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May 03, 2003
A Cook's Tour (Bourdain)

A Cook's Tour: Global Adventures in Extreme Cuisine (By Anthony Bourdain)

Chef Bourdain is searching for the perfect meal, but he's not looking in the first-star restaurants of Europe or America.

No, he goes to a friend's ancestral home in Portugal to help slaughter a pig and learn the myriads of uses for all the parts.

He goes to Saigon where the ghostly echo of a chopper beats its whupwhupwhup into his ears and the video memory of napalm melting the flesh from a girl's arms almost destroys his appetite forever.

He tries to recreate the summer meals of his youth in La Teste, France, and visits England, the home of roast beef, at the height of the mad cow disaster.

Through St. Petersburg, Morocco, Tokyo, and a dozen other places, Bourdain largely ignores the white-tableclothed haunts of the cognoscenti in his search for the heart of each country's cuisine. Along the way, he doesn't neglect to explore life in each country, either. He has a sauna in Russia, complains about the porn in England, and visits the landmines and ruins of Cambodia. He visits kitchens and waxes lyrical over ingredients but this book is populated with vivid, three-dimensional characters who are more memorable (to the non-chef) than the food.

Entrancing, unsettling, and sometimes deeply disturbing, this is one of the most evocative "travel" books I've ever read.

Posted by AnneZook at 08:25 PM | Comments (0)

I've been reading Daniel Drezner's blog for the past couple of weeks and it's rapidly becoming a favorite.

Darren over at Doc Nebula is rarely political and spends a lot of time castigating his readers for not leaving enough comments to suit him. But he writes well and he's interesting, so I'm adding him to the already-overflowing links list on the left.

I'm following a couple of other newbies, but haven't decided about linking them yet. (No, I'm not being elitist and I don't suppose anyone on the planet will notice or not notice changes to my blogroll. It's just that it's so long already. I'm not going to be able to find anything over there pretty soon.)

What I really need to do is to find an html expert I can pay to debug my code. I've had complaints but I have no idea what's wrong with the fool page. Also I need to figure out a way to move the archives list elsewhere. I know it's possible to have those lists show up elsewhere, I just need to figure out how to do it.

What do you know? I've graduated to Crawly Amphibians on the Ecosphere.

Posted by AnneZook at 09:30 AM | Comments (0)
May 02, 2003
Others In Action

I don't know if I approve of this or not. I'm all about civil disobedience, but I'm not about taking my anger and frustration out on people who aren't part of the problem. Protesting is good. Getting arrested is a hazard, and one that some protesters court in order to garner publicity. After that, it gets fuzzy. I guess if she wanted to be in jail instead of providing her name, that's her choice, but what did that specific act do to further her cause?

Take Back America? I don't know much about the organization (Our Future) but it might be worth keeping an eye on what they do.

Matters of blog

Good grief. What do you suppose is about to be revealed? (Congratulations, Dr. Marshall!)

I'm really happy that John Duffy" over at the Better Rhetor started blogging again, but if he doesn't update more often, I'm going to start spamming him with whiney e-mails.

Have you ever heard of Ashleigh Moore?

Is Aaron Sorkin really leaving West Wing? I might weep.

It's no secret that the History News Network is one of my favorite sites, but have I plugged the mighty-fine blogging being done there yet?

(Via Testify) I think it's great, it's laudable, it's inspirational that researchers are working hard on ways to add feeling to "replacement parts." The potential for the future is huge, especially when you consider people with nerve damage causing paralysis.

I just...I just find it inconceivable that there's much demand for "replacements" in the area where they chose to start their research.

Posted by AnneZook at 11:07 AM | Comments (0)
Bush In Action

Is this true? Is Bush a bigger fraud even than he appears to be in public?

The same journal presents an article pointing out that with this Administration's history of parading falsified documents as "proof" of their assertions, we shouldn't be too fast to accept the so-called intelligence documents supposedly found in that abandoned office.

Other documents "found" by the paper's reporters "revealed" Russian intelligence had passed intercepts of Tony Blair's phone conversations to Iraqi intelligence, that German intelligence offered to assist Iraqi intelligence in the lead up to the war, that France provided Iraq with the contents of US-French diplomatic exchanges, and that anti-war and anti-Bush Labor Party Member of Parliament George Galloway had solicited hundreds of thousands of dollars from Iraq, which were skimmed from the country's oil-for-food program.
It certainly is...interesting that the only people targeted by these papers are the ones publicly identified as foes of Bush's war, doesn't it?

