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Surf-Worthy Sites:

Administration and Cost of Elections

Alaska Wilderness League

American Antitrust Institute

American Association of Retired Persons

American Federation of Government Employees

American Friends Service Committee

American Institute of Philanthropy

American Lands Alliance

American Library Asociation

American Peace

American Rivers

Americans for Computer Privacy

Americans for Democratic Action

Americans United for Separation of Church and State

Amnesty International

Anthrax Vaccine Network

Arms Control Association

Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now

Atomic Veterans of America


Behind the Label

Black Box Voting

Bread for the World

Brennan Center for Justice


Business and Human Rights Resource Center

Campaign Against Arms Trade

Campaign Against Depleted Uranium

Campaign Finance Institute

Campaign for America's Future

Campaign for Safe and Affordable Drinking Water

Campaign for the Abolition of Sweatshops and Child Labor

Campaign to Ban Genetically Engineered Foods

Campaign to Label Genetically Engineered Foods

CEE BankWatch Network

Center for Constitutional Rights

Center for Defense Information

Center for Democracy and Citizenship

Center for Digital Democracy

Center for Economic and Policy Research

Center for Food Safety

Center for International Policy

Center for Justice and Accountability

Center for National Security Studies

Center for Nonproliferation Studies

Center for Public Integrity

Center for Science in the Public Interest

Center for Voting and Democracy

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

Chemical Industry Archives

Chernobyl Children's Project

Child Labor Coalition

Child Protective Services Watch

Children's Defense Fund

Chilling Effects Clearinghouse

Christian Aid

Chronic IllNet

Chronology of Incorporation and Monopoly

Citizen Action Project

Citizen Works

Citizens Against Government Waste

Citizens for Tax Justice

Citizens Network on Essential Services

Clary-Meuser Research Network

Clean Clothes Campaign

Coalition for a Competitive Pharmaceutical Market

Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers

Commercial Alert

Common Cause

Common Dreams

Commonweal Institute

Community Rights Council

Concord Coalition


Consumer Federation of America

Consumer Project on Technology

Consumer Research

Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion and Numbering

Corporate Crime Reporter

Corporate Europe Observatory

Corporate Responsibility Coalition

Corporate Sunshine Working Group

Corporate Welfare Information Center

Corporate Welfare Shame Page


Corps of Engineers Watch

Council for a Livable World

Council on Hemispheric Affairs

Cronus Connection: Election Fraud and Voting Machines

Death Penalty Information Center

Defense and the National Interest

Democracy 21


Depleted Uranium Education Project

Depleted Uranium Watch

DES Action


Disabled American Veterans

Discernment Ministry International



Earth Institute


EarthRights International

Economic Policy Institute

Electronic Frontier Foundation

Electronic Privacy Information Center

Electronic Voting

Endgame Research

Energy Future Coalition

Environmental Investigation Agency

Environmental Working Group

Facts About Olestra

Fair Taxes for All

Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting


Families of
September 11

Families USA: Voice for Health Care Consumers

Family Farm Alliance

Farm Credit Quagmire

FAS Project on Government Secrecy

FDA Review

Federation of American Scientists

Fellowship of Reconciliation

Fielding's DangerFinder

Fight Bad Faith Insurance Companies

Focus on the Corporation

Foundation for Taxpayer & Consumer Rights

Fourth Freedom Forum

Free Expression Policy Project

Friends of the Earth

Genocide Documentation Centre

Genocide in the 20th Century

Global Exchange


GRACE Factory Farm Project

Gulf War Veterans

Gush Shalom

Health Care Comparisons Worldwide

Health Privacy Project

Healthy Building Network

Heifer International

History House

Human Rights Watch

iAbolish: Anti-Slavery Web Portal


Independent Judiciary

Indian Trust: Cobell v. Norton

Infact: Challenging Corporate Abuse

Initiative & Referendum Institute

Instant Runoff Voting

Institute for Energy and Environmental Research

Institute for Health Freedom

Institute for Local Self-Reliance

Institute for Policy Studies

Institute for Public Accuracy

Interfaith Alliance

Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility

International ANSWER

International Atomic Energy Agency

International Campaign to Ban Landmines

International Confederation of Free Trade Unions

International Federation for Alternative Trade

International Fellowship of Reconciliation

International Institute for Environment and Development

International Labor Rights Fund

International POPs Elimination Network

Jewish Unity for a Just Peace

Keep Antibiotics Working

Landmine Survivors Network

League of Conservation Voters

League of Women Voters

Let's Invest in Families Today

Liberals Like Christ

Local Harvest

Los Alamos Study Group

Low Level Radiation Campaign

Maquila Solidarity Network

March for Justice


Measles Initiative

Mines Advisory Group


Mothers for Peace

Moving Ideas

National Center for Children in Poverty

National Coalition Against Censorship

National Coalition for Homeless Veterans

National Committee for an Effective Congress

National Committee to Preserve Social Security & Medicare

National Farmers Union

National Freedom of Information Coalition

National Freedom Scorecard

National Gulf War Resource Center

National Institute on Money in State Politics

National Labor Committee for Worker and Human Rights

National Organization for Rare Disorders

National Parks Conservation Association

National Priorities Project

National Vaccine Information Center

National Voting Rights Institute

Native American Rights Fund


Natural Resources Defense Council

Neturei Karta

New Rules Project


No Free Lunch: Just Say No to Drug Reps

No Spray Coalition

Novartis Foundation for Sustainable Development

Nuclear Control Institute

Nuclear Threat Initiative

Office of Management & Budget Watch Money in Politics

Open Society Institute

Organic Consumers Association

Our Stolen Future

Oxfam International

Participatory Democracy

Pax Christi International

People for the American Way

Pesticide Action Network North America

Physicians for Human Rights

Polaris Institute

Political Money Line

Program on Corporations, Law and Democracy

Project Against the Present Danger

Project on Government Oversight

Project Underground

Project Vote Smart

Protection Project


Public Citizen

Public Employees for Environmental Responsibity

Rainforest Action Network


Reaching Critical Will

Reclaim Democracy

Reclaim the Media


