I find anyone who would take PETA's word for their own activities to be either naive or suckered in by their propaganda. The idea that PETA feels it has the right to investigate companies, send in people with recording equipment, and then demand criminal charges be brought should frighten the hell out of anyone.
Only police agencies have the legal right to deceive and use electronic recording equipment secretly. While some states may permit sole knowledge recording, many do not. So there is no legal basis for PETA to act in the way that they do. What they rely upon is emotion. They want you to defend their criminal acts "to save animals". They want you to believe that computer programs can replicate the human body. They use their fame to indoctrinate school children with animal rights propaganda.
None of this is based on logic, the law or reality.
There is a vast difference between what a news organization does and what PETA did and people need to keep this in mind to avoid jail. While it may make you feel better to cheer these people on, this is so incredibly wrong and dangerous, people need to think hard before giving them a hand. No one wants animals to be treated cruelly, but all we have to say such acts have taken place is the word from a person working for an organization which believes that sheep shouldn't be sheared.
Usually, news organizations interview people and rely on whistleblowers. They check records, This can take months, even years. Then, the give the subject the chance to respond. They are careful to make sure what is depicted is accurate and conforms to the law. With a big series, you can spend months before it can see print. The Daily News had been investigating Bernie Kerik for six months and didn't say a word. Not one. Why? Because they weren't finished. The averge 60 Minutes expose takes nearly six months to complete.
Their undercover was not a whistleblower. She had worked there specifically to indict the company for animal cruelty and get the evidence.
Now, people, unthinkingly, have assumed that they're telling the truth.
Just because they make a claim, and have some video does not mean they are either honest or accurate in their depictions. PETA has a radical agenda which it freely announces.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), with more than 800,000 members, is the largest animal rights organization in the world. Founded in 1980, PETA is dedicated to establishing and protecting the rights of all animals. PETA operates under the simple principle that animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, or use for entertainment.
PETA focuses its attention on the four areas in which the largest numbers of animals suffer the most intensely for the longest periods of time: on factory farms, in laboratories, in the clothing trade, and in the entertainment industry. We also work on a variety of other issues, including the cruel killing of beavers, birds and other "pests," and the abuse of backyard dogs.
PETA works through public education, cruelty investigations, research, animal rescue, legislation, special events, celebrity involvement, and protest campaigns.
Would trust your medical care to people who think one can gain knowledge of living beings completely through computers?
More and more students from elementary school to veterinary and medical school—are taking a stand against dissection before it happens in their classes.
Cut It Out!
Hearing a lot about violence in schools? You can do something to help: Cut out dissection! 20 million animals—frogs, cats, mice, dogs, and others—are violently killed and shipped off to schools, where young people are given scalpels and told to slice up the animals’ bodies as part of biology, anatomy, and other courses.
What do dissections teach? Not much … except that it’s OK to chop up animals. In California, investigators brought up the possible connection between a series of cat mutilations and the cat dissections at the local high school. That wouldn’t surprise us: In his last interview before his death, Jeffrey Dahmer said that he became fascinated with blood and guts when his school gave him a knife and a dead animal to cut apart in biology class.
What happens to the animals before the schools place their orders for bodies? PETA did undercover investigations at biological supply companies, which sell animal bodies and parts, and found nightmarish acts of animal cruelty, including the drowning of rabbits and cats embalmed while they were still alive. Check it out for yourself in this video. Schools that purchase animal bodies for dissection are paying for animals to be tortured and killed. It’s that simple.
This from an organization which admits killing 85 percent of the animals in their own shelters in 2003. Which routinely distorts their case and makes the crassest comparisons like chicken production and the Holocaust.
Many of you want to take the word of this woman working for this organization and make her a hero. You would view a report on pornography issued by Focus on the Family with derisive suspicion. You would laugh at a claim by the NRA that gun control is a failure. Yet, you take PETA's word that the company they illegally infiltrated was breaking the law.
What PETA does is dangerous as hell, and only a few of you get it. Would you like to have your Wiccan services infiltrated and then used in a Focus on the Family video about witchcraft? Would you like to have a few drinks in a bar turned into you having an alcohol problem?
I consider PETA extremists, but even if it was the Young Republicans, I would be just as wary. PETA could have done a real investigation, like Amnesty International, they could have been both professional and legal in their conduct, but that's dull. That wouldn't have any heroes. All that would have is results.
All of you people praising this woman hasn't even considered much of what she gathered would probably be kicked in a trial and her testimony tainted by her illegal actions. The only reason she acted in the way she did was that it gets good copy for PETA and a story with a nice hook. Actual prosecution for real animal abuse is quite unlikely now.
What PETA does, like all extremists, is hide their agenda. They play on your emotions and ignorance. They play on your love for animals to get away with criminal acts and the crassest public behavior, even misinforming children that milk will harm them and dissecting animals will turn them into killers. This is nothing like a fair or ethical public debate. Many of you who decry the pro-life movement's tactics, cast a kind eye on PETA doing the same, if not worse.
Is it really any better to indocrinate children to believe that milk will make them sick or to show them an aborted fetus?
Has any of PETA's undercover work led to criminal prosecutions? Or did they agree to leave one company alone?
The problem with PETA's above the law stand is that it doesn't work. Their "evidence" is unreliable, they make horrible witnesses in court. A good defense attorney can ruin their credibility in an hour. Imagine how a rural jury would react to people who suggest fishing is murder. That fish have feelings. They would be laughed off the stand., especially with the prevelence of catch and release fishing. Then there are their contributions to the ALF and other groups.
I'm all for preventing animal cruelty, but PETA's antics nausiate me because that's all they are. They aren't interested in real change, but a radical abolition of the right to eat steak and own a dog. They are extremists and people need to think long and hard for taking their word about anything., At any time.
By BONNIE PFISTER, Associated Press Writer Mon May 30,11:54 PM ET
TRENTON, N.J. - Lisa Leitten is finished living her double life. For the past three years, the soft-spoken, 30-year old moved from Missouri to Texas to Virginia, applying for jobs at businesses dealing with animals. She gave her real name, and some real details about herself: a master's degree in animal psychology and prior work at a primate sanctuary in Florida.
What she didn't reveal was that she was also working for an animal welfare organization, and that she wore a hidden camera to document instances in which animals were treated with what she calls horrific neglect and cruelty.
Leitten called her last assignment for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals her most wrenching: nine months in a Virginia lab owned by Princeton, N.J.-based biomedical firm Covance Co. There, she says, monkeys were denied medical care and abused by technicians. The company denies the claims, says it treats the animals properly and has accused Leitten of illegally working under cover.
For what she says was her final assignment, Leitten was hired as a primate technician for Covance.
Leitten's camera work, and the report issued by PETA, depict frightened monkeys being yanked from their cages and handled roughly by aggressive, often cursing technicians.
She says she watched animals suffer with festering wounds, and that tubes were forced into their sinuses for research medicine to be administered, causing them to scream, bleed and vomit. Monkeys were housed alone in cages that were hosed down with the animals still inside, dripping and shivering, she said.
Laurene Isip, a Covance spokeswoman, says the company has complied with animal welfare regulations for its half-century in business, and doubted the credibility of PETA's charges.
The company called Leitten's actions illegal. Legal experts agree.
"As an employee she has a legal right to be there, but she's there to fulfill and execute on the tasks and responsibilities give to her by her employer. She's not there to fulfill her own private agenda," said Scott Vernick, a Philadelphia lawyer specializing in professional responsibility and legal ethics.
Bruce Weinstein, who has written four books on ethics, said even noble ends do not justify deceptive means.
"The question is, can those perhaps noble ends be achieved legally and ethically? Can one legitimately document abuses that occur without pretending to be someone one is not, or breaking the law, or videotaping things surreptitiously?"
.......................... "It's a risk we're willing to take," Sweetland said. "If it weren't for these investigations, no one would no what was going on."
When PETA is sued and bankupted, do not be surprised. Because this is illegal, and could be considered criminal fraud if they got really nasty. Zealots act as if the law doesn't apply to them. I predict they will find out that this isn't the case.
Remember, this woman was specifically hired in a way which didn't let the company know she was a member of PETA. While PETA may think this is OK, the company can claim she acted in a fraudulent manner
By TERENCE HUNT, AP White House Correspondent 5 minutes ago
President Bush called a human rights report "absurd" for criticizing the United States' detention of terrorist suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and said Tuesday the allegations were made by "people who hate America."
