Sunday, September 09, 2007

Truest statement of the week

The Syrian border was almost equally packed, but the environment was more relaxed. People were getting out of their cars and stretching. Some of them recognized each other and waved or shared woeful stories or comments through the windows of the cars. Most importantly, we were all equal. Sunnis and Shia, Arabs and Kurds… we were all equal in front of the Syrian border personnel.
We were all refugees- rich or poor. And refugees all look the same- there's a unique expression you’ll find on their faces- relief, mixed with sorrow, tinged with apprehension. The faces almost all look the same.
The first minutes after passing the border were overwhelming. Overwhelming relief and overwhelming sadness… How is it that only a stretch of several kilometers and maybe twenty minutes, so firmly segregates life from death?
How is it that a border no one can see or touch stands between car bombs, militias, death squads and… peace, safety? It's difficult to believe- even now. I sit here and write this and wonder why I can't hear the explosions.
I wonder at how the windows don't rattle as the planes pass overhead. I'm trying to rid myself of the expectation that armed people in black will break through the door and into our lives. I'm trying to let my eyes grow accustomed to streets free of road blocks, hummers and pictures of Muqtada and the rest…
How is it that all of this lies a short car ride away?

Riverbend, Baghdad Burning, writing of her family's trip to Syria after the illegal war drove them out of their home.

Dumbest statement of the week

"CBS is owned by General Electric. GE is working hard to get favorable trading status with any number of foreign trading partners. The U.S. trade representative is working hard on GE's behalf."
-- the Online Predator decided to 'critique' Katie Couric. Well, at least it prevented him from trying to lure underage girls into sexual meet ups. (Viacom owns CBS. GE owns NBC, just FYI.)

A Note to Our Readers

Hey --

Sunday, Sunday. As Mike would say.

Here's who worked 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

In addition, Dallas hunt down links, Rebecca photoshopped the illustrations (and C.I. and Rebecca worked forever getting that tiny photo of Katie Couric just right in one illustration).
We thank everyone for their help.

Truest statement of the week -- Riverbend and her family made it out of Iraq.

Dumbest statement of the week -- The Online Predator, twice busted, decided to explain why Katie Couric isn't a good journalist. He did so by explaining how GE pulls CBS' strings because GE owns CBS . . . but GE doesn't own CBS, Viacom does. Seriously, how did Common Dreams and Truthdig both post his column and not catch the error? And, better question, if two arrests for underage online solicitation don't get you banned from those sites, what does?

Editorial: You should be very angry -- We're happy with this editorial. It was the last thing we wrote and we had agreed to cover this story. We ended up waiting on writing the piece and waiting until finally it became "It's the editorial focus or it's not going in this edition." So we made it the editorial.

TV: The question's not 'Is it worse?' -- it's how much worse? -- Ava and C.I. did carry The George Lopez Show commentary over to Maria, Francisco and Miguel's newsletter. You can read it in today's El Espirito (check your inboxes if you're a community member). We think that's a great commentary and has a lot to say. Do I (Jim) regret asking them to postpone writing it repeatedly? Not really. We got a string of hard hitting TV commentaries from them in this period. It would be great to have the Lopez one up here but it would be great to have the incredible commentary that they did on TV portrayals of women, criticism of them and the TV show Twins. That one ran in the gina & krista round-robin and we all lived. We had no idea what they'd cover this week but they knew we needed something hard hitting. We knew they had something on war resisters. We think they wrote another epic. They're concerned that there aren't enough jokes. If that's true (I can't tell you), the power of the piece more than makes up for it. (The power of this article is what stood out to me then and now.)

Bash the Bitch, available where shoddy toys are sold and sexists gather -- The illustration, if you look closely, has the little boy holding a Katie Couric figure in his fingers. When this went up, Ty was checking the e-mails to see if anyone would complain about one section. Someone did. If you don't care for the fact that we noted personal attacks come from a woman who draws a veil around her own personal life, get the hell over it. Ty's openly gay and neither he nor we will shed any tears that we 'dared' to note the public reality that the veil is drawn over the fact that her husband was gay. If she wants to draw the veil, she should apply the same principle to others. The e-mail complaining (the only one in thus far) also whined that because Ava and C.I. know Katie Couric, they defend her. That's not true. In fact, it's the opposite. Because they know her, they try to avoid the topic of Katie Couric. The reality is we could address Couric here each Sunday and still not have written even a tenth of the "Bash the Bitch" she's been subjected to since it was announced she was becoming the anchor. Ava and C.I. have avoided reviewing The CBS Evening News because they know if they write something nice, it will be, "Oh, you know her and like her, so you just defend her for that reason." Ava and C.I. have not made the issue about liking Couric, they've made it about basic fairness. If you're going to rip apart a woman, do the same with the men. We don't give a damn about tone. We do care about fairness. Rebecca was pushing for this piece. Ava and C.I. agreed but it really only took off once we (Kat, Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava, C.I. and myself) hit the toy stores Saturday thinking we might find something from a game box we could could use. If Couric's Satan or you think she is, call her Satan. But make damn sure you treat all the male anchors the same way. That's not happened. Instead it's been dog pile on Couric. Where this ends is Couric could end up being fired. Maybe that's something the sexists (male and female) want. If so, they better pray they can point to a record of treating males and females the same because if Couric gets fired, it's going to be years before another woman gets hired and you better believe the howler monkies cheering them on today will be replaced with angry people tomorrow who will point out that Couric was lynched.

Mailbag -- We did this first because Lenora e-mailed saying we hadn't done one of these in so long. We don't know how long but we agreed with Lenora it was needed. The typos in the whiner about Ava and C.I.'s TV commentary are the whiners. We did not correct his spelling.
And to repeat, there is no privacy policy here. If you e-mail, we may or may not quote you -- in part or in full. (The whiner was quoted in full.) We may or may not list your name. That's our call. If you don't like it, don't e-mail. (In the case of the professor, C.I. said she teaches a conservative college. We're not sure she's political -- and her daughter, not the professor, is a reader of this site -- so we avoided naming her or mentioning the college to avoid her getting on some watch list as a 'lefty' when we have no idea if she is. On her, and some kind people at The Nation -- a few exist -- and other types we will continue to make that call.)

Brown is invisible? -- Joe Biden's skipping the Spanish debate. If we'd known that when we wrote this, we would have worked that in as well. Apparently Brown is also invisible to Biden.
Rebecca said to put in here that her in-laws know Chris Dodd. She doesn't and has no strong opinion on him.

The Pacifica Archives -- Ruth had hoped to note this in her report Saturday. She didn't have time or room and suggested it to us. We were happy to grab it. We all agree -- everyone who worked on this edition, in fact -- that the Pacifica Radio Archives are worth supporting. Of the ones writing this note, all but C.I. agree that until KPFA apologies online for threatening to cut the stream to listeners, you shouldn't give them a dime. (C.I.'s position is, "I never say 'don't donate' to anything Pacifica related. People can make up their own mind and, with KPFA especially, I'm uncomfortable getting behind a 'Don't donate' policy. However, I do agree that they need to post an apology to online listeners.") The archives need preserving. It's our history and one point we should have made stronger is that: our history. It's not just the famous being interviewed and covered. It's not PBS offering heads of state and government officials. It's the people. If you've got money to give (now or when the fundraiser rolls around), please consider giving. Five dollars, ten dollars (one time donations of those amounts) are appreciated and everything that is given goes to preserving history before it's gone forever.

Highlights -- Mike, Elaine, Kat, Rebecca, Betty, Wally and Cedric wrote this. We thank them for it. (We were all typing and editing while they did that except for Ava and C.I. who used the 20 to 30 minutes to do their TV commentary.)

Mark your calendars -- This went up first. That wasn't our intent. But it was getting close to time for The Next Hour to air. If you missed it and would like to check it out, you can visit WBAI's archives. All the broadcasts noted will be archived.

Now, Mike's "Marjorie Cohn on Iran, Third." Every Monday (unless Monday is a holiday -- or unless he's sick though that hasn't prevented him thus far), Mike writes his version of this note where he notes various things from the edition. If you enjoy the note, please make sure to check Mike out each week. He has a day (and sleep) before he writes it. We're often able to note something when he calls so his note usually includes more. It's also true that his note often catches things I (Jim) miss because I'm tired and we just want to go to bed and get some sleep. Actually, like many Sundays after the note, we're going to watch a movie, snack and fall asleep in the middle of the movie. We know it will be a comedy and have five titles we're arguing over.

What's coming up next week? We usually never know. But we meant to note the Green Party this week and did but it runs in the print edition. It wasn't working and we couldn't fix it. (Ty's boyfriend in NY distributes the print edition on our old campus -- 'our' is Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava and myself. We have a deadline with that and many things make the print edition that don't make it online.)

So that's a sketch of this edition. We'll also be visiting the issue of sin taxes shortly and intended to cover that this week. It may be done next week. Next week, fingers crossed, we're also going to have a book discussion on Naomi Klein's new book. (Provided Mike and Betty finish reading it and provided there's time. We're breaking street date, it comes out at the end of September. But there's a push to get some 'heat' on the book so we'll do our part.)

