Saturday, November 05, 2005

50 Cent: "Being Gay Isn't Cool [...] Some Rappers Are Fruity"

This homophobe is more than entitled to use his First Amendment rights to express his views on gays and rap music, just as I'm free to not buy his records or not see his new movie.
From an interview with 50 Cent, rapper and movie star:

>50 CENT insists there's no place for gay men in rap because the genre is too aggressive for homosexuals.

Sounds like he buys into the stereotypical sissy limp-wristed fag. Has 50 Cent been living on Mars and missed all the butch gays parading around? I'd like to know if 50 Cent has scientific proof that homosexual males are immune from aggressive behavior, or if he's just incredibly ignorant.

>The rap superstar has nothing against gay men, but he can't foresee a time when a homosexual hip-hop star will make it big.

Sure, and some of his best friends are probably gay men, right?

>He says, "Being gay isn't cool - it's not what the music is based on. There's always been conflict at the centre of hip-hop, because it's all about which guy has the competitive edge, and you can't be that aggressive if you're gay.[...]

Hey, 50 Cent, you know what's not cool? Saying or believing gay isn't cool. Get with reality, dude.

>"I mean, some rappers are fruity, but they don't say they're gay out in the open."

And some rappers are nutty, intolerant and worthy of boycotting.
2004 Audit of Tomlinson, BBG; No Minutes of BBG Meetings

Stephen Labaton
slabaton@nytimes.com
The New York Times

Dear Mr. Labaton:

I was thoroughly fascinated by your front page article in today's New York Times about the inquiry by the State Department's Inspector General into accusations of improper use of federal funds and other possible misdeeds by Kenneth Tomlinson, chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors.

After reading your story, I searched the BBG's web site, looking for minutes of all the public meetings held by the board. To my dismay, no minutes or transcripts of these meetings were available.

This lack of minutes led me to search the web for any Federal Register announcements from the BBG about their public meetings. I found lots of announcements, but every single one stated the BBG meetings would be held in closed session.

"The members of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) will meet in closed session to review and discuss a number of issues relating to U.S. Government-funded non-military international broadcasting. The will address internal procedural, budgetary, and personnel issues, as well as sensitive foreign policy issues relating to potential options in the U.S. international broadcasting field. This meeting is closed because if open it likely would either disclose matters that would be properly classified to be kept secret in the interest of foreign policy under the appropriate executive order (5 U.S.C. 552b. (c)(1)) or would disclose information the premature disclosure of which would be likely to significantly frustrate implementation of a proposed agency action.

Here are eleven listings for BBG meetings, stretching back to 2002, where the public was kept out: one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven.

Last and certainly not least, I'm sure you're aware of the most recent independent audit of the Broadcasting Board of Governors for FY 2004.

Among the audit's major findings, these were of particular interest to me:

- Inadequacies in internal control;

- Instances of noncompliance with selected provisions of applicable laws and regulations involving BBG's financial management system;

- BBG's internal control over its finances and accounting system was inadequate;

- Certain elements of the financial statements, principally property, plant and equipment, are developed from sources other than the general ledger;

- The use of sources other than the general ledger to generate elements of the financial statements increases the potential for omission of significant transactions;

- BBG has not codified its financial management operating procedures;

- Overall, BBG did not comply with a number of laws and regulations, including the Budget and Accounting Procedures Act of 1950, which requires an accounting system to provide full disclosure of the results of financial operations;

- BBG financial systems did not issue interim financial reports that could be used for effective management operations. (Audit link, pages 39 - 48.)

These troubling findings from a year ago, fit into the larger context of what you reported in the Times:

"Kenneth Y. Tomlinson, the head of the federal agency that oversees most government broadcasts to foreign countries, including the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe, is the subject of an inquiry into accusations of misuse of federal money and the use of phantom or unqualified employees, officials involved in that examination said on Friday."

Having examined the 2004 audit of Tomlinson's fiscal leadership of the BBG, I do wonder if the investigation you wrote about is part of what may be a longstanding problem with his accounting and spending programs.

You might want to look at the audit and lack of publicly available minutes from BBG meetings, and include some the information in a story for the Times.

Regards,
Michael Petrelis

Friday, November 04, 2005

State Dept: Iraqi Rule of Law Programs "Fragile"

On October 26, the Inspector General of the State Department, Howard J. Krongard, very quietly issued a rather depressing report about U.S. taxpayer funded rule of law programs. Haven't been able to find any MSM stories, blogger postings or references in the alternative media after a few Google searches, which is why I'm calling attention to the report's findings.

The IG said nearly $400 million is being spent by several federal agencies for rule of law efforts in Iraq, on top of $1 billion more for police training. Out of the $4 million, $300 million went to constructing the country's physical infrastructure for justice, and the remaining $1 million was for assorted capacity-building programs

"Rule of law includes the entire legal complex of a modern state, from a constitution and legislation to courts, judges, police, prisons, a commercial code, and anticorruption mechanisms. To successfully implement an emerging rule of law, these activities must proceed somewhat sequentially and not randomly," the report stated.

Here are the major findings:

- "Most of the money for rule of law programs appears to have been well spent."

- "A fully integrated approach to rule of law programs in Iraq is essential and does not exist at present."

- "A new phase is beginning, in which the defining characteristics must be the successful transition from a U.S.-funded and directed program to a sustainable Iraqi-directed program."

- "There is less than optimal coordination within Washington, among U.S. elements in Iraq, and between Washington and Iraq."

- "There is also a need for a coordinator in Iraq to liaise with Washington and with U.S. organizations within Iraq."

- "Basic to the success of democracy and good governance is an effective anticorruption regime. Iraq's institutional framework for anticorruption activities is in place. However, the framework is fragile and untested and needs continued support."

- "Security requirements and logistics must be heavily factored into the current costs of activities in Iraq because these security issues detract from the efficiency and productivity of a project."

So, the State Department's IG starts off with just the appearance of the money being wisely used. That use of the word "appears" in the first finding is troubling.

But more unsettling is the lack of a fully functioning coordination in Washington. Hello, Bush administration? Why is this? There's no excuse for the GOP policymakers in DC on this matter. I could somewhat understand if that were said about the leadership in Iraq, after all, those over there face graver dangers just trying to get through every day, with a growing insurgency, so coordination there easily could be less than optimal. If we can't have optimal coordination from the crew that got us into this mess, one that has cost more than 2,000 American lives, then we need new leadership to deliver the coordination.

Finally, to learn that a framework for anticorruption is somewhat functioning and is "fragile and untested" gives me even more reason to be concerned about corporations like Halliburton and other friends of Veep Cheney. I wouldn't trust Dick's pals with anything fragile and untested.
CBS' Public Eye Spanks Drudge

If you're not reading the CBS Public Eye, an effort devoted to providing more transparency at CBS News and other media outlets, you're missing out on some very interesting analyses, like this one. Don't you just love it when Matt Drudge is taken to task for his hyperbole? I do and wish there were more criticism like this.

[Update: I just want to remind readers that everything posted below is from the CBS Public Eye.]
-

From the Public Eye:

>The Drudge Report today is featuring some comments made by CBS’ Andy Rooney on the “Imus” program this morning and it's getting some traction in the blogosphere. Here’s the one sentence that Drudge puts on his site:

>“I have a problem with the term African American ... The word negro is a perfectly good word. There is nothing wrong with that.”

>That happens to be an incorrect quote, one that serves Drudge’s need for hype.

>[...] The discussion began as host Don Imus was referencing a frequent guest, Congressman Harold Ford Jr. (D-TN) and noted that Ford is African-American. Here’s the transcript:

>Rooney: “I object every time I hear the words ‘African-American,’ you know? I don’t know why we have gotten caught with that.”

>Imus: “Yeah, I don’t either.”

>Rooney: “I mean, am I an ‘Irish-American?’”

>Imus: “What should I say, just ‘black’ right?”

>Rooney: “Well, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with ‘black.’ Growing up, it’s funny how words get to be opprobrious. The word ‘negro,’ perfectly good word. It’s a strong word and a good word. I don’t see anything wrong with that. Mostly it’s not necessary to identify anyone by skin color. But I don’t care for ‘African-American.’”

>Imus: “I won’t use it anymore.”

>Drudge makes no comments, simply leaves snippets of the exchange hanging out there at the top of the page to give his many visitors an inaccurate impression of Rooney’s meaning. [...]

>His use of the word “negro” is what is striking many the wrong way, but he’s arguing for the strength of the word and remarking on the negative connotation it carries. He’s not advocating its return to the American lexicon.
NYT Deletes "Gay Bowel Syndrome" and Apologizes

The following email greeted me this morning and I've sent a thank you note back to Catherine Mathis at the Times. If she only knew how much I loathe any reference that legitimizes "gay bowel syndrome." I've checked the NYT's About.com Men's Health page and indeed, "gay bowel syndrome" has been removed.
-


Dear Mr. Petrelis,

We plan to remove mentions of Gay Bowel Syndrome from About.com. We
apologize for the use of the term.