"It's absurd. It's an absurd allegation. The United States is a country that promotes freedom around the world," Bush said of the Amnesty International report that compared Guantanamo to a Soviet-era gulag.
In a Rose Garden news conference, Bush defiantly stood by his domestic policy agenda while defending his actions abroad. With the death toll climbing daily inIraq, he said that nation's fledging government is "plenty capable" of defeating terrorists whose attacks on Iraqi civilians and U.S. soldiers have intensified.
Bush spoke after separate air crashes killed four American and four Italian troops in Iraq. The governor of Anbar province, taken hostage three weeks ago, was killed during clashes between U.S. forces and the insurgents who abducted him.
Bush said the job of the U.S. forces there is to help train Iraqis to defeat terrorists.
"I think the Iraqi people dealt the insurgents a serious blow when we had the elections," Bush said. "In other words, what the insurgents fear is democracy because democracy is the opposition of their vision."
Anastasia Barone remembered the thick padlocked chain around her neck, her husband's steel-toed boot striking her over and over in the face, and then the dizziness that overcame her as she slowly slipped into unconsciousness on the tile floor of her Dix Hills basement.
For nearly six hours, Barone's husband, Anthony, kept her bound to the bottom of a spiral staircase with an inch-thick, padlocked chain, as their 8-year-old son tried to help his mother, she said. In the next room, separated only by unlocked, wooden sliding doors, were two 50-pound leopard cubs her husband had bought about six months ago.
Suffolk County SPCA officers and Huntington animal control agents removed the animals from the feces-filled, windowless, basement room, with inadequate ventilation, said Roy Gross, chief of Suffolk County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Gross said the leopards are listed as endangered and that a new state law bans keeping such wild animals as pets.
At full size, the male leopard could grow between 80 and 150 pounds and the female between 60 and 100 pounds, Gross said. They are capable of taking down other animals twice their size, he added.
"These animals are very capable of injuring and killing someone," Gross said. ". . . They are not to be domesticated, and Siegfried and Roy is a perfect example of that."
Anthony Barone is believed to have purchased the animals from someone in Manhattan and was in the process of buying two black leopards, Gross said.
This moron wanted four wild, endangered animals in his home? Bad enough he beat his wife stupid, but those cats could have killed his family when they reached full-size. I mean, he's as bad as the guy who kept a tiger in his project apartment, having no clue as to how dangerous that is.
The WaPo, according to David Sirota of the Center for American Progress, is going to push their reporter, John F Harris's, book on Clinton with two large take out stories about nasty things he said and his wandering dick.
For some unknown reason, the fact that Bush is a congenital liar seems not to bother the Beltway Kool Kids Klub. The fact that 1650 dead have come from Iraq seems not to bother them. The fact that he ginned up a crisis to destroy social security doesn't bother them either. Nor do they get that if Clinton, Bill Clinton, had run against George Bush, Clinton would have won in 2000, 2004 and well into the future.
The irony of this is that the Kool Kids Klub didn't like Clinton because he didn't kiss Sally Quinn's ass. Quinn, the man stealing slut, like Pamela Harriman, is allowed to now give lectures in morality, when men used to pass her around like a Maxim. She's allowed to sneer at the Clintons because they didn't take her all that seriously. I think the reason is that the Clintons didn't go to her dinner parties or some such nonsense.
The Beltway crowd misses one key point, one a reasonably sentinent child could explain.
America is unique in this sense: we hate our national capital. Washington is a negative word in the American lexicon, code for everything complicated and wrong. And this is not new. Mr Smith goes to Washington depicts the place as a corrupt sewer. Most countries have an envy/resentment relationship with their capital. Not America. If you want to say bad government, just say Washington. People will understand.
The reason for that is simple. Washington exists only as a seat of government. New York is the cultural and financial capital, LA, the entertainment capital, Boston, the academic capital. Washington plays a very limited role in the country's life. But to the people who work there it is the center of the world.
There's a very simple reason Bush can lie like he does and the Beltway keeps their mouth shut.
The Beltway Sniper.
That scared the Beltway crowd far more than 9/11. It totally destroyed their sense of security. After all, the Pentagon was isolated, but John Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo brought fear into every Washington home more effectively than 10 plane crashes. It allowed a kind of gnawing fear to infect the chattering classes in a way that the mass deaths of others could not. The idea of a random sniper killing at will was truly unnerving, especially after 9/11. It so shook the confidence of the chattering classes there, that they were far more open to stories about Saddam the boogieman.
Remember, DC is the only place where people have power without responsibility. A bond trader has to actually make money. A movie director has a couple of hundred people and a few million dollars riding on his work. But in Washington, a pundit can influence policy and never live with the consequences. They can prmote abstinance and never see the increased numbers of STD's which will come from that.
So when Muhammad and Malvo ran wild, these cosseted, isolated people were stunned to the very core of their being. So, psychologically, believing Bush's fairlytales of war were just that much easier because the world was an unpredictable place. After all, violence in DC is restricted to the darker quarters of the capital. So when Bush came up with WMD, most of them went along, in raw, naked fear.
Now, that the war is a disaster, they are torn between the desire to see a democratic Iraq and the Banquo's ghost of Vietnam. So they remain silent, unwilling to call Bush the liar that he is. Because they cannot say that the Iraqi people must be left to their own fate, having bought Bush's story, and they cannot deny this is looking like 1967 more every day. So it is best to say nothing.
As far as nasty stories about Clinton goes, we didn't give a shit then, we certainly don't give a shit now. It only makes them look as weak and stuipid as we already think they are.
I was eating breakfast and on my way to shop for some food when I got a frantic phonecall from my mother.
"Your sister called. She's in Connecticut"
"She's coming. Finish your shopping fast. I need your help"
Now, I had suprised my mother yesterday with dinner from M&G Diner, a hole in the wall on 125th Street with the best fried chicken in the city for her birthday. Lucky I did.
So I figured today would be a nice day for some fishing in the Harlem Meer, pack a lunch, catch some sun.
Until the frantic call.
So I shop and then await my sister, her boyfriend and my niece and nephew.
Now, Jen had been offering to take the kids to MOMA for nearly a year. And since they never came down, we never had the chance to do it. So here they come, and Jen was asleep. She's been having a rough month or so, and I figured I wasn't going to wake her up. I'd wait until they actually showed up.
So around 2 PM, they all show up. We go up to see my mother and we stay there for all of five minutes.
Because my sisters have a habit of being glacially slow in going places. As in they say they're going, and then they go three hours later. Jen and I are actually pretty good about time and action. If she says she's going someplace, she's there early, if not on time.
I was hoping to catch her out of the house and in the Village, so she could meet us.
She was dead asleep. She didn't wake up until 2.
So thinking on my feet, I decided to go to the Met, which is a short trip from my house.
I have been going to the Metropolitan Museum of Art since childhood. So I know how to get around there. Which was good, because we only had a couple of hours.
Now, my niece, who's eight, loves art. She has several art books and her favorite artists are DaVinci and Van Gogh.
My nephew, who's 9, is just curious and since they're close, he supports his sister. But I had to figure out a way to keep them both interested. So the plan was to hit arms and armor, which most boys like, and then the Impressionists and post-Impressionists.
When I paid to get in, the ticket taker said "oh, kids, they'll love the mummies"
I said "no, she," I said, my hands on her shoulders, "she likes Van Gogh"
Jen calls me back.
She had just woke up and wasn't going anywhere. Well, it was a crapshoot, based on catching her out and about, not in sleephead mode. Which she was.
We talked for a few minutes, after being shooed to the lobby, and she apologized profusely for being a sleepyhead.
"I don't do last minute well," she said.
I laughed. I do last minute great. But that's me.
So we go through the Arms and Armor exhibit and I show the kids the various swords and armor and explain how people stopped wearing it. Most of the examples are from the late 16th Century or later and therefore decorative. They liked the inlaid gold and gems, as I explained the difference between rapiers, sabers and broadswords.
I then explained why armor went out of fashion as we looked at the wheelguns and flintlocks. One shield was filled with holes, bullet holes and crossbow bolt holes. My nephew got the point. We then looked at the ceremonial swords, which were more ranks of office than weapons. I pointed out the engravings on some. Then I showed the kids the decorated six guns and Pennslyvania rifles and powder horns. We then looked at the horse armor. I explained how the horses wore breast plates and helmets.