And, speaking of targeting foes, civil rights are under assault again. (Well, not 'again'. More like 'still'.)

The Bush administration and leading Senate Republicans sought today to give the Central Intelligence Agency and the Pentagon far-reaching new powers to demand personal and financial records on people in the United States as part of foreign intelligence and terrorism operations, officials said.

. . .

There was some disagreement over exactly how the provision originated. Several Senate aides active in the debate said that Senator Roberts had included it in the authorization bill. But a senior Congressional official said the Bush administration had initiated the proposal and that Senator Roberts had not objected.

A C.I.A. official said the provision had come from the Bush administration, after the White House's Office of Management and Budget signed off on it.

This is one of those times when even if the intent had been good, it's the wrong action to take.

Do you suppose Enron did anything that wasn't criminal? (Always remember and never forget that the press obediently dropped any and all references to Bush's near-incestuous relationship with Enron after the scandal started to break.)

Also, when your state starts cutting services and laying off employees and no one answers the phone when you call with a question, do not put the blame in the wrong place, okay?

Posted by AnneZook at 10:57 AM | Comments (0)
Politics In Action

How do you fund a massive round of tax cuts? By raising taxes, silly.

It's a sign of our times and something that should give you nightmares. Lyndon LaRouche has raised almost $4 million for his newest White House bid.

Posted by AnneZook at 10:51 AM | Comments (0)
To Your Health

The U.K. isn't as sanguine about the long-term health risks of depleted uranium weapons as our military seems to be. Big surprise. I say, send those guys who insist the stuff is perfectly safe to go over and live next door to a pile of weapons residue for a decade or two. Let them drink the water and eat food raised on that ground. People should be have the courage of their convictions, don't you think?

The BMJ also has an interesting article on the health risks of cannabis.

Posted by AnneZook at 10:48 AM | Comments (0)

Good grief. I'm not sure what to say about that kind of bravery.

Or this kind of commitment.


I think that before they go creating a precedent for extreme measures, the Republicans should stop and remember that they're not always going to be the majority power.

Lies Our Goverment Told Us

I should start abbreviating that as LOGTU.

My mind is boggling. Again. Today I read Bush once again blithely announcing that making war on Iraq was all about 9/11.

We've removed an ally of al Qaeda and cut off a source of terrorist funding."

Although "nearly one-half of al Qaeda's senior operatives have been captured or killed," he said, the terrorist organization was "wounded, not destroyed."

My mind doesn't boggle that he continues to push this lie. My mind boggles because the press continues not to debunk it.

I also wonder, if his war is over, what they're going to start calling the dead people? They can't be 'casualties of war' if there's no war. (Although this bunch, the way the story is told, were criminals.)

And has it only been a week since the USofA admitted that they have their own child prisoner population?

The camp's children are among 664 detainees from 42 countries. Some were captured in Afghanistan; others were rounded up elsewhere. Many have been held without trial for more than two years.

The Bush administration has argued that these detainees are not "people" under the Constitution but, rather, legal nonentities it may hold, release or even execute at its sole discretion. Recent reports indicate that the Justice Department has no intention of trying the vast majority of these prisoners. Rather, estimates on possible tribunal trials rarely exceed two dozen. The administration has simply decided to hold hundreds of people without trial or judicial review at the president's whim. There is a term for that type of prison: gulag.

Let me say that this is the first I've heard of this interpretation of what the government is doing. I rather doubt these prisoners were declared some kind of "un-persons" but I don't doubt at all that the sly dishonesty of holding them on non-USofA soil is intended to keep them out of the media limelight so that we don't know what's being done with them.l

Geoffry Wheatcroft takes time to point out the obvious. When you have them, they're Weapons of Mass Destruction and they're evil. When we have them, they're legitimate defensive weapons. He also points out that the entire concept of a WMD is meaningless.


Unlike many people, I have a job. I'd better go pay attention to it.

Posted by AnneZook at 08:58 AM | Comments (0)
May 01, 2003
Now what?

Do I applaud the students working for change, or mock these people for being so far out of step wtih the rest of the country and even the world?

Sadly, this is just a public reflection of the private bigotry that still infests a large percentage of this country.

Posted by AnneZook at 03:36 PM | Comments (0)
Lies again

Lies again

From Cursor.org:

The Recording Industry Association of America is said to be involved in rewriting Iraqi copyright laws, which are currently much less restrictive than those in the U.S.

