Saturday, December 13, 2003

A Slippery Slope
KTVI-TV, channel 2, reported that Art Hill was closed to sledders in its Friday night broadcast. The live spot showed a news reporter at Art Hill with an orange, plastic barrier in the background. The reporter said that Art Hill was closed in preparation for a planned New Year's Eve celebration. The report ommitted the fact that corridors had been created to allow access to the hill. Obviously, the Saturday night crowd enjoying St. Louis favorite slope had either ignored the report or wasn't tuned in.

Today's entry from the St. Louis edition of the Devil's Dictionary
Bush supporter a person who can't tell the difference between Iraq and a hole in the ground.

Score Another One for Big Bro
A national security directive, which went into effect in October, now allows the FBI to integrate criminal and espionage investigations. The Washington Post reports the move permits the lumping of criminal cases with terrorism-related inquires. The most disturbing element of the directive is that it further empowers a secret intelligence court, set up under the Patriot Act, to issue more search warrants and wiretaps.

My Weekly Reader
St. Louis American
Manuel Silva, former vp for Impact Management Services, has been appointed chief operating officer for the St. Louis Public Schools. The new position has a salary of $200,000 a year. In addition, Silva is eligible for a $30,000 bonus. Meanwhile, the cash-strapped school district has delayed firing secretaries and maintenance staff until after the holidays. Merry Christmas, Manuel.

Riverfront Times
The RFT touted a fabricated news item on its cover this week. In the story, which appeared at the bottom of its Unreal page, the alt. weekly takes credit for exposing the Machiavellian reputation of Joyce Aboussie, an aide to Democratic presidential candidate Rep. Dick Gephardt of St. Louis, more an a year ago. Aboussie made national headlines this week over a squabble with two unions that have chosen to endorse former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean's candidacy. Not surprisingly, the RFT failed to report that the reporter who filed the story, D.J. Wilson, was fired by New Times Inc., the owner of the paper, in August.

Southwest City Journal
Alderman Tom Bauer, D-24th Ward, has flip-flopped again and is now supported a renewed proposal to build a Drury Inn hotel and restaurant on the edge of the Clifton Park neighborhood, at the southwest corner of Hampton and Wilson next to I-44. The question now is whether Bauer intends to ride his donkey to the grand opening.

Wash U Student Life
Among the rejected editorial ideas relegated to the bitch bin at the student newspaper is this complaint: "Can someone PLEASE tell the Olin librarians to be quiet? They're louder than the construction workers."

Friday, December 12, 2003

Gas War
Kellog Brown & Root, a subsidary of Halliburton, has overcharged American taxpayers more than $61 million for importing gasoline from Kuwait to Iraq since it received its no-bid contract from the federal government earlier this year. Vice President Dick Cheney was the CEO of the corporation before he took over as vice-president. Halliburton, Kellog Brown & Root and Dresser Industries all have longstanding ties to Texas politics, home state of President George W. Bush. While associated with Dresser, the president's grandfather, Prescott Bush, was charged with trading with Nazi Germany during World War II. [read more]

Today's entry from the St. Louis edition of the Devil's Dictionary
Civic Progress Neither.

Thursday, December 11, 2003

Sinner Confesses, Donnybrook Style
Ray Hartmann, the former publisher of the Riverfront Times, believes in his heart of hearts that during his ownership of the weekly newspaper -- he was "blessed" with a non-union workforce. Acting in his usual role as benevolent patriarch, Hartmann said, on this week's Donnybrook broadcast, that if the newsroom would have organized, "it would have been God's way of telling me I wasn't doing something right."

And all God's children were blessed to have you as their boss, too, Master.

