September 30, 2005

from Democracy Now
After the Hurricane: Where Have All the Prisoners Gone?
More Than 500 From New Orleans Jail Still Unaccounted For

A month after Hurricane Katrina, serious questions remain about the fate of hundreds of prisoners in New Orleans. Human Rights Watch says there are 517 unaccounted for, while prisoners and their lawyers say many were abandoned in the flooding jails. We'll speak with Human Rights Watch's researcher, as well as a man who was in the Orleans Parish Prison during the storm, and two lawyers fighting to discover what exactly happened inside the jails. [includes rush transcript]

It has been nearly one month since Hurricane Katrina ripped through the southern coast of the United States, decimating communities in Mississippi and Louisiana. These past weeks, we have reported on the horrors faced by people in New Orleans, in particular as they struggled to survive. One story we have looked at is the fate of those held in prison as the hurricane hit the city. Weeks later, there are still serious questions about what happened inside of facilities like the Orleans Parish Prison. The group Human Rights Watch has just issued one of the first independent analyses investigating what happened in the jails. The group alleges that in one facility the sheriff's department abandoned hundreds of prisoners.The group also says that there are some 517 prisoners unaccounted for and is calling on the U.S. Department of Justice to conduct an investigation into the Orleans Sheriff's Department. more...

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Getting Arrested with Cindy Sheehan
By GARY HANDSCHUMACHER

On Monday, 9/26, Cindy Sheehan and I were arrested together; along with more than 350 other good citizens. We had committed the crime of going to the White House to deliver a list of the names of those who have been murdered in Iraq in the latest version of US Government empire building. I hadn't planned to be arrested, not for fear, I have had the experience on a few occasions before, but more for convenience, not wishing to miss my early Tuesday AM flight. But, as I marched with friends to the White House, my thoughts changed. The logic of, "If not now, then when?...If not I, then who?", took over. more...

September 29, 2005

Iraq Burns; Dems Look on the Bright Side
by Arianna Huffington

If you need yet another reminder why the Democrats continue to teeter on the verge of becoming a permanent minority party, I suggest you pick up the Boston Herald and watch CBS News.

At the same time the situation in Iraq continues to deteriorate, with CBS reporting on the "undeclared civil war" raging between Shiites and Sunnis and the Saudi Foreign Minister telling the world that Iraq is "going toward disintegration," there was John Kerry giving a speech arguing that "progress" was being made. As the Boston Herald put it, Senator John Kerry "back-pedalled on blistering criticism of the war."

Unbelievable.

Andrew Gumbel's latest HuffPost turns a flashing red spotlight on why we need to reform our voting systems. But even the most corruption-free voting system in the world isn't going to help Democrats if they keep offering up candidates who make the kind of absurd pronouncements on Iraq Kerry did this week.

It's the clueless candidates, stupid! more...

September 28, 2005

The Mysteries of New Orleans
Twenty-five Questions about the Murder of the Big Easy
by Mike Davis and Anthony Fontenot

We recently spent a week in New Orleans and Southern Louisiana interviewing relief workers, community activists, urban planners, artists, and neighborhood folks. Even as the latest flood waters from Hurricane Rita recede, the city remains submerged in anger and frustration.

Indeed, the most toxic debris in New Orleans isn't the sinister gray sludge that coats the streets of the historic Creole neighborhood of Treme or the Lower Ninth Ward, but all the unanswered questions that have accumulated in the wake of so much official betrayal and hypocrisy. Where outsiders see simple "incompetence" or "failure of leadership," locals are more inclined to discern deliberate design and planned neglect -- the murder, not the accidental death, of a great city.

In almost random order, here are twenty-five of the urgent questions that deeply trouble the local people we spoke with. Until a grand jury or congressional committee begins to uncover the answers, the moral (as opposed to simply physical) reconstruction of the New Orleans region will remain impossible. more...