Sincerely,

Catherine Mathis
VP, Corporate Communications
The New York Times Company

Thursday, November 03, 2005

NYT's About.com Must Delete "Gay Bowel Syndrome" Listing

Arthur Sulzberger Jr.
Chairman
The New York Times

Dear Mr. Sulzberger,

As a gay man, a shareholder and a reader, I ask that you immediately instruct your employees at About.com to delete the page on "gay bowel syndrome," a bogus disease long since debunked as legitimate.

It's beyond outrageous that any part of the New York Times Company gives any credence to this alleged syndrome.

Common decency also demands the Times Company and About.com issue an apology to gay men, for unjustly maligning us with the reprehensible information on the Men's Health page of your company's information portal.

I've waged a long campaign to eradicate "gay bowel syndrome" from the mainstream media and medical textbooks, and hope you will follow the example of other outlets quickly correcting the record when they erroneously promulgate the notion that the supposed syndrome is an actual disease.

A prompt deletion of the offensive page is requested.

Regards,
Michael Petrelis
San Francisco, CA

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Blogs Buzz About Bush Adding Koran to Library; Correction From Me

The addition of the Koran to the White House bookshelves by Bush captured the attention of two more news bloggers today, BuzzFlash and AmericaBlog. Both sites predict fundamentalist anti-Islamists won't be happy learning the man the installed in the White House won't be happy about that. Not sure that the fundies even know Bush put the Koran in the library.

I have to correct something I alleged earlier today about no MSM had reported on Bush's action last month, during his now annual Ramadan dinner for American Moslems.

Turns out the San Francisco Chronicle reported on October 26 about the dinner: "Bush took the occasion to formally announce the addition of the very first Koran to the White House library."

Here's what the two of the politcal blogs wrote this evening:

From BuzzFlash.com

George Bush just added the Koran to the White House library. Nice gesture, but it will drive the fundies absolutely CRAZY. They hate it when Bush even vaguely suggests that Islam is anything but a religion of evil nutjob fanatics (yes, the irony is lost on them). So, this should make for some great theater. 11/2

And this was posted at AmericaBlog.com

Bush ? the Koran
by John in DC - 11/02/2005 04:17:00 PM


He put a copy of the Koran in the White House library AND apparently he's reading it. Not that there's anything wrong with that. But oh the fundies are gonna flip.

Check out this interview last month in which a Malaysian reporter interviews Undersecretary of State Karen Hughes:

KHAIDIR: Talking about books, President Bush in the Iftar in the White House – the White House finally has a Koran in the library….

UNDER SECRETARY HUGHES: That’s right, he’s put a Koran in the library for the first time. [...]
Hughes: Bush Adds Koran to WH Library; He May Be Reading It

Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy Karen P. Hughes was interviewed last month by a reporter with Berita Harian newspaper in Malaysia and the State Department today posted a transcript of the interview. Have a look at this nugget of news:

[...]KHAIDIR: Talking about books, President Bush in the Iftar in the White House – the White House finally has a Koran in the library….

UNDER SECRETARY HUGHES: That’s right, he’s put a Koran in the library for the first time.

KHAIDIR: Has he started reading it yet?

UNDER SECRETARY HUGHES: I don’t know! I know a lot of us - I know my husband and I started reading the Koran in the aftermath - I think after September 11th and after some of the discussions of, you know, after hearing some of what the terrorists were saying, and then hearing other Muslims saying that what the terrorists did, did not represent the Islamic faith, that a lot of Americans became very interested in learning more about Islam. And so I know I’ve read some of the Koran, and I’m sure the President has as well since he got the copy of the Koran to place in the White House library, so.

KHAIDIR: It’s good for him, because we have been misunderstood. [...]

I must have missed the MSM coverage in October when Bush placed a Koran in the White House library, which Hughes claims is the first instance of the book earning a spot on those shelves. Frankly, I find it hard to believe that up until last month, the White House library lacked a copy of the Koran.

Nice to learn of this news, and I sure wish a MSM reporter would ask Scott McClellan at a daily press briefing if the president has read some of the book.

By the way, I've Googled this phrase from Bush's announcement, "And for the first time in our nation's history, we have added a Koran to the White House Library," and no MSM hits for it were returned.
E&P: Bloggers and White House Press Briefings

Joe Strupp over at Editor & Publisher has posted a great thought-provoking column, all about bloggers and the White House press briefings, which you should read. Here's the letter I wrote to him this morning.
-

Dear Mr. Strupp:

Just read your column on bloggers and White House daily press briefings, and have a few comments and questions.

First, I wish you had asked me and other bloggers if we'd be interested in attending the briefings and asking questions of Scott McClellan. Nothing wrong with quoting MSM reporters on the Oval Office beat, but it seems to me political bloggers should have been asked why more of us have not applied for credentials and joined the pack of journalists in the briefing room.

Second, I'm very pleased you got comments from Garrett Graff and Eric Brewer, two bloggers who've attended some briefings and posed questions. If only more political bloggers in the Washington area would follow their example, get White House press credentials and inject some new blood into the proceedings, we might see more Americans paying attention to important issues raised at the briefings. After all, many people in the blogger audience are getting their news from bloggers and not the MSM.

Third, as blogger who lives in San Francisco and obviously can't physically be present at the daily briefing to raise my hand and ask questions, I'd like to propose that the White House press office and the White House Correspondents Association work with bloggers beyond the Beltway to find a way for us to pose questions.

Here's my proposal on this. The WHCA designates someone to whom bloggers outside the Beltway submit written questions and the White House agrees the designee is allowed to ask 5-6 questions from bloggers, every day, at the end of the daily briefings.

What questions would I submit for asking today? CBS News has appointed Sean McManus to run things and he last year contributed $250 to the Bush campaign. Does the White House hope CBS will now provide more favorable coverage of the president and his policies?

Also, would the president consider appointing an openly gay or lesbian advisor to his inner circle of White House confidants?

I applaud the White House deciding to grant bloggers press credentials and tried to use this breakthrough to persuade the State Department's press office to grant me a daily press pass back in the summer when I expected to be in Washington. My hope was to attend one or two State press briefings so I could ask the department about Iran's public hanging of two gay teenagers and other abuses of Iranian gays and lesbians.

Unfortunately, State denied my request for a press pass, as a blogger,
and, as far as I know, no federal agency has granted bloggers press credentials.

Then again, I'm not aware of other bloggers applying for press credentials or a day pass from the federal agencies. Perhaps it's time for bloggers to get organized on this and lobby all federal departments to open up their press briefings to political bloggers.

In any event, thanks for writing your column on bloggers and the White House and giving me food for thought.

Best,
Michael

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

US Marshals Withhold Judy Miller's Mug Shot; Appeal Filed

U.S. Department of Justice
United States Marshal Service
Office of General Council
Washington, DC 20531

October 25, 2005

Re: Freedom of Information Act Request No. 2006USMS8868

Dear Mr. Petrelis:

The United States Marshals Service is responding to your request for the mug shot of Judith Miller.

The Marshals Service is denying your request pursuant to exemption 7(c) of the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. Section 552 (b). Exemption 7(c) allows an agency to withhold records or information compiled for law enforcement purposes, to the extent that the production of such records or information could reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy. A discretionary release of this information would be in violation of the Privacy Act of 1974, 5 U.S.C. Section 552a. See also Department of Justice v. Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, 489 U.S. 749 (1989).

If you are dissatisfied with my action on this request, you may appeal by writing to the Director, Office of Information and Privacy, United States Department of Justice, Flag Building, Suite 570, Washington, DC 20530, within 60 from the date of this letter. Both the letter and the envelope should be clearly marked "Freedom of Information Act Appeal."

In the event you are dissatisfied with the results of any such appeal, judicial review will thereafter be available to you in United States District Court for the judicial district in which you reside or have your principal place of business, or in the District of Columbia.

Sincerely,
William E. Bordley
FOI/PA Officer, Associate General Counsel
Office of General Counsel

-

November 1, 2005

Director
FOIA Office
Office of Information and Privacy
U.S. Department of Justice
Flag Building, Suite 579
Washington, DC 20530

Re: FOIA Appeal of Request No. 2006USMS8868

Dear Sir or Madam:

This letter is my formal appeal of the U.S. Marshals Service’s October 25 denial of my Freedom of Information Act request for New York Times reporter Judith Miller’s mug shot. The Marshals Service has assigned my FOIA request the following number: 2006USMS8868.

The denial letter from the Marshals Service states Miller’s mug shot can’t be released because of Exemption 7 (c) of FOIA, which allows a federal agency to withhold records or documents because release of them could constitute an unwarranted invasion of privacy.

My appeal is based on several arguments, as listed below.

First of all, the web site for the Marshals Service posts photos of fugitives and several of the photos are mug shots taken by the service when the suspects were previously in the marshals’ custody.

Second, the 1996 ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeal for the Sixth Circuit, Detroit Free Press v. Department of Justice, Nos. 94-1540/1720, upheld the release of mug shots by the Marshals Service under the provisions of FOIA.

And third, an important ruling reported in the September 19, 2005, Detroit Free Press said the paper “has won a partial victory in its legal battle to require the U.S. Marshals Service release photos of criminal defendants who appear in U.S. District Court in Detroit.

“But U.S. District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor declined a Free Press request Monday that the photos be processed by the Marshals Service in Detroit rather than at its headquarters in Washington, D.C.

