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Saturday, October 16, 2004

Chiodo to GPD: Go Cheney Yourselves

Local anti-war protestor Chaz Chiodo filed a federal lawsuit this past week over what he rightly calls his unlawful arrest in May. A GPD officer arrested Chiodo for wearing a shirt during a streetside protest that showed an American flag sticking out of someone's butt. The sign said "Bush Loyalists" and "Question Authority".

The State Attorney's Office, wisely, declined to charge Chiodo, so his criminal matter has been dropped. Chiodo, however, isn't dropping the issue.

The local ACLU filed the suit, using local attorney, Gary Edinger. The suit asks the court to halt the city's "policy of arresting and harassing citizens believed to be engaging in 'offensive' speech or displaying 'offensive' signs of an arguably sexual nature."

The Sun has an article on it here.

One man's obscenity is another man's political expression. That's pretty much how I look at people with Bush/Cheney stickers on their car.

I Spy a Good Judge

“We cannot simply suspend or restrict civil liberties until the War on Terror is over, because the War on Terror is unlikely ever to be truly over,” Judge Gerald Tjoflat wrote for the panel. “Sept. 11, 2001, already a day of immeasurable tragedy, cannot be the day liberty perished in this country.”

If you hate the Patriot Act (I do), then you'll want to read the article that puts the above quote in context. It's good news for once.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Get Your War On

Cartoonist David Rees will read from his newest collection of political comics, Get Your War On II, on Sunday, Oct. 17, at 7 p.m., at the Rion Ballroom on the UF campus. The ballroom is located in the Reitz Union, and the event is free and open to the public.

The New York Times recently described Get Your War On as a "glorious excoriation of our post 9/11 loony bin." Get Your War On recently described The New York Times as "birdcage liner."

The political comic can be seen each month in The Satellite, Gainesville's alternative monthly magazine. In the months following 9/11 and Operation Enduring Freedom, Rees went from being a frustrated temp at Martha Stewart Omnimedia to a noted political firebrand with a bestselling anthology, a thriving website, and a regular comic strip in Rolling Stone.

In Get Your War On II, printed in his signature red ink, Rees's deadpan wit and political venom rise to the occasion yet again.Rees will read from his comics using an overhead transparency projector, answer audience questions, and discuss the land mine removal in Afghanistan that is sponsored by sales of Get Your War On.

Who Moved My Knucklehead of the Week?

This story needs little explanation and certainly no exaggeration. Bush’s Homeland Security department is using our tax money for useless employee perks.

The $500 for cheese displays is bad enough, and the $81,000 for plaques is worse, but the most knuckleheaded part of this story is that the TSA was handing out lifetime achievement awards, when the agency is only two years old.

After reading this article, you'll understand clearly why TSA is the new Knucklehead of the Week. Someone should send them the Aug. 6 presidential briefing. I'm not sure TSA has its priorities straight.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

CMC's 11th Anniversary Features David Barsamian

If you listen to Classic 89 on Mondays, you've likely heard David Barsamian interviewing the likes of Noam Chomsky and Edward Said on his award-winning radio series, Alternative Radio.

Barsamian, a print journalist as well, is speaking Saturday night at the Civic Media Center's 11th anniversary celebration. His talk is at 8 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, which is located at 4225 NW 34th St. Call 373-0010 to obtain tickets. There is a meet-and-greet with Barsamian at 7 p.m.

Barsamian is founder and director of Alternative Radio, the independent award-winning weekly series based in Boulder, Colorado. He has been working in radio since 1978, and his weekly show airs on Classic 89 at 12:30 p.m. each Monday.

His interviews and articles appear regularly in The Progressive and Z Magazine. He is the author of several books, including Propaganda and the Public Mind: Conversations with Noam Chomsky; Eqbal Ahmad: Confronting Empire and The Decline and Fall of Public Broadcasting.

His latest books are The Checkbook and the Cruise Missile: Conversations with Arundhati Roy, and Louder Than Bombs: Interviews from The Progressive Magazine.

The Institute for Alternative Journalism named him one of its "Top Ten Media Heroes." Barsamian lectures on U.S. foreign policy, the media, propaganda, and corporate power in the U.S., Canada, Brazil, India and Europe. He is the winner of the ACLU's 2003 Upton Sinclair Award for independent journalism.

Slap a Candidate

This is some harmless frustration release that works no matter which presidential candidate you support. Kerry is winning this contest as well (meaning fewer people had chosen to slap him around).

