Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The consequences of war...

An Iraqi father carries his injured son to a hospital in Baqouba, 60 kilometers (35 miles) northeast of Baghdad, Iraq, on Sunday. An unidentified gunman sprayed bullets from his car in a residential colony in Baqouba and sped away, injuring six. Elsewhere, mortars slammed into a crowded Baghdad neighborhood on Sunday, killing at least nine civilians and injuring 43, police said. (Photo: Mohammed Adan / AP


I have not commented much on the Iraq war on this blog. This is partly because of my own lack of objectivity as a result of strong anti-war feelings.

I continue to believe that the invasion of Iraq was one of the worst foreign policy decisions in the history of the United States. So much suffering for what? Over 100,000 dead. Saddam may have been a bad guy but was he that bad? He was ruthless but at least he provided some kind of stability. Looks like he may be replaced by a 30-year old cleric who wants to kick out the Americans. Bringing our troops home is becoming more complicated every day.

Wolcott has this insightful post on the unfolding debacle. If you want to get a sense of what it is really like in Baghdad right now you might check out this post at Riverbend.


CNN is reporting serious casualties today as Iraq seems to be on the brink of civil war.

Update #2

The Baghdad main morgue is reporting that more than 1300 have been killed in the last few days. This according to a story in the Washington Post.

Monday, February 27, 2006

New Orleans takes time out to celebrate...

Photo:Eliot Kamenitz/Times-Picayune.
The Krewe of Mid-City parade float called 'Signs of the Times' turns onto St. Charles Avenue.

I have some great memories of wild and crazy Mardi Gras celebrations in New Orleans. It was an annual ritual when I worked with the anti-poverty program in Baton Rouge in the late Sixties and early Seventies. News reports suggests this first post-Katrina celebration is a smaller and more dignified affair. In the midst of so much suffering and tragedy people need something to uplift their spirits.

Encouraging news about Jill Carroll...

According to this ABC News story, a top Iraqi official is claiming that Jill Carroll is still alive and will be released. The latest deadline for the kidnapped journalist has passed with no word of her fate.

I thought about Jill as all hell was breaking loose around Iraq this past week. This latest news is encouraging. We feel a special connection with Ms Carroll here in Massachusetts as she is a graduate of our state university at Amherst.

We'll continue to keep her and her family in our thoughts and prayers.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Six months later, recovery in New Orleans is gaining focus...

Photo: Ted Jackson / Times-Picayune
A conflict is emerging between Lakeview neighbors who are rebuilding and those who haven't shown up at all. Reconstruction is clearly a daunting task.


After months of depressing news I was encouraged to read this article in today's Times-Picayune. It seems as if the recovery may finally be reaching a tipping point. The celebration of Mardi Gras this week will be some kind of psychological boost...though some believe the city should not be spending the money.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

On C-Span: "The State of Black America"

Check out C-Span today. They will be broadcasting live the conference on "The State of Black America." This annual gathering brings together some of the most innovative thinkers in the Black community. The event is organized by Tavis Smiley.


I have been watching...outstanding presentations! A major focus on the social issues that came into national focus as a result of Katrina.

Icon of Hurricane Katrina in Lower Ninth Ward is removed...

Photo: Ellis Lucia/Times-Picayune

Inflatable bags were used Thursday to raise a barge that came through the Industrial Canal levee as the Lower Ninth Ward flooded.


The sight of this barge stranded in a Lower Ninth Ward neighborhood is seared in my mind from my visit in late November. This big rusty hulk of steel was sitting on top of a yellow school bus and devastated houses.

As I read of plans to cut up and remove the barge I wondered if anyone had considered leaving this icon of Hurricane Katrina in place.

Friday, February 24, 2006

New Orleans continues to rebuild...

