Sunday, September 11, 2005

A note to our readers

Another Sunday. Another day where things seem to be moving along quickly. And then they stop.

This time we can pin the blame on Ava and C.I. Three hours ago they wrote a review of Colin Powell and Barbara Waters' exchange on 20/20 that was very funny. Just as we were finishing the editorial, they stated the piece wasn't going up, that they were rewriting it. They kept one joke and that's basically it. They felt that the exchange deserved a stronger response. Having read both versions, we agree that the second version, the one we're running, is the stronger one. (Though we do miss the jokes in the first version.)

For this edition, we thank the following Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz, Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix, Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude, Betty of Thomas Friedman is a Great Man, Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills), and Mike of Mikey Likes It!. With the exception of the TV review which was done by Ava and C.I. only, those listed contributed to every feature here including the selection of spotlights.

You may note that in our media roundtable, Kat doesn't speak. Kat took notes to give Ava and C.I. a break. Those are the only three who can take notes because they're the only ones fast enough. Besides being occupied with taking notes, Kat also had the fourth topic on the list of things to be discussed. To make sure we got to it, Kat held off on her remarks so that there would be time. When Dona called time on the roundtable, she wasn't aware that Kat hadn't spoken yet. Afterwards, Mike pointed it out and Dona immediately offered to reopen the roundtable but Kat uttered her now famous slogan, "It is what it is." Kat didn't get to speak (and we regret that) but along with taking notes, she was suggesting topics that Jim whittled down to a list of five we were hoping to get to. Kat gets to speak first in the next roundtable.

To help out community members Gina and Krista of the gina & krista round-robin, we put off our planned book discussion and instead focused on children's books that had left an impression. We think you'll enjoy that discussion. And we were thrilled to be able to help out in any way Gina and Krista who do such a wonderful job with their round-robin each week.

For that book discussion, we were lucky to be joined by Folding Star who ran the weblog A Winding Road. We think readers of this site and members of The Common Ills community will also see it as a special treat that Folding Star participated.

Our news review went up as soon as it was done. We're noting "rush transcript." We post that as soon as it's completed. It appears in full length at the site until we're starting to post the other entries, at which point, we go back into the entry and add the code that offers you a sample of what's in store. But that's all we want to alter. Partly because we're lazy and partly because it's a transcript and shouldn't be polished up. We're covering many topics and we have a special report from Dallas who tells us about a relief center for the evacuees from Hurricane Katrina in his area. Knowing this would be a lenghty report, Jim and Dona made the decision to make this only mention of Hurricane Katrina which is covered in many other places. Mike brings you up to speed on the rest of the world, Elaine on Iraq and Rebecca offers a nature report. Kat expands her focus from music to cover various entertainment news due to the fact that Betty was participating in an editorial commentary with Cedric and Ty. Jess, as always, gives you the peace report. Common Ills community member Amy e-mailed this week to ask if Jess could mention an event in her area. He was glad to and says that if others have events they would like to noted to e-mail us. (We're arguing over the e-mail address. C.I. says it's We're all tired but we'll take C.I.'s word that there's no "the" in front of our e-mail address.)

We thank Dallas for his report and for, as always, hunting down links for our entries. We also thank Jess' parents who scanned sources online to help us have additional information for our news review. We thank Francisco for allowing us to rerun his run down of the important headlines from Democracy Now! this week.

We'll note that Cedric has moved his site to another location. (And we'll go into the template after, after, we get all entries up.) We say welcome back to Rebecca who returned from her vacation. We'll also say welcome to Elaine who substituted for Rebecca during her vacation and has also been helping us out here. Why welcome? She's started her own site, Like Maria Said Paz. We wanted to highlight something from her but she asked us to wait a week to have more to choose from.

Hopefully this edition brings you something that makes you laugh or makes you think or just makes you angry.

-- Jim, Dona, Jess, Ty, Ava and C.I.

Editorial: Who decided Roberts could play leap frog on the Court?

Last Monday the hearings on John Roberts Jr. nomination to the Supreme Court were supposed to start. They were postponed. Now they are due to start tomorrow. In a week's time, Roberts' nomination has shifted. He's no longer just nominated to the Court, he's now nominated as Chief Justice.

Only in a Bully Boy world could someone who's never served on the Court be considered worthy of not only serving but also presiding over the Court. That's the kind of thinking that puts roommates and pals and campaign workers into public posts and we've seen the damage that can do.

Now the press has taken a pass on Roberts from day one. They're eager to see the boy get confirmed. So we aren't surprised that in the last week little was made of the fact that there's a world of difference between the federal courts and the Supreme Court.

But we'll ask the questions they won't? (Seems to be the function of our editorials.)

Are you telling us that of the seven justices currently sitting, and planning to continue sitting on the bench (we're leaving out the eighth who's announced her retirement), that there's not one, with their years of experience, who's actually qualified to be Chief Justice?

Are you saying that Bully Boy's boy, who's never served on the Court, has something that trumps all of them?

In a country that preaches the hard work ethic, it's hard to reconcile that notion with the idea that Roberts is going to play leap frog over the backs of seven sitting Justices.

We would assume that a new Justice would need time just to assimilate and grasp the workings involved in the Highest Court of the land. Instead of getting his toe wet, he's diving straight into the deep end. Well, a swimmer can do whatever they choose with their own lives and fate. But we're talking about a Court that is the final say in matters across the nation.

Exactly how does someone who's never served on the Court qualify to be elevated to Chief Justice?

Volunteering on Bully Boy's legal squad in 2000 appears to be one qualification. That's a qualification that's resulted in many appointments. On most of those appointments, the press failed to examine the resumes of the appointees. Case in point, Michael "Brownie" Brown. Thomas & Scalia (and the rest of the Gang of Four that's not retiring -- Gang of Five until Rehnquist's death), you just got served.

You're "good," just not good enough to be Chief Justice in the eyes of the Bully Boy. Put it another way, you're Irish-Americans trying to fit into the Italian mob. You'll never be a "made man." Put that in your Constitutional shredder and smoke it.

It's as though Roberts showed up to work the line at McDonalds and got put in charge of the franchise.

Something doesn't add up. But the press doesn't want to touch on it. They want to act as though it's perfectly natural for a man who was just a nominee to the Court a week ago to suddenly be in line to become Chief Justice.

We're hoping that the Democrats have some strategy here. Honestly, we've got more faith in Ted Kennedy than in any of the others. We're praying that lion will roar and drive home the questions to Roberts nominations.

But will anyone ask the neophyte would-be lifetime Chief Justice exactly what qualifies his starting at the top? Or will we continue to remain mute in this up-is-down Bully Boy world?

[Note: This editorial was written by Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess and Ava of The Third Estate Sunday Review', Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz, Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix, Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude, Betty of Thomas Friedman is a Great Man, Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills), Mike of Mikey Likes It!, and C.I. of both The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review.]

TV Review: Barbara and Colin remake The Way We Were

Remakes usually suck. That's a lesson ABC's 20/20 learned Friday when they starred Barbara Walters and Colin Powell in a remake of The Way We Were.

Walters lacks the star power of Barbra Streisand. So Katie's passion has been tempered (we're being polite). At the crux of the film were the questions of what is truth, what is right? They carry that over from Arthur Laurents' screenplay. But Walters lacks the dedication to convincingly play someone determined in pursuit of truth -- which appears to result in the character Katie, more or less, being written out of her own film. Call this remake The Way It Was.

Powell, like Robert Redford, is shown early on military drag. He models well, he just lacks Redford's ability to convincingly play a man torn between doing what others want and what he knows is right. They did keep the plot point of Hubbell's betrayal. Probably had to because without the testimony that destroys Hubbell, you have no story.

They've updated the testimony. Instead of naming names during the McCarthy period, Powell lies to the United Nations and the world. What they miss is the heart breaking scene when Streisand explains to Redford that people are their beliefs. Probably too much a laugh getter if it came out of Walters' mouth. But if they were worried about unintended laughs, someone should have spoken to Walters about the three strands of red, worry beads she's wearing.

Walters says, unable to look at him while she does -- oh the drama!, "However, you gave the world false, groundless reasons for going to war. You've said, and I quote, 'I will forever be known as the one who made the case for war.' Do you think this blot on your record will stay with you for the rest of your life?"

Powell: Well it's a, it's a, of course it will. It's a blot. I'm the one who presented it on behalf of the United Nations, uh, United States, to the world. And it will always be uh, part of my, uh, my record.
Walters: How painful is it?
Powell: (shrugs) It was -- it *was* painful. (shifts, shrugs) It's painful now.

Has a less convincing scene ever been performed?