Resource Center of the Americas

Responsible Wealth

Rethinking Schools

Right-To-Know Network

Safe Tables Our Priority: Food Safety and Food-Borne Illness


Save the Children

Secretive World of Voting Machines

Send a Cow

September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows

Shared Hope International

Small Business Survival Committee

Society for Animal Protective Legislation

Soft Money Laundromat

Sojourners: Christians for Justice and Peace

Soldiers for the Truth

Soy Online Service

Sprawl Busters


Stop Carnivore

Stop Disney Sweatshops

Stop Patient Abuse Now Coalition


Sweetwater Alliance

Swords to Plowshares

Talion: Voting Machines

Tax Foundation

Taxpayers for Common Sense

Ten Thousand Villages

Third World Traveler

Tort Reform Reader


Transparency International

Traprock Peace Center

Truth About Credit

20/20 Vision

UN Landmines Fact Sheet

UN Population Fund

Union of Concerned Scientists

United for a Fair Economy

United for Peace & Justice

Uranium Medical Research Centre

US Campaign to Ban Landmines

US Congregational Life Survey

US Public Interest Research Group

Veterans for Common Sense

Vital Voices Global Partnership

VoteWatch: Repository for Voter Complaints

Water Aid

Water Barons Government Accountability Project

Wilderness Society

WISE Uranium Project

Womens International League for Peace & Freedom

World Resources Institute

WorldWatch Institute

Worldwide Fund for Mothers Injured in Childbirth


Yucca Mountain Facts

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Saturday, August 23, 2003

Blazes Sparked in Surgery on the Rise

A scary US News report:

Medical experts say such fires are a bizarre and persistent problem that often isn't reported by hospitals and may be growing because of increasing use of new technologies. Since June 1, ECRI, an independent healthcare research organization, has counted six fires alone that caused serious harm. The fires appear to be rare--only about 100 are reported, with about 20 patients injured and two or three killed each year. Despite this, "certainly, we are hearing about more of them," says Mark Bruley, an ECRI investigator. Experts say that most fires are caused by errors in the operating room.

Perhaps most disturbing are recent reports of fires involving children. In June, a newborn was burned during surgery at North Carolina's Duke University Hospital. In mid-April, an 8-year-old boy's mouth, throat, and lungs were burned when his breathing tube ignited during a tonsillectomy..."Such fires," the commission said, "are significantly under-reported and are preventable."

Still, many states don't track flash fires. Only California, Tennessee, and Washington require reporting of all such fires, but the data are not always searchable. Six others require reports only in cases of major service disruption or serious patient harm. The Food and Drug Administration logs fires only when equipment failure of a device is suspected. "And it's almost never caused by a device failure," says Gerald Wolf, professor of anesthesiology at City University of New York.

Reason being, according to USN&WR, is that since the gases used now are considered so much "safer" than they were 30 years ago, surgical personnel don't get much training anymore about the potential danger of fire and/or explosion while using them.

This "voluntary reporting" crap is a bad, bad thing. Another example of it can be found in the FDA/Big Pharma complex, which uses voluntary reporting to avoid accountability for deaths and injuries caused by the prescription drug industry.

dystopia 3:28 PM - [Link]

Rollback Reader

TomPaine posted a collection of articles and reports from various sources over the past three years on the Bush administration's abysmal environmental record, all linked on one handy reference page.

dystopia 3:05 PM - [Link]

Right Turns in South America?

Forrest Hylton ruminates on Rummy's trip down south, in CounterPunch:

The arrival of Donald Rumsfeld in Bogotá on August 19 did not portend anything but the further ratcheting up of imperial terror in South America...

No kiddin'.

dystopia 2:49 PM - [Link]

Tracking Toxics

Orion reports on the mess the US military left in Alaska:

Base commanders were either unaware or unconcerned that their activities and waste-disposal sites endangered local residents. And when the military shut down its bases in the early '70s it left behind a toxic stew: nine square miles contaminated by 220,000 gallons of spilled fuel plus unknown quantities of solvents, asbestos, heavy metals, and PCBs. One barrel dump contains more than 29,000 drums, some leaking unknown fluids...

As recently as the 1990s, the military abandoned obsolete posts without properly cleaning up its messes or telling local residents--in many instances, Native Alaskans--what contaminants might be poisoning their lands and waters, their foods, their own bodies. Even now, federal agencies are more likely to resist the attempts of individuals and communities to learn how their homelands have been poisoned, than to make amends for toxins left behind.

"The military, like industry, has perceived Alaska as a remote, sparsely populated place with a weak regulatory structure," Miller says. "Neither has felt much obligation to clean up after itself, or to take responsibility for the damage that's been done."

Lots of other places, both in and outside the US, can say the same:

Cancer Linked to US Bases?
The Military and Nuclear Pollution
Killing After the Wars Are Over
Base Cleanup Struggles Around the World

dystopia 2:10 PM - [Link]

Today in Dystopian History: August 23

1500: Columbus, accused of mistreating the natives of Haiti, was sent back to Spain in chains.

1620: The Mayflower and the Speedwell returned to Southampton because the Speedwell was leaking.

1724: At Norridgewock, ME, the British attacked the Abenaki, killing 80, including a Jesuit priest.

1757: In England, the first riot against the Militia Act, conscripting troops to fight a colonial war, broke out in Lincolnshire.

1775: King George III proclaimed that the colonies were in a state of open rebellion; he had begun to contract 20,000 Hessian soldiers to suppress the rebellion.

1784: Eastern Tennessee declared itself an independent state named Franklin.

1850: The first national women's rights convention was held in Worcester, MA.

1861: Allen Pinkerton placed Confederate spy Rose O'Neal Greenhow under house arrest.

1864: The Union Navy captured Fort Morgan at Mobile Bay, breaking Confederate dominance in the Gulf of Mexico.

1917: In the Houston Riot, black troops from Camp Logan clashed with whites, resulting in about 20 deaths; 118 soldiers in the regiment were indicted, and 19 were hanged by the US Army.

1918: In the Abrams Case, Jacob Abrams and others were arrested for distributing leaflets against the landing of US troops in Russia.

1927: Sacco & Vanzetti were executed at Dedham Prison in Massachusetts despite worldwide protests.

1935: The Banking Act was signed into law.

1944: A US bomber crashed into a school in Freckelton, England; 51 children and 25 adults were killed.

1951: 83 West Point cadets were expelled in a cheating scandal, including most of the football team.

1966: A Viet Cong limpet mine exploded on the US cargo ship Baton Rouge Victory on the Long Tao River; 7 crewmen were killed.

1981: Secretary of State Alexander Haig defended the proposed sale of AWACS to Saudi Arabia despite Congressional and Israeli objections.

1986: Oliver North suggested to John Poindexter that Manuel Noriega be paid $1 million from Project Democracy funds for sabotage against the Sandinistas; Poindexter authorized a meeting, saying, "I have nothing against him other than his illegal activities."

1989: A court of appeals heard arguments in the Joseph Fernandez case on the Attorney General's right to appeal under the Classified Information Procedures Act.

1989: Yusuf Hawkins was shot to death in a confrontation with white youths in Bensonhurst, NY.

1990: Saddam Hussein appeared on Iraqi TV with a number of Western guests, actually hostages, to try to prevent the Gulf War.

1996: NBC News reported that chemical residues were found on the wreckage of TWA Flight 800.

1996: President Clinton approved new FDA regulations giving the FDA authority to regulate cigarettes as a "drug delivery device."

1996: The UN Development Program reported that the net worth of the world's 358 richest people equaled the combined income of the poorest 45% of the world population.

dystopia 12:30 PM - [Link]

Friday, August 22, 2003

Being Black at Bob Jones U

Killing the Buddha reports on the progress of BJU's public relations diversity program:

Just three years ago, the media was haranguing Bob Jones for its interracial dating ban and its description of Catholicism as a cult. Reacting to the attention, the college lifted the dating ban in March 2000, and last year, several alumni set up the minority scholarship fund. The college's recent, still very small-scale integration is both like and unlike the earlier integration of Southern colleges. It's not about facing down racists and getting ready to crash the sock hop. Rather, the Greenville, South Carolina-based university has been seeking out minorities. Beyond needing them to help scour its sullied image, it needs to tap a growth market in the business of converting souls, and in an era of increasing competition between Bible colleges...

Whatever, Schimri is happy to oblige. Tall, good-looking, and gregarious, he seems fated for Big Man on Campusdom. He flirts with the girls, shoots hoops with the guys, and volunteers for the ex-slave theatrical parts. Girls even do his laundry. To many students here, he is both exotic and cool. He knows that many students at Bob Jones have never been around black people before. Tending to represent the most fundamentalist of the fundamentalists, many BJUers were homeschooled, and most of the rest attended predominantly white churches and Christian schools in non-urban areas. In the freshman class, only 11 percent come from public schools.

Surreal reading. Does it shock you that 89% of BJU's freshmen are home-schooled? It shouldn't.

dystopia 5:26 PM - [Link]

Sy Hersh, Then and Now

Enjoyed reading this warts-and-all profile of muckraking maestro Seymour Hersh, in the Columbia Journalism Review:

Seymour Hersh is a very difficult man, as prickly as a porcupine. When I first contacted him, his response was unequivocal: "Leave me alone!" When I phoned him to discuss the logistics of a trip to Washington, Hersh erupted, shouting into the phone, “What do you want to ask me! What do you want to ask me!" "He has no idea of social behavior," says a close friend and former colleague at the Times, Gloria Emerson. "At a private occasion, when he’s making conversation with someone he’s just met, Sy’s idea of friendly behavior is to interrogate them. A grilling!"...

The phone keeps ringing. Hersh, the great Times reporter Harrison Salisbury once observed, is a man who "seemed to have been born with a receiver at his ear." Watching him work the phones is, indeed, a remarkable experience. "I got your e-mail on Niger," he tells one caller. "I’m doing a story on it." He dismisses him with a very abrupt goodbye--a Hersh trademark. A few minutes later he makes a call, and his brusque demeanor has vanished: his tone is jaunty, upbeat, seductive. He leaves the following message: "Hi, it’s Sy Hersh, I’m just checking in. Call me. Let’s talk." Who was that? A government official whom Hersh declined to identify.

The phone rings again. He picks it up and listens for a while. There is weariness in his reply. "Let someone else write that shit," he informs his caller. "I don’t write that shit. It’s just not my cup of tea." With his staccato phrasing and his rapid-fire delivery, he sounds like Walter Winchell: "My free advice: it’s garbage." He dismisses the caller without rancor, signaling in a phrase that, despite this particular transgression, their business relationship remains intact: "Keep your ear to the ground." Whom was he talking to? "Oh, just somebody calling me." Who was it? Hersh replies, mischievously, "Somebody I’ve known for thirty years who used to work in the CIA, giving me a tip."

Hersh is a pretty colorful character, for sure, but he has been awfully helpful.

dystopia 4:09 PM - [Link]

CNN Mum on Dobbs' Ban of Wesley Clark

According to TelevisionWeek:

CNN was unable to confirm a US News & World Report story that was posted on the Internet Friday that said Lou Dobbs had banned former NATO leader and retired Gen Wesley Clark from his show, "Lou Dobbs Tonight." The anchor reportedly took the action because he believed comments from the longtime military man, who was an analyst for CNN during the Iraq War, were more agenda-driven than analytical.

Hey, Lou, the decision that was made (by whom?) not to prosecute your wife for trying to carry a loaded handgun onto a plane--was that more agenda-driven or analytical?

Just asking.

dystopia 3:24 PM - [Link]

Ashcroft Criticized for Talks on Terror

On our dime, per the NY Times:

Representative John Conyers Jr of Michigan, the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, told Mr Ashcroft in a letter that he should either "desist from further speaking engagements" or explain why they do not violate restrictions on political activities by government officials.

Mr Conyers said that the speeches in defense of the USA Patriot Act, as the antiterrorism law is known, appeared to conflict with Congressional restrictions preventing the use of Justice Department money for "publicity or propaganda purposes not authorized by Congress." He said they might also violate the Anti-Lobbying Act and its restrictions on grass-roots lobbying on legislative matters.

