Sunday, July 08, 2007


Jim: This will be a brief roundtable. Participating are 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 Ills), Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix, Mike of Mikey Likes It!, Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz, and Wally of The Daily Jot. After we'd finished last time, we ended up doing the usual of putting in a DVD and all watching as we fell out. While we were falling out, C.I. made a comment and Dona said, "If I'd known you were going to make that point, I would've demanded that we do a roundtable."

Jess: To clear something up, "we" was Kat, Dona, Jim, Ava, C.I., Ty and myself. In the feature that posted at all sites on Thursday ["Are You A Writer For The Nation? If so, chances are you must have a penis," "Are You A Writer For The Nation? If so, chances are you have a penis,"
"Are You A Writer For The Nation? If so, chances are you have a penis," "Are You A Writer For The Nation? If so, chances are you have a penis," "Are You A Writer For The Nation? If so, chances are you have a penis," "Are You A Writer For The Nation? If so, chances are you have a penis," "Are You A Writer For The Nation? If so, chances are you have a penis," "Are You A Writer For The Nation? If so, chances are you have a penis," "Are You A Writer For The Nation? If so, chances are you have a penis," "Are You A Writer For The Nation? If so, chances are you have a penis"], we -- Jim, Dona, Ty and myself -- wrote a lengthy bit about this site's beginning. We had input from all except Ava and C.I. who walked off during that portion because they were mentioned it. No one thought to note "and Rebecca, Mike, Wally, Cedric, Betty, Kat and Elaine regularly help out while Ruth's always been there to help out when we were short handed -- like Christmas 2006 when the only ones in charge of this site doing any work were Ava and C.I. -- or that Trina has also helped out here." That should have been noted. The fact that it wasn't goes to Dona, Jim, Ty and myself. When Ava finally read that part, I don't believe C.I. still has, her first comments was, "Why didn't you credit everyone?" We were rushing and not thinking. So our apologies to Rebecca, Kat, Betty, Cedric, Elaine, Wally and Mike.

Jim: Good point, but Dona's told me "Be brutal." So unless there's anything else like that, we're diving in. No? Okay. Ty, briefly, explain this edition.

Ty: We're calling this our "Sense of Purpose" edition. After Pretenders' song "Sense of Purpose" on the CD Packed! Why that? C.I. was e-mailed last Monday by The Nation. It's . . . You know what, I'm tossing to Ava or Jess.

Ava: I'll grab. Jess was typing away on the laptop without stopping and it had been a good thirty minutes. I stopped him and said, "What are you doing?" I knew he was in the e-mails and 30 minutes for a reply is excessive. Jess.

Jess: The e-mails for The Common Ills. Ava, Martha, Shirley, Eli and myself all help C.I. out with those. I explained The Nation had written C.I. about us and I was replying. Ava asked me to save to draft and let her read the e-mail.

Ava: So he slid the laptop over to me and I said, "Forget it." I actually worded it more strongly. But my point is, no one deserves an e-mail that takes more than 30 minutes unless they are a community member and there's not even time to give them that. We're certainly not wasting time on someone who e-mails to insult us. Ty?

Ty: The e-mail was meant to be 'passed on' and it was. The Nation thinks they know all about us and that we're in need of their keen sense of direction. Cedric just burst out laughing. So for anyone who's confused, this is the "Sense of Purpose" edition. I'll toss to Mike who's eager to go. I should note that we're all together for a change and no one's by phone except for Dallas.

Mike: Yeah. We're all out here hoping to have some fun after The Nation ruined 4th of July for all of us. So what's going on is that sections of the e-mail are being quoted with a response. That's the theme for everything.

Elaine: Except Ava and C.I.'s TV commentary.

Mike: Right. So you've got whatever The Nation says and our response. There's a point to it and we hope it reads it well but, like Jim said when he read over Ava and C.I.'s piece, "With this TV commentary, nothing else we do this week is even going to be noted."

