Sunday, March 04, 2007

A Note to Our Readers

Hey --
Sunday! Another edition.

Here's who did writing on this edition:

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

We thank them and we thank Dallas for his help with links and for being a sounding board. We thank Rebecca for photshopping illustrations. On those, we have fewer illustrations than usual because, as Dona pointed out, Rebecca's on the road and using a laptop. Let's not overload her with illustrations (or her laptop). So we've used some public domain stills from films. (The Earthworm Tractors is the film the still of Joe E. Brown used to illustrate AlterPunk is from.) We did do an illustration of Agustin Aguayo.

New content:

Highlights -- Mike, Cedric, Elaine, Wally, Betty and Rebecca wrote this and selected the highlights.

Last Senator Standing -- We were trying to use Russ Feingold for truest statement of the week and instead went another way.

The Nation Stats -- 4 men for every woman? Why does The Nation hate and silence women?
This installment, we cover two issues and we also listen to Troy's point (thanks for the point and thanks for writing, Troy) that it will be a nightmare when the last 2007 issue is noted and we have to start finding links to include every feature we've done all year noting the statistics. Be sure to check out the "photo" of Katrina vanden Heuvel with the mag's writers.

AlterPunk needs a Net Nanny -- Oh that AlterPunky Brewester. That Cindy Brady of the Faux Left. He's grabbed Linus' blanket. placed it over his head, and is in vigilante mode! He's proposed a Council of Bloggers which only demonstrates that he needs to stop watching Survivor.

Mini-mailbag -- We just did that. We were in this entry thinking we were done when Dona looked at her notes and saw Ty wanted a mailbag this edition. The idea was to answer some questions that had come in and to share some e-mails. We didn't have time. Two things we did note, the response to last week's TV commentary (it may be on the verge of becoming the most popular one Ava and C.I. have ever done) and Jason's e-mail because it does note who our intended readers are and it also notes that, for those without cable but who do get the hideous I network, Charlie's Angels should be starting up the Farrah Fawcett episodes this week.

The Nation magazine goes in search of America's youth -- If you thought the way students were ignored by The Nation was bad, wait until you see how awful things get when they try to lure them in as readers.

Quick news catch up -- We wanted to do a lengthy feature on the NGO report. Ty and Dona were both exhausted (probably most of us were, but they admitted it). So when it was four o'clock (seven in EST time zones), Dona noted we could keep on and be up early or we could take a three hour nap, get some rest and be posting our articles at the regular time. We went with the latter. Mini-mailbag was written just by the core six (because it was done after everyone was gone). This was two quick features that we paired with the NGO report comments so, as a single feature, it was worked on by everyone.

War resister Agustin Aguayo to be court-martialed Tuesday -- This was the piece we were working on when Dona made the suggestion. We were at a loss for an end to it. That was one reason we agreed with Dona that we should get some sleep.

TV: In Case of Emergency, Laugh! -- Rebecca photoshopped this last year when Ava and C.I. were thinking of doing the review (that includes a stamp Rebecca put on it). We really enjoyed reading this one and we think you will as well. Next week, they're hoping to tackle another sitcom.

Editorial: The wrath of the jealous 'Big Boys' -- The tough talking military, acting like Alex in Fatal Attraction. Hide the bunny rabbits! And leave Kyle Snyder alone!

That's it for us. See you next week.

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

Editorial: The wrath of the jealous 'Big Boys'

And I know I'd never go back --

it's broken-hearted street

and a paranoid street lamp.

My only precious thing I had

has been broken.

But I'm soulful and grateful,

and gleeful

Hey, hey yeah

caught me in its ray ...

-- "It Hurts," written by Rickie Lee Jones and Peter Atanasoff, from Jones' CD The Sermon On Exposition Boulevard

US war resister Kyle Snyder served in Iraq, self-checked out and went to Canada (April 2005) after seeing that reconstruction wasn't an issue but targeting Iraqis was. He found work in Canada, got a job working with disabled children that he enjoyed and that paid well. He was making a life for himself up north.

Then, as the summer of 2006 became all about the war resisters (except in media, big and small), he became one of the war resisters in Canada thinking of returning to turn himself in.

He ended up doing that, in fact, on October 31st, he turned himself in at Fort Knox and quickly decided to self-check out again the same day (not, AP, in November 2006).

How come?

The same US military that had lied to recruit him, that had lied to him in Iraq, lied again. An agreement Synder's attorney at the time, James Fennerty, had worked out with the US military securing Snyder's return got tossed out the window shortly after Fennerty left the base. Now it wasn't about processing Snyder out, it was about shipping him off to Iraq, it was about, "No, you can't talk to your lawyer." It was about the usual b.s. that they've pulled with Snyder repeatedly. As Snyder told Gerry Condon, "I didn't leave Canada in order to go to jail -- just the opposite. I returned to the U.S. because the Army said they would discharge me with no jail time. But the Army lied to me -- again."

So he checked back out. Synder hung around the US (Fennerty was attempting to iron out the situation which was difficult when the military refused to return his calls) and did what he did in Canada, spoke out against the illegal war. He teamed up with Iraq Veterans Against the War and, still speaking out, went to New Orleans to help with the rebuilding (what he was told he would be doing in Iraq) in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Then he started a West Coast speaking tour and suddenly the police were very interested in Snyder. Suddenly, they were showing up at his scheduled stops. Like the Road Runner, Kyle Snyder always outsmarted him and then he returned to Canada.

During the Vietnam era, Canada had some beliefs they stood by. Not only did the government not send troops to that illegal war, they also granted US war resisters asylum. Things have changed (and not for the better). No US war resister has yet to be granted asylum in Canada.

(Even though Canada also chose to avoid this illegal war.) Everyone who has been heard by the immigration board (supposedly independent) has been denied and they have appeals outstanding. One thing that Canada does do is refuse to deport US war resisters back to the US while their appeals are being heard. And, of course, US forces can't come into Canada and grab the war resisters.

But never one to miss a chance to attempt to screw over Snyder, the US military decided that laws and customs don't matter all that much if they can get someone else to do their dirty work.

So they worked out a little back door deal with the local police in the area of British Columbia where Snyder was staying and soon enough the police were knock-knocking on his door Friday, February 23rd.

US war resister Ryan Johnson answered. He, his wife Jenna, Snyder and Snyder's wife to be, Maleah Friesen, share a residence. Snyder stepped out to speak to the police, in a robe and boxers, and was immediately grabbed and nabbed, refused the right to change into street clothes, and arrested. Lawyers Against War explain what went down here and pay attention to this:

Joci Peri, an Immigration official in Vancouver , later told Snyder he had been arrested at the request of the U.S. Army.
Being AWOL from another country's military is not an extraditable offense in Canada , nor does it have any bearing on immigrating to Canada , according to Vancouver lawyer Daniel McLeod, who is representing Snyder. "And the U.S. Army is not the boss of the Canadian police," says Gerry Condon of Project Safe Haven.

Oh, but they thought they were. Wife to be? Snyder was supposed to get married. That got postponed due to the arrest. (Which the Canadian press portrays accurately as an arrest but the US press tends to prefer the term "detained." They also prefer to not note the US military's involvement in the matter.)

Snyder plans to get married this month. The US military is probably dreaming up new schemes and conspiracies to ruin that moment. They can't get over the fact that Kyle Snyder outsmarted them. There's a bit another bit of reality they can't face, they outsmarted themselves. Snyder came back to the US, he turned himself in, the matter could have been resolved. They decided to screw with him again.

So if this "loose end" is just obsessing them, they have only themselves to blame. And you have to wonder how they have so much time to repeatedly plot against Snyder considering there is an illegal war for them to fight, considering there are high school kids for them to lie to and try to trick in order to meet their recruitment numbers, considering that the US military medical facilities are a source of national shame. So many things to do.

Kyle Snyder's getting on with his life. But the 'Big Boys' of the US military prefer to act like desperate ex-girlfriend in a really bad movie (such as Fatal Attraction), willing to do anything to hang on, refusing to let go! That's neither "mature" nor "macho." Something the Big Boys might want to consider the next time they gather to plot. Again, Snyder's getting on with his life. The 'Big Boys' would do well to remember some advice passed on to Lily Tomlin's Edith Ann: To get back, is to go back.

TV: In Case of Emergency, Laugh!

The punchline that started around 1987 and had a strong run throughout the 90s was "Watching Mary Page Keller." That was the response to, "What are you doing this weekend?" It was a running bit in some circles (not unlike the game of "If I had a Geffen . . ."). It was never a judgement of Page Keller's talents (she was often quite good). It was, however, a way of noting that she was in a number of shows that tanked. It started with Duets, continued through the likes of Baby Talk and began to refer to even her guest episodes. We bring it up because we hope that's not about to be the fate of Lori Loughlin.

Around the time Loughlin was becoming an audience favorite as Nicole's kid sister Jody on The Edge of Night, Page Keller was drawing some attention as Sally Frame on Another World. It's around the same period that Meg Ryan was an audience favorite as Betsy on As The World Turns and Demi Moore was one as Jackie on General Hospital. So it's easy to look at Page Keller's career, in comparison, and wonder what happened? But the reality is Janine Turner was a minor nobody on General Hospital around the same time, and who's seen her lately? Better question, who's missed her?

The point is, it takes a lot of work to make a post-soap career. (That reality may be why Susan Lucci's elected to remain with All My Children for over thirty-five years.) Lori Loughlin's got it. But can she get a hit?

Full House gave her one and she gave adult viewers of that show something to do besides groan. During that time and since, she's done enough women in crisis telefilms to fill a Lifetime marathon and numerous guest spots on sitcoms and dramas. Most of all she's done two series that should have brought her more attention than they did.

One was a sitcom, Wednesday 9:30 (8:30 Central) in which she played "Lori Loughlin" (a sitcom version of the famous actress, she wasn't playing herself) and did some outstanding work but, for some used to Rebecca on Full House, "Lori" may have been too much for them. A real shame because she really put herself out there in that role.

The other was a WB series and, along with giving a strong performance, her chief crime that led to the show's cancellation was her refusal (as star and producer) to make the standard body wash operetta all the netlets were offering then (UPN had One Tree Hill, Fox had The O.C.). The show was Summerland and, not only was it watchable, it was enjoyable. But it existed in a world where there were people of color and, on a soundstage, where there were actors of talent.

Now she's back on ABC (Edge of Night, Full House and Wednesday 9:30 et al aired on ABC) in a new sitcom called In Case Of Emergency that the Water Cooler Set sneered at as they deployed their deathly prose-praise to prop up the really disgusting The Knights of Prosperity.

How bad do you have to be to be slammed while trash is praised?

If that was your question, you still haven't grasped the Water Cooler Set. They're not interested in being entertained (or in facts, we're still laughing at a DVD review of Family Ties that shouldn't have passed a basic fact check). They need a show that provides them with room to pontificate and look trendy.

So In Case Of Emergency got snubbed because it's actually entertaining. Loughlin plays doctor
Joanna Lupone. The role could be a step backwards, but she's utilizing some of the freedom she explored in her last two series to provide quirks to the "Dream Girl" role and hitting some of the unexpected notes that made Rachel (played by Jennifer Aniston) so enjoyable on Friends.

Louglin's character is pursued/lusted after by David Arquette's Jason Ventress. Arquette has his own charm that you either like or you don't (we like) but it succeeds best when he's paired with a strong actress (such as opposite Courtney Cox-Arquette in the Scream films) so he's lucky to be opposite Loughin in this show as his character works off some community service hours at the hospital.

The main locale for the show is Harry Kennison's house. Kennison, played by Jonathan Silverman, lives there with his son Dylan (Harry's a single father) and more recently, friends from school, Jason, Sherman (Greg Germann) and Kelly (Kelly Hu). Jason worked at his uncle's company prior to its Enron-like meltdown. Sherman's a semi-famous self-help guru whose wife walked out on him. Kelly, the valedictorian of their high school, now works at a massage parlor (in the seediest sense -- what Frank assumed sister Phoebe did on Friends). All four have hit their first bump in life and the 'emerency' leads them to re-bond.

Germann's Sherman is prone to binges -- binge eating, binge spending and binge crying over the fact that his wife left him. For those who remember his Richard Fish on Ally McBeal and, have caught that show's Peter MacNicol's caricatured and overdone performance on NUMB3ERS, never fear -- Germann's created a character and not a psych case study. That may be a surprise because Sherman is a basket case, but the performance is grounded.

Kelly Hu became the first Asian-American Miss Teen USA in 1985. Since then, she's had to make her way in the world of entertainment. Her character, Kelly Lee, is an achiever who hasn't had the breaks and reunites with Harry in the first episode when they have sex during his "massage." The hooker with the heart of gold? Hu's too talented to play a stereotype and, fortunately, the writers have grasped that. Instead, Kelly's wounded like all the leads but also the most realistic.

Which brings us to Harry. We've never enjoyed Jonathan Silverman. We didn't care for his character on Gimmie A Break, we didn't care for his lead character in The Single Guy, we didn't care for his film work (including starring in the Weekend At Bernie's films), so our initial reaction to reviewing this show before it aired was, "We'll take a pass." But friends with it kept insisting so we gave it a chance. Silverman has always struck us a guy who is average enough to not threaten (male) network exec's (or Neil Simon) and got cast often for that reason and that reason only.

So one of our biggest surprises was the fact that we enjoy Silverman as Harry. He's very good. And that's partly the writing and partly the fact that Silverman's found a role he can excell in. (And, we're sure, also the benefit of many years of acting.) Harry's a less aware cousin of the character Jason Bateman played so well on Arrested Development. He spends the majority of his time caring for others which usually allows him to avoid addressing his own problems.

