Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Quotes of the week:

A shift in consciousness. By replacing thoughts and dwelling on goodness, truth and beauty, one can achieve full-blown miracles.

"Fear is that little darkroom where negatives are developed."

-Michael Pritchard

"Blessed are the flexible for they shall not be bent out of shape."

"The pursuit of happiness is the source of all unhappiness."


WASHINGTON — AP Senator Leahy, who plans to meet Wednesday with Sessions on a schedule for the hearings, said he's eager to give Sotomayor the chance to respond to "unbelievable attacks" by Republican critics like radio host Rush Limbaugh and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who have branded her a racist because of remarks she made in 2001 that her experiences as a "wise Latina" would allow her to make better decisions than a white male.

Leahy called the criticism against Sotomayor "among the most vicious attacks that have been received by anybody," and lamented that as a nominee she's unable to directly answer them.

So he asked the judge whether he could repeat publicly what she told him privately about how her personal experiences -- she is the New York-born daughter of Puerto Rican parents who was reared in a Bronx housing project and went on to Princeton and Yale on her way to the highest echelons of the legal profession -- would shape her rulings.

Leahy quoted Sotomayor as saying, "There's not one law for one race or another; there's not one law for one color or another; there's not one for rich and one for poor; there's only one law."

Leahy is pushing for a swift series of hearings on Sotomayor's confirmation, and has said the harshly worded criticism of her necessitates a quick timetable.

"Because the defacto leader of the Republican Party equated her to the head of the Ku Klux Klan pretty well demands that she have a hearing earlier than later," Leahy told reporters on his way to meet with Sotomayor. He's planning to meet Wednesday with Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, the top Judiciary Committee Republican, to discuss the schedule.

Radio host Rush Limbaugh and former House Speaker New Gingrich have both branded Sotomayor a racist, and Limbaugh went on to compare choosing her for the high court to nominating former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke.

Leahy defended Sotomayor on Tuesday, saying he was proud of his own Irish-Italian background and his wife's French-Canadian background. "Does that make us racist?" he said. "She is not a racist." Read the rest at

Prop 8: The Ban on Gay Marriage

I have a comment on the California Supreme Court's decision to uphold a ban on gay marriages. This is exactly equivalent to Rosa Parks being required by law to sit at the back of the bus because she was black. This is an outrageous violation of the Civil Rights. The rights of a minority should never be determined by the tyranny of the majority. ARE YOU SAYING THAT AN ENTIRE GROUP OF HUMAN BEINGS IS NOT EQUAL TO ANOTHER NON-GAY GROUP OF HUMAN BEINGS? Gays exist; they serve in the military, they pay taxes, they have driver's licenses and gun permits. Why aren't they "allowed" to sanctify their monogamous unions the way other human beings are? THEY ARE HUMAN BEINGS. It is illegal to discriminate against people on the basis of color. Why was Prop. 8 even on the ballot? Why do we allow a slight majority of morally intolerant bigots to take away the equal right to happiness of a minority? This is discrimination, plain and simple. Imagine if being gay was a choice, which it isn't. Religious people of all stripes choose their religion no matter how wacky it seems, yet they are protected against discrimination under the constitution. I am deeply ashamed of California for this horribly archaic, bigoted, intolerate bozo of a decision.


May 24, 2009 (ChattahBox) — Former Vice President Dick Cheney’s vocal offensive defending the Bush legacy on the war on terror has raised a lot of eye brows as to what purpose it serves. During his service as VP he worked behind the scenes avoiding the media mostly, where as now he has been front and center criticizing Obama, which has surprised many as a break in protocol and very poor form for a previous administration to speak out against the new President.

Last night on CNN, Liz Cheney, perhaps inadvertently, revealed that part of the reason we’ve seen her dad come out of his bunker to defend the torture regime that he authorized, is that he is anxious to head off any investigation of future prosecution. To me this is not a big revelation, it’s just another instance where Dick Cheney is exercising poor judgment in knowing when NOT to go to war. Apparently though conservative circles are loving what Liz Cheney has to say, as she is becoming so popular some want her to run for office.
President Obama nominated Judge Sonia Sotomayor to be the next U.S. Supreme Court justice. Of course, the Right is already fighting against her confirmation—so we need to get the facts out about her impressive qualifications and background.

First, I must clear up the lie that everyone keeps repeating about Sotomayor.
During the May 26 edition of MSNBC Live, NBC News chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd falsely asserted that Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor "is on tape saying, I'm not supposed to say this, but guess what, we legislate from the bench." Todd added, "I think that's going to compel a lot of Republicans on principle; that they will actually be sort of -- they would be lying to their own principles if they somehow supported her." In fact, in the "tape" Todd was apparently referring to -- from a February 25, 2005, Duke University School of Lawforum -- Sotomayor did not say that "we legislate from the bench." Rather, responding to a student who asked the panel to contrast the experiences of a district court clerkship and a circuit court clerkship, Sotomayor said that the "court of appeals is where policy is made." Moreover, as NBC News justice correspondent Pete Williams noted earlier in the broadcast, "[E]ven some conservatives and followers of strict constructionism have said that [Sotomayor] was only stating the obvious: that trial judges, district court judges, decide only the cases before them, and that appeals courts, because they are the, you know, above the other courts, do set policy; they do make precedent that governs the other courts."

Indeed, the Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States (2005) notes that federal appellate courts do, in fact, have a "policy-making" role.


