Sunday, July 03, 2011

Truest statement of the week

We should first say that, as hosts, we're against this war to begin with, apart from the legality, that this is just another US imperialistic war in the Middle East. I mean, whatever we think about that. But, in addition, what's come out lately is that it's flatly illegal and the administration is fighting an illegal war. I wrote an op-ed on this way back at the end of March that this was an unconstitutional war because it was attacking another country and under the Constitution you have to get the consent of Congress. He didn't. Since then, of course, the War Powers Resolution has clicked in. That's the resolution that was passed in the wake of the Vietnam War. And it was passed for a particular reason: Congress was afraid that presidents would continue to go to war without their consent and so they built an automatic trigger into the War Powers Resoultion saying that 60 days after the president initiated a war, for whatever reason, whatever basis, if it didn't have explicit Congressional consent, the troops had to automatically be withdrawn. I say that again: automatically be withdrawn within 30 days after the 60-day time clock expires. So that's 90 days. There shouldn't be any attack on Libya going on that the United States is involved in at all -- not involved in coordination, not involved in helping with the radar, not involved in helping send its own missiles -- which it's still doing, not involved in bombing -- which it's still doing. So the 90 days are over. The war started over 90 days ago. And there's now been a big debate in the administration with Obama saying, 'I'm not violating the War Powers Resolution. There's no hostilities. We haven't entered into hostilities.' I mean, it doesn't pass the straight-face test. I mean, it's ridiculous. It's a total lie.

-- Michael Ratner (Center for Constitutional Rights), on last week's Law and Disorder Radio which airs around the corner and kicks off each Monday at 9:00 am EST on WBAI.

Truest statement of the week II

If I could publicly ask our beloved president one question, it would be this: "Mr. President, in your short time in office you've waged war against six countries -- Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen and Libya. This makes me wonder something. With all due respect: What is wrong with you?"

-- William Blum "Libya: Unending American Hostility" (Foreign Policy Journal).

A note to our readers

Hey --

Another Sunday. We're publishing at what's becoming our usual time.

First up, we thank all who participated this edition which includes Dallas and the following:

The Third Estate Sunday Review's Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess and Ava,
Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude,
Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man,
C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review,
Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills),
Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix,
Mike of Mikey Likes It!,
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz),
Ruth of Ruth's Report,
Wally of The Daily Jot,
Trina of Trina's Kitchen,
Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends,
Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts,
and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub.

And what did we come up with:

  • A Libya piece did not work out so among the truest choices was Michael Ratner talking about the Libyan War. The illegal Libyan War.

  • This was a new truest source for us but an observant and deserving citation.

  • This is an editorial we tried last week and C.I. called an end to it last week. She noted it was too late and we'd end up missing someone. I brought it up this weekend as we were wrapping up and she nearly hit the roof. As Elaine said, "C.I. leaves her place and she never thinks twice about whether or not the gas stove was on. You ask her to drop by and water your plants and feed your dogs, she's out in the drive way, then turning around and coming back in a minimum of three times to make sure your gas oven isn't on." In other words, we had to count and recount and count again over and over to make sure we were all getting 15. 15 US soldiers died in the Iraq War in June and the editorial notes them. If you're wondering about the wording. One died in the US. He was injured in the June 6th attack, medi-vaced out to the US and died. So we have worded it "in the Iraq War" and not "in Iraq" when referring to all 15. We include only one politician's statement. Why did we include it? The fallen had very little in the press about him. That's in part due to his being adopted and his adopted parents telling the press they were private and had nothing to say. So we went with his biological father and with Governor Jerry Brown's statement on his passing. Some may look at what's there and say, "X got less." In at least one case, X could have had more. But in the case I (Jim) am thinking of, we all agreed that a widow at her husband's casket conveyed both loss and love and that having established that the fallen was so loved, there wasn't a need to address other issues. Christopher Fishbeck probably got more than anyone else. That's fine. The Third gang (Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava, C.I. and myself) live in California so we can justify that since Fishbeck was from our state. He also got a picture and that's mainly because that's the one C.I. went with from Fishbeck's MySpace page and after she used it at The Common Ills it resulted in a ton of e-mails. Elaine understands that because she used it as well. She says there's something about the picture, including Fishbeck's happiness and innocence and that expressive dog that makes for a memorable and touching photo.

  • Did I do right by Ava and C.I. when I titled this piece they wrote? I hope so. They read this and we loved it. But thinking about the title was a toughie. In this piece, Ava and C.I. are covering the USA series Suits, Barack Obama's speech last week and they're covering MSNBC. By the way, if we'd managed the Libya piece, we would have worked Michael Ratner's quote into that and Mark Halperin would have gotten a truest for "kind of a dick."

  • In the Libya piece that wouldn't come together, we pointed out that Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich were in agreement -- an agreement that doesn't fit with Barack's claims.

  • We're probably done with magazine round ups. We can't stand to read the so-called left magazines like The Nation, Mother Jones, etc. They're such liars and we feel dirty just glancing at them. But that doesn't mean we have to give up comic books, as several e-mailers noted. So since we're all together this weekend, for a change, we decided to do two comic book pieces.

  • This group piece was really supposed to be an Isaiah and Jess piece. They visited two comic book stores last week (in Oregon and in Texas) just for this article more or less. (Okay, they were doing other things as well.) But we folded this into observations that we saw at two here in California to make for one piece.

  • This is being called the signature piece of the edition by reader Joyce. We thank you, Joyce. We didn't even intend to write it. We were working on something else. What happened was a side note, a diversion, arrived. Who was Dan White? Someone asked that and C.I. explained White was a killer and what he'd done. Could we work him in? A number of us hit our laptops and began searching and Ty found A&E's page and starts reading from it and that's when we all sort of look at each other like WTF??????????? At which point, we went to work on this. And we've included the Board minutes because only one site tries to give a date for Harvey Milk's ordinance that passed -- and not only is it the wrong date, it's a site that argues that the ordinance is illegal. We found website after website noting this accomplishment by Harvey but no one knows when it happened. Fortunately we have C.I. (are you getting now why Rebecca and Elaine used to call her "Memorac" in college?). She told us the date and then said, "Hold on, I'll go get that year's minutes." And she rushed off into her library and came back with the minutes for 1978. For historic reasons, we also included the whole thing on the wording. What Harvey Milk did was groundbreaking and should be known and remembered.

  • Sunday in the Park with George. Get it? No?

  • A Workers World repost.

  • A Feminist Majority Foundation repost.

  • A Great Britian's Socialist Worker repost.

  • Mike and the gang wrote this and we thank them for it.


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

Editorial: Why are they still there?

christopher fishbeck

In the photo above is Christopher Fishbeck (from his MySpace page). He is one of 15 US soldiers who died in the Iraq War in the just finished month of June. George Prentice (Boise Weekly) observed, " Fifteen American soldiers were killed in June, the highest number of combat fatalities since June 2008, when 23 soldiers and Marines were killed."

Had President Barack Obama kept the promises that Americans thought candidate Barack Obama was making regarding the Iraq War, none of the 15 would have died. There was the great liar, storming the country, tent revials in which the Cult of St. Barack gasped for air, cried, fainted, soiled their undergarments and screamed and cheered as Barack declared, "We want to end the Iraq War! And we want to end it now!"

That was in 2008. His promise, as the average voter understood it, was that he'd end the Iraq War, it would be the first thing he'd start after being sworn in, on his first day, he would order one brigade out and then another the next month and, within 16 months, all US forces would be out of Iraq. So, as the average voter understood it, if Barack were elected president in November 2008, upon being sworn in as president in January 2009, he would begin a process of withdrawal which would be completed in June of 2010.

Last month was June. Of 2011.

He was deceitful and he refused to get honest throughout his campaign.