We then looked at the Middle Eastern and Asian Armor and I explained how they differed from the western armor we had seen before. When we got to the Japanese and Chinese Armor, the kids had seen examples on Cartoon Network. It's the rare kid who doesn't know what a samurai was now. Then I explained the difference between the western swords and a Japanese katana. But as I said, they were familiar with them.
We then went to the cafeteria. Which would have been fine if I was with Jen. I was with my eight year old niece and nine year old nephew. They were not going to eat ham and brie for lunch. Or a salad.
Three sodas, two cookies, a piece of pound cake and two bags of chips was $17.50. But they liked the cookies.
We then went to see the Impressionists and Post-Impressionists. We looked at the Romantic paintings and I told them to remember how many details they saw in the painting.
We then walked past some Manets into a room with Renoirs. I asked my niece to look at a painting and tell me what she saw. And I explained that what was missing was detail. The earlier paintings looked like photos. The Renoir had more color and less detail, even though you could see what it was.
As we walked along, I stopped at a Seurat. I then asked her to look at all the colors in the painting. I then explained that the painting represented an impression of what the artist saw, not a detailed reproduction. We had looked at some Romantic landscapes earlier. So when we started to look at Impressionist landscapes she started to notice how the detail was subtracted from the painting as the number of colors grew.
Finally we looked at some Van Goghs. Now, I recognized them instantly, but my niece was unsure. So I said read the card. Which she did. So as we walked from painting to painting I explained how Van Gogh used different styles and the colors he chose. When we got to a self-portrait, I showed them how Van Gogh used a lot of colors in this self-portrait and my niece saw how the colors were used to create other colors.
Van Gogh Self portrait with Straw Hat 1888
Finally, we stopped at one of my favorite paintings, Monet's Rouen Cathdral, one of series he did. Again, I asked my niece to notice how he used color to create his painting.
After this, we were hungry, and after a souvenir stop, we got hot dogs. Three for $7.50
We got home and they were soon on their way.
When I talked to Jen, she had yet to shower. It was almost five.
I called her later to find that she was making coke can chicken, with lemon and rice and barley. She siad the McCormack's Chicken rub made an adequate substitute for my vaunted spice rub, which I have to make her more of soon.
I promised that since the kids will be returning soon, I would give Jen advance notice so I could take the kids to MOMA and the NBA store. My niece and Jen don't care much about that, but my nephew.....he does.
Just got off the phone with Gilly, and before I take a Sonata (damn, sleeping late on holiday weekends messes up my sleep cycle...) I gotta post a few clarifications/defenses:
--Gilly and I do indeed plan on taking The Kids to MOMA as soon as I get more than 30 seconds notice that they're in town.
--Gil, does that restaurant that you took Mom to do chicken and waffles?
--Yes, I am a huge sleepyhead on weekends. But I did in fact bathe and shop for the upcoming week (shop, that is, I bathe every day).
--Dinner: A sliced Roma tomato, brown rice and pearl barley cooked together with fleur de sel (gift from Mom), and Coke Can Chicken done as follows:
Take your chicken and wash and dry it. Rub with lemon, open CLEANED UP can of Coke. Rub chicken with Coke, then another squirt of lemon. Wear chicken like a sock puppet on your non-dominant hand while rubbing in McCormick's Spice rub with your dominant hand on the chicken.
NOTE if you have something better than McCormick's Poultry Rub, let's say, oh, some of the toasted or non-toasted spice rub that your editor/partner in Blogging has been promising you since Xmas, even though you even saved and washed the empty bottles from last time, and you've only bugged him about a zillion times about, like a toddler wanting the latest Barbie item, then by all means use it. I, however, had to use the McCormick's this time.
Then, set the chicken up on the can, like you just shoved the can up its butt or something. It should sit upright with no balancing. Make sure to pour out about 1/3 of the can of coke into the pan as well first. Put the giblets in the same roasting pan as the chicken. Also put in the lemon halves, cut into pieces. If you have room, shove a piece of lemon in the top of the neck cavity above the can if you want.
Roast it till done, at whatever temperature your oven behaves itself for as long as it takes. My old gas oven is so fucked up, I can't use the rangetop and the oven at the same time (a point I will bring up to my LL as soon as I sign my 2-year lease extension tomorrow), so I use Around 375 for Around 45 minutes.
When the chicken is eventually ready, take out CAREFULLY and tent with foil until you won't burn yourself to the bone going near it--at least 10 minutes. Using tongs and help, get the can out of the chicken without burning yourself. Gilly cuts his open; I use chef's tongs and a fork.
And yeah, I know they make special Thingies to Do this More Cleanly and whatever, but I'm cheap, and I figure if I only do 2 or 3 of these a year I won't be getting any more toxins than any other average day in NYC.
Oh yeah don't forget to cover/disable your smoke alarm as the singeing sugar really sets em off.
--Oh yeah and Gilly: Please fix your cell phone answering message and drop that disc in the mail :)
--One more shout out to Thomas in Berlin: I promise to get my VOIP working eventually and NOT send you my phone bill. Feel better!
Nitey Nite BlogFans! Happy short work week for our US viewers...and if anyone can find a link to the story I just saw on the news just now (must be too new for the night) about the guy who chained his wife in the basement with his two pet leopards in Dix Hills, Long Island, please send it to Gil to tag up.
thought you'd get a kick out of this - apparently, elvis costello got himself into a bit of hot water the other day by delaying a show so he could watch the liverpool match:
Booing, beer throwing and Liverpool won the cup!
Some key facts first - the ticket said doors open 7:30, no support. The European Cup final was on TV. Elvis is an enormous Liverpool FC fan who were in the final.
So here we are and at 8:10 the support band takes to the stage, plays a few songs and comments that they are such-and-such and were here while Elvis watches the football. They were a good little band and the crowd gave them a warm reception.
Then Liverpool got the football score back from 3-0 to 3-3 and there was 25 minutes of normal time left. Will he wait that long? Yes he did. Slow hand clapping between background music and the crowd of middle-aged nice people started to get annoyed.
Then full time came, the TV's went off and the band took to the stage to a bit of booing. Elvis went to the microphone and shouted "Norwich, I have only one thing to say to you - Let's Be Having You" - a comment made by the Norwich Football Club Director, celebrity cook Delia Smith, at a recent match. This was met with more booing and a pint of beer being thrown over Costello, who was startled and almost amused. So we were back in 1979 and it was brilliant. The beer thrower was hustled out by Security and Costello walked the stage, coming to the side and mouthing "Come on you F*%$&ing W*%^ers". The band was now electric and they were rattling through the set.
Half an hour later a rumble went through the crowd and a roadie came on from the side of the stage with his thumbs up, Liverpool had won the cup on penalties after extra time. This led to an impromptu version of You'll Never Walk Alone with the crowd singing along.
After two hours the set was finished. A blistering concert with no encores, but time was up as the venue had an 11:30 finish time.
I spoke with Pete Thomas after the gig and he commented that it was surreal playing as they could see the only TV from the stage and new the score as it happened. He agreed that it had been a very crisp set with a few "Muddy Waters moments" where he thought to himself "Hmm we seem to have missed a chorus and a few verses". I told Pete that it was really nice to meet him as I had seen him play often, the first time being in 1978, to which he commented "I think we played the same set tonight".
Lots of highlights in the music, but just a wonderful unrepeatable night. Great stuff.
more here under "gigography/recent appearances/5-25-2005/norwich uea":
When Americans think they are sports fans, remember this story. Not only does Elvis Costello watch the game despite a full house, he antagonizes the crowd as well. And then gets them to sing the Liverpool song "You'll Never Walk Alone". Which was pretty amazing considering Norwich's season in the Premiership. It's stories like this which keep me writing about soccer.
Update: Elvis Costello writes his side of the story
I can’t say that our entrance to the stage was greeted with wild acclaim. The lights finally went down and the booing actually increased. The lights came up and at first glance the people of Norfolk seemed to be divided into two sub-groups. Those who like to eat biscuits and go to bed early after a little light jiving and a handful of the kind of untamed flatlanders who are sometimes portrayed in Seventies horror films brandishing flaming torches at a lynching.
It had been suggested by my Chelsea-supporting friend that I might further ingratiate myself with a Norwich crowd by echoing the recent emotional outburst of Delia Smith. So my opening remark was “Let’s be having you” and I promptly received a glass of water across the neck of my guitar.