SOTOMAYOR: The saw is that if you're going into academia, you're going to teach, or as Judge Lucero just said, public interest law, all of the legal defense funds out there, they're looking for people with court of appeals experience, because it is -- court of appeals is where policy is made. And I know -- and I know this is on tape and I should never say that because we don't make law, I know. OK, I know. I'm not promoting it, and I'm not advocating it, I'm -- you know. OK. Having said that, the court of appeals is where, before the Supreme Court makes the final decision, the law is percolating -- its interpretation, its application. And Judge Lucero is right. I often explain to people, when you're on the district court, you're looking to do justice in the individual case. So you are looking much more to the facts of the case than you are to the application of the law because the application of the law is non-precedential, so the facts control. On the court of appeals, you are looking to how the law is developing, so that it will then be applied to a broad class of cases. And so you're always thinking about the ramifications of this ruling on the next step in the development of the law. From

Below is a list of 10 key things about Sonia Sotomayor that you might not know. Can you check it out and send it to 10 friends today? If each of us forwards the list, we can start to get the word out about Judge Sotomayor, and help to ensure that she gets a speedy and fair confirmation process.

Ten Things To Know About Judge Sonia Sotomayor

1. Judge Sotomayor would bring more federal judicial experience to the bench than any Supreme Court justice in 100 years. Over her three-decade career, she has served in a wide variety of legal roles, including as a prosecutor, litigator, and judge.

2. Judge Sotomayor is a trailblazer. She was the first Latina to serve on the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and was the youngest member of the court when appointed to the District Court for the Southern District of New York. If confirmed, she will be the first Hispanic to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court.

3. While on the bench, Judge Sotomayor has consistently protected the rights of working Americans, ruling in favor of health benefits and fair wages for workers in several cases.

4. Judge Sotomayor has shown strong support for First Amendment rights, including in cases of religious expression and the rights to assembly and free speech.

5. Judge Sotomayor has a strong record on civil rights cases, ruling for plaintiffs who had been discriminated against based on disability, sex and race.

6. Judge Sotomayor embodies the American dream. Born to Puerto Rican parents, she grew up in a South Bronx housing project and was raised from age nine by a single mother, excelling in school and working her way to graduate summa cum laude from Princeton University and to become an editor of the Law Journal at Yale Law School.

7. In 1995, Judge Sotomayor "saved baseball" when she stopped the owners from illegally changing their bargaining agreement with the players, thereby ending the longest professional sports walk-out in history.

7a. Sotomayor made a ruling allowing the Wall Street Journal to publish Vince Foster's suicide note. In 1997, she was nominated by Bill Clinton to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

8. Judge Sotomayor ruled in favor of the environment in a case of protecting aquatic life in the vicinity of power plants in 2007, a decision that was overturned by the Roberts Supreme Court.

9. In 1992, Judge Sotomayor was confirmed by the Senate without opposition after being appointed to the bench by George H.W. Bush.

10. Judge Sotomayor is a widely respected legal figure, having been described as " outstanding colleague with a keen legal mind," "highly qualified for any position in which wisdom, intelligence, collegiality and good character would be assets," and "a role model of aspiration, discipline, commitment, intellectual prowess and integrity."

Judge Sotomayor is an historic, uniquely qualified nominee to the Supreme Court. Let's get the word out and make sure we get a prompt, fair confirmation on her nomination.

Here’s Blogger Mike's take on this nomination: "I think she is a textbook replacement for Souter and the Far Right Wing should be kissing Obama’s shoes for appointing a moderate cut from the same cloth as Souter and NOT appointing a hardcore liberal to balance out Allito and Scalia who lean so far to the hard Right that they are hanging off the right edge of the earth by their fingernails.

That said I think she is a very good pick with excellent credentials that certainly brings diversity to the court although I don’t think hardcore partisan ideologues from EITHER party should ever have been nominated to the SCOTUS. But unfortunately that door’s already been opened with Alito and Scalia so I feel the far and central lefts pain on this and strongly hope a hardcore liberal IS nominated to balance out the far Right Wing extremist Conservatives we have that are currently dominating the Supreme Court.

One last point I keep hearing the far Right Wing extremists like Rove, Limbaugh, Hannity, et al screech about “liberal activist judges” legislating from the bench or “radical activist liberal judges”
legislating their own personal views from the bench.

Please enlighten me here but isnt that EXACTLY what hardcore far Right Wing radical extremist activists like Scalia and Alito do, how many time do THESE corporatist stooges just legislate from the bench and inject their own personal bias’s by ALWAYS siding with the big corporations or wealthy while they and their Right Wing idealogues constantly accuse the left of siding with the poor or the little guy. It’s hipocrisy plain and simple just like when the Right says ONLY they are patriotic and love their country while the left is treasonous and hates their country. It’s high time we stop letting them lie and frame the issues without being rebutted by THE TRUTH.

* Sources for each of the 10 things:

1. White House Statement, May 26, 2009.

2. White House Statement, May 26, 2009.

3. Cases: Archie v. Grand Cent. Partnership, 997 F. Supp. 504 (S.D.N.Y. 1998) and Marcella v. Capital Dist. Physicians' Health Plan, Inc., 293 F.3d 42 (2d Cir. 2002).

4. Cases: Flamer v. White Plains, 841 F. Supp. 1365 (S.D.N.Y. 1993), Ford v. McGinnis, 352 F.3d 382 (2d Cir. 2003), and Campos v. Coughlin, 854 F. Supp. 194 (S.D.N.Y. 1994).

5a. "Sotomayor's Notable Court Opinions and Articles," The New York Times, May 26, 2009.

