May 6, 2006

Where Are All the Leaders of Faith?
by Helen Thomas  

Where are the activist priests and ministers who took strong stands during the Vietnam War and hit the streets with their protests?

Three years into the war against Iraq, the silence of the clergy is deafening, despite U.S. abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib and a reported American policy of shipping detainees to secret prisons abroad where, presumably, they can be tortured.

There are U.S. chaplains of many faiths serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, ministering to the men and women in uniform and reaching out to local religious leaders in both countries.

But here at home, the clergy seems to be in the same boat as the news media and most members of Congress: they are victims of the post-Sept. 11 syndrome that equates any criticism of U.S. policy with lack of patriotism. more...


Quit Using Our Name, West Point Warns Grad
Former cadets against Iraq war use alma mater to describe group.
by Mike McAndrew  

There's a West Point Barber Shop, West Point Pizza and West Point Florist.

But the U.S. Military Academy at West Point is warning a Manlius man that his new organization West Point Graduates Against the Warbetter stop using the words "West Point" in its name.

Bill Cross, a West Point graduate and Vietnam War veteran, said he's become accustomed to some military officials criticizing him for protesting both U.S. wars on Iraq.

But Cross never expected the government to threaten to use trademark laws to stifle him, he said.

On April 12, just days after was launched on the Internet, a West Point lawyer mailed Cross' organization a letter alleging it is violating the U.S. Army's trademark. more...

May 5, 2006

"Our Descent Into Hell Has Begun"
Message from a Vet of My Lai Time

A few weeks ago we got a friendly letter from Tony Swindell, a newspaper editor in Sherman, Texas. "Begin paying attention," Swindell urged, ''to stories from Iraq like the very recent one about U.S. Marines killing a group of civilians near Baghdad. This is the next step in the Iraq war as frustration among our soldiers grows -- especially with multiple tours.

''I served with the 11th Light Infantry Brigade, Americal Division, and My Lai was not an isolated incident. We came to be known as the Butcher's Brigade, and we also were the birthplace of the Phoenix Program. The brigade commander and a battalion commander were charged with murdering civilians (shooting them from helicopters, recorded in some of my photos), although both skated. If you recall from his autobiography, Colin Powell served briefly with the 11th in Duc Pho before going to division HQ in Chu Lai.

''The atrocities against Iraqi civilians are slipping under the media radar screen, but they're going to explode in America's face not too long from now and dwarf the Abu Ghraib (sic) incident. That was a fraternity beer bust by comparison. The Ft. Sill episode [described in JoAnn Wypijewski's piece from April, "The Army Slays Its Own."] is another one of the same storm clouds on the horizon. I sincerely fear for our country.''

We asked Swindell to expand these thoughts. Here's his powerful response. AC/JSC more...

May 4, 2006

Subject: So sad  

With all the sadness and trauma going on in the world at the moment, It is worth reflecting on the death of a very important person, which Almost went unnoticed last week.  

Larry LaPrise, the man that wrote "The Hokey Pokey" died peacefully at The age of 93. The most traumatic part for his family was getting him Into the coffin. They put his left leg in. And then the trouble Started.  


Want to be healthier? Move to Britain
Experts suggest health system, exercise could be key

Maybe we should have remained a colony.

Compared with the British, white, middle-aged Americans are substantially less healthy, according to a study published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Pick the disease - diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cancer, lung disease, high blood pressure - and Americans are much more likely to have it than their counterparts on the other side of the pond.

"Americans are much sicker than the English," the study concluded.

Adding insult to injury, Americans pay more than twice as much for their medical care as the Brits, $5,274 a year per person in the U.S. vs. $2,164 in England, the study notes.

Doctors not associated with the study say it is the latest evidence of befuddling health disparities in the U.S. compared with other industrialized countries. It also dispels the often-cited erroneous claim that America has the best health care in the world, doctors said. more...

