Friday, January 06, 2006

Alito hearings on Pacifica next week live, Bully Boy wants to talk, Pat Robertson says stroke victim had it coming (God told him so)

Good night. We all agreed to give time this evening so that come Monday morning, Gina and Krista can have a roundtable for their special edition of the gina & krista round-robin. They are going to be doing one each day of the confirmation hearings on Alito and then a wrap up when the hearings conclude. C.I. had an entry up today and it made me feel guilty and I called Wally who had a friend in town yesterday and until five tonight (they went to high school together but his friend goes to out of state college) and Wally said, "We should see if Gina and Krista need something." So Gina said sure how about a mini-roundtable? And we called around and C.I., Cedric, Rebecca, Dona, Elaine, Ty, Jess, Jim, Ava, Betty, Wally and Kat. And you get an extra-special guest, Nina. She was with me when I was calling around and trying to get it all together and she goes she'd participate too so that will be way cool and everyone will get to see I got me a smarty for a girlfriend. :D So that will hit your inboxes on Monday (if you're a Common Ills member that signed up for those).

C.I. put up a heads up from Ruth (she saw it atWBAI) (and C.I.'s comments are after the announcement):

Mon., Jan. 9 through Fri., Jan. 13
The Pacifica Radio Network is bringing you the Samuel Alito Senate Hearing for nomination to the United States Supreme Court live!
Verna Avery Brown teams with Mitch Jeserich from Free Speech Radio News and Pacifica National Affairs correspondent, Larry Bensky, to bring you the controversial nomination hearing of Samuel Alito for United States Supreme Court, live.
Anchors: Larry Bensky, KPFA; Verna Avery Brown, WPFW; Mitch Jesserich, FSRN.
The schedule of hearings includes a one hour pre-show on the opening day, and an half-hour wrap-up show each evening. Live analysts will join us in the booth and via telephone throughout the hearings.
Pacifica will be bringing you live coverage (as they did during the Roberts' confirmation hearings). That's great if you live in an area Pacifica broadcasts in, right? Well, online access permitting, many people live in areas where Pacifica broadcasts because they provide live webcasts (as well as archived ones). This isn't Renee and Steve yucking it up with Cokie on NPR Monday where maybe you'll get a (canned) story about the hearings that day. This is live coverage. No cutting to "cute" stories about a fisherman who . . . (fill in the anecdote, NPR loves their "cute" fisherman stories). So this starts Monday (unless the hearings are postponed for some reason). You can listen via webcast, live streaming (which you can use any day of the week, at any hour, to listen to Pacifica programming, live or archived programming).

Pacifica has a lot of cool programs and it's not afraid to question the spin or cover the stories no one else wants to. So you should make a point to listen to it. You could even donate some money if you had it. But you can listen to the hearings next week if you're at a computer. If you don't have speakers, get some ear phones. I have a great uncle and he watches TV on his favorite TV set which is this old, tiny, black and white TV and he lays down on his bed and puts his ear phone in. Phone. Because it came with a plug in ear phone and you just have one thing to put in one ear. I bet he could use that on a computer and I bet a lot of people have ear phone or headphones lying around so if you're by a computer during the hearings, you got no reason not to listen. If you don't have a player, I think you can download one at all the Pacifica radio stations. Just click on Pacifica during the hearings and you can listen at that main site or you can to one of their links for the Pacifica radio stations.

No another reason you should listen to Pacifica? It's the place Democracy Now! started. Before it was a TV show, it was a radio show. And now it's broadcast on TV and radio all over but Amy Goodman started at Pacifica before Democracy Now! and Democracy Now! started at Pacifica which is why she says "From Pacifica . . . this is Democracy Now!" Which brings us to Democracy Now!

Bush Meets Former Secretaries of Defense, State on Iraq
Meanwhile, President Bush met with a group of former secretaries of state and defense to discuss his Iraq policy. The group included Bush's first Secretary of State, Colin Powell, whose former aides have recently gone public with scathing criticism of the Bush administration. Powell reportedly stayed silent throughout the meeting.

