Monday, September 18, 2006

First Lady to Speak at Clinton Global Initiative Conference and UN

First Lady to Speak at Clinton Global Initiative Conference and UN
"This is one of those rare things." *

There are times when the needs of our world take precedence over partisan politics. I believe this is one of them. The Clinton Global Initiative conference looks beyond politics and toward a mission that President Bill Clinton has characterized, inspired, and animated by relating it to the Founding Fathers' ideas about "forming a more perfect union" - on a global scale.

The second annual CGI conference will be hosted by President Clinton with guests such as First Lady Laura Bush, Bill & Melinda Gates, Warren Buffett, President Pervez Musharraf, President Hamid Karzai, King Abdullah & Queen Rania of Jordan, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, Shimon Peres, Kofi Annan, Colin Powell. Attendees will participate in workshops and meetings focused on four main topics:

- energy & climate change;
- mitigating religious and ethnic conflict;
- poverty alleviation;
- global health.

Attendees will make specific commitments to address one of the topics covered and will report to President Clinton on the progress made throughout the course of the coming year.

A Special Note:
I'll be attending the Clinton Global Initiative Conference as a blogging member of the press and hope to keep you updated with brief highlights during the week and more in-depth coverage after the conference.

Mrs. Bush to Speak On Myanmar

map credit: National Geographic

Mrs. Bush will also host her own conference this week on global literacy as the United Nations' honorary ambassador for the Decade of Literacy. She'll also be promoting the White House agenda on Myanmar (formerly Burma).

She'll confer with U.S., U.N. and NGO reps on the situation in Myanmar, a nation that has been long criticized for its repressive policies and detention of the pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi (for whom the U2 song "Walk On" was written and dedicated.) The Myanmar government is indeed a dictatorship, 'roundly criticized for human rights abuses ever since it killed an estimated 3,000 pro-democracy demonstrators in 1988 and subverted the results of a public election in 1990. The year before, the government had put the elected president, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, 60, under house arrest, where she remains today.' [source: National Geographic]

To give a unique perspective on Myanmar, a naturalist/wildlife biologist who I admire for his tenacity, hope, and rugged courage, Alan Rabinowitz, has been trying to deal with this repressive government for decades while helping them to establish an 8,452-square-mile tiger reserve in the rain-forested Hukawng Valley. Lately, Mr. Rabinowitz has run into problems that seem to have only been exacerbated by a hard-line government...and for him, time is running out...
From National Geographic:

Hard-liners have come to the fore in the Myanmar government, engaging with Asian neighbors who seem to care more about clear-cutting Myanmar's jungles than preserving them. Across the country, and particularly in remote, rural areas, the government has conscripted locals into forced labor to build railroad lines and military outposts, raising doubts as to their intentions with this large new reserve. And even as he plans his return trip to help salvage his life's work, Rabinowitz feels an added sense of urgency. Four years ago the robust scientist was diagnosed with incurable leukemia, and there's always a chance that his next trip may be his last.

*The quote used above is from edverb in reply to a blogpost about Mrs. Bush's upcoming speech.

Announcing WNCNN Netroots Political Show

Announcing WNCNN Netroots Political Show

Western North Carolina News Network Launches Political Program
September 18, 2006 - Asheville, NC

Western North Carolina News Network (WNCNN), created by local political organizer, Gordon D. Smith, is political satire presented as a cable news program in the vein of Steven Colbert's The Colbert Report and Jon Stewart's The Daily Show. WNCNN will air weekly on Mondays on numerous internet sites including beginning on September 18, 2006. The series intends to highlight the shortcomings of Republican incumbent Congressman Charles H. Taylor through the use of satire, sarcasm, and visual humor.

Smith says of the show, "Too many people are turned off by dryly produced news programs and nasty campaign ads. WNCNN is a way to learn more about Charles Taylor and have a good laugh at the same time." Exclusively aired on internet sites, WNCNN's target audience is made up of the "netroots", a broad-based demographic of politically minded internet users. The weekly series will be available at (, DailyKos, MyDD, BlueNC, Scrutiny Hooligans, and a host of other political blogs and websites. "Scores of political blogs and websites will link to the series and will advertise it through a graphic logo at their sites," Smith added, "We expect to have 10,000 viewers for our first episode, and we'll see where it goes from there".

WNCNN is not affiliated with any campaign or political organization. It is an example of netroots activism with a sense of humor. The weekly series will, through newsdesk style performance and on-the-scene "reporting", lampoon the record and reputation of Congressman Taylor. "It's all in good fun," Smith says, "and it's a good way for people to learn more about the incumbent." To view the first installment and future installments, go to To contact the show's creators, writers, actors, and producers, email them at