From Yesterday's Wolf Blitzer Reports:
KELLI ARENA, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Neither John Kerry nor the president has said troops pulled out of Iraq any time soon. But there is some speculation that al Qaeda believes it has a better chance of winning in Iraq if John Kerry is in the White House.
And my response:
I cannot convey to you how disappointed I was in your lack of professionalism on yesterday's Wolf Blitzer Reports.
When you said, "Neither John Kerry nor the president has said troops pulled out of Iraq any time soon. But there is some speculation that al Qaeda believes it has a better chance of winning in Iraq if John Kerry is in the White House," you made two serious errors.
First of all, we are not fighting al-Qaeda in Iraq. We are currently fighting an insurrection made up of Iraqi citizens. Even if there are some members of al-Qaeda currently in Iraq, to portray the conflict as one between US forces and al-Qaeda terrorists is so misleading that it leads one to wonder whether or not the misinformation presented was intentional. If you are so unaware of the current situation in Iraq that you honestly believe that the situation is one of US forces battling al-Qaeda, then I can only suggest that you resign and seek work in a field for which you are better qualified.
Second, I am deeply bothered by your lack of journalistic integrity regarding the use of passive voice in this statement.
"there is some speculation that al Qaeda believes it has a better chance of winning in Iraq if John Kerry is in the White House."
Who is speculating this? If White House officials are speculating that their opponent would not be as effective, then the statement lacks credibility. Likewise, if the speculation comes from partisan pundits or organizations, the same lack of credibility exists. The fact that you hide the actor by issuing a passive statement questioning John Kerry's ability shows either a lack of professionalism or journalistic sloppiness on your part.
I expect that you will issue an retraction and an apology forthwith, and in the future refrain from making erroneous, irresponsible, and hyperbolic statements under the ruse of being some sort of authority. Democracy relies on professional, objective journalism, Ms. Arena. I hope that your country can better depend on you in the future.
You can also call and give CNN a piece of your mind about this kind of partisan hack journalism:
It has been brought to my attention that "there is... is not exactly a passive voice construction. It is actually an expletive construction, although it does in this context mask the true agent of the speculation as a passive voice would." Thank you, Chris
From Yesterday's Wolf Blitzer Reports:
June 7 - 15 Early Voting Poll Locations (word doc)
June 19 Poll Locations (word doc)
ACC Run-off elections
vote FOR Veronica Rivera
ACCESSIBILITY FOR ALL - We should meet the needs of our diverse community with a wide array of educational options.
- Build Cooperation With Area School Districts
- Reach Out to Non-Traditional Students
- Demand Community Input at Every Stage
- Facilitate Transition from High School by Focusing on Attainable Goals
- Raise Community Awareness of ACC Programs and Curriculum
- Raise Money for Scholarships
MANAGING ENROLLMENT GROWTH – ACC Enrollment has grown dramatically. Sound oversight will be critical to our future economic well being.
- Plan for growth from a regional perspective
- Respect and adhere to the Master Plan
- Utilize State Demographics in Planning
- Expand On-Campus Facilities
- Revitalize and Rebuild Current Sites
- Identify New Locations for Future Campuses
- Focus on Environmentally Conscious Solutions
- Close the Minority Education Gap
This is a very important election. Veronica's opponent is a right-wing extremist. If education is important to you, please be sure to get out and vote!
Last night I saw former Lt. Gov. Ben Barnes speak at Mother Egan's Irish Pub in Austin. During his dynamic speech, Barnes said that George W. Bush joined the National Guard to evade going to Vietnam. He said he knows this because, as Lt. Gov. of the State of Texas, he made it possible as a favor to the Bush family. Barnes told the audience that, at the time, he thought that part of his job was to protect the sons of powerful families. He went on to apologize to all citizens for protecting the elite at the expense of regular citizens.
Gen. Wesley Clark has a fascinating article in Washington Monthly.
The strategy that won the Cold War could help bring democracy to the Middle East-- if only the Bush hawks understood it.
I can't believe we're not hearing more about this. I think this really says a lot about how the Bush administration has been handling things in Iraq. Last Saturday the Washington Post ran a startling article about who's actually running the show in Iraq's Coalition Provisional Authority.
When the U.S. government went looking for people to help rebuild Iraq, they had responded to the call. They supported the war effort and President Bush. Many had strong Republican credentials. They were in their twenties or early thirties and had no foreign service experience. On that first day, Oct. 1, they knew so little about how things worked that they waited hours at the airport for a ride that was never coming. They finally discovered the shuttle bus out of the airport but got off at the wrong stop.
Well, sure. But look, you don't expect interns to need a lot of experience to run the copier, right?
They had been hired to perform a low-level task: collecting and organizing statistics, surveys and wish lists from the Iraqi ministries for a report that would be presented to potential donors at the end of the month. But as suicide bombs and rocket attacks became almost daily occurrences, more and more senior staffers defected. In short order, six of the new young hires found themselves managing the country's $13 billion budget, making decisions affecting millions of Iraqis.