Artist John Paul Marcelo paints a picture of a school bus crushed under a barge in the Lower Ninth Ward in New Orleans, Louisiana.The city continues to rebuild after Hurricane Katrina. (Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)


The national spotlight is again focused on New Orleans with the celebration of Mardi Gras. I'll continue to publish at least one photo each week to help keep this national challenge in the forefront.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Destruction of holiest Shia shrine brings Iraq to brink of civil war...

A large explosion heavily damaged the golden dome of one of Iraq's most famous Shiite religious shrines in Samarra yesterday. (Photo: .Khalid Mohammed / AP


Patrick Cockburn has this article in todays Independent (UK). The situation is getting out of control. With Iraq on the brink of civil war it is going to be more difficult to "redeploy" our troops, as Murtha has suggested.

Remember when Richard Pearle and Bill Krystol used to be on cable television almost every night telling us that this would just take a few months and that we would be greated as liberators? And these guys are still out there promoting their grandiose plans for remaking the Middle East!


Reuters is reporting that forty-seven people were killed in Baghdad in the 24 hours since the bombing of the shrine in Samarra sparked the worst sectarian violence the country has seen since the fall of Saddam Hussein.

Gunmen sprayed a Sunni mosque in the city of Baquba, northeast of the capital, killing one person in the latest of dozens of such incidents that have left religious and political leaders scrambling to halt a descent into all-out civil war.

Three journalists working for Al-Arabiya television were found shot dead after being attacked while filming in Samarra, where the bloodless but highly symbolic bombing of the Golden Mosque at dawn on Wednesday provoked widespread protest.

In the bloodiest apparent reprisal for the attack on one of Shi'ite Islam's holiest site, men in police uniform seized 12 Sunni rebel suspects, including two Egyptians, from a prison in the mainly Shi'ite city of Basra and killed 11 of them.

Update #2

Riverbend, blogging from Baghdad, has written this chilling post.

Changing of the guard at Harvard...

Surrounded by students and journalists, Lawrence H. Summers announced his resignation Tuesday as president of Harvard University. (Photo: Rick Friedman / The New York Times.


One reader had a sarcastic comment about my report on the resignation of Dr. Summers earlier this week. This particular person was pissed-off because I had mis-spelled the name of the Harvard President. My apologies. It was just an innocent mistake!

There are all kinds of theories about why Somers decided he had better take a walk. I don't want to get into any of that shit. I do know from my limited experience as a faculty member at a major university that a university president must have the confidence of faculty if they are to be effective. Somers did not have broad faculty support. And student support counts for nothing!

University administrators like to think that they run the university. Not true. It's the faculty that ultimately calls the shots. That's though to take if you have an ego the size of Dr. Somers.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Boston archbishop is named a cardinal...

Pope Benedict XVI on Wednesday announced in Rome that Boston Archbishop Sean P. O'Malley will be made a cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church in a ceremony at the Vatican late next month.

O'Malley is among 15 new cardinals included in the first set of appointments by Benedict of so- called "princes of the church." The new cardinals -- who will receive the red hats, or birettas, that signal the rank at a consistory in Rome March 24 -- will help oversee the Vatican's bureaucracy through service on oversight committees, and ultimately many of them could have a vote in the selection of Benedict's successor.

O'Malley, 61, has served as archbishop of Boston since July 2003. A Capuchin Franciscan friar, he had previously served as bishop of Palm Beach, Fla.; Fall River, Mass.; and the US Virgin Islands. O'Malley travelled with and visited Pope John Paul II on multiple occasions; he has had a less close relationship with Benedict XVI, but had a private meeting with the new pontiff at the Vatican Oct. 27.

In Boston, O'Malley has had a difficult and contentious tenure. He won widespread praise for settling more than 500 legal claims brought by victims of clergy sexual abuse in late 2003. But his decision to close scores of parishes, citing shortages of priests, money, and worshipers, has been controversial, and six closed parishes have been occupied, in some cases for more than a year, by protesters.

The elevation to cardinal is certain to be viewed by many Catholics as a strong vote of confidence by the Vatican in O'Malley's handling of the clergy sexual abuse crisis and the parish closings. The elevation could also help quiet persistent speculation among local Catholic priests and laypeople that O'Malley intended to leave Boston.

