Zebra 3 Report by Joe Anybody
Friday, 10 April 2009
Killing of black man by police shakes La. town
Mood:  sad
Now Playing: Cops Kill man .... was finding "drugs worth it"

Z3 Readers this is a sad true story of how the "war on drugs" fucks a mans life up by shooting him for nothing more than being suspect in a drug witch hunt....


By Associated Press

HOMER, La. (AP) - For 73 years before his killing by a white police officer, Bernard Monroe's life in this little town was as quiet as they come - five kids with his wife of five decades, all raised in the same house, supported by the same job.

The black man's death is making far more noise than he ever did, and raising racial tensions between the black community and the police department.

Rendered mute after losing his larynx to cancer, the 73-year-old retired power company lineman was in his usual spot on a mild Friday afternoon in February: A chair by the gate that led to his Adams Street home. A barbecue cooker smoked beside a picnic table in the yard as a dozen or so family members talked and played nearby.

All seemed peaceful, until two Homer police officers drove up.

In a report to state authorities, Homer police said Officer Tim Cox and another officer they have refused to identify chased Monroe's son, Shaun, 38, from a suspected drug deal blocks away to his father's house.

Witnesses dispute that account, saying the younger Monroe was talking to his sister-in-law in a truck in front of the house when the officers pulled up.

All agree Shaun Monroe, who had an arrest record for assault and battery but no current warrants, drove up the driveway and went into the house. Two white police officers followed him. Within minutes, he ran back outside, followed by an unidentified officer who Tasered him in the front yard.

Seeing the commotion, Bernard Monroe confronted the officer. Police said that he advanced on them with a pistol and that Cox, who was still inside the house, shot at him through a screen door.

Monroe fell dead along a walkway. How many shots were fired isn't clear; the coroner has refused to release an autopsy report, citing the active investigation.

Police said Monroe was shot after he pointed a gun at them, though no one claims Monroe fired shots. Friends and family said he was holding a bottle of sports water. They accuse police of planting a gun he owned next to his body.

"Mr. Ben didn't have a gun," said 32-year-old neighbor Marcus Frazier, who was there that day. "I saw that other officer pick up the gun from out of a chair on the porch and put it by him."

Frazier said Monroe was known to keep a gun for protection because of local drug activity.

Despite the chase and Tasering, Shaun Monroe was not arrested. He and other relatives would not comment on the incident.

Monroe's gun is being DNA-tested by state police. The findings of their investigation will be given to District Attorney Jonathan Stewart, who would decide whether to file charges.

The case has raised racial tensions in this north Louisiana town, led to FBI and State Police investigations and drawn attention from national civil rights leaders.

"We've had a good relationship, blacks and whites, but this thing has done a lot of damage," said Michael Wade, one of three blacks on the five-member town council. "To shoot down a family man that had never done any harm, had no police record, caused no trouble. Suddenly everyone is looking around wondering why it happened and if race was the reason."

The Rev. Al Sharpton, who helped organize a massive 2007 civil rights demonstration in Jena after six black teenagers were charged with attempted murder in the beating of a white classmate, will lead a rally Friday in Homer.

"The parallel here is that the local community cannot trust law enforcement and cannot trust the process to go forward without outside help," Sharpton said.

Homer, a town of 3,800 about 45 miles northwest of Shreveport, is in the piney woods just south of the Arkansas state line. Many people work in the oil or timber industries; hunting and fishing are big pastimes.

In the old downtown, shops line streets near the antebellum Claiborne Parish courthouse on the town square.

The easygoing climate, blacks say, masked police harassment.

The black community has focused its anger on Police Chief Russell Mills, who is white. They say he's directed a policy of harassment toward them.

Mills declined interview requests, saying he retained a lawyer and feared losing his job. But after the Monroe killing, the Chicago Tribune quoted him as saying, "If I see three or four young black men walking down the street, I have to stop them and check their names. I want them to be afraid every time they see the police that they might get arrested."

"Word got around on what the chief said and things really boiled up again," said the Rev. Willie Young, president of the Claiborne Parish NAACP.

Mills describes his policing style as "aggressive" but denies making the statement to the Tribune. He would not permit interviews with his officers. The FBI and State Police said they received no complaints about Homer police before the shooting.

"They're more than aggressive around here," said Shirley Raney, 47, a homemaker who lived a few blocks from Monroe. She said officers pulled up at her house and searched her son before going to his home Feb. 20.

"They said there were drugs in this area and Chief Mills wanted it stopped," Raney said.

Meanwhile, the officers are on paid leave as Homer prepares for Friday's rally.

"I consider (the rally) to be more spiritual than divisive," said the NAACP's Young. "There are whites who understand the situation and are working with us."

Posted by Joe Anybody at 7:40 PM PDT
Updated: Monday, 20 April 2009 8:50 PM PDT
Wednesday, 8 April 2009
Vast Coalition for Justice Uniting all the Oppressed
Mood:  incredulous
Now Playing: Paul Richmond
Vast Coalition for Justice Uniting all the Oppressed never had it easy. The hard times probably began when they were named Vast Coalition for Justice Uniting all the Oppressed. Still Vast Coalition for Justice Uniting all the Oppressed decided they would make the best of this and live up to their name.

When they reached the age of maturity Vast Coalition for Justice Uniting all the Oppressed decided they would solve the world’s problems and set off forging their path.

Vast Coalition for Justice Uniting all the Oppressed had gone a short distance on their path when they noticed an obstruction blocking it. The obstruction was at about hip level, and extended not only across the path, but several feet beyond it.

Vast Coalition for Justice Uniting all the Oppressed realized they had several options here. They could perhaps go over the obstruction or under it, or around it. Or perhaps Vast Coalition for Justice Uniting all the Oppressed could simply ask the obstruction in their path to move. Vast Coalition for Justice Uniting all the Oppressed decided to weigh the options. This would not take long.

In the years that followed the descendants of Vast Coalition for Justice Uniting all the Oppressed and all those who had stopped by to join them split into several distinct groups. One believed that the goals of Vast Coalition for Justice Uniting all the Oppressed could best be achieved if they all just went over the obstruction. Another believed the goal of Vast Coalition for Justice Uniting all the Oppressed could best be achieved if they went under the obstruction. Another group was certain that the goals of Vast Coalition for Justice Uniting all the Oppressed could best be achieved if they went around the obstruction. And of course another group believed the goals of Vast Coalition for Justice Uniting all the Oppressed could be achieved if they talked to the obstruction.

All of these groups were more or less equally convinced that theirs was the correct way to continue down the path begun by Vast Coalition for Justice Uniting all the Oppressed, and so they all worked more or less equally hard to convince each other that their way was the correct way. In order to make sure that their arguments were the most convincing each of the groups tried out all the different arguments among themselves before trying them on the other groups.

