American journalism has entered highly dangerous terrain.
A tip-off is that the Washington Post refuses to face up to a conflict of interest involving Jeff Bezos -- who’s now the sole owner of the powerful newspaper at the same time he remains Amazon’s CEO and main stakeholder.
The Post is supposed to expose CIA secrets. But Amazon is under contract to keep them. Amazon has a new $600 million “cloud” computing deal with the CIA.Read more »
(B3 note: This exchange between Norman Solomon and the Washington Post executive editor Martin Baron followed a Solomon column that dramatized the ethical issues involving the Post and its new owner Jeff Bezos, founder and CE0 of Amazon. Solomon noted that Amazon has landed a $600 million contract with the Central Intelligence Agency. He wrote that "news media should illuminate conflicts of interest, not embody them" and that Bezo is now doing "big business" with the CIA "while readers of the newspaper's CIA coverage are left in the dark.")
To: Martin Baron, Executive Editor, and Kevin Merida, Managing Editor, The Washington Post
Dear Mr. Baron and Mr. Merida:
On behalf of more than 25,000 signers of a petition to The Washington Post, I’m writing this letter to request a brief meeting to present the petition at a time that would be convenient for you on Jan. 14 or 15.
(B3 note: reprinted from last year and to be reprinted every year by me for reasons that will become apparent upon reading this story.)
This is the incredible story of the neglected hero of Pearl Harbor.
His name is Joe Bulgo and he lived across the street from our family for years on 14th Avenue in the West Portal area. I knew him as a neighbor, and our daughter and son played with his two daughters. His wife Val for decades has sold and still sells fine jewelry in a downtown department store. Daughter Linda played the star Snow White for years in Beach Blanket Babylon and now has her own show in Las Vegas. Daughter Dianne is the catering director at the St. Francis Hotel. And our families shared a wonderful domestic helper, Rose Zelalich.
But neither our family nor any of his neighbors had any idea of his Pearl Harbor heroism until his daughter Linda gave me a copy of a story on Joe in the December issue of the 1990 Readers Digest. Read more »
Guardian columnist Dick Meister, former labor editor of the San Francisco Chronicle and KQED-TV Newsroom, has covered labor and politics for more than a half-century. Contact him through his website, www.dickmeister.com, which includes several hundred of his columns. It's time for Congress to help the many jobless Americans an estimated 450,000 in the next three months alone who are about to be denied federally- funded Unemployment Insurance benefits.
What Congress must do and must do quickly is once again expand the emergency program that was established during the Great Recession in 2008 to provide benefits averaging $300 a week to the steadily growing number of jobless. Congress has until only January 1 to block the first cutbacks of extra benefit weeks that could continue until at least 2015 unless Congress Acts.
President Obama and congressional Democrats are pushing measures that would lengthen the benefit payout period through 2014 at a cost of about $25 billion on top of the $225 billion spent so far on the program. But given the congressional haggling over economic measures, the chance of agreement before Congress adjourns December 31 is slight. Read more »
On Nov. 22, 1963, I was a reporter for the Milwaukee Journal, a famous MIlwaukee daily newspaper always rated among the top ten U.S. newspapers.
I was packing with my wife Jean and two kids, Katrina and Dan, to go to San Francisco with the idea of starting a newspaper, which three years later became the San Francico Bay Guardian. But I was still on duty in the Journal newsroom on the Friday morning of the assassination.
Early in the morning I got a call from the publicist of the Moscow Circus, which was finishing up its highly successful run in town. I had covered the circus as part of my show business beat and had rated it highly as the splendid show it was. The publicist, a good guy and competent at his job, wanted me and the Journal's music critic, Walter Monfried, to go with him to lunch at a nearby German restaurant called Mader's.
"I will buy the lunch," he said, '"and you won't have to write a thing. You will be doing me a big favor. I have lots of money left over on my expense account and I need to get it spent. I want to spend it on the two of you." And he repeated the point for emphasis, "You will be doing me a big favor."
And so Walter and I, after our noon deadlines on the afternoon paper, headed out for Mader's, planning for a big meal and lots of drinks. Read more »
(B3 note: Norman Solomon sent out the following message from Roots.org. The message was signed by four Americans who recently visited Snowden in Moscow: Thomas Drake, Ray McGovern, Jesselyn Raddack, and Coleen Rowley.)
Most Americans probably take the right to travel for granted until this right is lost or curtailed. Passports are, of course, required for most international travel. When our group (Jesselyn Radack, Thomas Drake, Ray McGovern and Coleen Rowley) recently traveled to Moscow to meet with Edward Snowden and present him with the Sam Adams Award for Integrity in Intelligence, we depended upon our fundamental right to travel.
The intelligence whistleblower whose integrity we honored, however, has been deprived of that right. Vindictive U.S. officials revoked the passport of Snowden, whose disclosures have informed and educated the people of the United States and the world about secret surveillance and massive data-gathering that the NSA and other government agencies are engaged in within the U.S. and around the world. Read more »
Guardian columnist Dick Meister is a longtime Bay Area journalist. He can be reached at www.dickmeister.com, which includes several hundred of his columns. OK Nike, pay up! You owe me big. Exactly how much, I can't say, since I don't know the going rate for athletes and others who act as human billboards for you. You know, those whose team uniforms, workout gear and other garments display your swoosh brand symbol prominently.
I assume the swoosh-marked college athletes are not paid openly, lest they lose their amateur status, although their colleges, while profiting from the athletes' play and display of the swoosh and other brand symbols, of course face no penalties for doing so.
My days as an athlete are long gone and, sad to say, there were no swoosh contracts back in those days. But now, I think, it's time for me to collect a little. You see, I was recently quite ill, and on leaving the hospital was under strict orders to go easy and, among other things, to wear light, loose fitting clothing. No tight jeans and such. Read more »
The tale of what really happened on Halloween Eve in 1951 in Rock Rapids, Iowa. (Updated by popular demand.)
By Bruce B. Brugmann
Back where I come from, Halloween was one of the most culturally advanced holidays of our era. We had some fast times and created some enduring smalltown legends on Halloween. This was in my hometown of Rock Rapids, a small farming community nestled along the Rock River in northwest Iowa just five miles south of the Minnesota state line. I can speak for a generation or two back in the early 1950s when Halloween was the one night of the year when we could raise a little hell and and hope to stay one step ahead of the cops.
Or, in the case of Rock Rapids, the one and only cop, who happened to be Elmer "Shinny" Sheneberger. Shinny had the unenviable job of trying to keep some semblance of law and order during an evening when the Hermie Casjens gang was on the loose and genial mayhem was on the agenda. Somehow through the years, nobody remembered exactly when, the tradition was born that the little kids would go house to house trick and treating but the older boys could roam the town looking to make trouble and pull off some pranks.