See you next week.

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

Editorial: You should be very angry

Today, in DC at one p.m., Tina Richards (Grassroots America) and Adam Kokesh (Iraq Veterans Against the War) will hold a press conference at 1247 E Street SE.

What's going on? The same old question during life under Bully Boy: What the hell's happened to this country?

The backstory, September 15th (see A.N.S.W.E.R. for more information) a mass protest will be taking place in DC and IVAW will lead a "die-in". This will be part of a several days of action lasting from the 15th through the 18th. September 17th IVAW will kick off Truth in Recruiting. CODEPINK will be conducting a Peoples March Inside Congress (along with other groups and individuals) on September 17th. United for Peace & Justice (along with others) will begin Iraq Moratorium on September 21st and follow it every third Friday of the month as people across the country are encouraged to wear and distribute black ribbons and armbands, purchase no gas on those Fridays, conduct vigils, pickets, teach-ins and rallies, etc. And those are only some of the upcoming actions.

Simple enough, right? No. The DC police have harassed A.N.S.W.E.R., threatened A.N.S.W.E.R. and, last Thursday, you got a sign of just how ugly life in America is under the Bully Boy.

What happened? Tina Richards explains, "On September 6, 2007 I arrived at a press conference where Adam Kokesh and I wanted to demonstrate the legal application of the September 15 coalition. An attorney scouted the area prior and this utility box was chosen to be in legal compliance with the law. As this coalition doesn't have millions of dollars to advertise like Ari Flesher's latest campaign, putting up lawful posters is a way to inform the grassroots cost-effectively. "

Now the mainstream media likes to look the other way when these incidents happen, they like to pretend that it's a he-said/she-said case and there's no way to determine which side is telling the truth.

In our modern age, where every moment can be captured and transferred, the answers can be found in a video anyone can check out by visting YouTube.

What do you see?

You see Kokesh, Richards and others in a public place speaking to the press in Lafayette Square. You see the DC police rush in to attempt to bust up the peaceful press conference. You watch as Tina Richards's container of wheat paste is jerked from her, after her arm is jerked repeatedly and a DC cop calls for backup, you'll hear a DC cop start chattering nervously about "national security".

Richards was attempting to post a flier, with an attorney supervising and vouching it was legal, for the events beginning the 15th. She and Kokesh continued to post them (Richards hands had paste them, allowing the fliers to stick). Richards will be arrested. Kokesh, after the non-armed Kokesh and non-violent Kokesh attempts to post a flier, has his left arm pulled behind his back and is man handled. (Was it good for the cop? Did it provide him with nightime fantasy material?) Ian Thompson will be arrested as well.

As C.I. explained, "The three were charged with 'defacing public property.' Desecrating the Constitution is a-okay in DC which is why Bully Boy's still sitting pretty and not facing impeachment."

As bad as that was, it wasn't the end of it. The detained Richards is speaking to the press, she notes that her son, Iraq veteran Cloy Richards, wasn't fighting in Iraq to see rights destroyed in this country. She was speaking, with the press paying close attention, about the importance of free speech in this country. How to silence her? Send in a mounted cop.

Those at least one squad car had already arrived, suddenly a police officer on horseback comes charging up, frightening the people gathered peaceably, screaming, "Back up, folks, back up, back up, back up, back up!" He's damn lucky no one got hurt and should have his ass busted down to meter patrol.

The Times of India reported, "The charge caused a peaceful crowd of some 20 journalists and four or five protestors to scatter in terror, an AFP correspondent at the event in Layfayette Square said." And if you're thinking it can't get any worse, Paul Schwartman (Washington Post) reports, "A few feet away, Kristine Klein, 13, Richards's daughter, started crying. She said that another officer had grabbed her arm and pushed her. As Richards tried to call to her daughter from the cruiser, another officer closed the window."

Tina Richards has declared, "I have been asked if knowing all that would happen, the intimidation, the injuries and pending legal costs, would I do it again. 'Yes,' I have answered. 'Any day is a good day for the first amendment'." Which reminds of us the Native American proverb: "Today is a good day to die." We're not being sarcastic. We are noting that the 1970 Kent State massacre in Ohio didn't just happen. A White House that regularly sent signals that citizens didn't matter, that assaults on their rights were fine and dandy, set the stage for the murders at Kent State.

Tin soldiers and Nixon's coming,

We're finally on our own

This summer I hear the drumming

Four dead in Ohio.

-- "Ohio," written by Neil Young

"We're finally on our own." Not "Oh my goodness, we're on our own!" The Kent State massacre didn't just happen, there was a huge lead up to it over many years. The Bully Boy's administration has practiced the same dirty tricks and, yes, crimes as Tricky Dick's administration. More importantly, they've repeatedly sent the message that they are above the rule of the law.

What happened to Richards, Kokesh, Thompson and the rest -- including the press -- should be seen as the seminal moment it is. If you're not angry, you're not paying attention. And if you don't call this out, be prepared for the next Ohio because it will come bit by bit.

Get angry. And don't use stuff the anger, let it fuel you to make demands of your elected representatives, to practice civil disobedience and to insist that the illegal war be ended and Bully Boy be impeached. If you don't know where to start, many trying to make a difference will be gathering in DC on September 15th.

The illustration below is of Kokesh.


TV: The question's not 'Is it worse?' -- it's how much worse?

Animation seems to be in the air this summer. You've got the really bad The Simpsons movie playing at multi-plexes, you've got ads for Family Guy, the US Navy sponsoring the syndicated episodes of King of the Hill and you've got Wait Till Your Father Gets Home.

Vanity Fair recently gave a wet kiss to The Simpson where they skirted the issue of the gender make up of the writers. Out of 67 credited writers for episodes of the series, we're counting only six women. That's not even one in ten. A rather obvious fact that pages and pages of a Van Fair article managed to avoid.

Apparently we're all supposed to ignore that or how the male heavy Family Guy (even the dog is a male) figured the best way to promote itself was with 'female' advertisements for its upcoming syndicated run. One features a frequently cross-dressing Peter (the father) singing "my milkshake is better than yours," while another shows the infant Stewie also cross-dressing, wondering if he's a dirty 'girl'? Does it ever enter anyone's mind that one reason these multiple ha-has exist is because animated television refuses to do much with their female characters -- the few that exist?

We were visiting a friend early last week, an actress who was convinced she'd lost it (she hadn't, the problem was a badly written scene which she instinctively knew she couldn't play). After the crisis was addressed, we were leaving the set when an associate producer came running up with a DVD set. "You only think you hate the animated stuff on TV today," he told us while handing over the boxed set.

Wait Till Your Father Gets Home. We didn't recognize the title. The provider had urged us to first check out "Duty Calls." After we got home, we mentioned it in passing to a friend over the phone who informed us the series was streaming online at AOL TV for free -- along with other cancelled shows no one wants to see. Streaming for free, potentially rentable, we felt it could be a viewing option for many of our readers at some point, so we decided to take a look.

The characters look as though they were drawn by someone who had just read a book entitled How To Draw Cartoons. We're not sure if he or she finished reading the book, but he or she appeared to have gotten through the first pages. The sets are nothing to brag about either and offer that 'stark' daytime drama TV look. When we mentioned that to another friend, she started quoting a big Nola (played by Lisa Brown on Guiding Light) scene she did years and years ago in acting class where Nola, about to confront Morgan, looks out her hospital window and declares, "It's good to be reminded of where you're from so you can see how far you've come."

That actually captures the role Wait Till Your Father Gets Home provides. The half-hour program ran from 1972 to 1973 in some syndicated markets which may have aired it in primetime and may not have. Some insist it was trying to be the animated version of Norman Lear's classic All In The Family. That lie may actually be funnier than anything you'll find in watching the entire first season of Wait Till Your Father Gets Home. It has more in common with the Bobby Sherman flop Getting It Together than it does with All In The Family.

Sherman, long past his initial (and only) blush of fame, which allegedly had 27 young females fainting at a concert in Buffalo during the late sixties, was supposed to play a gifted composer and audiences were supposed to believe that because Sherman's then agent (Ward Sylvester) kept running around insisting Sherman wrote "one-fourth of the songs he's singing!" If you bought that nonsense, you probably bought Sherman, and Wes Stern playing his lyricist, as talented and a friend of the Partridge family (the show was a spin-off). Sherman, closing in on thirty, was more than a bit old for the part but he just knew the kids would 'dig it' as he wore his hair long with brown boots, brown pants and multiple rings on his fingers. The year was 1971, about a year after his brief run of bubble gum hits had stopped. (He hates "bubble gum" and preferred "soft rock" even then but trifles that start out with "Bein' alone at night makes me sad girl" are pure bubble gum, no matter how you hard you try not to smack it.)