“Her decision, in effect, means the Marshals Service can take 20 days to process the requests under the Federal Freedom of Information Act. Mug shots previously requested in Detroit usually were provided the same day.

“The Free Press and the Akron Beacon Journal in Ohio sued the Marshals Service earlier this year after it stopped providing the photos on the grounds that government said in court documents that providing them would invade defendants’ privacy.

“The Marshals Service had previously honored such requests in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee based on a 1996 U.S. 6th Circuit Court decision resulting from a Free Press lawsuit. […]”

If the Marshals Service’s web site can use mug shots of fugitives from the Marshals Service, and there are two legal rulings upholding the release of mug shots taken by the Marshals Service, there is ample precedent for releasing Judith Miller’s mug shot to me, according to the provisions of FOIA.

I don’t think my FOIA request for Miller’s mug shot should be denied by the Marshals Service’s headquarters in Washington, DC, especially when the Detroit office of the Marshals Service has for some time, and still does, release mug shots.

There should be uniform application of the FOIA by all offices of the federal Marshals Service, including the headquarters in the District of Columbia, in relation to release of mug shots, not a patchwork of release policies. Different offices of the Marshals Service should not allow inconsistent adherence to FOIA provisions.

Therefore, I ask that my appeal be immediately granted and Judith Miller’s mug shot from the Marshal Service provided to me for noncommercial newsgathering purposes.

Regards,
Michael Petrelis
Here's some interesting stuff on the Alito kids that were found on the web.

Laura Alito has a page on this web site.

Today's New York Daily News reports:

Phil Alito, offspring of Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito, has quite the sense of humor. According to his editor's profile on the Web site of Colgate's student newspaper, The Forum: "I became interested in politics and got involved with Gary Condit (not like that). I served as a parking aide to Nancy Pelosi (I won't even start on her), but was fired when Barbara Boxer came onto me." Since when did college kids get so picky about sleeping with senators? No wonder the country's going to hell.

However, it appears as though Phil Alito's profile has been removed from Colgate's web site.

Googling Alito's quote in the Daily News, this was returned:

Forum
I served as a parking aide to Nancy Pelosi (I won't even start on her) but was
fired when Barbara Boxer came onto me. Eventually, I decided that my teeth ...
forum.collegepublisher.com/main.cfm?include=customPage&name=Bios - 33k - Supplemental Result - Cached - Similar pages

But when I clicked on the link, it did take me to the profiles for editors of The Forum, but Alito's profile is not there.

Did Colgate officials remove his page after reading the Daily News? Don't know.

It may just be that because Alito has transferred to the University of Virginia, and is no longer attending Colgate, the latter may have simply taken down his profile page since he's at another school.

Here's a link to a membership web page for Brown College at the UV
that lists a Philip Alito as a transfer student for the Fall 2005 semester.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Streisand: Bush = Worst. President. Ever.

People. People who need Barbra (and her political views). Are the luckiest people, in the world.

Posted last week on her site:

If there was ever a time in history to impeach a President of the United States, it would be now. In my opinion, it is two years too late. [...]

When does it stop? It stops with the indictment and impeachment of this corrupt, power-hungry, greedy group of incompetent leaders. How many more have to die before this happens? [...]

This President will go down as the worst president in American history. [...]

Just a reminder; Streisand loves her cutie-pie openly gay son, Jason Gould.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

FT: Damning Iraq Inspector General Report Issued

The October 30 edition of the Financial Times reports the following awful news (Is there any other kind out of Iraq?): "The US government had 'no comprehensive policy or regulatory guidelines' in place for staffing the management of postwar Iraq, according to the top government watchdog overseeing the country’s reconstruction.

"The lack of planning had plagued reconstruction since the US-led invasion, and been exacerbated by a 'general lack of co-ordination' between US government agencies charged with the rebuilding of Iraq, said Stuart Bowen, the special inspector-general for Iraq reconstruction, in a report released on Sunday
."

Read Bowen's official bio at his site.

From his page explaining his responsibilities: "The Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction is required by law to provide a Quarterly Report to the U.S. Congress not later than 30 days following the end of each fiscal-year quarter to the appropriate committees of the Congress. This report is to summarize the activities of the Inspector General and the activities under the programs and operations funded by the Iraq Relief and Reconstruction Fund."

The 114-page report referenced in the Financial Times
, which I'm in the processing of reading and digesting, is on the Inspector General's site in PDF.

Links to his other reports are also available, if you should be curious about earlier audits revealed.
NY Post Punches Pinch; FEC Files for Rival Golden

Ouch! Pinch sure gets punched, news-wise and pictorially, in Sunday's New York Post business section article by Peter Lauria.

He writes about Sulzberger Jr.'s myriad woes from the news room and the boardroom, and ponders who might replace him, if the extended Sulzberger cousins decide that's necessary.

Lauria reports: "The most frequently mentioned candidate to usurp Sulzberger's power is International Herald Tribune publisher and first cousin Michael Golden."

Now, you know me and I how feel about media names in the news--have to look at their FEC files. This is Golden's file, as listed on NewsMeat.com.

GOLDEN, MICHAEL
THE NEW YORK TIMES CO
MOYNIHAN, DANIEL PATRICK (D)
$1,000
12/01/93

GOLDEN, MICHAEL
NY TIMES WOMEN'S MAGAZINE
SASSER, JAMES RALPH (D)
$250
05/14/93

GOLDEN, MICHAEL
NEW YORK TIMES CO
MOYNIHAN, DANIEL PATRICK (D)
$500
11/30/92

GOLDEN, MICHAEL
NYT WOMENS MAGAZINES
MINETA, NORMAN Y (D)
$250
11/02/92

There is one other donation listed for a Michael Golden, but the listing doesn't say who his employer is, so it may not be a contribution from the Timesman, with that caveat, here's the information:

GOLDEN, MICHAEL
NEW YORK, NY 10024
DNC SERVICES CORPORATION/DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE (D)
$3,000
09/29/92

What can be gleaned from Golden's giving? Two glaring points. He donated only to Democrats, no real surprise there, and the checks were written out more than a decade ago.

So if the Sulzberger cousins tire of Arthur Jr. and his rocky, unprofitable ways, and Golden becomes chairman of the New York Times Company, based on his long-ago political contributions, I'd say he'd continue the liberal slant of the newspaper. Something that should give comfort to the extended family, many stockholders and a big chunk of readers.

Read his bio and check out his photo at his page at the NYTCo site.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

McClellan, WH: "No," Bush Hasn't Read Libby Indictment

Am I missing something in Scotty's dancing around the question of Rove still working at the White House? Why doesn't he just come out and state yes or no about Rove's employment status? A direct answer from Scotty would be most appreciated by the American people.

And what is this about Bush hadn't read the indictment against Scooter Libby? So not only does the president not read newspapers, he also can't be bothered to read indictments? To be fair, maybe he hadn't read the indictment at the time of Scotty's briefing. After all, Bush was busy most of yesterday trying to divert attention away from Fitzgerald and his news conference.

If Bush won't read the indictment, in full, may I suggest someone on the White House staff turn the indictment into a comic book for the president or boil the pertinent points down to flash cards?

-


October 28, 2005
The White House
Press Office


[...] Q Is Mr. Rove's status the same? I mean, the reports say that he remains under investigation. He was not indicted today. Is there anything --

MR. McCLELLAN: Anything -- go ahead.

Q Any change in his status? Has he talked to the President about the continuing investigation?

MR. McCLELLAN: Are you talking about change in his legal status? Is that what you're -- I mean, it's --

Q Does he still -- he still works here, correct?

MR. McCLELLAN: That would be a question to direct to his personal attorney.

Q No, but he still works here, right?

MR. McCLELLAN: I saw his personal attorney put out a statement earlier today. But, yes, he has been here doing his work.

Q Did the President tell him to stop talking to reporters, or give him a stern talking to, or anything?

MR. McCLELLAN: I'm not going to get into any discussions the President has with any of his senior advisors. [...]

[...]

Q Did the President read the indictment?

MR. McCLELLAN: I'm sorry?

Q Did the President read the indictment?

MR. McCLELLAN: No, I don't believe so. I can double-check that, but I don't believe he did.

Q Should we read anything into the fact that Harriet Miers --

MR. McCLELLAN: When he watched the press conference, he was in the private dining room. [...]

Friday, October 28, 2005

Pinch Plagiarizes Pinch! Misspells "Jornalism!"

This is rich. That little talk Sulzberger gave today to the Online News Association was covered by the AP wire:

"[...] In a speech to the Online News Association, Sulzberger defended Miller's decision to go to jail to protect the anonymity of vice-presidential chief of staff I. Lewis 'Scooter Libby. [...]"

What the AP didn't report is that Sulzberger's speech today was a variation of the talk he gave in March to the Inter American Press Association in Panama City.

One huge difference in what he said back then and today, of course, is that Sulzberger today said more about Judy Miller and her mess.

In my opinion, Sulzberger basically plagiarized himself, a fact he didn't tell his Online News Association audience, which included the AP reporter.

This is the link to his March speech.

And here's where you go to read the October version.