Almost three years ago, Bully Boy launched a war. He did it with lies and propaganda. He had no plan for anything and we've got a quagmire. Now he wants to reach out for advice?

Robertson, Ahmadinejad Suggest Sharon Deserves Ailment
Sharon's ill health has drawn a mixed reaction, with well-wishes from leaders from around the world including the Palestinian Authority. In Iran, state media reported Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said: "Hopefully, the news that the criminal of Sabra and Chatilla has joined his ancestors is final" -- a reference to the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon where over 1,000 Palestinians were killed in 1982. An Israeli commission on inquiry concluded Sharon bore "personal responsibility" for the incident. Meanwhile, Christian broadcaster Pat Robertson indicated Sharon's condition was a consequence of his decision to withdraw from the Gaza Strip.
Christian broadcaster Pat Robertson, on his program "The 700 Club" : "Ariel Sharon, who was again a very likeable person, a delightful person to be with. I prayed with him personally. But here he is at the point of death. He was dividing God's land, and I would say woe unto any prime minister of Israel who takes a similar course to appease the EU, the United Nations or United States of America. God said, 'This land belongs to me, you better leave it alone.'"
The Guardian of London reported on Wednesday Robertson is heading a consortium in talks with the Israeli government over building a sprawling biblical theme park by the Sea of Galilee.

I'm Catholic and I'm sure people make fun of us for a lot of stuff (maybe for having a pope) but I gotta tell you, I think Pat Robertson beats anything we got for most embarrassing.

I saw this at The Common Ills (Lynda found it and e-mailed C.I. to highlight it) and I thought it was something we should know about. This is from Danny Schechter's "Has The Horse Breathed Its Last?"

Sound the bugle. May we remember that it was on this very day, the 6th of January, back in l941 that a former President, the man they called FDR, proclaimed fidelity to "four freedoms" as the cornerstone of American life. Not one. Not Two--but four. Here they are:
1.Freedom of speech and expression

2.Freedom of every person to worship God in his own way
3. Freedom from want - individual economic security
4. Freedom from fear - world disarmament to the point that wars of aggression are impossible.
Gimme four, baby. How quickly we forget or are made to forget.

Which of the four do you think we'll have in another year if Bully Boy gets his way? They've already clamped down on speech trying to Dixie Chick people and they've clamped down on expression by spying on peace activists. Freedom to worship? If you're Pat Robertson you can worship and be a total nut job. Everyone else is supposed to shut up. Freedom from want? Stop, you're making me laugh! Freedom from fear? If it weren't for fear, they're be nothing driving the Bully Boy's plans. It must have been something to be able to look at your president and feel like he was trying to inspire you. We got one that can't even get through a sentence without 'creating' his own words. They had giants, we got special-ed.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Bully Loves Torture and Hates Safety

Good evening. A few things going on tonight and we'll get straight to Democracy Now!

Bush Reserves Right To Order Torture of Prisoners
This update on a story we have been tracking closely. Last week President Bush officially signed a bill outlawing torture of detainees. While the bill signing received significant press coverage, what Bush did following the signing has not. According to the Boston Globe, Bush quietly issued what is known as a signing statement in which he lays out his interpretation of the new law. In this document Bush declared that he will view the interrogation limits in the context of his broader powers to protect national security. Legal experts say this means Bush believes he can waive the anti-torture restrictions. New York University Law Professor David Golove criticized Bush's move. He said ''The signing statement is saying 'I will only comply with this law when I want to, and if something arises in the war on terrorism where I think it's important to torture or engage in cruel, inhuman, and degrading conduct, I have the authority to do so and nothing in this law is going to stop me.' "

There's the world and there's Bully Boy and the world's not "with him" so he's against it. He'll do anything he can to destroy it. Give props to Democracy Now! because they do keep tracking that story and they do point out the facts and not just the "Oh, isn't John McCain the most wonderful!" The "Torture" law had huge problems but the bulk of the media was too busy bragging on their boy McCain to look at it closely and now it turns out that Bully Boy doesn't even think he has to abide it. He makes his own rules and pisses on the country.