This can lead to some zany comedic highs such as multiple scenes with Hu and, more recently, some hilarious scenes with Jane Seymour as Donna Ventress, mother of Jason. Seymour demonstrated her strong flair for comedy (and will do so again on the episode set to air March 14th) as she seduced her son's best friend whose discomfort only aroused her more. In that storyline, Silverman had a lot to convey, often with little or no dialogue (and no "on the nose" dialogue) and probably hit one of his best moments when he volunteered to tell Donna her brother had died again. There was what his character was saying and what his character was thinking. In under twenty seconds, Silverman got it all across.

So you've got a strongly written show, a strongly cast show, one that produces actual laughs (often in unexpected places -- such as Loughlin's perverse expressions during a Barbi memory) and the Water Cooler Set sneered. Are we surprised?

The same set that pushes dull as an intentional sardonic commentary has lost the ability to appreciate real laughter. If you haven't, if you've watched the bulk of so-called sitcom offerings on display this year and longed for a show that could bring back the giddy highs that were once NBC's Thursday nights (highs only 30 Rock currently achieves), this is a sitcom for you. And if there are enough of you out there, Loughlin's got a well earned hit. If not, she'll move on to another project and be fine. The real concern is what this will mean for the immediate future of sitcoms. The standard used to be that you had to be funny. When the Water Cooler Set works themselves into self-amused laughter over whimsy or stoops to praising the tired proceedings on King Of Queens (as The New York Times recently did), it's completely up to the television viewer, at this point, to save the sitcom.

War resister Agustin Aguayo to be court-martialed Tuesday


Free Agustin Aguayo! - Iraq war veteran, prisoner of conscience
Agustín Aguayo, a 35-year-old Army medic and conscientious objector, will face court martial on March 6 for resisting redeployment to Iraq. He has been formally charged by the Army with desertion and missing movement. If convicted of all charges, Agustín faces a maximum of seven years in prison for following his conscience and refusing to participate in war. He is currently imprisoned pending trial at a military brig in Manheim, Germany.
Nearly three years ago, Agustín applied for a conscientious objector discharge from the Army and later served a full one year in Iraq, all the while refusing to load his weapon. Now Agustín's wife Helga, mother Susana, and his two 11-year-old daughters Raquel and Rebecca, are leading a grassroots campaign for justice and freedom for him and all GI war resisters.
Read more about Agustín Aguayo
Download the "Free Agustín Aguayo" leaflet (also: Spanish version)
Photo gallery of Agustín, family and supporters
Write to Agustin directly at:SPC Agustín Aguayo; Unit 29723 Box LL; APO, AE 09028-3810
Upcoming events in support of Agustín AguayoSaturday dance party March 3 in Oakland, California
Watch Courage to Resist videos of Agustín's Sept. 26 press conference and Agustín saying goodbye to wife Helga and daughters.

The above is from Courage to Resist. Agustin Aguayo, born in Mexico, naturalized citizen of the United States, joined the military in 2000. Kevin Dougherty (Stars and Stripes) reported that Aguayo singed up after repeated conversations with a California military recruiter convinced him he convinced that "a health care specialist" could serve the country (US) and the military, that it was only once Aguayo deployed to Iraq that he began to rethink his decision.

The father of two, husband of Helga Aguayo for fifteen years, self-checked out of the military on September 2, 2006. His reasons for doing that included the fact that, while serving in Iraq, he came to realize the nature of the illegal war and did not feel he could participate for religious and moral reasons. While in Iraq, he refused to load his gun. Aaron Glantz (OneWorld) noted Aguayo's reasoning for refusing to load his weapon, "By doing guard duty, appearing to be armed, even without bullets, I gave the false impression that I would kill if need be. I am not willing to live a lie to satisfy any deployment operation. By helping countless soldiers for 'sick-call' as well as driving soldiers around on patrols I helped them get physcially better and be able to go out and do the very thing I am against -- kill. This is something my conscience will not allow me to do."

In July of 2004, his conscientious objector status was denied by the army and he was told that his appeal couldn't be heard until after he returned from Iraq. The US military rejected the idea that someone could sign up and even be comfortable with going to Iraq only, once in Iraq, realize the mistake of the decision, They rejected his c.o. status on those grounds and, in doing so, they rejected the basic principle of many popular faiths practiced in America which are based upon the idea of awakening.

As C.I. noted, "If the military or the civilian courts are going to argue that one's religious status is a fixed state, they're going to be going against the teachings of a great many churches within the US. Aguayo's case can be summed up as someone coming from a religious environment, confronted with a real world reality that is not the one sold to him, deciding to respond to it with the teachings he was raised on."

Faced with the impending date for deployment to Iraq and the threats that he would deploy to Iraq in handcuffs if need be, Aguayo decided to self-check out.

He left Germany (where he had been stationed) and returned to the United States. On September 26, 2006 (24 days later) he turned himself in. He explained his decision, "Why am I turning myself in? Because it is the right thing to do. It is the responsible thing to do. I'm not a deserter or a coward. I just felt that I needed to be unavailable for this movement because I have come to believe that it is so wrong." Speaking to Adrienne Ziegler (Desert Dispatch), Helga added, "The greatest lesson he could teach (our daughters) is to stand up for what you believe in, and if you don't, you hurt the people around you. . . . If my husband can inspire one person to become a conscientious objector, then all this hassle was worth it."

Aguayo self-checked out of the US military on September 2nd and turned himself at Fort Irwin on September 26. If you're wondering, "What's with the dates?" -- there is a reason. Anyone can be charged with desertion for any length time they're missing for the military; however, as a general rule, the military usually avoids the desertion charge for anything 30 days or less. Aguayo was missing for 24 days.

Kevin Dougherty (Stars & Stripes) reported, in January, that the US military had decided on their charges against Aguayo: desertion and missing movement and that conviction on both charges "could receive a maximum prison term of seven years". The military wanted to come down hard on Aguayo (the same as with Kyle Snyder) and use him to send a message. Charging him with being AWOL would have meant a conviction could result in less maximum time.

Helga Aguayo spoke with Gillian Russon (Socialist Worker) and stated, on the topic of war resisters, the folloing, "They're important because they're taking a stand that all the Americans who are against the war can't really take. They're making it difficult for the Army to continue their mission. My husband's a paramedic, and medics are needed desperately in Iraq. I think that these soldiers who stand up and say, 'I won't do it,' are frustrating the plans of these particular units. It's important for the antiwar movement to adopt these soldiers and say that this guy has taken a remarkable step. We need to support him because he's doing what we would do if we were in his position."

She is correct and war resistance has a long history. One of the most famous war resisters is Muhmammed Ali. Ali stated, in 1966 (Howard Zinn's A People History of the United States, p. 431):

Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go ten thousand miles from home and drop boms and bullets on brown people in Vietnam, while so-called Negro people in Lousiville are treated like dogs and denied simple human rights? No, I am not going ten thousand miles from home to help murder and burn another poor nation simply to continue the domination of white slave masters of the darker people th world over. This is the day when such evils must come to an end. I have been warned that to take such a stand would put my prestige in jeopardy and could cause me to lose millions of dollars which should accrue to me as the champion. But I have said it once and I will say it again. The real enemy of my people is right here. I will not disgrace my relgion, my people or myself by becoming a tool to enslave those who are fighting for their own justice, freedom and equality.