Personally, I've been a bit disappointed by Archbishop O'Malley. The PR under Cardinal Law was a disaster. Unfortunately, the PR continues to be a disaster. Maybe the task he faced was so big that nobody could have come out of it looking good. The sense of betrayal runs very deep among many Catholics.

Anyway, as a not very observant Roman Catholic I congratulate the Archbishop. He will still have some sleepless nights.

Bomb rocks Shiite shrine in Samarra...

One of the most revered shrines in Shiite Islam was bombed early this morning, causing the collapse of its dome, police and eyewitnesses said. There was no immediate estimate of casualties in the latest in a series of sectarian attacks in the country.

The shrine in Samarra, a predominantly Sunni Arab city 60 miles north of Baghdad, contains the remains of two of Shiite Islam's most prominent Imams. The bomb is believed to have been planted a day earlier, said Capt. Basheer Qadoori, of the city's police force.

This article in today's Guardian (UK) provides additional details.

This bombing represents a serious development in sectarian conflict. Iraq may be sinking into a fully fledged civil war. This is the nightmare scenario that many people have feared.

Funeral for fallen hero...

US Army Honor Guard ceremonially carries the coffin containing the body of US Army Cpl. Sergio Antonio Mercedes Saez, who died recently in Iraq, at his funeral in San Pedro de Macoris, east of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, on Monday. Sergio was born in Puerto Rico and grew up in the Dominican Republic. (Photo: Ramon Espinosa / AxP).

I like to publish photos of fallen hero's since the mainstream media has some kind of ban against showing such photos. It is interesting to note that almost 3000 young men and women have been killed in Iraq but we have rarely seen a funeral photo. Maybe this is part of a larger strategy to maintain support for the war.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Breaking news: Harvard President to Resign...

A local radio station in Boston is reporting that Harvard President Laurence H. Somers will resign later this week. This in advance of an expected no confidence vote from the Faculty of Arts and Sciences scheduled for February 28.

Somers has had problems with faculty since he assumed the presidency. And you need to be able to keep the confidence of faculty to be an effective president.


I've just learned that the resignation of Dr. Somers will become effective at the end of this academic year. Derek Bok, a former president, will serve as acting president until the search for a new president is completed.

Iraq War Hero Runs for Congress...

Tammy Duckworth, 37, an Army helicopter pilot who lost both legs in Iraq in 2004, is running for US Congress. Duckworth takes a break from campaigning to adjust one of her prosthetic legs. (Photo: Andrea Bruce / The Washington Post)

Ms. Duckworth is a Democratic candidate for Congress in the Illinois 6th District. She is among a dozen veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan running for federal office this year. You'll find more information on this remarkable woman here.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Celebrating Mardi Gras...

A float of the Knights of Nemesis rolls past the crowd and a pile of debris along West Judge Perez Drive yesterday. This was the krewe's debut parade and the only Mardi Gras parade in St. Bernard this year. (Photo: Rusty Constanza/Times-Picayune).

South Louisiana is celebrating Mardi Gras despite all the devastation from Hurricane Katrina. A controversial decision but hopefully a small step in the right direction.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Supporters of the newly-elected Haitian president, Rene Preval, lift a ballot box with his campaign poster attached at the National Palace in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Haitians celebrated in the street Thursday as word quickly spread that Preval, a former president who is hugely popular among the poor, had been declared the winner of the presidential election overnight. (Photo: Ariana Cubillos / AP).

This story had been pretty much ignored in the mainstream media.

An apology to the shooter. I always knew those Texans can be real gentlemen!

Friday, February 17, 2006

Remembering the victims of the earthquake in Pakistan...

A Chance for New Orleans

New York Times Op Ed

The Bush administration has made a commitment to rebuilding southern Louisiana. Congress must make sure this opportunity is not lost.