Wired News seems to share my opinion that the Victory Act, which Ashcroft is selling on this tour, is just warmed-over Patriot II on a fresh plate:

The draft legislation--titled the Vital Interdiction of Criminal Terrorist Organizations Act of 2003, or Victory Act--includes significant portions of the so-called Patriot Act II, which faced broad opposition from conservatives and liberals alike and embarrassed the Justice Department when it was leaked to the press in February...

A June 27 draft of the bill, authored by Sen Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and co-sponsored by four fellow Republicans on the Judiciary Committee, has been circulating in Washington, DC...

"It reads like what you would come up with if you got a whole bunch of prosecutors in a room and asked them, 'If you could rewrite the law, what would it look like?'" Edgar said. "It's cleverly packaged as an antiterrorism package, when really it's just a grab bag of changes the Justice Department wants."

dystopia 3:01 PM - [Link]

Feds Set to Ease Power Plant Pollution Rules

Yahoo! News says:

The Bush administration next week will roll back clean air regulations, which would enable some old, coal-fired power plants and refineries to emit more air pollutants, an environmental activist group said Friday.

The Environmental Protection Agency is set to issue a final rule that would make it easier for industrial facilities to upgrade their plants without having to install expensive equipment to fight air pollution, the activist group said...

"His decision to let our nation's dirtiest power plants pump hundreds of thousands of tons of toxics into our air is the most shameful and brazen giveaway to special interests we've witnessed on this President's watch," Kerry said.

Well, one of 'em, anyway.

dystopia 1:59 PM - [Link]

Today in Dystopian History: August 22

1654: Jacob Barsimon arrived in New Amsterdam, the first Jewish immigrant to the colonies.

1670: The Wampanoag Hiacoomes was ordained on Martha's Vineyard, the first American Indian pastor.

1762: Ann Franklin was the first woman editor of a US newspaper, the Newport Mercury.

1776: The Battle of Long Island began when British Gen Howe ordered his forces to move from Staten Island against the Continental Army.

1776: The First Florida Expedition left Savannah, GA.

1814: US troops commanded by Andrew Jackson entered Florida in pursuit of Creek and Seminole Indians, while Jackson occupied Mobile, AL.

1840: The US War Department allocated funds for 3,000 horsemen to defend Florida against Seminole attacks.

1846: Gen Stephen Kearney announced the annexation of New Mexico by the US.

1851: A New Orleans mob attacked Spanish businesses after learning that 52 locals who set out to "liberate" Cuba had been captured and executed.

1862: President Lincoln responded to Horace Greeley's abolitionist editorial, hinting at a change in slavery policy.

1864: The Geneva Convention was signed, creating the International Red Cross.

1921: Hair bobbing gained national attention when the Connecticut state barber's commission ruled that women who bobbed hair must have a barber's license.

1934: The American Liberty League was founded with members such as the duPonts, pledging to "foster the right to work, earn, save and acquire property."

1944: US and Allied forces destroyed the German 7th Army in the Battle of Falaise Pocket in France, capturing 50,000 Germans.

1952: 4 major US oil companies were sued by the DOJ for overcharging on Middle East oil shipped to Europe under the Marshall Plan.

1966: The United Farm Workers union was formed.

1968: SDS leader Rennie Davis told Chicago officials it would be "suicide" not to allow demonstrators to sleep in city parks during the Democratic National Convention.

1972: Police arrested 891 during the Republican National Convention in Miami, after thousands of anti-war protesters converged on the city.

1980: Presidential candidate Ronald Reagan made an appearance before the Moral Majority.

1980: The US and Somalia signed an agreement on US military access to bases in Berbera and Mogadishu.

1981: Betty Ford, Mayor Tom Bradley and Maureen Reagan were among the participants in a national walkathon to support the Equal Rights Amendment.

1986: Kerr-McGee agreed to pay the estate of Karen Silkwood $1.38 million in her nuclear contamination lawsuit.

1992: FBI sniper Lon Horiuchi shot and killed Vicki Weaver at her home in Ruby Ridge, ID.

1992: Candidate Bill Clinton dismissed President Bush's proposed tax cuts as "fools gold," branding him a liar and warning that Bush failed to keep his pledge not to raise taxes and would continue to betray the American public.

1997: In a deposition, RJ Reynolds CEO Steven Goldstone said, "Rightly or wrongly, I have always believed that smoking plays a part in causing lung cancer."

dystopia 1:20 PM - [Link]

Thursday, August 21, 2003

Mixing Bugs and Bombs

How bad is this idea? The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists counts the ways:

Siting advanced bioweapons germ research at secretive nuclear labs could be a serious mistake, especially given Energy’s poor security, safety, and environmental records...with very little media attention or public discussion, the Bush administration is quietly pursuing plans to build biowarfare agent facilities of its own. The new labs will handle, modify, and experiment with some of the most harmful agents known to humanity, including live anthrax, plague, Q fever, and botulism.

But what should be even more controversial is where some of these biofacilities are being built: at nuclear weapons design sites--Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California and Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico...

The sheer number of proposed facilities is sobering. Thirty expanded or new labs are being considered nationwide, according to biodefense analysts and community groups that have painstakingly tracked them across multiple government agencies. Right now, there are six identifiable Biosafety Level 4 (BSL-4) facilities in the United States; 14 more are on the drawing board. Sixteen new BSL-3s are planned or under construction.

God help us.

dystopia 5:36 PM - [Link]

Navajos Got Raw End of Deal

No surprises here. The Houston Chronicle reports:

Companies paid private landowners near the Navajo reservation in the Southwest nearly 20 times what Navajos got for the right to build pipelines across their land, a court-appointed investigator reported Wednesday.

Such discrepancies and the destruction of records related to the deal are a failure of the Interior Department's legal duty to American Indian landowners to ensure fair payment for the use of their land, the report said...