And as the years progressed, this served to divide each of these splinter groups of Vast Coalition for Justice Uniting all the Oppressed into even more splinter groups of Vast Coalition for Justice Uniting all the Oppressed. For example there was the group that wanted to follow the path of Vast Coalition for Justice Uniting all the Oppressed and go under the obstruction by putting their left feet first, and the faction that wanted to follow the path of Vast Coalition for Justice Uniting all the Oppressed and lead with their right feet, and the faction that wanted to follow the path of Vast Coalition for Justice Uniting all the Oppressed by going under the obstruction on their bellies, and the faction that wanted to follow the path of Vast Coalition for Justice Uniting all the Oppressed by going under the obstruction on their backs, and so on.

And so it also went with the other factions determined to follow the path of Vast Coalition for Justice Uniting all the Oppressed. For example the faction that wanted to continue on the path of Vast Coalition for Justice Uniting all the Oppressed by talking to the obstruction divided over issues such as tone of voice, use of language, time of day they should talk to the obstruction and countless other issues. And the faction that wanted to continue on the path of Vast Coalition for Justice Uniting all the Oppressed by going over the obstruction divided among those who wanted to build a bridge over the obstruction, which divided into those who wanted to build different types of bridges, and there were those who wanted to build a craft that could go over the obstruction which divided into those who wanted to build a jumping device and those who wanted to build a balloon and those who wanted to build a helicopter each of which had their distinct advantages to be sure.

With time there came those who realized that all the fragments of Vast Coalition for Justice Uniting all the Oppressed were all there for the same reason and should be working together. “Brothers and Sisters.” said one of these.

“It should be ‘Sisters and Brothers,” said one who started another faction of those who had the best way to unite the many factions of those who wanted Vast Coalition for Justice Uniting all the Oppressed to continue down their path. “Fathers, Mothers, Sisters, Brothers,” said one who started another faction of those who wanted to unite all those who wanted Vast Coalition for Justice Uniting all the Oppressed to continue down their path. “Daughters, Sons…” began one who started another faction.

And so it went. And the struggle continued. And that was really what it was all about, wasn’t it?

Posted by Joe Anybody at 10:22 PM PDT
Thursday, 2 April 2009
Straits of Hormuz
Mood:  incredulous
Now Playing: The "Hartford" sub needs to be towed from Middle East
Topic: WAR

Hello Z3 Readers, check this article out ....

Gary’s Note: Our resident oil man Byron King is also a Navy guy. The archives of the Whiskey Bar are filled with his musings and commentaries on Naval history. Here, Byron discusses a recent collision at sea that almost changed the way the world does the oil business. Send your comments to gary@whiskeyandgunpowder.com.

Whiskey & Gunpowder
By Byron W. King

April 2, 2009
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.

We Almost Lost the Straits of Hormuz

For many years, we in the West have worried about Iran closing the Straits of Hormuz to oil tanker traffic. An abrupt closure would instantly spike oil prices well into three-digits, and immediately change the energy equation of the world. Indeed, many geostrategic scholars believe that closing the Straits of Hormuz would be tantamount to an act of war.
But what if it was the US that closed the Straits of Hormuz? What would the world think if the US directly precipitated the end of ship traffic in the Straits, or at least severe restrictions on transit and passage?



Closing Hormuz? We Almost Found Out…

Well, we almost found out last Friday, March 20. That was when two US Navy ships collided during an otherwise routine transit through the Straits of Hormuz. And one of the vessels was a nuclear-powered submarine, the USS Hartford (SSN-768). Hartford is a Los Angeles-Class attack submarine.
In those dark hours of collision and confusion — and as is often his custom and courtesy — the god of the sea Poseidon favored the US Navy. That is, we did not experience the catastrophe of a nuclear submarine sinking in the Straits of Hormuz. Now THAT would have altered the shipping and energy patterns of the world. 
But one cannot but wonder “what if” in situations like this? “What if” worse things had happened? “What if” the worst occurred? Remember the Russian submarine Kursk, which tragically sank in 2000 in the icy waters off northern Russia.

Here Is What We Know...

Early in the morning of March 20, submarine Hartford was transiting into the Persian Gulf through the Hormuz Straits. Hartford was accompanying an amphibious surface ship, the USS New Orleans (LPD-18) which was making her first extended deployment.  Hartford was “submerged but near the surface” at the time of the collision, according to Navy officials.
For reasons not yet known, the two ships collided. According to one report, submarine Hartford rolled 85-degrees to starboard. The impact and rolling caused injuries to 15 Sailors onboard. The bow planes and sail of the submerged Hartford ripped into the hull of New Orleans
According to a Navy statement, the collision punched a 16-by-18 foot hole in the fuel tanks of New Orleans. Two interior ballast tanks were also damaged, the statement said. USS New Orleans lost about 25,000 gallons of diesel fuel, which rapidly dissipated in the ocean and could not be tracked after a few days. There were no injuries to New Orleans crew of 360 or the embarked unit of 700 US Marines.
Nuclear-powered submarine Hartford was severely damaged. Indeed, the submarine’s sail was torn from its mountings to the vessel’s pressure hull. (See photos below, courtesy of US 5th Fleet.) The submarine’s sail is clearly bent by several degrees to starboard. It’s not part of the builder’s specs, that’s for sure. Apparently, the submarine’s communication masts and periscope are warped and inoperable. The watertight integrity of the pressure hull is suspect. After the collision, Hartford transited on the surface to Bahrain, where the vessel tied up to a military pier.

“It’s important to point out that Hartford’s [nuclear] power plant was not affected in this at all,” said a Navy spokesperson. Also, according to the Navy, “Despite the roll, engineering investigations have confirmed the propulsion plant of the submarine was unaffected by this collision… However, Hartford sustained damage to its sail and periscope, as well as the port bow plane.”


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Deployment Ending, Now for the Long Trek Home

According to a report in the latest issue of Navy Times, this is a “deployment ending” event for the USS Hartford. The submarine cannot fulfill its combat mission. The vessel must move to a nuclear-capable shipyard to undergo extensive repairs, costing “in the tens of millions of dollars” according to one source. Coincidentally, USS Hartford ran aground in 2003 near La Maddalena, Italy, damaging its bottom and rudder. Repairs then cost near $10 million and involved installing equipment that had to be cannibalized from another, decommissioned submarine.
In all likelihood, in its current state Hartford will be restricted from submerging. So the question is how to bring the damaged vessel on a long, transoceanic trek back to the US for repairs. 
The submarine may be able to transit back to a nuclear-capable shipyard in the US under her own power. A voyage like that would have to be made entirely on the surface, due to the risks of submerging the damaged pressure hull. Nothing is easy, however. A surface transit would require extensive preparations and effort, to include armed Navy escort. 
Sailing a damaged nuclear submarine from the Middle East to the US would likely require avoiding many of the busy sea-lanes of the Indian and Atlantic Oceans. Just the fact of a damaged nuclear submarine re-transiting the Straits of Hormuz, on the surface and within sight of Iranian spotters, must give chills to US Navy planners.  

Suez? Or the Cape of Good Hope?

The shortest route home would involve transiting the Red Sea, Suez Canal and Mediterranean Sea. But this is problematic, considering the public relations nightmare of a damaged US nuclear-powered vessel moving through busy seas adjacent to densely populated regions that are critical to world commerce. 

