Sunday, July 30, 2006

Truest Statement of the Week

The Cindy Brady of the faux left learned a swear word and wanted to share it with me.

-- Elaine, Rebecca and C.I. "From the Mixed-up Mind of Eric Alterman" (Like Maria Said Paz).

A Note to Our Readers

Hey --
Another Sunday. Later than expected due to a number of things.

Highlights? Got 'em:

NYT Finally reports on Ehren Watada
Blog Spotlight: The Power of Three
Humor Spotlight: Wally and Cedric note a re-recording of "You've Got A Friend" with new lyrics
Blog Spotlight: Betty on travel and Rebecca's wedding
Blog Spotlight: Mike and Wally offer assistance to Justin Timberlake

New content? We got it and the following worked on it:

The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Jess, Ty, Ava and me, Jim;
Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude;
Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man;
C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review;
Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ils);
Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix;
Mike of Mikey Likes It!;
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz;
and Wally of The Daily Jot

"Recommended: Danny Schechter News Dissector" -- want coverage of Israel's actions in the Middle East? You got a one stop site. Use it. All worked on this feature (all listed above). All includes Dallas who, as usual hunted down all the links you see and also added input on all features. Thank you, Dallas.

"Non-Think Progress Plays Bash the Bitch" -- this was a suggestion from an offended friend of Ava and C.I.'s. Read it, you'll see why. If the org wants to play smart ass, hey, come join us. But last time we checked, they were one of those "We can win elections, we can make the system better, stronger, we have the power . . ." So it seems more than a bit strange that Paris Hilton's being used for cheap, easy laughs and a round of bash the bitch. All worked on this.

"Slam poetry" -- one of two pieces that should have appeared her. The next, not slam poetry in any sense of the word, goes up next week. We're too tired. All worked on this and "Rotten, Rotten, Rotten" actually came when someone remembered the line from a play (probably Rebecca) and C.I. said, "Cactus Flower" (the movie -- and isn't sure if it's in the play or not). All worked on this.

McKinney v. Lieberman -- who you gonna root for? -- tone and purity arguers say Lieberman must be supported for the party and point to others as being unreasonable. How do we know they're guilty of what they accuse? Look at their silence on Cynthia McKinney. All worked on this.

"TV: What Could Be Lower Than A Cesspool?" -- Ava and C.I. always do the TV commentary solo. This is a strong piece and headache for all of us. A reporter friend of C.I.'s ("And the site's" adds C.I. meaning this one) called and asked if we could work something in. C.I. asked what "Column on autism." Sure. That's an issue we all care about and it's a very strong issue to C.I. and Ava. They read the thing (late in the process and after they'd written their review). They were outraged. They woke the reporter, did he know this would outrage them? Yeah, he was outraged as well. They worked it into the review. (Did so rather quickly, when they finally had time. They also read the column in question over the phone to a friend they mention with a teenage autistic child to make sure they weren't the only ones offended by the column.)

"Sense of Purpose" -- The nightmare piece. When/if we pick this up again, we have not just a second part but a third. A number wanted to bail on this. Why? What can be included and what can't? Can a brother be mentioned? We're not sure. The person thinks their brother would be fine with it but hasn't ever asked. (He's been noted, on the same issue, once here before and it wasn't a problem.) People were pulling things right and left. Though C.I. and Ava both encourage that, C.I. said, "I'm not reading over it, leave in anything you want on me or about me just get the damn thing up and over." That's our kind of spirit! You're reading about a third of it. This is long. We've e-mailed other portions to people noted (but not named) to make sure they're fine with being mentioned. If they are, good chance you'll see another part of it (possibly two parts). If they're not, this was a one shot we thought would be longer. It's our statement of purpose ("Sense of Purpose" is a song by Pretenders off Packed! C.I. adds and believes it comes with an exclamation point at the end but no one wants to get up, walk down the hall and grab the CD). All worked on this.

"Editorial: Does Condi Rice understand her job duties?" -- this is the six of us (Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava and C.I.). When Ava and C.I. finished the TV review (second time), we debated whether we needed an editorial? "Sense of Purpose" could work as that. C.I. pointed out that the Lynne Stewart editorial we have planned to write, for the last three weeks, has lost out each week. Next week, Lynne Stewart editorial if nothing else. We're agreed on that. Stewart's facing thirty years sentencing. She's over sixty, she's a grandmother, she has cancer. Her crime? Defending her client. Law broken? None. She wasn't convicted of breaking a law. Hopefully you already know the case (we've noted it here before, Mike's noted it at his site repeatedly and C.I.'s written about it quite often at The Common Ills before the focus shifted to Iraq mainly/only). Next week's editorial.

That's it for this week. "Sense of Purpose" isn't aimed at the community or our regular readers. (Ty says put in that he loves discussing music with Susan.) But for those who don't want to hang, we've changed our message beneath our title. Ava, C.I. and Jess argued for the quote from Cher -- it's from her album . . . (C.I.'s thinking of the title) 3614 Jackson Highway. When you're not in the mood for the dumb asses, go to the book of Cher. See you next Sunday.

-- Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava and C.I.

Editorial: Does Condi Rice understand her job duties?

The two faces of Condi, Secretary of State for the United States. For those who've forgotten, No-One-Could-Have-Guessed Condi was once the national security advisor. That was once her title meaning national security was her chief responsibilty. 9-11 happened on her beat. The worst terrorist attack on American soil.

Condi, who had plenty of time to entertain various guests at Bully Boy's ranchette in the lead up to 9-11 with her piano playing told the country "No one could have guessed" about the attacks on terrorist soil. Then she went before the 9-11 Commission and was asked the title of the August 6th PDB (August 6, 2001, a month prior to 9-11). With an angry glare at the 9-11 commissioners, Condi responded, petulantly, "Bin Laden Deterimed to Strike in the US."

Now you might think the shame and embarrassment factor alone (forget the guilt) would cause a person to really apply themselves to their job. You don't know this administration very well if you think that.

Condi's failures (along with everyone else's) resulted not in firing but in promotion. She got upped to Sec of State. And, apparently having learned nothing from that tragic day except how to use it for political mileage, Condi's conducted herself as Secretary of State pretty much the same way she did as national security advisor. Which is to say, she's got lots to do. Lots. Doesn't appear to include her job, but she's got lots to do.

Hurricane Katrina hits leaving devestation and tragedy is left in its wake. Where's Condi? Shopping. For shoes. Playing tennis. Catching some plays in NYC. As Isaiah's comic notes, Condi's response to Katrina appeared to be: "Yes, I went shopping for shoes. You can't address a disaster if you look like a fashion disaster." (That comic's even more on the money if you think of the e-mails that came out after Isaiah's comic first went up -- where Michael Brown was commenting on his appearance on TV and saying he looked like a "fashion god.")

Now war wages in the Middle East as Israel continues its war on Gaza and adds Lebanon to the mix. Where's Condi? Photo-opping it. Not over there. Here, in the US. Playing some tunes (as Isaiah notes: "Good thing the nation's not at war and all is peaceful, right?"). Rubbing shoulders with American Idols.

Did anyone sit her down and explain to her how much responsibility she bore for 9-11 due to her position? If so, it doesn't appear to have sunk it. If not, why not?

She's the Secretary of State. She is not Paris Hilton. If Paris Hilton wants to go shopping or make music, that's her right. She's an individual citizen. She's not an appointed representative of the people that's failing (yet again) her job expectations.

Oh well, maybe she can make the cover of the tabloids again. Last time with rumors of an affair with the Bully Boy -- they've restored Fat Cat-ism if not the tone.

Sense of Purpose

What is opinion and what is fact? There seems to a great deal of confusion.

Eric Alterman shares his inability to reason and his "charm" with Elaine ("From the Mixed-up Mind of Eric Alterman ") because he's upset that she wouldn't read him or respect him. He tells her that he "defended Susan [Sontag] up and down" but forgets he dubbed her essay that resulted in the lynch mobs "objectionable." That's a strange sort of defense but then he's a strange sort. What a friend we have in Alterman. In fact, we tossed around the idea of posting a photo of Alterman this edition but Dona reminded us that there was already an uproar over photos of boobs. Instead, we just decided to use his surname as a joke and that's been quite amusing -- not as amusing as Alterman himself, but what is?

Alterman's not the only boob making an ass out himself. We're pretty tired of the idiots in all their blended forms.

When Jess and Ava started working the public e-mail account at The Common Ills to help C.I. out, one of the first things they dispensed with was playing spoonfeeder. No more replies to visitors who were late to the game and, instead of doing their own work, wanted a synopsis of something that had been addressed weeks, months or, in one case, a year prior. And no more replies to visitors who wanted to know how they could purchase a tape of 20/20? Yes, you read that last sentence right.