May 3, 2006

After hearing from a friend who was in New Orleans last week for the Jazz Festival, I once again realized that all is not well in the "Big Easy." Read this article about New Orleans in the San Francisco Bay View for a reality check:
Eight months after Katrina: 'Don't come back to New Orleans unless you intend to join the fight for justice!'
"Chief Steve Glynn, who oversees the New Orleans Fire Department search effort that found the latest two bodies, told CNN: 'You want to put it to rest at some point. You want to feel like it's over, and it's just not yet.'"
In what was billed as "the most important election in the history of New Orleans," only 36 percent of those registered voted in the recent city elections. Turnout was heavy and high in the mostly prosperous and white areas of Uptown where little damage occurred and exceptionally low in the heavily damaged and mostly Black areas of the New Orleans East, Gentilly and the Ninth Ward - where some precincts reported as few as 15 percent voter participation.
National Public Radio reported that the few hospitals in New Orleans are dangerously overburdened, especially emergency rooms. Nationally, it takes an average of 20 minutes to take a patient from an ambulance waiting in front of hospital to emergency room. In the New Orleans area, according to one surgeon at the East Jefferson Hospital, load times are usually two hours, but sometimes more. The longest time he's seen is six hours, 40 minutes, of a patient waiting in ER driveway to receive care. Non-emergency care in New Orleans is also in crisis. more...

May 2, 2006

Colbert Lampoons Bush at White House Correspondents Dinner -- President Not Amused?
By Editor and Publisher Staff

A blistering comedy „tributeš to President Bush by Comedy Central‚s faux talk-show host Stephen Colbert at the White House Correspondent Dinner Saturday night left George and Laura Bush unsmiling at its close.

Earlier, the president had delivered his talk to the 2,700 attendees, including many celebrities and top officials, with the help of a Bush impersonator.

Colbert, who spoke in the guise of his talk-show character, who ostensibly supports the president strongly, urged Bush to ignore his low approval ratings, saying they were based on reality, „and reality has a well-known liberal bias.š more...


Click on White House Correspondents' Dinner link in video/audio section on the C-Span site to see the Correspondents' dinner speeches.

May 1, 2006

Risky business Pasadena Weekly editorial  

Come Monday, a large portion of the state‚s population will be staying home from work and school and refraining from buying things ų despite impassioned pleas to the contrary ų as part of continuing protests over the government‚s failure to fairly regulate immigration.

Likely missing from the landscapes of our normal lives that day ų better known as Labor Day in every other part of the world except the United States and Canada ų will be the folks who keep our lives on track; busing our dishes, washing our cars, cutting our lawns, cleaning our homes and watching our kids.

Coincidentally, Monday is also May Day and International Workers‚ Day, holidays that came to be associated more with Cold War perceptions of the former Soviet Union and the People‚s Republic of China than as a legitimate celebration of workers who fought and sometimes died for better working conditions and standards of living.

In September, America and Canada celebrate their own versions of Labor Day, which these days marks the end of summer and the start of the fall school semester more than anything else. But the truth is, nothing could be more in keeping with the spirit of the American labor movement than the walkout and boycott that is being planned for Monday. more...

April 30, 2006

In an effort to see change in the city of Richmond, California, where I live, I want to go on record supporting Gayle McLaughlin for Mayor. She has been on the City Council since the last election, and has been very active in issues that are important to our community.


Putting a Smiley Face on Disaster
by Matthew Rothschild  

A U.S. military spokesman in Iraq sure picked a weird day to put a smiley face on the situation over there.

„All indications now are that the acts of violenceųethnosectarian violence is decreasing,š said Major General Rick Lynch from Baghdad on Thursday, according to the New York Times.

I‚m not sure what all those indications are that Major General Lynch was referring to.

I doubt he was referring to the fact that on that very day, the sister of Iraq‚s vice president was gunned down in a drive-by killing.

Or the fact that in the previous 10 weeks, casualties have gone up 90 percent.

Or the fact that over the past 12 months, more than 8,100 Iraqis have been killed, according to the AP, and „there are increasing cases of civilians being kidnapped, killed, and dumped in public places.š

Or the fact that in March alone, more than 1,000 Iraqis were killed.

Or the fact that the insurgency shows no sign of abating.

The U.S. Government Accounting Office acknowledged that „in some Sunni areas, support the for the insurgents has increased.š more...

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