Jim: So that's the set up for this edition and it works well with the comment C.I. made last week. We've touched on it here before and that's usually been Elaine or C.I. talking about it. But it just really became clear last Sunday. I can go to Kat here or go to Wally.

Kat: Go to Wally.

Wally: Okay. The plan has been that come the 2008 election, all sites would go dark and I'm the wrong one to go to because I wasn't doing a site when that decision was made.

Betty: I'll grab. We were doing an edition, summer of 2005, our sixties edition, in fact. I loved our editorial on Iraq then and still do, about the tripping point or the tipping point? During that, in a fiction piece, we were working on some things and responding to them humorously and C.I. said, "The thing that happens is it goes up here and I'm the one who has to hear about it."

Rebecca: Truer words were never spoken. True to this day.

Betty: Exactly. C.I. was exhausted, more so than usual. It was after the health scare and the response had been to hit the road even harder than before. C.I. was worn out and really had no protective layering.

Jim: I'll jump in here. Betty can get back to that point but just to note, I do use that in editorials and always have. When C.I.'s exhausted, we have always gotten some of our most powerful passages for editorials. Dona's said at times it was flat out cruel. Mike's described it as I'm the pitcher and C.I.'s the catcher but I think it's more like a home run than tossing back. But what Betty's talking about is just what my father's called "naked soul." And --

C.I.: I hope we're going to talk about something other than me.

Jim: We are. But whatever the topic is, I'll be on C.I. about "put yourself there" and we'll get this amazing passage out of it. Because there are no defenses up. Dad said it was painful to watch and like listening to Joni Mitchell's Blue. So that's the end of any edition. Betty's talking about how it was that way throughout.

Betty: Right. And we reached the breaking point. I don't remember exactly how. I just know C.I. was frustrated, not angry, not mad. Just wiped out. And that's when we were all shocked to find out that The Common Ills would be going dark in November 2008 and that, here was the real shocker, C.I. thought the illegal war would still be going on. There was a lot of denial about that on our parts initially, that the war would could still be continuing. How wrong we were.

Rebecca: C.I.'s about to get up and walk out so let me finish quickly. It's a lot of work to do a site. Just to do a site. C.I.'s on the road speaking out against Iraq, working friends in the press to get serious about Iraq and doing a lot at The Common Ills on top of that, including e-mails. C.I. needed an end date. And the fact that we were about to post something that was going to lead, as it always do, to people complaining to C.I. and being angry with C.I. was just too much. Kat, and we're off you, so sit back down. That was to C.I. for those reading.

Kat: So from that moment, we've all worked with the idea that we would shut down in November of 2008. That's those of us who were part of that edition and those who joined up after. What that really did was free us up. There's a song by David Rovics entitled "Crashing Down." And that just clicked last Sunday, this section of the song: "It can happen in a moment, And sometimes it does, When what could be is, And what shouldn’t be was, There are times, When you gotta stand steady, There are other times, When you gotta be ready." I mean, we all knew that was target date, November 2008. And we knew we had to do our bit and all. But we've talked about how silences on the part of the left allow the right to grab the conversation before. We'd addressed that. But only C.I. and Elaine had addressed, here and at their own sites, this whole notion of a moment. I think the fact that approximately 70% of the American people are now against the illegal war drove the point home last weekend.

Elaine: If it wasn't clear before, blame me. And C.I.'s waving a hand so blame us both. But --

Rebecca: " There are moments you remember all your life, There are moments you wait for ans1 dream, Of all your life. This is one of those moments." Barbra Streisand from the Yentl soundtrack.

Elaine: Rebecca loves her Streisand, always has. But that's right. There are moments. And these moments matter. They don't come around all the time. But when they are arriving, they define many years to come.

Wally: C.I. was using FDR and other examples.

Elaine: Right. That was a moment, the lead up there. All the things Americans got as a result of FDR administration's came about not from appeasers and realists on the left and left of center saying, "We'll just go along." It came about from intensive pressure in the lead up to FDR.