Somehow the idiots managed to locate The Common Ills but they lacked the know-how to type "ABC" or "20/20" into their search engines.

We're sick of the idiots in all their blended forms.

For this site's account, the burden usually falls on Ty to answer the e-mails. Early on Jim, enjoyed a good back-and-forth with right wing readers. That doesn't happen anymore because the burden falls on Ty.

It's been noted here repeatedly that Ava and C.I. do not read the e-mails. (They read some during Ty's two weeks off.) That's because of the Nick Lacey-Matt LeBlanc-John Stamos lovers who grew violent in thought ("If not deed, they're too lazy to actually do anything") at the opinion that their heart throbs couldn't act. Or, as Ava and C.I. pointed out in a commentary where they just replied to the e-mails:

A very concerned Abe e-mails attempting to do an intervention, "What's your problem with Everybody Loves Raymond? You're always slamming it. Don't you get that EVERYBODY LOVES Everybody Loves Raymond! It really pains me to read your little jabs and quips at that most excellent show's expense. That show has brought a wounded nation together!"
Abe, if "EVERYBODY LOVES" the show, we're not sure why our two voices bother you so.
As for the state of the nation, we're more than happy to join you in blaming it on the show Everybody Loves Raymond. Good point, Abe! As Patricia Heaton's hair color more and more resembles a Tom Ridge color-code alert, we're sure it provides not only easy laughs for many adults but also frightens small children. "Mommy, are we in the red?"

You got an opinion? We believe in DIY and stay with Blogger for that reason. You can create your own site using Blogger in less than ten minutes. Ty regularly encourages some e-mailers (with strong thinking abilities and/or writing abilities) to start their own sites and notes, that if they do, to e-mail and we'll give them a shout out link. We've said it before: more voices, not less; voices speaking in their own voice.

Like something here and find it inspiring? Run with that and start your own site. Hate something here and find it inspiring? Ditto.

We're not interested in fan mail anymore than we are in hate mail. There was the story C.I. and Ava shared about how (in the online age) a network was hyped onto an actor and hired him. Backstory for those late to the party, though talented ("very talented" according to Ava and C.I.) and attractive, his career imploded. He couldn't get a break. What if, it was thought, a network received multiple comments online about the actor? He was "colder than cold" career wise. He'd had the "breaks" and the breaks had busted. He was written off. All it took was an organized, supposed "spontaneous" activity at one network's online forms and suddenly he was being called to read for various of their existing programs and cast in one midseason. A number of us bumped into him at an oh-so-trendy spot last week when he came over to say hello to Ava and C.I. Shortly after he'd joined the table, Dona raised the issue. He jokes that he'll tell-all from the cover of Vanity Fair one day. (C.I. and Ava doubt it and said so when he made that joke.) Were fans clamoring for him prior to the online campaign? No. He admits that himself.

He asked if C.I. had told us another story of fan mail? We hadn't heard this one prior. There was a strong character actress on a daytime soap. A nice woman. Did fine work. One day, C.I. went to visit her and she was excited. She'd gotten a fan letter. It was from a young teenage male who wanted to start a fan club for her! She showed C.I. the letter.

The letter was from someone who'd confused her with a flavor of the month (of "three month") who'd been added to the cast. It turned out a soap opera publication (this was in the 80s and soapy fans it wasn't Soap Opera Digest) had, in noting the show, misidentified the two woman in a cast listing. The young teenager was talking about the character of X (flavor of the three month) because he though he'd written that actress. The character actress had already written back to say she thought X was an interesting character too (she was being kind, the actress was hyped but made no impression and was gone quickly -- she'd later appear in a semi-hit movie as "the girl" and that's about it for her career). C.I. asked if she wanted the bad news delivered or if she wanted to find it out on her own?

Now in that instance, no one was scamming. But then we heard non-stop tales of fan mail. Such as the fact that when P&G soaps were all the rage ("back in the day") a number of actors wrote themselves under phoney names. Why? Before the performers saw the mail, P&G did and compiled a weekly list of who was hot and who was not based on the fan mail each performer received.

The actor at the table told us of how he tried to read his own mail (even though C.I. had told him to get a service) after the online campaign led to his actual break. But he quickly grasped that a lot of people were confusing the character with the man and suspected that many were just wanting an autograph for their collection. Nothing wrong with either, but no real reason to spend hours wading through mail.

As other stories were shared, it became obvious how useless fan mail (in flattery form and hate mail form -- C.I. says it's all fan mail) is. If only the conversation had happened for two of us (Dona & Jim) the week prior.

C.I.'s attitude has always been it's the work that matters. It's not the hype or the flattery. That's why C.I. and Ava (and C.I. solo) turn down requests for interviews over and over. Well, have others turn them down for them. Ty tries to be nice about it and, if the person is persistant (as was the case two weeks ago), Jim and Dona explain that they've been given their answer and need to stop wasting their own time and everyone else's.

We've noted the above in various forms before. But we apparently need to do so again.

During last week's edition, Ty mentioned an e-mail that had come in and two of us (Jim and Dona) just had to read it. They felt we should reply. The rest of us didn't but said if it was along the lines of "Thanks for writing, no time for a full reply" they'd go along with it.

We then ended up in Mexico (Rebecca's wedding). Jim and Dona decided to do a joint reply where they attempted to note common interests with the e-mailer. (Jess points out that C.I. says the guy was "didactic and the minute he gets a reply, he'll become nasty" which was what happened.) Now he wrote because we noted an argument he made that the answer was here -- to the disconnect he felt had resulted from countless entertainment channels -- a program that could get us back to the commons. The reality was that the supposed cure appeared on one of countless channels and most people don't have access to it.

Dona and Jim didn't bring that up. He appeared to conceed our point that we had posted here awhile back (which is a valid point -- his "logic" imploded). He seemed nice enough and he shared a passion for a mutual interest even if we did have different personal favorites so Dona and Jim thought they'd write him. They wrote him an e-mail noting their favorites and why and the response to that was the must hateful thing in the world.

Because of his "tone"? No, because he basically ignored the entire e-mail and began lashing out about our research methods (which he knew nothing of). He began lecturing us (as though he was a journalist which he is not). Insulting us and quoting friends (or invented ones) who weren't very bright. One "friend" dismissed everything we'd ever written because we didn't like Wilco.

In the response to his hateful e-mail, C.I., Ava, Jess and Ty noted that his entertainment value had faded, we'd noted here that we liked Wilco before so maybe he should examine his or his friends' research methods, his own logic had imploded (though he avoided noting that) and he could go away now.

(Later on in the week, a father of one of us would point that on our profile, Wilco is listed third under favorite music. He noticed that because a Wilco concert had been a parent-child outing.)

Try to do somebody a goddman favor. Dona and Jim didn't even bring up the logic implosion in their e-mail because he appeared to be admitting that the point was correct and the only issue was now was personal tastes. But that wasn't the case. He didn't want a debate or discussion about music.

That's his business. His logic imploded. We noted it. He had his say (confirming it had) and that should have been the end of it. It's still not. Despite being told, in White Stripes' terms, "There's no room for you here, Go away, girl" he continues to write. We continue not to read. There are three e-mails in the inbox from him right now. One is 82K.


Does he really think we have time to read 82K let alone 82K from someone who trashed our tastes (which weren't White enough and male enough for him apparently)?

This was exactly the point C.I. had made from the beginning. The beginning of TCI where Jim and Dona were two of the first members and C.I. wrote Jim back and said, "I don't have time to read large e-mails. If you've got something to share that's great. But I don't need to hear compliments." Some of us write that off due to the fact that C.I. doesn't care for compliments in the first place. But the reality is that you're either in the e-mails or you're posting.

Ty writes a line or two of thanks when he replies to an e-mail. (Unless they're racists, in which case, Ty gets very vocal. This hint has been up here before but we'll note it again. If you're White and you think we'll be sympathetic to your feelings that there are "enough" people of color on TV and that affirmative action really had no use, you're wrong. If you're thinking that Ty, an African-American, is going to slap his forehead and say, "By golly, White boy/girl is right! Things are fine and dandy for us African-Americans!" you're an idiot.)

Now we can get lost in the e-mails or we can do a weekly edition. Moronic Mars fans may think that the glorified extras played by African-Americans do "more than enough" on that show (as Melissa P. wrote) but we really don't care.

We have our regular readers and we do listen to them. They request something and we try to follow through. A visitor makes a good request (or just an impassioned one) we try to cover it.

But week after week, we get the whiners who want to argue that opinion (not facts) are wrong. We're not interested.

