Sunday, October 30, 2005

Editorial: Scooter and the Press

When Judy goes scoop . . . nothing goes right.

It's like we said
You're better off dead
When Judy goes scoop
Nothing goes right.

The sun don't beam
The moon don't shine
The tide don't ebb and flow
A clock won't strike
A match won't light
When Judy goes scoop
Nothing goes right.

Karl Rove's still waiting to see if he'll be indicted, but Scooter Libby got indicted.

It's like we said
You're better off dead
When Matt clams up
Nothing goes right.

In all the focus on Judith Miller another creepy crawly has been able to slither under a rock: Matthew Cooper. The Common Ills has long been critical of Cooper. And from last night's The Laura Flanders Show, we understand Arianna Huffington's also the question of what might have been different in election 2004 had Matthew Cooper and Judith Miller testified in 2004?

From a journalistic point of view, we're more inclined to favor Miller with regards to her legal stance. She and Matthew Cooper jointly argued that an initial release, singed at the behest of the Oval Office, wasn't a release. Miller waited for a release from Scooter Libby. Cooper was fine with the initial release that Libby was ordered to sign. With regards to Libby. He just wasn't willing to apply the same standard to Karl Rove.

Then, prior to being sent to jail, Cooper announces a new release that wasn't so new. We're having a hard time figuring out what Cooper's legal stance was because there was one strategy for Libby and at least four for Karl Rove.

1) I will not testify based on a release people were compelled to sign. (Unless the person's name is Scooter Libby.)

2) Time has handed over my notes so I shouldn't have to testify.

3) I got a release just this morning! I'm so excited I'm panting. That's not from climbing the steps!

4) I won't address the new release and don't ask me about it.

Brave Matt Cooper or "brave" Matt Cooper?

The ever inventive Judith Miller who mistook reporting for creative writing was equally free-form in her testimony. Valerie Flame? No idea, she responded. Now were Judy and Libby having a little joke about how they were going to burn Valerie Plame to get to Joe Wilson? Valerie Plame burned. Valerie Flame! Oh how the jokes must have flown when two of America's lesser wits met up. Which one chortled "Burn, baby, burn"? Which one shot back, "Disco Inferno"?

Now Libby's headed for trial and playing the Reagan card so we can expect a lot of "To the best of my recollection" and "Not that I recall" answers. Unless Patrick Fitzgerald is an idiot, we're betting he's prepared for that. Reading through the indictment, there doesn't seem to be as much wiggle room for an "I mispoke that time" since, as it's laid out, it's pretty clear that a pattern of planned deception is going on.

So will we see a plea bargain? Will Scooter do the Roly Poly? Will Matthew Cooper teach it to him? Will Cooper sing "Ya ya Roly, Ya ya Poly . . ."?

We hope it's not over. We hope there's more to come on Rove and that information made public demonstrates this was an orchestrated smear to discredit critics. The way they've done all along. With the help of a compliant press. In Watergate, the press didn't always play along. The trashing of Jean Seberg depended upon Joyce Harber getting reassurance from her editor (who passed the smear along) that the "source" was reliable before it found its way into The LA Times. These days, the press runs with anything. Pearl Jam audience stages mass walk out. (Didn't happen, AP.) Linda Ronstadt booed from stage. (Didn't happen.) Possibly, of the overt moments, nothing will ever match Diane Sawyer's repeated attempts at public shaming the Dixie Chicks. "Aren't you ashamed?" she repeated over and over while identify the Bully Boy as the commander-in-chief. We missed the part where Diane Sawyer signed up for the military but she obviously signed up to do her part for the Bully Boy. (Don't give her credit for correcting the Howard Dean non-scream. That took lobbying behind the scenes.)

Speak out and be smeared with the help of a willing press. Speak out with information on the lies that led us into war, as Joseph Wilson did, and be smeared even worse. While the press stands around, yawns, picks their noses and generally covers for the Bully Boy.

If the press wants to get active, they might remember the Bully Boy promise that those involved would not continue to serve in the administration, that he would dismiss them. Scooter's gone. Gone because he's indicted. That wasn't Bully Boy dismissing him. Karl Rove remains. Whether he goes to jail or not, is indicted or not, he shouldn't be serving in the administration based upon what is known about his involvement with the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame.

If the press wants to show some life (the mainstream press), they could come alive on that topic. They could also refuse to let the story fade to black with the exception of the occassional editorial. In the much a do about nothing Whitewater investigation, Jeff Gerth and others at the paper were digging (and distorting, and later on going with grand jury leaks). The press should be following up on leads, the real press, not waiting for the moment when they can breathlessly play the print version of Court TV.

["Roly Poly," from the film Pillow Talk, was written by Elsa Doran and Sol Lake. "When Judy goes scoop, nothing goes right" is based on Harold Adamson and Hoagy Carmichael song "When Loves Goes Wrong" featured in the film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. 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!, Wally of The Daily Jot and C.I. of both The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review.]

TV Review: Freddie a "full grown mess"

Wednesday night, on ABC, there was actually a scene you could laugh at in the sitcom Freddie. It occurred when Freddie Prinze Jr. and Brian Austin Green pretended to be a gay couple. Brian Austin Green, of the high voice and pop eyes, had to "Nancy" it up to make sure that any viewer watching would understand that there is nothing naturally gay about Brian Austin Green. Freddie Prinze Jr. puckered up his lips and hooded his eyes like he was paying hommage to vintage Travolta. The scene was stereotypical and offensive for a number of reasons, but it was the only one that worked on the entire show.

Puerto Rican Freddie Prinze Jr. (that's the heritage of his choice these days) stars as a half-Italian, half-Puerto Rican guy named . . . Freddie. Getting the feeling we've been here before? Thinking Joey? Oh, you don't know the half of it. Adult female with child living in the home? Check. Freddie owning the residence? Check. Freddie wanting to call the shots? Check. Freddie a buffoon? Check.

It's Joey with less laughs and who would have thought that was possible?

The credits are supposed to imply all the obligations weighing on Freddie as we see him splinter while the theme song announces he's a "full grown man." Sadly, that's the only time the laugh track didn't try to convince us that the show was funny. (All the funnier when you realize the title of that blues classic is "Mannish Boy.")

On the delight-free episode Wednesday night, we had a Halloween special where Freddie took his niece with him (and later two of her under age friends) to see The Rocky Horror Picture. Halloween episodes sometimes attempt to scare and certainly it's hard to find a scarier sight than Brian Austin Green (Brian from Knots Landing, David from 90210) all dolled up in fishnet stockings. When not repulsing you, the show settled for mild irritant.

Such as when Freddie Prinze Jr. attempted to introduce a new catch phrase, "I'm gonna beat you." Which came out sounding like a bad Mr. T imitation and reached it's nadir when he attempted to use it on his elderly grandmother.

The show seems determined to convince that you that Freddie Prinze Jr. is a "full grown man" and presumably a straight one. Hadn't the marriage to Sarah Michelle Geller fixed that?

Apparently not. So Prinze Jr. sports the sort of facial growth that would have Don Johnson running for the electric razor in the eighties. It's not a mustache and it's not really a shadow. Like every other detail in the show, it's overdone in its attempt to convince that you that Freddie Prinze Jr. is a "full grown man." He also favors bland, baggy clothes. However, that might have just been intended as a consolation prize to those forced to view Brian Austin Green's upper thights and belly. (Green, before you crossdress again, get to the gym or don't expose the belly.)

Prinze Jr.'s working through several accents throughout the show, predominately So-Cal --which is surprising since he didn't grow up in California. But sometimes he'll leave that to toss out something resembling a Hispanic accent and sometimes he'll toss out one resembling an Italian one and sometimes he'll grace you with his Mr. T impression. We don't see that as an attempt at multi-culturalism so much as an indication that he has no grasp of his character.

Regardless of which dialect he's using, all lines fall flat. But Prinze Jr. stands there eagerly awaiting the laughter which, thanks to the press of a button, the laugh track does provide.

When another network starts ripping off one of the lowest rated sitcoms (Joey), you've got a problem. But the truth is Freddie Prinze Jr. has a problem.

With three credits (if you're generous) to his name that he can site as hits (I Know What You Did Last Summer, I Still Know What You Did Last Summer and She's All That), Freddie Prinze Jr. became, if not a star, a glossy object that was well known. (The gloss is gone.) Wing Commander and numerous attempts at romantic comedies bombed. Via peroxide and films geared to children (the two Scooby Doos), Prinze Jr. must have given someone the illusion that his career still had heat.

