Saturday, November 27, 2004

True Story of Frankie and Johnny

Morning Edition had a great story on November 24, 2004

"Frankie and Johnny" is a classic American ballad about a woman who shoots her lover for cheating. It's based on a true story and has been rewritten by countless writers and recorded by dozens of performers. Novelist Cecil Brown wrote an essay about the song for the new book The Rose and the Briar: Death, Love and Liberty in the American Ballad.
Listen here

Reed has also writeen Stagolee Shot Billy, about another 1890 St. Louis killing turned into song. The website has a very nice sampling of Stagolee songs.

From the site's description:
How the legend grew is a story in itself, and Brown tracks it through variants of the song "Stack Lee"--from early ragtime versions of the '20s, to Mississippi John Hurt's rendition in the '30s, to John Lomax's 1940s prison versions, to interpretations by Lloyd Price, James Brown, and Wilson Pickett, right up to the hip-hop renderings of the '90s. Drawing upon the works of James Baldwin, Richard Wright, and Ralph Ellison, Brown describes the powerful influence of a legend bigger than literature, one whose transformation reflects changing views of black musical forms, and African Americans' altered attitudes toward black male identity, gender, and police brutality. This book takes you to the heart of America, into the soul and circumstances of a legend that has conveyed a painful and elusive truth about our culture.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Tale of Two Libel Suits--Make That Three

The liberal blogsphere is all aflutter about a letter from MEMRI to Juan Cole threatening a libel suit. (Here are the comments that upset MEMRI.)

Almost simultaneously, comes news of another libel threat in a column from David Frum

Two weeks ago, the National Post and I were served with a notice of libel by the Canadian branch of the Council on American Islamic Relations, or CAIR. The Post and I are not alone. Over the past year, CAIR's Canadian and U.S. branches have served similar libel notices on half a dozen other individuals and organizations in the United States and Canada. Each case has its own particular facts, yet they are linked by a common theme: That we defendants have accused CAIR (in the words of the notice served on me) of being "an unscrupulous, Islamist, extremist sympathetic group in Canada supporting terrorism."
It also turns out that Professor Cole has himself threatened legal action against his web critics.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Textbook disclaimer stickers

Good stuff.

Brownback goes after pornography

In the current climate of "moral values" triumphalism, it is probably too much to expect the media to give critical attention the blatant showboating and promotion of pseudoscience in last week's Senate hearings on "the science [sic] of pornography addiction."

As this article in Reason details, the Congress has demonstrated a demagogic contempt for scientific investigations of sexuality.

According to a report in the Wichita Eagle:

Some of his middle-age male friends limit their time alone in hotel rooms to avoid the temptation of graphic pay-per-view movies, Brownback said.
Hmm, would those middle -age friends be his Congressional room-mates in the townhouse subsidzied by a strange religious cult, his fellow Republican members, his staffers?

MSNBC carried an AP report
Comparing pornography to heroin, researchers are calling on Congress to finance studies on “porn addiction” and launch a public health campaign about its dangers.

Internet pornography is corrupting children and hooking adults into an addiction that threatens their jobs and families, a panel of anti-porn advocates told a hearing organized Thursday by Senator Sam Brownback, chairman of the Commerce subcommittee on science.

Mary Anne Layden, co-director of a sexual trauma program at the University of Pennsylvania, said pornography’s effect on the brain mirrors addiction to heroin or crack cocaine.
Actually what Layden said is
Research indicates that even non-sex addicts will show brain reactions on PET scans while viewing pornography similar to cocaine addicts looking at images of people taking cacaine.
And, maybe, brain scans while viewing pictures of food would be similar as well.

There was also some just plain sloppy reporting. The AP wrote, "She [Layden] told of one patient, a business executive, who arrived at his office at 9 a.m. each day, logged onto Internet porn sites, and didn’t log off until 5 p.m." In fact, Layden's written testimony presents this as a hypothetical definition, not as an actual case.

The lead witness for Brownback's hearing was Judith Reisman who presented a truly fantastic version of brian psychology.

Thanks to the latest advances in neuroscience, we now know that pornographic visual images imprint and alter the brain, triggering an instant, involuntary, but lasting, biochemical memory trail, arguably, subverting the First Amendment by overriding the cognitive speech process. This is true of so-called “soft-core” and “hard-core” pornography. And once new neurochemical pathways are established they are difficult or impossible to delete.

