The White House Lied and Thousands Continue to Die

Since the major news outlets are burying the country’s most important news story, we feel compelled to underline its significance:
— In 2003, Colin Powell presented pictures of supposed “mobile biological weapons” production trailers to the United Nations Security Council to make an argument for a preemptive invasion of Iraq. Bush had formerly used the photographs of the trailers as evidence, saying “We have found the weapons of mass destruction.”
The Washington Post reported yesterday that the administration had been told by the Pentagon that “it was clear…. that these were not biological labs.”
In other words, we now have official confirmation that the administration’s “evidence” was a sham. They knowingly presented erroneous information to the U.N. Security Council to manipulate people into supporting the invasion of Iraq.
It’s a shame that the media and the American public has gotten so used to Bush’s lies that this has become a minor story. Of course, the blogs are ablaze, but this should be headline news across the country. And to think we impeached Clinton for lying about a blow job. God help us.

Live "Being There" Era Wilco Show

We meant to post this yesterday, but RBally has an excellent Wilco show available for download: live at the Fillmore, May, 10, 1997. The show includes a few covers (Ramones, Replacements, Black Sabbath, and David Bowie) and showcases the band at their alt-country peak.
Dowload the first set of songs here. And the rest here. Thanks for the tip, Kevin.

Christians Sue for Right to Hate Gays

From the LA Times:

Ruth Malhotra went to court last month for the right to be intolerant.
Malhotra says her Christian faith compels her to speak out against homosexuality. But the Georgia Institute of Technology, where she’s a senior, bans speech that puts down others because of their sexual orientation.
Malhotra sees that as an unacceptable infringement on her right to religious expression. So she’s demanding that Georgia Tech revoke its tolerance policy. The religious right aims to overturn a broad range of common tolerance programs: diversity training that promotes acceptance of gays and lesbians, speech codes that ban harsh words against homosexuality, anti-discrimination policies that require college clubs to open their membership to all…
In the public schools, an Ohio middle school student last year won the right to wear a T-shirt that proclaimed: “Homosexuality is a sin! Islam is a lie! Abortion is murder!” But a teen-ager in Kentucky lost in federal court when he tried to exempt himself from a school program on gay tolerance on the grounds that it violated his religious beliefs…
The open question is what constitutes harassment, what’s a sincere expression of faith ‚Äî and what to do when they overlap.

Evidently, Jesus wants his followers to wear God Hates Fags T-Shirts. We must have skipped over that part of the bible somehow.

A reminder to South Dakota…

The Times magazine published an important—albeit disturbing—story this weekend about the criminalization of abortion in El Salvador. Here’s an excerpt of one woman’s story (that’s her pictured). She had a back-alley abortion because she couldn’t afford another child. It’s a reminder of why the recent events in South Dakota are so troubling:

From NYTimes Magazine:
When we got to the woman’s house, there was so much disorder. It was all a mess… I came in and was told to lie down. It was not even a bed. There was just so much disorder. She asked me to take off my clothes, and she put a shirt on me. She came with a piece of cloth and put it underneath my nose, and I felt a little numb. She came back with a long wire, like a TV antenna. It was not like a doctor’s instrument. It was just a wire tube with another wire inside it. She put some oil on it and told me to breathe deeply.
She put it in. And she was scraping around. I was supposed to be asleep. But I felt pain. I told her it hurt. She said, “Yeah, we’re almost done.” But she kept scraping around, and I said: “No, no, stop. It’s hurting me.” Then she said, “It’s done.” ….
At 2 a.m., I started to shake. I had a fever and convulsions. My mama came, and I told her I was cold. She put more clothes on me. The next day I was fine and went to work. I started to feel bad pain but kept working. That night another fever came, and shaking. Mama said she was taking me to the doctor, and I said no. That night I began to convulse again and the pain was stronger. I didn’t go to work the next day. I went to the bathroom and bled heavily.
Two days later, on Friday, even my hands and feet were hurting. My kid was sick, he had a cold. I took my son to the doctor, who asked if it was me who was there to see him. I said it was my child, and he said, “You’re yellow, like hepatitis.” Then I was crying because he touched me on the stomach and liver and it hurt a lot. He asked me if I was sure I was O.K. because I looked bad. When I left the clinic, I couldn’t walk. My sister went to look for a cab.
Several days later, I was back at the doctor. They did some tests and called an ambulance. At the hospital they asked me what I had. I didn’t want to say. I said I felt bad. They did tests on my urine, blood and lungs and found I had a severe respiratory infection. They did an ultrasound and found my kidneys, lung and liver were infected. And the ultrasound showed something else. They asked me: “Why do you have a perforated uterus? What have you done?” Then they did a vaginal exam, and it was the most painful thing for me in the world. They put something in me, and I cried out. They had two doctors holding me down. They said they knew I had had an abortion because my uterus was perforated and big and they would have to operate immediately. All I remember was going to the operating room, and then I don’t remember anything because for the next six days I was in a coma.

She was later prosecuted and nearly put in jail. Read the whole story here.

