September, 2005 link archive

Thursday, September 1, 2005

The New York Times credits President Bush with giving "one of the worst speeches of his life ... an address of a quality more appropriate for an Arbor Day celebration." He followed up with a call for people to "take personal responsibility."

The WSWS observes that in his initial remarks on Katrina," Bush made no statement committing the federal government to a significant or sustained effort to aid the citizens of New Orleans and other areas that have been shattered by the hurricane."

An Astrodome executive offered assurances that the Houston facility is "not a jail," and promised refugees "the freedom to come and go," while Paul Craig Roberts and Molly Ivins review 'How New Orleans Was Lost.'

Analyzing the avoidance of race and class in TV coverage of Katrina, Slate's Jack Shafer writes, "What I wouldn't pay to hear a Fox anchor ask, 'Say, Bob, why are these African-Americans so poor to begin with?'" Plus: "take a close look at the people you see wandering, devastated, around New Orleans."

Bruce Reed sees Bush heading for "the Incaviglia line," named for the former Bush employee who was "the last player to lead the major leagues in both strikeouts and errors in the same season." Plus: Watch out, damned Yankees.

Fiyo on the Bayou An EPA analyst is quoted as saying that "there is not enough money in the gross national product of the United States to dispose of the amount of hazardous material in the [New Orleans] area."

Although 'No One Can Say they Didn't See it Coming,' disaster experts tell Knight Ridder that the 'Federal government wasn't ready for Katrina,' and a Pascagoula man said, "We're lost. We have no direction, no leadership. People are in bad trouble."

Oil rigs go missing in the Gulf of Mexico, but elsewhere, more pollution is the solution, says John Callahan.

After a call from a gasoline broker "pushed him over the edge," 'Fed-Up Owner Closes Pumps In Protest,' telling the Hartford Courant that "Hurricane Katrina is merely another excuse to justify somebody ... making an illicit profit."

With New Orleans music legends Fats Domino and Allen Toussaint reported to be missing, a TV producer finds longtime Fats saxman Reggie Houston providing the soundtrack in a West Coast nightclub while "at the other end of the room, the endless loops of devastation played on CNN."

Although CENTCOM says "there will be no large-scale shifting of U.S. troops from Iraq and Afghanistan" to help out on the Gulf Coast, "help" of a whole other kind is reportedly racing to the scene.

After reports of "a death blow to an agency," TPM Cafe visitors debate 'What happened to FEMA?'

A VOA report says that "Iraqi security officials, politicians, and the U.S. military in Baghdad" are "questioning the facts" regarding a deadly bridge stampege in which "900 Shiites ... allegedly perished."

Former CIA director George Tenet's vow not to let himself become "the fall guy" over the CIA inspector general's report on the agency's performance before 9/11, is said to create "a potential crisis for the White House." Plus: 'Israel and 9/11: New report connects the dots.'

After describing a protest at the funeral of a soldier killed in Iraq that was organized by the anti-gay Westboro Baptist church, Fox News host Sean Hannity reportedly said, "I guess this is just another example of how the anti-war left supports our brave troops." And Westboro says, 'Thank God for Katrina.'

Arriving in Austin to kick off her "Bring Them Home Now" tour, Cindy Sheehan reportedly received "a rock star's welcome."

As the Times-Picayune 'Reveals True Horror' on its missing persons forum and on its news blog, Billmon compiles a clickable list of Hurricane Relief donation links.

August 31

Friday, September 2, 2005

Journalists 'fear for their own safety' after being "roughed up by police," as troops "fresh back from Iraq" are told to 'Shoot to Kill' in New Orleans.

U.S. Sen. David Vitter, a Republican from Louisiana whose "guess" about the death toll from Katrina in his state is that "it will start at 10,000," also "said he gave the federal government a grade 'F' for its response to the disaster so far," reports AFP.

A CNN reporter said that people he talked to at the Pentagon, "seemed to question the motives of some of our reporters ... about why they had so much sympathy for the victims, and not as much sympathy for the challenges that the government met in meeting this challenge."

Rounding up editorial response to President Bush's handling of the disaster, Editor and Publisher finds him getting ripped, "even in Dallas."

The federal response to Katrina is "a national disgrace," says New Orleans' head of emergency operations, as the White House insists that "Flood control has been a priority of this administration from Day One."

"I swear, this is the Bush administration in a microcosm," writes Kevin Drum, but the New York Times offers Bush some back-up, despite 'a warning sent but left unheeded.'

Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco's assessment of White House reaction to Katrina is "starkly different" from that of her Mississippi counterpart, who "when pressed with questions about whether the federal response has been inadequate," asked: "Is this an argument or an interview?" Plus: 'Where was Delta?'

Reuters reports that "the damage in New Orleans probably would have been much less extensive had flood-control efforts been fully funded over the years," according to the former head of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, who was "forced out" in 2002 after he criticized the Bush administration's proposed spending cuts.

After the Army Corps of Engineers spent three days lamenting "the difficulty of gaining access," reports the Washington Post, a local contractor "drove to the mouth" of the 17th Street Canal and "began driving steel slabs into the breach."

The Times-Picayune reports that about 100 people died at Chalmette Slip, where they were deposited after being rescued from their rooftops, while thousands were still 'awaiting deliverance.'

A July 24, 2005 article in the Times-Picayune began, "City, state and federal emergency officials are preparing to give the poorest of New Orleans' poor a historically blunt message: In the event of a major hurricane, you're on your own."

We're Number One Tallahassee hotels said they would be forced to evict hurricane refugees to make way for football fans, while in Houston there was no room at the dome.

As CNN's Jack Cafferty and Anderson Cooper go on offense, the Homeland Security Director Michael Chertoff gets tipped off to a story.

The head of FEMA included those New Orleanians "who chose not to leave the city" as being among the residents that his agency is trying to help. And when will those who chose to leave town return?

An American Spectator article bemoans the "dangerous culture" of New Orleans, calling "affirmative action ... the door through which criminals enter the police academy."

Doctors at a charity hospital plead for help -- across the street from a private hospital, which has been evacuated, and a Mississippi mayor is quoted as saying, "No one would have checked on a lot of the black people in these parishes while the sun shined. So am I surprised that no one has come to help us now?"

Pat Buchanan writes that "the antiwar movement has a new argument: What in Iraq is more important than Mississippi and Louisiana?"

"Disaster relief as usual" won't be enough to restore 'The Jewel of the South,' says Witold Rybczynski, but Fats is found. Plus: 'Will the "new" New Orleans be black?'

As one Senate leader was urging another to take the estate tax off the table when the Senate reconvenes next week, to focus on the relief effort for hurricane victims, RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman was making "elimination of the death tax" a priority.

After the U.S. military confirmed that its soldiers killed a Reuters journalist in Iraq but said their action was "appropriate," Reuters global managing editor said, "The idea that the killing of a professional journalist doing his duty could be justified is repugnant to me."

September 1

Saturday, September 3, 2005

"The one constant of this President and his administration," writes Tom Engelhardt, "is that their most essential impulse is never to head for the frontlines themselves -- not in war, not in disaster, not for our safety or our planet's safety, not even on the campaign trail."

Engelhardt notes "one great difference between the American public's experience of the Iraqi War and of the aftermath of Katrina ... This time, our reporters weren't embedded with the troops, and so weren't experiencing mainly the administration's artificially-created version of reality."

'My Pet Goat' -- The Sequel Editor & Publisher's Greg Mitchell adds White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card to the list of top Bush Administration advisers who "chose vacation over action ... Turns out he was Bush's Maine man."

In an article headlined 'White House enacts a plan to ease political damage,' the New York Times reports that "In many ways, the unfolding public relations campaign reflects the style Mr. Rove has brought to the political campaigns he has run for Mr. Bush." Earlier: 'Behind the Curtain'

As Sen. Hillary Clinton calls for a "Katrina Commission," Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid proposes a 'Katrina Relief Plan.'

Raw Story documents how information from U.S. military-generated press releases seeped into articles about Hurricane Katrina. Plus: 'Faulker They Ain't'

In an open letter to President Bush, the Times-Picayune calls for the firing of "Every official at the Federal Emergency Management Agency ... Director Michael Brown especially."

Referring to interviews given by Brown, including one on Friday in which he claimed that people at the city's convention center had "gotten at least one, if not two meals, every single day," the letter says that "Lies don't get more bald-faced than that, Mr. President."

Before New Orleans was 'left to the dead and dying,' a Reuters photographer was denied entry to the convention center by a National Guardsman who reportedly told him, "It doesn't need to be seen, it's a make-shift morgue in there. We're not letting anyone in there anymore. If you want to take pictures of dead bodies, go to Iraq."

One day after Halliburton was awarded a contract to repair naval facilities damaged by Katrina, a Brig. Gen. said New Orleans "is going to look like Little Somalia ... This will be a combat operation to get this city under control," reports the Army Times, which refers to a fight against "the insurgency in the city..."

As the Red Cross explained why it is not in New Orleans, Chicago's mayor said he "was shocked" by a 'federal snub of offers to help.' Read the transcript of New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin's "Get off your asses" interview.

"What is highly surprising now is the disintegration of the administration's mask of competence and confidence," writes Camille Paglia, "as New Orleans sinks day by day into squalor and savagery, a shocking panorama of unrelieved human suffering."

During a "NewsHour" discussion of the political fallout from Katrina, Tom Oliphant spoke of "the anger that is going to come from the realization that virtually all public policy -- state, local, federal, where this area is concerned, has been against the public interests for decades."

In a column that refers to AP reporter Ron Fournier's 'Politicians Failed Storm Victims,' Maureen Dowd asks: "Why does this self-styled 'can do' president always lapse into such lame 'who could have known?' excuses." Plus: Louisiana a victim of bad timing?

Jumping the Gun "Somehow," writes the Daily Howler, "Hardball's" Chris Matthews "had the idea that we had seen the 'full force of a superpower government going to the rescue' by Wednesday night!"

"Kanye West departed from the scripted comments that were prepared for him," said NBC in a statement issued after 'Hip Hop's Class Act' charged that "George Bush doesn't care about black people," during a benefit concert that included Aaron Neville performing "Louisiana 1927."

Los Angeles Times' music critic Robert Hilburn says that by censoring West's remarks critical of Bush during its West Coast feed, "the network violated the most moving and essential moment in an otherwise sterile, self-serving corporate broadcast."

