Archive for August, 2005

Leave the leaves, Part II: Does Roanoke Really Want Public Art

August 30, 2005

 

Got a return call from Kenneth King reiterating Ms. Burcham’s position.  Can you imagine what would happen in Roanoke had been in charge of the Caves of Lascaux?

 

Elaine’s friend Diane has posted a poll on art or graffiti  on Elaine’s website, where you can also see pictures and a narrative of her dealings with the city.

 

David Harrison of The Roanoke Times wrote an article  “Leaf art on sidewalk creates a pile of controversy.”

Fall has come a little early to the 500 block of Mountain Avenue Southwest, with dogwood and maple leaves ranging from bright green to flaming orange strewn across a stretch of walkway.

But look closely. Those fiery fall leaves are mostly confined to just a couple of squares of pavement on the odd side of the street. And they don’t crunch underfoot. In fact, those leaves aren’t leaves at all. They’re paint. …

 

Call him at (540) 981-3349 and say thanks or better yet, write the editor.

 

Quotes of the Day from Harrison’s article:

  • Somebody can put something down that everybody likes, but then the next guy might put something down that’s offensive, and we need to be consistent,”–Bob Bengtson, director of public works.
  • [Obliterating  the leaves ] “seems a little petty,…”My sidewalks are all busted up and cracked up.– David Whitmore, who lives across the street
  • I say just leave them [the leaves] alone. –Ted Farewell who lives down the block.
  • They’re kind of whimsical…This one is my favorite because it looks so real. –Elaine Fleck

 

My other “Leave the Leaves”  entry:

Art v.s. Graffiti

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Leave the Leaves! (Art v.s. Graffiti)

August 29, 2005

 

Here’s the e-mail I sent to Roanoke’s city Manager.  Why don’t you contact her too?

Darlene L. Burcham, City Manager
215 Church Avenue, S.W.
Noel C. Taylor Municipal Building
Room 364
Roanoke, VA 24011
 Phone Number
(540) 853-2333
Fax Number
(540) 853-1138
E-mail Address
Office Hours
7:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m., Monday – Friday

Dear Ms. Burcham,

I love how Roanoke artist  Elaine Fleck  enhanced the leaf imprints in the concrete sidewalk in front of the house she and her husband own at  535 Mountain Avenue, SW, Roanoke.

I was saddened to learn that you were of the opinion that because “the sidewalk is a public right of way, and despite the appearance, the city cannot allow individuals to deface that right of way. To allow in this instance would open up the opportunity for others to do the same, and who is to say that the next effort would not be offensive. …We will be taking steps to remove just as we did the crosswalk in [the]r neighborhood which others thought was attractive too.”

I’ve attached  digital photographs of  her sidewalk,  as well as the photo from the City’s web site of graffiti.

The Roanoke City Code Graffiti ordinance 21:25 states:

Willful damage to or defacement of public or privatefacilities

.

(a) Graffiti defined. Graffiti means the unauthorized application of any writing, painting, drawing, etching, scratching or marking of an inscription, work, figure or design of any type on any public buildings, facilities and personal property or any private buildings, facilities and personal property.

When I looked up the terms in a legal dictionary online, I found no entries. In common English usage, the definition of damage is “to harm or injure property or a person, resulting in loss of value or the impairment of usefulness.” The definition of deface is “to mar or spoil the appearance or surface of; disfigure; or to impair the usefulness, value, or influence of.

Elaine’s art doesn’t seem to meet these definitions. It seems the way to distinguish art from grafitti is the issue of permission. My question would be, “Can the city establish a permission process, similar to Portland, Oregon, that allows neighborhoods to beautify their surroundings.”

Since the Arts Commission is to ” advise and assist City Council on matters relating to the advancement of the arts and humanities within the city” perhaps they could take it up and have City Council address this matter before  “take steps to removet” something that makes Roanoke so much more pleasant a place.

For more information on Portland, see  City Repair’s site.

Your Parks and Recreation Director, Steve Buschor, attended a presentation sponsored by the Roanoke Permaculture Association and the Roanoke Natural Foods Co-op on  April 22 by Toby Hemenway, who is on the Board for this project.  Mr. Buschor might be able to  fill you in.

Embedded: Tim Robbins’s Play on Iraq (8/29/05)

August 29, 2005

“I think that if you believe something, and you have an opportunity in a free society to express it, then isn’t that your responsibility as a citizen? If you’re an artist, a writer, an actor, isn’t that part of the deal? When the attacks started on my patriotism, that’s when I went into high gear.”

