Saturday, April 30, 2005

Page Six Disses Jeff Gannon

I buy the New York Post every day (along with The New York Times which, unfortunately for all of us, is the "paper of record"). Liberals think I'm insane. I give them three reasons:

1) Better coverage of police shootings than the Times...though the story might be biased in favor of the NYPD, the Post always tells the other side while the Metro Section of The New York Times is kind of like GOPUSA, propaganda with no filter, even Jayson Blair wrote about that in his book...and he would know best.

2) John Crudele kicks ass. Who the hell is John Crudele? Here's a sample of his work: Spitzer Should Take On The Thugs Steering Oil Market. And here's an article that I wrote on the dude who covers the oil beat in the Business section of The New York Times: Jad Mouawad sucks.

3) Sports.

But only my closest friends know the fourth reason.

Well, friends (and wandering wingnuts):

4) Page Six. I confess. I get a kick out of celebrity gossip. I get a kick out of Richard Johnson, and he's usually always right. I'm not even going to mention the name of the idiot at The Times who thinks she's Nabokov or something with her pretentious writing style. And I don't read any other tabloids except for The Post (unless you count The Village Voice as one...and Michael Musto kicks ass, too).

Friday's Post carried a small bit on Jeff Gannon who spoke to Jared Paul Stern of PAGE SIX entitled "Anybody have a ticket?" (unfortunately, the Post just switched to the same kind of shitty register process that The Times has...and even the middle of writing this post, the link to the item was switched to the Saturday column so I won't be able to link to it directly):

"DISGRACED former White House reporter/male escort Jeff Gannon can't believe no one has invited him to tomorrow's White House Correspondents Dinner. "It seems to me to be odd to exclude the one person who has brought more attention to the White House press corps than anyone else in years," Gannon tells PAGE SIX's Jared Paul Stern. "Probably many who would want to extend such an invitation already assume I will be in attendance." Gannon, whose real name is James Guckert, quit his job with the conservative Talon News earlier this year after his fake name, lack of journalistic qualifications and male escort connections came to light. The dinner usually features several stars and sensational guests such as Paula Jones to liven things up. The sub-par star lineup this year includes Robert Duvall, Burt Reynolds, Randy Quaid, Ron Silver, Patricia Heaton and Anne Hathaway."

Yep, Page Six really nailed Jeff Gannon (though they still didn't mention the plagiarism viewable at the links at the top of this blog).

After the Press Club comedy hour with Jeff Gannon three weeks ago, I applauded Wonkette for some of the awesome questions she flooded Jeff with but I criticized her exchanging cards with him since it helps the propagandistic plagiarist establish his legitimacy. At Propagannon, silence from the ePluribus team thought that "Wonkette looked like she was conspiring to invite Gannon/Guckert to the WHCA dinner."

silence remembered this Valentine's Day post by Wonkette (link): "In fact, it crossed my mind that Guckert/Gannon would make a great date for the White House Correspondents' Dinner, but then I figured I'd have to pay him. Probably extra, being a girl and all."

So if that happens - as The Post might say - remember, you read it here first.

That's my gossip item for the day.

(UPDATE - ha...just realized something about this Jeff Gannon quote from Page Six: "Probably many who would want to extend such an invitation already assume I will be in attendance." That, ladies and gentleman, qualifies as a "soliciting" personal ad that can be directly attributed to Jeff Gannon/ long as you take Page Six's word for it.)


Thursday, April 28, 2005

Revenge Of The Bloggers?

"Ex–White House reporter Jeff Gannon learned the power of gay bloggers the hard way, by being outed as a partisan operative and an alleged former hustler. Online activists have mainstream media playing catch-up, and they’re reshaping the battle for gay equality."

That's the header for an article set to appear in the May 10th issue of The Advocate which features my favorite propagandistic plagiarist on the cover:

Jeff left the following message on my answering machine ( I read it at his "I wonder if those same bloggers will be attacking the Advocate for presenting me as something less than completely despicable. STORY"

Yeah, Jeff, love the cover, especially love the not-exactly-subliminal phallic symbol that shares the cover with you...not that there's anything not funny with that.

On the cover, the title of Jen Christensen's article is touted as "Revenge of the Bloggers" but fans must have written George Lucas to remind him that Jedi Knights don't believe in revenge so the title inside the pages was switched to "Jeff vs. the bloggers."

There's only a small excerpt of the article viewable online so I only have so much I can comment on. I imagine that the article must ignore the work by bloggers that aren't gay or at least haven't come out in public (as I've written before I don't think anyone's sexuality is anyone's business...and I've even defended Jeff at points of the investigation from what I thought was unnecessary nastiness at times...I'm 100 percent supportive of gay rights and I've often blogged about such issues but you won't ever see a word from me about my sexuality or occasional lack-of-sexuality...I don't care what ignorant people think...and I'm not about to call a press conference to declare that I'm "not gay" like Mike Piazza of the New York Mets), but I'll wait until I read it in full before I respond in length to it (maybe I shouldn't have used the word

John Aravosis of America Blog is also featured in the article (why the fuck didn't he get to go on the cover?) and perhaps a few other bloggers will be cited. Wait and see.

But I do have something to say.

If the excerpt is a reflection of the whole article...meaning that if the paragraphs that line up after one another match the ones that line up after one another in this excerpt then...

Jen Christensen is no fucking journalist.

I'm basing this characterization on this sentence in the article containing a quote by Jeff Gannon/Guckert which is left unaddressed: "Gannon, 48, adds that his sexual orientation is a private matter and that he objects to being “called a fake, phony, and faux or that ‘he was posing as a journalist.’ I was and still am a legitimate journalist, and I did some solid reporting.”

No, Jeff, you're not a fucking journalist. You're a fucking plagiarist...and if the Advocate didn't note that then fuck them too.

In the next paragraph Jen writes, "Instead, blogs from Aravosis and Gannon are a blend of journalism and activism with a political bent."

You're an idiot, Jen Christensen, to compare the propagandistic plagiarist with one of the best fucking bloggers and journalists and activists that there is. I've had disagreements with John in the past but he seriously kicks ass and John Aravosis doesn't fucking plagiarize!

Jen, you moron, if you pay this blog a visit through Google or Technorati why don't you practice some fucking journalism and go read this and then come back here and follow the links at the top of the blog. Do some fucking research, ferchrissakes.


Wednesday, April 27, 2005

In Search Of In Search Of Utopia

David Anderson sent me an email asking me to announce that he's having server problems at his blog, In Search Of Utopia, but he hopes to be back online tomorrow. So don't freak out and mistakenly think that the CNN spammers have taken him down: CNN Guerrillas in the Midst.

Jeff Gannon sent me an email asking me to announce that he's having server problems at his blog,, so he won't be able to link to articles about himself for a day or two. So don't freak out and mistakenly think that the secret service won't allow him to exit from the White House: ePluribus Media.


One Blogger's High Road...

One blogger's high road sometimes can be another blogger's low road.

I don't have anything to say about this publicly but I will respond in private e-mails. Private e-mails. Which is what I considered some of the correspondence that has been aired publicly and is taken out of context at the aforementioned link.

Yesterday's private e-mails mostly dealt with this article posted a few weeks ago which prompted me to post a response here which I deleted after an hour or two (I believe it was posted for about an hour-and-a-half) and which I apologized for in private e-mails (which I gave permission to be passed along to all interested parties) and publicly in this post.

I'm not going to slam this blogger who I just linked to in my last post - which was written near the end of our e-mail correspondence - because I am sick and tired of this blogosphere soap opera nastiness. It's very wearisome and has affected my blogging the last few weeks.

I've never told anyone that they HAD to blog about what I wanted them to blog about. In this instance, I only suggested that a post be written which contains an interview with someone more technologically savvy who understands the Internet and the non-controversial-to-most subject of hit counters because a number of falsehoods have appeared on the blog in the past (not just in the two posts above). I don't think it was done maliciously.

And I don't think the post that led to my angry (deleted) response was written in malice either, but the fact is that if The New York Times had written such an article about - say - Jane Fonda it would be recognized for what it is: a hatchet job.

I'll be linking to this blogger again. While I feel that this blogger and a few blogger friends of this blogger have been way out-of-line and have acted hysterically in this matter I still think that they're some of the best voices on the Internet and I obviously have thicker skin than they do.

It really sucks that I had to write this because I did want to take the high road. I told this blogger that I didn't want to pursue this in public but I have to respond in some way. It's really tough to check myself in response to today's post at the aforementioned link.

But I have work to do. This is not work. This is bullshit (and my use of the word bullshit shows that one blogger's high road can also sometimes get low).


Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Three Dumbasses

Not every dumbass is a dumbass all the time. The third dumbass in my post is someone I usually like but today she's a dumbass. The first dumbass is always a dumbass so that's why I'm posting his dumbass picture.

Dumbass #1

The second generation neocon, John Podhoretz, is not only a columnist for the Fox-owned New York Post, Putzeretz is also the Editorial Page Editor.

Congratulations, Putzeretz, this might be the stupidest shit I ever read in my entire life.

The "opinion" column is entitled "Elephant Panic" and here's the stupidest parts:

"There's a lot of dark talk in Republican and conservative circles about the mainstream media — about the one-sidedness of the coverage of current political issues and how the American people are being manipulated, especially on the Terri Schiavo matter."

"No question about it, the media are on the prowl against the GOP — but there's something unseemly about the right-wing whining. Media bias isn't worse this year than last, when Republicans somehow managed to win the White House and gain three Senate seats."

"Even so, the fear of media manipulation remains as strong as ever, and might well get stronger still. Conservatives are baffled at the weird turn in the political fortunes of the Republicans, and the anti-media line offers them an easy answer to a complex problem."

King dumbass of all dumbasses, you're the fucking media. You're the fucking media. You're the fucking media.

And anyone who read this pile of crap and agreed with Putzeretz's condemnation of the media is an even bigger dumbass.

Dumbass #2

Katharine Q. Seelye's article in today's New York Times - "A Boldface Name Invites Others to Blog With Her" is responsible for giving me two dumbasses to fill out this post (Note - if you enter dailykos as the name and password you can avoid registering with the Times in order to read their NEWS articles and their "news" articles as well).

Katharine Q. Seelye is a dumbass for the second line of these two lines I've taken from her story:

"Started nearly a decade ago by Matt Drudge, the Drudge Report lifts potentially hot news from obscurity and blares it across a virtual "front page," usually before anyone else. While his squibs are sometimes cast with a conservative slant, his "developing" scoops often send the mainstream media scrambling to catch up."

Dumbass, Matt Drudge doesn't "sometimes cast with a conservative slant."

Very rarely...

Very, very rarely, Matt Drudge doesn't "sometimes cast with a conservative slant." You're a dumbass, Ms. Seelye for claiming the exact opposite of the truth.

Dumbass #3

Oh...Arianna...what's wrong with you? I welcome more voices in the blogosphere but everything I read about your project, The Puffington Post, suggests that it's the furthest thing from a blog. It seems to be a magazine one can read on the Internet. I love Counterpunch and I still like David Corn but neither one of them has a blog in my opinion.

In my opinion, blogs are for regular people. Not celebrities. Now...if you're planning to cover stories and dig up facts and do real journalism then I'll reconsider that. David Corn and Alexander Cockburn and Greg Palasts are journalists and they don't do specific research - for the most part - for the sake of their blogging audience.

I even respect the wingnuts as fellow bloggers. I don't consider Norman Mailer - my idol - a threat to me or Atrios or the farmer or The Common Ills or Tas or anyone else I read. And they're not going to be one. Because we already have audiences. Celebrity bloggers might bring new audiences but our audiences are doing just fine without celebrity bloggers.

Here are the quotes attributed to Arianna Huffington from Ms. Seelye's article that pissed me off:

"She has lined up more than 250 of what she calls "the most creative minds" in the country."

"Having prominent people join the blogosphere, Ms. Huffington said in an interview, "is an affirmation of its success and will only enrich and strengthen its impact on the national conversation."

"You're actually already doing the hardest work of a blogger: having interesting opinions and fresh takes on the hot stories of the day," she wrote. "We'll just provide a megaphone."

"By having so many interesting people taking part, there will always be somebody posting something interesting."

Dumbass. There are plenty of creative minds in the blogosphere. We don't need prominent people to start blogging to affirm anything. Having interesting opinions is not the hardest work of a blogger; spending hours and hours researching and digging for no fucking pay is the hardest work of any blogger worth a damn. And you don't have to be a fucking celebrity blogger to be interesting.

And you know what? I don't care what you say now. I still don't trust you. I appreciate that you seem to be more on our side...but I'll never forget the way you acted during your former husband's crazy gubernatorial races in California. And you were a wingnut-and-a-half just a few years ago.

If you're not going to help or give credit to real fucking bloggers then I have no fucking use for you. Because real fucking bloggers help each other. And we don't need your stinking celebrity bloggers. Some of the bloggers that have been doing this for a few years have achieved their own level of celebritiness through blogging and although I may not agree with all of them I respect that they earned their celebrity by doing this. Maybe if you offer to allow real fucking bloggers to share your celebrity blogger Website I'll reconsider my opinion about this. But I found this article extremely offensive and condescending.

Thank you, Jay Rosen, for sticking up for us: "These aren't exactly people who lack voice or visibility in our culture," he said in an e-mail message. "Gwyneth Paltrow has no incentive to speak candidly and alienate future ticket buyers. Barry Diller doesn't have time to hunt down juicy links for his readers. And where does Jon Corzine fit into any conversation those two might be having?"

"Get ready for the next level in the blogosphere." No, Katharine Q. Seelye, you're wrong. This is not the next level in the blogosphere.

If you want a taste of the next level you will find it here and it has a name. It's called ePluribus Media and it's not just essentially a new name for Harper's Magazine and it's more than just the next level in the blogosphere. It also happens to be the next level in journalism.

So fuck off, celebrity bloggers.


Monday, April 25, 2005

The Invisible Letter

Luke from wotisitgood4 has a very, very interesting article.

Saturday's edition of The New York Times contained, according to Luke, "one of those 'appended' articles that i find weird - ya know the ones where there is an entire piece almost hidden below another piece."

"heres the separate article, in its entirety:"

"Leaders of the Senate Armed Services Committee have urged Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to seek a formal invitation from the new Iraqi government for American troops to remain until domestic security forces are capable of fully defending their country."

"A letter on April 18 from Senator John W. Warner of Virginia, the Republican committee chairman, and Senator Carl Levin of Michigan, the ranking Democrat, argued that the initiative could "substantially reduce the daily threats to U.S., coalition and Iraqi security forces."

But that's not the weirdest part about this story. The weirdest part is that the letter is mysteriously missing from Senator Levin's Website even though there's a link to it.

Go read the rest of Luke's article - "appendage" - and read about even more weirdness.


Sunday, April 24, 2005

On "Justice" Sunday

Mixter's got a great article at her Website about today's political sit-com: Justice Sunday: Stop Filibustering People of Faith (link):

"In his pre-recorded message, Sen. Bill Frist went on and on about how the Democrats are denying 10 judicial nominees an up or down vote. During the final two years of Clinton's term, less than half of Clinton's appeals courts nominees were confirmed. In Clinton's last year in office, 89 percent of appeals court nominees were stopped, with only one out of nine nominees being confirmed! Regarding the 10 nominees, Frist pleaded to the audience, "Don't leave them hanging. Don't leave our courts hanging. Don't leave our country hanging.""

"4.65% of judicial nominees blocked = liberals hate people of faith. 89% of judicial nominees blocked = what?"

"Give me an effing break! The deliberate strategy to block President Clinton's judicial nominations was to leave as many seats vacant as possible so that they could be filled by a Republican president. They succeeded. They already got that! Now they want it all! They want the conservative Christian triumvirate - the executive, legislative and judicial branches of our goverment."

Mixter's got more at her blog - Mixter's Mix - where she also discusses the "more Christ-like Christians [who] protested the event."

On the Mixter tip, I'd also like to hype her latest story at Watching The Watchers called “We’re in the ramp-up to a great constitutional crisis”. She's been on an awesome roll, lately, and deserves a larger audience.

Note To My Readers

I've got a number of stories that I've been working on that are going to take some time to complete. To tell the truth, I'm starting to get tired of the blogosphere. I believe strongly in what I've been doing and what others have been doing...but it's incredibly frustrating the way this whole blogosphere operates.

I never had any desire to make this blog the one stop blog for all things political. Although I have strong opinions about absolutely everything I'd rather focus on a few stories then try to cover a little bit about everything.

Last year, I only used to post an article every few days, because I didn't want to bury the good stuff - but now because my audience has grown I feel this urgency to post at least once a day even when I'm not ready to post.

So I guess what I'm saying is that I'm not going to compromise myself. I'm not going to rush to publish just to keep the blog topical every day.

Instead, this blog is probably going to be more like it's been the last week or so. There will be at least one new post a day, but unless I've got a sufficiently researched article ready to go most of my posts will be links to other bloggers who have great stuff that might or might not be getting the recognition it deserves. I'll probably add something to it - when I can - but I think my time would be best spent researching the stories that noone else is writing about.

So if you think my blog's sucked the last couple of weeks....I apologize...but if you hang in there you'll be reading some great stuff in a few weeks.


Jeff Gannon In The White House

The Raw Story's John Byrne has just posted a story based on FOIA requests filed by Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) and Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) of secret service logs concerning the number of trips that Jeff Gannon/Guckert made to the White House: Secret Service records raise new questions about discredited conservative reporter:

"Guckert made more than 200 appearances at the White House during his two-year tenure with the fledging conservative websites GOPUSA and Talon News, attending 155 of 196 presidential press conferences. He had little to no previous journalism experience."

"Perhaps more notable than the frequency of his attendance, however, is several distinct anomalies about his visits."

"Guckert made more than three dozen excursions to the White House when there were no scheduled briefings. On many of these days, the Press Office held press gaggles aboard Air Force One—which raises questions about what Guckert was doing at the White House."

"On at least fourteen occasions, Secret Service records show either the entry or exit time missing. Generally, the existing entry or exit times correlate with press conferences; on most of these days, the records show that Guckert checked in but was never processed out."

John has much more on this, so go check out The Raw Story where the records will be posted later tonight.


Saturday, April 23, 2005

Conyers On Daily Kos

Congressman Conyers has become a regular at Daily Kos; his fourth diary is up today (in the recommended list, of course). I'm glad he listened to my suggestion almost a month ago that I left at his blog: "Could you start an account on Daily Kos and post diaries? Many other Democrats do...Rep. Slaughter had two well-received ones on that blog today. There are a ton of Kossacks who do care about this...and they would be overjoyed to have you join the gang" (link).

This is the link to Congressman Conyer's Daily Kos page, bookmark it (or subscribe to the thread) so you can keep up-to-date with the incredibly long list of things that this incredible man is doing for us: link.

Today's diary - "21 Members and I Write DOJ to Stop GA Voter ID Law" - is about a new law passed in Georgia that will prevent many people from voting, in order words, it's legalized disenfranchisement.

"Today was a date of shame in Georgia and our nation, as GOP Gov. Sonny Perdue signed a bill that makes it harder to vote, by requiring a photo identification in Georgia elections. The bill would have an obvious discriminatory impact on the poor, seniors, and minorities, who are less likely to have drivers licenses and less able to have access to the new ID cards."

"When I first learned the bill had passed the legislature, I organized a sign-on letter among my colleagues, and today I along with 21 Members of Congress, including my good friend Sen. Russ Feingold, wrote to the Civil Rights Division asking them to throw this law out as being violative of the Voting Rights Act. Since Georgia is subject to pre-clearance requirements under Section 5 of the Voting Acts, the Justice Department can still block its implementation, if they can steer clear of politics and do the right and legally appropriate thing. This is a true outrage."