It's not as bad as at The Common Ills where, for instance, one person wrote to complain that C.I. distorted his comments on that week's NPR. C.I. wasn't covering NPR, Ruth wasn't covering NPR. There was nothing (not even from an excerpt) on NPR. No comment on that appearance, no distortion. That happens a lot. Once, we spent about six hours looking for something with C.I. due to a newspaper journalist insisting that C.I. had done something wrong (mispelled his name -- surely the biggest tragedy in the world). The journalist's name was mispelled -- a letter was left out. It was mispelled in an excerpt that was noted as an excerpt with a link provided. C.I. contacted the other site to see if the journalist had a fit with him as well? Nope. Never even contacted him about the missing letter in his name. That guy never corrected the name at his website.

But the thing that always ticks off C.I. off is when someone says something was written that wasn't written. "Don't put words into my mouth, it's not nice or sanitary." For this site, we're usually ticked off by music requests to be honest. If we're mentioning an obscure track, that's fine. If it's never appeared on a CD, that's fine. If you're writing us about where to find a song that was a number one hit and on a best of, a greatest, as well as the original album, we think you need to learn how to work a search engine. C.I.'s nicer about that than we are and will reply to musical questions like that. But we really think people need to stop screaming, "Spoonfeed me!" If we're talking about a song that you can find in any music store (and any Wal-Mart, though we don't shop there), you need to learn to type the artist's name or the song title (or both, it will narrow down your search) into a search engine.

If you see something that's factually wrong, by all means, let us know. Not a typo or a missing word (except in a direct quote). You don't like the opinion, well you don't like the opinion. There's an op-ed that was passed on that will be commented on here today. You can do that too. You can create your own site and register your opinions. We encourage that, right, left, whatever. We don't make "tone" arguments, we say the more voices the better. And if something's pissing you off, if you're Abe from above and think Raymond didn't get all the love he deserved, start your own site and make your point. The net won't be like it is, currently, forever. (That's one of the reasons, the current state, for the push to destroy it. Too many voices make some people scared.)

Here's what we don't have time for, Mr. 82K and all his bretheren. While slamming our opinion as uninformed on his "god" (whom C.I. and Kat own every CD by and Jess and Jim grew up hearing the music of constantly) he wants to lecture the 'six' of us since, he argues, we want a career in journalism and that requires research. Lectures require research as well, Dumb Ass.

C.I.'s not a student. C.I.'s not trying to become a journalist. That knocks your six down to five. It's been noted here twice in the last few months that Ava's made the decision that she's not interested in becoming a journalist. She'll go the executive route as her father has urged her to. She's heard too many horror stories from reporters and thinks she can make more difference as a friendly face then fighting from down below. That leaves you with four. As has been noted, Ty's enjoying his internship in the entertainment field this summer so much, he's got no interest in journalism. He's learning, he's having fun, he's having the time of his life. He'll stick with the program for the degree but he's not using it. And then there were three. Jess' parents don't want him to go into journalism -- that's been noted at length and repeatedly here (try some research before you lecture). So who knows what he'll do? (His mother points out repeatedly that law school is a wonderful choice. She's an attorney.) Now of the three of us, one of us has a father who is a reporter. An honest to God, get the facts, report them, reporter. So we asked him what he thought of our opinions in the story that has 82K so enraged?

(We'd already spoken to friends of Ava and C.I.'s who were journalists and after the thirty-third call made no difference, they all said there was no problem with the article, C.I. said, "___, you need to call your father. That's the only opinion that's going to sway you.")

His advice to 82K? Since 82K knows nothing about journalism, didn't study it, doesn't practice it, probably he's not qualified to lecture on it. He needs to stick to teaching his pop-culture crap studies and quit trying to act like the "Last goddamn voice of reason and sanity, priss ass."

(Thank you, Dad.)

We're sick of it. We're sick of the pompous assholes who want to lecture us about journalism. We're not your style, we're not your taste, go away. It's really that simple. If you don't like Rolling Stone, you don't have to read it. If you read it and don't like it, write about it, talk about it, but we doubt Rolling Stone is going to read your crank letters or take them seriously.

Let's leave the six, 82K's upset by an article written by more than the six of us. We've got a variety, a cross section in these editions. It's often what we can all agree to live with more than anything else (what goes up). You have people of color, you have people of wealth, you have people of working class, you have people who are students . . .

This should look familiar to anyone who reads regularly or just visits this site:

New content? We got it and the following worked on it:
The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Jess, Ty, Ava and me, Jim;
Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude;
Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man;
C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review;
Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ils);
Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix;
Mike of Mikey Likes It!;
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz;
and Wally of The Daily Jot

Wally and Mike? Don't want to be journalists. Never claimed they did. Elaine? That's Dr. Elaine, to you, 82K. She only started her own site because she was begged to after substituting for Rebecca last summer. Rebecca? Rebecca "made my money and got out of the rat race." She's not hoping to be a journalist. Betty? Full time mother, full time worker (all time friend) and, no, she doesn't want to be a journalist either. Cedric? Not a journalist. White collar worker.
Kat? Artist. Except for dabbling with some music press "back in the day" for "free concert tickets," she's never presented herself as a journalist. If there's a lack of balance in any way it's that we've all had some college (some have degrees: Elaine, Rebecca, C.I., Cedric and Kat) (C.I. adds Betty has a degree but Betty says "An associates doesn't count." We disagree but we'll include both points of view to move this along.) Some have multiple degrees. Some have to work for a living and some don't (don't, C.I., Rebecca, Ava and Elaine). (We also have input from Dallas regularly as well as friends and family.)

We're a cross section and that's the best thing about this site. If things get too canon-istic, one of us will call that out. So if you and your "boys" have sat around all your life shouting down anyone who suggested that everything by a Bob Dylan or a Paul McCartney wasn't "excellent" then you're not going to like our voices. We don't accept your base line. If our thoughts and opinions were just reflecting the standard canon of any genre (in the West, all created by White males and reflective of that in who gets included), we'd have no point in writing. What would really be the point of writing a word if Dylan's upcoming release necessitated that we prepare the review: "The master still has it! And he's with it now! He name checks Alicia Keys!"

We're sure some will do that. We're sure the hype wagon will roll on.

But our opinions and our voices are our own and you can't shout us down (even at 82K which we will not read now or ever).

You can write elsewhere (not to us) whatever you want. C.I. got trashed on the radio (for offline life) recently and we all saw that play out. How did it play out? C.I. didn't give a damn. Didn't listen to it, even when people were dropping by and calling insisting, "You have to listen to it. I'm so pissed and they're off my list now." (Rebecca noted that it was curious that the only thing the idiot didn't reveal was that he once attempted a drunken, crude pass and C.I. shot him down. "Bang, Bang" as Cher would say. Might that be why he's so bitter now?) There's a lesson there.

Here's another. We worked, the six of us, on a feature not that long ago. One of us (Jim) was under the impression that it went wonderful. It wasn't until Mike read it and called to say, "Man, C.I. sounded pissed in that" that Jim thought there might be a problem. Jim asked about it and C.I. was upset about doing the piece. It hadn't been brought up, it hadn't been a source of conversations in the days between and there was no cold shoulder or wounded feelings. Why wasn't it brought up? As Mike guessed, because what would be the point? C.I. didn't want to write to the piece, didn't want it up. Jim did. Those were two conflicting opinions and they were never going to come together. That's life sometimes.

If you want to express your opinions, you should do so. If we want to express our opinions, we should do so. If you disagree us, don't read us. It's really that simple. You got some thoughts, write 'em down in your journal, online or whatever, just don't think we really give a damn.

What really gets on our nerves (and most sites have received this e-mail type before and four of us did last week) are the threats: "No one will ever link to you again!" Who are you? Julia f**king Phillips' ghost writer?

For the record, this site? We can't lose what we don't have. The support for this site has come from the community. Early on we tried reporting here. We did a story on rehab, we did a story on abortion (one that still matters after the nonsense the Senate passed) and other features like that. We spent a lot of time on those. We were really proud of them. The silence was deafening from outside the community.

Blog support? We've got more support from the mainstream than we do from blogs so these threats are empty and don't scare us.

The thing about being able to build up with the community and people who discovered us, it gave us an audience. It's a strong one and it doesn't depend on some angry, in a snit, opinion writer wanting to dicker over our interpretation of his opinion. (All the angry e-mails from so-called professional writers have thus far been men.)

When Alterman offered his "charming" e-mail to Elaine, he wanted to argue her interpretation of his activites. We think he's a backstabber. The fact that he thinks he was Susan Sontag's friend makes us embarrassed for him. It doesn't demonstrate that Elaine was wrong. Rebecca was on her honeymoon, C.I. was busy, but when they found out, they said "Joint entry, nip it in the bud." What's really funny about the whole thing is that a professional writer, right-winger, was e-mailing Elaine at the same time as Alterman and he ended up apologizing. So the right-wing outclassed the faux-left on that.

