Monday, May 15, 2006

Rally in DC, Professor Steve Almond stands up, and more

Good evening, hope everyone had a great weekend. Greg Palast has a great interview on Democracy Now! today so if you missed it, check it out. But let's kick things off with FOUR items from Democracy Now!

Cindy Sheehan Leads Mother's Day Anti-War Vigil
In Washington, peace campaigner Cindy Sheehan spent Mothers Day in an anti-war vigil outside the White House along with actress Susan Sarandon, other military mothers and Iraq war veterans.

Did you notice how little coverage this received? I made a point to watch the local news Sunday night and I got to hear about Laura Bush and how she doesn't believe in polls, but I didn't hear (or see) anything on this. As C.I. would say, "This mattered."

Clear Channel DJ Threatens On Air to Sexually Abuse 4-Year-Old
In New York, a popular disc jockey working for Clear Channel has been arrested on charges of endangering the welfare of a child. The DJ, known as Star, threatened on-air to sexually abuse the four-year-old daughter of a rival radio personality. He also offered listeners $500 for information on where the four-year-old went to school. In addition he made anti-Asian slurs about the girl's mother. Up until last week Star co-hosted the popular syndicated morning show "Star & Buc Wild." Clear Channel fired him on Wednesday but only after a member of the New York City council took issue with the broadcast.

I'm sure he was just being in "character" -- according to anyone who wants to defend him. You have to wonder what made a grown person think it was okay to talk about sexually assaulting a four-year-old girl? No, I don't think it's a crime (but I don't know all the details). I do think it's a shame. I think when an adult thinks it's okay to go after his enemy by talking sexually about their enemy's child, it's a real shame because that's not "childish" behavior, it's sub-human behavoir.

BC Prof Resigns Over Decision to Honor Condi Rice
In education news, an adjunct professor at Boston College has resigned to protest the school’s decision to award Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice an honorary degree. In a letter to the school’s president, professor Steve Almond said Rice has quote "lied to the American people knowingly, repeatedly... in an effort to justify a pathologically misguided foreign policy."

Professor Almond has a column in The Boston Globe that everyone should read. Here's one sentence: "I cannot, in good conscience, exhort my students to pursue truth and knowledge, then collect a paycheck from an institution that displays such flagrant disregard for both." You need to read the column and to share it with your friends because this was a really brave thing to do and for it have the kind of impact that it should, we need to get the word out.

Army Withdraws Support For Baghdad ER Documentary
And senior Army officials are withdrawing their support for a new HBO documentary filmed inside an Army combat hospital in Baghdad. The Secretary of the Army Francis Harvey and other senior Army officials were originally planning to attend a screening tonight of the film Baghdad ER. But they have decided that the film's graphic footage might demoralize soldiers and negatively affect public opinion about the war. Last week the Army's chief surgeon issued a memo warning medical staff at Army posts across the country to prepare for a possible influx of soldiers and families seeking comfort and counseling after watching the documentary. This is an excerpt of Baghdad ER. A warning for our television audience: this footage may disturb some viewers. Baghdad ER was produced by Jon Alpert and Matthew O'Neill of Downtown Community Television in New York. The documentary will air on HBO on Sunday.

I'm going to try to watch this Sunday. "Try" because Sunday's I'm just a slug-bug if we've run long on The Third Estate Sunday Review or if I'm wiped out by classwork. Dad's planning on wathcing so I'll probably watch it with him if I watch. (Or if I'm a slug-bug, he can feel free to nag me into watching. :D) Which reminds me, Ma wrote "Popcorn in the Kitchen" and you really need to read it. I'm really proud of her for that post. (I'm proud of her for many things but that was really great and we were all telling her that Sunday.)

Wondering where the Iraq headlines are? Elaine and I felt we could cover it with something else and focus on some headlines that might not have gotten noticed. Check out Like Maria Said Paz for Elaine's thoughts on today's headlines. Now for Iraq, here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Chaos and violence continue.
noted on today's Democracy Now!, "at least 47 people" died yesterday as a result of roadside bombings. NYT's Sabrina Tavernise noted that five corpses were found in Baghdad Sundey ("gunshot wounds to the head")."At least 7 US soldiers died over Mother's Day Weekend," Sandra Lupien noted today on KPFA's The Morning Show
while attempts to cobble together a cabinet continue to falter as participants "continue to disagree over who will fill the posts of interior, defense and oil minister." Wednesday, May 10th was the deadline Iraqi prime minister designate Nuri al-Maliki himself set as the deadline for finalizing his cabinet. And
CNN notes the death of two British soldiers on Saturday which brings the total UK fatalities to 111 since the illegal invasion. The names of the two killed are Adam Morris (19 y.o.) and Joseva Lewaicei (25 y.o.).
Reuters notes that the Muslim Clerics Association is accusing "US forces . . . of killing 25 civilians in raids near Baghdad in the past two days." The Muslim Clerics Association released a statement staing, "We hold the Iraqi government and the occupiers responsible for this brutal atrocity."
Near Balad Ruz,
CNN reports four teachers are dead after armed assailants stopped their minibus (which had seven teachers on it) and shot the four.
In Nahaweel, a roadside bomb claimed the life of one person and wounded another. The bomb exploded near a police station. This as the Associated Press reports an attack on a police station, "just outside Basra," which has resulted in the deaths of at least eight police officers and at least an additional ten more wounded. The BBC notes that the attack by "tribesmen" followed the killing of "their leader . . . by men wearing police uniforms."
In Amarah, the
Associated Press reports four British soldiers were wounded today in an attack on British military camp Camp Abu Naji. CNN notes that "three soldiers received minor wounds" but that one had to be transported to a military hospital.
In Wajihiya,
Reuters notes the death of a seven-year-old girl and well as the wounding of at least "seven members of her family" after their home was hit with by "a mortar round."
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."

Check out Kat's "Pearl Jam does Pearl Jam" and Wally's "THIS JUST IN! THAT'S NOT LAURA BUSH!" and C.I.'s "And the war drags on."