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October 08, 2005
Otherwise Read

A Question for Journalists: How Do We Cover Penguins and the Politics of Denial? by Bill Moyers

I don't fit neatly into the job description of an environmental journalist although I have kept returning to the beat ever since my first documentary on the subject some 30 years ago. That was a story about how the new Republican governor of Oregon, Tom McCall, had set out to prove that the economy and the environment could share the center lane on the highway to the future.

Those were optimistic years for the emerging environmental movement. Rachel Carson had rattled the cage with Silent Spring and on the first Earth Day in 1970 twenty million Americans rose from the grassroots to speak for the planet. Even Richard Nixon couldn't say no to so powerful a subpoena by public opinion, and he put his signature to some far-reaching measures for environmental protection.

Nowadays, of course, 20 million people is merely a "focus group" to be ignored at a Presidential whim.

It's something to be a worse President than Richard Nixon, I guess.


Making Sense of the Miers Nomination

George W. Bush's nomination of his personal lawyer, Harriet Miers, to a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court is causing conservatives as well as liberals to scratch their heads. But the choice might make sense if Bush's primary goal is protecting his administration from criminal and other legal liabilities, rather than changing constitutional law on social issues like abortion.

And, if anyone still cares, revelations of possible media covering-up of '04 election shenanigans.


Delphi execs get severance boost

With reports circulating that Delphi Corp. could file for bankruptcy as early as today, the company promised about 21 of its top executives Friday that they'd get more money if they are fired or laid off.

[. . . .]

But the richer benefits for top executives were just another insult to many of the company's blue-collar workers, who found out Thursday that the company wants to cut their pay as much as 63% and reduce health care and retirement benefits.


'N.Y. Times' Scooped Again, This Time on Miller's Notes

What on earth has happened to the NYTimes?


Webmaster for site with Iraqi corpse pics accused of obscenity

No matter how you look at it, they arrested him because of the Iraq war photos, not because of the other photos on his website.

And, as long as we're talking about atrocities committed in Iraq, it looks like there's going to be a book.


Over at Slate, I took a look at the "Today's Papers" section and ran across this gem:

The NYT reefers a look at how former Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton still have not decided how they are going to distribute the more than $108 million they have raised to help victims of Hurricane Katrina. The presidents also haven't distributed the $10.7 million that was sent directly to their offices during the tsunami fundraising effort.



Patrick Doherty kicks The Center for American Progress in the teeth with "Un-Strategic Redeployment."

I just read the Center for American Progress' latest foreign policy offering, "Strategic Redeployment," and I am simply angry at the shortsightedness and cynicism. Far from being a progressive plan for Iraq, this 10-page report is a masterful revival of the same myopic foreign policy thinking that lost John Kerry the election in 2004. This time, it will be at the cost of a million Iraqi lives and continued GOP dominance in Congress. We must do better and we can.

Me, I don't know who's right. I agree with Doherty that Iraq is on the verge of a civil war. I don't think keeping 100,000+ USofA soldiers there is the way to prevent it.


And, finally, where on earth are the N. Mariana Islands and why are they in the USofA's Clean Water State Revolving Fund?

Ahhh, I see. They're a territory of ours.

Under US administration as part of the UN Trust Territory of the Pacific, the people of the Northern Mariana Islands decided in the 1970s not to seek independence but instead to forge closer links with the US. Negotiations for territorial status began in 1972. A covenant to establish a commonwealth in political union with the US was approved in 1975. A new government and constitution went into effect in 1978.

I'm just thinking...if they're a territory of ours, shouldn't I have heard of them before?

Maybe I just wasn't reading stories like this one closely enough.

Posted by AnneZook at 04:40 PM | Comments (3)
Buckle Your Seat Belts

Stan deaths hit 610 as survivors search for bodies

Some 1,400 dead in Guatemala mudslide: fire brigade

More Stan stories.

A 4.2 earthquake hit California.

And we already know a massive earthquake hit South Asia, although I give the NYTimes the award for Most Callously Indifferent Headline Of the Day: Pakistan Quake in Remote Area Kills Over 1,000

And, just by way of casual reference, how about that aid situation?

Based on Katrina, we can expect a "remote" area of Pakistan to wait a month or so to receive any aid, right?

But! No! UK sends aid teams to Asian quake Just a few hours! How amazing Civilization is! We gotta get us some of that!

Has the Age of Chaos Begun?

The genesis of two category-five hurricanes (Katrina and Rita) in a row over the Gulf of Mexico is an unprecedented and troubling occurrence. But for most tropical meteorologists the truly astonishing "storm of the decade" took place in March 2004. Hurricane Catarina -- so named because it made landfall in the southern Brazilian state of Santa Catarina -- was the first recorded south Atlantic hurricane in history.