Or Hartford could transit south around Africa, and sail around the Cape of Good Hope. 
Doubtless, the South African Navy would take an interest in any southerly transit by USS Hartford. South Africa has a fine, modern navy that includes three brand-new, German-built Type-209 diesel-electric submarines. Indeed, the South African Navy Base at Simons Town — home-port to its Type-209s, relatively remote and very secure — might be a suitable locale for the US Navy to consider for logistic and/or emergency support. However the South African government might also be concerned at the presence of a damaged nuclear vessel in or near its waters. Last fall, the South African nuclear regulatory authorities waited until almost the last minute to give approval for a port call at Cape Town by the (undamaged) nuclear powered aircraft carrier, USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71).
If Hartford does not sail home on her own, the US Navy would have to arrange a “lift” for Hartford. This would entail placing and securing the 2,800-ton submarine on the flat deck of a large transport vessel, such as occurred with the USS Cole in 2000 after that ship was bombed while at anchor in port in Yemen. But removing Hartford’s hull from the sea would also require jury-rigging a continuous means to pump seawater and cool the ship’s nuclear reactor. Nothing like this has ever been done before.


Money, Assets, Favors, Political Capital — and Luck

Whatever happens, the damage to the USS Hartford is going to take much money, many Navy assets, and a lot of favors and political capital to fix. We in the US are certainly not finished hearing about the USS Hartford, let alone paying for it. Then again, we were very lucky. For both our Navy and our country, it could have been much, much worse.
As a long-time student of both Naval history and disaster, I commend Poseidon that, once again, he has favored the US Navy — even in adversity — and that the Straits of Hormuz are still open. Going forward, we had better absorb the lessons and not press our luck.

Until we meet again,
Byron W. King

Posted by Joe Anybody at 7:28 PM PDT
Updated: Thursday, 2 April 2009 5:31 PM PDT
Monday, 30 March 2009
Three million youngsters will die by 2015
Mood:  crushed out
Now Playing: Starving in a world with people who dont care

Ten Million more children across the globe face starvation because of the global financial meltdown, with 4000,000 expected to die this year


 Starving children

About 3million youngsters are expected to die by 2015 as a direct result of the economic crisis, according to Save the Children. 
 Food shortages will leave millions more youngsters under six across Africa and the developing world malnourished – adding to the estimated 122million already children starving worldwide.  
Up to 2.7million youngsters are acutely malnourished – nine times more likely to die – in Africa, while up to 4.7million are suffering in South Asia. The figures were released by Save the Children ahead of the G20 Summit this week.  'The world economy is in crisis and it is children that are bearing the brunt,' said actress Gwyneth Paltrow, who is the charity's global ambassador.
'As the recession bites, families in the developing world will have to struggle even harder to survive.'  Four-year-old Abdi, from Kenya, is among the many victims. He is fighting malaria and weighs just 12kg (26lb). 'We are so worried for the future,' said his father Ada Mohammed. 'He was in bed for a whole week when we couldn't feed him.'  
Kenya has been among the hardest hit countries, with 100,000 more children suffering from malnutrition since the crisis as a drought wreaks havoc with crops. Save the Children is urging prime minister Gordon Brown and the other G20 leaders to use this week's summit in London to help the children's plight. 
'The UK government must work harder to ensure that its investments in agriculture and child welfare improve children's diets now, before it's too late,' said David Mepham, head of policy for the charity.


Posted by Joe Anybody at 8:00 PM PDT
Updated: Tuesday, 31 March 2009 10:10 PM PDT
Saturday, 28 March 2009
Solving Hunger one corner at a time
Mood:  energetic
Now Playing: A City in In Brazil their Hunger Problem is not a problem

