Singing the Bite Me Song

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June 29, 2003

Unspeakable Political Corruption of Democracy

Unspeakable Political Corruption of Democracy

The most amazing part if it, if this is true, is the clearly unvarnished interest in subverting any semblance of democracy in exchange for what some undoubtably presume is permanent political power. As in, the kind that corrupts absolutely. Lest anyone think the Republicans have even the slightest interest in maintaining the heritage of the US Constitution and the intentions of the founders. Welcome to the Age of US Empire. Say goodbye to the Roman Republic.


K street antics. Welcome to the Machine This article in the Washington Monthly describes a long term project of the Republican party to change the largely bipartisan nature of K street lobbying firms and install Republican thought leaders. In return for political benefits to the lobbyists clients, the lobbyists and their clients are expected to play nice with the Republicans on other issues. K Street has been a moderating influence against drastic change, as some constituent always objects. Under this new right-wing symbiotic relationship, individual interests are somewhat subordinated to the right-wing agenda. One of the more fascinating aspects is how it dramatically improves Republican fundraising; for instance:

"For years, conservatives have been pushing to divert part of Social Security into private investment accounts. Such a move, GOP operatives argued, would provide millions of new customers and potentially trillions of dollars to the mutual fund industry that would manage the private accounts. The profits earned would, of course, be shared with the GOP in the form of campaign contributions. In other words, by sluicing the funds collected by the federal government's largest social insurance program through businesses loyal to the GOP, the party would instantly convert the crown jewels of Democratic governance into a pillar of the new Republican machine. "

Of course the whole premise of this system rests upon continued Republican control. If the Democrats can wrest back control of the House and Senate, or install another strong president some of these lobbyists and their constituents will likely find themselves closed out of the process. Oh what a lovely way to govern. (via The Filibuster) [MetaFilter]

June 29, 2003 at 03:27 PM in Democracy, Favorite Links, Media & Journalism, News to Note, Singing the Bite Me Song | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Take this link: still shots of Bush on 9/11, or the 5 minute video

"The Memory Hole > 5-Minute Video of George W. Bush on the Morning of 9/11" [Daypop Top 40]

At 9:03 AM on 11 September 2001, the second airplane hit the South Tower of the World Trade Center. President Bush was in Florida, at the Emma T. Booker Elementary School, listening to children read. Chief of Staff Andrew Card came over and whispered in Bush's ear, "A second plane hit the second tower. America is under attack."

What did the Commander in Chief do? Nothing. He sat there. He sat for well over 5 minutes, doing nothing while 3,000 people were dying and the attacks were still in progress.

Not only did the leader of the free world sit as his country was attacked, the Secret Service also did nothing. Bush was appearing in public at a previously announced photo-op. He was a sitting duck. The attacks were ongoing at that point (planes had yet to hit the Pentagon or the field in Pennsylvania), and nobody knew how much more destruction was going to happen. Were there two, three, four, eight more planes hijacked and on their way to crash into prominent buildings? Was one headed for the school, where anyone who checked the President's public itinerary would know he was located? Were other terrorists planning to detonate dirty nukes? Were they going to release anthrax or smallpox or sarin? Was an assassination squad going to burst into the school and get Bush? Was a suicide bomber going to ram a truck full of explosives into that classroom?

During the midst of the attacks, any of these things could've happened. Yet there sits Bush, seemingly unconcerned. His Chief of Staff likewise doesn't think that America in flames warrants the President's immediate attention. And the Secret Service utterly fails to do its job by grabbing the President of the United States and getting him to safety. It's truly inexplicable.

And it's something the administration isn't too eager to trumpet. They haven't released footage of the President's (non)actions during this historic moment of American history. Until now, the only available footage had been a little film put together by Booker Elementary. [See it here.] The problem is, there's a jump edit in the footage: From the time Card whispers to Bush until the end of the scene in the classroom, only 2 minutes and 10 seconds elapse.

But this new, fuller footage shows Bush sitting for a full five minutes after he'd been told that "America is under attack."

