Saturday, May 08, 2004

Meet the Dowds 

Dowd, Dowd, Dowd, Dowd & Dowd …

Judge David L. Dowd, who ousted Rochell Moore from the St. Louis School Board last week, hales from a family of judges, politicians, lawyers and police officers.

St.Louis Police Maj. Edward P. Dowd
die d 1961
son and grandson of St. Louis police officers
father of Edward L. Dowd and Robert G. Dowd

Edward L. Dowd,
died January 2004
son and grandson of St. Louis police officers
FBI agent during World War II
St. Louis Circuit Attorney in the early 1950s
President of the St. Louis Police Board in the 1960s
Lost bid for lieutenant governor,1968 and governor, 1972
Private law practice, Dowd & Dowd
Father of Edward L. Jr., James R., Richard K., Douglas P., William T.

Edward L. Dowd Jr.
Private law practic e, Bryan Cave
Former assistant U.S. Attorney, Eastern District of Missouri
Former U.S. Attorney, Eastern District of Missouri, 1990s

James R. Dowd,
Former Missouri Appeals Court judge
Private law practice, Dowd & Dowd

Richard K. Dowd
Douglas P. Dowd
William T. Dowd
Private law practice, Dowd & Dowd

Robert G. Dowd, died July 1990
Assistant city counselor 1949-1950
City magistrate
Municipal judge, 1953-1958
Lost bid for Congress (Mo. 2nd Dist.)
Democratic committeeman, 13th Ward
Private law practice
Circuit Court judge 1965-1969
Missouri Appeals Court Judge 1969-1990
Father of Robert G. Jr., David L., Mark M.

Robert G. Dowd Jr.
Missouri Appeals Court judge, resigned 2002
Private law practice, Dowd & Dowd

David L. Dowd
Administrative law judge, Missouri Workman’s Compensation
St. Louis Circuit Court judge

Mark M. Dowd
Assistant U.S. attorney, Austin Texass

Why St. Louisans Are Having News Censored 

Last Friday, the Sinclair Broadcast Group (SBG), owner of KDNL-TV Channel 30 in St. Louis and seven other ABC affiliates, refused to air Nightline. Sinclair claimed that host Ted Koppel’s recitation of hundreds of names of U.S. servicemen an women who had died in Iraq was a political ploy aimed at bolstering opposition to the Bush administration’s handling of the war.

The origins of SBG date back to 1971, when the late Julius Sinclair Smith started up WBFF-TV in Baltimore. Under the guidance of the fou nder’s sons, the family media enterprise has expanded and now owns 60 television stations across the country. David D. Smith is chairman and CEO. His brothers, J. Duncan Smith and Frederick G. Smith are both vice presidents. A fourth sibling, Robert E. Sm ith, sits on the board of directors.

Under the Bush administration, SBG has benefited from the loosening of Federal Communication Commission rules that allow further consolidation of media ownership within local markets. In return, the Smith brothers and their mother Carolyn C. Smith have generously contributing to Republican candidates, including presidential incumbent George W. Bush. SBG’s political action committee also supports Republican candidates.

Federal Election Commission (FEC) records show that on Dec. 8, 2003, Carolyn, David and Frederick Smith each contributed $2,000 to the Bush-Cheney reelection campaign, the maximum limit under federal campaign finance laws. Bundling individual contributions is common practice among corporate donors.

But to sidestep campaign finance limits, the Smith clan prefers to give unrestricted soft money directly to the Republican National Committee (RNC.). SBG Vice President Frederick G. Smith is the favorite conduit for the media company’s soft money contribu tions.
On Oct. 17, 2003, he donated $25,000 to the RNC, according to FEC filings. Smith contributed an another $25,000 on Feb 17.

Campaign finance records indicate that in the 2000 campaign cycle Frederick G. Smith gave the Republican National State Ele ctions Committee a total of $110,000. This is in addition to $27,500 that he contributed to the RNC between 1997 and 2000. SBG’s PAC kicked in another $14,000 prior to George W. Bush’s inauguration in January 2001.

Excluding the Smith family’s many co ntributions to individual Republican candidates, their soft money donations exceed $160,000 in the last several years, with the vast majority of that money being contributed since George W. Bush decided to run for national office.

Wasteland of the Free 

Wasteland of the Free
by Iris DeMent

We got preachers dealing in politics and diamond mines
and their speech is growing increasingly unkind
They say they are Christ's disciples
but they don't look like Jesus to me
and it feels like I am living in the wasteland of the free

We got politicians running races on corporate cash
Now don't tell me they don't turn around and kiss them peoples' ass
You may call me old-fashioned
but that don't fit my picture of a true democracy
and it feels like I am living in the wasteland of the free

We got CEO's making two hundred times the workers' pay
but they'll fight like hell against raising the minimum wage
and If you don't like it, mister, they'll ship your job
to some third-world country 'cross the sea
and it feels like I am living in the wasteland of the free

Living in the wasteland of the free
where the poor have now become the enemy
Let's blame our troubles on the weak ones
Sounds like some kind of Hitler remedy
Living in the wasteland of the free

