Monday, September 1, 2008

1 Sep 2008: Today's Democracy Now!

* Nearly Two Million Flee Gulf Coast as Hurricane Gustav Approaches *

Nearly two million people have evacuated their homes as Hurricane Gustav heads towards the Gulf Coast. The Category 3 storm is expected to make landfall by midday today, with winds at 115 miles per hour. The evacuations come just days after New Orleans marked the three-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Hurricane Gustav has also jeopardized this week's Republican National Convention in St. Paul. Republican officials are already scaling back the RNC program. We go to New Orleans to speak with independent journalist, Jordan Flaherty.


* Jon Stewart of "The Daily Show" Weighs in on Sarah Palin, Hurricane Gustav and the Media's Coverage of the Conventions *

We catch up with Jon Stewart, host of The Daily Show on Comedy Central, in St. Paul airport. Stewart discusses Barack Obama's nomination acceptance speech, John McCain's decision to tap Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate, Hurricane Gustav and much more.


* St. Paul Police Conduct Mass Preemptive Raids Ahead of Republican Convention *

Armed groups of police in the Twin Cities have raided more than half-a-dozen locations since Friday night in a series of "preemptive raids" before the Republican National Convention. The raids and detentions have targeted activists planning to protest the convention, as well as journalists and videographers documenting police actions at protests.


* Vietnam Veterans for Peace Demonstrate Against Fellow Vet John McCain *

On Sunday, Veterans for Peace, a large national organization made up of veterans of every war, from Korea to Vietnam and Iraq, led a protest in the streets of St. Paul against the Republican National Convention. Among the members of Vets for Peace, there is a sizable contingent of Vietnam War vets. So, too, is the man they are demonstrating against: the presumptive presidential nominee John McCain. Democracy Now! correspondent Jeremy Scahill files a report from the streets of the Twin Cities.


* Three Years After Katrina, New Orleans Levee System Still Vulnerable *

Nearly two million residents have fled from coastal Louisiana and New Orleans as Hurricane Gustav heads towards the Gulf Coast, but tens of thousands have also left coastal Mississippi, Alabama and southeastern Texas. Hurricane Gustav has also jeopardized this week's Republican National Convention in St. Paul, where Republican officials are already scaling back the RNC program. Despite the Bush administration drawing widespread criticism for its response to Katrina three years ago, the levee system in New Orleans remains vulnerable.


* As Hurricane Gustav Approaches, Blackwater Seeks Personnel to Deploy to Gulf Coast *

The private military firm Blackwater Worldwide is seeking personnel that could possibly be deployed into areas affected by Hurricane Gustav. We speak with Democracy Now! correspondent Jeremy Scahill, who first broke the story of armed guards working for the private security firm Blackwater being deployed in the streets of New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.


* After Being Detained in Preemptive House Raid, Democracy Now!'s Elizabeth Press Files Report on Police Crackdown in St. Paul *

The protests against the Republican convention have barely begun, but the police have already begun their crackdown against anyone perceived to be involved the demonstrations. Police in the Twin Cities worked with federal officials to detain dozens of activists and conduct a series of coordinated raids on a number of locations. Among them was Democracy Now!'s Elizabeth Press, who was detained, along with several others, in a house raid on the video collective I-Witness Video. Press files a report from the streets of the Twin Cities.


* "It's a Chance for [Republicans] to Make Some Gesture About Katrina" - David Brooks Reacts to Hurricane Gustav and the RNC *

Democracy Now! runs into New York Times columnist David Brooks at the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport. We get his reaction to Barack Obama's nomination acceptance speech in Denver, John McCain's choice of Sarah Palin for the vice-presidential nomination, and the effect Hurricane Gustav will have on the Republican convention. "McCain should go down to New Orleans, grab onto a light post Geraldo-style and do the speech sideways, holding on while the wind blows him," Brooks says.


* In Surprise Move, McCain Taps Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as Running Mate *

Republican candidate John McCain has shocked political analysts and even members of his own party with the selection of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his vice-presidential nominee. The forty-four-year-old Palin becomes the first woman to ever run on a Republican presidential ticket. Her surprise choosing came as a shock to political observers who hadn't even put her in contention. Palin has been Alaska's governor for less than two years. Prior to that, she served as mayor of Wasilla, a town of less than 10,000 people.


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