An attorney for a U.S. technology law firm tells Reuters that "When you are in a down economy, your biggest customers are in the public sector, the U.S. and other governments. Iraq is a big opportunity.

Maybe that's why the Administration doesn't seem to really care that their plans won't improve the USofA economy? Their corporate owners are too busy lusting after a whole new country to loot.

Read Alterman today.

Posted by AnneZook at 09:42 AM | Comments (0)

I think McVeigh was guilty, the evidence against him was overwhelming, but that doesn't mitigate my dismay at the news that evidence was suppressed at his trial. The FBI needs to do some serious house-cleaning. I know, they're reported to have done do already, but still.

Justice officials could not explain how a letter marked for urgent attention by Ashcroft on an issue that was dominating the headlines could be misrouted, except to say that the outside lawyers should have done more than send it by fax and courier.
Take out an ad in the NYTimes? Buy some television air time? What?

Not surprisingly, Bush's puppeteers are playing tricks with their AIDS funding.

I guess, in a way, it's comforting to learn that we're not the only country selling out our future for the lure of corporate money. I don't entirely blame the government agencies that do these things. When they don't have the funds they need, how else are they to raise them? (Something tells me that the National Carrot Association isn't offering anyone a few million dollars in school equipment for rights to promote carrot-eating to school-age children.)

Norah Vincent has a persuasive column on why heterosexual people need to care about the outcome of the Texas sodomy case before the Supreme Court.

Now that those pesky fraud investigations are out of the way, it's going to be business as usual on Wall Street.

Monday's press conference detailing his $1.4 billion settlement with Wall Street firms accused of peddling tainted research should have been Eliot Spitzer's triumphant moment, but he did not exude a victor's comfort. And for good reason. Having won the war or at least a major battle against Wall Street's shoddy behavior, Mr. Spitzer, New York's attorney general, already fears losing the peace.

One big reason is a cynical revisionism taking hold in some Wall Street quarters. The thesis is that investors have only themselves to blame for their losses during the stock market, not duplicitous research. The thesis further holds that little will change as a result of the settlement's reforms.

I think most of us don't have any trouble believing that "little will change."

When the lies return, and I don't doubt that they will under a Republican Administration, we might not hear about them. The so-called liberal media has their own stake in promoting the stock market (read the book) and certainly as the albatross of corporate media grows ever larger, we're likely to hear less and less of the truth as years go by.

Once again, no child, at least no poor child, is being left behind as the Bush Administration continues it's attempt to dismantle the federal government.

My goodness, this is blunt, isnt' it?

Posted by AnneZook at 09:27 AM | Comments (0)
Activism and Bookmarks

Advertising Age

AHF News Room

CDC 2003 Outbreak News

Center for Democracy and Technology

Center for Public Integrity

Clary-Meuser Research Network

Congressional Report Cards

Death Row Roll Call


Eugene Volokh

FAS Arms Sales Monitor


Human Rights Watch

Institute for Public Accuracy

Intelligence Online

lying in ponds

Military Intelligence Strategy

Multinational Monitor

Nat'l Center for Policy Analysis


Polling Report


Poynter Online

Public Citizen Health Research

Public Interest Research Groups


Society of Professional Journalists

The Public i

U.S. Bombing Watch

White House Press Releases




Center for Digital Democracy

Democratic National Committee

Democracy Now

Make Them Accountable



Physicians For Human Rights

Taxpayers for Common Sense

Take Back The Media

United For Peace

UnReasonable Women


Posted by AnneZook at 09:07 AM | Comments (0)
Still Musing

Hope for Iraq has existed for a long time. Let's hope that the USofA version of enforced democracy doesn't destroy it.

Let's all pause while my mind does its daily boggle. Today's boggle-causing event is the news that there are those in Europe who would like to form a Euro Army that would compete with NATO for defense and security work. Am I the only person who didn't see NATO as an actual business that could spawn competitors?

Remember Saleton's response to Santorums' comparison of homosexuality to incest, adultery, etc? I thought you might. Anyhow, I never could think of a response to what Saleton had to say, but, David E took on the task in his usual thorough fashion.

Every day, I like to read something that makes me smile.

Posted by AnneZook at 08:17 AM | Comments (0)

I'm downright encouraged to read that people are still debating both the war and the peace movement that sprang up to protest it. I'm not encouraged to read someone saying that the way to attain world peace is to put armed US Soldiers all over the globe.