C.I.: And that's just one example. You could use the '60s' as well. What happens is in defining moments, and the right has them as well, but we're focused on the left, is that the lead up sets up what can be achieved. What follows is the implementation of some of that. Then comes the mini-backlash which leads the reformers, supposedly of the left, to make 'alterations.' Such as, using the choice issue, deciding government funds won't go for abortion. Now, the reformers say, we're not taking away abortion. We're just saying government funds won't pay for them. The reformers overreact to a mini-backlash. These 'friends' are the first to chip away at what we have. This is followed by a very real backlash and reformers have already set up the stage for bigger caves. It's actually followed by a back and forth and then comes the big backlash but I'm simplifying for time.

Mike: And Wally was telling me about the conversation when he called the next day and I was all, "Man, I wish I'd been there." To me, it backs up about a dozen points that Stanely Aronowitz makes in his books. And I was talking to Elaine about it and she pointed out Howard Zinn's points as well. Like his point about we are not Congress and we do not go along and just settle when we're not even given anything. It's not like they say, "Okay, we can't give you that, but we can give you this much." That didn't happen with the Pelosi-Reid measure, forget the eventual sell out on the supplemental, it wasn't even there in the Pelosi-Reid measure that many pushed.

Cedric: Including The Nation in their timid editorial endorsing the measure and the benchmarks,which, for the record, blame a puppet government for not having more control over events.

Jess: So the point is we're getting up to a moment and we can make something out of it or we can't and I think I leapt ahead. Dona?

Dona: No, that's fine. But there's a mood in the country that creates one of those moments, calls for a response. And we can either be demanding responses or we can play Party Hack and cheer the Democratic Party for the legislative equivalent of remembering to flush the toilet.

Cedric: It has to do with where the bar's at. Like right now, Bill Clinton's a supposed hero and why is that? I'm not saying he's evil.

Rebecca: This isn't a thread, you don't have to explain. That's a joke and Cedric's laughing, just FYI. Clinton gave us a good economy is the big talking point there. Well it wasn't that good, first of all. Second of all, this is an accomplishment? I thought that was a duty, if you're going to credit a president -- any president -- with an economy. I mean that is a basic. That's like expecting someone to show up to work on time. You expect it. If you're voting someone into office, you aren't saying, "I'm voting for her or him because I hope they'll tank the economy."

Elaine: Just noting, Betty's uncomfortable. I'll try to temper my remarks. Betty really loves Bill Clinton.

Betty: I do.

Elaine: And she should share why, we all know why participating, and no one devalues her reasons or says, "You're wrong." But Clinton was, at best, a reformer. The safety net got attacked repeatedly. He is the backlash responding president. Not the Bully Boy who has not responded but has pushed the country to the right. This was one of those moments for the right but we're coming out of that. Clinton backed NAFTA and a whole host of other things that we all know so I'm stopping to let Betty make her point.

Betty: I've said this before so I won't go in to much detail. But I remember life under Poppy Bush and I remember there was a change, a move towards inclusion, signaled by Bill Clinton coming into office. He has his faults like any of us do. He has some policies that I would've smacked him on the back of his head if I'd known him and he'd asked my opinion. But when he's called the first Black president, a lot of that is coming from the fact that he set a tone which rejected Bush's previous tone and said, "We are all Americans." I think that's true of Hillary as well and if she could address Iraq honestly, I'd be supporting her but I'm behind Dennis Kucinich because he is addressing Iraq.

Kat: I don't like Bill Clinton or Hillary. But, just to follow up on what Betty's talking about, Bill did make steps towards inclusion. That was African-Americans, that was gays and lesbians, that was a whole host of people. And I think it is worth noting that what Rush Limbaugh does, that hateful 'humor,' wasn't relegated to AM radio under the previous Bush. Or under Ronald Reagan. I don't care for Bill Clinton but, if you were old enough, you saw a big shift. It was other things as well but gone were the days of someone thinking, a public figure, that they could, for example, say "AIDS is God's curse on homosexuals" and have most people either look the other way or fail to object. With other administrations, it seemed like you defended your own subgroup whatever it was. Under Bill Clinton, it seemed like the country, with regards to differences, got smarter. That's not a minor thing. Think of Matthew Sheppard and the reaction to his murder. If that had been under the first Bush or Ronald Reagan, even in the nineties, but under them, I don't think there would have been the awareness and outrage there was. I'll blame him for many things, but I will credit Bill Clinton with fostering a tone of inclusion when he went into office.