WV Paper: Mining Deaths Were "Preventable"; Says Bush Undercut Safety Regs
In West Virginia, about 125 people gathered Wednesday night for a candlelight vigil in the town of Sago to mourn the 12 coal miners who died in what was the country's deadliest mining accident in four years. One miner survived and remains hospitalized. The town has been in a state of shock since Tuesday night when residents were initially informed that 12 of the 13 trapped miners had been found alive. But the report turned out to be false. The owner of the mine - the International Coal Group -- is coming under increasing criticism for its handling of the tragedy and its safety record. The company's president Ben Hatfield said he sincerely regretted the manner in which the families were falsely notified. The company waited over two hours to tell the celebrating family members that their loved ones were not in fact alive. The editors of the Charleston Gazette in West Virginia have published an editorial in today's paper titled "Preventable Deaths." The editorial reads "this tragedy was not a surprise - both because the mine had a disturbing safety record, and because the Bush administration in Washington has been undercutting mine safety." Last year, the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration filed 200 alleged violations against the Sago mine. 46 citations were issued in the past three months - 18 of them were considered "serious and substantial" We'll go to West Virginia later in the show.

See? More pissing. He pisses around and that's what happens. He pisses on the need for safety and that's what happens. If you caught the full episode of Democracy Now! today, you know that this wasn't just an "accident." Bully Boy's been cutting down on safety. You cut corners and it effects stuff. In this case, people lost lives. He's not interested in enforcing the laws, he's interested in pleasing his "base." And people lost lives. It's disgusting and it's Piss Bully Boy like that piece of art called Piss Christ. Only Piss Bully Boy isn't an image of him, it is him.

Always check out Elaine's comments by visiting Like Maria Said Paz.

Common Ills community member Kayla (who recently had a very handsome son) wrote about Sereena's issue and wondered if it might be ingrown hairs? That's a good question and that's one of the things I was trying to figure out when I was exchanging e-mails with Sereena. I did pass on Kayla's question and comments like Kayla asked. But for me, an ingrown hair means that I get red thing, like a pimple, that comes to a head. It's not a black head. What Sereena described to me was that if she squeezes it before it becomes a welt, what she's got is no longer a black spot, it's small thing like a tear drop and the very top is black and the lower portion is white. So that sounds like a black head and I'm sorry for not being more clear on that yesterday. Sereena wrote this morning that after work today she was going to try the pore strips and let us know how that worked. Hopefully, we'll have something on that for tomorrow.

Elaine and me are both noting something we saw at The Common Ills, CODEPINK's:

Women Say NO to War!
We at CODEPINK, together with 200 prominent women from around the globe, have written our own Urgent Peace Plan to end the war in Iraq. From now until March 8, International Women's Day, we will be gathering signatures to deliver to U.S. embassies worldwide. So join Alice Walker, Susan Sarandon, Margaret Cho, Dolores Huerta, Eve Ensler, Congresswomen Barbara Lee, Lynn Woolsey, and Cynthia McKinney, Iraqi women from the Organization for Women's Freedom in Iraq and Women Living Under Muslim Laws, and many more (see initial endorsers) by signing the call today at and passing it on to your friends.

Rebecca and C.I. wrote a thing using the music to "American Pie" and it's called "Bye, Bye Bob Somerby:"

A long, long time ago . . . I can still remember how
That Howler used to make me smile.
And I knew if I clicked the link,
That it could make me think,
And maybe make me laugh for awhile.
But Larry Summers made me shiver,
New Republicans you'd prop and deliver,
Depressing my morning routine . . .
I couldn't take another read.
I can't remember if I cried
When I heard about your conflict inside
But something ended the crazy ride
The day the Howler died.