15 more deaths are at his doorstep.

Had he done what he said, they wouldn't have been in Iraq last month.

Christopher Fishbeck's mother, Toni Kay told Morning Edition's Tamara Keith (NPR), "He told me that he felt that there was a 90-percent chance that he wouldn't make it out alive. Whether that was based on a premonition that he had or whether it was based on his knowledge of what lied ahead, I don't know but he just felt a very, very strong sense that he wasn't going to make it out."

Marcus Cintron died last month as well and he also had a sense of foreboding. Natalie Sherman (Boston Herald) reported, "Wilfrido Cintron said his son called him three days before they learned he was hurt, concerned about his safety." Wilfrido Cintron explained, "He told me, 'Papa, we are in a dangerous place'."

And they were in a dangerous place and it is a dangerous place. Barack's claim of 'safety' and 'progress' is a ridiculous as George W. Bush's claims were. And Barack's "combat missions have ended" speech on August 31, 2010 was as much as a lie as Bush's 2003 "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED" photo op. Since Barack made those false remarks, 51 US service members have died in the Iraq War.

Matthew J. England died in June. Ozarks First reported his aunt Susan Vuyovich remembered her nephew, "Matt was just all over the woods and playing in the water. Matthew was just full of life and full of spunk." Mike Landis (KY3 News -- link has text and video) quoted Dorris Sayles who knew Matthew from his job at a grocery store, "He always had a beautiful smile, he was friendly to everybody." The Baxter Bulletin notes that Pamela Hengen described her son Matthew as someone who was "really sweet" and had a "great sense of humor."

Michael Olivieri died last month, one week before what would have been a major milestone. Susan Demar Lafferty (Chicago Sun-Times) reports, "Sharon Olivieri put her head down on the casket while clutching her husband’s flag. The couple were one week shy of their first wedding anniversary when the 26-year-old Olivieri was killed."

June also saw the combat death of Robert Hartwick. The Chillicothe Gazette quotes Rev. John Williams, of the Bisonville United Methodist Church, "He was about 14 when he entered the church. What a great kid. He loved his dirt bike but didn't like the spotlight. I don't think he wanted to stand out. I think he'd probably be a little embarrassed by all this commotion going on for him. I don't think he would have liked the attention. [. . .] I think if there had been a job for him in the civilian world, he would have taken that. But there weren't any around here and he joined the Army. He was very proud to be a part of the U.S. Army."

Michael B. Cook Jr. died in June. WMUR (link has text and video) noted that the following "Monday would have been his 27th birthday" and that "Cook is now the fifth member of the school and third member of his class of 2003 to die in those wars [Iraq and Afghanistan Wars]. Principal Maura Palmer said the plan is to remember Cook's sacrifice in November." Doug Ireland (Eagle Tribune) spoke to Michael Cook's high school computer teacher, Curtis Killion, who remembered, "He would always volunteer. He was the kind of kid that all the younger ones were comfortable with." The Eagle Tribune quoted the superintendent of Salem's school system, Michael Delahanty who was principal of Salem High School when Michael Cook attended, "There are some kids who stand out and Michael was one of those kids."

Matthew G. Nielson was one of the 15 who died. The Des Moines Register reported 27-year-old Capt Matthew G. Nielson who is remembered warmly by friends at Fareway store where he worked from 2001 through 2007. Greg Rooney remembers him as a big fan of the Nebraska Cornhuskers and says, "He really wasn't that interested in any other sports team."

Sgt Matthew Gallagher's family not only had to deal with the news of their loss, they had to deal with the US military changing the story of their loved one's death. The Boston Channel (link has text and video) reports Cheryl Ruggiero, his mother, is asking that US Senator John Kerry help the family find out what happened because the military's changed their story, "We're getting bits and pieces from different people and I don't know what to believe. And when it's your child, you want to know." John Basile (Fall River Herald News) cites Capt Matthew Merrill stating that the statements about Matthew Gallagher doing a home sweep were mistaken and that he died "inside the wire". Christian Schiavone (Patriot Ledger) speaks with Matthew Gallager's step-father Jim Ruggiero who notes Matthew Gallagher loved baseball, "skiing, snowboarding and tae kwon do" and that Matthew's mother Cheryl had served in the Army for three years and Matthew sought her advice before and after enlisting. WCVB offered a video report which includes Katie Gallger speaking of her late husband, "He's the most generous nice person that I've ever met in my life. He was everything to me. He was my best friend."

Sgt Glenn Sewell also is one of the 15 fallen. Sig Christenson (San Antonio Express-News) quoted his father Mike Sewell stating, "He was a great man; he was a warrior. He was a man among men, fearless." The paper also noted, "Sewell was of German descent, and members of Germania Farmer Verein, a local nonprofit association, have volounteered to provide the memorial service. A polka band also will be a part of the ceremony." Isis Romero (KSAT) offers a video report of a Spring Branch tribute to Sewell. Friends describe him to Sig Christenson, "He was charismatic, intelligent and good with kids, a musician and artist who loved to read and crack jokes, the kind of guy who made folks feel more comfortable."

Staff Sgt Nicholas Price Bellard is one of the fifteen fallen. Sean Maginnis (KLFY -- link has text and video) notes this was Bellard's second deployment to Iraq and that he "leaves behind his wife, Vernoica, and two year old daughter, Eva." Jill Ament (KUT News) speaks to the 26-year-olds aunt Susan Ohlenforst who states, "He joined the military to put his wife through school. She graduated last month with a teaching degree."

Staff Sgt Russell Jeremiah Proctor also died in June. The Contra Costa Times reports that 25-year-old Russell Proctor was from Oroville and that this was his third deployment to Iraq. Ed Bielefeldt commented at The Oroville Mercury Register, "It was an honor to have served with him. Rest in peace brother." California Governor Jerry Brown's office issued the following statement yesterday:

SACRAMENTO – On behalf of all Californians, Governor Brown and First Lady Anne Gust Brown honor Staff Sgt. Russell J. Proctor, who bravely gave his life in service to our state and nation. The Governor and First Lady extend their deepest condolences to his family and friends at this difficult time.
In memorial, Governor Brown ordered that flags be flown at half-staff over the State Capitol today. Staff Sgt. Proctor’s family will receive a letter of condolence from the Governor.
Staff Sgt. Russell J. Proctor, 25, of Oroville, CA, died June 26, in Diyala province, Iraq, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 4th Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, TX. Proctor was supporting Operation New Dawn.

Barbara Arrigoni (The Chicoer) speaks with Russell Proctor who gave his son up for adoption: "Proctor said his son had found him after turning 18, and that the young man had changed his name back to Proctor since then. Proctor said Russell like football, played guitar and sang, and remembers him as being funny and outgoing. [. . .] During their time together, the two men fished and talked a lot, and Proctor said they worked together at an equipment company in Oroville."

Emilo Campo Jr. is one of the 15 fallen. Dan Linehan (Mankato Free Press) quotes his mother Mirna Campo stating that her son had wanted to be a doctor but couldn't afford the costs of college. She notes, "He was very proud of what he was doing." And Minnesota residents should be proud of their elected officials because US House Rep Tim Walz, US Senator Al Franken and Minessota Governor Mark Dayton, click here, attended Campo's funeral. (Some US senators and governors couldn't even issue a statement on their state's fallen this month.) KARE (link has text and video) observed, "His picture seems to be on every page of his high school yearbook. Campo played varsity football, basketball, ran track, was a member of the Business Professionals of America, and sang in the choir." AP added that "when he died he also had a steady girlfriend, Samantha Crowley, who was prom queen when Campo was prom king in 2009." Brian Ojanpa (Mankato Free Press) explained Emilio Campo Jr.'s "death was the first war loss for Madelia since Vietnam and came as crushing news to friends and family of the outgoing former high school homecoming king. [. . .] Campo was described as a smooth talker, a ladies man, charismatic, and joyously impulsive." Campo's favorite quote is also noted "Dream as if you'll live forever, live as if you'll die today."

