Sunday, September 24, 2006

Lions and Tigers... and Bears! Oh My!

Like 99% of you reading this blog entry, each day we take a walk down the yellow brick road, now called cyberspace. We follow a well laid out path of news reports and stop along the way to read the comments from our favorite bloggers.

My personal yellow brick road takes my to about twelve different blogging sites ranging from
The Daily Kos on the left to Michelle Malkin on the right with lots of stops in between. Of course the longest part of my journey is through the big dark forest of blogs otherwise known as The Huffington Post.

With all the huge news this past week, from the Rally for Darfur last Sunday to the worldwide Muslim riots over the Pope's choice of historic quotes, to Hugo Chavez UN diatribe (and great book promotion for
Noam Chomsky) to the Senate "compromise" on military trials for insurgent detainees and the Geneva Convention, it's been absolutely fascinating to watch the differing perspectives on the news as revealed by bloggers left and right.

Those of you you follow similar yellow brick roads through Oz certainly know that the liberal and left progressive bloggers failed to cover the Rally for Darfur. This in spite of the headlining by George Clooney. It's a huge disappointment for all of us who used to fight arm in arm with the liberals for these types of causes. Most of the coverage, and there was a lot, came from non-political blogs.

Avid travelers of the brick road also know that the liberal and progressive left also generally ignored the Muslim riots and death threats on the Pope. Among the 200 bloggers over at Huffington, only three wrote about the issue, all to condemn the Pope. And one,
David Patrick King, wrote only to further condemn the Pope for, among other failings, the abuse of American Catholics all those years they were forced to eat fish on Fridays. I'm not joking. I wish I was.

I'm not sure why the Pope Riots became a conservative cause. Malkin covered it with several articles each day. Even
The Gay Patriot (generally no friend of the Catholic religion) covered it in depth.

And why no liberal outrage? Since the issues were religious intolerance and freedom of speech one would think this would bring out a number of liberals fighting for those causes.

But I've noticed this dichotomy for some time. Each news issue becomes property of either the liberals and progressives or the conservatives, but rarely both. And often I can't figure out why the issue appeals to only one side of the spectrum.

But one huge oddity jumped out at me last week. There is the most bizarre obsession on the left over Ann Coulter. What the hell is this all about?

I mean while not one blogger at Huffington thought the murder of a nun by Muslim extremists was worthy of note, a half dozen or more wrote to discuss or at least throw a passing condemnation on Coulter.

Would you like to see just a little of what HuffPo bloggers have written about Coulter. Just click












here (by the way, sarcastic and mean sprirted does not make an article funny)

here (actually about the new patron saint of liberals, Keith Obermann)









And this is only in the last 30 days. I also omitted several articles where Ann was only mentioned in passing.

Why does the left take Coulter so damned seriously when the right generally ignores her?

I agree she is a bright sharp witted satirist. Her writing is often side splittingly funny. She has a rapier wit. And occasionally makes a good or valid point. Anyone who fails to read
her column each week is poorer for it.

But Bill Mahar on the left is equally sharp witted and funny. Mahar is often simply brilliant and he cuts his opponents on the right to shreds. And Mahar has television series along with his blog writings (also over at Huffington). Yet the right ignores him.

And Al Franken and Jeanne Garofalo certainly can bludgeon the right to death. O.K., they're not as funny as Coulter, but they make their point.

But the right seems to ignore them all. In fact the right tends to ignore all personalities. Oh occasionally a war breaks out between two bloggers, but that is rare on either side of the blogosphere.

I like Ann. But she's simply not worth the keystrokes the left wastes on her. There are real lions, tigers and bears in these woods. Coulter is simply the scarecrow.




Saturday, September 16, 2006

Day for Darfur

Regardless of where you live, you can make a statement this Sunday, September 17, 2006 about the genocide in Darfur. All you need to do is wear a blue hat.

Wear one to church. People will ask you why you're wearing blue. Let's face it, nobody wears hats anymore. Don't have a hat? A blue scarf will do.

You're going to get a few stares. Probably a few laughs. But people will notice and many will ask. And you can tell them about the genocide in Darfur. You can explain the blue hat or scarf symbolizes the need for U.N Peacekeepers in Darfur to stop the genocide. You can ask for help.

Thousands of people are still losing their lives...

Despite the signing of a Darfur peace agreement on May 5, 2006, the violence in western Sudan has not stopped; in fact, in some parts of Darfur, the violence has grown worse.

People are still being killed and raped and displaced - every single day.

Finally, on August 31st the United Nations Security Council approved deployment of the robust peace keeping force of 21,000 by a vote of 12 to 0. But the vote was a hollow victory because it depended upon "permission" from Sudan.

The United Nations must take action with or without Sudan's permission.

On September 17 people around the world will take part in the Global Day for Darfur to show world-wide support for the Darfuri people and to put pressure on our Governments to protect the civilians.