"Like something that came crawling out of the flooded cellars," begins David Neiwert, "the ugly side of right-wing extremism has surfaced in the wake of the disaster in New Orleans..." And an analysis of Katrina coverage finds that the three major cable news networks are largely ignoring "the big elephant in the room."

American Family Association organ amplifies sentiments similar to those expressed at the Westboro Baptist Church's, Plus: 'Blaming Katrina on gays, Israel, and man-on-horse sex.'

September 2

Tuesday, September 6, 2005

As President Bush faces 'Yet Another Gulf War,' "criticism is coming not just from the usual ranks but also from Republican circles," says pollster John Zogby. But Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour insists, "That's all cooked up by the news media and a few enemies of George Bush."

With USA Today reporting that 'Katrina rekindles adversarial media,' and a BBC commentator writing of "Katrinagate," the "conservative echo chamber" is said to be 'Waiting for the Talking Points.'

Former President Bush tells Larry King that he doesn't "want to be in attack mode," but "the media has a fascination, Larry, and you know this." Plus: 'It doesn't just have legs, it has tentacles."

A Washington Times column refers to critics of President Bush's Katrina performance as "vultures of the venomous left," adding that thanks to Haley Barbour, "looters, rapists and killers have not turned the streets of Gulfport and Biloxi into killing fields."

As some of the 'dispossessed' find 'there's no going home,' Barbara Bush says that "what I'm hearing which is sort of scary is they all want to stay in Texas." Plus: "No food, no jobs, nothing," but death.

"It's not just that funds may have gone to Iraq rather than to the levees in New Orleans," writes Nicholas Kristof, explaining why "the poor children evacuated from New Orleans are the lucky ones because they may now get checkups and vaccinations."

Reviewing 'How the Poor Got Trapped' in New Orleans, Will Bunch says that "those people who did not heed the advance warnings were our political leaders."

'Under Water' New Yorker editor David Remnick writes that "over five days last week ... Bush's mettle was tested -- and he failed in almost every respect."

The Bush Commission "What I intend to do is lead an investigation to find out what went right and what went wrong," said President Bush, who also announced that he is sending Vice President Cheney to the Gulf Coast region to help determine whether the government is doing all that it can.

'The Battle of New Orleans' With 50,000 troops now in the 'Katrina zone' and business set to boom for "gunmen loyal to the corporate bottom line," Public Enemy's Chuck D wades in and the mayor of Slidell warns of a possible armed standoff with FEMA.

Houston's capitalists are reportedly "scrambling to profit" in Katrina's aftermath," now that -- in the words of one hedge fund manager -- "the only things left in south Louisiana are snakes and alligators."

Knight Ridder reports that "by opening questions about poverty, race and government policies," Hurricane Katrina has "made landfall" in Washington just in time for John Roberts' confirmation hearings for chief justice. Plus: Alan Dershowitz goes on the offensive on Fox News.

Soldiers at the Trent Lott National Guard Training Complex say that "we had it made in Iraq, absolutely had it made," while in New Orleans, where troops reportedly outnumber inhabitants 10-1, a Guardsman says the city is "just so much like Iraq, it's not funny ... except for all the water, and they speak English."

Insurgents who took over an Iraqi border town, "killing U.S. collaborators and enforcing strict Islamic law," have put up a sign reading "Welcome to the Islamic Republic of Qaim."

Anthony Shadid narrates a video introduction to his "Night Draws Near," excerpted in 1, 2, 3 installments, while a reviewer complains that "Shadid has written his book too soon."

With his vehicular display of Iraq casualty figures, a self-described "public policy participant" provides a model for starting your own "mobile riot."

One-third of U.S. adults have handguns, rifles or shotguns at home, which means '1.7M kids at home with loaded guns,' according to "the largest survey ever done on home weapons storage."

"We hate America ... nice to meet you.' An AP correspondent, dining at a North Korean restaurant in Vladivostok, found the food, the staff and the rhetoric "all direct from Pyongyang."

September 3-5

Wednesday, September 7, 2005

'Military occupation turns New Orleans into war zone,' and it's "situation normal" for a driver from FEMA, pondering typed instructions to deliver 51,840 bottles of water to an address "deep underwater."

FEMA director Michael Brown waited until after Katrina struck the Gulf Coast to seek approval to dispatch 1,000 Homeland security workers, according to documents obtained by the AP, and then gave them two days to report and ordered them to "convey a positive image of disaster operations." Plus: 'The Potemkin President, Part II.'

The Washington Post quotes a State Department spokesman as saying that "to his knowledge, all offers of foreign aid have been accepted," although "nearly all endeavors remained mired yesterday in bureaucratic entanglements, in most cases," at 'Bush's Witt-less FEMA.'

While FEMA may be 'packed with W's pals,' help is on the way.

As Think Progress and Uggabugga provide timelines to track the Bush administration's response to Hurricane Katrina, the Chicago Tribune reports that the 'Administration's figures on response don't appear to add up.'

"If the president really wants to turn around the perception that he's failed," writes Slate's John Dickerson, "he has a better option than belated hyperactivity and spin." Plus: Mark Benjamin on the GOP's view that "things are going remarkably well."

Although the disaster area is widely reported to cover 90,000 square miles, the AP quoted Sen. Ted Stevens as saying the Bush administration is "getting a bad rap" for its response to a disaster that is "over an area twice the size of Europe."

Describing Tuesday's White House press briefing, Editor & Publisher writes that "With almost unprecedented vigor, the press corps attacked and probed the federal response to the hurricane disaster ... " Plus: 'Why now is precisely the time for finger-pointing.'

Surveying reactions to a "refreshing surge of real journalistic fury," CJR Daily's Gal Beckerman asks: "Is this 'Katrinagate' a true break from the cheapening of TV journalism that we've all endured in recent years?"

Describing GOP lawmakers' plans to proceed with a $70 billion tax-cut in the wake of Katrina, Mark Schmitt argues that it amounts to "another $70 billion in Medicaid cuts and FEMA cuts and education cuts."

Although "the oil industry blames environmental regulation for limiting number of U.S. refineries," a watchdog group has exposed "internal oil company memos that show how the industry intentionally reduced domestic refining capacity to drive up profits."

During 'Black America's 9/11,' "as tens of thousands cried for help in New Orleans," Defense Secretary Rumsfeld reportedly made a move to get "a closer look at the action," while Vice President Cheney was said to be "missing in action."

The Los Angeles Times reveals "what it's come to" for the NOPD, reporting from a house where 26 homeless officers "sleep next to their guns, scrounge for food, rely on handouts for things like toilet paper, and steal cars."

"Alligators were eating people." In a transcript of her videotaped account, New Orleans music legend Charmaine Neville describes how she commandeered first a flat boat and then a bus and "just took all of the people that I could."

With Houston's Harris County creating "red-tape roadblocks" to the establishment of a low power FM station to serve the Astrodome, a review of news photos taken inside the Superdome finds something missing.

Touting 'Sucker's Bets for the New Century,' Bill McKibben fears that the smart money is on the emergence of Planet New Orleans.

"With the last shreds of Bush's credibility ... blown away by Katrina," Bob Dreyfuss "expect[s] momentum against the president to grow with each further U.S. casualty in Iraq," despite "the utter lack of conviction and sheer moral cowardice that has seized much of the Democratic Party."

'With Death at Their Door,' and after being given "one final chance" by a U.S. commander, only "one family, about 17 people" responded to an order to leave the Iraqi city of Tall Afar.

The media's failure to cover 'Fallujah and the civilian death toll' ranks number two on the Project Censored list of the Top 25 neglected stories. Bringing up the rear: 'Homeland security was designed to fail.'

'Egyptians vote in first presidential elections,' but does an election count if no one is watching?

Following Alan Dershowitz's foray into 'Telling the Truth' about the late Supreme Court Chief Justice, David Corn recalls 'The Real Rehnquist,' "who had a personal history so loaded with racism."

September 6

Thursday, September 8, 2005

The Black Commentator's Glen Ford insists on a Right of Return for the displaced people of New Orleans, who are "now largely dependent on 'the kindness of strangers,'" as an entire political philosophy goes down in the flood.

Joshua Holland observes that although Katrina may have blown away "some of the right's most cherished -- and well-funded -- beliefs," the Wall Street Journal's Daniel Henninger called for "outsourcing emergency response functions."

The WSWS reports that "the catastrophe that struck New Orleans provided ideal conditions for testing" what the Washington Post previously reported as new Pentagon scenarios for domestic situations in which "the military will have to take charge."

Probing the privatization of Army base security, Nathan Newman cites a report of an incident at the Department of Homeland Security, said to reveal that "DHS outranks the White House, and Wackenhut trumps them all."

In what the mayor calls "probably the safest city in America right now," the New York Times describes a "voluntary evacuation," in which "a dozen heavily armed immigration agents broke into a house in Bywater without knocking or announcing their presence, saying they were looking for a looter."

The Times-Picayune reports that after the levees broke and "disaster turned into a true catastrophe," a FEMA official reassured residents that "I don't want to alarm everybody that, you know, New Orleans is filling up like a bowl." Plus: Poll findings cast doubt on "blame game" strategy.

A call from a newly-minted FEMA spokesman prompts Laura Rozen to ask: "Is FEMA's only purpose under the Bush administration to do damage control and photo opportunities for the Bush administration?"

Josh Marshall says "it's pretty clear that a key aim of the Bush administration's takeover of the NOLA situation is to cut off press access to report the story." Plus: 'Who is Bob Williams, and why is he on TV talking about Hurricane Katrina?'

After a search-and-rescue team from Vancouver, B.C. "reached St. Bernard parish five days before the U.S. Army got there," a Louisiana state senator said that "we've got Canadian flags flying everywhere." Read what happened after the U.S. Navy arrived.

An aid convoy heading north to help in the relief effort is the first Mexican military unit to operate on U.S. soil since 1846.

Two conference goers and a French tourist provide harrowing accounts of post-Katrina New Orleans, with the former mentioning a looted Walgreens that's a source of provisions for a group of refuseniks, one of whom ends an NPR interview with, "If you're ever in New Orleans, come by the sports bar and we'll buy you a drink."

The trade group representing the lending and credit card industry lines up against a proposed delay on the toughest provisions of the new bankruptcy law for victims with financial problems stemming from Katrina or other natural disasters.

