Sunday, October 09, 2005



A note to our readers

It's Sunday and guess what?

Problems with posts?

You got it.

TV review and editorial are showing as posted inside Blogger, they're nowhere to be found at the site if you visit. Maybe they'll hit, maybe they won't?

We're doing our note and maybe it will hit and maybe it won't.

Let's quote Kat, it is what it is.

And what it is, is we did the work, it just won't display.

If the error's fixed by Blogger Support, we'll come back in and add the usual links since this serves as our table of contents.

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

Editorial: What falls through the cracks

So what's goin on in Iraq? You can't tell from the mainstream media in this country.

Bombings and destruction gets a happy face and words like "pacification" let you think we're winning hearts and minds. Basra remains the riddle as the press hunts down The Riddle That Is Harriet and attempts to reassure that lifelong single Harriet Miers had a longterm romantic relationship with another lifelong male, both believe in family and go to the same church but (while the Times asks not "Is it true?" but "Is it still true????") apparently they never got around to hiring the wedding planner.

Nothing wrong with being a lifelong single. Jess doesn't think he'll ever get married. But no one's rushing to reassure you that Jess is in the midst of a lifelong relationship or that he's a "good Christian" (translation, Jess hasn't "waited").

It's a curious kind of news. Someone working for Homeland Security attends the D.C. protests and it's left to Elisabeth Bumiller, of all people, to inform you of that.

Anton Scalia? Well there's an interesting story. We did an editorial on John Roberts, not surprisingly against John Roberts being confirmed, and we never got so many e-mails from Republicans, all belonging to the same lobbying group. We're thrilled with the increase in readership and we hope you learn something here. But judging from your e-mails disputing basic facts in the editorial, Fantasia ain't the only one in America with reading problems.

But one thing we noted in that editorial was that Bully Boy nominating Roberts for Chief Justice was a slap in the face to those already serving.

We're sure Scalia didn't see it see that way. We're sure he was pleased as punch and we were way off the wall on it being a slap in the face. That's why he was front and center, counted and accounted unlike the Florida ballots in 2000, when John Roberts was sworn . . .

Oh wait. He wasn't there. Funny how that detail didn't get a great deal of attention. He had a "previous engagement." Kat says that's always a good line and that, in fact, she used it herself last month when a former boyfriend begged her to attend his wedding.

We're sure Scalia truly had a "previous engagement," "a prior committment," and that if he had attempted to beg off, the reply would have been: "How dare you! Sir, how dare you! Our fish fry happens every other week! A Supreme Court Justice is confirmed at least every ten years! How dare you!"

Or maybe the food had already been ordered and the hotel room booked and he was afraid of being billed a "no show." Who knows?

But we're sure that having done the bidding of the ultra right-wing faction of the American Taliban for years, he was pleased as punch to be passed over by the Charlie Brown-like, according to the press, John Roberts. Pleased as punch indeed.

So where we are we media wise now that attention to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina has died down? Basically right back where we were before.

The press tentatively questions the Bully Boy. That's not really bravery. His approval ratings continue to sink. Just when you think he has to have reached bottom, there he is grabbing another bottom! If it were Bill Clinton, the press would be circling like sharks.

So you've got a war that's unpopular, you've got a people who want the troops home now, and you've got the press and other factions ignoring it. Thinking, apparently, that if they instigate Operation Happy Talk or Operation Guilt Trip, we'll all suddenly change our minds and say, "Deaths or no deaths, let's stay in Iraq!"

Is the press that stupid or do they just think we are?

Everything's happy, everything's pretty.

Even though the fatalities out of Iraq continue to mount, even though the terrorism threat (Operation Try To Scare The Hell Out Of America) didn't quite pan up and isn't standing up to scrutiny, even though we're deprived of headlines like "Skulking Scalia Says Adios to Roberts' Confirmation." Everything's just pretty, everything's just rosy.

How long do they think they can keep this up?

We're reminded me of the moment in Fast Times at Ridgemont High when the hyper perky and hyper chipper cheerleader (Cindy played by Kelli Maroney) has finally had enough and lectures the gym that it's not easy standing up in front of everyone and cheering all the time, that, come to think of it, they don't even like the name Spirit Bunnies.

Neither do we. But Spirit Bunnies for the Bully Boy seems like a good monicker for a mainstream press (New York Timid we're thinking specifically of you) that sits around whimpering, "Please, sir, may I have another?"

So Spirit Bunnies, at what point do you have your own public snit fit and start lecturing about how hard it is to stand up in front of everyone? Or was Bill Keller's "circle-jerk" confessions and "arm chair media critics" carping about as nasty as things get? Oh, Keller, you make it so easy.

Something is happening but you don't know what it is, do you, Mr. Keller? (To steal from Bob Dylan's "Ballad of a Thin Man" which originally appears on Highway 61 Revisted.)

But Keller's not the only one. There's a debate going on right now about NPR and whether or not it's worth yet again (and again and again) attempting to save it from it's foes in Congress.
What's the point?

Forget the content for a moment. Forget the viewpoints. But answer us a question instead. Is NPR committed to going out over the traditional broadcast air waves because recent events suggest otherwise. In fact, recent events suggest that it will follow PBS' move to leave the public airwaves. Anyone want to explain how public television is public television if you'll need satellite or cable to get it?

There's a big change that's coming down and we're not impressed with the debate on it.

We're not impressed with consumer advocacy groups who aren't arguing the root issue which is where will the people go who don't get cable or satellite because they can't afford it? (Lip service is sometimes given to "subsidies." As though everyone who should qualify would or the fact that this notion doesn't rest upon the assumption of a generous Congress -- a myth when it comes to individuals and not corporations.)

We know our readers. (Our intended ones, no offense lobby group Repubes.) They're young, many of them have at least one child. We long ago made the decision that we would only review broadcast TV because it wasn't fair to our readers who couldn't afford cable or satellite.

But a change will be coming down shortly and no one seems overly concerned about those people.

Our airwaves, because we do own them, will be sold at a huge profit and TV will move away from a good available to all but a good available only to subscribers of cable and satellite. Who's discussing that and who's addressing how it will effect the many people in this country who are living paycheck to paycheck?

It will hit the poor, the working poor and the lower middle class hardest because if we've learned one thing from the monopoly system we're living under it's that when you have to pay for a good the price sky rockets. So when cable or satellite are a requirement to watch television, don't kid yourself that the monopoly system (which seems to order around the cities they are supposed to serve) won't once again raise prices. And don't kid yourself that those eyesore cable trunks that are always supposed to be addressed will be.

But no one wants to discuss that. No one wants to discuss much of anything. We live in Operation Happy Talk times. The only good to come of it is that people are catching on.

And the mainstream press wonders why their viewership and subscription base is down?

[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: Threshold Surpasses the Audience's

One definition of "threshold" is the point at which something is true or will take place. Another definition of the term is a beginning. We don't believe either applies to CBS' Threshold which airs Friday nights.

How can it be a beginning when it's so obviously recycling every TV show that's come before?

To clear things up at the outset, the show does not star Courtney Cox. Carla Gugino, the Wal-Mart version of Cox, stars in Threshold. We understand the confusion because she does sound a little like Courtney Cox and even looks a little like Cox on the first season of Friends when no one knew what to do with Monica's hair.

No one knows what to do with Gugino's hair either. We'd suggest washing it with a product that would strip away all the filmy buildup. Gugino, in 1996, lasted half a season on Spin City, it's debut season, and left under circumstances so sour that when the show began repeating during it's first season, she was stripped out of every episode her character Ashley had previously appeared in. Is it the hair?

We don't know. We know she wore it up, we know she wore it pulled back in a pony tail and we know she wore it loose in a "style" that appeared to be comb free because a comb-through would have taken out some of the stiffness from the overly generous application of hair spray. (They appear to use several "coats" of hair spray.)

The pilot was so bad that they reworked it before airing it. (Screeners of the original pilot are still in circulation.) What they haven't reworked thus far is "dirty head" which appears to be the look Gugino's promoting. She also promotes her breasts. Not just via plunging necklines but via an annoying habit she has of leaning forward and digging her upper arms into her chest to make the breasts pop out when she wants to ask a favor.

For instance, in one talking head scene, the following exchange occurs between Gugino and Peter Dinklage.

Gugino: Ramsey, I need to tap your expertise.

Dinklage: Oh I knew you would eventually. The answer is yes.

Gugino: Excuse me?

Dinklage: Women always come to me for sexual release like I'm some machine.

Gugino: I was referring to your language skills.

Dinklage: Your loss. How may I be your linguistic bee-o-tch.

The scene's offensive for many reasons. For instance, we wonder how anyone could forget the criticism that greeted Chevy Chase & Carrie Fisher's Under the Rainbow -- after which, you'd think trafficking in stereotypes about short people* would be something most would avoid. (Dinklage is four feet and seven inches.) But Gugino's Dr. Caffrey, who is supposed to lead the team and be the boss, really doesn't deserve that dialogue. Until you notice that for half the above lines, she's thrust out her chest and dug her upper arms in to frame those breasts. Gugino's obviously been studying acting with tutors Suzanne Sommers and Jennie Garth, but where did Dr. Caffrey graduate from -- Hooters Med?

In scene after scene she shows up with one plunging neckline after another (bra optional) and you're left to wonder exactly what sort of clothing strikes the doctor as "casual dress"?

Gugino's the "piece of ass." Just like she was in the failed Karen Cisco. She can't be anything else because she's unable to convincingly perform as anything other than a TGIF hostess. Where the dialogue and the scene would require Gugino to get angry, she smiles. As a beauty contestant, she might have a future (provided someone washes that hair). As an actress, Spin City may be all she's ever known for at this rate.

Not knowing anyone on the show, we worked the phone lines (The New York Times would call it "reporting") and here's some of what we learned. The show's already tanking in the ratings, CBS brass was reportedly never happy with the promised fixes to the pilot that they don't feel were added, the show's creator has lived in spec script hell and only recently emerged with a legitimate "credit." If you consider Average Joe a legitimate "credit" -- we don't.

One friend told us, "We thought we were getting the X-Files and ended up with Stargate." That wasn't intended as a compliment.

So what's the show about? We'll tell you quickly before the show's gone or retooled (both options are reportedly being seriously explored).

