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June 14, 2003
Hee Hee

Who says politicians aren't responsive? The Blogosphere's (Lefty) Candidate of Choice has weighed in with the Obligatory Candidate Bio. We assume further updates on the status of said campaign won't be far behind.

Sir:

We will be ignoring that reference to 'petulance' in the egotistical assumption that it must have been ten other blogs and not ours to which the gentleman from Pennsylvania was referring.

Respectfully,
A Member Of the Voting Public
(Although not Pennsylvanian)

(I rather enjoy referring to myself in the plural or, indeed, in the third person. It has a sort of Letter to the Times flavour about it. It's one of the great regrets of my life that no similar tradition exists in the USofA.

Sure, you can write a Letter to the Editor but it lacks the panache, which might be spelled or punctuated incorrectly, that the Times correspondence history offers. A bookstore here in the USofA keeps sending me catalogues and I'm frequently tempted by a book that consists of a sampling of the collected querelous and/or indignant missives penned to the Times over the years.

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

Okay, Blogger has a sexy new interface for me to work in, which is nice. There's blue on the screen and it has the BloggerPro logo because people like me might forget what software they're working in. Also, links to the things I like to do have moved around. I don't like change. Heh. Okay, I like change, but I like change for the better. I'll reserve judgement on the functionality improvements and just mention in passing that I disapprove of "improvements" that eat up the amount of real estate available to me to dink around in.

It's reported to be faster and less buggy than the old one, which is excellent, but I now find that I object to receiving "BIG POST ERROR" messages on my page, okay?

I know I'm wordy and I babble on and on, but sheesh. I can't be the only blow-hard on the system?

(Don't tell me to move off of Blogger, okay? For a trivial sum of money, they provide me with this nifty space in which to rant. I don't know how to make a domain and get it set up somewhere else, okay? I don't know how. I'm also unwilling to wind up constantly fighting techncial problems, which seems to happen to some bloggers when they get their own worlds. I'm not technical. I'm not incapable of learning, but I have a limited amount of time to mess around on-line and if I spend that time dinking with technical problems, then I'm not blowing off steam writing erudite posts, now am I?)

I'll write almost anything in a test post to preview blog changes, won't I? Anyhow, a few new links added, most of which should have been added long ago. (And thanks to Jim for the nudge, although he's not off the hook for election/campaign news.)

Posted by AnneZook at 10:11 AM | Comments (0)
June 13, 2003
Browsing Around the Blogosphere

I don't often just link to other blogs. Not often enough. There's some good discussion out there and good links being offered.

For instance, I didn't make Capozzola's list of favorite female bloggers but I forgive him for the pleasure of finding so many great new blogs I can go read.

A few of these blogs are already on my list, but I'm bookmarking the rest of them to give them a regular read for a while. (I'm also embarrassed to see how many of the ones I actually visit daily aren't yet listed on my blogroll. I need to do some housekeeping.)

I don't think Jim's reputed to be psychic, so I doubt that my exclusion is in any way related to my intention today of posting a huffy entry about how if he's going to run for office in Pennsylvania, he should give us the occasional update on the topic.

There's no reason not to take him to task, right? I mean, what's he doing about the campaign? Did he change his mind? Is he going ahead with it? Does anyone know?

With Spectre claiming he doesn't know if he'll vote against the latest Bush nominee, the one who thinks we've gone too far with separation of church and state and who considers Roe a near-satanic blot on the purity of American values, times could be ripe for a liberal in Pennsylvania. What's going on with Jim?

Anyhow.

Elsewhere, Mathew Yglesias points us to a story where, "Jed Babbin explains that unless you vote for George W. Bush in 2004, the terrorists have won. The mind, as it so often does, boggles.

Posted by AnneZook at 12:42 PM | Comments (0)
Get Your Bias Here!

Okay, how about the newspapers?

The LATimes features "U.S. Counterattack After Iraqi Ambush Kills 27" which makes it appear that Iraqis ambushed U.S. troops and killed 27 U.S. soldiers. That isn't true, so they lose a point.