Pornographic images also cause secretion of the body’s “fight or flight” sex hormones. This triggers excitatory transmitters and produces non-rational, involuntary reactions; intense arousal states that overlap sexual lust--now with fear, shame, and/or hostility and violence. Media erotic fantasies become deeply imbedded, commonly coarsening, confusing, motivating and addicting many of those exposed. (See “the Violence Pyramid” at Pornography triggers myriad kinds of internal, natural drugs that mimic the “high” from a street drug. Addiction to pornography is addiction to what I dub erototoxins -- mind-altering drugs produced by the viewer’s own brain.

How does this ‘brain sabotage’ occur? Brain scientists tell us that “in 3/10 of a second a visual image passes from the eye through the brain, and whether or not one wants to, the brain is structurally changed and memories are created – we literally ‘grow new brain’ with each visual experience.
Here's an example of the Reisman's crackpot views
Action Item: Repeal all “sexual orientation” and “hate crime” bills as predator protection legislation. Under California’s AB 1785, et al., children who commit “hate” by resisting sexual orientations such as sadism, masochism, homosexuality, voyeurism, etc., may be retrained by State sex authorities. On the evidence, credentialed State sex trainers proselytize schoolchildren via an anti-Judeo-Christian, pansexual religious cult, violating separation of Church and State.

Child Malnutrition Crisis In Iraq

Why it's hard to win the hearts and minds of the Iraqis according to this report in the Washington Post.

Acute malnutrition among young children in Iraq has nearly doubled since the United States led an invasion of the country 20 months ago, according to surveys by the United Nations, aid agencies and the interim Iraqi government.

After the rate of acute malnutrition among children younger than 5 steadily declined to 4 percent two years ago, it shot up to 7.7 percent this year, according to a study conducted by Iraq's Health Ministry in cooperation with Norway's Institute for Applied International Studies and the U.N. Development Program. The new figure translates to roughly 400,000 Iraqi children suffering from "wasting," a condition characterized by chronic diarrhea and dangerous deficiencies of protein.

"These figures clearly indicate the downward trend," said Alexander Malyavin, a child health specialist with the UNICEF mission to Iraq.

The surveys suggest the silent human cost being paid across a country convulsed by instability and mismanagement. While attacks by insurgents have grown more violent and more frequent, deteriorating basic services take lives that many Iraqis said they had expected to improve under American stewardship.

Iraq's child malnutrition rate now roughly equals that of Burundi, a central African nation torn by more than a decade of war. It is far higher than rates in Uganda and Haiti.
The nutrition surveys indicated that conditions are worst in Iraq's largely poor, overwhelmingly Shiite Muslim south, an area alternately subject to neglect and persecution during Hussein's rule. But doctors say malnutrition occurs wherever water is dirty, parents are poor and mothers have not been taught how to avoid disease.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Iraq and morality

Juan Cole makes some controversial but very valid points.

The Marines at Fallujah are operating in accordance with a UNSC Resolution and have all the legitimacy in international law that flows from that. The Allawi government asked them to undertake this Fallujah mission.

To compare them to the murderous thugs who kidnapped CARE worker Margaret Hassan, held her hostage, terrified her, and then killed her is frankly monstrous. The multinational forces are soldiers fighting a war in which they are targetting combatants and sometimes accidentally killing innocents. The hostage-takers are terrorists deliberately killing innocents. It is simply not the same thing.

Now, I don't like the timing of the Fallujah mission. I don't like all the mistakes made along the way, which produced this operation. I don't like its tactics. I don't like the way it put so many civilians in harm's way. I don't like the violations of international law (targetting the hospital, turning away the Red Crescent, killing wounded and disarmed combatants), etc. I protest the latter. I don't know enough about military affairs to offer an alternative on the former issues, and don't mind admitting my technical ignorance. You can't do everything.

But the basic idea of attacking the guerrillas holding up in that city is not in and of itself criminal or irresponsible. A significant proportion of the absolutely horrible car bombings that have killed hundreds and thousands of innocent Iraqis, especially Shiites, were planned and executed from Fallujah. There were serious and heavily armed forces in Fallujah planning out ways of killing hundreds to prevent elections from being held in January. These are mass murderers, serial murderers. If they were fighting only to defend Fallujah, that would be one thing; even the Marines would respect them for that. They aren't, or at least, a significant proportion of them aren't. They are killing civilians elsewhere in order to throw Iraq into chaos and avoid the enfranchisement of the Kurds and Shiites.

Some of my readers still want good guys and bad guys, white hats and black hats. That's not the way the world is. It is often grey, and very bleak.
Gary Wills reviews Michael Walzer's Arguing About War in the New York Review of Books and gives a thorough discussion of Walzer's views on Iraq, the subject of five essays in the book.
3. Post bellum. "Surely occupying powers are morally bound to think seriously about what they are going to do in someone else's country. That moral test we have obviously failed to meet." "A just occupation costs money; it does not make money." Admittedly, war always has its peripheral scavengers, its opportunistic camp followers.

In the Iraqi case, however, President Bush and his advisers seem committed to profiteering at the center. They claim to be bringing democracy to Iraq, and we all have to hope that they succeed. But with much greater speed and effectiveness, they have brought to Iraq the crony capitalism that now prevails in Washington....

The distribution of contracts to politically connected American companies is a scandal.... An international agency of proven impartiality would be best [in awarding contracts], but even American regulators, under congressional mandate, would be an improvement over no regulators at all.

On the other hand, Walzer says, a conquering nation is responsible for the chaos it has introduced into a conquered nation, and cannot leave when it suits the conqueror's convenience. That would be adding a crowning injustice to all the prior injustices.

Walzer made very good arguments against the justice of the war's commencement, conduct, and conclusion. But he was no more successful in his opposition than was the Vatican. So are his arguments as useless as those of the tradition? I hope not. We are not exempted from pressing moral claims even by defeat, and he supplies us with better moral claims than we have experienced in the past. Besides, his arguments over war go to many other concerns with democracy in the centralized modern state

Maria Schneider and Artist Share

Maria Schneider, the genius jazz arranger and composer, was interviewed by KMUW's Barry Gaston Friday night. Gaston does a a five-night a week 7-9 jazz program for the Wichita State University PBS station. On Fridays he does an extra hour which 2-3 times a month features an interview with a leading jazz artist.

The music was interesting as always, but I was especially fascinated by the new model for using the web to support creative artistry.

Her first CD was self-financed and eventually leased to the European Enja label. It cost here $25,000 to make and she lost thousands of dollars. The second was financed by Enja, but hasn't yet made her any money. Her latest CD, Concert in the Garden, cost $100,000 to make.

What Schneider has done is to use Artist Share which desctibes itself as " an innovative new business model for creative artists. ArtistShare completely empowers artists in ways that they could only imagine just a few short years ago. Through ArtistShare artists are able to develop a strong and loyal fan base world wide. Finance their projects through their fan bases and in the end, own the rights to all of their work."

You can order the Schnieder's new CD for $16.95 ( MPG downloads even cheaper), but if you want to really support this great artist you could sign up to be a Composer Participant for $81.95.

This offer now includes the limited edition 'Concert in the Garden' CD. Composer 'Plus' Participants receive exclusive access to score samples for each piece, sound clips from rehearsals, my own personal comments about the pieces, recording, mixing and editing phases of the record. Much information has been posted and there's more to come.

You receive streaming access to the series of four Hunter College discussions which occurred February thru June 2004.

You also receive exclusive access to a streamed discussion and in depth analysis of the music from my CD Evanescence. All Composer 'Plus' participants receive downloadable mp3 files for each track on Evanescence.

This offer is geared towards professional and aspiring composers, players, conductors, etc. however I am sure it will be an interesting experience for any music fan as well.

The Composer 'Plus' participant is a 'participant listed offer'. Each member (or any name of their choice) will be credited on the final project page as helping to make this project possible.

Jim Hall, Danillo Perez, and Trey Anastasio are other artists who are using Art Share.

Please take a look at Maria Schneider's website. If you're not a fan already, I predict you will be. And you'll probably become an admirer of Artist Share, as well.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Two Paths for the Democrats

I've just come across a very interesting blog by Arkansas State University political science professor Russell Fox. He touches on many of the themes raised by Thomas Frank's What's the Matter with Kansas.

Here's a starting point. Fox discusses an essay by Tim Burke outlinging two possible paths to return the Democratic Party to power.

