Slain American Hostage Was Bound, Shot

tom foxshame, shame, shame.

Dare say he was killed because he was the American:

“There’s certainly a hope that if indeed Tom Fox was targeted because of his American citizenship and the role of the U.S. in leading this war, that perhaps the others would be spared,” said co-director Doug Pritchard.
Prophetic leader hath allowed a Christian Peacemaking Team member to die at the hands of kidnappers in a land in which we have tens of thousands of troops?

Mr. Fox, rest in peace, was well aware of the danger of being in Iraq, no matter the extend of blind goodwill intended. As he wrote, “fighting was always the wrong answer.”

Unacceptable. Apparently the problem lies in the org’s middle name? Its time we all pray, because the loss of this peace-seeking believer is expendable to this holier-than-thou government.

If it is so certain that good will prevail…. how can it be so difficult to rescue those captured by infidels — I mean, at least look out for your own!!

The only acknowledgement of the war on terror is direct denial in the form of imaginary press releases, and no condolences:

The three Christian Peacemaking Team colleagues of Tom Fox — 74-year-old retired md professor Norman Kember of London, James Loney of Toronto, and Harmeet Singh Sooden, a Canadian studying in New Zealand — appeared on a silent video tape this week. They have been held hostage in Iraq since November 2005.

This is among the more horribly distressing stories our of Iraq in recent days. Even more unsettling is the fact that American — or ANY — innocents being held hostage in Iraq cannot count on the assistance of the government most responsible for their fate.

WaPo Supports ‘1,300 Killed’ Report

A week ago, I was surprised to see the Wasington Post go out on a limb and publish that over 3 times the widely reported official number of nearly 400 Iraqis had been killed in the days of violence following the destruction of the al-Askariya mosque.

Numbers as high as the Post’s reported 1,300 dead have yet to be mentioned anywhere else in the media and even the venerable Post itself seemingly retreated from its initial reporting — apparently garnered from Iraqi morgue reports.

Today, they’re back, and they appear to have trimmed the number to 1,000, without being “clear whether that covered only Baghdad or all of Iraq.”
So Jaafari’s competent in his U.S. style manipulation of facts, but will anybody else please report a number different from the official government lie? Or us ol’ Rumsfeld still somehow succeeding at instilling fear in the media — fear to tell the truth?

All the Presidents, Man

Over the course of 28 days, three dudes in Northern California did all 42 past U.S. presidents.

With large doses of insanity suspectedly involved, songwriters Christian Kiefer, Matthew Gerken, and Jefferson Pitcher self-produced and recorded 14 songs a piece, each number based on the tenure of an American president.

abraham lincolnCompleted as part of February Album Writing Month, this particular project is deserving of wider recognition, especially at a time when our current president is actively re-classifying historical records in an effort to manipulate his own legacy. The trio intends to salute the Commander with a final song for the project, tentatively slated for proper release in late 2006.

Audio files and complete liner notes including lyrics for each track are available for free here. None of these are little ditties — they are complete songs and run as long as seven minutes. The lyrics and melody in Kiefer’s “Eisenhower (When Ike Walked the Land)” put the listener quite literally in the landscape of suburbanization and black and white TV:

We made a fence / painted it white / made the kids all fear God / and Elvis and rock ‘n’ roll / sold lots of radios.

Jeff Pitcher’s rich ode to the demise of President William Henry Harrison could bring someone to tears, if only they weren’t aware that he is widely regarded as maybe THE worst president in history, or had they not at least read Pitcher’s extensive commentary in the notes:

William Henry Harrison was an incredibly horrible and atrocious piece of shit… who was ultimately responsible for a big portion of the genocide of native americans….

The cut cuts deep.

Warren G. Harding may have been in and out before his first term was up, but as Matt Gerken explains in verse, we can thank him for establishing the chronyist corporatocracy we know so well:

The cabinet was a board room / Business leaders / Hobby policymakers / Protecting their interests / Making sure life is harder / For the rest of us / Just like today

I don’t post about music as much as I’d like, but once I downloaded the tracks and listened, I was pretty floored. Not since unwrapping the most recent gift of historical manifestations from Surfjan Stevens had I remembered that the dullest of stories could be brought to light in bright melodies.

Kudos, gentlemen for the incredible feat of not only writing one song for each of our 42 past presidents, but for creating AND laying down the tracks all within the course of our shortest month! Readers — check it out, this is far and away the best history lesson out there since Jon Stewart’s America.

Track 43 may prove to be epic… I can’t wait.