So . . . bye, bye Bob Somerby
Checked out the conflict and the conflict was inside (of you)
And like Cokie and Tim you took people for a ride
Singing "You shall never see me clown
You shall never see me clown."

Did you write the (slam) book on Joe (Wilson)
And did you sell your soul?
If a buddy tells you so
Do you repeat GOP spin?
Who will save your mortal soul
Who will walk you through slow?
Well I know you're friends with him
Cause I saw you dancing in the gym
You both took out your knives
Went after Joe Wilson with spin and lies.
I was a depressed woman in a funk
Pissed off at the election and the bully punk
And I knew that the Howler was sunk
The day the Howler died.

So . . . bye, bye Bob Somerby
Checked out the conflict and the conflict was inside (of you)
And like Cokie and Tim you took people for a ride
Singing "You shall never see me clown
You shall never see me clown."

Now for the next election cycle we're on our own
And that might make some moan and groan
But you're off in the DLC zone
The jester jumping the king to push the queen
In a coat borrowed from Time magazine
In a voice that came from you and you know who
And while the queen was acting a hawk
You were silent on Iraq
You were clowning to the max
Self-disclosure was real lax.
While Naomi read from the book of Baghad
We were gathered in Central Park
But you were somewhere in the dark
The day the Howler died.

So ... bye, bye Bob Somerby
Checked out the conflict and the conflict was inside (of you)
And like Cokie and Tim you took people for a ride
Singing "You shall never see me clown
You shall never see me clown."

New York Times in the summer scandal
Judy Miller left without shelter
Kicked off her perch and falling fast
She landed foul upon the grass.
But you never wrote of her or him
And in the end that did you in
Now you're the daily fool
Who broke his own rules
A crank, no longer cool.
As the truth tried to take the field
Spin, you refused to yield
Even so you've been revealed
The day the Howler died.

So . . . bye, bye Bob Somerby
Checked out the conflict and the conflict was inside (of you)
And like Cokie and Tim you took people for a ride
Singing "You shall never see me clown
You shall never see me clown."

There we were all in defeat
No time left to clown on the beat
The Constitution taking heat
But Bob be obtuse
Bob be a bore
Bob tell us about '99 once more
Cause you've got so little to say about today.
As I watched you divert from the stage
My hands were clenched in fists of rage
Not even Joan Baez speaking real
Could break your Faustian deal
And as smoke poured from the screen
Robert Novak wasn't that mean
The day the Howler died.

There was a time when I sang the blues
But you could cheer me up with your views
Those days have long faded away.
I went back to the source within
Where I found strength to begin
And no sexists were allowed
And in the streets Kim Gandy screamed
The women gathered and the women dreamed
Not a word of you was spoken
Your promise had long been broken
And the three women I admire the most
Naomi, Gandy and Gloria the most
Said that this was no time to coast
And the Howler died.

So ... bye, bye Bob Somerby
Checked out the conflict and the conflict was inside (of you)
And like Cokie and Tim you took people for a ride
Singing "You shall never see me clown
You shall never see me clown."

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Abramoff makes plea deal, Gitmo, NSA spying and blackheads

Good evening. We've got a lot tonight including an e-mail question. So let's get right to Democracy Now!

Top Republican Lobbyist Pleads Guilty To Fraud, Bribery
In Washington Tuesday, the prominent Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff pleaded guilty to three felony counts. He admitted to defrauding at least four Native Americans tribes of tens of millions of dollars, bribing government officials and evading taxes.
_ Abramoff has reportedly agreed to testify against several members of Congress who received favors or donations from him or his clients.
_ The Wall Street Journal reports his testimony could implicate as many as 60 lawmakers.