Possibly. Such as when Powell informs Walters that the fault lies with the intelligence community -- with those who knew but didn't come forward. Unfortunately for Powell, FAIR's advisory steered everyone to a Los Angeles Times' article from July 15, 2004:

Days before Secretary of State Colin L. Powell was to present the case for war with Iraq to the United Nations, State Department analysts found dozens of factual problems in drafts of his speech, according to new documents contained in the Senate report on intelligence failures released last week.
Two memos included with the Senate report listed objections that State Department experts lodged as they reviewed successive drafts of the Powell speech. Although many of the claims considered inflated or unsupported were removed through painstaking debate by Powell and intelligence officials, the speech he ultimately presented contained material that was in dispute among State Department experts.

Well movies always rewrite some details to make the characters more sympathetic and, presumably, that happened in this remake as well.

Having dismissed the need for facts, the "reluctant warrior" Powell now wants to weigh in on the invasion/occupation. Powell explains that we can't "cut and run" with regards to Iraq. We have to stay. He offers that "I'm not a quitter" himself -- amidst his stay the course nonsense. All this from the former Secretrary of State.

If it's so damn important that we "accomplish" over there, that we "stay the course," are the words really convincing coming out the mouth of the cut and run Secretary of State? Seems to us if you believe in this war as much as you say you do, and believe in staying the course, you . . . stay the course in your job. Powell didn't. There are the Rules for Powell and there are the rules for the rest of us.

Take Cindy Sheehan. She's a grieving parent and he feels sorry for her. Walters actually wakes up for this moment. And, in one of the few times prior to Powell's wife being brought on, she actually looks him in the eye while delivering her line.

Walters: But if you feel the war is just -- that's a different feeling than if you feel the war is is not.
Powell: Well, of course, for the person that is effected, it is. If they don't feel the war is just, they will always feel it as a deep personal loss.

Unlike Powell, we'd argue that regardless of beliefs on this war, the loss is a "deep, personal loss" for most, possibly all, who've lost family members. Maybe if he sent fat-boy Michael over there, he could find out for himself what it feels like? Till then, by his remarks, he's not anyone effected. How nice that must be.

But is the war just?

It's not a moral issue for Powell. He's already informed Walters of that. He lied. Well if he had to lie, forget the pre-emptive war debate for a moment, if he had to lie, what does that say about the war? Seems to us that a just war wouldn't be a war that required you pulling one over on the public to get support for.

It wasn't a moral issue, Powell states, going to war. Then what does it matter that he lied?
If it's not a moral issue, then what does it matter?

Powell's mea culpa is not only unconvincing, it's illogical. He's glad Saddam Hussein's gone. So why's he concerned with his "blot?" He's completely unconcerned that we're in a war that's based on lies. "I'm glad" he says. Sure he admits that he lied (by proxy -- it's others faults, you understand, nameless people in the intel community), but there's no moral concern. He's only worried about the slug line that now accompanies his name. The "blot." The tag 'liar, liar.'

Colin Powell lied to the United Nations. Not by proxy, he lied. His testimony. A testimony he made the decision to give. Despite objections from people in the department he headed. His accountability pose is hollow and unconvincing. Shrugs? "What are you going to do?" shrugs? That and the shiftiness during the exchange (he can't sit still during the exchange) back up his words. This isn't any big deal to him, that he lied and we went to war. He's just concerned that he's a known liar. For the rest of his life.

This is how he wants to be remembered:

"A good public servant somebody who truly believes in his country. . . . Somebody who cared, somebody who served."

Yeah well, Nixon wanted to be remembered a certain way as well. Liar's the way many remember him now. Liar's the way many will remember Colin Powell. Belief in your country doesn't allow you to lie to your country. Belief in your Bully Boy does. That's something this adminstration fails to grasp. They all think they're working for the Bully Boy. Powell makes statements to that effect. He's full of many things including his "service" to the Bully Boy.
The administration is supposed to be working for the country. Presidents come and go. The nation is what is supposed to matter. Belief in your country would mean you tell the people
the truth.

Somebody who served?

He didn't serve the country. He betrayed it. He didn't live up to his office. He didn't live up to the public trust. He didn't live up to the principles of democracy. He lied. He lied. He lied.

We won't put the glossy spin on it that Walters did. We're not looking at Powell through the blind eyes of love.

As the film, er news segment, winds down, the makers decide to go another way. In the original The Way We Were, the child of Katie & Hubbell is seen only fleetingly. In the remake, she actually has lines. As military and infotainment merge, their by-product, the remake tell us, is Elizabeth Vargas. Child Vargas is left to make one of those uncomfortable points that children always make, "Colin Powell doesn't seem to be haunted by this blot on his career." Walters all but brushes a lock from Powell's forehead as she attempts to make Vargas see father Powell in

a more flattering, and far less realistic, light:

Well, you know, he is a, he is a fine soldier, he has a fine family, he has respect, and this is a man who never wanted the Glory Road.

The music fails to swell. Possibly because Walters is no singer and they rightly spare us her rendition of "The Way We Were." With apologies to Alan and Marilyn Bergman, we'll post the lyrics to the song Walters obviously wanted to sing:

In the place of real reporting.
Mushy soft focus moments
Not The Way It Was.

Unasked questions
Of the facts that are well known.
Facts that never will be buried
Of The Way It Was.

Can it be that spin can triumph fact
If we carefully rewrite each line.
If he had the choice to do it all again
He would -- he could.

May be full of lies and yet
If we push hard enough
Others will simply forget.

So it's the spin
We will hold onto
Whenever we discuss
The Way It Was.
The Way It Was.

*Corrected to put change "is" to "was." Change is indicated by "*."

From 9-13-05's "ABC 'fixes' Colin Powell" (The Common Ills):

When a magazine, even an entertainment one, puts Orpah's head (for instance) on another body, there's an outcry. It's not considered appropriate or up to journalistic standards.
So let's see if anyone has a problem with ABC news which has done something just as bad if not worse.
Robert Parry has a new article "Colin Powell Being Colin Powell" (Consortium News). It's a good article, a strong one (not uncommon with Parry's writing).It includes this:

In his first extensive interview since his resignation early this year, Powell told ABC News that his reputation has suffered because his assurances about Iraq's supposed stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons proved false.
"It's a blot," Powell said. "I'm the one who presented it on behalf of the United States to the world, and [it] will always be a part of my record. It was painful. It's painful now."

That isn't correct. It's not Parry's mistake. He's using (and crediting) "Exclusive: Colin Powell on Iraq, Race, and Hurricane Relief" by "ABC News."

ABC broadcast the interview (conducted by Barbara Walters) on September 9th. (The article's dated September 8th when you use the link, September 9th when you utilize the print function.)Is it appropriate for ABC to improve on the public record?

Colin Powell did not say "Of course it will. It's a blot. I'm the one who presented it on behalf of the United States to the world, and [it] will always be a part of my record. It was painful. It's painful now."

Here's how that "quote" sounded before ABC News decided to "improve" on it and reassemble it:

Powell: Well it's a, it's a, of course it will. It's a blot. I'm the one who presented it on behalf of the United Nations, uh, United States, to the world. And it will always be uh, part of my, uh, my record.
Walters: How painful is it?
Powell: (shrugs) It was -- it *was* painful. (shifts, shrugs) It's painful now.

In ABC's "quote" they bracket "it." I have no idea why. He says "it." But they note, wrongly, that they are "adding" to the quote there. They do not note that they have deleted the stammers. They also leave out the "United Nations" and the fact that Walters asked him a question.

Why does it matter?

First of all, it matters because a news organization is supposed to be accurate.

Second of all, it matters because this is Powell addressing an issue. His mistakes (UN?), his stammers, all of it is important. ABC news presents it as a smooth, seamless response. That's not the case. He hemmed and he hawed. And the public should know that and the public record should show that.

Print reporters caught some attention for improving on Bully Boy's statments. This should catch attention as well.

Part of the "response" is how Powell structures his words.

Is he nervous? He may appear that way to some (Ava and I found him shifty when we watched the interview). This is public record. This was broadcast on national television. ABC does not have the right, journalistically, to 'smooth over' his remarks.

He was awkward when he spoke. That's part of his response -- or would be if ABC hadn't cleaned it up.

Ava and I reviewed the "performance" for The Third Estate Sunday Review (see "TV Review: Barbara and Colin remake The Way We Were").

The 'smoothed over' quote is not how it occurred.

Ava and I hold onto a copy of anything we review for at least seven days in case a question comes up. For instance on Smallville, surely, one person wrote, Tom Welling wasn't shirtless when Annette O'Toole remarked that he was dressed to go out, was he?We could be wrong. We watched it again. He was shirtless. At other times, someone will question if another character might have stated the line. So we'll watch again. We can make a mistake and we will correct it if we do. (More often than not, we're having to prove something to angry Nick Lachey fans or angry Nick & Jessica fans.) (After seven days, someone's waited too long to weigh in on a TV review. Unless it's something we've been provided with, we ditch whatever we've reviewed.)