There he was on TV, for a half-hour, pretending to be hippie-like, pretending to be 'modern,' pretending a man looks good sporting a choker, pretending . . . . Well just pretending non-stop. Never really acting, just pretending. The show would have been a hard sale in the mid-sixties. By 1971, no one was in the mood for the junk. The show that killed it? While Getting Together aired on ABC, CBS was programming All In The Family.

Getting Together, like Wait Till Your Father Gets Home, was the sort of useless garbage that Norman Lear drove off our TV screens (at least for a decade). Now the animated series debuted in the fall of 1972 but it got its start on ABC February 11, 1972 as one vignette of Love American Style. It sucked even then.

As with today's animated shows, the female characters do nothing. There are two: mother Irma, daughter Alice. Alice's most striking characteristic is that she's obese. Not plump, not fat, obese. Irma has no striking characteristic -- but dish rags and door mats rarely do. Harry is the star of the show so naturally (as with Peter and Homer and Hank and every other animated primetime series you can probably think of) he's the father. Chet and Jamie are the sons. Jamie, the youngest, is part Bart, part Danny Partridge -- mischievous and money hungry. Chet, a young adult, gets a lot of air time but does very little. He appears to exist in the hopes that the audience would find him as irritating as Harry did.

See while Jamie's negotiating list prices with the tooth fairy, Chet doesn't have a job, dropped out of college and is supposed to be what today would be considered a 'slacker' but at the time was another message about the 'evils' of the Love Generation. Chet talks a lot about his volunteer work in the 'ghetto' but no one takes it (or him) seriously. He also is prone to tossing out names like Ralph Nader which had a different connotation then than now. He, and Alice, are supposed to be the 'left' and, as such, Hanna-Barbara thought it best to show them as slovenly and stupid. Harry's a conservative. (Irma's non-committal politically -- in keeping with every other underwritten detail about the character.)

In some apparent need to make Harry seem 'reasonable,' the character of next door neighbor Ralph is added to the mix. Ralph is voiced by Jack Burns who, there are so many connections, played the role of Officer Rudy on Getting Together. The Commie-hating (and Commie-seeing everywhere) Ralph gets the bulk of the jokes or what's supposed to pass for them.

"Duty Calls" is the episode that revolves around the draft. Chet gets his draft notice. Harry, alone in bed with Irma, is slightly worried. We're not sure whether Irma's supposed to not give a damn that her son's being drafted (to fight in Vietnam) or if her reaction is just not seen as important the same way characterization for the majority of animated Moms today is seen as unnecessary. Chet sees it a bit differently and doesn't want to be inducted.

This show, believe it or not, gets a lot of credit from some for dealing with 'war resistance.' The episode of The Partridge Family where Danny mistakenly receives his draft induction notice said a hell a lot more than this animated garbage. Chet decides to go underground. Then decides to flee to another country (finally Canada becomes the destination of choice). In the meantime, to save Harry from induction (don't ask), Chet's friends kidnap him in the middle of night and attempt to transport him to Canada (again, don't ask). Like today's animated 'wit,' the show features a lot of smut jokes about sex but it adds in some of the preachiest b.s. you'll ever hear. Citing the 'ghetto,' Harry tells Chet that if he refuses to go into the military they'll send one of the 'boys in the ghetto' in his place. Harry, who is not being inducted, gets to have a lengthy remembrance of hopes he had for Chet at various stages in life that end with Chet being the 'disgrace' -- with even longer hair than the character sports in the non-fantasy scenes.

The supposedly 'brave' episode has Chet decide to report for that 'duty' calling which really isn't that hard to believe since, along with the sermonizing from Harry, Chet never really provides a reason not to go. He's not concerned about the Vietnamese, he's not concerned about the illegal war, he mainly seems peeved that he'll have to get up before noon. All In The Family, no surprise, would actually address war resistance and, again no surprise, do it so much better.

Wait Till Your Father Gets Home is visually simplistic, lacks movement in the frames and seems to be one grade level above the preaching done on the Davy & Goliath cartoons. Outside of a drunken Pat Nixon, we can't figure out whom the target audience for this nonsense was supposed to be. (And weren't surprised when, working the phones to track down information on the show's first-run life, were told it was only carried by five TV stations.) By the time it arrived on TV screens, it was already dead or, if you prefer, still born. It had about as much to do with what was actually going on in the country as did Getting Together.

But, when we called the associate producer who'd passed us the set, he told us (after explaining he didn't want it back) that as bad as he thought Wait Till Your Father Gets Home was, the thing he kept coming back to was that all the 'wild and wacky, we'll tackle anything' animated sitcoms of today avoid the illegal war. That is true. Even the allegedly 'brave' Simpsons offer nothing but the occasional (and rare) one liner. Maybe those who hail from The New
Republic(an) can't stray too far from their roots?

Last week, Carolyn Nikodym's "AMERICAN SOLDIERS COME NORTH TO REFUSE AND RESIST WITH A LITTLE MUSIC" (VUE Weekly) covered the influx of war resisters into Canada, the need to raise awareness, Patrick and Jill Hart's situation and much more. The non-liberal Simpsons loves to dabble in drugs (whether in a look forward where Lisa's president and Bart's a stoner, Homer getting high on medicinal pot or when Homer decides to 'get back to the land'). The show that regularly featured Bill Clinton (as well as Poppy Bush and Jimmy Carter) makes it a point to avoid the Bully Boy (going so far as to make Ahnuld president in this summer's film). Along with smutty, jokes they offer racial and gender stereotypes. They have a loyal legion of twerps (as does most animated crap) that take to the internet to proclaim the greatness of the show and other male geared animated shows (male geared and animated are redundant). The twerps take to sites like Crapapedia to catalogue these shows in every entry imaginable via the pop cult refs. For kicks, check that out some time and notice that the only thing that rivals the animated crap for references is sci-fi.

We're living in very strange times and the question the associate producer asked is a worthy one: Is it better to have a bad, preachy and distorted storyline on a very real topic like war resistance or none at all?

Watching Wait Till Your Father Gets Home you'll see more of The Simpsons than in watching The Flintstones (some could argue that's the real debt owed), but which of the two is the more evil? The show that laid down the lines for the stereotypes but still managed to (in a conservative manner) note a few topical issues (that had been topical for over five years prior to the show airing)? Or the shows that continue the stereotypes but make no effort to comment on an illegal war? (No, we don't consider what we'll dub "Invasion Springfield" to be about the illegal war. Yes, we're aware people with The Simpsons do consider it to be about the illegal war.) At a time when the US military is all geared up to use animated shows in syndication as a recruiting tool, we'd argue the silence isn't only shameful, it's potentially deadly.

Discussions on this subject throughout the week with friends (many involved with TV shows currently airing), usually resulted with someone saying TV needed another Norman Lear or Susan Harris. To that, we'd add TV could (still) use Diane English. But while a movement can't start rolling with one single person, we think the problem goes far deeper and we think the bulk of the problem is a conditioned TV audience that regularly applauds reactionary screeds passed off as entertainment, one that refuses to rail against obvious discrimination be it stereotypes or the absence of people of color.

A friend in the offices at CW is trying to build good will for programs that will begin airing shortly. The main one is Life Is Wild and he's all hot on the fact that the supporting cast (after the main family of White people) includes people of color. We pointed out that's apt to happen when you set a show in Africa and wondered if, to get Latinos on the air, someone should greenlight a network show where a White family moves to Mexico or Spain or Latin America?

Many lifetimes ago, TV could -- and did -- offer What's Happening, The Jefferson, Good Times and Diff'rent Strokes. We're not calling them comedic gems, but African-Americans were visible and the shows did not need to be set in Africa for that to happen. Even in the face of the huge success of The Cosby Show, networks weren't piling on in an attempt to copy the ratings blockbuster. In fact, all it took was one Charlie & Co. to kill off any interest.

TV today is Whiter and more male than the country.

Now the Katha Pollitts of the nation aren't at all troubled by that. Either due to racism or the fact that they're idiots. But TV still has a huge audience and it is the modern folk tales of our time, told before a glowing TV set instead of a glowing fire. It does instruct the young (whether it wants to accept that responsibility or not). It does provide many with a limited understanding of the world. Like the big, cry baby boys of today's animation, who'd rather tell stories about the way 'things were' before they were born, we worry they've cloned/infected a young generation today, conditioned them to respond to a life they didn't actually take part in, where women don't work and where people of color, if they exist at all, make fleeting appearances.

As gifted as a Norman Lear, et al, is (and was), the reality is that a White Man didn't make the changes happen in the TV landscape. Public pressure did. From the NAACP, from feminists, etc. They created the climate where Lear's pitch for a show couldn't be ignored. The only time the networks get targeted these days is when some dumb ass show is about to be cancelled. We loathed Commander-in-Chief but if NOW found the show so damn important -- they issued an action to 'save' the show -- we would assume that was due to the lack of range offered in the female characters today, the lack of opportunities. If that indeed is the case, possibly NOW should team up with the NAACP and others to demand (as they once did) representation on TV. That includes animated series and it especially includes Saturday morning cartoons. Sure they might get scolded by racist Katha Pollitt but if she feels the need to again scold the NAACP, we think the mood has shifted more than enough that she'll be told loudly and clearly that Black America really doesn't need direction from a White racist.

Bash the Bitch, available where shoddy toys are sold and sexists gather


As Ava and C.I. have pointed out, Bash the Bitch is a national pastime. And apparently fun for the whole family. The way it works is that a woman gets zoomed in on while males are ignored. Sensing blood in the water, the Water Cooler Set, online and off, zoom in for the easy kill they imagine. They ignore what men are doing. They ignore what anyone's doing. In fact, they frequently ignore what the woman's doing. They just bash, bash, bash.

Elisabeth Bumiller was a popular target a few years back. "Knee pads" and Bumiller seemed to co-exist in every sentence. Though Bumiller was hardly the only offender, name a male reporter (not columnist) who got the same treatment. (Common Ills members can name Todd S. Purdum and note that the "smelly jock strap" joke was created to underscore how a man gets off with bad reporting but a woman's crucified for it.) It's not a secret, for instance, that David E. Sanger (New York Times) and Ann Coulter are buddy-buddy. David Sanger has certainly offered some howlers (including this week on Washington Weak, Ava and C.I. note), but there was no equivalent among the set for what they did to Bumiller. Or Jodi Wilgoren.

At one point, Adam Nagourney was the focus of some ire. That faded long before he learned to suck up to bloggers in print.

Judith Miller, say people who never read The New York Times, got the country into an illegal war. Judith Miller was far from alone. And it's not like she wrote her stories, edited her stories, selected what ran on the front page, printed the papers and then drove house to house delivering them. But when people think about the illegal war, they think Judith Miller.

Now Michael Gordon also sold the illegal war as a reporter at the same paper. (In fact, many did, but let's focus on Gordo.) Gordo's made this year and last about attempting to sell the readers on an illegal war with Iran. So he's a two-time offender. He even co-wrote stories on Iraq with Judith Miller.

But Gordo's name doesn't come up in the discussions of the bad Iraq coverage very often.

If the Water Cooler Set, online and off, were truly concerned about the quality of reporting, it's very doubtful that the demonized set would always be women. But that is how it goes. Juan Williams is just as bad as Cokie Roberts but he's called out far less, to switch to NPR. Ted Koppel, whose entire career was built around selling what the State Department wanted, even got odes online -- from alleged lefties -- when he stepped away from Nightline. Jim Lehren has gone on and on for years shoveling sh*t to PBS viewers and yet he's not a national joke.

Now we don't care if women get called out, provided it's done evenly. If women make themselves a joke, laugh it up. But we do care that the easy yucks avoid the men. We do care that a double standard is being practiced.

You saw that with the 'coverage' of Katie Couric's trip to Iraq last week for The CBS Evening News. Before she even got there, our 'critics' were dishing in a manner Louella and Hedda could only once dream about. (And Louella had the backing of William Randolph Hearst!) Last Sunday, Ava and C.I. wrote, "If Couric (whom we know and like) blows it, does a lousy job, in Iraq, by all means pile on."

Well people certainly piled on. Couric interviewed a general who lies repeatedly (read the transcript of any of his briefings -- usually one or two reporters will force him into admitting he has no proof or whatever claim he's making, one or two out of a huge number of reporters present for the briefing). Some pointed out that Couric didn't question him sufficiently. That is a valid criticism. It would be equally valid to point it out when many male anchors or reporters have done the same. However, that hasn't really happened, has it?

If that was valid, the bulk was nothing but a rush to burn a woman at the stake. People didn't feel compelled to offer facts. Or to even tie their bashing into reality. Couric interviewed Syrian president Bashar Assad and that somehow escaped the 'critics.' Facts were so unimportant to the pile on that the Online Predator (with two arrests to his name -- at least two) could, as C.I. noted, hop on the dog pile by writing, "CBS is owned by General Electric. GE is working hard to get favorable trading status with any number of foreign trading partners. The U.S. trade representative is working hard on GE's behalf." CBS is not owned by GE (it's owned by Viacom). NBC is owned by GE. It says a great deal about the reflexive impulse to take part in Bash the Bitch that neither Truthdig nor Common Dreams caught that very obvious error (and a 'point' the Predator built his 'critique' on) before deciding to post the nonsense.

Is Couric worse than Brian Williams and/or Charlie Gibson? Gibson is infamous for falling asleep on camera and, when a guest touches on a subject that's 'controversial,' declaring that the feed has been lost when it has not (one example of that is an interview for Good Morning America with Gore Vidal). Williams is famous for loving Rush Limbaugh, writing letters as a little boy to his hero Richard Nixon and bragging to Jay Leno on The Tonight Show that he favors censorship.

So it's really amazing that Couric continues to be the focus until you grasp that the real 'crime' she's committed is being born a woman. That's why even people with TV news experience, too old to have bright futures anymore, post nasty little crap about her online while never saying a word about Brian Williams or Charlie Gibson.

Media Matters critiqued Couric last week. We haven't read it all but Media Matters generally treats everyone the same. They'll go to town on a woman as quickly as they will on a man. It's a real shame that others can't say the same. Take CounterSpin -- by the media watchdog FAIR --which should have apologized for the nonsense of trying to turn ratings into a media critique. When an organization named "FAIR" is playing double-standards with women, it's really not a surprise that everyone's seeing a green light to go to town on Couric.

It's real cute the way FAIR used the Tyndall Report to slam Couric but when the weekly report found good news in Couric's broadcasts compared to the other two network's, they didn't feel the need to use that report to criticize ABC or NBC's nightly newscasts.

Couric's a "first." As Ava and C.I. pointed out in 2005, "sometimes a first can be a worst." That may or may not be the case with Couric. To determine that, we'd have to see serious critiques that took all three anchors of the network's news to task equally. But what is known is that Couric is the first woman to anchor (not co-anchor) the evening news. And if this is how the 'left' is going to respond to it, we won't hold our breaths waiting for the next woman.

It's not just men playing Bash the Bitch. And one of the loudest critics last week, calling Couric a phony and fake, but offering little proof of either, was of course a woman who came to fame and money via a marriage to a now out gay man. A man she knew was gay before they married.
She wants to rule that topic off-limits and hits the roof when her ex-husband talks about the marriage. Suddenly, she's a woman and she's a mother and these things just shouldn't be discussed and are no one's business. If that's her attitude, the question might be why she doesn't apply the same attitude to her very personal critiques of Couric?

This isn't an issue of "Katie Couric is above criticism!" This is an issue of fairness. If Media Matters can treat men and women equally in their criticism, if they can call out either based on what they observe, it's a real shame that so many others can't do the same. But Media Matters proves that it can be done.

While everyone treated Katie Couric like a pinata last week, they somehow missed the fact that while she spent the week in the Middle East, many daily papers stopped reporting from Iraq. The Los Angeles Times, to cite only one example, usually has a piece filed by three p.m. EST each Monday through Friday. A polished version appears the next day in print. For some unknown reason, the paper had a real problem filing reports from Iraq last week. When seven U.S. service members were announced dead Friday morning, not only did they not have an article up on that by Friday evening, they didn't have one in the print edition of the paper Saturday or today. Or take The New York Times which managed to cover a mid-week announcement of eight announced deaths of US service members by halving the total and reporting on four.

Katie Couric was the biggest mainstream media problem on Iraq last week?

The day the eight deaths were announced, Today used their 'hard news' period (the first half-hour) to provide segments on a missing millionaire, on whether or not Larry Craig was stepping down from the Senate, on an 'analyst' playing 'impartial' while going to town on Hillary Clinton (and if you love Bill Clinton, you tend to love Hillary -- they are a package, a team, there is no huge split between Bill Clinton supporters and Hillary Clinton supporters) and much more. After fifteen minutes or so, it was finally time for the news reader to provide headlines. What did she lead with? Barbie's Dream House. And when it was finally time to briefly mention the number of US service members announced dead that morning, the news reader got it wrong and reduced the number.

Katie Couric was the biggest mainstream media problem on Iraq last week?

Between Monday and Friday last week, 17 deaths of US service members were announced. Did that register in whatever outlet you utilize? Did it even rate a mention?

The White House spin is that the escalation has worked. It appears to us that a number of outlets wanted to avoid risking the ire of the White House so they avoided filing the usual number of reports from Iraq that they would in even a slow news week.

But most people will never know that happened because most were too busy getting giddy over another round of Bash the Bitch. Who's really served by that?

It's a question worth asking before the game is (again) taught to the next generation.




Dipping into the mailbag. Ty and Dona read the bulk of the e-mails to this site. Ty selected questions. 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.