Rebecca: I'll just add that we're not just talking about 'symbolic.' We're talking about a change of tone and it was real. And if you're underestimating that, chances are you're a White male or someone who identifies with them, a straight White male, and never grasped how limiting and limited the view being put down was.

Cedric: And I credit him for that but he was a reformer and, either the way he was set up or the way the system was, the reforms all ran to the right.

Jess: Well he and Al Gore both favored that nonsense of Reinventing Government which I finally read, pulled it off C.I.'s book shelves, and that really explains the attacks on government, on the safety net and everything else. Under Clinton and today. They came in wanting to reform and their reform was privatization and the belief that business could do better than government.

Cedric: Right. We need to be really clear that the Clinton administration, along with NAFTA and other things, allowed privatization. Made it 'bi-partisan.' Gave it a Democratic cloak. FDR must have rolled over in his grave.

Dona: I am loving this discussion and hate to be the bad guy --

Elaine: The grown up.

Dona: Thank you. But I'm aware that when we finish this, we'll still need two hours before everything can be posted due to the technical problems Dallas is having with links currently and the problems we already knew about with regards to titles.

Jim: Blogger/Blogspot won't let us do titles. Our way around that is going to be e-mailing titles to the site, putting titles in posts we e-mail, then clearing out the post and pasting everything in. That's going to take a long time. Dona, who's not speaking?

Dona: I think everyone's doing a good job. I was worried about Cedric getting enough time and then he jumped in. Right now, I think everyone's making strong points but Ava and C.I. are taking notes and they'd know better.

Ava: Cedric made some strong points strongly but that just gave the appearance that he's contributed a lot, the force with which he spoke. Wally and Cedric both should be encouraged to speak more. C.I.'s taking notes and that makes it hard to speak but C.I. needs to grab more as well. Mike, I'm saying, step it up.

Jim: Okay, that was the heads up, we're all grown ups, we're informed, it'll either happen or not. We need to get back to moments. Tossing out to Wally, Cedric or Mike and then it's open to anyone.

Cedric: I'm being motioned to by Wally and Mike. Moments. The Democrats have no ideas. That's been said for over a decade and a half. They're running on fumes from the New Deal or the Great Society. Some would say the Great Society was just an update to the New Deal, those people would probably not be African-Americans. But either of those didn't just happen in DC or in the DNC leadership. With the Great Society, it was a reaction to the Civil Rights movements and other things. With the New Deal a reaction to what was learned from the Depression. What's followed, Republican or Democrat, has been back off and chip away.

Mike: I'll go concrete. Call me Laura Flanders! That's not an insult. But take health care. People are ticked off by the costs, outraged by the system, you name it. People favor universal health care. They favored it before Hillary Clinton presented her plan, which wasn't universal health care, it was managed care. The press, as my mother or Elaine can tell you, did a real good job clamping down by refusing to address what the people overwhelmingly favored. When a moment comes, the people can be so powerful that the press is overridden. So, one instance, we can push there or we can accept whatever comes. We can blow the moment or we can fight.

Wally: And that's not coming about, fighting, with sloppy, open kisses to the Democratic Party. That's not coming about by enlisting into the Party Hack division. We need an independent press. We don't need all these "Ooooh, Obama." We need reality and, regarding The Nation, it's in short supply. We were going through the issues, from the last six months of The Nation, and, yeah, they hit hard on Hillary. Obama? Four or five open mouthed kisses, which was it? Point is, your press or your a fan club. If you're press, start acting like it.

Kat: Dona will kill me for this after, but Wally and Cedric got slammed for an Obama post last week and I want them to put their response on record. I thought they should have posted it.