By the way, someone should inform Sulzberger about the following misspelled name and words in his March remarks: Jason, requiere, inovative, jornalism, isn, acuracy, commited, diseminate.

And one paragraph is repeated twice.

Paging Jayson Blair!
Pinch: "Info does not yearn to be free;" NYT Text of Talk

Arthur Sulzberger Jr.
Chairman
The New York Times Company

Dear Mr. Sulzberger,

I've read the Online News Association's story about your talk to the group today and a quote from you stood out, because of its inherent offensive to me, as a news consumer and blogger.

You're quoted saying, "Information does not yearn to be free," which is so outrageous on a basic level my first thought is to question whether you were misquoted.

If you actually said this, and believe it, could you expound a bit more on what leads you to think information doesn't yearn for freedom, without residing behind an expensive moat, say, like what you've done with TimesSelect?

Such a comment can be interpreted at least two ways. One, does it mean information isn't hungering for freedom because it's already free? And two, maybe the point is that information should cost money.

On the other hand, if you weren't quoted accurately, then I'm sure the Online News Association, on whose board of directors sits two of your employees, Len Apcar and Neil Chase, will issue a correction.

By the way, I've read your prepared remarks from your talk and noticed you spelled blogosphere as "bloggosphere." You might want to change that.

Your comments on bloggers intrigued me and left me one question: Where is Arthur Sulzberger's blog? You might want to personally join the blogging revolution. I'm sure you'd attract eyeballs to it.

A prompt reply is requested and appreciated.

Regards,
Michael Petrelis
NYT shareholder
UK Press Association: Bush Heckled During Terror Speech

Fascinating that the first MSM report on Bush being heckled today in Virginia is from a foreign news outlet. Let's see if any of the American MSM report on the heckling, and if so, if they play it up like the Scotsman does, with headlines like this: Bush Heckled During Terror Speech.

-

October 28, 2005
The Scotsman
United Kingdom


[...] Outside the Norfolk convention hall, a small group of anti-war protesters greeted him by chanting "Bush lies."

Inside, as the president spoke, a man on the second level interrupted him, yelling "War is terrorism. War is terrorism. Step down now Mr President. Torture is terrorism."

Bush continued speaking as the man left the hall.

Mindful of the public anxiety, the president attempted to underscore the danger the United States faces from terrorists, comparing leaders of al Qaida to Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin.[...]
Bush Heckled Today During VA Speech

No surprise here. With all of Washington and much of the nation focused this morning on indictments handed up against White House advisors, Bush hightailed it out of town to make a speech in Virginia. Of course, as is his very annoying habit, he again evoked the tragedy of 9/11, six times, to turn attention away from corrupt politicians.

But this time, according to a White House transcript of his talk, he was heckled about his war policies:


THE PRESIDEnT: [...] On the morning of September the 11, 2001, we saw the destruction that terrorists intend for this nation. We know they want to strike again. And our nation has made a clear choice: We will confront this mortal danger to all humanity. And we will not tire and we will not rest until the war on terror is won. (Applause.)

In the four years since September the 11th, the evil that reached our shores has reappeared on other days, in other places -- in Mombasa and Casablanca and Riyadh and Jakarta and Istanbul and Madrid, in Beslan and Taba and Netanya and Baghdad, and elsewhere. In the past few months, we have seen a new terror offensive with attacks on London, and Sharm el-Sheikh, and a deadly bombing in Bali once again.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Mr. President, war is terror.

AUDIENCE: Booo!

THE PRESIDENT: All these separate images of destruction and suffering that we see on the news can seem like random and isolated acts of madness. Innocent men, women, and children have died simply because they boarded the wrong train, or worked in the wrong building. They have died because they checked into the wrong hotel. Yet while the killers choose their victims indiscriminately, their attacks serve a clear and focused ideology -- a set of beliefs and goals that are evil, but not insane.[...]


It terrifies me to think we have more than three more years of Bush ruining the country.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Italian News Blogger: New Yorker's George Packer's Democratic Donations

I am pleased to report that an Italian journalism blog site picked up on my research about George Packer of the New Yorker donating to Democrats. As far as I know, not a single U.S. news or blog site has noted Packer's contributions, but I can now say that they are of interest to one Italian writer with a blog. The original posting about Packer's donations, in Italian, follows the rough translation into English.

Translation from the AltaVista site:

>They are waked up to me in the heart of the night. I do not have some particular thought, simply I do not succeed to resume sleep.

>I rethink to that one scoop of blogger, Michael Petrelis, that it would be remained probably confined between some hundred of readers if had not been resumed is from Editor & Publisher is from the Drudge Report. Petrelis has written that Sean McManus, passed from the presidency of the section sport to that one news and of the sport to the Cbs, had given a contribution of 250 dollars in order to support the re-election of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. The year before, writes Petrelis, McManus honestly had given to thousand dollars like contribution for the senator democratic of the Vermont Patrick Lehay.

>All official data, taken from the Federal Election Commission, from which he turns out also that George Packer, journalist of the New Yorker, have distributed to 1,250 dollars towards associations or candidates legacies to the Democratics. I hope indeed that in the United States he does not only become president of the notiziario of one of the tv more famous because he has uncoupled 250 dollars for the electoral campaign of Bush. It would be indeed sad.

>However Petrelis has reason when it proposes that Cbs and New Yorker perceives viewers and readers of The Manifest the political preferences of one and of the other. I me vergognerei if someone wrote on the newspaper that I have voted to the Primary ones of the Union and have not contributed with a euro to the maintenance of the centrosinistra. I have but the feeling that, in this poisoned climate, other colleagues would pull outside an other list of proscrizione.

-


The original Italian version:


28 ottobre 2005
Liste di proscrizione


Mi sono svegliato nel cuore della notte. Non ho alcun pensiero particolare, semplicemente non riesco a riprender sonno. Ripenso a quello scoop di un blogger, Michael Petrelis, che sarebbe rimasto probabilmente confinato fra qualche centinaio di lettori se non fosse stato ripreso sia da Editor & Publisher sia dal Drudge Report. Petrelis ha scritto che Sean McManus, passato dalla presidenza della sezione sport a quella news e dello sport alla Cbs, aveva dato un contributo di 250 dollari per sostenere la rielezione di George W. Bush e Dick Cheney. L'anno prima, scrive onestamente Petrelis, McManus aveva dato mille dollari come contributo per il senatore democratico del Vermont Patrick Lehay. Tutti dati ufficiali, presi dalla Federal Election Commission, da cui risulta anche che George Packer, giornalista del New Yorker, ha distribuito 1.250 dollari verso associazioni o candidati legati ai Democratici.

Io spero davvero che negli Stati Uniti uno non diventi presidente del notiziario di una delle tv più famose soltanto perché ha sganciato 250 dollari per la campagna elettorale di Bush. Sarebbe davvero triste. Tuttavia Petrelis ha ragione quando propone che Cbs e New Yorker avvertano telespettatori e lettori delle manifeste preferenze politiche dell'uno e dell'altro. Io non mi vergognerei se qualcuno scrivesse sul giornale che ho votato alle Primarie dell'Unione e ho contribuito con un euro al sostentamento del centrosinistra. Ho però la sensazione che, in questo clima avvelenato, altri colleghi tirerebbero fuori un'altra lista di proscrizione.
Rush Limbaugh: CBS News Boss Gave to Bush/Cheney ...

Is Rush still on painkillers and are they influencing his mind and mouth, to say more vastly idiotic things than normal?

The big mouth of the hard-right labels Editor & Publisher a left wing web site, which, of course, it isn't. E&P is a publication for the newspaper industry, and it covers rags of all sorts regardless of the leftist or right-wing or middle political thinking of a given paper's owners, reporting staff or editorial writers.

Rush's mislabeling of E&P aside, I'm happy he's giving attention to the fact that McManus made a donation to Bush/Cheney last year. You can be sure that if McManus had instead donated to the Democratic loser from Boston, Rush's lips would be flapping nonstop about his political leanings and that doom awaits CBS News.

But McManus gives $250 to Bush, the AP wire and E&P report on that and his larger contribution to liberal Patrick Leahy of Vermont, and Rush doesn't like the news. Oh, well. Let him be upset with the word getting out on the McManus donations.

Not that CBS has asked for my advice on how best to explain the McManus donations, but I'd like to suggest to the network brass that they issue a statement making these points: 1) The donations show he's somewhat bipartisan, 2) He was engaging in civic participation, and 3) In spite of his political giving, McManus will deliver equal and balanced news coverage.

The silence of CBS on the donations of their new boss for news is an unnecessary thorn in the eye. C'mon, CBS say something.

-


The Rush Limbaugh Show
October 27, 2005


[...]
But he said, "You know, we need to totally rethink the news and we need to get out there and do a talent search that goes beyond what the norms are," and I've thought about, "If you want to shake things up, here I am," knowing it would (laughing) never happen. Can you imagine? But that's not the story. That's a prelude to the story.

The story is this. This is from Editor and Publisher, which is a left-wing website that chronicles the great left-wing work of the media. "New York -- Conservatives may take heart in a scoop by blogger Michael Petrelis that the new boss of CBS News, Sean McManus, donated $250 to the Bush-Cheney re-election bid in 2004, while shunning John Kerry. Petrelis, who specializes in digging out election contributions from media types, reported the donation on Wednesday by the New Canaan, Conn., resident, found in Federal Election Commission files."