Ty: We're starting with one of those 'brainy types' and we'll save embarrassing him by not noting a name. However, we can. We have no policy that guarantees you privacy if you e-mail So a 'brainy' writes, "I realize this is like, ancient history, but I just read your Feb 11 review of 'Rules of Engagement', and I think you missed the point of David Spade's character. Russell is *not* supposed to be some sort of 'Love God'; he's supposed to be just what you percieve him to be: a middle-aged lothario with delusions of 'Love God' dancing in his head. Look at the women Russell is paired with: airheads and sad, one-night stands. The writers and producers are showing you who Russell is, you just choose not to see it."

Ava: No, you choose to miss reality. When we reviewed that piece of trash, we'd seen four episodes of it, three that hadn't yet aired. At this late date, if you're a fan of that trash, you should have seen those episodes as well. Such as when Porky decides to prove to his wife that he can still catch a woman's interest. Who shows up at the bar? David Spade. Alone? No, with two gorgeous, very young women. You can play, or be, stupid all you want but the reality is that David Spade portrays a "Love God" on the show, regularly attracting women that a short man who looks like Ellen's ugly sister most likely wouldn't stand a chance with even before you start considering his tired lines and sexist attitude.

Rebecca: Can I jump in? Ava and C.I. wrote the review, they do all the TV commentaries. I'm nursing these days so I'm often in the rocking chair. I've actually had the misfortune of seeing the show twice this summer. Spade's character does not feel, in those two episodes, that he's a loser. He wants the quote "airheads". How he could ever get them is beyond reason and must work under the same principle that allowed Larry from Three's Company to date well above his station.

Jim: C.I.?

C.I.: The man can have whatever opinion he wants, and yes, it was a man. You really didn't think a woman would write in to defend that sexist show, did you? But as Rebecca and Ava point out, the character of Russell is constructed so that he loves his life. That point is established in dialogue Russell himself speaks in the first episode. That judgement could change in later seasons, but it doesn't change the fact that there's no way someone looking like David Spade, but not actually David Spade, could attract those women. The other thing I'll add is I was just noting, in an e-mail last week, how long the shelf life on those things are. That thing was forever ago.

Ty: February 11, 2007. And yeah, Ava and C.I.'s commentaries have a very long shelf life. This week's e-mails included ones noting things from this year, from last year and from 2005. A professor taught a writing course to high schoolers gearing up for senior year and hopefully college this summer. She used several pieces of criticism for the course when it got to analytical and she wrote in to say that "TV: Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey Reporting for Two Hours of Self-Love" was the thing that students connected with the most. She wrote that her daughter recommended that to her and "is a big fan" but that was her first time reading Ava and C.I. On that one, which is repeatedly cited in e-mails, you're dropping back to May 29, 2005.

Dona: I'll just add the whiners are always worth a laugh. Such as a relative of a reality 'star,' or non-star, who wanted to whine and play hurt little bunny. Your relative goes on television and makes a joke of themselves, maybe you should talk to them and not waste our time.

Ty: Turning to more serious issues, two e-mails came in complaining about Monday's article:
"The Nation ignores war resisters even as it publishes the child of one," "the nation magazine ignores war resisters while publishing the child of one," "The Nation refuses to cover war resisters while publishing the child of one," "The Nation ignores war resisters even while publishing the child of one," "The Nation ignores war resisters while publishing the child of one,"
"The Nation refuses to cover war resisters while publishing the child of one," "The Nation refuses to cover war resisters while publishing the child of one," "The Nation ignores war resisters while publishing the child of one" and "The Nation ignores war resisters even while publishing the child of one." Two people felt Naomi Klein had been outed and were opposed to that.

Elaine: I'll grab that because C.I. and I chose the child of war resisters to note in that. I won't say we won't out. I think there's too much cowardice on the issue of war resisters and I hope every current war resister raises their child to defend future ones. That was one of the issues that C.I. and I worked on the most during college. We know a number of war resisters from that period. We know ones that went to Canada and we know ones that went underground in this country. A few months back, C.I. gave me three days notice on rearranging my appointments to be able to attend a party in DC. I figured it was something important so I didn't ask questions. We get to the party and it's the most boring thing in the world with centrists and right wingers. After dinner, C.I. catches my eye and I follow over to a gas bag war cheerleader. C.I. begins making small talk and then asks, "What did your father do during Vietnam?" The gas bag invents a physical condition that prevented his father from serving. C.I. asks, "Really? How strange because you look just like ____ but of course that wasn't his legal during Vietnam, now was it?" The gas bag turned red while I'm noticing, and saying, how much the gas bag looks like his father. The gas bag's toned down his rhetoric but he's far from alone when it comes to children of war resisters who remain silent today. Now we could have outed that guy in the article with little concern. He's a war cheerleader and his father went underground in this country, lives under another name today and his son cheers on today's illegal war. We didn't out him. We also didn't out Naomi Klein. While it's not part of her official bio, in fact an article two Saturdays ago in a Canadian paper managed to mention her parents without ever noting why, during Vietnam, they moved to Canada. But when we made it known that we were looking for someone to use as an example, and as a positive example, we were informed that Naomi Klein subbed for Janeane Garofalo on The Majority Report back in 2005 and, when Sam Seder asked her if she, a Canadian, had any difficulty traveling to the US, Klein stated that she held dual citizenship which led Seder to ask how? Klein quickly, and rather quietly, explained that her father was a war resister. We got a copy of that broadcast and listened to it to confirm that she had publicly, and nationally over airwaves and internationally via the net, stated her father was a war resister. We knew her father was a war resister. We know many more like that. But we didn't out Klein and, in fact, C.I. met with a friend at the company that's publishing Klein's book to make sure this wouldn't be hurtful to the publication. C.I. was told that they were having trouble figuring out how to sell the book, it's a great book, and popularizing the fact that she's the child of a war resister might actually generate some 'heat' and excitement about the book. We didn't out Naomi Klein. We did popularize what was already public knowledge. However, we do reserve the right to out any child of a war resister if we decide it's needed.

Ty: And we'll be discussing Klein's The Shock Doctrine: the Rise of Disaster Capitalism, hopefully next week.

Mike: I'm almost done. I'm the reason we're not ready this week.

Betty: One of the reasons, I'm still reading it as well.

Ty: The most e-mails about stuff from the last edition were about Ava and C.I.'s TV commentary and then about the article that appeared at all sites on Monday. After that, the next big topic was collages and asking when we intended to do one again?

Jess: "We" translates mainly as Kat, Jim, Dona, Ty, Ava, C.I. and myself because we're physically together in these editions. Most weeks, everyone else is just participating during the writing sessions via the telephone. We have planned to work on in the last few weeks but the reality is that these things have to be typed up, have to be edited and have to then be posted. There's usually not time. It's also true that if there's only a little time, no one even wants to work on it because Flickr often refuses to upload it, it's apparently too many Ks, too large. But it remains on the list and when there's time, we will work on it.

Ty: Kathy writes to congratulate Jess on law school and to ask if she understood Rebecca right a little while back because that would mean "generations" of lawyers in his family?

Jess: My mother's an attorney and my grandfather, her father, is also one. So I'll be the third generation. Provided I make it through law school and pass the bar. And my grandfather would kill me if I didn't note something here. As Rebecca wrote, he knew we were out here, in California, living with a friend but he didn't know who it was. My family doesn't really live for the chit-chat. Our dinner conversations are usually about things going on in the world. But a few months after, my mother mentioned something to my grandfather and he was surprised, and happy, and wanted it noted that C.I. raised funds for one of his cases. So small world time.

Jim: I'll jump in and note that Dona and I are in grad school. Ty's focused on his career and Ava's using her time to work on ending the illegal war and immigrant rights chiefly. Ava will probably be going on the bulk of the speaking trips with C.I. We had many figure out that, the Sunday we noted we had never missed an edition, we were underscoring the fact that even graduation week, when we were very busy with families and friends coming in, we still managed to put together an edition. So I'll just give that update. And Ava might want to add something.

Ava: Sure. I have no idea what I'm going to do in the future. I am lucky enough not to have to worry about money and the most productive use of my time that I can think of is to work on those two issues. That's what I'm dedicating myself to through November 2008. After that, I may decide to go to grad school, I may decide otherwise. But there are enough people out there who wish they had more time to give to issues and I'm fortunate not to have to worry about money so I can certainly dedicate the rest of this year and through November 2008 to it. I don't like to talk about my personal life but, before someone wonders if I'm a nun, some latecomer, Jess and I are a couple. And, though it should go without saying the reality is for some it won't, of course I bring a feminist perspective to those two issues and, of course, in working on those issue am underscoring the power of feminism, not ignoring it.

Ty: Which is a transition of sorts since Ava's aunt is a very well known feminist and Mike and Kat both wrote about the polish on the article that ran at all the sites on Monday. We had a number of questions on that with reader Jonas noting he'd never been mentioned. His question was why Mike's weekly run through of what goes on during the writing editions aren't noted here?

Cedric: I'll speak for the "Highlights" issue. We're usually doing that while the edition is being wrapped up. Ava and C.I. may be off doing their TV commentary or they may be doing like Dona, Jim, Ty and Jess, typing and editing the features. If anything's left to write at that point, other than Ava and C.I.'s pieces, it's the editorial. So the point is that we're all tired -- Betty, Kat, Rebecca, Elaine, Wally, Mike and I -- and just trying to write "Highlights" quickly and be done with it. So we forget a lot.