David VanCamp died in the Iraq War last month. Shelley Hanson (The Intelligencer and The Wheeling News-Register) reported that David VanCamp's neighbors remember him as the kid who played "hockey and basketball in the streets with his friends." Amy Birch remembers, "We all hung out together. We played kickball and had a good time. He was a good-hearted person. It tore me up when I heard. Him being raised around here makes it harder to accept. He was a neighborhood-street kid. He got along with all the neighbors. . . . I've been in and out all day -- I'll just start crying. He was young, he still had a life to live. But he was doing this to help the rest of us."

Robert Gregory Tenney died in June. The Macon Telegraph reports the 29-year-old entered the military in December 2006 and had been awarded "an Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Iraqi Campaign Medal with combat service star, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon and an Overseas Service Ribbon."

Dylan Jeffrey Johnson was another who died last month. Manny Gamallo (Tulsa World) reports that along with skateboarding and guitar playing and drum programming, his family noted he excelled at cooking, "Dylan inherited his ability to put together a great meal from scratch from his mother, using a wide variety of ingredients that he found in the kitchen. He and his mother enjoyed cooking meals together, and they tasted so good he had talked of entering a culinary school after his commitment to the Army was completed."

That's something he won't be able to pursue now. Everyone of the 15 had dreams for the future they carried with them. In his "About me" from his MySpace page, Christopher Fishbeck noted:

I'm a simple man with big dreams. I dream to become an Astronaut and orbit the earth. I dream to run in the olympics. I dream to become an American Hero. I dream to change the world. I dream to impact society. I dare humanity to evolve. I dream people will stop waiting on the world to change ( John Mayer ). I dream of running from San Diego to New York. I dream of traveling alone in the wild for months. I dream that the world will stop over populating itself. I dream for acceptance and cooperation. I dream of a world with common goals. I dream of space. I dream to make the impossible possible.

Michael Mello (Orange County Register -- link has text and video and a photo essay) quoted
his wife Stephanie Kidder remembering, "We were driving . . . A Katy Perry song came on (the radio) and he started dancing. Everything in our relationship was quite intense. We would fight, and even if it was my fault, he'd find a way to make up."

15 US soldiers died in Iraq when, had Barack kept to what the American voters thought he was promising, not one of them would have been there.

TV: Who's the dick?

Mark Halperin stated the obvious on MSNBC's Morning Joe last week, "I thought he was kind of a dick yesterday." (Click here for video.) The Time magazine writer had a point. Here are some others. Every man is not a dick. Nor is every lawyer. But there are a number of men who are lawyers who are dicks. And with the Bureau of Labor Statistics projecting 857,7000 practicing attorneys in 2018, just 10% of those men and women being dicks, well, that's a huge number (85,770).


USA's new series Suits revolves around attorneys and Harvey Specter (played by Gabriel Macht) may turn out to be a total tool but currently he's just 'toolish.' He mentors newbie Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams), hired by Harvey despite not having a law degree or having gone to law school. How does that happen?

Harvey resists doing anything he doesn't want to. That's obvious when Jessica Pearson (Gina Torres) gives Harvey a pro bono case and tells him she wants him to handle it personally but he still palms the work off on Mike. So it's not really surprising that Harvey, made partner by Jessica and told to hire an associate from Harvard, would resist and go a different way.

Mike's a con artist with a granny who is sick, institutionalized and supposedly the most important person in his life. Actually granny's just a plot device and that's why she's so quickly and so often forgotten. Mike makes quick cash by taking the bar for law students who can't, or don't think they can, pass. His buddy Trevor (Tom Lipinski) deals weed and keeps trying to get him to do a drop. Trevor and Mike got kicked out of college for selling answers to a math exam. That's put Mike on a course where he runs cons, smokes pot and has apparently only one rule: He won't deal drugs.

But when plot device granny's medical bills increase and there's a chance that she might end up in a state facility ("I won't put her in a state facility"), Mike grabs Trevor's office. But the drop at the Chilton Hotel is a set-up and Mike, who remembers everything he's ever read, recognizes the signs from a novel he read in elementary school. To escape the cops, he barges into the hotel suite that Harvey's set up for interviews and Harvey's assistant Donna (Sarah Rafferty) mistakes his "Look, I'm just trying to ditch the cops, okay? I don't really care if you let me in or not." for humor and waives him in with a wink of approval to Harvey.

Despite being a con artist, Mike doesn't attempt a con -- possibly in part because his briefcase has fallen open and spilled all the drugs on the floor. To pass the time until the coast is clear, Harvey and Mike discuss Mike's background. Harvey had asked Donna to give him a sign if any of the candidates for the job reminded her of him.

Donna: What are you looking for?

Harvey: Another me.

Mike fit the bill. And because of that and because he refuses to do what he's told, Harvey ends up hiring Mike with the agreement that Jessica must not know that he didn't go to Harvard or that he doesn't have a law degree.

While focused on Harvey and Mike's relationship, Suits shines. Torres, Rafferty and Meghan Markle (as paralegal Rachel) glow as well and keep the show chugging along. But it hits a pot hole nearly every time Rick Hoffman shows up as Louis.

Hoffman's not a bad actor. He's not even giving a bad performance. He's playing a total dick and he's completely believable. But he's written meaningless. After Glenn Close's tour de force as Patty Hewes (on Damages), any show featuring a malevolent attorney was always going to have to work a lot harder but the writers at Suits don't really seem to be trying. So Louis' blackmailing Mike with fake results of a drug test (and Mike getting the better of Louis) never seems that threatening or suspenseful.

If you listen closely, it's as though you can hear Patti Austin and James Ingram singing "How Do You Keep The Madness Playing?"

Some dicks manage to.

Take Barack Obama and his tantrum at the press conference last week (here for transcript). At the top, Barack declared that "$4 trillion in savings" had to be found and the best he could offer was apparently cutting the "tax break for corporate jet owners." So proud of this 'plan' was he that he mentioned it six times in his press conference. US House Rep. Eric Cantor responsed that cutting that tax break will save $2 billion and that he didn't see that as a big deal. The response online was astroturf entitled "Did you see Eric Cantor's response to Obama wanting to eliminate tax benefits on private jet planes?" which popped up everywhere. Over the airwaves, the water carriers spouted it as well -- everyone from Corporatist Stooge Rachel Maddow on MSNBC to Communist Gerald Horne on Sojourner Truth with Margaret Prescod (KPFK). They repeated it and thought they sounded so smart doing so. (Hint, Horne, when you footnote your own opinions to Paul Krugman and Chuck Schumer, you don't sound smart at all.) $2 billion is a drop in the bucket. With other drops, it could matter. And you can make that point. But when Barack and you have staked your reputations on this as an 'answer,' you can't be surprised when someone notes that it's 1/2,000,000 of the amount Barack says need to be found.

After his prepared remarks, Barack went to questioning and made the sort of comment that used to get Bully Boy Bush into trouble with those of us on the left: "So, with that, I will take your questions. I've got my list here. Starting off with Benn Feller, Associated Press." That's Barack speaking. You're forgiven for thinking it might be Bush.

During the exchange, he made many comments, such as, "What I have done -- and this is unprecedented, by the way; no administration has done this before -- is I've said to each agency, 'Don't just look at current regulations or don't just look at future regulations, regulations that we're proposing. Let's go backwards and look at regulations that are already on the books and if they don't make sense, let's get rid of them.'" The St. Petersburg Times' rated the statement "PANTS ON FIRE" (as in, "Liar, liar, pants on fire"). Proving their beloved wrong once was apparently all PolitiFact could stomach. Calvin Woodward, Nancy Benac, Erica Werner and Matthew Lee (AP) caught Barack being less than truthful in those remarks and two other times in the press conference as well.