September 27, 2005

The News Media and the Antiwar Movement
by Norman Solomon

It's reasonable to estimate that more than a quarter of a million people demonstrated against the Iraq war on Saturday in Washington, Los Angeles, San Francisco and other U.S. cities. The next day, the Washington Post front-paged a decent story that described "the largest show of antiwar sentiment in the nation's capital since the conflict in Iraq began." But more perfunctory back-page articles were typical in daily papers across the country. And over the weekend, many TV news watchers saw little or nothing about the protests.

Hurricane Rita was clearly a factor. But even without dramatic natural disasters, the news media are ready, willing and able to downplay news about war -- and the antiwar movement -- for any number of reasons. Conventional wisdom on Capitol Hill or in newsrooms can tamp down media coverage of a surging movement. What's crucial is that the movement not allow its momentum to be interrupted by media treatment. more...

September 26, 2005

vheadline.com's masthead reads: VHeadline.com remains 100% independent of all political factions in Venezuela

from vheadline.com:
Venezuela sends cargo of 300,000 barrels of gasoline direct to Louisiana

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez Frias has confirmed that a cargo of 300,000 barrels of gasoline is on its way to the USA to help Southern States affected by Hurricane Katrina.

The President as confirmed that before traveling to New York to attend the UN summit, Louisiana State Governor Kathleen Blanco phoned the Venezuelan President accepting his offer of help.

Chavez Frias broke the news on arrival in the USA and has reminded reporters that the Venezuelan government had offered 8 electrical plants and drinking water supplies to help the homeless, aid which has been rejected.

Making a distinction between the USA people and its government, Chavez Frias has confirmed his readiness to help the former and the oil cargo is a concrete sign of his commitment.

During his visit to New York, which includes a talk at Columbia University and a black congregation in New York, the President has repeated his criticism of the Bush's administration slow reaction to Hurricane Katrina and the African American community in New Orleans.

September 25, 2005

Evacuee treatment spurs action
By Nathaniel Hoffman

OAKLAND - As Van Jones watched thousands of black New Orleans residents stranded by Hurricane Katrina and the delayed federal rescue, a cold political calculus went through his head.

President Bush is not concerned about a political backlash from black America because his advisers know blacks are not as organized as they were a generation ago, reasoned the experienced community organizer.

"He probably knows that we don't have the capacity to do anything," Jones said. "Faced with the biggest racial catastrophe of my entire life, I was helpless."

So Jones, an activist, entrepreneur and founder of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights in Oakland, teamed up with James Rucker, grassroots mobilization director for MoveOn.org, to harness the power of the Web for political organizing. more...

They call it ColorOfChange.org.

**********

Van Jones wrote the following article a couple of weeks ago:
Rescuing America: A 9-Step Plan

The tragedy of Katrina offers progressives the rare opportunity to step in with vision, courage and leadership.

President George W. Bush's disastrous mishandling of Hurricane Katrina exposes what is so desperately wrong with the right-wing ideology that now controls the U.S. government. We now have a rare opportunity to make a bold case for progressive approaches to the country's problems.

Everyone can see now that we need a well-funded, functional government within U.S. borders -- not an emaciated, revenue-starved one. It is more clear than ever that over-funding the military and cutting services actually makes us less safe, not more.

It also redeems those who have been concerned about racism, poverty, climate destabilization, toxic petrochemicals and the perils of over-reliance on oil. We can see that these are not just petty obsessions of the "politically correct" crowd. They are life-and-death issues for real people. more...

September 24, 2005

Participate in the nationwide demonstrations against the war today:

While we organize around the demand for the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of the U.S. from Iraq, it is essential that the movement show the connection between the war in Iraq and all the other fronts of the U.S. government's war for Empire, including the struggle of working and poor people in the United States.

Mass March on
Saturday, September 24
in Washington D.C.
Regional demonstrations in
San Francisco (Dolores Park, 11:00 AM), Los Angeles & Seattle
(Click on icons to see larger images.)

masked demonstrators icon
September 30, 2005


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September 29, 2005


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September 28, 2005


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September 27, 2005


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September 26, 2005


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September 25, 2005


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September 24, 2005


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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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