Ava's in class but I called the apartment and Jim's there. He played back the interview. I can't say whether "It is painful. It's painful now." is what Powell said (as we noted) or if it's "It was painful. It's painful now" (as ABC notes). The connection wasn't clear enough for me to make out if "is" or "was" is used. [Note from Ava: I've listened to the interview. "Was" is the word and I've corrected that. Otherwise, C.I. and my version of the quote is accurate. I've put "*" around "was" to note that I've changed it. That is the only thing we're wrong on.]

But I could make out the "uh"s. I could make out Walter's question. I could make out Powell stating "United Nations."

Was he nervous? Did he intend to say "United Nations"?

Presenting it, as ABC news does, in a smooth, seamless quote is not reflecting the public record. It is, however, once again cleaning up after Powell.

In our review, Ava and I noted that it played like a really bad remake of The Way We Were. We note this:

As the film, er news segment, winds down, the makers decide to go another way. In the original The Way We Were, the child of Katie & Hubbell is seen only fleetingly. In the remake, she actually has lines. As military and infotainment merge, their by-product, the remake tell us, is Elizabeth Vargas. Child Vargas is left to make one of those uncomfortable points that children always make, "Colin Powell doesn't seem to be haunted by this blot on his career." Walters all but brushes a lock from Powell's forehead as she attempts to make Vargas see father Powell in a more flattering, and far less realistic, light:

Well, you know, he is a, he is a fine soldier, he has a fine family, he has respect, and this is a man who never wanted the Glory Road.
The music fails to swell. Possibly because Walters is no singer and they rightly spare us her rendition of "The Way We Were."

What they couldn't do when people were watching with their own eyes, ABC does in their "report." There's no excuse for what they have posted online. That's not what happened, that's not the way it happened.

It does present Powell in a more flattering light. It does eliminate his starts and stops, his stammer, his use of "United Nations." As p.r., it's fine. As journalism it's not fine. Journalism doesn't allow the public record to be 'polished.'

Update 12-5-2010. We've fixed the FAIR link.

13 Books, 20 Minutes

Jim: In this week's book discussion, we're focusing on children's book. That's due to the fact that Gina and Krista asked us to because they'll be doing a survey of children's lit in this Friday's the gina & krista round-robin. We're happy to assist. Next week, we'll be discussing Tariq Ali's Street Fighting Years. This week, we'll be noting a book that stood out in childhood. Participating are The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Ava, Jess, Ty and myself, Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz, Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix, Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude, Betty of Thomas Friedman is a Great Man, Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills), Mike of Mikey Likes It!, C.I. of both The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review, and we're very lucky to be joined by Folding Star who ran the weblog A Winding Road.

Ava: I asked to go first because when this feature was discussed, I claimed E.B. White's Charlotte's Web which was something that many of us involved would have selected. The illustrations are done by Garth Williams and this is a book that had a huge impact on me. It was read to me before I could read myself and it's one I read repeatedly in elementary school. Confession, it's also a book I still pick up when I'm feeling depressed. Last paragraph of the book:

Wilbur never forgot Charlotte. Although he loved her children and
grandchildren dearly, none of the new spiders ever quite took her place in his
heart. She was in a class by herself. It is not often that someone
comes along who is a true friend and a good writer. Charlotte was both.

Kat: My choice is one that only two people involved had heard of, The Country Bunny and The Little Gold Shoes by Du Bose Heyward, with pictures by Marjorie Hack. I loved this book, as much for the pictures as the story. The Country Bunny is a Sally Field type, plucky and feisty. She wants to be one of the Easter egg carriers. Each year, there's a contest and the fastest bunnies are selected to deliver the eggs. Although the Country Bunny is one of the fastest, she is told that it's too bad she has so many children or she could be one of the five selected. She makes an argument, which always struck me as both common sense and feminist, and she gets to be the fifth carrier. She also becomes the bravest carrier and as she attempts to deliver the final egg, "the loveliest egg," up a snow covered hill, Grandfather Bunny arrives with gold shoes that will assist her. So it's a story with feminist overtones and Country Bunny gets a snazzy pair of shoes to wear as she breaks through the glass ceiling, what's not to love?

Cedric: My favorite growing up was a little book called The Harlem Globetrotters and Basketball's Funniest Game. A nephew has the book now and we pass it around because it's an easy book and because it features African-Americans. Also, a kid who might not read something else, if he or she likes sports, will usually pick it up. Growing up, we all fought over this book. I don't just mean when we were little. But my sister had it before me, okay? It was passed down to her and then it was my turn. When I was reading bigger books, she tried to claim it back and kept saying she had only "loaned it" to me. It's funny now, but there were some intense fights over this book. I called my brother to find out the credits for it and it's by Clare and Frank Gault and illustrated by Charles McGill. It's probably not a great book, I'm sure it isn't. But it's one that's held the interest in my family.

Jim: My favorite book was a sports book too and is far less weighty than your choice. But it's by the same authors and I didn't know that. Clare and Frank Gault. It was my dad's book so it was also passed on.

Cedric: Really?

Jim: Yeah. Dick Ericson did the illustrations though. It's called How to Be a Good Baseball Player. My dad got it when he was nine-years-old. I don't remember this, but my mom says he read it to me over and over even when I was in the crib. Baseball's real big with my dad. He coached my little league team. Ty, Jess and Ava tease me about moving in with Dona over at her place with Ava but if they see the book there, they'll know I've moved because I wouldn't live anywhere without that book. What I can remember is Dad going over this book with me all the time when I was in elementary school. As summer approached, he'd pull out the book and we'd read it and look at the pictures. It's really an instructional book and I'm probably choosing it more for memories than the book itself but here's a quote:

How do you throw a fast ball?
One way is to grip the baseball with two fingers across the seams.
Or you can grip the ball using two fingers along the seams.
And some pitchers like to use only one finger across the seams.

Dona: As a dull gaze sets over everyone from that quote, I'll go next. I can't pick one. I can narrow it down to Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House on the Prarie series. And from that, I can narrow it down to the first book or On the Banks of Plum Creek. I loved the books. I hated the TV show. I may be the only one who feels that way but the book seemed to have some hard hitting emotions and moments, stop laughing Jim, and the TV series seemed to be like Lassie. I kept waiting for Melissa Gilbert to get petted on the head every episode. But I love the books. All of them. And Jim, if you don't stop laughing, I'll eviscerate you for choosing an instructional book. I love those books.

Folding Star: I loved the Little House books, too. I read them over and over as a kid. I also read the books of Beverly Cleary over and over again, especially the Ramona books. But the one book that always comes to mind when I think of childhood favorites is Cleary's Dear Mr. Henshaw. It's such a great book. It's about this boy who wants to be a writer and, as a class assignment in elementary school, writes a letter to a children's author. The book takes the form of his letters to the author and later the journal the author suggests he keep. For anyone who ever wanted to be a writer when they were a kid, it's a wonderful book, but it also really deals well with the emotions kids may be dealing with after their parents divorce, and just in general with feelings about adolescence. It's just an amazing book.

Betty: I like the Ramona books too. I'd forgotten them until I started reading them to my own kids. It's like rediscovering the books all over again. My favorite changes from week to week depending on what the kids are into. Currently, they want Robert Bright's Georgie. That's a book about a little boy who's a ghost and it has the ink drawings that the kids get excited over.
This summer, at my oldest's day care, there was a Halloween in July thing where they got to dress up and read books. They had to make their own masks with construction paper and sacks and they did that in day care so it wasn't a stress for the parents. But during that week, one of the books they read was Georgie and this was really hard to find a copy of. But we "had" to have it and I remember those days so I finally found a copy on the internet. Let me do a quote because I just feel like I'm rambling here. (Laughing) Maybe because I'm not reflecting on the past but the topic pulls me very much into the present. Here's the opening of the book:

In a little village in New England there was a little house which belonged
to Mr. and Mrs. Whittaker.
Up in the little attic of this little house there lived a little
ghost. His name was Georgie.
Every night, at the same time, he gave the loose board on the stairs a
little creek,
and the parlor door a little squeak.

It's a cute book and at a time when the youngest is worrying about monsters under the bed, it's great because I can say, "I don't think it's monsters, I think it's Georgie!" and peace is restored and bed times met.

Mike: Mine's a Halloween book because I always loved Halloween best because you got to dress up in costumes. Christmas is great for presents, but Halloween's still my favorite. My book is by Bernard Wiseman, he did the words and the pictures, and it's called Halloween with Morris and Boris. It's about a moose and a bear who go trick or treating. My favorite character was Morris the moose. Boris was kind of a know it all and had a short temper. Morris ends up being a clown for Halloween and Boris ends up being a ghost. They get candy and go to a party and play pin the tail on the donkey and bob for apples. I just liked the book when I was little. Halloween, the color of the drawings.

Ty: I liked the colors in one book when I was little too. Ickle Bickle Robin by Edna Mitchell Preston and drawings by Norman Bridwell. The red on the robin's chest always looked like orange to me and that color just stood out. I would stare at the pictures even after I could read myself. The parents of Ickle Bickle Robin are arguing about whether he's old enough to fly or not. The dad thinks he is but the mom thinks he isn't. Then when he does fly, the dad's the one who's worried. It's a funny book.