One of the paths Tim describes is his own preferred one: a "soft libertarianism" which will be able to pull in the "South Park Republicans" and other small government-types that sympathize with what might be called social liberalism. (Belle Waring is an enthusiast for this route too.) The other path is mine: a "communalist-socialist" left that accepts--even embraces--the religiousity of the rural South and Midwest so as to bring the working class back around to (or at least, remove moral barriers from them giving a good listen to) egalitarian politics.

Read what Fox has to say here.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Bush Order Purge of CIA

Newsday reports

The White House has ordered the new CIA director, Porter Goss, to purge the agency of officers believed to have been disloyal to President George W. Bush or of leaking damaging information to the media about the conduct of the Iraq war and the hunt for Osama bin Laden, according to knowledgeable sources.

"The agency is being purged on instructions from the White House," said a former senior CIA official who maintains close ties to both the agency and to the White House. "Goss was given instructions ... to get rid of those soft leakers and liberal Democrats. The CIA is looked on by the White House as a hotbed of liberals and people who have been obstructing the president's agenda."

A very cool site

It sure has the sizzle, but wheter it has the steak I'm not sure.

10 x 10

Every hour, 10x10 scans the RSS feeds of several leading international news sources, and performs an elaborate process of weighted linguistic analysis on the text contained in their top news stories. After this process, conclusions are automatically drawn about the hour's most important words. The top 100 words are chosen, along with 100 corresponding images, culled from the source news stories. At the end of each day, month, and year, 10x10 looks back through its archives to conclude the top 100 words for the given time period. In this way, a constantly evolving record of our world is formed, based on prominent world events, without any human input.

I noticed a few cases where the stories didn't link up with the pictures, which I think they are supposed to. Regardless, take a look.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Thank Liberals

"If your workplace is safe; if your children go to school rather than being forced into labor; if you are paid a living wage, including overtime; if you enjoy a 40-hour week and you are allowed to join a union to protect your rights -- you can thank liberals. If your food is not poisoned and your water is drinkable -- you can thank liberals. If your parents are eligible for Medicare and Social Security, so they can grow old in dignity without bankrupting your family -- you can thank liberals. If our rivers are getting cleaner and our air isn't black with pollution; if our wilderness is protected and our countryside is still green -- you can thank liberals. If people of all races can share the same public facilities; if everyone has the right to vote; if couples fall in love and marry regardless of race; if we have finally begun to transcend a segregated society -- you can thank liberals. Progressive innovations like those and so many others were achieved by long, difficult struggles against entrenched power. What defined conservatism, and conservatives, was their opposition to every one of those advances …"

—Joe Conason, Salon

Friday, November 12, 2004

Controvery about Norweigan Kristallnacht Demo

Jan Haugland (Secular Blasphemy) has written this very disturbing report:

Are Norway's anti-racists anti-Semities or did a anti-immigrant group try to disrupt a march memorializing the anniversary of Kristallnacht.

Norwegian anti-racists yesterday were marking the 66th Kristallnacht anniversary, in memory of the brutal beginning of official Nazi-Germany's genocidal murder of Europe's jews.

In our capital Oslo, the organisation SOS Rasisme refused Jews to participate in the march because they carried jewish symbols and Israeli flags.

Yes, you read that right.

The "anti-racist" organisation insists it did the right thing despite widespread criticism, including from Norway's Justice Minister Odd Einar Dørum (Liberals) and Progress Party leader Carl I. Hagen.

Technically, it was the police that refused people carrying jewish symbols from participating. The police has come in for criticism, too, but argue they could not guarantee the security of jews among the leftist "anti-racists." Which probably says a lot.

The Kristallnacht in Norway is widely used by organisations protesting Israel's war against Palestinian terrorism, and frequent comparisons of the murder of 6 million jews with Israel's acts of self-defence are totally unchecked in Norway's press.
The Simon Weinthal Center is a statement protesting the exclusion.

But quite a different picture emerges from the SOS Rasisme. Here is a letter they addressed to the SWC.
Dear Sirs,

We have registered that you have made a complaint to the Norway Embassy in Washington because of the police action to stop a handful people with Israeli flags.

The norwegian TV2 news made a very wrong story of this incident. The Star of David and other jewish symbols were of course allowed in the procession, actually there was a Star of David in the poster for the demonstration.