Now I have had many things thrown at me over the years but none of them has been less terrifying than half a glass of lukewarm water. At least it could have been some beer, preferably still in the bottle. I’ve had people seriously intent on killing me, and not just in the late Seventies, when a man wasn’t dressed without a hatchet in his head at couple of our more lively gigs. As recently as “Woodstock 3” , in 1999, Nieve and I faced down what looked like an irate mob of method actors auditioning for a remake of Apocalypse Now. Once the audience have their faces painted green and twigs in their hair, you know you are in deep trouble. Those crazy kids seemed to want to maim us for no other reason than that we were older than them. They were throwing full cans of lite beer and Diet Coke at us, but we pressed on regardless and managed to get out of town unscathed before they started to enact any of the more grisly scenes from Lord of the Flies.
Back in Norwich, it started to become apparent that some people had not got the message about the late start. The drunk who threw his glass of water was ejected by security but not before I identified him, in strictly literal terms, as “a tosser”, along with a couple of other adjectives that might have offended some Daily Mail readers, even if they are not usually that prominent at my shows, because I hate their guts. The offender was promptly taken outside and beaten to a pulp . . . by his girlfriend, who was angry about missing the show.
Once we got rolling, the boisterous start gave a different flavour to the show, although the Imposters played with their customary swagger and panache, not unlike the Liverpool team of the Hansen/Dalglish era. I tried my best to keep my eyes from the TV screen over the bar at the back of the room but the words “Oh s***, he’s missed” might have accidentally crept into the lyrics of Good Year for the Roses .
And suddenly it was all over. I could see people in the bar area punching the air and a rolling cheer overwhelmed the applause for Kinder Murder. Our security man, Paddy Callaghan, capered in the shadows at the edge of the stage with a balletic grace that belies his frame and this was all the confirmation I needed to cue You’ll Never Walk Alone, a song that we had never performed before as a band.
Since drudge is all excited, let's remind ourselves of the Quinn article he's referring to. It stands as probably the biggest self-indictment of the beltway kool kids ever written:
"This beautiful capital," President Clinton said in his first inaugural address, "is often a place of intrigue and calculation. Powerful people maneuver for position and worry endlessly about who is in and who is out, who is up and who is down, forgetting those people whose toil and sweat sends us here and pays our way." With that, the new president sent a clear challenge to an already suspicious Washington Establishment.
And now, five years later, here was Clinton's trusted adviser Rahm Emanuel, finishing up a speech at a fund-raiser to fight spina bifida before a gathering that could only be described as Establishment Washington.
"There are a lot of people in America who look at what we do here in Washington with nothing but cynicism," said Emanuel. "Heck, there are a lot of people in Washington who look at us with nothing but cynicism." But, he went on, "there are good people here. Decent people on both sides of the political aisle and on both sides of the reporter's notebook."
Emanuel, unlike the president, had become part of the Washington Establishment. "This is one of those extraordinary moments," he said at the fund-raiser, "when we come together as a community here in Washington -- setting aside personal, political and professional differences."
Actually, it wasn't extraordinary. When Establishment Washingtonians of all persuasions gather to support their own, they are not unlike any other small community in the country.
On this evening, the roster included Cabinet members Madeleine Albright and Donna Shalala, Republicans Sen. John McCain and Rep. Bob Livingston, Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan, PBS's Jim Lehrer and New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, all behaving like the pals that they are. On display was a side of Washington that most people in this country never see. For all their apparent public differences, the people in the room that night were coming together with genuine affection and emotion to support their friends -- the Wall Street Journal's Al Hunt and his wife, CNN's Judy Woodruff, whose son Jeffrey has spina bifida.
But this particular community happens to be in the nation's capital. And the people in it are the so-called Beltway Insiders -- the high-level members of Congress, policymakers, lawyers, military brass, diplomats and journalists who have a proprietary interest in Washington and identify with it.
By Jonathan Weisman Washington Post Staff Writer Monday, May 30, 2005; Page A04
President Bush's congressional allies on Social Security are limping into the week-long Memorial Day recess, battered by public opinion polls yet hopeful that a rising awareness of Social Security's long-run financing problems will propel a legislative solution.
But with just 49 legislative days left before Congress's planned adjournment, the odds are still against Bush securing the centerpiece of his domestic agenda, Republican lawmakers concede.
"I don't know if we can get it done this year," said Rep. E. Clay Shaw Jr. (R-Fla.), a member of the Ways and Means Committee. "I don't think you could get a third of the Congress to vote for any one plan at this point."
"They've made slight progress," said Rep. Michael N. Castle (R-Del.), a moderate, "maybe 'slight' being the key word."
Social Security was supposed to be the focal point of the Bush domestic agenda this year, but passage of a plan to secure its long-term financing and add private investment accounts has grown more complicated in recent weeks as Republicans appear increasingly willing to challenge the White House on issues including expanded stem cell research and the reimportation of prescription drugs.
White House spokesman Trent Duffy said Washington is exactly where Bush strategists thought it would be right now on Social Security, with a rising awareness of the system's problems and Congress entering a summertime legislative push.
Duffy pointed to poll numbers showing an increasing percentage of the population identifying Social Security's finances as a growing problem. But those same polls show the public strongly against Bush's proposals and highly critical of his handling of the issue. If anything, public opposition appears to be hardening. The senior lobby AARP has gained nearly 400,000 members -- 20 percent more than it expected -- since the beginning of the year, when it launched its campaign to sink the Bush plan, said AARP spokeswoman Christine M. Donohoo.
When Congress returns next Monday, the fate of Social Security restructuring will be in the hands of the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee, not the White House. Moderate Republicans are convinced that Ways and Means Chairman Bill Thomas (R-Calif.) will stitch together a large package of savings incentives, private pension changes and tax breaks for long-term health care that will be popular enough to win majority support for more controversial benefit cuts that will secure Social Security's financial future. If necessary, they say, Thomas will jettison the central plank of Bush's plan, private investment accounts financed out of the existing payroll tax.
Thomas's package could put intolerable pressure on Democrats to break with their leadership and come to the negotiating table, said Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fla.), another committee member. Already, Teamsters President James P. Hoffa has suggested that organized labor should not stand in the way of dialogue on Social Security changes, and two Democrats -- Reps. Robert Wexler (Fla.) and James P. Moran Jr. (Va.) -- unveiled their own Social Security plan last month. "I just want to issue a clarion call to Democrats: Get ready, because Bill Thomas will ultimately deliver a product that most mainstreamers in the U.S.A. will find compelling," Foley said.
Why? There is no deal Bush can accept which will past muster with the Dems. Notice the contradiction: public opposition is hardening, while the Dems will face "intolerable" pressure to break with their leadership.
Really? Where is this pressure going to come from? I mean, I wouldn't take Mark Foley all that seriously. He still denies having a boyfriend.
They are planning to cut benefits.This is going to scare old people shitless. Why would the Dems feel the need to go along with a benefits cut? Moran and Wexler got their wrists slapped and ignored. The GOP has no good way to sell benefit cuts.
Here's the deal: Bill Thomas is going to propose cutting social security benefits. Once that becomes the issue, the GOP should plan on losing the House. Because once you dump private investment, you just have benefit cuts. Who the hell is going to support benefit cuts? You can gussie it up any way you choose, but it's a benefits cut.
The best thing in the world is to be able to ride this issue into the 2006 election cycle. Because even in red diistricts, you will be able to elect people to save social security. Instead of realizing this is a failed plan, they want to ride it to defeat. I say spur them on.
NEW YORK - Even God is vulnerable to low television ratings. CBS' decision this month to cancel the drama "Joan of Arcadia" after two seasons has baffled and angered its fans. Many are peppering CBS and anyone who will listen with e-mails trying to find some way to keep the series alive.
It's a long shot, at best. The series where God appeared to Amber Tamblyn's title character in the guise of average people won critical praise and an Emmy nomination, but couldn't reach beyond a dwindling cult of supporters.
Fans said they appreciated a drama that talked about spirituality without being preachy, that included God but didn't take religious sides. Several parents wrote that it was one of the few quality shows on television they felt comfortable watching with their children.
"I liked that it gave my daughter and I ethical things to talk about without having to bring them up, things like premarital sex and spirituality," said Dawn Richards, 44, who watched regularly with her 14-year-old daughter at home in Boca Raton, Fla. "It's a great springboard."
Angela Williams, who works at a domestic violence shelter and lives in Boody, Ill., organized an e-mail and telephone campaign to support the show. The 24-year-old scheduled her Friday nights around the series and said a lot of her friends did, too.
We feel your pain, say the folks at CBS.