It was left to NPR's Mara Liasson (All Things Considered) to make the most obvious point. In a nutshell, what's going on? The US is about to reach its debt limit (and, August 2nd, default on its debt; Barack: "By August 2nd, we run out of tools to make sure that all our bills are paid"). Republicans and Democrats are debating over budgetary items and, as Liasson pointed out, "many of the new Republicans" in the House were elected last year on a pledge not to raise the debt ceiling -- something that shouldn't be too hard for Barack to understand, after all, "President Obama, when he was in the Senate, voted against raising the debt ceiling because, he said, it was a symbol of a failure of leadership on the Republican president."

While forgetting (or pretending to) that reality, Barack was full of catty insults.

He impugned the motives of members of Congress, "Look, I think that what we've seen in negotiations here in Washington is a lot of people say a lot of things to satisfy their base or to get on cable news . . . " So much for his earlier claims that "reasonable people can disagree" and that "You can disagree with a certain policy without demonizing the person who espouses it."

He blamed Congress for the financial crisis, "These are bills that Congress ran up." If it's just Congress, why is he involved now? Oh, that's right, Congress may vote on the budget but the executive branch makes the budgetary requests each year. So "these are bills that Congress AND the White House ran up."

He then insisted that he'd identified "what spending cuts are possible" including in "defense cuts" but the reality is that the trillion dollar debt is largely the result of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and Barack's not planning to cut the funding for either this coming fiscal year or the one after.

He then trashed Congress by comparing it to "Malia is 13, Sasha is 10" -- this from the man who once declared his children were 'off limits' and the press respected that (while giving no other politician the same courtesy). Not only did he violate his own policy by bringing up the children, he was insulting to Congress in comparing them to the children.

Then came his longest whine of all:

And I've got to say, I'm very amused when I start hearing comments about, well, the President needs to show more leadership on this. Let me tell you something. Right after we finished dealing with the government shutdown, averting a government shutdown, I called the leaders here together. I said we've got to get done -- get this done. I put Vice President Biden in charge of a process -- that, by the way, has made real progress -- but these guys have met, worked through all of these issues. I met with every single caucus for an hour to an hour and a half each -- Republican senators, Democratic senators; Republican House, Democratic House. I've met with the leaders multiple times. At a certain point, they need to do their job. And so, this thing, which is just not on the level, where we have meetings and discussions, and we're working through process, and when they decide they're not happy with the fact that at some point you've got to make a choice, they just all step back and say, well, you know, the President needs to get this done -- they need to do their job. Now is the time to go ahead and make the tough choices. That's why they're called leaders. And I've already shown that I'm willing to make some decisions that are very tough and will give my base of voters further reason to give me a hard time. But it's got to be done. And so there's no point in procrastinating. There's no point in putting it off. We've got to get this done. And if by the end of this week, we have not seen substantial progress, then I think members of Congress need to understand we are going to start having to cancel things and stay here until we get it done. They're in one week, they're out one week. And then they're saying, Obama has got to step in. You need to be here. I've been here. I've been doing Afghanistan and bin Laden and the Greek crisis. You stay here. Let’s get it done. All right. I think you know my feelings about that.

In all that rant, did you catch it?

"I've been doing Afghanistan and bin Laden and the Greek crisis."

Did you notice the economy in there?


He's done beer summits. He's played golf. He felt the need to show his 'support' for the US military by declaring Bradley Manning guilty before Bradley's been in court to enter a plea. He's been vacationing and on date nights. He just hasn't provided leadership on the economy, the issue he claimed to be ready for on day one and the issue that won him the general election.

The debt ceiling that's so worrying him now? That's an economic issue.

In other words, Princess Tiny Meat spent over two and a half years in the White House avoiding economic realities and now finds that they can't be avoided. Possibly US Senator Pat Roberts was right and Barack does need to "take a valium and calm down" (link goes to Brian Montopoli and John Nolen's CBS News report which has text and video).

In the above, Barack is being kind of a dick. He's also being a real bitch. The White House grasped that as well which is why, the day after the press conference, they quickly announced his next one would be on Twitter.

Dicks and bitches pretty much describes MSNBC as well. Mark Halperin's suspended from MSNBC for saying he thought Barack was "kind of a dick yesterday."

That makes no sense at all.

Now we could argue the definition of dick and we could note a hundred other things as well. We could be bag-eyed Greg Sargent and offer alleged similar instances.

We're not interested in that crap.

We argue for consistency.

Did Mark Halperin do something to warrant suspension?

We say "no."

MSNBC says "yes."

If that's the case, and if MSNBC is fair and consistent, then Mark's not the only one who needs to be on suspension. Excerpt of the moment.

Joe Scarborough: Mark Halperin, What was the president's strategy? We're coming up on a deadline and the president decided to please his base, push back against the Republicans, I guess the question is because we all know the deal has to be done is this sort of showmanship -- you know, a lot of times, you go out there -- both sides -- and they act tough so their base will be appeased and then they quietly work the deal behind the scene.

Mark Halperin: Are we --

Joe Scarborough: Is that --

Mark Halperin: We're on the seven-secon delay today?

Mika Brzezinski: Oh, Lordy.

Mark Halperin: I wanted to characterize how I thought the president behaved.

Joe Scarborough: How do you think he behaved?

Mika Brzezinski: Well we have it, we can use it. Right, Alex?

Joe Scarborough: Yeah, sure, come on.

Mika Brzezinski: Go for it. Yeah, let's see what happens.

Joe Scarborough: I'm behind you. You fall down, I'm going to catch you.

Mika Brzezinski: Alex, you've got the button. And the president has --

[Joe and Mika overlapping]

Mika Brzezinski: -- so we're good.

Mark Halperin: I thought he was kind of a dick yesterday.

Joe Scarborough: Oh my God.

Mika Brzezinski: Oh my.

Joe Scarborough: Delay that. Delay that. What are you doing?

Mark Halperin: I think the president

Joe Scarborough: I can't believe that. I was joking. Don't do that.

[Mika and Joe can't stop laughing.]

Mark Halperin: I said it. I hope it worked.

Do you get how it unfolded?

Mark Halperin didn't just delcare "kind of a dick" -- and despite Mediate's headlines (and bad transcript -- we did our own above) and the headlines of others, Halperin said, "kind of a dick."

Before he said "dick" -- which is not censored on TV anymore when someone's called that -- he gave them plenty of warning and even wondered if he should say what he thought?

They encouraged him. Knowing that it was something that would have to be bleeped, they encouraged him. Mika told him to "go for it" and Joe swore he had Mark's back. After it was said, Mike and Joe didn't launch into an apology. In fact, Mika laughs and snorts for over thirty seconds over what just happened.

And Mark's supsended?

Mika and Joe are the hosts. They were warned before Mark spoke. They could have said, "No, don't do that." Instead, they encouraged their guest to speak in such a way that he would need to be bleeped. The guest did. And now the guest is suspended but the hosts aren't?

Something's wrong with this picture.

This wasn't Carly Simon saying the s-word on Fox & Friends or Jane Fonda saying the c-word on Today. In both of those cases, the guests were talking and forgot they were on TV and the words came out in casual conversation. In this case, Mark Halperin gave the hosts a warning. Where was the producer during this?

Clearly everyone thought they had a moment in the making. And, in fact, they did. But if it's a moment MSNBC finds worthy of suspension, the whole cast and crew of Morning Joe needs to be on suspension.