Jess: I think my book's funny too. It's Maurice Sendak's Pierre which is part of the Really Rosie series. This was the first book I "read." I say "read" because we had the Carole King soundtrack to Really Rosie and it played all the time. She sings the words Sendak wrote to her own music and melodies. So I knew the words from the song and I'd turn the pages while I sang the song to myself. Here's the opening:

There once was a boy
named Pierre
who only would say,
"I don't care!"
Read his story,
my friend,
for you'll find
at the end
that a suitable
moral lies there.

When I was a kid I thought it was "that a suit and a bull more all lies there." That's what my folks tell me. I guess I was just coming up with words I knew.

Rebecca: I'm going with a book I hated. It left an impression, but I hated it. Martha Tolles' Katie For President. So here's the basic plot. Katie wants to be president of the class. Her rival is Lynne Colby. They don't like each other. Turns out Lynne envies her just as much as Katie envies Lynne. What that has to do with election, I don't know. But Katie has to deliberate over whether to even vote for herself. That's before she finds out that Lynne's an okay person. The "happy" ending? Katie loses the election to Lynne. Katie's fine with it. Even when a note that destroyed her chances to win was written by Lynne's friend and Lynne knew about it. It was all too much to stomach and another "Empathy, girls!" story. Young girls need more victory stories, not lessons in how to be happy about losing.

C.I.: Interesting. I'll go with an obvious choice. The Curious George series. And from that, I'll go with Curious George Rides a Bike. H. A Rey is the author. The drawings were always a big deal to me. Monkeys were big with me. Chim-Chim on Speed Racer, Lance Link . . . And riding a bike is a big thing when you're a kid. I still remember the day the training wheels came off. I was in the drive way, my mother had taken them off. She gave me a push down the drive and, here's the point of the story, as I went down the drive, I turned and started down the sidewalk. No, I don't fall or crash or skin my knees. When I stopped, I stopped because I was ready and didn't fall over. Here's the point, one oft noted over the years, when I turned, I turned left.

Jim: I like that story. We hope this helps, Gina and Krista. Next week, Tariq Ali's Street Fighting Years.

The Third Estate Sunday Review News Review 9-11-05

C.I.: Good morning and welcome to The Third Estate Sunday Review news review.

Jess: Australia's ABC network reports that a peace activist may face deportation. The activist, Scott Parkin, is a nonviolent peace activist conducting workshops on peace. A security assessment has found him to be a "risk." Liz Thompson of Australia's Anti-Deportation Alliance told ABC that:

"The idea that someone who talks about non-violent methods of resistance to state violence can be considered a threat to national security is pretty concerning, particularly in the light of the new laws that are being proposed."

Jess (con't): Now I'd like to note an excerpt from Cindy Sheehan's "Peacemakers: What Kind of Extremist Will You Be?" at BuzzFlash:

Most everyone who is reading this knows what happened to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on April 04, 1968. Some of you may even know what happened to my son, Spc. Casey Austin Sheehan on April 04, 2004. If you don't know, Dr King and Casey were murdered by the same malevolent entities: People and ideologies that say that we have to be mortally afraid of the "ism" du jour and we, as Americans who have the "moral high-ground" in the world can send our innocent children to invade innocent countries and kill innocent people to fight the "ists" that go with the "isms."
In Vietnam we were fighting the evil Communists and in Iraq we are fighting the evil terrorists. Our war against Communism out-stayed its welcome in the 1980's and the military industrial war complex was running out of excuses to build bombs, tanks, bullets, ships, submarines, and soldiers; so in 2001, our leaders who serve the war machine had to switch our enemy of the state to terrorism.
Dr. King had the temerity to challenge the war machine and war racketeers on April 04, 1967 in his famous speech on Vietnam...and he paid for that bit of inspired, courageous, honesty with his life exactly one year later. Casey had the naïve gall to join the US Army thinking he would be making the world a better, safer place... and he paid for that kind of immature (but honest) patriotic mistake with his wonderful life.
Casey was a brave and honorable man who we were told volunteered to go on the mission that killed him to save the lives of his buddies. He was shot in the back of the head and died a little while later in a medic's station while a medic was trying to hold his brains in while the doctors tried to keep him breathing. We have heard many wildly disparate stories of Casey's last few minutes on earth, I don't know if we will ever know the truth. One thing I do know, however, is that like Dr. King, Casey's murder will be to advance the cause for peace and in the name of love.
I am wholly and completely convinced that this aggression on Iraq is illegal, immoral and appallingly unnecessary. I am also convinced that one drop of blood was one drop of blood too much to be shed for this abomination in Iraq. Now oceans of blood -- both Iraqi and American -- have been spilled for ruinous and disturbing policies of very bad people in our government who have based their reasons for invasion and occupation on their twisted imaginations and their seemingly bottomless lust for power, profits, chaos and confusion.

Jess (con't): This is a powerful statement and deserves attention. Due to the length of the excerpt and knowing that Betty, Cedric and Ty have put a lot of time into something they'll be providing tonight, I'll use the rest of my time to note two things. First, here are the upcoming dates for the Bring Them Home Now Tour:

Central Tour:
Cleveland, OH: Sun, Sep. 11th
Pittsburgh, PA: Sun, Sep. 11th - Wed, Sep. 14th
Harrisburg, PA: Wed, Sep. 14th
Philadelphia, PA: Wed, Sep. 14th - Sun, Sep. 18th
Baltimore, MD: Sun, Sep. 18th - Wed, Sep. 21st
Northern Tour:
Detroit, MI: Sun, Sep. 11th
Buffalo, NY: Sun, Sep. 11th - Tue, Sep. 13th
Rochester, NY: Tue, Sep. 13th
Syracuse, NY: Tue, Sep. 13th
Albany, NY: Tue, Sep. 13th - Wed, Sep. 14th
Amherst, MA: Wed, Sep. 14th - Thu, Sep. 15th
Boston, MA: Fri, Sep. 16th - Sun, Sep. 18th
New Haven, CT: Sun, Sep. 18th
Providence, RI: Sun, Sep. 18th
New York City, NY: Sun, Sep. 18th - Tue, Sep. 20th
Newark, NJ: Tue, Sep. 20th
Baltimore, MD: Tue, Sep. 20th - Wed, Sep. 21st
Southern Tour:
Savannah, GA: Mon, Sep. 12th - Tue, Sep. 13th
Charleston, SC: Tue, Sep. 13th
Columbia, SC: Tue, Sep. 13th - Thu, Sep. 15th
Raleigh-Durham, NC: Thu, Sep. 15th - Sun, Sep. 18th
Fayetteville, NC: Fri, Sep. 16th
Williamsburg, VA: Sun, Sep. 18th
Richmond, VA: Sun, Sep. 18th - Tue, Sep. 20th
Alexandria, VA: Tue, Sep. 20th - Wed, Sep. 21st

Jess (con't): If they're in your area, show your support. And reader Amy asked me to note that one week from today, in Madison Wisconsin, Jane Fonda & George Galloway's tour gets under way. We publish on Sunday and I'll note this again next week but to give an advance heads up, we'll note it now. Jane Fonda will speak for twenty minutes and introduce George Galloway who will then speak for an hour. Ticket prices are ten dollars for students and twenty dollars for everyone else. Tickets are now on sale and the event takes place in the Wisconsin Union Theatre. For more information, you can consult Madison Indymedia and the article Lee Sensebrenner wrote. Let's keep the activism that took off this summer alive and growing.

C.I.: Thank you, Jess. You have a report that you completed but you'll be holding that?

Jess: Correct. With the events the weekend of the 23rd, we've decided to hold that in case we're short on time.

C.I.: Thank you. We'll also note that BuzzFlash has a petition asking that Jenna & Barbara Bush enlist in the military or that no other Americans be sent to Iraq. To sign the petition click here.
We're now fortunate to have Dallas participating with us again. Dallas hunts down all the links you find at The Third Estate Sunday Review, and many at The Common Ills as well. This week Dallas spent many hours volunteering at a relief center for the victims of Hurricane Katrina in his local area. Dallas?