Um...okay, okay. Look, you've got to work with who you've got. And I'm sure the people that they hired went through a rigorous vetting process.
For months they wondered what they had in common, how their names had come to the attention of the Pentagon, until one day they figured it out: They had all posted their resumes at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative-leaning think tank.
Oh. Oh, dear God...
I never thought I'd say this, but maybe I'll read a Tom Clancy book.
Take special note of this:
Clancy recalled a prewar encounter in Washington during which he "almost came to blows" with Richard Perle, a Pentagon adviser at the time and a longtime advocate of the invasion.
That just made my day.
The New York Times has issued a public apology for irresponsible journalism leading up to the war in Iraq. Not a bad start and it shows more class than the current administration - being able to admit that you were wrong. Do you think Fox News will be next?
The apology is great, don't get me wrong, but what I would really like to see now is a renewed skepticism and search for the truth.
The Guardian has an interesting article today.
An urgent investigation has been launched in Washington into whether Iran played a role in manipulating the US into the Iraq war by passing on bogus intelligence through Ahmad Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress, it emerged yesterday.
I'm not sure what Iran stood to gain from a US occupation of Iraq, but Chalabi's manipulation of intel has been accepted by many since before the war's outset. That the Bush administration is only now realizing that Chalabi is a questionable character is telling.
Further more, the article says
An intelligence source in Washington said the CIA confirmed its long-held suspicions when it discovered that a piece of information from an electronic communications intercept by the National Security Agency had ended up in Iranian hands. The information was so sensitive that its circulation had been restricted to a handful of officials.
Question - who gave the document to Chalabi?
Brent Scowcroft redux:
Don't Attack Saddam
It would undermine our antiterror efforts.
Wall Street Journal
Thursday, August 15, 2002
In sum, if we will act in full awareness of the intimate interrelationship of the key issues in the region, keeping counterterrorism as our foremost priority, there is much potential for success across the entire range of our security interests--including Iraq. If we reject a comprehensive perspective, however, we put at risk our campaign against terrorism as well as stability and security in a vital region of the world.
The President of the United States has trouble pronouncing Abu Ghraib. More troubling, though, is the Bush administration's seeming comfort with the practice of torture. Certainly no one in the Bush administration would command an American soldier to abuse prisoners - as the President pointed out in his speech at the Army War College, those soldiers who abused prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison "dishonored our country and disregarded our values."
But what if it's not only American soldiers committing acts of torture? What if, in the great tradition of global capitalism, we outsourced our torture?
The New Republic has the scoop.
There are few things better in life than getting together with old friends, having a beer, and making new friends in the process. Sunday nights filled with laughter and good cheer are a remedy for almost any ailment.
The lineup was (in reverse order) Hudson Falcons, New Disciples, The Score. I didn't have to pay. Brenna's gambling debt is forgiven, though, since she fed me twice while Sarah was out of town. I got home around 2:30 AM and made it in to work on time (more or less). It's been a long time since I've done that - gone to a show on a work night without arranging to be out the next day. I made it until about 3 PM without feeling uncomfortably tired. The next night, however, was spent laying on the couch. I watched the movie "Bones" on BET. Unfortunately, the movie is not about my friend Bones who I saw the night before and who I would like to see play tonight in San Antonio if I didn't have a prior obligation. I saw Liz Carpenter speak today. She is a funny woman and a good speaker.
One thing I really love about the internet is that it is a useful tool for finding information.
For example, by using the internet I now know that Thursday night at Emo's the lineup is:
I also know that it either costs $10 or $12 or some unspecified amount of money and that tickets both are and are not for sale online.
A man has been jailed for life for killing his black girlfriend and placing her body in front of a shrine to Nazism.
Conrad Stanford, 21, who is also black, was obsessed with Nazis and was suffering from a personality disorder, the Old Bailey was told.
A "personality disorder?" I'll say...
The Onion has taken to printing straight news:
Bathroom Too Disgusting To Shit In
AUSTIN, TX—The men's bathroom at area rock club Emo's was declared too repulsive for the emptying of concertgoer Max Risdy's bowels Saturday night. "The floor was covered with water, there was toilet paper and garbage everywhere, and it smelled disgusting," Risdy said, wincing at the memory Monday. "It was really not the kind of place you want to leave a big pile of digested food matter after squeezing it through your rectum from the depths of your bowels." Risdy added that the area near the music venue's stage was too loud and crowded.
I've got to hand it to John McCain for not punching this unamerican son-of-a-bitch in the throat.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - As others condemned the reported abuse of Iraqi prisoners, U.S. Sen. James Inhofe expressed outrage at the outcry over the scandal and took aim at "humanitarian do-gooders" investigating American troops.