Quick news catch up

How dare ya, do you think I'll quietly go?
You are much braver than you know
For I can't die
Your staff, your stick, your special cap
They'll protect in hell, what crap
Believe the lie

How dare you be the one to assess
Me, in this God-forsaken mess
You, a man in a purple dress
A man in a purple dress

-- "A Man In A Purple Dress," written by Pete Townshend, from The Who's Endless Wire.

If you missed it, Ehren Watada, the first commissioned officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq and take part in the illegal war, got a new court-martial date: pre-trial is set for May 20 and 21; court-martial for July 16 through July 20. Another court-martial means the US military doesn't care about the Constitution or its clause against double-jeopardy. Watada's civilian attorney will file motions on that as well as to get Judge Toilet (aka Lt. Col. John Head) off the case. Judge Toilet, the original Man in the Purple Dress. (Illustration is from Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts.)

In other news, the rape of two women from two weeks ago (one confirmed, once apparently confirmed by the page of the medical report Nouri al-Maliki released while calling the woman a liar) fell off the domestic mainstream radar because they prefer their rape trials to involve a male celebrity and a lot of whispered smut about the victim. But it didn't vanish from the Iraqi radar. And on Friday, C.I. noted:

While rape has been a topic in foreign press and on the ground in Iraq, the US press (mainstream) has dropped the issue -- or thought they had. It pops back up today. Alexandra Zavis (Los Angeles Times) reports that a claim by a group in Iraq that they had "kidnapped 18 interior Ministry employees in Dyiyala province in response to claims that Shiite-led security forces had raped a Sunni Arab woman" was followed by police discovering the corpses of 14 police officers in Baqubah. AFP quotes Uday al-Khadran ("mayor of Khalis, the slain officers' hometown in Diyala province") stating: "They were found in the streets of Baquba. Their throats had been cut and their hands were bound." Al Jazeera quotes their reporter Hoda Abdel Hamid: "Sabrin al-Janabi did come and say that she was raped by three Iraqi security forces. The government at first reacted by saying that it will conduct an investigation. . . . Hours later, the government came back and said the three men were cleared of that accusation, that Sabrin al-Janabi had come out with false accusations, and that the three men would each be given a medal of honour. That has caused a big uproar among the Sunni groups." AFP observes: "The alleged rape of Janabi -- who appeared in a video broadcast on Arab news networks to complain of being raped by interior ministry officers -- has triggered a bitter row at the highest levels of the Iraqi state."
If that sounds at all familiar, you probably heard Dahr Jamail and Nora Barrows-Friedman discussing that on KPFA's Flashpoints Tuesday.

Though the news may have come out of the blue for many, listeners to KPFA's Flashpoints were informed that the rapes were shaping up into another Abu Ghraib. Ashame the mainstream domestic media, with all its money to toss around, couldn't tell it to their audiences.
(Oh well, Cameron e-mailed us to note that PBS was busy pushing an Ike and Tine Turner concert DVD while fundraising and raving over the "couple" and the "team" and how great they were together! -- an opinion apparently backed by Rolling Stone's own Anthony DeCurtis. Guess spousal abuse, like rape, can't be raised because it might make for some messy moments -- or kill the will to donate!)

In other news you may not have heard about (we didn't see it in big media or little media), the London based Minority Rights Group International issued a report entitled "Assimilation, Exodus, Eradication: Iraq's minority communities since 2003." It's a disturbing look at Iraq today. Maybe it didn't fit in with the latest wave of Operation Happy Talk that corporate media is attempting to sell us? Or maybe everyone was too worried they might have to backtrack since the only conflict they focus on is Sunni v. Shia. They'll tell you the Kurds are all doing great. The reality is that Kurdish areas are among the many areas where minorities are being persecuted, something going on throughout Iraq.

The PDF format report opens with:

Since 2003, the civilian population of Iraq has been subjected to horrific levels of violence and terror. But for Iraq's minority communities, caught between the warring factions, the crisis is particularly acute. So much so that the very existence of some of these groups in their ancient homelands is now under threat.
Ten per cent of Iraq's population is made up of minority communities. They include Armenian and Chaldo-Assyrian Christians, Baha'is, Faili Kurds, Jews, Mandaeans, Palestinians, Shabaks, Turkomans and Yazidis. Some of these groups have lived in Iraq for two millennia or more. There is now real fear that they will not survive the current conflict and their unique culture and heritage in Iraq may be extinguished forever.

That's the opening, you'd think it would get a little attention but that wasn't the case. The destruction of the country is all in the report (which also focuses on the loss of rights for women and the terror and violence they live under due to their gender). To focus on one group, the Mandean's accounted for 1600 families in Baghdad back in April 2003, by April 2006, the figure would have fallen to 150. The drop is also seen in Baquba, Diwaniya, Kirkuk, Kut, Missan, Nasriya, and Ramadi. As they vanish so does their language which the 2006 UNESCO Atlast of the World's Languages in Danger of Disappearing noted was already in danger. The report notes that this "religion is one of the oldest surviving Gnostic religions in the world and dates back to the Mesopotamian civilization." The report tells you that the options given the community is "convert, leave or die."

Over 3 million Iraqi refugees currently exist (that's internally displaced and those who have fled) and the report will demonstrate how the minority groups were especially targeted. The report quotes Tony Lagouranis (who was a US interrogator in Iraq) onn his encounter with a Yazidi:

I didn't realize how deeply I had gotten into detainee abuse until about halfway through [my time there]. And then it really hit me. There was an episode with a man we had in a shipping container.
We used dogs on him, strobe lights, loud music, sleep deprivation, it was also freezing cold -- he was getting the whole treatment. The chief warrant officer of interrogation had decided to use those techniques, and I was implementing them. Not only did I believe he was innocent, but it became apparent he was really noble. He was Yazidi; they're not really Christian or Muslim; they're their own things, and they've been persecuted by everybody.
I think the experience that his people have had for 1,000 years in Iraq being persecuted allowed him to view the experience differently than someone like me might, and I began to recognize that I was a very small person.

The Nation magazine goes in search of America's youth

A funny thing happened at The Nation as they began to grasp how out of touch with and hated by some (we'd say "many") left students they are on campuses across the . . . well, nation. They decided it was time to do The Student Nation and, like so much of the half-assed crap they do so poorly these days, it started off weak and sputtered out quickly. How quickly?

Wednesday, February 28th, they sent out their announcement full of . . . semi-life?

They told you a former intern/assistant had blown the whistle on the underrepresentation of voices of youth in the media. Putting aside the fact that this point has been made repeatedly (and about The Nation) here and at The Common Ills, we were curious what an Alexander Cockburn hating priss could do with the topic?