On Wednesday, President Bush's Katrina czar, Donald Powell, called for $4.2 billion more to help Louisiana residents save severely damaged homes and, in some cases, rebuild in safer areas. Congress needs to approve this request quickly for New Orleans and the surrounding parishes to have a fighting chance at anything but a patchwork recovery.

Half a year was too long to wait. Speculators have already begun to settle like vultures around the city, offering victims pennies on the dollar for their properties. The desperate often jump at any cash offer, but a clear commitment to rebuilding and a promise of support backed by money will help poor homeowners withstand the plunderers.

There is a misconception that giving money to the city and the state will lead to unwise rebuilding in parts of the city that are less safe. In fact, the opposite is true. Right now, homeowners who are tied to wrecked homes by their mortgages may have no choice but to attempt to rebuild on the same spots or to declare bankruptcy. This money will allow the homeowners to raise and strengthen some houses and will help those in the most dangerous places find safer places to live.

Combined with the earlier $6.2 billion in community development block grants, the money asked for in the current request would give Louisiana enough to begin dealing with 100,000 severely damaged and 67,000 less-damaged homes. State recovery officials say it would also be used to rebuild rental properties for the poorest residents.

As important, the public money will probably draw much more private money back, in a multiplier effect that has thus far been sorely missed. Once displaced residents of southern Louisiana parishes understand that the commitment is there, those with less-damaged homes can return to reclaim their lives with private insurance checks in hand.

This does not mean that the city's and the region's problems have been solved. Mr. Powell is no spendthrift. Grants from the funds will be capped at $150,000, minus any payouts from the Federal Emergency Management Agency or private insurance companies. That will lead to some tough choices for middle-income families with damages above the limit.

And there are still significant concerns about how to save commercial properties, like the mom-and-pop stores vital to the region's return, not to mention the serious infrastructure needs. It is unclear what mechanism local officials will use for buying out homeowners; the administration has rejected a proposal by Representative Richard Baker of Louisiana to create a federal nonprofit group for that purpose.

Most of all, the aid is far from a done deal. Congress has to pass the White House request as part of a larger package of added hurricane relief. That's hardly a given. Congress has yet to put back some of the money it took out of the president's 2005 request for levee protection. But by approving this modest but fair package, Washington could give Louisianans something to celebrate this Mardi Gras.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Deal reached to declare victor in Hait's election...

Today's New York Times has this article on developments in Haiti.

The front-runner in last week's presidential election will be declared the winner as part of an agreement by leaders of Haiti's interim government to retabulate the votes, a high-ranking official of the Organization of American States said Wednesday night.

The agreement, to be announced Thursday, is a result of negotiations by the front-runner, René Préval, government officials, foreign diplomats and international observers, including the Organization of American States. Details were still being worked out, and a United Nations official cautioned that the deal could still fall apart.

Hopefully, the decision to declare Preval the victor will lead to some stabilty in that impoverished country.

"I'm the guy who pulled the trigger that fired the round that hit Harry."


Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Maureen Dowd on Cheney...

For those of you who dont have Times Select you can find Mo Dowd's Op Ed piece on Dick Cheney here. As usual it's a good read.

Chaos in Haiti...

FEMA says it's checkout time for evacuees...

According to today's Times-Picayune, FEMA will immediately stop paying the bill for thousands uprooted by Hurricane Katrina.

For some, loss of aid brings uncertainty. The ranks of the homeless are likely to swell. In the meantime the process of rebuilding New Orleans is moving at a very slow pace.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Cheney shoots 78-year old lawyer in Texas...

Photo shows the Vice President receiving a gift of a rifle from the NRA. Despite his five deferments during the Vietnam War Cheney has a great fondness for firearms.

Ironically, the 78-old lawyer shot by Cheney in Texas on Saturday was a crony of George W. Bush and had a reputation as a greedy lawyer who has made millions out of real estate. The ranch where the shooting took place was owned by a very wealthy Republican lobbyist. It's a small world!

I'm still wondering why we did not hear about this shooting for 22 hours. Maybe they were concerned that the old guy might die and there would be the possibility of a homicide charge. There's a lot we don't know about this story.

We should hear more of the details over the next few days. Stay tuned!


I've just heard Chris Matthews on MSMBC give his take on the Texas shooting. What he said was enough to convince me that Matthews is FULL OF SHIT. He made Cheney sound like Mother Theresa ...so concerned that he didn't have time to let America know about what happened. Does this guy believe his own BULLSHIT?

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Breaking news...Cheney shoots man in Texas...

MSNBC is reporting that Vice President Dick Cheney shot a 78-old man in Texas yesterday. According to the report, Cheney accidentally sprayed the man with bullet pellets. It happened at the ranch of a friend on a quail hunting trip. The victim is recovering in a San Antonio hospital. The local sheriff is investigating.

Don't be surprised if some of the anti-war folks start "volunteering" the Vice President for service in Iraq!

The good news is that the shooting wasn't fatal.


Here is the AP story and a priceless photo.

Update #2

A CNN reporter is indicating that the VP had special resources on site, including an ambulance, to respond quickly to this accident. What comes to my mind when I think of all these tax-payer provided resources is the situation of those Katrina victims who are getting kicked out on the streets by FEMA.

Sunday morning reading...

He is the relentless scourge of mobsters, terrorists, corrupt city bosses and even the White House. In today's Guardian (UK) Paul Harris profiles Patrick Fitzgerald, the tenacious workaholic special prosecutor, who gives George Bush sleepless nights, and who has now turned his sights on the former Telegraph tycoon Conrad Black.

Interesting reading for a snowy Sunday morning.


Here is a piece in today's New York Times on the causalties of the Iraq War that is also well worth reading. A reminder of the price paid by some of our young men and women in uniform.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

A new President for Haiti...

Haitian presidential candidate Rene Preval, seen here, has won about 61 percent of the vote in Haiti's presidential election, according to partial results based on 15 percent of the votes, a member of the electoral council told AFP. (Photo: Jaime Razuri / AFP)

Mr. Preval's mentor was former President Jean-Betrand Aristide. He is considered a champion of the poor masses. Hopefully, our government will give him a little more support than they gave to Aristide.

The Blame Game in Washington...

Photo: Dennis Cook / AP

Former FEMA Director Michael Brown engages in a heated exchange during a Senate hearing Friday.

"Heckofajob" Brownie made it clear that he wasn't going to accept all the blame for the mishandling of the response to Hurricane Katrina.

As docP pointed out in the Comments yesterday, the focus now needs to shift to what can be done to help in reconstructing New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. Unfortunately, most Americans have no idea of the extent of the damage.

Politicians in Washington should accept the invitation to go down to New Orleans to see for themselves.

Friday, February 10, 2006

White House Knew of Levee's Failure on Night of Storm...

Marty Bahamonde/FEMA (click on photo to enlarge).

A photo taken by a federal emergency official the day Hurricane Katrina arrived showed the broken 17th Street Canal levee in New Orleans.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Bush administration officials said they had been caught by surprise when they were told on Tuesday, Aug. 30, that a levee had broken, allowing floodwaters to engulf New Orleans.

Investigators have found evidence that federal officials at the White House and elsewhere learned of the levee break in New Orleans earlier than was first suggested.

But Congressional investigators have now learned that an eyewitness account of the flooding from a federal emergency official reached the Homeland Security Department's headquarters starting at 9:27 p.m. the day before, and the White House itself at midnight.

Read the full story in today's New York Times. Makes me sick to know about all the lies...given the terrible consequences.

Expect to see "Brownie" questioned on this issue at a Congressional hearing today.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Irish rockers U2 have big night...

Irish rockers U2 swept the board at the Grammy awards, scooping five gongs including album of the year for How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb. Here is the story.

Tom Delay rewarded for distinguished service!

This photo is courtesy of Firedoglake.