Is it some sort of desire for a last word thing? If it is, for future reference, we're not reading any of the three e-mails from 82K. We'll trash them (unread shortly). Did Alterman need to have the last word? He's got how many outlets and he wants to complain in his "charming" e-mail?

Elaine wasn't wrong. She felt Sontag was lynched and felt some on the left helped with the lynching and justified it. We all agree with her on that. Alterman feels he was Sontag's friend (no comment) and argues that he defended her up and down, up and down! He can feel whatever he wants. That won't change the fact that in a book bearing his name is a statement he apparently penned calling the essay that prompted the lynching "objectionable."

We don't think it was objectionable. We think it was objectionable that people didn't say, "Just a minute now, let's not all be stupid together is a valid point." We think it was objectionable that Alterman, friend or foe -- but faux left -- weighed in that it was "objectionable."

We actually think that was backstabbing and cowardly regardless of what his relationship with Sontag was. We think that's just one fine example of the many cowardly things he does. He won't challenge the myth, he won't challenge the popular opinion in certain instances (especially when it has to do with women -- read that 2003 book). He'll take the lie that Naomi Wolf was Al Gore's fashion consultant and run with it. He'll apparently back up the smear that she was "slutty" by calling her "high-priced."

That's our brave voice of the left?

He's a coward and time and again he embarrasses himself. Our opinon. When he thought being irritaing and obnoxious with Janeane Garofalo was charming, we found it disgusting. We can go down the list, it's not one thing. We find him repulsive. That's not a new decision. We've always found him repulsive. Short of him growing a spine (though we think he's actually going to be the first of his pundit class to pull a Norman and turn on the left), we always will.

He accepts the terms set and argues from there. He toes the line. (Don't bother us with an e-mail. We won't read it. We've read your 2003 book, it was disgusting. Your notions of being a brave critic of the Times fly out the window with that laughable "We Are the Times!" piece.)

As Rebecca points out, the only one who's ever had to fear from a delinking was C.I. and time and again when it was shut up or lose a link, C.I.'s refused to buckle. Links have been lost. Oh well, as Cedric says.

Hasn't prevented the community from growing. Hasn't prevented that site or any of the community sites from being read. Elaine was discovered somehow by Eric Alterman. (Does he google his own name? If so, C.I. says that may be the tackiest thing about Eric Alterman -- that he reads his own press.)

We'll go into this further next week because we're in disagreement over what to note and what not to. But the point is, threats don't work with us. We've never seen any support for this community (though many have wanted to use it for their own means).

In spite of that, we've found an audience. We don't play nice. The stakes are too high and, though some forget, the US did declare war on Iraq and the war drags on. We're not interested in air kisses and glad hands. We're not interested in someone's bruised ego.

We don't care, we don't have to. Nobody made us, nobody helped us. (Outside of this community.) So take your threats and whiney e-mails somewhere else. We won't be intimidated and we won't be slienced. We won't jump on the bandwagon to sell out reproductive rights because the issue makes the DNC uncomfortable. We won't silence our objection to the war because the DNC doesn't want to address it. We'll speak our mind and if you don't like our opinions and it stresses you out to the point that you want a confrontational exchange, you need to let go of those control issues.

TV: What Could Be Lower Than A Cesspool?

Friends in the broadcast news biz (at all three networks and one cable network) have dubbed Primetime Live the herpes of "news" magazines due to it's tendancy to disappear and then, like an unsightly outbreak, reappear. One of us avoids it (Ava), the other made a point to watch it last when Daniel Ortega was interviewed. For the younger (or older, but uninformed) crowd asking "Who?" -- that was nearly seventeen years ago.

See that was the "value" of Primetime Live, you could go nearly seventeen years without ever being interested in it and not feel as though you'd missed out any. You'd hear about the laughable interviews and how someone posed (not like a model) -- onscreen. Frequently shocked -- onscreen. Frequently at a loss -- onscreen. Reality was much more lively and the ridicule started long before a misguided attempt to "heal the nation" via an attempted lynching of the Dixie Chicks.

Primetime Live had more rumors swirling around it then than the death of Marilyn Monroe and for good reason. It'll make a hilarious film one day and, if the current ratings system is still around, look for it to be rated NC17.

But that was the old Primetime Live, laughable, a public eye sore in need of a beautification program, but not quite the cesspool that is 20/20. Primetime, Primetime Live, Primetime Wednesday, Primetime Thursday, it's had a variety of names.

The mag format in primetime breaks down as follows:

60 Minutes -- trying to remain true to its news roots (on shaky ground, but still leading the pack)
Dateline -- Access Hollywood for a full hour
48 Hours -- Vanity Fair with streaming video
20/20 -- Where the wrong (right-wing) is broadcast as right
Primetime Live? General consensus: Broadcast herpes and nothing to get too concerned about because whatever format they "settle" on will be gone in another few months.

Now those are our rankings and some of our news biz friends disagree on the placement of Dateline. We accept that it's not a news show and that their relentless pursuit of celebrities leads to no news value but it can be entertaining in a stuff your face with sugar for an hour sort of way. We tease and joke with our pals at Dateline (who actually are fun people) and never take the program as seriously as they wish the nation would.

So some might bump 48 Hours a notch above Dateline. But 20/20 would always remain in the gutter -- after all, what could be lower than a cesspool?

Try Primetime Thursday night which seems determined to act as a counter to the attempts of Bonnie Fuller and others to mainline the tabloids. Primetime wants to bring lurid and depraved to America. This isn't today's Star with diet tips or fat and unflattering photos of various celebs. This is the tabloids of old -- the ones that thought photos of Elvis in his coffin meant they were journalists, that thought listing the peccadillos of serial killers meant they were "reporting."

For an hour of primetime, PTL felt the most pressing stories of the day, the ones America needed to know about to be informed citizens, were a tale of a con man and Andrea Yates.

The con man? That's a Martin Bashir "report" and that tells you all you need to know -- superficial, full of furrowed brows, as he uses his pompous face to attempt to convince you that the trash he's reporting is news. It's not. It never will be. Think of it Crime Sprees of the Plain & Stupid and Bashir as this decade's Robin Leach.

If you need a travelogue of a locale your life will never visit, the useless topics that interest Bashir will provide you distraction if not entertainment. It'll also lower the news bar yet again because, though this show has no relationship to the news, it presents itself as news. So what's with the use of footage in Bashir's report? Re-enactment's are supposed to be labeled as such. Primetime is supposed to be a news magazine. So why the need to "illustrate" a purported car crash with footage of oncoming head lights -- or are we supposed to believe that Bashir was present with crew? It's those sort of "stunts" that illustrate why Bashir's not well liked in the ABC news department. Possibly dubbing the segment "American Imposter" was a comment on passing any of this off as news?

But the lead was Andrea Yates and though we feared it would be cringe worthy, we knew there were issues they could explore that could make this story actually have some merit.

All points worth raising were ignored.

For any late arrivals, Andrea Yates drowned her five children (2001) and was found guilty (2002) but, last week, a jury found her not guilty by reason of insanity. That's the back story briefly and a bit more than you may have caught from Primetime.

What did you get?

A doctor (female), early on, made the point that Rusty Yates was warned after the birth of the fourth child that Andrea Yates' severe postpartum depression should mean no more children. That doctor? She's barely onscreen.

A male doctor? He's on constantly. He pushes his belief that Andrea Yates was not criminally insane and plotted to kill her five children in some form of a rational mind. One of his reasons for that apparent belief is when (time frame) the children died. To back up his case, he has to note that Rusty Yates left for work and his mother was due to come by an hour later which Yates knew when she was left alone with the children. That actually is important to the story but Primetime wasn't interested in noting why it was important: there were orders not to leave Andrea Yates alone with the children.

To watch the "report" you might assume this was a scheduling error or something that couldn't be avoided. That's not the case. Rusty Yates took it upon himself to override medical advice. He decided that, despite doctors orders, Andrea Yates needed an hour alone with the children each morning and evening. He implemented that plan the week the children were drowned.

Bad call on Rusty Yates' part? Viewers don't get to decide because it's never reported. (The "imposter" non-story was far longer than the brief Yates report.) Now if you read CounterPunch, you're aware, thanks to Elaine Cassel, that another male doctor working for the prosecution got a little creative in the first trial:

Apparently, Yates was a "Law & Order" fan. Dietz surmised that her murderous plot was hatched after viewing a "Law & Order" episode in which a woman drowned her children in a bathtub and claimed post-partum depression as an insanity defense. The prosecutor hammered away at this point in his closing argument, arguing that Yates had wanted to kill her children because she was overwhelmed by them. This "Law & Order" episode, he argued, planted the seed for murdering her children and blaming it on her postpartum depression.
In fact, there was no such episode--as research by an investigative journalist who wrote for the show revealed.
The false testimony made a solid basis for appeal. Two appellate courts agreed that Dietz's testimony could have led to the guilty verdict, and ordered a new trial.

The above didn't make it into the TV "report."

What you got were home movies, false (and sanctimonious) pronouncements by Chris Cuomo that America had discovered/looked at mental illness for the first time due to Andrea Yates and a lot more nonsense. It wasn't reporting -- it was an attempt at televised closure.

One thing someone might want to explore (Primetime had no desire to) were the video tapes of a doctor for the prosecution supposedly assessing Andrea Yates. We weren't aware that badgering was a part of the mental health field, but then, with Guantanamo, we guess anything goes these days. If he'd been an attorney, there might not have been anything wrong with his "line of questioning" but we're having a hard time grasping how his actions correlated with healing.

He's asking leading questions and getting upset when he doesn't get the answers he wants. If a prosecutor acted that way with what appears to be an unstable Yates on the witness stand, he or she would most likely lose the jury in that exchange. It would be a mistake in strategy but in keeping with the legal field. Our point is we saw nothing "medical" about the doctor's conduct with Andrea Yates.

This doctor seems to be arguing that Andrea Yates is probably ill but that, in the moments before and when she killed her children, she was acting, on some level, rationally. It required 'planning,' he insists. (Yates drowned her children one at a time and then took them out of the tub after each drowning.) Apparently, he's looking for some some "crime of passion" instant reaction -- as though someone deranged can't kill in the midst of their insanity?

Is Andrea Yates insanse?

We're not doctors. Her defense was built around the argument that she was insane and, due to her own beliefs, felt that her children were going to grow up and go to hell. By killing them while they were children (the oldest was seven-years-old), the argument goes, she believed that she would be saving them -- having not yet 'sinned,' the 'innocents' would go to heaven.

Most of the time (including Thursday night on ABC) that's how the news (and "news") industry tends to present the argument.

One son, she explains in the tapes ABC aired (but didn't follow up on or even comment on), was, a vision told her, destined to become a serial killer. Another son? "Homosexual prostitute."

Is that insane? Likening prostitution to killing? Likening serial killing to homosexuality? We think it's nuts. We think it's wack-job, nutso, cracked and insane.

We're also aware that a number of religious (and "religious") hold similar beliefs. We're also aware that a number of religions believe that children are 'spritually' innocent and pure (so do a number of pedophiles).

The statements she made (including the "homosexual prostitute" remark) might have a news organization (in less touchy times) explore the fanatisicm of some religious branches. That wasn't the case for Primetime. In fact, they took great strides to present Andrea Yates (but not Rusty Yates) as a follower of Michael Peter Woroniecki. What was the Yates lifestyle (at the end) but an continual embrace of Woroniecki's "teachings"? What were Rusty Yates' many statments about why the children were home schooled but a reflection of that sort of extremism?

America didn't learn a damn thing about mental illness from that case and the clue on that (for those puzzled) is Cuomo's need to preface the segment with the assertion that "many are shocked" by the fact that Andrea Yates was found not guilty by reason of insanity.

At a time when the nation's so eager to demonize every Arab (including some who aren't Muslim) as religious extremists, maybe this would have been a good time to explore Christian extremism? Maybe raise the issue of the extreme intolerance within some branches and divisions of Christianity towards gays and lesbians (and towards women regardless of sexuality)?

Maybe it's time Rusty Yates faced a sit-down where he was confronted with each belief his wife held (or holds) and prodded to give an answer on if it differs from his own and, if so, how? She was apparently mentally ill, but she latched on to those extreme beliefs with her husband around.

Andrea Yates didn't watch a film or read a novel to get her ideas. Entertainment didn't "send a message." We both remember Joe Lieberman strutting through California many years ago to spit on everyone's face with his sanctimonious talk about the evils of the entertainment industry. We're not remembering him railing against the evils of religious extremism (non-Muslim variety). Yates appears to be a delusional woman. We couldn't pronouce her medically insane, but we're not uncomfortable with the diagnosis. (And would have voted in agreement with the jury on the verdict they delivered.)

What we are uncomfortable with is this notion (especially pushed by the prosecution's doctor) that she was just a mother under pressure who wanted to make her life a little easier by killing her children. While those mothers exist, that's not the real story with Andrea Yates.

Yates didn't one day decide that the world was this way and that. She was educated and indoctrinated into those extreme beliefs. Due to her own mental condition (and her family has a history of mental illness), she was more vulnerable to those beliefs. Are those beliefs going to come under Primetime's lens? Not on Thursday night.

Just as Rusty Yates got off with no examination, so did an extreme brand of religion that preaches hate and intolerance, the subjugation of women, go down the list. Just as the Justice Department and the media downplay examples of homegrown terrorists (example: the weapons stash and motives of the people operating out of Noonday, Texas).

A lot gets played down. Holier than thou politicos like Lieberman can rail against the violence of "Hollywood" but they're strangely silent on teachings (not entertainment) that endanger the country. And, again, note Elaine Cassel's point -- a "doctor" testified in the first trial that Yates got the idea where? From "television." And the press ran with it. It's a little easier to trash entertainment than it is religion which is probably why so many politicians pose relentlessly even though, last time we checked, no Joan of Arcadia fans killed anyone as a result of CBS cancelling that show. (And they were a devoted bunch.)

Watching the segment, what struck us the most was that this was Primetime's look at a recent case of parent-child murder.

Recent? Where's the William Lash III coverage?

As the segment concluded, unnamed friends were quoted by Cuomo as to the fact that as Yates improves mentally, she'll have to live with what happened. We don't doubt that. But we'd say that acknowledgement was far different from the nonsense of Robert Batterson (St. Louis Post-Dispatch): "William H. Lash III should not be remembered for this terrible last act." The act? Kiling his autistic son before he killed himself.

There are similarities here in that Lash and Yates both had upper-level education (Yates was a registered nurse, Lash a graduate of Harvard and Yale), both killed their children, and both were connected to the Bully Boy. Yates was apparently under the delusion that, following her murders, Bully Boy would perform an exorcism on her thereby ridding her of the demons, while Lash, of course, worked for the administration. That's probably as concrete as the connection some (media and politicians) attempted to push between Marilyn Manson and the events of Columbine. We doubt you'll hear the same posturing but if it had turned out Lash was a Law & Order fan, you better believe it would be time to trash "Hollywood" again.

But it's interesting the cases they are being made. Yates will always be identified (even to herself as she gets better, according to unnamed friends) as the killer of her children. Lash has a friend who wants to rush in and argue: Lash was a good man of worthy accomplishments and he loved his autistic son (Will Lash, whom Batterson can't even name until paragraph seven of his plea) that he killed (Batterson notes that in pargraph eighth -- earlier paragraphs are Lash's resume) so we shouldn't let this one incident color our memories/define our memories of Bill Lash.

Why shouldn't we? And why has the media largely looked the other way on this while there's been a nonstop feeding frenzy with regards to Andrea Yates? In a ridiculous op-ed, Susan Senator (Washington Post) appears to have missed the few facts that the media has covered. Such as the fact that his wife called the police, that she was locked out of the house. Senator's eager to tell you about her own struggles with her autistic child which, really, hasn't been a reported issue in the case of Lash. It's a nice diversion, it's just not reality.

Susan Senator wants to advocate for autism. A noble cause, no question. But apparently that means, to her, jumping onto any bandwagon she thinks will further her cause.

Since we're both friends with a woman with an autistic, teenage child, we'll note he's never atacked his mother. What does that have to do with Lash's case? Nothing. Because there's no suggestion that the child attacked either William Lash or his mother. But Susan Senator wants to rush in with grief counseling because, goodness my, there is an autism angle and this is her cause.

It's great that she's got a cause, it's lousy that she's creating a backstory for the murder of William Lash IV and the suicide of William Lash III where there's nothing in the public record to suggest that the child was murdered due to a violent attack (instigated by the child). She wants to trace the crime to autism without evidence (which hardly seems a way to advocate for autism -- she's old enough to remember the days when autistic meant locked away in an institution). She's arguing that autism (the stress of it on the parents) led to the crime which is questionable when applied to the Lash case.