So he gave 250 bucks to Bush-Cheney. How long does he last at CBS, now? How much respect will he have from his colleagues in the CBS News division? He donated to Bush-Cheney, didn't donate anything to Kerry -- and isn't it interesting that this is news? This is news! I mean, it's quite natural and normal for media people to give to Kerry and other causes, but, wow!

When somebody gives to Bush-Cheney, why, Katie, bar the doors! We've got to look into this! Who is this guy? Interesting. I like Sean McManus. He has revamped CBS Sports, and he's done an excellent job with it. [...]
From E&P to Drudge: Blogger Nails Bush Donation from CBS News Boss

Thanks go out to the folks at Editor & Publisher for this fine story, if I do say so myself!

From E&P's site, to the Drudge Report, the story about McManus' donation to Bush and Cheney last year is getting out.
For Serious Judy Miller Watchers Only!

Need a fix of Judy Miller trivia? If your answer is yes, then read on!

A used copy of Miller's latest book, "Germs," is available on Amazon.com for as low as $1.38. Need to read it?

Too much money to spend on such an item? Well, her other book, "God Has Ninety-Nine Names," can be had for the incredibly low price of $0.12. Buy it now!

This undated photo of Miller, with her hands resting on notes and documents, comes from a Russian news site. Have no idea if the image was snapped when and if she visited Russia, or if it was taken when a Russian photojournalist came to America and met her. Find the photo at the Lenta news site.

Miller and her husband had problems with their neighbors, back in July 1998, according to a story in the Sag Harbor Express. An excerpt:

>The fact that Jason Epstein has an elaborate and admittedly beautiful garden in his yard didn't impress two of his neighbors on Tuesday night when an application to convert a garage and carport into a pool house came before the Sag Harbor Zoning Board of Appeals. They wanted it moved further from their homes, even if it meant plopping it in Mr. Epstein's prized garden. [...]

>Attorney Fred Thiele, representing Mr. Epstein and his wife Judith Miller, argued that the proposed renovation would not adversely effect the neighborhood in any way. Observing that the vast majority of properties in the neighborhood had one feature or another that was non-conforming to current zoning standards, Thiele said the renovation would neither change the neighborhood, nor increase any non-conformity on the Epstein property. [...]

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

[It's pledge week here at Petrelis Files and donations are coming in. Thanks to all who've contributed. If you want to make a donation to keep this site and my important blogging alive, please click on the "Make A Donation" icon and give through my PayPal account. Gracias!]


AP: CBS Won't Comment on McManus FEC File

Uh, oh. That's not too smart of CBS to not have a comment about his contributions. He was just exercising his First Amendment rights and giving to the 2004 presidential candidate who best represented his views.

It also would have been nice of the AP to name this blog for breaking news about McManus' donations, and giving credit where to due--to this member of the Pajama Brigade.

In any event, does CBS intend to stay silent for his entire tenure about his FEC file?


October 26, 2005
The Associated Press


[...]Despite the success of the CBS entertainment division, the evening news has lagged far behind NBC and ABC in the ratings. It's the same story in the morning — it has been for decades — although “The Early Show” has shown improvements.

“Maybe it's partially because of my sports background, but I am unbelievably competitive, and so is my boss Leslie Moonves,” McManus said. “Being in third place, whether it's sports, entertainment or news, is not acceptable.”

Only hours after his appointment, a politically oriented Web log reported that McManus had made a $250 (U.S.) contribution to the Bush-Cheney campaign in 2004. A year earlier, he contributed $1,000 to Vermont Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy. A CBS spokesman confirmed the donations but would not comment about them. [...]
NYT's Calame Posts Letters, Re: Judy Miller

I'm beginning to really, really like what Calame is doing as the New York Times public editor. Go, Barney, go!


bcalame - 1:00 PM ET October 26, 2005 (#20 of 20)

Readers Respond to Miller Column and Postings


An unusually high number of readers have responded to the public editor column in the Sunday issue of The New York Times and to related Web Journal postings with messages from Bill Keller, the executive editor, and Judith Miller, the reporter who went to jail for 85 days to protect her confidential sources. Since the regular Sunday column devoted to reader response is more than two weeks away, I decided to post a selection that reflects several of the different points of view expressed in the messages sent to the public editor so far.

[snip]
[It's pledge week here at Petrelis Files and donations are coming in. Thanks to all who've contributed. If you want to make a donation to keep this site and my important blogging alive, please click on the "Make A Donation" icon and give through my PayPal account. Gracias!]


McManus, CBS News Exec Gave to Bush; New Yorker's Packer Funds Dems

Supporters of Bush and Cheney must be happy with CBS's announcement this morning that Sean McManus is moving over from the sports division and taking controls of the reins at the network's news division.

According to Federal Election Commission records, McManus has made two donations in the past few years. He gave $1000 to Vermont Democratic Sen. Leahy, which should please liberals.

He also gave $250 last year to Bush and Cheney's campaign to retain the White House. I bet GOP voters and maybe even the administration are pleased that someone who clearly supported the Bush agenda last year, by coughing up some dough for Dubya, is now running CBS News.

These are McManus' donations, on file at NewMeat:

MCMANUS, SEAN
3/28/2003
$1,000.00
NEW CANAAN, CT 06840
CBS SPORTS [Contribution]
LEAHY FOR U.S. SENATOR COMMITTEE

McMANUS, SEAN J MR.
2/5/2004
$250.00
NEW CANAAN, CT 06840
C.B.S. SPORTS/TELEVISION EXECUTIVE [Contribution]
BUSH-CHENEY '04 (PRIMARY) INC

Who else in the media world has made political donations that haven't been widely reported? George Packer of the New Yorker magazine has recently made three donations, all to Democratic Party PACs and one Democatic Ohio candidate for the House.

I have nothing against either McManus or Packer exercising their rights as citizens to contribute bucks to politicians and causes they believe in. However, I think both CBS and the New Yorker, in the name of media transparency, should post information about the donations from McManus and Packer, and all other editorial employees, on their respective web sites.

Here are Packer's donations, as listed on NewsMeat.com:

Packer, George
Brooklyn, NY 11231
New Yorker Magazine/Writer
ACTBLUE
$250
07/29/05

Packer, George
Brooklyn, NY 11231
New Yorker Magazine/Writer
HACKETT, PAUL LEWIS III (D)
House (OH 02)
HACKETT FOR CONGRESS
$250
07/29/05

Packer, George
Brooklyn, NY 11231
The New Yorker Magazine/Journalist
DNC SERVICES CORPORATION/DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE (D)
$750
08/18/04

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

[It's pledge week here at Petrelis Files and donations are coming in. Thanks to all who've contributed. If you want to make a donation to keep this site and my important blogging alive, please click on the "Make A Donation" icon and give through my PayPal account. Gracias!]


FOIA'ed: Judy Miller's, NYT's Pentagon Papers

These requests were made via DoD's online FOIA request site and also snail mailed.


From: nobody@dtic.mil

*** THIS IS AN AUTOMATED MESSAGE. DO NOT REPLY. ***

This is your confirmation that we have received your FOIA request. Please note that it will be date-stamped as "received" on the next official business day.

You provided the following information:

Submitted: [25/Oct/2005:14:18:11]
Name: MIchael Petrelis
Organization: http://mpetrelis.blogspot.com
Phone number: 415-621-6267
E-mail: mpetrelis@aol.com

Your Request:

October 25, 2005

FOIA Officer
The Pentagon
U.S. Department of Defense
Washington, DC

Re: FOIA request for NY Times-related materials

Dear Sir of Madam:

Pursuant to provisions of the Freedom of Information Act, I am hereby requesting the following public documents, and this request formally invokes the expedited processing clause of the Act, for the following reasons.

The public records sought are related to vital federal government activity, are of widespread legal and media interest, exactly because they pertain to national security and the public interest, meeting the requirements for expedited processing.

I am requesting all copies of every FOIA request filed with the U.S. Department of Defense by any New York Times reporter, writer, stringer, editor, columnist or any other member of the editorial staff, or the publisher, Mr. Arthur Sulzberger Jr., from January 21, 2001, through October 1, 2005.

Furthermore, I seek copies of any and all of the New York Times’ FOIA requests in whatever form the requested were made; on paper and mailed through the U.S. postal service, fax transmission, emailed as either a text message or an attachment.

Additionally, please furnish me with every shred of documentation DoD sent back to the New York Times and its employees.

Even if every FOIA request from the paper was denied and nothing was released to any New York Times employee, I want copies of the DoD letters sent to the paper stating why the request was rejected.

If DoD released any materials or documents in response to FOIA requests from the New York Times and its agents, in any medium; paper, CD-ROM, DVD, videotape, audiotape or other recording or data device, in email text format, contained as an attachment, photographs, or cell phone text messages, I ask to have DoD release copies to me of whatever was provided to the New York Times employees.

I respectfully request a prompt reply.

