An Anti-Lynching Apology in the Senate: No Word from Sen. Byrd?
Congressional reporter Sheryl Gay Stolbergs Senate Issues Apology Over Failure on Antilynching Law explains a recent symbolic vote in the Senate: The formal apology, adopted by voice vote, was issued decades after senators blocked antilynching bills by filibuster. The resolution is the first time that members of Congress, who have apologized to Japanese-Americans for their internment in World War II and to Hawaiians for the overthrow of their kingdom, have apologized to African-Americans for any reason, proponents of the measure said.
Noting that Republican Sen. George Allen of Virginia is a cosponsor (along with about 80 others), Stolberg tries to put the conservative on the defensive with hints of racial insensitivity: Others described the resolution as an act of expediency for Mr. Allen, who is a likely presidential candidate and who has been criticized for displaying a Confederate flag at his home and a noose in his law office. Allen said that they were part of collections of flags and Western paraphernalia and that he was motivated not by politics, but by a plea by Dick Gregory, the civil rights advocate, who wrote him a letter urging him not to choose to do nothing.
But while the Times is worried about Allens noose, they ignore the awkward case of ex-Klansman and Democratic Sen. Robert Byrds hood.
Though Byrd is regarded as the master of Senate protocol and filibusters, Stolberg doesnt feel the need to get his perspective on the past Senate filibusters of anti-lynching laws. In fact, in a favorable interview with Byrd in April, Stolberg devoted very little time to his past Klan membership , concentrating on his extremist anti-Bush rhetoric and concluding Mr. Byrd seemed energized, casting thunderbolts like Zeus from the mountaintop.
For the full Stolberg on the anti-lynching apology, click here:
Pictures of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro by acolytes Osvaldo and Roberto Salas mar the Sunday arts page in a photo feature, What He Saw at the Revolution How a kid from the Bronx became Fidel Castros personal documentarian.
Photography writer Annette Grant humanizes the dictator in the accompanying text: In 1955 a clean-shaven young man in a spiffy suit came to New York with the wild notion of raising money to finance a revolution in his homeland, Cuba. Even then Fidel Castro knew the value of a good photo-op, so he was glad to meet a countryman, Osvaldo Salas, who lived with his family in the Bronx and made a living as a photographer. Osvaldo Salas became chief of the photo department of the Cuban newspaper Revolucion, while his son Roberto became one of the dictators personal photographers.
Included are several candid shots of the dictator taken by father and son, and fawning captions from Roberto: Fidel still goes for 18, 20 hours a day. Hes one of those people who can sleep for a couple of hours and look as fresh as a lettuce, and everyone else is just dead.
As if everyone else had a choice whether or not to keep tyrants hours.
To see the full Castro package, click here:
Warning: High-Bias Content
Melanie Warners Sunday piece sounds at first like a fun read: Striking Back At the Food Police Dont Tell Rick Berman What Americans Should Eat.
But anyone reading the headline and expecting a conventional wisdom-bucking piece about the health hazards of fast food will be disappointed, as the Times business section contributes another piece that takes a liberal groups word against that of business.
Warner begins: When it comes to food fights, John Belushi's character in Animal House has nothing on Rick Berman. A prominent Washington lobbyist, Mr. Berman runs the Center for Consumer Freedom, a nonprofit advocacy group that is financed by the food and restaurant industries. Two months ago, after a report in a leading medical journal cast doubt on several assumptions about obesity, he pounced. His group ran $600,000 worth of full-page ads in a half-dozen newspapers, gloating that the study showed that obesity was not an epidemic but rather a lot of hype. Americans have been force-fed a steady diet of obesity myths by the 'food police,' trial lawyers, and even our own government, the ad said.
She sniffs: In recent years, Mr. Berman, who is not a scientist, has emerged as a powerful and controversial voice in the debate over the nation's eating habits. In some ways, he has become the face of the food industry as it tries to beat back regulations and discourage consumer lawsuits. Food and restaurant companies, he says, are being unfairly blamed for making Americans fat and unhealthy; he adds that people are smart enough to make their own well-informed choices.Along the way, Mr. Berman and his group have earned more than a few enemies. Critics say that Consumer Freedom seizes on statistical errors and other nuances to distract from the substance of the obesity debate.
Warner contrasts Bermans supposed lack of expertise with his liberal counterpart at the Center for Science in the Public Interest (known in lingo as the food police), citing his scientific background prominently: Run for 30 years by Mr. Jacobson, a tenacious Ph.D. in microbiology, the Center for Science in the Public Interest has consistently shined a bright light on the nutritional ills of the standard American diet. Last year it raised $16 million, mostly from subscribers to its monthly newsletter. To Mr. Jacobson, food companies have followed the profit motive, making bigger sizes to encourage people to spend more money, and engineering food that is full of sugar, fat and salt - and thus has an irresistible taste. As a result, he says, people have become fat.
CSPI also gets funding from liberal foundations like the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation. Yet Warner only analyzes donors for the Center for Consumer Freedom, using data put together by a left-wing activist group: A watchdog group in Washington, the Center for Media and Democracy, has posted data about Consumer Freedom's financing on its Web site. According to documents they say were obtained from a former Consumer Freedom staff member, corporate contributors to the group as of 2002 included Coca-Cola, Wendy's and Tyson Foods, each of which gave $200,000. Cargill gave $100,000, according to the documents, and Outback Steakhouse gave $164,600.
Warner uses that to let Jacobson of the food police take a bite out of CCFs credibility: Mr. Jacobson, who employs 60 people at his organization, says that because of the way Mr. Berman's group is financed, Consumer Freedom is little more than a thinly veiled front for the interests of the food industry. The companies that are working with them want their critics debunked and trashed, Mr. Jacobson said recently from his Washington office. They can secretly participate in that by funding Berman.
Theres more slant: One scientist who objects to Consumer Freedom's statistical nit-picking is Katherine M. Flegal, a senior research scientist at the C.D.C.'s National Center for Health Statistics and an author of the study in The Journal of the American Medical Association that found fewer deaths linked to obesity. I think people have overinterpreted a lot of what we said, Dr. Flegal said in a recent interview. Just because you don't have a risk of excess death doesn't mean you're healthy.
Yet when experts on the other side make broad pronouncements about a so-called child obesity epidemic, Warner doesnt apply similar skepticism: And for Dr. Ludwig, the fact that the study's findings were less dire than previous studies does not shake his belief that there is a looming public health disaster. Dr. Flegal's study, for instance, did not directly address the sharp increase in childhood obesity. Once obese children enter adulthood, Dr. Ludwig said, then all of the previous relationships that have been observed may no longer apply because they'll be carrying those extra pounds for so many more years. In other words, with regard to the childhood obesity epidemic, he added, we are still in the quiet before the storm.
To read Warners story in full, click here: