First, a big thank you to Kat for noting Ben Harper's new CD Both Sides of the Gun. I saw that earlier this week and knew I had to get it but there just hasn't been time this week. Tonight, I did get it. I was so tired, I was going up and down the aisles. Rebecca will laugh at that because we've always said the Clash's "Lost In The Supermarket" could have been written about C.I. That's exactly what it was like. Until you've spent a half hour or more with C.I. attempting to figure out whether to purchase something -- sometimes just a bag of chips, you don't know "Lost In The Supermarket." We both remember the night in college where C.I. spent an hour contemplating which of two chips to purchase before deciding . . . neither. I told myself I was going in for Ben Harper's CD and then leaving. Instead, I was wondering around and, every now and then, I'd remember that I wanted to leave but then I'd be distracted because I was tired and end up looking at something else. I've always understood those moments but never really lived in one myself until tonight.
"Iraq Death Toll Tops 80 Over Past Two Days" (Democracy Now!):
In other news from Iraq, at least 80 people have died over the past two days in a series of drive-by shootings, roadside bombings and executions. In one of the deadliest attacks, a suicide bomber blew himself up outside the major crimes unit of the Interior Ministry killing 25.
Iraqis continue to die. Where's the body count? How are we "helping" with the vast number of Iraqis being killed? Kat and C.I. both guessestimate that we're almost at half a million by now, very close to it. I've been asking people what they think the number is at. Not "what's the number" but what they think the number is. The more informed the person, regardless of right or left position, the higher they thought the number was. There is a guy who does all the deliveries to the office. He is very attractive and Sunny thinks he's perfect. He guessed ten thousand. I asked, as I'm asking everyone, where he gets his news from and he said he usually doesn't watch the news. Which is why we should still have newsbreaks between shows on TV. Jessica Savitch did them on Saturday nights (including her on air meltdown). For some people, that may have been the only time they saw news. But you'd probably lose out on one or two commercials and better to have profits than an informed public.
(Then again, the way the corporate media works these days, it may be a good thing that they no longer provide news breaks during entertainment programming.) So he sometimes watches the TV news. (Not very often, he said.) He never reads a paper and he only listens to "classic rock" on the radio. What about magazines? Nope.
I'm not picking on him, by the way. (And I did tell him before he started answering that I'd probably be writing about it.) This was true of everyone who didn't follow the news in any form. Those who did, guessed much higher. The ones who followed it a little went with 30,000 because Bully Boy used that figure (some time ago). Most people were guessing a quarter of a million or a half-million if they followed the news from multiple sources.
But the ones who didn't, like the delivery guy, were inclined to make comments like, "Well the killings have stopped, right?" (Happy ending for the delivery guy story. Sunny was attempting to flirt and he wasn't noticing. She finally stopped playing coy and came right out with it. After she asked him out, he agreed immediately and I'll hear the details Monday. She was excited about it all day.)
"U.S. Rounds Up All Adult Males in Iraqi Village" (Democracy Now!):
Meanwhile to the west of Baghdad, over 1,000 U.S. troops have surrounded a village near Abu Ghraib. After the town was cordoned off, U.S. soldiers conducted house-to-house searches and rounded up the entire adult male population of the town. Soldiers handcuffed and then interrogated every man in the village. After questioning, each man was marked with an X on the back of their necks. One U.S. colonel defended the operation saying "What we're doing is building a Michelin guide to the area."
After awhile, I start to think that it can't get anymore disgusting, the news coming out of Iraq, and then a report like this comes along. We're tagging them? Like they're cattle? This is the sort of behavior at the root of the inability to win "hearts & minds" four years after we invaded. That it's justified (and seen as normal) demonstrates just how much we've turned the Iraqis into the "other."
"Doctors Calls Could Have been Captured" (Katherine Shrader, Associated Press):
The National Security Agency would not have been barred from capturing communications between doctors and patients or attorneys and their clients during its controversial warrantless surveillance program, the Justice Department told Congress Friday.
Such communications normally receive special legal protections.
"Although the program does not specifically target the communications of attorneys or physicians, calls involving such persons would not be categorically excluded from interception," the department said in responses to questions from lawmakers.
The Center for Constitutional Rights filed their lawsuit because they had concerns that the government might be violating attorney-client privilege. It's looking like CCR was correct to be concerned.
Though I don't treat patients over the phone, there are some who will call and go into a number of details that I doubt they'd note over the phone if they knew the government could be listening in. Not because of some illegal activity, but they wouldn't note it because it's about their lives and deeply personal. Everything's out the window with the Bully Boy. We are all fair game when it comes to illegal spying.
By the way, please visit Some Historical Perspective. I'm pretty worn out tonight so I'll just note some posts worth reading:
"NYT: Edward Wong: fluffer or stand up comedian?"
"news roundup and grace (will & grace) socks it to the repubes"
"Iraq, Puerto Rico, Chalmers Johnson and Richard Pryor"
"Will Interview With The Vampire become the new Catcher in the Rye?"
"And the war drags on (Indymedia roundup)"
"THIS JUST IN! CONDI RICE HAS HER OWN SET OF RIDERS"
"THIS JUST IN! CONDI RICE HAS HER OWN SET OF RIDERS"