Friday, April 22, 2005

Election Reform Moved To The Back Burner

(Via The Brad Blog) DeForest Soaries - not the guy from Star Trek though he is a doctor - resigned from the Election Assistance Commission today. A baptist Minister, Dr. Soaries is a former Democrat but now a Republican as well as a former secretary of state under former New Jersey Governor Christie Whitman. The commission came about as a result of the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (which came about as a result of Selection 2000) as a conduit for states to adapt voting reforms.

"Chairman of Voting Reform Panel Resigns" by Associated Press writer Erica Werner obtained some juicy quotes from the pissed off Doctor/Minister:

"All four of us had to work without staff, without offices, without resources. I don't think our sense of personal obligation has been matched by a corresponding sense of commitment to real reform from the federal government."

"It's bad enough to be working under extremely adverse circumstances, but what throws your thinking into an abyss, as it were, is why you would be doing that when, for instance, you have to beg Congress for money as if the commission was your idea."

"There is so much more work to do to bring federal elections to the standard I think that the citizens expect, and there doesn't seem to be a corresponding sense of urgency among the policy-makers in Washington. Nor does there seem to be a national consensus among leaders of the states about what success looks like."

"Someone's got to wake up every morning with the mission of improving federal elections in a way that assures the voting public that they can have confidence in voting."

Last June, six months after being elected the commission's first chairman by his co-chairs, Dr. Soaries didn't sound much different ("Frustration Dogs Election Commission"):

“When the media really starts getting on this issue, they’re going to start calling us and looking at us. ... I plan to let the world know that we’re doing our best with what we have, we’ve stated our case to Congress, and anything that does not happen in November, don’t blame it on us.”

“If this were a foreign country with the exact same setup, we’d be highly critical of their understanding of democracy.”

On November 3rd, 2004, Dr. Soaries gave thanks to the "margin of victory" for saving our asses. But he did have this interesting observation in an MSNBC interview: "“I’m thrilled the electronic machines did not create a stir, but to be completely honest I think it’s my job to say we don’t know what we don’t know.”

(It was hard to decide which title to use for this post so I decided to save "We Don't Know What We Don't Know" for a future story on our election deform; this title is taken from today's A.P. story in which Dr. Soares told the A.P. writer that election reform was on the front burner until 9/11 but there is no direct quotation)

Now before some of you go thinking that we lost some kind of champion for election reform from this committee, I'd like to show one more quote by the good doctor from a letter he wrote last July:

"Unlike New York, the federal government has no agency that has the statutory authority to cancel and reschedule a federal election."

CNN's "Officials discuss how to delay Election Day": "Newsweek said the discussions about whether the November 2 election could be postponed started with a recent letter to Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge from DeForest Soaries Jr., chairman of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission...Ridge warned Thursday that al Qaeda terrorists were planning a large-scale attack on the United States "in an effort to disrupt the democratic process."

Hopefully they'll replace Dr. McCoy with someone who is actually familiar with the Constitution (Article 2 Section 1 specifically designates Congress as the agency with that authority). But I'm not sure that familiarity with the Constitution is a job requirement for Bush appointees.

In related news, I forgot to link to Congressman John Conyers' take-down of the Baker-Carter election commission: "The remarks of Mr. James Baker, III, which were echoed by a number of right wing political operatives called as witnesses, seemed to have a singular purpose of spreading hoaxes and conspiracy theories about ineligible Democratic voters being allowed to cast votes. The remedy was cleverly repeated like a broken record, “photo ID, photo ID, photo ID.” Right wing pundit John Fund was called as an “expert” witness by the hearing and offered racially charged proposals with racially charged rhetoric."

Yesterday Rep. Conyers called Brad Friedman of the Brad Blog to thank him for all of his work and to announce that he is "on the case":

"Today, I had a lengthy, substantive, and frank meeting with Dr. Robert Pastor, Executive Director of the Carter-Baker Election Commission. I shared my concerns about the Commission with him. Among other things, I remain concerned about the involvement of Mr. James Baker, III, in this Commission, and the emphasis of some of the Commission's work thus far. In this meeting, Dr. Pastor displayed great familiarity with my report on the 2004 Ohio Presidential election and expressed his strong commitment to election reform. Dr. Pastor has established an open channel with me to continue discussing these concerns, and I intend to continue this dialogue. I also intend to attend future meetings of the Commission, and personally meet with President Carter and other Commission members. In sum, I want to assure you that I will be monitoring this Commission and its work very closely. In other words, I am on the case."

Finally, make sure to tune in this Saturday from 7 until 10 PM for the second episode of The Brad Show (I missed the first show last weekend so I'm hoping that it will be archived soon). The show which is broadcast over the IBC Satellite Radio Network is produced in conjunction with The Raw Story so it's gotta kick major ass!

One of the guests scheduled for this saturday is BlogActive Blogger & Raw Story Q Editor Mike Rogers who might be forever immortalized as the blogger who dared to ask Jeff Gannon the following question at the National Press Forum conference a few weeks ago: "Did you sleep with anyone on the White House Staff?" (which took place right before Wonkette exchanged business cards with the propaganda plagiarist, a fact that was left out of most of the post-sham pro-Wonkette reviews)


Thursday, April 21, 2005

Americablog Vs. Microsoft

John Aravosis at Americablog is raising hell at Microsoft for allegedly pulling back its support for an anti-gay-discrimination bill in Washington which - after thirty long years - is inches away from becoming a law. The Democrats are in control of the House, Senate and Governor's seat (for now - more on that tomorrow), and House Bill 1515 (which "would ban discrimination against gays and lesbians in housing, insurance and jobs" link) already passed through the House but is currently trapped in the Judiciary Committee.

John's story is based on an article to be published tomorrow in Seattle's The Stranger:

"The Stranger has learned that last month the $37-billion Redmond-based software behemoth quietly withdrew its support for House bill 1515, the anti-gay-discrimination bill currently under consideration by the Washington State legislature, after being pressured by the Evangelical Christian pastor of a suburban megachurch."

Here's the part that's really got John steaming (and plugging Mozilla and Ipods in the process...heh)(NOTE: The words in boldprint are the words John put in boldprint):

"DeLee Shoemaker, an aide to former Governor Gary Locke who now handles state-level government relations for Microsoft, had issued a letter in support of the bill. "We are going to be providing copies of that letter to the committee," he said. McCurdy spoke too soon. Murray says that beginning on February 7 he began receiving calls from company employees informing him that Hutcherson was pressuring the company to change its position on the bill. Murray eventually contacted Shoemaker. She admitted to him that Microsoft was planning to change its position on the bill. "I told her, 'This is a crisis. It will kill the bill,'" he says. "She said no one will know."...."

I wanted to link directly to John's major article on this story at his blog but even the link at Eschaton wouldn't work for me. Maybe it's because John's latest article on the subject is entitled "Screw Microsoft, Download FireFox Web Browser."

But while I agree with John that Microsoft deserves to be bombarded with phone calls and letters if they have indeed withdrawn support for a bill that's been supported by companies such as the Boeing Company, Nike, Coors Brewing, and Qwest Communications, I'm not so sure that Microsoft's bigwigs will be the ones to blame if this bill isn't passed before the session ends on April 24th.

According to this op-ed written by Thomas Shapley on April 8th in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, it's a couple of Democrats in the state senate who deserve to be harangued:

"With the prospect of a Senate floor vote on the bill to outlaw civil rights discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, Republicans moved that House Bill 1515 instead be sent to the Judiciary Committee. The move seemed to catch Democratic leadership flat-footed. The Republicans had already drafted Democratic Sens. Jim Hargrove of Hoquiam and Tim Sheldon of Potlatch to vote in favor of the motion. Stunned Democrats watched as the motion passed and the bill was sent to Judiciary, where the Democrats' one-vote majority member is -- Hargrove. And if he voted to dump the bill into the committee, odds are he wouldn't vote it back out again."

So go to Americablog and make some phone calls and write some letters to get Microsoft to do the right thing like they were going to do before but also make sure to call and write Democratic Sen. Jim Hargrove of Hoquiam, Washington and tell him to give his fellow Democrats a chance to vote on this bill which will help combat discrimination in the workplace and the home.

The Honorable Jim Hargrove

The Honorable Jim Hargrove
P.O. Box 40424
Olympia, WA 98504-0424

Phone: (360) 786-7646

email address:


Not Emotionally Off-Topic In The Slightest

CS from BloggerRadio left this comment a few hours ago on my Haloscan (I removed the first couple of sentences which were full of praise for me...but since the Knicks season ended today with no play-offs and I once jokingly referred to myself as the Stephon Marbury of the blogosphere I'm not feeling very triumphant at the moment):

"Yesterday Democrats showed great spirit and skill in out-maneuvering Republicans to delay the Bolton vote in committee. As you no doubt know, The Washington Note has been the go-to blog on all this. More bloggers should be paying more attention to this story because what Dems (and some Republicans on the committee) accomplished yesterday was a victory for deliberative democracy, the very thing we will lose if extremists have their way."

"It's fundamentally important that principled leaders -- on both sides of the aisle -- battle the forces that are trying to destroy our system of government. But to preserve that system they must practice it. Anything less would be destroying the village in order to save it."

"Yesterday a handful of senators reminded us of how things are supposed to work. They rose to the occasion at a treacherous time. They need our attention and support, our encouragement, so that together we can regain our confidence in one another and a Constitutional system that has suffered corruption and neglect."

"Forgive me for being emotionally off-topic here, but sometimes I feel we're doing a great job of exposing perfidy while neglecting the positive team-building work we need to do. It's almost like we've forgotten how to be proud and supportive. A team of senators won a hard-fought match yesterday. Where are the cheers?"