Actor George Clooney and Nobel Peace Prize winner Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel appeared before the United Nations Security Council on Thursday to make an impassioned plea for immediate UN intervention in Sudan's Darfur region. On Friday, Mr. Clooney and Mr. Wiesel appeared on The Today Show where they discussed the situation in Darfur and the
"Save Darfur Now: Voices to Stop Genocide" rally in New York City this Sunday. And there are rallies in other cities listed below.

Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix Darfur Rally
Northwest corner of 32nd St. and Camelback
September 17
4 p.m - 6 p.m.

Los Angeles, California

Benefit Concert: Rosario Dawson & Zync Music
The Avalon
1735 N. Vine
September 17th
8:00 p.m. - 12:00 midnight
Tickets $40 & are tax deductible
Performances by Bitter Sweet, Bushwalla and More
Raffle & Giveaways
Proceeds go to The International Rescue Committee

Redding, California

Global Days for Darfur
Marv Steinberg, (530) 229-3661

Sunday, Sept. 17

Informational Booth
Simpson University, Cafeteria
All day

Interfaith worship
First United Methodist Church
2:00 p.m.

San Diego, California

Rally & Concert for Darfur
Courtyard of St Luke's Episcopal Church
3725 30th St
Sunday, September 17th
1:00 - 2:30 p.m.

Voices of Women

One of LOST BOYS of Sudan, a Sudanese community activist, and an IRC speaker and author
Mission Valley Library
2123 Fenton Parkway, San Diego, CA 92108
Monday, September 18

Boise, Idaho

Candle Light Vigil
Anne Frank memorial
Sunday September 17
8:00 -9:00 p.m.



Global Day for Darfur
The Bean, Millenium Park
Sunday, September 17
2:30 p.m.
Wear Blue Hat & bring a poster!


Fort Wayne

Global Day for Darfur Indiana Rally
Allen County Courthouse (downtown)
Sunday, September 17th
3:00-5:00 p.m.
Suliman Giddo, or Kari Deselm

Prayer Vigil for Darfur
North United Methodist Church
38th Street and Meridian
September 17
7:00 p.m.

Des Moines, Iowa

Global Day for Darfur Iowa Rally
State Capitol, West Mall
Sunday, September 17th
4:00 p.m.
Katy Flynn,

Worcester, Massachusetts

Children In Darfur:

An Exhibition of Crayon Drawings with Opening Night Speakers
Worcester African Cultural Center
33 Canterbury Street
6:00 - 8:00 p.m.
508-757-7727 or

Las Vegas, Nevada

A Day for Darfur
September 30
MaryBeth Acac,

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Rape: A Weapon of War
Sexual Violence Raging in Darfur
Sante Fe Rape Crisis & Trauma Treatment Center
6601 Valentine Way
Tuesday. September 26
7:00-9:00 p.m.
Jocelyn, 505-988-1951

Raleigh, North Carolina

Service of Prayer and a Call to Justice
Fuquay-Varina United Methodist Church
100 S. Judd Parkway
Debra Dean Murphy, 919-552-4331
September 17th
3:45 p.m.

Nashville, Tennessee

Showing of the documentary Darfur Diaries
The Belcourt Theatre
2102 Belcourt Ave.

Sunday, September 17th
3:30 - 5:30 p.m.
Kitty Calhoon, or call 615-297-6396

Arlington, Virginia

Yogathon for Darfur
9 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Saturday, September 30
Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington
4444 Arlington Blvd.

Richmond, Virginia

River City Rocks - A Benefit for Darfur
10 bands, 10 comedians
12:00 p.m. -8:00 p.m.
Brown's Island
To purchase tickets and for other inquiries, visit

Seattle, Washington

Pray for Darfur: Take Action to Stop Genocide
Madrona Presbyterian Church (832 32nd Avenue)
Sunday, September 17
1:30-3:00 p.m.
Diane Baer,

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

"Silence is Not An Option"
1360 N. Prospect Ave.
Sunday, September 17
5:30-6:00 p.m.

But don't let the absence of an event in your area stop you from making your own personal statement. Wear a blue hat or blue head scarf on Sunday, September 17th.




Friday, September 15, 2006

Oriana Fallaci 1929-2006

In response to the London terrorist bombings Oriana Fallaci wrote to Pope Benedict in July, 2005:

    "Now, I ask myself: What do you say, what do you have to say, about what happened in London?

    They ask me face-to-face, via fax and email; often scolding me because up until now I have remained silent. Almost as if my silence were a betrayal. And each time I shake my head and murmur to myself: what else should I say?!?

    I've been saying it for four years--that
    I fight against the Monster that has decided to eliminate us physically and, along with our bodies, to destroy our principles and values. Our civilization."

Oriana Fallaci in an essay to Pope Benedict following the London bombings. This essay was also published by the author. Written on or about July, 20, 2005. FULL TEXT: CLICK HERE

Oriana Fallaci was never politically correct. She was genuinely "fearless." Oriana could teach a lot to Arianna Huffington about being fearless. She was a feminist long before the term was casually applied to nearly everyone.