Catholic infighting on the sex-abuse scandal, the disappearing SARS threat, and the "State Budget Chasm" occupy the rest of the most prominent column on this page. Neutral.

Under a picture of presumably happy worshipers at a Baghdad mosque, we get a smaller headline, "Israel Kills Hamas Militant" with a sentence about a "war of words" that accompanies "escalating violence." You have to click the link to discover that six other people also died, including the man's wife and infant daughter. Minus a point.

I'd say that today's LATimes has just failed an impartiality test, wouldn't you?

Over at the NYTimes, they get head Iraqi ambush headline correct.

Still, story #2 on the page has this headline" Israel Said to Escalate Fight Against Hamas with no mention of the deaths that have already taken place. You have to go to the story and read down to paragraph 15 to find 'news' of deaths that happened yesterday Minus a point.

The third headline, U.S. Will Tighten Rules on Holding Terror Suspects, makes it appear that they're cracking down on suspects, cut they're actually cracking down on law enforcement officials. Minus a point. Maybe two.

If there's an impartiality sweepstakes, the NYTimes just dropped out of the running.

Okey dokey, then. The Washington Post.

They get the Iraqi ambush/counterattack headline right.

They're the only one with a "hunt for WMD" story in the lead, so they get a point for that.

They "humanize" deaths of soldiers in Iraq by offering a story about one soldier. I say that's worth a point. Whether you're 'pro' or 'con' I think it's important to remember the human cost of war.

There's a reference to Israeli leader Sharon seeing, "no contradiction in fighting militants and pursuing peace" (I'm surprised he and Bush don't get along better, you know?) and no reference to deaths yesterday. Hmmm. Well, maybe minus a point for that. Or, is it plus a point for not offering a sensational headline around people dying?

And they give the "full Senate" credit for the Medicare compromise, which is worth a point and an, attaboy.

In case you hadn't noticed, I'm on a "media bias" kick right now. Not liberal versus conservative. "Responsible and accurate" versus "biased and sensationalistic."

More later. (Or, not, if a sudden and uncontrollable work ethic overtakes me.)

Posted by AnneZook at 11:13 AM | Comments (0)
Going a bit deeper

Okay, let's check some of those headlines.

Over on ABC, that tax reference to "speeders and smokers" covers what states are doing to cover the budget shortfalls caused by the Feds' imprudent tax cuts and the continuing bad economy.

Along with "sin taxes" being enacted all over the place, we read that the Massachusetts Governor has proposed making blind people pay a fee for a certificate saying that they're, you know, blind, or they can't access government services.

I'm awfully glad GWB didn't get hurt falling off of his $5,000 scooter, aren't you?

The cattle prod headline, also on ABC actually involves violence against anti-government protestors.

In some parts of Tehran, pro-government thugs circled knots of student protesters, gunning their motorcycle engines.
I'm glad ABC didn't descend to name-calling and bias. I wouldn't want to think our national media automatically considered pro-government activists as "thugs" and anti-government activists as innocent children or anything. Especially when I read this:
It was the third night of demonstrations against Iran's hard-line clerics, who are locked in a power struggle with reformist President Mohammad Khatami. Hundreds of young Iranians, many in their teens, have taken to the streets around Tehran University and the Intercontinental Hotel to denounce the country's supreme leader, hard-liner Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
If the students are protesting in support of Khatami, they're hardly "anti-government" since he's the President. If said "thugs" are protesting in opposition to Khatami, they're hardly "government" thugs, since Khatami is part of the government, right? They're all "pro-government." They're just 'pro' different parts of the government. (Although, honesty compells me to admit that there are those who want to bring down Khatami for not pushing hard enough for reforms. Which just goes to show how little even the people sometimes accept about their own government's machinations, since a dead or imprisoned President would be of even less use to them.)
Criticism of Khamenei is usally punished by imprisonment, and public calls for his death had been unheard of until this week.
Could Bush, et. al., have been right? Has the overthrow of Hussein sparked revolution in the Middle East?
Exiled opposition groups have been encouraging dissent in Iran through U.S.-based Persian language TV channels. U.S. pressure on Iran, which Washington accuses of hiding a nuclear weapons program and harboring terrorists, may have further emboldened those who hope to see the regime toppled.