Wally: Right and we always say we'll keep it brief. We start out that way and then get involved in the discussion as we're writing. So it may appear that we don't care about whatever gets mentioned first. That's not the reality. We're just trying to stick to a schedule. But as we go along, we start making jokes and discussing things so it's best, if you're a highlight, for you to appear in the middle.

Betty: I'd agree with that. And also point out that we have noted some of those posts by Mike. The person we're actually repeatedly guilty of repeatly ignoring is Isaiah. That's because his comic goes up on Sundays. We're not thinking of Sunday when we do those editions. C.I.'s "And the war drags on" on a Sunday doesn't get highlighted unless Ty passes on that a reader asked for it to be. That's because we're forgetting that as well. Sundays are a bleary blur and seem forever ago by the time the next Sunday morning rolls around and we're attempting to figure out what we want to highlight. Elaine's the worst about saying, "Don't highlight me!" There are weeks when we would highlight several posts by Elaine. But she doesn't want that. And, as Keesha's pointed out, Elaine works very hard when she writes something for one of the newsletters but at her own site she tends to toss it out there leading Keesha to believe she's either (a) trying to keep it very simple -- Elaine's much more complex and in depth in the newsletters -- or (b) doesn't want outside attention. I suspect the latter.

Cedric: Ty also tells us from time to time people question the order of the credits for that byline piece. Those are our thoughts and we're credited for them. If you disagree with them, then don't blame Dona, Ty, C.I., Ava, Jess or Jim. But Mike gets the "and Mike" credit because he wants it. We sometimes switch up the credit prior to the "and Mike" and, in the note to the readers each week, Jim tries to rotate the order. We'll probably keep the current order, now that we're using links, because it's easier just to copy and paste. [Correction, before they did links, it was "and Mike". Now that the names are listed with links, they just swipe from "A Note To Our Readers" so it's "and Wally."]

Ty: Now the next portion of Jonas' e-mail wondered what the reaction of the polish was for everyone and is especially interested in Dona's reaction.

Jim: Before Dona answers, just to finish up the previous topic, most of the time Mike's noted in highlights for his rundown of the edition, it usually reads, "Jim asked us to note this." I didn't ask on last week because I planned to mention it during the note to the readers; however, we were rushing to make it to the airport and there wasn't time to go into a lot of details.

Dona: Okay, me? What did I think? I would love to tell everyone I told Jim he was nuts. I didn't. I agreed it needed a polish. We wrote that, and let's note Ruth and Trina helped because they're not participating in the writing of this edition so they might get overlooked, basically in Dallas. We had started out portions of it. But in terms of writing it, we used Dallas because so many of us were together. We had gone there for a march and rally -- which we skipped for obvious reasons discussed last week -- and we threw a party, a very large party, for community members in the area. That party lasted past midnight. We had an edition to turn out, we had a firm deadline due to the departure schedule at DFW. I think it could have gone up, the original version, and no one would have felt cheated. But on Monday, after we've all had some sleep, when Jim approached me, he said, "Don't hate me, but I'm about to suggest we do a polish." I felt it was the wrong time. I felt it was pushing it. But I did agree with Jim that it would benefit from a polish. Ruth, Betty, Trina, Mike & Elaine & Rebecca (as a group of three) were able to work on a polish via e-mails. We weren't able to reach Wally and Cedric, so they didn't participate on the polish. The rest of us, this is Kat, Ty, Jess, Jim, Ava, C.I. and myself, left an ongoing Labor Day party and went into C.I.'s library to work on the polish. Ava's aunt came along with her deck of cards because the three of them had been about to play cards, Ava, C.I. and Ava's aunt.

Kat: Ava made it very clear that she didn't want to be part of the polish. I was arriving then. I'd slept in on Monday and had just driven over to C.I.'s when Jim grabs me in a hug and says, "You're here!" I immediately knew I didn't want to be. Just the way he hugged me told me we were about to be asked something. No offense to Jim.

Jim: None taken. We cornered you before you even had time to get a drink or grab something to eat.

Ty: Jonas wants to know if Ava and C.I. really refused to work on the polish?

Dona: Oh, they did. Ava was very vocal. When one of them is, the other usually has the attitude of "I've got your back!" So they sat on the floor playing cards with Ava's aunt. And in fairness, as Ava pointed out, she'd been on the road for four weeks straght. This was the first week, true of C.I. as well, that she wasn't on a plane on a Monday. Ava pointed out that her aunt had come to the party and that she intended to spend some time with her. On this issue, I did suggest to Jim, for all those reasons, that we tell Ava and C.I. that we'd do the polish without them. Jim's attitude was, "Get them in the room, they'll help."

Jim: And I was right. Credit the whole opening to them and the work from Rebecca, Elaine and Mike that the three of them did via an e-mail.

Mike: That credit really needs to go to Elaine.

Rebecca: I'd agree with that.

Jim: Alright. And it was strong, good for Elaine, but it wasn't where we wanted it. Ava and C.I. said nothing to us. They were talking to Ava's aunt and playing Gin. I deliberately suggested a screwed up line to insert and they both jumped, as I knew they would, in. Ava and C.I. were saying, "That's ridiculous and totally misses the point. And another thing . . ." And then just going back to the top and saying what needed to be polished there and how. Kat and I were both writing down notes as fast as we could and probably missed a great deal. But that's them and how they work. They can actually do that, toss off a polish while playing cards and either only semi-listening or only appearing to semi-listen. When they were done with their rapid fire exchange, we had the polish pretty much two-thirds done. At that point, Kat joined them on the floor to play bridge. And apologies to Kat for --

Ty: Hold that thought. Jonas wrote a long e-mail and has never been noted so I e-mailed him that we'd go over all his points. His final point was about Kat's review and the fact that it didn't go up Monday.

Kat: It was done. I'd written two versions in long hand. I'd worked and worked on that thing while we were all on the road. Sunday morning, everyone was helping me with the editing of it and basically cutting, with scissors, parts of my various drafts and piecing it together. It needed to be typed up. We got home on Sunday. We stopped, on the way from the airport, to get something to eat. Then I went back to my home and Jess, Dona, Ava, Jim, Ty and C.I. all went back to their house. I crashed at my place. I'd told myself if I woke up at any time on Sunday, I'd type up the review. I told myself if I didn't, I'd type it up Monday morning. I didn't wake up Monday morning. It was noon when I finally woke up. I hopped in the shower, pulled my hair into a pony tail, and drove over to the party. My intent was to say hello to everyone, go off by myself and type up the review then. I'd planned to have it posted before the article we'd all written went up. But I arrived and Jim grabbed me, like we've already discussed.

Jim: Right. And Kat was thinking, "Quick polish. Then I can type up my review." But there wasn't time. She was helping with the polish even while she was playing bridge. As soon as the polish was done, Ty, Dona and I divided up sections and typed them on different computers, saving them to disc and then merged the entire thing in Microsoft Word. We then did links and Kat had already decided that if her review went up, it would be up either 30 minutes before this went up or after. She didn't want to distract from the feature we'd all written so she elected to hold the review.

Betty: And it was noted that she could do it anytime. She told community members that if they couldn't wait for this weekend to let her know and she'd type it up and post it during last week. But it was written, just needed to be typed.

Kat: And it's typed already. I typed it before this edition started. It'll be posted by the time anyone's reading this. I held it until Sunday so that there would be something up on Sunday morning since we're all so focused on turning out an edition here that C.I. doesn't have time to get something up by early Sunday morning each Sunday.

Ty: We'll insert a link to it before we post this but do you want to say anything about the review?

Kat: It's about another 'peace queen' who likes to play 'peace queen' in times of peace but renders herself useless when the nation's at war. It's real easy to talk peace and love in times of peace. If you can't do it when it's really needed, you make yourself useless. It's more shameful when we're talking about an older and established artist, one that gets zero airplay for new recordings, so has nothing to lose by standing up. Neil Young stood up. The Eagles are standing up. It's a shame that a woman who will turn 70 shortly can't stand up. It's a shame that I have to call out someone whose work I've admired in the past because she's decided she'd rather go out a coward. And as 70 loomos, people really should be worried about their legacies.
There are other points to the review, and I'll write about it myself on Monday, but that's one of the big points.

Ty: Lastly, Jonas wants to know what you'll review next?

Kat: I hate boxing myself in. I was going to add a part, when I was typing it Saturday night, about Stephen Stills' new release but then remembered I'd said I'd planned to try to review that on its own. Ideally, which means "probably won't happen," I'd next review Prince, Stephan Stills, Josh Ritter, Smashing Punkins and Ben Harper. I'll also be revewing Joni Mitchell's Shine which is incredible but I'm waiting for that to be released. Now I most likely won't have time for all of those. The two you can count on will be Ben Harper and Joni Mitchell. Those will be done and up before October 3rd.

