I’d like to get in the habit of a morning expression instead of espresso, and not be so concerned about how perfect the writing is or who I will offend. I try to be respectful of my e-list because it is a privilege to appear in people’s mailboxes.
Just a few tidbits from my daily dose of democracy now: FEMA head Michael Brown fabricated parts of his resume, per Time magazine, his main qualifications for his job seem to be that the former head of FEMA was his college roommate and that he worked on W. Bush’s campaign. FEMA’s top three charities listed to donate to include Pat Robertson’s Operation Blessing. When questioned by reporters about why, Brown said they were doing good work. Aside from the fact that Robertson advocated assassinating Venezuela’s president a couple of week’s ago, his charity had been under indictment in the past for contributions going to private enterprises of Robertson. Details on www.democracynow.org.
Quote from Pacifica Radio news report: Reporters have witnessed the militarization of the city and are starting to feel the effects of the government crack-down on information gathering. FEMA is now rejecting requests by journalists to accompany rescue boats searching for storm victims. In addition, journalists are being asked not to photograph any dead bodies in the region. NBC News Anchor Brian Williams reported on his blog, that police officers had been seen aiming their weapons at members of the media. And a blogger named Bob Brigham wrote a widely read dispatch that the National Guard in Jefferson County are under orders to turn all journalists away. Brigham writes: “Bush is now censoring all reporting from New Orleans, Louisiana. The First Amendment sank with the city.”
Earlier this week, Reporters Without Borders issued a warning about police violence against journalists working in New Orleans. They highlighted two cases – in one case police detained a Times-Picayune photographer and smashed his equipment to the ground after he was seen covering a shoot-out with police. In the second case, a photographer from the Toronto Star was detained by police and his photos taken from him when police realized that he had snapped photos of a clash between them and citizens who the police claimed were looters.
Jacquie Soohen, (Independent film maker with Big Noise films. Among her films – “Zapitista” and “Fourth World War,” who traversed the globe from South Africa to South Korea, from Argentina to Iraq) said a recent experience in New Orleans rivaled any tension and fear she had in her travels.
I think it’s all well and good that we at the Santa Rosa Symphony are doing a hurricane relief benefit, but I’m worried about where sincere people’s money might be going and concerned about Halliburton once again profiteering on tragedy with its exclusive contract to rebuild the military bases on the gulf coast and with Kellogg Brown and Root, who “misplaced millions” in Iraq, setting up shop in Louisiana in displaced people camps. Dick Cheney, who was visiting Mississippi yesterday, got a couple of “go fuck yourself” from people in the crowd. I understand the sentiment but I wouldn’t myself degrade fucking in that fashion.