The Damage Done

The Department of Defense regularly updates its official count of American soldiers killed and wounded in Iraq. For a glimpse behind the numbers, visit the Military Times’ listing of soldiers killed in Operation Iraqi Freedom. The Memory Hole keeps a tally of soldiers wounded in Iraq, their pictures, and stories. And to read what troops are saying, visit the message boards of the anti-war group Bring Them Home Now. Through Operation Hero Miles, you can contribute your frequent-flier miles to help hospitalized soldiers receive visits from their families. Help the wounded recovering in Germany through the Wounded Warrior Fund.

Tearaway Burkas & Tinplate Menorahs

Al Franken’s website,, provides an excerpt of his new best-seller, Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them, as well as his tour schedule and bio. A fan-run website,, tracks Franken’s every move. And don’t miss Terry Gross’ interviews with both Franken and his would-be nemesis, Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly, at

Smuggling Hope

Citing the need for prescription drug relief, the American Association of Retired People (AARP) threw its weight behind the Medicare bill passed last November. The 35-million member group explains its decision on its web site; for the mathematically disinclined, it features an online calculator that will compute an individual’s drug benefit under the new plan. One of the bill’s vocal opponents was the Consumers Union, whose website outlines some of the bill’s flaws and suggests ways to fix them. Merrill Goozner’s The $800 Million Pill: The Truth Behind the Cost of New Drugs (University of California 2004) shows how the pharmaceutical industry gets taxpayers to foot their R&D bill while charging exorbitant prices. compares the average price of popular prescription drugs, state by state, as well as in Canada and Mexico.

The Longest Arm of the Law

Human Rights Watch monitors the latest efforts to bring Augusto Pinochet to trial. It also examines how other judicial authorities can use the precedent set by Judge Garzon’s case against the former Chilean dictator. For more on our former secretary of state’s alleged crimes, see Christopher Hitchens’ The Trial of Henry Kissinger (Verso 2002) or the documentary it inspired (First Run/Icarus 2002). Check out the archives for “The Torturers Next Door”, which chronicles a Florida investigator’s attempts to track down human-rights violators seeking refuge in the U.S.

The New Yankees

To learn more about Somali refugees and asylum seekers, see the U.S. Committee for Refugees’ 2001 report. The bilingual Hiiraan Online is a vibrant web resource for news from Somalia as well as music, commentary, and links to other Somali sites. Mary Pipher and Susan Cohen document the experiences of refugees in The Middle of Everywhere: Helping Refugees Enter the American Community (Harcourt 2003).

Toxic Tipping Point has a package on thimerosal and the controversy surrounding it. Sensible Action for Ending Mercury-Induced Disorders (Safe Minds) provides resources for families seeking compensation through legal action. On the other side, the American Association of Pediatrics assures parents that a thimerosal/autism link has not been proved. “Mercury in Medicine: Taking Unnecessary Risks,” a report summarizing Rep. Burton’s three-year investigation, is on his website.

The Next Worst Thing

The BioWeapons Prevention Project, a collation of international NGOs, seeks to end bioweapons development; in the meantime, it tracks this technology. A 2003 report [links to PDF] by the National Academy of Sciences, “Biotechnology Research In An Age Of Terrorism: Confronting The Dual Use Dilemma,” explores the technology’s benefits and risks. In Germs: Biological Weapons and America’s Secret War (Simon & Schuster 2002) three New York Times reporters survey the recent history of biological weapons and sound an alarm about the “poor man’s hydrogen bomb.”

Murder, She Said

The Lawyers Committee for Human Rights has examined the U.S. government’s willingness to compromise its stance on human rights to further the War on Terror. The UK-based Tapol (“political prisoner” in Indonesian) publishes a detailed bimonthly bulletin exposing human rights violations in Indonesia and West Timor. Military and Democracy in Indonesia: Challenges, Politics, and Power (RAND Corp. 2002) by Angel Rabasa and John Haseman, examines the recent role of the military in Indonesian politics and society.

Hellraiser: Pete Tridish

Tridish’s Prometheus Radio Project offers aspiring low-watt radio broadcasters and wannabe media activists tips for getting started. If you’re going by the book, visit the Federal Communications Commission’s Low Power FM website. Scanning the dial for your local independent or pirate radio stations? Check out the Free Radio Network.

Locked Out

The Correctional Association of New York is heading “Drop the Rock,” a campaign to repeal the state’s Rockefeller drug laws. It has also produced a documentary, Drug Mules, about women drug couriers who have been prosecuted under similarly strict laws.