Posts from May 7, 2004

Air Titanic

Air Titanic
: The chairman and vice-chairman of Air America leave, following the CEO and programming head last week and there are reports they can’t make their payroll.

This is looking as well-planned as the rebuilding of Iraq.

Ombadsman

Ombadsman

: Tom Mangan has a reverse-psychology marketing idea for newspapers: Hire a blogger to snark about your paper every day and get it talked about.

Citizens’ media from Iraq

Citizens’ media from Iraq

Zeyad has written some wonderful posts lately.

In one, he gives us his memories of visiting friends in Abu Ghraib prison and then eloquently and calmy explains how U.S. abuses there are, sadly, not a surprise and how it damages the effort to rebuild his nation:

They may be just a few soldiers, it may be an isolated case, but what’s the difference? The effect has been done, and the Hearts and Minds campaign is a joke that isn’t funny any more.

In a later post, he tells us about life in Basrah with a matter-of-factness that makes bombs just part of everyday life:

Not much has been going on in Basrah lately. Traffic and movement has returned to ‘normal’, a few streets where IP stations are located are still blocked. Explosives were found near a primary school which caused some panic among concerned Basrawis, another small bomb was dismantled close to a primary health care clinic which caused me to panic since I work at one. Basrah IP said the bombs were amateurish and wouldn’t cause much damage anyway, so I’m a bit relieved!

There are signs, graffiti, and banners all over town against returning former Ba’athists to governmental institutions. Other signs strongly condemned the appointment of General Jassim Mohammed over the Fallujah brigade. One sign reads “Basrah residents demand a trial for Saddam’s new cowboy in Fallujah”. Another said “The return of Ba’athists is a return of Nazism and mass graves.” …

Electricity hasn’t been very good this week at Basrah, but it still remains significantly better than Baghdad. The old medical aide was cursing his luck yesterday morning at the clinic. He had purchased a new air conditioner and a refrigerator but still did not have a chance to enjoy them because of the unstable electricity. He turned to me with a wicked toothless grin “Ah Dr., but there is an area just about 100 meters from where I live, and it has an alternate power schedule. I’m going to draw a power line from it.” … I like the man, he often comes over to my room and chats about politics. What amuses me is his constant criticism of Iraqis. He says things like “There’s no use in anything. Iraqis are all thieves and murderers.”, or “Iraqis don’t deserve democracy, they only deserve Saddam.”

He was ranting like crazy this morning. Recently, there was a MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella) immunisation campaign. Primary health care clinic employees are divided into as much as 10 teams, they start making rounds at primary schools and villages, each clinic in it’s surrounding area, immunising children under 12 years old. The campaign is funded by Save The Children and other humanitarian organisations. Each team member is paid 10 dollars a day for a two weeks period. It is their duty to ensure that every child in their area is immunised. The campaign ended two months ago and they still haven’t been paid, although the funds were paid in advance to the Basrah Health Directorate. Someone told them lately thay they will be only be paid 5 dollars a day, instead of 10. Corruption at the higher levels is still at large it seems….

This is a sense of life in Iraq we get from no reporter.

: River reacts to Abu Ghraib just as expected, with rage:

People are so angry. There

More Iraqi media

More Iraqi media

: Just came upon this very good story about an American company, Harris, hired to rebuild Iraqi media (via Zeyad, who send us to the weblog of a woman, an Iraqi expat, who works for Harris in Iraq).

Michael Moore 411

Michael Moore 411

: I didn’t post about the controversy regarding Disney’s supposed sudden refusal to distribute Michael Moore’s anti-Bush movie because something just didn’t smell right about it. Well, I have a good nose for non-news:

Less than 24 hours after accusing the Walt Disney Company of pulling the plug on his latest documentary in a blatant attempt at political censorship, the rabble-rousing film-maker Michael Moore has admitted he knew a year ago that Disney had no intention of distributing it.

The admission, during an interview with CNN, undermined Moore’s claim that Disney was trying to sabotage the US release of Fahrenheit 911 just days before its world premiere at the Cannes film festival.

Instead, it lent credence to a growing suspicion that Moore was manufacturing a controversy to help publicise the film, a full-bore attack on the Bush administration and its handling of national security since the attacks of 11 September 2001.

In an indignant letter to his supporters, Moore said he had learnt only on Monday that Disney had put the kibosh on distributing the film, which has been financed by the semi-independent Disney subsidiary Miramax….

But Moore’s publicity stunt, if that is what is, appears to be working. A front-page news piece in The New York Times was followed yesterday by an editorial denouncing Disney for censorship and denial of Moore’s right to free expression.

I’m no fan of Disney (as a stockholder) but even they aren’t stupid enough to act like Clear Channel. When this story came out, the implication was that Disney was blocking anyone from distributing the film. Disney made it clear that Moore was free to find distribution — and he will. Movie studios pass on distributing films every day; it’s the way the business works.

What amazes me most about Moore is that he has no respect for his own credibility.