5b. Cases: Bartlett v. N.Y. State Board, 970 F. Supp. 1094 (S.D.N.Y. 1997), Greenbaum v. Svenska Hendelsbanken, 67 F.Supp.2d 228 (S.D.N.Y. 1999), Raniola v. Bratton, 243 F.3d 610 (2d Cir. 2001), and Gant v. Wallingford Board of Education, 195 F.3d 134 (2d Cir. 1999).

6. "Sonia Sotomayor: 10 Things You Should Know," The Huffington Post, May 26, 2009.

7. "How Sotomayor 'Saved' Baseball," Time, May 26, 2009.

8. "Sotomayor's resume, record on notable cases," CNN, May 26, 2009.

9. "Sotomayor's resume, record on notable cases," CNN, May 26, 2009.

10a. Judge Richard C. Wesley, a George W. Bush appointee to the Second Circuit.

10b. "Sotomayor is Highly Qualified," The Wall Street Journal, May 9, 2009.

10c. Honorary Degree Citation, Pace University School of Law, 2003 Commencement.

Friday, May 22, 2009


"The person next to you at times could be homeless and little do you know that they are. So when people see homeless, I wish society would try to help ... I wish society would be more gentle with words sometimes."

Losing Homes And Ending Childhoods:
Recession's Impact On Kids

Today I saw this story about 11-year old Tristen Clarke (above), a Harry Potter lookalike, who quietly broke down, trying to hide his tears. He is so stressed. He is thinking about life and death. In his mind his childhood is over.

His grades have dropped - he'll have to repeat 5th grade. His self esteem is falling. And he is often afraid. "I try to save food," Tristen said. "If we're going to run out of food I'll only eat a little of it and save it for later," Tristen said.

This is the saddest thing I've ever heard. I've been praying all night for these children, and a few that go to our school as well who are single mothers. I've been worried for months about all these families losing their homes. Where do they go, especially if they have school-age children? Where do they live? Last week our local news showed a family with 6 young children sleeping on a mattress outside their own home, on the curb area. The children were shivering under one blanket. The father and mother stayed up all night to protect their little ones.

The bank had foreclosed on them after a man they met at church took their life savings, promising he would modify their mortgage. Obviously a predatory con man who knew he would find innocent prey at a church. This father paid his mortgage on time to this man for over a year, but the con man never paid the bank. The bank even locked them out of their yard, so they were forced to sleep on the other side of the sidewalk. The 14-year-old son was fighting back tears. He had to go to school that morning, but hadn't had any sleep. Imagine the humiliation at that age, just as a boy is trying to have it all together in high school. The father was on his way to work at a restaurant. The family had always paid their bills on time, and lived in the small house for several years. God Bless these families.


Losing Homes And Ending Childhoods
CBS Reports: Economic Meltdown Leaves Homeless Children To Grow Up Fast
by Byron Pitts

Meet 11-year old Tristen Clarke, and his mother Rhonda. If you want to understand what it means to be a homeless child in this recession, walk a day in Tristen's size 7 sneakers.

"How is life for you?" asked CBS News correspondent Byron Pitts.

"Pretty bad," Tristen said. "Everything has gone down the drain. We don't have enough money to pay, we can't afford food."

At schools teachers describe Tristen as a sweet boy: smart and innocent.

"I feel lucky about my life because right now I'm not really on the street or in a cardboard box," Tristen said.

Instead, he and his mom live in the El Dorado Motel on a busy street in a tough neighborhood in Salinas, Calif. There are 22 other homeless families here.

They landed here after she lost her job in January as a job coach for people with disabilities. That means a cramped space, no car and no health insurance. There's just a bed for her, an air mattress for him, and a plastic bowl for Tristen's turtle. Last week Rhonda's $90 weekly unemployment check stopped.

"I try to save food," Tristen said.

"What do you mean?" Pitts asked.

"If we're going to run out of food I'll only eat a little of it and save it for later," Tristen said.

His grades have dropped - he'll have to repeat 5th grade. His self esteem is falling. And he is often afraid.

"I thought I was going to lose everything yesterday," Tristen said. "I thought we were going to lose everything."

"That scare you because that's a possibility?" Pitts asked.

"Yeah," Tristen said.

"Because you've lost things before?" Pitts asked.

"Yeah, I have," Tristen said.

Behind his Harry Potter face is a child in crisis. With his mother's permission, Pitts and Tristen kept talking.

"Find the words for me," Pitts said.

"Life and death," Tristen said.

"You think about life and death?" Pitts asked. "Why do you think about things like that?"

"Because I gave up," said Tristen, crying.

For the homeless children at the El Dorado Motel, life is often bleak. But there are a few bright spots. Like many school districts across the country, Salinas has a homeless children's advocate. Cheryl Camany helps identify homeless children and provides resources and free supplies.

As for Tristen Clarke, he says he has one real friend - 8-year-old Gus Hernandez, Jr. They're neighbors. Gus is also homeless.

"Me and him share the same life," Tristen said. "He understands me and I understand him."

They also share the same risk. Even a simple game of soccer can be dangerous ... when the ball rolls right into traffic. For their safety, the boys were ordered back to their rooms by the motel owner.

Anger and frustration brews in Gus every day. He lives with both parents and 4-year-old brother. They owned a house until Gus Sr. lost his job as a mortgage loan processor. The bank foreclosed on their home.

"My life is dumb," said Gus Jr. "We have to live in a motel, have to be in at a certain time. Can't play anywhere, and most of my friends are there."

"That must be hard?" asked Pitts.

"Today was a worse day, tomorrow may be better," Gus said.

"That makes you an optimist?" asked Pitts.

"Yeah," Gus said.

Later, Pitts went to talk to Tristen.

"What do you want Americans to know about you, what it means to be a child and homeless in America?" Pitts asked.

"We need people to help," Tristen said.

Where you can offer help if you're able, or receive help if you need it:

Family Promise of Sacramento
Mustard Seed School
The National Center on Family Homelessness
National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth

This weekend we are joining Imagine L.A. for a fundraiser with Steve Lopez, the author of "The Soloist." Imagine L.A. "Where no child sleeps on the street."


Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Gisele Bundchen

I took my older son for his first pre-driving lesson today. He won't be eligible for his learner's permit for six more months, but he convinced me that other kids' parents were already teaching their kids to drive. We went to Franklin Canyon after school, and drove down a long country road, and he was slightly freaked out by the power break. Every time he put his foot on the break, it would lurch and slam to a stop. He isn’t used to the power yet.

There was one solitary man on the road ahead of us walking his dog. My son sat and waited until the man became a speck in the distance. I sat there ready to pull my hair out, looked at him like he was crazy and asked, "What are you waiting for? Just pull out from the curb and drive already!" He said, "But there's a pedestrian up ahead. I would really like to avoid casualties today.” I burst out laughing.

Watching my son over the past year, I have more compassion for men by observing his teenage struggles. He is so anxious to grow taller, and now I think I appreciate men more. I am becoming softer toward them. They have so much to prove, and are under so much pressure to be "real men." They really do stress and worry over how tall they will be, how they will ever measure up to society’s standards, how will they ever get a girlfriend. They are just little boys inside.

And after watching The Real Housewives of New York City/Orange County.. now I see that women act so obnoxious because they’ve been forced to compete with other women for men. The beauty industry has put so much artificial pressure on young girls. Women have been assigned these horrifying roles in this pornogrified pop culture and we've all become vultures. We are thrust into such an unhealthy world.

Miss USA, I'm one of the judges (center)

Beauty and Body Image in the Media

"We don’t need Afghan-style burquas to disappear as women. We disappear in reverse—by revamping and revealing our bodies to meet externally imposed visions of female beauty."
Source: Robin Gerber, author and motivational speaker

Images of female bodies are everywhere. Women—and their body parts—sell everything from food to cars. Popular film and television actresses are becoming younger, taller and thinner. Some have even been known to faint on the set from lack of food. Women’s magazines are full of articles urging that if they can just lose those last twenty pounds, they’ll have it all—the perfect marriage, loving children, great sex, and a rewarding career.

Why are standards of beauty being imposed on women, the majority of whom are naturally larger and more mature than any of the models? The roots, some analysts say, are economic. By presenting an ideal difficult to achieve and maintain, the cosmetic and diet product industries are assured of growth and profits. And it’s no accident that youth is increasingly promoted, along with thinness, as an essential criterion of beauty. If not all women need to lose weight, for sure they’re all aging, says the Quebec Action Network for Women’s Health in its 2001 report Changements sociaux en faveur de la diversité des images corporelles. And, according to the industry, age is a disaster that needs to be dealt with.

The stakes are huge. On the one hand, women who are insecure about their bodies are more likely to buy beauty products, new clothes, and diet aids. It is estimated that the diet industry alone is worth $100 billion (U.S.) a year. On the other hand, research indicates that exposure to images of thin, young, air-brushed female bodies is linked to depression, loss of self-esteem and the development of unhealthy eating habits in women and girls.

The American research group Anorexia Nervosa & Related Eating Disorders, Inc. says that one out of every four college-aged women uses unhealthy methods of weight control—including fasting, skipping meals, excessive exercise, laxative abuse, and self-induced vomiting. And the Canadian Fitness and Lifestyle Research Institute warns that weight control measures are being taken by girls as young as nine. American statistics are similar. In 2003, Teen magazine reported that 35 per cent of girls 6 to 12 years old have been on at least one diet, and that 50 to 70 per cent of normal weight girls believe they are overweight.

Media activist Jean Kilbourne concludes that, "Women are sold to the diet industry by the magazines we read and the television programs we watch, almost all of which make us feel anxious about our weight."

Unattainable Beauty

Perhaps most disturbing is the fact that media images of female beauty are unattainable for all but a very small number of women. Researchers generating a computer model of a woman with Barbie-doll proportions, for example, found that her back would be too weak to support the weight of her upper body, and her body would be too narrow to contain more than half a liver and a few centimeters of bowel. A real woman built that way would suffer from chronic diarrhea and eventually die from malnutrition.

Still, the number of real life women and girls who seek a similarly underweight body is epidemic, and they can suffer equally devastating health consequences.

The Culture of Thinness

Researchers report that women’s magazines have ten and one-half times more ads and articles promoting weight loss than men’s magazines do, and over three-quarters of the covers of women’s magazines include at least one message about how to change a woman’s bodily appearance—by diet, exercise or cosmetic surgery.

Television and movies reinforce the importance of a thin body as a measure of a woman’s worth. Canadian researcher Gregory Fouts reports that over three-quarters of the female characters in TV situation comedies are underweight, and only one in twenty are above average in size. Heavier actresses tend to receive negative comments from male characters about their bodies ("How about wearing a sack?"), and 80 per cent of these negative comments are followed by canned audience laughter.

There have been efforts in the magazine industry to buck the trend. For several years the Quebec magazine Coup de Pouce has consistently included full-sized women in their fashion pages and Châtelaine has pledged not to touch up photos and not to include models less than 25 years of age.

However, advertising rules the marketplace and in advertising thin is "in." Twenty years ago, the average model weighed 8 per cent less than the average woman—but today’s models weigh 23 per cent less. Advertisers believe that thin models sell products. When the Australian magazine New Woman recently included a picture of a heavy-set model on its cover, it received a truckload of letters from grateful readers praising the move. But its advertisers complained and the magazine returned to featuring bone-thin models. Advertising Age International concluded that the incident "made clear the influence wielded by advertisers who remain convinced that only thin models spur the sales of beauty products."

Self-Improvement or Self-Destruction?

The barrage of messages about thinness, dieting and beauty tells "ordinary" women that they are always in need of adjustment—and that the female body is an object to be perfected.

Jean Kilbourne argues that the overwhelming presence of media images of painfully thin women means that real women’s bodies have become invisible in the mass media. The real tragedy, Kilbourne concludes, is that many women internalize these stereotypes, and judge themselves by the beauty industry's standards. Women learn to compare themselves to other women, and to compete with them for male attention. This focus on beauty and desirability "effectively destroys any awareness and action that might help to change that climate."


As our friend and progressive talker Thom Hartmann pointed out on his show this morning, Stephanie Miller, another friend and progressive radio host, noted that she's syndicated on some 60 affiliates from 9 to Noon ET each weekday, while rightwing whack-job Laura Ingraham is on some 300 stations during that same time slot. Yet, Hartmann noted, Miller beats Ingraham in almost every single market where they air at the same time. Does that sound like fair competition, or that "Progressive Talk" has failed? We haven't failed, corporate America, however, has failed you.

CONTEST: WHO is the model at top on left, with her butt to the camera? Put your answer in comment section. Thank you.

Friday, May 15, 2009




We know Karl Rove makes a business of being dishonest. But how did Dick Cheney get five draft deferments, enabling him to avoid military service in the Vietnam War? How did this happen? Who helped him dodge the draft and why is he on a media blitz promoting torture? I suspect Cheney is doing this to save his own skin, to preempt any indictment against him. He is going on the offensive in a propaganda war to make sure no future jury will be untainted. He is making sure there will always be some doubt about the value of torture. What a scoundrel Cheney is.
First, a summary of what's going on: Pelosi has insisted she was not briefed by the CIA about the use of water-boarding or any enhanced interrogation techniques, but the CIA recently undermined her case. The agency released an account of a September 2002 meeting that the CIA says Pelosi attended and at which those harsh techniques were discussed. Pelosi said the CIA account was wrong and then went a step further. She said briefers in that meeting explicitly said water-boarding was not being used. We now know that at the time Abu Zubaydah had been water-boarded 83 times. Pelosi charged the agency with deliberately misleading Congress as part of the larger effort to mislead the nation in the run-up to the Iraq war.
BOB GRAHAM: CIA Gave Me False Information About Interrogation Briefings
by Sam Stein at HuffPo

In testimony that could bolster Speaker Nancy Pelosi's claim that the CIA misled her during briefings on detainee interrogations, former Senator Bob Graham insisted on Thursday that he too was kept in the dark about the use of waterboarding, and called the agency's records on these briefings "suspect."

In an interview with the Huffington Post, the former Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman said that approximately a month ago, the CIA provided him with false information about how many times and when he was briefed on enhanced interrogations.

"When this issue started to resurface I called the appropriate people in the agency and said I would like to know the dates from your records that briefings were held," Graham recalled. "And they contacted me and gave me four dates -- two in April '02 and two in September '02. Now, one of the things I do, and for which I have taken some flack, is keep a spiral notebook of what I do throughout the day. And so I went through my records and through a combination of my daily schedule, which I keep, and my notebooks, I confirmed and the CIA agreed that my notes were accurate; that three of those four dates there had been no briefing. There was only one day that I had been briefed, which was September the 27th of 2002."

As for the one briefing he did attend, the Florida Democrat said that he had "no recollection that issues such as waterboarding were discussed." He was not, per the sensitive nature of the matters discussed, allowed to take notes at the time. But he did highlight what he considered to be pretty strong proof that the controversial technique was not discussed.

"What struck me...was the fact that in that briefing, there were also two staff members," he said. "As you know, the general rule is that the executive is to brief the full committees of the House and Senate Intelligence committees about any ongoing or proposed action. The exception to that is what is called "covert action," where the president...only briefs the Gang of Eight, which is the four congressional leaders and the four intelligence committee leaders. Those sessions are generally conducted at an executive site, primarily at the White House itself. And they are conducted with just the authorized personnel, not with any staff or any other member of the committee.... Which leads me to conclude that this was not considered by the CIA to be a Gang of Eight briefing. Otherwise they would not have had staff in the room. And that leads me to then believe that they didn't brief us on any of the sensitive programs such as the waterboarding or other forms of excessive interrogation."

The remarks made by Graham bolster the comments offered by Pelosi on Thursday. The Speaker told reporters that during her briefing session in the fall of 2002 she was not just kept in the dark about the issue of waterboarding, she was assured that it had not been used.

"Yes, I am saying that the CIA was misleading the Congress," she said.

Nancy Pelosi: CIA Lied To Me
David Espo | HuffPo May 14, 2009

WASHINGTON — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi bluntly accused the CIA on Thursday of misleading her and other lawmakers about its use of waterboarding during the Bush administration, escalating a controversy grown to include both political parties, the spy agency and the White House.

"It is not the policy of this agency to mislead the United States Congress," responded CIA spokesman George Little, although he refused to answer directly when asked whether Pelosi's accusation was accurate.

But the House's top Democrat, speaking at a news conference in the Capitol, was unequivocal about a CIA briefing she received in the fall of 2002.

"We were told that waterboarding was not being used," the speaker said. "That's the only mention, that they were not using it. And we now know that earlier they were." She suggested the CIA release the briefing material.

Pelosi also vehemently disputed Republican charges that she was complicit in the use of waterboarding, and she suggested the GOP was trying to shift the focus of public attention away from the Bush administration's use of techniques that she and President Barack Obama have described as torture.

Coincidentally, Pelosi spoke as the CIA rejected former Vice President Dick Cheney's request to release secret memos judging whether waterboarding and other harsh techniques had succeeded in securing valuable intelligence information.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif. is seen on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, May 14, 2009. Earlier Thursday, under strong attack from Republicans, Pelosi accused the CIA and Bush Administration of misleading her about waterboarding detainees in the war on terror and sharply rebutted claims she was complicit in the method's use. (AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke)

Monday, May 11, 2009


British Film Festival Opening Night: Film Festival President and Swansea Resident extraordinaire Binda Singh, Lydia Cornell, Film maker Nick Meade

Did you know that Swansea, Wales, UK is an amazing Welsh town? Dylan Thomas, Richard Burton, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Kingsley Amis, and my new BFF Binda Singh all hail from Swansea, Wales, UK. (Among a throng of other notables.)

Saw STAR TREK with my three wild banshees over the weekend, as part of Mother's Day. I was blown away! We all thought it was wonderful. I thought the actor who played the young "Bones" was especially dead-on, and the young Spock looked exactly like Spock. Loved Lt. Uhura and Captain Kirk too. My kids aren't familiar with the original cast, so they didn't get all
the inside jokes, but they loved it anyway.

NEWS UPDATES: Miss California Vows to Use Her Naked Breasts for Good

From one of the funniest men in America, Andy Borowitz

Fight Against Gay Marriage Will Be ‘Tireless, Topless'

Just moments after being told she could retain her beauty pageant crown, Miss California Carrie Prejean renewed her commitment to her mission, telling reporters, "From this day forward I promise I will use my naked breasts for good."

Ms. Prejean blasted the critics whom she claimed tried to silence her for her views on gay marriage, saying, "I intend to fight back with the two greatest weapons I have: my naked boobies."

The embattled pageant winner said she would be both "tireless and topless" in her efforts to fight same-sex unions.

She added that she plans to tour the country to speak out against gay marriage and hopes to draw attention to the issue by displaying her naked torso wherever possible.

"I will go anywhere, anytime, anyway to make my case," she said. "These breasts are made for walking."

Ms. Prejean refused to answer questions about another controversial topic, enhanced interrogation techniques, but she did remark, "I have always been in favor of enhancement."

At the White House correspondents' dinner, comedienne Wanda Sykes said things America needed to hear such as the following:

"Rush Limbaugh said he hopes this administration fails, so you're saying, 'I hope America fails,' you're like, 'I don't care about people losing their homes, their jobs, our soldiers in Iraq.' He just wants the country to fail. To me, that's treason," Sykes said.

"He's not saying anything differently than what Usama bin Laden is saying," she continued, before addressing the guest of honor, President Obama. "You know, you might want to look into this, sir, because I think maybe Rush Limbaugh was the 20th hijacker. But he was just so strung out on OxyContin he missed his flight."

Sean Hannity....Sean Hannity said he was going to get waterboarded for charity for our armed forces. He hasn't done it yet I see. You know talking about he can take a waterboarding. Please. Hey okay you might want to get waterboarded by someone you know or trust but let somebody from Pakistan waterboard him, or Keith Olbermann. Let Keith Olbermann waterboard him. He can't take a waterboarding.

I could break Sean Hannity just by giving him a middle seat in coach. Oh I need leg room!!

Dick Cheney...he's a scary man..scares me to death. I tell my kids, I say look if two cars pull up and one has a stranger and the other car has Dick get in the car with the stranger.

Please use this open forum to give us your opinion of Sykes humor commentary on Limbaugh.

Regarding the "kidney" comment about Limbaugh, remember that Republicans in the audience laughed too. It's an automatic response to a comic's presentation. So stop the fake shock and anger at Obama for laughing, as every other Republican did. And by the way, remember when Bush actually mocked the deaths of our troops in Iraq by pretending to look under the table for WMD at HIS White House Correspondent's Dinner? Why didn't Bush apologize for his despicable "joke" and his lies that killed thousands?

Friday, May 08, 2009


"You are the creator of your own reality, and so you are not in jeopardy. You do not need to control the behavior of others in order for you to thrive. Your attention to things that you think they do that keeps you from your thriving is, in fact, what keeps you from thriving... It is not what they do to you; it's what YOU do in fear of what you think that they will do to you." Fear is the operative word here and fear is an acronym for "false evidence appearing real."

Excerpted from Abraham-Hicks workshop in Philadelphia, PA on Thursday, May 12th, 2005

Remember - - - 'STRESSED' spelled backwards! is 'DESSERTS'

I am trying to avoid Blogging, Twittering, Facebook and email. I am trying to shut out the world while going through what Robert Benchley calls "the upheaval of the soul" in writing or producing any decent work of art. But as you can see, it's not working.

Here is the exact quote by Robert Benchley:
"Great literature must spring from an upheaval in the author's soul."

I love this Benchley quote too: "Anyone can do any amount of work, provided it isn't the work he is supposed be doing at that moment."


One of my favorite songs is by Jackson Browne. It's called "The Only Child."

"Take care of your mother,
And remember to be kind
For the pain of another
will serve to remind
There are those who find themselves exiled,
On whom the fortunes never smiled
And upon whom the heartache
Has been piled... "


I have always loved Paris, and couldn't get enough of it when I was there years ago writing my Trotsky book, and visiting the sights on three separate occasions. I love Hemingway's "A Moveable Feast" and years ago discovered another wonderful little book called "Paris Was Yesterday" by Janet Flanner.

Here is a lovely little memory that Janet Flanner, former Paris correspondant for The New Yorker, writes in the introduction to a collection of her segments from the 1920s and '30s. She tells of one day when she met Picasso after seeing him in the same café nearly every night years before but never having the courage to speak to him.

"As I walked into the salon, which was as crowded with varied art works as an auction room, Picasso turned to me with his hand outstretched in greeting, and then, with a loud cry of astonishment, shouted, 'You! Why didn't you ever speak to me in the old days at the Flore? For years we saw each other and never spoke, until now. Are you just the same as you were? you look it!' By this time he had his arms around me and was thumping me enthusiastically on the shoulders. 'You look fine; not a day older,' and I said, "Nor do you,' and he said, "That's true; that's the way you and I are. We don't get older, we just get riper. Do you still love life the way you used to, and love people the way you did? I watched you and always wanted to know what you were thinking ... Tell me, do you still love the human race, especially your best friends? Do you still love love?' 'I do,' I said, astonished at the turn the monologue was taking. 'And so do I!' he shouted, laughing. 'Oh, we're great ones for that, you and I. Isn't love the greatest refreshment in life?' And he embraced me with his strong arms, in farewell." (from The Happy and Young Blog)

La vida es bella
No lo olvides
Serás felíz.
Life is beautiful
Do not forget it
You will be happy.


File (6 mins) at: Green News Report BradBlog MP3

More details and links on today's report at: More Details at

Quick summary for today:

IN TODAY'S AUDIO REPORT: Fires and bats and bears --- OH MY!; Congress to offer 'Cash For Clunkers', PLUS: A new lightbulb that lasts for 25 years?!? .... All that and more in today's
Green News Report!
Brad Friedman
Publisher/Editor, The BRAD BLOG

Basham and Cornell Radio Show airs at 8 am Pacific Time on AM 1230 KLAV in Las Vegas and worldwide on the web.

The Basham and Cornell Show broadcasts weekday mornings at 8 am Pacific (11 a.m. Eastern) on KLAV 1230 AM Radio live in Las Vegas. Again, all shows are simulcast worldwide on the Internet (and archived) and can be listened to at Basham and Cornell Radio


M*A*S*H Star Mike Farrell was live on our show Listen in the audio archives at Basham and Cornell Radio Show

Mike is best known for his role as Captain B.J. Hunnicutt on the popular television series M*A*S*H (1975–83). He is also a prominent progressive, political activist.

Mike narrates the new film, "The Life Penalty," which will screened at the British Film Festival Los Angeles, which takes place May 3rd thru' May 8th in Redondo Beach, California. Why does the United States rank with China, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Vietnam in executions?

Listen to our recent interview with legendary White House Press Correspondent HELEN THOMAS in the archives on our radio website. THIS IS AN AMAZING INTERVIEW. Helen Thomas has covered every president since John F. Kennedy. Barack is her 10th. She flew on Air Force One with JFK and has been in the front row of the White House press room with ten U.S. presidents. She served for fifty-seven years as a correspondent and, later, White House bureau chief for United Press International (UPI) for 25 years.

Thomas was the first female officer of the National Press Club, the first female member and president of the White House Correspondents Association, and, in 1975, the first female member of the Gridiron Club. She has written four books; her latest is Watchdogs of Democracy?: The Waning Washington Press Corps and How It Has Failed the Public.

The Basham and Cornell Show broadcasts weekday mornings at 8 am Pacific (11 a.m. Eastern) on KLAV 1230 AM Radio live in Las Vegas. Again, all shows are simulcast worldwide on the Internet (and archived) and can be listened to at Basham and Cornell Radio

If you've missed our show, check out the audio archives for MP3 podcasts. Recent Guests: Obama Cabinet, Obama Transistion team MikeLux, founder of American Center for Progress; Tom Daschle, former Senate Majority Leader; Presidential candidates, Pulitzer Prize winner Charlie Savage; MSNBC's Pat Buchanan, former Reagan advisor; CNN's Paul Begala, former Clinton advisor; Bill Press, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, Sen. John Edwards, Elizabeth Edwards, Dennis & Elizabeth Kucinich, John Dean, NBC Bureau Chief in Tel Aviv Martin Fletcher, Congressman Charlie Rangel,Valerie Plame, Vincent Bugliosi, Christine Pelosi, Dahr Jamail, Senator Mike Gravel; Senator Byron Dorgan; bestselling authors Naomi Klein, Paul Krugman.... and many more. ain, all shows are simulcast worldwide on the Internet (and archived) and can be listened to at Basham and Cornell Radio

Tuesday, May 05, 2009


Rest in peace, Dom Deluise. You're probably flipping tortillas in heaven on Cinco de Mayo! My friend Sumi Lee says: "Met Dom Deluise once at Koo Koo Roo. He was very sweet and we discussed chicken." This makes me laugh, and I know Dom would appreciate us laughing! When people pass, we should celebrate them.

We extend our love, and prayers to Mexico. HAPPY CINCO DE MAYO!! My favorite food EVER is Mexican food, and I love the Mexican people.

Yesterday, May 4th was Star Wars Day: May the Fourth be with you!


Buddhists believe strongly that people must immerse themselves in feeling other’s pain in order to gain the compassion that heals the world. When your heart is full of love for your fellow man, you can reach out and actually change people’s lives.

"The only response to hatred is love." - Wayne Dyer

"There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which can not fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance; that principle is CONTEMPT PRIOR TO INVESTIGATION." - Herbert Spencer

One day when my son was 8 years old, in third grade, he came home from school with a notice from the principal that a 10-year-old boy had died overnight from a high fever. My own son had also been home from school that week, suffering from a similar fever. We had never met this boy or his family, but I instantly felt the mother’s pain so deeply it shattered me and I couldn't stop crying. I looked up the family name in the school directory to see if they had any other children, which they did: one other son in ninth grade at our local high school.

I prayed deeply for this mother — pouring compassion out to her, holding her in my heart and communing with the divine love that passes all understanding. I asked God to comfort her, to fill her with peace. And then the tears stopped. It was four o’clock in the afternoon. I felt an urgent need to get in my car and find this woman. All I knew was that she lived in a large apartment building on Rexford Drive, a few blocks away. The car seemed to drive itself down the street, and at the end of the block, I saw a tall woman in a bathrobe, pacing the sidewalk, bleary-eyed. She looked at me with a sadness I will never forget. I parked in a driveway and rolled down the window. “Are you Benjamin’s mother?” I asked, getting out of the car. The woman ran towards me — literally rushing into my arms, sobbing. We held each other, both of us crying and she said “Did God send you?”

The woman was Korean-American, and explained in broken English that she had just come outside to search for her husband, who had disappeared in grief earlier that day. She asked if I would come in and look at pictures of her son. We went inside and she showed me her son’s “room,” which was just a corner of the living room. Though this was Beverly Hills, they lived in a modest one-bedroom apartment. Both sons slept in the living room. She showed me Benjamin’s report card, schoolwork, baseball trophies, Yugioh cards — which were just like my son’s. She poured tea and told me all the wonderful things about Benjamin.

I silently asked God to give me the right words to say, and out of my mouth came some memories formed into words I could not take credit for. I told her about my precious brother Paul and how he had come to me in a vision a few days after his death. I’ll never forget this because I was driving my car and literally had to pull over and stop. On the radio they were playing the song from the Disney movie “Pocahontas” with the lyric “Who knows how high the Sycamore grows... if you cut it down you’ll never know.” This struck me because we had Paul’s memorial service underneath a giant Sycamore tree. My head collapsed onto the steering wheel I was crying uncontrollably. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a surge of warmth and light filled my body and I bolted upright in my seat. I saw my brother’s face beaming at me so broadly I had never seen him this radiant. He told me to stop crying, that he'd “see me later,” that “there is no death.” He even said “I love you Lydia; you really helped me.” This was in 1995, on the third day after I had found his body. I felt completely at peace about him from then on.

I kept a picture of Paul by my bedside that week, with a candle burning next to it. One morning three days after his death, my toddler Jack, who was a year and a half old, woke up, giggled, pointed to the picture and said, “Paul happy!” This gives me goose bumps even now when I remember it. Now I’m going to sound completely loony, but on the day we scattered his ashes at sea, before we left for the boat, three white doves alighted on our lawn, and these were not doves for hire. What is it with the number three?

As I sat with the woman, I told her that her son Benjamin was a gift that she was blessed with for ten years and now God needed him back home for bigger things. I told her “our children are on loan to us.” I don't know where these words came from. As she walked me out she said she felt an enormous wave of peace come over her. “I was so depressed and now I feel I was visited by an angel.” It dawned on me that we can all be comforters or ‘human angels’ for each other when we open up and begin to really care about others.

Our entire school attended Benjamin’s funeral. During the eulogy, the minister read a letter written by the mother, in which she said: “Benjamin was a gift to us for ten years, and now God called him back home for more important things…"

It’s amazing how Love uses us when we make ourselves available. I've had full-blown miracles and healings from prayer -- and I’ve come to rely on ceaseless prayer for every problem in life including overcoming "genetic" diseases. But the best kind is praying for others with compassion.

After my crash and burn, I began to transcend my ego in fits and starts. It did not succumb willingly. Sometimes the ego is so big it needs an apartment of its own.

But the most important change was when I began to have more compassion for others. I believe that’s the main idea: to transcend our demanding egos and put others first. There’s no time to waste; we all need to get over ourselves and branch out. As Christ said, “you have to lose your life to save it,” and the St. Francis Prayer,“It is by self-forgetting that one finds.”

I always tell my children, “No matter how much you acquire or accomplish in life, if you’re not kind to others, you’ve missed the whole point.”

It's really hard to get out of my self-centeredness and actually do it. There are so many times I’ve received a nudge to extend myself to help someone, but out of laziness or fear, I’ve ignored the call.

Einstein said it beautifully here: "A human being is a part of the whole called by us “Universe,” a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty."

It took years to smash my ego, gain some humility, stop forcing things my way, let go of fear and begin to deeply care about others. As I’ve become more enlightened, I’ve become more generous, more “liberal”, but I don’t mean this politically.

I believe "good conservatives are really liberals at heart."

Why are so many fundamentalist Christians stuck in the Old Testament with its eye-for-an-eye mentality — which is the exact opposite of Christian? Maybe they don’t realize the word “Christ” is the root of the word “Christian” because the vowel sounds are different! Christ brought the new law, in the new testament -- which brought the law of love. Christ talks about how we must take care of the “least among us,” we must be peacemakers and take care of the poor, the meek, and the outcasts. Perhaps this doesn’t fit their worldview of the downtrodden as “victims.”

I heard Gay Talese talk about his interest in the common man, the humble underdog who struggles through life without fame, fanfare or charisma – and how important it is to celebrate everyday heroes rather than superstars, gorgeous models and million-dollar athletes. In other words, we should value substance over style.