Readers of this journal will remember my post from last June 12th, "Really Speaking Truth to Power" about Oriana Fallaci's battle over free speech in Italy.

    "Oriana Fallaci faces a trial and jail time for a book, "The Strength of Reason," that she wrote over a year ago about the challenges facing Europe as more and more Muslims move into Italy and western Europe. Several of her comments were interpreted by Muslim leaders as insulting to Islam. And insulting Islam is illegal in Italy."

Oriana lost her battle yesterday. She died at age 77. But she didn't lose it to the Italian State Censors. And she didn't lose it to Islamic intolerance. She would never have lost those fights. She lost her battle with cancer.

As a writer and journalist in the 40's, 50's and 60's Oriana did a man's job in a field dominated entirely by men. And she was better, tougher and more aggressive than any of her male counterparts.

Katie Couric doesn't realize it, but she owes her job today to Oriana Fallaci. Oriana was the pioneer.

From today's Washington Post

    Fallaci set the pace for a daring life when she joined Italy's anti-fascist resistance as a teenager during World War Two, then showed the same fearlessness as a war correspondent.
Liberals should have been celebrating her life and work. But in Oriana committed an ultimate liberal sin. She dared to criticize a religion. She was critical of Islam.

And she did a hell of a lot more than criticize. She was a journalist. She did her research. She did her homework.

And she became one of the first and, by far, the most vocal critic of what she called "Islamic Nazism."

The hero of the left who so aggressively attacked Nixon's Secretary of State Henry Kissinger to the cheers of the left, is now "persona non grata."

Quoting again from today's Washington Post

    In her interview with Kissinger, Fallaci needled the U.S. statesman until he agreed that the Vietnam War was "useless."

Kissinger wrote that his 1972 interview with her was "the single most disastrous conversation I have ever had with any member of the press."

Sadly today's left values such heroics only until you cross their sacred liberal Maginot Line. Like Joe Lieberman, she failed to oppose "George Bush's war."

I looked for a memorium to Oriana on The Huffington Post. There wasn't even a mention of her passing. The Daily Kos? Don't be silly. After all she opposed al Quada, not George Bush.

If you want to find a tribute to Oriana you have to go to
Michelle Malkin ( more on Michelle and her often liberal bent will follow in an later post).

Italian President Giorgio Napolitano said: "With Oriana Fallaci, we lose a journalist of global fame, an author of great success, a passionate protagonist of lively cultural battles."

"A great Italian and brave writer has died who has led a life full of passion, full of love, with great civil courage," Ferruccio De Bortoli, editor-in-chief of Il Sole 24 Ore newspaper, told Reuters.

We've lost a great hero. We've lost someone who really knew how To Tell Truth to Power.




Thursday, September 14, 2006

Where are the Americans?

This is a followup to my post from yesterday, "Where Are the Muslim News and Television Analysts?" I hope you'll take a moment and read that post.

National Public Radio (NPR) is doing an absolutely superb job of covering the Muslim in America issue even though they, too, lack full time Muslim reporters/commentators.

NPR is currently broadcasting an enlightening series, now in it's second week. It's titled, cleverly enough, "Muslims in America."

Every single entry is available for listening on-line. And I encourage everyone to go to NPR and listen.

But what prompted this urgent entry in this journal was the disturbing letters NPR has received from listeners objecting to the series and/or objecting to the fact that one of the series' shows was aired on September 11th.

These are comments, letters or emails from listeners last week (the transcriptions are mine, and name spellings might be in error):

Listener Tom Galley wrote a response to an earlier story about a devote elderly Muslim who had told of the difficulty in following his religion while being an American. Galley said "If it is truly that bad here, why not exercise your freedom, leave and live among those who settle their differences by suicide bomber."

It seems to me this is the same language we used to hear about blacks (and the word 'black' was never used, but the derogatory slang we now call the "N" word). "If they don't like it here then they should just pack up and move back to Africa."

I had hoped we were past all that.

Jennifer Folks wrote: "It is the fifth anniversary of the worst terrorist attacks in American history and the attack was perpetrated by Muslims. Instead of honoring the fallen hero's, you were broadcasting a story about the people who were dancing in the street."

This, of course, was pure nonsense! NPR's beautiful broadcast honored fallen Americans all day with interviews, stories from relatives, replaying actual events, and discussing the horror with police, firemen, soldiers and political leaders.

Even worse, the actual NPR broadcasts had nothing to do with "dancing in the streets." In one of the actual stories presented by NPR on September 11th, one Muslim Doctor in Chicago (unnamed) said "I was working though that identity clash and it went away on September 11th. On that day I became an American."

But the blind hatred continued. NPR listener Allison Lurea wrote: "This was not the time to discuss Muslim tolerance, it was highly insensitive and disrespectful."

Katherine Adam said, "For interviewing American Muslims we (NPR) should be prosecuted for treason and sedition."

Listen to the full report
here (this takes you to the NPR web page and then you need to click on the "listen" button).

