The Failed Pacifist
Monday, August 28, 2006
Sunday, August 27, 2006
Anti-Dam Comment Triggers FBI InvestigationJim Bensman is an environmentalist. He has worked closely with the Sierra Club and has been a paid staff member of Heartwood for over a decade.
Last month, the Army Corps of Engineers invited public input regarding the Melvin Price Locks and Dam. During the hearing, the corps' presentation of possible options included the dam being dynamited. Mr. Bensman let it be known that he supported the idea that the dam should be torn down.
The next day, however, a local newspaper reported that Bensman "said he would like to see the dam blown up and resents paying taxes to fix dam problems when it is barge companies that profit from the dam."
Workers at the corps' St. Louis office "took a dim view (of the article) and questioned if it was a potential threat," and a security manager forwarded the clipping to the FBI, said corps spokesman Alan Dooley.
Soon after that, the FBI was questioning Mr. Bensman to determine if he was a terrorist threat.
Note that the corps workers who "took a dim view" of Mr. Bensman's comments didn't contact the newspaper to see if the quote was accurate. Instead they sent the clipping directly to the FBI, leading to the investigation of Mr. Bensman, a self-described "thorn in the side" of the corps.
Friday, August 25, 2006
To the Back of the Bus!Last week, a school bus driver in Coushatta, Louisiana told nine black students that they must sit at the back of the bus, saying the front seats were reserved for white students. The nine student were forced to share only two seats, which meant old children had to hold the younger ones on their lap.
The NAACP is considering filing a formal complaint, and relatives of the children are reportedly planning to ask for the termination of the driver, Delores Davis. While the driver has missed some work since the incidents, she hasn't been at terminated and Superintendent Kay Easley so far has refused comment about it.
Asked if the driver would work for the rest of the year, Easley said, "I'm not going to answer the questions. ... You're getting all that you're going to get from me. I'm sorry."
Instead of hiring a non-racist driver, the solution reached on Monday by the School Board is to send a black driver across town to pick up these nine students. Yea, that'll fix things.
Thursday, August 24, 2006
Senator Allen ApologizesIt's about time.
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
"Hitler" Restaurant OpensPuneet Sablok has opened a restaurant in Mumbai, India named "Hitler's Cross". It seems the offensive name is simply marketing gimmick in a country with few Jews and where swastikas are ancient religious symbols.
India was the first to ban The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie, and some there sought to bar The Da Vinci Code for being offensive. In February 2006, a Shariat Court in India issued a religious decree sentencing the author of the Danish cartoons of Muhammad to death. But it seems nothing like that is going to happen in the case of the new restaurant, despite complaints.
"Hitler was a bad man, but what's wrong with having food here?" said Ashwini Phadnis, 22, a microbiology student as she tucked away a piece of chocolate cake.
Engineering student Anand Dhillon sat with friends, sipping soft drinks. "I think the name is quite interesting. Tomorrow if someone keeps a name like Saddam Mutton Shop or George Bush Footwear, there's nothing wrong with that, is there?" he shrugged.
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
DoJ Looks Into CBS AIPAC StoryA federal judge has ordered the Justice Department to investigate a 2004 CBS News story about an FBI investigation of AIPAC. She wants to know about any government employee who may have leaked the story to reporters. Two former AIPAC employees are currently facing criminal charges of conspiracy to acquire and disclose classified information.
Friday, August 18, 2006
Alternatives Other Than DemocracyIn today's Eat the Press post, Harry Shearer points us to the closing paragraphs in yesterday's New York Times story about the deteriorating circumstances in Iraq, where an anonymous source told the paper that the U.S. is making plans in case Iraq's elected government should fail.
"Senior administration officials have acknowledged to me that they are considering alternatives other than democracy," said one military affairs expert who received an Iraq briefing at the White House last month and agreed to speak only on condition of anonymity.
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
GAO: Criminal Recruiting Up 130%The GAO has released a report claiming misconduct by military recruiters has dramatically increased. Actual criminal activity has more than doubled.
According to service data provided to the GAO, substantiated cases of wrongdoing jumped by more than a third, from about 400 cases in 2004 to almost 630 in 2005. Meanwhile, criminal cases - such as sexual harassment or falsifying medical records - more than doubled in those years, jumping from 30 incidents to 70.
No Terror Link to Cell Phone HoardingThe FBI says that they have been unable to show any connection between three men arrested in Michigan with about 1,000 cell phones in their van and any known terrorist groups. In a different case in Ohio, the prosecutor says he is unable to prove a terrorist connection to two men arrested after buying a large number of phones.
The Detroit Free Press has a story about how reselling cell phones is a big business.
From Dearborn to Troy to Sterling Heights, Arab Americans are a major part of the cell phone business in southeastern Michigan. At least half of the cell phone businesses in the region are owned by metro Detroiters of Arab or Chaldean descent, say business owners in the industry. Many new immigrants or emerging businessmen earn money by buying the cell phones and then selling them to gas stations, distributors or stores.
It's called capitalism, Arab Americans say.
Sunday, August 06, 2006
Reuters Suspends PhotogReuters has suspended Adnan Hajj, a photographer who reportedly has admitted to manipulating photographs of Beirut after an attack by the Israeli Air Force. Reuters has issued a Picture Kill for the photo.
The blog Little Green Footballs (and many others) have been all over this and it seems the photographer did a really, really bad job of using the rubber stamp tool to add extra smoke. He is also said to be one of the photographers at Qana, when coverage by the media was also questioned.
Thursday, August 03, 2006
Murtha Sued by MarineStaff Sargeant Frank Wuterich is suing John Murtha for libel over comments the congressman made regarding the killings of civilians in Haditha.
Evidence collected in the deaths supports accusations that the Marines deliberately shot the civilians, including unarmed women and children, The Associated Press reported Wednesday.
But Wuterich said that after his colleague's death, he and other Marines searched for insurgents in nearby homes and killed people they believed were threats. The story that the Marines intentionally killed civilians "is either a horrendous misunderstanding or intentional lie," according to the lawsuit.