Meet the New Veep

Democratic Vice Presidential Candidate John Edwards will speak at a rally Sunday at UF. The event is free and open to the public, and, unlike President Bush's campaign events, people do not need to sign a loyalty oath or promise to vote for the candidate to attend.

Tickets are required for crowd control purposes, but anyone can get them free at either the Alachua County Democratic Executive Committee headquarters, located at Southeast First Street and University Avenue in downtown Gainesville, or at the Florida Victory 2004 office, located at 3131 NW 13th St. The tickets are free and you do not need to be a Democrat to get one.

Attendees can enter the rally area starting at 12:30 p.m., and organizers say Edwards will speak at 2 p.m.

I call Edwards "the New Veep" because I have hopes that America won't get fooled again.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Mel's Hypocrisy

If you've seen any of the anti-Betty Castor ads that accuse her of being soft on terrorism, then a new report on the Fort Report should interest you. Apparently Castor's GOP opponent for US Senate, Mel Martinez, is not only a slimy mud-slinger, but a hypocritical one at that. To wit:

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Mel Martinez has staked his campaign on the issue of terrorism and his close ties to President Bush. Martinez attacks Democrat Betty Castor for action she took as president of the University of South Florida, when she suspended a professor who was suspected of ties to terrorist groups. Although she took the toughest action allowed by law, Martinez said Castor didn’t do enough to deal with professor Sami Al-Arian.

While he attacks Castor, Martinez gives a pass to George W. Bush, who campaigned with the same suspected terrorist in 2000 and invited him to a high-level White House meeting in 2001. According to the St. Petersburg Times, Martinez said it “didn’t matter” that a terrorist suspect under federal investigation attended a meeting with top Bush adviser Karl Rove on White House grounds. And Martinez told WFLA-TV that Bush posing for a photo with the suspect was “irrelevant.”

Castor is hitting back with a TV ad on Martinez’s hypocrisy. The ad is sure to put Martinez on the defensive over the signature issue of his campaign. It raises the real issue for voters to decide: Can we believe anything Mel Martinez says? See the ad at: www.bettynet.com/hypocrisy.
Incidentally, this is the same president who, as governor of Texas, met with members of the Taliban over an Afghan oil deal (see Fahrenheit 911 for details on that), and who regularly meets with Saudi Prince Abdullah, despite the fact that most of the 911 hijackers were Saudi and despite the fact that much of the worldwide financing for terror comes from Saudi groups.

Someone should call John Kerry's campaign.

Find Gainesville's Best Gas Prices

Living in Gainesville, you get used to paying high gas prices in comparison to the rest of the state. But thanks to the President Bush's illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq – a major source of instability in the oil-producing region and one that promises to continue for years -- gas prices are skyrocketing, with no end in sight.

So it is nice that The Gainesville Sun has created a handy tool for finding the best gas prices in Gainesville. I know, I know, I rarely praise The Sun, and for good reason, but I like to give credit when it is due.

The tool I refer to is a list of gas prices for Gainesville gas stations that is updated twice weekly.

The list is not complete, but the site's web master, Tim Davis, has a prominent e-mail link that viewers can use to send him stations that they would like added to the list.
Each entry displays the price for regular, mid-grade and premium gas, and you can resort the list for each of those grades, either from cheapest to most expensive, or vice versa.

The list also gives the address and telephone contact number for each station so you can find them. Luckily, Gainesville is a relatively small town, so most stations are a short drive away.

GOP Voter Fraud

Those of you worried about Republican election shenanigans, read this. Former employees of a private, GOP-funded voter registration company are accusing company officials of discarding hundreds, maybe even thousands of Democrat voter registration applications in Nevada.
According to a story by a Las Vegas ABC station: "We caught her taking Democrats out of my pile, handed them to her assistant and he ripped them up right in front of us. I grabbed some of them out of the garbage and she tells her assistant to get those from me," said Eric Russell, former Voters Outreach employee.

Eric Russell managed to retrieve a pile of shredded paperwork including signed voter registration forms, all from Democrats. We took them to the Clark County Election Department and confirmed that they had not, in fact, been filed with the county as required by law.
Later in the article, posted on the station's website, the reporter said:
The company has been largely, if not entirely funded, by the Republican National Committee. Similar complaints have been received in Reno where the registrar has asked the FBI to investigate.
Republicans have no shame, and the folks behind this deserve to go to jail. My main worry is that this trick has been repeated in Florida, where a few hundreds Dem votes could obviously mean a big difference in the outcome of the 2004 presidential race.