Congratulations to NPR for the superb job they do in covering the news and the reality behind the news everyday. If only every American would listen with an open mind and open heart to the "Muslims in America" stories.

This type of horrific prejudice will continue and grow until the news media and the entertainment industry help all of us to understand that most Muslim Americans are just ordinary people with the same hopes, dreams, fears and concerns we all share.




Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Where Are the Muslim News and Television Analysts?

I have a question. It's only a question. It is NOT a comment filled with hidden innuendo. And I do not have any answer.

Where are the Muslim Commentators, News Analysts, Reporters or Anchors on network and cable news programs?

In a speech before the Arab American Institute, U.S. Senator Russ Feingold(D-WI) called on President Bush and on all of us to stop using the term "Islamic fascists."

From a
PRESS RELEASE on Feingold's own website (editing and emphasis are mine):
    "I call on the President to stop using the phrase Islamic fascists, a label that doesn't make any sense, and certainly doesn't help our effort to build a coalition of societies to fight terrorism," Feingold said.

    "The President has often correctly referred to Islam as a religion of peace, but this reckless language......

    ......doesn't have anything to do with the overwhelming majority of Muslims around the world who practice the peaceful teachings of Islam."

I certainly feel that Feingold has a valid point. I hear radio personalities and alysists and politicians all use the term with reckless abandon. Such a term does drive a wedge between the mainstream U.S. society and the minority Muslim community, who must feel they are under attack.

You're going to hear both sides of this question. Some conservatives are likely to claim the term is required to properly describe the threat we face. Others, often liberals, will agree with me.

But there is a glaring omission from all the televison coverage on this issue. Where are ANY Muslim news reporters??

Where are ANY regular news analysts?

Why doesn't FOX have a rotating Muslim on their "FOX All-Stars?"

Where is the regular Muslim reporter on "Meet the Press?" Or an any of the evening news broadcasts.

As a nation that absolutely prides itself on diversity we're careful to have Blacks, Hispanics, women and even gays and lesbians well represented. And if there is a "Christian Issue" you can bet we'll be seeing Jerry Falwell on all three networks.

I'm not talking about "ambush journalism" where some stupid prime time reporter corners a Muslim and asks "Why did YOU let this happen?" or another equally lame attack disguised as a question.

I'm talking about a peer to Juan Williams or to Eugene Robinson. Someone with journalist experience who can give us the news and comment from the point of view of an Arab American with candor and authority.

Are the networks unable to find such people? Are Muslims unwilling to appear for fear of attack?

In every crisis in the last 50 years the news broadcasts offered diversity in their coverage and, especially their analysis.

Where are the Muslims?




Sunday, September 10, 2006

Susan Kim Hanson

A short note appears on the Boston University Medical Campus Calendar Website noting that Jonathan W. Yewdell, M.D., Ph.D., Chief, Cellular Biology Section of the Laboratory of Viral Diseases will be speaking tomorrow, September 11, 2006, on the topic of "Gained in Translation: Generating Viral and Cellular Peptide Antigens from DRiPs."

He is speaking at 4:00 pm in Keefer Auditorium and a Reception in the Wilkins Board Room will follow.

What might be missed by a casual observer is perhaps the most important fact of all. Dr. Yewdell is the guest speaker for the
5th Annual Sue Kim Hanson Lecture In Immunology.

If you noticed this, you might simply assume that Sue Kim Hanson is (or was) some generous benefactor to the University. A lecture named for her to repay her gift.

Or perhaps you would guess that she is (or was) a notable scientist who, at one time or another, taught or studied at Boston University. Someone who should be honored for the advancements she made in Immunology.

And, indeed, all of the above is true. Just not in the way you might expect.

Susan Kim Hanson was one of the victims of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack that took the lives of
2,996 souls in the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and the fields of Pennsylvania.

Sue, her husband Peter, and her two year old daughter Christine were on United Airlines Flight 175 that crashed into the South Tower of the World Trade Center. Her daughter Christine was the youngest victim of the September 11th attack.

But the Boston University Lecture Series is not named after Sue Kim Hanson because of the way she died, but because of the way she lived.

Sue Kim HansonSue was a great scientist in the making. She was a doctoral candidate in micro-biology immunology at Boston University and working on her final thesis. Her work promised to reveal the workings of a chemical believed to regulate immune responses. She had isolated in lab mice a gene suspected of being involved in asthma sufferers and AIDS patients. Her work had the potential to help millions of people.

Susan Kim was one of those wonderful American success stories. A Korean-American, Sue had lived with her grandmother in Korea until she was 6. Her mother died when she was 15 and she was raised by her strict Korean father. Through hard work and discipline, sacrifice, dedication and sheer will power she neared the goal her mother and father and grandmother had hoped she would achieve, her doctorate degree.

Dr. Hardy Kornfeld, Hanson's thesis adviser, said "She was sort of fearless. Sue just took on tasks that were incredibly challenging, and more often than not she was able to make a go at them."