I think the best explanation on this is in "The Biggest Congressional Scandal in Over a Century? GOP Lobbyist Jack Abramoff Pleads Guilty to Three Felony Counts:"

PETER STONE: Well, based on what we've learned over the last year in Senate hearings that Ben Nighthorse Campbell and Senator McCain were instrumental in starting that looked into the allegations that they bilked tribes of tens of millions of dollars, and now what's come out in not only Abramoff's plea bargain yesterday, but Scanlon's plea bargain, and what are expected to be more in the near future, the scope of the fraud appears to be enormous. One of Abramoff's former partners apparently referred to it at one point when the scandal was about to break or had just broken as potentially the Enron of lobbying, which is not a bad analogy in some ways.
The scandal has now really shaken up both the lobbying community in Washington and members and congressional staffers who were close to Jack Abramoff or even who knew him very slightly and worked with him. What we've seen really is a pattern of favor giving, a pattern of influence pedaling that, as Alice Fisher said, appears to go well beyond the lawful bounds of lobbying.

Justice Dept. Seeks Dismissal of Gitmo Cases
In other news, the Justice Department has filed a request to dismiss more than 180 cases brought by Guantanamo Bay detainees to challenge their detentions. The detainees lost their right to habeus corpus in a Senate amendment attached to anti-torture legislation passed last month. Detainees are now only able to plead their case before an appeals court once they have gone through a military court process.

"Oh bless John McCain! Oh bless our Congress!" This slipped by at the same time and there was so much back patting that not a lot of people cared. Amy Goodman did and covered it more than once before the Senate amendment went through including when she interviewed Michael Ratner. C.I. covered it too and noted everytime the New York Times did one of their "real deal McCain" stories. But we weren't supposed to peak behind the spin.

Now the "detainees" have been stripped of the only right they had. So they can just stay in Guantanamo forever and most Americans don't even seem to care. It's a shame on our nation.
If you're wondering about "detainees," I put it in quotes because this is an issue Elaine's raised and Ma's been thinking about it too. She loved C.I.'s comment on it this morning and asked me to put it in:

Like Elaine, by the way, I think it's past time for a new term. "Detainee" doesn't really convey several years of imprisonment. I'm not sure that "inmates" is the proper term, and not sure that it isn't, but "detainee" makes it sound as though you've been stopped as you went through customs and forced to declare an item or two.

That's funny but it's true too. "Detainee" and they've been there for how many years? And there's no end in sight. Ma said she thinks Bully Boy was the one using "detainee" first, he and his administration, and that it had a temporary quality to it and made it sound like it was just a stop over while they got a few things straight and sorted out. But that now, she thinks they're political prisoners because they're held with no visits from their family and held for years without ever having been convicted of anything.

Now in the New York Times today there was this article "Agency First Acted on Its Own to Broaden Spying, Files Show" and it's about when the spying began and how Nancy Pelosi objected as early as October, 2001 and we know that now because parts of her letter objecting have been declassified.

Here's C.I.'s commentary from The Common Ills this morning:

How did the NSA have the power to make the changes? According to administration spokespeople an executive order ( Executive Order 12333) Reagan signed allowed for it to happen. I know all presidents rely on those executive orders and think they override the Constitution, but they don't. At best, it's "an order" by its very nature, it's not a law. No president can declare a law. Congress is the law making body.
But that's today's spin from the White House: "Reagan signed an executive order and that gave us permission!" (Did Yoo discover that order at the time or did someone, Yoo?, think of it as the illegal activity continued to hound Bully Boy?)
[. . .]
Again, executive orders (which are utilized far too often) lack Congressional oversight and are not laws. They are orders. And if they conflict with the Constitution, those who take an oath to uphold the Constitution should refuse to follow them (or they're breaking their oath). There's no oath to follow the Bully Boy. At least no public one.But this administration has been filled with people (Colin Powell, for instance) who saw the Bully Boy as the nation. No president is the nation. The people are the nation and when the presidency turns against the people, it has turned against the nation.

So that's the news you should know about today. Be sure to check out Elaine's comments on the same topic at Like Maria Said Paz. (And be sure to check out her entry on Kat from last night.)And Seth posted Sunday and picked his choice for person of the year so check out Seth in the City.

Now let's deal with Sereena's e-mail. She has a problem. And now she has a new boyfriend and she's embarrassed and worried about if things go further. How come?

Way up on her inner thigh she gets these things. We went back and forth with e-mails cause I wasn't sure what she was talking about. I think she's talking about black heads and sometimes they can get so bad that they become these welts so it might be ingrown hairs too except she doesn't have any hair there naturally. She showers every morning and also right after she works out if it's a gym day.

So I talked to my kid sister and she knows a girl at her school who has the same thing happen.
She tried everything. Then finally she got the idea to use pore strips. She goes through them because they are for the nose and not really to slap on your inner thigh. But it has taken care of the problem. She didn't get welts though. My sister called her and asked if she was cool talking to me about it and she was. She said that she only got a "real big pimple" at the worst times. But she's been doing the pore strips now for "about two months" and they've taken care of the problem. She's not sure how big the area Sereena has to cover is but she goes that it will probably require at least one box so to keep that in mind if she buys some.

If Sereena has time, she usually just squees around them and when she told me that, I started thinking blackheads. The way she describes them in her e-mail that may be what they are. But if you know something else e-mail because I'm not a doctor. There may be something else. And it could be something like nutrition. She's too embarrassed to ask at the drug store but she does have a physical coming up near the end of Feb. so if you have another idea on what might be going on, e-mail.

We'll close with "Mediaocracy 2006: Out with the Old, In With the New" by Danny Schechter:

Our media is being confronted by a public that isn’t very happy with its output. We know this from surveys that span the political spectrum that may be reported but are rarely dwelt on. The last thing media outlets want to report is why the public is turning against them. In a media designed for "tune-in," tune-out seems to be the trend. Opinion surveys report widespread dissatisfaction--see recent reports by the Pew Center in American Life--but other statistics are more compelling--the statistics that report fewer viewers watching network news programs and readers buying newspapers.
Match that up with the comparatively low voter turnout in The US and you find that in ours, the most media rich nation on earth, democratic participation is shrinking. Many critics have criticized the media for actually depoliticizing politics and in the process undermining democracy. Media scandals seem to be erupting more frequently than political scandals, and the credibility of major media continues to decline. One Pew Center public opinion poll in one of those rare moments when members of the public were asked for their views -- found that as many as 70% of the people asked expressed dissatisfaction with the media. Nearly 70 percent were angry, but for different reasons. Nearly half think the media is too left wing -- not surprising after years of the Republican Party’s punditocracy trashing the so-called "liberal media." The other half blames the right wing for souring them on media, pointing to Fox News and a tendency for big media to defer to big government.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Military turns against Bully Boy, air war and 2005

Good evening and hope everyone had a great New Year's Eve. Let's kick things off with Democracy Now!

Bush Support Dropping Among Armed Forces
Meanwhile, a new poll by the magazine group Military Times shows support for President Bush among US armed forces has fallen over ten percent in the last year. The survey found support for Bush's overall policies at 60 percent, down from 71 percent. Support for the Iraq war for is at 54 percent - down from 63 percent. The Times says the poll found "diminished optimism that US goals in Iraq can be accomplished, and a somewhat smaller drop in support for the decision to go to war in 2003."

Reminds me of the movie, Sir, No, Sir. Hope I got the title right. But that's where we are now with Bully Boy losing support daily. From every quarter. He's earned the response and then some and, fingers crossed for luck, maybe 2006 will be the year where the impeachment talk really gets off the ground? If not, maybe we can at least prevent him from launching another war.

US Air Strike Kills 14 Civilians in Iraq
In Iraq, Reuters is reporting a U.S. air strike has killed 14 members of one Iraqi family in the northern town of Baiji. An Iraqi military spokesperson said the air raid damaged an additional four houses, injuring at least three other people.

Smart bombs? Smart bombs kill. They may be "smart" and they may not be. Looking at the first Gulf War, they could just as easily be called "Idiot Bombs." Tkae out innocent civilians, destroy homes. Winning hearts and minds?

