 clinics by last December. Iraq's deputy health minister said the US has completed construction on only four clinics.

Hearts and minds, folks, hearts and minds. We're winning hearts and minds. Whose? I guess the corporations we keep giving money to even though they don't do what they're contracted to do. Bully Boy keeps bragging about spreading "democracy" and maybe what he means is: "In America, my policy is you're all screwed so that's what I'm trying to export."

And note something, USA Today ran that story, not the New York Times. That's because the Times can't break stories on Iraq, they're too busy hopping in bed with the military in Iraq. In this country? They're too busy acting like Coretta Scott King was nobody important. From C.I.:

From the war to Coretta Scott King. We have a a highlight but before we get to that . . . Does the New York Times believe that Coretta Scott King's passing didn't matter? This week Wendy Wasserstein passed away and it was a tragedy. On the day the New York Times front paged their article on Wasserstein, they also featured a lengthy editorial (signed by Gail Collins). One would assume, with Coretta Scott King's historical significance (a level few ever reach but she did), that at the minimum she would receive the same level of coverage as a playwright. That still hasn't happened. The Times editorial board either doesn't appear to know King died or they just don't care. In addition to refusing to run an editorial on King's passing, there have been no op-eds on her passing. It's not Bob Herbert's job (as the only African-American columnist on the op-ed pages of the Times) to cover every 'Black' issue so the Times doesn't have to be bothered. Coretta Scott King is historical for every race in this country. And let's not pretend Herbert covers Coretta Scott King today. He doesn't. He opens with a quote by her and she's not mentioned again until the second to last paragraph of a 21 paragraph column. The Times can't pretend that was a column about Coretta Scott King. (Check my math and I'm including the quote that opens the column as a paragraph.)
Exactly when will the New York Times get around to noting that Coretta Scott King passed away. Was she not friends with Gail Collins? Is that the criteria for getting an editorial on your passing written? At present, they have noted her death with only one article (which they did front page) and her passing is mentioned in a column today by Herbert (a column that's not about her life or her passing -- it's a state of the world column).
Now maybe some people missed it, but they want the King Center to be turned over to the government, the paper does. No surprise there, we noted that here before the editorial made it into the paper (ahead of the editorial by many days, I believe five or six days ahead of the editorial being printed). What to do with property, on that they have something to say. With regards to Coretta Scott King, they're strangely silent.

Cedric called me about what I wrote yesterday about the Times and I was kind of embarrassed because I obviously didn't put in "I was talking to C.I. on the phone . . ." I was wondering if it was too soon to expect some statement from the editorials and op-eds and, like any smart person would when needing info on the Times, I called C.I. who explained that the day the paper ran their front page story on the playwright (who C.I. says was talented and nice), they also had a long editorial on her. I remembered seeing it, but I didn't read it. So they could have had an editorial in the paper by Wednesday when they noted Mrs. King's death. They didn't. Nor any op-eds. C.I. had said on the phone, "I'm waiting until tomorrow to see what happens."

So let me clear that up. And let me ask the question of why the paper doesn't think Coretta Scott King is important?

If you can figure it out, let me know. Cedric's going to write about this tonight so check out Cedric's Big Mix and don't forget to check out Elaine's thoughts at her site Like Maria Said Paz. Highlight of my blogging day is going over the headlines from Democracy Now! with Elaine as we try to figure out which ones to note.