That she would be attracted to the wild and undisciplined Peter Hanson was a great surprise. Three years younger than Sue Kim, Peter gained his education by following The Grateful Dead. Peter believed that the group and its music would become classics, up there with Beethoven, Bach and company, and he tried to sway the opinion of anyone who would listen. Many of our listeners to Wizard Radio would certainly agree with Peter.

But even if Sue wasn't quite convinced about the Dead, she believed in Peter. And her faith was well placed. Peter was, by all accounts, a brilliant software engineer, a great salesman and a wonderful person.

He was passionate about Sue and Sue fell head over heals in love with Peter. She obviously had a great effect on him. has a reprint of a New York Times article about Sue that tells the story:

    "The relationship spurred Peter Hanson to clip his tangle of brownish-red dreadlocks, trade in tie-dyed T- shirts for suits, go to business school and become one of the best software salesmen his friends and family had ever met. He was vice president of marketing at TimeTrade in Waltham, Mass."

    "Her bond with the Hansons was so strong that they accompanied her to California when she went to inform her father about her engagement. She worried that her father would protest because Peter Hanson was not Korean. But her family embraced the Hansons."

Sue and Peter were married and had a beautiful daughter. Sue continued to pursue her doctoral degree. She was scheduled to defend her thesis in November, 2001.

Sue, Peter and ChristineTaking a last break before finalizing her research and thesis, Sue, Peter and Christine were on their way to visit the Sue's father and grandmother in California, and take Christine to Disneyland, when they boarded United Airlines Flight 175. Peter was one of those who made a final cell phone call to his parents moments before the plane crashed into the south tower.

Sue's friend
Mona Pengree writes, "Sue was awarded her PhD posthumously, as her professor finished her work on her behalf. This is a wonderful picture of her, and she shone every bit as brightly in person. Probably more. Her loss was a loss to all mankind."

Sue gave a great deal to Boston University and she gave a great deal to all of us. Her work in immunology inspired her fellow students, faculty and the University to continue her research and finish her thesis. They awarded her a doctorate degree. And they established the Annual Sue Kim Hanson Lecture In Immunology, not just to honor her memory, but to give full credit to her work and the inspiration, the strength and the courage Sue provides to us all.

God bless you Sue... and Peter and Christine and all those who died so tragically five years ago.

God bless.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

As I mentioned in an earlier entry, there is a wealth of information, tribute and love scattered throughout the Internet in remembrance of Sue Kim Hanson. I owe every contributor who came before me a deep debt of gratitude. Through each of you I have come to know Sue, Peter and Christine. You have touched my heart.

If my Tribute to Susan Kim Hanson here today fell short in any way, I deeply apologize and would love to hear from any of you.

I suggest these following resources from which I have borrowed freely in preparing this tribute:

SEPTEMBER 11, 2001 VICTIMS: Sue Kim Hanson

Remember September 11, 2001

A mother to her son: How could I forget your curiosity and energy? By Eunice Hanson, for The Associated Press

Peter, Sue Kim, and Christine Hanson Memorial Web Site

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

As part of the 2,996 Project the following bloggers have, or soon will perpare tributes to the Hansons.

Tribute to Peter Hanson by Shane on the blog Danka Shane

A second tribute to Peter Hanson has been done by Angry Tiki in The Blog of the Angry Tiki

Notation of Remeberance of Christine Hanson by Spork on the blog Eating Breakfast with a Spork

The best and easiest to use list of 9/11 victims and blogger tributes can be found here.

Because of server loads one or both of the above links might be down. Stix Blog has stepped in and provided this mirror website.





    As September 11th approaches I realize more and more what a great honor it is to participate in the 2,996 Project to pay tribute to the 2,996 victims on the 9/11 terrorist attack. I have the honor of paying tribute to Susan Kim Hanson and I hope I'm good enough to do justice to this wonderful person.

    I have a funny feeling that many bloggers each working today on their individual tributes feel the same way. The more we learn about an individual victim, the more unworthy we feel. These people gave so much. They had so much potential. They were such an important part of humanity.

    The wealth of material about Sue Hanson already on the Internet boggles the mind. She was loved, respected, praised and missed by so many people. Many of those people translated their love, grief and respect for her onto the Internet.

    Such is the power of the Internet. It is the repository of vast knowledge and information. It is also the heart and soul of our collective existence. If you don't believe me, just read a few of the tributes posted to the victims of 9/11 posted so far. A complete list of all planned and active posts can be found
    here. This database is a gift to the 2996 Project and is searchable by victim name or by blogger and can be sorted in a variety of ways.

    My tribute to Sue Hanson will appear in this space later today. It will remain the TOP ENTRY in this blog through September 11, 2006. But I wanted to write about the 2996 Project as a separate entry from my actual tribute.

    I suggest that you spend today and tomorrow, as much time as you can spare, in reading the tributes. Some are as short as a sentence. Others are long biographies. Still others are memorials so beautifully written you will be touched forever, your heart bruised is a way that can never heal.