Textbook orthodoxy had long excluded the possibility of such an event; sea temperatures, experts claimed, were too low and wind shear too powerful to allow tropical depressions to evolve into cyclones south of the Atlantic Equator. Indeed, forecasters rubbed their eyes in disbelief as weather satellites down-linked the first images of a classical whirling disc with a well-formed eye in these forbidden latitudes.

Subtropical Depression Forms Near Bermuda

Arctic Ocean Could Be Ice-Free in Summer Within 100 Years, Scientists Say

Mother Nature is annoyed with us.

Posted by AnneZook at 12:32 PM | Comments (2)
Friday's Trash

Not to lose sight of the devastating earthquake, but here's a quick look at a few of the items thrown out in the trash yesterday.

Largest U.S. Auto Supplier Files For Bankruptcy.

Delphi Corp., the largest U.S. auto supplier, filed for bankruptcy Saturday, sending shock waves through the nation's auto industry, which already is weakened by high labor costs and falling market share.

Flanigan Withdraws as Nominee for Deputy Attorney General

The Bush administration's choice for deputy attorney general has withdrawn his nomination amid mounting questions from Senate Democrats over his dealings with indicted Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff and over his role in shaping controversial interrogation policies.

In Raucous House Vote, G.O.P. Oil Refinery Bill Squeaks By

It took more than 40 raucous minutes of pleading and cajoling, bargaining and begging on Friday. But House Republican leaders managed to squeeze through an oil refinery bill in a tumultuous floor vote that severely tested a leadership team rocked by the indictment of Representative Tom DeLay, Republican of Texas.

After teetering on the verge of an embarrassing defeat, desperate party leaders managed to persuade enough of their members to switch positions to win narrow 212-to-210 approval of a measure that its backers said would expedite refinery construction and crack down on price gouging.

Subway threat originated in Iraq

The threat to New York's subway system originated in Iraq and involved the use of explosives hidden in bags or baby strollers, officials familiar with the investigation told CNN.
Posted by AnneZook at 12:10 PM | Comments (0)

Earthquake Kills 2,000 in 3 Asia Nations

7.6-Magnitude Earthquake Kills More Than 2,000 People in Pakistan, India, Afghanistan

Rice offers U.S. aid to Pakistan, India

Massive Casualties Expected in Asian Earthquake

S Asia quake toll 'nears 2,000'

Posted by AnneZook at 11:50 AM | Comments (0)
October 07, 2005
That's What I Was Thinking

Thank you, Kevin Drum, for the perspective on that Galston & Kamarck report on how the Democratic Party's problem is that it's too far Left.

Well. Color me and the other sane residents of Colorado as so embarrassed. That nitwit Allard is one of the Nine Riders in favor of torture by Saur...I mean, the Bush Administration. One of the Notorious Nine who refused to support the anti-torture amendment in the spending bill. I really am hoping there's more to this story than this. Really.

And, speaking of offensive stupidity, how about that Bennett and his so-funny jokes about aborting black babies to lower the crime rate, huh? We should all be taking it personally. (Via Mustang Bobby.) Yeah, I know, the remark was taken out of context. So, you know what? What I think we should all be doing is pointing the fingers and writing the angry posts to the media. They're the ones who clipped the remark to make it more sensational, after all.

David Corn says what I was thinking. The awarding of the Nobel Prize to the IAEA is a slap in the face to the Bush Administration. And, in my view, a well-deserved one.

Dr Fallon, at In the Dark, says something else I was thinking. Al Gore '08 has a decent ring to it, don't you think?

Simbaud, at King of Zembla, has Many Many Zeroes for us today. The best are the last two:

Total U.S. spending on poppy eradication and other antidrug efforts in Afghanistan last year: $780,000,0000

Amount it would have cost to purchase the country's entire 2004 poppy crop: $600,000,000

And I had to laugh. Just had to. Avedon Carol passes along the news that even Ann C*ulter is having a hissy fit over Bush's inexplicable nomination of some nobody...I mean Meirs...to the Supreme Court. Even Ann C*ulter! But if you read A.C.'s column, you can tell it hurt her to write it. It's only when she can jam a hateful remark about Kerry into the column that she seems to start feeling a little better about it all.

(It is funny. One way you can tell a wingnut from a serious journalist or commentator is that the wingnut will never be able to resist a cheap shot. Even if, like A.C., he or she has to go off on a wild tangent to force the cheapshot into the text.)

(Plus which, the grammar section is worth reading. Since I all-too-often choose to abandon the precepts of good grammar in favor of some incoherent sentence structure that pleases me at the moment, I plead guilty. But, you know what? From the structure of her column, she makes bad grammar one of the central pillars of her argument and thus turns the entire thing into...well, into the usual pile of C*lter Mush.)