I am encouraged that public pressure can force a corporation to do the right thing. (Don't get your hopes up, it's a Swedish corporation, not a USofA one.)

I'm unsurprised that the Federal government is hedging on the international tobacco treaty. I don't know if its geography or what it is, but the tobacco lobby in the USofA is a strong one.

Chads! Remember chads? Florida remembers and there's a new fight brewing over the infamous bits of paper. Should those ballots be destroyed?

Speaking of Republicans, Rich Lewis thinks they're going to self-destruct even without a decent Democratic contender.

And Molly Ivins says, "Boy, there is no shortage of creatively terrible ideas from the Republican Party these days."

Posted by AnneZook at 07:48 AM | Comments (0)
April 30, 2003

I love the internet. There's always something thought-provoking to read.

Posted by AnneZook at 01:58 PM | Comments (0)
DO something!

Go here and read.

Then act.

Posted by AnneZook at 01:31 PM | Comments (0)
By the way

If you still haven't figured out what it is the Bush Administration hopes to accomplish with their economic policies, Matthew Rothschild will explain it to you.

Those previously unacquainted with this plan, or appalled by the same, are regrettably nave.

Posted by AnneZook at 01:21 PM | Comments (0)
Lies, blah, blah, blah Howard

Lies, blah, blah, blah

Howard Kurtz takes on the story of the Weapons of Mysterious Disappearance and how little the government knew or cared whether or not they'd find any in Iraq. He addresses our nation's rapidly disappearing credibility in the international community, as well.

Others around the world care intensely and are unlikely to be soothed by realizing that the WMD issue was a pretext for preemptive war. What is to stop India or Pakistan or China from concocting a pretext for launching a strike against a perceived danger? If we did it, so can they.
Can, and will. And then what will we say?

Read on down to the coverage of the Banfield - Wiener ( Weener? Or is it Weiner? Oh, well, let's just use his chosen alias, 'Savage'.) thing for today's reminder of all the ways MSNBC is struggling to overtake FOX on the slippery slope to the gutter.

Posted by AnneZook at 01:08 PM | Comments (0)
Lies, Damned Lies, and Government

Lies, Damned Lies, and Government

The U.K. press isn't turning loose of the lies their government told them.

When did the people in this country become such hypocrites?

Maybe we always were.

Kent State was one of the defining moments of my youth. I heard the news that the National Guardsmen, essentially US soldiers, had fired on US citizens on US soil, with shock and fear. Back then, I couldn't understand how such a thing could happen here, in my country. It was inconceivable to me that US soldiers would kill US college kids. Simply inconceivable.

And the more I read revelations that no one, not even the men pushing it, thought we should be in that war, or that it was winnable, the more the memory of that day haunts me. This article is right. The USofA citizenship didn't rise up to protest that war. The protesters were a small percentage of the population. Heck, they were a small percentage of their age group. (Bush's indifference to the war as he drank and partied his way through college isn't unusual. Most college kids behaved the same way. Maybe this is why the revelation of his lackluster college performance didn't hurt him in the polls?

By and large, there was an attitude of "government knows best" in those that that I see, with some bitterness, still rules a large portion of the population today.

It's a mystery to me how those people manage to live with themselves. It's a mystery to me why they don't choke on the lies, instead of swallowing them happily and hoping that now things will get 'back to normal' and they can go back to watching Survivor and Cops and pretending that the larger, real world, doesn't have anything to do with them.

Forget the hypocrisy. When did we become so complacent?

When did it become okay for us to become a bunch of oppressive, imperialist goons? From where do we, with our faltering economy, future-destroying deficits, and semi-totalitarian, elitist Administration, get the nerve to lecture anyone about how to set up a democracy? Especially as we're, once again, demonstrating that what we say about "liberating" Iraq and what we're actually doing are so far apart.

Once, long, long ago in blog-time, I whined that I didn't understand the constant refrain of complaints the world leveled against the USofA. I didn't understand the complaints about our sense of entitlement, our lack of understanding of the rest of the world, or our misunderstanding of our place among nations.

Today, I do understand. I can't say I'm happier for the educational experience, but that's the way it goes. If more people looked up from their television screens now and then, the resulting culture shock from learning how things really work might not be so intense for each of us.

Now, I have to go dig through American history, read about two dozen books, and see if I can figure out what went wrong with the grand experiment of government of the people, by the people, and for the people.

At some point, the people decided they weren't part of the formula and I'm determined to figure out when and why.