    Such is the tribute by 4 and 6 year olds Ben and Noah for Mr. Lester Vincent Marino. You need to read their wonderful blog (prepared with parental help) titled The Super Adventures of Ben and Noah. Look at the pictures they've drawn and the letters they've written. The boys write:

      Today we wrote a memorial. A memorial is when you want to remember someone. Mom says a memorial can be for a special person we don't know. We didn't know Mr. Marino. He was special. We decided to name our tree fort after him. We are going to decorate it on Sunday just for him.

      The end

    No matter how hard I try, my tribute for Sue Hanson will never be a wonderful as these boys have prepared for Mr. Marino.

    I lack the wisdom, the vision and the heart of a 4 or a 6 year old. But I'll do the best I can.




    Saturday, September 09, 2006

    Liberal versus Partisan

      par·ti·san (n) 1. a firm adherent to a party, faction, cause, or person; especially : one exhibiting blind, prejudiced, and unreasoning allegiance

    Let me be perfectly clear. I am absolutely against any outside effort to censor, rewrite, modify or block the presentation of ABC's "Path to 9/11."

    For anyone not familiar with the ABC Docu-drama titled "Path to 9/11" about the history leading up to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, you can get up to speed through this good article in VARIETY. An excellent and fair overview of the growing controversy surrounding the program can be found in John Podhoretz's article in the New York Post 'PATH' MISSED REAL9/11 STORY.

    To the degree that ABC, it producers, writers or directors want to make changes to the supposed September 11th docu-drama in reaction to public pressure, political pressure or their own sense of right versus wrong is perfectly O.K. with me. That is the way the free market system and freedom of speech and freedom of the press should work.

    I've not seen the show and I only know what I've read, mostly over at The Huffington Post. It sounds to me like the producers of the docu-drama may have gone over the top in making "drama" out of the 9/11 report. Shame on them.

    Certainly Michael Moore went over the top in making Fahrenheit 9-11. But it was great and compelling movie in spite of its excesses. I criticized certain points in Moore's movie at the time, but never even remotely suggested it shouldn't be shown in theaters. In fact I urged people to see it and I went to see the movie myself. I enjoyed it thoroughly, excesses and all.

    But calls today from so-called liberals for the cancellation, censorship or outright banning of the ABC drama are beyond the pale. These people are not liberals. They are partisans. And I frankly don't like having them around pretending to be liberals.

    I was dead set against any form of censorship or cancellation of the CBS Reagan drama. The demand from "conservatives" that the drama be pulled was disgusting. That's the kind of thing done by the Taliban, the Iranian President and the ultra conservative Christian right.

    I do not have any respect for those who would decide what I see, what I read or what I write.

    That's not supposed to be what liberals do. We defend free speech at all costs.

    I was appalled when CBS folded and relegated the Reagan drama to pay cable television. The losers were the American public. I was proud when my "liberal" friends joined me in fighting this censorship.

    The New York Times correctly and courageously condemned conservative protestors by saying they "have helped create the Soviet-style chill embedded in the idea that we, as a nation, will not allow critical portrayals of one of our own recent leaders."

    The Times Editorial Board and all true liberals should be equally vocal and forceful today in demanding that ABC not fold to the unwarranted pressure from a bizarre consortium of political partisans.

    Any writer, left or right, who claims this is "different" is just splitting hairs and damn thin ones at that.

    We have a world of opportunity to correct any misrepresentation that may or may not be present in the "docu-drama." The planned "Google Bombing"of the Path to 9/11 is just one extreme, but perfectly reasonable and legal example. Radio, television, the Internet and print media all stand ready to help people object to the movie and correct any inaccuracies.

    *** Updated and Edited 9/10/2006 8:37 am ***




    Friday, September 08, 2006

    Byzantine Symmetry?

    I'm headed into an extremely busy weekend in terms of research, preparation and presentation of several important entries to this Journal. The most important is the honor I have in presenting a tribute to Susan Kim Hanson who died on September 11, 2001 along with her husband Peter and 2 year old daughter Christine on United Airlines Flight 175 which was flown into the World Trade Center by Al Qaeda terrorists.

    Sue was a medical student working on a doctoral thesis that promised to reveal the workings of a chemical believed to regulate immune responses. She had isolated in lab mice a gene suspected of being involved in asthma sufferers and AIDS patients.

    But she was also loving and caring mother and wife. Sue and Peter were taking their daughter on a vacation to Disneyland when terrorists hijacked the flight and destroyed the lives, hopes and dreams of thousands.

    My tribute is just one small part of the
    2,996 Project. Almost three thousand different bloggers will present a tribute to one of the 2,996 people who lost their lives on September 11th, five years ago. A single blogger was assigned to each victim. Most bloggers involved in the project are not political at all. Any blogger could sign up for the project. Once signed up bloggers were assigned a name at random. I knew nothing of Sue Hanson before the assignment.

    My tribute to Sue Hanson will appear on September 11, 2006 and I hope you will all return to read it. And I hope you'll attempt to read as many other tributes as your your time and your heart will permit. I intend to read all of them.