Cedric: Wally's motioning to me. We got multiple e-mails asking basically, "Who do you think you are to criticize Obama?" Wally and I do joint-posts. Our response, short version, was we are the best qualified to criticize Obama. Wally's White, I'm African American. Together, we are Obama.

Betty: (Laughing) I'm glad Kat got that put in there.

Dona: Me too but everyone's laughing so I'm signaling out C.I. for a comment to get us back on track.

C.I.: Okay. The point is, Howard Zinn, Stanley Aronowitz, Laura Flanders, all in their own way, and more, make the point that people have the power. There are times when people power is up against a wall of indifference. The corporate press doesn't, now or ever, exist to serve the people. Those classified ads don't provide as much money as corporate ads do. They exist to maintain the status quo and, occassionaly, modify it. Howard Zinn . . . I'm not going to say. I wasn't going to say anything unfavorable but Elaine's always loved Zinn so I'll let her pick that up. Stanley says we need theories and we need to get them out. He says the people want them. He's right. Call it theories or proposals, we want them. Laura's actually backing that up. Her travels through the country, her connections with callers from around the country, have shown her what's happening on the ground. She can back up that point in a hundred ways. Tossing to Elaine and I'll grab back if she wants.

Elaine: I will want. So Laura's got the factual proof, Stanley's got the idea that if we put it out there, people will respond and Howard Zinn's point is that the people have more power than they ever know. Or, more Zinn-like, more power than they are ever told. Only The Nation magazine would set out to put Laura Flanders and Stanley Aronowitz in a debate -- and a debate over the Democratic Party no less. That was a waste of both their talents. A real conversation would have teamed them with Zinn and they could have ended with a strategy. None of the three are at odds. They all compliment one another. Call it theory, call it framework, call it dreams, we need it. The moments coming and we're either ready or we're not. Carly Simon, "Let the River Run," "Let all the dreamers wake the nation." That's what we're talking about. Not stop-gap measures. Not reform. This isn't where we take an existing program and dispute what to do -- usually how much to cut from it. This is where what used to be called "people's programs" get established.

Mike: Because, when Dems are slammed for having no ideas, what that's really about is that there's nothing. There's "We'll do this and we'll do that" and it's nothing. It's a tiny raise in the minimum wage. It's not universal health care. Bully Boy grabbed his moment to slam through an attack on education -- with the help of one of my senators, Ted Kennedy -- and to slam through his attack on just about everything. Democrats saying, "We'll roll it back to the way it was" isn't good enough. Things weren't perfect the way they were. Everything had been chipped away and chipped away.

C.I.: So the point, Dona's pointed to me, so the point is this won't come from Democratic leadership. It has to, Howard Zinn's points, come from the people. Laura Flanders notes people in the grass roots are already trying to make changes and doing so on the municipal and state levels. Stanley's saying changes, to be successful, need to be popular and, for that to happen, people need to know about them and know what's at stake. You don't get that in article after article chasing after Obama or anyone. You don't get that by responding. Independent media needs to lay off the counter-narratives and start leading. This is a moment. We can imagine it. When we do, we can make it happen.

Ava: Can I jump in? C.I.'s nodding. That's really all I cared about because if I'm not taking notes and C.I.'s not, no one is. This really goes to our TV commentary. About how awful that Live Earth was. That was reform. "Everybody shop better! We'll stop global warming!" Last time I checked my shopping list, plant stacks pouring pollution wasn't on them. That's all Live Earth could repeatedly offer. "Okay, you're going to use less napkins, you're going to take your own bag to the store, and you're going to use better light bulbs." By all means, inform people of what they can do in their own lives, but don't act like that's the real issue. The real issue is Jose Valdez and Joan Smith and whomever aren't polluting the rivers. We're not seeing the Mississippi resemble the Dead Sea in parts because of that. It's industrial, commercial pollution. Let's all stop being so stupid and stop playing like Al Gore's Give a Hoot, Don't Pollute campaign is about anything other than placing government responsibilities off on the people. He's yet again privatizing. This time he's taking global warming and privatizing it off on citizens.