> The City That Ended Hunger

> by Frances Moore Lappé
> http://tinyurl.com/cge38l
A city in Brazil recruited local farmers to help do something U.S. cities have
> yet to do: end hunger.
In writing Diet for a Small Planet, I learned one simple truth: Hunger is not
> caused by a scarcity of food but a scarcity of democracy. But that realization
> was only the beginning, for then I had to ask: What does a democracy look like
> that enables citizens to have a real voice in securing life’s essentials?
> Does it exist anywhere? Is it possible or a pipe dream? With hunger on the rise
> here in the United States—one in 10 of us is now turning to food
> stamps—these questions take on new urgency.
> To begin to conceive of the possibility of a culture of empowered citizens
> making democracy work for them, real-life stories help—not models to adopt
> wholesale, but examples that capture key lessons. For me, the story of
> Brazil’s fourth largest city, Belo Horizonte, is a rich trove of such
> lessons. Belo, a city of 2.5 million people, once had 11 percent of its
> population living in absolute poverty, and almost 20 percent of its children
> going hungry. Then in 1993, a newly elected administration declared food a
> right of citizenship. The officials said, in effect: If you are too poor to buy
> food in the market—you are no less a citizen. I am still accountable to you.
> The new mayor, Patrus Ananias—now leader of the federal anti-hunger
> effort—began by creating a city agency, which included assembling a 20-member
> council of citizen, labor, business, and church representatives to advise in
> the design and implementation of a new food system. The city already involved
> regular citizens directly in allocating municipal resources—the
> “participatory budgeting” that started in the 1970s and has since spread
> across Brazil. During the first six years of Belo’s food-as-a-right policy,
> perhaps in response to the new emphasis on food security, the number of
> citizens engaging in the city’s participatory budgeting process doubled to
> more than 31,000.
> The city agency developed dozens of innovations to assure everyone the right to
> food, especially by weaving together the interests of farmers and consumers. It
> offered local family farmers dozens of choice spots of public space on which to
> sell to urban consumers, essentially redistributing retailer mark-ups on
> produce—which often reached 100 percent—to consumers and the farmers.
> Farmers’ profits grew, since there was no wholesaler taking a cut. And poor
> people got access to fresh, healthy food.
> When my daughter Anna and I visited Belo Horizonte to write Hope’s Edge we
> approached one of these stands. A farmer in a cheerful green smock, emblazoned
> with “Direct from the Countryside,” grinned as she told us, “I am able to
> support three children from my five acres now. Since I got this contract with
> the city, I’ve even been able to buy a truck.”
> The improved prospects of these Belo farmers were remarkable considering that,
> as these programs were getting underway, farmers in the country as a whole saw
> their incomes drop by almost half.
In addition to the farmer-run stands, the city makes good food available by
> offering entrepreneurs the opportunity to bid on the right to use
> well-trafficked plots of city land for “ABC” markets, from the Portuguese
> acronym for “food at low prices.” Today there are 34 such markets where the
> city determines a set price—about two-thirds of the market price—of about
> twenty healthy items, mostly from in-state farmers and chosen by store-owners.
> Everything else they can sell at the market price.
> “For ABC sellers with the best spots, there’s another obligation attached
> to being able to use the city land,” a former manager within this city
> agency, Adriana Aranha, explained. “Every weekend they have to drive
> produce-laden trucks to the poor neighborhoods outside of the city center, so
> everyone can get good produce.”
> Another product of food-as-a-right thinking is three large, airy “People’s
> Restaurants” (Restaurante Popular), plus a few smaller venues, that daily
> serve 12,000 or more people using mostly locally grown food for the equivalent
> of less than 50 cents a meal. When Anna and I ate in one, we saw hundreds of
> diners—grandparents and newborns, young couples, clusters of men, mothers
> with toddlers. Some were in well-worn street clothes, others in uniform, still
> others in business suits.
> “I’ve been coming here every day for five years and have gained six
> kilos,” beamed one elderly, energetic man in faded khakis.
> “It’s silly to pay more somewhere else for lower quality food,” an
> athletic-looking young man in a military police uniform told us. “I’ve been
> eating here every day for two years. It’s a good way to save money to buy a
> house so I can get married,” he said with a smile.
> No one has to prove they’re poor to eat in a People’s Restaurant, although
> about 85 percent of the diners are. The mixed clientele erases stigma and
> allows “food with dignity,” say those involved.
> Belo’s food security initiatives also include extensive community and school
> gardens as well as nutrition classes. Plus, money the federal government
> contributes toward school lunches, once spent on processed, corporate food, now
> buys whole food mostly from local growers.
> “We’re fighting the concept that the state is a terrible, incompetent
> administrator,” Adriana explained. “We’re showing that the state
> doesn’t have to provide everything, it can facilitate. It can create channels
> for people to find solutions themselves.”
> For instance, the city, in partnership with a local university, is working to
> “keep the market honest in part simply by providing information,” Adriana
> told us. They survey the price of 45 basic foods and household items at dozens
> of supermarkets, then post the results at bus stops, online, on television and
> radio, and in newspapers so people know where the cheapest prices are.
> The shift in frame to food as a right also led the Belo hunger-fighters to look
> for novel solutions. In one successful experiment, egg shells, manioc leaves,
> and other material normally thrown away were ground and mixed into flour for
> school kids’ daily bread. This enriched food also goes to nursery school
> children, who receive three meals a day courtesy of the city.
> The result of these and other related innovations?
> In just a decade Belo Horizonte cut its infant death rate—widely used as
> evidence of hunger—by more than half, and today these initiatives benefit
> almost 40 percent of the city’s 2.5 million population. One six-month period
> in 1999 saw infant malnutrition in a sample group reduced by 50 percent. And
> between 1993 and 2002 Belo Horizonte was the only locality in which consumption
> of fruits and vegetables went up.
> The cost of these efforts?
> Around $10 million annually, or less than 2 percent of the city budget.
> That’s about a penny a day per Belo resident.
> Behind this dramatic, life-saving change is what Adriana calls a “new social
> mentality”—the realization that “everyone in our city benefits if all of
> us have access to good food, so—like health care or education—quality food
> for all is a public good.”
> The Belo experience shows that a right to food does not necessarily mean more
> public handouts (although in emergencies, of course, it does.) It can mean
> redefining the “free” in “free market” as the freedom of all to
> participate. It can mean, as in Belo, building citizen-government partnerships
> driven by values of inclusion and mutual respect.
> And when imagining food as a right of citizenship, please note: No change in
> human nature is required! Through most of human evolution—except for the last
> few thousand of roughly 200,000 years—Homo sapiens lived in societies where
> pervasive sharing of food was the norm. As food sharers, “especially among
> unrelated individuals,” humans are unique, writes Michael Gurven, an
> authority on hunter-gatherer food transfers. Except in times of extreme
> privation, when some eat, all eat.
> Before leaving Belo, Anna and I had time to reflect a bit with Adriana. We
> wondered whether she realized that her city may be one of the few in the world
> taking this approach—food as a right of membership in the human family. So I
> asked, “When you began, did you realize how important what you are doing was?
> How much difference it might make? How rare it is in the entire world?”
> Listening to her long response in Portuguese without understanding, I tried to
> be patient. But when her eyes moistened, I nudged our interpreter. I wanted to
> know what had touched her emotions.
> “I knew we had so much hunger in the world,” Adriana said. “But what is
> so upsetting, what I didn’t know when I started this, is it’s so easy.
> It’s so easy to end it.”
Adriana’s words have stayed with me. They will forever. They hold perhaps
> Belo’s greatest lesson: that it is easy to end hunger if we are willing to
> break free of limiting frames and to see with new eyes—if we trust our
> hard-wired fellow feeling and act, no longer as mere voters or protesters, for
> or against government, but as problem-solving partners with government
> accountable to us.
> ============
> Frances Moore Lappé wrote this article as part of Food for Everyone, the
> Spring 2009 issue of YES! Magazine. Frances is the author of many books
> including Diet for a Small Planet and Get a Grip, co-founder of Food First and
> the Small Planet Institute, and a YES! contributing editor.
The author thanks Dr. M. Jahi Chappell for his contribution to the article

Posted by Joe Anybody at 5:17 AM PDT
Updated: Saturday, 28 March 2009 6:00 AM PDT
Friday, 27 March 2009
Shakle & Chain The Filthy Pregnant Immigrant This is America God Damnit
Mood:  loud
Now Playing: Fuck People - In America we follow the (sic) law first

(Z3 Readers - an editor note) The title is written in sarcasm, I am sickened by the treatment our country levies on innocent human beings. Fuck Our Shitty Policy!

Help Amnesty International correct this sick madness, read and donate info below.


Juana Villegas, who was nine months pregnant at the time, was arrested last July by the police for a minor driving offense in Nashville, Tennessee. After her arrest, authorities discovered that she was an immigrant from Mexico and transferred her to a county jail so that she could be picked up by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Two nights later, Juana went into labor and was moved from jail to a hospital. She was shackled in the ambulance, while in her hospital bed, and again immediately after delivery. She even remained shackled to walk from her hospital bed to the bathroom, although there was never any reason to suspect that Juana was a flight risk or that she posed a danger to others.
 These detentions—which cost hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars each year—often violate both U.S. standards and international human rights laws.

In Amnesty's new report
Jailed Without Justice, our researchers discovered that tens of thousands of people are languishing in immigration detention, including immigrants, asylum seekers, torture survivors and even some U.S. citizens. Detainees can remain in immigration detention for years without ever receiving a court hearing to determine whether their detention is warranted and they are often treated inhumanely while in custody.

I'd like to tell you that Juana's case isn't typical. But, our researchers identified numerous stories similar to hers—where detainees have been housed in criminal facilities, excessive shackling is the norm, and medical needs are often ignored.

Our own government is mistreating many immigrants and asylum-seekers fleeing torture, religious persecution, or civil war. Many are sent to prison with no access to lawyers or medical care, and detained far away from family and support systems. You and I cannot let this stand.

Please make a tax-deductible donation to Amnesty International's campaign to pressure the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Congress to mandate that detainees are treated humanely and receive due process while in custody, just
click here if you can help support Amnesty International's new campaign to hold the U.S. government accountable for these serious human rights violations.

Thank you for your continued commitment to defending human rights.

Posted by Joe Anybody at 7:31 PM PDT
Updated: Saturday, 28 March 2009 5:19 AM PDT
Wednesday, 25 March 2009
On this day in 1965 - MLK marches on Alabama Capital - Gov shuts his door
Mood:  don't ask
Now Playing: MLK marches for the Right to Vote

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On This Day


Read the full text of The Times article or other headlines from the day.


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25,000 Go to Alabama's Capitol; Wallace Rebuffs Petitioners; White Rights Worker is Slain

Dr. King Cheered
He Says 'No Wave of Racism Can Stop Us Now'
By Roy Reed
Special to The New York Times



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Montgomery, Ala., March 25 -- The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. led 25,000 Negroes and whites to the shadow of the State Capitol here today and challenged Alabama to put an end to racial discrimination.

Gov. George C. Wallace sent word about 2 P.M. that he would receive a delegation from the marchers after the rally, but the delegation met twice with rebuffs when it tried to see him. State policemen stopped the group the first time at the edge of the Capitol grounds and said no one was to be let through.

The delegation was later admitted to the Capitol, but was told that the Governor had closed his office for the day. The group left without giving its petition to anyone.

At Steps of Capitol

The Alabama Freedom March from Selma to Montgomery ended shortly after noon at the foot of the Capitol steps, and as people from all over the nation stood facing the white-columned statehouse, Dr. King assured them:

"We are not about to turn around. We, are on the move now. Yes, we are on the move and no wave of racism can stop us."

The throng let out a mighty cheer, so loud that it was easily audible 75 yards away in the office of Governor Wallace, where the Governor was seen several times parting the venetian blinds of a window overlooking the rally.

Even though the 54-mile march from Selma was a dramatization of a grievance, its windup at the steps of the Capitol carried the trappings of triumph.

The march was hailed by several speakers as the greatest demonstration in the history of the civil rights movement. The caravan that followed Dr. King up Dexter Avenue up the broad slope that once accommodated the inaugural parade of the President of the Confederate States of American, comprised friends of the civil rights movement from all sections of America and some from abroad.

Virtually all of the notables of the movement were there, and the speakers' platform held two Negro winners of the Nobel Peace Prize, Dr. King and Dr. Ralph J. Bunche, United Nations Under Secretary for Special Political Affairs.

Other Negro leaders included Roy Wilkins, executive director of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People; Whitney M. Young, director of the National Urban League; A. Philip Randolph, president of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters; Bayard A. Rustlin, who with Mr. Randolph was one of the organizers of the March on Washington in 1963, and John Lewis, president, of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.

Other notables included James Baldwin, the author; Harry Belafonte, the singer; Joan Baez, the folk singer, and others.

The march started Sunday at Selma. It reached the outskirts of Montgomery yesterday after four days and nights on the road under the protection of Army troops and federalized Alabama National Guardmen. The troops were sent be President Johnson after Governor Wallace said Alabama could not afford the expense of protecting the marchers.

The little band that made the entire march, much of it through desolate lowlands, was joined today and last night by thousands who flocked to Montgomery to walk the last three and one-half miles of the trip to the Capitol.

Troops Out in Force

The marchers carried with them a petition to Governor Wallace saying:

"We have come not only five days and 50 miles but we have come from three centuries of suffering and hardship. We have come to you, the Governor of Alabama, to declare that we must have our freedom NOW. We must have the right to vote; we must have equal protection of the law and an end to police brutality."

Federal troops who guarded the marchers and brought them safely to Montgomery were out in force at the Capitol today. Eight hundred troops lined Dexter Avenue, one soldier every 25 feet behind wooden barricades set between the street and the sidewalks.

Troops stood on the roofs of buildings along the march route through downtown Montgomery and on those of the office buildings looking out on the rally at the Capitol steps.

The rally never got on to state property. It was confined to the street in front of the steps.

The throng stretched down eight-laned Dexter Avenue a block and a half. Its cheers could be heard for blocks.

The line of marchers who walked from the City of St. Jude, a Catholic school and hospital, where they spent last night, stretched out so long that when Dr. King and leaders reached the makeshift speakers' platform at the head of Dexter Avenue, the end of the line did not arrive for nearly an hour and a half.

Tension High

Tension was high in the city, particularly after the rally, as the thousands of visitors scurried for taxis, buses, trains, cars and airplanes to get out of town before nightfall.

Dr. King, in an interview after the rally, said the civil rights campaign would continue in the Alabama Black Belt.

"We will continue to march people to the courthouses," he said. "If there is resistance, naturally we will have to expose the resistance and the injustice we still face. There could be violence in some areas, but we feel a moral compulsion to go forward, anyway."

He said the Negro movement would turn much of its attention in the weeks ahead to trying to pass President Johnson's voting-rights bill in Congress.

"We want immediate passage," he said. "We will lobby for this in many areas of the country."

In the address at the end of the three-and-a-half-hour rally, Dr. King urged his listeners onward in the civil rights struggle.

"Let us march on segregated schools until every vestige of segregation and inferior education becomes a thing of the past, and Negroes and whites study side by side in the socially healing context of the classroom," he said.

"Let us march on ballot boxes, march on ballot boxes until race baiters disappear from the political arena."

He referred to the tumultuous events at Selma in the last two months, during which time the voting-rights campaign that he began there turned into a general protest against racial injustice, with two men dead and scores injured.

"Yet Selma, Alabama, has become a shining moment in the conscience of man," he said. "If the worst in American life lurked in the dark streets, the best of American instincts arose passionately from across the nation to overcome it."

"The confrontation of good and evil compressed in the tiny community of Selma, generated the massive power that turned the whole nation to a new course," he said.

"Alabama has tried to nurture and defend evil, but the evil is choking to death in the dusty roads and streets of this state."

Dr. King spoke with passion, and the thousands sitting in the street beneath him responded with repeated outbursts of approval.

Several times he urged his followers to continue their support of nonviolent demonstrations, with the aim of achieving understanding with the white community.

"Our aim must never be to defeat or humiliate the white man," he said, "but to win his friendship and understanding. We must come to see that the end we seek is a society that can live with its conscience."

He ended his address with a peroration on the theme, "How long must justice by crucified and truth buried?" a spirited quotation of a verse of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" and finally a burst of "Glory, hallelujah," repeated four times.

The crowd rose to its feet in one great surge, and the applause and cheering reverberated through the Capitol grounds.

Two or three dozen state employes who had watched from the Capitol steps stood impassively.

The committee of 18 Negro and two white Alabamians designated to deliver the Negroes' petition to Governor Wallace walked the one, uphill block from the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church to Bainbridge Street at about 5:40 P.M. (C.S.T.).

State-police jurisdiction over the Capitol grounds begins at the curb closest to the Capitol steps, and 70 blue-helmeted state troopers had been deployed at the curb line of Bainbridge Street half an hour before the committee arrived. They were backed by 50 uniformed conservation patrolmen, standing two deep halfway up the Capitol steps.

When the Rev. Joseph E. Lowrey, a Negro from Birmingham, serving as chairman of the delegation, asked Maj. W. L. Allen of the Alabama Highway Patrol to let the committee pass, the officer replied.

"I don't know anything about that." He said his orders where to let no one through.

A delegation of Governor Wallace's top aides was already gathering inside the locked front door of the Capitol.