Not real much. In fact, the "article" is actually a blog post for The Notion (The Nation's cutesy blog) and all the ex-intern/assistant did was string together a bunch of observations made by others. (While -- get this -- having the nerve to link to a Katha Pollitt column from 2005 about the underrepresentation of opinion pieces written by women. The Nation, an opinion journal, has been running approximately four pieces by males to every one by a female since the year started. The crashng sound you hear is the magazine's own glass walls collapsing.)

So little to offer that the ex-intern/assistant can't even note "Help Me, Harlan!" (One of the more popular advice columns around.) But possibly the folks at TAPPED hadn't already done the work for him on that?

If this is their lead for students, no wonder the e-mails complaining to this site and The Common Ills started arriving. One, a 21-year-old, noted the 'study' quoted in the brief (passing for an article) and wrote, "I've never been polled about my age and whether I read 'progressive' websites. Have any of you?" Nope. Never. But there's a link so, good God, it must be true! (That's called sarcasm.)

Same "author" has a video that the site's been running (on their main page) for some time. He has another article where he's so daft he's quoting Howard Zinn. (That's not an insult to Zinn. That is noting that Zinn has not joined the "BRING THE MARINES HOME! AND SEND THEM TO DARFUR!" movement.) That "article" was eight days old when the magazine made their "Come to The Student Nation invitation."

We especially enjoyed this (we're disabling links, FYI):

Check out the StudentNation page daily to see what's on student's minds. We highlight five new student articles each day in our student newsfeed. Today, we're featuring pieces from The Arizona Web Devil, The Brown Daily Herald, Youth Outlook, The Michigan Daily, and The Daily Reveille. Read them all. Then, click here to submit suggested articles. The only rule is that it has to be written by a student.

Wow! Students will finally have some sort of a voice! Well . . . not exactly.

Let's address what Eddie noted first but others quickly e-mailed to complain about as well. In the "invited" you're told to "click here to submit suggested articles" and "here" is a link. Where does it go? To The Student Nation where . . . you will find no feature that allows you to submit a suggestion for an article. And don't bother contacting the site's web master, as Eddie can tell you, he doesn't apply. (We're saying "he" because they say "master" and not "mistress.")

So that's real cute. Tell the youth of America they can make suggestions -- because you really, really want to hear from them -- and give them nowhere to make them. Silenced and insulted.

"Today," the invite proclaimed on 2-28, they were featuring five new stories on their "feed" and they would be changing that every day. Well that was February 28th. The next day, March 1st, they did feature five more stories. March 2nd, they featured the same five stories. March 3rd, they featured the same five same stories. March 4th, they're featuring the same five stories. Daily? They've had the same five stories up since Thursday.

Now you might think -- The Student Nation and all -- that the magazine that insults students and student movements (in fact, all movements -- "BE HONEST!") would use those five articles by students (from other publications) to highlight things that concern students, things that impact their lives?

You would be wrong. Eddie submitted (via the web master) a column by a student about Ehren Watada. No surprise, as Eddie noted, the magazine, that works really hard to seem part of the peace movement but really isn't, never featured it. So what have they featured instead (for every day since Thursday)?

Thomas Friedman! Certainly there is no bigger issue on campuses than Thomas Friedman. Right? No? Hmm. Well it is celebrity journalism and, if you haven't caught on from all the useless candidate puffrey (heaven forbid, the magazine find its way back to writing about issues), that's what Mike has called The Weak Ass Nation is all about these days.

One of the five pieces is a slideshow and, while we have nothing against visual journalism, we will note that the invite specifically stated "written".

The invite also told you that you could turn over your own photography to the magazine and, demonstrating more of the same Piss-On-The-Youth attitude, they'll give you a free t-shirt. Worse, the free t-shirt is a Nation t-shirt. (Which would being the laughing stock on campus where ever serious activists gather.) (Maybe, a la, Kurt Cobain, you could 'improve' it with a slogan like: Media Consolidation Still Sucks Even When It's In Indymedia -- or are we still supposed to not ask about their new "sister" magazine?)

So turn over the finest of your photos and get the cloth equivalent of peanuts from the magazine which actually reminds Jim of when he was in high school, stopped a railroad track for a train and an elderly woman rammed into his car. The whole rear was caved in. She told him the damage didn't look "that bad" but "I know how you kids like to have a little spending money" so she attempted to hand him 20 bucks (and make a fast getaway -- the arrival of the police prevented that). It really is that insulting. Now, yes, Ross did get a t-shirt from Playboy on the episode of Friends where he probably stole Chandler's joke, but he also got a check for $100. It's a really shame when the skin magazine is less of a skinflint.

Then they tell you to contact them "if you'd like free copies of The Nation" (can they not even give it away these days?) "to distribute on campus" which apparently assumes that you're really attempting to destroy your rep on campus. "Extra! Extra! Free Nations! Read all the insulting stories on the south! Read all the non-stop election coverage! Read all about 'student activsm' which, for the rag means big monied backed, so-called student groups! Read article after article after article by men, White men! Lose your self-respect, grab a copy!"

Then they're off plugging themselves (but never their own gas bags, sadly). You can read the laughable praise of a really suck-fest PBS miniseries (which Rory O'Connor rightly called out). It's "terrific!" the rag's Tony the Tiger tells you which clues you in that he's watched a great deal of Saturday morning cartoons even if his skills at media evaluation are lacking. Then you can read "Black Voters Like Obama" which appears to be missing an exclamation point. Three African-Americans are participating in the writing of this piece and they note that they weren't polled nor was anyone in their family -- but hey, one poll said so and isn't that all that's needed?

No, it's not and for a political magazine, the lack of political science knowledge is rather embarrassing. So is this sentence from the last paragraph: " Of course, like most early presidential polling, these numbers are pretty meaningless -- and probably misleading." Yeah, probably meaningless and probably misleading, just the like the junk paragraphs that preceeded it. But, hey, it beats writing about something real like the Iraq war, right?

Remember that? The Iraq war? Not Student Nation. They have a section called "Historical Articles." And, since the nation is in another major, illegal war, one might think they could dig through the archives for some thing from Vietnam. Student Nation chooses to go another way by offering the "historical" year of 1999. Woah, dudes and dude-ettes, that's so ooooold!!!!!!!!!!!! OMG!

It's that sort of insulting attitude, parading throughout Student Nation, that makes the effort to skew young demographically (and attempt to salvage some sort of future circulation for a magazine's whose own demographics trend Baby Boom and up) so laughable.

So February 28th, the invite went out and students R.S.V.P.ed in the negative. (For good reason.) Not only that, 19-year-old Heather asked us to pass on to The Nation this about her own campus:

But you you're not allowed
You're uninvited
An unfortunate slight

That's from Alanis Morissette 1998 hit "Uninvited." 1998? Perhaps we should have just said "historic"?


Student Nation, like the magazine itself, can't seem to find student activists when they show up at the front door (truly). So let's take a moment to note that what The Nation won't do (it's not a "can't," it's a "won't"), Mother Jones could and you can check out Samantha M. Shapiro's "Are You There, George? It's Me, Ava" to read about a student who cares passionately about the illegal war.