In other words, Suits could use a real dick because it would add to the show's complications while Barack is actually more of a bitch than a dick and MSNBC's punishment of Mark Halperin -- and only Mark -- demonstrates that right now, they are the ultimate dick.

Faux Wisdoms from the Glamour Queen

"Second, I think when you have the former Republican nominee for President, John McCain, and the former nominee for President on the Democratic side, John Kerry, coming together to support what we’re doing in Libya, that should tell the American people that this is important. And I very much appreciate their efforts in that regard," America's princess Barack Obama declared last week in his press conference.

barack the starlet

No, Celebrity Barry, it illustrates what Justin Raimondo ( has already noted is "a united front effort by both wings of the bipartisan War Party, personified by the John Kerry-John McCain alliance over the Libya issue."

Comic book round-up

Brian Truitt, of USA Today, can't stop raving about Fly. That's a new comic book series by Raven Gregory. Raven's a man. Yes, that is strange. In the comic book, Truitt wants you to know, super powers and other things are allegories for drugs and . . .

Did your eyes glaze over yet?

Ours too.

Here's the good news, you don't need any of that review (which the first issue of Fly reprints) to follow or enjoy the story. The issue revoves around Eddie and his wife or ex-wife. She swoops in and grabs him on a bad day, takes him up to the sky where she dangles him and then the two begin fighting. Flashbacks show their wedding and then how they met and things get more interesting again when Francis bumps into Eddie -- in a flashback -- and Eddie saves him from bullies leading Francis to invite him over and show off his father's study which also includes . . . a syringe of something that, when Francis injects it, allows flight.

It's an interesting premise but whether or not it will be carried out successfuly is anyone's guest. Terry Moore's Echo just released issue 30 "Final Issue." Ivy's back to her normal height, Julie's either lost the alloy or been able to take it off. That's all we'll tell you except to note that reading Echo's been a pleasure and it really lived up to its promise.


Jennifer Blood is a new series by Garth Ennis and Adriano Batista, published by Dynamite. Jennifer is a bored suburban dweller who's also an avenger when the mood or the need strikes her. So, in issue three, she's fending off the advances of a mouth breather at a neighborhood BBQ one moment and chasing down a mobster, gutting him and tying his intestine to her SUV to . . .

You get the idea.

As the series unfolds, it'll be interesting to find out what's driving her pursuit of the mob. It'll also be interesting to see whether this is a comic with an end point or something capable of becoming a long running series.

On the 'what's driving her' point, Kevin Smith's Green Hornet's Kato. Yes, it sounds as pompous as Sidney Sheldon's Rage of Angels (and at least Sheldon wrote the trashy paperback) and we're not seeing Kevin as writer or artist in the credits to issue ten of Kato. What happened? A year ago, a script the studios passed on was turned into a Green Hornet comic. Now everything has to be stamped "Kevin Smith" apparently. Maybe it will make some forget that his directing career is currently in the toilet?

Who knows but Ande Parks, Diego Bernard and Rainer Petter's Kato does drive home what's driving Kato. This is Kato II. The first was her father. She, Mulan, now carries on the tradition. Mulan? Yeah, that's a Kevin Smith touch and it is rather obvious and some might say insulting. Mulan has as many issues as she does powers and we're a little thrown by this grown woman's desire for a mother figure. We're not complaining, we're not saying lose it, we're just noting it's unexpected. Which is why it might be the signature touch of the series.

Especially since the mother figure is, as we find out in issue ten, is actually a hired killer.

We wondered whether or not Jennifer Blood could become a long running series and we wonder the same of Kato. Comic book history demonstrates it's not easy for women, in super hero comics, to become long running leads in comics. Leaving aside group comics like Fantasitc Four (Sue Storm), the women either fade quickly (sometimes resurfacing) like Ms. Marvel, She-Hulk, Spider Woman, etc; or they're picked up and dropped, picked up and dropped over and over like Batgirl and Supergirl. (Note: DC started their reboot this month and for those who have missed her -- and many have -- Barbara Gordon is again Batgirl.) Betty and Veronica can hold their own in the humor comics, but women have a really hard time in the super hero world.

Which is why it's so amazning that Wonder Woman continues. All these years later. A character who can stand alongside Superman and Batman and (by comparison) 'newbies' like Spiderman and Iron Man as well. This hero who emerged at the start of WWII (1941, to be exact) is still going all these years later.

Not only still going but possibly the most significant comic of the year. Issue 612, "The Odyssey Part Twelve: Ghosts of the Gods" takes many of the recent threads and ties them together firmly and tightly with Diana's golden lasso. J. Michael Straczynski and Phil Hester didn't just have a big plot idea, they had a master plan. Wonder Woman, as you should know, has been fighting evil and darkness in the form of Nemesis and seeing one friend after another go down. This issue opens with Artemis giving up her life to save Diana. It would appear the only one left is the talking cat Galenthias.

However, as the battle between Princess Diana and Nemesis gets closer, the gods appear, Athena, Aprodite, Zeus, etc. They left the earth and went to Olympus because they could not combat Nemesis. Nemesis, it's explained, feeds off the heartache caused by, Hera explains, "the unjustly slain, the murdered. The war dead. Their pain, their sorrow, and that of their loved ones fills her veins. Their vengeance quickens her blade." She cannot be defeated by a god, only by, Aprodite says, by "a human heart given to love and turned away from hate". The issue ends with Diana face to face with Nemesis and it's a shocker.

The economic comic book report


We visited several different comic book stores last week and Jess and Isaiah took some pictures at one. The mood, more and more, is along the lines of Bomb Queen (check out the poster above) and we'll assume that has to do with the economy.

It's an economy that's leading to all sorts of 'bargains' if you're a customer but not if you own a comic book store. For example, DC comics just finished their online sale -- that lasted all of June -- where you entered "LANTERN" and got "25% OFF ALL DC COMICS & BACK ISSUES!" It's why the upcoming debut issue of Snarked ("From The Muppet Show's Harvey Award Winner Roger Langridge") will sell for "ONLY $1." It's why clever comic collectors are making big bucks these days buying up the discards many comic book stores are now letting go for 25 cents a piece.

And it's probably why novelty items include the frightening one below.

Michelle Obama as a toy

What's with those teeth and is the doll cross-eyed?

In better times, we might still see some celebrity comics.

Britney Spears and Ryan Reynolds

Some. Not all. Only in an economy that is hurting and possibly on its last legs could anyone think the country needed a Kathy Griffin comic.

Kathy Griffin

We didn't read it, but we'd guess it's a comic about a woman who, two decades ago, was a third banana on a sitcom no one watched and has gone on to even lesser fame.

What did we read? Five comics for a quick overview.


The Walking Dead Weekly, No. 23, by Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard and Cliff Rathburn opens with a fist fight over whether a man killed a woman. The fight continues for seventeen black & white pages before the news comes that Allen (another character) is dead -- thereby stopping the fight. Image Comics puts out the one-note weekly and also is the publisher of The Intrepids by Kurtis Wiebe, Scott Kowalchuk and Donna Gregory. Issue number four of The Intrepids actually has color pages and a journey taken by the character Crowe -- a journey that can hold the reader's interest. By page 18, things really start to change and the last page is truly a cliffhanging suprise.

Richard Moore's Ladies of the Night debut issue is little more than a poorly drawn peep show. The Antartic Press produces that comic while Max's Comics puts out Deadpool by David Lapham, Shawn Crytal and John Raunch. Deadpool is a comic which appears to exist to wrap wicked humor around grotesque images of women, especially in issue 9.

We're back to Image Comics for Hack/Slash by Tim Seeley and Kyle Strahm. In issue five, Fantomah "Mystery Woman of the Jungle" returns in stylish throwback to comic's first golden age before quickly morphing into a state of the art style that still manages to retain some of the warmth of the first golden age.