Actor-director-writer Robbins has been called a lot of things since he and his partner actress Susan Sarandon, lent their voices the growing movement against the war in Iraq which will bring protesters to Washington, D.C. September 24-6. The mobilization sponsored by United for Peace and Justice includes a march, a free concert with musicians including Steve Earle, a “tent revival” emceed by Danny Glover, congressional lobbying and non-violent direct action.

But meanwhile, on September 9th at 1:30 pm. and September 21 at 9 pm you can catch Embedded/Live, a film version of Robbins’ play that premiered last year at the Public Theater and did a touring company on the Sundance Channel (which also brings us an hour of Al Franken’s Air America radio program weekday evenings starting at 11:30 p.m.)

“In May of 2003, says Robbins, “I decided to focus my frustration and anger, taking my pile of collected articles and scribbled notes, to try to tell the story of our reckless neo-conservative administration’s march to war, of the unmitigated failure of our press — some who acted more like courtesans than journalists — and also of the tragedy that results when young men and women are asked to engage violently with strangers in a hostile land.”

The play is performed by the Actors’ Gang, a group Robbins founded with a group of drama buddies from UCLA in 1981, years before he became a movie star. They modeled their edgy agitprop aesthetic on the in-your-face antics of the San Francisco Mime Troupe and shared what Robbins calls a “punk-rock sensibility.” (Robbins dedicated the play to The Clash’s late Joe Strummer.)

Robbins has channeled his ire into a smart, screwball and chilling comedy, dramatizing the embedding of news media with military forces during the invasion of “Gomorrah,” an oil-rich rogue state ruled by the “Butcher of Babylon.” Only some reporters struggle with their armed hosts to get some truth out for the people back home. The episodic sketches mix with old film clips, hazy scenes from backstage as the actors move about and shots of amused theater patrons.

Robbins shows genuine sympathy for the journalists and saves his ample scorn for the government leaders whose shifting rationales leading up to the invasion. The play’s comic stroke of genius is a masked chorus called “The Cabal,” the policy advisers and analysts in the Pentagon’s “Office of Special Plans” – – with names like Rum-Rum, Pearly White, Woof, Gondola, Cove and Dick. They sneer at reports of swelling peace marches, consult their Palm Pilots to find the best date to launch the invasion (“If we don’t get this war started soon, we’re going to have to compete with the NBA playoffs”) and recite a litany of excuses for why none of them ever served in the armed forces.

The play is inventive and robust from start to finish, but suffers from the awkward process of filming live drama. But that’s a small quibble. Since I didn’t see the stage performance, I’m glad Sundance affords me the opportunity of at least getting the gist of the play. And if you don’t have access to cable, you can rent the DVD from Netflix or buy it at the official site, which is also chock-full of background information and links to learn more about the war.

You can read Tim Robbins account of his production at Huffington Post. To read more about the mobilization, see my Entry for August 24, 2005 and go to United for Peace & Justice.

Ed Falco’s Wolf Point (8/27/05)

August 28, 2005

falco

Wolf Point by Edward Falco, Unbridled Press, 256 pages.

Here’s a rough draft of the review that will be published in the upcoming New River Free Press.

“Once,” Ed Falco writes, in describing his new novel, “while hitchhiking somewhere upstate New York, I was given a ride by a guy with a collection of swords. The peripheral details are all gone: I have no idea where I was coming from or where I was going. I couldn’t tell you when it happened, though it must have been around 1970, since those were the days I hitchhiked a good bit, in my late teens and early twenties. I remember that it was late and that there weren’t many cars on the road, and that the ride started off pleasantly enough, though the driver was a little manic and talky, as if he’d been driving a long time and was jittery—but after we were on the road awhile, the swords came out. He had a collection of them in the back seat, and he’d twist around, practically climbing out of the driver’s seat, to grab one, unsheathe it, and then explain how it was designed to kill or maim, while waving it in front of my face. Almost everything else about the memory is fuzzy now, except for those swords slicing through the air while I pushed myself as far back in the passenger’s seat as possible. I don’t remember how the ride ended, or what happened next. But those swords made a deep impression. Hitchhiking is dangerous; anything can happen. And that’s where Wolf Point starts.”

Wolf Point will be published in October by Unbridled Books, the same publisher which brought out his short story collection, Sabbath Night in the Church of the Piranha this past May.

The world events of September 11, 2001 and the 2003 invasion of Iraq serve to ground the novel in time, but the main action takes place over several days on a road trip north from Salem, Virginia, where the 57-year old businessman Tom “T” Walker, has been exiled after the breakup of his second marriage and the disintegration of his life. He knows better than to pick up two hitchhikers, a young woman and her threatening boyfriend, but he is so isolated that any contact will be an improvement.