    There are other important issues at hand, too. So before I embark on this weekend I write this entry to thank and compliment Vigilante for his article about my posts on the Valerie Plame/Joe Wilson/Richard Armitage/Scooter Libby mess. Vigilante's article, titled Byzantine Symmetry can be found here. I ask every one of my readers to read it and the comments that followed.

    My original posts on Plamegate can be found
    here and here.

    I have predicted in in the final sentence of my post titled Special Prosecutors that "my friends on the left will howl" and that was an understatement. Vigilante took me to task and he raised several excellent points even though he inadvertently quoted David Johnston of The New York Times and attributed that quote to me. I should be flattered the he thought I wrote that well.

    I am in no way offended that he took me to task and raked me over the coals. In fact I'm flattered that he though what I wrote was important enough to devote his time and energy to publicly disagree.

    To be certain Vigilante and I do disagree dramatically on this issue. I stand firmly behind every word I wrote. But his points are extremely important and every reader should read and carefully consider his argument and then make up their own minds.

    I do want to disagree with the premise of his article here. He uses the phrase "Byzantine symmetry" to dismiss my points about the Plamegate affair as a form of moral equivalence. In other words, by making one side look bad you somehow cover-up the other side's misdeeds. Let me quote (I hope correctly) Vigilante. The emphasis (in red) is mine.

      "As with the Vietnam era, people like Wizard are engaging themselves in self-delusion in order not to take a position on Iraquagmire. We used to call it Byzantine Symmetry: if you can turn away from the writing on the wall long enough and fabricate argument that 'both sides are wrong', then 'neither are right' and one has given oneself an excuse for inaction while more blood and money swirl down the Mesopotamian toilet Bush has crafted."

    I'll disagree with nothing else Vigilante has said. I may well be delusional, but I call them like I see them. But I absolutely and consistently disagree with anyone and any effort for moral equivalence or "Byzantine symmetry." TWO WRONGS DO NOT EVER MAKE A RIGHT, AND TWO WRONGS DO NOT EVER CANCEL EACH OTHER OUT!

    I went out of my way on my essays to say that I was in no way excusing any of the evils done by Karl Rove. After all, I continue to call for Rove's resignation. Nor did I attempted or intend to exonerate or forgive George Bush for his actions and conduct of the war in Iraq.

    BUT TWO WRONGS DO NOT EVER MAKE A RIGHT. I refuse to overlook the mistakes made by Wilson, Fitzgerald, the press and many left wing zealots just because their target is George Bush or Karl Rove or the un-provoked, unnecessary, largely unilateral invasion and unplanned occupation of Iraq (UULUIUOI).

    Far from Byzantine symmetry, it's just plain straight line fairness and intellectual honesty.


    Having said that I need to carefully consider every word Vigilante said. If he read my remarks as 'Byzantine symmetry' then I need to understand that I might have actually been less than clear. I hope today's article clears matters up.




    Monday, September 04, 2006

    Who's Next?

    First we got the bomb and that was good,
    'Cause we love peace and motherhood.
    Then Russia got the bomb, but that's O.K.,
    'Cause the balance of power's maintained that way!
    Who's next?
    "Who's Next?" by Tom Lehrer from That Was The Year That Was

    In his recent blog entry "Lieberman-Lamont: Rock & Roll, Baby!!" Vigilante quoted one of Tom Lehrer's songs to make an important and relevant point. In the discussion that followed, Lehrer's song was dissected and analyzed to both the amazement and delight of the participants.

    Considering the song, Whatever Happened to Hubert?" was written well over 40 years ago, this discussion speaks to the brilliance and insight of the incredible Tom Lehrer. Lehrer was both a political commentator and humorist beyond compare.

    France got the bomb, but don't you grieve,
    'Cause they're on our side (I believe).
    China got the bomb, but have no fears;
    They can't wipe us out for at least five years!
    Who's next?
    "Who's Next?" by Tom Lehrer from That Was The Year That Was

    Because we play all of Tom Lehrer's music on WiZARD RADIO I began to think about how many of his songs are relevant in today's political climate. The vast majority of his recorded work was written in the turbulent 1960's and during the height of the Viet Nam War.
    That Was The Year That Was

    We had just gone throughout the trauma of the assassination of a very popular president, John F. Kennedy, followed immediately by one of the most divisive and bitter presidential elections in history. Lyndon Johnson, Kennedy's Vice President, was elected President largely due to the sorrow and grieving over the loss of President Kennedy.

    But he was also elected because he convinced the public his opponent, Barry Goldwater, would launch us into a major war in Viet Nam.

    You know the rest of the history. As the old joke went, "They told me if I voted for Goldwater we'd lose thousands of troops in Viet Nam. Well I voted for Goldwater, and, sure enough, we're trapped in a massive Asian land war."

