Saturday, October 29, 2005

commentary for the week

4 news stories of the week that I'll note quickly.

1) Rosa Parks died Monday. Parks was a leader and member of the civil rights movement who had been ill for some time. She lived to see some of the changes the movement fought for her and hopefully took pride in the efforts she was part of. I'd recommend Cedric's "Rosa Parks" as required reading on the topic of Parks' passing.

2) Scooter Libby scoots on out of the White House. Indicted he's the Spiro Agnew of this adminstration. Perjury, false statements and obstruction of justice are among the charges he "could face up to the thirty years in jail" if convicted of every count.

"Kat! You're so smart!"

No, I'm listening to The Laura Flanders Show which, if you think about it, is a smart thing to do.

3) "Col. Janis Karpinski, the Former Head of Abu Ghraib, Admits She Broke the Geneva Conventions But Says the Blame 'Goes All the Way to The Top'" which was interview that Amy Goodman did this week on Democracy Now!:

AMY GOODMAN: Talk about General Miller. Who is he?
COL. JANIS KARPINSKI: General Miller was sent to visit Iraq by Secretary Rumsfeld and the Undersecretary Cambone. And they came -- General Miller came to visit from Guantanamo Bay. He was the commander of detention operations at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and he was sent to assist the military intelligence interrogators with enhancing their techniques. And he brought with him the techniques that were tested and in use at Guantanamo Bay. And he brought a team of about 20 people, 22 people with him to discuss all aspects of interrogation operations, and actually, he did an in-brief. I was invited to participate or to attend to listen to his in-brief, because he was working almost exclusively with the military intelligence people and the military intelligence interrogators while he was there.
But we owned the locations that he was going to visit, and he ultimately selected Abu Ghraib to be the focus of his efforts, and he told me that he was going to make it the interrogation center for Iraq. He used the term, he was going to “Gitmo-ize” the operation and use the M.P.s to assist the interrogators to enhance interrogations and to obtain more actionable intelligence. I explained to him that the M.P.s were not trained in any kind of interrogation operations, and he told me that he wanted me to give him Abu Ghraib, because that's the location he selected.
AMY GOODMAN: You're both generals?
COL. JANIS KARPINSKI: Yes. He was a two-star.
AMY GOODMAN: What about the dogs? Is that when the dogs were introduced?
COL. JANIS KARPINSKI: Shortly after his visit, he -- again, he was spending most of his time with the commander of the Military Intelligence Brigade, Colonel Pappas. In his in-brief, his introduction when he first arrived there with his team, he responded to one of the interrogators, the military interrogator's question, and he was listening to the comments, the criticisms that they were doing these interviews and they were not obtaining really valuable information, so he was there to assist them with different -- implementing different techniques to get more actionable intelligence.
And one of the interrogators just asked the question about what he would recommend that they could do immediately, because they thought that they were doing a pretty good job with identifying the people who may have additional value or more military intelligence value, and General Miller said -- his first observation was that they were not -- they were being too nice to them. They were not being aggressive enough. And he used the example at Guantanamo Bay that the prisoners there, when they're brought in, that they're handled by two military policemen. They're escorted everywhere they go -- belly chains, leg irons, hand irons -- and he said, "You have to treat them like dogs."

4) Hurricane Wilma. There's probably a great deal more that others could think of but I know from Wally what it's like in Florida and I really don't think the press cares too much about this story. They're still on a generator at his grandfather's but Wally's been posting some of the hardest hitting comments this past week at The Daily Jot.

Me? I've been working on getting a feel for Stevie Wonder's latest and finally think I have something to say about the album. Yes, I have to go through all of this to write a review. I'm aware that many put on a CD and write a review in 15 minutes based on listening to sections of tracks. Good for them. I have to live with it and it has to say something to me. I don't believe in going through the motions.

But the usual number of "Where are you?" e-mails came in.

I had a comment up at The Common Ills on Friday:

Kat: At The Third Estate Sunday Review, I talk about Bono in a roundup or a news review and they end up getting cry baby e-mails. "Bono did more good than bad!" whined one. I asked C.I. if e-mails came in on this here and they don't. I'm going to guess that's because this issue was addressed at length here before Bono and his ego stalked the Live 8 concert stage and continued to pop up after. I'd really appreciate it if community members would talk about the reality of those concerts to their friends because Jim passed on some of the most recent e-mails and there are a lot of people who have apparently not heard one word other than the nonsense praise from rags like the New York Times.
Kat's working on a review of Stevie Wonder's CD (for those who've e-mailed asking when it will be done, she hopes to have it ready to go up here Monday morning) and as such is just holding off from posting at her site until she has it completed. She called last night to ask if it was okay to weigh in on something here and of course it is, she's a member and she can highlight anything she wants here. And let's give credit to our European community members because they highlighted the issue of the concerts being nothing more than a vanity trip so the community has been informed on what the concerts did and what they didn't do.