This week's demonstrators have also called for the resignation of President Khatami, accusing him of not pushing hard enough for democratic reforms.

Khatami does not have the support of the hard-liners who control the judiciary, the security forces and other unelected bodies. But the hard-liners do not enjoy popular support, leaving the two sides of government in a stalemate.

Fascinating.

Over on CBS, that Gen. Bush Slays His Foes headline is just as offensive this time around. He's not a general and abbreviating the word instead of spelling it out, doesn't alleviate the irritation I feel. Still, I understand that 'general' (small 'g') is a popular corporate word when you want to imply a civilian is 'leading his troops' into [economic] battle, so we'll let it pass. The opening sentence of the article, "The man in the White House is the most underrated tactician since Ronald Reagan" is pretty funny, all things considered.

This article claims to have an advance copy of an acceptance speech Bush will give at the Republican Convention in 2004. Leaving aside the fact that this is just untrue (what kind of maniacs write an acceptance speech over a year before an event and when they don't even know what the issues will be?), the speech itself is...nausea-inducing.

“As your president, I was proud to shepherd in the greatest expansion of government health benefits since the Great Society programs of the 1960s. By making sure that Medicare will pay for prescription drugs, we have ensured that America’s seniors finally have the coverage they have been deprived of for so long. And to the millions of ‘baby boomers’ that will retire in the coming decades, I say you will never have to worry about paying for your medicines again. Democrats talked the talk; we Republicans have walked the walk.”

General George W. Bush is about to cut the Democrats off at the pass on the one big issue they thought they “owned” – Medicare. Democrats and their president began trying to expand prescription drug benefits in 1997. They failed. Now Bush is about to take credit for success.

Well, why not? The Democratic leadership is handing it to him on a plate.
Most of his opponents will never admit that because General Bush is inarticulate and nonintellectual. That is Tactical Genius Trick #1. “I am the master of low expectations,” Bush said on the way back from the Mideast summit.
Okay, I think we've identified a legacy. "George W. Bush. Almost but not quite as inept as you thought."

Also, I see they've switched to General Bush. I'm sure the armed forces are thrilled at this promotion of a draft-avoiding civilian.

Also, can we stop pretending all of this policy and strategy genius belongs to GWB? Between Rove and Cheney there's a substantial amount of brains. \Between Bush's ears...not so much. Few people even in the Republican leadership are pretending Bush has anything to do with campaign and policy strategy choices. Let's just drop the pretence.

Okay, finally, over at MSNBC, we check out the, " U.S. backs Israeli crackdown" headline and discover that, in spite of Bush criticisms of Israeli attacks, we're going on record as being on Israel's side.

That's not surprising considering that there are some in the Arab world who have pointed out the hypocrisy of us preemptively invading a country under the guise of "self-defense" while we criticize Israel and Palestine for, you know, actual self-defense.

Bah.

I check CNN and see, "Bill allows some Head Start schools to base hiring on religion" and feel my blood pressure starting to rise. Head Start, for those not up to speed on this one, is a federally funded program. Allowing religious discrimination is appalling.

But the religion provision, added Thursday by the House Education and Workforce panel on education reform, is the latest to cause a partisan divide over a program that has helped roughly 20 million children develop literacy and social skills.

The bill has an anti-discrimination clause, but it would not apply to groups in hiring people whose religion could affect the organization's work. The idea is backed by a court ruling and intended to keep religious groups from dropping out of the federal program, said Rep. Mike Castle, R-Delaware, the bill's sponsor.

I'm thinking that if they've been taking the government's money up until now, it's a little late to start developing a tender conscience about someone who reads a different version of the bible, okay?