But Sen. John McCain, himself a former prisoner of war, said such humanitarian involvement distinguished the United States from its enemies.
George Will has an excellent column in yesterday's Washington Post.
The first axiom is: When there is no penalty for failure, failures proliferate. Leave aside the question of who or what failed before Sept. 11, 2001. But who lost his or her job because the president's 2003 State of the Union address gave currency to a fraud -- the story of Iraq's attempting to buy uranium in Niger? Or because the primary and only sufficient reason for waging preemptive war -- weapons of mass destruction -- was largely spurious? Or because postwar planning, from failure to anticipate the initial looting to today's insufficient force levels, has been botched? Failures are multiplying because of choices for which no one seems accountable.
WASHINGTON (AFP) - A leading military newspaper said that US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld set the tone for the prisoner abuse scandal in Iraq by refusing to give captives rights due prisoners of war under the Geneva Conventions.
Dick Cheney wants everyone to "get off [Rumseld's] case" and Bush defends Rumsfeld and plans to keep him in the cabinet.
Some Democrats want to exploit this problem for political gain. Some Republicans want to ignore the problem in order to avoid a scandal.
What is important to remember, though, is that this should have nothing to do with domestic politics. It has to do with the safety and treatment of our own soldiers. If the US allows people to brazenly violate the Geneva conventions and holds no one accountable - that sends a message to all the thugs and terrorists of the world that there are no holds barred.
The Geneva conventions provide for reasonable treatment of prisoners of war in order to protect our soldiers in war time. If the Bush administration fails to respond to these abuses in Iraq with swift and appropriate justice - not just by serving up a low level scapegoat, but by holding responsible those in the upper ranks as well - then the Bush administration will be directly responsible for future torture and abuses against our soldiers.
Does anyone else get the feeling from the rhetoric coming out of the Bush administration that they're more upset that anyone found out about the abuses than that they actually occurred?
The men and women who dedicate their lives to protecting America deserve better than that. We all do.
Oh, what a weekend. The highs, the lows - the rollercoaster of life. Saturday morning Chelsea managed a draw with Man United - enough to ensure Chelsea takes second in the Premiership and an automatic place in the Champions League. Man United, for the first time in I don't know how long (if ever?), will now have to chance it in qualifiers. Either way, it's good to see Man U get their comeuppance.
In the American League, Dallas Burn did not have such good luck against LA Galaxy. They seemed to be pretty dominate in the first half and went into halftime leading 1 - nil. In the second half, though,everything fell apart. After falling behind 2-1, Burn had several opportunities to get the equalizer at the finish of the game. Then, with less than a minute left in stoppage time, Carlos Ruiz made it 3-1 Galaxy and ended any hopes of a Dallas comeback.
Several people have asked what I may have done to get my name out around my work. Fair enough. I get recognition at work for being a hardworker who gets results. I am also an unabashed loudmouth with no regard for authority who fires off e-mail to high level administrators complaining about problems at work, in the community or, really, whatever I'm pissed off about at the time. They're civil letters, mind you, and (if I do say so myself) well written, but often take a tone that seems to get the reader's attention:
Administrator I have decided is responsible for whatever I'm at the moment annoyed with,
I am terribly dissapointed in your lack of leadership regarding issue X. I understand that you are in a difficult position politically, but what our community needs right now is someone who has the conviction and principles to make tough decisions without bowing to pressure from whomever I disagree with.
I suggest the following course of action...
Because we all have at heart the best interests of our community, I know I can count on you, in the future, to stop being a coward and to start acting according to my will.
Quite possibly the lowest man on the totem pole from whom you have no real reason to take advice or criticism
10 May 2004
Alamo Drafthouse Downtown will be showing The Kids are United for $1!
Originally titled Kids Like You and Me, this documentary on the 1978 Reading Rock Festival is so rare that even fans of the bands depicted scarcely know of its existence. Featuring performances and interviews by The Jam, Sham 69, Penetration, early Ultravox and (strangely) The Pirates, the film even shows Sham 69’s over-emotional Jimmy Pursey breaking down in tears on stage. “The concert documentary's chosen headliners represent U.K. punk's already-divided soul: the Jam are all about songwriting and artistry, whereas Sham 69 (once gloriously described as "the archetypal working-class ramalama dole-queue band, deliverers of socio-political bromides over blazing guitars") fly the flag for "art"-free youth solidarity and rebellion. Interviews with their respective leaders, pretentious Paul Weller and charismatically not-so Jimmy Pursey, underline that separation.”
(Dennis Harvey, SF Bay Guardian)
On Sunday, 16 May there will be a benefit show for Laurel Aitken who became very ill in December. Doctors think he may never perform again.
The benefit will take place at Emo's and will feature music by:
The Stingers (doing an all Laurel Aitken set)
DJ-RJ (of KAZI)
Heart & Soul Sound System