Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Live coverage of the Michael Hayden hearing on KPFA (9:00 a.m. ET)

"TV review: Law & Order: Trial by Jury" (Ava and C.I., The Third Estate Sunday Review):
Making what we're sure was a brave acting choice, Amy Carlson sports cleavage often. Since the show provides no backstory for any of the characters, we invented our own.
Carlson's Kelly Gaffney (who thinks up these names?) (or were they "ripped from the phone book?") was a mousy, flat chested thing throughout high school and college. As her gift for getting into law school, her boyfriend, Lance Beverly, paid for implants. Alas, Kelly was so overjoyed at the prospect of permanently strapping on two floatation devices, she failed to check and see where Lance, a poor boy from uptown, got the money. Turns out he was dealing crack. Kelly found this out after he was arrested. She took an an oath, then and there, to clean up the streets and to wait for Lance to finish serving his term. But he got shanked in prison, probably for having the name Lance Beverly, and now she's left with only the sense of purpose and the memory of him. So every time she lifts and drops the implants, she's doing it to remember him. She must think of him constantly.
Carlson won a daytime Emmy for playing Josie on Another World in 1998. Her big moment, that no doubt cinched the win, was when Josie, four months pregnant, got shoved out a window, fell five stories, landed on a trampoline and miscarried. After that, it's no surprise Carlson's drained. Which explains her low key, some might say non-existant, characterization at present.

I'm opening with that tonight because so much of the news today bothered me. I'm not funny like Wally (who has a wonderful take on some of the events in "THIS JUST IN! IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN A GOOD DAY FOR THE BULLY BOY!") so I figured I'd open with that. It's from one of my favorite reviews that Ava and C.I. have done. That's not even my favorite part but the part I figured would be the most easy to follow for readers who don't know the review.

For that edition, The Third Estate Sunday Review was tripping back to the sixties. Ava and C.I. weren't told ahead of time that this would include their review. That was sprung on them at the last minute. So they write as though they're two high schoolers in what may be the period when America was in Vietnam or may be current times. It's very funny.

I hope you were able to catch Cindy Sheehan and Anthony Arnove on KPFA's The Morning Show. They were on the first hour and it was a speech by each of them. There was a part in Sheehan's speech where she said something to the effect of, "This next line may be too much but I wrote it and like the way it sounds." It was a wonderful line that followed but I enjoyed her aside. She's had such a huge impact on the peace movement and gives so much that sometimes I forget about that side of her. I found it very charming. Sunny was able to listen to the full program but I only heard the first hour before I had my first session. She asked me to note that
Larry Bensky and Mitch Jesserich will cover the Michael Hayden hearing tomorrow live on KPFA. (9:00 a.m. Eastern Time is when it starts.) I don't know which, if any, other Pacifica stations will cover it. Jesserich is with WBAI so they may cover it as well. But everyone, including KPFA, is in fund raising mode so for any of the stations to stop that to carry the coverage is a big deal. I can't imagine that even one NPR would stop their pledge drive to carry coverage -- and they're not covering this live. So if you have any money you can afford to give, please donate to the Pacifica station of your choice. If you don't have a station of your choice, then you need to try them out and find one that speaks to you. This is independent media. You support it or it goes away. That's reality. Pacifica predates NPR and started, I think, in 1949 with the first station (KPFA). If everyone who could donate and who believes in independent media would donate, Pacifica could reach an even larger audience. It's available online so, if you can listen on your computer, there's not an excuse to say, "Oh well, there's not one in my area." Provided you are able to listen online, it's global.

Listening, and I mainly listen to WBAI or KPFA, I have to wonder how different things would be if every city had a Pacifica broadcasting over the airwaves? We're lucky to be able to listen to any of them online but there are people who don't have computer access or they have computers that they can't listen to programming on due to it being older computers. (Or they are hearing impaired and, if that's the case for you, remember that Democracy Now! provides transcripts at their web site -- as well as allowing you to listen to a show or watch the video of one.)

Rebbeca's "things that make you applaud and the things that make you go 'wtf'?" was funny and to the point. I agree with her that it's really sad that left (and "left") sites don't note the work of Amy Goodman and others. The week before last, you saw links online to Ray McGovern at CNN or MSNBC and you really didn't see a lot of sites steering you the interview Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez did with him. I don't understand why we reward the corporate media that helped lie us into war? It seems like one of the lessons of the lies of war would be that we need our independent media. But we don't seem to go there. It seems like a lot of links go out to corporate media when there are independent choices. I can understand using corporate media when it's something that you can't find an independent source for. But when you've got the choice, I don't know why you wouldn't make indymedia your first choice?

We can grow independent media or we can wait until the Iran war is underway and fret over the fact that the corporate media again lied us into war. It's like we reached out to play with the flames coming out of the burner in February, 2003 and now, three years later, we're back to saying, "Oh, pretty flames" and about to try to touch them again.

I didn't hear it but Sunny said Philip Maldari (co-host of The Morning Show) made comments on the importance of independent media yesterday and today that made her want to cry "because he was so passionate and so right." Sunny said yesterday he was talking about it in relation to the impeachment discussion they'd had (see C.I.'s "Talking entry") and how you weren't going to hear that kind of a discussion on corporate media (I don't know if he included NPR as corporate media or not, and forgot to ask Sunny, but I consider NPR corporate media). There are amazing programs and maybe you just go to blogs for news? If that's the case, there are music programs, comedy programs, public affairs programs, health programs, pretty much everything you could imagine. Pulling from all the stations in the network, I'd guess that there is a show that speaks to you or would if you'd sample.

If you already do listen, help get the word out on the programming and how you still do have free speech and actual public broadcasting. There is always talk of how we need to create a network (audio or video) for people who aren't drinking the Kool Aid. That network exists and it's Pacifica. You can help it grow or you can turn on Hardball or whatever else and be fed a bunch of spin from a bunch of people who make a living spitting out conventional wisdom and are never accountable for the fact that they are wrong.

Pacifica isn't about trying to please the beltway crowd in DC, it's about people and voices. The sort of thing NPR was supposed to be.

So that's my pitch. (I don't care whether you donate or not. I'd hope you would if you're able to. I do care whether or not you are listening. Please sample the programming.) Please visit Mikey Likes It! for Mike's thoughts.

"UNICEF: 25% of Iraqi Children Suffer Malnutrition" (Democracy Now!):
Meanwhile, a survey carried out by the Iraqi government and UNICEF has concluded a quarter of all Iraqi children suffer from malnutrition.

You can find some statistics on life expectancy, literacy, mortality rate by clicking here. C.I.'s Iraq snapshot on Monday noted this and I posted it here on Monday but I'm just amazed at how little attention it has garnered. (Democracy Now! noted it, one more reason to support independent media.) I was outraged Monday and thought, "Well this is going to be a big story."
It hasn't been. Is it because it doesn't fit into the pleasing motif everyone's pushing ("Iraq's about to have a cabinet!")

Maybe in two and a half years, corporate media will tip-toe around this story the way the did the revelations from the Downing Street Memos (the proof that we were lied into war with "fixed" intelligence)?

"NYPD Investigated For Conduct At 2004 RNC" (Democracy Now!):
Democracy Now! has learned the Justice Department has launched a criminal civil rights investigation of the New York Police Department over the NYPD's treatment of protesters during the Republican National Convention. During the week of the 2004 convention, police arrested some 1800 protesters -- more than at any previous political convention in the country’s history.

For more on this --

"FBI Launches Probe of NYPD Over RNC Protests" (Democracy Now!):
Democracy Now has learned the Justice Department has launched a criminal investigation of the New York Police Department over the NYPD's treatment of protesters during the Republican National Convention. During the week of the 2004 convention, police arrested some 1800 protesters -- more than at any previous political convention in the country's history.

I am remembering the real time coverage Amy Goodman and everyone provided of the RNC convention and the tactics used. That included housing those arrested in a jail that was a health hazard. I think it was Elizabeth Press (if not, I'll note the proper name Friday) who reported on the Critical Mass ride the Friday before the convention and how the police were out of control. I remember a story Amy Goodman did on these sort of net or mesh that was being used to sweep up the protestors. But, point, today's story was a time that they could have tooted their own horn and then some. They did an amazing job covering the convention and the events (official and non-official) around it. They even expanded the daily broadcast to two hours for the RNC convention and for the DNC convention. That wasn't on one day, that was for the full week. While corporate media yawned and said there was nothing to cover, Goodman & co found stories that needed to be told. Which is why, two years later, when this is news, they don't have to play catch up. They were there when it mattered, they were there when it counted.