Also, the "above the fold" section on CNN now contains a link to an article on, "Belly dancing: Swivel your way to fitness" and now I decide I'm just not up to reading their coverage today.

Posted by AnneZook at 10:41 AM | Comments (0)
Above the Fold

Let's take a look at CNN's on-line front page right now.

"Above the fold" we see news of an Israeli ambush, news of Palestinians and Israelis mourning their recent dead, a repeat of a story run before about a "gag order" in the Peterson case, "clashes" erupting around the arrest of a war crimes suspect, a "new threat discovered" for shuttle launches, and GWB falling off his scooter.

"Below the fold" we see, "pregnant woman impaled on mic" as one of the three stories from around the nation worthy of front-page coverage.

Front-page "politics" coverage does (hooray!) mention a Senate panel approving the Medicare bill, but the other political item worth mentioning today seems to be that Bush is "relaxing with family."

There are several hundred legislators in D.C., most of whom work every, single day and many of whom work nights and weekends. The fact that GWB has already started his usual 3-day weekend does not mean that there is no political news to cover, but that's what we got. (On second thought, I think more should be made of GWB's relaxed approach to leading this country People working two jobs to make ends meet, and working nights and weekends, aren't going to be thrilled by the "folksy approach" from a man who doesn't put in a 5-day week.)

(I refresh the page and find, above the fold, a story that they're now blaming the bad breath of cows for "greenhouse gas" emission. For some reason this has been considered more important than the "shuttle launch" trouble, and that story, which was mentioned twice on the page, has completely disappeared. There is, in fact, a chunk o'white space where it used to be. How odd.)

Over at CBS, a "Fearsome U.S. Counterattack" gets top billing. Other than that, we're offered, "Israel Targeting Hamas Leaders", "Is Deflation on Deck?" "Medical Firm Hid Surgery Flaws" "Gen. Bush Slays His Foes" "Jig Is Up For Internet Airline" and, yes, "Laci Judge Says, 'No Talking'". (When I read this website, I find this network becoming distasteful to me. Yes, I know I'm prone to heading my entries with 'clever' titles, but I'm not CBS News, am I? I'm just a random idiot with a computer.)

The lower half of the page is equally filled with coy, cringe-inducing headlines and features a story about a 3-second yellow traffic light and a camera that a county used to raise revenues and a story titled, "House Republicans Amend Tax Cuts" to cover a major breach that's developed between the House and Senate about the budget wrangling. (This was a story that should have been near the top of the page, but at least they covered it. It didn't get a mention on CNN's front page.)

ABC – A Louisiana serial killer who isn't white takes up about 20 percent of the available real estate. (I mention his race because, from, the headline, it appears that that's what the story is about.) Also, a kid who hit someone. A "bloody clashes" in Iraq. (There's so much debris on their front page, especially with that huge, cheesy Yahoo ad, that you can't really see any other headlines without scrolling, so this is all that counts as "above the fold" on this page.)

Below the fold, then, we see most of the same headlines we've seen elsewhere. Except, no, there's new stuff here. Remote-Control Bomb Planted on Busy Afghan Road Is Defused, Iranian Vigilantes on Wheels Chase Protesters With Cattle Prods, Smokers and Speeders to Bear Brunt of Stealth Tax Hikes, Hero’ of Pa. Miner Rescue Commits Suicide (with, bizarrely, a "video" link). The links aren't quite as coyly annoying as those of CBS and I give them points for coverage of items the others didn't cover.

Now let's turn to MC-NBC. Over here, I find that the nation's drinking water is at risk, Thailand has seized, "dirty bomb" material, that shuttle safety story, the fighting in Iraq story, U.S. "backs Israeli crackdown", the Mormon cricket invasion, an eBay fraud, and Bush trying out a new scooter. I like MSNBC for not wasting real estate on banner ads, but it annoys me that you have to go two layers deep on the site to find their "politics" section.

Also, when they covered the tax cut legislation today, I'm puzzled by why they chose a photo of Wall Street to illustrate their coverage of families paying less taxes. (Oh, I see. A bunch of old, white guys buying and selling stock illustrates economic boomtimes.)