Dallas: C.I., I live in Dallas, Texas and one of the areas that it has been set up is the city's Convention Center. I saw positives and negatives and, my personal judgement, the negatives stem mainly from the lack of assistance provided by the federal government. After attending a training session by the Red Cross, I reported to the Convention Center where residents are tightly packed and alternate between frustration and hope. Many businesses, including Honey B. Ham and Dominos Pizza, donated food throught the week. Food was not in short supply and, again, that food was donated. Last week, we had spoken of the proximity to the West End Station of the Convention Center. The West End Station is a bus and train station that services the DFW area. The city has provided all the evacuess with passes which allow them to travel on the local transportation free of charge. The evacuess wear braclets which allow them to enter and depart from the Convention Center. They are not confined to the center nor are they forced to leave each day. One concern that we discussed last week was repeatedly raised by evacuees in the Convention Center which is the heat outside and the lack of shade for those wishing to step out and get some fresh air. There is also confusion expressed over the layout around the Convention Center. A plus I did not note last week is that although Dallas and surrounding areas are set up under a multi-system that seems to encompass every development design, the immediate area that the evacuees at the Convention Center are in is set up, more or less, on a grid system. That's a rarity in Dallas and a benefit to the location. Those I spoke with who ventured out for walks cited the ease with which they were able to find their way back to the Convention Center. Inside the center itself, there are various areas set up to address problems.
Walgreens and another drugstore have set up to provide medications. One of the best run areas, my opinion, is the DISD, Dallas Independent School District, which is registering the children for classes. Five mothers cite that as the easiest area to navigate and the most helpful.
Social Security and FEMA are rated by most as the worst areas and the most confusing due to the paper work and the constant referrals of "You need to see ___" first. That was a hall mark in the Convention Center, something that volunteers and evacuees repeatedly noted. The local organizations were running with speed and efficiency. The federal organizations were not. As the week progressed, frustration with the federal agencies became the most cited topic by evacuees who complained to me.

C.I.: What would you offer as an explanation for that?

Dallas: Frustration over the procedures. The paperwork is more often a maze of paperwork for those agencies. There is a "It's not my job" attitude that is sometimes expressed verbally. Again, this is with the federal agencies. The local agencies, such as DISD which you would expect to be frustrating, have had more thought and planning put in. They're also under local oversight which no doubt helps as well.

C.I.: And you said in an e-mail Thursday that it was a peaceful setting.

Dallas: Right. People do express frustrations, valid ones. But the evacuees have not lived up to any of the horror stories reported in some media.

C.I.: Other than complaints regarding the federal agencies, what has been the biggest complaint from evacuees in the Convention Center?

Dallas: That family can't enter. If you lived in New Orleans and were currently in the Convention Center and Jess was your brother from Oklahoma who showed up to check on you, Jess would not be allowed into the Convention Center. I spoke to many who voiced this complaint. Two of which actually had a visitor that they found out later. Both visitors had stationed themselves in the area outside of the Convention Center with the hopes that their family inside might walk out or someone that they knew who could go back in and inform them that they were outside. The two people who did leave the Convention Center by chance and encounter visitors took the story back inside and a number of evacuees are wondering whether they too might have had people attempting to visit them. There's a discussion, at least inside the Convention Center, on a way to address that issue because obviously it is an important one.
These people have already lost so much and certainly no one wants to deprive them of a visit from loved ones.

C.I.: The rule was set up for safety reasons?

Dallas: Yes. You have to have a braclet to enter or leave the Convention Center. This is an attempt to focus on the needs of the evacuees.

C.I.: As opposed to the homeless population that you spoke of last week?

Dallas: Correct. As well as to prevent casual visitors from dropping in. You're dealing with a tightly packed area, set up with cots. There's not a great deal of privacy and the braclet system was also an attempt to provide the evacuees with some privacy from what one agency head called "curiosity seekers." I should probably disclose that I did vote for our mayor, Laura Miller, and for the council member that represents me. However, I'm not always pleased with the mayor's positions or proposals. I went in wanting to help and expecting a nightmare. Not from the evacuees but from the way things would be set up. I think the mayor and the council has provided strong oversight and that the city officials involved planned very carefully. Again, the contrast between what you receive from the city and what you receive from the federal agencies is very different. The mayor is saying publicly that the city needs more federal assistance and a few hours inside the Convention Center will demonstrate why she is asking for that.

C.I.: Thank you for that report Dallas. We now have an editorial sgement. It will begin with Betty and myself, Betty of Thomas Friedman is a Great Man, and then we'll be joined by Ty of The Third Estate Sunday Review, and Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix. Before we get to that, last week, Elaine and I attempted to figure out the terms "refugee" and "evacuee." For information on that you can refer to Ruth's Morning Edition Report from Saturday. We will all be using the term "evacuee" in place of "refugee." Betty, you have issues with a certain fact checker, correct?

Betty: Correct. My frustation were voiced here last Sunday over what I saw as his insensitivity and lack of desire for an exploration of racial issues. As the week progressed, my frustration only grew with each daily entry from the fact checker.
He critiques Rep. Dianne Watson (D-CA) for her complaints about the use of the term refugee. He writes:

But let’s go farther: Who exactly has called the New Orleans storm victims "refugees coming from a foreign country?" Answer: No one has made such a statement. Watson is pleasuring herself.

C.I.: Fact, the legal definition of "refugee" refers to those from a foreign country. Refugess come from a foreign country, to repeat. Watson is legally correct. Legally the "from a foreign country" is implied.

Betty: He wrote of Kanye West and Don Imus and their remarks of Bully Boy hating black people:

Kanye West knew it, and Imus did too.

C.I.: Fact, he does not know what Bully Boy hates anymore than anyone else does.

Betty: He wrote:

A single photo caption from Agence France Press failed to use the naughty term "looting"--and a pair of white people were portrayed in the photo! To Atrios, a college professor (!), this single, unexplained example seemed to display a troubling race bias—and the stupid story quickly spread around the liberal web (ending up in a stand-alone story in the New York Times). As it turned out, the photojournalist had a very good reason for saying this couple “found” bread and soda from a local grocery--he said he had literally seen them do it! But pseudo-liberals were outraged by this one example--and when pseudo-liberals start to pleasure themselves, one example is all they need to establish a troubling principle. Their well-trained professors (!) play along.

C.I.: Fact, we are outside of France. AP distributes AFP globally. Snit fits over AFP seem beside the point. More importantly the photo is a Getty Image. Which AFP distributes. AP distributes AFP internationally. Are we confused yet? We won't get any clarity from the fact checker.
The photos were teamed on the internet by Yahoo.
Fact checker informs that the photo journalist says he saw the "looting." Unless he knows the photog it certainly is strange that he, who ridicules the press so often, is building his case on a single source. It certainly is a pleasing story for the photog involved. One doubts that Maureen Dowd would be granted the same unquestioning treatment to a defense she offered that only she could back up.
Interestingly enough and not surprisingly, there are larger issues. Such as the photos themselves.

Betty: Left out of discussion is the fact that the "looting" man is presumably not far from the store in question since the Getty journalist claims to have seen the looting. The Getty photog couldn't very well have chased the man far for a photo.

C.I.: Or shouldn't have since the photo shows the quote "looter" unquote in chest deep water.
The man is thought to be carrying a case of Pepsis. Betty, do you prefer your Pepsi chilled or under stagnant water?

Betty: Well, while there's nothing like a rust ring to make a can of Pepsi more attractive, I think I'd have to choose the can not buried under water where it will remain for days.

C.I.: Point. There are bigger issues. The "analysis" is useless.

Cedric: Help! Help! Help!

Betty: Cedric, are you okay?

Cedric: I've just sliced open my hand. It was bad enough when I woke with an ingrown fingernail.

Betty: Cedric, you're losing a lot of blood. Let's apply pressure.

Ty: Hold it one damn minute! Before anyone applies pressure, allow me to fact check. Contrary to the way the liberals love to spread self-pleasing tales, Cedric DOES NOT have an ingrown fingernail. He has a hang nail! Allow me to explain at length.

Betty: But Ty, there is a bigger issue!

Cedric: I'm bleedin,g man!

Ty: Drop the bandage, Betty! The issue at present is that Cedric has lied, lied, lied about having an ingrown nail. It is a hang nail. That is our focus and that will be our focus.

C.I.: Ty, isn't it correct that Cedric is bleeding from a sharp cut to his hand?

Ty: I'm not commenting on that. I'm not into self-pleasing liberal tales that liberals tell themselves to be self-pleased. I'm the last honest man, emphasis on man, and I will howl and holler until I am heard!

Cedric: You self-righteous ass!

C.I.: The above, beginning with the appearence of Cedric screaming, "Help! Help! Help!" was a dramatization. Betty?

Betty: Did Cedric, in our dramatization, have a hang nail or an ingrown fingernail? Considering that, Cedric's hand was bleeding, Ty's focus on the hang nail issue was rather strange.

Ty: The point of the skit that Betty, Cedric and I wrote was to underscore that there are larger issues. The character I played was someone totally oblivious to the pain of others and unconcerned with the big issues but determined to extoll my own self-pleasing critiques.

Betty: And did a very fine job. Our Weekly Howler Players, Ty and Cedric. The skit actually illustrates some of the huge problems this week. Thursday is all , these people claim crime wasn't as rampant as portrayed, the police chief says otherwise!

Ty: "But, uh, I guess I should toss in that the police chief might have a reason to say that."

Cedric: "And note how I don't mention word one about the reports of the police abusing reporters."

Betty: When you set the rules, when you call the fouls, when you're the home team, you can make an argument. Doesn't make it valid. As a black woman, I'm grossly offended by pretty much every commentary the Fact Checker has offered on this topic.