Free Drinks and Rock Posters

[Via papermag] “Along with graffiti and crime scene police tape, posters are what make the city pretty. They tell us when Danzig is playing next and what date Nelly’s new album drops. They allow us to be creative by drawing Hitler mustaches on Jessica Simpson’s face and changing the ‚”r” in rock to a ‚”c” so the poster reads ‚”Cock Show.” Secret Project Robot is paying tribute to the almighty poster at the Brooklyn Poster Show. Enjoy free drinks [on Friday April 7, 6-9pm] and local music while admiring walls full of rock show posters. It’ll be like staring at the walls of your high school bedroom with tipsy strangers.”
Secret Project Robot, 210 Kent Ave., Williamsburg, Brooklyn, (718) 963-2020. 2-8 p.m. Free. Through Sun., Apr. 9.

Illinois, Part II

Last year’s top record, Sufjan Stevens’ Illinois, is the gift that keeps giving. Now that we’ve finally managed to listen to the whole, sprawling record, Asthmatic Kitty is preparing to release “The Avalanche,” a collection of outtakes from Sufjan’s masterpiece:

[Asthmatic Kitty via BKVegan]The little secret behind the Illinois record is that it was originally conceived as a double album, culminating in a musical collage of nearly 50 songs. But as the project began to develop into an unwieldy epic, common sense weighed in‚Äîas did the opinions of others‚Äîand the project was cut in half. But as 2005 came to a close, Sufjan returned to the old, forsaken songs on his 8-track like a grandfather remembering his youth, indulging in old journals and newspaper clippings. What he uncovered went beyond the merits of nostalgia; it was more like an ensemble of capricious friends and old acquaintances wearing party outfits, waiting to be let in at the front door, for warm drinks and interesting conversation. Among them were Saul Bellow, Ann Landers, Adlai Stevenson, and a brief cameo from Henry Darger’s Vivian Girls. The gathering that followed would become the setting for the songs on The Avalanche: Outtakes and Extras from the Illinois Album.

[Read more…]

Right Wing NY Sun Reports: It was Bush

Here’s the story in full (since the Sun’s website keeps crashing due, undoubtedly, to high traffic volume)
Bush Authorized Leak to Times, Libby Told Grand Jury
New York Sun Web Exclusive
By JOSH GERSTEIN – Staff Reporter of the Sun
April 6, 2006 updated 9:02 am EDT
A former White House aide under indictment for obstructing a leak probe, I. Lewis Libby, testified to a grand jury that he gave information from a closely-guarded “National Intelligence Estimate” on Iraq to a New York Times reporter in 2003 with the specific permission of President Bush, according to a new court filing from the special prosecutor in the case.

[Read more…]

"Truth Squads:" The New And Improved Boycott

The megachurches are gearing up for that huge Christian event that is almost upon us this Spring. No, not Easter. They’re preparing for the theatrical release of The Da Vinci Code. Evangelical media darling Rick Warren has been sending out disinformation tips to tens of thousands of pastors encouraging them to inform their congregations that the book is a sham.

Every Christian…. should know that skeptics who see the movie will feel they have been equipped to challenge the faithful. “Our people need to be equipped, too,” [says pastor Ken Baugh on Rick Warren’s]

Warren and Da Vinci Code debunker Lee Strobel are encouraging churches to preach on the heresy of the book:

[from] My initial reaction to the book [says Stobel] was outright anger at the way it slanders Christianity… [Still] The Da Vinci Code offers terrific opportunities to preach on apologetics, doctrine, and church history in fresh and powerful ways… I know one church where attendance jumped 500 people when its Da Vinci series launched. Outreach, Inc. is offering materials to support your series, such as sample sermons, bulletin inserts, door hangers, banners, and invitations. And don’t forget to send a press release about your series to your local newspaper in order to garner free publicity….. “It would be a tragedy if all the churches across America miss this opportunity.”…

One church mentioned on is taking drastic measures.

[Coast Hills Community Church in CA] plans to distribute more than 300 iPod Shuffles – all pre-loaded with the eight sermons from the Da Vinci series – to church members. Their mission: To give them away to friends, neighbors, co-workers, perhaps even total strangers, anyone who might be interested in hearing the sermons.
“They’ll be iPod evangelists. They will tell the person, I’d love for you to listen to this and then have coffee with me. I mean, who’s not going to take an iPod?”

Though some Christians will undoubtedly be organizing boycotts against Sony (who produced the film) most are following Rick Warren’s lead and organizing “truth squads” to counter “heretical” claims that the book makes about Jesus and the deceptions of the Catholic chuch:

[from Christian Science Monitor] Rather than organize protests or boycotts – steps taken in the past against controversial films – Evangelicals and Catholics instead are mobilizing “truth squads.” They’re producing books, websites, TV documentaries, DVDs, and study guides. Some hope to use the film as a “teachable moment” that could turn the occasion to their advantage.

Of course this all begs the questions: A) what are they so afraid of? B) Don’t they realize the book is a work of fiction? and C) Shouldn’t churches be worrying about things like ending poverty and hunger instead of obssessing about films directed by Opie?