Quickly, (Dona just saw something Ty had on the list of things to do).

We appreciate the overwhelming support of Ava and C.I.'s TV commentary last week "TV: Aftermath leaves an aftertaste" and Ty says it sets a new record for first day responses. He also notes Katie's remark that "It captures everything I fear" was echoed in other words throughout the week but Katie was first out of the gate. We're glad it spoke to many (and Ty notes that includes a large number of males -- "At least a third of the e-mails praising it were from guys.")

Second, Jason e-mailed that he's 26 and had never seen Charlie's Angels:

but I'm one of those readers who doesn't have cable. My wife and I have two kids instead and student loans. So we enjoyed the review ["TV: Looking forward . . . by looking backward?"] and checked it out. My wife wanted to point out that if they stay on schedule, Monday the Farrah Fawcett episodes will start airing. We're looking forward to that because we only saw her as a guest star on one. We also don't think they showed all the episodes from the Shelly Hack year but maybe we missed it? Second thing is Tanya Roberts. We haven't seen the first season yet, but will be watching as that starts up again, but we can't imagine any episodes worse than the ones with Julie. When we read this in Ava and C.I.'s review:

Season five is when Charlie's Angels turns itself into a joke. Before, all three lead characters were trained detectives (with police experience), in season five, Julie Rogers is added -- apparently for cup size -- to the team. On Sunday nights or Saturday nights, audiences didn't give a damn about the psudeo-empowerment of "Any idiot can be an Angel."

we thought they might be being a bit harsh. As they would say, "But then we watched." In episode after episode, former model who hasn't even spent a year on the Townsend Detective Agency was bossing everyone around. At one point, Julie was telling Kelly not only what she would do but what Kelly would do. Since Jaclyn Smith's on all the years and a former police officer, that really was irritating, especially when Kelly didn't say, "Hey, model, I know what I'm doing!" The entire Julie episodes seemed to be people wondering "What's left for us to do!" My wife says that's how they decided to turn Julie into a hypnotized assassin. Zoolander did it better! So, Friday's episode was Kelly being shot and a lot of flashbacks to old episodes with the news at the end that she would live. We're guessing that's the last show of the series and that the first season will start back up next week but they've also been interrupting it for martial arts programming.

Ava and C.I. note that "Let Our Angel Live" was the final episode of the show and that's where Kelly is shot. They also enjoy the moments, for instance, when Kris (Cheryl Ladd) remembers something happening from the first season -- a season she wasn't on. "Attack Angels" is when Julie is hypnotized to be an assassin and, if there's anything more absurd than that, it's that the front is a temp agency. They also note that Dr. Joyce Brothers should have known better than to appear in that episode. They think the episode you're talking about where Julie's bossing Kelly around is "Mr. Galaxy." Kelly and Julie are in an alley eavesdropping. For some reason, Julie begins barking orders like, "Okay, I think they're gone. I'm going to follow him. You stay here and go inside . . ." while Kelly does nothing but say "Okay." It was shocking that Kelly (or even Kris) would be taking orders from the still new Angel Julie who got her 'investigative training' at modeling school considering that every other Angel on the show had been a former police officer and a trained private investigator. Finally, they add, they're glad the review helped and don't feel bad about watching Mama's Family, sometimes there truly is nothing else on broadcast television.

AlterPunk needs a Net Nanny

Tuesday's New York Times (February 27, 2007) featured guest columnist Ann Althouse's "A License to Blog?" which brought us the latest news on our Cindy Brady of the Faux Left, our AlterPunky Brewester. What's AlterPunk's latest problems? He needs a Net Nanny.

AlterPunk's offered:

I think it would be valuable if we had... uh... I mean, there's some sense where blogs correct themselves if you read enough of them, but I still I think it would be good if we had some sort of, you know, blogging -- you know -- council, where we could condemn people. Sort of... responsible body. You could still blog if you want. Nobody's going to stop you. But we're going to... everybody's gonna know that you're not to be trusted... unless you can sort of apologize or answer for yourself.

Well, there's a reason that, in 2004, C.I. noted at The Common Ills that AlterPunk would be the first one of the so-called left to pull the Norman Podhoretz flap-jack flip.

AlterPunk -- if he wasn't good for a few laughs, what purpose would he serve?

He wants to police the blogs with his own Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval. This from the man who repeated (as fact) one of the RNC's big smears against Al Gore (Naomi Wolf wasn't hired for wardrobe) and refused to correct it or apologize for it. But AlterPunky's telling us that he wants to tell the world who cannot "be trusted . . . unless you can sort of apologize or answer for yourself." Step up to the plate, short stump, and apologize for fouling landfills across the nation with your snarky lie about Naomi Wolf in your hideous What Liberal Media? Bob Somerby has repeatedly debunked the lie AlterPunk repeated in print and did so again on Friday.

So we howled with laugher over AlterPunk's self-presentation as someone concerned about the truth. We knew what was really going on -- Curse of the Unpopular. When no one ever invites you to join the club, you start having revenge fantasies about the day when you will RULE! AlterPunk in animated form would be The Simpson's Milhouse.

But what had the little boy so upset that he felt the need to jerk off in public?

Well he couldn't have a little Norman in him without a little Midget. Like The Midget seeing gay men on Fire Island decades ago and reacting with homophobia, AlterPunk was bothered that Andrew Sullivan wrote that he spent Valentine's Day watching Basic Instinct with his boyfriend while having brownies and champagne. Which led to a strong mental picture for AlterPunk who translated that as Sullivan wrote about "how happy he was to be curling up in bed with his boyfriend."

Homophobe much? It's homophobic, his reaction. It's also homophobic when you consider that Sullivan didn't write that he and his partner were in bed. That's where AlterPunk put them -- apparently because he thinks that all gay people do is have sex. (Homophobic when applied to gays, racist when applied to people of color.) Now, to be fair, maybe it wasn't homophobia?

AlterPunk's long had one of the most embarrassing (public) boy-crushes (on Bruce Springsteen) and maybe AlterPunk was just edging the toe a bit out of the closet? If that weren't the case, then the homophobe call stands.

Listing a movie, brownies and champagne was "too much information" for AlterPunk who states he doesn't like it when people make arguments based on the personal. (Apparently, AlterPunk felt Sullivan was advocating Valentine's Day? For shame, Sullivan, for shame!) AlterPunk likes to pretend, like many a sexist, that the personal has no political dimension. Sexist? Reading his lousy What Liberal Media? or any of his lists -- that he tries to pass for columns -- of brave voices who called out the Iraq war before it started and noticing how women are largely absent (after Rebecca called the crap of one list out, he did manage to include a token on his next one) makes it rather obvious the little boy wants to run with men -- even if, poor poodle, he can't keep up.