Ty: The minimizing of race and the serious issues involved repeatedly by someone rushing into scream, "Don't look here!" didn't play well to the three of us. He appears to want a serious discussion on race. But only on his terms.

Cedric: And he'll attempt to ridicule anyone who attempts to raise a serious issue because, instead of focusing on the bloody hand, he's trying to figure out whether it's a hang nail or in grown nail. It's insulting no matter how it's meant. As the three African-Americans of this community who have sites, we felt we had a special obligation to make sure our point of view was heard on this nonsense.

C.I.: Ty, you have a statement to read composed by everyone participating in this edition?

Ty: Correct. We don't know the intent of the Fact Checker. We do know that many in the community found his remarks insensitive and offensive. Racial issues have been addressed rarely at his site so if he's thinking that he's earned some benefit of the doubt on this, he's wrong.
We link to him at this site on our blog roll. It is our hope that he was in a bad mood all week, as evidenced by his use of the f-word, and attempting to make points that he never executed due to his frustration. But as the comments stand, people are offended. Issues of representation have been raised in other forums and while focusing on the domestic mainstream may limit some of his choices due to the institutional bais in those organizations focused on, the fact remains that people are asking questions and feeling, in the words of Common Ills community member and co-author of the gina & krista round-robin, uninvited.

C.I.: Thank you Ty, Betty and Cedric. Again, that was editorial content. We now go Elaine with reports from Iraq. And we'll note that this week Elaine started her own site, Like Maria Said Paz.

Elaine: It is now September 11th. Though the mainstream media hasn't been very concerned with covering it, the fatality count for American troops in Iraq stands at eleven [for the month thus far]. There is not a total for those wounded in action but August's total is 451 injured while serving in Iraq.
The Associated Press reports that this Friday, at a court martial, Sgt. David Fimon pled guilty to abusing prisioners in Iraq. Reportedly, the abuse included stun guns used on prisoners who were both handcuffed and blind folded.
In Tal Afar, Reuters reports that the mayor, Mohammed Rasheed, has resigned saying that "The operation is targeting Sunni neighbourhoods."
As noted elsewhere, The New York Times has a fondness for copying press releases from the military and turning them as a news reports. One such press release last week claimed that Saddam Hussein had confessed. The BBC reports that attornies for Hussein state there has been no confession.
While the paper of record for press releases told readers about a questionable confession and baseball in Iraq, they found little time to report on Tal Afar.
Aerial bombings began mid-week according to Aljazeera. Aljazeera also reports that:
"The Association of Muslim Scholars (AMS) in Iraq slammed the military offensive in Tal Afar on Saturday, saying it was as an expression of innate sectarian hatred that rulers should refrain from." The BBC reports that the city of Qaim is next on the radar for the US military although this is being delayed due to the fighting in Tal Afar. The Observer has called events in Tal Afar
"the biggest assault since the retaking of Falluja." At some point The New York Times may decide to report on it.

C.I.: Thank you, Elaine. In other news you may not find in The New York Times, we go to Mike, of Mike Likes It!

Mike:Based on past reporting on the area, there's a good chance this is news that The New York Times won't tell you, a confrontation in Belfast between police and loyalists resulted in violence. Australia's ABC reports that at least one Protestant was shot and that the authorities speak of a spike in the attacks in West Belfast by loyalists. Machine gun fire was reportedly heard.

C.I.: The IRA is supposed to be disarming but as many, not the Times, pointed out the loyalist paramilitary goups, which exist even if the Times can't find them, have made no such proclamation. What else is know about the attacks?

Mike: The police speak of petrol bombs, blast bombs and bricks being hurled at them by loyalists. The crackpot The New York Times loves to quote, Ian Paisley, is blaming the violence on parade commissioners who re-routed a parade, according to the BBC. Burning automobiles and other things are blocking many roads. In other news from Europe, The Guardian is reporting that the general-secretary of the Transport & General Workers Union, Tony Woodley, is calling for Tony Blair to step down as prime minister within the year and thus far refusing to endorse Gordon Brown as the next prime minister. In the United States, the Associated Press is reporting on The "Doctrine for Joint Nuclear Operations" -- a 2002 Pentagon plan that is in the process of being updated. The doctrine calls for the use of nuclear weapons to fight "terrorists" in a pre-emptive war. Left unstated by the AP is the legalisty of a pre-emptive war.

C.I.: That is disturbing, Mike. Thank you. We'll note that Jim Lobe's "Anti-Terror Strategy in Doubt on 9/11 Anniversary" at IPS raises serious questions about the strategy of the so-called "war" on terror. Now we go to Rebecca, of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude, who is filing her first report for the news review and is focusing on nature. Rebecca?

Rebecca: C.I., the great apes in Africa are facing extinction. The BBC reports that the UN and ministers of 23 African republics are attempting to save the great apes which could disappear in one generation if nothing is done. In Rio de Janeiro, Ireland's reports, savelha are dying in large numbers in the lagoon of Marapendi which follows the 2000 death of "132 tons of fish in the Rodrigo de Freitas lagoon." Scientists are concluding, according to the BBC, that climate change (global warming) could result in 50 million people be facing the risks of hunger and starvation over the next fifty years. The New Zealand Herald reports that a "southern Right Whale, a sub-adult about 14 metres long" remains caught "in a craypot." Rescue teams have lost track of it and the whale is expected to die if not located soon. Finally, on Tuesday, the World Health Organization issued an alert that it appears bird flu has transferred from poultry to migratory birds.

C.I.: Thank you, Rebecca. Now we go to Kat, of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills), for an entertainment wrap up.

Kat: As reported by the Associated Press, faced with a legal challenge by CNN, the federal government has backed off their demand/command that the media be prevented from documenting and witnessing the recovery of bodies in New Orleans. Rolling Stone reports that
"MELISSA ETHERIDGE will produce and host the Lifetime network's breast-cancer awareness special, WomenRock! Our Journey with Melissa Etheridge. The show, which will be taped in Los Angeles on September 29th, will air October 18th as part of the network's Our Lifetime Commitment: Stop Breast Cancer for Life campaign." The AFP reports that Ang Lee's Brokeback Mountain has won the Golden Lion award at the Venice Film Festival. Spin reports that Outkast's upcoming film will also feature " Ving Rhames, Terence Howard, Faizon Love, Patti LaBelle, Macy Gray, and Cicely Tyson." The Progressive's Barbara Ehrenreich follows up her million selling Nickle and Dimed with a new book entitled Bait & Switch. Bait & Switch focuses on the white collar world and Ehrenreich explained what led her to write the book to the Associated Press:

I hadn't thought of doing anything like this after "Nickel and Dimed." I spent four years running around the country, speaking about the issues. What was beginning to catch my attention was the number of letters ... from people with degrees — not just bachelor's, but master's — who sunk into poverty and couldn't come back. ... I hadn't thought this was a group in trouble. My curiosity was piqued.

Kat (con't): Lastly, tonight the Independent Channel airs Danny Schechter's documentary WMD: Weapons of Mass Deception which airs at 10 pm eastern and pacific times and nine pm in the central time zone.

C.I.: Thank you, Kat. WMD, if you get the Independent Channel, please check out the movie tonight. And that wraps this edition of The Third Estate Sunday Review news review. We thank Dallas and Jess' parents for hunting down links and helping locate stories. Dona and Jim, both of The Third Estate Sunday Review, acted as producers, helping to edit the stories and maintain the one hour frame we try for in this feature. Dona asks that we note this feature is a "rush transcript."

"Bush censura toda la información que surge de Nueva Orleans, Louisiana. La Primera Enmienda se hundió con la ciudad". ("Democracy Now!")

"Bush censura toda la información que surge de Nueva Orleans, Louisiana. La Primera Enmienda se hundió con la ciudad". ("Democracy Now!")

Francisco: Hola mis amigos. Kanye West: "George Bush no tiene interes en personas negras." Condi Rice "compras para zapatos mientras miles mueren y otros quedan" en New Orleans.De parte de "Democracy Now!" doce cosas que vale hacer notar este fin de semana.

Cifra de muertos en Nueva Orleans podría ser 10.000
En Nueva Orleans, el alcalde de la ciudad calcula que puede haber 10.000 muertos tras el devastador huracán de la semana pasada.