Anyhow. Today's topic is headlines. I haven't even read the stories, just the headlines, and I'm uninspired to actually read most of these articles.

Maybe I'm just having a day.

Posted by AnneZook at 09:46 AM | Comments (0)
June 12, 2003
Guantanamo Bay

I'm just saying, okay? Treatment of prisoners that really was, "humane" and "legal" by USofA perceptions wouldn't have needed the qualifier that it was "justified."

You might think it's just semantics, but I believe what people say is an important clue to what they're thinking.

Also.

Sanchez said she has been told by Pentagon sources that it may be a year before prosecutions begin. She said she also asked at Guantanamo about information she had heard that there was not enough evidence to prosecute a majority of the prisoners, many of whom are likely to be detained for a long time.
"They didn't agree or disagree with my statement," she said, adding that they said they were examining many of the detainees for possible prosecution.
Whether or not these delayed prosecutions are "technically" legal because the prisoner of war camp isn't on USofA soil is beside the point.

Morally this is neither humane nor justified. I'm also very dissatisfied by this Administration's perception that they're not bound by our constitution unless they're on USofA soil. "Freedom and justice for all" seems pretty absolute to me.

Posted by AnneZook at 02:59 PM | Comments (0)
It's History, But It's Not Dead

Lies matter, okay? And everyone, conservative or liberal, should agree on that. It matters that the information the press is giving us from Washington reflects what's really going on and not what a reporter thinks will gain them notoriety or what an editor thinks will boost sales.

The unconstitutional impeachment proceedings against Clinton mattered then and they matter now. Not to defend Clinton, but as evidence that a slack-jawed, sensationalistic press and a determined group of partisans can mislead a nation drastically.

I don't care if the partisans are right or left, okay? It's not the job of the media of take sides, it's their job to report facts. There's been a disgraceful abandonment of facts in political coverage in the last few years and a disheartening reliance on rumors and unnamed sources.

Even today, very few people would be able to tell you exactly what charges were actually brought against Clinton. They'd also find it impossible to tell you what happened, in the end, with the Vince Foster suicide investigation, Whitewater, that "stained dress," and other, more brief-lived "scandals" tossed about. Nor do most of them know if, after over $70,000,000 of taxpayer dollars were spent on investigations, anyone in the Clinton Administration was proven guilty of anything at all.

(Yes, I know. No, I'm not telling you. I'm aggravated at you that, after pouring all of that money into newspaper coffers so that you could read the latest sex-and-money scandal every day, you didn't have enough interest in the truth to follow the stories to the end. By letting the newspapers get away with blatant scandal-mongering and not demanding that they follow through their accusations to the end, you encourage the worst in yellow journalism.)

(Okay. Because it's germane to the issue at hand, I'll tell you one thing. Clinton got nailed, not for having extramarital sex, but for lying about it. That lie, and an obstruction charge, were all they had against him in the end. No financial scandal, no murders, nothing like that. For telling a lie.)

Lies matter today, too.

Having learned from their own activities just what can be brought against a President in an attempt to bring him down, Bush's advisors have him wrapped in cotton wool and hidden behind smoke and mirrors.

I don't blame them. If anyone attacked, for instance, Bush's history the way the Right went after every detail of Clinton's past, we'd be in the middle of another four years of scandal.

Lies about why we went to war matter, if such lies exist. Not because, as liberals have been forced to say again and again, Hussein should have been left in peace, but because the ends do not justify the means.

If we're commencing with pre-emptive invasions to insure our access to oil, then say so.

If we're undertaking a series of wars with an eye to bringing freedom to the third world, then say so.

If we're just sick and tired of the turmoil in the Middle East and the way it threatens to destabilize the West, then say so.

You might be surprised at how many people in the USofA and elsewhere would agree with any of those motives. I'm not saying that I would, but there are millions who would.

It's not the war, tragic as it is that so many have died. It's the lies that matter.

