The executive news editor just ran out to get our turkey from Koo-Koo Roo, and we’re scrounging on spinach dip and a meat and cheese tray (my contribution!) as we simultaneously get the paper out. Considering we’ve taken the bold step of getting catered turkey this year, that means our dinner time is bumped up to 4 p.m. As someone who spends all holidays working, I can assure you that’s not the best idea. We’ll all stuff ourselves silly, then just want to lie down and sleep and bloat as we hit deadline. That’s why newsroom potlucks are best done around 6 p.m. — stories are filed, copy is in, pages are at least halfway done as the press awaits an early deadline.
Check out my Los Angeles Daily News column today highlighting one little thing Americans can do to take a stand for human rights: Tell the San Francisco government how you feel about Beijing’s propaganda torch relaying through the City by the Bay next April. The San Francisco Team Tibet Coalition is doing just that, but Mayor Gavin Newsom hasn’t even acknowledged their concerns by agreeing to meet with the activists. I spent a month calling the mayor’s office, e-mailing when directed to do so, receiving one phone message in return and unable to reach a live person after that, with my messages going unreturned. One man who answered in the phone in the communications office on one of my early calls told me I was calling about the “supposed boycott” of the Olympic torch.
Brian De Palma’s one-man anti-war mission and big-screen gang-rape epic “Redacted” opens in theaters today, and will be met with protesters tonight, 6 p.m. at Laemmle’s Sunset 5 Theater at Sunset and Crescent Heights in Hollywood. But did you know that it’s already on the small screen — for a price?
Which was about more than just Knicks tryouts — an interesting tale in and of itself! Though my one-on-one sitdown with Giuliani is excerpted in today’s L.A. Daily News, here is the full text of our chat:
I’ve received some calls and letters from readers in the Armenian community who are concerned that my news article Sunday in the Los Angeles Daily News on my interview with the new Turkish consul general — in which we talked about the Armenian Genocide legislation — was one-sided.
Yesterday I sat down for an interview with Turkish Consul General R. Hakan Tekin in Los Angeles. As well as discussing all of the pertinent Turkish issues of the day — the controversial resolution on the Armenian genocide, the battle against the PKK, the quest to join the European Union, and the country’s maintenance as a secular Muslim nation when faced with Islamic extremists — I squeezed in a few questions about the press. Read all about it here.
“Abbas Khorsandi has a dream of democracy. In 2004, the economics professor in the Iranian town of Firouzkouh was arrested for helping form the Democratic Party of Iran, along with five other activists located in different cities around the country. Khorsandi was tortured and warned to stop his democracy activism, and was released on bail a few months later after suffering a heart attack.
This may not be a very popular column for haters of the MSM (and yes, I still think that term is silly), but I gotta speak my mind. That’s, like, what opinion columnists do. So check out my piece in the Los Angeles Daily News today:
I swear, there is no low too low for that regime. As if beating them, arresting them, exiling them to remote corners of the country or sending their bloated, saffron-clad bodies floating downstream wasn’t enough…
This is the first of what will be a few pieces on my one-on-one interview yesterday with former Mexican Presidente Vicente Fox. I asked him about this staggering fact: According to Reporters Without Borders, the number of journalists killed in Mexico last year was second only to Iraq with nine murdered and three missing. And I asked what can Mexico do to ensure that the press is free to operate without fear of intimidation or violence. His answer may surprise you – but, well, maybe it won’t. More…
On Monday morning, I sat down with Robert Amsterdam, international counsel for Mikhail Khordokovsky, the onetime Yukos oil tycoon and Putin opponent who sits in a Siberian gulag. He had some very interesting things to say about the Khodorkovsky case, espionage (!), and Putin’s shameless power grab, which I write about in my Los Angeles Daily News column…
Today I’m posting only this as part of the International Bloggers’ Day for Burma. Click here for more information about the campaign. If you have a blog or Web site, it’s not too late to join in the worldwide statement!