Ty: So Jonas has been noted. Sandra wanted to know what we eat during the writing of these editions? She also said to remind us that we promised to note the place Trina loves in Dallas.

Mike: It's the Thai Lotus Kitchen in Dallas, Texas that my mother loves. She wrote about it in March. When we were in Dallas last weekend, I made a point to get her spring rolls and see through noodles. She loves those and loves the food there period. She wrote about it back in March. Of all the places she ate at during our week in Texas, that was probably her favorite. On my end, it's Rebecca, Elaine and myself gathered around a speaker phone. Rebecca can grab what we eat.

Rebecca: Before I gave birth, I think I drove them crazy. If Flyboy, my husband, was up, he'd go get me whatever I was craving. More often than not, it would be Mike or Elaine, during these writing sessions, going out for pickles or whatever. Now that I've given birth, cravings aren't an issue. Usually, Trina makes some healthy snacks and I've got a pack of mini-Snickers that Mike and I work our way through. Elaine's never been a snacker. She'll nibble on what Trina's fixed some but mainly just has a big garden salad around three o'clock our time. Mike and I are also drinking our Dr. Peppers like there's no tomorrow. Elaine'll have an iced tea or two but mainly sticks to water.

Betty: Snacks? Once upon a time, I bought snacks for these writing editions. But my kids would see me pick them up in the store and then want them before the weekend rolled around. I usually have some toast while we're working on the editorial and, sometimes, am also fixing breakfast for the kids. Otherwise, it's usually some staple that's in the kitchen like carrots or peanut butter and crackers. There's no point in shopping for snacks for these editions because the kids will see it and want it. That's not a bad thing. It's murder to get them to eat raisins unless they think I'm buying it 'just for me.' That's what my oldest always asks when I'm putting away the groceries, if something's 'just for me.' Which is a bit of surprise because, unless he knows about the Whoppers I hide at the top of my closet, there's nothing in the house that's "just for me" other than coffee. I'm usually drinking at least one pot of coffee during these editions.

Wally: I don't usually eat during this. If I'm at Mike's or C.I.'s, I will because they both have all this food laid out just for these editions. But I'm not there most of the time. When I do eat during these, it's stress eating. It's when it looks like nothing is going to work out and the whole edition is going to hell. I'll grab some chips, Funyons most of the time, and usually that's about it. But I'll plow through a big old bag all by myself.

Cedric: Like Mike and Ruth, I do a Friday Iraq study group. So if I'm snacking, it's generally something I had for dinner but didn't finish or it's some leftovers from the Friday group. At the first break tonight, I'll probably boil some corn on the cob because I picked up some of that at the store Saturday morning and I love corn on the cob. Wally forgot to mention what he drinks. I know because we usually talk about it at some point during the week. He drinks Power-Aide. I'm usually drinking Gator-Aide. We debate the merits of each during the week when we're on the phone together working on our joint-posts. By the time it's early Sunday morning, however, around three my time or four, I'll usually get a cold glass of milk.

Dona: On our end, everyone's pointing at me, so I'm assuming I'm supposed to note what we eat. First off, I have to have my smokes and Diet Coke. That's usually it for me. I'll nibble a little. Tonight, there's some cucumbers in vinegar with dill, green onions and garlic that I'm nibbling on. Jess was eating a squash dish. If it's really late and Ava and C.I. still haven't done their TV piece, they'll usually split a 20 ounce Diet Pepsi between them. Otherwise, they stick to water or alcohol. If Ava or Jim is making margaritas, I will have one of those. Jim usually has at least one Corona or Heinekin. If we're way behind schedule, way behind schedule, and Ava and C.I. have been given a last minute assignments, they'll usually do a shot or two of vodka or tequila. I'm not trying to make this sound like it's a booze soaked edition, but we aren't opposed to alchohol. If you make Bloody Marys or Bloody Bulls, you better grab one early on because C.I. loves tomato juice. C.I. probably drinks at least 32 ounces of water while we're writing these and anything else is in addition to that. Jess has started doing that as well. So you've got me with my chilled 2 liter of Diet Coke and them with their water containers that they will empty before the editions are done. Ty drinks iced tea and adds more sugar to it than a person should be allowed. Ava's munching on some raw vegetables on one of the platters that were preapred ahead of time. We generally have several platters of raw vegetables. C.I. will usually eat raw tomatoes like their apples. Jess, Ty and C.I. will usually be eating sunflower kernals, almonds and something else. At some point, Kat will make popcorn. We'll all eat some of that. If Kat makes nachos, those are gone in about two minutes. The ones who fix things during the edition are usually Kat, C.I., Ty and Jess. C.I. will often suggest we all go outside and get some fresh air as well. That, the cooking and the fresh air, are things that Jim and myself will avoid because we're trying to get the edition completed and over. Oh, Ty loves grapefruit and usually, about five our time, he'll have a grapefruit. He's the only one who eats grapefruit. After the edition is done, C.I. will usually cook breakfast for everyone. Ty generally will fix 'dinner' when we all wake up Sunday evening unless we're going out to eat. And Ava's pointing at Jim so I assume she wants me to note that he'll eat anything during the writing of these. Breakfast food, lunch food, dinner food. It doesn't matter.

Ava: Or a huge bowl of ice cream with M&Ms dropped in.

Dona: My apologies. M&Ms, plain, are Ava and C.I.'s favorite candies and they both try to avoid candy so Jim does hear about it if he shows up with a huge bowl of chocolate ice cream covered in M&Ms during a difficult part of writing an edition.

Jim: They complain, but they taught me that trick. It works best on vanilla, but it works for chocolate too. You put the M&Ms in and let it stand for a minute or two, swirl it around and it's the best ice cream in the world as the colors bleed. Also, we're not really coffee drinkers. We used to be, in the early stages of the edition. But the smell grates on some people's nerves. "Some people" not in a rude way but I don't know that they want everyone they know to grasp that being around the smell of coffee makes them sick. It's also true that for about a year or so, the smell of coffee was probably the key smell to these editions and that probably didn't help non-coffee lovers stand it anymore.

Ty: And we'll wrap up by noting that Tannishtha e-mailed that she can't stop re-reading Ava and C.I.'s "TV: Aftermath leaves an aftertaste" and urges people to read it alongside Susan Faludi's "America's Guardian Myths" that ran in Friday's New York Times. She wrote, "In a perfect world, I'd have stuff like that to read every day."

Brown is invisible?


All Too Human and None To Bright George Stephanopoulos was gas bagging on ABC's This Week today, joined by Gas Bag Dinasours on their never ending Farewell Tour (George Will, Cokie Roberts and, on drums, Sam Donaldson) and the gang decided to 'translate' John Edwards: With Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton, they agreed, do you really think the country is willing to vote a "Black" (Obama is biracial) or a woman into office, they had him inferring.

Little Georgie Steph made a similar mistake last week in what tried to pass for a debate. (He made many others. C.I. offered some critiques here.) Moderating, he asked Obama about being "Black" (biracial) and Clinton about being a woman.

The bumper sticker above is from the Bill Richardson campaign.

Is Brown invisible?

Weren't all the gas bags (after the news media got the Latino vote in the 2004 election wrong -- Bully Boy did not gain votes, he stayed more or the less same) talking about the emerging Latino population in this country?

Richardson's official bio tells readers:

Bill Richardson was born on November 15, 1947 in Pasadena, California to William Richardson and Maria Luisa Lopez-Collada. William Richardson was a banker who had been working in Mexico City for decades and he settled his family there shortly after Bill's birth.
Growing up in Mexico City, Bill Richardson experienced a unique blend of American and Mexican cultures. His parents wanted to make sure their children were proud of both their countries and felt comfortable in both cultures and languages. Hamburgers and hotdogs were served on the Fourth of July, and parties were held on September 16th, Mexican Independence Day.

Does the press not know how to read?

And does Georgie Steph not grasp who Richardson is? While Bill Clinton wouldn't appoint Richardson to a post (US ambassador to the United Nations) until 1997, Richardson, then a member of the House of Representatives, often worked with the Clinton White House which does include the time period furball George was a part of the administration. Or maybe Georgie Steph spent all those years confusing Richardson with Henry Cisneros?

Saturday, The Washington Post published a column by Richardson entitled "Why We Should Exit Iraq Now" where he addressed Iraq:

Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards have suggested that there is little difference among us on Iraq. This is not true: I am the only leading Democratic candidate committed to getting all our troops out and doing so quickly.

In the most recent debate, I asked the other candidates how many troops they would leave in Iraq and for what purposes. I got no answers. The American people need answers. If we elect a president who thinks that troops should stay in Iraq for years, they will stay for years -- a tragic mistake.

Clinton, Obama and Edwards reflect the inside-the-Beltway thinking that a complete withdrawal of all American forces somehow would be "irresponsible." On the contrary, the facts suggest that a rapid, complete withdrawal -- not a drawn-out, Vietnam-like process -- would be the most responsible and effective course of action.