It doesn't. As Prinze Jr. closes in on thirty (next March), he's done all that previous Tab Hunters could do and has reached his sell-by date. Moving from film to TV is an attempt to resurrect his dying career (outside of voice overs) and Freddie plays as if the inspiration for it came in the halls of his talent agency. "We'll remake you! We'll turn you from teen throb into a manly man!"

The transformation isn't taking. The mannish boy still comes off as the soft, safe sort of boy preteens (straight females, gay males) swoon over before they reach the stage where they're actually contemplating doing the deed. It's a safe-sex sitcom despite the crossdressing, gay pretending and the repeated attempts to assure that Freddie has a sex drive. Watching Prinze Jr. attempt to interrelate with the actress playing his niece, we're honestly reminded of Tony Randall's Love Sidney. Give him a mop and he could be the male Hazel.

What he's not is funny. Maybe ABC was fooled by the one-off he did on Friends? Where he played a male nanny that Ross felt was gay? He's hitting the same notes here (all two) and yet he's now supposed to be a "full grown man." It's unbelievable.

Supposedly it's based upon a real time in Prinze Jr.'s life. Well when he moved to California, he lived with friends in the San Fernando Valley. And in 1998, he had a rental in Toluca Lake (shared with a large cast -- none of them family). So we're missing the real time stage where Prinze Jr. was taking in family who'd fallen on hard times while he tried to get his life started. (Freddie is a chef.) Maybe it's really not based on a real time event and that adds to the hollowness of the show?

Maybe we're missing something? But as we know the story, time between film jobs was largely spent watching cartoons and playing with action figures. Not a lot in there to turn out a show about a "full grown man." And not a lot on screen that addresses the life of a full grown man. If this is an attempt to recreate a 'real life time' when, as a child, he grew up in a household of women, he's plays the overgrown boy quite well. "Where are my keys?" he says over and over with none of the hung over affect Jody Watley brought to the line at the close of "Looking For A New Love." Just another kid who stayed up late playing video games and now needs to make it to the mall before he gets fired, if you ask us.

Brian Austin Green can act. But he's lighter than air so he's the perfect prop to shore up Prinze Jr.'s manhood. It's like casting Kathy Kinney in a supporting role to make the female lead look prettier. Green's Saved by the Bell enthusiastic reading of every line may convince some that Prinze Jr. is a "full grown man."

We smirked a little in the lead up to the pretend-we're-gay scene when Green attempted to boast of conquests that never happened the night before and Prinze Jr. shot him down. Not due to Prinze Jr.'s line readings (which were as lively as a Taco Bell commercial -- the one where the guy's confused that everyone thinks he's grilling) but due to the panic Green brought to the scene.

As the father of one of the children Freddie took to The Rocky Horror Picture Show arrived to confront Freddie, and to reveal his own homophobia, Prinze Jr. and Green tried to girl it up (which is the only way TV likes to portray gay men) and it was funny. It was offensive but it was funny because the actors had to really notch it up several levels since they weren't starting from a base of perceived straight masculinity but instead from an asexual base. (Oh the curse of teen boy pin ups.)

Watching them flounce and argue over who was 'the wife,' was hysterical. Not because of the tired lines or stereotypes. But because it was so obvious that the pedi-set had somehow mistaken them for manly men prior to this scene. It was all about as convincing as George Michael's "I Want Your Sex" video.

The rest of the cast. There's a very talented young actress playing the niece. You've got a generic blond woman playing a friend. You've got an elderly woman playing the grandmother who only speaks Spanish. You've got an actress playing Freddie's sister-in-law (his brother died offscreen) who may be a bad actress or may not be. It's hard to tell. At a certain age the Dee and Rog (What's Happening?) dynamic stops working. You would have thought that might have occurred to the writers before they wrote the scenes (yes, scenes, plural) where the adult sister-in-law, mother of the daughter, won't tell Freddie where his keys are.

But feel for the writers. They're stuck singing, "Let's Hear It For The Boy" week after week while a talent agency tries to repackage Freddie Prinze Jr. as an adult actor. David Cassidy, Bobby Sherman, Tab Hunter and countless others have demonstrated that teen throbs do not go gently into the night.

Instead, they hit the desperation phase that tops anything a child actor (including Danny Bonaduce) might attempt. They should scrap the whole premise and instead turn out a comic Sunset Blvd. type show about an aging teen throb, smearing moisturizer across his face, checking his waist in the mirror and lost in the belief that although time has moved on, "the pictures" will come calling for him again. We'd find Freddie Prinze Jr. believable in that sort of role and we're willing to bet most in the industry would as well.

The Daily . . .

The Daily. It's been an interesting ride at The Daily Howler. The site has a strong archive. But somewhere along the way, maybe it's when Bob Somerby gave the impression (to CJR) that his heart wasn't in it anymore and he was considering giving up the site, we noted extreme fluctuations that have only gotten more extreme in the last several months.

It hasn't been easy for Bob Somerby being dismissive (to put it mildly) of Joseph Wilson. Always carping and bending over backwards to give Bully Boy the benefit of the doubt while down playing the story of our times, the story of The Times and, indeed, the story of Time. Press critic asleep at the wheel, eh Bob? Will that be the story? The official one?

Maybe he should talk to CJR? Though we doubt we'd hear an honest assessment from Somerby if he did. He told CJR that the media did a better job in 2004 covering the presidential elections than they did in 2000. What had the old man been smoking?

Phoney terror alerts drummed up in the midst of the Democratic Convention, Not So Swift Floaties accusing John Kerry of lying about his wounds while the press repeated the charges (hey Bob, did you forget your critique of Ted Koppel on that?), GOP-ers sporting band aids with puple hearts on them at the GOP Convention while the press giggled (while we're at war, while purple hearts are being awarded!), the Church is against John Kerry and you shouldn't vote for him scream the news media and then, as an aside, well, not officially, The New York Times spikes their story on the Bully Boy's bulge during the debates, Dick Cheney and others trumpet that al Qaeda wants you to vote for John Kerry, on and on.

A better job? The media ran with that. Not just Fox "News," but CNN, MSNBC, The New York Times, Nightline, go down the list, Bob.

What About Bob? He seems to have lost his way (putting it mildly, Rebecca and C.I. bite their tongues). So we'll offer this recap in parody for those who've missed the slow decay of one of the original online critics of the press and, in his prime, one of the best.

Sometimes Bob Somerby is intentionally dense:

The Daily Literal
Joe Wilson used the word "dubious." The press runs with "dubious" and says he proved that there was no attempt by Iraq to get yellow cake from Niger. He didn't say that! He said "dubious"! "Dubious"! Joe Wilson is beloved by the press! I hate Joe Wilson! I hate him! Hillary in 2008! Should I quote Matt Cooper?

Sometimes he just wants to have a little fun and what's more fun, for him, then attacking women?

The Daily Misogynist
Our "brave liberal voices" don't have the balls to tell the truth the way David Brooks does.
Katrina vanden Heuvel doesn't have the balls, Arianna Huffington doesn't have the balls, Janeane Garofalo doesn't have the balls, Dahlia Lithwick doesn't have the balls, Amy Goodman doesn't have the balls, Rachel Maddow doesn't have the balls. All these "brave liberal voices" with no balls. Davy Brooks has balls! One on the right side, one on the left side. That's why he's fit to give commentary even if he is on the right. Same with William Kristol. Kristol made a good point on Hardball. [Insert generic comment.] Kristol can tell it like it is, he can swing those balls. He can let 'em hang out. The pouch is packed, the gun is loaded, he's ready to fire. Meanwhile Katrina vanden Heuvel wants to talk about abuse at Guantanamo Bay. Yawn. Does anyone care? I don't. It's 2005 and if it was important and required a "brave liberal voice" I would've noted it repeatedly, weeks before, years before, I felt the need to beat up on Katrina vanden Heuvel. If you ain't got the balls, babe, get out the game. That's what I say.

Sometimes things get a little tense and he doesn't feel he gets his propers. When that happens, what's an aging "boy" to do but put on da bling-bling and make like it's the Grammys?

The Daily Gangsta
Word. Somerby in da house with shouts outs to Amrando who hit another one over da plate, outta da park, at Daily Kos TO-DAY. Word. Over at Washington Monthly, Kevin Drum represents. Represents! Can I get a uh-huh? This Daily Gansta be going out to all my peeps online. Name checking to be representing. Ya feeling me Joshy Mikey Marshy! Peace out and link to my ass already, you mothas!

Sometimes, when becoming shout out central doesn't bring the intended rewards, a trauma occurs which explains why Somerby woke up one morning believing he was Tony Montana.

The Daily Meltdown
Atrios, you stupid little fucker! You fucker! You fucked! You fucker! You hear me? You're fucked! Atrios, you stupid little fucker! Hear me, professor? You're fucked, stupid little fucker!

But with a new dose of meds, Bob Somerby's affect can return to its normal flat state.

The Daily Yadda Yadda Yadda
Okay, I need everyone to put on their thinking caps and gosh golly let's go back to 1999, six years ago, when the most important event in the world happened, Al Gore was slimed by the press. My college buddy was slimed by the press. That's more important than WMD or that stupid Valerie Plame. Joe Wilson is a d*ck. Tomorrow, after I've had time to review the GOP talking points about his latest appearance on a Sunday Chat & Chew, I'll explain what a liar he is. But today, the most important thing is returning to 1999 and noting that Al Gore's wardrobe was mocked. Also smeared was Naomi Wolf. We'll go the expert on this topic, second only to me, Eric Alterman.

But the meds don't always work. New doses are always problematic. And what's more important than focusing yet again on Joseph Wilson when we've passed the 2,000 mark for US fatalities in Iraq?

The Daily Smear
Joe Wilson is a liar. The press looks the other way. But he's a liar. If we examine the word structure in his opening statement on Meet the Press, "Good to be here, Tim", we find that he's already begun with a lie. "Good"?
Does Joe Wilson honestly think it's "good" to be on Meet the Press? Has he not been screaming forever about his wife's supposed outing as a supposed CIA agent who was supposedly undercover? "Good"?
Joe Wilson is a liar. We don't even have to address the rest of interview to grasp that. So instead, let's note what William Kristol had to say about Joe Wilson in The Weekly Standard
. . .

As bad as The Daily Smear against Joseph Wilson has become it's the attacks on women that first started us down the road of skepticism. It was a nice summer stroll as we attempted to decide what these attacks meant. Then a detour presented itself. Since that "disclosure," we look at The Daily Howler and just see . . .

The Daily Conflict of Interest
Judith Miller said "I agreed to change the ground rules." And I think people are making too much of this. She let a source determine how they would be credited. Where's the harm? It was I. Lewis Libby Jr. and he was Dick Cheney's Chief of Staff so where's the harm in her sourcing the statements on mushroom clouds to "informed soda jerk in DC"? Where's the harm? Libby was a soda jerk, actually was one, in college.
So Miller gets her quote and America gets to hear it. Where's the problem? Just because he now works in the administration doesn't mean he has to be identified by his current position.
It's called "resume." Rez-ooo-may. He just selected another job from his resume and Judith Miller was happy to help him do that because she honestly feels that soda jerks do not get enough attention from the press these days.
I don't know why we're focusing on the press right now. I know I have previously attacked those who questioned why Judith Miller was in jail and called them stupid. But things change. Back then, I was concerned that questions over why Miller was in jail might lead to other questions. Now that Miller's out of jail and we're addressing issues of super duper, chocolate mocha, background sourcing, I don't want anyone asking any questions that I don't approve of.
In other news, Hillary Clinton in the White House in 2008!

It's been an interesting ride with The Daily Howler. We've seen it at its finest and we've seen it at its worst. We're delinking from the website today because we agree with Bob Somerby that the press shouldn't clown, we agree with Bob Somerby that conflicts of interest should be disclosed, we agree with Bob Somerby that the tendency of the press to cover up for their own is shameful. Bob Somerby, you taught us well. Some might say too well. We're going to live by the strong points you have made over the years. Maybe someday you'll join us and we can relink to you. Until that day comes . . .

The Daily Hypocrite
Has anyone caught on yet?

The Third Estate Sunday Review News Review 10-30-05

C.I.: Good morning and welcome to The Third Estate Sunday Review News Review 10-30-05 and Betty says everyone should have remembered to turn their clocks back last night. We have a report from Florida, news from the world of entertainment, news on Iraq and other items. First we go to Jess of The Third Estate Sunday Review and Dona asks that we note this is rough transcript.

Jess: At Alive in Baghdad, Brian Conley has posted an interview. What you won't get in The New York Times, you can get at Alive in Baghdad: the voices of Iraqis.

Omar: What is your message for the American People?
K [Khulood]: I would send a call, a rescue call. To the American people and especially to the mothers to not let their sons to come to Iraq. Because we are completely destroyed, and we are wounded. We want to feel rest, and we are requesting to all the American forces to pull out from Iraq, and also all the occupying forces, in order to live in peace, to get security. To let our children have a better future.
Omar: Is there anything else you would like to say?
K: We want to have a rest because we are so tired and so sick.

C.I.: Jess this comes at a time, it certainly reflects polling in Iraq, Khulood's sentiments, but this comes at a time when rumors are flying regarding Ali al-Sistani.

Jess: Correct. The rumors are that Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the Shi'ite based in Najaf, will issue a call for the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq. In December, elections will take place for parliment. In January, when the parliment beguns session, it is said that al-Sistani will call for the American troops. Meanwhile, this week, Bully Boy goes to Agentina. Protests are already planned. From an Associated Press article:

To many Latin Americans, "the war smacks of U.S. imperialism and bullying and is extraordinarily unpopular," said Riordan Roett, director of the Western Hemisphere program at Johns Hopkins University. "America is seen as an arrogant, run-amok republic that does things without thinking them through."

C.I.: And in the United States?

Jess: As noted on Democracy Now!, on Wednesday over 15,000 rallies took place around the nation to note crossing the 2,000 mark for US military fatalities in Iraq. Quite a large number for a mid-week event and one that required getting the word out quickly.

C.I.: Thank you, Jess. We now go to Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix.

Cedric: As most will know already, Rosa Parks, civil rights pioneer who refused to give up her seat on the bus when ordered to do so which led to the a city wide, bus riders strike, passed away Monday. I've thought about what to say to note the death of a leader and toyed with a biographical sketch or a timeline. But one of the books we read for this week's book discussion offered something that I felt summed up things better than I ever could. From The Dream Keeper and Other Poems, Langston Hughes' "Mother to Son:"

Well, son, I'll tell you:
Life for me ain't been no crystal stair.
It's had tacks in it,
And splinters,
And boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor --
But all the time
I'se been a-climbin' on,
And reachin' landin's,
And turnin' corners,
And sometimes goin' in the dark
Where there ain't been no light.
So, boy, don't you turn back.
Don't you set down on the steps.
'Cause you finds it kinder hard.
Don't you fall now --
For I'se still goin', honey,
I'se still climbin',
And life for me ain't been no crystal stair.

C.I.: Thank you Cedric. Again, Langston Hughes' "Mother to Son." Rosa Parks passed away Monday at the age of 92. The following day the US military fatality rate for those killed in Iraq reached 2,000. For news on Iraq, we go to Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz and Mike of Mikey Likes It. We started with Mike last weekend, so Elaine, why don't you start?

Elaine: C.I., the official fatality count for American troops in Iraq stands at 2016. When the count reached 2,000 this past week, over . The official count for American troops wounded in Iraq is 15,220.

Mike: Three of the 2016 who've died in Bully Boy's war of choice are from yesterday, two from a roadside bomb in southern Baghdad and one died near Baiji.

Elaine: While the causes of death in those cases are clear, another military death is less so. The Associated Press reports that an unnamed American soldier was found dead Friday. The cause of death is under investigation. Al Jazeera reports that in Huweder, a car bomb has killed 26 Iraqis.

Mike: The AP offers 30,000 as their count for Iraqis who've died during the invasion/occupation.

Elaine: The occupation has also taken a toll on recruitment in the United States with the military having to lower expections each month. As reported by CounterRecruiter, the figures for fiscal year 2005 find the military 6,600 soldiers short of their target goals. The occupation is also effecting numbers in Great Britain. The war in Iraq is identified, by Michael Smith in London's Sunday Times, as the reason for 6,000 members of England's Territorial Army which has resulted in "a manning crisis."

Mike: Another crisis is the one described by Rahul Mahajan at Empire Notes:

After last November's demolition of Fallujah and its transformation into a prison camp, insurgents shifted their focus to Mosul and Ramadi, as well as towns along the Euphrates up toward the Syrian border. Mosul, which had seen very few incidents before, became a hotbed of violence; Ramadi, which had been quite active before, became probably the city in Iraq in which there has consistently been the most fighting between the occupying forces and the resistance.
In the last six weeks, 21 American soldiers have been killed in Ramadi, far more than in any other city in Iraq, the vast majority by roadside improvised explosive devices, detonated when troops patrolled.
There is no police force in Ramadi and the local government set up by the U.S.-initiated political process is largely unable to function (the deputy governor of Anbar province was recently assassinated).