    Then Indonesia claimed that they
    Were gonna get one any day.
    South Africa wants two, that's right:
    One for the black and one for the white!
    Who's next?
    "Who's Next?" by Tom Lehrer from That Was The Year That Was

    Against this backdrop Lehrer unleashed his mighty pen and piano. The Environment. Pornography (he was for it). Racism. Religious extremism and bigotry. Politicians and political hypocrisy were at the top of his list.

    An unpopular and perhaps unjust war? Lying politicians? An isolated president? Anything sound familiar to you?

    Egypt's gonna get one, too,
    Just to use on you know who.
    So Israel's getting tense,Wants one in self defense.
    "The Lord's our shepherd," says the psalm,
    But just in case, we better get a bomb!
    Who's next?
    "Who's Next?" by Tom Lehrer from That Was The Year That Was

    Hmmmm. Just change the nation from Egypt to Iran and don't we have today's scenario? And, of course, Israel already has the bomb.

    Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. And if we're too tired or too busy or too lazy to read the history books, the least we can do is to pick up two or three of Tom Lehrer's CD's and listen.

    Luxembourg is next to go
    And, who knows, maybe Monaco.
    We'll try to stay serene and calm
    When Alabama gets the bomb!
    Who's next, who's next, who's next?
    Who's next?
    "Who's Next?" by Tom Lehrer from That Was The Year That Was

    Saturday, September 02, 2006


    I've been preparing for several days to write this Darfur update on the remarkable United Nations Security Council vote to deploy a large, well armed peace keeping force to the Darfur region of Sudan.

    Sadly, as I write this early Sunday morning, the victory is very hollow.

    This began as a major victory for the refugees of Darfur and for the United States, Great Britain and France who led the diplomatic effort. On August 31st the United Nations Security Council approved deployment of the robust peace keeping force of 21,000 by a vote of 12 to 0 with 3 absentions. And the three abstentions by China, Russia and Qatar were, in themselves, a diplomatic coup.

    The United States Ambassador John Bolton has been highly praised, even by his detractors, for his leadership and behind the scenes negotiations. And great credit needs to go to Condoleezza Rice and her predecessor Colin Powell. The United States, under their leadership has gone from a complete "no-show" on Darfur to the world leader in the fight to end the genocide. President Bush has pledged significant military and logistical support for the mission.

    But, in just three short days, the complete bankruptcy of the United Nations has been exposed. In order to earn the three abstentions, the resolution was written in such a way that it required the approval of Sudan before any force could be deployed. Of course Sudan rejected the plan.

    Then, twenty four hours later, Sudan launched a long feared murderous assault on the region and refugees, almost entirely women and children. The London Times reports this morning that
    Darfur villages burn as army tramples on UN peace plan. Here is part of their report:

      HELICOPTER gunships thudded over the dusty streets of El Fasher in North Darfur this weekend as the Sudanese government stepped up its latest offensive in defiance of a United Nations resolution.

      John Prendergast, of the International Crisis Group, a non-governmental organization that reports on conflicts, described seeing burnt-out villages and speaking to refugees who had been attacked by roving bands of heavily armed men in pick-up trucks.

      "Humanitarian access has shrunk dramatically in the last two months, violence has increased and on top of that already gloomy picture we have a fresh offensive," he said.
    The Boston Globe reports today in New round of fighting is feared in Darfur:

      WASHINGTON -- The government of Sudan appears to have begun its long-feared military offensive in the troubled Darfur region against rebels who have refused to sign a US-brokered peace agreement, UN officials said yesterday

      Secretary General Kofi Annan's office said yesterday that it had received reports indicating that the Sudanese forces struck Monday in the remote area of Abu Sakin, about 50 miles north of the state capital Al Fasher, sparking fears that the new round of violence could leave tens of thousands more people dead or displaced

      As the reports surfaced, the UN Security Council voted to deploy as many as 21,600 peacekeepers to the region to replace 7,000 ill-equipped African Union troops whose mandate expires in September. US officials expressed optimism that at least part of the force could be activated almost immediately, since some of the African Union troops who are already on the ground would serve in the new force.

      John Bolton, the US ambassador to the United Nations, called the deployment of peacekeepers ``the best hope to bolster the Darfur Peace Agreement and end the tragedy we are witnessing in Darfur."
    Reports on some of the Darfur websites are much more grim. Regardless, it would seem that hundreds are dying each hour and the United Nations will nointerfereer even if the genocide reaches the levels of the Rwanda massacre.

    Nations like Sudan and Iran have learned how to manipulate the United Nations and actually use the bureaucracy to avoid any sort of punishment or restraint.

    Clearly the vision of the holocaust in Sudan today is a great encouragement for Iran tignoreor any U.N resolution or threat. The United Nations is a toothless tiger.

    But the U.N proves to be a great ally to countries like Iran and Sudan because it ties up the larger and theoretically more powerful nations in endless negotiations and spineless rhetoric.

    Meanwhile people are dying. Human beings are suffering, lost, alone, homeless and helpless.

    The United Nations is worse than useless, it actually empowers tyrants and terrorists and aids their cause.