Indicted Rep Tom Delay, forced to step down as the No. 2 Republican in the House scored a soft landing Wednesday as GOP leaders rewarded him with a coveted seat on the Appropriations Committee. He also claimed a seat on the subcommittee overseeing the Justice Department. You can find the AP story here and the Firedoglake story here.

A Man of God and a Servant of the People!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Feeling abandoned by the Federal Government...

Katrina scatters region's medical talent

Mary Ann Chastain / AP

Gov. Kathleen Blanco decried Louisiana's 'second-class' treatment in her speech opening the special session.

The Swift Boating of the Reverend Joseph Lowery and President Carter...

McCain was on Hardball last night criticizing President Carter for what he said at Coretta King's funeral...although he had not seen what Carter said. And of course Kate O'Beirne was on the same program shooting-off her foul racist mouth. Matthews, who worked for Carter, should have told her to f**k off.

Even the folks at CNN seem to have been offended at some of the things that were said. How dare the Reverend Lowery bring up the fact that Coretta King was a staunch opponent of the Iraq War?

I appreciated the fact that President Carter and Reverend Lowery reminded us of what Coretta King and her late husband stood for. That is what usually happens at funerals.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

A time for dialogue - not confrontation...

Someone emailed me to ask why I'd gone silent on those Danish cartoons. Simple answer. This thing has gotten way too ugly for my liking. At this stage we need dialogue between the cultures - not confrontation.

Louisiana elected officials see for themselves...

AP Photo/Alex Branden

Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco talks with former residents as members of the Louisiana Legislature are given a tour of the Lower Ninth Ward to see the damage from Hurricane Katrina.

Blanco upended tradition on the opening day of a special legislative session for hurricane recovery, arranging a bus tour of devastated areas and scheduling her opening speech at the New Orleans Convention Center instead of the Capitol in Baton Rouge.

Now, the next challenge will be to get members of the U.S. House of Representatives to come down and see the devastation. Having visited post-Katrina New Orleans I can say that every public official in a position to help should see for themselves.


According to Reuters, Mayor Nagin way ask foreign countries for aid in rebuilding New Orleans.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Repairing Katrina damage in New Orleans...

Bill Haber / AP (Courtesy of Times-Picayune).

This building adjacent to the Hyatt Hotel downtown still dons plastic on its windows while it undergoes repairs.

The fury continues...

After Syria, the fires fanned by Denmark's anti-Prophet cartoons spread to Lebanon yesterday with sectarian intensity.

Anger flashing through the Muslim world over the weekend saw protesters burn Danish flags and attack buildings from Lahore to Gaza. The Islamic Army in Iraq, one of the main insurgent groups, made a blood-curdling call yesterday for violence against citizens of countries where caricatures of the Prophet Mohamed have been published.

It is obvious from the "comments" on this blog and throughout the blogosphere that people have pretty intense views about this issue. We can all agree that what's happening now is not good. What the world needs in not more religious bigotry and hatred.


The prime ministers of Spain and Turkey have issued a Christian-Muslim appeal for calm, saying "we shall all be losers if we fail to immediately defuse this situation."

Update #2

There have been charges that much of the outrage was orchestrated by Saudi Arabia. Here is Juan Cole's rebuttal.

Congratulations to Pittsburgh Steelers!

The Pittsburgh Steelers finally gave coach Bill Cowher some Super Bowl satisfaction. Moments after the Rolling Stones rocked a Ford Field filled with Terrible Towels, Willie Parker broke a record 75-yard touchdown run, sparking Pittsburgh's 21-10 victory Sunday over theSeattle Seahawks.

A special treat - a Super Bowl that was competitive. And a nice break from all the nasty stuff going on around the world.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Thank you, Coretta King...

Yesterday I watched the funeral of Coretta Scott King. Her body now rests-in-state at the Georgia State Capital. The funeral, with horse-drawn carriage, had all the trappings of a state funeral.