Friday, I'll write some additional thoughts about college. I'm not in the mood for it tonight. The UNICEF story, or rather the silence that has greeted it, really has worn me down today. If I hadn't read the TV commentaries (noted above) to find a better mood, I probably wouldn't have blogged tonight.

"Iraq snapshot" ("Democracy Now: Frederick Schwarz discusses the Church Committee and implications for today," The Common Ills):
Iraq snapshot.
Yesterday, as
reported by Richard A. Oppel Jr. and Omar al Neami, nine corpses were found in Iraq, there were drive bys, bombs -- chaos and violence. The hallmark of the illegal occupation.
BBC notes the kidnapping, in Baghdad Tuesday, of an unnamded diplomat with the United Arab Emirates. CNN notes that this "attack was the second in two weeks involving employees of the UAE embassy in Iraq. On May 3, two Iraqis working for the embassy were killed during an attack on their car, according to the Emirates News Agency." The AFP identifies him as: Naji al-Nuami "Abu Rashid" (parenthesis are the AFP's). While one person with al-Noaimi was reported as wounded, Reuters reports that the man has now died from the gun shot wounds (he's identified only as a "Sudanese driver.")
CNN, the Associated Press and BBC note that Iraqi prime minister-designate Nuri al-Maliki will, apparently, announce his cabinet nominations this Saturday. As the rah-rah-rah-put-on-Etta-James'-"At Last!"-mood builds, it's left to AFP to note the obvious: the parliment meets Saturday because the constitutional deadline is Monday, the 22nd. al-Maliki has already missed his own imposed deadline. The Monday deadline is not optional. Hassan al-Sunaid informed the AFP that professional liar (my term) Ahmed Chalabi is in the running for head of the interior ministry (competing with Qassem Daoud).
While that goes on under the watchful eye of the United States administration,
Des Browne, England's defense secretary, again put forth the line that England might be withdrawing from Iraq. "The line"? British members have grown tired of what they see as empty talk. If that seems harsh or negative to any Pollyanish on Iraq visitors, Browne also maintains that things are hunky dory in Basra. (They're not and we'll get to that in a moment.)
Reuters notes that four police officers have been wounded from two roadside bombs in Baghdad (one near the hospital al-Kindi, the other at a check point). The Associated Press notes that two corpses ("handcuffed and shot in the head") have been discovered in Baghdad.
And while Baghdad gets a great deal of press attention (due to the Green Zone being located there), it shouldn't be the only focus.
Patrick Cockburn notes that "One person is being assassinated in Basra every hour, as order in Iraq's second city disintegrates, according to an Iraqi Defence Ministry." Along with details on Basra, Cockburn covers the malnutrition going on Iraq. (From Monday: "Meanwhile Australia's ABC notes the "UN-backed government survey" on malnutrition in Iraq which has found that "almost one child in every 10 aged between six months and five years, suffered acute malnourishment." This is a story that should be receiving more attention than it's getting.)
In addition to Cockburn's report (and the
Democracy Now! item above), for more on the widespread malnutrition plaguing Iraq, you can read this UNICEF report. You should especially read it if you're one of the ones (I'm not talking about members here) who've kidded yourself and wasted everyone's time with "A school room was painted!" That ___ has been meaningless and was always meaningless. "A rapid post-war nutritional assessment carried out by UNICEF in Baghdad found that acute malnutrition or wasting, measured by a child's weight for height, has nearly doubled from four per cent a year ago, to almost eight per cent." But all the US administration has been concerned with has been cutting (and ending) the subsidies program in place before the occupation. We're in year four of the illegal occupation. Read the report and then keep kidding yourself that a paint job or ceiling fan anywhere was anything other than window dressing.
Violence has continued in other areas of Iraq as well. Here are two reported events outside Baghdad. In Diyali,
KUNA notes that "an Iraqi officer was killed and two others were injured" in an explosion. In Bauba, Reuters notes that four people are dead and 11 wounded following an explosion and gunfire
For Knight Ridder,
Edward Colimore takes a look at American women serving in Iraq and notes that "nearly 400 female service members" have been wounded, "11 have had amputation," over "50 others have been killed."