Or...does Ed, over at The Grey Matter have the right take? I have to admit, I did wonder if the suspiciously spontaneous outburst of right-wing protest was orchestrated. C*lter is suspect enough but when it comes to Nooner dissing her Superhero, something just smells like tuna. (Truth is, I haven't made up my mind about Meirs. Second, or even third-tier law schools can turn out brilliant lawyers. Research into the Supreme Court's history has confirmed that nominating people with no judicial experience whatsoever is fairly common, so she's not unique in that respect. At the moment, I'm doing a wait-and-see. She might win comfirmation, based on the Gang of 14 informally agreeing that a filibuster will not be mounted. Or she might withdraw her own nomination. Or maybe she was a beard all along and the next nominee will surprise us all. There's even a rumor out there that she's a closeted feministe. If so, she's also an opportunist, having spent her career supporting the anti-feminist Party, but whatever.)

Amanda at Pandagon impressed me today.

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

So. Democrats can't win with liberal voters?

Just let them get some real leadership with a liberal platform and some candidates we believe in, and we'll see whether or not that's true.

If you take the dreaded "liberal" label off the policies, the things Democrats are supposed to stand for and care about are of high importance to 75%* or more of the country. And I personally think the DLC-connected report being quoted is guilty of seeing what it's supporters wanted to have seen. (See The Fix for more.)

Taking a look at today's Alternet Peek, I see Evan Derkacz drawing the obvious conclusions from the Bush Administration's mounting problems, PR and otherwise, and the heightened 'terror alert' in NYC. By now, you'd think we'd all be used to them raising the "terror level" every time they're desperate to distract the already-too-compliant national media but the already-too-compliant national media seems always to be panting to play along.

A Case Of Treason


* Invented number.

Posted by AnneZook at 10:49 AM | Comments (8)

Katrina, Rita, and the environment. Bad news.

In Texas? A plastics plant exploded.

Investigators were looking into the cause of the blast, which occurred in a propylene line, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality spokeswoman Andrea Morrow said.

No toxic materials appear to have been released into the air, officials said.

The plant produces PVC and vinyl for floor and wall coverings. The state Commission on Environmental Quality fined the facility $150,000 in April for air pollution violations including the release of toxic chemicals such as vinyl chloride.

An explosion in March at BP's Texas City refinery killed 15 and injured 170 people. No one was hurt in another blast at the refinery in July. The company was recently fined $21 million for the March explosion.

That's Texas.

You've heard of the Amazon, right? Rain forests and whatnot? Well, they're having a drought.

And, speaking of the environment, why don't we not build more refineries? The oil companies don't want them and we'd all prefer to be out from under their profiteering thumbs anyhow.

And maybe, just maybe, the damage we've done to the environment and the global ecosystem will prove to be reversible.

Posted by AnneZook at 09:28 AM | Comments (0)

I keep swearing I'm going to give it up. And yet, I keep doing it. Turning on NPR. Scanning the news headlines, then searching the international portion of the world wide web to find the rest of the story. Brooding over the sins committed by those who have power but no sense. Fighting a desperate desire to grab people passing by on the streets and make them see what's happening.

Police have found 22 bodies in Iraq.

And 6 Marines died in roadside bombings.

Senate Approves $50B More For Wars. Another fifty billion dollars. That's a headline to strike terror into the heart...of the taxpayer. Regardless of the inclusion of a "torture is wrong" amendment.

Our closest, most significant ally still loves us. They're not finding the Bush Administration and the neocons to be frustratingly short-sighted and resistant to seeing the truth or anything like that.

It's not always possible to tell if you're just reading the USofA media. Is Iran pushing toward becoming a nuclear power, or is it another round of the Iraq Frame Game?

Bush, of course, thinks killing people is the solution to...well...killing people. (And in another take on the speech, the LATimes explains that telling soldiers losing a war that they're going to stay there and die until you say otherwise is "strong, principled leadership in BushWorld.

Some soldiers are battling a drug-resistant bug in Iraq.

A bacterial infection rarely seen in U.S. hospitals since the end of the Vietnam War is making a comeback -- and this time it's proving increasingly resistant to antibiotic treatment, researchers say.

Nope. Iraq is nothing like Vietnam. Especially not for the soldiers.

Posted by AnneZook at 08:37 AM | Comments (0)

The next time you super-size your fries, or order a dessert you aren't really hungry for, remember this All the money you spend on food you don't need, or don't eat, in a year could feed a lot of hungry people around the world.

I don't approve of this. Food should be sold in markets as close to the area of production as possible.

Rove is testifying in the Plame investigation? What are They up to now?