Elaine: And the indictment of Scooter Libby is said to lead to a political crisis for the Bully Boy. England's The Independent headlines "Special report: Bush faces his Watergate." In this article, by Andrew Buncombe, it's noted that:

But the issues raised by "Plamegate" - the leaking of the identity of Valerie Plame, an undercover CIA agent - are far more significant than those involved in the "second-rate burglary" of the Democratic National Committee's offices in Washington's Watergate complex in the 1970s. They go to the heart of why America, and its faithful ally, Britain, went to war in Iraq.

Mike: A point missed by Todd S. Purdum who prefers sniffing his own dirty jock strap to reporting. From The Common Ills yesterday, storry C.I. my sister begged me to work this in:

Let's start with Todd S. Purdum ("A Prosecutor's Focus Shifted to a Cover-Up") who apparently decided that instead of washing his dirty jock, he'd turn it inside out and wear it for another six months without washing. That would explain how the fumes got to him yet again and why he feels the need to early on toss out Bill Clinton. Drawing comparisons no sane person would make (Clinton's cover up revolved around a private, consensual sex affair; Libby's cover up revolves around the outing of a CIA agent), you start to wonder if Todd's not only sniffing his own fumes but also chewing on his dirty jock? The after taste of his "news analysis" makes one wonder.
How far into the article before Todd mentions Clinton (for balance, I'm sure)? Fourth paragraph. How far before Nixon is mentioned? Fourteen. (Always check my math.)
And what are we 'assured' when Nixon finally crawls out from under the rock? "The Wilson affair is not Watergate . . ." Really?
The issues involved are not a consensual sex affair either. But Todd didn't have a need to rush to assure there. They may actually go beyond the petty motives of Watergate (original motive: to spy on the Democratic Party during a presidential election) since the outing of Valerie Plame is an attempt to discredit (and silence) her husband Joseph Wilson who was explaining that there was no evidence of "yellow cakes."

C.I.: Jumping in, Todd S. Purdum of The New York Times.

Elaine: At IPS, Jim Lobe calls the administration's loss of Libby "a serious blow." Lobe offers the rundown on Scooter Libby in "A Formidable Hawk Goes Down."

Mike: Robert Parry asks "Letting the White House Walk?" at Consortium News. While Parry notes that other indictments may be forthcoming and that a trial of Scooter might allow more details to emerge, he also notes this that's not making it in other reporting on Plamegate:

In his five-count indictment of Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff I. Lewis Libby, prosecutor Fitzgerald leaves the false impression that it was all right for White House officials with security clearances to be discussing the identity of CIA officer Valerie Plame, a counter-proliferation official under deep cover.
Under the rules of classification, however, to see such secrets an official must not only have a top-secret clearance but also special code-word clearance that grants access to a specific compartment governed by strict need-to-know requirements.
In both the Libby indictment and a hour-long press conference on Oct. 28, Fitzgerald showed no indication he understood how extraordinary it was for White House officials to be bandying about the name of a covert CIA officer based on the flimsy rationale that she was married to an ex-diplomat who had been sent on a fact-finding trip to Niger.
Fitzgerald, who is the U.S. Attorney in Chicago, appears to have bought into the notion that government officials had a right to discuss Plame's covert status among themselves as long as they didn’t pass the secret on to journalists. Then Fitzgerald didn't even seek punishment for that, limiting his criminal case to Libby's lying about how and when he learned of Plame's identity.

C.I.: That is a very important point. Thank you, Elaine and Mike. Scooter Libby indicted for a number of counts -- perjury, false testimony, etc. -- in the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame, the wife of Ambassador Joseph Wilson who went public to expose Bully Boy's 16 word lie in the 2003 State of the Union address regarding "British intelligence has recently learned that Sadaam Hussein sought" yellow cake from Niger. Also, quickly, Eric Schmitt's "An Influential Bush Insider Who Is Used to Challenges" rightly pointed out that Scooter Libby is not just Cheney's chief of staff. Scooter was "assistant to the president, chief of staff to the vice president and Mr. Cheney's national security advisor." Now we go to Rebecca, of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude, offers us a look at the news from the world of science. Rebecca?

Rebecca: C.I., Steve Connor notes in the UK's Independent that last week Prince Charles of England declared "climate change was one of the greatest problems" facing the world. As England experiences a surprisingly warm October, Connor reminds that "[t] exceptionally hot, dry summer of 2003 is estimated to have resulted in about 35,000 extra deaths in Western Europe." Are any guys drinking hard this Halloween weekend? If so, you might want to know that a recent study in India found it can effect sperm and increase difficulties in having children as well as in getting erections. Erectile dysfunction? In this day and age of Viagra? The consumer organization Public Citizen is asking the FDA "to add warnings to the labels of Viagra and other impotence drugs, noting that some users have gone blind." Is Tony Blair politically impotent? Marie Woolf reports in "Blair caved in after secret royal memo on badger culling" that a snap of the royal fingers by Prince Charles, or in this case a letter, and Tony Blair goes into lapdog mode, panting with a frenzy he usually reserves solely for the Bully Boy. A leaked memo results in the latest embarrassment for Blair. Prince Charles wrote Blair that a thinning of the badger population would meet with his approval due to his belief that this would reduce the spread of bovine tuberculosis from badgers to cattle.

C.I.: Thank you, Rebecca. Now for a report from Flordia, we go to Wally of The Daily Jot.

Wally: C.I. the death toll for Hurricane Wilma is now 21. Almost a million residents remain without power and they're telling us somewhere around Thanksgiving, maybe November 22nd, power might be restored. This is unnacceptable. The federal government and the state government's response is unacceptable. We have a gas generator, here at my Grandpa's. Not everyone has that. The widow next door is storing somethings in his refrigerator because she has no power. She's using hurricane lamps. This woman is 67 years old and barely five feet tall.
An offer was made for her to stay here but she doesn't want to leave her home unoccupied after dark. Why should she have to? Why can't they get the power back on? Up and down the street, throughout the neighborhood, her story isn't any different. Earlier, before the review, Kat made a comment about how nice it was of me to stay with my grandfather during this. I don't think it's being nice. In the immediate area around my grandfather's home, a cell phone is a novel thing. There are a number of elderly people here with no electricity and no working phone --

C.I.: Wally, are the phone lines out or is this a case of the phones that are being used? A portable phone, a cordless phone requires electricity.

Wally: Yes, that's the issue. We're dealing with an area where technology caught up enough to justify the cordless phone, usually with an asnwering machine, but not the cell phone. Or an area and a . . .

C.I.: Demographic? These are predominately elderly people?

Wally: Correct. My Grandpa holds on to everything. He had about four of the phones, the cord phones, and he gave them out to neighbors. But these people are here, they don't want to leave their homes which are pretty much fine except for not having electricity. Would you or anyone who'll read this let your grandparents go a month without electricity? This is ridiculous. There should be outrage throughout the United States over the fact that the state of Florida and the United States seems to think a month without electricity is acceptable. It's not acceptable.

C.I.: Wally, you spoke of the woman who is storing some food in your grandfather's refrigerator.

Wally: Right. If you don't have a generator, you can't have food that will spoil. If you don't have a generator, you better use that hurricane lamps at night. It's insane. People, old and young, not being able to have lights, not being able to keep food and what's being done? Not a damn thing. Bully Boy struts into the state long enough to grab some BBQ and act like everything's going fine and it isn't. This isn't a case where we've got the type of destruction that New Orleans got but at the same time, people here didn't leave their homes in large numbers. Those who did, thinking the hurricane was over so all was back to normal, get home to find out that they don't have electricity. And the government wants to say, to almost a million people, "Wait until Thanskgiving." It's going to get cold and without electricity, some people won't have access to hot water for a shower or a bath. It's insane. The state government is failing the people, the United States is failing the people. The press should be all over this. You've got waste in the streets because the sewers are backed up. You got lines at the few gas stations that are open. You got lines for ice, for water. And the almost a million I keep using is Saturday's figure. Thursday they were saying over two million on the radio. I have a hard time believing that after telling everyone it would be Thanksgiving, that a million people suddenly got power. But the figure they're using now is eight hundred thousand and something.

C.I.: Are people staying?

Wally: Most of them are. There's a couple, an elderly couple, who are leaving Monday for their son's if the electricity isn't on but most people don't have the choice or don't want to leave. There are people with kids, some babies, and from that group I usually hear that Christmas is almost here and they don't have the money to do Christmas for the kids and to hit the road. So people are trying to manage for now but a month is insane. I was in line for two hours the other day, Thursday, and people are calm and all, but they are pissed off. This is a huge embarrassment for the state government and the federal government and if the press would give us a little attention and put a little pressure on this, maybe Bully Boy would do something more than drop by for a sandwich and a photo op before jetting back out. In fact, instead of visiting, he should just send us the fuel that would have been used to fly in. The planning for the refineries wasn't what it should have been which is one reason that there are lines for gas. Another reason is that some of the stations have gas but the pumps aren't working. People are pissed but calm right now. You got people having cookouts to cook meat before it spoils that they had stocked up on before the power went off. But I don't think they can take a month of camp outs.

