Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Schwarzenegger = Bush

California State Treasurer Phil Angelides, a democratic candidate for Governor of California in 2006, has a post today at Huffington wondering if George and Arnold are reading from the same playbook, given the similarity in their political actions. He isn't the first one to point this out.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Police in Zimbabwe Raze Thousands

Police in Zimbabwe have reportedly burned thousands of homes, gardens and vendor stalls. Many thousands have been arrested and many more left homeless across the country.

Cheney: Reports of Abuse are Lies

Vice President said he was offended by the Amnesty International report detailing of "serious human rights violations" at Guantanamo Bay. "I frankly just don't take them seriously" he said in an Monday night interview with Larry King. He said prisoners "have been well treated, treated humanely and decently" and suggested that reports of prisoner abuse has been lies. "Occasionally there are allegations of mistreatment. But if you trace those back, in nearly every case, it turns out to come from somebody who has been inside and been released ... to their home country and now are peddling lies about how they were treated."

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Minister Fired for Pro-Gay Column

"Gay and lesbian Christians are no different than the rest of us. They deserve full equality in the church and in society, for they are my brothers and sisters, people for whom Christ died." So wrote the Reverend Jeff Falter in a Feb. 26 article for the Inter-Mountain, a local Elkins, W.Va paper.

Last Sunday members of his church voted 100-72 requesting that the Presbytery of West Virginia dismiss Falter. The Reverend and his family will have until the end of the year to move out of the manse next to the church, where they currently live.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Burt Reynolds Slaps Newsman

Burt Reynolds slapped a CBS assistant producer at the premeire of "The Longest Yard" when the newsman asked the actor to "Tell us a little about the movie and your part in it". After hitting him, Mr. Reynold said "what the hell kind of guy are you" and attempted to belittle the man by saying "he's standing here in a shirt that needs ironing, I'm just embarrassed". The actor's publist says it was a "playful" tap. Viacom, which is distributing the film, is also owner of CBS. Defamer is seeing if they can take it to the next level.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

And Keep Them Off!!

Media Matters has launched its Hands Off Public Broadcasting website. This in response to CPB chairman Kenneth Y. Tomlinson's expressed desire to bring more right-wing programming to the airwaves.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Boston Museum: Lucas Yes, Franklin No

Boston's Museum of Science is passing up the chance to showcase a traveling exhibit celebrating the 300th anniversary of the birth of Boston native Benjamin Franklin. It seems the museum doesn't have enough room because it is opening a large Star Wars exhibit this summer. Isn't that nice of them? I understand the little film has been having a difficult time getting enough attention lately.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

FBI Conducts 'Pretext Interviews'

The Washington Post is reporting that FBI agents may have targeted anti-war protesters for "pretext interviews to gain general information concerning possible criminal activity" at last year's political conventions and presidential election.

Last Summer, then Attorney General Ashcroft claimed that such questioning in Denver was "based on indications that radical protesters may be planning violent disruptions". But FBI memos now indicate that the questioning may have been general information collecting, rather than about any specific threat.

The Post quotes Mark Silverstein of the ACLU Colorado chapter as saying "These documents confirm that the FBI's anti-terrorism force has been collecting information about peaceful protesters and dissenters and targeting people for attention on the basis of constitutionally protected association and advocacy"

Monday, May 09, 2005

Teen's Suspension Reduced

Kevin Francois has had his 10 day suspension from school reduced to the 3 days he's already missed. Last week he received the suspension for reportedly becoming belligerent after a teacher tried to end a phone call between Francois and his mother, a sergeant currently serving in Iraq. The teacher says she didn't know who he was talking to, and student phone calls during school hours are against school policy. Francois claims he didn't curse, and that the teacher "wouldn't listen to me about talking to my mom".

Saturday, May 07, 2005

DNA analyst suspended for errors in 1993

Jeffrey Ban, an analyst at the Virginia state crime lab, has been temporarily suspended from some types of cases because of errors made during DNA testing done in 1993 regarding Earl Washington Jr, who was a death row inmate at the time.

Though the 1993 test did cast enough doubt on Mr. Washington's guilt to spur the Governor to commute the death sentence to life in prison, it wasn't until 2000 that another test conclusively showed Mr. Washington to be innocent. "He's had seven years in prison because of (Ban's) mistakes." one of Mr. Washington's attorneys is quoted as saying.

Audits of the 1993 test show that "The DNA typing results offered in this case should have, at best, been reported as inconclusive, rather than attempting to make an interpretation from poor quality information". It also indicates that outside pressure may have an affect on lab workers.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Bad News Helps the Enemy

Dorrance Smith, who worked in the White House Press Advance Office and was the media advisor for the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq, and a supporter of the Pentagon's plans for a 24-hour satellite news and information channel, recently published an op-ed piece for the Wall Street Journal suggesting that "Al-Jazeera continues to aid and abet the enemy" in Iraq and "continues to practice in cahoots with terrorists while we are at war". Smith further suggests that Al-Jazeera "has very strong partners" in the U.S. networks who air footage shot by the Arab news agency.

James P. Pinkerton at Newsday has some problems with these assertions as does Danny Schechter, a former CNN and ABC News producer.

It seems Mr. Smith thinks U.S. news organizations should only air footage which is supportive the U.S. war effort, and ignore footage such as "video of a helicopter being shot, bursting into flames and trailing smoke as it fell to the ground" which was aired by shown on both Al-Jazeera and U.S. networks. He also suggested that Al-Jazeera may get special treatment from terrorist, citing that "No Al-Jazeera employee has been killed or taken hostage by the terrorists", but neglecting to mention the Al-Jazeera reporters killed by Coalition forces in 2003 and 2004.

Further, Mr. Smith asserts "There has been no in-depth reporting about Al-Jazeera in the U.S." and "virtually no scrutiny of Qatar and its relationship with the network", but even a cursory look finds numerous articles about Al-Jazeera, including comparisons with other news organizations. And then there's the 2003 60 Minutes segment on the news agency and its Qatar sponsorship.

So, stay away from the blogs, turn off your T.V. and put down that paper. Know that your ignorance is supporting our troops.