If an Administration isn't open with us about why we're invading a country before said invasion, then why should be believe anything they say after the fact?

Posted by AnneZook at 10:11 AM | Comments (0)
The Media

Here's a target or two for Limbaugh's boycott of all things French.

And the media is questioning whether or not it was just a tad bit naďve in accepting the Administration's word on WMD and in discounting or ignoring the objections of diplomats and U.N. inspectors.

Indeed, many episodes of pre-war maneuvering, such as Colin Powell's crucial presentation to the U.N. General Assembly, should have prompted more skepticism from editors and reporters.
You think?
Instead, most papers declared or strongly suggested that Powell had succcessfully [sic] "made the case" for an invasion. Only later did we discover that much of Powell's evidence was thin or even fabricated. Bush's rigid press conference restrictions brought almost no complaints from a press corps that should always probe deeper prior to a war.
I'm a little puzzled how the national media, with all of its resources, could have failed to connect the U.N. led destruction of weapons and weapons' materials in the 90s with the U.N's continuing insistence that they were finding nothing in the scant months they were given to resume inspections.
Martin Baron, editor of The Boston Globe, said newspapers cannot make the federal government disclose more than it wants to.
No, you can't, Martin. But if you publish factual stories showing the thinness of the government's position on something, you can count on us, the people, to exercise our constitutional rights and demand disclosure. Your problem is that you think you and the government are all that really matters.

And take a moment to mourning the passing of David Brinkley.

Posted by AnneZook at 09:23 AM | Comments (0)
June 11, 2003
Hey!

Someone smarter and more articulate than me is explaining why even if Saddam Hussein was a monster, it still matters if we were lied to to get us to approve of an invasion of Iraq.

Are you checking out the main page of Harvard's Weblogs regularly? You should be. Much good reading there.

And why don't we recycle like the Europeans recycle? Forget paper towels. People who recycle cars are serious about the environment.

If, as has been drummed into our heads again and again, the Bush Administration ignored all of the intelligence reports that something big was in the works before 9/11, then why was a national emergency due to the "threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States" declared on August 17, 2001? Except that that sentence ends, "caused by the lapse of the Export Administration Act of 1979" and then I'm left wondering how in the heck an Export Administration Act, lapsed or otherwise, can threaten national security? So I went looking and found out what it was and it has to do with exporting hi-tech knowledge and technology, so the timing, (less than a month before 9/11) was a coincidence. (It's good to know Yugoslavia is no longer a threat, though. I was worried about them.)

Mark Morford is always amusing. I don't agree with everything he says, but he's always amusing.

Posted by AnneZook at 10:45 AM | Comments (0)
Those who fail to learn from history....

Are they going to make a posthumous revocation of a Pulitzer Prize? The NYTimes can't catch a break these days with it's 1930's era Prize-winning journalist's record now under close scrutiny by a Pulitzer subcommittee.

The effort was timed to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the famine, which claimed as many as 7 million Ukrainian lives. Josef Stalin's regime created the famine to force Ukrainian peasants into surrendering their land.
[. . . .]
Duranty covered the Soviet Union for the Times from 1922 to 1941, earning acclaim for an exclusive 1929 interview with Stalin.

But Duranty was eventually exposed for reporting the Communist line rather than the facts. According to the 1990 book "Stalin's Apologist," Duranty knew of the famine but ignored the atrocities to preserve his access to Stalin.

Where have I heard this story recently? Hmmm...let me think.

Might have been something about CNN keeping their mouth shut about Hussein's atrocities so they could "keep their access" in Iraq.

Let me ask you. Why is this an act worthy of castigation and even retribution long after the man's death? It's not as though CNN today is having to pay any kind of penalty for their years-long cover-up of the realities of life in Iraq, right?

Maybe the answer is that CNN should be penalized for their virtual complicity?

How old does a scandal have to be before it's no longer a scandal? (I'd guess that as long as it's relevant to the politician's job, as this one is, it's relevant.)