In my response I wrote: "but why should we dance when the bankruptcy bill was signed just today....where were the Democrats on that? That's going to effect more of us than which asshole is going to have to be the one to storm out of un meetings cause the world doesn't believe in imperialism....but you sure did make it sound incredible....reading your post reminded me of the best moments in mr smith goes to washington..."

So check out BloggerRadio for more on this (CS also has been linking to some great Daily Kos diaries on the subject) and here's a proper link for the Washington Note: link.

CS also is reporting that my favorite senator, California's Barbara Boxer, has a petitition for us to sign "calling for Bush to withdraw John Bolton's nomination as UN ambassador in favor of someone the country can get behind. Please sign it and send it along to family and friends, then go to DKos to read the Senator's post thanking readers for their support (37,000 emails through Boxer's PAC site alone!)."

So...what are you waiting for...go sign it, please...and stop by DKos and say hi to the best damn Senator this country has.

I can't decide. Boxer/Conyers in 2008 or Conyers/Boxer in 2008?


Wednesday, April 20, 2005

If Any Church Leader Is Going To Hate The Jews...

You're going to have to trust me on this one.

Because I'm not linking to these evil cockroaches.

But since the whole blogosphere is blogging about the new Pope and his innocent time as a Nazi youth, I figured why not see what the new Nazi youth have to say about the Pope.

The following comments are taken from the forum board at an unnamed neo-Nazi Website:

"The Vatican's doctrinal enforcer and "grand inquisitor" Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger is reported to have been a member of the Hitler Youth. While the 78 year old Cardinal grew up during a time when most young men his age were members, wouldn't it be nice if he retained some jew-awareness?"

"Here it says he has opposed Cardinal Kaspar, who is the Jews' leading point man inside the Church: 'He has also sparred openly in articles with fellow German Cardinal Walter Kasper, a moderate who has urged less centralized church governance and is considered a dark horse papal candidate.' No doubt the Queer-loving socalled "American Catholics" will wet their beds over an "arch conservative" gaining the Papacy."

"Maybe he will settle all that so-called "Holocaust" yentering that's been hounding the Church for the past couple of decades."

"If he was out of step with the postwar liberal jewloving German perverts, that was probably a good thing. Going against Kasper, really good thing."

"Thx, Vatican. Hitler, WN worldwide, NSM and can use the publicity."

"Fox jews Philthadephia just mentioned Bennie's involvement as a Hitler youth and soldier for the Nazis. This came in the 3rd segment of broadcast during their 10 o'clock news after they already covered it as the top story. The jews are already sneaking their opinion in. I hope Benny has the balls to wipe em where they stand as he takes leadership and the German American public voices themselves against attacks by the hebes."

"I'm not Catholic, but I give em credit for their choice. If any church leader is going to hate the jews it should be him. He and a lot of his countrymen got the shit bombed out of them, by a war that had a lot of jewish overtones to it. I am sure he knows the score."

"The jews hate the new pope and think with their usual chutzpah that he will give in to their hysteric screaming and whining. But if there is one pope capable of speaking out against the murders of Jesus Christ, it's this one, Benedictus XVI, defensor fidei contra iudaeos."

UPDATE: The Raw Story linked to an article written by the Associated Press in Hindustan Times entitled "New Pope's Nazi link worries Israeli Jews" (I added the bold print in the quote that I pulled from the article):

""Israel is hopeful that under this new papacy, we will continue to move forward in Vatican-Israel relations and we are sure that considering the background of this new Pope, he, like his predecessor, will be a strong voice against anti-Semitism in all its forms," said a statement from Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom."

I found the original article that this A.P. story was excerpted from in a search through Google News. While the title is toned down, the original article contained even more criticism. "Some Jews in Israel wary about new pope" by Associated Press writer Mark Lavie:

"But Rabbi Avraham Ravitz, a veteran representative of ultra-Orthodox Jews in Israel's parliament, reflected the apprehensive feelings of some Jews. "We are very concerned," he said. "I don't know to what extent his participation in the Hitler Youth left an imprint of animosity toward the Jewish people.""

"Ravitz said that the pope, as a moral leader, has a critical role in reducing anti-Semitism or exacerbating it. "One word from the pope - or silence - can be critical," he said. Even Ravitz appeared open to persuasion. "This pope will have to take up where the former one left off," he said, referring to Catholic-Jewish rapprochement. "It will not be enough for him to leave everything where it is.""


Tuesday, April 19, 2005

The NPR Transcript

This is a transcript I made of the NPR interview that Day-To-Day's Madeleine Brand conducted with Nina Bernstein of The New York Times who has written four articles on the two detained 16-year-old girls:

Madeleine Brand: "Nina Bernstein, who are these two girls? Tell us a bit about them, where they came from..."

Nina Bernstein: "One girl is from Bangladesh. She came when she was four with her parents I believe on a tourist visa that they overstayed and she grew up really entirely in Queens and became increasingly drawn to her parents' Muslim faith. The other girl is from Guinea and I think has been in the country even longer. She was a baby really when she came here and all her brothers and sisters were born in this country and are American citizens and she attended - both of them attended - New York City high schools. The Bangladeshi girl seems to be the one who drew the FBI's attention initially."

Madeleine Brand: "So it's unclear that they even know each other, these two girls."

Nina Bernstein: "That's right it's unclear that they even know each other. In fact the Bangladeshi girl's mother, who spoke with her briefly in detention, reported that they only met - according to the girl - at 26 Federal Plaza, the immigration headquarters, where they were taken separately on the day of their arrest, March 24th, and that the Guinean girl seeing this fellow teenager in Muslim garb gave her a traditional Muslim greeting and, presumably, federal agents watching this imagined that they were friends and possibly even co-conspirators."

Madeleine Brand: "How did they come to the attention to the FBI to begin with?"

Nina Bernstein: "Okay, this Bangladeshi girl who had become increasingly religious and had wore a full veil to her Manhattan high school decided at the beginning of her junior year that she did not want to continue in school. She couldn't deal with just the normal teenage banter of - through sexually latent I guess - between boys and girls at a co-ed high school. It offended her religious sensibilities according to the parent-teacher coordinator that I interviewed."

"And the parents confirmed this, that she would come home upset and she wanted - she insisted that she wanted - to do a home-schooling course instead - a correspondence course. But, in this case, these parents, these Bangaledeshi parents, were not at all happy with this. You know, this father really describes himself as someone who doesn't pray as a Muslim, and he believes firmly in secular education and he wanted his daughter to complete public high school. So there was tension over that."

"And then one day she tells him that she's met this young Muslim man who wants to marry her - now she's 16. And you know he says "you're much too young" and he refuses these overtures and the daughter seems to accept this. Then comes a day when she - she's perhaps run away. The father is worried, he's afraid she's eloped, and he goes to the local police precinct seeking help. And he told me he trusts the police - you know - he believes in the American system and this is what he now believes set off the whole investigation."

"While the Bangladeshi girl was turning more to her religion, the Guinean girl seemed to be opening to the world. And she was so popular in her school that she came in second when she ran for student body president."

"It's really - you have a whole school now of teachers and parents and students who are wrestling with the fact that we wanted the government to be vigilant, we want to have tools to protect us in a potential like suicide bombing. I mean there's probably nothing more scary, especially to New Yorkers who ride the subway every day. But, on the other hand, neither do we want to see civil liberties eroded. They're confronting the idea that someone can be plucked from their midst who seemed and - by all accounts - is just a normal teenager."

End of Interview.


Monday, April 18, 2005

Computer Blues

...sorry...but i had a problem with my computer this weekend so I've been a little bit behind in the blogging...problem is I should be back to normal by tomorrow...

Saurav wants me to announce about a vigil in Pennsylvania for the two 16-year-old girls that were detained set for May 11th...more details to be announced later....

And I'd also like to throw up another link to The Brad Blog who has been on fire recently. Just go to Brad's blog and read his last weeks worth of stories if you haven't been there lately. response to an e-mail I got that I'm too weary to respond to....I forget was I supposed to blog about Ireland or something...what about Poland?


Sunday, April 17, 2005

How Did Ed Asner Get So Smart? The Book Meme

Before New Wave and Hip Hop - but post-punk - there used to be a commercial that ran all the time on one of the five or six television networks that featured a precocious youngster and post-Mary Tyler Moore but pre-Lou Grant actor Ed Asner.

Ed Asner would bark, "Hey, kid. How'd you get so smart?"

The freckle-faced boy would answer in a smart-ass manner with one word: "Reading."

Story of my life.

Or at least a story that I saw on the t.v. in my life which probably influenced me as much as Big Bird and Ernie (though it's probably Bert and Oscar's fault that I'm such a grouchy asshole).

What the f - is for fuck - am I blogging about?

Haven't you heard that there's a book meme going around?

What the h - is for Hell - is a book meme?

I guess it's sort of a cyber chain letter. I don't know what the penalty is for breaking the chain, but since the meme's about books I'll do the right thing this time and be a conformist.

Tas got tagged and then tagged me, along with Jesse, Newswriter, Max, Chepooka, and Asia , so now I got to do the same (I think the rule is tag three, but I'll tag five at the end also).

You're stuck inside Fahrenheit 451. Which book do you want to be?

Every couple years I always make sure to reread one book, which happens to be an unfinished book, so maybe I always reread it on the hopes that it may have grown an ending. But F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Last Tycoon doesn't need one. Because it's kind of short and I wouldn't want to lose a word of what there is I'd make it my mission to memorize ever line from The Last Tycoon: Manuscript and Revised Typescript for the First 17 Episodes, With the Author's Notes and Plans.

Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character?

Aside from myself the only fictional character that I can think of that I yearned for could also be considered semi-fictional. Esther from Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar. Smart, gifted, well-read and extremely emotional I guess if she existed for real I'd like to give her a reason to keep on existing - though that would fuck up the ending (and I'd hope that it would change the ending for the character's model/creator as well).

