Good evening. Starting late because of Elaine. She wanted to read me one thing. It was a TV review of Ava and C.I.'s. Then I searched around for my favorite. Then she had to note another and I had to note another. They really have written a lot of amazing reviews. Everyone with The Third Estate Sunday Review or who works on an edition (like Elaine and me) know that those reviews are the "calling card." Week in and week out, you've got all these people coming to the site just to read their reviews. After I got off the phone, I called Jim and asked him if he had a comment he wanted included? He said that what's so funny is that C.I. didn't want TV in the first edition. C.I.'s worked on every edition even though they only made C.I. a member (with permission) a little while back. On the first edition, C.I. was present (not on the phone). Jim said that they'd all talked about doing a site and then Jim heard C.I. speak (most people know this story) and guessed correctly that it was C.I. All of them -- Jim, Dona, Ava, Ty and Jess -- were already Common Ills community members. So Jim was like, "We always talk about doing a site, if you helped, we'd do one." So C.I. ended up meeting the others and that was the first edition.
But C.I. didn't see the point in TV being included. Jim says C.I. hadn't even seen the show they reviewed (Joey) but after a bit started tossing out jokes. Ava had a really good one that no one noticed and C.I. got that in the piece and that's how the Ava and C.I. team was born. Jim thinks it was by the fourth review that the rest of them started realizing the reviews were all Ava and C.I. for the most part. And Jim says he was the one who didn't catch on that Ava and C.I. were doing a feminist critique. But readers loved it and it became something they had to have every edition. It's very popular in the online version but it's often even longer in the print version because Ava and C.I. will usually toss out a few more paragraphs in that at the end (that aren't on the show they're reviewing).
I told Jim I was going to tell him Elaine's picks and my picks and he said not to. He said he'd end up reading over them. He said one day, he got online at two to read some e-mails to their site and there was one raving over a TV review, so he went back to read it and then read another and then another and pretty soon, Dona told him it was eight o'clock and all he'd done all afternoon and evening was sit at the computer! :D
So now that I've shared that, let's kick things off with Democracy Now!
UNICEF: 25% of Iraqi Children Suffer Malnutrition
Meanwhile, a survey carried out by the Iraqi government and UNICEF has concluded a quarter of all Iraqi children suffer from malnutrition.
This is a big thing because this is happening while the occupation is supposed to be "liberating" them. It's really time for everyone to stop pretending that Iraqis have been helped in three years of this illegal occupation. Three years past and in the fourth currently and we can't even do anything about malnutrition? If nothing else demonstrates to you that we're not there to help and that the occupation needs to end, that should.
Elaine is really bummed that this issue isn't being picked up more in the mainstream/corporate media. We talked about how it really isn't a big deal when it should be front page news.
NYPD Investigated For Conduct At 2004 RNC
Democracy Now! has learned the Justice Department has launched a criminal civil rights investigation of the New York Police Department over the NYPD's treatment of protesters during the Republican National Convention. During the week of the 2004 convention, police arrested some 1800 protesters -- more than at any previous political convention in the country’s history.
They got away with it. Will they continue to get away with it? I don't have a lot of faith in the Alberto Gonzales Justice Department.
Be sure to check out Like Maria Said Paz for Elaine's thoughts. And make sure you listen to
KPFA tomorrow for the live coverage of Michael Hayden's confirmation or not hearings for CIA director anchored by Larry Bensky of Sunday Salon and Mitch Jesserich who used to be with Free Speech Radio and is now part of the Wakeup Call team. The coverage starts at nine a.m. in the morning if you live on the east coast like me. If you're on the west coast, it's six a.m. and I'm not sure on in between. But you can listen online. For FREE! So make a point to listen.
Cedric's "Immigration" is something really important so make sure you read it. Here's another,
Michael George Smith's "Bush, Immigration and the Democrats:"
In his speech, Bush outlined an immigration reform plan that, in his own words, walks a "middle ground between granting an automatic path to citizenship for every illegal immigrant, and a program of mass deportation."
It is indeed a middle ground. On one side is the ultra-xenophobic right wing of his own party, exemplified by the Minutemen and such visionary statesmen as Rep. Dana Rohrabacher of California, who responded to worries that deporting 12 million undocumented workers would have a devastating impact on the economy with this gem: "I say let the prisoners pick the fruits." On the other is big business and their lackeys in Congress, desperate for a bill that ensures an influx of vulnerable labor and codifies their ability to super-exploit them at will.
It is also a middle ground that the Democratic Party seems happy to occupy; they have sided with Bush on nearly every issue of importance in the immigration debate. The fact that they opposed back the uber-draconian Sensenbrenner bill (HR 4437) is of little solace to the millions of immigrants they seek to relegate to second-class citizenship and the millions more they simply wish to deport.