Categorized by the publisher as a “literary thriller”, Wolf Point brings us the same quirky, sometimes menacing characters and vivid places we find in the stories. Despite the sometimes driving plot, this is a quiet book, full of contemplation by the narrator on love, regret, and redemption. It bears reading and re-reading.

As in the case of the short story collection, there will be a book launch including a reading and signing on Tuesday, September 20, at 7pm at The Easy Chair Bookstore in Blacksburg. Falco will be a panelist at the September 29-30 Virginia Writers Celebration at Virginia Tech and will read again at Hollins University in late October.

Falco’s In the Park of Culture, a collection of short fictions from The University of Notre Dame Press also came out this year. His earlier books include the novel Winter in Florida (Soho, 1990), the hypertext novel, A Dream with Demons (Eastgate Systems, 1997), the hypertext poetry collection, Sea Island (Eastgate Systems, 1995), and a chapbook of the prose poem, Concert in the Park of Culture (Tamarack, 1985), as well as two collections of short stories: Acid (Notre Dame, 1996) and Plato at Scratch Daniel’s & Other Stories (University of Arkansas Press, 1990). His stories have been published in magazines including The Atlantic Monthly, Playboy, and TriQuarterly, and collected in the Best American Short Stories, the Pushcart Prize, and several anthologies. As a playwright, Falco is the author of Home Delivery, Sabbath Night in the Church of the Piranha, Radon, Welcome to Castle in the Air, and Possum Dreams.. He lives in Blacksburg, where he teaches writing and literature at Virginia Tech’s MFA program, and edits The New River, an online journal of digital writing.

For more information on the book launch, contact Russell Chisholm at 540-552-BOOK. To read an excerpt

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Reject John Roberts (8/26/05)

August 26, 2005

Here’s a draft of my article for the New River Free Press, which I submitted today. ..The graphic above is from People of the American Way. I’ll be adding links to this page later after I finish my other articles.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

In July, on “The Tonight Show”, Jay Leno said, “The White House announced today that the public would not be allowed to see the memos produced by John Roberts when he represented the United States government as a lawyer. They say this is because of the attorney-client privilege. Here’s the part I don’t understand: he represented the United States, we’re the client, he’s our lawyer. Shouldn’t we be allowed see our own notes?”

What’s available of John Roberts’ record as a government lawyer, private attorney and federal appeals judge, makes progressives worry about his stands on equal opportunity, privacy, reproductive choice, and religious liberty, among many issues. But, as Benjamin Wittes noted in the May 2005 issue of The Atlantic, “[T]the threat to basic environmental protections from conservative jurisprudence is broad-based and severe.” He adds, “By tightening doctrinal requirements that limit citizen access to the courts, judges greatly reduce the legal accountability of polluters.”

Of special concern to Free Press readers is how Bush’s nominee for a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court once offered the National Mining Association (NMA) advice on how to intervene in other people’s court cases and two years later was hired by the group to argue against citizens trying to stop coal companies from shearing off West Virginia’s mountains.

In 1999, as a partner in the Washington, DC law firm of Hogan & Hartson, Roberts’ lecture before the NMA’s conference offered “several pointers” on how the group might get their views heard by judges.

In the 1999 landmark case of Bragg v. Robertson, the now-deceased U.S. District Judge Charles H. Haden II limited mountaintop removal coal mining, finding that a stream buffer zone rule prohibiting mining within 100 feet of waters, barred coal companies from burying larger streams with strip mine waste.

The NMA was not a direct party in the case; instead, it hired Roberts and two other attorneys at his firm of Hogan & Hartson to file a “friend of the court” brief in the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, saying the ruling “jeopardize[d] the continued viability of the coal industry in Appalachia and elsewhere.”

The brief also argued that Haden had allowed citizens to “circumvent” an administrative process to appeal permit decisions to the state Surface Mine Board. “Such a result eviscerates the very process Congress established to coordinate the various regulatory programs applicable to coal mining, and creates grave uncertainty for the members of the coal industry who rely upon mining permits as the blueprint for compliance with these programs.”

In its April 2001 decision, the 4th Circuit overturned Haden, saying the dispute instead belonged in state court. One of the judges who overturned Haden was J. Michael Luttig, who Bush considered for the open Supreme Court seat and is a close friend of Roberts.

Roberts also undermined environmental projection in 1990, when as deputy solicitor general under George H.W. Bush, he successfully argued before the Supreme Court that environmental groups lacked standing to sue the federal government over a mining project on public land.

While on the D.C. Circuit Court, Roberts was one of two judges to dissent from a 2003 decision that upheld the Endangered Species Act as a permissible exercise of Congress’ authority under the commerce clause. As an appeals court judge in 2004, he rejected a Sierra Club lawsuit seeking to force the Environmental Protection Agency to adopt a tougher standard for the emission of hazardous air pollutants from copper smelters.

