Daily Archives: May 16, 2007

Pub Campaign Dirty Tricks in Md, Gonzo Shrugs

You know, Gonzo just don’t seem to give a damn any more and he’s no longer even pretending he does.

The Baltimore Sun reports that Republicans Gov Bobby Erlich and Lt Gov Mike Steele passed out campaign brochures in minority-heavy areas on election day last November that identified them as Democrats.

The full-color brochures, which were sponsored by the campaigns of Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. and Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele – Cardin’s opponent in the November election – listed the Republican candidates for governor and U.S. Senate as the top choices on a “Democratic sample ballot.”

The fliers were distributed outside polling places in predominantly African-American precincts in Baltimore and Prince George’s County.

They also appeared to suggest that Ehrlich and Steele had been endorsed by former Rep. Kweisi Mfume and Prince George’s County Executive Jack B. Johnson. Mfume and Johnson, both black Democrats, were in fact supporting Cardin.

When the Democratic challenger asked AG Alberto “I don’t know, I just work here” Gonzales to investigate the incident, Gonzo didn’t see there was much he could do.

Gonzales said federal law did not provide tools for “going after campaign tactics or rhetoric by candidates.”

Excuse me? The man who fired 9 US Attorneys because they weren’t going after voter fraud – a problem which doesn’t exist – with sufficient zeal can’t think of a law that might be relevant here? Misrepresentation? Fraud? Discrimination? Do none of these apply?

Not if you’re Gonzo and the targets are Republicans. If Democrats had been lacing well-to-do suburbs with brochures wherein they identified themselves as Republican candidates endorsed by Jerry Falwell and Grover Norquist, you can bet your ass Gonzo would all over it like one of those cheap suits he wears. The Maryland USA would lose his/her job behind it if s/he didn’t have them behind bars by sundown.

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CB Takes the Prize

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CB in Iraq (Reuters)

Back in July of ’04, I was writing a blog about literary blogs – blogs that used the form for fiction or poetry or photography, or that featured exceptional writing – and in surfing for them I stumbled across one called My War: Fear and Loathing in Iraq by an anonymous Iraqi soldier stationed near Mosul who called himself “CBFTW”. The writing was raw, honest, and vibrant. CBFTW reminded me of a cross between Norman Mailer and Hunter Thompson (even without the clue in the title, it would have been impossible not to recognize CB as a Thompson fan from the style of his writing). I was very impressed and said so when I reviewed it.

This is, as far as I know, one of a kind. Not only is it a blog written by a soldier now serving in Iraq, it’s written by a soldier who can write. His grammar isn’t great, his spelling is OK, his punctuation is horrible. All of that is beside the point….[H]e can communicate a sense of time and place so clearly that it’s almost physical–you can hear it, you can see it, you can almost reach out and touch it.

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He…seems to write at least one post a day, sometimes two, and they all slice directly into the heart of what the troops are up against and, to a degree, how they’re coping. He doesn’t make judgments and he doesn’t talk poilitics; if he has opinions he mostly keeps them to himself. What you will read is raw, frontline reporting, practically in real-time. In other words, everything we don’t get–or only rarely–from our Bush-addled media.

This is one of the best combat soldier’s diaries I’ve ever read. It has the immediacy and authenticity of an eye-witness account under extreme stress, and the power of a Hemingway novel to punch you in the gut when you’re not expecting it. Consider it a Must-Read and check it every day. If he can live it, we can read it.

Somebody told him about the review and not long after I got an email from CBFTW, thanking me for the attention and the nice things I said. He wrote that it was encouraging to get that kind of praise because he was just a low-income kid from a suburb of San Francisco with no education to speak of who had never written anything before and often felt lost, like he wasn’t sure he was doing it right. He told me his name – Colby Buzzell – and that the “FTW” stood for “Fuck This War”.

Well, I was hooked, of course. A working-class kid – like me – who wanted to write and actually had talent? I couldn’t resist. Continue reading

Martin Luther King’s Daughter, Yolanda, Has Died

Yolanda Denise King was only 51 years old. The cause of her death is not known.

From the Associated Press:

Yolanda King, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s eldest child who pursued her father’s dream of racial harmony through drama and motivational speaking, has died. She was 51.

King died late Tuesday in Santa Monica, Calif., said Steve Klein, a spokesman for the King Center. The family did not know the cause of death, but relatives think it might have been a heart problem, he said.

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Yolanda Denise King, daughter of the late Rev. Martin Luther King, speaks on the burden of stroke and the experiences regarding her mother’s stroke, at a briefing sponsored by the American Stroke Association and the Congressional Black Caucus, Tuesday, May 23, 2006 on Capitol Hill. King, daughter and eldest child of civil rights leader the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., has died, said Steve Klein, a spokesman for the King Center. King died late Tuesday May 15, 2007 in Santa Monica, Calif., at age 51. (AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke)

“She was an actress, author, producer, advocate for peace and nonviolence, who was known and loved for her motivational and inspirational contributions to society,” the King family said in a statement.

Born on Nov. 17, 1955, in Montgomery, Ala., Yolanda Denise King was just an infant when her home was bombed amid the turbulent civil rights era.

She became an actress, ran a production company and appeared in numerous films, including “Ghosts of Mississippi,” and as Rosa Parks in the 1978 miniseries “King.”

“Yolanda was lovely. She wore the mantle of princess, and she wore it with dignity and charm,” said the Rev. Joseph Lowery, One of her father’s close aides in the civil rights movement. “She was a warm and gentle person and was thoroughly committed to the movement and found her own means of expressing that commitment through drama.”

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The Bush Library 5: An Open Letter to the United Methodist Church

Dear UMC:

I didn’t realize it until recently but you control Southern Methodist University, which I thought had become independent years ago. Rev Andrew Weaver explained to me that I was wrong and that it is still your responsibility.

That’s why I’m directing this to you: I’m pleading with you to stop this project. Not for my sake – the Bush Library is going to be built somewhere and as far as I’m concerned SMU is as good a place as any. No, I’m asking you to stop it for the sake of SMU itself but more importantly, perhaps crucially, for the sake of Methodist values and beliefs.

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