The Democratic response, both in the form of the immediate rebuttal given by Sen. Dick Durbin, the assistant minority leader, and the legislation they have supported in the Senate, does not even rise to the level of pathetic. It is a non-response, essentially a total agreement. The six main features of Bush's plan and the Democrats' reaction to them:
Guest worker program
This legalized form of indentured servitude is the centerpiece of the Democrats' reform agenda. It was a major part of the McCain-Kennedy bill and the Senate Judiciary Committee bill that was passed with the support of every Democrat on the committee.
A 'path to citizenship' as opposed to amnesty
Bush: "I believe that illegal immigrants who have roots in our country and want to stay should have to pay a meaningful penalty for breaking the law, to pay their taxes, to learn English, and to work in a job for a number of years. People who meet these conditions will have to wait in line behind those who played by the rules and followed the law. What I have just described is not amnesty. It is a way for those who have broken the law to pay their debt to society."
Durbin: "People who have broken our laws should not and will not be rewarded with amnesty. But people who work hard and play by the rules should have a chance to earn their way to legal status if they pay a fine, learn English, pay back taxes and go to the back of the line."
No comment necessary.
It's as though Congress saw all the protests in the last two months and just shrugged. It's disgusting.
What else is disgusting? That Congress, Democrats and Republicans refuse to address Iraq.
Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"
Yesterday, as reported by Richard A. Oppel Jr. and Omar al Neami, nine corpses were found in Iraq, there were drive bys, bombs -- chaos and violence. The hallmark of the illegal occupation.
The BBC notes the kidnapping, in Baghdad Tuesday, of an unnamded diplomat with the United Arab Emirates. CNN notes that this "attack was the second in two weeks involving employees of the UAE embassy in Iraq. On May 3, two Iraqis working for the embassy were killed during an attack on their car, according to the Emirates News Agency." The AFP identifies him as: Naji al-Nuami "Abu Rashid" (parenthesis are the AFP's). While one person with al-Noaimi was reported as wounded, Reuters reports that the man has now died from the gun shot wounds (he's identified only as a "Sudanese driver.")
CNN, the Associated Press and BBC note that Iraqi prime minister-designate Nuri al-Maliki will, apparently, announce his cabinet nominations this Saturday. As the rah-rah-rah-put-on-Etta-James'-"At Last!"-mood builds, it's left to AFP to note the obvious: the parliment meets Saturday because the constitutional deadline is Monday, the 22nd. al-Maliki has already missed his own imposed deadline. The Monday deadline is not optional. Hassan al-Sunaid informed the AFP that professional liar (my term) Ahmed Chalabi is in the running for head of the interior ministry (competing with Qassem Daoud).
While that goes on under the watchful eye of the United States administration, Des Browne, England's defense secretary, again put forth the line that England might be withdrawing from Iraq. "The line"? British members have grown tired of what they see as empty talk. If that seems harsh or negative to any Pollyanish on Iraq visitors, Browne also maintains that things are hunky dory in Basra. (They're not and we'll get to that in a moment.)
Reuters notes that four police officers have been wounded from two roadside bombs in Baghdad (one near the hospital al-Kindi, the other at a check point). The Associated Press notes that two corpses ("handcuffed and shot in the head") have been discovered in Baghdad.
And while Baghdad gets a great deal of press attention (due to the Green Zone being located there), it shouldn't be the only focus. Patrick Cockburn notes that "One person is being assassinated in Basra every hour, as order in Iraq's second city disintegrates, according to an Iraqi Defence Ministry." Along with details on Basra, Cockburn covers the malnutrition going on Iraq. (From Monday: "Meanwhile Australia's ABC notes the "UN-backed government survey" on malnutrition in Iraq which has found that "almost one child in every 10 aged between six months and five years, suffered acute malnourishment." This is a story that should be receiving more attention than it's getting.)
In addition to Cockburn's report (and the Democracy Now! item above), for more on the widespread malnutrition plaguing Iraq, you can read this UNICEF report. You should especially read it if you're one of the ones (I'm not talking about members here) who've kidded yourself and wasted everyone's time with "A school room was painted!" That ___ has been meaningless and was always meaningless. "A rapid post-war nutritional assessment carried out by UNICEF in Baghdad found that acute malnutrition or wasting, measured by a child's weight for height, has nearly doubled from four per cent a year ago, to almost eight per cent." But all the US administration has been concerned with has been cutting (and ending) the subsidies program in place before the occupation. We're in year four of the illegal occupation. Read the report and then keep kidding yourself that a paint job or ceiling fan anywhere was anything other than window dressing.
Violence has continued in other areas of Iraq as well. Here are two reported events outside Baghdad. In Diyali, KUNA notes that "an Iraqi officer was killed and two others were injured" in an explosion. In Bauba, Reuters notes that four people are dead and 11 wounded following an explosion and gunfire
For Knight Ridder, Edward Colimore takes a look at American women serving in Iraq and notes that "nearly 400 female service members" have been wounded, "11 have had amputation," over "50 others have been killed."
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