Friday, July 08, 2005

Journalism is Dead, White House Presser Edition

Day 6: White House Press Corps Silent on Rove

The White House just released the transcript of today’s Gaggle.

For the fourth straight time since his lawyer admitted that Rove was one of Matt Cooper’s sources, no member of the White House press corps asked a question about Rove’s role. (And there are plenty of questions to ask.)

A major figure in the White House is deeply entangled in a major scandal. Why is the White House press corps ignoring the story?

Let's give the bought-and-paid-for corporate media a shout-out from blogtopia. Below is a list of White House correspondents compiled by the Washington Post, with links to their emails. Why aren't they doing their jobs and asking about Karl Rove, the traitor?

List of White House Correspondents

Monitoring the Left

Looks like Nixon's enemies list is back:

Be On Guard for Raging Grannies

...[A] California National Guard unit [] spent last Mother's Day keeping a spy-eye on protesters at the state Capitol — Raging Grannies, CodePink and a group whose members had relatives killed in Iraq. The San Jose Mercury News quoted an e-mail exchange between Guard officers three days before the protest:

"Sir, Information you wanted on Sunday's demonstration at the Capitol."

"Thanks. Forwarding same to our Intell. folks who continue to monitor."


For the sake of argument, let's accept that the Guard was just monitoring the event via news coverage. That would mean two unlikely things: that the Guard — unlike a lot of people in government, starting with Arnold Schwarzenegger — believes what it reads in the paper or sees on TV. And two, that there's real information in video of old ladies waving peace placards. Guard spokesman Lt. Col. Stan Zezotarski told the Mercury News, "Who knows who could infiltrate that type of group and try to stir something up? After all, we live in the age of terrorism…." I must have missed the shot of the septuagenarian wearing the "I Am Really an Al Qaeda Grandma" button.

Another Guard spokesman, Lt. Col. Doug Hart, told me it's all a mix-up and that "intel" is just a gussied-up word meaning any information "We do not spy on people. We don't collect information on people or groups." The Guard was merely keeping a "scrapbook" of news events about itself doing duty at brush fires or Rep. Bob Matsui's funeral. Schwarzenegger's office had alerted the Guard because of protesters' demands that the Guard come home from Iraq. Now, Hart said, people are confusing the Guard's clipping service with its real terrorism intelligence unit at the California Justice Department.


...I'd hate to think that the Guard — already spread thin on multiple tours in Iraq — would still muster manpower for a granny-watch.

Here's why we're twitchy. Federal agencies, from the early Cold War into the 1970s, collected dossiers on thousands of blameless Americans. I have the FBI files of a really suspicious character: former LAPD cop and Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley.

Old Folks At Home

This program is so sensible I can't believe the government is involved:

Program pays families to house seniors

Massachusetts has begun paying family members to house and care for their frail older relatives in an effort to keep them out of nursing homes and save the state money.

The program pays $1,500 a month to caregivers to make it more feasible for family members to provide round-the-clock care to a senior who needs extensive help with everyday tasks, such as eating, bathing, dressing, and using the toilet. It has enrolled 21 seniors since beginning on a trial basis in March, and will expand this fall to as many as 80 low-income seniors or disabled people, funded by $2 million in the state budget signed into law last week.

The state's goal is to provide the housing and home care that seniors want while reducing admissions to expensive nursing homes. The state expects to spend $1.6 billion for nursing home care this year.

''It's offering people a more compassionate level of care provided by people they know they're comfortable with . . . at a cost about half that of a nursing home," said Representative Barbara L'Italien, an Andover Democrat who pressed for inclusion of the money in the budget. She and other officials expect the program will be expanded to serve many more in future years. Advocates say as many as 8,000 people could be eligible, depending on the criteria ultimately set by the state.

Malpractice Facts

Study Says Malpractice Payouts Aren't Rising

A study to be released today by the Center for Justice and Democracy, a consumer advocacy group in New York, may add fuel to that debate. The study, compiled from regulatory filings by insurers to state regulators, finds that net claims for medical malpractice paid by 15 leading insurance companies have remained flat over the last five years, while net premiums have surged 120 percent.

From 2000 to 2004, the increase in premiums collected by the leading 15 medical malpractice insurance companies was 21 times the increase in the claims they paid, according to the study. (The net totals in the study are calculated after accounting for reinsurance.)

Of the 15 companies examined, 9 are mutual insurers owned by their policyholders, 3 have publicly traded stock but are part of larger conglomerates and 3 are publicly traded and focus primarily on medical malpractice. The stock prices of those three companies have each risen more than 100 percent since May 2002.