Instructions were then issued to Major Allen from inside the Capitol over an Army walkie-talkie. Maj. Gen. Alfred C. Harrison, the Alabama Adjutant General, who was dressed in civilian clothes, gave these instructions. The committee then walked up the Capitol steps.

About 10 feet inside the door, however, Mr. Lowrey came face to face with Cecil C. Jackson Jr., the Governor's executive secretary. Mr. Jackson was crippled by polio as a youth. He stood in Mr. Lowrey's path on aluminum crutches.

"The Capitol is closed today," Mr. Jackson began, in a calm, steady voice. "The Governor has designated me to receive your petition."

"We are very sorry that he cannot see us," Mr. Lowrey replied, almost immediately, clasping copies of the petition to his chest. "Please advise the Governor that as citizens of this state we have legitimate grievances to present to him. Please advise the Governor that as citizens of this state we have legitimate grievances to present to him. Please advise the Governor that we will return at another time."

"That would be appropriate," Mr. Jackson answered. The petitions never left Mr. Lowrey's hands.


Posted by Joe Anybody at 7:47 PM PDT
Updated: Wednesday, 25 March 2009 9:34 PM PDT
Thursday, 19 March 2009
Police Start Riot on False Information at Evergreen State College
Mood:  blue
Now Playing: A article by Owen Taylor how the police ruined everything

 Z3 Readers check out this story

... that I found at this Portland Oregon link:




This below story was written by Owen Taylor
                         and Originally titled:  

"The real story behind the Evergreen Riot"

It first appeared in the
Volcano Weekly.

Members of the Radical Freeschool Radio Show were at that Dead Prez Show and had a radio broadcast about the riot available online.  To listen to that Radio Broadcast and to see photos and read an article written about it by a member of the Radical Freeschool radio Show Collective, please click here.

===============Start of Story-==================

EVERGREEN RIOT: Kaylen Williams reflects on his Valentine’s Day life massacre.

On Valentine’s Day, Kaylen Williams, a 24-year-old chef, had a bad feeling in his gut all day. He had hoped it was just butterflies in the stomach. The handsome, single man was on his way to a much-anticipated V-Day concert, where plenty of eligible bachelorettes would be dancing to the revolutionary rhythms of Dead Prez, a popular and politically charged underground hip-hop duo that would be making a rare West Coast appearance.

Had Williams known what was to come, he might well have stayed home.

You see, later that night Williams found himself at the center of a riot at The Evergreen State College, staring out the windows of a police cruiser from the eye of a hurricane and watching it build momentum. Williams was arrested on the word of a volunteer security guard for something he says he had nothing to do with. His arrest triggered what would come to be known as the Evergreen Riot.

Unless you live under a rock or outside the blogosphere of Western Washington, you are no doubt aware that the Feb. 14 Dead Prez concert at The Evergreen State College ended with a Thurston County Sheriff’s patrol car flipped onto its roof with the windows smashed out and several witty slogans spray painted on it. Sheriff’s Lt. Christopher Mealy said four patrol cars were damaged at an estimated cost of $35,000 to $50,000. Since then, a storm of rhetoric has been issued by the Sheriff’s Department, the college, and every hippie and conservative with access to the Internet. Evergreen has banned concerts indefinitely, too. Most accounts, however, have suspiciously ignored the circumstance and events leading up to the riot.

Evergreen police have declined to comment about the case.

Luckily, Williams had the best seat in the house. This is the story from his perspective.
As long as there have been concerts, there have been surly, tattooed guys in black shirts, clearly emblazoned with the word “Security,” who are charged with informing reefer-smoking concertgoers to “put it out.” Williams found himself in just such a crowd, confronted by security officers who lacked any markings denoting them as such.

One of the members of the anonymous security staff had noticed the distinct smell or a telltale cloud of smoke coming from where Williams was standing. Williams recalls that one of the security personnel, along with an unidentified and aggressive associate, moved forcefully toward the group of people he was with, demanding that they extinguish the contraband immediately. Williams replied that he wasn’t smoking. He implied that it was coming from the crowd in front of them and raised his empty hands in a “see, it’s not me” gesture. Someone in the crowd near Williams made a boisterously pro-marijuana statement. That was when, according to several eyewitnesses, the unidentified associate of the security volunteer responded with his fists. Williams emphasizes that the person throwing fists appeared to be an average concertgoer. As the fight ensued, Williams stepped in to separate what appeared to be an average thug and his victim. After the fight was broken up, Williams, on the guest list as a VIP, sought out the concert promoter to make sure everything was cool and calm.

Williams then proceeded back into the gym to enjoy the rest of the show. A few minutes later, Evergreen police officer April Meyers responded to the disturbance call and conferred with someone who fingered Williams as the instigator. She then went into the venue and took him into custody, telling him that he was under arrest for suspicion of assault. It was at this time that the men onstage informed the crowd of the situation and encouraged them to organize and gather information, including names and badge numbers, to ensure that nothing unjust was being done to the man being arrested.

Williams, an African-American and well-respected B-Boy in the greater Puget Sound area, was handcuffed and placed in the back of the car while the officer took statements from the “security volunteer,” his unidentified associate, and another unidentified female, all Caucasian. The female allegedly fingered Williams for a separate assault during the ruckus, a charge Williams sternly denies.

“I was raised in a house full of women,” says Williams. “My mother would kill me if I hit a woman.”

While Meyers was gathering statements from the accusers, several attendees started congregating around the police cruiser demanding information.  Many were calling for the release of Williams. As the concert ended, several hundred people flooded the exits only to see a swelling disturbance around a cop car. The Evergreen State College is renowned as an aggressively Socratic institution with learning processes heavily weighted toward self-reliance, pushing boundaries, gathering facts and breaking form. It is also not the kind of place where passive onlookers slowly shuffle past a disturbance. These principles, mixed with the restless idealism of youth and the powerful message in Dead Prez’s music, presented an opportunity to employ those ideals in a real setting, apparently.  

As the crowd of concerned onlookers grew, Meyers did what any smart cop would do — She called for backup. As the tension mounted and the fervor of the crowd increased, the officers on the scene decided it would be in the best interest of public safety to gather Williams’ information, release him, and contact him for a statement at a later date. Struggling to mount her car, the officer announced amid the deafening chant of “Let Him Go!” that she was indeed releasing Williams. Watching all of this through the glass partition in the back of the squad car, Williams was trying to grasp the gravity of his at least temporary vindication. “I just kept thinking, ‘wow, this is so much love right now, Evergreen,’“ he recalls. “They’ve come to get me out.” As Williams was let out of the backseat and released from the handcuffs, a cadre of riot police made their move to disperse the crowd.

One eyewitness, who asked to remain anonymous, had been acting as a go-between, trying to calm the crowd enough to talk to the officers and get information. He recalls the beginning of the melee with a grimace. “They came in swinging nightsticks and macing everybody. I was lucky to be where I was,” he says. “I would have been crushed if I wasn’t on the opposite side of the car.”

For Williams, the joy of freedom was short-lived as panic took over and the scene disintegrated into screaming and chaos.

“I was halfway up the hill when I realized that the cops still had my wallet,” says Williams.