Each show begins with Gugino doing a voice over. She explains that she's in the field of worst case scenarios, but before you doze off, she's not working for State Farm. She works for the federal government and seems to have spent her time prior to the start of the fall season playing long games of what ifs? -- your tax dollars at work. On September 16th, she tells us, a naval carrier encountered an extra terrestrial. Now it's all changed and there's no time for musing or hair washing.

Gugino: They will strike any time, any place, anyone. Their goal? To turn us into them. But I have a plan to stop them. That plan is called Threshold.

Not exactly "Once upon a time there were three little girls who went to the police academy," is it? But they're currently stuck with the voice over because no one's watching and the show's structured in such a way that the opening scenes will rarely involve the regular cast members so they have to inform anyone who might happen by what the show is about.

There's hope that Brian Van Holt might be a "breakaway" star. Considering that Holt was perfect for the film House of Wax, we doubt that will happen due to his acting. The hopes are pinned on his looks and before you get too curious, let us advise you that Van Holt is a stockier, more square jawed version of Peter Berg (both are the same height) and Berg hasn't exactly sent most of America into a frenzy. But on this show, Van Holt passes for "eye candy."

So we've got piece of ass and sour eye candy. What else? Really nothing. Quirks don't make for characters and bad acting doesn't make for riveting TV. Charles S. Dutton glowers a lot. He's not used that much. It's a weaker version of the Morgan Freeman role in an Ashley Judd film.

The show tries to create excitement via really bad cross cutting. At one point, there's a device that will harm the entire city in Baltimore's subway. Gugino and a man under her try to disarm the device before it goes off while Van Holt and others chase down the guy who created the device, while Dutton screams for them to get out of there. Back and forth, back and forth.

Cross cutting, editing in fact, requires something more than "let's go check in on ___ who we haven't seen in a few seconds." You need a transition. That can come via a visual or an audio, but you need a reason to go from one location to the next.

Apparently the rules of reality TV are now infecting dramas and no one's benifitting.

Gugino's in a lot of scenes. Not all of them, but most of them. She's in the scene, for instance, where a guy won't talk so she threatens to send him to Guantanamo Bay and when he doesn't reply, orders the military to take him away. He cracks then.

Apparently someone finds that humorous.

They also, no doubt, find it humorous when an African-American is grabbed on the streets by two white guys and thrown into a van, then whisked off in the van and abused in the van. To make sure no one's offended, Threshold takes a page from the Bully Boy playbook and fronts a person of color to do the dirty work (in this case a guest star who happens to be both African-American and female -- Condi Rice, you have impacted society!).

There are other scenes that end, for instance, charmingly enough with the words, "Marines, take him away!" Or how about the opening interrogation scene where a person is speaking Korean (though Dutton says he doesn't know what the guy's speaking) and instead of providing a translator to explain that they're about to take a blood sample, they hold the guy and scream at him (in English)?

Dutton: Take it easy! I don't know what the hell you're saying but if you don't calm down right now, we'll just take a blood sample off the floor!

Not convinced by how offensive the show is yet? How about this, the Condi Rice? She's a cop. Her partner Blake was killed (she apparently checks his locker daily since his death) but she's convinced that the killer would get an easy deal/plea bargain. So she lists him as dead.

What does she do to him?

Let's let Condi tell it:

I figured if cargo pods were good enough for smuggling people, they were good for holding them.

This show is full of ugly people. Ugly to look at, ugly on the inside. Maybe it's supposed to be some larger statement on the current climate in this country? If so, it makes sense that "Condi" suffers no consequences for holding a prisoner in cargo pod down at the waterfront instead of taking him in, booking him and letting him have access to a lawyer or even a toilet.

Is that how ugly America is? We don't think the country's that bad. Call us optimists or maybe just note that we didn't make money off of making America look ugly via Average Joe. Reality TV is nothing but the guests of Jerry Springer kept around for a full season. So it's not surprising that Threshold, created by the Average Joe behind Average Joe, would attempt to portray one vile scene after another, without even grasping how ugly this whole thing is.

Maybe he missed the story of Mexicans dying in a trailer (cargo pod?) when they attempted to enter the country illegally? Or maybe Bragi F. Schut thinks that's "ripped from the headlines" and is too dense to grasp that when you take that approach, you need to have some clearly identified "do gooders" around. Law & Order can do the perp walk over and over (and over) because some viewers will buy the regulars as concerned with larger principles.

This show's only principle is the Alan Dershowitz inane "ticking time bomb" argument. In this case, the time bomb is a series of audio frequencies that aliens are using to take over the planet. (Which of course means America because people behind shows like this think the world begins and ends in the United States.) This "ticking time bomb" argument leads to, next week, jokes about bombing Miami. Are we getting how ugly this show is?

This isn't gallows humor, it's not developed or thought out enough for that. This is a weak premise that tries to combine several X-Files episodes and the mini-series and short lived television show V into one combo and tie Dershowitz around it. Honestly, he should get royalties for the DVD set that will no doubt be issued when the show is cancelled -- the real ticking time bomb everyone involved in this show should worry about.

If a theme's emerging so far this season, we suspect it may be "the public is a bunch of losers who can't be trusted." You can see that with Prison Break. On this show, you see it as well. You're told that the public (which would be you and us) can't be told of what is happening because they'd "panic." You're told, by Gugino, "Historically speaking, the public can't function in a crisis."

That justification doesn't work in an open society. But like Bully Boy, Gugino's happy to tie al Qaeda into anything. On this show, it's aliens. Instead of letting "Condi" know, at the end of the episode, that they've been going up against aliens, Gugino let's her think it was al Qaeda.

"Condi": I really underestimated al Qaeda. I mean I never dreamed guys living in caves could be so scientifically advanced. Inventing a weapon to turn us into maniacs?

Gugino: They may live in caves, but they have the money and connections to buy what they need and the less they know about what we know the better our chances of stopping them.

Gugino's lying to "Condi." Fortunately, when Condi walks off with a "no one could have guessed" look on her face, another character explains Gugino lied -- explains to Gugino (!) because even the cast doesn't trust that the audience can follow her "acting" choices. Every line's delivered the same -- with her looking at the person she's speaking to in the same way. She's the Henry Kissenger of acting. No, she didn't bomb Cambodia, she's just stunk up two networks so far (ABC and now CBS).

Until CBS pulls the plug (or an Acting Crimes Tribunal is created), Threshold will be around for a bit more. Catch if it you want to see a very ugly view of America. An ugly view that's endorsed and encouraged. This isn't a critique of society, this is a "Yee-haw!" get on board, drink the Kool Aid production.

No one's reputation will emerge intact from this show. (Sorry, Dutton.) We wondered if we were missing something in the show. So we consulted self-described sci-fi friends who assured us this show was a dog with fleas and the mange. We watched two episodes Friday. Not once but several times. First, we watched them the normal way. Then we watched them with the sound off. Then we watched them with the audio on but not looking at the TV. We were hoping to find something, anything to suggest that this was a send-up or a critique.

It's not. This is Bragi F. Schut's view of the world. We're confused as to whether or not Schut has a relationship with the Alpine Group Inc. (out of New Jersey) but we're not surprised that he traffics in a show that promotes fear of the other, hysteria and disregard for rule of law. He established that as his "stock in trade" when he established his "credit" with Average Joe.

[*Note: We're not sure which term Dinklage uses to self-describe. We were told by two people that it's "short" so we've used "short people." Our apologies to anyone, including Dinklage, who uses or prefers another term.]

1 Book 10 Minutes And They All Sang (Studs Terkel)

We had all agreed that we'd focus on one book for this edition and C.I. suggested Studs Terkel. Midweek, Terkel was a guest on Democracy Now! for the full hour so we'd say good timing. If you missed the interview, you can read the transcript, listen to the audio or watch the program by clicking here.

Terkel's an American legend who's career has spanned decades. The latest book is entitled And They All Sang: Adventures of an Eclectic Disc Jockey.

Participating in this discussion are The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Jess, Ty, Ava and Jim, Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude, Betty 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!, and Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz.

Jim: We'll let C.I. kick this off since it was C.I.'s pick.

C.I.: Well, it has to do, the format of the book, with something that periodically comes up. Most recently, a poll summary was run by the Times and it was treated sacrosanct. I'm not ready, having sat through research & methodology as well as demograpy and statistic classes, to take a poll's "summary" as authentic or genunine. I prefer to hear voices speaking for themselves. Terkel's latest book is both an oral history and a survey. I'm predisposed to enjoy those types of books. I have problems with summaries of polls and with research being badly summarized. I'm think of [Robert] Bellah, et al and their Habits of the Heart where, at one point, they tell us what "Wayne" would have probably said. They spoke to him. At length. They have to "probably" it?
Every word that the Bully Boy utters and mangles is potential Times' coverage, to get back to a better target, but you have a damn hard time finding a citizen, as opposed to an official source, speaking for any length of time in the majority of articles. Adam Liptak's doing his prison series and when it's a series, non-office holders, non insiders, can get a word on but in the day to day coverage they are as far removed from the articles as is perspective.

Dona: Devil's advocate, the argument would be you are speaking of the leader of the free world and his words matter.

C.I.: My reply to that is unprintable. However, picking up the thread, a sentence from a "real person" here and one there, think Forero or Nagourney, and calling that reporting is embarrassing. The Times wants to be the paper of record. By that, they want to be the paper of record to an elite group. That's not reality and it's not reflective of America. Opening a bureau in a so-called "red" state won't bring reality to the paper. They bungled the protest coverage and it goes to a lack of interest in the average person. People only really register in the Times as "polls" and when Bully Boy's dismissive of the press, he does have a small point. I don't think it's the one he intends to make, but a point can be made of, "Don't tell me what the people think, you don't quote the people, you don't cover them." The Times, at other times, was able to do what they do and still provide a sense of the mood of the country due to the fact that they would cover labor, they would cover academic confrences, etc. Now they're just taking dictation from an ever increasingly narrow pool of "official sources" and the world in the paper of record and the world we live in are two different worlds. Liptak's series has been strong, but past series seem to work under the premise of "Oh my God! Who could have known!" Well the people living in poverty, or whatever area you've decided to give a little, tiny sliver of coverage to absolve yourself of the guilt from not covering real issues.