AlterPunk, who in all his Joan Crawford glory, once exclaimed, "We Are The New York Times!", should be the last to argue against allowing the personal to enter into writing. That's all the more laughable when you consider Gerald Boyd's public smackdown of AlterPunk. The personal is all over the AlterPunk. What were AlterPunk's exact words that he whined publicly? "It is an attack on people like us. It is OK all of a sudden to malign West Side elitist liberals like me." As the late Boyd recommended, "Eric, you’ve really got to cut down on the caffeine. I don’t think it is the end of civilization."

Reality is that anything written has a personal reason. Reality is that personal details pop up in supposed non-personal writing all the time (to the careful readers, at any rate).

Which is why AlterPunk's dismissive attitude towards women can be noted by his allowing Gloria Steinem to be smeared in his own book by repeating false charges and letting them stand. Which is why AlterPunk can then repeat (in his own voice) the smear against Naomi Wolf. Which is why the so-wants-to-be-big-and-respected AlterPunk can demonstrate what a little social climber he is with statements such as "We Are The New York Times!"

The personal is political. That's a statement that changed the world. But AlterPunk missed it. (Of course he missed it, it's a feminist statement.) Ironically, while AlterPunk was going after everyone but the cat bloggers, Laura Flanders and Ruth Rosen were addressing how the personal is political on Saturday's RadioNation with Laura Flanders and how the right-wing had spent decades telling you that wasn't the case, telling you that the personal was just personal. We know AlterPunk wasn't listening -- no male host! But the broadcast will be archived (and, FYI, RadioNation with Laura Flanders Saturday show is now rebroadcasting Sunday morning from 4:00 to 7:00 am EST). Sharing brownies and a DVD may have AlterPunk's mind melting down as he pictures a penis up against a rear end (again, Sullivan made no mention of "curling up" -- that's just where AlterPunk's mind went) but the reality is that "universal" v. "personal" is just one more example of AlterPunk attempting to play the night troll under the castle drawbridge.

So is the suggestion of a Council of Bloggers ("The Legion of West Side Elitist Liberals Like Me"?) which just demonstrates how he is the child of Norman and The Midget. Channeling Joe McCarthy and other baiters, AlterPunk wants a council to banish the voices he doesn't like. Which, when you think about it, demonstrates that even he grasps what a weakling he is: He knows he can't win on an even playing field and needs it tipped to his advantadge.

Who brags about being an elitist? Someone who really wants to be one -- but can't manage much more than undeserved snobbery. (Think Hyacinth Bucket in Keeping Up Appearances.)
"Priggish, preening, name-dropping, and the world's biggest Bruce Springsteen sycophant,"
noted Brian Morton of AlterPunk ["The Wuss Party" (Baltimore City Paper)] and we couldn't agree more.

Wait for the flip. Watch for it. In the meantime, someone get AlterPunk (pictured below blogging his latest non-read) a Net Nanny, immature minds like his need parental controls.


The Nation Stats

We have two issues of The Nation to cover this week, March 5, 2007 and March 12, 2007. We're also going to try to include links at the end of this running feature from now on as a result of long term reader Troy's points made in an e-mail about "what a nightmare" we're going to have when we cover the last issue for 2007 and try to suddenly create links for all the past installments. (Thank you, Troy.)

Starting off with the March 5, 2007 issue.

"War Drums On Iran" -- unsigned, sick 'em AlterPunk, if you're not too busy going after cat bloggers!
Michael T. Klaire's "Targeting Tehren"
Max Blumenthal's "McCain Mutiny"
Andrea Batista Schlesinger's "Pro-Immigrant Policy"

Score: 2 males, 1 woman

Calvin Trillin's "Feith Cooked the Books . . ."
Alexander Cockburn's "Sold to Mr. Gordon, Another Bridge!"
Gary Younge's "White History 101"

Score: 3 males, 0 women

Patricia J. Williams' "Obama and the American dilemma"
James K. Galbraith's "What Kind of Economy?"
Alisa Solomon's "Out of Africa"

Score: 2 women, 1 man

Annia Ciezadlo's "Blandford: Killing Mr. Lebanon . . ."
Carol Muske-Dukes' "River Road"
Vivian Gornick's "Isaac B. Singer"

Score: 3 females, 0 males

Total score for this issue: 6 women, 6 males

Wow. They finally found a way to offer equal gender representation. Too late to score impressively -- in fact, to do that, they'd need to offer a few issues with only female bylines. And to think, they needed to bring in only one The New Republic(an) writer to do so. (Yes, they do. Must be a shortage of women on the left -- at least on their rolodexes.)

Year to date score: 92 males; 25 women.

Oh, look (below), it's a typical day at The Nation where editor & publisher Katrina vanden Heuvel meets with the bulk of the magazine's writers!


Turning to the March 12, 2007 issue.

"Home Truths" (unsigned)
Neve Gordon's "Uneasy Calm in Palestine"
Ari Melber's "Bloggers on the Trail"
Eric Foner's "Lincoln's Antiwar Record"


3 men, 0 women

Calvin Trillin's "A Republican Talks Straight"
AlterPunk's "Liberalism's Lost Libretto"
Naomi Klein's "A Trial for Thousands Denied Trial"

Score: 2 males, 1 female

Ruth Rosen's "The Care Crisis"
Robert Nathan & Jo-Ann Mort's "Remembering Norma Rae" -- did Norma die? Hope it wasn't from brittle bones. There's a Boniva commercial running non-stop that claims to treat that.
Mark Green's "How to Fix Our Democracy"

Score: 2 males, 2 females

Christian Parenti's "Fall: Bernard Fall . . ."
Jonathan Ree's "Sisman: The Friendship . . ."
Stuart Klawans' "Films"

Score: 3 males, 0 females

Total Score this issue: 10 males, 3 females

Year to date score: 102 males, 28 women

And with that score, The Nation "achieves" the "honor" of having featured exactly 4 men for every 1 woman writer in their magazine since they began their 2007 issues. How proud they, or at least Warren Farrell, must be!

One more time, Katrina vanden Heuvel meeting with the bulk of the writing staff for the magazine (and such a pretty, little hat).


In the ten issues (including one "double" issue) so far this year, the magazine has telegraphed that a woman is worth hearing from . . . at least after four men have first weighed in. Which makes is even more laughable that a brief posing an 'article' (ran on The Notion, now pushing itself as a "StudentNation" 'article') wanted to cite Katha Pollitt's 2005 column about how women are underrepresented in opinion journalism . . . at other publications! (The Nation is an opinion-journal.)

The lack of women being featured in the magazine was brought to C.I.'s attention by a group of women late in 2006. For a column at Polly's Brew, C.I. went back and compiled the stats for that year. What we had discussed was following 2007's issues each time they arrived in the mailbox. Ava and C.I. were in charge of the December 24, 2006 edition and that was the first week that a 2007 issue had arrived (January 1, 2007 issue). They immediately started up "The Nation Stats." "The Nation Stats" ran again in our December 31st edition (covering the magazine's January 8, 2007 issue -- a "double issue"). January 21st, we covered the January 22nd issue in "The Nation Stats." Last week, "The Nation Stats" covered two issues since two arrived the same day for three of us participating in this feature. February 4th, we covered the Feb 12th issue in "The Nation Stats." February 11th we covered the February 19th issue in "The Nation Stats." February 25th, we coved the February 26th issue in "The Nation Stats."