What does autism have to do with it? Not a damn thing as reported thus far. And we find it appalling that she's suggesting it does. That's an easy out, isn't it? A man kills his child who is autistic and Susan Senator wants to rush in and tell us that she was attacked by her own child, she knows the stress from raising one and blah blah blah.

Along with our friend who has a teenage autistic son, we have another mutal friend whose child suffered from autism in early childhood (and was diagnosed with it) but did not suffer from it later in life. Though that's a rare case, it is true that there are stages of autism and Susan Senator might want to think about that before she rushes in to explain what William Lash III may have been going through in his final hours before murdering his own son.

That's what the column does. It reads like, "Let me butt in on this tragedy and share my own personal story which may or may not have anything to do with the Lash case but I'm an advocate!"

We take this issue very personally. We'll assume Susan Senator does and just doesn't grasp how harmful her column is not only to the Lash crime but also to the cause. One of us had a relative twice removed who suffered from autism. She spent the bulk of her life locked away on "medical orders" and only due to medical perceptions changing was she allowed to spend her final years with her family. (She was never violent towards self or others.)

So with that, and other experiences, we take tremendous offense that while William Lash III killed his autistic son, Susan Senator wants to push her cause by opening with a question of how to make sense of the murder of the child and then rushes to share that her son attacked her repeatedly when he was eleven. That has nothing to do with the Lash case. The wire reports (which is where the story was largely covered -- outside of the stray op-ed) have never made such an assertion.

"I am no stranger to hardship and struggle" she explains . . . from the cross she's built with her own two hands.

Is she a stranger to the Associated Press? They're the ones who primarily covered it and their coverage doesn't include the notion that Will Lash (William Lash IIII) ever attacked his father or mother. What coverage is she referring to? The coverage has been sparse but, from all accounts, the child wasn't the factor. The most recent news stories on it (written after the memorial) put it this way:

On the night of Thursday, July 13, following an altercation with his wife, William Lash III, 45, inexplicably shot and killed his autistic son William Lash IV, and then took his own life with the same shotgun. Friends, co-workers and family members were stunned that the man that they had known as a devoted father and husband could commit such an act.

That's consistent with the original reporting of the incident. He had "an altercation with his wife." Read on in that article and you'll see why we're so offended by Susan Senator's column -- "hundreds" turned out for William Lash III's memorial but "more than 200" was the number at the child's memorial. A child died. Senator's rushing in to 'explain' William Lash III -- the killer. He seems to have more than enough people defending him. His memorial seems to have brought in a huge crowd. The same size crowd wasn't overly concerned with the victim, Will Lash. But then, if they attend his memorial maybe they won't be able to deny that the father's murder of the son is the defining moment of the father's life.

This isn't a traffic ticket. This isn't shoplifting or a DUI bust. It's not even a sex scandal or a vice bust. This isn't something that you really work away from. As Yates knows, she will always be known as the woman who killed her children. But with William Lash III, we're supposed to look the other way and remember the 'good times'?

Andrea Yates is apparently mentally ill and had been prior to the murder. Chris Cuomo wants to tell us that "many" are offended that she's getting treatment (which she apparently needs) instead of prison and that the verdict leading to that is offensive to "many" -- that's offensive. A sick person didn't get the help she needed and the nation can respond in growls at her. A man who was teaching classes and a part of the administration not all that long ago (okay, maybe the latter proves insanity) doesn't strike us as being in the same boat as Andrea Yates by any means. But we're supposed to look the other way (not that that many are pointing to begin with)?

And on top of that, Susan Senator wants to rush in and grab the Lash incident to advance her own cause -- with no proof that autism had anything to do with the murder of a child. The article covering the memorials doesn't note a violent child, quite the contrary. Based on the reporting, a stronger conclusion might be that Lash and his wife's "altercation" alarmed him that he might lose contact with his son so, facing that, he decided to kill his son and himself. Parents Who Love Too Much doesn't fit in with Senator's advocacy so she ignores that.

What happened? No one knows at this point from the reporting. They know there was an altercation between Lash and his wife. They know the wife was locked out of the house and called the police for assistance. But Senator wants to tell you tales of an autistic child's violent episodes, she wants you to understand, really, really understand, how hard it is for parents.

Senator's on very dangerous ground as she uses her personal story to make a case that doesn't hold up in the press by correlating her own's son's violence with similar events that may have stressed out Lash. There's no foundation for that argument at present. So it's dangerous grounds journalistically.

Guess what? We don't give a damn about that. The dangerous grounds we worry about are the pleasing narrative. A father killed his son -- but don't be alarmed, it's stressful raising a special needs child. (It's stressful raising any child and if she disagrees with that she might want to ask the Menendez parents -- oh wait, she can't. They're dead.)

In our shock, some need a pleasing narrative to explain how such an awful crime could have taken place. The narrative, though false, then results in trend stories (that are never heavy on facts or reality) and lead to "solutions." With no evidence to back her up, Senator wants to present her own child's violent episodes as somehow the equivalent of the 'pressure' Lash must have been under (and tie in two other cases which may or may not be related to her central thesis -- we don't know those stories). She's spinning a trend in that one op-ed. In Lash's case, her "trend" is not supported. But that doesn't matter when the trend gathers traction.

And if this becomes a trend story and if the solution includes we need to (in order to be sympathetic to the parents -- and, of course, 'protect' the children) lock the autistic away (it was done before), she'll be the one responsible for setting that trend off. That's the dangerous ground that has us concerned. (We're guessing Susan Senator has no interest in setting off such a trend. Her intent doesn't matter if a trend gets rolling -- just like actual reporting on the case didn't matter to her column.)

In her own way, she's offering closure and justification the same way Cuomo is. In her case, she's dealing with an establishment figure (not a big one) who killed his son and so she's pulling defenses for his actions out of thin air. In Cuomo's case, he's dealing with a woman who was already disliked from the earlier coverage, who wasn't "establishment." He can (and does) go to town on her.

Lash was African-American and what role race does or does not play in the lack of the coverage is certainly an avenue to pursue. But the issue of a mother kills her children resulting in one standard for press coverage and a father kills his child and the press treats it another way is interesting. Given the opportunity to cover a parent-child murder, Primetime goes with Yates and, even with all the piles of coverage already on the subject, they blow it. Bet they don't get called on it. It's easy to get away with cutting corners when you're covering the reviled.

While Cuomo tries to calm those who don't believe that Yates is mentally ill (possibly they share some of the extreme beliefs she held and may still hold?) by assuring viewers in his final comments that Yates will be haunted with guilt for years and that, as she gets better, the guilt will only grow; the Lash brigade rushes in to argue not to let this define him and to have sympathy for him. In one instance, there's been massive coverage (from the start), in the other largely silence. It's interesting to note which story Primetime elected to cover.

[Added note: A friend working on Primetime Live during the Ortega interview wants it noted it was 16 years and five months ago. Like we -- Ava and C.I. -- said: about 17 years ago.]

McKinney v. Lieberman -- who you gonna root for?

Cynthia McKinney is a unique presence in the Congressional Black Caucus: a genuine "movement" activist. For that reason, she is hated and feared by white racists, for whom she is the epitome of the uppity Black; by corporate America and its vicious media, whose power she does not respect; by Democratic House leadership, which abhors activist Black lawmakers more than it does Republicans; and by cowardly African Americans who feel threatened by her example of principled speech and action for social justice and world peace. That’s why it is imperative that all people of good will assist McKinney in keeping her seat from Georgia’s 4th district, just outside Atlanta.
The racists and cowards smell blood. McKinney was forced into a runoff election, set for August 8, after failing to win a clear majority in this month’s Democratic primary. Turnout was abysmal -- only 60,000 voters showed up, versus 95,000 in 2004 when she took back her seat after a two year absence.
McKinney garnered 47 percent of the vote in a three-way race, only 1,500 votes ahead of second place Hank Johnson, a compliant Black Dekalb County commissioner who brags
that he is a "pothole" politician who will not stir up controversy. A white businessman got more than eight percent of the vote. His share will undoubtedly wind up in Hank(erchief head) Johnson's column, on August 8. Clearly, McKinney must bring out her troops – which takes money. Her opponent’s surprise showing has invigorated those who backed Denise Majette with tons of cash to oust McKinney in 2002, and now see another chance to rid themselves of their nemesis.

The above is from Glen Ford and Peter Gamble's "Cynthia McKinney: Our Brightest Light" (The Black Commentator). Ford and Gamble cover it all (read it) and there's a link to donate. They walk you through the questionable primary election that just took place and a great deal more.

Question for Nancy Pelosi, "Why won't you restore Cynthia McKinney's seniority?"