Today also marks one week since Japanese journalist Kenji Nagai was slain in Yangon while filming a protest. His body has just arrived back in Japan. May he rest in peace, and may his killers be brought to justice.
“…In the face of depravity, heroism was the story of the day - like the heroism of the protesting masses captured on Nagai’s camera before he fell. The DVB also reported Friday that Burmese residents armed themselves with sticks and slingshots - and banged on pots and pans as a system to warn of approaching troops - to protect the monasteries as soldiers came for more nighttime raids. ‘There were not only Buddhist people but also Muslims, Christians and Hindus defending the monasteries,’ a resident told the DVB.
The photo on the front of the New York Times was chilling: A crowd of Burmese fleeing from soldiers on a rain-slicked street, while one man in khaki shorts and a checked shirt — wielding a camera, the Myanmar regime’s worst enemy — is left behind. Pushed to the pavement by a soldier, the Japanese journalist is killed with a shot through the heart. Subsequent photos and video show that the veteran correspondent for the APF news agency is left in the street to die. The images of the murder of Kenji Nagai will be to the Myanmar crackdowns as the Tank Man was to the Tiananmen Square massacre. In the face of tight media repression, Nagai tried to bring the story of the Burmese people’s fight for democracy and the vicious regime’s reaction to the outside world. And even though he died trying to do so, will the world pay attention? Considering the lackadaisical reaction thus far at the U.N., I’m not holding my breath.
I analyze this sobering question in my Los Angeles Daily News column today. In the couple of weeks since the Petraeus/Betray Us brouhaha took off, and the bitter war debates that have only escalated since, observers in the Arab world may be remembering an interview Osama bin Laden gave Al-Jazeera in October 2001: “We experienced the Americans through our brothers who went into combat against them in Somalia, for example. … There was a huge aura over America - the United States - that terrified people even before they entered combat. … America exited dragging its tails in failure, defeat, and ruin, caring for nothing. … America left faster than anyone expected. … We pray to God to give us his support and to make America ever more reluctant.”
“What journalist has been sentenced to death? I’m sorry that some press here disseminates what’s untrue. Why should we insist on propagating what’s untrue? … Where were they involved in as a journalist and where were they arrested? I don’t know people by that name.” The guy really is unbelievable. More…
The dimwit’s Columbia speech is garnering all the attention — for good reason — but he sure dropped some doozies speaking to the National Press Club. Like when the moderator asked: “Would you be willing to meet with Holocaust survivors who wanted to discuss their experiences with you? And why or why not?”
Today, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad hopped on his lil’ jet plane to head for U.S. turf, with an aim of telling us what’s what. “Due to certain issues, the American people in the past years have been denied correct and clear information about global developments and are eager to hear different opinions,” Ahmadinejad told Iran’s state-run media.
Back in fall 2005, al-Qaida’s new media wing, As-Sahab, was advertising online for skilled media workers (with no indication if they paid in accordance with Jihadist Guild standards). Since that time, As-Sahab has increased both their production values and their reach, trying news broadcasts (with a machine gun pointing at the viewer and ski-masked anchor) and short films in addition to single-camera bloviating. With Osama’s new plans to declare war on Pervez Musharraf via As-Sahab and Ayman al-Zawahri coming on-screen again yesterday, I assessed how the main on-air personalities having been working for As-Sahab in its Goebbels-inspired programming…
Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf has decided to drop the “general” duties as army chief — as long as lawmakers make him president for five more years. Surely there’s another backstory, like Pervez getting word that MoveOn.org, with a little (ahem) surplus cash on hand, planned to take out a full-page nitpicky ad against him, and was in the developmental stage of brainstorming words that rhyme with “Musharraf”…
Today, Washington D.C. is filled with dunderheads who don’t understand the meanings of either “imperialism” or “occupation,” folks like Wesley Clark and Cindy Sheehan getting together for a “die-in,” which was apparently the next evolutionary step from the 1960s “love-ins.” I’ve been out at far too many of these ANSWER Coalition events, and thus refuse to call them peace demonstrators (because supporting Hezbollah or Hamas is not peaceful, nor is attacking counterprotesters who show up to give a different point of view) or anti-war demonstrators (because supporting Hezbollah, Hamas, Iran and other agitators is not anti-war, and a fanatically isolationist stance is more properly labeled as “avoidance of war at any cost” advocates).