And today I did an entry there:

"The Laura Flanders Show: Larry Johnson, Ayoub Nuri, Jeanne Montross, Karen Kwiatkowsi, Nicolas Rossier, Pierre Labossiere"
Kat here. I'm almost done with the Stevie Wonder review. (Which honestly requires a lot of walking, a lot of dancing, a lot of moving as I toss ideas around in my head and when I finally write it, it will probably take about 20 minutes.)
I woke up and logged on the computer to catch up on what I missed and there was nothing at The Common Ills. I reached C.I. by cell and didn't realize this was an out of town weekend.C.I.'s working still on a thing on the New York Times. I offered to grab The Laura Flanders Show post because that's a show I greatly enjoy.
From the Air America Radio home page:
The Laura Flanders Show
As the White House tends to a wounded presidency, we take stock of what BUSH/ROVISM has cost the nation. First we speak with ex-CIA agenct LARRY JOHNSON about the indictment of Lewis Libby. Then AYOUB NURI, from Iraq, JEANNE MONTROSS, of Addison County Community Action in Vermont, and ex-Pentagon Official KAREN KWIATKOWSKI will weigh in on the damage done, not to the president, but to the people. In our final hour, we look at damage done to democracy beyond U.S. borders, with NICOLAS ROSSIER, director of the new documentary film Aristide and the Endless Revolution, and PIERRE LABOSSIERE, of the Haiti Action Committee.
Swiping from C.I. last week:
Don't Forget - You can listen to past broadcasts of the Laura Flanders Show:
Download archived shows HERE or Subscribe to the Free PODCAST through the iTunes Music Store
Go to the Laura Flanders Blog
In addition to listening to The Laura Flanders Show via iPod, you can also listen to it over broadcast radio (if there's an AAR in your area), via XM Satellite Radio (channel 167) or listen online. It's a program that airs Saturdays and Sundays. (Sundays is not a rebroadcast unless the show is on vacation.)
I'll also include The Kyle Jason Show because I've really grown fond of this show.
The Kyle Jason Show
10PM - MidnightTune in this Saturday night as The Kyle Jason Show profiles Art Blakey's A Night At Birdland, Vol. 1. Originally recorded live at the renowned New York City nightclub in 1954 and recently remastered by legendary recording engineer Rudy Van Gelder, this recording captures one of the earliest incarnations of the much-celebrated ensemble that would come to be known as The Jazz Messengers. Blue Note Records has re-released the album as part of their ongoing RVG Edition series, for which Van Gelder has been converting his original analog recordings into 24-bit digital. Don’t miss this treat for both jazz aficionados and novices alike, and as always, be sure to hook up with your fellow listeners on our blog.
Laura Flanders airs Saturdays and Sundays, The Kyle Jason Show airs Saturday.

Elaine wrote a very sweet thing on me this week, one completely undeserved, but thank you, Elaine. On the topic of Bono, I've just never been more disappointed in recent years in someone who's presented himself as righteous. Jesse Jackson's affair becomes public (in a smear tactic) in 2000 and I didn't blink twice. I don't think it was anyone's business or it effected Jackson's stances (it may have enhance them). Jesse Jackson didn't let me down but Bono has. "Walk away, walk away, I will follow" is apparently now sung solo to the Bully Boy. He has compromised himself. Not just by not speaking out against the war, which he all but brags about in the Rolling Stone interview, but also by defending Bully Boy's practices with regards to AIDS which renders the monies not only useless but also damaging. There will be a huge clean up needed after Bully Boy leaves office. Bono is the supreme disappointment and the supreme disappointment.

By the way, Seth posted this week. As someone who believes you only post if you have something to say (and the time!!!!!!), I know the pressure you can feel of "I've got to post!!!!"
Check out Seth's "A Week of Milestones" because when he does have something to say, it's worth a hearing.

Larry Johnson's on The Laura Flanders Show, why aren't you listening?

ayoub nuri

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Trying to come up with a review for Stevie Wonder's latest

Let me say that where I am is trying to figure out if there's a review in me for the new Stevie Wonder album. I really want to review it. The first few listens, I didn't feel there was much to comment on. But I've been playing it a lot lately and I think there may be a review in it.

That means I've gone from apathetic on it, to feeling really good about the CD. I didn't review Fiona Apple's. I don't know there. It's interesting but I made the mistake of reading reviews on that and everyone was praising "Sailor" which sounds like stuff on previous albums. It kind of burned me on the album.

But I want to note two things. First, Cedric called me and Rosa Parks' death hasn't garnered the attention it should. Rosa Parks is a pioneer and an American hero (something we're in short supply of today.)

