AUSTIN, Texas -- "We ought to be beating our chests every day. We ought to look in a mirror and be proud, and stick out our chests and suck in our bellies, and say, 'Damn, we're Americans!'" -- Jay Garner, retired general and the man in charge of the American occupation of Iraq.

Thus it is with a sense of profound relief that one hears the news that Garner is about to be replaced by a civilian with nation-building experience. I realize we have all been too busy with the Laci Peterson affair to notice that we're still sitting on a powder keg in Iraq, but there it is. In case you missed it, a million Iraqi Shiites made pilgrimage to Karbala, screaming, "No to America!"

Funny how media attention slips just at the diciest moments. I doubt the United States was in this much danger at any point during the actual war. Whether this endeavor in Iraq will turn out to be worth the doing is now at a critical point, and the media have decided it's no longer a story. Boy, are we not being served well by American journalism.

Anent the current difficulties, Newsweek's May 12 report on
Not so long ago, I commented on a column by Christopher Hitchens in Vanity Fair, in which this well-known toper addressed himself to the theme of "How To Make Drink One's Slave and Not One's Master." Having already had rich sport with Hitchens's bizarre excursus on this theme I'll confine myself here to a sentence in that same column that was widely quoted as an example of Hitchens' trenchant wit.

It dealt with the matter of how many dry martinis should a prudent drinker confront at cocktail time.

Here is what Hitchens wrote: "On the whole, observe the same rule about gin martinis -- and all gin drinks -- that you would in judging female breasts: one is far too few and three is one too many ... When you get the shudders, even slightly, it's definitely time to seek help."

Discussing this passage back in February of this year, just after his Vanity Fair column was published, I decided to pass lightly over the issue of the shakes. The portly scribbler I had observed a little more than a year earlier on a Nation cruise experienced some difficulty bringing
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. -- In Pensacola, Fla., a crowd of pink, plastic flamingos on the lawn means someone is having a birthday. The flamingos are usually for a major, zero-ending birthday, so on the day you turn, say, 50, you walk out of the house, and there are 50 pink flamingos to greet you. I report this to prove that travel is culturally broadening.

Also on the Redneck Riviera, an annual sporting event I trust will soon attract national television coverage: the Mullet Toss. Kenny Stabler, formerly with the Oakland Raiders, throws out the first mullet in the yearly fish fling, and then, less famous mullet chuckers compete.

Near as I can tell from a quick visit, the major problem along the Florida Panhandle is rapid development. Same old same old, except that both the old-timers and the newcomers have a strong interest in preserving the natural beauty of the place. By now, everyone knows what happens if you don't control growth. The phenomenon known as "strip commercial" appears -- endless stretches of tacky, plastic, franchise food joints.

Maybe this conflict should be covered by sports reporters: the
I am so glad that I found freepress.org. You are a breath of fresh air - and thanks to Peter Werbe - as I heard about you today from his show.

Thanks again!
Corporation continues to support the worst abuses
On May 1, KFC issued a news release claiming to be adopting “industry-leading poultry guidelines.”

PETA is disgusted that KFC would attempt to deceive compassionate consumers: KFC’s release is worded so as to reassure chicken consumers who are anxious to hear that chickens are not cruelly treated by KFC and its suppliers and slaughterers. But, in fact, KFC continues to ignore its own animal welfare advisory board’s recommendations as well as those of the humane community, still has not adopted the eight key minimum reforms, and instead continues to hide behind the chicken industry’s skirts, hoping that this will all go away and pretending that it needs government permission to switch to gas killing, an accepted method that requires nothing more than the decency to implement it.

Could not agree more with you article on 5-2-03. Great - have sent it to 200 friends. Some Canadian and some American.

Too bad this can not be read by the masses in the US of A.

Keep up the good work.

Roger Wilson
Ottawa, Canada
A representative of Kent State University in Ohio has revoked permits for a peaceful rally and an anti-war conference planned for the May 3-4 weekend on the KSU campus. Organizers of the events vow that they will continue as scheduled.

The Kent State Anti-War Committee (KSAWC) has been planning an anti-war rally tentatively scheduled for this Sunday, May 4 at 3:00 PM following the annual May 4 commemoration which begins at noon. However, the Kent State University (KSU) administration has felt it necessary to revoke the permit it had originally granted to KSAWC allowing the rally to take place on Manchester Field. The university cites extremely vague concerns of disturbance they believe will occur on May 4.

KSAWC will hold a press conference on the steps of the Memorial Athletic Convention Center (MACC) Friday, May 2 at 11 AM to discuss the recent events regarding the May 4 anti-war rally.

May 4 is a National Day of Action called by Not in Our Name, (http://www.notinourname.net) an anti-war group dedicated to resisting the
Akron, Ohio, April 28, 2003- People for Peace of Greater Akron will sponsor the Mothers and Others March (MOM) for Peace & Justice on Saturday May 10, 2003. Our rally begins at 2:00 p.m., at the corner of West. Exchange and Locust Streets (the southwest corner of Perkins square), in the shadow of Children's Hospital Medical Center of Akron. Thus, our rallying point symbolizes birth, life and hope. It evokes the bombed Iraqi hospitals. It also represents the veterans and civilians throughout the United States who lack adequate social services due to misplaced national priorities. Our rally will feature speakers from The National Organization for Women (NOW), the Akron Chapter of the Million Woman March, the Middle Eastern Student Association (MESA), the Campus Community Against War (CCAW), Students Taking Action for a New Democracy (STAND), the American Friends Service Committee, and The Way to Christ Ministries. We will march to Glendale Cemetery and conduct a short memorial service to honor the lost lives, both civilian and military, outside the Glendale Civil War Chapel. The featured speaker will be Mary Powell Reynolds, former nurse and Vietnam War veteran.

On April 30, 2003, Dylan Hallsmith, the founder of the Kids 4 Kucinich campaign, met with Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) in Washington. Kids 4 Kucinich is working to raise awareness among young people about the importance of getting involved in the election and supports Congressman Kucinich’s bid for the democratic nomination. Kucinich was enthusiastic about Kids 4 Kucinich, telling Hallsmith that he won his first political race in Cleveland, Ohio because junior high school kids had gone door to door with leaflets to support his campaign.

Hallsmith made several suggestions about how to involve young people in the campaign, and made plans to work over the next several months in support of the primary races in several key states. The Congressman invited Hallsmith to join him and his campaign staff for a lunch meeting with several people working on the national campaign strategy. All of the people at the meeting were excited that young people were actively involved.

I just received a call from Peggy Kidwell concerning her husband Joe "Hemp" Kidwell. Joe was an outspoken medical marijuana activist in Southern California who moved to Kentucky. In Kentucky, he was arrested for possession. He was not allowed to ring up his medical conditions or medical use. His wife is very distraught because he is being refused medical assistance in Federal Prison. The last time she saw him (last week), she said he was in terrible condition and the guards were refusing to get him medical help.

Please take a few moments to make some phone calls to Demand he get medical attention!

Sample Call: "It has come to my attention that Joe Kidwell #08559033 in Federal Prison Lexington, KY is being refused medical attention. I am very concerned about his well being and would appreciate it if you would in inquire why he is being denied this right. Please call me back to let me know he is being helped."

Prison Warden: George Synder 859-255-6812

US Senator Mitch McConnell 202-224-2544

KY Governor Paul Frankfort 502-564-2611

News Articles about Joe:

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