BUT he was not guaranteed a run date. And Rudy said tonight that if his full-page ad — the answer to Petraeus-bashing — doesn’t run in Friday’s paper that he wants a refund. Because the discount ad rate that MoveOn snagged was supposed to include a block of days in which the ad could run, but lo and behold the ad made it the day after Petraeus testified. Fair is fair, said Rudy, and his ad should appear the day after Bush’s Iraq speech. More…
It’s been six years since the mass terrorist attack on the U.S. The days following Sept. 11, 2001, were characterized by patriotic fervor (remember the little flags on the cars?) mixed with the desire to hunt down Osama. People were mad. Some channeled that anger into enlisting, and many since have given their lives in Afghanistan or Iraq. But as the story of 9/11 faded away, and those little American car flags wound up in muddy gutters, so much of that passion to fight terrorism is gone — along with any desire to learn the true nature of the threat.
In the weeks leading up to Sept. 11, 2002, my desk at the San Bernardino Sun was a mess. I’d been sifting through several hundred photos to find the perfect shots for the special 9/11 anniversary issue, assigned and edited all of the stories coming in from reporters, created the text for a huge graphic on the history of terrorism and coordinated the look of the spread with the graphics department, wrote a couple of articles for the wrapper myself, and in the final days leading up to the anniversary went through edit after edit, correcting red-marked proofs that collected into their own pile. I even went down to the press for the special run of the section, catching the first issues coming off and taking a stack home for keepers. The editor directed the press to make me a special set of CMYK plates of the front page, which now hangs framed on my wall.A year later, I was making the move from a brief stint as a magazine editor back to my beloved news biz. I told the hiring editor at my new paper that I wished I could be there to help out on the 9/11 anniversary, but she responded not to worry, that it would be no big deal and probably just a couple of stories.
Osama invited all of us to convert to Islam in his tape last week. Pundits are in a tizzy about this because an invitation to embrace Islam is a prerequisite to wage war against those who reject the call. Now there’s another al-Qaida tape criticizing Hamas for bad jihad, just before Gen. Petraeus is set to deliver his Iraq analysis today. But al-Qaida has always loved symbolism, and this will be the first 9-11 anniversary to fall on a Tuesday, the day of the original attacks in 2001. I hope that doesn’t mean anything — but then again, the foiled plot against airports and U.S. installations in Germany may have been intended to be the big 9-11 anniversary attack. And the part that’s not reassuring — all of the suspects of that Islamic Jihad cell in Germany have not been arrested yet.
“I personally believe that it will also achieve U.S. Americans’ desire to stop the war in the Iraq as a consequence, because as soon as the warmongering U.S. American owners of the major corporations realize that you have lost confidence in your democratic system and education like such as in South Africa and the Iraq, and have begun to look for an alternative because, uh, some people out there in the nation don’t have maps, and this alternative is Islam, they will run after you to please you and achieve what you want to steer you away from Islam and help the Iraq and the Asian countries so we will be able to build up our future, for our children.”
If how Mexico treats Central American illegal immigrants is any indication, the Mexican president’s answer would be a sound “no.” I call out Calderon on this treatment — with a look at the real U.S. treatment of illegal immigrants, in light of my recent trip to Puerto Rico — in my Los Angeles Daily News column today:
The AP reported yesterday that Mexico’s foreign secretary was talking with the U.S. about trying to get deported identity-thief-turned-activist Elvira Arellano back in the country. Arellano wants to be a “peace and justice ambassador,” a B.S. label usually reserved for minions of Sun Myung Moon or celebrity volunteers at the United Nations. The best part of the AP story is the end: