Today's Blogs

Mom vs. Bush

Bloggers discuss the mother of a slain GI who is protesting outside of President Bush’s ranch; other hot topics are the skirmish between Google and CNET, and an artist’s plan to “restore” the Bamiyan Buddhas of Afghanistan.

Mom vs. Bush: Cindy Sheehan, whose son Casey was killed in Iraq last year, has been holding a vigil outside the president’s Crawford, Texas, ranch since Aug 6. She is demanding a personal meeting with President Bush so that she can ask him what “noble cause” her son died for. Pointing out that Sheehan did meet with Bush shortly after her son died, heavyweight headliner Matt Drudge has dredged up an excerpt from an article from the Vacaville, Calif., Reporter about Sheehan from June 2004. In it, Sheehan says, “I now know [Bush is] sincere about wanting freedom for the Iraqis,” and “I know he’s sorry and feels some pain for our loss.” On her blog Meet With Cindy, Sheehan responds that new information about the beginning of the war has helped strengthen her position: “[A] few things have happened since June of 2004: The 9/11 commission report; the Senate Intelligence report; the Duelfer WMD report; and most damaging and criminal: the Downing Street Memos.” Additionally, The Raw Story, “an alternative news nexus,” has posted the entire Reporter article, which indicates that Sheehan already had some grave doubts about the war.

Conservatives don’t buy it.Catholic The Anchoress suggests  that Sheehan’s pain has led her to become a mouthpiece for liberals: “I pray that the press can find it in themselves to take this evidence that this woman is simply parroting a script and refuse to aid in her exploitation.” Right Equals Might’s retired Marine Kurt G., whose son is serving in Iraq, accuses Sheehan of “spitting on the memory of her own son.” He insists that Bush didn’t kill her son—”Islamofascist terrorists” did.

But liberals commend Sheehan’s bravery. Pandagon’s Amanda Marcotte asks, “How dare Cindy Sheehan think that just because she loved the boy that she gave birth to and raised that she is anything more than a vessel providing cannon fodder for His Excellency the Shrub to use to generate profits for Halliburton?” Democratic stalwart Daily Kos has been following the story with enthusiasm: “Lots of parents who lost sons and daughters in Iraq now question the war, and I don’t think they would like to see one of their own treated like this by the President.”

Read more about Cindy Sheehan.

Ungracious Google: CNET’s Elinor Mills raised concerns about Google’s handling of private information in this July article. In order to make her point, she googled Google’s CEO, Eric Schmidt, and demonstrated how much information about him she was able to gather, pointing out that Schmidt made “almost $90 million from sales of Google stock and made at least another $50 million selling shares in the past two months”; that he lives with his wife, Wendy, in Atherton Calif.; and that he attended an Al Gore fund-raiser in 2000. Last week, CNET  claimed that Google has said it won’t talk to CNET’s reporters for one year.

“What ever happened to ‘Don’t be evil’?” asksB2Day’s Erick Schonfeld, a business blogger, referring to Google’s corporate motto. Venture Chronicles’ Jeff Nolan opines, “[I]t’s surprising that Google would get in a twist about an article on privacy when 1) the CNet piece could easily have been deflected as an issue not exclusively limited to Google, and 2) it’s not like privacy issues are anything new to Google’s PR folks.”

Some bloggers are more forgiving. Bayosphere’s Dan Gillmor, a Bay Area blogger, writes, “Google is a young company. We shouldn’t be surprised that it sometimes acts its age.”

Read more about Google.

Buddha of infinite laser beams: L.A.-based artist Hiro Yamagata hopes to replace Afghanistan’s monumental Bamiyan Buddhas, which were destroyed by the Taliban in 2001, with laser images of the statues. The images would be turned on for four hours on Sunday nights, powered by windmills that would also serve nearby villages.

Electronetwork’s Brian Carroll calls it an “excellent idea and initiative, public and private to regenerate ideas whose substance and symbolism cannot be destroyed.” However, Old School’s Joe, an ancient-studies undergrad, writes, “[T]his is a slightly frustrating story, as the first few graphs suggest that there certainly definitely will be huge laser-images projected onto the cliff faces of Bamiyan, although we learn later that it’s still awaiting approval by a somewhat skeptical-sounding UNESCO.” Jim, a commenter on the liberal Drudge Retortis downright skeptical, calling the statues ” ‘Freedom Buddhas’ just like that idiotic ‘Freedom Tower’ they’re building in NY.”

Read more about the Bamiyan Buddhas; visit Hiro Yamagata’s Web site; read conservative ArthurChrenkoff’s roundup of good news from Afghanistan.