From Democracy Now!'s "Rosa Parks 1913-2005: We Air A Rare 1956 Interview With Parks During the Montgomery Bus Boycott:"

Rosa Parks: From the time of the arrest on Thursday night, and Friday and Saturday and Sunday, the word had gotten around over Montgomery of my arrest because of this incident. There were telephone calls from those who knew about it to others. The ministers were very much interested in it, and we had our meetings in the churches. And being the minority, we felt that nothing could be gained by violence or threats or belligerent attitude. We believed that more could be accomplished through the nonviolent passive resistance, and people just began to decide that they wouldn't ride the bus on the day of my trial, which was on Monday, December 5.
And Monday morning, when the buses were out on the regular run, they remained empty. People were walking or getting rides in cars with people who would pick them up, as best they could. On Monday night, the mass meeting at the Hope Street Baptist Church had been called. And there were many thousand people there. They kept coming, and some people never did get in the church, there was so many.
I was not the only person who had been mistreated and humiliated. I have been refused entrance on the buses because I would not pay my fare at the front and go around to the rear door to enter. That was the custom if the bus was crowded up to the point where the white passengers would start occupying. I hadn't thought that I would be the person to do this. It hadn't occurred to me. Others had gone through the same experience, some even worse experience than mine, and they all felt that the time had come, that they should decide that we would have to stop supporting the bus company until we were given better service. And the first day of remaining off the bus had been so successful. It was organized, in that we wouldn't ride the bus until our request had been granted.

A legend, a pioneer, an activist and a hero has died. Take time to remember her contributions.

The second thing is the news review from The Third Estate Sunday Review:

C.I.: Thank you for that, Wally. We now go to Kat who's devoting her music news segment to one issue which she'll provide commentary on. Kat of Kat's Corner (of The Common Ills).
Kat: I asked ahead of time for three minutes to sound off on Rolling Stone's latest cover story. Cover boy Bono, of U2. Bono has seen Bully Boy's heart and it is pure. How else to explain the denial in which Bono lives in even when confronted throughout the interview by Rolling Stone publisher Jann S. Wenner? Wenner points out that Bully Boy's $5 billion in AIDS funding was reduced by Bully Boy to $3 billion and then by Congress to $1.75 billion but Bono can't question his Bully Boy. As Bono plays Eva Braun, Wenner brings the topic back to the promised $5 billion Bono, drones like a Stepford Wife, "The money is still promised. . ." and Wenner cuts him off with, "He makes a lot of promises he doesn't keep." Bono's response? "The money is still promised . . . That money will come through." Bono justifies the funds going to ABC programs, abstinence, be faithful and conodms, saying that it "is pretty much accepted by most religious groups" in this country as if that has anything to do with scientific effectiveness. We're talking about some countries that were already deeply hostile to what they see as a disease that the west has lied about. Various theories abound. After years of stressing condoms, we're now going to go back and say, "Hey, let's also practice abstinence and be faithful"? It's crazy and it's a diversion of funds to what does work. Bono's so far up Bully Boy's ass, he can't see any light. Wenner challenges Bono on why he publicly shamed the Prime Minister of Canada for not living up to his pledge but has failed to do the same with Bully Boy. Bono's defense? "We're not shrinking violets here." On the war, Bono offers that "everyone knows" how he feels about the war. "Do I campaign against the war in Iraq? No. . . . That's the compromise." It's too bad that when choosing subjects to stay silent on, praise for Jesse Helms isn't one of them. Yes, Bono again praises Jesse Helms. Bono has left the planet earth many times. When he was "The Fly" he was living in a land that common sense could not gain entry to. But he's never embarrassed himself, or sold himself out, as much as he does in this interview where he continually presents himself as being slightly to the right of Hillary Clinton. As the displeasure the band has with him continues to become more and more well known, it's obvious why. His talk of "half-a-loaf" is ignorant and uninformed. An illness demands a scientific response, not a feel good lecture. When a saner president is in office in the United States and we revert back to treat a medical illness from a scientific point of view, we'll have to spend months undoing the damage that ABC has already caused. As the deaths continue to mount, one wonders if Bono will look at them and say "Well that's half a loaf! Let's talk about me again! Let's talk about how I won over right wingers and evangicals by meeting with them! It's all about me!" The compromised, self-stifiling, self-deluded Bono.
C.I.: Thank you for that, Kat. As always we also thank Dallas for hunting down links and Jess' parents for help with research. Keeping everything running smoothly throughout are Jim and Dona of The Third Estate Sunday Review. Thank you both.

One more thing. Wally, you're certifiable. You're a great grandson to drive into a hurricane, but you're certifable. The thing is, you'd do that for anyone, family or friend. I'm just glad you're safe and your grandfather is too. I do wonder if, as a nation, we're growing jaded or immune to hurricanes after the destruction of Katrina. If anyone reading this is a friend of Wally's (I consider Wally a friend), realize how lucky you are because this young man would drive through a hurricane for you too. Hope the power's on soon if it's not already. (And if there are non Common Ills people reading this, Wally lives in Florida, in a safe part of it, but his grandfather refused to leave his home so Wally drove not away from the hurricane, but towards it to be with his grandfather.)