Wednesday, September 07, 2005

f mass destructInterview with Mike this evening

C.I. told me today that it is so hard to keep quiet but Mike has been on me to start up a site and since the interview is this evening, it just made sense to let him break the news. I'll probably play with him a bit before telling him that I've started this site.

I don't know that I'm ever going to have much to offer. The feedback I got when I was filling in for Rebecca was usually from people who grabbed something here and carried it further. So maybe my approach is just to scatter seeds? The Johnny Appleseed of the net?

Did you catch Kat's review of Joan Baez's Bowery Songs CD over at The Common Ills? I think she captured the CD perfectly.

I'm going to note two items from Democracy Now! and then finish this. Mike's supposed to be calling in a moment for the interview.

Toxic Water Being Pumped Back Into River & Lake (Democracy Now!)
In environmental news -- officials are warning that it could take years to restore clean drinking water in New Orleans. Mayor Nagin's office said E coli bacteria had been found in the flood water, which is contaminated by sewage, dead bodies and toxic chemicals washed out of oil refineries, hospitals and other industrial plants. According to ABC News, flood water in the city's Ninth Ward contains 45,000 times as much bacteria as considered safe for swimming. To make matters worse, 530 of the city's sewage treatment plants remain inoperable. The Army Corps of Engineers has begun pumping the contaminated water into Lake Pontchartrain and the Mississippi River. The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality told reporters Tuesday that there really isn't any alternative to pumping the water into the lake or river.

I'm curious as to why there is no alternative and, to be honest, not in agreement that there is no alternative. I think this will be one of the longterm problems that will last for years and, like so much else involved in this tragedy, it's man made.

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

When I heard that today, and I'm usually only able to catch the first twenty to thirty minutes on the radio and that's if I'm ordering lunch in, I thought about how this didn't just happen. It took five years of a climate for it to happen. The press isn't blameless. They've too often demonstrated that they will be cowed on any story, big or small. On another level, the Bully Boy's attacked them repeatedly. We've seen the deaths of so many journalists in Iraq and that adds into the climate. The press isn't respected today and that's largely their own fault. They should have been fighting for their rights the last five years. Instead, they took not only dictation but also orders from the White House. They let the administration determine what the nation saw. Whether it was not showing violent images or not airing a tape by Osama, they turned over their editorial duties to the Bully Boy.

Now everyone thinks they can push the press around. It is not solely their fault but they do share the blame for not fighting for the truth, for the people being lied about, and for themselves.

"Peace Quotes" (Peace Center)
No matter how big a nation is, it is no stronger that its weakest people, and as long as you keep a person down, some part of you has to be down there to hold him down, so it means you cannot soar as you might otherwise.
Marian Anderson