Sunday, December 16, 2007


We're dipping into the mailbag again. Participating are The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Jess, Ty, Ava and 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.

True MSM believer Milton e-mails to note that he is "sick of your attacks on Iowa. Iowa has strict controls on voting. If they didn't, the media wouldn't cover Iowa so much." Ty e-mailed Milton to find out (a) if he lived in Iowa or (b) if he'd ever been to Iowa. No and no. But he did write back to say he'd looked for "that New York Times article you always talk about and it doesn't exist."

C.I.: That column ran on A25 of the paper's January 7, 2004 edition. It is entitled "How to Be an Iowan for a Day" and is written by Dan Savage. From Savage's column: "As a citizen and, um, a respectable journalist, I was appalled when I learned that you didn't need a valid voter registration card or proof of residency -- any identification at all -- to take part in Iowa's caucuses. . . . With huge numbers of volunteers and true believers flooding into the state, the potential for mischief seemed huge." Savage participated -- non-Iowan Savage -- in the January 2000 Iowa caucus and got away with it. He only got punished when he wrote about it. I have no idea why you couldn't find it but the article ran in 2004 and we're not going to hunt down a link to spoonfeed you.

Brandy says she's enjoying Ava and C.I.'s news commentaries but longing for when they can return to entertainment.

Ava: Oh, do I hear you, Brandy, oh, do I hear you. We've got one entertainment show in syndication that's our spare. We noted we could review older shows that had long ago ceased production. We're saving that for when we just can't take writing about another alleged 'news' program. It's also true that we may be reviewing Medium in January because it was planned. We'd actually intended to review it last year before the summer repeats started. Jim twice asked us to do something else. We thought we'd cover it over the summer. Then we realized NBC wasn't planning on airing it. Then Patricia Arquette was nominated for Best Actress in this year's Emmys and NBC started airing the program on Saturday nights. We were set to review it and Jim again said something harder-hitting was needed. So we noted, in one of the reviews, that we'd be reviewing it when the season started in January. We hope the strike is over by then. If it's not, we're going to have to determine what to do because we both support that show and that was the one of the very early reviews we did here, possibly with Jim, Dona, Ty and Jess co-writing, so we've always wanted to offer just our take on it. If the strike is still ongoing, we'll be weighing our decision. That's the only one we'd have to decide on and that's because it's a show that needs support -- despite having an audience, it almost wasn't renewed this year -- and we'll be weighing that and other issues next month if the strike is still going on. I don't know what we'll decide.

Leo notes that Mike included a C.I. draft in Saturday's entry at The Common Ills and wants "a slow version of that to be sure I understand."

Mike: C.I., Ava and Kat generally end their week on the road in our area so they can see Rebecca's baby. So they stay at my house Friday night and leave to head home on Saturday morning. They're already up in the air before the last of us post on Saturday.

Betty: That's usually me but I posted Friday night last week to avoid anyone having to wait for me.

Cedric: Right. C.I. likes to include the "The following community sites have posted since Friday morning" and give us all links because that way everyone gets a link at least once a week. And everybody did post on Friday night except Wally and I.

Mike: So I was waiting on that and Wally called me.

Wally: We were hitting a brick wall and I told Mike it would be at least another hour. Cedric and I do our posts together.

Mike: So, on my end, what I do is I log into The Common Ills and C.I.'s usually got an entry in draft that's been worked on that morning. In addition, there are other drafts that C.I. tells me about and says, "I was tired when I did the entry. If you don't think it's got anything to offer, I did two other things and you can pull from them." So Saturday, there was just the statement about how Iraq wasn't in The New York Times that day. And I saw a draft and opened it up and it was a critique from Friday that C.I. didn't post. It was strong and I thought it would add to Saturday's entry. So I plugged that in via copy and paste while waiting on Wally and Cedric. They called and said, "We're about to go up." So I went ahead and posted the entry for C.I. Then Elaine comes in.

Elaine: Gina called me and asked me if I'd read the morning entry at The Common Ills. I hadn't. She asked if C.I. was tired and I said, "Always." I'm pulling it up and thinking it's a major typo that has to be fixed -- as opposed to one that can slide. I'm reading it while I'm on the phone with her and don't see a problem. I ask her what the problem is? She says that was in Friday's paper, what C.I.'s commenting on. So I log in to The Common Ills and find the draft Mike copied and pasted from before Friday's "Iraq snapshot." Mike explained to me that he pulled it from that. So all I did was pull that out of Saturday's entry and make it an entry for Friday. I added a note to Saturday's entry explaining what I'd done so no one who'd already read it looked for it and wondered, "Did I dream that?" My note may not have been clear. The section pulled is now up on Friday and the title is "Whispers and whisperers" and Saturday's entry, with my note, is "Rebellion in the military."

Charles e-mails to complain that we've been pushing KPFK's elections but have dropped mention of WBAI's.

Rebecca: That's because WBAI's election is on hold. I believe the way it was worded on WBAI last week or the week prior was "under court order." I listen with Ruth and that was the last we heard on it.

A visitor who writes "don't use my name" e-mailed to provide us with Jared Bell's website. Bell is a candidate running for the Green Party's nomination and we noted him in "Green Party" last week.

Jim: C.I. mentioned Bell in Wednesday's snapshot and, after I read it, I called Ava and asked, "How pissed was C.I.?" I could tell by reading it that C.I. was ticked off. And I figured it was because no website was being provided due to the fact that Bell, a candidate for the Green Party, doesn't even mention Iraq on his webpage. That ticked me off too. We won't be noting the website here unless he posts something on Iraq. If you've got nothing to say about Iraq, I believe you run for the Democratic Party nomination, not the Green Party.