The Village Voice Boldly Ventures Beyond Manhattan to "Discover" Political Disillusionment in Small-Town Illinois
On the week that former Sen. Paul Simon died, the Village Voice coincidentally published its assessment of the state of Illinois. The populist politician could have predicted what the Voice seemed surprised to find: discontent and disillusionment with the Bush administration. The Voiceseemed shocked by signs of illegal gambling, prostitution and rumors of girl-on-girl, pool-table sex at the local roadhouse, too. As the past editor and publisher of the Troy Tribune, in Madison County, Ill., Simon could have clued the Voice writer in on the long history of downstate corruption. In 1951, Simon testified before the televised Senate Rackets committee hearings regarding organized crime in Madison County. Despite the condescending, pompous, literary-namedropping intro, Simon would probably have still been impressed with politica l covera ge in this w eek's issue. Kudos to the Voice for looking beyond its upturned nose for a change. It must have been scary for the kid out in them thar cornfields. [read more]

Merry Christmas from Famous-Barr and Dillards
Twelve of the 18 pages in the front page section of the St. Louis-Post Dispatch on Thursday were full page ads.

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Today's entry from the St. Louis edition of the Devil's Dictionary
Forest Park Forever1. A philanthropic organization comprised of wealthy individuals mainly from St. Louis
County, who feel compelled to impose their altruistic vision of public space, or the lack thereof, on the masses. 2. The never- ending succession of developments, road closures and restricted access that counters the original design of the park by Fredrick Olmstead a century ago.

The Cost of Turkey
A group opposed to pork-barrel proposals by the Army Corps of Engineers has filed suit in federal court in Washington, D.C, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported on Wednesday.

In its lawsuit, Public Employees for Responsibility say the corps is relying on the same means to measure the cost-benefit ratio that was discredited three years ago by whistleblower Donald Sweeney, a corps economist in St. Louis.

Critics of the proposed lock and dam expansions claim the economic model used by the corps justifies every project regardless of whether it is truly worthy. "It (the economic model) would find the benefits outweigh the costs of a turkey of a project," said Jeff Ruch, executive director of the environmental group.

The fate of the upper Mississippi is not alone. The corps has proposed other mamouth projects for the Mississippi Delta, the Everglades and the St. Lawrence Seaway.

The story by Postie Sara Shipley was buried on page C-10.

Today's Entry from the St. Louis Edition of the Devil's Dictionary
metrosexual: The guy in the back of the Metrolink car with the Riverfront Times in his lap.

That Ain't a Donkey, That's a Mule, You Jackass
The latest editon of Missouri's Blue Book is now available. Blue Books, which are published every two years by the Secretary of State's office, provide information on state government.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported on Wednesday that less information is provided in the current edition. The more than 1,400-page book still includes a list of all state employees and their salaries, the names of county officials and other useful data, however.

In the past, copy errors in the Blue Book have stirred minor controversies. For example, a Sicilian donkey was once misidentified in a photograph as a mule, the state's symbol.

Missourians can receive a free copy of the Blue Book by sending a request by mail to P.O. Box 1767, Jefferson City, Mo. The book can also be ordered by fax at 573-626-2970 or email at publications@sos.mo.us

Thanks to Terry Ganey, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Jefferson City chief, for the heads up.

Under the Cloak of Darkness: Another Rape of the Missouri Sunshine Law
The Associated Press reported on Wednesday that Missouri's "homeland security advisor" has recommended further restricting public access to government documents. Tim Daniel, identified as "Missouri's homeland security adviser," is proposing that "daily emergency security" reports filed with the state by private businesses be withheld from public scrutiny. The story cited Ameren UE's Callaway Nuclear Plant near Fulton, Mo. as an example of the kinds of companies that should be provided an exemption.

The obvious question is whether such restrictions to public documents would help shield private companies from press coverage and legal liability, when the businesses themselves are negligent or engaged in wrongful activity.

We'll find out after the meltdown.

Monday, December 08, 2003

William Burroughs Called Them Croakers
Medical researchers and doctors at the National Institutes of Health have been making bundles of cash by acting as consultants to the pharmaceutical industry. Not only is this a clear conflict of in terest, it risks patients' lives. Pulitzer-Prize-winning investigative reporter David Willman of the Los Angeles Times has been exposing these charlatans for years. Rep Henry Waxman has also looked into the scandal-ridden agency, as far back as 1998. But the scam continues.