Sincerely,
Michael Petrelis

-

From: nobody@dtic.mil

*** THIS IS AN AUTOMATED MESSAGE. DO NOT REPLY. ***

This is your confirmation that we have received your FOIA request. Please note that it will be date-stamped as "received" on the next official business day.

You provided the following information:

Submitted: [25/Oct/2005:14:13:33]
Name: MIchael Petrelis
Organization: http://mpetrelis.blogspot.com
Phone number: 415-621-6267
E-mail: mpetrelis@aol.com

Your Request:

October 25, 2005

FOIA Officer
The Pentagon
U.S. Department of Defense
Washington, DC

Dear Sir or Madam:

As an American deeply worried about our nation and the state of U.S. journalism, I am filing a Freedom of Information Act request for the following documents, in all media forms and record-keeping, for Ms. Judith Miller, alias Judy Miller, a reporter for the New York Times.

Furthermore, this FOIA request invokes the expedited processing clause of the Act, which states, according the Department of Justice’s FOIA web site:

>The term "compelling need" is defined as (1) involving "an imminent threat to the life or physical safety of an individual," or (2) in the case of a request made by "a person primarily engaged in disseminating information, urgency to inform the public concerning actual or alleged Federal Government activity." <

I cloak my expedited request in Article 2, as stated above. There has most certainly been alleged Federal Government activity between Judith Miller and DoD, and since her legal entanglements are of widespread public and government interest linked to DoD, I must be granted an expedited status for my request.

Additionally, I expect the DoD FOIA office to meet the following provisions of the Act:

>Then "within 10 days after the date of the request" (which as a practical matter may be determined by a postmark in some cases), the agency will be required to decide whether to grant expedited processing and to notify the requester of its decision. If expedited processing is granted, the agency must give priority to that FOIA requester and process the requested records for disclosure "as soon as practicable." If expedited processing is not granted, the agency must likewise give "expeditious consideration" to any administrative appeal of that denial.<

I ask that DoD search from January 21, 2001, through October 1, 2005, for the following records:

1. What unit(s) was she embedded with?

2. What were the dates that she was embedded with this/these unit(s)?

3. What was the name and rank of the unit(s) public relations officer(s) or officer(s) responsible for assigning her to accompany units in the field?

4. Was this/these officer(s) required to vet her stories before filing them with her publisher?

5. If not, who was responsible for vetting her stories prior to submission to her publisher?

6. Was she provided/granted a security clearance while embedded? Did she have access to classified material while embedded?

7. In regards to classified materials, did she sign a non-disclosure agreement? If she did sign a non-disclosure agreement, please provide a copy of that agreement?

8. Copies of all paper documents signed by Miller granting her journalist credentials so she could attend daily press briefings.

9. Copies of Miller’s press pass, for every year she was granted media access to the Pentagon.

10. Copies of documents in which Miller received any sort of security clearance from DoD, higher than the security clearance granted a typical member of the mainstream media covering the Pentagon.

11. Copies of all Miller’s photos on files for her press passes and for all other forms of identification and access.

12. Copies of all documents signed by Miller that allowed her to be embedded as a reporter with U.S. Forces in Iraq in 2003, or at any other time and in any other military operation.

13. Copies of all emails sent by Miller to DoD’s Secretary Donald Rumsfield, the public affairs office, the Joint Chiefs, and replies from the DoD employees to Miller.

14. Copies of all Miller’s written correspondence to the same DoD personnel listed above, that was sent through the U.S. postal service.

15. Copies of all replies from the DoD personnel to Miller.

16. Copies of all FOIA requests made by Miller to DoD.

17. Copies of all documents, in any medium, released to Miller.

18. Copies of all written transcripts of all on-the-record discussions and interviews conducted by Miller with the listed DoD personnel.

19. Copies of all video and audiotapes of discussions and interviews Miller held with DoD leaders that were recorded by DoD.

20. Copies of the logs showing the dates, times when Miller entered the Pentagon, as a reporter, and for what purposes; i.e., daily press briefing, luncheon meeting, man the New York Times desk at DoD.

21. Copies of all telephone logs mentioning Miller, dates and times of her calls, to DoD for military information and interviews with officials.

22. Copies of any notes Miller provided to DoD personnel before sending the notes to editors at the New York Times, or any advance copies of New York Times stories before they were published in the paper.

I respectfully request a prompt reply.

Sincerely,
Michael Petrelis

Willing To Pay: $ $250
Mary Cheney's New Job at AOL

That Mary Cheney sure knows how to use her family name to advance her career. She's taken a new job at AOL and has a new book coming out, I believe next year.

Cheney has never done a thing of substance to aid and benefit the gay and lesbian community, because she's either been busy working on her father's campaigns or avoiding interviewers who want to question her about her political leanings.

Maybe she'll explain her silence about the Bush administration's homophobic policies, when her book is published, and she needs to make a profit for the publisher.


October 25
The Advocate


Mary Cheney takes a job at AOL

After stumping for her father’s vice presidential campaign last year, Mary Cheney, the lesbian daughter of Dick Cheney, has returned to the private sector with a marketing position at AOL. Cheney will be working under AOL vice chairman Ted Leonsis, who leads the company’s Audience Business, a marketing division of the internet behemoth that seeks to grow AOL’s Internet audience via Web-based programming and products, sources tell Advocate.com.

[snip]

Monday, October 24, 2005

American Forces Press Service: Journos "Reportedly" Stay at Palestine Hotel

Why is the tax-payer funded American Forces Press Service saying the Palestine Hotel in Baghdad is "Reportedly, [a hotel where] a number of Western journalists stay" when it seems a long, clearly established fact that the hotel under attack on October 24 is the base for foreign journalists.

Seems damn odd that this government news agency can't establish if the hotel houses reporters. Maybe the American Forces Press Service is unaware of the AP wire and the facts it reported about the attack and the hotel?

I'd sure love to know how much the press service costs the tax-payer annually.

-

By ROBERT H. REID, Associated Press Writer

Published: October 24, 2005 UPDATED 12:53 PM ET


BAGHDAD, Iraq Three enormous bombs, including a cement-mixing truck packed with explosives, blew up near an Iraqi police post outside the Palestine Hotel -- home to many foreign journalists in Iraq. Iraqi officials said 17 people were killed.

[snip]

-

Hotels in Baghdad Rocked by Rockets, Car Bombs
American Forces Press Service


WASHINGTON, Oct. 24, 2005 – A combination of rockets and car bombs exploded near the outer walls of the Palestine and Sheraton hotels in downtown Baghdad today, military officials reported.

A statement from Multinational Force Iraq said civilian casualties have yet to be determined, but that no coalition forces were injured in the attack. Iraqi security forces and coalition forces are securing the area and bringing order to the bombing site, the statement said.

Reportedly, a number of Western journalists stay at the Palestine Hotel.

[snip]
[It's pledge week here at Petrelis Files and donations are coming in. Thanks to all who've contributed. If you want to make a donation to keep this site and my important blogging alive, please click on the "Make A Donation" icon and give through my PayPal account. Gracias!]

****


DoD: 2239 = Total U.S. Deaths in Iraq, Enduring Freedom Operations

Does Judith Miller have a comment or two to offer up about these stats from the Department of Defense? After all, several of her misleading stories for the NY Times in the run up to the Iraq war, played a significant role in putting American soldiers in harm's way.

Hey Judy, were these deaths preventable, perhaps through better, more verifiable journalism?

-


DoD Release, in PDF format:

Number of total deaths from Operation Iraqi Freedom, as of October 24, 2005, at 10:00 am, EDT:

1991

Number of total deaths from Operation Enduring Freedom, as of October 24, 2005, at 10:00 am, EDT:

248

Total deaths from both Operations:

2239

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Bravo! Calame Posts New Email From Judy Miller!

Well, that was short hiatus! I have to share an amazing and valuable Judy Miller development.

Barney Calame has posted Miller's email to him, in response to his column about her mess. It's so heartening to see Calame using his blog in the past few days to do what the top Times leaders can't: Share with readers the full text of emails from Bill Killer and Miller.

Keep it up, Mr. Calame. At least one reader and shareholder lauds your effort in sharing with readers, Miller's emails. Give us more, please. Include us readers, the bosses, or so it is claimed in the Times' ethical guidelines that the reader is a Times reporter's ultimate employer, in the email loop about and from Judy Miller.

Let's see the Times, through you and the public editor's desk, finally deliver on transparency for the reader.

Read Miller's email to Calame. She's quite a piece of work.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

AOL Stinks; I'm Going on Hiatus

Dear Friends:

First, the good news. I feel I've done much good recently in asking pointed questions of the NY Times related to Judy Miller and persuading the paper's public editor to post Bill Keller's memo to the staff, along with Miller's reply.

This accomplishment comes on top of my work bringing attention to the deplorable situation of gays in Iran, lobbying the State Department to do more to include anti-gay abuses in its annual human rights report; filing FOIA requests for all of FEMA's contract with Michael "Drownie" Brownie and a separate FOIA request for Judy Miller's mug shot; and numerous other worthy projects and causes.

Now, the bad news. AOL has suspended my email accounts for alleged spamming. Losing email access, I feel, makes this an opportune time to take a hiatus from blogging and investigating, so I can focus on addressing my rapidly dwindling low three-digit bank account. I will not be setting up an MSN or HotMail account, which would only distract me from my pressing monetary burdens.

As many of you know, I'm not supported by any corporation, nonprofit group or even banner ads on my blog and being poor ain't fun.

The first of the month is approaching and I've got to pay my bills by finding paying work that will allow me to resume blogging and my special brand of advocacy, hopefully in the near future.

If you want to support me financially, you can do so my making a donation through my PayPal account. Just click on the "Make a Donation" icon. If you can't do that, but still want to send me a contribution, just call me for my snail mail address. The number is 415-621-6267.

As soon as I'm on my feet financially, I'll return to blogging. Till then, take care.

Best,
Michael

-

NYT's Public Editor Posts Miller's Memo to Keller on Times' Site

Bravo to Barney Calame for doing what the Times leadership couldn't or wouldn't:
Making Bill Keller's memo and Judy Miller's response available for free on the paper's web site!

-

bcalame - 7:54 PM ET October 22, 2005 (#18 of 18)


Bill Keller on Lessons Learned And a Judith Miller Response

In preparing the Oct. 23 public editor column about the battle to protect Judith Miller's confidential sources in the Plame leak investigation, I had asked Bill Keller, the executive editor, if he would offer his thoughts on what he would do differently if faced with the same situation again. He responded Wednesday with the e-mail message below, and disseminated much the same message to The Times's staff on Friday. Ms. Miller has responded to Mr. Keller’s note, and her e-mail message follows his here: [snip]



[Memo from Judith Miller]

Bill, I wish you had spoken to me before accusing me of misleading Phil Taubman and of being entangled with Libby in your message to the staff.

Here is what I told Don Van Natta about what I remember telling Phil in the fall of 2003. I told him, as our story on Sunday reported, that I had discussed Wilson and his wife with government officials. But I also told him that I was unaware that there was a deliberate, concerted disinformation campaign to discredit Wilson, and that if there had been, I did not think I was a target of it. After all, Libby and I had talked about many things, as you well know, and he had placed no special emphasis on the Wilson matter.

A special prosecutor has been investigating the existence of such a campaign for two years. Since I could be witness at a future trial, I am reluctant to say more on this subject now.

But I certainly never meant to mislead Phil, nor did I mislead him.

As for your reference to my "entanglement" with Mr. Libby, I had no personal, social, or other relationship with him except as a source, one among many to whom I had pledged confidentiality as a reporter for The New York Times.

I know how important it is for the paper to protect its reputation, but I have my reputation to protect also.
NYT Asked to Release Miller's Memo to Keller & Post on the Web

Catherine Mathis
Communications Director
The New York Times

Dear Catherine,

The Times today reports on Bill Keller's memo to staff about some aspects of his role in the Judy Miller matter. The full text of Keller's memo, which has not been printed in the paper and is not available on your web site, is however posted on the Washington Post's site.

Two requests:

1. Please make Keller's memo available, for free, on the Times' site.

2. Release the full text of Miller's memo to Keller, also for no charge, responding to his statements.

From today's Times: "Ms. Miller said in an interview that Mr. Keller's statements were 'seriously inaccurate.' She also provided The Times with a copy of a memorandum she had sent to Mr. Keller in response."

Help me to better understand what she means by "seriously inaccurate" and share the contents of her memo.

I see no reason why the Times should not post the entire memos from Keller and Miller, especially if the paper is serious about restoring readers' confidence in it.

Regards,
Michael
Wash Post Reporter Risks Arrest to Save S.F. Church

A San Francisco-based writer for the Washington Post is in the news today because he tussled with cops yesterday over the fate of religious artifacts in a Catholic church, recently sold by the archdiocese to an art school.

Joe Dignan, a gay Catholic who's been leading the charge to save St. Brigid's church, reports for gay newspapers in addition to his gig with the Washington Post.

The San Francisco Chronicle today has a photo of Dignan standing his ground, literally, and interfering with cops carrying out their duties in the latest skirmish in the years-long battle over St. Brigid's, which is posted here.

The story about parishioners risking arrest yesterday, can be found at this link.

Care to read one of Dignan's articles for the Washington Post? You'll find one here.

What, if anything, does all of this mean to me as a news consumer? Nothing more than I just imagined the Washington Post wouldn't allow a report to be so active as a political and religious activist, and write for the paper. I was wrong.
Ft Worth Star: Cheney Delivers Eulogy at Funeral

I used to think Dick Cheney avoided all funerals, but after reading about him attending a funeral this week in Texas and delivering a eulogy, I now know he only fears certain funerals, like those for American service men and woman killed in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.


October 21
Ft. Worth Star Telegram


The mourners gathered beneath the oak trees, and the Texas prairie stretched far away on every side. Hundreds came last week to say goodbye to rancher Tobin Armstrong, 82, the son of pioneers, and friend to presidents and princess, cowboys and Texas Rangers. [...]

The cattleman's work-worn hat and poncho rested on the coffin, and a mariachi band played. Texas Rangers and Secret Servicemen cleared the road as a motorcade approached, carrying first lady Laura Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney and his wife, Lyn. [sic]

U.S. Sens. Kay Bailey Hutchinson and John Cornyn and Gov. Rick Perry attended. Former U.S. Secretary of State James Baker delivered one of the eulogies; the vice president gave the other. [...]



Nice of the Veep to eulogize this rancher, but has he attended a single funeral for our brave soldiers who've died fighting on the battlefields during his time in the White House? Not that I can recall.

Since we're on the topic of Cheney and funeral services for Americans killed in action, read this story about a father who lost his son in Iraq and is complaining about the Bush administration's lack of communication to him over the death of his child.


October 21
Houston Chronicle


A day before his family moved into their new home, Sgt. 1st Class Brandon K. Sneed was killed when an explosive device detonated near his military vehicle in Iraq. He was 33.
The 1990 graduate of Hastings High School in Alief was serving his second tour in Iraq when he was killed Oct. 10.

Alvin Mann, his father, said Sneed had just ordered his men to dismount a M2A2 Bradley Fighting Vehicle in Ar Ramadi and were coming to the aid of wounded soldiers in a firefight when the device exploded, killing him and gunner Sgt. Leon M. Johnson, 28, of Jacksonville, Fla. [...]

Mann praised the Army for its handling of the tragedy, but remains upset that he has heard nothing from President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney or Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld since his son's death.

He said he also had expected to hear from Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and her predecessor, Colin Powell.

As architects of the war, they should have reached out to the family, he said. [...]



I grieve for you, Mr. Mann, and pray your son's death was not in vain. And I hope White House officials one day find the courage to personally express their condolences to you. It's the least to expect in this time of war.

Yes, the war, and war chests for political allies, is never far from Dick Cheney's thoughts, guiding his public actions.

Did you know he was in St. Louis recently, raising money for Sen. Jim Talent's reelection campaign? You better sit down for this news: Cheney exploited the 9/11 tragedy for political gain.


October 12, 2005
St. Louis Post Dispatch


Vice President Dick Cheney used his appearance in St. Louis County on Friday to make the administration's case for staying the course at home and abroad, including Iraq.

"To give up the fight against terrorists in Iraq would take us back to an old pattern" of appeasement and denial that Cheney said "stimulated the attacks of 9/11."

Cheney didn't mention the controversy swirling in Washington over whether his office was involved in leaking to journalists the name of an undercover CIA operative who is married to former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, a critic of the nation's Iraq policies. Cheney chief of staff Lewis "Scooter" Libby and White House special adviser Karl Rove have testified before a federal grand jury investigating the leak. [...]


Hey, why dwell on the negative and the troubles prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald is investigating? Shift the focus to the evildoers who perpetrated the 9/11 attacks and hope that chanting 9/11, 9/11, 9/11 will get poll numbers to rise.

Like her mate, Mrs. Cheney has also been out shaking a tin cup, oh, not for soldiers and their concerned families, but for her own retirement fund.

She put in an appearance at a Borders book store in Houston on October 21 to peddle her new book, on American freedom and sacrifice, where shoppers were given the chance to purchase her book in an intimate setting. But freedom to snap a picture of her signing books and ringing up the cash register was not on the agenda.

The news release explicitly stated taking photos was prohibited, supposedly for the comfort of all book buyers.

Like mother, like daughter. This is the latest scoop on lesbian daughter Mary's fun activities in the publishing world, and it's from the Conservative Voice:

Having served as Rush Limbaugh's research director from 1994 to 1996, I can't say I ever imagined being invited to James Carville's house. [...]

John Engler, the former Michigan Governor turned president of the National Association of Manufacturers was there, as was Mary Cheney, who is now writing book for Threshold, the new conservative imprint at Simon & Schuster of which Mary Matalin is the Editor-in-Chief. [...]


I can't wait to ignore Mary's book when it hits conservative book stores. Wanna bet she also bars photograph-taking on her book promotion tour?

Friday, October 21, 2005

National Journal: Where is Judy Miller's Mug Shot?

Judith Miller
judym@nytimes.com
The New York Times

Dear Ms. Miller:

You claim over and over you went to jail for the public's right to know, a noble right in our precious democracy. I'm most interested in knowing what you look like in your mug shots and have filed a FOIA request for the photos. As you know, FOIA requests can take a long time, so I'm asking a favor of you. Please make my life easy and immediately release copies of your booking photos from July 6, through your attorney. The right to know everything about your jail experience should include public display of your mug shots.

Regards,
Michael Petrelis

-

The National Journal
October 21, 2005


Activist/blogger Michael Petrelis asks: "Where is Judy Miller's mug shot? I can't believe one of the world's most famous ex-prisoners, who supposedly went to the slammer for the public's right to know, is enjoying the pleasure of having done time and not having her must broadcast and printed, far and wide." Petrelis posts the text of his just-mailed FOIA request for Miller's mugshots.
UPDATE: The Washington Post's media critic, Howard Kurtz, on Nov. 4 asks why Brown is _still_ on the FEMA payroll. I, for one, sure would like to know what we have to do to put Brown on the unemployment line.


FEMA's Brown Still on Fed Payroll; His Contracts FOIA'ed

[This was faxed and snail mailed today.]

Richard Reback
Department of Homeland Security
FOIA Director
Office of the Inspector General
245 Murray Lane, Bldg. 410, S.W.
Washington, DC 20528

Re: FOIA Request for Michael D. Brown's Contracts with DHS and FEMA

Dear Mr. Reback:

I read in the Chicago Tribune today that former Federal Emergency Management Agency director Michael D. Brown is still on the federal government's payroll.

"[FEMA spokeswoman Nicole] Andrews confirmed that Brown is still on FEMA's payroll as a consultant. She said he works from home, where he is 'pulling all the documentation together' to aid in the investigations into the government's response to Katrina. His original 30-day contract was recently extended for another 30 days, she said," the paper reported
.

Under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act for expedited processing, which call for the quick release of documents related to exceptional public and media interest in a federal employee, in this case Brown, I am asking that copies of all of his contracts with FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security, from the start of his employment with the agencies through the end of 2005, be immediately released to me.

I want every full-time and consulting contracting between Brown and DHS made public.

Disclosure of the requested information to me is in the public interest because it is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations or activities of the government and is not primarily in my commercial interest.

If you have any questions regarding my request, please call me at 415-621-6267.

Sincerely,
Michael Petrelis
San Francisco, CA

Cc: Sen. Tom Coburn, R-OK
New Republic, Like Me, Asks: NYT Silent on Salah/Miller/Fitz Nexus. Why?

Catherine Mathis
Communications Director
The New York Times

Dear Catherine:

Your silence continues. I've sent you a few emails and called you once about Judy Miller's link to Mohammed Salah case in Chicago, which pits her against prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, and have not heard back from you.

More importantly, the Times, three days after being scooped by the Chicago Sun Times on how Miller may be called to testify about Israel's interrogation of Salah, the Times hasn't printed one word about this development.

I want to make you aware of an article posted on the New Republic's web site today that, like me, is asking why the Times has not seen fit to print anything about the Salah/Miller/Fitzgerald nexus.

From the New Republic:

[...] By not including this backstory, the Times made a mistake. Especially since, in the last few days, the story of Miller and Fitzgerald's relationship has acquired yet another chapter: According to a Chicago Sun-Times report earlier this week, Miller may be called to testify by Fitzgerald yet again, in a Chicago terrorism trial. Defense attorneys for a Bridgeview, Illinois man who spent time in an Israeli prison were quoted as anticipating that Miller would soon offer testimony on the nature of their client's interrogation by the Israeli government back in 1993--an interrogation she has reported having personally observed. Will the Times report on this? We'll find out.

What do you say, Catherine? Will the Times get around to covering this?

As always, a prompt reply is requested and very appreciated.

Regards,
Michael

Thursday, October 20, 2005

FOIA Request Files with Feds for Judy Miller's Mug Shots

[This letter was snail mailed today.]

FOIA/PA Officer
Office of General Counsel
Department of Justice
United States Marshals Service
Washington, DC 20530-1000

Re: FOIA Request for Photos of NY Times Reporter Judith Miller

Dear Sir or Madam:

Pursuant to the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act, I am formally requesting release of all photographs taken by the U.S. Marshals Service of New York Times reporter Judith Miller during the booking process.

Ms. Miller was processed into the federal system on July 6, 2005, by the U.S. Marshal Service and assigned prisoner number 45570083.

Also, I wish to invoke the expedited processing clause of FOIA because the subject of my request, Ms. Miller, is of widespread and exceptional media and public interest and therefore meets the standards for expedited processing.

Furthermore, the photographic information sought involves possible questions related to the government’s integrity, which affects public confidence and is a valid cause for granting my expedited processing request.

Disclosure of the requested information to me is in the public interest because it is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations or activities of the government and is not primarily in my commercial interest.

If you have any questions regarding my request, please call me at 415-621-6267.

Sincerely,
Michael Petrelis
San Francisco, CA
Epperly, Bay Windows Slam Blade's Hiring of Guckert/Gannon

From today's Bay Windows up in Boston, written by Jeff Epperly, the former editor:


So there was some trepidation in 2001 when Window Media, owners of a chain of second-tier southern newspapers, decided to buy the Blade, which by then included the New York Blade News. What would happen to the Blade now that the two people most responsible for its shining reputation would be out of the picture?

It took a few years, but we finally got our answer when the Blade started publishing columns by James "Jeff Gannon" Guckert, the paid whore and faux journalist who stupidly outed himself as a fraud at a White House press conference by lobbing a question so soft it must have made the sycophants at Fox News feel superior. [...]

Now you'd think working for an anti-gay Web site might be enough to preclude one from working in the gay press, especially as a columnist. Not at the once proud Blade.

Of course, Guckert's appearance in the paper ruffled a few feathers. And with good reason. We need only look at Guckert's own Web site to see him rail against such evils as the "anti-American, anti-Christian, pro-gay ACLU." [...]

Times are tough for newspapers everywhere, and it would have been admirable for Blade owners to come out and say, "This was purely a marketing decision. We wanted notoriety in our pages and we got it. But we made a mistake in hiring a self-loathing poseur and we regret it." [...]

I don't know what Crain is smoking, but I want some of it.

Crain seems to forget that he runs a gay newspaper. A gay newspaper no more needs to run an op-ed questioning the legitimacy of homosexuality than a Catholic newspaper needs, in order to be fair, to run a piece trashing Catholicism. It's not about whether Guckert support "the goals" of the gay movement, which are too broad to define anyway. What Guckert clearly does not support is gay people. It's a pretty simple difference.

Crain's cowardly effort to defend giving a platform to a less-than-truthful narcissist by painting Guckert simply as an aggrieved gay citizen deserving of equal footing is the worst sort of right-wing doublespeak.

And it shows how far, how fast, the Window Media empire has dragged the Blade and the rest of their newspapers into the gutter as the laughingstock of the gay press. [...]


You can send thank you emails to Epperly at: jepperly@hotmail.com.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Judy Miller's Mug Shot

Random questions for the MSM, from a queer progressive-leaning blogger and news consumer:

1. Where is Judy Miller's mug shot? I can't believe one of the world's most famous ex-prisoners, who supposedly went to the slammer for the public's right to know, is enjoying the pleasure of having done time and not having her must broadcast and printed, far and wide. Guess in the end no one has the right to know what Miller's mug shot looks like.

Searching various celebrity, mainstream news and government sites turned up nothing for Miller. But this ghoul's ugly face comes up many places and appeared across media outlets, straight and gay. Why is it easier to find Michael Jackson's mug shot on the web than Judy Miller's?

Telegram for Mr. Sulzberger! Message: Print the mug shot of Judy, presumably wearing jailhouse orange, in the Gray Lady.

2. Has Michael D. Brown honestly and finally left FEMA and the federal government's payroll? I'd like to know if he's peddling his resume up and down K Street, or if he's still getting a check from his pals running the government. Did his consulting gig with FEMA come to end?

3. Is now the time to engage in the blame game about the Katrina disaster? Wish I knew what was happening with all those Democratic Party leaders and their calls for an independent commission to look at the atrocious federal response to Katrina and the needs of evacuees.

4. How goes Bush's investigation of his very own actions and those of his administration in the days leading up to Katrina making U.S. land, and the crucial days immediately after the levees gave way in New Orleans? Met with himself lately?

5. Has Karl Rove, in between when he appears at GOP fundraisers around the nation and time talking to prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald and his lawyer, done anything significant lately as head of the Bush administration's effort to rebuild New Orleans and the devastated Gulf Coast. Last I heard, he was the go-to guy for post-Katrina rebuilding.

6. Where's Dick Cheney?

7. How many NY Times shareholders and readers think the silence of Times public editor Barney Calame about the paper's October 16 package on Miller's mess, is curious or odd, and part of the overall problem with the Times about Miller--silence and obfuscation? Considering Calame a week ago grandly said "The Time is Now" for a full explanation from the paper, now is turning out to be a very tardy thing.

8. Did Nancy Pelosi succeed in returning some of the pork she stuffed into the transportation bill, and the money instead sent to New Orleans to assisting in rebuilding the city?

Answers from the MSM, for publication, are very welcome.