On August 26, the Sierra Club issued a statement. “As information about Roberts continues to trickle out, concern about his positions grows.” David Bernard, chair of the New River Group of Sierra Club explained to the Free Press, “Mr. Roberts could have a negative impact on the environment. As you know, the word environment does not appear in the Constitution…He may be willing to further limit Federal authority to regulate environmental matters.” Annie Krochalis of the Roanoke adds “The national Sierra Club is opposed to mountain top removal projects, a position shared by the Roanoke group. The Club is supporting efforts toward full disclosure of Robert’s documents.”

On August 14, Carl Pope, the Sierra Club’s executive director had gone on record with Associated Press reporter John Heilprin to complain that Roberts “defers to economic interests over the public health, to executive agencies over the Congress, and to secrecy over the public’s right-to-know…He’s always tweaking the facts to the benefit of insiders.”

That Roberts would benefit insiders is no accident, according to Michael Scherer, Washington correspondent for first Mother Jones and now Salon.com. Writing for Mother Jones in 2003, Scherer noted that, “Now, with a sympathetic ear in the White House, corporate America is taking its legal agenda to the federal bench with a behind-the-scenes campaign of high-powered lobbying and interest-group advertising.

Senator Richard Durbin, an Illinois Democrat and former corporate defense lawyer told Scherer. “What you have is a wholesale effort to hijack the federal judiciary….They clearly want to put in a more conservative judiciary and then start stacking the deck by removing more and more cases to the federal courts.”

Scherer discovered that the nominees’ “legal approaches have been nurtured by a string of corporate foundations that fund university programs and ideological groups like the Federalist Society.”

This society has sp
onsored legal symposia and served as a network for rising conservative lawyers since its founding in 1982 by Bork-inspired conservatives who believed law schools had taken a tilt to the left. Membership in or association with the society has become a badge of ideological and political reliability in conservative circles.

When news organizations reported Roberts’ membership this July, the White House claimed that Roberts had no memory of belonging. As a result, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, USA Today and the Associated Press printed corrections. But over the weekend of July 23-4, the Post obtained a copy of the Federalist Society Lawyers’ Division Leadership Directory, 1997-1998, listing Roberts as a member of the Washington chapter’s steering committee.

Meanwhile, the conservative Landmark Legal foundation has sued the EPA, the Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management and the Fish and Wildlife Service to expose “both the amount and misuse of federal grants” by “extreme environmental” groups, including “political advocacy and lobbying.”

Landmark notes on its website that, “The EPA has already produced a list of nearly 14,000 grants totaling more than $2 billion made to nonprofit organizations since 1993. Landmark has used the information produced through this litigation to create the most extensive database on environmental grants awarded by the government on the Internet. This database can be easily accessed by state policy groups, property owners, businesses and others.”

The Committee for Justice leads campaign for Roberts. Since is founding in July 2002, this non-profit has pressured the Senate to approve Bush’s nominees for federal judgeships. In July 1, 2005, the day of Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s resignation, its press release painted progressives in a highly negative light and threatened moderates who might oppose the nomination.

“[W] we’re familiar with the special interests on the other side and what is demanded by their financial backers the trial lawyers, the pornography industry, the teachers unions that want to block equal educational opportunity for the inner city. We know they will attack almost any non-liberal nominee in hysterical terms.

“We will be watching Senate Democrats and intend to link moderate and red states senators to their liberal Senate colleagues and outside groups. If Sens. Kennedy, Schumer, Durbin, Leahy, and Boxer attack, it will be Ben Nelson (Neb), Mark Pryor and Blanche Lincoln (Ark), Robert Byrd (WVa), Bill Nelson (Fla), Tom Carper (Del), Debbie Stabenow (Mich), Jeff Bingaman (NMex), Evan Bayh (Ind), Byron Dorgan (ND), Mary Landrieu (La), and Tim Johnson (SD) who will be held accountable.”

Progress for America (PFA), another conservative group, did not even wait for O’Connor’s resignation. As noted in the * issue of the NRFP, it launched a $700,000 “grassroots” ad campaign on June 22 “to warn the public that in the event of a U.S. Supreme Court vacancy, liberals and some Democrats will unleash a disinformation campaign with distorted attacks against any judicial nominee.”

On August 15, PFA dispatched 15 of Roberts’ “friends, colleagues and legal experts” to barnstorm 14 states, including West Virginia, and argue that Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s easy approval by the Senate should serve as a precedent. John Suber, a columnist for the Charleston Daily Mail advocated on August 11 that “President Bush should follow suit and simply give Judge John Roberts a recess appointment to the Supreme Court.”

