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July 22, 2005

Labor for Palestine Conference

Tomorrow, I'll be going to the Labor For Palestine Conference at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

It's an all day event, so I look forward to plenty of information and hopefully some time to get to know some local activists.

I'm going as a representative of WILPF's campaign, Women Challenging U.S. Policy: Building Peace on Justice in the Middle East.

It's interesting that they're holding the conference ahead of the AFL-CIO convention here in Chi-town next week. I wonder if I'll see anyone from my union days at the conference...

Posted by cj at 4:32 PM | Comments (0)

July 21, 2005

John Roberts Isn't My Enemy

This might sound strange, but after reading an opinion article in the NYT by Jeffrey Rosen, I've decided that my energy is better spent on other current events rather than following a losing battle to knock down Roberts' nomination to the Supreme Court.

First of all, his credentials are too sparkling to really provide a good reason to oppose him. Apparently, everyone in DC and every lawyer in America thinks it is perfectly legitimate to say the statements you make in a brief are the opinions of your client and not your own. And the fact that his wife is actively anti-choice doesn't mean much, considering the fact that Mrs. Laura Bush is pro-choice and that doesn't stop her husband from being a moron on reproductive rights.

I think he seems better than Thomas. I think it would be easier for senators to oppose his nomination if they hadn't already made him a judge. I find it interesting that when the Senate had a Democrat majority he wasn't appointed, but if U.S. citizens can't mount an overwhelming victory at the polls, then perhaps we're reaping what we've sowed.

In any event, I'm going to continue focusing my activism on challenging U.S. policy on Palestine / Israel and trying to shed light on less well-covered events, like the continuing genocide and war on women in Darfur.

Posted by cj at 10:02 AM | Comments (0)

July 19, 2005

Supreme Court Nominee Rigidly Anti Choice

The leaked name of Shrub's nominee for a life appointment to the Supreme Court of the United States of America is John Roberts.

According to the Alliance for Justice, he filed a brief defending the idea that federal health clinics could force its doctors to not even mention the word abortion to patients. Further, he wrote that Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided.

Press conference in 48 minutes to officially announce.

Posted by cj at 7:10 PM | Comments (0)

The Power of Blogging

I might be one lone voice in the wilderness whose only consistent reader is her boyfriend.

But as long as the mainstream media and politicians recognize the collective force of bloggers, I will continue to feel powerful scrawling my opinions online.

"Bloggers, on your mark: Court vacancy is fine fodder," Media Mix by Peter Johnson in today's USAT

No matter whom President Bush nominates to replace Justice Sandra Day O'Connor on the Supreme Court or whether Bush must replace her and ailing Chief Justice William Rehnquist, who says he has no plans to step down, nominees are going to be fair game for bloggers.

This is a first; the Internet was in its infancy and bloggers weren't around the last time there was an opening on the high court. That was in 1994, when Stephen Breyer was nominated by President Clinton and later confirmed to the court.

Gone are the days when it would usually take disparaging information from an insider to derail a judge's nomination. [...]

Tom Rosenstiel of the Project for Excellence in Journalism says that it will be up to "traditional media with the largest resources to knock down bad stuff that the bloggers put out" about whomever Bush nominates.

"The media world is almost unrecognizable from what it was 11 years ago. All the rules of the road are different. We were driving 1950s Chevys compared to what governs the road now."

Emphasis added.

Posted by cj at 12:26 PM | Comments (0)

Iraq's War on Women

Via a link from Juan Cole, I found "Iraq's War on Women," by Lesley Abdela.

Abdela describes the way Iraq has become an increasing hostile place for its female citizens. Women are 60% of the population, yet must deal with death threats from religious extremists who murder with impunity.

Iraqi women want us to know about their situaton - why wearing makeup is an act of defiance that can get you raped and killed; why a successful beauty shop was closed; why female university students are being targetted for rape and murder.

And they need action - from the U.S. occupying force, from other Western countries and the United Nations, from the Iraqi government.

Please send an email to your representatives in Congress, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, and the President urging them to read this article and take significant actions to stop the violence against Iraqi women.

cross-posted from US WILPF's blog.

Posted by cj at 12:10 PM | Comments (0)

July 17, 2005

Obama on Rove

Through one of those online activist sites, I sent letters to my Senators about Rove. Didn't really remember sending the letters, but I do remember thinking the man needs to get booted out of the West Wing for good. (A girl can dream, no?)

Obama emailed me back (or his staff did; or his electronic mail computer processor did). In any event, here's the email:

Dear Cynthia:

Thank you for contacting me regarding White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove's involvement in the leaking of a CIA operative's name to the press, possibly as retribution for the administration's anger at her husband's report on Iraq's nuclear weapons program. This is an extremely serious matter, and I appreciate hearing from you about it.

It certainly appears from recent news reports that the independent investigation of this incident is nearing its conclusion, and I have confidence in special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald's determination to get to the bottom of the case no matter where the facts lead. I also appreciate that President Bush continues to insist that he will fire any White House staffer who leaked classified information to the press. Like you, I expect him to make good on this pledge.

I continue to be troubled, however, by partisan posturing over this issue which seems to reflect an unhealthy willingness on the part of members of the President's party to allocate greater priority to protecting the President's chief political advisor than to addressing the very real security threat posed by leaks of classified information. While a federal judge has authority over the legal fate of those involved in this particular situation, Congress does have a duty to assure the American public that their security is not threatened by leaks of classified information.

In its July 13th edition, the Washington Post reported that, "The emerging GOP strategy -- devised by [RNC Chair Ken] Mehlman and other Rove loyalists outside of the White House -- is to try to undermine those Democrats calling for Rove's ouster, play down Rove's role and wait for President Bush's forthcoming Supreme Court selection to drown out controversy, according to several high-level Republicans." Is this really how the American people expect their government leaders to act?

During Senate consideration of the FY 2006 Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act (H.R. 2360), Senator Harry Reid offered an amendment that would prohibit federal employees who disclose classified information to unauthorized persons from having a security clearance. This amendment simply revokes the security privileges of those who have violated the rules of their clearances. Yet, it was defeated by a 53 to 44 vote. No Republican senator voted for this amendment.
Thank you again for writing, Cynthia. It is my and their expectation that Mr. Fitzgerald's independent investigation will get to the bottom of this story and hold those responsible accountable for their actions.


Barack Obama
United States Senator

P.S. Our system does not allow direct response to this email. However, if you would like to contact me again, please use the form on the website: http://obama.senate.gov/contact/

Yeah, he was the right choice for Illinois. Glad I voted for him.

Posted by cj at 3:53 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 13, 2005

Karl Rove Must Be Fired

There are many people following the Rove fiasco online.

The best summary of Rove's horrible harm to US security was written by University of Michigan professor Juan Cole.

Whether the courts can and will punish Karl Rove for telling Time Magazine's Matthew Cooper that Joe Wilson's wife was a CIA operative should be beside the point. That's for the courts to decide.

The real question is whether we want a person to occupy a high office in the White House when that person has cynically endangered US national security to take a petty sort of revenge on a whistleblower.

Also interesting is the Chatterbox Rove Death Watch in Slate.

And don't miss the transcript of Monday's press briefing, courtesy of WaPo.

I know all the papers had articles today on the continuing saga of Rove, but I haven't had a chance to read them.

Add your name to the Move On petition to fire Rove.

Posted by cj at 1:40 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 10, 2005

Rape as Legal Retribution

First, I must admit that this comment on an opinion piece has nothing to do with the author of the opinion piece. I do not know much about Salmon Rushdie, except that a price was put on his head for some of the books he's written that were critical of aspects of Islam. So, putting him aside, I urge everyone to read his article, "India and Pakistan's Code of Dishonor," in the NYT.

It is amazing to me that world leaders pretend to take women's rights seriously and then turn a blind eye to systemic rape. It is amazing to me that the world does not cry out against rape as a war crime and rape as a terrible "religious" right. I wish people who spend their energy trying to deny people rights in the US - like those who oppose gay marriage and a woman's right to choose how to use her own body - would stop their madness and focus on the fact that women are second-class citizens in a vast swath of the world; that in places like Pakistan and India, women can be punished for being raped.

[Pakistan] is the same government, led by President Pervez Musharraf, that confiscated Mukhtar Mai's passport because it feared she would go abroad and say things that would bring Pakistan into disrepute; and it is the same government that has allied with the West in the war on terrorism, but seems quite prepared to allow a war of sexual terror to be waged against its female citizens.
Hyperlink to my post on the case added (obviously).

I hope one day, the United States government will uphold UN Security Council Resolution 1325 as resolutely as it uses other SCRs to prop up its illegal gulag in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. And I hope one day people everywhere recognize women's equality, regardless of tribal and religious heritage.

Posted by cj at 3:51 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Aspiring American Documentary Filmmaker Released by American Government in Iraq

American Cyrus Kar and his Iranian cameraman Farshid Faraji were released today by the United States military, which has been holding them without charge for almost two months in the same prison as Saddam Hussein.

Here's the deal - they got in a cab that was subsequently searched. The cab had a bunch of washing machine timers sometimes used to create explosives in it. They had nothing to do with the contents of the cab. Just as you or I can't possibly know what a cabbie has with him when we hail one in the Loop or Manhattan.

Nevertheless, Kar was held without cause and only allowed to contact his relatives via phone three times - but could never tell them where he was.

Kar is in Iraq to film Babylon, as part of a documentary on the Persian King Cyrus the Great. (Did the NYT really need to tell us he was an ancient Persian king? I think we've all got the fact that there are no modern day Persian kings.)

Over the previous two years...Mr. Kar had already shot more than 40 hours of footage in the United States, Germany, Britain, Iran, Tajikistan, and Afghanistan. He was determined to visit Babylon, the fabled city south of Baghdad that Cyrus the Great had conquered in 539 B.C., freeing its Jewish captives in a show of magnanimity.
Oh yeah, and did I mention he is a veteran of the US Navy and US Navy reserves? Clearly a man interested in Persian history who served in the US war machine is out to spur the insurgency in Iraq. Clearly.

His family is trying to wire him money so he'll have it when he's released. "According to the embassy consular official, Mr. Kar still did not want to go home until he was able to complete his filming in Babylon." Safe travels, Mr. Kar. May you get all the shots you desire in Babylon and may your documentary have worldwide success.

The boring deets not already recapped and a pic of Kar are at:
"U.S. Says It Will Release American Held in Iraq," by Tim Golden in NYT

Today's Reuters story announcing his release, wherein US officials attempt to justify their barbaric "detainee review process" as being in line with UN Security Council Resolution 1546. (Good to know they use those resolutions as excuses where necessary and ignore them when they aren't useful. See UN Security Council Resolution 1325 for an example of the latter.)

Posted by cj at 10:29 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

News Recap from the Last 24 Hrs

1. Power outage in Chicago not even reported by the Trib. Details on angelheaded hipster.

2. North Korea agreed to resume 6 party nuclear talks during the week of July 25. China announced it will host the talks. NYT article online version updated today to include SecState Rice's approval of diplomacy. My Nation Edition paper version quotes an unidentified "senior administration official traveling with Ms. Rice, who did not want to be identified because Ms. Rice had not yet made a formal announcement." That phrase appears on page 1 of the NYT. Isn't that a good use of space?

3. Meet the Press is slipping behind This Week. For the past several weeks, they've shared the major guest and here in Chicago, This Week comes on a half hour earlier than Meet the Press. How long can one person listen to Chertoff? Why finish MtP when ABC shows Ebert & Roepert at 10:30 and they're reviewing the new version of "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory?"

4. NASA is sending a human-driven shuttle back to space. Its scheduled for a Wednesday launch, if the weather permits. Not clear what the astronauts will be doing, but the widows of the astronauts who died in the Columbia tragedy get page 1 coverage of how difficult it is to be in the media spotlight.

5. More ink on the Supreme Court vacancy. Maybe that's why the anti-choice activists were out in force last week in downtown Chicago. More talk show chatter (but left till the absolute end of the shows). Wishing that Jerry Springer VH1 special was on....

Posted by cj at 10:05 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 7, 2005

Wikipedia Entry for London bombings

Via Daniel Drezner, the Christian Science Monitor, and the Guardian blog, I found the Wikipedia Entry for the London bombings. This online collaborative encyclopedia has given me the information I've been trying to understand by watching network and cable news for the last three hours.

All times are in British Summer Time (BST) which is 1 hour ahead of UTC.

  • 08:51: Initial reports of an incident between Liverpool Street and Aldgate East tube stations, either an explosion or a collision between trains. The reports from the two stations were initially thought to relate to two separate incidents.
  • 08:56: Explosion on train between Kings' Cross and Russell Square. Eyewitnesses report explosion appeared to come from outside the train.
  • 09:17: Explosion on train at Edgware Road station.
  • 09:28: Tube operator Metronet says the incident was caused by some sort of power surge.
  • 09:33: Reports of an incident at Edgware Road tube station. Reports that passengers on a train hit by an explosion attempted to break windows with umbrellas in order to escape.
  • 09:46: British Transport Police announce there had been more explosions at Kings' Cross, Old Street, Moorgate, and Russell Square.
  • 09:47: Explosion on bus at Upper Woburn Place/Tavistock Square. Fatalities, but number not yet known.
  • 09:49: Whole London Underground system shut down.
  • 10:00: National Grid announce there had been no problem with power surges.
  • 10:40: First report of fatalities, government source speaks of 20 dead.
  • 11:08: Bus services suspended across central London.
  • 11:10: Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair confirms fears that it is a co-ordinated terror attack, but appeals for calm, asking people not to travel to London or make unnecessary calls to the emergency services.
  • 12:00: Prime Minister Tony Blair speaks out on the incident, calling the attacks a coordinated series of "barbaric" terrorist attacks.

(From ITV News and Metropolitan Police press conference)

Posted by cj at 10:32 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

London Bombings

Why would terrorists strike in anger at a G8 meeting? Is it related or is it only a response to military presence in Afghanistan and Iraq? There is absolutely no excuse for terrorism, and the continued attacks on mass transit frightens me personally since I use it and enjoy using it to get to work.

The best coverage is from the BBC.
Eyewitness Accounts

"London rocked by terror attacks"

I'm still trying to figure out what time the attacks occurred at. I understand it was during the morning commute, but at what time? And they're several hours ahead of us, so how long have they been dealing with this? Guess I should start checking blog sources...

Update: It started around 8:47am local London time and the last of the four explosions (on the bus) happened around 9:40am. Is that really when the majority of Londoners are on mass transit? Doesn't their workday start at 9am? I mean, thank goodness if the time helped alleviate the severity of the casualties, but I do wonder...And yes, I recognize that an estimated 40 deaths is 40 too many.

Posted by cj at 8:34 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack