Tuesday, August 09, 2005

An Hour with Cindy Sheehan
Matt Drudge ran anewsflashtoday on Cindy Sheehan, the military mom whose 24-year-old son's death in Iraq spurred her to protest the war.

Sheehan made international news last week when shevisited Crawford, Texaswith members ofGold Star Families for Peace. She wanted to ask him"why did my son die?"

In June, Alan Colmes interviewed Sheehan on his syndicated radio show, which I've enclosed as a 50-minute podcast. She takes several calls from irate members of the public, including an incredible exchange with a mother who supports the war.

This morning, Drudge ran excerpts of a 2004 interview she gave her local newspaper, cherry-picking quotes that made her sound effusive in praise for the president after her son's April 2004 death.

The full story, which wasbrought back onlinetoday, contains a quote omitted by Drudge that makes her feelings more clear:

"We haven't been happy with the way the war has been handled,"Cindy said."The president has changed his reasons for being over there every time a reason is proven false or an objective reached."

The Planet, the parent company of the ServerMatrix hosting company I'm using for my servers, is having acontest for female entrepreneurswho have a good idea for an online business. A winner will receive free web hosting for a year, $10,000, and other support:

Women with a great idea for an online business are encouraged to submit a brief proposal to equeen@theplanet.com. Contestants will be narrowed to five and Mark Cuban will select the final two during a live broadcast mid-August.

The two finalists will be charged with preparing their online business in just five days. The Planet will assist finalists with designing and hosting their websites, and set-up of merchant accounts and a database management system. Contestants will receive on-air mentions and promotions of their business on Kidd Kraddick in the Morning. At the end of seven days, the contestant with the most successful business will win the contest and prizes. The winner will be announced at the end of August.

Markos Moultisas ofDaily Kosis atraitor to this country, according to evidence uncovered on RedState about comedian Margaret Cho's dog:

A minor point, naming one's dog after a terrorist, and lauding those who do? Yes. But a helpful reminder nonetheless of a phrase worth remembering: they're not antiwar -- just on the other side.

Don't tell anyone, but I named a dog afterMolly Ivins.

With the impending release of Atom 1.0, its creators are taking the unusual step ofdisowning version 0.3, which has been widely implemented by Google, Six Apart, and other developers. Sam Ruby will revise theFeed Validatorto reject all 0.3 feeds with an error message later this year, even if they fully followed its spec.

Mark Pilgrim on themove:

Atom 0.3 was just some guys (and gals) dicking around on a wiki.

Mark Pilgrim during therelease of version 0.3:

Atom 0.3 is out. Mark Nottingham wrote the 0.3 spec. I wrote a Movable Type template. Rael Dornfest wrote a Blosxom plugin. I am now publishing a live 0.3 feed with both excerpts and full content. ... I've updated the Feed Validator to validate Atom 0.3 feeds. ... When developers update their applications to support Atom 0.3, they should support Atom autodiscovery too.

Catching Up with the Five of Hearts
I've begun readingHow America Lost Iraq, a book by Aaron Glantz, a war correspondent for the liberal Pacifica radio network.

Glantz's premise is that the Iraqi people were extremely receptive to the U.S. after Saddam Hussein's overthrow, but their support has been lost because of the imprisonment of innocent people, an inability to restore basic services like water and electricity, and widespread anarchy.

The first chapter takes satisfaction in the downfall ofHuda Amash, a Saddam loyalist who was the five of hearts on the U.S. most-wanted card deck and the highest ranking woman in Iraq. She was arrested in Baghdad in May 2003 and remains in custody, where she's reportedly suffering from breast cancer.

One of Glantz's friends, a documentary filmmaker, described how she ran a youth conference he was permitted to attend:

"Under her guidance,"James [Longley] explained,"the conference was turned into a series of Stalinist rallies for the Great Leader. Attendance was mandatory. In the great hall of the convention palace children's choirs competed with dancing Japanese peace activists while odes to Saddam were screamed out in fake spontaneous outbursts from the crowd. A large number of doves were released in the hall and flew madly around the edges of the room, searching frantically for a way out. I sympathized with them entirely."

Today'sWashington Postincludes acommentaryfrom a childhood friend of Amash, who grew up in D.C., asking for her release.

Her friend reveals an unusual aspect of Amash's background -- she was in the inner circle of the man who ordered her father's death:

The family soon returned to Iraq, and we lost all contact with them. Maj. Ammash's career prospered; he rose to be defense minister. In 1981, however, Saddam Hussein convened a meeting of party leaders and tearfully read out the names of those of his old comrades who were to be led from the hall and shot on the spot. Salih Madhi Ammash was among them.