We're not endorsing anyone. We are noting that in an election cycle where gender and bi-racial firsts are trumpeted and churned into endless chatter, a Latino is running for the Democratic presidential nomination and the press appears to be ignoring that fact. The same way they ignore the candidate's stance on Iraq.

[C.I. wants a disclosure included. C.I. knows Richardson, Biden and Clinton. C.I. and Elaine do not know but met Barack Obama at a fundraiser during his 2004 Senate race, a fundraiser where I-Was-Against-The-Illegal-War-Before-It-Started Barack spoke of how the US military could not leave Iraq.]

The Pacifica Archives

Each year, a fundraiser takes place on Pacifica Radio to raise funds to preserve the Pacifica Radio Archives. Whether you listen to a Pacifica radio station or not, whether you're please with the current level of information provided by Pacifica, the fact remains that they possess an amazing archive and, in fact, the nation's oldest public radio archive.

Each week, the half-hour radio program From The Vault serves as a reminder of the wealth of riches recorded by the nation's first public radio system. The archives contain interviews with and reports on Rosa Parks, Arundhati Roy, Fannie Lou Hamer, Maxine Hong Kingston, Anais Nin, Pauline Kael, Odetta, Joni Mitchell, Joan Baez, Dr. Martin Luther King, Allen Ginsberg, Paul Robeson, Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, Alice Walker, Phil Ochs, Henry Miller, June Jordan, Bertrand Russell, Bette Davis, Jane Fonda, Edward Said, Delores Hunta, James Baldwin, Naomi Klein, Cesar Chavez, Michael Parenti, Malcolm X, Langston Hughes, Angela Y. Davis, Cindy Sheehan, Helen Caldicott, Studs Terkel, Gloria Steinem, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Tim Robbins, Pete Seeger, Michael Franti . . .

And those are only some of the famous names. There are many other well known names. There are also an equal number of important broadcasts featuring stories that need to be preserved.

In 2006, when many outlets that raise funds had trouble meeting their target goals, Pacifica Radio Archives' fundraiser not only met their goal, they exceeded it. Hopefully, that's in part because the richness of the archives is known and appreciated. It's also true that their theme was peace.

Pacifica Radio Archives

In two months, this year's fundraiser for the Pacifica Archives will begin again. The goal of each fundraiser is to continue the preservation of aging tapes before they are lost forever. During the fundraiser, they will accept any amount. Premiums will be offered but it's also true that if you have ten dollars to spare, you can donate that and it will be appreciated. If you're able to listen during the fundraiser for an extended time, there's a good chance you'll come across a matching period where your ten dollar donation will bring in ten dollars more in matching funds.

So never think that a small amount is not appreciated or needed. Those able to donate larger amounts can select a premium. A popular one is the voucher(s) which allow you to select something from the archives and obtain it on compact disc. You can enjoy that yourself (solo or with friends) or you can donate a part of our oral history to a library.

But the whole point is to keep the history alive. It's also true that you don't have to wait for the fundraiser to donate or, if you're interested in purchasing an archived broadcast, to order. The Pacifica Radio Archives run every week of the year. Need to purchase a birthday gift for a George Carlin fan? "Filty Words" from 1973 not only should entertain, it also resulted in a court case (FCC v. Pacifica Foundation). It's a gift that offers much more than one easy play.

Doing a research project? Take a trip through the archives. The excellent documentary Sir! No Sir! is only one example of making wonderful use of the Pacifica Archives.

Ruth had hoped to write about the archives yesterday. It didn't work out that way for her and we're aware that it most likely won't work out that way for us when the fundraiser starts in a few months. So we're taking the time now.

When the fundraiser rolls around, if you have the money to give, please consider making a donation to the Pacifica Radio Archives. You'll be helping to keep history alive -- a history that, as Amy Goodman frequently notes, too often has been overlooked by the mainstream media.


This piece is written by Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude, Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man, 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 and all highlights selected by us unless otherwise noted.

"Kat's Korner: Judy Collins makes like Eydie Gorme" -- Kat laying it out there, laying it on the line, telling the truths some may want to avoid. It just went up and, except for Kat, we took a break to read it. It's amazing.

"Searching for Nicky K, Encountering a Sea Witch" -- Betinna continues her search for Nicholas Kristof, hoping he will provide the answers to her past. She visits a clinic this chapter and also encounters a dead ringer for Ursula from The Little Mermaid.

"Barbeque Sauce in the Kitchen" -- Trina's offering a recipe and commentary on the socialization of gender.

"The Nation ignores war resisters even as it publishes the child of one," "the nation magazine ignores war resisters while publishing the child of one," "The Nation refuses to cover war resisters while publishing the child of one," "The Nation ignores war resisters even while publishing the child of one," "The Nation ignores war resisters while publishing the child of one,"
"The Nation refuses to cover war resisters while publishing the child of one," "The Nation refuses to cover war resisters while publishing the child of one," "The Nation ignores war resisters while publishing the child of one," and "The Nation ignores war resisters even while publishing the child of one" -- the Labor Day feature that went up at all sites, worked on by all of us (including Ruth and Trina). Ty said there were four e-mails asking about the order this was billed in at other sites. It's the same order we're using now. Wally and Cedric noted all the posts in a joint-entry. Everyone copied and pasted it from them. What was the order? Those with back up sites and The Third Estate Sunday Review went first. Why? They were easy to copy and paste. With Rebecca, C.I. and Cedric's backup site, they all provide a link to the original post in the title of the repost so all you have to do is use the mouse to copy and paste one time only for each site. With The Third Estate Sunday Review (resulting from their template switch), you can copy the title of any article in one copy and paste at the top of the article (and the link's included). With the other sites? Kat and Betty's sites don't provide post titles (with links) on the side the way the rest of our sites do. However, this was a long title, so from Wally, Mike, Elaine, Trina (or Rebecca or Cedric's original sites), you get "Blah blah blah ...." with the last half of the title being reduced to "...". To get the links for those, Wally and Cedric had to first copy and paste the title and then get the links and insert them. So the order was the easiest to copy and paste went first.

"Ruth's Report" -- Ruth was planning to write something on the Pacifica Radio Archives but ended up focusing on another topic instead. (We've got a feature covering it that will go up shortly.) She thought what she ended up covering for the entire report would be an aside, three paragraphs at most, instead it ended up being the entire report. We'll say, "Well said, Ruth."

"oink, oink go the pigs" -- Trina requested that we highlight this post by Rebecca. As Rebecca notes, one topic of her post is addressed in a feature this week.

"THIS JUST IN! LAURA SAYS BULLY BOY IS NUTS!" & "Bully Boy is nuts!" -- every time Laura Bush invents a story to 'humanize' her husband, she ends up making him look demeted. Wally and Cedric catch the latest.

"2 years-plus of Isaiah, Jeff Cohen" -- Isaiah passed the two-year mark of providing comics for The Common Ills last May. Elaine realized that this week and alerted the rest of us to it. We congratulate Isaiah and we, as community members, congratulate ourselves because we consider ourselves very lucky to be able to have witnessed his body of work.

"Iraq snapshot," "Barbie's Dream House trumps the deaths of US Soldiers on NBC's Today," and "Real news vs. NBC's Today's fluff" -- Rebecca warned us she had a ton of C.I.'s entries she wanted to highlight this weekend. These were three of them which were also requested by readers of this site (Ty says we have to especially note that Louise requested all three because she's not sure she's ever gotten a shout out here).

Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "The Runaway Bully" -- Isaiah's comic portrays Bully Boy making a mad dash (in his wedding dress) as he attempts to escape the realities of the losing illegal war.

"Marjorie Cohn on Iran, Third" -- Jim asked that we note this post by Mike. He means to note it in "A Note to Our Readers" but he planned to do that last week as well and time ran out. Mike's highlighting Marjorie Cohn and providing the behind the scenes rundown of last week's edition of The Third Estate Sunday Review.

"So that's what 'bi-partisan' really means" & "THIS JUST IN! WHEN THE PEOPLE GET SCREWED IT'S 'BI-PARTISAN'" -- Cedric and Wally take a look at what happens when conservative Democrats and conservative Republicans work together (and against the people): the press calls it "bi-partisan."

"While others specialize in 1 day coverage, check out Democracy Now!" -- Kat's post that notes the strong coverage Democracy Now! provided on the after-math (continued) of Hurricane Katrina. She also gives you a little background on how Ava and C.I. decided what to write about this week (they're writing that as we write this).

"elizabeth holtzman, elizabeth de la vega, etc." -- Rebecca offers up some realities that need to be noted.

"Cindy Sheehan (and the braying Katha)" -- Kat breaks some realities about the eighth Congressional district in California for the ass Katha Pollitt. ("Ass and racist," add Betty seconded by Cedric.)

"Dems get ready to cave again" & "Those Amazing Caving Dems in Congress" -- Blog twins (and a couple, of course) Elaine and Mike share their thoughts on the disgusting Democratic 'leadership' in Congress.
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