"It was one of the toughest programming decisions we have had to make in the last couple of years because qualitatively, everyone here loved the show and was proud of the show," said Chris Ender, CBS entertainment spokesman.
But they couldn't ignore its ratings decline, he said. During its first season, "Joan of Arcadia" averaged 10.1 million viewers, respectable numbers for Friday, a quiet night for television. This year, viewership sank to 8 million, according to Nielsen Media Research.
That was lower than "Father of the Pride," "Dr. Vegas" and "Hawaii" — all series that went to their graveyards long ago.
The most important number may be this one: 53.9.
That's the median age of the "Joan of Arcadia" viewer, nearly three years older than the typical CBS viewer.
Thank God they cancelled this nonsense. I always called it Joan of Schizophrenia. Because she was fucking nuts. She was talking to the voices in her head.
Even before the fighting on Sunday, the government of Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari appeared to have opened a new and potentially hazardous chapter in the war. Announcing the crackdown last week, government officials said the operation would move Iraqi troops "from the defensive to the offensive" in the war, and show Iraqis that the leaders they elected in January were capable of providing the security that just about every opinion poll in recent months has shown is their highest priority.
But the operation met with skepticism even before it started.
For one thing, few believed the government could commit the 40,000 soldiers and paramilitary police officers it had promised, since the American command's latest official count of the number in Baghdad Province, reaching deep into the countryside beyond the capital itself, totaled only slightly more than 30,000. Many Iraqis said they suspected that the government was overstating its abilities in the hope of stemming rising popular anger in the face of the new insurgent offensive.
There has been another fear, one rooted in the country's shifting political landscape. Essentially, the operation begun Sunday involves a government led by two religious parties with strong ties to Iran, commanding new American-trained army and paramilitary police forces that are heavily Shiite, taking on an insurgency that is almost entirely Sunni Arab.
The potential for a further sharpening of sectarian tensions has been unavoidable, despite assurances by Dr. Jaafari that the Shiite leaders intend to govern in a way that draws Iraq's religious and ethnic communities together.
The concern appeared to be at least partly born out on Sunday, as truckloads of Iraqi soldiers and police officers in camouflage fanned out across the city, setting up checkpoints and moving in force through neighborhoods long known as insurgent strongholds, raiding homes and carrying away suspects.
One man in Amariya telephoned The New York Times to say that people in his neighborhood believed that the sweeps were inspired and led by the Badr Organization, a shadowy militia group founded in Iran that is an offshoot of one of the two governing Shiite religious parties, the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq.
In 1971 the US supported the South Vietnamese invasion of Laos. It was an utter disaster. Lam Son 719 ended with ARVN troops in full retreat and US helicopter crews scared witless of the flak they had met up with there.
One of the more bizarre aspects of the Iraq war has been President Bush's repeated insistence that his generals tell him they have enough troops. Even more bizarrely, it may be true - I mean, that his generals tell him that they have enough troops, not that they actually have enough. An article in yesterday's Baltimore Sun explains why.
The article tells the tale of John Riggs, a former Army commander, who "publicly contradicted Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld by arguing that the Army was overstretched in Iraq and Afghanistan" - then abruptly found himself forced into retirement at a reduced rank, which normally only happens as a result of a major scandal.
The truth, of course, is that there aren't nearly enough troops. "Basically, we've got all the toys, but not enough boys," a Marine major in Anbar Province told The Los Angeles Times.
Yet it's also true, in a different sense, that we have too many troops in Iraq.
Back in September 2003 a report by the Congressional Budget Office concluded that the size of the U.S. force in Iraq would have to start shrinking rapidly in the spring of 2004 if the Army wanted to "maintain training and readiness levels, limit family separation and involuntary mobilization, and retain high-quality personnel."
Let me put that in plainer English: our all-volunteer military is based on an implicit promise that those who serve their country in times of danger will also be able to get on with their lives. Full-time soldiers expect to spend enough time at home base to keep their marriages alive and see their children growing up. Reservists expect to be called up infrequently enough, and for short enough tours of duty, that they can hold on to their civilian jobs.
For a generation Americans have depended on a superb volunteer Army to keep us safe - both from our enemies, and from the prospect of a draft. What will we do once that Army is broken?
WASHINGTON, May 29 - In the last few months, the small commercial air service to the naval base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, has been carrying people the military authorities had hoped would never be allowed there: American lawyers.
And they have been arriving in increasing numbers, providing more than a third of about 530 remaining detainees with representation in federal court. Despite considerable obstacles and expenses, other lawyers are lining up to challenge the government's detention of people the military has called enemy combatants and possible terrorists.
A meeting earlier this month in New York City at the law firm Clifford Chance drew dozens of new volunteer lawyers who attended lectures from other lawyers who have been through the rigorous process of getting the government to allow them access to Guantánamo.
The increase in lawyers for Guantánamo detainees was set in motion last June when the Supreme Court ruled against the Bush administration and said the prisoners there were entitled to challenge their detentions in federal courts.
The rate at which lawyers have stepped forward for the task may be a reflection of the changing public attitudes about Guantánamo Bay and its mission.
"In the beginning, just after 9/11, we couldn't get anybody," said Michael Ratner, president of the Center for Constitutional Rights, a group based in New York that is coordinating the assigning of lawyers to prisoners. The earliest volunteers, Mr. Ratner said, were those who regularly handled death-penalty clients and were accustomed to representing the reviled in near-hopeless cases.
But in recent months, some of the nation's largest and most prominent firms have enlisted in the effort and devoted considerable resources to it, including Wilmer, Cutler, Pickering, Hale & Dorr; Clifford Chance; Covington & Burling; Dorsey & Whitney; and Allen & Overy.
"People are now eager to take this on," Mr. Ratner said. The law firms are bearing all the expenses, he said.
All white shoe law firms. This is going to burst open like a boil by next year.
By Tara Bahrampour Washington Post Staff Writer Sunday, May 29, 2005; Page A01
The pranks teenagers play on each other are almost rites of passage -- making crank phone calls, scrawling scary messages on lockers and toilet-papering a friend's yard are usually seen as harmless adolescent mischief and come with few repercussions.
But in the past two weeks, two students in Arlington have been arrested -- and were still being detained this weekend -- after their apparent pranks were taken more seriously. Both involved instant messages, or IMs, the on-screen form of real-time computer communication that takes up hours of American teenagers' lives each day and that allows them something a crank call doesn't always: anonymity.
On May 18, a 15-year-old Yorktown High School boy sent an anonymous IM to a friend, threatening to harm her and others at school. She told her parents that night, and police evacuated Yorktown the next day, swarming the school before the boy turned himself in. He is being held without bond at the Northern Virginia Juvenile Detention Home in Alexandria on a felony charge of making a written threat to kill.
A few days later, on May 24, Washington-Lee High School was locked down for the afternoon after three students reported receiving similar threats via IM. On Thursday, police arrested a 13-year-old Swanson Middle School student, a brother of one of the recipients, and charged him with the same felony count and harassment by computer, a misdemeanor. He is being held without bond until a second arraignment scheduled for Tuesday.
The arrests have exposed a new gray area for teenagers. They live in an age when it is delectably easy to use an anonymous screen name to freak out their friends -- and in a society that has learned the hard way to take threats of violence seriously.
Parents need to explain to kids that the internet is a public space. Anything you say online can come back to haunt you. Even jokes.
And while this may seem excessive, what happens when you ignore this and you have a sea of bodies the next day. It's not an easy choice. But I'm also convinced the kids had no idea it would be taken this seriously.
Some retirees climb mountains. Others sail around the world.
Dan Freeman has a dream, too - hitting a different bar three or four times a day.
The 60-year-old Brooklyn man is on a quest to have a drink in 1,000 watering holes this year, and he's chronicling his boozy adventures on his blog, "1000 Bars."
The News tagged along with Freeman this week on stops 525 through 527, downing beers at three Manhattan bars he had yet to visit.
"I don't understand those people who say they're retired and bored," Freeman said, taking a sip from a bottle of Heineken at Bellevue, a bar in Hell's Kitchen.
On pace to hit the mark on his 61st birthday in December, Freeman is savoring his tour of city bars - from corner dives to Irish pubs to a lesbian bar he unwittingly patronized.
"Someone in there said to me, 'You know you are in a lesbian bar,'" he recalled. "And I said, 'Well, okay, can I get a drink?'"
Freeman, who retired from the consulting firm he owned, said he had always wanted to sample as many city bars as possible. With time on his hands, and his wife's permission, he embarked on a drinking man's dream.
"We got our first three bars on a milk run on New Year's Day," Freeman said.
Nightly, the white-haired retiree maps out his drinking destinations. After a morning workout, he folds "Jimmy's Best Irish Pub Guide" into his pocket and goes on his way.
He follows a few rules: Always travel by subway or bus; drink only at a bar, and limit yourself to one drink at each place.
Since it's a holiday, I want to get away from the death and destruction for a little while.
When my friends graduated from college we drank in 15 bars in eight hours. I was hammered at the end of it.
I want to get this out of the way to not profane Memorial Day. I don't want to think about these people on a day we should remember 1,649 Americans who died in the service of their country
Recently, there have been calls for supporters of our folly in Iraq to enlist. Their usual reaction is to act as if we were expecting a heart-lung donation. Cries of "why didn't you enlist to support Kosovo" and other pathetic nonsense usually follows to justify their rank cowardice.
The sad part is that these people understand the military about as much as they understand cricket. They read some hack like Max Boot or some minor historian like Victor Davis Hanson and take them seriously. They like the war porn, but can't go beyond that.
They think just because they hear it on the news, it should be true. There are 40K Iraqi troops going to close off Baghdad. Really? Ever look at a map of the city? It has seven million people at least.
One of the things which distrubs me the most about the chickenhawks is their casual use of terms like Islamofascist. A word which has no meaning. All it does is reek of trying to make this into WWII redux and it isn't. This is a political battle with some military aspects. The idea that we're stopping terrorism in Iraq is insane. We're just training new terrorists to be more effective.
But what is most draining, and discouraging is the lack of value they place on other people's lives. Iraqis, Americans. They think cruelty is a mark of manhood instead of revealing their weakness and timidity. They think releasing pictures of the dead and naming those who have made the supreme sacrifice for their country is some how wrong.
What is wrong is their cowardice, their craven embrace of violence for other people, and their unAmerican idolitization of empire. Their distorted, corrupt vision of America, one which is neither responsible nor just is a blight on all of us. When you hear a fat piece of shit like Limbaugh, or a snake oil salesman like Savage minimizing torture, their cowardly souls are exposed to the world. The problem is that there are many, many people who think this is tough talk. They think this helps matters.
Which is why I have such disdain for draft dodging hippies. I'm not talking about the true war resisters who risked jail or the vets who protested the war or even the people who fled to Canada. I'm talking about the bandwagon hippies, people who went with the crowd, with no convictions of their own. So when being a hippie was played out, they became businessmen and sneered at the vets. They never took account of their own actions and how they affected others. When they put the vets at the back of the line, they acted as if they deserved that.
I remember the time in 1981 when the hostages from Iran got a ticker tape parade. That started the Vietnam Vet movement. They were pissed that hostages got a parade and they didn't. So they held one themselves. My bet is when this is all said and done, Iraq vets will do the same and all the people who said they supported them will bitch about the traffic jam and closed streets. After all, all they can do is think of themselves anyway.
But they will be nowhere to be found when that headless body is discovered on a Baghdad street and they won't be at the funeral. They won't be saying "I'm sorry my words got your son tortured to death and decapitated." Nope, they won't be around to see the consequences of their words.
As for the warbloggers waiting for a draft: cowards, the lot of you.
Unless you're disabled, you have no fucking right encouraging others to die in your stead. If you weren't cowards, you'd be in the military, not whining about Kosovo or some other bullshit. The Army's recruiting isn't getting any better, and they need YOU. Not the kid from Wal Mart, not the ROTC grad. They need war supporters to take this seriously and walk away from their lives to serve their country directly.
But that won't happen. Because they are cowards. They hide behind the bravery of others and use it as a shield to deflect criticism. "Why if you attack my views, you don't support the soldiers."
My reply to that is "fuck you, gutless bitch." I've never heard a soldier run behind civilians to defend the war, so why are you hiding behind them.
I wonder how many warbloggers have given a dime to ANY charity related to the Armed Forces, or sent a package overseas. I bet none, because, like bareback riding champion Andrew Sullivan, "they're his servants". They're not people, with families, but servants and for some of the warbloggers, sprites. Not even real.
I was watching the Discovery Times channel last night and they had a documentary on Special Ops. One of the SEALS said "you know, you have to give 100 percent to the teams and to be a father, you have to give 100 percent. And you see how those numbers add up." Then, he said "that's why there's a 75 percent divorce rate in the SEALS. You're supposed to be home for a month, and that turns into a week, and then you're home for a week and it turns into two days and you have to go when you get that call. A lot of the wives can't put up with someone who's never home."
Now, to a warblogger, this means nothing. Nothing at all. Because they're supermen.
To a normal person it means that these guys sacrifice their families for their job, and if they want to save their families, they will leave their job.
These people are so cowardly, so craven, they fear remembering the dead will end their fantasies of world power, as well it should.
I remember when they dedicated the WWII Memorial on the Washington Mall. One of the things which struck me was the number of 80 year old men in tears. People we all consider heroes. But to them, the memories of their youth held great pain, the loss of their friends and family in violent ways in far away places. They served their country at great risk, and survived. But the pain they felt never ended, even at the end of their lives.
When these chairborne cowards prattle on about strength and toughness, concepts they are truly unfamiliar with, I like to remember these old men. They have shown that throughout their lives. Too bad such character is left to books and movies these days. It certainly doesn't exist among the chickenhawks.
A U.S. Faith Initiative for Africa Secretary of State Rice and black pastors discuss a joint effort to fight AIDS. By Peter Wallsten and Tom Hamburger Times Staff Writers
May 29, 2005
WASHINGTON — Escalating its courtship of a politically powerful constituency, the Bush administration is teaming up with some of the nation's best-known and most influential black clergy to craft a new role for U.S. churches in Africa.
The effort was launched last week, when more than two dozen leading African American religious figures met privately with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and senior White House officials at the State Department, according to administration officials and meeting participants.
The hourlong session focused largely on how the administration's faith-based initiative could be expanded to combat the spread of HIV and provide help for tens of millions of children orphaned by the epidemic across Africa.
Some of the pastors said it was a matter of national security — that those orphans were susceptible to recruitment by Islamic extremists unless they could be exposed to churches such as theirs.
The gathering yielded no formal financial commitment from the federal government for the Africa effort. But participants said it marked a new era of engagement by black clergy with U.S. foreign policy.
The Rev. O'Neal Dozier, pastor of the Worldwide Christian Center in Pompano Beach, Fla., and a longtime Republican, said Rice's decision to huddle with the pastors gave them a "mandate" to craft Africa policy. He said the group had laid plans to meet again soon with State Department officials.
A senior aide to Rice, James Wilkinson, said the meeting reflected her belief that more African American organizations "need to get involved in the president's Africa agenda." Administration officials described it as a natural step in an Africa policy that has gained heightened priority under Bush in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and in the face of the growing AIDS epidemic.
If it goes forward, the collaboration could result in a substantial expansion of black church participation in the faith-based initiative, from a largely domestic focus to a broader overseas portfolio that pastors believe could make hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars available for the churches to combat AIDS and related social ills internationally.
The meeting was dominated, however, by evangelical pastors — many of them, like Bishops T.D. Jakes of Dallas and Charles E. Blake of Los Angeles, known to national television audiences.
White House strategists view black ministers as a path into a voter bloc that has traditionally been Democratic but is conservative on social issues such as abortion, school vouchers and same-sex marriage.
A relatively small group of sympathetic pastors has enjoyed extraordinary access to Bush and his top aides. Now, as the GOP outreach grows wider and more aggressive, some Democrats accuse the White House of expanding the promise of government grants to woo political support.
"I am concerned that this may be another enticement offered by the administration to African American clergy along the lines of the faith-based initiative," said Rep. Major R. Owens (D-N.Y.), a member of the Congressional Black Caucus.
Sending U.S. grants to well-established faith-based groups in Africa such as Catholic Relief Services is nothing new. But a former diplomat who handled Africa policy under President Clinton expressed concern about an initiative that might favor denominations that were politically friendly to the administration.
Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman maintains a heavy schedule of meetings with black religious and political leaders and travels nearly every week to speak at historically black colleges. In addition, African American pastors are being courted by white evangelical church leaders, including the Rev. Louis P. Sheldon of the Traditional Values Coalition and James Dobson of Focus on the Family, who seek — and find — allies for their opposition to gay marriage and abortion rights.