Be sure to check out Elaine's site Like Maria Said Paz. She'll be posting today and everyone took off Monday because we were wiped out from New Year's Eve and from taking part in that and helping put together the latest edition of The Third Estate Sunday Review. We all decided to take a needed day off as we finished working on that edition. For me and Elaine that meant posting the stuff we usually do before Sunday on Sunday. I did mine right after the edition was done and Elaine did her's later Sunday night.

My buddy Wally decided to start the new year by posting late to The Daily Jot. How come? Even with him saying, "This isn't a morning blog" people keep assuming it is. So he wanted to start his first post of the new year later and hopefully get that point across.

Who didn't take the day off (and who probably needed it the most)? Did you guess C.I.? If not, you haven't been to The Common Ills. There was new stuff up at The Common Ills while the rest of us were resting. Tony came by today and pointed that out but wondered why there wasn't more? I told Tony, "You've got to be kidding." We were all wiped out on January first and putting together the year in review alone took close to half a day.

When I put it like that, Tony got the point. If anyone else missed it, hopefully that explained it to you.

We all tried to encourage C.I. to take the day off but while I can blow off a day and others can to, C.I. feels like there has to be at least one thing up at The Common Ills each day or members will be let down. Thinking about Tony's initial reaction, I'm wondering who else felt there wasn't enough up at The Common Ills? If you're one of them, I hope you'll take a moment to think about how much work goes into The Common Ills and not just in doing those posts but in going through the e-mails and all the stuff involved. I don't put a tenth of that work into this site. (And I still think C.I. should have taken the day off.)

Besides the entries keeping you up to date on the news, here's what else you missed at The Common Ills if you took some time for yourself (and if you did, good for you):

"The Common Ills Year in Review 2005"
The mother of all entries! Seriously, it covers almost everything and Dad called it a "Tolstoy read." Need another reason to read it? Ma's quoted in it. And thank you to Carl for selecting something of mine as worthy of attention. I had forgotten that thing and was really glad it was in there because I was talking about, in July, how people would rather talk about Brad and Angelina than the war in Iraq and C.I. went from my talking about that to Wally talking about the same topic in November. No kidding. Wally's mother had been watching the local news and they go "Next, an attack in Iraq and Brad and Angelina" or something like that. It was still treated like it was "news" and that's pretty silly and disgusting if you want my opinion.

"Ruth's Year End Report"
Also worth checking out. Ruth's got a plan for 2006 and I think it's a great one. What's the plan? Hey lazy bones, read her entry. She's talking about where public radio is and where it should be and what her focus is going to be for 2006. And along the way, she'll make you laugh and she'll make you think.

"Kat's Korner: 2005 in Music"
Kat will make you laugh too. And she mentions me! Get Behind Me Satan by the White Stripes is a killer CD. I like all of Kat's picks for 2005 and since my Dad got Judy Collins' Portrait of An American Girl from my oldest brother for Christmas, I've really been able to hear that one. That's the one that was new to me from the list. I had the others ones myself.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

I'm nodding off from New Year's Eve (which was great) and the all nighter at The Third Estate Sunday Review. Check out the latest edition. Now let me say good morning to everyone.
There's so much in Friday's Democracy Now! that Elaine and I weren't sure what to note. These are the ones we finally decided on so be sure to check out Elaine's site (Like Maria Said Paz) for her commentary later today.

Gitmo Hunger Strike Jumps To 84 Detainees
This news from Guantanamo Bay -- a five-month hunger strike at the US military prison now involves at least 84 detainees. The US military said 46 detainees joined the strike last Sunday, on Christmas Day. Only nine of over 500 detainees at the prison have been charged with any crime.

What is that like? Can you picture it as you or someone you love? You're put into a prison without a trial. You're held that for years and years. You have no way out. Your family can't visit you. You're stuck in prison. You've had no trial. It's been years. How can you not lose hope? Forty years from now, people will look back and wonder how we got to the point that our government could do this and that so many of us just shrugged and stayed silent.