I'm thinking how much things have changed over the past four decades. When I arrived in the Deep South in the early Sixties Dr. Martin King was demonized as a Communist. Large roadside signs purported to show him at a meeting of Communists. It's no secret that many Southern whites celebrated when King was assinated in 1968.

Watching the funeral today on CNN I realized we have come a long way. The (white) Governor of Georgia was at the steps of the State Capital to officially receive the body of the late Coretta King. Back in 1968 when Dr. King was assinated Georgia Governor Lester Maddox behaved like a mean-spirited racist. There was no official recognition of King's death.

Again, we've come a long way. Thank you, Dr. King ... and thank you Coretta King. May you both rest in peace forever.


I've just heard that President Bush will be in attendance and will speak at the funeral on Tuesday. Most readers of this blog will know that I'm not a big fan of the President because of the war in Iraq. However, I'm pleased he has chosen to honor the memory of the First Lady of the Civil Rights movement. All Americans should celebrate her life.

A word about "comments"...

First, let me say I greatly appreciate visitors to this blog. After several months we still are a low-traffic publication ... but we're growing!

This past week we had more than usual 'comments' on one post. This leads me to say that I appreciate people who take the time to add to the conversation.

One of the reasons Firedoglake is one of my favorite blogs is because of the quality of the comments. They are generally positive, respectful and often provide links to relevant information. Most contributors identify themselves by their real names or by a pen name.

While this may sound a little ambitious, I do hope we can develop something similar to Firedoglake here at The Katrina Memo. Post your comments, share your insights...and honor the contributions of people who may see the world differently than you do.

Enjoy the Superbowl!!!!!

Friday, February 03, 2006

Outrage over cartoons of Prophet Muhammad...

There is outrage throughout the Muslim world over cartoons mocking Prophet Muhammad.

The problem began last September with the publication of caricatures of the Prophet in a Danish newspaper. The cartoons were deemed as blasphemous and insulting to Muslims. There were protests in Saudi Arabia and other Muslim countries.

In recent days the offensive cartoons have been reprinted in several European newspapers. This has added fuel to the fire. The newspapers claim they are only exercising their right to free expression.

Personally, I don't think there is any value in insulting and demonizing people in the Muslim world at this time. What's disappointing to me is that no European political leader has spoken out against the publication of the offensive cartoons. (The Danish PM made a half-hearted effort at an apology).

Inciting religious hatred is not a proper role for the media.


Click here for Muslim reaction to the insulting cartoons. (February 4 edition of online edition of The Independent).
Today a friend reminded me that historically Europe does not have a great reputation when it comes to religious tolerance. Look what happened to the Jews in Nazi Germany. Maybe it is some kind of superiority complex. (reference to Ireland deleted).

Update #2:

I'll leave this post on the front page for the weekend. Your comments are welcome. I'm willing to admit I may be out in left field on this issue.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Cindy Sheehan carries on her anti-war crusade...

Cindy Sheehan is escorted out of the House gallery prior to Bush's arrival for the State of the Union address. Sheehan, attending as the guest of a California Democrat, wore a T-shirt that showed the number of US war dead in Iraq. (Photo: Mandel Nagan / AFP)

Charges against Mrs. Sheehan have been dropped and she is on her way back to California for a few days of well-deserved rest.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

A Lost Opportunity...

I was hoping President Bush would use the State of the Union speech to rally the nation in support of a Marshall Plan type effort to rebuild New Orleans and the Gulf Coast.

What we got was lots of talk about fighting "terrorism" but not a word about commitment to help the people who have been the victims of the worst natural disaster in American history.

Makes me wonder about "compassionate conservatism."

Remembering the First Lady of the Civil Rights Movement...

AP Photo / Moneta J. Sleet, Jr.
Coretta Scott King with her daughter Bernice, 5, attending the funeral of her husband, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., in this Pulitzer-prize winning photograph taken by Moneta J. Sleet Jr., the first African-American to win a Pulitzer Prize for photography.