Category 5?'s PAC says it plans to air a TV spot opposing the Supreme Court nomination of Judge John Roberts, that features images of poverty-stricken evacuees from Hurricane Katrina.

UPI's Martin Walker covers a Washington conference, at which Senator Joe Biden and former general Wesley Clark both "insisted that it would be a drastic mistake to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq."

Sunni Arabs have come off the sidelines and have been registering to vote in a "nearly 85 percent" rate in Anbar province, where "this is considered fighting by word and thought." Meanwhile, U.S. officials shut down reconstruction projects because "security costs are depleting funds."

'Minnesota Nice' Knight Ridder chronicles "what happens when a nice girl from Minnesota" -- who previously believed that "there's no way I could run over a kid" -- goes to war.

Saddam Hussein's "biggest oil smuggling" took place -- with U.S. approval -- "just weeks before the April 2003 invasion," according to a U.N. report.

The 'opposition cries foul' over an election in which supporters of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak "literally stood over voters as they cast their ballots," but a protester said that "we are kind of shocked they didn't beat us."

With "pressure from his conservative supporters" cited as the reason why California's governor took the pledge on gay marriage, a Los Angeles Times columnist says that "Schwarzenegger should have signed the bill -- if he believed in it. But it's not clear what he believes."

After his newspaper got off to a 'slow start on Katrina,' a Washington Post staff writer was quoted as saying, "We were the FEMA of newspapers on this one."

September 7

Friday, September 9, 2005

The New York Times follows up on story of suburban police blocking evacuees from leaving New Orleans that was first published in the Socialist Worker.

The South Florida Sun Sentinel again calls for the firing of FEMA head Michael Brown, who was prohibited from answering questions at the press conference announcing that he was being relieved of his Katrina duties.

FEMA is described as suffering from "brain drain," in a Washington Post article reporting that five of eight top officials "came to their posts with virtually no experience in handling disasters," and that the top three arrived "with ties to President Bush's 2000 campaign or to the White House advance operation..."

Eric Boehlert contrasts FEMA's handling of Katrina with last year's hurricanes in Florida, and "Democracy Now!" reports on 'How FEMA overcompensated Florida citizens in the run-up to the presidential election.'

While one former FEMA director is "helping coordinate the private-sector response to the storm," another is reportedly working pro bono.

As 'Old-line families plot the future' of New Orleans, a former Clinton Administation official offers up his plan for dealing with an "ugly, troglodyte crowd of ... insiders, rich lawyers, ideologues, incompetents and their strap-hangers..." Plus: 'Every crisis an opportunity.'

President Bush, reasoning that requiring contractors to pay prevailing wages in Katrina's aftermath would "increase the cost to the Federal Government," issued a proclamation suspending Davis-Bacon.

The New York Times corrects a 'bipartisan' headline -- and acknowledges that "He said, 'In America, we do not abandon our fellow citizens in their hour of need,' not 'our hour of need.'"

A former Reagan staffer asks, "Which person, in the U.S. or elsewhere, watching the horror on TV, is impressed with the administration's performance?" But it may depend on whose eye was on the storm.

A San Francisco Chronicle reporter finds "at least five" automatic weapons pointed at him in New Orleans, amplifying what NBC's Brian Williams previously termed "the palpable feeling that this area is somehow separate from the United States."

Rose Aguilar interviews New Orleans residents who 'unknowingly' landed in Utah, and King of Zembla has more on Utah's Camp Williams, as well as a camp in Oklahoma that reportedly prohibited occupants from leaving. Plus: 'Welcome to the Rockies, now get behind the fence!'

Bush aide Karen Hughes assumes her new position, blaming reports of "crime being committed" in New Orleans for tarnishing the U.S. image abroad, and a GOP congressman concerned about public housing gives credit to God. Plus: 'Eight Big Lies.'

Read who's on board in precisely describing an exercise in First Amendment rights, and see who led a convoy in New Orleans, after getting in a hummer.

Fox News "All Star" Mara Liasson claims that "any time there's a contentious exchange in the White House press room, it makes the press look bad," and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi tells CNN's Kyra Phillips that "if you want to make a case for the White House, you should go on their payroll."

There will be 'tight constraints' on the Pentagon's Sunday "Freedom Walk," reports the Washington Post: "One restricted group will be the media, whose members will not be allowed to walk along the march route."

American Prospect editor Michael Tomasky reminds that "By the time night falls on September 11, Osama bin Laden will have been at large for 1,461 days."

A Guardian report that "More than 200 detainees in Guantanamo Bay are in their fifth week of a hunger strike," is at odds with the Pentagon's assertion that "There are 76 detainees doing a voluntary fast at present." Plus: Guantanamo hunger strikes through the years.

Reuters reports that "it's too soon to tell" how profitable the energy beam weapon project, developed by Raytheon, will be, but DefenseTech says the Pentagon is "serious enough" about the "pain ray" to "test the system out on people."

The U.S. infant mortality rate has been rising for the past five years and America's black children are twice as likely as whites to die before their first birthday, according to a U.N. report which also says annual income of the world's 500 richest people exceeds that of the poorest 416 million.

Norway, No Way! A Norwegian business magazine is challenging the report's Human Development Index ranking of Norway as the world's number one country.

September 8

Monday, September 12, 2005

In 'Lost at Tora Bora,' Mary Anne Weaver reports that "hidden from view inside the caves were an estimated 1,500 to 2,000 well-trained, well-armed men. A mile below, at the base of the caves, some three dozen U.S. Special Forces troops fanned out."

Mark Danner asks of Bin Laden, 'Is He Winning?' the 'forever war,' Jonathan Raban offers up the 'View From the West,' and the editor of the forthcoming book, "Messages to the World," says that "Osama may be the world's worst terrorist, but he's also one of the best prose writers in Arabic."

Jim Lobe reports on a conference attended by "a who's who of national security and foreign policy experts ... that appeared designed chiefly to assert the existence of alternative frameworks for conducting the war on terrorism on the eve of its fourth anniversary."

Lobe says that if President Bush "was counting on Sunday's 'Freedom Walk' ... to revive the patriotic spirit (and rally his sagging approval ratings) that followed the Sep. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on their fourth anniversary, he is likely to be very disappointed."

"How does it feel four years later?" As U.S. and Iraqi forces perform a "quality operation" in Tall Afar, Baghdad Burning's Riverbend reflects that "for the 3,000 victims in America, more than 100,000 have died in Iraq."

Defense Intelligence Agency analysts are reportedly running war-game scenarios "for what might happen in Iraq if U.S. force levels were cut back or eliminated."

A report on governmental response to Katrina quotes a former homeland security adviser who "said the [federal] response exposed 'false advertising' about how the government has been transformed four years after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks." Plus: 'Confusion reigned at every level of government.'

As 'Firms with Bush ties snag Katrina deals,' including a subsidiary of the company at the center of "funeralgate," former FEMA Director Joe Allbaugh puts his "shoulder to the wheel," and Max Blumenthal identifies "one man who stands to benefit from Hurricane Katrina perhaps more than any other individual."

FEMA is hardly unique as a "symbol of cronyism" for 'All the President's Friends,' writes Paul Krugman: "It's easy to find other agencies suffering from some version of the FEMA syndrome." And 'Hurricane Halliburton' hits land.

"It appears there was no one to tell President Bush the plain truth" about Katrina, reports Newsweek, explaining why Bush had "even less 'situational awareness' ... than the average American about the worst natural disaster in a century." Plus: "George Bush could not be located."

"Welcome to no-fault government," where "PR is considered action, while actual action is an afterthought," when 'Reality finally bites.'

As President Bush tours New Orleans and denies "any racial component to people being left behind," Digby accuses Republicans of "already dusting off their old tried and true southern strategy manual."

"It's not just Katrina, it's povertina," writes Cornel West, "a war of all against all ... in the center of the American empire."

Wynton Marsalis argues the importance of 'Saving America's Soul Kitchen,' which he calls "a place freer than the rest of the country," and "so many people's favorite city. But not favorite enough to embrace the integrated superiority of its culture as a national objective."

The Poorman spots a trend after a New York Times analysis quotes a "prominent African-American supporter" of President Bush as saying, "If I'm Karl, do I want the visual of black people hollering at the president as if we're living in Rwanda?" The supporter reportedly "spoke only anonymously because he did not want to antagonize Mr. Rove."

'Late-Breaking News' Examining media coverage of the breaching of the levees, the Wall Street Journal asks: "Did media outlets get it wrong, as Mr. Chertoff claimed?" Plus: 'WaPo's Rathergate'

As 'Watchmen stand vigil in city's wealthiest homes' and word spreads that Blackwater mercenaries have been deployed in New Orleans, business is 'booming' for private security firms.

To David Sirota, "it seems the only thing Republicans aren't using Hurricane Katrina to justify is improving the government's crisis response."

New Orleans is "the disaster our society has been working to realize for a quarter century," writes Rebecca Solnit -- "ever since Ronald Reagan rode into town on promises of massive tax cuts."

As Senate confirmation hearings begin for a nominee who would become "the youngest chief justice in two centuries," one observer says that "the main job for Democrats ... will be to sniff out Roberts' positions," not to put up a fight.

September 9-11

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

President Bush, who said on Tuesday that "I take responsibility" for the federal government's failures in responding to Hurricane Katrina, was reportedly just minutes away from sending in 'Duct Tape Man' when he told the press, "Maybe you know something I don't know" about a change in FEMA leadership.

'Let Them Eat Brownie' Steve Perry fears that critics of FEMA and Brown are "missing the point altogether, and setting up the Bush administration to win the political war over what happened in New Orleans."

Staffers at New Orleans Memorial Medical Center say that "45 people died there during a six-day vigil" while "rescuers came and left."

NBC News profiles two Cuban doctors who volunteered to help out in the Gulf Coast region, and "remain on stand-by, their bags packed," although "Havana never may get an answer."

Miles of levees have reportedly been washed away, and "a sort of Love Canal for New Orleans" now sits under water at a Superfund site, formerly known as "Dante's Inferno," with reporters arguing that Americans are "paying for the raw data, and they deserve to see it."

CJR Daily's Paul McLeary visits an "ad hoc newsroom -- perhaps 15 feet wide by 30 feet long," where "arguably some of the most urgent, and personal, journalism in the country is being written." Plus: 'Welcome back, Mr. President.'