To date, there were four prior features covering five issues (one of which was a "double issue").

Last Senator Standing


I am working to fix the new proposal drafted by several Senate Democrats, which at this point basically reads like a new authorization. I will not vote for anything that the President could read as an authorization for continuing with a large military campaign in Iraq. Deauthorizing the President's failed Iraq policy may be an appropriate next step if done right, but the ultimate goal needs to be using our Constitutionally-granted power of the purse to bring this catastrophe to an end.

Russ Feingold issued the above last week. Again, the question: Why isn't Feingold running for president? The answer? As best we can tell, running for the presidency while serving in the Senate means making a lot of meaningless statements that are obviously meaningless (Joe Biden) or appealingly vacuous (Barck Obama).

Oh, and there's Hillary. As C.I. observed Feb. 20th:

In US political news, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton has underscored that, although politically active for many years, she has held public office for far too few. As Amy Goodman noted on Monday's Democracy Now!, Clinton, speaking in New Hampshire, not only continued to refuse to term her vote supporting the invasion of Iraq "a mistake," she went further by stating: "If the most important thing to any of you is choosing someone who did not cast that vote or has said his [or her] vote was a mistake, then there are others to choose from." Indeed there are and it takes an arrogance born of campaign stupidity to make such a public declaration. We'll also note that "[or her]" was added here to be inclusive -- something that Hillary Clinton once could have take care of all on her own. But who would have ever guessed she'd waste the opening weeks of her campaign refusing to say something as simple as "I made a mistake"? Probably the same people who would have guessed that a candidate who cannot count on peeling off Republican voters, who may or may not have a hard time with swing voters, would thumb her nose at the Democratic base with one of the most idiotic statements made on the campaign trail. When you are campaigning for a national office, the last thing you need to do is to tell voters "there are others to choose from." Despite rumors to the contrary, Clinton's not scripted but New Hampshire may demonstrate that she needs to be. In one decade, we've gone from Bill Clinton's "I feel your pain" to what passes for "Piss off" from Hillary Clinton. (Which may remind many of the health care debacle which went from universal to some managed care option when, as Robin Toner pointed out, Clinton got cozy in the backrooms.)

No straw poll, but going by the e-mails coming into this site, the candidates being explored currently are (possibly due to Betty's input in the Mailbag feature last week) Dennis Kucinich and John Edwards. There are also a number wondering when the Green Party's going to have some presidential candidates, whether Al Gore will run and whether Ralph Nader will run?

And, in what we'll assume was a joke e-mail, one man suggested Big Babs run noting that she would go from First Lady to president and "skip the Senate so take that Hillary!" Big Babs as president? Had to be a joke, had to be a joke.


This feature is written by Cedric, Betty, Wally, Elaine, Rebecca and Mike and we picked the highlights as well unless otherwise noted.

"Thomas Friedman's immoral non-authority"' -- Betty's latest. She calls it a "stop-gap measure" because it doesn't really advance the plot of her continuous online novel. We call it funny. Backstory, Thomas Friedman's last column was again screaming, "Why won't they issue press statements decrying violence!" So Betty -- using Friedman's logic that if you're not issuing press statements for every act of violence, you must be supporting the violence -- turns Friedman on his pin head.

"The unmentionable?" -- Apparently, stress and strain in women's lives never occur. At least that's what the idiot Kat's responding to thinks. The idiot 'read' "Kat's Korner: The death of Ani DiFranco?" and wrote Kat a blistering e-mail about how Ani's Reprieve was a great CD and how dare Kat say it wasn't and how dare . . . Uh, dumb ass, Kat praised the CD. Learn to read, learn to read. It is, after all, fundamental.

"Egg and Onion Soup in the Kitchen" -- Mike says this is a great soup. We haven't had time yet to try to make it. However, we can vouch for Trina's commentary on Kyle Snyder and war resisters. It's always worth visiting her kitchen.

"Dem's new strategy -- no brainer!" & "THIS JUST IN! CAVIN' & CRAVEN HARRY REID!" -- Cedric and Wally's joint-post takes a look at the do nothing Dem Harry Reid who doesn't see Iraq as a pressing issue. We'll note it's a sad day when Kent Conrad shows more fire and courage than the party's nominal Senate leader -- and we'll note there have been many sad days since Reid took over that post.

"End of story says the military and look who rushes to agree" -- Mike's favorite professor asked that we note this post by C.I. He had discussed, in class, the bombing that killed 18 Iraqis when the press was reported it. The day this ran, he started the discussion noting the press reports that it never happened. (The US military said it never happened.) And then the students were discussing how things can be misreported. Then he passed around this by C.I. and the reaction was completely different. Students started talking about how the press didn't verify anything, they just said "NOT TRUE!" and used a statement by the US military to do so. "This is reporting?" asked one angry student.

"THIS JUST IN! MEAN GIRL IN CHIEF SAYS 'BRING IT!'"& "Everything he knows he learned in cheerleading camp" -- Wally & Cedric's joint-post that was funny when it ran and is only more valid as a week passed with the Dems doing little to nothing on Iraq. But don't give up hope, a debate's in the offing . . . if they can ever get around to it.

"It's a democracy, not a junta" -- Elaine's post. Backstory, many times C.I. gets stuck on a snapshot. Jess will tell you he never mentions the e-mails to C.I. before the snapshot now because if there's a big issue for the community, C.I. may end up trying to address that in the "Iraq snapshot" and there's really not room for it. With this entry, Elaine got a call from C.I. saying, "I've got to squash four paragraphs into three sentences." Elaine listened and then suggested that it just be the opening and the closing sentences and she'd address the topic at her site. Which she did. Beautifully. This is why we're not that fond of e-activism and further proof that we were all right to step back as peace resisters suddenly jumped on an easy fad to pretend that they were anti-war.

"women and owning power while you have it" -- Building on "TV: Aftermath leaves an aftertaste" and "The Weeping Rapist" (both articles ran here last week), Rebecca addresses the dark scenario for women in the case of a war or attack in this country. Must reading. And for more on the topic, see Elaine's "Scary realities."

"sara rich, suzanne swift, jane fonda" & "Iraq snapshot" -- Rebecca and C.I. both address the issue of Suzanne Swift and how the military betrayed her and continues to do so.

"Third, Ralph Nader" -- Beau picked this post by Mike. He e-mailed The Third Estate Sunday Review to note that he'd ragged on Mike for (his words) "suggesting Ralph Nader might not be Satan" and done so repeatedly. This post, he wrote, he finally got it. Beau says the class president analogy did the trick.

"Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts 'Talking Dick'" -- apologies to Isaiah, whom we forgot last week as we rushed. (No rushing this week, in fact, Ty and Dona were so tired, we all got in a long nap this morning.) Here he's showing you Dick Cheney's true nature.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Poll1 { display:none; }