Dona: Just to clarify, I'm in agreement with C.I. but I wanted that tossed out because we have a new reader, a reporter, who reads just to disagree and I know he'll e-mail on this. But I agree and the editorial we did last week reflects that and has led to some in depth conversations in our journalism classes.

C.I.: Terkel's made his name doing that sort of reporting, speaking with actual people. In this book, the focus is music and specifically conversations with musicians.

Jess: Bob Dylan is one of the musicians and I'll note that conversation because listening just now, that's what I thought of. At one point, Dylan's speaking of a book written by a friend of his and how it alternates chapters with one character's perspective and then the others. Listening, what I flashed on is that the Times is the perfect paper if you're over fifty, white, male, gearing up for that cushy retirement and you're going to escape in that retirement. Because you're going to have to. The Times isn't telling you anything to prepare you for what's coming down the line because it's so caught up in a perspective that's dying out. You can take that to mean the silly nonsense they pass off as "balance" but I'm thinking specifically of trends that are emerging, in thoughts and actions and not all having to do with politics, that the Times is completely unaware of because their D.C. insider class is also unaware of them. In a class that Ava, Dona and I are taking, our professor was speaking of how the sixties caught most of the media by surprise and they were left to bring on "voices" that were supposed to explain it. The "voices" were treated like talking dogs, "Look at the strange creature bark." I think we're back in a similar situation where there is the world we live in and then there's the view of it from the media which is not what you're experiencing if you're not a white male, over fifty, in the boardroom. "Snazzy writing" won't fix that problem. It's an issue of perspective and awareness, not just of "updated lingo." No one's addressing that at the Times.

Jim: This is turning into a media roundtable, which is fine with me. Hopefully, it will demonstrate to those considering reading And They All Sang that the book is a great starting point for conversations.

Ty: Well it is. And I would argue the book backs this up. Take the section on Louis Armstrong where he's talking about jazz coming in. He's speaking of the people who could play the notes they were trained to play but were completely lost by the emerging jazz genre. And you could argue that a paper like the Times knows the notes to hit and has hit them over and over, in the same way, for years now. But something new is developing and it's jazz to them. They're classically trained and have no idea how to play jazz. Armstrong talks about Joe Oliver and how he'd hear a note and be able to play a second note to Oliver. The media should be able to do that. A paper isn't a novel. It should be much more on it's feet and able to incorporate the moods and realities. Instead, they want to drum out their trained parts. Something like Hurricane Katrina took them by surprise and left them scrambling. The initial coverage won praise not because it was the best, most polished, but because it was alive and responding to the the world we live in.

Ava: Let's hear it for Ty on that one. Strong points.

Jim: Yeah, that did tie it all together. I'll toss to Kat here. What did you think of the conversation with Janis Joplin?

Kat: Pop quizzes? I was actually planning on talking about Jean Richie, but that's fine. Okay, to relate it to the topic that seems to be shaping up, I'll note that Terkel makes a comment to Janis that no one's made to her before. She's speaking of her father's reaction which is "not my bag" basically, to her singing. And Terkel makes the point that "prettiness" is what's expected of and from female singers. That leads to a riff by Joplin. The year of that interview is 1968. And in many ways, we can argue that's still true. A lot of the negativity towards Courtney Love's music for reasons that have nothing to do with what she's doing in front of microphone. But to pick up that theme, a group saw Joplin and embraced her and a larger culture was shocked by that. This isn't an issue of predicting a trend, it's an issue of being so far removed from the realities that even afterward you're still scratching your head.

Elaine: Let me add to that by noting a passage. This is from Terkel's interview with Pete Seeger, p. 219, Seeger's speaking:

Rosa Luxemberg was a German socialist who spent World War I in the kaiser's
prison. She was against the war. She writes a letter to Lenin in
January of 1919, and said, "I hear that you have instituted press
censorship and you have restricted the right of people to freely assemble, to
address grievances." She said, "Don't you realize, in a few years,
all of the decisions in your country are going to be made by a few elite, and
the masses will only be called in to dutifully applaud your decisions."
Boy, wasn't that exactly what happened? If it hadn't been Stalin to take
over, it would have been somebody elese. Because if you don't have freedom
of the press, if you don't have freedom of the airwaves, and freedom of speech,
inevitably things go from bad to worse. The USA would not be here if it
had not been for our Bill of Rights. Thanks to Bill of Rights, the
abolitionists could agitate and agitate until we got rid of slavery. And
women could agitate and agitate until they got the right to vote. And
black people could agitate and agitate and finally Lyndon Johnson signed the
Voting Rights Act.

Betty: And the reality is that now we have Republicans saying that the Voting Rights Act doesn't need to be extended. Our Bill of Rights appears headed for the trash can and we're becoming the USBB, United States of Bully Boy. I'm going to get depressed so let me note Marian Anderson, from page 64:

Awareness is very important in any and everything we do. There happens to
be sometimes a period of awareness in children, or lack of awareness in
children, which will permit a person to play the piano in a fashion which, after
they learn certain rules and regulations, she'll feel certain fingers don't
belong on certain notes in relationship to other notes that she has to do.
And when she doesn't know this, the finger works, but the minute that she knows
it shouldn't be there, that same finger feels that it's committing a crime to
act in the way that it had before.

Cedric: Which can carry it back to the point we keep coming back to. Awareness, trained, as opposed to natural can prevent the media from hearing the voices they need to hear. The keys they play are the accepted keys but the "accepted keys" change with the times. I enjoy the book. I carried it to the nursing home thinking I'd just show it to my friends and they'd think it was interesting and maybe want to talk a little about some of the people in it. We ended up talking about the people for hours and I ended up leaving the book with them because they were so jazzed on it. I found Betty Carter's interview interesting. How she felt it was important for the audience to see a mixture of ages onstage and how seeing that would also help the audience be a mixture. Rebecca?

Rebecca: I enjoyed the interviews. Probably Woody Guthrie's the most. I'm sick of Dylan and the myth amplified by the myth making [Martin] Scorsce so I wasn't impressed that "Big Bob Dylan" was in the book. But I enjoyed the book and you can pick and choose which sections to read. It's not required that you start on page one and read page by page until the end.

Ava: We did that too. Jim, Dona and myself. We were all reading from the same copy so one of us would set it down and someone else would grab it. There wasn't time to read straight through since we were sharing the copy. Early on, Jim started reading sections aloud and, as a result, Dona and I joined in. It works that way as well. I think Rebecca's point is a good one because some may see the book as history, which it is, and think, "It's going to put me to sleep."
It won't. And if you come across someone you're tired of, the way Rebecca is of Dylan, you can move on to the next section and not be lost.

Mike: I didn't mind the Dylan section or the Joplin. I knew those names. And I knew Louise Armstrong's name, Woody Guthrie's and Pete Seeger's. But that was pretty much it for me. So I was reading for the conversations and the impressions the guests were sharing, not for who they were. On that level, I enjoyed the book so I don't think you even need to know the background on the people or their music to enjoy it. You might end up, like I did, asking more about the people. Dad pulled down some Pete Seeger records after I mentioned Seeger was in the book and we listened to those. But just the wealth of the experiences and the times the guests have lived through make the book interesting enough to read.

Dona: So what we've got is a book that will delight music lovers, will interest casual readers and can be read in any order the reader determines. A very user friendly book packed with details and recollections.

Jim: Good summary. And when you jump in with a summary, it usually means that we're out of time. So I'll add that, as evidenced in this discussion, the book also provides a great jumping off point to explore and discuss the themes in it. The book, again, is And They All Sang: Adventures of an Eclectic Disc Jockey by Studs Terkel.

Book excerpt: Sucking Up to presidents, dictators and assorted scoundrels

NBC's Mrs. Alan Greenspan has taken pen to paper. She calls her book Talking Back To Presidents, Dictators and Assorted Scoundrels. While we think it's nice of her to include Tim Russert and Brian Williams in the title ("Assorted Scoundrels"), we aren't impressed with Andrea Mitchell's book. Inspired by Isaiah's latest cartoon for The Common Ills, we decided to provide a contextual, comic excerpt which we hope is more "truthful." We call the book Sucking Up To Presidents, Dictators and Assorted Scoundrels. From chapter nine, entitled "How Were We To Know?", here's our excerpt:

How were we to know?

That was the question on all of our lips. That and would Cha Cha run for president? That and also would Condi run for president. We're obsessed with who might run for president because we need to get our sucking in early before anyone is sworn in.

How were we to know?

I ask you, how? How? How?

Colin Powell had just delivered his Feb. 2003 speech to the United Stations. In hindsight, it's easy to look back and point to obvious flaws. That's now. But back then, how were we to know?

I cannot speak for my peers, I can barely write or dictate for myself, but I know that in Feb. of 2003, I was not equipped to critique General Powell's allegations. I was equipped to critique his stature and I did do that. But do I get any thanks for that?

No f***ing way. Just a lot of mean spirited jokes about being "Mrs. Alan Greenspan" from smart asses. As though whom I'm married to has anything to do with what I report. When John Kerry made remarks questioning my husband's performance, I critiqued them. But I critiqued them as a journalist. Why is that a problem?

The other night, at a party, I asked my good friend Lynn Cheney if she thought it was a problem? She didn't. End of story, if you ask me. Conflict of interest? Like when Norah O'Donnell had a party thrown for her, welcoming her to D.C., by Dick Cheney's former secretary? Or is it "office assistant" that they like to be called now days? I can't keep up with the little people.

But I could and did tell you that Colin Powell carried himself like a statesman. Wasn't that enough?

It's not like I just filled up my time reporting on his tie. Didn't Diane Sawyer do that? Maybe not. But I'm a little bitter towards Diane. With the semi-retirement of Barbara Walters, Diane's now sitting pretty on top of the heap and we're all being required to match her blondness.

Alan looked at me the other day, over the breakfast table, before his nap, and said, "Hello, gorgeous." Which is because I am gorgeous now. Not because, as
two smart asses wrote, I'm attempting to bring back Streisand's sixties glamor but because I have a pet racoon and we all begin, as we age, to look more and more like our pets.