UPDATE: DailyKos, one of my favorite blogs when it comes to the 2004 election, has more information on this scam, including more about the company and its related anti-Democratic activities in other states.

Cheney Vows To Attack U.S. If Kerry Elected

From America's Finest News Source, The Onion.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Chomsky vs. Nader vs. Kerry vs. Bush

A live debate between Noam Chomsky and Ralph Nader -- two of the left wing's more prominent thinkers -- is a progressive's wet dream, but we'll have to settle here for the written word.

On Tuesday, Chomsky posted an entry on his blog titled, "Replying to Nader." The post addresses several comments made by Nader in an Oct. 4 interview with Democracy Now's Amy Goodman.

In the middle of the lengthy interview, Goodman asks Nader about a Sept. 14 petition signed by Chomsky and dozens of other progressives who supported Nader in 20002, including Barbara Ehrenreich, Howard Zinn and Ben Cohen. The petition says:

"We, the undersigned, were selected by Ralph Nader to be members of his 113-person national "Nader 2000 Citizens Committee." This year, we urge support for Kerry/Edwards in all swing states, even while we strongly disagree with Kerry's policies on Iraq and other issues. For people seeking progressive social change in the United States, removing George W. Bush from office should be the top priority in the 2004 presidential election. Progressive votes for John Kerry in swing states may prove decisive in attaining this vital goal."
When Goodman asked Nader about this, he said: "Well, it's a total loss of nerve. I mean, first of all, they didn't ask anything of Kerry. They said to the voters in the close states like Michigan, Wisconsin, Oregon, they said, vote for Kerry, quote, even though we strongly disagree with Kerry on the war and other issues, end quote. Well, when you don't demand anything of Kerry, he gets worse."

Chomsky was asked about this on his blog on Oct. 12. Among other things, he said:
"It’s important to keep the Bush crew from having another four years in power, even more important now than it was 4 years ago. That entails `tactical voting,' meaning against Bush in swing states. But other than that, the statement says nothing about supporting Nader, the Greens, or any other political organization. That wasn’t the point of that very brief and narrow statement, and if it had gone on, participants might have expressed various ideas about safe states and elections other than the presidential election—which are crucial."
Personally, I'm voting for Kerry and hope all progressives do as well. As publisher of MOON Magazine here in Gainesville, I endorsed Nader in 2000 because I wanted the Green Party to become a viable third party, and getting at least 5 percent of the vote meant federal funding for the party in the next election cycle.

This year there is no such impetus, because Nader is running as an independent. Also, Bush has proven to be a miserable failure and a threat to our existence as a species, so it is important to remove Bush and his cabal from power so we can begin working on real change. Kerry is not perfect, but we all know George W. Bush, and Kerry's no Dubya.

Show Some PRIDE

This week is Gay & Lesbian PRIDE Week in Gainesville, which means plenty of opportunities to show that we live in a tolerant, open-minded community that is proud of its citizens, no matter what gender they prefer to romance.

PRIDE Week has happened for 11 straight years (no pun intended), and it lasts through Oct. 18. On Saturday, there is a parade on University Avenue to the downtown plaza, culminating in a day-long festival at the plaza.

The festival has speakers, musicians and entertainers, including the always humorous and sassy Lady Pearl.

On Saturday, Sunday and Monday, the Hippodrome Cinema is hosting a film festival in conjunction with PRIDE Week. The Cinema will be showing Angels in America, Brother to Brother, Superstar in a Housedress, Tipping the Velvet, and Under One Roof. Each movie plays on each day, and you check the PRIDE website for show times.

Bush's Brain

The Civic Media Center is hosting a double-showing of Bush's Brain, a new documentary about President Bush's Svengali, Karl Rove. The showing is Wednesday, Oct. 13, at 7:30 and 9 p.m.

Rove is the mastermind behind Bush's governor and presidential campaigns, as well as Bush's presidency. Rove helps craft not only Bush's spin but also his policies. Rove is deft at manipulating the media, so much so that he was able to get a major league knucklehead like George W. Bush elected as president of the United States. Scary stuff.

I own this documentary myself and highly recommend it.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Scalia: Group Sex = Safe World

Maybe Republican Supreme Court nominees aren’t all bad.