C.I.: Thank you for that report Wally. For news from the world of entertainment, we go to Betty of Thomas Friedman is a Great Man. Betty, what do you have for us this morning?

Betty: C.I., no one wants to talk too much about it but for the fifth week in a row the show that America supposedly had to watch is down in the ratings: ABC's Desperate Housewives. 30 million watched last season's ender, 28.4 million watched this season's debut. Each week, this year, has seen erosion in the viewership and it's now down to 25.2 million. In the who the hell asked for it department, the otherwise unemployed Sylvester Stallone will make his sixth Rocky film and his fifth Rambo film. While Republicans punch their fists in the air and holler, 13 and 14 year-old boys ask, "Who?" As Robert Greenwald's Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Prices readies for release, Wal-Mart's trying to offset the Greenwald documentary with their feel good, Up With Corporations response film entitled Why Wal-Mart Works: And Why That Drives Some People C-R-A-Z-Y. The fact that they spell out crazy demonstrates how out of it the store that no self-respecting teen would purchase clothes at is. I spent time with my teenage nieces this weekend and apparently the must-say insult in their crowd is anything having to do with Wal-Mart. From, "Where'd you get that shirt? Wal-Mart!" to "Where'd you get that weave? Wal-Mart!" the corporation that just won't go away is fast becoming the punch line to any insult.

C.I.: Betty, Kat wants to jump in on this. Kat of Kat's Corner (of The Common Ills).

Kat: Sorry to butt in but as someone a bit older than Betty, I'll note that it's a similar process to what happened with K-Mart. It stands for cheap goods and as a new group of teens comes of age that's been lugged to Wal-Mart once too often, they turn on it. If Betty's nieces are knocking it for non-political reasons, Wal-Mart should worry more about that than Robert Greenwald's documentary. I'll jump back out now.

Betty: That's a good point that Kat made. The teen years are all about what's hot and what's not for many and when something gets bad word of mouth, there are problems. With my nieces, they're not commenting on Wal-Mart's practices of hiring or insurance or wages. They're commenting on the store being uncool. As Kat points out, once that rep starts getting around, it's very hard to recover. You lose the teen girls, forget it. Greenwald's film opens in select markets on November 4th and can be purchased online. George Takei, known to millions as Mr. Sulu on Star Trek, came out this week. Takei, who's been in an 18 year relationship with Brad Altman, said, "The world has changed from when I was a young teen feeling ashamed for being gay. The issue of gay marriage is now a political issue. That would have been unthinkable when I was young." Demi Moore teams with Sharon Stone, Anthony Hopkins, Elijah Wood and Lindsay Lohan for Emilio Estevez's upcoming film Bobby. Estavez will appear in front of the camera but he'll also be directing from a script he wrote. Finally, this coming Tuesday, Lifetime's Real Women will remember Rosa Parks with an Intimate Portrait featuring commentary from Ruby Dee, her late husband Ossie Davis and Gloria Steinem among others. Following that, Lifeteime Telivision will broadcast The Rosa Parks Story starring Angela Bassett as Parks and Cicely Tyson as her mother.

C.I.: Thank you, Betty. Ty of The Third Estate Sunday Review offers us some news from Europe and Indida. Ty?

Ty: It's practically the summer of 1968 in Paris all over again as, for the third night in a row, youths rioted. The young people are protesting the deaths of a 15 year-old and a 17 year-old on Thursday when they were apparently eluding police and ended up being electrocuted. The authorities say that Saturday night was less violent, 20 cars were torched, 13 youths were arrested. In New Delhi, 61 people are dead from bombs that went off in two market places. A third bomb went off on a bus but the driver had apparently gotten the passengers off in time after spotting a suspicious object. Also in India, The Taipei Times reports that a train derailed leaving at least one hundred dead.

C.I.: Thank you, Ty. Also from The Third Estate Sunday Review, Ava brings us up to speed on Guantnamo Bay and Venezuela.

Ava: C.I., the BBC reports that Fawzi al-Odah wants to die. Who is Fawzi al-Odah? A man arrested in Pakistan in 2002 and held at Guantanamo Bay since. Three years with no hearing. Locked up and forgotten. Fawzi al-Odah is one of the prisoners who in Guantanamo who has staged a hunger strike. The US government's response? To force feed. The US military asserts that only 26 prisoners are currently on a hunger strike, other estimates place the number at 150.

C.I.: Ava, the Center for Constitutional Rights is calling on a day of fast for November 1st to highlight this issue.

Ava: And on that day they are also staging rallies in DC and in NYC. The DC rally will take place at noon on 950 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in front of the Justice Dept. In New York, the rally will take place at 26 Federal Plaza at one o'clock in the afternoon. I'd like to turn now to an Associated Press article by Natalie Obiko Pearson that dismisses the allegations against New Tribes Mission but, unlike the reporting of Juan Foero in The New York Times, notes some of the allegations.

C.I.: Great. Before you do, to set up for readers, Hugo Chavez has ordered New Tribes Mission out of Venezuela. Juan Forero is up in the arms over this expulsion which makes makes any rumor of CIA connections seem all the more valid since Forero doesn't tell you about past allegations. With Forero, always note what he leaves out.

Ava: New Tribes, the article notes "has settlements in remote, mineral-rich tracts of Venezuelan rain forests located far from the surveillance of authorities" and that they have "long faced accusations of wrongdoing in Venezuela." From the article:

Anthropologists, military officials and others have accused the group of watching indigenous people die of malnutrition while living in luxurious camps, forcing communities to give up ancestral traditions and creating a sophisticated enclave of airstrips and settlements to exploit gold, quartz and even uranium deposits.

C.I.: Does she question why the US embassay gets involved when New Tribe Ministries is asked to leave a foreign country, they're based in Florida.

Ava: Sarasota, Florida. One would think with the problems facing Florida, they'd want to return to help there. But no, she doesn't mention anything about that. She does note that "Tomas Antonio Marino Blanco, a navy captain, recently revived claims first made in 1978 that New Tribes missionaries have helped U.S. defense contractors from Westinghouse conduct mineral prospecting." Unlike Juan Foero, she could find the public allegations. I'll give her credit for that.

C.I.: Thank you Ava. We now go to Kat with musical news. Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills).

Kat: C.I., what's that?

What is that sound ringing in my ears
I've heard that sound before
What's that I hear ringing in my ears
I hear it more and more
It's the sound of freedom calling
Ringing up to the sky
It's the sound of the old ways falling
You can hear it if you try

Kat (con't): From Phil Och's "What's That I Hear?" A question worth asking as the outing of a CIA agent can now be traced to the White House, as poll numbers for Bully Boy tumble and while polls show an increase in opposition to the war in Iraq. Some people hear the ringing. Take Audioslave who are addressing the war in their new video "Doesn't Remind Me." Some don't hear the ringing at all. Take Kelly Preston who will star in the film Angel which has enough problems finding an audience with Burt Reynolds in the cast but only triples the problems by co-starring, as the love interest -- will he get a hair cut -- Bully Boy supporter, wonder if Bully Boy wears Keith around his groin, and all around war cheerleader who put even Judy Miller to shame, Toby Keith. Hell, give Miller the role of love interest opposite Kelly Preston, it would certainly create more of a stir.

C.I.: Thank you, Kat. And thank you to Dallas for doing the links, to Jess' parents for hunting down links and to Dona and Jim of The Third Estate Sunday Review who keep everything running smoothly behind the scenes throughout. Studs Terkel and Ruth Conniff, of The Progressive magazine, on The Laura Flanders Show tonight.

Hadley, Asesor de Seguridad Nacional, se reunió con jefe de inteligencia italiana poco antes de la afirmación sobre Níger

"Hadley, Asesor de Seguridad Nacional, se reunió con jefe de inteligencia italiana poco antes de la afirmación sobre Níger"

Francisco: Hola mi amigos y amigas. Scooter Libby, el principal asesor del vicepresidente de Estados Unidos, Dick Cheney, renuncio el viernes, despues de haber sido acusado de obstruir la justicia, formular una declaración falsa, y de perjurio, en el caso de la filtracion del nombre de una agente encubierta de la CIA. Aqui estan 14 noticias de "Democracy Now!". Buen fin de semana.

Hadley, Asesor de Seguridad Nacional, se reunió con jefe de inteligencia italiana poco antes de la afirmación sobre Níger
Una noticia relacionada con la anterior. El periódico italiano La Repubblica reveló nueva información sobre el trasfondo de la falsificación de documentos para indicar que Irak trataba de comprar uranio a Níger. Según el periódico, Stephen Hadley, que en ese entonces era el asesor de Seguridad Nacional del Presidente Bush, se reunió con el jefe de la inteligencia italiana, Nicolo Pollari, en septiembre de 2002. Esto sucedió sólo semanas antes que el gobierno de Bush comenzara a divulgar que el servicio de inteligencia italiano había obtenido documentos que probaban que Irak intentaba comprar uranio a Níger. Esta afirmación jugo un papel clave en el gran esfuerzo que realizó la Casa Blanca para convencer a la población estadounidense de la necesidad de comenzar una guerra contra Irak. Los documentos resultaron ser falsos. El periódico también informó que la reunión entre Hadley y Pollari se llevó a cabo tres días antes de que un semanario perteneciente al Primer Ministro italiano, Silvio Berlusconi, publicara una historia en que se sostenía que Irak había comprado a Nigeria (y no a Níger) 500 toneladas de uranio. Un mes después, los documentos falsos utilizados por el gobierno de Bush, que fueron obtenidos en primer lugar por el mismo semanario, hicieron la misma afirmación, pero sobre Níger.

Brent Scowcroft critica al gobierno de Bush
La semana pasada, el Coronel Laurence Wilkerson, ex jefe de personal de Colin Powell, acusó a Cheney y a Donald Rumsfeld de encabezar una confabulación que debilita la democracia de Estados Unidos. Y ahora Brent Scowcrof, ex asesor de seguridad nacional, criticó al gobierno de Bush en una entrevista con la revista "New Yorker". Gran parte de sus críticas estuvieron dirigidas a los neoconservadores y su manejo de la cuestión iraquí. "Se dijo que esto era parte de la guerra contra el terror, pero Irak alimenta el terrorismo", sostuvo. Scowcroft, que es amigo cercano de George H. W. Bush, admitió que le resultaba difícil criticar al actual presidente. Cuando Jeffrey Coldberg, periodista de la revista New Yorker, le preguntó a Scowcroft si el hijo era distinto al padre, él respondió: "No quiero entrar en eso". Cuando Goldberg le pidió que mencionara asuntos en los que estaba de acuerdo con Bush hijo, Scowcroft dijo: "Afganistán". Luego hizo una pausa de doce segundos, y finalmente dijo: "Pienso que estamos haciendo las cosas bien en Europa". Y agregó: "La verdadera anomalía en el gobierno es Cheney. Lo considero un buen amigo, lo he conocido durante treinta años. Pero a Dick Cheney ya no lo conozco."

El 82% de los iraquíes están en contra de los soldados extranjeros
Mientras tanto, en una nueva encuesta realizada por las Fuerzas Armadas británicas, el 82 por ciento de los iraquíes consultados se opusieron rotundamente a que continúe la presencia de soldados extranjeros en su país. Menos del uno por ciento los entrevistados dijeron que los soldados extranjeros contribuyeron a mejorar la seguridad en Irak. El 45 por ciento de los iraquíes encuestados dijeron que sentían que lo ataques contra soldados estadounidenses están justificados.

Hans Blix: Estados Unidos engañó al mundo sobre las armas de destrucción masiva de Irak
Esta noticia es sobre Estados Unidos. Hans Blix acusó al gobierno de Bush de engañar al mundo sobre las presuntas armas de destrucción masiva de Irak. Blix, ex jefe de los inspectores de armas de la Organización de las Naciones Unidas, hizo esas declaraciones el viernes en Boston.

Casi el 70% de los soldados que murieron en Irak eran menores de 30
MTV compiló algunas nuevas estadísticas sobre los 2.000 soldados estadounidenses que murieron en Irak. Cerca de un tercio de ellos tenían de 20 a 22 años de edad, y el índice de mortalidad más alto, de aproximadamente un 12 por ciento, corresponde a los jóvenes de 21 años de edad. Cerca del 70 por ciento de las bajas estadounidenses fueron de personas menores de 30 años. El 40 por ciento dejó viudas, y el 30 por ciento tenía hijos.

Dibujante escribe nombres de los 2.000 soldados que murieron en Irak
Mientras el número de muertes de soldados estadounidenses en Irak sobrepasó los 2.000 esta semana, el caricaturista editorial Mike Luckovich, del Journal Constitution de Atlanta, marcó el trágico hito escribiendo a mano el nombre de cada uno de los fallecidos en el dibujo que publicó el miércoles. Los nombres formaron la pregunta "¿Por qué?". Luckovich, galardonado con el premio Pulitzer, dijo a la publicación "Editor and Publisher": "Estaba tratando de pensar una manera de trasmitir la idea de que toda esta guerra es un tremendo desperdicio. Pero también quería honrar a los soldados que, según pienso, fueron enviados a Irak debido a un error de nuestro gobierno". Luckovich dice que pasó 12 o 13 horas el fin de semana pasado escribiendo la mayoría de los nombres, en el orden aproximado en que murieron los soldados. Varios responsables periodísticos del Journal Constitution contribuyeron al esfuerzo. Cuando se dieron cuenta de que posiblemente los nombres resultarían ilegibles, los editores autorizaron que el dibujo fuera publicado en un tamaño mucho mayor que el habitual para los trabajos de Luckvich en el Journal-Constitution.

Más de 1.500 actividades marcaron la muerte de 2000 estadounidenses en Irak
El Village Voice informa que ayer se realizaron más de 1.500 actividades en todo el país, para conmemorar la muerte del soldado estadounidense número 2.000 debido a la guerra de Irak. En Washington, la activista contra la guerra Cindy Sheehan y otras 25 personas fueron arrestadas por realizar una manifestación no autorizada frente a la Casa Blanca. Los manifestantes se tiraron al suelo y simularon estar muertos para simbolizar el fallecimiento de soldados estadounidenses en Irak. En Nueva York, varios cientos de personas colmaron la estación de reclutamiento de las Fuerzas Armadas en Times Square gritando "Bush mintió, 2.000 murieron".

Fuerzas Armadas: la cifra 2.000 "no es un hito"
Las Fuerzas Armadas intentaron restarle importancia al significado de la muerte número 2.000. El Coronel Steve Boylan, portavoz militar, dijo que la cifra 2.000 era "una marca artificial en la pared... establecida por individuos o grupos con agendas específicas y motivos ocultos". En un mensaje de correo electrónico enviado a periodistas, Boylan escribió: "La muerte de 2.000 soldados en Irak que apoyaban la Operación Libertad Iraquí no es un hito".

Tres millones sin energía eléctrica debido al huracán Wilma
En Florida, más de tres millones de personas carecen de energía eléctrica mientras comienzan las tareas de recuperación tras el huracán Wilma. Funcionarios estatales dicen que podría llevar semanas lograr que las zonas de Miami, Fort Lauderdale y el oeste de Palm Beach vuelvan a la normalidad. El daño se calculó en más de 10 mil millones de dólares.

Informe: FBI vigila en forma clandestina a residentes en Estados Unidos
El Washington Post informa que el FBI ha llevado a cabo vigilancia clandestina de algunos residentes de Estados Unidos durante 18 meses consecutivos, sin los procedimientos debidos de documentación y supervisión. Los registros del gobierno indican que el FBI investigó cientos de potenciales violaciones de derechos relacionadas con sus operaciones de vigilancia secretas. En un caso, agentes del FBI vigilaron a un objetivo no identificado durante por lo menos cinco años, durante los cuales estuvieron 15 meses sin informar a los abogados del Departamento de Justicia, luego de que el individuo se mudó de Nueva York a Detroit. En otros casos, el Post informa que agentes del FBI obtuvieron mensajes de correo electrónico luego de que la orden correspondiente había expirado, confiscaron registros bancarios sin la debida autorización y dirigieron en forma indebida "registros físicos sin consentimiento".

2,3 millones de personas tras las rejas en Estados Unidos
Estadísticas recientes del Departamento de Justicia muestran que la población carcelaria de Estados Unidos creció alrededor de un 2 por ciento el año pasado, hasta llegar a 2,3 millones de personas. Según el Centro Internacional de Estudios Penitenciarios de Londres, hay más presos en Estados Unidos que en cualquier otro país. La cantidad de reclusos en las prisiones federales del país está 40 por ciento por encima de su capacidad prevista.