It's also because I care about the world around me. Specifically, I care about the environment. Which is why I have stopped using mascara, which I'm sure is a petroleum product, and now line my eyes with coal. It's a cleaner source of energy and make up, Alan says.

Where was I?

Oh, yes, Colin Powell. What was I supposed to do? Be another nut job with Helen Thomas and question sexy Powell -- all the ladies all call him "Cha Cha Powell"?

He gave a speech. I noted it. I spoke of how convincing he was. I may have mentioned his sexy butt. I really don't understand what else a journalist is supposed to do?

Powell lied. Well we all knew Cha Cha Powell was a bit of scamp, didn't we? Sexual tension just oozes from his enlarged pores.

But that's reporting. He lied and you heard about it on the news.

Some wise asses might say, "Over two years later!"

People, there is a time lag!

Research takes time!

I am expected to stand before the cameras and look like a woman half my age while women half my age attempt to usurp me. (Yes, Norah, I know you're breathing down my neck.) Tell me another network featuring a woman my age as prominently as NBC does me?

Nasty rumors tie my staying power to my shacking up with Alan and eventually marrying him. One nasty wag even wrote me a hate filled letter suggesting that I had been living in sin. Believe me, in those pre-Viagra days, nothing could be further from the truth.

So if you're a woman of a certain age, you go blonder (or in my case, blonde and then blonder) the way Lesley Stahl and Diane Sawyer have. (Please, that wasn't Diane's natural color in the seventies and that was before she started covering the gray!)

You also learn to suck up. At my age, you are especially vulnerable so you have to play the game. And I play it to win! So sue me. Alan & I have more than enough money to buy and sell everyone of you kooks! And if we don't, let me know and I'll get Alan to print up some new currency.

Some say I made it by sucking up, by kissing butt, in short, they accuse me of "on your knees reporting." To that I say, "You unimaginative little fools who didn't live through the sexual revolution have obviously failed to grasp that there are a multitude of sexual positions!" You're loss, not mine.

Sometimes, as I study the etched lines, tracks and grooves in my face as it's reflected from the toaster, I wonder, "Andrea, could you have done more?"

I don't think I could have. I am not an atomic expert. How was I supposed to know the tubes nonsense was just that, nonsese? Or, to offer another example, I don't speak Terrorista or whatever those people in the taped phone call were supposed to be speaking. So how was I to know that the intercepted calls were much more innocent than Cha Cha Powell claimed?

Some student's paper was used, from before the first Gulf War. And I'm supposed to know that how? Do you think I hang around universities reading every undergrad's term paper? Do you?
I don't even read newspapers! My reading is limited to the telepromter.

Do I regret my functional illiteracy? Well sometimes I miss the raunchy laughs provided in Richie Rich comics, but who has the time? It takes an hour alone to apply the coal to my eyes. That's not even getting into how much time I have to spend at the stylists so he can turn what he affectionally dubs my "old lady hair" into the chic, messy look that Meg Ryan dropped years ago. And, if I may repeat, blonde is not my natural color. Do you know how long it takes to add the blonde to my gray hairs?

After I've picked out one of my single color power suits, I barely have time to select my evening wear that I'll need later when Alan escorts me to all the fashionable parites, plus Sally Quinn's. I go there for laughs.

D.C. is my beat and it doesn't come alive until after the evening news! Cokie Roberts and I were talking about that recently as we waited what seemed like hours for Chris Matthews to leave the bathroom. Then we waited more hours waiting for the smell to clear out. But as Cokie said, "I built this city! I built this city as a par-tay girl!" And she did.

She didn't get ahead based on brains. Or on looks (unless the world was looking for Roger Mudd in drag). She strode into D.C. and rode that par-tay town like she owned it.

I don't boss Alan around the way Cokie does her husband. (She's prone to screeching, "Shut up you stupid idiot or we'll start splitting the bills and then where will you be? Out on your lazy ass!") With Alan, I usually just have to shake him by the shoulders to wake him up during those late night hours of eight p.m. If he doesn't wake up, I just improvise and turn him into a lovely coat rack. Functional and classy!

So what was I saying? What? Read that back to me. Does my contract have a word count in it? It does. Okay, leave it all in.

As I was saying, what was I to do but report. We now know Cha Cha lied. Why is that? Because real reporters like me, in real time, reported reality. Reality was what Cha Cha told the U.N.
I think part of the problem is that people expect too much from the news. Instead of thinking of a report as a "fact," they should think of it as a "clue" like with a crossword. It's your job to fill in the horizontal, not mine!

What? Tom Brokaw's on the phone again? Tell him I'm in make up! I don't care if you've already told him that for the last two hours, he'll believe it. Now where's my goddamn juice box?

Blog spotlight: Elaine calls out the war monger

Why did we all want Elaine to start her own site? Who else would tackle issues like Diane Feinstein? Most days, you can find Elaine and Mike offering their views on the same two items from Democracy Now! It's not that they're disagreeing, it's that they find something different to note in the same items that makes it so enjoyable to check out both's running commentary.
From Like Maria Said Paz:

"Refuse to bear injustice and outrage and dishonor and shame"

Mike and I are doing the same items from Democracy Now! so be sure to check his site.

Justice Department to Investigation Ojeda Rios Killing (Democracy Now!)
The Justice Department confirmed on Monday that it will investigate the FBI killing of Puerto Rican independence leader Filiberto Ojeda Rios. The killing has sparked widespread outrage in Puerto Rico. On Sept. 23, over 100 FBI agents surrounded the house of the 72-year-old Ojeda Rios. After he was shot, the FBI let him lie wounded in his house for nearly a day during which time he bled to death. The FBI claimed Ojeda Rios fired first, but his wife said this is not true. Ojeda Rios had been on the FBI's most wanted list for his role in a $7 million bank heist but he was a legendary figure in Puerto Rico for his lifelong resistance to U.S. colonialism. Tens of thousands of Puerto Ricans attended his funeral services last week.

At The Third Estate Sunday Review this weekend, Ava did a report on this:

Ava: C.I., in Brazil a judge has been sentenced to fifteen years for the murder of a security guard. While a portion of detainees held in Guantanamo enter the second month of their fast, the U.S. military tells the BBC that it's simply a bid for media attention.Last week saw the assassination, in Puerto Rico, of Filiberto Ojeda Rios. Little reported on the corporate media, but noted in Pacifica's WBAI extensive coverage, the assassination included shutting down the power to the area. As the FBI surrounded the home of Ojeda Rios, wanted for a 1983 bankrobbery, he asked that his wife be spared. The FBI was kind enough to tape her eyes shut as they then placed her under arrest for 24 hours. Ojeda Rios is said to have fired ten times, hundreds of times is said to be the FBI's record. It's being called a "shoot out." Though the FBI now says, in the face of growing outrage, that they'll attempt to determine whom fired first. They'll also attempt to determine why Ojeda Rios was allowed to bleed to death for twenty-four hours from a wound to his shoulder. Puerto Rico was seized by the U.S. in 1898 and has long sought its independence. In March of 2005, U.S. prosecuters attempted to seek the death penalty but the verdict was life imprisonment instead. Puerto Rico's 1952 constitution bans the death penalty but a U.S. federal court ruled in 2001 that federal law trumps the Puerot Rican constitution. These events and the continued use of Puerto Rico for military testing add to the tensions and the cries for the right to autonomy that some say the assassination of Ojeda Rios will only further inflame. In addition to WBAI, more news on this can be found at Democracy Now! and at Puerto Rico Indymedia, in both Spanish and English.

This is reminding me of the way Fred Hampton was murdered. I think a full investigation is needed, an open investigation.

Senate Panel Oks Allowing Pentagon Spies to Operate in U.S. (Democracy Now!)
The Senate Intelligence Committee has approved new legislation that would allow Pentagon intelligence operatives to collect information from U.S. citizens without revealing their status as government spies. According to the Los Angeles Times, the bill would end a long-standing requirement that military intelligence officers disclose their government ties when approaching any U.S. citizen in the United States.

The Senate did that. The Intelligence Committee did that because they think they know better than us. They think they're so damn smart. But they can't get anything on Sibel Edmonds testimony. They're stonewalled there. They can't get any information on anything. And when they do, they can't share it. Bob Graham left the Senate wanting the Congressional report on 9/11 released and it's still not released.We don't military intelligence. We've had it before.It's as though we haven't learned a damn thing. That may not be fair. It might be more accurate to say the "smart" senators serving on the Intelligence Committee haven't learned a damn thing.

Pat Roberts, Kansas Chairman
John D. Rockefeller IV West Virginia, Vice Chairman
Orrin G. Hatch, Utah
Carl Levin, Michigan
Mike Dewine, Ohio
Dianne Feinstein, California
Christopher S. Bond, Missouri
Ron Wyden, Oregon
Trent Lott, Mississippi
Evan Bayh, Indiana
Olympia J. Snowe, Maine
Barbara A. Mikulski, Maryland
Chuck Hagel, Nebraska
Jon S. Corzine, New Jersey
Saxby Chambliss, Georgia

Those are the losers who are destroying this country. Republican, Democrat, I don't care, they're destroying the country.Hagel knows about Sibel Edmonds testimony. Hasn't done a bit of good. He'll say she's believable and her story checks out but America still can't know her story. He should be ashamed.

War monger Diane Feinstein needs to be ashamed to. What's URS Corp? People should know about it since Diane's so damn gung ho on the war.

Richard Blum serves on the board of URS Corp and controls 24% of the stock.

Blum's Feinstein's husband.

And while people are dying in Iraq, Blum's company got a 600 million dollar contract:

to help with troop mobilization, weapons systems training and anti-terrorism efforts is the latest in a string of plum defense jobs snared by URS. In February, the firm won an army engineering and logistics contract that could bring in $3.1 billion during the next eight years.

Why's Diane such a war monger? Does it have to do with the fact that her husband's company profits in the millions and billions from the war?

Halliburton is disgusting, no question. But it's past time Diane Feinstein got called on her own shit.

There's this idea that she did something brave by voting against Roberts. She didn't do anything brave. She blew off the questioning. And she knows she'll lose campaign donations if she votes for Roberts. So she did the weakest thing she could, she voted against him but she gave him a pass in the hearings.