Reporters who violate a "no photos, no stories" rule in New Orleans are warned that they will "face consequences," and advised to stay out of areas where "the cockroaches come out at night," while others display 'Compassion for the Camera.'

A FEMA monitor from the Government Accountability Office warns of "fraudsters coming out of the woodwork" to join the contracting crew for an agency that has "never spent anything even remotely on this scale."

A former Clinton advisor is quoted as saying of Bush's new poll numbers, that "the most frightening thing for the White House might be that his numbers on the economy are worse than his numbers on Katrina."

'A War Over Meaning' Robert Jay Lifton and Greg Mitchell argue that Katrina should not be allowed to eclipse "the still-unfolding disaster of the war in Iraq." Lifton and Mitchell also co-authored "Hiroshima in America: Fifty Years of Denial."

A Washington Post report says that if the U.S. does not withdraw substantial numbers of troops from Iraq by year's end, "critics are certain to ask why U.S. soldiers cannot come home when Iraq's own president says they can."

As Iraq's premier "showcased the Tal Afar operation" after "the largest urban assault ... since the siege of Fallujah," U.S. soldiers reportedly taunted detainees by asking them, "Can you say Abu Ghraib?"

A Homeland Security audit of contracting is cited as containing indications that "the Potemkin-village Baghdad government is increasingly irrelevant to the future of Iraq."

With the Pentagon about to decide on developing a new generation of land mines that it's calling "network munitions," more than 1000 defense companies are competing to sell weapons to human rights abusers and others at Europe's biggest arms bazaar. More on 'Ending Tyranny, The Bush Way.'

An op-ed in The Age weighs in on the case of Scott Parkin, a U.S. anti-war activist who is set to be deported from Australia for being a security threat. Read Parkin's earlier call for 'Taking Direct Action Against Halliburton.'

Chief justice nominee John Roberts "immediately ran into questioning about the Supreme Court's landmark decision on abortion," a day after a GOP senator who once "called for the death penalty for abortion doctors" wept while calling for "less partisanship."

As CBS News debuts its "Public Eye" blog, Orville Schell responds to CBS Chairman Leslie Moonves' desire to "break the mold in news" with "better stories told by attractive personalities in exciting ways."

Mr. Galloway again goes to Washington, after stopping off in New York City to debate Christopher Hitchens.

A Washington Post reporter finds it "bizarre" that Hunter S. Thompson, "who despised all that was official, and spent his life writing his own stone-loon autobiography, has an 'official biographer.'" Plus: 'What we dug about Maynard.'

September 12

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

In Iraq's "worst single day of bloodshed" since March, 2004, a wave of explosions in Baghdad killed 160 and wounded 570. Al-Qaeda in Iraq reportedly said the bombings were payback for the siege of Tall Afar.

As 'Katrina spills into Senate's Iraq war debate,' the 'Achilles heel for Bush' is Iraq, not Katrina, argues Peter Canellos, and Maureen Dowd wonders, "How many places will be in shambles by the time the Bush crew leaves office?"

'The Reconstruction of New Oraq' Tom Engelhardt and Nick Turse see Iraq and New Orleans "morphing into a single entity ... to be devoured by the same limited set of corporations, let loose and overseen by the same small set of Bush administration officials." Plus: 'Is the SBA the Next Scandal?'

As 'The Graft Goes On,' Molly Ivins says "I told you so," Jesse Jackson warns that the looting isn't over yet, House Majority Leader Tom DeLay declares a victory, and, 'A lamentation for New Orleans.'

Knight Ridder reports that it was Homeland Security head Michael Chertoff who delayed the federal hurricane response, and that Chertoff didn't shift power to former FEMA director Michael Brown until "about 36 hours after Katrina hit."

After condemning FEMA for moving too slowly to recover the dead from New Orleans, Louisiana's Gov. Blanco signed a contract with a company whose Bush administration-friendly parent owns other subsidiaries that have been 'implicated in body-dumping scandals.'

As 'Another GOP talking point bites the dust,' USA Today presents a tale of two governors, one of whom "couldn't get through to Bush and didn't get a callback," while the other said that "I never called him. He always called me."

Although no one would take the call when the Hattiesburg American inquired about a directive from Vice President Cheney's office to make fixing a gas pipeline a national priority, three cabinet members were on hand to thank the workers who dropped everything else.

The Washington Post chronicles the controversy over New Orleans' "Hurricane Highway," a shipping canal "aimed at the city's gut," which the emergency manager for St. Bernard Parish says he has been "screaming about ... for years." The parish has reportedly been "left defenseless against even small storms at least until early next year."

Blame Game! During a speech to the Heritage Foundation, First Lady Laura Bush "blamed the media for focusing on the negative in the recovery efforts," reports the AP.

E.J.Dionne declares 'The end of the Bush era': "His policies are failing, his approach to leadership is detached and self-indulgent, his way of politics has produced a divided, angry and dysfunctional public square. We dare not go on like this."

As the UFCW hires temp workers to picket a Wal-Mart grocery store in Las Vegas, a class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of workers in six different countries alleges that "Wal-Mart is an unrepentant and recidivist violator of human rights."

Slate's Dahlia Lithwick writes that John Roberts is "putting on a clinic" at his nomination hearing, where "The hunters have become the hunted. The lion is draped across a chaise longue, picking his teeth with their arguments."

Robert Parry rounds up instances of 'Colin Powell Being Colin Powell' -- and of "supposedly hard-edged journalists ... swooning at Powell's feet," while the former Secretary of State salutes "a great chick magnet."

As the 'U.S. Deploys Slide Show to Press Case Against Iran,' officials admit that "the evidence is not definitive."

Regret the Error notes that Salon says one of its stories was incorrect in asserting that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had shopped for shoes on Madison Avenue during the Katrina disaster.

After a columnist wrote that the head coach of the St. Louis Rams "should be backed, not back-stabbed, by associates," a Rams exec left a message in which he said, "Tell your source that I'm not a back-stabber, I'm a (expletive) throat slasher, and he'll know the difference before it's all said and done."

September 13

Thursday, September 15, 2005

With public opinion turning "negative about Mr. Bush across the board," new polls find that "cutting spending on Iraq" is "Americans' top choice for financing the recovery from Katrina," while 73 percent say that rebuilding New Orleans is more important than cutting taxes.

With a federal outlay that could exceed $200 billion, Bill Berkowitz says the post-Katrina rebuilding effort "could prove to be the mother of all testing grounds" for a number of the Heritage Foundation's domestic policy initiatives, and Josh Marshall warns that "This will be Iraq all over again."

As the Los Angeles Times reports on a New Orleans land rush that "raises the question of what sort of housing -- if any -- will be available to those without a six-figure salary," the progressive left is slammed for marching on DC instead of to the Gulf.

Although Wonkette admires the "locution" of a new meme, Billmon declares that "The era of pretending that the era of big government is over, is over." Plus: Did President Bush get what he needed at the U.N.?

'Charities Are For Suckers' declares Ted Rall, arguing that "The Red Cross and its cohorts are letting lazy, incompetent and corrupt politicians off the hook, and so are their donors."

Although "at least 250 armed troops from the Louisiana National Guard ... were camped out" at the New Orleans convention center "for three of the most chaotic days," they were "separated from the crowd by a wall," and "the idea of helping ... never came up."

"Mr. Brown's account," as set forth in an interview with the New York Times, "suggested that Mr. Bush, or at least his top aides, were informed early and repeatedly by the top federal official at the scene that state and local authorities were overwhelmed and that the overall response was going badly."

'A Bridge Too Far' Washington City Paper reports that while mainstream media coverage "told the compelling stories of people who never made it out of the Crescent City ... it largely ignored the most compelling one, in large part because a pair of lefty Web types were first on the scene."

Norman Solomon finds the news media 'Knocking Bush -- and Propping Him Up,' John Pilger peeks 'Behind the Facade,' and Arianna Huffington asks, "You remember Iraq, don't you?"

The death toll from "all-out war" rises as bombings continue in Baghdad, where agreement on a new constitution "hardly seemed relevant yesterday," as insurgents present a 'moving target.'

The Times of London reports the U.S. military's assertion that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has "united insurgent groups in Baghdad," and a witness to one of Wednesday's bombings tells the paper that "we ended up in a situation which is ten times worse than it used to be under Saddam."

The International Herald Tribune reports on the growing insurgency in Thailand, where "more than 900 people have died" in 20 months of unchecked violence.

After claiming last week that there were 76 hunger strikers at Guantanamo, the Pentagon now says that number has increased to 128.

The Boston Globe reports that Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney proposed wiretapping mosques and conducting surveillance of foreign students in a speech to the Heritage Foundation. The paper says that "As he ponders a potential run for president in 2008, Romney has positioned himself as a homeland security expert."

Although a Daily Tar Heel columnist wrote that "I want all Arabs to be stripped naked and cavity-searched if they get within 100 yards of an airport," her editor says, "That's not why I fired her."

John Roberts tells the Senate Judiciary Committee that he is not "up to speed" on the First Amendment, and Max Blumenthal scans 'The Many Faces of Dr. Coburn,' the committee member whose chief of staff said, "I don't want to impeach judges. I want to impale them!"

"While we are about to have a new chief justice who condemns affirmative action for black and brown kids," writes Derrick Z. Jackson, "affirmative action for privileged white men has led to decisions that have cost this nation and the planet tens of thousands of lives."

Christopher Hayes casts a parting glance back to 'Operation Enduring Boredom,' during which he found that "The Day That Changed Everything has become so sentimentalized that it is now, simply, A Sad Thing That Happened."

A Vatican document instructs investigators to "review" U.S. seminaries for "evidence of homosexuality" and New Age influences.

September 14

Friday, September 16, 2005

President Bush's Jackson Square speech is said to show that "thanks to Katrina," Bush has found his own "Gulf Opportunity Zone," whereby he will be "rebuilding his presidency along with New Orleans," although 'Conservatives balk as spending soars.'

"Ted Koppel was surprised that a conservative Republican could sound like FDR," writes Danny Schechter, but "many people in Baghdad couldn't see the speech because their lights are still out two and a half years after ... the promised 'reconstruction' of that city." Plus: 'Lights in New Orleans. For Bush.'

Following a report that Karl Rove is in charge of the Gulf Coast reconstruction effort, Josh Marshall said that Rove "runs political operations and manages coalitions through patronage ... And that's what this is about," but "Don't expect much if any discussion of this point in the major papers or on the networks."