We got little kids with guns fighting inner city wars
So what do we do, we put these little kids behind prison doors
and we call ourselves the advanced civilization
that sounds like crap to me
and it feels like I am living in the wasteland of the free

We got high-school kids running 'round in Calvin Klein and Guess
who cannot pass a sixth-grade reading test
but if you ask them, they can tell you
the name of every crotch on MTV
and it feels like I am living in the wasteland of the free

We kill for oil, then we throw a party when we win
Some guy refuses to fight, and we call that the sin
but he's standing up for what he believes in
and that seems pretty damned American to me
and it feels like I am living in the wasteland of the free

Living in the wasteland of the free
where the poor have now become the enemy
Let's blame our troubles on the weak ones
Sounds like some kind of Hitler remedy
Living in the wasteland of the free

While we sit gloating in our greatness
justice is sinking to the bottom of the sea
Living in the wasteland of the free
Living in the wasteland of the free
Living in the wasteland of the freee

This Is Nowhere 

The couple three (parking) pads up from our campsite at Mark Twain Lake represented the American dream. He was a retired real estate salesman from Oregon, who had put in long hours during his career. After retiring, they hit the road in search of America. There are millions of these affluent vagabonds driving down the instate highways, getting six-miles to the gallon. This particular rambler drove a $150,000 recreational vehicle and towed a small sports utility vehicle.

Wal Mart, the discount retailer t hat has killed off small business districts across the country, acts as a refuge for the golden-age RV set, providing them free over-night parking for their big rigs. Film maker Douglas Hawes takes a peak at this sub culture in his 2002 documentary This Is Nowhere.

David Brooks Should Resign 

Even though it's becoming increasingly clear that U.S. military intelligence consorted with private "contract" employees to plan the torture of Iraqi prisoners of war at Abu Ghraib prison and elsewhere, New York Times columnist David Brooks is still supporting the Bush administration's misguided foreign policy.

Appearing on the PBS News Hour last night, Brooks defended Secretary of Defense Donald "Rummy" Rumsfeld's decision that has trapped the United States in a Mid East quagmire.

Brooks is the intellectual equivalent of right-wing zealot Rush Limbaugh. They are both water boys for fascism. Niether one of their lame arguments holds water. Similar to Rumsfeld's testimony before Congress yesterday, both commentators have the audacity to suggest that the media and domestic politics are somehow to blame for the latest scandal.

The war mongers spin is that Rumsfeld and the Pentagon were quietly handling the investigation of the abuses at the prison. The public release of the information has inflated the seriousness of the crimes, says Brooks. Limbaugh compared the torture, rape and murders of Iraqi prisoners of war to a college fraternity prank. In his "no-big-deal" defense of the administration's failures, Brooks shrugged his shoulders and smirked in a way that weirdly mimicked George W. Bush's dismissive responses to recent hard questions by the press.

Brooks should resign. If he doesn't the Times should fire him.

Welcome to the New Missouri Welfare State: Keeno for Breakfast 

The diners at the Hootenanny cafe in Perry, Mo. tend to be a biscuit and gravy crowd. They linger over a second cup of coffee and trade small talk with the waitress. Except for a couple of the old timers at the front table, these men, dressed in baseball caps, flannel and denim, aren't farmers. They're fishermen; men who have left their wives and families for a few days

Many of them are retired or disabled. Others are on vacations from their day jobs in the city. Marion, one of my fishing buddies, is a building inspector in St. Louis. Paul is a retired Chryler autoworker with cancer. Mel, a carpenter, broke his back in a construction accident years ago. Nowadays, he spends most of his time gambling. St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist Bill "Mali bu" McClellan wrote a piece on him years ago.

The Missouri Lottery has made it possible to lay a morning wager even at the Hootenanny cafe in the burg of Perry. The cafe is linked to a statewide Keeno betting system that has a real-time video feed. The game, which was legalized last year by the Missouri legislature, allows players to fill out their choice of numbers at their tables and submit them to the waitress. Every minute or two another game is played via a television screen in the corner of the room.

Marion won $50 on his first try and paid for breakfast. Although the state of Misouri has disqualified me from receving Missouri unemployment compensation, I owe my biscuits and gravy last Wednesday to Missouri's ubiquitous gambling industry. Marion dropped a heavy tip on the waitress, too.   

Gone Fishin' 

News from the Rear

The Rustic Oak restaurant on Route JJ, featured a seafood buffet Thursday. Inside, anglers clustered in the dining room, swapping tales.

But the fish stories were of the inland variety. The Rustic Oak, near Mark Twain Lake, caters to crappie fishermen this time of the year. The restaurant is in one of those new-fangled log cabins that that are mass produced like mobile homes. Inside, trophy fish line the walls and a stuffed bobcat is perched on one of the exposed rafters.

The fishermen come to Mark Twain this time of year because the crappie are biting. Like the small knots of fishermen chowing down at the restaurant, crappie cluster together near the banks of the lake around dead trees and suhmerged logs. In the spring, the fish are more concerned with sex than food, but their different appetites must get mixed up because they strike at anything.

Crappie fishing is mostly a sedentary sport. So the walk down to the lake is about as much exercise as a fisherman gets. When the Army Corps of Engineers built Mark Twain Lake in the 1960s, the agency dammed the Salt River, and built what is now Cannon Dam. The lake, which is more 3,000 acres in size, twists through narrow valleys and up creek beds. Those who walk to the shore to fish will notice the dynamite holes from the blasts that created the hole in the ground that became the lake. It's a steep, and treacherous climb down the scree to the water. But most Mark Twain fishermen don't fish from the bank.

Instead, the anglers go out in high-powered bass boats, fishing from sun up till way past dark. They come this time of year by the truck load. The typical crappie fisherman arrives at Mark Twain driving a diesel pick up truck, towing a fifth-wheel camping trailer, which is, in turn, hitched to a bass boat. The truck, trailer and boat can easily cost $200,000 or more.

Crappie are small fish. But this is not a poor man's sport.

Sunday, May 02, 2004

Spooks Are Us 

In 1977, Carl Bernstein, the Pulitzer-prize winning reporter of Watergate fame, wrote a story for Rolling Stone magazine that outed journalists who had previously worked for the CIA. The list includes the leaders in the profession, including: Arthur Sulzberger, New York Times publisher; William Paley, CBS News; Joe Alsop, Washington Post syndicated columnist. [read more]

Sinclair Broadcast VP Is a Spook 

On Friday, Sinclair Broadcast Group refused to air Nightline on its eight ABC affiliates, including KDNL, Channel 30 in St. Louis. Sinclair claimed that the broadcast of the show, which featured host Ted Koppel reading the names of those who died in Iraq, was politically motivated. Not surprisingly, Sinclair donates the nearly all of its political contributions to the Republican Party.

Less reported is the background of Mark E. Hyman, Sinclair's vice president for corporate relations. Hyman is a former member of Navy Intelligence, a weapons inspector and currently serves as an officer in the Navy Reserve attached to something called the Space and Network Warfare Program. Hyman's Navy units have been awarded several accomodations from the CIA for meritorious service. Earlier this year Hyman was dispatched to Iraq by Sinclair Broadcast Group to report on the positive side of the war that the "liberal" media fails to report. This guy is walking evidence of why the "terrorists" suspect that all American journalists work for the CIA.

Here's an excerpt from his bio from Sinclair's web page:

"Mark Hyman is the Vice President for Corporate Relations for Sinclair, the nation’s largest operator of television stations. ... In his current position, he is the head of Corporate Relations which includes developing strategic policy, managing Federal, state and local legislative and regulatory relations, public and media affairs, and community outreach and charitable activities. Sinclair’s total media operations are located in 24 states.

He served briefly in the Army before attending college on an Army ROTC scholarship. He was later accepted to the U. S. Naval Academy from which he graduated in 1981. He served as a naval officer on ships assigned to the East and West coasts and he served in the U.S. Navy’s European headquarters in London. He has conducted worldwide travel with extensive time spent in the Middle East. He left active duty in 1989 and became employed as a civilian in the Office of Naval Intelligence, which included assignments with the U.S. On-Site Inspection Agency as a disarmament treaty weapons inspector in former Warsaw Pact countries. A Captain in the Naval Reserve, he has served in leadership positions in CIA’s National Warning Staff, the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office and he is currently a Commanding Officer in the Naval Reserve’s Space and Network Warfare Program.

In 1995, he attended Johns Hopkins University on an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellowship and worked in the U.S. House of Representatives. He joined Sinclair in 1997 as the Director of Government Relations and was promoted to his current position in 1999. He is an officer and director of the Maryland-D.C.-Delaware Broadcasters Association. He is a Vice President of the Annapolis Center for Science-Based Public Policy, a not-for-profit national research and public policy organization. He has appeared on CNN, Fox News and NPR, on local radio stations, has been interviewed in national publications including the New York Times, Washington Post and USA Today, and he hosts "The Point with Mark Hyman", televised commentaries appearing on Sinclair TV stations with a daily household audience more than four million viewers. He has been a speaker and panel member at numerous conventions and he has testified before Congress.

The military organizations in which he has served have been awarded four CIA National Intelligence Meritorious Unit Commendations during his service ..."

Where'd You Go to High School? 

Bill "Malibu" McClellan's column in the Sunday St. Louis Post-Dispatch chronicles the case of landlord Kevin Jakoubek, who was charged by the feds in November with contracting the killing of one of his wayward laborers.

At trial, Jakoubek was represented by Nick Zotos, Southwest High School class of 69. Go Longhorns! My recollection is that Zotos and I also attended the same college, Antioch in D.C./Baltimore. The D.C. campus had a pre-law curriculum, as I recall. Obviously, Zotos was more "goal" oriented than me. He graduated.

Malibu describes Nick as being adroit at mining the "margins of reasonable doubt."

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