Someone needs to consider mounting a primary challenge to Feinstein because she's quickly become very hated in the state of California. She's lucky because so few people know about her husband's company.

Unlike Diane, the state of California isn't "conflicted" over the war. They know where they stand and Feinstein knows it too.

And here's a question why is the woman on "the Appropriations Committee, where she is the Ranking member of the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Subcommittee" married to a man winning contracts? Anyone else bothered by that conflict of interest?

"Peace Quotes" (Peace Center)
Some things you must always be unable to bear. Some things you must never stop refusing to bear. Injustice and outrage and dishonor and shame. No matter how young you are or how old you have got. Not for kudos and not for cash, your picture in the paper nor money in the bank, neither. Just refuse to bear them.
William Faulkner

Worst CD single of the year

Dolly Parton has a CD single out to promote her forthcoming album Those Were The Days.

Look closely at the single before buying, regardless of the price you pay for it. If you just note the fact that there are four tracks, you may be excited when you put it in the CD player. That excitement will vanish in exactly thirty seconds.

Thirty seconds is how long it takes for Tim Hardin's "If I Were A Carpenter" to finish. At first you may think your CD player skipped the majority of the track or that you ended up with a poorly manufactured CD. That's not the case.

The four songs on the CD are actually one song and three tiny samples.

The CD should be given out for free. It's nothing but a commercial for an upcoming album.

We think the album may be worth hearing but we don't think the single is.

On "If I Were A Carpenter" the first voice you hear isn't even Dolly's.

We're still excited about the album (which comes out this Tuesday). That's inspite of the single, not because of it.

On Tuesday, you'll be able to hear samples of everyone of the album's twelve tracks at Amazon. The samples will last thirty seconds. What's the point of this CD single?

To enrage Dolly Parton fans? "What? It's over already? What!"

In some ways this is probably a risky project for a number of reasons and Parton and her label (it is her label) may see the single as a way to reassure some fans that this will be stripped down Dolly singing in the bluegrass manner. If that's the case, we honestly feel her last few albums have already created that expectation and that the more likely case is that the CD single will be snatched up by people excited to see the four tracks, people who are looking at the titles, not at the running time. "'Me and Bobby McGee!' and "Where Have All The Flowers Gone!' I'm getting this!"

We don't think most people, outside of club deejays, immediately check a track's running time before making a purchase. The CD single is inexpensive, none of us paid less than a dollar for it and Betty got it for a quarter. But we think it's more likely to kill excitement among actual CD buyers than build it. This might have been a nice marketing tool for radio or music reviewers, but for fans of Dolly, they aren't pouring over the details on the back cover, they're just noting that it's Dolly, it's new and there are four songs from the new album!

It's as though you stepped into your local grocery store and someone cried out, "Free pizza!" You rush over quickly only to find that you're being offered a single bit of pizza that wouldn't fill a tea spoon as a sample.

Now if you walk by and see someone handing out samples, you might take one. You wouldn't have a problem with it. But there's nothing on cardboard cover, front or back, to suggest that this is a sampler. (One bar code over the plastic on the back cover did note "Dolly Parton Sampler." That's one out of ten CD singles purchased.)

Dolly's voice sounds wonderful. We're interested in purchasing this CD Tuesday, But that's in spite of the CD single, not because of it. As Dona said when she realized her CD player wasn't skipping, "I feel kind of ripped off."

Those Were The Days, out Tuesday Oct. 11th, will feature Judy Collins, Mary Hopkins, Yusuf Islam, Tommy James, Norah Jones, Alison Kraus, Kris Kristofferson, Roger McGuinn and others. It's a blue grass treatment of songs such as Lennon's "Imagine," Joni Mitchell's "Both Sides Now," Dylan's "Blowin' in the Wind," the sixties classic "Crimson & Clover" and more. We think it will be worth listening to and we hope it's a CD that we'll play constantly.

But we think printing "SAMPLER" or some other warning in large letters on the cardboard slipcover would have disclosed the contents of this CD single clearly to buyers. Without it, they may, like Dona, feel ripped off.

The Third Estate Sunday Review News Review 10-09-05

C.I.: Welcome to The Third Estate Sunday Review News Review 10-09-05. The news review is the brainchild of The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona and we do it in one hour time frame. This is rough transcript. We'll have reports on nature and the environment, entertainment news, a commentary on Bully Boy's latest chat buddy and news on what's happened to The Smurfs. I'm not kidding on that last item. This is a news review for the left. First up, Iraq. We begin with Mike of Mikey Likes It!

Mike: In Baghdad, a killing spree is taking place and Hala Jaber of The Sunday Times of London reports that speculation is the killings are linked to the Iraqi police force. The speculation is that "ethnic cleansing" is going on and that Sunnis in the Shi'ite neighborhoods, specifically Sunni men married to Shi'ite women are being killed. Claims of "insurgents" being targeted are weak when you consider that one of the men assassinated, Najah al-Rassam, worked for "interior ministry’s Maghaweer special police force." al-Rassam was pulled from his bed by the police, taken to the Badr Brigade for confirmation and then killed.

C.I.: To jump in here for a moment, the Badr Brigade is the paramilitary group of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq. They've been accused, including by Allawi, of killing intelligent officers at the behest of Iran. While Saddam Hussein ruled Iran, the Badr Brigade was stationed in Iran, a composition of Iraqi exiles, but they returned to Iraq following the 2003 invasion. Along with the report you're addressing, they've also been accused of targeting British troops. How many Sunnis have been reported killed?

Mike: 22. And they were not turned over to their families. The 22 bodies were found in the desert, wrists still restrained by handcuffs, plastic and metal, or ropes. There are concerns that a civil war is emerging. The 22 men were all blindfolded and had been killed via gunshots. The bodies were dumped in the desert and that's something that should be concerned whenever reports come out of a newly discovered group of bodies. A total of 539 bodies have been found at present. The tensions come as Iraq prepares to vote on their constitutional referendum and measures are being imposed including curfews and border closings as the election approaches.

C.I.: Thank you, Mike. Now we go to Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix with further thoughts on the Iraqi Constitution.

Cedric: At Iraq Dispatches, Dahr Jamail has posted "Open Letter to Amnesty International on the Iraqi Constitution." In the letter, an Iraqi writes:

To hold the election, thousands of people were killed and the entire city of
Fallujah was demolished. Now, what is needed to impose a constitution? A civil
war ?

Cedric (con't): The letter questions the assumption that a constitution is currently needed considering both the process under which it was written and the upcoming elections in the face of the current climate
that finds Iraq on what appears to be the brink of civil war. Will the constitution provide more than a photo op? How are Iraqis being helped by the push for the constitution? Also noted is an article from The Guardian, by Haifa Zangana, that attempts to remind people this constitution is being written in a war zone and is on imposed timeline that is coming from outside of Iraq. The article also notes that:

Just a few weeks ago, a highly significant judicial decision, comprising more than 130 pages, was handed down by the German Federal Administrative Court. With careful reasoning, the judges ruled that the assault launched by the United States and its allies against Iraq was a clear war of aggression that violated international law.
The occupation itself constitutes the gravest violation of human rights and dignity. The legitimacy and autonomy of this government, installed and completely controlled by the US occupation forces after an illegal and illegitimate war of aggression, is not only challenged by a large part of the Iraqi population, but also by the international peace movement and international lawyers.

Cedric (con't): The constitution, if passed, will not provide Iraqis with any means to address the violations and war crimes that have taken place in Iraq under the occupation or by the occupying forces.

C.I.: Thank you, Cedric. The open letter is from the Brussels Tribunal which was one of the groups participating in this summer's World Tribunal on Iraq. The Brussels Tribunal also has addressed what the two British intel agents may have been doing in Basra when they captured last month. The two, attempting to pass for Arabs, were stopped by Basra police and found with weapons including explosives. That hasn't been addressed in the United States but in Scotland and other nations, it has made the news. More information on this can be found in "The Salvador Option exposed. Who's Blowing Up Iraq? New evidence shows that bombs are being planted by British in Basra" at the Brussels Tribunal Organization. Now we go to Jess of The Third Estate Sunday Review with an update on the unrelated threat announcement of last week, Operation Scare The Hell Out Of America.

Jess: Operation Scare The Hell Out Of America has not gone over as well as some might have hoped. The terror alert, which came just as Bully Boy began once again linking the occupation of Iraq with 9/11, is being questioned after unquestioning acceptance. Michael Weissenstein reports for the Associated Press of the alleged threat to NYC subways that "Almost as soon as the threat was made public, officials in Washington began talking it down, and Homeland Security still downplayed the threat Saturday." In D.C. the Washington Monument was closed for two hours on Friday due to an alleged bomb threat. After police searched and found nothing, the Washington Monument was reopened. Operation Scare The Hell Out of America has led to many stories being ignored such as the fact that the library group whose records are sought under the Patriot Act are still under gag order as a result of the Supreme Court denying their appeal. New opponents to the Patriot Act include the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers.

C.I.: Jess, this comes as two bills are working their way through Congress.

Jess: Correct. A provision in the original Patriot Act, added due to concerns on the part of some lawmakers, would have certain aspects of the legislation sunset out. As the expiration date approaches, there is a push for renewal. In the House, the renewal of components that would otherwise be phased out would renew them for ten years. The Senate version would renew them for four years.

C.I.: Republican Bob Barr's group is favoring the Senate version as the lesser of the two evils.

Jess: I hadn't found anything on that. I did find that, no surprise, Alberto Gonzales is favoring the House version. Business groups now coming out against the Patriot Act have spoken of the fact that we are no longer under threat which may offer additional explanations for the launch of Operation Scare The Hell Out of America.

C.I.: Thank you, Jess. We now go to Elaine with commentary on Bully Boy's new chat buddy, Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz.

Elaine: Scotland's The Herald delves further into the claim by Bully Boy George W. Bush that God speaks to him. Palestinian Information Minister Nabil Shaath asserts that in June of 2003, Bully Boy explained his conversations with the Lord Jesus Christ who speaks back or possibly, like Diane Keaton says in Love & Death, Bully Boy does "both parts"?
William Tinning notes that Bully Boy claims: "God would tell me . . . George, go and fight those terrorists in Afghanistan. And I did. And then God would tell me . . . George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq. And I did."
If Bully Boy is indeed hearing voices the two most likely explanations are as follows. One, William Kristol and Robert Kagan's gentle whispers have been mistaken by Bully Boy for the voice of God. Two, the strange behavior that's included numerous falls and stumbles that put the klutzy experiences of Gerald Ford to shame, despite little commentary from the press, and the psychosis claim of hearing God speak to him are signs of a serious illness that goes beyond the mere delusions many have abscribed to the Bully Boy.

C.I.: Elaine, there are people who feel that they get signs from various religious figures. What's the difference between that and what you're reporting on Bully Boy?

Elaine: Good question. It's not uncommon for people to look for or ask for a sign from above when they're making a decision. It can be a big decision or a small one. But that's not uncommon. It's not uncommon for someone to state that they feel the presence of a higher power around them. These issues go to faith and how one practices a faith. With Bully Boy, we're not hearing that. With him, we're hearing, from Shaath, that he speaks and then he hears the Lord speak back. That is not a sign, that is not feeling God around you. That is claiming that you, and apparently you alone, are speaking one on one with the Lord. That is psychosis. If it's true. Not just if Shaath is retelling what he was told accurately, but also if Bully Boy was being genuine -- always a big if. This is very serious and the press, in this country, hasn't given it the attention it deserves. Another take on it, one that Mike offered this week, at his site Mikey Likes It!, that Bully Boy's pushing the responsibility of the decisions he made off onto God. That's a likely explanation as well because, as a personality type, Bully Boy does not take responsibility for his actions. Nothing that happens has ever been his fault, in his mind, by his public statements. It's always someone else. The Not So Swift Floaties launch their attacks on John Kerry and Bully Boy acts as though he's not responsible. John McCain is targeted in 2000 and Bully Boy acts as though he's not responsible. He's arrested for a DUI and isn't honest about that while running for the United States Congress and years later will offer that he had to keep quiet because of his children, his children that, as you have pointed out, weren't even born then. There's nothing in the public record that speaks of personal accountability on his part. So it's hardly surprising that with him in a leadership role, we'd have the least accountable administration/government in recent history. The White House has denied that Bully Boy made the remarks about talking to God and God talking back.
The domestic, mainstream press has not touched this story in any real manner. Possibly they're worried about offending people of faith. This isn't an issue of faith. This is a medical sympton and he needs to be asked on the record to explain or refute the remarks.

C.I.: Thank you Elaine. With entertainment news, we go to Betty of Thomas Friedman is a Great Man. Betty, I understand that you suspect someone in the oval office has been checking out ABC's fall lineup?

Betty: Correct. The question to ask is: Has Condi Rice been watching Commander-in-Chief, ABC's drama starring Geena Davis as a vice-president who becomes president after the office holder dies? As she departs for a trip that will take her to Afghanistan and throughout Asia, the Sunday Times of London reports, via anonymice, that although Rice won't run for president, she is interested in the vice-presidential post. Always the handmaiden, never the leader. Saturday, playwright August Wilson was buried
in Pittsburg which was both the setting for nine of Wilson's plays as well as the town he grew up in. Wilson, who had announced in August that he was suffering from terminal liver cancer, died October 2nd. As we noted in August, the African-American playwright's ten play cycle won much praise and many awards. In an e-mail, Common Ills community member Keesha asked that I note Ma Rainey's Black Bottom as a masterpiece of the 20th century. The TV channel Al-Jazeera has added TV veteran David Frost to their lineup and he will join them this spring.
Ted Koppel will be leaving Nightline at Thanksgiving and not, as assumed, on December 4th when his contract expires. Finally, I'll note that Jennifer Lopez is currently filming Bordertown in which she will play a reporter investigating the murders and disappearances of women in Juarez.

C.I.: Lopez's co-star in that is Antonio Banderas, correct?

Betty: Correct. This will be their first onscreen teaming. The role is thought to be a return to the sort of strong role that Lopez played in Out of Sight opposite George Clooney who, since I have a few more seconds, is planning to produce a live, TV version of Network, the seventies film that took a look at the television news industry and is famous for the phrase, "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore!"

C.I.: Thank you, Betty. More information on the murders in Juarez can be found at Eve Ensler's V-Day. V-Day has been shining a light on that issue for some time. We now go to Rebecca, of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude, with news from the world of nature.

Rebecca: C.I., tracking the melting of the polar caps will be more difficult as a result of CryoSat crashing into the ocean. CryoSat was a $224 million satellite launced to measure the thickness of the polar caps but it never went into orbit and instead is believed to have crashed in the North Pole region, into the Lincoln Sea. Some reports express the belief that it came apart in space before crashing to the earth. Regardless, the tracking transmitter was not thought to be working. Meanwhile, Canada's CBC reports that outbreaks of bird flu have been found in Romania and Turkey.
Want to ride a camel in Australia? Take along a "poo bag." Australia's ABC reports that "the amount of camel dung" on Cable Beach has become an issue and "poo bags" are now required.
The think tank Worldwatch Institute, speaking at the 18th World Petroleum Congress, declared that fossil fuels were becoming a thing of the past and that the oil executives in attendance should ask themselves if they were "in the oil business or the energy business." In other energy news, America get ready to get your war on harder. Oil sands in the far noth of Canada are thought to contain "the equivalent of 1.7 trillion barrels of oil." Kevin G. Hall's report for Knight Ridder also notes that "Canada already quietly has surpassed Saudi Arabia as the United States' largest foreign supplier of crude oil and petroleum products."
The Independent of London's Geoffrey Lean reports that genetically modified crops pollute the ground for "up to fifteen years after" harvesting. Of the study and its impact, Lean notes, "Financed by GM companies and Margaret Beckett's Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the report effectively torpedoes the Government's strategy for introducing GM oilseed rape to this country."

C.I.: Thank you, Rebecca. For a grab bag of items not covered elsewhere, we go to The Third Estate Sunday Review's Ava.

Ava: C.I., following up on Rebecca's look at the environment, I'll begin by noting that a mudslide is thought to have killed 1400 people in Guatemala. Mario Cruz, spokesman for the Fire Brigrade, has stated that there are no survivors. India, Pakistan and Afghanistan have been rocked by an earthquake that's thought to have killed 1800 people in Pakistan alone, with 300 people thought to be dead in India. With regards to Afghanistan, Scotland's Sunday Herald reports that: "Given the remoteness of so many communities it may take weeks to know the full death toll. " The Sunday Times of London has an excerpt from James Yee's book For God and Country: Faith and Patriotism Under Fire. Yee, a Muslim chaplain at Guantanamo Bay, was falsely accused by the United States government of espionage, charges that were bandied about by various news outlets who assisted the government in smearing Yee. The book is his response and offers an inside look at conditions in Guantamao Bay. As noted by the International Federation of Journalists, workers at Canada's CBC have ended their fifty day walk-out and appear victorious in contract talks. Finally, what's happened to TV's The Smurfs since the animated cartoon stopped production of new episodes? Canada's The Windsor Star reports that, in a new cartoon put out by UNICEF, the village the animated cartoon characters reside in is destroyed by bombs dropped by war planes.

C.I.: Thank you, Ava for including the promised update on The Smurfs. The reason for the cartoon?

Ava: Unicef is attempting to raise awareness on the victims of bombings. The cartoon has already began airing in Belgium.

C.I.: Thank you. For our final report, on the world of music, we go to Kat of Kat's Corner (of The Common Ills). Kat?

Kat: This week, check your local listings, PBS will air a documentary on funk master and pioneer George Clinton on Independent Lens. Saturday's broadcast of The Laura Flanders Show featured a discussion on this documentary in the third hour. In other news, the Beastie Boys are denying rumors of a breakup. November 8th sees the release of the group's first hits collection entitled Solid Gold Hits. The Black Eyed Peas will be performing a free concert as part of Honda Civic Live that will take place October 22nd and 23rd. The Independent of London has a wide ranging interview with Carly Simon entitled "Carly Simon: Boho Queen" where Carly discusses breast cancer, meeting Mick Jagger, marriage to James Taylor, her current marriage to poet Jim Hart, and various other topics including Joni Mitchell. Carly's Moonlight Serenade is released in England Monday. Stevie Wonder, who played harmonica on "As Time Goes By" for Carly Simon's Coming Around Again, album not only has a new album coming out, as noted last week, entitled A Time To Love and due to be released October 18th, he's also discussing participating in a new surgery, involving microchips, that, if successful, would allow him to see. December 1st, Comedy Central's The Daily Show will feature it's first musical performance when the White Stripes come on to perform and be interviewed by Jon Stewart. Rolling Stone reports that Police guitarist Andy Summers is working on an autobiography to be entitled One Train Later. Rolling Stone also reports that a new concert film from Greenday will debut in select theaters at the start of November. On November 15, the film, entitled Bullet In A Bible, will be released on DVD.

C.I.: Thank you, Kat. And that wraps up The Third Estate Sunday Review News Review for 10-09-05. As always Jim and Dona, both of The Third Estate Sunday Review, worked behind the scenes to edit, research and keep things running smoothly. In addition thanks to Jess' parents who help with the research and to Dallas who hunts down links.

"Rove afronta Gran Jurado por cuarta vez (Democracy Now!)"

"Rove afronta Gran Jurado por cuarta vez (Democracy Now!)"

Maria: Hola. De parte de "Democracy Now!" quince cosas que vale hacer notar este fin de semana. Paz.

Rove afronta Gran Jurado por cuarta vez
Washington está hoy colmado de especulaciones sobre posibles acusaciones contra numerosos funcionarios administrativos de alto rango, en relación con el caso de la agente secreta de la CIA Valerie Plame, El jueves, el fiscal a cargo de la investigación citó al asesor de Bush, Karl Rove, a comparecer ante un Gran Jurado por cuarta vez, lo que es inusual. Rove se presenta ante el Gran Jurado sin ninguna oferta de inmunidad, y el fiscal, Patrick Fitzgerald, informó a Rove por escrito que podría afrontar acusaciones más adelante. Mientras tanto, el LA Times informa: "En Washington, se oía hablar en los pasillos del FBI, del Departamento de Justicia y de la Casa Blanca sobre inminentes acusaciones, contra Rove solamente o junto con otros como parte de una conspiración". El New York Times informa que el fiscal Fitzgerald probablemente citará a otros funcionarios de la Casa Blanca para que vuelvan a presentarse ante el Gran Jurado y testifiquen sobre su participación en el caso. El Gran Jurado tiene plazo para decidir hasta el 28 de octubre. También se informa que Fitzgerald está examinando el testimonio que el jefe de personal de Dick Cheney, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, dio ante el Gran Jurado.