Venturing back toward the car, he was confronted by an officer in full riot gear who told him to leave immediately, threatening him with a mace cannon mere inches from his face. Stunned and speechless, Williams decided to return the next day and retrieve the wallet.

Six days later on Feb. 20, much to his bewilderment, Williams was charged with fourth degree misdemeanor assault and told to come and give his statement about the alleged assault.

He steadfastly maintains his innocence.

“I just don’t get it. I tried to break up a fight, and they’re charging me with assault. It doesn’t make any sense.”

Williams is due to be arraigned March 10,2009 in Thurston County District Court.

Posted by Joe Anybody at 7:24 PM PDT
Updated: Wednesday, 25 March 2009 9:25 PM PDT
Friday, 13 March 2009
F the corporate media (and their honeybees, crickets, and pig shit)
Mood:  spacey
Now Playing: The Media spins the truth like a 12 year old child
Topic: MEDIA

 Z3 Readers, I would like to introduce this next blog post with the ever so poignant phrase, "Fuck The Corporate Media" ... now lets enjoy the article.

The media's deliberate stupidity

by Jamison Foser


For weeks, the news media have been buzzing about earmarks in the recently signed omnibus spending bill. We've been told over and over that the bill is "loaded," "filled," and "stuffed" with earmarks. Since earmarks made up less than 2 percent of the bill's total spending, this is a little like saying Alaska is "filled" with people.

But John McCain doesn't like earmarks, so that's where the media have focused their attention. (OK, there's more to it than that, but not much.) Unfortunately, they've done so in the most juvenile way possible. Following McCain's lead, the media's assessment of the earmarks consists of nothing more than sarcastically listing them, as though they are self-evidently a waste of money. New York Times columnist Paul Krugman recently described the approach McCain and the Republicans have adopted:

The intellectual incoherence is stunning. Basically, the political philosophy of the GOP right now seems to consist of snickering at stuff that they think sounds funny. The party of ideas has become the party of Beavis and Butthead.

And the media have gone right along with it, producing news reports about the spending bill that are no more substantive than an adolescent chortle: Heh, heh, he said "pig waste." Heh.

Consider, for example, the honeybee. If you have watched television news or picked up a newspaper in the past several weeks, you've probably heard about federal funding for honeybees.

The assault on the honeybee began with the stimulus package, when CNN and other news organizations dutifully repeated GOP attacks on the inclusion of $150 million for "honeybee insurance." Columnist Charles Krauthammer went so far as to call the bill an "abomination" for including the honeybee insurance.

Now, there are a few things you need to know about the honeybee insurance. First, there was no such funding, according to Los Angeles Times business columnist Michael Hiltzik. Second, if the funding did exist, it would have amounted to somewhere around two one-hundredths of 1 percent of the stimulus package. Third, if the funding existed, it might well have been a wise use of money. We'll come back to that part.

Having had some success ridiculing bee-related spending in the stimulus, Republicans went back to the well during debate over the omnibus spending bill, attacking the inclusion of $1.7 million in funding for honeybee research. And the news media were quick to join in, eagerly repeating the attacks -- and, in many cases, adopting them as their own.

This time, the funding the media ridicules does exist. Progress! Still, there are a couple of important points that the national media left out.

First, the honeybee funding amounted to 0.00041 percent of the bill, or one-half of one penny per American. All earmarks combined represented less than 2 percent of the bill -- crucial facts that were almost never mentioned by the media. Los Angeles Times reporter (and former Laura Bush press secretary) Andrew Malcolm actually defended the media's disproportionate focus on a tiny fraction of spending: "Defenders defensively point out that's 'only' 1 or 2 percent of the total bill. So? To 99.89% of Americans, $7.7 billion is a manure-load of money."

But that's one of the key purposes of government: paying for things collectively that 99.89 percent of us couldn't afford to pay for individually. Not to mention the fact that in focusing on the 1 or 2 percent of the bill that constitutes a "manure-load of money," Malcolm and his ilk are ignoring the 98 or 99 percent of the bill that constitutes 49 or 99 manure-loads of money. See, when people point out that earmarks make up only 1 or 2 percent of the bill, they aren't saying earmarks don't matter, they're saying earmarks don't matter as much as things that make up a significantly larger part of the bill. Malcolm thinks he's serving as vigilant defender of the public purse; in fact, he's distracting attention from things that really cost money. He fails even on his own questionable terms.

Back to the honeybees, and to the other point that has been absent from media coverage of earmarks: Honeybees are pretty important. See, humans need food. Without it, we die. And bees not only produce honey, they pollinate all kinds of crops -- onions, cashews, celery, strawberries, beets, broccoli, cabbage, cucumbers, apples ... you get the picture. Honeybees play an important role in our food supply, and our economy. And honeybees have been disappearing at an alarming rate in recent years, for reasons that are not fully known.

Here's how the state of Pennsylvania described the problem last May:

Agriculture Secretary Dennis Wolff today said the commonwealth will increase funding to continue research on the potentially devastating "Honey Bee Colony Collapse Disorder."

"Honey bees are critical to Pennsylvania agriculture and to our state's economy," said Wolff. "Pollination from the honey bees determines fruit set and increases fruit quality at an estimated value of $80 million. We can't afford to be lax in dealing with this problem."

According to a study by two Cornell University professors, honeybee pollination accounted for $14.6 billion worth of crops annually between 1996 and 1998.

Honeybee research doesn't sound so funny now, does it?

Now, you can't expect most Americans to know this. Most Americans don't give much thought to bees beyond hoping they don't get stung by one. And that's fine: The life cycle and migratory patterns of bees, and their resultant effects on avocado and cucumber growth, are fairly obscure subjects. We can't, and shouldn't, expect the typical American to know about or act upon these things. After all, there are a lot of obscure but important things that, as a nation, we need to know about and act upon. We can't know about and act upon them all individually; it's literally impossible.

That's another of the reasons we have a government: to know about and act upon the things we cannot know about and act upon individually. It's one of the reasons we watch television and read newspapers, too: They have the resources that we lack to learn about important but obscure things, and the ability to educate us. (This is where some defenders -- and critics -- of the news media will remind me that the media's job isn't to educate the public, much as I might wish it was; their job is to make money. To that I say: How's that working out? Maybe it's time to try a more serious approach.)

Instead, they treat it all like one big joke. Why? Because John McCain told them to -- and the national news media have long served as Ed McMahon to McCain's Johnny Carson. McCain posted a few uninformed wisecracks about earmarks on his Twitter account, and the nation's political reporters unquestioningly repeated his cheap shots verbatim, as though their role in life is to simply bellow "HA! You are correct, sir!" whenever Johnny makes a joke.

The Washington Post's Dana Milbank, for example, claimed, "It was hard to fault McCain on the merits as he described contents of the $410 billion spending bill," pointing to the honeybee funding as an example. But how would Milbank know? Neither he nor McCain bothered to actually assess the merits. Simply listing "$1.7 million for a honeybee factory in Weslaco, Tex." is not considering the merits. It's pretty much the opposite of considering the merits. But it is as close as Milbank would come.