Despite conservative charges that progressives would rush to judgment, People of the American Way (PFAW) did not issue its report on Roberts until August 24. It has now launched a petition drive urging Senators that John Roberts’ confirmation to the Supreme Court would jeopardize many of the legal and constitutional protections that Americans enjoy and would undermine the nation’s hard-won progress in civil rights and equal opportunity, privacy and reproductive choice, environmental protection, and religious liberty. Moreover, he would strengthen the power of the presidency, already dangerously expanded by President Bush.”

MoveOn.org has also started a petition drive to the Senate, stating,In nominating John Roberts, the president has chosen a right wing corporate lawyer and ideologue for the nation’s highest court instead of a judge who would protect the rights of the American people.”

Editors’ Note: Readers wishing to read PFAW’s report and find its petition can go here: http://www.savethecourt.org/site/c.mwK0JbNTJrF/b.849267/k.CC39/Home.htm

MoveOn.org’s campaign is here: http://political.moveon.org/roberts/

Michael Scherer’s August 11 article on why Roberts’ business ties is here: http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2005/08/11/roberts_business/

Links to Roberts’ decisions and briefs can be found here:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/07/19/AR2005071900870.html#documents

Reject John Roberts

August 26, 2005

Here’s a draft of my article for the New River Free Press, which I submitted today. ..The graphic above is from People of the American Way.I’ll be adding links to this page later after I finish my other articles.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

In July, on “The Tonight Show”, Jay Leno said, “The White House announced today that the public would not be allowed to see the memos produced by John Roberts when he represented the United States government as a lawyer. They say this is because of the attorney-client privilege. Here’s the part I don’t understand: he represented the United States, we’re the client, he’s our lawyer. Shouldn’t we be allowed see our own notes?”

What’s available of John Roberts’ record as a government lawyer, private attorney and federal appeals judge, makes progressives worry about his stands on equal opportunity, privacy, reproductive choice, and religious liberty, among many issues. But, as Benjamin Wittes noted in the May 2005 issue of The Atlantic, “[T]the threat to basic environmental protections from conservative jurisprudence is broad-based and severe.” He adds, “By tightening doctrinal requirements that limit citizen access to the courts, judges greatly reduce the legal accountability of polluters.”

Of special concern to Free Press readers is how Bush’s nominee for a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court once offered the National Mining Association (NMA) advice on how to intervene in other people’s court cases and two years later was hired by the group to argue against citizens trying to stop coal companies from shearing off West Virginia’s mountains.

In 1999, as a partner in the Washington, DC law firm of Hogan & Hartson, Roberts’ lecture before the NMA’s conference offered “several pointers” on how the group might get their views heard by judges.

In the 1999 landmark case of Bragg v. Robertson, the now-deceased U.S. District Judge Charles H. Haden II limited mountaintop removal coal mining, finding that a stream buffer zone rule prohibiting mining within 100 feet of waters, barred coal companies from burying larger streams with strip mine waste.

The NMA was not a direct party in the case; instead, it hired Roberts and two other attorneys at his firm of Hogan & Hartson to file a “friend of the court” brief in the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, saying the ruling “jeopardize[d] the continued viability of the coal industry in Appalachia and elsewhere.”

The brief also argued that Haden had allowed citizens to “circumvent” an administrative process to appeal permit decisions to the state Surface Mine Board. “Such a result eviscerates the very process Congress established to coordinate the various regulatory programs applicable to coal mining, and creates grave uncertainty for the members of the coal industry who rely upon mining permits as the blueprint for compliance with these programs.”

In its April 2001 decision, the 4th Circuit overturned Haden, saying the dispute instead belonged in state court. One of the judges who overturned Haden was J. Michael Luttig, who Bush considered for the open Supreme Court seat and is a close friend of Roberts.

Roberts also undermined environmental projection in 1990, when as deputy solicitor general under George H.W. Bush, he successfully argued before the Supreme Court that environmental groups lacked standing to sue the federal government over a mining project on public land.

While on the D.C. Circuit Court, Roberts was one of two judges to dissent from a 2003 decision that upheld the Endangered Species Act as a permissible exercise of Congress’ authority under the commerce clause. As an appeals court judge in 2004, he rejected a Sierra Club lawsuit seeking to force the Environmental Protection Agency to adopt a tougher standard for the emission of hazardous air pollutants from copper smelters.

On August 26, the Sierra Club issued a statement. “As information about Roberts continues to trickle out, concern about his positions grows.” David Bernard, chair of the New River Group of Sierra Club explained to the Free Press, “Mr. Roberts could have a negative impact on the environment. As you know, the word environment does not appear in the Constitution…He may be willing to further limit Federal authority to regulate environmental matters.” Annie Krochalis of the Roanoke adds “The national Sierra Club is opposed to mountain top removal projects, a position shared by the Roanoke group. The Club is supporting efforts toward full disclosure of Robert’s documents.”

On August 14, Carl Pope, the Sierra Club’s executive director had gone on record with Associated Press reporter John Heilprin to complain that Roberts “defers to economic interests over the public health, to executive agencies over the Congress, and to secrecy over the public’s right-to-know…He’s always tweaking the facts to the benefit of insiders.”

That Roberts would benefit insiders is no accident, according to Michael Scherer, Washington correspondent for first Mother Jones and now Salon.com. Writing for Mother Jones in 2003, Scherer noted that, “Now, with a sympathetic ear in the White House, corporate America is taking its legal agenda to the federal bench with a behind-the-scenes campaign of high-powered lobbying and interest-group advertising.
Senator Richard Durbin, an Illinois Democrat and former corporate defense lawyer told Scherer. “What you have is a wholesale effort to hijack the federal judiciary….They clearly want to put in a more conservative judiciary and then start stacking the deck by removing more and more cases to the federal courts.”

Scherer discovered that the nominees’ “legal approaches have been nurtured by a string of corporate foundations that fund university programs and ideological groups like the Federalist Society.”

This society has sponsored legal symposia and served as a network for rising conservative lawyers since its founding in 1982 by Bork-inspired conservatives who believed law schools had taken a tilt to the left. Membership in or association with the society has become a badge of ideological and political reliability in conservative circles.

When news organizations reported Roberts’ membership this July, the White House claimed that Roberts had no memory of belonging. As a result, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, USA Today and the Associated Press printed corrections. But over the weekend of July 23-4, the Post obtained a copy of the Federalist Society Lawyers’ Division Leadership Directory, 1997-1998, listing Roberts as a member of the Washington chapter’s steering committee.

Meanwhile, the conservative Landmark Legal foundation has sued the EPA, the Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management and the Fish and Wildlife Service to expose “both the amount and misuse of federal grants” by “extreme environmental” groups, including “political advocacy and lobbying.”

Landmark notes on its website that, “The EPA has already produced a list of nearly 14,000 grants totaling more than $2 billion made to nonprofit organizations since 1993. Landmark has used the information produced through this litigation to create the most extensive database on environmental grants awarded by the government on the Internet. This database can be easily accessed by state policy groups, property owners, businesses and others.”

The Committee for Justice leads campaign for Roberts. Since is founding in July 2002, this non-profit has pressured the Senate to approve Bush’s nominees for federal judgeships. In July 1, 2005, the day of Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s resignation, its press release painted progressives in a highly negative light and threatened moderates who might oppose the nomination.

“[W] we’re familiar with the special interests on the other side and what is demanded by their financial backers the trial lawyers, the pornography industry, the teachers unions that want to block equal educational opportunity for the inner city. We know they will attack almost any non-liberal nominee in hysterical terms.

“We will be watching Senate Democrats and intend to link moderate and red states senators to their liberal Senate colleagues and outside groups. If Sens. Kennedy, Schumer, Durbin, Leahy, and Boxer attack, it will be Ben Nelson (Neb), Mark Pryor and Blanche Lincoln (Ark), Robert Byrd (WVa), Bill Nelson (Fla), Tom Carper (Del), Debbie Stabenow (Mich), Jeff Bingaman (NMex), Evan Bayh (Ind), Byron Dorgan (ND), Mary Landrieu (La), and Tim Johnson (SD) who will be held accountable.”

Progress for America (PFA), another conservative group, did not even wait for O’Connor’s resignation. As noted in the * issue of the NRFP, it launched a $700,000 “grassroots” ad campaign on June 22 “to warn the public that in the event of a U.S. Supreme Court vacancy, liberals and some Democrats will unleash a disinformation campaign with distorted attacks against any judicial nominee.”

On August 15, PFA dispatched 15 of Roberts’ “friends, colleagues and legal experts” to barnstorm 14 states, including West Virginia, and argue that Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s easy approval by the Senate should serve as a precedent. John Suber, a columnist for the Charleston Daily Mail advocated on August 11 that “President Bush should follow suit and simply give Judge John Roberts a recess appointment to the Supreme Court.”

Despite conservative charges that progressives would rush to judgment, People of the American Way (PFAW) did not issue its report on Roberts until August 24. It has now launched a petition drive urging Senators that “ John Roberts’ confirmation to the Supreme Court would jeopardize many of the legal and constitutional protections that Americans enjoy and would undermine the nation’s hard-won progress in civil rights and equal opportunity, privacy and reproductive choice, environmental protection, and religious liberty. Moreover, he would strengthen the power of the presidency, already dangerously expanded by President Bush.”

