Buddy Miles dies at 60

February 29, 2008



Voice of the Day

February 29, 2008

“Whoever controls the media, controls the peoples’ minds. There is no such thing in America as an independent press, unless it is in the country towns. You know it and I know it. There is not one of you who dares to write his honest opinions, and if you did you know beforehand that it would never appear in print.

I am paid one hundred and fifty dollars a week for keeping my honest opinions out of the paper I am connected with–others of you are paid similar salaries for similar things–and any of you who would be so foolish as to write his honest opinions would be out on the streets looking for another job.

The business of the New York journalist is to destroy the truth, to lie outright, to pervert, to vilify, to fawn at the feet of Mammon, and to sell his race and his country for his daily bread.

You know this and I know it, and what folly is this to be toasting an “Independent Press.”

We are the tools and vassals of rich men behind the scenes. We are the jumping-jacks; they pull the strings and we dance. Our talents, our possibilities and our lives are all the property of other men. We are intellectual prostitutes.”

– John Swinton, editor of the New York Tribune, in the 1880s, at a banquet of his fellow editors

Diebold Accidentally Leaks Results of ’08 Election

February 29, 2008

From The Onion.

A parody, somewhat, of american elections.

Record number of Americans in prison

February 28, 2008

Record-high ratio of Americans in prison

By DAVID CRARY, AP National Writer

NEW YORK – For the first time in history, more than one in every 100 American adults is in jail or prison, according to a new report tracking the surge in inmate population and urging states to rein in corrections costs with alternative sentencing programs.

The report, released Thursday by the Pew Center on the States, said the 50 states spent more than $49 billion on corrections last year, up from less than $11 billion 20 years earlier. The rate of increase for prison costs was six times greater than for higher education spending, the report said.

Using updated state-by-state data, the report said 2,319,258 adults were held in U.S. prisons or jails at the start of 2008 — one out of every 99.1 adults, and more than any other country in the world.

The steadily growing inmate population “is saddling cash-strapped states with soaring costs they can ill afford and failing to have a clear impact either on recidivism or overall crime,” said the report.

Susan Urahn, managing director of the Pew Center on the States, said budget woes are prompting officials in many states to consider new, cost-saving corrections policies that might have been shunned in the recent past for fear of appearing soft in crime.

“We’re seeing more and more states being creative because of tight budgets,” she said in an interview. “They want to be tough on crime, they want to be a law-and-order state — but they also want to save money, and they want to be effective.”

The report cited Kansas and Texas as states which have acted decisively to slow the growth of their inmate population. Their actions include greater use of community supervision for low-risk offenders and employing sanctions other than reimprisonment for ex-offenders who commit technical violations of parole and probation rules.

“The new approach, born of bipartisan leadership, is allowing the two states to ensure they have enough prison beds for violent offenders while helping less dangerous lawbreakers become productive, taxpaying citizens,” the report said.

While many state governments have shown bipartisan interest in curbing prison growth, there also are persistent calls to proceed cautiously.

“We need to be smarter,” said David Muhlhausen, a criminal justice expert with the conservative Heritage Foundation. “We’re not incarcerating all the people who commit serious crimes — but we’re also probably incarcerating people who don’t need to be.”

According to the report, the inmate population increased last year in 36 states and the federal prison system.

The largest percentage increase — 12 percent — was in Kentucky, where Gov. Steve Beshear highlighted the cost of corrections in his budget speech last month. He noted that the state’s crime rate had increased only about 3 percent in the past 30 years, while the state’s inmate population has increased by 600 percent.

The Pew report was compiled by the Center on the State’s Public Safety Performance Project, which is working directly with 13 states on developing programs to divert offenders from prison without jeopardizing public safety.

“For all the money spent on corrections today, there hasn’t been a clear and convincing return for public safety,” said the project’s director, Adam Gelb. “More and more states are beginning to rethink their reliance on prisons for lower-level offenders and finding strategies that are tough on crime without being so tough on taxpayers.”

The report said prison growth and higher incarceration rates do not reflect a parallel increase in crime or in the nation’s overall population. Instead, it said, more people are behind bars mainly because of tough sentencing measures, such as “three-strikes” laws, that result in longer prison stays.

“For some groups, the incarceration numbers are especially startling,” the report said. “While one in 30 men between the ages of 20 and 34 is behind bars, for black males in that age group the figure is one in nine.”

The nationwide figures, as of Jan. 1, include 1,596,127 people in state and federal prisons and 723,131 in local jails — a total 2,319,258 out of almost 230 million American adults.

The report said the United States is the world’s incarceration leader, far ahead of more populous China with 1.5 million people behind bars. It said the U.S. also is the leader in inmates per capita (750 per 100,000 people), ahead of Russia (628 per 100,000) and other former Soviet bloc nations which make up the rest of the Top 10.

Anti-War Soundtrack – 30 Songs that Inspired an Iraq War Veteran

February 27, 2008


Sire Records to Release “Body of War: Songs that Inspired an Iraq War Veteran”


“Body of War: Songs that Inspired an Iraq War Veteran,” a double-CD compilation of songs curated by Iraq war veteran Tomas Young, will be released by Sire Records on March 18, 2008 — two days before the fifth anniversary of the United States invasion of Iraq. Young, a 26-year-old veteran, was shot and paralyzed from the chest down after serving in Iraq for less than a week. His heart-wrenching and inspiring story is told in the critically acclaimed feature
documentary “Body of War,” produced and directed by Phil Donahue and Ellen Spiro (www.bodyofwar.com).

Young enlisted in the U.S. Army just two days after 9/11 with the intention of fighting those responsible for the attack on our country. He has transformed his personal suffering into political activism. His powerful story and authentic voice serve to question the war in Iraq that cost him his mobility, and convey the moving journey of a young veteran’s survival and adaptation to his new life as paraplegic.

Young personally selected each of the tracks that appear on “Body of War: Songs that Inspired an Iraq War Veteran,” including Eddie Vedder’s previously unreleased, live version of “No More” — which was specially written for the “Body of War” documentary and performed with Ben Harper at Lollapalooza 2007 in Chicago’s Grant Park. A collection of several additional incisive songs will make up the double-CD set, including Bright Eyes, Neil Young, Bad Religion, Serj
Tankian, Laura Cantrell and The Nightwatchman (Tom Morello). (Track listing forthcoming)

This music, Young says, serves as his personal ‘soundtrack for Iraq.’ “The compilation record was an idea that grew out of my love of music and my reliance on it before, during and after the war. The songs I selected for the record were tracks that inspired, motivated, and at times, literally saved me over the past few years.”

Vedder adds, “Tomas has taught me a great deal, and our friendship has become one of depth and sincerity. It has been a mind-expanding experience. I see how he relies on the strength of the songs to help him through each day. It is a true living example of the power of music.”

Acclaimed political artist Shepard Fairey designed and donated original cover art for the album. Fairey has long been haunting consumer culture with an ambitious mocking street campaign featuring an omnipresent Andre the Giant. An astute student in the arts of persuasion, Fairey began his epic satire on the science of celebrity endorsements and the alchemy of suggesting desire back in 1989, while he was still a student at The Rhode Island School of Design.

Since then, his propaganda has been proliferated through stickers, clothing, skateboards, posters, stencil-based graffiti and even a documentary film, to spread over the United States and the unsuspecting world at large.

All proceeds from “Body of War: Songs that Inspired an Iraq War Veteran” goto benefit the non-profit organization Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW), as chosen by Young.

Founded in 2004 by Iraq war veterans, IVAW’s goal is to give voice to the large number of active-duty service people and veterans who are against the war, but are under various pressures to remain silent. In September, Sire Records donated $100,000 to IVAW in the name of Young, who is a spokesperson for the organization.

Garrett Reppenhagen of IVAW explains, “The ‘Body of War’ soundtrack is an inspiring collection of music that will awaken listeners to the challenges of returning war veterans, the failings of our political leadership and the catastrophe of the occupation of Iraq.

The creator, wounded veteran Tomas Young, skillfully selected songs that offer a profound prospective of his disposition which is shared by many veterans.”

“Body of War,” which was produced by legendary talk show host Phil Donahue and Ellen Spiro, premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 11th, 2007, to unanimous critical acclaim. Richard Corliss of Time magazine called it “a superb documentary … almost unbearably moving,” while Fox News raved that the film is “riveting.” The New York Times website praised the film as a “heart-wrenching and yet deeply affirming story, both a testament to one man’s enduring inner strength and a towering condemnation of a localized conflict.”

“Body of War” was named “Best Documentary of 2007” by the National Board of Review (previous winners include “An Inconvenient Truth” and “Bowling for Columbine”), won the Audience Award for Best Documentary at the Hamptons’ International Film Festival, and was runner-up for the People’s Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival.

“Body of War” begins a nationwide theatrical release in March, opening in Austin and Kansas City, with April and May dates to include New York, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Berkeley, San Diego, Seattle, Chicago, Minneapolis and St. Louis.

For specific dates, visit www.bodyofwar.com.

For more information please visit:



Cartoon of the Day

February 26, 2008

“Taxi to the Dark Side”: Exposé on US Abuses in “War on Terror” Wins Oscar for Best Documentary

February 26, 2008

“Taxi to the Dark Side”: Exposé on US Abuses in “War on Terror” Wins Oscar for Best Documentary

Alex Gibney joins us to talk about his Academy Award win for his documentary Taxi to the Dark Side. The film investigates some of the most egregious abuses associated with the so-called “war on terror.”

Full Article