The Checkout

So Long for Now

I've often mentioned in recent months that I'm having a baby, and she's now arrived. Ida Sophia Steinberg was born at 2:58 a.m. this morning, weighing in at 5 pounds 13 ounces. So, I'm leaving you and this blog for six months.

Six months!

I know. It seems like a long time, but I'm told it will go by fast.

Since taking over from Caroline Mayer last September, I've learned a lot from readers. In fact, what I've found is that the readers of this blog are deeply versed in many of the subjects I've touched on.

You're also the most unforgiving lot when it comes to misspellings, typos or grammar mishaps! But hey, it keeps me on my toes.

It's been especially fascinating to see which topics get people talking. Some of the most commented on posts have been food-related, which I'm grateful for, because, Lord knows, I love to blog about anything food related, whether it's the trans fat in a Mickey D's fry or the E. coli in a bag of spinach.

When I come back, I'm sure I'll have been schooled in all new aspects of consumer life I never had the pleasure of encountering before. I'll also be bleary-eyed, so I'm hoping you'll all take that into account when I misplace my commas.

In the meantime, save up some of your questions, insights, complaints and wisecracks for me when I return.

So long for now!

By Annys Shin |  March 1, 2007; 3:24 PM ET Etc.
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Congrats on the baby. May she bring to you the joy of new life, plus untold amounts of infant-related consumer material to dump on your blog in one fell swoop when you return.

Posted by: Lindemann | March 1, 2007 3:30 PM

Congratulations, Annys! We'll miss you. Motherhood is fabulous. Good luck on the sleep!

I've really enjoyed your blog entries and they touch on important topics. Thanks and enjoy your time with little Ida.

Posted by: Neighbor | March 1, 2007 3:31 PM

Congrats to you and Dan!

Posted by: Ghitza | March 1, 2007 5:25 PM

Congrats, and thanks so much for the Crazy Eddie link yesterday.

Posted by: Kevin | March 1, 2007 7:37 PM


Posted by: larry | March 1, 2007 8:23 PM

Congratulations! May your daughter be healthy and happy!

Posted by: Elle | March 1, 2007 8:23 PM

Congratulations!!! I wish the best for your family!!!

For uncensored news please bookmark:

It's your choice: Step up to the plate or let the corporate media win

Without your ongoing support, you may go to Online Journal one morning and find the front page blank because our courageous freelance writers can no longer afford to work without pay.

From what we have been hearing in the past few months, many of our writers are reaching the point of desperation. The few corporate media outlets that were buying their work are cutting back and even laying off staff reporters. Many of the nonprofit news outlets, which pay their top management and a few pet journalists handsome sums, think freelancers should volunteer their time and efforts, never mind keeping a roof over their heads and food on the table.

The reality is that feisty publications like Online Journal, which pull no punches, are getting to the corporate brass. We embarrass them and they want us gone. If you don't believe that, just check out how they gripe about all the online efforts to get out the information they and their Washington masters want to keep buried. Since they haven't succeeded in talking us down with nonsensical labels, such as "conspiracy theorist," "unprofessional" and worse, they shutting out the freelancers and forcing them to go into other lines of work in order to survive.

The problem is that Online Journal currently is not taking in enough in reader donations, revenue from hosting, the sale of books and merchandise to help the more than deserving professional freelance journalists. Oh, there have been times when income has exceeded expenses and we have passed that along to help freelancers in dire straits, but that hasn't happened very often.

To maintain our independence, Online Journal neither solicits nor receives corporate or foundation funding -- funding that comes with strings attached -- which means our biggest source of revenue comes from our readers. Yes, we could, as some have done, turn to one of the nonprofit umbrella groups that would make Online Journal an instant nonprofit, but when you read the fine print in the agreements, the umbrella nonprofit would own the rights to everything published in Online Journal. That is unacceptable. We never claim the rights to any writer's work.

Imagine what we could do it we had just a fraction of the money the corporate media have. Apparently, the corporate brass have considered that and it's causing them sleepless nights as they try to figure out ways to make gone with us.

It's also interesting that the left gatekeepers (and we won't name them) can make pitches for humongous amounts of money to place ads in the corporate media, for various other dubious projects, and periodical fundraisers and people rush to fill their coffers, while the rest of us are struggling to keep our heads above water and agonizing over how to keep the freelancers afloat, too, besides lacking the money that investigative reporting requires.

So it all boils down to you, dear readers. We need the support of everyone who can afford to part with $10 or more on a regular basis. You can make a secure credit card donation by going to If you prefer to send a check or money order email for a mailing address.
Thanks to those who have supported us, Online Journal has come a long way in nearly 8½ years and can go even further with your help.

Posted by: che | March 2, 2007 8:09 AM


Just as amazing: OMG Che is a real non-robot poster!

While you are gone, who is going to keep us updated/ fill in for you? Us blind consumer sheep need someone to watch out for us! ;-P Enjoy the break!

Posted by: Chris | March 2, 2007 12:23 PM

Annys, welcome to the secret club of parenthood (non-members just don't get it).