Question for the press and "press" (Mags Carlson, we include you), with all your hand wringing over Sad Sack Lieberman, all your talk of how Democrats you should grasp the importance of retaining a seat, all your gasps of "purges" and "purity" -- why is it that you've not said ONE DAMN thing about the fact that the party loyalty you preach doesn't apply to Cynthia McKinney?

Who knows why Pelosi won't stand up and restore McKinney's seniority (that wouldn't be a "gift" -- it would be giving the represenative what she's owed) -- who knows why Pelosi does anything at this late date? Sometimes she has strong statement but most days she seems clueless. (Dickering over whether or not a base would have to exist, in Iraq, until the end of the world to qualify as "permanent" was the most exteme example.)

The press? Some of them are sticking up for their buddy. Some are doing the bag work they're so infamous for. Some are practicing the same "purity" they supposedly decry.

Holding Joe Lieberman accountable for his voting record is, in their minds, just not done. Lieberman must be rallied around. But their own (White) purity standards don't allow for similar statements about McKinney.

McKinney's 'beyond the pale' and, therefore, the gatekeepers can stay silent (or maybe snicker). She is 'beyond the pale' if that means non-White.

It's a White purity out of an old DeMille flick (Birth of A Nation?) that allows them to fuss and fret over Lieberman and to hiss that those who are opposed to him aren't "practical" (meaning as "smart," "mature" or "with it" as them). With Lieberman, they argue that party loyalty dictates he supported. With McKinney, they don't give a damn about party loyalty.

Why? They're suffering from projection. They've practiced "purity" tests for years. The test is how center canst thou be? Be center for the left-posing pundits and they applaud you and defend you (after all, if Lieberman loses, they can always suck up to Lamont by writing one of those post-election columns -- "The more I get to know Ned Lamont, the more I like him . . .").

There's another way to look at what's happening. Cynthia McKinney is in yet another fight and the cluckers and effete stay silent, Lieberman, in a similar situation, they rush to prop up. They know their boy's a weak sister who needs help he can get. McKinney's a fighter. They know Wimpy Joe needs help. (After all, keeping that girlish figure in his recent presidential primary run meant sneering at an ice cream social.)

Why's the party so weak currently? Because weakness is propped up. The establishment wanna bes (they do grasp that they are mere servants, right?) rush in with pad and pen and mike to prop up their whisper of a man (his Windsong stays on their mind). They hiss and moan that it's so unfair that someone holding office would face such division within the party but they stay silent on McKinney.

They're a joke. They're the ones who preach (White) "purity." They're the ones who conduct purges. It's called projection.

They should look it up. You should look up McKinney and Jerk-Off Joe's record and see which one's been speaking out for you. Regular readers will find (though they probably already know) that it's McKinney. If you haven't taken the time to think about, make the point to before the Joe Kleins, Mags Carlsons and others show up at your door asking you to put on a White sheet.

Slam poetry

There once was a fop
Who thought he was top
He went around lisping
"Thop Thop Thop."

There once was a prof
Who thought the world
Awaited his final grade
Like his idol
He overstayed
Cough Cough Cough.

There was a truth teller
Whose reputation was once steller
He was compromised
Lies Lies Lies.

There once was a comic
Who couldn't get laughs
He wasn't that left
Now his network takes a bath
And sinks beneath his heft
Fat Fat Fat.

There once was a real left
Though this centrist have forgotten
Rotten Rotten Rotten

Non-Think Progress Plays Bash the Bitch

"$2 for workers -- but only if Paris Hilton gets millions"

That's from the Non-Thinkers at Non-Think Progress and a great example of how much the left and "left" can suck. So the Non-Thinkers need to do a story on the minimum wage? (We'll note it's not, "'Congrats America! You're Worth Two Dollars More An Hour!' From the Same Congress That Traffics In Corporate Giveaways!")

The Non-Thinkers, policy wonks wanking off online, need some "sex" to sell their gibberish and what better way than to thumb a ride on the Paris Hilton?

Paris Hilton's been popping up a lot lately and why is that?

If you're reviewing bad reality TV (or bad TV), okay, fair enough. If you're reviewing bad music, she's got a CD due out. If you're reviewing bad horror movies, have at it.

But exactly why is she the pinata of choice for a bunch of men? Do they see her and want to grab their sticks -- their stubby little sticks?

We're not really sure but when The New York Times features one of the regular columnists who doesn't do pop-cult refs and he's got a joking reference to Paris Hilton or when the Non-Thinkers at Non-Think Progress offer up their attempt at a chuckle, we're reminded of nothing so much as the creepy, desperate to be with it uncle who wants to convince the young teenagers that he's still "with it."

Paris Hilton?

"That's so thirty-seconds ago" as the saying went a few years back. (Hey, maybe the Non-Thinkers can trot that out as well?)

What's really going on here?

A woman's being attacked and for what?

For being born into money? The mega-bucks of Paris Hilton were never as large as the press would have you believe. The first hint should have been her career. As Ava and C.I. pointed out in their review of A Simple Life:

We'd love to see a show about the truly wealthy that embarrassed them. But then the truly wealthy have no need to do reality shows.

Good point.

And exactly what has Paris Hilton done that's so much of a crime that the Non-thinkers feel comfortable headlining their supposed economic story with her name in it?

She's a woman. Is that it? Just one more round of bash the bitch?

There are a lot of children of the really rich. There are a lot of big trust fund babies. Big trust funds. Paris Hilton wouldn't make the top twenty and only liars and fools would tell you otherwise.

But she's the face the Non-Thinkers need to drive 'traffic' to their website?

Did we miss it? Did Paris Hilton give an impassioned speech calling for the abolishment of the estate tax?

No, she didn't. She's not very political. If you're going to write about the non-political, by all means include her on the list.

But why is she in the headline of this ecomic wanking? Answer that question.

It's an easy slap-down and once again it's aimed at woman.

In a post written by a poor, working class boy -- to be sure. Because most poor, working-class children go to Harvard right? Attend Georgetown?

Keep that sort of psuedo nonsense up and watch the right-wing scream "class warfare!" and convince a few middle of the roaders.

They may even have a point (especially if they add "led by hypocrites! well funded hypocrites! and big money backed hypocrites!") because Paris Hilton's getting trashed not for anything she did (attempts at acting & singing, sex tapes, etc.) but because of her birth.

Paris Hilton's getting trashed for being born into money? She's not winning the lotto the press would have you believe. (Or the monies the Non-Thinkers at Non-Think Progress would have you believe.) But if you buy into the press-myth, why trash her as class conflict? Especially if you buy into that myth, she is working. She's hardly the poster-child of the ungrateful, non-working heir-to-be.

She's also quite popular. Since the whole point of Non-Think Progress is to get their Non-Thoughts out to a wider audience, do they really think going after Paris Hilton is the way to do it? Their stated goal is: "to advances progressive ideas and policies."

They've failed with this one. They've made themselves look silly. Elite school boy trashes a woman who works for a living. That'll go over big. We asked Ava and C.I. to give us ten names, of men, children of the wealthy, who do nothing and stand to inherit far more than Paris Hilton? They gave us a list of fifty off the top of their heads.

But Non-Think Progress wants to steal from the work of others. They want to use Paris Hilton's name to make a joke that not only isn't accurate but it hasn't been earned by them. Not just because the work required would have led them to other names but because they don't really cover Paris Hilton. It's a little beneath them to address Paris Hilton at other times -- but when they need traffic, they're going to latch on to her name and try to ride her name (which is her name, she worked to establish it -- whatever you think of the work, she did work to establish it) to traffic while apparently non-thinking, "When people see this they are going to be impressed!"

If every elite school boy impressed as often as he hoped there would probably be far fewer Sunday regrets. But they can dream, they can dream.

If there's a reason you're writing about Paris Hilton, use her name. If you're not writing about her and using her to advance your own non-thought, you might want to struggle with actual thought for a few seconds (we know you can do it, 30-seconds of thought, come on we believe in you) to ask: "Will this advance the idea? Am I going to appear hypocritical?"

You're the org that wants to influence people (or at least elections). You think this is the way to go?

With all the money that's poured into the Center for American Progress, it's frightening to realize that this is what is paying for: sexist rounds of bash the bitch aimed at a working woman by an elite school boy.

They even feature a photo of Hilton to really put a (sexist) face on the issue. We would suggest they re-think their shorthand but there's no indication that they ever put thought into it.

Putting a real face on the issue would require work and it's so much easier to raid the work of others apparently.

"If __ didn't exist, they'd have to create" him/her. The Paris Hilton the Non-Think Progress wants to ride the coatails of doesn't exist. They really ought to be ashamed of themselves. Maybe instead of bringing on elite school boys, they could do some real work and go to some of the colleges across the land where real people struggle. Chances are you won't find many there slamming Paris Hilton for whatever benefits birth provided her with.