MoveOn.org has also started a petition drive to the Senate, stating, “In nominating John Roberts, the president has chosen a right wing corporate lawyer and ideologue for the nation’s highest court instead of a judge who would protect the rights of the American people.”

Editors’ Note: Readers wishing to read PFAW’s report and find its petition can go to Savethecourt.org MoveOn.org’s campaign is here Michael Scherer’s August 11 article on why Roberts’ business ties is here:Links to Roberts’ decisions and briefs can be found at
Salon ,the WaPo

Pat Robertson and Venezuela (08/25/05)

August 25, 2005

The above photo is from Maiz Rebelde article,  writes how it  ” provides pesticide-free and affordable food for people for the  San Francisco Independent Media Center.

On Monday, August 22, televangelist Pat Robertson seemed to call for the assassination of Victor Chavez, president of Venezuela.  I don’t watch the 700 Club, but here is a transcript from the CNN Live report which aired the next day.

We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability.

Given the United States administrations’ record of destablizing  governments set me on a search of the internet to find out some more about Chavez.  Here’s what I found. 

First read this quote today…

Marcela Sanchez, “Dealing with the Good and Bad Hugo Chavez” in today’s Washington Post:

The success of democracies in Latin America hinges on the ability of their economies to reduce poverty and inequality, the true source of resentment and instability. Chavez’s impact can go either way — at times increasing instability, at times reducing it.

Watch everyone laugh at Pat Robertson…

Watch “Pat Sounds” on Jon Stewart  or check out Al Franken.  But I had to wonder why they and their guests were  only ridiculing Robertson for the assasination part, rather than the dictator part.  

Read a little about what’s been going on in Venezuela… 

The people of Venezuala originally elected  Chavez president  in 1998  for a five-year term. Of 76.12 percent of the counted votes, Hugo Chavez won 2.87 million, representing 56.34 percent of the counted votes, as compared to 2.02 million, or 39.59 percent, for Henrique Salas, his close challenger, according to the Xinhua News Agency.  Since then he has been re=elected after a new constitution in 2000, survived a coup and a recall.  He invited the  The Carter Center in to help from 2002 to 2005, which in its final  report reiterated that it had “noted, on numerous and frequent occasions, the remarkable democratic culture of the nation, as well as the continuous effort to privilege the roads of dialogue and cooperation in order to overcome the deep divisions.”

Then wonder why that’s not in the media…

 One of the most interesting articles was by Mark Weisbrot writing “Venezuela’s recall: The other side of the story” in the  the 9/29/03 International Herald Tribune.  Comparing Bush’s policy towards Iraq (and we know what a mess that is),  he wrote,

 Now there is another example of the triumph of misinformation, which  not coincidentally  again concerns an oil-rich country where the U.S. government seeks ”regime change.”  Venezuela. This time, however, it is not a dictatorship but a democracy that is under attack.

He noted the skewed media coverage in the U.S. and ended  with the suggestion that, “Those who want to hear the other side of the story  or even get a rough idea of what is actually going on  had better be prepared to spend some time digging around on the Internet.*

Weisbrot is the co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research.  He can be reached at weisbrot@cepr.net .

 

Pat Robertson and Venezuela

August 25, 2005

The photo is of a community garden in Caracas Venezuela, operated by the Maiz Rebelde group which provides “pesticide-free and affordable food for people” was one of a series posted as to its “Venezuela: Urban Agriculture”August 7, 2005 at San Francisco Bay Area Independent Media Center.

On Monday, August 22, televangelist Pat Robertson seemed to call for the assassination of Hugo Chavez, president of Venezuela. I don’t watch the 700 Club, but here is a transcript from the CNN Live report which aired the next day.

We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability.

Given the United States administrations’ record of destablizing governments set me on a search of the internet to find out some more about Chavez. Here’s what I found.

First read this quote today…

Marcela Sanchez, “Dealing with the Good and Bad Hugo Chavez” in today’s Washington Post:

The success of democracies in Latin America hinges on the ability of their economies to reduce poverty and inequality, the true source of resentment and instability. Chavez’s impact can go either way — at times increasing instability, at times reducing it.

Watch everyone laugh at Pat Robertson…

Watch “Pat Sounds” on Jon Stewart or check out Al Franken. But I had to wonder why they and their guests were only ridiculing Robertson for the assasination part, rather than the dictator part.