Secret Prisons, Renditions Enacted Under Broad CIA Program
The Washington Post is reporting new details of the covert CIA program enacted shortly after 9/11 by the Bush administration. The Post says the program, known by its initials GST, marks the largest CIA covert initiative since the height of the Cold War. It includes a range of controversial programs that have been recently uncovered or subjected to public scrutiny -- including the kidnapping of terror suspects abroad, the maintenance of secret prisons in at least eight foreign countries, the use of interrogation techniques considered illegal under international law, and the operation of a fleet of aircraft to move detainees around the globe.
Powers authorized by President Bush include permitting the CIA to create paramilitary teams to hunt and kill designated individuals anywhere in the world. The Post reports the CIA is working to establish procedures that would allow for the quick cremation of a detainee’s body in the event the detainee dies in custody.
A government official who has been briefed on the program said: "Everything is done in the name of self-defense, so they can do anything because nothing is forbidden in the war powers act. It's an amazing legal justification that allows them to do anything."

I don't think Bully Boy has the power to order hunt and kill missions. The CIA is not the military. So there is no "war powers" involved in that. Where is Congress in all of this? These are human rights crimes and let's hope that Bully Boy ends up like Augusto Pinochet, on trial.

I keep thinking about Robert Parry's books and how much the Bush family has gotten away with. If the media hadn't been cowed in the eighties, Bully Boy's father might have been held accountable. If that had happened and we'd realized how crooked Poppy was and how he was involved in Iran-Contra, then maybe we'd realize that we're dealing with a family of crooks. I hope we realize it now. I hope the "Bush dynasty" ends with Bully Boy and that, if in the future one of them runs for president, we remember how this family conducts itself.

It may not be fair to judge a person by their family but here's the cure for fairness: Do you condemn the actions or not? If you're a part of that family and you condone the actions or justify them or stay silent, then you are not someone worthy of holding office.

I want to note Dave Zirin's wrap up of the year in sports, "Over the Edge: The Year in Sports 2005:"

Last December I wrote the following: "2004 should be remembered as a year when the hermetically sealed divide between sports and society frayed for the first time in a generation ... I cannot wait to see what 2005 has in store. Also in 2005, the Chicago White Sox will win the World Series - and it's splitsville for Nick and Jessica." [The last sentence was slightly updated for editorial reasons.]
This past year that "hermetically sealed divide" has gone well beyond the fraying stage. The delicate division between sports and politics was ripped apart like it was trying to block Dwight Freeney. Discussing the "politics of sports" became in 2005 as popular as sports itself - for better and worse.
The tone was set by that most apolitical of bodies, the US Congress. In March, when our baseball thoughts are accustomed to turning toward spring training, the House of Representatives engineered what Rep. Tom Lantos called "a theater of the absurd". Past and present MLB All Stars Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Rafael Palmiero, and Jose Canseco among others were called -- under threat of prison - to testify about performance enhancing drugs in the sport. The proceedings were shameful. All that was missing was William Rehnquist in his yellow striped robe to round out the farce. Not one trainer was subpoenaed. Nor were any owners - especially a certain former Texas Rangers owner named George W. Bush who ran the steroid crack-house where Canseco held court in the early 90s. As one former player said to me, "When it comes to steroids, distribution is a team issue but punishment is for individuals, which is why nothing changes."
But lost in the brouhaha of congressional preening, Mark McGwire melting, and Rafael Palmiero's fall from grace, was any serious discussion of steroids themselves. Do they actually help you hit a baseball? Does a potential all-star team exist at every Gold's Gym? Should the same owners who celebrated the Dionysian home run orgies of the 1990s be trusted with cleaning up the game? Should we trust Mike and the Mad Dog for medical information on the effects of long-term abuse?

Happy New Year! And for a good laugh be sure to check out Isaiah's latest The World Today Just Nuts which is Bully Boy exposed. It's hilarious.