Posted by AnneZook at 09:45 AM | Comments (0)
April 29, 2003
The Mind Boggles

Over at the Washington Post, Mike Allen seems to be living in an alternate reality as he describes President Bush as "a semi-prepared Texan, armed with simple eloquence and prickly certitude." How can anyone living on this planet think Bush was even semi-prepared?

Good grief.

Also, in the "good grief" category, we may not have an Information Minister, but we've got Ari.

Posted by AnneZook at 02:11 PM | Comments (0)

Speaking of What Liberal Media?, a review (a much better one than mine), can be found over at TAPPED.

Everyone knows that conservatives win when they play hardball. But they also win at softball. Among congressional staff in Washington, the hallowed summer tradition of softball games on the National Mall is, in many ways, a microcosm of the larger political struggle between liberals and conservatives. Liberals let everyone play, even if it means benching their home-run hitters while the guy who whiffs every pitch gets a turn. Conservatives pick their nine strongest players and send everyone else out to buy beer. Liberals often have four or five women on the field. Conservatives play only the required three and sometimes even insist that different rules apply to women. Liberals have such fierce team names as Jeffords' Vermont Saps or the Daschle Prairie Dogs. Conservative teams are more likely to follow the lead of the Helms Hitmen.
This pretty much tells you what you need to know about the difference between Liberals and Conservatives.

Read the review.

Posted by AnneZook at 01:39 PM | Comments (0)
Other Stuff

Heil Democracy! (by Maureen Farrell) is somewhat inflammatory, but that doesn't make it any less true.

Back when Iraq was but a gleam in Richard Perle's eye, Tiulkin predicted that the Bush administration would "pursue a policy of military expansionism and forcible interference" remaking countries and lives "according to [US]standard[s]." "One can already hear 'Heil democracy! Freedom is enduring!' he wrote, nearly 18 month before Operation Iraqi Freedom began. Already, Iraq's majority Shiite Muslims agree. "I thought the Americans said they wanted a democracy in Iraq," 41-year-old merchant Kassem al-Sa'adi told London's Independent newspaper. "If it is a democracy, why are they allowed to make the rules?"

Given that Bush's "with us or against us" mentality rubbed many Americans the wrong way, it's easy to see how it riled a former foe and committed Communist. Nevertheless, Mr. Tiulkin's points about language and propaganda are intriguing. With the ABC-aired confession that the White House "emphasized" the perils posed by Saddam's weapons "to gain the legal justification for war from the United Nations and to stress the danger at home to Americans" historical hype repeated itself. "An evil exists that threatens every man, woman and child of this great nation," Adolph Hitler asserted. "We must take steps to insure our domestic security and protect our homeland."

Heil, democracy, indeed.

This is significant because it's the House that's been trotting at the Administration's tax-cutting heels over the past few months and it was the Senate where the spirit of independence kept showing up.

In a setback for President Bush, House Republican leaders have decided to dramatically scale back his proposal to eliminate taxes on stock dividends, congressional sources said.
Of course, the House isn't proposing this out of consideration for the little people.
Missing from the plan is a proposal to allow small businesses to write off larger portions of their capital investments
Substantially lowering capital gains taxes for the rich is still part of the plan.

And things like this are why right-thinking people should condemn Savage and his ilk.

Posted by AnneZook at 10:41 AM | Comments (0)
Items of interest

Looks like not even "coalition" members can be guaranteed their share of the Iraqi pie. Not only are we lying warmongers, we're so dishonest that not even our allies are safe.

Over at the OpinionJournal, Shelby Steele says that Black citizens should get over their history. Shelby Steele says Black citizen need to stop protesting oppression. Shelby Steele says such oppression no longer exists. Shelby Steele says that what ails Black America today is that these newly liberated people just don't know how to handle their freedom. They're blinking myopically in the golden light of opportunity and not sure what to do with their new lives. Shelby Steele says, "the sin of protest was to diminish and defame black responsibility in its rush to make black problems into white burdens."

Shelby Steele is something of an idiot.

(Oh, drat. I promised not to do any more namecalling, didn't I? Sorry about that.)

(Later note: I may be reconsidering my position on this one. I'm not sure yet.)

What do you do when someone achieves success, but they don't do in a way you can approve of? Well, you pick and choose and pull out the tiny piece you agree with and make that the centerpiece of the argument.

I'm not a warmonger. I'm totally not a warmonger, and I think you know that, but at the same time I find myself getting just a little aggravated with North Korea. Blackmail is blackmail. Extortion is extortion.