"In recent years, medical malpractice hasn't been unprofitable but it's been phenomenally profitable," said Jay Angoff, the former state insurance commissioner of Missouri and a consultant on the study.

Dont' believe the hype. Trial lawyers aren't the problem. Juries aren't the problem.


The Times They Are A Changin'

HOF honors girl, 11, who threw perfect game

COOPERSTOWN — An 11-year-old girl who pitched a perfect Little League baseball game in May was honored Thursday afternoon at the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

Katie Brownell of Oakfield, a town between Buffalo and Rochester, is the only girl in her town’s Little League.

She struck out every batter she faced in a six-inning game May 14.


After Katie donated her jersey, the Hall presented a forum and introduced Maria Pepe, a groundbreaking Little League player, and Lance Van Auken, a spokesman for Little League, to the audience.

Pepe said that when she 11 in 1971, she signed up to play Little League baseball in Hoboken, N.J.

"I played three games, but there was a lot of controversy" because she was a girl, she said.

She was asked to turn in her uniform and did so reluctantly. Members of the National Organization for Women heard of her situation and called her parents, she said.

Eventually, NOW worked to bring her case before New Jersey’s Division of Civil Rights, and a state court ruled in her favor in 1974, opening the door for girls to play in Little League, she said.

By then, she was too old to play, "but my father told me to think of all the girls who would come after me," she said.

Van Auken said Little League now has about 400,000 girls playing and about 2.3 million boys.

My younger sister was the first girl in my town to play Little League baseball. I think it was 1973. She was really good. There were fans (parents of other players) who heckled her!

USA 4, Cuba 1

Watched the US's opening match of the CONCACAF Gold Cup last night. Damarcus Beasley & Landon Donovan pulled the US's chestnuts out of the fire after the US let itself go down 1-0 in the 18th minute.

I talked to Mom the Coach & described the US line up (lots of new guys, and a 3-5-2 formation). Coach sez: I like Bruce Arena but sometimes I don't understand his tactics. I never understood this starting out a season or a tournament with anything less than your best team on the field. You can take your foot off the gas once you have the season or the tournament in hand, but why not play your best players at the beginning? And why would you put a defensive formation with new guys who haven't played together too much and haven't played 3 at the back too often in a 3-5-2? Bruce, Bruce.


Damarcus Beasley scored once & set up two and Landon Donovan who only played the final 25 minutes scored twice. Clint Dempsey (of the Revs) started out the scoring but missed several open shots. The game was remarkable for the return of John O'Brien, who hasn't played for the national team in over two years.

Can't wait to see 'em at Foxboro next week. Please, please, Bruce, give us the "A" lineup!

She Can't Drive A Car Yet

But she can sure drive a golf ball!

At 15, Wie Is in Line to Make Men's Cut

The 15-year-old Wie fired a one-under-par 70 in the first round of the John Deere Classic and put herself in a good position to become the first woman to make a PGA Tour cut since Babe Didrikson Zaharias in 1945, at the Tucson Open.

Do you think Michelle Wie knows who Babe Didrickson Zaharias was? Sports Illustrated named her the #2 Female Athlete of all time, and much as I love Jackie Joyner Kersee I would have put "The Babe" #1. Think if she had been around today: An Olympic gold medalist (javelin, hurdles, high jump); a softball player who hit so well they called her "Babe", after Babe Ruth; then a Hall of Famer on the LPGA.

Michelle Wie may break the Babe's golf records, but Babe's all-sport prowess will remain unchallenged.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

A Steaming Pile of Crap

Iraq, London & America's Homeland Insecurity

A good analysis from Sirotablog. Connecting the dots: An illegal war based on a lie(WMD) is now supposedly the war that will keep us safe on our streets at home, taking the fight to foreign soil rather than ours. This latest lie (1) insults our troops, who are apparently decoys for the war on terror in Iraq, and (2) makes us less safe, since to pay for the based-on-lies-war we SHORTCHANGE SPENDING ON ACTUAL SECURITY WITHIN our borders.

Before reading this piece I did not realize that our brilliant Congress recently voted to gut funding for transit security, reducing it by 1/3, from $150 million to $100 million. Like, terrorists would never think of bombing subways or buses in the United States.

His concluding grafs:

And that's why today's tragic bombing frighteningly highlights just how misguided our entire national security strategy really is. First our government lied to us about why we were going to war in the first place. Then, when that dishonesty was exposed, we got fed another steaming pile of crap about how the war in Iraq was protecting us from terrorists because it was diverting terrorists' attention.