He declined to take action even longer than this, but unfortunately this footage ends before he leaves the classroom. Thanks to an amazing article by Allan Wood and Paul Thompson, we know what happened after the footage suddenly cuts off:

The only source to describe what happened next is Fighting Back by Bill Sammon. Publishers Weekly described Sammon's book as an "inside account of the Bush administration's reaction to 9-11 [and] a breathless, highly complimentary portrait of the president [showing] the great merit and unwavering moral vision of his inner circle." [Publisher's Weekly, 10/15/02] Sammon's conservative perspective makes his account of Bush's behavior at the end of the photo-op all the more surprising. Bush is described as smiling and chatting with the children "as if he didn't have a care in the world" and "in the most relaxed manner imaginable." White House aide Gordon Johndroe, then came in as he usually does at the end of press conferences, and said, "Thank you, press. If you could step out the door we came in, please." A reporter then asked, "Mr. President, are you aware of the reports of the plane crash in New York? Is there anything...", But Bush interrupted, and no doubt recalling his order, "DON'T SAY ANYTHING YET," Bush responded, "I'll talk about it later." But still the president did not leave. "He stepped forward and shook hands with [classroom teacher] Daniels, slipping his left hand behind her in another photo-op pose. He was taking his good old time. ... Bush lingered until the press was gone." [Fighting Back: The War on Terrorism - From Inside the Bush White House, by Bill Sammon, 10/02, p. 90]

For a detailed portrait of what Bush did and didn't do on 9/11, you can do no better than to read this article here. It is based completely on reports from mainstream media and statements from government officials.

Apologists claim that Bush didn't leave simply because he didn't want to interrupt and upset the children, but this falls apart for several reasons:

1) America is being attacked, thousands are dying, and Bush doesn't know if we're facing nuclear, biological, or chemical attacks, as well. Couldn't he just say, "Excuse me, kids, I need to take care of something. It's part of being President, y'understand. I'll be back as soon as I can."

2) At the moment Card told Bush about the second plane, the children weren't reading to Bush. They had finished reading words from an easel and were reaching under their chairs for a book when Card whispered to Bush. Another 30 seconds would elapse before they started reading again. This pause was a perfect time for Bush to politely excuse himself.

3) By staying, he not only endangered his own life, but the lives of all of those children. Wouldn't it be better to risk upsetting them than to risk letting them die in a terror attack?

4) Even if Bush was afraid of hurting the kiddies' feelings, what about the Secret Service? Have they been trained not to attempt to save the President's life if it might bother some schoolchildren?

5) What about Chief of Staff Andrew Card, White House Spokesperson Ari Fleischer, and other officials who were in that classroom? Didn't they feel that a 21st-century Pearl Harbor and a potential attack on the President himself were worth some sort of action?

6) Finally, and most damningly, this excuse doesn't explain why Bush continued to mill around the classroom for several minutes after the children had finished reading.

Somewhere, someone has the complete, uncut footage of Bush in Booker Elementary, from the time he enters the classroom until he finally walks out. If you have this footage, please send it to me.

This video was obtained from The Education Channel in Sarasota, Florida. You can get a copy by sending $35 to:

Ms. Leanne McIntire
The Education Channel
3301 Proctor Road
Sarasota FL 34231

Ask for the raw footage of President Bush at Booker Elementary on the morning of 11 Sept 2001. Specify whether you want VHS or Super VHS. (The latter is broadcast quality but doesn't play on regular VCRs.)

June 29, 2003 at 03:23 PM in War/Terrorism | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

All these incentives to fly the friendly skies...

All these incentives to fly the friendly skies...

Makes you wonder why the government can spend billions to bail out the airline industry, but can't even gasp any kind of a commitment to Amtrak. A common carrier is a common carrier, if you ask me.

But no, we pay to bail out these monopolistic fuckwads, we bend over for those searches to fly, we are soon to get X-ray scanned so all the screeners will soon be able to see us naked, we leave our bags unlocked so the unscreened and no-criminal-history-check brand new federal screeners can find some new stuff to fence, and on top of that, TIA and John Poindexter will keep a database of our every movement on this planet.

Hey, I ain't getting on an airplane for nobody. I can be fucked over just fine in the safety of my own home.


Airport feds rip off travellers. The Transport Security Agency requires all fliers to travel with their luggage unlocked, so that highly trustworthy federal employees can rummage through them and ensure that they are WMD-free. And steal things. TSA employees are ripping off choice items ($1,000 binox and such) from the mandatorily-unlocked bags of America's travellers. I feel safer already.

LinkDiscuss [Boing Boing Blog]

June 29, 2003 at 03:18 PM in Privacy & Free Speech | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 24, 2003

Shifted Librarian compiles a bit on classroom blogs

Shifted Librarian compiles a bit on classroom blogs

Real Life Implementation of Weblogs in the Classroom.

A Place to Be Heard

"Anne Davis remembers how she reacted the first time she saw a weblog being used in the classroom. 'I thought, 'This is all about possibilities,' she recalls. 'It's about listening, talking, collaborating, having a dialog. And it can work for any subject....'