Milbank went on to quote McCain: " 'What does that mean?' McCain demanded. 'What does "sustainable Las Vegas" mean?' " That's where a serious journalist would have pointed out that it's John McCain's job to know what "sustainable Las Vegas" means, that he has an entire staff to help him find out, and that a few seconds of online research quickly yields an answer: the funding is for an initiative at UNLV that involves "research on water, energy, health care and transportation challenges facing the city and the region, including Arizona and California" and is modeled on a program based in McCain's own state.

A serious journalist might even have pointed out that John McCain pays his Senate staff more than the amount of the earmark in question. Might even have asked which is the bigger waste of taxpayer money -- a program designed to help a rapidly growing region meet its energy, health-care, and transportation needs, or a senator who spends more money paying his staff, but doesn't ask them to find out the purpose of the program he is criticizing?

Dana Milbank did none of those things.

Then there's CNN. The cable channel has cited the honeybee funding several times, never bothering to explain it. Last Saturday, for example, CNN's Josh Levs offered examples of earmarks in the bill -- John McCain's examples, of course: "Take a look. John McCain named some. We're going to show you some examples, $1.7 million for a honeybee factory in Texas, another $1.7 million for pig odor research in Iowa. There's a million dollars in there for cricket control in Utah."

Then four days later, Levs was back on the air -- and again talking about honeybees and crickets. Asked directly about the cricket control, Levs answered, "Maybe people there have problems with crickets."

Poor Levs, four days after his first report, he was still talking about those crickets -- and still didn't have a clue. I know the nation's newsrooms are facing cutbacks, but they still have Google at CNN, don't they? Type Utah cricket control into the online search engine and the second result is a U.S. Geological Survey report that begins, "Grasshopper and Mormon cricket (Orthoptera) populations periodically build to extremely high numbers and can cause significant economic damage in rangelands and agricultural fields of the Great Plains and Intermountain West."

If you doubt that the news media have been playing Butt-head to the GOP's Beavis, just watch this video of MSNBC's Norah O'Donnell interviewing Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle, a Democrat. Here's O'Donnell describing the stimulus bill:

O'DONNELL: It is filled with pork. ... Six-point-six million dollars for termite research. Two-point-two million dollars for the center for grape genetics. One-point-eight million dollars for pig-odor research in Iowa? I mean, come on, Governor. I know you're not in Congress, but this has got to make governors like you mad. You think the people in your state want to pay for $108 million [sic] in taxpayer money going to pig-odor research?

You really have to watch the video to hear how O'Donnell's voice is just dripping with scorn. She doesn't spend so much as a second assessing, or asking about, the merits of the programs. Instead, she just dramatically emphasizes the words "pig-odor research." Heh. Heh. Federal funding to study pig crap! Heh. Heh.

Then Doyle explained that pig odor is actually a pretty big problem for Midwestern agricultural states like his, at which point O'Donnell pretended that her objection all along had been the way the funding came to be -- via earmark -- rather than what it was for. Bull. If her objection had been with the funding mechanism, there would have been no reason to mention what the funding was for, certainly no reason to do so sarcastically. She wasn't commenting on the mechanism, she was behaving like a 12-year-old -- and not a particularly mature 12-year-old, either.

Now, I don't know if the honeybee funding or the cricket funding or the pig-odor research or any of the other earmarks are good ways to spend federal funds. Maybe they're well-run, effective programs that meet an important need, and maybe they aren't. What I do know is that simply cracking jokes about crickets and bees and pig waste rather than taking even 20 seconds to determine what the funding is intended to do is a spectacularly bad way to find out.

America faces great challenges. We are unlikely to meet those challenges through deliberate stupidity.

Jamison Foser is Executive Vice President at Media Matters for America.

Posted by Joe Anybody at 7:40 PM PDT
Updated: Wednesday, 25 March 2009 9:26 PM PDT
Wednesday, 11 March 2009
Joe Anybody's Hero Ralp Nader is at the helm
Mood:  energetic
Now Playing: Ralph Nader in Courts - working for change in a Corrupt System

Z3 Readers, family and frinds, This just came in from my hero Ralph Nader. There is a YouTube video to watch, as well as the text that copied from the YouTube page:



Where is Ralph Nader these days? In court, taking his battle to reform ballot access laws in the United States to the judiciary. Nader is fighting an alleged conspiracy hatched against him in Boston at the time of the 2004 Democratic National Convention held in the city.

Ralph has successfully defended his federal appellate win in Arizona over the state's unconstitutional restrictions on petition circulators. Arizona banned out-of-state petitioners, a practice that the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals found to be unconstitutional. Not giving up easily on challenges to the 2-party system that dominates American politics, state officials had asked the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse the appellate decision striking down Arizona's restrictive ballot access law but the high court today decided to let the decision stand.

A leftover from Nader's 2008 presidential campaign? No, the case is a holdover from the 2004 electoral bid by America's most famous consumer protection advocate.

In 2004, Ralph Nader was the target of an unprecedented legal attack in almost two dozen states with 29 legal actions brought, financed or instigated by the Democratic Party. The lawsuits, many of them frivolous, were brought to keep Ralph in court and not on the campaign stump.

After the dust settled, it was clear to Nader that he had been the target of an abuse of the court system by a major political party to deprive him of ballot access. Ralph then filed suit against the Democratic National Committee for the legal conspiracy.

The lawsuit was dismissed at the District Court level of the federal court system and Nader appealed to the District of Columbia U.S. Court of Appeals where oral argument is scheduled for later in the month.

Nader's brief to the appellate court addresses some of the pending issues. Nader charged the Democrats were guilty of "overtly corrupt and even unlawful conduct."

Nader argued the appeal should go forward because, "Defendants denied and fraudulently concealed their tortuous conduct, and because they remain engaged in ongoing acts in furtherance of their unlawful conspiracy."

"Defendants wrongfully invoked state statutes and federal campaign finance laws as a pretext to bankrupt their competitors by forcing them to incur litigation costs in the defense of a pattern of baseless and repetitive claims."

Nader alleges that in Pennsylvania the political conspirators "planted approximately 7,000 fake signatures" in his petitions so they could later claim the petitions were fraudulent. The Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett has indicted a dozen Democrats for illegal work on petition challenges in 2004 in a scandal dubbed "Bonusgate" because the state legislative workers were paid a bonus for their dirty work.

Nader continued his assault on his Democrat opponents, "Conspirators engaged in sabotage and other unlawful acts intended to manufacture grounds for their otherwise baseless litigation."

Nader likened the Democratic lawsuits against him to "malicious prosecution" which were only filed to advance "baseless claims" designed to bankrupt his campaign. The lawsuits were "wrongful and abusive" of the judicial process.

Nader says the conspiracy against him came together in July 2004 in a meeting of thirty-six conspirators at the Four Seasons hotel in Boston. Oral argument is scheduled in the case for March 20th in Washington, D.C.

Ralph Nader speech at the Nader / Camejo 2004 campaign rally in San Francisco.

Brief intro by Matt Gonzalez, President of the SF Board of Supervisors.

Posted by Joe Anybody at 11:52 AM PDT

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