The last book you bought is?

The last book I bought was Modest Gifts : Poems and Drawings by my favorite author, Norman Mailer. I got to see him read from it at Union Square, shake his hand, and autograph my copy along with an early edition of his first book, The Naked And The Dead.

What are you currently reading?

About fifty or so remain unfinished on my book shelf but one of these days I'll finish reading David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest because it's so d - is for damn - heavy that it would be nice not to have to lift it the next time I move.

Five books you would take to a deserted island

Looking Backward by Edward Bellamy; Notes From Underground by Fyodor Dostoevsky; The Autobiography of Malcolm X; (As Told to Alex Haley); William Shakespeare: The Complete Works (which would also make good raft material); and hopefully before I become a castaway like Prospero someone will kindly write How To Go Online So You Can Blog From a Deserted Island or I'd have to settle for Jack London's To Build A Fire cause it would be more fun to read than the Boy Scout manual.

Who are you going to pass this stick to (3 persons) and why?

I'll choose Ryan, because he's my number one researcher and the only guest blogger this blog has ever had; Mixter because she's my comrade-in-blog-arms at Watching The Watchers (along with Ryan so it's their job to recruit the other two: ~A! and Ed Nelson); Saurav since he's my newest bud blogger (and co-founder of Detainment; The Common Ills so that I can also include an apology in this post to C.I. and the entire community for undeserved friendly fire; and ALa 'cause she's my rightest blogger buddy (that's right in a political sense, though - now and again - she's on the right side of reality as well).


Saturday, April 16, 2005

The New York Times Is A Brick Wall

For a time, post-Jayson Blair, you could count on some kind of response from the New York Times when you wrote them an e-mail.

I guess not anymore.

I haven't received a response from this letter that I sent yesterday to the editors of the Metro section and the paper itself and to Daniel Okrent.

And...hell...if you're a regular reader you know I could have been meaner...

The New York Times did publish a correction in today's paper about the Nina Bernstein article. But it was for pretty much everything else they wrote in the article. They ought to be ashamed. They ought to be sued.

Here is their correction, followed by my reaction (again in bold print), then followed by my ignored and unanswered letter:


Because of editing errors, an article yesterday about a new York teenager born in Guinea who has been detained in an immigration manner, amid government claims that she is a security threat, referred incorrectly to comments by her lawyer and mother. The lawyer said the girl was innocent and willing to cooperate with investigators; she did not say the girl was a cooperating witness. The girl's mother said the girl had been detained by mistake, along with her father, who has political asylum and was awaiting a green card. The mother did not say he might have missed an immigration appointment.

Will there be a correction in tomorrow's paper for this correction. There are not "goverment claims." There is no official government claim on the record, only a document that The New York Times claims to have seen somehow. That document is a singular claim, not multiple claims. The New York Times again has done these girls a disservice. This irresponsible journalism should be a crime.

Dear New York Times,

I'm one of the two editors for a new blog called "Detainment" at which was started a few days ago to help the two 16-year-old girls that were detained in late March as "would-be suicide bombers" according to your newspaper and your newspaper alone.

I would like to know why an article by Nina Bernstein that appeared in today's paper is still claiming that the girls are being held under suspicion of terror claims when two days ago Reuters reported that they were only being charged with immigration violations.

I think it's completely irresponsible to again print a story that contains no statements from any federal officials but again condems the girls as possible terrorists.

The first sentence of the third paragraph in Nina Bernstein's story is particularily offensive. It was completely wrong and a lie to write "[t]he government suggests otherwise" right after the mother of the Guinean girl said "[s]he's a good girl, she's a family girl." Irrespective of any "documents" that you did or did not see there is not one shred of evidence or innuendo that suggests the Guinean girl is not "a family girl."

You owe the family an apology and a correction for that highly defamatory and snarky response which might be okay on a blog but isn't appropriate for a newspaper. And I doubt Ms. Bernstein even wrote that line since her work on this story has been pretty decent.

Has she seen the "document" you claim that exists...or did the terrible reporter that for some astonishing reason has a story on today's front page again when she should have been fired years ago. Of course, I'm referring to the scoundrel Judith Miller. In that front page article, the scoundrel doesn't even mention one of the key indicted parties until the end of her story. Perhaps this Brit is another friend of Judy's (NOTE - The Common Ills exposed this little trick by Judy.).

The Reuters article published two days ago DID contain statements from TWO federal officials who claimed that the girls were being held only for immigration violations.

For your paper to ignore the FACTS and to again continue basing stories on UNNAMED SOURCES is yellow journalism of the lowest caliber.

After you print an apology and a correction for your slur of a statement against the Guinean girl being a family should also explain why you didn't refer to the federal officials who said "otherwise" and why your paper didn't even contact them.

This is the link to the Reuters article: link though I'm sure your paper read it cause it contained kind of a knock against your Judithmillerish "exclusive."

""We're detaining them on immigration violations, and that is it," said ICE spokesman Manny Van Pelt."

"The girls do not face criminal charges, said Robert Nardoza, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District in New York. "It's an immigration case. It's not a case that we're prosecuting, and to my knowledge it's not with any prosecutor's office at this point," Nardoza said. "It's strictly an immigration matter.""

It's a shame that Jayson Blair is considered a "national disgrace" for plagiarism but Judith Miller continues to remain employed by you and you allow stories like today's propaganda piece to appear in the "paper of record" (a term I might add employed by many of the staff at the Times despite but the departing Public Editor may choose to believe).

Ron Brynaert


Friday, April 15, 2005

The Guinean Girl's Mother Speaks Out

(This article is cross-posted at Detainment (the blog formally known as Detain This! although the URL for now is unchanged). To be honest, I am so pissed at this New York Times article that I want to go ballistic at this blog. Instead, I'm holding back until we can find out why this "new" article mentions nothing from an article written by a news service competitor. There is one line that I added here that is in bold print, since this is my blog, and one of my number one themes at this blog is the use of propaganda in the Mainstream Media. I've written an awful lot about the propaganda at Talon News/GOPUSA, but the other "news" organization that I've attacked almost as much is The New York Times. And while there may be an explanation as to why this article doesn't reflect official comments from officials published elswhere, there is no excuse for the first line of the third paragraph in this article. No excuse at all.)

Today's Friday edition of The New York Times contains an interview with the mother of A. - the 16-year-old Guinean girl - "Mother Defends Girl Swept Up in an Immigration Raid, Amid Terror Claims" written by Nina Bernstein (her fourth article concerning this story in the last week):

"She's a good girl, she's a family girl," her mother, 38, said, speaking in Fula through a translator on Wednesday evening as she struggled to serve customers and tend to her 6-month-old son."

"The government suggests otherwise" begins the very next sentence of the very next paragraph in Nina Bernstein's article. Now it's very possible that Ms. Bernstein didn't write this highly inflammatory, way-out-of-line line but as C.I. usually says "we'll blame the name in the byline." Regardless of whatever it is that these girls are being charged with there is absolutely not one shred of evidence that "suggests otherwise" that the detained girl can't be described as "a family girl." This goes beyond propaganda and is an out-and-out defamatory lie.

This article seems to be at odds with the Reuters article written two days ago: "Muslims Keep Eye on Case of Detained NY Girls." Wednesday's article quoted two officials who went on the record:

""We're detaining them on immigration violations, and that is it," said ICE spokesman Manny Van Pelt."

"The girls do not face criminal charges, said Robert Nardoza, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District in New York. "It's an immigration case. It's not a case that we're prosecuting, and to my knowledge it's not with any prosecutor's office at this point," Nardoza said. "It's strictly an immigration matter.""

Although the Reuters article referred to The New York Times, the Times completely ignores the former and contains no new quotes from officials on or off the record and refers again to the government document which they claim to have been shown by someone in the government. The Reuters article which had been published with no byline even seemed to discredit the Times account by stating that "initially the charges seemed dire."

There may be a legitimate reason for this, but - for now - I'll just excerpt the new news that appears in the Times article:

""She was 18 months old when she came to America, and she was here, too, during 9/11," said Natasha Pierre, who was hired by Guinean immigrants two weeks after the girl's arrest to represent her. "She's just as concerned and scared of terrorists as the rest of us are.""

"Of her parents, who have been here for 15 years, Ms. Pierre added, "These are just hard-working, simple immigrants who are trying to make it in this country." Even their immigration troubles could be resolved, she maintained. Though neither the lawyer nor officials gave details, the Guinean girl's mother said that the father had been granted political asylum and that he might have missed an appointment as he was awaiting his green card. An immigration official acknowledged that if he had inadvertently missed an appointment, his case would have been closed as abandoned, and a deportation order eventually issued."

"Representative Charles B. Rangel, a Democrat whose district includes Harlem, is demanding more information about the girl's case from Michael J. Garcia, who heads Immigration and Customs Enforcement, within the Department of Homeland Security. "No evidence has been given to justify her removal from the community," Mr. Rangel wrote in a letter to Mr. Garcia this week."

"But the Bangladeshi girl was allowed to see her mother only twice for less than 20 minutes, Mr. Mattes said. He said the girl told him that three F.B.I. agents had questioned her repeatedly for as long as two and a half hours at a time in the first week of her detention, insisting that an essay they had found among her school papers showed that she must be depressed, because it discussed suicide, and that she would be to blame if her family were deported."

"Her bond hearing is May 11."

"The Guinean girl's mother said that except for a brief telephone call soon after the arrest, she has not heard from her daughter. With her English limited to "May I help you?" and the sales vocabulary of color, size and price, she said she did not even understand the men who identified themselves as "police" when they banged on the apartment door. "I had just finished breast-feeding the baby," she said. "They sat down and waited for my husband."

"When he returned from morning prayers at the East 96th Street Mosque, she said, the agents handcuffed him and then her daughter, too. The last time she saw her, the mother said, her daughter was being led away in tears."

There's some more information about the detention center where the girls are being held in The New York Times article, including references to newspaper articles and an Amnesty International report which "criticized the conditions as too punitive for young asylum-seekers who entered the United States without parents."

Hopefully, there's an explanation for the difference in the two articles written two days apart, and we'll try to find out more about this later today.


Action Alert: Appeal For Detained Teenage Woman's Family

I'm crossposting this diary that Saurav wrote up at Daily Kos today. I know...I know...Just last week I wrote that I would never ask my readers to donate money to anyone. But I can't help it. This story has greatly affected me and I'm going to do all I can to help these two girls and their families. So...please...if you can afford it...write a check to help out the families.

"As you know, two teenagers, A & T, have been detained on immigration charges and smeared in the media as "suicide bombers" by the U.S. government without any susbtantiation; even the young women don't have access to the evidence against them. All this while unnamed FBI officials and DHS officials have undercut their own agents' claims that this is a serious national security investigation. Without knowing all the facts, it seems safe to say this would be a farce if people's lives were not being destroyed."

"Adem Carroll, an advocate in close touch with the family, told me they need to raise approximately $10,000 in the next three months just in order to get by. The vast majority of the money would go towards housing. The remainder would be for food and in case any legal expenses come up (although the lawyer is currently doing the case for free)."

"There's enough money available right now from various sources to cover them for a few days, but it could get somewhat bad for them in a short amount of time. Also, we haven't factored bail in yet, which, if granted, could potentially be a huge expense (we'll send out a separate appeal for that if it comes up, which it hopefully will, so she can get out of jail)."

"Given everything they're going through with their daughter's jailing, isolation, and the media smear campaign by the government, it would be amazing if those of us outside the direct situation can help out with this end of it. I can't imagine what it's like to both grapple with your daughter being in jail and simultaneously worry about whether you'll have a place to live if/when she gets out."

"CAIR-NY, a reputable group involved in helping these two families and many others, has an Emergency Family Fund."

To contribute to the fund, you can mail checks to:

Emergency Families Fund / CAIR
C/o 9-11 relief program / Adem Carroll
166-26 89th Avenue
Jamaica, NY, 11432
Donations are tax exempt

"FYI, Adem Carroll is at Islamic Circle of North America, and helps administer the fund. He's also the person I know who's been in closest contact with T's family. If you want it to go directly to the teenagers and their families, earmark it as such. Otherwise, whatever surplus the fund has will be used for the Emergency Family Fund more generally."

"Please drop a line to and let us know if you're sending a check and how much. You can get more information on this action alert and other details of the case at Detain This!, where this is crossposted."


U.S. Military Don't Do Propaganda

Edward Harris wrote a story called "U.S. Troops Engage in War of Words in Iraq" for the Associated Press about the "war of words in Iraq, where U.S. troops patrolling the northern city of Mosul constantly inspect handbills and graffiti on sun-scorched walls, searching for insurgent messages that they counter with their own psychological operations — or "psy-ops.""

But according to this story, the U.S. military don't do propaganda.

Oh, really.

""It's a fine line, but propaganda is more based on untruth," says Capt. Corbin England, 34, of Puyallup, Wash., who helps coordinate the U.S. military's coercive efforts in Mosul."

Nope. Captain. No fine line.

Propaganda is defined as "the systematic propagation of a doctrine or cause or of information reflecting the views and interests of those advocating such a doctrine or cause. Material disseminated by the advocates or opponents of a doctrine or cause: wartime propaganda" (

It doesn't matter if it's true or not; still propaganda if it's being disseminated by a government.

But at least the troops are only disseminating propaganda based on truth.

Or are they?

From the same A.P. story: "A booklet distributed by the Americans recounts the tale of a young boy, Ahmed Hussein, who finds a magic ring and has premonitions of an unexploded mortar round on a soccer field. He tells police of his vision before his brother Ali, about to step onto the field, can be hurt by the ordnance."

Unless I'm mistaken, "magic rings" that work do not exist in the real world. But there's always the chance that Haliburton's been given a multi-billion dollar secret contract by Cheney and Co. to manufacture "magic rings" so I could be wrong.

It's still propaganda, though. "Magic rings" or no "magic rings" "journalists" like Edward Harris should know better than to allow unreality-based denials to run unanswered in their articles.

Mr. Harris doesn't counter this "propaganda" about propaganda so that makes him just as much of a propagandist.


Thursday, April 14, 2005

Michelle Malkin Is An Idiot!

Tas at Loaded Mouth has a post that takes Michelle Malkin to task entitled "There's asinine, and then there's Holy-Shit-Braindead-Fucking-Stupid":

"Providing yet more evidence that she needs a hobby, Michelle Malkin makes a post about all the anti-Bush merchandise she intentionally searched Cafepress to find, publishing pictures of the most vile examples before proceeding to place a blanket of blame on the left at large for their existence by ending her post with this line of shit: "Welcome to the sick world of the pro-assassination Left."

Tas quotes Malkin: "And before the "everybody does it" apologists pooh-pooh this lunatic anti-Bush merchandise: There's tasteless political paraphernalia on both sides of the aisle, but I've already searched and there are currently no "Kill Kerry" products, blood-spattered or otherwise, being sold at Cafe Press."

Proving once again that the right has more power than the left, Cafe Press removed the offending merchandise that Malkin referred to.

My fucking question. Why don't they remove this shit, too?

For $17.99 you can buy the "Dear Teddy, Please Commit Suicide Camisole" (link) which is "Made In The USA."

Aaron's Case has a whole page devoted to gruesome anti-Democratic merchandise (link). How come Cafe Press allows him to continue hawking this vile crap.

Want to meet the guy behind this pile of crap. Meet Aaron "the liberal slayer." Visit his blog and ask him if Michelle Malkin ever bought any of his suicide camisoles to wear around the house: Aaron's cc.

UPDATE - Wingnut C. Varones left this comment on my Haloscan (I trackbacked to Michelle Malkin so he must be one of her readers): " Surely you can see the difference between advocating assassination and telling someone to commit suicide."

"I don't see your point at all."

So Wingnut C. Varones thinks it's okay to sell t-shirts telling someone to kill themselves. That's funny. Michelle Malkin doesn't seem to agree with that.

Malkin's very first line from the post that I linked to: "Yesterday, Drudge linked to a nasty anti-Tom Delay t-shirt being hawked at Cafe Press. The shirt urged the GOP congressman to commit suicide."

Wingnuts can't read, I guess.

Malkin shows three different items on her post. Two read "Kill Bush" like the movie logo, and the third shows Bush holding a gun to his head.

Still don't see my point, dumbass.


Wednesday, April 13, 2005

The Nation Kicks Ass!

Ari Berman (who writes The Daily Outrage column at The Nation Website) wrote a powerful article yesterday about the two 16-year-old girls - A. & T. - who have been detained as "would-be suicide bombers" called "Young And Arrested".

Most journalists or bloggers might let it go at that. Write one article then head to the next story. But not Ari Berman. I exchanged a few e-mails with him yesterday and he expressed a lot of interest in the case and sympathy and outrage.

Less than an hour ago, The Nation got involved again.

Peter Rothberg (who writes the Act Now column at The Nation Website) wrote a follow-up to Ari's article entitled "Detained Without Charge", which was co-written by Mark Hatch-Miller.

Here are the last two paragraphs (which contain links to the blog Saurav and I started just 16 hours ago):

"From the dearth of available information, it seems likely that the case of the teenage suicide bombers is simply a routine immigration investigation gone mad. Unfortunately, the rules of immigration hearings require the girls to prove they aren't suicide bombers, rather than the government to prove that they are."

"A hearing is being held tomorrow, Thursday, April 14, so please click here to send a letter of support for the girls' lawyers to present to the court. There's also a rally being planned to support the girls. Check out and circulate the details and other info about the case on a new blog created to help defend the girls by clicking here."

Ari, Peter and Mark. Thank you so much. I've always loved The Nation. It happens to be the only publication that I read and support. Now I have even more reasons to love The Nation.


Special thanks to ABF, a Daily Kosser from Germany who has been very supportive and who alerted me to The Nation article which really brightened my day. Thanks, Ágnes.


Hell Yeah! Markos!

I've said a lot of not-nice things about Markos from Daily Kos, things that stemmed from the post-election tin foil wars last November, and other things that I've perceived as attacks on the left.

I also didn't like the fact that Markos (and some other bloggers) talked up Simon Rosenberg - who supports the invasion of Iraq even though you didn't read about that when they talked him up (thankfully, Simon lost miserably in his quest to lead the doubt thanks to bloggers and some Air America radio hosts who did tell the truth about Simon and the truth about what he didn't really do for the Hispanic American vote in 2004 which is his only claim to fame).

But Kos, right now, is going to war for the left! He's fighting back hard against the DLC, Joe Lieberman and The New Republic - let's face it - our worst enemies.

DLC, the GOP's best friend will be the shot heard round the entire Internet! Markos has discovered that the National Republican Senate Committee has a press release attacking the left, and some of it's representatives, which quotes from the sell-outs on our side: pdf file.

Markos writes, "Fact is, Lieberman, the DLC, and the so-called-liberal TNR are tools of the GOP. Whether they intended to or not, they are now typecast as the intra-party bomb throwers."

Let's hope that this has a more powerful impact than what's been launched on us by the people on the other side of our side.

I am a little upset at the Daily Kos community for not giving the attention the two 16-year-old girls who have been detained deserve. But we have gotten a lot of responses from a lot of great people from there and elsewhere. Thanks.


2 1/2 Hours Left To Help The Girls

In late March, two 16 year-old girls, A and T -- were taken into immigration custody and accused of "terrorism" by the FBI. They are now being held in a detention facility under secret evidence to which they have no access, are being questioned repeatedly and threatened, and will be subjected to closed hearings.

A new blog has been formed to help these girls called Detain This! and we urgently need people to help send letters that will be presented at a bond hearing for T set for this Thursday.

To make it easier, Tas at Loaded Mouth has made an e-mail generator, if you put your name and e-mail address on this form and click send the letters will go straight to DRUM who will then get it to the lawyers.


URGENT! Sign Petition For Detain This!

Update: Instead of the petition we have a letter that is downloadable at our blog Detain This! So instead of sending us an e-mail please go to the blog and follow the directions written there...sorry for the last minute change but we thought this would be easier than getting petitions signed and it's of the utmost urgency since we need to get letters of support by 5 PM on Wednesday so we can get it to the lawyers by thursday morning.

In late March, two 16 year-old girls, A and T -- were taken into immigration custody and accused of "terrorism" by the FBI. They are now being held in a detention facility under secret evidence to which they have no access, are being questioned repeatedly and threatened, and will be subjected to closed hearings.

A new blog has been formed to help these girls called Detain This! and we urgently need people to collect signatures for a petition that will be presented at a bond hearing for T set for this Thursday.

On Tuesday, April 12, 2005 the following powerful account appeared as the lead editorial in The New York Times:

Guilty Until Proven Innocent

"The post-9/11 world involves two competing nightmares. One imagines another terrorist attack that occurs because authorities fail to respond to signs of danger. The other is about innocent people who are arrested by mistake and held indefinitely because authorities are too frightened, or embarrassed, to admit their errors."

"We have to be equally vigilant against both. Right now, two New York City girls, both 16, have been detained and accused of plotting to become suicide bombers. If there is a real reason to believe that charge, officials are obviously right to have acted. But so far, they have said little about the evidence against the girls, and the girls' friends and families have offered accounts that suggest the charges could be completely false."

"At this point, it's impossible not to worry about a potential miscarriage of justice, given the number of previous incidents in which the government has rushed to make a terrorism arrest that turned out to be baseless."

"Details of the cases against the two girls - one from Bangladesh and the other from Guinea, and both in the country illegally - are sketchy. According to reporting by Nina Bernstein in The Times, the parents of the Bangladeshi girl went to the police several weeks ago to file a complaint about their daughter's defying their authority. When the dispute was resolved, they tried to withdraw the complaint, but the police proceeded with an investigation."

"The police and federal immigration officials searched her belongings and are reported to have found an essay on suicide. According to the family, the essay says suicide is against Islamic law. But detectives went on to question the girl about her political beliefs before arresting her. Even less is known about the investigation of the girl from Guinea. Teachers and students at the high school she attended expressed outrage at the arrest and at the idea that she could be plotting terrorism."

"The government calls the girls an "imminent threat," and says it has "evidence that they plan to be suicide bombers." But it has not described the evidence, insisting that national security requires that much of it remain secret. Because the girls are here illegally, they have been put into a deportation system that affords them far fewer rights than ordinary criminal suspects have. There is no definite limit on how long they can be held."

"No one wants to leap to conclusions about a government case in such an important area. But the record is not reassuring. Last year, the government wrongly jailed Brandon Mayfield, a lawyer who is a Muslim, for two weeks after the F.B.I. mistakenly matched his fingerprint to one found at the scene of the Madrid train bombing. After the Sept. 11 attacks, the Justice Department rounded up hundreds of Muslim men who were here illegally and detained them for months, often in deplorable conditions. The department's inspector general later found that the F.B.I. had made "little attempt to distinguish" those with terrorism ties from those without. Shortly after 9/11, federal authorities detained a Nepalese tourist for three months in a tiny cell after he inadvertently included an F.B.I. building in a videotape of the sights of New York for folks at home."

"More information about the two girls will no doubt surface over time. If the evidence isn't there, the arrests are very disturbing. The government will have taken 16-year-olds from their families, branded them as would-be terrorists and put them into a frightening legal limbo for no good reason."

This is the petition that we are circulating:


In late March, two 16 year-old girls, A and T -- were taken into immigration custody and accused of "terrorism" by the FBI. They are now being held in a detention facility under secret evidence to which they have no access, are being questioned repeatedly and threatened, and will be subjected to closed hearings. As individuals, we are extremely concerned that:

· A and T have been unfairly targeted by the US Government based on discriminatory, anti-Muslim motives

· A and T are being unnecessarily held and separated from their siblings, parents, families, and communities.

· A and T are languishing in detention and experiencing abuse, repeated questioning about charges they do not understand or know nothing of since the evidence is secret, while their civil and human rights are being violated.

· Their civil and human rights have been violated since the fundamental guarantee that one knows the reasons they are deprived of liberty is not being practiced as they are (1) being held with secret evidence, and (2) will have closed hearings, which are against all notions of justice in a democratic society.


More information can be found at my blog in this post: Two 16-year-old Girls Alone In Prison.

Saurav Sarkar from Dark Days Ahead, who has been involved in cases regarding immigration rights the last few years and is working with the groups that are helping the families, will be running the blog with me.

Please e-mail us at this e-mail address: so that we can send you a copy of the petition in Word Document to download and print in order to collect signatures.

This is an URGENT request since they need to be faxed to DRUM by tomorrow afternoon at 5p.m. eastern at 516-466-7750 and will then be faxed en masse to the lawyer.

Please help us help these girls. We have a temporary place to send funds if you're interested in helping the families. The Bangladeshi family is in need of urgent financial assistance.

Neither of the girls are eligible for court appointed attorneys.

Ron Brynaert
Saurav Sarkar
Detain This!


Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Blogger Vs. Journalist

A Pulitzer Prize winner decided to take on a blogger (and the blogosphere in general).

Hands down. Blogger wins: Of Polygraphs, Pulitzers, Patriots and Prevaricators....


Monday, April 11, 2005

Wingnuts Meet The Wingnuts


Meet the wingnuts.

They're the stone-age family.

They pull...

...facts from their butts.

They like to make up history.


When will these people learn.


Anything. Read a book. Read the United States Constitution. Learn to look at a fucking map.

I feel sorry for all the free-thinking Republicans out there in America - millions of them - who have to put up with a miniscule number of wingnuts who are rapidly making their entire political party a mockery.

There's no need to bring up the million-and-one stupid wingnutty things some of these right-wing bloggers, pundits and United States Congressmen have been up to the last few weeks, cause they seem to be on a roll, and we might as well look to the future which is sure to be even more wingnuttier.

Case in point: the story I've been covering the last couple of days (Part 1, Part 2 & Part 3). It's about two 16-year-old girls from New York City - one Guinean, the other Bangladeshi who entered America legally but have overstayed their visas though their siblings were born and raised in America - who have been detained as possible "suicide bombers" based on what looks like no evidence whatsoever.

So far this is all we know for sure: "According to a government document provided to The New York Times by a federal official earlier this week, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has asserted that both girls are "an imminent threat to the security of the United States based on evidence that they plan to be suicide bombers." No evidence was cited, and federal officials will not comment on the case." (Nina Bernstein in Saturday's edition of The New York Times)

But that don't stop the wingnuts from weighing in with their faith-based, stupid-assed, unreasonable reasoning.

So many to choose from. Who do I start with? How about these guys:

Meet Wingnut #1 - Bill Lies: "Just my two cents. If you've been convicted of committing a Terrorist act, or planning should be put to death. That's what they are trying to do to us....KILL US...they played the game and lost (got caught). It should cost them their lives."

In case you missed the wingnuttiest part of that diatribe against two 16-year-old girls who have been detained and not "convicted": "...they played the game and lost..." Ummm. Who does Wingnut #1 - Bill Lies think won the "game" on September 11th (not that this has anything to do with that...just proving wingnuttery, that's all).

Meet Wingnut #2 - Txman: "Um... ... ... I can't help but think theres a reason it didn't say Two 16-year-old MIDDLE EASTERN girls from New York City."

Laugh out fucking loud. Watch out with those caps, Txman, you might hurt somebody. Map please for the wingnut. Bangladesh is in Asia and Guinea is in Africa, neither country is anywhere near the Middle East. Perhaps that's the reason why those commie libs at The New York Times didn't say "MIDDLE EASTERN."

Meet Wingnut #3 - speed_addiction: "The father is so full sh*t! Islam was beat into this girl. She was probably isolated and taught to hate her whole life. It was not like she was worth anything to her family, they are muslims and she is only a female anyway."

I'll let that hate-filled wingnut's venomous words speak for themselves. No need to go there, speed_addiction's moniker may have been the reason why - after his service concluded with the US Army Rangers - he served his country by spending 74 months in prison: "A few events in my life have defined me."

Meet Wingnut #4 - taxesareforever: "But one federal official, not connected to the F.B.I., expressed skepticism that the teenagers represented a real risk of a suicide bombing. What's his name? Are we supposed to guess? Okay: A.Bill Clinton B.Daschle C.Berger D.Pelosi E.Kennedy F.Kerry G.All of the Above."

The correct answer, wingnut, which you forgot to include would be "None of the above" because none of the people you named are currently working in federal law enforcement.

Meet Wingnut #5 - azhenfud: "Those girls must have a size C4 cup."

Oh don't mind azhenfud. Just because he has his mind on the breasts of 16-year-old girls, that doesn't mean he isn't pious: "Know therefore that God exacteth of thee less than thine iniquity deserveth."

Meet Wingnut #6 - kingu: "Don't care if they may or may not have wanted to be suicide bombers. Deport them. Deport their illegal parents. The kids born here can stay - orphanages if they're minors. Hey, if you want to be a compassionate conservative, they can stay one month for every illegal they identify who is deported."

Finally, a defintion of "compassionate conservative" that almost makes sense.

Folks, we have a winner for nuttiest wingnut of the day.

Meet Wingnut #7 - Cross: "Your response is a good example of how political correctness obfuscates the truth. You are more offended by your perceived view of my racial orientation than you are about why immigration is going to be the largest problem facing the west since the black plague. (At the risk of being labeled a white supremist, let me amend it to just the plague of Europe in the 14th century.)"

What the fuck was that?

More wingnuttery from Cross: "You must remember that the people in western countries are not reproducing and in fact the number of deaths exceed the number of births...One solution might be that western countries pay women to have children, say $20,000 per child and I’ll bet the native populations will soon expand making immigration less needed."

Twenty grand per birth might not produce a nation of Reagan's mythical "welfare queens" but where's the money going to come from?

Oh...silly me for forgetting to think wingnuttily...the answer must be from social security.


Sunday, April 10, 2005

Two 16-year-old Girls Alone In Prison (part 3)

(Please scroll down and read the previous two posts if you missed it yesterday (Part 1 and Part 2). It's about two 16-year-old girls from New York City - one Guinean, the other Bangladeshi whose parents entered this country illegally - who have been detained as possible "suicide bombers" based on what looks like no evidence whatsoever. They need our help and support; they need e-mails and letters written to whomever can help them; they need phone calls and marches and rallies and whatever it takes.)

I know that there have been some people who have been hesitant to get behind this case because both of the girls are illegal immigrants and so are their parents. But maybe the fact that both girls have brothers and sisters who were born in America and are American citizens will help change their minds. These girls need our help.

Adem Carroll, a friend of the Bangladeshi girl, is a "a tireless fighter for Muslim civil liberties" who is allied with the Islamic Circle of North America. Adem is also 16 years old.

At a Yahoo newsgroup called "Shobak::CNN FOR THE LEFT" there is a page that contains a heartfelt letter Adem wrote the morning after the arrest and more details that he gathered in an interview with the parents of the Bangladeshi girl; her name is included there, too, but since she's only 16 I don't feel comfortable including that information at this time. If you follow the link please respect whatever privacy the 16-year-old girl still retains, but feel free to contact the lawyer who didn't show up for her hearing; his name I did include.

This is Adem's letter in full, just the way he wrote it:

"Am up now at 5 am-- the time of immigrant round ups and disappearances."

"Had a bad dream. Of riding in a city bus and looking up to see hooded, faceless riders."

"Today's case disturbs me. The 16 old girl has been here since she was 4; her family is originally from Bangladesh, living in Queens."

"Anyway, now they came and took the daughter and confiscated her computer, cell phone, diary and some books. She is not being held where they say she is."

"I called the chaplain there and he tells me she is not there. He also tells me he cannot tell me anything but he hints. My sense is that she may be held with adults or quite possibly in administration segregation. This 16 year old girl is allowed to call her family only once a week. That is unusual."

"The authorities had recently asked the family about "suicide" --I think about support of suicide bombing--and the father had told them of course it is against the religion. But for some reason there are these questions."

"The facility where she is being held (Berks in Pennsylvania) lost their license to hold youth detainees. And she is apprently not in the family facility, where whole families are being detained."

"The father, when I told him [the girl] may be held for at least a couple of months he started to twitch uncontrollably. It was really quite alarming."

"We did call some lawyers and we did call the Bangladeshi Consulate which seemed reluctant to do anything on a friday afternoon, if ever. The Deportation Officer I spoke with was unwilling to talk. We will look into other possibilities."

"The Chaplain took the opportunity to ask us for an Albanian Quran for an Albanian family being held in his facility."

"So I cannot sleep."

peace, Adem

The following account was recorded by Adem on April 5th, who notes that "all information was recorded first hand from the parents..." (I removed the names and fixed the grammar and punctuation up a bit, but otherwise it's what Adem wrote):

"Two weeks prior to March 24th [the Bangladeshi girl] 16 year old high school student who attended Environmental Studies in Manhattan was visited by two detectives from the local precinct. The detectives came without warrants and spoke to [her] mother. The detectives were identified by [the mohter] as being [a] Pakistani female and [a] white American male who were both in civilian clothing. [She] told them to come back when her husband was home, but the detectives insisted on talking to her and coming inside the house."

"They did not show her any warrant or any paper. [She] sincerely let both detectives in. The detectives came in claiming to investigate [her daughter's] absence from school while she never been to school since September 2005. [She] explained that [her daughter] would be doing home schooling and will be obtaining a GED due to problems arising at school with her Islamic dress code and the school's dress code."

"The male detective asked if [the girl] had plans to go to Saudi Arabia. The female detective then proceeded to search the house and entered [her daughter's] room. There the detective searched through [her] belongings for more than one hour without any warrant. The next day [she] received a phone call from the female detective who fabricated to [her] that [her daughter] believed in extremist beliefs and promoted concepts like suicide bombing. [Her daughter] made it very clear that she was pro-life and was against such concepts. [She] said she didn't raise [her daughter] with such concepts. [Her daughter] validated the fabrication made by the detectives and reaffirmed that she believes in a peaceful and pro-life religion."

"On March 24th [the girl] was visited by two agents at 5 AM in the morning. Her mother was approached and the agents told her they were from INS. Special Agents but they did not show any form of warrant or paper. [They] claimed they were from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency."

"The agents approached the mother, who did not speak English fluently, and requested that she sign a document(the father was not home at that morning). According to the mother the document was permission to only ask [her daughter] questions. The agents told her mother that the reason they were taking [her daughter] was because of a political asylum case that her case was dismissed because she did not show up at her appointment date."

"According to [the mother] there were about ten to twelve agents who came into the house and searched through the house for almost two hours. They confiscated [her daughter's] computer, her reading materials including personal journals, notebooks and her mother's cell phone."

"The agents insisted they take [the] 16 year old alone with them to Federal Plaza and not [her mother] because of [her] four month infant. Even though [the] brother and sister were [in]volved in the same political asylum case only [the 16-year-old girl] was taken and detained. She was held at the Plaza for eleven hours, from 7AM to 6PM."

"In tears, [the mother] said that at the Plaza, [her daughter] was not questioned about her immigration but threatened that if she did not comply her brothers and sisters would be sent to foster homes and her parents would be deported back to Bangladesh. After being threatened [the girl] was asked if she was part of any terrorist organizations and interrogated about her beliefs and conviction in Islam."

"[The girl] was then taken to Pennsylvania and held there at a youth detention facility at the following address: Berks Family Shelter Care Facility, 1243 County Welfare Road, Leesport, PA 19533."

"Till today she is being held there. [The girl] - who believes in wearing the Islamic veil the "nikab" - is not allowed to wear the dress code at her current detention center. This violates her ability to practice her religion."

"The parents proceeded to contact an immigration lawyer to free their 16 year old daughter. The lawyer listed below was given $2,500 in advance and promised her release but the lawyer refused to show up on the first hearing: Brian J. Tucker NYC."

"The lawyer to date refused to directly communicate to the parents and said Pennsylvania was out of his way. According to the lawyer the judge said the lawyer needs to provide evidence that she's not a terrorist. Any inquiry made by the parents about the case was angrily rejected by the lawyer. The lawyer would not return phone calls and seems uncertain in representing [the girl's] case for the next hearing scheduled Friday, April 8, 2005."

"Upon her recent visit [the girl's mother] said she saw [her daughter] after two weeks and she was very upset. [An] officer and supervisor at the facility allowed [the mother] to see [her daughter] and spoke to her 2 weeks after she was taken. The family has been torn by the abduction and detention of [the] 16 year old minor."

"[Her parents] now live in fear. They are unable to sleep at night and keep all their doors and windows locked. They are even afraid to step outside. [Her father] said that it is a very difficult state for anyone to endure, to watch their child being taken away from them and not hear from them for more than two weeks. [The father] believes his family is being singled out as Muslims like all the other Muslim Americans who have been harassed after September 11th."

Who Can We Write To Help?

Last night at the Queens Museum of Art there was a panel called "DISAPPEARED IN AMERICA: Art, Activism & Law in the Age of Insecurity." They "added a discussion after Saturday's panel, where we will discuss possible next steps that concerned citizens can take in the case of the two 16-year old girls who have been detained on alleged "bomb plot.""

Unfortunately, I didn't learn of this panel until today, but these are the people that spoke at the panel: "Prachi Patankar, anti-detention activist, spokesperson for Blue Triangle Network; Rachel Meeropol, attorney, Center for Constitutional Rights; editor of AMERICA'S DISAPPEARED; Aziz Huq, VISIBLE Collective; attorney at Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law School on democracy and national security issues; Tariq Abdel-Muhti, son of Farouk Abdel-Muhti, Palestinian activist and WBAI reporter who died from heart attack from complications during his two-year detention; Aimara Lin, national coordinator, Not In Our Name; and granddaughter of Japanese-American internees; Theresa Thanjan, director, WHOSE CHILDREN ARE THESE?" The moderator was "Naeem Mohaiemen, Director, VISIBLE, a collective of Muslim and Other Artist-Activists ."

This is some information I found about the speakers. I'm hoping people will visit their Websites to learn more about this and to contact these people to see what we can all do:

Disappeared In America is a Website devoted to the thousands of American Muslims "detained in a security dragnet" ever since 9-11. The Center For Constitutional Rights "is a non-profit legal and educational organization dedicated to protecting and advancing the rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights."

The New York and Pennsylvania chapters of the ACLU might also be a good place to contact. Desis Rising And Moving (D.R.U.M.) "is a community-based social justice organization of low-income South Asian immigrants in New York City founded in 1999."

For now, please visit those Websites and fill out the contact forms. Tas at Loaded Mouth is working on an e-mail generator so that everyone can just add their name and information to a form letter that we're working on.

I plan to stay on top of this story and I will do whatever I can to help get this heartbreaking story out. Again, I'm pleading with everyone to please get the word out; write your favorite bloggers, your local papers, your congressmen; and - if you have a blog - please blog about it.

These girls need our help.

(I posted this as a diary at Daily Kos early this morning and I'll be updating the diary (and my blog) as I learn more...if you have an account at Daily Kos please go recommend this diary: More on the Two Detained 16 Year Old Girls)


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