Working with the group for two hours every Thursday, Davis set out to make writing more enjoyable. She offered ideas for different ways to open stories and introduced activities such as news writing. 'I wanted to get them thinking about what writing could be.' She also set up a weblog for each student. That allowed for instant publishing and created a space where classmates could read and comment on each other's work.

Students' attitudes began to change. 'They saw weblogs as a place where they could have an audience. They knew that writing mattered,' Davis says. A student named Emily said 'this was something you could do as a child, without having to wait' to finish growing up....

Around the same time, Davis received an intriguing email from a high school teacher she knew. They share membership in an online network (Educational Bloggers Network at*). Will Richardson, who teaches journalism in Flemington, New Jersey, suggested that the two classes collaborate, with the older students acting as mentors to the younger writers. The teachers set up a joint Web site for their project ('The Georgia-NJ Connection' at*)....

The teacher relayed her students' anxieties to Richardson. He brainstormed with his high school students about how they might put the younger writers at ease. 'They handled that with class,' Davis says. The older students went online to offer reassurance, encouragement, and instruction....

That reassurance was all they needed to take off. The younger writers became enthusiastic webloggers, eager to publish their work and read the responses from their New Jersey mentors. 'This is what education is all about,' Davis says. 'My students are all reading, writing, listening, thinking, reacting.' The weblog has become 'a place to share ideas. We shape it as we go. It's all about listening to students' voices.' Davis knows the project has been successful when she walks into class and hears students clamoring for her to read their work. 'Isn't that great?...'

Parents have shown an interest in the project, as well. By reading their child's weblog, Davis points out, 'parents gain a window into their student's educational journey. Where else can they get that?'

Near the end of the project, Davis decided to share her thoughts about the successful experiment on her personal weblog (*)." [An Innovation Odyssey, via weblogged News]

[The Shifted Librarian]

June 24, 2003 at 03:10 AM in Interactivity | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Blogs, how do we count thee?

Blogs, how do we count thee?
Blogging Blog Stats.

"Dave Sifry says Technorati's now keeping tabs on more than 400,000 blogs: 'We hit 100,000 back on March 5, and 200,000 on April 6.'

Andrew Acker on that news: 'At this rate, there will be more than 6 million blogs by the end of the year.'

Phil Wolff: 'I expect Technorati's growth to accelerate until the blogosphere is mostly mapped; then we'll see periodic bursts as new clusters are discovered or services come online.' [Corante on Blogging]

Reputation in NewsMonster and Blogs

"What are blogrolls but recommendation/reputation instruments and social network nodes? Kevin Burton implements an algorithm for exploring blog networks and finding blogs that one might want to read." [Smart Mobs]

Some other key sites for counting and tracking blogs: BlogCount, BlogStats, Blogger Recently Updated Blogs, and a bunch of links and stats about blogging. [First two courtesy of Library Stuff]

We're going to see some really interesting things come out of all of this during the next year or so. Makes me wish for librarian pagerank even more.

[The Shifted Librarian]

June 24, 2003 at 03:00 AM in Interactivity | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 19, 2003

Too bad the US House will kill this bill

A pity, but I think the House of Representatives is more coopted by money pressures and lobbyists than the millionaire Senate. Thanks to Michael Powell and the FCC, we will find ourselves living under corporate PRAVDA.


Senate Begins Process to Reverse New F.C.C. Rules on Media. A broadly bipartisan group of the Senate Commerce Committee today approved legislation by voice vote to restore the limits on media ownership. By Stephen Labaton. [New York Times: NYT HomePage]

June 19, 2003 at 03:18 AM in Democracy | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 15, 2003

Next step, US military press censorship and reprisals

I'm hearing it's already in the works, cuz the new "free" press isn't reporting what the US govt wants it to. There also seems to be a "problem" with Shiite imams speaking too freely, not saying stuff the US likes...


You report, we kill you. Turning the tanks on the reporters The Observer's Phillip Knightley writes that Iraq will go down as the war when journalists seemed to become a target. Predicted here, discussed "in progress" here. The BBC, Al-Jazeera, and the US Committee to Protect Journalists thought it prudent to find out from the Pentagon what steps they could take to protect their correspondents if war came to Iraq... All three organisations concluded that the Pentagon was determined to deter western correspondents from reporting any war from the 'enemy' side; would view such journalism in Iraq as activity of 'military significance', and might well bomb the area. [MetaFilter]

June 15, 2003 at 03:23 AM in Media & Journalism | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack