May 1, 2005

Withdraw U.S. Troops
by Medea Benjamin

Two years have passed since President Bush stood atop an aircraft carrier (May 1, 2003) and announced the end of major combat operations in Iraq. Since that ''mission accomplished'' photo-op, more than 1,400 U.S. troops and thousands of Iraqi civilians have died. And just recently, the Pentagon acknowledged that insurgent attacks have again increased to last year's levels of some 400 attacks per week.

But the Bush administration continues to claim that Iraq is on the road to recovery, especially now that a new government has been elected.

Having traveled to Iraq numerous times in the past three years, what strikes me is how different the opinions of Iraqi people on the street are from the opinions of Iraqis in the government. more

April 30, 2005

Two months and no changes since the Richmond City Council passed a unanimous resolution asking Cal EPA to provide better environmental oversight of the extremely toxic sites at the Zeneca/Cherokee-Simeon/Campus Bay and UC Berkeley Field Station along the South Richmond shoreline. Cal EPA is dragging its bureaucratic feet in making the jurisdictional change from the Water Board to the Department of Toxic Substances Control.

See below right for more information and links to additional photos.

April 29, 2005

Bush's Press Conference: Little News, One Big Problem
By David Corn

There was not much news in George W. Bush's fourth primetime press conference. He acknowledged he could do nothing much about the high price of gas except to plead with the Saudis and other oil producers to boost production. He predictably called on Congress to pass an energy bill that would lead to more drilling and an expansion of nuclear power. While paying lip service to conservation, he only referred to developing technology that would save energy; he did not mention changing consumption patterns.

On Social Security, Bush stuck with privatized accounts, but he also advocated--in the only substantial news of the evening--means-testing cost of living adjustments for Social Security benefits, raising the prospect of real cuts for a majority of future beneficiaries. more....

April 28, 2005

Pulitzer Prize-Winning Cartoons


View the 2005 Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoon portfolio of Nick Anderson of the The Louisville Courier-Journal, featuring editorial cartoons about Iraq, the 2004 election, the economy, and other topics.

April 27, 2005

Evidence that the US May Be Losing the Global War on Terror
by Ivan Eland

The Bush administration is attempting to suppress key data showing that its Global War on Terrorism (or GWOT as government bureaucrats have dubbed it) likely has been counterproductive.

---snip---

In addition to distracting from the important task of quietly neutralizing al Qaeda, the Iraq invasion has needlessly killed between 26,000 and 108,000 U.S. and allied troops, U.S. contract forces, Iraqi soldiers, and Iraqi civilians and overstretched the U.S. military in a seemingly endless Vietnam-style quagmire. more....

April 26, 2005

US military worried over change in Iraq attacks
By Bryan Bender

---snip---
Senior military strategists, speaking privately, also said they worry that insurgents are making inroads toward sparking a full-blown sectarian war and offered cautions about recent predictions that the United States could significantly reduce its forces from the current 142,000 within a year. more....

**********

The New Nursing Home, Emphasis on Home
By WILLIAM L. HAMILTON

---snip---
The Green House Project, comprising 10 new suburban houses here, is an experiment in reinventing the nursing home. Its creators hope it will herald a new age for old age, although its advantages to residents are yet unproved in health care studies.

Green Houses are part of a broadening movement to humanize care for elderly people with smaller, more domestic settings and a closer sense of community among residents and staff members. And they are an effort to address the fears of being institutionalized, among them anxieties about the loss of independence and the potential for abuse. more....

April 25, 2005

Nuking the Filibuster
GOP Arguments Fail Smell Test

As the Republicans in the U.S. Senate consider invoking the "nuclear option" of prohibiting filibusters on judicial candidates, a bit of Senate history might be in order. It shows that the arguments being marshaled against the filibuster are sheer sophistry.

To end debate in the Senate and force a vote requires a successful motion for "cloture," which takes 60 yeas to pass. From the first days of the Senate, the principle of unlimited debate was the hallmark that set it apart from the House. Until 1917, Senate rules allowed no cloture of any kind on any issue.

In the face of World War I and at President Woodrow Wilson's suggestion, the Senate enacted Rule 22, which allowed cloture if two-thirds of the Senate voted for it. That was later pared to an affirmative vote of 60. But until 1949, cloture was prohibited on nominations of all kinds. more....

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Archives

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November 27, 2004 - December 3, 2004
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December 25, 2004 - December 31, 2004
January 1, 2005 - January 7, 2005
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January 15, 2005 - January 21, 2005
January 22, 2005 - January 28, 2005
January 29, 2005 - February 4, 2005
February 5, 2005 - February 11, 2005
February 12, 2005 - February 18, 2005
February 19, 2005 - February 25, 2005
February 26, 2005 - March 4, 2005
March 3, 2005 - March 11, 2005
March 12, 2005 - March 18, 2005
March 19, 2005 - March 25, 2005
April 4, 2005 - April 10, 2005
April 11, 2005 - April 17, 2005
April 18, 2005 - April 24, 2005

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.

**********

Campus Bay

On April 28, 2005, More than 50 people representing many officials, community groups, and other concerned citizens gathered at the Campus Bay site to demand strict oversight of health and safety standards designed to protect the community during and after cleanup of these former industrial sites. Two months have gone by since the Richmond City Council asked the state to authorize the Department of Toxic Substance Control (DTSC) to take the lead on environmental cleanup for the entire Stauffer Chemical / Zeneca / Campus Bay (called Campus Bay in short) site. Meanwhile, DTSC does have oversight on a portion of the site and cleanup will continue before development plans are approved.

The main health concerns include:
That the soil is so toxic that future residents would be exposed in the long term with unknown health effects due to gases from volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and direct exposure to toxic soils. They would almost certainly not be informed about the site history or any potential health threats. The developers idea of mitigation, by the way, includes fans inside the high rises to prevent buildup of VOCs where residents live (!!!!!).

Additional concerns:
Many organizations have additional concerns including the visual impact of the high rises on adjacent neighorhoods, visual impact on the coastal zone, proper clean up and restoration of the site in general and the marsh in particular which is critical habitat for many species including the endangered Clapper Rail etc.

A few additional Photos (Most of these photos are not edited or corrected in Photoshop).

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This site consists of original photographs and composites by Fletcher Oakes, unless otherwise credited.


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