The Whole World was Watching, Only the Bonesmen Tuned Out
Speaking about the war in Iraq, Sen. John Kerry, a Democratic presidential candidate, told Rolling Stone magazine recently that he didn't expect "George Bush to fuck up as badly as he did. I don't think anybody did."

To whom is the good senator referring? Surely, he remembers millions of people in the U.S. and around the world took to the streets to protest the war against Iraq.

Maybe Kerry was referring to members of Skull and Bones, the secret society at Yale University, to which Dubuh and he both belong. (See previous posting below.)

Illiteracy in High Places
Former President Jimmy Carter has written a historical novel, The Hornet's Nest, set during the American Revolution. The current chief executive, on the other hand, makes former Vice-President Dan Quayle appear to be a literary genius. You say potato, I say potateo.

The Governor will Entertain You Now. Does Anyone Object?
Reporters who accompanied President George W. Bush to Iraq on Air Force One got to watch Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, starring California Governor Arnold Schwarznegger, according to a column by Elisabeth Bumiller of the The New York Times. What a way to kill time.

Sunday, December 07, 2003

Professional Scabs?
If members of the Newspaper Guild strike the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, will new hires -- with no respect for organized labor -- honor the picket line? Probably not. So it will be up to the readership to cancel subscriptions and quit buying the newspaper.

White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card: "Sen. Kerry has a Pottie Mouth"
Minister of Propaganda Andrew Card rebuked presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass) today for saying the "f" word in describing the Bush bund's failed policy in Iraq.

Kerry was quoted in the current issue of Rolling Stone magazine as saying: "Did I expect George Bush to fuck it up as badly as he did? I don't think anybody did." Kerry was responding to a question put to him regarding the candidacy of fellow Democratic contender Howard Dean.

Perhaps more telling is what Kerry refrained from addressing. A New York Times story, which appeared the same day, reported that members of the Bush bund, who were involved during the 1980s in the Iran-Contra scandal, enlisted one of their former operatives in the Middle East as recently as last year.

The Times reported that Iranian intelligence asset Manucher Ghorbanifar helped set up clandestine meetings for Pentagon officials in late 2001 and 2002. The first meeting, at least, was approved by the White House.

The misguided policy decision was orchestrated by Iran-Contra figure Michael Ladeen, currently a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. The meetings were carried out in defiance of federal regulations and allegedly without the knowledge of the State Department. The defense officials who were involved worked for a secretive group within the Pentagon headed by Under Secertary of Defense Douglas J. Feist. The same group is alleged to have fabricated the intelligence that made the case for going to war with Iraq. Deputy Secretary of Defense Richard Armitage, another Iran-Contra figure, also participated in organizing the clandestine meetings, which were held with Iranian dissidents in Rome and Paris.

The congressional inquiry into the Iran-Contra affair revealed that Ghorbanifar acted as a middle man for Saudi arms dealer Anan Khoshoggi, a close associate of the Saudi royal family and the Bin Laden family. The Iran-contra affair involved a covert plan to funnel arms to Iran and use the profits to fight a secret war against the Sandinista government in Nicaragua. A later investigation headed by Sen. Kerry confirmed that Khoshoggi was also involved with the Bank of Credit and Commerce International. BCCI, a corrupt a global bank based founded in Pakistan, acted as an international money launderer for terrorists, drug traffikcers, organized crime and the CIA.

The New York Times chose to bury the story at the bottom of page 6. The way in which the story was written obfuscates rather than clarifies the current Iraqi quagmire, unless readers do additional research of their own. It is becoming increasingly more evident that the war in Iraq and the international foreign policy crisis that the Bush bund has imposed on the United States citizens and its military is connected to past scandals.

Another indication of what may be going on behind the scenes appeared on the front page of the New York Times Saturday edition this week. Bush bund operative James Baker, who helped to rig the 2000 presidential election, has been named to act as a free-lance White House ambassador, with no ties ties to the State Department. Baker is connected to the Carlyle Group, a major defense contractor. "Pappy" Bush collects fat fees for giving speeches for Carlyle, and essentially acts as Carlyle's front man.

It's a family thing. Like father, like son.

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