The committee had settled on not to take up the Israel/ Palestine- conflict in the procession. No banners either against or in support of for example the security barrierr where wanted. We fear that the day would be teared away from the historical role and the many issues of antisemittism and racism in Norway of today.

"Det mosaiske trossamfunn" (DMT), the Jewish Community of Oslo, has also excluded two of the people the police stopped. Some of the others in the group, where even not jewish, they wanted to promote a very small ultra-right-wing political party in Norway.

In a press release from the DMT, they say:
"På bakgrunn av at NIS og organisasjonens ledelse på årsdagen for Krystallnatten valgte å gå i samarbeid med aktører som DMT på det sterkeste tar avstand fra, valgte styret den 9. november å ekskludere Erez Uriely og Rachel Suissa fra Det mosaiske trossamfund med øyeblikklig virkning."

A quick translation is:
"In the light of that 'NIS' and the leadership of the organisation on the anniversary of the Kristallnacht chose to cooperate with actors that DMT strongly oppose, the board chose to exclude Erez Uriely and Rachel Suissa from the Jewish Community with immediate action."

With anti-racistic regards,

Trond Thorbjørnsen
Still, if I am reading between the lines correctly then SOS-R barred Israeli flags from their demonstration.

More on the controversy from Øyvind Strømmen on the Bjorn Staerk blog.

Misunderstanding Arafat

The Nation makes is real howler in its editorial on the death of Yassir Arafat. They write

it was Arafat who led the PLO, in the face of fierce internal resistance, into adopting the two-state solution in the mid-1970s. But his conciliatory peace offering at the UN General Assembly in 1974, and numerous subsequent peace feelers, were met with persistent rebuffs from Israel and the United States.
That this mistake is a common element of anti-Israel propoganda is no excuse. What the PLO adopted in 1974 was not a two-state solution. It was a stage solution in which the PLO committed itself to establishing a state in any part of liberated Palestine in order to continue to wage for the total destruction of Israel.

The MideastWeb has a sample of statements by Arafat and other PLO leaders

The plan foresees] "At first a small state, and with the help of Allah, it will be made large, and expand to the east, west, north and south. I am interested in the liberation of Palestine, step by step."

Abu Iyad (Salah Khalaf) interviewed in Al Anba [Kuwait] Dec. 18, 1988.

The struggle will continue until all of Palestine is liberated."

Yasser Arafat, radio address, November 1995.

"Within five years we will have 6 to 7 million Arabs living on the West Bank and in Jerusalem....If the Jews can import all kinds of Ethiopians, Russians, Uzbekians, and Ukrainians as Jews, we can import all
kinds of Arabs...We plan to eliminate the state of Israel and establish a Palestinian state. We will make life unbearable for Jews by psychological warfare and population explosion. Jews will not want to live among Arabs. I have no use for Jews....We Palestinians will take over everything, including all of Jerusalem."

Yasser Arafat, Stockholm, 30 January, 1996, cited in Washington Times, March 3, 1996, by Cal Thomas. This quote has been disputed.

"Since the decision of the Palestinian National Council at its 12th meeting in 1974, the PLO has adopted the political solution of establishing a National Authority over any territory from which the occupation withdraws."

Yasser Arafat, quoted in Al Ayyam, January 1, 1998.

"The Oslo accord was a prelude to the Palestinian Authority, and the Palestinian Authority will be a prelude to the Palestinian state which, in its turn, will be a prelude to the liberation of the entire Palestinian land."

Abdul Asis Shaheen, PNA Minister of Supply, i Al-Hayat Al-Jadida on 4 January 1998

As far as the persistent rebuffs from the Israel and United States, this is another bit of political myth. For instance, in the late 1970s, the Carter administration wanted to initiate Middle East peace talks and asked Arafat to accept UN Resolution 242, with the PLO to add a statement insisting on Palestinian national rights and self-determination. They picked Edward Said to be the intermediary. Arafats reponse, "Edward, I want you to tell [Secretary of State Cyrus] Vance that we're not interested."

Here a couple of commentaries worth reading:

Ami Isseroof of MidEast Web

Yosi Beillen architecht of the Oslo Accords and leader of Israel's Yachad (Social Demoratic) Party.