Pionera de los derechos civiles Rosa Parks, 1913-2005
La pionera de los derechos civiles Rosa Parks murió a los 92 años de edad. Este diciembre se cumplirán 50 años desde que se negó a cederle el asiento de un autobús a un hombre blanco en Montgomery, Alabama. Fue arrestada y declarada culpable de violar las leyes de segregación de ese estado. Su acto de resistencia condujo a un boicot contra el sistema de autobuses de Montgomery, que duró 13 meses y dio inicio al movimiento por los derechos civiles. Ese boicot también ayudó a que un predicador de 26 años de edad, llamado Martin Luther King Jr., ganara notoriedad en el país. En 1958 King escribió: "Nadie puede entender la acción de Parks, a menos que se de cuenta de que el vaso de la capacidad de soportar se desborda, y la personalidad humana grita "ya no aguanto esto". Parks estuvo involucrada en la lucha por la libertad desde los años 40. Era activista de la Asociación Nacional para el Progreso de la Gente de Color (NAACP, por sus siglas en inglés), ayudó a recaudar dinero para defender los acusados de violación en Scottsboro y asistió a cursos de capacitación en la Highlander Folk School de Tennessee. El reverendo Jesse Jackson dijo ayer: "Permaneció sentada para que nosotros nos levantáramos. Paradójicamente, su encarcelamiento abrió las puertas para nuestro largo viaje hacia la libertad". Henry Louis Gates Jr. la llamó: "la Harriet Tubman de nuestro tiempo". Nelson Mandela recordó, luego de ser liberado, cómo Parks había sido una inspiración para él y otros en la lucha sudafricana contra la segregación racial.

Rosa Parks recibirá honores en Rotonda del Capitolio
Rosa Parks podría convertirse en la primera mujer en recibir honores en la Rotonda del Capitolio, en virtud de resoluciones tomadas el jueves por legisladores. Falleció el lunes en Detroit a los 92 años. La resolución solicita que los restos de Parks reciban honores en la Rotonda el domingo y el lunes "para que los ciudadanos de Estados Unidos puedan expresar su respeto a esta gran estadounidense". Históricamente, sólo se ha permitido que los presidentes, integrantes del Congreso y comandantes militares yazgan en la Rotonda. Parks será la primera mujer y la segunda afrodescendiente en recibir este honor. El homenaje en el Capitolio es uno de los muchos planificados para honrar a la pionera defensora de los derechos civiles. A partir de la noche del lunes y hasta la mañana del miércoles, el cuerpo de Parks yacerá en el Museo Charles H. Wright de Historia Afroestadounidense, en Detroit. Su funeral se realizará el miércoles en el Templo de la Iglesia Greater Grace, también en Detroit.

Ex congresista Edward Roybal muere a los 89 años
El ex Congresista Edward Roybal murió en Los Ángeles a los 89 años. Fue un político pionero mexicano-estadounidense, que trabajó en el Congreso durante 30 años. Comenzó su carrera política en 1949 cuando se convirtió en el primer latino en ocupar una banca en el Consejo de la Ciudad de Los Ángeles desde 1881. El alcalde de Los Ángeles, Antonio Villaraigosa, dijo "Un campeón de los derechos civiles y de la justicia social como él no se ve todos los días".

Francisco: Hello friends. Scooter Libby has been indicted for blocking justice, formulating false statements and for perjury in the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame. Here are fourteen headlines from this week's Democracy Now!

Bush Official Met With Italians Shortly Before Fake Niger Docs Appeared
In related news, the Italian newspaper La Repubblica has revealed new information on the background behind the forged documents that indicated Iraq was trying purchase uranium from Niger. According to the paper President Bush’s then Deputy National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley met with Italian intelligence chief Nicolo Pollari in September 2002. This came just weeks before the Bush administration began claiming Italian intelligence had obtained documents proving Iraqi attempts to buy the uranium from Niger. The claim played a key role in the White House's massive effort to convince the public of the need for war on Iraq. The documents turned out to be fakes. The paper notes further the meeting took place three days before a story in a weekly owned by Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, claimed Iraq had purchased 500 tons of uranium from Nigeria. A month later, the forged documents used by the Bush administration - also first obtained by the same paper - made the same claim, but about Niger.

Brent Scowcroft Slams Bush Administration
Last week, Colin Powell's former chief of staff Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson accused Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld of running a cabal that is undermining the country's democracy. And now former national security advisor Brent Scowcroft has slammed the Bush administration in an interview with the New Yorker magazine. He directed much of his criticism to the neoconservatives and their handling of Iraq. He said, "This was said to be part of the war on terror, but Iraq feeds terrorism." Scowcroft, who is close friends with George H.W. Bush, admitted it was difficult to criticize the sitting president. When New Yorker reporter Jeffrey Goldberg asked Scowcroft if the son was different from the father, he said, "I don't want to go there." When Goldberg asked him to name issues on which he agrees with the younger Bush, Scowcroft said, "Afghanistan." He then paused for twelve seconds. Finally, he said, "I think we're doing well on Europe." Scowcroft went on to say "The real anomaly in the Administration is Cheney. I consider Cheney a good friend - I've known him for thirty years. But Dick Cheney I don't know anymore."

82% Of Iraqis Oppose Foreign Troops
Meanwhile a new poll commissioned by the British military has found that 82 percent of Iraqis strongly oppose the continued presence of foreign troops. Less than 1 percent of the population feels foreign troops have helped improve security in Iraq. The poll also found 45 percent of Iraqis feel attacks against US troops are justified.

Hans Blix: U.S. Mislead World Over Iraq WMD's
Here in this country, Hans Blix accused the Bush administration of misleading the world about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction . Blix, the former chief UN weapons inspector, spoke in Boston on Friday.

Almost 70% of Iraq Deaths Under Age of 30
MTV has compiled some new statistics on the 2,000 US troops killed in Iraq. Nearly a third were between the ages of 20 and 22, with the highest fatality rate--about 12 percent--being among 21-year-olds. Nearly 70 percent of U.S. casualties are under the age of 30. Forty percent left behind spouses and 30 percent were survived by children.

Cartoonist Writes Names of All 2,000 Soldiers Killed in Iraq
As the US military death toll in Iraq surpassed 2,000 dead this week, Atlanta Journal Constitution editorial cartoonist Mike Luckovich marked the tragic milestone by hand-writing the name of each one in his Wednesday editorial cartoon. Together, their names spell out the question: WHY? The Pulitzer Prize-winning Luckovich told Editor and Publisher, "I was trying to think of a way to make the point that this whole war is such a waste. But I also wanted to honor the troops I believe our government wrongly sent to Iraq." Luckovich says he spent 12 or 13 hours this past weekend writing in most of the names -- roughly in the order of when the soldiers died. The paper's publisher and various editors were also involved in the effort. When it looked like the names might not be readable, the editors gave permission for the cartoon to be published much larger than Luckovich's drawings usually appear in the Journal-Constitution.

Over 1500 Events Held To Mark 2,000 U.S. Deaths in Iraq
The Village Voice is reporting over 1500 events took place across the country Wednesday to commemorate the death of 2,000 U.S. soldiers in Iraq. In Washington, anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan and 25 others were arrested for demonstrating without a permit in front of the White House. The protesters lay on the ground in a "die-in" to symbolize the US soldiers killed in Iraq. In New York, several hundred flooded the Armed Forces Recruiting Station in Times Square with shouts of "Bush lied, 2,000 died."

Military: 2,000 Figure "Not a Milestone"
The military has attempted to downplay the significance of the 2000th death. Military spokesperson Lt. Col. Steve Boylan called the 2,000 figure an "artificial mark on the wall… set by individuals or groups with specific agendas and ulterior motives." In an e-mail to reporters, Boylan wrote: "The 2,000 service members killed in Iraq supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom is not a milestone."

3 million Without Electricity in Wilma Aftermath
In Florida, over 3 million people are without electricity as the recovery effort begins in the aftermath of Hurricane Wilma. State officials are saying it could take weeks for the Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach area to return to normal. Damage is estimated to be at over $10 billion dollars.

Report: FBI Conducting Clandestine Surveillance of U.S. Residents
And the Washington Post is reporting the FBI has conducted clandestine surveillance on some U.S. residents for as long as 18 months at a time without proper paperwork or oversight. Government records indicate that the FBI has investigated hundreds of potential violations related to its use of secret surveillance operations. In one case, FBI agents kept an unidentified target under surveillance for at least five years -- including more than 15 months without notifying Justice Department lawyers after the subject had moved from New York to Detroit. In other cases, the Post reports agents obtained e-mails after a warrant expired, seized bank records without proper authority and conducted an improper "unconsented physical search."