And speaking of accountability, or the lack thereof, British journalist Rupert Cornwell talks about Washington today.

And, partisanship aside (really), I continue to wonder why we don't turn to the Iraqi people to solve the post-invasion problems. It's their country and certainly they know their ways, their needs, and their abilities better than anyone.

We're spending enough on it, after all. You'd think our government would care about doing it right.

Not to knock Iraq, because I'm not intending to do that, but do you know who we should be helping toward freedom and democracy? People who care enough to fight for it themselves is who.

Or, maybe we should help everyone toward freedom although not democracy unless they want it. Really, I don't know. I just know that democracy can't be imposed the way you can impose fascism or totalitarianism.

There have been 300,000 deaths from killer algae and I'm someone who thinks it matters, even if we're talking salmon deaths. This sort of thing makes me worry about the health, or illness of the oceans.

And you could have knocked me over with a feather when I read a column critical (critical!) of GWBush in the OpinionJournal this morning.,

I adore Vanity Fair. It's one of my favorite books. Somehow, though, I have trouble picturing Reese Witherspoon as Becky Sharp.

I'm a fan of JMW Turner's works, so the news that they're finally starting to document the locations of these pieces cheers me up. He created some beautiful, beautiful works.

Then, read Maureen Dowd and smile.

Posted by AnneZook at 09:18 AM | Comments (0)
Dam News

Remember when I told you they were building a huge sewer dam in China and that it was going to be a disaster? It's about to become a disaster.

Even with months of warning, the rising waters of the Yangtze River behind the Three Gorges Dam took thousands of people by surprise.

[...] Engineers had posted signs showing where the water level will be when the reservoir, which started to fill on June 1, reaches its highest point. But in a sign of the confusion surrounding the world's biggest hydroelectric project, and by sheer force of rural tradition, many planted in fields they had been told were doomed.

Can you blame them for doing what their families have been doing for centuries?
Ding, the farmer in Qutang, about 120 miles upstream from the dam, once had a vegetable field of some 36,000 square feet. Now, he said, all but 1,300 square feet of it is under water.
A disaster. Already.

Posted by AnneZook at 08:10 AM | Comments (0)
June 10, 2003
Someone save the USA!

I can't decide who to vote for! For some people, that might seem to be a decision a long way in the future, but I want to get behind my candidate now. I know Dean has a lot of support, but I also like Kucinich. In some ways, I like Kucinich quite a bit better. In other ways, Dean.

I hate decisions of this magnitude before I've had my morning coffee.

And, speaking of politicians, there's another outburst of rebellion in Texas. This time it's the Republicans. Well, to be exact, one Republican. And not exactly a politician. A donor. Possibly a huge donor. It's Texas Association of Business President Bill Hammond.

Throughout the legislative session, Texas Association of Business President Bill Hammond fought a grand jury investigation into whether his statewide organization illegally used secret corporate donations to elect a business-friendly Legislature.

On Monday, Hammond moved a step closer to risking jail rather than cooperating with investigators.

State District Judge Mike Lynch found Hammond and Don Shelton, the group's information resources director, in contempt for failing to surrender documents to the grand jury. Hammond is the fourth — but most prominent — employee of the state's largest business organization to refuse either to testify or provide documents about the group's $1.9 million advertising campaign during last year's elections.

The Republican is saying that the entire investigation is sour grapes from Democrats who lost their majority.

And, speaking of the USofA, Al Kennedy slaps us all across the chops. I've been wondering why the story of Oliverio Martinez hasn't provoked a blogwide outrage. I'm still wondering. It's all very well to get outraged over Trent Lott. He's a public figure and an easy target. Can we please get behind doing something positive for Martinez? Those of you who claim to be passionate about civil rights, I assume you're already working on this one?

And while we're taking on terrorists, let's have a little (okay, a huge) public discussion about Columbia. I'm not at all sure we're the "good guys" in that one, okay?

Bah. I have a meeting to go to.

Posted by AnneZook at 09:01 AM | Comments (0)