It is now painfully clear that those rationales were not designed to level with the American people – they were designed with one thing in mind: scaring us into supporting what should have been an unsupportable war, at the very time when we should have been focused on and scared about a far more serious challenge: securing the homeland after the worst terrorist attack in American history.

Judy, Judy, Judy

Why this journalist thinks that Judy Miller should go to jail

[] Judy Miller's actions in recent years -- a pattern that includes this case -- have been the very antithesis of what we think journalism is and should be all about. Ultimately, the heart and soul of real journalism is not so much protecting "sources" at any cost. It is, rather, living up to the 19th Century maxim set forth by Peter Finley Dunne, that journalists should comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.

That is why the ability of reporters to keep the identity of their true sources confidential is protected by shield laws in 31 states and the District of Columbia (although not in federal courts). Without such protections, the government official would not be able to report the wrongdoing of a president (remember "Deep Throat," the ultimate confidential source?), nor would the corporate executive feel free to rat out a crooked CEO. The comfortable and corrupt could not be afflicted.

But the Times' Judy Miller has not been afflicting the comfortable. She has been protecting them, advancing their objectives, and helping them to mislead a now very afflicted American public. In fact, thinking again about Watergate and Deep Throat is a good way to understand why Judy Miller should not be protected today. Because in Watergate, a reporter acting like Miller would not be meeting the FBI's Mark Felt in an underground parking garage. She would be obsessively on the phone with H.R. Haldeman or John Dean, listening to malicious gossip about Carl Bernstein or their plans to make Judge Sirica look bad.

London Transit Blasts

Blair: A Barbaric Attack (The Mirror)

London rocked by terror attacks (BBC)

Explosions reported on three buses (This is London)

6 Blasts Rock London, Killing at Least Two (The Guardian)

Explosions hit London as G8 leaders meet (Reuters UK)

Bombs strike terror in London ( UK)

Eyewitness accounts:

GerryInLondon (on dailykos)

A livejournal community has been set up to share information and follow the story.

UK Blog Aggregator

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Title IX Book From Unlikely Source

Title IX's next hurdle

By a writer for the Wall Street Journal!

Here's an excerpt, read the whole article:

Despite the challenges, the benefits of Title IX have never been more apparent. Passed when many universities restricted admissions for women, the law initially was intended to end discrimination such as quotas that limited females to 10 percent or less of medical schools, law schools and other professional programs. Today, about half the law-school and medical-school students and roughly 57 percent of all college students are women.

Since the law was passed, the number of girls participating in high-school varsity sports has also increased, growing tenfold, to nearly three million, while the number of women in collegiate sports has grown more than fivefold, to about 160,000.

While the debate has focused on athletics, Title IX originally wasn't about sports at all. In a new book for young people, "Let Me Play: The Story of Title IX," Wall Street Journal editor Karen Blumenthal details how one of the nation's most controversial civil-rights laws came about and the enormous impact it has had. An adaptation:

Lesser Frogmarch

New York Times Reporter Is Jailed for Keeping Source Secret

Hard to feel great sympathy for Judith Miller. She should have been frogmarched off the premises of the New York Times once they realized how biased her reporting was leading up to the war in Iraq. Instead they published a wimpy 'ooh, we were wrong, sorry' piece without even mentioning that the majority of their 'we were wrong' articles were written by Miller. (for a dissection of the Times non-mea culpa mea culpa, read Alexander Coburn's "Maybe We Did Screw Up...a Little")

Will her good friend Ahmed Chalabi come to visit her in jail? Bob Novak-ula? (When I was a kid, he was "No Facts", of "Errors and No Facts", but since his old partner Rowland Evans retired he's become even more sinister.)

Now those are a couple of guys who should be in jail.

A girl can dream, can't she?

Chickenhawk Alert

Ship Young Pataki Straight to Iraq

[G]overnor [Pataki], who proudly announced last week that his son has been commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Marines, also noted that Teddy Pataki hopes to defer his military service for three years until he finishes law school.


At the Republican National Convention last year, Gov. Pataki praised President George W. Bush for having the courage to invade Iraq and overthrow Saddam Hussein. And just as Bush did in his speech Tuesday night, the governor strove mightily to link Hussein to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

But with the daily war toll mounting, why wouldn't his son want to put off serving for a while?

Because George Pataki is a hypocrite. Praising the war on one hand, shielding his own family with the other. Sending poor New Yorkers in his son's place.

Hey Teddy Pataki: You signed up for the Marine Officer Training program. The Marines need you. It's time for you to perform your side of the contract.

You don't need to go law school to figure this one out.

From United States Navy and the Naval Reserve to Iraq Detainee

The New York Times got the headline on this story wrong.

From Filmmaker in Los Angeles to Iraq Detainee

LOS ANGELES, July 5 - Like a lot of aspiring filmmakers in Los Angeles, Cyrus Kar was obsessed with his project, a documentary about an ancient Persian king who championed tolerance and human rights even as he built an empire that stretched across the Near East.

But Mr. Kar, 44, a naturalized American born in Iran, followed his dream where few others might have gone. In mid-May, he traveled to Iraq with an Iranian cameraman to film archaeological sites around Babylon. After a taxi they were in was stopped in Baghdad, the two men were arrested by Iraqi security forces, who found what they suspected might be bomb parts in the vehicle.

Since then, Mr. Kar has been held in what his relatives and their lawyers describe as a frightening netherworld of American military detention in Iraq - charged with no crime but nonetheless unable to gain his freedom or even tell his family where he is being held.

He is one of four men with dual American citizenship who have been detained in Iraq beginning in April, a Defense Department official said. But none of the others - all Iraqi-Americans suspected of ties to the insurgency - nor an accused Jordanian-American terrorist operative captured in a raid last year appear to have had anything like Mr. Kar's ties to the United States.

Mr. Kar, the son of an Iranian physician, came to the United States when he was 2 and was raised partly in Utah and Washington State, where he played high school football. He attended college in California, received a master's degree in technology management from Pepperdine University, worked for years in Silicon Valley and served in the United States Navy and the Naval Reserve.

The question must be asked, would this be happening to him if he was white?

GWB: A President Totally 'Detached from Humanity'

Mom, Who Lost Son In Iraq, Talks About 'Disgusting' White House Private Meeting With Bush

So when Sheehan received an invitation to meet privately with President Bush at the White House two months after her son died, the least she could have expected was a bit of compassion or a kind word coming from the heart.

But what she encountered was an arrogant man with eyes lacking the slightest bit of compassion, a President totally "detached from humanity" and a man who didn’t even bother to remember her son’s name when they were first introduced.

Instead of a kind gesture or a warm handshake, Sheehan said she immediately got a taste of Bush arrogance when he entered the room and "in a condescending tone and with a disgusting loud Texas accent," said: "Who we’all honorin’ here today?"

"His mouth kept moving, but there was nothing in his eyes or anything else about him that showed me he really cared or had any real compassion at all. This is a human being totally disconnected from humanity and reality. His eyes were empty, hollow shells and he was acting like I should be proud to just be in his presence when it was my son who died for his illegal war! It was one of the most disgusting experiences I ever had and it took me almost a year to even talk about it," said Sheehan in a telephone conversation from Washington D.C. where she was attending a July 4th anti-war rally.

Sheehan said the June 2004 private meeting with the President went from bad to worse to a nightmare when Bush acted like he didn’t even want to know her name. She said Bush kept referring to her as ‘Ma’ or ‘Mom’ while he "put on a phony act," saying things like ‘Mom, I can’t even imagine losing a loved one, a mother or a father or a sister or a brother.’

"The whole meeting was simply bizarre and disgusting, designed to intimidate instead of providing compassion. He didn’t even know our names," said Sheehan. "Finally I got so upset I just looked him in the eye, saying ‘I think you can imagine losing someone. You have two daughters. Imagine losing them?’ After I said that he just looked at me, looked at me with no feeling or caring in his eyes at all."

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

George W. Bush, Flag Desecrater

From patridiotwatch:

Flag Desecration Bill, Redux

George Bush signed American Flags on July 24, 2003, a desecration according to American standards. Now he and his party want a Constitutional Amendment against desecrating flags. Hypocrites.

Click on the link: There's a picture of C+ Augustus laying pen to flag.

Dumb & dumber.

The evolution of national concern about the flag has always amused me. When I was a kid, hippies wore the American flag on the pockets of their jeans & got put in jail. In the 80s, Tommy Hilfiger outfitted the country in t-shirts & jeans with flags on the pockets & made millions. The same people who want to make flagburning a crime sit their fat a**es in American flag chairs. Burning, I believe, is still the only proper way to dispose of an American flag. George W. Bush who is salivating over a no flag-desecration bill writes on flags. Does no one see the ironies here?