U.S. Prison Population 2.3 Million, Largest in World
And new Justice Department statistics show the U.S. prison population grew by nearly 2 percent last year to nearly 2.3 million. According to the International Center for Prison Studies in London, there are more people behind bars in the United States than in any other country. Federal prisons in this country are now at 40 percent over capacity.

Civil Rights Pioneer Rosa Parks 1913-2005
Civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks has died at the age of 92. It was 50 years ago this December that she refused to relinquish her seat to a white man aboard a city bus in Montgomery, Alabama. She was arrested and convicted of violating the state's segregation laws. Her act of resistance led to a 13-month boycott of the Montgomery bus system that would spark the civil rights movement. The boycott would also help transform a 26-year-old preacher named Martin Luther King Junior to national prominence. In 1958 King wrote "no one can understand the action of Mrs. Parks unless he realizes that eventually the cup of endurance runs over, and the human personality cries out, 'I can take it no longer.''' Parks had been involved in the fight for freedom since the 1940s. She was active in the NAACP, helped raise money to defend the Scottsboro rape case and attended trainings at the Highlander Folk School of Tennessee. The Rev. Jesse Jackson said yesterday ''She sat down in order that we might stand up. Paradoxically, her imprisonment opened the doors for our long journey to freedom.'' Henry Louis Gates Jr called her "the Harriet Tubman of our time." After he was freed from jail Nelson Mandela recalled how Parks had inspired him and others in the South African struggle against apartheid. We'll have more on Rosa Parks in a few minutes.

Rosa Parks May Lie in State in Capitol Rotunda
Rosa Parks may become the first woman to officially lie in state at the Capitol Rotunda under resolutions prepared Thursday by lawmakers. She died Monday in Detroit at the of age 92. The resolution calls for parks to lie in honor in the Rotunda on Sunday and Monday "so that the citizens of the United States may pay their last respects to this great American." Historically, only presidents, members of Congress and military commanders have been permitted to lie in the Rotunda. Parks would be the first woman and the second African-American to receive the accolade. The Capitol event was one of several planned to honor the civil rights pioneer. From Monday night until Wednesday morning, Parks will lie in repose at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit. Her funeral will be Wednesday at Greater Grace Temple Church in Detroit.

Former Congressman Edward Roybal dead at 89
And former Congressman Edward Roybal has died in Los Angeles at the age of 89. He was a pioneering Mexican-American politician who served in Congress for 30 years. He started his political career in 1949 when be became the first Latino to sit on the Los Angeles City Council since 1881. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said QUOTE "A champion for civil rights and social justice like him does not come around every day."

Humor Spotlight: Betty blows the whistle on Thomas Freidman's five finger discounts

How can you start the week without a laugh? Starting the weekend without a laugh is like agreeing to be a grump all week long. And on the topic of Thomas Friedman . . .

Betty's got another chapter in Betinna's story. Get ready to laugh. Arm chair warrior Tommy Friedman has earned the ridicule so pay it foward.

"Thomas Friedman, Living on the Five Finger Discount"

Thomas Friedman is on a China kick. It all started when the new buffet opened up down the street. Thomas Friedman is nothing if not an all you can eat type of man, as any photo of him will attest.

I knew something was up last Thursday when he came strolling into the kitchen in sweat pants and a t-shirt that said "Baby Likes" on it. For Thomas Friedman, it was practically formal wear.

Rare is the day he squeezes into anything other than his silk shorty robe.

Leaping to my feet, I was scrubbing the kitchen floor, I immediately asked who died and what funeral we needed to attend. Thomas Friedman assured me that other than Bill Keller being "brain dead" all was right in the world, that a new establishment had opened up down the street and to grab my purse because we were going.

The hostess' name was Liang though Thomas Friedman insists upon calling her "Soon-Yi" repeatedly. He also insists upon telling the same lame joke each time we go, "Soon-Yi, in America we call this 'Chinese food' but in your country it would just be 'food!'" Between that, his Soon-Yi comments, and just for being Thomas Friedman, Tuesday afternoon, Liang replied, "You know in China you would be called 'American bore' but in this country you are just a 'bore.'"

Thomas Friedman was furious.

"I will never come back to this communist cell!" he screamed as he piled his plate full of General Tso's chicken. As usual, he piled my purse full of shrimp which is bad enough but he tends to scoop it out of the ice with his hands and many ice chips fall in as well.

A lunch buffet to Thomas Friedman means you eat all you can there and swipe enough to have dinner on at home as well. He calls that "the free market at it's finest."

I have tried pointing out to him that what he's doing is hardly honest or honorable but he tells me I'm now "lost to the peaceniks." If I had any sense, he belives, I would have "catered" our dinner party last week by hitting a buffet with several large purses and backpacks.

What you or I might call free loading or, worse, theft of service, Thomas Friedman sees as "righting the market." "The world is flat, Betinna," Thomas Friedman declared as I stared at his greasy mouth and the food flying around it. "Everything is fair game."


Like on Wednesday morning when he flew into a fit as I tried to watch Democracy Now!?

He was grumbling throughout the interview but he grew enraged at this point:

AMY GOODMAN: In the interrogations, you told the BBC that you met an Israeli working as an interrogator at the secret intelligence center in Baghdad.
JANIS KARPINSKI: Well, in a separate facility, not under my control, where the task force was originally assigned, I was escorting a general officer, who was not assigned in Iraq, but was making his last visits to different units, because he was getting ready to retire, and he asked to go over to this facility, because he knew a lot of the people that were working over there. And when the sergeant major asked if he wanted to see -- tour the rest of the facility, if I wanted to go with them, I declined. I said I would wait there in the foyer. And there were three individuals there, three men, and they had D.C.U. pants on, one of them had blue jeans on, and different shirts.
AMY GOODMAN: D.C.U. means?
JANIS KARPINSKI: Desert camouflage uniform, the desert military uniform pants. And one of them had a pair of blue jeans on. So I said, "What are you guys doing here?" And I said to this one individual, who looked like he was an Arab, I said to him, "Oh, are you a translator? Are you from Kuwait? Are you from Iraq?" And he said, "No, I'm not a translator, and I'm not from Kuwait or Iraq. I'm from Israel. And I work in this facility." So, I never -- he never told me that he was an interrogator. But that facility was likely used for interrogation. So, if he worked in that facility, you could conclude that he had something to do with interrogation operations, but he never told me that.

Thomas Friedman had recently attempted to have the last word, as he is so fond of, on the subject of not one Israli being in Iraq. As with so many claims he makes in his columns, I always think he would be better off researching some of his claims but apparently veracity isn't a big deal at the New York Times. Thomas Friedman says "facts weigh thought down" and attempts to write with as little actual thought as possible -- a technique that grows ever more obvious, if you ask me.

When that came up in the interview, Thomas Friedman started screaming at me that I was a "flaming insurgent, bordering on an anarchist, with one hand on your dust mop and the other ready to spray paint a lovely mink!" He blames the "radical feminist" Gail Collins partly for my transformation. He also blames the trip to D.C. with Elaine and Gail Collins. But most of all he blames The Common Ills which is a web site that he feels "worries too much about the little nothings of the world." Strangely, he doesn't blame Democracy Now! but that's largely because he sees it as "a developing market" on which he could plug his book The World Is Flat. He has taken to sending Amy Goodman's "notes" which she obviously ignores but I'm sure they provoke much laughter each time they arrive.

All his finger pointing should be very tiring but when he feels he has been wronged, he can always muster the energy for an attack such as his column Wednesday. Things were already tense Tuesday but he was determined to finish his lunch, all five plates and two bowls of won ton soup.

"I will get my money's worth!" he insisted between slurps.

I just wanted to go home before things got worse. But Thomas Friedman decided that we needed new silver ware and after he shoved several settings into my purse, he felt we also needed more plates.

It was at that point that Liang walked over and wondered exactly what the hell Thomas Friedman was doing.

"Should I call the cops?" Liang asked pointing to my purse.

"That is your answer to everything!" Thomas Friedman shouted, spewing won ton soup across the white table cloth. "You want to enforce authoritarian rule on everyone! You and your planned economy of 'I will spend this much on plates and that much on food and it will all be just fine.' Well that's not the way it works, Soon-Yi, in this country, the market decides demand! I will accept no apology from you!"

"I'm calling the cops," Liang said.

"I said I would not accept your apology! Go now, Soon-Yi, go!"

While Liang went to call the police, Thomas Friedman grabbed my purse and high tailed it onto the street.

"This is living, Betinna!" Thomas Friedman cackled as I attempted to hurry him down the street. "Living Hand to Mouth! Nothing else is even close!"

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