Jess: That's said wonderfully. And, as a non-Democratic Party person, I'm a Green, that sums it up on every issue. We need to stop this nonsense of, "You are the problem."

Betty: Jess, I know you've got more to say but I'm getting your point ahead of you and want to grab it.

Jess: Go for it.

Betty: The big move in Black politics, usually from outside but Bill Cosby and Obama love to bring it inside, is that our problems are us. We just aren't responsible. Thomas Friedman plays that card with all races in his column. No surprise. So we get, from Cosby and Obama, blame Black fathers. As if Black men are so naturally cold or cowardly that they set out to have children and walk away. Some end up doing that because they are creeps -- I know from personal experience. But that's true of every race. Do not look at what's happening to Black America and try to pin it off as a personal, individual problem. It is a problem that goes to employment and lack of opportunites. And we sure can't count on the Supreme Court under Roberts. But we certainly don't need 'leaders' who can't face reality. Obama's Chicken Sop for the Soul goes down well for some White people. But it's got a bitter after taste for Black people as we hear him repeatedly tell the mainstream, read White, that our problems are because of our personal behaviors. That's not reality. Our personal behaviors, one example, did not create the drug laws. They did not create a judicial system that looks one way towards White people and another towards Black people. They did not create a public that hears Al Gore the third was stoned and traveling with drugs that he didn't have a prescription for but Al Gore says it's a private matter that his adult son was busted so everyone backs off. Don't refuse to note the problems, the systemic problems, and turn around and tell me, "The problem is Black fathers walking out." Some do, believe me, I know. I've got three kids I'm raising myself and their father doesn't see them, doesn't contribute towards them. I know what reality is. I also know, and I hate saying this, that he originally left because, their father, because he couldn't get a job. And I live in one of the more Black friendly areas of the country. A system has been set up where Black men are either thrown in prison or denied opportunites in large numbers. Don't come tell me that it's a personal choice. Once upon a time, we had jobs in this country where we made things. It's a service economy and just when my generation should be benifitting, of all races, because the Baby Boom's stepping down, we find that the government's shipping everything overseas. So quit telling me that the crisis is a sudden refusal of Black men to take their responsibilities seriously when the crisis is caused by the decay of the manufacturing segment in this country, the attacks on unions and a whole lot more.

Elaine: I agree with what Betty said. I'm glad she said it. And I want to note just one example that drives home how much the jobs have left. It's a simple example for anyone who was an adult in the 90s. People of Betty's generation were told it was going to be an employees market. And employers were going to offer this and that. All that really happened was casual Friday and, Rebecca's pointed this out, has anyone noticed the attacks on that from big media?

Rebecca: Oh my God. The ones whining about Darfur coverage, have they noticed how many ads and how many articles have appeared about men not tucking in their shirts? Suddenly that's a serious problem? No. What is it? A sign that the announced employee market has already shifted away. I read fashion all the time but rarely talk about it because people think "It's fashion." It's a shift and a signal. And it's gone beyond the fashion press. And we're dealing with what was supposed to be "Oh, kids can go to work in blue jeans blah blah blah" to this huge shift to uniforms. I'm not talking about business dress. I'm talking about moving to uniforms. Those ugly things that I see someone behind the counter at a fast food place wearing. To give one example, I've got a friend who's still in p.r. and is having to sell this to municipalities, those type of uniforms coming into government jobs. Jobs where you used to be expected to dress nice and 'professional.' And now these city workers are going to have wear uniforms like they're asking, "You want fries with that?" I mean, they're ugly. I've seen photos and seen them up close when she came by to show me and ask, "Should I walk?" I said walk. Don't help sell that crap. But the fashion, pay attention, isn't about professionalism. It's about taking what were respected jobs and changing the clothes so that they're no longer the jobs they were. Sending the message, with other ways to come, that you're nothing but an assembly line worker. I'm talking about people working in offices where, let's say it's a guy, they would probably be expected to wear a dress shirt and a tie with slacks. And they're about to get these really ugly, forest-green is the ugliest color I've seen, uniforms. This will effect the way you see the job and the way you see yourself and that's what the point of it is. So we've already left the employees market. And I'm sitting here thinking, "Oh, we are off topic!" Don't hate me, Dona.

