April 24, 2005

A High-Tech Lynching in Prime Time
By FRANK RICH

---snip---

Tonight is the much-awaited "Justice Sunday," the judge-bashing rally being disseminated nationwide by cable, satellite and Internet from a megachurch in Louisville. It may not boast a plume of smoke emerging from above the Sistine Chapel, but it will feature its share of smoke and mirrors as well as traditions that, while not dating back a couple of millenniums, do at least recall the 1920's immortalized in "Elmer Gantry." These traditions have less to do with the earnest practice of religion by an actual church, as we witnessed from Rome, than with the exploitation of religion by political operatives and other cynics with worldly ends. While Sinclair Lewis wrote that Gantry, his hypocritical evangelical preacher, "was born to be a senator," we now have senators who are born to be Gantrys. One of them, the Senate majority leader, Bill Frist, hatched plans to be beamed into tonight's festivities by videotape, a stunt that in itself imbues "Justice Sunday" with a touch of all-American spectacle worthy of "The Wizard of Oz." more....

April 23, 2005

Health and Social Dangers
by Julian Bond  

Thirty-five years after the United States first celebrated Earth Day in 1970, the reality is that most of America's urban and working poor still struggle with harmful environmental dangers. Those threats, the result of social and economic neglect, have created new and frightening environmental, health and social problems -- especially for people of color, urban dwellers For example, asthma is now the leading chronic illness among children. Many cities in Ohio, Michigan and other industrial states continually fail to meet new federal clean air standards. Low-income urban area dwellers are much more at risk of developing asthma and other respiratory diseases. Pollutants and other toxins are more common in low-income neighborhoods and communities of color. more....

April 22, 2005

Militarism threatens to bankrupt U.S. economically and morally
By Reed M. Smith

It is up to the American people to demand that our representatives stop the warhawks' world-girdling military appetite in the Middle East and elsewhere, and restore our own democracy. more....

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Santorum reads nuke polls, applies the brakes
By Alexander Bolton

Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), a leading advocate of the „nuclear optionš to end the Democrats‚ filibuster of judicial nominees, is privately arguing for a delay in the face of adverse internal party polls. Details of the polling numbers remain under wraps, but Santorum and other Senate sources concede that, while a majority of Americans oppose the filibuster, the figures show that most also accept the Democratic message that Republicans are trying to destroy the tradition of debate in the Senate. more....

April 21, 2005

The Do-Nothing Energy Bill
by Navin Nayak

If insanity is indeed doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results, someone ought to check in on the U.S. Congress.  For the fifth straight year, the House of Representatives is set to debate an energy bill chock-full of corporate welfare for the oil, gas, coal and nuclear industries and woefully short on innovative policy solutions to address our nation‚s energy problems. Despite widespread public and political oppositionųand countless analyses documenting the futility of the billųCongress returns year after year with a virtual carbon copy of the original energy bill introduced in 2001.

---snip---

The latest House bill contains more than $80 billion in authorized spending and another $8 billion in tax breaks, 95 percent of which benefit the oil, gas, coal and nuclear industries.  Don‚t check your glasses, you read it rightųthe House is actually proposing to spend $88 billion dollars on a bill that will neither save a drop of oil, nor help consumers at the pump.  more....

April 20, 2005

The New York Times in Fallujah
By MIKE WHITNEY
---snip---

The truth about Falluja is far different than the bogus reports in the AP and Times. The fact that even now, a full 6 months after the siege, camera crews and journalists are banned from the city, tells us a great deal about the extent of America's war crimes. Just two weeks ago, a photographer from Al Aribiyya news was arrested while leaving Falluja and his equipment and film were confiscated. To date, he is still being held without explanation and there is no indication when he will be released. This illustrates the fear among the military brass that the truth about Falluja will leech out and destroy whatever modest support still exists for the occupation. Journalists should realize that Falluja may turn out to be the administration's Achilles heel; a My Lai-type atrocity that turns the public decisively against Bush's war. more....

April 19, 2005

The following article appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle last Friday. I find it kind of scary.

It's impressive, scary to see what a Zaba search can do
by David Lazarus

---snip---

What makes ZabaSearch great is that, at no cost, it quickly and comprehensively places a remarkable amount of data about people right at your fingertips.

What makes ZabaSearch frightening is that, at no cost, it quickly and comprehensively places a remarkable amount of data about people right at your fingertips. more....

April 18, 2005

Sweet Victory: Maryland Stands Up To Wal-Mart
by Katrina vanden Heuvel  

With the federal government content to let Wal-Mart run amok, it has been left up to the states to protect workers from the retail behemoth's excesses. This past Saturday, April 9, Maryland showed America's largest corporation who's boss.

Maryland's House of Delegates voted 82 to 48 to approve a bill that would require all businesses in the state with more than 10,000 employees to spend at least 8 percent of their payroll on health benefits for workers (or, alternatively, donate the funds to the state's Medicaid program). Wal-Mart, with its 15,000 employees, is the only such company that does not already spend 8 percent on health care for employees--and thus, the direct target of the bill. more....

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No War in Iraq march.
San Francisco, Ca., January 18, 2003
San Francisco, Ca., February 16, 2003

Klezmatics
Klezmatics concert photos. (These are uncorrected straight out out of the camera)

On April 3, 2005, Barbara and I went to see the Klezmatics, with guest Joshua Nelson, Jewish gospel singer. To quote the concert program, "Their soul-stirring Jewish roots music recreates klezmer in arrangements and compostions that combine Jewish identity and mysticism with a contemporary zeitgeist and a postmodern aesthetic. Since their founding in New York City's East Village in 1986, the Klezmatics have celebrated the ecstatic nature of Yiddish music with works by turn wild, spiritual, provocative, reflective and danceable." The concert was phenomenal.

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