Korea had asked for a step-by-step package under which it would receive oil shipments, food aid, security guarantees, energy assistance, economic benefits and construction of a light-water nuclear reactor in return for very small steps by North Korea.

The officials said that under its proposal, North Korea would dismantle its nuclear weapons only at the end of the process. Moreover, they said, it was not clear that this would affect both its plutonium weapons program, frozen in 1994, and the highly enriched uranium program disclosed last year.

This is clearly a moment for the U.N. to intervene, but just as clearly, North Korea intends that the USofA be the one to pay the bill.

(Which is probably best, since we're so far behind on paying our UN dues that I don't know how the organization keeps operating. Speaking of extortion, you should know that the USofA habitually withholds or underpays their UN dues in order to try and force the organization to act as we direct.)

Over at the Guardian, Brian Whitaker is arguing that, " Widespread Middle Eastern repression of homosexuals stems from outdated ideas about the role of the state" and I find myself wondering if the same applies to repression and attempted repression here in the USofA.

A diplomat speaks out about his resignation and the current Administration's foreign policy.

"The more aggressively we use our power to intimidate our foes," says Kiesling, "the more foes we create and the more we validate terrorism as the only effective weapon of the powerless against the powerful."
I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm not really happy with our new position as the biggest, meanest bully on the planet. It's embarrassing to watch the Administration strut and crow over their ability to wage war on an underdeveloped country full of poor and starving civilians.

Also, over at the LATimes, Robert Scheer is staying on the Lies of Mass Destruction story. Are We Dumb Or Just Numb?

Selective compassion. Paul Krugman is on it.

For those confused, check out Iraq for Dummies. It won't explain the insanity of things like Iraqi-issued press credentials being preferred over a valid USofA passport, though.

Many of us in the USofA tend to be pretty squeamish. We don't like to think that the hamburger on our plates came from a living creature, or that the chicken who laid our breakfast egg is living in a sterile pen and not roaming around some farmyard, soaking up sun and pecking at grain.

Get over it. And be glad that a certain sensibility, a sort of underground foundation of liberalism, exists in this country. A drive to treat living things, even those destined for the dinner table, with respect.

One sign of how attitudes have shifted: Hundreds of farmers, truck drivers and slaughterhouse managers recently attended workshops on such topics as "Inside the Mind of a Steer," "Humane Turkey Production" and "Creating an Animal Welfare Mind-Set in Your Company," in a seminar sponsored by the American Meat Institute.
these topics might sound amusing to those not in the industry, but they're not a joke.

Also, all of that experimentation on lab rats has finally produced results. They've developed a cancer-proof mouse. (I joke, but this is a huge breakthrough.)

And, finally, read this interview with Roger Ebert.

Q: What do you make of the criticism of Hollywood celebrities for speaking out against the war--the Sean Penns, the Susan Sarandons?

Ebert: It's just ignorant; it's just ignorant.

You go, Roger.

Posted by AnneZook at 10:12 AM | Comments (0)

We really can't let that Patriot Act, or any version of it, remain in force after the original 9/03 expiration date.

As far as that goes, I think all laws allowing people to be held indefinitely without being charged with a crime, should be repealed.

Until criminal charges were filed Monday, Hawash was held as a "material witness" under a 1984 law that has been used to detain terrorist suspects without the need for prosecutors to charge them with a crime.
If they did nothing else, the protests about holding Mike Hawash incommunicado since March 20 at least prompted the Administration into filing actual charges.

Don't get me wrong, okay? I'm all about USofA citizens not giving aid and comfort to our enemies, but unlike our current Administration, I have faith in the ability of our judicial system to take care of these things.

And it's no secret to us that the economy has been pretty lousy since 9/11. That said, why did median pay for CEOs at major defense contractor firms rise 79% between 2001 and 2002? As far as that goes, why in the heck did other media CEO pay rise 6% in the same time frame? Did your pay rise 6% between 2001 and 2002? If it didn't the CEO of your company shouldn't have gotten a raise, either.

And while no child is being left behind, I think we were entitled to know that the finish of that sentence was always intended to be, "in the race to poverty," don't you?

Posted by AnneZook at 09:51 AM | Comments (0)
April 28, 2003
Still Headlining

Check out Atrios on the White House Correspondent's Dinner. Hee. Hee.

I don't know about the national press, but the world of bloggers is, thankfully, not turning loose of the story that we weren't really killing people because we thought WMD existed, but because we wanted to show the world how big our bombs were.

Those private armies are still being discussed, too. I wish there was a lot more discussion. I don't like the idea of us sanctioning private armies to travel along and help with our killing. And I really hate the idea that stockholders are getting rich off of these deaths.

(Also, let's have a round of applause for the brave man in Memphis.)

Posted by AnneZook at 09:37 AM | Comments (0)
Monday's headlines

No, it ain't PC, but it's worth reading anyhow.

Maybe it's not just the USofA. Maybe the international move toward more liberal treatment of people is suffering a setback worldwide. And now much of that is the fault of the country once held up as a shining example of democracy and freedom? (Quite a lot, actually. Our failure to live up to our ideals has tarnished not only our image, but those ideals. And the world is worse off for the fact.)

There are those who think it was all about oil, in spite of all the "experts" have to say on the subject. Certainly it gets more and more difficult to pretend it was about liberating people.

Imagine foreign troops sitting idly, laughing as hooligans trashed the Smithsonian, stole the gold from Fort Knox and burned down the Department of the Interior. That was us in Iraq.
It was, indeed.

Those who imagine it was about the fabled WMD might wonder why we didn't, instead, go after a country that actually had such weapons.

Cluster bombs hide-and-seek! We drop 'em, you guess where.

A U.S. military spokesman did not directly respond to questions on the issue Saturday. Rather, he stressed that is not the military's responsibility to help groups such as MAG with the cleanup.
I don't know how these guys were raised, but my mama taught me to clean up my own messes.

And don't dismiss too quickly the idea that our embarrassed Administration might plant a little evidence. It's not like organized lying would be a new approach, for them or for our government in general. Those involved in previous lying campaigns seem to be in agreement.

And maybe it's just me, but I think throwing a party celebrating what was done in Iraq was in poor taste. But then, I expect little else from Rumsfeld. (I'd like to think that the French, if invited, would have shown more class than to attend, but with diplomats, you never know.)

Other matters

Personally, I think Great Britain is going to regret messing around with electronic ballots.

Don't feel well? Maybe it's bad lettuce?

Maybe it's not just on the internet. According to Safire, getting in your opponent's face is returning as a political strategy.

You should read this for some background on how our forefathers viewed the power of large corporations.

Howard Kurtz starts pointing out the spin already building in the Republican attempt to position Bush as a rousing success ripe for reelection.

Posted by AnneZook at 09:15 AM | Comments (0)
April 27, 2003
What Liberal Media? (Alterman) (4)

What Liberal Media?

Picking up where we left off, which was in the middle of me rambling aimlessly about this excellent book.

The next bit I wanted to talk about what Alterman's coverage of economic bias in the media. If there is, as he suggested and I agreed, a distinct liberal social bias in the media, then there's also an opposing conservative economic bias.

Might was well call it "conservative corporate interest bias" and be done with it. It exists, and the tenderness shown toward corporate well-being by the national press unquestionably dose huge damage to this country by disguising from people the real consequences and effects of things like NAFTA. It's all well and good for the politicians to trumpet about the jobs to be created by NAFTA, but the press should have pointed out that the bulk of those jobs would be 'created' by moving jobs from the USofA to other, less-developed and consequently less-expensive labor markets.

The report of the way the dot-com boom and the accompanying stock market boom were promoted and "sold" to the public by men making money off the very stocks they were praising should be grounds for a criminal investigation, but whatever.

I left that chapter with a bad taste in my mouth and, if possible, less respect for the media even that I had before.

And then, of course, there were the Clinton years. Worthy of investigation not only because it was all so recent, but because of the mindless blood-lust shown by the press for eight solid years.

Alterman's report of how reporters essentially banded together to assault the white House during those years is astounding. A fascinating report on how "lead" after "rumor" was thrown on the front page of the daily papers, only to be dropped or buried when it proved to go nowhere and on how certain reporters went on a crusade to bring Clinton down and, by dint of relentlessly hammering home what a crook he was, nearly managed to do so even though, aside from a couple of sexual shenanigans, there was never any proof, or even solid circumstantial evidence, of wrongdoing.

(The more different "angles" I read on this subject, the less I understand what the media thought it was doing if I don't ascribe "conservative bias" to their behavior. Because if they were so offended by their belief that wrongdoing existed to be uncovered, they'd be hiding in Bush's shrubbery hehe right now, copying down the reams and reams of distortions, lies, and half-truths this Administration is tossing out each and every day. The difference in the media's treatment of Clinton and Bush, even before 9/11 is so notable that only an overarching conservative bias can explain it.)

This chapter alone proves the entire premise of the book.

(Reading this chapter, I also found myself wondering if those reporters really were driven by a kind of "hatred' or by sheer, blind, lust for sex-and-scandal-fueled ratings? Either way, the majority of the public's indifference to the relentless media hysteria must have driven those same journalists nuts.)

The most telling passage in the book might be this one:

Such blatant manipulation is viewed with a kind of cynical appreciation by the cogs in the media who conspire to pass it along. Everyone understands "how the game is played" and so nobody gets too upset when the rules are bent to deceive voters.
Consider that a moment.

Is there any occasion, really, when reporters "playing the game" should aid and abet candidates in broadcasting lies to the public? I'm thinking, not.

The passage is in direct reference to this:

During Robert Dole's 1996 convention speech, network camera operators could not find any actual black people to portray as delegates who were really delegates. So as a favor to Dole and the Republicans, they focused on their own employees."
Read it well. This little "favor" has consequences, because the Republican Party's reputation for what little "diversity" it possesses is based upon incidents like this.

Alterman's point is that it doesn't matter if a candidate is photographed in a staged scene with a group of black and brown children who had to be bussed in for the moment, because it doesn't matter if children like a candidate or not, but I think it does matter.

If a candidate isn't campaigning where the black and brown children live, if no parents of black or brown children show up at his rally and bring their children, I think the public is entitled to know that, okay?

In any case, it's just plain dishonest.

Everyone understands "how the game is played" and so nobody gets too upset when the rules are bent to deceive voters
Considered dispassionately, that sentence tells you much you need to know, not only about what's wrong with politics in this country today, but about the pathetic state of the media.

Anyhow. Ahem.

Moving along....

I don't know if journalists "relate to" Democrats better or not, but on page 158, Alterman finally took a sideswipe at the thing I believe most strongly colors the media-Democrat relationship. Even the media willing to fairly cover Democrats expects more from Democratic candidates and it holds them to higher standards.

(Did I discuss this before? Oh well. Even if I did, it bears repeating.)

Behavior that wouldn't twitch a journalistic eyebrow in a conservative candidate produces full-throated screams of outrage in a Democrat. Clinton was accused of having extra-marital sex. Even before he lied about it, before he was suspected of doing it in the White House, the press was just furious with him. Why aren't we hearing even a tenth of the same outrage over one of Clinton's accusers pleading guilty to child pornography? If the press is so moral and upright, why does sex, albeit extra-marital, between two consenting adults outrage them more than kiddie porn and statutory rape?

(And why did the court give this man two years' probation instead of a prison sentence?)

Anyhow. Maybe, by saying the above about journalists "relating" to Democrats, Alterman is suggesting something along the lines of, "you always hurt the ones you love," I don't know.

We were making war on Iraq as I read this book.

Against the backdrop of the BBC discussing the reporters who were dead or missing during the opening days of the war, I read that Bush got kid glove treatment from the media, including a discreet silence on the subject of his appalling record in Texas because they were childishly amused by the nicknames he bestowed upon them. Reporters were amused and as I read about it, other reporters were dying.

Against the backdrop of Fort Blix announcing that they knew nothing and could say nothing about a dozen or more missing soldiers, I read that reporters accepted that Bush did, "not take this politics stuff too seriously" but they didn't think that was very important, and I'm ashamed.


All of my quibbles aside, it's compelling and convincing reading. There's tons of good stuff in there. Better yet, read it the way I did.

Read Shrub: The Short but Happy Political Life of George W. Bush (by Molly Ivins and Lou Dubose) first.

It was published in 2000, before the election, so you'll get a good feel for who Bush was when he decided to run for the Presidency. Background on his policies in Texas, on how he did business, etc.

Then read this book, paying close attention not only to the overall conservative bias in the media, but how it acted in Bush's favor during the election.

You'll see how a man manifestly unfit to hold a high office was placed there, not only by political influence, but by actual conniving on the part of people who knew he didn't belong there but who thought he was "nicer" than the other guy.

You'll get a sense of how thousands of people have died in the past month because of overt and unashamed unprofessionalism in the media.

Cause and effect.

It would be harder to find a clearer or more compelling illustration of the pitfalls of a shackled, partisan, and corporate-controlled press.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again.

I miss Walter Cronkite.

Posted by AnneZook at 06:51 PM | Comments (0)