Balaran was appointed by a federal judge to investigate document destruction in a class-action lawsuit on behalf of an estimated 500,000 American Indians. They allege the Interior Department failed to properly manage oil, gas, timber and grazing royalties for Indians over the last century, and put the mismanagement at tens of billions of dollars owed to the Indians since 1887.

dystopia 4:18 PM - [Link]

Widely-Used Agricultural Herbicide Poses Threat

The National Resources Defense Council is demanding that the EPA ban the herbicide Atrazine and investigate allegations that its manufacturer covered up unfavorable study findings:

Both studies show that atrazine, which is used by farmers throughout the Midwest on corn and other crops, poses a significant threat to public health. One study found that, at a level 30 times lower than EPA's tap water standard of 3 parts per billion, atrazine causes sexual deformities in frogs. The deformities included having both ovaries and testes, and testes containing eggs in addition to sperm. The other study found that the herbicide is linked to high rates of prostate cancer among workers at a Syngenta atrazine manufacturing plant in Louisiana. Documents obtained by NRDC suggest that Syngenta, a Swiss company created by the 2000 merger of Novartis and Zeneca, illegally suppressed the studies' findings.

"We believe that Syngenta may have illegally withheld evidence that atrazine may cause cancer in humans," says Jon Devine, an NRDC senior attorney. "That's a big problem because it's everywhere. It's sprayed on fields, it gets in our water, and millions of Americas are drinking it"...

Several European countries, including France, Germany and Italy, have banned atrazine. In contrast, EPA permits atrazine levels in drinking water to rise and fall over the course of the year, so long as the yearly average remains below 3 parts per billion. But seasonal spikes are often much higher. Even more troubling, in June 2000, the EPA Scientific Advisory Panel voted to recommend that atrazine be reclassified as either "not likely" to be a human carcinogen, or that there is "not enough information to classify." In doing so, the panel contradicted EPA career scientists who had recommended that atrazine be classified as a "likely" human carcinogen.

Atrazine is an endocrine disruptor, so it doesn't really matter whether it causes cancer or not--it will still mess you up. Heard about the diabetes epidemic yet?

dystopia 3:37 PM - [Link]

About a Fatal Illness at Boot Camp

Chronology of a young man's death, via the Charlotte Observer:

Oct 31: During a medical exam for new arrivals, Haase says he is allergic to penicillin. Recruits are to receive penicillin or a substitute antibiotic to ward off bacterial infections. But Haase never receives an antibiotic...

[Dec 22] Haase arrives by helicopter at Savannah Memorial. Dr. Ronald Bishop, a neurologist, determines that Haase is brain-dead, but leaves him on life support until his family arrives early the next morning. Hours after the family arrives, Haase is removed from life support and dies. A military official tells the family there is no need for an autopsy...

January: Haase's mother, Renee Thurlow, receives an anonymous letter from one of his fellow recruits, who says Haase's death could have been prevented. He tells her a senior drill instructor told the platoon what to tell investigators. Haase's mother tells military authorities, who order a criminal investigation of Bilenski. The investigation is pending.

The Augusta Chronicle says the family has filed a lawsuit that "challenges a 54-year-old US Supreme Court ruling that essentially says the military cannot be held responsible for the death or injury of active duty service members."

dystopia 3:07 PM - [Link]

Obituary Backs Removal of Bush

From Capital Times:

Almost in unison, what her children decided to include in the obituary was this: "Memorials in her honor can be made to any organization working for the removal of President Bush."

"She thought he was a liar," Baron's daughter, Maureen Bettilyon, said. "I think his personality, just standing there with that smirk on his face, and acting like he's this holy Christian, that's what really got her."

Yep, that's what gets to me, too. This was my favorite part:

"She'd always watch CNN, C-SPAN, and you know, she'd just swear at the TV and say 'Oh, Bush, he's such a whistle ass!' She'd just get so mad"...

Whistle ass? I almost wet my pants on that one. I think I would have enjoyed knowing this lady, God bless her.

dystopia 2:06 PM - [Link]

Today in Dystopian History: August 21

1567: After the massacre at Fort Caroline, French and Indian forces led by Dominique de Gourges attacked the Spanish in Florida.

1689: In Maine, Indians attacked and destroyed Fort Charles, killing 16 settlers.

1739: In the Treaty of Coweta, the Creeks ceded to Britain all coastal lands south to the St Johns River.

1831: Nat Turner led a slave rebellion in Southampton, VA, that killed 55 whites.

1847: The Pillagers and Chippewa signed a treaty at Leech Lake, MN, ceding land to the US to be used for Winnebago and Menominee reservations.

1858: The Lincoln-Douglas debates began at Ottawa, IL.

1862: The US Treasury issued fractional currency, also known as postage currency.

1862: The CSA decreed that Union officers were to be executed as felons, rather than being treated as POWs, for raising regiments of former slaves.

1863: Quantrill's Raiders attacked the Union town of Lawrence, KS, killing 150 men and boys.

1876: Yellow fever struck Savannah, GA; killing 40 within a month.

1881: In Kentucky, Moses Fleetwood Walker, a black Cleveland Whites catcher, was barred from playing in a minor league game.

1943: Harriet West was the first black major in the WACs; she was chief of planning for the WAC's Bureau Control Division in Washington, DC.

1959: The US claimed Hawaii as a state after a plebiscite vote was held without the option of independence as required by international law.

1965: US pilots were given permission to target any Soviet-made SAM sites they saw in the North, no longer restricted to pre-approved targets.

1967: The Chinese shot down US fighter-bombers that crossed their border during air raids in North Vietnam.

1968: Pfc James Anderson was the first black American awarded the Medal of Honor in the Vietnam War.

1981: In London, Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger tried to ease European fears over the neutron bomb.

1981: INS workers protested at the Statue of Liberty against the Reagan administration's Mexican guest-worker program.

1987: Sgt Clayton Lonetree was convicted in Quantico, VA, of passing secrets to the KGB.

1992: Gunfire erupted on Randall Weaver's property in Ruby Ridge, ID, during a raid by US marshals; a deputy marshal and Weaver's wife and son were killed during the 11-day standoff.

1992: NBC News fired Authur Kent after he refused an assignment in war-torn Bosnia.