FEMA solicitó ayuda horas después de que huracán azotara el Golfo de México
Nuevos documentos filtrados demuestran que la Agencia Federal para el Manejo de Emergencias (FEMA, por sus siglas en inglés) esperó cinco horas antes de solicitar ayuda en la región, luego de que el Huracán Katrina azotara Nueva Orleáns. El director de la FEMA, Michael Brown, dijo en ese momento que los 1.000 empleados de Seguridad Nacional podían demorar dos días para llegar al lugar del desastre. El documento enviado por Brown al Director de Seguridad Nacional, Michael Chertoff, concluía amablemente: "Gracias por su consideración al ayudarnos a cumplir con nuestras responsabilidades". Según Associated Press, el documento de Brown no incluía términos que hicieran referencia a una emergencia, y describía al huracán como "un acontecimiento cercano a una catástrofe". El documento de Brown decía que se esperaba que los empleados "dieran una buena imagen sobre el manejo del desastre a los funcionarios del gobierno, organizaciones comunitarias y opinión pública". Mientras que la FEMA tardaba días en enviar ayuda, decenas de miles de personas de la costa del Golfo de México se quedaban sin alimento, agua o un lugar donde quedarse. El documento se filtró mientras aumentaban las críticas a Brown. El senador demócrata Ken Salazar se unió el martes al cada vez mayor número de personas que piden la renuncia de Brown. Muchos de ellos, como el ex presidente Bill Clinton, piden que se lleve a cabo una investigación de la respuesta del gobierno.

Clinton: Se necesita comisión independiente para examinar la respuesta del gobierno
Mientras tanto, el ex Presidente Bill Clinton dijo a CNN que el gobierno le falló a la gente de la costa del Golfo de México, y llamó a formar una comisión independiente para examinar la respuesta del gobierno al huracán Katrina. "Creo que se debería analizar lo sucedido y tengo una opinión firme sobre la forma en que debe organizarse y funcionar la Agencia Federal para el Manejo de Emergencias (FEMA), pero para eso habría que dejar pasar un tiempo. En este momento... todavía estamos buscando cadáveres y aún podría haber gente con vida en el lugar".

Presidente de la comisión del 11 de septiembre critica respuesta al huracán
El presidente de la Comisión del 11 de septiembre criticó públicamente la respuesta del gobierno al huracán y a la inundación. Thomas Kean dijo: "Se cometieron los mismos errores que en el 11 de septiembre, y en algunos casos incluso peores. Se trata de fallas que abarcan a todo el sistema, que pueden ser resueltas y que debieron ser resueltas de inmediato".

Pentágono: Portahelicópteros USS Bataan esperó durante días la orden de ayudar
La crítica a la respuesta del gobierno federal también proviene de fuentes inusuales como el Pentágono. El Teniente Comandante Sean Kelly, un portavoz del Pentágono para el Comando del Norte, reveló a la BBC que ese Comando estaba preparado para enviar helicópteros para búsqueda y rescate desde el portahelicópteros USS Bataan, casi inmediatamente después del huracán. Dijo: "Teníamos todo pronto. Sólo quedamos en suspenso porque debíamos esperar la autorización del Presidente lo autorice". Esa autorización tardó días en llegar, a pesar de que el buque estaba en un muelle en las afueras de Nueva Orleans. En el USS Bataan había médicos, camas de hospital, alimentos, y capacidad para producir hasta 455.000 litros de agua potable por día.

Pilotos de la Armada amonestados por salvar a 100 víctimas del Huracán
El New York Times informó que dos pilotos de helicópteros de la Armada y su tripulación fueron amonestados por ayudar el martes a trasladar en ferry a 100 víctimas del huracán a un lugar más seguro. El Comandante Michael Holdener defendió la amonestación, y dijo que "todos queremos rescatar personas. Pero se les dijo que tenemos otras misiones en este momento y que esa no es la prioridad". El Comandante ordenó más tarde la suspensión de los esfuerzos de ayuda a civiles. Uno de los tenientes amonestados fue retirado de la rotación de vuelo del escuadrón y temporalmente asignado a la supervisión de un recinto diseñado para cuidar las mascotas de los integrantes del servicio.

Diputada Pelosi solicita a Bush que despida al director de la FEMA
Pasamos a una noticia de Capitol Hill, donde la líder de la minoría de la Cámara de Representantes, Nancy Pelosi, criticó duramente al director de la Agencia Federal para el Manejo de Emergencias (FEMA), Michael Brown, a quien describió como alguien totalmente "carente de autoridad". Antes de asumir como director de la FEMA, Brown se había desempeñado durante 11 años como director de la Asociación Internacional de Caballos Árabes. Pelosi dijo que había visto recientemente a Bush, y que lo exhortó a que despidiera a Brown. Relató que el Presidente había respondido: "¿Por qué habría de despedirlo?". Según Pelosi, cuando ella sostuvo que Brown debía ser despedido por todo lo que salió mal la semana pasada, Bush contestó: "¿Qué fue lo que no salió bien?"

FEMA llena de jerarcas nombrados por motivos políticos, en vez de especialistas
Surgen cuestionamientos a las razones por las que el gobierno de Bush decidió designar a en los altos mandos de la FEMA a personas que carecían de experiencia en el manejo de desastres. El subdirector de la FEMA, Patrick Rhode, había sido organizador de la campaña Bush-Cheney y jefe de personal de la Casa Blanca. El tercer funcionario en jerarquía de la FEMA, Scott Morris, es especialista en relaciones públicas, y trabajaba para una compañía de Texas que producía avisos publicitarios de radio y televisión para la campaña Bush-Cheney.

Bomberos se quejan del modo en que FEMA manejó la crisis
Siguiendo con noticias sobre la FEMA, el diario Salt Lake City Tribune informa que la semana pasada, mientras Nueva Orleans pedía ayuda en forma desesperada, la FEMA envió 1.000 bomberos a Atlanta a una jornada de clases sobre temas como las relaciones comunitarias y el acoso sexual. En vez de ser enviados a Nueva Orleans, los bomberos recibieron capacitación para ser funcionarios de relaciones comunitarias de la FEMA. Su principal tarea, una vez que llegaron a la costa del Golfo de México, fue repartir volantes de la FEMA. Algunos bomberos acudieron a la prensa y se quejaron de que su capacidad no era bien aprovechada. La FEMA atacó a los bomberos que hablaron. La portavoz de la FEMA, Mary Hudak, dijo: "Yo le pediría a ese bombero que reviera su compromiso con la FEMA, con su tarea como bombero y con los ciudadanos de este país".

Informe: Director de la FEMA inventó partes de su currículum
Surgen más cuestionamientos acerca del director de la Agencia Federal para el Manejo de Emergencias (FEMA), Michael Brown. Según la revista Time, Brown habría inventado partes de su currículo. Brown sostuvo que trabajó en Edmond, Oklahoma, como gerente asistente de la ciudad y y supervisor de sus servicios de emergencia, pero en realidad fue asistente administrativo del gerente de la ciudad. Un funcionario de la ciudad dijo que Brown era básicamente un pasante. Brown también afirmó haber sido director de un asilo cristiano en Oklahoma. Pero el administrador del lugar le dijo a la revista Time que Brown no era "una persona a la que cualquiera conozca" en ese lugar. Además Brown sostiene en su currículo que obtuvo un reconocimiento por ser un "destacado profesor de ciencia política" en la Universidad Central Estatal. Pero un funcionario de ese centro de estudios dijo sobre Brown: "No fue profesor aquí, sino tan solo un estudiante". Time indica que estas revelaciones hacen surgir nuevos cuestionamientos acerca del rigor con que la Casa Blanca examinó a Brown antes de ponerlo a cargo de la FEMA. La mayor parte de la experiencia laboral del funcionario antes a ingresar a la FEMA está relacionada con los caballos. Durante 11 años fue director de la Asociación Internacional de Caballos Árabes. Hace dos años fue designado director de la FEMA, en lugar de su amigo de la universidad Joe Allbaugh.

Barbara Bush: La reubicación "está resultando muy bien" para los "desamparados"
El gobierno federal es ampliamente criticado por su lenta respuesta, pero la ex primera dama Barbara Bush dijo al programa radial Marketplace que la reubicación está "funcionando muy bien" para algunos de los que se vieron obligados a abandonar Nueva Orleans, ya que "de todos modos eran desamparados". Escuchamos las palabras de Barbara Bush en el estadio Astrodome de Houston. "Muchas de las personas que están en este estadio eran, de todos modos, indigentes, de modo que esto está resultando muy bien para ellos".

Policía acusada por golpear y arrestar periodistas
La organización Reporteros Sin Fronteras denunció casos de violencia policial contra periodistas que trabajan en Nueva Orleans. Según señalan, la policía amenazó el 1 de septiembre a un periodista y un fotógrafo del Toronto Daily Star que cubrían un enfrentamiento entre policías y saqueadores. Cuando la policía advirtió que ya habían tomado fotografías, tiraron el fotógrafo al suelo, le quitaron las cámaras y las tarjetas de memoria que contenían unas 350 fotografías. Rompieron además su carné de prensa. Cuando el fotógrafo pidió que le devolvieran las fotografías, la policía amenazó con pegarle. También fue arrestado un fotógrafo del diario de Nueva Orleans, Times Picayune, luego de que lo vieran cubriendo un tiroteo donde estaba involucrada la policía. La policía tiró todos sus equipos al suelo.

Gobierno federal intenta bloquear acceso de la prensa a Nueva Orleans
En Nueva Orleans, el gobierno federal es acusado de intentar la censura de las imágenes que surgen de la ciudad devastada. La agencia de noticias Reuters informa que la Agencia Federal para el Manejo de Emergencias (FEMA, por sus siglas en inglés), rechaza los pedidos de periodistas que quieren acompañar a los botes de rescate en la búsqueda de víctimas del huracán. Además, se pidió a los periodistas que no tomen fotografías de cadáveres en la región. Los críticos de esa solicitud de la FEMA compararon su política con la del Pentágono, que prohíbe a los periodistas tomar fotos de ataúdes de soldados muertos en Irak. Brian Williams, presentador de noticias de NBC News, informó que se vio a policías apuntar sus armas contra miembros de la prensa. Mediante un blog en Internet, Bob Brigham publicó un reporte ampliamente difundido, en el que afirma que la Guardia Nacional tiene órdenes de no permitir el ingreso de periodistas al condado de Jefferson. Brigham escribió: "Bush censura toda la información que surge de Nueva Orleans, Louisiana. La Primera Enmienda se hundió con la ciudad".

Francisco: Hello my friends. Kanye West: "George Bush does not care about black people." Condi Rice "purchases shoes while thousands die and other they remain" in New Orleans. Here are twelve things of note from "Democracy Now!" worth noting this weekend.

New Orleans Mayor Estimates 10,000 Dead in City
In New Orleans, the city's mayor is now estimating 10,000 people may have died following last week's devastating hurricane.

Hours After Hurricane Struck Gulf, FEMA Requested Help
Newly leaked memos are showing that FEMA waited five hours after Hurricane Katrina had struck New Orleans before requesting help to be dispatched to the region. Even then Michael Brown, the director of FEMA - the Federal Emergency Management Agency - said that the 1,000 Homeland Security employees could take two days to show up at the disaster scene. Brown's memo to Homeland Security Director Michael Chertoff politely ended, "Thank you for your consideration in helping us to meet our responsibilities." According to the Associated Press, Brown's memo lacked any urgent language besides describing the hurricane as a "near catastrophic event." Brown's memo told employees would be expected to "convey a positive image of disaster operations to government officials, community organizations and the general public." While FEMA took days to send help, tens of thousands of Gulf Coast residents were left without food, water or a safe place to stay. The memo was leaked as criticism of Brown increased. On Tuesday Democratic Senator Ken Salazar joined the growing chorus in calling for Brown's resignation. There are also many, including former President Clinton, calling for an independent investigation into the government's response.

Clinton: Independent Commission Needed to Examine Gov't Response
Meanwhile former President Bill Clinton told CNN that the government had failed the people of the Gulf Coast and he called for the eventual formation of an independent commission to examine the government's response to Katrina. "I think there should be an analysis of what happened and I have some strong feelings on how I feel FEMA should be organized and operated but the time to do that, in my opinion is after some time passes," said Clinton. "Right now we still have...we are still finding bodies there and there might be some people alive there.

9/11 Commission Chair Criticizes Hurricane Response
The chair of the Sept. 11 Commission has publicly criticized the government's response to the hurricane and flooding. Thomas Kean said "The same mistakes made on 9/11 were made over again, in some cases worse, Those are system-wide failures that can be fixed and should have been fixed right away."

Pentagon: USS Bataan Waited Days For Orders to Help Out
Criticism of the federal government's response is also coming from some unlikely sources including the Pentagon. Lt. Commander Sean Kelly, a Pentagon spokesman for Northern Command, revealed on the BBC that NorthCom was prepared to send in search and rescue helicopters from the USS Bataan almost immediately after the hurricane hit. He said, "We had things ready. The only caveat is: we have to wait until the president authorizes us to do so." That authorization didn't happen for days even though the ship was docked just outside New Orleans. On board the ship had doctors, hospital beds, food and the ability to make up to 100,000 gallons of water a day.

Navy Pilots Reprimanded For Saving 100 Hurricane Victims
The New York Times is reported that two Navy helicopter pilots and their crews have been reprimanded after helping ferry 100 hurricane victims to safety last Tuesday. The Commander of the unit criticized them for taking part in the rescue at a time they were supposed to be delivering food and water to military bases along the Gulf Coast. Commander Michael Holdener defended the reprimand. He said "We all want to be the guys who rescue people. But they were told we have other missions we have to do right now and that is not the priority." The Commander then ordered a halt to civilian relief efforts. One of the Lieutenants who helped with the unauthorized rescue efforts, was taken out of the squadron's flying rotation and temporarily assigned to oversee a kennel designed to hold pets of service members.

Rep. Pelosi Calls On Bush to Fire FEMA Head
In other news on Capitol Hill, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi assailed the head of FEMA, Michael Brown, who she described as having "absolutely no credentials." Before joining FEMA Brown spent 11 years as the head of the International Arabian Horse Association. Pelosi said she recently saw President Bush and urged him to fire Brown. She said the president responded to her request by saying "Why would I do that?" When Pelosi said because of all that went wrong last week, she said he replied "What didn't go right?"

FEMA Filled With Political Appointees, Not Disaster Experts
Questions are also being raised as to why the Bush administration chose to appoint a number of other top officials at FEMA who had no experience handling disasters. FEMA's deputy director and chief of staff Patrick Rhode, was an advance man for the Bush-Cheney campaign and the White House. The agency's third-highest ranking official, Scott Morris, was a public relations expert who worked for a Texas company that produced TV and radio spots for the Bush-Cheney campaign.

Firefighters Complain Over FEMA's Handling of Crisis
In other FEMA news, the Salt Lake City Tribune is reporting that last week -- while New Orleans was desperately calling for help, FEMA sent 1,000 firefighters to Atlanta for an all-day class on topics such as community relations and sexual harassment. Instead of being sent to New Orleans, the firefighters were being trained to be community relations officers for FEMA. Their main job -- once they got to the Gulf Coast -- was to disseminate FEMA fliers Some firefighters went to the press and complained that they were being underutilized. FEMA lashed out at those firefighters who spoke out. FEMA spokeswoman Mary Hudak said "I would go back and ask the firefighter to revisit his commitment to FEMA, to firefighting and to the citizens of this country.

Report: FEMA Head Fabricated Parts of Resume
More questions are being raised about the head of FEMA, Michael Brown. According to Time Magazine, Brown may have fabricated parts of his resume. Brown claimed that he worked in Edmond Oklahoma as an assistant city manager with emergency services oversight." In fact he was an administrative assistant to the city manager. One city official said he was essentially an intern. Brown also claimed that he was once the Director of Christian nursing facility in Oklahoma. But an administrator at the facility told Time that Brown was "not a person that anyone here is familiar with." In addition Brown claims on his resume that he won a prize for being "Outstanding Political Science Professor" at Central State University. But according to an official at the school, Brown "wasn't a professor here, he was only a student." Time reports these revelations raise new questions about how rigorously the White House vetted Brown before putting him in charge of FEMA. Most of his work experience prior to joining FEMA dealt with horses. He worked as the head of the International Arabian Horse Association for 11 years. He became the head of FEMA two years ago replacing his college friend, Joe Allbaugh.

Barbara Bush: Relocation is "Working Very Well For Them"
While the federal government has been widely criticized for its slow response, former First Lady Barbara Bush told the radio show Marketplace that the relocation is "working very well" for some of those forced out of New Orleans since they were "underprivileged anyway." This is Barbara Bush speaking at the Astrodome in Houston. "And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this--this working very well for them," Bush said.

New Orleans Police Accused of Beating/Detaining Reporters
Reporters Without Borders has issued a warning about police violence against journalists working in New Orleans. According to the group, on Sept. 1 police threatened a reporter and photographer from the Toronto Daily Star at gunpoint because they were seen covering a clash between police and individuals identified by police as looters. When police realized the photographer had snapped photos, they threw him to the ground, grabbed his cameras and removed the memory cards containing about 350 photographs. His press card was also torn from him. When the photographer asked for his photographs back, police officers threatened to hit him. Police also detained a photographer from the New Orleans-based Times Picayune after he was seen covering a shoot-out involving the police. Police smashed all of his equipment on the ground.

Federal Government Attempts to Block Press Access To New Orleans
In New Orleans the federal government is being accused of trying to censor the images coming out of the devastated city. The Reuters news agency is reporting that the Federal Emergency Management Agency is now rejecting requests by journalists to accompany rescue boats searching for storm victims. In addition journalists are being asked not to photograph any dead bodies in the region. Critics of FEMA's request compared the policy to the Pentagon's policy that bars reporters from taking photographs of the caskets of soldiers killed in Iraq. NBC News Anchor Brian Williams is reporting that police officers have been seen aiming their weapons at members of the media. And a blogger named Bob Brigham has written a widely read dispatch that the National Guard in Jefferson County are under orders to turn all journalists away. Brigham writes QUOTE "Bush is now censoring all reporting from New Orleans Louisiana. The First Amendment sank with the city."

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