Tuesday, May 31, 2005


Oops... I mean "Cheny offended by report condemning human rights violations":
"For Amnesty International to suggest that somehow the United States is a violator of human rights, I frankly just don't take them seriously."
It has been nearly a year since the United States Supreme Court ruled that US courts have the jurisdiction to consider appeals from detainees in Guantánamo Bay. But the Bush administration, blocking judicial review every step of the way, has ensured that not a single detainee has had the lawfulness of his detention judicially reviewed.


Yesterday, George W. Bush -- the president who has refused to attend even a single military funeral a soldier or marine who have died in pursuit of his folly -- paused to recognize Memorial Day.

From the Washington Post:
Quoting letters of the fallen from the war in Iraq, President Bush vowed Monday to a Memorial Day audience of military families and soldiers in uniform that the nation will honor its dead by striving for peace and democracy, no matter the cost.
And when Bush says the war must go on no matter the cost, he isn't kidding.
Before his Memorial Day remarks in 2003, Bush had declared major combat operations at an end, the U.S. government confidently predicted that weapons of mass destruction would be found and American generals said troops were in the process of stabilizing Iraq.

At that time, some 160 American soldiers had been killed in Iraq. Today, the total is over 1,650.
The cost of American lives has gone up ten-fold, but Mr. Bush is still confident that the fighting, and the killing, and the dying must continue -- just like he was confident that weapons of mass destruction would be found in Iraq.

Remember the administration's confident about weapons of mass destruction? The claim that some aluminum tubes were proof that Saddam Hussein was reconstituting Iraq's nuclear weapons program?

Of course, the Bush administration's confidence was ultimately proved entirely unfounded.

And so far, 1,650 soldiers and marines have paid the ultimate cost.

But what about the people directly responsible for Mr. Bush's misplaced confidence? What cost have they paid for misleading our nation and rushing our military headlong into a quagmire? Surely there must be some cost for such a failure.

From the Washington Post:
Two Army analysts whose work has been cited as part of a key intelligence failure on Iraq -- the claim that aluminum tubes sought by the Baghdad government were most likely meant for a nuclear weapons program rather than for rockets -- have received job performance awards in each of the past three years, officials said. ***

The Army analysts concluded that it was highly unlikely that the tubes were for use in Iraq's rocket arsenal, a finding that bolstered a CIA contention that they were destined for nuclear centrifuges, which was in turn cited by the Bush administration as proof that Saddam Hussein was reconstituting Iraq's nuclear weapons program.

The problem, according to the commission, which cited the two analysts' work, is that they did not seek or obtain information available from the Energy Department and elsewhere showing that the tubes were indeed the type used for years as rocket-motor cases by Iraq's military. ***

The NGIC assessment of the aluminum tubes was described by the president's intelligence commission as a "gross failure." The agency was "completely wrong," said the panel, when it judged in September 2002 that the tubes Iraq was purchasing were "highly unlikely" to be used for rocket-motor cases because of their "material and tolerances."

The commission found that aluminum tubes with similar tolerances were used in a previous Iraqi rocket, called the Nasser 81, and that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) had published details about that system in 1996, as had the U.S. Department of Energy in 2001. The commission's report said "the two primary NGIC rocket analysts said they did not know the dimensions" of the older Nasser 81 rocket and were unaware of the IAEA and Energy Department reports. The report did not name the analysts, but officials confirmed that the panel was referring to George Norris and Robert Campos. ***

In a written statement, the Pentagon, speaking for the NGIC, confirmed that Norris and Campos had received awards, and it said that they were based "on their overall annual performance -- not on a single contribution -- and supervisors were encouraged to reward individuals on the basis of their annual contributions." The awards were given as part of a government-wide incentive program to recognize high-performing employees with cash or time off. An internal NGIC newsletter listed Norris and Campos as among those who received performance awards, lump-sum cash payments, in fiscal 2002, 2003 and 2004.

So let's be clear on the costs of the War in Iraq:

  • President Bush has never honored any of our service men and women who died in Iraq by attending a single military funeral but the Bush Pentagon has repeatedly honored the two men behind one of the key Iraq intelligence failures with performance awards.
  • The Bush Pentagon has still not found the money to properly equip our fighting men and women in Iraq -- leaving our troops to protect themselves with "hillbilly armor" but for three years in a row, the Bush Pentagon has found money for lump-sum cash payments to two of the biggest military failures in U.S. history.
  • President Bush tells us the war must go on.

And each year, Memorial Day becomes a personal day of mourning for more and more American families who have paid the cost.

Thursday, May 26, 2005


mark: n. Slang. A person who is the intended victim of a swindler; a dupe.

On Tuesday, John Nichols of the Nation said that soon it would be evident that the nuclear compromise was a mistake for progressives:
This "compromise" may have averted the "nuclear option" for a time. But it will saddle the federal bench with more bad judges. That's a bad deal, especially when there is such overwhelming public sentiment for maintaining the right of senators to block inappropriate judicial nominees. Democrats were right to oppose Brown, Pryor and Owen. They will come to regret cutting the deal to let these unacceptable nominees -- and the others who are now sure to be nominated by the Bush Administration -- to be approved.
On Wednesday, Nichols said let the regret begin:
Thanks to the compromise agreement made possible by seven Democrats who collaborated with Republicans to end the Senate impasse over judicial nominations, Priscilla Owen will now join the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals. Four years of successful efforts by civil rights, women's rights, religious and consumer groups to prevent confirmation of the right-wing extremist were undone Wednesday, as the Senate voted 56-43 to confirm a nominee whose judicial activism on the Texas Supreme Court was so wreckless that another member of that court, Alberto Gonzalez, who now serves as the nation's attorney general, referred to her actions as "unconscionable."

The final vote broke along partisan lines. Fifty-three Republicans and two Democrat, Louisiana's Mary Landrieu and West Virginia's Robert Byrd, voted to confirm Owen. Forty-one Democrats, one Republican, Lincoln Chaffee of Rhode Island, and one Independent, Vermont's Jim Jeffords, voted against confirmation.

Those numbers are significant because they show that Democrats had the 40 votes that were needed to sustain a filibuster against Owen.

That means that, had Democrats held firm and forced moderate Republicans to reject the unpopular "nuclear option" that Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tennessee, was attempting to impose on the Senate, Owen might very well have been kept off the court. ***

A number of moderate Republicans had indicated that they were uncomfortable with the majority leader's scheme to rewrite Senate rules, and there was at least a reasonable chance that a coalition of Democrats and moderate Republicans could have preserved the ability of the minority party to block extremist nominees. Unfortunately, in return for the agreement to put the "nuclear option" on hold, seven moderate Democrats agreed to allow confirmation votes on at least three blocked appeals court nominees.
Yes friends, the reactionary fundamentalists got their side of the deal yesterday and Democrats will get their side of the deal...


under "extraordinary circumstances"...

if the Republicans decide to keep their word...

But don't worry, even after breaking promises to everyone from veterans to middle-class tax payers to homophobic bigots, I am sure that the first promise the Washington Republicans keep will be the one they made to the Senate Democrats.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005


Human Rights Watch alleges that F.B.I. agents repeatedly interrogated two U.S. citizens who were illegally detained for eight months by Pakistani authorities and did nothing to stop them from being tortured.

From the New York Times:
The two told Human Rights Watch that they had been interrogated six times over the eight months by F.B.I. agents and had been repeatedly questioned by American and Pakistani intelligence officials about their role in Al Qaeda - a role they denied having - and were threatened with detention at the American base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

Human Rights Watch said in a statement on Tuesday that the F.B.I. agents did not intervene to end torture, insist that the Pakistani government comply with a Pakistani court order to produce the men in court or provide consular services normally offered to detained Americans.

"Instead," the group said, "they threatened the men with being sent to the U.S. detention facility at Guantánamo Bay if they did not confess to involvement in terrorism."
The F.B.I. denies the allegations.


"See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda."
-- George W. Bush, May 24, 2005

'The Gulag of Our Time'

"Once it was established that charges had to be brought at any cost and despite everything, threats, violence, tortures became inevitable. And the more fantastic the charges were, the more ferocious the interrogation had to be in order to force the required confession. *** It was a chronic, general practice."
-- Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago

From AP:
Amnesty International branded the U.S. prison camp at Guantanamo Bay a human rights failure Wednesday, calling it "the gulag of our time" as it released a report that offers stinging criticism of the United States and its detention centers around the world.

The 308-page report accused the United States of shirking its responsibility to set the bar for human rights protections and said Washington has instead created a new lexicon for abuse and torture. Amnesty International called for the camp to be closed.

"Attempts to dilute the absolute ban on torture through new policies and quasi-management speak, such as 'environmental manipulation, stress positions and sensory manipulation,' was one of the most damaging assaults on global values," the annual report said.
"It was a chronic, general practice."


Killer Who Wanted to Donate Liver Executed

Won't we all sleep a little better knowing that Gregory Scott Johnson's murderous liver -- and his 48-year-old sister who suffers from nonalcoholic cirrhosis -- will not escape our society's merciless vengeance.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005


The new issue of Scientific American Mind asks the question: Why do we lie so readily?
The answer: because it works.

The Homo sapiens who are best able to lie have an edge over their counterparts in a relentless struggle for the reproductive success that drives the engine of evolution. As humans, we must fit into a close-knit social system to succeed, yet our primary aim is still to look out for ourselves above all others.

Lying helps.

And lying to ourselves -- a talent built into our brains -- helps us accept our fraudulent behavior.
(hyperlinks added)


With regard to the Senate's filibuster compromise, I agree wholeheartedly with my third favorite Senator, Russ Feingold:
This is not a good deal for the U.S. Senate or for the American people.

Democrats should have stood together firmly against the bullying tactics of the Republican leadership abusing their power as they control both houses of Congress and the White House. Confirming unacceptable judicial nominations is simply a green light for the Bush administration to send more nominees who lack the judicial temperament or record to serve in these lifetime positions.

I value the many traditions of the Senate, including the tradition of bipartisanship to forge consensus. I do not, however, value threatening to disregard an important Senate tradition, like occasional unlimited debate, when necessary.

I respect all my colleagues very much who thought to end this playground squabble over judges, but I am disappointed in this deal. (emphasis added)
It seems to me that this "compromise" was the equivalent of agreeing to stay home on election day so that you can keep your right to vote.

UPDATE: Same idea, better metaphor.
UPDATE II: Same idea, worse metaphor.

Friday, May 20, 2005


Presale tickets for the July 10 Bob Dylan & Willie Nelson show at Alexian Field in Schaumburg are available here (scroll down).

Thursday, May 19, 2005


Sen. Rick "Man on Dog" Santorum, May 19, 2005:
We shouldn't go mucking around in this institution and changing the way we've done things, particularly when it comes to the balance of powers between the three branches of government. And the independence of one of those branches of the judiciary. We must tread very carefully before we go radically changing the way we do things that has served this country well, and we have radically changed the way we do things here. Some are suggesting we're trying to change the law, we're trying to break the rules. Remarkable. Remarkable hubris. I mean, imagine, the rule has been in place for 214 years that this is the way we confirm judges. Broken by the other side two years ago, and the audacity of some members to stand up and say, how dare you break this rule. It's the equivalent of Adolf Hitler in 1942 "I’m in Paris. How dare you invade me. how dare you bomb my city? It's mine."
Sen. Rick "Man on Dog" Santorum, March 3, 2005:
"Senator Byrd's inappropriate remarks comparing his Republican colleagues with Nazis are inexcusable. *** These comments lessen the credibility of the senator and the decorum of the Senate. He should retract his statement and ask for pardon."
Every day, it looks more and more like Dan Savage is right about Santorum.

"Sentence first - verdict afterwards."

The state's prosecutors killed Tom Cross' effort to raise Illinois' standard of proof for death sentences by requiring a judge or jury to determine that a defendant is guilty beyond "all doubt."

From the Tribune:
The defeat prompted a spokesman for House Republican leader Tom Cross (R-Oswego), a sponsor of the measure, to say it was unlikely that another effort would be made to pass the legislation before the General Assembly's scheduled adjournment this month.

The proposal would have held prosecutors in Illinois to the highest standard in the nation before a criminal could be sent to Death Row. It was designed to ease many concerns about injustices in applying the death penalty. ***

"It's a little discouraging," Cross said. "But you can't sit here and, as a state, put 13 innocent people on Death Row and not continue to do what you can and make sure the system is working."
So how did the prosecutors derail a reform proposal that was supported by death penalty opponents and supporters alike?

The same way that many innocent defendants are convicted: by bypassing the intellect and appealing to raw emotion.
In arguing against the change, one prosecutor drew a parallel to the slayings of two girls in Zion earlier this month. The father of one of the girls has been charged with murder. The prosecutor contended that under the proposed standard it would take just one juror to have "lingering doubts" about an alleged killer's sanity to spare him from the death penalty if he were found guilty. ***

[Peoria County State's Atty. Kevin Lyons], a strong death penalty supporter, described what he called an "unthinkable" scenario like the Zion killings, allegedly committed by Jerry Branton Hobbs III, an ex-convict.

Hobbs, 34, confessed to fatally stabbing his daughter, Laura Hobbs, 8, and her friend Krystal Tobias, 9, in a Mother's Day attack that was apparently triggered when his daughter refused to come home from a park, authorities said.

"Maybe, just maybe, someday a father will murder his 9-year-old daughter," Lyons said. "And maybe, just maybe, the killer will confess on videotape. And maybe, just maybe, the killer will say a little girl pulled a potato knife -- whatever that is -- on me and even though she was little she nearly stabbed me, and all of a sudden I lost it and went out of control." ***

"Only one juror needs to say, 'Look, I know he did it ... but I know he's crazy.' *** So they have this lingering doubt."
Carefully examine this prosecutor's thought process.

State's Atty. Kevin Lyons doesn't have to wait for a sentencing hearing, or a guilty verdict -- or even a trial -- to be utterly certain that the man charged with this crime deserves to be put to death. Lyons doesn't have any time for reasonable doubt much less lingering doubt -- Lyons just knows.

With prosecutors so eager to feed the gallows, is it any wonder that the sincere people like Tom Cross think that Illinois' death penalty system needs a serious overhaul?


From the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (emphasis added):
The chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee is working on a bill that would renew the USA PATRIOT Act and expand government powers in the name of fighting terrorism, letting the FBI subpoena records without permission from a judge or grand jury. ***

The measure being written by Sen. Pat Roberts (R. Kan.) would give the FBI new power to issue administrative subpoenas, which are not reviewed by a judge or grand jury, for quickly obtaining records, electronic data or other evidence in terrorism investigations... ***

Roberts' planned bill also would make it easier for prosecutors to use special court-approved warrants for secret wiretaps and searches of suspected terrorists and spies in criminal cases... ***

Opponents of expanding the act said Roberts' proposal would amount to an expansive wish list for the administration.

"While we're fighting to bring provisions... back into balance with the Bill of Rights, here we have the intelligence committee moving to give the government more power outside the judicial system to gain access to records of Americans," said former GOP Rep. Bob Barr of Georgia, a critic of the law.

"This is a dramatic expansion of the federal government's power," said Lisa Graves, senior counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union in Washington. "It's really a power grab by the administration for the FBI to secretly demand medical records, tax records, gun purchase records and all sort of other material if they deem it relevant to an intelligence investigation."

Democrats and civil-liberties advocates said Wednesday that it worried them that the FBI's expanded subpoena power under the intelligence committee's proposal would render obsolete the limited safeguards under Section 215. While that provision requires the Justice Department to obtain the approval of the secret intelligence court before demanding records, the administrative subpoenas under the new proposal would not.

"This all comes down to not wanting an FBI agent to have to go to a prosecutor and then the court to get formal approval for a subpoena," said a Democratic congressional official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the intelligence committee's proposal is still considered confidential. "This becomes a substitute." ***
Aides said the committee planned to meet in private when it considers the bill because the discussions would include intelligence operations.
And deep in the bowels of hell, Richard Nixon and J. Edgar Hoover are green with envy.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005


Think Progress reports that Republican Senator Bill Frist imploded on the Senate Floor today when Sen. Charles Schumer asked him a simple question about a filibuster in which he participated just five years ago.

Frist's strained and awkward response seems to undermine his entire argument for the Nuclear Option.


Over at the Capital Fax Blog, Rich Miller asks for folks' opinions about medical malpractice reform. Here's mine:

The supporters of malpractice reform tell us that we need it to keep health care professionals from fleeing Illinois and its high malpractice insurance premiums. Therefore, it seems to me that any malpractice reform should be directed at lowering – or at least limiting the increase in – the premium costs of health care providers.

The simplest way to do this would be to put caps on the amount that insurance companies can charge doctors.

Attempts to lower premium costs through "tort 'reform'" are needlessly inefficient because they increase the degree of separation between the problem, doctor's high premium costs, and the purported solution, limits on jury awards.

Tort reform is a multi-step Rube Goldberg plan based on an unproven series of assumptions:
  • that limiting jury awards may lower the amount insurance companies have to pay in malpractice judgments, and
  • that insurance companies could then lower the amount of their premiums, and
  • that more doctors might then stay in Illinois.

If any of these assumptions are wrong, tort reform won’t keep a single doctor in Illinois.

Everyone agrees that any threat of doctors leaving the state is due to high insurance premiums, so any answer to that threat should directly address the costs of insurance premiums.

Monday, May 16, 2005

"Marry me!"

Fox Entertainment president Peter Liguori makes it official, announcing that Arrested Development has been picked up for a full third season.


Condi Rice on the invasion of Iraq:
"This war came to us, not the other way around."
Really? Then why are all of those Americans troops dying on the other side of the friggin' planet?

Rice then attempted to tie the invasion of Iraq to the 9-11 attacks:
Referring to the attacks of September 11, 2001, Rice said, "The absence of freedom in the Middle East -- the freedom deficit -- is what produced the ideology of hatred that allowed them to fly airplanes into a building on a fine September day."
Although it is nice to finally see someone in the Bush administration show some concern about deficits, would somebody please tell Condi that the U.S. has already invaded Iraq and Bush has already been reelected, so there is no longer a need to keep repeating the tired and discredited Iraq/9-11 lie...

Unless, of course, Condi is running in '08.

Saturday, May 14, 2005


The next time Michael Sneed needs to take a day off, I suggest that the Sun-Times fill the slot with this columnist.

The upshot: If they made the Sneedling about Lincoln and the table the lede paragraph, I doubt anyone would notice the difference.

Friday, May 13, 2005


From E!:

Arrested Development fans, brace yourselves.

I have some good news and--well, you might want to sit down for this--some mind-blowing, earth-shattering, out-of-this-world, fantastic news.

Earlier this week, a friend here at E! interviewed Jason Bateman at a charity event with his good friend Ben Stiller.

When asked the status of Arrested Development, he lit up like a banana stand: "Actually, great. Supergreat. There is a heartbeat. There is no flatline. And there may be twins. I'm going to let Kristin figure out what that means. I can't comment any further, but there will be an announcement next week."
My inside sources say two more 22-episode seasons.

UPDATE: Others are not as hopeful.

Thursday, May 12, 2005



"We regret to report that the Arthur N. Rupe Great Debate scheduled for May 25, 2005 has been canceled due to Robert Novak's unexpected withdrawal."



During an interview with Fox News' Tony Snow, Denny Hastert said that Rahm Emanuel -- who is sponsoring a House ethics package -- was being a "little duplicitous.''

From the Suntimes:
"I just think Rahm was being a little duplicitous, I guess, in taking on a reform issue and still being in the headlines. . . . I'm sure Rahm will have an opportunity to go before the ethics committee and talk about what he's done,'' Hastert said.

Hastert did not explain why Emanuel should be called before the panel.
It seems Denny was being very duplicitous.

Of course this isn't the first time Hastert has dealt in slimy, unsupported innuendo.

But Denny wasn't done misleading the public -- he also grossly misrepresented facts:
Hastert also said, incorrectly, that Emanuel won an election -- an apparent reference to his initial 2002 race -- by 1,100 votes.

Emanuel bested his closest rival by 11,058 votes.
I'll say this for Denny, if you are going to engage in baseless mudslinging and misstate vote counts by a factor of ten, Fox News the right place to do it.

(emphasis added)


But next year the International Council of Nurses may want to use a more pleasant promotional poster.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005


When it comes to industrial threats to Americans' health, the Bush administration has one response -- Let the industry that produced the toxins decide how to address the public health threat caused by their toxins.

From the LA Times:
The Environmental Protection Agency has quietly delayed work on completing required rules to protect children and construction workers from exposure to lead-based paint, exploring instead the possibility of using voluntary standards to govern building renovations and remodeling.

The EPA move, first disclosed in documents provided by an agency whistle-blower, has prompted angry questions from Democrats in Congress, the attorneys general of New York and Illinois, and public health advocates around the country.

One organization is threatening a lawsuit against the agency for failing to issue the rules, as required by law.

On Monday, five members of Congress wrote to EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson, demanding an explanation for the EPA's "apparent abandonment of regulations required by law to protect children from exposure to lead." ***

EPA officials emphasize that they are concerned about lead exposure and its effect on children. They also point to an internal study showing that the cost of the regulations — $1.7 billion to $3.1 billion annually — could be an overwhelming burden for the mostly small businesses that renovate buildings.

However, an agency estimate showed that such rules would provide health benefits of greater value, from $2.7 billion to $4.2 billion annually. ***

Under a 1992 amendment to the Toxic Substances Control Act, regulations governing building renovations and lead safety were to be in place by 1996, but the EPA fell behind schedule. In 2003, the agency issued a report saying it expected to finish the rules by 2005.

However, agency documents show that in mid-2004, Johnson was presented with a choice: to complete the mandatory rules or to pursue an approach that would encourage lead-safe remodeling and renovation through public education and collaborative programs with industry.

In recent written responses to Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), Johnson said that the agency was "developing an education and outreach campaign that will convey the benefits of the use of lead-safe work practices…. EPA is also targeting outreach efforts to expand consumer awareness."

He said the EPA planned to launch its education campaign by the fall and that officials would evaluate what "additional steps may be necessary, including regulation." Obama was disturbed by the response, according to his spokesman, Robert Gibbs, who said Illinois had more cases of lead poisoning than any other state.

"This issue hits home for him," Gibbs said. "Every day of delay means more children get sick."
The Bush EPA will not regulate building renovations. The Bushies won't regulate even though regulation would protect children and construction workers. The Bush EPA won't regulate lead paint exposure even though its own studies show that regulation of lead-paint would save money in addition to lives.

I wonder why the Bush administration simply refuses to regulate the construction industry.

Friday, May 06, 2005


Scientific confirmation that the "assistant principal" is the lowest form of tinhorn dictator.
A high school student was suspended for 10 days for refusing to end a mobile phone call with his mother, a soldier serving in Iraq, school officials said.

The 10-day suspension was issued because Kevin Francois was "defiant and disorderly" and was imposed in lieu of an arrest, Spencer High School assistant principal Alfred Parham said.

The confrontation Wednesday began after the 17-year-old junior got a call at lunchtime from his mother, Sgt. 1st Class Monique Bates, who left in January for a one-year tour with the 203rd Forward Support Battalion.

Mobile phones are allowed on campus but may not be used during school hours. When a teacher told him to hang up, he refused. He said he told the teacher, "This is my mom in Iraq. I'm not about to hang up on my mom."

Parham said the teen's suspension was based on his reaction to the teacher's request. He said the teen used profanity when taken to the office.

"Kevin got defiant and disorderly," Parham said. "When a kid becomes out of control like that they can either be arrested or suspended for 10 days. Now being that his mother is in Iraq, we're not trying to cause her any undue hardship; he was suspended for 10 days."
If you would like thank Mr. Parham for sparing Sgt. Bates "any undue hardship," you can reach him at 706-685-7652 and his email address is aparham@mcsdga.net.

And his boss, principal Olivia T. Rutledge, can be e-mailed at orutledge@mcsdga.net

Thursday, May 05, 2005


This story from the Sun-Times shows DCFS putting the "loco" back in "in loco parentis":

Government-funded researchers tested AIDS drugs on hundreds of foster children over the past two decades, often without providing them a basic protection afforded in federal law and required by some states, an Associated Press review has found.

The research funded by the National Institutes of Health spanned the country. It was most widespread in the 1990s as foster care agencies sought treatments for their HIV-infected children that weren't yet available in the marketplace. ***

Several studies that enlisted foster children reported patients suffered side effects such as rashes, vomiting and sharp drops in infection-fighting blood cells. In one study, researchers reported a "disturbing" higher death rate among children who took higher doses of a drug. ***

Illinois officials believe none of their nearly 200 foster children in AIDS studies got independent monitors even though researchers signed a document guaranteeing "the appointment of an advocate for each individual ward participating in the respective medical research." (emphasis added)

Here is sample DCFS consent form specifying the protections that should have been granted to the foster kids participating in the clinical trials.

Here is a list of 47 clinical trials performed by researchers in Illinois.

I'm afraid I don't have any insight or answers on what -- if anything -- should be done about this, but I just think that a tale of poor and brown children being treated like lab rats merits more attention than it has received.


Bright Eyes: When the President Talks to God

Wednesday, May 04, 2005


May 1-8, 2005 is the third annual "Cover the Uninsured Week," during which the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and other progressive organizations will try to focus public attention on the many problems facing Americans without health insurance.

So how does the American Enterprise Institute -- home to such right-wing notables as Robert Bork, Lynne Cheney, Charles Murray, Michael Novak, Jeane Kirkpatrick and Dinesh D'Souza -- recognize "Cover the Uninsured Week"?

With an event entitled, "How Not to Cover the Uninsured."


In his weekly post, NPR Ombudsman Jeffrey A. Dvorkin once again spits bile at "Internet-savvy users between 18 and 34" and blog writers and readers in particular:
[T]he blogosphere has proven once again to be an amoral place with few rules. The consequences for misbehavior are still vague. The possibility of civic responsibility remains remote.
After airing various tired complaints about youngsters who rely on the Internet as their primary source of news -- including "e-mail being clogged by the blogs" -- Mr. Dvorkin ends his rant against those darn internet kids with this:
Perhaps these younger people will outgrow these youthful informational indiscretions and come to their senses -- and back to media that can serve them best...

I have my doubts...
Coincidentally, the Washington Post has this article about "media that can serve you best":
Bob Edwards , the longtime "Morning Edition" host who was booted amid much controversy last year from National Public Radio, says he's still getting static from his former employer. Edwards is furious because NPR barred his old colleague Scott Simon , host of "Weekend Morning Edition," from appearing on his XM Satellite Radio show last week to promote a book.

"This is clearly just pettiness directed at me," Edwards told us yesterday. "It baffles me that they are going to these petty extremes, especially when I am still an outspoken supporter of public radio and NPR specifically." ***

But NPR's Susan Stamberg gave an hour-long interview with Edwards that will be aired today. Stamberg was on to reminisce about her years in public radio and "All Things Considered," which she hosted with Edwards for five years.

[NPR spokeswoman Andi Sporkin] said Stamberg's appearance was well before the more restrictive policy was adopted.

Confused? So are some NPR veterans. "I was surprised to hear that they said no to Scott but at the same time they said yes to Susan Stamberg," commentator Daniel Schorr told us yesterday. "I find it all a little weird. . . . After they let Bob go, anything is possible. I shrug my shoulders and say, 'What's going to happen next?' "
I look forward to next week's installment on " media amorality" and the "remote possibility of civic responsibility" from NPR's Ombudsman.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005


In this column, Eric Zorn rains of Air America triumphant return to Chicago radio. In this post, EZ deals with right-wing blockheads who go after him for daring to suggest that there might be room for a liberal point of view on AM talk radio.

One of EZ's correspondents, Chuck G said, "Air America is toast for one simple reason - NPR. Liberals already have their very own radio network, and it's even subsidized by the taxpayers (just as they would like). Conservative talk radio has to compete in the marketplace (as all media should)."

So just how much does WLS-AM (the home of free-market loving, reactionary talk hosts) pay the U.S. tax-payers to use the public's air-waves to sell millions of dollars in advertising?

Answer: $7,200

Golly gee -- who's media is taxpayer subsidized now?

(emphasis added)

Monday, May 02, 2005


Televangelist -- and onetime GOP presidential candidate -- Pat Robertson appeared on ABC's "This Week" where he said so many vile and asinine statements that no single newspaper could hold them all:

"Out-of-control" federal judges are the most serious threat to America's survival in its history "more dangerous even than Islamic terrorism, Nazi Germany and the Civil War" religious broadcaster Pat Robertson asserted Sunday. ***

About 3,000 Americans were killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on New York City and the Pentagon. Another 1,700-plus have died since then in wars that grew out of the attacks.
The Virginian-Pilot

Robertson told ABC that the federal judiciary, as currently constituted, represents the biggest threat to America in its history. He warned: "They're destroying the fabric that holds our nation together."

His interviewer, George Stephanopolous, asked whether Robertson was saying that the threat posed by federal judges was more dire than the Civil War, World War II, and the terrorists who struck on Sept. 11.

Robertson replied: "I really believe that. ... I think that the gradual erosion of the consensus that's held our country together is probably more serious than a few bearded terrorists who fly into buildings."
Knight Ridder

[Robertson] would not appoint Muslims to serve in his Cabinet and that he doesn't favor Muslims serving as judges.

"They have said in the Koran there's a war against all the infidels," he said. "Do you want somebody like that sitting as a judge? I wouldn't."
Chicago Tribune

There are many reasons that I regret my youthful dalliance with the Republican party -- but at least it gave me the opportunity to vote against Pat Robertson.



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