Posted by: Ollabelle | March 2, 2007 12:44 PM

Congrats! I'm sure you'll do fine with the baby.

Good luck with Dan, though!

Posted by: Kim | March 2, 2007 1:05 PM

Congratulations! I look forward to reading your blog again in 6 months!

Posted by: Rob | March 2, 2007 2:21 PM

Apparently, when Che begs for money, he does it in person.

Posted by: 101 | March 2, 2007 2:46 PM

For uncensored news please go to:

Breaking news!!!
Bush departments alliance with Al Qaeda related groups in Lebanon

A major focus of the US strategy is to weaken the Syrian government of President Bashir Assad and his alliance with Iran, and to undermine the influence of Hezbollah in Lebanon. The Bush administration actively encouraged Israel's savage bombardment and invasion of Lebanon last year as the opening shot in a broader campaign against Syria and Iran. But in a significant blow to US plans, Israel failed to destroy Hezbollah, which emerged from the rubble with heightened political stature. In an interview on Australian Broadcasting Corporation radio, Hersh described Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah as "the single most popular figure among Sunnis and Shias" in the Middle East.

In its efforts to counter the Shiite-based Hezbollah and shore up the government of Prime Minister Fuad Siniora, the US is now covertly supporting Sunni extremist groups in Lebanon that are known to have close ideological ties to Al Qaeda. Nothing is more revealing of the criminal character of the Bush administration. In the name of fighting its bogus "war on terror" against "Islamo-fascists" to defend the American people, the White House has no compunction in forming in a de facto alliance with Sunni fanatics who pay homage to Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda.

A former senior American intelligence official told veteran investigative journalist Seymour Hersh: "We are in a program to enhance Sunni capacity to resist Shiite influence, and we're spreading money around as much as we can... In this process, we're financing a lot of bad guys with some serious potential unintended consequences. We don't have the ability to determine and get pay vouchers signed by the people we like and avoid the people we don't like. It's a very high-risk venture."

Former British MI6 agent Alastair Crooke, based at the Conflicts Forum think tank in Beirut, explained that Fatah al-Islam, which broke from the pro-Syrian group Fatah al-Intifada in the Nahr al-Bared refugee camp in northern Lebanon, had been offered money to fight Hezbollah. A larger Sunni fundamentalist group, situated at the Ain al-Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp, received arms and supplies from Lebanese internal security forces and militias associated with the Siniora government.

An article in the British-based Telegraph last month confirmed that President Bush had given the green light to the CIA to provide financial and logistical support to the Lebanese prime minister. The classified presidential order "authorises the CIA and other US intelligence agencies to fund anti-Hezbollah groups in Lebanon and pay for activists who support the Siniora government. The secrecy of the finding [order] means that US involvement in the activities is officially deniable."

All these activities are going on behind the backs of the US Congress and the American people. It is no surprise that Elliot Abrams, who was convicted over the Iran-Contra affair, is a central figure in these dirty operations. In the 1980s, the Reagan administration was involved in secretly selling arms to Iran as a means of covertly funding and arming the right-wing Contras in Nicaragua without congressional approval. Now Abrams is directing another criminal operation, involving the Saudis, to fund Sunni extremists to undermine Tehran and its allies as the US prepares to launch a war on Iran.

The close involvement of Saudi Arabia in the enterprise is particularly significant. The Saudi monarchy, which has a long history of financing Sunni fanatics, was a close partner in the 1980s in the CIA's backing of Mujaheddin fighters against the Soviet-backed regime in Afghanistan. The "blowback" from that operation included the creation of Al Qaeda, which called for a jihad against the US after American troops were stationed in Saudi Arabia for the first Gulf War in 1990-91. Now with Saudi assistance, the Bush administration is unleashing the same reactionary forces in its efforts to undermine Iran, with cynical disregard for the consequences.

As a US government consultant told Hersh, Prince Bandar and other Saudis had offered assurances that "they will keep a very close eye on the religious fundamentalists. Their message to us was, 'We've created this movement, and we can control it.' It's not that we don't want the Salafis [Sunni fundamentalists] to throw bombs; it's who they throw them at--Hezbollah, Moqtada al-Sadr, Iran, and at the Syrians, if they continue to work with Hezbollah and Iran." No doubt similar assurances were given in the 1980s that Riyadh would control a little-known Saudi engineer, Osama bin Laden, and his followers.

For the rest of this article please go to:

Posted by: che | March 4, 2007 8:29 AM

Huh, so Che's a person (and at least was kind enough to congratulate you, so I suppose that's a tick in the "+" column).

Please allow me to add my congrats, and good luck with the new one!

Posted by: R | March 5, 2007 10:26 AM


Posted by: Mazel Tov! | March 5, 2007 10:44 AM

Congratulations! Enjoy the baby and the time.

Posted by: DC | March 7, 2007 1:04 PM


Posted by: ProfessorB | March 28, 2007 7:05 AM

Will anyone be filling in for you?

Posted by: Garak | March 30, 2007 1:10 PM

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