'Karl Rove's Big Easy' "This assignment proves that despite the president's lofty rhetoric about 'building a better New Orleans,'" writes Arianna Huffington, "his main concern is stanching his political bleeding."

David Sirota finds that "no one," including the 2008 Democratic presidential contenders, "is even making the case that the disaster along the Gulf Coast was aided and abetted by tax-cut zealotry."

Amanda Marcotte chronicles the rapidly evolving effort to "take the blame off Bush," from "the early days when looting was the real problem" to the more recent emergence of "the Welfare Queen narrative."

Ishmael Reed argues that there was "very little difference" between the post-Katrina comments of former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke and "commentary earlier this week by the New York Times' elite columnists Nicholas D. Kristof and John Tierney."

A copy of a Justice Department e-mail obtained by the Clarion-Ledger, suggests that "federal officials appear to be seeking proof to blame the flooding of New Orleans on environmental groups."

With scientists reportedly fearing that "the Arctic has now entered an irreversible phase of warming," an author of a study published in Science, says that "In the 1970s, there was an average of about 10 Category 4 and 5 hurricanes per year. Since 1990, the number ... has almost doubled, averaging 18 per year." Plus: 'Left Behind, Bush's Holy War on Nature.'

As a poll finds that fewer than half of all New Orleans evacuees living in emergency shelters in Houston say they will move back home, Baton Rouge is described as a "city of brewing tensions," with a greater metropolitan area that is estimated to have doubled in size to more than 800,000 people.

"The whole community backs it," said Gretna's mayor, of a decision to "to seal one of the last escape routes from New Orleans," that has become "the symbol of the ultimate act of a bad neighbor." Plus: "15 days and counting."

Doctors who volunteered to help the sick and dying at the New Orleans airport say that FEMA officials, citing concerns about legal liability, handed them mops instead, and on the morning after Katrina struck, the Homeland Security Secretary reportedly flew to Georgia for a "business-as-usual briefing" on avian flu.

With violence increasing in Iraq as 'The bloodbath becomes a flood,' the U.S. 'tempers its view of victory' and a coalition partner declares his country's mission in Iraq to be an "absolute and total" success.

'Iraq: No Exit?' When Bob Dreyfuss "asked a panel of Iraq-Iran experts about getting out of Iraq," their response was "as if I'd asked if they'd consider signing up for Al Qaeda."

After President Bush described the rebuilding of Iraq as "an exciting opportunity for all of us in this chamber," Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez "recommended moving U.N. headquarters to a country that has more regard for the organization."

Dana Milbank reports that "Of the 120 seats in the press gallery, 104 were unoccupied" on the final day of nomination hearings for John Roberts, while "in the hallway outside the hearing room, the scene had the feel of open-microphone night at a karaoke bar."

Secretary of State Rice enters the "No-Spin Zone" and 'Suddenly loses her ability to assess polls,' while some "dreadful cable news punditry" is on display as Fox News asks: "Is the media to blame for overstating Katrina death toll?" Plus: 'Rupert Murdoch, bending with the wind.'

'Is Paul Krugman Worth $49.95?' Americablog's John Aravosis tells Editor & Publisher that when New York Times' columnists go behind a pay wall on Monday, "some Web sites will still republish the entire articles illegally, and we'll end up linking to those sites ... (it ain't illegal to link)."

Slate rounds up coverage of the 'Slobbering Slugfest' between Christopher Hitchens and George Galloway, which, according to the Guardian's Gary Younge, "Galloway won on points. Sadly, by the end of the night, few could remember what the point was."

September 15

Monday, September 19, 2005

North Korea took a first step toward nuclear disarmament, but an "unusual configuration of countries ... broke with Bush" on Iran.

As the 'Vote leaves Germany in a political mudbath,' a Der Spiegel report on the country's 'election mayhem' quotes one political scientist who's promoting the idea that "A grand coalition can also be a grand success."

Although Afghan voter turnout was reportedly "lower than hoped for because of security fears and frustrations over the inclusion of several warlords on the ballot," the U.S. Ambassador, citing the fact that in "America, only half of the people vote," suggested that "If people are getting a little more used to elections, then maybe Afghanistan is turning into a normal country."

An observer in Iraq writes to Juan Cole that insurgents are "taking over the main parts of Baghdad," and the Independent reports that "One billion dollars has been plundered from Iraq's defence ministry ... leaving the country's army to fight a savage insurgency with museum-piece weapons."

The Chicago Tribune reports on the Bush administration's soliciting of charitable contributions to rebuild Iraq, via an "Internet-based fundraising effort that it says is aimed at giving Americans 'a further stake in building a free and prosperous Iraq.'"

Jason Vest argues that only 'Willful ignorance' explains "how the Pentagon sent the army to Iraq without a counterinsurgency doctrine," and Time looks back to "the secret history" of 'A Year of Crucial Missteps.'

As the U.S. military embraces enemy "body counts as standards of success," despite insurgents lobbing "mortar rounds into the Green Zone," a majority of Americans polled call for an "immediate withdrawal" of U.S. troops from Iraq.

Iraqis, 'Bombarded With Propaganda,' are said to be "voicing growing frustration with all sides -- the government, U.S. forces and the insurgency."

A White House "public-relations push" on Iraq is reportedly "being complicated by the surprising anger the constitution is sparking among Republicans and others normally supportive of President Bush," while a "practicing Muslim female" observes that "this is a constitution -- not a blog."

"I can understand a choice between Aruba and New Orleans," says the Village Voice's Ward Harkavy. "But why can't American television cover both New Orleans and Baghdad simultaneously?"

Polls find that President Bush's Katrina ratings fell -- especially among Republicans -- after a New Orleans speech said to have triggered some 'Base Emotions,' despite what the WSWS calls "Bush's efforts to chloroform public opinion with superstition and fatalism."

Although Bush has "seen his whole administration flash before his eyes," writes Frank Rich, "Even now the administration's priority of image over substance is embedded like a cancer in the Katrina relief process."

Amid reports of continuing relief problems in New Orleans, Needlenose suggests that if 'Reality keeps overtopping the levees,' "Karl Rove's walls of spin may have a hard time holding."

Arguments are advanced that the Bush administration "did what mattered most" during Katrina's devastation, and last week showed that it can "put together an effective, well-coordinated rescue team and get crucial supplies to ... where they are most needed."

'A Legacy of Waste' Scroll down for HTML links to a Sun-Sentinel investigation into 20 disasters declared by FEMA from 1999 through 2004, one of which resulted in a $168.5 million payout to Detroit residents for suburban thunderstorms that "Detroit officials have trouble even remembering...."

Rigorous Intuition notes the recent testimony paid by Florida Governor Jeb Bush to the "mystical warrior" buddy who "has never let me down."

'Guardians of the Status Quo' A hospital chaplain, writing in CounterPunch, reviews the performance of "Mainstream Religious Leaders in Bushtime."

The New York Times picks up on the Guantanamo hunger strike, reporting that there are almost twice as many strikers as the U.S. military claims, and quoting an attorney just back from visiting her Kuwaiti clients there as saying the strike is "far more widespread than the government is letting on."

"Get yourself raped." The Washington Post's Glenn Kessler insists that remarks made by Gen. Pervez Musharraf while on a mission to "promote a moderate image of Pakistan" were accurately quoted, despite Musharraf's denials. Earlier: One of 'Asia's Heroes.'

September 16-18

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

The deal, which reportedly involved a "take it or leave it" maneuver by China, is now in doubt, and North Korea is accusing the U.S. of using the talks "to disarm and crush it to death with nuclear weapons."

Slate's Fred Kaplan says that a North Korea breakthrough "could easily have been accomplished two and a half years ago, had President George W. Bush been willing."

The U.S. military death toll in Iraq passed 1,900 as bombs killed 9 Americans, and 'Iraqi anger exploded in the face of the British occupiers' in Basra.

An Iraqi reporter and photographer who worked for the New York Times and other news outlets was found dead in Basra after being abducted from his home. His photographs included U.S. consulate workers in Basra transporting the body of slain American journalist Steven Vincent.

One day after the Independent reported on "one of the largest thefts in history," Iraqi authorities are said to be preparing an arrest warrant for the country's former defense minister. Knight Ridder's Hannah Allam, who reported the alleged fraud in early August, profiles the current defense minister, a "self-described liberal pacifist."

Long before the arrest of a senior White House budget official, who resigned last week as head of procurement policy at the Office of Management and Budget, a Washington Post profile described his role as 'Teaching Uncle Sam to Be a Better Buyer," and appeared under the heading "players."

In response to having her qualifications to head the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency questioned, a well-connected nominee reportedly said, "I realize that I'm not 80 years old."

Billmon observes that while the "top homeland security advisor" assigned to lead an "internal White House inquiry" into Katrina has "absolutely no job experience whatsoever" in disaster response or emergency relief, she does have "prior cover up experience"

Alberto Does America Commenting on the formation of a new anti-obscenity 'porn squad' that is said to reflect "one of the top priorities" of Attorney General Gonzales, an FBI agent tells the Washington Post, "I guess this means we've won the war on terror."

"The vast majority" of Saudi fighters who joined the insurgency in Iraq "were not terrorist sympathizers before the war," according to a study on "Saudi militants in Iraq," which also claims that Saudis accounted for just 350 of 3,000 foreign insurgents.

As Bush blasting-speeches are delivered by former running mates Kerry and Edwards, an American Spectator article says that "barring some imaginative political moves ... Republicans on Capitol Hill and even some longtime Bush team members in various Cabinet level departments say this Administration is done for."

'Bush Restored!' A Newsweek article leaves The Daily Howler marveling at "the endless miracle of modern journalism."

The New York Times' David Carr reports on how "the news media's narrative of the hurricane shifted" to an emphasis on lootings, rapes and murders, as "victims, officials and reporters all took one of the most horrific events in American history and made it worse than it actually was." Plus: 'They Shoot News Anchors, Don't They?'

"Just tell people to run," said New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, who reversed himself and ordered a new mandatory evacuation, "because of fresh fears about Rita." And a Times-Picayune reporter describes covering the 'Apocalypse in New Orleans.'

The Vatican is hiding a fugitive general and accused war criminal in a Croatian monastery, says top U.N. prosecutor Carla Del Ponte.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez expressed a desire to "shake hands with Chomsky," in an interview with "Democracy Now!" Earlier: 'Hugo Batters Bush' in a speech at the U.N., and tells Ted Koppel: "the only administration with whom we don't have good relations on the face of the earth is the administration of Mr. Bush."