Jess: I want it noted that in his last sentence Jim just swiped my joke and butchered it.

Jim: No, I improved it, it's funnier that way.

Rebecca: For goodness sake, note that they were both laughing or we'll get some e-mails asking why they're mad at each other.

Ty: Which lets me pull out a surprise topic. Ruth recently noted online that Jim needs to apologize to Jess. That led three people to e-mail here and ask what Jim had done to Jess.

Jess: I love Ruth for working that in. The Jim she's talking about is not participating in this edition and I have never spoken to that Jim. I think for those who follow this site closely or who follow Ruth closely, it was obvious what she was talking about.

Gillian writes that, in 1995, she was 12 and her aunt switched over to CDs. When her aunt made the switch, she gave Gillian her cassette collection and "I fell in love with Heart's Dog & Butterfly. She wants to thank Kat for "Kat's Korner: Ann Wilson sings and stands tall" "because I didn't have any idea that Ann had done a solo CD and would have missed something really special if it weren't for the review."

Kat: Thank you, Gillian. And I agree with you. I've been tossing around my top ten for the year since September. Making lists to prepare for my year end piece. I didn't think any late comer was going to come along and make the list. Now I'm not just trying to figure out who is getting dropped but how high up I'm going to put that CD because it really is something. The title's Hope & Glory and you really need to check it out.

Community member Lawrence wants to know how much of the stuff up here about Dona includes jokes and how much is real. "I mean, is she really tense during the writing?"

Dona: Yes. Yes, I am really tense. We joke about it -- or I think we joke about it -- but I am really tense. Rebecca compares me to Monica on Friends for my organization obsession. And that may be true. But a lot of times, I think my gripes are justified. To give an example from this writing session. Ava and C.I. do their TV commentary, it's already done before we did this piece. Now usually they go off and write it while we're working on other things. They did that this week. In addition, Jim also asked them to tackle the death of Ike Turner. Which they really didn't want to but did do. So they went off for that. Jim sold that in part with, "We'll be working on ___ and we'll have it finished by the time you get back so we'll knock out two features in the time it would take for one." Here's the reality: We didn't knock out a feature. We talked about it a little, we goofed off a lot and the whole time I kept reminding that we needed to get the thing started. We didn't. So stuff like that does make me tense.

Jim: But do you think we would have gotten it done if Ava and C.I. had been working on it with us?

Dona: Honestly yes. Because Ava would have given Jess a look and that would've got him to focus. Instead it was really just Ty, Betty, Elaine and myself saying we needed to get started. If Ava and C.I. had been present, that would have been two more people saying "focus" and Ava's inclusion would have meant Jess focused so we would have focused.

Ty: And just to explain, Dona doesn't want this edition to be one of those where we take a nap and then get up in a few hours and finish the edition.

Jess: Which I understand because it's not a quick thing. And you've got Jim pushing new ideas, not just polish what we've got, but new ideas. And the whole day's blown. Dona's right, by the way, I wasn't focusing.

Dona: Thank you for that, Jess. And let me note also that Rebecca wasn't participating in that because she was getting her child down for the night.

Reginald writes that he was "highly offended" by Cedric and Wally's "The Cokehead Candidate" and "THIS JUST IN! BAMBI WOULD FIT IN THE WHITE HOUSE!...". Reginald: "There's really nothing served by writing about that."

Cedric: Nothing served for who? For the record, I'm the one who came up with that topic and Wally and I debated it. Someone had been fired, from Hillary Clinton's campaign, for noting that Republicans would run with Barack Obama's previous drug use. It was in the news, it was a valid topic for our humor sites.

Wally: Barack Obama, and we make this point in our posts, can't say, "That's off limits!" Not when he's written about it in two books. I also think it's wrong to take the attitude that "Oh, they admitted it so now it's not an issue." That seems to be a way to try to give your candidate a teflon coating and I don't agree with it.

Betty: I loved the posts. Like Wally just pointed out, Barack's included it in his books. The man who was fired didn't "out" Obama as a drug user. Obama had already done that. It's equally true that this is something Republicans will run with. I saw some of the nonsense online where people said, "It's racism!" No, it's a confessed drug users having a past drug problem noted. He did it when he was an adult. He did it while he was in Harvard. I don't see a sympathy vote coming on this topic. He had huge breaks and he's bored so he's doing drugs. I don't see a lot of sympathy coming in for him. Nor should there be. He had a dream slot many never will have a chance at and he decided to do cocaine. I also think, and Rebecca and I were talking about this, that the cocaine is a serious issue.

Rebecca: Right because it's not pot. Not everyone in the country has done pot. Pot was used a lot during the '60s' and there's a huge number of people who have done it, but it's not universal. And cocaine is even less so. So the fact that he's done cocaine repeatedly and it is a 'hard' drug isn't going to play too well. The pot would be a question mark for some voters -- and remember, his whole campaign is built around the premise that he can cross party lines and appeal to non-Democrats -- but when you bring in cocaine, it's even more of an issue.

Elaine: And Republicans will run with this. In their 2004 convention, they wore bandaids with little purple hearts drawn on to mock John Kerry having been awarded while serving in Vietnam. After that, you have to be insane to not realize how the GOP will run with the cocaine issue. I also agree with Wally that this "I'll dump it on the people and then they can't ask me about it" tactic is nonsense. Regardless of whom it comes from.

Cedric: I'm going to repeat what I said last time: It's a humor site. If it doesn't make you laugh, don't visit it. We won't lose any sleep.

Ty: And Cedric's going to have the last reply for this mailbag.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Poll1 { display:none; }