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Howard Stern: Free-speech hero.

The marriage-equality movement confronts anti-gay sentiment among blacks.

Critics see him as unfit to oversee records, noting his dubious ethical standards.

Several of the recent Whitney Biennials have aspired to something more than a display of "the latest in American Art," to cite the phrase used to advertise the current show.

I was 25 when I and the rest of black South Africa were eligible to vote
for the first time. South Africa celebrated the tenth anniversary of
that event this April.

"This is a book written in the presence of music." So begins Geoffrey
O'Brien's sprawling memoir-cum-critical essay, and the reader is tempted
to ask: What book isn't?

The stark fact that significant portions of our planet are under the
supervision of exceptionally stupid and ill-informed people is provoking
unwonted expressions of anger and alarm.

Can we please stop calling it a quagmire? The United States isn't mired
in a bog or a marsh in Iraq (quagmire's literal meaning); it is
free-falling off a cliff.

One of my favorite little films is a satirical documentary titled
Babakiueria.

On October 29, 2002, George W. Bush signed the Help America Vote Act
(HAVA). Hidden behind its apple-pie-and-motherhood name lies a nasty
civil rights time bomb.

It is time--past time--for John Kerry to tell Americans what he is
about.

Dick Cheney has positioned himself as the Bush Administration's point
man in the ongoing work of questioning the national security credentials
of presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joh

By the most conservative estimates, the March for Women's Lives in
Washington on April 25 was the biggest pro-choice demo ever--and it may
have been the biggest march of any kind in US history.

GIVE ME YOUR CORPORATE BIG BUCKS...

Republicans say Kerry might have got

Some wounds, but not the kind that hurt a lot.

Their own man cannot ever be accused

"How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?"

In another illustration of the current administration's commitment to keeping the American people in the loop, the White House demanded that there be no recording or formal transcription of today's joint interview of President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney by the 9/11 commission.

The members of the independent commission investigating the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon have accepted this ridiculous pretense because they know it is the only way to get the president and the vice president to aid efforts to understand and combat the threat of terrorism.

The lack of a recording or an official transcript will, legal scholars suggest, afford Bush and Cheney an opportunity to deny statements, question interpretations and challenge conclusions. "It gives them more maneuverability in case someone slips up or says something he regrets," explains New York University law Professor Stephen Gillers.

You don't have to live in a battleground state to join the battle for the White House in November. With an election that is almost certain to be decided by a whisker in a handful of swing states, those of us who live in places like New York--where the outcome on November 2nd is not in doubt--can too easily feel like spectators to the most important political contest of our lives. The candidates come here to fundraise and we can, and do, contribute, but what else can we do to have a direct impact on who becomes the next President?

One answer, at least in two states with lots of progressives eager to be put to work, is being provided by the USAction affiliates in New York and New Jersey. Together Citizen Action of New York and New Jersey Citizen Action are kicking off Volunteer2004.org, a project to organize volunteers in both states to collectively contact 500,000 voters in battleground states like Ohio, Florida, Tennessee, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Missouri. Through a combination of door-to-door trips to neighboring states and phone banks throughout New York and New Jersey, volunteers can now turn their anger and angst into action.

As the polls constantly remind us, this will be a very close election. That means that every voter contact can make a difference. Florida, where the official gap between Bush and Gore was 537, wasn't even the closest election in 2000; the margin in New Mexico was 366. And in several other states, a few thousand votes separated winner from loser. Both sides are expecting the same tight races, largely in the same places, this year. Which is why we're seeing an unprecedented emphasis, at least in the forty years since TV came to dominate elections, on old-fashioned fieldwork, the kind that groups like USAction have long specialized in.

The battle will be fought on two fronts. All sides will be working to mobilize their voters, with unprecedented door-to-door, phone and mail operations. And the candidates will be fighting mightily to win the hearts of the small but crucial proportion of voters who remain undecided. The Volunteer2004 program is doing both, putting New York and New Jersey volunteers to work "mobilizing the mobilizables" and "persuading the persuadables."

USAction is a member of America Votes, the national coalition that includes NARAL Pro-Choice America, the Sierra Club, the AFL-CIO and many others, which is coordinating voter mobilization in the swing states. As such, the Volunteer2004 effort could provide grassroots progressives with an army of volunteer reinforcements for the battleground state effort.

It's easy to participate. Just click here to sign up in New York or New Jersey. You'll be given lots of opportunities to make calls, get on the bus and get out the vote. One hour of volunteer time will allow you to talk with as many as 35 voters in key states. And next time you read an article about the battleground states, you'll know that you've joined the battle to take back our nation from the extremist Right.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee started hearings today on John Negroponte's appointment to the Baghdad embassy, a post that he would assume on June 30, when sovereignty will supposedly be transferred to Iraqi authorities.

Negroponte's reputation as ambassador to Honduras from 1981 to 1985 earned him a reputation for supporting widespread human rights abuses and campaigns of terror. As ambassador he played a key role in coordinating US aid to the Contra death squads in Nicaragua and shoring up CIA-backed death squads in Honduras. (Click here for an audio segment of Amy Goodman's Democracy Now! for more on Negroponte's background.)

As the Council on Hemispheric Affairs noted in a comprehensive release on Negroponte's career, the career diplomat's nomination must be seen as profoundly troubling since the same nagging questions which were present during the summer of 2001, when Negroponte was nominated to be US ambassador to the UN, continue to persist. (Click here to read the full release.)

But though, as David Corn writes in the current issue of The Nation, Negroponte's confirmation hearing will provide senators a chance to probe Bush's plans in Iraq, if Negroponte's record, is not questioned, as seems likely, he will once again be able to escape his haunted past. Don't let your elected reps give Negroponte a free pass. Click here to tell them to vote against Negroponte's appointment. You can also usefully send them the Center for American Progress's ten questions Negroponte should be forced to answer before he's given the job of running Iraq.

In his April 13 press conference, Bush lamented the poor showing of Iraqi security forces in recent clashes with insurgents.

Anyone who thinks the contemporary women's movement is dying, over or simply irrelevant will have to think again after yesterday's March for Women's Lives.

In one of the biggest demonstrations in US history, more than one million protesters crowded the National Mall this afternoon to show support for reproductive rights and opposition to http://www.thenation.com/directory/view.mhtml?t=000706 ">Bush Administration policies on women's health issues (things like making it virtually impossible for women to obtain the morning after pill, also known as emergency contraception, without a prescription).

Some 1,400 US groups endorsed and sent members to the event. And international contingents were strong as women joined the protest from nearly 60 countries, asserting that damage from Bush's policies is spreading far beyond US shores through measures such as the ban on federal money for family-planning groups that promote or perform abortions abroad.

Check out the up-to-the-minute reports below on today's historic show of support for reproductive freedom, click here to sign the Freedom of Choice Act petition, and click here to see how you can lend support to the abortion-rights movement.

Women's Rights Marchers Gather in DC by Elizabeth Wolfe,The Guardian, April 26, 2004

Massive Protest Decries Bush Policies by Deborah Zabarenko,Reuters, April 26, 2004

NPR's Weekend Editionlive from the march. Andrea Seabrook reporting.