Dona: I won't. But I will toss to C.I. and note this needs to wrap up quick.

C.I.: Just to follow up, Rebecca told me about that. The selling point in the uniforms, how they're being marketed to cities, is that it will make the worker more dispensible. It's prettied up but we don't have time for the long version. And the attack bought their way into a TV show, by the way, just FYI. It didn't just start this year. And money was exchanged for that buy in. But the point is, there's a lot everyone's up against. That's always true. What happens in moments is that people get disgusted and something changes when enough are outraged. The illegal war has already led to many rethinking the issue of the occupied territories. At some point, the people will end the war, they will force Congress to address it. When that moment comes, the immediate reaction isn't, "Oh, let's all go away." The reaction is, as in Nine to Five, "We've done this, but we could do a lot more." That's how moments are created. The people are disgusted. They push to change one thing and others are carried along. I am really short handing this and my apologies but I know Dona wants this wrapped up so it's simplified to the max. We're approaching a moment. The population is not tipping against the war, America is against the war. An independent press would use that as a calling card. They would work that repeatedly and use the attention from that as a spotlight for other areas. An independent press would stop responding and start leading.

Jim: C.I.'s looking over at Dona so I'll wrap up. Don't e-mail to say, "Please don't shut down in November of 2008." We may not. If C.I. does, we probably will but maybe C.I. won't. Regardless, that's not the issue. The issue is we need to use our time wisely. All of us, each of us. In terms of those of us working on sites, we're going to be strong voices. If you're the press and you don't like it, too bad. And, let me do an aside that will have Dona rolling her eyes, if I hear one more idiot complain about Rebecca, some drive by always does, you don't know what she's doing. Rebecca worked in p.r. for years. She knows the hard sell, she knows the soft sell. If you're wondering, "Why did she write about that?" focus on yourself. She knows what she's doing and she regularly gets points across to her audience, largely high school and middle school, that have me shaking my head in amazement. A lot of times, I see her posts as fables.

Kat: Agreed and I'm jumping in here. If one more man e-mails about Rebecca I'm going to let it rip at my site. Like Jim's saying, Rebecca's geared to the youngest audience of any of us. She knows what she's doing. She also is a new mother. If you're obsessing over what she writes and find it lacking (a) you don't know what you're talking about and (b) go away. She doesn't do one post. Rebecca's laying groundwork all the time. Two weeks later, you're reading something and, if you really pay attention, you grasp she set that up long ago. She's either the most brilliant person I know or the most devious.

Rebecca: Thank you both.

Dona: I'm not going to complain about that. Other things but not that. Rebecca tosses out what seems the most random line. She returns to it. It seems like trivia or gossip. Then she zooms in on a subject, apparently unrelated, weeks later and you realize she guided your reaction to it from long ago. But I am going to wrap up. Our time is likely limited. We will likekly go dark. We are not going to waste our time being cheerleaders for Democratic leadership. That's not our role and it shouldn't be. Our job is to press for change. Our job is to push and push and if you don't like our tone, I believe we inform you to go elsewhere at the top of our site. Our job is to expand not to shrink. We either take on what needs to be addressed or we write dopey things like cat blogging. Hide behind us if you like. Say "Oh I'm reasoned, look at those lefties over at The Third Estate Sunday Review!" But we are here to push the conversation to the left. A lot of cowards have allowed the conversation to move center-right so it's important that we push hard. Do your job and you won't get called out. Don't do your job and you will. And we don't need to hear your whines. We believe a moment's approaching and we're not going to waste time with "Oh the up side of this is blah blah" or "Well, Dems have a really hard time in Congress . . ." You have accepted limitations on who you are and what you can ask for. We're not accepting those. We are fighting for better.
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