Jonathon Edelstein

Arafat died a leader who betrayed his people's trust in the most profound way possible, and he died a humiliating death, lingering in a Paris hospital while his wife and colleagues fought over his financial and political legacy. In the end, however, the manner of his death may have been a partial atonement for the damage he has done to the Palestinian nation. Had he died in an Israeli attack, or had he died suddenly under circumstances where his succession could not be arranged, the region might have gone up in flames. As it is, he died under the eyes of French doctors who could certify that the cause of his death was natural, and his week in limbo provided time for his burial place to be negotiated and an orderly succession arranged. The chances of building something from the ruins are, if not great, at least somewhat better than they would have been had Arafat died at the Muqata.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Liberal Christians on the Values Vote

An interesing article by Alan Cooperman in the Washington Post on the reaction of liberal Christian leaders to the Bush re-election.

...the moral values held by most Americans are much broader than the handful of issues emphasized by religious conservatives in the 2004 presidential campaign.

Battling the notion that "values voters" swept President Bush to victory because of opposition to gay marriage and abortion, three liberal groups released a post-election poll in which 33 percent of voters said the nation's most urgent moral problem was "greed and materialism" and 31 percent said it was "poverty and economic justice." Sixteen percent cited abortion, and 12 percent named same-sex marriage.

One problem is that the Christian right has been much more effective in reaching voters. The poll showed that twice as many voters had heard from the Christian right as from the Christian right. (71 percent vs. 38 percent).

Jim Wallis of Sojourners suggested that moderate and liberal religious activists need to rethink how some issues, expecially abotion, are approached. That's a point I've made here on The New Appeal to Reason. I'll have something more to say in a day or so.

Tom Perriello of Res Publica said "progressives need to embrace the deep moral critique that people are looking for and make that case on poverty and Iraq, and not just try to talk more about God or outpace the Republicans on gay marriage or abortion."

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Tom Frank Watch

A very nice profile of Tom Frank in the Washington Post.

Keith Gessen reviews Frank's What's the Matter with Kansas? in the Fall Dissent. It's not available on-line yet, but worth reading. Click the link and subsribe to the leading journal of America's democratic left.

Ronald Brownstein in The American Prospect says that Frank's book is "a smart and trenchant contribution to the liberal argument, and a fun read as well." But he has some words of criticism, as well.

Keillor, like Frank, seems mystified that anyone who folds his own laundry would vote Republican. But the days of a political alignment defined solely, or even predominantly, by class are gone. Many Americans, on both sides of the income divide, don’t consider it a “derangement” to express their cultural values at least as much as their economic interests in their vote. Overall, Frank and Keillor have written books of grace, empathy, and insight. But in assuming that Democrats can only win by resurrecting the politics of Franklin Roosevelt and Hubert Humphrey, they are steering through the rearview mirror.

The left and abortion

Michael Berube, who usually posts on his own blog, raises some interesting points about abortion and progressive politics in a post on The American Street.

I do not believe that American politics can shift significantly to the left if we are constantly up against 35-45 percent of the electorate that will sign on with anyone– even genuine Messianic madmen (examples on request!)– who oppose abortion. In other words, the sooner progressives begin spreading the word that you can be a “moral person” who “respects life” but supports first-trimester abortions on health and social welfare grounds, the better. How to go about this?
What strikes me is that Berube is writing about first trimester abortions, while many of the recent abortion battles in the U.S. have been about third trimester abortion. I'm not an expert on European laws on abortion, but a quick web search seems to indicate that at least some of European coutnries have restrictions such as waiting periods, mandatory counseling, and the like that would be anathema to much of the pro-choice community.

What if progressives took a more nuanced, less absolute position on abortion? Or were open to a variety of views?

Questions worth asking I think.

Brownback and Iraq

Kendrick Blackwood writing in KC's The Pitch has written an excellent expose of Kansas Senator Sam Brownback's role in creating the Iraq debacle. What a shame that it appears so late in the electoral season and in a weekly community paper rather in Knight-Ridder's KC Star or Wichita Eagle.

In short, Brownback didn't just support Bush's disastrous policy, he helped create it.

"When the definitive history of the current Iraq war is finally written," John Dizard pointed out in a May 4 Salon piece, "wealthy exile Ahmad Chalabi will be among those judged most responsible for the Bush administration's decision to invade Iraq and topple Saddam Hussein."

Although Kansans tend not to bring it up, it was Brownback who provided Chalabi much of his access to Washington.