The Homophobia of A&E

There is strange wording and there is homophobia. Strange wording is, for example, this Time magazine statement on Harvey Milk from their Gay Rights Timeline: "Openly gay politician Harvey Milk proved what the gay community could achieve by mobilizing when he was elected to the San Francisco board of supervisors. Within a year he had been killed by fellow city supervisor Dan White."

'Oh, yeah, they proved what could be achieved . . . Wait? Dead a year later? Is that the achievement?'

That would be a case of strange wording.

By contrast, A&E provides homophobia.


Dan White assassinated San Francisco Board Supervisor Harvey Milk and San Francisco Mayor George Moscone. The Dan White Lesson is, in fact, if you want to assassinate politicians and get away with it, be an ex-cop.

Now we didn't expect A&E to drift into the rumors that Dan White used to dress in drag and then hit the Castro District. We didn't expect to read the rumors that he was a "toilet queen" known for services performed in public bathrooms.

All we expected was the known public record and that reflects that he's a killer who killed two people in cold blood.

That truth is rather elusive on A&E's The Biography Channel page's bio on White.

In an eight paragraph bio, we are informed of his crimes in the first paragraph. The second wants us to know he was "an all-American boy" (he was not "often described" as that). It tells us about his sports and his serving in Vietnam and his police work and his being a fire fighter and then, in 1977, his election to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.

Paragraph three insists "White was a conservative" and we're told that this representative of the "poor white working class" (that's not really the district he represented) had "to oppose Mayor George Moscone and his liberal ideas" -- what the hell is that?

White was elected (once) by one district. Moscone won the voters of San Francisco -- county! The entire county. In November 1975, he and John Barbagelata were the top two vote-getters and faced off in a December runoff. Moscone won. He was a very popular mayor with most citizens of San Francisco which is how he survived a recall attempt in 1977.

Paragraph four wants more 'understanding' for Dan White because, we're told, back then "many psychiatrists still considered homosexuality to be a mental illness" -- left unstated, never has it been considered "treatment" to shoot dead the mentally ill.

Paragraph five wants you to know that Harvey Milk "befriended gay radicals who frequented Greenwich Village." We know what free radicals are, could you explain gay radicals to us? Note that he didn't just interact with "radicals," they were "gay radicals" -- and from Greenwich Village, no less.

Paragraph six wants you to know that Harvey was called "a publicity whore by many".

Paragraph seven takes us back to the violins and Dan White. He had to give his fire fighter job!!!! Uh, yeah, and he knew that during the race. It was frequently commented on. If he won election to the Board, he would have to step down as a fire fighter. He knew that going in. The word choice of "forced to resign" as a fire fighter appears utilized to further portray White as the ultimate victim. Then, we're told, White "started a restaurant business, but it failed due to the pressures of being a councilor."


He had a failed baked potato concession stand out on Fisherman's Wharf.

Among the reasons the 'bio' gives for White resigning was that failed 'restaurant,' a low salary (then and now the yearly salary of a Board of Supervisor was known) which meant "he couldn't support his family," the other members of the Board and Harvey "Milk's gay rights bill got passed".

Dan White resigns November 10, 1978 over a bill passed in April of that year?

A&E's referring to Article 33 of the San Francisco Police Code. That's what Harvey Milk introduced and what passed April of 1978 and went into effect May 11, 1978.

It took White seven months after a vote to quit . . . because of a vote?

Let's review the language A&E uses: ". . . he abruptly resigned his seat after Milk's gay rights bill got passed." Again that is Article 33 of the San Francisco Police Code, also known as Ordinance No. 178-78 and it was passed in April. Dan White resigns November 10, 1978.

Do we need to review 1978's ordinances with A&E? We can. We can go over the American Cancer Society's "Thank you for not smoking" stickers that required an ordinance for the employees at San Francisco International Airport to wear (that was the January 16, 1978 meeting, by the way). Marian Anderson receiving a Certificate of Honor from the Board presented by Supervisor Dianne Feinstein on March 13, 1978? We can go over it. We can go over all of it.*

Amazingly, this moment isn't noted online. The ordinance Harvey Milk sponsored was the first of its kind in the United States. People don't even know the dates online -- or at A&E -- to this historic measure. It was March 20th. From that Board of Supervisors' minutes:

There being no objection, on motion by Supervisor Milk, seconded by Supervisor Silver, the rules were suspended to take up out of order the following recommendation of Fire, Safety and Police Committee:
Ordinance amending Police Code, prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orinentation in employment, housing and public accommodations; and providing remedies therefor.
(Supervisors Gonzales, Milk, Silver)
File 119-78, Ordinance No.
(Adds Article 33.)
Supervisor White moved that measure be rereferred to Committee. Motion to rerefer died for want of a second.
Supervisor Hutch, seconded by Supervisor Milk, moved to amend, as follows:
DELETE lines 18-20.
Motion to amend refused adoption by the following vote:
Ayes: Supervisors Hutch, Lau, Milk-- 3.
Noes: Supervisors Dolson, Feinstein, Gonzales, Kopp, Molinari, Pelosi, Silver, White-- 8.
Passed for second reading by the following vote:
Ayes: Supervisors Dolson, Feinstein, Gonzales, Hutch, Kopp, Lau, Milk, Molinari, Pelosi, Silver-- 10.
No: Supervisor White-- 1.

We'll include March 27, 1978 minutes for historic reasons as well, where the Board debates wording:

The following recommendation of Fire, Safety and Police Committee, heretofore considered, was taken up:
Ordinance amending Police Code, prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation in employment, housing and public accommodations; and providing remedies therefor.
(Supervisors Gonzales, Milk, Silver)
File 119-78, Ordinance No.
(Adds Article 33.)
Motion to Continue Consideration Supervisor Kopp, seconded by Supervisor Dolson, moved that consideration be continued one week in order that he might clarify the proposed legislation by amendment. Following discussion, Supervisor Kopp withdrew his motion to continue consideration.
Motions to Amend Supervisor Kopp, seconded by Supervisor White, moved amendment, as follows:
Page 1, line 29: DELETE "for a discriminatory reason." After "unlawful" INSERT "for any person".

Motion to amend adopted by the following vote:

Ayes: Supervisors Dolson, Gonzales, Hutch, Kopp, Lau, Milk, Molinari, Pelosi, Silver, White-- 10.
Absent: Supervisor Feinstein-- 1.

Supervisor Kopp, seconded by Supervisor White, moved amendment as follows: Page 1, line 30: At end of sentence DELETE ":" and ADD "of an employee or applicant for employment."
Motion to amend adopted by the following vote:
Ayes: Supervisors Dolson, Gonzales, Hutch, Kopp, Lau, Milk, Molinari, Pelosi, Silver, White-- 10.
Absent: Supervisor Feinstein-- 1.

Supervisor Kopp, seconded by Supervisor Dolson, moved amendment as follows: Page 2, lines 11 and 12: DELETE "To fail or refuse to include in"; INSERT "To exclude or expel from".
Motion to amend adopted by the following vote:
Ayes: Supervisors Dolson, Gonzales, Hutch, Kopp, Lau, Milk, Molinari, Pelosi, White-- 9.
No: Supervisor Silver-- 1.
Absent: Supervisor Feinstein-- 1.

Supervisor Kopp, seconded by Supervisor Dolson, moved amendment as follows: Page 3, Lines 16 and 17: DELETE "an excuse for failure to hire any individual." INSERT "a pretext not to hire an individual because of his or her sexual orientation."
Motion to amend adopted by the following vote:
Ayes: Supervisors Dolson, Hutch, Kopp, Lau, Milk, Molinari, Pelosi, Silver, White-- 9.
No: Supervisor Gonzales-- 1.
Absent: Supervisor Feinstein-- 1.

Supervisor Kopp, seconded by Supervisor White, moved amendment as follows: Page 3, line 22: After "unlawful" INSERT "for any person." DELETE "for a discriminatory reason."
Motion to amend adopted by the following vote:
Ayes: Supervisors Dolson, Gonzales, Hutch, Kopp, Lau, Milk, Molinari, Pelosi, White-- 9.
No: Supervisor Silver-- 1.
Absent: Supervisor Feinstein-- 1.

Motion to Amend Failed Adoption
Supervisor Kopp, seconded by Supervisor Dolson, moved amendment as follows:
Page 3, lines 29 and 30: DELETE "(2) To include in the terms or conditions of a transaction in real property any clause, condition or restriction;" and INSERT "(2) To prohibit any occupancy by an individual because of his or her sexual orientation."
Motion to amend failed adoption by the following vote:
Ayes: Supervisors Dolson, Kopp, Pelosi, White-- 4.
Noes: Supervisors Gonzales, Hutch, Lau, Milk, Molinari, Silver-- 6.
Absent: Supervisor Feinstein-- 1.

Motions to Amend
Supervisor Kopp, seconded by Supervisor White, moved amendment as follows:
Page 4, lines 15 and 16: DELETE "or attempts to indicate any unlawful"; after "discrimination" ADD "based on sexual orientation."

Motion to amend adopted by the following vote:

Ayes: Supervisors Dolson, Hutch, Kopp, Lau, Milk, Molinari, Pelosi, Silver, White-- 9.

Absent: Supervisors Feinstein, Gonzales-- 2.

Supervisor Kopp, seconded by Supervisor White, moved amendment as follows: Page 4, line 27: DELETE "discriminatory practice" and INSERT "for any person;" line 28: DELETE "for a
discriminatory reason;" line 29: after "orientation" DELETE ";" and ADD "of a customer:".
Motion to amend adopted by the following vote:
Ayes: Supervisors Dolson, Gonzales, Hutch, Kopp, Lau, Milk, Molinari, Pelosi, Silver, White-- 10.
Absent: Supervisor Feinstein-- 1.
Supervisor Kopp, seconded by Supervisor Silver, moved amendment as follows: Page 5, lines 12, 13 and 14: After "violated," DELETE remainder of sentence and ADD "special and general damages, and may award in addition thereto not less than Two Hundred Dollars ($200) but not more than Four Hundred Dollars ($400), together with attorneys fees and costs of action."
Motion to amend adopted by the following vote:
Ayes: Supervisors Dolson, Gonzales, Hutch, Kopp, Lau, Milk, Pelosi, Silver, White-- 9.

Absent: Supervisors Feinstein, Molinari-- 2.

Supervisor Kopp, seconded by Supervisor Milk, moved amendment as follows:
Page 5, line 27: after "District Attorney," INSERT "by the City Attorney."

Motion to amend adopted by the following vote:
Ayes: Supervisors Dolson, Gonzales, Hutch, Kopp, Lau, Milk, Pelosi, Silver, White-- 9. Absent: Supervisors Feinstein, Molinari-- 2. Supervisor Feinstein noted present at 4:00 p.m. Supervisor Kopp, seconded by Supervisor Gonzales, moved amendment as follows: Page 6, line 7: Before "Actions" INSERT "Judicial." Motion to amend adopted by the following vote: Ayes: Supervisors Dolson, Feinstein, Gonzales, Hutch, Kopp, Lau, Milk, Molinari, Pelosi, Silver, White-- 11.

Supervisor Kopp, seconded by Supervisor Milk, moved amendment as follows:
Page 6, line 10: Renumber Section 3309 to read Section 3310. Add a new Section 3309 to read: "Definition. The word 'person' as used in this Article shall mean any individual, person, firm, corporation, or other organization or group of persons however organized."

Motion to amend adopted by the following vote:

Ayes: Supervisors Dolson, Feinstein, Gonzales, Hutch, Kopp, Lau, Milk, Molinari, Pelosi, Silver, White-- 11.

Passed for second reading as amended by the following vote:
Ayes: Supervisors Dolson, Feinstein, Gonzales, Hutch, Kopp, Lau, Milk, Molinari, Pelosi, Silver-- 10.

Absent: Supervisor White-- 1.

You may have noticed that White had a lot of interest in the wording of a bill he didn't support. April 3, 1978 minutes (when the measure passes):

The following recommendations of Fire, Safety and Police Committee, heretofore considered, were taken up:
Ordinance amending Police Code, prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation in employment, housing and public accommodations; and providing remedies therefor.

( Supervisors Gonzales, Milk, Silver)

File 119-78, Ordinance No. 178-78

(Adds Article 33.)

Finally passed by the following vote:
Ayes: Supervisors Dolson, Feinstein, Gonzales, Hutch, Kopp, Lau, Milk, Molinari, Pelosi, Silver-- 10.
No: Supervisor White-- 1.

April 3rd, the measure passed. It takes Dan White until November to 'protest' by resigning? Point of fact, Dan White was a lousy supervisor. Except for making motions for adjournment, he did very little on the Board. April 10, he finally presented his first proposal. It was on? Bingo games. How they'd be conducted, how they'd be advertised. We're sure A&E can offer a sad story for why that was.

The final paragraph of the A&E bio has Dan White wanting the position he resigned back -- not because of himself, you understand, but because that's what "his colleagues and constituents" wanted. White would never -- in A&E's world -- put himself first. He talked to Moscone but the mayor "had already been strongly influence by Milk and other Board members to appoint another liberal, Federal Housing official Don Horanzy, instead."

Poor Dan White, "an all-American boy," A&E wants you to know, toppled by that nasty "publicity whore" Harvey Milk. A&E might want to explain why it is that two people were assassinated and A&E's bio of Dan White reads like he was the victim and not the killer?

*Jim note: Between C.I.'s never-forget-anything memory and the bound volumes of Board of Supervisors minutes that she can flip through and show you instantly, "This is where this passed, right here is where . . ." we can school A&E on this topic, if need be.

Monday in the (Central) Park with Norman

NYC Monday? Joan Wile has the event for you. The founder of Grandmothers Against the War and author of Grandmothers Against the War: Getting Off Our Fannies and Standing Up for Peace notes an event this Monday in Central Park:

Norman Siegel

Legendary civil liberties attorney, Norman Siegel, will hold his fifth annual July 4 Reading and Discussion of the U.S. Constitution and the Declaration of Independence in Central Park's Strawberry Fields at noon on Monday, July 4.


The tradition began way back in 1969 when Siegel started reading the Constitution to himself faithfully every July 4 no matter where he was. Then, in 2007, he invited the Granny Peace Brigade to join him and make it a public event. Each year, the crowds attending the Festival have grown and grown, and, in addition to the Brigade, include Veterans for Peace, Grandmothers Against the War, Peace Action, Raging Grannies, and many other groups and individuals. Local political leaders participate, as well.

Comments Siegel: "Our July 4 event, with New Yorkers reading aloud sections of the U.S. Constitution and Declaration of Independence and embracing its provisions is a terrific way to celebrate this most important American holiday. Fireworks and picnics are fine, but it's also good to have an event which reflects in a substantive way the principles intended by our Founding Framers

DATE: Monday, July 4
TIME: 12 Noon
PLACE: Strawberry Fields, Central Park -- enter at CPW and W. 72nd St. Follow sign approximately one block

Supreme Court attacks women workers (Workers World)

From Workers World:

Supreme Court joins attack on women workers

Published Jul 1, 2011 8:03 PM

The U.S. Supreme Court recently dealt a brutal blow to women workers employed by Wal-Mart. On June 20 the justices dismissed the Dukes v. Wal-Mart lawsuit, decreeing that these workers cannot sue their employers as a class for sex discrimination.

Unsurprisingly, the high court handed corporations a big victory. In a unanimous decision of conservatives and liberals alike, the nine justices rejected class-action certification for the 1.5 million past and current women workers at Wal-Mart. This case would have been the largest employment discrimination class-action lawsuit in U.S. history against the biggest corporate employer.

The court said that the Wal-Mart workers must file individual lawsuits and not seek billions of dollars in damages as a class. The ruling will make it more difficult, time-consuming and costly for the women to pursue legal remedies, as they are low-wage workers who are suing for small amounts of money in back pay.

Moreover, five justices, the court’s more right-wing majority, severely restricted the criteria for future employee-class-action lawsuits against corporations. This will harm millions of women, low-wage, service-sector and other workers, making it harder for them to seek legal remedies from employers for unfair policies. It will stymie workers who seek to join together as a class to sue employers for sexist, racist or other discriminatory policies in any company.

By siding with the country’s largest corporate discriminator, the Supreme Court gave Wal-Mart the green light to squeeze millions of workers even more and to keep wages low for women, the majority of the company’s hourly employees. This was also a signal to other companies that they can continue to do the same without concern about large, national lawsuits.

Ten years ago, lead plaintiff Betty Dukes, a Wal-Mart worker, together with other workers filed a lawsuit charging the company with national gender discrimination in pay and promotion. They sought to end the company’s biased policies, establish equitable ones and recover billions of dollars of lost wages for the class of current and former women employees.

The plaintiffs presented evidence showing a corporate culture of sexism at Wal-Mart, where women are 70 percent of the hourly employees, yet only 33 percent of managers, and where executives deal with women in a demeaning way. However, the court’s majority claimed they hadn’t proven discrimination.

Part of capitalists’ war on working class

The pro-corporate court shot down one of the weapons in the workers’ arsenal to oppose corporate inequities, demand fairness, seek redress of their grievances and win financial compensation. Class-action lawsuits have been a helpful legal tool for workers to fight corporate discrimination; this ruling now denies this avenue to millions of workers.

In fact, plaintiffs’ attorney Joseph M. Sellers explained that the court’s majority reversed 40 years of legal precedents that “allowed for company-wide cases to be brought” challenging discriminatory practices against women and other workers. (New York Times, June 21)

This ruling is an extension of the capitalist class’s war on the working class, which aims to take back every right and benefit won through struggle and prevent any redress of grievances and inequities. It’s another manifestation of the corporations’ rampage to wrench back whatever they can from workers, to increase the level of exploitation — and profits — and to obstruct legal rights and recourse with which workers can fight back.

The capitalists’ offensive against workers is being carried out by state governments, backed in some cases by state courts, as in Wisconsin, where they have assaulted public sector workers’ collective bargaining rights and union protections and torn up union-negotiated wage, health care and pension benefits.

This ruling shows clearly that the courts are part of the capitalist state apparatus, not neutral bodies that hear the grievances of working people and make decisions based on fundamental fairness. The main purpose of the court system, especially the Supreme Court, is to protect the property, profits and reign of the capitalist class — the owners whose interests are antagonistic to those of the workers. Many of this court’s decisions of late have reinforced and advanced the financial and political interests of the super-rich, the banks and corporations.

Wal-Mart: huge profits, low wages

Wal-Mart’s revenue in 2010 was $408.2 billion. The world’s largest retailer, it is the number one Fortune 100 company. The average hourly wage for sales associates is $8.81, says the Food and Commercial Workers union blog, Making Change at Wal-Mart. The company can well afford to pay higher wages to all its workers. Yet their incomes are so low that many employees must use food stamps to feed their families and resort to Medicaid health care coverage.

By creating and maintaining poverty-level jobs and keeping wages low by all manner of inequities — super-exploiting its workforce here and worldwide — the corporate Goliath is able to make mega-profits. The company has operated in such defiance of workers’ rights that it has been sued and forced to pay hundreds of millions of dollars to U.S. workers for breaking state wage-and-hour laws.

This conglomerate has ferociously and ruthlessly fought all attempts at union organizing, at home and abroad. However, Wal-Mart’s workers need unions to fight workplace discrimination and inequities and to bargain for better wages and benefits. Women in unions get better wages and benefits than do their non-union counterparts.

Making Change at Wal-Mart says that despite the court’s ruling the struggle will go on: “[This] decision will not stop millions of Wal-Mart associates from joining together to demand justice and more from their employer.” It promised to continue to work with them “to ensure women at Wal-Mart can never be discriminated against.”

Dukes and the other plaintiffs, with the help of their attorneys, are already forming new strategies and have adamantly vowed to continue their fight to press this corporate giant to end its unfair policies.

With this restriction of what has been a key legal avenue for workers to challenge corporate discrimination, it is now more imperative for leaders in the working-class movement to shift their focus and move to more class-wide direct action. It will take a strong, militant working-class struggle to push back the corporations. This will help women workers at Wal-Mart and elsewhere.

What will also aid them in their fight is for all progressive groupings and individuals to stand up and show solidarity with these workers at every opportunity and in every arena.

Anti-abortion Extremist Convicted of Stalking Doctor

From the Feminist Majority Foundation:

July 1, 2011
Contact: Annie Shields
Phone: 310.556.2500

Anti-abortion Extremist Convicted of Stalking Doctor

Today, 12 jurors in Charlotte, N.C., found anti-abortion extremist leader Flip Benham guilty of criminally stalking a Charlotte-area physician who performs abortions. This is the second time Benham, who is director of Operation Rescue/Operation Save America, was convicted for conduct that caused a person to fear for their safety or the safety of their family.

"For too long, Benham and his organization have been able to stalk and terrorize abortion providers and their families with impunity," said duVergne Gaines, legal coordinator for the Feminist Majority Foundation, who attended the 5-day trial. "They have distributed WANTED posters and engaged in other outrageous conduct in an attempt to intimidate doctors out of providing safe, legal abortions for women here in Charlotte," continued Gaines.

"This trial and its outcome are important," said Katherine Spillar, executive vice president of the Feminist Majority Foundation. "We hope this verdict will encourage other district attorneys and the Department of Justice to prosecute extremists who, like Benham, are terrorizing abortion doctors across the country," continued Spillar.

The Feminist Majority Foundation has been working with Charlotte-area clinics and doctors to stop anti-abortion extremist harassment. "We have been alarmed by the extremists' brazen use of old-West-style WANTED posters to target doctors at their homes and offices," explained Spillar.

Indeed, in key testimony for the prosecution, Charlotte Police Detective Harris presented compelling details of how abortion extremists have murdered doctors who were initially featured on WANTED posters, just as is happening in Charlotte today. "Harris' statements underscore the importance of prosecuting extremists to the full extent of the law in order to prevent threats from escalating to violence," observed Gaines.

In addition to the guilty verdict, the Judge entered an extensive protective order preventing Benham from entering the residential community where the doctor lives, and from coming within 500 feet of the doctor's office and the two women's health clinics where he performs abortions. Additionally, Benham is prevented from contacting in any manner the doctor and his family, and from publishing WANTED posters or other materials, including on his website or online, that reference the doctor or his home or office address. Benham has entered a notice of appeal of the verdict. However the protective order will remain in force until the appeal is heard.

The Feminist Majority Foundation runs the National Clinic Access Project, which is the oldest and largest clinic defense project in the nation - researching and tracking extremist groups, organizing community support for clinics, providing safety assessments, sponsoring litigation to defend clinics, and working with law enforcement to stop violence against abortion providers.

Interviews with duVergne Gaines and Katherine Spillar can be arranged by calling 310 556 2500.


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