Read a little about what’s been going on in Venezuela…

The people of Venezuala originally elected Chavez president in 1998 for a five-year term. Of 76.12 percent of the counted votes, Hugo Chavez won 2.87 million, representing 56.34 percent of the counted votes, as compared to 2.02 million, or 39.59 percent, for Henrique Salas, his close challenger, according to the Xinhua News Agency. Since then he has been re=elected after a new constitution in 2000, survived a coup and a recall. He invited the The Carter Center in to help from 2002 to 2005, which in its final report reiterated that it had “noted, on numerous and frequent occasions, the remarkable democratic culture of the nation, as well as the continuous effort to privilege the roads of dialogue and cooperation in order to overcome the deep divisions.”

Then wonder why that’s not in the media…

One of the most interesting articles was by Mark Weisbrot writing “Venezuela’s recall: The other side of the story” in the the 9/29/03 International Herald Tribune. Comparing Bush’s policy towards Iraq (and we know what a mess that is), he wrote,

Now there is another example of the triumph of misinformation, which not coincidentally again concerns an oil-rich country where the U.S. government seeks ”regime change.” Venezuela. This time, however, it is not a dictatorship but a democracy that is under attack.

He noted the skewed media coverage in the U.S. and ended with the suggestion that, “
Those who want to hear the other side of the story or even get a rough idea of what is actually going on had better be prepared to spend some time digging around on the Internet.

*

Weisbrot is the co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research. He can be reached at weisbrot@cepr.net.

UPDATE (1/14/07) I imported this entry in Blogger to link with my new coverage of Rev. Robertson. As it was only my second post, I didn’t even note the name of the photographer or whether there was a link to another source when I checked, the article from which I originally took this picture was no longer available online. And yet it somehow reappeared. Perhaps it has something to do with the woes the S.F. Indy Media Center experienced in 2007.

This year, in particular, was hard for us. Just as we were internally ready to launch a whole new SF-IMC that we believe would revolutionize the way IMC’s are used, there was an enormous server crisis. It was announced that ahimsa was going to stop hosting IMC sites. And it was announced that CCCP, where many IMC’s were hosted, was also powering off. It fell on a small group of people to solve this crisis. To our credit, we founded a new non-profit, set up a new co-location facility, and now things are back to running smoothly for all the IMC’s that were at risk. All of them, that is, except for San Francisco Indymedia. We were always that last ones to receive attention because we were working to help other IMC’s first.

When I looked for another copy of the picture, I found these wonderful photographs of the Caracas community gardens from Swords into Ploughshares, an August 6th – September 18th, 2004 show at DeLeon White Gallery, with photographs by from Carmen Victor (email), a curatorial assistant presently on leave from Toronto’s Blackwood Gallery and with text by Richard Rhodes, editor of Canadian Art Magazine.

I also found this photo essay by Emma Lynch for the BBC. (Hat tip to Oil Wars)

September in DC: Mobilize against Iraq and for Sustainability (8/24/05)

August 24, 2005

Cease Fire in Iraq!

Join the DC Mobilization against the war in Iraq September 24 -6, 2005.

Come gather at the National Monument at 11 AM to march and attend musicians’ coalition Operation Ceasefire’s free concertwith Steve Earle on Saturday, September 24. On Sunday, attend a “tent revival”l” at 6 pm sponsored by Clergy and Laity Concerned about Iraq and emceed byactor Danny Glover, who has been harrassed for his stand on Iraq. On Monday, lobby Congress and participate in non-violent direct action,

And while you’re in DC the 2005 Green Festival costs only $15. September 24 -5.

Speakers: Cindy Sheehan – Dolores Huerta – Amy Goodman – Congressman Dennis Kucinich – – Lois Gibbs – CodePink – and over 100 other visionary leaders….

Attractions:

A marketplace of green businesses – come and do your holiday shopping

Marc Maron and Laura Flanders of Air America Radio broadcasting live

Premiere showing of new award-winning documentary -The Real Dirt on Farmer John

Reverend Altagracia Pèrez on the Wal-Mart victory plus a sneak preview of Wal-Mart: The High Cost of a Low Price

Wanda Urbanska from the PBS series Simple Living: Living Better on Less

Discovery Creek Children’s Rolling Rainforest – a mobile tropical rainforest exhibit

Fair Trade Pavilion with coffee and chocolate tastings and art auction

And don’t miss out on the Organic Beer & Wine Garden – Peace Dove Parade – Organic Vegetarian Food Court – Yoga/Movement classes – Bookstore – Live Music Stage – Community Action Area – Family Area

Hands-on workshops : Green Careers – Community and Social Investing – Greening your Home & Office – Responsible Travel – Green Technology – Home Brewing and more.

Information here:

Program download here (broadband recommended):

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