Declining a "very kind invitation" from First Lady Laura Bush to attend the National Book Festival, poet Sharon Olds explains why "I could not face the idea of breaking bread with you." See who accepted the invitation.

Molly Ivins extends best wishes for a 'Happy Media Accountability Day!' -- with a salute to Project Censored.

September 19

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

British and Iraqi officials "continued to disagree" about what happened in Basra after a coalition strategy "left militiamen in control of Basra's police force and Shiite fighters in plain clothes circulating openly in the city."

Newsweek reports on the 'Daily Dance With Death' for U.S. Marines near Fallujah, who typically go out on "472 extremely dangerous missions in less than a year -- invariably carried out while sleep deprived and drenched in sweat."

'More Blood, Less Oil' Reviewing "the failed U.S. mission to capture Iraqi petroleum," Michael Klare predicts that "oil production in Iraq is likely to remain depressed for years, no matter how much more blood is shed in its pursuit."

Plan B? An op-ed recommends that the U.S. explore the possibility that "Al Qaeda's agenda is what its leaders repeatedly say it is," echoing the view that it may be 'Time to talk to Al Qaeda.'

As activists form 'Battle Lines Behind the Battle Lines,' Cindy Sheehan has reportedly begun to "set her sights on Congress and the Democratic Party" while continuing to "hold George Bush accountable," despite being unplugged in New York.

Of the "37,000 immigrants from 200 nations" serving in the U.S. military, at least 80 of them have reportedly died in Iraq and been naturalized posthumously.

A Globe and Mail editorial accuses the U.S. Ambassador to Canada of being "eye-poppingly cavalier" over "the torture of one measly Canadian," and of intimating that "no one should despair if there are more."

'W Marks the Spot' Jeffrey St. Clair writes that "the Bush administration has chosen to make the Bitterroot National Forest an ecological version of their assault on Fallujah," complete with "preemptive targeting of the old-growth stands."

Katrina is said to have brought "catastrophic damage to our national wildlife refuges" and to have "washed away party discipline in Washington," leaving 'Message Chaos' in its wake.

If experts are correct in claiming that faulty levees, not extraordinary surges, are to blame, then the flooding of New Orleans was "no more a natural disaster than a surgeon killing a patient by failing to suture an artery would be a natural death," says the author of "Rising Tide."

"Do you realize that if those walls had held, we'd have just had a little cleaning job?" says a New Orleans councilwoman, a point of view mocked by Limbaugh on the levees, and by Fox News analyst James Pinkerton, who accused flood victims of "whining all the time on TV to get more federal money." Plus: 'The New Black'

Cold Comfort With shipments of ice meant for the Gulf Coast "popping up nationwide," Think Progress charts the FEMA "Icecapades" tour.

Speculating on the possibility that U.N. Ambassador John Bolton could be a target of Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation, Arianna Huffington reports that according to two sources, Bolton's former chief of staff "was at least one of the sources of the classified information about Valerie Plame..."

As Israel announces its intention to seek a seat on the U.N. Security Council for the first time, the passing of the 'man who never forgot' prompts a not-so-fond recollection.

Left I on the News finds "no evidence whatsoever that the Western press has made any mention of the Miracle Mission program."

After the Chicago Tribune criticized Farm Aid's finances, rocker Neil Young reportedly got "stomping mad" at what he called "the sickest piece of journalism I've ever seen."

The AP probes "a bold-faced universe rife with dirt and scandal" where "Andy Warhol's 15 minutes of fame never expire," as an FOIA request 'Nets Reams of FBI Memos on "High Visibility" Targets' from Louis Armstrong to Efrem Zimbalist Jr.

Ruling allows jurors to see device at center of state's allegations of extreme activism against a former Oklahoma judge.

September 20

Thursday, September 22, 2005

As Cindy Sheehan reaches Washington, and activists prepare to encircle the White House, Danny Schechter asks, "Where is the march on the media?"

Polls show "a steady erosion" in support for the Iraq war, "a decline that accelerated in the days after Katrina hit," and Ted Rall finds that "when it comes to the war ... Americans only agree about one thing: it is no longer interesting."

As there is said to be "something a bit creepy about the number of people in this country who are truly obsessed with tracking the weather," "Rita" segments run up the score on "Iraq," 30 to 0!

Given current Pentagon accounting practices, "neither DOD nor Congress can reliably know how much the war is costing," according to a report from the Government Accountability Office, and "a leader in online philanthropy" teams with USAID in 'PayPal-ing the War.'

A Pentagon Web site has removed a document which discusses scenarios for preemptive use of nuclear weapons.

"Our dirty little secret" Basra is said to have "become like Tehran, where morals are enforced not by family but by religious militias," and an Iraqi diplomat says that "This is our greatest fear, that the religious people will take over Iraq."

Referring to the July 7 subway bombings in London, an NPR host said that "Some extremist groups say those bombings were a response to the U.S. and British military presence in Iraq." Plus: 'Normalizing the Abnormal'

An AP report provides examples of how "President Bush's own words echo those of President Johnson in 1967," and a blogger suggests that pollster John Zogby was pressured to refrain from reasking a June impeachment question.

Jeremy Scahill's interviews with private security contractors in New Orleans, include Israeli mercenaries who say they have been "fighting the Palestinians ... our whole lives," and a Blackwater USA associate quoted as saying, "When they told me New Orleans, I said, 'What country is that in?'"

About President Bush's plan to grant millions in tax breaks to casinos, Governor Haley Barbour says, "That's the way we do it in Mississippi," while David Broder accuses the administration of "dragging its feet" on making Katrinia survivors eligible for Medicaid. Plus: OMB Watch identifies 'questionable waivers.'

The focus of "outer-circle cronyism" is described as being not so much on "handing out jobs to dubiously qualified friends and associates--that is, to one's own cronies. It's on handing out jobs to cronies of cronies, which increases the scale of the cronyism exponentially."

Molly Ivins reviews the circumstances of President Bush's appointment, later withdrawn, of a male veterinarian to succeed Susan Wood as head of the Food and Drug Administration's Office of Women's Health.

As Diebold's president and COO jumps ship, leaving the company with a "single mighty head," an anonymous insider dubbed "Dieb-Throat" weighs in on Wednesday's 15.5% drop in Diebold's share price.

Those 70s Shows The Memory Hole predicts that "Soon, the FBI will once again be cranking out reports just like these, except instead of sitting in sticky theaters with the raincoat brigade, they'll be in their offices watching DVDs or streaming video."

Responding to a report of a Vatican plan to bar homosexuals from becoming priests, one gay priest is quoted as saying that, on the whole "priests who were convicted of sexual abuse in the past few years ... were people from the old closeted days."

Washington City Paper goes 'Inside the Washington Post's homicide-coverage formula,' to determine "why one murder story merits 18 times the coverage of another."

September 21

Friday, September 23, 2005

A new poll finds that only 43 percent of Americans think that the U.S. will win the war in Iraq, and a majority want to see it intensify efforts to withdraw, but President Bush declares that "the battle lines have been drawn, and there is no middle ground."

Planned Withdrawl Reporting that "as the anti-war movement arrives in Washington this weekend, many top Democrats are leaving," Knight Ridder quotes a spokesman for DNC Chairman Howard Dean as saying the rally is "not something the party was involved with."

As 'Cities Push for Pullout,' war protesters dubbed the "St. Patrick's Four" are being tried on federal conspiracy charges in Binghamton, where the city council passed a resolution by a 5-4 margin calling for the immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.

'Badr vs. Sadr' Robert Dreyfuss lays out "the other exit strategy," wherein "if the Shiites shatter, it's curtains for the Anglo-American occupation."

The Nation reports on a Web site that "has taken the concept of user-created content to a grim new low: US troops stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan are invited to display graphic battlefield photos ... And thousands of people are logging on to take a look."

U.S. immigration officials reportedly banned Robert Fisk from entering the country, refusing to allow him to board a plane from Toronto to Denver.

Giving Saudi Arabia, Ecuador and Kuwait a "complete pass" on sanctions for failing to combat human trafficking is determined to be "in the national interest of the United States."

The NewStandard reports that West Bank Palestinians reclaimed their plots after Israeli troops "unexpectedly abandoned" two depopulated settlements, quoting one returnee as saying, "My God; all this land!", when told that only 150 people had lived at one of the settlements.

'Ready for Dialogue' In These Times profiles a Kuwaiti-born Palestinian-American and former CNN reporter, who has "given up on the mainstream press."

Following Dan Rather's decrying of what he called a "new journalism order," Norman Solomon revisits the 'Occasional media ritual of lamenting the habitual,' reminding that "Rather was part of that PR bonanza for the Gulf War."

Citing the advice of disaster experts that "decisiveness and imagination are crucial" in "surviving a catastrophe," Robert Parry ponders 'What to Do About the Bush Problem.'

As the TV networks "brought their big guns to bear against Hurricane Rita," a Baltimore Sun reporter explained why he thinks the media's post-Katrina "orgy of self-congratulation ... rings hollow."

Texans fleeing Rita encounter what one calls "the worst planning I've ever seen," and Louisiana's governor advises those who stay behind to "write their Social Security numbers on their arms with indelible ink."

In the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans, an Army major says that "the levee's going to cave in," but a police sergeant says, "this is a graveyard already."

Venezuela promises to ship more barrels of oil, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush fears "significant shortages," a refinery exec warns of "national disaster," and a Senate committee hears that, nationally, there's no law against gouging.

After the Senate rejected a Bush administration proposal to 'ease delivery of food to poor nations,' one GOP Senator's office cited concerns that "food aid bought abroad might not be delivered as reliably as aid bought in the United States."

As Raw Story runs the numbers on "Operation Offset," GOP congressional sources "say they are waiting for a response from the Bush administration" about a proposal for housing vouchers for Katrina victims, and a "lobbyist close to the White House" is quoted as saying, "why [Bush] spent 45 minutes on Social Security today floors me."

The Washington Post editorializes that Bush "isn't just dusting off a failed policy tool" with his Gulf Opportunity Zone: "he's proposing a particularly bad version of it," with "tax breaks for investment but not for job creation." And, "Looting and reckless acts of desperation," now playing on C-SPAN.

As Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist's 'stock sale draws federal scrutiny,' a report on the widening investigation of Jack Abramoff, that "brings the probe to the White House for the first time," quotes an attorney who says that "these people all shared transactions together. That's always something that worries defense lawyers." Plus: The Tyco connection.

Following last week's report quoting the CPB inspector general as saying that Chairman Kenneth Tomlinson "may have violated internal rules" by hiring a consultant to monitor PBS for liberal bias, Tomlinson defended his actions, saying "that two-year Moyers period ... came to symbolize a total deficit in public broadcasting."

With the New York Times vowing to clamp down on syndicate papers that post walled-off columns, Jay Rosen assesses the potential damage to the Times brand caused by the new pay walls.

Reportedly "bashed for two full days" by "rich, mainly Republican and presumably Bush voters," the man is also said to be in "crisis." Plus: "Two Irishmen mano a mano ... This one's a keeper, folks!"

September 22

Monday, September 26, 2005

A huge antiwar "connection demonstration" said to have been created by Hurricanes Cindy Sheehan and Katrina "took Washington by storm," but according to one observer, "The real story is never the tens of thousands of antiwar demonstrators, most of the time the real story is the demonstration is not even covered."

Scroll down for James Wolcott's "problems with mass rallies and marches on TV," and view a photo essay of the demonstration as well as other arresting images.

Hell No, We Won't Show As the WSWS reports that "not a single prominent figure from the Democratic Party made an appearance at the rally," Justin Raimondo writes, "The antiwar movement may not know it yet, but Republicans are probably their fastest-growing constituency."

Calling the antiwar movement "the third rail Democrats fear to touch," the Boston Globe's Joan Vennochi reasons that if Sen. Joseph Biden "is as brave as a Democratic presidential contender gets, 2,000 U.S. military dead are just a starting point."

Leon Daniel, who covered the Vietnam War for UPI, weighs the cost of 'Saving America's Face' after its "grandiose misadventure fueled by the president's hubris."

As attacks "raised this week's death toll to 49 Iraqis and three Americans," the International Crisis Group introduced a new briefing paper on Iraq by saying that "the constitution is likely to fuel rather than dampen insurgency."

Summarizing her second take on Iraq's draft constitution, Baghdad Burning's Riverbend asks: "federalism based on ethnicity and sect? Why not simply declare civil war and get it over with?"

'Heart of Darkness' A tour of a Web site, about which the press is said to be 'strangely silent,' leads Billmon to conclude that "we really do need to get the troops out of Iraq -- before hell is the consequence."

Juan Cole is now advocating withdrawal, citing a just-released Human Rights Watch report as further proof that U.S. troops are "being fatally brutalized by their own treatment of Iraqi prisoners." Plus: 'Did the press miss widespread prisoner abuse in Iraq?'

Cole calls "a news blackout on Tal Afar imposed by the US and the Iraqi authorities ... draconian and anyway unnecessary, since the American cable news channels have already imposed a global news blackout in favor of playing 'Weather Channel' 24/7."

The Bush administration's effort to solicit charitable contributions to rebuild Iraq has reportedly netted $600.

A $40 billion request, tucked into a $250 billion bill, is described as Louisiana's "opening salvo" in the post-Katrina "scramble for federal dollars."

"More than 80 percent of the $1.5 billion in contracts" signed by FEMA since Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, were reportedly "awarded without bidding or with limited competition," through what Mississippi Rep. Bennie Thompson called "the good-old-boy system, taking care of its political allies."

The Beaumont Enterprise reports that Hurricane Rita victims are suffering from "the same foot-dragging federal response" seen following Katrina, and that stories of "lessons learned" are "ringing hollow."

The Washington Post quotes a "top Republican close to the White House" as saying, "A reelection campaign was always the driving principle to force them to get things together," and that "the absence of a 'reelection target' and pressure from first lady Laura Bush and others to soften his second-term tone conspired to temper Bush's swagger well before Katrina hit."

Asking 'How Many More Mike Browns Are Out There?', Time reports that "scientists' drug-safety decisions at the Food and Drug Administration are being second-guessed by a 33-year-old doctor turned stock picker."

As it's reported that Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist "received regular updates of transfers of assets to his blind trusts and sales of assets," SEC Chairman Christopher Cox says that he will recuse himself from the agency's investigation of the sale of Frist's HCA Inc. stock.

Scopes II Intelligent design goes on trial in Dover, PA, with a "nonprofit Christian law firm" funded by Domino's Pizza founder Thomas Monaghan, serving as "the sword and shield for people of faith" against "an attempt by the ACLU to really intimidate this small-town school board."

Select This! Frank Rich's call to 'Bring Back Warren Harding' is liberated, as well as recent columns by Maureen Dowd and Thomas Friedman, discussed during their appearance on "Meet the Press." Plus: Times' ombudsman concedes that 'Even Geraldo deserves a fair shake.'

Editor & Publisher's Greg Mitchell finds "plenty of evidence" why Bob Dylan played 'Beat the Press,' as shown in Martin Scorsese's documentary, 'No Direction Home,' airing tonight and Tuesday on PBS, while David Greenberg attempts to liberate Dylan from "our '60s fetish."

September 23-25

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

The Los Angeles Times reports that "race may have played a factor" in the "wild rumors" and "hyperbolic reporting" that "spread through much of the media" in Katrina's wake, after a Times-Picayune review found that "the vast majority of reported atrocities committed by evacuees have turned out to be false."

CJR Daily finds that "far from drawing admiration," the Times-Picayune report "attracted vituperation" from a portion of the blogosphere.

As Paul Krugman proposes a game called "Find the Brownie," a FEMA spokesman tells CBS News that Mike Brown is still on the payroll and will remain on board for another month so the agency can get the "proper download of his experience."

The Washington Post reports that FEMA decided to make "large-scale payments to religious groups" after "House Majority Leader Tom DeLay and other Republicans complained that FEMA seemed reluctant to pay church groups" for their post-Katrina efforts.

A Wall Street Journal-sponsored online poll finds that most Americans feel government should have been better prepared to care for the sick and frail in New Orleans, and "half of all adults are skeptical about whether or not the U.S. government will learn from Katrina."

In an excerpt from "Chronicles," Bob Dylan encounters 'The Ghosts of New Orleans,' while Naomi Klein describes "the new-and-improved city being imagined by its white elite," once they have finished 'Purging the Poor.'

'Apocalypse There' Matt Taibbi's first stop after reaching New Orleans was the home of a wealthy attorney, holed up "with his own private army" which had "transformed his elegant home into a floating military base." Earlier: Taibbi on how to "attract all the dissenting energy in the population."

President Bush appealed for people to "pitch in ... by being better conservers of energy," in what a Los Angeles Times article describes as "remarks reminiscent of Jimmy Carter's 1977 appeal to Americans to turn down their thermostats."

Billmon reminds that when asked in May 2001, "does the President believe we need to correct our lifestyles to address the energy problem?", then-spokesman Ari Fleischer said, "That's a big no."

The New York Times reports that the White House "doesn't see a lot of merit" in postponing the effective date for the new bankruptcy law, despite a forthcoming study which finds that "bankruptcy filings usually reach a peak two to three years after a hurricane."

The Washington Post's Eugene Robinson, hearing a familiar echo, says that "now comes the part where the administration looks for a way to get out of its unpopular and expensive war 'with honor,' while at the same time continuing to flood the Gulf Coast with a storm surge of cash."

With lawmakers said to be "reluctant to wait for a formal request" before "doling out dollars" for the wars, the outgoing chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told reporters that the "consequences of defeat" in Iraq would be "greater than World War II."

Hundreds of protesters, including Cindy Sheehan, were arrested outside the White House, while Christopher Hitchens denounced "phony peaceniks."

Five slaughtered Shiite teachers were among 16 people killed in and around Baghdad on Monday, "including Oil Ministry workers, day laborers and three American soldiers."

A senior U.S. Marine commander says that insurgents loyal to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi have seized at least five Iraqi towns on the border with Syria, and U.S. and Iraqi authroities claim that their forces killed al-Zarqawi's number two man.

The Washington Post notes that Pfc. Lynndie England was found guilty on six counts of abuse and indecent acts -- for conduct similar to "tactics approved for skilled interrogators at the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay."

The St. Patrick's Four were convicted of misdemeanors but found not guilty of conspiracy, despite a prosecutor's allegation that the defendants "sympathize with the 9/11 terrorists."

In a speech last week, Rep, Maurice Hinchey said that what the four "were protesting was the conspiracy of the Administration of George W. Bush to bring about an attack and then an occupation of the country of Iraq..."

Newsweek reports that with Saudi Arabia "more important than ever to world oil supplies" a concerted attack by Al Qaeda "could bring on the kind of nightmare scenario that U.S. officials have been dreading since the Reagan years."

A man said to be the head of Pakistan's ISI told "60 Minutes" that "[he] believes bin Laden is holed up in a single location someplace along the border, being protected and assisted by a very small number of supporters in order to keep a low profile."

A Broadcasting & Cable report on the CPB voting to elect Cheryl Halpern to succeed Ken Tomlinson as chairman, describes both Halpern and the newly elected vice chair, Gay Hart Gaines, as "veteran Republican party activists and fundraisers." They were also recess appointees to the CPB board.

Bloomberg breaks down the $319,250 in political contributions that Halpern and her husband have made since 1999, and reminds that at her confirmation hearing, she agreed with Sen. Trent Lott's characterization of "Now with Bill Moyers" as "the most blatantly partisan, irresponsible thing I've ever heard in my life."

September 26

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

After being 'Indicted in Campaign Finance Probe,' Rep. Tom Delay announced that "I will temporarily step aside from my position as majority leader."

Iraqis react to Pfc. Lynndie England's three-year sentence, and a captain who found the U.S. Army more concerned about the soldiers who reported misconduct than in going up the chain of command, was told to "consider your career" rather than pursue 'A Matter of Honor.'

An unsuccessful car bomber managed to get inside the Green Zone, insurgents seized five towns and sent "death letters" to residents, and Iraq's 'first female suicide bomber' struck in Tal Afar, but Sen. John Kerry does see "progress" being made.

Editor & Publisher reports that the U.S. Army said it is "investigating complaints that soldiers posted photographs of mangled Iraqi corpses on an Internet site in exchange for access to pornographic images on the site."

Power Forward Dave Zirin writes that the NBA's Etan Thomas "made a play for pantheon status" and "took it to that Ali level" with his speech at last weekend's Washington antiwar rally.

"I don't believe he believes what he was telling me," said Cindy Sheehan, after meeting with Sen. John McCain, whom she called "a warmonger."

'When We Were Psychos' Michael Atkinson says that "Winter Soldier" may have been "the most important film of the Johnson-Nixon era, and yet it was effectively censored. Its release, 33 years too late, is also a few years overdue this decade."

Israel makes its way back to Gaza, via missiles and artillery shells fired into the strip.

At a town-hall meeting with 500 Saudi female students, 'Karen of Arabia' was reportedly hammered with questions about the negative portrayal of Saudis in the U.S. media, one of which included a suggestion that the U.S. name a "minister of media" to deal with inaccuracies and bias.

As the Los Angeles Times is said to have 'deceptively suggested new CPB chairman indicated different "tone" and "style" than Tomlinson,' David Corn describes the CPB's new number two as a former "leading official of an outfit that advised Republican candidates to brand Democrats 'traitors.'"

Mike Davis asks '25 Questions about the Murder of New Orleans,' where most of the 'Prisoners Abandoned to Floodwaters' "had not even been brought before a judge and charged, much less been convicted."

Bipartisan critics of a '$236 Million Cruise Ship Deal' say that the government could have saved millions by sending Katrina evacuees on "a luxurious six-month cruise."

The top emergency official in Port Arthur, Texas, is quoted as saying that Rita victims are "living like cavemen," and pleas for relief are "met with requests for paperwork."

Appearing before a House Select Committee whose members were given "unlimited time to abuse the witness," former FEMA director Michael Brown reportedly "displayed the command of facts that made him famous over the past month," then complained of the "emaciation of FEMA" in his testimony.

When White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan urged Americans to "save fuel by eliminating unnecessary trips," he did so "during the President's seventh day trip to the Gulf Coast for a photo op," aboard a plane that "costs $40,000 an hour to fly."

Atrios runs an op-ed by Rick Perlstein that was "rejected or simply ignored" by major newspapers, in which rumors of "fake evacuees trying to stir up trouble and riot" remind him of the image of "a farmer quaking at the vision of black looters invading the cornfields of Iowa" in the 1960s.

"In general, higher rates of belief in and worship of a creator correlate with higher rates of homicide, juvenile and early adult mortality, STD infection rates, teen pregnancy and abortion in the prosperous democracies," says a study that brands the U.S. as "almost always the most dysfunctional of the developing democracies, sometimes spectacularly so."

"America is simultaneously the most professedly Christian of the developed nations and the least Christian in its behavior," writes Bill McKibben. "That paradox ... illuminates the hollow at the core of our boastful, careening culture."

"The trouble with journalism in this country," writes Molly Ivins, "is that it's too damn polite."

Cable new channels reportedly "turned in boffo numbers during September," as "Fox primetime tentpole 'The O'Reilly Factor' remained the most-watched cable news program with 2.8 million viewers."

September 27

Thursday, September 29, 2005

A bad year 'just got a whole lot worse' for the GOP, with lawyers "working out the details" for a trip to Austin where a "good ally" and 'Powerful Enforcer' -- but 'Not So Bosom' buddy -- will take his next step.

The Washington Post editorializes that the indictment of "ethical recidivist" Tom DeLay "gives us pause," as the fight to fill his shoes yields a family-friendly successor whose PAC has reportedly "paid roughly $88,000 in fees since 2003 to a consultant under indictment ... with DeLay."

DeLay 'Exercises his right to incriminate himself,' during an interview on Fox News in which he said: "The point here is that it was my idea to set up TRMPAC. I got it all organized. Then the people ... ran the day-to-day operations."

"I had no idea what they were doing," said DeLay, in an appearance on "Hardball." Plus: "If this is integrity ..."

The Senate confirms a Chief Justice, but Danny Schechter still wonders 'What Did Roberts Do in Florida?' -- and "did he have a 'double?'"

As a judge orders the release of Abu Ghraib photos, Knight Ridder's Joseph Galloway argues that "it's long past time for responsibility to begin flowing uphill in this administration," now that military higher-ups have "gotten to the bottom" of the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal.

Reuters' global managing editor writes to Sen. John Warner that U.S. forces are "limiting the ability of the media to fully and independently cover the events in Iraq," and "unduly preventing U.S. citizens from receiving information." The story of a cameraman's five-month detention is told in 'Kafka Does Iraq.'

In an article on the killing of 'The "Second" Man' in Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi's organization, Newsweek quotes one counterterrorism observer as saying that "If I had a nickel for every No. 2 and No. 3 they've arrested or killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, I'd be a millionaire."

As a female suicide bomber marks a 'possible new insurgent tactic in Iraq,' a Washington Post article on the bombing notes that "the U.S. military said it erroneously reported on Tuesday that a potential suicide bomber had penetrated a checkpoint inside the Green Zone."

Turkish Bath The Post also reports that Undersecretary of State Karen Hughes was confronted about Iraq by a group of female activists in Ankara, "turning a session designed to highlight the empowering of women into a raw display of the anger at U.S. policy in the region."

Hughes is "demonstrating, yet again, that the administration doesn't get it," editorializes USA Today, and according to a not yet posted report by a State Department advisory commission, "For what can be heard around the world ... is that America is less a beacon of hope than a dangerous force to be countered."

Also writing about the Hughes mission, Sidney Blumenthal quotes "Dying To Win" author Robert Pape as saying that "It is stunning ... the extent [to which] Hughes is helping bin Laden." Plus: 'Were These Two Guys in the Same Room?'

USA Today and Time profile the former Marine captain and "accidental star" who believes that his decision to work for Al-Jazeera "puts me where the good fight is."

To "abort every black baby in this country ... would be an impossible, ridiculous, and morally reprehensible thing to do," said former Secretary of Education and radio host Bill Bennett, "but your crime rate would go down."

'Framing Katrina' Writing in The Black Commentator, Paul Street analyzes the "privilege-friendly narratives" through which the media helped "contain the storm's radical potential."

Dan Rather said he wants to reopen an investigation into the story that led to "Memogate," but "CBS News doesn't want me to do that story," during an interview in which he observed that while three network news shows attract an audience of 30 million, "Fifty million people watch that nymphomaniac housewives show."

A New York Observer preview of "Inside the Bubble" says the "general picture isn't of a campaign that didn't function well on a logistical level, despite Mr. Loftus's memorable rant about his advance team's inability to produce a pony. The problem, in [director] Rosenbaum's view, is a lack of substance."

Ashley Smith, the woman held hostage after a shooting rampage in an Atlanta courthouse, and whose story was tirelessly reported by CNN, now says that, in addition to reading "The Purpose Driven Life" to her captor, she shared her crystal meth with him.

September 28

Friday, September 30, 2005

Murray Waas teases "quite a backstory" about how his "then unnoticed Prospect story paved the way, in large part, for the negotiations ... that would lead to [I. Lewis] Libby finally providing a personal waiver that would lead to her release and testimony."

A change of plea hearing for Pentagon analyst Lawrence Franklin has been added to the court calendar in the AIPAC case, which is said to have "received relatively little publicity in relation to its importance."

Jim Lobe reports on a new PIPA survey that finds Americans "deeply skeptical about the priority President George W. Bush has put on promoting democracy abroad."

'Bombs Kill 105' and turn Balad into "a scene of bloodshed and horror," while "at least 13 members of the U.S. military have been killed in Iraq since Monday."

Although Helen Thomas writes that "Bush gives no sign that he has any second thoughts" on invading Iraq, Margaret Carlson observes that "when your mojo fades, little things mean a lot."

With 'Media Coverage Disappearing in the Iraq War "Endgame,"' Tony Karon highlights the "administration's preferred prophylactic strategy for spinning the slow moving disaster."

As Undersecretary of State Karen Hughes is said to have "repeatedly puzzled her audiences" during a Mideast tour, Fred Kaplan asks, "why would anybody assume that she is the one to do the face-to-face spinning?"

"Nobody will be surprised to lose Anbar, and maybe one other province. We're not going to lose three," said a Pentagon official, expressing confidence that Iraq's draft constitution will be approved. Read how the Pentagon lost two.

With the U.S. Army missing its enlistment target by the largest margin in 26 years, potential Army National Guard recruits are being pitched to give it up for a song.

David Corn fears that the antiwar movement is 'Marching To Irrelevance' by focusing on the body count and "fighting the previous war." But Juan Cole urges the Democratic Party to listen when 'the "American street" speaks.'

In a TomDispatch interview, Cindy Sheehan says that "George Bush is getting ready to implode," and that "I think Katrina's going to be his Monica."

Extreme Makeover After the Bushes "visited Louisiana and Mississippi multiple times without creating a convincing narrative about their compassion," the First Lady reportedly "sought out the show for a guest appearance" during sweeps month.

A Wall Street Journal article says that "D-Day" in New Orleans came four days after Katrina passed, when "a 1,000-man force ... moved into the heart of the city to battle the insurgents holding the Convention Center."

"New Orleans is not a plantation," said one congressman, in response to a prediction by a Bush Cabinet official, to the effect that "New Orleans likely will never again be a majority black city."

A former UPI reporter says the FBI is "at the forefront" of "an expanding Orwellian attack on American environmentalism ... under the pretext of eco-terrorism."

Although Republican strategist/pollster Frank Luntz calls the idea "ridiculous," at least two House Republicans say they will return money to Rep. Tom DeLay's political action committee. One of the two has been placed on the roster of "Tom's Tainted Team." Plus: 'The cost of Dreier not taking the helm.'

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's veto of a bill legalizing same-sex marriage is said to be "an affront to the memory of his most enthusiastic early supporters: the gay sugar daddies of the international bodybuilding circuit."

Raw Story revisits how, "Just two days before Sen. Trent Lott stepped down as Majority Leader in 2002," HCA, the company Sen. Bill Frist's father started, "quietly settled a massive Medicare fraud lawsuit for $630 million," after having been under investigation by the Justice Department since 1993.

A "former U.S. Embassy official" named in an Italian warrant, but nameless in a Los Angeles Times story, "initially identified herself as the woman; when told she was speaking to a reporter, however, she immediately said she had no idea who the woman was."

A Washington Post correction on an incident involving jazz singer Madeleine Peyroux, falls under the category of 'Great moments in publicity (and reporting).'

September 29

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