The Supreme Court ended its session with major decisions on the public display of the Ten Commandments and file sharing on the Internet. And despite speculation, Chief Justice William Rehnquist gave no hint that he planned to retire.
We’ll have more on all of these cases in today’s show.
In Iraq — the oldest member of the Iraqi parliament has been killed in a suicide bombing attack. The eighty-seven year-old Dhari al-Fayadh died along with his son and three bodyguards when a car bomb hit their convoy in Baghdad. Al-Fayadh was a prominent tribal leader and served as acting speaker of the opening session of the new parliament. He is the second member of parliament to have been killed since the new government formed in April.
Tonight President Bush is giving a prime-time address on Iraq from Fort Bragg to mark the first anniversary of the so-called handover of power to Iraq. White House spokesperson Scott McClellan said Bush will explain that he sees a “clear path to victory” in Iraq.
In recent days, even fellow Republicans have questioned Bush’s war in Iraq. Last week Republican Senator Chuck Hagel said, “Things aren’t getting better; they’re getting worse. The White House is completely disconnected from reality. It’s like they’re just making it up as they go along. The reality is that we’re losing in Iraq.”
On Sunday Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld warned that it could take twelve years to quell the Iraqi insurgency.
A year ago U.S. and Iraqi officials were hoping the so-called handover of power would help put an end to the bloodshed. When Iyad Allawi took over the interim government he said, “In a few days, Iraq will radiate with stability and security.”
Since then 948 U.S. soldiers have died; thousands of Iraqis have been killed; a total of fifty-two senior Iraqi government or religious figures have been assassinated; and the number of Iraqi military and police being killed each month has jumped by fifty percent.
On Monday the Bush administration announced plans to spend fifty million dollars to build new prisons in Iraq. This will allow the Pentagon to hold as many as 16,000 detainees at one time.
Meanwhile a new Washington Post/ABC News poll has found that for the first time most Americans–- 57 percent–- believe the Bush administration “intentionally misled” the public in going to war in Iraq.
The San Jose Mercury News is reporting that California’s National Guard has quietly set up a special intelligence unit that has already begun monitoring anti-war activists. The paper obtained emails from the National Guard that indicate the unit monitored a small Mother’s Day anti-war rally organized by Gold Star Families for Peace, the Raging Grannies and CodePink. A guard spokesman said the military would be “negligent” in not tracking such anti-war rallies in the event that they disintegrate into a riot that could prompt the governor to call out troops. The spokesman went on to say “It’s nothing subversive. Because who knows who could infiltrate that type of group and try to stir something up? After all, we live in the age of terrorism, so who knows?”
This news on the fight over the future of public broadcasting. The New York Times is reporting that the Republican chairman of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting Kenneth Tomlinson hired a consultant to monitor the political leanings of guests on a total of three shows on public tv and radio. In addition to the PBS show “Now with Bill Moyers,” Tomlinson ordered the monitoring of shows hosted by Diane Rehm and Tavis Smiley. The CPB’s inspector general is now examining Tomlinson’s hiring of the consultant Fred Mann. Mann was previously employed by a conservative media training organization whose alumni include Ann Coulter.
In Pakistan, the country’s Supreme Court has ordered a re-trial of a group of men tied to a notorious gang raping that occurred in 2002. The victim of the rape — Mukhtar Mai — has since become a prominent advocate for women’s rights in Pakistan. Earlier this month a lower court acquitted five of the rapists.
In Labor news, The United Brotherhood of Carpenters has joined a group of other dissident unions in challenging the AFL-CIO. The carpenters union announced Monday that it is joining the new Change to Win Coalition which was formed earlier this month by the Teamsters, Service Employees International Union, UNITE HERE, Laborers and the United Food and Commercial Workers Union.
In voting news, the state of Iowa is preparing to reverse a law that had permanently disenfranchised convicted felons. The Brennan Center for Justice hailed the decision as a “huge victory for voting rights and for civil rights.” The center is part of the nationwide Right to Vote Campaign. Disenfranchisement laws that date back to Reconstruction still prevent nearly five million people from voting. The laws have disproportionately affected African-Americans. Voting rights groups estimate thirteen percent of all African-American men in the country can not vote because of the laws.
President Bush has nominated Granta Nakayama as chief of enforcement for the Environmental Protection Agency. The Baltimore Sun reports Nakayama is a partner in the law firm Kirkland & Ellis that is defending W.R. Grace & Co. against multiple criminal charges. The charges allege that the company knowingly put their workers and the public in danger through exposure to asbestos at the company’s mine in Libby, Montana.