NYT Finally reports on Ehren Watada

C.I. from last Sunday:

NYT: Finally reports on Ehren Watada

We're moving quickly. Carl noted, rightly, that I forgot to include Margaret Kimberley's latest in yesterday morning's entry. That was due to a phone call in the middle of writing it that asked if I was going to stress the paper of record's continued silence on the issue of Ehren Watada? The friend (who is with the New York Times) urged (strongly) that it be noted one more time. So I ended up working that in quickly and forgot about everything else. We'll note Kimberley tonight and my apologies for the delay. (Note: Online the paper has carried an AP article on Watada. Until this morning, the paper had run no articles on Watada by their own reporters.)

Of primary interest to the community will be page A16 which contains John Kifner and Timothy Egan's "Officer Faces Court-Martial for Refusing to Deply to Iraq." The article walks the reader through Ehren Watada's growing awareness about the illegal war (and notes that a review of Watada found that he possessed an "insatiable appetite for knowledge" which the paper calls "one onimous note") -- reading James Bamford's A Pretext for War, reading Seymour M. Hersh's Chain of Command, and "other publications on war-related themes, including selections on the treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and the so-called Downing Street memo, in which the British chief of intelligence told Prime Minister Tony Blair in July 2002 that the Americans saw war in Iraq as 'inevitable' and that the facts were being fixed around the policy."

Watada went from having doubts in Feb. 2005, the article tells you, to being convinced that, in his words, "Simply put, I am wholeheartedly opposed to the war in Iraq, the deception used to wage this war, and the lawlessness that has pervaded every aspect of our civilian leadership."

Not one to forget which side of the centrist bread his butter is spread on, Michael E. O'Hanlon of the Brookings Institute tells the Times, "The idea that any individual officer can decide which war to fight doesn't really pass the common-sense test." But an illegal war, apparently does pass the common-sense test? This is the organization that once struck fear in the heart of Richard Nixon?

Watada has stated repeatedly that he serves the Constitution -- an idea that doesn't occur to O'Hanlon -- he is aware of the oath required when you enter the service, right?

The paper's vague on when the hearing would be (or commissioned Army officers, "the first facing the prospect of a court-martial for" refusing to deploy) so we'll note this from Monday's "Iraq snapshot:"

In peace news, Eric Seitz, attorney for Ehren Watada, states that there is a date scheduled "tentatively" for "Watada's Article 32 hearing . . . Aug. 17 or 18." Seits tells Gregg K. Kakesako (Honolulu Star-Bulletin) that this hearing would "determine whether sufficient grounds exist to warrant a court-martial" and that the maximum punishment for Watada's refusal to serve in the illegal war could be 7 and one-half years in prison.

On page A9, Kirk Semple and Robert F. Worth cover Iraq. Semple offers "Iraqi Parliament Speaker Says Invasion And Aftermath Are the 'Works of Butchers" which addressed the Iraqi parliament speakers' comments (via Al Jazeera):

US forces have committed butchery in Iraq and should leave, the speaker of the country's parliament has said.
Mahmoud al-Mashhadani was speaking on Saturday at a UN-sponsored conference on transitional justice and reconciliation in Baghdad.
"Just get your hands off Iraq and the Iraqi people and Muslim countries, and everything will be all right," he said in a speech as the conference opened.

Semples notes:

"We know there was a corrupt regime in Saddam, but a regime should be removed by surgery, not by butchering," he said during a speech at a United Nations-sponsored conference on transitional justice. "The U.S. occupation is butcher's work under the slogan of democracy and human rights and justice."
"Leave us to solve our problems," he continued. "We don't need an agenda from outside."

Semple also notes that, on Saturday, seven died at a construction site in Baghdad (shooting deaths); two American soldiers died (bombing and an attack on a patrol); mortar attack killed five civilians in Baghdad, a bomb in Falluja killed "at least three" Iraqi sodliers; a bomb in Baquba killed three police officers (five more wounded); a bomb in Baghdad killed one; a gunfight in Mosul killed three; a bomb in Kut killed an Iraqi soldier; a bomb in Mussayib killed an Iraqi soldier; and a police officer was killed in Amara.

Robert F. Worth offers "Lawyers for 4 Accused Soldiers Say They Acted On Orders" which addresses a May 9th incident that has four soldiers accused of killing three Iraqis: "Staff Sgt. Raymond L. Girouard, Specialist William B. Hunsaker, Pfc. Corey R. Clagett, and Specialist Juston R. Graber." They stand accused of plotting the murders of the three Iraqis. Paul Bergrin (one of the four's two attorneys, Michael Waddington is the other) states that the four first took the three Iraqis prisoner and radioed in to their "first sergeant" who asked them, "Why did you take them prisoner? Why didn't you kill them?" The lawyers say that the three Iraqis broke free (from the plastic handcuffs) and attacked the four troops who then "opened fire, killing the three Iraqis."

Worth informs the readers that, on August 1st, an Article 32 hearing will be held in Tikrit to determine whether there is enough evidence to go forward with a court-martial. The Article 32 hearing to determine if a court-martial was needed would take place, currently, at least 16 days prior to Ehren Watada's Article 32 hearing to determine whether Watada, who is not accused of killing or raping or burning the corpses of any Iraqis, should face a court martial.

Remember this from Gerry Condon's "Support for War Resisters Grows" (July edition of The Objector -- PDF format):

After [Kevin] Benderman's court martial, his commander, Army Captain Gary Rowley, had some telling words: "If [the rest of the Army] saw this and found it works using smoke and mirrors to get by, we'll have other soldiers saying, 'Well, I'm a conscientious objector.' . . . They need to know there are consequences for not doing their duty." Captain Rowley also posted photos on base bulletin boards of Benderman being led off to prison, in order to intimidate his fellow soldiers from even thinking about conscientious objector status.

New content at The Third Estate Sunday Review:

Editorial: Bully Boy's Wars
TV: 24 -- like 60 Minutes with less action
What's on Your Mind? Do the Pollsters really want to know?
What's being read?
Flanders was in the house at the National Hip-Hop Political Convention in Chicago
Protest in Mexico over the election! Over the 2004 election.
NYT triest to catch up with Third Estate Sunday Review?
Insantiy: How Little Centrists Get Ahead and Destroy America

Lastly, today on RadioNation with Laura Flanders (7:000 to 10:00 pm online, on Air America Radio and on XM satellite radio):

Stephen F. Cohen -- contributing editor to The Nation, NYU professor and like a walking Wikipedia on the subject of Russia but with the facts right! (cheap Wikipedia joke, true, but it illustrates the point) -- and Jamal Dajani (no my dyslexia did not cause me to get Dahr Jamail's name wrong, the guest is Jamal Dajani) the director of LinkTV's Middle Eastern programming. Plus Claude Anshin Thomas on the journey from Vietnam veteran to Buddhist monk and "an upcoming Los Angeles retreat to help heal post-war trauma."

And Jess & Jim both said "Stop!" They're working the e-mails this morning. They say Martha has a highlight that "must be noted" -- putting a human face on some of the tragedies. From Joshua Partlow's "Widows Often Find Help Elusive in Iraq" (Washington Post):

She has progressed a few paces in five hours under the glaring sun, but still the line of women in black robes stretches far in front of her. In three more hours, the Labor Ministry will close, and Aida Qamel will return home for another few months, until she has another free day to search for someone who will listen to a widow's story in Baghdad.
"My husband was blown up in his video game shop. I was a housewife," she begins quietly, keeping one arm firmly wrapped around her 7-year-old son, Mohammed.

Another widow interrupts. "I have seven children and my house collapsed."
Then more women from the line crowd in, speaking over one another as if it is all the same story.
"I've got two handicaps, and my husband was a farmer. Now we have nothing."
"Can someone just get me some cold water?"
"Are you going to help us at all?"
With each new car bombing, grenade explosion or mortar attack, the list of Iraq's widows grows longer. And each new case further overwhelms the beleaguered Iraqi government's welfare program intended to help them. At the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs in Baghdad, where staff members sometimes work in darkness during power outages, officials in charge of disbursing funds to widows admit they cannot keep up with the killings.

In the public account, Dona, Ava and Ty say a visitor noted Thomas E. Ricks' "In Iraq, Military Forgot the Lessons of Vietnam: Early Missteps by U.S. Left Troops Unprepared for Guerrilla Warfare" (Washington Post) which is copied and pasted in full and they're too tired to pull an excerpt (I am too, it's been 29 hours without sleep) but Dona notes that the a companion piece would be entitled "In DC, Administration Ignored the Lessons of Vietnam."

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