It's back...the idea that the Pentagon could get permission to spy on us.

Allow me to repeat myself. A corporation is not a person and should not be treated as one.

Lookit that. The Senate found its spine. Torture is naughty and they've finally decided to just say so.

Al Gore speaks.

On the eve of the nation's decision to invade Iraq, our longest serving senator, Robert Byrd of West Virginia, stood on the Senate floor asked: "Why is this chamber empty? Why are these halls silent?" The decision that was then being considered by the Senate with virtually no meaningful debate turned out to be a fateful one.
Those of us who have served in the Senate and watched it change over time, could volunteer an answer to Senator Byrd's two questions: the Senate was silent on the eve of war because Senators don't feel that what they say on the floor of the Senate really matters that much any more. And the chamber was empty because the Senators were somewhere else: they were in fundraisers collecting money from special interests in order to buy 30-second TV commercials for their next re-election campaign.

I always liked that man.

Posted by AnneZook at 07:49 AM | Comments (0)
October 05, 2005
What Are You Talking About?

In the "wishful thinking" department, TAS at Liberal Avenger thinks Bush is going to resign.

Chris at Interesting Times takes Senator Obama to task. Politely, but firmly. And Chris is right. We'll play Follow-the-Democratic-Leaders when the Democratic Leaders walk the talk.

Chris at MYDD is is blogging some suggestions about the Democrats cowardice in addressing Iraq.

Kevin at Political Animal points out, once again, that "eminent domain" can be badly abused.

Jerome over at Bad Attitudes has another example.

Eli at Lefti talks about the Bush Administration's protection of a noted terrorist and torturer.

Do you know what "birthright" means? As David Niewert at Orcinus points out, some babies may lose theirs.

Lindsay over at Majikthise alerts me to the fact that if I, as an unmarried woman, decide to have a baby then I, as a confirmed liberal and believer in individual rights, should first move to Indiana. And choose artificial insemination. Or maybe even parthenogenesis, because I'm really annoyed at this moment.

Dr Fallon at In the Dark points out that Venezuela has taken all its toys to someone else's playground. Can their oil be far behind?

Brad DeLong on the deliberate budget demolition tactics of this Administration.

In the Out? Not Out? Forced Out? debate, I'm on Mustang Bobby's side. Your private life is no one's business...unless your behavior makes it our business.

John McKay (Archie) has found the silliest article yet on the evolution vs. creation thing. I had to look twice to make sure it wasn't penned by WSJ's sappy Peggy N. It was that dumb.

Over at Americablog, skippy has seen a movie and recommends it to us all.

It doesn't often happen, but I am laughing at Andrew Tobias. How can anyone possibly be unaware of televisionwithoutpity.com? (Although I still preferred their previous incarnation as mightybigtv.)

Posted by AnneZook at 02:07 PM | Comments (2)
Ask the Experts

Maybe it's not so much that Bush is a rabid war-monger as that he ca'tn resist any opportunity to play with his toy soldiers? I mean, why else would he want to bring in the military in the case of an avian (bird) flu outbreak?

Also? Is he under the impression that we have an unlimited number of soldiers? Because I'm pretty sure that Katrina amply illustrated otherwise, since we're now using the National Guard as 'soldiers'.

And while we're talking soldiers, why isn't the media making a bigger deal out of the Bush Administration's increasingly frantic attempts to protect what they think of as their right to torture people?

As long as we're talking playing 'soldiers', what was Meirs role in covering up Bush's pathetic National Guard record, anyhow?

(I know I haven't blogged Meirs' nomination to the Supreme Court but there is a limit, even for me, to the number of things I feel comfortable ranting about from a position of extreme ignorance. From my perspective, being a crony of Bush's is a no-win strike against her, but I'll let the experts battle it out.)

(I'm also waiting for the experts to explain what looks like a right-wing mutiny. They want to pay for hurricane relief by delaying the prescription drug benefit, cutting highway spending, cutting student loan funding, and suchlike? Has it occurred to none of these lunatics that tax cuts for rich people would be a good target for elimination? Or even withdrawing from our unprovoked and unwinnable invasion of Iraq? I await "expert" analysis.)

Looks like the "experts" at the DoD can't really tell if they're winning or losing that "War on Terror" either. They're advertising to find someone who can tell them.


I think maybe it would be a good idea to not imprison journalists but then I'm not desperately trying to protect my right to wage a dishonest and unpopular invasion of another country.

I'm assuming you've all read and absorbed the debunking of the "oil for food" so-called scandal?

For those interested, an update on the infamous "'Love In Action" nutcases in Tennessee.

Contemplate some suggestions for the USofA national media.

Posted by AnneZook at 07:50 AM | Comments (0)