In the first years of the Bush administration, many Democratic strategists dismissed the Republican outreach to blacks as pandering. But they no longer wave off its potential.
Some analysts maintain that the GOP's success in boosting the black vote for Bush in Ohio last year from 9% to 16% — an increase attributed to outreach to black pastors — secured the president's reelection. To fight back, the Democrats and their allies have launched an array of countermeasures, including last week's conference with ministers and the Congressional Black Caucus.
"We did not want these ministers to be in a position where they come to Washington, meet with the White House and just pass the black caucus," said Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.), who is heading the group's outreach to pastors.
Cummings said the caucus was establishing regional forums, which would begin this summer, to educate clergy on national issues.
This month, a separate organization of black ministers backed by the liberal group People for the American Way met to mobilize black church opposition to President Bush's judicial nominees.
The group met May 6 at the Washington Hilton hotel to hear Democratic leaders, members of the Congressional Black Caucus staff and the National Assn. for the Advancement of Colored People blast Bush administration policies.
The leader of the black ministers' group, the Rev. Timothy McDonald III of Atlanta, said the effort was necessary to build a "countervailing force" against efforts by the GOP and their allies to woo black church leaders.
"We're losing ministers every week," McDonald said.
Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada has hired three new staffers to reach out to faith-based groups, including African American constituencies.
All this is about money. These corrupt motherfuckers are looking for a handout. That's it. They don't give a shit about AIDS at home, with their relentless homophobia, now they give a shit about Africa. Give me a fucking break.
The day will come when these sellouts face the wrath of their congregations for their naked greed. Or when they ask the GOP for something they will never get, like voting rights for ex-cons.
The Bush adminsitration is getting their parishoners children killed in Iraq and all they care about is having their TV megachurch. Well, the same racists who were pro segregation are now anti-gay and if they want to jump on that bandwagon, when they get treated like all blacks get treated by the GOP, with contempt and disdain, well, they were warned. The GOP has acted as if blacks were their mortal enemies and these money blinded fucks now want to cash in to get another custom suit and fancy cars. Living off the collection plate isn't enough for them. Now they have to sell their soul to the GOP as well.
May 28, 2005 -- The 18-year-old son of one of the city's most high-powered commercial real-estate brokers was charged in Manhattan yesterday with running a lucrative bogus-driver's-license ring — out of his father's Murray Hill three-bedroom. ........................ "Someone should teach him a lesson," he snarled into the phone at lunchtime, as he noted his son would have to spend "five, six more hours" in custody before bail could be posted.
The father politely declined to talk to reporters, then turned angrily to his son's defense lawyer, Theodore Goldbergh.
"Do they really have to print something about this?" he complained. When the lawyer shrugged, Mendelson railed, "I'm going to call Mort Zuckerman's office!" and started dialing away.
Mendelson is the retail-leasing agent for a number of properties owned by Mort Zuckerman, the chairman and publisher of the Daily News.
Manhattan prosecutors say Matthew and four of his buddies charged $150 to $200 a pop for fake New York state driver's licenses — and made additional money selling the computer programs needed to create the forgeries for $6,000.
................. Matthew personally sold four licenses to an undercover cop May 21 — collecting $600, Rosen said.
Matthew completed the sale despite being told by the undercover that the licenses were for illegal aliens, the prosecutor said.
Fuck this little asshole and his father. He's lucky he's not in federal court facing Patriot Act charges. I know these little shits wanted to go drinking on the Upper East Side like all their Prep School buddies, but when he was asked to sell to illegal aliens, he just took the money like a low-rent skell.
This kid needed $600 like I need to gain weight.
Conscienceless little fuck.
Why am I pissed? Remember our friend Mohammad Atta? Well, he had nice fake papers. So do a bunch of criminals from tree-jumping rapists to AQ members. And it's greedy bastards like young Matthew Mendelson who are selling them the papers.
And what does daddy do? He runs to call his buddy Mort Zuckerman to keep his skell son's name out of the papers. Not even caring that his son is a greedy little fuck who would allegedly do anything for a fast buck. After all, this might hurt his Ivy admission chances. I mean, the world would be a poorer place with out Matthew getting an Ivy degree. We can't be deprived of his intellect.
I'm sure daddy's high powered lawyer and high powered friends will find a way to make this all disappear, while a working class kid would be facing real time for this.
My bar owning friends see these fakes all the time. Most don't get through. So it's pretty much a waste of cash. I mean, he doesn't need a fake driver's licence for a job washing dishes or anything like that. He just wanted to show off. I hope that impresses the judge.
I'm no fan of the Patriot Act, but it would cause me no loss of sleep if this wound up in the US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York. After all, 9/11 changed everything.
Indonesia's President Megawati Sukarnoputri, faced with rising heroin, methamphetamine, and ecstasy use, as well as rapidly increasing rates of HIV/AIDS infection among the island nation's 230 million inhabitants, has tightened her embrace of a repressive drug war approach to drug policy. In a blistering speech at a national seminar on drugs at the State Palace in Jakarta on October 29, Megawati scolded the country's drug war coordinating agency, the BKNN, for its failure to stop illicit drug use, demanded harsher sentences for drug offenders, recommended the death penalty for some, and suggested the Indonesian military, best known for its brutal efforts to suppress separatist populations in places like East Timor and Aceh province, could be asked to lend a hand against the new foe.
...................... Some anti-drug activists are also pushing to amend the country's 1997 laws No. 5/1997 banning psychotropic drugs, such as ecstasy and speed, and No. 22/1997, banning narcotics. Henry Yosodiningrat, chairman of the anti-drug foundation Granat, told the Jakarta Post that a committee reviewing those laws would call for the introduction of mandatory minimum sentences.
Indonesian drug laws provide for sentences of up 20 years for marijuana offenses and for the death penalty in narcotics trafficking or conspiracy cases. But according to local press accounts, most simple ecstasy, methamphetamine, or heroin possession cases result in prison terms ranging from one to five years. According to Agence France Press, last year five men had been sentenced to death for drug crimes, but none had been executed. Earlier this year, a 27-year-old Frenchman received a life sentence for smuggling 3.85 kilos of hashish into the country.
There are real social pressures in Indonesia to demand tough drug laws. One of which is staring our Australian friends in the face. Bashir the Bali bomber got two years because if he served more, it may lead to social upheaval. One of the best tools fundamentalists have to use is drug abuse. They point to that as a reason to make jihad. The Indonesians seem eager to import failed American policies as a last resort to deal with their drug problem.
Now that Frenchman smuggled in less dope than Corby is accused of doing, and got life. But Corby got the miminum 20 years for marijuana possession, when she could have been sentenced to death for smuggling. What the Australians are forgetting in their screetching but the Indonesians certainly aren't, is that they have a serious drug problem which hasn't been worthy of attention in the West. The fate of Orangutangs has gotten more air time. Now, it's the same kind of "how dare you treat us like your own people" argument heard when Westerners face Third World justice. And while it may impress Australians, it doesn't make much of an impression in Indonesia, and instead, may ensure her a lengthy jail sentence.
Since someone sent me to Wikipedia , let's quote from it:
Schapelle Corby said that the customs officer pointed at her bag and asked her brother if the bag belonged to him. Corby replied that it was hers. She opened her bag without being asked by the customs officer.
The customs officer, Gusti Nyoman Winata, gave a different version of the event. He said that he asked Corby to open her bag and she opened up an empty compartment of the bag. When he demanded a different compartment of the bag to be opened, she tried to prevent him from performing his duty. Corby's defence rejects these claims.
According to Professor Tim Lindsey, Director of the University of Melbourne's Asian Law Centre, the prosecution had a prima facie case against Corby, established merely by her possession of the narcotics, regardless of her knowledge. In a lecture given at Melbourne University (http://harangue.lecture.unimelb.edu.au/ilectures/ilectures.lasso?ut=707&id=19721), he said "Suffice to say that being caught with drugs on you, whether strapped to you or in a bag that is your property, is probably going to be sufficient in most instances for the prosecution to establish a prima facie case. The question then arises as to how that prima facie case is answered by a defence team."
The defense wanted to use this as evidence
John Patrick Ford, a remand prisoner in Port Phillip Prison, Australia, has given evidence in Corby's defence. Ford previously worked as a public servant for the (Australian) Child Support Agency (CSA), a department of the Australian Taxation Office, before his conviction.
