Wednesday, March 10, 2004

A blog conversation reveals just how many female political bloggers are out there!

A sampling:

Anne Zook, Mahablog-Barbara O'Brien, Bittershack-Brooke Biggs, Nitpicker-CJ Finis, The Duchess (Charlene), Cyndy Roy, Different Strings-Kryselda Jarnsaxa, Ana Marie (Wonkette), Laura Poyneer aka al-muhajabah, Madelein Begun Kane, Marla Caldwell, Echidne, Iddybud-Jude Nagurney Camwell, Lis Riba, Laura Gjovaag, Maru Soze, Natalie Davis, Shari, PG, Alasablog, Crescat Sententia, Eve Tushnet , Suburban Guerrilla, Collective Sigh, Elayne Riggs, Blog or Not, Amy Sullivan, World O'Crap, Just a Bump in the Beltway (Melanie), Wampum (Mary Beth Williams), Assymetrical Information(Jane Galt), Respectful of Otters (Rivka), Ruminate This (Lisa English), Julia, Avedon Carol, Making Light (Teresa Nielsen Hayden), Rebecca's Pocket, Breaching the Web, Ladida, Xeney, Fusion Reaction, Parenthetically Speaking, Divinest Sense, Girlhacker, Backup Brain (Dori's half) , Megnut, Netwoman, 12 Frogs, Burningbird, ValueJudgment (J's half) , Yourish, Veralynne-ACT, Sisyphus Shrugged

Blog on, sweet on.

*Kevin Hayden provides an additional tribute to women of blogging: "Wimminz Get their Day, but that ain't enough.."
This blogstress was gifted with the highlighted word "many" sandwiched in between my gurlfellow blogkind. It reminds me of the saying "From one-- many and from many--one." All these female blogstress spirits represent separate parts linked to the entirety of "blogstress-consciousness".
MANY thanks to Kevin!

Monet's Waterlilies

Today as the news from Selma and Saigon
poisons the air like fallout,
I come again to see
the serene, great picture that I love.

Here space and time exist in light
the eye like the eye of faith believes.
The seen, the known
dissolve in iridescence, become
illusive flesh of light
that was not, was, forever is.

O light beheld as through refracting tears.
Here is the aura of that world
each of us has lost.
Here is the shadow of its joy.

Robert Hayden

CIA chief George Tenet says he's corrected VP Dick Cheney privately. Let's correct him publically while we're at it.

Mr. Tenet, testifying before a Senate committee yesterday, did not go as far as to say he thought the Bush administration had misrepresented facts to justify going to war.

However, Mr. Tenet said he planned to call Mr. Cheney's attention to a recent misstatement, in a Jan. 9 interview, when the vice president recommended as "your best source of information" on links between Iraq and Al Qaeda the contents of a disputed memorandum by senior Pentagon official, Douglas J. Feith. That memo was sent last October to the Senate Intelligence Committee, and information from the memo was used last November in an now-infamous article titled "Case Closed" published in the Weekly Standard. In my opinion, the article seemed an attempt to convince readers that there was conclusive evidence of collaboration between Saddam Hussein's government and Al Qaeda. The article's writer, Stephen Hayes, failed to mention that intelligence agencies objected to Mr. Feith's findings.

How do these stories affect public perception/public opinion?

Last December, the "Case Closed" article played well in the business-as-usual right-wing media circles, but never got much farther due to its fact-challenged and innuendo-flavoured nature. Inside the mainstream media loop, questions about the actual facts continued. I recall, at that time, being disturbed about the misinformation floating around and the press' seeming incompetence or unwillingness to ask the tough questions in order to "get it right". It was a frustrating experience for citizens like me who appreciate the most honest and straightforward methods of disseminating information.

In a NYT column titled "Telling It Right" dated December 19, 2003 (after the capture of Saddam Hussein), Paul Krugman wrote:
By now, we've become accustomed to the fact that the absence of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction — the principal public rationale for the war — hasn't become a big political liability for the administration. That's bad enough. Even more startling is the news from one of this week's polls: despite the complete absence of evidence, 53 percent of Americans believe that Saddam had something to do with 9/11, up from 43 percent before his capture. The administration's long campaign of guilt by innuendo, it seems, is still working.
In retrospect, this news should not have been startling. Officials such as VP Dick Cheney were making public statements which were misleading Americans (whether intentional or unintentional, they were misleading just the same).

I think it's time we correct VP Cheney publically.

Professor Rodger Payne discusses the misleadings

Blogger Rodger Payne (Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Louisville KY) has contributed some updated information about Salman Pak-an alleged terror camp in Iraq that was the proving-ground centerpiece of the "Case Closed" article. (See Professor Payne's entry titled Al-Qaida-Iraq Link Further Debunked). You may safely look at the official facts available today and rationally assume it's possible that Salman Pak never existed at all. Knight-Ridder reporters have been told by a lot of senior people in the intelligence community that "The U.S. military has found no evidence of such a facility."