Air America Received Questionable Loans
A co-founder of Air America Radio reportedlyloaned the network and himselfmore than $800,000 from a non-profit charity in New York while serving as its development director.

Evan Cohen made the highly questionable loans while a director of theGloria Wise Boys&Girls Club, which serves 20,000 children, elderly residents, and people with disabilities. Some loans were directed to Air America as the fledgling liberal talk radio network was launched in March 2004; others went personally to Cohen, who claimed"he needed the money to pay for chemotherapy for himself and other medical expenses for his ill father,"according to theNew York Sun.

Air America broke its ties to Cohen several weeks after its March 31, 2004, launch and the network was sold by parent company Progress Media to Piquant LLC, a new company formed by some of the original investors. In astatementpublished last week, the network acknowledged the receipt of the funds, calling the allegations of corruption at the charity"absolutely disgraceful":

The current owners of Air America Radio have no obligation to Progress Media's business activities. We are very disturbed that Air America Radio's good name could be associated with a reduction in services for young people, which is why we agreed months ago to fully compensate the Gloria Wise Boys&Girls Club as a result of this transaction.

This story, which is starting to get mainstream coverage after percolating for days on conservative blogs, was sparked by a July 27 item fromtalk show host Brian Maloney, a frequent critic of the network who writes today that"Air America hosts are still pretending on-air as though nothing is happening."

Air America host Al Franken told theSunhe wasunawareof the issue until last week. Few liberal blogs have covered the controversy to date, aside from aJuly 27 postingfrom a Daily Kos contributor skeptical of the story when its primary source was a small community newspaper.

In June, the Department of Investigation of New Yorksuspended city grants and contractswith Gloria Wise, which amount to millions of dollars, while it investigates"inappropriate transactions and falsified documents that were submitted to various city agencies."

Grading the War in Iraq
Frontpage Magazine, the right-wing publication founded by David Horowitz, has been conducting asymposiumwith several experts on how well the Iraq War is going.

The discussion, which presumably was staged via e-mail, began with several panelists taking umbrage at Steven Vincent, a war correspondent working in Basra, Iraq, because he gave the war a letter grade of B-minus and Iraqi quality of life an F:

Judging the conflict by Saddam's removal -- and thank Allah the monster is gone -- is setting a pretty low bar. I mean, let's face it: military-wise Iraq was not Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union. Then you have to factor in U.S failures, such as not sealing the borders or halting the looting -- not to mention the fact that American military tactics have widely alienated the very people we liberated. Something's not working right.

Frontpagemanaging editor Jamie Glazov berated Vincent for not giving the war an A:

You blame America that you can't leave your hotel. But Mr. Vincent, sorry, you can't leave your hotel because the terrorists are a threat to you. Blame the terrorists, not America. ...

An F to America for the quality of Iraqis' lives? The terrorists are waging war on the country and doing everything in their power to destroy the quality of life. We need to blame the terrorists for that, not the side that is sacrificing its young boys and girls to give Iraq liberty and to nurture and protect its growth. The premise here is the height of the pathology of anti-Americanism -- blaming America for what the terrorists are doing.

The symposium was abruptly cancelled when word arrived that Vincent had beenkidnapped and executedin Basra.

His last exchange with Glazov:

Vincent: You can blame terrorists all you want for ruining Iraq, but at the end of the day, it's our responsibility to make things right -- or at least get Iraqis to do the job themselves. Oh, and Jamie? You damn well better feel sorry I can't leave my Basra hotel without Iraqi protection -- because last year I could. Six months after the January 30th elections, lawlessness in this city is on the rise, whether by Iranian agents, rogue policemen or opportunistic tribal gangs. Hmmm, considering the bang-up job the Brits are doing here, I think I'll lower my estimation of the war effort to a C+.

Glazov: Sheesh. Okay Steven, I'm almost afraid what will happen in the next round of this discussion.

To get around Bayesian filters, some spammers have resorted toASCII art, spelling out words with characters and really small text.

I've been online long enough to remember when people used to createASCII babesyou had to print to view. Back in the late '80s, whenever I retrieved a printout from theUniversity of North Texascomputer science lab, there were always a bunch of suggestive or even explicit ASCII trollops waiting to be picked up.

It wasn't easy for the object of your affection to be vulnerable to smudging.