1995: ABC apologized to Philip Morris for their revealing Day One programs, paying PM $16 million in legal fees.

1996: The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act was signed, making it easier to get and keep health insurance.

1997: Hudson Foods agreed to destroy 25 million pounds of hamburger recalled due to E coli contamination.

1998: Due to continuing violence in Afghanistan, Unocal suspended plans to build a $2 billion oil and gas pipeline from Turkmenistan to Pakistan through Afghanistan.

dystopia 1:15 PM - [Link]

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Georgia Jumps to Top in New Jobs

This annoys me so much--this headline in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution is misleading, if you don't read the whole thing:

In July, the state's employment grew by 18,700 jobs, bettering runner-up New York, with 14,900 new jobs, according to Victoria Dinkins, an Atlanta-based economist for the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Also, over the past 12 months, Georgia placed second only to Florida in job creation. Florida's over-the-year figure was 85,400 and Georgia's was 38,700.

On the other hand:

Georgia looks good partly because employment has shrunk in 29 other states in the past year...

So even though the actual number of jobs created here wasn't as large as the seasonally adjusted figure of 18,700, the latest report is still a good sign...

Georgia also lost 16,600 jobs in July, before the seasonal adjustment was calculated.

So, ahem, exactly how many Georgians were working at a job in July that did not exist in June? And how does that number compare to the number who lost jobs during the month? Can you tell?

I don't trust the way all these numbers are "adjusted"--I think our real national unemployment rate is probably closer to 10%, if not higher, but I guess it would be bad for business to say so, huh? Might make the voters demand better service from their elected officials or something.

dystopia 6:02 PM - [Link]

Tacoma Leaders Oppose EPA Plan

A community trying to fight environmental disaster before it happens, per the Seattle PI:

City leaders expressed "grave concern" last night and joined those opposed to dumping polluted mud from the Duwamish River in Seattle into their back yard...

The polluted sediment will be dredged near the mouth of the Duwamish later this year as part of an early cleanup project. Mercury, PCBs and phthalates--toxic chemicals associated with the production of plastics--taint the 70,000 cubic yards of mud...

Once the slip is filled, it will be capped with 9 feet of clean material. Then it will be paved and incorporated into the shipping terminal.

Um, well, yes, but how does the EPA think it's going to keep underground contaminants from seeping into places they shouldn't go, especially at a waterfront location? Washington already has plenty of contaminated groundwater to deal with, thanks to Hanford and other toxic sites.

dystopia 4:38 PM - [Link]

Residents Near Coronet Fear for Their Lives

Tampa Bay Online has two articles on industrial contamination and health problems in Plant City, FL, where they have Erin Brockovich and Ed Masry on the case:

"If you look at every house in our neighborhood, everyone has cancer," Sarah Dean said. "All my neighbors have cancer on Wiggins Road."

Sandra Kelley, who lives about a half-mile from Coronet on English Creek, said she and other members of her family have had skin, breathing and bowel problems. She has had five miscarriages, she said.

She wonders whether Coronet is responsible for the brown, dirty creek water, and she complained of smelly smoke that billows from factory smokestacks into her neighborhood. She said Coronet paid her for about 25 cattle she had to destroy about 20 years ago after they developed bone problems.

If you thought Erin & Co already rescued the last community still being poisoned by industrial, agricultural or other pollutants, or if you thought that the movie depicted a rare and unusual event, you're mistaken. The only thing unusual about it was that the residents won their case.

This is one filthy dirty nation from sea to nasty sea. Hundreds of communities are already dealing with the effects of toxic exposure, and I think there are probably hundreds more, if not thousands, that haven't even realized they have a problem yet.

dystopia 4:03 PM - [Link]

The Great American Visa Lottery

The Times of India reports that the State Department will no longer accept mailed or paper applications for the diversity visa lottery, which raises concerns that the less-advantaged will have little chance of winning entry to the US:

"Some of the winners are in incredibly poor countries like Bangladesh," he said. "In those cases you have to wonder, do people even have electricity?"

Shusterman believes the rule is likely to increase scam businesses that charge applicants to file their applications and promise to increase applicants chances. Filing the application through the state department site is free.

It is worrisome, opening another avenue for parasites who will have no trouble finding desperate people to feed on, in dozens of countries around the world.

Just out of curiosity, could you pass the US citizenship test?

dystopia 3:30 PM - [Link]

New Leader Takes Over Vexed NGA

The Washington Post reports on political jousting over control of the National Governors Association:

The chairmanship routinely rotates between the parties every year, but this change of command was of unusual significance...Republicans complained that the organization and its staff were hostile to the Bush administration...presidential counselor Karl Rove denied reports that some White House officials had joined conservative activists such as Grover Norquist in urging Republican governors to pull out and stop spending state money on NGA membership...

Right. Since we're on the subject of behind-the-scenes chicanery at the state level, do you know anything about the American Legislative Exchange Council? If you don't know ALEC, you prob'ly ought to. I just like to mention it because it doesn't get nearly enough attention.

dystopia 2:58 PM - [Link]

Today in Dystopian History: August 20

1619: A group of 20 Africans arrived at Jamestown.

1789: Spanish commander Juan de Ugalde and his forces began a major campaign against the Apaches.

1794: Gen Anthony Wayne defeated the allied tribes of the Northwest Territory in the Battle of Fallen Timbers.

1847: US troops under Gen Winfield Scott defeated Mexican forces in the Battle of Churubusco.

1866: The National Labor Union called on Congress to order an 8-hour workday.

1877: The Nimíipuu attacked the Army camp of Gen Oliver Howard in Montana, taking 150 mules.

1898: The Amalgamated Woodworkers Union of Oshkosh, WI, ended its unsuccessful 14-week strike.

1899: Gen John Bates signed a treaty with Sultan Jamal-ul Kirim II, pledging US non-interference with Sulu, in the Philippines.

1920: Charles Ponzi was sent to bankruptcy court; claims against him amounted to over $4.3 million.

1945: Gen Jonathan Wainwright was freed from a POW camp in Manchuria.

1964: President Johnson signed the Economic Opportunity Act, creating Head Start, Vista, and other Great Society programs.

1965: Jonathan Daniels, a white civil rights worker, was shot to death in Hayneville, AL; his killer was acquitted.

1977: Jack Stephens introduced Mochtar Riady to Bert Lance; Riady offered to buy Lance's stake in a Georgia bank.

1981: The New England Journal of Medicine first warned of the long-term side effects of birth control pills.

1981: Crow Indians barricaded a highway near Hardin, MT, to protest non-Indian fishing on their reservation.

1981: Mother Jones magazine accused NASA of using cancer patients in radiation experiments at an Oak Ridge, TN, hospital, leading to numerous deaths.

1981: Rep Morris Udall called for Interior Secretary James Watt to resign.

1982: 800 US Marines landed in Beirut to oversee Palestinian withdrawal from Lebanon, beginning a 17-month mission that left 262 US servicemen dead.

1985: Centennial S&L Association was declared insolvent in Guerneville, CA; taxpayers paid over $148 million in bailout costs.

1986: Postal employee Patrick Henry Sherril killed 14 of his co-workers in a shooting spree at Edmond, OK.

1988: A cease-fire ended the Iraq-Iran War.

1990: After George HW Bush, privy to Harken Energy's spectacular 2Q loss, sold 212,410 shares at $4, 2Q results were released and the stock dropped to $2.37.

1993: Microsoft learned the DOJ was assuming jurisdiction in its antitrust case, after the FTC deadlocked on whether to pursue it.

1996: President Clinton signed a 90-cent hike in the minimum wage, raising minimum pay to $5.15 an hour.

1998: In Operation Infinite Reach, US cruise missiles struck alleged al-Quaida bases in Afghanistan and destroyed a pharmaceutical factory in Khartoum.

2001: In San Jose, CA, a settlement was signed between Communities for a Better Environment and 5 oil companies, requiring the companies to clean up sites contaminated with the gasoline additive MTBE.

dystopia 1:20 PM - [Link]

Tuesday, August 19, 2003

Company in Blackout Probe Big GOP Donor

The Guardian says:

An Ohio utility at the center of investigations into last week's blackout is no stranger to Washington, giving more than $1 million to Republicans and Democrats in the last election and counting a top executive among President Bush's fund-raisers....

Company officials are also active in the 2004 election. FirstEnergy chief executive H Peter Burg helped organize a June 30 fund-raiser headlined by Vice President Dick Cheney in Akron, Ohio, which brought in $600,000 for the Bush-Cheney re-election effort...

"We're going to look at this investigation, look at the facts, no matter where they lead, who they lead to," Levine said. "Somebody's political contributions don't determine how they're treated in an investigation."

Can you believe Levine said that? What a maroon!

Here's what else the Guardian says--same company, different article:

The Ohio-based company linked to the worst blackout that America has ever faced is struggling with more than $12.5bn in debt. It was recently forced to restate last year's results and has caused controversy with its environmental and safety records...

Although FirstEnergy has not been squarely blamed for the disastrous loss of power for 50m people, the suggestion that it could be behind the crash was enough to further erode faith in the company. Analysts including Merrill Lynch moved to downgrade the company yesterday and its shares fell more than 10% in midday trading on Wall Street.

Earlier this month, FirstEnergy announced a loss of $58m for the second quarter and lowered its forecast for the full year. It also said it would restate its results for 2002 and part of 2003 in part to reflect changes to its accounting for power generation assets.

dystopia 5:35 PM - [Link]

Wounded Soldier Copes with Recovery

This young man interviewed in the Charlotte Observer pulled at my heart. I guess this is what happens when you're "damaged goods":

Kevin Hannah doubts that he'll be able to attend the Friday awards ceremony his old unit is conducting at Fort Benning.

In fact, Hannah, who recently turned 23, wasn't even aware that the 1st Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment had planned to honor those soldiers who had distinguished themselves in combat while in Iraq.

"To be honest with you, I haven't really heard from any of the guys back at Benning in a while..."

Mr Hannah still has a sniper's bullet lodged in his spine. Is that not distinguished enough to be invited?

dystopia 4:56 PM - [Link]

Inside a Painkiller's Sales Pitch

The Charlotte Observer offers some interesting details about drug reps' tactics that came out in a lawsuit against the maker of OxyContin:

Drug regulators, law officers, addiction experts and others have contended that Purdue oversold OxyContin right from the start in 1996, causing an oversupply that spilled into illegal markets...although the company's advertising and promotional materials are subject to regulatory scrutiny, there's no oversight of what its hundreds of sales representatives said to the thousands of doctors they met repeatedly, one-on-one, in those years...

The suit claims that Purdue and Abbott Laboratories, the giant drug company Purdue hired to help sell OxyContin, played down the drug's risks, causing many Ohio residents to become dependent on pills they didn't want or need.

dystopia 4:37 PM - [Link]

Today in Dystopian History: August 19

1607: The Popham Expedition established Fort George on a bluff overlooking the ocean near Portland, ME.

1692: A minister and 4 others accused of witchcraft were hanged in Salem, MA.

1782: In the Battle of Blue Licks, the British and Indian allies defeated Daniel Boone's Kentucky militia.

1812: The USS Constitution defeated the British frigate Guerrière off the coast of Nova Scotia.

1854: In the Grattan Massacre, US troops killed a Brule Sioux chief; the enraged Sioux wiped out the entire detachment.

1862: In Minnesota, the Dakota killed about 200 white settlers near Fort Ridgely and New Ulm.

1914: President Wilson issued the Proclamation of Neutrality, keeping the US out of WWI.

1916: Strikebreakers at Everett Mills attacked picketing strikers in Washington.

1936: Newspaper Guild members went on strike against a Hearst-owned Seattle newspaper.

1942: On Guadalcanal, the Goettge Patrol was ambushed by the Japanese.

1953: The CIA helped overthrow Mohammed Mossadegh in Iran and reinstate the Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi in a coup directed by Kermit Roosevelt.

1958: The NAACP youth council began sit-ins to desegregate lunch counters in Oklahoma City.

1967: Near Quang Ngai, Capt Stephen Pless saved 4 US soldiers being overwhelmed by the VC by launching a rocket and MG attack.

1969: Black Panther leader Bobby Seale was arrested and charged with initiating riots at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago.

1971: HR Haldeman ordered the FBI to investigate CBS News correspondent Daniel Schorr, who analyzed a presidential speech "unfavorably."

1980: The Senate approved the Alaska National Interest Lands conservation bill.

1981: US Navy jets shot down 2 Libyan planes after an attack on the US fleet in Gulf of Sidra.

1981: Former Green Beret Eugene Tafoya went on trial in Fort Collins, CO, for the attempted assassination of a Libyan dissident.

1988: Admiral William Crowe and Defense Secretary Frank Carlucci released a report saying that "stress, task fixation and unconscious distortion of data may have played a major role" in the downing of an Iranian jetliner by the USS Vincennes.

1992: Members of the Presidential Roundtable attended a briefing with Dick Cheney; an RNC brochure featured a photo of Cheney and Roundtable members at the Pentagon.

1993: Dr George Tiller was shot in both arms at a Wichita, KS, abortion clinic.

1994: President Clinton ended the open-door policy for Cuban refugees.

1995: In Guyana, a tailings dam failure at a gold mine, partly owned by a US company, dumped cyanide slurry into the Essequibo River, causing environmental disaster.

1998: In Cleveland, OH, 49 law enforcement officials pled guilty to conspiracy charges in an FBI cocaine sting.

2000: The remains of 14 US servicemen from the Korean War were handed over to the US military.

dystopia 10:45 AM - [Link]

Monday, August 18, 2003

Spoke Too Soon

Blog server's still screwy. This is the first time I've been able to get in since I posted that last bit, so I'm done for the day. How annoying.

See you tomorrow.

dystopia 5:16 PM - [Link]

Blog Outage

Haven't been able to pull up my blog for days, so I've avoided reading or watching the news entirely. It's been so nice that I was almost disappointed to find the server working again this morning.

Found lots and lots of new stuff to add to the Dystopian History file and spent a lot of time thinking about a separate website for it.

Discovered, which was lovely. Until they started playing opera, which is not my cup o' tea, and then I switched over to WCNY.

Found out that my mom's brother is fixing to head out to Iraq. I think he's a spook, but I don't know for sure. He's been "in the Reserves" since he got home from Vietnam; he was in Budapest during the Bosnia crisis, and in Beirut not too long ago. Mom's nervous because he called the whole family together for a dinner before he leaves (I'm too far away to go), which he never did before. She thinks he had a premonition; I think he's heard plenty about what's going on over there.

Found something to show you--I've been looking at the Chronology of Significant Terrorist Incidents from the Naval Postgraduate School. Go scan through 1995 and see how many US citizens were killed, kidnapped or injured in that one year alone, in so many different countries. I counted 23 terrorist attacks, almost 2 per month, involving Americans or American interests. Do you remember hearing about so many back then? I don't. Maybe I just wasn't paying attention. Or maybe we weren't told--I dunno.

I prob'ly ought to quit dawdling now and go catch up on today's news. Oh, yay.

dystopia 11:02 AM - [Link]

Listen While You Surf:


i.e. America Radio

Political Strikes

Progressive Radio

Radio Left

Randi Rhodes Show

Newspapers and News Sites:

ABC News

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Blogs I Like:

A Rational Animal



Bad Attitudes Journal

Beatnik Salad

Blatant Truth



Charging the Canvas

Democratic Veteran



Flagrancy to Reason


Heli's Heaven and Hell Radio



Ideal Rhombus

John P Hoke's Asylum

Juan Cole

Mad Prophet




Nurse Ratched's Notebook

Occasional Subversion

Oligopoly Watch



Project for a New Century of Freedom

Prometheus 6


Sick of Bush

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Thoughts on the Eve of the Apocalypse


Wrong Side of Happiness


American Prospect

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Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

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Dollars and Sense

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Editor & Publisher

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In These Times


Killing the Buddha

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Philosophers Magazine

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Look It Up:

American Religion Data Archive


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Geography of Race in the US

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Internet Archive

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VOA Pronunciation Guide

What Are the Odds of Dying?

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Who Owns What?

Working Reporter

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Professional Opinions:

Al Kamen

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Boston Globe Editorials

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Public Opinion:

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TV Worth Watching:


Daily Show

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History Channel

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Washington Journal

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Trivial Pursuits:

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BushFlash Animation Features

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Mark Fiore's Animated Political Cartoons



Puppet Man

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Sheep Game

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Unofficial Official Simulator


Books Worth Reading (linked to reviews):

The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood (1986)

How the Good Guys Finally Won: Notes from an Impeachment Summer, by Jimmy Breslin (1975)

Barbarians at the Gate: The Fall of RJR Nabisco, by Bryan Burrough and John Helyar (1990)

Big Blues: The Unmaking of IBM, by Paul Carroll (1993)

Silent Spring, by Rachel Carson (1962)

The Road Ahead, by Bill Gates with Nathan Myhrvold and Peter Rinearson (1996)

Charismatic Chaos, by John F MacArthur, Jr (1992)

The American Way of Birth, by Jessica Mitford (1992)

Ethel: A Fictional Autobiography, by Tema Nason (1990)

Arrogant Capital: Washington, Wall Street, and the Frustration of American Politics, by Kevin Phillips (1994)

Flying High: The Story of Boeing and the Rise of the Jetliner Industry, by Eugene Rodgers (1996)

Clearing the Air, by Daniel Schorr (1977)

Trammell Crow, Master Builder: The Story of America's Largest Real Estate Empire, by Robert Sobel (1989)

The Triumph of Politics: Why the Reagan Revolution Failed, by David Stockman (1986)

Oil Man: The Story of Frank Phillips and the Birth of Phillips Petroleum, by Michael Wallis (1995)

Marathon: The Pursuit of the Presidency 1972-1976, by Jules Witcover (1977)

Belly Up: The Collapse of the Penn Square Bank, by Philip L Zweig (1985)