Regarding the disturbing lack of evidence, Professor Payne says:
...this is a particularly egregious finding, first because DoD still lists the capture of the camp as one of its war accomplishments and second because the current head of the Iraq Survey Group (Charles Duelfer, who took over from David Kay) claimed that he saw the camps when he was a UN weapons inspector. Dunlop points out that no such claim is reported in the UN reports about Iraqi weapons.
The media could play a central role in assuring public accountability. Dunlop notes that someone should ask Duelfer about Salman Pak.
I think it's time the press corrects VP Cheney publically. An informed public is necessary in order for a healthy American democracy to exist. Case definitely NOT closed.
After 9-11, old statistics and predictions went out the window and the changed world demanded a new direction

I was reading a series of discussions between Harvard's Steven Pinker (Dept. of Psychology) and Clark R. Chapman/Alan W. Harris (research scientists at Southwest Research Institute, Boulder, Colorado) about terrorist risk calculations in the aftermath of 9-11. I found it makes you think twice about the way we saw the world before 9-11...and the way we see it today. What is most interesting is how our deepest thinkers still see things in respectively differing perspectives.

First in the series is an article by Clark R. Chapman and Alan W. Harris in Skeptical Inquirer- Sept/Oct 2002- A Skeptical Look at September 11th
How We Can Defeat Terrorism by Reacting to It More Rationally

Next is Steven Pinker's letter to Skeptical Inquirer (2003)

Last is the Clark R. Chapman and Alan W. Harris Response.

In abbreviated fashion, I'll summarize the discussion:

CHAPMAN/HARIS- Why does 9/11 remain our focus rather than the equally vast carnage on the nation's highways or Indian earthquake victims?

PINKER- cannot use the rate of major terrorist attacks in, say, the past 10 years to estimate the rate in the next 10 years. Wahabism and anti-Americanism may be more widespread, nuclear weapons more available, copycats more emboldened, and so on. Because of these uncertainties, anyone who claims to have calculated the mathematically correct probability that a horrendous terrorist attack will take place in the next year would be talking through his hat......Nonhuman causes of deaths (such as sharks, airplane part failures, and carcinogens) don't take into account how people react to them. Human causes of deaths (such as terrorists) do. Bin Laden had no negotiable demands, but thought that Americans society was so decadent and spiritually bankrupt that a few easily inflicted humiliating blows would lead to its collapse. A public response of defiance and solidarity, and the implementation of extensive preventive security measures, could change such calculations in the minds of future terrorists....dealing with terrorists is a problem in game theory, not just a problem in risk estimation...

CHAPMAN/HARRIS- ..Recent polls show that about one-quarter of American respondents regard themselves as being personally at risk from terrorists. It is fair to note that with respect to the recent past, including the September 11, 2001, attacks, this perception is orders of magnitude off. Looking to the future, for this perception to be correct would require a World Trade Center-level terrorist attack somewhere in the U.S. roughly every week, for life. Lacking some realistic expectation that the level of terrorism will soar by factors of thousands, we must ascribe this disparity to twisted perceptions--driven, of course, by news-inspired fears, as the terrorists intend-about the real dangers....We don't agree that the terrorist attacks provided much new information about the willingness of terrorists to co-opt our modern technologies to kill and terrorize as many people as possible. It may be, as Pinker suggests, that "defiance and solidarity" will deter terrorists. That was surely President Bush's view before he attacked Iraq, though his critics believe the opposite. Perhaps a diminution of American arrogance in the international arena, and examining and addressing the root causes of terrorism, would be more effective. Time will tell if Bush's approach worked or not. Meanwhile, it is imperative that Americans continue to ask themselves whether the terrorists' objectively modest attacks aren't succeeding beyond Osama bin Laden's wildest dreams through our capitulation to fear, which causes us to distort our national values and comportment in the world community...


Today I read Nicholas Kristof and I wondered if I should listen more to Pinker or to Chapman/Harris. Although I saw great wisdom in both points of view, I decided, in the case of what I believe is a potentially devastating and out-of-control nuclear threat, to go over to Pinker's corner in the case of Russian states and North Korea. The problem lies in the game theory. The Bush administration is not at the top of this game. As a matter of fact, I fear they've thrown the gaming aside for the temporary thrill of conquering a tin-pan dictator or two.. bombs and snake holes enough to excite the GOP base into thinking we're tough, safe and secure. This could prove fatal to many, many people...and this is by no means a Chicken-Little warning. We'd best get our priorities straight before it's too late.

From the Kristof column:
"...It's mystifying that the administration hasn't leaned on Pakistan to make Dr. Khan available for interrogation to ensure that his network is entirely closed....Another puzzle is why an administration that spends hundreds of billions of dollars in Iraq doesn't try harder to secure uranium and plutonium in Russia and elsewhere. The bipartisan program to secure weapons of mass destruction is starved for funds — but Mr. Bush is proposing a $41 million cut in "cooperative threat reduction" with Russia......The steps that are needed, like negotiating seriously with North Korea and securing sites in Russia, aren't as dramatic as bombing Baghdad. But unless we act more aggressively, we will get a wake-up call from a nuclear explosion or, more likely, a "dirty bomb" that uses radioactive materials routinely lying around hospitals and factories.


Bush finally put pressure on Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf to cashier Khan. But when Musharraf then pardoned Khan in an elaborate charade that shielded the Pakistani government from blame, Bush did not utter a word of criticism, even though Musharraf is not letting Washington ask Khan who his nuclear customers were.
This is irresponsibility of the highest order, and it undermines Bush's claim that he is keeping the United States safe from nuclear terror.

-- Matthew Rothschild

Meet Ellen Mariani

Meet Ellen. She's the one on the left.
“I’m not a Democrat and I’m not a Republican. I’m just a woman who has lost her husband and I want to know why and how it happened. I want my questions answered."
Video footage of the press conference
Ellen's webpage
the actual lawsuit
video of Ellen and Phil KGO interview
Ellen's Open Letter to Bush
outrage over lack of coverage
The only coverage of the press release
Alex Jones interviews Ellen and Phil
Eagle Tribune story
"I am a person who wants to know what happened. Money is great, but not when it comes to a loved one being murdered."
Transcript of our appearance on MSNBC's TV's Scarbourough Country from January 28, 2004
Latest News 9/11 Director Gave Evidence to Own Inquiry
CBS RADIO - KIRO 710 AM -Seattle Washington -The Mike Webb Show 10pm
9/11 Chair: Attack Was Preventable
Mariani seeks deposition of Saddam Hussein to support RICO action
Mariani vs. Bush - Amended Complaint
Mariani vs. Bush - Notice of RICO suit
Response to Defendant's Motion to Dismiss
Memorandum in Oppostion to Defendant's Motion to Dismiss
Media Coverage
ARCHIVE Ellen Mariani on the Ila Swan Show: 9-11 RICO LAW SUIT Tuesday January 6th
ARCHIVE Ellen Mariani and Phil Berg interview on Highway to Health
Foreign Press

From Daily Kos:

Bush's Flip-Flops

Last June 10, I posted a recommendation to see this Jon Stewart/Comedy show video. It means more now than it EVER did! Go see it!
It's very timely! It's 'flip-flop extraordinaire'! It's Gov. Bush vs. Prez Bush!
Chicago Tribune

Harvard eliminates tuition for some
"Too often, outstanding students from families of modest means do not believe that college is an option for them, much less an Ivy League university. Our doors have long been open to talented students regardless of financial need, but many students simply do not know or believe this. We are determined to change both the perception and the reality."

--Lawrence Summers, Harvard President


Drudge reports the new talk radio network will launch March 31st with the following schedule:


Uprising: 6:00-9:00am

This is a fast paced morning show that will entertain and engage audiences with wit and political satire. It will feature the latest news, offering up to-the-minute interviews with newsmakers, analysis and strong opinions.

Host: Marc Maron
Co-host: Sue Ellicott
Co-host: Mark Riley

Unfiltered: 9:00am- 12:00pm

Air America’s midmorning program is a showcase for conversation about the political and cultural state of the union. Unfiltered introduces listeners to fresh new voices not available in mainstream media today.

Co-host: Lizz Winstead
Co-host: Chuck D
Co-host: Laura Flanders

The O’ Franken Factor: 12:00-3:00pm

Relentless, pure satire, delivered by the leading political humorist of this generation. With his partner, longtime radio host Katherine Lanpher, this will be three hours of fearless barbs, sketches, and interviews with newsmakers and characters who have lived, up until now, only in Al’s fertile imagination. He’s no policy wonk, but this best-selling author and veteran of Saturday Night Live, is devoting his energy to fighting back against rightwing propaganda with hard evidence and facts.

Host: Al Franken
Co-host: Katherine Lanpher
Producer: Billy Kimball

The Randi Rhodes Show: 3:00-7:00pm

Randi Rhodes has spent the last 20 years burning up the airwaves in southern Florida with her pointed and provocative brand of talk radio. Combining live interview, call-in and commentary, Randi engages her audience with a passionate presentation.

Host: Randi Rhodes

So What Else Is News? : 7:00-8:00pm

Based in Los Angeles, this is a one-hour program showcasing the intersection of politics, media and popular culture. This program will feature analysis and reports from the presidential campaign, as well as a daily reporters’ roundtable on how the news of the day is affected and reflected by the media. Marty will also cover the spinning of the news with a regular segment called “The Corrections.” This is also the place to hear the political voice of Hollywood, with celebrity guest interviews from the entertainment industries.
Host: Marty Kaplan

The Majority Report: 8:00pm-11:00pm

This program will introduce new, younger voices and opinions, with live guests from the world of politics, the arts and entertainment. Host: Janeane Garofalo
Co-host: Sam Seder

Saturday and Sunday

Air America Radio’s weekend line-up will offer more original programming, like Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Mike Papatanio’s “Champions of Justice,” a program that brings a fresh and entertaining perspective to talk radio from the top legal and social issues focused minds in the country. Additional programming will include Best-of Air America Radio and Best-of-O’Franken Factor as well as other original programming to be announced soon.