Ford stated that he overheard a conversation within a prison between two men and alleges one of the men planted the marijuana in Corby's boogie board bag in Brisbane with the intent of having another person remove it in Sydney. Ford went on to state that a simple mixup resulted in the marijuana not being removed and subsequently being transported to Indonesia, all without Corby's knowledge. Once in Indonesia the marijuana was quickly located by Indonesian customs officials.
Ford stated that the drugs were owned by Ron Vigenser, who had been a prisoner at the same jail as Ford (but was recently released) but has refused to name the man who he states planted the drugs for fear that he, and possibly Corby, would be killed if he did so. Vigenser has strenuously denied any connection with the drugs in the Australian media and has reportedly given a statement to the Australian Federal Police.
The AFP commisioner Mick Keelty caused controversy on May 11 when he stated that a key aspect of her defence (that the drugs were planted in her bag by baggage handlers) was not supported by the available intelligence. 
The fact that Corby is young, white, female and attractive has led to allegations that she is receiving sympathy and support from the media, government and public that is not afforded to other Australians imprisoned around the world. There are also allegations that the attention and sympathy especially from the Australian public and media may be related to xenophobic sentiment and a unfair mistrust of Asian legal systems. Specifically there is a perception among some legal experts that some of the negative perceptions of the case may be due to a misconception of the inquisitorial system used in Indonesia which originated from the Dutch colonial system, as opposed to the adversarial system used in Australia especially related to the incorrect perception that Corby was not persumed innocent  (http://www.abc.net.au/worldtoday/content/2005/s1350655.htm). There are also allegations of an strong bias by the Australia media who frequently mention the specifics of the Corby defence but fail to mention important aspects of the prosecution case such as the allegation she initially claimed the drugs were hers.
This level of interest, however, can also be partly explained by what was often considered to be a weak prosecution case against Corby and that perceived inefficiences in the handling of evidence - in particular the inability to test for fingerprints on the bag containing the marijuana - were evidence of systemic failures of the Indonesian legal system and that a fair trial had not been afforded to Corby.
However there is also the dissenting opinion that although there may have been some shortcomings in the prosecution case, this does not overide what they consider to be an overwhelming strong prosecution case combined with a weak defence relying primarily on hearsay and non specific evidence 
The problem with Corby's case is that she has no real defense. Jailhouse conspiracies of hearsay, claims of crooked baggage smugglers. None of this would be allowed in a US court as a defense. It would be tossed. Sure, the forensics might be better, but the fact is that she held the dope in her possession when questioned by customs. How it got there is not the prosecution's concern. She has to have a reasonable defense for the drugs in her possession at the time of her arrest. And Ford's refusal to name the guilty party for fear of death is ludicrous. If he had the evidence, he'd be placed in witness protection, and given Corby's new fame, it is unlikely anyone would attempt to kill her.
For all the screaching about how I didn't understand the case, no one actually mentioned her pathetic defense claims. The lawyers here can tell you what would happen to a US defendant with such a case. They would be offered a plea bargain for jailtime. I think if she had landed at LAX with the same story, she would be headed for a few years in jail.
Testing for fingerprints is seriously overrated and would be deemed unnecessary in the US as well. Why? Because she was caught with dope in her property. Property she admitted was hers. The defense might test the bags, but that could hurt, not help her case. Why? Because the issue is now in doubt. Remove the doubt and she's done for. How people thought being caught with dope is a weak prosecution case is beyond me. I was told as a child not to deliver packages for strangers, because I was going to be the one going to jail if it had dope in it.
There is a A$1m offer for any information on her case. So I'm supposed to think drug dealers wouldn't rat each other out with that kind of money on the table? OK.
What I think happened is that she got a case of the stupids and thought she could make a quick buck or was talked into it. Because she was a "good girl" she underestimated the risks. She may have been told customs was lax.
Now, I don't think this is fair. I don't think that she should serve 20 years for being stupid. And as this article points out, only the small fry do time in Indonesia
In 1997 the Indonesian drug laws were revised to include a death penalty. The law has never yet been used on well connected, big time dealers. Rather, unwitting pawns duped into trafficking, those without ‘backing’ from above or money with which to buy their freedom, can receive a death sentence.
Understanding drug problems in Indonesia is complicated by the well-known ‘secret’ that drug dealing is tied to politics and the security forces. Many police and soldiers test positive for drugs in their urine (usually Ecstasy, amphetamines or low grade heroin). High ranking officers have been caught red-handed smoking SS or putauw with noted dealers. I have frequently been offered high quality drugs by court officials and police who admit with no embarrassment that they use and sell confiscated drugs. This ‘official’ involvement reaches right into the Suharto family palace. The former president’s grandson, Ari, and his wife, Maya, have been accused of trafficking and of using ecstasy and SS. Assorted generals and other leaders are widely recognised as providing ‘backing’ for drug traffickers and distributors. It is no surprise that major dealers rarely get more than one year in prison — if any time at all.
With official channels weak and ineffective, the Indonesian masses take the street battle against drugs into their own hands. After all, it’s their own children and safety at stake. Beginning in 1999, the public learned that drug addiction did not just happen to rich kids. Once reports hit the press that elementary school children were being lured to take ‘courage-building pills’ and that sentences for convicted dealers were so light, a major backlash began. In 2000, the Minister for Youth and Sport said that drug users may be dealt with through street justice, thus giving official sanction to actions outside of the law. By 2001, at crossroads and entrances to all communities, residents hung banners with slogans such as ‘Destroy drug users and dealers’, ‘Drugs: Indonesia’s number one enemy’, ‘Drug-Free Community’, and ‘Death to all Drug Users and Dealers’. In 2002, a crowd of 2,000 Jakartans took an oath ‘to wage war against the distribution and abuse of drugs’.
I think two things: one, Corby is more likely a stupid woman who got greedy and is being punished vastly out of proportion for the crime she has been convicted of.
Two: I think the Australian campaign for her release has done more harm than good. She was caught with dope in her property. People go to jail for that. Australians are screaming about how unfair her trial was, and it may well not have been fair, but to be honest, a US trial would have ended the same way, with a conviction. Without a way to reasonably blame someone for the drugs in property she owned, I can't see how she walks away in the US, forget Indonesia. Conspiracies without facts is not a reasonable explaination. The case is simple: a woman is stopped with drugs on her property. Her defense is that they were planted. Yet, the defense offers no firm evidence of this conspiracy, despite a national upheaval and $1m on the table.
But in all the uproar, no one explained to the Australians how tricky a political issue drugs are in Indonesia. Indonesia is racked with a drug crisis it cannot solve and is emulating the worst of the US policies. There is evidence of widespread corruption, yet a need for the government to be doing something. So they can make Schapelle Corby a big, fat example. They have all the drug dealers they need. They don't need young Westerners on the make to cut into their business and spread drugs even more.
No one ever commits a crime thinking they will be caught and punished. But what exactly does the Australian public want? A lower sentence? Outright release?
What is the Indonesian government, as corrupt as it is, supposed to do when someone is caught smuggling red handed and then offers hearsay evidence as a defense. Even the Australian police cannot tie the drug ring to Corby's property and they clearly had every incentive to do so.
Make no mistake, I think 20 years is horrible for such a silly, ill-thought out mistake. Two would be fine. But her defense isn't credible. She has no proof her story is anything more than just that. In that case, what is the Indonesian government supposed to do? Take her word for it?
Oh yeah, here are the other Australians awaiting trial and disposition of sentence:
* Andrew Chan, arrested April 17, 2005 and awaiting trial * Si Yi Chen, arrested April 17, 2005 and awaiting trial * Schapelle Corby - sentenced on May 27 2005 to 20 years imprisonment for drug trafficking of 4.1kg of cannabis * Chris Currell, 37 on March 21 2005 sentenced to 6 months imprisonment for planning to export 70,000+ pseudo-ephedrine pills to Australia * Michael Czugaj, arrested April 17, 2005 and awaiting trial * Tach Duc, arrested April 17, 2005 and awaiting trial * Massimo Mancini, arrested December 2004 for possession of 1g heroin * Thanh Nguyen, arrested April 17, 2005 and awaiting trial * Matthew Norman, arrested April 17, 2005 and awaiting trial * Chris Packer, arrested for failing to declare firearms, released * Scott Rush, arrested April 17, 2005 and awaiting trial * Andrew Say, arrested, for possession of 60g of marijuana * Martin Stephens, arrested April 17, 2005 and awaiting trial * Myuran Sukumaran, arrested April 17, 2005 and awaiting trial * Chris Wardill, 27, arrested December 2004 for possession of four ecstasy pills