Informe: 700 iraquíes murieron en septiembre
Otra noticia de Irak. La agencia de noticias France Press informa que obtuvo estadísticas gubernamentales de Irak que indican que 700 iraquíes, en su mayoría civiles, fueron asesinados en ataques durante septiembre. En agosto, los iraquíes asesinados fueron 526.

Estados Unidos confirma que francotirador mató a periodista de Knight Ridder
Un informe militar de Estados Unidos confirmó que el periodista Yasser Salihee, de la empresa de comunicaciones Knight Ridder, fue asesinado en junio por un francotirador estadounidense, pero afirmó que se justificaba dispararle. A Salihee le dispararon mientras manejaba en el oeste de Bagdad. Fue abandonado muerto y cubierto de sangre en su auto. Según el Comité para Proteger a los Periodistas, soldados estadounidenses mataron a por lo menos 13 periodistas en Irak desde que comenzó la guerra.

El ejército afronta el peor año de reclutamiento desde 1979
Este año ha sido el peor para el reclutamiento del ejército desde 1979. La meta era haber logrado 80.000 nuevos reclutas el 30 de septiembre, pero faltaron 7.000 para alcanzar esta cifra. La Guardia Nacional del Ejército y la Reserva del Ejército tampoco alcanzaron sus metas anuales. Mientras tanto, las Fuerzas Armadas buscan nuevas formas de llegar a los jóvenes de la nación. La Guardia Nacional del Ejército ofrece regalar tres descargas gratis del sitio de música iTunes a quienes se inscriban mediante Internet para ser contactados por los reclutadores.

460 inmigrantes indocumentados murieron al cruzar la frontera
Al menos 460 inmigrantes indocumentados murieron en los últimos 12 meses al intentar cruzar la frontera entre México y Estados Unidos, es decir que la cifra aumentó veinte por ciento con respecto al año anterior. La Patrulla de la Frontera dijo que la mayor parte de las muertes ocurrieron en la frontera entre Arizona y México.

Bush no respondió preguntas sobre la CIA
Durante la misma conferencia de prensa, se preguntó al Presidente Bush sobre la investigación en curso sobre la filtración de que Valerie Plame era agente de la CIA. El domingo, George Stephanopoulos, presentador de ABC News, dijo que sus fuentes le informaron que el Presidente Bush y el Vicepresidente Dick Cheney estaban involucrados en conversaciones acerca de Plame. Mientras tanto, el Washington Post informó que el fiscal Patrick Fitzgerald podría estar planificando la presentación de cargos de conspiración contra funcionarios de la Casa Blanca, posiblemente Karl Rove y Lewis Libby. El martes, Bush se negó a responder si había discutido el caso con Rove o Libby.

Analista del Pentágono se declara culpable en caso de espía israelí
Un alto analista del Pentágono se declaró culpable de proporcionar información confidencial a miembros del Comité de Relaciones Públicas Estadounidense-Israelí (AIPAC, por sus siglas en inglés), grupo lobbista pro israelí. El funcionario, Larry Franklin, también admitió por primera vez que filtró información secreta de Irán directamente a un funcionario del gobierno israelí en Washington. Franklin dijo que se había encontrado personalmente ocho veces con un funcionario de la Embajada israelí en Washington. El Washington Post informa que la declaración de Franklin pone en duda las afirmaciones de funcionarios israelíes que aseguran, desde hace tiempo, que ya no están vinculados con actividades de inteligencia en Estados Unidos. En 1987, Jonathan Pollard, funcionario de la Inteligencia de la Marina, fue sentenciado a cadena perpetua luego de que admitió ser espía de Israel. Franklin aceptó declararse culpable de dos cargos de conspiración y otro de poseer documentación confidencial, y acordó testificar contra los dos ex funcionarios de AIPAC que son juzgados actualmente. Puede ser condenado a pasar hasta 25 años en prisión.

Ex funcionario arrestado por caso de espía filipino
Mientras tanto, otra posible historia de espionaje se desarrolla en Washington. El Departamento de Justicia investiga si un infante de marina estadounidense que trabaja en la oficina de Dick Cheney entregó documentos confidenciales sobre Filipinas a figuras de la oposición en Manila. El empleado fue descubierto el año pasado y arrestado hace un mes.

Ex funcionario de Bush acusado en relación con el caso Abramoff
En Washington, un Gran Jurado federal acusó a David Safavian, el ex funcionario con más rango para compras federales del gobierno de Bush, de realizar falsas declaraciones y obstruir las investigaciones sobre el lobbista republicano Jack Abramoff. Safavian afronta cinco acusaciones por delitos graves.

Tom Delay acusado nuevamente por lavado de dinero
Por segunda vez está semana, un Gran Jurado de Texas decidió que corresponde acusar a Tom Delay, el influyente legislador del Partido Republicano que hasta la semana pasada era el líder de la mayoría de la Cámara de Representantes. El lunes, Delay fue acusado de lavado de dinero. Si es declarado culpable, podría ser sentenciado a cadena perpetua. Delay está acusado de canalizar hacia políticos de Texas 190.000 dólares donados por empresas. La semana pasada, otro Gran Jurado resolvió acusarlo de conspiración. Mientras tanto, el gobierno de Bush confirmó que el Departamento de Justicia pidió a la policía británica que interrogara a la ex Primera Ministra británica, Margaret Thatcher, sobre una reunión que mantuvo con Delay en 2000, organizada por Jack Abramoff, lobbista de Washington. Abramoff, a quien Delay llamó uno de sus "amigos más cercanos y queridos", es blanco de otra amplia investigación del Departamento de Justicia por corrupción. Según el New York Times, el pedido de interrogar a Thatcher es la primera evidencia del Departamento de Justicia revelada públicamente de que Delay estaba bajo escrutinio en la investigación sobre Abramoff.

El Departamento de Justicia investigará asesinato de Ojeda Ríos
El Departamento de Justicia confirmó el lunes que investigará el asesinato del líder independentista puertorriqueño Filiberto Ojeda Ríos, cometido por el FBI. Ese asesinato suscitó indignación generalizada en Puerto Rico. El 23 de septiembre, más de 100 agentes del FBI rodearon la casa de Ojeda Ríos, que tenía 72 años de edad. Luego de dispararle, el FBI lo dejó herido en su casa durante casi un día, mientras moría desangrado. El FBI afirmó que Ojeda Ríos disparó primero, pero su esposa dijo que eso no es verdad. Ojeda Ríos había estado en la lista de las personas más buscadas por el FBI, por su participación en el robo de siete millones de dólares a un banco, pero era una figura legendaria en Puerto Rico, debido a que resistió durante toda su vida contra el colonialismo de Estados Unidos. Decenas de miles de puertorriqueños asistieron a su funeral la semana pasada.

Informante: El FBI conocíó durante un año el paradero de Ojeda Ríos
Y por último, esta noticia acerca del asesinato de Filiberto Ojeda Ríos, el líder independentista puertorriqueño que fue asesinado por el FBI hace dos semanas. En una columna escrita por Juan González, publicada hoy por Daily News, se señala un ex funcionario de inteligencia naval dijo a ese periodista de DN! que sabe con certeza que la muerte de Ojeda pudo evitarse. El funcionario dijo que lo sabe porque él mismo informó hace un año a agentes del FBI dónde podían encontrar a Ojeda , que era un fugitivo buscado. El informante, que pidió no ser identificado, dio su versión de los hechos a la oficina del inspector general del Departamento de Justicia, que inició una investigación independiente del asesinato la semana pasada. Pero el FBI no tenía intenciones de capturar a Ojeda hasta el 23 de septiembre, el aniversario del Grito de Lares. Ese feriado conmemora la revuelta independentista fallida de Puerto Rico en 1868 contra el colonialismo español. Es una fecha que el movimiento independentista conmemora todos los años con una marcha hacia la localidad de Lares. El informante del FBI dijo: "Defiendo que Puerto Rico sea parte de Estados Unidos, pero veo que el FBI pretendía humillar a todos los puertorriqueños al ir tras él en El Grito de Lares. Siento que fui utilizado. Quería que lo arrestaran, no que lo asesinaran".

Se publicaron nuevas fotos de ahorcamiento de homosexuales iraníes
Esta noticia proviene de Irán. La Asociación de Noticias de Estudiantes Iraníes ha publicado recientemente una nueva foto que muestra el ahorcamiento de dos adolescentes homosexuales, de 18 y 17 años de edad. El periodista independiente Doug Ireland informa que los jóvenes fueron acusados de violación, pero de hecho fueron víctimas de la creciente represión a la población homosexual de ese país. Antes de su ejecución, los adolescentes estuvieron durante más de un año en prisión, donde fueron torturados. Ireland informa que la represión contra los homosexuales es parte de la campaña contra la "corrupción moral" que el nuevo presidente Ahmadinejad prometió en su campaña electoral. El mes pasado, Ireland entrevistó a un iraní homosexual de 22 años de edad que buscaba asilo en Turquía. El joven dijo que mientras permaneció bajo custodia policial iraní fue golpeado, torturado, amenazado de muerte y azotado 100 veces.

Deslizamiento de tierras mata a cientos de personas en América Central
Una operación masiva de rescate se realiza en América Central y el sur de México, donde un deslizamiento de tierras provocado por una tormenta tropical causó la muerte de por lo menos 250 personas. Se prevé que esa cifra aumentará, a medida que los servicios de emergencias continúan encontrando cadáveres sepultados en el barro, cuando llegan a las aldeas más aisladas. La tormenta tropical Stan ya concluyó, pero todavía hay fuertes lluvias y el nivel de las aguas de los ríos es peligrosamente alto. Los países más afectados, El Salvador y Guatemala, luchan para evacuar a las personas en peligro. Los refugios en ambos países albergan a miles de personas, mientras que los caminos rurales están cortados. En México, se informa que docenas de personas están desaparecidas. Las muertes registradas hasta el momento son 79 en Guatemala y 62 en El Salvador. Al menos 19 muertes fueron informadas en México, Nicaragua, Honduras y Costa Rica.

Estados Unidos amenaza a Nicaragua
Estados Unidos amenaza a grupos y figuras políticas de Nicaragua con suspender millones de dólares de ayuda de Washington si realizan cualquier maniobra para derrocar al presidente Enrique Bolaños, que cuenta con apoyo estadounidense. En un acto que hizo recordar la intervención de Estados Unidos en Nicaragua en los años 80, el subsecretario de estado estadounidense, Robert Zoellick, se encuentra esta semana en la capital nicaragüense, Managua, para impedir la posibilidad de que el líder sandinista, Daniel Ortega, regrese al poder. La Asamblea Nacional nicaragüense ha debatido una propuesta para realizar un juicio político a Bolaños por violaciones a las normas de financiamiento de campañas. Bolaños fue elegido en 2001. Zoellick dijo que Estados Unidos dejaría en suspenso el perdón de 4 mil millones de doláres de deuda y un préstamo de 175 millones de dólares a Nicaragua si Bolaños es llevado a jucio político. Luego de la revolución sandinista en 1979, Estados Unidos organizó, armó y financió escuadrones de la muerte en Nicaragua conocidos como Contras.

Maria: Hello. Here are fifteen stories from Democracy Now! Peace.

Rove Faces Grand Jury for Fourth Time
Washington is abuzz with speculation today about possible indictments coming down against multiple senior administration officials over the outing of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame. On Thursday, the special prosecutor heading the investigation summoned senior Bush advisor Karl Rove to appear before the grand Jury--for a rare 4th appearance. Rove appears before the Grand Jury with no offer of immunity with the prosecutor, Patrick Fitzgerald, informing Rove in writing that he could face indictment later. Meanwhile, the LA Times reports: "In Washington, talk of imminent indictments -- of Rove alone or with others as part of a conspiracy -- was overheard in the corridors of the FBI, Justice Department and White House." The New York Times is reporting that prosecutor Fitzgerald will likely call on several other White House officials to return to the grand jury to testify about their actions in the case. The Grand Jury expires October 28. In addition to Rove, Fitzgerald is also reportedly re-examining grand jury testimony by Dick Cheney's chief of staff, Lewis "Scooter" Libby.

Report: 700 Iraqis Died During September
In other news on Iraq, the news outlet Agence France Press reports it has obtained Iraqi government statistics that shows 700 Iraqis - mostly civilians -- were killed in attacks in September. In August, 526 Iraqis were killed.

U.S. Confirms Sniper Killed Knight Ridder Journalist
A U.S. military report has confirmed that Knight Ridder journalist Yasser Salihee was killed by an American sniper in June but claimed the shooting was justified. Salihee was shot as he was driving in western Baghdad. He was then left lying dead in his car, splattered with blood. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists U.S. troops have killed at least 13 journalists in Iraq since the war began.

Army Suffers Worst Recruiting Year Since 1979
The Army has suffered its worst year for recruiting since 1979. The Army had set an annual goal of 80,000 new recruits by September 30 but fell 7,000 recruits short. The Army National Guard and the Army Reserve also fell short of their annual goal. Meanwhile the Armed Forces is trying new ways to reach the nation's young. The Army National Guard is now offering to give away three free music downloads from Itunes to individuals who sign up online to be contacted by recruiters.

460 Undocumented Immigrants Die Crossing Border
At least 460 undocumented immigrants have died over the past 12 months trying to cross the Mexican-U.S. border - a 20 percent increase over the previous year. Border Patrol said most of the deaths occurred along the Arizona-Mexico border.

Bush Fails to Answer Questions About CIA Leak
At the same press conference President Bush was questioned about the ongoing investigation into the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame. On Sunday, ABC News host George Stephanopoulos said his sources told him that President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney were involved in the discussions about Plame. Meanwhile the Washington Post has reported special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald may be planning to bring criminal conspiracy charges against White House officials, possibly Karl Rove and Lewis Libby. On Tuesday Bush refused to answer whether he had discussed the case with Rove or Libby.

Pentagon Analyst Pleads Guilty In Israeli Spy Case
A top Pentagon analyst has pleaded guilty to handing over highly classified intelligence to members of the pro-Israeli lobbying group AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. The official, Larry Franklin, also admitted for the first time that he handed over top secret information on Iran directly to an Israeli government official in Washington. Franklin said he personally met with an official from the Israeli Embassy in Washington eight times. The Washington Post reports that Franklin's guilty plea casts doubt on long-standing claims by Israeli officials that they no longer engage in any intelligence activities inside the United States. In 1987, U.S. Navy intelligence officer Jonathan Pollard was sentenced to life in prison after he admitted to spying for Israel. As part of a plea agreement Franklin pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy and a third charge of possessing classified documents. He faces up to 25 years in prison. As part of the plea agreement, he has agreed to testify against the two former AIPAC officials, who are facing trial.

Ex-Official Arrested in Philippines Spy Case
Meanwhile another possible espionage story is developing in Washington. The Justice Department is investigating whether a U.S. Marine working in Dick Cheney's office gave classified documents about the Philippines to opposition figures in Manila. The employee was caught last year and arrested a month ago.

Ex-Bush Official Indicted in Abramoff Case
In Washington, a federal grand jury has indicted the Bush administration's former chief procurement official for making false statements and obstructing investigations into Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff. The official - David Safavian - is facing five felony counts.

Tom Delay Indicted Again For Money Laundering
For the second time in a week, a Texas Grand Jury has indicted Tom Delay, the influential Republican lawmaker who up until last week served as House Majority Leader. On Monday, Delay was indicted for money laundering. If convicted Delay could be sentenced to life in prison. Delay is accused of illegally funneling $190,000 in corporate campaign donations to local candidates. Last week a different grand jury indicted him for conspiracy. Meanwhile the Bush administration has confirmed that the Justice Department has asked British police to question former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher over a 2000 meeting she had with Delay that was organized by Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Abramoff - who Delay has called one of his "closest and dearest friends" - is the target of a separate wide-ranging Justice Department investigation for corruption. According to the New York Times, the interview request of Thatcher is the first publicly disclosed evidence from the Justice Department that Delay was under scrutiny in the Abramoff investigation.

Justice Department to Investigation Ojeda Rios Killing
The Justice Department confirmed on Monday that it will investigate the FBI killing of Puerto Rican independence leader Filiberto Ojeda Rios. The killing has sparked widespread outrage in Puerto Rico. On Sept. 23, over 100 FBI agents surrounded the house of the 72-year-old Ojeda Rios. After he was shot, the FBI let him lie wounded in his house for nearly a day during which time he bled to death. The FBI claimed Ojeda Rios fired first, but his wife said this is not true. Ojeda Rios had been on the FBI's most wanted list for his role in a $7 million bank heist but he was a legendary figure in Puerto Rico for his lifelong resistance to U.S. colonialism. Tens of thousands of Puerto Ricans attended his funeral services last week.

Informant: FBI Knew Ojeda Rios' Location For A Year
And finally this update on the FBI killing of Filiberto Ojeda Rios - the Puerto Rican nationalist leader who was shot dead two weeks ago. In a column I wrote in today's Daily News, a former naval intelligence officer told me that he knows for a fact that Ojeda didn't have to die. The officer says he knows this because he told FBI agents a year ago where they could find Ojeda, who was a wanted fugitve. The informant, who asked not to be identified, has given his account to the Justice Department's Inspector General's Office, which opened an independent review of the shooting last week. But the FBI did not seek to go after Ojeda until Sept 23 - the anniversary of El Grito de Lares. The holiday marks Puerto Rico's failed 1868 independence revolt against Spanish colonialism. It is a date commemorated each year by the independence movement with a march to the town of Lares. The FBI informant told me, "I'm a statehooder, but I see the FBI was trying to humiliate all Puerto Ricans by going after him on El Grito de Lares. I feel I was used. I wanted him arrested, not killed."

New Photos Released of Hanging Of Gay Iranian Teens
This news from Iran - the Iran Student News Association has just released a new photo showing the hanging of two gay teenagers, ages 18 and 17. Independent journalist Doug Ireland reports the boys were charged with rape but that they were actually the victims of an increasing crackdown on the country's gay population. Prior to their execution the boys were held in prison for over a year and tortured. Ireland reports this anti-gay crackdown is part of the crusade against "moral corruption" promised by Iran's newly-elected President Ahmadinejad in his election campaign. Last month Ireland interviewed a 22-year-old gay Iranian man who is seeking asylum in Turkey. While in Iranian police custody, he was beaten and tortured, threatened with death, and lashed 100 times.

Mudslides Kill Hundreds in Central America
A massive rescue operation is under way in Central America and southern Mexico, where mudslides caused by a tropical storm have killed at least 250 people. That number is expected to rise as emergency services are continuing to find buried bodies as they reach more isolated villages. Tropical Storm Stan has passed, but heavy rain is still falling and river levels are dangerously high. The worst affected countries, El Salvador and Guatemala, are struggling to evacuate everyone at risk. Shelters in both countries are holding thousands of people, while road links have been cut off. In Mexico, reports are now coming in that dozens of people are missing. The death toll so far has been put at 79 in Guatemala and 62 in El Salvador. At least 19 deaths have been reported across Mexico, Nicaragua, Honduras and Costa Rica.

US Threatens Nicaragua
The United States is threatening political groups and politicians that Nicaragua will lose millions of dollars in aid from Washington if any moves are made to bring down the US-backed president, Enrique Bolaños. In a move reminiscent of US intervention in Nicaragua in the 1980s, the US deputy secretary of state, Robert Zoellick, is in the capital Managua this week to head off the possibility of the Sandinista leader, Daniel Ortega, returning to power. The Nicaraguan national assembly has been debating a proposal to impeach Bolaños over campaign finance violations. He was elected in 2001. Zoellick said that $4billion in debt forgiveness and a $175million grant to Nicaragua would be withheld if Bolanos is impeached. After the 1979 Sandinista revolution, the US organized, armed and funded death squads in Nicaragua known as the Contras.

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