The New York Times got a big scoop on Sunday and curiously buried it on page 14. It got trumped by their page one story about this obscure little company they discovered called Google which has, evidently, been doing pretty well recently. With Senate hearings into the handling of pre-war evidence FINALLY beginning this week, this could be a big story:
A high Qaeda official in American custody was identified as a likely fabricator months before the Bush administration began to use his statements as the foundation for its claims that Iraq trained Al Qaeda members to use biological and chemical weapons, according to newly declassified portions of a Defense Intelligence Agency document…
The document provides the earliest and strongest indication of doubts voiced by American intelligence agencies about Mr. Libi’s credibility. Without mentioning him by name, President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Colin L. Powell, then secretary of state, and other administration officials repeatedly cited Mr. Libi’s information as “credible” evidence that Iraq was training Al Qaeda members in the use of explosives and illicit weapons.
Read it all a here.
We are VERY sad to hear this news about DMBQ:
DMBQ’s van rolled from I-95 in Delaware en route from Baltimore to Brooklyn this afternoon. All members of the band have been hospitalized, as well as Michelle Cable from Panache Magazine and booking, who has been managing their tour.
Mana “China” Nishiura did not survive the accident. China was DMBQ’s drummer, as well as a former drummer in Shonen Knife. China will be missed.
Michelle Cable is conscious following surgery for a head injury. Shinji Masuko is still in the hospital but is expected to be released soon. Toru Matsui and Ryuichi Watanabe have been released from the hospital.
There is a benefit show tonight. Click here for more.
“On Tuesday, a bipartisan group of senators plans to meet and launch what the panel has labeled “Phase Two” of its investigation. That phase will focus in part on how the Bush administration handled prewar intelligence, including whether the information was misrepresented in statements to the public. The group of six senators is to meet over three days and report back on the intelligence committee’s plan for this second phase.”
Read it all here.
by Dave Thomas
Sarah Silverman: Jesus is Magic
In a month that begins and ends with polemics about the Gulf, will anyone notice? Can Harry Potter save Hollywood from an oversimplified news story that won’t die, I mean, the slump, the horrible, horrible slump? And is there even the slightest chance that “Rent” won’t suck? The answers to all that and more, in this month’s preview…
(OK, I’ll tell you right now, “Rent’s” gonna suck.)
WHAT’S THE PITCH?
Disney can live without Pixar. Oh, the pitch of the film? Animated chicken declares that the sky is falling…in alien invasion form. Yeah, I know, that’s a much more believable pitch.
WILL IT SUCK?
It’s from the guys who wrote “Brother Bear,” so, yes. And from the director of “The Emporer’s New Groove,” which wasn’t awful, but still. Nice voice talent, though: Zach Braff, Catherine O’Hara, Don Knotts, Joan Cusack, Amy Sedaris, Harry Shearer, Patrick Stewart, Adam West, Fred Willard, and Steve Zahn.
HOW WELL WILL IT DO?
“Zathura” could be an issue the following week. And after the abysmal returns for “Valiant” and the less-than-stellar performance of “Wallace & Gromit,” the kid flick scene seems dicey. $27mil.
WILL ANYBODY REMEMBER IT AT OSCAR TIME?
I’m thinking you’re gonna need bigger guns than “Brother Bear” to play at that level.
WHAT’S THE PITCH?
Remember the first Iraq war? It’s about that.
WILL IT (WELCOME TO THE) SUCK?
From Director Sam Mendes, who is quickly becoming one of my favorites. After “American Beauty” and “Road to Perdition,” the man is starting to establish himself as the king of the intimate epic. Not quite a modern day William Wyler, but it could happen. Screenwriter William Broyles Jr, on the other hand, had a hand in the “Planet of the Apes” remake. He also has “Apollo 13″ and “Cast Away” to his credit which, while being strong films, don’t seem quite on the level of what this is trying to achieve.
Music Reviews by John Rickman
Demander – EP (Triplicate)
The debut five-tracker by New York City’s Demander proves that small bands can have a big rock sound. You can hear this trio’s punchy exclamation-pop trying to break free from the modest moorings of its producers’ mixing consoles. The recording, intimate and unpretentious, presents the group’s sound laid bare in a way that reveals the intricacies of their instrumentation—and while it ultimately leaves you wanting more, it only hints at the strength of the band as a unified whole.
Comparisons to Sleater-Kinney and The Breeders have been thrown about, but Demander walks more of a knife’s edge. Stylistically, the band has a strong, stripped-down blues-punk sound that is more accurately comparable to The Pretenders or PJ Harvey. Karen Corr√™a proudly prefers to play the bass guitar’s lowest notes and her vocals are equally as rich and robust. It’s a perfect match for Sivan Harlap’s rhythmic thunder and it’s this pair’s ongoing tug of war for dominance that makes the group’s simple guitar, bass, and drums lineup so interesting.
Corr√™a detonates each lyrical line like dynamite in time with the crack and crash of the drums. The latter of which propels the poetry of “Porte Cochere” forward: “In speaking thought is half-murdered / In words love is inverted / With virtue you half-flirted, but / Insecurities were re-asserted.” Both Corr√™a and Harlap apparently have musical roots that predate this new project and their maturity shows. Jared Scott’s modest-but-solid guitar riffage is a nice compliment and has a slight rockabilly twang to it. As a unit, Demander’s music is immediate and powerful, and like most New Yorkers has enough volition behind it to rise above any limitation and attract the attention it deserves.
Much of the best laptop-created, minimal techno comes from Germany. Producers from Berlin and Cologne in particular have pioneered a distinctive deep house sound that combines simple electronic rhythms and soulful synthesizers with grainy textural environments and Jamaican dub-influenced production. The style has since influenced hip-hop, ambient music, conceptual art, and everything in between.
This was buried in the New York Times yesterday, but worth noting:
The Labor Department’s inspector general strongly criticized department officials yesterday for “serious breakdowns” in procedures involving an agreement promising Wal-Mart Stores 15 days’ notice before labor investigators would inspect its stores for child labor violations.
The report by the inspector general faulted department officials for making “significant concessions” to Wal-Mart, the nation’s largest retailer, without obtaining anything in return. The report also criticized department officials for letting Wal-Mart lawyers write substantial parts of the settlement and for leaving the department’s own legal division out of the settlement process…
“The Bush Labor Department chose to do an unprecedented favor for Wal-Mart, despite the fact it is well known for violating labor laws, including child labor laws,” Mr. Miller [Democratric Sen from California] said. “The sweetheart deal put Wal-Mart employees at risk, undermined government effectiveness, and further undermined public confidence that the government is acting on its behalf.”
This is some of the funniest social commentary we’ve seen in a while [Thanks Noah]:
“I printed 50,000 of these speech bubble stickers. I place them on top of movie posters, ads and signs all over New York City. Passers are invited to fill them in. I go back and photograph the results.”
“Perhaps the most encouraging early indication that Judge Alito will make a great justice is that liberal senators such as Harry Reid and Charles Schumer and leftist pressure groups such as People for the American Way and Planned Parenthood have been lining up all day to scream that the sky is falling. Any nominee who so worries the radical left is worthy of serious consideration.
“Based on what is now known about Judge Alito, we applaud the president for this outstanding nomination.” [read the article]
People for the American Way – one of the core Jesus freak watchdog organizations – has put together a great summary of what to expect from Alito.
Hostile to basic reproductive privacy rights: Alito wants government to be able to interfere in personal decisions on reproductive rights. In Casey, Alito stated that he would have upheld a provision of Pennsylvania’s restrictive anti-abortion law requiring a woman in certain circumstances to notify her husband before obtaining an abortion. His colleagues on the Third Circuit and the Supreme Court majority disagreed and overturned the provision.
Rejects basic protections for workers: In a number of dissenting opinions, Alito has taken positions that, if adopted, would have made it more difficult for victims of race and sex discrimination to prove their claims. In one case involving claims of race discrimination, the court majority sharply criticized Alito’s dissent, stating that Alito’s “position would immunize an employer from the reach of Title VII” in certain circumstances.
Leads revolution against federal laws protecting individual and other rights: According to one of Alito’s opinions, Congress had no authority to require state employers to comply with the Family and Medical Leave Act, a ruling that was repudiated by the Supreme Court in a later case in which conservative Chief Justice Rehnquist, no friend of civil rights, wrote the Court’s decision. Alito also dissented from a ruling by the Third Circuit that Congress has the power under the Commerce Clause to restrict the transfer and possession of machine guns at gun shows.
Fails to consider racial discrimination in capital punishment: An African American had been convicted of felony murder by an all white jury from which black jurors had been impermissibly struck because of their race. Alito cast the deciding vote and wrote the majority opinion in a 2-1 ruling rejecting the defendant’s claims. The full Third Circuit, in a split decision, reversed Alito’s ruling, and the majority specifically criticized him for having compared statistical evidence about the prosecution’s exclusion of blacks from juries in capital cases to an explanation of why a disproportionate number of recent U.S. Presidents have been left-handed. According to the majority, “[t]o suggest any comparability to the striking of jurors based on their race is to minimize the history of discrimination against prospective black jurors and black defendants . . .”
Discover how you can transform a jack-o’-lantern into a faith lesson with your children by simply carving a happy-faced pumpkin.
Dress your children in costumes that focus on history, pretend or fantasy, rather than on the macabre or occult ‚Äì‚Äì Bible heroes, Abraham Lincoln, the American flag, sailors, cowboys, Indians, ballerinas, princesses, doctors, firefighters.
Or better yet, have the kids dress up like the real boogeyman, James Dobson.